Friday, 22 June 2012

Turner-round bright eyes




Back in 1984, I was working as a junior writer in the Prime Minister's Office when Pierre took the walk. We were all stunned, and many scattered to this candidate and that, betting their careers on who would become the next anointed leader.

Me, I was happy to ride out the leadership in Trudeau's PMO. I loved walking into the Langevin Building and sitting my pretty little ass down in the West Wing every morning right beside the RCMP detail. I had a good view of the changing of the guard and a few little fun projects to work on.

When John Turner decided to run for the leadership, I was excited. He seemed very handsome and charismatic -- what did I know, I was 25? -- until he approached the podium for the first time and I thought to myself: "Who is this old guy and why is he wearing old man pants?"

By old man pants, I mean the ones that button above the belly button. Also, JNT had sort of rheumy eyes, the kind you see on guys at the Martini Ranch who've had a few too many cocktails -- before lunch.

But I was willing to throw in with Turner, as I was still getting paid. (I never volunteered in politics and for that, I was dismissed as an opportunist, which was pretty much true.)

Anyway, during the election campaign, I landed a job in the correspondence unit working for the wonderful and scary Peggy Dillman. A crew of us had been hired because the former correspondence chief basically fired everyone on Trudeau's writing staff. So a crew of temps were cobbled together to answer Trudeau's backlogged mailbag and get the Liberal mail through the election.

The campaign was a complete embarrassment.

While there were a number of highly intelligent folks on the campaign, there were also plenty of self-righteous narcissistic boobs. Two people come to mind. One is now a retired Senator, the other later became the notorious baby mama to a former prime minister.

It also didn't help that there was bitterness between Chretien's camp and Turner which led to a great deal of infighting and confusion. At one point, both the Party office and the PMO were answering the same questionaires giving different answers.

What a bunch of maroons.

Turner's wife, the pompously named Gilles, didn't help things. She was high maintenance and had a tendency to bitch slap the staff. I knew we were doomed when my hairdresser, Fleming -- a haircutter to the political stars -- proclaimed that he had once thrown her out of his salon for being a nasty bitch.

Anyway, we all know the story. Turner. Patronage. Bumpatting. Inepitude. Yadda yadda.

The Liberals went down in flames and did not resurface for more than a decade.

Which leads me to my point, and I do have one.

Turner is urging everyone to get behind Justin Trudeau who he believes could save the Liberal Party from itself.

First, Turner must have dementia since he does not recall how anointing the "next thing" has gone for Liberals in the past. If we ignore our history, we are destined to make the same mistakes, and it's looking like the Liberals are once again pursuing Plan A.

Second, Turner was the worst leader the Liberals ever had except Stephane Dion.

Getting an endorsement from Turner is like accepting an indecent proposal from John Edwards.

If I were Trudeau, I'd order the guy another cocktail, pat him on the back, and tell him to mind his own business.

Pointe finale.



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