Blackout 2003: Another Black Eye for Ontario
Above: During the blackout, Ontario Premier Ernie Eves discovered that the petroleum product in his hair is a viable alternate energy source
TORONTO, ON (SP) — One week after the largest blackout in North American history, in which 50 million people across the eastern seaboard were suddenly without any electricity, the province of Ontario was still struggling to return to business as usual.
The blackout was province-wide, causing residents to lose all electrical power for up to 72 hours, and prompting Premier Ernie Eves to declare a state of emergency. Millions of Ontarians had to deal with crises ranging from being unable to use cell phones to having no means of brewing a pot of hot coffee. “Thank goodness I didn’t have to go into work the morning after the blackout first hit,” said Toronto resident Walt Reid. “Without three to four cups to get me going in the morning, I simply can’t think straight. The last time I had a headache that bad was at SARSstock, and that was from getting kicked and elbowed in the head repeatedly for over seven hours.”
Above: The blackout caused some people to realize how reliant they’ve become on their cell phones
However, as devastating as the temporary loss of these amenities was for the people of Ontario, many found it even more difficult to deal with the emergency conservation measures imposed in the wake of the blackout. In order to avoid the imposition of rolling blackouts until full power was restored, individuals were asked to refrain from using all non-essential electrical appliances. Toronto’s Jerry Reisman admits that he had mixed success in his energy conservation efforts. “I know that I wasn’t supposed to use my washing machine, but once I got down to my last clean pair of socks and underwear, my wife declared a household state of emergency which took precedence over the provincial edict,” he said. “On the other hand, I didn’t turn on the air conditioner once. I found that simply keeping the freezer door open had a very pleasant cooling effect. I didn’t even have to worry about any frozen food going bad since I already had to throw out the entire contents of my freezer as a result of the blackout.”
Premier Eves pledged to do his part to conserve energy by using some of the oily substance that he puts in his hair to fuel a gas-powered stove and kerosene lamps in his home. “Anyone who knows Ernie knows what a sacrifice that represents to him,” said former Premier Mike Harris. “I can recall some days at Queen’s Park when he’d spent two or three hours in front of the mirror meticulously styling his hair with some of that greasy kid’s stuff, in preparation for Question Period.”
Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman also contributed to the conservation effort by promising not to make any public statements until further notice, thereby precluding the inevitable need to spend a tremendous amount of electrical energy holding press conferences to retract or apologize for his remarks.
Above: Until full power was restored, Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman promised he’d speak to Noooooobody!
Businesses were also directed to reduce energy consumption as much as possible, such as by turning off all lights and air conditioning units. As a result of such measures, office towers such as First Canadian Place and Scotia Plaza used about 30% less electricity than immediately before the blackout. However, electrical usage in the offices of both federal and provincial members of parliament remained unchanged before, during and after the blackout, despite the imposition of similar measures. Prime Minister Jean Chrétien was busy entertaining guests in his chalet in the Laurentiens, and was therefore unavailable for comment. Nor could any other member of the Liberal Caucus be reached for comment. A spokesperson for the Liberal Party assured Satiric Press that they were all hard at work preparing for the fall legislative session.
Ontario residents have found it difficult to comprehend why it was taking so long to restore power to full capacity throughout the province when New York City was able to do so within approximately 24 hours. The official explanation is that Ontario has antiquated power generation facilities and fewer sources from which to import additional energy. However, Satiric Press has learned that the delay is actually the result of political undercurrents. Apparently, the Bush administration has taken the position that Ontario’s Darlington and Pickering nuclear reactors were the cause of the blackout, and that both reactors are being used to produce weapons-grade uranium. Bush has warned Chrétien that any attempt to put these reactors back online would be considered an act of war. Bush’s senior policy advisor Carl Rove told Satiric Press that military action against Canada was entirely possible, although it likely wouldn’t begin prior to the New Hampshire primary in February, and definitely wouldn’t extend beyond next November’s presidential election.
Above: President Bush claims to have “compelling evidence” that Ontario’s nuclear reactors are being used to produce weapons-grade uranium
Meanwhile, organizers of the recent SARS benefit concert in Toronto are attempting to stage a reunion concert to help compensate for the damage done by the blackout to Ontario’s economy. In order to promote the theme of energy conservation, no electrical lighting will be used to illuminate the stage, despite the fact that the concert will be held at night. The bands are also expected to play thematically-appropriate songs, such as ACDC’s ‘Back in Black’ and ‘Paint it Black’ by the Rolling Stones.
Some are surprised that Justin Timberlake is willing to take part in the reunion concert, considering the very unfriendly reception he was given the first time around. “Performing in total darkness, it’s much less likely that I’ll be hit by water bottles and rotten vegetables, as I was repeatedly at the first concert,” he explained.
Above: Teeny bopper Justin Timberlake displays his uncanny impression of Robert De Niro while claiming that he’s not intimidated by disgruntled audience members
Rolling Stones promoter Michael Cole was asked whether there might not be more deserving cities in which to hold a benefit concert, such as Baghdad, where many residents have been without electricity or running water for months, or Monrovia, where thousands of people are starving in the streets. “Adequate security would be the major stumbling block in Baghdad,” said Cohl. “Justin Timberlake wouldn’t be the only one risking life and limb if we held a concert there. As for Monrovia, the Rolling Stones may be willing to fly halfway around the world and perform for free in order to benefit a charitable cause, but they do expect to be provided with first class accommodations, such as the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. Do they even have a Four Seasons in Monrovia?”
Above: The Rolling Stones will perform for free to benefit third world poverty, but they still expect to receive first world amenities.