Choose carefully now, you hear?

Scott Feschuk has the lowdown on the political parties—and the Greens, too

Choose carefully now, you hear?

Reuters; Getty; Rex Features; CP; Photo Illustration by Taylor Shute

As I write these wurds an electon seems iminent, which is why I’m crrying and cant seee to spel corecktlee. Five weeks of empty promises, apocalyptic rhetoric and Stephen Harper using every photo op to sing the chorus to All You Need is Love: where’s a nice absolute monarchy when you need one?

At this critical juncture, let’s take a closer look at where the parties stand.

Conservatives. They’re ahead. And they’re increasingly emboldened by the fact that none of their mistakes, gaffes, fibs, lies, ethical lapses or John Bairds seem to be cutting into their popularity. There’s speculation the Conservatives feel so bulletproof they may actually let Bev Oda talk.

Meanwhile, election preparations continue. New attack ads are being shot. The war room is being staffed. And Cheryl Gallant’s mouth is being escorted to an undisclosed location.

New Democrats. Jack Layton recently underwent surgery, but unless it was to implant some bionic charisma—or a cool robot arm so he can flash a politically unprecedented Tri-Thumbs Up—he and his party seem destined to remain stalled.

Despite token efforts to get with the times, the NDP hasn’t moved beyond believing that government should be doing something to help everyone do anything. And so most people continue to figure that if New Democrats ever got their hands on power, the federal treasury would overnight come to resemble the Vegas hotel room in The Hangover.

In perpetual opposition, the only hard choice that New Democrat MPs ever need to make is whether to wear the suit that’s 12 years out of date or the one that’s 12 years out of date and brown.

Greens. I’ll be the one to ask it: what is the point of the Greens? I mean, they’re adorable and everything, but so are pandas—and pandas don’t give us a hard time about the light bulbs we choose.

Do the Greens exert influence on government? No. Do they take votes away from more popular parties on the left? Yes. Can anyone name a single Green candidate other than Elizabeth May? Other than Preachy McCompost, no.

Don’t get me wrong: the Greens are a lovely group of well-meaning people who forgot to brush their hair this morning. But their existence serves to undermine the political viability of the principles they believe in. They’d be better off as a movement, not a party. They could throw their financial support and volunteer efforts behind environment-minded candidates with a real shot at toppling Conservatives. As it stands, the Greens are planning a 2011 campaign that has zero impact—on both the environment and the election.

Liberals. This magazine put Michael Ignatieff on the cover last week and essentially depicted him as brain dead, testing as never before the theory that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. In defence of Maclean’s, the editors did NOT draw a pointy devil’s beard on his face or write “has cooties” alongside a big arrow pointing to his head. You’re welcome, Iggy.

Ignatieff could hardly have been surprised by the cover. Pretty much nothing’s gone right for him. He seems unable to shake the impression that he’s the Dean Wormer of Canadian politics, a stuffy tight-arse who is doomed to be served his comeuppance.

Using attack ads, the Conservatives have thoroughly diminished Ignatieff. But they still have money coming in, so it’s only a matter of time until they further erode the Liberal brand by badmouthing former party leaders: “Wilfrid Laurier claimed the 20th century would belong to Canada. But we finished third at best. LAURIER: A BIG FAT LIAR.”

Liberals have been held hostage by their unpopularity for so long now that they’ve come to accept it, even embrace it. They have upbeat answers for every dispiriting truth—strange, upbeat answers—Hey, look, we appear doomed to lose big in an election. So let’s have an election!

It’s odd: the less support the Liberals have, the more potential they believe they possess. It follows that only when they sink into the teens will they believe the conditions are right for a return to Liberal majority.

Still, you can’t blame them for wanting to take their shot now. Better the ass-kicking you fear than the daily wedgies you’ve come to know.


Choose carefully now, you hear?

  1. "Liberals have been held hostage by their unpopularity for so long now that they've come to accept it, even embrace it. They have upbeat answers for every dispiriting truth—strange, upbeat answers—Hey, look, we appear doomed to lose big in an election. So let's have an election!"

    First article by up-chuck I have ever agreed with!

    • Stick around. You're gonna love his next piece where he concurs with CPC "fact checking". It seems that SH really is our absolute monarch…the Queen having disqualified herself by failing to disclose she once had MI over for tea and biccies,apparrently she neglected to post it on Wiki.

  2. Mr Feschuk, one had given up on you, but this piece does tend to show that there is something in your brand. Do refrain from further attempts to do humour. IMHO, you are wasting your word spinning talents on such frivolity. Sincerely yours, etc

  3. It's about time somebody told the truth about 'Sir' Laurier… he's been riding that wave of popularity too friggin' long if you ask me. Way to knock him down a peg. Hey Louie St. Laurent: You're on notice buddy. You're next.

  4. Ipsos Reid president said it best. Add to that, the Liberals and NDP are now sharing the same platform. The only way for the Libs to move ahead is tarring the Tories, which, seems to be in play. Thus the bar shall move even lower.

    “You can see people want to have ethical government. They're not wrong about that. What they (the Liberals) are wrong about is seeing themselves as the people who are capable of delivering it. The proof is not there for the public.”

    “The legacy of Adscam is still there for the Liberal party, in spite of the fact that they have changed their leader, in spite of the fact they have gone through purgatory through two election campaigns,” said Bricker.

    • "So that is an argument for the libs doing what? Commiserating with the Tories?

      "Tough break boys. Buck up. It happened to us too; so unfortunately we can't spare you a paddle. Wonder just where this sh*t creek will eventually wind up taking the pair of us?"[ ominous roaring ahead]

      • Cheer up TA, lol!!

        Stephen Harper is taking a stroll in an Ottawa park when he sees a little girl carrying a basket with a blanket over it. Curious, PM Harper asks the girl, 'What's in the basket?'
        She replies, 'New baby kittens,' and she opens the basket to show him.
        'How nice,' says Harper. 'What kind are they?'
        The little girl says, 'Conservatives.'
        Harper smiles, pats the little girl on the head and continues on.
        Three weeks later, Harper is taking another stroll, this time with Jack Layton. They see the little girl with the same basket. Harper says, 'Watch this, Jack; it's really cute.' He greets the little girl and says 'how are the kittens doing, and she says, 'Fine.'
        Smirking, he nudges Layton and asks the little girl, 'And can you tell us what kind of kittens they are?'
        She replies, 'Liberals.'
        Abashed, Harper says, 'But three weeks ago you said they were Conservatives!'
        'I know,' she says. 'But now their eyes are open.'

        • This has me smiling.

        • :)

  5. Always impressed that a humour column can attract so many humourless readers and their humourless responses.

    • I aim to displease the masses.

    • The recent denial of compensation on the following excuse is probably the biggest travesty of justice I have ever read about. To quote the “juicy” part:

      Liz Hoage clearly deserves to be compensated because it is well established in English law that a person who has intentionally and without good reason caused another emotional distress deserves compensation for any psychiatric injury that follows. And why did the Board deny payment? Let me quote directly:

      “the Board finds that the applicant has failed to establish that he/she suffered the injury known as mental or nervous shock and therefore compensation for pain and suffering and income loss is therefore denied… In order to meet the threshold of mental or nervous shock, the Applicant’s emotional impact must have been prompted by actually witnessing the actual incident or the immediate aftermath. The evidence clearly indicates that this was not the case. The applicant was informed of the incident after the fact and in the surroundings of his/her home.”

      Have you ever read anything more preposterous than that? The author of that nonsense has some very deep-seated, psychological problems, to be able to manufacture what is essentially a disgusting (in the eyes of the traumatized) excuse to deny compensation. It is simply not possible to credibly undermine “pain and suffering” in Liz Hoage’s case because the trauma that is experienced by the sudden, unexpected death of someone close is not subject to dispute.

      What is going on here? Is anybody covering this scandal:


      Clearly, if heads don’t roll over this, GOD HELP CANADA !

    • Ditto to that!! Good Grief! Can't believe some of these folks wasted the time to actually come here to write their babble.

      Lighten up Dudes!!

  6. "…testing as never before the theory that there's no such thing as bad publicity."

    LMAO at that one.

  7. I think Harper is vain, and that is evidently the precursor of presumption -and this is what Montaigne said about that:

    "Presumption is our natural and original disease. The most wretched and frail of all creatures is man, and withal the proudest. He feels and sees himself lodged here in the dirt and filth of the world, nailed and rivetted to the worst and deadest part of the universe, in the lowest story of the house , and most remote from the heavenly arch, with animals of the worst condition of the three, and yet in his imagination will be placing himself above the circle of the moon, and bringing heaven under his feet."

    Montaigne was such a genius -here's another quote:

    "Nature should satisfy herself in having rendered this age miserable, without rendering it ridiculous too."

  8. This minority government is like an ice jam holding back progress. Everyone one is stuck…especially the Liberals. I don't think an election will bring genuine change in the short term, but if it forces the Left to re-think itself, we might have genuine change in three or four years.

    • Curious….where do you feel we are off track? What are your top 3 priorities for change?

  9. What we lack is competence and accountability at every level, and as long as that is the case, the need for change will unfortunately outpace the actual outcome.

  10. that was dreadful Scott … maybe you should try Dancing with the Stars for achange..

  11. Then you shall have it sir!

    ::walks away::

    • I see what you did there.

      • I saw what you both did. Bravo, good sirs.

  12. It's the sleeping with the devil that's killng us.

  13. It certainly seems like the Liberals are going to play the ethics card which I am not sure will resonate with the public. Also I hear Norand Lester is going to release a new book at the end of March outlining why no there was no jail time for Liberal Cabinet members following the Gomery Commission which will put ad scam back in the public eye. I really cannot see anything that will give the Liberals any shot at power.

  14. The problem with Messrs. Michael Iggy & Joke Layton is that they have two left feet and can't dance. They're always out of step with Canadians & tone deaf!

  15. harper is the one who is tone deaf. The Liberals to, make no mistake about it, unless there is a widespread massacre of bureacrats like the following:


    0ur soviet-style bureacracy is choking the government, and the Conservatives are worse than the Liberals because they conserve incompetents.

  16. The tally of this election cost is $300-million & the total tally for the last 7-years on election costs is $1-billion. What a waste of dollar$ by forcing federal elections on Canadians by the governing party!! It is time for CANADIANS to finally GIVE THE LIBERALS A MAJORITY and stop these wasted dollar$ & let the LIBERAL Party led Canada in a positive & progressive way & eliminate these governing fools; NeoCon Harpo, NDP Joke Layton and others back to the peanut gallery!

  17. See my reply above Canada-first – it sounds 100 times stupider when you are on the receiving end of it then when you write it yourself. It's a waste of virtual space.

  18. I don’t like any of the choices.
    Call me crazy, but I’d like to see the choice of Danny Williams or David Suzuki, Mean or Green.

    Harper would prefer to turn us into a 51st State, Iggy wants us to save the world.

  19. Listen up, Iggy. The country doesn't want an election, let alone you as PM because you're the guy who offered to lead the coup d'etat a couple of years ago and put the Separatist enemy in Cabinet. Face it, you're not a major league politician. Neither is Bob Rae, your party's next annointed, loser-leader. Lester Pearson, Canada's last true Liberal, must be crying in his grave.

  20. Mr Feschuck,
    I normally just skim your page in case it's worth reading, but this one was a real giggle! It was so good I started reading the good parts to my oldest son; ended up reading pretty well the whole thing! I'm still giggling over the wedgie part!!

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