Monthly Archive: April 2014

The gang that couldn’t shoot straight

The sudden announcement by Gerry McCaughey yesterday that he’s stepping down as CEO of CIBC should come as no surprise. In fact, life at the top of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has always been about as unpredictable as it has been unproductive. Despite all the modernization CIBC has gone through in the last four decades the corporate culture of the place remains unchanged. All banks are political, but CIBC is like the Vatican.  The story begins in 1969 when Gordon Sharwood was reading his morning paper and discovered that his colleague Russ Harrison had been named to the number two...

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The meaning of death

The recent deaths of Jim Flaherty and Herb Gray tell us something about the state of politics in this country. Flaherty was unique in the Stephen Harper cabinet. He was someone who cared about his role as finance minister, gave his all, and didn’t take himself too seriously. When I look at the rest of the cabinet, I don’t see very many others with Flaherty’s breadth or gravitas. In the 1970s, when I was working in Ottawa and saw Herb Gray up close, he was a study in contrasts. By all boring appearances he was the least interesting member of...

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Lesser lights

As I watched Adam Scott place the green jacket on this year’s Master’s winner, Bubba Watson, I was taken with the resonance of this annual event. It could be just another golf tournament but it has been infused with lore and made lustrous with legend. The CBS announcers have sombre voices as they talk reverently about Amen Corner and the Eisenhower tree. There’s endless footage of Arnie and Jack and Gary walking on stone bridges. And of course the scenery, complete with rhododendrons and azaleas plus the sound of Carolina Wrens amid the loblolly pines. The Americans do sports so well:...

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The carrousel keeps turning

Apparently it’s tough being the editor of a newspaper. In recent days, both the editor of National Post, Stephen Meurice, and the editor of The Globe and Mail, John Stackhouse, have departed. I’m surprised the Post is still alive under any editor. When I left in 2001, I didn’t think it would last a year, but survive it has. The Globe is struggling, too, but not to the same money-losing extent. Part of that battle seems to be the incapacity to keep editors-in-chief in harness. Phillip Crawley has been publisher of the Globe since 1999. The latest editor to come...

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