Volume 95, Issue 50

Thursday, November 29, 2001
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2001: far wackier than a space odyssey

A look back at 2001

Western's newsmakers, in soundbite form

Chretien remains The Lord of the Rings

Chretien remains The Lord of the Rings

Slacktose Intollerant
Chris Lackner
C&C Editor

The parallels between Canada and J.R. Tolkien's world of Middle-earth are striking.

I will now abuse these similarities to be blatantly gimmicky and mildly entertaining, all the while clouding the fact that I know very little.

Hobbits, by their very nature, are quintessential Canadians. Much like our nation, the Shire is a sleepy, peaceful land whose inhabitants are blissfully ignorant and bear great affection for creature comforts.

For Jean Chretien – 'our own loony Gandalf' – 2001 was a year of political wizardry. On a side note, wouldn't Jean look just darling in one of those snazzy sorcerer hats and a scraggly white beard?

Beneath Jean are three special little "hobbits" all looking to replace the big guy himself.

Finance Minister Paul Martin is unmistakably the Bilbo of the group, battle-scarred from years of partisan adventure.

The role of young Frodo shall go to Industry Minister Brian Tobin and Health Minister Allan Rock could land the role of Sam – loyal to the party, but not the brightest star in the sky.

In Tolkien's classic novel, The Lord of the Rings, the battle was waged over a ring of power, which was desperately sought after by a deformed and grotesque creature named Gollum – cue Stockwell Day.

He had the "ring of power" in his hands and upward momentum on his side during the 2000 federal election, but his own ineptitude, gullibility and intelligence spurred his fall from grace.

You can just picture him huddled in a cave somewhere, calling out desperately for his "precious" leadership of Canada. Sorry Stock, your inadequacy has simply entrenched the position of the old wizard.

The floundering New Democratic Party are the elves in my on-going, twisted analogy. The spirit of social democracy runs through both groups, and beats in the heart of our country.

In the last year, the NDP has found itself on the verge of complete irrelevance, due to internal bickering and poor leadership. It matters little whether they move to the left or the centre, for the Canada they champion may be non-existent by the time they get their act together.

The Bloc-Quebecois are on par with the warrior Boromir in Tolkien's classic. Why? Boromir dies, as has the separatist cause.

The dwarves of Middle-earth will be played by Joe Clark and his Progressive Conservative Party. They're both ancient, dependable and sturdy. The year 2001 saw a resurgence in party fortunes, but they are years away from being the lords of anything.

The opposition lies in scattered disarray and the flighty little hobbits which make-up the Canadian electorate are lazy and complacent.

By all accounts, Chretien remains the Lord of the Rings.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001