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
By Jay Menard
Accessibility is a great buzz word. And having people with disabilities on stage with you or featured on your campaign literature sure makes for a good photo op. But far too often, a commitment to accessibility extends beyond nothing more than tokenism — and if that’s what you’re looking for, you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity to develop a plan that addresses everyone’s needs.
Today I had the honour of representing the Accessibility Advisory Committee at the Candidate Information Session for the 2018 Municipal Election. My topic was “Running an Accessible and Engaging Campaign.”
Much of the presentation was prepared in a document called “Count Us In: Removing Barriers to Political Participation,” which focused on how to interact and engage with people with disabilities during campaigning. But I firmly believe the majority of the work needs to be done well before you hit the campaign trail. The presentation focused on the campaign, after the fact, but if you’re going to truly embrace accessibility, that inclusion should be undertaken right from the start when you’re developing your platform.
If you were in this room talking with me, that’s a start. But I’m going to ask another question: “Where were you?” Continue reading
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
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
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
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
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