Sunday, January 16, 2011

Did You Ever Wonder How Don Cherry Became the Mouthpiece for Neoconservatism?

Does it not seem odd to anyone that Don Cherry, who always played the average Joe, got so wrapped up in neoconservatism, the revolt of the rich against society?

I mean he's everywhere. Campaigning for Julian Fantino, endorsing Rob Ford. He'll probably be lending his blubber to Kingston's local conservative candidate.

Many are just calling him a senile old crank, trying to capture a bit of the limelight, and while that may be true, there is another reason. Stephen Harper and the boys made this man a lot of money. More money than I'll ever see in a lifetime. And now he owes them.

How you ask? Pull up a chair. I want to tell you a story.

The Backroom Deal of the Century

As you probably know Harper's boys are fascinated with hockey pucks. They even have their own hockey team, courtesy of Republican pollster Frank Luntz. I think they call themselves The Bought and Paid For Boys.

Well one day the Bought and Paid For Boys, were paid a special visit by Mr. Don Cherry. He brought a signed jersey for Stephen Harper and a box of a new "medicine" he was flogging. Cold-FX.
When COLD-fX maker CV Technologies visited Parliament Hill with their spokesman, hockey commentator Don Cherry, it was “a mistake” for Harper to accept gifts, including a signed Mark Messier hockey jersey and a case of the cold remedy, MacDermid noted. "Good heavens, it is so obvious. No representative of the people should be accepting gifts from companies that have the intention of lobbying. They didn’t even register. He should have said 'No, I can’t take that.’"
But that's not the story. Or at least not all of it.
Dr. Jacqueline Shan, president of CV Technologies, Inc. of Edmonton, accompanied by hockey commentator Don Cherry, a paid company spokesman, met with about 20 Tory MPs, including several cabinet ministers, in the exclusive Parliamentary Dining Room in the Centre Block on Parliament Hill. Shan and Cherry later met directly with Harper in his Parliament Hill office. The company hired Cherry in 2004, specifically to promote sales of the product. They were invited to the capital by James Rajotte, chairman of the Commons industry committee and Tory MP for the corporate president's Edmonton-Leduc riding.

Last week, the company received a critical regulatory ruling - worth untold millions - from Health Canada, allowing it to claim in advertising that COLD-fx reduces "the frequency, severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms by boosting the immune system."
This resulted in a one-day increase in total market value of $155,288,259. One hundred and fifty five million dollars in one day. That's nothing to sneeze at, pardon the pun. And all it cost them was a hockey jersey and a box of the stuff. I wonder how much of that Cherry walked away with.

We have a government that won't talk to us, except through carefully scripted press releases, that are now often published verbatim in our media, with no attempt to offer a balancing commentary. But Don Cherry, can sit down with 20 of them and even get a one on one with the big guy.

Who do you have to .... well never mind.

Cherry and the hockey pucks were cleared, but only because the ethics commissioner concluded that the meeting "did not constitute a sufficient amount of time to be considered a significant part of their duties." Huh? This isn't about how much of their valuable time that was wasted. It's about an unethical lobbying practice.

So Why Should We Care?

How important is it to Canadians that a little backroom scratch and sniff made a whole pile of money for a handful of people?

It matters a great deal, because that backroom deal allowed a company to make unvalidated claims about a medicinal product. Some tests concluded that it had potential, but all of those tests were performed by the company themselves. According to the Edmonton Journal: A pharmaceutical expert has raised questions about the scientific claims made by CV Technologies Inc. concerning its flagship product, Cold-fX, which has become Canada's most popular cold and flu remedy.
A pharmaceutical expert has raised questions about the scientific claims made by CV Technologies Inc. concerning its flagship product, Cold-fX, which has become Canada's most popular cold and flu remedy. James McCormack, a professor at the University of B.C. faculty of pharmaceutical sciences who specializes in evaluating and interpreting clinical drug trials, said in an interview that before the public buys into the company's motto, "trust the science," they need to look at the science.
And the Canadian Medical Association agrees. This is a case of Science vs Marketing:
At best, the results of this trial might support a claim that a person who takes two 200 mg Cold-FX capsules everyday for four months may have a 1-in-4 chance of not getting a second cold during that period and may knock a couple days and a few sniffles off the first cold. At a market price of $25 for 60 capsules, this preventative strategy would cost approximately $100 for the four months ... Yet, even this modest claim is questionable. This series of trials has produced inconsistent results, and so it is hard to see how the trials, taken collectively, could definitively support any specific claim.
But this isn't even about whether or not it works. It's about our government being star struck and allowing a product to be sold to Canadians, who mistakenly believe that it has gone through rigorous testing and passed all standards of safety. Another case of the market over the people. Do we even know what the long term effects could be?

And the company is in trouble again. No doubt emboldened by how easy it was to get the feds on their side, they overreached by suggesting in an ad that the Alberta Health Services board is working with them. At least Alberta put a stop to it. Maybe Cherry should have given them a jersey.

So next time he calls us "Left-wing pinkos", remember. He's just another Bought and Paid For Boy.


  1. Same old, same old:

    On January 1, 1998, the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto and its six lower-tier cities (Toronto, Scarborough, North York, Etobicoke, East York and York) were amalgamated into the single "megacity" of Toronto. In one of the new city's first official acts of business, computer equipment was leased for city councillors' offices from MFP Financial Services, at a value of $1,093,731. City staff have not been able to produce any documentation to prove that this contract was awarded through proper procedures.

    In May, 1999, the city issued a Request For Quotations for its new computer acquisition needs. MFP was one of the bidders, and was awarded the contract in July of that year. MFP was contracted to provide $43 million of computer equipment to the city on a three-year lease agreement. However, the final lease agreement was not signed until after the 90-day price guarantee had expired.

    That fall, the city sold its owned computer equipment to MFP, and then leased it back as well.

    Over the duration of the agreement, the city paid $85 million to MFP, rather than the original $43 million approved by city council. As well, many of the equipment schedules were for five-year leases rather than three. Some of these leases were later restructured to extend the lease terms even further, resulting in additional costs.

    This story reminds me of the computer leasing scandal from City of Toronto where this woman, Wanda Liczyk (former North York treasurer) was brought into the new amalgamated City of Toronto (by then mayor Mel Lastman) and drove the computer staff CRAZY b/c she couldn't just come out and say look it people, I'm sleeping with this married consultant from NYC and I'm throwing all our money into his computer program instead of the far superior one you created in-house.

    MFP's lead salesman on the city contract was Dash Domi, the brother of former Toronto Maple Leafs player Tie Domi.

    Liczyk was suspended for six months from practicing as a chartered accountant after pleading guilty Wednesday to three charges brought against her by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario (ICAO).

    Liczyk was also fined $15,000 and ordered to pay $7,000 for costs related to the hearing.

    Justice Denise Bellamy reserved her most scathing remarks for Tom Jakobek, the city's ambitious former budget chief and once a powerful player at city hall.

    She concluded there was credible evidence Jakobek had taken a $25,000 payoff from Dash Domi, an MFP salesman who earned $1.2 million in commissions from the computer contract.

    In defending himself, Jakobek forced his own mother "into the spotlight to face questioning in the witness box" to answer for his lies, Bellamy said.


  2. Picture of them in action:!/photo.php?fbid=181088745257825&set=o.292671928599

  3. Unfortunately Cherry the Mouth has acquainted love for the troops with being a's is a real common mistakes, especially for those who have no brains and can't think for themselves....don't mistake ego for brains

  4. Mmmmm, Tie Domi.... Belinda Stronach's gentleman friend at one point. Mr. McKay was quite unhappy about that...