Category Archives: Politics

Dundas Flex Street Needs Some Muscle

By Jay Menard

You can flex all you want. If there’s no muscle behind it, no one’s taking a second look.

London’s council recently endorsed a $15.9-million plan to create Dundas Place — transitioning a stretch of Dundas St. from Wellington St. to the Thames River into a flex street.

The idea, is sound in principle. But while there’s been a lot of talk about transformation — an empty word that can be filled by any concept that fits your desires — there’s little talk about sustainability.

And that’s where the concern is.

I love the idea of a flex street. I’ve seen it work. But I don’t love the idea of a flex street as the first step in a process. Dundas Place has a strong “If you build it, they will come feel.”

And that’s true. They’ll come.

Once.

After that? You’ve got to give them a reason to keep coming back. Continue reading

We Play a ‘Trump’ Card with Increasing Regularity – And It’s No Game

By Jay Menard

For all those saying this “Trump” thing isn’t funny anymore, turns out the joke’s on us. After all, Donald Trump is nothing more than a reflection of how we play politics — and if you don’t like what you’re seeing, take a look in the mirror because Trump is just a reflection of how we play the game.

And it’s not too long until we have our own Trump her in the Great White North (and, no, Mr. O’Leary, I’m not ONLY looking at you.) Thanks to hyperpartisanship, a predilection for self-congratulatory confirmation bias, and a Zealous approach to framing arguments based not on merit, but rather on side (right/left/Conservative/Liberal), we’re well on the way to dealing ourselves a similar hand in Canada. Continue reading

Strategic Voting? It’s a Losing Strategy. But Here’s How We Can Win

By Jay Menard

This ABH political mentality has allowed the ugly head of strategic voting to rear its ugly head again. But, to me, strategic voting is merely playing someone else’s game for a prize that’s far too valuable to roll the dice on – the future of our country.

For the uninitiated, ABH refers to “Anyone But Harper.” And I will happily admit that I have never voted Conservative/Reform/PC in the past and will not be doing so on Monday. I’ve also noticed that, for the most part, the biggest advocates of strategic voting tend to be affiliated with party who would most benefit in their riding from the practice. Continue reading

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