Following the Three Stooges

By Wally Hourback | June 11, 2004

A couple of days after the Federal election was called, the National Post asked Paul Martin Jr., Stephen Harper and Jack Layton who their favourite children’s entertainer was. All three gave the same answer: Raffi.

Now, aside from Raffi being the one human being on the planet I will attack on sight (I was once subjected to a two-year onslaught of “Baby Beluga” ), this datum is significant for several reasons. First off, it typifies the kind of attention the conventional mass media is focusing on this election. Either it can’t for fear of its corporate masters, or else it simply doesn’t want to understand that this election might be about the future of this country, not an item for its entertainment. Second, the fact that all three leaders are familiar with Raffi clinches my suspicion that we’re really dealing with The Three Stooges, and that the first question we need to ask ourselves is which of them is Curly, Larry, or Moe.

What is this election really about? Well, it’s about Paul Martin Jr.’s ambition. It is taking place partly because Martin wants to be elected prime minister, and then run the country as a subsidiary of Canadian Steamships while he pays back all the political debts he’s created in the last few years. Never mind that his political creditors are mostly liabilities that veer dangerously close to being political thugs and racketeers.

But it’s also taking place because of the conventional mass media’s frighteningly air-headed appetite for idea-free conflict. In a sense, it precipitated this mess by heading the daily news for the last three years with “Jean Chretien, faced with mounting pressure to retire as Liberal Party leader from Paul Martin Jr. and his supporters, once again did not resign today.” Now the same people are blaming Martin for calling an election they did more to bring on than Martin’s over-eager accountancy thugs. Jean Chretien could have continued to dispose of those clowns like a man flicking flies off his bib. But the conventional mass media’s hunger for novelty and confrontation wore him down—and probably annoyed him enough that he set a series of rat-traps for Martin that have been clanging down across his neck more or less daily since Chretien’s retirement. Martin’s eagerness for power has transformed him from a competent accountant into a man with a lemon permanently stuck in his mouth and a banana skin attached to each foot.

Then there’s Stephen Harper. There’s two remarkable things about this guy. The most important is his gift for dissembling. This is a man who believes in capital punishment, foreign wars in support of Haliburton Oil, illegalizing abortion, Stepford wives in every household, and god knows what else. He represents the interests of Christian fundamentalists and the array of antideluvian social reactions they harbour deep in their bigoted souls; octogenarian Social Credit millionaires who believe that paying taxes is unmanly and communistic (whenever they can still remember who they are); the Alberta Government; and six or eight guys I know in North Bay who want to be able to carry automatic weapons in their pickup truck window racks and would like to be able to go hunting year round. They’re a little scary, these guys, because there are six or eight more of them in every town in the country, and they’d just as soon hunt commies or uppity immigrants as moose or bears. Why no one in the media has pointed out Harper’s true constituency eludes me. Those six or eight guys will be hunting them down if Harper gets a majority government.

Is Harper a sane alternative to Martin? No, because most Canadians still prefer life as it is in Winnipeg to life inside David Koresh’s compound in Waco, Texas.

The second remarkable thing about Stephen Harper? I can never remember his name unless its written on a piece of paper in front of me, or on a cutline on the lower part of a television screen. Why hasn’t anyone noticed that this man absorbs light and turns everything close to him gray or beige?

Then there’s Jack Flash Layton. He has no ideas, and no upper lip. He’s so warm and urban he looks as if someone has just stuffed his underpants with glove warmers. Like everyone else in the NDP, he’s pussy-whipped. I’ve got no problem with being pussy-whipped, except that it ought to be more fun than anyone in the current NDP is willing to enjoy. This is a party that hasn’t had a good idea federally since Medicare, or a provincial one since government auto insurance. Its brain-trust really ought to sit down and talk to all the tribal minorities it purports to represent and see how self-interested they really are, and how many of them actually vote for the NDP.

So, who am I going to vote for on election day? The local candidate who will stop sloganeering, look me in the eye and not splatter me with bullshit. How about you?

846 w. June 11, 2004


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