Please Advise! Jesus-Like Candidate Seeks Backbench Position

No skills? No cred? No problem! Dr. Steve will save you from political sin.

By Steve Burgess 20 Jul 2015 | TheTyee.ca

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

[Editor's note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a PhD 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 rich and famous, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.]

Dear Dr. Steve,

I am seeking an exciting new career. I have no skills, no training, and no particular inclination to acquire either. What do you recommend?


Dear Op,

You have come to the right man. Years ago I started a career as a disc jockey after discovering a small radio station in northern Manitoba would hire me without training. I became a writer after discovering I could send a story into the newspaper and no one would ask to see a resume. I discovered I could appear on TV and talk about just about anything as long as I kept my lips moving. Now I'm a doctor because I sent a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Cayman Islands. Yes, it's a wonderful world.

Radio, TV, journalism, treating patients with a stethoscope and a white coat you found in a dumpster -- it's all possible, Optimistic. And yet I think there is an even better path for you. It's politics. There is but one obstacle to that field of boundless opportunity -- gaining a plurality of votes in your district. C'est tout. Exhibit #2,645: Wai Young.

Last week the previously obscure Conservative MP for Vancouver South made an admirable splash when an audiotape of her speech at the Harvest City Church surfaced. There were two eyebrow-raising aspects of her little talk. One was her suggestion that in its dogged advocacy of Bill C-51 the Conservative Party of Canada was comparable to the Christian Messiah, the Lamb of God, the Lord of Hosts, the Prince of Peace himself, the one and only Jesus Christ Almighty.

This rhetorical tack is not as uncommon as you'd think. In fact there exists in public life a sort of anti-Godwin's Law. Godwin postulated that every online comment thread will inevitably result in someone being described as another Hitler. The corollary is that public figures enduring what they feel is unfair criticism will eventually see parallels between themselves and Jesus.

Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson recently compared himself to Jesus while opposing gay marriage. (I'm a doctor too, Ben. Two can do the comparison thing.) Former Chicago mayor Richard Daley was a champ at the "Me & Jesus" game. His sense of persecution once led him to utter one of the greatest political quotes of all time: "They have vilified me; they have crucified me; yes, they have even criticized me."

It's a marketing thing. Successful brand names register in the public mind. Evil? Hitler. Righteous? The Son of Man, the Light of the World, Jesus Christ. Besides, put yourself in Young's place. You're in a church, there's pictures all over the place -- who's going to be top of mind? If Young had been in the Hockey Hall of Fame she'd probably have cited Gordie Howe.

No, it is Wai's other remarks that are really disturbing. Young told the congregation that CSIS had advance knowledge of the 1985 Air India bombing that killed 329 people, but were prevented from sharing this info with the RCMP because of regulations which Bill C-51 will now fix. It's what U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia calls "applesauce."

Ah, to think of those halcyon days when we could snicker at Texas. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently called out the Texas State Guard to keep an eye on Operation Jade Helm 15, a standard U.S. military training exercise taking place in his state, which according to online truth-tellers, is a covert military coup being sprung by President Obama, possibly in some sort of collaboration with Walmart.

Pretty nutty, Texas. But who are we to point fingers? We have Wai Young.

Ms. Young is not without credentials, at least on paper. She has a degree in sociology. But it seems higher education cannot prevent one from making remarks like this: "I do not read the newspapers anymore," Young told the Harvest City congregation, "because most of the facts in there are not factual."

For example, newspapers often lack the sort of facts one might gain access to through a tinfoil hat. Or mail order. I wonder now if another $20 in a self-addressed stamped envelope could make me a Doctor of Sociology.

It's true that politicians are an easy target. Many are smart, thoughtful, dedicated public servants. But none of those fine qualities appear on the list of qualifications for elected office. Here's the list:

1. Get elected.

If you snag a nomination for the right party at the right time you can catch a wave and end up on a cozy backbench seat. Once there, your shall we say unusual opinions will travel no further than the ears of your unfortunate backbench seat-mates. At least until someone commits the unpardonable sin of bringing a recording device to church. Maybe we should add one qualification to the list:

1. Get elected
2. Put sock in it.

I've found that a doctorate can be helpful too, Optimistic. I'll send you the address.  [Tyee]

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