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5 questions with Morgan Baskin, Toronto’s 18 year old mayoral candidate

Morgan Baskin isn’t a household name — yet — but with her sharp and fresh eyes on the mayor’s chair she is certainly a young woman to watch. We had the pleasure of chatting with her to talk about her start, her ideas, and her advice for her peers who might also want to get involved in their civic communities.

 

How did you get your start in politics?

In traditional politics I started when I filed my papers to run for Mayor. In more grassroots community politics? When I was born. I have always been active in my community, I was fortunate to have been born into an incredibly active family. I was involved in Scouting at a young age as well as in my church community and made my way through various leadership roles in those communities, many of which I continue to fulfil.

 

What needs to change at City Hall?

I could write a very long list of things but I’ll stick to the basics.

We need to figure out how to be a team and work as one. Divisive politics have plagued our city for too long and it needs to change. Anyone who says it can’t be done needs to find some optimism. We have to try to find a team spirit, otherwise we will be having the same conversations we have been having for thirty years for the next thirty years.

We need to trust our professionals. We need to work closely with and listen to them. They were hired for a reason and they deserve to be listened to and trusted to do their jobs. The final decisions are often made by politicians, and we need to ask good questions and query the results, but we need to respect the information we pay for.

 

What is the issue most important to Torontonians in this election?

I can’t speak for the several million of us, but in my opinion transit is shaping up to be a big one. Public transit, bike lanes, roads the whole shebang. It’s causing stress and safety problems and is strangling our economy.

 

What advantage does your age give you over other candidates twice or three times your age?

It gives me a fresh perspective free of previous political baggage. I am still at a period in my life where I am used to listening, to asking for help when I need it and admitting when I am wrong. These are all skills that I think City Hall could use. I think we need truly fresh voices in politics. I think I can be that voice.

 

What advice do you have for your peers on how to get more involved in civics and their communities?

Jump in with both feet. There are many opportunities to get involved. Pick one and do it. Whether it’s being an activist on an issue you feel strongly about or quietly working to improve your community through the various community organizations or even party politics. Do something that feels productive and interesting and makes you feel hopeful about your community.

 

Follow Morgan on Twitter at @MorganBaskinTO.
Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

Tina Fey says no to Mean Girls sequel rumours

On Wednesday at the premiere of the new Muppets movie Tina Fey broke the hearts of many twenty somethings who can recite entire scenes from Mean Girls when she gave a definitive no to a reunion movie to mark the ten year anniversary of the cultural phenomenon that spoke to a generation and spawned many a catch phrase — except fetch, fetch is never gonna happen.

Fey told reporters that, despite growing rumours and many cast reunions (not to mention a newly sober Lindsay) there was nothing in the works for a follow up to the movie she had penned. “We’re coming up next month on the 10-year anniversary of the original movie,” she told reporters. “I can’t believe it either. We’re going to see if there’s any way to get everyone together, but not a movie, sadly. We’re all past high-school age.”

#TOpoli with Thomson March 10: Do corporate tax hikes pass the buck and hurt low income families?

Join hosts Sarah Thomson and Travis Myers as they are joined by journalists Andrea Houston and Ashley Csanady with PR guru Lyndon Johnson to discuss the hottest issues in Toronto this week including funny tweets from the #TOpoli hashtag, Strombo’s new job on Hockey Night in Canada, Ed Keenan’s math on corporate tax hikes and how they hurt low income families, and the invisible gridlock tax in Toronto.

This pro-gay loonie designed by a Grade 4 kid is a great idea (and proudly Canadian)

Redditor JimmyCanuck posted up his daughter’s project to the subreddit /r/Canada Tuesday night proud of his daughter’s attitude, not to mention her 4+ top marks.

The parameters of the project were simple enough. “Sketch a symbol you would choose for a new Canadian coin. Why did you choose this symbol for a new coin? Tell why you think this represents Canada.”

While most kids her age might have chosen to do a project featuring an animal or veterans (popular visuals on Canada’s coins) Grade 4 Julie chose to do her project as a celebration of gay rights in Canada — a project with a great amount of heart and compassion that it earned her a 4+ top grade, even if there are a couple spelling mistakes.

Check out the project and read the text below:

gay coin

"This coin represents gay pride. I chose the rainbow because the rainbow is the gay pride flag. I chose the gay pride flag because it is okay to be gay in Canada. I chose two girls holding hands and 2 boys holding hands because gay means love with a person in your gender. I chose black because black represents guilt & sorrow. If you were in a different country where you aren't allowed to be gay and if you are gay you would feel guilt & sorrow. That's why I chose gay pride as my coin."

Hats off to Julie for her fantastic compassion and vision at such a young age — and a challenge to the Royal Canadian Mint to make her project a reality.

 

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Why we shouldn’t #BanBossy: Bossiness isn’t just for girls and isn’t the same as leadership

Beyoncé wants you to know she isn’t “bossy” — she’s the boss.

This is part of the new campaign from Lean In, a group headed by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg dedicated to the advancement of women. Not too different from some of the work we do here at Women’s Post, actually. One big difference is that they have made the bizarre move to draft celebrities in a war against the word bossy.

According to the campaign’s press materials: “when a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a ‘leader.’ Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded ‘bossy.’ Words like bossy send a message: Don’t raise your hand or speak up.”

For a campaign that is directed at the developed world it manages to ignore study after study after study showing that girls are currently outperforming boys in classrooms. The failing fortunes of boys is such a pressing issue in Canada that the Globe and Mail ran a large series on the issue a few years back. I was shocked to see this campaign claim that the term bossy is reserved for girls. According to Micheline Maynard at Forbes the term is gender neutral. “There are plenty of bossy men out there, too. Bossy is bossy — dictatorial, unyielding, telling people what to do and expecting them to do it without any input.” When I was growing up the bossiest kid I knew was a boy named Kyle.

All of that is secondary to the fundamental flaw this campaign is based on. #BanBossy equates bossiness with leadership and then portrays bossy kids as the downtrodden. The kids who can’t put their hand up for fear of retribution, the kids who would be such bright leaders if their bossiness was allowed to shine through.

The reality is that being bossy is an attitude that exists wholly separate from leadership and it is a bad thing. A kid isn’t bossy when he or she raises their hand to answer a question in class — a kid is bossy when he or she knocks over another kids blocks because they’ve decided they want their turn and they want it now. A kid isn’t bossy when they work together leading others to accomplish goals — a kid is bossy when they dictate the actions of other kids, refuse to compromise, and don’t consider the desires or feelings of others.


The Lifetime clip also features Jane Lynch, Condoleezza Rice, Jennifer Garner, and others.

Bossy behaviour in kids isn’t a charming attribute by any stretch, it more often will result in frustrating situations for parents and teachers who are constantly being undermined or disobeyed and problems for other children who aren’t allowed their own expression at the hands of another child who refuses to relinquish control. What baffles me is why there is a campaign to protect children from being chided for behaviour that many psychologists consider proto-bullying.

Parents and teachers know that the phrase “stop being so bossy” isn’t intended to take away any fair chance from a child who aspires to lead. Instead it is said in sympathy with the other child who is being led against their will. What response would Beyoncé suggest for the parent whose simple trip to the grocery store has been turned into a painful and embarrassing battle of wills with a child throwing food out of the cart in favour of Dunkaroos between sprints to different aisles? How will Beyoncé feel about the term bossy when Blue Ivy is old enough to scream NO, MINE! and MY TURN! at the top of her lungs until she gets her way at the expense of another child’s feelings? Or, heaven forbid, how would she react if Blue Ivy is the child being bossed around?

The most curious thing about the campaign might be the presence of Queen Bey herself in the clip. As a child star being carted around from audition to audition it is hard to imagine the young superstar doing anything but following the orders of her parents-slash-managers on her road to success, as evidenced by her countless thank-yous to her parents for their tireless direction and dedication to her young career.

But beyond Beyoncé and back to the school yard: the term bossy should be offensive. For prepubescent kids the term is a scolding and a wake up call that their behaviour towards their parents and others is unacceptable and needs to be dialed down.

If parents and teachers are ready to throw in the towel and give bossy kids free reign at home and at school we can give up on parenting, caregiving, or teaching as a whole. If your child isn’t blessed with a bossy attitude don’t hope for much out of them in those early years or after they have had their determination, self worth, and aptitude stomped out of them by the loudest kids in the class — ironically enough the same fear this campaign has for bossy children who are simply being expected to follow rules and play nice.

At its heart this is a flawed campaign. Of the many issues that face young girls around the world like access to education or childhood marriages this is, unfortunately, a waste of star power on an problem that is neither gender specific or a problem at all. Kids can be little jerks sometimes, the beauty of childhood is the chance to teach our children how to grow into good people. When a child exhibits the qualities of leadership it is great to teach them how to respectfully involve themselves with others, but when things go too far don’t be fooled into thinking the term bossy is anything other than a label for bad behaviour.

Doolittle hits her stride at the Crazy Town launch, what’s next for Toronto’s new star journalist?

Robyn Doolittle doesn’t like comparisons between herself and Zoe Barnes.

Considering the character’s very different path to success it should come as no surprise that the new face of investigative journalism in Canada would be a bit irked when fans tell her she is just like the fictional reporter from House of Cards. With a quick spoiler warning she stressed to the crowd that the character sleeps with Kevin Spacey’s politician character to get her stories and that is certainly not the case for her.

Doolittle’s full house Ramsay Talk event at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema as part of the launch of her first book Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story focused more on her real experiences in meetings with editors and sniffing out leads from busboys at the Bier Market, the grounded and tested investigative reporting techniques that are easy to forget in a story that is oftentimes stranger than fiction and more tumultuous than anything Hollywood has produced in recent years.

The talk, introduced by organizer Bob Ramsay and featuring Twitter Canada head Kirstine Stewart flawlessly steering the conversation, showcased a comfortable Doolittle recounting the experiences in her life and career that led her to the publication of the book and touting the advances in social media that made the whole thing possible.

I was lucky enough to have Women's Post publisher Sarah Thomson in tow as my 'date' for the evening — the best person to have a laugh with after seeing the term "#Assgate" emblazoned in print for eternity.
I was lucky enough to have Women’s Post publisher Sarah Thomson in tow as my ‘date’ for the evening — the best person to have a laugh with after seeing the term “#Assgate” emblazoned in print for eternity.

My only criticism of the event stems from Doolittle’s preamble where she described allegations that the Star had fabricated the story and made a joke about switching from Gawker quoting Ford as saying Pierre Trudeau is a ‘fag’ or Justin Trudeau being a ‘fag’ to switch things up. My instant reaction was shock. While causing offense may not have been intentional I hope that she takes pause before saying the word again, regardless of her coverage of an incident in which it was spoken by a public official it has absolutely no place in a joke and should be treated the same way as the n-word.

Doolittle has come into her own as a media personality, no doubt fashioned by countless television appearances both in Canada and abroad as the go-to expert on everything Ford. It isn’t difficult to envision a future for the writer in comment if her ease of presence in front of crowds and cameras translates to topics beyond Toronto’s City Hall sideshow.

Robyn Doolitle will continue to promote her new book Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story this week on CNN’s AC360 and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

 

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

 

 

Related: New Rob Ford video shows him intoxicated and rambling

Related: Toronto Region Vision: All eyes on the future

Related: LISTEN: WP editor Travis Myers loses it on air over Rob Ford’s homophobia

WATCH: Trailer for new documentary about the TTC

While Torontonians may get up in arms when it comes to the TTC, whether it be about cancelled plans or transit expansion, it is easy to forget at times that there is a small army of TTC operators who help to make transit in a Toronto a reality every day.

This film, called Moving Toronto: Underground With the Toronto Transit Commision, takes a closer look at the people behind the wheel and on the tracks who keep the trains on time, including TTC bigwig Andy Byford.

Listen to Andy Byford on #TOpoli with Sarah Thomson

The film promises to be, at very least, an insightful look at the TTC’s staff, and can hopefully shed some light onto the day-to-day operations of the system that daily riders often forget about.

The film is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2013.

 

 

 

You can follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Don’t hate me because I’m taller than you: Why are short people so physically aggressive to me?

As I exited the subway today in the middle of a swarm of office-bound people it was a familiar scene. I walked though a set of double doors into a corridor that opened up on one side and people streaming from two directions were heading my way. As I continued to walk in the same straight line a woman half my size was on a direct and sustained collision course.

No, I thought, today is different. Don’t move this time, don’t let her push you around.

Since she had so much space to, you know, not walk directly into me I continued walking on my straight path. I have no idea what the woman was thinking, but she didn’t move and walked right into me. There was no question that it was entirely her fault so I didn’t bother to offer the first half of the traditional Canadian double sorry. She didn’t apologise either and continued on past me off to walk into other people.

Up a flight of stairs at Tim Hortons there was a short line spilling out into the concourse. I stood behind someone else in the doorway and people exited through the other half of the door. I felt some movement behind me but didn’t turn around to see what it was. A different woman half my size shoved her way through the oncoming traffic and those like me waiting patiently in line, and on her savage journey her elbow made swift and blunt contact with my groin and had me doubled over in pain.

This near constant stream of physical aggression from people shorter than me is nothing new. In fact, it is pretty much my every day.

I’ve had plenty of time to think about it often since I hit a growth spurt in my early teens. At 190cm tall (that’s 6’3″ to the unenlightened) I’ve always been quite aware of my size and stature. Constantly slouching to be in photos, smacking my head on door frames designed for shorter people, having my feet hang off the end of the bed. All of that and more, and I’m not even incredibly tall. I can only imagine the logistical nightmare faced by people a few inches north of me.

All of that is incidental, the kind of stuff that makes you shrug because it is your lot in life. Even being fetishized by shorter people as a tall person isn’t exactly the worst thing about being tall. The physical aggression, however, is.

Every time I step out in a public space I feel like I am locked in a game of chicken with everyone around me, and the worst part is I am put in a position where I always have to lose.

The best way I could explain this to someone of average or shorter height is that every time I’m caught in the public space showdown it is like having a loaded gun in your pocket during an argument. Sure, I could win easily. All I would ever have to do is brace my shoulder and walk at a clip and every person who wants to inhabit the space I am in would be on the floor. I could be the first person up the steps every time if I wanted to. I could have actually picked up the person who dinged me with a crotch shot at Tim Hortons by the scruff of the neck and thrown them to the back of the line if I had wanted to, but I don’t want to because I have no desire to pick fights with strangers.

Like having a gun in an argument any sane person is going to back down, lose the argument, and let the aggressor win to maintain peace.

I never encounter this issue with anyone my size — we understand that playing chicken on the subway platform is like two nuclear powers going to war and can only end in mutually assured destruction.

The people who do barrel along always invariably seem to be around five feet tall. I don’t want to be responsible for knocking someone into an oncoming train, so I always step aside.

But, for the love of God, I am sick and tired of people taking advantage of my willingness to prevent their physical injury.

Part of the issue stems from Napoleon complexes. The complex, also known “short man syndrome” is a bit of pop psychology that applies to the attitudes of people with different perceived handicaps — although Napoleon himself wasn’t as short as history painted him, the idea is that he tried to take over Europe to compensate for his stature. The theory is that people who are shorter or smaller will tend to act more aggressive or attack larger opponents to compensate for people viewing them as weaker or less capable than their tall counterparts. While it might not apply to everyone I have known several shorter people who have told me they are (inexplicably, to me at least) jealous of my height.

The theory isn’t exactly hard science, I would assume because any time an angry short person was told they are angry because they are short they got twice as mad at the psychologist and refused to participate in the study any more.

Couple Napoleon complexes with the unspoken social contract of crowd spaces we Canadians share (1: Step out of the way; 2: Apologise a few times; 3: Don’t cause a scene at any cost) and you’ve got a system ripe for abuse by those who have something to prove and people being pushed around who are almost psychologically incapable of doing anything about it.

People who hold this world view have my sympathy, but there comes a point where I have to say enough is enough. Consider this my manifesto: The next time I am facing imminent contact with a pushy person I’m taking a page out of their book and throwing the Canadian social contract out the window and bracing for impact.

Maybe when a few assholes realise that despite whatever anger or fervor fuels them they can’t, in fact, get past me by sheer will or force we can get back to the way things should be. Until then, get the hell out of my way and pick on someone your own size.

 

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Toronto’s Worst Missed Connections: January + 2013 All-Star Edition

Love can be so fleeting. A stranger’s split second of eye contact can mean more than years of a relationship. Our hearts are great untamed beasts that know no bounds and can pine for someone that we never even knew. The poetry of our emotions is a never ending tale.

What better way to find the love of your life than by posting an ad in the same place you’d buy a used futon?

Get ready for January’s worst Missed Connections. If you haven’t already lost your faith in humanity and stoped believing in love keep reading for Toronto’s absolute All-Star worst Missed Connections of 2013!
Click images to enlarge.

 

1. It is really hard to focus on household nude photography to the music of The Offspring with your wallet missing.

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2. But not nearly as cute as that ass.

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3. “I don’t even want to ask you out, I was just wondering if your butt has ever considered a career as a hypnotist.”

missed 4

 

4. Wait, I don’t think we are talking about groceries anymore.

missed 5

 

5. If someone fetishizing your disability interrupted you in the middle of a phone call you’d probably give him the finger, this guy just didn’t have that option.

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Toronto’s Worst Missed Connections: 2013 All-Stars

1. Single folks take note, this is a textbook example of how to treat people you want to have sex with. Just kidding, only if you are Chris Brown.

missed 8

 

2. Who says sexual assault isn’t romantic? Oh that’s right, everyone.

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3. Step 1: Find woman.
Step 2: Say some awful things.
Step 3: ????
Step 4: Sex. (Duh!)

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4. “Please treat me like garbage, but don’t actually treat me like garbage.”
Is there any way to forward Craigslist posting directly to WebMD for signs of undiagnosed mental illness?

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5. Let’s get together and hate babies.

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6. The least interesting this about this post is that both guys were named Rob.

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7. It really saves time to write one Missed Connections post instead of two.

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8. Nothing is more attractive than tears and the topic of domestic violence. Drinks?

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9. Beard on beard poetry.

stab2

 

10. Drumroll please. The worst Missed Connection in Toronto for the year of 2013 is none other than TTC Stabbing Guy.

stab

 

 

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.