Toronto Reporter Ginella Massa Becomes Canada’s First Hijab-Wearing News Anchor 


A journalist at one of Toronto’s major news broadcasters is believed to be Canada’s first anchor to don a Muslim head scarf.

Ginella Massa was asked to fill in on the anchor desk for CityNews’ 11 p.m. broadcast last week. She created a buzz after the broadcast ended and she tweeted: “That’s a wrap! Tonight wasn’t just important for me. I don’t think a woman in hijab has ever anchored a newscast in Canada.”

“I’ve talked to many women who are journalists in the U.S. who work behind the scenes, and they’ve told me that they face multiple challenges trying to get on air. They’ve been told because of their hijab, that’s not going to happen. That makes me really sad because they’re being held back by someone else’s idea of what the public can or cannot handle.”

Massa, 29, said Friday that she became Canada’s first hijab-wearing television news reporter in 2015 while reporting for CTV News in Kitchener, Ontario, west of Toronto. She moved back to Toronto, where she grew up, this year to take a reporting job at CityNews.

“But this is all the more reason in today’s climate to see positive images of Muslim women. They are a symbol of Islam when they wear the hijab, and that carries a powerful image. It’s so important to see positive images of us in the media.”

Massa said in an interview that it took her editor to point out the larger significance. “It wasn’t until my editor said, ‘Hey, great job! Was that a first for Canada? A woman in a hijab?’ And I said yes. Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] BREAKING: FBI on #SanBernardino Shooting: ‘We Are Now Investigating These Horrific Acts as an Act of Terrorism’


BREAKING: FBI on #SanBernardino shooting: “We are now investigating these horrific acts as an act of terrorism.”

Donors Are Panicking


Ryan Lizza writes: This week marks an important anniversary in the political lives of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Eight years ago, Hillary Clinton was dominating the young upstart from Illinois in the Democratic primaries. After a burst of excitement when Obama announced his candidacy, in February, 2007, his campaign flagged over the summer. He was down in the polls, his donors were complaining, and, hard as it is to believe now, he was even losing to Clinton among African-Americans.

“We were trailing in national polls by a wide margin, the pundits were pouncing, and donors were panicking.”

— David Axelrod

“A lot of our supporters nationally were very concerned that we weren’t moving in the national polls,” Larry Grisolano, one of Obama’s top campaign strategists, told me.

Dan Pfeiffer, then the campaign’s deputy communications director, told me, “It’s crazy to think now, but the big narrative was whether Obama was tough enough to take on Clinton and whether he was black enough to win the African-American vote. That’s an actual debate we had in America. You could see the political world placing its bets on Hillary.”

“We were trailing in national polls by a wide margin, the pundits were pouncing, and donors were panicking,” David Axelrod, who was Obama’s top strategist and later became a senior White House adviser, told me.

How did the Obama team turn it around? The conventional wisdom is that he inspired voters with an uplifting message and out-organized Clinton in Iowa and elsewhere. And while it’s true that Obama had a superior organization and an optimistic message, the real beginning of the end for Hillary Clinton was when Obama attacked her greatest vulnerability: her character.

The kill-Hillary strategy began with an October memo that was written by several top Obama officials, including Axelrod, Grisolano, Pfeiffer, the campaign manager David Plouffe, and Joel Benenson, Obama’s pollster. “Joel Benenson was a key contributor to how we stack up against her message-wise,” Grisolano said.

I’ve previously reported on aspects of the memo, but the entire document is being published here for the first time. It offers a fascinating glimpse into campaign strategy, and specifically into the strategy used to defeat Hillary Clinton, who was then, as now, the Democratic frontrunner.

[Read the full text here, at The New Yorker]

The memo was used to set up a crucial meeting to plot Obama’s fall strategy, which included a debate in Philadelphia and the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, traditionally one of the most important events in the run-up to the caucuses. Obama and his aides met in a Chicago office building on October 11, 2007. “The memo was written for a big Come-to-Jesus meeting, at which Obama wanted us to review the strategy and lay out our plans,” Axelrod said, adding that Obama “wanted to talk brass tacks about where we were going” and “we had a rigorous discussion around the points in the memo.”

Obama’s strategists argued that the “key premise” of the campaign was that 2008 would be a change election, and that while Hillary was trying to “define this as change from George Bush,” Obama had a broader definition, one that emphasized her weaknesses:

 Our construct is much broader and tracks with Americans’ deep discontent with Washington, specifically:

• Its political gamesmanship, where politicians score points by saying what others want to hear, rather than what they need to hear;

• Its divisiveness, which pits Americans against each other and blocks the consensus we need to get things done;

• Its submission to powerful interests that shut out the voices of average Americans.

The only way for Obama to win this argument about change was for him to raise the character issue, which he had tiptoed around until that point in the campaign. Benenson’s polling showed that voters wanted a President “who can unite the country and restore our sense of common purpose,” “stand up to lobbyists,” and “who doesn’t just tell people what they want to hear.” The strategists, addressing Obama, wrote that these qualities “are the ones on which YOU scores high and Hillary, low.” They concluded, “Barack Obama is change. She is not.” Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] Canadian Hockey Fans Finish Star Spangled Banner After Mic Cuts Out

YouTube description: November 18, 2014, Leafs vs. Nashville Predators. The mic cut out partway through the U.S. national anthem and the Canadian fans took it from there!

From HuffPo:

They may be our biggest rivals on the ice, but when it comes to honouring our American neighbours, Canadians don’t pass up on the opportunity to chime in. The video, filmed Nov. 18, shows the opening of the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. the Nashville Predators hockey game. When Canadian singer Michelle Madeira began the American national anthem, her microphone failed. So what did the Canadian crowd do? They picked up right where she left off.

Hot Air’s Guy Benson notes:

They had the lyrics down pat and didn’t miss a beat.  Stirring stuff.  Show of hands: How many of you know the words to the Canadian national anthem? …(read more)

[VIDEO] Speaking Truth to Power: Chicago Activists Confront Their Oppressors

Chicago activists Paul McKinley, Mark Carter, Joseph Watkins and Harold “Noonie” Ward recently went on the record with RebelPundit to deliver a message to black communities across the country.



[VIDEO] Ottawa Shooting: Institutions Locked Down; A Soldier and a Shooter Are Dead

Shots Fired Inside Canadian Parliament Building

Paul Vieira And Alistair MacDonald – Updated Oct. 22, 2014 1:57 p.m. ET OTTAWA—Canada’s Parliament building and other government offices were locked down after an armed attack left at least one soldier dead at the country’s main war memorial.

One shooter was also killed, according to a person familiar with the matter. Ottawa police said that there were “possibly three” shooters and that shots had been fired at three separate locations in the capital, including inside Parliament.


Police were searching for the assailants as armed officers locked down the Canada’s Parliament building and Prime Minister Stephen Harper was moved out of the area. Mr. Harper canceled planned appearances in Toronto after the Ottawa shootings.

Tony Clement, a senior cabinet minister, tweeted that at least 30 shots were fired. “I’m safe with two colleagues but we’re still at risk,” he said.

The shooting left downtown Ottawa locked down, including the U.S. Embassy there, and provincial parliaments elsewhere in Canada tightened their security as heavily armed police combed the Canadian capital.


The war memorial in Ottawa, which honors Canadian forces’ service abroad, is the site of the Canadian government’s annual official Remembrance Day ceremony

Medics could be seen attending to a person on the ground near the memorial, which is close to Canada’s House of Commons, before the person was taken away in an ambulance. A witness said she heard four shots and saw a person running away with a rifle.  Read the rest of this entry »

UPDATE: Rob Ford, Hospitalized With Tumor, Drops Out of Torontos Mayor’s Race


Ford had decided to run for re-election even after admitting to a string of misdeeds, including smoking crack and being drunk on the job. He did a stint in rehab over the summer.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who is hospitalized for a suspected tumor in his abdomen, is dropping his bid for re-election, but has decided to run for councilor. Meanwhile, Ford’s brother, Doug, has added his name to the list of mayoral candidates. A spokesman said the campaign would issue a statement later on Friday.


Read the rest of this entry »

Toronto Health Officials: Mayor Rob Ford Hospitalized With Suspected Tumor


Health officials say Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been admitted to a hospital and is believed to have a tumor.

“Ford appeared to be in good spirts during a debate on Tuesday night.”

“Humber Regional Hospital said in a statement Wednesday that Ford had been complaining of abdominal pains and that an examination has resulted in a working diagnosis of a tumor.

“The mayor became an international celebrity last year after he acknowledged using crack in a “drunken stupor” following months of denials.”

The statement said Ford had been suffering from stomach pains for at least three months and that they worsened in the last 24 hours. Read the rest of this entry »

Elsa Keslassy: Films Français Make Their Way Abroad in Des Moyens Non Conventionnels!


editor-commen-deskI’m a huge fan of writer/director Luc Besson, and confess to having a soft spot for even slightly bad French movies. A wave of development and marketing innovations emerging from the film industry in France are a welcome, if unlikely sight. Who knew? It seemed that the once-epic, influential era of European cinema had seen its best days, with an uncertain future. Moral of story: Never underestimatekeslassy-elsa-web the French.

PARIS —For Variety reports: With a record 41 French pics playing at Toronto, Gallic movies will have the largest presence among foreign-language films at the fest. Meanwhile, Luc Besson’s blockbuster “Lucy” is sure to boost this year’s French films’ export figures, having grossed $218 million worldwide so far. But in reality, French-lingo movies are struggling to access theater screens, pushing local sales agents to seize different and non-traditional opportunities.

This certainly has been the case at recent movie markets, where sales agents are closing more and more deals with select digital platforms that are opening up to European arthouse fare.

Luc Besson

Luc Besson

“There seems to be an increased appetite for day-and-date content with more and more actors using this method as a way of getting foreign films to market at minimal risk.”

— Marie-Laure Montironi


And while all-rights deals are proving harder to clinch, French movies are becoming hot material for foreign-language remakes in markets with strong local film industries. C’est la vie.

[Also see –  WonderCon 2014: Luc Besson’s “Lucy” Panel]


“Pitched as a Gallic twist on “Project X,” “Babysitting,” sold by Other Angle, is yet another high-concept French comedy that was a hit in France and has garnered remake interests.”

“Foreign-language remakes are getting more popular in markets like South Korea, India, Argentina and Brazil, which are dominated by local films and Hollywood movies, and where as a result, non-English-language films have trouble reaching audiences,” says Yohann Comte, deputy head of sales at Gaumont, which has five movies playing at Toronto, including The Connection” with Jean Dujardin and Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache’s “Samba.” Read the rest of this entry »

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Says It Will No Longer Fund Abortion

Bill Gates, Melinda Gates

For, Dr. Susan Berry writes: Melinda Gates, of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has announced that her international family planning foundation will no longer fund abortion because she believes abortion and family planning have become “conflated.”

“…like everyone, I struggle with the issue, but I’ve decided not to engage on it publicly—and the Gates Foundation has decided not to fund abortion.”

— Melinda Gates

Gates, wife of the Microsoft founder and a self-professed Catholic, said in a statement on the foundation’s website, titled Impatient Optimists, that she grew concerned about the intertwining of family planning and abortion recently when she was interviewed in Toronto. Though reporters asked her about the Gates Foundation’s newborn and child health initiatives, she said, “every journalist also focused on Canada’s policy on abortion.”

“Let me tell you why this worries me,” she said.

“Around the world there is a deep, broad, and powerful consensus: We should provide all women the information and tools to time and space their pregnancies in a safe and healthy way that works for them,” Gates explained. “This approach is simple, it works, and it saves lives.”

She continued:

The question of abortion should be dealt with separately. But in the United States and around the world the emotional and personal debate about abortion is threatening to get in the way of the lifesaving consensus regarding basic family planning. Read the rest of this entry »

The Man, the Myth, the Mystery of Rob ‘Der Crack-Burgermeister Von Toronto’ Ford


The riveting psychodrama of Toronto city politics

For the Toronto StarJohn Barber  writes: Now that Rob Ford has so abruptly left town, fate has arranged for an interlude to divert our attention until the fateful day he returns, fully rehabilitated after a quick turn in some spin-dry drunk tank, to scare us once again into believing he might actually get re-elected. It so happens we have a provincial election to amuse us until that fateful day — after which, if past is prologue, all attention will return to the riveting psychodrama of Toronto city politics.

[See also: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Missing: A Week After Trip to Rehab, Disappears After His Plane Lands in U.S. ]

Would NDP Leader Andrea Horwath have had the nerve to bring down Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals had Rob Ford not been whisked into guaranteed oblivion mere hours before the budget came down? Attention to any provincial theatrical would have been divided at best as long as Rob Ford remained lurching in the wings, threatening at any moment to swing across the stage scattering cluster bombs of scandal. They are lucky to have it to themselves for the brief period it will take Ford to forgive himself.

But they only get one month. The main event — the drama of “der Crack-Burgermeister von Toronto” — goes on and on.

Read the rest of this entry »

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Missing: A Week After Trip to Rehab, Disappears After His Plane Lands in U.S. 

Mayor-Rob-Ford-Goes-Missing-Twitter-Goes-Crazy Toronto’s drug-addled mayor has apparently gone missing on his way to rehab, but those close to him insist it’s not because he fell off the wagon.

Rob Ford planned to leave the Canadian city for Chicago last week — after another video surfaced that appeared to show him smoking crack — but he disappeared once the plane landed in the United States.

The mayor announced he was going to rehab after another video surfaced that showed him apparently smoking crack-cocaine. Credit: THE GLOBE AND MAIL

The mayor announced he was going to rehab after another video surfaced that showed him smoking crack.                   Credit: THE GLOBE AND MAIL

“He voluntarily withdrew his application to enter the USA,” Roy Norton, the Consul General of Canada in Chicago, told The Globe and Mail in an email. Norton said the liquor-loving mayor “was not denied entry, per se.” Ford’s whereabouts have been unknown since, but his brother, Doug, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the liquor-loving mayor was in rehab…(read more)

NY Daily News  – With News Wire Services –

And from

Toronto, Ontario Mayor Rob Ford has seemingly vanished after a trip to the United States last week supposedly intended to check the embattled city leader into a rehab center was aborted at a Chicago, Illinois airport. Read the rest of this entry »

Pornography in Canada: At Least 35% Certified Canadian Flesh Required

canada dildo sign
Does dubbing in Canadian accents count?

Canada’s broadcasting regulator takes its job seriously. One of its tasks is fending off American cultural domination by enforcing a requirement that radio stations and television channels air a set amount of Canadian content. That requirement apparently extends to pornography. On March 5th the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) advised three adult-entertainment channels that it suspected they were not meeting the minimum requirement of 35% Canadian content, nor providing subtitles for the requisite 90% of their programmes.

“…it’s impossible to say whether “Canadian Quickies” and “Jungle Beaver”…meet requirements….”

Commentators were quick to suggest ways that AOV Adult Movie Channel, AOV XXX Action Clips and AOV Maleflixxx could remedy the situation. The printable suggestions range from filming productions in Dildo, Newfoundland or Climax, Saskatchewan, to changing the names of popular Canadian shows such as The Friendly Giant and Hockey Night in Canada to The Overly Friendly Giant and Hickey Night in Canada. More than a few pointed to the potential of basing new programmes on the Group of Seven, Canadian landscape artists active in the 1920s and 1930s, or on the quip by the late author Pierre Berton that a Canadian was someone “who knew how to make love in a canoe”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Good News: Crack-smoking Mayor Seeking Reelection


Caroline May  reports:  Buckle up, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has registered to run for another term.

Ford — who faced hot pressure to resign in 2013 due to his drug use and bizarre behavior — was the first person to register Thursday morning, according to CBC/Radio-Canada.

Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] Must-See Holiday Cheer: WestJet’s Remarkable Christmas Surprise

Neha Prakash reports:  Airports are perhaps the least jolly of locales during the holiday season, generally filled with disgruntled people facing delays, lost luggage and other mishaps. But, thanks to WestJet, one gaggle of weary travelers was treated to a Christmas miracle that turned an airport into Santa’s workshop.

The Canadian airline, with the help of a virtual and tech-savvy Santa Claus, learned what passengers at the Toronto and Hamilton International Airports — who were waiting to board flights to Calgary — had on their Christmas wishlists this year. Once everyone boarded their planes, the WestJet team also took off — on shopping sprees, that is.

The more than 150 WestJet employees played the part of Santa’s elves, gathering personalized presents, wrapping them and delivering them to the Calgary airport before the unsuspecting recipients landed. Upon arrival, the travelers received nothing short of a holiday miracle at baggage claim.

The entire event was captured via hidden cameras and turned into an ad mimicking the poem commonly known as The Night Before Christmas.

Read the rest of this entry »

BREAKING: Rob Ford Gets into Screaming Match, Knocks Over Councillor as Council Seeks to Strip Him of Mayoral Powers

Toronto City Council broke into chaos Monday afternoon after Mayor Rob Ford seemingly charged towards a spectator in the galley, knocking over a city councillor in the process, after his brother Doug Ford screamed “scumbags” at the public.

The mayor took off running after his brother got into a verbal argument with the crowd, hitting Councillor Pam McConnell, knocking her backwards, before catching her and helping her steady herself.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris YoungToronto City Mayor Rob Ford has words with people in the public gallery in the council chamber at city hall in Toronto on Monday November 18, 2013.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris YoungToronto City Mayor Rob Ford has words with people in the public gallery in the council chamber at city hall in Toronto on Monday November 18, 2013.

Councillor Ford, who had earlier denounced the “special interest groups” and union members he said were sitting in the audience, was yelling at them: “You got your hands in the cookie jar!”

“Saving money? You don’t like saving money? I save money!” Mayor Ford yelled, as city hall security guards descended, raising their hands in an attempt to get everyone to calm down. Read the rest of this entry »

Crackhead Mayor Gets News TV Show

Mayor Rob Ford speaks to city council members about new allegations against him in Toronto on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. Ford is threatening to take legal action against former aides who told police about their concerns about his drug use and drunken driving. He also denies making sexual advances toward a female staffer.  (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

Mayor Rob Ford speaks to city council members about new allegations against him in Toronto on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. Ford is threatening to take legal action against former aides who told police about their concerns about his drug use and drunken driving. He also denies making sexual advances toward a female staffer. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

Globe and Mail:

Less than one week after Toronto’s Newstalk 1010 announced the cancellation of their controversial Sunday afternoon radio talk show, Mayor Rob Ford and his brother Doug have landed another plum media gig, as hosts of Ford Nation, a new weekly talk show scheduled for Monday evenings on cable channel Sun News Network.

“It is the age of reality television, and there is nothing more real than the Fords,” said Kory Teneycke, the network’s vice-president.

The one-hour, pre-taped show will air at 8 p.m. (ET), a timeslot currently occupied by Ezra Levant’s The Source

Full story here.  John Nolte – Crack-Smoking Mayor Gets Weekly Sun News TV Show

Executive Security: The Bulletproof Business Suit


Daniel Fish reports:  At the far end of the shooting range, sitting atop a wooden platform, sits the headless torso of a male mannequin. It’s dressed in a high-end navy-blue pinstripe suit and a man is pointing a .40-calibre handgun at the lifeless figure. The man fires three bullets. Each shot pierces the right breast of the jacket and disappears, as if the suit absorbs them entirely.

This scene played out earlier this week when Garrison Bespoke, a Toronto-based menswear retailer, tested its bulletproof suit for the media at the Ajax Rod and Gun Club. It’s like something from a James Bond movie: stylish, badass, and depending on the province, you may need a licence to wear it…

More… Precedent

[VIDEO] Get Dizzy On it: Freestyle Finger Snapping Guy

Tweet Darren and tell him you want him to perform at your birthday party. I haven’t seen this kind of brilliant amateur flair since Johnny Carson used to feature non-showbiz guests doing amazing self-taught things.

“We’re impressed that Toronto actor Darren Drouin can not only improvise a finger-snapping routine for about two-and-a-half minutes, but also do it while generally maintaining a straight face and barely blinking…”

Sorry, but we Canadians do not apologize too much

Sorry, I didn’t realize you are a total arsehole unable to function in normal society

A fine essay via DCMontreal

It is often said that we Canadians are polite to a fault.  As a Canadian I would suggest, but certainly not argue, that it is impossible to be overly polite. People point out that we say thank you too much, perhaps even when being given a traffic ticket. If someone gives you something you have two choices; you can say thanks, or no thanks. As the latter probably won’t work with most cops you’re left with the former. Thanks for the ticket. Just as an afterthought, when someone does say thanks, or thank you, it is customary to reply with “you’re welcome”, or “my pleasure”, or even “no problem”. It is never appropriate to reply with “sure” or “uh-huh”!


But maybe  we are more often accused of being overly apologetic, so let me enlighten you as to the true nature of the Canadian apology. Saying sorry is often depicted as a national pastime in Canada: bacon, hockey and apologizing. However I think it would be of benefit to those who hold this opinion of Canadians as apologists to explain our apologies, because they can be very subtle in nature – often more empathetic than apologetic.

Let’s say a Canadian and a non-Canadian turn a corner and bump into each other on a sidewalk.

Read the rest of this entry »

Word for Word: Book prizes can be a fishy business

Photograph:  Edward Westmacott/Getty

Photograph: Edward Westmacott/Getty

How should novelists approach award ceremonies? Perhaps by gathering together everyone who has ever done them a favour – and by keeping a tight grip on the food

Anakana Schofield

When I learned I’d been shortlisted for the First Novel Award for my debut novel, Malarky, and would be travelling to Toronto for the award event, I immediately invited everyone in Toronto who had ever done me a favour.As I don’t know many people in Toronto, this included a woman working in the Bloor Street Mac makeup shop I’d met once. Sadly, she did not reply.Happily, I gathered a further four women to join me. My entire focus for that event was on the snacks we would be served on the night. I would anticipate them, study them and live tweet them.

I’m a vocal critic of book-prize culture. In Canada, being shortlisted for a prize has become almost the only way of finding any volume of readers (beyond, say, blood relatives and God’s great 83 people who buy literary fiction), and I’m fearful of the truncating effect this has on our reading. Thus I was surprised to find my book nominated for two of them.

Read the rest of this entry »