Tuesday 27 Sep 2016

A Conscious Decision
David Simmonds

Stephen Harper and his band of merry Conservatives are continuing to pull out he stops, in their quest for a majority government.

The latest initiative: a strategy to appeal to women voters, who tend to have a deeper compassionate streak than men, and who correspondingly support the Conservatives in much lesser numbers.

The challenge is deciding how to do that without alienating the male voters, who stand behind Harper on such red meat issues as crime, defence spending and the deficit.

According to an insider, who asked not to be named, "Operation Pink Panther" is a ready to go stealth campaign designed to achieve that objective.

Element number one is to show leadership by enacting the Respect for Seniors Act. This Act makes it a criminal offense to show disrespect for seniors, such as by making fun of false teeth and wrinkles. This gives seniors their own bill of rights, including the right to recite anecdotes, at their own pace; to repeat the telling as frequently as they choose, to have priority service in medical offices and priority seating in public transit.

Element number two is to show vision by implementing a national strategy to promote dental flossing.Insiders say the Tories wanted to choose a 'safe' issue that could supplement the work that parents already do but with mixed success. "Just think what it would do for our image to have the PM leading up an ad campaign, with the slogan, 'The Boss says Floss'," said the insider.

Element number three is to show empathy for voters by changing some personal behaviour. Here's where it gets interesting. Just as MP and cabinet minister, Jason Kenney, has been handed the task of recruiting new Canadian voters, Harper is expected to appoint a senior adviser who will be dubbed the 'Minister of Consciousness'. The assignment: to go New Age and win that constituency - the majority of who are women - for the Tories.

Apparently, the two leading candidates under consideration, for Minister of Consciousness, are Simcoe-Grey MP Helena Guergis, who has come under withering enemy fire in recent weeks and who is due for a demotion. The other is Prince Edward-Hastings MP, Darryl Kramp, who has recently taken on duties as Co-Chair of the Canada-China Legislative Association.

"The odds are on Kramp," said the insider. "He'll know all about that Feng Shui and Tai Chi or Chai Tea stuff from his China brief; he's got to see it as a step up, and he's got to be a good sport."

Good sport, indeed, for the new role will require a complete image change. It begins with a name change. Kramp recently accepted the Buddhist name Dadi Sangh Basss, which translates, literally, to "Hi, big guy." It continues into a costume change - Kramp will be expect to wear loose fitting, cotton clothing washed in sheep's milk, and a crystal pendant. It extends into diet, all vegan, all the time, and deportment, no shaking hands: instead, a bow, with hands folded as if in prayer.

It will also mean an immersion in the works of leading New Age thinkers such as Deepak Chopra and Eckhardt Tolle. "Actually, it won't be that bad," said the insider. "Tolle is into the power of now: so are we as politicians. In meditation you are supposed to repeat some nonsense phrase endlessly. Well, look at what we do in Question Period."

The payoff for Kramp is the prospect of a juicy cabinet assignment, next time around. Perhaps his next appointment might be Minister of State for Inter-Experiential Affairs.

The payoff for voters of the County may be the announcement, by Kramp, of funding for the new "Awareness Trail." This idea goes nicely alongside the Taste Trail and the Arts Trail. "It could link all the yoga, massage, Pilates and vegetarian places in one fell swoop," said a local official. "It's a masterstroke."

Kramp's office has so far offered no comment on the rumours. Kramp was overheard whistling, "This little light of mine," at a recent public event, adding fuel to the rumours. Kramp has not been spotted purchasing yoga mats and Lululemon gear, but insiders speculate it is only a matter of time before he takes the plunge.

When he does, you'll know the Tories can smell their majority. They think it's hidden somewhere in their inner Chakras. Kramp's - make that Bass's - constituents would be proud to know that he was the man chosen to get them there.

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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