A review of events July 1–25 in Saskatchewan, Canada and the world

What Just Happened? | Stephen Whitworth | July 28, 2022

MONDAY 4 – TEXT ADVICE: Today the What Just Happened Desk learned former Premier Brad Wall texted strategic advice to a Freedom Convey organizer back on Feb. 2. Huh. CTV News and other outlets reported Wall and Chris Barber — who faces charges over the anti-vaccine, anti-mask and anti-mandate protests that paralyzed downtown Ottawa for three weeks this past winter — exchanged 26 messages and four phone calls. The communication came to light after investigators examined Barber’s cell phone.

Obviously, the WJHD wonders why a former premier would support a leader of an irrational, obnoxious and anti-democratic protest movement, but we’re really irked that along with advice (condemn racists, don’t take counter protestors’ bait), Wall told Barber he doesn’t follow CBC because it’s “bad for his health.” Spoken like a true BFF of the John Gormley Show.

THURSDAY 7 – HASTA LA BORIS: After multitudes of ministerial resignations, the United Kingdom’s incompetent, pathologically lying Conservative Prime Minister was finally forced to throw in the towel today. Boris Johnson’s legacy as PM starts with him wildly steering his Brexiting nation into iceberg after iceberg while further dividing his country (Scotland) and inflaming dormant animosities (Northern Ireland). Beyond that, Johnson was a gifted architect of self-inflicted destruction whose scandals included illegal political donations; illegal prorogation of Parliament; illegal lobbying; and illegal social gatherings at 10 Downing Street at the height of the pandemic. What a guy. And now he’s buh-bye.

WEDNESDAY 13 – OMGAUDREAU: Hockey fans reeling from disgusting reports of their sport’s sexually violent culture attempted to bolster their rapidly fading love for the game by following the opening day of NHL free agency. Let’s see what we’ve got… Calgary Flames superstar free-agent winger Johnny Gaudreau stunned the hockey world by signing a budget deal with the NHL’s most obscure club, the Columbus Blue Jackets. Hey, that’s the What Just Happened Desk’s team. Neat.

MONDAY 18 – DONNA, WHERE CAN YOU BE?: The Canadian Press reports Saskatchewan Finance Minister Donna Harpauer spent close to $7,900 on a March 25 charter flight to a North Battleford chamber of commerce luncheon to discuss the provincial budget she’d tabled two days before. There’s nothing wrong with post-budget travel by politicians — it’s part of the job — but the decision to fly a measly 400 kilometres for a not-urgent lunch rather than be driven by an assistant (standard practice) touched a nerve at a time Saskatchewanians are struggling with rising prices. But overall, just a minor political stumble and… wait, what’s that?

TUESDAY 19 – FLIGHT OF THE BUMBLE-D: In a miscalculation worthy of, if not quite Boris Johnson at least a dynamite-fumbling Wile E. Coyote, Saskatchewan Finance Minister Donna Harpauer held an unapologetic and tone-deaf press conference that boiled her teapot tempest into full-blown public anger.

According to CBC’s report on the presser, Harpauer defended her (almost) $7,900 chartered flight to North Battleford by saying she was “exhausted” from working hard and doesn’t drive when she’s tired. Which ignores the fact sleepy ministers can nap in vehicles driven by staffers. It also ignores the fact Sask. Party politicians might want to avoid the topic of what safe drivers they are.

Harpauer also said something about wanting a bigger house. Wild times.

Pat McKelvie

WEDNESDAY 20 – LONDON BOILING: The Guardian ran a story with the horrific headline “Heatwave led to London firefighters’ busiest day since second world war” today and the What Just Happened Desk is freaking out. The titular heatwave is this summer’s Europe-baking scorcher, and it saw Heathrow airport set a UK temperature record of 40.2 degrees Celsius. Since cities are now literally burning thanks to climate change the public should demand politicians and the business leaders who back them do something. Hashtag just a thought.

THURSDAY 21 – BIGOTS NEED DICTIONARIES: The Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers Facebook page reports that some ignorant douche canoe spraypainted dopey, bigoted slurs and a misspelled Bible reference (“Genisis” 19:24) on Warman, SK’s Pride crosswalk. “It makes me very sad because Warman is a welcoming community to all. This is not Warman at all,” Warman Mayor Gary Philipchuk told CTV Saskatoon. I wonder when the homophobic goofs will figure out even rural Saskatchewan is sick of their weird, toxic hang-ups.

FRIDAY 22 – SLAMMER BANNON: A federal jury convicted former Trump advisor and overgrown potato Steve Bannon of two counts of contempt of Congress for blowing off the [takes deep breath] United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack (despite a subpoena, Bannon refused to testify. Bad move). Bannon’s sentencing is set for Oct. 21. Orange is a great Halloween costume colour.

Back to hockey horror: Halifax police announced a criminal investigation into a videotaped assault of an unconscious woman by a group of Team Canada players at the 2003 World Junior Championship. The event was co-hosted by the city.

SUNDAY 24, 10:05 PM – WHERE ARE THE KEYS?: After an hour scouring park lawns and gardens with our phone’s flashlight, the What Just Happened Desk’s landlord just called to say our keys have been found. We left the stupid things in our (unlocked) door.

MONDAY 25 – APOLOGIES, ACTION PLANS AND MURDER IN LANGLEY: Pope Francis finally apologized for the Catholic Church’s genocidal mistreatment of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples today. The Pope apologized to thousands of Indigenous people in Maskwacis, Alberta on the third day of his six-day Canadian penance-palooza. He also called for an inquisition… sorry, investigation into “the facts of what took place in the past.”

In Langley, BC a 28-year-old male in a camouflage t-shirt shot at least four homeless people in what police initially called targeted attacks. Two are dead at press time. The gunman is also dead. Details to follow. But not here.

Finally, Hockey Canada released An Action Plan To Improve Canada’s Game today. Among other things, the initiative promises expanded training on topics like toxic masculinity and consent, and “enhanced character screening” for top players. Ya think?