People and Places

THE JESTER: Beware! The year is 2017 … Partisan ghost stories for politicians of every stripe

This article was originally published in the October 2014 print edition of Ottawa Magazine.

By CHRIS LACKNER

Justin Trudeau . Illustration by Alan King
Justin Trudeau . Illustration by Alan King

24 Sussex Drive, Halloween Night, 2014 — The Conservative cabinet gathers for its annual Halloween sleepover. Prime Minister Harper, sporting his standard grey “bedtime suit,” launches into a partisan ghost story:

“Beware! The year is 2017, and the ‘Trucair’ Liberal-NDP coalition government has destroyed the Canada we know and love.

“Prime Minister Trudeau has legalized marijuana, renovated the Peace Tower to look like a giant bong, and appointed Vancouver actor Seth Rogen as Governor General. Every Speech from the Throne now consists of a glassy-eyed, smirking Rogen eating Doritos and chuckling for 40 minutes straight. Oh, and our new national anthem is Neil Young’s ‘Roll Another Number (for the Road).’

“But things are even worse away from the Hill. The National War Memorial has been replaced with a statue depicting Trudeau’s knockout punch of Patrick Brazeau. Deputy Prime Minister Thomas Mulcair has passed a law requiring all men, women — and children — to have either a beard or a moustache and has replaced the caribou on the quarter with a unicorn. The Ministry of Finance has been rechristened the Ministry of Imagination. The ever-rising tax rate has closed the doors of just about any business that isn’t a marijuana shop or taco stand. Productivity is at an all-time low! Our perpetually stoned bureaucrats stay focused only on days where they’re promised a free pizza lunch. And on the international front, we stood powerless to prevent Trudeau from pirouetting behind the newly crowned King Charles and then opting to play his head like a bongo drum.

“Trudeau has also taken his control-freak antics to a whole new level by banning any future Liberal candidate who doesn’t believe in a woman’s right to choose whether to swoon or squeal whenever he enters the room.

“And that’s why Canadians need our treats, not Liberal and NDP tricks … .”

Meanwhile, at the Diefen-bunker The Liberals gather for a top-secret candle-lit meeting. Justin Trudeau makes a scary flashlight face before launching into a partisan ghost story:

“Beware! The year is 2017, and another Tory majority has destroyed the Canada we know and love.

“Prime Minister Harper has deported the Supreme Court and unilaterally traded our entire Senate to the United States in return for conservative pundit Glenn Beck, Grumpy Cat (whom he immediately adopted), and Nebraska (which immediately approved Keystone).

“My time as your cherished leader ended unceremoniously after I lost a nationally televised thumb war against John Baird. Our party is in such shambles that a weary Bob Rae — wearing a Jean Chrétien mask — has been tasked with leading us into the 2019 election.

“Environment Canada replaced 40 percent of our woodlands with plastic Christmas trees because they, in the Conservatives’ words, ‘Can’t be hurt by that whole global warming thing we have to pretend to care about.’ Our health care system has been privatized in order to fund Arctic military bases and energy development. In fact, most of Alberta is now just a giant puddle of crude oil. Shamelessly, the Tories keep referring to it as ‘a new great lake.’

“Here in Ottawa, Harper has replaced Parliament with a life-size replica of the Death Star, and the Tories keep using The Force to shut down Opposition MPs during question period. Oh, and the short-form census now asks people for just three things: their childhood nickname, favourite colour, and their rating of the government on a scale of 9 to 10.

“The Tories have also built firewalls around downtown Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver for ‘the good of the nation.’ The last time Canadians heard anything from Toronto, it was under the tyrannical rule of former mayor Rob Ford and the Rogers Centre had been transformed into the Thunderdome from Mad Max.

“The middle class is no more, while the ‘one percent’ pay zero taxes and summer in their moon condos. Harper unilaterally added 200 more seats in the Prairies and rural Ontario, dooming us electorally, and he outlawed all coffee shops that aren’t Tim Hortons. The Tories have become so bold that their new robocalls simply state ‘Vote for us, or else. We know where you live.’ In fact, I brought you here tonight because before long, it could be the only place we have left to hide!

“And that’s why Canadians need our treats, not Conservative tricks.”

And over at city hall, Mayor Jim Watson delivers a terse ghost story: “Imagine if Rob and Doug Ford had been born here instead of Etobicoke.”

Boo! Happy Halloween.