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Dear Pete

Lezlie Lowe’s open letter to a fellow hothead.

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Dear Peter MacKay,

On behalf of the membership of Hotheads Anonymous, it is my privilege to welcome you to the ranks of our hard-working organization.

Let’s tackle the elephant in the room. You’re not exactly anonymous, are you? You’re a member of the House of Commons, and Foreign Affairs Minister at that. We nevertheless feel our program can aid you after your recent alleged reference to co-worker and ex-girlfriend Belinda Stronach as a dog.

Let me assure you right off the bat that we are not interested in changing your opinions, only strengthening your resolve to keep your lips zipped when it counts. We in no way wish to judge you or your feelings.

We help you to help yourself, by supporting you through the time-consuming work of learning to keep your outbursts under control and to stash all those niggling, unseemly thoughts using our patented YIP™ training technique.

More on that later. Right now, let’s consider your specific case.

First off—congratulations. You did the only reasonable thing a hothead can do. You ran from the House before having to answer for your alleged outburst (that’s right, alleged: after all, no one here at Hotheads Anonymous heard you say it!).

And it’s a slap on the back and a second goal in the net for your follow-up play, to withhold comment as long as you could while waiting to see if anyone else could prove you had said it.

Then?

Deny. Deny. Deny.

Hat trick!

Your approach worked perfectly. Speaker of the House Peter Milliken announced Monday he couldn’t rule on whether you’d called Stronach a dog because the alleged slur wasn’t in the official House transcripts. (Good thing too, because otherwise the only thing to do would have been to resign. Ouch!)

But allow me to back up. Had you enrolled in our organization earlier (say, after you told Alexa McDonough during a live radio debate in January, “stick to your knitting”), you probably wouldn’t have found yourself in hot water today.

Why, you ask? The patented YIP™ training technique, of course!

It stands for You’re In Public. And it’s a phrase that each of our fellow Hotheads Anonymous members uses as a filter for inappropriate comments.

The idea is simple: when you’re in a room with other people, you’re in YIP mode. When an inappropriate comment rises to the surface (say, dismissively equating another member of parliament to a rocking-chair-bound granny—which, now that I think about it, is even an insult to grandmothers—or tagging a co-worker with a well-worn sexist reference at your place of business) don’t utter it aloud and then run away. Instead, say “YIP!” Try it with me now: YIP! YIP! YIP! YIP! YIP! YIP! Faster Peter! YIP! YIP! YIP! YIP! YIP! YIP! Great. You’re well on your way.

Of course, our members aren’t in YIP mode all the time. And after the right amount of training, you won’t be either. At home in the comfort and privacy of your own home, you’ll be in NIP mode. Not In Public. See? It’s simple. When you’re in NIP mode, you can say whatever you damn well please. Call your ex-girlfriends whatever you like. Complain about uppity women MPs! When you’re in NIP mode, anything goes.

A final note: may we also refer you to our associated organization, Bitter Ex-Boyfriends Anonymous, where you will find a number of like-minded individuals with whom to spend your NIP time.

Welcome to the program.

Sincerely, Hotheads Anonymous

Send your anonymous comments to: lezliel@thecoast.ca

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