Political spam with a human face


Photo Credit/Grant Oyston

If you’ve ever been a member of a political party, or ever accidentally signed up for something that makes them want to think you could be, chances are you’ve gotten emails soliciting donations or volunteer time, perhaps “written” by the party leaders themselves.

That’s what our then editor-in-chief Yukon Damov was thinking when he responded to a message from former Liberal leader Stephane Dion entitled “Mulcair does not deserve to be Prime Minister.” The message criticized Mulcair’s opposition to the Clarity Act (which disallows provinces from separating from Canada with only a 50%+1 majority referendum result). In search of a story, Damov sent Dion a number of questions.

The now minister of foreign affairs did not disappoint in a response that asserted Liberals can “walk and chew gum at the same time” (in an attempt to criticize both the NDP and Tories). Dion’s answers, though carefully worded, were not free of “politicking.”

When Damov asked whether Dion agreed with the assessment that Mulcair had performed well as leader of the opposition, Dion gave a very qualified yes. In what could be seen as a nasty, or brilliant manoeuvre, Dion pushed Mulcair’s reputation into a one issue corner, saying of the NDP leader’s then reputation: “That is a completely different issue, that I would call ‘the Duffy-Wright-Harper debacle.’”

Repping Canada

the newspaper recently received a Facebook message from The Debating Society of Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology in New Delhi, India, inviting us to be “the International Representative of Canada” at their 2016 Debating and Literary Festival. While the exact nature of this event remains a little mysterious to us, it appears to be a large and successful festival with events ranging from model parliaments and UNs to comic book conventions.

Yukon, when was the last time you thought about toilets?

That was the subject line we got in an email from Paris Rouzati, a San Francisco blogger who describes herself as an “avid traveler, tea drinker, shoe lover, cinephile, Belieber, and techie.” This would make for a great story if she were all of those things yet was sending the email to announce the beginning of her Toronto plumbing startup (hey, maybe the shoes she loves are sewer boots). However, the email was actually about Jasmine Burton.

Burton is a so called “social enterpreneur” whose group Wish for Wash, on a more serious note, has developed a line of portable toilets for countries like Zambia, with limited access to quality sanitation infrastructure.

Smash the three party system!

If you’ve been to political debates in Canada, perhaps you’ve heard of Kevin Clarke. A former homeless man, Clarke is the leader of the People’s Political Party, a small organization with a vaguely left-populist image. Clarke has described himself as “Liberal, NDP, and Progressive Conservative” and indeed his style defies typical political categorizations. In a 2015 debate to be MP for Scarborough-Guildwood, Clarke argued he opposes marijuana legalization as he sees it as a tax grab. Instead, he advocates for decriminalization so that drug dealers, who as he points out are often fathers, are not driven towards dangerous criminal activities.

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