Scene: A large ballroom in a historic Ottawa hotel.
A: Hey, Mr. Member of Parliament! This sure is a fancy party, don’tcha think?
Mr. MP: Well, hello there, little A! Welcome to Ottawa! This isn’t just any old party, this is a fundraiser. If this were a real celebration, we would be having fine Alberta-raised beef instead of this rubbery chicken.
A: I notice that it hasn’t stopped you from cleaning your plate, though! It must be hard work being an MP.
Mr. MP: If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my 12 months…no wait…13 months… in Ottawa, it’s that there’s always a free meal waiting for an MP. Pancake breakfasts…power lunches…and look, you just paid for my dinner! But we MPs do indeed work hard for our free meals. This year alone, Parliament sat for 110 days – that’s way up from last year!
A: It’s no wonder you’re all so cranky during Question Period – you must be exhausted! Speaking of which, what did you think of Don Newman‘s* keynote speech this evening, about civility in Parliament and Canadians not wanting to see another election anytime soon? He basically told all of you that you should learn to get along.
Mr. MP: Oh that crazy Don Newman and his radical ideas…whoever heard of such a thing?
A: So, it’s not possible for the parties on Parliament Hill to ever come to an agreement or work together on an issue?
Mr. MP: Little A, it’s not that simple. You see, Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition has only one goal to achieve.
A: What’s that?
Mr. MP: To remove my governing party from power, of course!
A: Oh. [pause] I thought that all MPs were elected to serve the public and come to a reasonable consensus on issues to promote the common welfare of all Canadians.
Mr. MP: [belly laugh] Only in your ideal world, Little A. More wine?
* Have you ever noticed that a disproportionate number of famous Canadian journalists are named “Newman”? There’s Don Newman, Peter C. Newman, Kevin Newman…weird, eh?