Oh Canada: Accepting Our Olympic Mediocrity As Fans

By Jason Menard

We’re just days away from the start of the 22nd Olympic Winter Games and after hitting the slopes yesterday, I’m feeling pretty athletic (OK, I was tubing, not doing anything actually physical). Maybe that’s why my feelings towards the Olympics have somewhat softened.

OK, who am I trying to kid? The Olympic movement still hits me in the bowels, but I’ve realized that my real issue, like Sloan once sang, “it’s not the band I hate, it’s their fans.Continue reading

Gold or Filthy Lucre — The Politicking of Information

By Jay Menard,

When it comes to choosing for whom I want to vote, I take my cues from the Bard of Mersey, because more and more it’s getting harder to know who you can trust.

In John Lennon’s song “God,” he lists off a number of things in which he doesn’t believe, ranging from religions to politicians to philosophies to musicians. At the end, he quietly intones, “I just believe in me.”

John follows that up with “Yoko and me. And that’s reality.” And since Yoko’s not on my speed dial, I have to trust myself. In today’s world, that’s an even more challenging proposition.

Thanks to social media and the Internet, we have access to a wealth of information. But that wealth has vastly different values – ranging from pure gold to filthy lucre. And, sadly, there are far too many snake oil salesmen and women promising one thing, but working only in their own interests. We have access to more information than ever, but that doesn’t mean the information is better. Continue reading

I Want to be Represented by the Best of the Best; Not the Best of the Rest

By Jason Menard

I prefer to vote FOR something, not against it. No matter at what level, I’d rather vote based on conscience, not compromise. Most of all, I want to choose from the best of the best; not the best of the rest.

If you follow municipal politics in London, you’ll know that, for some, the Great Satan is Incumbency (well, Selected Incumbency). The talisman to ward of that perceived evil, of course, is quality opponents (with a Hail Mary thrown towards term limits).

Yet, in an odd twist, there those who once lamented a dearth of quality candidates are now wringing their hands over an overabundance of perceived quality – to the point where the Great Satan of Incumbency will rise up, Lazarus-like, to reclaim his or her throne, based on vote-splitting.

And, to combat this challenge, there has been whispers of what is to me an even greater evil. An evil that undermines the intent of the electoral process in its purest form.

Strategic candidate selection. Continue reading

Number One Must Be a Bullet

By Jason Menard

The top priority for every candidate in the upcoming 2014 London municipal election is easy to define — in fact, it’s got to be number one with a bullet.

Because the buckshot approach of the past couple of councils is only serving to scatter their effectiveness — well, if you discount council’s effectiveness in shooting itself in the foot.

Though I’m very much anti-gun, I hope you’ll forgive my analogy. A bullet is simple, effective, and direct. However, it’s not comprehensive from the start. It is packed with many individual grains gunpowder or other propellants that all come together to force it forward.

That’s what the next council must do. It must take all these disparate ideas, perspectives, and needs from their various constituencies, and bring them together to move forward in one, cohesive unit that propels this city forward. Continue reading

Hockey: Not Our Game, But Our Gift

By Jason Menard,

The great game of hockey may have been born here, but it’s by no means our birthright. And it may be time to reflect upon some 40-year-old lessons that obviously haven’t been learned.

In 2014, the hand-wringing has already started. Back-to-back years where Team Canada has not medalled in the World Junior Championship has some questioning our nation’s hockey development. A gold-or-bust attitude already seems to surround discussions about the Olympic men’s squad. There’s been an unnatural fascination about eighth defensemen and 13th forwards.

There’s an underlying arrogance throughout all of this, which assumes that Canada in some way deserves the gold medal, without even needing to lace it up. All the other nations are pretenders to the throne. Continue reading

Not Losing is a Win

By Jason Menard

The old adage states that there is no “I” in team. As we approach the 2014 municipal elections, it is important to remember that it doesn’t matter if a candidate is a rookie, a young up-and-comer, or a seasoned veteran.

Whether as a role player or a team captain, they just need to know what it takes to be part of a winning organization. And that’s teamwork. Continue reading

A New Year Starting with Chaos; Ending with Thanks

By Jason Menard

You’re never too young or too old to learn. And as we welcome 2014, I’d like to offer a few lessons that I’ve had the fortune (both good and bad) to learn — and, in some cases — relearn as I say goodbye to what ended up being a life-altering 2013.

I’m not a woe is me guy. On this blog and in my social media feeds, I tend to avoid talking about my personal life. You’ll never read a “sigh” or see an open-ended statement that begs for a sympathetic response. What I do is try to offer solutions based upon my experiences — and while I prefer to talk about my professional or political interests, every once in a while it’s worthwhile to share something a little more private. Continue reading