The session began with the first Speaker election in PPU’s history. After many months of dedicated and wholehearted service, the Union’s inaugural speaker Gabe Delaney peacefully passed the robe of office (figuratively and literally) to his popularly elected successor, Brit Marsh, PPU founding member and until then chair of the independent caucus. Many in the Union (including Marsh’s gracious opposing candidate, active conservative caucus member Mitchell Chan) look forward to the experience and personality that Marsh will undoubtedly bring to her new position.
The centerpiece of the session’s debate was PPU Resolution #5, a legislative proposal to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. For a PPU debate, the arguments were quite predictable. Pro-pipeline supporters highlighted the project’s potential to create jobs, the pipeline’s technological superiority relative to other forms of modern energy transport, and the Canada tar sands’ ability to significantly reduce American dependence on Middle Eastern oil. The anti-XL crowd worried about wild discrepancies in job creation projections, environmental risks, and the rights of local Plains Indians, who were largely not consulted in the matter. Eminent domain was briefly a hot topic for discussion until the idea was shut down. The resolution passed with an overwhelming majority of 25 ayes to 8 nays.
With the night still young, the Union proceeded to debate another resolution presented by Polybian Consul and progressive caucus member Eli Pollock. More comedic fun than sound government policy, the resolution dismissed mere access to the Canadian tar sands and instead called for a full military invasion of Canada (using polar bears, no less). The reintroduction of Sean McGeehan into the progressive caucus was snuck in as a last-minute rider.
A thunderous (and completely frivolous) assortment of clever-tongued quips and crafty rhetorical antics as PPU revealed itself to be as pro-American as it was anti-Canadian. Liberal caucus chair Kyle Grigel employed international relations theory to justify the use of hard power against the Canadian geopolitical threat. Sarah Simon lamented that the McGeehan rider rendered the resolution unconstitutional, thus preventing an otherwise desirable invasion of Canada. Sujay Dewan accurately pointed out that Canada was “hovering over us” (on the map anyway). A particularly fashionable member of the conservative caucus eyed Canada as a source of the wonderful white fur that polar bears provide so much of (“taking them to a better place,” as he described it). Speaker Marsh herself expressed interest in hearing proposed military strategies for actually conquering Canada.
But all arguments in favor of annihilating the Canadian state were shut down by what should be named the Pop Culture Reference of the Season. In analyzing the costs of invading such a large territory, Those in the Libertarian Caucus (aka Mr. Hunter Pearl) reminded listeners that the U.S. and Canada share the world’s longest fortified border. One stretching for hundreds of miles in the bitter North, protecting the south from those free folk who live beyond. A true castle of black, built from volumes of ice and (metaphorical) fire. Yes, you guessed it. The Wall.
(One could almost hear Ygritte scolding the Union for its red-hawk hastiness. Apparently PPU, like Jon Snow, knows nothing.)
The final vote on Canada was 15 ayes, 8 nays, and 7 abstentions. So much for Canada being America’s best friend. Maybe next session will feature a budget increase for the United States military, because marching into the vast Canadian expanse in this weather is not going to be cheap.