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Sunday Roundup: "We Find the Defendants Incredibly Guilty."

01/28/2012 02:33 EST | Updated 03/29/2012 05:12 EDT
CP

Thus pronounced the jury in the 1968 film "The Producers" -- as the jury in the Shafia "honour killing" trial pretty much did this afternoon. The judge agreed, appropriately calling the actions of the accused mother, father, and brother of three dead daughters and ex-wife guilty of "cold-blooded, shameful murders" resulting from a "twisted concept of honour."

It's justice but it doesn't feel like justice -- if only because those lives can never be brought back, the smiles of those murdered beautiful young women now forever frozen in photographs.

It's too bad the social services professionals who failed to help those girls weren't on trial as well: How many beatings, how many incidents of running away, how many cries for help does it take before you can persuade our vaunted "experts" that these girls were clearly in danger and should have been removed from their family?

Huffpost contributor Shahla Khan Salter asks, rightly, Whose daughters will be the next Shafias? When will we cease regarding brutal and unacceptable attitudes towards women as something that is part of the "multi-cultural" fabric of our country? As the judge said to the defendants:

"The apparent reason behind these cold-blooded, shameful murders was that the four completely innocent victims offended your completely twisted concept of honour...that has absolutely no place in any civilized society."

Please stay tuned here for more commentary, most importantly from Canadian Muslims such as Salter, who see no justification for such bloodthirsty nonsense in their religion.

[Pause. Draw breath.]

While the Shafia trial was winding up, Prime Minister Stephen Harper entered into what were described as "historics talks" with First Nations groups on Tuesday about modernizing the antiquated, and harmful, Indian Act that governs aboriginal communities. Former PM Paul Martin was quick to blast his successor for "wast[ing] six years" and shelving the Martin-negotiated Kelowna Accord. But Shawn Atleo, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, differed, allowing that:

The discussions Tuesday had touched on every element of First Nations lives and livelihoods, including tapping into a greater share of natural resources wealth.

"The sense is that our work does not end here. This is very much the beginning," Atleo said. "We wanted to see an expression of commitment not only to this day but that they would be prepared for an ongoing effort with us. They've expressed that willingness to do that." (Courtesy of CP)

Just the day before, leaders of the tech tribes faced their own shake-up when the chief execs and co-chairmen of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) were deleted from their posts -- and replaced by new chief, Thorsten Heins. HuffPost was all over that story, just as it has been on the gruesome attack on yet another Canadian tourist in Mexico -- this time, Sheila Nabb, 37, of Calgary. A Mexican local has been arrested for the beating of Nabb at a five-star resort in Mazatlan.

So should Canadians stop vacationing in Mexico? Not according to Canadian-born novelist, and HuffPost contributor, Douglas Anthony Cooper, who now resides in Oaxaca. In his much-read blog "How Not to Get Beheaded in Mexico," Cooper observes:

The homicide rate in most Mexican cities is simply not very exciting. People who read newspapers -- they are legion -- will tell you that Mexico City is Elm Street on steroids. No way they're taking their family anywhere near the Mexican capital. Yet these same people do not think twice about hauling their beloved brood to Disney World.

Disney World is in Orlando. Orlando, Florida.

What, you're not trembling? The rate of violent crime in Orlando is really something. At the theme park itself you might not encounter drooling gangs with machetes, but the likelihood of getting slaughtered is much higher in the city of Orlando than it is in Mexico City. The homicide rate in Mexico City is sub-terrifying: 8.3 out of 100,000. The rate in Orlando? Honey, you don't want to know.

Cooper's conclusion? "The truth is that most of Canada is almost as safe as Yucatán." Maybe Mexican tourists should think twice before booking a holiday in Vancouver.

Next item. Those Canadian viewers following the GOP candidate debates to the south may have been shaken awake suddenly by a shout-out from our new buddy, Newt. The former house speaker chastised President Obama for putting the Keystone pipeline on permanent hold, thus sending Harper to court our new buddies, the Chinese. But why would Newt -- when he's not being Mitt-slapped upside the head -- pause in his attacks on Romney to high-five Harper? As David Frum explained to our readers yesterday:

The real news here is that Gingrich is hitting a theme that will be repeated and enlarged between now and November. Republicans see in Keystone a powerful political weapon against Barack Obama. The weapon cuts especially sharp because it divides Democrats from each other. The pipeline -- and the oil sands that will supply the pipeline -- are anathema to Obama's wealthy environmentalist donors. However, the highly paid construction and refinery jobs that will be created by the pipeline are dearly desired by blue-collar Democrats whose votes Obama will need.

So what you're saying, David, is that Canadians are about to get a whole bunch of new Republican BFFs? *Great.* Tea party anyone?

Last notes: Some fun blogs you might have missed this past week. Rachel Ryan's defence of men offered hope to single women that there really are some decent guys out there. New contributor Jim Harris reported from Davos on how the Occupy movement has penetrated the thinking of even the .000001 per cent. And inspired by Toronto's Ford brothers' very public diets, a reader has decided to join them, and will post his progress every Monday in the Fat Diaries. You can read the first entry here. Feel free to share your own stories in the comments section -- and also support.