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Help! I Live in Lorne Mayencourt’s ‘Hood!

When politicians vow to kick ‘living ass’, where can a trembling West Ender hide?

By Steve Burgess 11 Apr 2005 | TheTyee.ca

Steve Burgess is a freelance writer and the author of Who Killed Mom?, published in 2011 by Greystone Books.

Born in Norwalk Ohio, home of the famous virus, Steve was raised in Regina, SK, and Brandon, MB. He writes a regular column for The Tyee, often reviewing films but also, sometimes, detailing his hilarious world travels for Tyee readers. Steve is a former CBC Radio host and has won two National Magazine Awards. He has also won three Western Magazine Awards.

Reporting Beat: Travel, pop culture, politics, cobbling, knife sharpening, furnace repair.

Twitter: @steveburgess1

Website: Steve Burgess

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I’ve seen a few Godzilla movies, and I’ve seen the big lizard take on some mighty tough customers. What I’ve never seen is any follow-up about the affected neighbourhoods. Was compensation ever paid to the residents of Tokyo who suffered damaged fences, or birdfeeders, or injuries related to giant lizard feet?

No one cares for the little people. When the big boys fight, we’re toe jam. So I’m worried. I recently moved into the West End—Lorne Mayencourt’s riding.

The controversial Liberal MLA will run for re-election on May 17, but he has powerful enemies. Most powerful of all would be Mayor Larry Campbell, who recently announced that he would openly oppose Mayencourt’s bid—in effect playing King Kong to Mayencourt’s Godzilla. (Mayencourt may in fact be Mothra to Campbell’s Godzilla; Campbell may even be the dreaded Mechagodzilla with Mayencourt taking on the role the Smog Monster. At this point it would be premature to speculate. What is known is that the mayor has vowed to “kick” Mayencourt’s “living ass.”)

The prospect of being caught between warring political titans was not mentioned in my rental agreement. I’m sure my neighbours share my concern. Where will we be when the mud starts flying?

No one is safe

Things are bad enough here already.

One guy who lives down the street from me told a chilling tale. He was getting on a Robson bus recently when he discovered he didn’t have the exact coins. “Does anybody have some change?” he asked the passengers. Suddenly a short, smiling man rushed onto the bus and began beating him about the head and face, screaming, “No panhandling in my riding, you dope-addled sponge! Get a job!” The mysterious vigilante then kissed several babies and fled. A trail of campaign literature led back to Mayencourt’s Library Square offices.

Now ordinary folks in my neighbourhood live in fear, lest their incomes fall below a certain level and they too are attacked.

But the fear cuts both ways. Now that Mayor Campbell has declared war, residents wonder if they will be forced to fight City Hall. Campbell consigliore Jim Green has also publicly signed on to the anti-Mayencourt crusade, and that had led to considerable worry.

As it is, downtown residents walk a little more quickly as they pass Panama Jack’s, Green’s favorite haunt. The powerful councilman is known for cruel fun after he’s had a few. Sometimes he will force cowering bar patrons to wear hats. If he’s really in his cups, he will stand some poor stooge against the dartboard for a little game he calls “Dodge the Draft.” What he will do to Mayencourt is frightening to contemplate.

Life in a war zone

But even Green stands aside for Mayor Campbell, the baddest dude in the Chamber. Campbell’s ferocity has historical roots. He traces his line back to the perpetrators of Scotland’s greatest crime—the infamous Massacre at Glencoe.

In 1692 the Campbell clan, under orders from their English masters, accepted the hospitality of the McDonald clan, only to turn on them and commit wholesale slaughter. McDonald men, women, and children were put to the sword by the bloodthirsty Campbells.

Today, Lorne Mayencourt occupies his office in Library Square—right beside a McDonald’s. It’s a clever move by the Liberal MLA, who may well be courting powerful allies here. Revenge, they say, is a dish best served with special sauce and cheese. How many innocents will be filleted when the battle begins? (And considering the record of backstabbing and perfidy that is a Campbell trademark, MLA Mayencourt may want to watch his back when the premier’s around, too. Clan loyalty runs deep.)

The election campaign will be dirty enough as it is. Rumours suggest that the Liberal attack ads will be particularly vicious, claiming an NDP government will veto any NHL labour deal that forces the Canucks to play overtime. As for the NDP, they will argue that if it weren’t for Liberal cutbacks the Pope would be alive today.

Things are going to get nasty, and Lorne Mayencourt’s riding will be Ground Zero. The future of the province may be at stake—but frankly, I’m just worried about my damage deposit.

Steve Burgess is a regular contributor to The Tyee.  [Tyee]

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