Wild About Harry

            One of the most enduring pop hits of the first half of the 20th century was a song titled “I’m Just Wild About Harry,” and for the entire week of the Invictus Games it was Toronto’s unofficial theme song as young Prince Harry flawlessly comported himself while overseeing the event that he created. Regardless of time, place, logistics or pressure he was unfailingly friendly and charming with a rarely-seen depth of genuine sincerity.

            As someone who taught public speaking for over forty years, I’m incapable of being anything but critical when it comes to speeches, and I never heard a better one than the Prince’s closing remarks on the last night of the games. Anyone who wasn’t inspired by his remarks is clearly not capable of being motivated.

             An important criterion for judging a speech is the quality of its “takeaway;” a term that Dale Carnegie effectively coined with his admonition that every speech should give the audience “something they can stick in their pockets and take away with them.” Harry’s was his poignant line, “It doesn’t matter how big or small a step is; just take it.”

             As I watched Harry throughout the week it became clear that I was witnessing an extraordinary display of efficient, effective leadership.

             It would be nice if Prime Minister Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne picked up some pointers while in the Prince’s compelling presence. Unfortunately, though, it’s more likely that those two egos are impenetrable.


            If the Las Vegas massacre doesn’t bring Americans to their senses regarding the “right” to bear arms capable of killing dozens of people in a few short moments, what will?

             Isn’t there something intrinsically unfair about the major league baseball playoff system that required the Arizona Diamondbacks, who won 94 games during the regular season, to win a sudden-death game in order to move on while the Chicago Cubs, who won only 93, play a best-of-five?

Please, Not Another One

            The newly-minted federal NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh, has indicated he’s in no rush to seek a federal seat. Does this mean that, like Prime Minister Trudeau, he considers parliament to be nothing more than a necessary inconvenience? I also hope that Singh’s attitude doesn’t mean the NDP will back the prime minister the next time he tries to eviscerate parliament’s democratic rules. It took both the NDP and Conservatives to stop him the last two times.

Our New Governor General

            I have great admiration for Julie Payette and her accomplishments, and was pleased with her appointment.

            But I was disappointed with her inaugural speech. Not with her delivery, which was superlative, but with the content. Parts of her speech sounded like they were written by Gerald Butts, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s principal secretary.

            Although appointed by the prime minister, the governor general is supposed to be completely apolitical and to not espouse any particular party’s agenda. I hope Her Excellency’s seemingly partisan comments were an aberration and not a harbinger of things to come, especially on the heels of David Johnston’s unblemished term.

A Literally Bird-brained City Council

            Like many other Torontonians, I think a number of our city councillors are there for the wrong reasons, are largely incompetent administrators, and have no sense whatsoever of what matters in the management of the fourth largest city in North America.

           These concerns were validated this week when council voted to allow the keeping of chickens in the back yards of four wards (electoral districts). To give you an idea of just how bird-brained this decision is, one of the wards includes a large portion of Forest Hill, one of the richest communities in Canada.

            That they even considered this is mind boggling; and that they actually approved it is beyond understanding.

Ross Atkins Between The Lines

            Eight things I gleaned from listening between the lines during Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins’ press conference this week: 1) Jose Bautista will not be back next season but will eventually retire as a Blue Jay. 2) Every attempt will be made to add a proven pitcher, an outfielder and some speed. 3) The Jays’ venture into voodoo training and black magic injury rehab is over. 4) They’d love to get rid of Troy Tulowitzki, but not Russell Martin. 5) They’re not counting on Devon Travis’ health. 6) Because of 4) and 5) they’re also looking to add a middle infielder. 7) They will not prematurely rush their prospects. 8) If they can get enough for him they’ll trade Josh Donaldson.