Armchair Mayor

By: Mel Rothenburger

Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). He continued to write columns for The Daily News until it ceased publication Jan. 11, 2014, and did regular commentary for CBC Radio.

Raising the legal age for smoking not so crazy after all

January 24, 2017 - 3:00pm

KAMLOOPS — Raising the age for legal smoking from 19 to 21 isn’t as crazy and pointless as it sounds.

Health Minister Terry Lake has floated the idea, saying the longer people are legally not supposed to smoke, the better the chances they’ll never start.

The seemingly obvious problem with his theory is that no matter what the law says, people are going to start smoking when they want to. That’s why anti-tobacco campaigns focus heavily on trying to convince young people not to get hooked on it.

Who would you side with, the coyotes or the eagle?

January 21, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — One of nature’s dramas unfolded at our house last weekend.

We woke up to discover that during the night the coyotes had brought down a deer on the frozen river outside our back door. From the balcony we watched as the ravens and eagles got in on the feast.

Once in awhile, a coyote would return to scare them off and reclaim the prize for the pack. At least half a dozen eagles and 50 ravens circled or perched in the trees along the river, waiting till the coast was clear to swoop back to the kill.

Is it a coincidence, Mr. Trump, that it's raining today

January 20, 2017 - 10:15am

KAMLOOPS — Was it any coincidence that it started raining as Donald Trump was sworn into office as the 45th president of the United States today?

The rain beaded on the shoulders of his trademark overcoat as he took the oath and gave a trademark speech — “We will make America great again.”

It was very probably one of the most ingracious, self-centered inauguration speeches in the history of that great country. One would have thought he was on the campaign trail.

Kevin O'Leary will be an exciting leadership candidate, but...

January 19, 2017 - 5:05am

KAMLOOPS — Can Kevin O’Leary save the Conservative party, vanquish Justin Trudeau and make Canada great again?

The controversial multi-millionaire and reality TV star officially entered the race for leadership of the party on Wednesday after a year of playing coy. The man who makes million-dollar decisions at a moment’s notice on Shark Tank deliberated for months on end on whether he wants to be Canada’s next prime minister.

Public deserves one more kick at the Ajax can

January 18, 2017 - 5:00am Updated: January 18, 2017 - 5:58pm

KAMLOOPS — You need a compass, a calculator and a good road map to figure out where the Ajax environmental review is going, and when it’s going to get there…. And Kamloops City council needs to figure it out fast.

I wrote in last Saturday’s Armchair Mayor column that crunch time is coming for the review and for the City deciding where it stands. The council has left itself virtually no wriggle room.

Time crunch is coming on Ajax mine review

January 14, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — Things are about to get interesting again on the Ajax front.

Monday, the City’s Industrial Tax Base Task Force will meet with KGHM to talk some more about a community compensation agreement (“partnership agreement” in Ajax-speak), without Mayor Peter Milobar.

That’s because the mayor took himself off the task force last month and appointed Coun. Ken Christian instead. Christian will sit in with Pat Wallace and Dieter Dudy.

Cabinet shuffle could shift strategy on electoral reform

January 11, 2017 - 5:00am Updated: January 11, 2017 - 6:09pm

Most of the attention on yesterday’s federal cabinet shuffle has been on the exit of Stéphane Dion and John McCallum and the rise of Chrystia Freeland.

Freeland, to be sure, is an up and comer, well-qualified to take on her new role as Minister of Foreign Affairs after negotiating a difficult deal with the European Union last fall when she was International Trade Minister.

And the departure of Dion and McCallum, two long-serving veterans, emphasizes Justin Trudeau’s focus on youth.

Constant repetition of Trump's shortcomings has become boring

January 9, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — Isn’t it time we all stop whining about what a bad guy Donald Trump is?

Every time his name is mentioned, it seems, we must remind each other that he is a name caller, a school yard bully, an egoist, narcissist, misogynist, chauvinist braggart who makes fun of handicapped people.

Only then are we able to get to the reason for mentioning him in the first place, which is usually in the context of his latest outrageous, unsubstantiated, misdirected or insulting tweet (or, all of the above).

Walk-in clinics and a very 'chilling' first week of the year

January 7, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — I don’t want to hear one more person say, “It’s positively balmy” every time the temperature creeps above minus 20. But there’s nothing like a prolonged period of feeling as though you’re living in a refrigerator to make you think about the fundamentals.

Walk-in clinics, for example. Standing in line at 7:30 in the morning waiting to get through the front door when it opens is nobody’s idea of a good time, ever. I know; I’ve done it quite a few times.

Fortunately, this past week wasn’t one of them. Others, however, weren’t so lucky.