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2000s / Stockwell Day-Doris Day Petition
One of Canada's most popular homegrown TV shows is a CBC comedy program called This Hour Has 22 Minutes. One of the show's most fondly remembered moments was the "Stockwell Day Petition." The sketch aired during the 2000 Canadian federal election campaign, and consisted of a staged rant by host Rick Mercer. During that particular federal election, Stockwell Day, who was then the leader of the Canadian Alliance Party, proposed a mechanism to call for a referendum. Day proposed that a petition on ANY subject which gathered at least 350,000 signatures from voting-age citizens (about 3% of Canada's eligible voters) would automatically trigger a national referendum. Mercer decided to put Day's poorly thought out idea to the test: His "rant" asked viewers to log on to the show's website and sign an online petition demanding the Alliance Party leader change his first name to Doris--thus making him Doris Day. The show's producers claimed to have obtained in excess of 1.2 million online signatures--although there was no way of telling how many of those who signed the online petition were actually eligible voters. The stunt got huge publicity in Canada and even made some international news programs. The petition had no effect on Alliance Party policy, though, despite clearly demonstrating how absurd Day's proposal was. Day did, however, take the petition in stride. When asked about it by a reporter, Day gave a very appropriate response: "Que será, será!"