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Nothing Rhymes with Ignatieff but Orange

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Picture it: Canada, 2008. The frozen north was gripped in election fever. You would think that this would refer to the Canadian election, but you'd be thinking wrong. Most of that election passed voters by, with the lowest percentage turnout in Canadian history. Despite the tedium of “He Said/He Said” being played by the Big Boys, one shining light stood out: Elizabeth May. Leader of the Green Party of Canada, the electorate themselves protested and demanded that she be allowed to participate in the Leadership Debate, even though the Greens hadn't ever won an actual seat in the House. And she was awesome.

 

When all the dust had settled after the election, and both the Liberals and the NDP were looking for someone to blame for Harper managing to keep control of the House of Commons, they looked to the person most likely: Elizabeth May. Elizabeth May, they insisted, was responsible for the failures of the two big left-wing parties.

 

This is her story.

 

“Excuse me, Elizabeth, I hate to interrupt, but have you seen the latest news reports?”

 

Elizabeth looked up from her work desk, where she was carefully putting together some sort of contraption. To Annie, it looked like a mass of rubber bands and paperclips, with a wee solar generator inside, but the others working in the Lair assured her it was the latest in Elizabeth's attempts to build a mind-control device. “Oh, not for anything bad,” Kate assured her. “It's just because she thinks the advertising about CO2 emissions and reducing and reusing before recycling isn't working. You know what Elizabeth likes to say, right? 'Before hell and high water, we will save our country!' She's hoping to get more politicians on side, and maybe this will help. Certainly the protests and stuff aren't doing it.”

 

(“Are we making the protests happen?” “Well... It's a very nice mind-control device, don't you think?”)

 

“I haven't seen them yet, no. What's going on now?” Elizabeth didn't quite sigh, but it was obvious that she was bored of Canadian election wrangling.

 

“Well, it's just-- Layton's blaming you for the NDP not getting more seats, and Dion's--”

 

“Dion's distracted by Ignatieff and Rae sharpening their knives. Leave the poor guy alone, his job is up in a matter of weeks.”

 

“Well, that's true, but they're still blaming you.”

 

Elizabeth laughed, looking around the Lair. It was, of course, the primary reason she refused to leave New Glasgow to run in another riding. The Greens had worked hard to build their Secret Underground Eco-Friendly Lair, and the idea of giving up its solar-powered luxuries, its hydroponic vegetable patches, and its recycled computers (run on wind-turbine generated energy) was a hard pill to swallow.

 

“It's so funny that Jack's so close to the truth, and yet so far away from it. He's so convinced that somehow we're getting something over on him, when the only thing we're trying to do here is generate real debate in this country. Get people more passionate about politics. And get rid of Mr. Harper's Representative in New Glasgow.”

 

“It is a bit hard to take seriously someone your mom used to baby-sit,” Annie said. “I mean, all I need to know is that he was lousy at potty training and a real little brat.”

 

“And yet, he's our Minister of Defense.” Elizabeth stopped laughing, looking somber again, and Annie cursed herself for bringing it up.

 

Well, there's nothing to be done for it now,” Elizabeth said. “Annie, I think it's time for us to start using more of this power we have here. I like Stéphane, but I think it's time to let loose the dogs of war out there. Jack's a lost cause – all that Orange has gone to his bald little head – but we might have a better chance in capturing more voters if we get someone a bit less competent in power over at the Liberal camp. Someone that Canadians will refuse to warm up to even more.” She sighed again. “Poor Stéphane. He was pretty much doomed from the start. I should have done more to get Kennedy in. I never liked him much anyway, and everyone knew whoever followed Martin was doomed to failure. Stupid arrogant Martin, ruining everything.”

 

Does this mean we're starting Operation Sink The Stupid Liberals Because They're Stupid And We Don't Like Them?”

 

Annie! We like the Liberals very much! We just think they've wasted a perfectly good leader in Stéphane Dion and deserve whatever they get in their next one.”

 

I'm sorry, Elizabeth. What should we call the Operation then?”

 

Elizabeth thought for a moment. “Well, if we really want to give them what they deserve, then it should be Operation Nothing Rhymes with Ignatieff but Orange.”

 

Annie giggled. “Everyone will totally take seriously a party lead by a dude called Iggy.”

 

Exactly.” Elizabeth looked around the Lair. “I think, also, maybe... maybe it's time to give up on New Glasgow.”

 

What?” Annie gasped. “But, this is your home! This is where Mr. Harper's Representative is! This is where we could really stick it to the Conservatives, show them the true awesomeness of our tech! If we win here, obviously they'll fear us – they'll know how powerful we are!”

 

I know, Annie, I know. But... Well, if Jack's catching up on the truth, it's only a matter of time before someone in the Conservatives susses out that we've got some powerful technology being developed here. No, I think we should leave. Go west.”

 

Not Alberta!”

 

Elizabeth snorted. “Of course not Alberta. A goat could run Blue in Alberta and win. Nice people, but elections there aren't even worth friendly wagering on. No, no, out to BC. I think it's time to go to a place where we're likely to win an election. Then, when we do, it will seem natural, and not mind-control.”

 

Annie frowned, looking around the Lair. It was perfect, after years of hard work. One room was dedicated entirely to keeping track of the news flow, doing polls, and running internet-based campaigning about the environment, and all of the machines in there worked efficiently on low amounts of eco-friendly generated power. The Lair was perfectly insulated against what their meteorologists were warning was going to be a tough winter in Nova Scotia. (“Blizzards? On New Year's Eve? That's not fair at all.” “That's how climate change works. Besides, maybe if a blizzard ruins New Year's Eve more people will take climate change seriously.”) Elizabeth had her work desk, where she tinkered away at devices everyone was sure would help win the next election – at least locally. Leaving here would be giving up a lot.

 

On the other hand, it would mean another train trip across Canada. The last one had been pretty nice.

 

“Should we start packing now, Elizabeth?”

 

“No, no. Let me get this stuff started with Iggy. I'll make the Liberals rue the day they ever dismissed Stéphane's progressive ideas.” Elizabeth started cackling her evil laugh, the one the electors were never to hear, and Annie smiled. Ah yes. The Liberals would get exactly what they deserved.