Prime Minister Duceppe?

English: Gilles Duceppe, the Leader of the Blo...

LAST WORD: Prime Minister Duceppe?

Lexpert, June 2005

by Marzena Czarnecka

Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

George Orwell

It was sad, so very sad to see a Canadian prime minister begging the nation for a few more months at the trough. At least when Jean Chretien did, there was something substantial at stake. For Paul Martin, the address might as well have been, “Pleeease, pleease, pleease let me stay prime minister for a few more months, I’ve waited for this job for so long!” (Note to Mr. Martin: I advise you to fire the speech writer who inserted the “when I was young, I practically lived here in the Parliament Buildings. My father was a cabinet minister in four Liberal governments. He taught me…” bit into your speech; if it was your own idea, for your own sake, please stop listening to yourself.)

It’s even worse watching the performance of would-be prime minister Stephen Harper riding the moral high horse while carefully watching the polls to ensure that he brings down the government only if he is guaranteed to win the next election. (Note to Mr. Harper: You can’t be righteous and opportunistic at the same time. It doesn’t play well. What you should have done if you wanted to play the saint card was to topple the Liberals the moment Jean Brault’s testimony became public. In fairness, I think that would have been your instinct too. But those damn handlers and public relations people…)

Jack Layton, now, is playing this as befits an honest socialist who has no chance of being the next PM: absolutely appalled, but willing to prop up the government if it rewrites the budget. It’s beautiful. (Note to Mr. Layton: I could not have done it better myself.)

But my heart goes out the most to Gilles Duceppe. So much so that, after much reflection and agitation, I believe the separatist pall bearer has to be the next prime minister of Canada. No, seriously. When there’s a next election, regardless of whatever the results of the Gomery inquiry bring, we cannot re-elect the Liberals and retain our self-respect as a nation (a note to Ontario from your friends in Alberta: for God’s sake. Stop bending over!). Even if Paul Martin and his inner circle come out squeaky clean and manage to pile all the crap onto Chretien or a few bad apples who were acting “independently”, no government deserves to be in power for five consecutive terms–and this particular government deserves even less. As for Harper and the Conservatives, well, what can I say–the lunatic fringe of the righteous party still scares. Plus, the moderates from the Progressive Conservative party have a record too: remember why we turfed Mulroney? Not a lot of clean hands in that past either.

So it’s got to be Gilles. Now, he can’t do it alone, thank goodness, because if he could, he’d just legislate himself and Quebec out of federation. (Note to the Quebec separatists: If a prime minister isn’t ashamed to beg, neither am I. Pleease, pleeease don’t leave us! Without you, we’re just… well, a really lame USA. And if you stay until my son becomes prime minister, I promise he’ll scrap federalism and we can start again from scratch.)

If Duceppe sweeps Quebec, as he is poised to do, he could head a coalition government. My inclination would be for the Bloc to partner up with the NDP. Neither party’s had a chance to screw up the country yet, and in a true democracy, doesn’t everyone deserve a kick at the can? Really, it’s a perfect combination. The NDP won’t let them separate, and the core of fiscal conservatives that forms the Bloc won’t let the NDP spend too much money. Except on Quebec. On stuff like the sponsorship program except without the federalist agenda… Or, they could partner with the Conservatives, who–or so they’d have us believe now–wouldn’t spend any money on anything (and the sexy francophones wouldn’t let the neo-conservative fringe turn back the clock on social issues). I don’t see the Bloc working with the Liberals, but what with the two seats the Liberals should get in the next election, they won’t be a desirable ally anyway. Plus, think of the irony: the party that wants to split up Canada suddenly being put in charge of running Canada. Who knows, it might even give them a broader perspective…

Now, being an Albertan, I can’t vote for the Bloc, but I’ll do what I can to spread the word. (Note to my friends in Quebec: How about shipping a couple of BQ signs out this way when election craziness starts? I’d prefer “Gilles Duceppe for PM” ones but generic Bloc signs will do. I’ll put ‘em on my lawn. Send a few; they may get torched.) And when it comes to marking my x, I’ll do what I can to contribute to the fracturing of the House of Commons by voting Green. Hmmm. A Bloc-NDP-Green coalition with a Conservative-Liberal opposition. It might be enough to make me watch Question Period on TV. (Note to the Greens: Seriously, folks, we’re all so pissed off and disillusioned, this could be your breakthrough election. Now, the environmentalist lunatic fringe has received some bad press lately, but that means the media’s likely to give you more coverage than usual if you get off your asses and start to campaign. I have a few ideas for you–available at a reasonable hourly rate. A girl’s got to make a living…).

Marzena Czarnecka is Calgary-based freelance writer who’s sorely disappointed by Paul Martin, scared by Stephen Harper, amused by Jack Layton, and not-so-secretly enamoured with Gilles Duceppe. It’s got to be the accent…

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