Spot The Fake News StoryMarch 6, 2009
There are days when I miss being a newspaper editor. I’m a news junkie, after all, and the idea that I could be paid to read the news and share it with people was something I always enjoyed — and never took for granted.
Luckily, I’m able to keep up the practice. And today was an interesting day in Canadian news I’m going to offer you up 10 news stories from today. One of them is fake. Let’s see if you can spot it.
- Greyhound bus beheader “getting away with murder.” Vince Li, who stabbed a stranger to death on a Greyhound bus, then beheaded him and allegedly ate parts of him, was found not criminally responsible by a judge yesterday. Li has significant mental health issues. The victim’s family says he’s “getting away with murder.”
- Party leader loses another election. John Tory, leader of the provincial Progressive Conservative Party, has lost yet another attempt to actually sit in the Legislature. After losing in the 2007 general election, Tory fished around for a safe seat to chase; he thought he had it when popular Tory MPP Laurie Scott agreed to step aside in Kawartha-Haliburton-Brock. Unfortunately, Tory lost to Liberal challenger Rick Johnson. No seat for Tory, one less seat for the PCs.
- Polygamy ruled legal in Canada: A charter challenge by a BC polygamist group with ties to fringe Mormonism has resulted in a controversial ruling allowing polygamist marriages. Much in the same way a charter challenge led to the legalization of same-sex marriages, the court determined that religious freedom of polygamist cultures was violated by laws forbidding plural marriage.
- Canada pursues free trade deal with EU. The federal government wants to open talks with European leaders in an effort to establish a free trade deal like the one it has with the US and Mexico. This comes on the heels of a contentious rumour that US President Barack Obama was exploring the idea of revisiting that deal, known as NAFTA.
- Wal-Mart to close Sam’s Club stores in Canada. The Arkansas-based retailer is closing or selling its chain of Sam’s Club warehouse store, citing the poor economy. In Canada, when the going gets tough, people stop buying hairspray and cheap jogging pants in bulk.
- Bodies of three fallen soldiers en route back to Canada. Three men were killed in Afghanistan this week, victims of roadside bombs. The deaths of Warrant Officer Dennis Raymond Brown, Cpl. Dany Fortin and Cpl. Kenneth O’Quinn on Tuesday bring the number of fallen Canadian soldiers to 111.
- Accused killer to go on trial again … decades later. Or not. A court today ordered a new trial for Romeo Phillion, 69, who was convicted of killing a firefighter in 1972. The court found that prosecutors back in the 70s had failed to disclose key information that may have prevented Phillion’s conviction. The 2009 prosecution has conceded that it really isn’t worth it to put Phillion, who has been out on bail since 2003 and is suffering from lung and heart disease, back on trial.
- Tax agency tells woman she’s too dead to talk to. Marie-Therese Coulombe, 69, discovered this week that the Canada Revenue Agency had determined she is dead. Worried that this could lead to the end of her pension benefits, she called to explain that she was actually still alive, and was told by a CRA agent: “‘Madame, I can’t talk to you, I have to talk to the executor of the estate.” Coulombe said: “There is no estate! I’m on the phone with you!” Apparently, it was a data entry error. Plus maybe also some moronity.
- Newfoundland eyes departure from Canada: The country’s easternmost province may consider leaving the Dominion as its economic situation changes. Once the poor stepchild of Canadian government, the Atlantic province has been booming in recent years thanks to oil and mineral development. Meanwhile, its once-richer cousins further west are hurting, and Ottawa wants Newfoundland to pony up some assistance.
- William Shatner offered seat in Canadian Senate. The Montreal-born actor was contacted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper this week and offered a seat in the appointed upper house. Shatner, though, accidentally appeared pantsless on his video blog to discuss the offer, and it was later quietly rescinded.
What’s real? What’s imaginary? Weigh in with your thoughts below.