One day recently, I burst into Premier Dalton McGuinty’s office in Queen’s Park, hotly pursued by a number of his aides. “I’ve come to save you, Dalton!” I yelled.

“Sir, it’s that Frank Kennedy – he just stormed by us,” some flunky explained to the premier. “I’m afraid he’s become unhinged. Shall I call security?”

“No,” said the premier putting down a book he was reading: My Life as a Liberal So Far by Belinda Stronach. “Don’t worry, guys, he’s not dangerous.” The unhappy aides left with much misgivings. “What can I do for you, Frank?” asked Dalton, always forgiving.

“I’ve got bad news for you, Dalton. Your party is going to be defeated in the next provincial election, unless you embark on a different course. I’ve been in touch with an astute political wind-sniffer and he said the tide is in for a certain Tory victory. Dalton, he indicates that you will be consigned to a seat in the legislature so far back, you will need an oxygen unit.”

“What can you do to save my skin?”

“Repent,” I told him. “Liberals today no longer smell like lilacs in the spring. Liberals don’t have any bloc of hardcore supporters, except for voters in the big cities.”

“Go on.”

“My advice is to stop spending Ontario taxpayers’ money frivolously. For one thing, cancel the flying squirrel sex study for $150,000. Global warming and other environmental things that affect the squirrels’ ability to procreate is not a real turn-on for Ontario taxpayers, who already pay the highest property taxes in Canada.”

“Axed. What else would you suggest?”

“Dalton, stop the Crown attorney’s office from starting a precedent that would have mobsters and bikers make a deal to shovel out their money – oodles of it – to shooting victims in order to get lesser jail sentences. Are you going to put a cash register on the podium in front of the judge?”

“It’s before the courts, it’s in the hands of the Crown attorney. We don’t direct these matters. I allow that to unfold.” said Dalton, always a strong believer in democracy.

“Are you going to allow a poster in the courtroom listing all the charges for reduced sentences for mugging – for shooting – for bank robbing – for embezzling? People’ll be buying their way out of jail. The only people going to jail will be the people who’ve maxed out their MasterCards.”

“I’m staying out of the negotiations,” insisted Dalton.

“Dalton, where does this $2.5 million come from? It’s supposed to be a ‘done deal.'”

“I can’t say if a deal has been made …” Dalton explained before I interrupted: “Dalton, do something! This is a disgrace! If the mob’s got this kind of money to shell out, it must have a lot more money where that came from. Who knows, Dalton? Maybe they’ve got so much money they’ve got their own bank. Maybe later on we’ll find out it’s the … CIBC.”

I continued: “Dalton, why don’t you send the bike mob a bill for $2.5 million for restitution? It sure beats your government piggy bank, which pays a lump sum of $25,000 for victims of crimes. Tell them to cough up or you’re going to come and take away their Harley-Davidsons.”

“Wait a minute, Frank! I thought you came to save me.”

“Yes, Dalton, I did. But you’ve got to change if you’re going to beat that red Tory. You’ve got to be different! You’ve got to be distinctive. Original. You’ve got to go where no politician has gone before! Bite the bullet! You’ve got to be courageous! You’ve got to visualize for the voters a brave new world!”

“Yes! Yes!” cried Dalton. “How?”

“You’ve got to run on a pro-life platform!”

“Run on a pro-life platform?!” cried Dalton, shocked.

“Yes, and you’ve got to be against same-sex ‘marriage’! Fight crime by putting Christianity back in the public schools! Long jail terms for child pornographers and drug dealers. Turn back the clock on the road to progress. Norman Rockwell, here we come. God bless the Cleaver family.”

I knew that I had failed to move Dalton into the pro-life camp. I recalled sadly that I had never been on a winning debating team at Vaughan Road Collegiate, either. I shut my eyes and said a silent, fervent prayer to St. Jude, the patron saint of impossible causes. I opened them and there was Dalton on the phone saying: “That’s what I said! Get rid of all those pictures of me shaking hands with Pierre Trudeau, Jean Chretein and Paul Martin. Yes, and get me a big picture of St. Jude.” I tiptoed quietly out of his office.