Toronto Star

What depths protesters will sink to be noticed

- Heather Mallick Heather Mallick is a Toronto-based columnist covering current affairs for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @HeatherMal­lick

“F--k!” the man shouted at a Liberal rally in Burnaby, B.C. I don’t know why he shouted this. It seemed generic. And then he shouted it again. He seemed proud that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau might now know he knew a word.

It was as if the word alone was some kind of declaratio­n though of god knows what. Not “My mother is proud of me” or “I can’t get a girlfriend, my dungeon isn’t ready yet” but “F--k!”

I was trying to figure this out Tuesday morning as I stood on a ladder in my backyard. What public statement was this frightened man trying to make as he raised his arms godlike to the sky and shouted into the air?

As I turned the garden hose to the jet setting and washed two fresh raccoon public statements off the shed roof, as I do most mornings, I realized that this was the only statement he — and they — had.

The raccoon parents, who I call Pro and Cyon, (Procyon lotor, the eastern raccoon) have five offspring: Jayden, Jaxon, Jaycee, Kyle and Lotorette. I spend a lot studying their daily manifestos.

We’ll call the guy at the rally Lotorette. No idea what his last name might be. Speck? Oswald? He was in his 30s, T-shirt and baggy-ish pants, sans wedding ring, which later seemed significan­t.

According to Paul McLeod of BuzzFeed, who wonders at the outdated strictures of mainstream reporting, Lotorette called Trudeau’s wife “a whore.” (Sophie Grégoire Trudeau was not present.)

Trudeau shouted back, “Isn’t there a hospital you should be going to bother right now?” It was the most contemptuo­us response imaginable and it was newsy to say the least.

Some Toronto hospitals are being blocked by Lotorettes, as are other hospitals in Calgary, Edmonton, Charlottet­own, Montreal, Halifax and Ottawa.

The crowds of various sizes oppose masks, vaccines, vaccine mandates and many other things, possibly themselves. Politician­s and doctors are horrified.

As health-care workers have said repeatedly, people at hospitals are often having the worst day of their lives. They’re seeing dying parents for the last time, rushing in after hearing their toddler is in emergency, arriving for cancer treatment. They are exhausted, depressed and at their lowest ebb. They are met by Lotorettes.

It’s hard to characteri­ze them fully, but it’s becoming apparent that Lotorettes are not necessaril­y suffering pandemic hardship, especially with a wealth of government help, including business subsidies and wage sent directly into people’s bank accounts.

It seems more that they want to stand out as wild and special people, and in this era you really do have to stretch your rancid wings to get yourself noticed. Lotorette, a man without a name or the courage to offer it publicly, did achieve this in some wretched way.

Lotorette hates Trudeau personally, can’t stand him. It’s a sign of Conservati­ve Leader Erin O’Toole’s emotional and political ineptitude that he chose this moment to say the same thing Lotorette said and in what I would suggest was a raccoonish manner that doesn’t fit at all with how Canadians like political debate.

He attacked Trudeau personally as a selfish man “who is not a feminist, not an environmen­talist, not a public servant. A man who’s focused solely and squarely on himself.”

O’Toole opposes a national daycare system, favours abortion access limits in New Brunswick, wants Canada’s internatio­nal signed promises on pollution emission limits rolled back, and works on the public payroll just as Trudeau does. But not for selfish reasons of course, like the prime minister born into privilege.

“Every Canadian has met a Justin Trudeau in their lives,” O’Toole said. Come on, we all went to high school with an Erin O’Toole, I say, and you just know that guy’s going to punish us for it.

Sometimes I’m busy and the Lotorette statements pile, high and adhesive, on my fetid shed, almost Luther-like nailed to the church door. They will rue the day, I mutter.

But they won’t. Latrines are a badge of raccoon-ness, just as graveyards are for humans, just as personal attacks are for politician­s lashing out personally when they suspect their own merits won’t deliver them the nation.

 ?? SEAN KILPATRICK THE CANADIAN PRESS ?? A lone protester heckles Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau as he takes part in an interview with Global News in Burnaby, B.C., on Monday. What statement was he trying to make as he raised his arms to the sky and shouted? Heather Mallick asks.
SEAN KILPATRICK THE CANADIAN PRESS A lone protester heckles Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau as he takes part in an interview with Global News in Burnaby, B.C., on Monday. What statement was he trying to make as he raised his arms to the sky and shouted? Heather Mallick asks.
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