Stuff Happens, week 17: Freedom for Omar; a Facebook face plant; pollsters get it wrong (again)

At long last, a bit of justice for Omar Khadr. The so-called war criminal was finally released on bail in Edmonton this week, despite the best efforts of the despicable Harper government to portray him as an unrepentant terrorist who committed “heinous” crimes. Just to recap: Khadr was 15 years old — a juvenile in Canadian law — who was taken to Afghanistan by his radical parents. His home came under attack from American soldiers in 2002, and in the resulting fight, one American soldier was killed and another wounded. Khadr suffered terrible injuries, but the worst was yet to come. He was taken to Guantanamo, where he was tortured and abused. The Americans finally returned him to Canada despite the best efforts of the Harper government to make them keep him. The government continues to portray Khadr as a terrorist, despite all evidence to the contrary. Finally allowed to speak for himself on Thursday, Khadr came across as anything but the wild-eyed killer the Tories make him out to be. He was respectful, smiling, remorseful, just a little stunned that he was free. Hey, I’m not saying that what Khadr did was right, but at its most elemental he was a kid in a war zone who threw a grenade when he came under attack. War criminal? If trying to kill the guy trying to kill you makes you a war criminal, then there are hundreds of millions of war criminals free today. The treatment of Khadr by the Canadian and American governments is a black eye to both governments.

The honorable Deborah Drever (left)
The honorable Deborah Drever (left)

Well, that didn’t take long. One of the upstanding citizens the New Democrats recruited to run in the provincial election has proven to be — shock! — somewhat lacking in the gravitas was expect from our elected representatives. Her name is Deborah Drever, and she is the duly elected MLA for Calgary-Bow. Her Facebook page pictures her with a case of beer on her head, posing with a pro-marijuana t-shirt, and includes a photo of a single raised middle finger against a Canadian flag. Clearly, the NDP vetting process went something like this:

Candidate: Hey, I’d like to run for you guys.

NDP: You’re on!

When challenged about the images, Drever blamed the haters. “They’re attacking some candidates — it’s unfortunate,” she said. “(Those sharing the pics) are scared because we’re younger … They’re attacking the young candidates … but we have to start somewhere, we’re fresh new candidates who have a lot to offer … We’re the voice of tomorrow.”

God help us all.

In other news from the People’s Republic of Alberta, Rachel Notley was crowing about the diversity of her caucus on Saturday, which reflects the real Alberta. Let’s see now: there are lots of inexperienced, unskilled 20-somethings making six-figure salaries. Sounds about right.

Still with elections, while the pollsters finally got it right in Alberta, they got it horribly wrong on a larger stage. The UK general election was supposed to be one of the most tightly contested ever; a “hung” parliament (what we call a minority) seemed a certainty. Oops! Prime Minister David Cameron won with ease. This was the latest in a string of polls that got it wrong, wrong, wrong. Something has gone horribly wrong with polling, and at least 50% of people know that.

images-2And finally, McDonald’s has reintroduced the Hamburgler. No longer the cartoon character of old, the new Hamburgler is a real human being, supposedly a “hip, urban dad”. Judging from the photo here, he seems to be telling children, “Shhh, kids, if you don’t tell your dad what you saw me doing with your mommy, I’ll give you this burger.” I don’t know who this poor guy is, but I’m guessing his parents aren’t bragging about their son’s new job.

RIP: Ruth Rendall, 85, British mystery writer.

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