Friday, April 17, 2015

Mrs. Duffy's Diary





  



It looks like Mike Duffy is not the only diarist in the family if the following entries from his wife Heather’s journal can be believed:
October 10, 2008
     Mikey came home very upset today. In fact, I can still hear him downstairs kicking the furniture and yelling at the dog. It’s really unfair what the media is saying about him. Just because he rebroadcast the “false starts” interview with Stéphane Dion and called Elizabeth May’s views “bizarre” and “off the wall”, they’re saying that he’s biased towards the Conservatives in the upcoming election.
     That’s just not right. Everybody knows that Mikey favors any party that can help him attain his lifelong dream of a Senate appointment. In the past, he might just as easily have favored the Liberals if they were in the lead. But that goofy Dion guy has about as much chance as a live lobster at a Cavendish church social so why should Mikey help him?
October 15, 2008
     What a great day! The Conservatives won the election last night and Mikey is on cloud nine which just happens to look a lot like him. They still can only form a minority government but Mikey says that’s good since they’ll need even more help to get a majority next time and that might mean a Senate seat for him.
December 22, 2008
     If there’s a big, fat, puffy cloud numbered ten, we’re on it today! Mikey has just been appointed a senator. He’s downstairs right now practicing his acceptance speech in front of our extra-wide full-length mirror. Mikey’s too much of a gentleman to say anything but I know he’d like to give a big fat raspberry to all his former colleagues who made fun of him as “Senator Mike”, “the Puffster” or “the Charlottetown Doughboy.” Who’s laughing now, media clowns?
June 30, 2009
     It’s been a great summer what with so many all-expenses-paid trips around the country talking to the Tory faithful. We even managed to fit in a quick visit to our “principal” residence in Cavendish, P.E.I. (“nudge, nudge, wink, wink” as Mikey always says). It sure is swell how all this can be charged to Mikey’s Senate expense account since it’s all about helping Canadians, albeit those Canadians who are Conservative.
December 6, 2012
     Mikey’s downstairs yelling at the furniture and kicking the dog. The Senate is investigating his housing and expense claims and saying that they were improper. What a bunch of hypocrites! It’s not as if half of them aren’t doing the very same thing.
     From day one, Mikey has been upfront and aboveboard about all this. He’s an Islander through and through and always has been. Heck, our house here in Ottawa has more lobster traps, Anne mementos and potato cookers than anyplace I know west of Summerside. If we don’t qualify as P.E.I.’ers, I don’t know who does.
February 13, 2013
     It looks like this whole misunderstanding is finally going to get sorted out. That nice Nigel Wright from the prime minister’s office cut Mikey a cheque for $90,172 to pay for his outstanding Senate expenses.
     I expressed concern that the media might get suspicious but Mikey said not to worry. From his experience, those media types aren’t too good with numbers and will likely round the amount down to an even $90,000 and won’t make the connection with his debt of $90,172. As Mikey says, $90,000 could be for anything like a new home in P.E.I. or for services rendered for all those Conservative fundraising dinners he attended on the rubber chicken circuit.
June 5, 2013
     Well the seaweed has hit the shore as they say in P.E.I. Mikey’s downstairs helping the dog kick the cat and muttering about some “double-crossing s.o.b.” He had to resign from the Conservative caucus and poor Nigel had to resign, too. What’s really frying Mikey’s taters though is that the prime minister is washing his hands of the whole thing. He says Harper won’t even reply to his texts anymore.
April 7, 2015

     You’d think that this would be a sad day what with the trial starting and all but I haven’t seen Mikey happier in months. He joked that he’s finally going to get his “year in court” and that if he goes down, he’s going to take the whole ship of fools down with him.   

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Brian Williams Story


Excerpts from “The Brian Williams Story”, a rumored biography that will now apparently never see print:


November 9, 1989
     “All I can say is that it was an honor and a thrill to be the only major American news anchor on site when the Berlin Wall fell. It was a combination of good luck and astute planning that put me there that night so that I could report this major event back home to our NBC viewing audience. Or maybe it was Tom Brokaw. The important thing is that we were there.”
December 1, 2000
     “So I turned to W and I said: ‘Hey, George, I think I know how you can solve this election mess. Just take it to the Supreme Court. As I see it, you’ve got at least five friends up there and, from what they’re telling me, they’re more than willing to do you a solid.’ Al Gore was furious with me for ‘sticking my nose in his business’ as he put it but he’s since forgiven me and I even secretly helped him get a better distribution deal on his documentary An Inconvenient Truth.”
February 6, 2003
     “Colin Powell was beside himself. ‘W, Rummy and Cheney all want me to make the case for going to war with Iraq,’ he said. ‘But I’m just not sure.’ I could have told him what he wanted to hear, that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and palled around with Osama bin Laden but it just wasn’t true and if there’s one thing a world class news anchor traffics in it’s the truth. So I gave him the straight goods based on my NBC News intelligence gathering. In the end, of course, he didn’t take my advice but, to this day, he often reminds me that it was the biggest mistake he ever made.”
February 6, 2007
     “Barack called me in a panic and said he didn’t know whether he should throw his hat into the ring. After I calmed him down, I said ‘Barry, look, I can see you’re nervous about taking on Hillary but I know for a fact that she’s vulnerable and can be beaten.’ He was ecstatic to get my advice and begged me to join his campaign team but, of course, I couldn’t. I already had the most important job in America and a responsibility to bring the news and YouTube videos to those over sixty.”
March 17, 2008
     “Everyone was throwing stones at Hillary and casting doubts on her recollection of her and Chelsea coming under sniper fire in a war zone in Bosnia in 1996. I called her up and commiserated and we compared notes about getting shot at. I told her to hang tough. ‘Memory is a funny thing,’ I said. ‘Sometimes what you remember actually happened and sometimes it didn’t but if it feels right to you, stick with your story.’”
February 1, 2015
     “Pete Carroll and I had been friends for years even going back to his days as coach of the New England Patriots. He struggled quite a bit back then so when he ultimately got the Seattle head coaching position, I vowed to help him out. Every week I passed along a dozen surefire offensive plays for the upcoming game and Pete couldn’t thank me enough. But then when he won the Super Bowl in 2014, he seemed to get a bit of a swelled head and started to ignore some of my advice. Sadly, he chose not to heed my single admonition for Super Bowl Sunday to never, ever throw an inside slant pass at the goal line. To his credit, he did call me after and apologize but sadly I don’t think our friendship will ever be the same.”

Sunday, November 09, 2014

The Congressman







                        With last season’s debut of “Naked and Afraid”, it appears that the TV reality show well might be running dry. Having exploited everything from dating to cooking to home improvement, it looks like the reality genre has finally been exhausted.
            Luckily for TV producers, there is still one fertile field of TV reality endeavor that’s ripe for the plucking, namely politics as evidenced by these proposed reality shows soon to spring forth from the drawing board:
The Congressman
            It’s “The Bachelor” meets “Joe Millionaire” in this political romance show. One U.S. congressman is introduced to 25 lobbyists who compete to win his love and support. Each episode features “dates” and ends with a “check” ceremony where the lobbyists offer up envelopes to the congressman in hopes of buying his heart and vote. Unlike other reality dating shows, the congressman is not restricted to choosing just one lobbyist. If successful, look for the debut of “The Congresswoman” next season.
Big Brothers and Sisters
            Nine aging jurists are forced to work together in a courtroom from the first Monday in October until the end of June. Alternating between sittings and recesses, the three women and six men are faced with new dilemmas such as what color to paint the walls, what kind of lunch to order in or whether or not a corporation is a person. The courtmates publicly assert that their decisions are all strictly based on legal reasoning although after the lights go out, it’s clear that there’s more politics than law involved as evidenced by the plethora of 5-4 split decisions.
Block That Bill
            There are 435 contestants living in the House and 100 in the Senate in this bicameral reality show. One team, called the Democrats, is assigned the task of trying to get bills passed to become actual laws. The other team, called the Republicans, tries to block those bills by whatever means available. The Democrats rule the Senate except for the inconvenient fact that it takes 60% of the residents to get anything done. It doesn’t really matter anyway since almost nothing gets by the Republicans in the House. Sadly, the only real losers in this show are the American public.
This Old White House
            It’s an aging Palladian-style mansion located in the heart of Washington, D. C. The almost 200-year-old residence has been home to more than forty different men and all but one lived there for eight or fewer years. The show follows the day-to-day life of the current resident and his ongoing failed attempts at legislative renovation. Whether it’s immigration reform or socialized medicine, the house’s tenant just can’t seem to get any Washington contractors to cooperate to make the necessary changes.
Here Comes Johnny Boo-hoo

            This show follows the daily life of Speaker of the House John Boehner, America’s favorite keening congressman. When it comes to sentimentality, he’s the handiest man with a handkerchief. Whether it’s remembering his hardscrabble background, thinking about the disadvantaged or honoring Rosa Parks, Johnny Boo-hoo is the king of the Washington waterworks. Unfortunately, when it comes to actually voting to help any of these folks, it looks like John’s are the only dry eyes in the House. 

Sunday, November 02, 2014

The Republican Three-ring Circus

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, welcome under the Republican big top and prepare to be entertained by the incredible performers of Boehner Brothers (formerly Hastert & Boehner), America’s premier political circus. 

Unlike other political circuses, we don’t just present one show at a time. We are a full, three-ring operation. That means no matter where you turn your head, there’s an amazing performance you just won’t be able to look away from.

Unfortunately, our regular ringmaster, Mr. John Boehner, could not be here as he is away on an extended ABO tour urging one and all to support “anyone but Obama.” However, as his political understudy, I, Kevin McCarthy, will host tonight’s festivities in the very same fashion with absolutely no added original thought or flourishes.

Now if you will turn your attention to the far ring on my right or what we have dubbed “The Congressional ring”, you will be wowed by several acrobatic feats. Watch as the amazing House Republicans introduce Obamacare defunding over and over again. Marvel as they repeatedly bring the nation to the brink of fiscal collapse. Be amazed and astounded at the mathematical magic of Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, who repeatedly turns forty per cent plus one into a majority.

To my left is “The Presidential wannabes ring” which doubles as the home of our circus’s clown contingent. Some of you are no doubt expecting to see our most famous presidential wannabes John McCain and Mitt Romney. Unfortunately, neither of these clowns is with the circus anymore but I can guarantee you that our current cast of jesters is capable of just as many wild antics as their famous predecessors.

You’ll see all your favorite clowns like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry. You may even be lucky enough to be entertained by the best of the best from recent years like Ted Cruz and Michelle Bachman.  

But that’s not all. Thanks to our world famous Republican clown college, there are always new graduates to entertain you. Keep your eyes open tonight for this season’s new prat-falling, seltzer-spraying buffoons like Jeb Bush and the “Amazin’ Pauls”: Paul Ryan and Rand Paul.

Finally, if you will look directly in front of me in the main circle, “The Republican donors ring”, you’ll be astounded by the taming abilities of our favorite bilious billionaires. Thanks to the assistance of five-ninths of the Supreme Court, you can now watch the likes of Sheldon Adelson and the Krazy Koch brothers tame the wildest presidential candidates making them eat right out of the palms of their hands.

We may not have dancing elephants or unicycle-riding bears but we have something even better: non-stop political shenanigans. If you thought politics was dull and unentertaining, you’re in for a delightful surprise as you’ll see astonishing things you’d never see anywhere outside Washington, D.C.

From sexual improprieties to overused filibusters, the Republican big top is sure to bring you ongoing, jaw-dropping entertainment unmatched in any jurisdiction west of Russia.

So, ladies and gentlemen, sit back and enjoy our three-ring circus. No matter where you look, you’ll be surprised, amazed and amused by the common sense-defying actions and antics of our team of unique performers.

You are indeed a fortunate audience as there is no guarantee that our circus can continue much longer. With this many no-net high wire acts, we may not last until the end of the year or even the end of the month. So sit back, open your eyes and be prepared to be astounded.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Tory Three-ring Circus

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, welcome under the Tory big top and prepare to be entertained by the incredible performers of Harper Brothers (formerly Harper & Flaherty), Canada’s premier political circus.

Unlike other political circuses, we don’t just present one show at a time. We are a full, three-ring operation. That means no matter where you turn your head, there’s an amazing performance you just won’t be able to look away from.

Unfortunately, our regular ringmaster, Mr. Stephen Harper, could not be here as he is away on an extended foreign tour bringing our unique style of political showmanship to foreign capitals from Jerusalem to Kyiv to Berlin. However, as his political understudy, I, Pierre “call me Pete” Polievre, will host tonight’s festivities in the very same fashion with absolutely no added original thought or flourishes.

Now if you will turn your attention to the far ring on my right or what we have dubbed “the Senate ring”, you will be wowed by several acrobatic feats. Watch as the seemingly immoveable Mike Duffy simultaneously lives in Ottawa and P.E.I. Marvel as the glamorous dragon lady Pamela Wallin resides in Toronto but claims official residence in Saskatchewan. Be amazed and astounded at the financial high wire act of our once-undefeated serial pugilist Patrick Brazeau.

To my left is the Prime Minister’s Office ring which doubles as the home of our circus’s clown contingent. Watch as PMO clowns engage in all manner of political high jinks from unauthorized personal loans to senators to questionable interference in riding association nomination processes. Supposedly under the command and control of the ringmaster, these Kanadian Keystone Kops will have you in stitches with their crazy unexpected actions.

Some of you are no doubt expecting to see our most famous PMO performers Nigel Wright and Dmitri Soudas. Unfortunately, neither of these clowns is with the circus anymore but I can guarantee you that our current cast of jesters is capable of just as many wild antics as their famous predecessors.

Finally, if you will look directly in front of me in the main ring, you will see our star attraction: the dangerous caged caucus. For years, these fierce House members have been tamed and controlled by Canada’s top MP tamer, our brave ringmaster himself, Mr. Harper.

But with Mr. Harper’s repeated absences and recent damaging events, the caucus animals have become restless and emboldened. As your ringmaster for tonight, I will share taming duties with our top whip, Mr. John Duncan. Together we hope to keep these bellicose backbenchers from breaking free and bringing down the entire Tory tent.

We may not have dancing elephants or unicycle-riding donkeys but we have something even better: non-stop political shenanigans. If you thought politics was dull and unentertaining, you’re in for a delightful surprise as you’ll see astonishing things you’d never see anywhere outside Washington, D.C.

From double-claimed expenses to overused omnibus bills to borderline criminal activity, the Tory three-ring circus is sure to bring you ongoing, jaw-dropping entertainment unmatched in any jurisdiction north of the American border.

So, ladies and gentlemen, sit back and enjoy our three-ring circus. No matter where you look, you’ll be surprised, amazed and amused by the common sense-defying actions and antics of our team of unique performers.

You are indeed a fortunate audience as there is no guarantee that our circus can continue much longer. With this many no-net high wire acts, we may not last until the end of the year or even the end of the month. So sit back, open your eyes and be prepared to be astounded.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Bureaucrats' Trap

“[D]epartments are experimenting with regular ‘Dragons' Den’-type events with employees to find creative solutions to policy and operational challenges.”                                                          
-    Destination 2020 web site

“Good evening. I’m Tony Clement, president of the Treasury Board, and I’d like to welcome you to the first episode of our brand new show called Bureaucrats’ Trap. It’s a chance for federal public servants to participate in our wonderful new action plan called Destination 2020 by pitching their ideas to improve government service to a panel of topnotch bureaucrats.”
“First up is Fred Warner, a file clerk from Vancouver who has what he describes as a ‘sure-fire method’ to eliminate red tape and improve file processing in any government office.”
“Thanks, Mr. Clement. I’m really excited to be here tonight to tell you about my plan to revolutionize file handling in the public service. What’s that? Do I have my proper ID with me? Well, no. I didn’t think I’d need it for this. Security clearance? Again, I wasn’t aware I’d need to document that for a simple presentation.”
“Sorry about that, Fred, but you’ll understand that rules are rules and we can’t just have anyone appearing before our panel of experts. But hopefully our next presenter, Cindy Lawson, from Halifax has the proper accreditation so the bureaucrats can consider her new idea.”
“Yes I do, Mr. Clement, plus I’ve got everything in triplicate with extra copies for all the panelists.”
“Excellent, Cindy. Now please go ahead with your presentation.”
“As you can see on the screen in front of you, my plan for efficient file handling is called “first in – first out” or FIFO for short. It’s a revolutionary new method whereby the first file received in an office receives priority to ensure that it is the first one processed and finalized.”
“Thanks, Cindy, but as the bureaucrats have noted, that’s just not going to work. Your plan has a superficial appeal but, in essence, is just too simplistic. What about files requiring immediate priority for the minister? Or what about folios from favored constituents? And then there are those dockets that need to be temporarily or even permanently shelved for any number of good reasons that typically need not be publicly revealed. It’s a nice thought, Cindy, but I’m afraid it’s just a bit naïve. Which brings us to our next presenter - Gord Burroughs from Ottawa. Gord, what have you got for us tonight?”
“Well, Tony. May I call you Tony? No? OK. Well, Mr. Clement, I’ve got a plan that I know is going to help revamp and revitalize the entire federal public service. It’s something I call ‘adequate compensation and directions’ or ACAD for short. ACAD would provide a mechanism whereby an individual employee’s position would be properly classified and salary and bonuses would be set in accordance with established industry metrics.”
“Gord, the bureaucrats love your creative use of acronyms and the can-do spirit behind your proposal but ultimately they feel that it’s a no-go simply because it is far too specific. They would have preferred that you come up with a couple of innocuous acronyms without any detailed action plan. After all, obfuscation and deferral are the two key watchwords in any new grand government initiative. So long as it sounds good and it’s vague enough so no one can actually assess results, it’s a winner. Better luck next time.”

“Well, that’s it for this week’s episode of Bureaucrat’s Trap. Join us next week when we welcome three more workers with their simplistic and obvious suggestions that will likely not meet the bureaucrats’ minimum standards for viable policy implementation. And stay tuned for our new quiz show entitled Remember These? in which  workers and mandarins participate as contestants and try to recall anything meaningful about previous long-forgotten government action plans like La Relève, PS2000, GE Conversion, UCS (Universal Classification System) and VASE (Vision and Strategies Exercise). The winner gets to keep his or her job.” 

Friday, April 04, 2014

Barry And The Boys


Barry and the boys were sitting around the Oval Office trying to come up with an answer to the Ukraine crisis:

"Mr. President, we have to do something about Ukraine. We can't keep saying that there will be consequences. People are calling you a wimp."
"Let's be clear; I am not a wimp. There will be consequences if Russia does not respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Mark my words."
"That's what's been happening, Mr. President. Everyone's been marking your words and there's not a whole lot there."
"Well, let me be perfectly clear. The United States will not accept nor will we condone any incursion by a foreign power into the sovereign territory of another nation based solely on trumped up allegations of non‑existent security threats."
"Uh, Mr. President, what about Iraq?"
"Oh, damn! Thanks a lot George W. Bush."
"Anything else, Mr. President?"
"Well, let's see. How about the United States does not concede that there is any doctrine that Russia can invoke to curtail foreign influence in any country within its immediate sphere of influence?"
"You mean like the Monroe Doctrine?"
"Damn again!"
"There must be something we can do, Mr. President."
"Wait, wait, I've got it. There can be no acceptance of a political situation where a foreign power decides to intervene in the affairs of another country simply because one political faction in that country has toppled the ruling party and seeks an alliance with the foreign power's foes."
"Our invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965?"
"Damn and double damn! Wait, I've got it. Our nation will not countenance a violation of international law whereby a nation invades another country simply to protect those of its own ethnicity."
"Ronald Reagan. Grenada. 1983. Had to rescue those American medical students. Remember?"
"Can't allow a foreign influence to take hold so close to our shores?"
"Cuba. Bay of Pigs. 1961."
"OK. What about a condemnation of a specious claim of manifest destiny to expand one's sovereignty to include contiguous territory?"
"Sounds like the Mexican War of 1845, Mr. President."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. So if you guys are so smart, what's the answer?"
"Let them have Crimea and call it a day. They'll live to regret it. Remember Afghanistan and Georgia?"
"OK, let's do it."

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Fuggedaboutit, eh?















Most political scandals in America have a Washington connection. Think Watergate, Abscam, Iran-Contra and Clinton-Lewinsky. In the case of the maelstrom surrounding Chris Christie, however, the Washington connection happens to be the George Washington Bridge spanning New Jersey and Manhattan.

For those who might have been out of the country or trapped in traffic on said bridge, Governor Christie is in hot water because his staffers arranged a traffic tie-up on the GWB last September in retaliation for the lack of a reelection endorsement from Fort Lee’s Democratic Mayor Mark Sokolich. Although it appears that Mr. Christie had no direct involvement in or knowledge of those shenanigans, the fact that his people initiated this stunt suggests that he had created and encouraged an atmosphere of vindictive political payback.

Ordinarily, such an event would be a one-day wonder and would quickly disappear from the nation’s headlines. But in this case, the governor in question is the putative favorite to be the Republican Party’s nominee in the 2016 presidential election. Thus, this scandal has, if not legs, at least a couple of arms that could see it dragging itself along in full public view for the foreseeable future.

As a Canadian, I don’t know whether to be pleased or annoyed by America’s latest political scandal, what is sure to eventually be known as Bridgegate, Christiegate or Jerseygate. On the one hand, it finally takes the spotlight away from our foulmouthed, crack-smoking, lady-councillor-shoving Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. On the other hand, it takes the spotlight away from Canada, a country that can use any publicity it can get whether good or bad.

On balance, I think this latest screw-up is a bad thing for us Canadians. After all, Mr. Ford has managed to give us more international media coverage in the last six months than we’ve otherwise garnered in 25 years. And since I don’t see anyone else on the northern horizon who’s capable of the antics necessary to get us noticed, I think Rob Ford’s the publicity horse we should keep on riding.

The question then becomes how do we squelch the interest in Governor Christie’s mess and get the news hounds back on the trail of Mr. Ford? I think the answer lies with Mr. Christie.

All it would take is a discreet call from the New Jersey Governor’s office to the Toronto Mayor’s office asking for one small favor. The fact remains that no matter what Rob Ford does, nothing seems to affect his popularity among Toronto voters. The crazier the stunt, the better his reelection chances. In fact, it’s apparent that when Mr. Ford is  behaving himself, his electability actually drops.

A savvy New Jersey pol should be able to pick up on this fact and suggest to Mr. Ford that a few more faux pas might be just what it takes to get him reelected to the Toronto mayoralty later this coming year. Maybe he could snort cocaine while speeding through downtown Toronto on a stolen motorcycle. Or what about dropping a couple of  water balloons from the CN Tower?

Let’s face it; it wouldn’t take much to return Mayor Ford to the front pages, the supper hour news shows and, most importantly, the lead story on The Daily Show. At that point, the George Washington Bridge scandal becomes yesterday’s news and Governor Christie can get back to doing what he does best: pimp for President.

So, hey Chris Christie, do yourself and us Canadians a big favor: call Rob Ford. As I see it, it’s a win-win situation. No need to thank me. As they say in Toronto: “fuggedaboutit, eh?”  

Saturday, November 02, 2013

24 Sussex Trick-or-treaters

Halloween is over and that means Canadian homes from coast to coast to coast were visited by scary trick-or-treaters.  And that included the nation’s First Residence: 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa.  Here are some of the frightening visitors Stephen Harper had last Thursday night:

Mike Duffy
This is probably the scariest visitor the PM had on Halloween night. A modern version of the walking undead, it seems this guy can no longer be killed or bought off. Mr. Harper can try putting another cheque in Mr. Duffy’s treat bag but it might be too late. He better come up with something nice though; otherwise he can expect all manner of tricks from the Puffster.

Nigel Wright
This is the last person Mr. Harper wanted to see on Thursday night. But if Mr. Wright did show up, maybe the two of them finally got their story straight. Did Mr. Wright resign or did Mr. Harper dismiss him? With any luck, Mr. Wright will remain the disappeared ghost he has become.

Pamela Wallin
Dressed as a  witch, Ms. Wallin may have paid a visit to the official residence with vengeance on her mind. Like Mike Duffy, she’s looking for a few treats including the retention of her Senate seat or else she’ll be handing out old e-mails to the media like Halloween candy.

Arthur Hamilton
The prime minister probably barred this fellow at the gate, especially if he came bearing any scary e-mails and memos or possibly a frightening cancelled cheque for $13,560. If it was the latter, the PM just better hope it wasn’t drawn from Conservative Party funds.

Marjory LeBreton
 This is one scary Halloween visitor with both feet in her mouth and dragging a loose canon behind her. If she starts telling Mr. Harper how Patrick Brazeau was a failed experiment and how Mike Duffy spun his story of a repayment plot, he better cover his ears and have her escorted off the property.

The Ghost of Richard Nixon
If this spectre showed up at the door, Mr. Harper should have heeded his words carefully. “What did you know and when did you know it?” wails Mr. Nixon’s apparition. This ghost from scandals past knows very well that it’s seldom the crime that does you in; it’s usually the coverup that destroys you in the end.

The Conservative Base
They haven’t been too pleased of late and the latest Senate Scandal revelations have made them hopping mad. Mr. Harper better have some nice legislative goodies to offer them this Halloween if he hopes to keep his leadership position intact.

The Senate Tory Caucus
If this gang appeared, the PM should have listened very closely to their advice. Some are urging that the motion to suspend delinquent senators be withdrawn as a matter of principle. Given that further scrutiny might reveal more wrongdoings by other members, perhaps it should be withdrawn as a matter of practicality instead.

The Swing Voter
Possibly the scariest visitor to 24 Sussex Drive this year, the Swing Voter is as crazy and unpredictable as Justin Trudeau with a drug legalization issue.  Frightening as it is to consider, this spooky character almost elected the NDP last election and if Mr. Harper doesn’t fill up his Halloween treat bag with goodies like lower cell phone costs and pick-a-channel cable, he might just make Thomas Mulcair prime minister next time.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Weedstock 2015

“Medical marijuana grow-op strikes deal at Smiths Falls’ former Hershey plant”
- Newspaper headline - September 26, 2013

Some are for it and some are against it but there’s one thing for sure; everyone’s talking about it. The “it” in question is the phoenix-like deal to turn the old Hershey chocolate plant in Smiths Falls, Ontario into a medical marijuana grow-op.

    Reasonable people can debate at length the merits and demerits of marijuana but it appears to me that we are already on the path to its eventual legalization. And since that train seems to have already left the station, it behooves citizens of the Rideau Valley to get on board and enjoy the journey.

As I see it, the creation of a handful of jobs setting up and operating Smith Falls’ new fun factory is only one small part of the potential explosion in economic growth the region could soon enjoy.

Just like Hershey used to provide guided tours of its chocolate plant, the owners of the new facility could provide tours of its operation, a kind of seed-to-weed experience. And if the drug laws change soon, who knows, each visit could end just like the Hershey plant tours did with a free sample or two and the chance to buy a couple of ounces of your favorite product.

The spinoff effects could also be significant. Smith Falls could become eastern Canada’s pot destination of choice for cannabis tourists from around the globe. The growth in bed and breakfasts, all-you-can-eat restaurants and weed-tasting cafes could be explosive.

In the manner of other cutesy tourist towns, Smiths Falls could soon be home to quaint architecture, trendy head shops and fancy street signs with catchy new names like Doobie Drive and Justin Trudeau Lane.

Creative minds might also choose to expand this new tourist destination with attractions like a marijuana museum or even a marijuana theme park complete with fairly easy midway games, slow moving rides and lots and lots of concession stands.

I suspect that it won’t be long before the city fathers and mothers of Smiths Falls seize on this golden opportunity and start holding annual festivals. Their town could soon be home to everything from grass-themed music festivals to marijuana trade shows. It may not happen next year but don’t be surprised if you find yourself attending Weedstock in the near future.

Given the seeming inevitability of legalization, there’s also a golden opportunity for area farmers to start their own boutique marijuana growing and processing operations. Much like the Niagara region and northern California have done with wine, the Rideau Valley might well do with weed.

It won’t happen overnight, of course, but it won’t be too long before we can enjoy a drive or a quiet bike ride through the Smiths Falls region with a view to touring any number of pot farms and sampling and purchasing their unique wares. I predict that ten years from now, no one will be talking about B.C. Bud; instead all the buzz will be about Rideau Red.

Some are understandably leery of this new economic opportunity for the region but I’m the kind of guy who sees the bowl as being half full. With millions of potential grass tourists here in Canada alone, this is an opportunity Rideau Valley residents simply can’t let go up in smoke.