Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 02.14.05
Stanstead, Quebec


Get your buns off the table, eh?

OTTAWA | With Canada's overweight and obesity rate having doubled in the past two decades, the federal government today announced its National Weight-Loss Strategy, also known as The One-Bun Challenge.

"We've decided to engage Canadians in a manner they can relate to - through freakishly illogical but bizarrely popular fad diets," said federal Health Minister Ujjaal Dosanjh at a press conference in Ottawa, where he ceremoniously tore up a loaf of Wonderbread as a symbol of the new initiative.

According to the popular Atkins Diet, bread is the enemy, Dosanjh explained. Reminded by reporters that the Atkins Diet has become increasingly discredited and less trendy, Dosanjh said, "Well, you know, we're the Canadian government; we had to wait for a two-year Royal Commission to complete its findings. So, yes, maybe it's not entirely up to date. But our research department - some guy named 'Jared' - assures us that we're on the right track."

The One-Bun Challenge doesn't ask Canadians to give up all bread products, just to limit themselves to one bun or bread-like equivalent a day.

"If we all work together, we can all lose a little weight," said Dosanjh. "Sure, that will mean Canada's previously svelte constituency may drop a few pounds as well but collectively, we'll be a lighter nation.

And that's the Canadian way - working together, making sacrifices jointly, and not ticking off the powerful Alberta beef lobby."

According to the One-Bun Challenge fact sheet, research shows that Canadians dining out tend to devour the entire contents of the complimentary bread basket prior to their meals arriving, resulting in unneeded calories, skipping the main course and heading straight for the desert trolley. When asked why they felt such a need to devour all the buns, the majority of respondents replied that "If I don't eat them, they're just going to be thrown out and I hate waste, don't you, dear?"

"But," Dosanjh said, "buns lead to crackers and crackers lead to cheese, jam, and in my case, smoked salmon and Marshmallow Fluff. Mmmm, nummy nummy."

As part of the Weight-Loss Strategy, the federal government will subsidize restaurants to individually package their buns and dinner rolls in those hard-to-open cellophane wrappers.

"It is true that the manufacture and disposal of these bags will lead to more greenhouse gasses," Dosanjh said. "But that whole Kyoto thing wasn't really working out anyway."

The strategy will see all Canadian homes receive a brochure offering tips such as "Knowing the Bun Warning Signs" (putting the kettle on, sticking your finger in the peanut butter jar) and "Bun-Free Recipes" (hamburg steak, rice cake-wich, lettuce wraps, Bill Graham crackers).

This will be accompanied by a media campaign featuring gaunt Canadian celebrity Rex Murphy, who will urge Canadians to "make it incumbent upon yourselves, whether with aforethought or under the duress of our prevailing patrimonial climate, to confront the tyranny of the bun, inasmuch as one has the will to parlay theory into concrete deeds."

The One-Bun Challenge is only the first of a number of national strategies to be launched by the Paul Martin government.

Later this year, Ottawa plans to reveal its One-Gun Challenge, a follow-up to the disastrous Canadian Gun Registry Program. In this new approach, gun owners will simply be asked to limit their number of firearms to one. Pretty please.

This will be followed in 2006 by the Won-ton Challenge, which is aimed at supporting Canada's floundering Chinese restaurant industry. (With three Challenge registrations, you get egg roll.)

Ottawa is also looking at the One-Nun Challenge (everyone should befriend a religious sister so as to benefit from their liturgical wisdom) and the One-Pun Challenge which hopes to curb the use of corny wordplay and bad jokes on the part of Canada's newspaper columnists. Word has it that there is not much optimism for the success of this last strategy.