It’s not often that a Conservative provides me with inspiration. But it’s a shiny new year and I am uncharacteristically full of political hope and optimism. Begone, nattering nabobs of negativity!
The source of my inspiration, as frosty and frigid 2014 makes its debut? None other than the Conservative Party’s happiest happy warrior, Monte Solberg. In a party chock full of angry old white guys, Monte is that rarest of exceptions: He is a happy young white guy.
Monte wrote a column this week in which he detailed his political wish list for 2014. I found it inspirational.
Ahem. Having used up more than 100 words to get to this point, I offer, without further delay, my own political wish list for 2014.
Stephen Harper: My wish for the prime minister in the new year is that he makes a decision, once and for all, about walking in the snow. For weeks now, the Kremlinologists in the media — and, er, Yours Truly — have been speculating ad nauseam, ad infinitum, about whether Harper would make the cliched “walk in the snow,” a la Pierre Trudeau, and pack it in.
I’m pretty sure he won’t. But if I’m wrong — and I usually am — I advise the Conservative leader to don proper footwear; 2014 is already colder than a flattened frog on a Manitoba back road in February. He needs to bundle up as he takes his walk in the snow.
Justin Trudeau: My wish for the youthful Liberal leader is that, basically, he stops being so young. Like all young people, he is a risk-taker and occasionally reckless. That’s all well and good when you are in high school, but when you aspire to be prime minister, it ain’t.
Justin needs to become a bit boring. Wear darker suits. Be less flamboyant when speaking. Trim those Herculean locks. Spray some grey on those sideburns.
And, for the love of God, don’t ever say another word about marijuana policy. The last guys to do that were Cheech and Chong, and it didn’t help them politically, did it?
Thomas Mulcair: I wish happiness for the NDP leader, I really do. As in, I wish Thomas Mulcair, nee Angry Tom, would experience happiness for the first time in his life. Ever.
Listen Tom, Ottawa is ridiculous. It is where much gets said, but little gets done. It is Hollywood for ugly people. You need to loosen your collar, lose a bit of weight and smile a bit.
Not that smile you currently use, which is reminiscent of the horrifying grimace on the faces of mummies in the Ancient Egypt exhibit at the Met in New York.
Oh, and the beard. Lose it. The last bearded guy to get elected president was William Howard Taft, more than 100 years ago.
Think about that next time you are picking yesterday’s lunch out of your moustache, big guy.
The media: I wish we would be less preoccupied with scandal.
As The Most Infamous Canadian™, Rob Ford, has shown, scandal doesn’t matter to voters. Smoke crack? Drink and drive? Lie your face off? Nobody cares.
What they care about is the little things — whether you regularly show up to work mid-afternoon, whether you shame your spouse in public, whether you knock over little old ladies. (All of which Rob Ford has done, by the way.)
That’s my wish list for 2014. Clip and save.
(Oh, and I also wish Monte doesn’t get mad at me for stealing his idea.)
Wow! Richard’s throwing it down, baby. I disagree with him, naturally, but I admire his intestinal fortitude.
As I was (nervously) preparing for my Sun Media gig a few years back, Angelo Persichilli told me a good columnist’s job is never to be predictable. As such, Richard Gwyn is a great columnist!
It’s sad because the loss of every newspaper means our democracy is diminished, in a real and measurable way. In an era where fewer and fewer citizens are voting, the media – as I have been reminded, as I have pinballed between newspapers and politics over the years – are the only institutions left who can truly hold the powerful to account, on a daily basis. Now, yet another media voice is gone.
Idiot bloggers, and idiot politicians, will continue to be happy about this sort of thing. The former will say the disappearance of the so-called MSM means more audience for them. And the latter will believe that it means more opportunities to communicate to said audience “without a filter” (which really means without a pesky reporter getting in the way).
But bloggers only comment on the hard work of actual reporters. And the work of politicians won’t get noticed by voters, at all, if there isn’t a media there to report it.
Like I say, it’s a really bad way to start the New Year, across the board. Even if you don’t live in Kamloops, this sort of thing affects all of us.
…but I have just received amazing, awesome legal news. It warms my tiny black heart.
However, I am not permitted to tell you about it for a period of one month. Sorry.
And, no, it is not the big news I promised some time ago. Got 57 great suggestions about what I will be doing, however. Here are some of the best ones:
- Playing in Sochi for men’s hockey team
- Playing in Sochi for women’s hockey team
- Thought you were going for the Fed Lib nomination for Toronto Centre….so that’s now out……hmmm…..another Lib nomination nearby, perhaps…..
- You will run in Trin-Spadina
- Work is finally complete on that long-awaited Paul Anka/SFH duets album?
- Two words: sex change! No, wait: jail time! No, wait: NDP membership!
- Leaving SFH to join a John Tesh Tribute band?
- Running Trudeau’s war room. Pre, during and post election.
- Ford’s campaign manager in his run for mayor.
- Newest member of One Direction?
- I had also thought that maybe he’d been conscripted into the band Porno For Pyros, or maybe he was going to start a new one: The Geyzer-Geezers.
- Putting the old band back together for a reunion show a la Hard Core Logo?
- You’re going to be the next feral [sic] Green Party leader?
- Hosting your own daily or weekly current affairs talk show on Sun News Network possibly including a regular weekly panel of pundits called “NOT Ford Nation”.
- You’re pregnant?
- Switching to boxers?
- You’re going to run for the Liberal Nomination in Beaches-East York. (I’m a devout Atheist, but I’m praying for that one.)
- You’re replacing Tai Wilkenfeld as Jeff Beck’s bass player you dastardly mustache twirling top hat wearing rip off their face burned out rocker guy
- You are going to join Joe Fontana’s defense team.
- You’re running Khan Noonian Singh’s War Room.
- You are getting a REAL JOB?????
- Gotta be The Senate.
- You are going to prepare for the next phase of your life by cultivating your inner self, your spiritual side, withdraw from the hurley burley, spend more time in contemplation and meditation, wear a loose robe, surrender your worldly goods and desires, become more like Dostoevki’s Father Zosima in ‘Brothers Karamazov.
- The War Room is going to be made into a film and Keith Richards has agreed to play the role of Mike Duffy with Iggy Pop as Prime Minister?
- You’re finally going to admit that all this climate change BS is just a hoax.
- Sexual reassignment surgery.
- Running for elected office as a PC/Conservative…what a big change that would be!
- You’re going to start making Kraft Dinner with milk…..for the win!
- Trading the shitty P-bass for an Ernie Ball Stingray.
- Moving to Halifax…or at least opening a branch office of Daisy there. If I’m right, do I win a SFH Tee (XL please).
- You are moving to DC to participate in Billarry’s Pres. election campaign
- Moving to Mercury. Waiting for Green Card.
I can say that two of you actually guessed the big news. Also: gender reassignment seems to be something some of you really wish I would consider. And: moving far away.
There’s a message there for me, somewhere.
From: Elnora firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: January 5, 2014 at 10:51:50 AM EST
Warren your shame should be complete every waking minute of every day. Your a piece of shit plain and simple .
NEW YORK — The first thing you notice about this city’s new mayor is that he is pretty tall — six-foot-five, according to official reports.
Oh, and he doesn’t smoke crack. Or drink while driving. Or get identified as an alleged heroin user in police documents. Or use gutter language to describe his wife. Or show up to work mid-afternoon, or not at all.
No, Bill de Blasio is on time, sober as a judge, and clearly in love with his wife (he says so, just after getting sworn in). He is posing for photographs with hundreds of New Yorkers who have waited in line for three hours, in sub-zero temperatures, to meet New York City’s just-inaugurated 109th mayor. Among them, two bemused Canadians.
Shaking his hand, I indicate the army of lobbyists, politicos and job-seekers queued up to meet him.
“We’re Canadians,” I tell de Blasio. “We’re the only people here who don’t want something from you!”
De Blasio and his staff laugh at that one. Not missing a beat, de Blasio says: “Canadians? From Ontario?” We nod.
“I love Ontario! What a beautiful place!” de Blasio booms, sounding like he means it. Then, he pauses.
“I won’t be talking about your mayor,” he says, and his staff burst into peals of laughter. We exchange a few more words, and then slink away, our humiliation complete. A New York Times reporter follows us, to ask questions about Mayor Bill de Blasio and Mayor … well, you know.
Be under no illusion, Canada: Rob Ford is now the most famous Canadian of all time. And you, like us, will be hearing about Mayor Crackhead — and mocked because of him — for many, many years to come.
More than Terry Fox. More than Celine Dion. More than William Shatner. More than just about any Canadian you care to mention — last year, this year, and in years to come. Rob Ford is the Canadian who non-Canadians know best.
Many, of course, are appalled by the tales of crack and the videotapes in which Ford talks about “killing” someone, or denigrates gays and minorities.
But, mostly, they think it is screamingly funny that (a) he exists and that (b) Canadians — these polite, taciturn, apologetic people of the North — elected such a schmuck in the first place. And that we are seemingly incapable of removing Ford from office. Or, worse, indifferent to him.
People from other places are used to public servants who, you know, serve the public. Not serial liars who are off doing hard drugs with gang-bangers when they are supposed to be at work.
Take de Blasio, for example. His entire adult life has been dedicated to public service, and to a determination to erase America’s yawning racial and income divide.
He achieved high office by pledging to bring people together. And by promising to make New York one city, not two — one increasingly rich, one increasingly poor.
Rob Ford, the millionaire’s son who drives a monster car that exceeds most Canadians’ annual income, could not be more unlike Bill de Blasio (or Calgary’s Naheed Nenshi, or Vancouver’s Gregor Robertson). He is lazy, he is dishonest, he is an embarrassment. He divides, he doesn’t unite.
Toronto is New York run by the Swiss, the actor Peter Ustinov once famously said. If that is so, how can Toronto voters vote for Rob Ford — and New Yorkers elect Bill de Blasio?
It is an enduring mystery. Because he is a populist, some say. Because he tapped into suburban anger, others say. Because he ran a campaign that had one simple message, and not a hundred.
One thing, however, isn’t a mystery at all: Rob Ford is the most (in)famous Canadian ever.
And you will be hearing about him, and feeling embarrassed about him, for the rest of your natural life.