An excerpt from today’s press release of the day, fresh out of my inbox:
Please note that Mrs. Hannelore Kraft – President of the Bundesrat of the Federal Republic of Germany and Minister- President of the State of North-Rhine-Westphalia – will be in Toronto (North York) this morning, September 7th, at 10am.
Minister-President Kraft will plant a German oak tree at the site of the new net-zero energy German International School Toronto (50 Erie Street, North York) which will open in time for the 2012 academic year. The German Bundesrat (“Federal Council”) is a legislative body that represents Germany’s 16 states at the federal level.
  • The school is relocating to a decommissioned church that will be enlarged and incorporate state-of-the-art, energy-efficient materials and renewable-energy technologies with the potential to generate at least as much energy as it consumes, making the school a “net zero” energy consumer with a significantly reduced carbon footprint.
  • There will be a brief 30-minute program involving the school’s chair, students and Mrs. Kraft, ending with the tree planting.
  • Senior members of the Canada-Germany business community who are partners in the new school project (2 significant financial donations will also be announced) will also be on hand including Gino diNezza, National Sales Manager for Bosch Thermotechnology Canada

Excerpt from today’s press release of the day, fresh out of my inbox:

Amidst the decline in moral, social policies and culture in America, award winning Author and Professor at Vanderbilt University, Carol Swain released her new book titled “Be the People” to address these issues.  Her book is making a major sweep across the country and becoming a hot topic point in discussions.

The telephone rings.

Me: Hello?

Telemarketer: Hello, my name is Alan. Am I speaking to the man of the house?

Me: Yes.

Telemarketer: Great. I’m wondering if you can answer a short survey.

Me: Wait. Why do you need to speak to the man of the house?

Telemarketer: Yes, the man of the house.

Me: Why not the woman of the house?

Telemarketer: We’re looking for the male, the decision-maker. The man who owns the house.

Me: A woman can’t own a house?

Telemarketer hangs up.

Months since an update, but no sense worrying about that. After all, there are much more violent things to be worrying about. Behold a press release that popped into the inbox moments ago: Continue reading ‘Destructive flash mobs threaten society!’

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I make no apologies. Life is life, after all. But some things have changed.

I’m now Ottawa editor at OpenFile, a rapidly expanding project that’s all about collaborative journalism. I’m editing a lot more than I’m writing over there, but you’ll still find a few bylines hangin’ around.

I also wrote my first column in a daily newspaper. It was all about the emerging popularity of car sharing in Ottawa, and it appeared in the Ottawa Citizen. Perhaps there will be more. Keep an eye over here to find out.

Right now, I’m reading George W. Bush’s memoirs. Here’s a passage that jumped out at me, which takes place in March 2006 when Bush visited Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf:

My meetings with President Musharraf focused on two overriding priorities. One was his insistence on serving as both president and top general, a violation of the Pakistani constitution. I pushed him to shed his military affiliation and govern as a civilian. He promised to do it. But he wasn’t in much of a hurry.

Presumably, Bush’s biggest problem with Musharraf was that he was violating his country’s constitution. After all, he certainly couldn’t have disagreed with Musharraf’s desire to serve simultaneously as Pakistan’s head of state and commander-in-chief.

“It’s a bit of a fool’s game, speculating.”

Those were some of Rob Silver’s opening comments when I asked him in April to speculate about the next cabinet shuffle at Queen’s Park.

Continue reading ‘April’s news, today’

I ambled over to a drinking fountain, impossibly thirsty in a fleeting summer rainstorm. My suit was sopping wet, my cell phone was nearly out of batteries, and it seemed everyone in the passing cars was infintely more confident than me. I wasn’t hopelessly lost, but I was in danger of being hopelessly late.

This is the story of my first trip to Rideau Hall.

Continue reading ‘In the nick of time’

Now that we’re all wrapped up talking about press gallery scrums and cabinet shuffles, it’s time to look at a very disturbing situation developing in Ottawa.

Simcoe-Grey MP Helena Guergis has apparently written to all of her former colleagues in the Conservative caucus, pleading with them to let her back in the fold.

“It is my wish to rejoin the conservative family,” reads the letter dated July 28. “It is my hope, that with your support, I would be able to re-enter caucus and continue the work of serving the Prime Minister, our Party and the constituents of Simcoe-Grey,” Guergis wrote.

Guergis is rebounding from several months of utterly disastrous press coverage. But to this day, none of the allegations made against her have been proven. And she’s been cleared of any wrongdoing by the RCMP. So she’s asking to be a Conservative again, which, we should recall, is what her constituents voted for.

But the Prime Minister’s Office remains adamant.

“Our position on this issue has not changed,” said Andrew MacDougall, a spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. “There were several reasons that Ms. Guergis was removed from caucus. We hold our members to a high standard.”

Guergis has virtually no friends among the columnists of Ottawa’s press gallery, according to the lack of opinions rushing to her defence. And even the press outside the bubble won’t back her. In fact, a recent Barrie Examiner editorial took the PMO’s line and ran with it, after calling Guergis’ defence a “spin job”. It concludes thusly:

Has [Guergis] been treated a little harshly by the PM? Probably. But did Guergis’ conduct at least deserve her removal from Cabinet, given the tight ship Harper runs? Yes, and that story cannot be rewritten.

What if Guergis isn’t spinning anything? Again, nothing has been proven against her.
In response to my tweet on this, colleague Lucas Timmons tweeted the following:

It never ceases to amaze me how women are threatened by other women’s looks. I can think of a few [press gallery] reporters who are guilty.

Time for a serious question. Are we collectively turning on Guergis because a) we don’t like her, b) she’s a woman, or c) both?

Guess what? If the answer is ‘yes’ to any of those options, we need to start asking some more serious questions.

Today, the Ottawa Citizen ran a story on the front of its website about a potentially horrific storm on its way to Ottawa. They quoted an Environment Canada meteorologist as saying it was a perfect storm of sorts.
“Everything is at the maximum level: maximum cold air, maximum hot air, maximum unstable air. It’s going to be a big storm,” said Louis Allard, meteorologist with Environment Canada.
Meanwhile, the cross-town Sun tossed up a similar story, quoting the same meteorologist. But check out the quote:
“There’s nothing to indicate (the storms) will be super strong,” Allard said.
How bad will the storm be? I guess it depends not on who you ask, but when you ask them.
For the record, here is the Weather Network forecast and the Environment Canada forecast for the Ottawa area. As of 13:55 Eastern time, neither was predicting anything catastrophic.