The Loon Lake fire

I don’t get truly outraged very often, but this story truly outrages me. It should outrage you, too.

LOON LAKE, Sask. The volunteer fire chief in a Saskatchewan village says a neighbouring First Nation that lost two children in a house fire cancelled its firefighting contract with the community.

Larry Heon, who is also the mayor of Loon Lake, says he was sleeping when he got a 911 call automatically routed to him at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday about the blaze on the Makwa Sahgaiehcan reserve.

“But we didn’t go,” said Heon.

The children were two and 18 months. They died at the scene.

Or, perhaps, they were killed – by the stupidity and indifference of unknown others.

I first learned about this horror on CBC Radio, when Niki Ashton raised it in the House. She was understandably emotional about what has happened.

This story needs to be better-known – and we need to know how such a thing could happen. You can contact Ashton here.


In Friday’s Sun: not me

I’ve been given up for Lent, you might say.

As you may have observed, there is a distinct lack of Warren-ness in this week’s Sun papers. So, too, other folks who used to appear on Sun News Network.

There’s a reason for this: the Sun chain, in whole or in part, is transitioning to a new ownership. That’s likely to happen within the next month. As such, there may be room for some of us at the columnist manger, or there may not be. It’s up to the new owners, the Competition Bureau, and You, Dear Reader.

So, I’m not writing a farewell column just yet. I may be back, I may not be. If you cannot imagine a day without Warren Sunshine, add your voice in comments. If you can, you are a horrible person, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

For those in need of a Warren fix, I can tell you that I will be now appearing in The Hill Times every week. It’ll be behind a paywall, so bring your credit card. (Columns that appear there will, however, eventually show up on this web site. Eventually.) And that’s not all! A couple of us are talking about developing a podcast-type thingie – for progressive contrarians – that would be located here and elsewhere.

Whatever happens, let me say – in all seriousness – that I have loved writing for the Sun. They have been a great bunch to work with, and they never censored a word I wrote. Not once. A first, for me.

Anyway. See you next week in The Hill Times – and, hopefully, back in the Sun, down the road.


Kill the drummer

Having dispatched more than my fair share over the years, I fully support this effort to kill the drummer. In SFH, both of ours are a pain in the ass, like all drummers, and we want to replace them with a Boss Dr. Rhythm. A drum machine doesn’t mooch as much beer, for starters, and it doesn’t talk back.

As one wise wag once observed: Q: What’s the last thing a drummer says in a band? A: “Hey, how about we try one of my songs?”

Give generously to this important campaign. It’s for the children, as they say.


Who is going to win the 2015 federal election?

Here’s what the bright Mr. Grenier says on CBC’s web site this morning. But what do you guys think?

Last week, Lala and me had a long-overdue dinner with two of the smartest political folks I know. We decided to wager on the outcome of the 2015 election, region by region.

I’ve blurred out the names of the participants in our little election poll, to protect the guilty. On the left side of the Moleskin notebook page, however, is a column representing the Atlantic region, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies and B.C. (Moleskin didn’t leave enough room for the Territories, sorry. And some of my addition may be wrong, but tant pis.)

On the right side, you’ll see that I have prognosticated that the Liberals will do well: they’ll dominate in the Atlantic and Quebec, do better in Ontario than they did in 2011, pick up a few in Manitoba-Saskatchewan-Alberta, and then get a third of the British Columbia pie. But I don’t see the NDP disappearing completely, which is why the Tories will remain in the Grits’ rear view mirror. It’ll be close, I predict, and we’ll be back at it in 2017, after a Conservative leadership race. Yay! More opportunity for baseless speculation!

Now, Grenier and various pollsters say the Conservatives are edging ever-closer to a majority. Trudeau has lost ground, they say, due to his stance on the international effort against ISIS, and because of uncertainty about his ability to manage an economy that seems fragile. The verbal missteps certainly haven’t helped, either.

But that’s them. You’re smarter, Dear Reader. What do you think? Place your bets, in comments, and have fun.

2015ElectionBets


Methinks Ms. Hebert knows more than she’s sayin’

Just sayin’.

You can (should) read the whole piece. But these bits I found interesting:

If anything, Adams’s inclusion on the Trudeau team has more to do with a dogged Liberal quest for deterrence on the field of dirty tricks than with making inroads in voting intentions.

And:

Conservative spin doctors have been quietly bragging about having collected dirt on Trudeau ever since he ran for the leadership.

Coming as it does from a take-no-prisoners rival camp, the threat has certainly been preying on the minds of Liberal strategists.

Pre-emptively mitigating potential damage is a part of their job description that they have been taking to heart.

And:

Allegations that would be laughed off the front pages for their flimsiness over a couple of news cycle in between elections take on a life of their own in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of a five-week campaign.

And:

The Conservative war room may not have any dirt worth dishing out on Trudeau next fall…But the fact that Trudeau has brought under his tent — at some political cost to himself and his party — [Dimitri Soudas], a backroom operator he would have been expected not to touch with a ten-foot pole speaks to the potential for the upcoming election war to go nuclear.

She sure seems to know something she isn’t telling us, eh?

Personally, I believed that Trudeau’s autobiography was an excellent opportunity to inoculate against whatever the Conservatives possess, and whatever it is that Hebert is hinting at. But that didn’t happen. The book was standard political fare: a couple revelations, a bit of news, but no shocking, front-page confessional stuff.

But let’s say, for the sake of argument, there is indeed something that the Tory war room possesses.

Hebert cites the example of the leak of the 2011 Jack Layton allegations to Sun News Network as an example of the sort of “damage control” the Liberals may accordingly need to do. I was there at the time, however, and urged Sun News against the use of such material. They went ahead anyway – and I firmly believe that, in the end, the “scandal” helped Layton more than it hurt him. His party went on to its best showing in its history.

My point is this: the Conservative war room, and possibly others, may be holding something surprising about Justin Trudeau. Fine. But if it ever sees the light of day, why are they so sure that it will hurt Trudeau, and not them?