GUELPH POLITICAST #106 - Guelph’s Crooked Media

27Dec

Before we wrap up 2017, let's review the year that was at city council. That's 12 months of decisions and debates on all matters of local governance from big items like merging hydro, to smaller items like approving sign bylaw variances. To take this one on, I needed a team. A group of people that observe city hall as closely as I do. Let's assemble Guelph's Crooked Media.

For this final edition of the podcast for 2017, we are joined by Tony Saxon of Guelph Today, and Graeme McNaughton of the Guelph Mercury-Tribune. They are the city hall reporters for their respective publications, so I thought they would be fitting year end guests and invited them to bring their expertise on to the show this week as we discussed some the various intrigues that happened around the horseshoe this year.

Among those issues, obviously, is the recently approved Guelph Hydro merger with Alectra and the recently approved 2018 budget. The three of us also discuss the nature of covering city council, our issues with closed meetings, whether we - the media elite - are doing a good enough job covering city hall, what we look forward to in the coming double-election year, and what people might expect. It's a fast and furious podcast this week to keep you informed and entertained during this busy holiday season.

So let's catch up with the "enemies of the people" in the midst of a much needed holiday break on this week's Guelph Politicast. 

You can follow Tony Saxon's work every day on GuelphToday.com, or follow him on Twitter @SaxonontheStorm, and you can follow Graeme McNaughton twice a week in the Guelph Mercury Tribune, or online here, and on social media @iamgmcnaughton.

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 - December 21, 2017

22Dec

The holiday season begins this week, and you know what that means: the annual Open Sources Guelph Political Movies Special. Each year, we choose four politically-themed movies to highlight as potential viewing during the holiday break when regular politics mostly takes a few weeks off. This year, we've got quite a diverse crop: a zany comedy about Middle East peace starring Adam Sandler, a new documentary about the economy featuring the former U.S. Secretary of Labour, a racially-charged and themed horror film, and the latest film about the struggles of the U.K. working class from Ken Loach (guess who chose that one).

This Thursday, December 21, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

Our annual political movies special! Here are this year's selections...

Adam's Pick #1: Get Out (2017). "Chris and his girlfriend Rose go upstate to visit her parent's for the weekend. At first, Chris reads the family's overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter's interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he never could have imagined."

Scotty's Pick #1: I, Daniel Blake (2016). "A 59-year-old carpenter recovering from a heart attack befriends a single mother and her two kids as they navigate their way through the impersonal, Kafkaesque benefits system. With equal amounts of humor, warmth and despair, the journey is heartfelt and emotional until the end."

Adam's Pick #2: You Don't Mess With the Zohan (2008). "Tired of all the fighting in his country, legendary Israeli commando Zohan fakes his own death and goes to New York, where he can fulfill his fondest dream: to become a hairstylist. Zohan's sexy way with a cut and curl makes him a hit with Manhattan's women, but when enemy Arabs spot him, Zohan has to call on his military skills if he is ever to wield scissors again."

Scotty's Pick #2: Saving Capitalism (2017). "Saving Capitalism is a documentary film that follows former Secretary of Labor and Professor, Robert Reich, as he takes his book and his views to the heart of conservative America to speak about our economic system and present big ideas for how to fix it."

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

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End Credits - December 21, 2017

21Dec

This week on End Credits, it's the best time of the year: Star Wars time! On this episode we're going to review the brand new epic space opus Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and try to squeeze in some further Star Wars talk about how the new era under the mouse house has been going. Speaking of which, we'll discuss the downside of the studio merger everyone's excited about, and we'll talk about why the Golden Globes, as always, suck at picking the best movies.

This Thursday, December 21, at 10 am, Adam A. Donaldson and Candice Lepage will discuss:

1) Globe Frothier. The nominations for the Golden Globes were announced last week, and even by the standards of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, things were zany. Jordan Peele's Get Out, an effectively disturbing horror movie with broader themes and implications, got nominations in the comedy and musical category, while real comedies like The Big Sick, and Girls Trip were shut out. Meanwhile, Helen Mirren was nominated for a movie no one's heard of, and Christopher Plummer got a nod for replacing Kevin Spacey at the last minute for All the Money in World. Can these things get any weirder? Probably.

2) Fox and the Mouse. It finally happened. After weeks of speculation, it was announced that 21st Century Fox reached a deal to sell much of its entertainment assets to the Walt Disney while keeping its TV channels (like Fox) and newspapers (like The Wall Street Journal). The nerd news has mostly focused on the giddiness of having the X-Men and Fantastic Four back under the same roof with the rest of the Marvel Universe, but won't this stifle creativity? Will we get another Deadpool or Logan, for example? More than that, can six major studios going down to five be seen as anything less than a loss for creative freedom in Hollywood?

3) The 'Wars' So Far. Before digging into our review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we'll look at the Disney-era of Star Wars so far. While The Force Awakens and Rogue One established a course for the franchise to remain profitable and fun for fans, there have been some issues behind the scenes with directors; Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired shortly before production on the Han Solo movie was supposed to wrap, and J.J. Abrams has replaced Colin Trevorrow on Episode IX. So now, having seen The Last Jedi, how has Rian Johnson set a high bar for expectations, and how has been able to innovate narratively while staying on Disney's good side?

REVIEW: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017). It's here! Since the end of The Force Awakens in 2015, Star Wars fans have been wondering and speculating just where the saga would go in this next chapter, and it's guaranteed that this was... not what they expected. Rian Johnson picks up where J.J. Abrams left off as Rey must try and shake Jedi Master Luke Skywalker from his complacency before time runs out for the Resistance as they run from the First Order who's out to eliminate them once and for all. Allegiances are tested, expectations are subverted, and you never know where the story is going from one moment to the next. As Luke said, "This is not going to go the way you think."

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

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Open Sources Guelph - December 14, 2017

18Dec

We're quickly approaching the end of the year and the holiday season here at Open Sources Guelph, and that means this will sadly be our last live show of 2017. We never thought we'd get to the end of 2017, but we did, and we're relieved. So before diving into our annual political movie picks and awards, we'll look at the recent election. No, not that election, the one that happened in Canada this week. We'll also talk about a new guaranteed income plan in Canada, the results of the Guelph City Council debate on the hydro merger, and the year in Guelph politics.

This Thursday, December 14, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

1) Fantastic Four. Alabama wasn't the only place in North America that had an election this week! There were four federal byelections in Canada on Monday, and while three ended up rather predictably with the incumbent party winning, the fourth in South Surrey–White Rock saw the seat belonging to Conservative Dianne Watts go to Liberal Gordie Hogg. This is the huge one because the number of Conservative seats in B.C. is now in the single digits, which means that that party may be losing some ground on the left coast, but is this an indictment on Andrew Scheer's leadership? And what of Jagmeet Singh's new era as the head of the NDP? We'll look at the vote and see if it tells us anything about the political landscape and the future electoral potential of Team Trudeau.

2) Quebec Gets Basic. Following in the path of other Canadian jurisdictions toying with a basic guaranteed income, the Province of Quebec is now crafting its own plan with a $3 billion endeavour to fight poverty and promote economic inclusion. It's estimated that 84,000 Quebecers will qualify for the program, which guarantees a minimum annual income of about $18,029 for those with mental and physical disabilities that might keep them from seeking and keeping active employment. Cool, right? Parti Québécois Leader Jean-Francois Lisée disagrees, and can you seriously tell me that those people will be able to get by on just over $18K per year? We'll talk about whether or not this plan will actually do anything to help people in real need.

3) Alectra Life. On Wednesday night, Guelph City Council gathered to hear and debate the merger of Guelph Hydro with Alectra Utilities, the "Voltron" combination of four other publicly-owned electricity providers in Ontario. So what happened? At the time of this writing, we have no idea, but we will debate the merits of whatever the decision will be on the show this week. Yes, Guelph Hydro might need to grow and expand in order to be more responsive to future change, but is the Alectra merger the way to do it? What about the lost jobs? What about the green technology research centre that is not going to make up for those jobs? And the process, was cramming this in before Christmas a smart move?

4) What a Year it Was. Coming up in the next couple of weeks, Open Sources will be doing the usual year-end specials, but to wrap up the "live" year, we will talk about the last 365 days in Guelph politics. Remember when a deputy chief administrative officer let a bunch of confidential emails just slip from city hall into the hands of a lawyer suing the City? Good times. How about the movement to get a new library main branch picking up again? How about council cutting internet voting for next year's municipal election? How about Liz Sandals not running in next year's provincial election? Electoral reform protests! Transit changes! And there are lights in the upper floor of the Petrie Building! We'll talk about Guelph's 2017 story.

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

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End Credits - December 14, 2017

15Dec

This week's episode of End Credits will be tearing it up, not tearing it apart. You may be thinking that there's not much of a difference between those two things, but fans of The Room know one is very, very bad. On this episode of the show, we will review the movie based on the making of The Room, James Franco's The Disaster Artist, and we'll talk about some of the latest items from the world of movie news including real-life drama for a director, a trip to space for another, and 75 years of what is maybe the greatest film ever made.

This Thursday, December 14, at 10 am, Adam A. Donaldson with guest hosts Eliza Crosland and Mary Lalonde*** will discuss:

1) Life of Bryan. The #MeToo movement has taken a lot of people down in the last couple of months, but none should be less surprising then Bryan Singer. The X-Men and The Usual Suspects director had a rough week after being fired from the Freddie Mercury bio-pic Bohemian Rhapsody, which he was working on, and then being confronted of new allegations of sexual assault against another underage boy. Is Singer now the latest victim of the movement that recently won the Time Person of the Year honour? And what's next?

2) Quentin Trek. Even though Quentin Tarantino is presently working on a new film set against the backdrop of the Manson Family Murders in 1969 L.A., he's apparently got visions of taking off into the final frontier. Reports last week say that Tarantino is teaming up with J.J. Abrams and an assembled writers room to turn his bright idea into the next, great Trek movie, which has got a lot of people curious about what exactly a Quentin Tarantino Star Trek movie will look like. We'll talk about the odds, and what a Tarantino Star Trek might entail.

3) Everybody Comes Back to Rick's. Casablanca is turning 75 years old, but its venerated status as one of the best movies ever made was not always a lock. Behind the scenes hiccups from a drunken leading man to a dubious leading lady to a script that was being written on the fly in a one year window from green light to premiere day, all should have meant that Casablanca ended up a disaster, but we're still talking about it three-quarters of a century later. What is the ongoing appeal of Casablanca, and what does it tell us about filmmaking then and now?

REVIEW: The Disaster Artist (2017). Oh, hi Mark. In 2003, The Room was released for a two-week run at a singular L.A. movie theatre, but so famous was its awfulness that The Room embarked on a 15-year journey to infamy. That renown has now been translated into a bio-comedy called The Disaster Artist, which tells how a struggling young actor named Greg comes into the orbit of the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau, and the two begin a course that takes them to being the creative duo behind the "Citizen Kane of bad movies". James Franco stars, produces and directs this anatomy of a disaster that wasn't a complete loss after all.

***You can learn more about Eliza and Mary's work, and find links to the Savvy Spinster webseries, by clicking here.

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

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GUELPH POLITICAST #105 - Sarah Wilmer, Women’s Community Development Co-ordinator, ARCH

14Dec

Let's get the obvious out of the way: Yes, there are sex workers in Guelph. Any time the topic is bridged in the corporate media, it comes with this strain of shock that such a thing is happening in our own backyards. Of course it is. Perhaps that's why sex workers find themselves particularly vulnerable to violence. Hear no evil, see no evil, right?

One of the people working against that is Sarah Wilmer, the Women's Community Development Co-ordinator of HIV/AIDS Resources and Community Health. She's the point of contact for SWAG, the Sex Workers Ally Group Guelph/Wellington, who "engages community organizations, public agencies and individuals with lived experience in a collaborative effort to improve the systems and conditions that marginalize sex workers in Guelph and Wellington County."

SWAG tries to support sex workers by improving access to services for sex workers, working towards their better health and wellbeing, and, perhaps most importantly, reducing the stigma around sex work. It's this last point that is the timeliest around every December 17, which is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Stigma, and the moral and legal grey area of sex work, makes sex workers all the more vulnerable to violence. The equation is simple, reduce the stigma, increase the access, and you make it possible for sex workers to be protected from the violence that's always in the back of their minds.

So this week on the podcast, we talk to Wilmer about her work with SWAG, what life looks like for sex workers in our area, SWAG's mission to end stigma and all the challenges there in, and how our perceptions of sex work will need to change before any real progress can be made on ending violence against sex workers. For me, this issue is linked to some of the thoughts I wrote down earlier this year about "The Upside Down" in Guelph, revealing more about the hidden corners in our city that need more light and understanding, and I hope it is revealing.

Let's talk about sex work on this week's Guelph Politicast.

To learn more about the Sex Workers Ally Group Guelph/Wellington, you can visit their Facebook page here. And to learn more about the services and outreach of HIV/AIDS Resources and Community Health, you can visit their website here. The International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers is Sunday December 17, but SWAG and ARCH will handing out red umbrella cookies in St. George's Square on Friday.

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 - December 7, 2017

11Dec

There's some big trouble brewing on this week's Open Sources Guelph. No, no one on this show has broken the law, but someone that was once in the Trump administration sure did! How about the Trudeau government, anyone breaking the law there? Maybe not, but that doesn't mean the opposition isn't kicking up some kind of fuss. And finally, no laws were broken during the passing of the city budget this week, but some feelings were probably hurt. 

This Thursday, December 7, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

1) Out Like Flynn. It was big news last Friday as former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn became the fourth person involved with the Presidential campaign, and administration, of Donald Trump to be indicted over the investigation into Russian collusion by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. Reaction was swift as protestors gathered to ironically chant "Lock him up!" as Flynn surrendered himself, and Trump frantically tried to spin the situation only to tweet himself deeper into collusion accusations. We'll talk about the latest developments, and maybe a bit about Trump's Mideast "breakthrough" on Wednesday.

2) Poor Morneau. As you may know, Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau is a rich man. In recent weeks, the question has been asked though, has Morneau been open and honest enough about his wealth, and has he been managing that wealth in conjunction with his government job? There's plenty here that looks bad for Morneau, and for the Trudeau government, which ran on a platform of helping the middle class. Here's the tricky part, Morneau has not technically violated any ethical lines, that's not to say that it doesn't look bad, but lawfully, he's in the right. Still, how long can the Liberals circle the wagons 'round Morneau?

3) Less Than Three. The City of Guelph passed its 2018 budget this week, and though it was a tight five-hour final process, that didn't mitigate the controversy, the sniping, or the last minute deal-making. Councillors Phil Allt and Cathy Downer will join us to talk about the process and the results there-in. From the funding of an extra $100,000 for the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition, to the use of money from the Reserve Funds to keep the Dedicated Infrastructure Levy at one per cent, to Councillor Mike Salisbury 'No' vote on a procedural matter, we'll pack as much budget talk as we can into 25 minutes!

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

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End Credits - December 7, 2017

8Dec

It seems like all Hollywood is about these days is franchises, and it seems like this week's End Credits is going to prove it. Well, we'll prove it and then we'll disprove it. In the first half of the show, we'll talk about a cinematic universe that never came to be, an indie film festival everyone in Hollywood attends, and the latest chapter in one of the most successful film series of all time. To counter that, we'll review a wonderful new film that is not based on any previously existing property, but is funny and touching and surprising all at the same time.

This Thursday, December 7, at 10 am, Adam A. Donaldson with Vince Masson and Tim Phillips will discuss:

1) Monsters del Toro? You may remember earlier this year when we reviewed The Mummy, a reboot of the Universal Monster movie that was supposed to launch the Dark Universe. That did not go according to plan. Suppose though that master monster maker Guillermo del Toro had instead signed on to making the Dark Universe, and consider the wonders that such a cinematic craftsman would have created. We know that he regrets turning it down, and it turns out the panel regrets it too. We'll talk about the missed opportunities and why the Dark Universe was a promising endeavour until they pooched it up.

2) Come Sundance with Me. There's still about a month left in 2017, but we're already thinking about next year, and it all begins with the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah at the end of January. Some of this year's biggest, most acclaimed movies started out of Sundance including Get Out, The Big Sick, and Mudbound, so what wonders may the 2018 Sundance provide for movie lovers by this time next year? We'll talk about the hot tickets and the trends we see, and we'll talk about how the biggest indie film festival isn't really all that independent (not that this revelation is a big secret mind you). Plus we'll have some anticipatory awards talk.

3) Infinity Watch. After months of hype, the first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War was released to eager Marvel fans ready for the next phase of the storied superhero franchise. Not only will the release of the third Avengers movie feature just about every character that's appeared so far in the series, but it will also mark the tenth anniversary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe; a decade since Robert Downey Jr. told the world that he was Iron Man! So does the new Avengers trailer deliver big on expectations, or could it be that after a year of superhero movies that shook up the genre that another Avengers might feel too much like going back to the well?

REVIEW: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017). Filmmaker Martin McDonagh returns to the big screen with another collection of oddball characters brought together by tragedy and their own moral failings only to find genuine humanity in each other. This time,  McDonagh takes us to the fictional Ebbing where the grieving and raging Mildred blames the local police chief for not solving her daughter's vicious murder. When Mildred buys three billboards with a message for the chief, it sets into effect a chain of events that reshape the lives of the people of this sleepy town. But can they change their nature? A powerhouse Frances McDormand leads an incredible cast in one of the year's best!

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

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Open Sources Guelph - November 30, 2017

4Dec

It's a local affair on this week's Open Sources Guelph. We will shirk the circus and the clown car south of the border, and the sadder and scarier events worldwide to deal with the process and politics here in Guelph, the province of Ontario, and in the country of Canada. Nation-wide, the Liberal government want us to help them help us get into more housing. Provincially, the official opposition announced it's plan to charm your vote next year, and it may not be completely terrible. Meanwhile, there are big decisions coming up locally, and a member of city council will join us to talk about his thoughts.

This Thursday, November 30, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

1) Paint it Brown! About six months in advanced of the provincial election, Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown unveiled the platform for his party, which promised $5 billion for transit, nearly $2 billion for mental health, a 75 per cent rebate for child care, a big tax cut for the middle class, and something called the Trust, Accountability and Integrity Act. Not bad for a PC leader in Ontario as there's no foot in mouth on religious schools or cutting 100,000 government jobs. So where does it all go wrong? How about a new logo that's an unfortunate reminder of a baseball team that no longer exists? Or the promised money for a Scarborough subway that looks less and less likely to come about? We'll look at the details.

2) House Sitters. Meanwhile in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government announced a new national housing strategy designed to help the homeless, create new affordable and community housing opportunities, and assist people with getting into an increasing inaccessible housing market. On top of that, the legislation will make housing a fundamental right, create new benefits for low-income households, and make funding more easily available for vulnerable people like women fleeing domestic violence. Just a few problems though. The great swell of this funding won't come through until 2021, and it will also depend on the provinces to come through with matching funds. So what are we to make of this strategy when reading the fine print?

3) Karl's Remarks. We're getting close to crunch time for the end of the year, and all those last minute decisions that City Hall has to button up before we say goodbye to 2017, and that includes the 2018 budget, of course. The big vote is on Tuesday, so before any final decisions are made, we thought it might be interesting to hear from one of the decision makers. This week, we welcome back to the show Karl Wettstein, a city councillor for Ward 6, to tell us his thoughts going into the final round of voting, what might make of break his yes vote on the tax-supported operating budget, and his great expectations for the new infrastructure development in his own backyard, the South End Recreation Centre. We'll also look at the past year at council, and the (election) year in Guelph to come.

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

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End Credits - November 30, 2017

1Dec

On this week's End Credits, we take a break from our usual format to do something just as conventional: Christmas movies! You know you like to complain about their syrupy sweetness, but you just can't help yourself, you love them anyway, right?! From elderly misers, to LA cops, to sorority sister under threat, to beleaguered bankers, to the greatest story ever told, there's probably going to be something here to suit everyone's taste. So start the chestnuts roasting, grab a glass of eggnog, and sit around the crackling radio for some old-timey, and post-modern, Christmas goodness! 

This Thursday, November 30, at 10 am, Adam A. Donaldson with Candice Lepage and Vince Masson will discuss:

1) Christmas! With the American Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all the rest out of the way, we thought it might be a fun time to look at the diverse field of holiday movies, and pick a few titles that you might be interested in watching while waiting for Santa. Vince went completely unorthodox with some of his choices, Candice went dark in many places, and Adam hewed a bit more traditionally to the point of this exercise. The result though is stupendous. A wide variety of Christmas selections from the traditional to the loosely thematically affiliated. Make your list and check it twice, and listen to see if we're naughty or nice! In the meantime...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsxBCb03JCo

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

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