John Baird’s Business Cards: No Big Deal?

Minister’s business cards are one thing, Lester Pearson’s name is another.

Is it a big deal that John Baird has bucked protocol and put his own personal twist on his business cards?

Sure, they’re just business cards, a few hundred bucks in cost overrun at most. From that angle, it’s not really a big deal at all.

But look at a bigger picture, a wider angle and the answer may not be quite the same.

John Baird. The Honourable "Goldmember" from Ottawa West - Nepean.

Baird and the Conservatives continue their battle against good graces and time worn practices without, it seems, being satiated. This is just the latest in a long line of slaps to the face of Canadian political tradition, history and protocol.

Changing “Government of Canada” to “Harper Government” on official stationery, ending the decades old informal media scrum outside The Commons and replacing it with rigidly controlled media conferences and limiting the number of questions the Prime Minister would answer daily on the election trail all have flown in the face of time-worn Canadian political traditions.

Now this.

According to The Canadian Press, Baird had the word “Canada” erased from his new business cards, shortly after taking the office of Foreign Affairs. To offset that loss, I suppose, he felt it was appropriate to emboss the country’s coat of arms on the cards with gold.

Okay, you might argue that Baird is actually showing the country greater respect, by revving up the coat of arms. I could buy that. If he hadn’t simultaneously removed the word “Canada” as well. Did he think the shiny coat of arms didn’t “pop” enough with the word “Canada” cluttering up the space?

Removing “Canada” and gold embossing the coat of arms were apparently done against the wishes of Treasury Board Officers, whose duty it is to oversee protocols. According to The Canadian Press, the Board noted:

“The wordmark (Canada) is a requirement for ministers, parliamentary secretaries and their offices. … It is worth noting that the prime minister and his office follow these standards.”

And bravo to them for that. But not the Foreign Affairs Minister.

In the end, removing the word “Canada” while sprucing up the nation’s coat of arms doesn’t seem such a dirty crime. The word “Canada,” with a small maple leaf over the last “a” has been traditionally used only since 1980. The coat of arms, much, much longer. Still, is there any doubt that had it been introduced by a Conservative government, it would still appear on the minister’s cards?

Disrespecting Pearson

Baird’s removal of Lester B. Pearson’s name from the address of the Foreign Affairs Ministry is much more heinous and should not be tolerated.

Regardless of political stripe, it’s hard to argue that Pearson wasn’t one of the country’s most accomplished Prime Ministers, at least of the second half of the 20th century. His name on the Foreign Affairs Building is no hollow gesture. He won a Nobel Peace Prize. And earned it. It’s a massive honour, one of which all Canadians can be proud. Attaching his name to the body that represents this country on the world stage is entirely appropriate and it should remain so attached.

Lester Pearson. Someone must have airbrushed over his "Pearson Government" sign.

Just the way the name of John Diefenbaker deserves to be attached to the building next to Pearson’s. The Government of Canada recently announced that it would be so. As well, earlier this year, they announced plans to create a human rights award in his honour and name a new polar icebreaker after Canada’s 13th Prime Minister.

Because in the end, our accomplishments aren’t achieved by Liberals or Conservatives, or Easterners or Westerners. They’re achieved by Canadians.

The Minister should be proud of Pearson, too. And not play petty political games with the names of great Canadians. If he’s afraid that his constituents might mistakenly identify him as a Liberal because his office is located in the Lester B. Pearson Building, then he has less faith in their intelligence than he should. If he feels that pointing out he works in a building named after a Liberal Prime Minister makes him somehow less a Conservative, maybe we have more faith in his than we should.

The government should also remain mindful that it represents Canada and not just the constituents that agree with it. Ignore that reality and they might be faced with the hard lesson of being dumped from office after one majority.

But by that time we’ll all be landing at Toronto’s Tony Clement Airport, anyway.

[box border=”full”] To read “CBC: Hockey Night Or Election Night? Both!” Click here.[/box]

[box border=”full”]To read “Blatchford’s Layton Column: Timing Is Everything,” click here. [/box]

[box border=”full”]To read “The Mammoliti Gambit, or Councillor Strangelove,” click here.[/box]

[box border=”full”] To read “Where is Marshall McLuhan’s Couch?” CLick here.[/box]

[box border=”full”] To read “Jim Flaherty’s Budget Speech Translated,” click here.[/box]


The Gist Of It – September 28, 2011


This week, Don Landry and Bill Hayes rack their brains over the Wayne Simmonds/Sean Avery affair, kicking rules in the CFL and NFL, Brendan Shanahan’s justice in the NHL and the injustice of Michael Vick’s treatment by NFL officials.

Segment 1 – Tim Hortons in Dubai

Segment 2 – “Bombs Away ” – Bill on his basement flood, Don on touchbacks in the NFL.

Segment 3 – Which league needs to adjust their kicking rules? NFL? CFL?

Segment 4 – Wayne Simmonds v Sean Avery

Segment 5 – Brendan Shanahan’s iron fist at NHL head office

Segment 6 – Michael Vick’s complaints about NFL officiating

segment 7 – Should the CBC cover hockey instead of the provincial election?

[box border=”full”]Related link: Don’s blog on what it would sound like if CBC combined election coverage with Hockey Night In Canada. To read it, click here.[/box]

THE NUTSHELL: Timmy’s in Dubai, NHL Disciplinary Videos And Einstein’s Brain Cramp

A collection of random thoughts on random things.


There’s some autobiography news this week; Arnold Schwarzenegger has been furiously scribbling his thoughts and hopes to release a book called – I’m not making this up – “Total Recall.” It’s probably true that if he wanted to name his memoirs after one of his films, “True Lies” would work well. So would “Predator,” come to think of it.

Neil Young: A Man Needs A Copy Editor.

Neil Young is writing his autobiography as well. No working title has been announced, but, let me offer one: “I’m An Old Man. Look At My Life.”

Curious that Charlie Sheen was so polite and magnanimous about his former bosses from “Two And A Half Men” when he presented an award at the Emmys. Oh, wait. Then we find out he’s nearing a 25 million dollar settlement with those ex-bosses over his firing. Sheen’s not sorry so much as he’s satisfied, I guess.

Tim Hortons has opened an outlet in Dubai. But, like everything in Dubai, I imagine it’s been done to the hilt. You know, with the world’s biggest timbits, the size of basketballs, and solid gold coffee cups. Which makes it real tough to do a roll up the rim contest but, hey, the cups are solid gold, so quit complaining. I think their grassroots hockey programs will go over very well there.


The CBC had to do some hard thinking about October 6th. That night, they’re scheduled to present the Leafs and Canadiens on Hockey Night In Canada. But, that’s also election night in Ontario. Ultimately, they decided that hockey rules and the electoral fate of the province was better left for their cable news channel. Personally, I think they could have combined the two seamlessly. You telling me that P.J Stock wouldn’t do a great job with out of town electoral results and highlights? Or that Terry Milewski couldn’t completely piss off Brian Burke in a scrum? I’ve taken the liberty of piecing together a transcript of what a hybrid HNIC/election night coverage broadcast would sound like. You can read it by clicking here.

"Nice ruling, Shanny. Jody Shelley's been suspended more times than my disbelief at the M. Night Shyamalan Film Festival."

Love, love, LOVE that NHL disciplinary Czar Brendan Shanahan has taken it upon himself to explain suspensions through video presentation on the league’s website. Shanahan looks pretty cool. Kind of like he’s auditioning for “etalk.” I’d be looking over my shoulder if I were Ben Mulroney. But, the NHL could glitz and glam it up. How about having a few babes with briefcases, a la “Deal Or No Deal?” In each briefcase, a different number, corresponding to the length of the suspension to be doled out. Or, at least, Gary Bettman playing Andy Richter to Shanahan’s Conan O’Brien, leaning on a podium and tossing in the odd saucy remark. At the very least.


The Liberal candidate in Beaches-East York is a woman by the name of Helen Burstyn. Who’s she running against, Cheryl Streep? Diana Keaton?

The Feds have hired a $90k a day consulting firm to help find ways to save money. But as I understand it, their report will never be completed considering their first recommendation was to fire themselves.

Ya got any other brilliant ideas, "Einstein?!"



Scientists in Europe believe they have discovered a particle that actually travels faster than the speed of light. Which would debunk Einstein’s Theory Of Relativity or, as it will now be known: “E = MC Hammered.” Einstein. What a dumbass.

Blue Jays’ New Logo: Back To The Future

It’s been rumoured for a while and now leaked. The Blue Jays are returning to the glory days for new uniforms in time for 2012. Also some rumours that the team will make red a much bolder part of the colour scheme, but as I understand it, that is not accurate. Uniforms will likely look similar to those worn by the World Series Champion teams of 1992 and 1993. Love that they’re doing this. Not surprising, under the direction of Paul Beeston, that the team would return to a more traditional look. Happy to see the abomination of the last 8 seasons gone.

[box border=”full”]To read “CBC: Hockey Night Or Election Night,” click here[/box]

[box border=”full”]To read: “How The Argos Acquired Rocket,” click here.[/box]

CBC: Hockey Night Or Election Night? Both!

So the CBC has a conflict on election night.

It seems there’s a pesky little hockey game scheduled the same night Ontario’s election results come trickling in (kind of how Leaf victories have come in recent years).

In all seriousness, the proper thing for the public broadcaster to do is to give up the very, very attractive tilt between the Maple Leafs and Canadiens and give us a steady dose of poll results. That would be more in keeping with the mandate of the corporation. As much as it hurts, the Leafs and Habs should be tossed over to TSN or some other willing participant, while the CBC gives us Peter and Rex as opposed to Ron and Don. I do see their conundrum, however. What’s more vital to the fabric of the heart and soul of Canada? Politics or hockey? They both have front row centre seats at any Tim Hortons discussion, 365 days a year. Tough one.

“All’s I’m sayin’, eh, is that McSquinty, or McGillicuddy, or whatever it is and everythink… he might as well have worn a visor on the campaign trail. Brutal.”












Got a solution. Give us a hybrid. Both hockey and politics are filled with cynicism. Is the NHL’s lip service on player safety any less cynical than a candidate’s hollow rhetoric on doing what’s best for the common good? Both are blood sports. I leave it to you to decide which is more heinous. And, like hockey, politics is filled, I mean filled with analysts who can’t wait for the red light to come on so they can pontificate on every single little detail of the action.

I envision a “Very Special Hockey Night In Canada,” on October 6th. We pick up the action midway through the second period. Leafs and Habs tied at 2.

Jim Hughson: It’s close one, folks, lots of chances, lots of mistakes and lots of head shots. Neither side has been able to muster a big advantage.”

Craig Simpson: “You talking about the Leafs and Canadiens, or the election campaign, Jim?”

Jim: “Both, Craig. Let’s send it down to Elliotte Friedman.”

Elliotte: “Guys, Ron Wilson hasn’t been happy with the play of  his team so far, lighting them up with an impassioned, energetic and profanity-laced speech during the first intermission. The kind of speech that might have helped either Dalton McGuinty or Tim Hudak down the stretch. You know, maybe without the profanity. By the way, the Canadiens are out-hitting the Leafs, 10-6 at this point, and NDP leader Andrea Horwath leads in her riding with 372 votes, with 16 of 47 polls reporting. Jim?”

Jim: “Thanks, Elliotte, now over to Peter Mansbridge for a preview of the second intermission.”

Peter: “Coming up, in our second intermission… a full rundown of the key battles in ridings that will, in large part, determine the fate of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government. Our political roundtable includes Chantal Hebert, Andrew Coyne and P.J. Stock. Don Cherry and Ron MacLean join us, once again, live from Tim Hudak’s campaign headquarters, where Don is expected to give the Tory leader a kiss on the forehead. And, Rex Murphy with out of town scores and highlights. Jim?”

Jim: A delay in the action here as game ops staff members try to unfurrow Brian Burke’s eyebrows… that gives us a chance to send it down between the benches, where Glenn Healy and Wendy Mesley are standing by.”

HEALY: “Guys, you’ve got defencemen throwing it up the middle, forwards missing checking assignments…and, seriously, who doesn’t think the issue of allowing Muslim prayer in public schools is a campaign grenade. Honestly, it’s like amateur night here.”

WENDY: “Also, it looks like P.K. Subban’s knee injury is not serious. He’s expected back in time for the loser’s concession speech, which will happen at an actual concession stand in the Air Canada Club during the 3rd period. Guys?”

Jim: “Like to remind our viewers that a special edition of  “After Hours” comes up following the game…. Scott Oake and Ian Hanomansing are joined by the cast of “Dragons’ Den.” They’ll have all the scores and news from every riding and every arena, as well as post game comments from Jacques Martin and Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor David C. Onley. Now, here’s Ron MacLean.”

Ron: “Thanks, Jim. Special announcement: Circle February 11th, 2012 on your calendar. ‘Hockey Day In Canada,’ originally scheduled to take place in Prince Edward Island, will now be called ‘Hockey and Elections Day In Canada,’ and take place in the Northern Ontario riding of  Algoma-Manitoulin. Instead of constantly changing into different hockey jerseys, I’ll continually cross the floor to join different political parties, from the powerhouse Conservatives, to the fringe parties like The Family Coalition Party, or The Liberals. February 12th, on CBC. Now, over to Elliotte.”

Elliotte: “With Canadiens’ forward Mike Cammalleri… Mike, it’s been a tight struggle so far; your thoughts?”

Cammalleri: “Yeah… sure has… uh… I don’t think anybody really thought the riding of Richmond Hill…

Elliotte: “Your hometown…”

Cammalleri: “Right, my hometown… I don’t think anybody thought it’d be this tight. To think that Reza Moridi might actually lose this… you don’t, you know, think about that…. But, hey, hats off to Vic Gupta. He’s a good candidate, a real pro. Classy guy and, uh, he worked hard.

Elliotte: “And tonight’s game?”

Cammalleri: “Uh, you know, it’s tough to think about that with Reza Moridi may be going down to defeat. So, yeah. It’s tough.”

Elliotte: “A sombre tone from one of the NHL’s feistiest political thinkers. Over to Ron MacLean, to ‘pun’ us out of it.”

Ron: “Power plays will be the key to deciding this, Elliotte. Or, rather, will it be ‘Powerplay’, with Evan Solomon?”

Jim: “Three and a half to go in the second, Leafs and Canadiens tied at two, Liberals leading or elected in 23, Conservatives leading or elected in 16….”


[box border=”full”]To read Rocket Ismail: Anatomy Of The Deal, click here.[/box]

THE NUTSHELL: Palin’s Past, The Maple Leafs’ Future And The NHL’s Twits

A collection of random thoughts on random things.


Eddie Shore: “Look forward to breaking stick on Mush March’s shins 2nite. LMAO. #thiskidbrimsekwillnevermakeit”

How will we ever live without game day tweets from NHL players? How is a fan expected to adjust to a life where their favourite fourth line winger isn’t telling them how their pre-game nap went? Or just how pumped they are to play in Nashville that night? The NHL has banned game day tweets from its players. And this has somehow turned into an issue. Here’s the part where I sound like an old fart and wistfully harken back to the simpler times, where I’d never even heard of tweets, twitter or any kind of social media. Back then, hockey issues were things like: “Do the Red Wings have the goaltender they need to go all the way?” Or: “Can the Leafs survive while Mats Sundin is injured?” Or: “Should the NHL add more teams to the playoffs?” Or: “Can the Kansas City Scouts lose every game they play?” Now those were hockey issues. Am I really supposed to care if  a Canucks’ defenceman feels like “y-frogging” a picture of his buddy taping a stick at the morning skate? Just drop the friggin’ puck.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have decided, as part of a sponsorship agreement, to wear a Purolator patch on their game day skate jerseys. Ah, we take that first tippy-toe step out onto the slippery slope. Make no mistake. At some point, the Leafs will have advertising patches on their game jerseys. You will hate it. You may even threaten to “never watch another game if those greedy bastards sell out.” But you will get used to it. And it will one day become the norm. Remember when they started showing commercials before movies in theatres? How many of us swore never to go again? Now, we’re used to it and don’t much give it a second thought. When internet sites started running commercials before their highlight clips, how many times did you immediately click away from it, muttering under your breath? How many times do you do that now? Advertising on game uniforms in North America’s big four leagues will come. It won’t be the NHL, MLB or NBA that does it. It will be the NFL. Not because they need to, but because they will be able to. They’ll be able to gather in ungodly amounts of sponsorship money, and they’ll be able to easily withstand any fan backlash that rises out of it. Soon after that, the way paved, the other leagues will follow.

Not much room for advertising patches on the “uniforms” worn by the girls of the Lingerie Football League. The expansion Toronto Triumph makes its home debut tomorrow night against the Tampa Breeze. I have questions, not knowing much about the league. Three downs or four downs? Fair catch or no yards? Victoria’s Secret or La Senza? C’mon, folks, get out to Ricoh Coliseum, these girls need your support. I think. Could be their uniforms come complete with some underwire technology. Added attraction: Toronto Councillor Doug Ford’s daughter, Krista, is listed on the team’s roster. I’m happy she shares the family passion for football. I’m equally happy that her dad and uncle don’t share her passion for showing plenty of skin.


"And that's the sports news. Well, there is one other story, but I can't get into that. Tee Hee."

Let’s stay with the colliding worlds of politics and sports. The unauthorized biography of Sarah Palin is apparently rife with salacious, sure-to-be-denied details of the former and possibly future U.S. presidential candidate. Did she have a fling with NBA star Glen Rice, when Rice was still in college and she was an aspiring sports reporter? Will Palin claim that it did happen, but only because Rice was one of those liberal elite college guys, who surprised her with “gotcha” sex? Another claim in the book: “Searching For The Real Sarah Palin,” is that witnesses saw Palin snorting coke from the top of an oil drum. Don’t know if it happened, but it does make some sense. With Palin’s famous passion for  oil (drill, baby, drill), her snorting coke off a barrel would be akin to Charlie Sheen doing blow off the chest of a $10,000.00 a night hooker. Wait a second. It actually might be more probable that Palin snorted a line of oil off a brick of cocaine. Or, the carcass of a freshly bagged moose.

A rat was caught in the Toronto City Hall Budget Chief’s office. It was immediately killed. Well, reducing redundancies is one way of tackling the city’s operating deficit.


Sarah Jessica Parker has a new movie out. It’s about a busy supermom who endeavours to balance work and family life. Called “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” the title refers to the character she plays. Or, it might actually refer to her getting jobs after “Sex And The City 2.”

Bladder control undergarment maker “Depends” has a new TV commercial out. The soundtrack for it is the classic R & B tune “Green Onions,” by Booker T and the MG’s.  I don’t suppose that ol’ Book and the rest of the crew ever thought, back in 1962, that their ultra cool tune would ever be used to make adult diapers seem badass. Sorry, wrong choice of words. Now, when I reach that stage, I’m going to demand an 80’s tune or two to sell me. “Six Months In a Leaky Boat.” No, wait! “Let It Go,” by Luba.


NASA says there’s now way to much space garbage orbiting the earth. To the point where the debris is a danger to future missions. Time to build a giant orbiting blue box. An International Space Recycling Station.

The Gist Of It – September 14


This week, Landry and Hayes discuss the relative merits of NHL prospect camp hockey. What’s the lure? As well, they kick around some of their favourite story lines and performances from Week 1 of the NFL season, and Week 11 of the CFL season.

Serena Williams’ bad mood at the U.S. Open is discussed, with one of the boys being particularly disgusted.

Bill’s not big on all the fawning going on at the Toronto International Film Festival, while Don kinda digs the hoopla.

What’s to become of the TTC? And, is it really so terrible to be known as “Premier Dad”?