BY IAN PATTISON
SUMMER is short and no one wants to spend much time on any one thing.
Here then, is another collection of short takes on long subjects.
* * *
How many NHL players have come from Thunder Bay? I count 50 but I’m
betting someone in the know can be definitive.
As reported a few years back by Leith Dunick, bloggers at
the10and3.com put together an interactive map showing the origins of
every NHL player between 1923 and 2012, and the Lakehead was number
one on a per-capita basis. “Not even close,” they said. Sweet.
The newest player sharing his star power is Robert Bortuzzo who
brought the Stanley Cup home this week after his St. Louis Blues won
it over the team that as many people seem to hate as love, the Boston
This latest hometown celebration was tempered by the untimely death
of Greg Johnson whose annual hockey school put a personal connection
into numerous family homes in this city.
Among the observations that accompanied the condolences was this:
Johnson took less money to stay in Nashville because he cherished his
captain's role and the relationship he had with his teammates. As
players in many sports follow the money to stratospheric levels,
Johnson’s loyalty is like cool air on a muggy day.
* * *
It was good to see People’s Party of Canada candidates Andrew
Hartnell and Youssef Khanjari get their meet-and-greet completed
Wednesday. The original plan was cancelled when the host venue
reportedly received threats. There were demonstrators outside the
alternative Italian Cultural Centre location Wednesday over online
comments by party leader Maxime Bernier they say betray xenophobia,
homophobia and climate change denial.
“That is definitely not what our party is about,” said Hartnell.
“Even (Bernier) said there is no place for racism or anything like
that in our party.” If that’s the case — and the face of Khanjari as
the party’s youngest candidates suggests it is — Bernier should not
have allowed himself to be photographed with people who appear to
belong to an alleged hate group last week in Calgary. The men,
wearing vests adorned with the symbols of the Northern Guard,
surrounded Bernier with smiles on their faces. A spokesman said
Bernier had no idea about their affiliation but the symbols and their
white power hand signals for the picture were plainly evident.
* * *
There is news this week that the next flu season is expected to be
particularly bad, based on the experience so far in Australia.
Ontario is to roll out a large batch of high-dose flu vaccines so
that health-care providers aren’t caught short.
This, of course, will bring out the tin-hat brigade that claims the
flu shot gives you the flu. Nonsense. There are no active viruses in
the vaccine. But the growing anti-vaxx movement is encouraging more
people to buy into the idea that immunizing the most vulnerable
members of our society against a variety of potentially deadly
diseases is a conspiracy by pharmaceutical companies.
This is dangerous, leaving the weakest in our population exposed
without the protection that mass immunization provides. Measles cases
are up 300 per cent world-wide in part because of opposition to
vaccinations. Children have died in Canada because their parents
believed the vaccine they needed was worse than the disease that
Your doctor and your pharmacist will advise you to get the flu shot.
Believe them or believe people with no medical training armed with
information they found on the Internet.
* * *
Resolute Forest Products finally sold the Fort Frances paper mill it
closed and hung on to since 2014, refusing offers from other paper
interests who would end up getting the wood supply that Resolute
wants to keep for its other operations elsewhere.
Ontario’s forests are a public resource and Resolute’s position was
unfair to a town desperate to maintain its main economic driver.
Now a company called Riversedge owns the mill but it is difficult to
discern what they plan to do with it. Waterloo-based Riversedge calls
itself “a restorative development company specializing in the
integrated revitalization of industrial properties. As a single point
of contact for communities and corporations looking for progressive,
long-term solutions, we leverage our experience leading restorative
development teams to provide long-term gains for the investors,
partners, and communities we work with.”
Will they partner with a forest products company? Will they seek
other uses for the property? Will they tear it down? No one’s saying,
not even town council which has worked hard to keep the mill as a
mill but may be in the dark along with everyone else in town.
On a hopeful note, Riversedge was responsible for redeveloping St.
Mary’s Paper in Sault Ste. Marie. On the other hand, it bought and
demolished the mill in Red Rock. Fort Frances could do better than
Ian Pattison is retired as editorial page editor of The Chronicle-
Journal, but still shares his thoughts on current affairs.