November 2013


To the women offended by Trudeau’s invitation: Get over yourselves

On Wednesday Liberal leader Justin Trudeau tweeted out an invitation to an event for women in Toronto.

The event, obviously a fundraiser at $250 a plate, was geared towards women who would like to get to know Trudeau and talk about issues facing women today — both in general and in politics it would seem from the sample questions scrawled on the invite.

The invitation that was tweeted out includes a checkered Andy Warhol-esque photo of Trudeau and carries the name “Justin Unplugged” in scribbly writing. The squares not occupied by Trudeau’s face ask some questions that give an impression of what the event would be like: What is the biggest issue facing women today? What’s your favourite virtue? Who are your real life heroes?

This prompted response from Huffington Post contributor Kathryn Marshall who criticised the event and called the picture “creepy, patronizing, and unbelievably ridiculous” to boot. (Scroll down to view the full invitation)

Um, what?

I’m sorry, are you upset that the leader of one of Canada’s three big political parties, a possible future Prime Minister, wants to offer his ear up to women and find out what they want out of life and government?

I’m sorry, is it not good enough for you to be invited to take part in a conversation that you can steer whichever way you please, be that policy or broader concepts?

I’m sorry, are you so gung-ho on getting offended that you need to pick apart even the photo used on the invitation?

Women have been ignored by so many people at so many levels for so long that it truly shocks me to see this opportunity for a male political leader to connect with and learn from women being thrown back in his face.

A politician is, surprisingly, inquiring about a little more of the lives of potential voters than what they think about low or high taxes. Virtues are important for leaders of all kinds, to see a leader asking what people appreciate shows that he is ready to assemble a team that reflects the values of all Canadians. The biggest issues that face women today could do with access to reproductive health, or proper natal care for native women in Canada, maybe the wage gap, or the number of female CEOs, or perhaps even government childcare and daycare services for parents who need to return to the workforce — to see a leader asking what these issues are shows that he is ready to take the right actions to protect our rights and freedoms as women and do more to help those who need it.

Would we not be offended if his campaign paid no attention to the unique issues and challenges that women in Canada face every day?

To the women who are offended by this, reserve your anger for the real creeps. Get angry about politicians like Rob Ford groping women without permission. Get angry about politicians in Saudi Arabia preventing women from driving cars. Get angry about the politicians in the US and Canada who try to restrict access to abortion.

Don’t waste your time in faux horror when someone asks you for your thoughts because the invitation doesn’t measure up to your standards and take an opportunity where an opportunity is given.

In the meantime, get over yourselves.


Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

5 reasons (of many) to wear a red poppy this Remembrance Day

This year a pacifist group in Ottawa rolled out the idea that the red poppy — you know, the one we wear to remember all the sacrifices made by our soldiers to protect our freedom — is a warmongering badge of evil and should be cast aside in favour of a white poppy.

It is easy to forget in these relatively peaceful times the reasons why we wear the poppy, and oddly enough for that we should be thankful. Thankful that we have a generation so insulated from the horrors of war that they think we should do away with the poppy pin of remembrance in favour of a white pin of peace. But there are many reasons we wear the red pin, and maybe some folks need a reminder.

The red poppy is a symbol of peace just as much as any other, and the reason we wear it is to remember the horrors of war and the selfless sacrifices made by those who have protected our nation, our safety, and our freedom so that no one will ever have to endure them again.

Here are five of the many, many reasons to wear a red poppy this Remembrance Day.

1. Wear the poppy for the Battle of Vimy Ridge

On April 9, 1917, an Easter Monday, 100,000 Canadian troops fighting within the British forces stormed a ridged area outside of the town of Vimy, France in a horrible snowstorm. Of those 100,000 Canadians 3,598 were killed and 7,004 were wounded. These were soldiers who, for the first time, were fighting for more than the British Crown — they were fighting for Canada. The spirit of our nation was created in the trenches of Vimy Ridge as our soldiers fought and died to protect Canada, and for that we should remember them by wearing a poppy.

2. Wear the poppy for the Second Battle of Ypres

This battle, waged in Belgium, was fought by Canadians within British forces alongside the French and Belgians. The battle marked the first time poison gas was used in the large scale on the western front of the war. The results were catastrophic. 70,000 men were wounded, dead, or missing after the use of chlorine gas, a chemical agent dispersed through the air that suffocated the soldiers (many of whom were conscripts) and ate away at the tissue in the lungs and eyes of soldiers until they either stumbled out into the battlefield to be shot or chocked to death on their own blood. All in the name of freedom. Wear a red poppy to remember them.

3. Wear a the poppy for Flanders Fields

Regardless of how many times you had to read the poem in elementary school take a moment to pause and think about it. At an American military cemetery John McCrae passed through the day after he his friend died in the Second Battle of Ypres. McCrae described the battle as a “nightmare” where for two straight weeks on one side was the never ending gunfire and the other side the piles of dead soldiers. McRae performed the burial of his friend and the next day while sitting in the back of an ambulance he wrote the iconic poem which describes the horrors of war juxtaposed with the gift of peace that the fallen give to the living. By wearing the red poppy you are remembering the sacrifices made by all those who were laid to rest in Flanders Fileds and swearing that these deaths were not in vain. Wear the red poppy to remember them and everything they did so that you may live in peace.

4. Wear a red poppy for the Holocaust

To argue against red poppy is not only an insult to all of those who died fighting for the freedom of Canadians and others around the world, it is an insult to those who died and survived the Holocaust. Millions of people were being helplessly exterminated before the Allied forces liberated them. These are people who were murdered while our soldiers fought to free them, Take a look at the numbers.

6 million Jews were murdered.
12.5 million Slavs were murdered.
15,000 gays were murdered.
2 million Poles were murdered.
1.5 million Romani were murdered.
250,000 million disabled people were murdered.
Countless thousands of others were murdered.

When you wear the red poppy you are remembering the brave fight our soldiers made to free those they could save and remembering those they could not.

5. Wear a red poppy to help Canadian veterans today

The poppies worn on lapels were first crafted by disabled veterans, who gave so much for us and our country, so that they could earn a small amount of money to support themselves and their families. The poppy campaign is not run by the Royal Canadian Legion to benefit veterans, many of whom need the income and support. The least you can do is respect the sacrifices they made for us here today by donating the change in your pocket for a red poppy.



Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

The arrogance of Rob Ford

I’ve rebelled against Mr. Ford since the 2010 election campaign. The campaign for mayor lasted nearly 10 months for me. I was one of the top 5 candidates, and in the top 3 at one point in the race. The days were long, usually starting at 7am and running until midnight. From events, to rallies, debates and social functions the top 5 candidates saw one another almost every day and often more than once in a day.

Over time a sense of respect develops amongst the candidates. Respect for each other, for the strengths you see in another, for the way most of them answered questions honestly.

Unfortunately that respect never developed between Rob Ford and myself. He would never look me in the eye and his handshake was limp, often soggy. I couldn’t believe the way he twisted the truth during the campaign. Suggesting he could pay for subways with government efficiencies (ignoring the huge debt we must pay down). Or suggesting he would get rid of the land transfer tax, and lower taxes. He made more fake promises than I could count, and the public seemed to lap it up.

It takes ignorance and a lack of self-respect to peddle such absolute bullshit, and Mr. Ford possesses both. But it takes true arrogance to continue to peddle the bullshit for 3 years following the campaign without delivering on your promises. And it is this arrogance that lost my respect for him from those early days of the 2010 campaign.

I am not sure if he thinks people are stupid enough to believe that he saved Toronto $1Billion; or if he simply knows that repetition builds belief and facts take longer to come out? But there are still people in Toronto who believe that Rob Ford has not raised taxes (they have increased by 4.5% since 2010). There are people who aren’t aware that the city operating budget has also grown by $200million since 2010 and who don’t question where the Billion in savings has gone. People still believe that Mr. Ford will get rid of the land transfer tax, despite the fact that he has raised their taxes by 4.5% over the past 2 years.
And the biggest lie – that he will build subways with funds created through efficiencies, when he has admitted that he didn’t find enough to pay for subways and will have to increase property taxes to pay for the Scarborough subway line next year.

Mr. Ford hasn’t just lied about his private life he has lied about what he has accomplished, he has taken credit for the work of former Councillor Doug Holiday (union agreements), Councillor Ana Baeleo (Refinancing of TCHC loans) and others. He has stretched the truth to such a degree that I don’t think he himself knows what it is anymore.

It takes true arrogance, a sense of entitlement, and a lack of self-respect to lie to the public to the degree that Rob Ford has, but the scheme has taken it’s toll on him. How much more bullshit can one man spin out before they themselves disappear in the charade?

FASHION: Style experts review Ford’s crack announcement outfit

“If I looked as good as him I wouldn’t step down either.”

With the news of Rob Ford’s crack use reverberating around City Hall this week in Toronto only one question remains that even the Toronto Police and the journalistic teams of the city’s best papers haven’t been asking: was Rob Ford wearing the right outfit to announce he has used crack? We consulted with the style experts to find out!

Mayor Ford kept things simple in a black suit when he met reporters for both his proclamation and subsequent press conference. Remember that when the weather begins to get colder more muted tones are always a great way to get your message across. Black and white help RoFo give off an impression of both professionalism and style while apologizing to the people of Toronto for his crack cocaine use.

Rob Ford, a portrait of fashion in Canada. Photo by Canadian Press.

“Don’t be surprised if you see a lot of the girls on Church street wearing XXXL suit jackets with poppies this season,” says Toronto drag queen and tireless fashionista Barbie Jo Bontemps. “Style always seems to trickle down from fashion icons like Ford to the drag queens and then hit the runway in Paris.”

Always remember that for a larger man, black is your best friend. No one was thinking about Ford’s ongoing weight struggle when he wore this number at the crack press conference yesterday!

RoFo also seems to have done away with dress shirts that are his proper neck size and is starting a new trend of leaving the top button undone and covering it with his tie. Keep an eye on this — we may see much of the same at next year’s Fasion Week.

Ford’s simple black suit looks like a rack number from Brooks Brothers or Moore’s, a smart move that gives him all the style without the designer price tag, leaving him with a bit more pocket money to spend freely — and still look good doing it!

One important fashion accessory in the fall is a poppy pin in support of the Royal Canadian Legion. Ford contrasts his black suit jacket well with the red pin. To get the RoFo look and show you care about veterans, freedom, and style at your next big drug related press conference pick up your own pin at many subway stations, shopping centre entrances, and Legion halls near you for as little as a dollar! For an extra bit of flair try to get your hands on the slightly more rare felt covered poppy.

Ford also rocks a City of Toronto pin. While you may have never been mayor or the fourth largest city in North America you can still complete the look. Check out similar broaches on Etsy for around five bucks.

Don’t forget the flare! there is no need to be a bore when holding a press conference about the string of deceit and lies that he fed to voters in the aftermath of his crack tape becoming public knowledge, so Ford spiced up his outfit with an NFL team tie. Multi-coloured ties work great to breakup solid coloured suits on men!

“Vintage NFL ties are in this season.”

“Vintage NFL ties are in this season,” says Toronto based artist and style icon Andrea Pelletier, while wearing her Dallas Texans scarf. Queen West fashionistas have already been seen sporting other Father’s Day gifts as haute fashion lately including re-darned socks and coffee mugs.

The tie gives Ford a chance to have a little fun with the outfit while showing off a bit of his personality. Did you know RoFo coached a highschool football team for a number of years? You do now! By showing off his love of football on his tie Rob is letting us know he’s just a normal guy who loves football and was eventually asked to remove himself from the team he coached due to months of bad press. Try to include a little bit of your own self into the story your clothes tell.

Don’t let your fun tie get out of control! Ford’s multi-coloured neckpiece  straddles the limit, but he made sure not to let the patterns get any busier — his look lets him have a little fun but still be taken seriously as he tells Torontians he has smoked crack and lied about it for half a year.

With his brother Doug flanking him wearing a similar outfit we can’t help but wonder who wore it better, and the tie instantly pushes it in RoFo’s favour. Not since Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have we seen such a stylish set of siblings with their own take on what makes them look good.

“”His graceful elegance and fashion forward thinking were the real takeaway from this press conference,” says Bontemps. “When it comes to fashion, it’s clear that yesterday was a pure victory for Mayor Ford. The public won’t soon forget his debonair portrayal of this season’s latest vestments.”

“If I looked as good as him,” says Bontemps, “I wouldn’t step down either.”


Our verdict on RoFo’s outfit:

5/5 review stars



Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.


WATCH: Ford’s crack admission makes it to Colbert and Jon Stewart

While we’ve been preoccupied with stuff like, oh, the real ramifications of our crack smoking mayor’s admissions and press conferences, it should come as no surprise that the American newsmedia has picked up on our juicy scandal as fodder for the late night  comedy shows.

Rob Ford made the rounds on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Nov. 4 and again last night and was also the subject of a segment on the Colbert Report last night.

Watch the embedded Colbert clip above and the new Jon Stewart clip below and let us know, is this hilarious or deeply embarrassing?



Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.


Check out:

Rob Ford jokes make it all the way to the Daily Show


EDITORIAL: Ford’s antics are hurting the city and he must step down

Like many I spent the better part of my Sunday afternoon listening to Rob Ford, the Mayor of North America’s fourth largest city, on various radio stations, deliver a ‘sort-of-kind-of- maybe-but-not-quite-non-apology’ of an apology.

Mayor Ford took to the airwaves Sunday to say that he is sorry for “mistakes” made and called on Bill Blair, Toronto’s Chief of Police, to release the now infamous ‘Rob Ford crack video’. The Mayor chose to not elaborate on what he deemed set mistakes. As such, he guarantees the scandal surrounding him continues to grow. However, the Mayor did note that he takes full responsibility for his misdeeds; which would be new, to say the least. After a long history of lying to the City of Toronto, the Mayor has chosen to take an incredibly vague degree of responsibility for his actions and his associations.

Despite this, the Mayor was willing to admit that the ongoing scandal has been an embarrassment to the city. This is a shocking revelation from a man that all too often attempts to pass the proverbial buck. It is a relevant point that the Mayor understands this; assuming he is not lying to Torontonians again. Hopefully he realizes that this is the crux of the issue. Rob Ford is embarrassing the City of Toronto. His presence as Toronto’s Chief Executive Officer threatens investment both on a foreign and domestic level. It distracts members of Council from greater issues that are important to the various communities that make up the City.

In the last week alone Councillors could have addressed the stabbing of sixteen year old boy in the Ford’s own Rexdale community or the shooting of a man during a street level robbery in the Victoria Park Avenue and Eglinton Avenue area or the fact that known drug dealers and gang members appear to be spending time on Toronto District School Board property with high ranking government officials. But they did not. They were too preoccupied by the Mayor’s actions. They were holding meetings and interventions and deciding what their next political move should be.

As we now know, the Mayor has admitted to smoking crack cocaine. In the Mayor’s own words; “Maybe a year ago … during one of my drunken stupors.”

It is time for the Mayor to step aside for the good of the City. Deputy Mayor Kelley is more than capable of taking over in the mean time. Until that happens, Torontonians live in a city paralyzed by a Mayor who cannot see past his own ambition. Torontonians live in a city paralyzed by a Mayor that would be characterized as a “slimy politician” to use Councillor Doug Ford’s words. But perhaps more damningly, Torontonians live in a city paralyzed by a Mayor who just stopped caring about being Mayor far too long ago.


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Follow Jordan on Twitter at @JordanAGlass.

Cracking the Hard Truths for Toronto

Cracking Hard Truths for Toronto

Hard Truth # 1 Rob Ford has admitted he has smoked crack

Hard Truth # 2 Rob Ford has not saved Toronto 1 Billion dollars

Hard Truth # 3 Rob Ford has increased property taxes by 4.5% (2012 = 2.5% + 2013 = 2%)

Hard Truth # 4 Rob Ford has increased the city operating budget by $200 million since 2010.

Hard Truth # 5 Rob Ford considers drug addicts and gang members his friends

Hard Truth # 6. Rob Ford lied about finding enough savings at city hall to fund subways

Hard Truth #7 All levels of government are in debt and we must implement a transit toll or tax if we want to expand our subway/transit system.

If Rob Ford can admit to smoking crack, how much worse is the stuff we don’t know?

“Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine.”

Rob Ford shocked Toronto today by admitting that he had smoked crack in what he described as one of his “drunken stupors” he has been slowly admitting to over the last few days. Ford said he does not remember a tape being recorded.

The mayor met a media scrum today sweating from his brow as he invited the press to re-ask him the questions they had originally asked in May. He admitted he has a problem with alcohol and reminded the media that they have seen him drunk in public several times after admitting that he had smoked crack.

In light of all the recent developments in the Rob Ford crack scandal that have erupted this week — a huge return in interest to the scandal that has been smouldering for six months — we can take away one thing: admitting to having smoked crack cocaine is Rob Ford’s easy way out.

Make no mistake, there is nothing easy about a sitting mayor facing the press and admitting that he has used crack cocaine, but if a serial liar like Rob Ford is willing to admit such a damaging fact then the press and public is only left to wonder what else is not being revealed.

Admitting to having smoked crack isn’t easy, but it is the easiest thing he can do right now to divert attention from the rest of the ongoing investigation around Lisi in which he in involved and minimize damage to his political career.

If the least damaging thing the mayor can do right now is admit to smoking crack, the police and media need to find out more about any involvement with the woman who disappeared from the crack house he was in and the murder of Anthony Smith.

The mayor’s connections to drug dealer Sandro Lisi, accusations that he has been paying the hydro bill for a crack house, a never ending stream of evidence that indicates the mayor has been driving drunk, these all appear to be just the tip of the iceberg in this scandal.

Up to this point the mayor has been fighting to maintain things as they were at City Hall, trying to get back to his election message of savings and subways, but with the announcement that the police have in their possession a copy of the video in which Rob Ford was captured smoking crack Ford has been forced to changed his game plan. Now the man is no longer trying to keep things at the status quo, but struggling to control the damage that is erupting around him.

One of the more pressing issues at stake here is the matters of the missing woman, Jaclyn Dawe, who was last seen in February at the house where Ford was recorded smoking crack around what may have been the same period of time. The other is the murder of Anthony Smith, a name that has been tied to the crack scandal since the photo emerged of Ford posing with him and two other young men, both now incarcerated and deeply involved in gang activity.

The police, using public channels to appeal to Ford for an interview, are tracing together all the dots in the case that continually hits new depths of depravity. We know that Ford was in close contact with Lisi on the day that Smith was murdered. We know that Ford has met Smith. We know that Ford was at the house where Dawe went missing, and the crack tape may have been recorded around the same time she was last seen there. We know that there is a second tape.

What we don’t know is how Rob Ford factors into Lisi’s criminal activity and how much this duo have to do with this missing woman and murdered man, and this is exactly what we need to be looking for behind Ford’s distracting admission of alcohol and drug abuse.


Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.


Check out:

Rob Ford jokes make it all the way to the Daily Show

#TOpoli with Sarah Thomson, feat. Travis Myers, Sue-Ann Levy, and Ashley Csanady (Nov. 4, 2013)

It is time for Rob Ford to step down

Ford crack video exists and proves he lied and denied

Rob Ford jokes make it all the way to the Daily Show

Rob Ford’s problems have gone even more international with jokes about the troubled mayor making it all the way to the American politics/comedy show the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Check out what Stewart had to say about the new revelations in Ford’s ongoing struggle above.

What do you think, is the international embarrassment worth the priceless humour it has generated?


Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.