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Sorry, Not Sorry!

by Steve Desroches

Everything is more polite in Canada, including their political scandals. Our gentle giant neighbor to the north is embroiled in a tumultuous campaign season as the Canadian federal elections set for October 21 approach. The handsome and charismatic prime minister Justin Trudeau, son of the immensely popular late prime minister Pierre Trudeau, is fighting to stay in office, seeing his popularity slip as many felt he over-promised reforms prior to coming to power in 2015, and then standing accused of trying to influence an ongoing criminal investigation into a Quebec-based construction company, and most recently, there surfaced several photos of Trudeau from the 1990s at costume parties in blackface.

Showing it is a robust democracy with functioning checks and balances, the prime minister’s power is being challenged, and Canadians will decide his fate. The entire campaign and election will wrap up in 40 days total, and the debate, at least by American standards, has been sober, calm, and respectful. Compare that to our system in which presidential campaigns seem to begin the day after the election, millions and millions of dollars in dark money heavily influence the process, vicious lies are spewed over cable networks that more closely resemble propaganda machines, and then, regardless of who most Americans vote for, an antiquated system puts into office a bloated orange madman who calls neo-Nazis “good people,” cozies up to dictators while insulting our closest allies, and asks foreign governments to investigate his political rivals. It makes the whole situation in Canada look downright quaint. For Toronto-based dual citizen comedian Maggie Cassella, straddling the border in these strange days is comedy gold.

“This thing with Trudeau came out two seconds before I went on stage,” says Cassella about a recent gig in the States. “I went out and said, ‘I’ll take our political assholes over your political assholes any day.’”

Photo: Josh Fee

Cassella is certainly no stranger to Provincetown, as she spent 20 summers here performing her show Because I Said So, a concept that she turned into a Canadian talk show. She’s also been a staple of the Women’s Week line up for just as long. A lawyer by training, Cassella’s a crowd favorite for her straight talk and rapid-fire delivery, turning exasperation into big laughs. But these days people are often not in laughing moods on either side of the border, even though the situations pale in comparison.

Cassella returns to tiny Provincetown, an oasis of sanity in a crazy world, which is saying something, considering the town is known for its eccentric ways. Whether waving the maple leaf or the old red, white, and blue, the view across our 5,500-plus-mile border (8,851 kilometers for our friends who use the metric system) has done a complete 180. Canadians used to admire the United States, and Americans largely ignored Canada. Now many Americans say they’ll move north if an election goes sour, and Canadians think the U.S. has completely lost its collective mind.

“It’s a good thing you can’t tell I’m American,” says Cassella. “When people ask me where I’m from I just say, ‘I’m gay.’ If they find out you’re American, they ask, ‘What happened? What the hell is going on there?’ and ask you to explain the Electoral College to them. Who the hell can make sense of that?!”

In fairness, the parliamentary system – with its ridings and snap elections – confused Cassella for a while. But then she just did what she does best; she makes fun of it all, which is easy to do in Toronto, a city long famous for its comedy heritage and scene. Cassella became an important part of that comedic community when in 1996 she founded We’re Funny That Way! an LGBT comedy festival that continues to this day. Conventional wisdom says that to be a successful comedian you need to be in New York or Los Angeles. Not so, says Cassella.

“Sadly, a lot of Canadians think they have to move to the States to make it,” says Cassella. “That’s changing a bit, though. Toronto is a really important comedy city. There are people making things happen here and showing you don’t have to go to America. There is some amazing stuff happening in Toronto.”

Maggie Cassella presents All American Canadian at The Club, 193A Commercial St., Friday, October 11 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, October 12 through Sunday, October 20 (except Tuesday and Wednesday) at 2 p.m. Tickets ($30) are available at the  box office and online at For more information call 508.487.1527.

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Graphic Artist

Ginger Mountain

Ginger Mountain (MS Communications Media, BA Fine Arts/Teaching Certification K-12) has been part of the graphic design team at Provincetown Magazine since 2008. Ginger has worked as a creative director, individual contractor, and freelance designer with clients representing many areas —business software, consumer products, professional services, entertainment, and network hardware to name just a few — providing creative layout and development of a wide range of print media content. Her clients ranged from small local businesses to large corporations and Fortune 500 companies, from New Hampshire to Georgia

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