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Family Day fish story

John Bell

February 19, 2023

Amidst a swirl of corruption scandals, growing popular outrage over healthcare privatization and willful environmental destruction in the Greenbelt, the Doug Ford government has decided to throw the people of Ontario a bone. A fishbone, to be precise.

As a special treat for the holiday weekend, DoFo  & Co™ announced that from February 18 to 20, everyone can fish without a licence or fee. “So gather your friends and family, grab your gear and head out to your favourite fishing spots this Family Day long weekend.”

Socialist Worker has obtained highly classified, inter-office memos leading up to the joyous announcement:


From: Gil Parm, Minister of Red Tape Reduction

To: Doug, Cabinet

Great idea Sir! But why cut that silly conservation stuff for just the weekend? Let’s just get rid of all limitations on hunting and fishing. That would let us eliminate unionized positions that I am sure are overpaid, and would surely please the Bass Masters and hunting guides lobby. After all, if it’s a stag and doe you’re after, these are the people who can make it happen.


From: David Piccini, Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks

To: Doug, Cabinet

Inspired, Dear Leader! Let me second Gil’s idea to make this permanent. You know one of the tedious things we are supposed to do is protect “endangered” species. What are we, woke gatekeepers wrapped in red tape? But if we get rid of all the overpaid people who are park rangers and game wardens, and the scientists who keep track of how many varmints are left, we just won’t know if animals are endangered or not. Voila, problem solved!

BTW, do you think we can increase people’s enthusiasm for this if we include something like “head for your fishing spots for Family Day, because they might not be there come summer if they’re in the Greenbelt”?


From: Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Francophone Affairs

To: Doug, Cabinet

Wonderful, Great Helmsman! Just popped into this discussion to thank David for saying “voila”, and to encourage all cabinet ministers to use at least one cliché “en francais” per memo.


From: Sam Oosterhoff, PA to Minister of Red Tape Reduction

This pleaseth me, My Lord! After all, there should be no Gatekeepers midst field and stream, only Promisekeepers. Who are we to limit access to the Lord’s bounty.

BTW, perhaps we could appeal to the evangelical constituency with a reference to the Apostle Peter, the Biblical fisherman. He didn’t have to buy a permit!


From: Stanley Cho, Minister for Seniors

To: Doug, Cabinet

This is why they pay you the big bucks, Master! We all know this has been an exceptionally mild winter and lake ice is thin or nonexistent, making ice fishing very dangerous. Might I suggest we arrange bus fishing trips for groups of elderly bed blockers to Lake Simcoe, and let nature take its course? I refer of course to you earlier memo entitled “Decreasing the Surplus Population”.


From: Vic Fidelli, Minister of Economic Development

To: Doug, Cabinet

I kiss your ring, Godfather. Now maybe all the snivelling about high food prices will end. Shut up, get out there and catch your own dinner, you damned slackers. Our dear friend and benefactor, Galen, might lose a few sales, but we all know he has been quietly moving into the private fish and game guiding business for years, which will more than compensate.

BTW, I don’t know if this is the right place to mention it, but I have a great idea for a new business. You have probably heard about this invasive species, the bighead carp, that is headed our way. You know, the great big MFs that jump out of the water and knock people out of their boats and sometime even kill them. We’re wasting a lot of money trying to keep them out of our lakes, which are great by the way. What are we, Fish Gatekeepers! Better let them in. Then we can market a whole new wilderness adventure sport that combines the thrill of fishing with the adventure of big game hunting. We could call it Carp Shooting, or Boat Banging. My kids suggested “Bangling” but I don’t think the people we are targeting will get it. 



From: Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education

To: Doug, Cabinet

An A+, Preemier! Just the distracshun we need right now. All I ever here people talking about, when I go to do my photo ops at Vaughan’s many Legion Halls and old fucks homes, is how they yurn to go fishing in the middle of winter, but they just can’t afford the license.

Like I always say, give the people what they want once we’ve told them what that is.

BTW, “Bangling”? I don’t get it.


From: Doug

To: Cabinet

Thanks for all the good ideas and feedback and especially all the richly deserved praise. You remind me why I pay you all that bonus $50 K a year.

But I can’t take all the credit for this great idea. My daughters, Krusty and Krispy Kreme have been after me for this for years, not to mention my old pal Gil Fisher from Scuttlebutt Lodge, just across the lake from my cottage at an undisclosed Muskoka location. But then I went to work 24/7-11 to make the dream a reality.

Don’t you worry, we will be getting rid of all this outdoors red tape – along with the red squirrels, red maples and red tail hawks – eventually. This is just a taste of great things to come. We don’t want any Gatekeepers bothering us when we open up our “Ring of Fire” in Northern Ontario. For more info see the memo entitled “Mordor”.

By the way keep your eyes peeled for some special you tube thingies starring your favourite premier, where I show people how to clean, gut and pan fry the many, many fish they may or may not catch. (It’s an old family recipe!)

BTW, don’t worry Stevie, I don’t get it either.


(Historical note: Parliamentary Assistant Oosterhoff is wrong about biblical fishers not being licensed, as he is wrong about so many things. In fact the licensing and taxation of the fishing industry in ancient Palestine was very important to the economy of the Roman administration.)


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