Weekly Commentary  

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

Meeting the Terminator

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Pumped. That's what we all were. Pumped. I won't try to hide it from you.

A number of us had received a special invitation from the US Ambassador for a private meeting with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger from California right after his one on one with Prime Minister Harper.

As regular readers of this column know, I try to give you inside stories and 'sneak peeks' that the national media doesn't get.

Well let me tell you, there was quite an excited bunch of 'Arnold Groupies' waiting breathlessly to see The Terminator and shake his hand.

Before you roll your eyes all I can say is "Come on, admit it, you'd kinda like to meet the guy too if he was coming to your work place."

There we were. A small selection of MP's, Senators and other ne'er- do- wells', waiting to see if the Terminator really was made of steel.

One of the quirks of 'star' power is that it attracts people across the political spectrum.

I mean, think about it. Governor Arnold is an American politician and a Republican supporter of George Bush. And yet, there in our little pack of groupies was Jack Layton the socialist and Gilles Duceppe the separatist, just as wide-eyed and hopeful as the rest of us.

And when the Guv came striding into the room with his mile-wide smile everyone was jockeying for position for their 15 seconds of fame.

Now in fairness to Arnold, the man is not only about Hollywood. I mean he has taken a pretty strong position with the auto industry on emissions regs. (It made me feel good about the fact that we too have put in place regs which require a 20% reduction in all industry emissions by 2020.)

During his visit he and a Canadian University also announced a $30 million research grant for cancer stem cell research. The money is smartly directed to post-natal cells, not pre-natal, avoiding the touchy debate of using embryonic stem cells.

Not to be outdone, in my brief chat with the Guv I was able to casually mention that we had just announced $500 million (that's half a billion) in research grants to universities.

And I also had a chance to tell the Pres of the University of California and an associate (traveling with Arnold) about our Corrections system.

You see in Canada, with about the same population as California (over 30 million) we have around 13,000 people inside federal prisons and about the same in community half-way houses.

Guess how many inmates in Cal State Prisons? Brace yourself.
It's 170,000! That's right. One hundred and seventy thousand.

They wanted to exchange notes and we didn’t have much time to talk so I left them my card. Welcome to the Hotel California.

I got to stroll down along the walkway to the Ambassador's Residence with the Guv for a minute.

I invited him over to the MP exercise room after if he had time. Told him a few of the MP's who work out would be happy to pick up a few workout tips. He thanked me but said he wouldn't be able to this time, but would like to maybe next time.

Then of course you know what he said at that point. You guessed it. With a smile and a wink he said "I'll be baaawk".

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