Here’s what 2014 holds for Montreal and Quebec

Forget a year-end wrap-up — here’s what we think will happen in Quebec in 2014.

Photo via Flickr

This is the time of year where most media come up with their lists, summaries, reviews, retrospectives and resolutions. Well, how hard is that? All it takes to look back is 20/20 hindsight. Or if you mean it literally, a rear-view mirror or a head that can swivel.

So Quebec Ink has instead launched the first of 47 editions of The Year in Preview! (The author is eventually killed in a tragic terraforming accident in 2061 while witnessing the first attempts to grow baby carrots since the cataclysmic GMO crop failure of 2035, which instead re-animated a herd of T-Rexes which then … well, we don’t want to ruin the surprise. Let’s just say that Jeff Goldblum’s acting career is resurrected for the sequel. As is his corpse.)

So, starting small, here are the major news events of 2014.

Hearings begin on Bill 60.2, the Charter affirming the values of State secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between women and men, vegetables and minerals, Loto 6/49 and Quebec Max and tourtière and pâté chinois, and providing a framework for accommodation requests, breast enhancements, visits by the in-laws over the holidays and how to name legislation so that no one can remember what it was all really about in the first place.

Of the 200 briefs submitted, the Parliamentary Commission agrees to hear presentations from all of the 27 pro-Charter groups and an equal number of anti-Charter groups, whose representatives are selected by lottery and must first win a fight to the death wearing thigh-high skirts, six-inch stilettos and veils.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper loosens rules for media interviews with government scientists. In a press conference with lead researchers of the hither-to top-secret Task Force on Will the World End Before We Can Suck Every Dollar of Profit From the Oilsands?, it is confirmed that experiments on ground-water contamination were conducted using standard titration methods and 500mL Erlenmeyer flasks. Follow-up questions result in a lively discussion of vegetarian menu options for the post-news-conference brunch.

Justin Bieber announces that he is pregnant. Three weeks later, his media team issues a news release saying the pop star had a miscarriage during a rehearsal for his upcoming You Better Believe It tour. He replaces manager Scooter “Scooby-Doo” Braun with blind hip hop promoter Mostly Deaf. Deaf reveals that Bieber will be joined on tour by popular boy band One Dimension and their new transgendered lead singer, Chad Lavigne.

Assembly lines come to a complete halt at Molson, Labatt and two dozen micro-breweries after the delivery of hops is subcontracted to the Agence métropolitaine de transport. The city suffers a crippling beer shortage and the Montreal St. Patrick’s Day Parade is cancelled for the first time in its 191-year history.

The police anti-corruption task force, UPAC, descends on its own offices in a surprise raid and perp-walks itself past reporters.

The Parliamentary Commission on Bill 60.2 issues its report, which recommends that rules governing religious apparel apply to all citizens, not just civil servants. Among other new restrictions, women are forbidden from wearing skirts longer than six inches above the knee. Skirts must conform to one of six tartan patterns (on display at strip clubs across the city) approved by the new Ministry of Quebec Values.

Montreal mayor Denis Coderre announces he has given city jobs to everyone who ran against his party in the last election. Projet Montréal candidates refuse en bloc, since none of them know how to fill in “previous employment experience” on the application.

A provincial construction project is completed on time and under budget. Officials blame miscommunication after a supervising employee flipped the fireman’s calendar forward to Naughty November.

The Parti Québécois calls an election after an internal poll shows a 70-per-cent increase in support for the Charter.
The Parti Québécois cancels the election call after minister Bernard Drainville admits the poll was conducted around his dinner table at Christmas.

In honour of homeboy mayor Rob Ford, the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke changes its name to Etobicrack.

Road construction signs go up on every major and minor thoroughfare in the province.

Construction workers go on strike, demanding summers off, but the strike is put on hold during the upcoming construction holidays.

St-Jean celebrations are marred by an incident in which a Muslim woman wearing a burqa rejects a friendly gesture by a group of patriots who invite her to paint blue fleur-de-lys on her face and wear a beer hat as a sign of support for Quebec values.

Canada Day celebrations are marred by the annual Quebec moving day, which keeps thousands of citizens from enjoying massive fireworks displays from the Old Port, a unique event that only occurs every second or third night of the summer.

Anthropologists at the Université de Montréal unexpectedly unearth an anglophone who knows who Marie-Mai is. He is quickly re-buried.

The Champlain Bridge falls into the St. Lawrence River. Traffic is so slow that no one notices until after the construction holiday.

A Newfoundland fisherman catches the last known codfish. Moves to end the critical local industry known as Kissing the Cod are cancelled after organizers realize that tourists can’t tell a piece of cod from a codpiece. Gay strip bars introduce a new attraction called Kiss the Codpiece.

The Parti Québécois calls an election after the latest Léger poll shows support for the Charter has shifted from 48 per cent of decided electors to 49 per cent. The election is called off 12 hours later, after Premier Marois learns that 98 per cent of Quebecers swear they will pepper-spray the next person who mentions the Charter.

A massive Idol No More protest is held in Ottawa. In response, Ben Mulroney vows to continue hosting the singing competition despite calls for his giant head.

Popular Radio-Canada talk show Tout le Monde en Parle is cancelled after producers discover that every francophone in Quebec has already been on the show at least once.

The civic vote in Toronto sees mayor Rob Ford re-elected by a large margin despite recent admissions that he often ordered take-out even though there was plenty to eat at home.

Quebec billionaire Pierre Karl Péladeau buys the remaining three per cent of Quebec media, communication and entertainment businesses that he doesn’t already own.

A new Quebec law outlaws the wearing of masks or costumes for the pagan festival of Halloween.

Enbridge’s Southern Lights Pipeline bursts near Hardisty, AB, releasing 800,000 barrels of oil. Company spokesmen point out that clean-up operations will create 7,000 new jobs and there are now 800,000 fewer barrels of oil to spill.

The Harper government tables a new Omnibus bill on Nov. 7. It finishes tabling it on Dec. 4.

Quebec and Ontario are hit by a major blizzard dumping 40 cm of snow in 24 hours. Montreal tickets and tows 40,000 cars, including several from underground garages, but has the streets cleared within two days. No one can find Toronto.

Unable to conform to new rules governing ostentatious displays of gift-giving, Santa Claus skips Quebec, though his NORAD escort does an unexpected fly-by past the National Assembly.

Quebec Ink publishes its second annual Year in Preview. ■

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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