Canada’s melting pot

We all sympathize, naturally, with the porridge called Unite-the-Right, created by mixing three-piece Tories in Nova Scotia, who, helped by a mickey of rum at the ballot box, have voted the same way their grandfathers told them to, with those boys in Alberta, who wear cowboy high heels and think every jaywalker should be hanged by the neck at sundown.

People like Mike Harris and Stephen Harper need to understand that Canada is the second-largest land mass on earth and is completely filled with jealousy.

When this country was stillborn 136 years ago, foreign observers thought we had such an ideal future: founded on the British parliamentary system with the advantage of French culture and the injection of American efficiency. Every single person in Canada with its population of 31 million knows what we really have in 2003: a French parliamentary system with American culture and British efficiency.

Anyone who wants to destruct the hegemony of the Grits, who have ruled this confused country for almost all of the last century, has to understand the entire country.

There is, starting with the Wet Coast, the wonderful province of British California, whicis unique in this country and almost anywhere in the world in that for 20 years it was run by Wack C. Bombast — aka W.A.C. Bennett — as its Social Credit premier.

After a short interregnum under the first socialist to run B.C., Davey Barrett, Wacky was succeeded by his son, Mini-Wac. Bill Bennett and I became sort of friends. We played tennis together. We drank together. And people, knowing we were close, naturally asked if he was simply a chip off the old block.

In fact, he wasn’t. He was his own man. To prove this, I would tell them that when Bill went from Vancouver over to the legislature in Victoria, he always took the ferry. His father used to walk.

I’ve never understood Alberta. It has gone all these years for massive majorities for Aberhart, then the senior Manning, for Lougheed and now Klein. I get the impression that Alberta voters, upon entering the ballot box, don’t so much as cross an X as they sprinkle water. And, of course, it has produced the only jurisdiction in history that has gone from poverty to decadence without passing through civilization.

Saskatchewan? That’s the province that produced Gordie Howe, Tommy Douglas, Dief the Chief and Joni Mitchell. It’s also the only province that won’t switch to daylight saving time because it screws up the cows’ milking times. That means Saskatchewan cows are even more stubborn than the Saskatchewan farmers. That’s everything you want to know about Saskatchewan.

Manitoba is the dullest province of all. And Premier Gary Doer is the dullest of all. His idea of having fun is to go down to Wal-Mart on Saturday nights to try on gloves. I was in the bar of my hotel in Winnipeg a few months ago, and there was this guy moaning to the bartender that the economy wasn’t going well. “I’m in the furniture business, and I’m going to lose my ass.” A girl was sitting down the bar, and she said, “Look, buster, I’m in the ass business, and I’m going to lose my furniture.”

And then there’s Ottawa: Yesterday’s City Tomorrow, The Town That Fun Forgot; the former residence of The Jaw That Walked Like a Man, Myron Baloney, the only man I’ve ever met who could strut sitting down. (His aides confided that his alarm didn’t ring, it applauded.) And our latest prime minister, the only man in the country, who couldn’t speak either of the two official languages. As Dalton Camp wrote, “He always looked like the driver of the getaway car.”

To really understand Canada, you have to understand the Newfie guy who said he didn’t care if Quebec separated — it would mean it would take half the time to drive to Toronto.

Such is Canada if you want to run it or if you want to run Unite-the-Right.

Prime Minister Paul, be prepared.