Let’s gaze into my crystal ball

FESCHUK: Harper’s makeover is complete, and our soldiers get stylish guns

Anyone can tell you what happened last week in Canadian politics. But only this column can give you . . . Political News From the Future!

Ottawa (Aug. 27, 2010)—Inspired by “carbon offsets” designed to fight climate change, Michael Ignatieff has announced that he will try to reverse his party’s dismal standing in the polls by purchasing “popularity offsets” from more successful political figures. Under the plan, Ignatieff will buy excess goodwill, charisma and competence from politicians such as Sarah Palin and David Cameron—thus compensating for the sense of despair and fruitlessness emitted by his own activities.

“I am committed to reducing my futility footprint—it’s the right thing to do for the Liberal party and it’s the right thing to do for . . . ” said Ignatieff, who vowed to finish his sentence once the oratorical offsets from Barack Obama kicked in.

Things got worse for Ignatieff over the summer when, in the first open challenge to his leadership, some women began brazenly ignoring the “No Fat Chicks” sign he’d taped to the Liberal Express.

Once an efficient source of political power, the Liberal party is now perceived to be the least sustainable of all national political organizations, releasing significant quantities of confusion and conflicting messaging into the electoral atmosphere. According to scientists, these emissions are being trapped and are building up. If not combatted, they will ultimately contribute to the phenomenon known as “getting one’s ass handed to one.”

This isn’t the first time offsets have been used in Canadian politics. Shortly before launching the 2008 election in a sweater vest, Stephen Harper purchased wardrobe offsets from the estate of Mr. Rogers.

Kingston, Ont. (Sept. 12, 2010)—Having vowed to spend $9 billion on stealth fighter jets to impress and retain pilots, Defence Minister Peter MacKay yesterday turned his attention to the army—revealing a two-pronged investment to keep soldiers happy, engaged and “totally psyched, bro.”

Beginning in 2012, the Conservative government will spend $3.6 billion to retrofit all firearms to make the awesome “pew-pew” sound like in Star Wars. It will also spend $700 million on camouflage fedoras.

“For too long, Canadian soldiers have had to make do with regular guns that make the same old boring noises and clichéd headgear that does nothing to convey a charismatic insouciance,” MacKay told cadets at the Royal Military College. “Not on my watch.”
MacKay added that by 2014, he expects every Canadian sailor to have been assigned a cool nickname.

Otttawa (Oct. 14, 2010)—Stephen Harper visited Rideau Hall yesterday to call an election that is widely viewed as his last and best chance to win a majority government. He made the announcement surrounded by adorable baby animals.

“This campaign is about a choice: a choice between the big-government, free-spending ways of the Liberal party and this cute little panda,” the Conservative leader told members of the press gallery. “Higher taxes. Orphan panda with big sad eyes. It’s your decision.” Later at a campaign stop, Harper pledged to make each and every Canadian a mix tape.
A small number of reporters expressed skepticism about Harper’s latest attempt to soften his image—until they saw that the tiny monkey was dressed in people clothes. “Awww,” they noted.

Amid the pomp and kittens, there were subtle hints yesterday that the PM—keen to convey an Everyman image—will align his political fortunes more closely than ever with the Tim Hortons coffee chain. For instance, a third of the Conservative policy platform is devoted to federal investments designed to make the company’s popular Boston cream doughnut “up to 32 per cent Bostonier.”

Political scientists say this policy is more broadly appealing to middle-class Canadians than Michael Ignatieff’s pledge of a national cruller registry.

A baby meerkat draped endearingly around his neck, the Conservative leader concluded his remarks by pointing out that a man who twice prorogued Parliament for his own crass political purposes is unlikely to voluntarily leave 24 Sussex even if he loses the election. “Hence the new moat,” he said.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.