Tag Archives: Ottawa

Copping Out is a Matter of Trust

By Jason Menard

How do you fix a system that won’t admit its broken? And when those systems are designed for our protection and benefit, how can we as a public trust them to act in that manner when we’re seeing so much evidence to the contrary.

The stories of Carly Finn and Stacy Bonds are just the latest in what appears to be continuing proof of the old adage “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Again, we must be cautious about judging actions for which we were not present – however, both of these just don’t pass the sniff test. Continue reading

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Idea for Perfume Ban Stinks

By Jason Menard

Does the nose know best? Or have we lost all sense when it comes to scents. The proposal by a citizen’s group in our nation’s capital just shows that common sense is just not all that common anymore.

Ottawa city councilors will be debating the merits of a proposed action designed to minimize the use of perfumes and other scents in public places. This action is well-intentioned as it’s an attempt to diminish the discomfort for those with breathing challenges and allergies.

But you know what they say about how the road to hell is paved… Although at least Ottawa’s off-ramp will be sweet smelling.

Odiferous or odious? Well, that’s really a matter of personal choice now, isn’t it? And can you truly legislate against personal preferences? Is that a road that we really want to go down? Already certain businesses and health care institutions have implemented low-odour or no-odour policies due to health concerns, but should this really be in writing, punishable by a fine? Will people be sent to jail for fragrances?

Will we come to the day in Canada when Passion, Contradiction, Escape, and Truth will be crimes? The Calvin Klein versions, of course.

Personally, the idea of any government body spending more than a nanosecond debating this is frightening as it means we’re almost at the point where we’ve totally relinquished control over our own actions. We’re on the verge of abdicating the right to think for ourselves in an attempt to ensure that no one’s rights are trampled upon.

Like a number of you, I’m not a fan of that wall of scent that greets you as you walk into certain department stores. You hold your breath as you rush through the flowery – yet still fetid – air, eyes watering at the intrusion of the aromatic waves. In this case, these floral notes are all wrong – yet I’ve made a choice to enter that store, knowing full well what I’m going to be walking into. But if we’re willing to get tough on the purchasers, should not the vendors be subject to the same scrutiny?

And what about other issues? What about offensive body odour? If we’re willing to investigate legislation regarding sweet-smelling perfume, should we not also look into what can be done about people with personal hygiene issues?

Just as noxious as the over-sprayed is the under-washed. How many times have you been in a grocery or department store, minding your own business, when – as Vincent Price so eloquently put — the funk of 40,000 years wallops you in the face and sends you reeling? Male or female, fetid body odour knows no bounds. Yet where is the proposed legislation over that? Are allergies any more important than retching?

Maybe instead of spending time and money on potential legislation and/or information campaigns, we should be hoping that common sense and common courtesy will prevails.

If you work in an environment where someone has taken liberties with the spritzer, then you have the right to request a toning down of the scent. Similarly, if you work with other people – especially those with compromised respiratory issues, asthma, or allergies – then you have an obligation, as a human, to not be offensive.

That’s it, that’s all. Simple as that. No need to enact new laws, no need to criminalize people for wanting to smell better. All it takes is a little common courtesy and willingness to work in a group dynamic. Yet we seem to be incapable of taking this simple action. We’re so focused on ourselves that we refuse – or are unwilling – to take others’ needs into consideration.

The fact that this situation is being discussed in Ottawa isn’t the problem. The real joke is that it needs to be discussed at all. People say you can’t legislate common sense, but what does it say about us when our governments at least have to try.

Despite all the perfume in the air, something still smells foul – perhaps its our lack of respect for each other.

2006© Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved

Ottawa’s Irreconcilable Differences

By Jason Menard

Just when you thought it was safe to be a CFL fan. Where’s Paul McCartney and Brigitte Bardot when you need them? After all, each time a Canadian feels it’s safe to poke their head out and be proud of our national league, someone comes along and Gliebermans the fan.

It’s truly cruel and unusual punishment – especially for those long-suffering folk in our nation’s capital and it must stop.

Whether it’s the Roughriders or the Renegades, Ottawa fans have now twice faced a divorce from their beloved team. Sure, the first marriage lasted a heck of a long time, until 1996, which made the hurt all the more painful. And then, just when the old fans were feeling comfortable about expressing their love for the new arrival, they get left at the altar 10 years later.

And the league thinks the fans are going to welcome the team back after one year off?

Take one year, take 10 years, take however long you want. If once bitten, twice shy is the old adage, what’s the formula when you’ve had two chunks taken out of you? Oh yeah, it starts fool me once…

The league has to be insane if they think that the fans are just going to walk back into Frank Clair Stadium and pick up where they left off. There’s too much mistrust to get personally involved.

Look at the example set by the Montreal Alouettes. Despite a team that was consistently able to beat the bushes and find superlative talent, Montrealers refused to support the team in any substantive way and ended up losing Nos Amours to Washington. However, it wasn’t for a lack of passion in baseball or a lack of enjoyment of the spectacle – opening day crowds can attest to that. It’s just that fans were tired of being told that their team was going to leave.

The situation denigrated into a constant cacophony of how terrible the stadium was, how the team couldn’t compete in the fiscal environment, and how the players were just going to end up leaving anyway. Montreal’s own Gleibermanesque Jeff Loria promised the moon – a downtown stadium on land whose lease he allowed to lapse – before delivering the knockout blow and putting Montreal baseball to sleep for good.

While sports is a business, there’s so much more to it than just that. To run a successful sports franchise you need not only savvy business and personnel people in place, you need a fan base that feels attached to the team, feels a sense of ownership and pride in the organization, and feels invested in the product on the field. It’s hard to get the fans to stand firm when you keep pulling the rug out from under their feet.

Look at how Montreal has rebounded since the return of the Alouettes. When the Concorde left, the thought was that football was gone from that town for good. But with the failed American expansion behind them and the absorption of the former Baltimore franchise, Montreal’s CFL brass made all the right moves. They embraced the history of the team by reverting to the Alouettes name, instead of choosing the failed Concordes moniker or an all-new title. They moved to the cozy confines of McGill’s football stadium to turn a night at the football game into an event. And they encouraged their players to go out into the community and be a part of life in the city.

The Renegades? They should have Horned Mr. Chen and obtained the rights to the Roughriders title. And the last thing they should have done is shelved the team for the year.

The league’s commitment to finding solid, long-term local ownership is admirable. However, the decision to suspend operations and disperse the players through the league (and the unemployment line) is short-sighted at best. Like Toronto and Hamilton in the recent past, the league should have ponied up the dough to maintain operations.

Who’s to say that after a year off, the fans are going to want to come back? What will they be coming back to? Nothing more than an expansion team with new, poorer-quality players, and an immediate future that looks bleak. Why are they going to invest their time, money, and – most importantly – passion in a situation that’s proven to be folly in the past?

Like in any marriage, it’s easier to work things out together than to come back after a separation. Unfortunately for the Ottawa fans, this marriage appears to be going down the road to divorce because of irreconcilable differences.

2006© Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved