Toronto Star is last paper on earth to discover that anglophones aren’t keen on the BQ. Maybe there should there be a Bloc Torontois?

Toronto Star is last paper on earth to discover that anglophones aren’t keen on the BQ. Maybe there should there be a Bloc Torontois?

How can there still be reporters who are surprised to discover that English Canada hasn’t warmed to the Bloc Québécois being in parliament? This piece from the Toronto Star reports that “the current election campaign appears to be opening up a deep vein of anger in English Canada toward the Bloc Québécois,” but what struck us is how little evidence is given to support the theory. There’s a bit about negative reactions to Gilles Duceppe during the leaders debate, but for academic heft, the Star gives us this:

Setting up a fake identity as “Gord Tory” on Facebook, Johannes Wheeldon and some academic associates from Canada posted increasingly incendiary remarks about the BQ on the Facebook page to see how many friends “Gord” could attract.

The Facebook postings talked about the Bloc as distinct from “real Canadians” and then, over the next few days, called for an end to “special treatment” for Quebec and eventually for Duceppe to be tried for treason. The Facebook experiment then approached near satire, calling for separatists to be required to wear a big “Q” on their clothing.

Still, the fictional character Gord Tory managed to attract more than 160 Facebook friends before the experiment was ended. Wheeldon is not publicizing the content or identities behind the comments.

Rather than considering this proof positive of anti-French feeling, we’re left wondering: 160 friends? We found a Twitter account devoted to nothing but kitten pictures that has 20 times as many followers. The Communist Party of Canada has 10 times as many Facebook friends, as does a group that’s all for an NDP-Liberal coalition.  Even a collective determined to keep Toronto’s aging acorn street signs has 979 supporters. Perhaps it’s time to start a Facebook group opposed to newspapers using Facebook groups to measure popularity.

We prefer to take a brighter angle on this story. Despite the election talk of “Battleground GTA,” political promises to Quebec have been a bit more impressive than those made to Torontonians. In the context of this “boring” election, shouldn’t the city’s biggest newspaper be more inspired by the BQ? How about an explicitly Toronto-focused federal party? (One for provincial politics might not be a bad idea, either.) With Toronto’s 22 seats held hostage by the Bloc Torontois, maybe the feds could shake loose some money for TTC and infrastructure.

Then again, many might argue that Toronto already has its own party.

• Anger toward Bloc on the rise in English Canada [Toronto Star]