Search This Blog

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Fred Checkers is watching you (if you're an NDPer)

Michael Laxer reports on his Left Chapter blog on Fred Checkers and the state of internal democracy in the NDP. 
Recommend this Post

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Quote of the day

"I can't give you a brain but I can give you a diploma"
 -- The Wizard of Oz
Recommend this Post

Monday, 30 March 2015

Quote of the day


There are two types of people those who divide people into two types, and those who don't.

-- Edward A. Murphy, Jr.

Recommend this Post

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

CFRC: A debate on community radio in Kingston



This past February, I wrote an article for the Queen's Journal on a proposal by the the AMS Board of Directors (the student government body at Queen's University) to restructure the radio station and impose on it essentially the same management and employment structure and rules that other services operate under. As a former member of the AMS Board of Directors who had played a role in having CFRC transferred from direct university ownership and control to student ownership and as someone who had also been on the board of CKLN in Toronto which lost its license in 2011, I felt I had some insights to contribute.

My "No" article arguing against the AMS' proposals was paired with a "Yes" article by the (then) current chair of the Board.

CFRC structure in perspective

Among other things, I pointed out that the AMS' attempt to impose a new management structure and staff policy directly without consultation with CFRC was a violation of CRTC regulations requiring the station to be managed by its own board, one that reflects all its stakeholders (including volunteers and the community). The AMS ultimately agreed and on March 1, 2012, the AMS abandoned its restructuring proposal. However, subsequently things headed in the opposite direction:

Radio station's separation finalized

CFRC has become independent of the AMS. On the one hand, the AMS was not interested in having a service that it did not completely manage, on the other CFRC wanted to be independent, particularly in light of the restructuring attempt. Independence, however, is a bit of a risky strategy. For one thing, the station's student fee is $4.93. While that would be sufficient at a large university such as U of T or York, Queen's only had 15,792 full-time undergraduate students in 2011/2012 meaning that the total yielded by the fee was just under $78,000. While half the station's budget has come from fundraising, advertising and other sources there has been a budget shortfall of about $10,000 a year which has been covered out of the AMS' budget in addition to student interest fee revenue. That arrangement will end after a transition period and CFRC is now seeking an increase in its student fee. Queen's students, however, have been very reluctant to approve any fee increases in recent years and CFRC specifically has been unsuccessful in several past referenda attempts to increase the fee. Moreover, as CFRC is no longer an AMS service but an "external service", its fee will be up for triennial review meaning it could be lost in its entirety in the future. The mandatory fee review will, however, keep CFRC accountable since it will have to not only continue to provide volunteer opportunities for hundreds of students but will also have to maintain a good relationship with the student body as a whole if it is to maintain its fee.

CFRC remains dependent on a certain degree of goodwill on the parts of both the university and the student body. The station's studios and officers in Carruthers Hall are provided rent free by Queen's and, of course, the student fee represents 40% of the station's budget - a figure which will rise to 50% if the student interest fee increase is attained. CFRC can't afford to allow independence to go to its head. CFRC needs to maintain and enhance it's relationship with students and faculty so that they have a real stake in the radio station's survival and success.
Recommend this Post

Friday, 1 July 2011

Stupid Quote of the Day

This gem comes from an interview with Robert Finch, Dominion Chairman of the Monarchist League of Canada in today's New York Times:
“The fact that the queen can’t change her hairstyle because she has to look like the person on her money, that’s an example of a big sacrifice,” Mr. Finch said.

Recommend this Post

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The Toronto Sun is now officially a propaganda sheet.

During the 1984 federal election campaign, the Globe and Mail ran a photo of Liberal leader John Turner speaking to the Empire Club or some such group. The picture was taken at such an angle, however, that the part of the backdrop that appeared behind Turner's head made it look as if the Liberal leader had devil's horns. The picture was roundly condemned even though most people who saw it probably didn't notice the offending part of the image until they'd had their attention drawn to it and despite the fact that it's quite possible the photographer and editors didn't see it until angry Liberals pointed it out. Nevertheless, the incident stained the Globe and Mail's image as an objective newspaper, at least for a short time.

Well, there's no such ambiguity or benefit of the doubt possible with the Toronto Sun's cover this morning which literally depicts mayoral candidate George Smitherman as the devil with horns, goatee and Snidely Whiplash mustache drawn on, a red background and the headline "Bedevilled" screaming above George's head. It's not that much of a surprise to find the Sun demonizing someone but do they have to do it so literally?

Now, I'm not a fan of George Smitherman and I've told him so to his face but this has to be a new low in journalism. What could the editors of the Toronto Sun possibly be thinking as they pumped out a pure, unadulterated example of propaganda the likes of which we haven't seen in Toronto since 1949 when the Toronto Daily Star attempted to smear the Tories by claiming that George Drew had secretly agreed that if he won the election, he would appoint to cabinet as his Quebec lieutenant none other than Montreal mayor Camillien Houde - whose opposition to World War II had seen him interned during the war. On the Saturday before election day 1949, the Star's campaign reached its peak with the banner front page headline:

KEEP CANADA BRITISH
DESTROY DREW'S HOUDE
GOD SAVE THE KING
(this third line was changed to "VOTE ST. LAURENT" in later editions)

If the Sun depicts its political target as the Devil incarnate three weeks before election day you have to wonder what they'll be doing on October 24th and 25th.
Recommend this Post

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

"Bubble Girl" charges dropped


You may recall the story from the G20 about Courtney Winkels (above, left) who was warned by police after blowing bubbles in Parkdale. A report by the Real News on the bubble incident and her arrest posted on YouTube went viral with over 250,000 hits. (Courtney was actually arrested after her bag was searched and the police found a first aid kit she was carrying as part of her duties as a street medic. She was arrested, charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence and held in the Eastern Avenue detention centre for several days before being released).

Her charges were dropped by the Crown yesterday, along with charges against approximately 100 of the 303 arrestees who appeared in court Monday. This means of the 1,090 picked up during the G20 summit, 80% have seen their charges withdrawn or "diverted". (See Krystalline Kraus' report for rabble.ca here for more on what happened for the other arrestees at the 2201 Finch court house.)

Meanwhile, Officer Bubbles has achieved his own level of infamy and is the unwilling star of a series of Flash cartoons posted on YouTube. Series available here.

Recommend this Post

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Adam's fall

So this is what I can piece together.

NOW magazine writes a glowing article on Giambrone and erroneously claims he's gay.

Giambrone "laughs over" the story, light-heartedly corrects the record but then goes a step further and makes public the fact that he's in a relationship with a woman named Sarah. Until this point no one had known, or particularly cared, who if anyone Giambrone was seeing.

Days later, Giambrone stages romantic dinner with Sarah at a restaurant and arranges for a Toronto Sun photographer to take their picture for the next day's paper. In doing so, he misses his date with his other girlfriend and messages her to check out the Sun the next day.

At his campaign launch Giambrone stereotypically announces his candidacy with his "life partner" Sarah at his side. Hurt and humiliated his other girlfriend eventually goes to the Star.

This is Giambrone's own fault for cynically trying to use his relationship with Sarah McQuarrie (contrived or not) for image purposes... or as he told Lucas in a *text message* on Dec 27, "You know I will be announcing I have a partner... It is someone named Sarah, who I've been involved with in the past. It is important for the campaign."

Really? Why exactly was it "important for the campaign"? Either Giambrone felt so insecure about being called gay that he needed to put the spotlight on the fact that he has a girlfriend (or pretend McQuarrie was his girlfriend, whether he was lying when he told Lucas that her relationship with McQuarrie was pretend or lying when he says it's real, I don't know and don't particularly care) or he saw some sort of political advantage in contrasting his relationship with a woman against Smitherman's relationship with a man. Either way, fairly sorry stuff. (And really, what classier way is there to announce to one girlfriend that you're going to be telling the world that you're seeing someone else than through a text message?)

And of course had Giambrone not been driven either by insecurity or cynicism to create a public image of himself as a guy in a committed relationship with a female "life partner" then his second girlfriend wouldn't have found out about his first and Giambrone's sleaziness towards women would have remained a private matter.

While I still don't really see why this is a news story I can't muster any sympathy for Giambrone. He's brought this onto himself.

ADDITION: A friend of mine thinks Giambrone decided it was important for his campaign to be seen in coupledom with Sarah McQuarrie so that people would view him as a grown-up. If that's the case his high school style relationship and breakup with a 19 year old has put to rest any lingering doubts about Giambrone's maturity level. 
Recommend this Post

Monday, 28 December 2009

Who will succeed Kyle Rae?

Longtime Toronto City Councillor Kyle Rae announced earlier this month that he will not be running for re-election in 2010. Rae was originally elected in 1991 after beating Adonica Huggins Sherona Hall for the NDP nomination in what is now Toronto Centre Ward 27. Rae filled an opening created by then city councillor Jack Layton's decision to run for mayor. Rae left the NDP in 1993 1994 to protest the Bob Rae government's decision to not whip his caucus to vote for same-sex benefits and allow a free vote instead - which failed due to several NDP MPPs voting with the Opposition. Since then, he's essentially been a Liberal in all but name supporting Liberal candidates such as George Smitherman, Bill Graham and, ironically, Bob Rae. Kyle has also been a general disappointment by supporting the closure of homeless shelters in his ward, backing policing against homeless people sleeping in parks, supporting the creation of Dundas Square as a privatized, commercial playground rather than a genuine public square and holding swank fundraising parties at College Park's exclusive Eaton Auditorium.

Despite his background as Executive Director of the 519 Community Centre in the 1980s, Rae has been, in practice, a city councillor for Rosedale and downtown condos rather than the poorer tenants of his ward.

The NDP has largely withdrawn from being an organized entity in municipal politics and will not be holding a meeting to nominate an NDP candidate in Ward 27.

So far, four individuals have emerged as likely candidates in next year's contest;

*Helen Kennedy is a former East York councillor and was subsequently Olivia Chow's longtime executive assistant when she was city councillor in Ward 20 (Trinity Spadina). When Chow moved to federal politics, Kennedy won a bitter contest against Tam Goosen for the NDP nomination to succeed Chow in the 2006 municipal election and went on to lose an equally bitter contest against Adam Vaughan. She is now executive director of Egale Canada, a national GLBT rights organization.
*El-Farouk Khaki, a lawyer, human rights activist, 2009 Grand Marshall of the Pride Parade and past NDP candidate in Toronto Centre, says his candidacy is not likely but that he's not closed the door to the possibility.
*Chris Phibbs is a senior advisor to David Miller and was executive assistant to Kyle Rae from 1992 to 2003 when she ran and lost as a candidate in Riverdale in the 2003 municipal election against NDPer Paula Fletcher. She has reportedly ruled herself out of the race.
*Enza "Supermodel" Anderson is a transgendered activist and media personality who ran for mayor in 2000 as a novelty candidate and came in third with 13,000 votes. She ran against Rae in 2003 and won 15% of the vote. She was grand marshall of the 2008 Pride Parade.
*Susan Gapka is also a transgendered activist and a representative of the Ontario NDP's LGBT caucus on the party's provincial executive. She ran against Rae in 2006 winning 4.8% of the vote.
Recommend this Post