Simon SaysSimon Says NPR's Scott Simon Shares His Take On Events Large And Small

Stories from North of the Border

Americans don't pay much attention to news from Canada, but perhaps they should: Thoughts on a dispute over a dead whale, an oil pipeline to Alberta, a heroic firefighter and foxes on the loose in the Northwest Territories.

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Almost every U.S. news organization, including this one, have given more coverage to Oprah Winfrey this week than the Canadian elections. Canadians often feel that their interest in the United States is not reciprocated. So this week, I found several Canadian stories that are fascinating and telling by any measure.

Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick are fighting over a dead whale. It's one of four whales that inexplicably beached themselves in New Brunswick. They couldn't be buried there because they expired just in front of some apartment houses so officials towed the carcasses two miles out to sea and anchored them where the deceased whales would sleep with the fishes. Except some anchors broke in a storm. One whale carcass floated over to Prince Edward Island where it is to put gently what is not a gentle process, decomposing. The E-I wants New Brunswick for burying the whale. New Brunswick says where a dead whale washes up is an act of God, not New Brunswick.

The Canadian National New Energy Board opened hearings on a proposed oil pipeline that would run across the Northwest Territories into Alberta. The pipeline was proposed 30 years ago. But back then environmentalists and native groups organized to defeat it. The environmentalists were worried that the pipeline disrupted the ecology of the territories. Native groups worried that building the pipeline would destroy the character of their communities. But today the native groups who live along the route are part owners of the proposed pipeline. They now see it as an opportunity. Fred Carmichael (ph) who heads the Aboriginal Pipeline Group says times have changed.

Captain Marcel Marleau(ph) of the Montreal Fire Department lay in state at City Hall this week. Last Saturday morning Captain Marleau charged ahead to try to find what was burning in an apartment house while his fellow firefighters evacuated the 42 residents. Captain Marleau ran into what's called a flashover, hot gasses and smoke that ignite into flames. He was 47 years old, married and the father of two boys. Michelle Creviet(ph), president of the Montreal Fighters Union says it reminds us that every day firefighters jump into the unknown.

And finally the Northwest Territories may be getting a little less wild. Foxes in the capital of Yellow Knife are reportedly no longer hunting down rats and moles but scrounging food out of garbage cans. Foxes have options these days. This week, 15-year-old Jason Grayston(ph) reported that a fox trotted into his front yard, bit his soccer ball and slurped up his ice cappuccino. I guess that's why they call foxes sly.

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Simon SaysSimon Says NPR's Scott Simon Shares His Take On Events Large And Small