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The world according to Jean: Truthful Liberal talking points
By Jackson Murphy
"My fellow Canadians," is how a yearly State of Canada address would begin. Unfortunately Canadian Prime Ministers don't have to make appearances in the House of Commons to outline what has been accomplished in a year, and what is to be accomplished in the year ahead. In fact, Canadian Prime Ministers don't have to say much at all. But if Mr. Chrétien chose to speak directly to all Canadians and update the nation on what his government had done in 2002, and what it was prepared to do in 2003, it might go something like this:
My fellow Canadians. I have looked at da state of Canada, and it is, da, er, well. (Applause) It is all really a surprise to me though, since our economic policy during this year consisted of nothing more than wasting your hard-earned tax dollars. Isn't it amazing that while we clearly misled you about the cost of a gun registry program by roughly a billion dollars, the Canadian economy is still going strong? (Muffled clapping) A billion dollars? Big deal! It is not as if it was U.S. dollars or anything -- as John said to me the other day that is like only a couple hundred million in "Benjamin's". Millions I said! What's the problem? I saw that witty Michael Moore movie and dat little guy, er big guy, painted such a rosy picture of our nation and our guns that it is hard to argue with our brilliant plans. There were only 7 million guns how hard could it be I said?
Who could argue with all da' money dat we've been spendin'. Judging by some of the editorials and articles you'd think we had really done something wrong. It is not as if we are Enron or Nortel or anything like that. Sure there was the $350 million we sent to help seniors, dead people, and Florida bound snow birds to help pay for their costly heating bills last year. The year before we spent $1 billion to help workers with the Transitional Jobs Fund which had the side effect of helping to reelect our benevolent regime. Before that, you remember, many of my critics claimed that there was some $3.6 billion that we sent out to First Nations bands wasn't accounted for. Jeez, you'd think w'had to look after every cent.
You got me on da billions spent on the Atlantic Groundfish strategy, infrastructure programs, and some other questionable endeavors. Atlantic Groundfish strategy? C'mon! I thought you'd catch dat little budget joke. But it was sort of da Clinton effect. There was so much scandal, and da media and opposition guys were so rude about it that you, and for this I am truly thankful, didn't let it shake your faith in da little guy who could. It seems to me that we threw money at things and the economy just kept humming along.
People, okay certain employees of mine, made a big deal about George W. Bush being a moron; but this politics business doesn't take a brain surgery degree to figure out. But there is da magazines in the U.S. calling us wimps-so it all seemed pretty fair.
On a serious note ami, it is hard to loose faith in my stewardship of the nation. As the little guy from Shawinigan, I made some big decisions this year. First, as you know, I am stepping down as der Leader in about a year. I know, I know, but don't fret. The other day John Manley and I were in the hot tub drinking champagne talking about strategy and we were pretty confident in our 2002 game plan. We were pretty happy that we made four cabinet shuffles this past year and relegated Paul to purgatory to try and convince you dat he should be my successor. John is pretty much running everything anyway so this is good.
We worked, tirelessly, in passing the Kyoto Protocol. And when I say we, I mean you and me. I am sure you are as confident as we are that it will lead to a better future. Some of you think this will destroy our economy-but I say what's to destroy. I put my heart into this thing, as my legacy-it is my gut feeling dat dis is da right thing to do, so you know I feel strongly about it, huh. How could we screw this up I asked da boys?
People have been pretty mad about the state of our soldiers and stuff. We added a billion or so to help da boys out. I figure that in my tenure as der Leader we have made it impossible for Canada to play any significant role in military or peace keeping operations in the world. I say good. The war on terrorism is too confusing. It looks like there may be war over in Iraq too, but I thought we already did dat years ago. And like I said, we need proof-and, "A proof is a proof and when you have a good proof it's because it's proven."
Besides, "I do think the Western world is getting too rich in relation to the poor world and necessarily, you know, we're looked upon as being arrogant, self-satisfied greedy and with no limits." And whiles were at it, we named a new group, Hezbollah, a terrorist organization. It only took us 14 months after 9/11, but we are on to them now.
And Healthcare. We ad the Romanow report asking for more money, so that is a start right. If we can manage all the money of the government as good as we have what could possibly go wrong? Forgive me but if we overspent on the gun registry by a billion; doesn't that make it possible that healthcare will get the monies after all. We're bound to overspend by a few billions-what's the worry. Hey let's see the next leader deal with this one.
We all know that while you don't particularly like me, or my government anymore the thought of actually inviting the Canadian Alliance to run the joint frightens you. I read Michael Bliss a few weeks ago in the National Post who said dat: "If you want to see a real change of government in Canada in your lifetime, you're going to have to screw up your courage, swallow your reservations and vote for the Alliance in the next election. If you're not ready to do that, then you might as well stop gobbling and grumbling." We both know dat he's right-the Alliance sounds a little too "Star Wars" anyway, and we all know that they were just a bunch of troublemakers for the Empire. Huh, Huh. You see whats I mean! (Laughter)
People have said dat on my watch the government has become a rudderless ship. Please! We passed Kyoto, saved our troops from actually ever having to fight again, and have devalued the currency in hopes of perpetually making Canada competitive. Will it work? Who knows, all I knows is dat even if Paul-y succeeds me as Leader, he'll have to say nice things about the past 10 years or he'll be the Al Gore of Canadian politics. Let's see how tough he is when I ban contributions from unions and big corporations-that'll be a good one. Wouldn't it be fun if I just stayed on for another term? Okay, my real game plan, and I haven't even told John about this is to wreck the Liberal Party-I mean if I can't hav'it no one can-especially that meddlesome Paul-y!
Jackson Murphy is a commentator from Vancouver, Canada. He is the
editor of "Dispatches"
a website that serves up political commentary 24-7. You can contact him
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