I wouldn’t normally write about the Prime Minister lambasting the New Democrats for failing to stop Hitler even though the party didn’t exist at the time. After all, he did it a week ago, and that’s usually enough time to have some new source of inspiration spring up.
But then something unusual happened that I must share with you.
I was in my kitchen cooking when, in a great flash of orange light, a strange young man appeared.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said politely. “My name is Kyle. I’m an NDP volunteer from the future. I just want a moment of your time, if that’s all right.”
“Oh, okay,” I said, feeling remarkably unthreatened. I went to the fridge, got a couple of beers and passed him one. “Have some soup,” I said, ladling some from the pot. “It’s okay. It’s a vegetable stock,” I added, anticipating the question. “What can I do for you, Kyle?”
“I’ve come from the year 3016. Like all NDP volunteers, I’m a time traveller. In the future, we’ve been in power a long time and we’ve solved most of the world’s problems. It’s getting boring, so I thought I’d come back to set the record straight about some of the NDP’s efforts in history – and to fulfill my dream of having you tell my life story.”
“I’ve studied your work,” he replied. “Read everything you’ve written. I did my master’s on one of your long-form pieces for which you won one of your three Pulitzers.”
“Really?” I said, getting the man more soup. “Three?”
“Yes. I often wonder what would’ve happened if you hadn’t left journalism to live in a castle on Lake Geneva with George Clooney and write poetry.”
“Oh, come now,” I said suspiciously. “I find that hard to believe. ... Poetry?”
“Yes, poetry. In my time, you’re known as ‘The Canadian Pushkin.’“
“Am I any good?”
“No. But people assume that ‘Canadian’ is a dead language and that much is being lost in translation. Anyway, too bad about the duel. George was heartbroken to lose you.”
“Of course. How did your adventures begin?” I asked, putting on my journalist’s hat.
“Look, you know how it goes, you get involved with a party at university, maybe join a student group, help register a few voters. The next thing you know, you’re travelling back in time and chaining yourself to an allosaurus. Say, what’s with the weird hat?”
“The NDP tried to save the dinosaurs?” I asked, sheepishly removing my hat.
“Of course. We did everything we could. I even composed a song. We helped to organize the dinosaurs, but the asteroid wouldn’t come to the table.”
“Oh, yeah,” I said, “but then …”
“Yeah. Boom! It really came to the table.”
“It’s hard to win against Big Asteroid,” I said comfortingly. “I’m sure you had successes.”
“Oh, yes! I was in the fiddle circle while Rome burned and, while we may not have put out any fires, I promise you, we changed the dialogue,” Kyle said happily.
“The problem is that everyone remembers the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, but who’s to tell of the 15 NDP volunteers who put up the posters and reminded the Spartans to stay well hydrated.”
“Impressive,” I said. “Spartans are the hardest to hydrate.”
“One time, a hundred or so of us all assembled on this big ship that was about to hit an iceberg, but some thought the boat should veer right, some thought left, and some were convinced that, unless the iceberg had a voice in the decision-making process, any motion the ship made would be delegitimized. So, in the end, the ship hit the iceberg and we all filled up the lifeboats.
“A thousand years later, when the Canadian empire grew to encompass a planet populated by sapient and highly motivated icebergs, the NDP’s sensitivity on the Titanic issue was considered a crucial factor in finally getting the party a majority.”
“The First World War?” I asked.
“We kept the trenches scent-free!” Kyle replied.
“And so, what about the Second World War – did Stephen Harper have a point?”
“First of all, he’s forgetting that thousands who supported the CCF, the precursor to the NDP, died in that war and second, one of our guys held up a Stop Hitler sign in the Führerbunker.”
“In both official languages?” I asked.
“Of course!” Kyle said. “And Hitler shot himself. Although that could’ve been the drum circle.”
Editor's note: The CCF was incorrectly identified. This version has been corrected.