An imagined interview: Bob Newhart asks Stephen Harper about the 2012 budget

Elizabeth May

BN: Mr. Prime
Minister, I am so pleased you agreed to take my call.

BN: Thank you for
that, but I am not actually from Vermont…. It was a television

BN: Great, well I
wanted to start by asking you about the decisions in your budget. It
is a pretty anti-environmental budget. There is a lot in there for
supertankers and pipelines and expanding fossil fuels, but nothing to
address the threat of climate change.

BN: No, sir. No one has
ever thought I was radical before….. I hardly ever take jets… not
sure about foreign-funding. Does that include being an American? Is
that foreign? OK….just calm down, I will move on.

BN: To change the
topic, I am wondering why the budget says the government is committed
to connecting Canadians by internet and then there is no more money
for internet….

BN: Yes, well I see you
put some money into internet and high speed access in the past….

BN: No, I wasn’t
trying to talk about on-line warrant-less access. I am not sure what
that is…

BN: I certainly do not
stand with child pornographers. I don’t sit with them either. …
No I wasn’t trying to make light of child pornographers or… no,
not internet predators either….

BN: Thanks for
clearing that up, but what I wanted to know was how Canadians will
access the internet in communities that have relied on Community
Access (it was called the CAP programme), and now it is gone….

BN: So they just
don’t need the internet in remote communities?…… Yes, I agree
we are doing well by phone.

BN: I also notice you
have eliminated the National Round Table on Environment and Economy.
Wasn’t that established by a previous Conservative government?
….. Right, not one that you liked. A bit too left-wing? I see…..
I have read that your Environment Minister thinks you don’t need
the environment and economy round table any more because it was
established a long time ago, in a time when Canadians did not have
the internet. …. Yes, and he says that now you have the internet,
so you don’t need this advisory body….. No, I am not trying to
trick you. I just wondered about cutting the internet when the
internet is replacing the round table…..

BN: Sure, not everyone
needs the internet. The important thing is that you have it when you
need it. Yes, of course, and other peoples’ internet too….. So,
for food safety, the budget is moving information off the labels and
on to the internet, so the people in remote communities do not need
to read that food information? …. No, I am not a foreign funded
radical. …. Yes, sir, I respect the office of Prime Minister of
Canada. I am sure it is a very nice office…..

BN: I apologise,
absolutely, it’s just that I find a certain amount of humour in

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