Here and There -

Here and There


A short roundup of some stuff I’ve been up to elsewhere:

1. Our brand is responsible government, in The Mark

2. Why the Bloc is bad for Quebec, in the magazine.

3. In defence of the suburbs, in the NY Post.

4. And over at my other blog: Authentic axes, what Italian mozzarella teaches about globalization, and some pics of the Flaming Lips.

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Here and There

  1. I like the Mark article, and I think it really is our brand. So good job, except for this paragraph:

    "But all the credit for sound decision-making can't be given to past Liberal governments. Given the way things are evolving in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's commitment to getting out of combat next summer might come to be seen as wise and clairvoyant as Chrétien's refusal to join George W. Bush's misguided war in Iraq."

    Because Stephen Harper may do something that proves to be wise in the future, that means he can be given credit for wise moves made by prior Prime Ministers? Or what did you mean?

  2. I don't understand why some people get so worked up about the suburbs. I lived in suburbs for a few years, I absolutely hated it and was not for me, but there were plenty of people who thought it was brilliant and would not live anywhere else. Everyone should stick to their own knitting and keep their noses out of others' business.


    Potter – What did you think of L Martin's article yesterday about Libs and their plans for Iggy this summer? It sounds to me like they are doing the exact opposite of what they should do. I wonder how many people are going to think Iggy is just like them … are we really suppose to believe Iggy is being authentic hanging out with hoi polloi while eating hot dogs and tossing horseshoes?

    It sounds to me like Libs are trying to bamboozle electorate and they aren't buying it. And they aren't likely to in the future if they keep trying to sell Iggy as man of the people because he clearly isn't.

    "The big tour has big hopes. The planners think it can help serve as an image-changer for Mr. Ignatieff. Instead of playing to the caricature of the just-visiting worldly academic, they want him grubbing it out with ordinary folk, spilling ketchup on his trousers and tossing horseshoes in backyards. What people respond to is honesty and authenticity, they say, so let him make mistakes, let him show a humble and human side." Globe, July 8 2010

    • I'm not sure the Libs are trying to bamboozle the electorate so much as they are trying any damn thing at all. Like, I think, 76% of the population (give or take) I've pretty much given up on the Liberals, and I really have no clue what sort of advice to give them anymore. The thing about Ignatieff is, as even he admits, he's not an ordinary Canadian and he never will be.

      In a lot of ways, I've come to think that this is the real consequence of him being out of the country all those years. It isn't that he has divided loyalties, and it isn't that he doesn't understand our biggest national questions, like Quebec separatism. It's much simpler: He's like someone meeting a long-lost relative –he has no idea how to behave around them. In a way that is both impossible to put your finger on, but also blindingly obvious, he's just not really a Canadian.

      • Have you been to one of these barbeques? Have you talked to the guy in person (without the lens of media spin?)

        Now, I admit Mr. Ignatieff in a room isn't the same as me in a room (I don't have young "staffers" hovering around me, nor do I seem to get applause when entering said room) but apart from that "Leader" stuff, he seems pretty normal to me–even to talk to. And if you know how shy I am, that is something. Paul Wells, on the other hand, I didn't have the nerve for.

        Mind you, I haven't seen Michael open a beer with his teeth, if that's our measure of Canadianism. I've never done that myself–I use a bottle opener, or my shirt–so I don't use that as a measurement.

        • "Have you talked to the guy in person …. "

          A leader is in big trouble when his supporters trot out the chestnut that he's much better in person because the vast majority of Canadians don't want to meet pols, they would rather have hot poker stuck in their eye.

          "Paul Wells, on the other hand, I didn't have the nerve for."

          Sincere question – why is Wells more intimidating than Iggy? Wells only hands out steak knives when someone says something colossally stupid and that's not you.

          • Heh, I just returned from manning a booth for CAPP. That's Canadian Advocating Political Participation if you didn't know it. Obviously, I don't disagree with you, but at least a half-dozen times today it was expressed more as "they don't want to vote or do anything, they just want to complain"

            I don't mean to suggest that Paul Wells is particularly intimidating. Just that most people (including Wells) are intimidating to me to just go up and talk to. Which is why it was important to meet Michael in person, because he first put me at such ease and was so genuinely open to anything I had to say that I didn't have to be sure to come up with something witty or profound. So I was able to say what I thought instead.

        • I haven't seen Ignatieff open a beer bottle with his teeth, but I haven't seen him ask Jason Kenney or some Aeroplan-point-collecting-clairvoyant-fashion-advisor-on-the public-dime to open one for him, either.

          I score it a tie.

      • "He's like someone meeting a long-lost relative –he has no idea how to behave around them."

        That's interesting/unique observation and I like it. Sounds about right to me because I agree that there is something a bit off about Iggy and he doesn't seem Canadian (whatever that is).

        I don't know what to think about Liberal fortunes going forward. To me, Libs are all about spending lots of money on its clients and large, national programs and we don't have money for that anymore unless we raise taxes or cut other programs.

        And I don't have a sense that Canadians are all that keen to have their taxes raised even more, so Libs are betwixt and between.