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Musings on the senate and baptism

I have to admit I am re-thinking my lifelong dream to be appointed to the Canadian Senate. I may have to settle for just being a governor general or perhaps being knighted.

I don’t know what is going on inside the red chamber but me thinks it is a very fishy situation.

I might be proved wrong, but I am supporting Senators Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin in this mess. Critics might charge “oh here is another big, celebrity media person circling the wagon around his own kind,” but honestly I find it very hard to believe that the two got appointed to the senate and then immediately began planning how to fudge expenses to rip off the taxpayer.

There are plenty of other options here: 1. They did nothing wrong. 2. They made honest mistakes. 3. They got some bad advice on how the system works and then made honest mistakes. Here is a government system that can scrutinize people’s activities to the degree they can cut some poor schmuck in Swan River, Manitoba, off unemployment because he made an extra 50 bucks moonlighting. Yet there was no administrative assistant processing senate expenses who couldn’t have said, “I don’t think this is a claimable expense?”

Ya, sure they both got sucked into partisan politics during their journalist careers and that is unfortunate. Everyone has weak moments in life we may not like to admit. I confess I had a Liberal candidate in my living room one time, and the place is still creepy. I only go in there during daylight hours.

Okay, Duffy and Wallin got involved in politics, got plum appointments, and probably felt they were contributing to the greater good by using their celebrity to help raise funds for the Conservative Party… not to mention all the important decision-making that goes on in the Senate. Work, work, work.

Despite the glitz and glamour of it all, I really doubt they would forsake their 40-year careers as high profile political watchdogs for the sake of fudged expenses. Granted the money involved is not chicken feed, collectively it’s several hundred thousand dollars. But extolling the virtues of the government of the day is a costly business.

And then there is Prime Minister Stephen Harper in this whole issue. I give him credit on many matters, but there is something a bit shifty about him. And his hair is always way too neat. I could see him throwing any number of people under the bus, if it would benefit his political career.

I always remember a line written by long time columnist Allan Fotheringham in Maclean’s Magazine many years ago — probably during the Joe Clark era — where he said “The Tories are the only political party in Canada that eat their young.” And there is something about this whole Senate scandal that has me thinking Harper and the boys are bellying up to the table. It will no doubt cost a lot of money for an inquiry and who knows how successful that will be, but this is one political scandal where I anxiously await the truth.

I survived baptism

Recently reading the reports of the baptism of Britain’s newest prince, Prince George, caused me to recall my own baptism… and yes I do remember it.

I know no one camped out in front of Colquhoun United Church to catch a glimpse of the Hart family entering the sanctuary. And I know my forehead was not dabbed with water from the River Jordan. At best it might have been well water from Colquhoun church hall just down the road. There was no running water in the church itself. I don’t even know if the United Church in those days had any source of holy water, so they might have just collected a cup of water from the downspout off the church roof.

I remember my baptism because I was six at the time. It was never an issue in my mind, but I remember asking my mother a few years ago why they waited so long to have me baptized and she really didn’t know. “I guess we just forgot,” I believe was her answer. And when you have a crazy household of three kids who wouldn’t forget to baptize “the baby?” I guess, my mother.

There was no ceremony involved in my baptism. My mother might have warned me, “after church today we are going to get you baptized.” I didn’t know what it meant and for some reason my immediate thought was that it wasn’t a good thing.

I had never seen anyone baptized but my suspicion was that it was something painful — like getting a needle. Not only did I have to sit through a 15-hour sermon that was all Greek to me, but then they were going to jab me with something afterwards. I needed a strategy. So I remember immediately after the church service I went and hid. There weren’t a lot of places to hide in that one-room church, but I made myself scarce.

My mother eventually found me in a corner somewhere, or I might have been hiding out back near the woodshed that held the winter fuel supply for the church’s wood stoves but she dragged me into the entry way on the left side of the church where stood Reverend Bugden. Thank God, I saw no syringes. Five minutes later after a few words and a gesture on my forehead I was good to go. “Hey, that wasn’t bad at all.”

So now, whenever I am asked, I always highly recommend getting baptized as one important step on the sometimes rocky road to eternal salvation, unless you are hooked up with one of those churches that likes to tip you backwards into a lake and get you fully submerged for a couple seconds. If that’s the case, try and plan it for a really hot day. †

About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.

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