Tease the day: Tories protect lakes in their own backyards

Ontario’s cottage country well-protected by amended legislation


CP/Sean Kilpatrick

Every so often, a data journalist comes up with a story that, without requiring anonymous sources or leaked documents, still manages to capture the attention of the national agenda. Recall the work of Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher, they of “McMaher” robocalls fame, a few years ago when the federal government was doling out stimulus funding to thousands of projects across Canada. The reporters found the money disproportionately ended up in Conservative ridings, which fuelled opposition fury about perceived pork barrelling. McGregor’s at it again today, reporting that 90 percent of lakes protected by the amended Navigation Protection Act sit in Conservative-held ridings, including a dozen in Treasury Board President Tony Clement’s riding. That’s the same riding where millions of dollars were spent in advance of the 2010 G8 summit to refurbish, among other municipal infrastructure, gazebos. Will McGregor’s latest data work catch the attention of the opposition? We’re curious what NDP MP Megan Leslie will ask the government when she stands in Question Period today.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with Hurricane Sandy’s disastrous impact on New York City. So does the National Post. So does the Toronto Star. So does the Ottawa Citizen, which headlined the “mayhem” left in Sandy’s wake. iPolitics fronts Canada’s modest gains in a think tank’s economic index. National Newswatch leads with The Globe and Mail‘s story about incumbent parties likely winning three upcoming federal byelections.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. PM’s India trip. Postmedia’s Matthew Fisher teases Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s six-day trip to India, arguing the PM will be warmly welcomed by the “energy-thirsty” country. 2. Charbonneau Commission. It isn’t, strictly speaking, a federal issue. But the inquiry into corruption in Quebec’s construction industry continues to hear extraordinary testimony.
3. Bridge to Michigan. A Michigan billionaire who owns the Ambassador Bridge hopes to block the construction of a new crossing between Detroit and Windsor with a multi-million dollar campaign. 4. Defence cuts. Canada’s new chief of the defence staff, Tom Lawson, says there isn’t much fat to be cut at DND. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is urging the top soldier to find it, anyway.

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Tease the day: Tories protect lakes in their own backyards

  1. couldn’t it be that Conservatives just happen to hold most of the ridings where there are navigable lakes? Simply observing that 90% fall in Conservative ridings is not the same as showing dis-proportionality. let’s use some logic here, people.

    • Except that’s not what the article did. How about reading it first?

      • Radical idea.

    • Strangely, I’ve managed to navigate countless waterways that aren’t listed.

  2. Here is a horribly off-topic post but it must be said, in my view. Well, not really off-topic. Nothing is. I think the Macleans website is really good. So much interesting stuff. I am always somewhat surprised that it gets a bit less traffic (or seems to, according to the number of comments…). Okay, great website and content. I would love to advise you on how to increase readership and viewership, if that is necessary, but I can’t. I can say I have subscribed in the past; must consider doing that again, especially considering that…the mainstream media generally seek to placate everyone! Macleans decidedly does not do that. I think of G & M and its paywall. It has led to me to think about how it might be stifling dialogue of a healthy nature by creating that paywall. I also think we would be very naive not to consider that the mainstream media have journalists well placed to try to direct the national political discourse, generally in favour of the ruling party! Worse, it is really just a modern-day version of what we saw in the past…company bosses subtly (or not) telling their ‘unwashed’ employees what to think and how to vote. From the Globe website, which is currently unavailable to me, I can’t tell if the latest Ignatieff article, this one about fascism, actually gives him the byline or if it is all viewed somehow through the paternalistic lens of Ibbitson! I am too cheap to find out, but really this is all about a big problem: do the media direct our thinking about the issues or do the media give us a chance to evaluate the issues for ourselves? I would put Macleans on the right side of that non-equation. I had to say this somewhere in Macleans, here it is.

      • And let me add that I think this paywall will be the sure death of G&M; more people will just not bother to stop there at all any more, and so they will lose advertisers along with the customers. The truth is, that paper just isn’t as good as it was even 5 or so years ago.

        • Toronto Star will have paywall starting January.

          • Are all the online papers going paywall, Lorraine? I find it fascinating that the model has been to give it all away for free the past several years, and then to expect people will want to pay for it now — kind of like that old chestnut about not buying a cow if the milk is free. I’m not sure they succeeded in creating value that will make people want to pay. Many of my favourite online news sites now, including here, have way too much intrusive advertising too. I guess nobody figured out a sustainable model for online news revenues.

          • I think that people would be willing to pay, but not what the G&M are asking:$20/month. Let’s face it, that’s $240/year and there will be limited takers.

            Why not charge $5/month,(or a flat rate of $50/year) making it far more attractive, with the aim of raking in a lot more subscribers. Just ask the CPC how their coffers grew fat when the multitudes donated small amounts; that is a far better model than what the G&M is doing. Yes, that would make it cheaper than subscribing to the printed version, but that’s how it goes. The world is changing and you can cling to the old models and grind your way out of business, or you can adapt. Why do you think album (cd) sales are plummeting? Because people would rather buy one song at a time from itunes – the perceived “risk” is smaller and the perceived “value” higher.

            When MacLeans finally puts up the paywall, I hope they have the sense to keep the price low.
            $5/month: I’m in.
            $20/month: I’ll head to the free blogs

  3. Nice of them to focus on “protecting” BCs man-made reservoirs and those lakes most choked with drunk houseboaters and Albertan jet-skiers.

  4. For a “data journalist”, McGregor always skews his numbers and paints an anti-Government picture. Had he given a list of notable navigatable lakes and rivers left off the list in or next to NDP or Liberal ridings, he would have a stronger argument. He focuses on three Ontario lakes and plays the “CPC supports the rich” angle. Mentioning GIS software adds a nice touch of fake credibility though. As usual, had this been a high school geography project, this data journalist would be given a C+ at best.

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