Category Archives: Politics

Political Disengagement? It Comes Not with a Bang, but with a Wonk

By Jay Menard,

What’s the sound of political disengagement? Wonk wonk.

And, for most political wonks, that suits them just fine because for all the false indignation and professing for greater involvement, for the most part the goal isn’t better government – it’s winning. And no one cares if the country, as a whole, loses.

Wonk wonk is not a sad trombone sound, but it’s truly a sad noise. It’s the simple reality that the overabundance of self-professed and self-involved political wonks aren’t just fostering a negative political atmosphere on-line — they’re actively discouraging the casual political observer from becoming involved and learning more. Continue reading

Get Out and Vote? Only If You’re Willing to Add the Most-Important Word

Get out and vote! It’s a catchy, cute, and simple saying. Unfortunately, it glosses over the incredible responsibility that voting represents — and it omits the most important word: informed.

I generally find that these are a few good rules of thumb:

  • If you’re voting because an infographic says you should — don’t;
  • If you’re voting for a candidate because of something you heard once by someone, somewhere — don’t.
  • And, most importantly, if you’re voting because someone told you to “get out and vote” and you think that’s all there is to it, please stay home.

Continue reading

Chewing on Core Ideas of Food Trucks (or I Did Not Realize Those Wheels Were Just for Decoration)

By Jay Menard

With the way the food truck debate in London has gone on, I’m surprised to find these vehicles still have wheels.

After all, there seems to be little interest amongst many of the proponents in seeing them go anywhere but downtown.

If you listen to the debates, explore the distances and limits discussed, and hear the concerns, it’s all from those in the downtown. But what’s missing — as it usually is in London debates — is the awareness that there’s a city beyond the core.

And there’s a consumer base that would love to support food trucks on a regular basis. Continue reading

A Healthy Attitude Towards Sex Education Must Include Realism

By Jay Menard,

It’s out there. And burying my head — or any other protruding body part — in the sand isn’t going to make it go away. So instead of arguing against the proposed Liberal Health and Physical Education curriculum, perhaps we should spend more time thinking about how we, as parents, should support and reinforce it.

We can all say it’s a parent’s responsibility to educate his or her children about these issues — and I don’t disagree. Of course, not all parents are going to. And not all parents are able to. 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

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