Thursday, 27 November 2014

MPs behaving badly

Once, in desperation and fear of poverty, I nearly took a job as a communications director for Peter Goldring, the renegade Member of Parliament who is now advocating that male MPs wear Go-Pro cameras to guard against harassment charges by women on the Hill.

I interviewed for the job. I liked Peter Goldring, mainly because he was interested in affordable housing even though he was a member of Stephen Harper's caucus. (He was later hoisted for being moist and garrulous, which made me like him even more.)

I didn't realize he was a nut. He seemed genuinely sincere, and I accepted the position.

Then I walked out of his office and met his chief of staff who looked very much like a cross-between John Waters and Harvey Pekar. Brrrrr. As I was leaving the office, the secretary motioned me over, and gave me a warning about the chief  of staff.

He's weird, she said.

Minutes later, I texted Mr. Goldring and said: "thanks but no thanks."
Minutes after that, I met a former pal of mine of the Liberal persuasion and told him the story.
He gave me a contract, and made sure my kids could eat for the next three months.

When you work on Parliament Hill, and you are a woman or a very nice looking gay man, you have to have your wits about you, and attune your spidey-senses to the environment lest you lose your panties in some very unfortunate circumstances.
It's been happening for decades and decades.
MPs have always behaved badly -- even ugly bulldog looking Prime Ministers -- and fending them off has become a rite of passage for many women.
And yet, some fail to learn.
Like the poor NDP MP who found herself whipping out a condom as a last ditched effort in disease control after a Liberal colleague somehow had his way with her, at 2 a.m. at his place after a pitcher and a half of margaritas.
Or the other NDP MP who claims another Liberal chased her home and ground his crotch against her after a party.
These are terrible allegations, it is true.
And these men are oinkers of the first order who deserve to nurse blue balls for the rest of their lives.
Some people are saying: what are women thinking? How do they get themselves into these predicaments in the first place?
I suppose it's because women who work on Parliament Hill start off there thinking that it is a noble place, filled with people who, like them, want to change the world. And the residents, particularly the rats, are ever-so charming.
So it makes sense, and it should not be unusual, that debates on veteran's rights, the fight against Ebola, and other matters, should be continued at Hy's or Darcy's and other watering holes. And it also makes sense that people get lonely, so they should be expected to share drinks in the offices of fellow MPs, or play topless Frisbee, or whatever.
But Parliament Hill is not a normal place.
It is not filled with normal people.
Some of its inhabitants are creepy and narcissistic and are into all sorts of weird behavior, like working naked in their offices and exposing themselves to Sparks Street.
Even more of them -- even the nice ones -- are fueled by alcohol which is easily found in their desk drawers to get them through those long debates.
All of them are away from home, wives and kiddies, livin' large in the Big City.
Finally, most of them are men, a lot of ugly men, intent on getting as many blow jobs as possible out of sight of the security cameras.
Boys will be walking hormones, as they say.
We can institute all the rules and regulations we like and this behavior will not go away unless the women smarten up and begin to act defensively.
Even banning alcohol on the Hill wouldn't work as there are tens of bars -- and hotel rooms -- within a stone's throw of the Parliamentary Precinct.
So what's the solution?
Concealed hand guns.
No, I'm kidding, kidding.
Women who work on Parliament Hill need to be schooled as soon as they get to the place.
There should be the sexual equivalent of a defensive driving course for them to help them navigate the treacherous waters.
I could teach it.
I come from the school of hard knocks.
It took me a while, but I learned that the best way NOT to get in trouble is to make sure you stay out of trouble's playground.
Beware of Christmas parties, Wonderful Wednesdays, out-of-town sojourns, anything after hours.
If you must attend, drink soda water. Carry hand sanitizer to throw in the faces.
Never go to the bathroom without a friend.
Never let an MP take you to a second location.
Always discuss policy in the daylight, in public, with both feet firmly on the floor.
Sure it's no fun, but it's safe.
I have a few other suggestions if you want to be more extreme.
Wear a hidden microphone in your bra.
Attend comedy or improv school. Learn to deliver snappy one liners to wither any wandering dick.
Learn the arts of martials.
Of course, a woman can't be too careful and sometimes she finds herself cornered.
What to do?
Employ all available tools: high heels, large diamonds and briefcases.
Inuit carvings.
And, of course, your handy Blackberry.
Nothing says lovin' more than a Vine video!
Hit them where it hurts.
Don't be like Jian Ghomeshi. Leave a mark, a tramp stamp to show everybody you mean business.
Prosecute within the full extent of the law.
No exceptions.
A good offence is better than a good defence.
When all else fails, get a real job.


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