AS MARTIN PLANS FOR MINORITY GOVERNMENT,
ANGER AIMED SOUTH OF THE BORDER
MACHIAVELLIAN SCHEMING ALLEGED
Washington Responds: “They Had an Election?”
By MacKENZIE LAURIER
OTTAWA – Relations between Canada and the United States are at a new low after prominent Canadians accused America of influencing its election, and an advertising campaign launched immediately following the race hasn’t helped matters.
The diplomatic donnybrook will also cause a new headache for the new Martin Government, which is already reeling from what many Liberal Party insiders said was an uninspired and weak victory speech from Prime Minister Paul Martin earlier this week.
"We as Liberals have lost votes," Martin told supporters on election night. "The message in this regard was unmistakable - Canadians expect more from us, and as a party and a Government we will do better. Of course, I don’t know how we’re going to do that with just 135 seats in Parliament. David Pratt—is David here?—no?—well, anyway, David had the great idea of setting up a suggestions box down at party headquarters. If anyone has any good ideas, I’d love to hear them. Please. Please, for the love of God, help me.”
“However, there is good news,” Martin told the now-concerned crowd. “I just saved a whole bunch of money by switching my car insurance to GEICO.”
But while things didn’t go as well as planned for the Liberals, their main rivals were also forced to admit the election was a botch.
“I'll admit I feel some disappointment," Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper told supporters in Calgary after polls closed. "You should feel disappointed also. God. We did so badly – you know, Martin could have walked out of Parliament with bales of banknotes on his head and we wouldn’t have won this election.”
“What the hell happened?” Harper continued, referring to the Tories’ win of 99 seats, a gain of 26 seats, but far less than most polls showed they would win. “Did we need a better slogan? A better platform? Was my deodorant not working during the campaign? Good Lord, it’s just embarrassing.”
“Shut up!” Harper screamed, as his supporters began a rousing chant of “Bring Back Mulroney!”
With neither the Grits nor the Tories having the votes to force their own legislation through Parliament, real power in the new assembly may very well rest in the hands of two men. The first is Jack Layton, head of the New Democratic Party, while the other is Gilles Duceppe, head of the separatist Bloc Quebecois. Some independent observers say this could pose trouble for the new Government.
“Oh, they’re screwed,” said Dr. Harris Wilson, head of the Institute for Canadian Political Studies in Niagara Falls, N.Y. “Did you see what Layton wants from the Liberals in return for his support? Don’t get me started on Duceppe either – I know he gave his standard stump speech after the results were in, but trust me: he still has that “Je m’appelle Gilles, et je ne canadienne” speech lying around somewhere.”
Wilson was referring to a popular Quebec-oriented version of an advertisement for Molson Canadian beer, which was run on a Toronto radio station some years ago.
ABOVE: Canadian political leaders react to election results.
Adding to what Wilson called “complete chaos” in Ottawa was the launch of a tourism-advertising campaign by a shadowy American-backed group. It’s not immediately clear who is behind the campaign, but analysts agreed that it couldn’t have come at a worse time.
“What lame-brain gave the go-ahead for running these ads?” asked Dalhousie University Prof. MacKay Clark. “I’m sorry, but it’s not exactly helpful to launch them the day after an election.”
The advertisements, which appeared on broadcast and in print media throughout the nation, make specific reference to Canada’s bad weather and its taxation and regulatory schemes, among other topics.
Also vexing were ads featuring a hospital operating room with the legend, “Look! No Lines,” ads showing a rock band with the legend, “You Can Listen to Them All the Time Down Here,” and ads featuring 72 cents in U.S. funds with the legend, “Shouldn’t a Dollar Be Worth a Dollar?”
“The ad about the ease with which one could obtain quality Canadian beer was really below the belt,” Clark said.
“Those damn Americans,” said Liberal MP Carolyn Parrish, in a well-received speech made in Ottawa yesterday. “I hate those bastards – and with good reason. I think we all knew it was only a matter of time before those imperialist warmongers turned their cannons at us, eh?”
“It may very well be the Americans were behind these awful election results too,” Parrish added. “That’s clearly the only rational explanation for what happened. It’s all part of their scheme to seize our oil wealth and claim it for their own.”
Canada’s former Heritage Minister, Sheila Copps, echoed Parrish’s comments.
“Clearly it was the Americans who were behind my loss at the Liberal Party’s nomination convention for Hamilton East,” Copps said. “The Yanks’ve never forgiven me for my brave stand to keep their tawdry, worthless magazines out of our fair nation. And if we can’t have magazines to call our own, what’s next?”
Reactions from Washington were mixed.
“They had an election?” a senior administration official said. The senior official, when informed about the angry accusations from north of the border, then added: “Well, they’re divided – that’s kind of par for the course, isn’t it?”
Another administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, also dismissed the Canadians’ allegations. The official pointed out that the Canadian miltiary was ranked above Denmark, but below the Mara Salvatrucha street gang, in terms of its efficacy, reach and firepower.
“We do hope our Canadian friends realize that no one down here – and we mean no one – had any idea they even had an election,” the official said. “Therefore, the idea that we would seek to influence it is completely ridiculous.”
“Heh. This might actually make that fisheries summit I’m supposed to attend this fall somewhat interesting,” the official added.Posted by Benjamin Kepple at July 2, 2004 03:06 AM | TrackBack