|Prime Minister spikes
rumours -- Brian to remain 'Captain Canada'
by Scott Upchuk
tells Liberal Association (left) he "dun nudding wrong and dat snake Joe
Clark he cheat eight time on bar exam!" Photo courtesy of Warren Kinsella
OTTAWA Mr. Chrétien told the Liberal Association's Annual Meeting today that "soon after" he wins his fourth, or maybe fifth, majority government he intends to hold a leadership convention and at that time he would "likely" announce his intentions about stepping down.
To an enthusiastic crowd in a town swirling with rumours, Mr. Chrétien warmed up the crowd with warm, human interest stories about his enemies who "are hurling false accusations at me." He quickly had them in stitches when he referred to the law school failures of Joe Clark and the kickbats received by Stockwell Day. He said he was "proud" that with his third consecutive election win, it is clear that the Canadian people not only love the Liberals but also have complete faith that he leads an honest and accountable government.
He scoffed at the Opposition for their "ridiculous" allegations that he was in a conflict of interest in his dealings in St-Maurice. "Dis lie have outrage Canadian peoples," he thundered.
He noted that allegations were made before the election and the results prove Canadians didn't believe them for one minute, he said. Also Mr. Chrétien pointed to the millions of supporting letters and phone calls that have literally swamped the PM's office. "Dey will feel de wrath of de peoples in de next election!" This had the LIberal meeting in a frenzy. It was twenty minutes before the Prime Minister could continue.
After the din had settled the PM announced the real purpose of his speech — to set the date for his departure and also confirm what everyone in town had known for months — that Brian Tobin is to be his successor and the official heir designate.
Allan Rock and Sheila Copps, both of whom once harboured leadership hopes but renounced them for the good of the party, could scarcely contain their excitement during the announcement. Both were visibly moved and showed their pleasure by blowing kisses towards the podium.
The PM's announcement drew more cheers and some even wept when at last he made clear his block busting retirement plans: "Peoples are asking me when I am stepping down, well I am telling dem dat right now I am tinking when I am waking up some morning and I am feeling, y' know, dat it may be time for me to enjoy some golf in Shawinigan and 'av a meal or two next door wid my book of meal ticket at Auberge Grand-Mère."
Here, the PM paused, grinned slightly and looked at his audience. On cue, the staunch Liberal stalwarts leaped to their feet and roared appreciation of his little joke.
With this long-awaited announcement, Canadians can stop speculating about when the Prime Minister intends to step down. The Liberal caucus, especially, was worried that Brian Tobin, Mr. Chrétien's unofficial and now, official heir- designate, might decide he cannot wait indefinitely to take up the reigns of total power enjoyed by the Liberal Leader. See next story.
Tobin move to USA no longer 'on' after PM's announcement
by Scott Upchuk
In this rumour-fueled town it is open secret that without a clear signal from the PM, the restless, power-hungry Mr. Tobin would follow through on a secret plan to take out American citizenship, run for the U.S. Congress in 2004 and the U.S. Presidency in 2008.
Although the U.S. Presidency is only open to native-born Americans, it is hotly rumoured that Mr. Tobin, after becoming a U.S. senator, would introduce an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would make it possible for any native North American to become president. This is not such a long shot as it might appear.
President Bush, though he could not locate Canada on the map presented to him by a CBC reporter, Rick Martin, affirmed his belief that it is in North America and in any event will be the US's future source of natural gas and fresh water. Moreover, he is known to be a longtime friend of Mexico, which he knows is just south of Texas. This would appear to make him a staunch advocate of North American continentalism and, therefore, would likely favour such a constitutional amendment.
Mr. Bush is likely to serve two terms as U.S. president. The Democrats are in disarray with the Clinton pardons scandal and his looting of the White House of its furniture and effects on his departure. It is difficult to see a Democrat of any stature emerging as a viable candidate for the 2004 race.
There is a rumour that Tom Cruise has been approached but he is too embroiled in his breakup with Nicole Kidman and disputes with the late L. Ron Hubbard over the meaning of 'engram pre-programming substantiation' in the Religion of Scientology.
2008, therefore, is the first plausible opportunity for Democrats to regain the White house. The Republican Party is well aware that the probable Democratic candidate in 2008 will be Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton — providing she can overcome the scandal enveloping her husband. To many, the establishment of a Clinton dynasty with Hillary as President being supported by husband, Bill, as the country's first First Gentleman, is a thought too terrible to contemplate.
In any event, opening the door to the presidency to foreigners would widen the field, especially if it brought in energetic dynamos like Brian Tobin. He would soon be "Captain America" in a land that adores colourful, cute, feisty, celebrities with vast linguistic resources at their command. "Women, everywhere, wish they could cuddle that curly-headed cutey," Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is reported to have confided to William Safire, the leading Democrat on the New York Times Editorial Board. Senator Clinton denies it, but Mr. Safire says he has it all on tape.
Whatever Mrs Clinton's view on Mr. Tobin's motherhood-inspiring qualities, it is certain that were Mr. Tobin to enter American politics his eventual installation as the first foreign-born U.S. president would be a foregone conclusion.
Back here in Canada, Paul Martin, Finance Minister, who has renounced privately to the Prime Minister any leadership ambitions of his own, could scarcely contain his pleasure with the PM's announcement.
"I was worried that Brian would get discouraged and leave Canada for better opportunities elsewhere. That would leave a leadership vacuum here at home, which would not be in the party's or, indeed, Canada's interests. We need someone to take over the leadership when the time comes and Brian is obviously that person."