A Cautionary Tale Of Picking Winners

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Think twice before picking. image courtesy of www.weddingunveils.com

Originally published in Silo print edn. December 2011. It’s dangerous to pick winners. Everyone knows that and yet it’s difficult to not put your stamp, your intuition and your ego into choosing a winner. Heck, some folks even make a decent living out of it. They’re called critics and advertising executives and sometimes they’re known as a marketing committee.

But just for a moment let’s consider what it means to be in a position of influence- your very thoughts and words will ripple out and possibly affect opinion, access to resources and ultimately success or failure. Choosing winners should be done with the utmost caution. (Does anyone remember Dewey defeats Truman? Okay that is a bit obscure….what about the story of The Beatles being rejected by the first batch of record labels they approached? “Sorry, Lads- You’ll never make it in the music industry”).  This holds true for social media and the internet- no one and I repeat NO ONE should be promulgating  ‘accepted and preferred methods of blogging, tweeting, linking et al. After all, censorship is just another form of propaganda and that’s bad right?

The internet is perhaps the last true vestige of individuality, of a digital ‘Wild, Wild West’, of a digital ‘Gold Rush’. Choosing winners is not always a bad idea if it’s done without malintent. It’s a great form of entertainment (Dave’s Top10 list) and conversation and debate (Top 10 universities in Canada) but when a list is garnered based on subjective criteria (“Sorry, Lads- You’ll never make it in the music industry”)- one must question the motivation and prevent ‘cronyism’.

1 Comment to A Cautionary Tale Of Picking Winners

  1. Tax Payer Funded Hydro commercials in contempt of Parliament

    I am waiting to hear the results of questions raised in connection to the government’s new advertising campaign about electricity pricing.

    Yesterday, Ontario Opposition House Leader Jim Wilson charged that Kathleen Wynne’s taxpayer-funded hydro ads are in contempt of parliament. The self-congratulatory ads, which the auditor general said are out of line, are running before legislation has been introduced. This is an alleged breach of parliamentary rules, Wilson informed the Speaker as he rose on a point of privilege arguing a case of contempt by the Minister of Energy.

    “What we’ve got here is a clear case of electioneering from the Wynne Liberals using taxpayer dollars,” said Wilson.

    The ads in question, touting the Liberals’ new hydro scheme, appeared on both social media and radio markets across Ontario.

    On Tuesday, Ontario PC Deputy Leader and Ethics and Accountability Critic Steve Clark, introduced a motion which would have stopped the new self-serving hydro ad campaign until the Speaker delivers his ruling on the contempt motion. This was blocked by the Liberals.

    Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown has already written to Treasury Board President Liz Sandals asking her to immediately stop the ad campaign, release a detailed account of the budget for these advertisements, as well as which consulting firms received the contracts. These ads are potentially costing millions of dollars while families, businesses, hospitals, schools and other institutions suffer every day from unaffordable electricity bills.

    “Neither MPPs nor the public even know what the new hydro scheme looks like, what it will cost, and who will get left behind,” added Wilson. “Clearly, these advertisements serve no purpose other than to promote Kathleen Wynne’s re-election.”

    “Based on past parliamentary rulings, we feel that we’ve got a very strong case. We look forward to hearing the ruling of the Speaker,” said Wilson, noting that the Ministry of Energy has previously confirmed that legislation is needed to enact this new hydro pricing scheme.

    I await the results of the investigation. There is no way advertisements like these should be funded by the taxpayer. Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett.

    For more information, contact me at 519-428-0446 or toby.barrett@pc.ola.org

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