Friday, December 16, 2011

My Hour With Carolyn

It finally happened.

Through a delightful confluence that only email and the internet can facilitate, I met Carolyn Bennett.

For those of you who are not Canadian and who may be reading this blog -- that is, no one -- let me explain.

Canada is a constitutional monarchy. We have a parliamentary system. Our head of state is the Queen Of Great Britain. Our real head of state is the prime minister. Perhaps you've heard of him -- he plays piano and enjoys throwing parties like the G20. He likes America and is hastening Canada as a feeder league for the United States. This is nothing new, just the rapidity of it.

We send politicians to our House of Commons in Ottawa to ... uh ... to ... er ... I know -- represent our interests, to help pass or block legislation, and to fill the House of Commons for the television cameras. They are a lot like background actors. When one gets to speak they are bumped up to principal. Some are better actors than others.

There is a politician who represents the riding of St. Paul's here in Toronto named Carolyn Bennett. She is a very accomplished woman; a doctor by training, an advocate by temperament.  She is currently the Liberal critic for Aboriginal Affairs. This is an important portfolio, especially if you are aboriginal.

I am not a politician. I just so happen to have written for one, was proud to do so, but have returned to the freelance/creative life. I came, I saw, I skedaddled. Now I'm plugging away at screenplay scripts, speaking engagements and other noble pursuits.

I have been receiving emails lately inviting me to the private holiday gatherings of Liberal party members. These people aren't slouches. These people have helped run the country. I have not helped run the country. I can barely run a cell phone. As flattered as I have been, I have had to 'fess up. You have the wrong Carolyn Bennett, but really, thanks for thinking of me. If you ever need a comic to perform at one of your conventions, let me know.

So I was delighted when my email address and the good doctor's appeared together, inviting one of us to another high-powered house party.  Being the good entrepreneur and freelance hustler I am, I took the opportunity to graciously decline the invite and ingratiate myself to Dr. Bennett. I emailed her, congratulating her on all our success, wishing us well and to keep fighting the good fight.

She got back to me immediately and invited me to her holiday gathering/fundraiser the next night. Would I want to do a little bit about being mistaken for Dr. Bennett?

Yes, yes and yes.

I arrived at the party the next evening and was warmly embraced by Dr. Bennett. We chatted like old friends. Her husband, film producer Peter O'Brian, chatted with me. I did five minutes of shtick for the people gathered and they laughed, thank god. Dr. Bennett told me that she used to be mistaken for me as well, when I was a film writer for eye weekly back in the day. Nice!

Generous, hard-working, dedicated -- Carolyn Bennett is a chip off the old CB block. She really is a marvellous woman, not your stereotypical self-serving politician, but someone who genuinely cares about people.

As surreal as it was, I felt at home with her. My much better half,  my successful forebearer -- Carolyn Bennett, MP. I hope she continues upholding our good name. Somebody has to.

Merry holidays and happy Christmas one and all!

Oh yes -- be sure to listen to Todd Van Allen's Comedy Above the Pub podcast Dec 16 edition for an interview with me and good buddy Winston Spear.