I'd heard tales of the coming of the Defend Marriage bus, a motorized supercoach thundering its way across the country to save civilization. I want to ride that bus.
Shooting a film that deals with the subject, we finally have something to photograph. Full-page newspaper ads raging in the Sun, National Post and other papers seem to indicate that this suddenly materialized mass movement is big enough to affect the rotation of the planet.
"Disaster! Suicide! Pedophilia!" One screams, "Our greatest Canadian treasure is about to be dumped into the garbage can of history!"
This is Canada speaking, finally, with some help from busloads of dollars pouring in from Christian groups in the United States. The magic bus's mission: target individual MPs and let them know, with a bus in the face, that they will be punished both by God and the voters if they vote for ending civilization.
First target: Judy Sgro, former immigration minister. Sgro's office looks out onto a monstrous hydro-electric array. While there's plenty of electricity, where's the bus? A no-show!
When all hope seems lost, a gaunt, white-haired, American-style preacher, Dr. Rondo Thomas, who teaches at Canada Christian College, steps forward and speaks like he's talking to thousands, though there's only 25. The bus is apparently having problems with its air brakes, he explains.
A ripple of fear goes through the crowd. "I've been told there will be a counter-protest at the next stop. And it could turn violent," he bellows across the barren parking lot. "The police have asked us to kindly cancel our rally. Not a chance!" says Thomas defiantly. "This is war. And we need every soldier showing up for duty."
Then Thomas jumps into his black Lincoln Continental and takes off for the big demo. We follow. Twenty minutes later, we're at Immigration Minister Joe Volpe's office, across from the fab Lawrence Plaza shopping mall.
Thomas isn't kidding. The mounted horse unit is here, squadrons of yellow-jacket bike cops and dozens of uniformed police. Then I see the bus. Obviously, the brakes have been fixed, or maybe not. It floats down the street with its oddly windblown maple leaf insignia and the slogan "Defend Marriage" emblazoned on its side like a righteous brand on a sodomite's forehead. It magically comes to a stop. A stage and a red pulpit are pulled out of its guts and quickly erected.
Suddenly, in the distance, I hear the other demo. The words of Dr. Rondo Thomas ring in my ears. "This is war. We are engaging the enemy today." And there they are, about 150 activists bearing down on us. But who are they? Well, actually - OCAP, coincidentally onsite protesting for immigrant rights. The group marches past the Defend Marriage bus, looking bewildered. With OCAP gone, it's time to kick some sodomite butt.
Charles McVety, traditional marriage's grand fromage, steps up to the podium. The only thing standing between the world and the impending end of life as we know it: 19 people, if you include the guy setting up equipment. They've cancelled the demo, McVety says, because they didn't want trouble, but came anyway in case their people showed up. Some of the reporters look confused. And it's strange that the the protest could have been "cancelled" when it was still advertised on Defend Marriage's website days later. Hmmm.
As for the bus, at least it's packed full of believers. Or so I assumed. But one of our shooters slips on to take a picture. Its absolute emptiness speaks volumes. No one, it seems, rides this magic bus.