Friday, August 31, 2007

Smug alert!

Leadership neutral McGuinty won't escape the smell of his own broken promises during “carbon neutral” campaign

This is one of those items that one feels obliged to double-check to confirm it is real, and not an item from The Onion or a purloined "South Park" script.

Earlier this week, the McGuinty Fiberals issued a news release claiming that they will be running a “carbon neutral” election campaign, “conserving energy and buying carbon offsets” to help combat global warming.

No doubt they will try to get away with counting all associated costs as party administration or travel expenses, which are exempt from campaign spending limits.

This is the funniest claim from the release:

Campaign staff will also conserve energy by turning off computers, televisions, office equipment and lights when not in use.

Wow. They’re going to turn printers and photocopiers on and off between jobs? I’m guessing . . . not.

Sadly, the release is silent on how many carbon offsets would be required to offset the environmental impact of McGuinty’s broken promise to phase out coal-fired power generation by 2007, his broken promise to phase it out by 2009, and relying on U.S. coal-fired plants that will be spewing emissions and carbon dioxide into our airshed until at least 2014 (McGuinty's next target date, honest!) and thereafter. I say "at least," because generating coal-fired power is one thing, importing it is quite another.

You have to admit, however, that, the zero-impact theme is fitting for Premier Pinocchio, who has so far also run a leadership neutral administration. If you’ve had no impact on Ontario for four years, I guess the least you can do is have no impact on the environment on your way out the door.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My Choice for the McGuinty Song

Henry Rollins’ “Liar” describes Fiberal-in-Chief to a “T”

I was a bit late to the party on this, but the Ontario PCs have been holding a contest on their website,, to pick the song that best describes Dalton McGuinty, aka Premier Pinocchio. You have until 5:00 p.m. tomorrow to cast your vote(s) and tell your friends. (Full disclosure: I help out the Ontario PCs from time to time.)

There are some excellent choices, such as Eurythmics’ “Would I lie to You?” and Naked Eyes’ “Promises Promises.” But the one that most accurately portrays McGuinty is Henry Rollins’ classic “Liar.” Here’s the video, and some of the lyrics:

because everything I say is everything you’ve ever wanted to hear
so you drop all your defenses and you drop all your fears
and you trust me completely

I’ll hide behind a smile
and understanding eyes
and I’ll tell you things that you already know
so you can say
I really identify with you, so much
and all the time that you’re needing me
is just the time that I’m bleeding you
don’t you get it yet?

if you’ll give me one more chance
I swear that I will never lie to you again
because now I see the destructive power of a lie
they’re stronger than truth
I can’t believe I ever hurt you
I swear
I will never to you lie again, please
just give me one more chance
I will never lie to you again
I swear
that I will never tell a lie
I will never tell a lie
no, no
ha ha ha ha ha hah haa haa haa haaa
oh, sucker
I am a liar
yeah, I am a liar
yeah I like it
I feel good
ohh I am a liar
I lie
I lie
I lie
oh, I lie
oh I lie
I lie
ohhh I’m a liar
I lie
I like it
I feel good
I’ll lie again
and again
I’ll lie again and again
and I’ll keep lying
I promise

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Miller saving money by closing library that's already closed

Since starting this blog, my letters to the editor have been few and far between, but I couldn't resist firing off this one that appeared in the Toronto Sun today:

Anybody home?

The city recently released a detailed list of service cuts, including the libraries that will close on Sundays. One of those listed is the Bloor/Gladstone library, which actually has been closed, since December, for a major renovation and addition. When I last passed by there, the foundation was being worked on.

I don't care what Sue-Ann Levy says about David Miller's Harvard degree. We are darn lucky to have a mayor who can figure out how to save money by closing libraries that are already closed.

Joan Tintor

(Harvard rules)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Pierre Trudeau’s former sister-in-law outraged at Conservatives’ sale of federal buildings

James Sinclair was Margaret Trudeau’s father. That makes Janet Sinclair Pierre Trudeau’s one-time sister-in-law: facts that the Vancouver Province didn’t see fit to mention in their story. But I will, for the benefit of you young ‘uns.

A daughter of James Sinclair, the former federal cabinet minister for whom Vancouver’s Sinclair Centre is named, is appalled that Ottawa has sold the building and nine others to a West Vancouver company.

“We are urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to not sell the Sinclair Centre or the other buildings and keep these public assets that benefit all taxpayers,” said Janet Sinclair.

“My late father would be shocked . . . not because it’s named after him but because he was dedicated to public service and that’s what this building does as well -- serve the public as a valuable asset for all time.”

The government has sold the Sinclair Centre, another building at 401 Burrard St. and seven others across Canada to Larco Investments Ltd. of West Vancouver for $1.64 billion. It plans to lease them back for 25 years for $1.3 billion. The deal closes in October.

Sinclair’s statement was released by the Public Service Alliance of Canada, which represents federal workers.
--Vancouver Province, today

Friday, August 17, 2007

Richard Bradshaw, R.I.P.

This Friday Night Lights-free cruel summer just became a lot crueller. Canadian Opera Company general director Richard Bradshaw has died unexpectedly at the age of 63, on the cusp on the COC’s second season it its new facility, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

I am hardly opera expert, but I have been a COC subscriber (and modest donor) off and on since 1992. Under Bradshaw’s leadership, the company made a quantum leap artistically, while living through disappointment and then eventual triumph in building Canada’s first ballet-opera house.

In the 1980s there were grandiose plans for a $350-million dollar ballet opera house at the southeast corner of Bay and Wellesley Streets, designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie. Unfortunately, funding for the project was an early casualty of the Bob Rae government.

According to an article in Toronto Life last year, Bradshaw called the Safdie palace a “Taj Mahal” one minute and a “white elephant” the next. Bradshaw said the veto forced them to rethink their priorities and concentrate on what they really needed, as opposed to every last bell and whistle.

Thanks to the decision of the National Ballet of Canada to be merely a tenant and not an equal partner in the project, the COC was left alone to raise the funds required for the new building. Bradshaw set about the monumental task, which included securing commitments from the federal and provincial governments.

Though Mike Harris is known more for his appreciation of professional wrestling and action movies (not that there’s anything wrong with that), he saw the benefit of the facility to Toronto, and the government eventually agreed to donate the site at Queen and University (where a former courthouse stood).

Artistically, Bradshaw helped launch the COC into the first tier of opera companies with productions such as Bluebeard’s Castle/Ewartung. He started working towards last year’s monumental staging of the Ring Cycle by including the individual Ring operas into the COC’s season, several years ahead of the target date for performing the entire cycle in the new building.

People who are better versed in opera than I am will comment more authoritatively on his artistic record, but I will note that Bradshaw was a champion of the work of British composer Benjamin Britten.

While Britten’s operas offer little in the way of soaring arias or memorable overtures, their stories are usually powerful. Billy Budd – based on Moby Dick author Herman Melville’s novella – is the best thing I’ve ever seen on stage, even though the set consisted solely of a flat, unadorned “deck” (the opera is set on a British navy ship) on a hydraulic lift. It also featured Russell Braun, now an international star in his own right. (The 1962 film, starring Peter Ustinov, a very young Terence Stamp, and Canadian actor John Neville, is also good.)

The free concerts Bradshaw staged at Harbourfront were intended to appeal to new subscribers and the young, but unfortunately the seats were often staked out hours in advance by longtime subscribers and other freeloaders – hardly Bradshaw’s intended audience (I never attended any).

Given Bradshaw’s accomplishments as both an artist and arts manager, I was fearful that a richer, bigger company in the US or Europe would steal him away. But I never heard a word of this in the media, though there must have been times when it would have been to Bradshaw’s benefit to leak to that effect.

In 1994, the COC distributed a CD of arias from its upcoming 1994-95 season, including one from my favourite, Eugene Onegin (which will be performed again this coming season). At the beginning of the CD, one can hear Bradshaw’s beautiful speaking voice describing the season ahead. What a tragedy that his voice has been silenced so early, at the peak of his abilities.

I saw Bradshaw coming out of the Four Seasons Centre one weekday earlier this summer, and suppressed the urge to call out to him, “Great season, maestro!” How sorry I am that I did.

Bravo, maestro, bravo.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

McGuinty took eight months to release his platform

“Certified Fraud Examiner” okayed McGuinty’s numbers – well, that should have been our first clue

I see the McGuinty Fiberals are out with a 4:30 p.m. (!) release attacking the purported tardiness of John Tory’s platform costing. I guess when the boss is two time zones away lobbing spitballs at Ed Stelmach, things tend to slip a little. (Correction: one time zone away. Sorry. jt)

But even if John Tory weren't to release his costing until election day, it would still be sooner than the Fiberals released theirs prior to the 2003 election. (And by the way, where is Premier Pinocchio’s platform for this election? Oh, that's right, making another set of promises might prompt unpleasant memories for voters.)

Anyhow, the facts are these: In late September 2002, Dalton McGuinty released the first of five platform booklets, on education, which ended up being the second most expensive component of his platform. The most expensive – health – was released in March 2003. The last of the five pieces was released in April 2003.

Not until May of 2003 – eight months after releasing the first portion of his platform – did McGuinty release his costing document, “The Ontario Liberal Financial Plan.” As you may recall, this was the set of numbers endorsed by forensic accountant and “Certified Fraud Examiner” Jack Marmer (dang, we should have read that fine print!), and two economists.

Of course, some may argue that McGuinty released his costing a month after he released the last piece of his platform. A platform that took eight months to roll out. Can you believe some people say this guy lacks leadership?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Cruel Summer

No “Friday Night Lights” until October

My shrubs are scorched, Terrell Owens is hurting, September Vogue is weeks away, and now this:

Please be advised that due to scheduling conflicts, Friday Night Lights has been removed from our regular program schedule until further notice. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.

Please be sure to tune in Friday nights this fall for an all-new season of Friday Night Lights beginning October 5th.

Thank you for watching Global Television.


~Viewer Contact
Global and CH Television

Global had been airing repeats of season one since May but stopped a few weeks ago. NBC had also shown a few reruns on Sunday nights, but that didn’t last long.

The DVD of season one is coming out later this month (right around the time Vogue does). I may have to break down and buy it, despite the threat that Rosie O’Donnell may have a guest spot in season two.

P.S. ESPN columnist Bill Simmons is on the same page re. O’Donnell.