The Leader of the Official Opposition in Ottawa, whose name I can never remember, has gotten into a pretty pickle. He's going to India, hoping presumably to benefit from Mr. Trudeau's own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad few days in that country. But the LOO has his own problem: sheer invisibility. I'd wager that not one Canadian in a million (more or less) can actually recognize or name this perpetually grinning fellow with so little to grin about. So how in heaven's name will anyone in India even know he's there?
Well, here's where poetic irony comes into play. There is one Canadian who can guarantee Mr. Whatchamacallit a positive reception in India. In fact it's a double irony, since this person couldn't himself be picked out of a crowd of one by the vast majority of Canadians. I refer, of course, to Mr. Patrick Brown, unrecognizable and unknown to most Canadians yet a dear friend of the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi.
Please, please, do not ask me how Messrs. Brown and Modi have become BFFs, as strange a tale as there is in the rich pageant of life. Running India is no walk in the park, and while he has made many mistakes and has bungled many files, Modi's India is a thriving, go-getting concern, especially if you're a Hindu (Modi, yet another authoritarian populist -- a low-key phrase for incipient fascism -- isn't crazy about Muslims, although India has over 100 million of them.)
Modi is the unquestioned boss these days, and is very likely to be re-elected. Why he has time for one Patrick Brown, formerly of Barrie, Ontario, lone a totally obscure Conservative member of the Canadian parliament, once momentarily the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, now running for something in a small Ontario city, and why Modi of India has befriended Brown of Nowhere, well, all of this remains a state secret locked in an old imperial fort in New Delhi.
But you can see the delicate problem here. The LOO -- I just looked up his name again and have already forgotten it -- can seek aid from Mr. Brown no more easily than he can from Slapsy Maxy Bernier, once upon a time his Conservative colleague in Parliament. Indeed there is a real possibility here of life's whimsy also undermining LOO from a different direction. You read it here first, but watch for Mad Max to announce that his new Conservative Party, to be called The Really Conservative Canadian Conservative Party (RCCCP), has appointed a deputy leader. Of course the leader himself, Mr. Mad Max, was elected leader (kind of) by the one member the RCCCP can boast, a certain M. Bernier. By the same democratic process, the Leader can now be expected to name the party's deputy leader -- no one but Brown The Unrecognized, a distant relative of Ethelred the Unready.
You will immediately see the dire impact this would have on the man with no name. We can hardly, in all decency, expect Mad Max to allow Mr. Brown to assist Mr. What's-his-name in reaching out to Prime Minister Modi.
This leaves the so-called Conservative party of Canada up a filthy creek without a paddle, or indeed a leader with a name. For those who wish only ill for Canadian conservatism -- and what decent Canadian could wish for anything else? -- this has been a good week. Ask any smug Liberal (which means any Liberal). For those looking for a little more evidence of cynicism in politics (just what the world needs most), or getting off on watching politicians fiddle while Rome burns, it was quite a spectacle watching the Nameless One address his party in Halifax, apparently perfectly oblivious to the signs of Armageddon palpably threatening the country.
While fires raged out of control barely hours from where this chappie was bloviating, and barely two hours from where this is being written, he was busily denouncing a carbon tax and advocating more pipelines. But of course this was red meat to the party activists at the Conservative's big recent pre-election convention, as they showed in the swell resolutions they passed. Judging by their antiquated views on climate change (never heard of it), immigration (don't like it for certain people) and abortion (unacceptable for poor people in poor countries), most of the Conservative Nation would clearly be happier in the United States than in Canada. Then of course there is Ontario Premier Ford (a phrase I can hardly bring myself to write), our own mini-Trump. Like the American original, Ford hardly knows anything and doesn't care what he doesn't know. And there seems to be not a damn thing we can do about it.
Image: Andrew Scheer/Flickr
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