The view from up here

Ken asked me to talk about the Canadian angle on this whole thing [Katrina disaster] (I just moved to Montreal the other day). As soon as I walked in the door of my apartment, my roommate was watching the constant coverage on CNN.

(He's sort of a member of the local Green Party; pretty politically active. He even "helped" me vote last year.) In fact, the whole storm covered my exact bus route, a big rainy glob stretching from Cleveland in its southwest end to Montreal in its northeast.

But back to Dermot (man he really does keep an eye on things; he told me about Ohio gov'r Taft's golf scandal before I saw it in the papers there). He told me Canada's already sent some help (CTV story); DART was mentioned, it's sort of Canada's "Thunderbirds," or at least that's how I like to picture it. (Though I also see the States were being shitty about letting the aid in.) Also announced today, two ships being sent to help.

It's in all the headlines, I'm sure the same as the States; the gas price jump hit here too, $1.30/litre, which had people pissed. PM Martin announced today the country will send some oil to help. Though something else sharing the front page headlines, a sort of unique impact to Canada, is how the storm is affecting the price of wood... softwood lumber exports have been a bitch for ages and they're talking about how this'll affect their sizable economy in the trade.

So Dermot tells me today he called the White House up to complain, no joke. He did it after seeing an interview with a survivor and this other guy just drops dead in the background. He berrated whoever answered the call about the botched evac; he tells me Canadians are dead-serious about evacuating a place, they will haul you right out of your home to save your life. Something about no "right to property" like in the States, which I guess is the mentality that makes someone think they can just "wait it out" at home. Protect their stuff with their own bodies perhaps.

I can compare it to that Christmas tsunami as far as it being 'in the air'... or contrast it rather. All in the news, but not the big popular cause the way the tsunami was; it was basically fashionable to denote to that cause and you were an insensitive twat if you didn't. All kinds of student groups getting behind it, rallies and fundraisers and so on all over campus and the city. Even some hobos raised money for it, no kidding. The campus papers haven't really started running yet so I'll have to wait and see how they cover it.

But in all fairness, if all they did was gloss over it, well... I don't imagine most Americans batted an eyelash or even heard a whisper about Canadian disasters, like last year's fatal HMCS Chicoutimi fire.

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