Posts Tagged ‘mike smyth’

Following a recent vacay to the sunny island of khaki pants and bearded revolutionaries, NDP MLA Jagrup Brar made some favourable comments about Cuba’s official policy to provide a more equitable distribution of food and education for its citizens than the corporate capitalist model here in B.C., as well as Cuba’s seeming avoidance of gun violence through legislative controls. Former cabinet minister and proud right wing politician Bill Bennett (currently supporting Premier Christy Clark) seized on these comments and cobbled together a press release that apparently suggested NDP MLAs aspired to a Cuban-style communist governance for British Columbia.

Mike Smyth, Province columnist who has been guest hosting for Simi Sara on CKNW’s talk show, became animated with this juicy tidbit and called on NDP MLA Shane Simpson for an on-air telephone interview to demand whether he had been to Cuba himself,  why he visited that country, and whether he liked it. (FYI  – If you are from another province, territory, or country, this kind of political red baiting is perfectly normal here in B.C.)

McCarthy Hearings

Anyway, Smyth fired a series of questions at Simpson, which seemed designed to ‘catch’ the MLA off guard so he would say that he liked and approved of Cuba and therefore its political system, which one supposes would confirm to CKNW listeners that Shane Simpson is a ‘Commie’. The force with which Smyth asked the questions was worthy of interrogators in the McCarthy hearings.

Now, American citizens as you likely know, are not permitted to vacay in Cuba for any reason, even if they sympathize with the poor and like khaki clothes. In other words, if you want to exploit a Third World economy for a cheap vacation and take advantage of the US embargo on the Cuban economy, the US government won’t permit you.

Canucks in Khaki

Here in Vancouver, people are rushing off to Communist Cuba all the time and no one ever questions their motives. But all of a sudden during this radio broadcast, we were made to feel guilty that we go to Cuba, enjoy Cuba, and that we might, just maybe, approve of universal health and education programs, and a broader distribution of wealth. I don’t know enough about Cuba to know if it’s truly successful for a more equitable distribution of wealth and services, and I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting that country myself, but one thing is for sure–I am not ready for American-style politics that makes it illegal for me to visit a particular country, like it, and feel good about saying so.