The annual Conservative Party of Canada’s summer camp play, intended to be a spirited rendition of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, has been cancelled following Stephen Harper’s refusal to stick to his supporting role. Initial reports from Camp Mackenzieka indicate the former prime minister insisted on stating Andrew Scheer’s key lines for him, as well repeatedly redirected the spotlight in his own direction, and at one stage suplexed his former understudy ‘just to keep him on his toes.’
“It’s all fun and games,” said Scheer, reached for comment as he rearranged his short-sheeted bunk, and removed the Saran wrap from his personal latrine. “Me and Steve go way back with this stuff. Why, just last year I pranked him with a picture of the two of us, put into a frame I’d made of sun-bleached driftwood, on the top of which I’d carved the words ‘Best Buddies.’ And then acted like I was serious. He still thinks I was. Can you believe it? He’s such a gullible Gus.”
While Scheer’s reactions were genial after the event, eyewitness accounts from the play’s dress rehearsal indicate that the leader of the opposition was barely able to keep himself from loosening his tie when his predecessor began speaking on his behalf.
“I’ve never seen Scheer that angry,” said a camp counsellor, who asked to remain anonymous but was Brian Mulroney. “Not when he found out hockey wouldn’t be allowed on the Parliament Hill ice rink. Not when he heard Maxime Bernier wrote a tell-all book – in English. Not even when Justin Trudeau bought that swing set with his own money. This was different. The guy looked ready to make his own memes.”
Many political pundits have questioned Mr. Harper’s motives in attending the camp at all – an unusual move for a former political leader, most of whom take a more fun-loving approach to life in the years following their tenure, returning to their careers as lawyers, consultants for Tip Top Tailors, or summer camp counsellors.
“This whole thing had trouble written all over it,” said The Globe and Mail’s venerable commentator, Kilgore Trout. “You’ve got Harper in there, cast as Ben – the protagonist’s older brother, who has passed away but still plays a crucial role as a symbol of the success Willy Loman craves – and then you’ve got Scheer. As Willy Loman. I mean, come on.”
Trout went on to say that even if Stephen Harper wasn’t the remote glacier whose meltwater Canadians call Andrew, the play’s casting had seething tension written all over it.
“Scheer can’t order a burger without Harper saying he’ll have it well done, hold the fries. You think the Stephen was going to let his erstwhile intern say the lines: ‘The man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want’? Not. A. Chance.”