The Free Ride is Over

6 Jun

In a release to the media, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said that Canadians will no longer have unrestricted access to federal representatives and services.

“As you know, the Opposition parties in the House of Commons continue to obstruct the Conservative Party’s progressive business agenda with ridiculous requests for consultation and input.”

“Their unacceptable interference in the affairs of Harper Canada has now reached the point where the Harper Government is obliged to spend significantly to defend its record, even where it has none.”

“Regrettably, our dismissal of all Commissionaires guarding top-secret military bases has not produced the savings we need to mount a credible campaign against the Opposition.”

“Therefore, to pay for more expensive television ads during the hockey semi-finals, I have today instructed my officials to take a leaf from our good friends in the online media and institute a paywall for all government services.”

“Going forward, any Canadian wishing to contact their elected representative or avail themselves of a Harper Lifestyle Program will be required to permanently register their credit card information at the Service Canada website.”

“Fees for access will be calculated on a sliding scale. Of course some things will remain free. It will cost nothing, for example, for Canadians to hear John Baird go on about something. As you know, we believe in value-based pricing. Other charges will be modest. For instance, we will charge only a twoonie to apply for a passport since they aren’t worth much anymore.”

“I will of course remain as accessible as I have always been.”

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Depression grips Conservative caucus

27 May

“Caucus is horrifically depressed. They are more depressed than angry,” said one Conservative insider, who did not want to be identified. “It’s hurting the government, it’s a distraction. It’s hurting the Conservative brand and the party more than the government because it’s a fundamental to who we are as Conservatives. It’s a blow to the brand because we actually care. We came to Ottawa to fix this.”

— Bea Vongdouangchanh, writing in The HillTimes, May 27, 2013

Senator Pamela Wallin — “Of course they’re all against me, but I won’t go back to live in Saskatchewan. They can’t make me.”

Senator Patrick Brazeau — “Someone with no skills, no ability — someone like me — has no business being here.”

The Honourable Peter McKay — “No, I don’t want to go up in another jet. You can’t make me.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper — “Look, I said get out. Can’t you see I just want to be left alone?”

The Honourable Jason Kenney — “Fine, if they want to come to Canada that much, let them. I just don’t care anymore.”

Senator Mike Duffy — “What time did you say the cafeteria opens?”

The Crockatteer speaks out

22 May

Joan (@Crockatteer) Crockatt, the rookie Member of Parliament who almost failed to win a safe Calgary seat last fall because she forgot to campaign, reflects on yesterday’s Conservative caucus meeting:

“I was so excited to be there. I mean, like, in his actual presence and all. Wasn’t he masterful? I mean, you know, really, really masterful? Even though you could tell he was very upset.”

“But whoa, the way the leader shamed the entire Conservative caucus without, actually, you know, naming names. So no one person or individual would feel bad, yet the entire country would realize the serious gravity of what may possibly, but not too likely, have transpired. After all, Duffy has told us he did nothing that merits criticism.”

“But to get back to my point. Listening to Stephen makes me realize how fortunate — no, privileged — we are to live in a country where bothersome political distractions have no impact whatsoever on the bigger picture because of our constitutional right to run up and then pay our accumulated debts without fear or favour, and to resign or recuse or refuse whenever need be, in order to do the right thing. We can and we shall convince all Canadians of the truth of this. I know we can and we shall, because Jeffrey Simpson is absolutely right when he says our party is a party of salesmen, not statesmen.”

“Let me tell you, after today everyone realizes that ethical, open, transparent and accountable government is more than a passing phrase in Harper’s Canada.”

“After our little get-together, over a glass of a really lovely Chardonnay (just enough buttery oak), someone asked me how someone who had studied strategic thinking at the London School of Economics (that’s me!!) would sum up the gathering. All I could think of was that it reminded me (as I’ve tweeted) of the memorable time when my colleague (and now close friend) Tony Clement was asked why he had used blue on his website, he replied ‘it was the best color.’ That about says it all, doesn’t it? I mean, there’s just no way Tony or, for that matter, any of us, are in over his head.”

Follow the leader

17 May

Andrew MacDougall, Director of Communications in the Prime Minister’s Office, has issued the following statement with respect to the controversy about the financial claims and reporting of certain Senators.

“Recent attempts to act ethically have proven extremely distracting to members of the Conservative caucus. The Harper Government views this matter seriously and is taking immediate steps to curtail any further attempts at such behaviour.”

“As already reported in the media, Senator Mike Duffy has resigned from the Conservative caucus, effective immediately. We applaud his leadership and would recommend his course of action to any number of other Party members who must, for reasons of personal privacy, remain anonymous.”

“Reputable, yet unnamed sources have informed the Harper Government that Senator Duffy is only the most recent caucus member to fall victim to what appears to be an outbreak of irrational behaviour. Other examples included Patrick Brazeau, Bev Oda, Peter McKay, Maxime Bernier — I could go on.”

“More specifically, these individuals appear to have been stricken by what is called the Contagion Theory of Mass Behaviour. My limited understanding of the theory is that weak-willed individuals sometimes come under the hypnotic influence of an irrational leader. The contagion then grows among the individuals until an entire crowd of irrational, frenzied people is formed.”

“In light of this, the Harper Government is pleased to announce that we have issued a sole source contract for the exclusive services of a consortium of sociologists to determine the root causes of this objectionable behaviour. Time is of the essence of course, and in the absence of leading Canadian sociologists, we have allowed a firm owned by PMO Chief of Staff Nigel Wright to bring in temporary foreign sociologists.”

“Because of our swift action in this matter, Canadians can feel confident that no member of the Conservative caucus will be distracted by ethical issues in the future.”

In over his head

14 May

A contrite Justin Trudeau was barely able to look straight into the camera as he took to the podium after the results of the Labrador election were announced on Monday night.

Minutes before, the Conservative Party of Canada had pointed out that the Liberal candidate, Yvonne Jones, led her Conservative opponent by 43 points in the polls prior to Mr. Trudeau’s ascent to the leadership of the federal Liberal Party. As soon as Trudeau won the leadership race, however, Jones’s lead dropped like a stone. In the end, Jones managed to vanquish her opponent by a mere 20 per cent.

“Let me be honest with you,” said the downcast Mr. Trudeau, his voice barely audible in the hushed auditorium. “I feel just terrible about this. Our margin of victory is nothing less than a personal humiliation. I keep asking myself what I might have done differently. In the end, I have to admit that Mr. Harper was right: I am in way over my head.”

“At first I thought our slim victory might be cause for celebration. After all, Mr. Penashue is the stuff of which Mr. Harper’s cabinets are made. I wanted to believe that defeating someone of his fiscal integrity and moral standing was a good portent for the future of the Liberal Party. But in the end, I realize these are just excuses for our poor showing.”

“I intend to take a walk in the grass and reflect on my future as leader of the Liberal Party. I need to seek the source of my failure. Perhaps I could have been nicer. Smiled more. Ironed my cargo shorts. It will take time to pin-point the source of this electoral fiasco.”

“To the leader of the Conservative Party, I offer my sincere congratulations on his splendid second-place showing. At the end of the day, I think we must all admit that no one in this country runs an election campaign like Mr. Harper does.”

Cabinet Containment

12 May

Ottawa was abuzz this past week because of the latest addition to Parliament Hill. We refer, of course, to the introduction of Cabinet Containers.

 

The idea was apparently inspired by Edmonton’s new hospital-based baby boxes. These baby boxes are today’s equivalent of leaving unwanted babies in baskets on doorsteps to be cared for by kindly strangers. In this case, the strangers are nurses.

 

Cabinet Containers builds on the concept of baby boxes by providing a central dumping ground for unwanted ministers from the Government of Canada. 

 

Prior to this made-in-Canada solution (which incidentally, may be eligible for funding under Canada’s Economic Action Plan), there was simply no convenient way to get rid of these people.

 

Here’s how it works.

 

Let’s say you live in the riding of Ottawa West-Nepean (or perhaps your name is Stephen Harper) and you feel you’ve gotten all the mileage you can out of loud-talking John Baird. No problem — just behind the Centre Block there’s a corrugated steel shipping container with his name on it. Lure him around back by promising him the Finance portfolio, toss him in, and slam the door. There, now you won’t have to listen to him stirring up trouble in the Middle East anymore. Turns out the heavy-duty containers are also remarkably good at muffling screams. 

 

Concerned about the welfare of your discarded ministers? Don’t be! 

 

Once the shouting and the banging stops, they will be humanely transported to an isolated part of Nunavut and released where they can no longer harm anyone. And thanks to the unrivalled generosity of Parliamentary pension plans, they will be well fed and clothed for the rest of their lives.

 

The concept is proving so popular among Canada’s over-taxed electorate that a Cells for Senators program may be coming soon.

Squeaky clean Conservatives

6 May

Little noticed amid the hoopla surrounding Stephen Harper’s announcement of new dollars for clean energy initiatives last week was Heritage Minister James Moore’s corresponding promise of significant funding for clean heritage projects.

The following are excerpts from Moore’s formal announcement:

“Winston Churchill once said, ‘History is written by the victors.’”

“As Canada’s natural victorious party, we Conservatives have unilaterally decided to launch a much overdue re-examination of Canada’s historical record.”

“To date our blue ribbon panel, headed by illustrious Alberta historian Ted Byfield, has been able to review Ontario’s Grade Five social studies lesson plans. Mr. Byfield, you may recall, recently edited the triumphal revisionist series called The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years.”

“As we suspected, the news is grim.”

“Shockingly, school lesson plans contain little about Canada’s geography as the world was created some 6,000 years ago. Nor is it possible for our children to learn about pivotal events such as the radical 1960s embrace of sociology that accounts for much of our nation’s rising crime rate. And I ask you, where are the tales of the courageous battles fought by our national heroes — uncompromising freedom-fighters like Tom Flanagan?”

“Rest assured, this neglect of our past will not continue. When we in the Harper Government are finished, you won’t recognize the teaching of history in this country. Our Canadian story will be more than clean; it will be sanitized.”

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