Sunday, April 08, 2018

Sunday Post

The generosity of people after a horrific crash claimed (as of this posting) fifteen lives of a local hockey team, some of its crew and a bus driver is astounding:

A GoFundMe campaign set up to help families of the Humboldt Bronco’s hockey team, which was involved in a horrific crash, has raised more than $3 million. ...

The campaign was set up Friday evening. By 9:45 Saturday morning it had raised over $300,000. The goal was then increased to $2 million. As of Sunday morning, the total crossed $3 million and the goal was increased to $4 million.

An Alberta man must suffer the indignity of convincing a jury that he has the right to protect himself:

About 50 supporters of Edouard Maurice lined the sidewalk leading to the courthouse in Okotoks, south of Calgary, on Friday to shake his hand as he made a brief appearance on charges of aggravated assault, pointing a firearm and careless use of a firearm.

RCMP were called to a property Feb. 25 after a homeowner allegedly confronted two people rummaging through his vehicles. Shots were fired and one of the suspects was later found with an arm injury and taken to hospital.

Defence lawyer Tonii Roulston said outside court the case has been hard on her 33-year-old client.

"The toll that these allegations have taken on Eddie and Jessie have been overwhelming. These people are hard workers. These people are contributors to this community," said Roulston as Maurice and his wife, holding their baby girl, stood behind her.

"It's our intention to enter pleas of not guilty. We'll set this matter for a judge and jury trial."
The shooting has kept the spotlight on rural crime on the Prairies. Rural property owners say they feel bullied and aren't allowed to stand up for themselves.

Roulston said the case centres around whether an individual has a right to defend not only his property, but his family as well.

No, it isn't silly to demand that the government answer for a lie it has propagated and should be held to account on live television for the scrutiny of all Canadians:

Among other embarrassments, the trip had been all but derailed by the revelation that a former member of a Sikh terrorist group, Jaspal Atwal, convicted in the 1986 attempted murder of a visiting Indian cabinet minister on Vancouver Island, had twice been invited by the Canadian High Commission to attend receptions in the prime minister’s honour.

That was before Jean, a career civil servant and the most senior member of the national security establishment, contacted members of the national press to suggest, off the record, that Atwal’s appearances had in fact been orchestrated by rogue elements within the Indian government to make the government of Canada look soft on terrorism and sow discord with India.

The theory was widely mocked, including by former intelligence officials, and frankly didn’t make a whole lot of sense: even if Atwal’s presence in the country were due to some elaborate high-level plot to sabotage the prime minister’s visit (he had in fact been granted several visas over the years, the latest of which was last summer) it did not explain how he got on the invite list — especially since a Liberal MP, Randeep Sarai, had already confessed his responsibility.

But this was not some flack from the Prime Minister’s Office spinning this, but the country’s top spook, so my colleagues felt obliged to report it, taking care to describe Jean only as a “senior government official with knowledge of security issues,” and the like. Until the next morning, when I suspect they woke up feeling used.

So when it all blew up, and blew up again — the prime minister backing Jean in Parliament, the Indian government bluntly expressing its dismay at this “baseless and unacceptable” suggestion — it was hardly surprising the Conservatives would demand to hear from Jean, by now outed as the source. When the Liberals refused, citing national security, the Tories held up parliamentary proceedings in protest.

There followed a government offer to give Tory leader Andrew Scheer a classified briefing — for which, as a Privy Councillor, he is eligible — countered by Scheer’s demand that MPs also be briefed on the unclassified bits, to which the government eventually agreed on condition that … well, it all gets a bit eyeglazing at this point. (The Liberals suggested they might be amenable to Jean appearing before the new, top-secret, multi-party, bicameral National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. If he did, we’d never know it: its members are forbidden by their lifetime secrecy oath even to divulge whether he appeared before them.)

That both sides are playing politics with this, the Tories seeking to prolong the prime minister’s India agonies, the Liberals doing their best to tie up their inquiries in national security knots, is not in doubt. But underneath all the partisan silliness there are some serious issues involved, and serious questions raised by Jean’s intervention.

Gee, ladies, this poll is a pretty damning indictment of your squishy political choices:

A new poll indicates a dramatic gender divide in how Ontarians plan to vote in the spring election, with the Progressive Conservatives significantly more popular with men than the other two major parties.

A phone survey conducted by Ekos Research Associates found just over 50 per cent of men said they would vote for the Tories “if the election was held tomorrow,” or were leaning towards voting for them.

That’s compared with roughly 27 per cent of men who said they would support or were leaning towards supporting the governing Liberals, and almost 16 per cent who said they would choose or were leaning towards choosing the New Democrats.

Among the women voters polled, around 35 per cent said they would vote for or were leaning towards the Tories, compared with nearly 32 per cent for the Liberals and about 26 per cent for the NDP.

Some of the margins aren't that wide.  I suppose the saying: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me several times, shame on me" really does apply here.

Don't worry, Quebec. I'm sure this massive cultural sea change will still allow you to speak French, eat pork and maybe go to Christmas Mass if you remember:

For more than 150 years, the church in Sainte-Sophie, Que. has stood in the heart of the village, its steeple like a beacon summoning the faithful through its doors.

But with so few answering the call each Sunday, the small town northwest of Montreal is one of many facing what once would have been unimaginable: a churchless future.

As the Saint-Jerome Catholic diocese north of Montreal contemplates whether to dramatically slash the number of buildings it maintains, parishioners say they won't accept the closure of their churches without a fight.

While the committee studying the issue won't confirm how many churches could be closed, Montreal La Presse and a local newspaper have reported that as many as 33 of the diocese's 54 churches could be on the chopping block as of this summer.

The diocese says an announcement will be made in June.

Oh, wait ...

Also - you may be waiting a long time, your Eminence:

A Hong Kong cardinal who has spearheaded opposition to the Vatican's rapprochement with China has asked conservative Roman Catholics who are in open defiance of Pope Francis to back his cause.

The plea on Saturday night by Cardinal Joseph Zen to a Rome conference on the limits of papal authority appeared to be the start of a new alliance that could help both sides bring their message of dissent across.

China and the Vatican have been working out a framework accord on the appointment of bishops, which eventually could lead to diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Beijing. The Vatican has said the deal is not imminent.

Catholics in China are split between those in "underground" communities that recognize the pope and those belonging to a state-controlled Catholic Patriotic Association where bishops are appointed by the government in collaboration with local Church communities.

In his video message to the conference, Zen lamented what he said was a lack of communication from the Vatican and that the voice of the faithful in China was not listened to.

Zen wove his message to the conference, which was attended by two conservative cardinals who have openly challenged Francis on moral teachings and others who have accused him of heresy, around the theme of periphery (China) and the center of the faith (the Vatican).

"In this moment, our periphery, China is in much difficulty, great difficulty and many voices from this periphery do not reach the center. We who live outside continental China - we bring our experience and we are in constant contact (with Chinese Catholic) - we feel like we represent this periphery," Zen said.

But I thought that China and North Korea wanted to co-operate and work for a peaceful solution to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula:

North Korea continues construction work at the Yongbyon nuclear facility weeks ahead of summits with South Korea and the U.S.

Analysis of commercial satellite images from March 30 shows that "a major excavation project has also begun near the cooling water outfall," the website 38 North at Johns Hopkins University reported Wednesday.

Images shot on Feb. 25 showed steam plumes, which indicated that the 5 MWe reactor was in operation. The latest imagery shows no such steam plumes, but an excavation project along the riverbank.


The gifts presented to Kim and his wife are not the only place where China is reportedly backtracking on sanctions. Several hundred North Korean workers are returning to China in a move potentially in violation of UNSC resolutions, Radio Free Asia reported, UPI revealed.

“Earlier this month, more than 400 North Korean women workers were newly dispatched to the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture,” a source in China’s Jilin Province told RFA, adding this shift “is a sign of the impact of Chairman Kim Jong Un’s visit.” Another source in Dangdong, the Chinese border town, reported the arrival of busloads of young female workers from North Korea.

The international community has long accused China of being lax on sanctions implementation, yet Beijing insists it remains committed to upholding the sanctions regime targeting North Korea.

“There should be no room for doubt about China’s willingness to carry out our international duties as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang said in late March.

You simply have to do a better job at lying, China.

Oh, I'm sure I could guess at the motive:

A van crashed into people drinking outside a popular bar Saturday in the German city of Muenster, killing two people and injuring 20 others before the driver of the vehicle shot and killed himself inside it, police said.

A top German security official said there was no indication of an Islamic extremist motive but officials were investigating all possibilities in the deadly crash that took place at 3:27 p.m. on a warm spring day.


Six people were detained in connection with what police and prosecutors allege was a plan to carry out an extremist attack on Berlin’s half-marathon Sunday, German authorities said.

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