By Wayne Litke
The month of January is almost history, so let’s take a quick look at a few things that have been going on.
Most recently, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. It seemed unthinkable only a year ago based on the brash and wild statements he was making to the public. While he has lucid thoughts, it is the crazy and outlandish opinions about people that he makes while public speaking and ridiculous remarks he posts on social media that we tend to remember. Then he blames mainstream media for spreading negative information about him. I understand vast wealth and great power and authority can contribute to such actions, especially when they are combined with a massive ego.
In a few ways, Trump reminds me of a Canadian who was the last entry in the federal Conservative leadership race. The individual is Kevin O’Leary, who has a strong business sense and can also be a little crass and bull-headed from what I have seen of the television reality series he participates in “Shark Tank”. After observing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in action, I feel our country definitely needs a person with a keen business sense to lead our nation. The challenging economic and social issues facing most countries, including Canada, require a leader with a vision and a sound financial plan. Sadly, Mr. Trudeau has demonstrated that he does not understand economic principles or does not care about the financial debt he has placed on future generations. That burden is great and continues to grow.
As far as leading a team, I think Darian Durant should be congratulated for his time with the Roughriders. However, fans should not mourn his departure to the Montreal Alouettes. He led the Riders to three Grey Cups in 11 years, but his injury-prone performance of late was the writing on the wall that quarterback changes were definitely necessary for the team. I think it was the right move for everyone involved.
How about Hayley Wickenheiser who has hung up her skates after a very successful career? The Shaunavon native has an impressive list of achievements which began early in her youth. While playing for Alberta, she scored the winning goal in the Under-18 Canadian Winter games at the age of 12. When she was 15, she played for the Canadian Women’s National Hockey team and was part of the team that won the Women’s World Championship (1994) at Lake Placid. While competing at the world championships, she recorded 37 goals and 86 points in 61 games.
She also amassed 18 goals and 51 points while playing in 26 games at the Winter Olympics. She played on four Olympic gold-medal teams and in 2010 she became the all-time leading Olympic scorer.
In 2003, she became the first female to score in a men’s professional hockey league while playing for the Kirkkonummi Slamat team in the second division Finnish league. Her grit and determination was not limited to competitive hockey as she also participated in numerous charitable events and humanitarian projects. Her achievements were recognized in 2011 when Wickenheiser was appointed to the Order of Canada. That is truly an impressive career, on and off the ice, and she is truly an inspirational role model for young female and male hockey players in Canada. We definitely need more people like Hayley.
To anyone who has fallen asleep on a bus, how would you like to wake up and find yourself locked inside – trapped and alone? That’s exactly what happened to a five-year-old boy on the Salteaux First Nation north of North Battleford. He fell asleep on the way to school and awoke to find himself inside the bus which was parked in a dark garage.
The driver did not conduct a visual inspection of the vehicle before departing and therefore did not know that a preschool passenger was still on board. The child spent seven hours on the bus while temperatures outside were in the -18 C range. The boy was apparently able to escape from the bus, but could not get out of the garage which may have been a good thing depending on the proximity of neighbours.
He had lunch with him and was found crying on the ground when the bus driver returned. He went home on the same bus and I am willing to bet he did not fall asleep. OK, I agree that comment is not in good taste, but sometimes a little humour (even bad humour) can help lighten a tense situation. Nevertheless, the boy’s mother was angry as any parent would be and the driver was suspended three days. I understand a policy change has been implemented for bus drivers in order to prevent a re-occurrence. Thankfully, the child was not hurt and with a little time and tender-loving care he will not be afraid of the dark.
I rode a school bus during the time I went to school (15 years in total – that’s another bad joke) and hope to write about some of the zany things that happened in future columns. If I have already done so, please tell me so a boring repeat of history is avoided.