NELSON AND RADIA: Mandela, scandals and Xmas

Tri-City News
Tri-City News' columnists Jim Nelson and Andy Radia.
— image credit: IMAGES SUBMITTED

’Tis the season of peace on earth and goodwill toward persons. And because partisan bickering doesn’t go well with egg nog or figgy pudding, this week is a time for us to share rather than call each other nuts.

Because beyond his dubious politics, my colleague has the same warm heart as those who agree with me.

So, in the spirit of the season, here are some 2013 stories upon which we agree, as this week we walk arm in arm instead of standing face to face...




Jim and I were both saddened by the recent passing of Nelson Mandela. We agree that Madiba was a great world citizen who went from once being vilified as terrorist to be now celebrated as one of the most influential leaders of our time. His life and his legacy should inspire citizens around the world to always fight for racial, sexual and cultural equality. His actions should be a lesson for Canadians as we continue to struggle with issues such as First Nations’ rights and Quebec’s Values Charter.




That’s right, Andy, but as much as we are both uplifted by the legacy of Nelson Mandela, we were mortified and embarrassed by this year’s Senate scandal. Long a repository of failed political candidates, party hacks, ex-hockey players and homer journalists, recent scandals have only brought to the front burner what has been leavening for years: that the Senate is little more than political payola and a waste of wads of money.

We’re also convinced that this scandal goes much deeper than has been exposed so far and that there are many more juicy Senate scandals aching to be uncovered.

But, in the spirit of Christmas, we agree that perhaps further indictment might wait until after the festive season.




Well said, Jim. Unfortunately, the naughty senators weren’t the only ones to bring Canadian politics into disrepute in 2013.

Provincially, things like the BC Liberal government’s ethnic outreach strategy — when the Christy Clark crew was alleged to have used government resources to woo minority voters — makes us all more cynical about politicians and their intentions.

And in Toronto, Mayor Rob Ford took his infamy to a whole new level this year with allegations of drug use, drinking and driving and ties to gangsters.

We’re both thankful that we don’t have that kind of drama here in Metro Vancouver. While we don’t always agree with their politics, B.C. mayors such as the Tri-Cities’ own Richard Stewart, Greg Moore and Mike Clay are honest, respectable folk who work hard for their constituents.




You’re right, Andy, our civic politicians are both respectable and respectful, proving that we can disagree without being disagreeable.

And speaking of disagreeing, Andy and I were pleased to discover that we both disagree with those who annually claim there’s a “war on Christmas.”

There’s no war on Christmas. Christmas is more widely celebrated by people outside the faith than is any other religious observance, and it’s because Christmas has a strong secular as well as religious message.

The Christian message of Christmas is strengthened because the Christmas season offers a stable big enough to be shared with non-Christians.

Instead of insisting that everyone put the Christ in Christmas, Christians should be proud that Christmas is so universally accepted by non-Christians. Santa, Christmas carols, “Seasons Greetings” and other secular seasonal trappings allow non-Christians to share the powerful Christmas message of peace, giving, family and love.


Well Jim, I hope your holiday — ahem, Christmas — is filled with tasty food, good company and hearty laughter.

It has been another crazy year and I’ve enjoyed debating international, national and local issues with you on a weekly basis. While your socialist slant is often starry-eyed and impractical, I know you aim to build a better community for us all — and that’s admirable.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

I also want to wish a Merry Christmas to our loyal readers and to the staff at The Tri-City News.




Andy, it has been a privilege. Another year of incisive weekly repartee and bickering is almost over. It’s been fun and educational, as always.

So Merry Christmas to you, too, my friend. I hope you enjoy the Christmas season with family and friends — and remember, don’t wassail and drive.

And Merry Christmas and/or Season’s Greetings to any devoted Face to Face readers we may have — thanks for the constant feedback in the grocery store and the pub, and via email — and to The Tri-City News.

Merry Christmas to all.


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