Author Archives: Jay Menard

White Poppies? Right Message, Wrong Time

By Jay Menard

There is a time and a place for everything. And though you may be married to the idea that a personal protest takes precedence, Remembrance Day is clearly not the time to wear white.

That said, everyone has the right to wear a white poppy — a symbol initially introduced in the 1920s by the No More War Movement in England. It’s now established as a pacifist alternative to the red poppy with the intent to disassociate from the military aspect of the red poppy recognition.

But just because you have the Right doesn’t make it right. Continue reading

Rankled by Ranked Ballots

By Jay Menard

Sometimes things sound good in concept, but when it comes down to real-life application they fall short.

Smoked meat pizza? One perfect thing and one near-perfect thing matched? Should be heaven, but it tastes like hell. And different ‘types’ of poutine? Curds, gravy, fries (layered)… anything more is like drawing a moustache on the Mona Lisa and calling it an improvement.

And, right now, ranked ballots fall into that category. Continue reading

The Grinches Who Conscripted Remembrance Day

By Jay Menard

Christmas seems to be offending more and more people just by its very existence. And the latest weapon conscripted into the battle is the honour of our veterans.

To that I say Bah Humbug and how dare you.

To start, I’m not religious, but I use the word Christmas. If that offends you, feel free to substitute the word X-Mas, Saturnalia, Yule, or whatever other term offends you the least. Continue reading

No Matter Who Gets Elected, Here’s How We All Can Win

By Jay Menard

Today we go to the polls. While I’m not going to tell you for whom you should vote — and in no way would I think it appropriate to do so for wards in which I don’t live and am not as conversant in the issues affecting those residents — I think there’s a way that, no matter who gets in, we can help ensure that the true winner is the City of London.

No matter who earns the most votes in this election, it’s important to remember the following things: Continue reading

Parody’s Boring; Deceptive ‘Neutrality’ is Much, Much Worse

By Jay Menard

As we approach the Oct. 27th municipal election in Ontario, the rhetoric is increasing, the volume and the vehemence is growing, and the rancor is raging. And while recent concerns about on-line parody accounts may be valid, I’m more concerned about the clearly partisan accounts that are bordering on the verge of self-parody.

I’m not going to list the parody accounts in this space. Safe to say, if you do a search for some of London’s mayoral candidates on Twitter, you’ll find them. Oddly enough, it seems to be only the right-of-centre candidates that are getting this treatment (but I’m sure that’s just coincidence). And while some candidates have taken to actively trying to get them taken down, for the most part I believe they’re harmless.

Effective parody is very challenging. Humour is subjective, but political humour needs to be smart, biting, and insightful. These parody accounts are puerile, insulting, and — worst of all — just plain boring. Continue reading

My Minimum Expectations to Earn My Vote

By Jay Menard

We’re fast approaching London’s municipal election date. Though some have already made up their minds, I remain firmly in the camp of thinking there’s a lot of time. Things change, positions get analyzed, but — most importantly — there are plenty of opportunities for someone to prove to me that they meet the minimum expectations to earn my vote.

But that term “minimum” is a tricky word. After all, just because it’s my lowest threshold doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with lofty expectations. And, in my case, my minimum is held to a very high standard — the same standard I put on myself as a voter and an involved citizen of London. Continue reading

Mandatory Voting Isn’t the Answer, Especially When Getting Educated is So Much Harder Now

By Jay Menard

More voters isn’t the answer. More educated voters is. But the fact is that it’s increasingly challenging for the average person to know what’s true and what’s just partisan spin.

Like clockwork, the idea of mandatory voting has come around again — this time with the Liberal Party has been floating a trial balloon about the concept. For mandatory voting to work, you have to incentivize the process — either positively (through tax breaks) or negatively (through threats). But what it misses is the fact that a 100 per cent voter turnout doesn’t mean anything if the vast majority are simple going through the motions.

Mandatory voting  doesn’t change the simple reality that a forced vote is not necessarily a good vote. And there can be no assurance that people who have previously not bothered to vote — for whatever reason — will suddenly take the responsibility seriously.

And it is a responsibility. Continue reading