A Christmas Carol, in prose, being a ghost story of Canada
"'I am in the presence of the Ghost of Canada Yet To Come?' Trudeau quivered. The Spirit answered not, choosing to glare incredulously while chewing on an apple, before pointing onward with its hand."
I’m a fan of mixing things up here at the newsletter. Particularly as a thank you to our generous paid subscribers, who make Acceptable Views possible.
To read the entirety of this Dickensian tale, you’re welcome to subscribe or upgrade here, or at the paywall, with a special discount of 10% off for the Holidays.
(P.S. If you’re wondering about the title, ‘A Christmas Carol’ was first released as ‘A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.’ Bit of a mouthful, I know.)
Stave 1 —
“Growing the economy from the heart outwards” was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of its burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Trudeau signed it.
Trudeau knew it was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Trudeau and ‘he’ were partners for I don’t know how many years. Trudeau was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and sole mourner.
Even still, Trudeau never painted out his partner’s name above the doors of the PMO and Privy Council. There it stood, years afterward, through diesel fumes and honking, unattended rallies against anti-semitism, and all the professionally-aggrieved protests against a more adult regime to come.
Oh! But he was a limp-fisted hand at the grindstone, Trudeau. A cloying, melodramatic, pearl-clutching, spendthrift — with the taxpayer’s dime.
Nobody ever stopped him in the rapidly decaying streets to say, with gladsome looks, “Please, spend more, while doing less.” No deplorables patted him on the back, no lives made worse set his name to song, no immigrant giving up on Canada and heading back home to regions war torn thanked him for the gift of living eight to an apartment, in the coldest and darkest of Toronto suburbs.
But what did Trudeau care? It was the very thing he liked. To gallivant his way along crowded, freshly homeless-encamped paths, projecting all of human sympathy, while registering so little in return.
And for those who asked too much of him, who dared to question his methods of traipsing through life, seemingly oblivious to the harms of ‘build back better’?
They were “racists, misogynists, those who don’t believe in a woman’s right to choose,” or the urgency of taxing the working poor to change the weather.
Lo, for the man did love a non-sequitur in a pinch.
“For f*ck’s sake, what does that even mean?” Said the non-insane working man. “Surely you don’t actually believe that.”
“I do,” said Trudeau. “Merry Christmas! What right have you to complain? What reason have you to be upset? You’re rich enough,” he replied to the Amazon processing facility worker renting a 1-bedroom apartment with his pregnant wife for $3300/month, who, herself, was forced to drive nights for Uber.
Free from the “fringe minority holding unacceptable views,” Trudeau took his flamboyant dinner in a melancholy tavern; and having read all the freshly bought-off newspapers, and beguiled the rest of his evening by his Bank of Canada money printer, he was soon off to bed.
He lived in chambers once shared with his partner, in a relationship in name alone, afforded to them in kindness by the Parliamentary Press Gallery. They were a gloomy set of rooms, in an otherwise charming cottage, which at first blush was expected to be a temporary solution to the asbestos-riddled walls of 24 Sussex.
It was old enough now, and certainly dreary enough, for nobody lived in it but Trudeau, the other rooms being all let out as Zoom offices, for when the PM was feeling particularly unaccountable.
The yard was so dark that even Trudeau, who knew its every stone, was fain to Kokanee grope with his hands. The fog and frost so hung about the Arabian Nights-tinged gateway of the house, that it seemed as if another harsh Ottawa winter sat in mournful meditation upon his threshold.
Climate change, he thought, unbelievably.
On this night, every room, and every cask of Frank Graves’s favourites in the wine merchant’s cellar below, appeared to have a separate echo of its own. Trudeau was not a man to be frightened by echoes (just Covid, and honks). But on a night such as this, something was amiss.
Alarm bells were ringing. It was with great astonishment, and with a strange, inexplicable dread, that as he lay behind a locked door, he could sense that he was not alone.
Such a feeling was succeeded by a clanking noise, deep down below; as if some person were dragging a heavy chain over the casks in the wine cellar.
The cellar door flew open with a booming sound, and then he heard the noise much louder, on the floors below, then the stairs, coming closer towards his door.
I won’t believe it. It’s probably just climate change. Or Steven Guilbeault. He’s been known to trespass a time or tw-
His colour changed in an instant, albeit this time not to black, when, without a pause, a Spirit came on through the heavy door, passing into the room before his very eyes. Upon its coming in, the dying flame at his bedside lept up, as though it cried, “I know him, that’s your idiotic plan to ‘grow the economy from the heart outwards!’” And then the flames fell again.
The chain ‘he’ drew was clasped about his middle. It was long and wound about him like a tail, and it was made of CERB payments, bloated vaccine contracts, climate ‘rebates,’ wholly coincidental grants to the Trudeau Foundation, red Chinese envelopes, and heavy purses wrought in steel.
The body was transparent, yet built like a bag of milk, for the gym was a gateway to the “far-right” you see. On its head appeared a tuft of purple. The visage’s shirt was orange, there was a button near the lapel of a black and white fist, in its hand a torn leaflet for a kidnapped Israeli child. Draped around its shoulder was a technicolour flag that seemingly changed by the hour, as new indulgences were added to keep up with the speed of social contagion.
“How now!” Trudeau spoke, as caustic and cold as possible, as his insides trembled. “What do you want with me?”
“Much. In life, I was your partner. Now I offer you this one chance. To not end up as I. To not be forever burdened by this chain we’ve forged in life.”
“Please,” Trudeau implored, “tell me more, speak comfort to me, O foolproof design of mine!”
“I have none to give. Such messages will come from other ministers. I cannot rest. I cannot stay. I cannot linger. No rest, no peace. Incessant torture of remorse.”
“But we legalized drugs?”
“Silence!” The spirit bellowed, sending Trudeau scampering towards the walls.
“You will be haunted by Three Spirits. Without their visits, you cannot hope to shun the path I tread entire. Expect the first tomorrow, when the bell tolls one.”
The apparition walked toward him; and at every step it took, the window raised itself a little, so that when the spectre reached it, it was wide open.
The prime minister became sensible of confused noises in the air; incoherent sounds of lamentation and regret; wailings inexpressibly sorrowful and self-accusatory. The spectre, after listening for a moment, joined in the mournful dirge; and floated out upon the bleak, dark night.
Trudeau followed to the window: desperate in his curiosity. He looked out.
The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste, and moaning as they went. Every one of them wore chains; some few (they might be guilty governments) were linked together; none were free. The misery with them all was, clearly, to Trudeau, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had been punished for such charity.
He tried to blame Stephen Harper, but given all that he’d endeavoured, or the lateness of the hour, or this glimpse into an invisible world of consequence, he went straight to bed, and fell asleep upon the instant.