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: Calgary’s New Taxi “Barf” Law


There is a new law in Calgary.

Calgary City Council has introduced a new law for those patrons that puke in a cab.

It will cost $100 if you happen to do this in a cab

Now, I am having issues posting on my IPad. So, I will be posting a link in the comments. 

However, I have some concerns

1) We are assuming everyone out late night is drunk

2) We are assuming that the reason people get sick is because they are drunk. You could be sick because of food poisoning for example

3)We are assuming the only people that use a cab service late at night is drunk people.

4) Who implements the fine?

I understand the cab companies,not needing to be on the hook. But am I the only one who thinks this isn’t thought out?

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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Agree or Disagree: Animal Rights Activists are educated on the Rangeland Derby


http://calgary.ctvnews.ca/protesters-charged-with-public-mischief-after-disrupting-calgary-stampede-s-rangeland-derby-1.1900431

We start with the above video.

It’s an annual discussion over the Calgary Stampede.

It’s also an annual event during the Calgary Stampede.

Every year, there is an Animal Rights Group, in this case the Vancouver Animal Defence League, that protests the Chuckwagon Races at the Stampede. This time two actually handcuffed themselves to the race track delaying the start of the races.

For your information, here is the website to the Vancouver Animal Defence League.  www.vancouveranimaldefenceleague.com

At the end of the video, you will hear from two of the participants of the race, Jason Glass and Kurt Bensmillier. They also make an interesting point.

They ask two questions. The first one is from Glass asking people like the Vancouver Animal Defence League.

“Come to our place and see how we care for the horses.”

The second one is from Bensmillier.

“How does delaying a race until dark safe for the animals?”

I do think these are fair questions. Particularly since this group did this for the “safety of the animals”.

What do you think? Does it seem these Animal Rights Activists groups are educated on the Rangeland Derby? Or, does it seem like a publicity stunt? 

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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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: We as a society look down on the disabled.


By now there have been enough tweets commenting on how Ann Coulter called President Barack Obama a “retard”.

The anger and disappointment towards the action of Coulter is rightly justified.

A young man named John Franklin, who has Down Syndrome posted this Open Letter to Ann Coulter.  You have to admire his gentleness and respect he took towards her in the letter. This paragraph, I really liked.

After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me.  You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV

As justified as the outrage is towards the comment Ann Coulter made, I feel like something is missing here.She is not the first or the last person to insult someone with this word. It has happened at many different places at many different times. As a matter of fact, it might have been you that have said it or heard it.

What the letter brings to mind too me is how we look at the disabled. Do we look down upon them? Or admire them?

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: You can’t reform bullies, but you can teach your kids courage


it has been the talk of the weekend.

A young woman in B.C. named Amber Todd tragically took her life due to the act of bullying.

We reflect on another situation and we wonder why this has happened. We have called out to end bullying. All of that, I agree with wholeheartedly. It is sad this has happened and my heart breaks.

Perhaps Markham Hislop has brought up a point we need to consider in this article here http://beaconnews.ca/calgary/2012/10/you-cant-reform-bullies-but-you-can-teach-your-kids-courage/

What are your thoughts on this?

Agree or Disagree-We need to stop volunteering at homeless shelters and soup kitchens


Last night I participated in discussion on how to solve some issues related to poverty in Calgary.

There were many themes and discussions that came out. One thing we did get too, I think was some deeper discussion then a simple “hand out.”

This point came from someone who I would consider qualified to make this statement. It’s someone who has spent some time at  the shelter and has worked with volunteers.

This is the statement that was said. “Instead of 30 people coming from a church and spending an hour helping in the kitchen, why not 3 come and spend some real time with them.”

There was another theme that came up that was interesting. A theme called “Poverty Porn”. The term comes from a book called Damnation. It basically means that perhaps our help is more on the level of making us feel good, rather then actual help. Instant Gratification.

Here is an interesting thing to note. Did you know when the boom hit in Calgary from 2001-2006 that the top 20% of Calgarians  felt the positive impact of it. In other words, the money that we thought should solve the problem didn’t.Those that were stuck, were still stuck. 

Clearly, we do need to look at different ways. And to add another perspective, I’ll post Culture Rebels blog as a part of this which you can read here. http://culturerebel.com/blog/why-we-need-stop-volunteering-at-soup-kitchens-and-homeless-shelters