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Cold Hard Rants

Faux Patriotism Run Amok

Home Hardware fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. Labatt Blue obviously has been sampling a little too much of their own product and they too fell for the con. and the shameless faux patriotism of Diamond Jim Balsillie is a discredit to all those Canadians who live outside the GTA and its tributaries, and whose Canada stretches from Vancouver Island to Prince Edward Island to Baffin Island.

Deliberately, and with full awareness I have yet to write an op-ed on the Fiasco in Phoenix. I have intentionally stuck to analysing the court proceedings and analysing the newsworthy public acrimony between the groups up until now. Unfortunately, my acidic tongue cannot be held back any longer, as I have read too much of Mr. Balsillie’s faux patriotism to let it go unchallenged any longer

Earlier today in the former (and maybe future?) home of the Phoenix Coyotes, Winnipeg, Jim Balsillie received an award from the University of Manitoba’s business school. Rightfully so he deserves this award, as his legendary product, the Blackberry, is a true Canadian success story. However, when the press conference accompanying his receiving of the International Distinguished Entrepreneur Award dared to venture into discussions surrounding his erstwhile purchase of the Coyotes, Mr. Balsillie acted like a petulant child and refused to discuss the issue in even the most rudimentary of fashions. Every reporter at that press conference this morning had an obligation as a reporter to ask about Phoenix, and for Mr. Balsillie to act surprised or ticked off at receiving those questions is only further proof that he may not be cut out to be in the public spotlight he has begun to shine on himself recently. The fact he did it in Winnipeg, which is as worthy, if not more so, to be the seventh city that hosts an NHL hockey team in Canada speaks volumes of the honesty surrounding Mr. Balsillie’s campaign.

In his previous attempts to acquire a hockey team for the Hamilton area, Mr. Balsillie has gone about doing so in a manner in which I may not have recommended, but at least he was honest about his intentions. This time though, from the outset of his quest to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes, he has been underhanded, condescending, and manipulative of Canadians. The launch of his website and the subsequent wrapping of himself in the Canadian flag, for me, is nothing but a cynical ploy to supposedly ramp up pressure on the NHL. If Jim Balsillie cares about a seventh NHL team in Canada anywhere other than Hamilton/Southern Ontario than I have some beach front property in Flin Flon to sell you.

Jim Balsillie has every right to want to own an NHL team in Hamilton, Ontario, London, Ontario, or even Red Lake, Ontario. If he thinks it could be successful, all the power to you, God speed in your quest. What Mr. Balsillie doesn’t have the right to do, and what he should be ashamed at himself for doing, is wrapping himself in the Canadian flag in his quest to put a team only in a very small, localized part of Canada. The Canadian flag should not be used as a pawn and a prop. It means too much to too many people to see it sold short by one individual’s quest for NHL franchise ownership. Mr. Balsillie should stop using the dot CA at the end of makeitseven, and instead use the Province of Ontario’s dot ON. Only then, would he be truly honest with Canadians as to his actual want and desire.

For Illegal Curve, I am Drew Mindell.

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