06:30:27 am on
Sunday 21 Jul 2024

Scheer Bombshell
David Simmonds

The acting Interim leader of the Conservative Party, Andrew Scheer (above), is ready, well, sometime soon, maybe, to make a bombshell announcement in the Bay of Quinte riding, the Wellington Times has learned. The riding was chosen, according to party insiders, because it is a “key battleground bellwether swing riding.” There are only three hundred and thirty-eight such ridings in Canada; the choice was difficult for Scheer.

Details set to dribble out.

With an announcement this big, details are bound to dribble out, in advance. The press and the other parties are ready with their questions. Scheer may have responses; the atmosphere grows thick.

Scheer will apparently propose to do away with the HST on soap and soap products. According to a preliminary text of the announcement, “Ordinary working families use soap to clean themselves after a hard day’s work. We are all for the promotion of healthy and clean families.”

People also use soap to make themselves appear clean in trying to pursue those jobs that Justin Trudeau has failed to create. “Trudeau doesn’t carer about ordinary working Canadian families. If he did, he would have removed the general sales tax on soap four years ago,” the draft statement asserts.

The Conservative party puts a foregone HST estimate of $10.3275 million on the promise. It is unclear whether that estimate is based on both caked and liquid soap sales or caked soap sales alone. An enterprising reporter, from the Times, may ask the question that clarifies this point.

What is the Conservative motivation in making such a high-risk announcement? The answer, it appears, lies in the subtle messaging that comes along with the soap metaphor. Who was the great Canadian soap box orator?

Why, that was the great and conservative Canadian Sir John A Macdonald, of course. Which leader is more likely to have entered a soap box derby when he was a kid? Why, young Andrew Scheer, again. Justin Trudeau probably had his own miniature Mercedes, as a child.

Who presided over the biggest soap opera of the past couple of years? That was Justin Trudeau. He got rid of those meddlesome women Jody Wilson Raybould and Jane Philpott.

Will tax-free soap do in Justin Trudeau?

More pointedly, which leader has the cleaner face: Andrew Scheer, who looks like he has just come home from babysitting his neighbour kids or Justin Trudeau, who has still got years of work to do in cleansing out that black and brown facial grease left over from the riotous parties he has attended in costume over the years? No need for Scheer to keep rubbing it in; the soap will do it for him.

Justin Trudeau and his team are preparing an aggressive response. Said one aide, “While the rest of us have to make do with a quick body wash in the shower, Andrew Scheer is happy to subsidize the bubble bath soakings of the richest one per cent of Canadians. If we are going to subsidize Canadians to stay clean, we should do it through refundable tax credits on all incomes below $100,000.”

NDP leader Jasmine Singh is preparing a statement to the effect that soaps of all kinds, although the list would not include anti-aging creams, should be rolled into his national pharmacare programme and that the beneficiaries of the measure, as proposed, would be big soap manufacturing conglomerates rather than everyday Canadians.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May stated she is prepared to support the measure provided it was limited only to hand made soaps made without tallow or other animal matter. Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-François Blanchet dismissed the proposal as an infringement on the rights of Quebecers to assert their own hygiene and social identity. The People’s Party leader, Maxime Bernier, stated the soap proposal is nothing more than a calculated appeal to immigrant voters.

De-tax soap to garner support.

The press is getting ready to pepper Scheer with gotcha questions. By soap, does he include detergents? What of shampoos, moisturizers and conditioners? The consensus press view is that Scheer has missed an opportunity. Said one reporter, “If he really wanted to pander to voters, he should have taken the tax off suds, not soap. That would be a real bombshell.”

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, not infrequently laced with savage humour. 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 Pete Hamill and Mike Barnacle; the late Jimmy Breslin and 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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