Did you ever feel like you're living in a movie? I do. Except the character I play has no control over events. The perfect movie to describe my anxiety would be Network. And I, of course, am news anchor Howard Beale. You know the guy. He's the one in that biting Paddy Chayefsky-scribed dialogue who famously exhorts his viewers:
"...I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, stick your head out, and yell, "I'M MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE..."Oh, if only yelling this from my window would have some effect. Why, you ask, am I so possessed? You didn't ask? Never mind, I'm gonna tell you anyway. You're welcome.
The Canadian government, the one I didn't vote for, has turned me over and given it to me up the whazoo. Well, figuratively speaking, of course. And not just once, but over and over again.
It wasn't bad enough that for the last two years I've been bombarded by those cacophonous television ads for Canada's so-called economic action plan when I try to watch everything from a hockey game to the Food Channel. Yeah, the government's so far spent over $26 million telling me what a great job it's doing. Oh, they think so, eh?
What about their de-invenstment in scientific research in this country? And muzzling the federal scientists who still have jobs? What about their neanderthal approach to global warming? What about their ramped-up involvement in international conflicts? What about their ignorance for the environment? And the list goes on to include everything from attack ads to government senators padding their housing allowances to the tune of $90,000.
And if that weren't enough, the Prime Minister's Office has instructed all departments to refer to the government as The Harper Government when they issue news releases. This marks the first time since confederation a government has done such a thing. I guess that's so we Canadians can distinguish a bonehead government from the previous ones.
But the so-called Harper Government is like the gang that couldn't shoot straight. Listen to this. Recently they misplaced $3.1 billion from their terrorism prevention budget. Now there's money well spent. And who knew Canadians were fighting terrorism, anyway?
And they must be worried about how they're being perceived by Canadians. Lately they've taken to e-mailing bureaucrats about Canada's Economic Action Plan and asking them who they're going to vote for in the next election. The e-mail is from the Conservative Party's Executive Director and reads, in part "The Conservative Party of Canada depends on the support and advice of Canadians like you - that's why we're reaching out this year with a series of online surveys".
There are a couple of disturbing aspects of this activity. One, infringing on our privacy by obtaining and using e-mail address lists and, two, asking bureaucrats, who are supposed to be the epitome of impartiality, how they're going to vote.
Recently, a parliamentary committee with a majority of government members decided they were going to undertake a review of Canadian history. If they're going to rewrite it I can tell them where to start - the last two years!
Now, I'd better be careful because in all my ranting I have to remember what eventually happened to Howard Beale in Network. At the end of the movie they shot him. Well, at least he was put out of his misery. I have to put up with this crap for at least two more years!