The Emperor Has No New Shoes

Finance Minister Mike de Jong drops a cool $40 on shoe repair — again!

  • Feb. 17, 2015 12:00 p.m.
B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong is keeping Victoria cobblers busy.

B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong is keeping Victoria cobblers busy.

So apparently it’s a real big deal that BC Finance Minister Mike de Jong is wearing the same pair of shoes for the third year in a row. Mike de Jong delivered the budget this week in a pair of older, recently repaired shoes and to watch the Lower Mainland media Twitter themselves into a frenzy, you’d naturally get the idea that this was quite the nine-day wonder.

“Finance Minister pays $40 to get shoes refurbished for third budget in a row!”

That was only one of the breathless tweets. And the media was there in droves to record this epic moment in BC history.

I have so many comments. Let’s just wade in, shall we? First of all, $40 for shoe repairs? I don’t think my shoes cost $40 new. Has he never heard of Shoe Goo?

I suppose Mr. de Jong’s shoes are worth more than that if he is willing to cough it up for repairs. And also, I guess in the rarefied air of Vancouver and Victoria, wearing three year old shoes is really something. Apparently, they buy shoes willy-nilly in the Lower Mainland, dashing into stores to grab the latest fashion. Because if wearing three-year old shoes is such big news, we must assume everyone is walking around in shiny new ones.

But I am willing to bet that out here in the hinterland, there are more than a few people walking around with three-year old, or even five-year old, shoes. Or work boots.

But more importantly, what message is Mr. de Jong sending to us, the average putz? That he would inform the media — or perhaps have a staffer ‘leak’ the information — that he was heading to the shoe repair depot has to mean something. And I don’t think it’s something good.

The message appears to be, start thinking about repairing your old stuff because you’re not going to be able to afford new stuff. That’s a little frightening, that message.

From The Rumour Mill

But on to matters of more importance. The Kimberley Ski Hill is not closing. Not. Closing. Yes, it has been a difficult year and snow is scarce, but the hill is still covered and with temperatures dropping a little, they can turn on the snow guns. Add to that, a team of the best groomers in Western Canada is performing daily miracles, keeping the runs in good condition. It’s fairly important to Kimberley’s economy that the Resort is open, so let’s not spread that closing rumour.

Tales From Our Weird Winter

Also hurting a bit, weather-wise, is Prince George, where the Canada Games are underway. They’ve had to move the long-track speed skating up to Fort Nelson because the Games track simply isn’t holding up to warm temperatures, but it is hoped the rest of the events will go on as scheduled. They’re also having a Cold Snap Festival — perhaps inaptly named for this very strange winter. We’ve got a couple of local cross-country skiers on Team BC, Molly Miller and Colin Ferrie, both of Kimberley, who I’m sure are hoping it cools down a little for racing. TSN is providing television coverage of the Games, so keep an eye out for our local heroes.

More Tales From Our Weird Winter

Finally, matters of warm winter games and ski hill worries aside, how about that weather? As I sat basking in the sun this weekend, I couldn’t help but cast my smug thoughts to my friends points east. Minus 40 in most of Ontario. Metres and metres of snow in Nova Scotia. The only thing better than the weather we are having, is rubbing it in the face of our Eastern friends.

I know, I know… by my actions I am inviting the gods to smite me with two metres of snow a week next year. I’ll take it. At least my snow boots will be in good working order and I won’t need repairs, or even worse, new ones. Mike de Jong will be pleased.