With him, and hovercars, how could we fail? - Macleans.ca

With him, and hovercars, how could we fail?

FESCHUK: To join my new political party, attend our convention, in a back booth of The Keg

With him, and hovercars, how could we fail?

Illustration by Taylor Shute

Turn your gaze to Ottawa these days and it’s never been more apparent that our political system is missing something besides co-operation, talent, direction, basic manners and a mute button for John Baird. It’s missing the Rhinos.

For a time in the ’70s and ’80s, the Rhinoceros Party was an irreverent fixture of national politics—a fringe undertaking that satirized the empty vows and empty suits of Parliament Hill. The Rhino guys were fun. They made you feel you weren’t the only one to notice most politicians were full of it.

The party made outlandish promises to repeal the law of gravity, tow Antarctica to the Arctic—thereby winning us the “Cold War”—and rewrite our national anthem to make it gender-neutral. (What’s that? You say the last one was actually proposed by Stephen Harper? As if.) Changes to election laws ultimately diminished the party’s influence, though some insist they saw the Rhinos’ satiric handiwork as recently as the leadership victory of Stockwell Day.

The Rhinos still exist—but only in scaled-down form and only in Quebec, where they face the unenviable chore of trying to be funnier than Maxime Bernier’s personal life. We need that same Rhino spirit today from a new voice—that same determination to skewer the system from within. If only to give the NDP a break, we need a new national party that makes people laugh out loud.

Let us build on the Rhino legacy with the creation of a successor. I propose the name the Another Party of Canada. Slogan: We’re not just another party—we’re the another party.

How do we get this thing off the ground? I envision a grand and glorious convention that fills to capacity a back booth at The Keg. There, the five of us—six when our waiter Kevin does that thing where he sits down to take our order (annoying)—shall forge the platform of the Another Party of Canada, wherein we declare what we stand for:

A pledge to move Canada diagonally, not forward. This way, the UN will never find us. MWAHAHA!

A belief that Canada is the greatest country in the world, and Belgium is No. 73, and don’t even get us started on Portugal.

A promise to prepare Canada for the world of tomorrow by investing 100 per cent of the federal budget in the development of a workable hovercar. A hovercar in every garage and another hovercar in every pot!

A commitment to put the federal budget in balance—but only in the Chinese philosophical sense of making it understand that complementary opposites exist within a greater whole.

A vow that henceforth, the grandchildren are our future.

One of the top priorities of the Another Party of Canada—right up there with breaking it to Kevin that we’ll be needing separate bills—will be electing a leader.

We need someone who’s already got a national profile, because this job won’t build them one. We need someone who’s quick-witted, vicious but sincere, politically engaged and eloquent, followed by tens of thousands on Twitter and named Rick Mercer.

We need Rick Mercer.

Satire is especially effective at close range, where it creates moments that are awkward—and therefore harder to ignore. Mercer is funny enough when he rants about the federal leaders’ debate. Imagine if he did so while taking part.

Sound far-fetched? Ask yourself: given the low standing of today’s politicians, who is more likely to be elected an MP—Rick Mercer on a pledge of “hovercars for all” or Elizabeth May on a pledge of “you’ve already rejected me in two parts of the country so now I’m trying here.”

Earlier this year, there was an election in Iceland—a country struggling with, as the New York Times put it, “negligence, cronyism and incompetence at the highest levels of government.” A comedian named Jón Gnarr formed a party and promised free towels at public swimming pools and a “drug-free Parliament by 2020.” His candidates were a who’s who of the country’s punk rock scene. He vowed to pursue a coalition only with parties whose members had watched all five seasons of The Wire.

On June 15, Jón Gnarr was elected mayor of Reykjavik.


With him, and hovercars, how could we fail?

  1. Feschuk, you are absolutely hilarious! I look forward to your article every week!!

  2. What do you mean the Rhinos aren't present on the federal scene anymore? Then who has Wherry been writing all those ridiculous articles about?
    <re-reads latest article>
    Oh. Dear. God.

    • And thus you've hit upon the real reason why the Rhino party is no more.. the competition for their niche was just too fierce.

  3. Scott,

    Though it's a sad, sad, commentary, if such a part existed, it would have my vote. Among all the political tragedies of the last thirty years, I lament the loss of our collective sense of humour most.

    If you build this, they will laugh.

  4. I was actually going to suggest Mary Walsh for leader, since she's probably the only person in Canada that could match the abrasiveness of John Baird. Then I clicked the video link on this very page and thought better of it – I always knew she could be about as subtle as a sledgehammer, but wow.

    That said, Mercer probably is the best candidate. I just wish he'd start spending more time ridiculing politicians like he used to and less time ice-skating with them.

    • Rick for leader; Marg, Warrior Princess for party whip!

  5. "A promise to prepare Canada for the world of tomorrow by investing 100 per cent of the federal budget in the development of a workable hovercar. A hovercar in every garage and another hovercar in every pot!"

    I was with you but this is a deal breaker, Feschuk. If new party were to earmark all our money into the development of jetpacks, and not hovercars, than I would be at the Keg meeting. As is, I and four others will be meeting at Montana's, be known as The Other Another Party of Canada, and will have exact same platform as you except we'll have jetpacks.

    • Then Canada cannot lose, my friend. Canada cannot lose.

    • I'm with you on the jetpacks. In fact, I'm pretty sure Feschuk DID promise us all jetpacks at one point. His party doesn't even exist yet and already they're flip-flopping on their main policy points.

    • Finally Canadians have clear choices!

    • This presents the risk of splitting the fringe vote. And we know where splitting the vote can lead.

  6. Everybody's talking about potash… I bet they'll find a bunch in the coffee tin next to the computer you wrote this story on.

  7. Wait…does the Keg still do half-price appetizers before 7?
    If so, sign me up as a member.

  8. But if we put a comedian in charge how do we make fun of him? By being serious?

    • A comedian would be a nice break from all the clowns…

  9. You really need to incorporate some of the old policy platforms from the Rhinos, Scott.

    For instance, I think Another Party needs a platform on higher education. Putting all the schools on stilts would be a good start. It would also serve to keep our children off the streets. (Which.. now that I think about it.. dovetails nicely with hovercars)

    Also, you'll need to fight climate change. I would suggest we outlaw weather forecasters. The weather we have today is good enough.

    Oh, and the poor. I'd suggest we require the CFL to only pick from people currently receiving social assistance. Thus ensuring we've tackled poverty whenever possible.

    • Higher education also dovetails nicely with jetpacks…is this just another coalition forming? The horror!!!!!
      And I thought you needed social assistance to be able to afford to play in the CFL.

  10. Can't remember.

    I'm hungry.

  11. The Rhino Party was never going anywhere, now the Natural Law Party…. there was something.

    jetpacks, screw jetpacks, just cross your legs and float

    defense policy: impermeable shield, invincible army

    health policy: use energy of yogic flyers to eliminate all afflictions

    crime policy: end crime through meditation

    If only Canada had not turned its back on Doug Henning… we might have made it big.

  12. I personally don't find Mercer all that funny, where i grew up in Newfoundland half my 10 gradeclass of 20 were alot funnier and they didn't have writers and a week to come up with 20 minutes of satire. If the people of this country think this guy is good they should visit Newfoundland next summer and head around the bay, they may not make it back.

    • Yeah, there are a lot of people with a great sense of humour back home (I'm an ex-pat myself) but few can top Rick at his best. The funniest thing I've EVER seen was his one-man show, "Show Me the Button – I'll Push it", back when he was first making a name for himself (about 20 years ago). I'd love to see him do something like that again.