What was Ford Fest really like and why are the Ford’s so popular?


image image image image imageSome of you might be aware, but I’m in Toronto. The reason I decided to come to Toronto was because of this Mayoral Election. I am fascinated by this Mayor race. Here is the biggest city in Canada, Toronto, with the most polarizing and possibly embarrassing Mayor in the world. At least, that’s the perception anyway.

I’m coming at this not from a specific side. Yes, I have a picture with Doug Ford. But, remember, I’m from Calgary. Meeting Doug or Rob Ford is a one of those once in a life time opportunities.

I am coming at this as an observer. An observer of the candidates, their policies and who would be the best Mayor for Toronto.

So, for this one, we are specifically going to focus in Ford Fest. The reason is this event was so controversial going into today. As well as what happened at the event.

First, some background. This us the 19th annual Ford Fest. This used to be an event they held in the Ford Family backyard. However, the event became so popular, that the now use a park in Scarborough. It averages between 10,000-15,000 people a year now.

The big controversy going into today about this event was that it was a subtle…..check that…. not so subtle way to campaign. There is a bylaw in Toronto that says election literature cannot be handed out in city or public.City Councillors and the other Mayor Candidates were insistent that the bylaw officers were watching that this would not happen.

However, this did not stop two Mayoral candidates from attempting to crash the festivities.

First,it was Karen Stintz. She walked into Ford Fest with someone with her campaign team wearing a “Karen Stintz for Mayor” T-Shirt. There were reports she was booed by the crowd. I didn’t see that. When she was asked by a member of the media about if the t-shirt infringes on the rules, her answer was,

“It’s just a t-shirt”.

Second was Sarah Thomson. She came in on a white horse,her campaign team wearing “Sarah Thomson for Mayor T-Shirts”

When she was asked by the media about this her answer was,

“No candidate wants to engage Ford head on. I like circuses. If Ford wants a circus, I’ll give him a circus.”

She was also booed. As well as told by a bylaw officer to leave.

Next was a group called #queeruption. There is a dispute of how many showed up, but there were confrontations between them and Ford Nation Supporters. There were reports of comments of “It’s Adam and Eve,not Adam and Steve”

There is also a picture of a man choking a #queeruption member.

These incidents certainly didn’t dampen the festivities.The park was filled with long lineups. Lineups for actual tickets to get food. Lineups for food.Lineups for Ice Cream. And of course,the lineup for the Fords.

I was walking around when suddenly, there was a loud shout!

“Four more years, Four more years, Four more years!”

It was Doug Ford.

Now, it was not easy to get that picture of that picture. He was surrounded with many people that wanted to get a picture with him. It wasn’t aggressive, but people were assertive. There was lots of people, but I have to day Doug was very patient with everyone. Yes, I know it’s an election year and he has too. But it’s worth saying that. He was dealing with both crowds and reporters at the same time.

Next, I tried to get a photo of Rob Ford. It was tough even to see Rob Ford, let alone take a picture. From what I saw, he looked happy. Certainly, the crowd was happy to see him.

Speaking of the crowd, there was a lot of conversation on Twitter about the crowd.I saw words like scumbag, unintelligent, homophobic, and embarrassing for Toronto.
The crowd I saw was peaceful. Other then the excitement of seeing the Fords, the crowd was listening to music, patiently waiting in lines, and having polite conversations. It was a diverse crowd. Lots of families. Lots of seniors. Some younger people. I would say it seems like more of a traditional crowd.Were they all Ford Nation supporters? Probably not. There were onlookers and some there for a burger. But they were not rowdy or out of control at all.

I also had the opportunity to speak to some people about the campaign. There was one non-supporter of the Fords She had a sign calling out the “Ford Gravy Train” as she called it.

Her point was that, yes Ford Fest was not a “campaign”. And the Fords are claiming they are footing the bill for this. But are they? Are they using campaign donations as they are claiming, or is this a taxpayer expense? This also happened in 2010.

What she also said is although the candidates are better than the campaign of 2010, there is no one that she felt was really an option.

I also spoke to a couple of Ford supporters. One had a Ford for Mayor sign. I said to him, I’m from out of town and I’m curious why.

He pointed out that under the previous administration, his property taxes went up total of 15 % over 4 years. Being a senior, he simply cannot afford that. He has health problems and a tax increase simply something he cannot handle.

It’s important to note as well, he said he loves the NDP. However, he has serious concerns about Olivia Chow’s economic policy.

He also pointed out that in spite of his vote for Ford in 2010, because as he pointed out” council didn’t want him”, they basically removed him from office. So, he asked what happens if he votes for Ford and Council won’t work with him?

He also shared with me a story about City Council. The neighbourhood he lives in is a seniors neighbourhood. He called the city to get the street cleaned.It couldn’t happen because “they could not afford it”.

“But yet they could have a $12,000 party?” He asked.

The Council comment was echoed by someone filming a documentary on the election.

“When Ford was Councillor, he would respond to concerns. No other Councillors did.

As far as his past indiscretions and issues, like using drugs and reports of crime involvement, there two responses from supporters were,

“We all have skeletons in our closet”

and

“What he does in his personal time is his personal time”

It seems that people love Ford’s just one of us approach. He goes to as many openings and events as possible. Time or travel so not an issue. He just does it.

Two things struck me observing this event If you remove the political perspective and personal issues of the Fords, it is impressive how well they engage the city. Think about it. This is an event that started in a back yard is now in a park closely observed, and crashed by opponents. Like them or not, they are doing something right.

The second thing that struck me is my Rob Ford news feed. While I see lots of anti-Rob Ford online, I find it quite interesting that there isn’t one candidate that has caught the imagination of the voter. This is proven by the current three way tie between Ford, Olivia Chow and John Tory.

Heading back home, I heard lots of feedback about the lack of organization of the event. They ran out of food and ice cream. It was not clear which line up was for tickets, food, or ice cream. But overall,the Ford Fest did not strike me as a group of “scumbags, unintelligent, homophobic, and an embarrassment to Toronto”

It struck me as a valuable lesson in showing that the value of actually engaging the city and taking time for people is always a good place to start winning elections.

Agree or Disagree:The Podcast-A preview of Upcoming Podcasts


http://www.spreaker.com/user/7021827/preview-of-upcoming-podcast-topics

A preview of upcoming Podcasts. Topics include

 

The Liknes/O’Brien case and the impacts going forward.

The Controversy between the Edmonton Public School Board and the Edmonton Pregnancy Care Centre.

How easy is it to date in Calgary?

An early look at the Mayoral Race in Toronto.

A new segment called Who’s Wins The Internet?
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Add Kevin Olenick on FB
Like Agree or Disagree:The Podcast on Facebook.

Agree or Disagree:The Podcast-An Early look at the #pcldr race.


 

http://www.spreaker.com/user/7021827/an-early-look-at-the-alberta-pc-leader-r

Click on the Link above to listen to Steven Britton and I take an early look at the Alberta PC Leader race and some of the stories around it. Topics include,

Alison Redford’s impact and what the PCS should be looking for.

Ric McIver and the decision to participate at The March for Jesus. As well as the impact of it.

Jim Prentice’s rather rough start to the campaign.

Thomas Lukaszuk solid campaign start.

A look at the Wildrose, NDP, and Alberta Party. As well as call out to the Alberta Liberal Party. Do they exist?

Follow @scbritton on Twitter

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@AorDThePodcast on Twitter

Like Agree or Disagree: The Podcast on Facebook
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Agree or Disagree:The Podcast-The Hobby Lobby decision.


 

http://www.spreaker.com/user/7021827/review-of-hobby-lobby-decision

Click above to the latest Agree or Disagree:The Podcast as we review the week involving the Hobby Lobby decision.

My guest is John. He is from California and has been following American Politics for some time. He also works in the pharmaceutical industry. We discuss the decision and the impact around it.

Topics include.

The Hobby Lobby decision.
A similar decision in the 1990′s involving the Payote decision.
What exactly are the medications involved in this decision? What are they used for?
Who are the Supreme Court judges?
What does Hobby Lobby mean when they live by Christian principles? What do companies mean when they live by Christian principles?
The impact of the decision going forward. Including a decision involving Wheaton College.
You can read that here.
http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/supreme-court-birth-control-wheaton-college-108567.html
What is going on with the Christian Right and the Republican Party? We also give a historical perspective?

John does not have a Twitter account. However he introduces us to a Craft Beer project he is involved in.

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@kevole
@AorDThePodcast

Add Kevin Olenick on Facebook
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You can also read this post http://kevinolenick.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/what-religlous-liberty-means-too-me-as-a-christian/

What Religlous Liberty means to me as a Christian.


 

 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fNYJHCxwx9E

The above video is from Barbara Green. She, along with her husband is the co-founder of Hobby Lobby.

For those of you that missed some of this, let’s catch you up. Hobby Lobby is owned by a Southern Baptist family. Specifically, the Green Family. They believe that their company should be ran on, their words not mine, Scriptural principles.

On Monday, the Supreme Court in the United States ruled that Hobby Lobby can opt out of covering specific types of contraception for employees because of religious reasons. It has opened up a whole debate on the impact of that. Some have been supportive, while others have some extreme concerns about this. Many feel the legal impact on this going forward on this will be setting some precedents. Incidentally, as of this writing, there are now religious groups petitioning the government it be exempt from hiring LGBT people. Here’s a sample article.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/religious-groups-lgbt-hiring-hobby-lobby

Now, I’m not going to speak specifically to the decision today. The reason is because we will be doing an Agree or Disagree: The Podcast on the topic. (Shameless plug)We will be speaking to an American who has been following the story closely.

What I do want to speak about is a theme in the debate that Mrs.Green spoke about. It has been a theme not only in this debate, but in other debates around the world. The term is called Religious Liberty.

There has been some interesting discussion around this term. Many on the religious side have argued about their religious rights being violated. The specific concerned seems to be Christians.

Well, I’m a Christian. I also work in the service industry.We have students with some various steps of morality and conviction.My job is to treat them with dignity. Equally. If I don’t, I don’t have a job.

Let me share a story with you. This will help explain my perception on religious liberty.

A number of years ago,there was a student that approached my desk. I wasn’t paying that close attention, but in a strong manly voice, the person spoke,

“Hello, how are you today?”

“Good” I said. I looked up. The manly voice looked quite different. The man was wearing a women’s dress, necklace, earrings, and makeup.

Now, I have to be honest. At the tIme, the transgendered group wasn’t a group of people I seen a lot of. They were not in my social circle. So, there was some shock to what I was seeing. However, something inside told me that this person was laughed at, picked on and belittled.

Today would not be that day for this person.

The person was in the process of having their records changed to her legal female name. I went to the back to get clarity on this process.

The person I spoke to explained to me the very difficult process mentally, physically , emotionally, and financially one has to go through in making this change. I learned a lot about the process and did my own research on the impact of it.

The “religion”in me could have said this was a sin. And living in Canada, I have the freedom to think that. However, with freedom comes responsibility. I also took the liberty to look closer and gain an understanding on the person, and the persons who make that decision or struggle to make it.

Religious Liberty isn’t the permission to shut people out because you don’t agree with someone’s “lifestyle”. Religious Liberty is the opportunity to speak into people’s lives in a way your God called you too.

With the same mercy, compassion, understanding, and grace your God has given you everyday.

Yes it’s a freedom. But it is also a responsibility too.

Religion our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress. And keep one polluted from the world.

James 1:27

 

Agree or Disagree: Equal Pay for Equal Work


It is somewhat strange too me that in 2012, we still bring this up.

Last night during the Presidential debate, there was a discussion about women in the workforce.

It was interesting to listen to some of the focus groups on MSNBC and CNN. While the general feedback from the focus group was that Romney was strong on the economy, he did not do well in women issues. It even came across from women who would vote for Romney.

As Chris Matthews from MSNBC asked, it is interesting that Romney never answered that question. Granted, Matthews is a Obama supporter.

So I ask you, what do you think? Is this a fair expectation. Not only for women, but for the overall work force?

Agree or Disagree: The criticism of Rona Ambrose for M-312


There has been much discussion and debate about the decision that Rona Ambrose to vote yes on Motion-312. I’m going to present two different views.

Here’s one from Beacon News. http://beaconnews.ca/calgary/2012/10/rona-ambrose-votes-yea-on-m-312-and-fires-up-her-critics/

And another from the Edmonton Journal. http://www.edmontonjournal.com/opinion/columnists/story.html?id=7317883

What are your thoughts?

Happy Anniversary: A reflection of 2 years of Agreeing or Disagreeing


I didn’t know what I was doing.

 I think it was a Friday. I was walking to the mall near my work for lunch.  At the time, it was my Friday tradition. I went to this place and ordered my lunch. She was a very friendly lady who knows what I want. I place my order, which follows with a payment. I’m fairly regular at this place and paid numerous times. But this time after I hit the Ok button on the debit machine, there was the next question.

 

Add Tip?

 

Add Tip? This is fast food. “What tip is worthy of this project?” I ask myself. It’s not like they are bringing this to the table. I will be carrying this to the table. Why should I give a tip? Does everyone get a tip?

 

I decided to take this to Facebook. Because Facebook has answers. Facebook is like Google, but different.  This is what I ask:

 

‘Agree or Disagree: You should give a tip for service’.

 

There was a bunch of comments. I was really surprised.

 

This is fun, I thought. Let’s try this again. I can’t remember the second topic, but I know I started it with an Agree or Disagree.

 

A bunch more comments.

 

I started doing this every day. People kept commenting.  People from different perspectives were talking to people they normally would not talk to. Usually, we are in our own bubbles with like-minded people. This was different. Christians from more of a conservative mindset, discussed with Liberals. And then others who would subscribe to something different or quite frankly didn’t care, chimed in. Often there were has been debates, discussions. But people started talking.

 

And still are.

 

That was two years ago. The truth is, I don’t have the exact date of when Agree or Disagree started, but in that time, there has been much that I have learned and observed from this process. I’d like to take the time to share about what I have observed.

 

For those who don’t know, I live in a city called Calgary. You probably are familiar with the Calgary Stampede. We have about a million people. It would be accurate to call this city a conservative city. Yes, there is money here. Generally, people are doing well. There aren’t a lot of waves to rock here. It’s comfortable. In my time specifically being involved in the Christian Community, I would generally say the Christianity mirrors the feeling of the city. Comfortable. However, I always think it’s good to look under the surface. There is what you see, and what you might miss if you look too quickly.

 

One of the first things I noticed is that I think that there are some real presumptions that many Christians have made about the “world” or the “secular”. The presumption at times is the “Non-Christians” have low morals or low values. Some Christians have went so far as to call them God-hating. I think from what I can see, these are dangerous presumptions. Having a faith or subscribing to a religion or not does not automatically assumes morals and values. It’s very clear that this is not the case.

 

At the same time, I think the same can be said by those who do not subscribe to a faith that those who do have not thought that their faith, values, and convictions through. You may not fully agree with some of the thoughts, but I think that generally there has been much thought and pondering on what they think. I can say that from the perspective, not just from the Christians, you read comments from. I have had a number of years of being involved with the church in Calgary, and I do think many have thought deeply about their view.

 

My experience with the church, particularly in Calgary, but in other places as well, leads to some comments I would like to make to Christians. I must admit part of this comes from a question that I was asked about my spiritual questions I have asked over time.

 

There is a real sense in Calgary that many Christians have readily accepted the teachings of the pulpit speaker without challenging or questioning. We have places that are very “hyped” with their worship. At times, it comes across like a cheerleading group that encourages people to be more happy than real. And what has followed is this has led to some accepting Bible messages or theories that are based on what everyone thinks. I have a practical example to share.

 

There was a service I was at a number of months ago where it appeared  that they were trying to grow limbs. How the speaker explained it was that most people had one part of their body shorter than the other.

After a long few minutes of his talk, he called people up to have this happen. Now maybe it’s my stand back nature, but this did not seem right to me. It was quite unsettling. Yet, they came up. Now I’m sure that someone felt that they had a miracle that night. I wouldn’t take that away. But in the back of my mind, I wondered how many people went up, because they wanted to be a part of the group. Or feel holy.

 

Yet, in the same breath, are the understated and the undercurrent of the church in Calgary. That is there has been some that have been deeply hurt by the church. And perhaps some have been hurt by people in a position of authority in the Church. When I say authority, I think of pastors, or spiritual leaders that some have felt they’ve taken advantage of their position. It has resulted in some deep hurt,resentment, and questions. It feels like people know, but are afraid to say it. They have sat in the pew, or have heard a message. Something tells them it isn’t right. But there was a fear to challenge. But you can feel the move of change where that fear of feeling “right” is moving to question whether it is.

 And this has moved the conversation to a place where people can be open. Find people who think the same way as they do.

 And I’m sensing it’s not only happening with the post, but it seems to be going forward. I’m hoping people are actually sitting down and talking with their friends and family. Maybe you won’t comment on this, but you will talk with them about what you think of this.

 I would like to just end this by saying Thank you. Whether you only read this once and said this wasn’t your cup of coffee. Or you pop in every once in a while. Or you are eagerly awaiting whatever I’m going to post. I want to say thank you for the time you have taken to read. It truly is humbling and surprising in many ways, that people read this.