Now that I’m a politician I can attack everyone!

Tony Wilson
Boughton Law
Well, now that we’re in a federal election, I’ve decided to throw my hat into the ring and run for elected office. A little late, I guess, but maybe I can run as a write-in candidate.
I’m not sure what party I’d otherwise have run for. But I intend to be the candidate for some party or another for the federal riding of New Westminster- Coquitlam on May 2. And now that I’m a politician, I guess I have to say appropriate and politically correct things that’ll get me elected.

Or not. After all, some parties and politicians are real mean and nasty in this election. So maybe I should be a “good student” and get real nasty as well.

I’m not sure why there aren’t three ridings for New Westminster-Coquitlam; two ridings for Coquitlam (because it’s real big), and one for New Westminster (because it’s real small), but it is what it is.

I don’t have much to do with the Coquitlam part of the riding, other than the fact that I don’t like it very much, and frankly, I really don’t like the people there either. When someone says they’re from Coquitlam, I automatically ask “Which exit?” This annoys them a lot. Because their boys’ lacrosse teams often beat our New Westminster boys’ lacrosse teams, saying the word “Coquitlam” in New West is like saying the word “Voldemort” at Hogwarts. We just don’t like them very much. And I guess I can say that now, because I’m a modern Canadian politician.

What’s good about Coquitlam? Well, not much. There’s a Costco there. And an Ikea. Otherwise, I avoid Coquitlam like the plague. I’ve been telling people that Coquitlam is an old Salish word that means “near Ikea,” which is not true. It really means the land of stinky fish, but there’s an election on, and I’ll say anything to get elected. I’d like to say something nice about Coquitlam and its people to get elected, but I can’t think of anything right now. But when I am elected the MP for New Westminster-Coquitlam, I promise to like them more than I do now.

New Westminster was British Columbia’s first capital city before we joined Canada in 1871, but for some reason the provincial capital was stolen from us by Victoria, which is a city 40 years and two time zones behind the rest of B.C. I don’t like Victoria very much either. Having grown up there, I can tell you they still drive on the wrong side of the road, ride double-decker buses, and listen to the BBC at tea time. It’s a town filed with champagne socialists who all inherited their money and went to private schools, but who all work for the public sector so they get every second Friday off and a good pension. I’d like to say something nice about Victoria to get elected, but I can’t think of anything. I like them slightly more than people from Coquitlam, though. But not that much more.

Everyone hates Surrey, because they all wear their baseball hats backwards in Surrey and drive trucks, but so many people either live there or work there now, you have to be careful what you say about Surrey or you’ll offend them and all their relatives in the Hells Angels, which could be real scary. Now that Surrey is B.C.’s second-largest city (larger than Victoria), it carries a lot of weight but residents carry a lot of guns, too. So it’s important to hate Surrey, but not to hate Surrey too much. Hating Victoria, Toronto, Ottawa, and Coquitlam will score you more political points. And it’s safer, too.

We all said we lived in Vancouver when the Olympics were on, even if we really lived in Surrey, Coquitlam, Langley, New Westminster, or the other burbs. But most people hate Vancouver now. Do you know why? Bike lanes. The mayor of Vancouver dug up most of the city last year to put in bike lanes so it’s impossible to drive downtown anymore. And now, even Vancouverites hate Vancouver because of the bike lanes. The cyclists must hate the bike lanes too because I never see any cyclists riding in them. Funny, that.

We all hate the Okanagan, but for different reasons. We’re jealous of the excellent skiing in winter and the hot dry days of summer, as well as the wine culture they have there. I personally hate them for it.

If you’re running for office outside of Ontario, it’s good politics to hate Ontario. So I hate Ontario too. My old friend Larry C., who has lived in Victoria most of his life, hates Ontario so much, he says “Toronto begins at Tsawwassen,” which is a despicable slur, given that Tsawwassen is where the B.C. ferries dock in the outer suburbs of Vancouver, linking Victoria to the rest of B.C. So do you see why we in New Westminster hate people in Victoria now? They stole the capital city from us 140 years ago and now have the gall to compare us with Toronto!

Without having been nominated as a candidate for any particular party, and not liking Coquitlam, Surrey, Victoria, Toronto, the rest of Ontario, Vancouver, or the Okanagan very much, my chances of getting elected are indeed slim in this election. But I have a secret weapon. I intend to rely on attack ads. I will attack everyone.

Attack ads are used in an election because they alienate people from the political process. People get so fed up with a political culture that encourages attack ads that they just avoid voting altogether, leaving the serious ideologues or the really engaged to vote (because they’ll vote anyway).

Isn’t it a great strategy? You can lie, misquote, malign, fabricate or otherwise bend the truth about a policy, a platform, or even a politician and more or less get away with it because it’s an “election” and you can do that in an election.

One thing troubles me, though. As lawyers, our code of conduct states: “The lawyer’s conduct toward all persons with whom the lawyer comes into contact in practice should be characterized by courtesy and good faith.”

So why is it that as a lawyer, I have to deal with everyone with courtesy and good faith, but the moment I become a politician, I can lie, misquote, malign, fabricate, and act in a way that would get me disbarred if I were acting just as a lawyer?

I wonder if politicians who are lawyers could get disbarred for this sort of activity? I wonder if politicians should have the same code of conduct that we lawyers have?

Hmmm. I may have to rethink my decision to run for office. The professional standards seem to be a bit too low for me in politics.

Besides, I kind of like the fact that Coquitlam has an Ikea, Victoria’s nice in the summer, and Surrey is growing.

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