Category Archives: Social Media

Paul Donofrio: NDP Candidate. Rob Ford Supporter. Social Media Cautionary Tale.

Yesterday, I wrote about how the PC candidate in Kitchener-Waterloo, Tracey Weiler, has been running away from the PC leader Tim Hudak. In the riding of Vaughan, the ONDP and their leader Andrea Horwath, the opposite has been the case. Paul Donofrio, the ONDP candidate, has been completely ignored by his party. When he was nominated on August 10th the ONDP did a short, boilerplate press release. Since then, there has been hardly a peep about Mr. Donofrio out of the ONDP.

Paul Donofrio is a classic perennial candidate. He ran for City Council, and lost. He ran for mayor of Vaughan, and lost. And he ran in Vaughan during the 2011 election, and lost.

The point I want to make is not only that the NDP are not competitive in both by-elections (the PCs aren’t either, the Ontario Liberals are the only party competitive in both Kitchener-Waterloo and Vaughan.) Donofrio offers an important political social media lesson for us all. His twitter account is effectively inactive (he has tweeted 4 times since the 2011 election.) His tweets from over the last 2-and-a-bit years include non sequiturs, lots of ALL CAPS, dead links and some interesting opinions (see below.) When a candidate signs up for twitter (or any social media platform) and doesn’t know what they are doing/has no social media communications team behind them, their dead account will linger online forever. The lesson: you don’t have to get twitter just because other people have twitter. If a candidate gets twitter, make sure that they have a good team behind them and take down the account after the election if the candidate is planning on running again.

Getting back to Mr. Donofrio. Perhaps the NDP doesn’t want to draw attention to some of Mr. Donofrio’s previously held political positions. The website from his mayoral run is still up: and his endorsement of Toronto Mayoral candidate Rob Ford on twitter is still up:

The next day he retweeted a Rob Ford GOTV tweet*:

“WAIT, WHAT?” you may ask. An NDP candidate endorsed Toronto’s regressive mayor? He most certainly did. Now, this shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone. Andrea Horwarth and the Ontario NDP regularly take regressive positions because they have populist appeal (just like Rob Ford.) Andrea Horwath voted against the Clear Energy Act, the Clean Water Act and the Cosmetic Pesticides Ban.** The ONDP’s HST policy would lead to a large tax cut for big polluters. Since the 2011 election the ONDP have advocated an auto insurance scheme that would raise rates for safe drivers and lower them for dangerous drivers.***

This does raise some serious questions for Andrea Horwath and the ONDP:

Does Paul Donofrio still support Mayor Ford? How would Mr. Donofrio have voted on the PC’s motion in support of subways in Ontario? How does the ONDP reconcile their candidate’s views with the views of the ONDP?


* Click on each picture for a link to each tweet. You can visit Paul Donofrio’s twitter page here:
** I am a big fan of bees. They gives us all of our non-wheat/rice/corn food with their pollination. The Cosmetic Pesticides Ban is a great piece of pro-bee public policy.
*** It was denounced by Andrew W. Murie, Ceo of MADD Canada: “[T]he Bill will force responsible drivers to subsidize the insurance premiums of dangerous drivers… In our view, the Bill sends all the wrong messages, punishes responsible drivers, rewards dangerous drivers, and will increase the risk to Ontario road-users.”

Doug Ford as Ozymandias (or How I learned to stop worrying and love libraries.)

“When I read about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that society has found one more way to destroy itself.”

 – Isaac Asimov


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear —
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

– Percy Shelley


I am a big Margaret Atwood fan, so when I first read that Doug Ford had ignorantly dismissed her while ignorantly dismissing libraries, I was angry. Then I realized that in 20 years no one will remember who Doug Ford is and Margaret Atwood (who has a list of accomplishments that is most likely longer than anything Mr. Ford has ever read) will still be taught in high schools, and considered a national treasurer & one of Canada’s greatest writers.

The problem with conservatives like the Ford brothers (and Stephen Harper) is that they don’t follow their nonsense anti-government philosophy to its logical end by actually cutting waste, they go after government programs that actually work efficiently (like the long-form census, and the Toronto Public Library system.) The Globe and Mail  neatly summarizes the awesomeness of Toronto’s 99 libraries: “Toronto’s system is the second largest, by number of branches, and the busiest by circulation, on the continent. New York City public libraries lent out 24 million volumes in 2010; Toronto’s lent out over 32 million. The system has innovated, offering music and e-book downloads, making Internet access widely available, delivering materials to local branches, and lending out cards that give free access to local museums.” The library is one of humanities greatest accomplishments. It is a place where anyone, literally anyone can come for the ultimate democratic experience. Immigrants and those who live in poverty can help lift themselves up with the information found in our libraries. Libraries are one of the last/best places where people are brought together in the world of social isolation that we all now inhabit. Doug Ford’s dismissal of libraries is an attack on an institution that brings out the best in people.

Finally, the fact that Doug Ford said that he would only talk to Mrs. Atwood if she were an elected politician is complete horse-feces. During the election campaign both Ford’s claimed to have received calls from private citizens demanding an end of the so-called “gravy train.” Margaret may be an internationally respect author but she is also a Torontonian, one of the “tax-payers” that the Fords falsely claim to defend.

When industrialist Andrew Carnegie wanted to create a legacy he donated money to build gigantic libraries in New York City as he knew that they were a public good. What will Doug Ford’s legacy be? A $60 saving on a car registration fee? Several bleak parking lots where libraries used to be? Look on his works, Toronto, and despair.


From July 27 to 31, Indigo Books & Music Inc. is offering library card-carrying customers a 30 per cent discount on Margaret Atwood titles.

Rocky Varcoe For Mayor

Whitby Ontario has been my home all my life. Over the last five years I split my time between Toronto and Whitby, as I was at U of T, and being between two worlds made me appreciate both more. Whitby’s population (111,184 as of 2006) is growing but we have a strong sense of community here. Whitby is a great place to live, our library is awesome, the town events are sweet, the schools are wonderful and everyone has a dog. However, the sprawl that has occurred over the last 14 years is ridiculous, the public transit system is designed with one purpose: to get you out of Whitby, many of the industrial jobs have left the town and (for young people) there isn’t enough to do.

Whitby needs new leadership in town hall. We need a mayor who can reign in the suburban growth, bring in jobs, expanded our public transit system, open up town hall to the voices of the citizens of Whitby and bring down our high taxes (industrial/property).

On October 25th, I am voting for Rocky Varcoe, I think you should too, here is why:

  • Rocky has twenty-five years of business experience. For the last ten years he has owned a theatre here in Whitby. He has the managerial experience to be the CEO/Mayor of the town.
  • Coming from the Arts Community, Rocky knows the importances of supporting local artists.
  • Rocky was President of the Whitby Chamber of Commerce and Whitby Rotary. He is established in the community here but he’s not part of the political establishment.
  • Rocky has the best website of any candidate and is active on twitter/facebook (this was what brought him to my attention as he was campaigning online months ago.)
  • His full platform (read it/download it here) has been out for a while. Rocky is sincerely campaigning on the issues, which is refreshing as Whitby is currently a town with lots of potential with political leaders that are letting us all down.
  • Rocky Varcoe is the ONLY mayoral candidate to complete the DurhamCLEAR survey and has received their endorsement. He has a lot of great environmental ideas (putting solar lighting in our parks, for example) and is also the only mayoral candidate to be talking about transit policy.
  • He is a bit of a policy wonk. Rocky would rather talk about tax policy, infrastructure, or crime than himself.

In this election, there are 3 candidates for mayor (the mayor, the ex-mayor and Rocky) but really 2 options (the career politicians or the community leader) and one clear choice: Rocky Varcoe.

On October 25th Vote Rocky Varcoe for Mayor!


I attended the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) yesterday at the Toronto Reference Library. This was my first time attending the event and it met/exceeded all my expectations/childish fantasies.

The two main highlights of my TCAF experience were:

  • Getting to high-five the creators of “Amazing Superpowers.” This is one of the best webcomics on the internets and the creators of this comic, Wes and Tony, were really funny and easy to talk to. I purchased a print of this comic and got it signed.
  • I got to meet Kate Beaton!!!!!!! Ms. Beaton is the creator of “Hark, a vagrant” (which I have previously blogged on), she is from Novia Scotia, is one of my heroines and is amazing. I purchased a copy of her comic collection “Never Learn Anything From History” and she shook my hand. This was an unreal moment for me as I am a huge fan of her work (h/t to my friend Brent who is responsible for my love of webcomics) and it was fantastic to see how many other people are huge Beaton fans/nerds too (there was a massive line for her autograph that was definitely worth the wait.)

The event ends at 5 pm tonight so there is still time to check it out. Two other notable webcomics in attendance: Overcompensating and The Book of Biff.

Comics and graphic novels are two forms of texts that often get overlooked. ‘Amazing Superpowers’ and ‘Hark a vagrant’ are really intelligent and high-quality works that I highly recommend you make a part of your day. Kate Beaton’s work is especially excellent as her comics often touch on moments in Canadian history, Ms. Beaton is able to breathe new life into Canada’s past while staying true to the very acerbic and silly sensibility that forms the foundation of Canadian humour.

Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world(Video)

The Conservative Party of Canada: Raising Money off of the backs of our athletes (Video)

The Vancouver 2010 Olympics are Canada’s coming out party. 2010 marks a new decade and these Olympics are a marvelous opportunity for Canadians to show the whole world how awesome we are. Our athletes have been performing excellently and our country is united behind them.

Stephen Harper/The Conservative Party of Canada have yet to find a situation that they can’t/wont try to sully with partisanship/conduct unbecoming of a government.

This video is an insult to Canada, Canada’s amazing athletes and all the hard-working Canadians who made the Olympics possible.

Like prorogation, Stephen Harper wants this video to go unnoticed. Since ‘sunlight is the best disinfectant’ I ask anyone reading this to watch the video and send it to as many people as possible. The video may be of low quality (a theme for the Conservatives this Olympics) but I ask you to endure watching/listening to Mike Duffy so this video can go viral and its perpetrators can be exposed.

Here is the link:

Remember to: Rate the video. Comment on the video. Favourite the video.

Current view count: 3595.

US Grassroots Movement Demands “Question Time”

On January 29th President Barack Obama took questions from the Republican caucus. Members of the United States MSM have called this “Question Time” which is what British/Australian citizens call what Canadians call “Question Period.” Today Andrew Sullivan of “The Daily Dish” endorsed the grassroots petition Demand Question Time whose goal is to encourage more instances of QT in the United States. CNN/MSNBC gave special coverage to “Question Time” and many Americans seem to see the many benefits of this check on the President (and platform for the opposition to intelligently/civilly debate the commander-in-chief.)

Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament has done a great job keeping the prorogation issue alive but the fury of CAPP needs to grow