A manifesto for a new national party
Politics and polar bears are a natural match

by Chris Meyers Almey
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 14/97) - So Wally Firth, our good friend from the Delta, wants to ready the North for partisan politics with a new party of our own - the Northern Party.

Why stop there? How about going national with the Polar Bear Party? After all, there was the Rhinoceros Party in the 1970s and '80s.

Their symbol was a foreign horned critter, though, not too inspiring for the non-Africans among us.

Down in the States the mule and the elephant are flagbearers for their two main parties, which is rather curious, to say the least. One is stubborn and the other doesn't forget -- neither are desirable characteristics for today's political animal.

Up here, we're rather conservative when it comes to such matters and its about time we got liberal in our thinking with symbols.

As a country, we have used the beaver, a rodent, as the national symbol. Not as stirring as an eagle, is it? Buck-toothed, the beaver waddles and whacks the water with its tail when alarmed.

Now, take old Ursus maritimus. The polar bear has a nice ring to it and the beast's attributes are laden with inspiration, because the NWT is an ocean-fronting land.

Matter of fact, Canada has the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Pacific on the west, so there's no denying, as much as Ottawa and most of the interior population seems too, we are a "maritimus" nation. Old Ursus would be a natural for the Polar Bear Party.

If music and flags stir nationalistic fervor, imagine what Ursus maritimus could do.

Since we thrive on role models, try this one -- polar bears can swim for hundreds of kilometres, as one adventurous pair found out as they paddled in Hudson Bay, pursued for mile after mile by ol' whitey, who wanted them for breakfast.

That's tenacity, something that's often lacking in our wimpish Parliament.

Polar bears can climb rough ice hummocks with ease, which might inspire people in Ottawa to tackle the tough issues rather than walking around them.

Their short furry ears are tuned to listening, something else that Ottawa seems incapable of.

They have dense fur between the pads of their feet, so they can walk over any rough stuff and not pussyfoot around as so many in Ottawa love to do.

Isn't it about time we put some teeth into our politics and clawed the election scene back to life?