Question: I understand you have new field of studies, Perfesser Dave. Can you tell us about it?
Answer: Righty-ho! I’m pleased to announce the foundation of the Great Plains Institute for Para-Conservative Studies, right here in St. Albert!
Q: Terrific! What are para-Conservative studies?
A: Studies of para-Conservatives, obviously.
Q: OK. Let me come at this another way. What’s a para-Conservative?
A: Well, the term is derived from the Latin, Conservativus, meaning Conservative, and para, meaning something like, hence, “something like a Conservative.” But what we’ve discovered is that there aren’t many real Conservatives in Western Canada any more, and those that are generally don’t call themselves Conservatives. Almost all the Conservatives are para-Conservatives. So we decided to study ’em!
Q: So you founded an institute…?
A: Well, actually we already had the institute, but it was called the Pacific Rim Institute of Parapsychology. There was no money in parapsychology. So, after the charges were dropped and we had to get out of town, we were going to call it the Fraser River Institute, but it turned out that name was sort-of taken. So now we’re the Great Plains Institute. Capiche? We decided we liked the para part.
Q: Yeah, I “capische.” You were lying about the foundation!
A: It’s not a foundation. It’s an institute. Like the Fraser Institute. Except that we study para-Conservatives instead of just making stuff up.
Q: And what have you learned?
A: Well, like I said, there’s a whole new genus of Conservative in Canada and it appears to have completely pushed out the native variety, sort of like purple loosestrife, only not as pretty.
Q: Sounds serious. Where’d it come from?
A: We think from the United States. It looks an awful lot like Conservativus Republicanus, which almost completely wiped out Conservativus Americanus about 30 years ago. But it’s a completely new genus for Canada that has to be hardier because of the colder weather. We think global warming may be at fault.
Q: And what do you call this new genus?
A: Well, first, we call the old Canadian Conservatives Conservativus Exemplarus, or original Conservatives. You know, like Sir John A., John Diefenbaker and even John Clark.
Q: You mean Joe Clark?
A: Joe Who?
Q: Never mind. So what happened to these Conservativus Exemplaruses?
A: Well, it’s been a really rapid change. In about 10 years they’ve been almost completely pushed out by this new genus of para-Conservatives. We think they could be extinct in a couple of weeks. Or maybe not. I’ll get to that.
Q: Get to what?
A: Conservativus Knee-dippidus. But we haven’t got to the main part of the story yet.
Q: Which is?
A: Conservativus Tributum-Apsumptorusque.
Q: Apsumptorusque? What the hell does that mean?
A: Well, literally, “…and spend.” But the whole phrase means “tax and spend Conservatives.”
Q: I thought Conservatives were supposed to be, you know, conservative. What’s this tax and spend stuff?
A: Well, that’s what caught our attention when we started to study this phenomenon. You get Conservatives in power nowadays and they tax you like crazy and spend all your money like drunken sailors! Usually they pour it into vast containers called P3s – you can just imagine what that means! Conservatives didn’t used to do that. Now it’s about all they do. That’s why we think they’re not really Conservatives any more. It’s like their bodies have been snatched. Hey, where’d you get that nice gourd you’ve been carrying around?
Q: C’mon, Perfesser Dave, this is silly. You’re not suggesting that Conservatives have all turned into tax and spend nuts who couldn’t balance a budget if they wanted to?
A: Well, just about every elected politician in Alberta is a Conservative, right? Have you taken a look at your municipal tax bill lately? Hey! You ready for the anniversary celebrations yet? Got your new blue garbage can?
Q: I’m asking the questions around here. And you’re not making any sense. Premier Stelmach just told us to read his lips, there’ll be no new taxes!
A: Ah yes, “the Boy in the Bubble!” Remember, his entire cabinet is salivating at the thought of new taxes, especially a sales tax. Even Ted Morton, for heaven’s sake! And Ed still wants to spend your money like a sailor on shore leave. And then there’s the federal Conservatives! Say goodbye to your balanced budgets! What Eddie’s going to do is dump the cost of his spending spree on municipalities and public employees….
Q: Hmm. You may have a point there. What the hell, it worked for Ralph Klein! So you’re saying Conservativus Exemplarus has been wiped out?
A: Pretty well. Anyway, that’s what we thought at first. But now we’re wondering if they’ve actually just sort of gone underground and morphed into Conservativus Knee-dippidus, which means Knee-Dipper Conservative, or KDC.
A: You know, sort of like NDP, only with 66 per cent different letters. They’re the only people who seem to be inclined to balance a budget any more. So we’re starting to think the Knee-Dippers may be the only true Conservatives left! Pretty radical, I know, but just look at what happened in Saskatchewan. Conservativus Knee-dippidus balanced the budget, but then they were supplanted by Conservativus Tributum-Apsumptorusque, who screamed “tax and spend” until the Knee-Dippers went away. Then they spent all Saskatchewan’s money like drunken sailors, so now they say Saskatchewan is going to have to build a nuclear power-generation plant to get everything back into fiscal balance. Also, they plan to ban all unions and get rid of freedom of assembly.
Q: Hold it! That wasn’t Conservativus Tributum-Apsumptorusque, that was Saskatchewanus Tributum-Apsumptorusque. There’s got to be a difference. Anyway, why don’t you use Alberta as an example?
A: Because there’s been nothing to compare them with since Conservativus Socialcreditus, which was well before the last Ice Age and even before the Oiler Age. Go Wayne Go! But you may be right. We’re going to have to apply for a grant to study this some more. Too bad, I was hoping this would be like that new genus of monkey the Yale scientists found in Africa, Rungwecebus kipunji. We could all have been as rich as Yalies!
Q: I’ve got news for you, Perfesser Dave. That’s not why Yalies are rich. Say, if you were a real Perfesser, wouldn’t you know that?
A: Not necessarily. Science is very compartmentalized nowadays.
Q: What will you do now?
A: Well, we’d like to get a specimen of Conservativus Tributum-Apsumptorusque.
Q: That shouldn’t be a problem around here.
A: Yeah, but they resist gene splicing, unless they’re really drunk. We’d like to analyze samples of their tissue on a molecular level.
Q: What if that doesn’t work out?
A: Then we’re going to do something completely different, just like we did before.
Q: What do you have in mind?
A: We’re thinking of re-branding ourselves as the St. Albert Institute for the Study of Biblical Oddities. We think that with Bill 44, we should be able to do very well with that concept in Alberta.
Q: Biblical oddities?
A: Yeah, like, answering Biblical questions generally ignored by mainstream Biblical scholars, who are mostly crazy liberals these days anyway.
Q: Such as?
A: Such as, “Who was the shortest man in the Bible?”
Q: Who was the shortest man in the Bible?
A: Bildad the Shuhite!
[INAUDIBLE. MUFFLED EXPLETIVES. SOUNDS OF SCUFFLING.]