Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Hello from Churchill

Hello from Churchill Manitoba. As I write this I am a scant 1000 miles north of Winnipeg smack dab in the polar bear capital of the world.

Why, you may ask, would I choose to travel to Churchill during this of all weeks? Why Churchill when Ottawa is boiling with political intrigue?

Honestly I came here because it was the furthest place I could humanly get from Ralph Goodale’s economic update. The plan worked. Not a soul up here has mentioned it since I arrived.

Well that's not entirely true. One Inuit guy yelled something at me about the Liberals trying to buy Canadians off with their own money again but he was on an all terrain vehicle and driving very fast so I didn't get the entire gist of what he was saying.

Churchill is amazing. The place is crawling with Polar Bears. You haven't lived until you find yourself standing outside in 27 below weather suddenly face-to-face with a nine foot polar bear. A polar bear at first glance seems so sweet and cuddly but beneath their adorable exterior beats the heart of a vicious predator who would rather see you dead than alive.

It’s kind of the opposite of Stephen Harper’s problem.

I actually got to tag along with some guys from the Department of Natural Resources as they took a giant drugged polar bear, stuck him in a net and airlifted him via helicopter out of harms way. It’s quite a sight to see. They use a technique that was actually developed in Alberta as the most efficient way to transport Ralph Klein back and forth between Edmonton and Calgary.

As of right now I am actually stuck here in Churchill. Winnipeg is snowed in and so the lovely Calm Air aircraft that makes the Churchill-Winnipeg run is sitting in three feet of snow in Winnipeg and thus not ready for boarding here in Churchill. The downside is if I don't make it out tonight I won’t get to shoot in Winnipeg tonight and tomorrow at the University of Manitoba as I had planned. The upside is I ate the best arctic char in my life last night and if I'm stuck here tonight I will be eating more of it.

This is, after all, Canadian Show biz.

My adventure in Churchill will be airing next Tuesday night on the show. Well that is if the snow in Winnipeg stops and I get out of here. The lady at the airport said she really believed we would get a flight out tonight or by next April at the very latest so fingers crossed.

Tonight on the show I visit Paul Martin at 24 Sussex drive. It was a fun visit. I felt a bit bad that his entire world seemed to be crumbling around him when I showed up with the camera but really every day is like that. What’s a guy supposed to do?