“Mr. Potato Head”


Tuber taunt for a Minister who won’t let an opposition MP get to the root of an issue.

Serving as Transport Minister in the Mulroney government in 1987, John Crosbie was fielding questions about why Via Rail and Air Canada were serving potatoes grown in Belgium even though Canadian spud farmers struggled to find a market.

While this question was always going to be a tough row to hoe for Crosbie, he found himself across the House of Commons from Liberal MP George Baker, himself no parliamentary small fry.

Calling Baker’s question “half-baked,” Crosbie noted that, “surely a baker would be concerned about a potato.”

Baker sizzled back that Canadians would start calling Crosbie “Mr. Potato Head, and perhaps Bud the Belgian Spud.”

“Mr. Speaker,” answered Crosbie, “The honourable gentleman is a real pomme-de-terrorist, if not a mashochist.”

But while Crosbie got the last word, Air Canada seemed to hear Baker’s a-peel. The airline decided to source more Canadian potatoes for their inflight meals.

One could say that being an agi-tater in the House paid off that day for George Baker.

[Parli is just grateful that the drama didn’t unfold south of the border, or else the Baker could have leveled his complaints at YAMtrack instead. Or even worse, the controversy could have been about potatoes aboard spacecraft, in which case the House would have been hearing all about SPUDnic.]

Image credit: Creative Commons; “Playskool Mr. Potato Head” by dollyhaul


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