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Archive for September, 2010

Levant on a Rant

Thursday, September 30, 2010 @ 04:09 PM

Ezra speaking at the Economic Club of Canada

Ezra Levant, author, raconteur, political observer and staunch defender of all things Western Canada, took his case for ethical oil to the podium of the Economic Club of Canada recently.

In his speech to a friendly crowd of oil, gas and energy executives, he noted that the Alberta Oil Sands are a target for, what he calls, biased environmentalists, political and media types despite the fact that it is the single largest contributor in North America to energy self sufficiency and in Alberta to job creation.

He referenced his latest book ‘Ethical Oil’.  He further noted that many detractors for the Fort MacMurray oil sands are simply agitating for blatant political purposes. His more vitriolic diatribes were reserved for US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who while here in Canada, held talks with a star struck audience of politicos and journalists, as was reported in recent media. Some of her comments railed against the oil sands include calling it a ‘Black Eye’.

His style is both humorous and insightful.

His message is very credible and his arguments make it easy to understand the rationale for those who are detractors to the oil sands given that no one seemingly wants to make those kinds of comments against Saudi Arabia, Nigeria or other such ‘secretive’ countries.

The book ‘Ethical Oil’ is a prompter for thought and to hear him speak and rant live is equally as thought-provoking.

- Marc Kealey

The Real Captain Canada

Friday, September 17, 2010 @ 11:09 AM

K&A was a proud corporate sponsor to a wonderful evening this week to celebrate Canada’s new Governor General  David Johnston.

The event was in Kitchener Waterloo, and the crowd was as Canadian as they come.  Former Prime Ministers, federal and Provincial Cabinet Ministers, provincial members of parliament, local politicians from across Canada, actors and myriad other celebrities made up some of the crowd of almost 1200 who came to honour the man who has inspired many Canadians.

David Johnston has touched the lives of so many in Canada and really is the essence of what a Head of State should be – selfless and for and of the people.  The Prime Minister made a wonderful choice for certain and it was evidenced by the exuberance of those who attended the celebratory event this week marking it as an event for the ages.

Local businessmen Tim Jackson and Rob Caldwell dreamt up the event and in less than two months it was a sell out with a waiting list of another 400 people who wanted yet could not get tickets.

Celebrating David Johnston is easy – he is such a worthy candidate for accolades.  More importantly, though, it’s his love of Canada and his remarkable energy towards young people that inspires them to strive to do the best that they can to make Canada a global powerhouse.

David Johnston is now the Governor General and I now know the Governor General.  This is personal for me. David Johnston and I worked together on a Board, we conspired on fundraising efforts and we hang (or until recently hung) with the same crowd.  He’s always been an inspirational role model to and for me.

To all of us, the Governor General will now be more than ceremonial. In fact, the role, in practice, has the constitutional gravity to allow the Governor General to weigh in on important issues framing how we are governed as Canadians. The Governor General is our link to our own history as a nation founded on a constitutional monarchy and ensures that as a constitutional monarchy, we can rely on appropriate advice by a learned  head of state –  the GG.  David Johnston is an expert in these matters and, as such, is a choice we will all learn to appreciate given the fragile nature of our parliament today.

Captain Canada is a moniker we give to those who more than wrap themselves in the flag and who instinctively promote all the good Canada has to offer – and with Canada there is much to celebrate.  David Johnston is a terrific choice, it’s a terrific honour for Canada and a terrific celebration of a Canadian who typifies all that IS Canada in the twenty first century.  What a guy!

- Marc Kealey

Leadership When We Need It Most

Monday, September 13, 2010 @ 04:09 PM

This week newly minted CEO Michael Cloutier, of the Canadian Diabetes Association, spoke at the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto.

It was a sell out crowd of over 300 people for a breakfast no less.

For the pedestrian observer Diabetes is a dreadful disease. It causes untold health disaster to those afflicted with it and there are any numbers of celebs schlocking for health related companies whose target audience is a person with Diabetes. Blah blah blah… so why the enormous media coverage?

Well, in my view, there are two reasons.

The first is the message and the second is who delivered it.

Let me start with the second. Michael Cloutier is a leader – point finale. He has presence, style and a network of politicos, health execs, patient advocates and opinion leaders across the country. He is a superb developer of human capital and motivates the hell out of those with whom he interacts.

The Canadian Diabetes Association made a brilliant choice making him its CEO. At a time prior to his appointment, the organization was floundering. Its leadership role had faded and it appeared to be concentrating only on its fund-raising rather than its historic and hallowed role as a champion for diabetes management and the key opinion leader for strategies to manage what it calls the tsunami of diabetes to plague the country. In short, the CDA had lost its way.

A one-time leader in the development of the Ontario Diabetes Strategy – an enormously aggressive plan by the government of Ontario to tackle the scourge of Diabetes – the CDA was virtually invisible from late 2007 to Cloutier’s appointment.

So, enter Cloutier. His mantra is always “show your brains off” – and he did so right away. Assessing his team, he reached out across the country to put them and all their target audiences on notice that Diabetes is an issue that requires the leadership of Canada’s most definitive voice on the topic.  He then moved quickly to deliver messages to information thirsty audiences.

This brings me to the first reason. The message.

Cloutier delivered a passionate speech rife with admonishment to government for not acting fast enough on the imminent increase in diagnoses of Diabetes across the country. In the case of the Economic Club speech, he directed his appeal to three areas; identifying the root causes of Diabetes, getting programs to patients and preventing Diabetes altogether.

He lamented the fact that heretofore lip service was basically the order of the day and he issued a challenge to the health community to dig in and work together to produce the kinds of outcomes that, if done properly and collaboratively, will produce better results.

He wasn’t using platitudes or rhetoric. He provided tangible evidence on the cost of Diabetes ($4.1 billion today with a forecast in years to come of $7 billion) and offered solutions for government, patients, providers and industry to consider.

In all it was a powerful message.

What was not surprising was the applause Cloutier received from the sell out crowd. They had been waiting for someone to take the dais – and that he did.

Cloutier IS a leader. Cloutier will lead a charge and motivate his team, industry, government and patients to work together for what will be an epidemic in future if left unchecked.

The work of the CDA will go on record in years to come as a catalyst for ridding Canada of the insidiousness of Diabetes and it will be due to his selfless leadership in bringing about that end.

- Marc Kealey

The race for Mayor in the City of Toronto, in my opinion, reached a new low last week.

The shenanigans going on between the two top runners and those vying for a shot are nothing noteworthy.

I guess in order to garner media attention for one’s campaign, the candidate and his or her team must resort to the basest of political smear. Take the incident with a young Rossi campaign worker and George Smitherman. Who knows what really happened – only Smitherman and this person. The media, however, reported it as though Smitherman is a bully looking for a fight and Rossi, a wonderful guy, sure to weigh in as though it was a fact. Well, this kind of politics in the City of Toronto is now the norm.

Anecdotally, people are fed up with this kind of politicking. It’s a horrible economy, people are angry that they are either unemployed, underemployed or soon to be both. They are hungry and searching for political leadership to raise their hopes.

The best line I ever heard about politics is that political leaders don’t have the luxury of despair. So why this vitriol?

I would surmise it’s because of the economy. It’s because we’re at a place right now where decisions in the past by those in charge of government, have impacted citizens – hard!!

Their vitriol is playing out in the actions of campaign teams and the manner in which these actions are being reported.

It’s the same thing across the province of Ontario in many municipal campaigns. This municipal election is a precursor for the vitriol and anger that many Canadians seem to sense (or at least the hundreds that I talk with about this issue) because of the state of the economy.

Buck up politicians!

Pay attention voters and don’t believe everything you read.

- Marc Kealey