1) Justin Trudeau is Canada’s 13th prime minister during my lifetime; MacKenzie King was the first. Beginning with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, there have also been 13 US presidents over that span. I’ve split my life between PEI and Ontario, and counting the premiers in power in the province in which I was living at the time, there’ve been13 of them! Since only the US was on fixed election terms during nearly all of this time, the coincidence is amazing. I decided to check the number of popes since I was born, and if it was 13 I was going to start including that number in my lottery purchases. It wasn’t; there have been only 8.
2)When Justin delivered the eulogy at his father’s funeral in 2000, I wonder how many people predicted then that he would be PM some day. My guess is many thousands.
3) While having lunch earlier this week I overhead two guys at the next table talking about the election results. One of them opined that, “Harper didn’t lose because of the big things he did as prime minister, he lost because of the little things; like Mike Duffy.” It took all my willpower to resist leaning over and asking if he really thought that Mike Duffy was “little.”
4) In case you haven’t already figured it out, I’m a political junkie. In the village of Morell, PEI, where I grew up, politics were (and probably still are) basically inherited. People voted the same way their parents and grandparents did. My family was a little different. My mother was a Conservative, my father was a Liberal, and my older siblings were similarly split. This made for some lively political discussions, especially on election days. It’s also probably the reason I enjoy leadership conventions and elections as much as I do an exciting playoff game. So you can imagine how much I enjoyed last Monday; an impassioned federal election and a crucial Blue Jay playoff game on the same night! If remote controls hadn’t been invented I would have worn a deep path in the carpet between my favourite chair and the TV.
5) Getting back to my Conservative mother and Liberal father, I particularly remember one election day when I was old enough to understand what was going on. They were getting ready to go to the poll and the weather was really bad. I suggested that, as they were going to cancel each other’s votes anyway, they should just stay home. When they completely ignored me and headed out together to brave the elements I realized that they didn’t trust each other not to sneak out and vote. Voter turnout in PEI last Monday was over 77 per cent, once again the highest in the country. Just as it was when I was a kid, Islanders still take their politics very seriously.
6) To me, the most interesting aspect of second baseman Cliff Pennington pitching for the Blue Jays last Tuesday wasn’t that he was the first position player to ever pitch in the post-season. I thought that the most interesting aspect of his appearance was that he was the second most effective of the six pitchers Jays manager John Gibbons employed in the game. Only Liam Hendriks pitched better than Pennington. And my simple take on the demise of the Jays? The Royals played baseball while the Jays thought they were in a home run derby.
7) A few days ago I ran across an old picture of a couple of nuns in full habit. It reminded me of when I was a very young lad growing up in Morell in the mid-40s. It seemed that every time I went to Charlottetown with my parents, which was often, I’d see some nuns, usually in pairs, gliding along in full habit so that their feet weren’t visible. I was about seven or eight years old before I found out that they weren’t on wheels.
8) Still on the subject of growing up in Morell: My two best friends lived on farms on the fringe of the village. So even though I lived in the middle of the village (my father worked for the railroad), I spent a lot of time around farms. I distinctly remember noticing that farmers never had a day off. That childhood observation is probably the reason I’ve always cherished free time.
9) Is anyone surprised that recently-resurrected NHL coach John Tortorella owns four pit bulls?