Tag Archives: municipal elections

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

Mandatory Voting Isn’t the Answer, Especially When Getting Educated is So Much Harder Now

By Jay Menard

More voters isn’t the answer. More educated voters is. But the fact is that it’s increasingly challenging for the average person to know what’s true and what’s just partisan spin.

Like clockwork, the idea of mandatory voting has come around again — this time with the Liberal Party has been floating a trial balloon about the concept. For mandatory voting to work, you have to incentivize the process — either positively (through tax breaks) or negatively (through threats). But what it misses is the fact that a 100 per cent voter turnout doesn’t mean anything if the vast majority are simple going through the motions.

Mandatory voting  doesn’t change the simple reality that a forced vote is not necessarily a good vote. And there can be no assurance that people who have previously not bothered to vote — for whatever reason — will suddenly take the responsibility seriously.

And it is a responsibility. 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

Why I Hate Politics

By Jason Menard

I hate politics.

Let me clarify. While I love the potential of my government institutions, I hate politics and what it does to people.

You might want to lower that “fight the power” fist and hold off on that “hear! hear!” — because my issues, in large part, aren’t with the politicians. In fact, I may just be talking about you, dear reader. Continue reading

Capping the Forest City Until October 2014 Makes No Sense

By Jay Menard

Sometimes a tree branch starts growing in a direction that you don’t want. There are a number of ways to control this growth, ranging from pruning to capping, but in the end all you’re doing is preventing the tree’s natural growth.

It makes sense if the tree is infringing on your home or at risk of causing damage, but to cap a tree simply because you don’t like the way it looks — or, worse, the colour of its foliage — is ludicrous.

Yet that’s exactly what some are suggesting we should do in London, Ontario. Essentially, there are those who are content to cap the Forest City’s growth until Oct. 27, 2014. Continue reading

It’s Time for London to Join the Party — and Send in its RSVPs Early

By Jason Menard

In the interest of informing its citizens, It may not only be time for London’s municipal government to join the party — but it may also be time for potential ‘guests’ to send in their 2014 RSVPs early.

Though I’m generally opposed to party politics, I’m not so naive to think that there aren’t like-minded councillors representing wards in municipalities across the country. So maybe it’s time to ‘out’ the factions at the beginning of the process and afford London’s citizens the respect they deserve by giving them the information they need.

It can be argued that the municipal level has the most day-to-day impact on our lives; yet it’s also the level of government that many know least about. Being up front and honest about pre-existing affiliations at the municipal level would help citizens make a more informed decision. It would behoove citizens to know not only who’s drinking which flavour of Kool-Aid, but — more importantly — who may be spiking the punch bowl with potentially biased information. Continue reading

A Feather in Canada’s (Internet) Cap for the Future

By Jason Menard

On-line public pressure may not only serve to pull the plug on a move to cap Internet usage in the Great White North; it may, in addition to serving as a cyber-feather in our collective caps for democracy, show how we can get people involved in the political process in the future.

Lazy, apathetic, disinterested voters have been both the bane and the boon of politicians for years – a bane to those interested in making change; a boon to those who are content with pushing their agendas through parliament before the masses catch on – but a recent kerfuffle in Canada has shown that there’s something that can be the great equalizer.

The Internet. Continue reading