April Lewis

PENINSULA ZOOMERS: Ridin’ with Biden will be better, but not perfect for Canada

Call us Zoomers, please!

That was the title of the first column I wrote for the Peace Arch News 10 years ago, in November 2010.

A decade has zoomed by (pun intended) and I can’t think of a better way to mark this personal milestone than by updating a column I wrote in February 2017, entitled Not exactly an international bromance.

You may recall that piece was about my imagined tongue-in-cheek take on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s meeting with the newly-minted U.S. president, Donald J. Trump at the White House.

Well that’s ancient history (insert sigh of relief here). So let’s move on and envisage an upcoming meeting between Trudeau and president-elect Joe Biden.

Trudeau: Welcome to Rideau Hall, Mr. Biden.

Biden: Thank you, young man. My goodness, you’re so young to be the leader of a nation. Where am I? Canada, you say?

Trudeau: Yes, Canada, the True North strong and free.

Biden: Ah yes, we are children of a common mother. Family, that’s who we are. In fact, to facilitate our international relations, it would be so much simpler if Canada agreed to be the 51st state.

Trudeau (clearing his throat): Uh, I don’t see that happening anytime soon, Mr. Biden.

Biden (smiling benevolently): Please, call me Joe! Do you think I could sit down, as these knees aren’t what they used to be.

Trudeau: By all means, please sit. Speaking of health, I am so glad you are committed to taking the COVID-19 virus seriously. I feel confident together we can beat this pandemic.

Biden: I agree. And when it is all over, then maybe I can see about replacing these old knees of mine.

Trudeau: Luckily, despite COVID-19, Canada has been able to perform thousands of surgeries, including knee replacements.

Biden (sitting up tall): Also when the pandemic is history, as president, I will stop the reversal of the progress made by Obamacare. And I won’t stop there. I’ll also build on the Affordable Care Act with a plan to insure more than an estimated 97 per cent of Americans.

Trudeau (with a quizzical look): And just how do you plan to do that Joe?

Biden: Easy! As our international border will once again be open, I will send my uninsured fellow Americans to Canada to enjoy the benefits of your universal healthcare system. They can add their names to the Canadians awaiting medical care.

After all, we are brothers! We are family!

Trudeau (shuddering): Speaking of opening up our border again, I know there are millions of Canadian snowbirds who are looking forward to travelling south for the winter.

Biden: And we shall welcome them, Justin. May I call you by your first name? California and Arizona will open their arms to your snowbirds. But, sorry, Florida is off the list, which will make your Quebecois snowbirds unhappy, I know. Travel to red states is not allowed.

Trudeau (dumbfounded): How can you say that, Joe? I thought you wanted to unite the divided United States!

Biden (smirking): C’mon Justin, as one politician to another, you know promises can be broken.

Trudeau (with a heavy sigh): Oh my, you’re offending so many Canadians who are longing to travel to the US. And you’ve got the Albertans in a tizzy as you want to axe the Keystone XL pipeline! What’s next!

Biden (looking sheepish): Oh dear, I have managed to offend you. I’ll make you a deal. I’ll concede on these issues if you let me go to the front of the line for my new Canadian knees. Could I add hip surgery to my wish list as well?

April Lewis is the local communications director for CARP, a national group committed to a ‘New Vision of Aging for Canada.’ She writes monthly.