Some Minor Adjustments On The Hill

Behind the scenes at the first post-elections caucus meetings


JACK LAYTON: Welcome to the first caucus meeting of the New Democratic Party. I’m your leader, Jack Layton, and you can call me Jack. You guys from Quebec can call me Bon Jack. I like that.

First of all, apologies for the small room. The Liberals are still claiming the larger room. They say why change rooms because they’ll need it again in four years. Bastards.

Anyway, I’m thrilled to see you all here. This is the dawning of new age in Canadian politics, where Canadians will finally have a clear choice.

VOICE FROM THE BACK: Make the rich pay!

JACK: Uh, that’s very nice and all, and just between you and me, I agree with you. But let’s keep that kind of talk to a minimum now, shall we? Besides, have you seen your paycheques? You’re not working part-time at a golf course anymore, OK? Now, onto other matters. First — I hate to nag, but now that you’re Members of Parliament, we do have a dress code that we must respect. To our respected female colleagues, please, no sandals. While I quite enjoy a nice peasant dress, try to update your wardrobe to that of a professional woman. People are watching now. And guys — dress shirts and ties at all times. You can afford it. And please, no Goodwill.

Now, you’ve all been issued maps to the washrooms and the chamber, and … excuse me? …. EXCUSE ME? You, you guys in the back! Can you quiet down a bit, please? Or do I have to make you sit up front? And I should make it clear that there is no smoking in caucus meetings. Pot is NOT exempted. I’m looking at you, McGill students.

Now, as you know, the eyes of the country are upon us now. For the first time, we’re the No. 2 party, with a real chance of winning the next election. That means we may have to tailor our message just a bit. In the last election, we made $30 billion in spending promises. But that was back when nobody thought we could win, so we could promise anything we wanted. That’s always been the NDP way. But now, well, we’ll actually have to cost these things out. I know, I know ... it sucks. it’s an epic fail. But this is the New New Democrats.

Oh, and we’ve had requests from some of our Quebec MPs to start holding our caucus meetings in French. While that is a noble goal, we’ll first have to wait for some of our Quebec MPs to learn how to speak French. Speaking of which, let’s bring our star of the moment, Ruth Ellen Brosseau, up to the front. She’s proof positive that you don’t have to campaign, don’t have to live in the riding, don’t have to speak the language to win. All that counts is the NDP message of change! Let’s bring her up here ... Ruth? Ruth? What do you mean she’s on holidays?


BOB RAE: Well, hello everyone, I’m Bob Rae, acting leader of the Liberal Party. Sorry about the echo ... this room is huge, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to give it up for the New Democrats. We’ll need it back soon enough.

The Liberal Party was given a sobering message on May 2. The public saw fit to reduce our party numbers to our lowest in history, relegating us to third-party status. This has been a humbling moment ... for Canada. Rarely has a country made such a serious mistake in their voting. We can only assume that it was a case of mass psychosis that will be cured in four years time. In the meantime, of course, we need a leader for this great party. Any volunteers? Anybody? C’mon, somebody’s got to want this. Justin Trudeau, how about you? No? Where’s Ken Dryden? Oh, right. How about Gerard Kennedy? What, him too? How about Martha Hall Finley, who .... what, seriously?  Is Stéphane Dion still around? Really, he is? Go figure. Screw it. Let’s go for beers.


STEPHEN HARPER: Good afternoon, everyone, and congratulations on your success. You all deserve to give yourselves a round of applause.

Now, next week, I’m going to announce my cabinet. Some of you will be disappointed, of course. I know there are fine people in this room right now who deserve cabinet positions, but there are only so many to go around.

For those of you not in cabinet, please remember — you have an important role to play in the House of Commons. We need people who can cheer, people who can stand and applaud at the same time, people who can heckle opposition questions. I’m sure you’re all up to it. And also remember — keep your mouths shut. You have a warm body and a comfortable chair. That’s all we ask of you for four years.

Goodbye. See you at our next caucus meeting in 2012.

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