Welcome, dear webinar participant, to the 14th annual, interactive session on politics in the early 21st Century.
Now that we are about to enter 2056 – also known as the Glorious Acquisition of Wisdom in Democracy (GAWD) year – we must be vigilant in remembering how our society was radically changed for the better when our fearless, nonagenarian leader, Sun King Stephen Harper, chose to dispense with formality and address his political opponents by their first names or, indeed, by any names that came to his exquisite mind.
Let us, then, cast our thoughts back to the summer of 2015 and the first leaders’ debate in that year’s general election campaign. To be sure, we go not far enough to declare that the event changed the entire world.
Here, then, is a partial transcript of that momentous, felicitous event:
Mr. Stephen Harper, recent Prime Minister and current Conservative Party of Canada Leader: “Thank you, (moderator). Let me say what a great pleasure it is for me to address the citizens of this great nation and to lock horns with my eminent colleagues, Gumby and Pokey, standing over there in the corner trying to figure out how to turn on their mics.”
Mr. Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada: “Excuuuuse me! I object strenuously to Mr. Harper’s tone and characterization.”
Mr. Thomas Mulcair, Official Opposition Leader (New Democratic Party of Canada): “As do I. In fact, this may be the one thing young Justine and I actually agree on.”
Mr. Trudeau: “That’s JUSTIN to you, Tiny Tommy!”
Mr. Mulcair: “My deepest apologies, Pierre-Light!”
Mr. Harper: “Gentlemen, gentlemen. . .please let’s just all calm down. Or, maybe Gumby can jump on Pokey’s back and, together, they can ride away into the red and orange sunset that frames their electoral fortunes. Hmmmm? Whaddya think?”
Mr. Trudeau: “Well. . .only if I get to be Gumby.”
Mr. Mulcair: “Not on your life, Pokemon! I’ll do the riding around here. . .Anyway, maybe we should ask our esteemed colleague, Steve, how he intends to fix the Canadian economy now that he’s broken it.”
Mr. Trudeau: “That’s a fair question from my esteemed colleague, Dimbulb. What say you, Steverino?”
Mr. Harper: “Well, now, let me address this issue by asking Messrs. Turduckin and Mohair how they will handle falling confidence in the wit and wisdom of their respective leaderships amongst their own ranks – otherwise known as the pinko, Birkenstock-cobbled, hipster, media elite.”
Mr. Mulcair: “Allow me to field that one. . .For one thing, Mr. Prima Donna Stavros Harpy, I am just as stiff and uninspiring as you in front of a camera. I am just as unenlightening and disengaged as you in a press scrum. In other words, I possess all the qualifications that prime-ministership in this country requires. And one more thing that is crucially important. . .I can grow a beard.”
Mr. Trudeau: “That’s right, Beardy McBeardyson can grow facial hair. . .But is that any reason to elect him to the highest office in the land? My fellow Canadians, I shave semi-regularly, which ought to be some indication of my abiding commitment to personal hygiene.”
Mr. Harper: “Mr. Moderator, I see from the clock that our time is rapidly running down. The only real question Canadians must address in this election is which name they prefer for their fearless leader: Gumby, Pokey or. . .Sun King. Let history be the judge.”
All of which proves, dedicated students, what history always reveals: Greatness is never properly appreciated in its own time.