Thursday, December 09, 2010


Two outrageous events in 24 hours! One wonders what drives some people...

1. Sepp Blatter, president of FIFA, says that the outrage about the World Cup being in Qatar is driven by Christians.

No, Sepp.....the outrage is driven by two things: the widely held view that the vote was rigged, and the ridiculous idea that athletes can perform well in +40'C temperatures.

As a Christian, I am outraged. A sport leader has the implicit responsibility to provide principld leadership. It seems that you aren't doing that.

2. Canada's federal government, with Steven Harper at the top, has spend $3.4 million to re-design cigarette packages, only to decide not to take this important health-related step. Why? The TOBACCO LOBBY has pressured the feds not to do this.

Oh yes, the government claims that it would be more effective to deal with contraband cigarettes, and shut down that illegal extremely lucrative business.

Maybe do both???? DEFINITELY DO BOTH!

Here we have yet another reason to get rid of this government.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Don Cherry in the Wrong Place

Just tells you what the new mayor of Toronto is like, when he has loud-mouth DON CHERRY doing something other that watching at the swearing in of the new council.

The sooner the CBC ends the platform he has on HNIC the better. The only reason they keep him is to keep up the ratings of the show, at least till the beginning of the second period.

Drop Cherry, and watch the hockey ratings plummet on the CBC.

And watch the city of Toronto change under the new mayor (Was going to say "leadership of the new mayor" but so far, there's no 'leadership.' Only "do it my way" and that's not 'leadership.' Just like the Prime Minister. Speaking of whom...we wait with anticipation to see the fireworks between him and Joe Fantino!!)

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Two Recent Travesties

First, and most important, the Wikileaks of confidential documents.
People should be outraged.
It is important that those who hold key positions, like the President, PMs, leaders, diplomats and those who work on behalf of citizens have the confidence to report their impressions and thoughts to their superiors, without all this soft fuzzy stuff that seems to be prevalent. They have to be able to say what they think in language that is clear. There's too much baffle-gab around. I want my representatives to be candid and honest when reporting.
The disclosure of so many documents will chill our representatives.

Second, awarding the 2011 World Cup (that's MEN'S world cup soccer) to Qatar.
This nation has no record in soccer, has few venues to conduct the event in, and is totally unsuitable for athletes to compete in, with temperatures hovering around 40'C. No athlete should be playing repeated games in this situation.
I wonder if any of these "boys" who made the decision, have ever spoken to a soldier who is serving in Afghanistan. A spouse that I spoke to, whose partner is in Afghanistan, told me that the daily consumption of water is the amount of one of those large water cannisters, like Culligan provides. Perhaps the level of activity greater for the athletes, but this is a small measure of what these athletes will encounter.
Let's hope that coaches, athletes and countries express their outrage soon.
If there ever was an example of an IF making a decision that only benefitted "the boys" this is it.
Oh yes, they are indeed building four? new stadiums for the event. And dismantling them after the cup is over. Now here's an example of "more money than brains."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Justice, at Last

Robert Latimer will be given full parole early next month.
It is well past time.
This man has been treated unfairly by the justice system.
Let him return to his life in Saskatchewan, out of the media's eye.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Vanier Cup Day

U of Calgary vs Laval at Laval. Should be a good game. Reasonable temperature.

Start time here is 11.30am, due to Laval not carrying through on its commitment to provide lights for the game. It has to be done before dusk. People on the west coast aren't too pleased at having to start watching at 8.45am kickoff.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Canada and the UN Security Council

Yes, Canada would contribute to the deliberations of the Security Council.

But why would the PM start the lobbying within 6 months of the decision? There were reports late last year that Canada was not doing anything about lobbying for a seat. There were even reports that the PM really didn't care if Canada won one of the 2 available seats. [does he care NOW?]

Should Canada get one of the seats, it will be because of our historical stance, commitment, involvement in world affairs, not because of what this government stands for.

update 4pm October 12. No seat. No surprise.
Harper lays blame at feet of Liberal leader. Never takes the blame himself.
This is Harper's doing.

How embarassing for MY country.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Constant Updates on "Why we need to be rid of this government."

It sure is easy to add to that posting about why we need a new government. There are almost daily revelations of deceit or mischief or add to the posting.

I'd like to be able to understand why people I know, and others, think that this PM is supportable. And these people I know seem to be honest, honourable people. Why don't they see the lies or deceit or heavy-handedness?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

K-Rock Break Even?


Three mayoral candidates are upset at the 2nd quarter figures for the K-Rock Centre. They shouldn't be.

The K-Rock Centre will never break even. It will always be subsidized by local taxpayers.

A few predictions.......

Arcturus SMG will not renew its contract with the city to manage it, and the city will have to take over its operation. Not such a bad idea, but the city will have to spend a lot of $$$ to take over the operation. And there will be whining about that. Arcturus will take all its investments here when it goes.

A survey would tell candidates for council and the mayor's chair that there are few, if any, arenas in this country that break even, never mind make money. It just doesn't happen. It's sort of like trying to find a municipal leisure complex in Canada that makes money. That doesn't happen either. These are viewed as SERVICES for the people of a community. The sooner politicans accept that, the sooner they will rest better at night. And the sooner they will program those facilities for the people.

Support for the centre will continue to decline. Hard-core supporters of the Frontenacs and Memorial Centre are deeply opposed to the management, the cost of events, the lack of parking, the attitude of the place (e.g. the cost of refreshments).

An example of the "attitude" of the K-Rock Centre is the fact that no one can visit the Kingston & District Sports Hall of Fame, unless they buy an event ticket. Buy a ticket to a Fronts game, and discover that the shooting gallery is in the Hall of Fame? That you slather the mustard on your hot dog in the middle of the KDSHF? The K-Rock Centre management refuses to use the presence of the hall as a drawing card, a tourist attraction, a part of the city's heritage. And council is no better; they have demonstrated little interest in the KDSHF since it moved from the Memorial Centre (they didn't show a lot of interest there either!)

The city's lack of positive attitude about so much of its treasures, lifestyle and events is one of the city's real problems. No one stands up and cheers for the city! That's the job of the mayor!!! He/she should be the number one cheerleader of the city. The current one definitely isn't a positive, upbeat cheerleader. Let's hope we get one on October 25th. And a few councillors with positive attitude and common sense.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Whig Standard Leads the Insensivity Parade

There was a tragic death at Queen's yesterday morning. A first year student apperently jumped to his death from the 6th floor at Victoria Hall. There are no details yet.

The Whig publishes a story on line, and this morning, has big headlines of this death in the print edition, and a photo above the fold.

In contrast, CKWS TV said little about it on the 6pm news last night.

The newspaper should be roundly condemmed for this insensitive headline and article. The article is almost exactly what they put online.

Many locals criticize The Whig for its frequent outrageous stances and reporting, in tabloid fashion.

This is another example of that.

Not surprisingly, subscriptions to The Whig are down from previous years. One can see why.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Anyone with Vision?

Nominations have closed for October 25 municipal elections in Ontario.

In all but one district in Kingston, there will be candidates trying to collect votes.

In the one district in which there was acclamation, the sitting councillor indicates that her priorities are traffic lights, calming speed bumps......

Good grief! Are any of these candidates going to look at the big picture? Are they going to talk about Kingston's future as a sustainable city? With a 3rd crossing? With less outrageous spending (remember that Vicki Schmolka was the only councillor who voted against the gigantic expenditure of $$$ on a pool+ at the Memorial Centre, that will be used at most 100 days/year. It is September 13th, and swimming in outdoor pools is pretty well done. I know. I do it! Got to be hardy to be swimming today!) With less development on the sparse waterfront? With less dumping of raw sewage into the Cataraqui River?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Great letter!

A great letter to the editor in The Globe and Mail, today.....

Don’t count (on it)

In one master stroke, Stephen Harper has: 1) comforted a micro-base of Canadian voters who hate guv’mint meddlin’ and can be trusted not to understand the deterioration in government services that will accrue with bad census data; 2) cemented the loyalty of a larger base that doesn’t think marginalized Canadians (who will be underrepresented in future censuses) should count in policy formulation anyway; 3) purged our civil service of yet another independent, competent administrator who (like Linda Keen et al.) was in the habit of speaking truth to power; 4) kneecapped a potential leadership rival by forcing the once-popular Tony Clement to bolster this partisan ploy with a hopeless farrago of pseudo-reasons.
The Prime Minister should take a bow – then put the census back where he found it (Long-Form Testimonial – editorial July 28).

M.J. McKenty, Winnipeg

Friday, July 09, 2010

Why We Need to Get Rid of this Government....a cumulative list

1. Recent appointment of David Johnson as Governor General. Another white, male, privileged affluent person.
2. The hypocracy of the PM who lauded the Queen as one of our "best players" on her recent tour, but is on record as wanting to be rid of the Monarchy in this country.
3. His tepid support for GG Jean throughout her term as GG. He should be embarassed, but isn't.
4. Spending $3 billion on the G8/G20 summits. Why did he separate them? Oh yes, wanted to give gifts to Tony Clement's riding, and he did. Millions, for fewer than 15 hours in Huntsville.
5. Decision to close penitentiary farms. He really thinks that these inmates are being trained for becoming farmers. No, Mr Harper, they are being trained to learn things that have gotten them into trouble: not meeting deadlines, not being responsible for their own "stuff," not being part of society in a positive way.
6. Building more and larger prisons.
7. Appointment late July 9th of a failed Tory candidate to the Senate. Has this man no pride??? [budget passed, surprise!, on July 12th]
8. July12. Today it is announced that the long census form will no longer be compulsory to those who get it. it will be mailed out to a few thousand, and return is voluntary. Now, what in the world will be learned, of any use, from this exercise? Only the motivated will do it. The snapshot will be skewed....apparently an effort to "save money and be transparent." Not very likely.
9. July 18. Harper "hides" a lot of non-budget items in the budget. This is how he gets changes to all kinds of programs through, since he knows that the would be a big stink if these items were introduced in Parliament, or if Parliament were sitting and the Opposition got a chance in Question Period. He is a man without conscience.
10. July 22. the head of Stats Can has resigned. This due to what is political interference from the government, especially the Minister, Tony Clement, but probably undeer the orders of Stephen Harper. The long census was resuced to being given to a few, and they are to answer it voluntarily. Any first year student knows that any info gathered under these circumstances is, at best, anecdotal.
11. July 22. Former Minister Helena Guergis has been cleared of any bad behaviour by the RCMP. She was fired from the cabinet, put on the back benches, and told that she would not be able to run for the Conservatives at the next election (is that a booby prize or a gift???). Now, her reputation has been badly tarnished. All this caused by a PM who acted much too quickly, then acted as judge and jury.
He is a man who has never considered the First Nations story of "walking a mile in another's moccasins."

If you haven't read this, do, Then you'll understand a bit more about our little tyrant.

12. July 28. The head of Stats Canada resigns because of interference from Cement and Harper. StatsCan told them that the long census form is essential. Then Clement said that StatsCan agreed with making the form voluntary. This is a plain and simple lie. Probably not the only one from this government.
13. July 28. There is internal revolt in the RCMP against the Harper-appointed civilian head of the RCMP. This man is a Harperite of the first order: arrogant, bossy, given to anger fits, "my way or the highway" person.
14. August 6. Today Harper names bull terrier John Baird as government House Leader. Harper, in spite of what he says, must be pining for a fall election f he puts Baird in charge of getting the government's agenda through. He's argumentative, arrogant, stubborn, and always right; a sure recipe for aggrevating MPs (even ones in his own party!!)
15. August 14. Harper allows Minister Tony Clement take the fall for HIS decision to make the long census form voluntary rather than essential. Can't Harper own up to his own decisions? Allow a minister to take the blame? Ethical behaviour? Nope.
16. August 14. Harper also hangs minister vic Toews out to dry on the Tamil boatload that arrived in Victoria yesterday. You can just hear it, "You step up and speak, Vic. I'm right behind you (in the shadows)."
17. August 18. The chief of the long gun registry, a senior RCMP officer, is sent off for second language training. What? Second language training, aftere he has been in that position for 9 months? The PM says there was no political interference (even though Harper is strongly opposed to the LGR). This PM has taken himself to the point that NO ONE believes him, and many of us think he lies outright. I am one of those.
18. August 17. Veterans' ombudsman, a retired colonel in the Canadian forces, Pat Stogran, hs been told his appointment will not be renewed in November. It is common knowledge that he has advocated for better treatment, conditions, pensions etc for Canadian forces, particularly those injured in battle (or suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder). He has spoken out repeatedly about this situation, echoed by forces who have retired from service. Harper has said he will not re-appoint this outspoken advocate. Why doesn't harper DO something about the situation that our forces have often denounced? Easier to get rid of an irritant than it is to be compassionate towards service people? It is impossible to understand Harper's core values, his religious orientation. Few of us would understand a religious framework that supports lying, is lacking in compassion, and that places a senior public servant at the centre of government. We MUST get rid of this man who is destroying the Canada that WE know and love.
19. week of August 23rd. Harper demands much money be spent on his photo-op trip to the north: fighter planes, scuba diving armed forces, a helicopter to take him about 200 yards, on and on. All these were just so he (with glasses, no contact lenses) could be shown actually "doing something" in and for the north. He is not. Everything he announced will come to pass in over 5 years, if at all.
20. September 10. Harper promises the Diefenbaker Centre in Saskatoon $1.3 million for renos (which it desperately needs, and I support). This is only a promise. As one wag said "don't start the renos till you have the cheque in hand." One of Harper's "promises" that mostly never happen. And they wonder why citizens are sceptical of promises given by politicans.
21. September 10. Promise over $200 million for an arena in Quebec City? Oh yes, for hockey and for Quebec's hoped-for bid for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. Oh yes, for votes. Well, he should remember that Brad Wall has his hand out for a new facility in Regina for football, concerts, etc. And every premier will have his/her hand out! So much for transparency, openness, no pork-barrelling (don't notice the Senate ppointments). NOTE: As of September 13, the mayor of Moncton has his hand out for $$$ for HIS city's new facility! Get in line!
UPDATE: 3PM ON SEPTEMBER 13th, Harper starts backtracking.......
22. update September 21. Harper has pledged $200 million over 5 years to support Canada's vets, particularly those who are hurt on the field. The question really is why did it take outrage and complaint by the vets themselves, in unision with the Military Ombudsman, to get Harper to be compassionate (well, more compassionate. He'll not win the prize for compassion, ever). And, how far will this amount of money go? Probably not as far as it looks.
23. September 23rd. Commons voted to retain the long gun registry last night. (thankfully). The PM says "this party will not rest till the long gun registry is closed down" (or words to that effect.) And some of his ministers say this will be an election issue. Now, give us a break. There are so many other issues in this country that should be election issues before this one. The PM's comment only re-inforces the idea that he is an obsessive man, with little vision for our country. Maybe a "one trick pony" would be a better description.
24. October 3. And all this time, the PM has allowed Guergis to be written about and gossiped about without even giving her the courtesy of a meeting to explain why he turfed her from the cabinet, and the caucus. This is the behaviour of a coward.
25. October 5. As one opposition member said, this government just "makes it up as it goes along." There weren't 1000 emails a day about the long census form, as Maxime Bernier said. Most of us would call this lying.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Too Much! And Too Little!

Too much what?

  • money being spent on the G8/G20 Summit
  • copy about the summits in the nespaper
  • whining about Canada
  • men making decisions about the Hockey hall of Fame

Too little/few?

  • women in the Hockey hall of Fame. Angela james and Cammi Granato are overdue in the hall. Let's hope that next time around, the suits will choose more women (and not call them a "subcategory") and pick the correct men. Dino C? What a joke.
  • sincerity in the apology to families of those killed in the Air India disaster 25 years ago, yes 25! Why did it take so long? The federal government is embarassingly partisan, operating only when it sees something to be gained, for itself. There is no acting on something because it is the right thing to do.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Controversial Decision

I don't know anyone who would support the use of performance-enhancing drugs, in sport or anywhere else.

But, has the punishment here exceeded the crime?

Should all the current players be penalized for the mistakes, poor judgement, possibly criminal activities of a few?

There are precedents. In the cases of medallist Olympians, the medals have been taken from whole relay teams. At least one of those and possibly two of those, are being challenged. If one relay team member cheats, should all the others of the team have to pay the price?

Consider, in the Waterloo, case, the incoming students who were recruited for football, who expect to play on the team (or at least be red-shirted) who now are without that team.

Consider too the support staff of the team: assistant coaches, therapists, sport psychologiests, trainers, etc who now do not have their team. Recognize that support staff usually are sport-specific; these people are trained in football.

The action of the AD is too severe for the mistakes. Too many people are paying the price. It is unfair, mostly to the athletes.

Not complicated to do more tests on more athletes next season. Costs money, but then, think of the lost money when the team doesn't participate. A few well-heeled alumni will keep their wallets closed.

Over-reaction by the AD.

Doping Control Test results on University of Waterloo football team announced

(Waterloo, Ontario) – The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), the University of Waterloo and Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) held a media conference in Waterloo, ON, to announce the results of the doping control testing which was conducted on the University of Waterloo football team on March 31, 2010.
When the University of Waterloo was informed that one of their former football players (Nathan Zettler) was under investigation related to trafficking banned substances (human growth hormone and steroids), the university took immediate and unprecedented action by requesting that the CCES immediately test the entire Waterloo football team.
“The CCES would like to congratulate the University of Waterloo and its Athletic Director, Bob Copeland for taking such bold and decisive action – requesting that the entire team be tested,” said Paul Melia, CCES President and CEO. “CIS and its member institutions have always been strong leaders in the fight against doping in sport, they were the first to institute mandatory education for all of their student-athletes and they continue to work with us to try and create a stronger testing and education program.”
On March 31st, the CCES conducted or attempted to conduct a total of 82 sample collections on 62 University of Waterloo football players. Sixty one (61) of those sample collections were for urine and 20 were for blood. Some athletes provided both blood and urine samples. Blood testing is conducted in order to determine the presence of certain substances, for example human growth hormone (HGH). The CCES is still awaiting all of the final results of the blood tests.
From the 62 urine sample collections attempted, the CCES is managing a total of nine potential anti-doping rule violation cases which include: one asserted refusal; a total of four admissions of Use – two admissions occurred prior to the testing procedures and two admissions occurred at the time of sample collection; three adverse analytical findings; and one case is pending additional police investigation.
The CCES is committed to transparency and public disclosure, but will at all times ensure the rights of the athlete(s) to confidentiality and due process. CCES will only disclose an athlete’s name in the event the athlete has been asserted to have committed an anti-doping rule violation resulting in a sanction and has either signed a waiver accepting the consequences of the violation proposed by the CCES or, completed a hearing procedure that has resulted in an arbitrator’s decision to uphold the assertion and impose a sanction.
"Naturally we're very disappointed in the results of the tests, but from the beginning Waterloo initiated testing the team in the belief it was the right thing to do. We have worked with CIS and CCES and thank them for everything that's been done, and we look forward to moving ahead," said Bob Copeland, Director of Athletics, University of Waterloo.”
A first year linebacker, Jordan Meredith’s urine sample returned an adverse analytical finding for Tamoxifen, a prohibited substance according to the 2010 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.
Tamoxifen is a selective estrogen receptor, which is commonly used by athletes as part of a post cycle treatment to combat the side effects of steroids. Mr. Meredith's urine sample only returned an adverse analytical finding for Tamoxifen.
In response to the CCES’ notification of the adverse analytical finding, Mr. Meredith waived his right to a hearing and acknowledged the commission of an anti-doping rule violation. Mr. Meredith has received a sanction of a two-year period of ineligibility.
Joe Surgenor, a 2nd year linebacker from Barrie, ON admitted to use of a steroid at the time of doping control. Mr. Surgenor has accepted a two (2) year sanction and waived his right to a hearing.
The CCES is also continuing to monitor the ongoing Waterloo Regional Police investigation into former University of Waterloo football player Nathan Zettler who has been charged with possession of steroids for the purpose of trafficking. As trafficking in prohibited substances is also an Anti-Doping Rule Violation, the matter is in the process of review and may result in a further assertion.
“This is the most significant doping issue in CIS history, and we’re taking it very seriously,” said CIS Chief Executive Officer, Marg McGregor. “This situation illustrates that the CIS doping control program needs to be strengthened to ensure a level playing field and protect the rights of the vast majority of student-athletes who respect the rules and complete clean.”
At the time of the Waterloo testing, the CCES conducted other doping control tests at the University of Guelph and McMaster University. There are no further adverse analytical findings to date from those schools tested – samples may be held for eight years and retroactively tested.
With the assistance of CIS and its member institutions who have provided athletes’ performance records and information on their home locations, the CCES has been conducting more unannounced home visits which have to date resulted in one potential anti-doping rule violation. More information cannot be provided at this time as the case is under review.
“I want to assure the Canadian public, that the CCES, the CIS and its member institutions, are taking this situation very seriously, said Mr. Melia. “We are applying all of the powers of the Canadian Anti-Doping Program including investigation, testing and education. We will continue to keep you informed as information becomes available either through media conferences or media releases.”
“If we are going to be effective in determining the extent to which this may be an issue in CIS football and possibly the sport of football, we will need the support of all of our partners in sport including the provincial and federal governments to work together to find the resources to investigate this situation, increase testing, and provide education earlier to our young athletes so that they don’t grow up believing that the answer to winning in sport is using performance enhancing drugs.” Mr. Melia concluded.
About the CCES
The CCES is an independent, national, non-profit organization. Our mission, to foster ethical sport for all Canadians, is carried out through research, promotion, education, detection and deterrence, as well as through programs and partnerships with other organizations.
About Canadian Interuniversity Sport
Canadian Interuniversity Sport is the national governing body of university sport in Canada. Fifty-two universities, 10,000 student-athletes and 550 coaches vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. CIS also provides high performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous world university championships. For further information, visit
About The University of Waterloo
The University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's Technology Triangle, is one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities. Waterloo is home to 30,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students who are dedicated to making the future better and brighter. Waterloo, known for the largest post- secondary co-operative education program in the world, supports enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. For more information about Waterloo, visit
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Monday, June 07, 2010

Why Host the Big Events?

$614,000 is not small change!!!

Hockey hall in works for Sask.

Canwest News Service June 7, 2010 2:09 AM

The Saskatchewan Hockey Associated received $614,000 from Hockey Canada as its share of the profits from the 2010 world junior championship in Saskatoon and Regina.
The SHA, which had its annual general meeting during the weekend in Regina, is using a portion of the money to create a post-secondary scholarship that will be available to graduating midget AAA players from Saskatchewan who stay in the province either by going straight to school or moving to the SJHL.
SHA general manager Kelly McClintock also hinted some of the money from the world juniors will be put toward the creation of a hall of fame in time for 2012, which is the 100th anniversary of hockey in Saskatchewan.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Why Humboldt?

Site selection for any big sporting event is a political decision. like it or not.

One has to wonder if the Kingston bid committee and those in the hockey "community" did enough on the political side. The franchise holder needs to know the people it might have to work with, the people behind the people, who has (either or both) influence and power. For a franchisse holder, this is a big deal. Those in the franchise must know the people, not just as they appear at the bid meetings, but over a period of time.

So, if Kingston might consider bidding again (and there's a lesson here for the Frontenacs and their interest in hosting the Memorial Cup), they need to keep involved in hockey at the national level, keep in touch with those who make the decisions in Hockey Canada. Show your interest in more than their treasures (these big events); be interested in the organization, get involved in it.

A second point that is a real negative for Kingston is its appalling air service. Don't be too quick to condem Humboldt......there is excellent air service to Saskatoon. It is frequent, it is from all over the country (and internationally) and there are at least 2 major airlines that serve the area. Humboldt is about 115K east of Saskatoo on what is esssentially a straight highway across the prairie (few if any annimals to cross the road, etc!!). It takes about one hour to get there from the Saskatoon airport. Frankly, a lot of those who go to the RBC Cup may stay in Saskatoon.

So...keep the politics going, and for heavens sake, let's get half-decent air service to Kingston! Just ask around the community if this isn't a BIG problem.

p.s. Surely no one thinks that when the site of the Olympics or Olympic Winter Games is chosen, that IOC members made their decision on the day of the formal bid presentation? Good. Most of them decided a long time ago!

Monday, May 31, 2010

WHY? Humboldt, SK to Host RBC Cup in 2012.

Hockey Canada rejects Kingston's bid to host 2012 RBC Cup
Humboldt, Sask. gets the nod over Kingston and two other cities

from The Kingston Whig Standard

The Kingston Kimco Voyageurs will not be hosting the 2012 RBC Cup.
Hockey Canada awarded the national junior A hockey championship to the Humboldt Broncos of Saskatchewan on Sunday at its annual general meeting in Montreal.
Kingston, Port Alberni, B.C. and Fort McMurray, Alta. were the other cities bidding for the event.
"Our committee did an exceptional job on our bid," Voyageurs owner Gregg Rosen said. "There's nothing more we could have done to secure the 2012 tournament. Hockey Canada has made its decision and it's the goal of our organization to get back to the RBC Cup and hopefully have an opportunity to host it down the road."
The Vees advanced to the national final in 2009 in Victoria, B.C., finishing fourth. Under Rosen's ownership, the Vees have led the Ontario Junior A Hockey League in attendance the past two seasons.
It marks the second national hockey championship setback for Kingston this month. Earlier in May, the Kingston Frontenacs lost out on their bid to host the 2011 Memorial Cup, which went to Mississauga.

It's easy to underestimate Humboldt, the Broncos, and the support the team has.

Humboldt is not some hick town on the prairie. It is near Saskatoon, it's people travel and work throughout the region.

The Broncos have been a strong team for...well, perpetually. They play good hockey, they have strong management, they have excellent fan support, they have excellent media coverage.

Media coverage of the team would definitely be one factor taken into account. The Broncos get regular, in-depth coverage from the Saskatoon Star Phoenix. Coverage is about the athletes it is positive, it is human-interest related. The placement of articles is superior to the layout and placement of articles in The Whig. Compare this to the sort of coverage that the Vees get in Kingston. Not even in the same league.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

They Made Two Decisions!

Maybe it was because the TV cameras weren't on councillors last night at their Special Meeting, maybe it was because some of them came to their senses, but amazingly, city council made two right decisions.

They will accept the federal government's offer of property along Highway 15 to build affordable housing, and they will proceed with the second stage EA for the third crossing of the Rideau River.

Kingston needs affordable housing. No one disputes that. People make unwarrented assumptions about the way of life of those who will live there. Not much charity shown.

And, all the questions that councillors were asking, particularly Councillor Schmolka, will be answered in the 2nd phase EA. Why councillors kept asking questions that the consultants said would be answered in the next phase, is a mystery to most of us.

Now, if council were to re-visit the S&R decision, and accept Mr Doornekamp's offer, citizens might think that council was acting in our best interest.

It's still difficult to see where this council will get all the money that it has committed to projects in the last year.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Outer Station, Kingston, Ontario

Montreal Street, en route from Highway 401, one of the routes used by tourists to enter Kingston!

Kingston's Outer Station, today

Now, this is another embarassment.

Another Goes Under

You have to wonder when the councillors of Kingston will figure out that their stewardship of the downtown is AWFUL!

Another store, Sir Gawain, a women's and men's wear shop, is closing its doors (announced this morning) It is located at the corner of Ontario and Princess Streets. Well, it's located there right now, but come July, it too will be gone.

And to think that these same councillors have decided NOT to buy the S & R building, that would have had quite a bit of pedestrian traffic, perhaps people going in to pay their parking tickets or property taxes........

Someone recently commented to me, "I can't wait to get rid of these people." There are a lot of citizens climbing onto that bandwagon.

One has to feel for the fellow who is trying to make an impression on the local market with his excellent (yes, I have had them, bought them) take-home frozen dinners, across from the Lone Star that has been closed for almost a month. On Ontario Street. The Lone Star must be crying too, since a lot of its trade is on the patio, summer-time.

What do the other owners/renters of property in the downtown think of all the closings? Do they wonder how long they can hang on?

There are over 40 vacant storefronts on Princess Street between Division and Ontario Streets. Why is this? One of those who knows, from experience, says that the rental rates in the buildings are astronomical. This person decided (without much contemplation) to take the business off Princess Street, to an adjacent street, and even then the rental rates are almost choking. Why? City taxes? Greedy landlords? Both?

Council doesn't address this in public at all. One has to wonder if they are oblivious to this, or if they don't care, or if they think it's just a passing aberration, or is there some other reason?

Kingston's downtown is in crisis. The citizens know this, why don't city councillors?

Too bad the Special meeting of Council tonight isn't being telecast on Cogeco 13. It sure would be nice to see if even one councillor tried to put this critical situation on the agenda.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

S & R for City Staff

And, while we are on the subject of bone-headed decisions....a quick look at the suggestion that the city purchase the S&R building, all renovated at the developer's expense, and ready to move into.

They said "NO."

Most children in grade 7 would be able to figure out that if the city is paying about $500,000/year to RENT an inadequate building, they will pay $5. million for a 10 year rental. And still nOT OWN the building.

The city has over $14 million in the budget for new digs. They would have to come up with $5 million more to get into the S&R building. This is chicken feed, considering how they just, without comment, gave $600,000 to fix up the Sir John A locomotive.

One has to admire the city staff for their "no comment" stance on this decision. Anyone who has been involved in any sort of organization, knows that with consolidation of staff comes greater co-operation, collaboratiion and efficient use of time. Just ask someone who does organizational development!!!

Kingston's Council is Treading Water

How right Councillor Steve Garrison is!

City council is doing nothing these days.......oh yes, they did do something this week.

After about 2.5 hours asking questions of the consultants on the Third Crossing (cost of moving to next phase is about $650,000) they left the item.

They went next to an item about the locomotive Sr John A that is sitting in Confederation Park in front of city hall. The engine needs work.

They passed, WITHOUT COMMENT, a request for over $650,000 to restore the locomotive and put it in some kind of enclosure.

This is ridiculous! It is the same amount of money they squabbled over about the Third Crossing!!!

Work on the next phase of the Third Crossing will take several years (most guess at 2-3 years) and that is just for the required studies!!!!

That's not even deciding to actually build the crossing!

These people have their heads in the sand. Whenever they stand up, it's to posture for the up-coming municipal election in October.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Queen's: The Invisible University

CIS-SIC, the governing body for Canadian university sport, released the list of universities bidding for various national championships between now and about 2013.

Sadly, Queen's University, with its new Activity Centre has not bid for even one national championship.

This is amazing!

What could possibly be reasons? A short list........
1. Not proud of the new digs
2. Not enough capacity to put on a national championship
3. Difficulty getting a team together, or perhaps get consensus on the package
4. Lack of support form the university administration
5. Infighting about which sport to bid for
6. Lack of money

More to come......

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cut from the same cloth

There is a piece of cloth....
Juan Antonio Samaranch and Gary Bettman were cut out of it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

So, What Does She Know?

Wondering how I know ?
A history in bidding, and multi-sport games.
Served on the COA Site Selection Committee to choose the site for the 1999 Pan Am Games. COA chose Winnipeg add to the PASO list. Winnipeg won.
Many Canada Games, Pan Am Games and Calgary Olympics.
Spend much time studying and communicating with franchise holders.

City Council's Lack of Vision

Kingston was one of four cities bidding to host the 2011 Memorial Cup.

Not surprisingly, it didn't win.
There are a lot of reasons why it didn't win, some of which are written about in the Whig Standard today.

The winning bid from Mississauga guaranteed $3 milllion. It is highly unlikely that Kingston made a guarantee of this size.

This from the Toronto Star, this morning, by Kevin McGran:
The selection committee — featuring a Toronto-heavy board that includes Blue Jays president Paul Beeston, former NHL executive Frank Bonello, NHL senior vice-president Jim Gregory, and NHL director of central scouting E.J. McGuire — concluded Mississauga could put on the best show.

That, despite the fact the Majors have only 1,000 or so season ticket holders at the 5,501-seat Hershey Centre while teams in the other three cities play to packed arenas.

Mississauga owner Eugene Melnyk reportedly guaranteed a $3-million return for the OHL from the event, $1 million more than Windsor.

“What you hope from this from the Majors’ perspective is you hope there will be carryover,” said OHL commissioner David Branch. “You’re going to introduce (junior hockey) to fans in this area who maybe haven’t witnessed OHL hockey for a long time or ever. They’ll see what a great quality product it is and they’ll come back.”

Branch said his only worry is whether the Hershey Centre is big enough.

“Toronto is a special events city and that alone will put it over the top in terms of it being a complete sellout,” said Branch. “There are no concerns at all. The biggest problem we’re going to have is maybe the arena isn’t big enough. There are so many OHL centres with an hour and a half of the GTA that many will undoubtedly want to come and watch the games.”

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion said the city is willing to spend up to $2 million “in kind” to help promote the event that is expected to generate up to $15 million in economic benefits. Melnyk, who also owns the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, was behind the bid but missed the news conference due to illness.

The ticket campaign begins Tuesday with “Dave Keon” packages beginning at $699 for a Majors season-ticket and tickets to the Memorial Cup. The “Frank Mahovlich” package begins at $899.

The return of the Memorial Cup will end at least one long major championship hockey drought for the Greater Toronto Area that dates back to the 1960s. The Memorial Cup was last played in the GTA in 1966 when the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Oshawa Generals at Maple Leaf Gardens.
The loss of the bid comes from several factors, but knowing sports organizations, I am quite sure that it was the guarantee that did it.

Two other factors include the lack of a significant fan base for the Frontenacs and the fact that the team doesn't play very good hockey.

The Whig Standard article cites a very significant factor: city council's lack of vision. The way Ken Wong sees it, council was pretty cheap in its contribution to the event. That is certainly true. With great reluctance they offered sortof "discounted" price ice time and few other throw-ins.

It is these "throw-ins" that an organization will look at; they are the hidden factors that the bid committee can fall back on, add to as the process evolves and make the city look good.

Council's lack of vision is one way to put the factor. My view is that Kingston is so parochial, so stuck on itself, so fixed on navel-gazing. Council cannot look out, it cannot see forward, it thinks it is the best thing since sliced bread.

Not only does council have aa "small town" mentality, the lack of leadership from the mayor holds the city back. The mayor of a community is its chief cheerleader. The mayor gets out there, speaks well of the city, talks about what it can do, what it is where it is going. The current mayor does none of these things. His lack of enthusiam is palpable.

So....why did the city lose the 2011 Memorial Cup? No big buck guarantee, the cheap mentality of council, a mayor who sat in the weeds, once again.

And the really unfortunate part of this is that no one will tell council and the mayor that they are responsible, that they are holding the city back, that they are creating a negative climate. It's a small town, and citizens fear retribution.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Own The Podium

Interesting reading at Roger Jackson's blog. He is the leader of OTP.

XX1 Olympic Winter Games

Here we go!

Headline in the sports section of the Toronto Star this morning: "Feschuk: Snowboard Silver as Skiers, Skaters Fall short."

Come on, Feschuk. Let's drop the negarive stuff. Oh yes, Feschuk didn't write the headline; some poor underpaid, overnight intern did. Well STOP THE NEGATIVE!

Monday, February 15, 2010

XX1 Olympic Winter Games

Great Opening Ceremony.

Why all this talk about not winning a Gold Medal at either of the games we have hosted? It seems to me that all this blathering is just media hype. I haven't heard ONE person mourn that Canada didn't win Gold at either '76 or '88. Just media frenzy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Now that would be one monumental mistake, to have WAYNE GRETZKY light the Olympic cauldron on Friday night.

All Canadians do NOT worship at his feet, do not consider him greater than sliced bread, and consider his departure from Canada to be (at best) very disappointing.

NO Wayne Gretzky to light the flame.

And, while we are at it, no BETTY FOX either. It was her son who demonstrated spirit and determination, not her.

Monday, February 08, 2010


The final of the Scott Tournament of Hearts yesterday was a nail-biter. In the end, an extra end too, Jennifer Jones and her mates won. There were several very quesionable calls in the game, particularly by the O'Rourke team. In the final end, they left a Jones rock nearest the pin, and played other shots. Very strange.

There were many questions throughout the week though. The team had great difficulty "getting" the ice. It was strange, though, because Jones hasn't had that difficulty in other competitions.

Several other teams had strange weeks too. Saskatchewan? Ontario? The ice was a prblem for them on occasion too. TSN's commentators remarked on it, gently, when they really should have lambasted the ice makers, and some of the skips for the shots they called. They were too nice.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Olympian Forever

It's time the media stopped referring to Canadians as "former Olympians."

Once an athlete has competed in an Olympic or Olympic Winter Games, he/she is an Olympian. Period. Not a "former Olympian."

In Randy Starkman's column today, a reader refers to Debbi Wilkes who won a figure skating medal in 1964 with Guy Revell as "former Olympian Debbi Wilkes." She will NEVER be a former Olympian. She will be an Olympian "who competed in the 1964 OWG" but never a former Olympian.

Pretty well everyone knows that it is extremely difficult to represent our country in the OLys or OWG, so let's give these athletes their due.

Big media giants like Sun Media, or QMI it is called now (I think) perpetuate this error. If I could find out how to contact DAVID LANGFORD who is the chief sports person for Sun Media, I would give him my opinion on this. But he is harder to locate (e-mail-wise) than chicken's teeth. If you know his email, let me know!

The sports editor at the Kingston Whig Standard tells me that they just print what comes off the wire from their media giant. Well, folks, that just isn't good enough. If he cared about our Olympians, he would edit out the error!

Friday, February 05, 2010

This is Very Generous

Each Olympic Gold Medal Nets $100,000 for Athletes
by Randy Starkman
Toronto Star, February 4, 2010

Canadian athletes who strike gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics will be sparking more than just future dreams for younger athletes – they'll be making a financial investment in them.
Sprott Asset Management LP, known for its success with gold stocks, announced this morning in Toronto that in conjunction with The Sprott Foundation they will donate $100,000 for every gold medal won in Vancouver to the Canadian Athletes Now Fund, which raises money to help this country's athletes.
While Canada has never won a gold medal at a home Olympics, it's expected they could win as many as 10 at the upcoming Games.
“One of warmest feelings of all time is to see a Canadian athlete win a medal,” said Eric Sprott, ceo of Sprott Management LP. “It's stunningly exciting. I always realized these athletes winning the medals have worked so hard and there's so much dedication by those around them. I've always thought it was a huge accomplishment and should be rewarded.”
Sprott said it was of much greater benefit overall to spread the money out among athletes than have it go to the winner of the gold medal.
“We don't want to say that the person who wins gold is the only winner,” said Sprott. “There are a lot of athletes involved, not just gold medal athletes.”
Jane Roos, founder of the CAN Fund, said it was Sprott who came up with the idea.
“It celebrates excellence and fits in with our vision to have summer and winter athletles work together to support each other,” said Roos.
To that end, Olympic rowing gold medalist Ben Rutledge attended the launch of the fundraiser.
“I think it's great we've got somebody who is looking ahead to the future, especially knowing we face funding cutbacks going forward,” said Rutledge.
The Sprott Foundation has also made an initial contribution of $210,000 to help the CAN Fund cover funding for 35 athletes they still had on their books. The CAN Fund gives out $6,000 to each athlete to help cover training and living expenses. Roos said that 80 per cent of the athletes on the Winter Olympic team have received funds from their group.
Sprott Asset Management is also encouraging other corporations and the public to add to the total that will be donated for the gold medal tally at a website they have set up,

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Fight Is On!

The discussion is hot in the media, and even hotter within the sport community. Virtually NONE of the sport federations want OTP to come under the COC, but for political reasons, they won't quite put it this way.

The fact remains: keep OTP away from the COC.

COC, OTP fight for control of future athlete funding

By Cam Cole, Vancouver SunFebruary 4, 2010 3:02 AM

(no photo)
Own the Podium president Roger Jackson stands by the mural at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary on Feb. 2. Jackson hopes OTP remains independent after the Vancouver Games.

VANCOUVER — Before wading into the whole Canadian Olympic Committee/OwnThe Podium/federal funding brouhaha, a nagging memory from the days leading into the 1988 Calgary Olympics:
"The world does not end on Feb. 28," the Mulroney government's sports minister, Otto Jelinek trumpeted to reporters. "Future funding will not be tied to Canada's performance in Calgary. Sports federations need not fear. They can rest assured that the bottom is not going to fall out."
As far as he knew at the time, that was probably true.
But then Canada won zero gold medals in Calgary, only five medals in total, and . . . well, priorities changed in Ottawa. The world did not actually end on Feb. 28, it just felt that way to the next generation or two of elite Canadian amateur athletes.
Which brings us to the Harper government's sports minister, Gary Lunn, and the assurances he has given that Own The Podium's request for $22 million a year in "replacement funding" — to offset the loss of sponsorship money from the Vancouver organizing committee once the Games are over — is in the works, and everyone's in favour of it, and when the federal budget comes out on March 4, it'll be there.
The cheque, in other words, is in the mail.
But we've seen this movie before, and the niggling suspicion is that the report on the future of sports funding — written by the panel that Lunn struck to study it — is languishing in Ottawa due to some nefarious interference. Delayed, the conspiracy theorists say, by successful lobbying from the COC because the report as it sits is about to hand control of the federal dough to OTP.
Under this theory, the COC, headed by outgoing CEO Chris Rudge and incoming president Marcel Aubut, wants the feds to put OTP under COC control.
Meanwhile, OTP, led by CEO Roger Jackson, wants to stay independent because it views the COC as an unwieldy, bureaucratic sinkhole which doles out funds — through Sport Canada — so inefficiently that the athletes are badly served and high-performance objectives are constantly being watered down by internal COC politics.
If your eyes are already spinning in their sockets, you're not alone. Can't we all just get along?
Everyone loves Own The Podium. In its brief life, it has already demonstrated that it knows how to get bang for its buck, how to turn money into Olympic medals, efficiently.
Hurrah for Roger.
If he wants independence to continue doing that, what's the counter-argument?
"I'm wearing two hats here, because I'm also the chair of Own The Podium," said Rudge, the COC chief. "It's not a case of them being in opposition, it's a case of the evolution of a concept."
A concept, he rightly points out, that was born in the mind of the late Mark Lowry, the COC's former executive director of sport, who devised the idea of merit-based, directed funding at least a couple of years before OTP was formed.
"So if there's an issue about whether this could be done under the aegis of the COC, well, there's a precedent for it," Rudge said. "We had a program called the Canadian Sport Review Panel, and it dispersed the high-performance funds, co-ordinated with Sport Canada, and that was then handed over to OTP to do."
He said the COC acknowledges that, whatever the panel decides, funding distribution henceforth has to be done independently of the COC.
As if.
"There's no question OTP has been an absolute home run," Rudge said, "but there are areas where we still have overlaps between what the COC does in athlete preparation and what OTP does. Are there ways those can be harmonized in order to avoid duplication and release more dollars? The panel has given its report back, I've not seen it, but from my perspective — because it's going to say something about where we should go, but it's not going to be able to act on it — I think we're better off not seeing it until after the Games."
If Jackson's spidey senses are tingling, it's only because he's been president of the COC, when it was the COA, three different times, and he knows how it works and doesn't work.
"It's a hugely politicized organization, and it's a membership organization, so you have the member (sports federations) themselves approving distribution of money, and they're the ones into whose pockets these funds would go," said the former gold-medal-winning Olympic rower.
"For us, a far better model for Canadian sport is a properly run agency, totally independent, totally focused on high performance, rather than mixing it up with the politics of the COC, the self-interest of all the representations of federations in the COC, and all of the other program responsibilities of the COC which include Pan-Am Games, winter Games, summer Games, youth Games, and all those Games missions and the other stuff. It's a no-brainer."
You want medals? Focus on medals. Sounds simple.
Rudge agrees, and says there's no reason it has to be a war. The federal government, he points out, has "stepped up to the table" with a total of $47 million in annual funding, in three different initiatives, guaranteed in perpetuity, that wasn't there five years ago, "so I think Minister Lunn deserves some credit for what he's done, and we shouldn't lose sight of that."
It's only a question of who will control that money, and whatever additional funds the government might allocate in the upcoming budget.
"It's not something I would panic over. I think it's a healthy debate. The truth is always somewhere between two opposites. I think that truth will be found," Rudge said, and believes that the government-commissioned panel will find it.
That, surely, would be a first.
Vancouver Sun
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Biggest Question: What Happens After the Games?

Take a look at RANDY STARKMAN's column

There is no doubt that there is much anxiety about future sport funding. Canada has a pattern of putting gobs of $$$ into the one or 2 years before a big competition, expecting miracles (there seldom are any), and then dropping back to an abysmal amount of funding for sport. And the results usually show this short-term thinking.

It has been like this as long as I have been in sport, and longer. Just look at international results starting in the mid-1960s.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Canada's Team at the OWG: Canada Games Grads!!

This is great!!!

(February 2, 2010) Ottawa – Canada Games Alumni represent 44% of the athletes that will compete for Team Canada at the upcoming Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The fact that, in sports on the Canada Games program, close to half of the athletes competing in the Olympic Games have competed at Canada’s multi-sport event indicates how important the Canada Games are in the development of Canada’s next generation of national, international and Olympic champions. This number comes at a time when the success of Canadian athletes is linked to improved development programs as well as increased funding and athlete performances are being monitored closely.

“The Canada Games are proud to act as a key stepping stone for many Canada Games athletes,” says Sue Hylland, President and CEO of the Canada Games Council. “Every two years, we anxiously wait for the Olympic team roster to track the Canada Games alumni percentage in sports that are on the Canada Games program. We wish all of Canada’s Olympic hopefuls well and look forward to marking the Canada Games alumni who medal at these important Games.”

Overall, 80 Canada Games Alumni will compete in Vancouver and many are medal contenders. Renowned alumni competing in Vancouver include five-time Olympic medalist and the athlete named Canada’s flag bearer Clara Hughes (Speed Skating), 2006 Olympic Gold medalist Jennifer Heil (Freestyle) and returning gold medalist Chandra Crawford (Cross-Country Skiing). The Canada Games are well represented in almost all sports at the 2010 Olympic Games.

In some sports the impact of the Canada Games is even more apparent. Of the eight-member Biathlon team competing in 2010, seven athletes are Canada Games Alumni. In Speed Skating, Canada Games Alumni will make up almost 70% of the total team. Some notable Canada Games Hockey alumni who will also be competing in Vancouver include two time Olympic Gold medalist Jennifer Botterill, four-time Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser, three-time Olympic team member Christopher Pronger and Sidney Crosby who will be competing at his first Olympic Games.

In addition to the athletes, many of the Team Canada members who make up the Canadian delegation at the Vancouver Olympics are representing as coaches, managers, technical personnel, mission staff, and organizing committee staff and many can attribute their roots to the Canada Games.

10 DAYS TO GO !!

In this morning's Kingston Whig Standard, there is a small piece about a gentleman who died. The part that the editors put on the front page is that "he was a family man."

When will this nonsense stop? Or should we start including in the obit of women that "she is a family woman"???

Saying that someone is a "family man" does not move him up in the eyes of a reader.

Please, editors/writers stop using this phrase. It is outdated, if nothing else.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Scott Tournament of Hearts

The Scotties started on Saturday. Not quite painful to watch, but not gripping TV.

After the Olympic Trials and some Grand Slam curling, it's hard to come down to ground and watch the very pedestrian brand of curling that provinces like NB and PEI offer up.

Let's hope it gets better toward the end of the draw!!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Champion Won't Be There

Ah, how familiar this sounds.

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) has internal "rules" for who can be selected for an Olympic or OWG as well. How well I remember the days when Canadians met the Olympic standard (particularly in athletics) but were not selected to attend the OG.

This illustrates that Canada isn't the only country that has its own rules about who can atttend the OG or OWG.

January 30, 2010
(from the NY Times)
An Olympic Qualifier, but Not in Israel’s Eyes

Israel has its first Olympic qualifier in women’s figure skating — but the country’s Olympic officials will not let her compete at the Vancouver Games.
Tamar Katz, the three-time national champion, met the International Skating Union’s standards for Olympic eligibility. But the Olympic Committee of Israel has a rule that says a skater must place among the top 14 at the European championships to earn a trip to the Olympics, the group’s president said. Katz finished 21st at the recent championships in Tallinn, Estonia.
“This issue is not about resources or gender — it’s purely professional,” Efraim Zinger, the secretary general for the Israeli Olympic Committee, said in a telephone interview. “We set the target about two years ahead of time for our athletes. Those who don’t make it must stay back. Some countries’ main goals are to participate, some send their athletes to win. We are interested in our athletes reaching the top.”
Katz, 20, was born in Dallas and practices at Sport-o-Rama in Monsey, N.Y., under her coach, Peter Burrows. Her skating career started in Rockville, Md., and when the family moved back to Israel, they decided to live in Metulla, near Israel’s only regulation ice rink. She moved back to the United States on her own at 15 so she would have access to better coaches, she said.
“If the Israeli Olympic Committee is concerned I’ll place last in the Olympics, they don’t have to worry — even if I don’t skate my best, I can place in the top 20,” Katz said in a telephone interview. “I am not talking about a medal, because it is not just about medals, it is also about representing your country with honor and respect.”
Katz gained Olympic eligibility by finishing seventh at a competition in Oberdorf, Germany, in September.
In explaining the decision not to send Katz to the Vancouver Games, the president of Israel’s Olympic Committee, Zvi Varshaviak, said: “We have internal rules for our athletes. She needed to be in the top 14 at the European championships. She came in 21st, and it’s not good enough.”
Israel will send three athletes to Vancouver: a team of ice dancers and a skier. The country has never won a medal at the Winter Olympics.
“It’s the first time an Israeli woman had the chance to go to the Olympics,” said Boris Chait, president of Israel’s skating federation. “If I said it was a good call, I would be lying, but the rules don’t allow her to compete. I made a personal plea from Tallinn to the I.O.C. I stated my case and appealed, but they did not see it my way.”
Israel sent its first Winter Olympic team to compete in the 1994 Games in Lillehammer, Norway. Its national Olympic committee has modified its qualification rules over the years. The group has 10 people who decide the requirements for athletes in the Summer and Winter Games.
Apparently, there was not a consensus in the group on how to handle Katz’s situation. Alex Gilady, a member of the Israel Olympic Committee as well as a member of the International Olympic Committee, said he disagreed with the ruling.
“I was trying to help Tamar and wrote a letter asking, why don’t we send her to Vancouver as a future Olympic hopeful, because she is young and talented,” Gilady said. “However, they decided against it.”
Two weeks before the European championships in Estonia, Katz came down with a viral infection. She was off the ice for two weeks but recovered a few days before the competition. On the day of the short program Katz failed to execute her triple-lutz-double-loop combination, which would have been her highest-scoring element.
“Because of it, I missed qualification for the free program by half a point,” she said. “Had I been able to skate in the free program portion of the event, I would have been able to pull up from my current 21st position.”
Burrows, Katz’s coach, objected to the committee’s decision.
“The fact that she competes internationally also means she generates money for the Israeli figure skating organization,” he said. “In all my years of coaching I have never seen anything so ridiculous.”
Varshaviak sees the situation differently: “It’s about winning medals while also making your country proud. We like Tamar Katz, she’s young and we hope to see her compete for Israel in the next Olympics.
For now, Katz is planning to finish the season and compete for Israel in the world championships in March.
“It’s my dream to hear the Hatikva,” she said, referring to hearing Israeli’s national anthem at the Olympic Games.


Canada will be led into the stadium by Clara Hughes, and excellent choice.

Gary mason of the Globe and Mail is floating the idea that Wayne Gretzky will be lighting the Olympic flame on Friday night.

Mason thinks that all Canada will be thrilled with this. No, all Canada won't think this is great!

Friday, January 29, 2010


Today is the day that the Canadian Team will be officially named, and the Opening Ceremony flag bearer. Lots of speculation that it will be CLARA HUGHES, competing as a long track speedskater. She would be an exellent choice, although my choice is HAYLEY WICKENHEISER.

The Toronto Star sure is promoting Hughes to carry the flag!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Getting ready to be a couch potato!!

Mike Danton, convicted criminal, played for the St Mary's Huskies hockey team last night. Why do I object? This fellow went to St Mary's after Christmas, to be a student and an athlete. The coach said he'd get a chance. That's ok, but....the rest of the team had to "try out" and earn their place on the team in the fall. This fellow comes in well after the start of the season, and displaces another student on the team. This isn't fair. He should have had to wait till next season, try out for the team, and if he made it, then he'd be on the team. One athlete is now sitting in the stands, Mike Danton having taken his place. This is unacceptable. The CIS should not allow this.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

16 DAYS TO GO !!

Patrice Cormier is going to appeal his suspension from Junior hockey. Where did he get that advice? Time for him to emerge from the "hockey cocoon" anhd listen to what people are saying about hockey violence, especially the 'planned' kind, like his hit on Tam was.

Randy Starkman, The Star in Toronto, writes about the human part of athlete lives, and especially about Canada's 2010 Olympians. Check out his columns daily. Good stuff.

Football fans are amazed at how the NFL does OT. Imagine any game that is determined by the toss of a coin. In the NFL the coin toss winner is the only team that gets posession of the ball. Now, it that fair? The tunnel-vision NFL could take a page out of the CFL and do OT the way it does it. Both teams get a chance to score: a field goal or TD. Most points in the OT period (yes, a pre-determined amount of time) gets to win. The NFL OT rules stink.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


QMJHL athlete PATRICE CORMIER received a well-deserved season suspension for his deliberate elbow/hit in a hockey game last week. He is finished for the regular season and the playoffs.

Might have received a longer suspension, if I had been dishing out the penalty.

Monday, January 25, 2010

18 DAYS TO GO!!!

Torch Relay Illuminates debate on journalism

January 24, 2010

The Toronto Star
A year ago, Alice Mawdsley lay in a coma after a snowmobile accident in the Northwest Territories. She recovered and ran with the 2010 Olympic flame in Edmonton this past week.
Fifty years ago, Doreen Ryan was the first woman to compete in speed skating for Canada at the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley, Calif. Bill Brese raises money for children's homes in India; Rosanna Saccomani raises money for children in Alberta.

They all ran in the torch relay in Edmonton. I sat next to them on the torchbearer bus and thought to myself: Why am I here?

There's been much controversy in recent months over the fact that at least three dozen journalists and broadcasters will run with the 2010 Olympic flame.

"Did these people have a procedure involving the brain that went badly wrong? Or are they just naturally soft?" wrote former Globe and Mail columnist William Houston on his Truth and Rumours blog after CTV, the official Games broadcaster, announced 27 of its broadcasters would carry the flame.

"They're supposed to be journalists. ... They are not supposed to be part of the Olympic cheerleading torch procession."

My spot came as an invitation from the International Olympic Committee, which also invited a number of other Vancouver reporters on the Olympic beat. Several declined.

Vancouver Province reporter Damian Inwood wrote in his blog that he turned down the offer, not because he was worried it would colour his reporting, "but there might be a public perception that it had. And that's what matters."

The debate about journalists carrying the Olympic torch is an important one – a public example of the types of questions about conflict and special access that reporters deal with on a daily basis.

When the Canadian military decided to allow reporters to report on the war in Afghanistan by staying on base and accompanying soldiers on missions, the idea of "embedding" caused great consternation in newsrooms across the country. Living among soldiers would surely taint the coverage, some argued, despite the fact it was the most practical and presumably safest way into the story of the war.

During my two stints as a war correspondent in Afghanistan, being an embed helped me get to know soldiers not as faceless fighting units, but as people.

Could running with the torch be considered the same?

Houston said no.
"The torch relay is an event used to promote a business enterprise, the Olympics," he wrote in an email.

But after discussions with my editors, the decision was made that being in the relay was an opportunity to get unique access to the workings of this massive national event.

The traditional rules of journalistic ethics are changing for both good and bad reasons, Stephen Ward, a former bureau chief for The Canadian Press who is now the director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told me when I wrote seeking his counsel.

The bad reasons are when reporters simply want to sell news at all costs. Good reasons, he said, are "when journalists want to get closer to the events in their community and not be aloof."
The word aloof rang in my ears.

For two years I've been covering this story and still have not really grasped the power of the Olympics.

The Games are costing Canadian taxpayers more than $2 billion. Just over $14 million is being spent by the federal government on the relay alone. But there's little clarity on where it's all going. VANOC's zeal in protecting its image has at times gone to seemingly absurd lengths – the committee even refuses to allow reporters to interview the people who suit up as official mascots on the ground the mascots are "real" people, they just can't speak.

With thousands of homeless people on the streets of Vancouver, it's easy to understand why spending billions on a 17-day sporting event can incite so much anger.

Yet there's no other event in the world that sees people from countries committed to blowing each other to bits shake hands across a finish line. What is it that creates so much joy?
Prior to the run, my group of torchbearers was given an evangelical pep talk about how seriously we should treat carrying the flame – that it would change our lives and that "if every person on Earth had a chance to carry the flame, war would end."

As I sat there in my free uniform, clasping the torch I paid $349 plus tax to buy, I wondered if this would in fact be the moment I could finally understand the message Games organizers work so hard to sell. If I felt, even for a moment, the power of the flame then I could put myself in the shoes of the public who believe in it. That emotion could inform my stories as much as my experiences speaking with people whose lives have changed for the worse because of these Games.

My actual run with the torch is a blur. I smiled and waved and marvelled at all the people lining the route. I didn't feel inspired or uplifted – I felt uncomfortable.

I was flummoxed by children asking me to sign their arms thinking I was some kind of celebrity. I'm not.

I felt ashamed knowing my spot likely meant someone else didn't get a chance. Nor did I really learn all that much about the actual running of the relay that would inform the public about these Games any more than they already know.

So, was the story I got from running in the relay worth compromising my ethics? No.

But running in the relay did force a healthy debate about what journalism means in today's rapidly changing media environment and how far is too far to go for access to a story. If that's what Olympic organizers mean by the power of the flame to inspire, I can say that for me, it worked.

Stephanie Levitz is a Vancouver-based reporter in The Canadian Press.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Canadians are really something. We have donated over $80 million to Haiti relief and re-build. Even though the federal government acts like a dictatorship, Canadians have hope and much caring for others. How poorly the PM understands our values.

Curling team Kevin Martin was challenged in the semis of the BDO Classic Canadian Open (who thinks up these names???) by Norways's Ulsrud. Martin is going to meet his match in Vancouver.

Martin plans to go to Vancouver 8 days before his competition. Bad idea.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


X-C skiier BRIAN MCKEEVER has raised questions about the Olympics and Paralympics.

MCKEEVER has qualified for both the OWG and the Winter Paralympic Gaesm, this year being held shortly after the Vancouver games.

MCKEEVER is legally blind. He has a disease that is similar to macular degeneration, in which the macula of the eye does not function, and the person has only peripheral vision.

Is there any reason that he shouldn't compete in both Games?
Are the "definitions" of disabilities for athletes in the Paralympic Games sufficient/accurate?

Friday, January 22, 2010


Some not-so-well-known info:

  • It is reported that at least seven athletes and/or personnel that represented Haiti at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing have lost their lives.

  • No athletes from Haiti are entered in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games

  • Members of the Canadian team will officially be announced on January 29th. Even though some sports have "named" their team, after athletes meet their sport's criteria for selection, those names are forwarded to the COC, and it names the team. One of the "responsibilities" of a NOC.

  • The flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony will also be named on January 29th. that person recieves the James Worrall Award, instigated in 1991, for the persons who carry the flag at the Opening and Closing of the games. james Worrall carried the flag for Canada at the opening of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. In Canada, each sport may nominate someone from their sport to carry the Canadian flag at the opening. Figure skating has indicated that they have not nominated anyone.

21 Days To Go!

A few bits of trivia......

  • Ski Cross is a new event, added for the Gen-Xers. Check it out!
  • over 2000 dope tests will be done by CCES and WADA
  • Canadian team not announced yet, but there will be close to 225 athletes this time
  • 40 MORE CDOs have been trained
  • a small lab in Vancouver will be a legacy of these games
  • Russian ice dancers are using Australian aboriginal music! The Aussies aren't pleased, since they think there are non-authentic steps in the routine. Besides, the Russians have never been to Australia! Would Canadians be upset if czechs (or any other skaters) used First Nations' music?
  • Alan Abrahamson is one of the Olympics' most respected bloggers. Can't figure out why he's not blogging already. He blogs for NBC.
  • Other Olympic bloggers:
  • You gotta love it: skiiers wear helmets, of course. You can vote for the design of USA Alpine skiier Lindsey Vonn's helmet online! Kind of like a goalie's helmet! Neat idea!
  • Quatchi is the most popular of the 3 mascots.
  • 2010 pins are selling at Loblaws for (gasp) $6.99 and $7.99. Considering that each pin probably costs less than one dollar, they are a money-maker!!
  • Some IFs want to get a discipline into the Olympic Winter Games, but unless they use ice and/or snow, it won't happen (check Dick Pound's speeches). There are only 4 sports indoors in the OWG: curling, figure skating, ice hockey, and speed skating. All other events are outdoors.
  • 92 countries accepted the invitation to participate in the 2010 OWG. That includes Turkey and Cyprus.........
  • 1994 was the first OWG out of the historical 4-year cycle. Now, there are Olympics every 2 years.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

22 Days To Go!

Things are heating up for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

Randy Starkman had an interesting column in The Star a couple of days ago, in which he says that it's time Canadians differentiated between "medal favourites" and "medal hopefuls."

How right he is.

A good example is the two curling teams. Until the women's team was chosen, and the skip commented on their success, one would have said they were "medal favourites." Same with the men's curling team.

But, both skips have lessened their chances of a gold medal, and possibly any kind of medal. Both skips say that their teams will go to Vancouver ahead of the games "to soak up some of the atmosphere."

If there are two things that sport psychologists agree upon, it is that athletes should not go too far ahead of the start of their event, and definitely should not get involved in the "stuff" of a games.

Going early to see the sights, visit venues, take in the cultural events and get into pin trading are definite NO-NOs.

Let's hope that their psychologists tell them not to be foolish. There are plenty of examples of Canadians faring poorly when they went to "soak up the atmosphere" and enjoy it with their families.