I know we're still one sleep away from Christmas, but that's no reason to deny ourselves an early gift from everyone's favorite elderly, jelly-bellied, red-and-white fur-clad icon of holiday cheer!
Or something like that. Writing in the National Post, David Frum thinks the high court basically "failed to do its job and earn its pay" with this ruling, since their convoluted 4-2-1 judgement hardly provided a definitive yes-or-no answer to a nation desperate to hear one.
"Sometimes niqab in court will be OK. Sometimes niqab will not be OK," he summarizes -- it all depends on some lawyerly "tangle of conditional rules" that future judges must weigh before determining the precise level of OK-ness in de-niqabbing future Muslim witnesses.
Dave's a good little conservative (some say) but he's so frustrated by all this legal rigmarole that he thinks "even a 'yes' would have been tolerable" from the Supremes if it actually meant the burkas-in-courts question -- one of the most critical religious freedom/multicultural accommodation dilemmas of our time -- got a friggin' answer.
Oh, you would say that, Frummy, you big fat American sell-out, responds the Globe and Mail editorial board. Wouldn't expect you to appreciate how this open-door ambiguity really proves the court's uniquely Canadian brilliance.
After all, "striving for balance is what characterizes Canada in so many different contexts," they say, noting that the court's "very Canadian proposition" on this "most Canadian of cases" proudly demonstrates how Canadians will always err on the side of Canadianness whenever Canada seems in danger of losing a bit of its Canadiana. It's our plucky Cana-do spirit!
Yes, I also love Canada, agrees noted lawyer James Morton in the Ottawa Citizen, especially our judicial system's proud ability to "balance sincerely held religious beliefs against other interests."
Unlike David, Jimmy thinks the SCC ruling is hardly some migraine-inducing Magic Eye puzzle of judicial obscurantism; in essence, the judges simply said that if "evidence is contentious and there is a real reason to watch the witness's reaction to questions" then veil-stripping "is proper and necessary." If not, then not.
Regardless, Jamie knows that anyone who gets all hysterically burkaphobic about this kinda thing is clearly on the wrong side of history anyway, since eventually "women who wear the niqab will be seen as integral to Canadian society as nuns," (i.e., they'll become a widely-mocked symbol of archaic puritanism known mostly through boxing hand-puppets and Whoopi Goldberg movies).
Even ornery ol' Lorne Gunter at Sun News thinks the Supremeos did good with their "sensible, practical, old-fashioned Canadian compromise."
Look, he says, in "my mind, the niqab and what it stands for is offensive to women," but personal brain-droppings are not necessarily "something I want the state to impose on other citizens who disagree." If there's "no threat to justice, why not respect religious beliefs" that are mostly harmless anyway? Call Lorne when murderers are being found not guilty by reason of burka.
So how about that? The Globe, Citizen, and Sun News all on the same side of an issue. It's a Christmas miracle!
And all it took was Islam.
With generic winter-themed gift-giving holiday mere hours away, Canada's papers have been predictably crammed with all sorts of maudlin filler editorials about Jesus and Nazis and being alive and so forth. (Trite to be sure -- though still better than Victoria Day filler).
But the end of December also means the end of the calendar, and therefore time to crack out journalism's other beloved equivalent of turkey stuffing: the year-in-review editorial.
Now, the secret to writing a good retrospective is to burn through it quickly so you can still get to the New Year's party before they run out of those flimsy paper crowns. So be sure to avoid wasting a lot of time blathering about the entire useless year itself -- which, let's be honest, was full of junk that was barely interesting the first time around -- and instead just horn in on a single event or person you did find entertaining. Then all that's left is to churn out a few paragraphs of vague and unconvincing generalities about how this one random thing actually personified the essence of 365 unrelated days.
The Canadian Press, for instance, identifies homely man-child / "Canadian Psycho" Luka Magnotta as Canada's "newsmaker of the year," presumably because it gives them another chance to write the phrase "sexual and cannibalistic acts," while Maclean's' names Queen Elizabeth II and Mark Zuckerberg presumably for the same reason (because they're super-famous, I mean).
Don MacPherson in the Montreal Gazette, meanwhile, generalizes that 2012 was Quebec's "year of the women" because a couple gals in that province held powerful jobs like unpopular minority government premier and fringe fourth-place party co-leader, while our old bud Andrew Coyne is pleased to inform that 2012 was a year in which all of Canada's most important stories coincidentally revolved around his favorite pet issues.
With a week to go 'till January 1, there's probably still a lot of these "best-ofs" and "year-ofs" yet to come, and no doubt most will continue to be just as hackneyed and self-serving.
But frankly, who are we to judge?
Trust me, you don't wanna see who the Canadian people picked as man of the year.
A recently married bride wanted to be photographed one more time in her wedding dress. The photo shoot on Friday wound up killing her. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/24/new-bride-quebec-drowning_n_1828839.html">Read the story</a>
Canadians would see Internet freedoms curtailed under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) currently being negotiated among a dozen Pacific Rim countries, groups critical of the deal say. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/06/26/canada-trans-pacific-partnership-internet-copyright_n_1628687.html">Read the story</a>
The majority of Canadians support the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana, a new poll shows. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/11/21/canada-marijuana-laws-decriminalization_n_2170399.html">Read the story here</a>
The Liberal Party of Canada has voted to legalize pot. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/15/liberal-vote-legalize-marijuana_n_1207388.html">Read the story</a>
A pipeline spill was believed to have sent up to 475,000 litres of crude oil flowing into a rain-swollen Red Deer River system in west-central Alberta. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/06/08/alberta-oil-spill-red-deer-river_n_1581008.html">Read the story</a>
A billionaire member of Tunisia's once-dominant ruling clan whose stay in Canada since last year has been shrouded in mystery is scheduled to make a public appearance soon. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/02/01/belhassen-trabelsi-tunisia-billionaire-refugee-board_n_1247005.html">Read the story</a>
A Chinese schoolgirl who is partially covered in black fur has been adopted after she was abandoned by her birth family. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/06/07/liu-jiangli-chinese-schoolgirl-aged-6-is-covered-in-black-fur-pictures_n_1578014.html">See the pictures here</a>.
A Conservative private members’ bill that repeals part of Canada’s hate speech laws has passed the House of Commons with scant media attention, and even less commentary. But it's being cheered by many Canadian conservatives as a victory for freedom of speech. And it's being cheered most vocally by another group: White supremacists. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/06/08/bill-c-304-hate-speech-tories_n_1581437.html">Read the story</a>
Paulina Gretzky hasn't met a social networking site she can't scandalize. It wasn't so long ago that the daughter of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky was getting all kinds of flak for photos she had posted to Twitter -- not the least of it may have been from dear old dad. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/04/30/paulina-gretzky-instragram-photos_n_1466321.html">See the pictures here</a>
Even before the election was decided many Americans were threatening to go north, but now that Barack Obama has clinched his victory in the electoral college, many disgruntled Americans are sending hilarious tweets about their plans to move to Canada. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/11/07/moving-to-canada-tweets_n_2086135.html">Read the tweets here</a>
"I think it's definitely a miracle that I survived," a bungee jumper said after her cord snapped during a 111-metre nosedive into an African river. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/08/bungee-jumpers-cord-snaps-video_n_1192716.html">Read the story</a>
Jessica Ghawi, an aspiring sports journalist from Texas, who escaped Toronto's Eaton Centre shooting in June, has died in a mass shooting at a "Batman" screening in Aurora, Colorado. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/07/20/jessica-ghawi-redfield-batman-shooting_n_1688871.html">Read the story</a>
Two bizarre — yet oddly similar — videos of howling have been recorded in separate parts of Canada, capturing the imagination of YouTube viewers and skeptics alike. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/16/weird-noise-strange-sound_n_1208717.html">See the video here</a>
Many Americans who were upset at the Supreme Court decision took to Twitter to voice their anger. Weirdly enough, many Americans tweeted about 'moving to Canada' to escape socialized medicine. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/06/28/supreme-court-health-care-move-to-canada_n_1634157.html">Read the tweets here</a>
Canada recently announced it's getting rid of the penny, and now the country's mint is planning another trailblazing move in the history of coins: A glow-in-the-dark quarter. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/04/09/royal-canadian-mint-glow-dark-dinosaur-quarter_n_1412453.html">Read the story here</a>
She may look every bit the part of a beauty queen, but Jenna Talackova has lost her chance for the crown because she was born a biological male. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/03/24/transgender-miss-universe_n_1377147.html">Read the story here</a>
Need we say any more? This December viral hit happened, sparking worldwide coverage of a loose monkey in a Toronto-area Ikea store. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/ikea-monkey">Read all our Ikea monkey stories here</a>
A series of heartwrenching text messages is being used by the boyfriend of a car accident victim to warn people to pay attention when driving. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/03/13/emy-brochu-texting-mathieu-fortin_n_1343200.html">Read the story here</a>
A boring and ordinary cannonball leap into a pool turned into a hilarious, albeit painful incident, for this German man. Turns out the pool he tried to leap in was frozen solid and, well, you know what happens. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/17/german-man-dive-frozen-pool_n_1973930.html">See the video</a>
Dalhousie University is trying out a new way to combat end-of-year stress: Puppies. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/11/28/puppy-room-dalhousie-university_n_2205804.html">Read the story that went viral</a>
A Vancouver-area teen who used YouTube to share her heart-wrenching story of being bullied online and beaten at school has killed herself, unleashing a torrent of social media condolences and soul-searching. Amanda Todd was found dead in Coquitlam on Wednesday night, less than a month before her 16th birthday. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/11/amanda-todd-teen-bullying-suicide-youtube_n_1959668.html">Read the story</a>
A video of protesters banging pots and pans on Quebec streets is going viral on social networks. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/05/25/montreal-pots-and-pans-video-bill-78_n_1546694.html">Read the story and see the video</a>
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