Friday, June 29, 2007

Broken Down Clown

In Toronto this weekend?

Check out Broken Down Clown!

Saturday, June 30, 2007
9:30 - 11:00pm
The Cat's Eye
150 Charles Street West

Check out to hear 4 songs that will be played at the show.

Canadian Renaissance Project

I'm looking for a few good people with ideas and some optimism. The next online campaign I'm going to undertake is about people's ability to make money in 'the arts' in Canada. I should point out that I'm using the term arts losely here to refer to a broad spectrum including performing arts, visual arts, music, film etc.,

Canada is a big country. It is, as I've pointed out before, difficult for artists from one region to gain recognition in all of the others. Even traveling from one end of Canada to the other can be expensive and time consuming and is, for many, simply not a viable option. For this reason Canada has lost many of it's most gifted and creative people to the United States and Europe.

The Canadian Renaissance Project will be an, admittedly ambitious, attempt to fix that, or at least improve the situation. The idea is simple, allow artists to keep more of what they earn; Separate income from the arts from other income and then allow a certain level of income from the arts to be tax exempt. If this can be done it will not only make it easier for artists to make a living, but it will show Canada's artists that they are appreciated and will generally make staying in Canada a more viable and attractive option for them. Hopefully sparking an explosion of art, creativity and talent across Canada (hence the name of the project.)

I am not ready to launch this yet, but I'd like a small group of people to brainstorm with about exactly how it should work and the best way to approach making it a reality. If you are interested or if you'd like to nominate someone else, please contact me.

Canada Day from Hollywood?

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting spokesperson Ian Morrison is bashing the CBC over foreign content in prime time.

"There was an excuse during the NHL lockout to run Hollywood movies, because they desperately needed to balance their budget when there was no hockey around, but now the trend is continuing," said Ian Morrison, spokesperson for the media watchdog.

"Nine and a half hours of foreign programming out of 28 (are airing) for the national public broadcaster, and the week before Canada Day? Come on."

For the full story go here or here.

Personally I think it would be nice to see more Canadian content on the National public broadcaster. Especially right before Canada Day. But, that's just me.

Winnipeg Music

Yesterday I mentioned the Weakerthans new album, just in case you can't think of anything good out of Winnipeg. I just added to the Music Links, if you're interested in what's going on there, you should definitely check that site out. It seems pretty comprehensive. - I'm always looking out for good Can-Con links to add and that includes local and regional stuff. So if you have any suggestions please pass them along.

Now, since we're talking about the Weakerthans, Winnipeg and music...well, it was kindof inevitable...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Be the Media

I've been getting alot of mail the last two days about big media taking over. I've even joined the media democracy day group on Facebook. Have a look at this video and then I'll tell you what I think.

I used to be seriously concerned about media consolidation. Sure, it's still a worry but not as much as it used to be. One of my favourite quotes is from Jello Biafra "Don't hate the media, become the media". Today this is something we are fully capable of doing.

Reglardless of who owns the media, we really own the media, in every respect. We, through the CRTC (a bureaucracy of the government we elect) decide who gets to use the airwaves and for what purpose. We are the viewers/listeners that the media is so desperate for. We are the consumers that the advertisers are after. If we don't watch, or listen or if we don't buy the products advertised, they don't get paid. Finally, every broadcaster in Canada is heavily dependent on Government subsidies. I don't just mean the CBC, private broadcasters also enjoy hundreds of millions of dollars in Government subsidies in Canada. A sum, without which, they would likely not be profitable.

So, now that we've established that we own the media outright and can make and decisions we like regarding it (now matter who owns it on paper) we can move on to 'being the media'. In 2006 Time Magazine (Owned by Time-Warner-AOL) declared that you were the "Person of the Year"
"It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes."

If you think back at all of the media revolutions in history - the printing press, the radio, the television etc., they were always in the hands of the few. They were expensive and carefully controlled. It took alot of money and alot of manpower to run them. With the Internet that's all changed. It's a media revolution that has fallen into the hands of the many, there are hundreds of millions of people online around the world, able to share ideas and stories and their own media. We have, in short, done as Jello asked, we have become the media.

There are so many alternatives out there to the 'Big Media' - just on this site the canblogs section aggregates 100 blogs from various sources. A few of these are CBC blogs, the rest are independent.
The cancasts section is similar. There are many CBC podcasts listed, but about 2/3rds of the casts listed are produced indpendently, by individuals with no one to answer to but themselves and their audience. Then there is the public broadcasters section - listing online radio stations from every corner of Canada - all of them CBC affiliates or other public, campus or community broadcasters.

There is such a wide diversity of voices out there that you could easily ignore the main stream media entirely and always be informed and entertained. In the 80s and 90s I think that media consolidation was about extended power, influence and profitibility. In 2007 I think it's suddenly about circling the wagons because Big Media knows that the 'good old days' are over - forever. They will never again enjoy the power, influence and profitability that they once did.

That isn't to say that we shouldn't worry at all. By all means have at them. Take down the big media conglomerates. Stop watching their programs, boycott their advertisers, write your MP and the heritage committee, sick the CRTC on them. As I said before, you own it, make it heel. But for my part I'd like to see net neutrality become the irrefutable law of the land, I'd like to see copyright reform that rewards artists and content creators without punishing consumers and fans, I'd like to see income tax reform that recognizes the importance of the arts to society and makes it easier for independent artists to make a living and I'd like to see Canadians take back the CBC. As for the ConradblackRupertMurdockChumCTVBellGlobemediaFoxHalliburtonHappyfunballNationalEnquirerBritneySpearsChannel media and armorments company Inc. Let them step up and deliver, or wither away unnoticed.

The Benoit Tragedy

I am still having a very difficult time trying to come to terms with what has happened.

I am still having a very difficult time trying to understand how a man I respected, a man who I looked up to, a man who I looked forward to watching every single week, and a man who avoided the temptations that go with being a celebrity, could commit such a heinous act.

It still feels like a bad dream - Chris Benoit, his wife and his son are dead. Chris Benoit asphyxiated his wife and son, and then committed suicide. I am trying as hard as I can to separate the performer from the man who committed the murders.

Right now, I have a picture of Benoit as my Facebook photo. My Facebook status and MSN name also mention Benoit and his family. However, I want you to know that I am only paying homage to Benoit's wrestling career. My tribute, in no way, relates to the awful violence that has taken place.

Chris Benoit was one of the best technical wrestlers of all time. When he stepped into the ring, you knew you were about to witness a quality match. There are a lot of wrestlers who only have one style of wrestling. For example, John Cena uses a "street fighter" style, Rey Mysterio uses a lot of acrobatics, and CM Punk tends to use a martial arts style. Chris Benoit, on the other hand, had many styles. He took it upon himself to learn as many different techniques as he could. He did this by wrestling all over the world. He fought in Japan, Mexico, Germany, the United States, and Canada. It didn't matter whether he wrestled someone as technically sound like Kurt Angle, or someone who was slow and sluggish like The Big Show, Benoit could always get a great match out of anyone.

Benoit was one of a very select bunch that perfected his craft. He didn't care for all the glamour that came with being a star in the major wrestling organizations. All he cared about was his art and being the best artist in the business. Benoit worked really hard and certainly archived this.

Wrestling fans recognized Benoit's dedication and would always show their respect and appreciation by applauding, or booing if he was the "bad guy." Sure, he was not a great talker and he wasn't an attractive man either. Nevertheless, the fans understood his desire and rewarded him appropriately.

Benoit won many great matches and countless titles. In my opinion, his greatest accomplishment occurred on March 14, 2004, when he took part in the main event of Wrestlemania 20. It was a grueling and dramatic match. Benoit defeated Triple H and Shawn Michaels to win the prestigious World Heavyweight Championship. It was a huge milestone in his career. After the match, Benoit's good friend Eddie Guerrero, who was the WWE Heavyweight Champion at the time, came into the ring and the two embraced and celebrated. This celebration has become one of the most famous images in WWE history. What's really sad is that within three years, both men would be dead. No one could have expected that.

Regardless of whether it was deliberate or a case of "roid rage," Chris Benoit committed a horrible and cowardly act. Some may say it's unforgivable. He deserves to be condemned for it. However, any form of condemnation should be for his actions and not for what he did inside a wrestling ring. When one thinks of Chris Benoit, there must be a division between the wrestler and the man who took away two innocent lives.

That's how I choose to handle it.

Skip the break up - Go Straight to the Reunion

Via the Radio 3 blog: the Weakerthans new album Reunion tour is due out September 25.

From John K. Sampson
"Well, Reunion Tour is the name of one of the songs on the record. I wrote it after the Great White tragedy, thinking about old metal bands on reunion tours. But all the characters on the record seem to be speaking about some kind of connection they are missing, therefore I think of the record as a tour of reunions- missed, thwarted, longed for. So the title seemed inevitable."

If past work is any indication it will probably just be 15 or so completely brilliant songs. Yes, again! Getting a little old isn't it?

Who Cares about Canadian Idol

According to the producer of Canadian Idol Toronto does not support it's local musicians.
While the rest of the country is buzzing about Canadian Idol and the success of their hometown heroes, Toronto is not paying attention. Toronto is not supporting the local talent found right in its own backyard.
John Brunton's real concern is, obviously, ratings. If Toronto cared more about Canadian Idol, Canadian Idol would have better ratings. It's not about supporting local talent because Toronto certainly does that. On any given night dozens of acts are playing at local venues.

Recording artists deliberately move to Toronto because Toronto supports local talent. Just to name a few recent examples:

  • Broken Social Scene

  • Feist

  • Billy Talent

  • Apostle of Hustle

  • the Hidden Cameras

  • Hawksley Workman

  • Sum 41

  • Serena Ryder

  • the Fembots

  • the Constantines

  • K-os

  • Danko Jones

  • Ron Sexsmith

  • K'Naan

  • All of these have come out of Toronto, and the list could go on for awhile, then I could make another list of good bands that are currently on their way up in Toronto (that list would be even longer.) It is not that Toronto doesn't support local talent - we most certainly do. It's that Toronto doesn't care about vacuous, plastic talent shows.

    As I said John Brunton does not care about music, or Toronto, he cares about ratings. Canadian Idol is not about musical talent, it is not about a music career. It is about pop stardom, a popularity contest where naive young people who think there is a shortcut to rock star status can grab 15 minutes of fame one summer before they are forgotten like a fast food dinner and I, for one, am happy that Toronto doesn't care.

    Wednesday, June 27, 2007

    Feel the Heat, on Friday morning:

    If you live in Toronto you've been feeling the heat for a few weeks now. But, if you're concerned about why, and/or concerned about it getting still hotter - CBC's new Global Warming Show "Feeling the Heat" premieres this Friday at 9:30 am.
    Feeling the Heat is a new CBC Radio program, hosted by Ian Hanomansing, that inspires Canadians to get serious about the environment - and shows them how do it. Feeling the Heat will air across Canada Fridays at 9:30 a.m. on CBC Radio One, starting June 29
    There is no word yet on a podcast (though this one should definitely be on the list), and very little info on the CBC website but it's definitely worth giving the show a shot if you're near a Radio Friday morning.

    Subliminal Messages from CBC News?

    Tony Burman has already announced his imminent departure under curious circumstances . So, I was reading his CBC Inside Media blog and couldn't help but wonder...given the CBC's ever increasing appetite for ratings, and ominous new consultant hires, is Tony trying to tell us something?
    "..I agree it’s undeniable that, for many, the over-the-top coverage of Paris Hilton — a young woman known for nothing other than her “well-knowness’ — has become the latest metaphor of a news media spiralling downward into a sewer."

    Friends of the CBC: Update

    Just an update, I've said that my next project will involve tax relief for artists and content creators and that still holds. This one doesn't really count as next because the Friends of the CBC is something I started a long time ago on Myspace and more recently on Facebook.

    This is more of a rededication of the idea. Complete with it's own subdomain and a intro that reads:
    As a Canadian you own a national television network, two national radio networks, one of the deepest and most visited web sites in the country, one of the worlds most respected news agencies, a couple of cable channels and half of a satellite radio provider. Whether you like them or not you are paying for them.
    If you want a Canadian national public broadcaster – to promote Canadian ideals, values and talent and to facilitate our ‘national town hall meeting’ – to inform, enlighten, discuss, debate and entertain then it is your responsibility to make sure the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation remains strong, well funded and independent. It is also your responsibility to make sure that your national public broadcaster is performing the way you want it to.
    Like a shareholder in a corporation you have to stay vigilant and make sure that the company is acting in the best interest of the shareholders, that they are providing a valuable service, and meeting the expectations of customers and shareholders and that they are doing all of this in a socially responsible manner.
    By becoming actively involved in the CBC, keeping up to date on the politics surrounding it, speaking up for it when it is threatened (from within or without) you will help ensure a strong, high quality, independent and indispensable Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for generations to come.
    Please pick your method: Whether it is Facebook, Myspace, or the Google Group and join the Friends of the CBC.

    Breaking into the Ad World

    Ok, so every good campaign needs a commercial, so breaking my lifelong boycott of audio and video editing (more just something I'd never done, but boycott sounds more dramatic and I dunno...commercial) I made one for the R3TV Campaign - enjoy!

    Zeke's Gallery Update

    Updating the story on Zeke's Gallery - a Quebec blog that was shut down for reporting something that had been reported by other news outlets: Rec'd today on Facebook

    I realized that I have been tardy in keeping everyone appraised of what is happening with regards to the Zeke's Gallery blog (and by extension Zeke's Gallery). Apologies, but I took advantage of the long fete Saint Jean weekend and didn't do bupkiss.

    In a nutshell, it is more of the same until at least September 6, 2007.

    In more detail, the temporary injunction (aka the safeguard order) is in effect unchanged until the next scheduled court date. Apparently on September 6 we are supposed to have a hearing on whether or not I did in fact libel and defame Pierre Antoine Tremblay, along with a decision on the permanent injunction, the contempt of court charges and how much I owe him in damages, if the judge decides that I am the bad guy.

    On the 21st of June he tried to amend and expand his initial request to prevent me from talking about him anywhere (Radio, TV, other websites, email messages, in discussions with newspaper reporters, friends, family and just about any other means he could think of). The judge declined to amend it.

    However he did increase his request for damages to $60,000, a 140% increase from his initial claim of $25,000. I would venture a guess that come September it will increase once again.

    As you might know, the blog has gone dark. Due to the vague nature and foreign language of the temporary injunction (aka the safeguard order) I thought it best to take everything off the blog. As the temporary injunction (aka the safeguard order) is in effect without any changes until September 6, 2007 I think it best to keep everything off of the blog. Contempt of court is a very serious charge.

    Beyond that, I was turned down for legal aid (although on the bright side, I can appeal the decision) but I do have legal representation, I just don't know how I am going to pay the bill.

    If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask, although it might take me a little bit of time to respond, and if you would like to read an outside opinion on what happened please read Steve Faguy's blog:

    Thanks tons!

    Monday, June 25, 2007

    Canadian Cultural Exports Drop

    According to Statistics Canada Canadian cultural exports have dropped in 2006 to their lowest level since 1999.

    Some of the findings in the report:

  • "Canada imported $3.9 billion worth of culture goods from the world, a 3.2% decline from 2005. At the same time, exports fell 12.7% to $2.1 billion, the third consecutive decline."

  • "The trade deficit with the United States, Canada's largest trading partner, expanded by $236 million to nearly $1.2 billion. This was the result of a 12.4% fall in exports, which far exceeded a 0.9% decline in imports."

  • "For the last six years, imports of culture goods from China have been the second largest, after the United States. In 2006, imports from China increased 5.9% to $295 million, while exports to China rose 3.9% to $13.8 million. Almost half of Canada's imports of culture goods from China were printed books."

  • "In 2006, exports to the United Kingdom dropped by almost $31 million from 2005. The value of exports of video, other printed material, newspapers and periodicals, and photography recorded the largest decline. Exports of culture goods to the United Kingdom nevertheless remained the second largest for the seventh consecutive year. Canada exported mainly books and videos to the United Kingdom."

  • Yet another reason why we need to stand up for Canadian artists and content creators - more specifically, I think this will be a good start. More to come soon.

    Saturday, June 23, 2007

    Smallest Hidden Camera: Better Video

    I blogged recently about the Guelph Hidden Cameras show and posted some really bad video of a little girl who worked her way onto the stage to play with the band. Now mom has posted some much better video of Nora (that apparently is her name) and the Cameras - Thanks Mom!

    Friday, June 22, 2007

    Great Canadian Music Videos - Part 2

    Check The O.R. - Organized Rhyme

    We're all aware of Tom Green's unique sense of humor. However, one of Green's talents that tends to go unnoticed is his hip hop rhyming skills. For a guy from the suburbs (Orleans to be exact), he can hold his own. I've seen him freestyle with a couple of artists and he's pretty good.

    By the way, Tom's the guy wearing the Sens hat.

    Up Next: A Break For Artists and Content Creators

    Things have been busy here, the R3TV Campaign is going strong, I'm still tweaking the site since the overhaul, and I've been doing some things that actually pay money as well. But, following a conversation I had last week, I think I know what's next.

    Artists and content creators who decide to remain in Canada have a rough go of it. Canada is, in itself, a highly competitive market. Add to that the Geography problem. For an artist from Halifax to become well known in Vancouver takes alot of expensive travel, and/or a move. Then there is a neighboring country (won't name names) constantly flooding the market with cheap content.

    Canada does, and should continue to, subsidize Canadian content but I think it's time we subsidized the artists themselves. In Ireland certain artists are exempt from taxes. I'm not suggesting an identical model. For one thing Ireland has created a bureaucracy to decide what constitutes art - dangerous political territory that. I also do not think that the Avril Lavigne's and Shania Twains of the world should live entirely tax free. Rather, what I propose is a system where income (after related expenses) derived from art and content creation would be exempt from income taxes up to 50 thousand dollars.

    This would include visual art, performing arts, film, music, literature (and print publications in general) and even television, radio, and independent "amateur" media such as zines and podcasting.

    There is already a personal tax exemption in this country all I'm really suggesting is that we increase that exemption for artists in recognition of the difficulty in making a living in the arts and in Canadian content in general. This would, in my opinion, make it easier for artists and performers to make ends meet, would allow more artists to stop working a second or third job and focus on their creative talents and encourage more talented, creative people to remain in Canada.

    I hope to get this new campaign up and going soon to make sure there is plenty of time to get fully ramped up before the next federal election. If you have any comments, feedback or suggestions, please let me know.

    RoS get famous!

    Republic of Safety (who I personally only discovered recently), grabbed a small piece of the spotlight this week with their first ever magazine cover. The Toronto band grabbed the cover of Echo Weekly "covering the tri-city area of Guelph, Kitchener/Waterloo and Cambrige, Ontario" in anticipation of their upcoming show in Guelph.

    Thursday June 28
Kazoo music series
@ Ebar, 41 Quebec St.
Doors 9:30pm, $5/PWYC
with Brides (CD release) + ETAOIN SHRDLU

    You can hear RoS on their MySpace (where you can also download a few songs) or on New Music Canada.

    Thursday, June 21, 2007

    Seeking Writers

    The primary goal of this site is to promote Canadian content and most especially new and emerging Canadian artists from all fields. Sure, it also dabbles in politics, culture, and miscellany – but that is secondary.

    Given that, I still need more writers. Ideally I’d like to have more people from Toronto, as well as people from every region of Canada. I can’t be everywhere at once, especially if it involves a lot of Travel.

    The basic writers guidelines go like this:
    Write about whatever you want, whenever you want. There are no deadlines and no assignments. I want people to do what they already do and write about it. If you go to a show, hear a new album, see a new film etc., write about it. Go because you want to, not so you can write about it.

    The primary focus is, as I said above, Can con, but you are not limited by that. Write about what you do, what you like and don’t like, what you’re thinking about – whatever it may be.

    I should also mention here that artists and content creators are also more than welcome to write about what they do. I’d love to have in depth stuff about their lives and careers, but even if you just want to write to promote your work and that of your friends, that’s ok too.

    The only things that are not allowed are those things that will get me sued or the site shut down. So – no plajurism, copyright violations, hate speech, slander etc., - other than that you have free reign.

    If this is something you’re interested in please email me at if it not of interest to you, but you know someone who might be interested, please pass this note along to them. Please and thank you!

    Great Canadian Music Videos - Part 1

    1 2 3 4 - Feist

    This is an amazing video. One camera. One take. It reminds me of a big dance number you would see in a Gene Kelly/Astaire & Rogers film.

    Tuesday, June 19, 2007

    Tony Burman Departs CBC News

    This could be very bad news indeed. It was announced today that Tony Burman will be leaving CBC News. For those of you who don't know: Burman, Editor in Chief of CBC and 35 year veteran of the corp. has been a crusader for maintaining Journalistic credibility in an age where infotainment passes for hard news and CNN has sunk nearly to the level of the National Enquirer.

    This announcement seems particularly ominous given the CBC's recently announced hiring of a man "The Maggot"

    Frank Magid is called The Maggot in the United States because he is loathed and despised by pretty much anyone who wants to be, or is, a serious television journalist. He is loved by ratings-hungry station managers and blowdried airhead anchors.
    He's been around for a while. His contribution to the world in crisis is "Live Local Late Breaking." We used to chuckle at WKBW and the fires in Tonanwanda. Now Buffalo is going to be laughing about fires in Toronto, Trenton and Thunder Bay.

    Keep an eye on this one.

    Monday, June 18, 2007

    Quebec Courts Attack Free Speech

    Montreal blogger, podcaster and art gallery guy Chris Hand (aka Zeke of Zeke's Gallery) has had his blog shut down by court order. This was part of a law suit that also included 25 thousand dollars in damages, all for blogging about a story that was also covered by Radio Canada, the National Post and Le Devoir (amoung others).

    I do not know what, exactly, can be done - but this appears to be a direct blow to free speech in Canada - Zeke's Gallery still exists as a group on facebook. As I've said, I don't know what, exactly can be done, but I'd urge you to go there until we figure it out.

    This news came via Hugh McGuire and more information can be found on his blog.

    Corporate Responsibility , Unheard of Here

    Posted on behalf of Chris Allison President Cep Local 689 Miramichi ,New Brunswick

    It was only a few years back when UPM decided to cast their shadow of gloom on our town. Most felt comfortable with the fact one of the world’s largest forest enterprises took over our mills. Everyone was happy with the future of Miramichi. We soon found, this was all to change.
    I started in the mill in 1986 . We had our share of ups and downs in the industry as most industrys do. We survived through it though and always continued to operate. Back then we flew under the Repap flag. A wild spending company, that never hesitated to invest. But some bad investments caught up to the owner and soon hands were changed.
    Then UPM arrived in 2001. Within three months over 90 jobs were slashed in the mill. These positions both staff and hourly. We started thinking differently of our new owners. Their new approach was uneasy to accept ,but we had to move on.
    In September 2004 with one quick announcement, the company closed our Kraft Mill. The devastation would rock our community, 400 jobs in one swing. The reasons for the closure, we were told was “ market conditions” and the “ mill was to old”. Many, as I do, believe the kraft mill had many years left. But now it is gone. In April of last year, the company announced an investment of 325 million in its Kymi pulp mill their homeland of Finland. The pieces of the puzzle were starting to fit.
    A long 9 month strike in 2005 was then added to our resume. The company reduced capacity in the markets during the strike and increased prices. Profits multiplied across Europe, and UPM boasted about it. In the meantime us small town Canadians sat idle wondering where we stood in this monopoly.
    In December 2005 after the strike was over and all hoped life would return to normal UPM announced a 3 month closure for the Miramichi mills. From February till May we would sit idle again, bet a request was bestowed upon us. The company wanted a wage rollback of 5.5% , a two year wage freeze , elimination of 12 jobs and substantial production increases. In my mind I knew they wanted us to fail. The membership accepted with reluctance and production records were broken month after month after month.
    If this was not enough the dagger was then pierced in the hearts of all Miramichiers. The effects of globalization and corporate greed cast its head as UPM announced a 9 to 12 month closure for Miramichi. With it 600 more jobs to be lost. This slated to begin in August of this year. Odds of start up given to us were, 20% and no startup without investments. After all the employees had done, the company could not keep its end of the bargain.
    Investments here are nill compared to those overseas. The government has made offers ,but they have been shunned.
    The prices of coated magazine papers will be hoisted shortly. UPM will be requesting this from their customers. An overcapacity in their homeland of Finland has crippled the lives here in Miramichi. An overcapacity they wish not to deal with.
    Many will ask why the letter? Well, hopefully the Corporate Responsibility of the magazine producers in North America will kick in. We were once a major customer to Time Magazine, Avon, Cosmopolitan and many others. Those customers were filtered to other mills. We are slowly being erased from the UPM map. Impairment charges taken for the Miramichi mills have us worth nothing on UPM books. Please support our struggle here in Miramichi , New Brunswick. Thank You

    Chris Allison
    President Cep Local 689
    Miramichi ,New Brunswick Canada
    Ph 506-6223327
    An Open Letter

    May legions of angels surround you daily.

    Dear Ladies and Gents in Iraq and Afghanistan

    I am going to take a certain amount of comfort in thinking that if you are reading this letter, then maybe you are in a place of relative peace and security.

    My name is Margie and I live on the east coast of Canada and I am a mom and nanna. I am also just one of many many people around the world that worry and pray for you many times through the day. In fact some days it is so often I swear I can hear God say "Enough already. I heard you the first million times !" LOL

    I know that you all have seen the protesters in the media but it seems the ones that get the most coverage are those that point fingers at you the troops. The ones that say you had a choice to say no and you could have refused to go to war. Please do not take their thoughts and words to heart for they do not know seem to understand how serious was your committment when you swore an oath. In fact some think that I am nuts when I tell them I am in awe of the courage each of you have shown to honour that second part of your oath where you vowed to obey the leader of your country.

    There are far more protesters like myself and we do not miss an opportunity to lend our voice against these same leaders who have put you in this war. It is they who are wrong and not you the troops but it seems that we garner less media coverage.

    I am in total awe of the bravery you show each day. I cannot even imagine what it is like to wake up and find oneself in the midst of such horror and violence. An enviroment where your very life and that of your comrades depends on being able to discern who is the enemy which has to be pretty tough when I see photos of kids no more than 10 or 12 holding guns; where the "norm" is kill or be killed. Indeed I pray for your physical protection but, more so I pray that your hearts and spirits can be protected when it is seared with the excruciating pain of seeing a brother in arms injured or killed. That your mind can be helped to deal with the nightmarish sites that you must witness day in and day out, especially when you have to deal with the death and maiming of the innocent citizens.

    When the pain becomes too great, go deep within yourself to find that core part of your being where the love for your family, friends, and country still burns strongly; be assured that spot is still there but you have buried it for protection. Go there every chance that you can and warm yourself by that flame of love and allow your heart and spirit be washed and healed in this love and the love that God Himself sends.

    I keep your family and friends in my prayers. That they too have angels to lift them up and comfort them while they await your safe return.

    As always I pray that vast legions of angels are dispatched your way today and everyday. Be aware of them for they are there to protect you, and if you allow them, they will comfort you and use their wings absorb your pain and tears.

    I want you to know that each of you is loved and supported by far more people than you can imagine~ people who feel total pride for what you must do and hold you in the highest regards for your display of courage and bravery.

    The HUGEST of Canadian *HUGS*

    Hidden Cameras - Guelph part II proportional representation

    At the Hidden Cameras merch table, amoung the cds and t-shirts were brochures for the Ontario Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform. During the show the Camera's Maggie MacDonald called this the 'quietest referendum in history'. She pointed out that in 2003 the Liberals managed to score 72% of the seats in the Ontario legislature while getting only 46% of the vote. (Note that the headline of the page that links to says 'Liberal Landslide' - when it wasn't even a majority of the vote) The Citizens Assembly recommendation is meant to fix that and you will get to vote on it in October.

    So, what exactly are they proposing? You can read all about it on their website but I'll try to summarize:

    If this system is adopted, when you go to vote you will get one ballot but will check two boxes. One for the candidate of your choice (as always) and one for the party of your choice.

    Before the election each party will nominate a province wide list of candidates in the order it wants them elected. Before the election parties must submit their lists and "details on how they developed them" to Elections Ontario. These lists will then be published widely so that you can read the lists before you vote.

    90 MPPs would then be elected in local ridings (the same way they are now) and 39 members would be elected based on party vote. The number of seats each party received would be based on the percentage of the total provincial vote by party. So, you could vote (for example) for a liberal candidate locally, but the NDP by party - if the NDP received 20% of the vote on the party side of the ballot they would then recieve 20% (8) of the 39 party vote seats. Starting at the top of the Candidates list mentioned above the first 8 people on the list who were not elected in their ridings would be given seats.

    It seems to me that this creates a far more fair and balanced system and works to bring 46% 'landslides' back down to earth. So, on October 10 get out and vote your conscience on this (in this case your conscience says yes). And in the event that this is, in fact, the 'quietest referendum in history' - I'm putting a link to it on the sidebar until October!

    the Hidden Cameras in Guelph

    Saturday Night I had the good fortune to see the Hidden Cameras in a small church in Guelph with just a few hundred other souls in attendance. If you haven't seen them yet, go - because I swear "gay church folk music" is good for you.

    Despite the smallish crowd the Cameras put on a huge show. Uplifting, energetic and highly theatrical. Throughout the show there was a pervasive feeling that everyone in attendance was part of something and that the people on stage (although having more fun than anyone) were merely conducting - directing the rhythm and energies of the party.

    At alot of shows I've seen the people on stage, even at small shows, seem separated from the audience. They've already adopted their rock star persona and while you can watch and appreciate their abilities they are removed from you. With the Hidden Cameras there is none of this. Everyone is a participant, everyone is (for a little while at least) part of the group.

    I have to apologize in advance for the quality of the audio and video on this. I only had a cell phone to work with and that in less than ideal conditions. It is necessary that I include it though, to demonstrate my point above. When a toddler found her way on stage in during the show, rather than being ushered back to her parents she was put to work, playing with the band for the remainder of the show (she even remained sitting, tapping on the xylophone after they had left the stage.

    For more info on the band you can visit there you can also sign up for their mailing list "the Mild Mannered Army" here.

    Saturday, June 16, 2007

    Busy Weekend

    I won't be on much this weekend. Tomorrow is (obviously) father's day and tonight I'm going to see the Hidden Cameras in Guelph - were I not doing that I might be going to Wonderclock - sadly I only found out about this yesterday and plans were already set:
    Hosted by The Shanks. A mind-blowing, genre-mashing event of epic proportions... loud rock, astronomy lectures, flaming mutton carcasses, cold beer, free verse, dangerously large fires and home-style law enforcement. Not for the faint of heart.

    Infotourist is one of many bands that are going to be there. We're on around 8 PM. $10 to attend, with proceeds going to Crohn's Disease and Colitis research. Bring all of your any-aged friends and a really big tent. By all indications, this event will reach "hootenanny" status. Infotourist strongly encourages you not to miss this.

    Still, if anyone isn't doing any of this and needs something to do, here an easy few minutes procrastination for you.

    Thursday, June 14, 2007

    Stay in Nashville; Avoid Hamilton

    The City of Hamilton does not deserve an NHL team.

    I have nothing against the city. It's a nice place with a rich history and some of the most passionate football fans in this country. However, it would be wrong for the Nashville Predators to move to a city that does not even support their current professional hockey team.

    This year, the American Hockey League's Hamilton Bulldogs averaged only 4900 fans at each home game. The arena, Copps Coliseum, can hold up to 19,000 fans. 4900 out of 19,000? That is horrendous.

    The Bulldogs aren't even a bad hockey team. They won the league championship last week. To make matters worse, the final game of the AHL's Calder Cup, which was played in Hamilton, had a paid attendance of 14,205. The local team wins the league title and their are about 5000 empty seats? That is embarrassing.

    How can a city that barley supports their minor league team, be worthy of a major league team?

    If the citizens of Hamilton were true hockey fans, they would support their local team regardless of the league the team is affiliated with. The city of Hamilton has not earned the right to have an NHL team. The only way they could earn such a right is by supporting the Bulldogs and showing the NHL that they are loyal hockey fans. The citizens of Hamilton have not done this.

    Sure, a number of people may have put down deposits today for "Hamilton Predators" tickets. But how many of those deposits are actually from Hamiltonians? I have a good feeling that the majority of deposits given today were from fans outside the Hamilton area; namely fans from Toronto and Buffalo.

    If I'm running the NHL, I would seriously consider blocking the sale of the Nashville Predators to Jim Balsille and any subsequent move to Hamilton. If Hamiltonians refuse to support the Bulldogs, they don't deserve the Predators. Privileges are not given, they're earned.

    Unfortunately, in reality, money has more value then public support. If the NHL believes that moving the Predators to Hamilton will lead to a large profit, then they will ignore the city's abusive relationship with the Bulldogs.

    New Toolbar

    Now that the site has been redone, I've also upgraded the toolbar - you can keep up with virtually all of the sites content - blogs, podcasts, links etc., all from your web browsers toolbar (IE and Firefox) and, if you call right now, I'll throw in a mini-radio with CBC 1 and 2 online feeds - again, right on your browsers toolbar.

    I've taken a couple of stabs at creating a bulletin board on this site - for the most part they have been underused (except by porn spammers who seem to find them useful). So, rather than try that again I'm simply going to endorse and use this one (please see shiny new link in right hand column).

    I stumbled across on Facebook and it seems to be something I can happily endorse. is an open, diverse and nonpartisan website where members from across the country can examine and discuss the issues that matter to them from a Canadian perspective. We exist because we know that Canadians care about their media, and we believe that coming together to talk about it is the first step to creating real change.

    I certainly believe that Canadians have lost site of the fact that we own the Media - mainstream and otherwise. We own the airwaves - including satellite, broadcast and other wireless frequencies, and lease them to companies who are supposed to 'serve the public interest'. We may not outright own the cable and telephone lines, but they were heavily, heavily publicly subsidized and could certainly be nationalized with cause. On top of that we heavily subsidize broadcasters - the CBC obviously, but private broadcasters also received hundreds of millions in subsidies and we heavily subsidize production (including foreign production that takes place in Canada.)

    So, again, we own the media in Canada outright and if it is not doing what it is supposed to - "serving the public interest" then we must step in and enforce our authority. That, however, is my opinion - please visit and add your .02 as well.

    Wednesday, June 13, 2007

    The CBC goes to Barrie?

    It is not suprising the the commecial radio stations in Barrie, Ontario do not want the CBC coming in. After all, Canadians have a strong attachment to the CBC, the CBC is commercial free and in a small (but growing) market CBC Radio can be hard to compete with.

    I should state at this point that I am not from Barrie, and that the decision is and should be left up to the local residents. Having said that, If I were from Barrie this would be a no brainer for me. Sure, adding another local radio station would be a good thing, especially a station of the quality delivered by CBC. Ultimately though it is about insurance.

    For years people predicted that TV would kill radio. Those people were wrong but now there is an opponent coming that may very well kill local, commercial radio - namely Internet Radio. Satellite radio really isn't a threat. It is with some sadness (because I know people who have jobs in that area) that I say that Satellite radio is, if not doomed, at least playing to a fairly narrow market.

    People can already get podcasts, music, television and movies on their cell phones. Very soon they will be able to get Internet radio streams on their phones as well. This will be the turning point for over the air, commercial radio and for the satellite variety as well.

    This MIT site lists over 2500 current internet radio streams. That is not all of them and there are more coming online every day. So, when people have access to thousands of radio stations from around the world - at home, in the car or out walking about how do you compete? That is the question that will be facing satellite radio (which asks you to pay $15 a month for 100 stations) as well as local radio, commercial and otherwise.

    So, back to the original point: According to counsellor Michael Prowse
    “I’m not opposed to the CBC, but I do feel that we currently have several privately owned/operated radio stations currently servicing the city, and I would not want to be seen as supporting a corporation paid for by taxpayers over the private operators who do not operate using tax dollars.”

    Those tax dollars are exactly the point. It is those tax dollars that would allow a CBC station in Barrie to operate even if it was not profitable to do so. If I lived in Barrie I would want to insure that there was at least one local radio station on the air. Is it fair to the commercial operations? Maybe not, but progress is not always fair. The commercial stations do not own the airwaves, they borrow them from the public (the owners) to provide a service because they believe they can make a profit. The public airwaves are supposed to be used in whatever way best serves the owners (you) - and ultimately it is in the interest of the owners that local radio be available to them. That is why they need the CBC (after all, they are already paying for it.)

    What Is Net Neutrality?

    From Michael Geist and The Canadian Research Alliance for Community Innovation and Networking (CRACIN) the new From What Is Net Neutrality just launched.

    If you don't know what Net Neutrality means, it is the single most important issue facing the internet and ultimately the most important issue with regard to the future of media (Canadian and otherwise). The million channel universe is here, but what happens with Net Neutrality will determine whether viewers/listeners/surfers decide what is successful, or whether those with the most money can simply buy their way to the top. You should definitely give the new site a look.

    If you already know what net neutrality is, bookmark it so that you can help explain it to others.

    Tuesday, June 12, 2007

    And Now For Something Completely Different, It's...

    Well, ok, not completely different but: When originally began there were (at least compared to now) only a handful of podcasts and regularly maintained blogs out there. I tried, for a time, to keep up with it all, but there is simply too much. So, in the new version I've tried to provide a good sampling of some of the better Canadian blogs, and pod-casts out there. These combined with the links section will at least provide a good start to anyone who is looking for good Can-Con.

    I will try to keep these sections updated, give them a little spit and polish once in awhile, but again - the goal now is a good sampling, not anything all encompassing. Of course this site will continue to evolve, as it has all along, but for now I'm going to try and focus on the goals that inspired me to create the site in the first place, namely: the promotion of Canadian content and the people who make it.

    I also hope to make it more proactive in pursuing the above-mentioned goals with things like the r3tv campain currently underway.

    As always, anyone is welcome to get involved and participate. Enjoy and let me know what you think. Oh and there are going to be some bugs to work out for a few days, hang in there.

    Monday, June 04, 2007

    The Next Round

    I sent out a message a few days ago on Facebook about this, but for those not on Facebook (or who just didn't read it): I'm getting ready for yet another incarnation of If, after reading this, you have questions or suggestions please pass them along.

    Again, I am paring it down. When the site first started people were all over blogs and podcasts. There are still many who are, but for the most part people don't look very hard to find new ones anymore. As a result people don't dig very deep in the website and alot of the 'channels' have little traffic. While I am paring the site down, I will - for the time being at least, leave those feeds with active subscribers up - I simply won't be maintaining them anymore.

    Rather than elaborate on what's going, I'll tell you what's coming (or staying) and let you do the math otherwise.

  • Hype will remain, but it will be moved to the front page and will simply be It will be the first thing people find when going to the site. Also, rather than do the 13 individual spotlights, I'll simply post stuff to the blog as I find it.

  • The Public Broadcasters list is also staying.

  • Can Blogs will be the best blogs from around the country on a variety of topics. I lean heavily toward arts and culture but there will also be politics and other topics. I am limited to 100 for this, so it won't be easy to decide.

  • Can Casts will be the same as above except it will be for audio and video podcasts again it is limited to 100 but now, finally, I will be able to include CBC blogs and podcasts as they appear to have changed their rules in this regard.

  • News will be added to the site which will be, simply for convenience, the latest headlines from a variety of sources covering national and international news, arts and culture, politics etc., - again these will not be blogs, but standard news feeds.

  • the Band Blogs, Podsafe MP3 and Art Galleries will all still be around too.

  • the newly revamped links section will still be around and will be regularly added to to help people find what they are looking for (especially those people who do still want to dig for more blogs and casts (God bless you.)

  • Doing all of this will make the site more useful for more people, will bring more traffic to the content that remains and will allow me more time to do things, including blog and run micro-campaigns such as the current R3TV campaign. It is my hope that we can start doing more of these and take a more proactive approach going foreward.

    Again, looking forward to hearing your thoughts on things.

    - J

    Sunday, June 03, 2007

    Never Rub Another Man's Rhubarb

    I saw this on The Hour and had to post it:

    This is Heath Ledger as The Joker in the upcoming Batman film, The Dark Knight.

    This looks awesome! I was already going to see The Dark Knight, but now, I'm really excited about it. It looks as though director Christopher Nolan has captured the true characteristics of The Joker.

    Cesar Romero's version was goofy. Jack Nicholson's version was insane. Heath Ledger's version looks psychotic. That's how The Joker was portrayed in the comics; a vicious sociopath who kills people and enjoys doing it.

    You have give credit to Ledger. He has some big shoes to fill. Let's face it, Jack was phenomenal. No matter what Ledger does (apparently, he's based The Joker on the characters from A Clockwork Orange), he's going to be compared to Jack. Some will say he wasn't as good as Jack. Others will say he was as good as Jack. I wonder if anyone will have the stones to say Ledger was better then Jack.

    Speaking about The Joker, how cool would it be if Jennifer Tilly was brought in to play Harley Quinn?

    Finally, here's a neat website related to The Dark Knight:

    Don't be fooled by what you see. Go to "Edit" and click on "Select All."