“Would it be unprofessional to say we worshipped you, and named our band after you?”

The Mesleys.  (Not exactly as pictured.)

Today I was interviewed today by the CBC’s Wendy Mesley about the Jaffer/Guergis/lobbyist/blah blah blah stuff.

It’s an interesting subject, I guess, but I had other things on my mind. The whole time, I wanted to tell her:  “In Ottawa, four of us had a band we named after you, The Mesleys.  Our greatest regret was that we were never able to present you with our first platinum record.”

Actually, we never had a platinum record.  Or a gold one.  Or a tin one, even.

Anyway, I didn’t tell her about the band.  I chickened out (sorry, Yaz).  Meanwhile, Wendy’s story is on The National tonight.

Farmers Forum Apologizes


Patrick Meagher and Eastern Ontario Farmers Forum wish to apologize to Warren Kinsella and the Daisy Consulting Group for suggestions made in its edition of April 14, 2010.
In particular, Mr. Meagher and Eastern Ontario Farmers Forum wish to retract statements made about Mr. Kinsella and the Daisy Consulting Group concerning the quality of service it provides to its clients; the cost of its services; its ethics; and the credibility it enjoys with government. Mr. Meagher and Eastern Ontario Farmers Forum accepts that the statements it made were false and without foundation, and unreservedly apologizes for them.

Clash of the Titans

After taking the kids to see Clash of the Titans last night – which is about Greek mythology, sort of, and powerful forces toying with the lives of humans – I actually sat down and watched both CBC and CTV’s national newscasts, last night. It was interesting.

When you have a national news broadcast, or a newspaper, you can only choose to make one story your main story. There’s no way you can give two stories equal prominence. You have to choose.

So, last night, CBC chose the historic ruling of House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken. And CTV chose the historic events playing themselves out in Europe, with Greece (and maybe Portugal and Spain and others) possibly getting ready to trigger a new global recession/depression.

I wasn’t at the editorial meetings at either network, but I reckon that CBC’s editors decided that the ruling in Ottawa had all the requisite elements for a Big Story: drama, conflict, power, and the potential for the toppling of the Canadian government. On the other side of town, at CTV, I figure all of those arguments would have been made by the Ottawa bureau’s staff, but a decision was made to pay attention to the chilling economic developments in Europe – because those events, too, are dramatic and so on.

At both news organizations, the guiding principle would have been this: what is most relevant to the lives of our readers/viewers/listeners? What do they care about? What matters most to them? (I can tell you that every political party goes through the same existential analysis every day, too, for different reasons.)

CTV’s top guys and gals would have concluded something like this: “What is happening in Ottawa is interesting, but do our viewers really care about a dense, complex ruling by the Speaker of the House of Commons that may or may not result in an election or a reference to the Supreme Court, or whatever? Do they really care about Afghan detainees? What they care about is their families being plunged into another global recession. That’s what they care about.”

CBC’s bosses, meanwhile, might have said: “The European debt crisis is important, but it’s been a ‘crisis’ for weeks now. The IMF will step in sometime soon, and – besides – when was the last time our audience cared about the stability of the economy of a small country in Europe? Don’t they care, instead, about the fact that their government is possibly trying to cover up allegations of torture, and that the politicians seem ready to plunge us into yet another election, because none of them are capable of compromise?”

There are merits to both sides. What is ironic, to me, is that the Conservatives will almost certainly use the latter to offset the former. They’ll say – just you watch – that Canadians don’t want an expensive, unnecessary election about the fate of some likely members of the Taliban. And that what matters most is putting bread on the table. Having an election during another economic crisis is foolhardy.

Personally, I think CBC probably made the right call. I look at the Conservative argument, and invert it: the European economic crisis is real and significant, and it will have implications for every Canadian. To get through it, everyone will need to pull together. Your arrogance and intransigence and deceit are pitting everyone against each other, yet again. We need a government that understands the necessity of compromise – particularly if we are to emerge whole from the chaos that possibly lies ahead. When there is a Clash of the Titans – politically, economically – it is usually the little guy who gets hurt. So, cool it, already.

What do you think? CBC or CTV? Comments are open.

Um, er…

…I said the Speaker would “cave.” He didn’t! I was wrong! I was wrong! Ya-hoo!

Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa. I owe Peter Milliken, who my mother adores, an apology. And I owe James Bowie, student-at-law, a lunch at the Japanese place.

Now, a fortnight hence, if the Reformatories flip the bird in the direction of Parliament again, and Mr. Milliken asks that everyone come together and be nice to each other, yet again, then lunch is on you, Mr. Bowie.

Until then, I stand before you, a chastened man.

(And, impossibly, a little bit hopeful that we may still have a functioning democracy, here.)

(Norman’s take, always worth reading, here.)

(And Susan has a fascinating little exchange with Derek Lee on what lies ahead.)

Totally legitimate post about an important issue

Totally legitimate photo illustrating important issue.

On April 16th senior Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi suggested women who wear revealing clothing are to blame for earthquakes. “Women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases (consequently) earthquakes,” he was quoted as saying by Iranian media.

Boobwash! say tens of thousands of women who refuse to believe flaunting their breasts is triggering a world-wide Boobageddon. Led by Purdue University student Jen McCreight they staged a 24-hour protest Monday.

Dubbed Boobquake, McCreight encouraged women around the world to flaunt their breasts and their cleavage to prove the Iranian clerics wrong. She even came up with some cleavage-flaunting T-shirts that she was selling for charity with messages that read: “Boobquake 2010: Who says science has to be boring?” and “Boobquake 2010: Did the Earth move for you?”

This “government” is a disgrace

Tories say Canada won’t fund abortion under G8 plan (Cda-G8-Abortion)
Source: The Canadian Press
Apr 26, 2010 15:49

OTTAWA – The Harper government says it won’t fund abortion as part of its G8 child- and maternal-health plan for poor countries.

That sets up a potential conflict with the U.S. and other G8 partners who say abortion can’t be separated from family planning.

The Conservatives had refused to say if abortion would be covered under the G8 plan.

But MP Jim Abbott, parliamentary secretary to International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda, clarified the government’s position in the House of Commons on Monday.

“Canada’s contribution to child and maternal health may include family planning,” he said. “However, Canada’s contribution will not include funding abortion.”

The Tories have faced criticism at home and abroad since they made the health plan a key agenda item of the G8 summit that Canada hosts in June, but refused to clarify the abortion issue.

Oda is hosting a meeting of G8 development ministers in Halifax on Tuesday.


Rahim-Helena: In today’s Hill Times

KINSELLA: What has been interesting, to me, in the Rahim-Helena mess hasn’t been the ill-fated couple, per se. It’s been how the Harper Reformatory government has dealt with the whole mess.

Early on, for example, I opined online about Guergis’s now-infamous tantrum at Charlottetown’s airport. On my Facebook page, one of the first folks to comment about my comment was none other than Kory Teneycke—until recently, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s powerful director of communications, and now one of the most adept Conservative pundits in Canada. Teneycke let it be known that he was no fan of Guergis or her behaviour—and, later on, even seemed to suggest she deserved to be Tasered for her misdeeds.

That evening, I did CTV’s Power Play show with Canada’s only other highly-adept Conservative pundit guys, Tim Powers. Powers, too, mused that Guergis needed to reflect on what she had done. He didn’t sound impressed.

Nobody pays any attention to me, and for good reason, but I told CTV’s Tom Clark that I was amazed by Teneycke’s and Powers’s public utterances, and that it could only mean that the all-seeing PMO was about to cut her adrift.

There’s no way—no way—either of those two guys would ever say something that didn’t meet with the approval of the PM. “Helena, start packing your bags,” I advised. “You’re done.”

Precisely no one, then, should have been surprised to see Guergis and her unlucky husband kicked to the curb by Reform-Conservative officialdom mere days later. It was always going to happen. The only question was when, not if.

That is what intrigues me about all of this sad tale. I don’t see it in any way harmful to the Conservatives’ long-term prospects. For Team Angry, it did two useful things: one, it allowed them to separate themselves from two too-urban, too-hip people whom many in government had come to dislike. Two, it allowed them to look proactive and tough on crime. (Memo to Liberals: when a brown envelope is handed to you, in the future, take it.)

At the end of this drama, I feel sort of sorry for Guergis and Jaffer. The moment Teneycke and Powers started expressing their disapproval, it was all over but for the proverbial fat lady singing. And I don’t get the impression that Mr. Harper dislikes the sound of her voice.

Blogs are for boys, Facebook’s for girls

That, at least, is the shorthand we use at my firm. When we design campaigns for clients, we start from the proposition that the online world is delineated into gender camps.

As a seminal Ipsos study showed a few years ago, bloggers (and those who read them) tend to be angry, white, college/university-educated males. That’s why Stephen Harper’s acolytes are so preoccupied with blogs, for example.

Facebook, meanwhile, is wildly popular with everyone – but no one as much as young, upwardly-mobile women. For quite some time, they have been gravitating to Facebook in astonishing numbers – which is why centre-left political parties (like the Liberals and the NDP) need to be doing more in the FB demi-monde (but aren’t, go figure).

The Star has an interesting column this morning about this latter phenomenon.

“…Many parents would find it difficult — impossible even — to keep their daughters from surfing, let alone texting, during the week.

And besides, is it really that unhealthy? Is 21st century texting worse than 20th century tying up the phone playing High School Confidential with all your besties? Is Facebook any different from group mall-trawling for cute outfits and cuter boys?

Apparently so, at least according to Dr. Leonard Sax, author, physician and psychologist. He sees threats to children everywhere, in unnecessary prescriptions for ADHD meds, unchaperoned parties, department stores that sell sexy Ts for 7-year-olds, and in what he calls the “cyberbubble.”

That’s skewing their self-image and their world view, Sax believes.

“Most parents have no clue how kids are using Facebook,” he says…”

That’s a truism. Most parents “don’t have a clue” how their children are using any Internet tool – because they don’t understand the Internet like their children do. As a Dad, I am constantly amazed (and concerned) about the degree to which my children have an online life – and how I can only ever glimpse the faint outlines of it.

Anyway. Suggesting that kids are more cyber-savvy than adults is stating the manifestly, glaringly obvious. My point is different. My point is that those cyber-savvy boys and girls have embraced different media within the New Media. If anyone has any theories why that is so – and it is decidedly so – comments are welcome.