The Mailbag: Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, the shocking truth about Kady O’Malley

Welcome to the Tuesday Mailbag on Wednesday, where, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld (and there’s a phrase you don’t hear very often today, outside of Donald Rumsfeld’s house), we take the known unknowns (ie. how does Cadbury get the caramel into the Caramilk bar?) and turn them into known knowns (ie. unicorns!).

Remember – there are no stupid questions, except for asking Conan O’Brien how his week’s been going.


Dear Scott:

A recent poll showed Canadians would be more curious to know what Stephen Harper was like in high school than any other leader. In your opinion, what was Stephen Harper like in high school? – Michael (aka Mike514)

Michael –

Why speculate when we can just consult his yearbook writeup?

Stephen “Stephen” Harper

Class of ’78: Richview Collegiate Institute (Etobicoke, Ont.)


–      Math club (president)

–      Slide rule club (president for life)

–      Senior boys’ basketball team (mascot)


1)   Played chess while others were playing checkers (explains last-place finish in 1977 Richview Collegiate Checkers Championship).

2)   Grudge holding.

Voted Most Likely To: Continue Wearing Corduroy.

Life goals:

1)   To one day, against all odds, become Prime Minister of Canada – and then, over the course of my reign, to permit my ideological purity to erode to the point that I ultimately stand for all that I once stood against, a spiteful, tragicomic figure motivated solely by partisan gain and maintaining my grip on power no matter the cost to the institutions I was elected to serve and defend.

2)   To marry Princess Leia.


Dear Scott:

Forget about steroids. I’m a St. Louis Cardinals fan and all I want to know is whether Mark McGwire will be a good hitting coach. What’s your take? – G.B.

G.B. –

OK, Pujols: here’s what I want you to do. I want you to spread your legs a little wider. Good, that’s good. Now bend your knees just a touch more. Great. Straighten your back. Terrific. Now you’re in the perfect stance for me to jab this needle into your arse.

Long story short: I foresee an extended period of adjustment.


Dear Scott:

It seems to me this proroguing thing has many unreported consequences. How will those Ottawa caterers of cucumber sandwiches and chocolate cheese hors d’oeuvres survive? Will we see a desperate glut of beaver tail booths dotting the shores of the canal as a result? Where will Mitchel get his regular fare of Justin Trudeau photos if the lobbyists have no one to booze and schoomze? Where will Peter Milliken’ s dinner jacket/speaker’s outfit hang out? The multiplier effect of prorogation is astounding, and not fully reported! – Dot

Dot –

Rest easy. At Maclean’s, we’re committed to ensuring that Canadians will never, ever have to endure a week without a compelling new photo essay in which Justin Trudeau casts an intense, smoldering gaze toward Mitchel’s camera at a Parliament Hill reception.

That’s why our publisher, Ken Whyte, recently spent $300-million to build a computer-generated, 3D environment – an intricately rendered, futuristic world we’re calling Justonia. On Justonia, Parliament is always in session, lobbyists are always currying favour and inedible cocktail meatballs are always on the simmer. Stephen Harper could prorogue Parliament eight ways to Tuesday (his actual plan) and our Justin Trudeau pictorials would just keep on coming. You’re welcome, Canada.

I’ll be honest with you: When word leaked of Ken’s plan to spend twice Paul Wells’s salary on the fabrication of a state-of-the-art alternate reality, some called him mad. Many called him financially reckless. A few called him a daring visionary possessed of a devastatingly potent sexual allure. These people were angling for a raise.

But Ken got the job done, dammit. And I am honoured to report that Mr. Whyte has chosen me to be the “driver” of the Justin Trudeau avatar. (The competition wasn’t as tough as you might think: Wherry failed the physical and Coyne kept making “Justin” punch himself in the face.)

We’re going to bring Mitchel in and start our initial photo shoot as soon as I complete my training. I’m still working to develop the dexterity required to unfasten the two top buttons on my shirt.


Dear Scott:

I notice you often have posts that appear during ungodly hours of the night/morning. Do you ever sleep? – A Fellow Insomniac

A Fellow Insomniac –

I guess I can see why you’re confused: it’s a time zone thing. My posts are actually subcontracted to a trio of electrical engineers in Bangalore. (This explains why so many of the punchlines include the word ‘vindaloo.’)

Frankly, I’m surprised you even asked the question. I thought it was widely known that all Maclean’s bloggers outsource their work. Potter uses Mexicans – they don’t charge extra for fancy adjectives or hot-bloodedness. When Kady O’Malley was here, she routinely sloughed off her less glamorous assignments to the other Keebler elves in her tree. As for Cosh – all of Cosh’s posts are produced by an iPhone app. Cost us three bucks.

Weinman, for the record, is real. And unbelievably pale.


Dear Scott:

If you were asked by Stephen Harper to be an underwear bomber, would you accept the mission? – Anon

Anon –

No chance. In fact, I’d sue the guy. You heard me: I’d sue the Prime Minister of Canada. Why? Because offering to outfit someone with an underwear bomb was my go-to romantic move during university. I own that move. It’s my move. I wasn’t much of a looker or a smooth talker, so I had to make science, chemistry and global geopolitical instability work for me. (The ladies would usually clue into my true motive when I’d begin the simulation of the airport patdown by removing my pants.)


Dear Scott:

My subscription is almost up for this magazine and I’ve already started to receive the reminder notices. I was particularly fond of the #1 reason why I should renew early – to avoid receiving any more reminder notices. Did you write that?

My question to you is: Why should I renew my subscription when I can read the entire magazine for free right here? And, the best part, I can read it here first, before the magazine even reaches my mailbox. – Kat

Kat –

Full disclosure: I write all our “reminder notices.” That includes the onerous task of deciding how many exclamation marks to use.  Three? Eight? All of them? It’s never an easy decision!!!!!!! (NOR IS DECIDING WHEN TO PRESS THE CAPS LOCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) ((Or (USE!))) parenthe(ses)!!)!)!

Happily, there are a number of compelling reasons to renew your subscription to the print version of Maclean’s. My mortgage is the biggest, but there are others.

  • For the price of reading one Mark Steyn column online and then hurling your laptop against the wall in a blind rage, you can get 50 years’ worth of magazines to hurl against the wall in a blind rage. That’s approximately 28 million per cent more blind rage for the money!
  • Print version comes with staples. Your move, Internet.
  • Reading articles online, you are deprived of the tactile pleasure of holding the magazine, flipping through its pages and drawing Spock ears on Andrew Coyne. (We all do it).
  • One page in each print edition? Made from scrumptious taffy.
  • Octogenarians will totally think you’re “with it.”