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Où sont les rhinocéros d’antan?

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Indeed, where are the Rhinos when you need them? As I read blogs posted during the Great Debate Debacle, about the pros and cons of including the Green Party, I began to wonder why this event was a catalyst for the outbreak of hissing, spitting and back-biting amongst progressives, (of whom some would say and did say, ‘so-called’).

My epiphany was this: since the Conservatives are ideologues who can only lay claim to cutting, slashing and burning programs as their record of achievement for their two and a half years of governing, they are attempting to co-opt the tactics of the Rhinoceros Party - to sow confusion and chaos.

Unfortunately they forgot the most important element: style. So far their foray in Rhinoceros territory has been sorely lacking in good humour and wit.

Posting a pooping puffin animation on your website is not amusing, it is petty and crude. Luring mothers and their children to a small Ottawa family-centered store to use them for a photo opportunity is not agit-prop; it is prevarication and exploitation. Calling the grief-stricken father of a soldier killed in Afghanistan a partisan hack is not a media coup; it is crass and cruel. Dressing up your leader in garments taken from Peter Gzowski's wardrobe rejects and providing him with a script that makes him muse aloud about tickling piano keys is not a quaint parody of normal; it is a clumsy travesty.

Here are some examples of merry political pranks played by the Rhinoceros Party.

A candidate named Ted 'not so' Sharp ran in Flora MacDonald's riding with the campaign slogan "Fauna, not flora" .... He also took a stand on capital punishment: "If it was good enough for my grandfather, then it's good enough for me." ... Penny Hoar, a safe sex activist, distributed condoms in Toronto while running under the slogan "Politicians screw you — protect yourself."

Platform promises included: instituting English, French and illiteracy as Canada's three official languages, tearing down the Rocky Mountains so that Albertans could see the Pacific sunset, making Montreal the Venice of North America by damming the St. Lawrence River, abolishing the environment because it's too hard to keep clean and it takes up so much space, adopting the British system of driving on the left; this was to be gradually phased in over five years with large trucks and tractors first, then buses, eventually including small cars and bicycles last, declaring war on Belgium because a Belgian cartoon character, Tintin, killed a rhinoceros in one of the books, offering to call off the proposed Belgium-Canada war if Belgium delivered a case of mussels and a case of Belgian beer to Rhinoceros "Hindquarters" in Montréal (the Belgian Embassy in Ottawa did, in fact, do this), Painting Canada's coastal sea limits in watercolour so that Canadian fish would know where they were at all times, building a bridge spanning the country, from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland, making the Trans-Canada Highway one way only.

Now that is clever, sly, and provocative. Where is the Rhinoceros Party when this negative and shallow election campaign so desperately needs it?
As that great French comédienne Simone Signoret said: "La nostalgie n'est plus ce qu'elle était."

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This page contains a single entry by published on September 12, 2008 6:54 PM.

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