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Ottawa - December 17, 2001

For Immediate Release


Santa Clauses across the nation were arrested late last night in their
homes as they slept. Spokespersons for the RCMP and CSIS explained to
media this morning in a hastily arranged press conference that their best
intelligence, including American sources, gave them strong reason to
suspect that the Clauses were plotting a terrorist attack.

Luckily, they said, Bill C-36 is just about to be given final approval by
the Senate. The police would not disclose the exact nature of the plot nor
the timing but suggested an attack was imminent - expected sometime before
the end of the month. According to the intelligence sources, the Clauses
had been involved in suspicious activities across the country over the
last two weeks.

It was these activities that first tipped off the police that something
big was definitely in the planning. Police realized that information was
clearly being passed to other cell members through hand waving during
parades and in shopping malls where these Santas were regularly observed.
Police refused to discuss the exact nature of the planned attacks as a
matter of national security, and would only say it was part of a
coordinated North American-wide terrorist action.

Civil rights lawyers contacted in several major centres said their hands
were tied and could not risk defending the Clauses, for fear they might
end up in contravention of the new bills themselves if they represented
these red-capped terrorists. Several commentators have suggested to Anne
McLellan that a horrible error has been made and that the matter needed to
be looked into immediately.  McLellan said there was no mechanism
available to look into the situation, but assured everyone that if a
mistake had been made that the Clauses would be released after 72 hours
and no charges laid.

The government in what Prime Minister Chretien has called "their
reasonable approach to all this" has agreed to have Mr. Claus appear at
12:30 today on the steps in front of the Centennial Flame, in order to
defend his actions and explain that this is all a terrible mistake.

For more information on Mr. Claus' appearance,  please contact Betty-Anne
Daviss at 73-0282 or Nancy Peckford at 237-1590, ext.320 or 231-1116.

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