John Thomson  

John Thomson's I Didn't Know That!

I vowed when I started this column twenty-five years ago that I wasn’t going to write about politics and I have held the line until today but this item is really about questions.

I looked back over the last four weeks in Ottawa and the boys and girls have had quite a time of bungling just about everything.

Four weeks ago, word came from the Auditor General Michael Ferguson that $3 billion was missing.

It’s important for there to be a way for people to understand how this money was spent,” Mr. Ferguson told reporters after the report was tabled in Parliament. “And that summary reporting was not done.”

The Auditor-General said departments and agencies are required to report to the Treasury Board Secretariat on how the money was spent. But when the auditor’s officials asked to see the reports, they were told they had not been prepared.

Three weeks ago, Senator Mike Duffy got into a jam in Ottawa with his alleged phony expense account and having been a reporter most of his adult life, he simply didn’t tell the reporters anything they could use. He was quite cocky about the situation.

This brings us to our fourth week. The PMO chief of staff Nigel Wright puts his hand in his pocket and pulls out a $90,000 cheque for the Dufster to pay off the government and stop looking deeper into his expense problems. That didn’t go very far with anybody. We haven’t heard the last of this one. Then with one day left in the week Pamela Wallin, ex-broadcaster and also a senator stepped away from the Conservative caucus. Both senators are now seated as independents and certainly don’t want to lose any paydays.

There was one day left and low and behold there was another announcement from Ottawa.  Nigel Wright, the PMO’s Chief of Staff resigns. Now surely the boss in Ottawa knew that .

This scandal is not going to go away anytime soon.

Good grief!


People News

Dennis Gablehouse was presented with an award at the B.C. Broadcasters Association annual convention this past month in Penticton. He was chosen “Broadcaster of the Year”. Quite an honour for the retired GM of CHBC-TV in Kelowna. Dennis retired from the Global outlet just before Christmas

Gabelhouse was chosen for the award as someone who works behind the scenes in the BC broadcasting business and has set a high standard of excellence in the industry.

Kevin O’Leary the longtime member of The Dragon’s on CBC-TV was in town to talk to some of his shareholders in the O’Leary Fund. Everything went well I believe.

There was another award from the BCB in Penticton. John Tietzen, the former owner of the Wendy’s franchises in the Interior is the man who founded the Dream Lift Days at his restaurants and raised over $1 million to send over 400 kids with physical disabilities or life threatening illnesses to Disneyland for their day. Tietzen was awarded the “Friend of the Industry award”.

Lloyd Robertson, CTV’s ex-newsman of sixty years was the guest speaker.

As Chief Anchor and Senior Editor of CTV News, Lloyd Robertson was the leader of the country's most-watched national newscast, CTV National News with Lloyd Robertson.


It was a big week for Target Canada as they opened twenty-two more stores in Western Canada from Manitoba to B.C. As I started to put this information together I thought to myself how many semi trailer trucks were traveling on the roads bringing the goods so these stores could have their soft opening.  We have three daughters so I asked them to go to the stores when they had a chance and give me a report. Dianne in Edmonton waited to visit the new store in the West Edmonton Mall. The first thing she said was that the new store had bare shelves in many departments.  This is a two storey store and she was impressed with the new escalator because you can clip on your grocery cart in someway and it carries your cart to the top. The food floor is on the second floor. It was busy. In Calgary, Cathy went to the new Target at the Chinook Mall and she also said it was full of shoppers and the shelves were also empty in many parts of the store. Meanwhile in Langley, Brenda found the same problems with the shelves being cleaned out by the shoppers who seemed to want to buy everything they could. This kind of an opening gives the retailer an opportunity to make whatever changes are necessary to make everything run smoothly. Target is very good at what they do. The company’s fleet of vehicles will be on the road around the clock with merchandise for these stores.

The U.S. merchant had thirty thousand credit cards in Canada before they opened - I wonder how big that number is now with forty-six stores open.

The Target schedule for Kelowna hasn’t changed much with the company taking over the store in Orchard Plaza from the contractors this week. The store is still set for a July opening.

Target is aiming to have 124 former Zellers stores remodeled and open before the end of this year.

In the meantime the owners of Orchard Plaza are having their parking lot and all the landscaping redone. The plaza is 22-years old this year and has always had one of the best landscaped properties in the valley.


For months I have been holding back on the story of Lowe’s building a new store in Kelowna.  At first Lowe’s were ready to follow through when two things happened - the American retailer put $1.8 billion on the table to buy out the Canadian home improvement chain. The companies were started in Quebec and still maintain their headquarters there. The newly elected Premier stated she did not want Americans buying out the Quebec Company. Then Rona was quoted as saying they were ready to get serious about selling their thirty big box stores because some of them didn’t make much profit for the chain. Then word spread that this was maybe the deal Lowe’s wanted anyway. But that all changed this week when the Rona board said they were going to keep all their stores and shut down some of the non-profitable units.

I don’t know what this does to any progress regarding Kelowna stores in the near future.

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