We are closer to the end of the century than we are to Montreal’s Expo or the advent of the Trudeau years. The start of the next century is equidistant to us from the time when Robert Stanfield came within two seats of becoming Prime Minister. Given all that, it should be easy to look into the future. What is going to happen in 1986 is as clear as—well, say—as the government’s policy on free trade or book publishing. Clear as mud, as Joey Smallwood used to say. It is a crystal ball made of frosted glass, as easy to read as a Suzanne BlaisGrenier expense account.
As straightforward as an Erik Nielsen smile. Look ahead and weep.
In the year ahead some woman of some alleged prominence will have her early nude photos reprinted by Playboy or Penthouse and will express great shock and chagrin and will state that she is consulting her lawyers.
Her agent will smile. Richard Hatfield will survive in New Brunswick. Dalton Camp will smile. Canadian sports fans who think they have heard quite enough of Don Cherry will, on hearing Leo Cahill once again, regard Cherry as a blessing. Brian Mulroney’s press office will turn down Barbara Frum’s request to have The Journal film the Prime Minister changing a diaper. One member of the press office will resign at the missed PR opportunity.
The NDP will come back again as the new government in Saskatchewan under Allan Blakeney. Roy Romanow will not know whether to smile or not. Somebody will unearth something swinish Paul McCartney said about John Lennon. Mary Lou Retton will announce that she is running for the U.S. Senate. Some actress will reveal that she was once secretly married to Howard Hughes. Canada will upset the Soviet Union at soccer’s World Cup in Mexico, but will not—unfortunately—win another game. Conrad Black will begin writing signed articles in his London Daily Telegraph, causing half his reporting staff to rush to the dictionaries.
Allan Fotheringham is a columnist for Southam News.
Manitoba’s Tories under Gary Filmon will lose the election to Howard Pawley’s NDP when former premier Sterling Lyon intercedes in the campaign with an injudicious quote.
With the Mulroney government shaken by the example of Grey Power—the pensioners who forced a rollback on deindexing—the Ontario government of David Peterson will be shaken by a revolt of that underprivileged class, the lawyers stripped of their QC labels by the premier’s ukase. Nothing so much enrages the nobs as having their useless perks removed from them. They will
surge from the Toronto Club, their protest placards smeared with pâté, and will threaten to burn their silk robes on the Queen’s Park lawn. It will become known as Pinstripe Power.
Don Getty will squeak through in the Alberta election. Two more ministers will resign from the Mulroney cabinet, thus setting a post-Dief record for resigning on left-handed Thursdays in months ending in R. They will learn of this after press secretary Bill Fox has released their resignations to the press gallery.
Jean Chrétien, under the increasing impression that he has written a book, at some time during the year will ask, “Who’s Ron Graham?” John Turner will smile tightly, knowing that Chrétien has made his move too early. The Prime Minister, searching desperately for some cabinet strength from Montreal after losing Blais-Grenier, will appoint boulevardier Nick Auf der Maur to the Senate and make him minister without espresso. George Bush, who wears his
heart on his sleeve, and Jack Kemp, who puts a sleeve on his heart, will be overtaken in the race to be R. Reagan’s successor by Senator Bob Dole, who has the best sense of humor in American politics since Adlai Stevenson. Mila Mulroney will again be revealed by pollsters as the most popular person in the Tory party. Unfortunately, she’s not running.
Premier MiniWac Bennett of British California, while opening Expo 86 with the Chuck ’n’ Di Show, will call a provincial election. The 237 Fleet Street reporters covering the tour will unearth a scandal in that Prince Charles has been pulled into partisan politics and will conclude that Canada is The Great White Waste of Time. Six of them will apply for landed immigrant status. Ed Broadjump will continue his campaign to have autoworker union boss Bob White succeed him. Neither Lome Nystrom nor Romanow nor Svend Robinson will smile.
Another visiting American reporter will ask why Mr. Mulroney’s bodyguards stand so close to him. He will be told those are not bodyguards; they t are the PM’s press secre^ taries. Larry Zolf will not make the Senate this year. Sheila Copps will be voted the most valuable weapon Mulroney has. John Turner will not be photographed wearing black leather on top of a motorcycle in 1986.
John (The Microwave) Crosbie, the most intelligent man in the House of Commons who has the disconcerting habit of speaking what’s on his mind, will continue to have his lips zippered, thereby depriving the public of one of the few remaining pieces of entertainment that is free. William (The Refrigerator) Perry will score the winning touchdown as the Chicago Bears defeat the Miami Dolphins in the Superbowl. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation will no longer ask L. Ian MacDonald to do any objective critiques on the success or failure of the Mulroney future.
Toronto’s domed stadium will run over budget. Barbara Amiel will return to Canada. Erik Nielson will smile, once. Diapers, not bra-burning, will become the new feminist issue. Trust me.
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