By macleans.ca - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - 0 Comments
Rolling coverage of the U.S. presidential debate
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 9:45 PM - 0 Comments
The first in our series of Twitter replies to threats on Big Bird
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 2:31 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – A new report finds that a soaring number of jet-setting Canadians are border-hopping to catch cheaper flights.
The Conference Board of Canada report, issued Wednesday, said that about five million Canadians now cross the U.S. border by land every year to fly out of American airports.
Higher airfares and fees and taxes in Canada, as well as differences in wages, aircraft prices and industry productivity makes it 30 per cent cheaper to fly out of the U.S.
The Conference Board says fees and taxes make up about 40 per cent of the cost of an airplane ticket in Canada.
The report suggests that while other factors are beyond government control, small reductions in the airfare differential could lead to traffic gains for Canadian airports and carriers.
It estimates that changes to Canadian policies alone could bring more than two million passengers a year back to Canadian airports.
Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters Wednesday that Ottawa is “concerned” about the issue and that federal Transport Minister Denis Lebell “has been working on a consultation project with the airlines, with the airport authorities in Canada to try to see what we can accomplish.”
The Conference Board analysis focused on Vancouver International Airport, Pearson International Airport in Toronto, and Montreal-Trudeau International Airport, along with their cross-border competitors.
By Mika Rekai - Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 3:47 PM - 0 Comments
On Nov. 6, Puerto Rico is holding a referendum on the territory’s tricky political…
On Nov. 6, Puerto Rico is holding a referendum on the territory’s tricky political status with the United States. Puerto Rican support for formal statehood has been growing steadily in recent years, with polls showing 41 per cent want the island to become the 51st state.
Yet on the mainland, the issue makes for toxic politics. The status of Spanish—which is spoken by 95 per cent of Puerto Ricans—as an official language is unpopular with conservative Republicans. And recession-weary Americans are unlikely to be enthused about any extension of national entitlement programs such as medicare and social security to an island plagued by poverty and joblessness.
President Barack Obama has admitted that a majority vote would not be enough to start the process of bringing Puerto Rico into the union. Congress, he says, will wait for a “stronger inclination” before taking action.
Few Americans are tuning in to Puerto Rico’s debate, and the Caribbean protectorate is largely deciding its future without mainland influence. But should they vote to join the union, Puerto Ricans, who have U.S. citizenship but no U.S. political representation, may find they are not as welcome as some U.S. political leaders would have them believe.
By Aaron Hutchins - Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 2:26 PM - 0 Comments
The former enemies are big trading partners. Could military co-operation be next?
Americans used to burn Vietnamese shirts; now they buy them. They also buy shoes, wooden furniture, nuts and leather goods. Vietnam isn’t only a seller’s market; it also imports merchandise from the United States, everything from machinery to cotton and cars. Who knows? Perhaps some of those cars are built by some of the one million Vietnamese-Americans living in the U.S.
It’s hardly the same relationship that existed when Marc Leepson returned home to New Jersey after a year-long tour in Vietnam in December 1968. “For so long Vietnam was a war,” the U.S. veteran says. Today, in some ways, “it’s like any other country,” he says. “But of course, it isn’t.”
Nearly 40 years after a war that lasted decades and took more than three million lives, the once bitter enemies are now financial buddies. Two-way trade hit US$21.5 billion last year—more than 10 times what it was a decade ago. And trade continues to thrive this year, despite growing concern over Vietnam’s human rights abuses. Indeed, the U.S. has become the largest importer of Vietnamese goods.
By Erica Alini - Monday, July 30, 2012 at 5:09 PM - 0 Comments
In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China came in a close second after the U.S. in the medals count — placing first, second or third in 100 events vs. the Americans’ 110.
London 2012, though, might well be the games where China overtakes Uncle Sam. Medal, after medal, after medal, the People’s Republic has been dominating the charts since day one — and unsurprisingly so.
As our graphic shows, population and GDP are propelling China to the top of the podium. It’s been a slow climb for the past 14 years. Below, we’ve charted the U.S. and China’s shares of the world economy (the blue and red columns), their share of the world’s population (the blue and red shaded areas) and the total number of medals won in each of the past seven Olympics (the blue and red lines).
Click on the image below to see the full-size version of the graphic and marvel at the athletic rise of Asia’s biggest powerhouse!
By Tamsin McMahon - Friday, July 20, 2012 at 11:42 AM - 0 Comments
So you want to do business with Americans, but worry about overcoming the cultural nuances that separate us from our neighbours to the south? HSBC bank has a handy Expats Guide to doing business in different countries that offers an (unintentionally) hilarious glimpse at the subtle differences between Canadians and Americans, including Canadians’ apparent unease with giving their dinner guests a house tour and Americans’ love of using sports analogies in business negotiations.
Here are some of the cultural traits HSBC recommends you keep in mind when doing business across the border (and we are quoting):
ETIQUETTE FAUX PAS
- Avoid the “V” for victory and the “thumbs-down” gestures.
- Use your entire hand to point, not just your finger.
- Don’t compare Canada with the US
- [Avoid] anything that might be misinterpreted as sexual harassment
- [Don't] boast about your accomplishments and achievements, salary, income or belongings
- [Don't] stand too close to someone you’re speaking with, lest you impose on their sense of personal space
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 2:36 PM - 0 Comments
Can a debt-ridden U.S. still afford to pick up the cheque?
The sobering reality became clear before the NATO summit even began. For a day and a half, the leaders of the world’s biggest economies hunkered down at the woodsy presidential retreat of Camp David, huddled around circular tables sharing frank details of the fragile state of the global economy and how in Europe, the situation could get much, much worse.
There, Prime Minister Stephen Harper slept in a small rustic cabin named Rosebud, where Soviet security guards were housed when Nikita Khrushchev met with Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958. (Harper’s aides bunked in a nearby firehouse.) But the threat hovering over this meeting was economic. Ahead of a conference to decide how to keep the security alliance of Western democracies relevant two decades after the end of the Cold War, it was clear the piggy bank was empty.
When the security summit itself got rolling, NATO’s members agreed to an endgame to the war in Afghanistan. (Harper confirmed that Canadian troops would leave by March 2014, and pledged $110 million annually for three years to help pay the $4.1-billion annual bill allowing the Afghans to maintain their “own” military.) But the allies did not agree to spend more on their own defence budgets, something Washington has been asking them to do for years. Going forward, that is the issue facing the winner of the 2012 presidential election. In a world that looks likely to deliver more humanitarian crises like Libya—and at a time of fiscal tightening in Europe—can the debt-ridden U.S. still afford to pick up the cheque?
By Jesse Brown - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 12:49 PM - 0 Comments
Success has many fathers, especially in tech. Create a piece of innovative software and soon you may be fending off claims from rival coders who say they came up with it first, or from old friends who swear they gave you the idea over a beer. Bitter lawsuits ensue, musclebound twins pump their fists with rage, and so on. But there is one exception to this rule, an area of software development where success is an orphan: Malware.
Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cyber security firm, has discovered that thousands of computers in the Middle East (mostly government machines, mostly in Iran) have been infected with a malicious piece of software they are calling Flame. Flame is insidious, destructive, and very cool. And no one will ever take credit for building it.
Similarities between Flame and the Stuxnet and DuQu viruses are leading to speculation that the programs were all created by the same people. Stuxnet, which bloodlessly set back the Iranian nuclear program by as much as a decade, is widely believed to be the product of an Israel-America cyberweaponry team-up. Of course, neither country has confirmed this.
By Peter Fragiskatos - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 2:29 PM - 0 Comments
And why Washington and Tehran must learn to trust each other nonetheless
For the past decade, the apparent danger posed by Iran’s nuclear program has continuously raised the prospect of yet another war in the Middle East. Granted, the threats uttered by all sides often appear to be more strategic than sincere but the tensions that have developed over the past few months between Israel, the U.S. and Iran should not be brushed aside. Hostility only serves to make war more likely. In this case, the consequences could prove especially devastating.
The fact that Iran’s military power does not come close to matching either the U.S. or Israel is not important. Thousands stand to be killed because most of its nuclear facilities – which would be the major target of any American or Israeli strike – have been built near major population centers (the expected pronouncements about “precision strikes” designed to avoid “collateral damage” notwithstanding).
War also poses problems for a global economy still struggling to recover, especially since the Middle East holds most of the world’s oil (Iran is the world’s fourth largest producer). More broadly, the already strained relations between the West and the Muslim World – which have yet to recover from the impact of 9/11 and Iraq – would surely take a severe hit if fighting were to occur.
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 11:00 AM - 0 Comments
Washington wants Ottawa to make it easier for U.S. workers to fill vacancies there
With the U.S. unemployment rate stuck above eight per cent, Americans need jobs. And Alberta needs more workers—as many as 114,000 in the next decade, according to provincial figures. It seems like the perfect opportunity—bring trained U.S. workers to help ﬁll the labour shortage in booming Alberta. Yet hiring those workers is difficult, employers complain.
“It hasn’t been our first place to look,” says Jim Finnigan, human resources manager for the North American Construction Group, an Edmonton-based company that serves the oil sands in mining, heavy construction and pipelines. Finnigan needs heavy equipment mechanics, welders, electricians for electric cable shovels, as well as project managers, civil estimators and various types of engineers. He’s brought them in from as far away as Chile and Ireland, and dealt with long delays in government approvals and the uncertainty of skills testing when they arrived. (Some Chileans had to be sent back, he says, because they didn’t have the language skills to pass highly technical written exams even though their spoken English was fine.)
Yet bringing in workers from the U.S. has been far more challenging. It’s not only government red tape, but the difficulties in getting recognition for the workers’ skills. Unlike some countries, the U.S. does not have an equivalent of Canada’s formal apprenticeship and certification system for many skilled trades, adding another layer of complexity to hiring. “The easiest ones to get for us should be U.S. labourers,” says Finnigan. “But the hardest ones to get are the American ones.”
By John Parisella - Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 5:36 PM - 0 Comments
Romney will likely equal, or exceed McCain’s showing. He may even win. Why?
By all standards of conventional campaigning, John McCain’s candidacy in 2008 was one of the least inspiring in modern times. This bona fide war hero was unable to make the case for moderate conservatism that would have set a different course for the Republican Party. He lacked focus, seemed unable to articulate a coherent position, could not rally his party base, and showed an appalling lack of judgment in choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate.
Still, he did get 47% of the vote and for a brief moment before the Lehman Brothers’ debacle, led in the national polls. Much of this respectable showing had more to do with the notion that America is closer to being a 50-50 nation than McCain’s personal resumé or his campaign. Up against the candidacy of Barack Obama, who had galvanized new voters and benefitted from a relatively favorable press, to achieve 47% of the popular vote in a year of economic recession and financial meltdown says much about the solidity of the GOP vote and the nature of the current American electorate.
Mitt Romney seems to have similar issues about his candidacy. He too has appeared uninspiring, and he has yet to articulate a convincing message about where he intends to lead the country. While he is rallying his primary opponents, the endorsements are tepid and lukewarm to say the least. In addition, the lingering question about his authenticity as a person continues to remain a current topic. Yet, despite an arduous primary season which seemed to diminish him as a candidate rather than enhance his fortunes, it is fair to predict that he will do as well, if not better than McCain come November. He may actually win. Why is this so?
By macleans.ca - Monday, May 7, 2012 at 11:55 AM - 0 Comments
Ottawa’ s hanging on to its embassies’ artwork and al-Qaeda’s taste for porn uncovered
Back at the table
U.S.-Iran relations are enjoying a welcome thaw this spring, as the threat of further sanctions appears to have renewed Tehran’s interest in diplomacy. The two sides met recently in Istanbul and have agreed to more talks next month in Baghdad, with senior clerics in Iran voicing support. Two short months ago, the prospect of Israel bombing installations in Iran looked real, as Tehran remained defiant about continuing its nuclear program. Ending the stalemate will require Iran to stop making weapons-grade nuclear fuel while agreeing to a new inspection regime. Still, this is a good start—and far preferable to the alternative.
Back in Black
After Stephen Harper’s government initially refused to give special consideration to a residency application by Conrad Black, Citizenship and Immigration Canada granted the former media baron a one-year temporary resident permit, allowing him to live here after his release from prison. The backlash was immediate, and expected, with critics accusing the government of a double standard, but Black’s crimes were not violent, he behaved well in prison, and it served no purpose to prevent him from returning home.
By Tamsin McMahon - Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 12:02 PM - 0 Comments
Automakers are flooding to the Deep South for cheap, union-free labour
When German executives from Volkswagen descended on Chattanooga, Tenn., last May for the grand opening of their $1-billion plant, they pointed to the warm Southern hospitality and the cultural amenities of life on the banks of the Tennessee River as key reasons for deciding to build their first North American auto assembly shop in 20 years on the site of a former wartime-era munitions factory in the Deep South.
Auto industry analysts pointed to other reasons the automaker chose Chattanooga: the region’s high unemployment and strong anti-union sentiment, which promised both a massive labour pool willing to work for cheap and more than half a billion dollars in government incentives—nearly $200,000 per worker. Luring Volkswagen, which promised to hire nearly 2,000 workers for as little as $14.50 an hour, was deemed a huge coup for the city of 170,000. Since the plant opened, the city’s unemployment rate has dropped from nine per cent to 7.3 per cent. Volkswagen-branded shirts became the city’s most coveted fashion item.
Volkswagen is merely the latest foreign automaker to target the southern U.S. for expansion into the North American market. It’s a trend that is profoundly reshaping the American manufacturing landscape, pushing the country’s auto belt south from Michigan and Ohio into the cotton fields and cow pastures of Alabama and Mississippi in search of cheaper labour and fewer costly union battles. It’s not the first time the industry has seen a shift to the South, as automakers decamped for places like Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri in the 1980s in search of cheap labour. But the present-day move appears both more profound and more lasting. For every job created by foreign automakers, mostly in the South, the Detroit Three have shed six jobs, nearly half in Michigan, according to the Center for Automotive Research. It’s a push that now threatens the future of high-paying manufacturing jobs in Canada, and maybe even the future of unionized workplaces.
By Charlie Gillis - Monday, February 20, 2012 at 10:10 AM - 0 Comments
More kids, more rinks, and now, more popular than basketball
It was an unlikely cradle for a hockey prodigy. A sun-baked expanse of concrete, equipped with a makeshift set of boards—the haven of a passionate cadre of in-line skaters who in the mid-1990s had adapted the game of Wayne Gretzky to the climate of southern California. From the moment three-year-old Emerson Etem wobbled onto the roller-hockey surface at the Los Altos YMCA, it was clear he’d found his métier. “He just had this ability on wheels,” recalls his mother Patricia, a former Olympic rower. “It was a lot of fun to watch. But more than anything, I was intrigued.”
At six, Etem made the transition to ice, joining a house league in his hometown of Long Beach, then advancing through select teams run by the L.A. Hockey Club, an elite program based in Orange County. A stint at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, the fabled Minnesota prep school where Sidney Crosby played, led to an invitation to join the Medicine Hat Tigers of Canada’s Western Hockey League, where the 19-year-old has established his bona fides as a blue-chip NHL prospect. Last week, he became the first WHL player in 11 years to score 51 goals in 50 games. Next fall, he’ll attend the training camp of the Anaheim Ducks, who took him in the first round of last year’s NHL entry draft.
Canadians may dismiss Etem as an anomaly—the SoCal equivalent of, say, a gifted Slovenian discovered by a diligent scout. But if the growing numbers of young Americans taking a shine to hockey are any guide, we’ll soon see more like him. U.S.A. Hockey, the sport’s governing body south of the border, is on track for its fourth straight year of record enrolment, having cracked the half-million player mark for the first time in 2010-11. The U.S. has yet to catch Canada—we had 572,000 players last year of all ages, male and female. But its trend lines are better. Since the early 1990s, when the NHL embarked on its aggressive expansion into the U.S., the number of Americans playing the game has ballooned by 257 per cent. Canada’s registration levels have remained comparatively flat, averaging 550,000 over the last decade.
By Erica Alini - Friday, February 17, 2012 at 6:35 PM - 0 Comments
Economists have long warned that current spending patterns have put Ontario on track for a fiscal doomsday. In an attempt to show Ontarians the way to economic salvation, Premier Dalton McGuinty appointed a commission on public-service reform last year, headed by former TD economist Don Drummond. His report, unveiled on Wednesday, is a 362-item long laundry list of cost-cutting (and a few revenue-boosting) measures the provincial government should consider to keep the public deficit from ballooning to $30.2 billion by 2017-18. The prescriptions go far beyond the usual calls for budget freezes and capping wage increases in the public sector; Drummond recommends scrapping all-day kindergarten, increasing class sizes, and shutting down casinos. To make Ontarians feel better about the coming age of austerity, we’ve put together a list of the five most unusual ideas other governments have considered or implemented to fix their own beleaguered finances.
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 12:02 AM - 3 Comments
Amid the pageantry of a joint appearance at the White House alongside President Obama, the prime minister on Wednesday touted the new border security agreement in grandiose terms: the “most significant steps forward in Canada-U.S. cooperation since the North American Free Trade Agreement.” The agreement, though, is less a single leap than a series of many incremental gains, say the technocrats who labored in the shadows to put the multifaceted deal together. One Canadian official likened border negotiations to the cliché about football—it’s a “game of inches.” And this agreement covers a lot of inches—including myriad new ways in which the two nations will share data about travelers and cargo, the promise of a single on-line portal for importers and exporters who today have to schlep paper documents to a variety of government agencies, and pilot projects that will allow certain kinds of pre-inspected cargo to cross the border without stopping. It also includes a border wait-time measurement system and an inventory of border fees to help citizens and policy makers understand how well things are working—or not.
There is no doubt that Canadian officials have learned their lesson from years of trilateral “Three Amigos” summitry that resulted in lengthy bureaucratic to-do lists and more controversy than results. This time, they cut out Mexico, instead running a bilateral process focused on a limited number concrete high-impact results that could be implemented in a short period of time. Rather than endlessly negotiating over grand policy changes, they agreed to more modest pilot projects in complicated areas such as land border-preclearance in order to “build confidence” and demonstrate tangible results on the ground. Continue…
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 9:20 AM - 5 Comments
Voters in their 20s helped propel Obama to victory in 2008. Can he still count on them in 2012?
Twice a year for a decade, John Della Volpe has surveyed thousands of university students across America about their engagement in politics. Lately, he has noticed a striking change.
When he began the survey in 2000, says Volpe, the director of polling at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, young people were tuned out. “In 2000 and early 2001, they didn’t vote and weren’t participating because, they told us, politics and government didn’t matter. To make a difference, they told us you had to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself,” he recalls. September 11 and the Iraq war changed all that. Suddenly, the issues were on a greater scale, and the differences between the administration of George W. Bush and the Democrats were often stark. For nearly a decade, the youth vote increased in every federal contest over the previous comparable election.
“Perhaps the only silver lining to 9/11 was that it awoke the political spirit of this generation,” says Volpe. And it mattered. In the 2008 presidential election, more voters were under 30 (18 per cent) than were over 65 (16 per cent). The so-called millennials—sons and daughters of the baby boomers—still don’t turn out to vote proportionally as frequently as older people—but there are enough of them to make an increasing impact.
By Michael Petrou - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 11:20 AM - 2 Comments
Did Iran really plan to kill the Saudi ambassador?
It’s a baffling plot that strains the credulity even of those deeply familiar with Iran’s capacity for murder and intrigue.
Last week, the U.S. Justice Department said it had disrupted an Iranian plan to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir. Several options were supposedly discussed, including a restaurant bombing that likely would have killed many innocent bystanders.
The U.S. has charged two individuals with the alleged plot. One, Gholam Shakuri, is a suspected member of the Quds Force, a wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps responsible for operations—including terrorism and assassination—outside Iran. The second, Mansour Arbabsiar, is an Iranian-born American citizen who, over the past three decades, has failed at a variety of business ventures selling everything from used cars to horses, gyros and ice cream. He’s been sued, chased by angry creditors, and charged with theft. Friends say he’d often forget keys and cellphones, and that his socks didn’t always match.
By Michael Petrou - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 11:45 AM - 66 Comments
Pakistan is helping insurgents. Could that be seen as an act of war?
The United States has never directly attacked Pakistan’s premier spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), despite the ISI’s long-standing ties to Islamist militias and terrorist groups opposed to the U.S. and its allies. Yet Pakistani spies occasionally still die from American bombs.
In 1998, the Clinton administration launched cruise missiles at jihadist training camps in Afghanistan in retaliation for al-Qaeda’s bombing of two American embassies in East Africa. The missiles missed Osama bin Laden but killed a team of ISI agents training militants at the camps.
In November 2001, as many as 1,000 ISI agents and Pakistani soldiers from the Frontier Corps found themselves trapped in the Afghan city of Kunduz—along with their Taliban allies and members of al-Qaeda and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. The Pakistanis had been ordered to leave Afghanistan after 9/11 and had had two months to do so, but they decided to stay and fight with the Taliban instead. The Pakistanis might have reasonably expected to share the fate of their compatriots who died as collateral damage in the American cruise missile attacks three years earlier. Instead, Pakistan asked for and received U.S. permission to send rescue planes. Along with the airlifted ISI agents and Pakistani soldiers were Taliban commanders and international jihadists, including al-Qaeda.
By macleans.ca - Monday, October 3, 2011 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
Saudi Arabia grants women the right to vote, U.S.-Pakistani relations deteriorate further
Steps in the right direction
The king of Saudi Arabia has granted women the right to vote, acknowledging they can make “correct opinions.” This in a place where females can’t travel without a male’s permission, and where one woman who drove, despite a ban, was sentenced to 10 lashes. King Abdullah’s decision also permits females to run for Shura Council. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai has approved draft regulations allowing women’s shelters to remain independent from government, and receive donations without state intermediation.
It was an exciting week in space news: NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, deployed by the space shuttle in 1991, fell from orbit. A troublemaker on Twitter, armed with some Orson Welles quotes, managed to spread rumours worldwide that UARS had fallen near Okotoks, Alta. Fortunately, it appears the satellite crashed harmlessly somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. A few days earlier, space geeks were titillated with another report: physicists think they saw neutrinos travelling faster than the speed of light, which, if conﬁrmed, would disprove Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.
By macleans.ca - Friday, September 16, 2011 at 10:00 AM - 2 Comments
Debating the impact of the attacks and how it changed Canadian life, laws and liberties
Last week in St. John’s, Maclean’s and CPAC hosted a round-table conversation entitled, “How has 9/11 changed our world?” In this wide-ranging discussion of the emotional, practical, political and cultural fallout in the decade following the attacks, Maclean’s columnists Andrew Coyne and Paul Wells were joined on the stage by David Collenette, Canada’s minister of transport at the time of 9/11 attacks, Sukanya Pillay, director of the national security program for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and Tarek Fatah, political activist, author, broadcaster and founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress. The discussion was moderated by CPAC’s Peter Van Dusen. The following is an edited excerpt.
Andrew Coyne: I don’t know what future historians will make of the grand sweep of September 11 and its place in world history, but there’s no doubt the last 10 years of our lives have been in the shadow of it and very much dominated by it. If there’s one thing that we should certainly remember on this anniversary it is the nature of the threat that al-Qaeda presented and still to some extent presents. It is, I think, unique and new, something new in world history, the combination of the willingness to inflict casualties on just an enormous scale, and the technological capacity married with it. I do think, though, we should, if we’re putting everything in the balance, take stock of the fact that 10 years later we have seriously degraded al-Qaeda’s capacity. We’ll discuss a lot of the pros and cons of how the battle has been fought, but I just want to leave people with the impression that it was a battle worth fighting, and it’s been broadly successful.
Paul Wells: The question before us is how did his happen, and I think it’s a combination of two things, extremism—or, to use a simpler term, evil—on one side, and complacency on the other. The extremism persists, and the complacency is gone, but it’s important to understand what those 19 men in those airplanes were trying to do: they were trying to provoke the West. The nature of asymmetrical warfare is you use the limited means at your disposal to essentially trip up a much larger and more powerful opponent, and to some extent those 19 men have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. We have to keep our vigilance up, we have to keep working. This is not a war that is going to go away just because a zero comes up at the end of the anniversaries. I think we are still in this for a very long time, which is why we have to make sure that, in defending our values, we don’t betray them.
By Martin Patriquin - Monday, September 12, 2011 at 10:30 AM - 2 Comments
Hoardes of geese are tarnishing Canada’s name south of the border
Americans usually welcome visiting Canadians and their dollars with open arms. Yet every fall there are millions of Canadian tourists whose deposits aren’t nearly as appreciated. We speak, of course, of Branta Canadensis, the handsomely plumed birds best known as Canada geese. The birds, which have begun their yearly jaunt to southern climes, are an increasing nuisance in the U.S. Last year, Americans killed nearly two million Canada geese, including some 2,000 culled in New York City and neighbouring Nassau County. The trouble, according to Americans: the birds are loud, aggressive and dirty. “It’s like a sea of doo-doo,” one seriously put-off Long Islander told the Wall Street Journal recently. “No matter how much you chase them, they come back.”
The problem is getting worse, says McGill wildlife biology professor David Bird, because of a recent explosion in goose populations, the result of conservation efforts and the lack of natural predators in urban and suburban settings. “They’re aggressive,” says the aptly named Bird. “The worst weapon is their wing bone. They flick it, and it’ll break a kid’s forearm.” Such behaviour is tarnishing Canada’s name. “If you talk to Americans, they’ll try to blame this on Canada, but it’s not really true. A lot of geese actually breed in the northern part of the U.S.” A British tabloid dubbed the goose “one of Britain’s most hated birds” and, because the British government is considering lifting a ban on the sale of the meat, even included a recipe to curb the bird’s legendary gaminess. It’s tough to beat this old Canadian recipe, though: stew goose in a pot with assorted spices and a good-sized rock. After 12 hours, discard water and bird, eat the rock.
By Andrew Coyne and Paul Wells - Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at 9:30 AM - 12 Comments
Andrew Coyne and Paul Wells debate the successes and failures of the world’s response after 9/11 and how safe we are today
ANDREW COYNE: Perhaps the best way to think about the legacy of Sept. 11 is to think of all the things that haven’t happened. Most obviously, there has been no successful terrorist attack on American soil since then—nor any attempted attack originating from Canadian soil. Neither have there been any of the consequences that might well have followed from a second, possibly worse attack, or in some cases were predicted to follow from the first: no wholesale victimization of Muslims, no long, black night of repression of dissent, no cataclysmic clash of civilizations, and so on.
This is of more than theoretical interest. If, 10 years later, al-Qaeda seems a depleted force, there was no guarantee things would turn out that way, nor did it seem likely at the time. Reviewing television footage from the day, what is striking is the sense of bewilderment in the voices of the normally phlegmatic anchormen, as the planes keep dropping out of the sky. Who could blame them? As of about noon that day, you could have told me California had fallen into the sea and I’d have believed you.
The audacity of attacking the world’s most powerful nation in such spectacular, head-on fashion still has the power to shock. More than anything else, Sept. 11 was a show of strength: look what we can do to you, it announced. And there is nothing you can do to stop it.
By Erica Alini - Tuesday, August 9, 2011 at 5:50 PM - 7 Comments
Washington doesn’t have to look far for examples of how to climb back from a downgrade
By cutting the U.S. credit rating on Friday, Standard and Poor’s may well have pushed the world economy closer to a dreaded second dip into recession. Of course, downgrading the world’s largest economy is bound to have serious consequences, but Washington’s humiliation is not a first. Many of today’s AAA-rated countries have less-than-perfect credit histories. In fact, seven of the 15 nations on the AAA list of both S&P’s and Moody’s either lost their top score for a period, or had to work their way up there from lower ranks.
So how does a country climb back to a AAA rating? In one of three ways, it seems–and not all of them involve austerity: Continue…