To: The Right Honourable Stephen Joseph Harper
From: The Semi-Employed Charles Demers
Re: Canadian Monument to the Victims of Communism
Now I know why they call it a "throne speech" -- because the enemies of liberty and property must be throwin' up, they're so frustrated! Thank you, for your courage: what better place than here, what better time than now, for a monument to the victims of communism. In a fickle, poll-driven political climate such as ours, most leaders would be afraid to touch as raw, controversial and polarizing an issue as Stalin's Red Terror. Most would wait until they had the untouchable popularity of a Trudeau, say, or an onion ring, before making such a bold move. And in a time of incessant political pandering, it means a lot to have a leader who won't stoop to it.
What do you personally stand to gain from trumpeting your anti-Communism? Nothing, so far as I can see. In fact if anything, it seems to be taking away precious time that could be spent in your continuing courtship of conservative Chinese voters who fled Maoism, or reminding Ukrainians how mad they are about The Russian Album while baiting your opponents into defending an ex-KGB refugee claimant.
Amidst the incessant hand-wringing over melting icecaps, pandemic homelessness, the disappearance of manufacturing, aboriginal suicide rates, rapidly evolving flu strains and other sundry hiccups, it's all too easy to lose sight of the real threats facing our country in 2010: the looming collectivization of Canadian farms, the precarious class-integrity of our kulaks, and the lengthening waits for razor blades. The creep of the hammer and sickle is everywhere: earlier this year I heard a local TV personality complain that February was so short -- distinctly implying his preference for a Long March.
My nephew's home economics teacher apparently can't stress enough the value of beets as a weapon against the West (she specifically cites their "anti-Occident" properties). Even those of us most alert to the Soviet threat have let down our guards: I'm ashamed to admit that, on the evening of our recent wedding anniversary, my wife and I made love for nearly half an hour to the music of Richard Marx. There's no doubt in my mind that the spectre of communism is "Right Here Waiting"... to swallow us whole!
Some might say that a country owing its existence to the death or displacement of its original inhabitants would be better served with a commemoration of its own victims, rather than those of a far-flung, long-defunct enemy. But I ask them: did Paul Henderson score on an Indian? No! Besides, what do you think those Olympic opening ceremonies were all about? The jostling bead blankets of that humid Vancouver night have already left the world with the impression that our country is one giant sweat lodge. Certainly that was commemoration enough (and by the way, why did the Métis get as much time as the other Indians if they're only half?).
The fact is, a monument to communism will help remind people that the guy you're running against is a Russian, and without displaying any particular prejudice to Mr. Ignatieff, I can say that I have always stuck to the lessons imparted to me in childhood by book illustrations and animated cartoons: never trust a man with triangular eyebrows. His are at nearly perfect 45-degree angles (or should I say ‘Engels')! To be honest, I've never quite bought the White Russian credentials of the Ignatieff clan. Rather, what better cover for a family of Bolshevik operatives than to align themselves for generations with Tsarism and anti-Semitism before springing themselves onto an unsuspecting Canadian diplomatic class and BBC talent roster?
Most of all, Mr. Prime Minister, sir, I worry that if we don't constantly remind each other of the horrors of communism, we may one day repeat them ourselves. We could, for (however implausible) an example, end up making rhetorical appeals to anti-terrorism and women's rights as we invade and occupy a mountainous Muslim country with a long history of successfully resisting foreign control -- you know, one of the ones that ends with "-stan," and often starts with "Afghani-." That would be total fucking bullshit.
Yours in deadness-before-redness,
Charles Demers is a Vancouver writer and comedian. He is the author of the novel The Prescription Errors, as well as the book of essays Vancouver Special, which has been shortlisted for the Hubert Evans BC Book Prize for Non-fiction.
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