Trumpian clarion call

Politicians Immune To Illegal Acts

Yesterday, a damning judgment was released in New York with the news that Donald Trump and his family seriously mismanaging the funds and operations of a family charity. 

I am sure the “everTrumpers” will leap to the conclusion that it is fake news and no sources, etc., etc., their usual articulate defences, but it is the start of a very worrying trend in global politics.

While the Trump family has shown serious disregard to their duty of care for public funds that in some instances relate directly to Trumps election campaign, the point is that this case has concluded. 

Almost everything else that is ongoing in the courts in the U.S. with respect to Trump is being mired by strategic delays, this case has reached a conclusion.

Similarly, the impeachment interviews are coming to a very serious conclusion. 

That Trump is a liar and has no regard for the letter of the law or even the spirit of the law is now a known fact. Yet, even today the country is split down the middle on whether to change the course or keep Trump at the helm. 

Similarly, in Canada, we have a Prime Minister who has lied and cheated several times in his term of office, and we reward him with another term.

Until we get serious about what is right and what is wrong, we can expect global politics to be unstable.

Until we are serious about making our leaders agree to an oath of office, we might as well throw that ceremony down the toilet.

It wasn’t that long ago that anyone running for politics had to be an upstanding member of society.

What happened?


The rise of micro breweries

Micro Brewery Trend Affects Traditional City Centre Outlets

Having grown up in the U.K. and used to British traditional ales, I was excited at the evolution and development of the craft beer industry.

But the rapid rise in brew pubs and brewery outlets will lead to concern for some municipalities who will lose patrons from the downtown as beer fans flock to the outskirts to sip delicious ales.

What started as an industry to supply a variety of ales to other food and beverage outlets, and supported by a small amount of onsite sales, has morphed into an industry that has little empathy for retail outlets that market their products, or could.

I was surprised when I visited Kelowna a few weeks ago and noticed that on a Tuesday evening, the bars and restaurants downtown were virtually empty.

Then someone told me to take a look at the almost dozen micro breweries that have opened in the Okanagan and as I drove around it was obvious that patrons were spilling out of the doors. 

As I understand it, the initial intent was to open breweries in industrial areas and allow a restricted license to sell onsite beer.

The license would limit the times the businesses should close. Of course, it starts that way and then a lobby from the owners, which is completely natural, flexes the licences.

It is a disruptive service that is killing the traditional pub to a large extent. 

The disruption taking place is allowing the businesses to locate off Main Street, avoiding the pricier leases and taking advantage of a district where parking is not an issue and certainly is not charged for. It is a significant advantage and a real draw for many clients. 

In realizing that extended hours were possible, it allowed the breweries to compete with downtown merchants not only in terms of hours and parking, but they could also reduce the cost of the product by brewing on site. 

The final nail in the coffin for many traditional outlets was when the current trend of bringing in food trucks to the location allowed for food to be served, but required no investment in kitchen equipment or the lengthy and bureaucratic delays of getting the food aspect licensed. 

All in all, it is a brilliant plan and is obviously de rigueur. Sadly, it may be to the demise of the typical hostelry that for generations has served clients in inner city areas. 

Life is often about reading the rules and figuring out how much slack there is to bend without getting on the wrong side of the same rules. 

It may just be easier to get parking in inner city areas now and you may not have to book to get a table. 

Politics now one issue

was in the U.S. this week on business and I shared the stage with the last man to walk on the moon, Dr. Harrison Schmitt, a geologist who was part of the Apollo 17 expedition.

It was certainly an honour to represent the leading edge of aviation as I spoke about flying cars while Dr. Schmitt shared his tales of being transported to the moon in a controlled explosion with a craft that had less technology than today’s wrist watches. 

Meanwhile, back in Canada, politics provided as many talking points as we had on stage and was clearly just as polarized and ugly as the U.S.

Interestingly, what binds us all together as Canadians is a massive amount of confusion over climate change and what to do about it.

I can certainly admit that I was a climate change denier, even though I would climb and see the obvious degradation to glaciers around the world. In recent years, that impact is more staggering.

Recently, I drove to Alberta, which I have not done for many years, and the view of Illecillewaet Glacier and the visible change was shocking.

The sad thing is it has driven politics to a one-issue discussion.

The Liberals believe that signing a pact expressing a desire to reduce GHG emissions is the way to go, even thought there are no tacit plans.

The Conservative Party believes there are answers, but more research is needed to see where our fiscal and industrial investment can best be spent to reduce GHG emissions.

The NDP appeared to be so focused on doing anything to keep Conservatives out that I am not sure I ever saw a clear communication on their plans other than their belief that big corporations will pay.

You would think the Green Party would have a clear mandate but, trolling through their manifesto, it is very clear, that they don’t have any answers.

Everybody makes a difference and is wiling to sign a document saying they will reduce GHG emissions, but nobody has truly run the numbers or developed a plan that I can see.

It made me think that acknowledging where we are today is probably a good starting point for creating unity among the electorate.

If we can acknowledge that we don’t fully understand what is happening and we discuss it, there may be some shared common ground. 

If we can agree (as evidence suggests) that human activities are having an impact on climate change, then perhaps we can agree that individually and corporately there are things we can do to make an incremental difference. 

Without an electorate buying in to the problem and potential solutions, we will continue to have divisive, polarized, negative campaigning for many years, which serves no one. 

There are technologies available today that can make a radical difference to climate change; why are they not being introduced?

It is time to look at the inhibitors to disruptive technologies that can make the world a better place. The status quo is not good enough, turf protection is not good enough.

Debate and critical thinking from all sectors of the government and the electorate, including a wide variety of stakeholders, is what will set us up for success as a nation.

Simply taxing big polluters does nothing other than increase our cost of living and force people to dig their heels in. 

Let’s get a little more creative.


Does practice make perfect?

I have generally stayed as active as possible, enjoying the mountains and opportunities they provide for adventure.

My business life has, however, been such that some of those activities are taking a back seat. 

This year, I decided I would embarrass myself to return to programmed exercise by entering some races and seeing how badly I did.

For many people, that approach doesn’t work, but for me it can. So I decided I would try a mountain bike event in Kalso and an off-road triathlon in Canmore. 

Many years ago, my colleagues in the company I was working with decided to enter a run with a team. We called ourselves the Three Blisters Last Resort, which was a play on the name of the company, Three Sisters Resorts.

We talked about the legs in the event and I asked for a relatively easy one because I didn’t like running. Everybody obliged and then all the runners looked at me and asked what my training plan would be.

“What is a training plan?” I asked.

After the explanations from them I decided and argued that I would have a greater chance of showing up on the day if I did not train. 

As it happens, two or three of the team, came to my house during the “training period” to advise that they had sustained an injury and could no longer compete.

I ended up with a 13 kilometre leg and a tough uphill. 

This probably needs the warning in here “don’t try this at home - speak to a doctor or strength and conditioning coach first!”

I survived that event, so this year I thought I could survive the rest. To make it clear, I am not out of shape, I would be happy to do a 20km run although I would perhaps be a little slow. 

The mountain bike race was, however, an unexpected bout of sustained heart-rate level. I didn’t have a mountain bike until just before the event and half way through the event, found out the front shock absorber could not hold air and so I did not have a from suspension - more of an extending leg on drops that collapsed on landing.

I survived and, in fact, I reached my goal. Not knowing how long it wold take me, I guessed at under two hours for a 20km ride and came in at one hour and 59 minutes.

I was baptized in the sport of mountain bike racing and loved it. 


Next on the calendar was an Xterra triathlon in Canmore. How tough could it be?

Quite tough.

I left a day early after making several phone calls to bike stores there to get my Canondale Lefty’s front shock fixed. There is no Canondale dealer in Canmore, but one store used to be a dealer and the nice lady on the phone said they could do it. 

However, after driving five hours to Canmore and dropping the bike of, I received an immediate call to pick it up again and was questioned how could I even think of dropping it off. They don’t do Canondales!

Oh, well, another event without front suspension. 

The Quarry in Canmore was understandably cool for the swim and then off to the Nordic centre on the bike. The climb out of the stadium was brutal and finally we get in to the high twisty stuff downhill that I enjoy.

I am perhaps stupid enough (since I hadn’t owned a mountain bike before) to follow people through the technical sections and this was where I made up for lost ground.

Where most people were walking down for some reason, I rode down, had a blast and made up about 10 places each time I did that section. 

Then the run!

That happened to be on a few black diamond mountain bike trails. By this time. I really was knackered. 

I swore I would never show anyone the finishing line photo where I look like I need a paramedic and I still won’t.

So today, how do I feel?

Well I haven’t started the programmed training, but I realized I still love to do this stuff so more plans for next year are in the works.

Will I train?

My body hopes so. but my head is trying to say I don’t have time and I am too old.

Let’s see who wins.

More It's All About . . . articles

About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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