GUELPH POLITICAST #110 - Thomas Gofton, Founder of GenreCon

31Jan

This is a serious time, and there are serious issues to discuss, but there comes a moment when you just have to walk away from the news, put on a costume, and talk about the finer points of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or the last adventures of Doctor Who or the starship Discovery. Don't pretend you don't know what any of that means!

Guelph is a pretty nerdy town. Of course, we've got the University of Guelph, which has specialists and experts across a great, wide scientific spectrum, but "nerdy" in this instance means all things related to superheroes, anime, comic books, sci-fi, gaming, and much, much more. If you want all that in one place, you might consider booking a ticket to GenreCon, a Comic Con style event that is much more conveniently situated here in the Royal City.

The founder of GenreCon knows from nerdy. Not only is Thomas Gofton the man behind GenreCon, but he also owns the Round Table Game Tavern on Essex St, and the Afterlife Video Game Lounge on Wyndham, and he's a successful board game designer too. Of course, I know Tom from our days working at Synn Studios together, which is an indirect way of offering a disclosure that yes I have, in the past, written press releases for GenreCon and the Round Table as a freelance promoter, though I don't have a business stake in either.

Having gotten that out of the way, we can focus on this week's podcast where Tom and I remember some old times, while also talking about why Guelph seems to be such a nerd friendly place, the challenges and opportunities of being an entrepreneur in the Royal City, and why failure is not always a bad thing. We also get into some surprising political territory including the reaction among nerds to the actions of the former Governor of Indiana turned Vice-President of the United States, and the gradual female takeover of all things nerdy, which may be richly deserved.

So let's talk about making Guelph nerdy again on this week's Guelph Politicast.

GenreCon takes place at the Holiday Inn at 601 Scottsdale Dr on February 9 through 11. For more information, or to buy tickets, click here, or access GenreCon on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also learn more about the Round Table here, and Afterlife here.

The theme music for the Guelph Politicast is from the KPM Klassics collection by Syd Dale.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here.

Remember that the Politicast Podbean channel is also the host for podcast versions of Open Sources Guelph. The previous Thursday's episode of Open Sources will be posted on Mondays.

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Open Sources Guelph - January 25, 2018

29Jan

It's scandal, murder, and diplomacy this week on Open Sources Guelph, or as we call it, breakfast! We can handle a lot on this show, and on this episode we've got a plateful. In Ontario, a former staffer of the former premier is guilty of putting electronic evidence in the electronic trash! In Toronto, the serial killer that wasn't targeting a vulnerable group in the city, was, and has been arrested. In North America, the free trade deal that might be working fine may about to come to an end. And speaking of endings, we talk about the breaking news about the Ontario PC team. For a weekend anyway. And it might shutdown again...

This Thursday, January 25, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

***UPDATE: The rundown of the show this week has been edited to address the breaking news.

1) Patrick Brown. In what will likely be remembered as the biggest political blow by a party primed to become the next government as accusations of sexual misconduct have scuttled the political ambitions of Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown. Two women told CTV News about disturbing sexual encounters with Brown while he was a federal MP, one of the women was still underage when she was allegedly assaulted by the now former PC leader.  Aside from the terrible nature of the allegations, the big issue is the tailspin this puts the party into. With just four months until the start of the election campaign, the party is leaderless, rudderless, and with a scandal that eclipses anything done by the Liberals hanging over their heads.  What's next?

2) Out of Gas. Last week, former Premier Dalton McGuinty's former chief of staff, David Livingston, was convicted of one charge of unauthorized use of a computer and one charge of attempting to commit mischief to data. Hardly the criminal coup one envisions for one of the most persistent and expensive scandals in Ontario political history, but it was, if nothing else, a conclusion. For Ontario Liberals it comes just in the nick of time too as they have to get ready for an election campaign that's now a little over four months away, and they don't want to be dealing with stories about their apparent corruption. Having said that though, can the Liberals really escape the implications of this? And doesn't a convicted staffer especially reflect badly on the government?

3) Nothing to See Here. For years, residence of Toronto's so-called "Gay Village" have been trying to tell police their concerns about a serial killer that could be in their midst. Nope, nothing to see here, said the police. Last week though, the Toronto Police arrested Bruce McArthur in connection with the disappearance of two men, and they began searching his property for evidence of remains. Now, while trying to investigate the case, Toronto cops have to deal with the perception that they didn't listen to the queer community when they warned the police they were in danger. Did Toronto's finest miss the case when it was right under their nose, and what is the long-term effect of their relationship going to be with the LGBT community after this?

4) Trading Cases. It's getting rough out there for NAFTA negotiators, at least the Canadian ones. The United States is accusing the Canadian negotiating team of being inflexible and obtuse in discussions, but Canada has laid out a number of policy proposals on just about all matters concerning the deal. Meanwhile, just about everyone with knowledge of the situation think that it's only a matter of time before the U.S. finds a reason to not just pull out of the negotiations, but pull out of NAFTA entirely, and that has people on both sides of the border nervous. As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to launch a charm offensive south of the border, we'll talk about the latest news on trade, and whether or not we should be concerned some hot head might just cancel the whole thing outta spite.

Open Sources is live on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca at 5 pm on Thursday.

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End Credits - January 25, 2018

26Jan

This week on End Credits, we want to know what love is, but we have to deal with a lot of politics in order to get there. First, there's the changing model of the movie theatre business, then there's the apparent disinterest in protecting copyrights, and we wrap up with the mother of all political stories, the present White House and the reality TV star that runs it. Your treat at the end though it a review of a beautiful new movie that makes you believe that romance and love are still real things.

This Thursday, January 25, at 10 am, Adam A. Donaldson and Candice Lepage will discuss:

1) The Price is Trite. The numbers are in, and even though Hollywood had another $11 billion year, attendance was down and the money made was due to the increase in movie ticket prices. That's probably not sustainable, but theatre owners and chains are putting the blame where it belongs: on movie studios cranking out Hollywood hogwash like The Mummy. But isn't the problem bigger than that? What about Netflix? What about too many theatres playing the same kinds of movies? What about the prices those theatres charge for the tickets? And yes, isn't The Mummy a little bit to blame?

2) Fight For Your (Copy)rights. On January 1, 2019, all copyrights from 1923 will enter the public domain. That means all films, records, books, and other creative works, will all be made available for use to the public at large, which is unusual because for the last 40 years, the holders of these I.P.s have been fighting tooth and nail to extend copyright controls, from 56 years to 95. So what happened between 1998 and 2018? The short answer is "the internet" and the big companies like Google who are working to make the world a little more open sourced. But how long will that last when Mickey Mouse becomes public in six short years?

3) Forrest Trump. The publication of the book Fire and Fury really shook up politics in Washington D.C., but can it shake up TV? The rights to the Michael Wolff book about the Donald Trump administration where sold for seven figures last week and the book is going to be turned into a TV series, but hey, isn't the Trump presidency, basically, it's own TV show already? The president himself certain acts like it with daily crises and bouts with an endless list of enemies like some kind of rogues gallery. Honestly, what kind of good is this going to do for politics and entertainment by fictionalizing the unbelievable truth?

REVIEW: Call Me By Your Name (2017). It's the summer of 1983 in northern Italy, and what else do you have to do but fall in love? Luca Guadagnino's new film, based on the novel of the same name, is a refreshing departure from sadness, tragedy and withholding like his last two movies - I Am Love and A Bigger Splash - by talking about young love in a frank, heartfelt and romantic way. Timothée Chalamet plays Elio, a 17-year-old kid struggling with his feelings for Oliver (played by Armie Hammer), his father's grad student, in Guadagnino's beautiful new take on the classic coming of age story that's also a refreshing, judgment-free queer romance. 

End Credits is on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca Thursday at 10 am.

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GUELPH POLITICAST #109 - Sheila Block, Canadian Centre of Policy Alternatives

24Jan

It's not every day that your get raise of over $2 per hour, but that's what happened on January 1 of this year when the Ontario government's mandated minimum wage increase went into effect. All those greedy fry cooks and stock boys will now be driving their sports cars and taking European vacations on the back of the small business owners that drive our economy, right?

Well, that's a bit over the top, but it's felt like that has been the media message. Whenever you hear about somewhere raising prices, or changing hours, or closing locations, the blame immediately falls on the minimum wage increase. Meanwhile, it seems some business owners are taking advantage of the situation, like the case of Tim Hortons cutting paid breaks and other benefits to staff. Forget the fact that you have to have $1.5 million in the bank to open a Tim Hortons in the first place, clearly these "small" business are on the brink of fiscal collapse.

The corporate media has failed in covering this in any kind of balanced way, the effects and benefits of workers have never been addressed in favour of salacious, made up stories. Consider CTV Kitchener's coverage of the closure of Smokin' Tony's Barbeque in Guelph, the third business with the name to shut its door in Guelph in the last four years, twice in the same location. They took it as gospel from the owner that minimum wage was the reason he was closing. Clearly, in the interest of balance, it was up to this podcast to offer some.

This is where Sheila Block comes in. She's the senior economist of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, an independent and non-partisan think tank policy research institute that some, admittedly, describe as left-leaning. That's particularly noteworthy in this instance because they do a lot of work with organized labour, who has, lately, been organizing protests against Tim Hortons stores behaving badly. Having said that though, the mainstream media has done a pretty good job of covering things from the business side, so I asked Sheila Block about the veracity of the talking points, how minimum wage workers fit into the broader economic picture, and the details the media are overlooking when they talk about the issue.

So let's maximize the minimum time we had with an actually economic expert to talk about the real effects of the minimum wage increase on this week's Guelph Politicast.

To learn more about the work of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, you can visit there website here.

The theme music for the Guelph Politicast is from the KPM Klassics collection by Syd Dale.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here.

Remember that the Politicast Podbean channel is also the host for podcast versions of Open Sources Guelph. The previous Thursday's episode of Open Sources will be posted on Mondays.

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Open Sources Guelph - January 18, 2018

22Jan

This week on Open Sources Guelph, we've got Canadian problems. This will not be an easy one to parse, because these are complicated situations and complicated issues. For instance, what do you do when the system for paying federal employees seems practically unable to work right? What can be done about the persistent allegations of harassment on a Canadian university campus? How should we respond to a made up hate crime? And is it time to give our Indigenous people veto power in lawmaking? It's a conundrum heavy show to be sure. 

This Thursday, January 18, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

1) Disorder of the Phoenix. Nearly two years later, there's still no solution to the Federal government's Phoenix Pay System. So bad is the problem that it made our year end list as one of the "Dumpster-Wrecks"  of 2017, but more importantly then that, about half of federal employees are still affected by over-payments, missed payments, or not getting the salary they're supposed to get. Even Liberal MPs are fed up as their constituency offices are getting one new complaint after the other about the slow progress of repairs. Meanwhile, a new report on the matter says that Phoenix was more or less set up to fail. Is there anything the government can do, and if there is, why is it taking so long to get it done?

2) #MeToo Concordia. The wave of allegations of harassment and inappropriate sexual relations hit a Canadian campus in a big way last week, when the once [open] secret culture of predatory professors in Concordia's creative writing department was revealed. Montreal novelist Heather O'Neill says there's an open culture of harassment and power abuse in the department, which included groping and pressure on underclass women by their male professors for sex. This is not a thing of the past either. Concordia has tried to address the situation, but not to the satisfaction of high-profile writers like O'Neill. The more concerning implication though is how many other [open] secret harassment is happening on other Canadian campuses?

3) Not Running With Scissors. The story was shocking. An 11-year-old girl walking to her Toronto school with her brother was attacked by a smiling Asian man with scissors who cut her hijab twice. The Toronto School Board and Police Service scrambled, condemnations were delivered, a suspect was sought, the story spread internationally as politicians righteously declared that this was not Canada. But it never happened. The girl had made it up. So where did it all go wrong with this hysteria? The board? The media? And what happens the next time someone reports an actual hate crime? Are they going to be believed? Will those in power take such a report seriously?

4) This (Could) Change Everything. A case is coming up at the Supreme Court of Canada from the Mikisew Cree First Nation in northern Alberta who are challenging changes made to the Fisheries Act, the Species At Risk Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act by the Harper government. The argument is that the First Nations should have been consulted before these changes were made, and that their treaty rights were violated, which seems reasonable. Here's the question: Should First Nations have a more official voice in laws made in Canada? That could be the implication of the SCOC ruling according to a University of Saskatchewan law professor. So here's our question: Isn't it about time we start taking nation-to-nation relations seriously?

Open Sources is live on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca at 5 pm on Thurs

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End Credits - January 18, 2018

19Jan

This week on End Credits, things get real. Unlike last week's jaunt into the realm of magic policing and getting small to save the world, we've got real life problems to talk about. Specifically, we have to get back to the latest, constantly shifting news about the social movement of our times as new allegations are revealed, and the blowback has begun in earnest. And then, we'll tie that in with this week's movie, which is about events almost 50 years ago, but still feel oddly timely.

This Thursday, January 18, at 10 am, Adam A. Donaldson and Peter Salmon will discuss:

1) Not All the Money... Ridley Scott got a lot of praise for acting swiftly to remove Kevin Spacey from All the Money in the World in order to save the movie and thousands of hours of work by hundreds of film professionals. If only the lead actress hadn't been paid 1,500 times less than the lead actor... It was revealed last week Mark Wahlberg made $1.5 million versus the $1,000 paid to Michelle Williams, and while the situation's been redressed by Wahlberg and his agents, isn't this just the kind of systemic issues that #MeToo and Time's Up is trying to undermine?

2) Time's Up (Again). In the latest from this ongoing story, we saw James Franco hit with several allegations of misconduct after his Golden Globes appearance, Eliza Dushku opened up about her assault on the set of True Lies when she was 12 years old, and then we started getting the blowback. Liam Neeson said in an interview that he has started thinking that this was becoming a witch hunt, and 100 French actresses penned an open letter saying that this was American puritanism run amok. All this before the new allegations about Aziz Ansari broke too.

3) In the Black, Panther. The next film in the Marvel Studios juggernaut comes out in less than a month, and if early online sales are any indication, Black Panther is set to be one of the biggest releases yet. Fandango says that the pre-release ticket sales for Black Panther have outpaced all other Marvel films so far, and the crowdfunding campaign to buy Black Panther tickets for kids from Harlem made four-times its goal in less than a week. With a majority black cast and an acclaimed black director at the helm is Black Panther this year's Wonder Woman?

REVIEW: The Post (2017). In a particularly difficult time in American history, one newspaper was all there was that stood between a despotic president, and the truth that would shake the nation. About 47 years later, the story of the publishing of the Pentagon Papers is loving told in this film by Steven Spielberg, which captures the zeitgeist with two stories about the leadership of the paper under its first female publisher Katherine Graham, and a newspaper's quest to stand up to the power of the White House. It's the movie Nixon doesn't want you to see...

End Credits is on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca Thursday at 10 am.

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GUELPH POLITICAST #108 - Gibson and MacKinnon on Being a Councillor

17Jan

Not to alarm you guys, but there's a municipal election in October. There is certainly anticipation for this event in local democracy, and there's already a working list out there about who on the present council is running and who is still just a maybe. But let's forget the horse race for a moment, and talk about the job itself. More than that let's talk about what the job looks like after doing it for the last three years.

Today, we bring together Ward 1 Councillor Dan Gibson, and Ward 6 Councillor Mark MacKinnon for a crosstown summit on what it takes to be a city councillor. Now Gibson and MacKinnon have a lot in common: they're both relatively younger members of council, they have young families, they represent parts of the city that are booming, they both overlap in terms of how they lean on a lot of issues, and they both joined council in 2014.

So the experiment of this episode was to take out the policy discussion (we save that for Open Sources Guelph) in order to talk about the nuts and bolts of decisions making. What does it take for people to succeed on city council? How are you affected? How do you navigate the transition from candidate to councillor without compromising your principals or backtracking on the things you ran on once you get that "insider" knowledge?

In addition to Gibson and MacKinnon's own experiences, the hope of producing this week's podcast was to offer some kind of insight to those running, or thinking about running, for city council this year. Also, if you're interested in some further listening, revisit this earlier Politicast from 2014 with Ward 2 Councillor James Gordon and Ward 3 Councillor Phil Allt that was recorded before the start of the term. Together, they might give you a picture of what life on council looks like before and after. 

So let's talk about how council works on this week's Guelph Politicast.

You can follow Dan Gibson on Twitter or at his website, and you can follow Mark MacKinnon on Twitter and at his website. The nomination period for the 2018 election opens on Tuesday May 1, and Election Day is Monday October 22.

The theme music for the Guelph Politicast is from the KPM Klassics collection by Syd Dale.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here.

Remember that the Politicast Podbean channel is also the host for podcast versions of Open Sources Guelph. The previous Thursday's episode of Open Sources will be posted on Mondays.

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Open Sources Guelph - January 11, 2018

15Jan

We're back! After a holiday break, Open Sources Guelph returns for its epic fourth year of practical news discussion and interviews with local newsmakers. There's none of the latter this week, but we've got plenty of the former. Read any good books lately? Well, we hear there's one about a certain American administration. Also, it turns out that Trudeau might have been palling around with terrorists after all (in a manner), for some reason people are angry about a pay raise for the people making the least, and people out in the cold are still getting the cold shoulder. So it's another year in paradise, apparently. 

This Thursday, January 11, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

1) Trumpster Fire Season 2. At the end of season 1, President Donald Trump retired to his Florida resort for a working golfing vacation after a long year of getting nothing tax reform done. But he was no sooner back at the White House when controversy began a new. Author Michael Wolff released a brand new book called Fire and Fury, which chronicles Trump's election and his first several months in the office, and it's not a pretty picture. Team Trump's ham-fisted attempts to block the book's release only resulted in more interest, and despite concerns of its veracity, Fire and Fury has had very real consequences (for Steve Bannon anyway). We'll talk about the latest from Trumpland.

2) A Festering Boyle. Joshua Boyle came to the attention of the nation late last year when he and his family were released from Taliban custody. He and his wife were taken prisoner in Afghanistan, and held for five years. All three of their children were born in captivity. It was a riveting human interest story that has now taken an unexpected turn. Boyle was charged with 15 counts over the holidays including assault, sexual assault, and unlawful confinement, all of which happened after Boyle arrived home. So now what should we think? Was Boyle adversely affected by his time in custody? Was the press not probing enough into Boyle and his background? It's yet to be answered why he and his pregnant wife were backpacking in a war zone, for instance. Of course, there's also the blowback on Justin Trudeau. Did the PM screw up meeting Boyle while he was being investigated?

3) Minimum Overdrive. January 1 saw one giant leap in everyone earning a living wage, when minimum wage earners in the Province of Ontario saw their paycheques jump to $14 an hour. The shift in fairness saw an almost equal seismic shift in vindictiveness, especially the Tim Hortons in Coberg, which is owned by the company's founders, and was notable for cutting breaks and days off for staff as consequence of the hike. Just about any move in the business world the last week has been blamed or credited to the increase, but why is this such a boogie man? Why are people coming to the defense of corporations instead of workers that could really use the bump in their pay? And why aren't we discussing the long term benefits of the increase instead of the imagined short term consequences?

4) Long John. The last few weeks of extreme cold showed, again, the holes in our social safety net, especially in Canada's biggest city. The capacity of homeless shelters was being reached nightly, and rumours were heavy that people were being turned away though city staff big to differ. Still, the responsibility fell on Mayor John Tory, who, from his Florida vacation, was quick to point out that it wasn't his vote to not open Toronto armories in the case of extreme cold that was causing the problem. But the crisis was real, and it is bound to be felt again as winter rolls on. So where does the ultimate responsibility fall? How much of the problem is connected to the cost of housing, and the lack of social housing? And is Mayor Tory's true blue conservative colours showing with his apparent disinterest? And in an election year, no less.

Open Sources is live on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca at 5 pm on Thursday.

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End Credits - January 11, 2018

12Jan

It's back to business as unusual on End Credits this week! As we took a couple of weeks off thanks to the magic of recording episodes in advanced, the movies still kept on coming, so we cleared the slate of movie news for this week in order to bring you two back-to-back reviews. One is an unusual tale about two cops, and the other is the unusual tale about a guy trying to go big by getting smaller.

This Thursday, January 11, at 10 am, Adam A. Donaldson and Vince Masson will discuss:

REVIEW: Bright (2017). Just another night on the mean streets of L.A. Two cops must overcome their mutual distrust and enmity, feelings built on decades of racial prejudice, in order to keep the people of their city safe from... a magic wand? Oh yeah, one of the cops is an orc! This is the world of Bright by David Ayers, which supposes a magically realistic world where humans and fairy tale creatures live and work side-by-side. Netflix enters the special effects-driven blockbuster game with a Will Smith vehicle that has many fans , but nearly as many detractors.

REVIEW: Downsizing (2017). Speaking of divisive, we'll take a bite out of two such films this week, and the other is Alexander Payne's new one, Downsizing. In a world where shrinking to the size of an action figure is an option, Matt Damon is the typical Payne midlife crisis suffering schlub from the Midwest that says, "Hey, why not?" Predictably though, life is not better when you're small, in fact it's pretty much the same. Payne's incredible shrinking polemic becomes increasingly problematic as it goes along, but does any good come out of such a small world after all?

End Credits is on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca Thursday at 10 am.

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GUELPH POLITICAST #107 - Best of OSG: Budget and Hydro

10Jan

So I think many of us feel like the last month went by in a blur, there were a lot of big issues, big discussions, and a lot of consequential decisions made by council. So before diving into a new year with new issues and new decisions, let's revisit what happened in the tired and true format of the clip show.

Open Sources Guelph will return to live episodes this Thursday on CFRU with another year of punditry and conversation, but first let's revisit two moments from December. In the first clip, you will hear from Councillors Cathy Downer and Phil Allt who discuss the implications and decisions of the 2018 budget, which had passed just 48 hours earlier. Then, in the second clip from December 14, your congenial hosts talked about the Guelph Hydro merger with Alectra, and the year that was in local politics. 

Although you're probably aware that you can listen to the podcast version of Open Sources on the Guelph Politicast channel, perhaps you might like to enjoy getting to the Guelph-stuff without having to sit through the latest Trump follies or whatever vacation disaster that Trudeau has undertaken. 

At the same time, it's worth promoting Open Sources as a way to say "stay tuned" because when we start getting into the two elections this year, the candidates for Members of Provincial Parliament and the candidates for Guelph's mayor will be invited to appear on the show and talk about why you should vote for them. Likely, there will also be some election night specials along the way too. 

So let's recap the end of the year, courtesy of Open Sources, on this week's Guelph Politicast. 

You can listen to new episodes of Open Sources Guelph live every Thursday at 5 pm on CFRU

The theme music for the Guelph Politicast is from the KPM Klassics collection by Syd Dale.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here.

Remember that the Politicast Podbean channel is also the host for podcast versions of Open Sources Guelph. The previous Thursday's episode of Open Sources will be posted on Mondays.

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