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Maxed out

Little Pauly, Stevie, Diamond Jack and the Canadian Way

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By G.D. Maxwell

"I am Canadian!"

Well, I’m not. Not really. Not truly. Not by birth. By choice perhaps. By dint of living here voluntarily for the past 25 years, through the End of Trudeau, the Glimpse of Clark, the Dark Years of Mulroney and the incomprehensible Age of Chrétien. Or, more accurately, living here to avoid the swaggering tide of Republicanism that’s kept my home and native land gripped in a born-again, fundamentalist crusade against humanity for 16 of those years.

I’ve dutifully fetched and ignored applications for Canadian citizenship twice now, letting them compost their way to the bottom of my in basket. I’ve let the photographs taken to accompany them slide past their best before date into permanent Mañanaville. Maybe someday. Maybe sooner if George W gets re-elected.

But Little Pauly Martin, boy he’s a Canadian. He said so on the campaign trail this week. (Note to the terminally apathetic: In case you slept through it, our unelected Prime Minister called a federal election two Sundays ago. Voting day is June 28, not that you really care.)

Little Pauly said he’s a Canadian… and a liberal… and in favour of high taxes if high taxes are what it takes to keep this country from being like – gasp – America. By which he meant the USofA. He said he was a Canadian and Canadians, real Canadians, love taxes because more than anything in the world, real Canadians love their Health Care System.

He said it as though he was completely unaware of how decrepit that beloved system had become, more or less directly as a result of cuts to funding he proudly made when he was Big Jean’s budget axeman. That’s a-x-e-man. Get your mind out of the gutter.

He said it as though he’s never heard of waitlists for surgery so long people with one bad hip magically transform into people with two bad hips while they wait for the first bad hip to be replaced. He said it as though he’s never heard of people whose leg fell off waiting for the country’s one aging MRI machine to take a picture of their knee to find out the screws were loose. He said it like a guy with a cushy executive health plan.

Mostly though, he said it to cast aspersions on the Canadianness of Stevie Hapless, leader of the… of the… wait a minute, let me look it up… of the Conservative Party. In what can only be considered a completely unCanadian move, Stevie wants to lower taxes rather than run big budget surpluses to fund false election promises like the Liberals.

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