Saturday, July 24, 2010
With the Grits kicking off yet another cross country tour this summer (dubbed the “Liberal Express” by party flacks) the other day in Ottawa and, given that only 1 in 4 Canadians approves of Count Iggula, this move smacks absolutely of desperation and a lack of originality. Thus, It’s high time to make a long overdue but highly apt comparison between two Canadian institutions that are seemingly in terminal decline: The Liberal Party of Canada and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should admit two things: A) I’m both a Dipper ( Duh!) and B) a lifelong Habs fan. I relished every second of last season’s unexpected trip to the Eastern Conference finals, aside from the drubbing we suffered at the hands of those dirty Flyers! But even if I weren’t, I would make this case, because the similarities between these two fading national brands, are striking!
On the one hand, we have the Leafs, perennial laughingstocks of the NHL. Holders of the record for the longest Stanley Cup drought in Hockey (1967), now that the Chicago Blackhawks put an end to theirs. A team that, rather like the Grits, has a reputation for poaching other team’s best players and ruining them (Owen Nolan, Phaneuf, etc.). But most galling of all, especially to the millions of hockey fans who support one of Canada’s 5 other teams, there is the absurd claim, made mostly by the Leafs marketing department, that they are “Canada’s team.” What a slap in the face to all of us poor schmucks who support Les Canadiens with their 100 year history, and their 24 Stanley Cup victories! Worse, the Leafs are conspiring against the expansion of pro hockey in this country by putting the kibosh on Jim Basillie’s attempts to bring another hockey franchise to southern Ontario!
On the other, we have the similarly pompous sounding “Natural Governing Party of Canada.” Notwithstanding the past four years, naturally. The Grits also have a knack for taking the best and brightest (using the latter a tad loosely) from other parties and killing their careers ( i.e. Belinda, Bob Rae, etc.). Much like their moronic counterparts at the Toronto Maple Leafs, Liberals don’t look kindly upon any competition on their turf and are capable of the most odious behaviour when challenged by their opponents (i.e. trying to lump Thomas Mulcair in with the Gun nuts!). Also, like the Leafs, Grits have become so complacent after years of being in power that they began to take their supporters for granted and have not regained their former glory since.
There is one major difference, however: The Leafs are, paradoxically, in spite of years of bumbling, the wealthiest franchise in Canadian sports. Whereas, the LPC are in all kinds of financial difficulty at the moment, especially when compared with the robust war chest amassed by the Tories, without any relief in sight.
The Future is Unwritten