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Put Me In Coach: Canadian Party Leaders Choose Professional Sports Over Politics
Above: Basketball is one of the many sports in which Prime Minister Paul Martin dominates the competition.

OTTAWA (SP) — The results of the federal election are now in, but the future political career of each of the party leaders remains very uncertain. Satiric Press has learned that each of them has considering leaving the world of politics in favour of the world of sports to become professional athletes.

Although Paul Martin won't be asked to vacate the Prime Minister's official residence at 24 Sussex Dr., he emerges from the election with his power in Parliament substantially reduced. The defeat of any Bill in the House of Commons could trigger a vote of non-confidence that could topple the Martin government. Given that he is already 65 years old, it seems entirely possible that Martin will not be around to lead the Liberals into the next general election.

Above: As a hockey player, Martin fancies himself as a centre, although he often seems more comfortable playing right wing.

Should he decide to resign from politics, he would appear to have several options available to him in the athletic realm. Sources close to Martin say that he would like to return to his first love, basketball. Just last week, he dazzled a group of inner city schoolchildren at a basketball clinic with his overall game, including a lightning-quick cross-over dribble and a Jordanesque fadeaway jump shot. "I don't know nuthin' 'bout PM's politics, but he's got some serious skillz on the b-ball court," said 12-year-old Regent Park resident Rosevelt Franklin, who participated in the clinic.

The Toronto Raptors are said to be interested in signing the versatile Martin, who can play both shooting guard and small forward, in the event that all-star Vince Carter persists in his demands to be traded. However, sources tell SP that Martin is concerned about the amount of income tax he would pay as a member of the Raptors, and he would therefore prefer to play for any of the NBA's other 29 U.S.-based teams.

Martin is also thinking about fulfilling a life-long dream to compete in the ultimate test of arctic endurance, the Iditarod. Martin already owns an experienced and highly skilled team of racing dogs, and several Quebec-based advertising firms have offered to sponsor 'Team Martin'. "It's the least we can do, after all he did for us as Finance Minister," said one senior Ad executive in Quebec who wished to remain anonymous. However, Martin is said to be reluctant to relocate to Nunavut, near the North Pole, where Canada's renowned National Dogsled Training Centre is located.

Above: Martin's mind turns to mush whenever he gets on a dog sled.

Martin is also said to be interested in leading an all-Canadian contingent in pursuit of the America's Cup, the international sailing competition. However, this possibility may no longer be on the table after Canada Steamship Lines, the company that was to have provided Martin with a ship for the competition, failed a recent drug test.

The other party leaders are also considering their various options in the world of sports. The Toronto Blue Jays are said to be trying to woo Conservative Leader Stephen Harper to sign a minor league baseball contract. Apparently, the Jays were extremely impressed with Harper's velocity and control when he threw out the opening pitch in a game at Skydome back in June. "He's got great stuff," said Jays Manager Carlos Tosca. "He managed to stay out of trouble by aiming for the centre [of the plate]." One selling point for Harper may be that he would be initially assigned to the Jays' Class A affiliate in Medicine Hat, Alberta, which is only a stone's throw away from Harper's home in Calgary.

Above: Harper has been relatively successful against lefties by avoiding the far right side of the strike zone.

Speaking of which, Jack Layton may not be much of a baseball player, but he is rather accomplished at throwing stones, especially in the direction of those whom he holds responsible for the deaths of homeless people in Toronto. There's not much money to be made in rock throwing competitions, but money will not be a concern for Layton the moment he resigns from politics and starts to receive his gold-plated parliamentary pension.

Above: For Lack Layton, throwing stones was never about the money.

Like Paul Martin, Gilles "Slam Dunk" Duceppe is a highly-regarded basketball player, with an arsenal of moves that include a sky hook and a reverse dunk. Duceppe is also both a student of the game and an acclaimed coach, and still harbours resentment that he was never seriously considered to coach the Chinese Olympic basketball team. The Chinese opted instead for former Lakers coach Del Harris. "Del is a fine coach, but the fact remains that I'm more of a Maoist than he'll ever be," said the bitter Duceppe.

Duceppe also sought to resolve the issue of Quebec separatism once and for all on the basketball court, in a high-stakes game of one-on-one with Paul Martin. Preliminary discussions were undertaken between the parties with a view to determining the rules for such a referendum, but they ultimately fell apart when Duceppe and Martin were unable to agree on what would constitute a 'clear majority' of sufficient magnitude to declare a winner.

Above: Gilles Duceppe showed that he got game during the 2004 election campaign.

Green Party leader Jim Harris has not publicly expressed an interest in any particular sport, but he has made it clear that he would only participate in sports that are environmentally friendly, which would seem to rule out fishing and race car driving.

During a recent, exclusive interview with Satiric Press (see Marijuana Party Looking to Smoke the Competition), Marijuana Party leader Marc Boris St.-Maurice said that he thoroughly enjoys tennis, lawn bowling, and any other sport that can be played on grass.

Above: Marijuana Party leader Marc Boris St.-Maurice is high on any sport that can be played on grass.
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