By Patrick Cartlidge
One of the enduring cultural legacies of Elvis Presley is the technique of using a gun for a television remote control. Whenever I sit through a Quebec referendum report on the tube, I contemplate the King’s savvy method of shutting off the media.
Normally, I would never consider such draconian methods to prevent death-by-boredom, but these are desperate times. Quebec stories have limited the airtime devoted to the plight of yet another God-fearing American, O.J. Simpson. The CBC and CTV have limited their O.J. coverage to mere fifteen-minute sound bites in favor of supposed “national issues.”
No more, I say. As a public service, I will predict the events of the days up to and including the October 30 referendum results. No further coverage will be necessary, and we can return to those lazy, hazy days of O.J. Here’s the lowdown:
October 19: PM Jean Chretien spends a day on the golf course. The count – YES 41%, NO 59%
October 22: On the advice of Oscar Goldman, Lucien Bouchard undergoes surgery to receive a bionic leg and bionic eyebrows. Reaction to the separatists’ stratagem is negative, but the polls flip-flop when the cost is revealed to be Six Million Canadian dollars. The count – YES 44%, NO 56%
October 24: Quebec Liberal leader Daniel Johnson tries to reunite the Jackson 5, with Jean Charest taking Tito’s spot and Dick Smyth warming up the crowd with his gentle humour. Public faith in the No side drops dramatically. The count – YES 49%, NO 51%
October 27: New sovereignist leader Mario Dumont denies that members of the PQ government refuse to stop rubbing his head for luck and calling him “Chachi.” An aggravated Jacques Parizeau tells reporters to “sit on it.” The count – YES 46%, NO 54%
October 29: Playing their trump card, separatists release videotape of Jean Chretiend trying to do that goofy “Macarena” dance. The count – YES 51%, NO 49%
October 30: Quebecers vote YES – 52 to 48 per cent.
October 31: Generalissimo Parizeau gives permission to France to conduct nuclear tests on Quebec soil. Mike Harris introduces a new policy of only paying for two of the wheels on new wheelchairs.
That’s the end of the story.
In the meantime, fellow Canadians, we should celebrate. This column will assure that the media will stop going for the easy story in Quebec. So sit down for some O.J., crack open the frozen cheesecakes, and share some with our soon-to-be-independent friends in Quebec. It’s what Elvis would want.