Cheers: To Bill McGuire, The Guardian’s editorial/opinion page editor, who retired on Thursday. With close to 44 years in journalism (most of that time with this newspaper), he worked as a reporter, bureau chief, sports editor and news editor. A larger-than-life personality at The Guardian, he personified dedication – working long hours at a craft he loved. He trusted his instincts and never shied away from an argument. He also listened to those instincts, giving many young journalists he believed in their start in the business. Smart, witty, loyal, serious (when necessary) and never shy about telling it like it is, he was a home-grown talent whose knowledge – official and otherwise – of this Island and its residents was vast. He leaves a big gap at The Guardian. However, his colleagues and his readers wish him nothing but the best as he heads off to what will, undoubtedly, be greener golf pastures.
Jeers: To the City of Charlottetown for its winter road clearing practice of piling long stretches of snow in the middle of roads. On Dec. 21, a school bus got stuck in one of those makeshift snow medians on Spring Park Road near St. Jean Elementary School at around 8 a.m. and blocked traffic. There’s plenty of winter left. Let’s think of a better way to clear the roads – one that doesn’t involve creating a hazard for drivers.
Cheers: To the Supreme Court of Canada for striking down a law that made victim surcharges mandatory. Since 2013 judges in Canada haven’t had the discretion to waive the charge that came with every criminal conviction and varied from $100 for summary offences to $200 for indictable. Many offenders don’t have the financial means to pay the surcharges, especially in cases where there are multiple convictions. In other cases, offenders facing large restitution orders or lengthy prison sentences still had surcharges tacked on, despite an unlikely ability to pay them. Many judges across the country, including P.E.I. provincial court Judge John Douglas, often found creative ways around the surcharges. Legislation to give judges discretion on surcharges is before the Senate and, if passed, will put the decision back in the hands of people who know the cases best.
Cheers: To the UPEI Student Union for taking an initiative and opening a second food bank on campus. SUpplies is conveniently located at the Mickey’s Place Kiosk in the W.A. Murphy Student Centre. Besides food items, the food bank is also stocking items like school supplies and hygiene products. Charlottetown is currently in the grip of high rental rates and cost of living. For a student, when you factor in the cost of books and tuition, every bit helps.
Cheers: To Isabell MacDonald originally from Valleyfield, who celebrated her 106th birthday last week during a party at Riverview Manor. An aunt to Three Rivers Coun. Wayne Spin, Ms. MacDonald was born Jan. 8, 1913, the oldest of her siblings, all of whom she has outlived. Coun. Spin reported that his aunt has kept healthy throughout her life. She is also outliving her current residence – even though it is only half her age – as the 51-year-old Riverview Manor is set to move to a new facility later this year.