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article imageOp-Ed: Manitoba Progressive Conservative leader hates Halloween

By Ken Hanly     Nov 1, 2015 in Politics
Winnipeg - No doubt there are many industrious researchers from various parties searching through the past speeches of their opponents to unearth treasures with which they can embarrass them.
In the case of Brian Pallister, the leader of the opposition Progressive Conservative party in the Manitoba legislature, such researchers have unearthed several paragraphs in a speech that Pallister gave in the legislature in November of 2014. I thought I would check out the speech just to make sure that the researcher was not altering any of what Pallister said. The whole speech can be found here. Turned out that everything was authentic and the author even mentions the context that Pallister was actually trying to draw a parallel between the behaviour of NDP members and trick-or-treaters at Halloween. Indeed, Pallister was trying to scare Manitobans away from supporting the NDP, since they are like those who go out looking for treats on Halloween. They dress up and disguise themselves so that those giving out the treats do not recognize them for what they are. People end up giving them treats, their votes I guess, if the analogy follows through at all. Probably Pallister was just dressing up his contention that the NDP members mislead people about what they are. In the process of his analogy, however, Pallister does have personal recollections and states opinions on Halloween that he probably should have left off the record.
Pallister starts out by noting he hates Halloween and always has. Apparently his first issue with Halloween was that he was bigger than other kids so everyone knew who he was not matter what he wore. Since everyone else could hide their identity while he couldn't he must have concluded that hiding one's identity on Halloween was a bad thing: "It wasn't fun for me and I've never liked it ever since. I don't like the deceit of it. I don't like the holiday and I never will. I don't like trick or treat. I think it's–I don't think it's good for the integrity of the kids."
The article points out that Pallister identifies himself as a Christian. The previous Christmas, Pallister had wished any Manitoban infidel atheists a merry Christmas but wondered what they celebrated during the holiday season. He himself celebrated the birth of Christ. Most scholars consider Halloween a Christian celebration as well, though it may be also have accumulated certain pagan customs. According to Wikipedia: 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide,[9] the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed...According to one view, All Hallows' Eve is a Christianized observance influenced by Celtic harvest festivals.. with possible pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain. Other scholars maintain that it originated independently of Samhain and has solely Christian roots. Pallister could celebrate Halloween as a Christian ritual. Of course, as with Xmas, Halloween has been secularized and is now promoted more by secular merchants and local Chambers of Commerce than religious authorities. Pallister concludes his analogy by trying to make the NDPers spooks to be avoided: I don't like Halloween, and what I'm seeing from these people is Halloween all over again. Trick-or-treat traitors, they jump up and down around Halloween time and say, let's change costumes. We can be somebody else now. We'll be the new, new NDP.
The NDP certainly needs new costumes and to appear different. It is languishing about 20 percentage points behind Pallister's party in the polls. It may see former premier Gary Doer as a possible wizard who can save it from defeat in the election to take place next April.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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