News | by Stephen Whitworth

On Monday Feb. 6, Premier Brad Wall told attendees at the annual Saskatchewan Urban Municipality Association conference that the province is prepared to face its staggering $1.2 billion budget shortfall. According to press reports, Wall received a standing ovation for his speech. It’s the usual double standard you see in this place: conservatives escape consequences for being in charge during fiscal calamity, while politicians of other stripes get crucified for small-potato missteps (yes, that was a Spudco reference). Will the cheering finally stop when Wall brings down either an austerity budget or, less likely, a budget that borrows incomprehensible amounts of money? Your guess is as good as mine. Either way, the boom is over, but for now, the love affair continues with a charismatic premier who seems impervious  to scandals and bad policy decisions.


Halifax police recently announced they were pulling out of that city’s annual Pride festivities. The reason for the decision, according to news reports, was police desire to not exacerbate community divisions over police participation in Pride parades (a flashpoint topic in this country since at least last summer, when Toronto Pride honoured guest Black Lives Matter shut down that city’s parade over racist and violent policing, which has been ridiculous). The issue remains incendiary.


Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter Toronto co-founder Yusra Khogali faced criticism after she called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a “white supremacist terrorist” because the PM said Canada wouldn’t accept additional refugees after Trump (briefly) imposed a travel ban on Muslims. While few would argue that Trudeau — a rich dude who became prime minister — benefited enormously from being born white in a country that’s rife with race, gender and wealth inequality, it’s maybe not productive to compare him to racists who burn crosses on church lawns. At least not when the words “hypocrite” and “coward” are sitting there waiting to be used.


Donald Trump makes headlines for a lot of reasons. Among the more benign are his weird, clingy handshakes with foreign leaders. Last week, for instance, Trump gave Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a 19-second wag that ended with weird pats. Japan’s leader visibly rolled his eyes after retrieving his hand from Trump’s clutches. This Monday, as Trump extended his orange paw to a bemused-looking Justin Trudeau, the PM seemed to give it the kind of scrutiny usually saved for suspicious potato salads. Credit Reuters photographer Kevin Lamarque for capturing a perfect moment. When they did finally clasp, Trudeau remained in control — ultimately escaping Trump’s clutch with grace and dignity.


After U.S. courts suspended his anti-Muslim travel ban, U.S. president continued to seemingly assert that he’s above the law. Also, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigned after admitting he’d misled U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence by saying he hadn’t spoken to Russian officials about lifting sanctions when, yeah, actually he totally did. /Stephen Whitworth


That guy has a way with words.


On Feb. 3, retirement-aged bald Caucasian creep/Governor of Arkansas Asa Hutchinson signed an anti-abortion law that could let men sue women to stop them from ending an undesired pregnancy. The law, tastefully titled  the Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act, essentially outlaws second trimester abortions and worse, empowers the husband or legal guardian of a pregnant woman to sue to stop her from choosing to end a pregnancy. So if you’re a horrible man who always wanted to impregnate your daughter, Arkansas is the place for you — at least, if the law comes into effect before it has the snot sued out of it. /Stephen Whitworth