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Bruce Dowbiggin

Bruce Dowbiggin’s career is unmatched in Canada for its diversity and breadth of experience, with successful stints in television, radio, and print. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster

The Liberal big brother Is watching & the Usual Suspects

The never-ending quest to fulminate outrage in the United States of Bernie Sanders has many iterations. The most baffling, to Canadians at least, is the concept that showing photo ID before voting is all just a racist plot to suppress the black vote. In an Esquire piece by Charles P. Pierce entitled “North Carolina's Voting Laws Are Conspicuously Suppressing the Vote”, Pierce blames a George W. Bush-appointed judge for upholding a law that, he says, represses the black vote in the“consistently insane state of North Carolina”. All to solve “a virtually non-existent` problem”, claims Pierce. How was this insanity cultivated? By making citizens wear a yellow star? By holding elections in secret locations? By having militias beat up anyone voting the wrong way? Of course not. Pierce’s monumental grievance is the insistence that citizens produce an approved form of photo ID to vote in state elections. He cites tales of bureaucratic incompetence in recent elections to buttress his case. Pierce then applies the progressive conceit that it’s somehow harder for blacks to obtain a driver’s license or passport— the same IDs required to legally purchase liquor, beer or tobacco in the state. While Pierce alleges voting numbers from blacks don’t seem proportionate to their population in North Carolina, similar declines are not reported in the purchase of these products requiring photo ID. For Canadians who have used photo ID in elections, this outrage may come as a surprise. But the patrician attitudes of white Northeast U.S. liberals like Pierce in “protecting” rights of blacks or women or transgendered are essential to maintain their positions as the well-funded advance troops of enlightenment in the media. Pierce is particularly virulent about the judge saying that perhaps North Carolina has made progress in race relations the past quarter century. “The conservative movement has… Read More

Our out-of-touch media & the Usual Suspects

There are many theories for the success of socialist Bernie Sanders and populist Donald Trump in the current U.S. election cycle. But disgust over the status quo in media is a large part of the appeal. When Trump bullyrags about even FOX TV ignoring the public’s true interests, he’s hitting a nerve in the mainstream population. In Canada the architects of the NDP Leap Manifesto may be deranged, but they understand that they can safely make an assault on the priorities of the legacy media in Canada (or what’s left of them) and find a sympathetic ear. And polls back them up. Polls are malleable things. (They advertise their margin-of-error as three-to-five percent.) Yesterday’s big issue can become a non-issue in the blink of an eye. Some polls prove flat-out wrong. This past year, for instance, has seen numbers of Americans concerned about terrorism peak and then decline rapidly. But there are polling numbers that have achieved consistency in the public realm over time. In Canada, concern about the cost of living polled at almost twice the importance of environmental issues during the 2015 federal election. Those priorities are in line with polling over the years, if not with David Suzuki’s priorities. Likewise with issues in the U.S. Consider a recent FOX poll of likely American 2016 voters. The economy and jobs were by far the major issue for voters. The poll also showed just seven percent consider climate change their most important issue. Only two percent consider gay rights their top issue. That’s been a pretty consistent finding over time. Then why do media flip these stated priorities on their ear? Anyone watching national TV news in Canada and the U.S. might be surprised by this polling. Based on what they see or read about gay rights, climate change,… Read More

Ontario Liberals, public money, & the Usual Suspects

Visits to the Holy Land of southern Ontario are always instructive. Having lived there for almost 30 years it’s fun to go see pals like Steve Paikin, the non-pareil host of TVO’s The Agenda, to take the pulse of Toronto’s pearl-clutching elites. This visit coincided with the funeral for Rob Ford, who was made a non-person for trying to change the narrative as mayor of Hogtown. The other prevailing sentiment in Toronto as spring stubbornly refuses to arrive is the sobering realization that Kathleen Wynne is still in the saddle as premier of Ontario. That would be the same Kathleen Wynne the citizens of Ontario returned with a Liberal majority government in 2014. Buyers’ remorse is as deep as the snow this week. Ah well, you say, they’ve only discovered a bunch of truly nasty things since the election. They’d have never elected her if they'd known she’d make Ontario the most indebted non-sovereign government in the world (greater than even California!). Um… no. Ontarians knew all about the cronyism, record destruction, rent seeking, feather bedding and general Liberal incompetence even as they gave her the votes. The kick-the-can-down-the-road madness of delaying reality had been perfected by her predecessor Dalton McGuinty and polished to a fine sheen by Ms. Wynne. Anyone who says they weren’t warned is in a state somewhere between a coma and death. And yet they still elected her for another four years of deficit financing laughingly meant to stimulate the economy— but which ends up in another downgrading of the province’s abysmal credit rating. Why, you ask yourself? Why would sane people willingly tether themselves to the rail on the deck of the Pequod? Because it feels so damn good for the people of the TIFF to act smug and superior about their mastery of the… Read More

Rob Ford, RIP & the Usual Suspects

Now that former Toronto mayor Rob Ford is dead the same people who gave him no respite in life are the souls of compassion. There were pious invocations of his struggle against cancer and the unique bond he had with the people whom Toronto City Hall routinely ignores. The same media outfits that pursued him in helicopters, chased his car and peered into his private yard — in a way they’d never done to anyone else in public life before — are now empathetic. But in life, Ford represented a genuine threat to the enduring power and influence of Toronto’s beautiful people, those whose enlightened opinions are shaped at the patisserie section of Pusateris or in the pages of NOW magazine. It was imperative that he be crushed. When the posse gathered it had the media, arts community and political left firmly in the saddle. Ford did them a huge favour by having a private life that verged on Breaking Bad, a mixture of drugs, punks and people who were mysteriously found dead. The distractions allowed them to ignore the genuine populist movement Ford represented. It gave them an out. They took it like a wolf takes a lamb chop. It became bait-the-bear, treating Ford’s addiction issues like a Simpsons episode in both the Canadian and American progressive press. Oh, what fun they had mocking him and the people he represented, the schmendricks who are supposed to dutifully cough up their taxes and thank God for Kathleen Wynne’s beneficence. In time, they were able to turn the focus from the army of rent seekers and careerist bureaucrats who’d put the city into massive debt. Now it’s safe to come out of the progressive silos again. The bogey man is gone. The pitchforks of derision and the bonfires of scorn can… Read More

Comparing politics to sports & the Usual Suspects

In this season of elections — the Canadian federal just past and the U.S. presidential upcoming — it is deemed fashionable to compare politics and sports. Usually the TV political hacks employing the most creaking analogies — “He knocked that question out of the park, Anderson” — are people who have barely a passing acquaintance with sports. Not that they’re dissuaded from the whackfest. “Bret, the candidate with best ground game will win” “We need to blitz the voters and run up the score, Peter.” “It’s going to take a Hail Mary for Rubio to win now, Wolf.” Despite such tortured efforts in using sports to explain politics, there are stark differences between the two. 1) In sports, you are what your record says you are. In politics? Not so much. As NHL legend Patrick Roy once told a critical Jeremy Roenick, “I can’t hear Jeremy because my two Stanley Cup rings are blocking my ears”. That’s why a second Super Bowl was vital to Peyton Manning’s reputation. Close doesn’t count, but championships do. Yet Al Gore can dine out forever on the notion that he was robbed of the presidency, despite failing to carry his home state of Tennessee in 2000. Hillary Clinton is the latest manifestation of the hollow resumé that purports to be a beacon of success. And Justin Trudeau’s ski instructor/bouncer background qualifies as a robust record in political circles. And don’t fear for the precious political darlings in retirement. While you must collect trophies to have an afterlife in sports, a lack of accomplishment will be no handicap when you’ve lost your last election. See: Jimmy Carter. 2) At the end of the day, sports produces a result. Win, lose, or draw, you can rest at night knowing that the a result has been achieved.… Read More
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