Every few years, the southeast Manitoba region is invaded by thousands of forest tent caterpillars, who drop from trees into old ladies’ hair and line the sidewalks, caking the soles of every passerby with moth guts. During tent caterpillar season, locals are unable to walk barefoot for weeks. Some have proposed taking drastic measures to stop the outbreak, but Provencher MP Ted Falk is a little more cautious.
“I’m thinking we should have a referendum,” said the MP from his Ottawa office. “Do we want tent caterpillars or don’t we? I think the Prime Minister would just take action on the creepy crawlers without consulting the public, but I think we should let the people decide.”
Falk said changing the constitution to forbid caterpillars is a long and complicated process, requiring significant public consultation, and suggested that it’s entirely possible that citizens might prefer the current system of caterpillar invasions every few years.
“Even though Mr. Trudeau was elected on a promise of eradicating tent caterpillars, we really don’t know how the people feel about them until we have a vote now, do we?” noted Falk.
The last tent caterpillar referendum was held in 1998, and after a heated campaign with millions of dollars spent in advertising, a narrow margin supported staying the course and allowing the little pests to remain.
(Photo Credit: by Wendy Piersall/CC )