My transformation into a spider was rather sudden. There I was one day, walking along on two legs and (mostly) minding my own business, and – all of a sudden – whammo! CCRAP leader Stockwell Day transformed me into an arachnid.
I am not making this up. It is there for all the world to observe. Check out CCRAPs nifty web site, at www.canadianalliance.ca, and you will easily locate an entire section devoted to Yours Truly, Spiderman. The Leader of Her Majestys Loyal Opposition had decreed that his taxpayer-subsidized underlings should render me spider-like, and they did. Spinning Warrens Web, the proto-Reformers call it. There is even a little graphic of my smiling head, superimposed upon a six-legged spider, scooting across a web. (Yes, six legs.)
Under the graphic, there can be found assorted trenchant essays, penned by a young man I once declined to hire for a political job. A co-contributor to these memorable missives – rife with errors of fact and grammar – is another young fellow, who once got angry at me on the phone for having the effrontery to object to Holocaust denial.
While all of this spider stuff delighted my four-year-old, who rather liked the idea Daddys head can now be found on an insects body, I must confess that I was puzzled. Had Mr. Days much-touted freedom train perhaps gone off the rails? Had he lost his proverbial caboose? Was his beloved agenda of respect now something else entirely?
First. a little background. I am, I confess, a Liberal. Before Stockwell Day turned me into a spider, I had worked for Jean Chretien, and also here and there in government. On one occasion, simultaneously revealing my penchant for self-delusion and metaphysical suicide, I ran for a seat in Parliament, and was soundly drubbed by an opponent the Canadian Press referred to as elfin. This result delighted my wife, but earned me no seat in the Senate, the World Bank, or even a temporary posting to the Canada-Norway Sealing Commission.
I did, however, attract the attention of the ink-stained wretches and wretchesses who put together the National Post. They are kindly to me, and sometimes invite me to some of their parties, as one would a doddering uncle for whom one feels sorry. They also occasionally publish my vigorous defences of Everything Liberal, which is rather nice of them, although I confess I do not understand how a journal that houses David Frum, Ezra Levant and Just About Every Other Neo-Con can also publish me.
Because my pro-Liberal musings are published in the Post, other media folks sometimes call me up to heap opprobrium on poor Mr. Day. So I point out that Mr. Day is Archie Bunker on rollerblades. Or I remind their listeners that Alberta Reports Lorne Gunter published the following on February 3, 1992: Red Deer MLA Stockwell Day, a former pastor, for example, has argued that homosexuality is a mental disorder that can be cured through counselling. That sort of thing.
Some media folks are irritated with me that I return reporters phone calls, or that I poke fun at Mr. Day. One moustachioed nabob at the Sun tabloids – who was once a manager there, but then suddenly became a columnist – has said I am a mudslinger, or something like that. Another fellow, at the Globe – perhaps upset that I write for a better newspaper – sniffed that I was a self-appointed Liberal tough guy. (Hello, self? Today, I appoint me Liberal Tough Guy.)
The one who I appear to irritate the most, however, seems to be Mr. Day. That, I fear, is the reason that he is spending your tax dollars to obtain transcripts of every word that I utter, or write. It is also why, I surmise, he calls me a loser, character assassin, sleazy, scaremonger, chief drive-by smear artist and (my personal favourite) creepy. For a few days, he also declared that I was obsessed with homosexual sex, and I had lawyers lined up across to the country offering to represent me for free in a big, fat defamation action. Those words quickly slipped into Internet ether, however, when Mr. Days acolytes perhaps realized that he can ill-afford yet another libel lawsuit.
Personally (as you have no doubt surmised), I am rather enjoying all of this attention. My book about organized racism, Web of Hate, is coming out in a third edition in the Fall, so this incessant web talk is good for sales. My daughter thinks it is swell that her father is a spider. And, in partisan terms, I am also pleased to note that Mr. Day believes that I am his principal opponent, and not Jean Chretien – the most popular Prime Minister ever.
But, as a proud Grit arachnid, I remain bewildered about one thing: would you vote for a dummy who doesnt even know that spiders have eight legs, not six?