Prairie Post

5 things you absolutely must know today

Brian Pallister’s Christmas-greeting shenanigans 

He apologized. But to whom? Infidel atheists weren’t offended. Believers, if these are the stark lines we’re drawing, weren’t offended, either. But it turns out some on both sides were offended. We would like to call the strong reaction to what on the surface seems like an innocuous comment absurd, but that would be overstepping.

“I wanted to wish everyone a really, really Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah … all you infidel atheists out there, I want to wish you the very best, also…if you wish to celebrate nothing and just get together with your friends, that’s good, too,” said Manitoba PC leader Brian Pallister in a video posted on Nov. 29.

The video had viral qualities, and quickly demanded news coverage and a response from Pallister. He used the word ‘infidel’ to mean non-believer, and did so to make sure his Christmas greeting was inclusive, according to CBC.

Manitoba’s new liberal leader thought the video was distasteful, and intentionally divisive. The provincial NDP said they didn’t even notice this whole thing was going on, and the secular association Humanists, Atheists, and Agnostics of Manitoba thought his words were condescending. [Source: CBC]

Here’s the video. What do you think?

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Harper’s debut as Godfather angers Italian-American group

The Italian-American One Voice Coalition is calling for Friends of Canadian Broadcasting to pull an ad depicting Harper as a Godfather-like character who stuffs a journalist in the trunk of a car for what can only be asking too many pointed questions. The ad campaign is in opposition to Bill C-60, which Friends fears will muzzle CBC journalists.

“To put out something this outrageous in terms of stereotyping Italians, and targeting the Prime Minister with something like this, is an affront to all Italian-Americans in Canada,” Sebastian D’Elia, president of the IAOVC, told the Globe and Mail.

A Friends spokesperson confirmed the ad was a statistical take on the Godfather. [Source: Globe and Mail]

Check-stops are up and running

The Christmas-season check-stop program began Monday. Winnipeg Police will be positioning themselves near bars, restaurants, and known parties and socials for the month of December.

Winnipeg police are reminding people to think twice about drinking and driving this holiday season, with the launch of the 2013 check stop program on Monday.

The campaign runs through the month of December and will have more officers on roadways as well as check stops set up near bars, restaurants, Christmas parties and socials. Police charged 57 people with motor vehicle offences related to alcohol, which is a lower number than the year before. But most of the people caught driving drunk last year had double the legal limit in their systems, Const. Stephane Fontaine told CBC.

Spectator Tribune urges the use of Operation Red Nose, a Christmas-season program that offers rides home for people in their own vehicles in exchange for a donation. [Source: CBC]

Pope Francis was a bouncer 

The Pope’s resume lists bouncer. And this was confirmed by Pope Francis himself. He was once a bouncer at a nightclub. This news broke in March when an Italian paper reported the Pope worked at a club in Buenos Aires while he was a student. The reports went unconfirmed until Sunday, when Francis spoke with parishioners and the Vatican newspaper about his resume. It’s unclear how of if this changes perception of the Pope.  Some who follow papal news remarked at how the stereotypical bouncer lacks the inclusivity Pope Francis is known for.

Here’s a New York Magazine parody of an interaction between the Pope and club owner:

“Club owner: Look, uh, Jorge, is it? I know it’s your first day, but you need to be a little more discerning about who you let in. … I’m seeing a lot of poorly dressed losers in here. Also a number of lepers.” [Source: LATimes]

 ‘Science’ cleans up in 2013

Merriam-Webster has chosen its winner for word of the year. ‘Science’ takes No. 1 spot, a decision based on the word’s 176 per cent increase in lookups this year. Oxford’s winner ‘selfie’ couldn’t be more different, and offers more meat for the news world to chew on than the relatively pedestrian ‘science’. But Merriam-Webster argues their entry has gravity, too.

“Our data shows … that many of the most looked-up words in the dictionary are words that reflect the big ideas that are lurking behind the headlines,” Editor-at-Large Peter Sokolowski said in a news release.

‘Socialism’ and ‘capitalism’ tied for first last year.

The list:

1. science – 176%

2. cognitive – 158%

3. rapport – 145%

4. communication – 139%

5. niche – 138%

6. ethic – 134%

7. paradox – 130%

8. visceral – 130%

9. integrity – 127%

10. metaphor – 124% [Source: Time]

Toban Dyck wrote this. 

He sometimes writes things @tobandyck and sometimes has articles up on @spectatortrib. Follow both.