John Cairns' News Watch

John Cairns

John Cairns

John Cairns is a reporter for the Battlefords News-Optimist/Regional Optimist and writes two columns in addition to other reporting.

News Watch reflects his view of the local scene and its relationship to the larger news picture.

Cairns on Cinema focuses on whatever catches his interest at the movie theatres with news, occasional reviews and of course, box office results. He has written regularly about the movies since 2007 when he covered the North American cinema box office as a columnist for the US-based movie website

  • This Humboldt Broncos tragedy is our worst nightmare

    Today, I want to try to provide a sense for you about why the Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy has struck such a chord for people in this community. For people in this province, this is surely one of. . .

    John CairnsApril 12, 2018

  • The Las Vegas shooting tragedy impacts us all

    The latest bad news to hit the world is the Las Vegas shooting massacre. As I write this, at least 59 people had died and 527 people had been injured. This is the worst mass shooting in American . . .

    John CairnsOctober 5, 2017

  • Clogged courts focus of Senate recommendations

    You don’t have to look far to see that Canada’s courts are under strain. Even at the North Battleford courthouse, the court docket is usually filled with people whose cases are moving slowly . . .

    John CairnsJune 19, 2017

  • Election night in the UK

    As I write this I am anxiously awaiting the first results of the British general election. As a political junkie, I like to follow elections around the world, not just here in Canada. The ones . . .

    John CairnsJune 12, 2017

  • Lots of potential for more fast food joints in Battlefords

    I decided my column today would be about attracting potential fast food and restaurant franchises to the Battlefords. This column stems from the popular online poll we put up on our website, . . .

    John CairnsMarch 4, 2017

  • Conservative leadership race packed with candidates

    Today I am going to attempt to sort out this federal Conservative leadership race that is going on. The key word is “attempt.” The fact of the matter is that trying to get a handle on who’s . . .

    John CairnsFebruary 27, 2017

  • How to escape Sask. debt woes: go to Arizona

    To get through this time of year, I try to keep myself busy looking for news wherever it might be. Unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to cover municipal politics when everyone in municipal politics . . .

    John CairnsFebruary 10, 2017

  • Getting rid of school board elections not a smart idea

    I have come to a rather sad conclusion about our educational system in Saskatchewan. It is simply not doing a good job of producing enough smart people for leadership positions in this province.. . .

    John CairnsJanuary 31, 2017

  • The end of the Mansbridge era

    Well, once again you are being subjected to a column about the impending retirement of Peter Mansbridge. And the reason is because I’m all worked up by Brian Zinchuk’s recent From The Top of the . . .

    John CairnsSeptember 13, 2016

  • Municipal election issues to watch for this fall

    We are fast approaching another municipal election campaign throughout Saskatchewan. The nomination period is getting started, and I plan to keep a close eye on City Hall and Town Hall as they . . .

    John CairnsAugust 31, 2016

  • Even in summer, the news goes on

    So, how has your summer gone? All I have to do is look at the calendar to realize summer is in short supply. This year in particular, it sure feels like we haven’t had much of an opportunity to . . .

    John CairnsAugust 12, 2016

  • Trying to explain Trump’s rise to the top

    This week, I am determined to take on what most people find an impossible task. I am trying to make sense of Donald Trump’s rise to the top of the Republican Party. This week marks the start of. . .

    John CairnsJuly 18, 2016

  • Thoughts on amalgamation from someone who lived through it

    There is no shortage of things to get peoples’ blood pressures boiling in the Battlefords. The latest controversy erupted not long ago. I was reporting from the Joint State of the City/State of . . .

    June 2, 2016

  • Nonsense a big part of the good ol’ hockey game

    I was really struggling to come up with a topic for this month’s News Watch column. But so many of the topics were boring — provincial politics, federal politics. And then there’s U.S. politics, . . .

    John CairnsApril 4, 2016

  • North Battleford now known for the big sporting events

    City officials with North Battleford are over the moon about the announcement last Thursday at the NationsWEST Field House that North Battleford has been awarded the 2018 Saskatchewan Winter Games.. . .

    John CairnsFebruary 24, 2016

  • Roughriders season one to forget

    It’s finally over, this miserable train wreck of a CFL football season in Saskatchewan. And for me, Festivus has come early as a fan of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. You know what Festivus is. . . .

    John CairnsNovember 9, 2015

  • Bozo eruptions are ruining politics

    Is it just me, or are “bozo eruptions” an epidemic this election? All over Canada, politicians are finding themselves under increasing scrutiny over videos or past Twitter comments that have . . .

    John CairnsSeptember 14, 2015

  • In Election 2015, all the action is elsewhere

    I have been reliably informed there is a federal election going on and that I ought to write something about it. Trust me, there is nothing to write about, at least not here. The race in . . .

    John CairnsSeptember 7, 2015

  • Lament for the Pigeon Hotel

    A sad moment has arrived for yours truly. This is surely my final piece for the paper about the late and lamented Pigeon Hotel, at the corner of 11th Avenue and 102nd Street, which was finally . . .

    John CairnsSeptember 1, 2015

  • This Saskatchewan Roughriders season has been one big hangover

    Since there is a very real possibility our football team's season could be over by this time next week, I've decided to talk about the Saskatchewan Roughriders. I notice interest in the Riders has gone straight down the past number of weeks. It seems

    John CairnsNovember 11, 2014

  • The Scottish referendum has me worried

    I am in my usual state of panic over what is going on in other parts of the world these days. But my main concern isn't ISIS, or Ukraine, or the Ebola virus or any of that. Instead it's about Scotland. You know, the place where guys wear kilts and

    John CairnsSeptember 16, 2014

  • Fed up with the out-of-town media

    Well, the release of the Crime Severity Index numbers has come - and gone. And here we are at the end of it all, still standing. The city of North Battleford endured its annual humiliation, and now it's over. People in the media have moved on to other

    John CairnsAugust 5, 2014

  • OJ case really was the trial of the century

    Twenty years ago around this time, a seminal moment in American history took place. That moment, of course, was the O.J. Simpson murder case. Yes, I know, you are shaking your head at that statement. But there is no doubt that case, with Simpson

    John CairnsJuly 1, 2014

  • Contemplating what to do during a CFL strike

    Well, life in Saskatchewan could take an unexpected turn for the worse all of a sudden. That's because the Canadian Football League's collective bargaining agreement has expired, and talks between the CFL owners and the players have gone off the rails.

    John CairnsJune 3, 2014

  • Infectious diseases this month's cheery topic

    The topic of my column this month is epidemics. No, I'm not writing about the crime epidemic in North Battleford. Instead, I'm focusing on a more relevant topic, and that is infectious diseases. This column comes in the wake of the recent measles

    John CairnsMay 12, 2014

  • A news perspective with a worldwide scope

    I have had a rough time of it as of late. First, there was the weekend of -50 C wind chills. Then I took my car into the repair shop and now it's sitting there waiting to get its transmission fixed. So I've ended up more or less grounded, reduced to

    John CairnsMarch 11, 2014

  • Now the weather report, live from the USA

    Given all the recent talk about publishing attendance records at City Hall, I should point out there was a noticeable absence of one individual at council chambers during budget deliberations in mid-January. That absent individual was myself! Yes, in

    John CairnsFebruary 4, 2014

  • Off-season brings Roughrider fans back to earth

    I don't know about you, but I am still basking in the afterglow of a brilliant performance by the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Grey Cup game. I was over at a friends' place watching the big game on Sunday on an impressive HDTV in North Battleford,

    John CairnsDecember 3, 2013

  • Recent Senate controversy misses the mark

    The latest Scandal Du Jour in Ottawa revolves around those "unelected, unaccountable, greedy" appointees who sit in Parliament's upper house. I am talking, of course, about the Canadian Senate. Lately, there has been a whirlwind of press around the bad

    John CairnsFebruary 20, 2013

  • Hockey lockout throws a wrench into my routine

    I am a big hockey fan. More than that, I have been heavily involved in covering the sport over the years, though mainly at the junior and the amateur level. I can honestly say few things give me more joy in life than going to a rink - any rink - to

    John CairnsDecember 5, 2012

  • Conventions are all about looking good on TV

    These past several days I have been wasting my time watching live gavel-to-gavel coverage of the American political conventions, both online and on TV. I use the words "waste of time" deliberately, because that's what it has been. In fact, if I was not

    John CairnsSeptember 5, 2012

  • The Northwest is the land of opportunity

    For this month's News Watch column I thought I would try to do something a little more upbeat. Among the good news stories being touted by local officials has been the strength of the overall economy. We keep hearing the Battlefords is the place to be

    John CairnsDecember 7, 2010