- Everybody I know has been to Iceland recently. A land. Of ice. Why is this happening? I don’t know. Not good enough, I say – so, on your behalf I undertook to get to the bottom of this mystery and invited Gunnar Sigurðarson of Promote Iceland to explain what made the isolated Arctic island so attractive. Was it the beaches? The balmy weather? Were they giving away sex? Money? Booze? In a word, no. According to Sigurðarson, it was the bank crash of 2008 followed by the 2010 explosion of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. He was less than clear about how those two disasters had transformed the island of fire and ice into a 21st Century tourist paradise. My money is on the booze.
- Remember the Great Ketchup War of 2016? How tiny and fervently patriotic French’s Ketchup was discovered by Queen’s Park in Ontario because it used Ontario-grown tomatoes from Leamington – after the evil American brand Heinz had pulled out of Ontario’s tomato Mecca? Well, I suggested at the time it may all be little more than a brilliant piece of marketing by the ketchup upstart. After all, it wasn’t like French’s Ketchup had been long overlooked by Canadian consumers. It was a brand new product, looking to grow its market share. And, it did. According to the Toronto Sun, French’s Ketchup grew from “nothing to an 18% market share” in less than a year. Bloody brilliant!
- The war between small town firefighters and their own union is heating up in the GTA, with 7 Brampton firefighters being charged by their own union for “double hatting” as volunteers in Caledon. Caledon’s Fire Service has just 22 full-time firefighters and 250 volunteers who live in the community – 45 of whom are employed as full-time firefighters in bigger city departments. City firefighters may work as few as four to six 24-hour shifts per month, leaving lots of time for second jobs – including jobs as so-called “volunteer” firefighters in their home communities. Volunteer doesn’t mean unpaid, however. It really means part-time/on-call. Caledon pays its “volunteers” $27.50 per hour, with a two-hour minimum per call out. Estimates suggest these part-timers could earn up to $13,000 per year – significantly cheaper than hiring full-timers to replace them. Which is what the union wants, in order to grow the number of full-time jobs. Understandable, but unrealistic. And, in the meantime, the union is eating its own young.
- Ontario’s Education Minister Mitzie Hunter quietly issued a press release Thursday casually mentioning they’ve reached a tentative agreement with the province’s largest elementary teacher’s union. After going to war with the Premier’s favorite union last time around, there’s no word yet how much the ministry has given away to buy labor peace with teachers going into a provincial election year.
- Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is taking some flak for dithering over a decision to send Canadian Forces to Mali as part of a UN peacekeeping mission there. As a result, Canada lost out on the opportunity to provide the Force Commander to that mission. But, did we really lose anything? Not really – because we shouldn’t send anybody to this disaster of a mission in the bloodiest part of Africa. There are already over 15,000 peacekeepers there – and have been since 2013. In four years, they’ve failed to accomplish much of anything except kill peacekeepers. 60 have been killed there so far.
HERO OF THE WEEK
37 Year Old Johnson Beharry is a British Army Sergeant who won the Victoria Cross for gallantry while in combat in Iraq in 2004. He was seriously wounded while saving the lives of 30 of his comrades in the action. On January 27 this year, Beharry landed at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport on his way to speak at a veterans event, where he was to be the Guest of Honor. He didn’t make it.
Instead, Beharry – who was born on Grenada – spent hours waiting at US Customs and Immigration, detained because his UK Passport showed he’d been to Iraq – as a member of the British Army. But, he was caught up in the confusion around President Trump’s Executive Order banning immigrants from Iraq. The confusion is excusable. The rudeness and insensitivity of US officials who mishandled Beharry’s case – and others – is not. The president’s new policy will not damage the reputation of the United States. But ham-handed implementation of it certainly will. My hero this week is Sgt. Johnson Beharry of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment.
STUPID OF THE WEEK
Today’s winner is no stranger to the SOTW award – she may be the most winningest person we’ve ever recognized. And, she’s baaack!
When asked how how a $2.3 million raise to the CEO of Ontario Power Generation would look to the average Deplorables riding the GO Train to work, Treasury Board Minister Liz Sandals said: “When you really stop and think of it, most of the people on the GO Train probably don’t have high-level nuclear qualifications or the business qualifications to run a multi-billion dollar corporation.” Then again, neither does she or Premier Wynne – and we’re not paying them millions of dollars… yet they’re running a multi-billion dollar province. Right into the ground. Maybe she has a point.
What I really want to know is what compromising photos does Liz Sandals have of Kathleen Wynne – and Why does this woman still have a job?