Jah Wobble is God

I have been playing punk bass since I was 15 years old. Early on, I figured out there were two ways to play bass.

You can play all the fucking fiddley-bits, like you are a (ew) guitarist. Or you can play like God and Dee Dee Ramone want you to play – with power and drive and as a rhythm instrument. The right way.

That is how Jah Wobble played. As God decreed it.

In 1979, the first time I heard his bass-playing on the first Public Image single, Public Image, it changed everything. I ditched the pick and started playing with my fingers. And, lo, it was better. Way.

To celebrate this – Jah Wobble coming to Toronto, and him following me on the Twitter machine – I give you this, the greatest bassist alive, the one Jah (God) Wobble.

Worship him, as I do.

(BONUS JAH FACTS: We played punk noise in a Calgary basement one afternoon with the pre-PIL guy behind the drums. He’s Canadian. Also: so genius was what Wobble does, here, fucking U2 stole it and made it their first single. Go listen.)

CBC: “Your Ward News is back, but community group still fighting to ban hate rag”

Lisa Kinsella, managing partner of The Daisy Group and one of the founding members of Standing Together Against Mailing Prejudice. The group vows do everything it can to sop the publishers of Your Ward News from delivering copies to people’s mailboxes. (CBC)

CBC – A group called Standing Together Against Mailing Prejudice (STAMP) says it will do everything it can to stop the publishers of a controversial newspaper, after it began appearing again this month in east-end Toronto mailboxes.

Your Ward News publishes once a season and bills itself as the “world’s largest anti-Marxist publication.” But it’s been widely criticized as a purveyor of hate speech against women, as well as Jews, the LGBT community and other minorities. Its editor and publisher both face charges of wilfully promoting hatred.

“[It’s] this kind of explosive hate rag that’s filled with anti-homophobic statements. It’s anti-women, it’s anti-Semitic,” said Lisa Kinsella, managing partner of The Daisy Group and one of the founding members of STAMP.

“It’s just this vile piece of hate that keeps showing up in our mailboxes every once in a while and we are going to do everything we can stop that from happening.”

The newspaper is the brainchild of editor-in-chief James Sears, who has presented himself in the past as pick-up artist Dmitri The Lover and had his licence to practise medicine revoked after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting patients.

“Sears, St. Germaine and Your Ward News can run, but they can’t hide,” Kinsella said. 

“We will use every legal means at our disposal — civil, criminal and administrative — to shut them down, and get this disgusting hate out of our communities,” she added. 

We want to assure everyone who is getting this garbage dumped in their mailbox, we are not going to stop fighting, we are not going to give up.  We will not rest until Your Ward News is no more.”


Full story here.

Star on Keesmaat: “over the top,” “seriously over the top,” doesn’t “move the city forward one iota”

This editorial slams those who have been slamming John Tory – specifically, Jennifer Keesmaat.  Some quotable quotes:

  • Keesmaat’s attacks on Tory “really come down to style far more than substance…Tory doesn’t rage, fists in the air, when he’s angry. That’s simply not his style. He’s a measured speaker…”
  • “Keesmaat has defined herself differently…[to the point] that she tweeted out an over-the-top call for Toronto to secede from the province.”
  • “None of [Keesmaat’s] bluster moved the city forward one iota vis-a-vis the province.”
  • “[Her latest attack, on non-existent secret deals] is seriously over the top. It would be no surprise if Tory didn’t take Ford seriously when he mentioned cutting council in passing, and that certainly doesn’t amount to acquiescing to such a plan.”

The pith and substance of the s. 33 debate, in ten pithy points

  1. The courts should not be supreme.  The people’s representatives should be.
  2. Most judges think they are smarter than all politicians.  They may well be, but elected people should have the final say.  Not unelected ones.
  3. Legislatures, and Parliament, have the right to use section 33.  Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec have done so.  No Prime Minister – including Conservative ones – has ever done so.
  4. Pierre Trudeau didn’t like section 33.  Neither did Jean Chretien.  But Chretien told Trudeau the truth: if he didn’t agree to it, the Conservatives Premiers – and they all were Conservatives, pretty much, back then – would never sign on.
  5. The notwithstanding clause is not permanent, by the way.  You have to renew its application, every five years.  An election is how it is reviewed.
  6. When you use it, you have to explicitly state you are disregarding the Charter of Rights.  Not a good thing to ever do on paper, politically.
  7. There is a disallowance clause in the Constitution, true.  It hasn’t been used in a 100 years or something like that.  If it ever was, it would be swiftly struck down by a Court for that very disuse.
  8. Using section 33 for a few city council seats is overkill.  It is a mistake.  If the Ontario PCs had simply promised to reduce the size of council in the election, all of this could have been avoided.  They didn’t.
  9. Toronto city council should be smaller – it should have no more seats than the provincial and federal legislatures have to represent the same piece of real estate.
  10. So, Ontario has the right to do this.  So, elected representatives should be supreme, not unelected judges.  So, city council will benefit from being smaller.

But this was an avoidable mistake.  And it will follow its authors around for a long, long time.


The constitutional beast is back

From next week’s Hill Times:

And that, to me, is Doug Ford’s biggest problem. Not that he overturned a court decision everyone expected him to win. Not that he used a constitutional provision no one knows about. Not any of that.

No, Doug Ford’s big problem is this: he has done the thing that Canadian voters most dislike – he has put the Constitution back on the agenda.  He has sent the constitutional cottage industry into overdrive. He has gotten us talking about the thing that most often divide us. That brings out the worst in us.

Trust me here. I was privileged and honoured to work for the greatest politician this country has ever seen, Jean Chretien. He didn’t lose a single election in 40 years. He did that, mainly, by saying this: “Vote for me, and we won’t talk about the Constitution.”

Bill Davis: a Canadian political giant speaks

From Steve Paikin’s spot:

As a rule, former Progressive Conservative premier Bill Davis has avoided weighing in on controversial issues since he retired from public life in 1985. He is still interested in political developments but has been content to wield whatever influence he may have almost entirely behind the scenes.

Still, of the 11 first ministers who, 37 years ago, hammered out that historic constitutional compromise, only three are still alive. The 89-year-old Davis is one of them — and he knows what his colleagues had in mind when they created the notwithstanding clause all those years ago.

“Making the Charter a central part of our Constitution, Canada’s basic law, was a deliberate and focused decision by the prime minister and premiers,” Ontario’s 18th premier explained over the phone yesterday.

“The sole purpose of the notwithstanding clause was only for those exceptionally rare circumstances when a province wanted to bring in a specific benefit or program provision for a part of their population — people of a certain age, for example — that might have seemed discriminatory under the Charter.

“The notwithstanding provision has, understandably, rarely been used, because of the primacy of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms for all Canadians. That it might now be used regularly to assert the dominance of any government or elected politician over the rule of law or the legitimate jurisdiction of our courts of law was never anticipated or agreed to.”

This has been another in a week of extraordinary developments. Davis has had ample opportunity over the 33 years since he retired from public life to comment on government policies with which he’s disagreed. He virtually never goes there.

But clearly, Davis sees the Ford government’s decision to use Section 33 as so far outside the bounds of the original spirit of the clause that he’s set aside his normal reservations.