"...[Kinsella is] a modern-day Machiavelli, the mastermind who ran war rooms for Jean Chretien and Dalton McGuinty... He's the ultimate political insider... [The War Room] has plenty of fascinating insights and is a must-read for political junkies."
- The Toronto Sun
- The National Post
- Tom Flanagan, The Literary Review of Canada
- The Hill Times
- The Winnipeg Free Press
- John Moore, CFRB
- John Oakley, AM640
- John Wright, Ipsos, CFRB
- Charles Adler, Adler Online
- Tommy Schnurmacher, CJAD
- Ken Rockburn, CPAC
...and my favourite Parliament Hill performer, by a long shot and in every way, was Sarah McLachlan.
...is actually "Globe Less." Too funny.
A few years after flirting with pay-per-view Internet, the Globe is energetically back at it. They want $160 a year for access to the paper online. That's a lot of money!
Will it work? Will it stop the bleeding? Will Margaret Wente ever retire? Well, let's put it this way:
1. For wee web sites like this one, which are free and always will be, it'll mean a lot more eyeballs. That's what happened last time. It's crazy, I know, but people like free stuff more than they like paying for stuff. Go figure.
2. Bloggers will still find the articles they want to post - as they did last time, through a quirk in Google - and they'll post them, no charge. The Globe will then have to retain an army of lawyers to chase the pyjamahadeen, for little or no return. The pyjamahadeen will punish them with intentional copyright violations. Digitization = free.
3. The only way the thing could work is if every single media organiztion in the world agrees to do likewise, simultaneously. They won't; they can't. There'll always be an outfit who will figure out a way to make money by offering news content gratis. There'll always be someone who will stubbornly insist on rebelling against pay walls.
4. You can't charge for something that has been free for years, now, without making it way, way better. Does the Globe seem way, way better to you? Last time I looked, Margaret Wente was still there, dishonestly opining for the rights of white supremacist parents. Again, call me crazy, but I'm not sure I want to pay (twice) for that kind of insight.
5. People who left print aren't likely to ever come back - because they find the Brave New World way more convenient. In a hectic, modern age - where no one is picking up your garbage, or offering paramedic services, day care, or pools for little kids on hot days - people like convenience. Pardon the obvious metaphor, but this is all a bit like shutting the proverbial barn door after the proverbial horse has fled to Blackberry Farm, is it not? Yes, it is.
6. Newspapers have to realize - but never will - that their news content is the best advertising for them. That's what good, solid journalism is: good. It makes a case for itself. When MSM mavens hide content, people will mosey off elsewhere for news content that isn't hidden. News is like water: it flows. It seeps out.
7. Google is the boss, not the news providers. If Google won't agree to facilitate charging for news, that's the end of the discussion. And Google won't ever, ever charge: it's contrary to its entire business model.
8. Plenty of studies have shown that consumers don't see any improved value behind those pay walls. What's more, they worry about further losses of privacy, and regard pay walls as a pain in the ass. Ditto filling out credit card information, blah blah blah.
9. There are two chances that non-subscribers - that is, the people the Globe currently doesn't have, and desperately needs if it is to survive - will pay for content they have been getting for free for a decade: slim and none. They may lure some current subscribers to the other side of a pay wall, but not non-subscribers. Instead, those folks have just been given yet another reason not to read the newspaper.
10. The remedy doesn't cure the actual disease. Like Yours Screwly and others have been saying for years, the reason why online stuff is beating the traditional media isn't simply because the former is free and the latter is not. It's because - due to cutbacks to journalism, and stupid convergence decisions, and bad management - the content just isn't that good anymore. Make it worth reading, and they'll read it. Simple.
So, will the Globe and their fellow residents of Journalism Jurassic Park make it worth reading?
Well, let's put this way: you're here, aren't you?
Garbage strike - no end in sight
Both sides in the ongoing city workers' dispute are showing no signs of caving, as the garbage piles higher, and frustrations soar.
A bitter fight over concessions, may end up dragging the garbage strike through the entire summer.
Local 416 officials are threatening the strike will last as long as it needs to, and the ball is in the city's court.
The city and unions are only meeting face to face on smaller issues, when it comes to concessions they are only talking through mediators.
If the strike drags on, twelve new dump sites will be opening in parks and arenas.
David Chen is my new hero. He should be yours, too.
A few weeks ago, David – a 35-year-old Toronto restaurant employee - spotted a creep on a bike stealing a box of plants. The same character had been stealing stuff from people and businesses in the Chinatown area for a while. Everyone knew who he was and what he was doing.
David spotted the guy later that same Saturday, and he confronted him. The guy dropped his bike and took off. David chased after him with two other restaurant employees. When they got him, they tied him up by his hands and feet, put him in a delivery truck and immediately contacted police. They made a citizen’s arrest.
But when the cops arrived at the Lucky Moose Food Mart, everyone – including David and the two other guys, along with the thief – was arrested and charged. The three grocers were charged with assault and kidnapping; the man on the bike was charged with theft. David was kept in jail overnight. The crook, however, was promptly released on bail.
Lots of shopkeepers and customers in Chinatown are pretty upset with what has happened to David, and they should be. They’ve told the media the area is plagued with petty theft, but that the police often don’t get there fast enough, or at all. The police, in the interim, have been dancing on the head of a legal pin – like one of them was doing, badly, on CBC Radio this morning – saying what David Chen did wasn’t really a citizen’s arrest because, um, er, it wasn’t a “continuous event,” your Honour. Uh-huh.
Section 494 of the Criminal Code allows “anyone” to make an arrest “without warrant” if they believe someone has committed a criminal offence. Sounds like what David did, doesn’t it? Check.
The section further provides that the citizen “shall forthwith deliver the person to a peace officer.” David did that, too. Check.
The whole thing seems to turn on the fact that the bad guy was not being “freshly pursued” by the good guys. What does “freshly pursued” mean? Beats me. “Fresh” is a word you can apply to any edible product, in any circumstance, without being arrested. But in David Miller’s Toronto, “fresh” has to mean “continuous,” or someone is going to charge you with kidnapping and a bunch of other stuff, too.
I’m not a law-and-order maniac. As a member of the executive of various provincial and federal law associations, I actually love the genius of the law. But, in this case, I would have to admit that the law is, indeed, an ass.
David Chen, meanwhile, is my new hero. You can sign a petition supporting him here.
With Canada Day arriving on Wednesday, city residents are finding the news of strike-related celebration cancellations are starting to sink in.
Those who enjoy taking in the fireworks display at Ashbridges Bay in the east end will be disappointed this year. It is one of 15 events on city property to be cancelled...
People reacted by saying "it's B.S." or with "that sucks." One person who identified himself to CTV Toronto as a veteran called it a "disgrace."
• This is a complement, I think. I’ll take ‘em where I can get ‘em.
• Uh-huh. And where will the Conservative stalwart get the money (or the support) to pay for this explosion in bureaucracy? And is he saying the system the Ontario Conservatives created has been acting for untold years without “evidence”? If so, why aren’t they challenging the system they created in court? Also, do you think Dalton is sleeping really, really well since Saturday?
• Maybe. Tim’s baby is highly cute, however.
• On narratives, winning and otherwise.
• Bourrie, worth reading.
How others see it:
Canada's largest city is entering a second week without garbage collection and many city services.
Roughly 24-thousand inside and outside City of Toronto workers went on strike June 22nd, shutting down garbage collection, city-run daycares, parks, recreation programs and ferry service.
Residents and tourists admit they're turned off by the stench of garbage on city streets and in parks. Many visitors for Toronto's Gay Pride weekend commented on the state of the streets.
The city and the Canadian Union of Public Employees are still negotiating, but the union says there has been little movement in talks.
...on why what happened didn't happen:
Look, politics has a lot of ups and downs. But in recent months, Canadian politics has been a bit like a roller coaster. From the Stephen Harper-induced constitutional crisis to recent events, we have gone through a lot of stressful times.
Now, Michael Ignatieff is not a professional politician or a lobbyist, like Harper is and was. Ignatieff has done other things with his life.
Because of that, he has — genuinely and truly - tried to do things differently since entering public life. Because of that, he has come to believe that Canadians are fed up with politicians who put naked grabs for power before everything else. They’re fed up with the kind of games Harper excels in.
So, when Harper’s Reformatories whipped up a crisis at the end of last year, my leader had lots of people — including some in the Liberal Party — urging him to push Harper out and lead a coalition government. Ignatieff certainly could have done that. But that just isn’t how Ignatieff wanted to win.
On reflection, he and other Liberals determined that wasn’t what Canadians wanted, either. We Liberals want to win, for sure — but we want win the right way.
Right now, the Liberal Party is either ahead or highly competitive in the opinion polls. We’ve got a great team and we areready for an election. And, once again, Ignatieff heard from a lot of people — including Liberals — who wanted to defeat the government at the end of June, and have an election just a few months after the last one. Once again, Ignatieff and Liberals thought about that. And Ignatieff decided,once again, that wasn’t how he wanted to win.
We’ve said — over and over — we want to make Parliament work. We meant it. And that’s what we’re trying to do. You have to mean what you say — you have to do politics differently than Harper plays it, if anything is ever going to change.
Will we defeat the Harper government, sooner or later? Yes, we will. For sure. But we will not be bound by artificial deadlines, or the self-serving spin of the Conservatives and the NDP and the Bloc.
Canadians told us they don’t want an election right now. We Liberals think Canadians are the boss, and not the other way around. They decide, not politicians.
Our party will vigorously contest the next election, and we will win it. But we will win it the right way. Not through backroom deals, or through brinkmanship. We will win it the old-fashioned way: in an election, with the support of our fellow Canadians, when they tell us they are ready for it. And we will bring Canadians government that is as honest and as hard-working as they are.
The newly-minted Ontario Conservative leader wants to get rid of the Human Rights Tribunal. The Tribunal resolves applications brought under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
So does what that mean? That isn't so bad, is it?
Well, it is if you are black, and someone has denied you a job because of that. It is if you are a Jew, and a will prevents you from buying a piece of land because of your faith. It is if you are gay, and someone has refused to provide you with a motel room for the night. It is if you are sexually harassed at work. It is if your union won't accomodate you because you are in a wheelchair. It is if a golf course won't let you play, because of your religion.
To be fair to him, I'm not sure Tim fully understands the law. That's okay, in a way: lots of people don't know everything there is to know about the law.
The difference, of course, is none of them is running to be Premier.
Man oh man, this campaign can't come soon enough.
As a public service, we have put together some neato buttons for you to print off and pin to your pin-striped bibs! Feel free to wear 'em for your next interview with the OPP!
Personally, the Klees one is my fave. But there's more to come!
Mr. Miller would then face a whole range of unpalatable options in an election year. Raise taxes, again? Cut program spending? Conduct a fire sale of assets?
For Mr. Miller, the consolation prize should be demolishing the union in a public-relations battle - one union leaders aren't really bothering to fight, because they only need the support of their own members. But Mr. Miller isn't really bothering to fight it, either; often, as when issuing stern warnings to residents about dumping their garbage, he seems as much on the side of the strikers as the rest of the city.
It is admirable that Mr. Miller does not wish to compromise his principles by union-bashing. It is also self-destructive.
Sneaking into City Hall through back doors does not convey a sense of ownership.
the enormous bin is what we are forced to use for trash and recycle stuff, now.
The unattractive building on top is City Hall. Natch.)
Worth-repeating movie analogy, here:
As the mayor spoke today, strikers did their best to drown him out, standing just outside the plate glass windows on the ground floor of Metro Hall and chanting: “What do we want? Fair contract! When do we want it? Now!” It felt almost like a moment from the Michael Keaton/Jack Nicholson film Batman (1989), when The Joker takes de facto control of the town in the face of a weak mayor.