Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Canada Goes to the Polls. ELECTION 2008

It’s Election Day and there are many media options available to track results.

Keep up to date online with: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canadavotes/, or tune it to CBC Radio One, or the daily online newspaper of your choice....Later today, Peter Mansbridge leads the CBC team ( on the main net and Newsworld) to provide full coverage and analysis. Program goes to air 30 minutes before polls close in each region.

Meanwhile Canwest Global anchor and executive editor Kevin Newman helms coverage from Global National’s election headquarters in Toronto. More details at www.globaltv.com/election.

CTV’s main election coverage begins at 9 PM, with lots of analysis and coverage at www.ctv.ca, including video of anchor Lloyd Robertson interviewing some of the federal leaders.

Keep informed, and VOTE!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Is Michelle O the New Jackie O?

I admit it... I have a girl crush. Michelle Obama, (JD, Harvard Law School) is going to be the sharpest, most elegant American First Lady since Jackie Kennedy Onassis and easily the wittiest First Lady since the understated Rosalyn Carter stood beside that peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia. Not that Hillary Rodham Clinton isn't/wasn't smart; she just usually seemed a light in the humour department. (Not that anyone could blame her.) Still have a soft spot for Barbara Bush, too, and her pearls.

Did you see Michelle O. last night on The Daily Show with with Jon Stewart? Relaxed, funny and gracious. http://www.thecomedynetwork.ca/shows/showdetails.aspx?sid=3350.

"I think it's safe to say I'm an Obama Mama," she replied to Stewart's ribbing about her take on some of more ridiculous aspects of the McCain/Obama debate and which candidate she supports.
"I need to stay focused on what's really happening on the ground. If you listen to the polls and pundits, we're not supposed to be here," she told Stewart of her husband's Barack's run for the White House.

"But when we went to New Hampshire and Iowa, and were out there with crowds of people, that's the reality that we focus on...The thing I've liked about Barack's campaign, is that he's always pushing for the decency that's there in Americans. You've got people who will never vote for Barack Obama, who are angry about the state of the country, and they have every reason to be. But most people really want to find solutions."

Incidentally, after Michelle wore this off-the rack dress (above) which retails for $148 on The View, it became a hot seller in the United States. It wasn't so long ago that pundits suggested the politically active Michelle would hurt her husband's camaign. Turns out the opposite is true.

And tell me if you think the photo below might be a sign that things aren’t going as well for McCain/Palin as some caribou hunters might hope. Rednecks for Obama. Funny.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Boom or Bust on Dragons' Den

First there were tales of a fifth Beatle, now there’s a fifth Dragon. And he’s fierce - quiet but fierce - which makes him so much fun to watch. But that’s something you already know if you’ve been watching Dragons Den, (Mondays, CBC), and newcomer W. Brett Wilson.

You’d be in good company. Monday night’s episode drew 625,000 viewers, with 395,000 of that in the all-important age 25-54 demo graphic. And almost 700,000 viewers tuned in last week for Dragons’ Den’s third-season premiere. What a show; it’s like Nerd Corps with Cash.

New kid on the block Wilson hails from Calgary, was raised in Saskatchewan, and is a veteran energy industry investment banker. He’s probably the Dragon most likely to be voted “Best Poker Player.” I don’t actually know if he plays poker, but he should with that face, and that’s intended as praise (more or less). The man brings some serious Western Canadian can-do attitude to the program.

I’m a fan, unabashed, and have really enjoyed the first two episodes of the season. So far, some truly interesting, undiscovered Canadian innovators and their projects have come before the Dragons, hoping to score investment dollars to get their projects off the ground. The dynamic between the Dragons has always been competitive, but Wilson’s presence seems to seriously up the ante.

If you watched last night, you saw that one of the most unique pitches ever, two acrobats asking for tour financing. Faster than you can say “Artist Meltdown,” one of the two performers, the one who seemed to have two mouths and not a single ear, had thoroughly angered Dragon Kevin O’Leary -- and earned a terse lecture from Robert Herjavec. All the dragons opted out of doing business with the performers, and then Wilson surprised the panel by offering up some serious Dragon dollars. Who saw that coming?

Some of the inventors’ ideas have been truly creative, such as the teacher from Victoria, BC, with what appears to be an impressive educational software package. She accepted a deal with Arlene Dickinson, aka Diva Dragon. The same can’t really be true of the firefighter who wanted money to refit military tanks as land-lubbing fire bombers. Seriously. You can check out their pitches, and more, at www.cbc.ca/dragonsden.

Thank You, No Thank You

Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today that he plans to scrap planned changes to film-and-TV tax credits that would have allowed bureaucrats in the Heritage Department to withdraw credits after a production has wrapped (if its content was deemed objectionable). Really?

That's odd. It sounds like he's offering to make a change. It's a MOOT statement. It's like offering to withdraw a fine, before a court of law has decided if it can even be levied.

Those plans were not quashed today by His Benevolence, but by reality when Bill C-10 died on the seventh of September, 2008, on the Order paper. All un-passed legislation dies when Parliament dissolves. Period. Bill C-10 never received Royal Assent, and accordingly, has never come into force.

Presumably what Mr. Harper is saying is that he won’t re-introduce the same changes that sparked outrage, which in turn led to the entire 500-plus page document being referred to the Senate Banking Committee for review. The committee held hearings with appearances by cultural workers and policy experts offering testimony from December, 07, to the middle of June, 08. Bet that makes policy makers re-think the whole omnibus bill concept, or it should.

No report was completed or submitted by the Banking committee before the second session of the 39thParliament was dissolved. Back to the drawing board.

Maybe Mr. Harper's views about the role of government and the arts have shifted...maybe. But, it was just two weeks ago when media across the nation reported Harper making the following comments, "I think when ordinary working people come home, turn on the TV and see a gala of a bunch of people, you know, at a rich gala all subsidized by taxpayers claiming their subsidies aren't high enough when they know those subsidies have actually gone up - I'm not sure that's something that resonates with ordinary people."

Many have wondered what gala he was referring to, with my best guess being last spring's Canadian Genie Awards, hosted by Sandra Oh, where many Canadian film types aired their concerns about Bill C-10 and its real potential for censorship. (Censorship not subsidies.) And are you telling me that when Ford gets a huge subsidy that GM doesn't squawk, or have a right to?Come on.

Prime Minister Harper doesn't seem to feel the love for Canadian performers and that's curious, because he has some acting talent.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Season Premieres

Tonight’s a big night for fans of two great Canadian comedies; Little Mosque on the Prairie (8 pm, CBC) and Sophie (8:30, CBC). Both begin new seasons tonight, with Little Mosque beginning its third, and Sophie, starring Natalie Brown, kicking off its second season.

I had the chance to spend some time on Little Mosque’s set in early June and found all the cast and crew (led by the effervescent and aptly named Mary Darling) welcoming, interesting and engaging. No wonder the show is so consistently smart and funny. You will find my full feature on the visit in an upcoming edition of TV Times. And without giving too much away, you won’t have to wait long to find out Rayyan’s (Sitara Hewitt) answer to her man problems...

Sophie also ended with a bit of a cliff-hanger, as she finally met with the father of her baby, while her ex-boyfriend, (yes, modern life is complicated), turned up at the worst time ever...Cheer up they told her, things could get worse. So she cheered up, and sure enough they did...

Meanwhile, over on CTV tonight is the tonight for So You Think You Can Dance Canada’s Finals episode...That’s right, about 200 of Canada’s best dancers will pop n lock and pirouette tonight to win one of SYTYCDC’s top spots. And the good news is that if you miss it, Much Music is airing repeat broadcasts of the series on Sundays. Performance episodes begin next Wednesday (Oct.8), followed by results show on Thursday pm (Oct.9).

Also worth noting, tomorrow night 6 PM (Pacific Standard Time) CBC News presents Canada Votes, the federal Leaders debates, live from Ottawa. All five party leaders Stephen Harper (Con), Stephane Dion (Lib), Jack Layton (NDP), Gilles Duceppe (BQ) and Elizabeth May (Green). Expect the gloves to come off in this English language free-for-all. It has never been more important for Stephane Dion to 'hit one out of the park,' as the sports dudes say, if he's going to provide a real challenge to the incumbent prime minister. Without getting too partisan I hope he does, and wish the best of

luck to all the leaders, well except for one...if I`m being honest.

Back to marathon viewing of Cesar Millan's Dog Whisperer... TV really can teach so much to those
of us who want - and need - to learn