September 6, 2002
I was a little surprised to read the other
week that the Minister of Defence admitted he didn't really know a
lot about Canada's role in the Dieppe Raid.
This revelation came on the heels of several
gaffes made during the ceremonies commemorating the 60th anniversary
of the disastrous attempt to land troops on the coast of France in
1942. These gaffes included pledging that modern Canadian troops
will be as well equipped as those landed at Dieppe. Unfortunately,
our troops in 1942 were woefully unequipped. Last weekend he
confused the collaborationist Vichy government with Vimy.
Dieppe has been considered one of the great
lessons hard learned by Canada. Some historians have even said that
the Canadian nation came of age on the beaches of Dieppe. So it is
difficult to understand why our Minister of Defence never learned
about it, or at least spent a little time boning up on it once it
became his job.
It made me wonder what other basic
information might be missing in discussions around the cabinet
Minister of Health: "Ladies and
gentlemen. Before we go any further I want to bring a shocking fact
to the attention of my Cabinet colleagues. I was just briefed by
senior officials in my department who inform me that there is no
cure for the common cold." (General sounds of surprise and
dismay.) "That's right. Forget that wimpy West Nile Virus - I
was shocked to learn that Canada's most common disease has no cure.
I've ordered that all the resources of my department be put into
finding a cure before the public finds out."
Minister of Transport: "I'm sorry to
take the thunder away from my friend the Minister of Health, but has
anyone seen the state of our roads, railways and national airline? I
seem to remember reading somewhere that Canada is a pretty big
country. If that's true, there should probably be a good way to get
around, but at the moment we're stuck with potholes, trains that
travel once a month and an airline that learned customer relations
from the Prince Albert Penitentiary."
Minister of Environment: "Just as
astounding, I just read a briefing book that indicates that the
weather in Canada is bloody cold most of the year, with a month and
a half of sweltering heat around August. I know that we spend most
of our time indoors with central heat and air conditioning, not to
mention going on those important fact finding missions to Aruba in
February. I feel it's my duty to have my department to send out a
glossy brochure warning Canadians to bundle up in the winter and
maybe wear something with short sleeves in the summer."
Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans: "My
Deputy Minister came to me just this morning with some bad news and
some good news. The bad news is that they tell me there aren't any
fish left in the ocean. The good news is that most Canadians don't
like fish anyway. We're going to try to spin this in a positive way
for tourism with the slogan: 'Canada's Ocean Playground - Now 99.9%
Minister of Finance: "Do you have any
idea how much Canadians pay in taxes?" (General blank looks)
"Some pay almost half of what they make." (Cries of 'Oh,
come on' and 'You must be kidding'.) "No really - it's true. I
looked into it myself. Most of them don't have tax free allowances
or great pensions either. After paying into CPP all their lives,
they'll be lucky to get a few hundred bucks a month from us. I just
hope no one leaks it to the press, or there'll be hell to pay."
When you think about it, it sort of explains