The Walrus Blog’s weekly roundup of Canadian and foreign affairs
This week, Israel launched—and live-tweeted—“surgical” air strikes at Hamas targets in a bid to quell rocket fire from Palestine’s Gaza strip. Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay pledged continued support for Israel, but appealed for calm and diplomacy to prevent an escalation of violence. Three Canadian activists who recently returned from the Gaza strip signed a letter contending that the prolonged conflict was reignited on November 5: that’s when Israeli forces killed a mentally “unfit” Palestinian man who continued to approach their border after they fired warning shots.
The United States’ Director of National Intelligence revealed this week that he had no warning his chief of staff, David Petraeus, was under investigation by the FBI. Petraeus is scheduled to testify today about an attack in Benghazi, Libya, which killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. The former general resigned as director of the Central Intelligence Agency after a bizarre series of events: Petraeus had an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, who then sent anonymous, harassing emails to Florida socialite Jill Kelley, who also received a shirtless photo from an FBI agent. The sordid mess is best explained by this Gawker flowchart.
Shawn Atleo, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, has also sent scathing letters—but to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan, to remind them of the PM’s unfulfilled promises to improve education, implement treaties, and promote economic development for Canada’s First Nations. In his letter to Harper, Atleo decries “the federal government’s broader legislative agenda, which has the potential for harmful impacts on First Nations, including changes to environmental regulation, fisheries and criminal justice.”
Meanwhile, Ottawa is topping up its $5 million advertising campaign for responsible resource development with another $4 million. Past Natural Resources Canada ads have promoted pipelines, safety measures like double-hulled oil tankers, and changes to environmental laws. NDP natural resources critic Peter Julian says it’s problematic that the government has cut the environmental assessment process, and is now spending millions to “convince Canadians that this is a good thing.”
Alberta’s XL Foods Inc. has resumed shipping beef products for the first time since September, when an E. coli outbreak forced operations to close. Over 100 Canadians are pursuing a class-action lawsuit against the beleaguered cattle processor.
A panel of Ontario Superior Court justices has taken the rare step of restricting a man from further legal proceedings in the province. Toronto’s Ural Direk had filed 120 lawsuits during the past twenty-four years—all stemming from a single car crash in 1988.
Michael Applebaum could be Montreal’s first non-francophone mayor since 1912. The interim mayor will be selected today, and Applebaum believes he has a winning chance. “We have issues other than language to deal with,” he told the local gazette. (Update: Applebaum won.) Montreal lost their previous mayor, Gerard Tremblay, in a foul corruption scandal.
A somewhat different stink went up in Windsor, Ontario on Wednesday night, when Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, referred to their city as “the Earth’s rectum.” Which brings us to our quote of the week: “Apparently the Earth’s rectum is an improvement over Windsor’s previous reputation. So you’re welcome, Windsor,” Colbert said on air, after discovering a CBC poll that shows a wide majority of participants think the reference is “good” for the City of Roses.