Grits Pick Strange Partner For Election Duet

By:  Rachel Marsden

NEW YORK -- I move to the U.S. and take my eyes off Canada's Liberals for three months and they go gaga for the party that barely qualified for a participation medal in the 2006 federal race.

Imagine if British Prime Minister Tony Blair -- despondent over his inability to convince his countrymen of the need to fight terrorists as fervently as they fight each other in the stands at soccer games -- suddenly decided to join forces with the Church Of The Militant Elvis Party which, according to its web site, "was founded in 2001 to overthrow the Corporate Capitalist State which turned Elvis, a man of immense talent, into a fat media joke. Some members of the Party also believe that George W. Bush is the anti-Christ -- 'Beelzebush' -- who will trigger off the battle of Armageddon."

Or picture Blair courting Britain's Monster Raving Loony Party, which promotes policies like, "Rich people should be taxed to pay for the printing of money, as they use most of it." Their environmental policy stipulates that "Half the grey squirrel population will be painted red in order to increase the red squirrel population."

This conveniently brings me to Canada's equivalent -- the Green Party, with support barely cracking the double digits in the latest poll.

Rather than appealing to the mushy centrist voting majority, the Liberals apparently see far more value in going after the smallest national minority of votes they can find -- cutting right in front of Jack Layton and the NDP in the far-left lane in order to get to the few losers in the bike lane.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May recently compared the fight for the environment to the battle against the Nazis in World War II. That's hardly fair. For one, the Nazis -- while nasty and evil -- dressed much better than today's environmental "soldiers." Forget about fashion -- the last one I met couldn't even bother to wash the dirt off his organic carrots while they were in transit between his garden and his mouth.

While the Liberals and Greens may want Canadians to believe that they "own" the environmental issue, conservatives happen to have more than a passing appreciation for their lungs, too. As Conservative Environment Minister John Baird said in response to criticism by Al Gore this week: "Our plan is vastly tougher than any measures introduced by the administration of which the former vice president was a member."

I've joked about environmentalism being a religion, but Green Party leader Elizabeth May turned some of my comments into a Saturday Night Live skit when, speaking of environmentalism, she told a United Church congregation that "Through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, we can meet this moral obligation." She then seemed to invoke Armageddon, adding that some folks "are waiting for the end (of) time in glee ... and they unfortunately include President (George W.) Bush."

Why do I get the feeling that Liberal leader Stephane Dion suddenly felt like Lance Armstrong would have, had he still been with singer Sheryl Crow the day she announced she wants everyone to save trees by wiping with a single square of toilet paper?

According to their web site, that UK Elvis party's environmental policy is "stay in bed, save the planet," and "save oil, bonk locally." Forget the Green Party, Stephane. Think of last week's American Idol: You can be the second Dion in as many months to do a duet with Elvis. And it makes about as much political sense as what you're doing now.