Don Cherry shocker! Elderly white man endorses Conservative Party candidate

Don Cherry shocker! Elderly white man endorses Conservative Party candidate

Don Cherry on Hockey Night in Canada (Image: Owen Byrne) 

There are relatively few opportunities for a TV sports commentator to weigh in on national politics, but Don Cherry certainly has a knack for finding them. A short list of his on-air politics would include calling Quebec “whiners,” slamming the Chrétien government for staying out of the Iraq War (how’s that one looking?) and calling people who disagree with him “left-wing pinkos.” So exactly who, we wonder, would be at all surprised by Cherry’s endorsement of Julian Fantino in the by-election in Vaughan? Apparently some people were, according to the Vancouver Sun.

His Hockey Night in Canada segment, Coach’s Corner, airs on CBC, a publicly funded broadcast station.  CBC has regulations outlining what kind of political involvement is suitable for its employees.

But those regulations apply only to journalists and current affairs employees, a CBC spokesman said Wednesday.

“Private citizens are allowed to act as private citizens,” Jeff Keay said, adding that Cherry is on contract with Hockey Night in Canada, and not a full-time employee of CBC. “His actions have nothing to do with either CBC or Hockey Night in Canada, nor will they be presented on the air.”

The Toronto Sun’s Joe Warmington says that complaints about a CBC employee endorsing Fantino are just sour grapes, comparing it to David Suzuki’s 2008 endorsement of Stephane Dion’s “green shift” plan. Of course, Conservatives were upset about that and suggested that Suzuki’s tax-exempt status be re-evaluated because of it.

How about this: everyone agrees to let Cherry run his mouth off and stop threatening Suzuki. Now, having dealt with the shock of an elderly white man supporting a Conservative law-and-order candidate, we can move on to the important questions, like, what would Cherry say about a hockey player who simply refused to show up for important games, over and over and over?

• Cherry’s political endorsement onside, says CBC [Vancouver Sun]
• Complaints about Cherry’s support of Fantino just sour grapes [Toronto Sun]
• Fantino, Liberal opponent finally debate [Globe and Mail]