Monthly Archives: July 2010

‘K1A’ — the insider epicentre

Ottawa is still buzzing over the government’s decision to make the long-form census voluntary. At least some of Ottawa’s more, uh, introverted insiders are.

I just can’t convince myself it’s an important issue, compared to billions of dollars’ worth of fighter planes, border security, the crumbling of Parliament and a host of other things it has chased out of the editorial pages. It seems so … so … what is the phrase? How about “K1A”?

I endorse this suggestion because it captures the situation, it is very Canadian and comes from my boss at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, Brian Lee Crowley. Put those considerations in any order you like. But here’s the explanation. Continue reading

I’ve come for your data

Congratulations! You have been specially selected to receive the Robson Long Form Questionnaire. Please answer all questions honestly and in detail or you will be obliged to sit through a five-year round table on federal-provincial relations in the post-Meech Era.

Admittedly that’s a bit of a heavy-handed way of forcing you to spend time answering intrusive questions so we can meddle in your life in your own best interest if only you knew it.

But let’s face it: You desperately need to be pushed, prodded and scientifically socialized into a less unappetizing form. Continue reading

Look at this ad, now back at me

Hello readers. Look at your modern art. Now back to this Old Spice ad. Now back at modern art. Now back to Old Spice. Sadly, modern art is not an Old Spice ad. But it could be less repellent if it stopped dousing itself in self-important shock-the-bourgeoisie theory and tried to make things people would actually like.

Ordinarily this would be my cue to explain that unless you live in a cave you’ll have seen the brilliant Wieden + Kennedy ad where Isaiah Mustafa tells women if their man traded his effeminate body wash for Old Spice they could wind up on a boat receiving two tickets to “that thing you love” that turn into diamonds in the hands of a shirtless Adonis who, as a final touch, reveals that “I’m on a horse.” But as most caves now feature broadband even the troglodyte set have been enjoying this instalment of the new Old Spice YouTube ad campaign with unbridled enthusiasm. (watch it on Continue reading

Denial is a bad security policy

The appearance of CSIS director Richard Fadden before a special sitting of the House of Commons public safety committee revealed a problem. We seem unable to think logically about national security.

Let me pose three simple questions. Do you think foreign governments ever attempt to gain influence over legislators in order to affect policy or acquire information? Do you think they ever do so through a combination of innocent-looking favours and appeals to ancestral loyalties? Do you think it ever works? Continue reading

Both sides should shut up

The G8 and G20 have been and gone amid much sound and fury. But all the people making noise seem to have signified less than nothing.

First, the hard-core protesters who went around smashing stuff and setting fires. You could easily find mainstream outlets for your message if you even had one; much of the mainstream press, academia and the political class are uneasy with these economic summits. You rampage because you are thugs who insist that your point of view prevail even when you cannot persuade people of it, which is either childish or sinister or perhaps both. Democracies have seen this sort of thing before on many occasions and sensible people know it is toxic. Continue reading