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Canadian Political Leader Denies Ottawa Shooting Counts as Terrorism

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Tom Mulcair, leader of the New Democratic Party in Canada, has gone on record saying that the shooting of a Canadian soldier at the National War Memorial and subsequent shoot outs at Parliament Hill last week were not technically terror but only the crimes of a deranged mind.

Both Liberal and Conservative Party’s, however, were quick to disagree. The RCMP, they pointed out, had already concluded it as terrorism. They also pointed to the background and motivation of the man as indicative of terror, not merely crime. The intention seemed clearly to intimidate through his actions and to promote his religious views. His Islamic extremist ties combined with his actions are thought to be sufficient enough proof. Mulcair does not think so, however, and clings to the idea that it was merely a frustrated man flipping out.

Steven Blaney, Canadian Safety Minister, warns that there are dangers not only to over but also to under reacting to the Ottawa shooting. To deny it was even a terrorist act would be under-reacting in the most conspicuous manner. It seems that many politicians are more interested in keeping the public convinced that all is going well than in speaking truth. And I can’t tell you enough how frustrating this is for Marnie and me. Apparently there are similar issues in the U.S. where beheadings by persons trained in extremist Islamic groups are labeled as mere “workplace violence.” The image of successful prevention of terror is often valued more highly than pointing terror out and taking strong measures to stop it.

Rob Ford Loses the Mayor’s Office and Reclaims His Old Councilman Seat

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After a tumor was discovered in his abdomen, colorful Toronto Mayor Rob Ford who caused a torrent of talk and controversy by his cocaine-use video footage, swapped races with his brother Doug. Doug lost to challenger John Tory, and it wasn’t very close judging by the fact that within a half hour of the polls closing the race was called. One might say that Rob retreated from the Mayor’s office to the city council, avoiding the race to escape a sound whopping, but there are problems with the theory. First, Doug’s seat was Rob’s seat for 10 years before he became Mayor. Second, Rob won his council seat by a five to one margin, which was shocking to Susan McGalla and myself. He is at least still popular in his old district. It is obvious, though, that wearing the Ford name does not ensure victory in Toronto. Nevertheless, Rob vowed that a Ford never, ever gives up and that he would begin plotting to put another of his brothers in the Mayor’s office in 2018.

Apparently, the Fords are a little bit of a local dynasty family in Toronto. This is nothing unusual, however. Consider the Daley’s (Richard J. and Richard M.) who ruled Chicago from 1955 to 1976 and again from 1989 to 2011, a total of 43 years. Local dynasties seem easier to build and maintain than national ones, and they are often built on mere personality and regimented follower loyalty more than on substance. It would seem best to introduce term limits on the local level, at least for Mayor. As the local level has a smaller “talent pool,” it may be advisable to allow what talent is there to stick around if the people will keep voting it in, but there is no reason why the head executive of cities can’t be term-limited, nor why the former Mayors can’t return to their former council seats as Mr. Ford has done.

2022 Olympics Pressed to Find Bidders

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In stark contrast to previous heated Olympic sweepstakes, precious few nations are actually interested in hosting the 2022 Olympics. I heard from Marnie Bennett that Canada’s not even putting our name in the hat.

Of course this begs the question, how could this be? What brought about such a drastic change in the international attitude towards the Olympics?

A lot of it has to do with the increasing demands that go into the inner workings of hosting the Olympics, and if the incredibly heavy investments are worth it, in the end.

Of particular concern is the acutely high investment in infrastructure, in order to ensure Olympic readiness. To justify such an investment, it would have to be proven that these investments were worthwhile.

What was found was not promising. Data not only concluded that the investment was not as profitable in and of itself, but that the infrastructure provided by hosting would not be of much use to the hosting nation, in the future.

This is in large part due to the industries that develop and profit from the increase in tourism. While it’s certainly a boon for business owners, particularly hotel and resort owners, labor was found to profit quite little from the endeavour.

When determining whether or not these investments are going to actually be useful to the nation as a whole, of vital importance is whether or not these changes will bring about any positive growth in the middle class and blue-collar sectors. Olympics, as of yet, have completed failed this metric.

This is especially problematic as the financial burden for the Olympics hit. While these fortunate business owners can foot the bill, the burden upon average labor increases to an almost unsustainable level.

Canadian Mental Health Institute Calls for Pot Legalization

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The biggest centre for mental health and addiction has released a statement condoning marijuana legalization, albeit with reservations.

They are vouching for a system which tightly controls who can buy the substance, but making it legal all the same. They believe that the substance should be distributed by one company owned by the government.

Sales would be restricted in a similar manner to currently existing off-license outlets selling alcohol.

The Director of Social and Epidemiological Research at CAMH said, “Legalisation means that we remove all penalties for cannabis possession and use by adults. Canada’s current system of cannabis control is failing to prevent or reduce the harms associated with cannabis use. Based on a thorough review of the evidence, we believe that legalisation combined with strict regulation of cannabis is the most effective means of reducing the harms associated with its use.”

Ailments associated with marijuana smoking include lung cancer, death or disability from driving under the influence as well as a gradual deterioration of the mental state of its users. There are also suggestions that cannabis can be addictive with thousands of people being treated for dependence every year.

These considerations have made the process of legalization contentious, with The Ottawa Sun and other authorities on both sides of the issue. Not everyone can agree if it is the best way to protect public health. However, in the current system which totally prohibits the use of pot, many people still use it on a regular basis in complete defiance of the law.

People between 18 and 29 have usually used the substance at least once in their lives. Habitual users, especially those in less restrictive areas, are also noticeably on the rise.

(Via The Star)

8,000 Elk On The Loose In Canada Wilderness

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There’s a growing problem with an increasingly large elk herd in Southeastern Alberta. The herd is currently 8,000 strong, and they’ve exhausted the pastures where the elk in that area normally graze. Which has caused them to move outward. A problem Brad Reifler remains pretty concerned about, having real estate interests in Alberta.

Currently, the elk are feared to be a real threat to local farmland, as well as local cattle. The Canadian Wildlife Services attributes their extreme growth to the lack of natural predators in the area. Once lush with grizzly bears, and wolves, these predators have since been driven out in favor of building more communities for people.

That has led to a period of opportunity for the elk, who have flourished with no natural predators to keep the numbers in check. That could be a massive environmental problem, if something isn’t done soon.