December 13

Another calendar year is about to conclude and it’s been a memorable one to say the least, with infamous political misdeeds, scandals and exorbitant screw-ups yielding centre stage at the federal, provincial and – in some cases – municipal levels. The well-documented follies, misconduct and outright deception will only serve to enhance Canadians’ skepticism about the often shady side of the public realm and some of the characters within it. For those equipped with a light-hearted, albeit twisted sense of humour, it can at times be amusing to witness, but the bottom line is that much of what has unfolded has been downright embarrassing – and more to the point, costly. Federally, we have senators living lavishly off the backs of taxpayers like pigs to the trough, all the while serving very little – if any – purpose whatsoever. In Ontario there are at least 1.1 billion reasons for taxpayers to be seething. At the municipal level, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, while well intentioned in his desire to save millions of dollars for the city he loves, with cuts to a number of exceedingly bloated civic programs, just can’t escape his own self-destructive antics, which at times have taken public buffoonery to cataclysmic heights, not to mention fodder for late-night TV talk-show hosts. Ford needs to get his personal life balanced before attempting to balance the books of Toronto. Let’s hope he realizes that… and soon.

When Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment landed Tim Leiweke as its president & CEO, the multibillion-dollar empire was instantly elevated into a new stratosphere. He’s one of the most dynamic, charismatic and accomplished individuals you will ever meet, and a staunch proponent of the public-private partnership model. As our cover story this month, you can read all about the successes Leiweke has reaped during his 30 years as a business executive. In North America he ranks fifth on the list of most influential sports executives and eighth on the list of most influential music executives – making him the only person to wield such tremendous power in both industries.

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and New Brunswick Premier David Alward while attending International Trade Day 2013 in Ottawa, hosted by The Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Both premiers have a very progressive vision for building the nation’s economy and making better use of our largely untapped natural resources. It’s a sector with unlimited potential, slowed mainly by the need for stringent, but necessary, regulatory approvals but also a lot of unnecessary political gamesmanship, most often originating south of the border.

As always, we highlight this country’s most successful and innovative enterprises with our corporate business profiles. It’s those small, medium and large, that give Canada such an excellent reputation internationally.

Point of irony: At 65, Prince Charles is now old enough to claim his UK pension… but still hasn’t started the job he was born to do – that being the King of England.

View E-Mag | Business-in-action