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Close Encounters of the Prime Ministerial Kind
Above: Is Canada's P.M. really an E.T.?

OTTAWA (SP) — Media reports that Prime Minister Paul Martin's Challenger jet had a close encounter with an unidentified flying object several weeks ago were not taken very seriously, at least not initially. However, after a series of recent incidents in which the Prime Minister has displayed increasingly bizarre behaviour, many are now speculating that Martin may well have been visited by extra-terrestrials during the aforementioned encounter.

It all started on March 21st, when Martin and his entourage were flying over Suffield, Alberta, preparing to unveil a new federal farming subsidy. At least two passengers on the plane witnessed the UFO, which appeared to be plummeting toward the earth from a very high altitude and at a very high rate of speed. Astrophysicists concur that the object was most likely an errant piece of an asteroid or comet that somehow managed to penetrate the earth's atmosphere. Others, such as Chris Rutkowski of the Winnipeg-based Ufology Research of Manitoba, believe that the object's improbable appearance and Martin's strange behaviour are both signs that aliens may not be just a figment of our collective imagination.

Above: Paul Martin recently had a close encounter with a UFO

The first incident after the UFO sighting to arouse suspicions occurred at the ceremony held to mark the 50th anniversary of the Yonge St. subway line in Toronto. Arrangements had been made for Martin, along with Toronto Mayor David Miller and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, to recreate the very first trip on the Yonge line by riding from Eglinton to Union Station. However, rather than ride in the middle subway car which had been designated for the VIPs, Martin insisted on sitting at the very front of the train. Throughout the ride, Martin seemed completely mesmerized by the dark subway tunnel, which was illuminated only by tiny specks of light like a constellation of stars in the night's sky. Martin later remarked that the ride made him feel right at home, which many found curious, given that Ottawa doesn't have a subway system.

Martin also raised some eyebrows when he requested that the familiar three-note chime that sounds every time the subway opens and closes its doors be replaced by the five-note sequence made famous in the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Martin also behaved rather strangely during a recent state dinner at 24 Sussex Drive for U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. Martin almost completely ignored Annan during the dinner, and spent the entire evening playing with his mashed potatoes, while muttering something under his breath about phoning home. He also vetoed the chef's exotic selection of desserts, which included Crème Brule and Black Forest Cake, in favour of a bowl full of Reese's Pieces.

Above: U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan felt more at home on Sesame Street than Sussex Drive.

But perhaps the most curious incident occurred in the wake of the burning down of a Hebrew school in Montreal. "This is not my Canada," said Martin in reference to a recent wave of anti-Semitic incidents that have occurred across Canada. "Nor is this my planet, solar system, galaxy or plane of existence within the space-time continuum." Most members of the media were completely confounded by this latter statement, which is why it was not very widely reported.

There has also been an abrupt shift in Martin's foreign policy agenda since the UFO encounter, with space exploration now being his top priority. Despite the fact that Canada has never even built its own space shuttle, Martin believes that it should begin planning a manned expedition to Mars. "It would be extremely naïve for humans to think that they are alone in the universe," said Martin, from the site of the proposed Paul Martin Sr. Space Centre in Peggy's Cove. "It is for that reason that I've decided to throw my support behind the 'Star Wars' missile defense shield sought by the United States — not to protect us from the threat posed by rogue nations with nuclear power such as Iran and North Korea, but rather from hostile and technologically superior extra-terrestrials intent on eradicating life as we know it."

Above: Martin's new emphasis on space exploration has some calling him Martin the Martian, but he's still mad as hell about the sponsorship scandal.

It's believed that 'Star Wars' will also be the main topic of discussion at Martin's first visit with President Bush at the White House. However, Martin was rebuffed in his attempts to have the meeting held in Roswell, N.M., rather than Washington, D.C.

In light of Martin's increasingly eccentric behaviour, there's been mounting speculation on Parliament Hill that Martin was in fact abducted by aliens during his recent close encounter, and has either been brainwashed by his abductors or replaced by an artificially-rendered body double. Some Martin loyalists have gone so far as to suggest that such an alien encounter may have actually occurred several years ago. "The Paul Martin I know would never have allowed a scheme as transparently corrupt as Adscam to operate during his tenure as Finance Minister," said Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan. "The only plausible explanation is that the sponsorship scandal was perpetrated under the direction of an impostor, whom I've taken to calling Bizarro Paul Martin."

Above: Was Alphonse Gagliano primarily responsible for the sponsorship scandal, or was it Bizarro Alphonse Gagliano?

Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper dismisses the distinction suggested by McLellan as merely a matter of semantics. "Whether Adscam occurred on the watch of the real Paul Martin or Bizarro Paul Martin, the Liberal Party is still ultimately accountable for what happened," said Harper.

Harper also submits that there have long been signs that something was awry in the Martin camp. "Am I the only one who found it rather suspicious when Mr. Martin attempted to change the official headquarters of Canada Steamship Lines to a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Bettlejuice?"

However, not everyone is of the opinion that the "old" Paul Martin was better than his doppelganger. "The new Paul is definitely a much better musician," said Liberal MP Elinor Caplan. "The old Paul could barely play electric guitar, whereas the new and improved version sounds like the second coming of Jimi Hendrix. He's also a much better kisser than he used to be."

Above: The new Paul Martin has left many female fans breathless with his sultry lips and sublime guitar licks.

In a somewhat related story, author Whitley Strieber, whose autobiographical account of being abducted by aliens, Communion, became an international best seller, now claims that the abduction was all a big misunderstanding. "After seeing video footage of Toyota's new trumpet-playing robot, I realized that I was not abducted by aliens, but rather by very sophisticated androids, said Strieber. "Whereas I thought that they were attempting to examine me with an anal probe, it's now apparent to me that they were simply trying to interface with my C.P.U. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense that they ended up sending me home but keeping most of my major household appliances."

Above: It's easy to see how Strieber confused his android abductors for extra-terrestrials.
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