Skip to main content

Toronto’s skyline.The Globe and Mail

In the past few days, a couple of Globe writers became unpopular in two Canadian cities. The one you may know about was sports columnist Cathal Kelly for his opinion that the opening game of the FIFA Women's World Cup should have been in Toronto, not Edmonton.

Hundreds of complaints, calls and tweets disagreed in the most vehement way.

While he wrote broadly with satire and humour, he was serious about believing Toronto was a better venue because he argued taxpayers paid for a very expensive venue designed for soccer and that venue (yes, in Toronto) should be the first choice.

This incensed readers in Edmonton who thought he was wrong in large part because their city has a much, much bigger facility than Toronto and that other large cities have tracks around the field, a touch Mr. Kelly called high school-like. These were all good points to raise.

The Edmonton readers who called and wrote wondered if Toronto could sell out the Pan Am Games. Their reaction was: Who does this Toronto-centric guy think he is. And that is a danger when you live in another city and disparage their stadium, civic pride takes over.

There have been many letters to the editor on this one, including these offering a robust discussion about an opinion.

Here's one of those published letters with a good sense of humour from Tom Priestly in Edmonton: "In and out of play, Cathal Kelly has a clever way with words and a deep knowledge of the sports he writes about, but every once in a while he allows an inner eejit to rear its head.

"There is a very good reason why Edmonton was made the venue for the FIFA Women's World Cup opener: We Canadians originally became thrilled by our own women's soccer teams at the spellbinding (I was there) 2002 under-19 final in Edmonton.

"For some unfathomable reason, Mr. Kelly, or his alter ego, appears to believe everybody loves Toronto. Please, let it – or him – know T.O. is not the centre of the universe, that the sun does not shine from its back, um, streets, and that for its size, it's had an embarrassingly abysmal sports record over the past several decades.

"Please tell him to put his hidden alter ego/eejit back in its box."

The other you probably do not know about is Queen's Park reporter Adrian Morrow, who wrote about the construction of a power plant near Sarnia, Ont. In his piece, he reported about Green Electron, what he called "the product of the Ontario Liberal government's gas plant scandal, in which then-premier Dalton McGuinty cancelled plants in Mississauga and Oakville at a cost of $1.1-billion to placate angry locals before the 2011 election."

That reference to the locals did not rile anyone I know of, but the next one in the piece did.

The article also said that when the Liberals gave Eastern Power a new contract, "the government was determined to avoid the political hassles that sank the Mississauga project. So they put it where locals were certain to have no objection: Sarnia."

Those Sarnia locals were mighty annoyed, and the mayor, Mike Bradley, put pencil to parchment (not literally) and sent this amusing note.

"Hey Adrian: Hope you don't mind me calling you by your first name as that is what we do down here in Sarnia since we are all related to each other.

"Me and some of the 'locals' as you call us were talking about your story in that Big City newspaper, The Globe and Mail, yesterday about the gas plants. Only get one copy of the paper here, which is brought into town by horseback and those of us who can read sit around sharing the stories. Usually read it on the verandah of Uncle Festus' corner store which also serves as the Town Hall/Jail and the Pony Express Head Office.

"We are now resting on the front porch drinking beer and chewing tabacca exhausted after having spent the last 24 hours walking all over Sarnia trying to find the gas plant in your story. It turns out it is located deep down south from Sarnia in St. Clair Township. Presume future stories will mention that the other cancelled gas plant was to be in Oakville which is near Oshawa.

"You go on to write/type 'So they put it where locals were certain to have no objection: Sarnia.' Yup, you're right, we didn't have any objections cause we didn't know the plant was being relocated from Mississauga (Near Barrie) to the area till the telegraph operator got the message (Urgent: Liberals seek Gas Relief) from Tarana when everyone else did in Ontario.

"We are simple people and instead of wasting all of that money on the new gas plant, we the 'locals' thought the now-closed Lambton Generating Station should be retrofitted to use natural gas and keep that large workforce working, keep the tax assessment providing benefits to the region and continuing to provide cheap power to Ontario. But ain't complaining as we are used to things being imposed on us from Tarana that we are supposed to like for examples Wind Turbines, Toronto Garbage, paying for subways in the GTA, Ben Mulroney and the Toronto Maple Leafs."


Mayor Mike Bradley on behalf of the "locals."