Excerpts from Elizabeth May’s speech at the parliamentary press gallery dinner on Saturday at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que.
I want to start by saying here we stand in what used to be the Museum of Civilization and I stand as a British Columbian member of Parliament from Coast Salish territory. Haishka! And I’m standing in front of long houses of Haida, Nuu-chah-nulth and here we are, like, has anyone bothered to mention I am honoured to stand on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Nation? Thank you. ...
And since Perry Bellegarde is here I want to mention we stand on his traditional territory too. And I want to say, like, what the f--- was wrong with the rest of you, that you didn’t notice we were on traditional territory? Like, what doesn’t scream out First Nations about this stage? Well anyway, the rant endith here.
I’m here and honoured to be here among my colleagues, allowed to speak, when you all want to go home. I stand having missed my girlfriends Megan Leslie, born in Ontario, representing Nova Scotia and Lisa Raitt born in Nova Scotia and representing Ontario, but really, that would have been my fun moment, but they don’t let me in on that. I don’t know why. I keep begging, Lisa! Megan! What can I do? I want to be a backup girl, do-wop do-wop. Anyway. I have very little time to share with you what must be important, which is to say: We’ve now heard from only three of us, as federal party leaders, but there are four of us. [Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not attend.] …
When he first didn’t come to a parliamentary press gallery dinner, and I have to admit, happening way before I was in politics, when I was at Sierra Club, I paid attention to the parliamentary press gallery dinner. It never occurred to me that we would have a prime minister who didn’t show up. It’s been nine years, OK? I’ve gotta calm down.
It’s been nine years! And we wonder. At first I thought he doesn’t show up cause he was shy, he doesn’t know how to do jokes, he has no music thing to do, but, maybe he doesn’t like to be among . . . maybe he doesn’t like to be with humans. But the thing is, now we know that’s not true. He can do funny, he can do music. And he still doesn’t show up. I don’t get it, I really don’t. I mean, he should be here.
That’s what prime ministers do. They show up to be humiliated like the rest of us shmucks. So, I’ve begun to think about it, I’ve thought about it and I really appreciate it, by the way, thank you press gallery, thank for returning to our traditional origins. I thought, well maybe he’s afraid of the tradition, you know the tradition — the flying bread roll, the jettisoning of baked goods, maybe he suffers from a really significant extreme manifestation of gluten intolerance.
But I think yeah, there’s gotta be a closet here somewhere, he doesn’t have to face that all by himself. Despite the fact that Stephen Harper isn’t here, it’s not of Stephen Harper whom I speak. Which of us as leaders is not like the other? So OK I meant me, because there’s a couple of things about me that are different.
I’m going to go fast, ’cause last year I mentioned that I’m the oldest, you know that now. I’m the oldest one, I think you know this, but I’m also the only leader with artificial parts. You do know this. I don’t mean my boobs. I mean my hips. My hips are both artificial. The right side has a consumer malfunction part. The security guards, you can tell them . . . I squeak. I walk through the floors of Parliament, and the guards have told me Madame May, you cannot sneak up on anyone. This is a part they don’t use anymore because it squeaks. Some days it goes like a chirping grasshopper, other days like a really bad squeaky screen door. Eeeer eeeer. I’m not kidding you. Some of you know this is true.
My daughter said to me: “Mummy, you are to Stephen Harper as the crocodile was to Captain Hook. Only you go squeak squeak and he went tick tock.” But never mind. Some of the other leaders, in fact, may have artificial parts, they just haven’t admitted it. So we’re not sure. I mean I don’t know for sure about Stephen Harper’s hair, and I’m also not sure about what the hell the Liberals have done to Justin’s hair! What the hell? We need a global movement for the liberation of curls. Who decided that it was important to lacquer them down?
And I don’t know about what other artificial parts, I’m not going to go into Tom Mulcair, ’cause it’s not fair. I think he’s going to be perfecting his Rachel Notley imitation, which may involve losing facial hair.
But the thing about it is, I really did mean me, because what about me is not like the others? Laquelle de celles-ci c’est pas comme les autres? Evidemment, je suis une femme. [Which of these people is not like the others? Obviously, I am a woman.] I’m the only girl on the leader team, I’m the only woman running. I mean, I don’t believe in running for prime minister because our parliamentary system of Westminster parliamentary democracy means all MPs are equal, and none of us are elected to be dictator. Sorry Stephen. The thing in our parliamentary democracy is all of us are equal.
But the thing is, I am the only woman party leader. And I know what men immediately think. Because the poor boys, they really bought into Freud. That whole sexual maturation thing on the Freudian scale that we go from the oral, I’m not going to eat the mike, into the anal, God, I don’t want to think about it, or the genital — guys get stuck on this Freudian stuff, so they immediately assume that I’m envious of the things the boys have that I don’t have.
They assume that I suffer from classical Freudian debate envy. But I no longer do! Praise the Lord, free at last! I am not suffering from debate envy, because thanks to a few of the boys, I get to be in the debate. Yes, it’ll be fun. I’m looking forward to it. And I am happy to say we are all equal and we get to participate as equals. So that’s that on that.
But you know what, I have a completely deranged and not — there is no sequitur, this is a non-sequitur. Do you guys ever wake up with old theme songs from former black and white TV shows that you never thought your kids would ever see and they’re running through your head? Like every now and then I wake up thinking . . .
[Transport Minister Lisa Raitt approaches May on stage.]
Lisa, you’ve gotta wait. Lisa, I wake up thinking about a horse is a horse of course of course. This morning I wake up thinking this.
[Welcome Back, Kotter theme song starts playing on May’s phone.]
Why am I thinking this? Do you guys wonder?
Lisa Raitt: Liz, we wonder why you’re thinking that too, but you know what, we’re …
Elizabeth May: But you know what? Do you guys remember this theme song? Welcome Back? Who knew Kotter was spelled Khadr? Welcome back Omar Khadr, it matters to say it. Welcome back Omar Khadr, you’re home.
[May speaking to Raitt, facing away from microphone: Does it strike you as unusual? I didn’t use up my time.]
Lisa Raitt, into microphone: There’s a lot unusual about your speech, Liz, but we’re gonna take off.
Elizabeth May: Omar Khadr, you got more class than the whole f----ing cabinet. Thank you.
[May and Raitt walk off stage.]