The most compelling reason to get rid of the Reformatories


The horror, the horror.

“…It’s also not clear if the Prime Minister will be in the Commons tomorrow given his schedule this week. Last night, however, Mr. Harper was rocking a different house. He, his son, Ben, and 17,198 others attended the Nickelback concert at Ottawa’s Scotiabank Place.

He went with some other neighbourhood fathers and their sons. The Harpers are huge fans of the band, according to spokesman Dimitri Soudas. They even had lead singer Chad Kroeger over at 24 Sussex Dr.

(Vote for the pickle!)


Operation Alienation

The source, who isn’t involved in a campaign, said it appears prominent Conservative backroomer Jeff Bangs got fed up with “too many cooks” directing how to keep Smitherman the frontrunner in a marathon race that heated up unexpectedly early.

The “cooks”, they said, include Smitherman and Jaime Watt, a key figure in provincial Conservative campaigns in 1995, 1999 and 2003 and co-chair, with Smitherman, of Barbara Hall’s 2003 mayoral bid that saw her frontrunner status collapse in a loss to David Miller.

There’ll be plenty more scrambling for the exits before this thing is over. Believe me, I know.


It’s happened

I’d been warned about this.

A week ago, after lining up in the dark at a Buffalo mall to purchase three iPads – one for me, one for my lawyer, and one for another guy I owe big time – my kids have appropriated my shiny new iPad. It’s theirs.

The stuff they seem to like the most are the games (including the extraordinary Scrabble app), the interactive stuff (like the drawing apps), and – of course – the amazing clarity you get when you watch movies and videos. You see movies more clearly on the iPad than anywhere you’ve ever seen ’em, including movie theatres.

The kids didn’t need primers on how to use the iPad. Immediately, they seemed to know how to slide, swipe and pinch the images on the screen. It was like they understood it right away.

I’ve been asked a hundred times if it’s worth getting, when it appears in Canadian Apple stores later this month. My answer is that you don’t need it for music (the iPod does that), or calling people (the iPhone does that), or word processing (the Mac does that). But for everythig else, it’s amazing. For books, newspapers, movies, games, photos – anything visual – it is revolutionary.

Now, I’d get mine back, but my youngest boy is playing Scrabble on it.


Or, possibly, resigning to spend less time with you

Globe and Mail, August 3, 2007:

The early days in the portfolio were stormy as Mr. Smitherman took on doctors, hospitals, nurses, drug companies, community-care advocates and pretty well anybody…Mr. Smitherman acquired a couple of nicknames, Furious George and Old Yeller, from his blunt dealings with health officials.

He told doctors looking for a contract that they could take or leave what he had offered. He pointed a finger at an Ottawa hospital official who was unused to being treated that way. He criticized Taj Ma-hospitals being built with fashionable atriums and he called optometrists “terrorists” for fighting cuts in health-insurance coverage…His staff rotated faster than the turnstiles at cinemas showing the new Harry Potter film…

“Spend more time with his family.” I always love that one.

UPDATE: Ryan adds an update over on Facebook: “Once upon a time I worked for him at Queen’s Park and I know exactly why Jeff, or anyone would quit. In 2003 Smitherman’s Press Secretary quit after one week on the job.”


Malcolm McLaren

Quite a few of you – including a Member of Parliament, a newspaper columnist and assorted others – wanted me to opine on the passing of Malcolm McLaren, the erstwhile manager of the Sex Pistols.

My short answer is that I think what the Pistols think. This is what Glen Matlock said to me when I interviewed him for Fury’s Hour:

More here!


What’s gotten John Gormley’s panties in a twist?

“Fife — and his helper Taber — looked like a couple of lightweight thugs kicking Guergis when she’s down. But, then again, it’s always the weak that go after wounded prey.”

Wow. Gormley’s gormless column about Independent MP Helena Guergis being the victim of a “drive-by smear” (Lord how I loathe that cliché) was so wrong, so wildly off the mark, that it’ll be talked about for a long time to come.

Moreover, his shots at Jane Taber and Bob Fife (full disclosure, friends of mine) were also Hall-of-Fame stupid. John owes them an apology.


L’affaire Jaffer

Apart from everything else – the false claim to still be an MP, the alleged influence-peddling, the association with men under police investigation, the fact that cocaine was in his possession and the fact that he was driving under the influence – this Toronto Star report is going to make for a complicated day (or days) in a number of offices, in Ottawa, Toronto and out in Caledon. It is an extraordinary piece of investigative reporting.

Straight-up, no commentary, no bullshit: it was a joy to read, even if the subject matter should anger everyone.

Rahim Jaffer, your time in the spotlight ain’t over yet. Not by a long shot.