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The Barnacle is a bright yellow device placed on a vehicle’s windshield. Commercial-grade suction cups latch on to the glass with 1,000 pounds of force.HO-Barnacle Parking/The Canadian Press

The Trudeau government’s budget is out, and they have once again blown the chance to unite Canadians. They vowed $53-billion in new spending over five years, emphasizing housing, affordability and “generational fairness.” There will be $19-billion for new housing and $10.7-billion for defence and tax increases for “top income earners.” No mention was made of “fairness to top generational income earners.”

Liberals love the budget. Conservatives hate the budget. Most agree it will do little to improve the Liberals’ chances in the next federal election, which pollsters predict will be the electoral equivalent of the Hindenburg striking the Titanic.

While it’s admirable to aspire to affordable housing and arming our military with more than smoothbore muskets, these issues won’t unite Canadians. History shows that to truly unite people you must give them someone to hate and something to hate them with. That’s why it was disappointing to see no commitment in the budget to purchase between 10 and 20 million parking “barnacles.”

Barnacles. That is the answer.

Never heard of a parking barnacle? Allow me to fill you in. Introduced in 2016, barnacles are used to combat illegal parking and are made by an American company called Barnacle. They open like a book and are placed on the windshield of an offending vehicle. According to the company’s website, “A parking enforcer activates The Barnacle, inputs vehicle information, and places The Barnacle on the vehicle windshield. Commercial-grade suction cups latch onto the glass with 1,000 pounds of force, making forcible removal next to impossible.”

Barnacles are easier and quicker to deploy than car boots. Drivers pay the fine at the scene and are sent a release code that allows them to remove the barnacle. After that, “The motorist returns the lightweight Barnacle to a nearby drop box. If applicable, the refundable deposit held on the driver’s credit card is voided. Most drop boxes are on-site or walking distance from where The Barnacle is deployed.” Talk about a walk of shame.

Barnacles have been used in cities such as Nantucket, Mass., Allentown, Penn., Philadelphia and recently New York City started a barnacle pilot. Some claim turning on a vehicle’s defroster allows drivers to remove the barnacle. Barnacle maintains its parking barnacle’s smart technology “constantly auto-adjusts to the ideal level of suction in any climate.”

So why should the federal government purchase between 10 and 20 million barnacles? Well, everyone hates drivers who park illegally. Cyclists hate them for parking in bike lanes. Drivers hate them for clogging roads. Pedestrians simply hate them. Everybody who draws air hates drivers who park illegally. So that takes care of the “someone to hate” element of the equation.

The barnacle could take care of the “something to hate them with” part.

Too bad the Trudeau government is so myopic. Otherwise, it would see the best way to release pent-up rage and anger in the population is to purchase the parking barnacles and hand them out to interested Canadians. Then, like a genie bestowing wishes, the government would grant each citizen three barnacles to paste on offending vehicles.

Imagine the release of righteous indignation triggered by slapping a parking barnacle on a SUV in the bike lane or a sedan obstructing the no-stopping lane in rush hour. I’m not a narcotics expert, but it’s clear that the rush sparked by sticking a barnacle on an illegally parked vehicle would equal taking the world’s best drug, with no harmful side effects.

Naysayers will claim parking is primarily a municipal responsibility. They will say arming the general population with parking barnacles could trigger chaotic riots. They’ll claim that Canadians would use their parking barnacles to throw their power around and violate democratic rights.

Well, I guess that’s why people hate democracy.

Call me an optimist, but I am sure that giving the barnacles to Canadians would be a healing moment. Canadians would set aside their differences and embrace one another as they exacted retribution against illegal parkers; they would be transformed into maple syrup-sucking revenants, unified in a crusade to exact a divine reckoning from parking sinners.

Unfortunately, we won’t be breaking out the barnacles anytime soon. Maybe the next time we’ll get the “Barnacle Budget.” Meanwhile, we’ll have to make do with affordable housing and generational fairness. That and $3.75 will get you a cup of coffee.

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