#13 – The Pleasures of Power

Well a few days at the lake with Bunny and a weekend in Sante Sauvier with Marie Jose, a few good stiff ones there I can tell you, and our temporary absence from the West Block seems a little easier to endure.

And I must say, gentlemen, that this blog is an excellent idea. Who could have known that my Telidon initiative could have borne the magnificent fruit of the internet and these rather interesting blog things. I hope Ken Thompson has been informed.

In any case, I was, as they apparently say, “surfing” and, along with a somewhat worrisome number of young ladies wearing rather few, if indeed, any clothes – one of whom may have been Marie Jose which I shall have to look into when next I am in Montreal. (A telling mole.) – I ran across a worrying development. I came across some chap’s blog with the rather doubtful name of Occam’s Carbunckle who, without benefit of PCO briefing has noticed the fact that what goes on in Parliament is the tip of the governance iceberg, to coin a phrase.

Regulations, on the other hand, are a different matter. Generally, regulations are the meat and potatoes of law. They give detail and substance to the edicts set forth in the statute. Regulations are made by the Governor-in-Council (Cabinet), subject to the regulation making power granted in the particular statute. They can also be repealed by Cabinet. A regulation cannot contradict a statute, as it is subordinate legislation. There is, however, usually a lot of leeway in what can be enacted (or repealed as the case may be). A statute can really be rendered toothless by the proper neglect in enacting regulations. Let’s take the Firearms Act for instance. the regulation making powers in that statute are as follows:

Oh Dear, if this youngster can figure this out it is only a matter of time before the stubble jumpers will have the Keys to the Kingdom. And what then? What indeed? I suspect we were just lucky that no one told Joe and, of course, it was Brian who introduced me to Marie Jose and he really has always been one of us. But that Toews (and what sort of name is Toews anyway) fellow seems all set to use our regulations for their ends. Time for several fingers of scotch and, perhaps, Bunny can be persuaded to be Governess a bit early this month.

#12 – No Thought of Re-ratting

“Complex files”; it sounded so important at the time. My country could use me even if my party could not. And now… my files are gone but my duty remains. My old lot will be at the helm for a year. Two at the outside. But how to raise the subject with my new colleagues? None of them have made moves toward the leadership but I expect that will change.

Aut Caesar aut nihil.

I must be strong now.

#11 – Not So Easy, Is It?

First full day out of power. No longer a minister of the Crown.

Feels strange… But there’s a certain feeling of freedom in it. It’s not my job any longer. The country can get by without me and my colleagues. The sun, unlike what our old chief said on the campaign trail, will still rise in the east and set in the west. It’s for us to hold the (temporary) victors to account, to act as the loyal and principled opposition.

I think they’ll find it’s harder sledding than they imagined. I see that the halo of our country’s saviour did not last a full day – not even two hours! After the battering they gave us, I can’t help but feel a little vindicated. It isn’t nearly as easy as it looks from the Speaker’s left-hand side, is it?

What to do, what to do… Well, there’s that bottle of vodka from my last trip to St. Petersburg. Or the flask of absinthe from that NATO summit in Prague.

There was no need to leave it for my successor…

#10 – So Many Tories

[Sunporch. Morning. The first newspaper in the pile is unfurled majesteriously, the rest sitting on the ottoman under a pair slippered feet.]

Him: Well, look at that, would ya! [To the next room] Hey, honey! There are Reform Tories, Harris Tories, Mulroney Tories and even a couple dear old Joe Clark Red Tories in there! [Quieter] All squished in just 27 seats. How will they manage that? But nothing for Diane Ablonczy, the younger less…err…hearty…Deb Gray. Great gals and tough ones too. Too bad they never made it to the promised land. Room for a turncoat but not for Diane.

[Reaches for tea, then toast, then tea again, slurping.]

Him: Too bad about Diane. And, hey, they still have a Heritage Ministry. That was a great Ministry. [Louder again] Hey Honey! Remember when I had Heritage? [To self] That was great. One reception after another…

[She enters in dressing gown. Grabs a paper out from under his feet, shoving them aside. He makes a face and she makes one back smiling.]

Him: Watch your step! Remember when I had Heritage? I figured they’d have that one for the chop for sure. Too bad about Emerson, eh? Nice enough guy but a bit full of himself…Mr. Big Phd…Mr. businessman. Worked his way up through the public sector to mark his private sector mark. International Trade. No harm there. Not like you do much there. When did they split that from Foreign Affairs anyway? They same folk sitting in the same embassies putting up with two different Ministers. The boss would never have put up with that. Fat chance he’ll get voted in again.

[She gets up and walks out giving his shoulder a swat with her paper on the way by.]

Him: What! What did I do? [Quieter] Too bad about Ablonczy – what a sparkplug…

#9 – Rewards For Treachery

So, it was Emerson, was it?

I didn’t see that coming. I thought it’d be Brison, myself. Or Holland. Or, now that I think about it, just about anyone else . . . except Stronach, of course. Even Harper couldn’t take Stronach back.

You can’t even blame him for that: who’d trust her on that side of the house? [Sotto voce] Or this one, either?

Other than David’s little plum, who else did he have to call upon? They’ve been out of government for long enough that they really are having to entrust rookies with big responsibilities. That Solberg kid, for example, is just bound to trip up. He may play well in the sticks, on that internet blog circuit, but he’ll soon find that running a ministry is much more difficult than just coining a few quips for his basement-dwelling blog readers.

Oh, and Jim “I’m a yes-man for Harris” Flaherty to Finance? We don’t even need to write the press releases for the Toronto Star . . . they’ll write ’em without prompting (or payment). Harper really handed us a good media hook there. Clement in Health is nearly as good — we can count the Toronto media as on our side again with those two in Cabinet.

And does Harper really think he can run a government with so few ministers? Please. The civil servants will keep them so busy that they’ll always look flustered and badly briefed in front of the cameras. It’s such a nice set-up for us, and they think they’re doing something clever.

#6 – 103 On The Edge Of The Abyss

I would only ever say this to the others, of course.  In complete confidence.  That is to say, the level of confidence we attach to our more enthusiastic, brandy-fuelled  discussions  of our various mistress’ amourous preferences.

But the truth of the matter is that 103 seats belies our weakness at this point.  The party is a shambles.  The creditors are basting us with increasingly scalding red ink.  The vast majority of our rank-and-file are more interested in the game of power, played at whichever level their own competence affords them, than in ideas of policy.  The elite – the former elite, I should correct – have lost the common touch that was the key to admission into the upper echelons of political society in the first place.

Twenty two seats short of The Despised Ones, and it may as well be two hundred and twenty two for all the good a tight result did us!  Until we repair our finances, our ideology, our standing with the voting public,  we are nothing but a paper tiger.  Until we choose a leader to bring us out of this horrid hole into which we’ve fallen – God, my head pounds just thinking of the necessary carnage that process will unleash! – The Unwashed will have a free reign.

The worst part is that they know it, too.  It’s humiliating, enough to make the bile rise in my throat.  And I’m not alone – I can see the anger covering the shame in all of our eyes.  We were Ministers of The Crown, for Christ’s sake!

God, I hope it goes to their heads.  I hope every redneck of them bullies us on the other side of the House.  Upset as our friends are with us at this moment, the fourth estate will surely not let that pass.  A government with so many enemies beyond their reach cannot afford cockiness, but if the fates smile upon us, these cowboys will be too simple to realize that until it is too late.

We can only hope.  Well, hope and lay careful foundations…

#5 – Montreal

How does this logging in work? Cursed Internet – could never figure these things out. Would it be acceptable if I just dictate to my secretary and she sends the copy to your P.A. for input? We might as well put them to work while we still have the budget. I’ll probably have to sack the old girl when we get the new budget. Still, I’ve had her for 12 years so some fresh blood would be a nice change.

I tried to console the boss on Tuesday. Though he expelled me from the office, accusing me of being a charlatan and a “false friend.” Whatever you say about the old man he remains an astute judge of character. That’s a joke of course. Actually he caught sight of my rather large grin as he was trying to hold back tears. Yes, to be completely honest I was rather pleased with the result of the little race. The old man didn’t really have the clarity of vision that I admire in a leader. And little interest in my areas of concern.

And opposition can be an absolute hoot! You’re too young to remember, but in the old days we used to be like Sinatra and his clique. Better still, we get another convention. I love conventions. Balloons, booze, broads and a weekend at a five-star all paid for by the Party (except the broads of course). I do hope we can set it for Montreal this time. I cannot believe we had to suffer through Toronto on the last occasion. Plus, Montreal women are fantastic!

#4 – One Hundred And Three

From the Office of the Minister

Memo to Staff

Dear Diary

24 January 2006, 10:37 pm.

My head still aches. The party was half relief, half dejection. 103? It could have been worse. Those that stayed on? That could be worse, too. The boss looked happier than I have seen him in months. Someone else will be the new boss in a few months. How many have there been? Bosses. There was that one weekend in ’84 I thought of being the boss. Helen was right. I never did have the charisma of Eugene Whalen.

What can they do with 124? And who is going to back them? Maybe it will be a matter of who won’t – with all the party’s debts another election in 2006 would destroy us. I’m too old to need this many asprin.