Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Will he stay or will he go?

Boy it sucks to be Peter MacKay. Will he take the plunge? Will he get the hell out of Dodge? Will he give up the glamorous life as the safety critic in Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition to become the Premier of Nova Scotia? It must be very tempting for a guy who has spent his entire working life in opposition. For over a decade now he has been complaining about stuff but has never had the chance to actually run anything. Don’t get me wrong, Peter MacKay has held positions of great authority in the world of amateur rugby, but becoming a premier would entail at least twice the responsibility and workload. Personally, I know he could do it, he is definitely smart enough - in Question Period he has been known to wear glasses.

If Peter is anything like me (my inner child not being a child but a small bitter man) he is busy running revenge scenarios over and over again in his head. He is picturing himself walking into caucus, kicking over a few chairs, bitch-slapping Jason Kenney and Scott Reid, turning heel and walking out the door never to be seen again. The fantasy continues, of course, with his returning to Nova Scotia a hero. Premier MacKay then devotes the next six years of his life to running a clean and honest government by day, and leading a secret wing of the Provincial Police force by night. A much-feared collection of officers whose only mandate is to make Scott Brison’s life miserable. The fantasy wraps up, of course, with MacKay heading back to Ottawa to assume his rightful place as Conservative Prime Minister of Canada.

Although, if MacKay really is like me (and the more I think about it, the physical similarities are so eerie I assume that he is), this fantasy would quickly become replaced with a more terrifying scenario. One where he returns home and becomes Premier only to lose the following general election. It gets worse from there. The day after his historic defeat he goes out to the potato patch to grant sad interviews with the press but nobody has bothered to make the drive. This of course makes him sadder. This scenario ends years later with him working as a dishwasher at the Lower Deck in Halifax, spending hours on end plunging his prison-tattooed hands into scalding, soapy water. His only respite being the occasional breaks where he swallows whole pickled eggs for drinks and applause. All politicians fear that their careers will end this way and studies show that for 23 percent of them it is inevitable. This is the scenario of the dreaded night sweats.

Personally, I hope Peter goes for curtain number one and takes a shot at being Premier of Nova Scotia. I lived in Nova Scotia for over ten years. It’s an amazing province and MacKay would be an excellent Premier. Everyone in the Province likes him and his heart is certainly in the right place. I’m pretty sure that he would take a bullet for Nova Scotia without a moment’s hesitation. He is as Nova Scotian as they come. How Nova Scotian? He has been known to travel to Party functions with his own personal bagpiper. A conspiracy theorist might be interested to know that said bagpiper, the very charming and talented Tyler Cameron, is actually the grandson or grandnephew of current Nova Scotia Premier John Hamm. He explained the exact connection once but it was at a Tory party “blow out” and I couldn’t really hear him over the din of people complaining about the cash bar.

Of course, leaving Ottawa would be a big transition for Peter. I am sure there are many things that he would miss a lot about his life in the Conservative Party. As Deputy Leader I know he would miss the convenient way that he finds out about new Party policy: listening to the radio or reading Bourque.

Some things he wouldn’t miss. I have a sneaking suspicion that MacKay is not too big on all that Lord talk. It’s pretty much a confirmed fact now that before every caucus meeting the assembled MPs gather in a circle, hold hands, and rock back and forth until eventually someone asks “What would the Lord do?” According to reliable insiders, someone inevitably will fall to their knees as if in an epileptic seizure, begin babbling in foreign tongues, and start shouting “We must prepare for the coming of the Lord”. For MacKay, it must be very unsettling to so see so much attention being paid to the Premier of New Brunswick.

And finally, knowing what a benevolent soul Peter is, I’m sure he would miss the many opportunities to be involved in charitable acts right there on Parliament Hill. There is always some sort of fundraiser taking part on the Hill and MacKay is often an active participant, whether it is a Bar-B-Q for Katrina Relief or a Run for Cancer Research. Also, I know for a fact that he often takes time out of his busy schedule to spend quiet one-on-one time with those who are less fortunate than he. Why only recently I saw pictures of him on Parliament Hill throwing around a football with a man whom I can only assume was Stephen Harper’s mentally challenged twin brother.

And you know what? That is the stuff of heroes.

Good luck Peter, whatever you decide.