A few ideas that haven’t grown into columns

Here’s a few ideas that haven’t grown into columns but at least this gets them off my desk:

By George Brown, editor My desk is a bit of a mess at this time of year, covered with sticky notes with ideas for stories and columns.

Here’s a few ideas that haven’t grown into columns but at least this gets them off my desk:

I know it’s not just my opinion, having heard the curses from many Ponoka residents out and about in last week’s deep freeze, the Town of Ponoka’s street cleaning effort left a lot to be desired.

If it’s a matter of policy that public works crews wait and wait and wait before making any attempt to clear downtown streets then the policy has to change. If plowing and removing snow from downtown weeks before Christmas is not a priority, then priorities have to change.

I’m not the chamber president (nor am I campaigning for the job) but if I were I would have filled up the voice mailbox of the mayor, town manager and public works super by noon last Friday. Downtown was an embarrassment. It was like driving on a sandy beach without the warm breeze.

Crews were visible over the weekend, but by then word was out that the provincial highways were clear and dry and Christmas shoppers were off to the Big City malls. By Monday, streets were looking pretty good — ruts and packed down slippery sections notwithstanding.

Those of us who work and live downtown will accept a windrow for a few days if it means our customers can get out of their cars and into our stores. We have nowhere to put the snow we shovel off our sidewalks except out into the street, expecting a crew to come and remove it before spring. And we expect the work to be completed by 9 a.m.

Snow removal, not snow plowing is really the key. Sure, it costs more to haul it than to push it off to the side, but in areas with sidewalks on both sides of the street, public works crews don’t have a choice — unless they blade it all to one side, leaving one sidewalk clear, which is not a bad idea either.

Go Leafs Go

So which poorly performing NHL team would you rather be a fan of these days: the Edmonton Oilers or the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Both have started to come around and unlike the Leafs who can be counted on to lose a Hockey Night in Canada game in overtime, the Oilers have been winning OT games — or at least Shawn Horcoff has. That just clouds the fact that Edmonton cannot win after playing 65 minutes of hockey.

The Leafs can score in a wide-open game but their best goalie is like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz — no heart. But they have Phil Kessel who looks like the superstar the Leafs have been missing since 13 left.

Going, going…

Canadians haven’t had a chance to reject whatever Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff stands for but just a year after anointing him with snake oil, Liberal MPs are ready to do just that.

Rumours coming out of the dark corners of Ottawa’s favourite restaurants seem to indicate that yet another Liberal leader will be pushed out the door. Iggy was kind of forced on the party and he does not have the open loyalty of his MPs and senators. The Liberals are caught in a time warp or wormhole as they try to bridge the gap between their old guard, which has been rejected by Canadians, and the maturation of their next generation of young MPs.

The end of the stimulus?

What will the Harper government’s next federal budget look like? This past year they gave away billions, so is this the year we begin to pay it all back through tax increases?

What is the government’s plan for the next five years now that we seem to be exiting the recession?

And who paid for all of those Economic Action Plan signs that adorn highway projects and buildings across the country? Municipalities? This summer would have been a good time to be a Conservative-friendly sign company.

Stoned to death

I have a magazine on my desk about the music of the Summer of Love. It’s an interesting look at the influential music of 1969. What we seem to forget in the purple haze of that year was the violence.

Make Love not War may have been the anthem but it wasn’t the practice. Amid the war in Vietnam, 1969 ended with the death of a concert-goer at the Rolling Stones Altamont concert.

And maybe too, a bit of a generation’s idealism.