New Brunswick — Don’t expect anyone to hold a door open for you or to help you change your flat tire. Premier Gallant announced Wednesday morning that he’s been inspired by a report of a group of church volunteers from Hamilton, Ont., who were turned away at the American border because they were potentially stealing construction jobs from able Americans.
“I read this article on CBC,” Gallant bragged, looking around to make sure everyone heard that he does, in fact, read the news, “and I thought it was brilliant! We’re dumb to be just standing by while volunteers steal jobs from New Brunswickers. Why are we letting people do things for free when somebody else could potentially be making money off of it? It’s insanity.”
Gallant said he first contemplated simply abolishing all volunteer activities in the province, but during a late-night brainstorming session with his canine companion Blaze, he decided to broaden his definition of “volunteer” to mean anyone who helps anyone with anything at all.
“No more getting your friends to help you move your futon,” Gallant said as an example. “You’ll have to hire movers for that. No more finishing your friend’s sentence if they can’t think of the right word — there are writers you can pay for that type of thing. No more reading to your kids — that’s what we pay teachers good money for.”
Gallant listed more tasks that could become illegal under the new law, which will be voted on in the coming weeks.
“No driving your drunk friends home, no calling your friend who isn’t enjoying a date to give her some lame excuse to leave during dinner, no lending money, no letting your friends bum smokes, no spotting at the gym unless you’re a trained professional, no offering a homeless person a sandwich or giving them the few dimes and nickles in your pocket.
“No telling people the name of the song they can’t think of that they hear playing in the background,” he went on, “or telling them what they recognize that actor or actress from. No more getting up to change the channel for your significant other — they could be employing a psychic who locates remote controls.”
New Brunswickers had mixed reactions on the new no-helping regulation.
“I think this is great, actually,” expressed Derek Bobbington, who works at an Irving gas station in Hartland. “Almost daily I have someone asking me for directions to the bridge, and now I won’t have to tell them how to get there — they’ll have to hire a tour guide for that.”
Joe Richard, the man who was left holding the door open for Fredericton market-goers a few weeks ago, is also thrilled with the idea. “If those suckers want me to hold that door open all morning now,” suggested Richard, “they’ll have to pay me as a butler or valet or something.”
Ester Louise, an 84-year-old retired teacher from Fredericton, says she doesn’t know how she’ll get by without soliciting help from strangers.
“I’m constantly getting people to help me with things. They help me cross the street, they reach for things at the grocery store, people open my car door or tell me which way to the cat food — all kinds of things that I don’t know how I’ll do on my own. I can’t even get my nephew to walk my little dog anymore, because apparently I have to pay for a professional dog-walker and trainer!”
Our reporter asked the premier if he too would have to change his dog-walking routine for Blaze.
“Are you kidding me?” he replied. “Blaze already has the best of the best when it comes to trainers and walkers, groomers, fitness coaches, chefs, dog whispers or whatever — you name it and he’s got it. I just write all that stuff off as a work expense because I do all my best thinking when Blaze is around.”
Gallant declined to pose for a photo to accompany this article. “Sorry, I can’t help your stories with my handsome smile — you’ll have to hire me as a model first.”