Folks I am no different than the rest of you – my eyes glaze over and my mind begins to shut down listening to the play by play of a land deal. I am good at listening to play by play of a football game. When Bob Irving speaks, I listen. But when I hear various city councillors and auditors and others go on and on about who purchased what land, where, and what kind of process was involved in tendering or not tendering, swapping or not swapping. If it’s under ten million can it be single sourced. And if it’s over ten million or close to twenty million can it be parcelled up and so therefore single sourced and which land is city land and which land is private land…Enoughhhhhhhhh!
I know what happens to your brain because the same thing happens to mine…And some would say it’s easy to snow the public on all this because it’s complicated. Well actually it’s not. The complicators make it sound complicated. You have a situation where a CAO who should never have been the CAO had no experience in public administration, no experience running an enterprise with thousands of employees and several layers of bureaucracy and should not have there in the first place was there because the CEO happened to the mayor. There is one simple litmus test question here. If Sam Katz wasn’t the mayor, if the mayor was Glen Murray or Susan Thompson on Bill Norrie, would Phil Sheegl have been the Chief Administrative officer. The answer is an obviously NO, and to pretend otherwise is to the become a bad joke-which is what the mayor has become over the years where question after question is met with double talk and triple talk. Every kind of real question requiring a real answer gets met with the words, the reality is this the reality is that and virtually every time those words are uttered the stuff that follows is just spin. The public reality is the man who was by far the most popular guy on the block when first elected in what now seems like a hundred years ago has worn out his welcome, simply because nobody believes his answers any more –Not even to the simplest of questions. Why did the CAO quit last week only days before the fire hall audit was to be made public? I don’t know he said. I don’t know why the individual resigned and then when asked if it had anything to do with the fire hall report. No it didn’t, he said.
680 CJOB investigative reporter and News Director Richard Cloutier yesterday delivered the smoking gun, a letter from the Sam Katz cabinet, the EPC demanding three weeks ago that he throw his old friend and CAO down the stairs. The letter specifically tells him to do it now and to keep the communication extremely confidential in light of the firehall report that is about to come down. So when Phil Sheegl negotiated an exit greased by 250 thousand dollars in tax payer money, instant cash, like a lottery, when his resignation was purchased with a quarter of a million dollars of public money, the purchaser was you, except you weren’t told about it. You weren’t told about it then and you aren’t being told the truth now. Because only the CEO could sign off on the 250,000 payment for the CAO’s exit and his silence. It doesn’t matter who technically at the administration did the negotiation with Sheegl, who technically drafted the cheque. There is no phantom at the opera. There is no mystery man here. There is no mystery. The reason the EPC told the mayor to cut his friend’s throat is because only the mayor had the authority to do it. Is any of this complicated? Of course not. The now former CAO who looks like an incompetent at best, a person not up to task of running a city administration according to the rules, has been paid more than 430 thousand dollars this year. A lot of money for incompetence. And the person most responsible for the payment and the incompetence is the person who installed him and eventually got rid of him. When the mayor is asked about the need to sever with money, he says it’s a private matter, except it is private only technically. Technically a negotiation between the CAO and his employer it is a private matter. But in the non technical world that you and I have to live in, in the world of public confidence and public trust, we need to trust that the mayor we elected is telling us the truth. But when he continues to mislead, like he doesn’t know why the CAO resigned last week, doesn’t know or it has nothing to do with fire halls, and then when her offers lawyerly responses on why the taxpayers paid severance to an incompetent employee, shown to be incompetent by a very expensive audit, when he does all of the above, he loses credibility as a CEO and the confidence of the public that voted for him.
I voted for Sam Katz three times. So did most of you listening to my voice. And if there is a next time, I don’t know who I will be voting for. But it won’t be for Sam Katz. Sorry Sam, I can only take so much horse crap even from a person who I have thought of as a friend for more than 25 years. I never thought I’d be doing the monologue I am doing today. But I can’t do to this audience what my old friend Sam did to our city. I can’t put friendship above responsibility. My responsibility is to my customer. My listener. You don’t pay me directly the way we pay the mayor, the way we pay his ex CAO. But there is not much difference in my world. You pay me every time you tune in. And I don’t know why the hell you would tune in, if I were to just bombard you with a bunch of bureaucratic and lawyered up gobbledygook and I don’t know why you would tune in if I stopped speaking straight from the heart. That’s the girl I brung to this dance. That’s what I do. And that’s you expect of me.
The mayor rode into office three elections ago saying he wasn’t a politician, saying he was a straight shooter who wanted to clean things up at city hall. But after this lost decade City Hall obviously isn’t cleaned up and Sam Katz is obviously very much a politician, the kind of politician he would have happily run against in the days when he wasn’t considered a politician. A decade ago when he had no experience as a politician he would have been thrilled to run against a person with the reputation Sam Katz now has. The old Sam Katz would have beaten the new Sam Katz Like a Rented Mule. The old Sam Katz would have defeated the New Sam Katz in a landslide. The Old Sam Katz was for straight talk for accountability for transparency for open and honest government. That’s the girl he he was bringing to the dance. Well the girl’s been dumped. Our trust has been dumped. We’ve been dumped. And come November of next year, we have a chance to do what all rational people do after they have been dumped. We move on and to find a new dance partner.
This City may not be large enough for a Major League Baseball Club. But it has a Major League Heart, and it deserves a Major Leaguer to lead us at City Hall. What we have been seeing throughout the latest fiasco is Bush League administration and Bush league leadership and even Bush League Bull crap. You pay me to cut the crap, not to cut the cards. I appreciate your trust, more today than ever before. I lost a friend today, as you can tell. But there are worse things than losing a friend. There’s losing your moral compass, your set of values handed down to you by your parents and grandparents. You lose those and you’ve lost your soul, and your good name.
As you know I grew up in a tailor shop, Adler’s Tailor Shop. The name of my father, my grandfather and his grandfather was on that sign. Our family name. Our good name. My father never wanted me to be in radio. He thought it came too naturally for me, too easy, wanted me to do heavier lifting. But at some point after enough of his customers told him they liked his kid on the radio, liked him for being honest and passionate just like his dad, well at some point he decided he was ok with me doing radio and he sort of kind of gave me his blessing but it was under one condition that I never do anything to shame the family name.
I want you to think about that the next time you have a tough decision to make. Instead of how does it impact on your relationship to your bank balance, or even your relationship with a friend. Ask yourself how it impacts your family’s good name. You don’t need to go to a lawyer to answer that question. You go to your conscience. Thank you for allowing me to share mine with yours.
I’m Charles Adler
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is time for the person on the radio to man up about something that was said here yesterday. As you know I am an admirer of Margaret Wente. I like the way she tells a story. I like the way she pushes back on a lot of political correctness pap that affects the way we talk to each other and infects our respect for our fellow human beings. How can I continue to respect somebody if I withhold what I am really thinking about what they’re saying because if I tell them, it will be found to be deemed offensive, based on their gender, their sexual orientation, their heritage, their economic means, and it goes on and on ad nauseum.
Last week it was the anthem. And I heard people say the most incredibly phony things in order not to be impolite to the women who supported the idea of expunging the word sons. I heard people say things like, “I don’t know how to talk to my daughter about it”. Are you serious? You don’t know what to say to your daughter about it. Ask her to call me. Call Uncle Chuck. And I’ll tell her a story about real men, most of whom were under the age of 21. And I’ll tell ‘em how they fought and died in those stinking trenches on a far off battle field and they got shot up up so bad on some days by the German guns that the injured were envying the dead. But they prevailed. Even though they were badly outnumbered, through incredible courage, the capacity for sacrificing themselves for their brothers in arms under their thy sons command they liberated France and Belgium and Holland, they kept Britain free and kept the USA free and I make no apologies for my selfishness my niece, they kept our country free. Our lads did well under thy sons command.
Thursday night you will cheer men named Kane and Ladd and Pavelec, and they will make you feel connected to the community that you live in. They will make you proud and the reason we can be free to go to enjoy hockey and even criticized these great soldiers on skates, is because of the hundreds of thousand of men no older than these hockey player laying down their lives for us under thy sons command. The National Anthem is not about your niece, my daughter, my sister, my mother. It’s about them giving you the opportunity to breathe free air, to exercise your fine mind if you choose to in order to elevate all around. Their service to our cause gives us the opportunity to enjoy a Canadian life, a free life, a wonderful life. God bless the sons of Canada under thy sons command.
Now I don’t know whether Margaret Atwood or Gail Asper would ever repeat what I have just said to their daughters and nieces. But I can tell you this as a free man. I don’t give a damn. I don’t care how many awards Margaret Atwood has received for her books. I don’t care how many millions Gail Asper has inherited from my late friend Izzy. None of Atwood’s awards or Aspers millions, makes them more qualified to speak to the daughters of this land, any more than this son of two factory workers, two immigrants who could not speak a word of English in 1957. Two ordinary people who worked in the sweat shops on the assembly lines of St. Lawrence Boulevard in Montreal. My dad was working for 75 cents an hour. And my mother sewed neck ties for two cents per tie. And she never shied away from giving me her two cents about why in the darkest days of 1956, after Russian tanks had completed their slaughter of young men who were armed with nothing more than a desperate desire to be free, she demanded that my father put his young son in a back pack. “My baby is not growing up in this hell hole. My son will never achieve his God Given potential in a land that surrendered his grandfather because he wore a skull cap.”
Ladies and Gentlemen you couldn’t put me in the same room with Pauline Marois the premier of Quebec. She cannot handle the idea of someone working for the taxpayers wearing a skull cap, or a turban, or a hijab or a cross that is too prominent. People who wear turbans or skull caps or hijabs or prominent crosses can pay taxes. But they are ineligible to serve in government based on their faith? It wouldn’t be wise to put me in the same room with her. I don’t think I could call her Madame Premier. I would find another name that rhymes with witch. And I would want to call her minister, Bernard Drainville, Minister Son of the same word that rhymes with witch. My Canada includes Quebec. And as a free man I will not shrink from exercising my freedom to tell the premier that she is only the CEO of a Democracy because of what those lads, many of whom had French names did on French soil. They didn’t go there to occupy France. They went their to liberate France and many all too many in thy sons command, all too many died there, and so the only land they occupy are the graves which are marked by prominent crosses.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
God Bless John MaCrae, the great Army medic and his great Canadian horse Bonfire, and the great Susan Raby Dunne in Black Diamond, Alberta, who wrote the story of John Macrae and his horse and the enormous sacrifices of World War I under thy sons command. Is Susan Raby Dunne offended by the word ‘sons’? She is too grateful for those sons, too loving of those sons, too honored to have an intellectual and emotional and spiritual relationship with those sons, to be offended by the word which identifies them and gives them a permanent place in our Canadian hearts.
I came here today to man up and honour the men who are responsible for keeping this country free for my family and millions of others. Yesterday I read several paragraphs of a Margaret Wente column which tells us that today’s men may not be as fit as women to do today’s jobs as well as women. Today’s men apparently don’t have the self discipline that women have. That may be true for some men. But it was never true about my father, not even close. Not true about his brothers. Not true about millions of other Canadian many of whom are resting in peace in Flanders Fields.
A man in Alberta who worked with me during my halcyon years in front of this microphone instructed me to be a leader today and to lead with my values. He sent me the five traits of leadership laid out by Sun Tzu in the Art of War.
They are Intelligence, Trustworthiness, Humaneness, Courage, and Sternness. These are the traits that the real leaders of men have whether they are leading on the battlefield of war or peace. So today it’s time to dispense with all the reasons why some men aren’t competitive with some women in some fields. It’s time to tell the truth. Those men who respect their own intelligence and are willing to harness it, that those men who are trustworthy, humane and courageous and at time willing to be stern with people who want to trifle with our very public anthem or those who want to tell us not to be publicly faithful to their God. God bless those who served in thy sons command. If you’re wondering what to tell your daughter or grand daughter, tell ‘em what I just told them.
They won’t feel suppressed by the patriarchy. Nothing is more liberating to the enterprise we call humanity than the truth. A great man, a leader of men, once said the Truth will Set you Free. That’s no less relevant today than it was more than two thousand years. The vast eternal truths are timeless. They require no updates no politically correct paint jobs or snow jobs or the the word that rhymes with snow jobs.
Next time someone tells you that men are not as equipped as women to succeed in today’s Canada, just say Snow me or the word that rhymes with it.
The poet said Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
I’m Charles Adler
Before we do anything else today I just want to say a few words about something that happened on this air yesterday that I won’t forget any time soon. I spoke to a man named Paul Lapolice. I can’t honestly say I know Paul Lapolice personally. I feel I know him because I paid so much attention to what he was doing as the head coach of the Blue Bombers. I watched him on the sidelines like any other tv viewer when the Bombers struggled more often than not. I watched a man who cared deeply who was frustrated deeply at the end of his rope deeply and then one day, his bosses cut the rope and he was gone. He has resurfaced on TV and does a very good job as an analyst.
But yesterday on this show he wasn’t analysing football. He was analysing life and telling us about what really matters in life and that’s character and that people of high character never stop fighting for themselves and for others. Who taught Paul Lapolice that? David Leitch turned out be the teacher of that oh so valuable lesson. David Leitch the 23 year old who died this week after having lived and died many times over the years physically and mentally and emotionally and David would have died biologically had it not been for the Blue Bombers. I don’t want to talk about the cruelty imposed on young people by Spina Bifida. I want to talk about the goodness imposed on people like Alex Brink and Terrence Edwards and Justin Goltz and Paul Lapolice who spent time over the years with David Leitch keeping his spirits going and giving him a reason to live.
Even though most people will think about the story as the strong football heroes helping the weak physically disabled young man, about what they gave to him, the real story is about what David Leitch gave these athletes, and their coach. While they were giving him a reason to live, he was giving them a reason to believe in real wins and real losses. Real wins in life aren’t recorded on a scoreboard at a football stadium. Real wins are when people help other people to deliver the best of themselves. And the best part of any human being including an athlete isn’t in his throwing arm, his catching hand, his powerful legs or his ability to tackle man who is moving swiftly on that gridiron like a speeding locomotive. The best part of any human being is that part called character, where you tackle your insecurities, your anxieties, your deepest fears, and you wrestle them to the ground, character where you run for a touchdown every time you touch someone in the deepest part of their soul making them want to keep breathing, and doing ,and smiling and conquering their disappointments their disabilities.
David Leitch’s father never saw the son he sired. David Leitch’s mother saw him and didn’t like what she saw and abandoned him. David Leitch’s grandmother beat on him over and over again. David Leitch took a blade to himself and wanted to bleed out and get out of the coffin on wheels he was riding around in. That’s how it felt until a father figure like Paul Lapolice refused to abandon him, instead he engaged him and inspired him and gave him brothers to help do the same, Alex Brink, Justin Goltz, Terrence Edwards and other members of the Blue and Gold.
Why won’t I forget the conversation with Paul Lapolice. Because until yesterday morning the name Paul Lapolice in my brain represented losing coach. David Leitch’s life tells me Paul Lapolice is no loser. He’s a winner where it matters. David Leitch gave Paul Lapolice and his athletes and this broadcaster far more than we could give him. He gave us a living definition of what it means to be alive and to stay alive for as long as you can and to have a purpose to your life. A life with no meaning is a coffin. David Leitch may have been confined to a wheel chair. But his heart wasn’t confined by it. His soul wasn’t confined by it. His imagination wasn’t confined by it and his spirit was unleashed by the power of belief in something larger. For him it was the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. I know there are some people who confine their imaginations. They feel the Blue Bombers are just a sports team and Paul Lapolice is just a coach. David Leitch knew and now we know that just isn’t close to the God’s honest truth. The team is made up of real men, and some of them are of high character whether they play for the team or not, whether they have more or fewer points on the scoreboard. David Leitch scored every day he was able to be at practise or at the game, and the father figure who never abandoned him and never would Paul Lapolice scored with me yesterday and I’ll bet he scored with you in ways that are far more meaningful than any football game.
The game of life is ten thousand times more precious than any one football game. David Leitch found that out from Paul Lapolice, and he discovered that inside David Leitch. Paul is much more than a coach and David was much more than kid beaten up by life in a wheelchair. Thanks again Lapolice for coming on this show to teach us about the meaning of life. Thanks again David Leitch for teaching Paul Lapolice what it means to be a human being. Rest in Peace David, knowing the rest of us miss you and love you and will follow your path. We will never stop fighting.