Monthly Archive: November 2013

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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Long time gone

It’s been six years since the Dixie Chicks were on the road. They are just finishing a three-month tour of the U.S. followed by three weeks in Canada. Lead singer Natalie Maines came armed with some Canadian material that I’m sure she used all across the country. She said she’d seen a story on Huffington Post describing Canadians as among the happiest people in the world. After getting depressed thinking about this fact for some time, Natalie then realized, “It’s so cold here, you don’t feel any pain.” By the time of last night’s show, where my daughter and I saw...

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Lest we forget

John Kenneth Macalister was born in Guelph in 1914 and attended Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute where he won a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford and the Institute of Corporate Law in Paris. When the Second World War broke out he tried to enlist but his eyesight was too weak so he joined the Special Operations Executive, a British intelligence agency. Macalister and another Canadian, Frank Pickersgill, parachuted into France in 1943 to help organize the resistance movement but were captured almost immediately by the Gestapo. The two were treated as spies, imprisoned and tortured, and in 1944 were sent...

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