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January 05, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-01-05

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 5, 2005


ANN ARBOR, Ml 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily .com

SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority
of the Daily's editorial board. All other pieces do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

In this
Congress, big
plans will stir
men's blood.
- Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert
(R-Ill.), after returning to Washington for
the commencement of the new Congress, as
reported yesterday by The Associated Press.

icz AMA

The lure of the North

Jn case you haven't
realized, we're gear-
ing up for another
four years of unabashed
conservatism. Con-
sequently, Canada is
looking more and more
enticing for the abun-
dance of left-leaning col-
lege students who strove
so hard to prevent what transpired from
transpiring. The urge to flee can be press-
ing at times, especially considering that the
repercussions of the looming expenditure
of Bush's "political capital" will leave us
with a right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court
whose nostalgia for a simpler era that never
existed could lead to the rollback of decades
of progressive court cases and legislation.
Canada, by comparison, seems to be more
and more welcoming every day, and the
popularity of websites like www.marryana-
merican.ca suggests that our northern ideo-
logical counterparts are willing to come to
the rescue. This urge must be resisted, for
we can't let the curiously accented siren
call from the North lead us to abandon the
problems in our own country.
Canada is an attractive alternative to the
United States on just about every front. For
example, same-sex marriage is legal in seven
provinces and one territory, leaving only a
handful of marginalized areas in which it isn't
explicitly recognized. However, even in these
few areas, a common-law marriage license
can be obtained in all parts of the country,
which allows for homosexual couples to gain
some benefits enjoyed by their heterosexual
counterparts. All that is required in order for
a couple of any sexual orientation to be con-
sidered de-facto married is that they be living
together under romantic circumstances for at
least a year. Federal legislation is anticipated
sometime this year that will legalize same-sex
marriage across the board.

Of course, there is some opposition to gay
marriage in the country. Much as in the Unit-
ed States, opponents of gay marriage tend to be
older, male and live in rural areas. The Catho-
lic Church, Canada's most popular religious
group, has taken a strong stance against gay
marriage, and Bishop Fred Henry went as far
as to threaten former Canadian Prime Minis-
ter Jean Chrdtien with purgatory. Despite this,
over two-thirds of Canadians support granting
homosexual couples the same benefits enjoyed
by heterosexuals. The United Church of Cana-
da, the country's largest Protestant denomina-
tion, has openly supported the legalization of
same-sex marriages.
Not to be outdone in openness, Canada's
drug laws are significantly less stringent
than those here. While still illegal for recre-
ational use, the country has legalized medici-
nal marijuana. The Canadian Association
of Chiefs of Police has openly supported
decriminalization, saying that prosecuting
those charged with possession is a waste of
resources. There is pending legislation that
will punish those who are caught with up to
30 grams of marijuana with a $400 fine and no
permanent criminal record. Such a crime can
result in a 15-year prison sentence under the
heavy-handed Rockefeller Drug Laws in the
United States.
Perhaps Canada's most enticing draw is its
nationalized health care system. According to
the World Health Organization, under the sin-
gle-payer system, the Canadian government
covers 71 percent of all health care costs,
compared to 44 percent in the United States.
While many would question the efficiency
of such a system, the Canadian government
spends a smaller proportion of its revenue
on health care than'our own supposedly lais-
sez-faire government, and Canadians spend
less than half on health care per capita than
Americans. While there are complaints of
long lines and a near-critical shortage of doc-
tors, Canada still enjoys a longer life expec-

tancy and lower infant mortality rate than the
United States.
All of this doesn't mean we should start
building makeshift rafts out of Kerry cam-
paign paraphernalia and setting out across the
Detroit River. While it's true that fewer and
fewer people are feeling any kind of connec-
tion to our own country, cutting all ties is a
copout. Not to inflate anyone's ego, but our
country depends on educated, young (and often
left-leaning) professionals, meaning a sudden
flight would cripple the economy on a national
scale. More importantly, blue strongholds like
New York and California would turn pink, and
Rustbelt states like Michigan and Ohio would
be deep crimson.
What's more, the ability to pack up and
move north is a privilege enjoyed almost
exclusively by college students like our-
selves. Like it or not, as future graduates
of the University, we're set to rest comfort-
ably at the top of the food chain, meaning
we'll weather the inevitable consequences
of another Bush administration better than
most. Bush has proposed a freeze on domes-
tic spending not seen since the Reagan era
in order to allow more money to be allo-
cated toward defense and homeland secu-
rity. If the freeze is enacted, the value of
every dollar spent on domestic benefits will
drop as inflation rises. Seeing as the main
beneficiaries of such spending tend to be
poor, while university students are among
the most affluent among us, this means that
those who are most able to escape will be
those least affected by Bush's policies.
Canada should serve as a model; not as
a magnet. Now is not the time to run from
our problems. Rather, it's time to roll up
our sleeves and do our best to minimize
the damage.


Mallen can be reached at



Daily used insensitive
language in article
After reading a recent article (Student
tosses possessions out of U Towers win-
dow, 12/22/2004), I was amazed that the
third-to-the-last sentence was allowed to
be included in the article. It read: "Many
of the pictures thrown out the window
depicted two men who appeared to be of
college age." I feel as though this sentence
does not particularly add any value to the
article, but does imply that the student is
homosexual. Mental illness and homosex-
uality both carry heavy stigmas and some
people feel as though homosexuals are
mentally ill. I am personally not homo-
sexual, however, this one line stuck out to
me like a sore thumb. A newspaper should
be unbiased and should not imply certain
things without a factual basis. Please be

more sensitive to what is written between
the lines of your articles.
Gawin Tsai
LSA senior
Wolverines receive a
nod of approval
from a Longhom fan
As a totally biased observer, I watched the
Rose Bowl Saturday night. I witnessed two of
the classiest athletic programs going head to
head. No cheap shots. No crying to the offi-
cials. Just blood and guts, leave it all on the
field. It went down to the final two seconds,
as it should in a game like this. It could have
gone either way. Some of the very best in ath-
letics and athleticism were viewed by millions
around the country.
I hope that it doesn't take another two or
three generations before these two teams meet

again. Congratulations to the University of
Michigan for an excellent game and a heck of
a season.
Marc Kirsch
Austin, Texas
AT 6 P..
420 MAYNA.D 'ST...

Water treatment woes

In the Great Lakes State, news about
proposed changes to federal water
treatment regulations made the front
page. On Dec. 30, The Detroit News
discussed the proposed regulations,
which await a final say by the Environ-
mental Protection Agency in February.
The changes would allow communities
to dump untreated sewage into Michi-
gan's lakes when heavy rain puts water
treatment plants under stress. It sounds
like a pretty typical Bush administra-
tion idea - a hostile policy with the
potential for harming the quality of
life of Michigan residents. But guess
what? The Southeast Michigan Coun-

billion dollar increases in expenses for
sewage infrastructure within the next 25
years, the newspaper looked no deeper
than the numbers to explain what's hap-
pening. If Michiganders were better
informed about the problem, then they'd
easily see the solution.
For one thing, SEMCOG's credibility
is no good. The organization, in charge
of transportation funding, has been an
unconditional proponent of suburban
sprawl. On quick inspection, it's easy
to see why this is so. While three rep-
resentatives from Detroit sit on the
council, rural Monroe County gets four.
Representation is by no means propor-
tional to population. SEMCOG is unfair
by design, and its policies resemble its

home? That's easy enough to answer.
In a developed area, rainwater becomes
harmfully dirty and must be processed
before it's released into lakes and riv-
ers. Since SEMCOG pays for much of
the infrastructure that paves the coun-
tryside, and its member governments
coordinate water treatment, it's afraid
of being locked in a trap. While it refus-
es to stop supporting sprawl, it's scared
that it won't be able to pay for it once the
six-county area becomes all parking lots
and freeways. Poor SEMCOG.
Logic would dictate that citizens
should pay the costs of their lifestyle.
Unfortunately SEMCOG and the EPA
disagree. While their new plan may save
the outer suburbs some money, the harm


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