Volume 94, Issue 3

Friday, June 2, 2000


NEWS

I'm running: DeCicco

SOGS left out in the cold
Privatization plans continue

Exploding tuition put on ice

London takes sixth in Canada

Top-notch prof search gets $9.6M

24 ways to know you're Canadian

London getting diesel powered buses

Arena shortage solved
City approves another rink

24 ways to know you're Canadian

Murphy's Law
Mike Murphy
News Editor

Well, it's been two weeks since we last rounded up the news in our column-shaped corral and subjected it to the high-voltage cattle prod of Gazette commentary. Here's hoping your Gazette-less Victoria Day weekend didn't prove joyless and that your fireworks didn't fizzle.

Speaking of "two-four," one would have had to be fairly resourceful to smuggle one into a provincial park on the holiday weekend, as uniformed Yogis enforced a strict alcohol ban at parks across Ontario. Apparently, those who make the laws think unspoiled natural wonders are enchanting enough to be enjoyed sober. Sure, the sight of majestic loons gliding over a placid lake can be breathtaking, but then, as Joe Canadian might remind us, there's no such thing as a view that a pair of beer goggles can't enhance.

Ah, Joe Canadian. That lovable marketing mascot seems to have more eloquence tucked into in his toque than there is in Canada's entire body politic. This month, Heritage Minister Sheila Copps let Joe speak for her and the nation, when she showed the famous TV spot at a trade talk in Massachusetts.

The ailing federal Conservatives also chose to air Molson's message at their recent party convention in an effort to brew up some support for leader Joe Clark. Lest we forget, politics equals advertising and in our time, democracy means choosing between alternative parties as dissimilar as Coke and Pepsi, or Blue and Canadian.

But onto more substantive matters. Federal Human Resources Minister Jane Stewart, has given new meaning to the word 'embattled.' As if getting raked over the coals for losing track of $1 billion in grant money wasn't enough, recent weeks have seen Stewart take a steady hammering over the so-called Big Brother database that her Ministry has been compiling. One can't help but wonder: Why does my government have 2000 pieces of information about me? And more to the point: Are there really 2000 things about me worth knowing?

On Monday, Stewart announced the Ministry would make changes to its big black book in order to protect the privacy of Canadians and, oh yeah, nearly all that slippery grant money is now accounted for. If Stewart gets to pick the inscription on her political tombstone, I'd like to suggest something like: "Hey, pencils have erasers, right?"

Finally, on a much more somber note, grief and fear have tightly clutched the small beleaguered community of Walkerton for the past two weeks. Nine people have now died as a result of an E-coli contamination in the town's water supply. It has now been discovered three of the victims died before the spotlight was even thrown onto the rural Ontario town, of what was previously thought to be natural causes. A public inquiry into the incident is now in the works, with Premier Mike Harris potentially in the hot-seat.

The media often plays fast and loose with the word 'tragedy,' but it is unquestionably the right term in this case. Not only have human lives been cut short, but as early revelations indicate, they seem to have been lost needlessly. Both the town's Public Utilities Commission and the provincial government's Ministry of the Environment, have a great deal of explaining to do. Just as important, they must absolutely ensure this never happens again.


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Copyright The Gazette 2000