Minority Report: Nothing to Truly Keep Arrogance, Partisanship in Check

By Jay Menard

In theory, a minority government should offer the best of all worlds. In today’s reality, though? A minority government may be nothing more than a quaint idea that had its day.

A minority government requires parties working together, compromising, and finding solutions that benefit a wider swath of Canadian. Today’s hyperpartisan reality may preclude that from happening. We can’t even get partisans to acknowledge or listen to each other — how are they going to effectively communicate?

It may all be moot, though, as this is a minority in name only. There’s nothing to prevent the Liberal government from continuing to govern with arrogance and presumption. Really there’s no deterrent. Continue reading

Organic Curtain Call Shows Potential Value of Devalued Ovations

By Jay Ménard,

I experienced something special Thursday night — an ovation that meant something.

“But Jay,” you might be saying. “Every show I go to gets an ovation.” And that’s exactly the problem. But at Thursday night’s performance of The Woolgather*, I experienced an ovation that felt organic. It was an ovation that resulted in two curtain calls — something that veteran theatre goers in London suggested hasn’t happened in decades.

It was an ovation that was heartfelt, honest, and mattered. And that’s where the difference lies. Continue reading

A Discussion on How (But Not For Whom) to Vote Tomorrow

By Jay Menard,

This isn’t going to be a blog telling you for whom you should vote.

In fact, if you read someone presenting a list of “who you should vote for” — especially if he or she is advocating outside of their Ward — I’d take that with a very large grain of salt and ask yourself, “In whose interests is this list truly made for?”

Chances are those interests aren’t yours.

It’s not even a post suggesting that you should vote (I’ve talked about my feelings on that for years). 

No, for this post I just want to share my process. And encourage you, if you choose to vote, to consider the same factors when you cast your ballot.

Ultimately, I hope you ignore the advocates and those pushing a cause or a “side.” Instead, just focus on your needs, who you feel best represents your ward, and who has a platform and ideas that align with what you want. Remember, you are giving your “voice” to someone to use (hopefully with ongoing interaction — but that’s rarely the case), so make sure you choose someone worthy of that responsibility. Continue reading

Lessons Learned: When You Turn Bridges into Pulpits or Planks, Divides Form

By Jay Menard

[Note: I wrote this the day after the provincial election, but sat on it as an experiment… hoping the narrative it discusses would change and render it moot. It hasn’t.]

If you’ll indulge me for stepping away from the “Chicken Little” narrative that has dominated the social media universe since the Conservative majority election (and, let’s face it, even before), I honestly believe that Thursday night’s result offers liberals — both small and large-L — an incredible opportunity.

The opportunity? To build bridges.

The challenge is, the very behaviour and beliefs that led to the Conservative majority are precisely the things that may prevent them from seizing that opportunity. This year, I avoided discussing the elections online because I knew it was fruitless — there was no room for debate or discussion and no minds would be changed — but now, in “The Aftermath,” I hope there are are some lessons that can be learned for the betterment of us all.

In London, this is especially true with a municipal election coming up that I fear will just build upon the arrogance, intolerance, and division that we saw at the provincial election. Continue reading

London Fringe 2018: Mark Toland: Mind Reader – A Night of Wonder and Mystery

By Jay Menard

Mark Toland is quick to tell you what his “powers” aren’t — he’s not psychic. Instead, he’s an astute people watcher who has honed his talent and gift to the point where you’re going to enjoy a magical experience each and every night.

Toland asks specifically that people do not share too much of the show, as he wants to preserve the mystery. And it’s a request we’re all too happy to honour, because this is a show that defies description and must be experienced. Continue reading

2018 London Fringe: Bad Habits – A Devilishly Funny Show that Doesn’t Religiously Adhere to Structure

By Jay Menard

Portland-based due Amica Hunter and David Cantor, of A Little bit Off, have quickly become Fringe Favourites, with such hilarious and inventive shows like Beau and Aero, and Bella Culpa. Their shows are wonderfully creative, slightly askew, and always endearing.

Bad Habits is no different — it’s a devillishly funny show that doesn’t religiously adhere to structure. Continue reading

London Fringe 2018: Fraser the Hypnotist Presents Life Happens – Gentle Fun at the Expense of Others’ Influences

By Jay Menard

For an hour-and-a-half, Fraser Frase takes attendees on a journey of the mind — with some heavy suggestions guiding them there. In the end, the result is a hilarious show where the audience are the stars as he guides hypnotized participants through a variety of actions, visions, and even celebrity encounters.

To be fair, I did spend the about 15 minutes of the show with my eyes closed. I never got hypnotized, but I was put through the process. And during that “hypnotic vetting period,” the action amongst the crowd is likely less exciting than what the candidates experience. But overall, it’s a lot of fun. Continue reading