Yearly Archive: 2013

Christmas wishes

With grateful thanks at Christmas to my faithful readers. I hope that 2014 will bring you good health and good humour.

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The Wynning card

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Christmas card this year bears not your usual photo. Typically, there’s the elected member, a cheerful and long-suffering spouse of the opposite sex, a couple of cherubic kids, and the requisite Golden Lab. In Wynne’s case, this first family is like no other ever seen in Canada. In addition to Wynne’s two daughters, a son, son-in-law and two granddaughters, there’s also her female spouse, Jane Rounthwaite. The two women have been married for eight years. It would have been oh so easy for Wynne to have used instead a portrait of herself or a still from...

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Brothers Plumbing

Some tradespeople are better than others, some charge more than others, and some charge the earth. Brothers Plumbing, 130 Osler St., Toronto, falls into the latter category. I’ve used the firm before so Brothers was my first call recently when I had a running toilet. Marcus replaced the flush valve and flapper. Since he was already at my house, I thought I’d have two other small jobs done at the same time: replacing leaky pop-up plugs in a tub and a sink. Big mistake. Turns out Brothers charges by the job, so I now had inadvertently asked for three jobs....

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The Lambert legacy

Amid the flurry of  skyscrapers rising in Toronto, there are precious few architectural gems. The only eye-catching designs are the L Tower by Daniel Libeskind at the Sony Centre and the Absolute World condominiums – aka Marilyn Monroe – by Yansong Ma in Mississauga. I spent 90 minutes recently rediscovering the Toronto-Dominion Centre and have decided to anoint those six buildings as Toronto’s best design. The trouble with the TD Centre is that’s been around for so long that everyone takes it for granted. It nearly didn’t happen and the fact that it exists at all is due to the vision...

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How to save National Post

On September 17, 2001, I was fired from my position as senior writer at National Post. I was just back from holidays, and not a little shocked. But many others were sent packing that day, too, almost one-third of the entire newsroom staff. At the meeting to inform all of us, Editor Ken Whyte praised our skills and said that no more talented group of journalists had ever been assembled. Then they told us to go back to our desks where we would find that email and other computer access had also been terminated. We had two hours to gather...

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The Campaigns

Last night’s launch of the five-part documentary series The Campaigns on CPAC was excellent. Entitled The Great Free Trade Debate the first episode covered the 1988 election featuring party leaders Brian Mulroney, John Turner and Ed Broadbent. Beginning with a recent campaign was wise; next Sunday’s goes all the way back to 1917. In addition to excellent footage and production values, there were insightful interviews from various Mulroney spear-carriers including Harry Near, Hugh Segal and Marjorie LeBreton, all of whom told me things I didn’t know. For example, after Turner topped Mulroney in the debate, Norman Atkins advised Mulroney to...

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Trying to outFox

If I were designing a new news show, it would probably look a lot like Kevin Newman Live that debuted last night on CTV News Channel. The trouble is that the format doesn’t work in real time. There was no content, just blather. Former Rob Ford staffer Mark Twohey was the in-studio lead item but didn’t have much to add to explain the current fracas at Toronto City Hall. The best Twohey could come up with was to say that Ford could only chose between “fight or flight” and since the mayor has nowhere to go, he’s staying to fight....

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Thoughts about thinkers

Thinkers. I don’t know what to say about thinkers except that they don’t sound much like do-ers. Four of the recipients on the global Thinkers50 Awards are Canadian, with Roger Martin ranked third and Don Tapscott fourth. Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management, has been on the Research In Motion/BlackBerry board of directors for six years during which time the company nearly imploded. I understand that Martin led discussions on strategy at board retreats held at Langdon Hall, a Relais et Chateaux destination close to Waterloo. I guess no one listened. I’ve never met Sydney Finkelstein, a Canadian...

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