Revenge of the giant pander

Tal Bachman, singled out by the government as one of the “wealthy rock stars” unworthy of public funding to take their acts abroad, says he never applied for any funding and explains to Eye‘s Marc Weisblott just how the trip went down:

“My manager got a phone call from the booking agency inviting me on a trip to visit AIDS hospices and orphanages and township community centres for underprivileged youth, which was organized by the Canadian diplomatic corps.”

Bachman recalls being joined on the trip by representatives from the Tories, Liberals and Bloc Québécois. And while one of his solo performances was at the Canadian Consulate in Johannesburg, most other stops were in less extravagant settings.

“I felt flattered to be asked on what I thought was an Angelina Jolie-style United Nations trip, where I’d serve as a proud ambassador of Canada,” he says. “The last thing on my mind was how doing this kind of thing would further my career.

“You don’t do a show at an orphanage because you’re trying to sell them a CD. I was there to play, commiserate and talk to them. I heard their choir sing, and listened to a few stories about what their lives were like. I cherished the thank you packets they gave me afterward — it was a really meaningful moment. It’s not something you do because you’re looking to promote yourself.”

Well, that couldn’t really have gone any worse, could it? Sure hope the Tory base hates orphans as much as it hates funding the travel of left-wing pundits and rich and/or potty-mouthed musicians. Foreign Affairs and Canadian Heritage may be on suicide watch, but the Ministry of Poetic Justice seems to be a well-oiled machine.

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