Monthly Archives: June 2016

Brexit and the Politics of Irrationality

The intrigue of the #BREXIT vote June 23rd took me on a search for blog posts about the vote and views from those that are going to be most impacted by the outcome – whatever it will be.

I found this from blogger Neil Schofield and his blog “Notes from a Broken Society”. Schofield is a former Labour Candidate in Brighton and Hove City Municipal 2015 elections.  Make sure you click the link to read the entire blog post.


“Strip away the sonorous rhetoric of nationhood and bogus history, and you have the neoliberal project at its purest and most explicit… Behind every populist assertion of Britishness stands a smiling Old Etonian with an offshore account.”

via Brexit and the Politics of Irrationality — Discover

Living the Dream (part II)


This weekend marks the end of a chapter. I am in Toronto to pass on my keys, ID and Blackberry that I had used since May 2015 when I joined the staff in Patrick Brown’s office in Queens Park. Not only do I hand over these items at Queens Park, but I am also closing up the 225 sq. feet that was home since last July last year. It was an important part of my #LivingtheDream (See the post “Transitioning to the Dream” June 6 2015) and the growth I have had in the past year. As odd as it seems that I mention growth, but it is true that growth happens at any age – old dogs do learn new tricks.

In the past year I learned that something I thought I loved doing was really something I really did love doing. To be able to turn an interest into a career is something everyone should be able to experience at least once. I am lucky to be able to say I have done that twice. The first occasion happened back in 1984 when I signed on to work in Stratford at CJCS 1240 first as a swing announcer before leaving in ’90 as the Afternoon Drive Announcer. Those 4.5 years produced friendships I maintain today.

It seems the jobs where the hours are as endless and the money does not always equal the energy are the ones we cherish the most.

The past year has allowed me to be closer to my parents and family and to enjoy many family occasions. I think back to Friday BBQ’s when I stayed in Burlington for a month, Christmas music service at the Church I attended as a youth, birthdays and chance to reconnect with high school friends.


Now on to Dream #2, the reason(s) I am back on Ottawa – Parliament Hill and looking at opportunities that first led me to Queens Park a year ago. But being back home also means that some challenges re-emerge, staying connected with my parents through distance and making the trips back to the GTA more often to see my family. I also think of challenges of being back home: NOT working 12-13 hours a day getting home alone because there is someone special there with you, being able to sleep in and choose not to do chores until the next day because it is only you.

There are things being left behind (besides family I talk about above): great restaurants, Liz coming to Toronto for a ‘tourist’ weekend and the very talented people at Queens Park that taught me what I know today. To be able to work with these smart young people gave this old dog some new tricks to take back to Ottawa – all these things will stay with me. Those that are able to work in government in legislative buildings all make the same comments – they are magical places to work and the honour and history of these buildings is felt every single day in every hallway you walk down.

But it is yet another transition, who is to say I won’t be back at Queens Park and write about Dream #3.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at

More than a coat of paint

Coat of Paint

Two years into its mandate it won on June 12 2014 the Ontario Liberals are seeking a reprieve on their performance. A cabinet shuffle is imminent. Three cabinet ministers have indicated their preference to leave now and according to the Premier, it is time for a reset. I would say that with an approval rating of 20% it is time for than a reset – it is time for an overall.

Between the OPP investigations, a disastrous green energy plan, ineffective ministers, out of control spending, increasing hydro rates and a healthcare system that is struggling to meet the needs of todays Ontarians a cabinet shuffle will not solve the problems. The change that is coming only puts a new face to the same old problem that this Wynne government is out of touch with the voters.

Ontario is struggling in key areas that voters rely the government to be on top of. Through the rest of the month June I will be looking at five areas and how the Ontario government’s actions are affecting voters. I will be posting separately on the following topics:

  1. Healthcare

Hospitals are crying for funding while having to balance budgets after five years of no increases from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

  1. Energy/Hydro

Between Bob Chiarelli and Glen Murray these two Minsters have devastated Ontario’s economy by bloating the cost of everything in this province.

  1. Education

We spend almost one third of the Ontario budget on education, are we getting our money’s worth?

  1. The economy/The Debt

$1 billion a month is spent on debt payments, balancing a budget is one thing but reducing the debt is something that this government has yet to tackle. The $1 billion will only grow as interest rates rise.

  1. Taxpayers burden for the sins of this government

This government has been taking from taxpayers so often that it’s hard to recall anytime the government gave the taxpayers a break

So as Ministers Meilleur (Attorney General), McMeekin (Municipal Affairs and Housing) and Sergio (Senior’s Issues) leave cabinet, they can sigh (with relief?) as they head to the back benches or as in the case of Meilleur, home with a by election in Ottawa Vanier expected to be called at the same time as Scarborough – Rouge River following the fleeing from the Liberal caucus by Bas Balkissoon last month.

UPDATE: Sunday June 12th, Jim Bradley, Minister without Portfolio and Chair of the Cabinet stepped down from the cabinet and in return he will be come the Chief Government Whip a position currently held by Ottawa-Orleans MPP Marie France Lalonde.  This move of Bradley’s guarantees the Lalonde will be moving in the Cabinet to a full Minister portfolio when Premier Wynne announces her “Summer Shuffle”.

A mid-term cabinet shuffle will put new faces front and centre, but what ever is ailing Wynne and company requires more that just a coat of paint.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at

Fare Thee Well Muhammad Ali – Fare Thee Well Champ — The Immortal Jukebox

We lost `The Greatest` almost a week ago.  Today I am sharing this post  from blogger The Immortal Jukebox.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


Regular readers of The Jukebox will know of my lifelong love and admiration for Muhammad Ali. Tens of millions of words will be written about his legendary life and career. Below is the heartfelt, unfiltered, outpouring of a devotee whose life was immeasurably enriched by the great man’s life. As usual the music I have […]

via Fare Thee Well Muhammad Ali – Fare Thee Well Champ — The Immortal Jukebox

Three Races

There are currently three ‘National’ political leadership races underway. Each has its own narrative in the early months of the process.


The Conservative Party of Canada came out of a weekend convention the last weekend of May and gave the first three contestants plenty of airtime to discuss the early stages of their campaigns and to tell their story and why they are running to be only the 2nd leader of the CPC. It has been a pretty tame race until this week when Maxime Bernier threw down the first major policy platform – the end of supply management for dairy, chicken and egg producers. Bernier called it a subsidy being paid for by 35 million Canadians. It’s a pretty intense subject in the farming community especially since the Federal government has yet to ratify the recently negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership. The announcement came just two days before a major convoy of Quebec dairy farmers came to Parliament Hill to protest in favour of supply management and Quebec dairy concerns. When Bernier was asked what he thought his leadership rivals would say of his announcement and supply management, Maxime asked the reporter to make sure he asked Michael Chong and Kelly Leitch that question to start the debate. As of now, neither Chong nor Leitch have made any public comments.

The CPC membership meanwhile waits and bides its time waiting for the party heavyweights to decide if they will challenge Bernier, Chong and Leitch for the Leadership to be decided in May 2017.


The NDP Leadership race created waves by who decided NOT to seek the top job of the party. Nathan Cullen, who came third in the leadership contest won by Thomas Mulcair, announced that he would not be running. Citing his young family, Cullen will focus on his real pet project – the electoral reform promised by Trudeau. He will lead the NDP into the committee and in the house to their preferred proportional representation model for electoral reform. No single person has announced the intention to take a run at the NDP Leadership. With a small caucus to draw from the list is going to be limited of who might go for it. Those who have publically stated anything about the Leadership include Quebec MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau. Two other names being bounced around from outside the federal scene are Mike Layton, Jack’s son, a Toronto City Councillor and perhaps a more intriguing person, Ontario NDP Deputy Leader and MPP Jagmeet Singh.   Having seen Singh work in Queens Park, I can say he is a smart, likeable, young, well-spoken and intelligent politician that would be able to bring a new young activism to the federal party.

UPDATE: Since I posted this on the weekend, Ontario MPP Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale-High Park) is set to announce that she will become the 1st official candidate to replace Thomas Mulcair as the Federal NDP Leader. Here is the link to the story posted in the National Post: Three Races



The 3rd National leadership race is that of the Parti Quebecois following the quick departure Pierre Karl Peladeau, members of the PQ will select their new leader October 7th. The PQ race is unlike the others because as of Friday June 3rd, thera are now five candidates, with Lawyer Paul St-Pierre Plamondon seeking support for bringing the party back to its roots of giving Quebecers a political party to call their own. He has written a book titled ‘Les orphelins politiques’. He joins Alexandre Cloutier , Veronique Hivon, Jean-Francois Lisee and Martine Ouellet in the hunt for the leadership.

The main platform that seems to reach us outside of Quebec is that of a referendum. Of the five candidates Ouellet is the only one calling for a referendum in the first mandate of a PQ government. Ouellet ran against Peladeau for the leadership in 2015 and finished third, Cloutier also rain in 2015, coming in second. Of all the five candidates, Plamondon is the only one that is not sitting in the Quebec National Assembly as a MNA. Lisee also sought the leadership last year but was unable to secure the signatures required to meet requirements to run. Veronique Hivon was the Minister in the Marois government responsible for bring in the assisted death legislation that is in place in Quebec. In that process she established a reputation of being able to reach across party lines to get support for the bill.

As the campaign approaches October 7th this leadership has the potential to have one or more out “Quebec” another as they attempt to be seen as the one to bring the PQ back to power to govern within a confederation or to govern as their own nation. I won’t want to try to call heads or tails on this, but it will be fun to follow and read.

There you have it, three different leadership races, and three races going at different speeds. Each has the chance to shape the national political landscape.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at

1578 / Alcalá de Henares / University — a fresh drawing everyday day

Just now at Universidad de Alcalá de Henares. Graphic Expression congress.

While I struggle at times to come up with a weekly post and relevant content, an example being this week as I missed my self imposed Sunday post deadline, I come across this guy named Hugo (I think) who does not post a word, but a daily sketch!  Pounding out a blog post can be sometimes a challenge knowing the busy lives we lead, but to commit to a drawing a day – that impresses me.

To read Hugo’s story, it started 5 years ago, as Hugo, who is a teacher, challenged his students to draw everyday.  They said he was crazy and to prove them wrong he started his blog – and this post is number 1578.  Let the beauty of this sketch and his 1577 others sink in and may they inspire you to be creative in your own way.

I am challenging myself to add more content and to share some great blog posts that I enjoy with you my readers.  So, I hope to add two posts a week – one original and one a reblog from the WordPress Reader.  It is my goal to be able by the end of the summer to add two original blogs posts and share one each week.  THREE post a week by the end of August.  I am going to be going through the WordPress Reader daily looking for great creative post to share.  If you have a WordPress blog you would like to share e with me, please do…I will share it be re-blogging it.

For now, enjoy Hugo’s sketch of the day, and tomorrow’s…


via 1578 / Alcalá de Henares / University — a fresh drawing everyday day