The world is still coming to grips with the Paris attacks of last week. From late night talk shows to international soccer (a.k.a. football) matches to Facebook postings, the world is showing solidarity with the French. This might be the one good thing to come of this horrendous event; next to Americans, the French are probably the least favourite people in the world. But for now, everyone loves France, and Paris in particular. Parisians have given ISIS a manicured middle finger salute, and returned to their cafes and bars in record numbers.
An unappreciated aspect of the Paris atrocity was the extraordinary work of the Paris police on the night of terror, particularly the courageous and bold actions of the Paris police who ended the hostage-taking at the Bataclan concert hall, site of the worst of the killings. With the terrorists holding 20 people hostage, the police first tried to negotiate an end to the standoff. After an hour, when it became clear there was no negotiation with these sub-humans, the police chief ordered his men to storm the narrow, 10-metre hallway to where the terrorists and hostages were holed up. They broke down the door and, behind a thick metal shield on wheels, advanced through a hail of gunfire. All hostages escaped unharmed, and the terrorists were killed, one through his suicide vest. It took all of three minutes.
There has been the expected backlash against the new Liberal government’s plans to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees by year’s end, with Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall saying we should slow down the process. And I have to agree, but not because of the Paris attacks. We shouldn’t stop doing what is right because a small handful of sub-humans did something wrong. (Of the so-far eight terrorists who took part in the Paris attacks, not one had a Syrian passport; they were either French nationals, or Belgian.) My concern is with the timeline. For a country as large as Canada, adding 25,000 people is certainly manageable. But to get it done by the end of the year, which is just 40 days away? In all of last year, we only admitted 10,000 refugees; now we want to add more than double that number is barely a month-and-a-half? And with the traditional Christmas shutdown in the middle of it? There is simply too much to do in too little time, I’m afraid. No one would fault Trudeau is he walked back his promise a few months, particularly in light of terrorist fears, justified or otherwise. The fact is that campaign promises are usually made in back rooms, without proper research, and with an eye only towards election. And as for the refugees? If you’ve already been waiting for a year or more in some lousy refugee camp, a few more weeks won’t make much difference. And it might also be kinder to the refugees to bring them here in, say, the spring, than in the depths of a Canadian winter.
A libel suit has gone to trial in Calgary, seven years after it began.
Remember Arthur Kent, brother of newsman-turned-politician Peter Kent? He was the Canadian-born NBC correspondent known for his reporting of the Iraq war, who became known as the ‘Scud Stud’ because of his looks and his ability to do a report while scud missiles fell behind him. Anyway, the Stud ran for the PCs in the 2008 provincial election, and lost. During the campaign, Calgary Herald columnist Don Martin wrote a column headlined ‘Alberta’s ‘Scud Stud’ a ‘Dud’ on the Campaign Trail’. Martin wrote that Kent was arrogant, self-absorbed, and a failure as a campaigner. This was enough for the thin-skinned (but beautiful) Kent to launch a defamation suit, which is only going to trial now. I’ll keep you informed.
Hack actor and poster boy for substance abuse Charlie Sheen has come out and admitted that he is HIV-positive. Sorry, I don’t see this as big news. With his background, it would have been news is he had announced that he is NOT HIV-positive.
Edmonton city council is tying itself up in knots trying to accommodate the “ride sharing” (also known as a taxi) service Uber. Cab drivers, who have a whole raft of rules to live by that don’t apply to Uber, are enraged. I don’t blame them. Uber is a terrible corporate citizen; bullying, arrogant and contemptuous of the law. But the bottom line is that thousands of people have taken to Uber because the taxi system has failed them miserably. There is no shortage of stories of dirty cabs, rude drivers and hours-long waits at peak times. The taxi industry has a problem, and it’s not just Uber.
The Edmonton Eskimos are, for a change, putting in a real effort to get people out from in front of their TVs and out into the cold of Commonwealth Stadium for the Western Final Sunday against the Stampeders. In Tuesday’s Edmonton Journal, the team actually took out a substantial ad, encouraging fans to come to the game versus … the B.C. Lions. Whoops, wrong team! In Wednesday’s paper, the team ran a full page ad with the right opponent listed, which tells me it was a make-good ad on the part of the Journal.
RIP: Jim Perry, 83, Canadian TV host. In the 1970s and 1980s, when Canadians actually used to watch Canadian TV, Perry was the familiar, smiling host of hundreds of hours of Canadian game shows, like Definition, and a pretty solid show called Headline Hunters, which you can see in this old clip.