Not surprising - and expect more.... 
From TSN:

Montreal Canadiens winger Pierre Dagenais is the latest locked out NHLer to speak out, expressing concerns in Montreal La Presse over whether players of his ilk are being fairly represented by the NHLPA. The comments come two days after Calgary defenceman Mike Commodore expressed similar sentiments on a Calgary radio station.

I wrote at the start of October...

If the players feel the pressure from the public it won't be long before a few start calling up their union reps asking about the owner's cap proposals - what would a cap really mean, how much money, what percentage.
Once that crack is opened, the pressure for Goodenow to negotiate a cap will grow.

These types of players that are speaking out are not the players that are flying over to Europe to play. They are the type of player that is going to play far fewer years in the NHL than the stars, and for them, it would be tough to make up their lost salary (around $500,000 for each of them) even if the PA gets their way.

Here is how the salaries are broken down in the NHL:

Salary Range Number of Players Percentage of Players
between $0 and $999,999 337 45.1%
between $1,000,000 and $1,999,999 194 25.9%
between $2,000,000 and $2,999,999 86 11.5%
between $3,000,000 and $3,999,999 51 6.8%
between $4,000,000 and $4,999,999 26 3.5%
between $5,000,000 and $5,999,999 18 2.4%
between $6,000,000 and $6,999,999 13 1.7%
between $7,000,000 and $7,999,999 5 0.7%
between $8,000,000 and $8,999,999 6 0.8%
between $9,000,000 and $9,999,999 6 0.8%
between $10,000,000 and $10,999,999 4 0.5%
between $11,000,000 and $11,999,999 2 0.3%

Data from USA Today.

The crack has been opened - we'll see now whether the PA's meeting with the player reps on Tuesday will have any effect on their stance.

Don't look now! 
Matthew Fletcher, in talking about the October 20th Greatest Canadian standings wrote:
The fact that Don Cherry is not in dead last (currently 7th) is supremely annoying. The fact that Douglas, Trudeau, and Suzuki (4th) are all in the top five suggests Canadians are tending to want the Greatest Canadian to reflect their liberal ideals or alternately, and just as plausibly, only liberals are taking any notice of this little exercise.

But, the new standings out today are.....
Current Standings: as of Thursday, October 28th
1 Tommy Douglas
2 Don Cherry
3 Terry Fox
4 Pierre Elliott Trudeau
5 Wayne Gretzky
6 David Suzuki
7 Sir Frederick Banting
8 Lester B. Pearson
9 Sir John A. Macdonald
10 Alexander Graham Bell

Oh baby!

What I did on my lunch today.... 
The Middleman said about the Press Gallery Dinner:
If this thing was made public, and not just a little shindig among pols, flaks and hacks, Canadians might actually learn to like our public officials.

Here's Harper's Press Gallery speech (my own transcription):

Well, thank you very much Dan. Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you Prime Minister by the way for those campaign reminiscence. Reminds me of a few things I spent a lot of the summer searching around my house and I finally found it....

(holds up book with a cover that says "Hidden Agenda")

Actually, the truth is, Sheila Copps gave it to me.

Anyway, thank you very much Ladies and Gentleman, Mr. Martin, Mr. Layton, fellow members of parliament, friends in the Press Gallery - that's that one table over there.
Now I know I've been told that I shouldn't use tonight to attack the media. I've been told, well, I've gotta say one thing, I mean, if we held something past all the deadlines can you imagine your reaction.

I've been told tonight that I should engage in self-deprecation but in my church they say that can make you go blind. No, honestly, I'd like to be self-deprecating but I'm just no damn good at it. You know, seriously, I once told my speech writer Paul Terrion, he had in this speech, he had a phrase 'I humbly believe' - I said 'Take it out - it has no credibility.'

Look, no, I'll admit I have my flaws. Even my friends tell me that I can be dismissive and insulting but what the hell do those idiots know anyway.

I have my pet peeves. I can't stand people who list things and people who prioritize things and I hate them in that order.

My staff knew that this event would be a great opportunity to humanize me so they shut me down and tinkered with my circuitry.

You know, Dan Duguis just - I was accused again tonight of dropping out of sight after the election. The truth is I just wanted to take some time off, clear my mind, forget some things but the truth is summertime projects around the house didn't help very much. I was staining my new deck, I looked down at the canister, I saw the words 'dull finish' and burst into tears.

You know, I'm constantly being called non-descript, lacking any kind of image, having no personality and each time I respond the same way, 'Kids - go to your room'.

No, seriously, tonight we were in this private reception and there I was with Jack Layton and Olivia and Jack said to me "Where's your wife, why isn't she with you?". I said "She's over there. She says she likes to spend her time with interesting people."

No, but you know, frankly this personality issue is the real reason why I refuse to state a position, why I refuse to take sides in the great debate in our party between pro-choice and pro-life activists. They argue about when life begins - in my experience, it never does.

Anyway, I'd like to welcome the other party leaders here tonight. Give them a big hand. I was surprised that when the Prime Minister was called to speak that Scott Brison didn't stand in his place. And Paul, don't think for a moment he doesn't want to.

Of course, the opposition is here as well. But this time Jack Layton is with us and it's Gilles Duceppe who didn't show up. So Prime Minister you're safe on any vote tonight.

By the way, I've gotten to know Gilles, as everyone knows, and I can tell you a few things. First, it's not true that he stays away from this event because he lacks a sense of humour, he just believes that comedy is an exclusively provincial jurisdiction. Truthfully, Duceppe continues to maintain the problem is that there is nothing funny about Canadian politics. I say, obviously, he doesn't understand federalism.

Actually, the truth is that we all get along quite well, including the Prime Minister and me and in fact I asked Paul for advice on this speech tonight and he said to me, sincerely, he said 'Stephen, don't try to be funny, or witty, or charming - just be yourself'.

Speaking of Liberals, I have to remind you, I have been to a lot of comedy clubs in my life, and you're usually told it's a tradition that you're supposed to tip the wait staff so let me say this - the former Chretien cabinet is working hard tonight, please tip them generously.

Anyway, I'm suppose to tell some jokes - I heard one on the way up the elevator - some guy said to me "It was so cold in Ottawa that only yesterday I saw a Liberal with his hands in his own pockets." Gee, I wish I'd heard that one before the election. Actually, I did hear a lot of funny things during the election but they were mostly from my caucus. Which reminds me Ralph Klein was here earlier but he had to leave to get to a meeting at the casino.

I did get a lot of advice during the election. Brian kept calling, and calling, and calling. He said "Stay humble, don't let the adulation go to you head, and remember your friends." And that was just Brian Pallister.

Belinda gave me good advice too but frankly I thought the beige pant suit made my butt look big.

I got some negative advice as well. As you know, Joe Clark told me, he said that I just didn't reflect Canadian values. I call to try to re-assure him but he was busy moving to Washington.
But no, it was strange, it was strange to fight a campaign to see Joe Clark rooting for the Liberals but then with Jean Chretien rooting for us it kind of all balanced out.

I admit I made some campaign mistakes. I still believe was right to throw out the opening pitch at the Blue Jay's game but I was wrong to believe the 49,000 empty seats were Conservative supporters.
Some people thought I was unclear in my position on gay marriage. So, in future I'll set the record straight.
I also want to assure Carol Taylor and others tonight - state for the record that my caucus strongly supports culture - Agriculture.

I know some of you think here tonight that I am bitter of some of the campaign media coverage. But I don't think it's fair to describe my relationship with the media as stand-offish. I prefer the term walk-pastish, or better yet, drive-by-with-car-and-splash-with-puddlish.

In spite of what you may believe, I respect and support the press and it's not just lip service. I support you financially as well. Just last week I shelled out 12 bucks to see Paparazzi. As you know it's the new movie about the aggressive reporter who gets killed by the celebrity he's harassing. I wrote in our Conservative newsletter that it's the feel good hit of the year.

And no, no, I'm not bitter about what's happened with Campbell Morrison, and Drew Fagan, and Susan Murray. Actually, I think it's them that should be bitter about the Liberals. It is totally unfair to make a person go through a job interview that lasts 35 days.

Anyway, that's enough about the election. I don't want to beat a dead horse. I couldn't even beat Paul Martin, so how am I going to beat a dead horse?

So the election's over and we're in this minority parliament and I'm in this coalition with a socialist and a separatist. I call them Jack and Gilles. I've gone up the hill with Jack and Gilles to fetch a pail of waffles.

This coalition should not be a shock. Remember it was Preston Manning who said "You must be a coalition builder" - that's what he's said - I'm sure he's proud but no I didn't bother to consult him either, I'm just sure that's his position.

Anyway, this ménage a trois in the opposition puts a lot of pressure on me. I have to be as funny as Gilles Duceppe and as serious as Jack Layton. Things are pretty mixed up in the parliament these days. The Liberals think they have a majority, the NDP thinks they're Liberals, the Bloc says they want to make the federal government work and we're going up in the polls - in Belgium.

(More jokes, impersonations of Mulroney, Manning, Clark, McCallum - giving minority parliament advice. The McCallum one is really good.)

John is here, he's a fellow economist, actually has a lot better credentials that I do.
At a meeting recently, someone tested me on my economic knowledge. He asked me if I knew the definition of heteroscadasity. I said 'Heteroscadasity, yes I remember but in the Conservative party we now call that the traditional definition of scadasity.'

Let me just close by announcing one last policy announcement.

After the next election, when I am Prime Minister, I intend to require warning labels for political parties. For example, for the Liberals it would say 'Warning: Contents may shift after voting.' For the Bloc party, the label would read 'Warning: Not to be confused with the fun type of block party.' For the NDP it would read 'Warning: After voting, do not attempt to operate a business'. The Green Party 'Warning: No tress were harmed in the making of our platform.' And, of course, last but not least, for the Conservative Party it would read: 'Warning: May contain nuts.'

Thanks very much, hope you had fun.

Just can't get good service anymore... 
This story I saw linked from NealeNews about a parapelegic woman who was left on an Air Canada plane until cleaning crews found her reminded me of an incident on a Via train a couple of years ago - my situation doesn't compare to hers but it is of the same vein.

I was going from Ottawa to Kitchener - scheduled to arrive in the evening. I had fallen asleep somewhere after Guelph and woke up to find the train completely empty and stopped.

I looked out the windows and only saw bushes. My bags were still at the front and the door was open. I grabbed my bags and jumped out of the train - it was a fairly large drop and anyone elderly would have had a very tough time of it.

I could see a street a little off in the distance behind the train so I started walking to it - the station was no where in sight, it was dark, and I wasn't sure what place I was in. The train started backing up with me.

When I got to the street I didn't recognize the name but saw a busier street a couple of blocks away and a road crew working. I went to the road and saw it was Victoria Ave and asked the crew which way Weber was - the Station is on the corner of Weber and Victoria. It took me about 20 minutes to get back to the station from there where my brother, not even realizing the train had come and gone since he was a little late, was waiting.

I ended up getting a free one-way trip from Via and an apology but it certainly made we wonder whether I would advise anyone elderly to use the train - a shame as it's one of the nicer/easier ways for them to travel.

I actually was a little more annoyed with the other passengers (might have been a dozen or so) who surely must have seen me sleeping and didn't let anyone from the crew know I was there. The woman on the Air Canada plane also didn't receive any help from other passengers though they might not have realized she needed assistance.

November 2nd 
Many people will come to realize the importance of this day.

The responsibility of those people participating goes beyond their own circumstances as their decision will affect people from all across the planet.

The polls show that we Canadians are greatly favouring one side of this battle. Come November 2nd, perhaps the individuals making the decisions will recognize that our opinion should matter since average Canadians ARE directly affected. It is my sincere hope that they will take our thoughts into consideration.

Yes, I'm talking about the meeting between the NHLPA executive and the player reps. This is the chance for the everyday player to tell his representative what he wants. Do they want the PA executive to continue their hardline stance or will they advise Goodenow to negotiate down from their current position?

The script is being written... 
I posted this comment on the E-Group last week:
Gomery inquiry: Mr. Kinsella, please tell us of your involvement with the sponsorship program and specifically of your relationship with Mr. Guite.

Warren: I don't know much about sponsorship but I do know a lot about a company called Earnscliffe!

Gomery inquiry: Mr. Kinsella, please address the issue at hand.

Warren: Consider your ass sued Mr. Ogilvy-Renault.

Gomery inquiry: Pardon.

Warren: Christ I hate Ottawa. We were at war with the separatists! Don't you get it!

Gomery inquiry: Did you order the code red!

Warren: You're goddamn right I did!!

I just saw Shamrocks! post that will probably better reflect reality:
General Klapp: Son, we live in a country that needs unity. And that unity has to be guarded by the government with money. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Gumerie? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom.
We use words like patronage, bullying, smearing...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very unity I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I'd prefer you just said thank you and went on your way.

But if you have forgotten where Warren got the nerve to use national unity as an excuse....

"I will not apologize to any Canadian," Chretien said. "With the circumstances that we were in in November of 1995, I had to make sure that the presence of Canada was to be felt in Quebec."

"Perhaps there was a few million dollars that might have been stolen in the process. It is possible," Chretien said.

"But how many millions and millions of dollars that we have saved to the country because we have re-established the stability of Canada as a united country!"

Press Gallery Dinner 
CTV has a story on the dinner with lots of video from the event. It's pretty funny.

As Martin said - it was the most important Press Gallery Dinner in the history of Canada.

I'm still lost for words, so go read these ones... 
Ian posts the latest move of the Lanark Landowner's Association.

I found the Flea's post that defends the purchase and continuing existence of submarines in our navy to be a really good read. Read Newman's article in Maclean's for a different opinion.

Ikram at Path of the Paddle takes a look at Harper's musings on Belgian federalism and his first reaction is to actually look at the possibilities - what a concept.

STOP - posts below this one will further lower your opinion of politicians 
I should say, since it happens a couple of times a day, for anyone who came here from Google looking for "canadian things" or "things that are Canadian" or "what the heck should I write in my essay on Canada", please look quickly to the links on the left. Looking at the following posts will expose you to some disturbing actions of a person who was 'a special assistant to the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, and chief of staff in a pile of federal ministries.'

Should I say something?  
For those just joining this mess, here's a link to what I wrote this week regarding Warren's e-mails that many view as an attempt to discredit Justice Gomery through his family. Here's a link to what I wrote regarding Warren Kinsella's threats to bloggers last week. I've linked them to their copies at BlogsCanada since it's so much nicer to look at.

For today's matter....

I thought I'd check out Warren's site this morning and was actually a little surprise he's addressing this bizarre set of incidents that are described in my post below. He admits that he's 'Not Warren' and explains his juvenile behaviour as such:

On one site, as an experiment, I deliberately poked fun at a few of them - and (i) I warned them I was provoking them and (ii) I predicted they could not resist responding with all sorts of venom and invective. What did they do? They responded with all kinds of insults and hate, within minutes. If I was a sociologist, I'd be writing my thesis about it, I think.
Notice the repeated use of 'they' and 'them'? Ever seen that before?

It's disappointing that he didn't link to "the woman's" (Theresa's) post on the E-Group that he criticizes - I think she gives him too much credit in light of all we know but it's at least an open discussion on the role of blogging and PR. (I wonder what Jim Elve thinks of Warren's thoughts on the future of blogging and "things that all of these bloggy folks do".)

One other thing I wanted to mention is Warren's repeated habit of using the hate mail he gets as a tool to attack all critics - he's done it numerous times. Warren's written about some racists in the past and might get some brutal mail from them (UPDATE: Warren's stats show that a white supremacist site is referring a fair number of people over to his site) but I would like to see him provide some type of evidence that any of that mail from 'haters' actually comes from a blogger - I would be surprised and disappointed if any did. Oh, but of course, his proof would come as his own interpretation with one or two words quoted - so don't bother.

I know a lot of you will think - why bother - just let it go. It's good advice.

I'm embarrassed for you 'Not Warren' 
Did you see these comments?

Not Warren:

No no no! Don't stop - keep writing about Warren! It drives traffic to him, it entertains him, and it makes you look like a sad, lonely person who is upset the took you off his "blogroll!"
By all means, keep doing it. It is enhacing your reputation enormously!
There...that's it! You're getting ready to post something right now, aren't you?
and this one....

Not Warren:
C'mon, post about him some more, Don! Not one of these little comment things - they're too hard to get to!
And, yes, please trace all emails and posts you're getting. It makes you look even more paranoid and crazy.
I was curious who sent them so I went to Haloscan and checked out the IP address of the commenter.

Do you know what I found?

Well, I'm told that the IP address is used by Warren Kinsella's company Navigator Limited. They should really implement an 'acceptable use' policy so any thick-skulled nose-breathers working for them don't harass people.

UPDATE: That guy from Navigator is really happy...

Thank you for those links! Thank you for doing that Haloscan thing! Thank you for being the most predictable blogger on God's Green Earth!
Boy, you just can't stop yourself, can you?
Ha ha ha!

Please let this be the work of a co-op student and not someone who was somewhat important in our government at one point in time - please - I need to think politicians are more intelligent that what I'm witnessing right now.

This quote won't make the 2nd edition... 
I mean, is this funny?
Prime Minister Paul Martin jumped into the fray yesterday, as soon as Harper asked him a question: "First he wants to cohabit with the Bloc, then he wants to cohabit with Mario Dumont, and now we learn that he wants to do it with the both of them in a bed and breakfast in Brussels," Martin joked.
Maybe you had to be there.

The article actually mentions about a speech Stephane Dion gave in 1996 that "pointed to Belgium as an example of a nation that respected its linguistic minorities" He said that "They give the minority language community the ability to feel secure and to make a more positive contribution to the country."

Paul Wells, founder and current president (but not the sole member) of the Stephane Dion fan club, wrote:
Here's more than you could possibly want to know about Belgian federalism, thanks to the good people at the Forum of Federations. Read it and you'll know more than Stephen Harper did last week when he launched what one Hill wag is calling Harper's trial Walloon. Stephen cheerfully admitted to us today that he's never been to Belgium. I have. It rains.
But we want to know - has Dion been there?

An 'All things Canadian....' first 
Here's my first book review:

The Little Book of Canadian Political Wisdom
by Rick Broadhead & Andy Donato
$21.95 hardcover

Rick found my site from PolSpy and e-mailed me to offer a review copy of the book. I was flattered and gladly accepted.

The book is described by Bruce Cheadle of CP as "100 quotations illustrating some of the best, but mostly the worst, of Canadian political rhetoric." I found it to be fairly evenly split between wit and twit - and all quite good. Diefenbaker said in 1971 that "The quality of debate in the House is deplorable. You watch today and count how many read from prepared texts." Well, some of these quips would have earned the Chief's respect and others, well - they make you wonder how this country keeps going. Each quote is given an award by Broadhead - can you guess what won the 'Most Embarrassing Historical Goof by a Federal Politician'?

There are the quotes you would expect to be there including Kim Campbell's infamous quote on election time policy, and Stockwell Day's geographical gaffe. What brings those expected pages to life though are the cartoons of AndyDonato. The cartoonist for the Toronto Sun provides an illustration for pretty much everyone of Rick's awards - and most times the satirical cartoon fits the timeline and context of the quote perfectly.

Some of the quotes were the laugh out loud type where I quickly wanted to show it to someone and others were ones that I hadn't heard before and actually a little illuminating...

Best Excuse for Blaming the Americans
"If you're a mayor and you have a problem, what do you do? You blame the provincial government. And when you're the provincial government and you have a problem, what do you do? You blame the federal government. And for us, we cannot blame the Queen any more, so we blame the Americans once in a while"
Prime Minister Jean Chretien in an interview with Peter Gzowski on CBC Radio, March 1, 1995

Most Embarrassing Open-Mike Gaffe by a Prime Minister
"I like to stand up to the Americans. It's popular...people like it, but you have to be very careful because they're our friends."
Prime Minister Jean Chretien at a NATO summit on July 9, 1997, during what he thought was a private conversation with the Belgian Prime Minister

And another one shows a time when the Liberals had a better method of dealing with our neighbour...

Best Attempt to Break the Ice during a Heated Dispute with the Americans
"Gentleman, we all must realize that neither side has any monopoly on sons of bitches."
Liberal Cabinet Minister C.D. Howe representing Canada at a Washington DC meeting to resolve a shipping dispute.

Of course, the book contains quotes that are either clever or brutal from all sides of the policitical spectrum and some from provincial and municipal politicians (hello Mr. Lastman) are included.

At a price that'll come close to $25 after taxes, I thought it might seem a little too expensive for it's volume but but it's one of those books that will get a lot of use whether it is kept in the bathroom (is that a good point in a review?) or to lent to friends going on a trip so that they can marvel at the memories and the ridiculousness of some of our past politicians.

So, in the end, in the All things Canadian.... rating system, The Little Book of Canadian Political Wisdom gets four stars out of five which is the best rating I've ever given!

And, um, big deal. - WK 
Read the e-mails at PolSpy.

Lots of comments from the last post and lots on the E-Group.

Here's a couple of questions that I have:

1. Do you think Warren Kinsella should/will be held accountable for his actions? Jay Currie wrote some thoughts on what the Law Society of Upper Canada might think of his actions here.

2. Do you think it was wrong/illegal for me to copy the e-mail Warren sent to me onto a post?

3. What do you think of the link Kinsella sent - that Sally Gomery is a partner in Ogilvy-Renault and Bernard Roy, the lead counsel is from Ogilvy-Renault. Warren wonders how they got the contract - do you?

Warren Kinsella and the Gomery Inquiry 
Warren Kinsella's post today:

October 18, 2004 - For those of you who are asking, the two conservative bloggers who (a) wrote that I was personally responsible for the death of Lieut. Chris Saunders, or (b) that my parents were "retarded" have removed the relevant posts and - in at least the latter case - expressed genuine, heartfelt regret. No legal action therefore necessary.
By way of conclusion, my view remains that the Internet is a cool new medium and all that - but it is a medium to which the law applies. If you or I libel someone, both of us had better be prepared to back up our allegations. Just because a blogger is uploading to an obscure web site in the comfort and safety of his/her darkened home office does not relieve him/her of the obligation to resist, say, falsely accusing someone of murder, or grossly defaming an innocent third party.
If that all makes me a censor, and someone who believes that there are bona fide limits to public discourse, I'll gladly take that rap. There are indeed limits, even out in the blogosphere.
He knows that his audience is much, much larger than the bloggers at issue or the conversations that have taken place since his threats. He can misrepresent those bloggers and very few people will know.

He can write sanctimoniously about the blogosphere all he wants but those that are willing to do a little bit of reading on the issues and have actually read others blogs know how much water his statements hold.

I have something else to write about.

In my original post on the threats, I wrote the following regarding Adscam since I thought, at the time, that was related to the reason he was threatening those bloggers....

Now, with the judicial inquiry underway to bring some light on the matter - and to determine whether or not 'all took place in the private sector' - Warren seems to take delight in undermining both Gomery and the inquiry. He wrote the following with respect to a contract Gomery gave to a forensic auditor:
September 27, 2004 - This morning, I read the Globe and Mail, and I found this story.
I'm certain there must be an explanation for this, bit I can't imagine what it would be.
There is also the strange coincidence that a number of people on his blogroll (on his front page) have posted about the fact that Gomery's daughter is a partner the same very large law firm as the lead counsel in the inquiry. Could the 'cult of Warren' be at work?

Now, I had thought this was pretty important but it didn't get mentioned again. Perhaps I was being a little subtle.

I used to be on Warren's blogroll on his front page - he removed me on Friday.

We had the following e-mails several weeks ago regarding the link I mentioned:

>From: "Warren Kinsella"
>To: "Don at talkcanada"
>Subject: RE: Hey dude - confidential
>Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2004 11:08:40 -0400
>She is indeed.
>Wonder how Ogilvy's got that sole-source, multi-million dollar assignment as commission counsel?
>What a coincidence.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Don at talkcanada [mailto:talkcanada@hotmail.com]
>Sent: Thursday, October 07, 2004 10:56 AM
>To: Warren Kinsella
>Subject: RE: Hey dude - confidential
>Is she John's daughter?
> >From: "Warren Kinsella"
> >To:
> >Subject: Hey dude - confidential
> >Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2004 09:59:39 -0400
> >
> >Was going to put this up on my site, and then thought it might be something
> >we could have fun with in the blogosphere. Just don't source me. Over to
> >you:
> >* This [LINK: http://www.ogilvyrenault.com/en/biographies/bio.jsp?id=4905
> >] is an interesting coincidence. When you consider this [LINK:
> >http://radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/Politique/nouvelles/200409/07/001-commission-gomery.shtml
> > ].
> >
> >
> >Warren Kinsella, LL.B
> >(omitted)
> >(omitted)
> >(omitted)
> >(omitted)
> >(omitted)
> >(omitted)
> >(omitted)
> >(omitted)

My final reply, which he didn't reply to, said basically that I didn't think it was relevant and I wouldn't be blogging anything about it.

Another thing that I found a little coincidental - though it may have been - was that Warren added this to his October 7th musing just hours (or less) after I sent my final reply to him - I'm an anonymous blogger btw:

Oh, and I have received a very nice letter from one of the many lawyers helping out the Gomery Commission, indicating I might get asked to pop by “in the near future.” Personally, I can't wait. I don't know anything about sponsorship, but I sure know a lot about a particular company!

(And get ready for a lot of anti-Warren anonymous source stuff in the days leading up to my Ottawa visit...it's how they operate, you know.)
About his e-mail.

It looks like the mail was sent to many people on a BCC as there was no name in the 'To:' field and as I mentioned, it did turn up on several blogger's sites.
Also, the information looks like it was sent to Warren by someone else - the syntax is unusual and the writing does flow from the start to where the links are.

But most important, the substance is very disturbing.

Discreditting Gomery discredits his findings.
Some Liberals would rather subvert the judicial inquiry than 'find the truth'. They wouldn't mind the inquiry to be known as a witch hunt - they wouldn't mind every story to be written about Gomery and the inquiry to include the phrase "meanwhile, questions have been raised about Justice Gomery's actions and potential conflicts of interest, including sole sourcing of contracts to a law firm with connections to his own family".
It is reasonable to consider that the best way to deflect criticism of Chretien/Martin/Liberals is to play on people's apathy - "they are all crooked - even the judges"

Maybe I'm being too harsh on Warren - he just wanted to "have fun" in the blogosphere.
Sure, his e-mail requested confidentiality. I didn't say I would give it to him.

If writing all of this makes me an untrustworthy person, and someone who believes that there are bona fide limits to how politicians and their attack dogs act, I'll gladly take that rap. There are indeed limits, even out in the blogosphere.

And besides, I'm an anonymous blogger - it's how I operate.

Greatest Canadian 

CBC's 'The Greatest Canadian' has started and listed the top ten up for consideration. Here's my preliminary ranking of them...

Terry Fox
Wayne Gretzky
Sir John A. Macdonald
Lester B. Pearson
Pierre Elliott Trudeau
Tommy Douglas
Alexander Graham Bell
David Suzuki
Frederick Banting
Don Cherry

I put the four politicians, especially Pearson and Trudeau, below Fox and Gretzky because their achievements and legacy will not be viewed by all Canadians as 'great'. How can we choose a 'Greatest Canadian' that many, many Canadians dislike, or in Trudeau's case specifically, despise.

Maybe it's lame that I choose an apolitical young man - someone that didn't live long enough to create critics. Isn't Canada's history full of division already? Will some complain that there is only on Quebecer in the top ten?

I choose a Canadian that gave his life to his cause. He touched every Canadian and he fought and experienced half of the massive geography that binds us and keeps us apart.

From the Terry Fox website - The Marathon of Hope story:

His Marathon of Hope had started as an improbable dream – two friends, one to drive the van, one to run, a ribbon of highway, and the sturdy belief that they could perform a miracle.
He ran through ice storms and summer heat, against bitter winds of such velocity he couldn't move, through fishing villages and Canada's biggest cities. Though he shunned the notion himself, people were calling him a hero. He still saw himself as simple little Terry Fox, from Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, average in everything but determination.
But here, 18 miles from Thunder Bay, at the head of Lake Superior, the coughing had
stopped, but the dull, blunt pain had not. Neither running nor resting could make it go away.
He saw the people lined up the hill ahead of him. The Ontario Provincial Police cruiser was behind him, red lights flashing in the drizzle, and cheers still surrounded him: "You can make it all the way!"
Terry could not ignore what people said to him. He listened. "I started to think about those comments. I thought this might be my last mile."
He ran until there were no more people, and then he climbed wearily into the van and asked his friend and driver Doug Alward to drive him to a hospital.
The night before his operation, his high school basketball coach, Terri Fleming, brought him a running magazine which featured an article about an amputee, Dick Traum, who had run in the New York City Marathon. And though his future was never more precarious, Terry dreamed that night about running across Canada.
"I'm competitive," Terry said. "I'm a dreamer. I like challenges. I don't give up. When I decided to do it, I knew I was going to go all out. There was no in-between."
The 16 months of follow-up treatment marked Terry irreversibly. He saw suffering as he'd never seen it before. He heard doctors telling youngsters in the nearby beds that they had a 15 per cent chance of living. He heard screams of pain. He saw strong, young bodies wasted by disease. He never forgot what he'd seen and when he left the cancer clinic for the last time, he left with a burden of responsibility. He was among the lucky one-third of patients who survived.
"I could not leave knowing these faces and feelings would still exist even though I would be set free from mine," he wrote in a letter asking for sponsorship for his run. "Somewhere, the hurting must stop... and I was determined to take myself to the limit for those causes."
It was Rick Hansen who invited Terry to get back into sports and join a wheelchair basketball team. (Rick and Terry were of the same mold; later Rick, a paraplegic, would push his wheelchair around the world, and he never failed to give credit to Terry, the friend who inspired him.)
Terry tackled this new challenge with his usual gusto. He made himself strong pushing his wheelchair along the sea wall at Stanley Park in Vancouver. Or he'd find steep mountains and push himself up unruly logging roads. He pushed himself until his hands bled.
Two years after his operation, Terry started a running programme.
The first half miles he ran in the dark, so no one could see him. But one of his coaches from junior high, Bob McGill, who had since overcome cancer himself, heard the steady one-two thump of Terry's good leg and the thud of his artificial leg, long before he could see his wobbly frame in the darkness.
Terry trained for 15 months, running 3,159 miles, running until his stump was raw and bleeding, running every day for 101 days, until he could run 23 miles a day. He took one day off at Christmas, only because his mother asked him.
Once, just before Christmas, when he had run only a half mile, the bottom half of his artificial leg snapped in two pieces, and Terry crashed to the pavement. He picked up the two parts, tucked them under his arm, stuck out his thumb and hitch-hiked home. There, he clamped the two parts together and ran another five miles.
When Terry told his mother Betty, he intended to run across Canada, in her no-nonsense way she told him he was crazy. He said he was going to run no matter what she thought.
Then Betty told her husband Rolly, and he, knowing his son so well, simply said, "When?"

In the quotes section of the website, there are two quotes that I especially admire - what a fighting spirit:

"Some people can’t figure out what I’m doing. It’s not a walk-hop, it’s not a trot, it’s running, or as close as I can get to running, and it’s harder than doing it on two legs. It makes me mad when people call this a walk. If I was walking it wouldn’t be anything."

"I’m running on one leg. It may not look like I’m running fast, but I’m going as hard as I can. It bothers me, people coming up beside me. I want to make those guys work. I can’t stand making it easy for them. I’m really competitive. When they run with me, they’re usually running for only two or three miles; for me it might be my twenty-sixth mile."

And in the timeline section, where they include some of Terry's thoughts along the way, it includes the following:

Day 15: 542 km South Brook Junction, NF
"Today we got up at 4:00 am. As usual, it was tough. If I died, I would die happy because I was doing what I wanted to do. How many people could say that? I went out and did fifteen push-ups in the road and took off. I want to set an example that will never be forgotten."

May 15: 1,278 km Sheet Harbour, NS
After a reception where Terry ran with some school children, he wrote: "When I ran with the kids I really burned it just to show them how fast I could go. They were tired and puffing. All right!"

May 29: 1,865 km Highway 2, west of Moncton, NB
"We learned that Saint John would have nothing organized for us. I try so hard and then get let down. I am going to run right down this city's main street. Doug is going to follow behind and honk. We will be rebels, we will stir up noise. People will know Terry Fox ran out of his way to Saint John for a reason!'

Millwood, ON
Terry collapsed in the van from exhaustion - his face brilliant, his breath laboured, his eyes closed as if blocking out the light and the pain with a wrinkled $100 bill, damp from perspiration, clasped tightly in his hands.

July 11: 3,523 km Toronto, ON
Terry meets his hockey idol Darryl Sittler who gave Terry his 1980 NHL all-star team sweater. Darryl said, "I've been around athletes a long time and I've never seen any with his courage and stamina." One on-looker commented, "He makes you believe in the human race again."

August 12: 4,675 km Sault Ste Marie, ON
When a Sault Ste. Marie radio station broadcast that a spring had snapped in Terry's artificial limb, a welder jumped in his car to make a road call. In 90 minutes, the spring was repaired and Terry was on the road again.

Sept 1: 5,373 km Thunder Bay, ON
"People were still lining the road saying to me, "Keep going, don't give up, you can do it, you can make it, we're all behind you." Well, you don't hear that and have it go in one ear and out the other, for me anyway… There was a camera crew waiting at the three-quarter mile point to film me. I don't think they even realized that they filmed my last mile… people were still saying, 'You can make it all the way, Terry'. I started to think about those comments in that mile, too. Yeah, I thought, this might be my last one."

Sure, make fun of the mouth breathers... 
I don't think it is particularly funny for Warren and his friend Chris H to make fun of mouth breathers - consider this heartfelt story:
I thought today would be a fantastic time for me to divulge a personal and slightly embarrassing detail about myself: I breathe through my mouth. And I'm in good company apparently. I recently saw a documentary which suggested that some of our inbred Royal Family, most notably Princess Ann, are mouth breathers. In my case, I blame the frequent swimming from an early age and not the inbreeding.
Mouth breathing comes with its share of problems of course. Not least the fact that one's mouth has none of the air-filtering properties of one's nose. Other unpleasant side-effects include permanently carrying the expression of a slack-jawed idiot and waking up in the middle of the night with a tongue as dry as Ghandi's flip-flop. Worst of all, and a connection I only made when I saw the aforementioned documentary on the breathing techniques of the Royals, is the fact that the "real estate" of the mouth breather's jaw diminishes over time through the lack of exercise, leaving less room for teeth. I'm not quite at the no-lower-jaw Princess Ann stage, more like John Cusak, but I am considerably younger than both.
So the writing is on the wall. At 27 years of age I must finally learn to breathe through my nose. It's not that easy either, changing the way you do something you've done instinctively all your life. There are products and special techniques out there to help the habitual mouth breather. But at 75 bucks for the Nose Breathe Mouthpiece I've opted to try the free of charge Trained Tongue Technique.
How about some words of encouragement for this poor, afflicted mouth breather?

Maybe Glenda's got something here - perhaps this lawsuit action is all a little bit of head ramming...
There's a reason we castrate livestock down here on the farm. They paw and prance, bawl and beller, and peck each others feathers out if we don't.

The constitutional rights of morons 
Warren K:
Another mouth-breather wrote about all of this outrageous, Stalinist suppression of the constitutional rights of morons, and he decided to slander my parents (my parents!) in a way that was cruel and cowardly and sick. I demanded that be taken down, too. He wouldn't, and now he is about to learn all about litigation, and all about how focused I can truly be.
First off - I thought this statement by Peter M. Jaworski on the Shotgun was pretty funny:
What sort of insult is "mouth-breather" anyway? Since when did nose-breathing become the urbane, bourgeois, and genteel thing to do? Or is he just pointing out the obvious? Let's see if this works: Kinsella, the leg-walker. Or how about: Warren, types-with-fingers, Kinsella. I don't know...
Secondly, if you've read Ian's posts you'll know what I'm talking about, I can't believe Warren's claiming Ian slandered his parents - unless there is something we don't know.
And "the constitutional rights of morons"?

Strange tactics.

And Warren's claim regarding hate mail:
Anyway. All of this has turned into quite the little controversy in the blogosphere. I've been getting tons of hate mail for the past 24 hours, mostly of the YOUR A PEECE OF SKUM YOU COMUNIST BASTURD variety from courageous types who seem to be forgetting about using their real name. My favourite one so far called me a "race mixer" (kind of suggests what circles my detractors can travel in, I think).

Somehow I think this is slightly exaggerated - and I like how he infers it's from bloggers - which I highly doubt. But he'll get more public sympathy - those rightwing bloggers - what a bunch of mouth-breathers.

Oh, and I've now been removed from Warren's blogroll on his frontpage.

I forgot to mention 
Ian at Ianism.com was the third blogger to get "the letter" from Warren. His situation is the strangest.

And if you are one of my readers - all the really good comments are over at the E-Group.

We are all lawyers 
No, only in our nightmares.

But, check out Jerry Aldini and Alan at Gen X at 40 for some great reads on the legal issues surrounding Warren Kinsella's actions.

Also, Jay Currie's has been an interesting site to watch today.

Sean from PolSpy says:
You could be number four, Jay. I'll probably be number five when I find a
spare moment this evening

Oh, I can't forget to draw your attention to The Tiger in Winter who has some perspective:
This is not something you sue over. This is something over which you say, those people have no decency -- they can't let a dead sailor rest in peace, they have to politicize even the death of a naval officer. And you clean up in sympathy. And Damian may or may not have chosen to withdraw his remarks -- he would have come off rather badly if he did not. End of story.
No, not Mr. Kinsella. He threatens lawsuits left and right.
How long will this drama last - I would think it'll be up to Warren.

Actually, maybe Warren had a point 
I had assumed, perhaps because of my own fixation on the sponsorship scandal, that those bloggers had made claims of Warren's involvement.

It appears that at least one of the bloggers had been posting about the death of Lt. Saunders:
It was about military spending. Kinsella had posted about the very sad death of Lt. Saunders, and Damian couldn't take the hypocrisy of W.K. being all mawkish about that when he had been the hatchet-man for a government that had cut our army, navy, and air force down to the bone. Said that people like him were part of the problem.
So Kinsella threatened to sue. (E-Group comment)

I think Damian was wrong to claim that Warren was being hypocritical with his expressions. There is much to blame but I can't for the life of me see how Warren should be targetted - and I think we should focus that blame on policy, not persons.

But - while Warren may have been right to defend himself, his method seems bizarre. A threat to sue over those types of statements? A better method would have been to post some outrageous statements on his blog and make some clever generalization about the right / conservative party supporters.

Many bloggers would have taken up Warren's defense.

I still think he's a strange beast.

Who is Warren Kinsella and why is he threatening people? 
Who is he?
Warren is counsel and principal with a Toronto firm. Before that, he was a special assistant to the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, and chief of staff in a pile of federal ministries. (His site)

Why is he threatening people?
I don't know for sure why but here are the people he threatened....

Patrick from Shamrocks!:

I am done beefing with Warren Kinsella. I have taken down the posting where I 'respond' to his legal notice. He said something I didn't like and it started from there and now it is taking on a life of its own on other sites.
But I'm done.
From now on, I'll keep his name out of my mouth and he can keep it the same.

Damian from Babbling Brooks:

Upon threat of legal action from the wise, courageous, and apparently unchallengeable Warren Kinsella, I have pulled my previous post.
I'm not a lawyer, like Warren Kinsella, LL.B. I don't know if what I wrote meets the legal definition of defamation, and I can't afford to find out, so I've deleted the post.
But you know what? My hundred readers or so don't need my incoherent babblings to tell them what sort of a person Kinsella is. His actions speak far louder than my words.
Consider me bullied, Warren. For now.

Warren is definitely a strange beast.

He openly criticizes Liberals like Carolyn Parrish....

August 26, 2004 - Driving through Massachusetts, and a thought just occurred to
me. You could call it The Carolyn Parrish Truism.
You are what you bleat.

August 25, 2004 - No, actually, it's Carolyn Parrish who is the idiot.
Kick her out of the
Liberal caucus NOW.

... yet he himself will say “Welcome to George Bush’s America. Please check your senses at the door as you enter" and wears a George Bush International Terrorist T-Shirt. He was a special assistant to our PM and he's wearing that T-Shirt?

He is a proud defender of his friends and of his time in Ottawa. He wrote this regarding Adscam; "The enriching all took place in the private sector - for which the guilty parties will pay, and deservedly so."

The threats of legal action against the bloggers appears to be related to the sponsorship scandal and Warren's determination not to be smeared with the big brush of scandal - according to the Tiger in Winter:
I'm not aware of the contents of the other posts that were suppressed in this way, but I did read Damian's post that drew the latest threat. It was not anything I saw as being even remotely defamatory. I've only got a year of law school, so my legal knowledge is very small, but I don't think that it would come close.
[It was a rather unfair post, though I agreed with the substance. I don't think that one should blame political spin doctors for the actions and policies of their political masters. If one is going to hold the previous government responsible for their policies, one should put the blame on Jean Chretien's doorstep.]

He is pretty sensitive on the matter - see his response to Norman Spector's Globe article which suggested that Warren was behind the political directive to put Guite in charge of the sponsorship program:
Christ, I despise Ottawa.

Now, with the judicial inquiry underway to bring some light on the matter - and to determine whether or not 'all took place in the private sector' - Warren seems to take delight in undermining both Gomery and the inquiry. He wrote the following with respect to a contract Gomery gave to a forensic auditor:

September 27, 2004 - This morning, I read the Globe and Mail, and I found this story.

I'm certain there must be an explanation for this, bit I can't imagine what it would be.

There is also the strange coincidence that a number of people on his blogroll (on his front page) have posted about the fact that Gomery's daughter is a partner the same very large law firm as the lead counsel in the inquiry. Could the 'cult of Warren' be at work?

Paul Wells wrote a column about Warren in 2001 called 'Debunking the Cult of Warren' - some exerpts:
Mr. Kinsella is a lawyer just past his 40th birthday with a nice view ofToronto from his office in a shiny Bay Street tower. He used to write speeches for Jean Chretien when Mr. Chretien was doing a bad job as Opposition leader, although not as bad as the job can be done. He has stayed in touch with Mr. Chretien since the boss found better work. He was present in the rapid-response "war rooms" during the Liberals' 1993 and 2000 campaigns. In 1997 he was absent, busy losing as a Liberal candidate in British Columbia.
Fun facts: Mr. Kinsella was not "the architect for the Grit victory." He was not "the master" of the war room. In private moments, he has even been known to admit as much.
Mr. Kinsella? He was designated a "floater," which means he had no specific job at all. He was there because of Jean Chretien's personal affection for him. He chipped in, as everyone did, at idea-generating bull sessions. He went on TV because the other Liberals, terrified of Mr. Rae's gag order, wouldn't.
And what do you remember about his TV appearances? Precisely: the Barney the Dinosaur toy he hauled out of a gym bag to mock Mr. Day's beliefs about creationism. Except the Barney analogy wasn't his. It came from Sophie Galarneau, yet another near-anonymous Grit. Mr. Kinsella only acted it out.
Reporters are addicted to grade inflation: Anyone reckless enough to talk to us becomes the most important guy in sight, because the fact he talks to us makes us feel important.
Which is how a floater becomes king and a nation becomes even a little more ill-informed than it already was.

Now, I'm not writing this to bad mouth Warren or anything like that - I read his blog daily and comment about him frequently and if he writes me and asks me to remove this post I probably would. Those bloggers that wrote things about Warren may have crossed a line but it is hard to tell as we can't see what they wrote. They didn't seem able/willing to defend themselves.

I suppose I'm writing this because I agree with what he wrote on October 6th - "I'm sucker for little guys who aren't easily bullied." Maybe he respects that, maybe he doesn't.

See that? It's the tip of the iceberg. 
Warren Kinsella on February 11, 2004:
But nowhere - nowhere - have I seen a scintilla of proof that anyone within government, officials or otherwise, enriched themselves. Zero, zippo, zilch. The enriching all took place in the private sector - for which the guilty parties will pay, and deservedly so.

Gomery inquiry yesterday:
Ms. Tremblay said she once sent 300 golf balls with the signature of Mr. Chrétien printed on them at a total cost of $1,200. It remains unclear what they were used for, but sources told The Globe and Mail that they received golf balls with the former prime minister's signature on them at his annual Liberal fundraising golf tournament.
Ms. Tremblay added that Mr. Guité once told her to set aside a $675 yellow jacket with a picture of the Bluenose on the back for Mr. Chrétien.
Ms. Tremblay's testimony also revealed some of the free-spending atmosphere that reigned in the small branch of the civil service that managed the sponsorship program.
As new money was pouring in during the mid-1990s, she wrote a note to one of her colleagues stating that the program's budget was growing at a wild pace.
“The sky's the limit!” Ms. Tremblay wrote. “Well, we're now floating in orbit.”

Remember the words of Mike Duffy:
This is very serious stuff. The Royal commission will bring out the here-say because that's a lower standard of proof than you need for criminal charges but the police are on this in a very big way.
Trust me, store clerks who saw the little person with the visa card buying it for the wife of famous people and those who went on trips simply to pick up gifts on behalf of senior politicians and put them on the ad agency card and get back on the plane to bring them back home where they were given as a gift to these senior politicians - this will all come out. It may take a while but it will all come out and it's going to blow this town wide open.

A little off topic but it came to mind....
Ah, the high rolling days of the mid 1990's - remember those days. I thought Harper did a great job last spring in putting this waste in perspective:
In his 1995 budget speech, the current Prime Minister said the following, and I am going to quote at length:
The government has just introduced a new and much tighter system to manage its spending.... For the first time, departments will have to prepare business plans for three years forward.... That transparency and that accountability will mark a major departure from the past.... Individual ministers are being asked to alter their funding approach accordingly. They will be held accountable for their decisions
and those decisions will be reviewed annually.

Reviewed annually, one can only assume, by the Minister of Finance, or at least by Treasury Board, of which the Minister of Finance was the vice-chair.
The year 1995 was significant because that was the year the Liberal government nearly lost the country. That was also the year in which the Liberal government decided to create the sponsorship program. Let me repeat that. The year that the Liberals created the sponsorship program was also the year in which the current Prime Minister put in place “a new and much tighter system to manage its spending”.
Most Canadians remember 1995 as the year in which the government cut billions of dollars from the health care system. Let me repeat and emphasize that as well. The year that the Liberals created the sponsorship program was also the year in which the current Prime Minister massively cut spending on health care.
The 1995 budget put forward four priorities. The very first priority was “the reform of government programs and procedures, to eliminate waste and abuse and ensure value” for the taxpayer's dollar. That promise was repeated in his 1996 budget speech:
If there is one area where we must never let up, it is the effort to root out waste and inefficiency.
In his 1998 budget speech he said, “The battle to root out waste and inefficiency can never end”. Apparently it can never begin either

The subtext of all we will hear from the Liberal pundits - the Chretien/Martin battle is not over - both will fight for their "legacy" - and it has all been done, or is being done, at our expense.

Pretty funny 

"Welcome back to the studio. As amazing at it seems, the NHL season will open tonight on seven fronts, after an agreement was hammered out in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.
"Amazing developments here in Tampa, where a disgruntled former player has apparently made off with the Stanley Cup.
"Local police are saying that Cory Stillman, a Lightning left-winger last season who finished second on the team in scoring, grabbed the silver mug from its place of honor and was last seen racing through the bowels of the arena screaming, ‘I’m taking it back to Canada, where it belongs.’ As for motive, evidently Stillman still holds a grudge from the summer, when an arbitrator awarded him a significant raise, but Tampa Bay brass opted to walk away from the deal, leaving Stillman unemployed."
"How were the authorities able to determine it was Stillman?"
"Well, he was still wearing his No. 61 Lightning jersey. And then there was the enormous diamond Stanley Cup ring situated on his finger."
"Good work on that report. It’s four years after the 2000 elections, but it looks like those left-wingers are still causing problems in Florida.
"Speaking of Republicans, with the election less than a month away, President George W. Bush is seeking to grab that elusive hockey moms vote by making an appearance at the Shark Tank later tonight when San Jose plays host to the Vancouver Canucks. Let’s go to San Jose for an update."
"According to Republican party sources, President Bush’s trip to San Jose isn’t merely about stumping for votes. He’s requested an audience with Vancouver’s Todd Bertuzzi, like Bush a powerful right-wing presence.
"After witnessing footage of Bertuzzi’s attack on Colorado Avalanche center Steve Moore last season, Bush is seeking Bertuzzi’s help in putting a stop to the antics of Michael Moore. So far, there’s been no comment from the Bertuzzi camp. Back to you."
"Todd Bertuzzi, now there’s a weapon of mass destruction.
"We’ve got an update from Ottawa, where the Montreal Canadiens and Senators are six minutes into the first period and Ottawa goalie Dominik Hasek has yet to pull his groin. We’ll keep you posted as this story develops.

NHLPA PR - How to destroy your position 
Ted Saskin's talk with TSN was full of fantastic quotes:
"we think a much more sensible approach is the approach baseball adopted where revenue sharing which is most needed in hockey, becomes a more paramount concern and how you structure that."

Baseball - the league most fans would use a model of what not to do.
"The economics in Edmonton are frankly excellent."
An Oiler fan on the TSN site responds "Where's Weight, Guerin, Cujo, Marchant, Carter, Niniimaa, among many others. I lived for 12 years in Edmonton and now I'm the biggest Oiler fan in Calgary - this idiot can't tell me my team has a chance when everytime they make the playoffs they play someone with 3x their payroll."
"Well I mean stats can be manipulated in any given way, and I can come up with a whole bunch of stats like I just did and say one hundred percent of the situations you have twelve teams that have competed for those four final spots, you can't have a better record than that in any sport I think what you have to do at the end of the day, is step back and say, do teams in hockey have a reasonable chance of competing to get into the playoffs, and then once in the playoffs, of competing for the Stanley Cup. And I think we have great competitive balance."
His stat is that the last 12 conference finals (4 per year over last three years) had 12 different teams. True, but look at the bigger picture. The last 40 conference finals (last 10 years) had only 21 different teams.
And, beyond stats, because there isn't a balance of skill, you create a situation where teams have to create defensive systems and the officials have to let it go in order for that competitive balance to exist. Baseball teams can't develop those rule bending systems but hockey can so we get a degraded product to watch.

I miss my NHL. The Sens were supposed to play the Habs tomorrow and then the Leafs on Saturday.

And he's our PM. Sigh. 
Martin in an interview in Russia:

He lamented the fact that the ongoing lockout in the National Hockey League has nixed what would have been the NHL season opener on Wednesday.
Radio host Alexei Venediktov said Russians are concerned for local players affected by the labour dispute. He had hoped the issue might come up during Martin's three-hour meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.
``Disappointed as you may be, that is nothing compared to my disappointment and (that) of Canadians at the situation in the NHL,'' Martin said. ``I would very much hope that the parties would sit down and begin negotiations.''
``I don't think there's a sport in the world that's as exciting as a major-league hockey game. And I have to say that the Russians have brought an immense amount to the game.''

First off - Martin and Putin discussing the lockout?

More importantly - MAJOR-LEAGUE hockey game! Who calls it a major-league hockey game? We already knew that hockey isn't his favourite sport but couldn't he at least know the everyday terminology of our national pastime.
Paul: Hey, watching the major league hockey game tonight?
Any other Canadian: It's a NHL game and yes, if I can.

TSN - your lockout leader 
Tonight on TSN:
On the eve of what was supposed to be the beginning of the NHL regular season, TSN puts lead NHL lockout negotiators Bill Daly and Ted Saskin on The Hot Seat - a one-hour special airing Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. ET. An encore presentation will also air at 11:30 p.m. ET.
Daly, the NHL Executive VP & Chief Legal Officer, and Saskin, the NHLPA Senior Director, will be put on the hot seat for 20 minutes each, facing tough, pointed questions from TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, TSN play-by-play voice Gord Miller and Toronto Star columnist Damien Cox. The three will press Daly and Saskin until they get the answers that hockey fans want - and deserve - to hear.
I would expect that Daly and Saskin will be pressured more than Mansbridge pressured Goodenow and Bettman. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

Race to the cliff 
Bob McKenzie said both the NHLPA and the NHL pretty much hated the TSN Solution - so he writes this in his latest column:
So, the lockout will drag on and now that we at TSN have come to realize a well-researched, analytical approach to the labour strife doesn't work, we'll take a different tack to explain how this is all going to unfold from here on in.
Let's say the NHL is represented by commissioner Gary Bettman driving a bus.
Now here comes the NHLPA, with Executive Director Bob Goodenow driving another bus. Both buses aren't so much on a collision course as they are racing
alongside each other.
Gary is yelling out his window at Bob, "Cost Certainty!"
Bob is yelling back: "No cap!"
Now, there are 30 owners on Gary's bus. They're not saying anything. If they do, they get fined a million bucks so it's pretty quiet ride.
Now, there are 700 players on Bob's bus and they pretty much say everything Bob says. On the rare occasions when a player doesn't say what Bob says, the player doesn't get fined but the Players' Association puts out a press release to say the player's comments were taken out of context.
Now, here's the problem.
Both buses are racing towards a cliff. At some point in December or January, they're going over the cliff and that's when we lose the 2004-05 NHL season.
At this point, the only way they don't go over the cliff is if the owners on Gary's bus or the players on Bob's bus grab the wheel and hit the brakes. But both sides have gone to great pains to say there will be no insurgency, no revolts within the ranks, and that Gary and Bob are driving the buses.
Well, as any fan of the Bugs Bunny and Roadrunner hour will tell you, even in the animated world, when you go off the cliff, you know what happens next.
It won't be pretty - for Gary and his owners or Bob and his players. And the only thing I know for sure is, that when they're cleaning up the carnage and the wreckage and finding a way to get the game back on ice, at least one of the sides, maybe even both of them, will look back on the TSN solution and say, that's a deal we could have lived with.
Oh, well, at least it's not me or you on the bus, is it?
For TSN.ca, B'dee, B'dee, B'deee... That's all folks...

I hope all you hockey fans like watching crashes.

Crosbie weighs in.... 
His column in the Toronto Sun:
Edmund Burke wrote that "power gradually extirpates from the mind every humane and gentle virtue," while Shelley noted that "power, like a desolating pestilence, pollutes what e'er it touches." Put another way, leading Liberals forget what Lily Tomlin once observed: "The trouble with the rat race is that even when you win you are still a rat."
The prime minister, who was as "mad as hell" about the AdScam scandal before the election, is now mute and a stranger to the issue.
Martin's attempts to improve relations with the U.S. continue to be foiled by the likes of Carolyn Parrish, better named Carolyn Pariah, who has added to her feelings of hatred for the "damn Americans" -- also "bastards" -- by calling them "idiots" after attending the first Liberal caucus meeting, which no doubt brought the word "idiot" to her attention.
In short, since June 28, the super-human Liberals led by Martin, are governing as though they had a majority -- with the prime minister dithering while helping his colleagues diddle whomever they can.
Man, he would have been good in the House.

Well, that didn't last long. 
This opening paragraph is so sweet...
Prime Minister Paul Martin pleaded with his Liberal MPs yesterday to stick together and not talk to the media, while noting that the opposition was "very disciplined," according to sources who attended the Liberals' first caucus meeting since the opening of the first minority Parliament in 25 years.

Give it to them Walter.... 
Walter Robinson's column in the Sun - from his new website (blog here) - thanks to Glenda for the tip:
But by far the biggest winners in the skyrocketing salary sweepstakes are Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) bureaucrats. A quick scan of the annual postings mandated under the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act shows a rapid increase over the past four years of MOHLTC bureaucrats joining the $100G club.
Salaries account for 70% to 75% of most hospital budgets and outside forces are driving this cost component higher. Even though hospitals will have no idea what their final budget allocations will be until October, some eight months into the fiscal year, CEOs and hospital boards are being asked to guarantee a balanced budget, protect core services and implement a non-essential service cut plan. It is patently absurd.
One senior hospital executive – who leans very Liberal in his politics – recently confided to me that as much as he didn’t like the Tories, at least they understood the funding and service pressures hospitals face.
In his own words, McGuinty and Health Minister George Smitherman “haven’t got a clue how to govern in a health care environment. These guys are a disaster.”
Salaries are 75%, skyrocketing? Are we talking about health care or the NHL?

Average NHL player lockout fund 
So, I posted last week about the player's lockout fund. Chris commented "Why don't you put a rough figure out. I've heard it's well over half a billion and closer to a billion."

Here's what I figure....

A source indicates that the NHLPA advised players to save paycheques from at least 1999 - possibly earlier. It is reasonable to assume that the NHLPA actually facilitated this savings with special accounts.
An NHL player is paid semi-monthly which works out to 14 paycheques. One paycheque a year being stored in the lockout fund would amount to the following....

Year Average Salary One paycheque saved
1999-00 $1,194,206 $84,789
2000-01 $1,360,000 $96,560
2001-02 $1,642,590 $116,624
2002-03 $1,790,290 $127,111
2003-04 $1,830,000 $129,930
Lockout fund for an average player $ 555,013

I'm assuming 0% growth over those five years which is probably realistic due to the state of the markets - an investment expert could help out here considering the large amount of funds we are talking about.

So what is the total amount saved by NHL players?

You can't multiply the average by the number of players as a great many of them haven't been in the league for 5 years or those bringing up the average in the first part of the calc have since retired. The entire NHLPA of around 730 players (is that right?) would total a $405 million dollar fund.

And what about NHLPA licensing which they've saved a portion of each year for the lockout?

The figures are hard to come by but the NHL itself projected licensing revenue to be around $1.5 billion in fiscal 04. What would the NHLPA get?

Does all this matter?

Well, public perception does matter. NHL players live across this country. They read papers, and some may read blogs. Their families are often semi-integrated into the community and don't want to be viewed as money hungry professional athletes. When Goodenow says "We didn't go on strike" or "We want to play" or "The owners have been planning this since '98", he's doing it for PR.
If the public realizes that the players have been planning for the lockout for just as long as the owners and that they've prepared for not playing - saving up some of their ridiculous salaries - the public will feel even more strongly that it is the players that must blink first and longest.
If the players feel the pressure from the public it won't be long before a few start calling up their union reps asking about the owner's cap proposals - what would a cap really mean, how much money, what percentage.

Once that crack is opened, the pressure for Goodenow to negotiate a cap will grow.

What do you think? 
Here's the summary of the TSN Solution:
(1) A hard cap of $6 million on individual player salaries with no cap on how much teams may spend on total payrolls
(2) A dollar for dollar, or 100 per cent, luxury tax on all team payrolls in excess of $40 million with the tax monies to be redistributed to those teams with payrolls of less than $40 million but more than $30 million.
(3) A revamped salary arbitration system that allows the teams, as well as the players, to file for arbitration and baseball style "final-offer" arbitration
(4) Liberalized free agency with the age for unrestricted status moving to age 30 or after 10 years service in the NHL, whichever comes first.
(5) Qualifying offers to be 75 per cent of the player's most recent salary level
(6) An entry-level salary and signing bonus cap of $850,000 per year, with no more than 25 per cent of that amount in signing bonus, plus allowable performance bonuses to another $850,000, effectively capping entry-level salaries at no more than $1.7 million a year.
I think it's something that could be a good starting point.

I don't think the players would be jumping at the two way arbitration or the stiffness of the luxury tax but they would have a very hard time saying so in public.

I'm a little wary of the 6 million dollar individual cap as it seems to be a strange way of dealing with the issue of spiralling salaries. Are we going to see 20 players making 6 million - and doesn't it matter if 5 of those 20 are actually superstars worth more than the other 15? I suppose it's a good way of allowing a small market team to keep their home grown superstar - he won't leave for more money.

The 75% qualifying offer is a great idea but will definitely lead to more arbitration - but I'm okay with that I guess.

There will be a lot of sticky points to work out still - how would the $6 million and $40 million dollar numbers change over time - set rate, proportional to revenue, etc.
Does the 6 million dollar individual cap include bonuses?

So, picture this, a phone call this morning....
Bettman: So, Gary, did you watch TSN last night?
Goodenow: Yeah - you?
Bettman: Yeah.
Goodenow: Wadda think?
Bettman: Dunno, wadda you think?
Goodenow: I dunno.
Bettman: I didn't like that there wasn't a payroll cap.
Goodenow: I didn't like that there was a player cap.
Bettman: Stupid TSN.
Goodenow: Yeah.
Bettman: We know the issues best.
Goodenow: We can work it out ourselves.
Bettman: Bye.
Goodenow: Bye. (Click)

The TSN Solution 
To be broadcast tonight:
Club owners, general managers, executives, agents and players have all contributed to this special feature, with many them feeling there is a negotiated settlement to be made.
"The TSN Solution is not a grab bag of opinions from our hockey analysts, it's a well-thought out and comprehensive feature that was put together with contributions from hockey insiders on both sides of the labour dispute," said Mark Milliere, Executive Producer of News & NHL on TSN.
"We understand that these are complex issues and we are not naive to believe The TSN Solution will end the lockout. However these are new and interesting concepts from our team of hockey experts that merit consideration. This could be the catalyst for renewed discussion on how to save the hockey season."

John Manley knows Ottawa 
He's a director of Nortel now and in an interview with the Ottawa Business Journal he says:
My experience has been that even people who have been laid off from Nortel have continued to be very loyal to the company ... even during the difficulties that company has experienced over the last couple of years, the attrition rate has been extraordinarily low, especially here in Ottawa, which I think demonstrates a remarkable degree of employee loyalty.

Sure - it's because of loyalty. Or maybe because Nortel has laid off about 13,000 people in Ottawa, JDS around 10,000, and a few tech startups have died in the past few years - do you think that is why the attrition rate is low? Many of those that were laid off had to leave the Ottawa area or change professions - not something many people do voluntarily. There just aren't many tech jobs in the area though things are better now than the past two years - maybe until the new round of layoffs hit Nortel.

No worries for the Ottawa economy though - the federal goverment keeps this town running smoothly:
The outlook for the Ottawa-Gatineau economy remains solid as the threat of a hiring freeze by the federal government appears to have few teeth, according to a report Tuesday.
By the end of the second quarter, local public sector employment was a an all-time high of 121,500. That compares with only 77,000 at the end of 1998, making for six straight years of healthy growth.

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