Monday, November 20, 2006

Send the Self-Imposed House Arrest Pioneer to the House

I have never used my blog to endorse a political candidate but I think now the time has come.

Like most Canadians I am watching the campaign leading up to the by-election in London Ontario with bated breath.

It’s a barnburner of a race and there’s no doubt that all of the parties have fielded strong candidates. It’s my belief, however, that one candidate stands head and shoulders above the rest and if I could vote in this one I would have to mark an X for Dianne Haskett.

I also believe it is a testament to the Conservative Party that they can attract a candidate of Ms Haskett’s stature.

My Goodness they had to look all the way to Washington D.C. to find her.

The fact that Ms. Haskett has been in America working for the Republican Party for the past six years may seem like a deficit at first glance, but I say every cloud has a silver lining. It will be easy to spot the Tory candidate in the Santa clause parade this Saturday, just look for the car with the American license plates and Bush-Cheney sticker.

Predictably some local Tories are upset that Ottawa hand-picked the candidate they wanted over the wishes of the local riding association but lets face it, that’s just sour grapes. Having a puppet of the Prime Minister’s Office is an honour for the people of London.

In fact the Prime Minister’s Office has so much confidence in Ms. Haskett’s ability they actually own her. Well they don’t own her of course but they do own her name. As you can imagine in politics these days the single most important tool any politician has is their Internet identify. In Dianne’s case, she doesn’t control her online identity, the Conservative Party of Canada does. In fact the party bought her domain name days before she was given the nomination. The party also owns office furniture, photocopiers and a portable sound system.

From the Prime Minister’s perspective owning a candidate’s name is simply an effective and proven way of controlling people.

In the sixties, radio stations in the United States used to make a practice of owning the on air names of “Negro DJ’s”. This way if they ever stepped out of line the station could fire the DJ and they wouldn’t be able to find other work using their name. Of course this name owning practice has long been abandoned because apparently it’s despicable but it’s nice to see the practice resurrected in the Prime Minister’s Office.

My guess is some keen whippersnapper in the head office was reading up on the civil rights movement in the United States and got some good ideas while they were at it.

London is crawling with these Ottawa-based political operatives these days. PMO staffers and Minister’s aides have been bussed into the riding on a regular basis; each armed with a Mapquest printout and a list highlighting the names of local malls. They go door-to-door for Dianne making sure to drop local references into the conversation so they can dupe the person on the step into believing they grew up six streets over. Look out London – this is the big time.

This on-the-ground support from team Calgary is an encouraging sign from head office. They know that with Dianne Haskett they have a winner on their hands.

In politics being ahead of the curve is the sign of true greatness. Some candidates can talk a good game but Dianne has a solid record.

For example she was against gay rights long before that became trendy. When the rest of the country was blasé about the homosexual threat Dianne was alerting all who would listen that the homos were on the march. When she did a stint as Mayor of London in the nineties she consistently went out of her way to stop the gays. At the time she made it clear that “appearing to endorse homosexuality is turning my back on God and the day I turn my back on God I lose my authority as Mayor.” Give this woman a seat in the House of Commons!

Did she get the credit she deserved way back when? No. Instead the city she ran was fined $10,000 by the Ontario Human Rights Commission for violating the rights of gay taxpayers. In response Dianne locked herself in her own house for three weeks in an act of self-imposed house arrest. Frankly Dianne could give lessons on how to be a drama queen.

Of course history now shows us that it is Dianne who got the last laugh. Here it is 2006 and Canada is on the brink of destruction because some car salesman named Larry intends to marry a pipe fitter named frank in Flin Flon.

Of course that could change the minute the Tories get a majority which is why so many senior Ministers are thrilled that Dianne is on the ballot. The man with the purse, the President of the Treasury Board John Baird, traveled to London to endorse Haskett and went as far as to call her the “accountability candidate.”

This is a coup for the Haskett campaign. John Baird’s credentials as a conservative are unblemished except for his unfortunate mistake of saying that he would vote in favor of same sex marriage if it ever came up. By going out of his way to get Haskett elected Baird is effectively negating his own vote on the issue. I hope John Baird receives some sort of award from the Conservative Party for this selfless act. Perhaps they could arrange a nice sit down dinner where they give Baird a break from his usual duties and hire a dancing monkey instead.

Of course I don’t mean to imply that Dianne is a single issue candidate. She not only has great insight on what adults should be allowed to do in the privacy of their bedrooms she also has views on who one should worship and who one should fear.
In 1996 she took part in a public prayer breakfast where people were encouraged to bow their heads and pray that Canada be protected "from the darkness and deception of the spirit of Islam."

This is a very impressive record. Let’s remember that encouraging Canadians to be afraid of other religions wasn’t even on the radar in 1996. In fact Canadians have never been big on the idea of domestic holy wars but yet there was Dianne, back in the day, trying to stir it up old school.

Some people are uniters and some people are dividers; Dianne is a uniter. In fact “uniting majorities against minorities since 1996” was under consideration as a potential campaign slogan.

I can only pray that if Stephen Harper ever needs a parliamentary secretary in charge of breeding religious intolerance Dianne will be there in the house ready to heed the call.

And finally, above all else, I think Dianne should be commended for her commitment to silence. She has basically remained hidden during the campaign, refusing all national media requests and most local media requests. By refusing to speak on most issues she has shown the people of London that they have in Dianne Haskett a candidate that is willing to sit down, shut up and do what she is told.

If the residents of London feel that best describes them, electing her will certainly prove it.