A report prepared for Washington lawmakers reached a familiar conclusion: a “truly shocking” lack of security along the Canada-U.S. border. Of the 6,400 km that separate the two countries, only 51—less than one per cent—is under “acceptable control,” the report says. Which is why this week’s announcement of a White House sit-down between Barack Obama and Stephen Harper is welcome news. After months of speculation, the time has come for both leaders to hammer out the final details of a North American security perimeter that will not only boost security, but improve the flow of trade.
By a margin of three to one, Canadians support changes to the monarchy that would rid the system of its males-first succession rules—an issue that was recently raised in the British Parliament. Maybe that explains the report in a London tabloid that William and Kate have chosen Canada as the site of their first overseas tour after the April wedding. Clearly, the United States wasn’t even an option. A new survey found that only nine per cent of Americans are interested in whether the royal marriage even lasts.
In the safe lane
According to new figures released by Transport Canada, death by car is on the decline. In 2008 (the latest stats available), 2,419 people were killed behind the wheel, a 12 per cent drop from the previous year—and the lowest number of fatalities in nearly six decades. The dip is a direct result of tougher seat-belt and drunk-driving laws, not to mention airbags and impact beams. But gas prices deserve some “credit” too; Statistics Canada says the cost of a fill-up jumped 13 per cent over the past year.
Lots of people are lucky to be alive this week. In New Zealand, a hydro worker injured only his thumb and elbow after getting zapped with 19,000 volts of electricity (“I should be in a pine box,” he joked). In Utah, an accused robber is recovering after hurling himself out of the window of a moving police car—while wearing handcuffs. And in Scotland, a mountain climber somehow survived a 300-m fall off the side of an icy cliff. Rescuers found him standing up and looking at his map.
Cruel and unusual
The reported slaughter of around 100 sled dogs in Whistler, B.C. has sparked outrage. The horrifying details of how the dogs were killed emerged in the workers’ compensation documents of a B.C. man claiming post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the incident. The man’s lawyer says his client shot the dogs after being told by the tour operator he sub-contracted for to make the business more “cost effective.” The tour operator insists it didn’t order the cull, but if dogs were euthanized it would be done in a “humane manner.” The B.C. SPCA and the RCMP are investigating.
Silvio “the Situation”
If the allegations are true, Silvio Berlusconi won’t be in office much longer. He’ll be in jail. The Italian prime minister—already famous for hosting “bunga bunga” sex parties at his home—is now accused of hiring two underage prostitutes. When one was later arrested for theft, Berlusconi reportedly pressured police to release her. Can you blame Jersey Shore producers for deciding to film Season 4 back in the old country?
Big, fat problem
As it does every five years, the U.S. government released new dietary guidelines this week. The mere fact Americans need to be reminded every five years to eat more greens and cut back on the salt is scary enough. But then again, Canadians may benefit from a similar scolding. According to a new report from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, nearly 90 per cent of Canadians consider themselves healthy, despite plenty of evidence that we don’t eat nearly enough fruits and veggies, and many of us are packing more pounds than we should.
A new study says creative people are more likely to cheat because they can find “original ways to bypass moral rules.” Although being clever, resourceful and imaginative looks great on a resumé, researchers also found that creativity “allows people to come up with a lot of excuses and justifications for why their behaviour isn’t bad.” Exhibit A: Lise Thibault. The former Quebec lieutenant-governor made her first court appearance this week, accused of creatively spending $700,000 in taxpayer money.