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Quebec City Deserves NHL Team BEFORE Las Vegas

December 15th, 2014 · 14 Comments

The sellout of Canada’s national game … by the ridiculously-named NATIONAL Hockey League … to American billionaires may soon take another step.

The NHL has okayed a “ticket reservation drive”  by billionaire Bill Foley, who wants to establish an NHL team in Las Vegas: the desert kingdom of glitter, gaudiness and gold (alas, mostly only  for those who OWN the casinos).

There is no suitable arena for hockey there right now …but  MGM is building a new arena-type facility, 18,000 seats, that could be used for hockey.

But Hockey …in Las Vegas?  I believe it would just end up as another dilution of hockey quality … turning a first class sport even more into a manipulated American marketing mechanism … more about advertising, promotion, marketing and endorsements than a display of the BEST hockey achievement.

And seems to me much bigger problems would surround the reality that there’s no huge established NHL fan base in Las Vegas or the state of Nevada …and thinking that an NHL team could be supported largely by visiting tourists would be pure folly: ask the Florida Panthers or Tampa Bay for their audience draw and financial numbers.

For the millionaires and billionaires, it would just be a fun trinket, and tax write-off. But the game will be further diluted and weakened.

Well, there is a better idea that the NHL brass, based in the US, have too long shot down .

How about delivering more NHL to REAL hockey fans? How about stopping … okay, slowing down … the American commercialization of Canada’s national game?  (Naïve, aren’t I!)

Okay then, how about a bit  of plain, basic justice for those who LOVE hockey, LIVE hockey and have been fighting so long and so hard for a return of an NHL team: Quebec City!

La belle ville de Quebec even has a brand new, ultra-modern $400 million arena already under construction …to be completed in about a year.

It’s also 18,000 seats …. and though that may seem small by NHL standards,  at least those seats in Quebec City would have a better chance of being FULL … not like the masses of empty seats seen so often at failing US hockey arenas … despite major league rock-bottom pricing and promotions.

In fact, I’d bet that any Quebec City team owners and the NHL itself would generate a lot more revenue from a Quebec City team than most of the expansion teams in the US have managed. And in terms of television revenues, team regalia, endorsements etc. …where the REAL bucks are in professional hockey sports … Quebec City’s almost province-wide audience would be formidable  … no doubt a much better draw and investment than Las Vegas.

Every REAL sports reporter (NOT those who spend their careers fawning over the hockey players and brass they are supposed to be covering) should be demanding answers: WHY is even a Las Vegas team being considered before Quebec City gets its rightful due??? Why is the NHL being so watered down with minor-league caliber teams that many of its games are now not even worth watching???

Maybe the federal government should get involved too!

The NHL  … or even the original six … has  been so polluted by crass baseless expansion pandering to US millionaires and billionaires that the game itself is suffering.

And if the NHL does insult Canada further by awarding as new team to Las Vegas BEFORE Quebec City, then federal advertising officials should lay charges for fraud and misrepresentation  … and demand the name “National” Hockey League be dropped …. at least in Canada.

Harv Oberfeld

→ 14 CommentsTags: International · National

Supreme Court Gets it Right … Maybe

December 12th, 2014 · 22 Comments

Ten years ago, I would have seen the latest decision regarding cell phone searches as a disaster: an invasion of privacy that violates our Charter rights and gives police too broad powers.

But times have changed.

The sad …and scary … truth is there are people in our midst right now who want to kill us …any of us, almost all of us … if they could in some twisted jihadist attempt to destroy Canada’s democracy, our diversity, our social policies, even our freedoms.

There are criminals, high-tech organized gangs who now use … not guns … but cell phones, I-pads and computers in such sophisticated large-scale attacks against our bank accounts, credit cards, personal data and even family information and connections to rip off not only our assets and belongings but even our identities.

Ask anyone who has had their personal data hacked and their identity high jacked what turmoil it has caused them …sometimes taking years to recover from …  and you will understand the reality our society is up against.

These really are more terrible and potentially frightening times than any of us have ever PERSONALLY faced before.

We are at war …. in quite a different fashion from actual physical wars of the past: the enemy today is right here, in person,  or right here from thousands of miles away, via the Internet.

In the face of all this, the decision, by the Supreme Court, is really quite limited: police will be able to search, without warrant,  the content of people’s cell phones …but ONLY IF they have been arrested on a particular charge.  And the ONLY INFORMATION they can gather MUST be related to those charges.

In other words, the police will NOT be able to just stop anyone in the street and, on suspicion or just a hunch, demand a look or search of anyone’s cell phone.

And when ANY cell phone search is done, in relation to any arrest, the police must keep detailed records of what was examined and why.  ANY failure to properly do so would work AGAINST the police, ruling out the use of any information thus gathered.

In other words…and quite clearly … the Supreme Court has given police a new weapon to use against CRIMINALS … and only AFTER THEY ARE ARRESTED … not just to harass teens, members of the public, protestors or … God forbid … troublesome bloggers!

The closeness of the Court vote … 4 to 3 … certainly points to the dangers or fears about abuses of our Charter rights.

I think that’s good.   The decision does NOT give the cops carte blanche … and the dissenting opinion warns against opening the door to George Orwell’s Big Brother controls … if no warrant is required.

But warrants take time, can be challenged and delayed … and, frankly, in today’s high-speed technological criminal world, would yield more than enough time through other phones or computers to clear info,  destroy evidence … and even for accomplices or big bosses (or fellow jihadi terrorists) to escape.

The danger, as always, is that SOME police officers or even agencies will abuse the right …and will try to examine cells BEFORE a person is arrested, or even after an arrest,  look for info totally unrelated to the charge involved.  I do worry about that, but I am convinced if there are abuses of the new Court ruling, that can be dealt with … in future Court rulings.

However in the face of the ugly evils that now pervade our society and the world, and use cellphones to wreak havoc on the REAL WORLD in which we live today, it’s the criminals and jihadists we must handcuff … not the police …unless they betray the new trust.

Harv Oberfeld

→ 22 CommentsTags: National