#23 – The Kid’s Up

“He’s up by seven,” he shouted to the kitchen through his mouthful of toast, the autumn morning light glinting on the plate and mug on the side table.

“Ketchup and what?”

“No – he’s up by seven! The kid is up by seven points with Nanos, Ekos and all the other Greek gods!!!”

“That’s nice.”

Nice? What’s that supposed to mean. The Governing Party is back on track, at the front steps of kicking the dullards out and all she can muster up is “nice“? He rubbed his chin. Thought for a bit. The Kid’s made a big move in the last few weeks. The commies have faded back just enough to provide the necessary support. Another sip of coffee. A leaf fell outside the bay window. Been a long time. Unfold the Globe. Fold it the other way. And all Hap pulls out of his bag of tricks is a stupid cash register clang. Cornered himself. He’s cut so much he has nothing much left to cut to tempt the 905. Thought he was cornering the others. Folks are ready to spend. Could be. Could be they’re just sick of Hap. Hap looks sick of Hap come to think of it. Toast. Chew.

“More coffee?”

“Sure thing. You splash some caff in the decaff today?”

“Not with your heart.”

“Jeese. No kidding? Got a bit of zip going today.”

Shadow Cabinet.


#22 – Halfway Home

The new Nanos numbers this morning were not good. Another small slide. When he had called a friend’s office later he hadn’t been in yet. The voice on the phone had used the words “death march” even with weeks to go. Weeks to go this time could mean weeks to go of this. Or, worse, an “anyone but the NDP” move to the Grits leaving us in the wilderness. Again. It had stung hard to have to listen to Elsie Wayne so often.

Limited upside. Great. And the boss let the message out that he’s not perfect. What an interview with Joe Rockhead the other night! I am who I am and that’s who I am. People want a Syrian grannie in every church… for God’s sake. Somewhere they know they can drop off Timbits or a casserole or a blanket or something to feel good about themselves. Why is that too much to ask?

#21 – Memo To Cratchit


From: Methuselah

To: Cratchit

Re: Stirrings of Tory Life At Last.

Date: 28 March 2006


Seeing as you have so little to do during these days of the great silence, perhaps you could contact that chum of yours in the office of the Finance Critic to find out why the hell nothing has been said yet about this article in the Globe yesterday. Notice this sort of wording:

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty signalled Monday he will not eliminate the capital gains tax in his first budget. The Conservative government had campaigned on eliminating the tax for individuals on the sale of assets when proceeds are reinvested within six months. But Mr. Flaherty told reporters the government is still considering some election commitments, including when to eliminate the capital gains tax. He wouldn’t elaborate on which other promises are under consideration.

One wonders whether this sort of back stroking by the government before they have stood before Parliament for a single day is a little more important than the sorts of considerations I am hearing about on booking the proper hotel room in Montreal in December and who’s best placed to come second to Mr. Smarty Pants. Get on that thug pal of yours and get something going, would you!

And get a haircut!

#20 – Is He Or Isn’t He?

[ toast crunch.]

Him: [mumbles as paper snaps]…who the hell is this guy?…

Her: [from next room] Whaaat?

Him: NOTHING! [mumbles again] Hamas now sorta ok, he meets with Clinton, he turns on the Ethics Commissioner…even if the guy is a hack, why bother rising to the bait?

Oh, my God. Look at this in MacLeans. Look who wrote it!

Because surely what people have discovered about me by now is that I think a few steps ahead. Not to say that I made the decisions before I got here. But I certainly knew what the parameter of the options were… It doesn’t mean that everything you do has to be popular. But everything you are doing has to be serving the public interest. And you’ll have to, in due course, justify it to the population. I’ve been attacked so much in the past few years it doesn’t really matter to me. I always ask myself what will the public’s reaction be to such-and-such a decision or such-and-such a move by the time we get to the next election, when the public actually makes a judgment. So the temporary reaction of a columnist or whatever today doesn’t really mean anything. You have to ask yourself, “How is this going to look to the public in due course?”

“…or whatever”?!?! Like Parliament? I can’t wait to get back into the House and see this guy sweating. Usually it takes two years for an opposition to start tossing around the word arrogant…this guy’s ripe for the tomato toss from day one.

So much like whatshisname…Parizeau…another economist who doesn’t think Canada is a real country…HAH!

Her: [from next room] Whaaat?

Him: NOTHING! [ toast crunch, tea slurp.]

#19 – Delighted I’m Sure

One might be forgiven for thinking that, all things considered, given the dearth of plausible candidates for the primus inter pares (or however the hell you spell it) spot in the Party, they might have given Iggy something which might have brought him to the attention of the Speaker more than once every six months.

It is not every day that we manage to find a bona fide intellectual – who published actual books rather than Pierre’s wee collection of pensees on Federalism culled from yesterday’s fish wrap – dumb enough to want to lead the party through the valley of debt to reach the delights of office a decade from now.

The Acting Leaderine is, I suspect, just a little envious. Not that he himself is a stranger to the book writing biz; but his only sales have been to captive law students looking to break the cycle of Wills and Trusts with the p&v of International Law. Actual people have bought, in rather satisfactory numbers, Iggy’s books.

Plus, and one cannot discount this, he has been an actual media star (I trust no one has mentioned that in Canada, so long as you have not actually written any books, that puts you in line to be GG not PM). One would think that the Leaderine would have remembered all this.

One might go further and point out that Slats, for all his prowess on the international hockey sheet – and his own rather popular books – is unlikely to be able to identify any foreign nation where hockey is not actually a part of the national religion. Iggy, on the other hand, has been almost Chatwinesque in his desire to visit the most maggot infested corners of this funny old world. He – and this no doubt knots the knickers of the Leaderine – actually has a clue and the clue is not the anti-American “personal security” cant which the Unworthy utters at such ponderous length from his Pacific perch.

I’m off for a quick dinner with Marie Jose…Bunny is in the Desert for the week. Hope she has fun – I know I will.

#18 – Critique Appointment Day

Interim Leader did well. I like my job just fine. Reminds me of 1986 even if it wasn’t the longest post I held. Some surprise that I got it and some surprises for thems that didn’t get anything. Bit more of an office than I fear though less than I had had. But that’s the way it goes.

Bit of a sour look from Major Announcement himself, but after Defence you would expect that was was a bit of a shock. Not such interesting junkets. Brains Ignatieff certainly can expect quite an education care of Geoff Regan. Good Lord, that should be entertaining to watch. Jack Sprat. That’s what I’ll call him. He’ll get that one right away. Regan will be retired before he clues in. Slats Dryden is a bit of a shocker – Foreign Affairs. Almost as much of a shock that MacKay got that Ministry in the first place. Maybe he’ll befuddle the man from Pictou with the well placed signed rookie card. I bet MacKay still has his cards. He has that look about him.

#17 – Military Intelligence

Tea slurp. Toast crunch. Paper rustle.

Him: (muttering to self) I’m glad I never got to be Minister of Defence. When I was a kid I always wanted to be Minister of the Navy until that dopey move to unify the Forces. No more Halifax junkets, no more boondoggles to UK shipyard pubs at shift change…what was the point.

Her: (from next room) What! Did you say something?

Him: No. No. Nothing. Nevermind. (muttering again) If I had gotten handle on the military I might be able to make head or tails of this stuff in the Star

Conservative election promises to bolster the military with new ships, soldiers and an Arctic force are long on ambition, but may have come up short on money, say defence analysts. The Tories promised to recruit 13,000 new, full-time soldiers and another 10,000 reservists; to build three heavy, armed icebreakers, an Arctic deepsea port and a surveillance system to keep watch over the North; and to buy new ships and planes.

(mumbles: “rum te-tum-tum…”)

…The Canadian American Security Review, published at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, is also doubtful about the Conservative accounting. “A cost of $2 billion for both ships and deepwater port seems … doubtful,” the publication said. “Election promises are more convincing when better fleshed-out.”

(toast crunch)

“…A true deepwater port would be lots more than $50 million…Everybody that has mentioned that prospect said it would not be cheap…He also said that while the coast guard needs new icebreakers, there’s no need for them in the navy. We’re not planning to arm other icebreakers, so why should we put three in the Arctic? It’s purely symbolic.”

Him: HAH!!! That’s what it is. Symbolic! (muttering again) Harper the Great protecting that which needs no protection.

Her: What dear?

Him: Nothing, nothing…(more muttering) Maybe…I don’t know. I wish that clever fellow was not off on that vacation. I’d give him a call if he weren’t off on that NATO boondoggle he set up for himself pre-paid pre-election. Pan-Global Parlimentarians for Pan-Global Security my arse. A gin tour by any other name. I’ll have a word at caucus when he’s back. (slurps tea) If he’d lay off the RMC stories, bad jokes and back-slapping he might even be someone you could decently get along with.

Her: What dear?

Him: Nothing.

#16 – Tough To Get Good Help

[The difficult hidden post, unpublished at the time…]


I can’t imagine what Dingwald was thinking when he took Kinsella on staff. Now I realize that David is a bit personality challenged and that young Warren looked a bright light; but really, a political aide does his master no favours writing a senior civil servant a rather peremptory memo in effect telling him how to run his department. Typical of a want to be Leninist.

Gomery, sound chap Gormery. Glad I managed to swing him onto the bench, had this to say,

On November 23, 1995, Mr. Kinsella, the Executive Assistant of Mr. Dingwall, who was then Minister of PWGSC, wrote a surprising memorandum to Messrs. Quail and Stobbe, which to be appreciated must be reproduced in full …

This communication was rightly taken by Mr. Quail to be a highly inappropriate attempt by political staff to interfere in the internal administration of PWGSC, which is entirely within the jurisdiction of the Deputy Minister. The reference to unidentified persons in the PCO and PMO gives the impression that the proposed reorganization of government communications under Mr. Guité was desired by persons at the highest level. To his credit, Mr. Quail resisted the temptation to take offence …
gormery report, captains quarters

David may very well be entitled to his entitlements, as are we all thank you very much, but one has to wonder at the poor man’s despera

#15 – TV With The Sound Off

Him: Oh good Lord. Look at him, honey! Giggling like a schoolgirl! And so he should. It’s like TV with the sound off when you’ve had too much. Look! It’s like he’s saying:

Harper appointed who? He crossed! HAH! Garth? Oh, THAT Garth! Garth said what? He did! (hee-hee) Oh. my. God! Then what? Then what?

Oh, you gotta see him, honey, you gotta see! And bring me that gin! This ain’t gonna take long at all. God, I love Layton. For a little commie he’s got some spunk.

#14 – Pleasures In Small Things

Bunny, I’m afraid took rather a hard line…Ah well, it is only a week.

Instead I enjoyed a bit of the Irish and considered the painful predicament of our new masters. Forget Emerson…nice man Emerson, pleasure to work with. What will make pain for the masters are the little tykes.

Simple problem – we signed agreements with Quebec and some of the less important provinces. Three years, five years. Couple of billion here and there. Point is that the youngster thinks he can, more or less by press release, cancel the deals.

Pleasingly, young Cashew has been on the wire suggesting I come on “Of Counsel” to the firm. Nice to be asked and all. (And we should be keeping an eye on Cashew, very sound chap.) I can’t imagine what fun it would be to have conduct of the Quebec case.

Of course the young masters could pass a bill. With what votes I say. With what votes?

Clever of that Jack fellow to suggest the socialists might be bringing in their own child care program. They would certainly have the votes. And what then gentlemen? Is a government defeated when the House passes a bill? I do wish Eugene was more than a ghost. Bloody socialist but a font of Parliamentary tradition. (Of course he would have pointed out to the Leader that he’d been defeated but I digress.)