Academic Probation

The Great Campaign Riff

Municipal Elections 2007

Publication YearIssue Date 

Loathe as we are to admit it, we at the Academic Probation section of the Gauntlet are aware that we hold in our bosom a sacrosanct and ancient duty, an oath to society as old as our democracy itself. We, as journalists, are the ones who must stand up and be total dicks when the people in power, or those in whose designs power lurks, inevitably fall out of touch with society.

In an effort to jumpstart the process, we've decided to tear apart the carefully-planned campaigns of candidates before the election has even begun.

In order to get the full, interactive effect of this article, you must go to all the campaign websites mentioned throughout. So, open up your web browser and come along with us as we depart on a magical journey through bad grammar, poor pictures and plain, old insanity. Whee!!!

Ward 9 Candidate – Al Koenig –

Ben: Why on earth would you want to associate any sort of political campaign with Dog the Bounty Hunter? Is this what Calgarians want? Aldermen that go on drug shakedowns, selling finds for the church or something? What kind of backward city is this if that's the case?

Kyle: Al is going to run drugs down in a dark alley, billy club it, zip tie its wrists and bring it down to the cop shop.

Jon: Maybe he's making some sort of a modern-day connection to Robin Hood, though I don't think Robin ever got elected to office. I think the Sheriff of Nottingham left Robin in jail, which I guess would be the equivalent of the slow death Al's political life is going to die after this election.

Garth: With a nickname like Rambo, even if Al's politcal career falls through, dude can still live a peaceful life shooting Asians with a hunting rifle, grunting and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Ben: Man, maybe we should stop making fun of him. He's probably gonna chase us down and use those beach-ball biceps to shake us down and steal our drugs. For Calgarians.

Mayor Candidate – Jeremy Zhao –

Kyle: "Aw, look at that youngster involved in politics. He goes to your school, you know." "Yeah, Grandma, I know Jeremy Zhao." Of course, that's kind of the guy's point. His Facebook/Youtube/every other finger-quotes "hip" thing campaign might as well be taglined "please, please, please god pay attention to me! I swear to god I'm not boring! Really, I swear!"

Jon: I don't think anyone at the university who paid attention to the SU election in January-which probably amounts to about 10 people-can take Jeremy Zhao seriously. He should've planted his friends in the audience at the mayoral debate at Mount Royal to ask math questions again. That was fun. And funny. I guess.

Garth: Not as fun as his snazzy internet video that either offers voters absolutely no reason to vote for him in particular, or promises that in addition to bringing "accountability," "affordable housing," and "taxis," to Calgary, he'll also come equipped with "Crime," "Homelessness," and "Urban Sprawl" to our fair city. Jeremy Zhao!

Ben: His entire campaign page is the kind of hip that my Grandma would have made if I showed her Youtube for ten minutes. Now what are the youth interested in these days? Puppies? Crime? Issues? I wonder if little Benji wants a Hot Pocket? He isn't hip so much as he has them-presumably. He should watch out or else he'll fall and break them. For Calgary.

Kyle: Because of the Grandma thing. I get it.

Mayor Candidate – Harry Heck –


Garth: Yeah! You've really got to admire Heck's ambition to solve the homeless question. His 90-day Final Solution-style "processing centre" is a little bit... well it's a bat-shit, raving mad kind of crazy. It's not like the homeless control the media and bathe in diamonds, after all.

Jon: If I was part of a conspiracy, I'd bathe in diamonds.

Kyle: Heck's bold non-use of capitalization on his website deserves special commendation. It very nearly passes as a design element. But not quite.

Ben: Also noteworthy are the insane campaign points encapsulated by the What If...? section of his website. What if crack was only that part in the seat of your pants? would we look at it... or pretend we don't see it... What if the soul of our city wasn't condemned and was a priority to reopen "the eddy" king edward hotel... these are some pretty keen observations, they may very well reflect the terrfying truth about humankind... What if this city is so big and i am so small? or if the mayor wasn't so big and the city so small? What if? Anyone?

Garth: Kristallnacht, obviously.

Ward 7 Candidates – Druh Farrell –

Jon: I think we have a winner, and I'm not just saying that because Druh Farrell is the incumbent. Her website is top-notch. I love that flashing picture, "V"-word animation at the top. Voice... flowers! Vision...Asian grandparent teaching child how to use the computer! hall! I think she missed Vagrancy... homeless man peeing on a manicured city garden.

Kyle: Or Vavavoom! For an older lady, Druh be slammin'.

Ben: Judging by the photo, there's more poison in her face than Thomas Wainewright's garage.

Garth: Druhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Brrraaaaaaaaaaiiinnns.

Mayor Candidate – Alnoor Kassam –

Kyle: Alnoor is only leading Jeremy Zhao by three per cent in the polls. That's like just barely beating a quadruple amputee in tetherball.

Jon: The difference between three per cent and six per cent? A million dollars.

Garth: Ouch, Jon. He must cry himself to sleep every night, comforted only by the possibility of drifting into a dream where he ceaselessly rides the C-Train west while other passengers tell him he's "pretty okay," not "mayor okay," but pretty okay.

Kyle: And here I thought I was wasting my money when I threw it off of a bridge.

Ben: Dream status: shattered.

Jon: Druhhhhhhhhhhh.

Mayor Candidate – Dave Bronconnier-

Ben: Joindave-dot-com sounds like a website a bored nihilist Borg ("existence is futile") made one afternoon. On the plus side, it's one of the only candidate websites that doesn't look like it's designed by a spastic.

Kyle: A spastic badger.

Jon: Today's front page message: "Mayor calls for end to catch and release of criminals." Tomorrow's front page message: "Mayor apologizes for confusing criminals with fish. Mayor has nothing against fish. Why is Mayor talking in third person? Mayor need help :("

Garth: Actually, "Mayor keep releasing criminals. Mayor put 'Support our Troops' stickers on criminals. Mayor make criminals support dirty troops."

Ben: Guys, I don't really think Bronco could have made it this long as the head of council if he talked like the Hulk. Just imagine... Man, we should elect the Hulk for Mayor.

Kyle: Or we could just hope all of the botox in Druh's face endows her with gamma powers.

Ward 5 Candidate – Mohamed El-Rafih –

Kyle: "Is that a roll of quarters in your pocket or do you want to vote for me?"

Ben: And he's standing like the squat turbo-hunk he is in front of the high-school he presumably used to beat up "pencil-pushing wannabe journalists" at when they told him he wasn't the star member of the football/wrestling/ballet team he thought he was.

Garth: A pixelated turbo-hunk who thinks representing diversity means spelling one word in three languages.

Kyle: Three! That's almost as many times as he tried and woefully failed at making learning "Mo' Fun" at the university.

Garth: Mo' election losses.

Ben: Don't stop there. There's always Mo' to say about Mo. Take, for instance, I would expect the probability of 25 Jessica Alba clones spontaneously appearing out of the quantum vacuum to sate my every desire is marginally higher than Mo's chance of ever being qualified for any job in any political arena, ever. What's your platform this time, sport, gonna talk about how the Calgary Herald should be beaten up when they notice the campaign photo on your website is out of proportion and grainy as shit? Get the fuck out. Asshole.

Jon: You don't have quantum Jessica Albas? Seriously? You poor bastard. Not as poor as Mo's photo, mind you. Asshole.

[You're all assholes.-Ed]