1) Anyone who doubts that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is an obnoxious egotist should listen to his interview with the CBC’s David Gray earlier this week in Calgary.
2) While on the subject of interviews, Immigration Minister John McCallum is proving to be annoying and ineffective. He’s smug, repetitive, condescendingly speaks as if he’s talking to a kindergarten glass, evades questions, and is totally incapable of admitting that he and his colleagues were recklessly wide of the mark when they promised to bring in 25,000 refugees by the end of 2015. Had they missed by a small margin his stubbornness might be understandable, but they achieved less than one-quarter of their target, and most of those were privately sponsored and already in the pipeline. He’s even blamed the weather for the shortfall. Lately, he’s adopted the mantra that they couldn’t meet the election promise because they want to “do it right.” The Conservatives, the bureaucrats, and experienced relief organizations all told them before the election that if they “did it right” it would be impossible to bring in even 10,000. Prime Minister Trudeau would be well-advised to muzzle this guy. His lack of communication skills would be a liability to any organization, let alone a government that promised “transparency” and “evidence-based” decisions.
3) And while on the subject of politics, here’s an interesting trivia question. What do Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump have in common? Well, they’ve both recently expressed admiration for despotic communist regimes; Trump for Russia’s Putin, and Trudeau for the Chinese government. And speaking of Prime Minister Trudeau’s pre-election musings, as a person who spent my entire professional career in the world of finance, I can’t wait to see the budget balance itself.
4) Still on politics, former Harper cabinet minister Tony Clement, by criticising the Trudeau government for not cancelling the Saudi arms deal, has proven himself to be either a coward or a hypocrite, or both. Otherwise he would have opposed the deal when it was made by the government in which he was a senior minister, which, by his own admission, he didn’t.
5) When David Bowie died this week I was reminded that I actually had a minuscule connection to his career. Back in the mid 70s he starred in the movie The Man Who Fell To Earth. I have no memory of how or why I came to be involved (perhaps Bowie or the movie company was a UK client of Coopers & Lybrand, the firm in which I was a partner at the time), but I was consulted on his movie contract. As I recall, the movie had a pretty good European run but moderate success on this side of the ocean. I also recall some uproar or other over nude scenes; how times have changed. I never did see the movie.
6) Last weekend my nine-year-old grandson was playing in an Under-12 hockey tournament at Upper Canada College here in Toronto. There were teams from schools in Toronto and Montreal and a team from Nichols Academy in Buffalo. Most of the Toronto kids in the tournament play both for their schools and rep teams in the Greater Toronto Hockey League, so the calibre of the hockey was pretty good. One of the kids, Noah Kinloch Varga, who plays for Brown Public School in Toronto and, I was told, the Toronto Red Wings in the GTHL, was by far the most dominant player in the tournament. Varga is the best kid hockey player I’ve seen since I had the pleasure of watching my son play against Eric Lindros for a few years back in the 80s. Varga was one of the bigger kids in the tournament, so he might be twelve (he would be eligible to play if his birthday was after the qualifying date), but can’t be older. Here’s an example of his impact. In the consolation match on Saturday afternoon, because he was playing a GTHL game, he didn’t arrive until there were just over five minutes remaining in the third period. At that point Brown was behind 2-0. Varga took control of the game, scored one goal and assisted on another to tie the score, and then scored about five seconds into the sudden-death overtime to salt away the victory. He was a joy to watch.