Halloween on The Hill
After a gruelling campaign and a hard-fought battle, half the capital looks like an Edvard Munch painting or a Walking Dead extra, but everyone will look right at home on All Hallows Eve — a night that gives everyone a chance to wear a mask and ask for handouts
By Chris Lackner
OTTAWA — With many incumbents swept away in the Liberal tide, there are plenty of long-faced ghouls and goblins wandering Parliament Hill these days. On Halloween, they’ll be able to blend in.
After an epic campaign full of tricks and treats, the kids in the red costumes went home with the biggest haul on election night – enough to gorge themselves for four years. But Halloween provides a well-deserved gift to Canadian politicos of all colours. After being stuck playing themselves for 11 weeks, they can wear any mask for one special night. The faint-of-heart can become the fearsome, the politically dead can rise again as the undead – and Canadian pollsters can finally show their faces in public again.
With All Hallows’ Eve almost upon us, I’ve decided to provide an early treat for our political leaders: well-timed costume advice.
Satan: The Toronto Sun just ran a cover photo featuring Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne under the words “match made in Hell.” The prime-minister designate should counter by truly embracing his devilish side.
Willie Nelson: This would offer a squinty-eyed wink to his stance on marijuana legalization. Either that or he and his wife Sophie should dress up as Cheech and Chong. Either of these costumes will kill in B.C.
Mike Duffy: By simply throwing on a bald cap and grabbing a couch pillow for stuffing, he could drive Liberal partisans wild. Bring on Old Duff.
Justin Trudeau: What?! Too soon? Some might call it wishful thinking, but Mulcair dressing as his campaign nemesis would display a sense of humour and resiliency in the wake of a tough defeat. Plus, how do we know Mulcair doesn’t look like Bradley Cooper underneath that beard? After a quick shave for Halloween, the NDP might discover their own political hunk.
Che Guevara: Given NDP stalwarts have criticized Mulcair for taking the party too far to the centre, this costume would swiftly quell dissent. I’d even think about leaving the costume on until after the party’s spring leadership review. It can’t hurt.
A cat from Cats the Musical: Everyone knows about Harper’s feline fetish. It’s one of the things that has helped humanize the aloof leader. To bid Canada farewell, Harper should get his Conservative claws out, put his tail on and purrrrr his way through the night. [Sharing that mental image with the nation is my Halloween trick.]
A Toronto Maple Leaf: They’re Harper’s favourite team. Comparatively, they make his failed re-election campaign look like a rousing success. The Leafs probably couldn’t win a road hockey game against 10-year-old boys right now. Harper should proudly don a jersey, add some bruises with makeup and gamely play the part. It will put his defeat into perspective. The Leafs haven’t won since 1967; Harper won three straight elections! Who’s the biggest loser, now? Toronto, not Stephen.
Pierre Trudeau: Recreate PET’s famously stylish 1970 Grey Cup getup: black cape, plaid pants, rose lapel and funky dark fedora. Soak in a bit of that Trudeaumania, just to see what it feels like. [Note: Only do this if you’re handing out candy at 24 Sussex Drive; this ensemble is not suitable for the streets of Calgary].
Kermit the Frog: It’s still not easy being green – especially in this country. May should dress like the beloved amphibian who knows that all too well.
The Hulk: “Hulk smash first-past-the-post electoral system.” If only it were that easy for the Green Party.
The Godfather: Much like Michael Corleone, the Bloc pulled him back in just when he thought he was out. Things didn’t end well for either of them. The Godfather 3 was almost as bad as Duceppe’s election results.
Magnum P.I. Probably a smart idea to start experimenting with the moustache look now. Cullen is the NDP’s most obvious heir apparent when Mulcair bows – or gets shoved – from under the orange stage lights. I’m pretty sure there’s a party statute mandating facial hair for all leaders. The B.C. MP might want to read the fine print.
Anything that’s the colour red: The Conservative’s strongest leadership candidate just needs to experiment. After the country was painted Liberal red, the Red Tory side of the party needs to be revived and embraced. Personally, I think Kenney would look good as either a lobster, apple, cardinal – or the Kool-Aid Man. If he doesn’t want to completely change his colours, Kenney could go as blue-and-red Transformer Optimus Prime. The Autobot is one of the good guys, so this choice might help project that “sunnier and more optimistic” brand of conservatism Kenney is now preaching. Though as a “robot in disguise,” it would open him up to accusations of a hidden agenda.
A skeleton [in a closet]: After pulling a vanishing act for much of the election, this costume only seems appropriate. All Oliver needs to do is grab a giant bag of Mars bars, find a closet and stay inside. Sure, he lost his riding and plum gig as finance minister. But it will all be worth it in a few weeks when he gets to jump out of that closet and scare the hell out of some unsuspecting Liberal staffer.
Booo! Happy Halloween, Canada.
THE EX-PRESS, October 30, 2015