Again the killer was water. But not roaring over levees or crushing sailboats at their moorings. This sepia-toned brew was flowing from taps in the “fly-in” Cree reserve of Kashechewan, on James Bay, 450 km north ofTimmins, Ont. It is tainted with E. coli, as federal inspectors discovered two weeks ago, but it has been contaminated for years, leaving toddlers with blistered skin, and their parents with gastroenteritis and who knows what other more serious ailments. Last week, as various levels of government fell over each other in their rush to lay blame, many of the band of 1,700 Cree were evacuated to places like Sudbury, even as that city’s mayor complained about stretched resources and asked for other communities to help out.
The natives themselves were surprised at the interest from the national media and the sudden action of the federal government, which promised to build them a new community (perhaps away from the flood plain where
Ottawa built “Kash” in 1912), give them more nurses, an X-ray machine and better homes. Hopes for a better future, however, remain as bleak as the landscape.
Quote of the week I ‘I don’t travel with that kind of money.’
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Ottawa, when asked if she brought a cheque for the $3.5 billion an adjudication panel says Canada is owed because of the softwood lumber dispute
ARE CANADIANS CONCERNED ABOUT AVIAN FLU?
Yes, according to the results of an Internet poll conducted by Pollara Inc. And they also believe they are not getting enough information about the risks and issues. “Canadians feel they are not well-informed when it comes to issues of public risk,” says Pollara vice-president Robert Daniel. “They are not sure who to turn to or trust for the real story, and this is no exception."
CLEARED A month after David Dingwall resigned as head of the Royal Canadian Mint following a dust-up regarding more than $740,000 in expenses, an outside audit found virtually all of them legitimate. But the audit also found that he must pay back $2,570.66 to the mint, as well as another $4,200 caused by a clerical error.
DREAMS It’s everyone’s fantasy: a co-worker pops his head in the door and announces that 17 people at the firm just won the lottery. It happened at Viking Energy Royalty Trust near Camrose, Alta., where co-workers are sharing the record $54.3-million Lotto 6/49 jackpot.
AVIAN FLU Organizers of the 83rd annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto are cancelling the poultry and exotic bird competition due to fear of avian flu. The illness has spread from Asia into Europe, and although the risk of exposure was deemed minimal, the decision was seen as the “responsible thing to do.”
WILMA It started out as the most powerful hurricane on record, extensively damaging Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, and it was still a category three storm when it tore right across southern Florida. That state’s eighth hurricane in two years, Wilma did extensive damage to both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. At least 27 people died along Wilma’s path.
1. Some say avian flu is a real and immediate threat to Canada. Others say people are panicking unnecessarily. Which is closest to your point of view?
Real threat 43.5%
Panicking unnecessarily 35.2
Don’t know/refused to answer 21.3
2. How concerned are you that avian flu will affect some Canadians?
Very or somewhat concerned 70.4%
Not very or at all concerned 28.7
3. How concerned are you that avian flu may infect you or your immediate family members?
Very or somewhat concerned 54.0%
Not very or at all concerned 45.1
HARSH WORDS Iran’s new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, lived up to his billing as a conservative politician, even by Iranian standards. At a rally, he reiterated the call of the late Ayatollah Khomeini when he said that “Israel must be wiped off the map.” Ahmadinejad’s statement was widely condemned.
4. Do you feel Ottawa is providing you with enough information on Canada’s preparations to handle avian flu?
Don’t know 20.2
5. If Canada was affected by avian flu, how certain are you that there would be enough vaccine to protect you and your
Certain there will be 5.4%
Probably will be but not sure 31.8
Only somewhat certain 24.1
Not at all certain 34.1
Don’t know/refused to answer 4.6
SOURCE: POLLARA INC.; SAMPLE SIZE 2,225;
MARGIN OF ERROR ±2%
IRAQ Officials announced that the country’s new constitution had been approved by 78 per cent of the country’s voters. That word came on the same day that the United States announced its military death toll in Iraq had reached 2,000.
DROP THEM! With the British tabloids full of speculation that Prince Harry had tattooed his girlfriend’s name on his posterior, a sergeant at Sandhurst military academy, where the prince is in officer training, ordered Harry to drop his pants during a parade. No tattoo was reported.
SCREENINGS Breast cancer death rates plummeted 24 per cent between 1990 and 2000 in the United States, and a new study in the New EnglandJournal of Medicine attributes 65 per cent of the decrease to the greater use of mammograms. New breast cancer drugs were responsible for the rest.
GOLDFISH RIGHTS Rome banned round fishbowls because they apparently cause goldfish to go blind and be oxygen-deprived. The city will also require dog owners to regularly exercise their pooches, and prohibits them from cutting dogs’ tails for fashion reasons.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.