It is the dear dead days of summer, when nothing happens and nothing should. Children are sent to camp, where in tents after dark they are informed by the older boys how babies are made.
Dad, on the porch before sundown, is told that two gins are enough before the barbecue is fired up. Even news editors fall asleep, desperately trying to fill front pages with something significant, which ends up being who has left who in Hollywood and which Beade is near death.
Into the vacuum comes the annual stock-taking, a serious analysis of the state of the nation, the nation in question now being the thirdbest land on the globe in which to live, behind Norway and Somebody. The only man in the country who cant speak either of the two official languages has to find a new speech topic.
ATLANTIC CANADA: A region slow to anger, tolerant of all. As low man on the totem pole, it has grown accustomed to abuse. There is, however, something called pride. The premier of all Upper Canada, a man famous for his tin ear, has managed without sweat to insult all these fair folk by comparing them to welfare bums who win the lottery and still want their cheques from Ottawa. This insensitivity, familiar from the Mike Harris who tried to stiff the Dionne Quintuplets, has finally reached the Maritime shores. Ignore him; he’s a twit. Meantime, observe with amusement Brian Tobins desperate summer attempt to learn French so as to position himself for 24 Sussex Drive. Forget it. The bilingual Frank McKenna of New Brunswick will be the next Liberal leader.
QUEBEC: Bernie Landry, a pale imitation of René Lévesque, has confessed on a tour of Belgium that he is a great Canadian and separatism is far from his mind. As he should, since he will never recover from his “red rag” goof. The death of Mordecai has just brought forward once again fond memories of his delicious mocking of the xenophobic nature of the hard-core separatists. Nothing can survive satire.
ONTARIO: Not a good year for Toronto, centre of the universe. Motormouth Mel, he of the cannibal pots, of course helped his city’s Olympic bid gather a lot of African and Third World votes. The town revealed its gaping innocence in actually thinking it had a chance against China, which was jobbed last time by two bribed votes. Toronto Star will take some time to recover its reputation after its juvenile, cheerleading hokum
about a bid that was the impossible dream. And Mikey, supposedly a national figure by heading the richest, largest province, proves with his “welfare” slur that his Peter Principle level was as a golf instructor.
MANITOBA: No one pays any attention to Manitoba, with good reason. Manitoba doesn’t care about that, with good reason. An ecologist boffin has just revealed that the greenhouse-warming threat will melt the glaciers in the Rockies, thus drying up the rivers flowing from there to Hudson Bay, and Lake Winnipeg will be reduced to buffalo grass. Manitobans, inured to excitement, went back to sleep.
SASKATCHEWAN: Statistics Canada has just released figures showing the province has the highest crime rate in the land. The home of socialism under the Rev. Tommy Douglas does not like to admit the figures are due to the inability of addressing the problems of the aboriginal population gravitating to the cities of Regina and Saskatoon. And Canada tried to lecture South Africa on how to conduct its affairs.
ALBERTA: While trying to shuck the shame of having produced Stockboy Day (his riding is now in B.C., after all), the province says the Kyoto accord, approved by Ottawa, will ruin its energy cash cow. Even worse, this reminds the oilpatch of the hated National Energy Policy, devised by a bright young semi-demi-socialist named Ed Clark in the office of Energy Minister Marc Lalonde. “Red Ed” was hung in effigy at the Petroleum Club every lunch over the rye-and-ginger. Ed Clark, as we speak, has been revealed to Calgary as a raging capitalist on Bay Street, No. 2 in the hierarchy of the TorontoDominion Bank and the heir-apparent to replace within a year or so chairman Charlie Baillie, he of the yellow slacks.
BRITISH COLUMBIA: There is nothing more dangerous than an insecure man trying to prove that he is tough (see Joe Clark). This the major weakness of rookie Premier Gordon Campbell, too nervous to back down from a dumb campaign pledge, that being to hold a provincial referendum on Indian land claims. It is as dumb as Day’s election campaign promise of having national referendums, once ensconced at Sussex Drive, on abortion and the death penalty and, possibly, jaywalking. The native peoples say they will block every highway in the province. They will. He will learn. He will back down. Such is life. In summertime.
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