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This article was published 6/10/2015 (1930 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.


Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has announced that, if re-elected, the Conservative government will create an RCMP tip line people can phone to report their neighbour's barbaric cultural practices. Some people, unused to the Harper government's wry sense of humour, have taken the announcement seriously.

Immediately tipping off that it was an early April Fool's joke, however, was that it was delivered by Alexander, who is best known for his award-winning imitation of Fraser Crane's brother, Niles. This announcement, a bravura performance, exceeds even Alexander's stunning role in the recent Syrian refugee crisis.

Were his announcement serious, my fingers would be at the ready to dial in such barbaric practices as circumcision, the drinking of blood and eating of flesh (even in symbolic form), and the yearly celebrations of murder by crucifixion. But since it was made in jest, perforce to bring some levity to this overly long election campaign -- a newly introduced form of barbarism -- I propose in similar vein the following list of barbaric cultural practices.

To start, the cultural practice of displaying "butt crack." While it may be necessary to grant religious accommodation to plumbers, there is no excuse for anyone else.

Women's shoes. 'Nuff said.

The rants of Don Cherry, Rex Murphy and all radio talk-show hosts.

Rap music and bad poetry, in general.

Hollywood movies based on lame television shows of the 1970s.

Hollywood movies based on good television shows of the 1970s.

Golf, or as Mark Twain wrote, "a good walk spoiled."

Bad grammar and bad writing, in general.

Reruns of Raymond. Who watched that show?

References to Munich/appeasement. Also, the Maine, the Alamo, John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, etc.

The use of Segways near Usain Bolt.

The use of selfies and the attendant practice of sending said photos to people who don't care.

The removal for eating pleasure of cod tongues, which has rendered much of the Atlantic species speechless.

Store shelves with more than 10 types of toothpaste; more than 10 make selecting a brand a form of torture.

Karaoke, except in the instance of sufficient inebriation; see, religious accommodation above.

One-day-only sales that go on forever.

Corporate executives lecturing everyone about everything.

All Internet photos of Grumpy Cat.

The dragging of fingernails across blackboards; special exemption in the case of Monty Python.

Eighteen-year-old trick-or-treaters on Halloween.

Stephen Harper playing piano, Justin Trudeau walking endlessly up a down escalator, Tom Mulcair being Tom Mulcair.

Lineups at grocery stores. I thought that was supposed to end with the collapse of the Soviet Union?

Engineers adding electronic gimmicks to cars because they can.

Attempts to bring back the Chicken Dance. Also the Macarena. But line-dancing allowed if wearing cowboy hats and jeans; see, religious accommodation above.

I think we can all agree, however, the barbaric cultural practice most in need of being reported, and hence banned, is that of craven politicians vote-seeking by way of fear and hatred.


Trevor W. Harrison is a political sociologist at the University of Lethbridge and director of Parkland Institute.