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Quick Hits: A Brief Satiric Take on Current Events, Vol. 4

Black No Longer in the Red Thanks to Minimum Wage Hike

Above: Lord Conrad Black of Crossharbour has reason to smile after learning that the minimum wage in Ontario has been increased from $6.85 to $7.15 per hour

The McGuinty government announced recently that it would be raising Ontario's minimum wage for the first time in almost a decade, from $6.85 per hour to $7.15. One of the most prominent beneficiaries of this increase is former media mogul Conrad Black. Until very recently, Lord Black of Crossharbour had been accustomed to a rather extravagant lifestyle as the Chairman and CEO of Hollinger International Inc., with holdings that include the London Daily Telegraph, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Jerusalem Post. However, Black was forced to abruptly resign after it was revealed that he had been paid millions of dollars by Hollinger in exchange for signing a series of restrictive covenants, without ever seeking shareholder approval. The shareholders of Hollinger are now threatening multi-million dollar lawsuits against Black.

However, Black quickly landed back on his feet. While on a tour to promote his new exhaustive (and many would say exhausting) 1,300 page biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Indigo Books president Heather Reisman offered the member of Great Britain's House of Lords a job stocking shelves at Indigo's flagship store in downtown Toronto. Black eagerly accepted the offer. "Some might regard this as a bit of a step backwards, but books have always been my first love, and I'm thrilled to be able to continue working in the publishing industry," said Black. "It would have been rather difficult for Barbara and I to make ends meet on only $6.85 per hour, but I'm very confident that we can do so on $7.15."

While $7.15 per hour is a far cry from the millions of dollars that he earned and/or allegedly embezzled from Hollinger, it is still expected to exceed the royalties that he will earn from the sales of his new book.

McGuinty's Liberals Preach Fiscal Conservatism

After discovering that Ontario had been running a $5.6 billion deficit under the Tories, Premier Dalton McGuinty has pledged to slash all non-essential spending in order to bring the province's financial house back in order. To demonstrate his commitment in this regard, McGuinty recently flew from Toronto to Ottawa in economy class, to attend a party fundraiser.

Not to be outdone, Tory leader Ernie Eves announced that he would be doing all of his travel within the province by Greyhound bus, including the five hour trip in each direction to visit his home riding of Owen Sound.

NDP leader Howard Hampton also announced that he would be drastically reducing his travel budget, but for practical rather than philosophical reasons. Now that the NDP has lost official party status, and the significant funding for research which accompanies such status, Hampton has stated that he is determined to save every penny possible on administrative expenditures so that such funds can be used instead on research. Therefore, he intends to hitchhike across the province next week to visit his constituents in Rainy River, near the Manitoba border. "With a bit of luck, and help from the people of this great province, I hope to arrive in just slightly over a week," he said.

Spencer Founds Party for Politically Incorrect Politicians

Alliance MP and family issues critic Larry Spencer was suspended from the Alliance caucus after giving a newspaper interview in which he suggests that homosexuality should be outlawed, and alleged that there was a conspiracy to champion gay rights which had infiltrated North American schools, government, and the judiciary. Rather than attempt to gain readmission to the Alliance caucus, Spencer said that he has decided to sit as an independent and form a new political party, in which members will be encouraged to speak their minds, no matter how unpopular and unenlightened their remarks might be.

Spencer has already received expressions of interest from a number of current or former Alliance Party MPs, including former Party Whip Robert Ringma, who once said that if the presence of a black or gay employee bothered bigoted customers in his store, he would either fire the employee, or move them to the back of the shop. Also interested in Spencer's new party is Alliance MP Rob Anders, who temporarily blocked a motion to grant Nelson Mandella honorary Canadian citizenship, calling him a "communist and terrorist".

"I think there's an awful lot of Alliance party members who want political representatives who say what they really think, rather than simply what they think other people want to hear," said Spencer, about the new party which he is calling the Politically Incorrect Party (PIP). "Based on the amount of support we've already received, I believe that PIP should have great expectations heading into the next general election."

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