By Frank Moher
Alheli Picazo at CalgaryPolitics.com has dug up some of the writings of Wildrose Party candidate and one-time Alberta Report Publisher/Editor Link Byfield, just in case Danielle Smith would like to defend someone other than Allan Hunsperger and Ron Leech for a change. Of course, this one’s almost too easy: any ex-journalissimo who runs for public office comes trailing a stack of clips that are bound to piss somebody off. Still, Link’s work was often ordure of a special order.
Jan. 1, 2001: “‘Houses of worship’ worth the name always have and always will reserve marriage solely to heterosexuals … homosexuality being what it is, relatively few homosexuals and lesbians want to be married anyway. They may want the right, but few seem to want the reality. This whole struggle has been about political mastery, not equal rights, for this is not a right they use . . . the few who do form more lasting partnerships already have the same tax and benefit rights as normal married couples . . . the Liberals gave them that last year: everything except the use of the word ‘marriage.’ And now, needless to say, a few activists are determined to get that too, and nothing seems likely to stop them . . . the goal now is status.
“This debate is not . . . between ‘traditionalists’ and ‘progressivists.’ It’s between nature and perversity; between reality and illusion . . . .The danger of homosexual marriage is not that there will be many such marriages. There will be few. The danger lies in recognizing them, or affirming them, or pretending they’re just as good as the real thing. It debases the whole institution.”
March 19, 2001: “A lesbian in our vicinity named Teresa O’Riordan, I read in our weekly Morinville-Gibbons Free Press, has been appointed to the local Community Justice Committee. She and seven other volunteers will help try to keep young offenders out of jail by giving them guidance and encouragement to turn their lives around . . . .
“…. All of which goes to show how absurdly our public attitudes have been turned on their head. Here we have a divorcee teaching families how to succeed, a lesbian teaching about parenting, and all on the state payroll. Here we see a noted permissivist assigned to monitor young criminals whose most urgent need is probably a good hard kick in the pants.
“As for anger management, I can’t help but wonder (bigot that I am) if Ms. T’s household suffers the kind of domestic violence and discord for which lesbian relationships are so notorious. The odds are that it doesn’t, but short of a police complaint or hospital emergency visit, how would anyone know? Did anyone ask? Is anyone these days allowed to ask?”
February 5, 2001: “The like-minded groups we now discreetly refer to as ‘sexual minorities’ — homosexuals, lesbians, pedophiles, etc. —
[Actually, that’s all we need of that one, isn’t it?]
And here’s one I dug up myself, from the January, 11, 1999 Alberta Report, in which Link waxed slightly delusional about the history of the magazine and its “Next 25 Years”:
“We learned one other lesson in the latter 1980s, as we started branching out with other editions, first Western and then B.C. Report. Instead of reverting to clear conservatism on the social issues of the day, we began to drift, subtly, into what could be called ‘lifestyle’ coverage . . . . There was a reason for this drift. Back in the 1970s, weirdo things like radical feminism and gay rights could be dismissed, at least in Alberta, as an amusing madness. But by the late-1980s they couldn’t.
Unfortunately for Link, most readers had by that point fled the not-so-amusing madness that Alberta Report had become, and it was dead within four years.
I call him Link because, you see, I worked with him at AR back in the early ’80s. I was the books and sometimes-other-things editor, in which minor capacities my lack of pure laine conservatism could be ignored. (His father, Ted Byfield, used to claim I was a closet conservative; I am afraid I have sadly disappointed him.) He even, as he prepared to move into the top position, offered me the job of Executive Editor. Had I said Yes, I’d be the president of Rogers Publishing today! (Okay, maybe not.) But I was more interested in a career in theatre, and already had one. And I could see, even if Link could not, that I might last six months in the job. So I moved to a Gulf Island to write plays, instead.
All of which is to say, I knew Link back when, and I liked him; he was a Nice Guy™. I have since learned, however, that Nice Guys™ are often up to all sorts of nastiness while they’re about being Nice; in fact, I have come to believe that their Niceness™ is often directly proportionate to the amount of nastiness they’re up to. Link has certainly gotten up to a lot of nastiness as a journalist over the years and, if it’s inevitable that it catches up to him as a politician, it’s also deserved. Mind you, he may be just what the constituents of Barrhead-Westlock-
As for myself, I’ve ceased being nice, as perhaps this post indicates. So here, for old time’s sake, are some blasts from Link’s pasts — covers from AR during his editorship. The most notorious is at the top, but for my money, it’s the last one that really ought to bring perdition upon him. Alberta Report gave us the Reform Party, which gave us Stephen Harper, which gave us our current truth- and math-challenged federal government. And if that isn’t damning, I don’t know what is.