Before cannabis was legal in Canada, back in the 1970s, people had to stand outside on the porches of the Lorne Hotel to smoke it. Photo by George Le Masurier

The Week: Sharpe dissed, dogs sprayed, no pot and Go Santa!

Dec 13, 2018 | Commentary, News

By George Le Masurier

Does anybody else feel like Mt. Washington’s freestyle skier Cassie Sharpe got overlooked for the Lou Marsh Trophy, which supposedly is awarded to Canada’s top athlete of the year?

Sharpe is the reigning Olympic champion in her sport, the halfpipe. She won the gold medal at this year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. In 2015, she won the silver medal in halfpipe at the World Championships and both the gold and bronze medals at the Winter X Games in 2016 and 2018.

But a group of undisclosed sports reporters assembled by the Toronto Star newspaper — the award is named after a former Star sports editor — chose Mikael Kingsbury, of Quebec. He’s a worthy choice for having dominated moguls skiing competition for years, and also won gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

But Sharpe wasn’t even a finalist and didn’t get mentioned in the voting.

¶  Take this short test to determine Your Tolerance for Anarchy …

Question: If you see a dog running loose without a leash, do you:

A) Lasso the dog and tie it to the nearest tree?
B) Confront the dog’s owners and give them a stern talking to?
C) Shoot the dog with bear spray?

An elderly Comox couple apparently feel like “C” is an appropriate answer, although most of the rest of us would consider it an extreme response.

And yet, people who let their dogs off-leash in parks and other areas where the animals should be leashed can cause a real public nuisance. Some people have a fear of dogs. Nobody wants a friendly but muddy dog to jump up on them.

The worst offenders in the Decafnation world are people who enjoy the Goose Spit Stair Climb and let their dogs run up the dirt slopes, off the stairs. The dogs damage the slope and cause erosion. When the Comox Valley Regional District built new metal stairs this fall, they also landscaped the adjoining earthen slopes and posted a sign to keep animals on the stairs.

It hasn’t been 100 percent successful because some people let their dogs loose.

The answer is not bear spray. Obviously. But neither is consciously ignoring a requirement to leash your animal. The answer is to show respect for other people and our environment.

¶  So can the Comox Council hurry up its plan to create an off-leash dog park. Right now, the only place for dog owners to let their animals run free is in Cumberland.

¶  A regular Decafnation reader wrote to us this week, praising the in-depth story about Jonathan Page, PhD, a GP Vanier grad, who has rocketed to the top of the cannabis science world in Canada, and whose Anandia Labs is building the unique Cannabis Innovation Centre near the Comox airport. It’s the first-ever facility in the world devoted solely to breeding and genetics of cannabis.

The reader noted comments in the story about the fast-paced cannabis market, and how corporations are rushing to get ahead of the competition and dominate in our nation’s experiment in legalization.

But, our reader said, there doesn’t seem to be any rush to open a retail recreational marijuana store in the Comox Valley. In fact, he said, getting consumer access to legal pot seems to be bewilderingly slow.

¶  Congrats to Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns for pressing the issue of marine plastics in the House of Commons with a private member’s bill last year, and for managing to get it passed this year with unanimous support.

John’s bill calls for a nationwide strategy to reduce and, he hopes, eliminate plastic pollution in all marine environments, based partly on a report from the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre.

So, how about it, Comox Valley governments? Cumberland is publicly working toward a plastic bag ban, but nary a formal peep so far from Comox and Courtenay.

¶  By the time St. Joseph’s General Hospital closed last year, the board had already released its vision for dementia village on the 17-acre site at the top of Comox Hill, which would include a campus of care services for all seniors. But for that vision to pencil out, The Views needed additional publicly-funded beds.

The Views have, no doubt, applied for some of the new complex care beds promised by Island Health two years ago, but which have been delayed for unspecified reasons. So it was a little surprising this week, that The Views Chief Administrative Officer, Michael Aikins issued a release about the already known vision.

That and unreturned phone calls to St. Joe’s board members makes us wonder if something is afoot, and that Island Health might make an announcement soon.

¶  Don’t tell your kids, but it’s scientifically impossible for Santa Claus to travel at 650 miles per second carrying gifts weighing at least 350,000 tons. At that speed and workload, Rudolph and the other reindeer would burst into flames and cook like a tofuturducken.

Or is it?

A professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University says it is. Santa would only have to harness a relativity cloud, based on Albert Einstein’s discovery that time can be stretched while space is squeezed.

Trying explaining that possibility to a skeptical nine-year-old.

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