TRADING ARGUMENTS: The debate over the “Buy American” provisions in President Barack Obama’s economic rescue plan continued yesterday, although Prime Minister Stephen Harper sounded a hopeful tone after the president’s words of assurance on Tuesday. Quebec Premier Jean Charest waded into the debate, telling a reporter that Canada should team up with the European Union
to press the Obama Administration harder to fight with the plan.
Charest joined a worldwide chorus of condemnation for the provisions,
which many leaders said flew in the face of a G-20 agreement last
November to refrain from enacting new trade barriers.
American legislators from steel-producing states showed no sign of backing down,
however, as several Congressional Democrats vowed to pull their support
for the package if the provisions were removed or watered down.
MURDERS UNRELATED: Police in Metro Vancouver said that three shooting murders that occurred in a 24-hour period were unconnected to each other, but at least two of the victims were known to police.
One of the victims, 21-year-old Raphael Baldini, was linked to an infamous 2007 mass murder
that left six men — two of them innocent bystanders — dead in a
Surrey, B.C. apartment. Baldini, who was shot to death in his luxury
SUV, was renting the apartment where the shootings occurred, and an
upset Eileen Mohan — whose son, Chris, was one of the bystanders —
said that answers to what happened on the day her son was murdered died with Baldini.
THE INSIDERS: A forensic audit of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s (OLG) winners database found that ticket sellers and other insiders had claimed $198 million in prizes since 1995. The report detailed six types of fraud may have been committed by OLG insiders.
SEIZING AID: Armed Hamas police seized blankets and food meant for the needy
from a United Nations warehouse in Gaza, allegedly over a dispute about
who was receiving the aid. Both groups exchanged demands for an
apology; the UN for an “unacceptable” act, and Hamas for “spreading
Bloc Quebecois MP Maria Mourani was roundly criticized for forwarding all 308 of her House colleagues an e-mail
that contained links to articles that accused Israel of terrorism,
questioned its legitimacy and glorified violence against it. Three of
the groups that received laudatory treatment in the articles are
officially listed as terrorist organizations by the Canadian
government, and the contents of the e-mail featured heavily in a
Question Period exchange between BQ Leader Gilles Duceppe and the prime
TASER TALK: At the public inquiry into the 2007 death of Polish immigrant Robert Dzeikanski,
who died after being Tasered by RCMP officers in the Vancouver airport,
a limo driver who had a loud confrontation with the man testified that he didn’t believe he set off the behaviour that led to the fatal encounter with police.
The Ontario government rejected calls for a ban on Taser use against minors,
dismissing the move as a “knee-jerk reaction.” The calls followed a
report that a teenage girl was Tasered while in her jail cell because,
as alleged by a lawsuit filed by the girl’s parents, she was peeling
the paint of her cell walls.
PHELPS FOLLIES: While some lined up to praise Olympic champion Michael Phelps’ public apology after photos allegedly showing him smoking marijuana were released, the swimming great also received a letter from the United States Olympic Committee seeking a face-to-face meeting to both offer assistance and express their disappointment in him.
As for Phelps himself, in the first public comments since his apology
he said he would have to live with the fallout from the photo and
praised those close to him who have offered their support. However, the fallout in terms of sponsorship dollars can’t be easily undone, despite his current sponsors dutifully lining up behind him.