Cabinet shuffles and grocery wars: welcome back to a normal summer

Tease the day: As the country recovers from disaster, typical summer news returns

Aaron Vincent Elkaim/CP

July 16, 2013 is a wonderful day. The country is as far as it will ever be from the next round of weeks-long, interminable cabinet shuffle speculation. That’s something worthy of celebration. As for the shuffle itself, well, nobody who even accidentally reads a newspaper this morning could be forgiven for missing the news. Four newspapers in Ottawa and Toronto devoted 17 pages, or parts thereof, to a rehash of all the action at Rideau Hall. That’s a lot of rehash. But these are, after all, the people who make the big decisions. Perhaps this corner’s persistent sarcasm has been misplaced all along. (Anyway: Our bias suggests you only need to read John Geddes and watch Paul Wells if you want to understand Harper’s next front bench.)

Because we live in a country that often experiences nothing like the chaos that engulfs the rest of the world, the other big news this morning is related to the retail world. Yesterday, Loblaw announced its purchase of Shoppers Drug Mart. This morning, the National Post reports that Loblaw may have headed off at the pass a giant American retailer: Walgreens, that omnipresent retail behemoth that you’ve definitely seen, and probably experienced, if you’ve travelled to the United States of America. The story goes that Walgreens was considering its own takeover bid for Shoppers. Not so fast, said Galen Weston, the affable executive chairman of Loblaw, who cashed in every Optimum point he’d mustered over the years and pulled off a $12.4-billion takeover.

The tragedy in Lac-Mégantic continues to echo through the news. Lawyers are preparing a hefty class-action lawsuit that could end up becoming the biggest in Canadian history. But as the country recovers from the rail disaster, and the floods that engulfed much of southern Alberta, we return to the normalcy of summer: cabinet shuffles and grocery wars.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with yesterday’s cabinet shuffle, which added eight new faces and retained plenty of veterans. The National Post fronts U.S. retailer Walgreens’ apparent interest in taking over Shoppers Drug Mart, a plan foiled when Loblaw purchased the chain for $12.4 billion. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with illegal gun searches executed by police in Peel Region, just outside of Toronto. The Ottawa Citizen leads with Andrew Coyne’s column that argues cabinet shuffles, and cabinet, largely don’t matter. iPolitics fronts a satirical look at the new federal cabinet’s first meeting. leads with Loblaw’s purchase of Shoppers, and what it means for Canada’s grocery wars. CTV News leads with police reports that the autopsy of former Glee star Cory Monteith will take several days to complete. National Newswatch showcases a Toronto Star story that reveals transition documents for new cabinet ministers included so-called “enemy lists,” which detailed stakeholders and public servants who were disagreeable.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Lisa Raitt. Canada’s new transport minister met with the ethics commissioner on Monday in advance of accepting her new post. Her husband is president of the Hamilton Port Authority. 2. Lac-Mégantic. Lawyers are filing what could be the largest class-action lawsuit in Canadian history, if a Quebec court allows Lac-Mégantic disaster victims to sue the railway company involved.
3. Sex crimes. A crackdown on the sex trade in Cuba may have come as a result of the conviction of James McTurk, a Canadian who made many trips to Cuba to engage in child-sex tourism. 4. Solar power. Pakistanis who require power for their homes, and aren’t getting help from their government, have turned to Canadian solar panels as a reliable means of powering their homes.
5. Bangladesh. Ghulam Azam, a 91-year-old former Islamic party leader in Bangladesh, was convicted of crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 war of independence. 6. Royal income. British MPs questioned Prince Charles’ top aide about the inner workings of a fund, the Royal Duchy, that provides independent income to the eldest son of the monarch.

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