Gone to the dogs

Not as bad as you’d think

I promised myself I wouldn’t go on and on about my despair over our election results. I don’t want to get into how angry I am that someone who breaks the rules of parliament and lies to Canadians can get re-elected and even get a majority.

Instead of going off madly in that direction, I prefer to think that we Canadians defy our wholesome international image and really like a bad boy. Perhaps we’ve got a little Stockholm syndrome going on.

Voting’s a beach

Appropriately, I held my election pity party in Florida, home of weird election results. I took the news of our new majority lying down, on the beach, with a Mai Tai.

So perhaps it’s the heat combined with missing our pets, or maybe it’s too much SPF 500, but I can’t help but think we’d have better leaders if they were more like dogs.


I’m not referring to the freestyle peeing or the personal sanitation practices of canines. I’m thinking about how true they are to their natures and breeds.

Dogs are divided into groups based on some overall traits.

Sporting dogs are the ones you taking hunting. Working and herding dogs help out on the farm. Hounds help when you need something sniffed out. Terriers are good and finding and removing vermin. Companion dogs are just there for you.

Best in show

Already, I can see how handy it would be to group politicians this way. Jack Layton is definitely a tenacious Jack Russell terrier. Michael Ignatief is the very smart, but largely misunderstood and ridiculed Standard Poodle. Stephen Harper is…well he’s not a dog at all. Dogs aren’t arrogant so the PM is a hyena.

If we had leaders who fell easily into dog groups, all we would have to do is figure out what direction we want the country to head in, and choose accordingly.

Herding, guarding, and sniffing out

Maybe we want to unify the country and get a very federalist feeling going on. Well, we’d need a herding dog like a Border Collie to gather everyone together and keep them that way. As soon as someone slips away, that collie will nip their heels right back.

Maybe we’re feeling vulnerable on the world scene. We want to feel secure and be able to relax while someone else keeps us safe. We’d need a working dog like a German Shepherd. This dog would be on the lookout for anything weird, handle it and carry on.

If we’re dealing with government overspending and corruption, a scrappy little terrier could save the day. It would dive right in and find all the government waste and correct it. A terrier would dig in to balance the budget and stick stubbornly to it until the job was done.

Being healthy and trendy

Maybe the country is doing OK but we want to focus on the environment and our health and well-being. We’d need a Labrador kind of leader; one who is full of enthusiasm and eager to be outside. A Lab would promote healthy, active living and a clean environment to do it in.

Perhaps we want to be a bigger player on the world scene. This is where the hounds would come in handy. Scent hounds like the Blood Hound could sniff out investment opportunities in foreign markets.

Sight hounds like the Greyhound could look ahead to see future trends. This hound would pursue them relentlessly and shape our policies to benefit from the way the world is heading.

Good dog

The nice thing about dogs is they never change their nature. Their motivations are consistent: food, water, toys, approval. Their biggest drive is being part of their pack. They don’t care if they’re leaders or followers as long as their role is clear. That would be refreshing in parliament.

Dogs would never cross the floor. A Mini Poodle will never try to become a Golden Retriever. If you elected a Mastiff, that’s what you would get. Period.

Dogs never change their policies or mask their flaws to make themselves look good. Dogs never do anything to make themselves look good. That’s the benefit of having no ego. Sound policy implementing and good decisions would happen a lot faster if more leaders aimed for this ideal.

Steadfast, true and nosy

Dogs can’t be corrupted. They are not underhanded. Even when they bury something they dig it right back up again. They could even dig up all kinds of other things too.

Dogs are good at identifying unscrupulous individuals. They’ll draw attention to them by barking or growling. Our current House sure would be a yappy place.

Dogs are humble. They’re good at keeping others humble too. Anyone who’s had their crotch nosed by a dog can attest to this. Our leaders (and heck, everyone from time to time) could benefit from a little “nosiness”.

Dogs know when they’ve done wrong and are genuinely repentant when caught. I don’t need to expand on this one. Right Ms. (re-elected) Oda? Right?

Dogs stick to basic common sense rules. The best one is don’t poop where you eat. That’s a really important one. Really important.

All in favour – bark

I guess the only area of parliament that would not be improved or even changed by a more canine approach would be the level of barking in the house.

Barking aside, the dog overlay on our leaders really appeals to me. We’d have loyal, transparent, guileless, consistent, humble, cheerful leaders who actually want our approval. I bet even cat people could get behind that.


I’d like to dedicate this column to Lucy. She would have been an enthusiastic, attentive, loyal, nurturing hound/shepherd politician but sadly, her term ended last week.

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