Thursday 30 Jun 2016

The Eight Criteria
David Simmonds

The “Just Not Ready, Nice Hair Though” panel, fresh off its success in the 2015 election campaign, has been hard at work developing the criteria for candidates to meet in order to run for the Conservative leadership. The Wellington “Times” obtained an early draft of the panel report to party management. The “Times” allowed GrubStreet.ca to run the following excerpts from the report.


Running a leadership campaign is a privilege.

To run a leadership campaign is a privilege not a right. In addition to the $100,000 deposit required of candidates, this committee has developed eight criteria for a candidate to meet for approval to conduct a leadership campaign.

The first criterion is the candidate may not have a last name that begins with the letter “H.” Though this may seem like an arbitrary rule, to some, in that no one named Haynes or Harvey would be eligible to run. Your committee thought it best not to venture near freshly healing wounds.

Second is the candidate should demonstrate to the committee that he or she does not possess what the committee calls “H foibles.” This includes an aversion to public disclosure, distaste for public debate, unwillingness to delegate and a dose of paranoia coupled with a soupcon of vengefulness.


Candidates should not adopt policy positions contrary to his or her previous positions.

The third criterion is a candidate should not take a policy and other positions inconsistent with those espoused by him or her as a member of a previous government. In answer to one inquiry, this criterion precludes Tony Clement from claiming he now sees the wisdom in the mandatory long form census. You see, Tony, it makes you look like an idiot and if you join the campaign, the rest of them will look like idiots, too. Yes, Tony, it means you can’t run.

Fourth is that the candidate not have exhibited any personal conduct that is less than exemplary. Though this includes such fundamental issues as no convictions for organizing pit bull fights, it also includes never having used social media to say anything that construable as embarrassing, ever. For those candidates who have asked whether the strict rule against relieving oneself into a neighbour’s coffee cup ought to be enforced less strictly, than it was during the general election, the committee has reconsidered the matter and stands by its previous decision. To do otherwise would be to expose the party to charges it operates by a double standard. For those potential candidates who have protested “but doesn’t everyone do it,” the answer is “Maybe in some other party, but not in our party.”

Fifth, the committee reconfirms the importance of hair. Still, the committee recognizes that the winning prime ministerial candidate in the federal election had “nice” hair and it will be hard for any rival candidate to top it. Therefore, the candidate need only demonstrate that he or she has “interesting” hair. Men candidates should consider the example of London mayor Boris Johnson; woman candidates should take a cue from the hair-do of our interim leader. As a compassionate matter and for the purposes of leading the part, any candidate that can demonstrate he or she suffers from male pattern baldness has interesting hair.

Sixth, he or she must have a passing familiarity with modern science. Although the committee, of course, prefers a candidate that meets this criterion, head on. A signature achievement, such as winning a Nobel prize for studying the effects of global warming on the Baffin Island walrus population is ideal. Yet, we recommend he or she have watched at least one episode of either, ‘World’s Strangest Creatures” on Animal Planet, or “World’s Most Notorious Maximum Security Prisons,” on the National Geographic channel.


Candidates must practice to look at home in various regional costumes.

Seventh, he or she must look comfortable in regional garb. At a minimum, this includes appropriate clothing for specific settings. Here are a few examples. Vancouver Folk Festival wear, such as sandals, tie-dyed tee shirt and jeans. Calgary Stampede garb, which includes a Stetson, oversize belt buckle, cowboy boots, jeans tucked out of boots. Prairie getup; this includes a ball cap, overalls and sunglasses. A Bay Street costume; this includes a dark blue suit, with arms ending just below elbows, brown shoes and a smartphone. Quebecois gear, which is a Habs jersey and Bombardier brand snowmobile. Maritime or Atlantic uniform, which includes a sou’wester and rubber boots. Applicants are encouraged to try on regional garb while holding babes in arms and munching on jerk chicken or pierogis.

The eighth and final criterion is the candidate should have some compelling reason why he or she should become prime minister, apart from having spent his or her life priming for the chance. This means a “life story” is essential. For example, to claim to have grown up on the mean streets of Mississauga, Ontario, and supported a crippled mother by selling Avon products; winning a scholarship to Yale and inventing the Internet, while playing on the inter-collegiate championship hockey team might work as a story. Those candidates who wish to develop a plausible story should contact the committee as soon as possible.

Please submit a full application by 16 January 2016.

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Mike Barnacle, Jimmy Breslin, the late Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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