So it’s Friday the 13th. Of 2013. Does that mean a double dose of bad luck? Or, does a double negative make a positive?
Let us consider who should be feeling lucky this week and who should be hiding under their bed for the rest of the day. We’ll start with international politics.
Feeling lucky — Vladimir Putin
The situation in Syria is a mess. A civil war with no foreseeable outcome, unsavoury characters on both sides, and in the middle, a suffering civilian population. The crisis reached a head in recent days as we all know because a fairly strong case can be made that chemical weapons were used on the Syrian population. The Americans have been making a case — based on red lines and American morality — that military intervention is necessary. (We’ll get to the unlucky Obama in a minute.) But then at the last minute, Russia’s Putin comes riding to the rescue — ironically not on his iconic horse this time — with Syria’s agreement to pass control of its chemical weapons to the international community. It’s a lot more complicated than that, but that’s the gist of it. War appears to be avoided, and who gets to be the hero? The international statesman? None other than Putin. Go figure.
Under the bed — Barack Obama
Obama, you’ve been Putined! While you are barnstorming the country, and the halls of Congress, looking for support for another American intervention in a mess that has no clear end — and incidentally reminding many people of your loathed predecessor George W. Bush — your Russian nemesis has wrangled a deal out of Syria’s Assad. Now it’s looking a lot more dicey to even talk of military action. It puts Obama in a rather uncomfortable position. My advice? Get under the bed, Obama. At least until Saturday, September 14.
Moving to national affairs we have the new Quebec Charter and the federal government’s careful response. And unlucky are all the politicians of any stripe trying to make sense of this without offending someone. It’s not going to be easy. The Parti Quebecois putting forth a new Charter of Values for Quebec with an extremely controversial ruling on keeping the church separate from the state. It’s a noble goal. Religion doesn’t, or at least shouldn’t, have any role in government. The Charter places restrictions on the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols if you are in government employment. And, the hope expressed by the provincial government is that private business will follow. It actually sounds pretty good — until you read that the crucifix is an exception. The wearing of a small crucifix is permitted. Apparently the Christian crucifix is “emblematic of Quebec’s cultural heritage.” Other religious symbols such as a turban, a star of David — not allowed.
Yeah, that’s a mess. A big one. Under the bed with all of you. Don’t say a word about it until Saturday. And even then, be careful. Be real careful.
Let’s take a look provincially.
Feeling lucky — it still has to be Christy Clark.
An unexpected, huge election win last May, an easy by-election win to secure her seat in the Legislature. She has now cancelled the fall sitting of the Legislature, so the NDP have no opportunity to challenge her government at all. She’s sitting pretty. Maybe sitting is the wrong word, as with the cancellation of the fall session, the Legislature sits for a total of 36 days this year.
Under the bed — Adrian Dix
He’s going to have to come out sometime. Apparently Dix will announce sometime next week whether he intends to continue as NDP leader after the spectacular implosion last May, when the NDP snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. I am going to predict that he steps down. I am also going to predict that most of his caucus colleagues are not going to be too broken up about it. In fact, my advice? Stay under the bed, Adrian Dix. Send a text.
Carolyn Grant is the Editor of the
Kimberley Daily Bulletin