Entries Tagged as 'David Frum'

Senator Frum

David Frum August 27th, 2009 at 4:00 pm 8 Comments

linda_frum_sokolowski

Linda Frum Sokolowski

 

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today that he will appoint my sister, Linda Frum Sokolowski, to the Canadian Senate. I am so proud of and thrilled for Linda, a woman of unique grace, talent and accomplishment. Linda is the author of three books, including a beautiful biography of my mother, the late Barbara Frum. She cowrote and coproduced a documentary that won Canada’s highest film award, the Gemini, in 1996. Over the decade 1998-2007, her interviews and articles in Canada’s National Post newspaper were among that paper’s most hilarious and popular features.

Linda and her husband Howard have been supremely generous supporters of civic and philanthropic causes. Linda served on the board of the Ontario Arts Council and the Art Gallery of Ontario Foundation. In 2006, she chaired the United Jewish Appeal’s annual women’s campaign and broke all previous fundraising records.

Linda has been a tireless supporter of Canada’s Conservative party, dating back to the time when that party could count on precious few supporters anywhere in central Canada. She raised money – mobilized support – and sustained spirits through some very dark and dreary defeats. She did all this while raising three children, comforting and consoling our mother through illness, and suffusing the lives of all around her with happiness and joy.

The Canadian Senate is an appointed body. Most Canadian conservatives believe the Senate should be elected. Since winning office in 2006, Prime Minister Harper has repeatedly attempted to reform the Senate. He has been balked at every turn.  Nine months ago, I wrote a column for the National Post about Harper’s predicament.

For two years, Stephen Harper pressed the provinces to hold elections so that he could appoint democratically selected senators. They ignored him.

For two years, Harper minimized prime ministerial powers of patronage in the Senate. Again: Nobody responded.

Harper’s principles exposed him to political danger. The partisan balance in the Senate has deteriorated to the point where the Liberals outnumber Conservatives by a margin of nearly 3-to-1 (58 to 20).

Fears that the Liberals would abuse this unelected advantage are well grounded in history… So Harper acted. He acted as almost every prime minister before him has acted, following some of the most ancient traditions of Canadian politics.

If we don’t like those actions (and I suspect that few like them less than Harper himself), blame the traditions — not the man who was thwarted in his every attempt to repair and improve the traditions.

In December 2008 and now again in August 2009, the prime minister has sought a second best to elections: appointments of outstanding individuals of proven public spirit. Congratulations to Linda as she begins this new chapter in a life of service.

Senator Ted Kennedy

David Frum August 26th, 2009 at 2:00 pm 32 Comments

I know exactly the hour when my opinion of Sen. Ted Kennedy permanently changed. I had remained very angry at the Massachusetts liberal for many years since his 1987 speech so unjustly vilifying the great conservative jurist Robert Bork:

Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, children could not be taught about evolution.

For 15 years thereafter I could hardly bear to hear his name spoken. Nor was my temper much improved by his rough handling of another great conservative legalist, Theodore Olson, at Olson’s confirmation hearings as solicitor general. I was always ready to laugh at the harsh jokes conservatives told about the senator’s legendarily self-indulgent personal life. It seemed a fair judgment on an unfair man.

Then came 9/11. Among the murdered was the brave and brilliant Barbara Olson. Ted asked some friends to help with the deluge of messages of condolence, and my wife Danielle volunteered for the job. Among the letters: a lengthy handwritten note by the senator so elegant and decent, so eloquent and (fascinatingly) written in so beautiful a hand as to revolutionize one’s opinion of the man who wrote it. It did not dishonor by ignoring or denying the political differences between the two families. It fully acknowledged them – and through them expressed a deeper human awareness of shared mortality, pain, and grief. Not all chapters of his life revealed it equally, but the senator was a big soul, and in his last years, he lived his bigness fully. He knew and he expressed the sorrow of human life, a sorrow so memorably captured by his brother Robert in a passage of poetry quoted upon hearing of the murder of Martin Luther King, and engraved thereby in the American political memory forever:

Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.

Rest in peace, leader of the liberals.


We Are the World

David Frum August 25th, 2009 at 9:15 pm 2 Comments

If any venturesome soul would like to see my work translated into Arabic, cheap click here.

Topics:  ,