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Chad Rubel
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We love to write about Canadian politics, just not usually local Canadian politics. The Toronto election is becoming an exception. We covered the 2014 election when the world wondered if the crack-smoking mayor would be replaced by the brother of the crack-smoking mayor. The 2010 election was of interest to us since we cancelled vacation plans to Toronto in 2009 over the ferries strike aka the 2009 City of Toronto inside and outside workers strike. The 2010 election would soon become relevant with the election of the soon-to-be crack-smoking mayor. The 2018 Toronto municipal election is being held today to elect a mayor and councillors on the city council. The problem was that when the election started, there were 47 wards in Toronto. On Election Day 2018, there will be 25 wards. Former Toronto City Councillor, brother of that crack-smoking mayor, and current Ontario Premier Doug Ford decided to shrink the Toronto City Council as one of his first decisions in all of Ontario. The election process had already begun; candidates were campaigning for positions on the council. The first judge who heard the case ruled against the premier. Ford decided to use the notwithstanding clause to override the judge. While the notwithstanding clause had been used sparingly in other provinces (mostly by Quebec on a purely symbolic basis), no Ontario premier had never used the clause. Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Canadian Crossing
The disconnect between people who need food assistance and those who don't seek food assistance is often tied back to shame. They don't want to be seen as needing a food handout. Given the millions of people who fall short of where they need to be from a food standpoint, shame should be the last consideration. The reality is that solutions need to factor in the shame quotient. The little free pantry is based on the concept of the little free library. In the library, you can take a book, return a book, donate a book. No witnesses are needed; this works on the honor system. The little free pantry in the photos is on the grounds of a neighborhood church. The pantry works similar to the library. If you need the food, you can take the food. If you want to donate food, you can donate food. Once again, no witnesses and we are on the honor system. Taking the food isn't a handout and no one has to know. Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Balance of Food
NBCSN has another first with carrying a complete game involving 2 Canadian teams in an indoor game. The U.S. channel will travel to Winnipeg for only the second time ever in the regular season as the Jets host the Toronto Maple Leafs. The game is also Wednesday Night Hockey for Rogers Sportsnet One. The NHL Network showcases the Toronto Maple Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada with the St. Louis Blues north of the border with the CBC feed. The channel also follows the Blues to Winnipeg Monday night. CBC has the Maple Leafs early on Saturday with Edmonton hosting P.K. Subban and the yellow-covered Predators in the late game. City TV carries a rare doubleheader starting with the Habs in the nation's capital. The channels will draw Vancouver hosting Boston in the nightcap. Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Canadian Crossing
Friday Night Football has a rare doubleheader. The first game features the first of 2 straight with the top teams in the East with Ottawa as the initial host. Edmonton travels to Vancouver in the nightcap in the ongoing battle for playoff positioning. A rare Montréal-Toronto matchup with absolutely no playoff implications starts off the Saturday doubleheader. The Roughriders go to Calgary for an early evening start in southern Alberta. Winnipeg gets a refresher in the bye week. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Canadian Crossing
Canadians can now add marijuana to their legal shopping lists as of today. October 17 marks the opening day of being able to legally buy marijuana in Canada. Recent news stories indicate that supplies may not keep up with demand in the first year, and that is without edibles being legal. You might have heard about the possibility of drinkables but those won't be allowed right away either. Canadians will be allowed to carry up to 30 grams on domestic flights only, as noted in the video (above). On rare occasions, Canadian domestic flights are diverted to the United States. Bloomberg ran an update last month on where you can purchase recreational marijuana in provinces and territories. CBC News has a guide to how you can access marijuana in the provinces and territories. As a reminder, people in Canada can possess up to 30 grams. An ounce is 28 grams. The video (above) gives you an idea of what 30 grams looks like. The minimum age is 19 except for Quebec and Alberta, where the age is 18. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Canadian Crossing
No Dwane Casey. No DeMar DeRozan. No Air Canada Centre. And no LeBron James in the Eastern Conference. The 2018-2019 Toronto Raptors still have Kyle Lowry along with the new guy, Kawhi Leonard. As you may have heard all summer, Leonard is a free agent at the end of the season. Last year's Raptors squad set team marks for best record in the regular season. Another 2nd round finish, especially with a sweep, was a sad sight. Changes were made. The Raptors open the season at home tomorrow night. Toronto has opened at home in 9 of the last 10 seasons. Cleveland will be the opponent, a team still learning to play without the king. Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Canadian Crossing
As we noted in our Stardom review, Denys Arcand directed 2 English-language films in between Jesus of Montréal and The Barbarian Invasions, Love and Human Remains was the first of those films. Thomas Gibson, who also was in Stardom, plays David, a famous child actor who returns to Edmonton. The audience gathers things are bad when he says he makes more money as a waiter. David, who is gay, and Candy (Ruth Marshall), David's heterosexual female roommate, are looking for love while a serial killer strikes their hometown of Edmonton. Candy debates about switching teams with Jerri (Joanne Vannicola) while David gets a much younger admirer Kane (Matthew Ferguson). This film marked the cinematic debut of Mia Kirshner, who plays a dominatrix even though the actress was just 18. Her character Benita seems of a counsellor in the context of sex who seems wise beyond her years. Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
NBCSN will need directions to the Scotiabank Saddledome since the U.S. channel has never been to downtown Calgary. NBCSN will carry the Flames game against Boston Wednesday night. The game runs in Canada on Rogers Sportsnet 360. The NHL Network picks up its first CBC simulcast of the season with the Maple Leafs in the U.S. capital. The U.S. channel will also carry Hometown Hockey with Winnipeg hosting Carolina. CBC starts Saturday with the Maple Leafs at Washington. Calgary goes to the Mile High City in the nightcap. City TV once again has Pittsburgh and Montréal but this time from La Belle Province. Rogers Sportsnet One takes the lion's share from Rogers Sportsnet with the MLB playoffs. The channel follows the Canucks to Roberto Luongo's current team for Hockey Night in Canada. Hometown Hockey with the Jets is set at Parry Sound, ON. Rogers Sportsnet One helps out during the week with Vancouver going east to Pittsburgh on Tuesday; Wednesday Night Hockey has the Blues in Montréal; and the Edmonton Oilers hosting Boston on Thursday. Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
The Battle of southern Ontario is featured on Friday Night Football. The Tiger-Cats took the first 2 contests with the Labour Day Classic and the revenge game. Speaking of revenge, the Saturday tripleheader starts with the prairie teams. The Roughriders go for the season sweep over their top rival in the Manitoba capital. The RedBlacks travel to Edmonton in the middle game. Calgary welcomes the BC Lions in the nightcap. The Montréal Alouettes get a welcome break. Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
American media, especially business media, does a terrible job of covering trade and trade issues. During the extensive negotiations, very little was written or said about issues such as tariffs, softwood lumber, patents on drugs, sunset clause, trade dispute resolution, de minimis levels, supply management, and culture protections. Listening, reading, and watching Canadian media gives an insight into the issues and concerns that Canada and the United States had in renegotiating NAFTA. The American media reaction was very pro-Trump without a consideration for how the deal was put together or the consequences of aggravating the U.S. largest trading partner. The name itself is meant to be part of the aggravation. The beauty of the NAFTA name was the unification of the 3 countries under the North American banner. USMCA separates out the country and is supposed to be a reminder that Canada was the last country to enter the agreement. The initials come too close to USMC, which is known in the United States for the United States Marine Corps. Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
Chris Berman joked in the now infamous codeine video that you always have to get at least 1 Toronto Blue Jays game a year. ESPN carried 0 Toronto Blue Jays games in 2018, even though MLB requires that every team get at least a single telecast. We do have information that can't be officially corroborated that says the scheduled Toronto Blue Jays game against the New York Yankees counted as the Blue Jays appearance on ESPN for 2018. George Orwell would have been proud of that logic. MLB had to approve that move by ESPN so shame on both of them. You could easily argue that the Toronto Blue Jays were a very bad baseball team in 2018. Then again, the Baltimore Orioles, losers of 115 games, found their way onto the U.S. channel. The Blue Jays finished with a 73-89 record, 35 games out in 4th place in the AL East. Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
Happy Canadian Thanksgiving. Or as they say in Canada, "Happy Thanksgiving." We usually take the Thanksgiving Monday to reflect on Canada from a broader perspective. For the last few years, we have been fortunate to gather together for a Canadian Thanksgiving on U.S. soil. We worked hard over the years to get more people. In the last couple of years, the total has been around 100 people. Unfortunately, the place where we gathered closed in early April and we couldn't find another space that suited the needs of the Thanksgiving dinner. Gathering with a smaller group is very nice but the camaraderie of a large group was very special. The CFL football games will also be a part of the day or maybe even an Ottawa Senators matinee game. Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
The NHL Network runs a day/night doubleheader on Saturday with the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL Global Series in Gothenburg, Sweden. The U.S. channel will take the City feed for the Habs in Pittsburgh on Hockey Night in Canada. The NHL Network will also have the debut of Hometown Hockey from Kitchener, ON as the Maple Leafs are in Chicago. CBC starts its 2018-2019 season with the Battle of Ontario in the early slot and the rematch of Wednesday's late game with the Canucks in Calgary. The City TV season debut has the Habs traveling to visit Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh. Rogers Sportsnet fits in some games in and around the MLB playoffs. The regional channels will carry the Edmonton Oilers in Gothenburg, Sweden on Saturday afternoon in eastern Canada as part of the 2018 NHL Global Series. The channels also have the initial Hometown Hockey from Kitchener, ON as the Maple Leafs travel to Chicago. Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
Thinking about the Island of Misfit Toys might seem a bit early but those misfit toys come to mind when thinking about ugly produce. The fruits and vegetables have been judged to less than ideal but they still deserve a home. The wrong shape, a minor bruise, not red enough: produce that grocery stores won't carry, won't put out on shelves to be bought by consumers. Companies such as Misfit Produce are trying to play Santa to give these misfits a home. If you do most of your produce shopping at grocery stores, you might think "ugly" produce is ugly on the inside. You would have to be convinced that ugly can mean beautiful and that ugly is worth buying. Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2018 at Balance of Food
Welcome to Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. The action starts Friday with the Blue Bombers in the nation's capital in what may be a playoff matchup. The Argos travel all the way to Vancouver in the late afternoon local start on a Saturday. Vancouver Canucks fans are used to his ritual when a Toronto team comes to town. The Canadian Thanksgiving games feature the worst CFL team (Montréal) hosting the best team in the CFL in Calgary. The late battle turns green as Edmonton goes to Regina. Hamilton gets to enjoy a little more turkey with the holiday weekend off. Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
The 2018-2019 NHL season starts off with the traditional opening night doubleheader. Rogers Sportsnet will have the classic Montréal-Toronto matchup from the newly named Scotiabank Arena. Vancouver will actually play on opening night hosting the Calgary Flames. The NHL Center Ice free preview should start today. Traditionally the preview has lasted about 3 weeks. Last year, we got 7 days. Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
When I was in Montréal in 2012 and the people were marching in the streets, several people told me that the Liberals and Jean Charest were going to get tossed out, I asked who would fill that gap. No one had a clear answer. Later that year, the Parti Quebecois formed a minority government. When Pauline Marois gambled to try and get a majority in 2014, the Liberals took back the National Assembly under Philippe Couillard. There was a young party formed in 2011 called the Coalition Avenir Québec, Coalition for Quebec's Future en Anglais. The party was primarily Parti Quebecois members who weren't as concerned about sovereignty issues. The party also merged with the conservative Action démocratique du Québec (ADQ) in 2012. The combination of nationalists and federalists formed a centre-right party. The Coalition Avenir Québec will finally get a chance to form government, winning 74 seats in the 125-person National Assembly in Quebec City. Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
NBCSN is carrying way more NHL games than the NBC Sports Group has ever carried. The cornucopia extends to Canada unless you are in Vancouver and Ottawa. There is a game in Calgary, an all-Canadian game. There is only 1 Montréal Canadiens game: at Boston, of course. Here is the breakdown for appearances: Edmonton 7, Toronto 6, Winnipeg 5, Calgary 2, and Montréal 1. Only 6 games are on Canadian soil. The schedule is subject to change. The NBC Sports Group smartly went with a name change from Wednesday Night Rivalry to Wednesday Night Hockey. The Wednesday games are marked with an *. Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
ESPN2 awakens from its CFL hibernation to carry the Sunday afternoon contest as Saskatchewan visits Montréal. All Alouettes home games in the autumn fall on a Sunday afternoon. Friday Night Football starts out with the Argos going west to Calgary. The Saturday doubleheader begins at Tim Hortons Field with a late Saturday afternoon game featuring the BC Lions in the revenge game from last week. The eastern prime time features a pair of western teams with the Blue Bombers traveling to Edmonton. There is no dinner break this week. Ottawa gets to relax for the week. Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
Canada placed 2 teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring: the Winnipeg Jets made the final four. Then again, Montréal, Ottawa, and Vancouver may have already been eliminated from the 2018-2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. In case you were getting sunshine this summer, here are some of the highlights from the offseason. Having Hockey Day in Canada in Swift Current, Saskatchewan on February 9 feels appropriate given all the province has gone through (Humboldt Broncos) from a hockey standpoint. Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
The 2018 Toronto Raptors have been staying out west in Vancouver getting ready for the season. This is the 5th straight year the team has trained in British Columbia. The Raptors start the preseason in Vancouver and play in 3 different Canadian cities. Toronto hosts Portland on Saturday at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. Melbourne United from the National Basketball League will be at the newly named Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on October 5. The Brooklyn Nets come to La Belle Province at the Bell Centre in Montréal on October 10. The Raptors also make stops in Salt Lake City and New Orleans. Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
For the first time since 1920, New Brunswick will have a minority government. Currently, Blaine Higgs and his Progressive Conservatives have 22 seats as compared to Brian Gallant and the Liberals with 21 seats in the 49-seat legislative assembly. Tradition offers up that the current government, run by Gallant, will have the first opportunity to form government in New Brunswick. The wild card is particularly wild with 3 seats each for the Green Party and the People's Alliance. David Coon was the only Green Party member of the government elected in 2014. This was the first time in 3 elections that the People's Alliance placed members in the legislative assembly. The New Democratic Party once again gained 0 seats. The Liberals did have 38.7% of the vote, beating the PCs by 6 percentage points. Liberals + Greens = 24 seats. PCs + PAs = 25 seats. While there are similarities in constituencies for the latter 2 parties, that coalition might not last for long. The Liberals are the stronghold for the Francophone sections of the province. The People's Alliance is considered by most neutral observers to be anti-Francophone. Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
Samantha Bee is Canadian, did a segment on her show about the comparisons between Canadian and American health care, and didn't mention once that she was Canadian. That is so Canadian. The U.S. spends nearly $3.5 trillion. One study noted 45,000 U.S. deaths a year from lack of insurance, though that study was from 2009. Bee effectively debunked the 3 major arguments against universal health care: too expensive, decreases innovation, and increases wait times. She points out that a single-payer system offers bargaining power and reduced administrative costs that would save even more money. The U.S. does have a single-payer system with effective numbers in Medicare. Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
Chien de garde will represent Canada in the category of Best Foreign Language Film for the 2019 Academy Awards. The Sophie Dupuis film is set in Montreal's working-class Verdun neighbourhood involving a young man in a family-run drug cartel. The film feature 2017 TIFF Rising Star Théodore Pellerin, who you might have seen in Never Steady, Never Still and the Xavier Dolan film Juste la fin du monde. The title translates to watchdog, but the English title is Family First. One obvious choice was yet another Denys Arcand film The Fall of the American Empire. Days of Darkness was the last Arcand film selected in the category. That film made the shortlist but not the Top 5 Oscars cut. Arcand is the only Canadian director to win the best foreign language film Oscar for The Barbarian Invasions. Dupuis is the first female director since Louise Archambault (Gabrielle) to be nominated by Canada for this Oscars category. While Dupuis has directed 5 short films, this is her full-length feature debut. Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
The Saturday CFL tripleheader goes late into the night in the east. The week starts off on Friday Night Football with Johnny Manziel and the Montréal Alouettes traveling to Winnipeg. Ottawa draws the start of the tripleheader hosting Edmonton in the late afternoon. Toronto hosts Saskatchewan in the bright lights of prime time with the rematch of the East final last season. The other Ontario team — Hamilton — travels all the west to Vancouver. The Calgary Stampeders get to enjoy the early fall breezes in southern Alberta. Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2018 at Canadian Crossing