1) Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne has introduced another cure for which there is no known disease, the proposed Ontario pension plan. This is a duplication of the Canada Pension Plan and will accomplish nothing more than put taxpayer money in the government’s control rather than allowing individuals to decide on their own when, how much, and where to save. And we all know how good governments, especially Ontario Liberal governments, are at managing money. Ehealth, Ornge, cancelled gas plants, and ill-advised green energy projects come immediately to mind. Wynne continues to stubbornly ignore the negatives of this move. For example, in addition to the one I just mentioned, many people she’s targeting simply can’t afford to contribute to both the CPP and her Ponzi scheme; they barely make it from payday to payday now. And here’s why I call it a Ponzi scheme. Pension plans invest their money to earn a return. Wynne seems intent on lending this plan’s money to other government agencies to “invest” in infrastructure projects that provide no financial return whatsoever. The only impediment to Wynne being the worst premier in the history of Ontario is her predecessor, Dalton McGuinty.
2) The NHL finally got something right: the three-on-three tournament format for the all-star game was an unqualified success. The players actually tried, resulting in great playmaking, goals and saves. The third period was particularly well-played and exciting; there was even some back-checking. Although the John Scott fiasco turned into an unlikely good news story, any selection process that results in Scott, Leo Komarov and Brandon Saad playing while Sydney Crosby and Duncan Keith stay at home is seriously flawed. The TV production left a bit to be desired, often showing replays while exciting live action was going on; but on the positive side the shot of Scott’s wife shedding a tear when he scored his second goal was terrific. Another poignant moment TV caught was Vince Gill’s obvious combination of pride and anxiety as his daughter sang the US national anthem. Gill’s wife, Amy Grant, a star in her own right, added flair as an honorary coach, promising P.K. Subban a backrub if he scored a goal and, when on his next shift he did, she immediately followed through right on the bench. I spent a lot of time in Nashville during my involvement in the entertainment business and I really like the city (we even considered moving there at one time), so I was particularly pleased that everything worked out so well for the Tennesseans. Even Gary Bettman wasn’t as obnoxious as usual.
3) Disgraced former CBC radio star Jian Ghomeshi’s trial began last Monday in Toronto’s Old City Hall courthouse. Ghomeshi is charged with four counts of sexual assault and one charge of overcoming resistance by choking. He pleaded not guilty, contending that it was all consensual.. One interesting aspect of the trial is that Ghomeshi opted for trial by judge. This is a wise choice for at least two reasons. First, it leaves the verdict up to a single qualified person with extensive legal training and experience, rather than to the emotional vagaries of a group of ordinary citizens. Secondly, it will significantly shorten the time needed to hear the case and thereby considerably reduce Ghomeshi’s legal fees; high-profile lawyers like Marie Henein do not work cheaply.
4) I’ve been watching NHL hockey for sixty-two years and international hockey for over forty and I’ve never seen a better goal than the one Connor McDavid scored against Columbus Tuesday night on his first game back after being out three months with a broken collar bone. I’ve said for many years that I’ve never seen a player who could do things at high speed as well as Bobby Orr. I think I’ve just seen one.
5) I mused last week about how difficult it was going to be for the NHL to decide on Dennis Wideman’s punishment for assaulting linesman Don Henderson. They decided it should be twenty games, which is what it probably would have been had one of the referees called a penalty on the play. The NHLPA has appealed the punishment. Bettman (the first level of appeal) will almost certainly uphold it, after which it will go to arbitration and likely get cut to 10 to 15 games. One thing for sure, the Wideman family is going to be somewhere between a quarter and half a million