A Mulcair Christmas 

December 15th, 2013 | J. Hodgson 

It was a crisp December afternoon. I decided to head out the door and walk to the local pub in my neighborhood. I threw on my old coat and locked the three locks on my door before heading out. Newspapers blew around the street and collected around the base of the garbage bags that were piling up due to the garbage strike that had been in full swing for over six weeks. A rat scurried past me on the cracked sidewalk and I passed a man sprawled out at a local bus stop. His shopping cart, full of clothes, had been tipped over and the rain had soaked it through to the pavement.

“Spare change?” he groaned.

“Not today,” I muttered.

The butcher shop I used to buy fresh local meat from still had boards over the windows. Ever since the cholesterol tax was introduced, the cost of meat tripled. As a result, people ate a lot less meat these days.  Mission accomplished, I guess.

I walked across the street where the hybrid bus was still sitting on the side of the road from yesterday. Someone had smashed the side windows out and siphoned the gas out of the tank.

“Hey, can you spare some change?” said a gruff voice. An old man with no shoes had his bandaged hand extended toward me. “Need some cash,” he said.

“So do I,” I grumbled back.

The old man spit on the ground and told me to go fuck myself. I started thinking, when did the bums come this far out? I remember when the odd homeless guy would be wandering around downtown, but not wandering around in outskirt neighborhoods. No wonder there’s been so many break-ins lately.

I entered the pub and helped myself to a seat. The bar was half empty as liquor supplies have been unreliable lately. The bartender walked over to me and smiled.

“Hey John, what’s been happening?” the gruff old man said.

“Doing some temp work lately, man, thought I’d stop in and see how things are shaking.”

“They aren’t shaking that fast let me tell you,” he sighed. “This new alcohol tax is killing me.”

I took out $16.00 in change and counted it out on the bar.

“Give me a pint of the good stuff, Mike,” I smiled.

“You got it, buddy,” he smirked and filled up a tall glass. The beer frosted out from the tap and looked as refreshing as a pocket full of change could offer.

“So where is everyone?” I asked after my first sip.

The bar was empty except for a couple of guys in old suits splitting lunch.

“Not many customers these days,” Mike said. “No money to spread around.”

The television volume kicked up as a waitress turned her attention to one of the big screens. It showed riots in Toronto again, but this time things looked worse.

“They using live ammunition?” I asked.

“Yeah,” Mike shrugged. “Protesters are enemies of the state so they say. I remember when the NDP used to protest everything. Now that they’re in charge, nobody dare protest.”

I took a long swig of my beer. “If I don’t start getting better work, I’m going to start protesting myself.”

A voice piped up from across the bar. “You ain’t gonna get no work until things change.”

We both looked over in the direction of the voice. An old man in a wool coat marched over to the bar and joined us. 

“This is Henry, he makes his way to the bar every afternoon. Henry, this is John.”

I nodded and he clinked his pint to mine. “Nice to meet you,” he said as he downed a quarter of his pint. “I feel sorry for your predicament.”

I didn’t like his tone. Who does he think he is, feeling sorry for me!

“What predicament?” I demanded.

“Socialism!” he hollered.

Mike rolled his eyes. “Here we go,” he said.

“This whole country went to hell in a handbasket back in ’17. A young man like you had a future in my day. Now? Not so much,” he chuckled.

“I do okay,” I insisted.

“This country wasn’t built for ‘okay’. This was the frontier. The dawn. The great white north! Ever since Mulcair and his cabal of socialists and separatists took over, this place has turned into a disaster. It’s happening in slow motion so nobody is arsed to do anything about it.”

I took off my coat. It wasn’t often I had the chance to talk politics with present company. This is why you come to a bar though, right?

I dug in. “You can’t blame everything on the government,” I said.

“No…I blame the people voting for the government and allowing them to cause so much damage after these past ten years.”

I wasn’t too convinced.

“I seem to recall some kind of economic crash back in 2008. What did that have to do with the NDP?”

Henry smiled.

“Nothing, they didn’t have power then. It was run by the finest Prime Minister this country ever had…”

Mike interrupted. “Stephen Harper.”

“That’s right,” Henry said. “Things have always been up and down, but the fools in this country decided to vote for down and they never stopped.”

My history was a little fuzzy. I’ve been spending too much time trying to pay the rent.

“Okay Henry,” I asked. “Remind me of the details here. Where did it all go wrong?”

“Where did it all go wrong?” said Henry. 

“It all really started in 2015. Stephen Harper won a minority mandate, so Thomas Mulcair convinced what was left of the Bloc and the Liberals to band together and govern with a coalition. It only lasted for little over a year. There was so much instability that the dollar crashed and foreign investment dried up. Quebec started to threaten separation and another recession hit the country like a fucking anvil!”

Henry slammed down his glass and ordered another.

“Another election was called in 2017, but then...tragedy struck. Harper had a heart attack on the campaign trail and Mulcair was able to get a majority. That’s when things got really bad.”

“You guys want some free wings?” asked Mike.

“Free?” I asked back.

“Yeah, they expire today, so the health inspector will stop by. I need to either sell ’em or dump ’em.”

“Thanks Mike,” I shrugged. “Sounds good.”

Henry tore into the exchange. “Throwing out perfectly fine food just because some bureaucrat says we aren’t allowed to eat meat without the nanny state standing over our shoulder!”

“You were talking about the election,” I tried to get Henry back on track.

“Right, right,” he said. “The NDP won a three seat majority. Damn British Columbia. Anyway, the first thing he does as Prime Minister is sign on to the Madrid Agenda, which at the time was called the son of the Kyoto Protocol.”

“That’s why we have the carbon tax?” I asked.

“Yeah, that had to pay for the obligations of the Madrid Agenda.”

The television flared up again as the waitress watched the news. The Toronto riots were getting really out of hand. The fires were spreading down Younge Street and the police were starting to get pushed back. Still wasn’t as a bad as the Montreal massacre of 2022.

“After the Madrid agenda was passed and the carbon tax was implemented, the Regional Fair Share program was set up. Basically equalization payments tripled overnight. It was supposed to spread the wealth and all it did was share the poverty.”

I took a sip of beer.

“So if things got so bad after they got elected, then why did they win a second term in 2021?” I asked.

“Two reasons,” he said. “The first reason was that they used all the new tax revenue to buy votes. Even though the economy was crumbling, they were able to make the poor comfortable by increasing E.I. payments and starting the national empowerment program.”

“What’s the national empowerment program?” I asked.

“It doesn’t exist anymore because we ran out of money, but for about five years the NDP gave everyone a living wage. They just sent out free money to anyone making less than $30,000 a year. It allowed them to buy a lot of voters. Then they increased immigration to 750,000 a year and it wasn’t hard to win majorities anymore,” Henry smiled.

“What was the second thing they did?” I asked.

“They reinstated the per-vote-subsidy, but this time political parties got $100 per vote cast for them,” he said. “The effect was that the NDP had the biggest share of the vote and consequently got the biggest hand out. They used half their earnings to launch lawsuits against the Liberals and Conservatives. Lawsuits judged by NDP appointed courts. The Liberals finally folded as a party in 2022. The Tories are still around, but nobody takes Chad Kroeger seriously.”

The wings arrived in a greasy basket.

“Thanks Mike, I haven’t eaten today. This will hit the spot.” Henry said with enthusiasm.

“Well, the media says our system will operate more efficiently now that elections are every ten years instead of every four. Maybe things will turn around,” I offered.

“Things ain’t turning around son,” Henry snarled. “Just heard today that the Royal Bank is moving to the U.S. and Canadian Pacific Rail just declared bankruptcy after the transport tax was announced.”

With that I finished my beer and said my goodbyes. I couldn’t take listening to this old guy anymore. He made it sound like the country was third world or something. I put on my coat and left. The sky turned dark and it began to rain. The media kept talking about global warming, but it was colder than ever.

“Hey man,” said a voice.

I turned around and saw a tall, bald guy holding a knife.

“Give me your money.”

I raised my hands and did what came naturally. I ran away. The big guy took chase. He was faster than he should’ve been, given his size. I turned the corner and ran across a street. I was making some space between us when my toe caught the curb and I face-planted into the pavement. It was then that I felt the first blow to my back. And then another. And another.

I slumped to the ground as the guy frisked me for anything I had. Disappointed at the lack of loot, me stomped on my hand and left. I slowly rolled onto my back. Another random street attack, the kind that became more prevalent after the jails were emptied out due to "compassion".

The rain began to pour and the old man in the bus stop made his way toward me.

“Call 9-1-1,” I whispered.

“9-1-1,” he laughed. “They been on strike for three days.”

He stole the shoes off my feet and left. I stayed on the street for an hour before I was able to pull myself up and get home.

Another day in Thomas Mulcair’s Canada.