Fredericton — The province’s leading statistician, David Sturgeon, reports that the “shift” key on his laptop has been stuck for the past 3 weeks, causing all written numbers to come out as special characters.
“Right now, I can’t provide any concrete numbers for anything,” said Sturgeon. “For example, if I were to record the price of this coffee I just bought, It would come out as exclamation point, greater-than sign, star, right-bracket.”
The problem has been causing a great deal of confusion within the Government of New Brunswick.
“Sturgeon sent me an email full of all these crazy symbols,” said Minister of Education Serge Rousselle. “I thought he was swearing at me, so I wrote one back telling him to eat shit. He phoned me afterwards in order to explain the situation, and we had a real good laugh about it. After that, he made a comment about my wife, so I called him a rotten bastard and hung up.”
“Despite the technical hiccup, Sturgeon remains the province’s official statistician,” said Leah Fitzgerald, media relations director for Government Services. “Consequently, all of our statistics for this year will have to be in these special characters, rather than numbers.”
Meaning that, for 2015 anyway, the official population of New Brunswick is &%%, $^$, the provincial poverty rate is !#>*%, and the annual budget is somewhere around $%(&!))))).
Premier Brian Gallant says he couldn’t be happier with the new 2015-2016 budget.
“I’m far more comfortable working with exclamation points and ampersands than I am with real money,” Gallant said. “I feel that I can spend as much of it as I want. I mean, if it’s just a couple hundred thousand exclamation points, who cares?”
In an effort to conciliate the situation, Sturgeon issued the following statement in a government-wide email this morning:
“I”M DOING MY VERY BEST TO REMEDY THIS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE> SO FAR I HAVE TAKEN IT TO # DIFFERENT REPAIR SHOPS< AND THEY HAVE ALL TOLD ME THAT I NEED A NEW COMPUTER ALTOGETHER< WHICH I WILL PURCHASE AS SOON AS MY REQUEST TO STATISTICS CANADA GOES THROUGH> I APOLOGIZE FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE THIS HAS CAUSED>”.