An imagined interview: Bob Newhart asks Stephen Harper about the 2012 budget

BN: Mr. Prime Minister, I am so pleased you agreed to take my call.

BN: Thank you for that, but I am not actually from Vermont…. It was a television show.

BN: Great, well I wanted to start by asking you about the decisions in your budget. It is a pretty anti-environmental budget. There is a lot in there for supertankers and pipelines and expanding fossil fuels, but nothing to address the threat of climate change.

BN: No, sir. No one has ever thought I was radical before….. I hardly ever take jets… not sure about foreign-funding. Does that include being an American? Is that foreign? OK….just calm down, I will move on.

BN: To change the topic, I am wondering why the budget says the government is committed to connecting Canadians by internet and then there is no more money for internet….

BN: Yes, well I see you put some money into internet and high speed access in the past….

BN: No, I wasn’t trying to talk about on-line warrant-less access. I am not sure what that is…

BN: I certainly do not stand with child pornographers. I don’t sit with them either. … No I wasn’t trying to make light of child pornographers or… no, not internet predators either….

BN: Thanks for clearing that up, but what I wanted to know was how Canadians will access the internet in communities that have relied on Community Access (it was called the CAP programme), and now it is gone….

BN: So they just don’t need the internet in remote communities?…… Yes, I agree we are doing well by phone.

BN: I also notice you have eliminated the National Round Table on Environment and Economy. Wasn’t that established by a previous Conservative government? ….. Right, not one that you liked. A bit too left-wing? I see….. I have read that your Environment Minister thinks you don’t need the environment and economy round table any more because it was established a long time ago, in a time when Canadians did not have the internet. …. Yes, and he says that now you have the internet, so you don’t need this advisory body….. No, I am not trying to trick you. I just wondered about cutting the internet when the internet is replacing the round table…..

BN: Sure, not everyone needs the internet. The important thing is that you have it when you need it. Yes, of course, and other peoples’ internet too….. So, for food safety, the budget is moving information off the labels and on to the internet, so the people in remote communities do not need to read that food information? …. No, I am not a foreign funded radical. …. Yes, sir, I respect the office of Prime Minister of Canada. I am sure it is a very nice office…..

BN: I apologise, absolutely, it’s just that I find a certain amount of humour in this…..

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