Monthly Archive: February 2014

Fathers and sons

Dear Steve Paikin: I read your blog about you and your son and I agree, you have a serious problem. As a high-profile journalist covering politics and public issues on TVO, how do you deal with your son Zach’s plan to seek the Liberal nomination in the federal riding of Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas? As you rightly ask, can you continue to be seen as neutral, do you have to stop covering Liberal politics, or are you exaggerating your concern? The last question is the simplest. No, you are not exaggerating. But how do you balance being a father with being a journalist?...

Read More ....

Plug me into something

Notice anything about your hydro bill recently? Prices are up, year-over-year, anywhere between 9 per cent and 14 per cent depending on time-of-day usage. The biggest increase, 14 per cent, is for off-peak. So much for doing a load of laundry at 10 p.m. to save money. And it’s only going to get worse. Ontario used to have a ready supply of the cheapest power in North America. Soon we’re going to be among the jurisdictions at the top end. The cause? Decades of poor management and worse political oversight. The original goal of Ontario Hydro, back in 1906 when Adam...

Read More ....

My groupies

In the bird world, there are wonderful descriptions of groups and flocks. Just to cite three examples: a murmuration of starlings, an exaltation of larks, and my personal favourite, a charm of hummingbirds. Why not apply the same possibilities to human gatherings? So you’d get a tribulation of politicians, a banality of sportscasters, a trepidation of lawyers, a pugnaciousness of hockey players, an exhaustion of Olympics and a reach of bloggers.

Read More ....

The secret’s out

Whatever happened to budget secrecy? Here we are on the day Finance Minister Jim Flaherty brings down his budget and we already know that he will announce an end to the immigrant investor plan, legislation for better consumer prices in Canada versus the U.S., as well as more money for skills instruction, infrastructure projects and the auto sector. And, oh yes, there will be an overall deficit, supposedly the last for the Harper government.  And I read all this in my morning paper, as supplied by officials in the know and the minister himself. Time was when a journalist who...

Read More ....

Funny money

We’re all trying to get used to the new polymer currency, battling with bills that stick together, and worrying about them melting in a parked car if summer ever comes. For my part, I’ll accept the Bank of Canada’s claims that the bills last 2-1/2 times longer than the old cotton-paper series. Over time, we’ll learn if they really are difficult to counterfeit. And yes, we’ve joined some 30 other countries using polymer. I’m fine with all that. What bothers me is that we’re stuck with portraits of people that can only be described as duds on each of the five...

Read More ....

Where’s St. George when you need him?

What is it about TV personalities that makes print journalists go all weak at the knees? The profile in Saturday’s Globe and Mail about Arlene Dickinson, a panelist on CBC-TV’s Dragons’ Den, is positively fawning. Yet it’s written by Jackie McNish, one of the paper’s hardest-hitting investigative journalists. Dickinson is so deft at what she does that she cries while telling McNish about helping an entrepreneur. The article ends focussed on Dickinson’s napkin, still moist from the tracks of her tears about someone else’s travails.  Gad. Nowhere in the profile does it say that precious few of the “deals” that...

Read More ....