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December 8, 2010, by

A letter from a Leaf fan to Don Cherry

"Actually I'm wearing pink for all the pinkos out there that ride bicycles and everything. I thought I'd get it in. What'd ya expect, Ron MacLean, here? To come here?" Don Cherry Dec 7/2010

"Actually I'm wearing pink for all the pinkos out there that ride bicycles and everything. I thought I'd get it in. What'd ya expect, Ron MacLean, here? To come here?" Don Cherry at Rob Ford's inauguration at Toronto City Hall Dec 7/2010

Dear Mr. Cherry,

I write to you as an avid hockey fan and as an artist.

I started watching hockey with my Dad when I was a kid. I loved coach’s corner on Saturday nights on CBC and although I often didn’t agree with your politics, I always admired your hockey smarts. When you talked hockey, I listened.

However, since you have entered the political arena you have ceased to make sense to me. When it comes to commenting on what’s going on off the ice, your smarts have let you down.

“People are sick of the elites and artsy people running the show.” I have been a Toronto based theatre artist for close to 15 years. Most people I know in my profession make less than $30,000 a year. How does this put me or any of my fellow artists in any position to run things? How is it that you rail against the elites when your salary is paid for by the CBC, a publicly funded corporation? Do you not see the paradox here?

“It’s time for some lunch pail, blue-collar people…(to run things)”. I can only assume you were referring to Mayor Ford. Mr. Ford is ferociously anti-union even though unions represent workers. In your speech to council on December 7th, you called out the pinko kooks in the crowd. By pinkos you mean socialists, who are trade unionists, who are for the worker, the lunch-pail carrying blue collar folk. The guy and gal who love to watch a good game of hockey, eh?

So when you stood before council beside Mayor Ford, representing the little guy, the working man (and woman), and lambasting the lefties ( I can only assume you meant the councillors who support bike lanes, public transit, and unions), claiming that a time of honesty was now upon the city, all I could see was a man who makes close to a million dollars a year standing beside another man whose company does close to $100 million in annual sales, I did not see two defenders of the people.

I saw a sports personality in over his head with no idea how much the people who live in this city, artist and worker alike, have in common with the average wage of an arts worker falling somewhere just below minimum wage. I saw a new mayor who is bent on using misinformation and division to rule. The war on cars has now become the war between wards in the GTA.

Mr. Cherry. I am an artist and a hockey fan. I even admit to cheering for the Maple Leafs (it was great to see them come back against the Bruins Saturday night). I respect you as a man of hockey, but I can’t take your endorsement of Mayor Ford seriously.


Ruth Madoc-Jones
Theatre Director and Leafs Fan

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  1. Michael says:

    Check out this Left Wing Pinko Poll on Spacing:

    Also available at that link are Left Wing Pinko Facebook and Twitter profile buttons.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Theatre Ontario, Praxis Theatre. Praxis Theatre said: A letter from a Leaf fan to Don Cherry: Dear Mr. Cherry, I write to you as an avid hockey fan and as an artist. … […]

  3. Thanks, Ruth! I wish I could have put it so well myself. (Although I cannot pretend to be a hockey fan.)

  4. Joe says:

    David Mirvish had Rob Ford handing out turkeys (which he gets free from the Canadian Turkey Board) with him on Sunday at Honest Eds. What an interesting dilema, Mirvish loves their City money handouts for pubicity etc (Toronto Tourism for a start)and Rob hates the arts BUT of course he will be invited to every opening by Mirvish…not sure which leaves a more ick taste in my mouth Mirvish or Ford.

  5. Thanks for the wonderful posting. I love hockey too and am an artist. Leave well enough alone, Monsieur Cherie!

  6. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jennifer Hicks and marjorie chan, Sean Dixon. Sean Dixon said: A letter from a Leaf fan to Don Cherry […]

  7. Steve says:

    I’m neither an artist or hockey fan, but that was very well written and right on point.

  8. Bonnie says:

    Ruth, thank you for expressing so eloquently what I was thinking.  Can’t agree with you more!  

  9. dan says:

    wow. thank you.

  10. Betsy Palmer says:

    Beautifully and eloquently put.

  11. margaret says:

    thank you thank you thank you…for being a voice of reason!

  12. Viv moore says:

    This is so well put. Thank you for putting pen to paper

  13. forbes says:

    have to say, Don Cherry is a great personality. and when he’s in the world of hockey, i respect him. but the idea that he attempted to speak on matters that he obviously has very little understanding of, makes me angry.

    when will people learn that a city’s (if not a province’s or country’s) arts and culture scene is intricately linked to its fiscal success and the quality of life of citizens?!

    the ironic thing is that Don Cherry is actually a tile in the Canada’s arts and culture mosaic. i mean, Coaches’ Corner is sort of theatre of the absurd, and his flamboyant style is much like that of a clown.

  14. Owen says:

    Cherry is a complete moron when it comes to politics…. Not only is he out of line and beyond his wits on current issues, he’s losing fans because of it.

    My grandfather, a staunch Cherry fan his entire life, no longer has the stomach to watch this fool rant about ‘lefty this’ ‘left that’ every weekend. 

    Get a life Grapes.

  15. David Bryson says:

    Don Cherry’s crude and pedestrian manner of speech is his calling card. It’s time for a new deck. Unfortunately he would probably criticize this well written letter as being elitist.

  16. Nobu says:

    Nice one Ruth.

  17. denialawareness says:

    Great job Ruth. I am impressed with how you were so easily able to demonstrate the contradictions in what Cherry said! It appears that he really made no sense. I think though that he is trying to jump on the Sarah Palin bandwagon of ‘regular folks’ like Joe Six-Pack, Joe the Plumber, and so on; you know, people without much of an education who resent those who got the good grades without studying.

  18. A letter from a Leaf fan to Don Cherry – Praxis Theatre…

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

  19. Shan says:

    Agreed! Cherry has lost much credibility in recent years. Absolutely can’t stomach his arrogance and lack of intellect. Just stick to what you know and quit pretending your more than you are.

  20. Aloo Gobi says:

    Ford was elected mayor. A majority of voters selected him based on a platform of resistance to the unions who have influence over the city. The taxpayers can’t cover the cost of supporting them.

  21. Chuck says:

    Aloo Gobi – any government, but especially a municipal council, must govern for everyone in the city and must attempt conciliation. The Mayors who achieved this best in recent years were David Crombie and Mel Lastman. David Miller was not especially good at this. But Ford’s and Cherry’s recent actions indicate that  our new mayor is simply not interested in it at all. Even in conflict, politeness and  respect are important virtues. What kind of tone do you think that Cherry’s comments have set for the council? Simpleminded insults – is that the level at which you want politicians to work? Your tax dollars pay their salaries. Does foolish schoolyard taunting give you value for your money?

  22. Gary Helmer says:

    Lighten up folks…
    My now deceased Mom taught me to appreciate the good in an individual and to ignore the rest…   In Don’s case, the ‘good’ includes his hockey expertise; his ‘entertainer’ schlock; his recognition of our troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere…  Appreciate all that – and ignore the rest…

  23. Julie Reitzel says:

    Well said, Ruth!

  24. Michael says:

    I enjoyed this response to Cherry’s speech in The National Post.

  25. Finally, someone who is not using rhetoric, venom or dismissing/demeaning those on the ‘other’ side to express a perfectly valid point.  

    Well put Ruth

    (although I might argue Mr. Cherry or Mr. Ford are not against either the Arts community or unionized workers as a whole but the few who hold power within those communities/unions and have wielded it in a less then responsible manner).

  26. Dave says:

    Way to go Ruth. I’m another average taxpaying Torontonian who is with you.

  27. Brandon Moore says:

    Cherry condemns the hockey player who hot-dogs around the ice after he scores a goal, and yet that’s exactly what Cherry was doing at the inauguration. He praises a certain type of hockey player, yet Cherry himself has always been more Ulf Samuelsson than Cam Neely.

  28. andy says:

    I think your view is off. Don must always be taken with a grain of salt for sure, but as someone with a Theatre degree and worked in the arts for a long time, I don’t believe he is taking about us when he says ARTSY. Not the hard working people who create the arts, but the hobknobing types who believe the arts is only what is downtown and associated with a Mirvish or two.

    Unions no longer protect the working man, but have become the same cancer that owners used to be. To think that they are great – take a look at how they have effected the US economy.

    Don is simply supporting someone he likes and saying that HE believes we need straight shooters in charge. Some who will look after the common man, not specific common men who are priviledged to be assosciated with a specific organization.

    I truly think you missed the boat here. You have taken specific words and jumped on them while leaving out the specific examples Don used (i.e. the lady and her tree/bill). While I think Don brings a lot of this on himself using silly phrases like PINKO if you simply take a step back and look for the message, you will see it is in the right place.

  29. I agree with Andy, as I indicated earlier.  Mr. Cherry is not talking about all of us (in the arts community) nor about those hard working people who happen to belong to a union or even, for that matter, those hard working union officials who really care about their membership. He is speaking directly to the few who exist within the arts community/unions who misuse their authority or privilege, thereby tarnishing the rest of us.

    Nonetheless, I think what Ms. Madoc-Jones wrote was done so thoughtfully and without malice towards either Mr. Ford or Mr. Cherry’s supporters, a refreshing change in this ever growing, divisive environment.

  30. Marilo says:

    Ruth, That was right on the mark. Way to go! You said it perfectly!

    xo Marilo
    An artist but not a hockey fan….

  31. Celeste Sansregret says:

    Thanks Ruth,
    Well put. I’m now based in Winnipeg and I felt sorry for my old town when Ford got elected.

  32. Michael says:

    Congratulations Ruth: This letter has been read by more than 4000 people in the first 24 hours after publication – setting a new record for page views in a single day on Clearly your sentiments have resonated with hockey fans, artists and Torontonians alike. Thanks for choosing this space to publish your timely and well-articulated thoughts.

    Michael Wheeler


  33. James Bow says:

    Aloo wrote: “Ford was elected mayor. A majority of voters selected him based on”

    Um, no. Ford received 47% of the vote. 47% is a minority, not a majority. A plurality of voters voted for him. Please get your terms right. He has a strong mandate, to be sure, but he doesn’t speak for most Torontoians.

  34. Dave says:

    One more thing to point out; Don Cherry doesn’t even live in Toronto, he lives in Mississauga.

  35. Typical woman, offended by a man with a personality. Its too bad women have rights these days…

  36. Michael Wheeler says:

    Please leave comments suggesting whether or not the above offensive comment should be removed.

    I’m off to rehearsal of our latest play about Eugenia “Jim” Watts who was a legendary director of political theatre in 1930s Toronto and later fought for universal rights through the global action group Voice of Women. When I get back we’ll make a decision about whether or not stinkyfartbreath should stay or go.

  37. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Issha Marie, Alex. Alex said: RT @stopwatchheart: An open letter to Don Cherry (link via @zoesasha) (on his pinko comments and endorsement of … […]

  38. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mysteriously Unnamed, AgentStalker. AgentStalker said: A+letter+from+a+Leaf+fan+to+Don+Cherry via @AddThis […]

  39. jnm says:

    guy goes into a bar. bartender says whats your iq. 185 I say. He starts talking quantum physics.
    Leave the bar. Think about it go back.. bartender says whats your IQ. 125. guy starts talking hockey,football hows the wife and kids.
    leave the bar. think some more go back. Bartender says whats your IQ. 68 I say. Well he says, you gonna cheer for the leafs again?

  40. jnm says:

    Now for a real comment. Well people in four years when your city is in a shambles, you have homeless people camping everywhere and your costs have gone through the roof and benefits have disappeared you will realize that the rich of the world did not get there by looking after anyone but themselves.
    When your garbage collection does not work, transit is totally broken and you no longer recognize your city you will vote this pig out of office.

  41. Jay Feld says:

    This is a great letter! Any chance of getting into Mr. Cherry’s pink hands?

  42. Michael Wheeler says:

    Okay. No one is tearing the roof off to get stinky erased so we will leave him as evidence of the most extreme and disappointing voices in our city.

    jnm: good one. got a Raptors version?

  43. Chris says:

    Andy –

    The unions do still protect the working man. To a fault actually. And that’s why Rob Ford wants to break them, not because they don’t stand for the working man but that they get too much for the working man that it’s costing too much money. They’re too powerful, in his opinion, which is why he wants to privatize garbage collection. How he thinks privatization will save the residents money is beyond me. But it’s about saving money, not standing up for the working man.

    You mention the lady with the tree story that Don talked about. Well, the truth about that story is that it has nothing to do with Rob Ford. The cheque she was issued just happened to coincide with Rob’s first day in office. The actual case was started by Toronto ombudsman Fiona Crean back in June and it was initiated because of phone calls the woman’s son made. After her investigation Ms. Crean made 17 recommendations to the city, including that licensing and standards apologize to the woman and her son, reimburse their money and replace the tree.
    Did the city fuck up? Absolutely. Did making it right have anything to do with Rob Ford? Nothing at all, but he’ll take credit for it. Or at least he won’t correct Don when he’s wrong because whether Don is right or not is irrelevant. What important is with Don what you see is what you get. Crap.

  44. KC says:

    I think Cherry is slowly mentally slipping a few gears – whether talking hockey, politics, or Cdn troops. I wish his family(where are you Tim Cherry?)would pull him out of the limelight before he really embarasses himself. What little he had to offer hockey is long gone. Shame on CBC and HNIC for allowing this buffoonery to continue. And Ford? What was he thinking?

  45. Excellent letter. Time to go, Don. Bow out gracefully while there’s still time.

  46. Kirsti McKinnon says:

    Well put, Ruth.