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December 5, 2004 - Bush is lucky he made it back to Washington...

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Two weeks ago in these pages (November 21, 2004 - Well, this is an idea...) you would find a discussion of an item by Thomas Walkom in The Toronto Star - Should Canada Indict Bush?  The idea was that Bush seemed a perfect candidate for prosecution under Canada's Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act.  That act holds that anyone who commits a war crime - even outside Canada - may be prosecuted by the Canadian courts.  And according to the statute, a war crime is any conduct defined as such by "customary international law" or by conventions that Canada has adopted.  Cool.


Walkom had a great deal of fun with this, Bush visited Canada last week, and he wasn’t arrested and tossed in some Canadian jail – or gaol, as the might use the British spelling up there.


Or was he?


If you visited Google News on the evening of December 1 at about midnight Pacific Time, you might have seen this -


Bush arrested in Canada for war crimes

Monday, November 29, 2004 Posted: 8:19 PM EST (0119 GMT)


The headline was taken from the Axis of Logic site and opened with - "Canadian authorities have arrested US president George W. Bush in Ottawa. He has been charged with several offences under Canada's War Crimes Act."  If you clicked on the story you would find it was clearly labeled "Political Satire" – and the doctored photo picture of Bush in handcuffs and an orange jail jumpsuit was a bit over the top.


Google launched this news site in 2002 and took great pride in proclaiming, "This page was generated entirely by computer algorithms without human editors."  They developed what is called an infobot – the word explains itself – that scans thousands of news sources and drops the headline and leading paragraph in the appropriate category.  It is pretty nifty.  But of course it still needs some work.  (For a discussion of that see Will somebody teach Google News' algorithms a sense of humor? by Jack Shafer in SLATE two days later.)


The satire page is a pretty good mock-up of CNN home page, so I suppose the mistake is understandable.  The Google folks were embarrassed.


But a lot of Canadians were unhappy, not with Google, but with the Bush visit.


As many of you readers know, your editor worked in London, Ontario for two years.  There was a protest there.


London protesters march

The London Free Press - 2004-12-01 03:05:15


More than 100 anti-Bush protesters marched down Dundas Street in London last night, en route to Victoria Park for a rally against U.S. President George W. Bush's visit to Canada.  Shouting "Hey, hey, U.S.A., how many kids did you kill today," the placard-carrying group said it was important to show Londoners' opposition to the war in Iraq.


Teacher Joy Cowell said she was out for the protest because she believes in peace and negotiation, not violence.


"The more cities that do this, the more likely (Bush) is to get the message that Canadians don't support him or his plans," Cowell said.


Victoria Park is nice – right in the middle of town, with a WWI tank on a pedestal on the north side (that was was fine with them), just across the street from a fine coffee house, The Plantation, where we all hung out.  But I see The Plantation has changed its name - and they are now the Symposium Café.  London’s answer to the Café de Flore in Paris….


That same evening in London, the Smaller?  The Godfather of Soul….


With special guest Jacksoul;

RBC Theatre; doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m.

John Labatt Centre
99 Dundas St.

It’s this one white guy these Canadians have a problem with….


Anyway, I cannot recommend London, Ontario highly enough.  Hollywood is fine, and I love Paris, but London, Ontario is a good place.  I miss it.


One of my friends there sends this about the protest -


Checked it out for a while. Not too big a crowd, but in a city of 340,000 people, this makes the news.  

The local chapter of the Council of Canadians also organized a couple of buses to get people out to Ottawa (a seven hour drive) to protest Georgie in person.  And it was even subsidized... fifty dollars [Canadian] got you a ride there and back, as well as accommodations at a hotel Tuesday night - and breakfast.

But there a bigger change then the Plantation's name – a complete city-wide ban on smoking anywhere indoors.  So you couldn't smoke your pipe there anymore except the patio outside.  Which is fine during the summer.  But we also get winter here.

At least its not Los Angeles where you can't smoke outdoors in a park!  I have yet to understand that concept....  


Yeah, me too.

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Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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Paris readers add nine hours....