Ward 2 Roundtable

The Ward 2 Saskatoon City Council Roundtable

Lenore Swystun, Hilary Nelson, and myself hosted three charming candidates on running to be your Ward 2 councilor Saskatoon City Councilor on CFCR’s Civicly Speaking.

In the studio was incumbent Pat Lorje, Mark Zielke, and Hilary Gough who gave overviews of why they are running, what they are running on and how they would meet the challenges of the city in the next term.

You can listen to the MP3 of the show below.

Tonight at 6:30 Lenore and I host Ward 3 Councilor Ann Iwanchuk.  Challenger Mark Mills can’t make it.

How to Win an Election

A leading political strategist explains how candidates use the art of storytelling to help swing elections.

Mr. McKinnon has had a long career working for politicians from both parties. As the lead media strategist for George W. Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns as well as John McCain’s winning 2008 primary campaign, he was instrumental in shaping the way we perceived his candidates and their opponents. Remember the 2004 windsurfing ad that branded John Kerry a flip-flopper? That’s his work.

But Mr. McKinnon burned out on presidential campaigns, and increasingly came to view the oversimplification and negativity at the heart of modern campaigning as a leading contributor to the toxic political climate in which we now live. So when we sat down with him, we asked him to turn over his secret playbook.

In this film, he reveals the storytelling strategies used to elect Mr. Bush with openness and candor, and in doing so lays bare the fundamental narrative strategies that remain at the core of today’s presidential campaigns. But Mr. McKinnon believes that the power of storytelling has a dark side that voters should be more aware of. His new message is a warning to all citizens: You’re being manipulated, and our democracy relies on your ability to see that .

A friendly note from Darren Hill

… to anyone who is thinking of running against him in 2016.


Many of you have offered to volunteer on the campaign. I am extremely grateful for the outpouring of support. I am very fortunate to have lots of the team from the last three elections returning, however, some friends and family have moved away and we would welcome the help.

Here is an update of where we are at and if any of the opportunities are of interest to you I would be happy to have you on the team.

* Billboards / bus benches / portable Signs
* Senior Citizen policy team & events
* Fundraising committee work
* Policy committee work
* All 10 brochures designed – 2 printed and 8 ready to go
* GOTV Team coordinated
* Half the lawn signs will go out early next week and the remainder as soon as the opponent declares
* Posters going up Monday
* Vehicle wraps (x3) ready to go if required

In other words, if you run against me, I’ll crush you and take away your desire to ever hold public office again.   Also from the looks at the Senior Citizens policy work, he’ll win your grandparents support and have you disowned.    It’s going to be awkward when your parents are driving around in one of his Darren Hill wrapped vehicles.


The weekend that was: It was a quiet weekend.  I worked Saturday and then on Sunday, Wendy, Oliver and I drove to Moose Jaw to say goodbye to the last weekend of the summer at Deja Vu Cafe, one of our favorite diners.  Mark had to work and we ordered way too many delicious wings, especially after Oliver got full on his milkshake and ate a total of two wings.  This morning Mark and I were up early because he had a photo project to shoot the entire alphabet.  We went downtown early and photographed much of the downtown.

On my to-do list this week: On Tuesday I start the morning talking municipal politics with Phil Tank on CBC and end the day talking politics with Hilary Nelson and Lenore Swystun on CFCR.  In  between there I get to spend some quality time at RUH where I get to find out why my ankle hurts so much (it’s the infection) and I can’t walk in a straight line (that in concerning).

Procrastinating about: I am writing 15 gift guides for work this Christmas.  They start going live every three days in October.  I am done one of them.  It’s going to be about 30,000 words when it is all said and done.

Book I’m in the midst of: I saw a great tweet by Rosie Barton saying, “Elections are my Olympics” which made me laugh but I am not a big fan of the process.  With some friends that are working on opposite campaigns, I kind of find discomfort in the entire process and can’t wait until it is done.  To get my mind off this, I am reading Jared Diamond’s Collapse again.  It sounds bleak but I love the sections on society that avoided collapse by working together for solutions.

Music that seemed to catch my attention this past week:  A shocking amount of Bjork on Spotify.

How I’m feeling about this week: I’ve got some cool projects coming up that I can’t share yet so I am counting down the days until they happen.

Race for Ward 10 Just Got Dirty

Mattea Merta's Campaign Door Hanger

There is a lot going on in this door hanger by Mattea Merta.  So we must:

  1. Cut spending in the city and only concentrate on core services
  2. Build a pool for Ward 10 families.

Okay then.

The fun line in all of this is the attack on Zach Jeffries which may not be that accurate.  If I recall, Jeffries is contracted out by Junior Achievement’s board as a contractor to do certain programs.  A distinction that is kind of important.  It’s a piece of literature that seems to reflect the worst in civic politics and gives people a reason to by cynical.  Not that way I would want to start my campaign.

Also, I hate being that guy but it’s rein in taxes, not reign in taxes.

The Best Star Trek Series Ranked

I was tweeting this out the other day and was told how incorrect I was.  Apparently my ranking of Star Trek: The Next Generation was too low for almost all of you.  Still I stand behind my statement.  The Next Generation sucked but not as much as The Original Series.

  1. Star Trek: Starfleet BadgeStar Trek: Deep Space Nine:  Dark, moody, had a two year long war that saw hundreds of Federation ships destroyed.  Gene Roddenberry would have hated it but it’s my favorite.  Also Avery Brooks who played Captain Sisko was Hawk on Spencer for Hire.
  2. Star Trek: Voyageur: I liked it even before Seven of Nine joined the crew.  My only issue was while almost everyone else got a promotion, Ensign Kim never did.  Was his performance so middling he couldn’t have been made a lieutenant? 
  3. Star Trek: Enterprise: The idea of Starfleet going out with in deep space with an under performing Enterprise helped by duplicitous Vulcans, I’m okay with that.  Plus it had a beagle on board.
  4. Star Trek: The Next Generation:  The Enterprise D was ugly, Riker can’t keep the shields up, Tasha Yar was killed off in a horrible way.  Outside of the Borg episodes and the one where they brought Yar back, the series sucked.  Okay that one episode when the U.S.S. Phoenix went rogue was pretty cool. The Nebula class starships look so much cooler than the Galaxy class ships.
  5. Star Trek: TOS:  I’ll watch it if nothing else is one.

That being said, I am a huge fan of the movies including The Next Generation movies.  Of course the premise is often darker, the sets are better, the uniforms look good.  If only Riker could keep the shields up.

Some quick family updates

I get asked all of the time if Mark is going to keep working at Safeway though the school year.  The answer is yes.  He is working most weekends including the Labour Day weekend.  We had a long talk about what holidays were important to have off if possible like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and things like family birthdays and gatherings.  Then we talked about the non-important holidays where three times his regular pays was pretty important.  Labour Day fell into that this weekend.  It means that we are going to Moose Jaw to have wings at the Deja Vu Cafe while Mark is cutting fruit at Safeway.

As for his money, some asked how we handle that.  It’s been pretty simple.

  • He wants $1000.00 for next year’s holidays which means that $40 a paycheck has to go into his savings account off the top.
  • Then he pays his cell phone account which $19 month to month via Virgin.  He gets texts and minutes but no data.
  • He has a travel and adventure journal, in it he has a list of the gear he wants for next year.  Things like new hiking boots and some other gear he wants to upgrade.  He keeps an eye for that stuff on sale.
  • Also he wanted to take care of Christmas presents.  He has Wendy’s birthday and Christmas gifts taken care of.  He tells me he has mine purchased and is waiting until closer to Christmas to get Oliver one of his gifts.  So yeah, he’s done.
  • Then when he gets paid, he takes all of the money that was left in his checking account and dumps it into his savings account for travel.  He has saved most of this money from this summer.

The entire “It’s my money and I get to do with it what I want” doesn’t work in our household.  He’s not like that anyways.

He is working while going back to school.  Safeway allows him to restrict his hours.  Not only that but he has a department manager that played sports and worked so he has one of Mark’s football schedules and is going to work around that.  It will be fine and if it isn’t, we will help him out.  I don’t know what means now that I have written it but I guess I could suit up and play football again, kind of like Sinbad in Necessary Roughness.

For the record, I did go to YouTube as soon as I thought about Sinbad in Necessary Roughness.   Also, the movie holds up well.  As a side note, I was watching this in a hotel in Boston when the hotel caught fire. 

Also while the rest of you were posting cute first day of school photos to Instagram, Oliver gets ready, walks to the door and goes, “Later”.  He’s a pro at this school thing now.

Every once in a while I have something to say

Over the last two years, I haven’t had a lot of fun doing much of anything.  Work has been painful and I found myself coming home many night and just collapsing into bed.  I often needed a nap between coming home from work and when I wanted to go to bed.

It’s the infection in my leg.  It just won’t leave and it takes a lot out of me.  The worst parts are when the specialists go, “You are cured!  Congratulations!”.  The next thing you know I am back at Royal University Hospital being pumped with antibiotics to stop the spread of the infection and for weeks after that I am waiting for the medication to beat it back into my leg.  I am losing entire months at a time doing this.

When I have been strong enough, I found myself writing some extra columns for The StarPhoenix because there were times when I was so weak that finding that pre-written column, editing it, attaching it to my email, and sending it seemed like a major accomplishment.  Luckily even though I have bad days, I don’t have those kind of bad days any longer.  It was horrible. 

Basically for every four columns I write, I have three that I don’t write for a variety of reasons I will share below

  • They are too long.  Sometimes 650 words isn’t enough space to say what I want to say.  I know that if I was a better writer, I would be able to say it in that but I am not.
  • It’s about the ethics of sports and that isn’t what my column is about.
  • It’s a about some aspect of my column that I want to expand on but it didn’t work or didn’t fit into the column I filed.
  • It’s an idea that I think Murray Mandryk or Tammy Robert is going to do a way better job of writing about and I want to see what they have to say first.  In other words, it is a provincial matter.

I was going to do something with them on a different website with some advertising and sponsorship and even some guest writers  but that started to sound like competition, even if it was a niche idea. If only I had a place of my own where I could post my own writing….

Oh right.  The perfect place for them is to post them right here.  So Wednesday mornings, expect to see some long(er) form content here. 


I get asked how the ankle is doing.  The swelling is more manageable then ever but at night the pain from the damage to my nerves is intense.  I still wear an ankle brace for compression on it but more or less it is doing better.  I am on antibiotics for another full year and then we will see if things have improved.  Yes, I know you are not supposed to be on antibiotics for a year.  By the time I am off them, it will be close to three years of antibiotics. 

Some quick takes on Saskatoon City Council races

This is what I think I think.

  • Dayday is not a credible candidate.  His Twitter handle links to a domain name that is currently unregistered.  If you can’t register your own domain name and set up a website, why are you even running.  This seems more about a blood feud with Atch than anything else.
  • If crime becomes an issue in the election, both the Mayor and Clark are in trouble.  Both have been around forever and it’s gotten worse on their watch.
  • I haven’t seen a lawn sign on public property yet.  This is is a good thing.  Can we keep them off of public property?  It makes the city look like crap and boulevards don’t vote.
  • In the spring, Darren gave Wendy some gardening advice.  She ignored it (because she always ignores good gardening advice) and our garden sucks despite the heat and the rain.  It’s a bit of the sore spot with Wendy and one that we enjoy rubbing salt in.  Anyways I point this out because one candidate ran in 2012 because they thought the front runner was rude on the doorstep.  Not that I am saying that Wendy is running but it’s amazing what motivates people to run for office.
  • Everyone is telling me what the impact on Kelley Moore’s entrance into the race will be but none of us have any idea.  It’s been 48 hours.  No one knows how a campaign is going to go after only 48 hours.  For right now, she has a long hill to climb but remember, when Nenshi started, he was dead last and considered and after thought.  Even the election that saw Atch election, he was behind before a violent assault happened downtown and shook up the race.  No lead is safe in civic races.
  • I was really surprised that Atch has been taking the summer off of campaigning.  I was challenged on Twitter that he has the right approach and by lying low, he makes himself as small as target as possible.   On the flipside, I am even hearing from candidates in areas that most would define as Atch’s base that people really want change.  I still think if he loses that the election could have been lost in August.

It literally can’t get any worse

I don’t blog much about work but I thought you would like this.

My boss is a genuine long term New England Patriots fan.  His wife is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan who hates the Patriots.  I think that is awesome.   They are genuine fans.  I don’t know how their marriage survived some of those playoff games.

A sad Tom  BradySo being a Broncos fan, you know how classy and graceful I would have been when the Broncos beat the Tom Brady led Patriots twice and won the Super Bowl.  Well I may have posted a photo of Tom Brady sitting on the turf near tears on the bulletin board.  Just like that one to the left.  See I can’t even help myself now.  It wasn’t always classy.  As a true fan, he accepted the mockery that his team was beaten by a team with a noodle armed QB.

Then this came out.  The Broncos have the worst QB situation in the NFL.

The Broncos have the worst QB situation in the NFL.

That Sanchez may actually lose a training camp battle to Trevor Siemian tells you everything you need to know about his ability. The Broncos will not ask much from whomever they elect to start come Week 1: Just don’t turn the ball over too much and complete some simple play-action passes. But even that may be too much for Sanchez, who, even at an advanced age, is just a mess in the pocket, melting down at the first sign of pressure. And, unlike his predecessor Peyton Manning, Sanchez offers very little in the way of pre-snap adjustments.

When Denver signed him, friends phoned up and were like, “How are you and Mark handling this?”  It was like this was sports news that was sooooo bad, it actually provoked some people I know to think, “I should phone up Jordon to see how he is handling this.”

Then you read the rest of the reviews and it’s like Mark Sanchez stole the writers girlfriend while at USC, they are all pretty fair.  Sanchez is just that bad. 

Guess who is number 1?  Yeah, some dude from New England.

I read this and thought, “It’s going to be a long season at work.”  Note that I said it wasn’t going to be a long day or week but a long NFL season at work.

I was left with a ethical work related dilemma.  Do I show Glen this or just pretend it didn’t happen ignore the reality that Mark Sanchez is the Broncos QB.  Maybe he wouldn’t realize how bad Mark Sanchez was.  Yeah right.  That whole AFC East thing.

When I showed the article to Mark, who is also a Broncos fan, he goes, “Bad couple of months at work ahead.”

So I emailed my boss with the subject like, “I’ll just get this out there” and sent him the link.  He didn’t even read the entire list.  Seeing the Broncos at the bottom of the QB pile was enough joy for him.   If I was him, I would have just read it slowly and savored the list of horrible QBs that were listed as better than Mark Sanchez.

As Mark and I talked, we realized that there is only one way to get through this.  That is go online and purchase this life sized replica of the Vince Lombardi Trophy and carry it around work wherever I go.  If I am writing, I have it beside me.  If I am in a meeting, it’s there with me as well.  I even take it to the washroom or for lunch.  Then whenever I am mocked for whatever Sanchez has buttfumbled this week, I say, “I’m sorry, I am just admiring my teams Super Bowl 50 trophy” and move on to the next topic.

Replica Super Bowl 50 Trophy

Wendy wasn’t enthused at me spending almost $600 on this so it looks like a long season of mocking is ahead.  Mark Sanchez, it literally can’t get any worse.

Update: Here is some feedback from friends.

  • Dominant defenses generally slip the next season.  There is little chance that Mark Sanchez could become Trent Dilfer.  Partly because no one thinks that Sanchez is even as good as Trent Dilfer.
  • There is some hope that Paxton Lynch could become a great QB but this year?  It’s unlikely that he becomes the next Ben Roeslisberger and ride a dominant defense and running game to a 15-1 record.  Also, that ended with a loss to the Tom Brady lead Patriots.
  • My favorite comment was “even if you do buy the trophy, Sanchez would just fumble it”.
  • Some Detroit Lions fans out there have told me that if they could win the Super Bowl, they would take Mark Sanchez and all of the mocking from Patriots fans in the world.  So context is everything. 
  • I actually hoped the Broncos were able to draft Sanchez out of USC back in the Josh McDaniels era.  Instead they drafted Tim Tebow.  At least Sanchez is still back in the league.  Well maybe that isn’t a good thing.

Now I will honor the Rules for being a Sports Fan.  If there is anything left sacred in the world of sports, it is these rules.  The main one is that I can’t complain for five years since the Broncos won a championship.  So no Mark Sanchez complaining from me.  None at all.

Why Evangelicals Love Donald Trump

Possibly the most depressing thing I have ever read about the state of the evangelical church in years.

Kevin Kruse, a historian at Princeton University, has a theory: This is an echo of an old alliance between white, evangelical Protestants and the corporate world. In his book One Nation Under God, published last year, Kruse argues that business titans joined forces with ministers and pastors following the Great Depression, pushing back against the New Deal with a kind of “Christian libertarianism.” Later, Dwight Eisenhower took their arguments—that freedom from government is a necessary part of freedom under God—and transformed them into messages about America: “In God We Trust” was adopted as the national motto and added to U.S. currency, and “under God” was tacked onto the pledge of allegiance. In turn, Kruse argues, Nixon used the newly minted image of America as a “Christian nation” to justify many of his policies.

Perhaps a strain of “Christian libertarianism” is coming back in American politics, showing up in a push to have government “run like a business” and a sense of anxiety about individual religious liberty being trampled by changing social mores. Kruse and I spoke about the possible connection between Trump’s rise and this old strain of pro-individualism among some conservative Christians.

Here is some of what Kruse said in an interview with The Atlantic

The first strand is an old one. You can look at the way in which Christians, Protestants, have seen personal success as a sign of God’s work.

The real political linkage is one that comes about through these corporate leaders in the 1930s, who are looking for someone to push back against the New Deal. When their own efforts fall flat, they go looking for ministers to make the case for them. They come together around a common set of values: They see the New Deal and the labor unions’ power as forces of “pagan statism.” Through that common enemy, they make an argument that Christianity and capitalism are one and the same.

In my book, I talk about James Fifield, who argues quite explicitly that both the systems are based on individual salvation. In his telling, a good Christian goes to heaven; a bad one goes to hell. A good capitalist makes profit, a bad one goes to the poorhouse. In both systems, individuals rise on their own merits.

If you go back and look at the main libertarian thinkers from the 1930s on, religion doesn’t play a large role in their lives. Even some, like Ayn Rand, are atheists.

Christian libertarianism is an effort by ministers like Fifield or Vereide or even Billy Graham to appropriate classic libertarian arguments, which didn’t at all have to do with religion, and put a religious veneer on them to make them palatable for Americans. They reprint Hayek and von Mises and people like that who never would have made an argument in religious terms; they send them off to ministers and religious leaders. Christian libertarianism is essentially an effort to appropriate a political ideology that either had nothing at all to do with religion or was antithetical to religion and instead use it toward a set of ends that had a religious gloss to it.

Next year

Well with all of my photos from Banff and Yoho National Park posted, I thought I would write what we are thinking of for next year.

The big difference is we are doing a short trip on July 1st long weekend to Yoho National Park to hike Lake O’Hara.  Lake O’Hara has very restricted access but is considered one of the best hiking areas in the world.   So the plan is to drive out and the camp in the rustic Lake O’Hara campground before hiking the trails for two days.

We will take a longer vacation later in the summer.  We will also take Marley along for this one.

Day 1: Drive to Banff, get out and hike up Tunnel Mountain.  Die a little on top.  Walk back down.  Get back into car and drive to Lake Louise campground.

Tunnel Mountain in Banff National Park

Basically we never did do this during this year’s vacation because my ankle was so swollen that it felt like it was going to snap.  I want to do this next year.   As for the campground, I loved the Johnston Canyon Campground but Lake Louise Campground is closer to Yoho National Park and there are no reservable spots in Yoho.

Day 2: Hike to Lake Agnes Tea House.  Hike up the Little Beehive and the Big  Beehive.

Another idea from this year that was derailed because of my ankle.  If all goes well, three mountain tops and one cup of tea in two days.  I am more excited about the mountain tops than I am the tea to be honest.

Day 3: Yoho: HIke to the the Twin Falls

Get up early and drive into Yoho and hike from Takakkaw Falls past the Angel’s Staircase to the Twin Falls.  Then back.

Day 4: Walk the Past Trail

It’s not a long trail but I have always wanted to hike the Walk the Past Trail in Yoho.  It is near the Spiral Tunnels and it is littered with the carnage of runaway trains and exploding boilers that plagued the Big Hill during it’s existence.  This history geek in me is looking forward to this.  Since it won’t take long, I plan to check out Emerald Lake in Yoho as well.

Day 5: Columbia Ice Fields

I haven’t spent anytime in Jasper National Park so this will be fun but we are planning to take the Columbia Ice Fields tour as we relocate camp from Lake Louise to the Columbia Ice Fields Campground.

Day 6: Hike to Wilcox Pass

One of the best hikes in Canada, this high alpine pass should be fun.

Day 7: Athabasca Falls and Exploring the town of Jasper.

Day 8: Mount Edith Cavell trail

Edith Cavall Trail in Jasper National Park

Day 9: Edmonton and then home.

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