Monday, September 25, 2006

Bring Out Your Dead

Dear friend and supporter,

Did you know that in the event of your tragic death you can remain an active member of the Liberal Party of Canada? The party’s membership renewal commission has reinterpreted our constitution and has determined that dead people can now hold executive positions within the Liberal party and even attend future conventions as voting members.

This is why I am writing to you today.

Please consider a one time gift of your human remains to the party – at no cost to you.

Imagine the peace of mind you will have on your deathbed knowing that while death may bring an end to many of life’s pleasures, you will still be involved in the advancement of democracy and Liberal ideals in Canada.

Many Canadians are doing just that right now. Michael Ignatieff has a number of deceased Canadians working for him on his campaign. They may be dead but they can still get Iggy with it! In fact World War I flying ace Billy Bishop has recently taken out a party membership and has officially endorsed Ignatieff and the courageous positions he has taken on the use of force during the interrogation of prisoners.

But while Billy Bishop’s arrival back on the scene is certain to bring some excitement to this campaign it is Joe Volpe who should be commended for pioneering this exciting new way to support the Liberal party. As Joe has said so eloquently in the past, for the Liberal party to succeed in the 21st century we must embrace not only hardworking new Canadians but non-working dead Canadians as well.

It was Joe who realized early on that the dead were a huge untapped resource, signing up as many of these dedicated dead Liberals as he could. In fact, after a hard day of campaigning in the many small towns across Canada Joe would often, under cover of darkness, visit local graveyards. Once there Joe, armed with artist parchment and a number four charcoal pencil, would make tombstone rubbings until dawn. Every rubbing a testament to a life lived and the basis for a party membership.

So if you are dead or near dead hurry now and give your body to the party – all the leadership candidates are looking for support from dead people.

Bob Rae, for example, has recently accepted the public endorsement of Hedy Fry.

So we ask you now in the event of your death – remember the Liberal party of Canada. Also in the event of your near death, say a car accident or heart attack, take the opportunity to ask your deceased relatives if they would like to support the party.

Donate your body today by downloading a donor declaration of intent from the Liberal Party website.

Do it for Canada.

Yours truly,

Mackenzie King
Membership Renewal Commission
Liberal Party of Canada

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Smartest Guy in the Room?

This past Sunday evening I found myself with my feet up watching CPAC broadcast the most recent Liberal leadership race live from Vancouver. Good scheduling on the Liberals’ part, most Canadians are free at dinnertime on a Sunday.

Later as the debate progressed I flicked over and saw that the finale for Canadian Idol was on. It dawned on me that it was quite possible that I was the only TV viewer in the entire country who was watching the debate live.

For those of you who didn’t catch it here are the highlights in alphabetical order: Bob Rae. That’s it. End of highlights.

I remember exactly where I was the moment I heard Bob Rae wanted to be leader of the Liberal party. Its one of those seared in sense memory thingies, like remembering where you were when the Challenger blew up or you heard Stockwell Day was straight.

Honestly, Bob Rae wanting to be Liberal leader seemed so bizarre I figured it was just a matter of time before Bob would be on the TV revealing the tragic results of the CAT scan.

Nothing against Rae of course, I’m sure he means well – it’s just that his record as NDP premier of Ontario will never go away. It’s like Herpes. That’s forever.

But watching the debate in Vancouver I realized that my initial reaction was way off. Believe it or not Bob Rae has the big mo. Standing up there on the stage in front of all those Liberals – Bob Rae looked like a Prime Minister and Michael Ignatieff looked like he was digesting a bag of California spinach.

Poor Iggy.

In the media Ignatieff is usually described as “current frontrunner.” Soon that will make way for “former frontrunner,” and eventually Ignatieff will simply be called “disappointed”. This was not the way this was supposed to play out.

Iggy’s problem is not the number of delegates he has or his support in the Liberal caucus. He’s got a healthy pile of these folks in his pocket. His problem is while delegates may be political junkies they work and walk among civilians. Part of the job of a delegate is to constantly bore the hell out of everyone at the office talking about this leadership race. And as the leadership slowly makes it onto the civilian radar more and more of these civilians are asking their delegate friends why in god’s name they think Michael Ignatieff is electable.

Right now there are a lot of confirmed Iggy supporters who are starting to wonder whether or not they have backed the wrong horse.

Some people have suggested that Canadians aren’t warming up to Iggy because of his intellectual credentials. I don’t buy this. Canadians don’t mind that Ignatieff is the smartest guy in the room; what bugs them is that he acts like it. We can’t relate to a guy like that – personally I’m happy if I’m the smartest guy in the elevator.

To be fair though this is probably an occupational hazard that comes with being a Harvard professor .And this alone isn’t fatal; in fact it’s pretty common actually. Our current Prime Minister also thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room – although when you consider the type of room Harper usually finds himself in, you can hardly blame him. When Harper exits a caucus meeting it’s not entirely clear if the title “smartest guy in the room” immediately shifts to his parliamentary secretary or the jade plant.

Of course my gut feeling that suddenly this is Rae’s race is hardly scientific. There are still some people who think Iggy can take this sucker on the first ballot, and really the opinion of a non delegate like me watching at home on the couch is entirely irrelevant.

Also in the spirit of full disclosure I have to admit that there were times during the debate when I was not entirely awake; in fact I think I nodded off a few times. I was, like so many other Canadians, simply killing time on a Sunday evening staring at the TV with a beer between my knees – and from that perspective Bob Rae is now the guy to beat.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Farewell to Summer

Clearly there is something wrong with me. I am a grown man and the sight of a school bus driving up the street on a cool September morning fills me with free floating anxiety.

What did I do over my summer vacation? Perhaps it's easier to say what I didn't do: that would be blogging. I have been a very bad blogger. I had every intention of keeping it going over the summer but we wrapped the show and then one day turned into two and then I remember going for a few pints with Seamus O'Reagan sometime in May and next thing you know here it is September and I'm back in my cubicle at the CBC staring at a very out of date blog. I am glad to be back though. I have my geometry set, my coloured pencils and I'm wearing a pair of shiny new slacks. My first show airs Tuesday October 3rd. All aboard the short bus – it's back to school.

Speaking of the short bus I see that Jack Layton has distinguished himself on the international front by coming up with a solution for the Afghanistan situation. Jack is calling for peace talks with the Taliban. About time the NDP get back to their more loony roots. For a while there they were coming off all semi-sensible.

Rest assured if there are peace talks with the Taliban and Jack Layton The Mercer Report will be there! I've attended a lot of political events over the years and as a location I would suggest holding the talks in one of the ball rooms at the casino in Hull.

I think you might be able to smoke there and I'm guessing the Taliban would appreciate that. All the Taliban really require to have a good time is an ashtray and a few de-peopled women making sure there's a steady supply of unsafe drinking water.

Agenda for Historic Peace talks between Jack Layton and Taliban leader - room 202 Casino Du Lac Leamy, Quebec

8:00 am – Jack Layton opening comments and welcome to assembled media and Taliban representative.

8:05 am – Taliban representative walks to podium, poses for photographs with Mr. Layton.

8:06 am – Taliban representative cleaves Mr. Layton in the forehead with giant axe.

8:08 am – Peace talks end.

8:10 am – Olivia Chow says she is "encouraged by talks” – announces plan to run for leadership of NDP.

What else is going on? On the Liberal front I was encouraged to read that Michael Ignatieff will not accept any questions from the media that are "anticipatory hypotheticals". I'm glad he made this clear because I hope to interview him on the show this year and I appreciate the heads up. Truth is I like Iggy but honestly sometimes I don't know what in the hell he's talking about. I thought all hypotheticals were anticipatory! I am so stupid sometimes. I googled the phrase "anticipatory hypothetical" and there are only seven known uses in the history of the English language. The term pops up on a website called and it's also used in an essay written by some dude in Iowa who believes that robots have taken over the world.

And finally on a sad note that crocodile hunter guy was killed by a stingray. Laugh and the world laughs with you, get killed by a benign piece of seafood and the world laughs too apparently. Showbiz is brutal that way.

Welcome back.