TOM FLANAGAN

Tom Flanagan's Ultimate Career Stopper
How a Conservative Party eminence came up against the limits of free speech in Canada.

by Eric Tazelaar

I certainly have no sympathy for child molesters, but I do have some grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste in pictures.” 

This, from an apparently influential (but really, who down here knows anything about Canadian politics?) Tory party bigshot and former aide to Prime Minister Harper (who?) named Tom Flanagan.

A few days earlier, one of my colleagues, here at NAMBLA World Headquarters, mentioned that we had received several telephone calls from persons unidentified asking us if some guy named "Flanagan" was on our mailing list.

"Father Flanagan?", I asked. "The Founder of Boy's Town, Nebraska? I would be surprised if only because I think he probably died before we were founded".

Images of Spencer Tracy imparting sage advice to a 25 year old Mickey Rooney playing a 14 year old reformed delinquent flooded my brain. And, who knows, maybe he did find Mickey Rooney attractive.

"No, Tom Flanagan; some Tory Party bigwig up in Ottawa. Seems he called into question the severity of child porn sentences. Publicly! I'm not kidding!”

"Oh, the fool!", I exclaimed. "Doesn't he know that no politician in his or her right mind dare utter – at least in public - what is so manifestly obvious about all things child and porn? He may as well have just admitted that he takes to the air on a broomstick to curse the crops and farm animals of adjacent neighbors."

I went straight to Google News and typed in his name and was immediately greeted with an avalanche of urgently headlined stories emanating from a suddenly aroused Canadian press.

The shrieks and hisses in response to Tom Flanagan's, I thought, thoughtful comments had clearly propagated throughout Canada in a Manitoba minute.

It put me in mind of the film, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". In that B-movie classic, humanity is being rapidly infected by a mind-hijacking space virus that renders previously reasonable people incapable of doing anything but attacking the uninfected as a means of further spreading the brain-robbing alien microbe, hissing and shrieking incoherently while doing so.

Since Canadians, on the whole, appear to have come down with this unfortunate condition undoubtedly having caught it from their southerly neighbor, ("Nancy Grace dysphoria"?) there would seem to be little need for what we, down here - in "America" - so quaintly refer to as a "First Amendment". 

I mean, just how much of a 'Constitution' do you need to accommodate the obviously limited range of expression possible with the few available combinations of inchoate hisses and shrieks?

I assume that whatever you have for a Constitution up there includes some kind of obligatory language regarding freedom of speech. "And Parliament shall make no laws abridging the right of Her Majesty's subjects to say things which even she would not dare utter, blah, blah, blah".

Something like that, I should think. And surely, it must have been mentioned in the Meech Lake Accord. although you may well have gotten rid of the "Queen-speak" in your burst of devolutionary zeal some decades back.

Flanagan also said something kind of funny. And possibly because he thought it would be better first coming from him than, say, the CBC. Referring to us (NAMBLA) he said: 

“I started getting mailings for a couple years so that’s about as close as I came to child pornography.”

What? Did he think we were gonna announce his presence on our mailing list to the world unless he beat us to it? 

And that would help to explain the calls we received this week. Several, as it turns out.

Now, to become serious, if only momentarily, I will say that since our organization has never published "child pornography" (even those taking the form of fake Bart and Lisa Simpson cartoons) then he didn't get very close at all. Don't believe us? Take a look at our website, nambla.org.

As for Flanagan being on, or ever being on, our "mailing list", this writer has no idea (it's not my job), and I would not know since our organization safeguards the confidentiality of those with whom we may correspond quite zealously and would be loathe to confirm or deny anyone's appearance on any such list, in any case. As for the list's security, it has never been compromised (see this).

So, unless someone comes out and says "I started getting mailings (from NAMBLA) for a couple years..." no one is going to know about it!

No doubt the Child Porn prison sentences routinely dispensed down here in "America" would put your own sentencing guidelines up north to shame. Our breathtakingly savage sentences seem to have been inspired directly by the Malleus Maleficarum from a much earlier century.

Here, debates about penalties for possessing child porn usually sound more like "should they receive thousands of years in prison or just hundreds of years in prison for looking at cartoon depictions of Bart Simpson receiving fellatio from his sister Lisa?"

But, in the criminal policy arena, Canada is probably not too far behind the U.S.

I do hope, for his sake, that Mr. Flanagan had fully intended to retire soon from the political scene anyway, if not from society, as a whole.

That great bastion of free speech, the CBC, has already summarily dismissed him. And the University of Calgary has hurriedly announced his retirement (one wonders if they had police walk him off the premises, too). And, I think it's safe to say that any product endorsements, such as for snow shoes or ice fishing gear or, for that matter, "bison" coats, are pretty much out the window (or down the ice hole), as well.

I'm sure there is much I would personally find odious about his politics, especially if he really does dream wistfully of a C.I.A. drone finding its way into the Ecuadorian embassy where Julius Assange is presently holed-up.

But, then again, I think that sort of aspiration has more in common with the barbarity which holds that anyone looking at pictures of naked kids should be put in cages.

In harboring savage views such as these, both Canada's Liberals and Conservatives have much more in common, with each other as well as with their formerly great neighbor to the South, than they would care to admit.

Eric Tazelaar is a frequent contributor to Nambla.org who occasionally writes in a substantially satirical vein. We are confident that you realized the above is just such a piece.

 

 

 



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