April. June. September. Infinity.
As I was sitting at my computer today, trying vainly to pretend that I was a capable translator who could do a job that had been sent to him by someone willing to pay good money, I made the mistake of slipping back into the role of the Surfer Guy, you know, the one who slips from website to website looking for some reason to linger. This is a woeful and inexcusable habit. But I love it. Usually,
Today, I found a few things that made me smile, and one thing that really didn’t. I mean, really didn’t. It was actually on a few sites, and I noticed it because it wasn’t said. It was suggested. It was slipped in, like a sly dig at an unsuspecting gull. Among all the horror and upset of people dying and being sick, of loved ones being left on their own to deal with fear and illness, a couple of dates were mooted as to when we might expect to have our various lockdowns lifted.
The City of Ottawa, in its infinitely usual passive-aggressive way, told us that the lockdown would be extended until the end of June. Except, of course, it didn’t say that. It said that all events were being cancelled until the end of June. All of the City’s magnificent array of festivals, parties and celebrations cancelled. And of course the only reason we are stopping at the end of June is because the nation’s Canada Day celebrations are scheduled for July 1. And no Canadian can cope, at least at this present time, with the possibility of Bryan Adams not singing “Oh Canada” at least once on the day of our national orgasm of jingoism.
I carried on reading, and found that Justin Trudeau. Canada’s own Jacinda Ardern (COJA), had called the current crisis our “new normal” – at least, until we get a vaccine. Well, that is OK then. And just when might that be? Then I read someone else saying we’d be starting our exit strategy in September, and another hoping that by the end of April we’d be out having barbecues with our neighbours. The more I read, the more I wished I hadn’t.
Because reading, of course, took me into the sphere of Canada’s own political equivalent to the coronavirus: Andrew Scheer. To almost everybody outside of Canada, Andrew Scheer remains an unknown figure. Don’t beat yourself up about this, you are lucky. To know Mr. Scheer is to shudder internally. He is what you might call an idiot. To the ancient Greeks, an “idiot” has often been interpreted as someone who took no part in civic life. Unfortunately, Mr. Scheer has expanded and possibly reversed that meaning to someone who, even though he has been booted out of public life (namely by his own party), still continues offering an opinion that is so moronic that one has no alternative other than to say he is a fucking idiot. I apologize for that last comment. He is entitled to his opinion. However, I really wish he wouldn’t. And part of that is, I freely admit, physical.
Mr. Scheer has, you see, a physical affliction. At least, I think he does. It’s hard to tell. He seems to have a rictus. An inability to not smile. His every statement is accompanied by a grin. Now, I honestly don’t know whether he has a physical affliction or not – or whether this grin was selected as his de rigueur facial presentation by the same team of spin doctors that thought being honest and ethical would help Jeremy Corbyn. It is, however, intensely disturbing. Whatever the message, you can rely on Smiler Scheer to be, erm, smiling.
“Justin Trudeau can’t be trusted,” he’ll say, with a broad smile on his face. “Canada is facing disaster,” he’ll say, with a grin on his yap that makes you want to leap up and slap him. “When will we get a plan?” he’ll ask, giggling like a naughty insurance salesman reading the terms and conditions of a contract he’s trying to sell you (or at least he would be, were he actually qualified as an insurance salesman and not, as it were, a complete frigging fraud). Andrew, and that is what we are to call him, has plenty to say, but nothing of importance, nothing of relevance, and nothing that apparently cannot be said without laughter.
That is, actually, pretty shit for the leader of the opposition. You see, I’m one of those weirdos that believes that the opposition have a significant, if not vital role in our democracy. Because however much I think COJA is currently doing a good enough job, I cannot believe he would not be doing a better job if he were being pushed by an effective opposition who had a leader smart enough to grasp the importance and seriousness of our current situation and to actually think of a way to do it better, unencumbered, as it were, by problems such as responsibitiy. But Mr. Scheer hasn’t got the smarts to do that. Instead, he gripes and bitches, blows his dog whistles – oil, foreigners, cutting income tax for the wealthy – and advances the agenda not a jot. Either he is badly advised or he is, as we English like to say, a “merchant banker.”
To its credit, the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada realized this after the last general election (when despite an almost hagiographic beginning, a disappointing Justin Trudeau was, clearly, there for the taking). Mr. Scheer, despite his obvious fertility, has been shown incapable of taking anyone. Unemployment, international crises, financial chicanery, hypocrisy, whatever – none of it looks serious when you are saying it with a big smile on your face. The Conservatives, in their ineptitude, failed themselves, failed Canada, and failed the world. And it is all Scheer’s fault. He is political poison.
After having shouted at my laptop for a couple of hours, Ottawacker Jr. finally came down to tell me that Mrs. Ottawacker was working and on a ZOOM conference call, and could I stop being a prick for five minutes please? I suspected that these words might not entirely be his own, so acquiesced.
These next months might be very long indeed. Thankfully, Ottawacker Jr. forgave me and allowed me to read a chapter of Lord of the Rings (see blip).
A big hug tonight for the MacGuffins. Thinking of you all and wishing I were closer. Not that it would help, but you know… Much love.