Good News

Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside gets a new restaurant and Service Canada cracks down on bogus EI claims

Good news, bad news

Thaier al-Sudani/Reuters

Good news, bad news
Thaier al-Sudani/Reuters

The right turn

In an op-ed piece published in the Washington Post last week, former U.S. presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s chief political strategist said his boss’s stance against gay marriage played a central role in his crushing loss to Barack Obama. Which may explain this welcome piece of news: dozens of prominent Republicans—including senior advisers to former president George W. Bush, four former governors and two members of Congress—have signed their names to a Supreme Court brief arguing that gay men and women have a constitutional right to marry. If legal analysts are correct, the document could sway conservative judges as much for the names on the bottom as the evidence inside.

Fraudulent outrage

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley was on the House of Commons hot seat amid revelations that Service Canada employees are (gasp!) cracking down on fraudulent Employment Insurance claims. The Opposition was outraged to learn that door-knocking federal investigators have each been given annual “performance objectives” to find $485,000 worth of bogus or ineligible claims. It is Ottawa’s job to help the unemployed as they search for work, but safeguarding taxpayer money is equally important. To be shocked that the feds are doing both is either naïve or disingenuous.

Feed the Pidgin

Our best wishes to Brandon Grossutti, owner of the newest restaurant in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Since opening the doors, his customers have endured daily protests from a small but committed group of anti-poverty activists who claim the eatery, Pidgin, is Exhibit A of the regrettable gentrification sweeping the notorious neighbourhood. To the contrary, Pidgin is exactly what the area needs: a fresh, vibrant business that has not only created jobs, but is helping to revitalize the landscape. Bon appétit.

‘The Abyss,’ Part II

When James Cameron traded his director’s chair for a submarine—becoming the first person to complete a solo dive to the deepest-known point on Earth (11 km down)—it wasn’t just for show. A researcher who examined the Canadian’s underwater footage found evidence of two new species: a sea cucumber and a squid worm. Aliens indeed.

Bad News

A massive crash at a NASCAR race in Daytona Beach, Fla., injured 33 fansPierre Ducharme/Reuters

Honourable members

Another week, another new low for the Upper Chamber. A police search warrant shed new light on the assault and sexual assault charges laid against disgraced Sen. Patrick Brazeau. According to officers (though yet to be proven in court), Brazeau grabbed a woman’s breast inside his home and pushed her hard enough to break a staircase handrail. Meanwhile, more of Brazeau’s colleagues—at least five, at last count—are being questioned about where they live and whether they deserve the extra housing allowance they receive. Maybe it’s time to dispatch those Service Canada investigators to their houses.

Elusive target

Peace talks with the Taliban are not exactly rolling along, and the past seven days have offered little new hope. A Pakistani intelligence official says at least half the Afghan Taliban members recently freed from his country’s prisons have rejoined the insurgency. In a much more embarrassing admission, U.S. military officials in Kabul say they miscalculated stats from last year that showed Taliban attacks were actually in steep decline; in truth, there was no change at all. The Pentagon attributed the mistake to a “clerical error.” If only figuring out the Taliban was so simple.

Deaf ref

No, the referee isn’t blind. But he may be deaf. New U.S. research has reached a not-so-surprising conclusion: referees report ringing in their ears and more trouble hearing than their non-whistle-blowing counterparts. The solution? Co-author Nathan Williams (who also happens to be a part-time basketball ref) recommends a quieter whistle. Pardon?

Smart phone, dumb user

Homemade sex tapes aren’t just for celebrities. A study conducted by AVG Technologies, an Internet and mobile security firm, found that one in four people store intimate photos or videos on their phones or tablets. Amazingly, the survey says about the same number of people (35 per cent) won’t shop online because of a “perceived lack of security.” J.R. Smith, AVG’s CEO, summed it up best: “This survey has clearly demonstrated that there is confusion in the minds of consumers about what is and isn’t safe or sensible to do with a mobile device.”