A review of events July 27–Aug. 22 in Saskatchewan, Canada and the world

What Just Happened? | Stephen Whitworth | Aug. 5, 2022

Is it angry out there or is it just us? Going by social media, people we know and this paper’s increasingly crabby squad of crack contributors, it looks to us like Saskatchewanians are fed up with our Scott Moe-led government, to a degree I just don’t think we’ve seen since the Sask. Party era began in 2007. The What Just Happened desk isn’t going by polls here — this is entirely coming from perception — so take our observations with a grain of salt. But if you want a prediction? This province is going to be an interesting, action-packed and anger-filled spectacle throughout Autumn.

MONDAY 8 – LET’S GET PHYSICAL (EVIDENCE): The What Just Happened Desk was overwhelmed by events today. Monday started sadly with the news 1970s pop superstar Olivia Newton-John was dead. The singer and actor, most famous for her role opposite John Travolta in 1978’s box-office monster Grease, succumbed to cancer at 73. The WJHD remembers Newton-John’s massive 1981 hit “Physical”, which was banned and censored in parts of the U.S. by right-wing Moral Majority-type creeps for its supposedly raunchy but frankly mild — even for its time — lyrics. Probably didn’t help that “Physical’s” video showed muscular men in small bathing suits holding hands early on in an extremely homophobic decade.

Monday’s hits continued with more details about Saskatoon’s ongoing Legacy Christian Academy scandal. Today, CBC reported former students’ claims they were pressured to work on election campaigns for Reform, Canadian Alliance and finally Conservative MP (and noted social conservative) Maurice Vellacott, as well as former Saskatoon Mayor Don Atchison. I think most of us can agree it’s good when politically engaged high school kids volunteer, but we can’t have religious schools pimping out their students for politicians.

What else? Well, the FBI raided former president and possible Russian asset Donald Trump’s home looking for hijacked classified documents. You’ve probably heard more than enough already so no need for us to waste space on details.

TUESDAY 9 – ABORT FACEBOOK: Three people in Norfolk, Nebraska face criminal charges after police detectives used private Facebook information to determine a 17-year-old had had an abortion. Critics politely suggest this is some kind of Taliban-level woman-hating bullshit. Welcome to America under a rogue, Christian nationalist Supreme Court. This is what happens when voters think mango maniacs are fit for elected office.

FRIDAY 12 – STABBING SALMAN: Speaking of unhinged religious extremists out to force their berserk ideas on the rest of us, beloved Indian/British author Salman Rushdie was badly wounded in an attack before a lecture in New York state. The 75-year-old Rushdie, who is recovering, was famously sentenced to death by former Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 for his book The Satanic Verses, which some Muslims view as blasphemous. On the bright side, The Guardian reports sales are way up for the 34-year-old book.

MONDAY 15 – LaFLAMME OUT: Highly respected CTV news anchor Lisa LaFlamme announced the network cancelled her contract today. The Globe And Mail reported senior CTV News executive Michael Melling, who terminated LaFlamme, had previously demanded to know who had allowed her to stop dyeing her hair, which is naturally grey (and quite frankly, fucking spectacular). The whole stinking incident reminded Canadians that humongous media corporations are sexist, ageist and generally disgusting, and tend to treat their talent like shit. The What Just Happens desk extends hugs to the network’s many underappreciated, hard-working journalists, local and beyond, who are traumatized by their employers’ shabby behaviour. We love you.

MONDAY 22 – MOE MONEY: Premier Scott Moe announced on Twitter his government will soon give $500 to every Saskatchewanian 18 or older. The What Just Happened desk likes money and accepts that rebate cheques can have a role in sound public policy. That said, we are, shall we say, reluctant to embrace a dubious initiative that 1) gives everyone the same money regardless of need; 1A) gives households with six-figure annual incomes the same amount as, say, single moms working at Walmart; 2) is announced, bribe-like, shortly before a byelection in a traditionally NDP-held seat the Sask. Party covets; 3) ignores a full-blown staffing crisis in health care, serious underfunding in education, and ongoing social problems including homelessness, poverty and addiction; 4) won’t help the province’s most vulnerable citizens if they haven’t filed tax returns; 5) is blatant propaganda for the oil industry which is boiling the planet and needs to be wound down, not ramped up; 7) looks altogether far too much like the reckless policies of the Grant Devine conservatives, which nearly bankrupted Saskatchewan in the 1980s. In a nutshell: 2006 Alberta called and wants its RalphBucks back. ■