Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Gone Fishing.

The heat has destroyed me. I am getting the hell out of Toronto. I don’t think I’ll be blogging for a few weeks as I am in search of climes a tad more comfortable – I am going to Africa. I have the opportunity to visit some United Nations Millennium Development Goals project sites. The director of the Millennium Project is Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, founder of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

He is committed to ending poverty in our time; I am saucy for a living. We were bound to meet one another eventually.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

So you want to be a Speechwriter?

The writing fraternity in Canada is abuzz with talk that the Prime Minister’s speechwriter, Scott Feschuck, has decided to vacate his post. This means that for the first time in decades there is an actual job opening for a writer in Canada. Wherever writers gather, be it at book clubs, poetry circles, narcotics anonymous meetings or Margaret Atwood’s house, this subject has dominated all others.

Personally I think this represents a wonderful opportunity not only for professional writers but for all unemployed Canadians.

Unlike most jobs, this one is a cinch to apply for; all letters to the Prime Minster of Canada are postage free.

If you are applying for the gig you will have to provide a sample speech. Don’t get carried away and attempt to write a Speech from the Throne. A Throne Speech outlines the government’s priorities and its agenda. It’s not the writer’s job to decide the direction that the country is headed. That is sole responsibility of the Director of Communications.

So, what kind of speech? My advice is to put yourself in the shoes of the people around Paul Martin. Consider this: a Strategic Counsel survey released this past week suggests 52 per cent of respondents believe the Prime Minister should be immediately replaced as leader of the Liberal Party. Based on those numbers it is safe to assume that those closest to him are looking for work elsewhere. It’s probably not a happy place, but it pays.

If I was serious about getting the job, in light of the poll results I think the smartest approach would be to craft a short but eloquent concession speech for the Prime Minster.

Actually I would write a speech for each of the two obvious scenarios. One to be used in the event of an election in which the Liberals get their asses kicked from sea to sea to sea and another to be used in the event of a devastating result at a leadership review.

My professional advice – avoid clichés at all cost. For speech number one, the election night speech, I would start with something pithy and original like:

Prime Minister
“My fellow Liberals; we are bloodied but we are unbowed! We may have lost official party status tonight, but we are still a force to be reckoned with! To Stephen Harper, I say congratulations; I’ll be out of the house by Monday.”

After that you would want to wrap it up pretty fast; the networks will have cut to Calgary by then anyway.

For the devastating leadership review speech I would start with a joke.

Prime Minister
My fellow Liberals… I wish politics was like booze. Hey 27% is a big number if you’re talking alcohol content! (Pause for laughter) Speaking of alcohol I need a drink. Thank you and good night. Screw you Ignatieff!

My only other advice is to keep it short. Nobody likes a long-winded Prime Minister. (If you get the job, good luck getting that message through his head.)

Send all applications to:

I want to be a Speechwriter
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
K1A 0A2


Remember, when corresponding with any Member of Parliament, sign off by asking to be added to his or her Christmas card list. This way, when December rolls around, you will know if anyone bothered to read your letter.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Photoshop Ralph draws to a close....

Mona Lisa Ralph by Mellisa Dimock

Cowardly Ralph by Dave Lee

Beerbong by Kate Dalgleish

Ralph and Janet by Kristine Sheffiel

Family Ralph by Gabe Hill

Corrie Ralph by Melissa Dimock

Dorthy Ralph by Melissa Dimock

Judas Priest Ralph by Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson

The winner of the special lucky hat to be announced soon! Emails on the subject welcome at rick@rickmercer.com

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A Nation with too much free time on its hands.

King Ralph by Trout

Hot Momma Ralph by Kate Dalgleish

Ralph 3rd runner up Mr. Leather 2005 by Ray Sullivan

Klien in the Box by Kirk Schmidt

Emperor Ralph by Kirk Schmidt

Absolute Ralph by Lori Savery

Mad Ralph by Jarryn Lutkin

Doin it for the kids Ralph by Tiko

Stampede Ralph by Drew Avis

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Homeless Ralph by Ray Sullivan.

Ralph Weds by Matt.

Nice Hat by Michael Heacock

Buskin' Ralph by janet McNaught

Villiage People Ralph & One More for the Road by Roger.

He Shoots He Scores by Alise Neil

Jurrasic Ralph by Werner Patels

Winner gets a free hat!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Destroyed MPs, Deceased Premiers, A book about Stephen and Mr. Feschuck.

Tonight CBC News reports that Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal is under investigation by the RCMP for irregularities in his 2004 election expenses. Wow. And we were under the impression this guy had already hit bottom. Apparently not. Is Karl Rove working for the Liberals now? Talk about beating a guy like a rented mule. What's next? Will the transcript of the screaming in Grewal's head be released to the general public? Time to leave this guy alone. Move him to the side of the grill – he's done.

Frank Duff Moores, the second Premier of Newfoundland, a Progressive Conservative, has died. A state funeral is planned for later in the week. I remember running around the house when I was ten or so on election night chanting "Vote for Premier Moores!" Dad finally told me to sit down, be quiet and watch the coverage, explaining that Moores had retired and he wasn't going to be Premier anymore. For some reason I took the news hard. I was a strange kid.

I just finished reading the newly released hardcover version of "Stephen Harper and the Future of Canada" by William Johnson. I read it in one sitting, cover to cover, back to front. If you're the kind of person that would like to know more about the Leader of the Opposition than you know about most people this is abook for you. I'm not a literary critic so I will simply say this: "Stephen Harper and the Future of Canada By William Johnson is the best work of non fiction ever published in the history of Canada." If that doesn't get me on the back on the trade paperback nothing will.If I have a single complaint about the new Harper bio it's the fact that the book has no pictures. I'm serious, what political bio doesn't have ten pages of crappy black and white photos? I was really looking forward to the Karsh photos of Harper's disco years when he drove the metallic Gremlin and had a perm.

And finally it was reported this week that speech writer Scott Feschuck is leaving his job in the Prime Minister's Office. This means that come the fall we can look forward to a Prime Minister who is even less amusing and less well spoken than usual. Hard to imagine really. All aboard the short bus!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

From the desk of the Prime Minister.

Dear former friend and Liberal campaign donor,

As you might have read in recent media reports, donations for the Liberal Party of Canada are at an all-time low. The numbers below tell the tale.

Total personal donations for 2004:

 Conservatives $10.9 million.
 Liberals $5.2 million.
 New Democrats $5.19 million.
 Bloc Québécois $897,000.

Our records indicate that you were once an active supporter of the Liberal Party but no longer send cheques or answer the phone when we call. Your request for a lawn sign in the event of the coming election seems to have been lost in the mail.

As you are no doubt aware a Cabinet Minister was in your area recently and dropped by your residence to speak with you directly about this situation. Unfortunately you were otherwise engaged at the time, choosing instead to lie on the floor with your family with the lights off. I understand the importance of family time and suggest you call us and tell us when an appropriate time for such a visit would be.

Many of you have voiced concern about corruption inside the liberal party, and have specifically mentioned being turned off at the notion of so called “envelopes of cash” being passed around sleazy Montréal Diners.

As your leader, I understand that if mysterious envelopes of cash are being passed around, you the rank and file, the former supporters, the backbone of the party, would feel angry and left out at not receiving one.

That said let me tell you about our new donor program that will soon replace the Laurier Club of Canada; The Laurier Party of Canada Clearinghouse Sweepstakes!

From now on when you donate $1000.00 to the Liberal Party you too will receive a fat envelope which may or may not contain one or more of the following.

Membership in the Laurier Club of Canada.
Valuable Marks Works Warehouse coupons.
Ten Thousand unmarked dollars in twenties and fifties.

This time everyone gets an envelope!

I hope that you will consider this carefully.

Thank you for your consideration.


Paul Martin, Leader
Liberal Party of Canada

P.S. Please pick up your phone.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Cruising with Ezra Levant!

Many years ago I had beers with Ezra Levant, and we ended up yelling at each other long into the night. We had lots of fun and bored the hell out of anyone within earshot.

I guess at this point it could be his word against mine; he could very well deny the entire thing, but it happened I swear.

For anyone who is not familiar with Ezra he’s the guy that coined the phrase “Stockaholic” to describe one’s overwhelming loyalty to Stockwell Day. The phrase never caught on really; mostly it was just Ezra who used it, and always in reference to himself.

A longtime Alliance activist, Ezra spent a pant load of his own money in 2002 to win the Alliance nomination in the riding of Calgary Southwest. Then, in a stunning display of how Conservatives are all about the grassroots, Ezra was forced to give up his hard-fought nomination to his newly elected leader Stephen Harper. It was pretty decent of him really, down right Scott Brisonish.

Personally I would have liked to see Ezra in Parliament, but probably for different reasons than most of his supporters.

Ezra has since traded in any political aspirations for the magazine trade. He is the Founder and Publisher of the Western Standard. I am an avid reader.

It’s got all the conservative pundits you would ever want to read, the sensible ones and the not so sensible.

The June issue had commentaries on a variety of subjects including “Why Belinda is worse than a whore”, “Why the conservatives are better off without Belinda” and “How Belinda’s ambition will have long term repercussions for Canadian Governance”. Those aren’t the exact titles but that’s the gist of it. Unlike the Eastern Media, it’s unbiased journalism at its best.

I was always a news stand buyer but lately The Western Standard is available for free on any Air Canada flight. I say free but I guess somehow it’s factored in with the $14,000.00 ticket price

What I like about Ezra is that he doesn't just limit himself to publishing. Ezra is also bit of a professional shit disturber and I admire that in a person. It was Ezra who made the “It’s the stupid Charter” buttons that were distributed at the last Conservative Convention. Harper’s people were apoplectic when they started showing up on the floor. At first they thought it was a dirty Liberal trick designed to embarrass them until they saw the “Western Standard” logo at the bottom.

I interviewed one young guy who was proudly wearing three of the buttons. He told me with a straight face that the Charter should be burned and then complained that the young Liberals had stolen the idea of Ezra’s button because the Liberals had buttons that said “It’s the Charter, Stupid”. This poor misguided activist was incensed that the Liberals would steal from Conservatives and plus he said he didn’t appreciate being called stupid. To put it kindly I have seen brighter lights on small appliances. I didn’t put it on TV because I thought the kid probably had parents who might watch or he might want to go on a date someday. Later he was part of the crowd chanting “No Youth! “No Youth!” during the debate over the youth wing. To be fair every party has them.

Ezra’s latest coup is the now famous Libranos poster.

When Immigration Minister Joe Volpe saw a few Conservative MP’s chuckling over the poster he practically had an aneurism. He ran to the closest microphone and declared that the entire Conservative party was basically like the Ku Klux Klan. For this outburst alone Volpe wins the award for “stupidest comment from a Member of Parliament this year”. And what a year to win the honour! Kudos to Volpe on that one.

Personally, I think calling people Nazis or KKK members is grounds for bouncing a Cabinet Minister. It lets the KKK off the hook.

If you are going to call someone a Nazi or a KKK member, let’s make sure there are photos of them taking part in behavior fitting of history’s cruelest monsters, not just chuckling over photo shop.

Anyway Ezra has now set his sights even higher. He is no longer just a publisher and Conservative opinion maker. Ezra Levant is now a cruise director!

I admit when I first stumbled across the two page glossy ad for the “Inaugural Western Standard Caribbean Cruise with Ezra Levant” I thought it was another example of Ezra’s wit, but nope – it’s a legit enterprise.

According to Ezra he is offering you the opportunity to travel the Caribbean with “like minded Conservatives”. He’s a genius that Ezra. I’m sold. Personally I cannot think of a better way to spend a week in December than watching a group of like-minded sun-baked conservatives, liquored to the tits, gobbling Dramamine, and complaining about Canada.

You can go to his website and learn all about it. My favourite part is the speakers list. You guessed it: ten white guys! It’s like the Love Boat but without girls!

Highlights of the cruise will be the all you can eat buffets and the opportunity to have a photograph/autograph session with Colby Cosh, Ted Byfield and Andrew Coyne!

I am half tempted to sign up. I had fun with Ezra before, I’m sure I could do it again. Of course back then we weren’t stuck on a boat.

For a complete list of speakers joining Captain Ezra (including Ted Byfield top) visit http://www.westernstandardcruise.com/speakers.htm

Friday, July 01, 2005

Memorial Day in Newfoundland.

In one of those great Newfoundland in Confederation ironies, Canada Day is actually an official day of mourning in Newfoundland.

You see, Canada just happens to celebrate its birthday on the anniversary of the bloodiest day in Newfoundland history.

On July 1, 1916 the Newfoundland Regiment was wiped out on the battlefield of Beaumont-Hamel France during the Battle of the Somme. The story of the Newfoundland Regiment in WWI is a dramatic one, long and filled with heroic victories. It came to an end on this day in 1916.

It was on this day that 801 fighting Newfoundlanders left the trenches and tried to smash through the German lines, only 69 returned to answer the roll call. An entire generation was wiped out in minutes. Today is the day we remember them.

I was at the War Memorial in St. John’s this morning at 11:00am and watched the wreath laying ceremony. It was a beauty day, there was a big crowd and lots of young people in attendance

It makes for a bit of a schizophrenic holiday. On the day we are supposed to be celebrating the flag, the flags are flying at half mast.

Everything is different in Newfoundland.