Botchford: Canucks talk politics as Trudeau takes over

 

 
 
 
 
Alex Burrows #14 of the Vancouver Canucks crashes the net of Karri Ramo #31 of the Calgary Flames in the NHL season opener at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 7, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
 

Alex Burrows #14 of the Vancouver Canucks crashes the net of Karri Ramo #31 of the Calgary Flames in the NHL season opener at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 7, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Photograph by: Derek Leung, Getty Images

Imagine, for a moment, Alex Burrows vocal separatist.

Now, that would be interesting.

And it could have been natural too, considering where and how he grew up.

“My mom was really pro-Bloc Quebecois,” said Burrows. “She’s born in Quebec. Her parents and grandparents are all Quebecers.

“They’re really proud of the French culture and were afraid they could lose that over the years.”

But growing up in the 1980s and ’90s, exposed to English-speaking friends whose parents supported the Liberals in his Montreal suburb, Burrows has always believed in a united and strong Canada.

“I think my mom had more influence on my sisters than she did on me,” he said.

Like several of Vancouver’s Canadian players, Burrows kept close tabs on Monday’s federal election, watching as the red tide swallowed up more than half the seats in Quebec.

You have to go back to 1980, when Pierre Trudeau was in power and a year before Burrows was born, to find the last time the Liberals had this many seats in Quebec. Much of those gains were made at the expense of the NDP.

“Some of it has to do with Jack Layton,” Burrows said. “I thought he did a better job than Thomas Mulcair with the French people.

“In the summer, there was a lot of orange feeling still in Quebec. I’m not sure what tilted it.

“I think a lot of families back home didn’t want to go Harper, and I think in the end, they trusted Trudeau.”

Of course, not every NHLer is as invested in Canadian politics as Burrows. Mostly, the Europeans, Americans and players who can’t vote don’t pay close attention to Canadian politics.

“Maybe I should?” Henrik asked.

Damn straight.

Especially considering the Canucks players paid $39.7 million in income taxes to the federal and B.C. governments last year, according to a recent study by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and Americans for Tax Reform.

“I don’t think we’re that smart,” Burrows said. “The majority of us aren’t that smart or interested in looking into it in detail.

“But I do think the Canadians follow it, because it impacts their families and a lot of people they know.”

Brandon Sutter said he doesn’t follow politics, but got lots of reaction from back home in Alberta, where not voting for the Conservatives in a federal election is considered the stuff of outliers.

“They were all saying, ‘What the (blank) is going on?,’ ” Sutter said.

“From what I can see, the people in Alberta are pretty shocked by this.”

Sutter said: “I’m not much of a political guy, but we’ve always been Conservative. That’s what I grew up with. It’s what I’m used to.”

Henrik did say that watching the election that it was “pretty amazing” to see what the Liberals were able to accomplish this week.

He does have some friends who follow it closely. Maybe he’ll have to start doing that if he ends up retiring in Vancouver, which he did say was a possibility.

Who on the Canucks voted for the Liberals?

They’re not saying.

“It’s very well known that it’s a bad thing to talk too much about politics,” Burrows said. “You shouldn’t give too much of your personal views, because you’re not going to win.

“You’re going to get trashed either way. That’s one thing I learned throughout the years.”

jbotchford@theprovince.com

twitter.com/@botchford

 
 
 
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Alex Burrows #14 of the Vancouver Canucks crashes the net of Karri Ramo #31 of the Calgary Flames in the NHL season opener at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 7, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
 

Alex Burrows #14 of the Vancouver Canucks crashes the net of Karri Ramo #31 of the Calgary Flames in the NHL season opener at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 7, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Photograph by: Derek Leung, Getty Images

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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