Dear Dr. Boli: Is it true that Canada’s constitution requires every song composed within its borders to be written in the key of “A”? —Sincerely, Buele Winkle.
Dear Sir: It is not true. This was one of the amendments to the constitution proposed in the Charlottetown Accords, and it was probably one of the main reasons the popular vote swung against the referendum in Quebec, where it was denounced by the sovereignty movement as a clear example of Anglophone hegemony, and—perhaps the ultimate insult—lower-class Anglophone hegemony at that. The Charlottetown Accords were doomed when former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau gave his famous speech at La Maison du Egg Roll, angrily insisting that “This mess deserves a ‘no,’ eh?” The referendum on the agreement was defeated by Canadian voters, and Canada continues to operate under a constitution cobbled together from acts of the British parliament and regulations of minor local significance, such as bridge tolls.