What have we learned today?
- We’ve learned that 10 people and a school bus can disrupt rail traffic between Toronto and Montreal and between Kingston and Ottawa.
- We’ve learned that the mere threat of blocking the 401 can get police to shut down sections of that route.
- We’ve learned that $100 million worth of commerce travels the 401 daily.
- We’ve learned that if there is a warrant out for your arrest, if you camp out at a quarry you are immune from arrest even if plan to shut down the most trafficked rail line in the country.
- We’ve learned that both Oka and Ipperwash have spooked the provincial government and police force to such an extent that ongoing illegal actions are negotiated by authorities from a powerless position.
- We’ve learned that if you have an issue and the government doesn’t listen, blockading the 401 and Toronto-Montreal rail line will allow you to receive wall-to-wall coverage in the media and the only consequence is being arrested for “mischief”. We’ve also learned that you can declare that you will continue to “push this button” any time that you need to get your point across.
If this behaviour by this handful of troublemakers is met with positive re-enforcement by the government via policy concessions and laughable charges, we will see more of this more often as we’ve learned that such behaviour has been effectively validated and condoned by provincial authorities. Unfortunately, the actions of this handful of protesters may taint the ‘Day of Action’ for natives in the rest of the country who wished to educate rather than disrupt. We may instead see the government dig in its heels to prevent the appearance of rewarding unruly behaviour. This is certainly not the objective of peaceful and non-disruptive activists.
If $100 million worth of commerce was disrupted, shouldn’t these protesters be liable for this amount? In other jurisdictions, the disruption of interstate commerce is a felony. Should we be considering real consequences instead of rewards for these sorts of disruptions?
I’ve learned that in a reversal of internal government policy this past week, Conservative ministerial staffers are once again permitted to keep a Facebook profile on the popular social networking website.
Indeed, Facebook has become the latest killer online app and for some, it has replaced email for messaging friends and scheduling events and parties.
Earlier, I opined that the ‘corporate’ Facebook ban implemented by the Conservatives on their political staff was a shrewd move made to prevent a hungry media and opposition from exploiting personal material not intended for “front-page” exposure. A complete ban may have been harsh, yet the careless use of the site would have also been less than ideal. Thus, in policy refinement and compromise, the government has found a new optimum that works for everyone.
I’ve learned that each department has been tasked with implementing a policy on the use of Facebook for their staff, particularly concerning which privacy settings ought to be adjusted to both allow employees the use of the popular social networking tool and to allow a government known for its tight messaging to keep any loose ends from sticking out. The policy might be considered analogous to any other employee code of conduct, but this one is specialized for a website.
Ministerial facebookers will be pleased by the move and their employers will remain conscious of how to maintain the ideal balance.
Monday’s Hill Times features an article about Bruce Sutherland, the videographer for Conservative-turned-Independent-turned-Green-teaser-turned-Liberal MP Garth Turner. It’s an interesting piece that describes the work of the man behind the MPtv production that Turner features on his website.
However, the subtitle of the piece caught my attention:
Garth Turner says his webcast is downloaded by about 30,000 to 40,000 viewers every night.
30,000 to 40,000 viewers every night? That would be incredible, if true. Garth would start to rival some of George Stroumboulopoulos’ numbers for The Hour (and George is on the TV dial of every Canadian television).
Let’s take a closer look at Garth’s numbers (accurate at time of this post):
Garth’s latest videos:
These are the most current videos (the ones featured “above the fold” on Garth’s MPtv website).
Here are Garth’s top 10 videos by number of views:
||Number of views
|MPtv – Garth Turner’s address to residents in Halton – October 18, 2006
|MPtv – Interview with Green Party of Canada Leader, Elizabeth May – October 17, 2006
|MPtv – Income Trust Press Conference 29 January 2007
|MPtv – Garth Turner joins Liberal caucus – February 6, 2007
|MPtv – Question Period in the House of Commons of Canada – October 25, 2006
|MPtv – Garth Turner reflects on his options after dismissal from the Conservative Party
|MPtv – Freedom Of Speech In Canada – November 12, 2006
|MPtv- Mike Duffy On Parlimentary Preparations 26 January 2007
|MPtv – Garth Turner commentary before press conference – November 14, 2006
|MPtv – Pierre Paquette discussion Quebec as a Nation- December 12, 2006
The numbers for the top 10 videos aren’t bad, but consider that Garth boasts 30,000-40,000 views of MPtv per night. The numbers above represent the number of views since the date included in the title. It is closer to the truth to say that Garth’s videos have been viewed 30,000 times (in total) rather than per day.
It seems that Garth’s typical video gets about 50-200 hits (total) while his top video received 7,264 views since October 18th, 2006. A far cry from 30,000 to 40,000 video views every night that Garth claims.
NOTE (6/20): Anyone who wishes to verify the numbers that I state above can click on the title links in the table to go to each movie hosted on Google Video. The “All time views” are listed in the right hand column of those pages. The numbers are accurate to the time of this post yesterday. All of Garth’s video are hosted on Google Video and he embeds the player on his site. Every view from the embeddable player on Garth’s website registers as a “view” on Google Video, since the player is hosted on Google’s site and plays the same Google-hosted video. Whether a Garth video is viewed on Google, on Garth’s site or my site via embeddable player, Google registers a “view” on the video’s homepage hosted on Google. I see that Garth has chosen to respond to this post in a way that attacks me as a person, rather than challenge my claims with any valid counter-argument. This is unfortunate.
Of course, I’ve written about Garth’s poor choices before:
I took the Garth Challenge
Garth the Grit