Stockwell Day is a dangerous man. It's not because of his right-wing views or even because of the power of his expanding Canadian Alliance Party. It's not his religious outlook, his views on abortion or his desire to bring education under provincial jurisdiction. It's not even his deadly good looks or his equally deadly martial-arts skills. What makes Day a figure Canadians should fear? The answer is clear: it's his damned wetsuit.
Day and his party are trying to show a youthful face to the Canadian public and it's a smart move. Youth means change and energy, something that can help attract new voters. But Day set a dangerous precedent, and with the first day of parliament behind us, we must hope the deadly effects of the "Stockwell incident" will soon wear off from other figures in Canadian politics.
They all tried to top Day. The first day of parliament was a stage for crazy shenanigans the likes of which we've never seen before. For example, Joe Clark rode a jet-ski up the Rideau Canal in nothing but a Speedo to show off his youthful physique. When entering parliament, he set a new precedent for under-dressing by walking in wearing the above mentioned Speedo, carrying a pair of flip-flops and by wrapping a yellow towel around his burly shoulders. A new generation of Canadians is scarred for life.
What about Chrétien? He has a decent choke-hold so he capitalized on it by trying to grab the wrestling audience. He came in wearing an open fuzzy shirt and sunglasses, and talked about himself in the third person like a WWF wrestler.
"Can you smell what the PM's cooking?" said a jubilant Chrétien after the first day of parliament.
He also made a prediction for this year's tax rates.
"The PM is going to lay the smack down on those candy-ass taxes," said Chrétien. "There is the PM's elbow in the future for the opposition."
We finally had someone hang glide into parliament. Gilles Duceppe took the honours, flying into his seat in a full-body Lycra suit. And Sheila Copps? Trying to capitalize on the success of the Olympics, she wore the official women's beach volleyball outfit. It left nothing to the imagination.
I'm scared. I don't want my nation's parliament to become a gong show. Day's wetsuit opened up so many scary possibilities.
He influenced Canadian politics more than anyone could have imagined. The wetsuit will forever go down as infamous and its effects on other politicians are still being measured.