Statistics Canada unleashed a furor in the House of Commons last week with the release of a new report on the migration patterns of the Canada Goose. In the study, based on data collected over the last year, StatsCan found that millions of Canada Geese migrate to the U.S. in an apparent attempt to find “greener pastures.”
Stephen Harper, leader of the Official Opposition, took the Liberal government to task for neglecting this apparent Canada Goose drain. “Every year we loose some of our geese because of this government’s wasteful habits. Our continued low-dollar policy makes the grass much less, you know, greener over here and our crushing tax burden only encourages this migration.” Mr. Harper challenged, “Why, Mr. Speaker, does this government let this continue?”
Responding to the question, Deputy Prime Minister John Manley took flight, “This government is dedicated to creating a conducive environment for our geese.” Later during the press scrum, Mr. Manley admitted to a flock of reporters that the government’s own geese assessments are incomplete and promised to “fully account for all the geese” to understand the situation better.
Canada’s press had a field day, issuing a bellowing chorus of quacks in response to the study. A National Post editorial, which oddly enough appeared in all of the CanWest media newspapers, drove home criticisms of our massive welfare state. “Every year our best and brightest geese flee this country leaving only the old, lame and injured to graze off government grass. It is time for us all to forcibly peck this government out of power.”
Toronto’s National Newspaper, The Globe & Mail, remarked that, “Although the StatsCan study wasn’t long term, it appears from ancillary studies that the number of geese migrating has increased over the last decade and a half with the implementation of free trade. Our economy is increasingly organizing around north/south trade flows and as a result we are seeing this increased migration.” The editorial concluded that this is a part of Canada’s structural adjustment and will make our economy more competitive with respect to global avian migration patterns.
In an op-ed piece that appeared in The Toronto Star, Avi Ator called for changes to the way the federal government handles it’s geese habitat programs. “The government has funded the creation of geese habitat and protected wetlands. It may be wise if the government attached restrictions to this habitat usage. If these geese are to use federally protected lands, we should at least ask that the geese stay in Canada for a set time period or even migrate to less populated areas.”
Meanwhile, across the big, flat fields to Alberta, the Edmonton Journal worried that the federal government would use this migration as a pretext to expropriate provincial geese populations. And, much like an editorial in Le Devoir, the paper wondered if this could be a further pretext for federal government intrusion into provincial geese programs. Le Devoir also added that “Quebecois Geese” have their own distinct migration patterns that need to be addressed.
On the Left Coast, Vancouver’s The Province had a piece warning that it is quite dangerous for the geese to attempt migrating after a few martinis. Apparently alcohol impairs judgment and can lead to some wild goose chases.
But as the bird brains in the press settled into their flying formations by midweek, the real story began to emerge from the report. An ivory tower gosling at the Advance Institute of Duck Studies remarked that if they had bothered to read past the executive summary of the StatsCan study, some other patterns appear that should be considered. There is mounting evidence that a least a portion of the Canada Geese return to Canada to hatch and raise their young.
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