First ever "Bike Day" on Parliament Hill Wednesday

Just in from the office of John Weston, MP:

MP John Weston Hosts First Bike Day on the Hill

(May 4, 2012 – Ottawa, Ontario) – On Wednesday May 9, 2012, British Columbia MP John Weston will bring together cycling experts and enthusiasts from across the country to participate in the inaugural Bike Day on Parliament Hill. This event is in keeping with the priorities of Weston’s Parliamentary Fitness Initiative, a non-partisan movement he began in 2009 with House colleagues NDP MP Peter Stoffer, Sackville – Eastern Shore and Liberal MP Kirsty Duncan, Etobicoke North, to encourage healthier lifestyles among MP’s and Senators.

Continue reading First ever "Bike Day" on Parliament Hill Wednesday

Greek Neo Nazis win Parliament

In Greece yesterday, a party called “Golden Dawn” won about 7 per cent of the vote, enough for that party to enter Parliament. Check out this video of Golden Dawn leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos. His ultra-right message is scare enough but check out the black-shirted thugs beside him; the Swastika-like party symbol (it’s called a “meander” apparently). And Michaloliakos has been know to give “Heil Hitler”-style salutes. And yet, the party rejects the tag of “neo-Nazi”. In this video, from the Daily Telegraph, Michaloliakos lays out his message: Continue reading Greek Neo Nazis win Parliament

Why are most journalists small-l liberals? Russell might have some answers

I think most journalists — myself included — are small-l liberals. That’s not to say we’re small-l liberals in the political sense. Indeed, I’ve long held that journalists are like any other group: A bunch probably voted Conservative in the last election; a bunch voted New Democrat and a bunch voted Liberal. (In Quebec, some may even have voted for the BQ). But I and, I think, many journalists, like to conceptualize themselves as free thinkers who resist dogma, power, authority, arbitrariness, etc. and that would make us small-l liberals in a philosophical sense. For proof, I offer up the following 10 commandments, put forth by big-l Liberal philosopher Bertrand Russell in 1951 as 10 guides for teachers but I think they are all likely philosophical touch points for most Western (small-l liberal) journalists: Continue reading Why are most journalists small-l liberals? Russell might have some answers

Watching elections in Kosovo, Greece and, of course, France

Voters are at the polls this weekend in France, Greece and Kosovo. Will update this post with notes, etc. as they become available:

Voter turnout in the ballot facilitation in Kosovo was reported at approximately 17 per cent by 14:00 hrs today by the OSCE Mission in Kosovo.

via OSCE Mission releases first turnout figures in balloting facilitation in Kosovo – OSCE Mission in Kosovo.

Francois Hollande
Socialist Party (PS) candidate for the 2012 French presidential election, Francois Hollande visits a village in the neighbourhoods of Tulle, southwestern France on May 6, 2012 during the second round of the election. (AFP PHOTO JEFF PACHOUD)


In France,  incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy is out and the champion of the Socialist Party Francois Hollande (above) is in: Continue reading Watching elections in Kosovo, Greece and, of course, France

Set Up to Fail: A History of Movies That Debuted Against Blockbusters

Well, now this is fascinating: On the May long weekend in 1977, the big movie blockbuster that everyone expected was going to clean up was the Burt Reynolds comedy Smokey and the Bandit. But, just as we’re seeing this weekend with another prospective blockbuster in The Avengers set to open, some Hollywood studios were ready to offer up some ‘counter-programming’,  an ‘alt-flick’ film, if you will, that might appeal to the few — the very few — that might go against the tide and avoid the blockbuster.

So what was the counter-programming in May, 1977 to the anticipated blockbuster Smokey and the Bandit? Some little alt-flick called Star Wars.

Read about that and more in this neat history of Hollywood’s “counter-programming” to anticipated blockbusters.

What are you thinking Wally Oppal?

Does this make sense?

“Pickton commissioner makes cameo in Uwe Boll film”

Wally Oppal says he filmed a short scene over the weekend for the movie Bailout, directed by Uwe Boll.

The film follows a character played by actor Dominic Purcell who loses his job during the financial crisis and takes his revenge by assassinating bank executives.

via Pickton commissioner makes cameo in Uwe Boll film – Arts & Entertainment – CBC News.

Who’s Uwe Boll? “The worst filmmaker in the world.”

Lougheed tops poll of best premiers in last 40 years

Peter Lougheed on the stump
Oct. 28, 1982: Premier Peter Lougheed tells St. Albert faithful this is no time to rest on their Conservative laurels." Edmonton Sun photo by Robert Taylor.

The Institute for Research on Public Policy, an independent think tank based in Montreal, is celebrating 40 years of existence and, as part of that celebration, it surveyed 30 “eminent historians, political scientists, economists, journalists and policy advisers” to determine who was Canada’s best premier in those 40 years. Continue reading Lougheed tops poll of best premiers in last 40 years

How To Win An Election: Advice from 2,000 years ago

How To Win An ElectionJust finished a delightful little book written in 64 BC by Quintus Tullius Cicero, younger brother of Marcus Tullius Cicero who history knows simply as Cicero, the Roman statesman, orator, philosopher, etc.

In 64 BC, Quintus felt obliged to jot down some advice for his older brother who was then in the midst of an election campaign for the job of consul of Rome. As translator Philip Freeman explains in the lively introduction to How To Win An Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians, Marcus came into that campaign as an outsider and as a bit of an underdog. Generally speaking, Romans only elected consuls who had the Roman equivalent of the “royal jelly”, which neither Marcus nor Quintus had. They had to work for the place in Roman society rather than be born into it.

So Marcus had a fight on his hands for votes and gave his brother some advice on how to beat the other two candidates, both of whom had “royal jelly” connections. The result? Well, if Machiavelli’s The Prince is gimlet-eyed advice on the exercise of political power, then Quintus Cicero’s slim volume is equally sharp advice on the acquisition of that power in a democracy.

Some of Quintus’ advice (lifted straight from Freeman’s translation):

  • Do not overlook your family and those closely connected with you. Make sure they are all behind you and want you to succeed … For almost every destructive rumour that makes its way to the public begins among family and friends.
  • There are three things that will guarantee votes in an election: Continue reading How To Win An Election: Advice from 2,000 years ago