BONJOUR, VOTERS: Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff reached out to
Quebec voters at a general council meeting of the party's provincial
wing. Telling delegates that many Quebecers voted for the Bloc
Quebecois out of francophone pride, and despite of policy. If given the
chance, Ignatieff vowed he would prove that the Liberals have Quebec's best interests at heart.
BANG BANG SHOOT SHOOT: Earlier in the day, Ignatieff weighed in on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's call for an open vote to scrap the federal firearms registry.
While the Liberal leader said he was wary of the bill and wanted to see
the "fine print" before tipping his hand as to how he would vote, he
was careful to draw the distinction between sports shooters and those
who wield guns as part of a criminal lifestyle. For his part, the prime
minister used a speech to the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
to urge members to pressure opposition MPs into supporting the registry's repeal.
REVERSAL OF FORTUNE: The
global recession has significantly tarnished Alberta's status as
Canada's golden goose. As the province's oil-based economy sheds jobs,
many are looking to niche job employment opportunities to pay the bills, among them tailors, nutritionists and archivists.
ON THE OTHER HAND...: While much of the country follows the world into recession and government deficits, Manitoba is enjoying relatively sunny economic climes.
A steady-as-she-goes strategy continued to chug along modestly,
boasting an unemployment rate three percentage points lower than the
national average and new openings in the retail sector, including the
province's first IKEA store.
DANGEROUS SKIES: Aviation suffered two deadly accidents yesterday, among them a small plane crash in Montana that killed 17 people,
including several children. The second tragedy unfolded at a Tokyo
airport when a Fed-Ex plane crashed and exploded while attempting to
land, killing the pilot and co-pilot.
Vice-President Joe Biden had some fun at the expense of his boss during
Washington's annual Gridiron Club dinner -- an roast that allows
journalists to skewer the politicians they cover. President Barack
Obama was the first president to skip the event in decades, opting to
spend time with his family at Camp David. However, at least two politicians begged to differ:
Biden claimed Obama was preparing for Easter because "he thinks it's
about him," while California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger simply said
"he's just not into you."
RELUCTANT PARTICIPANTS: Japan's
decades-old policy of using the military as a strictly stay-at-home
force has slowly been changing course to an international role in the
past several years, working closely with U.S. officials. Constitutional
restrictions put in place after World War II curtailed the country's
military expansion, but gradual looesning of such regulations has led
to a more active Japanese force and stands to alter the power structure
in Asia -- one of the most volatile and heavily-armed regions in the world.