I know how she feels
Today’s revelation from the Canadian media may not have ranked with Wayne Rooney’s homeschooling of his kids, but it certainly was, erm, a revelation.
For a couple of weeks now, Canada’s federal Conservative Party – you may have heard of them, they are the ones that like to commit political suicide at every possible opportunity by criticizing a government that is giving people money to buy food and heat their homes – has, in its position as official opposition, been badgering Canada’s government to reconvene Parliament. Not virtually, but in person.
In the era of ZOOM, Skype, Messenger or even Snapchat, during an historical pandemic, when people are being begged to stay at home, Canada’s opposition wants to bring together the country’s 338 MPs for face-to-face meetings. They want to expose all MPs to all other MPs, their families, people with whom they may have come into contact at the supermarket or even, possibly, while flying to Ottawa for the session. That’s bad enough, but when some MPs are people like Pierre Poils-aux-lèvres, well, I’m sure you will agree, this is just unacceptable.
Nonetheless, I am one of those who believes that opposition to a ruling party – even if it as ruling party I currently endorse – is a healthy and positive thing. It is to the advantage of all Canadians that the opposition be strong and coherent. Which was why I was particularly interested and disappointed to see the latest Conservative Party member step up to be the tête-de-pine du jour. After weeks of Andrew Scheer, Poils-aux-Lèvres, Erin O”Toole and the despicable and overtly racist Derek Sloan, not to mention the provincial tosspot Jason Kenney, political correctness finally had its moment in the sun, and Michelle Rempel stepped to the fore.
Now before I go into more detail about Rempel, I just have to say something about the Conservative Party’s women MPs: they are all the same person. They are today’s Stepford Wives. I mean, look at them: Lisa Raitt, Candice Bergen, Cathy McLeod, Cheryl Gallant, Diane Lynn Watts, Marilyn Gladu, Rachael Harder, Rona Frigging Ambrose and of course, Michelle Rempel – they are all exactly the same (even if Ambrose tries to self-distinguish by dressing as an occasional dominatrix). Somewhere inside Conservative Party HQ – buried deep beneath an oil well, I imagine, somewhere near Calgary – the party apparatchik must enable the current leader (still, unimaginably, Andrew Scheer, although some of these must have been designed by Harper) to build a female MP, perhaps in the manner of Frank-N-Furter. I suppose, therefore, that it is to Scheer’s great credit as a family man that he has designed them all to be in the image of his own wife. Not many men would have done that.
Anyway, now to the crux of today’s head shake. While MPs were having a go at Justin Trudeau for “not convening Parliament and making all those lazy entitled Liberal bastards accountable at last” (may not be an actual quote), Michelle Rempel made her voice loudly heard. Which is pretty common for her. She is the MP who screamed at a group of politicians covering the announcement of a new Chair at the University of Calgary to get out of the effing room while she talked to the organ grinder.
So it came as something of a surprise to find out that while apparently working at home serving her constituents best interests in her Calgary-Nose Hill riding, Rempel hasn’t actually been at home but has been in Oklahoma. She had, allegedly, travelled to Oklahoma on “unexpected and urgent private personal matter” before Canada and the U.S. imposed travel restrictions at the border. Her husband and stepchildren live there, so fair enough, I suppose. While that may seem reasonable enough, she kind of messes things up with a quote she gives (from the Toronto Star): “I did not travel to the U.S. purposely to be with my family during the COVID-19 crisis … I have never allowed my personal life to interfere with my service to my community.”
So what on earth was she doing there then, in the midst of a huge pandemic, when she is supposed to be serving her electorate?
But that is not what gets my goat (even if the “I’m here with my family but I would never come here to be with my family” line is incredibly disingenuous). What made me shake my head was the fact that, having called for Parliament to reconvene, she could not have actually attended because the border with the United States is closed. This is another example of the “none of the rules we want to impose on you actually apply to us” mantra so in favour with Conservative parties around the world. And, even given the incredible exceptionalism Rempel has demonstrated throughout her career, surely barrelling her way through Immigration when the borders are closed down would be beyond her. (Illegal immigration is, of course, her famous hobby horse. Well, that, and oil.)
But whaddyagonnado? The best thing, at times like this, is to draw the curtains, close your eyes, and doze the afternoon away.