Saturday, April 11, 2009

Margin Notes: Ignatieff, GO, KIRO, CBC, Earth


Federal Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff walked in the Good Friday Procession in Toronto, Ontario on 10-April-2009

TORONTO, ONTARIO - In yesterday's post, I wrote about the distinction between a procession and a parade. One other element of a parade that I wouldn't expect in a procession is a political leader walking and waving to voters. However, the Federal Opposition Leader, Michael Ignatieff, was seen walking in the Good Friday Procession as pictured above. Walking without any significant security team or any identification, I wasn't sure at first that it was the Federal Liberal Leader. Ignatieff does represent a Toronto riding, but it still struck me as surprising and borderline inappropriate to find him marching in the procession.

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Borderline inappropriate is how some are viewing the merger of Metrolinx, the transportation planning agency for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (or whatever we're calling it this week), and GO Transit, the operator of regional transit in this area. Some people I generally trust, such as transit advocate Steve Munro, have been especially critical of the elimination of politicians from the combined agency's board. I have avoided comment on this subject in part because I have nothing to say that can't be read elsewhere, and in part because I'm keeping an open mind until we see the new organization starts taking action--if the new board starts ramming ill-advised public-private partnerships through, I'll be calling for a change, but if they behave responsibly, perhaps this might actually turn out to be a good idea.

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I've also avoided comment on the recent demise of KIRO 710 AM in Seattle, which has morphed into a sports station as ESPN 710, while the traditional KIRO programming is now on 97.3 KIRO-FM. I mainly avoided comment because the last hour of the simulcast, with veteran KIRO broadcaster Dave Ross and reasonably seasoned KIRO broadcaster Dori Monson, was pathetic. Ross seemed reluctant to do the hour at all, Monson seemed to want to focus mostly on his personal experience, and there was quite limited discussion of the history of the station--and almost no old audio. I may have more to say about the old KIRO, but it won't reference the nearly-unlistenable final hour of programming.

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The absence of compelling radio seems to be infecting Canada as well. My weekly radio pick tends to be somewhat distorted in that it highlights an exceptional program and thus sometimes rewards inconsistency as opposed to day-in, day-out quality. However, it's hard to miss that the CBC, which accounted for one-third of my picks in 2006, more than half in 2007, and just under one-third in 2008, had only gotten TWO picks all year before this week. Perennial contributors to the list such as The Current and The Sunday Edition (the #1 and #2 programs in terms of times cited in 2007) haven't appeared at all this year, and last year's #1 program, As It Happens, only appeared as a result of an April Fool's joke. With the additional cuts still coming, this can't bode well for the future of the CBC, no matter that its baseline level of quality still exceeds that of any other single network.

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One thing out of the CBC that I did find compelling recently was an episode of the Comedy Factory podcast pointing out that the recent Earth Hour was taking attention away from Earth Day. The skit speculated that next would come Earth Minute, and finally Earth Second. For those that don't wish to forget Earth Day, it's on April 22nd.

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A new discovery for me this week--the planters at the east end of Bloor West Village were bi-lingual on 10-April-2009!

I believe the planters along Bloor Street near Kennedy Avenue in Toronto were installed on a previous Earth Day, and I finally noticed something about them this week. On one end of the planters, facing west, is engraved the word "BIENVENUE". A little searching revealed that "WELCOME" is also engraved, facing the street to the north. Why wouldn't there be bi-lingual planters in Canada?

1 comment:

Wilson L said...

Are you sure Michael wasn't being chased by a bunch of angry men that wanted to kill him?