The long-awaited Truth and Reconciliation Commission summary report on residential schools came out Tuesday, detailing the “cultural genocide” practiced by various Canadian governments against the First Nations. The report — actually, the summary report, with the full report coming later — made a staggering 94 recommendations, some of which make sense, others of which are nonsense (increased funding for the CBC? Really?). Prime Minister Stephen Harper — the most powerful, important man in the land — didn’t say one substantial word about the report, which took six years and $50 million to produce. Why would Canadians expect anything more from a prime minister who hasn’t held a press conference in two-and-a-half years?
There’s a new media hero in town in the personage of what used to be Bruce Jenner, the former U.S. Olympic hero and Wheaties box model. As everyone in the galaxy now knows, Bruce has had more than just a facelift … he is now a she, and prefers to be called Caitlyn. (S)he posed for Vanity Fair, and of course the media commentators all gushed how beautiful she is. Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and to me, Bruce was a good looking guy but not a good looking Caitlyn. Whatever. In an hilarious attempt at figuring out how to refer to a woman who used to be a guy, the Wikipedia page for Jenner now calls him a her, even mentioning that “she” was named the Male Athlete of the Year.
A Quebec judge has ruled that Big Tobacco must pay $15 billion in damages to Quebec smokers in the largest class action suit settlement in Canadian history. The trial took nearly three years, and heard from not one single affected smoker. The number is eye-popping, and certainly caused a lot of non-smoking related coughing at Big Tobacco. But to be eligible, smokers must have smoked the equivalent of a pack a day for 12 years prior to 1998, and must have developed emphysema or lung cancer. The tobacco companies are appealing the judgement, which should take years. In the end, once the lawyers have taken their cut (which will be most of the judgement), eligible smokers will probably be reduced to about a dozen who should get just enough for a pack of Craven As.
Well, that didn’t take long. A senior PC party exec, southern Alberta VP Jordan Lien lambasted Health Minister Sarah Hoffman’s decision to ban menthol cigarettes last week. OK, fair enough; you can debate the ban all you like. But in a Facebook post, Lien called Hoffman “morbidly obese”. And you wonder why the PCs lost the election.
Speaking of stupid decisions, Tim Hortons made a huge PR gaffe by paying too much attention to social media. Tims has in-store TV — Tims TV, apparently — that has been running ads for pipeline company Enbridge. An American environmental group decided that this respected, entirely legitimate Canadian company advertising in a respected, entirely legitimate Canadian company was an affront to the environment, and launched an on-line petition demanding the ads be removed. Timmy caved with alarming speed, without realizing that there would be a backlash against the manufactured backlash. Now, plenty of people are furious at Tims for knuckling under to an American lobby group at the expense of a Canadian company that employs thousands. Companies have become too attuned, so frightened of social media that they react in knee-jerk fashion to any social media uptick. If Tims had just ignored the so-called petition, the whole thing would have blown over. Now, they’ve alienated their core customer base to appease the Starbucks crowd. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
Just days after winning re-election, Sepp Blatter stepped down as FIFA president. No exact reason was given, but it’s a good bet Sepp is in the cross-hairs of investigators. The stories coming out of FIFA are just getting worse and worse. Ireland was apparently given a cash payment to shut them up about being eliminated from World Cup contention by a bad referee’s call; the German newspaper Die Zeit reported on Friday that the then chancellor Gerhard Shröder supplied arms to Saudi Arabia in return for support in Germany’s World Cup bid. Like a lot of beautiful people, the ‘beautiful game’ is ugly under the surface.
RIP: Jacques Parizeau, former Quebec premier and leading figure in the separatist movement .. Wayne ‘Thumper’ Harris, 77, Canadian football hall-of-famer and Grey Cup champ, was a ferocious linebacker for the Stampeders. He was listed as the ninth best player in CFL history by TSN.