Tag Archives: debate

A 3D Approach to Ensure You Are Always ‘Right’

By Jason Menard

What’s the best way to make sure you’re always ‘right’? For many, it’s using a 3D approach to on-line interaction. Unfortunately, using this approach causes you to miss out on a few other Ds — such as debate and discussion that can lead to positive development of ideas.

So what are these three Ds? You’ve likely seen them or experienced them anywhere there’s an on-line discussion, whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, or even newspaper comments sections. They are, in order:

Deride
Deflect
Dismiss

And here’s how they work. Continue reading

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For Me Mentality Misinterprets the Political Forum

By Jason Menard

For me.

These two words are what have been holding me back from making any sort of comment, posting any sort of reply, or engaging in any sort of debate.

For me.

As in, why bother trying to be rational because the Twitter debate is exclusively centred around, “For me.” Continue reading

Should ‘Pissing People Off’ Provide a Point of Pride?

By Jason Menard

Contrary to what some people may say, if you’re not pissing someone off, then you may, in fact, be doing it absolutely right.

On a daily basis, in one form or another, I’ll see a variation or two of the old, “If you’re not pissing someone off, you’re doing it wrong” adage. It’s a great statement that allows us to embrace our inner counter-culture punk and lets us proclaim that we’re proud to rage against the machine! We are not part of the blindly following masses; we’ve been roused from our social catatonia and stand apart from the system.

It’s all very dramatic. It’s also pretty much a load of bunk. Continue reading

Idea’s What Matters, Not the Source or Side From Which it Comes

By Jason Menard

Why is it important to listen to all sides of a discussion? Because good ideas know no bounds.

The other day I discussed how certain schoolyard-eque behaviours on Twitter can negatively impact the user experience. I focused on the how it happens – and here’s the “why” it is so important to respectfully engage people from all sides of the social and political spectrum. Continue reading

Eschewing Courtesy May Be “Right” Move

By Jason Menard

An empty seat waiting for the music to stop on the Liberal leadership’s game of musical chairs, a party leader without a seat looking to make history, a former mayor returning to the fray after six years south of the border, and a former city councilor and radio host with a history of community work. Why, it looks like the sleepy Forest City has received quite a wake-up call with Stephen Harper’s snap by-election call.

And because of the make-up of the contenders vying for this federal seat, his bold move may end up working out perfectly as his polarizing, right-wing candidate could benefit from a split vote on the left.

When former Liberal MP Joe Fontana stepped down from his London North-Centre riding to take a stab at the mayor’s office, there was much talk about which Liberal leadership contender would be parachuted in to legitimize their position within the House of Commons.

Who’d have thought that since that first hint of a parachuting candidate into the region, the skies would soon be filled with strategically chosen MP-wannabes airlifted in for a shot at what’s traditionally been a non-descript riding.

The riding, traditionally a Liberal stronghold, now faces a Nov. 27 th election without a Liberal candidate. And while the Grits are crying foul about how the Prime Minister didn’t respect good ol’ Canadian common courtesy, they still find themselves behind the eight ball when it comes to time. Suggestions have been made that if either Bob Rae or Gerard Kennedy win the Liberal leadership, they’d suddenly find a home in London North-Centre. However, those best laid plans have been skewered by Harper’s decision. So in the end, the Liberals are left scrambling for a warm body to step in as the immediate favourite for this riding that bleeds red.

What makes what is traditionally a dull by-election process intriguing are the contenders to the throne. The intrigue was started with the sudden announcement that former London mayor Dianne Haskett was coming back to The Forest City after a six year exile. Haskett’s sudden return from Washington, combined with Harper’s snap announcement, have sent the conspiracy theorists a-twitter with the idea that this scenario was created through back-room planning and cunning – and it’s probably not too far from the truth.

Adding to the excitement is the announcement that Elizabeth May, the new leader of the Green Party, will run in the riding in an attempt to enable her suddenly surging party to earn its first seat – and to give the federal leader a legitimate voice in Ottawa. With the most recent Decima poll indicating that the Green Party enjoys 10 per cent support of decided voters, May’s political star power may create some interest in a left-leaning community.

Finally, former city councilor Megan Walker has made her intentions known that she’s seeking the NDP nomination. While not as big name-wise as the aforementioned duo, Walker’s been a fixture in the community, working in radio and supporting a number of community organizations, specifically those supporting women’s issues.

And while it’s easy to write this riding off as a Liberal win, there are so many intriguing sub-plots to this election that no one can accurately predict right now where this is going to go. Through name recognition out the window – all the candidates (even the unnamed Liberal) have it. So other factors will play an even greater role in the final decision.

Haskett was a polarizing figure in London politics, which was no better evidenced by her choice to not issue a Gay Pride day proclamation, because of her personal belief – a decision led her to face the wrath of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. In addition, Haskett also famously withdrew from campaigning for the last three weeks of the 1997 mayoral election – and still won. Love her or hate her, Londoners all have an opinion.

What works for Haskett is that she’s the only right winger in the region. And with a potential of three left-leaning candidates to split the vote, maybe Harper’s snap election call will turn out to be politically savvy.

After all, the Liberals are a rudderless ship for the time being, the Green Party is too green, and the NDP are the traditional bridesmaid – people seem to be willing to support their ideals, but not willing to hand them the reins of power. So what happens should none of Haskett’s opponents emerge as a candidate for left-leaners to rally around? The vote gets split, and the Conservatives can come up the middle to retake the riding that’s been Liberal since 1988.

Sure, the other parties may claim it’s not courteous, but I’m sure Harper will take victory over courtesy any day of the week!

2006© Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved

MVP Debate’s True Value? It’s on the Front Page

By Jason Menard

It’s the age-old debate that the leagues don’t want you to solve – what exactly does Most Valuable Player mean?

Every year around this same time, fans and pundits alike of both the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association bring up the same debate: is it best player or most valuable to his team? The wording of the award, Most Valuable Player, plays into that ambiguity itself. There’s no clear definition and the leagues like it that way.

After all, subjective post-season awards are almost as insignificant as all-star nominations. If it weren’t for this borderline-inane debate, we wouldn’t care half as much about these awards. And due to the vague nature of their criteria, any decision will be met with debate, discussion, and even derision.

All of which is good for the ol’ ratings and keeping the sport on the front pages of the newspapers, even when the on-ice or on-court action is a little thin.

However, at the end of the day few remember who or how many, they remember generalities and classifications. Few sports fans would be able to accurately tell you how many individual awards Wayne Gretzky walked away with during his career – but they’d, to a person, be able to identify that he was one of the game’s greats. Same goes for Michael Jordon on the hard court. The image of both is not one of them holding their individual awards aloft – it’s them holding the symbols of team supremacy above their heads.

And there, despite the desires of the professional sports leagues to suppress the answer, is the truth. Sports, despite their focus on individual accomplishments, are in their truest form a team game. Thereby, when we’re looking at a true definition of what most valuable truly means, it has to be done within a team context.

Of course, solving that debate only leads to more discussion. After all, can a player be considered the league’s most valuable player even if his team doesn’t make the playoffs? Conversely, is it easier for a player to dominate when surrounded by a stronger supporting cast, which would make the need for team success secondary to the overall dynamic?

Look no further than Canada’s NBA franchise for direction. While the pundits bandy about names like Steve Nash, LeBron James, and Chauncey Billups in terms of who will appear at the top of their ballot, the Toronto Raptors’ Chris Bosh’s name hasn’t even received a whisper of support. But, in the overall scheme of things, does any player mean more to his team than Bosh? The Raptors, with Bosh in the line-up, are a below-average team that’s capable of competing on a nightly basis. Take the lanky forward out of the line-up and what do you get? The recent multi-game losing streak and poor performances are indicators of that.

Billups, whose team’s starting line-up appeared in the All-Star Game, has the support of solid role players. He fits the role of best player on the best team, but the Detroit Pistons arguably could enjoy significant success without him. Nash? James? Dwayne Wade? All of them are on stronger rosters than Bosh.

The problem’s magnified to a greater degree when we look at the NHL. NBA players often play significant minutes in their games. Even the top NHL forwards will play just over a third of each game. The top defencemen may see half-a-game’s worth of action. Hockey’s team approach almost precludes the concept of one player – save for a goaltender – being considered a difference-maker of the nature that basketball provides. While a Joe Thornton has almost single-handedly revitalized the San Jose Sharks, one would be hard-pressed to say that removing him from the line-up would find his squad scraping the bottom of the NHL’s barrel. Teams like Carolina, Detroit, and Calgary show that the entire roster plays a role in the team’s success? So how does one define the most valuable in this race?

In the end, the most value that the Most Valuable Player debate has is the fact that it gets people talking and invested in the league. As the games get fewer and farther between and golf season looms for a handful of clubs in both leagues, the Most Valuable Player race keeps these sports on the front pages of the sports sections and foremost in the minds of the sporting public.

To the league, it really doesn’t matter who wins. All that matters is you care and you’re talking about it.

2006© Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved