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76 posts from October 2008

October 30, 2008

Election Chickens. Hatched.

Stepfordwife Don't count your chickens before they're hatched -- particularly if you have your eyes on a cabinet position.

Related:

Peterborough Examiner, October 15: "Del Mastro has heard the rumours that he's being considered for the agriculture minister portfolio, but he said he'd happily serve in any role. 'I'd certainly love to have a more enhanced role,'  he said. 'The prime minister has put me in positions where he's shown an awful lot of trust and belief in my abilities. I expect my responsibilities in Ottawa will continue to grow. It helps me with respect to influence, and ultimately what I can deliver for my constituents.'

October 28, 2008

Paul Martin on The Current

Paymentdue I don't know how many others managed to tune into Paul Martin's interview on The Current this morning. I found it to be both inspiring and disheartening, given where we find ourselves today.

Martin talked about the role he played in founding the Group of 20 (G-20) finance ministers and central bank governors and how, following some earlier world-wide economic crises, he saw the need for international cooperation on economic matters. He offered up a very wise analysis of the world's current economic woes: it's a crisis triggered by a lack of transparency and federal de-regulation of the U.S. banking industry. He stated that the crisis was predictable and preventable and noted that there is  a need for greater transparency in the banking industry world-wide and for governments to hold banks more, not less, accountable. (The crisis in the U.S. followed a period of federal de-regulation in the banking industry.)

De-regulation seems to lead to dire consequences wherever and whenever it occurs -- and yet the public is repeatedly sweet-talked into electing governments that seek to deregulate industry after industry. Maybe the magnitude of this disaster -- and the fact that it's hitting people in the pocketbooks -- will cause people to pay a little more attention. Or maybe not. After all, listeria-related deaths didn't prevent people from re-electing a government committed to more deregulation, now did it?

On an unrelated note, Martin also commented on the attacks on Ralph Goodale that were made during the 2006 election -- and how they impacted that election. Knowing what we know now, you have to wonder if the success of that attack strategy led to the subsequent Dion attack strategy. After all, if the attack strategy worked once, why not try it again -- but this time go for the jugular by launching the ads the moment the new Liberal leader tried to establish a relationship with the Canadian public?

October 25, 2008

And May the Best Mother of Five Win

This article from The Nation is a few weeks old (it came out on October 10th, in that prehistoric era before we Canadians went to the polls, but it's still as relevant as ever -- at least south of the border). After all, Americans are still living in the land of electoral opportunity -- at least officially -- for another 10 days:

Why I'd Be a Better VP Than Sarah Palin by Rosanne Cash.

Here's one of Cash's arguments ("Focus on the Family"):

I am the mother of five children, just like Governor Palin. I have known the demands of managing a full-time career and motherhood at the same time. I have juggled a breast pump and a BlackBerry, and I know when to put the BlackBerry down. (To be perfectly honest, I did once send a text to the baby and tried to nurse my bass player. You learn from your mistakes.)

When the Haves Have to Cut Back

This could be a very ugly holiday shopping season.

October 24, 2008

Setting the Health Agenda -- With A Little Help from the RCMP

The Globe and Mail carried a rather disturbing story in its health section today -- a health feature describing the role the RCMP played in helping to generate biased health research -- as opposed to reporting back on objective evidence about injection sites and the role they play in safeguarding public health.

Health reporter Andre Picard writes:

"In the waning days of the federal election campaign, there was an important development in the continuing saga surrounding Insite, Vancouver's safe-injection site. Pivot Legal Society released documents, obtained under an access-to-information request, that show the RCMP paid for research that was clearly designed to attack and undermine Insite.....Our federal government and our national police force, rather than embracing harm reduction as complementary to law enforcement, have developed a hatred for Insite that is irrational and unseemly, one that threatens and undermines public health policy to its core."

A government has to be pretty extreme in its thinking to decide that public health is worth sacrificing in order to promote its own ideological agenda.

Canadian Writers May Finally Get That Pay Raise -- For Real!

Kudos to writer and editor Derek Finkle....

...for coming up with this very creative strategy for negotiating improved fees on behalf of Canadian magazine writers -- a group who have been waiting about 30 years for an improvement to the standard $1/word magazine writing fee.

Imagine if Peterborough Had Its Own Indie Newsmagazine

I'm talking about a high quality newsmagazine like TheTyee.ca or one of the other equally gutsy and outspoken publications listed in the "Alternative and Indie Media Voices" sidebar on this blog.

As it stands, the two newspapers in our city are owned by major news conglomerates, both of which tend to have a fairly conservative/business bent. As much as they might like to, the editoriImg_6903al staff employed by these two newspapers can't push the social justice agenda too aggressively or they'll risk offending the people who sign their pay cheques or the people the pay the bills (the advertisers).

Perhaps some entrepreneurial journalism grad will move back to Peterborough to launch an alternative publication aimed at citizens who don't hear their views being reflected by the existing mainstream Peterborough media. Or maybe a group of citizens will band together to launch such a venture themselves. Imagine how exciting that would be.

Related:

Trent Radio: Trent Radio is an excellent example of the type of programming independent media can offer.

Campaign for Media Democracy: Media Democracy Day (which is being celebrated today and tomorrow) is a day for "anybody who is skeptical of the profit-centred agenda of the big media and wants to see their news & views presented in a fair manner that promotes broad-based democratic debate and action."

Executive Director Position: Professional Writers Association of Canada

Pencils The following position has just been posted by the Professional Writers Association of Canada, Canada's National Association for freelance writers.

Deadline: Friday, Oct 31st at 5:00pm. Submit CV and cover letter to hr@pwac.ca.

Summary: The Executive Director (ED) is the senior staff member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) which serves over 600 non-fiction freelance writers across the country. The Executive Director is responsible for the day-to-day operations and management of the organization, and supervises other staff and contract employees. The Executive Director ensures that members' needs are met through delivery of services, mediation, professional development and communications about the industry. The ED, in conjunction with the President, is responsible for representing PWAC in the media, and within the writing and publishing industry generally.

The ideal candidate will have some or all of these qualifications:

  • A strong commitment to the organization's mission, values, vision and strategic objectives;
  • Knowledge and experience of the writing and publishing industry; particularly the needs of freelance writers;
  • Strong leadership and team management skills, as well as office management experience including staff supervision, financial operations etc.;
  • Proven ability to manage multiple projects, deadlines, and changing priorities;
  • Effective communication skills in various media including superior written and verbal skills, proficiency in computer skills, and an understanding of social networking using technology;
  • Ability to secure support and funds from government, and non-governmental sources;
  • Experience in the non-profit sector and working with a volunteer board of directors; and
  • Ability to communicate in both official languages is considered an asset.

Hours: This position is full-time. Hours will vary depending upon activities but are primarily 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.

Salary: The salary is commensurate with experience - range $45,000-$55,000/year. Unfortunately there is currently no benefit plan available.

Location: PWAC's National Office is based in downtown Toronto. Some travel is required.

Start date: As soon as possible.

Complete position description available.

October 22, 2008

The Post-Election Blog Reno Continues

If you could have sworn my blog had a completely different look every time you dropped by today, it wasn't your imagination.

I was experimenting with different push-and-play Typepad templates.

Then I decided to go for a one-of-a-kind look.

I'm still not sure I'm sticking with it, but I definitely wanted/needed a change.

How about the rest of you? Are you mentally/physically shifting gears after the election?

Politics as Theatre

Picking up on this post from SaskBoy:

Problem:
"It is not as acrimonious as people think it is on an MP-to-MP basis," he said. "Question period is a light show for the cameras. It's not really how Parliament works."
- Peterborough Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro on the lack of decorum in the House of Commons.

Solution:
"Cameras. Cameras in the House of Commons. Not just on the people who are supposed to be talking, but on everyone else....This way when an MP decides to intentionally disrupt parliament by acting like an idiot the entire country can see them do it. And then maybe, just maybe the bad acting will disappear and we'll finally get a show that makes us proud." - Rick Mercer, on the merits of having cameras pointed at all MPs in the House of Commons, not just the one at centre stage.