Focus on the Olympics

Posted: 07/02/2018 9:13:28 AM

I have been very lucky in my career to hangout and even train with many Olympians and Paralympians. For a guy who consistently failed to medal in the Canada Fitness Award Program in school, it has been an unexpected honour. But after meeting so many of these elite athletes up close I gotta tell you, it may look like a glamorous life but it is not.

I have never met a group of people who so routinely make so many personal sacrifices for their job. And they start so young. At a time when most people are navigating grade eight, they basically put any semblance of a normal life on hold so they can devote all their time and energy to one thing. Then they spend the rest of their formative years doing that one thing over and over again with one goal in mind. Representing us—representing Canada—at the Olympics. The only break they ever had in their schedule is occasionally they’ll be asked to pee in a cup by a total stranger. They redefine commitment.

Look at snowboarder Mark McMorris. How good is this guy? He is the first snowboarder in the world to land a Backside Triple Cork 1440. I don't even know what that is. But I am in awe of this guy. Less than a year ago, he hit a tree and broke his arm, his ribs, his pelvis and his jaw. I think it's safe to say that if that happened to any of us, we might take a break from downhill sports. Not Mark McMorris. He is in PyeongChang, Korea right now with one goal in mind—making us proud.

When it comes to the Winter Olympics and Team Canada, the division of labour is crystal clear: They do all the work, we do the cheering. Now let's do our job so they can do theirs.



Time to Reboot

Posted: 31/01/2018 10:15:29 AM

I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have been in awe of modern technology. High speed internet, smart phones; we live in amazing times. The advancements have been incredible to watch. But you know what? I think we should stop now. I think we were heading in the right direction, but somewhere we made a U-turn. It used to be that you turn on your computer, you use your computer, it was great and that was that. Now I turn on my computer, the first thing it does is it tells me it's going to turn itself off, reboot and then download a system upgrade which will take 20 minutes to an hour, depending on its mood.

Phones are worse. If you have an iPhone it needs to be updated more often than a baby needs to be changed. My phone threatens me like a mob boss. It tells me if I don't accept the upgrade bad things will happen. So you accept the upgrade, next thing you know your battery doesn’t last as long and you’re getting traffic updates you never wanted.

Everything about technology that was supposed to help us is now starting to torture us. Remember when Siri first came along? She was helpful and interesting. She liked my questions. Now she's like a drunk who makes no sense. She gets angry and defensive if you ask her what the date is.

Yes, technology is more efficient now than it ever was but instead of giving us more free time, its original purpose, it's more demanding on our time. It's enslaving us. And really, I don't know what we’re going to do about it because, honestly, I can't  imagine living any other way.


Justin, Andrew, and Jagmeet

Posted: 24/01/2018 9:54:57 AM

Justin Trudeau is a very lucky politician—nothing sticks to this guy. He goes out there on the road doing all these town halls all over Canada; he gets up there in front of big crowds; he totally goes off script; he’s up there just freewheeling it; and yes, sometimes it works. But man oh man, when he is in improv mode some of the stuff that comes out of his mouth is baffling. At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if he opened his mouth and a Tide detergent pod popped out.

Now you would think the opposition would be all over this, but let’s face it, nobody can pick those guys out of a lineup. Andrew Scheer, the new Conservative leader, well he’s a really nice guy. I know this because the party keeps releasing videos telling us that he’s a really nice guy. The last video had Andrew telling us that when he was growing up, Dad didn’t have a car so he had to take the bus to school. I have not been so inspired by a tale of a young man overcoming personal adversity since Rick Hansen got in the wheelchair and went all the way around the globe. Andrew, here’s an idea—next time you release a video put some policy in it. You may be afraid of policies, but Canadians are not.

Then we have the NDP. You might have missed this but they too have a brand new leader: Jagmeet Singh.  He held a big event last week, invited the media and they all showed up because they thought he might be announcing policy. Nope! He wanted the media there so they could watch while he asked his girlfriend to marry him. Yeah, that happened. Jagmeet, I know some people propose marriage in public. Sometimes they do it in front of strangers. Some people do it on the jumbotron at a hockey game and, yes, Canadians clap for them, but trust me Jagmeet, we don’t vote for those people.

Justin Trudeau is a very lucky man but luck can’t last forever in politics. Although with opposition like this, it just might.


Give Them a Break

Posted: 17/01/2018 9:49:20 AM

Six months ago, if you asked random Canadians on the street what they thought about Tim Hortons, the vast majority of them would probably say positive things. In this country we’ve always had time for Tim Hortons. So it is inconceivable that suddenly Tim Hortons is front and centre in the debate on how companies treat minimum wage employees. I would say that the guy who built Tim Hortons is spinning in his grave except he’s still very much alive. That would be Ron Joyce Sr., the genius that built the Tim Hortons empire—an iconic brand that most Canadians felt reflected Canadian values. That’s Ron Sr. Do not confuse him with Ron Jr.

Ron Jr. is the son. Kind of like Fredo in The Godfather. Ron Jr. is also in the Tim Hortons business. He owns two stores up in Cobourg, Ontario. In his spare time he sits around in Florida and comes up with cost-saving measures designed to improve the Tim Hortons experience. Not for the customers or the employees but, you know, for the owners. People like him.

For example, this past Christmas Ron Jr. came up with this idea that from now on his employees at Tim Hortons who make minimum wage, when they work a nine-hour shift he will only pay them for eight hours and 20 minutes. You see he’s upset about this increase in minimum wage, so he thought he would make a point on the backs of his employees.  You’ve got to hand it to Jr. He is very committed to his work. It is not easy destroying the Tim Hortons brand. It’s exhausting. Especially in the Florida heat.

If you ever wondered why we need minimum labour standards in this country, look no further. Leave it up to some of these owners, every Hortons in the country would be staffed by grandmothers doing twelve-hour shifts for tea bags. It’s time that Tim Hortons realize people are now watching. And if Tim’s doesn’t do a U-turn fast, customers in their drive-through just might.


A Rink on a Hill

Posted: 06/12/2017 9:11:56 AM

Well it’s pretty much unanimous among the media, the pundits, the opposition; everyone is upset about this hockey rink that’s opening on Parliament Hill. If you look at the coverage, you’d swear it’s not a hockey rink at all but a crime against humanity.

Now if you’re not familiar with the story, log on and look at the Parliament Hill webcam. It’s practically my homepage. It’s an amazing image. The Government of Canada has gone out and they’ve built a temporary outdoor hockey rink, complete with bleachers and boards. It’s just sitting there on the lawn of the parliament buildings.

Now of course, people are upset because it’s the government, it cost a whack of cash. Also because it’s the government there are all these government kind of rules like you can’t text and skate at the same time; you can’t slam pucks off the boards during family skating. People are also upset because the government’s going to spend about a million bucks bringing in peewee hockey teams from all over Canada for a tournament.

Look, I don’t live in Ottawa. Like the vast majority of Canadians I am never going to see this thing in person. And you know what? I still love it. I can’t help myself, I think it looks cool.

And the image of 10 year olds playing hockey on the Hill, that’s going to be seen all over the world. A world in which, sadly, far too many houses of government are wrapped in barbed wire and machine guns. And in this joyous holiday season, if Canada is seen as a place where 10 year olds can skate in the shadow of the Peace Tower, what’s not to love?