The camera finds our intrepid contestants along the northeastern coast of
Canada’s easternmost province. The conditions are cold and harsh. Three of them
are huddled together for warmth, while the fourth stands defiantly apart, his
manly moustache blowing in the blustery wind. A fifth contestant, LIZ, has
already been voted off the island for being entirely irrelevant.
JACK: What are you all complaining about? It used to be a lot colder at this
time of year, you know. Thanks to the hubris of humans, the Earth is warming,
with catastrophic consequences… unless I triumph in this contest.
MIKE: A word of advice: if you want to have a snowball’s chance in hell of
winning, ixnay on the lobalgay armingway. Trust me, nobody wants to talk about
that right now… On second thought, go right ahead.
STEVE: Personally, I have my doubts. Don’t we all like it better when it’s
warmer? Anyway, what the world needs now is oil, sweet oil. It’s the only thing
that there’s just too little of.
GILLES: Me, what I need right now is to be warm. Did anyone see a baby seal I
could hammer to death?
STEVE: I think you mean “a young seal that has moulted its first coat and is
living independently from its mother.” Here, you can use my rifle.
MIKE: Is that thing registered?
JACK: Speaking of topics to avoid with a ten-foot pole…
One of the contestants, STEVE, is in the midst of performing his latest
number, accompanying himself on the piano as always because he can’t bear the
thought of not controlling every last note of his message. This one is a ragtime
throwback to the 1920s entitled “The Prohibition Hustle.” As he finishes the
tune, the camera sweeps over the judges, who don’t seem terribly impressed.
JUDGE #1: I found that one a little weak, I’m sorry to say, Steve. It’s been
done before, you know what I mean? And it wasn’t a rollicking success the first
time around. Lots of bootleg copies, but not many legitimate sales, as I recall.
JUDGE #2: Yo, I definitely have to agree. It was way too rigid for my liking,
way too stiff. Music needs to follow some basic rules, but other than that, it
needs to be free. It’s like you locked up your mojo and threw away the key. You
need to loosen up, my man!
JUDGE #3: Yes, and I think you really misjudged your audience, too. They’re
ready for something a little more daring. You have to take some chances if you
want to win it all.
JUDGE #4: Agreed. Not your strongest performance, Steve.
HOST: All right, there you have it: thumbs down from all four judges. But what
do you, the viewers, think? Text us your vote at the end of the show. Coming up
after the break, though, Mike will be performing “Let the Bill Die,” a classic
made famous by Le p’tit gars de Shawinigan.
Fear Factor: Food
Our four contestants are gathered around one side of a table, facing the
camera. In front of each of them is a round serving tray covered with a silver,
domed lid concealing what they are about to be asked to consume. The host
reaches over and removes the lids one at a time, allowing each contestant time
to react. The first plate, in front of STEVE, is empty.
STEVE: What is this, a joke? You see, this is what happens if you don’t support
farmers: no more food. Is that what you people want? Bare cupboards and growling
stomachs from sea to sea to sea?
A second lid is lifted, revealing a poutine, cheese curds melting under the
MIKE: Well, I can’t eat this. It’s clearly chock full of trans fats and sodium.
My arteries will clog and my blood pressure will shoot up. What? No, I’m sorry,
you can’t eat it either, Gilles. Trust me, I know what’s best for you. You can
tell by all the letters after my name.
A third lid comes up, this one revealing a tossed salad.
JACK: Well, this looks healthy and natural. No need for labels when the
vegetables are so clearly… Wait a minute—Are those carrot shavings? Orange
carrot shavings? You know that orange carrots were most likely created in the
17th century by selective breeding, don’t you? That’s right: the precursor to
genetic modification! Well, if precision GMOs aren’t safe, how could clumsy
hybridization techniques be any safer? No, I’m sorry, I can’t eat this.
The host lifts the final lid, exposing a gourmet filet mignon plate, and
informs GILLES that it is made from the finest Kobe beef.
GILLES: Well, you know that we, in Montréal, we like the good food, for certain.
And it look good, yes. But I must be true to my principle and eat only local,
Québec food. Because if I eat this food, what will happen to the planet? Also,
there will be no jobs for the people of Québec.
Big Brothers in Arms
Our four contestants, forced to share the same dwelling for days on end, are
understandably at each other’s throats, and it’s all been captured by our many
hidden cameras. As we join them in the living room, they are sprawled out on the
sofa and chairs arguing about the propriety of spending taxpayers’ money to send
young Canadians to die on foreign shores.
JACK: We need to bring our men and women in uniform home from Afghanistan like
we said we would, and instead of buying new jets, we need to take that money and
give it back.
STEVE: To Canadian taxpayers?
JACK: To the poor nations of the world who are only poor because we exploited
MIKE: You’re right that we’re overpaying for those jets, but the people of
Afghanistan need us to finish the job we started.
GILLES: Maybe we should have think of that before we started that job.
STEVE: Well, what about Libya? Are you all sorry that we’re involved there?
They all speak at once, tripping over themselves to agree that of course
Canada needs to be involved in enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya. They then
fall silent and squirm uncomfortably in their seats. Crickets can be heard
chirping off in the distance.
Balancing with the Stars
The scene is chaotic. All four contestants are stumbling around the stage,
juggling taxes and spending initiatives, job creation schemes and power
development projects. The surface of the stage is sloping and uneven, with
hillocks and potholes scattered randomly about. Balls are being dropped left and
right, with the contestants frequently bumping into one another. It all
mercifully comes to an end, and the two commentators discuss what they’ve
COMMENTATOR #1: Well, that was not very impressive, was it? I got the feeling
they were all trying to do too much, didn’t you?
COMMENTATOR #2: Yes, definitely. They’ve got so many balls in the air, they
can’t possibly keep them all up there and maintain their balance, too. Why don’t
any of them think to reduce the burdens of both taxes and spending? There’s no
rule against that, is there?
COMMENTATOR #1: And credit card fee caps? Boy, when was the last time we saw
someone pull that one out? Didn’t Jack realize that would lead to more reckless
COMMENTATOR #2: You’re absolutely right about that. And what about the bailouts?
I know they’ve been popular lately, but I thought young Steve was dead set
against that kind of chicanery. What made him decide to go there?
COMMENTATOR #1: Your guess is as good as mine. And it’s strange how rare it is
to see a contestant stay on the flat part of the stage, isn’t it? So much
easier to remain in balance over there, but they avoid setting foot anywhere
near that area.
COMMENTATOR #2: Next!
The Not-So-Amazing Race
Unfortunately, after viewing all of these special election reality shows, you
may still find it hard to find a real winner in the bunch. There doesn’t seem to
be a single one of them who really believes that the money you earn belongs to
you. They’re all pretty much convinced that we’re too dumb to be left to our own
devices, too. They think they can spend large chunks of our money better than we
can—and they want to tell us what we can and can’t do with the remainder, as
We should sit them down at the boardroom table and fire the lot of them. Go and
rethink your views, we should say. Pick up a book once in a while, one that
challenges your pre-conceived notions and isn’t based on defunct economists like
Keynes and Marx. And get some exercise. You’re bloated and lazy, and it’s pretty
clear who the biggest loser is as a result: the Canadian citizen. So step aside,
all of you, and give your place to someone who will respect our right—and give
us back the means—to make our own decisions.