New Brunswickers vote Monday in their 38th general election. They will decided either to keep incumbent Premier David Alward and his Progressive Conservative government or choose Liberal Brian Gallant as their new premier. Only PCs and Liberals had seats in the legislature at dissolution but the NDP, led by Dominic Cardy, believe they have a good shot at one or two.
And while there are some serious issues at play in this campaign, one of the odd issues that cropped up in the campaign’s dying days was a Hitler parody video in which Gallant was, apparently, a German general and the MLA for Shedica-Cap-Pelé, Victor Boudreau, was Hitler. (I annotate the above for non-New Brunswickers below) The Liberals demanded apologies from the NDP, a party that has not had a seat in the legislature since 2003. We’re not exactly sure who created this video but some New Democrats put this out on their social media feeds and that has drawn incredible Liberal indignation, fueled by the fact that Gallant’s grandfather ended up in a Nazi concentration camp because he helped European Jews escape during the Second World War. On live television, the NDP leader tried to apologize for whatever role his partisans played but Gallant — in high dudgeon — refused.
Now, there are dozens and dozens of these Hitler parody videos. There are at least three featuring Stephen Harper as Hitler and I’ve never heard Harper complain. The UK Daily Telegraph even provided a handy listing of their favourite 25 such parodies say these spoofs have become “one of the enduring memes of the Web.” YouTube has an entire channel devoted to these Hitler parodies. There’s new ones all the time. Here’s Hitler learning the Scotland has voted no. There’s even a Hitler parody in which Hitler complains about the parodies!
Now, I have opinions about the New Brunswick Liberal reaction to this parody. I think it’s way over the top and that they should have shrugged their shoulders and moved one. I said as much on my program, Battleground, on Sun News Network on Friday. But you’ll also want to watch this clip for the video of Gallant’s refusal to accept an offered apology from Cardy in the midst of a debate moderated by CTV’s Steve Murphy.
Need help with NB jokes?
If you’re just coming to the New Brunswick provincial election, here’s some things you need to know to get the jokes in the parody:
- Brian Gallant’s Liberal Party has been leading in the few polls done in that province for over a year. There have been four public domain polls released since the campaign started, two by Corporate Research Associates and two by Forum Research. While each firms has some different numbers, the trend is similar: What was a monster lead at the beginning (19 points in CRA poll one) by the Liberals over the incumbent PCs has narrowed but still seems healthy enough.
- “Leader Boudreau” is, presumably, a reference to Victor Boudreau, a Liberal MLA who was interim leader of the New Brunswick Liberals until Gallant won the permanent job. Boudreau, who was finance minister in Shawn Graham’s cabinet, is s cinch for cabinet if Gallant wins government Monday. The video’s creators have made Boudreau the Hitler character.
- “Dominic, Brian, Roger, and Ottawa consultants …” The Dominic here is almost certainly Dominic Leblanc, the Liberal MP who is co-chair of the NB Liberal campaign. The “Ottawa consultants” may be a reference to David Herle and his Gandalf Group who, several reports said, are doing polling for the NB Liberals. Herle has just come off managing the super-successful majority-producing campaign of Kathleen Wynne in Ontario. But I’m pretty sure Herle and Gandalf Group are Toronto-based. I’m not plugged in enough to know who Roger is. The “Brian” though, would seem to be the 32-year-old Liberal Leader Brian Gallant. The video’s creators have assigned him the role of a Nazi general.
- “Murphy” and “Forestell” are Steve Murphy, Halifax-based anchor of CTV Atlantic and Harry Forestell, anchor of CBC TV New Brunswick. Gallant’s interviews with Forestell were, in my view, the most disastrous I’ve ever seen a leader give.
- “The Farmer” That’s the incumbent premier, Progressive Conservative leader David Alward.
- “Now Cardy is gaining on us”. That would be NB NDP Leader Dominic Cardy. And while the behaviour of the Liberals over the last week — not to mention their indignation over this video — would suggest the NDP are causing problems for the Liberals, the four polls we have seen have shown NDP support has weakened over the course of the campaign.”Coon” is David Coon, leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick.
- “Shannon” No idea who that is. Anyone?
Now the NB Liberal Hitler parody is not the funniest one you’re ever going to see. The best-ever at making Hitler funny was Mel Brooks (Jewish!) The Producers. Here’s the signature tune from that terrific musical: