Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 01.30.06
Stanstead, Quebec


Letter to (X) Prime Minister Paul Martin on the Day After

Dear Mr. Martin,

You may not remember me but we met in 1997 when you were finance minister in You-Know-Who's government. You were making the rounds with the local Liberal candidate and the two of you came by my newspaper office for an interview. You looked like you were thinking "What the hell am I doing here?"

In fact, I think I asked you that very question. I wasn't rude about it or anything. I just asked why an important man like yourself would bother with a small English weekly whose readers weren't looking for insights into federal politics but for news about robberies, sewer breaks, and vegetables shaped like Jerry Garcia.

You gave a polite answer about supporting local candidates, grass roots, yada yada. But, admit it, sir, you were bored out of your skull.

I mention this because after Monday's defeat, maybe - just maybe - you will never have to be so bored again.

I'm trying to look on the bright side for you. If you've ever read this column (sorry about that gag about the inflatable doll, by the way), you're probably having a hard time believing that I'm not cracking wise. But you're practically an Eastern Townshipper now and I try not to make fun of my neighbours, especially those who could potentially track down where I live.

I'm just writing to offer you my condolences and wish you the best of luck. I don't think you're a bad person, even if you are a Quebec Liberal. (By the way, maybe a name change is in order. It took the Reform - er, I mean the Conservative Party three tries to get a name that would fool everyone, and fool everyone they did, even Peter MacKay. You might try something peppy like "The Canadian Whizbang Party" or something suggesting incorruptibility like "The Mormon Party of Canada.")

I think you were just dealt a bad hand by, you know, that guy with the golf balls on his brain.

You did, however, make some major gaffs. I don't want to dwell on the negative but was it really wise to title your party platform "Saving Our Skin"?

And the rebranding of the party to focus on you. I mean, "Paul Martin's Liberals" sounded like "The Ray Coniff Singers." Then when the going got tough, it was just "Liberal," as if to say, "They're not my Liberals, are they your Liberals? I don't want 'em. You take 'em."

You would have been better off with a punchier slogan like "Gagliano-Free Since 2002" or "Vote Liberal: We're Nicer" or "Who Wants Some Tax Breaks?" or "We're Really, Really, Really, Really Sorry"

But anyway, let's not dwell on the mistakes. I really think that once you uncurl from that fetal position and stop sobbing you should start looking to the future. It's important for you to know that you still have people who support you, those of us who voted Liberal even though it made us sick, just because we want to be the ones to say "Well, I didn't vote for him" when Stephen Harper takes off his mask to reveal his true alien form.

While you will no longer be the leader of your party (and honestly, who needs the headaches, the stomach aches, the Stronachs?), you are still an MP and a decent politician.

That's why I think you should retire to the Townships permanently. That way when the next election comes around, say in another eight months (honestly, going to the polls may become our national sport) you can run in Brome-Missisquoi and get the win that eluded that layabout Denis Paradis. We need some representation from all parties in the Townships, even yours. (Have you thought of calling it "The Not-Conservative Party"?)

Anyway, think about it. I'm pretty sure you'll have lots of time to.



P.S. Please don't tell Paradis where I live.