Is it time to move on yet? The pundits have shifted through the mountain of ashes, all that remains of the Parliamentary careers of Helena Guergis and her partner in hubris, Rahim Jaffer.
It’s a grim spectacle, not suitable for children and voters with weak stomachs. Definitely time to move on.
To the sequel: The Helena and Rahim Reality Show. If this were America, they would have already signed with Fox or A&E.
All the elements for terrific TV are in place. If I were spinning the concept, I’d move the charming couple to Charlottetown, P.E.I., where they open a laundry and try to explain to Rick Mercer how they managed to scorch all his shirt collars. After Helena seriously pissed off the good people of the island by calling it a hellhole, they need an armed escort to get to and from work. Fortunately, they are able to hire Helena’s ex-Parliamentary chauffer, who says he already has lots of experience driving Rahim around when Helena is stuck at work.
The main plot driver, though, is the weekly attempt by Rahim to get anyone from the government to answer his calls from a payphone near the laundry. (No more taxpayer-funded BlackBerry). Of course, no one ever answers, which puts his lobbying business in jeopardy.
It’s better than Corner Gas because it’s “real.” Just like Gene Simmons. Or Sarah Palin. Each week, Helena could take viewers to a P.E.I. tourist attraction: Cavendish Beach, the Anne of Green Gables Museum, Cavendish Beach, the Anne of Green Gables Museum … she would look kinda fetching in those red pigtails.
Although there have been a number of well-meaning attempts to characterize the Jaffer/Guergis fall from grace as a tragedy, it’s more Dog the Bounty Hunter than Antony and Cleopatra.
Unlike other great Canadian power failures like Belinda Stronach and Peter Mackay, or even Pierre and Margaret, Helena and Rahim didn’t have very far to fall. Rahim, notorious for allowing his assistant to impersonate him on a talk show, was already halfway down. And Helena, despite the promise shown by her triumphant victory in the 1992 Miss Huronia beauty pageant, has no subsequent track record to speak of — which didn’t prevent the prime minister from trying to exploit her photogenic attributes by positioning her as his backdrop during question period.
But in the 21st century, notoriety is just another word for celebrity, and celebrities, no matter how Lilliputian, have the real power. Just ask Harper, who’s having a tough time getting Helena Guergis off the screen now that’s she’s in the spotlight.
Paul Sullivan is a Vancouver-based journalist and owner of Sullivan Media Consulting;