Radio Topics, Oct 30th

Happy almost Hallowe’en!

Much like last week, this show will focus on funding drive, though we will have an interview with Janice Stein and Eugene Lang on The Unexpected War, which is absolutely a must read for anyone interested in Canada’s role in Afghanistan or how sausage is made government works.

Thanks to all those that donated last week. Our final funding drive show is tomorrow, so if you are interested in contributing, please be sure to do so. As a bonus for donating, tune in next week- I will run up a floor’s worth of stairs in Dunton Tower for every $50 dollars donated. We had Padraic do it last year, and we realized that having a reasonably fit former cross-country athlete run upstairs isn’t very good radio, whereas getting my easily-winded self to do it is much more fun. So donate, and then tune in to hear me suffer! (I recognize that non-donors will get to free-ride, but donors will get the satisfaction of making me hurt more). You can here what Padraic sounded like last year here.
Details on donating:

Email me! I can take pledges, and then the station will send you an envelope to send a cheque.
Phone! 520-CKCU between 7 and 8 this tuesday (Tomorrow!), 520-3920 or 877-520-3920 between 8 and 9am.
Internets! Go to and click on the donate button. No need to talk to people! Be sure to list “Tuesday Special Blend” as the show you are supporting.

Sleep in tomorrow? No worries- just pledge online or drop me a note, and I’ll be sure that your pledge is counted against the show.

Thanks again for all your help!

Raise Tuition, Increase Enrollment

From the ever-useful Worthwhile Canadian Initiative:

Although the link between PSE participation and tuition fees is small, it is not zero:  tripling tuition fees would force out almost 10% of the students, particularly those from low-income families in small towns. But tripling tuition fees would also mean that universities would have an extra $246m: more than enough to pay the $108m it would cost to offer free tuition to those 22,000 students whose financial situation is too precarious to handle the tuition fee increase. And if they wanted, they could even afford the $88m cost of waiving fees for the 18,000 potential students who would have come if tuition were free. And there would still be $50m left over for other things, in addition to the $20m freed up in the provincial budget.

In principle, a policy of raising tuition fees to the provincial average and then helping those who are in financial difficulty could have the same effect on post-secondary enrollment as a policy of free tuition. But while free tuition would involve increasing public expenditures by $150m, a policy of higher tuition could actually reduce public expenditures.

Since these estimates are subject to a certain amount of error, they can’t be used to justify an immediate increase of %300 in tuition fees. But they certainly make it plain that the appropriate policy path involves increasing tuition fees and using these revenues to help students in financial need.

Remember that episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where they figure out a way to destroy the borg with a mind puzzle so complex it makes their heads explode? This is that for the CFS: raise fees and increase accessibility? That’s unpossible!
Now, I haven’t found a CFS media release on this, but given that they do support needs-based grants, and do support increasing accessibility. They do dispute that increasing fees will do anything but harm accessibility (see here, on page 2).  I’d bet that they focus on how increasing fees reduces enrollment, not that the increase in revenue could be redistributed to those in need and cover their bill. If I were more optimistic, I’d hope that CFS would see that by charging those that can afford it a little more, universities can make life a whole lot easier for those that can’t. In, the end, many people will be unable to afford $2000 as much as they can’t afford $4000.

But I’m not optimistic: CFS, as much as it claims otherwise, is an advocacy organization that represents the interests of all of its members, not just those that might be members if fees were lower. That means advocating for lower tuition for everyone, even if it is demonstrably bad policy and counter to their oft-stated goal of making university more open to everyone regardless of income.

Not Fucking Up Lansdowne

I think I have a destructive relationship with the citizen: for every bizarrely written electoral endorsement, they do a really good series on a civic issue in Ottawa. Case in point, today’s series of articles on the future of Lansdowne park. My two favourites are their 10 cool ideas and the look at public vs. private space.

One important thing to note about the list of cool ideas: it notably doesn’t include a football stadium. Which is odd, because yesterday an editorial described bringing football back to the site a must (no link- page f4, Oct. 26, “Lansdowne Park: Let’s Get it Right.”) Today, they quote the “father of Kanata”:

Ottawa developer Bill Teron, the father of Kanata, believes football is a great asset enjoyed by many people, but he says sports can be a shaky foundation for development. He points to the empty stadium left by the Lynx. “I was a director of the Ottawa Football Club and I know how fragile it was as an undertaking.”

Now, I like most of the ideas in the cool list- though if the Glebe is annoyed by 2 weeks of amusement park, I can’t imagine that they would appreciate a years worth of it- and am generally dubious of the prospects of bringing football back to the site. We forget that the 67′s are already a top draw there, and something like a new central library (a la Vancouver, perhaps) would be the kind of thing that will add value to the city while still being super-functional. In contrast, we’ve had two kicks at the football over the past decade, and both have failed pretty miserably. Part of that might be the stadium; Montreal certainly re-established itself when they moved to a smaller stadium (matched with better on-field product).

I guess my point is that I think focusing the redevelopment of the site around a very large, and very expensive, stadium that may sit empty 10, heck maybe even 3, years from now. I also am reluctant to cede much of the rest of the property so that someone will build that stadium for us; and am similarly apprehensive to make the biggest remaining, and one in which the city has almost total control, developed around a stadium used 5 months a year exclusively for paying customers.

The Unexpected War

I’ll be speaking (with any luck) with at least one of Janice Stein or Eugene Lang next week about The Unexpected War, but thought that I’d do an Andrew Potter impression and comment on the best part of the book as I read it.

Anyway, much focus has been made on the book’s look at Canada’s march to war in Afghanistan, but that is only what the book is about on the surface:

“In Afghanistan, we have learned about ourselves, about how we work together in the world, about our weaknesses as well as our strengths. Canadians from many different departments in Ottawa agree: Much is not right and much can be done better. The history of Canada in Afghanistan sets the stage for important choices that Canadians will have to make in the future, long after Canada’s mission in Kandahar is a distant memory.” (Page 327-328. Emphasis mine.)

This book certainly looks at how we ended up in Afghanistan, engagingly so far, but the real lesson to draw from the book is how we make decisions in Canada.

Liveblogging the throne speech

I usually don’t do this. Whatever.

7:05: Both of my Grandfather’s were in the Airforce. My dad’s in the Navy. My brother’s in the Air Force. My soon-to-be-in-laws are or were in the armed forces. Both of the fiancee’s grandfathers were in the forces. It offends me profoundly when Military people are used as props in ceremonies like this.

Okay, I got distracted by dinner. Boo-urns to me.

I’m going to leave the pontificating mostly to others that are smarter than me, but it seems to me that we are going into an election. Let the idiocy begin! But, did anyone else notice that, in a speech that focused so much on Canada’s place in the world, that there was a very glaring omission on what this year, heck, practically this week, marks the 50th anniversary of.

Radio Topics, Oct 9

As always, we go to air from 7am to 9am Tuesday morning on CKCUfm. 93.1fm in Ottawa, online for those that aren’t.

A heads up: October 19th marks the beginning of CKCU’s annual funding drive. You’ll be hearing more about it on air and in this space in the coming weeks, and if you’ve donated in the past you’ve already probably gotten a letter in the mail. In any case, in a little over two weeks, the station raises 1/3 of its operating budget. If you enjoy my show, or any show for that matter, please support the cause. You can donate securely online, just be sure to list “Tuesday Morning Special blend” as your show of choice.

Tuesday on the show: at 8:10 we’ll be joined by Stuart Ryan, Communist Party of Canada Candidate for Ottawa Centre in Wednesday’s provincial election. At 8:30, we’ll have an interview with William Marsden about his new book, Stupid to the Last Drop.

With the election a day away, we’re bound to get into a little bit of armchair speculation, but we assure you not enough to be any more boring than the campaign itself.

A community grocery story in Centretown west?

Former head of Canadian Space Agency says Canada needs a national space policy. Your dog wants steak.

Public funding for private clinics?

250% rent hike in saskatoon?

While it is not illegal to talk to a prostitute, the police sure want to make your life inconvenient for doing so.

Insite gets a 6 month reprieve. Harper promises American-style war on drugs, as it went so well there.

Ottawa threatens homeless man with fines for collecting people’s bottles.

Radio Topics, October 2

Same Mike and Adam time, same Mike and Adam station. Mike and Adam time, for those not in the know, is 7am to 9am Tuesday morning, 93.1fm in Ottawa.
At 8:30, we’ll be joined by Anna Porter, author of Kasztner’s Train: The True Story of an Unknown Hero of the Holocaust. Leadership Matters: That’s why John Tory is running from the only promise anyone has heard in this election.

Fiscal update: Liberals once again overtax and suprise us with hidden budget surplus. Wait, they aren’t in power? Shit.

Oil patch CEO’s back absolute emissions reductions

Statscan: Exports represented nearly half of the industrial emissions of greenhouse gases in Canada in 2002, the largest single share of emissions from a demand perspective, according to a new study.

Radiohead to release new album online. Pay-what-you-can. Seriously.

Ottawa Space: We’ve been talking a lot lately about space on the show, mostly about Landsdowne Park (for more details on the latest proposals, see here and here), but this week we’ll talk a little about Wellington St., with the PMO’s apparent plans to build a fortress Harper in the almost National Portrait Gallery former American Embassy. Details here, Kelly Egan’s take, which I couldn’t have written better myself, here.

Ontario Election Panel, part 3

Last week, we were joined on air by the campus representatives of the 4 provincial parties. I thought that the discussion went quite well, and wasn’t nearly as partisan as I feared. This is part 3. Part 1 is available here, part 2 here.

As always, if you experience sound troubles with an embedded player, please download the file, or subscribe to the iTunes feed.

Ontario Election Panel, part 2

Last week, we were joined on air by the campus representatives of the 4 provincial parties. I thought that the discussion went quite well, and wasn’t nearly as partisan as I feared. This is part 2. Part 1 is available here.

As always, if you experience sound troubles with an embedded player, please download the file, or subscribe to the iTunes feed.

Ontario Election Panel, part 1

Last week, we were joined on air by the campus representatives of the 4 provincial parties. I thought that the discussion went quite well, and wasn’t nearly as partisan as I feared. This is part 1.

As always, if you experience sound troubles with an embedded player, please download the file, or subscribe to the iTunes feed.