Friday, January 25, 2008

Beware of Terrorists in Canada

 
Friday's Urban Legend: RIDICULOUS

Australia is a small country in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (see map). It is best known for its wild dogs that eat babies, race riots on public beaches, and for 1000 mile long rabbit-proof fences that don't work.

Judging by the buzz on radio stations in Canada, Australia is now becoming known for something else [Crikey! Be careful about Canada…]. It's getting a reputation for extreme stupidity.

The Australian government has a website to inform travelers about foreign countries. Here's what it says about Canada [Travel Advice for Canada].
We advise you to exercise caution and monitor developments that might affect your safety in Canada because of the risk of terrorist attack.

Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.


We advise you to exercise caution and monitor developments that might affect your safety in Canada because of the risk of terrorist attack. Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
The rating for Canada is "Exercise Caution." This is the same rating that's given to Vietnam, Serbia, Malaysia, United States, United Kingdom, Belgium, Albania, France, and the Netherlands.

Countries receiving the safest rating ("Be Alert to Your own Safety") include: China, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Roumania, Hungary, Macau, Norway, and South Korea (Republic of Korea).

Apparently there are some Australians who might want to visit Canada in spite of the terrorists. Not to worry. The Australian government has some additional warnings that will discourage such a foolish trip. The weather in Canada is dangerous ...
Heavy snowfalls and ice in the winter can make driving dangerous. The wind-chill factor can also create dangerously cold outdoor conditions. Transport Canada provides detailed information on road conditions across Canada. You can also get tips for winter driving from the Canadian Automobile Association.
OK, so there's some truth to that statement. If tourists want to visit some parts of Canada in the winter (for skiing) then they should know how to cope with snow.

But the Australian government doesn't stop there. They need to inform their citizens about other common dangers in Canada.
The province of British Columbia in western Canada is in an active earthquake zone.

Alberta and British Columbia are also subject to avalanches. Information on avalanches is available from the Canadian Avalanche Association.

Tornadoes can occur in some areas of Canada between May and September. For more information on tornadoes see Environment Canada's website and the National Hurricane Centre. In the event of a Tornado you should monitor local and international weather on local television and radio.

Bush and forest fires can occur any time in Canada. You should consult local news reports and authorities before visiting forested areas and follow the advice of local authorities.
Scary stuff. I think I'll build a tornado shelter and prepare for bush fires in my neighbourhood. I wonder if there are any other countries where the threat of bush fires is severe? I seem to remember something about suburban houses being destroyed by fires in other countries but never in Canada, to the best of my knowledge.

Australians, you should be ashamed about the terrorist warning for Canada. On the other hand, the weather thingy isn't unusual. All countries have silly advisories about weather on their websites. Here's the one from Canada about Australia [Travel Advice: Australia].
Australia is located in a seismic zone. Canadians should know the address and telephone number of the High Commission of Canada in Canberra in the event of an emergency.

Severe flooding is affecting parts of the country, particularly New South Wales. Rising floodwaters may have an impact on transportation and other services. Travelers should be aware of the increased threat of water-borne disease and take appropriate precautions. Canadians should follow the advice of local authorities and maintain flexible travel plans.

The cyclone season extends from November to April. Cyclones may occur along the coastal areas of Queensland, Northern Territory, and Western Australia. Travellers should keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.


17 comments :

  1. What's with the circling of New Zealand and calling it Australia?

    Anyway, this debate between Canada and Australia on which is least domesticated is academic - I was always brought up to believe that the colonies are pretty wild and untamed places by all accounts.

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  2. Why is Norway rated so poorly? I thought it was an extremely safe country. It looks like it has a very low murder rate, and was rated best on the global peace index. On what grounds does Australia consider it to be amongst the most dangerous countries?

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  3. Oops, safest countries. I misread that. Disregard my previous comment.

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  4. Australia is noted for shark attacks. One should keep one's feet off the floor while drinking.

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  5. Heavy snowfalls and ice in the winter can make driving dangerous.

    Are you sure this warning is from Australia and not Austria? Becuase I would think Australians would be worried about heavy snow in Canada during the summer.

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  6. "Australia is located in a seismic zone."

    Just out of interest, which countries are not? I recall reading that Ireland has not had any earthquakes in historical times, but I can't think of any others off the top of my head. Finland perhaps?

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  7. We in America are well aware of Canadian the terrorist problem but have been under the impression that the RCMP has had it under control.

    We are, after all, highly sophisticated in our general knowledge of world affairs.

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  8. Hm. Nary a peep about curmudgeonly Canadian biochemists.

    More seriously (?), I spent a sabbatical at the U of Toronto and found the most dangerous parts were the regular Friday afternoon pub crawls by the people of lab I was associated with.

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  9. Stephen Loughran says,

    Happy Australia Day (Jan 26th) Larry!

    Jeez! You Australians are so stupid. No wonder your country is upside down!

    Today is January 25th, not January 26th. You can't even get your country's birthday right. No wonder your rabbit-proof fences don't work! :-)

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  10. Actually, the advice about cyclones in Australia is not that bad - I once had to take a detour of a couple of thousand km because of a cyclone. Had I kept more tack of it, I would have planned differently.

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  11. Give the Australians a break. Canada is pretty exotic. Australia, except for Hobart, is HOT. In winter, it is less hot. Much of Canada has honest to goodness snow storms, and I've seen how LA drivers tend to handle them. It isn't pretty, and some poor Australian planning a winter trip to Calgary or Quebec might be saved a bit of an adventure by this kind of heads up.

    Folks from Canada or the US heading to Australia are always warned about the tropical sun and powerful UV rays. Australia is also loaded with nasty creatures ranging from crocodiles to sea wasps, with hundreds of other venomous critters in between. There are also parts of the country where the gas stations are few and far between, so it pays to fill up, especially in a rental car where your mileage may vary.

    When Fodor's did their guide to the dangerous places of the world back in the 1990s, all they could say about Canada was that you were ever so slightly more likely to be involved in a bank robbery, presumably as a bystander.

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  12. I seem to remember something about suburban houses being destroyed by fires in other countries but never in Canada, to the best of my knowledge.

    Kelowna, British Columbia and its suburbs were heavily damaged by large fires a couple of years ago.

    I am another who does not understand much of this post. Are these serious warnings from a real government website? And what's up with the map and the circled New Zealand?

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  13. And what's up with the map and the circled New Zealand?

    In Canada, that is what passes for "humor."

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  14. In Canada, that is what passes for "humor."

    Ouch.

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  15. Australia is a very severe form of punishment, one better than being hanged.
    But after 26 years here I am not so sure . . .
    Hanging sure would've been quicker!

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  16. That's New Zealand you idiot.

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