A matter close to the arteries near our hearts

My to-do list is pretty long, but that’s hasn’t stopped me from carving out some time to prepare a submission in response to a recent news release. It came from the Liberal party. The title? “Liberals tour country to hear Canadians’ opinions on food.”

Good morning, Mr. Chairman. Canadians feel strongly about food. They want more of it, and don’t skimp on the gravy. Some of their food, they want poached; some of it, lightly seasoned. Meanwhile, a select few are curious to know if you are going to finish that sandwich. You are? Fair enough then.

In a country as vast as Canada, no political party can afford to adopt a homogeneous policy toward food. Liberals must not merely accept but nurture regional differences while emphasizing that which unites us – such as a nostalgic affection for Hostess Hickory Sticks – and building a broad consensus in favour of important pan-Canadian pursuits, such as a national ham registry and a draft framework governing the distribution of seconds.

At the same time, we cannot as a nation stand still when it comes to food. All around us, other countries are innovating. Like most industrialized nations, Canada has chocolate chip pancakes and Canada has sausages. But America has sausages wrapped in chocolate chip pancakes and served on a stick. Past, meet the future.

Yes, Mr. Chairman, we can take pride in the fact that our top scientists are at this very minute using their brainpower to cure horrible afflictions like cancer and marrying Billy Bob Thornton. But can they not also strive to achieve a better understanding of wrapping one thing inside another thing, and then placing both things on a stick? For the sake of the Canada I love, I hope the answer is yes.

If we fail, I worry about the ability of the next generation of Canadian children to compete and to thrive in a world in which their American rivals can, from an early age, prepare and eat entire meals in under 90 seconds.

Permit me to give you a jarring example of how Canada has fallen behind, Mr. Chairman.

Remember how making a hot dog used to be so difficult and time-consuming? Me neither. But apparently it was, because Oscar Mayer went and created something called Fast Franks – three wieners pre-packed inside three “soft and warm buns” placed in three paper trays, and each ready to be eaten after 35 seconds in the microwave.

You just remove the outer packaging, pick up the wiener, remove its individual packaging, wipe that tear from the cheek of Iron Eyes Cody, place the wiener back in the bun, nuke it and laugh in the face of Canada and its backwards, water-boiling ways.

Yes, Americans still have to chew the Fast Franks on their own. For now. [Ominous pause.] For now.

Mr. Chairman, in the lingering dawn of the 21st century, the people of our land are confronted by a number of pivotal questions: What does it mean to be Canadian? How do we build a competitive modern economy? And would we like fries with that? We must be bold enough to answer “yes,” or at the very least “rings instead please.”