All photos via Kadeem Ellis.
“I’m not able to answer the church bells right now. I’m in a sermon,” the throaty, voicemail message of Carlie Ritch, aka Mizz Barbie Bitch, informs me. Her voice sounds exactly the way a cat’s would if it could speak English.
I’d been trying to get in touch with the dominatrix and self-proclaimed high priestess who is running for Mayor of Toronto for a couple of weeks at this point, and I wonder if I’m imagining her strange answering machine message. Then I realize no, we’re talking Toronto politics here, where reality televison-esque characters reign, and policy often seems to come second.
Now that everyone’s favourite horse-riding dreadhead Sarah Thompson has just dropped out, Ritch can now claim the title of least conventional candidate, a far cry from the be-suited John Torys and David Sonackis of the race. For the record, it’s not Ritch’s job as a dom that makes her so unconventional, it’s her ideas, as I was to discover when she called me back. But in a city where the sordid life of our mayor has become a musical, she’s not too out of place.
Anyway, once we finally got on the phone, here’s what she had to say.
VICE: Given your status as High Priestess, tell me from the beginning, how your church came to be.
Carlie Ritch: I was raised Catholic, made all my sacraments, was confirmed, everything. And I was denied absolution when I went to Montreal to Notre Dame. It was Labour Day weekend many years ago, and—I’ll never forget this—I put on a Goth festival, and a coffin almost fell on me. We were loading it off the stage, and it nearly almost killed me! It grazed my back, everything. That was right before I went to Montreal.
I should have known something was up right then and there. [I went to mass in Montreal] and I look over and see this very ornate confessional, with a hot pink cross. I said ‘Father, it’s been a while since my last confession. Here are my sins.’ I said I don’t know if I believe in any god. Why does god make somebody suffer? I see so much sickness. I said that Jesus didn’t actually die on the cross, that he lived, and that Mary Magdalene went on to have his children, and they had a tomb and he had up to nine kids. Just stuff like this.
And he goes: ‘Ay yi yi yi yi yi yi! Your sins are greater than this! How can you ask for forgiveness if you don’t even believe in God?’ So, yeah. Denied absolution. And because I’m not married, I lied to the priest to get my children baptized. If God loves all creatures, great and small, should God not love my children? I merely pointed out some very valid points, I must say.
Ok… So what does your church look like?
No matter who you are, in any way shape or form, you will be allowed to come to my church. As different as you want to be, you can be different, because we’re supposed to accept people for who they are. We’re supposed to be equals. It’s in the Ten Commandments, but that’s not the case at all. How come the pope is not equal? Go to my church’s website. It’s run out of my condo. I’ve got altars, and all kinds of stuff. In my church, here’s the difference: God is supposedly a man. Not in my church. It’s a woman. That’s right. It’s the woman that gives birth and that bears you. So they should be the most supreme in that way.
Of course. Carlie, tell me a bit about your mayoral platform.
We could actually have rooftops that had solar panels. There all these little nuances that make it so hard for solar panels. You realize that it’s rather expensive but you’re like, why don’t more people get into that market? [Laughs] It’s a simple solution.
Why don’t they make them a little less expensive, open up a few more branches of them, and that will control the hydro? Even if they had some rooftop garden, something that gave back to the environment, rather than it being such a waste of space… Like, I just don’t get it. I’ve lived in one of those condos down on Fort York, and I just don’t understand why they’re not greener.
There’s nothing in place to enforce child support. Why? It’s funny that that’s the only debt that can be exonerated. You can’t exonerate a student loan, you can’t exonerate anything like that. But you can exonerate child support, you can wipe it off. These are issues that I just don’t get.
Somebody actually commented on my interview with the National Post saying, ‘Oh that sounds like a good idea, going after parents for child support.’ And she goes, but that’s [a provincial responsibility]. And I’m like, 'OK, provincial turns around and they say what the parents should be paying!' … There’s no government that actually enforces it.
We don’t have any nutrition programs in our schools. You know we’re raising a bunch of little monsters.
The transit situation is, in addition to children’s nutrition, one of the most fucked up things about Toronto right now. No one can get anywhere, no one can move while they’re on the streetcar… What do you think should be done to alleviate that?
I’ll tell you. We definitely need subways, and we definitely need above ground transportation. We need both. If we wait for just a subway line, we’ll be waiting too long, and it’s too costly. Stations like Kennedy should be extended to go east. OK? And then eventually extended out further, like say Morningside or something like that, you know?
It’s something we don’t have enough research on. It’s a good idea, but we don’t have all the facts on it. There’s so much they’re shrouding, and so much they’re not telling us and making public. Let’s face it: I’m not privy to that fabulous four information. We’re only hearing what little snippets we hear in the news. We’re not hearing, you know, the nitty gritty. So I think more information needs to be exposed to us.
Everything should be done. The Gardiner, it’s falling apart!
It’s a joke. We need to reconstruct the Gardiner! And we need to get resources. If we actually went after deadbeat parents, let me tell you something. We would make enough money to pay the deficit ten times over. And the amount of money owed to childcare is astounding.
So speaking of work, you’re well-known for working as a dom. How do you think that will come into play in this kind of stuffy political climate as we lead into Election Day?
Let me tell you, a dom stands for absolute, complete authority over bad behaviour. We stand for respect. We actually have morals. That’s something our city has gotten away from. We’re just bickering and fighting, and we are mudslinging, but nobody’s actually getting into the ring and saying: ‘OK, let’s slug it out. Let’s duke it out, and we’re going to come out with one absolute winner.’
So at the end of the day, what do you think is a more powerful role? Being a mayor or being a dom?You know what, to be honest, I think it’s to be a dominatrix. You have total power over that person. You have complete and utter control over your background, your setting, what you’re going to wear, what you’re going to do. Keep in mind people have their guidelines. If people don’t like feet, I’m not going to put my feet in their face, right? But at the same time, it’s a whole fantasy right? It’s written by you, illustrated by you, constructed by you, and thought out by you. It’s complete and utter control in every possible way. You don’t have control over the weather, but in your dungeon, you do have control over that.
Whether it’s going to be too cold or too hot—it’s called a thermostat. You know that partner is a willing partner, to submit to you in every way they can, with total control given to you.
If you take a mayor, you’ve got 44 councillors. So you have to have 44 votes to yea or nay or anything. Well, I don’t have that. See what I mean? You gotta think about it. There’s two words for that: ball gag. You don’t have to worry about anything. That’s what it is.
You have way more control being a dominatrix, you have the absolute power, authority, everything. Not so with the mayor, right?