News for Youse: Bryan Adams disses Olympics, plane crashes questioned, and Gaglardis buy the Dallas Stars
If you haven't had time to read the morning papers or watch the news, here are some things you can discuss around the office water cooler:
This might make you laugh—Bryan Adams reportedly advised Mick Jagger not to perform at the opening of the 2012 Olympics in London.
Why? Because Bryan had such a rotten time singing in his home town with Nelly Furtado to open the 2010 Games at B.C. Place Stadium.
Jagger told the BBC that Adams said, "Whatever you do, don't do any Olympic openings."
Adams also hated the clothes he had to wear for his duet. True patriot love goes only so far.
On the serious side of the news, it has been another dreadful week for the RCMP. Mounties in Prince George were cleared in the “independent” investigation by the West Vancouver police for using a Taser on an 11-year-old boy. On the downside, the Mounties actually used a Taser on a child—and everyone’s talking about it.
The West Van cops didn’t explain why the officer should not be charged, which is generating bad press across the country. Tonight, the Mounties will take another hit when the CBC’s fifth estate show reveals how RCMP brass prevented former sergeant Tom Juby from looking into whether or not an incendiary device was placed on Swissair flight 111. It went down in 1998 near Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, killing 229 people.
Juby told the CBC’s Linden MacIntyre that there should have been a murder investigation, based on the presence of magnesium and other substances near the melted wires. This element is commonly found in cases of arson. But the bosses stopped him from continuing, so Juby left the force in 2002.
This has the Mounties' media-relations team scrambling to come up with something—anything—to deflect attention. The solution? Mutilated cats. Four of them have shown up in Maple Ridge. Expect tonight’s television newscasts to be all over this one.
There will be discussions about how people who mutilate cats go on to become serial killers. A Mountie spokesperson will appear in the broadcast. And it might help the public forget how the national police force bosses kiboshed an investigation into what might have been Canada's second-largest mass murder. Come to think of it, the Mounties and CSIS also bungled the largest mass-murder investigation—the bombing of Air India flight 182 in 1985.
Meanwhile, there’s another crash from the past that’s creating suspicion. Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of the death of former UN secretary-general Dag Hammarskjold, whose plane went down in Central Africa during a crisis in the Congo. He was en route to conduct ceasefire negotiations to defuse a crisis there. The Guardian has a story about a new book, which suggests the Swedish dipomat was murdered. Author Susan Williams found declassified documents showing a second plane was in the sky—and Hammarskjold was hated by supporters of the colonial status quo. Did the second plane shoot down the one carrying Hammarskjold? His nephew is calling for a public inquiry.
The death came a couple of months after a hero of the anticolonial movement, Patrice Lumumba, became the first legally elected president of the Congo. Lumumba was later imprisoned and then executed in January 1961 with the support of Belgian government officials. Former CIA director Allen Dulles made no secret of his desire to have Lumumba murdered, but U.S. government officials have claimed for years that the CIA played no role in the actual killing. And if you believe that…
Why does this matter now? The ouster of Lumumba cleared the way for one of Africa’s worst dictators to take power. Mobutu Sese Seko left his country in such a mess that it has been plagued by civil war for years. Women are suffering mass rapes and there are all sorts of other crimes against humanity taking place.
The root cause of this carnage can be traced back to the deaths of Lumumba and Hammarskjold.In other news, it looks like the Vancouver-based Gaglardi family has bought the Dallas Stars hockey team. It’s subject to court approval and the approval of the league because the team has been in bankruptcy protection.
The patriarch, Bob Gaglardi, is the son of former Socred highways minister and Kamloops mayor Phil Gaglardi. The family company, Northland Properties, owns Sandman Hotels, Denny’s Restaurants, and the Moxie’s chain.
Here's another item of interest for history buffs. Vancouver’s Vietnamese community has persuaded Vancouver City Hall to designate the part of Kingsway around Fraser Street and Victoria Drive as “Little Saigon”.
Vision Vancouver councillor Kerry Jang will bring this issue before council on September 20.
Saigon, of course, no longer exists. When the country was united after a lengthy civil war, the North Vietnamese Communists renamed the former southern capital as Ho Chi Minh City. But nostalgia for the old days can be seen whenever the old South Vietnamese flag flies in Vancouver.
The Vision motion will no doubt sail through without any objections from the politicians. It makes you long for the good old days when the Castro-loving Tim Louis was on council. Would he have proposed an amendment calling for the Vancouver neighbourhood to be called Little Ho Chi Minh City—in honour of “Uncle Ho”? Like Louis, Uncle Ho was one the most cunning Marxist guerrilla-politicians in modern history.
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.