By macleans.ca - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 - 0 Comments
Here’s what papers, politicians and pundits are saying
Here’s what papers, politicians and pundits are saying about news that Senator Joyce Fairbairn is suffering from dementia — and that she continued with Senate work after being found incompetent:
“Either the Canadian Senate is important and useful, or it is not. And if it is important and useful, then it demands intellectually competent members — which Ms. Fairbarn, sadly, isn’t anymore. If she is not legally competent to enter into a contract to buy a house or sell stock, why did her fellow Senate Liberals see fit to line her up to vote on legislation affecting 33-million people?”
Jonathan Kay, National Post
“Dementia in the Senate might sound like the punch line to a thousand bad jokes, but in an institution in which the retirement age is 75, it is both a serious matter and a tragic fact of life. How political parties — and the institution of the Senate itself — deal with an issue that affects the workings and integrity of the Upper Chamber of the House of Commons is a matter of intense public interest.”
Editorial, Ottawa Citizen
“Any story like this certainly calls into question, in some people’s minds, the whole role of the Senate and it does impact on the Senate. There is no doubt about it.”
Government Senate Leader Marjory LeBreton
“It is to the credit of our politicians in Ottawa, not to their detriment, that no one has made a federal case of Fairbairn’s decline into dementia, and of her continued participation in Senate votes despite having been declared legally incompetent earlier this year.”
Editorial, Edmonton Journal
“She has a tragic disease. To make a front page story of it in a negative way, I don’t just find it disturbing. It makes me angry.”
Former Liberal Senator Sharon Carstairs
“I know Joyce and I can tell you she wasn’t voting in the Senate to shore up Liberal fortunes; she was just doing the same job she did every single day since she graduated journalism school — she was doing what she was paid by the people of Canada to do.
Giving them value for money. Unlike many Senators I could name who don’t even bother to show up. You know who you are.”
Rose Simpson, blog
“With the help and support of her family, friends and advisers, she is dealing with her situation and in the most appropriate manner. Members of Parliament, like everyone else, have health issues from time to time and deserve the same respect for their privacy as other Canadians.”
Liberal Senate leader James Cowan
“The only realpolitik issue about Senator Fairbairn’s status is to the Liberal caucus as a whole. A senator is allocated a certain amount of funding every year for office staff and for research staff. If Fairbairn resigns, the Liberals lose this money and those resources and that money and resources would surely go to the Conservatives. As the Liberals are the “third party” in the House of Commons, this loss of funding is likely not a trivial matter.”
Sun Media columnist David Akin
“My hope is that the Senate, after this, does a fairly careful study to see what really should be happening, because if it can’t police itself, somebody from outside is going to have to.”
Parliamentary expert Ned Franks
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 11:13 PM - 0 Comments
Ann Romney’s convention speech was very strong, though somewhat uneven. The weakest and most contrived stuff came early in the speech when she did the “just girls” bit trying to overtly and generically appeal to women.
“It’s the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right. It’s the moms of this nation — single, married, widowed — who really hold this country together. [...] You know what it’s like to work a little harder during the day to earn the respect you deserve at work and then come home to help with that book report which just has to be done…”
“I’m not sure if men really understand this, but I don’t think there’s a woman in America who really expects her life to be easy. In our own ways, we all know better!
By Scott Feschuk - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 10:47 PM - 0 Comments
A running diary of the first full day of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
2:02 p.m. ET The Republican National Convention begins its Tuesday session with the presentation of colours, followed by the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the National Anthem (performed by a “nationally recognized singer!”), followed by the invocation. Delegates actually cheer during the prayer. “Dear God, bless Mitt Romney and–” Wooooooo! Yaaaaaa! FREEEEEEE BIRD!!!!!! Some housekeeping matters ensue – and then a musical interlude by the house band, led by that G.E. Smith guy who used to be on Saturday Night Live. In the audience, an Ann Coulter lookalike dances amid a sea of white hair and white skin.
2:26 Reince Priebus, the Republican National Chairman, gestures to two debt clocks that have been installed in the Tampa Bay Times Forum. One shows the many trillions in total national debt. The other chronicles how much debt has been accumulated since the start of the convention. Then, using simple math, Priebus demonstrates once and for all how Continue…
By Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 10:37 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – The federal ethics watchdog is considering whether Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief…
OTTAWA – The federal ethics watchdog is considering whether Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff, Nigel Wright, improperly used his influential position to further the private interests of friends at Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX)
Ethics commissioner Mary Dawson has discussed the matter with Wright and is now pondering whether the one-time Bay Street titan broke any conflict of interest rules by allowing himself to be lobbied twice in May by Barrick.
“All we can say, given confidentiality rules, is that Commissioner Dawson has followed up with Mr. Wright and is continuing to consider the matter,” Margot Booth, a spokesperson for Dawson’s office, said Tuesday.
Wright enjoys a close personal connection with Barrick founder and board chairman Peter Munk and his son, Anthony Munk, who sits on Barrick’s board. Yet he was involved in two phone calls from Barrick in May.
Foreign Affairs Minister Minister John Baird didn’t wait for Dawson to rule on the affair. He pronounced Tuesday that Wright did nothing wrong.
“Let me be very clear. Mr. Wright has no personal financial interest in Barrick Gold … and obviously because he has no financial or personal interest in the company, he isn’t a part of it,” Baird told reporters.
“I can say this, that there is no conflict of interest, there’s no plausible conflict of interest. And I can also confirm that he didn’t take part in any decisions made on this issue.”
Baird confirmed that Barrick called to discuss concerns about Harper’s policy regarding the Falkland Islands.
Harper had angered the government of Argentina, where Barrick has mining operations, by blocking a declaration recognizing Argentina’s claim the to the islands during the Summit of the Americas meeting in April.
According to report summaries filed by Barrick with the federal lobbying commissioner, an unidentified representative of the company contacted Wright on May 14 and again nine days later. Harper’s foreign policy adviser, Andrea van Vugt, and his principal secretary, Ray Novak, who is Harper’s point man on government-to-government relations, were also involved in the second call.
Baird insisted Wright said nothing during the two phone calls and took no action on the issue.
“They raised their point of view, and he made no comments and did not respond and the issue was put to those who are responsible,” Baird said, adding that the matter was ultimately “properly dealt with by me as the minister of foreign affairs.”
In any event, he said it resulted in no change to Canada’s policy on the Falklands.
“We support the self-determination of the people of the Falkland Islands, as we do people everywhere around the world. And that was our position and it is our position today.”
The NDP is nevertheless contemplating lodging a formal complaint with Dawson.
Charlie Angus, the party’s ethics critic, said Wright should not have participated in any discussion involving Barrick, regardless of the subject matter, given his relationship with the Munks.
“He has very close personal relations, they have a huge financial stake and he is the chief adviser to the prime minister. He needs to recuse himself. That’s what the Conflict of Interest Act calls for,” Angus said.
Wright has known Peter Munk for years and is particularly close to his son, Anthony. Indeed, Peter Munk has disclosed that Wright is godfather to Anthony Munk’s son.
Wright worked with Anthony Munk at Onex Corp. (TSX:OCX), the private equity investment giant from which Wright has taken a leave of absence to work for Harper.
Wright also served as a director on the board of the Aurea Foundation, a charitable foundation established by Peter Munk and his wife in 2006 to support the study and development of public policy. He resigned from the board shortly before joining Harper’s office in November 2010.
In a story in the April 2011 edition of The Walrus, Peter Munk lavished praise on Wright, ranking him “among the mere handful of people I’ve met in whom I have complete trust.”
Duff Conacher, a longtime advocate of stiffer ethical rules for politicians and their staff, agreed that Wright should not have been involved in any discussion relating to Barrick, given his relationship with the Munks. But he predicted a gaping loophole in the Conflict of Interest Act will ensure there’s no penalty for his conduct.
“It’s a conflict of interest but it’s legal and that’s the problem,” said Conacher, a board member of Democracy Watch, calling the act “a loophole-filled joke.”
As long as the discussion revolved around a subject of “general application,” and wasn’t just specific to Barrick, Conacher said Wright’s involvement — like about 99 per cent of questionable activities involving ministers or their political staff — is legal under the act.
“These very weak rules … mean that it is effectively legal for all federal politicians, staff and senior government officials to be unethical,” Conacher said, adding that Harper has reneged on a promise to remove the loophole.
The NDP plans to push for closing the loophole during a review of the Conflict of Interest Act this fall by the Commons ethics committee.
Under the Conflict of Interest Act, a public office holder is supposed to recuse himself or herself from “any discussion, decision, debate or vote on any matter” which could result in a conflict.
The act describes conflict of interest as the exercise of “an official power, duty or function that provides (the public office holder) an opportunity to further his or her private interests or those of his or her relatives or friends or to improperly further another person’s private interests.”
On the advice of the federal ethics watchdog, Wright set up a “conflict of interest screen” when he joined the Prime Minister’s Office. The screen is meant to ensure that Wright abstains from any participation in matters relating to Onex, its subsidiaries and affiliates or even involving general policy matters, such as tax treatment of the private equity industry, that could affect Onex.
The question now is whether Wright should also have recused himself from discussions involving Barrick.
Harper, when he was in opposition, used to rail against this kind of cronyism in the PMO, Angus said.
“It was always this thing of who you know in the PMO and that’s what Mr. Harper said he was going to change. And yet, time and time and time again when there’s ethics issues, they just shrug them off.”
By The Associated Press - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 10:08 PM - 0 Comments
ALBANY, N.Y. – New York officials are investigating marketing and health claims made by several energy drink makers.
ALBANY, N.Y. – New York officials are investigating marketing and health claims made by several energy drink makers.
A person familiar with the inquiry, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation hasn’t yet been made public, says New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued subpoenas this summer to the makers of 5-Hour Energy, AMP and Monster energy drinks.
Earlier this month, Monster Beverage Corp. disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that an attorney general had sent it a subpoena. The firm didn’t reveal which state it was, but the person familiar with the inquiry said it was New York.
The person says subpoenas also were sent to PepsiCo Inc., which makes AMP drinks, and Living Essentials LLC, which makes 5-Hour Energy.
Company officials and Schneiderman declined to comment Tuesday.
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 7:47 PM - 0 Comments
If the Senator and his wife were true celebrities, they might be called be ZimmerBerger
SASKATOON-Their couple photos on Facebook are equal parts normal and jaw dropping.
Arm and arm at the Magic Kingdom, having fun with some big guns at a shooting range, mugging for the camera over a glass of wine — nary an eyebrow would be raised if the husband wasn’t a 69-year-old Canadian senator and the wife wasn’t a 23-year-old beauty from Ontario’s Cottage Country.
If they were celebrities for the usual reasons, they’d be ZimmerBerger or MayRod.
Whether they like it or not, Sen. Rod Zimmer and his wife Maygan Sensenberger have become Canada’s water-cooler couple since police allege Sensenberger lost her cool on a flight to Saskatoon last week and ended up in court.
They met on a blind date, according to Sensenberger’s grandmother, herself one year Zimmer’s junior.
Sensenberger was one of four siblings in a family from Collingwood, Ont. Her father owned a restaurant.
She was a ballet dancer turned aspiring actor and had been taking university classes in Ottawa, Rita Sensenberger said.
Zimmer was born in Saskatchewan, but called Winnipeg home.
He started his political career as an executive assistant to James Richardson, a cabinet minister under Pierre Trudeau, said Allen Mills a politics professor at the University of Winnipeg and Zimmer’s former neighbour.
Zimmer has a lengthy private-sector resume as well, including executive positions with the Manitoba Lotteries Foundation and CanWest Capital Corp.
His Senate profile boasts he was a champion swimmer, diver and water skier. He served on several boards including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. His personal interests include “ballet, piano, travel, public affairs, politics and all athletic activities.”
Mills remembered Zimmer as a down-to-earth man who lived modestly, with a nice little home in central Winnipeg. Mills said Zimmer convinced him to hire a young, aboriginal boy to mow his lawn to help the boy “get a leg up.”
Zimmer became one of the most important fundraisers for the Liberals in Manitoba and helped mentor a lot of young people within the party, Mills said.
“He was a very important fundraiser in Manitoba for the Liberal party and seemed to be sort of the man in charge as a fundraiser under Chretien.”
In 2005, then prime minister Paul Martin appointed him to the Senate. A Liberal who was in the room when Martin announced the appointment to a partisan crowd in Winnipeg was pleasantly surprised to see the genuine and apparently universal approval the announcement elicited.
“He was hugely admired for all his work in the community,” the Liberal said.
Mills said he noticed Zimmer was ill a few years ago, but he seemed to recover.
In a statement in the Senate in March 2010 to urge prostate cancer awareness, Zimmer revealed that seven years earlier, he had been diagnosed with throat cancer and given only a 20 per cent chance of surviving the next two years.
He offered his personal remedy for beating cancer.
When he was given the bad news, Zimmer said he reacted by saying: “Doctor, the seventh and final stage of death is acceptance. I’m there so flip me over, zap my backside and let’s go.
“A positive attitude generates energy and adrenaline and fights off disease and counters stress. Cancer exists in all of our systems and will attack the most vulnerable parts of your body over 10,000 times in your lifetime.
“So, as much as is possible, honourable senators, take stress out of your life.”
To any of his Senate colleagues fighting cancer, Zimmer offered his support.
“And if you weaken in the last few weeks of your treatment, I will lift you upon my shoulders and carry you the rest of the way because you are my comrades and that is my promise.”
Like many senators, he has been almost invisible to the public, Mills said. There’s never been a hint of controversy about him until now
Sensenberger’s grandmother said the couple had been dating for years prior to their marriage, but waited until Sensenberger was 21 before announcing they were together.
In December 2010, just two weeks before Christmas, Sensenberger created a wedding page on Facebook.
“So these are our official engagement photos,” she posted the following June. “May I just say, how cute are we :)”
They were married on Parliament Hill in August 2011. There are reports Sensenberger is Zimmer’s second wife, but Rita Sensenberger disputed that.
“Rod was never married. Maygan is his first wife. He has never been married before.”
While Rita Sensenberger talked openly about the couple’s relationship and their age difference, it’s less clear how Zimmer’s family felt.
There are online reports that it had cause a rift on his side. The Globe and Mail quoted Zimmer’s brother as saying the first time he met Sensenberger was Monday, when he helped arrange a hotel for her after being released from jail. It was the couple’s first anniversary.
Sensenberger was in court again Tuesday. The case was put over to Wednesday. She is facing charges of uttering threats and causing a disturbance. The most serious charge of endangering an aircraft was withdrawn.
While the couple’s relationship may have people buzzing around the country, Mills said the hoopla is probably overblown.
“It is unusual I suppose for a man who’s 69 to be married to a woman who’s 23, but it happens in Hollywood,” he said. “It happens all over the place … these days, my God, you know people are doing all sorts of strange things. So what? What’s the bother?”
Rita Sensenberger said she wishes people would just let the newlyweds be.
“She’s a very sweet, loving girl,” she said. “She’s my granddaugher. She goes to university, she’s an A student, she loves her husband very much, he loves her. What more is there to say?
“Why can’t they just leave them alone?”
— By Tim Cook and Chris Purdy in Edmonton and Joan Bryden in Ottawa
By Bruce Cheadle - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 5:26 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Carleton University has rewritten a controversial donor agreement for its school of…
OTTAWA – Carleton University has rewritten a controversial donor agreement for its school of political management to make clear that a wealthy patron does not have the final say on faculty hiring and curriculum.
The new donor agreement comes after Carleton stonewalled for almost a year to hide the details of its $15-million deal with Calgary businessman Clayton Riddell.
When the donor agreement finally became public earlier this summer, Carleton faculty and the Canadian Association of University Teachers cried foul, calling it a major infringement on academic freedom.
Carleton president Roseann O’Reilly Runte released a rewritten clause in the donor deal Tuesday as she lauded the first anniversary of the “cross-partisan” master’s degree program, designed to train political staff for government-related work.
“In the context of the annual review, Carleton, along with Mr. Riddell, also looked at provisions in the donor agreement that had caused some confusion — particularly as these pertain to the steering committee,” Runte said in a release.
She said the newly rewritten clause “clarifies the role as that of strategic adviser. That is indeed the role that the committee has played from the outset ….”
The five-person committee — dominated by the patron’s appointees — no longer has the power to “approve” key hiring and curriculum decisions, but is asked to provide “timely and strategic advice.”
Preston Manning, the former Reform party founder, chairs the committee, while his former chief of staff Cliff Fryers sits on it along with Chris Froggatt — the former chief of staff to Conservative cabinet minister John Baird — and two university representatives.
The new agreement also explicitly requires that the committee operate in accordance with the university’s policies, procedures and practices.
Whether the changes will satisfy the Carleton faculty association and the wider academic community remains to be seen.
A letter earlier this month to the university’s board of governors from the Carleton University Academic Staff Association sharply criticized Carleton’s administration.
“In authoring a deal that allows for the possibility that a majority of a program steering committee be from non-academic institutions, this administration has publicly demonstrated its failure to understand what a university should represent,” said the letter, signed by engineering professor Jason Etele, who currently heads the teachers’ association, and 12 of his elected office holders.
The letter also took Carleton’s leadership to task for a separate deal with CultureWorks, a private firm that teaches English as a second language.
“Many of the faculty members in our university community are appalled and outraged by this turn of events and worry about the damage to our reputation, our success at competing for students and financial resources, and the risk of censure,” said the letter.
It states that peer review ensures universities have academic freedom, honest intellectual exchanges and excellence in teaching and research.
“Our ability to maintain these core values within Canada’s excellent public university system is compromised when the administration creates agreements where there is a real, or apparent, corporate or partisan approach,” said the letter.
Private donor agreements at publicly funded universities have been in the news repeatedly in recent years over issues of academic freedom and corporate control.
The Washington-based Centre for American Progress published a study in October, 2010 that exposed numerous problematic deals involving American universities and major energy companies.
The Canadian Association of University Teachers is currently examining research deals between Canadian universities and third parties. CAUT says it has collected between 15 and 18 such agreements and expects to release its findings this fall.
The Clayton H. Riddell School of Political Management was launched to much publicity in October 2010, with the stated aim of providing practical, “cross-partisan” training for aspiring political staffers.
Manning, who leads the Manning Centre for Building Democracy — which is devoted to promoting conservative causes — was cited as a driving force behind the school’s creation, while the university trumpeted Riddell’s $15-million donation as “the largest single donation in Carleton’s history.”
The agreement that was eventually released in late June after a prolonged access to information battle revealed that $10 million of Riddell’s donation was contingent on his being satisfied with the program after five years of operation.
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 5:24 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon departed for Iran on Tuesday, apparently…
OTTAWA – United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon departed for Iran on Tuesday, apparently oblivious to the objections of Canada’s outspoken foreign affairs minister.
John Baird’s office released a strongly worded letter it sent to Ban last week imploring him to stay away from the summit of the 120 Non Aligned Movement countries being held in Tehran.
Canada joined the U.S. and Israel in publicly condemning Ban’s decision to attend the Iranian gathering, saying it would further the regime’s “hateful purposes.”
While many experts were unanimous in criticizing Ban for what they said was a bad political decision, others questioned whether Baird’s stinging criticism had any impact at all.
Baird said Tehran will use Ban’s presence at the meeting of more than 100 countries for its own propaganda.
“I just think they’re going to exploit his presence there for nefarious purposes,” Baird said Tuesday.
“We’re concerned that his presence there will be used to bolster the regime politically. Obviously we wrote in strong terms to encourage him, like a number of our allies did, to reflect on that before he goes.”
The minister noted Iran has pledged to destroy Israel and has an abysmal human-rights record.
Baird’s letter to Ban last week outlined his concerns, which mirror those of Israel.
“Iran’s current rulers will use your presence to further their own, hateful purposes. Such a visit would serve only to legitimize and condone the record of this regime, which Canada views as the single most significant risk to global peace and security today,” says the Aug. 23 letter.
The West believes Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program, but Tehran denies the charge. It says it only wants to develop peaceful nuclear energy.
There has been growing speculation lately about a possible pre-emptive Israeli military strike that would target Iran’s nuclear program.
The non-aligned movement is widely viewed as a Cold War anachronism, but Iran is playing up the gathering to elevate its battered, pariah-state image. Its foreign minister opened the week-long gathering with an appeal to rid to the world of nuclear weapons, despite concerns by the West that it is using peaceful nuclear technology as a cover to build weapons of mass destruction.
In addition to Ban, other high-profile attendees will include Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose country buys Iranian oil, and Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi.
“No one should lend any legitimacy to a gathering convened in Tehran by this Iranian leadership in the name of non-alignment,” Richard Haas, the president of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, argued in an analysis released Tuesday.
“It sends exactly the wrong message. We should be doing everything possible to isolate this Iranian leadership for its nuclear program, but also for what it’s doing in Syria to facilitate the repression there.”
Markus Gehring, a University of Ottawa international law expert, concurred, but was also critical of Baird’s letter.
“It’s pretty useless if it’s a single country doing that. He would have done better co-ordinating his efforts with lots and lots of other countries.”
Fen Hampson, director of Global Security of the Waterloo, Ont., Centre for International Governance Innovation, called Baird’s letter “frothy” and questioned its effectiveness in light of Canada’s historic loss of a temporary seat on the UN Security Council two years ago.
“It might have more bite had we been on that Security Council, quite frankly. We are an important donor to the organization but there’d be better vehicles for expressing that, on the Security Council.”
Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based non-governmental agency UN Watch, applauded Baird’s initiative.
“It’s not one of the great powers, but it is a moral voice. People listen to Canada,” Neuer said in an interview from Geneva.
As Ban departed Tuesday, his office made no mention of Canada’s objections, but noted the calls “from Israel and the U.S.” to boycott the Tehran meeting. Ban pledged to talk to his hosts about terrorism, human rights, the crisis in Syria and Iran’s nuclear program.
A spokesman said Ban would use his trip to convey the “clear concerns and expectations of the international community on the issues for which co-operation and progress are urgent for both regional stability and the welfare of the Iranian people.”
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 5:22 PM - 0 Comments
SASKATOON – The case of a Manitoba senator’s wife charged with creating a disturbance on a plane has been put over until Wednesday.
SASKATOON – The case of a Manitoba senator’s wife charged with creating a disturbance on a plane has been put over until Wednesday.
The delay was requested while the defence reviews disclosure and discusses the case with the Saskatchewan Crown.
Maygan Sensenberger faces charges of causing a disturbance and uttering threats against her husband, Sen. Rod Zimmer.
Saskatoon police arrested the 23-year-old woman last week after she allegedly caused a ruckus on a flight from Ottawa while sitting with Zimmer, who is 69.
A witness says Zimmer started having health problems on the flight and his wife got emotional about getting him medical treatment.
The Crown has withdrawn a charge against Sensenberger of endangering the safety of an aircraft.
By Blog of Lists - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 4:54 PM - 0 Comments
The Canadian West of the 19th and early 20th centuries was as teeming with villains as its American counterpart. Indeed, many outlaws north of the 49th parallel were fugitive Yanks.
1. Boone Helm: A Kentucky-born marauder lured out west by the California Gold Rush, then forced into British Columbia in the early 1860s after a string of murders from Oregon to Utah, Helm was said to enjoy eating those he killed. He was arrested in Victoria in October 1862 for being of bad character and spent a month on a chain gang repairing streets. The next year he was arrested at Fort Yale on the Fraser River and sent back to Montana where he was hanged in 1864, after complaining that the executioner was taking too long in carrying out his sentence.
2. Brothers Allan, Charles and Archie McLean: The McLean Gang terrorized Kamloops, B.C., in the late 1870s, stealing everything from horses and liquor to ammunition. When the law came after them, the McLeans shot their way through, eventually killing two men, including a police constable. Eventually caught and convicted—the jury took 20 minutes to reach a verdict—they were hanged together in New Westminster in 1881.
3. James Gaddy and Moise Racette: After meeting in a Saskatchewan saloon in the 1880s, they decided to partner together in the horse-thieving business. To seal the deal they got their photograph taken; it would later become their wanted poster. When the Mounties went after the duo, a shootout ensued and a North West Mounted Police constable was killed. Gaddy and Racette were later convicted of murder and sent to the gallows in Regina in 1888.
4. Ernest Cashel: He was from the American Midwest but turned up in Alberta in 1902, a young man noted for his charm. Arrested in Calgary for forgery, he managed to escape, making his way to Lacombe and stealing a horse. Later, a rancher he worked for disappeared, and Cashel, caught after a two-month manhunt, was found wearing the rancher’s clothes. After the man’s body was discovered with a bullet hole in his chest, Cashel was convicted of murder. He escaped after his brother slipped him guns but was soon caught again and hanged in 1904.
5. Bill Miner: Originally from Kentucky and known as the Gentleman Bandit, Miner was reportedly the ﬁrst holdup artist to use the phrase “hands up.” He committed one of Canada’s ﬁrst train robberies in 1904 near Mission, B.C., at the age of 60, then struck a second train outside Kamloops in 1905. When the law closed in on him, Miner tried to shoot his way free but was caught and jailed. He later escaped the penitentiary in New Westminster, ﬂeeing back to the U.S., where stories of his end are varied.
6. Harry Wagner: Named the Flying Dutchman after the famed ghost ship, he was a member of the ruthless Cassidy Gang in Wyoming before travelling northwest in a small ship, darting through the inlets of British Columbia. In March 1913, while robbing a store at Union Bay, Wagner was happened upon by police. One ofﬁcer died in the gunﬁght that ensued, and Wagner escaped, only to be captured later and brought to trial in Nanaimo, B.C. He was hanged on Aug. 28, 1913.
7. Albert Johnson: Better known as the Mad Trapper of Rat River, he triggered a massive manhunt and captured the public’s imagination during the Great Depression after shooting a Mountie in the Yukon. He remained on the run for 48 days, travelling almost 300 km across the frigid Far North, before dying in a shootout in February 1932. His true identity has never been established.
Have you ever wondered which cities have the most bars, smokers, absentee workers and people searching for love? What about how Canada compares to the world in terms of the size of its military, the size of our houses and the number of cars we own? The answers to all those questions, and many more, can be found in the first ever Maclean’s Book of Lists.
Buy your copy of the Maclean’s Book of Lists at the newsstand or order online now.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 4:51 PM - 0 Comments
Jonathan Kay considers the situation with Senator Fairbairn.
The folks commenting on this story in the mainstream press and social media, even the snarky ones, aren’t mocking Senator Fairbairn. They’re mocking what her case says about the Senate. And they’re absolutely right to do so, even if the underlying news story is sad and personal. In fact, I know of no single episode that better summarizes the need for Senate reform.
Either the Canadian Senate is important and useful, or it is not. And if it is important and useful, then it demands intellectually competent members — which Ms. Fairbarn, sadly, isn’t anymore. If she is not legally competent to enter into a contract to buy a house or sell stock, why did her fellow Senate Liberals see fit to line her up to vote on legislation affecting 33-million people? The fact that they saw nothing wrong with this suggests that they themselves see their body as a sinecure pasture. And obviously, that candid insight into Senators’ own views is something deserving of reportage and even mockery.
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 4:28 PM - 0 Comments
It’s not often a speech by a political spouse can make a real difference in a presidential race. But Ann Romney has a genuine chance to help her husband tonight. If she pulls it off, her speech has the potential be the most important of Republican National Convention. Of all the hundreds of speakers taking the stage in Tampa this week, Ann is the best positioned to dispel Mitt’s robotic image, the cold-hearted capitalist label that the Obama campaign has so effectively pinned on him, and the pounding his party has taken recently with female voters (who prefer Obama over Romney by 50 to 42 per cent according to a recent Gallup poll.)
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 3:51 PM - 0 Comments
Former NHL star Scott Niedermayer, captain of Canada’s 2010 Olympic hockey team, reiterates his objections to the Northern Gateway pipeline.
With your voice behind us, WWF and the Coastal First Nations have sounded powerful messages about the unacceptable risk this project poses to the Great Bear, our Canadian treasure. We’ve urged provincial and federal decision-makers to understand what is really at stake here. We’ve helped voice the concerns of communities, leaders, artists and studentsfrom across the country. And we’ve spoken out for whales, bears, and other animals that cannot do so on their own…
And today, right now, we need your voice more than ever. August 31st is the deadline for public comment to the Joint Review Panel . This body is charged with assessing whether the Northern Gateway project is in Canada’s best interest.Please take a few moments to register your comments online right now.
By David Newland - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 3:34 PM - 0 Comments
Keeping kids away from pot is a small problem. Keeping gangs away from pot is a big one.
Sometimes, it’s hard to see the plantation, for the pot. A recent report concluding that adolescent pot smoking affects intelligence got all the headlines. But a bigger issue was hiding behind smaller type: BC RCMP busted Hells Angels for growing pot to fund the importation of cocaine.
I’m dismayed to learn that the pot I smoked as a teenager has probably made me dumber. But I can’t say I’m surprised. I knew at the time that marijuana messed with my brain. That was why I smoked it.
That’s why I’m afraid we may never convince kids to stay away from the stuff. Yes, some will exercise good judgment if they’re educated properly, and avoid high-risk activities, like smoking tobacco or marijuana, drinking alcohol, speeding, engaging in unprotected sex, or doing hard drugs. Or any combination of the above.
The more we can educate the better. But some kids will gravitate toward the very same activities in spite, or indeed because of the risks.
Marijuana’s status as an illegal substance has not prevented teenagers, who are most at risk for mental damage, from using it. It certainly never stopped me. As long as the stuff can be grown quite easily at home, or in the vast expanses of the Canadian countryside, it’s not likely to stop anyone.
Most Canadians are in favour of legalization, or at least decriminalization of marijuana. Some argue that would help keep pot out of the hands of younger people, by making it available only through legal sellers, who would have to adhere to strict regulations including age limits for sale or use.
But that never stopped my friends and me when it came to tobacco or alcohol, which we only had to pilfer from our parents, or pay older kids to obtain for us. So how it would work for pot is a mystery to me.
Maybe legally available bud could be kept at lower levels of THC, making it effectively ‘bud light’ and therefore, perhaps, arguably less dangerous. But beer and cigarettes are available in relatively harmless single doses too. It doesn’t prevent anyone overusing them.
The real advantage of legalization, I’ve come to believe, isn’t that it would keep small amounts of marijuana out of the hands of kids. As the parent of a teenager, it pains me to admit we may never fully succeed in doing that.
What we just might do, though, is keep large amounts of marijuana out of the hands of criminals.
The fact is, the Hells Angels have been making inroads in B.C. for years. The biker gang and other criminal organizations grow and traffic pot as a big business, one which, because it’s illegal, must be protected with the threat of violence. Moreover, it’s an easy cash crop to exchange for cocaine, guns, and other stuff that’s a whole lot nastier than marijuana.
Of course, if marijuana was legal in Canada, there’d be a booming business in smuggling legal Canadian pot into the States, just as there was a booming business in smuggling legal Canadian whiskey into the States during prohibition. But the recent busts reveal the extent to which the Hells Angels are already doing business across borders, from B.C. to Panama.
And at least if pot was legal in Canada, the ordinary recreational consumer of marijuana wouldn’t be funding the activities of major crime networks every time they bought some weed. Instead, they’d be contributing tax dollars, some of which, surely, could be earmarked for better education and treatment for victims of drug abuse, including youth.
Think of the children, yes, of course. We do. That’s why these studies get so much attention when they come to light. But that’s the small-scale pot problem.
When it comes to marijuana legalization, won’t somebody please think of the Hells Angels?
Now there’s a pot problem, on a massive scale.
By John Parisella - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 3:27 PM - 0 Comments
John Parisella looks at what’s at stake in Tampa
Mitt Romney will soon step on the podium to accept the Republican nomination to try to become the next president of the United States. In and of itself, this is no small feat. If he succeeds, he’ll become the first Mormon to occupy the White House — again, no small achievement for a party with a strong Christian bent. Some Christian leaders in the GOP have referred to Mormonism as a cult, which explains why Romney rarely raises his religious affiliation.
By Jessica Allen - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 3:08 PM - 0 Comments
No matter the hot water Prince Harry gets into, people still love the third…
No matter the hot water Prince Harry gets into, people still love the third royal in line to the throne.
Not long after TMZ posted photos of a nude Harry in an exclusive Las Vegas hotel suite, a Facebook page appeared called “Support Prince Harry with a naked salute!” in collaboration with www.salute4harry.co.uk.
“If you have served, or are serving, in the military,” the page says in an invitation to its 16,000 members, “I want to see a naked salute in support of Prince Harry uploaded on this group.”
Thousands of photos and counting have appeared.
The site was recently opened to everyone, though its creators have a simple request: “Cover your crown jewels (and) tag yourself in your photo as proof of your support to the nations favourite royal!”
Prince Harry, who has kept out of the press since returning to London after the scandal broke Aug. 21, is expected to “attend select events” at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, a representative of the royals told TMZ.
Events begin tomorrow.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 2:39 PM - 0 Comments
A statement from Liberal Senator James Cowan.
My friend and colleague the Honourable Senator Joyce Fairbairn, P.C., has been the subject of considerable media attention in the past few days. Senator Fairbairn has devoted a good part of her long and distinguished public life to helping persons with disabilities.
Unfortunately, Senator Fairbairn has developed health challenges of her own, as a result of which she will be unable to take up her legislative duties when the Senate resumes sitting in late September and will go on sick leave. With the help and support of her family, friends and advisers, she is dealing with her situation and in the most appropriate manner.
Members of Parliament, like everyone else, have health issues from time to time and deserve the same respect for their privacy as other Canadians.
I am sure that I speak for all of her friends on Parliament Hill and across Canada when I wish her the very best in these trying circumstances.
By Jeff Halperin - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 1:15 PM - 0 Comments
Robertson Davies is a permanent fixture in the Canadian canon, yet today, at least among younger readers, he is sadly neglected.
Robertson Davies, who would have turned 99 today, is a permanent fixture in the Canadian canon, yet today, at least among younger readers, he is sadly neglected. This is thanks in no small part to the brutal practice now in vogue of judging literature by its political or practical value rather than for its aesthetics. During my teaching practicum in 2008 many teachers said Davies, particularly in Fifth Business, doesn’t speak to today’s multicultural high school student and should no longer be taught. Meanwhile my peers at OISE, Canada’s epicentre of political activism, dismissed the novel–the first installment of the Deptford trilogy– as merely the work of an old white Christian male. In their hands, Davies’ humorous narrative voice and idiosyncratic ideas, such as the notion of history as myth, disappear, and the art is reduced to the author’s racial or gender brand. An insidious threat, these educators and educators-to-be literally judge books by their cover.
Davies is timeless and universal because his wisdom is all encompassing, including, for example, both the worlds of the street hustler and the rare breed of classical academia that transcends boredom and pedantry. Accordingly, the world of his novels is not just original and learned, it’s funny. And so was Davies: While teaching at Massey College in Toronto, the author dared his students to ambush him with water balloons, and to tempt and taunt them he walked around campus on sunny days holding an umbrella! Davies played off the students’ assumption that he, an old-fashioned Caucasian scholar, was a humourless prig.
For Davies, and for canonical authors, wisdom must include humour or else it is fatally incomplete. Perhaps his formidable beard invites people to mistakenly take him too seriously. As Davies states in A Voice From the Attic, “the idea that a wise man must be solemn is bred and preserved among people who have no idea what wisdom is.” Mordecai Richler not only called Davies a “master of magic” but complimented him for looking like a writer, in contrast to most writers who he thought resembled, “drug dealers, card sharpers, barmaids or shoplifters.” Richler wasn’t shy about criticizing Canadian writers, but he repeatedly held up Davies as an outstanding example of a Canadian who, unlike himself, proved himself internationally while remaining in Canada.
And Davies doesn’t write about dull Canadian towns dully. The inhabitants of Deptford fit somewhere between “laughable, lovable simpletons” and those for whom, “incest, sodomy, bestiality, sadism and masochism were supposed to rage behind the lace curtains and in the hayloft while a rigid piety was professed in the streets.” Quite a spectrum. And while the Deptford trilogy isn’t filled with the overt and consciously multicultural cast of the McDonald’s commercial, it’s sufficiently colourful and diverse to include town folk and business tycoons alongside bearded ladies, magicians, and a human frog who can sit on his own head.
It’s curious that while many desperately claim Toronto is a “world-class city,” Davies, who died at the age of 82 in 1992, isn’t a greater source of pride. Like Torontonian Glenn Gould, the author is a first-rate artist appreciated more in Europe, eponymous parks and studios notwithstanding. If we don’t read him, it’s only our loss.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 1:09 PM - 0 Comments
As John Geddes notes, Lt.-Gen. Tom Lawson is an avowed fan of the F-35.
He was, for instance, asked about the plane by Conservative MP Ray Boughen during a March 2011 committee hearing.
Everything that the air force has done by way of analysis of all those aircraft available to Canada suggests that there is no comparison.
A month earlier, he’d been in Mississauga to talk up the purchase.
We’re not only defending Canada,” said Major-General Tom Lawson, assistant chief of Canada’s air staff, “we’re also doing that with a partner to the south who expects us to meet our NORAD obligations.” … Buying the fighters will give Canada the best and most inexpensive method of fulfilling its obligations to its military partners, including the United States, said Lawson, a former Commandant at the Royal Military College in Kingston.
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 1:07 PM - 0 Comments
SASKATOON – The 23-year-old wife of a 69-year-old Manitoba senator will appear in domestic violence court today in Saskatoon.
SASKATOON – The 23-year-old wife of a 69-year-old Manitoba senator will appear in domestic violence court today in Saskatoon.
Maygan Sensenberger was released on bail Monday on conditions including that she not have contact with her husband of one year, Senator Rod Zimmer.
Sensenberger was arrested last week on charges she caused a disturbance on a plane and endangered the safety of the aircraft.
Witnesses say Zimmer started having health problems on the flight and police allege Sensenberger yelled about bringing down the plane and threatened her husband.
Domestic violence court is a separate part of provincial court that allows an individual who pleads guilty to take counselling and address substance abuse problems they may have.
The court’s website says any accused would not be sentenced until after they complete the counselling or substance abuse programs.
Update: Sensenberger is no longer charged with endangering the safety of an aircraft. The charge was dropped Tuesday morning when she appeared in domestic violence court in Saskatoon. She still faces one count of causing a disturbance and the Crown added a count of uttering threats.
By Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 11:56 AM - 0 Comments
WASHINGTON – U.S. home prices rose in June from the same month last year,…
WASHINGTON – U.S. home prices rose in June from the same month last year, the first year-over-year increase since the summer of 2010. The increase is the latest evidence of a nascent recovery in the housing market.
The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday showed a gain of 0.5 per cent from June 2011.
The last time the year-over-year index increased was in September 2010. For much of that 12-month period, the government was offering a home-buying tax credit.
The report also showed that all 20 cities tracked by the index rose in June from May, the second consecutive time in which every city posted month-over-month gains. And all but two cities posted stronger gains in June than May.
Detroit, Minneapolis, Chicago and Atlanta recorded the biggest one-month gains.
“The combined positive news coming from both monthly and annual rates of change in home prices bode well for the housing market,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P’s index committee.
Jonathan Basile, an economist with Credit Suisse, said improving home prices should boost home sales further in the coming months.
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 11:25 AM - 0 Comments
Mounties seize $4 million in drug money in multiple raids
RCMP in British Columbia say they have confiscated $4 million in alleged drug money after a weekend bust of the Hells Angels, Sun News reports.
Several Hells Angels were were charged with drug trafficking after raids in Kelowna, Osoyoos and Coquitlam, including David Giles, the vice-president of the Hells Angeles’ Kelowna operations.
The investigation lasted almost two years and involved officers going into the infamous biker gang undercover. The officers found that the Hells Angels were using profits from marijuana production in southeastern B.C to import cocaine.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 11:17 AM - 0 Comments
Liberal Senator Joyce Fairbairn, 72, has been receiving round-the-clock care for a year and a half due to her declining health from dementia and will not return to Ottawa for the time being, according to a letter her niece, Patricia McCullagh, sent to Senate officials earlier this month. The letter, dated Aug. 13, says that a geriatric psychiatrist signed a declaration of incompetence for Fairbairn sometime in February and that in April, McCullagh and Leonard Kuchar, chief of staff to Liberal Senate Leader James Cowan, co-signed a power of care that made them agents acting on her behalf.
Senate attendance records show that Fairbairn regularly attended sittings in the Upper Chamber after being declared incompetent, missing seven sitting days between February and the end of session in June. She was away on public business for five of those days, leaving only two absences unexplained. She voted along Liberal lines a dozen times during that same time period, including seven times in June on the Copyright Act, the omnibus budget implementation bill and changes to the immigration and refugee system.
When I asked for comment last night, a Liberal spokesman said he could only say Senator Fairbairn—as reported last week—will be on sick leave when the Senate returns in the fall and he could not comment on the nature of her health concerns.