Friday, October 31, 2014

Jian Ghomeshi: A Brief Note



Indeed.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Our Long Municipal Nightmare Is Over

Of course one's first response must be an overwhelming sense of relief.  The Ford's are gone from power in this town, even though Rob reclaimed his council seat out in Etobicoke.  That's a sideshow. Peak Ford has passed.  Ford Nation is dead.  Even though they turned out in full force for this the Ford's have no true successors in T.O. politics.  Mammoleti is asshole enough, but he's got 0 charisma.  And you can literally smell the crazy on him.  So Ford Nation will  go back to drinking beer and watching football.

But its worth saying something about the campaigns, as they struck me, through this long dismal affair of an election.

I won't spend too much time on DOFO. Probably my biggest impression of him was derived from a couple of days ago,  They were showing one of his events on the tube and I was watching, with sound off, as this woman stood next to a life-side cardboard cutout of Doug Ford while she praised the man himself.  She talked for a good 30 seconds while the cutout smiled menacingly, as the real Doug Ford is wont to do.  And then cardboard cutout blinked, and I realized the it was actually DOFO! That was weird.  People shouldn't be physically  able to stand still for that long at one time, with their teeth fully on display.

As for Olivia.  Poor Olivia.  But wait, you might say, she doesn't need my sympathy!  And you're probably right.  She's loaded, after all.  They even did a movie about her dead hubby. But then why was she playing on my sympathies for the last month of the campaign?  Let's get something clear.  She was the subject of racial attacks throughout this thing and they stunk; they made the whole city look bad.  BUT THEY WERE NOT A REASON TO VOTE FOR HER!  She handled all of this stuff personally with great aplomb, but her campaign seemed to work it into their messaging, and her supporters have been hosting an endless pity party.  But: "Vote For Me I'm A Victim", as a slogan, don't attract flies in this town.  Oh, and along the same lines, why bring up her support for an inquiry for murdered aboriginal women as a reason to support  her as T.O. mayor?  It's a good cause, but I GOT STUCK ON A TTC BUS FOR AN HOUR TODAY, AND SPENT ANOTHER HOUR GROWING OLD IN MY CAR ON DON MILLS ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON!  A DUDE GOT KNIFED UP THE ROAD LAST MONTH IN A FIGHT OVER A LADDER!  AND UPPITY DOWNTOWN RICHY RICH ASSHOLES ARE SCREWING SCARBOROUGH OUTTA ITS RIGHTFUL PARKS & REC MONEY.  AND I'M SUPPOSED TO VOTE OUTTA SOLIDARITY WITH DEAD PEOPLE IN SOME OTHER FUCKING PROVINCE???????  WHAT KIND OF STONED-OUT HIPPYS Chillen'IN THEIR HAMMOCK AND SMOKIN' SPLIFF ON PLANET MORON THOUGHT UP THAT IDEA?  

And there was also the issue of Olivia's inability to communicate.  This charge was usually brought out in reference to her sometimes clunky  English, but I will just note  that her brush will Ramsey Hunt syndrome came at an unfortunate juncture.  She had gotten alot better towards the end of the campaign, but I still think this medical issue might have degraded the quality of some of her off the cuff responses.

As for mayor elect John Tory, the best thing you can say about him is that he is relatively harmless. He will attend gay pride events, as he should.  He won't publicly berate city staff, and when negotiations come up in a year he will probably be looking to extract fewer concessions from his muni workers than a second Ford administration would have.  The thing against QAIA will fade when he realizes that the city's human rights laws depend on the province and he can't do squat unless the province does. Mind you the city might get stuck with another subway that nobody rides, at the cost of billions.  But it can survive that.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Something Ugly This Way Comes

Media preview

I really don't know what this is about, and frankly I'm not sure I want to.  But you wanna talk about the nation losing its innocence?  The career of the nicest guy on Canadian radio ends in a grease fire?  Bad for Jian; bad for CBC.  Bad for Canada.

Friday, October 24, 2014

New Tory Hate Speech Laws? Richard Warman On Government's New Anti-Terror Initiatives

So I read this this morning:

OTTAWA — The Conservatives are understood to be considering new legislation that would make it an offence to condone terrorist acts online.

There is frustration in government, and among law enforcement agencies, that the authorities can’t detain or arrest people who express sympathy for atrocities committed overseas and who may pose a threat to public safety, one Conservative MP said. “Do we need new offences? If so which?”

Sources suggest the government is likely to bring in new hate speech legislation that would make it illegal to claim terrorist acts are justified online.

I emailed Richard Warman, an expert the legal status of on-line hate-speech, and he was kind enough to offer these brief comments:

Extreme online hate posts that target groups or justify violence based on their religion, race, or nationality were illegal under s. 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Conservative Party MPs voted unanimously to repeal s. 13 in June of 2012.  The Conservatives destroyed the only effective legal protection against online hate speech.  Conservative MP Brian Storseth described himself as "ecstatic".  Jonathan Kay of the National Post said "good riddance".

It was the Conservatives who dismantled the law that protected Canadians from online terror.

It would be beyond ironic if the Tories were to resurrect, or create something indistinguishable from, the law they spent so many years trying to get rid of.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Toronto Mayoral Election: A Brief Note