Grave situations

Brian
Brian Jones
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Archeologists and astronomers made headlines this week, which doesn’t happen enough, unfortunately. What they have to say is infinitely more interesting than the banal utterances of politicians, who dominate the news only because they must, not because of merit.

Looking up, the professional sky-gazers announced they have discovered three Earth-like planets orbiting a three-star system a mere 22 light years from Earth. An artist’s conception shows a rocky surface, with three suns in the sky.

Speaking of things surreal, it is tempting to wonder whether Premier Kathy Dunderdale lives on one of those planets. She certainly doesn’t seem to be of this Earth.

The premier’s stubbornness, arrogance and condescension have grown to galactic proportions.

Faced with news this week that she is the least popular premier in the country, Dunderdale’s spokespeople — she didn’t deign to address her minions herself — released a statement that “we do recognize that some people still feel the need to register their discontent.”

Who on Earth talks like that? “Feel the need to register their discontent”? How about, “oppose bad policies”?

According to pollster Angus Reid, only 26 per cent of people are content with Dunderdale. A whopping 74 per cent are discontented.

In stellar terms, the Tories’ star power is fading. They had better stop jabbering and start listening.

Most importantly, they should stop bragging about making “tough decisions.” Every time Dunderdale or Jerome Kennedy or Darin King uses that phrase they push the PCs closer to supernova phase. Ask any astronomer where that leads — eventually, to a black hole.

• • •

St. John’s voters must wonder whether Mayor Dennis O’Keefe watches too many superhero movies. Mimicking the Man of Steel and Iron Man, the mayor has set out to fight crime.

Nervous Hells Angels probably called an emergency meeting in their Montreal headquarters, their East Coast profits in peril. “Doc O’Keefe is after us, b’ys.”

This being a municipal elections year, politicians wouldn’t check the facts first. Instead, just remind citizens of the drive-by shootings and fire bombings that occur nightly, and remind them to hide in the bathtub whenever they hear squealing tires.

Some electors might find comfort in the mayor’s manipulative machinations. But others might want to test O’Keefe’s self-serving swill against the facts.

Statistics Canada’s violent crime severity index uses a scale of zero to 200 to rate cities (higher numbers equate to more crime). The national average is 85. St. John’s is rated 74, similar to Calgary (72) and Victoria, B.C., (70), but lower than Halifax (111) and Saint John, N.B. (91).

Winnipeg is the most violent city in Canada, with a rating of 173, followed by Saskatoon (134) and Thunder Bay (128). The least violent are Quebec City and Trois-Rivieres (each 46).

Of the three big cities, Vancouver is rated 98, followed by Montreal (97) and Toronto (84).

But setting aside all that, the mayor’s advisory committee on crime prevention is essential to quell the 24/7 mayhem on our streets and to ensure O’Keefe’s re-election.

• • •

Red Bay, Labrador, is a spectacular place. You can walk a trail along the south side of the harbour and see massive whalebones on the coastline, leftovers from Basque whalers’ work centuries ago. Bits and pieces of red roofing tiles used by the Basques are still visible on the beaches.

There is a Basque graveyard on Saddle Island, where the processing of whales was done, but there are no visible headstones. Researchers have removed dozens of the bodies.

Last weekend, UNESCO declared Red Bay a world heritage site. Let’s hope that at some point, when their work is done, researchers hold an appropriate ceremony to return the Basque whalers’ bodies to their original graves.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached at bjones@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Statistics Canada, UNESCO, The Telegram

Geographic location: Montreal, Red Bay, East Coast Calgary Victoria Saint John Winnipeg Canada Saskatoon Thunder Bay Quebec City Trois-Rivieres Vancouver Toronto Saddle Island

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  • wtf
    June 28, 2013 - 07:39

    I thought Cheers and Jeers were on Mondays.