Scary Thoughts from North Bay

By Wally Hourback | June 21, 2004

One of my friends out in Alberta (Yah, I got some there) called the other night to ask if what he was hearing from Ontario was real, and did we understand who Stephen Harper was going to bring with him from Alberta to run the country.

I hadn’t thought of that, and I don’t know anyone here who has. Imagine Stockwell Day as minister of External Affairs—and he was the Alliance External Affairs critic—explain to the EU Foreign Ministers that there were dinosaurs roaming the earth 6000 years ago—or, agreeing on that factuality with George W. Bush and his Book of Revelations-reading administration. Imagine Stockwell negotiating with the Islamic world by threatening them with hell-fire and damnation if they don’t accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior. What about Myron Thompson as the next Heritage Minister?

The point my friend was making was this: whatever we may think of the icy-cool Harper, there will be one scary herd of cats and loose cannons elected on his skirts. Who’s to say, given how little we really know about Harper, how interested he’ll be in controlling the extremists among them. Will he bring in David Frum to privatize health care, he of the “welfare is character corrupting” Darwinisms, or will there be even more out-front Visigoths from Ralph Klein’s regime wielding the hatchets? Who will he appoint to put an end to Canada’s urban-based poufter-run cultural industries, dismantle the CBC and hack to death the CRTC and its anti-American CanCon regulations? My friend tells me that the scariest bunch in Harper’s NewCon revolution aren’t the ones who’ll be elected. He says the real controllers are going to be a half-dozen oil-patch boys in Calgary no one outside of a few insiders have ever seen. These are men who believe that paradise is somewhere close to Dallas, men who see George W. Bush as a moderate.

The list of barbarian possibilities is unpleasant to contemplate, and almost enough to make me vote for grinning Jack Layton or, ugh, stuttering Paul Martin, who’s been so totally out-maneuvered by the Conservatives and all the Liberals he’s pissed off while pushing Chretien off the boat that he can’t even campaign on his real accomplishments, which mostly consist of implementing policies that Brian Mulroney dreamed up, but didn’t have the balls to execute. Thank god we still have non-factor parties like the Greens and CAP, who aren’t completely blinded by the thought of exercising power and thus can actually think about what’s good for the country without having it instantly squashed by a handler who wants them to stick to the party message, usually one that no voter with his wits about him gives a crap about or believes that promises made will be promises kept. Too bad all the Green and CAP candidates are under 16, over 80, or suffer from dietary obsessions and unattractive skin rashes.

I’d hate to have you thinking that I’m cynical, but the only sure promise this election holds is that of another election about a year from now. Hopefully that one will be an election in which there’ll be some people and ideas trustable enough to vote for.

531 w. June 20, 2004


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