Monthly Archives: October 2012

National Post | Full Comment

Liberal MPP Brad Duguid held a news conference at Queen’s Park on Wednesday where he announced that he would not seek the party leadership. Coming less than 24 hours after former Cabinet minister George Smitherman also removed his hat from the ring, Mr. Duguid’s announcement brought to five the number of high-profile would-be contenders to succeed Dalton McGuinty who have shifted themselves to won’t-be status.

“Clearly, nobody wants the job,” said PC MPP Jim Wilson, managing to avoid the obvious rats-fleeing-a-sinking-ship analogy.

NDP counterpart Peter Tabuns avoided it as well, but just barely: “The only news coming out of the Liberal leadership race is that people don’t want to be leader,” he said. “The ship is taking on water, and they are searching for higher ground.” Aside from ending on a rather tortured metaphor — I’m no nautical expert, but am pretty sure the solution to a leaky boat is…

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National Post | Sports

By the last week of October 2004, echoes of dissent were already being heard from inside the National Hockey League Players’ Association. More than one member wondered why the union would not consider accepting a salary cap from the NHL, while another said he would gladly cross a picket line, if one existed, adding: “I’d cross the line in a second.”

Eight years later, with another lockout settling into the final hours of October, the players have made plenty of noise, but none of significant dissent. Even with the advent of social media platforms such as Twitter, the message — aside from the odd admission of anxiety over not being able to play — has been remarkably consistent with NHLPA party lines.

“I think the initial players who began to speak out [in 2004] were players who were primarily motivated from being in the dark, and frustrated with being in…

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National Post | Full Comment

Would you put yourself in hock to the tune of $100,000 for the chance to be leader of the Ontario Liberals, and premier for a couple of months?

Ontario’s Liberal party said this week that would-be replacements for Premier Dalton McGuinty will be allowed to spend no more than $500,000, including a maximum of $100,000 in debt, on the campaign to succeed him. The vote will be held in January at the building previously known as Maple Leaf Gardens, which is now partly a grocery store, and partly a hockey rink used by Ryerson University. The convention will be held in the rink part, which is not allowed to use the Maple Leaf name.

The job is an iffy prize at best. Mr. McGuinty has offered several reasons for his sudden decision to step down two weeks ago: because he wants to negotiate with the public service unions (which say…

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National Post | Full Comment

By now the problems of the euro are well understood, at least on this side of the Atlantic. As hundreds of Canadian commentators have patiently lectured Europe, the basic — elementary, really — mistake was to attempt to form a monetary union without also forming a fiscal union. Members of the euro faced no real constraint on their appetite for debt, but rather could borrow as much as they liked, without regard for the consequences for the others.

The effect, as we tried to explain to the Europeans, was to allow the weakest states to borrow on the good credit rating of the strongest. The consequences of any member defaulting on its debts would be so horrible for the rest, markets reasoned, that they were bound to be bailed out. The potential for moral hazard was childishly obvious: with other states implicitly guaranteeing their debt, yet without corresponding formal limits…

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National Post | Full Comment

It was 30 years ago when Chicago scored a #1 Billboard hit with Hard to Say I’m Sorry. And as with Cyndi Lauper’s Time after Time, Til Tuesday’s Voices Carry, and so many other timeless 1980s-era ballads, its message continues to supply powerful management lessons for dot-com entrepreneurs.

‘Everybody needs a little time away,’ I heard her say, ‘from each other.’
‘Even lovers need a holiday — far away — from each other … ‘
Hold me now.
It’s hard for me to say I’m sorry.
I just want you to stay.

The tune popped into my mind this morning as I read the news about ousted Apple executive Scott Forstall, a man with the word “sorry” still stuck in his throat. “While tensions between Mr. Forstall and other executives had been mounting for some time, a recent incident appeared to play a major role in his…

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National Post | News

Standing half in Stanstead, Que., and half in Derby Line, Vermont, the Haskell Free Library and Opera House has, in the words of one visitor, stood for more than a century as an “enduring gesture of peace between two nations.”

But last spring, the charming brick library became the unwitting accomplice in a plot to smuggle several dozen handguns into Canada.

On March 25, 2011, reads a federal grand jury indictment, 46-year-old Annette Wexler and a co-conspirator allegedly checked into the Four Seasons Motel in Derby Line with a bag of handguns.

Sometime that day, the pair allegedly walked into the Haskell Library with the guns, and when they walked out, they were holding $18,000 in cash.

“If she is convicted, Wexler faces a maximum possible term of imprisonment of 10 years,” reads a statement by the United States Attorney released on Monday.

Library gun-runners are only the latest worry…

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National Post | News

A Canadian-built replica 18th-century sailing vessel got caught in Hurricane Sandy’s wrath and began taking on water Monday, forcing the crew into lifeboats in rough seas off the North Carolina coast.

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued 14 people by helicopter and spent much of the day searching for two missing crew members.

One of them, 42-year-old Claudene Christian, was found unresponsive in the water on Monday evening.

The coast guard said was taken to a hospital in Elizabeth City, where she was later pronounced dead.

Christian lived in California and joined the Bounty’s crew in May, according to her Twitter account.

“I live, work [and] travel the Sea aboard the HMS Tall Ship Bounty. As a descendant of Fletcher Christian, played in four movies by Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, Marlin Brando [and] Mel Gibson, I’m sure my ancestor would be proud… However, this time, there will be no Mutiny…

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National Post | News

A huge fire that erupted as Sandy ripped through New York City with near-hurricane force winds on Monday night destroyed dozens of homes in one of the city’s most remote neighborhoods.

The neighborhood, Breezy Point in the borough of Queens, had been extensively flooded by Sandy’s record storm surge, and firefighters were hampered in their efforts to bring the blaze under control, a spokesman for the New York Fire Department said.

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