My first official entrance into the boxing ring called Canadian Politics, began with an invitation from my sister, to help with the Provincial Leadership run of Conservative Frank Miller. She worked for a mining firm that had skin in the game and I contributed as warm body, in the required effort of promotion and ‘we can’t live without this guy adulation’. For a few days, I rummaged the in’s and out’s of convention mania and why wouldn’t I enjoy a bit of of hysteria and pandemonium, to break up the monotony of my simpleton life. My effect on the outcome was negligible, as I never had conversation with the man who briefly became Conservative Premier of Ontario. His campaign however, cut my teeth, for an eventual journey into the Liberal Party of Canada.
The final grade’s of elementary school as designed by curriculum, cover an introduction of the major policy themes, of the day. Our teacher’s encouraged us with headings and we were responsible for individual or group perspective, used in competitive debate to support our position’s and attack each others counter-argument’s. Population explosion was already a concern in the sixties and early seventies as a precursor to the environmental issues we face today. Seems as if all that foreshadowing, researching and debating, culminated in a waste of time. Reproductive rights, the way we are lurching, will soon infringe the territory of legalizing fratricide, as the potential profit from harvesting organs and other prolific selfish purposes, are destined to eventually breach a recent allowable termination at nine months, to mother’s aborting their children up to and including the child’s first birthday. Blood money. This sums up humanity and our benevolence. Imagine the situation for the rest of our poor, dumb, animal kingdom and an inability to create a verbal argument to defend their interests in a court of law or public opinion and vote against their own extinction. If only these creatures would somehow learn to speak. Man shouldn’t be counted on. Capital punishment at the time I advocated against the death penalty simply as recourse against multiple murder. A killer believing an eventual way out of prison, may deflect his damage and the secondary pervasive reason, potential abuse by authorities or the legal system and preventing an innocent, from persecution. Otherwise, with definitive proof, omitting the need for safeguard’s, I’d hang’em high, with impunity. Anyway, as my uncle (Bless his soul) Tonce once told me, a witness to many atrocities, there’s a noteworthy amount of money in the business of death. I concur.
War and peace, inclusive of foreign policy and economic prosperity were my subjects of engrossment. This was an extension, to my hobby of historical and contemporary military tactics. My position, should have I become a member of the political establishment or the Canadian Defence Department, which I consider overlapping and operate as one and the same, as all government ministries are required, to be effective, would be a representation of my personal philosophies. Ultimately, I can’t do anything for my soldiers once they’re laying dead in the field, therefore, my responsibility is to ensure the survival of my troops and the society they serve, in any rank or ministry deemed to require my expertise. This could mean anywhere from regular forces and hand to hand combat, to Field-Marshall co-ordinating my troops movements on the battlefield, to Minister of Defence and the procurement of arms, to Leader of a Nation and the inherent function of diplomacy. The role of my auto-biography, aligns and contributes, for the likeminded, comprehending these parameters.
It was a fine early afternoon weekend day and our front door was an invite open to the warmth of our neighbourhood. My good friend, on seeing the moving bodies through the screen door opened it and called my name in earnest and I popped my head around the kitchen wall, happily greeting him. Instantly, we were a rush and as often in mission mode, bid the family a quick goodbye and bequeathed we’d both show for early dinner. We were on our way to a recently built community centre for some kind of political action and I was dragged along as last minute support because his dad (unbeknownst kingpin) was unable to attend. Although my friend had grade average always touching the skies, the procedural steps we were rolling into were as foreign to him, as myself. I was probably solicited because of our past penetrating conversations of situational geo-politics the likes of, Panama Canal, The Golan Heights, Vietnam War, Suez Canal, Idi Amin, South African Apartheid, The Khmer Rouge, Mao Tse-Tung, Fascism, Stalinism, Nicaraguan Sandinistas and Contras and so on, all speculative, removed of practical experience, just self thought theory. This was about to become our first youthful venture into political reality.
We were seated high up in the convention hall admiring the eclectic architecture, exploiting fresh space, filled by glistening sun. Intentionally alone and happily isolated far and away, in the stands, we believed ourselves immune of any kind of potential fermenting embarrassment, of our situational awareness, we were surely clueless. From our distance it wasn’t disturbing, that the faces of individuals were indistinguishably mulling around makeshift greeting and receiving tables. There were some small groups clustered together in the seating more directly in front of the action we eagerly intended to bypass. My friend of long standing and I, by our calculated location, seemed more destined to Apollo into orbit as astronauts then partake in anything that was going on down there, somewhere. This as you gather was all fine with me, as I had already settled as observer and my sidekick, limited in the scope of information he’d received, was uncomfortable to press forward as anything, but same. None of this would have retraced my memory if the following events had not continued to unfold. Suddenly, as if leaving a mothership, some individual male, broke away from the main body we were hell bent to avoid and climbed the universe towards us. We were dismayed at someone’s approach because this probably meant motives of a kind we would be unable to ascertain. We speculated quickly about nothing, for what seemed like eternity, even as the lanky man bounded the stairs by two’s, approaching. Fear of the unexpected was consuming us.
He shook my friends hand up and down with the efficacy of a car salesman’s exuberance and was simultaneously satisfied with his identity, as someone who’s name he had obviously anticipated. I unfortunately, as it turned out, wasn’t the father who couldn’t come. Time was of the essence, as is so often the case, in the needs speed, of big city life. As he extended his velocity to me, the gears in his manipulative little brain had already bypassed courtesy and moral standard. From everything he’d immediately concluded I was a useless unknown entity and to be purposeful in his world, would have to alter my name, if to become substance as a historical figure. I was taken aback. To represent myself as another human being, in my life was an occurrence I couldn’t begin to contemplate. Isn’t that illegal? The gall. Wasn’t I just at home with my family. What’s next the trunk of someone’s car. Dead. I mean if someone can flippantly eradicate a person’s name, is anything else a stretch. He doesn’t know me from Adam but is quick to assume that I’m willing to be, Satan’s little brother.
I was confused as he began ushering, towards who I now considered the core of other kool-aid drinking devil worshippers and I felt as if on a long downward trajectory to the gallows of an anticipated hanging, or better yet, a gruesome beheading. My being was screaming discontent. “What should I do”? I kept asking myself, “how do I get out of this”? Surely, I’m not to pretend to be someone else, going low, how far can I go. Documentation and identification would seem to be a precursor to legitimacy yet my pallbearer seemed adamantly convinced of unnecessity. The gates of hell forgo the rules required by mere mortals. Welcome to politics.
My friend and I helplessly glanced at each other, in fashion similar to villains on docket, left holding the bag and we stood mingled with others, moping with predicament. ‘Please make this stop’ and around the same time, as if heaven had received the echo of my hopes, it did. Relief. Indecision worked. Things were postponed or something something something, I could care less for how the dagger of corruption, was removed from my throat. We evacuated as if soldier’s, on first recognition, that valour and courage were no longer a useful commodity against imminent slaughter. Years later, to disgruntlement, I observed this same horrible individual become an elected Member of Federal Parliament.
Around this time and in between, I fell into conversation with a blast from the forgotten past, with Larry Grossman’s father, who’s son, also became temporary Ontario Conservative Party Leader and confessed to him my propensity to liberalism, having moved away from my initial socialist New Democrat Party leanings. He laughed politely in my face and said, “well you’re heading in the right direction. One day you’ll be a conservative”. At that time I wouldn’t have thought that plausible because I couldn’t associate the anti-war movement as compatible with Republicanism. Harken to today, the adage, “politics makes for strange bedfellows”, rings as always true, in more beds than one. “If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.” Frank Miller’s political victory was my first.