Ricky Blue's Other Life
Ricky Blue
Ricky Blue
is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer. He and partner George Bowser are the famous Bowser and Blue comedy act. Here's his bio from their Bowser and Blue website.

Ricky Blue was born in Liverpool, England, but raised in Maine, New Jersey, and Toronto. He has an MA in English from Concordia University. He has been involved in bands and media music in Montreal for over twenty years. In 1981 he won an international 'Clio' award for excellence in advertising.

He once appeared on television naked.

His life had no real meaning, however, until he began to play with Bowser and Blue. Rick plays guitar, mandolin, and harmonica, and sings in a rather pleasant baritone when George will let him.

His columns are archived here

Posted 08.16.05


I say, choose Canada's Head of State by - what else? - a lottery

When I was in Cuba, the woman behind the money-changing counter asked me: "Please don't be offended, but why do you have the British Queen on your money? I don't understand. That would be like having the King of Spain on our money," she laughed, enjoying the absurdity of it.

I had to agree: it is absurd that officially we are still under the rule of the British monarchy. But I suppose it's very appropriate that she be on our money. Because as Adrienne Clarkson's reign as Governor General proved, this symbolic vestige of medievalism costs Canadian taxpayers a bundle.

The Governor General is the British Queen's representative in Canada. She is our indigenous 'head of state.' She represents our country at ceremonies that the prime minister doesn't want to attend. Like Remembrance Day or Canada Day. If anyone criticizes him he can say: "What d'ya mean? I sent our head of state (wink, wink). Didn't I?"

Her political role is also symbolic, more evident recently: French, English, man, woman, Caucasian, non-Caucasian, Easterner, Westerner. To paraphrase Marshall McLuhan: The profile is the message.

Now I don't want to seem totally negative. This exalted post is something we Canadians simply have to accept. No government in our lifetime will ever have the pluck to do anything about it. But I have devised a strategy that could make it work.

First, let's make it fair. Why not hold a lottery? We all buy tickets. The winner gets to be the head of state for a year, an ordinary Canadian, chosen by chance, not breeding or politics.

He or she would be, our luckiest Canadian, getting a budget of millions of dollars to swan around the globe with friends and live in a huge mansion in Ottawa.

Since lotteries raise more money than they pay out (in this case the GG's salary), it would raise needed funds. We Canadians claim that Medicare is our number one priority, but our health-care system is in trouble because there is not enough money, even with the billions our governments strip off us each year. Profits from the lottery could go there.

And here's more: film it for television and turn it into a reality show! It's perfect. We could easily sell it to an American studio.

Listen to this pitch: "Hey you guys, imagine if George Bush nominated Connie Chung our head of state? No, I'm serious. Canada is doing just that! No, the head of state is not elected at all. They choose it. And they have now decided to choose their next head of state by lottery and allow us to record the whole wonderful rags to riches story. Yeah, kind of like that old show: 'Queen for a Day.' But this will be for a year. And it will be to represent a real queen."

"And here's the kicker: all the profits from the show will go to relieve the suffering of the thousands of Canadians languishing on gurneys in hospital corridors waiting to see a doctor. Yes, because they have a socialized medical system. So we will film some of that too.

Like the 50-year-old woman who has been hobbling around on a cane for two years waiting for a new hip. Thanks to our show she will finally get that operation."

I'd give it a green light, wouldn't you?