Tom Mulcair: Blame the beard


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It’s now becoming evident that Tom Mulcair is starting to wear on Canadians.

It’s too bad, really, because Mulcair is smart, he’s a tremendous inquisitor, and he seems sensible enough.

But that and a deflated dollar won’t get him into 24 Sussex.

People just can’t get past the beard.

Canadians should be better than that but we aren’t. Beards do not belong on an election campaign. They are scruffy and smelly and they catch sandwich crumbs.

They might be fine for a grandpa who’s sitting in a rocking chair. And they might actually rock out a hipster who is going for that look.

But that beard is an albatross for Mulcair. He thinks it makes him look distinguished. It doesn’t. It makes him look creepy.

Men wear beards, generally speaking, because they are hiding something: an unsightly mole, a weak chin, rosacea, a cleft palate or bad yellow teeth from too much pipe smoking.

So what is Mulcair hiding?

Everyone has told him that he should take the thing off. Everybody, even his ponytailed French princess has probably urged him to get rid of it.

But he won’t. That makes him inflexible.

In these days when social media is king, every candidate must look their absolute best. Even Stephen Harper knows this.

Liz May, not so much.

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Somebody has to have the courage to tell Mulcair that the beard has to go if he wants to win next time. He’s a smart guy. Whisper the following words in his ear and he’ll get the message, “Richard Nixon.”

It is true that Nixon didn’t wear a beard but he had two other problems that lost him debates. He had a permanent five o’clock shadow and he sweated profusely like he was lying or something.

So dude, eighty-six the beard, and get rid of the back brace while standing in front of television camera. It makes you look like you forgot to take your suit off the coat hanger.

Come on, everybody knows you’re wearing one.

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The New Canada: Can I get fries with that?


In just a few weeks, the votes will be in and we will have a new government in Ottawa.

I woke up last night, in a cold sweat, thinking about all this. I have no idea who to vote for. I now realize what the problem is. None of the parties is speaking to me. They are all talking in platitudes, blue-skying it.

As Jack Nicholson once said, “I’m drowning here, and you’re describing the water.”

None of the parties has a real solution to the problems that are threatening this nation. Sure, each of them had a pound of calking weighing down their shorts that could plug a hole here and there. But there doesn’t seem to be a general contractor who can make us a right and proper house.

Put another way, if this election were held on Hallowe’en, we’d all be getting those cheap yucky candies, the ones that taste like ass instead of chocolate bars and chips. There is nothing in their goodie bags that are worth anything.

It occurred to me that there was something missing in all of this.

Not one of the parties, that I’ve heard, has a plan to help Canadians adjust and react to the effect of globalization. Remember that word…globalization…it was the din in our ears during protests at the world leaders’ meeting in Toronto a few years back. A few people went to jail, but mostly their cries were ignored.

Most of us tuned it out because we really didn’t understand what the whole deal was about.

Now we’re feeling it

Globalization is the reason so many Canadians — young, middle aged, old — are in such trouble these days. It’s like we’re all caught in a tsunami and there aren’t any trees to hold on to.

I’ll give you a few real life examples. There once was a time when a person could buy a taxi licence for a horrendous price in Ottawa and feed his family on the proceeds from his job. He only had to take a course at Algonquin College, borrow some money from the rellies, and set himself up. Then Uber came along. Now taxi drivers are out with baseball bats running down hipsters in their cheap Chryslers who are making pennies on the dollar, but making a living still, carting around students and government workers for a fraction of the price of a taxi.

Two years ago, a taxi driver could make a living. Not anymore. Now they’re working at Walmart.

When I was a kid living in St. Catharines, Ontario, if you didn’t want to go to university, you could get a job at General Motors and buy yourself a nice house and raise your family. Today, those good manufacturing jobs have gone to Mexico, and you are working at Walmart.

It’s happening in agriculture, too. I hear that the Harper government is set to announce a new trade deal that will effectively gut the dairy industry in Canada and let the U.S. dump cheap milk into Canada. We’ve always paid a little more for our milk. Now, we can drink it by the gallon for a buck, and buy it at Walmart. Meanwhile, dairy families are raising their kids on the proceeds from mom’s job driving school bus.

No one prepared us for these kinds of changes. There aren’t many unions anymore, and if Harper has his way, there will be fewer of them in the future. He’s already set his sights on dismantling the public service unions. The good unionized jobs have all gone to Mexico and the best anyone can hope for is a career in retail. Thank goodness someone thought to raise the minimum wage.

I’m feeling the effects of globalization in my own life. I’m having to compete, as a writer and editor, with people in foreign lands who will do the same work as me for pennies on the dollar. I could always earn a living writing. Not anymore. I’m making less money today working full time than I did working part-time in high school.

Our young people are suffering the most.

Even those with good educations are having trouble getting jobs. Kids coming out of school with general degrees can look forward to working for the rest of their lives as baristas, bartenders and shop clerks. And they’re competing with old people, who have lost their good jobs, for the 5 a.m. produce shift at Walmart.

See what I mean?

In the good old days, Canadians could look forward to making enough money to buy a house, raise their kids, and retire. Now real estate is beyond the reach of most people especially in B.C. where the Japanese are snapping up all the condos.

Fewer people today are middle class — the target market of all the political parties — and the most they can hope for is to eek out a living, find a roommate and have a McDrug Plan that will pay for their chemotherapy.

I’d like one politician talk about that in this election.

It’s Up to Parents to Get the Kids to Vote


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The real shame of things is that Rick Mercer and Justin Trudeau are just too damned old to influence young people to make a difference by voting. Ditto for George Stroumboulopoulous.

Even Craig Kielburger is getting a bit long in the tooth.

We have to figure out a way to get the kids away from their video consoles and Smartphones and drag them down to the polls. That’s where you come in parents.

If you have a child who is of voting age, one who is still living in your basement, turn off the electricity on voting day, or cut off their phones. If you have a voting age child who does not live with you, threaten to ban them from Thanksgiving dinner unless they agree to vote in this election.

If your child has half-a-brain, sit them down and explain why voting is important. Remind them that it is because of this government (Harper et al) that they are still working part-time at McDonald’s, and only then because the Harper government was forced to shut down the Foreign Workers program that paid people from other countries slave wages to take jobs away from Canadian workers.

If it helps, explain voting like you would a Role Playing Game (RPG). Here’s the premise. Your adult child wanders through a wasteland armed only with a valid SIN number and police record check. All the factories are closed because of globalization. All of the food is tainted because  the government has fired all the inspectors. Niqabs are being ripped off the faces of women who are trying to become citizens. All his friends are in jail because of trumped up marijuana possession charges. Everyone else is running around with unregistered long guns shooting at people and all your kid has is a SIN number and a valid police check.

He has no way to communicate anymore because he can’t pay his phone bill and his parent can’t pay it either because they have lost their good government jobs. The world is all smoggy and awful, the water is full of Zebra mussels and he is forced to wear a mask. All the scientists meanwhile are locked up in a building somewhere, their mouths taped over and muzzled.

Your adult child’s task is to save Canada. And the only way to do that is to vote. Save the scientists. Save the planet. Let the niqab wearing woman get her citizenship. Free his friends from Harper’s prison.

He has a decision to make. Will he carry on the same path, the road to ruin. Or will he finally embrace hope and change and take the road less travelled.

Which fork in the road will he take?

Whaddya think?

Might work. It’s worth a shot.

Globe and Mail Weiner Roast


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Poor Liz got all dressed up for nothing

As conscientious Canadian voters, my husband and I felt we had an obligation to tune into the Globe Debate last night, and so we went up and down the dial looking for it, finally landing on CPAC for the first time, perhaps, ever.

At first, I thought we had tuned into The Fashion Police because there were a bunch of talking heads I’d never seen before. Blah, blah, blah. So we took the opportunity to follow Andrew Coyne’s lead and have our first drink. Well, that’s not true. We had been sitting in the backyard pounding it because my husband lost his job yesterday and we thought we’d take a last opportunity to down some hooch, given that this will henceforth be a dry household, given the fact we have to cover the rent, car payment, food, etc.

I digress.

I wish we had been watching The Fashion Police because the Globe panel was simply awful. Everybody said so. What was the point of doing a pre-debate show, anyway? So the Globies could show us how smart they are? Where the hell was Jeff Simpson or John Doyle?

After my third glass of wine, I landed on Twitter, and read the tweets from media types who all took a collective dump on the Globe and Mail for holding perhaps the worst debate ever. The whole show was a snorefest.

The graphics behind the leaders were ghastly. It was as if they’d hired the art department from the Walking Dead to paint the Parliament Buildings in True Blood.

And that moderator — I forget his name — let’s just call him the “I get to be moderator because I’m the boss at the Globe and I don’t care who knows it”. He was inept, shouting down the candidates, leaning over to try to get their attention. He must have flunked out of the debating club at Upper Canada College, or the Scottish equivalent.

I’m a Scot, myself, and even I would know enough not to let some hotheaded ginger moderate anything. He actually used a bell to single the end of each presentation and it was as if he was using the Pavlov Dog method. You know, ring the bell, they give you the same answer they gave to the same question at every election whistlestop.

Take another drink.

I didn’t learn anything at all during that debate. I just zoned out because nothing they were talking about applies to us. We’re no longer middle class, you see, because, as I said, my husband lost his job yesterday and I don’t make enough from my McJob to pay the phone bill. I don’t give a shit about the environment, right now, or oil sands, or the like. I certainly don’t care about child care — which wasn’t even mentioned — because my baby factory closed down long ago.

I am in striking distance of the CPP which will kick in next August but, in the meantime, Scott and I are planning to do some dumpster diving at the local Costco. Right now, we’re our neighborhood’s economic equivalent of Greece.

I did notice that Stephen Harper actually had a part in his hair, I am assuming because people have told him they think he wears a rug and actually resembles Shelly Berman or several other Borscht belt comedians who wear pieces. So it looks like he really does have just a whole lot of lacquered hair. (Which should have been mentioned during the Fashion Police segment.)

If I did give one shit about the debate, it was about the absence of Liz May. In its snobbery, The Globe simply put a line through the name of the only female leader and turned the thing into a sausage fest, a wrinkly, shrunken, sad weinie roast. I’m mean who’d you…Oh never mind.

I’m not upset about the woman thing, but Liz is the only one who can actually keep those rat bastards on topic. She’s like the teacher knuckling the students. I missed her.

So. If you missed the Great Debate, you didn’t miss much.

I’m going to kill myself before the next election so I don’t have to watch another one of these.

Stephen Harper’s Courthouse Jesters


You know how they say that New York City was the fifth girl in Sex and the City? Nearly every street scene was being stolen, in that long ago series, by the city that never sleeps.

It’s the same here in Ottawa. The Ottawa Courthouse has become a Fifth Wheel during the federal election. There are just as many political reporters camped out waiting for the likes of Bruce Carson, Nigel Wright, Duffy and others as there are on the campaign planes and buses.

That’s not to mention all the ink being spilled covering the antics at the Gatineau Courthouse where Patrick Brazeau has been making merry, tap dancing, and trolling.

The legal beagles are so terribly busy defending fraudsters, liars, cokeheads, pervs and pimps — all who have one thing, or should we say, one person in common. Stephen Harper! He’s become our Kevin Bacon, separated by six degrees from nearly everyone who is playing fast and loose with the law.

Even before the election, we were treated to days of court action with people like Dean Del Mastro, once a Harper right hand, who had to do the perp walk. Oh yeah, then there were the RoboGuys!

Average everyday criminals have to run the gauntlet of news cameras every day. How embarrassing that they have to be found out by their bosses and loved ones, who are watching the evening news, because they’ve had to jostle with Katie Simpson and Rosemary Barton to sneak in for their dose of justice. It just doesn’t seem fair.

It’s occurred to me that perhaps the Conservative Party of Canada should be sent a bill for clogging up the already backlogged court agenda. It’s taking forever to book a room for a run of the mill divorce or shoplifting charge because there are so many Tories and their hordes of Gucci-hoofed lawyers stinking up the place.

While we’re at it, maybe the Tories should be sent a bill for wasting all that time at the Supreme Court of Canada. At the very least, they should pay for being such a bunch of nuisance ninnies.

One thing is clear. If Stephen Harper does get re-elected, he’s going to need a full time handler to screen all his buddies. I hear Ray Donovan is available.

Stephen Harper: Smelly cat


I had a dream about Stephen Harper the other night.

It wasn’t a sex dream, or anything. But this campaign is so long, already, it’s giving me nightmares.

In the dream, I was at Stephen Harper’s pad, and we were watching, I guess what you would call a docu-drama about his life and his career. (Maybe, in addition to the election campaign, I’m being heavily influenced by the Toronto International Film Festival, who knows?)

The dream was very, very long, and Harper was getting more evil by the minute, especially as it became evident that he was experiencing The Long Goodbye, thanks to Canadians having enough of his ass around.

I once got into an argument with Tom Axworthy in which I suggested Canada needed a two strikes, and you’re out, kind of administration. Two terms, and bye-bye.

Tom said that kind of thing went against our Parliamentary traditions.

I said Canadians would welcome an airing out of the House of Commons to get the putrid stink out every few years. It’s bad enough the Senate smells like a manure pile.

I wonder who I could talk to about that.

Maybe the Conservative Party of Canada.

Stephen Harper, “Aha! Third One Today!”


With apologies to David Steinberg, but hopefully with the blessings of our beloved ex-pat.

Stephen Harper went out onto the Prairies chasing after a sheep.

(Hey, Harper was a prophet, not a pervert!)

He discovered a burning bush that would not consume itself,

“Take off the shoes from off of your feet,” Duffy said in his redundant way. “For the land you are standing on his Holy Land.”

Stephen Harper took off the shoes from off of his feet, and burned his feet.

Duffy said, “Ah ha, third one today!”

The Maclean’s Debate: Television for Readers


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Paul Wells has been racing around the tube telling everybody who will listen that Maclean’s is hosting a debate on CityTv tonight with ALL the leaders. If you’re at all interested, you better tune in. It may be the first and last debate in English.

Sorry, rest of the country. Mulcair and Harper don’t want you to watch. They seemingly only care about the GTA. Gord Martineau: do you have a question?

Of course, the debate can be watched in between cat videos on the Internet if you have Rogers Cable (not available on Bell).

Kidding, I’m sure Rogers will share their signal.

Sigh.

Will anybody watch? Will they fire up the Internet at the cottage, or switch over from NCIS? Will they tape the debate and watch it over and over again, in case they missed any surgical pearls spewing out of the mouths of the so-called leaders?

I wonder.

Fortunately, the Republican debate doesn’t conflict because it’s on at suppertime, so people can watch Donald Trump advancing the cause of white people. Now that is going to be must-see TV!

Otherwise, I’m thinking that the only people who will be watching the federal leaders debate are people who are paid to watch it or people like me, who are political junkies.

I. Have. No. Life.

If I were running things instead of Kory Teneycke (what kind of name is that for a grown man, anyway?) I would suggest to the leaders that they all come out in their boxers. Let’s see what they are really made of (no Y-fronts, please). Mulcair would have to fess up that he has to wear some sort of back brace, which explains why he walks like he has a coat hanger melded to his shoulders. Trudeau, well, nothing new there. We’ve already seen him without his top and he’s fabulous.

We would finally get to see the real Stephen Harper, Coke belly and all. I wonder if he’s got hair on his chest. Maybe a nipple ring, or a Mom tattoo. That would get tongues wagging.

In the interest of propriety we would insist that Liz May wear, at the very least, a bright green sports bra.

Okay, maybe this is going too far.

How about a debate where everybody takes off one piece of clothing for every lie they tell. Bob Fife could be in charge of the truth buzzer.

Trouble is, the only person who’d be stripping is our Fearless Leader who’s told so many nose-stretchers since the election began that his beak is melting off his face.

Come on, Paul, spice things up a little.

Embrace your inner Howard Stern!