Painful Truth: B.C. needs its crazy politics back

Hi, Rest of Canada. It’s British Columbia here. Not to be a pest, but I think you’ve got something that belongs to us. Can we please have back our crazy?

We’re not imagining this. B.C. politics used to be renowned for being the most bonkers, off the wall, lunatic, bring-the-popcorn-and-settle-in-to-watch show in the country. We had Flyin’ Phil Gaglardi and Wacky Bennett! We had Amor de Cosmos, a dancing toy penis in the legislature, Bingogate, Fast Ferries, police raids on a premier’s house suspiciously timed to let the TV cameras show up. We had the first cabinet minister of the entire British Commonwealth jailed for taking bribes.

The Rocky Mountains aren’t really a geological formation, they were put there by the rest of Canada to keep us loons from migrating back east.

But now? Are we really so crazy anymore? Sure, we can make fun of Christy Clark’s relentless positivity, but that’s not exactly nutty, is it? And Gordon Campbell, cheerful drunk driving mugshot excluded, was a pretty grey presence during his long tenure.

Nope, all the news that’s fit to laugh at is coming from back east.

In Alberta, until-recently-Premier Alison Redford turns out to have been having a private suite built in a provincially owned building. A custom-made penthouse suite, built at taxpayers’ expense? Sure, why not! It’s not like she was elected to be fiscally responsible or anything. Of course, by the time this came to light, Redford’s own caucus had essentially pushed her out for spending thousands on air travel and hotel accommodations.

Then there’s Quebec. Quebec, our only real rival in generalized lunacy for many years. Now the pupil has truly become the master. On top of numerous corruption scandals, there’s the Parti Quebecois’s desire to ban anyone working in the public service from wearing religious symbols – especially non-Christian ones. And of course, they won’t be taking down the honking giant cross in their National Assembly building, thanks for asking.

Top that off with a series of paranoid denunciations by their politicians of – gasp! – Anglophone university students. Some of the PQ MNAs are under the impression that McGill students are some kind of Fifth Column, trying to steal the election for Ontario.

Which brings us to Ontario itself.

Remember when Toronto was boring? That was a nice 179 years. Now it’s the centre of a whirling vortex of madness, and the name of that madness is Mayor Rob Ford.

I have American relatives, and the three Canadian celebrities they just about all name instantly are Celine Dion, Justin Bieber, and Rob Ford. That’s not exactly putting our best foot forward to the rest of the world, is it?

You already know about the weirdness that is Rob Ford, but here’s a quick rundown of his various qualities: large, loud, won’t go to the Gay Pride Parade, thinks “the Oriental people, they’re slowly taking over,” gets drunk in public, denies he was drunk, gets caught smoking crack, denies it, admits it, hangs out with drug dealers, swears a lot, says embarrassing things about his wife, lies repeatedly about his accomplishments in office, and will insist to anyone who asks that he is the best mayor Toronto has ever had.

Did I mention he’s still mayor? Or that there’s a non-zero chance that he’ll win election and still be mayor after the next election?

I suspect that mad scientists from B.C. crept about in the night a dozen years ago, and extracted the crazy from top B.C. politicians. Then they spirited the vial of concentrated wacky-juice off to T.O. and injected it directly into the fleshy backside of Rob Ford.

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