Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I feel sorry for Ashu Solo.

Let me be the first to wish him a Happy Easter and if he would like to meet with me and pray to God about his pathetic need for attention, I can be available.

I have to hand it to him.  Despite having nothing important to do, he keeps himself busy.


My stomach turns with each passing day I have to see the smug Mike Duffy on television talking about how confused he was concerning this ‘major distraction’ over his claimed expenses relating to his primary residence on Prince Edward Island.  At first, Duffy scorned the media and said, “When it’s all over, you all will be very embarrassed.”  Then, a day later he decided he, “May have been mistaken.  What we have here is a case where the rules aren’t clear.”  Isn’t it something that we can put someone into public office in Ottawa who doesn’t know where he lives?  Now, Duffy says he’s going to repay the expenses.  I say it’s a crock of dandelions.  Forward the matter to the police and let them sort it out.  Residents of PEI should be beating down the doors of their MP and doing everything in their power to get Duffy out of the Senate.  It’s an insult to them to even suggest that he lives on PEI more than he does Ottawa. 

There is way too much abuse of taxpayer money in Ottawa.  Look no further than former MP Michelle Simson, who posted all of her expenses on her website only to feel the wrath of her political brothers and sisters for doing so.  Why?  What’s to hide?  And, isn’t it interesting that politicians never can agree on anything until it comes to the money each one of them is spending and then they all agree it should be a well guarded secret.  How come?  It’s not their money!

I emailed Yorkton-Melville MP Garry Breitkreuz on Sunday night to get his thoughts on this issue and I’d like to see him take a stand in the House of Commons and put it on the record that he’d like to see better accountability by politicians in Ottawa.  I also asked how easy would it be to see his expenses, but I don’t imagine I’ll get to see it.  After all, the Auditor-General has had great difficulty looking at an MPs expense sheet, so don’t hold your breath that Mike Stackhouse will get one.  And, if I did I am sure it will be extremely general in nature.

This is why I could never be a successful politician.  I, generally, vote Conservative in federal elections and with the SaskParty provincially.  But,  I will also be the first to admit those parties are far from perfect and I despise it when they don’t admit mistakes.  Duffy, for example, is paying back the money even though he feels like he doesn’t owe it.  I re-iterate.  Charge this guy with a criminal offense.  It’s like me stealing merchandise from a retail store, getting caught with it, and then offering to give it back without facing a penalty of some sort.  If he’s found not guilty, then so be it.  He can keep the money.

Why do I get the feeling Oscar Pistorius is going to be found not guilty of killing his girlfriend?  I mean he fired four shots into the closed bathroom fearing it was an intruder.  If he were a Canadian that excuse still wouldn’t fly.  You can’t blow away a burglar with four gun shots.  You can take ONE shot if you, rightfully (and you have to really prove this) fear for your life.  Isn’t it reasonable that after the first shot the girlfriend would have woken up, suddenly, to the sound?  And, I’m not the most thoughtful guy in the world, but if I thought there was a prowler in my en suite, I would check the other side of the bed to see if my wife is being held captive in the bathroom.  I should also mention Pistorius lives in a gated community.  So, lots of hurdles to get into the dude’s home.

I spent Thursday night in La Ronge broadcasting the SJHL Game Of The Week for Access 7 and on my back I stopped at the McDonald’s in Prince Albert.  It was exactly 12:49am as I pulled up to the drive-thru window and noticed a mom with four kids, all clearly under the age of seven, inside the restaurant enjoying the playground all to themselves.  I guess that’s one way to beat the crowd.  They also appeared to be consuming enough food to feed a small nation.  Whatever happened to the term ‘bedtime’?

Speaking of food, I also made a stop at a convenience store and thought I’d try one of those refrigerated sub sandwiches (I wasn’t still hungry after McDonald’s; this was a separate food break).  I got lucky as the clerk raced back and warned me against eating it.  “I think it only has one more day before it should be expired,” she said.  After stopping and letting myself process what she had just said, it dawned on me that I wouldn’t eat a sandwich made by myself if I let it sit in the fridge for even a few hours let alone a few days, so what on earth am I doing considering a sandwich that was made who knows when, by who knows who, at who knows where.  Common sense.  So uncommon.

Nice person mentions this week to Michael George, Bev Yaschuk, Bob Parker, Leon Marchenski, and Brad McNeil.  

Monday, February 25, 2013


To Friends, Customers, Fellow Riders:

I'm not a political person. I don't have all the facts and answers, but i can't sit idle and hope this possible rate increase comes to pass. A few thoughts and emotions have past through my mind. I've been an owner/operator of motorcycles for a year short of 40 years. I , like others, ride from earliest days we can in the spring till the most uncomfortable days in the fall. Traveled a lot of Canada and the US. These are far from recreational machines as it's been publicly stated. Motorcycles are for many of us a way of life, a passion but really they are a motor vehicle that I/we choose to operate. We would ride year round if we could. We share the fuels, fines, taxes and roads that all licensed vehicles do. This is not recreational use.

SGI runs a great business and serves the public pretty well as far as I see. Being in the industry for a few years and helping folks through the accidents they had, SGI has been there for them. I've seen vehicles fixed to perfect condition and with hardly any protest from SGI. But it's a low percentage of motorcycle accidents that are 100% at the riders fault. Is the offender getting off to lightly? Is the trucker that didn't see us paying his share? Is the person texting and running into the back of a Sunday riders dad and his son paying the long term costs? How about the man coming home from work, night shift, on his fuel efficient motorcycle and gets smacked by a deer. Or hits the unmarked sand seal splash on our slightly less than perfect highways, or the hit and runs - who pays for these. Some of our roads rip apart small cars, trash camper trailers, limit vacation travelers not to mention what has happened to us two wheelers.

Are others paying enough? Should ATV's be plated at a small fee? They cross public roads, get damaged and stolen. Is that beauty of a 5th wheeler with it's slide outs and sauna's plated at fair value? There is several in the SGI salvage yards. Are we forgetting industrial and farm plates? Are they priced properly ? Wow I don't want to offend anyone here! But those that understand me and my thought won't want to lynch me up to a tree. As above, the people causing the accident, are they paying into the cause? Probably alot of cash flow out there to top up SGI's expense account besides digging deeper into a biker's pocket. And biker isn't a dirty word. They've contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars in just the past decade to those that don't even have a hand out. To the small parks and towns that host an event. To several fundraisers such as Cancer rides, Ride for Site, Ride for Dad - Prostate program, The Ride For The Breath of Life Run, or CF Run to aid in a care for cystic fibrosis, the Diabetes rallies. The toy runs many mostly unnoticed causes.

So didn't the 30% license plate increase last year help SGI at all?

Private insurance? Will this leave an open door to competitive insurance companies to offer thousands of folks. People that live in this great Province because it is or was affordable. Maybe this will give people an option. Maybe SGI is thinking of having more options for it's insurance programs? Maybe they've thought of a tiered injury payback policy because riders have 2nd or 3rd party insurances that can help in the event of a major injury claim. If riders don't perhaps it could be a requirement? But we, the riding, touring, going to work, Sunday cruiser type motorcyclists just hope to be treated fair. To be heard. To have options. To be able to let others, our kids and older kids have the chance to ride at a fair rate and to feel welcome in Saskatchewan.

These are just thoughts from me. I'm no one special. I'm not asking for replies or to have stones chucked at me. I have 30 years of passion, dedication and the expense of my sanity, kids and friends put into running a motorcycle shop. It's generated some revenue for our province. I've seen riders act in less than a safe manner, me being one at times. Riding can bring the viking out of a person. I've seen a lot of happy travelers. I've raced bikes. I've fixed them at 1 AM along side my trusty staff just to get a vacationing rider back home to his/her family or job. I had to start typing, talking and taking deep breaths because this announcement of extremely high insurance rates will take all this away. It'll cost SGI and the Provincial Sales Tax a lot in lost tax revenue. It will put more costly nails in the coffins of the businesses related to the bike industry. The ripple effect will be ugly. Thanks for letting me type.  

Thank you, Rick Dawson, Owner
Harley-Davidson of Yorkton, Sask.
306-783-1999 ph/306-783-1645 fax

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Stackhouse Soapbox - Yorkton This Week

SJHL Names Major Award Winners

The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League announced its major award winners Friday night as President Bill Chow began his journey throughout the league by going to Flin Flon last night to present Brett Boehm and Josh Roach with their hardware.

The link for the award winners is below (the Coach Of The Year is being voted on by the media and will be announced in the next week or so). 

There has been a bit of backlash in the Twitter world about announcing the winners on a Friday night, but that is unavoidable when the President has to make a schedule that allows him to be present to give the recipients their honors; furthermore I would argue the greatest interest in the SJHL comes on the weekend as that's when the majority of games are played.  Sure, you may be competing with the games, themselves, but website traffic for the league is, by far, heaviest on the weekend.

I'm not trying to downplay the importance of traditional forms of media; but the reality is that people are going direct to the source (especially when it comes to sports) if they want information or they are grabbing it from social media like Twitter and the day of the week isn't overly important.  Still, I recognize in small Saskatchewan markets the timeliness is better if you can do it at the beginning of the week so the news isn't as dated for the publications.  Most radio stations now don't staff on weekends like they do during the week, so it maybe isn't going to get the same airplay as it would if it had come out on a Tuesday.

Nevertheless, waiting to announce the winners until next week (several days after the Flin Flon players were presented) wasn't an option.

Now, here are my thoughts on the winners, my thoughts only as the winners were determined by a vote of the coaches:

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR - Brett Boehm, Flin Flon 
This was a no brainer.  What's mind boggling is that he didn't win it unanimously.  Sounds like Josh Betinol (Battlefords) got a couple of votes and Tyrel King (Kindersley) did as well.  Boehm is a National Hockey League prospect who put up over a point per game.  Like I said, no brainer.

GOALIE OF THE YEAR - Matt Hrynkiw, Humboldt
With Alex Wakaluk winning the MVP, it seems like the always under appreciated Hrynkiw got unappreciated again despite winning this.  He's withstood competition from within his own team all three years and each time he remains the constant.  My take on Hrynkiw is that if you have a team that's rebuilding, he's not your guy.  If you have a contending team and you need a goalie who's sharp and can deal with infrequent action (and a lot of goalies can't do this), he is definitely your guy.  It's kind of funny to me that in a league where it's regarded that goaltending isn't strong; we have Hrynkiw, Wakaluk, and Davis Jones all capable of being a league MVP.

DEFENSEMAN OF THE YEAR - Josh Roach, Flin Flon
Again, a no brainer.  He had the best offensive season for a defenseman since Brady Wacker.  He also worked at improving his character, leadership skills, and defensive responsibilities.  My only argument against Roach here would be to give him either the Most Outstanding Player Award or MVP instead of this. In a lot of respects, I think Roach was the SJHL's top player this year.  In which case, I would have voted for Brody Luhning of the North Stars or Brady Norrish of the Terriers.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER - Alex Wakaluk, Melville
When you look at the MVP vs. the MOP; I see this as a 'where would the team be without the MVP' as opposed to 'wow, this guy was the most impressive in the league regardless of the team's finish'.  Melville had a questionable commitment to team defense for most of the year and, somehow, Wakaluk kept kicking out pucks.  Instead of being in the race for first on the final night of the season, I think Melville would have had a record similar to what Notre Dame and Battlefords have.  So, I agree with this decision.  My runner-up here would be Ian McNulty of Melville or Jones of Nipawin.

After Russell Trudeau's four-point effort last night, McNulty may actually lose the scoring title.  To me, this could have gone to about half a dozen players.  I like McNulty a great deal.  I think, in addition to his offense, McNulty doesn't get nearly enough credit for his value in the dressing room, especially on a team that has no shortage of strong personalities.  I don't know if I would have voted for him here, however.  I think I would have to consider him for MVP instead of the MOP, as the Mils weren't even close to being as good when he was out of the line-up.  With all due respect to Trudeau, he wouldn't be in a position to overtake McNulty for the scoring crown if he didn't play with McNulty.  When travelling around the league, the players that never seemed to disappoint me were:  Joey Davies (Humboldt), Cody Pongracz (Humboldt), and Roach (Flin Flon).  So I would have them in the mix here too.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


A friend of mine in the broadcasting industry sent me a text this morning that sunk my heart.

Former Yorkton Terrier Kyle Block passed away, suddenly, at the age of 25 over the weekend.

Block, a native of Calgary, was playing senior hockey for Lanigan in the Long Lake Hockey League and played a game with them on Saturday night.  According to a spokesperson with the hockey team, he seemed fine and, simply, didn't wake up on Sunday morning.  So sad.

I knew Kyle a little bit; but my main memories of him come from each of his three seasons as a Terrier.

As a rookie (2005-06), the Terriers had him as a fourth line centre and he was the object of affection for every team in the league when talking to Ed Zawatsky about making a possible trade.  The Terriers were gunning for a second straight league title, a crown they would succeed in capturing without trading Block.  In fact, having a player like him on their fourth line proved to be a big advantage in the postseason as it allowed Zawatsky to play his fourth line more than most other clubs could.  Zawatsky and I weren't, at all, tight and didn't talk a lot about possible player moves; but I remember him telling me he felt pressure to make an impact trade at the deadline (the previous year he made a huge splash by getting Andrew Skrabek and Bob Graham from Flin Flon) and also saying if the only way he could make a trade was by dealing Block then he'd deal with the fall out in the event the Terriers' bid for a second straight championship came up short.  He wasn't trading him.  Period.

In his second year, the Terriers were defeated in the division finals by Melville in the seventh and deciding game and it was clear Melville had a better team; but the most dangerous three players in the series were Block, Chad Nehring, and Justin Menke.  I remember thinking every time they were on the ice, the Mils didn't have an answer for them and they were a threat to score all the time.  When Melville finally won, I recall thinking how tough it must be to beat a champion.  You could see that Kyle, Justin, and Chad were champions and hated losing.

Kyle's last year was a trying one for the Terriers.  They only had four players score more than ten goals and he led the way with 19.  They still had a decent team, but I remember going to games and thinking 'Well, if Kyle doesn't score tonight they Terriers don't have much of a chance.'  He was extremely valuable.  He played in all situations and was an extremely well rounded player.

Kyle was good with kids.  When Terrier players got out to the schools, Kyle was front and center.  He didn't strike me as an attention seeker at all, but he was mature.  He knew how to act and make a positive impression.  He represented the hockey team very well.

Rest in peace, Kyle.  Your family, friends, fans, and hockey brethren will miss you a great deal.

Monday, February 18, 2013

SOAPBOX (Yorkton This Week February 13)

The story of arrogant Mike Duffy, a Canadian Senator, is fascinating to me.  Here is a guy who made a living calling out politicians and their dishonest ways and now he’s at the top of the list being a politician operating in a shady manner.  At issue is his claim that he’s got a primary residence in Prince Edward Island.  Let’s not kid anyone.  Duffy having a primary residence there is no different than me having a primary residence in New Brunswick.  Duffy was born in PEI, I was born in New Brunswick.  I haven’t lived in New Brunswick at all during my adult life.  Duffy hasn’t lived in PEI as an adult.  Other people who live in the area have never laid eyes on him, and trust me…he’s hard to miss.  The bottom line is this:  Duffy has been using an Ontario health card since he was appointed to the Senate in 2009.  The Ontario Health Insurance Plan requires eligible card holders to have their primary residence in Ontario.  The Senate requires members to live in the province they represent.   This kind of abuse is never ever going to stop unless we make an example of a person like Duffy and throw him in jail, where he belongs.

There are further allegations of wrongdoing from fellow Senators Patrick Brazeau and Mac Harb.  Brazeau claims his primary residence is with his dad in Maniwaki, Quebec; however it appears he actually lives in Gatineau (just a short drive from Parliament Hill).  Do you know a federal politician who lives in mom’s basement?  I don’t.  And, Harb lives in two places in Ottawa.  I mean it’s tough trying to make a life in just one home.  These guys make over $130 000 a year and the Senate costs taxpayers in the neighborhood of $92-million a year.  If someone can email me and let me know why we shouldn’t abolish the Senate, please do so and I’ll look into it.  But to me, this should be abolished and there are no shortage of things we can put the $92-million into that would help Canadians a lot more.  If found to be wrong; I would put Duffy, Brazeau, and Harb all in jail; even for a short term; just so that they have a criminal record.  Brazeau may end up having a third residence (gray hotel) anyway as he’s under investigation for sexual assault.  It never ends.

I got a pretty good kick out of watching sports announcers break down a fight between a Philadelphia Flyer named Zac Rinaldo and another guy I’ve never heard of who plays for Tampa Bay.  Apparently, Rinaldo is taking some heat for punching the player after he was on his way down or was all the way down from a previous punch.  The analysts get to watch this fight in slow motion, which makes Rinaldo look a lot worse than he really is.  I would suggest watching it again at high speed and, perhaps, the experts don’t go nearly as hard on him.  That’s the beauty of all sports plays, really.  The analysts get to watch in slow motion and pick the athletes apart.  You have to remember when going at high speed, it’s extremely difficult to hold up from that punch to the face, hit to head, tackle on the quarterback after he’s thrown, etc.

I have been in Regina a few times over the last number of weeks and I’ve heard a lot of complaints there about snow removal.  Well, when you folks park on both sides of the street, it makes it pretty difficult for a plough to get through.  Just saying.

I would also like to apologize to the inconsiderate people who just leave their vehicles in a random spot in the Gallagher Centre parking lot as those who visit Evraz Place in Regina are worse.  However, someone pointed out that it’s likely Yorkton people visiting Regina who clog up the Evraz lot! 
The new Tim Horton’s on Broadway/Bradbrooke is a godsend to those who don’t have jobs that allow them to sit in a drive-thru line for 45 minutes just to get a coffee.  However, I do see some potential issues with regards to getting back out onto Broadway after being served.  I have wondered about erecting traffic lights; but a few have pointed out that you can just shoot behind the building, through the Gallagher Centre lot, and then back out on to Broadway.  Or, you can dip behind A&W and the SIGN building and get on one of those side streets and eventually to where you need to be.  The fact that these alternate methods are already being used tells me that we need a more practical solution.  The tough part is that it’s not really busy all day long.  It is only like that during peak periods. 

On the subject of traffic lights, I vote for the ones on Gladstone/Smith as the most frustrating set in the city.  More than once I have sat there and noticed red lights in every possible direction.  A few times late at night, I have gotten a green and it, literally, was only green long enough for me to get halfway through the intersection.  It was less than five seconds.  No exaggeration. 

Nice person mentions to Darrell Halarewich, Jill Kirk, Tessa Krofchek, Dean Fyck, and Trevor & Lorena Watters.