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Federal Politics

Please Advise! Help Harper Keep the Xmas Bash Under Control

So many hard-partying Tories, so many secrets to spill. But Burgess knows the fix.

Steve Burgess 4 Dec

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Find his previous columns here.

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Prime Minister Stephen Harper: Keeping his Christmas party politically safe means taking precautions.

[Editor’s note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a Ph.D in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to politicians, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.]

Dear Dr. Steve,

It is that special time of year once again here in the Prime Minister's Office, and I do not mean the holiday season as the infidel atheists call it, but the Christmas season. For those who worship Jesus it is a time of peace and goodwill -- time-and-a-half if you spend the day working at Walmart. I wish a Merry Christmas to all, even those who have smoked marijuana like Justin Trudeau.

My concern is Christmas staff parties. They can be trouble. As you know, I have always favoured strict party discipline. But the way 2013 has played out, you'd think the Conservative Party was posted on Facebook by a 15-year-old. We've become the Project X of political parties.

What advice can you offer for keeping Christmas celebrations politically correct?

With a hearty and festive handshake,
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper

Dear Steve,

They say God looks out for fools and drunkards. So you'd think a Christmas party would be a perfectly safe place. But it's not so. Perhaps it depends on the deity. You might consider switching to Eris -- she's the Greek goddess of chaos. Then there's Bacchus, but these days they keep him pretty busy in Toronto.

You're quite right to be concerned, Prime Minister. Keeping your Christmas party politically safe means taking precautions. Alcohol loosens the tongue and that can lead to mistakes. When a drunken senator at a Parliament Hill party propositions a young intern, make sure he does not suggest they go back to his primary residence. When it's time for the obligatory Stompin' Tom sing-a-long, make it geographically appropriate. A P.E.I. senator needs to sing "Bud the Spud" (he's from Prince Edward Island) and not "Big Joe Mufferaw" (the best man in Ottawa). When Santa asks your MPs if they've been good, make sure he's not actually Thomas Mulcair. And should anyone ask, the drinks were entirely paid for by Nigel Wright.

But the true question is, why do we wait until the Christmas season to finally practice the ideals we should follow all year? If you leave it until December and then try to change your ways, it's too late. You need to be consistent. You need to follow the same rules, no matter the season. You need to be more like Rob Ford.

Think what the mayor of Toronto has accomplished. Now that the Christmas party season is here the man has a blank cheque. There's virtually nothing he could do that would arouse public outrage. Crack-smoking? Staggering drunkenness? Uncontrolled rage? Public urination? Meh. Almost anything he does now will be the equivalent of a clown juggling three apples outside the Cirque du Soleil. We've seen better.

Actually, Prime Minister, the best strategy for any Christmas party is to have Mayor Ford in attendance. As long as he's in the room, the rest of the party crowd will be like so many stars in the noonday sun. You could throw a toga party and have every Conservative senator act out their favourite moments from the life story of Caligula -- as long as Ford is present, nobody else will even get on camera. (Come to think of it, didn't Caligula have his horse made a senator? Considering the cast of pigs, snakes and goats you ended up with, the infamous Roman emperor doesn't look so crazy.)

Say what you will about Canada's favourite democratically-elected punchline, but Mayor Ford rarely disappoints. He does his thing no matter what. So should you, Steve. People appreciate consistency. Even better, they get bored easily. Keep the revelations coming, and eventually when your office desperately tries to cover its tracks, belatedly and begrudgingly coughs up evidence, or throws your former best pal under the bus, it will only draw yawns.

So this year, Prime Minister, keep the party going all year long. Exactly what it is you're consistently doing -- malfeasance, skullduggery, secret emails, fudged expenses, obfuscation -- isn't the most important thing. The most important thing is that all Canadians pause at this special time of year to remember that Justin Trudeau has smoked marijuana. That's what really makes the Baby Jesus cry.  [Tyee]

Read more: Federal Politics

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