Cheers & Jeers

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Cheers: to unintended humour. There’s this oh-so-serious news release from a member of Canada’s Senate: “Today, in the Senate Chamber, Senator Elizabeth Hubley’s private member’s bill, S-218, An Act respecting National Fiddling Day, passed third reading, receiving unanimous consent.

The bill will now be sent to the House of Commons for further study. This enactment would designate the third Saturday in May in each and every year as ‘National Fiddling Day.’” Six different senators stood to speak in the debate on this important topic. One question, though: did Senator Mike Duffy know about this? Because apparently he already knows a lot about national-scale fiddling …

Cheers: to truth in numbers. A longtime Telegram reader called in to make an interesting point about millions and billions: the change of a single letter, the reader suggests, doesn’t come close to actually describing the change in scale between the two. Think how much stronger the impact would be if, instead of saying $8 billion, for example, we were to say $8,000 million. It’s unlikely to catch on, but it’s well worth thinking about any time anyone starts talking to you offhandedly about spending a billion dollars on something.

Jeers: to eroding paycheques. April inflation numbers are out and, nationwide, they’re not pretty — the 2.7 per cent rise is well above what experts were expecting. Here’s the Canadian Press’s take: “Statistics Canada said the key contributors to the increase in core inflation were higher prices for meat, traveller accommodation and electricity. Consumers are paying 10 per cent more for beef than at the start of the year. Prices for fresh or frozen pork have risen by 12.2 per cent during the five-month period. … Overall, Statistics Canada said prices increased for all major components from 12 months ago, with shelter costs rising by 3.4 per cent, transportation costs 2.7 per cent, and food by 2.3 per cent. Of the major components, alcohol and tobacco led the way with a 3.6 per cent increase.” Now, the rumblings have started about whether the Bank of Canada might consider raising interest rates to help cap inflation before it really starts to move upwards … And how much did your paycheque increase in April? Right.

Jeers: to expensive habits. Now, that was one expensive cigarette. A connecting passenger on an Air Canada flight to Brazil stepped outside the terminal in Toronto for a cigarette last week and came back into the departures area through the wrong door — one meant for airport staff. He then boarded his flight to Brazil — a flight that was turned around and flown back to Toronto several hours after it left the airport, primarily because it had been determined that a security breach had occurred. The passenger involved was questioned by police and later released without any sort of charges. The security breach locked down all of Pearson Airport, left hundreds stranded due to late and cancelled flights, and potentially cost the airport and airlines millions of dollars. One expensive smoke indeed.

Organizations: House of Commons, Statistics Canada, Canadian Press Bank of Canada Air Canada Pearson Airport

Geographic location: Brazil, Toronto

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  • Marshall Art
    June 23, 2014 - 08:19

    National Fiddling Day ??. Don't those clowns in the Patronage Chamber have something better to do ? How about National Guitar Day ? National Drum Day ? National Ukulele Day ? National Crazy Stick Day ? National Senators Doing Nothing Day ?.

  • Ken Collis
    June 23, 2014 - 04:32

    When airports design secure areas in airports without dedicated smoking rooms people will always go outside for a cigarette. It doesn't matter if you believe smoking is wrong or not. it's just a fact of the times. Another fact is that boarder security has to deal with the people going out and security lines are longer with those same people coming in. Most airports in Europe that had previousally banned smoking are now opening dedicated smoking areas just to help shorten the line-ups at customs and security.