Thursday, November 03, 2005

Who Threw That Chicken at Johnny Chretien?!

There was an urban (or is it a rural?) myth in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia about a destitute and elderly chap named Jim Jacks who lived in a squalid hut on the edge of town. To supplement his non-existent income, Jim was favourably disposed towards what we, as kids, called "five-finger discounts". As the story goes he was an artist of the lift with a special penchant or perhaps special capability to spirit tins of tuna and salmon into his oversized rain-or-shine trenchcoat and make his way out of the local Sobey's undetected.

One day, emboldened by years of incident-free shoplifting, Jim targeted a substantial chicken but, alas on the way out of the store, the slippery fowl escaped from its precarious perch under Jim's coat and landed with a sickening thud on the floor, in plain view of all. Old but never dull, the geezer immediately struck an Oscar-worthy display of self-righteous indignation and bellowed accusingly: "Who threw that chicken at Jim Jacks!?"

I hadn't thought of that story or strategem for many a year until last Tuesday when I saw the clips of Jean Chretien's lightning reaction to Gomery's Phase I findings that the P'tit Gar sat atop a seething stinkpile of greedy minions who turned the sponsorship program into their own private retirement fund.

Still trying to bask in the aspenglow of a political career whose most memorable feature, other than figurative and even literal nepotism, was endurance (his and ours!) Chretien considered a pre-emptive attack the best line of defence as damning evidence gathered around his recently departed East Block coterie. Nothing has changed. Probably Chretien's preference would have been the more direct approach used in 1996 when a scrawny little protester got in his way.

But Gomery is not scrawny nor without other extra-physical sources of power. Alternative means to seizing the man by the throat were required. The nasty spirit of last spring's ploy to have Gomery removed, followed by the cameo golf ball performance (for which Gomery should have acquainted the literally contemptuous Chretien with the inside of a cell)continues. Chretien will now spend our money again - this time from his gold-plated federal pensions rather than directly from the public purse - to petition the federal court as allies in covering up his regime's misuse of...our money. Given the superfluity of Chretien appointees on that august body, this arrogant defense-by-offense just may work, again.