Larry is the local MP for these parts. Affable hard-working local politician. I wouldn't vote for his party, but other than the fact that he's a back-bencher on Big Steve's team, I've got nothing against the guy.
Larry beat out Liberal incumbent Ovid Jackson in the 2004 election. How Ovid was MP for ten years is a bit of a mystery. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is red-neck country; maybe sending the only black man in town to Ottawa for ten years was the best available strategy to get rid of the guy?
So Larry goes to the House of Commons, and unless you're reading the Wiarton Echo a lot, he really doesn't attract a lot of press coverage.
Today Larry is splashed across the pages of every major newspaper in the land, and far beyond...
he even made it into The Guardian, and I'm not talking about the one in PEI.
What is Larry's claim to overnight international fame?
In a misguided attempt to ingratiate himself simultaneously both with his boss and the local electorate, Larry got tough on would-be Canadians from Muslim lands who want to wear a veil to their citizenship ceremony.
"... they can stay the hell where they came from!"
From Larry's point of view, he was merely reiterating Big Steve's position on the matter, albeit in somewhat more colourful terms. What could go wrong?
Wellll!!!... Even the PMO opportunistically backed away from backing up Miller, which strikes me as highly hypocritical since it's the PMO challenging a court decision that permitted the veil in the citizenship ceremony!
The Harper team doesn't mind using divisive rhetoric as a vote-grubbing strategy, but they also know how to distance themselves from it when it gets too obvious.
Larry came up with an apology in short order.
To my way of thinking, the niqab question is another one of those faux "Canadian values" boondoggles that politicians like to exploit. Remember when the "Canadian identity" was mortally threatened by the prospect of having Sikh mounties wear turbans?
Now they do, and the Canadian identity has survived.
It'll survive the niqab crisis too.