Friday, July 28, 2006

Why COPE is Hopeless

You can tell a lot about a politicial party by their functions - the barbeques, cocktail parties, rubber-chicken dinners, basically all in the guise of fund-raisers they use to come us with operating capital. Also known as cold hard cash... The stuff that makes politics work.

Last night I shelled out $120 dollars for a salmon dinner - two tickets - and some shucked oysters at the Vancouver Rowing Club. There was a bar - five star hotel prices - and a silent auction, mostly with the kind of items you couldn't sell - or give away for a dollar - at a Garage Sale at five o'clock in the afternoon on a Sunday (I wonder if I ended up with any of the really hideously tacky champagne flutes made with coloured glass in the stems? I'll be crushed if don't get them!). Spent nearly a hundred dollars in said bar. Taxi cost forty bucks both way to Kits - as in back and forth. Not a cheap night for a party representing the "little people", ie; it was the NDP in disguise.

Note: The oysters were great. The guys in charge didn't have a clue how to shuck them. In other words, they were hopeless shuckers.

And let me tell you, the crowd was - had to be - heavily subsidized. The line-up for the buffet never ended. I mean NEVER FUCKING ENDED! Some of these people ate like it was their first meal in a month. Notice I didn't say "decent" meal. There was no way the riff-raff I saw lined up could have afforded a $60 ticket. The clothes on their back didn't cost $6.

And the seperation of the riff-raff from the rest of the crowd was fascinating. All the movers and shakers, COPE high-rollers and organizers had tables outside on the Vancouver Rowing Club patio over-looking Coal Harbour. And what an evening! It was Vancouver at it's most gorgeous. A stunning sunset, a glorious fading twilight. Magic hour. The people outside were well-dressed and well-heeled. They didn't give a crap about the buffet. They were also well lubricated. The only bee-line they were making was for the bar. Even the conversation was decent outside.

The caterer should have been shot with a ball of his own shit - the food that is. What crap! Absolutely inedible. And the salmon? A travesty. If I wanted to choke on bones, I'd eat Kentucky Fried Chicken whole - which would have been a better meal by the way. In the end, I scammed a veggie burger.

First a disclaimer. I am (was) a life-long Liberal Party Member. I was President of the University of Victoria Young Liberals - and because I had a girlfriend at the time, this was not even a ploy to get laid (that came later). I ran my roommate, Will Pryhitko (sp?) - a third year political science student at the University of Victoria for the leadership of the Provincial Liberal Party. After Gordon what's-his-name and Richard Anderson gave up. Will came in second! I wrote his speeches while sitting in the john having a crap. My buddy Rob Aslett, who went to work for Intel and made his fortune, proof-read them and actually made corrections on the toilet paper. Will finishined behind Richard Lee if memory serves, but ahead of Val Anderson, who was a sitting MLA in Victoria for many years.

The terrible political skeleton in my closet is that I, Vince Hemingson, am actually the person responsible for selling Judi Tyabji her Liberal Membership Card. That may be the single stupidest political move of all time (apologies to Bill Clinton and the blue dress). Even then, Judi was an idiot, but every vote counted. Or so I reasoned.

Worse, I was one of the first people to help organize for Gordon Wilson to become leader of the Provinical Liberal Party because it was in such a state of disarray. Federal Liberals at the time, were closet or not so closet ultra-right wing Social Credit members in BC. Man, BC has a fucked up political system. Just for Judy Tyabji, now apparently Judi Wilson, I should burn in the seventh circle of Hell. Dumb as a sack of hammers then, Dumb as a sack of anvils now.

When Pierre Trudeau resigned back in 1983 - after his famous walk in the snow - I organized for Donald Johnston as the new leader, because he was one of the few politicians I'd met who was conversant with ideas, was interesting to talk to, and actually had a vision for Canada that didn't centre around selling out to the Americans. Donald Johnston would have gone down in the history books as a great Canadian Prime Minister. In my humble opinion.

Of course in 1983, the lawyers in BC and Vancouver, the biggest, money-grubbing hacks you'd ever want to meet, and the Young Liberals from the University of British Columbia backed John Turner. You could see the dollar signs in their eyes back then. You still can. John Turner was a lovely man, but twenty years too late. He could carry on a great conversation, but every time he got started, some fucking idiot aide in a suit would stop him. The rest of course is history. Mr. Turner also had some really hot daughters. But I digress. With Turner we got twenty years of the worst government in Candian history, Thanks Mulroney. And your son should be yanked off of television becaiuse he has no discernible talent either.

Those were the years I let my Liberal Membership card die in my wallet. I would have tortured it if I thought it would have made a whit of difference.

In the intervening years I voted NDP because I couldn't stand the Socreds. And the NDP were and probably still are fiscally incompetent. They still haven't proven they can run a lemonade stand. And you have to vote the Socreds out on a regular basis, because they'd sell the last tree standing to the Japanese if you gave them half a chance or stick oil-well drilling platforms off of Haida Gwaii if given half a chance. Or two dollars.

In the last civic election the thought of Jim Green as the Mayor of Vancouver gave me nightmares, so I organized for Colleen Nystedt. A bright woman surrounded by more right wing chain-smoking morons in bad Chanel suit knock-offs (with several notable exceptions, you know who you are). This time I actually burned my provincial Liberal membership card after the election.

But I enjoyed paddling Gordon Campbell (same Highland Clan as yours truly - although I bet he doesn't have the Clan kilt or tattoo!) in Skidegate. He's polite. He has nice manners. And he knows in his heart of hearts that the Haida are going to end up in control of Haida Gwaii. Lock, stock, and every single barrel of oil that might exist. Which will remain where it belongs if the Haida have anything to say about it. On the bottom of the ocean, under the seabed. When is someone finally going to have the balls to tell George Bush and Dick Cheney to go to Hell? Because they're ultimately headed there for crimes against humanity anyways.

Local politics, provincial politics, federal politics - don't even get me started on international politics. We live in an age of a dearth of talent. No leadership, no charisma, no spark to speak of.

Last night I didn't meet a single person I would follow out of a fire escape if the building was burning down around our ears. And that was the finest that COPE and the NDP had to offer.

Nice people. Just no leaders in sight.


Me, I just want to keep running.

Last night I slept fo six hours.

Probably knowing that the world wouldn't be that bad a place to leave.

Surely something better awaits.


Blogger Lora said...

Vinny hon....just wondering what you do for fun?

2:55:00 PM  
Blogger Vince Hemingson said...

Chihuahua Origami.

I fold small dogs into interesting shapes.

6:46:00 PM  

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