(Ottawa, ON) In a meeting with Quebec Premier Jean Charest earlier today, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper gradually came to realize that the hundreds-year history of Quebecois nationalism was part of a meticulously-orchestrated hoax. The practical joke, which included conspirators dating as far back as New France founder Samuel de Champlaign, constitutes one of the most deep-seated plots of good-natured ribbing in North American history. Charest, who was speaking to Harper in a close-door session regarding the future of Quebec sovereignty, claimed the time had finally come to let the Conservative leader in on the rollicsome centuries-old put-on.
“Now’s the time,” Charest told reporters. “I mean you try to talk to Stephen about issues of Quebec independence and he gets this little wrinkle in his brow and his mouth starts to twitch a bit in the corner–it’s just too mean.” Before tapping Harper on the shoulder and pointing him towards a hidden camera which had been mounted inside an oil painting of Lord Durham, Charest had spent the preceding four hours presenting a 69-point plan for Quebec independence from the Dominion of Canada.
Charest’s 800-page debriefing report contained a pie-chart breakdown Quebec’s GDP (which figured bootleg Iron Maiden t-shirts, single cigarettes and cabane-de-sucre tourism as jointly accounting for 88% of the province’s annual income), a green-shift plan predicated on the reduction of carbon emissions resulting from a transition from automobiles to unicycles, and mock-ups of Quebecois currency depicting Guy LaFleur, a group of trapeze artists, the 2008 Montreal Canadiens riots, and Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome. One of the more controversial documents revealed the Royal 22e Regiment of the Canadian Forces to be a standing army of professional devilstixmen. “Frankly, I’m surprised he didn’t figure out that I was yanking his chain,” Charest said. “I mean Stephen’s always had a bit of a hard-on for the Confederation, but come on. We even had a pregnant nun knock on the door halfway during the meeting to ask if she could borrow a splash of rum. It was an open mockery.”
Upon being let in on the on the extravagant gag, Harper–whose reaction was accompanied by a precisely-placed glissando from a slide whistle, which punctuated the hilarity of the whole thing–remained slack-jawed for a few seconds, before reportedly doubling over and slapping himself on the knee. “It really was a good little prank,” Harper told reporters. “Jean showed me all these internal memos and even an extended take of DeGaulle’s Viva le Quebec libre speech that ended with ‘…NOT!’ I was a bit annoyed at first, but now I can see that the whole thing is pretty funny.”
The shenanigan, which was perpetrated by such prominent heads of state as Charles DeGaulle, Maurice Duplessis and Rene Levesque, soon made headlines across Canada. While many were baffled at precisely how an entire province of Quebecois citizens had been able to keep quiet about the caper for generations, the variously fiendish intricacies of the hoodwink were applauded by many in the Canadian comedy industry. “What a gas,” journeyman satirist Rick Mercer told the press. “I thought we were testing the limits on the RMR, but now my whole career looks downright workmanlike by comparison. A tip of the cap, Quebec. Bravo.”
“Who me?” responded former Blackfly star Colin Mochrie. “Well I’ve got a new commercial coming out next month, and my second Little Mosque cameo. And I’m currently looking for a publisher for the second in my series of bathroom trivia readers. Wait, what?”
Other Canadian comic personalities were reportedly distressed at the ramifications of Quebec’s elegant comedic yarn. “The whole thing has just got me shook,” said first lady of Canadian comedy Luba Goy. “My whole life I felt certain of what I was doing, but now? It renders the whole idea of the Chicken Canon facile. Pointless. I spent the better part of the afternoon talking Roger Abbott off a ledge.”
When questioned about the humdinger, and its effects on the present landscape of Canadian comedy, Charest reported that the province’s intent was not to make the rest of Canada feel inferior about their comedic ambitions. “We were just trying to the stir the pot a bit, you know? Sure sure, maybe it got out of hand, but once we got Laurier in we knew we were going all the way. And is not like we don’t find some of these other Canadians funny. I mean we love that uh, how you say, Butt? Brent Butt? Off the CTV Corner Gas. And who is the other one, with the charity work? Oh yes, uh, national Man Wid Broom Leslie Neilsen,” Charest and his cabinet proceeded to break into a fit of laughter for 90-or-so seconds before regaining composure. “No, but seriously.”