August 30, 2015


Here’s a few words to describe what the new york times said a few days ago about the 2015 election campaign.

” THE prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, has called an election for Oct. 19, but he doesn’t want anyone to talk about it.

He has chosen not to participate in the traditional series of debates on national television…His own campaign events were subject to gag orders until a public outcry forced him to rescind the forced silence of his supporters. ”

Read full article: click here


August 29, 2015

Here’s a preview of the article written by Tristin Hopper,National Post on august 28 2015

” Unlike most NDPers, he was offered a job with the Conservatives After Mulcair left provincial politics in 2007, he briefly considered an offer to become an environmental adviser to Stephen Harper. Despite Conservative claims that Mulcair turned them down over salary (he wanted $300,000, PMO spokesman Dimitri Soudas told Maclean’s), Mulcair said he turned them down because they refused to support the Kyoto accord.

He sang the praises of Margaret Thatcher “The best way for a government to create wealth is to leave the free market alone and get off the back of businessmen and businesswomen,” Mulcair, as a provincial Liberal, told the Quebec National Assembly in 2001. He praised the former Conservative prime minister for saving “England” from a government that had “gotten its nose into everything.” ”

To read the complete article : http://www.thestarphoenix.com/business/Does+leader+lean+right/11323865/story.html


What’s your opinion?

Sympathy for Stephen Harper: Imagine that everyone you trusted had lied to you

August 25, 2015

Tuesday writing conversation: reading Andrew Coyne

The article “Sympathy for Stephen Harper: Imagine that everyone you trusted had lied to you” by Andrew Coyne that appeared in the National Post and the Montreal Gazette on August 19th has been read with much amusement. Peter Blaikie wrote to the Gazette “…the prime minister’s performance… reminds me of the fatal skewering of British Prime Minister Anthony Eden during the Suez Crisis of 1956 by Aneurin Bevan of the Labour Party. Of Egypt’s plan to nationalize the Suez Canal, leading to the absurd and soon-aborted invasion attempt, Bevan is reported to have said of Eden, “If he knew, he is too evil to be prime minister; if he did not know, he is too stupid.”

Read the article here.

And see Andrew Coyne’s latest broadside against Harper here.

Catharine writes: Andrew Coyne has done it again – have a read of yesterday’s article above. Here is a crucial paragraph:

….it has revealed about the culture inside the Prime Minister’s Office. It is noteworthy that, almost without exception, no one at any point raises any objection to what is going on: not the public deception, not the attempts to tamper with the audit, not the whitewashing of the committee report. The lies are so habitual, so instinctive, so much a part of the normal run of things that no one seems to think them even unusual, let alone unacceptable. It matters, in the end, because the things that should have mattered to them, like honesty and integrity, didn’t.

Tuesday writing conversation: music, radio and film

August 12, 2015

Today we are going to revisit some media-clips featured on neilmckenty.com in the last couple of years.

Irish music:

Some of the best of Exchange

Click below for an extraordinary slice of 1920’s Toronto caught on film



August 4, 2015


The election has been called for the 19th of October – today’s writing conversation looks back at a blog from Neil about Harper and parliament.

Originally posted on Exchange:

The morning Governor-General Michaelle Jean gave Stephen Harper permission to suspend Parliament until January 26. Was this a good decision? Or was it a bad decision?

In the short term, many will argue it is a good decision. It provides a “time-out” for the hot heads on every side to cool down. It will give the Harper government an opportunity to prepare a budget which will certainly contain a major stimulus package. As the Montreal Gazette says in its leader this morning, “this poisoned session of Parliament should be scrapped, and the parties can all begin anew in January.”

But in the longer term, this decision gives much concern. What this decision means is that Stephen Harper can now avoid the confidence vote (that he was sure to lose) and which he himself scheduled for this Monday. Surely no Governor-general should not be seen to be in the business of…

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July 29, 2015


Tuesday writing conversation: we revisit a summer posting from Neil from 2010.

Originally posted on Exchange:

For starters a stay-at-home vacation means you don’t spend a nickel on travel or accomodation.

The experts say the key to a stayvacation is planning:

Just as you do when actually away on vacation.et a start date and an end date.

Avoid working on projects around the house.

Avoid everyday routine:  Avoid the mail, e-mails and phone calls just as you do when away.

Set a stayvacation budget.

Act like a tourist in your own town.  Visit with fresh eyes places you would take visitors to visit.

Have you ever had a stay-at-home vacation?  How did it work?

Would you try one?

View original


July 20, 2015


Tuesday writing conversation: election 2015. Here is a blog posting from 2008 about Harper by Neil

Originally posted on Exchange:

Prime Minister Harper has recklessly thrown Canada into an economic and constitutional crisis. Last week he sent out his finance minister, Jim Flaherty, to announce there would be no stimulus package before February, to take away the right to strike from public servants and to cut off the public subsidies for political parties.

It was like waving a red flag before three bulls. And this after Harper had indicated that he wanted this parliament to be more harmonious.

As the Globe and Mail writes in its leader this morning: “Mr. Harper has poisoned the well for this Parliament, and has contributed to the political destabilization of Canada during a great economic crisis. He’s proven himself a party leader, and not a very able one at that, at a time when the country needs a national leader.”

Let’s cut to the chase. Stephen Harper is a narow ideologue, he’s a bully…

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July 14, 2015

Neil had a knack for asking the questions that need answering. Back in 2009, he wonders in the post below about technology and privacy – with the information-gathering that companies such as Facebook, Google et al are engaged in – this is more important than ever.

A new study says emerging   technologies are threatening our privacy and anonymity. Now the focus on safety and security trumps the call for privacy.  And many countries, including Canada, are considering introducing  ID cards wihich will have a chillingeffect on privacy..  Also judicial rulings in some jurisdiction have lowered the threshold for police to detain people and make them identify themselves.  Furthermore the use of video surveillance in public places is increasing diminishing the de facto anonymity once enjoyed in those spaces. The study finds that technology such as radio frequency identification chips and software built into everything from the clothes we wear to the furniture on which we sit appear be transforming communications systems from  “architectures of  freedom to architectures of control.’ “The space for private, unidentified activity is rapidly shrinking.’

Are you concerned we are losing our privacy.? Should security considerations always trump privacy considerations?


July 7, 2015


In view of the upcoming election, we continue to revisit Neil’s thoughts on Harper…

Originally posted on Exchange:

A cornered bully is a dangerous beast. Through his own making, Stephen Harper is now a cornered bully. He is desperately trying to save his prime ministerial skin at any cost.

First, he delayed a non-confidence vote for a week until this coming Monday. Now, afraid that he will lose the vote then and be replaced, he wants another delay at least until the end of January next year. And he is prepared to put the office of the Governor-General in jeopardy to get it.

This morning Governor-General Michaelle Jean returns to Ottawa, having cut short her European trip because of the constitutional crisis here. Chances are that later today or tomorrow Harper will visit her at at Rideau Hall and ask for a prorogation of Parliament until the end of January.

If and when Harper makes this request the Governor-General has two options:

She can decide the request is…

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July 2, 2015


Tuesday writing conversation: Are Books Dead?

Originally posted on Exchange:

This question about the future of reading arises now because of an essay by Scottish fiction writer Ewan Morrison enitlted “Are books dead and can authors survive?”

Morrison goes on to explain: “”E-books and e-publishing will mean the end of the ‘writer’ as  a profession.  He argues that every information stream that has become digitalized has inexorably slid toward free no-charge access. We’ve seen it happen with music, we’ve seen it happen with movies, and even with long-distance telephone calls.

In other words, the public now demands its media to be free.

I must admit in my own case, I read fewer and fewer books.  Instead I read upwards of half a dozen newspapers a day including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Montreal Gazette, the Globe and Mail and the Irish Times.  I read the last to keep abreast of the dreadful Catholic sex abuse crisis in…

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