A very well known Saskatchewan right wing radio host, climate denier and former Conservative Member Of Parliament has recently lost a lot of the influence he once had.
John Gormley’s rise to prominance in Saskatchewan began while he was a student at the U of S Law School and a part time radio host on CKOM in Saskatoon, when became a candidate for the Meadow Lake riding the federal Conservative Party under Mulroney in 1984 and won his seat. He served as a loyal MP under Mulroney until losing his seat to NDP candidate Len Taylor in 1988.
After that, he returned to law school at the U of S, with some extra financial help from the Saskatchewan Government thanks to Conservative leader Grant Devine.
He was paid $1000.00 a month by the Saskatchewan Liquor Board during the first year of his three years at law school, according to a contract obtained by the Canadian Press in 1992.
The contract was signed in September 1989 under the administration of Devine. But that wasn’t the only high paying public service contract he had under Devine.
Less than two months after losing his seat in the election in 1988 Gormley signed a contract that paid him $5000.00 a month for unspecified services for the long defunct ‘department of Public Participation.’
In that short period, he made around $48,000.00, all while a full time student, graduating in June 1992, and then returning to work as a broadcaster.
In a Leader Post article by Chris Wattie, Canadian Press, June 27,1992, Liquor board spokesman Holly Alexander said there is no record of what Gormley did during the period covered by the contract.
“There’s nothing on file to indicate exactly what Mr. Gormley did for the liquor board,” she said. ”At this point, we just don’t know.”
Gormley served his Conservative benefactors as best he could, after they lost Saskatchewan in a landslide to the NDP John Gormley nit-picked the NDP at every turn, defending the Devine Conservatives even as they were exposed in scandal after scandal and many high profile Conservative politicians were on trial.
His show was syndicated to stations across the province, and he was given a regular column in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix.
He continued to attack UN climate scientists environmentalists, remaining a staunch climate denier despite overwhelming evidence from the world’s leading scientists.
Many thought he’d gone too far in 2011 when he encouraged listeners to harass and bully people at the Occupy camps in Saskatoon and Regina.
But the stress on Occupiers, and the internal conflicts within the Occupy movement, prevented any realistic plan of retaliation against such a well known major media personality.
With the rise of the Idle No More movement John Gormley swung into action, defending the Conservatives at every turn and disregarding the arguments of the indigenous protesters with his usual snide, condescending rhetoric even as they won court case after court case.
Indigenous protesters responded in 2014 during Gormley’s book launch event, walking up on stage and disrupting his speech with drums.
After the right wing faced a stunning defeat to the NDP in Alberta, Gormley continued defending Harper throughout the 2015 federal election, even as the cause was obviously doomed.
With Harper’s landslide loss to the Liberals, Saskatchewan is now the last Conservative stronghold left in Saskatchewan. With the imminent arrival of Syrian refugees in Canada, Gormley joined with those supporting Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall in his request to slow the process down and hold back the refugees longer.
Then, he took a step too far, one that even offended many conservative supporters.
On Nov. 13, while the attacks were happening in Paris, he tweeted ‘Next person in a western democracy who starts chanting ‘Allah Ackbar’ we shoot’.
Allah Ackhbar, meaning ‘God is great’ is a common saying for Muslims, the Muslim equivelent to ‘Amen’, so the comment was directed at Muslims in general.
Occupy Regina organizers started a petition on Change.Org calling for Gormley to be removed from the air, generating major media attention and initiating a dialogue on refugees.
The campaign to have right wing radio talk show host John Gormley removed from the air reached another milestone on December 6, as John Gormley’s alma mater, the University Of Saskatchewan School Of Law, issued a statement distancing itself from Gormley.
While John Gormley remains on the air, for now, the campaign has been a tremendous success in that it as largely isolated and marginalized Gormley in the public mind as an extreme figure, no longer the acceptable center right, but the fringe far right that isn’t taken seriously on important topics.
This is encouraging, and hopefully will continue downhill for Gormley and the movement he has dedicated his life to.
Organizers of the campaign encourage people spreading the petition, or stories related to John Gormley, using the #SpreadNoHate hashtag in solidarity with the United Nations #SpreadNoHate campaign against hate speech recently launched at the UN Symposium on hate speech.