An Invitation to Stephen Harper


Some of you may or may not have caught the little segment on THE NATIONAL on Monday night that took a look at the festival’s Homegrown issue. I was quite surprised to learn that Stephen Harper personally spoke about the issue. We were aware that the PMO office had issued a response, but Harper himself?

“I just think most Canadians would find anything that glorifies terrorism to be abhorrent,” Harper said.

We here at SummerWorks would like to invite Mr. Harper to see the play. We’d like to speak with him about how the play in any way glorifies terrorism, because it seems that we, and every single report from the press (other than the SUN) has assured its audiences that the play does not glorify terrorism. And so we’d like your help in understanding your perspective on what “glorifying terrorism” means. We are confused, and equally concerned, as we feel that there has been a false accusation thrust over the heads of our festival–the kind of accusation that has encouraged some certain public response such as this letter:

subject: so you love terrorists …

And you’re producing a play to prove it.

Oh, don’t worry, Michael, I’ve seen you on the news, you’ve got your face on TV. Blaming Canada for this “Canadian-produced” maniac.

And before you start smiling that smug, morally-superior smile (à la Jerry Falwell) asking “have you seen the play?” let me tell you, no I have not.

I don’t need to. Any more than I need to go hear some fundamentalist Christian preacher, or Orthodox Rabbi preaching homo-phobic rhetoric. You see, I know they’re assholes without going to see them.

Just as I know you – and the writer of this trash – are assholes. And I don’t need to pay good money to see your tripe. I’ve already paid you with my tax dollars.

You have insulted innocent Canadians who could have been killed by this monster. You have defiled the memory of the innocents killed in 9/11.

And I pray – truly pray – that my tax dollars will no longer be wasted on you “artistes” and your bullshit festivals.

I would like to be able to respond to this, and anyone else who believes that “i, and the artists behind Homegrown are assholes who love terrorists”, but, again, Mr. Harper, we need your help to understand how we are glorifying terrorism so that we can stop. We have no interest in encouraging the public to commit acts of terrorism or any violence whatsoever. We, too, find this terrible. We are on the same page, which I think is a great place to start from.

Mr. Harper, please come see the play, and please show us how we are glorifying terrorism. We don’t think we are, and we would like to find peace with you about this.

With warm regards,
Michael Rubenfeld


4 thoughts on “An Invitation to Stephen Harper

  1. Dear Michael,

    I do think you’re kind of an asshole, but rest assured, it has absolutely nothing to do with “Homegrown”, nor does it in any way relate to “glorifying terrorism.”


  2. Dear Michael,

    I have no opinion about whether you’re an asshole or not.

    I wonder how long it’ll take a Fringe-festing company to whip up a meta-themed rock musical about this. Just imagine; a clever take-no-prisoners portrayal of the political and artistic jousting over Homegrown, a guest appearance from Adam Giambrone (just because), touching dialogue between everyday Toronto residents about personal experiences of terrorism, art, and the meaning of freedom, two lovers divided by ideology, a missing playwright rumored to have fled to Scarborough, and more – all building frantically towards the dramatic conclusion of the play’s opening night. It’s a thrilling, savage, mirth-filled journey through an embattled Toronto, and this punch-in-the-gut musical will have you air-drumming with one hand and mopping a damp eye with the other.

    Wait, what was I talking about?

  3. Pingback: Summerworks Interview: Keith Barker [Homegrown] | The Panic Manual

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