Toronto Star suspends paying a dividend – of two cents

They are in deep, deep trouble.  Very sad to see.

Torstar Corp. suspended its quarterly dividend as it reported a $40.9-million loss attributable to shareholders in its latest quarter.

The publisher of the Toronto Star newspaper says it suspended the regular payment to shareholders of 2.5 cents per share as part of its plan to preserve its cash and strengthen its financial position.

The board of directors plans to review the dividend policy again in the fourth quarter of 2020, the company says.

The decision came as Torstar reported a loss of 50 cents per share for the quarter ended Sept. 30 compared with a loss attributable to shareholders of $18.8 million or 23 cents per share in the same quarter last year. Operating revenue fell to $111.8 million compared with $126.4 million.


Twitter vs. Everyone

Frank Bruni, who I hero-worship, has a typically-amazing column in the Sunday New York Times. 

Best bit:

On Twitter in particular, Trump doesn’t exclaim; he expectorates. You can feel the spittle several time zones away.

And Twitter suits him not just because of its immediacy and reach. It’s a format so abridged and casual that botched grammar isn’t necessarily equated with stupidity; it could simply be the consequence of haste or convenience. Formally written letters follow rules and demand etiquette. For Twitter all you need is a keypad and a spleen.

I love that last line, about needing only “a keyboard and a spleen.”

Over the past few days, lost of people have asked me to come back to Twitter and Facebook and all that social media stuff.  I might, I might not.  I haven’t decided yet.

I didn’t turn off social media, by the by, because I couldn’t handle the crap – I’m actually not bad at handling the social media crap.  Twitter is punk rock Internet, which is why I (usually) got a kick out of it.  It’s fast and nasty and blunt, like punk rock is.

So, I’ve even taught people how to use Twitter, and how not to let it get you down.

But it was getting me down, so I turned it off.  Click.  It was easy.  Haven’t missed it, either.

The Internet is a vanity press for the deranged, someone once said, and it has always been thus.  Expecting enlightenment in 240 characters is kind of ridiculous, when you think about it.



The ten reasons Andrew Scheer lost the election

1. He’s a Western social conservative and most Canadian voters are neither Westerners nor social conservatives.

2. He allowed himself to be defined (see above) before he defined himself.

3. He was running against a celebrity, not a politician – and he forgot that people are a lot more forgiving of celebrities than politicians.

4. His platform wasn’t just uninspiring, it was duller than a laundry list.

5. He needed to balance his enthusiasm for pipelines with better ideas on climate change – but he didn’t.

6. He knew the national media favour the Liberals between elections, but he still seemed shocked when they kept favouring the Liberals during the election, too.

7. We knew he wanted Trudeau out, but we didn’t know why he wanted Trudeau’s job.

8. He had Tim Hudak syndrome – genial and easy-going in person, stiff and awkward on TV.

9. His campaign team were great on analyzing data, but not so great on mobilizing people – the Liberals actually beat them on voter ID and GOTV.

10. His inability to answer predictable questions – on abortion, equal marriage, his citizenship, etc. – screamed “hidden agenda,” even if he didn’t have one.

Those are my reasons. What are yours? Comments are open.

About Michael Coteau

We’ve been friends for a long time, and I think he can be Premier one day. (I also think only a total fool would count out Doug Ford, too, but that’s a post for another day.)

Why Coteau?

• he isn’t associated with any of the Wynne government scandals

• he’s smart, principled and from a new generation of political leaders

• he was one of the few who got himself re-elected despite the massive Ford win in 2018

• he hasn’t surrounded himself with Wynne-era backroomers

• he isn’t the prisoner of special interests

• he doesn’t just oppose for the sake of opposing – he’s got plenty of ideas

The PCs I know take Coteau seriously.

His opponents, they don’t.

Trump kills ISIS head: will it get him re-elected?

It’s big news, certainly.

And, naturally, Republicans will say that the death of the head of ISIS will make their leader a lot more popular. They will say it’ll get him re-elected as president. But are they right?

Well, the only recent precedent we have to go on is the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011, which had been ordered by Barack Obama. It was pretty popular, too. Obama even made a controversial campaign ad about it in 2012.

Obama was re-elected in that year, but that probably had more to do with his opponent, and the improving economy, than the dead al-Qaeda leader.

Gallup, for example, found that Americans’ approval of Obama was up six points after the death of Osama bin Laden in a U.S. raid on the al-Qaeda leader’s Pakistan compound. Obama averaged 46 per cent approval in Gallup Daily tracking in the three days leading up to the military operation – and averaged 52 per cent in the days that followed. Gallup called it “typical for rally events.”

Ditto Pew. They found that the mission to take out bin Laden did nothing to diminish Americans’ concerns about Obama’s handling of the economy, Pew reported in the Washington Post.

There, 56 per cent of Americans said they approved of Obama’s performance in office overall, which was nine percentage points higher than an ABC News/Washington Post poll found in the previous month.

But on the economy, Pew said, Obama’s numbers remained pretty low and unchanged — only 40 per cent approved of his economic strategy, which was the lowest rating of his presidency.

And so on. The guy who recently left the Kurds to be killed by the Turks – and who thereby permitted the escape of scores of ISIS prisoners who had been held by the Kurds – now wants credit for killing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?

He’ll get some. But not enough to prevent his impeachment in 2019, and his loss of the presidency in 2020.

Mental health for who?

Important Elizabeth Renzetti column, below and here. Read:

We’re told, endlessly, to talk about our mental health, but so much of it is just hot air. For one thing, even though a significant portion of us will experience mental-health challenges in our lives, we still are worried about the repercussions of opening up, even to colleagues. A recent survey conducted by Ipsos Mori for Teladoc Health revealed that more than 80 per cent of respondents had not revealed their mental-health problems to anyone at work, worried about the possible negative consequences for their careers...

For a country of price-complainers – did you see how much cauliflower costs this week? – we seldom talk about how much we shell out to keep our minds in good running order. Maybe it’s a misplaced sense of shame, or a concern about privacy, or fear of being seen as “less than” in a society that values only triumph and success. Those are all understandable reasons. But until we talk about how much it costs us all individually, we’re not going to go far collectively toward making mental health services affordable and accessible for all.

In my case, there were many months when my family’s mental-health bill hit several hundred dollars, mainly for therapy. I’m not complaining; in fact, I would personally throw a parade for therapists if they’d let me, and I’d buy all the balloons and cake. My family is among the lucky ones. My husband and I have health benefits through our employer, which pay for drugs and for some therapy, but the cutoff is quickly reached, especially if you’re paying for more than one person’s regular treatment. After the cutoff, we pay out of pocket. Again, we’re fortunate that we’re able to; we can buy our way around the endless lines for publicly subsidized care. So many Canadians are not in the same position. If our health-care system is going to seriously tackle the mental-health crisis, and if it’s going to fulfill its legislated pledge of universality, that has to change.


I think an important part of being humble is to actually just be humble, and not talk about it, and let people notice you are being humble. As opposed to saying you will be humble, and hoping to get credit for it before you actually do it.

But that’s just me.

From the Star:

OTTAWA—Liberals emerged successful but not unscathed in Monday’s election, prompting calls from within the party to focus on hard work, humility and co-operation in the coming minority Parliament.

As they begin the planning for a cabinet and legislative agenda for the new session of Parliament, Liberals have also been weighing the fallout of an election that saw them lose seats and take a lower share of the popular vote.

They take the result, which returned Justin Trudeau for a second term as prime minister, as an endorsement of a platform that featured the fight against climate change and affordability as priorities.

At the same time, they are also acknowledging that they fell short with many discontented voters.

“I think there was a clear ask from voters to stay focused on these issues but be more ambitious,” said Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, who won in Beaches-East York.

The message, he said, is to “focus on the work and be humble and to work across the aisle.

“I think there’s a strong desire for that and probably we didn’t see enough of that over four years,” Erskine-Smith told the Star in a telephone interview. “In this Parliament, I hope we see a commitment to be more ambitious, to be more co-operative and to maybe be a bit more humble.

Some Liberals are also grumbling that their campaign was too negative, focusing on the Conservatives and leader Andrew Scheer rather than on the Liberals’ economic record.

Trudeau was seen as a liability in some ridings. One Liberal MP, who asked not to be identified, the party and the prime minister need to understand that Monday’s election was a “chastisement.”