Dec. 08, 2004 - Issue #477: Bukowski
According to a political analysis column printed in the London Free Press earlier this week, President Bush had a question for Prime Minister Martin during his visit to Canada, a question that he allegedly asked with all the sincerity and incredulity one could muster: why, he asked our leader, would anyone be opposed to a North American ballistic missile defence shield?
While Martin has yet to make any definitive statements as to his government’s position on the issue, the chorus of opposition continued to ring out from every other corner this week as a prominent U.S. physicist told the Winnipeg Free Press that, on top of existing concerns over the shield resparking the global arms race and associating Canada too closely with American foreign policy, it’s likely that our southern cities could walk out in the morning to find it’s raining nuclear warhead debris if the shield shot down anything over Canada. Well, shit—that sounds like a pretty good reason to oppose this whole thing to me.
According to Ted Postol from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, aside from the rather obvious drawback that the defence system would have less than five minutes to pinpoint and destroy a missile fired by, say, North Korea at the U.S., an assault from North Korea would just happen to cut a path directly over Canada, leaving us with the fallout—you know, if the system even actually works. If it doesn’t, well, something in the States will probably stop being not exploded.
That the defence shield will not actually work is also one of the program’s major drawbacks, according to a letter sent to Martin on Monday by the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Our analysis clearly shows that the missile defense system currently being fielded will not provide protection against long-range ballistic missile attacks,” wrote David C. Wright and Jonathan Dean on behalf of the Union. “A missile-defence system is not the best defence, particularly because the weapons have uncertain effects and they are very possibly negative effects.”
As of press time, no official statement has been released by the less heard-from Union of Mildly Indifferent Scientists.
Albertans who are all sad that those mean people out east want us to register those things that are designed explicitly for the purpose of killing other things... what are they called again? Oh, right—guns—were undoubtedly thrilled to hear the surprisingly expensive registry program is expected to be scrapped in a vote in the House of Commons on Thursday.
According to a story in Monday’s Globe and Mail, a Liberal backbencher charge to kill the controversial program is being led by Sarnia Liberal MP Roger Gallaway, who served notice to the speaker that he wants a separate vote on the funding for the National Firearms Program when the House votes on spending estimates. Gallaway told the Globe that he feels deceived by the costs which have exploded from the original $2 million price tag promised by Chrétien’s government in 1995 to an estimated $1 billion today and want to register his objection to runaway spending habits in the Liberal Party. “Everybody supports gun control,” Gallaway said. “The question is: can we support this version of it? The most basic rights of the House of Commons is to approve grants of money; I certainly won’t be sad if the program goes away.”
With around a dozen Liberals behind him, it’s possible that Gallaway’s dissenting group, in tandem with Prime Minister Martin’s tenuous minority government, will succeed in killing the registry, which, one hopes, is news that will be met here in Alberta by a lot of people clicking their heels and firing their guns in the air like Yosemite Sam. Because, come on—when else are you going to do it?
TIGERS ARE PRETTY!
You know, every once in a while I get tired of writing about the “real” news that happens in the world—and that, my friends, is when I turn to good people like those at the New Zealand Herald who announced earlier this week that the tiger, and not the dog, is in fact the world’s very favourite-est animal.
Interesting? Holy shit, is it ever! According to stories that ran in a smattering of papers across the globe (but, sadly, none in Canada), a survey of 50,000 people in 73 countries was recently conducted by the cable channel Animal Planet, asking people to rank 10 animals in order of preference. It seems that the dog was expected to walk away with this one, but OMG, as the kids say, it turned out the tiger was considered to be slightly more awesome, relegating dogs to second place. Dolphins, incidentally, came in third, most likely because they cry all the time (at least according to that song by Live). Rounding out the list of the world’s most prettiest animals were the horse, the lion, the snake, the elephant, the chimpanzee, the orangutan and the whale. But really, who actually likes whales? It’s not like you can hang out with them or anything. At least not without drowning. Man, whales suck. V
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