Hazel McCallion

Today, Hazel McCallion turned in her Chain of Office. She was Mayor of Mississauga since December 1, 1978.

I was four years old at the time. I have absolutely no memory of a time before Hazel McCallion was Mayor of our neighbour to the west. Hurricane Hazel has always been there. I've even run her 5k.

At 93, after 12 terms of service over 36 years, McCallion deserves a rest. Well done, Hazel. Well done...


Rob Ford, Doug Ford and the Crazification Factor

Rob Ford, Doug Ford and the Crazification FactorThe crazification factor is a neologism coined by blogger John Rogers to refer to the portion of the electorate comprising the nuttiest of the wingnuts and the batshit crazy. The passage relates to the 2004 Senate election in Illinois, and reads:

Obama vs. Alan Keyes. Keyes was from out of state, so you can eliminate any established political base; both candidates were black, so you can factor out racism; and Keyes was plainly, obviously, completely crazy. Batshit crazy. Head-trauma crazy. But 27% of the population of Illinois voted for him. They put party identification, personal prejudice, whatever ahead of rational judgement. Hell, even like 5% of Democrats voted for him. That's crazy behaviour. I think you have to assume a 27% crazification factor in any population.

Furthermore, another factor in Obama's favour at the time that Rogers didn't mention is that the original Republican candidate, Jack Ryan, had been forced to suspend his candidacy after his divorce and custody records were released to the press, revealing that he had taken his former wife, actress Jeri Ryan, to various sex clubs (including, in at least one case, a bondage club) and tried to have her perform sex acts on him out in the open. Keyes was the GOP's last-minute replacement on the ticket after the sordid details of Ryan's divorce came out. So not only was it a normal candidate running against a clearly crazy opponent, but the crazy guy also had the baggage of the last guy's sex scandal following him, and had been drafted into the campaign with little time to prepare.

This 27% support is tattooed in my cranium as the batshit crazy support I thought Rob Ford would end up with. With Rob out and Doug in, I suspect he'll end up with that same 27%.

And 27% won't win you this election,thankfully.

My Thoughts on the 2014 Toronto Municipal Election

My Thoughts on the 2014 Toronto Municipal ElectionI tried to ignore this mayoral race throughout the summer, pledging to plug myself back in after labour day. Now that I'm back, it's clearer to me than ever that this city I love needs to send Rob Ford a message that we deserve a mayor with far more self-control and self-respect.

The past four years under Ford have been extremely divisive. He's pitted the downtowners against the suburbs, he's refused to work with council and he lies so often and effortlessly, it's shocking. His ignorant refusal to participate in the pride parade and frequent racist and bigoted comments have made him a laughing stock. I'm not even going to mention the videos of him smoking crack, the skeezy activities with his buddy Sandro Lisi, his firing from the Don Bosco football team, and the objectifying comments he's made about his own wife.

But even without the circus sideshow antics, Rob Ford is bad for business. His policies are short-sighted, often presented without appropriate research and sufficient details, and he's completely ineffective as a leader. We simply can't afford to make this mistake twice.

Ideally, David Soknacki would win on October 27, but he won't. Of the favourites, my preference is Olivia Chow, but like many Torontonians in 2014, I'm willing to alter my vote in a strategic effort to keep Rob Ford out of office. I'm willing to vote for John Tory, and here's why.

All I want in a mayor is a sensible, intelligent person who is willing to work with council to reach consensus. I want my mayor to represent all Torontonians, regardless of sexual preference, skin colour, gender or even income and postal code. I want a mayor who unites the city, and moves us forward without providing embarrassing content to late night talk show hosts. Both John Tory and Olivia Chow fit this mould and both would make fine mayors.

My values better align with Olivia Chow's, but if Olivia Chow and John Tory split the anti-Ford vote, it gives Rob Ford a chance. That's not a chance I'm willing to take.

Historic Night for Kathleen Wynne

Historic Night for Kathleen WynneKathleen Wynne's Liberals will form a majority government in Ontario. This surprising result means two historic firsts:

1. Kathleen Wynne is the first woman elected premier of Ontario

2. Kathleen Wynne is the first openly gay person elected premier of any Canadian province

I'm going to add a third...

3. The fact Kathleen Wynne is a gay woman is no longer a relevant detail.

Don't Forget to Vote Today, Fellow Ontarians

VoteWhen you don't vote, you let others speak for you.

We are fortunate to have fair and democratic methods in place for the selecting of political representation. To not take part in the process, or to feel like our opinion doesn't matter, would be to waste the incredible power that we possess.

The power of a single vote is staggering. It is our right to stand up and be counted, and the way we do that is by casting our ballot. Don't forget to vote in today's Ontario provincial election.

PC and NDP's Attempt to Trick Voters Should be Illegal

PC and NDP Attempts to Trick Voters Should be IllegalI'm not sure if you noticed, but we're a week away from a provincial election.

There was a leader debate last night I missed completely. I opted to play tennis instead. It doesn't sound like I missed much.

The PC and NDP parties ran ads this morning on the covers of two free Toronto papers that really should be illegal during an active election period. These ads are clearly designed to fool readers and those passing by into thinking they're actual headlines. Their hope, it seems, is that you're too stupid to know the difference.

Here's the PC ad on the cover of Metro News (owned by Star Media Group).


Here's the NDP ad on the cover of 24 Hours (owned by Sun Media).


Shame on the parties and shame on the newspapers for selling their journalistic integrity for a few bucks.

A Canadian's Thoughts on the US Election

My Thoughts on the US ElectionThe American federal election is today. As a Canadian, I don't get a vote, and now treat it much like I treat the World Series when the Jays aren't playing in it.

When the Jays aren't in the World Series, and they haven't been there since 1993, I pick a favourite so it's more fun to watch. This year, I wanted the Giants to beat the Tigers, and was pleased when they won. But had the Tigers won the World Series, I'd have thrown up my arms and exclaimed "oh well - they weren't really my team".

With this election it's pretty much the same thing. I'm rooting for Obama to beat Romney (surprise, surprise) and hoping he prevails, but should Romney pull off the upset, I'll throw up my arms and exclaim "oh well - it's not my country".

Because the fact is, as a Canadian, I'm entitled to a rooting interest, but I don't have to live with the results. I've got a Conservative Prime Minister and a right-wing Mayor I sincerely dislike, but I'm making no plans to move out of the city and I continue to pay my taxes. At least I had a say in the matter...

Fellow Canadians, who are you rooting for in the US election?

Dalton McGuinty on My Grandmother's 90th Birthday

Dalton McGuinty on My Grandmother's 90th BirthdayThe first mention of Dalton McGuinty on this blog was October 3, 2003. That was the day he was first elected Premier of Ontario, and today is the day he announced his resignation.

Speculation abounds, but as I type we don't yet know exactly why Dalton McGuinty has decided to step down after 9 years as Premier. Feel free to share your speculation in the comments. I think he's giving his party its best chance at winning a fourth election in a row, but I've never hated the man the way some do.

With McGuinty resigning after leading the Liberal Party for 16 years, I thought I'd share the certificate I got for my grandmother on her 90th birthday. If she hangs on for a couple more years, I'll be getting one from the Queen.

For My Grandmother's 90th

How Ontario Got That United Kingdom-ish Flag

How Ontario Got That United Kingdom-ish FlagIn Toronto, we're getting Simcoe Day off on Monday, but it's not Simcoe Day everywhere in Ontario.

Civic Holiday may also be known by one of a number of local appellations such as Mountie Day in North York, Colonel By Day in Ottawa, George Hamilton Day in Hamilton, Joseph Brant Day in Burlington, Founders' Day in Brantford, McLaughlin Day in Oshawa, Alexander Mackenzie Day in Sarnia, James Cockburn Day in Cobourg, Peter Robinson Day in Peterborough, and John Galt Day in Guelph, as well as numerous other names in smaller municipalities.

Speaking of Ontario, our flag is awfully British. Allow me to demonstrate and then explain how this came to be.

This is the United Kingdom Union Flag they've been using since 1801.


This is the Canadian Red Ensign flag Canada was using before 1965. You'll notice it has the Union Flag in there as a nod to our motherland.


But in 1965, PM Pearson lobbied for a flag without the Union Jack, a symbol of our independence. This ticked off Diefenbaker who was rather fond of the Red Ensign. This familiar red maple leaf became Canada's new flag:


Diefenbaker wasn't the only one upset we lost the Union Jack. Ontario Premier Robarts wanted Ontario to adopt a new flag that restored this history, so Ontario got this flag with the good 'ol Union Jack featured prominently.


And that's how Ontario's flag came to look so damn British.

Making a Big Deal Out Of Things We Shouldn't Be Making a Big Deal Out Of

clink on gay marriagePresident Barack Obama has endorsed the right of same-sex couples to marry. I was happy to hear it, it's the right thing, but it's time we stop making a big deal out of things we shouldn't be making a deal out of.

I borrow that sentiment from Clint Eastwood, who says it better than I ever could.


Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want...

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