Rick Mercer clearly doesn’t think much of last week's panda-monium.
The CBC comedian used his rant on Tuesday night to poke fun at Canada’s new furry visitors from China, the prime minister who somehow found time to greet them and the news media that provided ample coverage of a couple of bears in a box.
“By the looks of it the 21st century may be ours because, thanks to Stephen Harper, our country Canada, the true north strong and free, has pandas,” he said. “And not just any pandas — giant pandas from China. Well, they’re not our pandas. They’re rental pandas. But at ten million bucks, they are awesome.”
With his tongue planted firmly in cheek, Mercer complimented Harper for “clearing his schedule” to greet the pandas in person at Toronto’s Pearson International.
“The only time he’s done that before was for Obama and the Queen,” Mercer said. “And this is way cooler because unlike those two, the pandas may mate on Canadian soil.”
The CBC comedian even mocked his own network’s fawning over the furry visitors.
“And kudos to my friends at the CBC News Network for their exhaustive coverage because I’m too young to remember the moon landing or the end of the Second World War so it’s nice to know what those events must have felt like,” he said.
After admitting he too has a soft spot for cuddly vegetarians who purr when the PM scratches them — “but enough about John Baird” — the comedian took a dig at Harper’s suggestion that the animals will help us “learn more about one another and ourselves.”
“Namely we can forget federal responsibility for national debt, youth unemployment or the sorry state of aboriginal schools because: we got pandas,” he said.
The end of Mercer’s rant — and specifically the reference to aboriginal schools and youth — may be related to the accusation that Harper prioritized pandas over Cree youth last week.
While the PM was busy greeting the bears in Toronto, a group of about 270 young trekkers completed a 1,600 kilometre journey from Northern Quebec to Ottawa in support of Idle No More.
“The Journey of Nishiyuu” culminated on Parliament Hill, where the trekkers were greeted with cheers from supporters and handful of politicians, including Green party leader Elizabeth May and NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.
“It says a lot that Stephen Harper isn't here, that he's greeting the pandas,'' said May. "It says a lot that we need to move heaven and earth to meet First Nations on a nation-to-nation basis with respect.''
Of course, the best panda-related joke from last week may belong to outgoing interim Liberal leader, Bob Rae.
“Maybe if the members who are unhappy dressed up like pandas the prime minister would pay them some attention,” he said.
Also on HuffPost:
Pandas Are Everywhere
Giant panda named Yang Guang explores his enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo in Edinburgh, Scotland, in this file photo dated Monday, Dec. 12, 2011.
Huan Huan (France)
Huan Huan, a female giant panda eats bamboo inside her enclosure at Zoo Parc De Beauval on January 25, 2012 in Beauval, France.
Yuan Zi (France)
Yuan Zi, a male giant panda walks inside his enclosure at Zoo Parc De Beauval on January 25, 2012 in Beauval, France.
Baby Panda (China)
A panda keeper feeds a four-month-old cub at the Panda Research Base in Chengdu, Sichuan province, on January 13, 2012.
Tian Tian (Scotland)
Tian Tian the female panda bear looks out from her enclosure as members of the public view her for the first time at Edinburgh Zoo on December 16, 2011 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Yang Guang (Scotland)
Male giant Panda Yang Guang (Sunshine) relaxes in his enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo on December 12, 2011.
Po And De De (Spain)
Panda cubs Po and De De discover their birthday cake during celebrations for their first birthday at Madrid's Zoo on September 9, 2011 in Madrid. The two panda cubs, born on September 7, 2010 in Madrid, are the first giant panda twins to be born by artificial insemination outside China.
Shin Shin (Japan)
Female giant panda Shin Shin eats bamboo at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo on April 1, 2011.
Po (United States)
In this handout photo provided by Paramount, Jack Black meets Dr. Hayley Murphy before the naming ceremony of Zoo Atlanta's baby panda February 15, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The panda was named Po in honor of the film, <em>Kung Fu Panda 2</em>.
Funi the Panda enjoys eating her birthday cake to celebrate her first Australian birthday at Adelaide Zoo on August 23, 2010 in Adelaide, Australia.
Shuan Shuan (Mexico)
Panda bear 'Shuan Shuan' is seen at the Guadalajara zoo on July 20, 2010.
Fu Long (Austria)
A Panda cub named Fu Long (happy dragon) eats a cake on his second birthday on August 23, 2009 at the Schoenbrunn zoo in Vienna. Fu Long is the first giant panda to be conceived and born in captivity in Europe.