How the PQ became our fashion police

In an effort to win the next election, our province’s current minority government is stooping to a sad low.

Yes, a beret. Photo via Flickr

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there lived a minority government that was desperate to find an issue that would bring it victory in the next election. But to do so, the TQ government would have to attract people who didn’t normally vote for their party. After all, not everyone agreed with the TQ’s main platform: turning the land of Quoibec into its own country.

One day, the queen of the party gathered her deputies together and asked them to come up with a plan. “We need to find something that will attract right-wingers to vote for our party instead of voting for the PUQistes and the CUQistes,” she said. “We need a wedge issue that will spark a furious public debate and distract people from how badly we’re doing our jobs.”

“I know,” said deputy Jeff, the Minister Responsible for Relations with People Who Don’t Vote TQ. “Let’s find an issue that really divides the people of Quoibec but is supported by a big majority of people who might vote for us. If we take a strong stand, we will steal votes from PUQ and CUQ!”

“I know the perfect issue,” interrupted deputy Bédé, the Minister for Cultural Cookie Molds. “I happen to have in my possession a study that shows most Quoibecers don’t like it when other people wear clothes that are different from their own. Actually, it’s not even clothes they object to most of the time — often it’s just a piece of cloth worn on the head. Anyway, most Quoibecers say they think that the best way to get these people to integrate into society is to make them take the cloths off their heads.

“Even among Quoibecers who speak with accents — and who’ll never vote for us anyway — 43 per cent think people shouldn’t wear head cloths in public, according to my survey.”

“But we can’t force people to take the cloths off,” said deputy Ledroit, who had gone to law school and knew about such things. “That’s a violation of their civil rights. As long as wearing their caps and scarves doesn’t hurt other people, you have to leave them alone.”

Jeff jumped up from the conference table. “I have a way around that,” he announced. “What if we only asked people who work for the government to take off their cloths? After all, we can already force some of our employees to wear uniforms. Why don’t we just adopt a law that says that NOT wearing cloths on your head is part of the government dress code?”

“Brilliant,” said the queen. “How many of our employees wear these cloths to work, anyway?”

“Well, not a lot,” admitted Jeff. “Almost none in the public service, none in the police, no prison guards either. But there are quite a few in the health profession, some teachers and a whole bunch of daycare workers — mostly women wearing scarves.”

“But those are all professions where we have a shortage of skilled workers,” Ledroit said. “What if they quit rather than take off the cloths?”

“They would have quit anyway,” said Bédé, “once their families realized that we didn’t want them here. Not if they’re going to insist on wearing those scarves and caps. It’s so … un-Quoibecish. They can move to Canadekistan, where even the police are allowed to wear cloths under their hats.”

“I guess the plan might work,” sighed Ledroit. “It’s not as if we’re asking them to hide their religion. We’re just dictating fashion.”

“What about our own supporters who sometimes wear their berets to work?” asked the queen. “Won’t they be upset when we tell them to take them off?”

“Not at all,” said Bédé. “There aren’t many who wear berets anymore, and those who do won’t mind putting them away when they get to the office.

“Besides, we’ll leave a big statue of a man wearing a beret in the legislature and another on the biggest hill in our biggest city. That will be a big wink to let our supporters know that the rules aren’t aimed at them.” ■

Peter Wheeland is a Montreal journalist and stand-up comic. His sardonic observations about the city and province appear every Wednesday. Follow him on Twitter, or find out about his upcoming stand-up performances here.

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