Deputy PM? Consider this my application…

My Fellow Inebriates,

I was prepared to be outraged when my mother casually mentioned that Canada doesn’t currently have a deputy prime minister. The subject came up because Miss P had come home from Grade 2 enthusing about Alberta (Oil! Dinosaur bones!) and asking when we could go there. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is from there and has made a career of exploiting that province’s oil reserves, ripping up boreal forest with abandon and draining rivers to supply an unsustainably water-intensive dirty-oil industry that’s quickly rendering much of Alberta more like a Martian landscape than the pristine Canadian wilderness where fur traders and settlers once tromped. O Canada.

Stephen Harper with a kitten

Just the mention of Alberta was enough to get us hatin’ on the Harper Government.* Only the beady-eyed Harper, who has kiboshed no less than 3,000 environmental impact assessments, loosened regulations to allow corporate food producers to conduct their own safety inspections, fired a whistleblower for reporting weaknesses in the Chalk River nuclear facility, refused to sign a UN declaration citing water as a human right, cut science funding, issued generous tax cuts to frackers, repeatedly attempted to institute comprehensive Internet surveillance, and removed historical pictures of past prime ministers from the House of Commons and instead festooned it with at least 25 pictures of himself, could be such a colossal dickhead as to fly without a deputy, right?

stephen harper with a bear

When you walk in the door, all you see are pictures of Stephen Harper … I’d say between every window, in every available space of the wall, at eye level, every available space has a photo of Stephen Harper … You’ve got photos of Stephen Harper, but not of previous prime ministers … Photos of Stephen Harper in different costumes, in different settings, dressed as a fireman, in Hudson Bay looking for polar bears, meeting the Dalai Lama, even the portrait of the Queen had to have Stephen Harper, but in a candid, behind her. — Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada

So when Mum said we had no deputy prime minister, I thought WTF? and looked it up, only to discover my outrage wasn’t legitimate. Turns out the position is fairly modern (1977), fairly nebulous and often ceremonial. Unlike the American Vice President, the Canadian Deputy Prime Minister does not expect to ascend to leadership in the event of the PM’s untimely death. In fact, only one deputy prime minister, Jean Chretien, has ever gone on to become prime minister.

Harper is all about letting the fox mind the henhouse.

Harper is all about letting the fox mind the henhouse.

Still, the Deputy Prime Minister’s does have the job of answering policy questions during Question Period. But Stephen Harper isn’t big on his government answering questions. Still… You’d think he’d at least install some toothless moppet to sit in Parliament and nod its head.

And once again I found myself writing a political letter….

letter to Stephen Harper

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

I just noticed today that you don’t have a deputy prime minister. While I understand you probably wouldn’t want some outspoken, informed person at Question Period, perhaps you could use a head-nodding imbecile such as myself.

I could even help out with duties such as watering your plants or stroking your cat (that’s not a metaphor). Let me know, dude.

stephen harper with wormy thing

I don’t know, my fellow inebriates… Will another of my political rants go into the cyber void?


 *Only a total dickhead with dictatorial aims would actually rechristen “the Canadian Government” officially with his own surname.

CYPRESS HONEY LAGER—Good swill during unpleasant times


Somebody mailed a human foot to the Conservative Party’s Ottawa HQ yesterday, causing police to declare a Hazmat situation while investigators pored over the Canada Post sorting plant where all packages go before final delivery.

Weirdly, a maggoty human torso had just been discovered in a suitcase in Montreal. Who knows where the head and remaining limbs are destined… I sure wouldn’t want to be a mail sorter this week.

Tory MP Brad Trost, a hardcore pro-lifer who apparently thinks Stephen Harper is too conservative and longs to reopen the abortion debate in Canada, first learned about the foot on TV. “It’s just awful,” said Trost, describing it as “someone’s sick idea.”

Newsflash, Brad: A picture or a story about a severed foot is a sick idea. An actual severed foot goes beyond ideation. Dude, when somebody mails you a body part, it’s either:

  • A mistake (Was it in an ice bath? Was it supposed to be reattached to somebody waiting at the hospital?)
  • A joke (Not funny!)
  • A message (What do you think it could mean, my fellow inebriates?)

▪ ▪ ▪


Wow! A lot can happen while you’re out swinging on swings, visiting Tim Horton’s, and watching dogs get haircuts at the pet store. The police just intercepted a package containing a severed HAND at the Ottawa Postal Terminal. They’ve connected the hand and foot with the torso in Montreal, plus they have a suspect. In all likelihood the gruesome mailings are a mob-style message related to the Charbonneau Commission investigating organized crime in the construction industry.

Although police have expressed doubt that any more body parts will show up in the mail, if I were an employee of Canada Post or the Harper government I would definitely be bringing a flask to work. Maybe even phoning in drunk.

With a six-pack of GRANVILLE ISLAND CYPRESS HONEY LAGER I could just manage it, although my friends weighing more than a pound might want to consider a full case. Amber-yellow with a quickly receding beige head, this lager promises honey. Instead bakery leftovers and cloying malt waft from the glass. If you detect honey then you have a finer nose than I and/or the power of suggestion is strong with you. If this latter characteristic fits, you might not wish to drink CYPRESS HONEY LAGER while reading about detached body parts crawling with maggots—you wouldn’t want to cement that association.

Honey, when added to a lager, often mitigates the tinny lightness of that brewing style and lends some depth. But one sip of CYPRESS HONEY LAGER confirms what the nose suspected: precious little honey. Sweetness, yes, but of a juvenile, corn-syrup stripe unable to elevate this lager from a thin, watery and even sour taste experience. This would be an excellent keg beer. If, say, you were moving from a house with a mean landlord and wanted to host one last housewrecker party, CYPRESS HONEY LAGER would be a good choice. Its promise of delicious honey is exactly like a parsimonious landlord’s commitment to fix the toilet.

If you don’t have enough friends to warrant a kegger, but you do like pounding beers while watching morbid CBC news stories, this lager would do for that too.