Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Rona Ambrose Takes the #9 Bus to Northgate

August 9, 2006 – Canadian Environment Minister, Rona Ambrose, boarded the #9 bus today for her journey from Edmonton’s Southgate Centre to Northgate Centre. She was intent on demonstrating that taking the bus is a good way of helping the environment. She also wanted to stop the rumours that started when she last visited Edmonton that she finds bus people smelly and offensive.

“Bus people are ordinary Canadians like me, minus the stunning good looks and senior Cabinet post, of course,” she said.

Minister Ambrose proceeded to drop her $2.25 bus fare in the cash box happily

“I’m going to tell everyone with a bus pass that they qualify for a tax credit under my government’s bold new initiative,” she announced.

She proceeded to sit next to Cyril Smithers, aged 82.

“Did you know about the Conservative government’s exciting new transportation initiative?” she asked.

Mr. Smithers replied, “My Bertie were the best carrier pigeon a man could ever want. ‘Twas the saddest day when he flew the coop never to return.”

Mr. Ambrose decided it would be more productive to talk to citizens who do not suffer from senile dementia. She moved to the back of the bus and struck up an amicable chat with Vaughn Jameson, aged 23, a student at Grant MacEwan College.

“Hi, young citizen,” said Minister Ambrose. “I’m Minister Ambrose. I hope you will be saving your bus passes this fiscal year.”

“What will the government give me for ’em?” replied Mr. Jameson.

“A tax credit,” beamed Minister Ambrose.

“How about a bit of something-something?” said Mr. Jameson.

“Sorry, what? You’re mumbling.”

Minister Ambrose elected to talk to someone who was more interested in transportation policy than the provocative cut of her skirt. Just then, a pregnant young woman in an Oilers cap sat down on the seat opposite and proceeded to conduct a screechingly loud conversation with the father of her unborn child.

“I been fucking working all day and I ain’t got no fucking time to go to Zellers. What the fuck? Where the fuck you been? I called you like ten fucking times. Where the fuck were you?”

“Excuse me, young lady,” said Minister Ambrose. “Can I interrupt your phone conversation for a minute to tell you about a new government initiative? My time’s a lot more valuable than yours.”

The young woman took a five second break from her important conversation.

“Why don’t you shut up?” she said.

At Whyte Avenue, Minister Ambrose tired of listening to the screeching conversation and returned to the front of the bus. Just then, a large and sweaty man with a noticeable limp staggered on board, dragging a trolley full of groceries, and nearly crushed Minister Ambrose.

“Sorry missus,” he said. “I got a chronic degenerative disc disease.”

“I'm sure with hard work you'll get over it,” said Minister Ambrose, dusting herself off.

The disable man said, “I get nine hundred dollars a month from AISH. But Wonderbread is only ninety cents a loaf. I buy eight loaves every trip and then freeze them. I’d buy more but I only got room for eight. I had to ditch my car cause I can’t turn my head proper to do a shoulder check and no one will insure me. My cat ate a whole bag of Whiskas yesterday. He somehow got into the cupboard. I’m gonna have to tie it shut with twine. Don’t I recognize you from somewhere?”

Minister Ambrose was about to suggest that the disabled gentleman probably recognized her from television, delivering statements on important subjects, but she was interrupted when the bus stopped north of downtown and a solvent-sniffer from the George Spady Homeless Shelter violently threw himself against against the bus door.

“That startled me!” exclaimed Minister Ambrose.

A couple of minutes later, two young men in hoodies, headscarves and Puma sneakers climbed aboard, and by this time the bus was so crowded that they had to stand, and the crotch of one of them was mere centimetres from Minister Ambrose’s nose.

“I tapped Trixie’s ass till it was sore,” said one of the men.

“Her sister’s a lush,” said his companion.

“Yeah, she’s an ugly bitch, too.”

The bus driver, alerted to the obscene use of language, proceeded to tell the young men to clean up their act. One of the men in hoodies said something unprintable about the bus driver’s mother. Then the other said, “Let’s split, bro,” and lunged for the bell, smacking his pelvis directly into Minister’s Ambrose’s face. The bus screamed to a halt and the young men departed, laughing amongst themselves about stabbing the driver next time.

“Are you OK?” said the driver as the bus finally pulled in at Northgate Centre.

“No, I’m not,” retorted Minister Ambrose. “That was the most unpleasant experience of my life. It seems that only delinquents, grubbies and cripples take the bus. I’ve reconsidered my government’s transportation initiative.”

“How so?” asked the driver.

“I’m scrapping the tax credit. People like that don’t deserve any breaks.”

And with these words uttered, Minister Ambrose retreated to the relative safety of the chauffeured, air-conditioned Lexus waiting for her in the parking lot, and returned to the Westin Hotel.