And now for more now now about Now

Hollett with a friend.

Assorted Now employees and friends of its owner swarmed this wee web site yesterday, taking umbrage with what I had to say about the magazine’s boss (Hollett has no pony tail!) and approach (we think it’s okay to run ads trafficking in girls!).

So, as expected, various other correspondents provided useful tidbits about the situational ethics of Now and its svengali – among them, the fun photo above with Now‘s boss, chumming with Rob Ford in the US, where fewer folks were around to point out how decidedly less-chummy he was with Mayor On Crack when back home. Here they are, with linkage. There’s more to come.

That stuff isn’t from me: it’s what others have said. Unregistered lobbying? Chumming with the far Right? Corporate hypocrisy? Making a fortune out of ads which degrade women? Cutting news staff to fund non-news corporate ventures?

All that sounds pretty corporate, to me, but what do I know? I don’t make the kind of dough Michael Hollett does.

And, what’s more, there’s no photos of me around, hugging Rob Ford.

In Tuesday’s Sun: coalition, accusation, repetition

Get ready.

You can always tell when a federal election is coming in Canada. The political parties commence a frenzy of fundraising. The commentariat start speculating incessantly about when, exactly, the election will take place. The media start writing profiles of backroom “strategists” who real folks don’t care about.

Oh, and conservatives start darkly whispering about coalitions.

It’s already happened at least a couple times on Sun News Network, the canary in the Conservative Party’s coal mine. As one of the network’s house Bolsheviks, I can tell you that Sun News is worth watching for that reason alone: it’s the place where the Stephen Harper Party first road-tests assorted talking points. It’s where they launch various trial balloons, to see what will float, and what will come crashing down to terra firma.

Thus, that hoary old chestnut, the coalition allegation. Harper and his party have successfully deployed it in 2011 and 2008, and they appear to be readying themselves to do so again. Worked before, it’ll work again, right?

Not necessarily. As the Conservative war room has discovered to their vexation, you can’t run the same plays in every game without the other guys eventually noticing. The attack ads that worked so well against Messrs. Dion and Ignatieff, for instance: the same sorts of ads haven’t worked as well against the fresh-faced Justin Trudeau, have they?

But the Tories are undeterred. If the “he’s in way over his head” ads aren’t peeling off thousands of soft Liberal votes, then the coalition canard almost certainly will. That is, Grits and Dippers (and, where available, separatists) are secretly plotting to come together to form a Satanic alliance post-election, thereby defying the people’s will, trampling on democracy, blah blah blah.

Here’s the proverbial fly in the coalition ointment, however: Liberals and New Democrats presently hate each other’s guts. We use that word advisedly: HATE. It fits.

They’ve always sort of hated each other, true. New Democrats see Liberals as soulless, venal hypocrites, interested in power and little else. Liberals see New Democrats as humourless, pious scolds who always prefer talking to doing.

But, lately, the level of enmity between Grits and Dippers has reached feverish proportions.

Dippers say that Justin Trudeau is the political Zoolander: an empty-headed pretty boy who talks a lot about the middle class, but who wouldn’t know the middle class if it bit him on one of his yoga-toned legs. Grits see Thomas Mulcair as Angry Tom, a crypto-separatist whose mere existence is imperiling their inevitable triumphant return later in 2015.

None of this Grit-Dipper odium deters Stephen Harper, of course. He spooked Liberals and New Democrats away from coalition-talk in the past and, by God, he intends to do so again. It worked.

No matter that his party, the Conservatives, was a coalition of the Reform/Alliance parties and the Progressive Conservative Party. No matter that he himself attempted an unconsummated, unholy coalition with the socialists and the separatists in 2004 – even writing a letter to the Governor-General about his willingness to enter into coalition matrimony. None of that matters.

What matters is winning, and Stephen Harper is rather good at winning. His opponents may deny, deny, deny that a coalition is imminent, let alone possible. They may point to the seamy and unseemly Parliament Hill sexual harassment cases – with accusation and counter-accusation flying back and forth – as clear evidence that the two parties heartily detest each other.

But, while all true, that’s all irrelevant. In the lead-up to elections, the truth is usually irrelevant.

Stephen Harper intends to make the coalition accusation again, by God, facts notwithstanding. It works.

It’s soon to be election time, after all, and coalition talk will soon be all the rage.

Get ready.

Now now, Now

Now magazine is irritated with Your Humble Narrator.  For a while – um – now, the alt weakly has been in a state of high dudgeon, and it would be super boring if it weren’t for this: I’m researching a column on some of the hypocrisies of the so-called Left, to try and figure out why they’re in decline politically.  As such, I’ve been researching Now itself, and specifically:

And so on.

I’m interested in hearing from anyone – and particularly some of the former staffers at Now – who have stories to relate about its profitability, its union-busting, its hypocrisy on equality issues, and its bosses.  Feel free to confidentially email me at the usual place.

Otherwise, comment, er, now!

Is Den Tandt right?


“Mulcair is the only leader of a federal party who stands a fair chance of losing his job following the federal election, tentatively slated for later this year.”

I’m not sure I agree with my colleague, who I almost always agree with.  Here’s a couple other scenarios:

  • The economy gets lousy, those criminal trials get newsworthy, Stephen Harper has a Senator Finley-less – ie., poorly-run – campaign, and he flat-out loses the election.
  • The economy stays strong, nobody cares about the trials, Harper again executes a solid campaign, and Justin Trudeau has a great big verbal flub on the campaign trail – or, worse, during the leaders’ debates – and he flat-out loses the election.

In either one of those scenarios, I can easily see the Tories and the Grits readying the gallows for Messrs. Harper or Trudeau.

What thinkest thou, O readers of this here web site?


I am confused, as usual

Apologies for getting all Toronto-centric, but the media in The Centre of the Universe are this morning filled with stories about how the new mayor is going to “get tough” with illegally parked vehicles during rush hour, blah blah blah. There are dozens of such stories.

Here’s the question I therefore asked on the Twitter thing. A few folks apparently agreed with me.