Jeers: to suggesting we take our ball and go home. So, one of the federal Conservative members of Parliament has decided that Canada should reconsider being in the United Nations. Conservative MP Larry Miller was reacting to a mild rebuke from the UN Committee on Torture, which suggested the Conservative policy of deporting suspected war criminals left those deported at risk of torture. Miller’s complaint comes on the heels of a tag-team attack by Conservative cabinet ministers after a UN representative dared to question the availability of affordable food in this country. Only two nations have ever left the UN, and only for short times: Syria and Indonesia. Canada was once a nation known for its UN peacekeeping role; we now have, according to the UN, a grand total of 33 people helping to keep the peace worldwide. But what the heck, let’s cement our growing reputation as a self-absorbed, myopic nation unable to take even the most mild of criticism and unwilling to lend a helping hand to the less fortunate.
Cheers: to small signs of change. Scientists working on a recent provincial government research project say there are signs that cod and caplin are, if not recovering in numbers to any dramatic extent, at least are larger and healthier than they have been in years. Every journey begins with a first step — and we’ve been waiting 20 years for this one.
Jeers: to really, really bad ideas. Anyone who takes an illegally produced drug takes a clear risk — all you have to do is remember the 12 deaths in Alberta and B.C. last summer and fall that were the result of a bad batch of ecstasy. But at least people should know they’re taking the risk in the first place. That’s why ecstasy pills in the shape of cartoon characters like Bart Simpson of “The Simpsons” — seized by the RNC last week — are particularly alarming. A stray pill or two from that stash in the hands of a child could easily cause a tragedy. The only upside, and an extremely tenuous one at that: perhaps the Simpsons empire could sue for trademark infringement. Chances are the penalty in a trademark case would be larger than the fines imposed for drug possession.
Jeers: to countdowns. The clock is ticking on the Corner Brook paper mill, and there’s not much time left to run. A financial squeeze on the operation means that workers and the company have until Friday to reach new deals on compensation and on pension benefits. In an industry where individual mills are fighting to pay the least and become the cheapest suppliers possible, the race to the bottom is both heartbreaking for employees and nerveracking for their families. Until the industry bottoms out — it clearly hasn’t yet — the demands are just going to keep coming.