Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 06.20.05
Stanstead, Quebec


The Hollywood History of Canada
Part 6: Confederation or bust!

It is 1839. Rebel forces in Upper and Lower Canada have been crushed under the iron fist of the British Empire. Vowing revenge and seeking access to cheap health care, the rebels under plucky leader Louis-Joseph Papineau kidnap Governor General Lord Durham.

The commandos enclose Lord Durham in a badly tuned spinet and use mind-control techniques learned from an Iroquois spirit man named Chappahumpawe (AKA Chad) to force Lord Durham to issue a report calling for responsible government.

However, the rebels are betrayed by William Lyon Mackenzie, who amends Lord Durham's Report to include a provision uniting Upper and Lower Canada and making a doughnut-heavy diet mandatory for children under sixteen.

For this, the Empire agrees to refer to Mackenzie in all official documents as "William 'If I Said I Didn't Love Him I'd Be' Lyon Mackenzie. However, he is cursed to go down in history as the first mayor of Toronto.

With the Canadas united, an uneasy alliance is formed between the rebels and the Empire. Through a period of mutual suspicion and a series of musical numbers, the colony somehow manages to thrive.

In 1854, Canada and the United States sign the Reciprocity Treaty, which results in an economic boom for Canada, especially among dictionary manufacturers as people seek to learn what "reciprocity" actually means.

But lurking in the shadowy background like a backgroundish shadowy thing is a growing threat from the Evil Republic to the south. The American Civil War raises the spectre of invasion. And U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, in collusion with Dark Powers, creates an insidious Force to weaken the minds of the People of the North: country music.

At the same time, the Canadian legislature is plagued with constantly changing governments and spitball fights. Ottawa is named the capital. Canada is in terrible shape.

Who will save her?

On a cool night in June 1864, a dashing young Scot named John "Aces" Macdonald is passed out on a statue of Queen Victoria when he is visited by the ghost of Samuel de Champlain who tells Macdonald that he is The One. He is infused with the spirit of a unified British North America as a means of withstanding threats from the Republic and developing really pretty Canadian dollar bills.

Macdonald awakens and dismisses the vision as the result of too many daiquiris. A few evenings later, he is sitting in the tavern with his fellow legislators when one of them, Frederick Beltshaw, stands up and starts dancing, swivelling his hips just so.

Someone leans over to Macdonald and asks him, "Are you pro or con Fred's gyration?" But Macdonald hears "confederation" and knows the Champlain vision to be true.

And so, with plucky sidekick George-Étienne Cartier and comic relief George Brown, Macdonald sets off on a pilgrimage to Charlottetown. En route he wards off Indian attacks, wrestles a bear, has a passionate but ill-fated love affair with an Acadian seamstress named Doris, and invents ice hockey.

At Charlottetown in September 1864, Macdonald offers a rousing speech to delegates calling on them to create a united force to fight the Dark Powers. This is met with many huzzahs and a stirring symphonic soundtrack.

Another conference is planned for Quebec City the following month. But the entire delegation is nearly prevented from attending when the Dark Powers of the Republic, using Masonic rituals and many packages of gelatine, envelope the city in a force field.

All seems lost until future prime minister Pierre "Spaceman" Trudeau appears in a time machine and uses laser guns and raw sexual energy to cut through the force field and save the day for Canada.

The Canadian delegates at Quebec hammer out the basis for union, setting in motion events that lead to the British North America Act in 1867 and the birth of the Confederation. The Dark Powers are defeated!

Or are they…?

Next time: The Railroad to Hell!