Former Canadian Prime Minister Mulroney: The Singing Bandit

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On March 17, 1985 – St. Patrick’s Day – U.S. President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy were in Quebec City to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Brian MulroneyThe event came to be known as the Shamrock Summit.

Reagan, well familiar with stage and screen at times looked a little embarrassed by the whole thing,

Perhaps the only thing anyone recalls of this meeting was a gala that was held to fete the visiting president and his wife. At one point during the show the Reagans and Mulroneys, including wife Mila, traipsed across the stage and joined in the singing of When Irish Eyes are Smiling. Reagan, well familiar with stage and screen at times looked a little embarrassed by the whole thing, or perhaps it was just the early signs of the dementia from which he was to suffer.

On the other hand Mulroney was in his glory, sucking up to, boot-licking, a conservative U.S. president in a particularly smarmy manner.

Flash forward 32 years and our neighbours to the south have elected a president even more controversial than Reagan. But as the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Last weekend at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate there was a large fundraising event full of glitz and glitter. And there, like a scene from the movie Groundhog Day, was now former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney kowtowing to yet another president and, you guessed it, serenading him with his signature tune When Irish Eyes are Smiling.

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Smarmy, toadying, but mostly embarrassing.

Is Brian Mulroney going to become the political “singing bandit”?

A woman by the name of Morganna Roberts, perhaps better known as “the kissing bandit” made a name for herself by trotting onto Major League Baseball fields across the States and, kissing players or umpires. She popped-up all over the place and became an unofficial mascot for the game. No doubt her ample bust, which she claimed to be 60 inches, added to the spectacle. Is Brian Mulroney going to become the political “singing bandit”? Appearing at events and singing with/for world leaders? One hopes not.

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Morganna the Kissing Bandit in action

Last week our current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, paid a visit to the White House and met with President Trump. For the most part this was a glorified photo-op that maintained a long tradition of neighbourliness between the two countries. Folks here seemed pleased with Trudeau’s demeanour, neither servile nor offensive.

The only positive thing from the Mar-a-Lago affair is that when Canadian musician David Foster, who must take some of the blame for goading Mulroney into sing, presented him with the option of performing Danny Boy, Mulroney stuck with Irish Eyes. I like Danny Boy, and would hate to have it ruined for me by Mulroney using it in a fawning manner. With St. Patrick’s Day less than a month off, I am reassured!

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Montreal Restaurants Face 42 Month Construction Nightmare

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The city of Montreal has, as of February 16, received more snow than all of last year. A big chunk of that fell over the last week or so. Montreal has always prided itself on our world-leading snow removal efforts. Our skills at speedily clearing and hauling away snow have brought officials from other cities to see how it is done.

Let me point out that I am not a food critic, but the meal and service we received were both excellent. Sadly on a Saturday night in Montreal – a home hockey Saturday night at that – the restaurant had just a handful of tables in use.

Perhaps the lack of snow over the past few winters has us out of practice, but this year there is abundant complaining in several city boroughs with at least one contractor being fired.

This problem is seasonal and can be easily remedied, but a more serious situation exists that is costing several restaurants dearly. Last weekend my wife and I went out to dinner. We had decided on a Mexican place called Mesa 14 that neither of us had ever been to even if it has been around, under a couple of names, for 25 years.

Mesa 14 is located in downtown Montreal on a block of Bishop Street, a main cross-street that is currently under construction. The city is installing a new cooling station for the metro system. The process will take over three years to complete – yep, over three years, 42 months to be precise. It took five years to complete the first version of the metro in the early sixties, but this one cooling station alone is going to take almost that long.

This has required the east side of Bishop Street to be blocked-off and huge construction hoardings placed along the length of the construction site essentially hiding buildings on that side of the street. Businesses on the west side of the street are only inconvenienced by a whole lot of lost parking spaces in a city already short on that commodity.

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A sign indicates the open businesses. Unfortunately this one is located at a point where you cannot get to Mesa14

Let me point out that I am not a food critic, but the meal and service we received were both excellent. Sadly on a Saturday night in Montreal – a home hockey Saturday night at that – the restaurant had just a handful of tables in use.

The city needs to vastly improve the signage so that it not only clearly indicates that these establishments are open for business, but also how, under the circumstances, to best gain access to them.

If we accept that there really is no alternative to the long presence of the work-site, it seems to me the city should focus on making it as easy as possible under the circumstances to get to these restaurants. This is part of the problem; we had intended to go to Mesa 14 and I knew there was a construction project underway, yet even so when we attempted to follow the small sign to the restaurant we found that we had to backtrack, cross the street, walk up the block and enter from the other end. I imagine potential patrons not as determined as we were may well have blown-off Mesa 14 and gone to one of the many other restaurants and bars in the area. When your customers have to work to get to your front door, it does not augur well for business.

The city needs to vastly improve the signage so that it not only clearly indicates that these establishments are open for business, but also how, under the circumstances, to best gain access to them.

Until that happens you will have to take my word for it that Mesa 14 is well worth the effort!

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

Use The Vaudeville Hook On Those Who Try To Evade Media Questions

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The present state of iciness between the media and the Trump administration is not beneficial for democracy.  The daily appearance of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer before the media is usually fraught with nastiness, obfuscation and outright lies.

The current conditions go beyond a bit of trickery, with Spicer often treating the assembled media like school children.

The press is an integral component of a healthy transparent government. No doubt some things must be kept secret in the interest of public security, and politicians do tend to bend things to their own advantage. But skilled members of the media find ways around those word games. The current conditions go beyond a bit of trickery, with Spicer often treating the assembled media like school children.

Today’s media could take a lesson from the world of entertainment. Old time entertainment at that. Back in the days of Vaudeville the audience had recourse to have a poor act stopped. Aside from hurling tomatoes and insults they would call for “The Hook”.

“Give him the hook!” “The hook” they would shout if an act did not impress them. Indeed once the calls became loud enough a large hook would appear from the wings and the bombing act would be yanked off stage, to hoots of derision from the audience.

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I think the media should employ a hook of their own. When spokespeople deliberately ignore a question, or choose to respond with another question they are no longer being honest. And most importantly  anytime a person begins a response to a question by saying “Well, I think the real question here is …” then goes on to answer their own question they should be given the hook. It’s a question and answer session, or an interview, not an opportunity to ignore questions and spout rhetoric from a soapbox. Yank them right off the podium.

Should a hook be deemed too intrusive, I suggest another means of dealing with a poor act: a gong. Chuck Barris had the right idea with his Gong Show. Next time Spicer answers his own question instead of the one posed the gathered members of the media should sound a very large loud gong!

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Kung Fu Diplomacy

This photo has been all over the place. Whenever I saw it something popped into my head; the old Kung Fu series with David Carradine. So I thought I’d adapt the original.

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DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Hydrant or School Crossing Guard?

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I have often been asked by visitors why our fire hydrants appear to be holding little stop signs on a pole. Are they the latest in technology, acting as school crossing guards when not in use fighting fires? Or did the city run out of actual stop signs and use the hydrant as a substitute? No, that would not explain those hydrants that have a yellow stick projecting from them.

When I tell folks that, in all seriousness, on occasion the snow falls in such an amount, and blows about, that it covers the hydrant. God forbid it should have to be put to use, but if the need arises it would be nice to know where it is. Often this is greeted, primarily by those from hotter climes and therefore unfamiliar with snow, with mirth. They think I’m pulling their leg. But as the above photo attests, this is the reason for the pole.

Having receive 29 centimetres (almost a foot) of snow overnight, it wasn’t just hydrants that had to be dug out!

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DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Mr Trudeau Goes To Washington

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Today Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with US President Donald Trump in Washington. While some of Trudeau’s initial shine may be a wee bit smudged after a couple of years in office, a fairly normal occurrence no doubt, I think it fair to say that he enjoys better approval ratings at home than does Trump who is still causing havoc by being a business bull in a political china shop.  

Trump who is still causing havoc by being a business bull in a political china shop

These two leaders carry on a very long tradition of friendship between the countries. We share the world’s longest undefended border and are each other’s largest trading partner. Trump has been quiet regarding Canada, even dragging his feet when it came to issuing a statement about the Quebec City mosque shooting. When he speaks of changing NAFTA he tends to refer to how it affects trade with Mexico.

A potential sticky topic is Trump’s ban on accepting people from seven Muslim-majority countries while Trudeau is a great proponent of welcoming refugees from these countries. With the ban currently on hold after being twice struck down in court, Trump will no doubt be cranky should the subject come up.  Given his penchant for walls, will he warn Trudeau about those refugees welcomed by Canada making their way south across the undefended border? Will he turn his attention to a northern wall?

Given his penchant for walls, will he warn Trudeau about those refugees welcomed by Canada making their way south across the undefended border?

It is not always true that leaders of Canada and the US get along well. Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Ronald Reagan seemed to forge a genuine friendship . On the other hand Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre Trudeau, was never a favourite of Richard Nixon’s. It seems that not only did Tricky Dickie call Trudeau pere a “son of a bitch” but on at least one occasion he referred to the Canadian Prime Minister as an “asshole”. Upon receiving the news Pierre Trudeau allegedly replied “I’ve been called worse things by better people”.

Hopefully all will go well when the two leaders meet.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Tom Brady’s Missing Super Bowl Jersey Located

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Are you aware  that the mystery of Tom Brady’s missing Super Bowl jersey has been solved? When asked, President Trump said he was certain Tom would want him to have it. Seems he got it by issuing an Executive Order.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+