Category Archives: Politics

London Council Exists in Our Own Image

By Jay Menard

I admire London’s new mayor for reaching out to the community, but I’m concerned that asking the London Twitterverse about decorum is like polling cannibals about the benefits of a vegan lifestyle – they may be aware of the concept, but they certainly don’t practice it.

So it’s safe to say that any advice digested from that source be taken with a Goderich-sized grain of salt. After all, our existing council offers a pretty fair representation of London’s on-line community. Continue reading

Language Lessons

By Jay Menard

What’s more important? Using one’s voice or being able to listen? When it comes to trying to engage a diverse, but largely fragmented, public, we need to focus on a few key language lessons.

Even more important than the act of listening is the ability to understand. It’s where we often fall short and where more of our efforts need to fall. Continue reading

It’s Not the Band I Hate, It’s Their Fans

By Jay Menard,

“It’s not the band I hate. It’s their fans.” Yes, I am gearing myself up for Sloan’s appearance this weekend at the Western Fair’s Beer & BBQ Show, but that’s beside the point.

That lyric also perfectly sums up the way I feel about some of the participants in our municipal campaigns. And the danger for the candidates is that they’re going to suffer from guilt by association.

London, especially on Twitter and other social networks including our local paper’s comments section, is easily likened to a playground. Whether it’s puerile name calling or taking their figurative ball and going home when they don’t get their way, we see a lot of the worst in discourse.

I had hoped during a municipal campaign things would change, but I haven’t seen it yet. Continue reading

Declining Just an Empty Protest that Won’t Move the Needle

By Jay Menard

When exactly did we determine that voting against something is better than voting for something?

Strategic voting is bad enough – the idea of compromising your beliefs in some grand effort to ensure “they” don’t get it. It’s semi-understandable when it comes to our first-past-the-post system, especially if you’re in a riding where vote-splitting may be an issue.

But this idea of “Declining your vote” as a grand statement against the political system? Sorry for being frank, but it’s egocentric and ineffective. Continue reading

Anonymity Rules

By Jason Menard

It’s easy to see the world in terms of black and white. Filtered through the prism of personal interest, right and wrong can be very clear. But step back and look across the entire spectrum and what seems clear is often muddled by shades of grey.

Ideally, everyone would put their name to what they write or say, on-line and off. But we don’t live in an ideal world.

Continue reading

Filling Out My Dream Team Roster

By Jason Menard

It’s been proven over and over in sports that success does not come exclusively by having the best players — it’s having the best team that wins championships. After all, even on the Dream Team not everyone could be Michael Jordan. Someone’s had to be Christian Laettner.

That rings true in all aspects of life, including business and politics. Everyone wants to be (or thinks they are) the idea person, the visionary, the leader. There’s a whole market predicated on selling motivational posters to those who want to believe that individualism matters more than collective will.

It’s true that single-mindedness and tunnel vision can lead to successfully completing a goal or project. And if you’re interested in your own needs, that’s often enough. But true success — the kind that uplifts people from across all walks of life — can only come from balance and teamwork. Continue reading

No Good Deed Goes Unpublished?

By Jay Menard

I know some were inspired by Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi’s call for London to conscript his “Three Things for…” idea to encourage good deeds in the community.

Instead of being inspired, his call just made me sad.

Let me start by saying that I have no issue with the intent behind Nenshi’s Three Things for… idea. I just don’t know what it says about us that we need to have something like this at all.

Are we, as a society, so stuck staring into the palm of our hands that we don’t see the need around us and act accordingly? Has social networking made us so narcissistic that an action will not exist until it has received 30 retweets and a couple dozen Facebook likes?

Do we have to change the old adage from “no good deed goes unpunished” to “no good deed goes unpublished?” Continue reading