Monday, January 30, 2006

Breaking the Ice

The Conservatives won the 2006 federal election with a campaign motto of "Stand up for Canada." It didn't take long for the Americans to pick a fight with Prime Minister designate Stephen Harper, but thus far the Tory leader is standing his ground, albeit on very thin ice.

The USA and several other nations dispute Canada's sovereignty in Arctic waters. The debate resurfaced last week after the American ambassador to Canada reiterated his government's stance that they do not recognize Canada's claims over the Northwest Passage.

Although ambassador Wilkins suggests that his remarks were old news, he was clearly taken aback when Harper shrugged off his comments. "It is the Canadian people we get our mandate from, not the ambassador of the United States," Harper was quoted as saying.

An enraged Wilkins called Harper a "shit-disturbing right wing wannabe" and proceeded to sprout goat horns and a grotesque stump of a second head that bore a striking resemblance to Rick Moranis. The suddenly malformed Wilkins began to attack the room with white hot fireballs before vaporizing himself into an odious cloud of purple smoke.

Thankfully, there were no reported injuries after Wilkins' tirade. The American embassy would only say that the ambassador is now on temporary stress leave and is expected back in the office before the end of the week.

Wilkins, seen here conjuring a ball of
white flame, was really angry.
(CP Photo. Really.)

Friday, January 20, 2006

How the Pinch Saved Christmas (Part II of II)

The sunrise over the North Pole is truly a sight to behold. It speaks directly to the spirit, offering an effervescent promise of hope for a land of frozen despair. It warms even the smallest of snowflakes and seems to feed off the very rebirth it inspires. But this remains a cold, insidious and unforgiving place. Only at the onset of the gloaming do you realise that you should not have strayed so far from your home. The Arctic is not unlike Stephen Harper in this regard.

Even the hardiest of Canadians would find this too hostile a climate, but it seems to suit Santa Claus just fine. Now that he has some time off, we here at The Maple Lounge we able to secure an exclusive interview with the big man in order to discover which political party he was considering running for last month.

TML: "Hello Mr. Claus. Thanks for agreeing to our interview request."

Santa: "My pleasure. Care for another scotch?"

TML: "Certainly. So, how does Santa Claus choose a political party?"

Santa: "As you might expect, I made a list of names. A list spanning the entire political spectrum."

TML: "Just one list?"

Santa: "Just the one."

TML: "I always thought you made two separate lists, one for nice kids and another for the naughty ones."

Santa: "Usually I do. We're talking about politicians here. They're all on the naughty list. The trick is to choose the party with the fewest members on the wrong list."

TML: "And that party is?"

Santa: "Well, I reserve the right to change my mind, but ..."

TML: "Like Belinda Stronach?"

Mr. Claus bristled at the notion that he might run for one party just to get elected and then quickly hop into bed with whoever is willing to give him what he needs to advance his new career. "Hey look, I'm Santa. I'm not doing this because I need a job or just for attention," he said. Pressed for his opinion on the character of Ms. Stronach, Santa looked every bit the jolly old elf we all know, and would only place a finger aside his nose and chuckle "Ho! Ho! Ho!"

"Hell yeah, she's definitely on the naughty list," said a male voice from underneath the table, which turned out to be Peter MacKay. He emerged from his hiding spot and began lewdly gesturing with a swagger not seen in a Conservative MP for years. "Remember, he sees you when you're sleeping and knows when you're awake." (As Mr. Mackay pondered the implications of his last statement, he promptly fled to his family's farm in Nova Scotia to blubber awhile and regroup for the election on January 23rd.)

If one interruption during our exclusive interview wasn't enough, Rudolf then suddenly reared up as Stealth Ninja Agent Svend Robinson sprang out of Prancer's left ear and pinched St. Nick's ass.

"I didn't do it," came Svend's predictable denial, "but my actions notwithstanding, Claus, if you ever want a piece of the NDP caucus you know who to call." At first it seemed that Svend was trying to make a grandiose political statement in his own unique way, but that turned out not to be the case.

The brouhaha settled with only just enough time for the one final question we had come here to ask. Alas, Santa was already on the move.

He swore and he cursed as he flew out of sight, "Fuck, my wallet! Find that ass bandit! Tonight!"

This concludes the tale of how Santa's fledging political career came to an abrupt end, and how the pinch saved Christmas forever.

Hey, at least now we know which party he was running for!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

How the Pinch Saved Christmas (Part I of II)

Riding a wave of anti-Liberal anger, the surging Tories in all likelihood are on their way to forming a majority government on January 23rd. They came racing out of the gate at the sound of the gun, yet most observers expected another photo finish on election day once Harper's campaign started to bleed momentum. The anticipated slowdown never materialised, and in fact the opposite has happened.

While the Conservative strategists appear to have been one step ahead of everyone else this time, The Maple Lounge has uncovered shocking evidence of just how different the election campaign could have been.

Stealth ninja agent Svend Robinson has obtained top secret documents confirming the rumour that Santa Claus had originally planned to cancel Christmas and run for office. As if an election campaign during the holiday season wasn't enough, Canadians should know just how close they came to getting political pamphlets in their stockings instead of sugarplums.

"Ludicrous, just ludicrous!" said the leader of the Green Party, whatever his name is. "All I can say is that he certainly wasn't running for us. Have you any idea how much methane those damn reindeer put out, eating those blasted carrots all night?"

So you won't find Santa's signature on the Kyoto protocol or in the Green Party's member list, but honestly even having Saint Nick as a star candidate couldn't buy the Green Party any attention. It does raise an interesting question, however. Which party is the best fit for the big man from the North Pole?

Clearly the NDP's close ties to organised labour preclude Santa joining their party, what with his monopoly over elf slave labour and all. We can't see his traditional red suit going over too well with even the most left-leaning of Tories, either.

"I'm sure we could have worked something out," said Stephen Harper while campaigning from inside a giant model of the human colon, "but he said that my ass wasn't big enough for the both of us." (Mr. Harper then began to jump around and clap his hands excitedly, claiming that he had actually said "butt" instead of "but" and this was a shining example of the newer, less angry, joke-telling Conservative leader.)

Jolly ol' Saint Nick's tendency to only work one day a year makes him a shoo-in for the Senate, but the fact that he showers people with presents to garner attention implies a natural fit for Paul Martin's crew.

There was only one way to be sure. The Maple Lounge arranged an interview with Santa Claus, and you can be sure that we grilled the big man with our own style of hard-hitting journalism.

In the second half of this story, to be published on Friday January 20th, we reveal how Santa's political aspirations shone briefly like the star over Bethlehem and subsequently winked out of existence like Blitzen's cousin Bob, who never even knew what a Via train was until the day it finally hit him.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Something Smelly this Way Comes

Contrary to a certain rumour making the rounds of the Canadian blogosphere, the not-so-shocking lack of updates here at The Maple Lounge is not because I'm running for the Doughnut party in the riding of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, but rather because I'm putting the finishing touches on my new book.

That's right people, the limited edition scratch 'n sniff version of Squeezers, Squeakers, Eggers and Stinkers: An Illustrated History of Farts in Canadian Political Campaigns (Volume II) will be available in a bookstore near you. As you might imagine, I've been very busy because the publisher wants to rush the book to print before the election on January 23rd. I hope the book gets more attention that this evening's leaders' debate, although honestly I think the advice in the first volume was largely ignored by the four major parties despite spending 10 weeks (and counting) on the Goose Bay Times bestseller list. Nevertheless, it still attracted more attention that the Green Party.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

This is massive.

During my absence, The Maple Lounge has quietly become the number one Google hit for the search phrase "Ben Mulroney's massive head of hair". I knew there was a reason why I started this blog. I always knew my life had purpose. I can now die a happy Canuck.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Remembrance is not enough

Every year at exactly this time Canadians pause to remember and honour those who fought and died in the name of all that is good in this world. As the light of a cold November sun highlights the gravestone of the unknown solider inside Canada's new war musuem, please take the time not only to remember but to learn and to teach those younger than yourself. This is the only way that the remembrance will continue past the day when the last of the veterans has finally joined his fallen brothers for a long deserved rest.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Parliament isn't dying. It's dead.

It's a scene that unfolds every morning in Tim Hortons establishments across the country.

You polish off the last of your coffee, prolonging the final gulp by tilting your head back all the way until the "made in China" logo on the bottom of your mug is visible to the guy standing next to your table. The laces of his brown construction boots are so dusty they appear to be made of sand, and the tongue of his left boot bears the bite marks of a misbehaving puppy. You wouldn't be caught dead in his torn plaid Coleman shirt or his tattered jeans stained with various industrial fluids, but you're sure that he wore nicer clothes to meet his daughter's teacher on parent night.

You put your mug down on the table, careful not to place it too close to the napkin holder like you did last week, which caused eager napkins to wick away the stray drips on the outside of your mug. You don't notice which of your fingers is the last to touch the handle. Dropping one creamer face down on top of the other, you wonder why they always give you cream when you ask for milk, milk when you ask for cream, and both when you take your coffee black. These are things that do not matter and you refuse to dwell on, even if it means being surprised again tomorrow when they get it wrong once more.

Instinctively you check the time, exposing your watch from under your sleeve by the same “flutter and twist” motion that everyone knows how to do but few have taken the time to write down. How exactly this knowledge will be preserved for future generations is a mystery to you, but no doubt that committing it to paper is a waste of time. Speaking of which, there was no reason to check the time, it's just something you tend to do once your coffee mug is empty.

You do all of this without awakening the sleepy mechanisms of rational thought. It's just another morning, similar in most respects to the one before and in all likelihood to those coming after as well. You do these things not because they are necessary, but simply because they feel right. In some cases you do them because you did them before. You do these things despite the irrelevant, irresponsible and ongoing machinations of a Parliament that has utterly lost touch with the people that charged them with the stewardship of a nation.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Canada's Military to Refurbish ex-IRA Arsenal

The Irish Republican Army appear to have laid down their arms for good. After putting an official stop last July to the violence in their 35-year campaign to overthrow British rule in Northern Ireland, they have disposed of their massive weapons cache in its entirety.

The guns and bombs have been rendered permanently inoperable, but that hasn't stopped the British government from trying to sell them to the Canadian military.

"The question is not whether the weapons work, as we know they do not, but rather if Canada's enemies know that Canada's weapons don't work," said Lord Edmund BumbleFutt, chairman of the special British commission for external weapons deals. "As we all know, whether a piece of equipment works or not plays very little role in Canada's decision to use it."

Indeed. Just a few short days after arriving in the Gulf Coast to contribute to the hurricane Katrina relief effort, Canada's ships and their Sea King helicopters are already on the way home. Lance Corporal Duke Destro, taking over the former duties of the Canadian soldiers, was glad to see the Sea Kings depart. "Dude! Those things sucked, yo!"

This is not the first time Canada has considered buying refurbished weapons from England. In 1998 Canada bought 4 Upholder-class Royal Navy submarines that were decommissioned after the UK decided to focus solely on nuclear-powered subs.

"Oh poppycock! That submarine transaction was nothing like this new proposal," exclaimed Lord BumbleFutt, who would do well to distance himself from that deal. All of the ex-British subs have been hobbled by technical difficulties, none more serious than the cabin fire aboard the HMCS Chicoutimi that killed Lieutenant Chris Saunders on the ship's maiden voyage under a Canadian flag.

An increasing frugal Martin government is banking on the hope that Canadians will see this as a way to kill two birds with one stone. (Without, of course, killing any birds or, heaven forbid, casting a stone!) "We're helping to defuse the tension in Northern Ireland by taking the weapons, while at the same time we're bolstering our military equipment inventories."

The newly instated Governor General Michaëlle Jean, herself appointed to appeal to many different and competing interests, refused to offer any direct comment. Sounding exasperated, she simply stated that "neither my husband nor myself were ever part of the IRA."

In a surprise move, NDP leader Jack Layton said his party was planning on supporting the deal. "Nonfunctional guns and inert bombs are the only weapons that we should allow in Canada," was the statement from his office this afternoon.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Harper: "Come in my huge ass!"

With news that the final report from the Gomery commission will be delayed until February 2006, it appears that Canadians may be spared a dreaded winter election after all. That's not to say that some political parties haven't already shifted their publicity campaign into the next gear. The Conservative Party of Canada are taking their message on the road, however it's the way they're doing it that's likely to garner the most attention.

Hamstrung by federal legislation limiting the amount of money that can be spent in a non-election period, Harper's brain trust has decided to piggyback on another group undertaking a Canada-wide publicity tour.

"It's all about finding an organization with a similar message to our own, and then pooling resources for mutual benefit," said a Conservative party spokesperson.

With an announcement sure to raise eyebrows across the country, the Tories will evangelize from inside a gigantic model of the human colon.

Harper, who evidently is so excited about the upcoming tour that he is already suffering from verbal diarrhea, lauded the announcement as his party's rebirth. "I don't want to talk about gay marriage anymore. Today I invite all Canadians to come in my huge ass."

NDP Leader Jack Layton was clearly not impressed. "This one will go down into the, um, annals of poor political campaigning."

The Prime Minister's office had no official comment on the news, however Martin did note that Harper's image doesn't sell in Eastern Canada and that the Tories are "probably just content that Stephen Harper is technically no longer the biggest asshole in the country."

The giant walk-through exhibit, erected by the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada, will tour the country to raise awareness for colorectal cancer, which the association says is 90% treatable if detected in the early stage.

Steven Harper was quick to draw parallels to the Tory's strategy. "It's all about getting the message out, and gaining early visibility."

Colon cancer is 90% treatable if caught early. Stephen Harper is 100% preventable on election day, which won't be until next spring.

In a bid to attract more visitors, the Tories have added an array of lasers and spotlights at either end of the exhibit, creating a "disco colon" effect. It appears to have worked, as Stephen Harper isn't the only recognizable face to be seen at the gates of the monstrous colon.

Ben Mulroney, duped by a Montreal scalper into buying a bogus ticket to see "Stephen and the Amazing Technicolor Anus," was denied access to the colon yesterday because his massive head of hair couldn't fit through the anal sphincter.

"I know I got ripped off but I don't care," he said, apparently more embarrassed by the fact that actually bought a ticket for such a show. "I didn't want to hang out with those cling-ons in your anus anyway."

An irate CCAC spokesperson stopped just short of giving Ben a nuggie. "Klingons in Uranus? What does this look like nerd boy, a Star Trek convention?"

Indeed, the one thing the Tories aren't lacking is space cadets.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Bombs in the Bayou

Military troops and police are conducting a final peaceful sweep through New Orleans in an attempt to coax the few remaining survivors into abandoning the devastated city. Apparently the fetid flood water, littered with human waste and rotting corpses, just isn't enough to convince some people to get up off the couch.

There are a growing number of reports that suggest the final death toll for the affected gulf coast regions will be horrific. The last thing the flooded, filthy, disease-ridden cesspool that used to be New Orleans needed was more bad news.

Under the guise of a humanitarian relief effort in the wake of hurricane Katrina, a Canadian naval convoy was dispatched to the Gulf of Mexico. As first reported by CTV NewsNet, this navy activity is actually the first stage of a massive invasion operation.

The Maple Lounge has obtained a transcript of the report featuring CTV NewsNet political analyst Mike Duffy and anchor Kate Wheeler. (If any readers have a video of the segment, please send it to us. We are unable to record anything because our TiVo exploded last night after it accidentally recorded Canadian Idol with Ben Mulroney.) The transcript follows:

Mike Duffy: "With so many American troops either in Iraq or assisting in the hurricane relief effort, the USA is vulnerable and it appears Canada has finally decided to fire a return salvo in the softwood lumber dispute ... "

Kate Wheeler: "Sorry Mike I have to interrupt."

Mike Duffy: "Oh fuck off! You always interrupt me! The Sea King helicopters might be loaded with mad cows and sent on suicide missions, although I'm not certain they can accurately determine where they'll crash. So I think that ... "

Kate Wheeler: "Sorry Mike. It's not an invasion force! Tee-Hee! Our mistake. Sorry!"

Mike Duffy: (audible sigh)
Even though it has since been confirmed that the Canadian mission is indeed a peaceful one, it does raise an interesting question. With all available search and rescue resources currently focused on saving civilians in New Orleans, who will rescue the Sea King pilots when they crash?

Thankfully, FEMA might get a few extra days to think about this. The Canadian convoy will be delayed after being forced to divert from it's planned course in order to avoid hurricane Ophelia.

"In a way, Ophelia might be a blessing in disguise," a FEMA spokesperson was quoted as saying. Perhaps, but we'll see in a few days: Wishful thinking didn't help when hurricane Katrina hit, did it?

Say What?

As previously reported right here at The Maple Lounge, CTV will begin adopting certain broadcasting tactics used by the CBC. While we fully support CTV giving Ben Mulroney and his massive head of hair the silent treatment, their latest reporting techniques leave a little to be desired.

Seriously, just making stuff up so you can flash a "breaking news" logo across the screen? I wonder who they borrowed that method from? It just goes to show that you never know who's reading your blog!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Sound of Silence (and Poo)

Like a great white shark to a floundering seal, CTV hopes to bite into the CBC's market share while the latter remains embroiled in a bitter labour dispute. While it should come as no surprise that CTV will attempt to take advantage of the weakened public broadcaster, some of their planned tactics are definitely unorthodox.

"By making ourselves more like the CBC," proclaimed Bell Globemedia Inc. spokesperson Petunia Bowels, "we will fill the void created in the wake of the Media Guild lockout."

To this end, CTV will adopt CBC's silent broadcast strategy. Lacking any technical staff to help televise last Saturday's CFL contest between the Toronto Argonauts and the Edmonton Eskimos, the CBC decided to broadcast the game without the usual audio commentary. Instead the only sounds to be heard were those of the game and of public address announcer Al Stafford.

Oddly enough the match actually attracted a larger than usual audience, enjoying a 10% rise in the number of viewers. "Obviously the CBC is doing something right, and we here at CTV must act now before the window of opportunity passes us by" said Bob Goodenow, who while searching for a new job decided to declare himself the new president of CTV. (He offered a simple explanation: "I miss the attention, and it's my way or the highway!")

The first shows on the regular CTV schedule to get the silent treatment will be Canadian Idol and eTalk Daily, both of which are hosted by Ben Mulroney and his massive head of hair.

"Through our focus groups we've realized that people like to watch Ben Mulroney because he makes them laugh. They just don't need to hear his voice to do so."

Reached for comment in the Star Trek isle of the local comic book store, Ben Mulroney did not seem phased at the announcement. When asked what he felt about viewers not wanting to hear any more words come out of his mouth, Ben promptly soiled his pants and said "Hi! I'm Ben Mulroney! Want to be my friend?"