Tag Archives: politics

Lessons Learned: When You Turn Bridges into Pulpits or Planks, Divides Form

By Jay Menard

[Note: I wrote this the day after the provincial election, but sat on it as an experiment… hoping the narrative it discusses would change and render it moot. It hasn’t.]

If you’ll indulge me for stepping away from the “Chicken Little” narrative that has dominated the social media universe since the Conservative majority election (and, let’s face it, even before), I honestly believe that Thursday night’s result offers liberals — both small and large-L — an incredible opportunity.

The opportunity? To build bridges.

The challenge is, the very behaviour and beliefs that led to the Conservative majority are precisely the things that may prevent them from seizing that opportunity. This year, I avoided discussing the elections online because I knew it was fruitless — there was no room for debate or discussion and no minds would be changed — but now, in “The Aftermath,” I hope there are are some lessons that can be learned for the betterment of us all.

In London, this is especially true with a municipal election coming up that I fear will just build upon the arrogance, intolerance, and division that we saw at the provincial election. Continue reading

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Trying to Influence without Disclosure? That’s Disingenuous, Cowardly Behaviour

By Jay Menard

Even though the official campaign doesn’t start until May 1st, it’s painfully obvious that election — and anti-election — season is in high gear. So do you have your secret message decoder ring on? Because it looks like, once again, we’re going to be faced with people who don’t believe that transparency includes expressing biases or conflicts.

Earlier this week, there was a comment in a Facebook chat, likely noticed by few, but it was so important and indicative of the need we should have for transparency. And it reminded me of an outstanding request, which I’ll talk about shortly.

London councillor Phil Squire called out a commenter during a discussion on the validity of a poll — basically stating that the commenter should disclose that he is working on a campaign. The commenter did identify as supporting a candidate in the future later that day. As we head into both a municipal and provincial election, that type of disclosure is vital.

Continue reading

A Cautionary Tale of “Right” and Wrong

By Jay Menard,

Accusations of racism, hypocritical criticisms for behaviour recently perpetuated by the other side, and admonishments by the most tone deaf for people not listening. The divide between us continues to grow.

So maybe it’s time for a story…

After all, I opined about how we often play our own “Trump” card in Canada way back in March. And things aren’t getting any better, so the probability of our Canadian version of Trump emerging is rapidly moving from being an “if” to a “when.”

And now, the story… Continue reading

Left Behind – Selective Inclusivity Helped Trump’s Rise

By Jay Menard,

The U.S. election proved what can go horribly wrong when we only pay lip service to the ideals of inclusion.

The worst type of exclusionary politics isn’t practiced by those who are overt in their exclusion — the racists, the bigots, etc. — but rather it’s practiced by those who profess to be inclusive, yet exclude all of those whose views don’t march in lockstep with the groupthink.

And last night’s election results were merely a reflection of that frustration.

My social feeds tend to lean fairly heavily to the left. And the statements I read last night were telling:

“What is going on?”

“This can’t be real…”

“What are they thinking.”

The “they” part of that statement is the problem. And it’s one that plagues the so-called progressive, left-leaning members of our society. Inclusion isn’t about us and them. It’s about all of us. 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

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

No Matter Who Gets Elected, Here’s How We All Can Win

By Jay Menard

Today we go to the polls. While I’m not going to tell you for whom you should vote — and in no way would I think it appropriate to do so for wards in which I don’t live and am not as conversant in the issues affecting those residents — I think there’s a way that, no matter who gets in, we can help ensure that the true winner is the City of London.

No matter who earns the most votes in this election, it’s important to remember the following things: Continue reading