Comedian Challenges Three Appointed Senators to an "Election"
“The Upper House remains a dumping ground for the favoured cronies of the Prime Minister”– Stephen Harper, appointer of 59 Conservative senators.
As the trial of suspended senator Mike Duffy begins today, Canadians across the country are being reminded of their anger with unelected, partisan, powerful senators who draw big salaries and pensions with little accountability. But comedian Scott Vrooman isn’t getting angry, he’s getting elected. Vrooman announced today that he is challenging three sitting, appointed Ontario senators – Colin Kenny, Linda Frum and Don Meredith – to an election.
Vrooman received national attention last year when he was asked to be a guest on the now-defunct Sun News Network and proceeded to sarcastically mock the network’s political views for several minutes without the host appearing to even realize it.
His “election” will take place on the same day as the federal election on October 19th. Until then, Vrooman promises to actively court the voting public through videos, publicity stunts and ongoing harassment of senators with debate challenges and “attack Vines.” It will all be accessible through his website, vroomanforsenate.com, along with a “One Zillion Strong For Scott Vrooman” Facebook group and Vrooman’s social media accounts on Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram.
The website was launched today along with a YouTube video that parodies several tropes of political ads. In a speech given this morning on the Ryerson University campus in Toronto, he promised that “once I receive a mandate from the Canadian people, I will pack all of my possessions and cats into a moving van, drive to Ottawa and take the seat I’m entitled to. I have no reason to believe this transition of power will be anything but smooth and orderly.”
His platform, which you can read in full on the site, includes a plan to stream Senate proceedings live online from a camera strapped to his head, a bizarre “Senate uniform,” as well as a commitment to encourage Canadians to run elections of their own.
Vroomanforsenate.com also presents unflattering bios of his three “opponents.” Colin Kenny is quoted in a 2012 column where he wrote “it takes most people several years on Parliament Hill to become really useful politicians,” leading Vrooman to assure readers that “if elected, I promise to only be useless for, like, two years tops.”
Along with a “donate” button on the site that allows people to contribute to the campaign, Vrooman has launched an Indigogo drive to rent a billboard in Ottawa. The website also advertises a White House petition appealing to “Prime Minister O’Bama to bring democracy to Canada.”
Visitors to vroomanforsenate.com will also find “testimonials” to Vrooman’s character, featuring two positive Air BnB reviews, as well as a “celebrity gallery” of a series of photos of Vrooman posing eagerly (in formal attire) with what appear to be several wax figures.
The original idea for the campaign came from Kids in the Hall member Mark McKinney, who is acting as Vrooman’s campaign manager. He says “I believe it was a great Canadian who said and I quote ‘an appointed senate, partisan in it’s actions and with no electoral mandate to justify its imprimmature on the democratic business of the country is a senate that’s like … really? .. c’mon give me a break! That’s just not cool. They should do something about that’ (Mark McKinney). But I am no longer content to sit and admire my quotes in parenthesis as I suspect that ‘They’ is ‘Us’ and it’s time for action. Today is not Tuesday. Today is ‘Theyday’ I am they. They are you. You are us. Us is we. Lets DO this!”