Okay, the big news on the weekend was the Department of Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge raising the terror alert in the U.S. from “elevated” (yellow on the colour scheme chart of terror levels) to “high” (orange). This is only the fourth time that the terror alert has been raised to high, and of course, people are sharply divided on this issue and whether or not this is a legitimate threat.
With the capture of Saddam Hussein, one could make the argument that the onus on the U.S. to find Osama Bin Laden has increased. However, if Al-Qaeda’s intelligence “chatter” which has supposedly increased recently in lieu of a major attack on an American port city of some kind during the holidays is for real, then maybe this isn’t such a bad idea. However, every time that this terror alert has been raised, nothing has happened. Some leftist friends of mine have been saying that this is just a way for the U.S. government to scare the populace into submission and to instill a permanent state of fear and dread. They may be right. However, you can’t get overly complacent with thinking there won’t be another attack on the U.S. ever again, because it has happened before. Still, it would be nice if Tom Ridge was more forthcoming on details and less vague on his descriptions of “increased chatter” and “intercepted communiques” from various Al-Qaeda cells operating in and around Europe and Central Asia.
CHRISTMAS CHEER: Okay, just three days before Christmas! I’m looking forward to seeing friends and family over the next few weeks; it’s a nice way to finish off 2003. Here’s best wishes to everyone for a great 2004!
THE EVENTS OF 2003: In my mind, here were the events that made 2003 such a crazy, crazy year. These events are not in any particular order of importance.
1) Space Shuttle Columbia being destroyed in February;
2) SARS shutting down the tourism industry in Toronto;
3) The War in Iraq;
4) Mike Weir winning the Master’s;
5) Mad Cow affecting the Canadian beef industry;
6) Gay marriage being recognized;
7) Katherine Hepburn/Bob Hope/Johnny Cash/Gregory Peck’s death;
8) Vancouver-Whisler’s successful 2010 Winter Olympics’ bid;
9) SARStock, a.k.a. The Rolling Stones’ Concert at Downsview;
10) The Power Blackout;
11) The Economist calling Canada “cool”
12) The Liberal victory in Ontario’s provincial election;
13) The merger of the PC Party and the Canadian Alliance into the Conservative Party of Canada;
14) David Miller elected as the new mayor of Toronto;
15) Jean Chretien quitting as PM;
16) Paul Martin finally becoming PM;
17) Robert Stanfield’s death;
18) Saddam Hussein’s capture;
19) All the provinces and territories of Canada except B.C. and Alberta and Nunavut having elections;
20) The resignation of George Radwanski.
So all in all, 2003 was a very crazy year. It was a bloody year, a year of change, a year of massive upheaval around the world. So what do I expect for 2004? I think it will be a much less crazy year but two very significant events will happen…
1) A Canadian federal election around May or June…
2) The tech industry begins a major revival and finally gets out the troubles it has been plagued with since 2000;
3) The U.S. Presidential election in November;
4) The gradual restoration of order in Iraq…
5) The Summer Olympics in Athens in August…
For me personally, 2004 will be a much better year. It’s been an intensely difficult year for me and my family and we’re looking forward to better times ahead in 2004.
1) Hopefully get accepted to graduate school…
2) Buy a laptop
3) Reflect on my good health and realize that I’ve got a lot going for me and to not think negatively about what a difficult year 2003 has been.
So on New Year’s Eve, drink to your health and celebrate that Canada is strong and healthy, you’re strong and healthy and 2004 will be a great year!