Okay, first off, the most important news story of the day is yet another homicide; it wasn't initially labelled a homicide, but when someone turns up overnight on a North End street dead from multiple bullet wounds there are only so many conclusions to be drawn.
(I guess now I'm further behind on the YouTube cataloguing than ever, no thanks to my recent dental surgery swelling my face up to the point of being both unrecognizeable and incomprehensible. If I typed right now the way I've been talking the last week, the third letter of every word would be an F whether I wanted it there or not.)
But while that was the most important story around here, it wasn't technically the biggest. No, sir! For those of you out there who enjoy completely ineffectual announcements, today was definitely a big news day for you!
Alert the media and gather the children; today marked Stephen Harper making a (rare) appearance in Winnipeg, coming from on high to rescue us from the unseemly rash of vehicular lawlessness that torments our city. The major local news outlets were abuzz, their Developing Story and News Update icons blazing bright on their websites: an announcement to be made! Harper expected to address car theft! 2:00 PM this afternoon, be there or be square!
So Harper strides in this afternoon to address the city, a veritable dangerzone ravaged by car theft and underage joyriders, and proudly proclaims that the federal government is combating auto theft by cracking down on... organized crime rings and illegal-parts exporters.
I'm... sorry. What?
No, no -- I'm sure it's a terrific legal advancement, and I'm sure it'll be very warmly received in cities that actually have commercial crime rings or auto-part black markets or oceans to ship things across. But why in the stone hell would you come to Winnipeg to make this announcement?
Gentle readers, perhaps you had heard about this story: in the span of a few hours across late Friday night and early Saturday morning, a pair of underage car thieves attempted to steal twelve (!!) cars out in Portage La Prairie and succeeded in stealing and driving three of them. The police reports indicate that one of the three stolen cars ended up at the bottom of the Assiniboine River, which I guess must be how they were planning to ship it overseas for parts. Since twelve cars is about how many Portage has (har!) and they've all since been accounted for, it's a safe bet that none of these cars were stolen for the purpose of tampering with their VINs and scrapping them for spare bumpers. And those kids that rammed a cop car with a stolen truck? They weren't ramming it; the plan was just to bump it, to scare the cops out of it, and then continue lightly nudging it all the way out to British Columbia so they could get it onto the boat to Hong Kong or wherever the hell these parts are supposedly going.
So, acknowledging Manitoba's 'frustration' with its current situation, what did Prime Minister Stephen Harper unveil as his initiative to counteract the ongoing outbreak of underage car theft that continues to plague Manitoba? Showing the tremendous leadership and vision that places him among the upper echelons of our nation's leaders past and present, he... he, uh... he passively blamed the Youth Criminal Justice Act like everybody else does, claiming that he could do more to help if somebody could just amend that gosh-darn restricting YCJA one of these days.
I feel safer already!
Gary Doer was on hand, and the Free Press has him on record as having 'welcomed the new initiatives', but this can't possibly have been the kind of changes he asked for back in September. Unless he led Katz, Chomiak, McFadyen, Gerrard, Burgess and the rest of his posse into Harper's office that day and demanded that Harper amend the current legal penalties of international parts trafficking, I can't really imagine what Doer was being so supportive about today. Of course, he did have to be there -- the Premier couldn't not show up when the Prime Minister is in town -- but it had to be tough to pretend that this was anything even passingly helpful for the province.
Speaking of the provincial government and ineffectual announcements -- god I love segues like that -- today the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission was busy with its own underwhelming advancements ("Letting people buy two drinks at once and letting minors into beverage rooms will improve safety!"), and the local justice system wasn't accomplishing much either ("Oh, wait, whoops -- we, uh, arrested the wrong guy. Is that okay?").
On a side note, I love the disparity between headlines when the different news outlets report the same story. Free Press headline: "Liquor act changes target safety". Sun headline: "Provincial government introduces new liquor laws". CJOB headline: "More drinks"! Ha! Ah, you crazy funsters.
To the ineffectual sports news! With the Senators down two games to none and heading into Game Three tonight with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Sens Nation (to the extent that such a thing even exists; remember how well that went last year) was buzzing with the big news reports that Daniel Alfredsson could return to the lineup tonight and lead his team past its current woes.
Like everything else this year, you can imagine how this went for them; the game's over now, and Ottawa got shellacked again. Alfredsson had no points on a total of four shots, the Senators are down three games to none, and Martin Gerber has given up four goals every game. That's not meant to be taken as the average, although technically it is correct; I mean Gerber literally gave up four goals in Game One, four goals in Game Two and four goals in Game Three. I'll admit that I'm a Ray Emery booster through and through, but even I can't wait to see how people will try and blame Ray Emery for this one.
"He planted seeds of doubt and madness in Gerber's head that ultimately led to his undoing! It was like Othello, but backwards. I'm serious!"
So, yeah. To sum up, quite the news day today. I sure hope tomorrow's half as interesting!
Grinderman - I Don't Need You (To Set Me Free) (Grinderman, 2007)
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