No Dog Days of Summer This Year
By Michael J Morris
Gosh, it's supposed to be the dog days of Summer when nothing much newsworthy happens in Canada. Not this year.
On the national political front, Stephen Harper, the prime minister, shuffled his cabinet, hoping to bring a new face to his government caught up in the ongoing Senate scandal.
No sooner had he announced the cabinet remake, which brought the total number to 39 members, and the media was accusing the Office of the Prime Minister, of having some sort of enemies' list which prompted Peter Kent, a Conservative member of parliament, who was dumped from the cabinet to comment.
In an interview with Postmedia, Kent said that the alleged request for an enemy list reminded him of former U.S. president Richard Nixon, who was revealed to have had an "enemies list"during the Watergate scandal.
Kent added that Nixon's “... political horizon was divided very starkly into friends and enemies. The use of the word ‘enemies list,’ for those of us of a certain generation, it evokes nothing less than thoughts of Nixon and Watergate.”
So much for a happy and united Tory backbench.
The national media also reported that the same Office of the Prime Minister was accused of "stonewalling" a Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigation into Senator Mike Duffy by not providing an email which allegedly outlined a deal between Duffy and Harper's former chief of staff Nigel Wright. Wright gave Duffy a personal cheque for just over $90,000 to repay some expenses.
That one is ongoing but all could be settled pretty quickly if the prime minister, after all it is his office that is involved, simply ordered that his office give the RCMP what it needs to complete its investigation without delay. Alternatively, the RCMP could request warrants to obtain information.
Just wondering if David Wilks, the Tory MP for Kootenay-Columbia, who spoke out about the Senate scandal some time ago, is willing to tell the prime minister to step in and advise the prime minister to provide full co-operation. Wilks is a former RCMP officer.
Also wondering if the Duffy investigation includes the senator's visit to speak to the Kootenay-Columbia Conservative riding Association during the last federal election campaign.
Back to the size of Harper's new cabinet for a moment. The United States with a population of 315 million people has 15 secretaries in President Barack Obama's cabinet. Canada has a population of 35 million and 39 cabinet ministers. Methinks there is something wrong with this picture.
OK, enough already on national politics.
On the business front, Target has launched many of its Canadian stores, including one in the Tamarack Centre in Cranbrook, while Sobeys has made an offer to buy Safeway and Loblaw wants Shoppers Drug Mart. Target had taken over many Zellers leases in 2012. Local chatter centres around any potential changes in the Cranbrook Safeway, Real Canadian Superstore (owned by Loblaw) and Shoppers, and the effect of Target in the local marketplace.
A bit too soon to tell maybe but the proposed sales are big deals that if finalized will no doubt change the retail landscape in Canada. Target is a huge player in the United States market, and we shall see if it can become the same here.
On one of my daily walks I headed down the Strip to Walmart and the Superstore, and noticed that construction was underway on SportChek and Dollar Tree stores which were subject to some discussion at Cranbrook city council when proposed. However, they were approved.
Finally, and back to politics for a moment. Justin Trudeau, the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, is scheduled to be in Cranbrook on Sunday July 21 for a meet and greet at Rotary Park beginning at 12:30 p.m.
The last time I saw Justin was in 1984 when I interviewed his father, Pierre Trudeau, then the prime minister of Canada, about an egg throwing incident at Revelstoke, BC, for CBC Television News. The prime minister was travelling by train with his children.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Full disclosure: I am not now and never have been a member of the Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society; however, I did conduct a workshop for its members for which I was paid.