There sure is a lot of gray hair in the clink these days. Maybe I should expect that. After all, 2011 is the year that the largest herd of hard-drinking, dope-snorting males in the history of the world starts turning sixty-five. So unless a Cialis-driven plague of biblical proportions wipes out a few million boomer boys soon, Canada’s house of adult detention will soon look more like the house of adult diapers.
In order to head off this statistical avalanche at the pass, those who enjoy their nappy time in the House of Commons recently took steps to freeze the geriatric underworld in its tracks. They cut the old age pension for prisoners. Now that’s what I call tough on crime.
I can see it now. In the backroom of some inner-city neighborhood where retirement-aged criminals typically hang out — like Bay Street — two liver-spotted Fagan’s are plotting the future.
“So, 2012. What do we have on the books for humanity’s last year on earth?” asks one.
“Dope?” his colleague replies.
“Nah. They just gave everybody a free pass on five plants. The stuff will be everywhere now — like Chia pets.”
“Fuggedaboutit. They just smashed the gun registry. There’ll be more arms than asbestos out there this year.”
“SHUT. UP! That’s friggin’ brilliant. If we register in Nunavut, the feds will even cut us a cheque to get going.”
“Very Canadian. But there’s just one thing.”
“We really got to watch our backs this year. If we take a pinch on this thing, it’s not just jail time anymore. Now they take our government pension too.”
“Oh yeah. No more $538 a month to salt away in our numbered offshore accounts.”
“Man, that’s cold. These guys are playing hardball. I guess that only leaves us one option.”
“Yup. From now on, we got to pack heat. If they box you in, just let ‘em have it. Make sure to save the last bullet for yourself.”
“But where are we going to get that kind of firepower with our records?”
“The same place every other gangster with a death wish does.”
“Right. I’ll grab the Canadian Tire money.”
The squall in a shooter glass that led parliament to intervene in pensions for prisoners began the same way that every national security emergency for the past three decades has: With a cursory peek into Clifford Olsen’s mail.
In 2005, Canada’s 20th century Satan turned sixty-five. In Canada, you get paid for that. Probably not for much longer — only as long as China stays wired to the ecocide called the Oil Sands. But with terminal bowel cancer, Olsen was sure to outlive that — which meant that every thirty days some creatively named government branch called Service Canada would be cutting the infamous serial murderer a cheque.
Thankfully, just in time (five years after the first payments started arriving), one of Correction Canada’s elite, while checking incoming mail at the country’s only super-max prison, noticed that Cliffy was up to his old tricks. This time he was slaying Canada’s social safety net one chump-change cheque at a time. It takes little imagination to guess how Officer Vigilant reacted. He would have done what any conscientious Canadian public service employee would have in the face of a life-or-death threat to public safety.
Call their union rep.
On this day, the phone would have rung at the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers; the only Canadian union to receive a no-questions-asked, across-the-board pay hike under the current Conservative government. According to insiders, theirs is also the only union in Canada with a hotline to the PMO — a hotline that doesn’t need to ring twice…
“Hey. Is that you? It’s me.”
Silence. “It’s Sunday. You know this is Bible day.”
“Sorry. It’s important. I knew you’d want to me to call. What are you reading?”
“Not reading. Writing. I’m changing this stupid “as-we-have-forgiven-our-debtors” clause. It’s distracting to my base. What do you want?”
“Oh. What’s he want now?”
“Old Age Pension.”
“SHUT. UP! What are you guys doing over there, coaching him?”
“Hey, even we couldn’t script this stuff. I knew you’d want to know right away.”
“Well, the man does have impeccable timing, doesn’t he? He’ll be missed.”
“We’ve always got the pig farmer.”
“O.K., I’ll call Lang and have her leak it to O’Leary. Then I’ll make sure Lady Di is wearing something indignant for Question Period in the morning. Maybe one of those Church Lady things she wears to the Senate beer-pong parities. Plus I’ll get the Baird to bark about it every eight minutes until the 4:30 vote for my new bill.”
“Yeah. I call it ‘C- 666 – A Bill to Strengthen the Lord’s Prayer So That Anyone Who Could Possibly Screw Up My Beloved Economy — Especially Inner-City Indians —Burns In Hell For a Mandatory Minimum of Two Years.’”
“That’s why they call me the Architect, doggy.”
I have four magic words for you: High. Security. Adult. Diapers. Tell your broker it’s an emerging market. Tell him you got an inside tip.