Cheers: to retirement. Federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews announced his retirement from the federal cabinet and from politics last week, saying he will now look to private-sector opportunities. The minister who stewarded the Tory tough-on-crime legislation - renowned for such missteps as his comments on the government's failed Internet legislation ("You stand with us or with the child pornographers"), for his comments on Canada's falling crime rate ("I don't know if statistics demonstrate crime is down - I'm focused on danger") and other such goodies, says he'll take the summer off. So what are the chances that Toews will turn up in federal appointments next fall as a Manitoba judge? Pretty darned good. And you probably wouldn't want to be sentenced by him if you had the misfortune to appear in his court.
Cheers: to federal cabinet shuffles. Not only Toews is on his way out: Diane Ablonczy, the minister of state for foreign affairs, and Ted Menzies, the minister of state for finance, have announced they won't be running again. Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield is fighting cancer. A Harper cabinet shuffle is expected shortly, but here's a question: will the supposedly fiscally responsible Tories, creators of the biggest budgetary deficit in Canadian history, take this small opportunity to actually shrink the federal cabinet and its over-the-top costs for salaries, staff and even limos? Don't bet the farm on it. Like everyone else, Tories want gravy on that.
Jeers: to a problem that is only likely to get worse. Here's a James Bond quote worth thinking about: "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action." Paradise resident Dennis Lawlor was convicted of three impaired charges this week, all of which occurred in the last 12 months. The charges included having a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit, four times the legal limit and two and a half times over the legal limit. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail, to be served on weekends, and will lose his driver's licence for five years. Leave aside whether you agree with the sentence or not, and consider this: clearly, when his judgment is seriously impaired by alcohol, Lawlor sees no problem with heading for the driver's seat. How on Earth can the public be protected from the fourth or fifth occurrence?
Cheers: to angry customers taking action. Tom Badcock is in a tussle with Rogers Communications over a $227 cable bill that was sent to a collection agency, messing with Badcock's credit record. He says Rogers has admitted it made a mistake several times, but has done nothing to solve the issue. So Badcock has launched a lawsuit - for $273,750. Why the big number? "Just to get their attention." Well, if the number didn't get the cable company's attention, the news coverage probably will. We imagine someone in customer service is having a bad, bad week.