I had a horrible dream recently. Readers know that that is not rare for me. I dreamt that Paul Martin, a willing successor to Jean Crouton, had disappeared on a trip to Bermuda in his private jet, leaving no trace. When the news broke, I was privileged to be standing in Jean Crouton’s inner office in the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, totally invisible to everybody.

Into the office burst Eddie Goldenberg, Jean’s top political mandarin, yelling: “Did you hear the news? Paul Martin’s plane never made it to Bermuda and they’re searching all along the Atlantic coast! Paul may be dead.”

“I don’t believe it! Paul’s got more lives den a cat. He’s probably floating around the ocean somewhere.”

“It looks like goodbye, Paul Martin to me. The media are out there clamouring for a comment from you. We’ve got to say something!”

“It’s too early for dat. He could’ve detoured to the Bahamas and he’s having a swim right now.”

“Look, sir, it’s shaping up to be a big story.”

“All right. Tell dem dat I’m most concerned about de welfare of my former finance minister and I’m praying very hard dat everything will be okay. Tell dem I’m shocked.”

“That’s better.”

“But not too shocked.”

“Right. Not having any further details available at this time, we can only hope that Mr. Martin has survived.”

“Eddie, I couldn’t have said it better. I can see Paul floating around the ocean right now.”

“Yeah, right, Crouton,” said Eddie angrily.

“Crouton!? Watch it, Eddie. If that name gets any more popular, it may end up on my postage stamp.”

Eddie left and came racing back shortly afterwards.

“Sir, they’ve located the wreckage of Paul’s airplane off the coast of Bermuda and there don’t appear to be any survivors!”

“I can’t believe that! My soothsayer in the U.S. told Elaine and I dat Paul was going to be the next prime minister of Canada.”

“Not if Sheila Copps has her way. She’s giving press conferences like crazy. She’s going to have Paul canonized if she keeps it up. There isn’t one photo op that she’s missed. Sheila’s all over the place! Once, she even ended up in a men’s washroom.”

“Dat pushy woman! Last week coming out the house with de cameras and reporters all around me, I couldn’t raise my hand in the air without Sheila grabbing it.”

“And on TV she claims that Paul’s last words to her in the airport when he took off in his jet were: ‘If I don’t make it to Bermuda, take over my political machine. You’d make a great prime minister.'”

“What?” exclaimed Crouton incredulously.

“Yeah, and John Manley is running around Ottawa giving interviews trying to keep up to Sheila. He’s promising to rename the province of Ontario after Paul Martin! Manley claims that he too was at the airport and heard Martin’s last words before he took off in his jet: ‘John, if I don’t make it to Bermuda, take over my political machine. You’d make a great prime minister.'”

“Both of them?! The only one that didn’t appear to hear it was Stockwell Day!”

“Shall I express your deepest personal condolences to the Martin family?”

“Not yet. Don’t be so pessimistic. Paul could fall into an outhouse and come up smelling like a rose.”

“I hope you’re right, sir.”

Eddie bounded out of the office. Shortly afterwards, he darted back in, yelling excitedly: “Sir, you’re not going to believe this, but they’ve located Paul!”

“They have?!”

“Yes. He’s alive and well. He was in a small dingy going around and around in the Bermuda Triangle!”

“Paul survived The Bermuda Triangle?!”

“Yes. He was rescued by one of his own passenger liners that was sailing by.”

“That figures. He owns Canada Steamship Lines.”

“Paul was shot out of the whirlpool and landed right on the deck of his ship!”

“Only Paul could do that. I’d hit de rail.”

“The ship is making a detour to Bermuda to drop him off.”

Crouton looked resigned to the whole situation. “What did Sheila and Manley have to say when this news got out about Paul being alive?”

“Embarrassed. Both have resigned from the cabinet and Parliament. Manley said he has taken a job teaching bungee jumping at Mount Eisenhower. Sheila is working on her autobiography tentatively entitled, They Call Me A Big Mouth.”