It’s in our genes! Ask any ape!

Who do we blame for our faux pas at the Christmas party?

Carolyn Grant

It’s good to know that this holiday season you may blame the apes if you happen to behave in an unbecoming fashion at your office Christmas party.

Biologist Matthew Carrigan, from Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida, has the theory that about 10 million years ago a mutation appeared in the common ancestor we share with gorillas and chimpanzees, which allowed that primitive ape to tolerate and break down alcohol.

Apparently this Paleozoic Godzilla discovered that eating fruit which was fermenting on the ground gave him a feeling of well-being, a belief that he was more attractive to the local apettes than he may have thought when not chewing on the forbidden fruit. And he passed that belief onto us.

Or: “It’s possible that our neurological reward system became hard-wired to associate reward with the nutritional benefit from this food item,” as Dr. Carrigan put it.

In other words, put that lampshade on your head this weekend, it’s the ape’s fault.

But on to politics, where I’m sure if we looked back far enough we could find an ape to blame as well.

In Newfoundland, Premier Paul Davis is crying foul over the EU-Canada free trade deal. As Premier Davis understood it, the deal included a $400 million fund to renew the fishery. But a clarification from Ottawa says the fund was never meant to be a “blank cheque”.

“I leave here very disappointed. I can tell you that it’s very clear to me that we cannot trust Stephen Harper, cannot trust this government,” Davis told CBC News.

One wonders if Davis will go as far as former Newfoundland Labrador Premier Danny Williams, who ordered all Canadian flags removed from the government offices after a dispute with the Federal government.

The common thread is Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who annoyed Williams to the extent that he launched an Anything But Conservative campaign and took to calling the PM ‘Steve’ in a voice dripping with disdain.

No word yet on whether Davis will follow.

And in Ontario, Premier Kathleen Wynne just wants a meeting with Prime Minister Harper to discuss infrastructure needs, among other things. But Harper apparently has better things to do with his time than meet with the Premier of Canada’s most populous province. Such as meeting with the new Mayor of Toronto John Tory to discuss infrastructure needs. Something to do with the name maybe? In any event, the PM is chiding the Ontario Premier for making the tiff public, the NDP is chiding the PM for not meeting with the Premier and no date for a meeting has been set.

Perhaps Premier Wynne should send the PM a nice basket of fermented fruit for Christmas to grease the wheels, so to speak.

Meanwhile in Alberta the government has put its four-plane fleet of aircraft up for sale for $11 million. These aircraft were a key element in the downfall of former Premier Alison Redford, when the provincial Auditor General sharply criticized her for her ‘personal use’ of them.

Alberta government ministers and officials will now have to fly *shudder* commercial with the rest of us apes.

Moving into B.C., I’m sure the last thing Steve Harper wants to end his year is to deal with anything involving the Senate. He’s had enough of that august body, I’m sure. But a Vancouver lawyer is taking him to court, citing Harper’s failure to fill 16 vacant Senate seats. This, says Aniz Alani, who has an interest in constitutional law, is not constitutional. The constitution says the seats should be filled when a vacancy occurs. The PM himself says he isn’t being inundated with calls from Canadians begging for the seats to be filled. And no wonder, given various recent actions by too many Senators to mention.

Would it make any difference if the seats were filled? Maybe PM should just appoint some placeholders. Maybe even an ape would do. As long as you kept giving them fermented fruit, would anyone even notice?

Carolyn Grant is Editor of the Kimberley Daily Bulletin