QUICK HITS: OCTOBER 7 – OCTOBER 15, 2017

I could’ve put off writing about THIS week’s obligatory horrifying event if I had just gotten this out on time yesterday, but NOOOOO…..

CANADA

The Long Slog to Legalization

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Pictured: the actual filming location for James Cameron’s Avatar sequel.

As Canada impatiently waits for the deadline for the promised legalization of the substance scientifically known as “wacky tobacky”, the Liberal government has made two key changes to bill C-45, which will now return to the House of Commons for a third reading.

Originally, the bill required that anybody growing pot in their home would be required to limit the height of the plant to 1 metre, and cap the number of individual plants in one house to 4. Witnesses, including cops, argued against these regulations, on the basis of them being completely unenforceable. While the amount one can have in their house is still restricted to 4, the height limit has been eliminated, resurrecting my dream of genetically engineering a giant, sentient carnivorous indica plant.

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THANKS, TRUDEAU.

The other change involves edible cannabis. For the uninitiated, edible cannabis products include baked goods, honey, and other food in general that contains tetrahydrocannabinol  (THC), the principal psychoactive substance in marijuana. While smoking cannabis gets the user high within minutes, eating it doesn’t usually make the high kick for up to two hours, depending on the dosage. The tradeoff is that the high is much more potent, due to the THC being slowly absorbed through the digestive tract, as opposed to the lungs. It’s preferred to some, because of its medical properties, easy concealability, and the fact that taking it doesn’t involve inhaling smoke into your lungs, which has never been the most appealing aspect of pot from either a health or aesthetic perspective.

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Suggestion: Just smoke the joint, and then EAT the fucking apple. 

The Liberals have announced that edibles will be made legal up to a year after the main legalisation of cannabis. While these alterations have generally been welcomed, New Democrat MP Don Davies expressed concern about the yearlong wait, as those who consume edibles illegally will continue to do so in that time, obtaining them from unregulated sources.  You know, kind of like they’ve always done, with relatively few negative effects!

Did Not Nenshi That Coming!

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Note to self: Invest in pun writers. 

As anybody living in Alberta can possibly tell you, the date of publication of this article will be the same day that municipal elections are held across the province, with the exception of the logistical nightmare that is Lloydminster.

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What even was the point of this???

For the most part, there isn’t very much to report, aside from Edmonton mayor Don Iveson running against somebody who decided that reinstituting public smoking was a good hill to die on, a Calgary school trustee candidate blaming the Edmonton terror attack on gay people, somebody named Gar Gar, and a mayoral candidate in Edmonton threatening to knock somebody out. The only major story that I’ve been arsed to read into is the Calgary mayoral race.

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Unfortunately, it’s not gonna be a 7000-word thinkpiece on Larry Heather‘s continued floundering attempts at relevance. 

Incumbent mayor and Twitter God Naheed Nenshi is seeking his third consecutive term in office. Generally seen as being broadly progressive, Nenshi was generally seen as being a heavy favourite, despite attracting the scorn of more right-leaning voters, who object to his raising property taxes and fiscal practices in the wake of the city’s recent economic troubles.

And then, the unthinkable happened: Polls started coming out showing Nenshi losing… And losing badly.

But then polls showed Nenshi winning, and by a near-landslide.

His main challenger is Bill Smith, the former president of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta. Smith seems to be running on the position of “not being Naheed Nenshi”, and has apparently accrued enough support from the business sector to pose a threat to the incumbent, which was perhaps no more apparent then when the Calgary Flames started posting blatant “Bill Smith for Mayor” ads around the Saddledome during the game amidst an arena funding-related dispute with Nenshi that mysteriously coincided with Smith’s ascendance in the polls.

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Unrelated thought: I wonder what Bill Smith’s donor list looks like?

So… We might have a story on our hands here. If Nenshi wins again, I guess we have some faulty polls, but if Smith pulls it off, we might have to have a conversation about the amount of pull that sports teams have over municipal politics. As somebody who lived through the goddamn arena debacle here in Edmonton, I think I wanna have that conversation.

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Puke. 

EUROPE

Österreich wieder sexy machen !!!

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Xenophobia has never been so fuckable!!!

So, Austrians had their general elections on Sunday, and it could have some interesting repercussions for Europe in general. After defeats in the Netherlands and in France, the European far-right scored an unexpected minor victory when the Alternative for Germany became the third-largest party in the country. Eyeing the neighbouring country of Austria, the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) hoped to take advantage of the breakdown of the governing coalition of the nominally progressive Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) and the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP). They managed to do just that, becoming the second biggest party in the National Council.

They were prevented from taking the top spot in the Council, however. That honour went to the ÖVP, who are led by 31-year old dreamboat/possible movie villain Sebastian Kurz (seen above). Unlike the nationalist FPÖ, who ran on a platform of shutting down migrant routes, restricting benefits for refugees, and barring immigrants from receiving benefits in Austria, the more moderate Kurz proposed shutting down migrant routes, restricting benefits for refugees, and barring immigrants from receiving ben- Wait a fucking minute…

Bizarrely compared by some to Canada’s Justin Trudeau and France’s Emmanuel Macron for not being overtly offensive to look at (I guess???) Kurz is likely to become the youngest Chancellor of Austria ever, and the world’s youngest current national leader. He will need to form a coalition with either the SPÖ or the FPÖ to govern, and given the similarities in platforms, it will likely be the FPÖ. Whether this is a sign of things to come for the far-right is still unknown, but we shall see.

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Somewhere out there, Kellie Leitch is sadly wondering what could have been. 

AFRICA

Bombing in Somalia

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Mogadishu: 1986-present.

On October 14, a truck loaded with explosives was detonated near the Safari Hotel in the Hodan district of the Somali capital of Mogadishu. The truck had been stopped by authorities during a routine traffic stop and the driver, panicking, drove into a barrier, exploding and destroying the hotel, trapping many under the rubble. The rising death toll is estimated to be at least 320 people, with at least 300 more people injured. The nearby Qatari embassy was also severely damaged, although the intended target is thought to be a separate government ministry. A second bombing occurred later in the day, killing two more people in the Madina district. A third goddamn car bomb was prevented later in the day

An individual connected with driving the second car bomb has claimed to have done it “for jihad”. Somali officials claim that Al-Shabaab (an affiliate of Al-Qaeda operating in Southern Somalia and Yemen) is behind the attacks, though the group has not claimed responsibility as of right now.

The situation in Somalia has been going on since before I was born. Somalia has been a hackneyed punchline used by my less politically-aware friends since junior high. These are times when I wish life and geopolitics were as simple as they were when I was parroting Karl Marx to my fellow sixth-graders, but they’re just not.

Maybe this week will be better.

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For more of my Karl Marx/Grade school related musings, check out my book: “I was a Preteen Anarcho-Syndicalist”!

 

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