Good luck, Africa. You’ll need it.

Must-reads: Don MacPherson on anglophone patriotes; James Travers on Giuliano Zaccardelli’s soft landing; Graham Thomson on land use in Alberta; Christie Blatchford on Ayed Majid.

Must-reads: Don MacPherson on anglophone patriotes; James Travers on Giuliano Zaccardelli’s soft landing; Graham Thomson on land use in Alberta; Christie Blatchford on Ayed Majid.

You won’t be able to call imported wine Canadian anymore, but you’ll still have to call Giuliano Zaccardelli a senior law enforcement figure. Where’s the justice?

The new “Product of Canada” food labelling regulations are “a win for consumers with a homegrown preference and a bonus for farmers no longer watching their local product diluted by foreign imports,” says the Calgary Herald‘s Don Martin-a no-brainer, in other words. But they are also the third prong of an attempt by the government to “crack the estrogen voting code,” he suggests, the first two being the toughening of product safety regulations and “the world’s first crackdown on plastics containing bisphenol A.” All three “cater to soccer moms and Tim Hortons sensibilities,” he argues, and perhaps he’s right. But just think of all the chicks the Tories could pull if they stopped acting like idiots.

Attention, Canadian females. This is the Conservative Party of Canada speaking. We want your vote.

Attention, Canadian females. This is the Conservative Party of Canada speaking. We want your vote.

“A sigh of relief will follow [depantsed RCMP Commissioner Giuliano] Zaccardelli out of town,” James Travers notes in the Toronto Star-though he’ll leave the Maher Arar, RCMP pension, sponsorship and income trust debacles unresolved-but that doesn’t explain his “safe landing” as head of Interpol’s “Oasis Africa” program. Travers says his “reputation for schmoozing,” much of it at Interpol, might. (Alternatively, some wags might suggest that having brought elements of Third World law enforcement to Canada, he’s uniquely qualified to attempt the reverse procedure.)

“In the current political environment, in which the economy and the environment have taken centre stage and the government soon must face an election,” the Vancouver Sun‘s Barbara Yaffe says “it is an excellent bet that Senate reform will not advance a millimeter further.” And if the Grits somehow returned to power, she predicts, they’d instantly fill the 14 vacancies with their own kind-which would make the need for reform “all the more urgent.” She suggests some sort of citizens’ assembly, along the lines of British Columbia’s and Ontario’s inquiries into electoral reform, be created to examine the possibilities and their conclusions be but to a popular vote.

The Star‘s Haroon Siddiqui urges all Canadians-and even Europeans, who are “at the crossroads of needing immigrants but not wanting them”-to read the Bouchard-Taylor Commission’s final report. He also thinks the media at large-and not just, oh, let’s say, the Journal de Montréal-should excerpt the report’s findings as penance for indulging their inherent biases.

Are you as poor as you think you are?
Sun Media’s Greg Weston surveys the results of a new Nanos poll on Canadians’ impressions of the economy and concludes that “no matter how much the finance minister implores [us] to put on a happy face, we are a nation of furrowed brows with no relief in sight.” We fear for our jobs, we routinely soil ourselves whilst opening credit card statements, and we’re sure our overall financial situations are worsening. Westerners are the least panicked, Weston observes, which is good news for the Tories, but Quebecers are among the most panicked, which is not. “As for Dion’s promised new carbon tax that would raise already soaring heating costs, the Liberals would do well to heed the latest polls-that is, read ’em and weep.”

The National Post‘s John Ivison doesn’t mean to “suggest these are the best of times,” but nor does he believe this widespread pessimism is justified. For all the talk of job losses in the manufacturing sector, he notes, “employment in the wider economy rose last month by 19,000 jobs.” While gas prices are dragging the overall consumer price index up, he points out that the price of food and other consumer products has been steady or even falling over the past year. “The bottom line,” he concludes, based on these and other positive economic indicators, “is that when you are a major exporter of oil and grains, and prices for those products are at record highs, you have an economy of incredible resiliency.”

News from the provinces
When the Journée nationale des patriotes (Victoria Day in the rest of Canada) approaches next year, the Montreal Gazette‘s Don MacPherson hopes Quebec anglophones claim their rightful place in a celebration that has been all but ceded to the sovereigntist camp. After all, he notes, an English schoolteacher named Wolfred Nelson “led the Patriotes to their only victory over the British army in the first of the battles between them, at Saint-Denis in November 1837,” and Thomas Storrow Brown led them in defeat two days later at Saint-Charles. (Brown also “ignominiously fled the battlefield, abandoning his troops,” however, so patriotic anglos might want to stick with Mr. Nelson.)

The Edmonton Journal‘s Graham Thomson lauds Ted Morton’s draft “land-use framework” for Alberta-it “says all the right things about doing a better job of protecting our land, air and water,” he argues, and has environmentalists “all atwitter” with its promise to examine “the combined effects of multiple developments on the environment over time.” The problem, he says, is the four years it’s going to take to implement it-plenty of time for all manner of environmental atrocities to be committed under the old rules.

“With a little vision,” The Globe and Mail‘s Margaret Wente writes of Toronto’s ongoing tourism woes, “we could make Queen’s Park as nice as your average park in Mexico.” Other initiatives she suggests to woo Americans back to Hogtown include stressing how friendly our ubiquitous panhandlers are and offering tours of Cabbagetown’s “monumental garbage bins.”

Obama: the next Ted Kennedy. Wait, scratch that…
While Ted Kennedy “admired” Hillary Clinton, the Globe‘s Lawrence Martin says he endorsed Barack Obama because “he saw [him] as Camelot’s torch-bearer. He saw in the Illinois senator the youthful magnetism, the ideals, the independence of mind, the global spirit. Celestial touches that brought back memories.” Martin suspects Obama’s masterful speech in Iowa on Tuesday-during which he was apparently “utterly unprotected,” which we find rather hard to believe-was the reason for Kennedy’s “grin” as he left hospital yesterday.

The Globe‘s John Ibbitson argues that the proliferation of “purple states”-i.e., those conceivably up for grabs between the Democrats and Republicans-will make this presidential campaign considerably more complicated. In the past, he writes, “the Democrats would cede the South to the Republicans; the Republicans would write off New York and California, and the candidates would seek to become close personal friends with every voter in Flint, Tampa and St. Louis. Not this time.”

Meanwhile, over at the Toronto Sun, 81-year-old Peter Worthington opts against a well-deserved day off and yet again floats his theory that Clinton is staying in the race so as to weaken Obama’s chances against John McCain, which would in turn strengthen her chances in 2012.

Duly noted
The Globe‘s Christie Blatchford (with help from Colin Freeze) recounts the utterly bizarre tale of Ayed Majid, whom Canadian officials have long suspected of being “the shadowy [jihadist] Internet figure usually known as ‘Abu Banan.'” In an effort to clear his name once and for all, it seems Majid handed over his laptop to CSIS officials, who discovered nothing of relevance to national security but plenty they thought might interest Toronto’s child pornography squad. Oddities (at best) we might have expected Blatchford to latch onto include the fact that Majid’s trial is under a publication ban, and the fact that he’s “lately been volunteering to teach schoolchildren at Um Al Qura Islamic School.”