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SummerSmarks predict SummerSlam & TakeOver Brooklyn 4

Have you seen enough of the promos for "The Summer's Biggest Event"? And barely a mention of TakeOver? Par for the course in Vince's world. Barclay's Center in Brooklyn will host both SummerSlam on Sunday, August 19 and TakeOver Brooklyn 4 on Saturday, August 18 for the fourth year in a row. As usual, the difference in length and promotion demonstrate more than just priorities for the company. The NXT event has five matches involving all four belts plus one to simply entertain the fans. Is...


Feminism & Canadian Politics Actions Matter More Than Words with Julie Lalonde

By any measurement you wish to use, Feminism and its causes have never been more prominent than they are today. Over the past few years with the utilization of social media, attention on spousal abuse, sexual assault of all kinds, open misogyny, institutional bias, consent, behavioural norms and more have been broken open with the advent of the "hashtag". #WhyIStayed highlighting spousal abuse, #YesAllWomen and #EverydaySexism revealing misogyny, #TimesUp calling for real change now,...


Parliamentary Precinct Renovations - A Decade In And At Least A Decade To Go

There is no question that Canada's seat of democracy, the Parliamentary Precinct in Ottawa, was already overdue for renovation and restoration when the official process started in the 1990's. Studies, inspections, proposals, hearings and predictions play their part in all major spending programs and this huge group of projects certainly fulfilled that norm. And like all long developed and eventually delayed public works, the pricetags keep rising. To date, almost $5 Billion has been spent...


Comprehensive & Progressive Only Change The Name of TPP Nothing Else

Did you think the Trans-Pacific Partnership died when the US withdrew? Did you think it would stay dead? Not by a longshot. The other eleven signatory nations treated the abandonment of the deal by Drumpf to be merely a temporary circumstance. Carry on! There are plenty of industries and corporations that want their deal. Especially the ones who have a presence and something to gain all around the Pacific Rim. Enter the Comprehensive & Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership. New name. New...


Cabinet Shuffle #2 - Let All The Games Begin Heading To Election 2019

For the second time since the start of the Trudeau government, the Federal Cabinet has been shuffled. Canadians can expect this being the team that will lead the LPC into the next election. There are no such things as surprises at this level anymore, by design. After all, message control is as much a part of governing as actual execution and delivery in this day and age. Cabinet grows by five to 35 members but maintains gender parity. Message #1. Eleven Ministers were moved to new...


Bill C-58 - Access To Information & Privacy Laws That Improve Neither For Canada

There were a lot of big promises in that 2015 LPC Campaign, weren't there? Such as electoral reform. Such as eliminating the National Energy Board and having new project hearings. Such as a new "relationship" with Indigenous Peoples. Such as "fixing" C-51. See a common theme here? Well, add another one to the growing pile. After promising to renew and replace Canada's 1982 Privacy and Access to Information laws, we get Bill C-58 which amends those 35 year old laws instead of replacing...


Extreme Smarks On Extreme Rules Without Extreme Matches

Extreme Rules, a cross-branded PPV with a bloated ELEVEN matches and every title except the Part-Time Championship up for grabs, goes this Sunday in Pittsburgh. The Smarks are here to offer their "insight" on what's gonna go down. Only one title bout has been named as an Extreme Rules match, the RAW Womens Championship. We do get a 30-minute Iron Man Match for the Intercontinental belt, a Shark Cage match for what is sure to be shenanigans and a Steel Cage match for what most hope will be...


When Does "Advantage" Bring Structural Deficits? Ask Alberta

The legendary "Alberta Advantage". This narrative pushed an Alberta that enabled the entrepreneurial, can-do image that supposedly made the province special. Where taxation was so low, so far under the average of the rest of the country, that any hiccup in world markets for carbon based energy would create a black hole in the provincial ledger. Fear not, King Ralph Klein will defend the Alberta Advantage. By firing teachers, nurses and any other provincial employees he could find. By...


Who's (Not) Afraid Of Facts On Kinder Morgan? with Robyn Allan

Facts, Kinder Morgan and the Trans-Mountain Expansion. Very rarely shall the three intersect, by extensive design. Some factors, like climate, fade from the narrative because...well, they are inconvenient facts for proponents of TMX. Others such as a multi-year failure of Kinder Morgan to finance the project have been made moot by the Federal bailout plan. Corruption and incompetence of the National Energy Board continues to be found, yet the Trudeau government breaking the promise of a...


Smarks In The Bank go deep on MITB, TakeOver Chicago II and a NJPW super-segment

Smarks In The Bank or what? After three PPV's in less than a month, it's been 6 weeks since that spurt ended. And it's time. Money In The Bank goes Sunday, June 17 and there are 10 matches scheduled, from the SmackDown Tag Championship in the pre-show, to both womens belts up for grabs, to the Intercontinental title match, to three grudge/storyline matches of varying degree, to a Last Man Standing WWE title match, to the Mens and Womens Ladder matches for the contracts. Will 4 hours be...


"The Bridge" - Lost History Shown On The 60th Tragic Anniversary with George Orr

On June 17, 1958, the Second Narrows Bridge being built over Burrard Inlet collapsed. Nineteen men died. It has remained Vancouver's worst industrial accident. Sixty years later, all that remains are a few old faded photos and a sign declaring the bridge as "The Ironworkers Memorial". It turns out a young draftsman had filmed the entire project being constructed. He arrived five minutes late to the site on the day of the tragedy. Had he arrived on time, he would have died. Peter Hall's...


Is Perception The Reality? Ontario Votes For The Next Ones

Isn't it a good thing this was a short campaign? It may not seem like it to most Ontarians but considering recent history, it was. So what was learned this time? As usual, it depends entirely upon who you ask. That part is completely in line with recent history as well. Some things did not change over the writ period at all in the "public sphere". Kathleen Wynne started the campaign as someone on the way out. A scandalous regime that had spent Ontario into the ground. That perception still...


SmarkLash Brings The BackLash

When is the last time you remember three pay-per-view events in the same month from WWE? First it was WrestleMania, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Then the Greatest Wahhabi Rumble in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Now it's BackLash, in Newark, New Jersey on Sunday, May 6. For the first time since the brand split a couple years ago, WWE has gone back to a policy of PPV's including both rosters, not just the Big 4 events. It's time to open up the booking possibilities again for the company. The recent...


The Rant Up Here - Version Number I Have No Idea

Depending on who you ask, episodes like this are not nearly enough or any like it are too many. In reality, that call is mine and mine alone. So here we go... The Rant Up Here ... version number I have no idea. Rant #1 - As if the "Electoral Reform" scam was not enough, we were told that at least the weakening of the electoral system courtesy of the Unfair Elections Act would be corrected. Bill C-33, an Act to Amend the Canada Elections Act, was given first reading in November 2016. Since...


The Smarks Go Over The Shake-Up & Greatest Wahhabi Rumble (or WrestleMANia 34A)

The Smarks are back for their 25th episode and you could be forgiven for thinking it's 25 years in the past, if not more. WWE has signed a 10 year co-operation deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and that means we get WrestleMania 34A with no women wrestlers in the land of wahhabist testosterone. The Greatest Royal Rumble, a one-off spectacle with tickets nearly being given away, goes Friday, April 27 at noon Eastern time. So how long ago was this thrown together? By the looks of it on...


Weaponizing Social Media & Opinion In An Age Of Ignorance with Stephen Lautens

The View Up Here kicks off its fifth year and Season 9 with a definite listener favourite returning to guest once again - Stephen Lautens. As usual, Mr. Lautens picks his content and this episode is very timely indeed. Is there any going back? Weaponizing social media and opinion in an Age of Ignorance. With the inescapable presence of seemingly unlimited choices of "news" and "information", the phrase "more is more" has taken on new meaning. No matter where you sit on the spectrum, no...


Here Comes The Ontario Election - Imagine The Possibilities

June 7 approaches, the Budget has come down and Queen's Park nears dissolution of the Legislature. Cue the campaign rhetoric, cue the media scrambling, cue the on-line partisan blusterstorm. So what are the "strategies" for the campaign? Depends who you ask. Sitting government always has the advantage of using more information with credible sources from the civil service itself. The pre-election budget from the Wynne government is a very well constructed document which on its own would...


SmarkMania 2 Looks At WrestleMania 34 & NXT TakeOver New Orleans

It's Mania Time!! The Smarks present SmarkMania 2 as our festivities to predict/reveal/speculate/rumour-monger/talk shit/mark out about this weekend in New Orleans as WrestleMania 34 and NXT TakeOver New Orleans are the top events in a spectacle packed WrestleMania week. The build for WM 34 has been well executed and interesting. No less than 13 matches (14 if Undertaker shows up?) putting every belt on the line, a consequence of being banished from SmackDown Live and one of the most...


WTF USA? with Stanley Cohen

Once upon a time, it was accepted that as the world's only superpower, a certain degree of predictability and consistency would be reflected in international US policy to validate the various indulgences carried out around the globe. Not to say this often bipolar behavior did anyone any good. Ask the Balkans, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Central America, Qatar, Palestine, Syria, Iran, North Korea etc etc. The 6-time bankrupt Master Businessman in charge has decided that a constant...


TVUH Backgrounder - Bill C-69, Revision of Canada's Environmental Approval Game

Team Trudeau made a lot of big promises on the campaign trail in 2015. Promises to "set things right", to promote "transparency", to create things for the future that will be "clear and straightforward". Sunny Ways, my friends. At what is more or less the midway point of their mandate, the record on delivering compared to promising is nothing to be overly excited about. The Harper gang made their priorities and more or less rammed them through without dissent being tolerated from within or...