I spent all month agonizing over what to be for Halloween, but I finally figured it out: I’m going to tape a megaphone to my butt and go door-to-door as “the Muskrat Falls debate.” Subtle, right? I wanted to go as the Spectre of Communism but my ghoulfriend said it would be too boooo-ring.
Ha ha, I’m here every month, folks!
I can’t think of a better time to go vegetarian than this past October. People all over North America spent the last two months anxiously refreshing the XL Foods website as exponentially more E. coli-tainted meat from the Alberta processing plant was recalled every day. Fortunately for Canadian carnivores, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz—who you may remember as the guy presiding the last time Canadians got sick from poison meat—was on hand to keep the public safe by letting the plant stay open for a while after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency was informed there was a bacteria problem at the plant. While this might seem like a good opportunity to reflect on whether or not a system of factory farming that sees 35 per cent of all beef in the country processed at a single, self-policing mega-plant is a good idea, the CFIA has given XL Foods the green light to reopen so thankfully there’s no need to think about the meat we eat or where it comes from. Whew! Anyone else in the mood for a celebratory hamburger?
Sour steaks aside, the federal government has had a lot of other stuff on its plate this month. So far, Conservative MPs have been really busy living up to Stephen Harper’s promise not to re-open the abortion debate by giving monarchy-themed medals of honour to a couple of anti-abortion activists currently serving jail time. I hear the Queen is positively Jubilant about it, but she’s not nearly as excited as the federal Liberals are over the Second Coming of Trudeau (and his princely good looks). But while everything might look rosy in Ottawa, in Toronto things are more immediately grim: Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty held a surprise resignation this month after suspending the legislature in order to keep his minority government from collapsing in the wake of a power plant scandal, which is totally not an abuse of power at all! Considering how good McGuinty is at busting up democracy whenever it suits his purpose, he should definitely consider giving Trudeau a run for his money; he’s already got a good handle on all the qualities we’ve come to expect from a Prime Minister.
Speaking of abusing democracy, October marked the beginning of Convention Season in Newfoundland and Labrador. Party Conventions are magical places where politics comes alive. For instance, within 24 hours of the first convention, PC Backbencher Sandy Collins had already challenged NDP MHA Dale Kirby to a charity boxing match (which Dr. Kirby seemed to interpret as gladiatorial combat). Outside of that, Premier Kathy Dunderdale stole the show at the Tory convention when she frankly admitted that the government has been grossly overspending for some time before announcing the creation of a brand new and totally superfluous Department of Public Engagement less than a week later. This new department is devoted to enraging—I mean, engaging—the public through Twitter and proving how dedicated the PCs are to freedom of information by spoon feeding us whatever information the Premier’s Office wants us to know. It’s like Bill 29 never even happened! As to how Paul Lane wasn’t appointed as the literal Minister of Twitter, I can neither understand nor forgive. Also, we’re now at war with Quebec.
Not to be outdone, the NDP held their largest convention ever, with over 200 delegates turning the Battery Hotel into a beacon of self-righteousness in the sky above downtown St. John’s. No word yet on whether or not Dale Kirby fought anyone.
The Liberal convention is also coming up, and Lord knows that’s a hot mess. This particular episode in the NL Liberals’ drama would be a good time to have Scrooge McDu– er, Dean Macdonald—finally announce he’s ready to ride in on a white horse, slay the Liberals’ debt dragon, and restore the party of Smallwood to its ancient splendour. Regardless of what actually happens though, you can rest assured that Open Line and Twitter are bound to be as suffocated by partisan hacks of all stripes as they were during the other two conventions.
And that’s basically October. In more inconsequential news, Americans head to the polls on November 6th to decide the fate of (vaguely) public healthcare, abortion, and Big Bird. Can Mitt Romney’s Binders of Power contain the forces of both the American debt and Women’s Lib? Will Barack Obama get to spend another four years as the only Nobel Peace Prize winner whose day job requires actively deciding which foreign militants get murdered by flying robots? Or will the American people finally wake up, seize control of their destiny, and elect Roseanne Barr to the White House on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket? We live in absurd times and only an absurd Presidential candidate will see us through. Let Roseannearchy reign!