It looks like Kathleen Wynne is going to win the leadership race for the Ontario Liberal party, and in doing so become the next premiere of the province.
She will, I think, be the first openly gay premiere (though there have been 8 closeted gay ones). It’s a somewhat historic moment, but one that comes with an asterisk. Much like Kim Campbell, our first and only female Prime Minister, she was elected only by her party, not by the population at large.
Still, good for her.
The Toronto Star posted this interesting anecdote from the convention:
The 59-year-old (Wynne) took the stage after a flash mob — including Health Minister Deb Matthews and former cabinet minister John Wilkinson of Stratford, her campaign co-chairs — did a dance number with supporters in “Wynne Now” T-shirts to the Glee version of Pink’s “Raise Your Glass,” about underdogs succeeding.
Before that, Sandra Pupatello was expected to win; making this the first time in ten years that anyone has paid attention to a flash mob.
It looks like Toronto mayor Rob Ford will reluctantly back off on proposed cuts to the fire department that would result in the closing of a station and the grounding of a fire truck.
That Rob Ford rolled over in the face of opposition isn’t new, but what makes this story neat is a quote from councillor Adam Vaughan:
“The mayor is being forced to eat his vegetables and he doesn’t like it — you can see it in his face,” he said. “But he is eating his vegetables because his mother told them they are good for him.”
Meanwhile, there’s a typically whiny editorial on the Toronto Sun’s website calling both the union, and all the councillors who voted in their favour, communists (I guess that makes Ford a commie?)
Anyway, the only reason I bring it up is because it exposes the bizarre double standard that conservatives have when it comes to government money. When unions lobby government for policies that benefit them, it’s communism; but when corporations do the same thing (demanding government contracts, tax breaks, and the removal of regulations) it’s free market capitalism, baby!
If you want to live by the vapid, Ayn Randian mantra ‘greed is good,’ fine. But at least apply it equally to everyone.
The libertarian argument against government regulation, as espoused by the likes of Ron Paul, is that companies who do wrong will be punished by the free market. For example, if a company adds arsenic to baby food, people will stop buying it and said company will go out of business.
Seems simple enough; but libertarians always gloss over an important part of that strategy: a few babies would have to die for people to find out about the arsenic. Actually, a lot of babies would have to die, because without an agency actively looking into safety issues, it would be left to individual citizens to notice a pattern and track it back to its source (good luck with that).
But it seems that, to the libertarian sort, a few deaths are a fair trade off for absolute ‘freedom.’ We also see the same thing from gun rights supporters. Some simple, downright minor, regulations could surely prevent a few deaths; but when gun lovers weigh the lives of those children who die in mass shootings against their desire to keep their toy collection, the toys win.
The free market will work, as the libertarians say, but it’s a far messier system than government. Because in the free market, human lives are just another number on an expense account.
The media is doing its damnedest to wring every bit of material it can from the Sandy Hook shootings; and I think think they’re starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel. This comes from an article in Brittan’s Daily Mail:
Adam Lanza’s childhood barber Bob Skuba revealed today that Nancy Lanza stopped bringing her son in for haircuts a few years ago so he thought he had moved away from the area.
He told CNN that Adam would never speak or even look at him any time he came in for a cut, which was every six weeks for years.
‘It’s just weird that I actually touched him. I’d tried to joke with him,’ Skuba said. ‘He wouldn’t even look at me. He would just be looking down at the tiles the whole time.
‘I wish I would have killed him then. Or he should have killed himself a long time ago. He would have saved us all the trouble.
‘I should have slit and stabbed him by accident. It would have been a lot better for those people.’
I’m sure there were signs that Lanza might one day become a spree-killer; but not wanting to engage in idle smalltalk with a barber is not one of them, it’s actually kind of universal. One of the oldest jokes known to man comes from ancient Greece, and it goes: “a man goes for a haircut and the barber asks how he would like his hair cut, and the man replies, ‘in silence.’”
But apparently, not talking to your barber is now reason for suspicion, just as trench coats were after Columbine. And if that’s not enough, we now have a barber wistfully thinking about slitting the throats of children who dare not to speak to him.
Ontario teachers are out in force today to protest Bill 115, which essentially strips them of their collective bargaining rights by allowing the Ontario legislature to impose contracts on the teachers and/or schools (though historically, imposed contracts always give workers the short end).
These pictures show teachers and students marching in front of M.M. Robinson High School in Burlington, ON. A lot of people were honking as they drove by, which, in car-protest parlance, denotes support.
I genuinely don’t care if a store uses ‘Merry Christmas,’ ‘Happy Holidays,’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah;’ but I do care when they’re dicks about it.
Here’s this week’s flyer for Len’s Mill Stores, a retailer of discount housewares. On the top banner is written ‘Merry Holidays,’ and then they have a flamingo crossing out the ‘Holidays’ and writing in ‘Christmas.’ I’ll leave aside the fact that their incompetent designer should have written ‘Happy Holidays,’ and then crossed both words out and replaced them with ‘Merry Christmas’ if they wanted this drawing to make any sense (or as much sense as anything featuring a bigoted flamingo can make).
But the bigger question is: what message is Len’s Mill Stores trying to send? Why are they telling people who celebrate Hanukkah to f*ck off and go to another store?
They could have just written ‘Merry Christmas’ and no one would have noticed or cared; but instead, they chose to make a point of excluding Athiests, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and everyone else that celebrates a ‘holiday’ at this time of year. And I can’t help but think that spitting in the eye of potential customers is not just bad for business, it’s also not in keeping with the spirit of Christmas.
Hey, I know Len (I assume that’s who owns the Mill Stores) drank the ‘war on Christmas’ eggnog and is trying in his own, sad little way to fight the windmill; but the truth is, there is not evil conspiracy to stop stores like his from saying ‘Merry Christmas.’ And Len should know that; after all, he did write ‘Merry Christmas’ on his flyer and no jack-booted thugs swept in to stop him.
When a store chooses to say ‘Happy Holidays,’ it isn’t because they hate Christians, it’s because they love money, and they want to take it from all the many people who celebrate the varied traditions that mark the end of December. Len isn’t just a bad Christian, he’s also a bad capitalist.
Progressive Conservative leader and professional buffoon Tim Hudak weighed in on the Rob Ford matter today, saying that he’s in favour of lessening the penalty to politicians in conflict of interest cases.
In other words, Hudak wants to legalize corruption, or at least a bit of it.
Seriously, he wants politicians to be allowed to break the law without penalty.
Hudak told reporters:
“I think there’s going to be a lot of discouragement among voters right now because progress is being made. And spending is actually reduced in the City of Toronto; they’re making progress in derailing the gravy train to a large extent … I’m really worried that progress is going to be lost.”
Not to make comparisons in terms of gravity, but that really is an ‘at least he made the trains run on time’ kind of an argument. Even if he was successful in this regard (and that’s debatable), that’s no reason to let him damage the integrity of the office of mayor.
What conservatives should be doing right now is finding someone worthy of the position. There’s no point putting lipstick on this pig.
It seems a lot of conservative pundits are on the same page this morning. They argue that the punishment Toronto mayor Rob Ford received did not fit the crime.
But the thing is, it doesn’t matter if it was big or small; what matters is that he abused his power; that he did not uphold the integrity of the office.
If a police chief used his position to close a case against him, would we quibble over whether it was robbery or a speeding ticket? No, we would simply call for his dismissal, because wrong is wrong, and integrity, especially when you are in a position of power over others, is important.
Rob Ford used his elected office to weasel out of paying a fine levied against him, a fine that stemmed from yet another case in which he misused his office. That is the fact of the matter. He is not doing what he was elected to do, and so removing him is the only option. Of course, the people of Toronto are free to reelect him if they don’t value integrity in their leaders.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been removed from office following a conviction on a conflict of interest charge brought by a private citizen. The judge did not choose to impose a 7 year ban on the former mayor, leaving the door open for him to run again.
There are two parts to this story. The first is that Ford misused his council position to solicit $3000 for his football association. Integrity Commissioner Janet Leiper ruled that he was guilty and submitted a report ordering Ford to repay the money. The second part (and this is the conflict of interest) came this past February, when city council was debating whether or not to adopt the commissioner’s report. Ford not only argued against it, he also voted against it, despite the fact that it pertained to him specifically. The report was subsequently squashed, leaving Ford Scott-free.
So, yeah, taking part in a vote that personally enriches you is a pretty obvious case of conflict of interest.
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday will take over in the meantime, though Ford will likely appeal the ruling. If he fails, Toronto will face another election; but even if he’s allowed to run, will the disgraced mayor actually try again?
Liberal leadership contender Justin Trudeau faced his first major set back this week when someone dug up a two-year-old interview in which he blamed the country’s problems on the fact that Albertans are in charge.
“Canada isn’t doing well right now because it’s Albertans who control our community and socio-democratic agenda. It doesn’t work.”
“Certainly when we look at the great prime ministers of the 20th Century, those that really stood the test of time, they were MPs from Quebec. This country — Canada — it belongs to us.”
Dissing Alberta will play poorly in the oil province; but the Quebec superiority thing will probably rub more people the wrong way in the rest of Canada.
Is this the end for Trudeau, who for some reason decided to wear Satan’s goatee to the interview? (seriously, I know people mock politicians for getting stylists; but get a fu#king stylist. You need one). Probably not.
Every politician has a few dumb statements in their past, and although the Conservatives have mastered the art of exploiting and blowing them out of proportion, the one thing Trudeau has going for him this time is that the quote is in French, which means it can’t be turned into an endlessly repeated soundbite for English Canada.
Meanwhile, Trudeau’s strongest opponent, former astronaut Marc Garneau, is set to announce his candidacy next week. How cool would it be to have an astronaut in the debates? ‘Oh, you have foreign policy experience? Well, I have extra-terrestrial policy experience, bitch.’ Of course, that could all come crashing down if the racial slurs he made against the moon men come to light.