Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Prime Klein

This is what I thought would happen during the last Canadian Election. For those not familiar, there was a ridiculous no confidence vote and we had to pick a new leader in the middle of a cycle. It was very stressful for me that year, along with anyone else in the room with me when I started shouting at the television or computer screen in front of me.

In the weeks just before the election was called:

So, the confidence vote is over and from now until the 24th, Steven Harper will continue to go on and on about winning the battle but losing the war etc. etc. and won’t be able to stop blustering about Opposition days. Sadly for him, the conservative leadership will have no choice but to haul him out to Nunavut where he can have a 6-month long quiet discussion about what a leader has to do. First thing: run the party. He will not be the leader for long and it will become even more obvious when on the 24th he will announce that for some bullshit “the country doesn’t need another election right now, for the good of the party etc” that he will in fact not be bringing forth a motion to topple the government like he’s been promising because he simply won’t have the votes even within his own party. No-one wants to be remembered as supporting the sinking Titanic, and his failure is bordering on those epic proportions. Now of course, this will completely alienate the bloc from the cons and not until PET rises from the dead will those two parties get together. Duceppe is all on his own again in the very peculiar position of having the majority in the province with the most seats and votes and an incredible wealth financially, but whose culture and ethics are completely lost on the entire rest of the country who therefore will not cooperate in their motions and filibuster out of sheer culture shock when critical moves are made. He’s adrift once again and now even less likely to find or trust allies on the hill. Not to mention that in a bizarre election settlement, the Bloc won and Duceppe is in Parliament representing the Quebec people, but the Premier of the province is Liberal Jean Charest. Gilles is alone among jackals and will play very shrewdly in the next few years.
Harper’s out and more than likely the next Liberal candidate will be John Manley. Stronach and Parrish will each run and divide the women’s votes allowing the most forgettable leader of the Canadian Military to gain the leadership of what is left of the liberal party. Harper won’t be heard from for quite some time, but once the new leader of the cons (Klein by a landslide) comes into power, Stronach will cross back over and Mackay will probably leave the house completely. The man can barely walk as it is.

It’s kind of sad in a way due to the fact that Parrish is exactly the type of candidate we actually need in the Liberal party. She’s strong, has a clear platform, isn’t afraid to say what she means, but is willing to take it back later like only the best parliamentary minds can, and she too has been mistreated by the Martin government. She could even win, but likely her four years would be spent answering the following questions: are you Kim Campbell? How are you different than Kim Campbell? How are you different than Sheila Copps? Elsie Wayne and Belinda? She is no Margaret Thatcher and she would never achieve anything during the entire period of her primeministership. The sad truth is that the only way the next prime minister ends up a woman is if Belinda crosses earlier than I think she will and allows herself to be a puppet for the Kleins who will take the entire cabinet and ambassadorships, thusly rendering the office of PM more truly impotent than previously expected. I doubt this will happen due simply to my acknowledgment of how disgusted the average person is with the liberal party in general.

Due to this inevitable liberal sink, the only play I can see in 08 is the following: The cons return to reality after this botched attempt at governing, they get off the morality ticket (at least publicly) and Harper commences a 20-30 month-long chat with his former political science professor in Tuktuyaktuk. They look closely at who they have with more experience, charisma and actual success in one of these campaign-agenda-getting-done-what-we-wanted-to thingies. They look towards those conservatives who have won in the past, such people as Brian Mulroney who ran on the free-trade ticket and then retired to fully support Ben in his role on Canadian Idol. People like Joe Clark who left us reeling in the wake of a cacophonous election only to realize that what we got was the last man standing. The quietest, meekest, weakest, saddest excuse for a PM in the history of our country. They look and look in order to find where they could possibly have gone wrong in the last decade and they hit upon the one person who has any credentials, charisma or standing in BOTH parties (the pc’s and the former alliance). They see someone with experience governing, long-term relationships with other leaders both within and without Canada and they FINALLY get the drift and look for someone who could just possibly win an election against a life-long liberal. Someone who could meet them on their own ground and not fly off on some sick moral tangent that loses the support of the centre majority of the country. Someone who in fact, knows how to win.
It can only be Ralph Klein. He is the only person in his own party who has never wavered on his issues, has stood firm in his beliefs despite opposition, has continually made his province rich and debt free and has continually won his elections. He can talk the economic talk and he more than anyone around Parliament Hill has pull in Washington. He has a long personal history, a body of opinions and knows a little bit more about how to govern than any of the last yahoos in the running on the Con ticket. Throughout the periods of Stockwell, Steven and (another s-name con), he went about his business running and winning and governing and then doing it all again. Setting himself up for just this moment when the liberals are scrambling for support anywhere and the last two leaders were French-Canadian and knew PET personally, worked for him. That kind of charisma sets historical precedence and anyone going up against anyone who was around for that knew it was political suicide. There’s no-one left on their side with that kind of standing. The party is out of heavyweights, so Klein is gearing up.

But there’s more to it than that. It is something beyond my own paranoia that has convinced me it will happen. It is some kind of kabalistic surety that has gripped my spine and shaken it saying, “TRUE”. You see, in the last few years, two major political leaders have been accosted by publicly minded upset citizens with pies. Both occasions sparked the type of national security question that could only happen here, where the RCMP come under scrutiny for allowing it to happen, but since no-one was shot, the whole thing is fairly light-hearted. One was our prime minister, Jean Cretien at the time, who took it all in stride and only mildly spanked the RCMP for allowing it to happen in the first place. But boys will be boys and ho ho ho, isn’t our great country founded on the freedom to dissent. Banana cream is enjoyed by all and the business of the nation continues. The other was Ralph Klein, who whined and blustered more heartily than any shit-crusted cow being led lowing to a slaughtering line. His reaction was fierce and impotent. He raged and gaped like a fish out of water until the humour left it, and in its place was a sad, angry old man in the helpless throes of spurned revenge.

This coincidence mainly is what drives me to fear rightly (no pun intended) that the next man at the reins of the parliamentary pig-run will be the same man who herded Alberta into the money-barrel in the first place with no regard for the intellect or quality of life of the people there. There are school fees, tuitions if you will, for primary school. The oil money lubricates the most pressing social issue, drunk driving and the Calgary stampede will madden even those most debauched cynics among us.

What terrifies me is that in a certain context he may in fact be the one that is needed right now. Sad but true. SAD…but fucking true. You see, the next American president will definitely be a republican who won’t be able to possibly sink lower than Dubya short of actually bombing himself. I’m banking on Jeb Bush myself, so the next Canadian Prime Minister is going to need to be someone who can deal with someone like that. Someone who can follow the hog to the slop trough. The two liberals who have dealt most keenly with American Republicans were both in positions to wheedle and then come back home and do whatever we wanted anyway. I strongly respect that, but sadly under those conditions our cattle were herded away from the border as fast as they could stumble in the cud and shit fields, our hydroelectric power is being donated to the great states who seem to need it but can’t quite grasp paying for it and apparently soon, the clean water from Canadian mountain springs will be fast-tracked to Vegas to make sure the fountains keep flowing, through a pipe made of softwood lumber. This suggests to me that since we know we won’t be engaging in the “war” in Iraq that gets stranger by the day, and we apparently don’t understand that having the commodity to sell can be seen as, oh I don’t know…leverage? It pains me to admit this, but a Klein-led PC base could get the job done, and he is the only one who would have enough charisma and cohones to actually go our biggest trade partner and say, “hey you fuckers, open the cattle pens, lift the tariffs on our softwood lumber and then we’ll think about discussing missile defense.”

Harper wouldn’t get out of the lobby. His natural ennui and total incomprehension of the job of a political leader, good or bad, is exemplified by his momentous blundered attempt to unite the right in Canada. Bluntly put, as was his campaign, he thinks he is an American republican, and not a Canadian conservative. Economic conservatives are the bulk of the party in this country. They are concerned about spending and the effect of fiscal mismanagement on the services we expect and rely on here. They tend to be open-minded and like the majority of Liberals, they veer towards the middle. The moral issue does concern them, but not to the extent of debilitating social programs and re-directing tax money based on it. I suspect that like most of us as well, they pretty much wanted him to shut up when they heard Harper speak at…well, anytime really.

The full extent of his misguided coup didn’t dawn on him until even the pollsters had given up. He was up against the ruling party with the man who got us out of the Mulroney deficit at the helm. When it came to it, they had the middle of the roaders regardless of party by that point. But little stevie made it worse. He went against the former leader of his own party by breaking a promise not to try to merge the Alliance and the Conservative parties. Given that he had provided written assurances not to do this to his predecessor, and given his own lack of experience in leading a party to anything, let alone a parliamentary run, most sound-minded conservatives ran to the Liberals in defense with a soupcon of spite. I remember hearing a pollster sitting with Peter Mansbridge that night saying, “well you know, people are allowed to change their minds…we didn’t know!” To which I said (loudly to the television in the vague hope they could hear me from my living room in Montreal) what do you mean? You’re a pollster you idiot! Even I can see what happened and it’s your job to know these things!

Here’s the sick play I see:

The Liberals are running like hell for NDP support. This means that they still push their own agenda, but Layton can stonewall for one or two huge issues over the board. There’s not a chance in hell that Martin will try to court Harper, so if Layton plays his cards right, we might see an end to corporate tax cuts. This would be smart move by the Liberals to own the sponsorship responsibility and at the same time steal the thunder of the neo-cons who can’t get off the economic\morality ticket, despite the fact that their policies would indeed bankrupt us even faster than the NDP. I’m pretty excited about the whole thing. I’m rooting for a Liberal\NDP middle finger towards Harper with no election, but if an election should occur, I will deliberately spoil my ballot because they count these things and I want to make the point.

Option 2,

Let’s say Martin and Layton can’t be happy together, then the election is called and the Liberals barely, narrowly win again. Not by redemption, only because the opposition vote is so divided between the bloc, the cons and the deeps. So the following election cycle comes around by which time the conservatives realize that Harper can’t beat a donkey with a stick, let alone the former finance minister under ChrĂ©tien. They call out to the conservatives who are still voting liberal due to the HUGE blunder by Harper to merge the PC’s and the Alliance with a clarion call to elect a new leader with more personality (not hard) and more credentials. While the Liberals continue to reel in the wake of the election so narrowly won and only due to the division against them, Martin steps down knowing full well he could never win again and would ruin the campaign of the next Liberal Candidate by participating in any way. The only Liberal leader with enough charisma and experience to make an attempt is Sheila Copps, who will allow personal disputes to come between her and the candidacy, so the next guy is little more than a lobotomized Joe Clark…it could just be John Manley. With a renewed sense of purpose, the Cons run a vicious campaign not seen since Mulroney and BLAM! ….the next prime minister of our fair country is none other than Ralph Klein.

As a corollary, I would kill myself. No-one could possibly blame me.

I was wrong. Eloquent, but wrong. In the weeks of the campaigns just after Stronach defected:

So Stronach’s now a liberal, thereby actually lowering the standards of political groups everywhere to even below that of the current conservative party. She won’t make it again since she was elected as a conservative and voters don’t tend to stick with you once you’ve jumped ship. On the other hand, once Harper leaves, it is more than likely she will return to her official capacity of trying to make conservatives look sympathetic to women.

The house is now divided 151 to 152 and the speaker is a Liberal. He only votes in the event of a tie. Oh what I would give for Svend to be back in the house right now! He would ruin the day of everyone in this friggin mess for weeks and come out shining and cleanJ

The Cons are beginning to realize that Harper won’t ever show the type of standing needed to overturn a small, imbalanced tricycle let alone an entire government. Sadly the Liberals are not taking the high road. Martin is sitting like a fat smug toad enjoying the discomfort of his opponent rather than moving along with the business at hand. The party will win this one, but he won’t. And you know who I think will be next. (shudder)

Let’s just see if they have the wherewithall to even hold the vote tomorrow since two of the conservative house members are going to vote for and not against it.

Sigh, it’s days like this that I wish I could take the day off and go watch question period.


Alright fine. That was wrong too. But I had people believing!:


They called his bluff! The Liberals went with the end to corporate tax cuts deal which save the country money, gives Layton fiscal credibility and steals the thunder from the sponsorship scandal by showing that it won’t happen again and here’s how! Martin called Harpers bluff and if lil Stevie has any political instincts (I have yet to see any evidence thus far) he will back down and hide under the “the country doesn’t need another election, we need to move forward blah blah blah”. If he has NO political instincts, my bet is down, he’ll come gunning for Martin, lose and have to be secretly shipped to Nunavut where the conservative leadership can have a quiet word with him for 20 to 30 years.

I love it when political leaders do what I want! Playing deus ex machina with government is possibly my favourite hobby, particularly when it means the end of dough-faced blustering morons like stevie-peevey-you’re-gonna-leavie!

I was WAY off on that one. I was sure of it, but mostly I guess it was wishful thinking. They're good friends now, G.W. and Steve. Here's where we're at as of yesterday in my fishbowl.:

"They came from different worlds, but understood each other deep down. They had each failed at everything they ever tried for except this. Their love was not understood or even stood for by those around them, but against all odds, one good-old-boy took an iceback into his heart. The moving story of irrational camaraderie against all sense, reason and interest of the people they led. George and Stephen are GeoSteph."

it just makes you want to cry doesn't it? can't you just see the brokeback mountain jokes coming? "oh Stephen", says George, "What do all those huge hydrolic pumps remind you of?"

When I find a way to score "GeoSteph and the amazing technicolour gas pump" I'll get some music on this sucker.


Craig Sauvé said...

I seriously thought that the Libs were gonna win a few extra seats from the cons and that Harper's gamble was not going to pay off, but, alas, the Goodale scandal emerged December 27th and the polls switched in favour of the reform, er, conservative party overnight. My beloved NDP lost their opportunity to rise in power, as they decided to feed like vultures over rotten Liberal carcass, instead of taking shots at their easy conservative target (some of the things said by the tories were so outrageous, to criticize them in the media would have been as easy as hitting the side of a barn with a beachball -next time, Jack!). Shite election on all grounds...

Julia, you're a great writer; I am glad you took it upon yourself to start this forum. I could imagine this posting as an article in the Walrus.


Freshwater Mermaid said...

Why thankyou Mr. Suave;) Now I just gotta work on getting some more accurate predictions and I'm in business.

orangelina said...

Oh Julia!
I love reading your predictions, accurate or not.
I can only imagine what will happen in the next election...as long as you're around it's bound to be memorable.
Walrus worthy indeed! (God I miss Canadian media).

Freshwater Mermaid said...

Trudeau biography on CTV right now!

it's called Maverick in the Making. Come home!