A grab bag of items today:
• The phone rang the other night, just as I was sitting down to supper.
I thought: This better not be another Canada Revenue scam.
“Hi,” said the cheery recorded voice. “I’m Erin O’Toole, leader of the official Opposition.”
I thought: Sure wish this were a Canada Revenue scam.
Nope, it was a robocall, and what’s worse THE CALL WAS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!
Well, no, but it was still scary, given that the partisan message was yet another sign that Canada’s political parties really are gearing up for a federal election this spring, just a year and a half after the last one, which is kind of like the doctor saying: “Hey, I know you’re not really due for a prostate exam, but….”
Note that the parties have begun nominating candidates. All five Vancouver Island New Democrat MPs are expected to run again. Alistair MacGregor and Gord Johns were confirmed in Cowichan-Malahat-Langford and Courtenay Alberni this week. Victoria’s Laurel Collins is expected to follow suit today, followed by Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca’s Randall Garrison Feb. 7. Rachel Blaney has been confirmed in North Island- Powell River.
The Island’s other two seats are held by the Greens — Elizabeth May in Saanich-Gulf Islands and Paul Manly in Nanaimo-Ladysmith — who are just opening their nomination process. Both May and Manly intend to run again.
Note that the Liberals, the ones driving the election- timing bus, have acclaimed Nikki Macdonald to repeat as their candidate in Victoria. She’s one of 20 Liberals nominated across Canada so far. The Conservatives say they are actively looking for a Victoria candidate, too.
It’s telling that they’re all getting their ducks in a row now. The next election isn’t scheduled until October 2023, but as John Horgan demonstrated last fall, the calendar can go out the window when you’re riding high in the polls and have a chance to turn a minority government into a majority.
• A glowing review from a prisoner landed the West Shore RCMP on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show on Thursday.
The talk-show host took notice after Mounties tweeted out a handmade card sent to them by someone who not only wrote “Thank you for your care and kindness while I was in your custody,” but gave the lockup a 4.5-star review.
“I read about a woman who spent several days in a jail in Canada, and she did probably the most Canadian thing you can do,” Fallon said. “Keep in mind that a Canadian jail is basically just a Courtyard Marriott.”
Showing a mocked-up magazine cover, he added: “I guess her review worked, because Travel and Leisure added the jail to its annual list of top 50 detainment hot spots.”
• That wasn’t the only Victoria reference on U.S. television Thursday. One of the clues on Jeopardy, part of a category called Canadian Places, was “The Butchart Gardens is one of the prettiest spots near this provincial capital on Vancouver Island.” It was answered correctly.
• Aside from Don Cherry and Bundled-Up Bernie Sanders, who do you think should replace Julie Payette as governor general?
Canada hasn’t had one from the West since Saskatchewan’s Ray Hnatyshyn left Rideau Hall in 1995. In the 69 years since they began appointing Canadians to the post, there has never been one from B.C.
• The latest COVID casualty: Winston Churchill.
For years at this time, the Times Colonist’s Les Leyne has marked the anniversary of Churchill’s death by inviting fans of the Second World War leader to gather in Beacon Hill Park.
There, in the shadow of a hawthorn tree that Churchill planted in 1929 (on those few occasions when there’s enough sun to cast one), they toast the memory of the great man (that’s Sir Winston, not Les).
Not this year, though. Sunday’s event has been sacrificed to the greater good. So we’ll leave you with a bit of Churchillian inspiration instead: “We shall not fail or falter. We shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle not the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools and we will finish the job.”
By “tools,” we assume he meant masks and vaccines.