Rhetorical Analysis Of Gordon Gibson’s And David Miller’s Editorials
Recently, Ontario Premier Doug Ford states he will resort to Section 33 of Canada’s Charter, the notwithstanding clause, after a judge’s ruling that rejects a bill to reduce Toronto City Council from 47 to 25 members; which will rush city staff to immediately begin preparing for a 25-ward election on October 22, 2018. This clause has never been used in Ontario, which has provoked different views communicated through newspaper articles, television, editorials and social media, all across Canada. The editorial “Those who rewrote the Constitution would be glad we’re finally using Section 33”, published in Globe and Mail on September 17, 2018 is one of many responses to Ford’s announcement. Gordon Gibson, the author is a political columnist, and special assistant to former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Gibson’s editorial favors the use of frequent use of Section 33 by elected people to stand up and rises to their duties as direct representatives of the people. The purpose of Gibson’s editorial is to influence Canadians, opposing the use of Section 33, on why frequent utilization notwithstanding clause allows legislatures to overrule judges and will benefit taxpayers, and the city. The formal rhetoric used by Gibson is to engage readers that are politically informed.
Another editorial concerning this situation is “Toronto Election 2018: Who should have control of Toronto?”, published in NOW magazine on September 13, 2018. David Miller, the author is a lawyer, and former mayor of Toronto (2003 to 2010). David Miller’s editorial addresses the importance of people of Toronto to collectively have control of their own future, not tolerate “crisis caused by whims”. The purpose of Miller’s editorial is to encourage Torontonians to collectively exercise their power, as 3 million citizens, for control over decisions about their future. He uses sophisticated and formal rhetoric for an intelligent audience. Both authors are tackling a common occasion, appeals and subject, with a parallel purpose of wanting the best future for Torontonians by using different devices and tones to cater to their own audience.
An author’s style is determined by his/her diction, syntax, and tone. Diction is the choice of words in a piece of writing. Gordon Gibson uses formal diction, use of sophisticated words, throughout his writing. Gibson is aware he is writing for an intelligent audience that is somewhat politically informed. Gibson states “To do better in our land, how to gain the dialogue theoretically opened by the constitutional amendments? Surely the courts have not been shy. They have been busy and vigorous in establishing law when Charter matters came before them. It is now up to the legislatures to rise to their duties when they have genuine differences with the courts in the affected areas”, the sentences within this editorial are long detailed and compound-complex sentence types. The author’s tone is motivation and bitter. “…. It is now up to the legislatures to rise to their duties when they have genuine differences with the courts in the affected areas.” He uses motivational sentences to reach and engage the audience. Gibson adds “It has actually been a remarkable display of political cowardice, with elected people declining to stand up for their principles…”, he uses a bitter tone when explaining how legislatures have failed to rise to their responsibilities. Similar to Gibson, David Miller uses formal and political diction in his writing. However, David Miller has a fair amount of short sentences for emphasis throughout his writing. “It’s time for Toronto to have control of its own affairs and resources. Ford has just made the case.” is a prime example of this. “How do we help make Toronto a great 21st-century city, where no one is left behind?” Miller’s tone comes across serious and motivated for Toronto to have control over its own affairs and resources. His straightforward style contrasts well with his purpose of encourage Torontonians. The dominate appeal in Gibson’s editorial is logos, to appeal to the rational, logical thinking of the audience. Gibson uses statements to convince the audience by employing logic. Gordon Gibson agues “…It is now up to the legislatures to rise to their duties when they have genuine differences with the courts in the affected areas. That would mean more frequent use of S. 33 and thus more dialogue. It will be messy, but lively democracy is a balance, not a tidy thing.” Gibson uses logic to explain why frequent utilization notwithstanding clause will benefit legislatures since they are direct representatives of the people. This helps achieve his purpose and reach his audience in a direct way without incorporating emotional aspects.
David Miller also uses logos to appeal to his audience. Miller reports “There is a lot of money from Toronto to share. A study at the time by the Board of Trade suggested that over $26 billion more went to Ottawa and Queen’s Park in taxes than came back in services. Every year. That’s more than enough to complete our transit plans, deal with affordable housing, our deteriorating parks, even the maintenance of our schools, if it was spent in Toronto.”, he is stating facts about the issue of control over tax revenues which supports his purpose.
Rhetorical devices used by Gordon Gibson’s include metaphors and similes, which call attention to how two different things are similar, so people reading his editorial apply the qualities of one thing to the other. The difference between metaphors and similes is that similes compares by using explicit words such as “like” or “as”. The author compares “The Constitution is the rules of the game. Like gravity, it is silent, taken for granted but incredibly influential and always with us. Ignore it at your peril.”, this is a simile that is suggesting constitution is as powerful and influential as the 4th strongest force in the universe. “Explosive matters such as abortion and race, for example, saw strong leadership by the U.S. Supreme Court but remain tragically open sores in that republic because the politics were never settled.” Gibson uses metaphors to compare sores to unsettled matters. Gibson’s purpose is to influence readers about Section 33 and he takes his main subject and implies it to another for comparison between their similarities for better understanding.
Rhetorical devices used by David Miller’s include allusion, climatic word order. David Miller includes political references such as “home rule” and “transit city plan”, which he assumes to be known by the reader. His choice to reference such ideas and formal diction is because his audience consists of Canadians that are politically informed and well educated. Miller uses climatic word order, which is the arrangement of details or ideas in order of increasing importance, basically the principle of saving the best for last. Miller reveals “that neither constitutional convention, provincial law, provincial legislative traditions – like white papers or public hearings – or even the Charter of Rights, will stop him and his government”, he presents several different powers in order of importance. This helps support his message of how “decisions are being made my one man” when they should be controlled by Torontonians.
Overall, in comparison David Miller uses more factual information. Gibson’s tone is motivational which is why he resorts to using similes and metaphors for his audience to engage and make connections. Miller has a serious tone which is why he uses short sentences to make straightforward points and includes politically known issues for allusion. Gordon Gibson editorial purpose is to clarify why frequent utilization notwithstanding clause will benefit citizens and David Millers purpose is to encourage Toronto to be in control for a better future. However, they both are expressing what they believe is best for the citizens of Toronto.