Prairie Post

5 things you absolutely must know today

1. Canadian government unable to account for $3.1 billion in anti-terror funding

Most of us would be somewhat annoyed if we misplaced $3.1 billion, but Canada’s Auditor General Michael Ferguson doesn’t seem terribly concerned. He says the $3.1 billion, part of $12.9 billion allocated for anti-terror programs between 2001 and 2009, may have been reallocated to another program, but at this point he “doesn’t have enough information to say whether that happened.” Prime Minister Stephen Harper doesn’t seem overly worried about the gap either—when inquired about the accountability issue during question period, Harper used the opportunity to make a political jab.

“There’s some lack of clarity, the auditor general’s made some suggestions on how we can be more clear in our tracking in the future. We will do that. Unlike the NDP, we remain fully committed to legislation and to expenditures to protect Canadians from terrorism.” [CBC, National Post]

2. Obama recommits to closing Guantanamo Bay

After a large-scale hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay made headlines two weeks ago, U.S. President Barack Obama has responded by saying the prison “is inefficient, it hurts us in terms of our international standing, it lessens co-operation with our allies on counter-terrorism efforts, it is a recruitment tool for extremists, it needs to be closed.”

Entering his second term, closing Guantanamo Bay was one of Obama’s key talking points, but his plan to move the remaining prisoners to a prison in Illinois has been met with criticism from members of Congress like Senator Mitch McConnell.

“There is wide, bipartisan opposition in Congress to the president’s goal of moving those terrorists to American cities and towns,” said McConnell on Tuesday. [New York Times]

3. Hezbollah say they’re ready to intervene in Syria

Hezbollah, the Shia Islamic militant group considered a terrorist organization in much of the western world, announced yesterday that they’re a “close friend” of the Syrian rebels, and that they “will not allow Syria to fall into the hands of America or Israel.”

“You will not be able to take Damascus by force and you will not be able to topple the regime militarily. This is a long battle,” said Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group.

Hezbollah’s statement further convolutes a difficult situation for U.S. President Barack Obama, who’s been forced to seriously consider intervening in Syria after evidence of the use of chemical weapons was discovered. [Associated Press]

4. Venezuelan parliament session ends in brawl

A violent fistfight broke out yesterday in the Venezuelan parliament during a protest by members of the opposition, who have not been able to speak in the National Assembly since President Nicolás Maduro was elected on April 14. This video from Telegraph TV shows the protesters yelling and blowing air horns before the haymakers start flying. Since the election, at least eight people have died in opposition protests and hundreds have allegedly been arrested. [Guardian]

5. Netflix will lose almost 1,800 titles

As deals with Warner Bros., MGM, Universal, and Viacom expire throughout May, Netflix will lose streaming rights to a grand total of 1,794 titles. Though that might sound like a lot, it’s really not a huge dent in supposed 60,000 title library. Also, according to Netflix, most of the expiring titles are older features that are being replaced by newer titles, so you should still be able to get your $8 worth—just don’t waste too much time searching for “Goldfinger” or Woody Allen’s “Stardust Memories”. [Atlantic]

Mark Schram grew up on a ranch in southwestern Manitoba and now writes out of Winnipeg. If you would like to offer him a job or ask him about how to pull a calf, you can contact him at