Meditating on a lost party

Times Colonist (Victoria)/January 27, 2004

A lot of bounce has gone out of the next federal election campaign, even before it begins. The Natural Law party has disbanded -- its candidates will no longer be yogic flying above the heads of a startled electorate.

As a political device, buttock-bounding has taken a prat-fall. No NLP candidate has ever been elected. The party gained more laughs than votes.

One yogic flyer took on Paul Martin in the 2000 election in LaSalle-Emard and got 273 votes to Martin's 32,069. NLP candidates finished last in most of the 50-odd constituencies they targeted, but they managed to do better than several Marxist-Leninist, Communist and Action Party candidates, and beat the New Democrats in seven Quebec ridings.

Natural Law members regarded as the highlight of their political lives the 1993 federal election campaign when party leader Neil Paterson was allowed to take part in a political debate on MuchMusic. It's been downhill since then, and although the party continues to exist in the U.S., it's thrown in the towel in Canada.

Part of the problem was that candidates for the party didn't always bother to campaign door-to-door. They said they didn't want to bother people.

And when they were asked what they promised if they were elected government, they said things like "bubbling bliss."

The party had, however, an ambitious campaign platform: It demanded major tax cuts, a ban on genetically modified foods, and remodelling of the Centre Block on Parliament Hill to remove all South-facing entrances.

Now the followers of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi say they're going to pursue their objective through colleges that teach transcendental meditation and on the Internet.

They still, apparently, are trying to round up 10,000 people to meditate through yogic flying to create the positive vibes necessary to create peace and harmony in the world.

We should wish them better luck than they had on the hustings.

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