Welcome to the Monday Mailbag on Tuesday, where this week we are answering questions related to politics, which used to be known as The Art of the Possible but, reflecting the influence of Stephen Harper, has had its official motto changed to What Are You Lookin’ At?
As ever, these are actual queries actually submitted by actual readers.
Scott: Given that the Conservatives managed to both reduce revenues through a GST cut that no economist in the land thought was a good idea, and followed it up with a mournful ‘so sorry we have to go into deficit spending,’…how the hell does the Conservative party manage to dupe voters into thinking that it’s fiscally responsible all the time? – Jonathan, parts unknown
Dear Jonathan –
The beauty of the process is that they don’t need to dupe voters. Duping the voters, while undeniably fun, is also painstaking and expensive. It’s much easier to do what the Conservatives have done and emasculate the media to the point that pliant reporters and columnists dupe the voters for you – which is much cheaper, even once you factor in Mike Duffy’s bar bills.
How do you emasculate the media and get them to do your bidding? The basic theory is all explained here, in language a child could understand, in this useful text:
Mr. Feschuk: As a well-known exponent of the cyclic theory of history, could you briefly describe the last Period of Great Parliamentary Tranquility and offer your view of how this new one will compare? – Jack Mitchell, parts unknown
Dear Jack –
Not just history, Jack. I believe everything is cyclical – fashion trends, seismic events, even time itself. This explains why my investment strategy is skewed to anticipate the triumphant return of the catapult as the dominant instrument of modern warfare. (I’m holding a very boulder-heavy portfolio right now.)
Historians tell us the last Period of Great Parliamentary Tranquility was a poignant era that extended the full four seconds it took Sheila Copps to down a sip of water during Question Period in October, 1985. Regrettably brief in duration, it is nevertheless still regarded at the very pinnacle of post-Greek democratic achievement, at least by the person who had to sit beside her.
As for how this new era will compare, I am far too jaded, biased and addicted to Twilight to judge. Instead I shall leave you with the words of my nine-year-old son, James, who recently experienced a Canadian rite of passage: the class trip to watch Question Period in the House of Commons.
“I saw Justin Trudeau,” he said upon coming home that afternoon.
“What was he doing?” I asked.
“Screaming,” James said.
Scott: Regarding the Liberal leadership race, surely there must be a more entertaining way of selecting a leader than a series of votes at a convention. I’m thinking gladiator tournament or maybe Guitar Hero. Your thoughts? – It’s Not Lupus, parts unknown
Dear It’s Not Lupus –
Guitar Hero? Please, we’re not the Green Party.
But your point is well taken. This is the modern age. Young people have attention spans so short that they stopped reading this sentence at the word “spans” and skipped ahead to the next paragraph, depriving them of the information contained herein – namely, the solution to the Caramilk secret. Are you ready? What they do is make the mold of the top of the bar from chocolate, let it cool, flip it upside down and then sprinkle it with pure magic under the watchful eye of seven enchanted dwarves.
So like I was saying: I sure wish I knew how they get the caramel in to the Caramilk bar! (Wink.)
Anyhoo, as to how to spice things up for the Liberal leadership vote, I find your concept of a gladiator tournament to be crass and totally demeaning. Unless it were held on a narrow log high above water! In which case, I accept your offer to serve as Caesar.
SIR: If the Liberal leadership race were between Justin Trudeau, Charlie Sheen and a Killer Robot, who would you endorse, and why? – Olaf, Calgary
Dear Olaf –
Can I make a confession? I honestly spent about 20 minutes thinking this through. It was trickier than I suspected.
I mean, my first instinct was that, no matter what, I am not going to endorse a Killer Robot. A Killer Robot must never become leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. But then I remembered: Louis St. Laurent. So that bridge has already been crossed. (Who can forget the Liberals’ inspiring slogan under Louis? Yes, We 10010011110110101.)
Besides, you’d have to admit it would be politically savvy to elect a leader who mimics the leadership style of Stephen Harper, albeit with a slightly more literal interpretation of the word “execution.”
But this is where it gets tricky. What kind of Killer Robot are we talking about? The kind that does his creator’s bidding, efficiently dispatching enemies in a blur of machine gun fire and whirring blades? Or the kind that kills indiscriminately, murdering all, showing mercy to none, not even those with glasses? Because this is really going to influence my decision on whether to hold a cocktail fundraiser in its honour.
Charlie Sheen’s candidacy presents problems of nationality (he’s legally classified as an American) and focus (he’s legally classified as perma-horny). On the upside, he is fluent in English (his first language), Spanish (his second language) and French (his tongue language). Plus he’s got the ability to disseminate Denise Richards’ phone number, which has got to guarantee, what, at least 30% of the popular vote? Throw in her email and a naughty picture or two and any pollster will tell you we’re in majority territory. Especially if it’s that pollster is Larry Flynt.
On the other hand, Charlie Sheen has used illicit narcotics, abused alcohol and routinely associated with prostitutes. That doesn’t disqualify him from my endorsement, but the fact he never invited me to join him sure does.
This leaves Justin Trudeau.
So to answer your question, Olaf, I would take my chances with the Killer Robot.
Scott: I have heard of a super secret gene splicing project that would allow us to take DNA from deceased/living persons and grow humans. Could you possibly, with all your infinite knowledge and wisdom let us readers know if it would be possible to create a clone with the genes of Trudeau and Chretien for the new Liberal leader? We wouldn’t be able to understand a word that came out of this new super leaders mouth but I’m sure it would scare the toupee off of Harper and possibly (if possible, I’m not sure if he can go any lighter on the color spectrum and still be exposed to sunlight) cause him to drain of whatever color he has left. I’m sure with all of our technological advances that this is a reality we can achieve. Please answer my prayers and say it is so. – mydaysatworkconsistofreadingthiscolumnandignoringemails, parts unkown
Dear mydaysatworkconsistofreadingthiscolumnandignoringemails –
Unwittingly, you answered your own question. Yes, there is a super-secret gene splicing project. Or rather, there was such a project. It was shut down after going 300% over budget in producing Stephen Harper’s toupee. If memory serves, that one involved splicing the genes of a deceased badger with those of a very ill badger.