In 1989 another gunman killed 14 at a different Montreal college. That incident provided the impetus for the passage of Canada's very strict gun control laws. I'll be interested to see if this latest shooting sparks debate over the futility of such legislation.
Perhaps a defenseless populace isn't always in society's highest interests.
Liberal power couple Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz have publicly broken with the Liberal Party line on the Middle East crisis and are turning to Prime Minister Stephen Harper because of his support of Israel.
Mr. Schwartz, a confidante of former prime minister Paul Martin and one of Canada's most influential businessmen as the head of Onex Corp., is one of the eight signatories of an advertisement placed in a newspaper in Cornwall, Ont., where the Conservatives are holding caucus meetings.
The ad welcomes the caucus to Cornwall and expresses appreciation to Mr. Harper, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay and Conservative MPs for "standing by" Israel. It also lauds other G8 leaders and Australian Prime Minister John Howard for their stands on the war.
Mr. Schwartz's wife, Ms. Reisman, says she is leaving the party to support the Conservatives under Stephen Harper.
Almost two in three Canadians believe Israel's military action in Lebanon is justified, a new poll has revealed.
The survey, conducted online by Ipsos Reid for CanWest News Service and Global National, found 64% of Canadians believed Israel's action is either somewhat or completely justified.
Fifty-seven per cent of Quebecers believed the Israeli response is "not at all justified."
When asked which side should compromise in order to secure a ceasefire, 63% of Canadians said it was "those who kidnapped the Israeli soldiers," while 53% of Quebecers said it was the Israeli government.
The French-Canadians have been in North America for over 400 years and lead very American-style lives. They came here originally as explorers and participated fully in the opening of the continent. Their forebears struggled against an unimaginable climate to clear the forests of Quebec and establish a vast society which eventually grew to some 6 million.
That history is the same one to which we attribute the typically North American traits of individualism and self-reliance. And if there were one people on earth that you might think would sympathize with the plight of the Israelis, it would be Quebec which has fought and struggled to maintain its identity, culture and traditions in a sea of English.
Less than two years before passports would be required to enter the United States from either of its neighbors, the Niagara region's tourism industry is already taking a big economic hit.
Canadian businesses are bemoaning scrapped visits by Americans who think the new border security initiative already is in effect.
"Perception is reality to people," said Dave Hyde, president of the Ontario-based Niagara Falls Tours. "They already perceive it as a problem, so they don't bother."
Remember when the Canadian dollar tanked back in the early '90s? Canadian trips to the US declined dramatically and Buffalo's economy took a serious hit. A couple foundering local malls shut down for good, and the others saw losses from which they've only recently recovered. It just wasn't worth Canadians' time to shop here anymore.
Well, over the last year the opposite has happened. The Canadian dollar has risen to levels not seen in 1/4 century and perhaps Americans just aren't finding a trip to Canada to be the bargain it once was. For example, Canadian gasoline at the equivalent of US $3.64/gallon doesn't help.
Canadians are forever complaining that most Americans hardly know their country exists -- and they're correct. It would strike me as highly unlikely that those same Americans somehow know of President Bush's suggested plan to require passports to visit a country that they're only dimly aware of in the first place. Unfortunately, following the news is not one of our countrymen's fortes. However, checking prices is a national pastime and one we're quite good at.
Look, I'm as opposed to the passport idea as anyone, but trying to claim that it's hurting cross-border trade two years before its scheduled implementation probably won't convince very many.
A little Canadian political news with an Internet twist.
A candidate for the Liberal Party leadership, Joe Volpe, was revealed to have received some substantial contributions from children. Well, it turns out that there's no law forbidding that in Canada, but nonetheless a website was swiftly created to poke fun at the guy.
It was all the buzz in official Ottawa yesterday -- a hilarious political whodunit in this age of websites, platforms and templates.
Overnight, someone built a website spoofing Liberal leadership candidate Joe Volpe and his acceptance of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from children, including the 11-year-old twins of a former vice-president of a generic drug company.
By early yesterday afternoon, the Volpe team had the website pulled down. ...
Mr. Volpe's campaign had the site shut down without knowing, it seems, who put it up: "Hi Everyone," wrote Brenden Johnstone, who is with the Volpe campaign, in an e-mail to other leadership campaigns. "There has been concern about how the issue of the Volpe donations was reflecting on the leadership race.
"My Office has had the website suspended through CIRA [Canadian Internet Registration Authority] and CDNS [Canadian Domain Name Services] and it will be down as soon as 6 p.m. I think the issue with the website has been dealt with. . . ."
The Canadians have been slow to assert their blogging-power, but it appears that they're making up for lost time. I suspect Mr. Volpe will be all over The National tonight or maybe tomorrow and Canadian blogging will prosper accordingly.
The upcoming requirement that anyone crossing the Canadian-American border carry a passport or special ID is not a good idea. While the local congressional delegation is working to change it, ultimately I think it will be up to Prime Minister Harper to make the case to the President. He's already taken steps towards reconciling Canadian foreign policy with America's -- undoubtedly thawing relations between the two.
Now he needs to reassure the U.S. that Canada's immigration and tourist-screening policies are toughened. It was the former Liberal government's failure to do so that got it included on the passport list anyway.
Canada's armed forces have decided to save some time and money by declaring that crews on a new armored vehicle will be English only.
The Canadian Force's new armoured vehicle will be operated by an English-only
unit with the army planning to save time and money by not translating documents
and equipment manuals related to the $700-million purchase, according to a
military report. [...]
Military equipment in Canada is usually supplied with manuals and support
material in both official languages. But defence planners hope to save money and
time by cutting out French-language content on the MGS, which will eventually be
based in Edmonton.
"Translations will have unnecessary impact on costs and scope of work,
especially for (the) first 16 MGS," notes one report produced in November 2004
and recently released under the Access to Information law.
That is not sitting well with Canada's language-police.
But last Tuesday, Commissioner of Official Languages Dyane Adam took the
Defence Department to task on its commitment to bilingualism. Ms. Adam
recommended that by next year, bilingualism be a requirement for promotion for
officers at the rank of colonel or naval captain and above.
Ms. Adam criticized military supervisors at Defence Department headquarters
in Ottawa for not providing a truly bilingual environment.
Bilingualism in the military should probably be done away with -- for simple safety reasons. safety is why, for example, international civilian air control is conducted in English; it would simply be too dangerous for harried air-traffic controllers to have to give directions and commands in a pilot's native language.
Quebec should remain free to insist on the use of French in civilian matters within the province. But since it's chosen to be defended by Canada it might think a moment and realize that its own safety might ultimately be better-served by allowing the Canadian Armed Forces to become English-speaking.