A richness of embarrassment in Renfrew-Nipissing Pembroke as evangelically-coiffed Tory nutbar Cheryl Gallant and Lilliputian loony Hec Clouthier continue their 15-year electoral folie a deux.
Gallant, whether opining on shiftless Atlantic layabouts waiting for nanny-state Coast Guard to pull them out of the deeps, telling PTSD sufferers in the Canadian Forces that any stigma attached to their condition is all in their scrambled little heads, equating jihadi beheadings with abortion or Liberals with Nazis, has long been a voice of sanity and compassion in the Tories’ bible-bashing caucus.
She has been locked in an extended Punch and Judy hate-on with Clouthier ever since she whacked the bonkers Liberal incumbent in the 2000 election.
Still a pariah among local Libs for losing the rotten borough, Hec ran against Cheryl as an independent in 2011, pulling a puny 18 per cent of the vote to her 53 — which still put him ahead of either the Liberal or NDP candidates, whose names escape me for obvious reasons.
And he’s back at it, dusting off that ludicrous Panama hat and ‘Give ‘em Hec’ campaign signs, and yammering in the Pembroke Observer Sept. 9: “It’s only as an Independent that I can truly represent our people in the federal Parliament. Sadly, under the current system, an elected MP affiliated with a political party is ordered by the leader’s office to toe the party line, and what they say and how they vote is something that’s decided in the leader’s office and not by the people who they claim to represent. Basically they have the MP in their back pocket.”
Shades of the mad midget’s inaugural run for the Hector Clouthier Party back in ’93. Having failed to dislodge Liberal lifer Len Hopkins from inside the party, Hec ran against him as an independent, slagging Crouton and the Libs with abandon and telling voters they needed a rugged individual in Ottawa, not a party-line yes-man. He lost.
In ’97, Hopkins finally retired after three decades on the backbenches. Hec rediscovered his Liberal lickspittle loyalties, and clinched the nomination and the election, but survived only a single term as MP. He flamed out in the 2000 running of the reptiles, after admonishing local voters pissed about the gun registry to “get a life.” Instead, they elected Gallant.
After that debacle, Jean Crouton created a pity gig for the shortarsed fabulist as caucus liaison in the PMO, which he exploited to promote himself as shadow MP for Cheryl’s riding.
Whenever Gallant arranged to have a class of school kids visit the Hill, there was Hec, glad-handing the kids and trying to insert himself in pictures. Parents back home were are left scratching their heads as to the identity of the ugly bald kid in the class trip photos. Certificates commemorating wedding anniversaries and other riding semi-events were hand-delivered not by Gallant, but by Clouthier.
And then there was Hec’s eerie tendency to show up wherever his successor happened to be, much to the honourable member’s increasing paranoia. Gallant reportedly stopped going to the parliamentary gym the day she emerged form the women’s change room to find Hec right outside the door, in the hallway, seemingly intent on his sit-ups
The madness hit a peak when Renfrew OPP pulled Hec’s red PT Cruiser off Highway 17, following a report that he was tailgating Cheryl as both drove back to Pembroke from Ottawa. A freaked Gallant had called her constit office on her cell phone, babbling that Hec was trying to run her off the road or somesuch. Staff called the cops. Earlier that day, Hec had creeped up behind Gallant’s kids in the opposition gallery of the House and leered down at her.
The cops interviewed them, concluded both were probably both full of shit to some degree, and everyone went back to sleep.
Gallant hit back in the House, where, protected by parliamentary privilege from any legal unpleasantness, she accused Hec of influence peddling and being in the pocket of the horse racing industry:
“We know what this employee does. He lobbies for racetracks and that is not all…The true rot in the government is the secret lobbying that takes place behind the closed doors in the Prime Minister’s Office.”
Nothing could be further from the truth and after Crouton had been deposed by the Martinites, and Hec’s hoped-for appointment as consul-general to Miami was crib-strangled by Karl Littler, he found gainful employment as executive director of the, er, Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association.
Let the games begin!