According to Russian opinion polls, Vladimir Putin is a popular guy right now. According to Canadian polls, Greg Selinger is not. In the interest of restoring the popularity of Manitoba's premier, I hereby offer the following speech, free of charge (but not free of satire):
Friends, comrades and fellow citizens of Greater Manitoba, it is time to right a terrible historic wrong.
In recent months, we have witnessed the depravity of our historic enemy to the east, the Ontarians, who have chosen to shatter more than a century of interprovincial peace. They have once again set their greedy sights upon our fertile fields, our verdant forests and our ample garages full of snowmobiles.
As you recall, it has been 131 years since Oliver The Evil -- that is, Ontario premier Oliver Mowat -- sent his shock troops to the shores of Lake of the Woods and seized the Manitoba electoral district of Varennes.
During this illegal act, the Ontarian aggressors incarcerated Manitoba magistrates in the town of Rat Portage, battered down the door to the Manitoba jailhouse and freed criminals loyal to Toronto.
The Ontarians then claimed Rat Portage as their own. Mowat, in league with prime minister John A. Macdonald -- the man who hanged Louis Riel -- claimed Lake of the Woods was "disputed territory."
They did not recognize Manitoba premier John Norquay's claim over the lakes and forests of our dear, beloved Varennes. They did not respect the whisky parlours of Rat Portage.
After sweeping aside the law-abiding Manitoba conscripts, Mowat's forces proceeded to expanded Ontario's borders to the west. They also gave Rat Portage a new name -- "Kenora," which isn't a real place but an anagram of Rat Portage, Keewatin and Norman, three communities that fell under the boot of Toronto that have been separated from the Manitoba Motherland ever since.
The good citizens of Lake of the Woods have always considered this move unjust, even as wave after wave of unwashed and ill-tempered Ontarians boarded railcars in uncouth Hamilton, York and By-Town and disembarked on Matheson Dock, hell-bent on wreaking havoc on the inhabitants of Lake of the Woods.
The indigenous people of the lake never recognized Ontario dominion. Neither did their Manitoba allies, who continue to live out virtuous lives in their modest dwellings on the islands and bluffs of Lake of the Woods.
For 131 years, our Manitoba brothers and sisters have endured the Ontarian occupation with stoicism and grace. They have always considered themselves Manitobans and refused to fly the Trillium Flag, swear allegiance to the Maple Leafs or sing songs by the Barenaked Ladies.
They have resisted any and all attempts at Ontario assimilation. But this has not sat well in Toronto, where the economy is suffering and their leaders are devoid of ideas. It is even said the mayor of Toronto imbibes in tinctures of the Peruvian coca plant and flies off into wild rages at all hours of the night.
When Rob The Intoxicated looks to the west, he learns of a Winnipeg foodstuff known as the Fat Boy and desires it for his own.
He is seeking it, seeking it -- all his thought is bent on it. It is only a matter of time before Ford attempts to repeat the horrors of Rat Portage -- only this time, at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine.
Already, Kenora has expanded its borders, creating subjects out of the Manitobans on Lake of the Woods. The Ontarians are taxing our Toban brothers and sisters in the name of "providing services" to their own.
This shall not pass.
We must protect our fellow Manitobans by reclaiming what is ours: Rat Portage and all the lands illegally considered "northwestern Ontario."
We must move quickly and decisively. First, we will seize Devil's Gap and the entrance to Kenora Harbour. Manitoba forces in uniforms without insignias will patrol the waterfront. The Manitoba flag shall fly over the patio at Hap's Landing and all those who do not swear allegiance to bison and the prairie crocus will be exiled back to Barrie or Niagara Falls.
We will then hold a referendum, between the hours of 9:04 and 9:05 p.m. on April 1, with all the polling taking place at the new Lake of the Woods municipal office in Hadashville.
Then on April 2, we will annex the lands of eastern Manitoba and integrate them back into our republic.
We will do this to protect the Manitobans of Lake of the Woods. We will do this to right a historic wrong. We will do this to restore the glory of a just and beautiful Manitoba.