A dark week in Edmonton. Const. Daniel Woodall, performing what should have been a fairly routine arrest at a west Edmonton home, was greeted with a hail of gunfire that took his life, and injured another officer. It’s an oft-repeated cliche (that’s what makes it a cliche) that cops never know when the routine can turn terrifying. As painful as the whole ordeal is for the city and the family, I always find some solace in the fact that the killing of a policeman in Canada is still front page news, and we share a collective grief. It says something about Canada that despite the fact we have less respect for authority than ever before, we still respect the law, and the people who uphold it.
Mayor Don Iveson, tears streaming down his face (not “choking back tears” as the Journal reported), spoke with real emotion at a press conference about Const. Woodall’s death. But, responding to a question, he mused that the end of the gun registry may be a contributing factor in the rise of gun violence. He quickly apologized via Twitter for his “premature” remarks. But venomous Justice Minister Peter MacKay attacked, calling Iveson’s remarks “inappropriate and ill-timed”, and his comments “absurd”. MacKay reveals himself, if any further evidence is needed, as a grade-A a-hole for attacking a grieving mayor at a difficult time. Everything is politics and messaging all the time for the Conservatives.
Speaking of the Conservatives, Stephen Harper is on a pre-election world tour. He visited Ukraine (as if they needed that headache), and met with the Pope (if you can call 10 minutes a meeting). Harper, as always, took almost no questions from the media. The trip was nothing more than a series of photo-ops to bolster the PMs authority on the taxpayers’ dime.
Meanwhile, here in the glorious People’s Republic of Alberta, the NDP government continues to appoint various like-minded types from across the country to key government posts. This week’s appointment of the chief of staff for the new energy minister became a PR problem for the government. Somebody named Graham Mitchell, another out-of-towner, was appointed chief of staff for energy minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd. Turns out, Mitchell was interim executive director for something called the LeadNow Society, which lobbied against the Northern Gateway pipeline. There’s a swell idea; calm the nerves of the already fidgety energy industry by giving a senior government job to an anti-pipeline activist. Worse yet, the appointment was made by Rachel Notley’s office, with no input from the minister or, apparently, the ministry. McCuaig-Boyd had the deer-in-the-headlights look when cornered by the media this week.
Another Canadian retail institution bites the dust. Blacks Photography announced the shutdown of all of its stores this week. Even though we are taking more pictures than ever before, fewer and fewer of them are being taken with actual cameras, and fewer still are being printed and stored in something called photo albums (remember those?). Blacks is another victim of changing times.
An inquiry was held in Camrose into the tragedy at the Big Valley Jamboree that killed a woman when a storm collapsed the stage. You may or may not remember the incident: it happened almost six years ago. With all due respect to the victim, the bigger question is why does it take SIX YEARS to have an inquiry in this province?
RIP: Christopher Lee, 93, the British actor whose roles ranged from Dracula in Hammer films from the 1960s all the way to Lord of the Rings films in the 2000s… Dusty Rhodes, the corpulent American wrestler who called himself ‘The American Dream’, at 69 … jazz innovator Ornette Coleman at 85 … Vincent Bugliosi, the LA prosecutor who brought Charles Manson to justice and wrote the best-seller Helter Skelter, at 80.