MUSINGS, DECEMBER 8, 2018

George H. W. Bush

There’ve been thirteen U.S. presidents during my lifetime, from the patrician Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the repulsive Donald Trump. Bush Sr. was my favourite; and his wife, Barbara, was by far my favourite First Lady.

The Nylander Saga

Although the frenzied coverage of Nylander’s contract negotiation surpassed the saturation point, particularly here in Toronto, I have some points to add; but I should first declare my bias. During my career I represented a number of NHL players and had some tough negotiations with owners and GMs, such that I tend to side with the players in these matters. Nylander is no exception, I was pulling for him all the way.

My main reason is that the owners’ tenures are infinite, whereas Nylander’s, like every other NHL player’s, could be ended tomorrow by a career-ending injury. So he should earn as much as he can as soon as he can. Another reason is that by holding out until the Leafs folded at almost the last second he showed courage and strength of will, attributes I admire. 

Another reason I was on Nylander’s side is that team president Brendan Shanahan’s earlier implication that the Leafs’ young stars (read Matthews, Marner and Nylander) should take a “home town discount”  was naive and border-line insulting.

NHL teams wouldn’t have problems paying their stars what they’re worth if it wasn’t for Gary Bettman’s imposition of a salary cap in the 2005 collective bargaining agreement. (And by caving in on the issue, the players association has to share the blame.) I insisted at the time that a salary cap, which benefits only the owners, was the worst thing that could happen to the NHL. I rest my case. Bob Goodenow, then the players association executive director, resigned a few days after the agreement was reached, but there was so much PA turmoil at the time that it’s hard to say what role acceptance of Bettman’s pet project played in his departure.

It should also be noted that the teams themselves have contributed mightily to their salary cap misfortunes by over-paying too many players. The superstars deserve eight-figure salaries and the stars deserve salaries in the mid seven-figures, but there are far too many fringe players well into the seven-figure category.

Bettman maintains there are teams that couldn’t afford the payrolls a free market system would demand. Well, the remedy for that situation is not a salary cap; if cash-strapped owners want hockey teams they should be in the minor leagues, not the NHL.

Absurd Political Correctness

The Trudeau government, clearly the most obsessed politically correct aggregation ever to walk the halls of the House of Commons, has taken its dogma to an absurd level by referring to the thousands of illegal immigrants our prime minister thoughtlessly invited to cross our border as “irregular” immigrants. The word “illegal” has one specific meaning; the word “irregular” has many meanings. And that precisely illustrates the absurdity. If the ever-increasing trend to political correctness is not stemmed, words will continue to lose their meanings and our language its accuracy.

And Speaking Of Trudeau

Last weekend, Justin Trudeau tweeted Trevor Noah, host of TV’s Daily Show. that the Canadian government would contribute forty million dollars to an international education fund being promoted by the comedian. Although this money had been pledged as part of a much larger package at the G7 meeting last June, Trudeau’s tweet implied that he had just come up with the idea. Post Media’s political columnist John Ivison, writing about the tweet, described Trudeau as "an impulsive, arrogant, profligate friend of the stars, apparently using public money as if it were his own to burnish his reputation.”

While reading that column I couldn’t help but muse that Ivison’s scathing depiction could also be applied to Justin’s father, Pierre. It seems the apple really doesn’t fall very far from the tree.

In case you haven’t seen the tweet, here it is:

"Hey @Trevornoah - thanks for everything you're doing to celebrate Nelson Mandela's legacy at the @GlblCtzn festival. Sorry I can't be with you - but how about Canada pledges $50M to @EduCannotWait to support education for women & girls around the world? Work for you? Let's do it.”  

Reads like something a callow youth would tweet to a friend, doesn’t it?

MUSINGS, DECEMBER 1, 2018