The Raitt Tape: The Lamb Lies Down on Wellington

So apparently Lisa Raitt’s mild critique of her ministerial colleague and her unorthodox view of cancer as a real career builder are only the beginning – the opening cut, as it were, on a whole concept album devoted to her random musings about political life. Think of it as Pink Floyd’s The Wall with Stephen Harper as the oppressive mother.

Track two is said to focus on Jim Prentice, and Raitt’s belief that the Environment Minister is pandering to the Alberta oil sands. If I know my concept albums, this ambitious number will be followed by a 12-minute metal ballad and the sounds of geese mating.

This is great and everything – and really, we all owe a debt to Jasmine MacDonnell for putting together a series of consecutive improbable errors not seen since in Ottawa since I tried to speak French.

But would it have been asking too much to – oh, how do I say this? – to have inadvertently taped someone… a little more interesting? I mean, Lisa Raitt is fine, she’s great, and I’m sure we’re going to get some terrific stuff about this person being an idiot and that person being insufferable and heavy water being unexpectedly refreshing and all that.

But how awesome would it have been had this accidental audiotape instead featured Peter MacKay? At five hours in duration, we would almost certainly have heard the Defence Minister refer to at least one of his pectorals in the third person. (“Uh oh, now you’ve made Lucy angry.”) Or Tony Clement — and then we all could have listened in as Tony called the PM from home late at night for permission to go to the bathroom.

Then again, I guess we should count our blessings. It could have been John Baird on that tape. In the wake of the ensuing news stories, the world would have had to endure a Canadian-made shortage not only of medical isotopes but also number signs and asterisks. (F%*# off, Toronto.)

Other random thoughts:

  • Didn’t mention it at the time, but I felt for MacDonnell about the whole binder incident – I really did. The contents were marked Secret, but that doesn’t mean the contents were necessarily a secret, or somewhat hush-hush, or even remotely interesting. In government, pretty much anything that’s put to paper has Secret written across the top of the page. It’s how bureaucrats convince themselves they’re just like James Bond, only mustier.
  • Upon further reflection, it’s worthy of note: calling someone “capable” and then criticizing their handling of a query in Question Period and their potential ability to handle a theoretical crisis, as Raitt did with Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq – it may just be nicest thing anyone has ever said about anyone else in Ottawa behind their back.
  • Most important of all, what’s with the Voice that introduces the host of The National every night? Why is that man growling? He can’t just say, “Here’s Peter Mansbridge” or “Here’s Mark Kelley” – he’s apparently got to say as though he were trying to defend his camp site and scare away an approaching grizzly. I don’t get it. I know times are tight, but now CBC can’t afford a lozange?

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