The Ontario election has come and passed and the province has a new Premier, Doug Ford of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party. This election was a disaster for the Ontario Liberal Party, who only won seven seats and lost official party status. Party leader Kathleen Wynne resigned from her leadership role on the night of the election, after the results came in, but I think this election could have gone better for the party if Ms. Wynne had made that decision before the start of the election campaign.
For one thing, coming in to the election, and even about a year before the election, the Angus Reid Institute reported Ms. Wynne had the lowest approval rating of all of the current Premiers in Canada. This was well reported coming in to the election, so having Canada’s most unpopular Premier remain as leader of the party heading in to the election likely only hurt the party.
If Wynne had resigned before the election, it would have allowed the party to find a fresh face who could bring new ideas to the table, someone who the voters might have been curious enough about to vote for and keep the party viable. Here are some examples of new party leaders turning around a party’s fate. When Justin Trudeau became leader of the Federal Liberals, he led them from a third place party who had 36 seats before the 2015 election to a party that won a majority, 184 seats, in that election.
Plus, all Ontarians just saw the impact of the Ontario Conservatives choosing a new leader, Doug Ford. The Ontario Liberals could have had the same opportunity with a new leader.
A word used a lot during the provincial campaign was ‘change.’ Under a new leader, during the campaign, the Liberals could have branded themselves as a slightly different party than they have been in the past, giving Ontarians the possible safe option of a change of mindset without the province changing the leading party.
This election definitely did not go the way the Ontario Liberals had hoped, but, I believe, they just might have been able to hold on to power if Wynne had decided to step down from her role as leader before the 2018 campaign began.
With the opening of NHL free agency a little over a month away, Leaf fans, such as myself, can once again begin speculating what the team’s management should do to improve the club for next season.
In this week’s column, I will focus on how the Leafs should fill their fourth line centre role and add centre depth. With Dominic Moore and Tomas Plekanec set to be free agents on July 1st, I think the Leafs should sign Matt Stajan.
Yes, Toronto already recently signed Par Lindholm and also have Miro Aaltonen, who is currently playing for the Toronto Marlies, as an option. However, with the team set to also lose Tyler Bozak to free agency, having extra centre depth is never a bad thing.
Also, let’s talk about a hypothetical situation for a moment here. What if head coach Mike Babcock feels it is best for Lindholm to start the season with the team’s AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies? A similar situation happened at the start of the 2018 season, with Aaltonen not making the team out of training camp, and spending the entire season in the AHL.
Stajan could provide the extra insurance, just in case that is the case. Stajan could bring to the table what Dominic Moore brought this past season. A veteran NHL player who can be rotated in and out of the lineup when need be, possibly playing 50 or 60 games of the season.
As well, like Moore, Stajan knows how to handle the pressures of the Toronto market, having played for the team previously from 2002 until 2010.
Matt Stajan could also bring some added veteran leadership to the team’s locker room. With a core of Leafs still in their twenties, such as William Nylander, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and Andreas Johnsson, still figuring out how to be consistently successful in the NHL, the 34 year old Stajan, who has played over 1,000 games in the league, would replace the veteran leadership lost by the departures of Bozak and Plekanec, and would become the second most experienced Leaf in the locker room; the most experienced being Patrick Marleau.
Stajan was effective in the role of fourth line centre for the Calgary Flames this past season.
He won slightly over 51 per cent of the faceoffs he took, was the Flames’ best centre in the plus/minus stat at plus 4, and finished the season with 12 points in the 68 games he played.
I think Matt Stajan would be the perfect candidate to fill the Toronto Maple Leafs’ fourth line centre role next season, and if the Leafs do add him to the roster, it would give the coaching staff extra options because of the added centre depth.
With a provincial election coming up in June, I would like to use this time to stress to people the importance of voting.
Yes, I’m sure many of you reading this column right now have probably read many editorials or columns in your lifetime, from journalists, about the election turnout rate or asking the public to vote. All I ask is that you consider these points when you decide whether or not to vote in this provincial election.
First off, to those who believe their vote will not count because they are just a singular voter, that is simply not true. To start on this topic, if you believe this idea I don’t think you are alone. In the 2014 provincial election, only 51 per cent of eligible Ontarians voted, and only about 48 per cent of them voted in 2011.
I’m sure at least some of these non-voters felt their votes wouldn’t count so they decided not to vote. But if everyone who felt their vote wouldn’t count voted, that would likely be enough collective force to sway the result of an election.
As well, if you do vote and your chosen candidate doesn’t win the riding, the number of votes they did get will, at the very least, show the candidate that their policies and promises did appeal to a certain number of people, so it is still your voice coming across.
Also, sometimes election results can be tight and sometimes just a small percentage of votes decides who the winner is.
While I’m on the subject, the election is never over until all the votes are cast. As a person who’s been alive during the last couple federal and provincial elections, I’ve found many instances where the reported polls say one thing, leading up to the election, but the result ended up entirely different. For example, in 2014 several polls predicted Tim Hudak would be next Premier of Ontario. That didn’t happen.
Of course, let me also point out that not everywhere in the world allows their citizens to vote in a democratic election. Residents of Ontario, and other provinces and territories in Canada, have the right to vote. It is not something that should be taken for granted, so I think all Ontarians should vote.
Now, this last point may not be the best reason to get out and vote, but if a large percentage of people vote, then finally the public will not be burdened with more news stories about how low the voter turnout is in the province.
So remember, this is the time designed by our country's founders for any person to directly influence politics.
Don't grumble after an election if you don't vote, speak now or hold your peace until the next election. We do have our say, this is the way to speak up.
On June 7th, and at advanced polling stations before then, I hope there is a large voter turnout for the provincial election.
The Toronto Maple Leafs' recent Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins, in the first round of the NHL playoffs, was hard to swallow for longtime Leafs fans, such as myself. But, after watching Jake Gardiner’s post game interview, on the Leafs’ YouTube page, I was reminded of an important fact, athletes are people too.
Seeing the emotion from him, in the post game interview, where he accepted blame for the majority of the team’s mistakes that led to the loss, it was hard not to feel sympathy for a guy like him, who felt the weight of the team’s success on his shoulders.
Yes, I do admit, I have been critical of Gardiner’s play over the years, as is my right as a hockey fan, but, at the end of the day, he is a person just like each and every one of the people presently reading this column.
At just 27 years old, Gardiner is a person who seems to have felt guilt for making mistakes that in his mind let down his team and the many fans of the franchise. For those who are in their twenties, or who remember when they were, I ask that you put yourself in his shoes, or his skates in this case. Think about what it must be like for him to have his every move on the ice magnified, and his mistakes criticized by an entire city of fans.
Now, with the NHL draft coming up in over a month, fans will be looking at who their team should draft and researching their team’s current prospects. I think one word, used by fans too much, is when a player is referred to as a “bust.” Let's think about the pressures they face. If a player doesn’t find success in their early or late twenties, some fans are quick to label them a “bust.”
So, I ask my readers, how would you feel if you didn’t find success right away in your career field in your early or late twenties, and people called you a “bust” or a failure? It certainly wouldn’t make you feel any better.
Now, let me clarify, I am not saying we shouldn’t hold professional athletes to account, but instead, when people talk about or judge these athletes, they should remember to respect the fact they are human, they are people just like all of us.
A wise colleague once told me NHL players are “regular guys” who have “cool jobs.”
It seems, many times, people forget athletes are people too. Nowhere was this more the case than when April Reimer, James Reimer’s wife, received death threats from fans when her husband was playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Yes, fans should be passionate about their team, but this case was an example of what professional sports should not be about; personal attacks.
If those who sent these threats had given thought to how scared it would make the recipient feel, it would make no difference if they are a celebrity or not. I hope, at least, that if their humanness was considered, it would have stopped them from sending the threats.
So, to fans of every sport, I just want you to remember that professional athletes are people too.
As I am writing this week’s column, I’m sitting in my home office looking out the window at the frozen landscape left during the recent and very lengthy ice storm.
It has been an interesting week for me. For those who have had trouble reaching me last week, I was off for most of the week with the flu.
What has made this an interesting challenge for me is, because I am a reporter, I am so used to moving around all the time, going out to get the information and the photos I need, I am not used to having to rest for days and recover. Despite knowing it is necessary to rest and recuperate when you are sick, I constantly felt like I should have been up and doing something. I know my colleague Christopher Green wrote about a similar experience dealing with recuperating from illness in a previous edition of his column.
Fast forward to now, and I am sitting at home carefully trying to conserve power on this laptop as I write. Again, despite knowing that safety is my main concern, I cannot stop this nagging feeling that I should be in the office or out in the community working, rather than being forced to be housebound because of the weather.
In my mind, people should not have these worries. In reality, when they are sick, they should allow themselves to get better before they come into the office again. When the weather gives people no choice but to stay back, and either take the day off or do their best to work from home, we shouldn’t feel guilty for making our safety the top priority. However, no matter what reassurances employers, family members, or I give myself, these guilty feelings remain.
So, why is this the case? That is something I have wondered for a while. I have two ideas on this subject.
Personally, I think people see going to work and earning a paycheque as accomplishing something with your day; while they feel the opposite when they stay back and recover, feeling they were lazy.
I also think there is an expectation people put on themselves to go to work every day no matter what state they are in so they feel like a dedicated employee.
However, the main message I want people to take from this week’s column is, it is okay to need one, two or even three days to get over an illness. You would not be the same productive person if you came in sick. It is also okay if you can’t make it somewhere because the roads are unsafe or the weather is horrible, of course as long as you communicate that concern in a timely manner.
So, for those who are feeling guilty about being off work for these reasons, I give you permission to put yourself first and to take care of yourself.
As people who have avidly read my column over the years know, one of my favourite parts about this job is meeting the many different people in our coverage area.
Since I started working here at The Standard, I have always felt engagement is very important to the journalism industry While I have spent time the past few years getting to know numerous people, I wanted to use this edition of my column to answer questions people might have about myself, the job, or the journalism industry.
In my last column, I put out an ask for people to send me questions through my Twitter account, my email or by calling me for a question and answer style column. I have received some questions I will answer in this column. So let’s begin.
Q: When did you first decide you wanted to be a journalist?
A: When I was in my last year of high school, I decided to apply to the journalism program at Durham College because I was hoping to become a sports reporter. This was mainly because I was, and still am, a huge Toronto Maple Leafs fan and I was aspiring to cover the NHL either on television, radio or by working at a newspaper.
However, it was not until partway through my first year in the Durham College program that I, through working on assignments and a couple stories, realized I have a passion for telling other people’s stories and writing hard news stories. I was happy the course allowed me the opportunity to write all sorts of stories, from hard news, to feature stories and of course covering a couple campus sports teams.
I still love covering sports as well, and I was happy I got the opportunity to cover the Port Perry MoJacks this season.
Q: What are your aspirations and have you ever felt crushed by expectations?
A: To answer the first part of this question, currently I aspire to be the best reporter I can be. I try to do the best I can with every story I write and photo I take, and I’m constantly looking for opportunities to write about new topics. I enjoy working in this community.
On the second part of that question, I can tell you I have pretty high expectations of myself, and, personally, I think I am my own worst critic. I hold myself to a high standard with everything I send in to be published, so I think the highest expectations of me are the ones I put on myself. There may have been times I felt I might not have met those personal benchmarks, but I am constantly looking to learn and improve.
Q: With people claiming "print is dead" what are your thoughts on the future of journalism?
A: First off, I’ve heard this claim that print is dead for several years now, yet The Standard is still here and the print version is still being read by thousands of people in our coverage area.
Now, the journalism industry is a constantly changing field, and for media outlets to survive we must continue to evolve. Of course, saying that, being in the digital age where people have access to news on all sorts of platforms at their fingertips, and with some politicians talking about the rise of “fake news”, I believe more than ever in the importance of the old journalism school adage of getting it right being more important than getting it first. The public looks to reporters for the facts and we must always do our due diligence to make sure our stories are 100 per cent accurate. As a last statement, I think the journalism industry is very important in small communities, and big cities in democratic nations, and for now I plan on being optimistic about the industry’s future.
Q: What’s a “cearnsader”?
A: Ok, here’s the origin story of the column name. Cearnsader is a mix of my last name and DC Comics’ Batman’s nickname the Caped Crusader. In fact it was a friend from college I helped solve an issue for who gave me that nickname, and later when I joined The Standard team and was asked for a column name I thought it would be a good name for this column.
Q: Best advice to aspiring reporters?
A: To start, let me say one of the things that makes this job so exciting is, it is different every day, so if you like that kind of thing then journalism might be for you.
One of the things I find is so important as a reporter is time management. To be able to put out multiple stories per week, you must create for yourself a system to organize your assignments. Once you have that system, I recommend getting started on the assignments/stories as soon as you can.
Also, talk to people in your community and try to learn about them and what makes their story unique. You might be surprised what you learn.
Lastly, just read all the news articles you can and be constantly looking for other angles to those stories that might not have been covered yet.
To sum up, I hope people have learned a lot from this question and answer edition of my column, and if anyone has any questions for me in the future feel free to ask me on my Twitter account or if you see me in person. You can also email me, at email@example.com.
Earlier this month, an Ontario Liberal MPP, Arthur Potts, tabled a private members bill that proposed changing the minimum legal voting age from 18 years old to 16. I think this is a great idea.
First off, 16 year olds already are allowed to drive, usually have a job, and some participate in some capacity in their communities.
As a person who was 16 a little over seven years ago, I remember I was quite aware of the issues facing the country and facing the province, and, while I know not everyone my age at that time might have been as informed, I know there were others who were.
Presently, we live in a day and age where news and information is more accessible through smartphones, laptops, tablets, television, radio and other technological devices. Every day people of all ages are bombarded with news regarding what Kathleen Wynne, Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump have done or said. Because of this, I think youth are more informed about politics now than they were 10 years ago.
Let me also mention, lowering the voting age gives a possible opportunity to increase voter turnout in Ontario provincial elections. In the 2011 election, about 48 per cent of eligible Ontario voters cast their ballot, and in 2014 about 51 per cent voted. If you add 16 and 17 year olds as potential voters, you increase your odds of a higher voter turnout as you add a base of, hopefully excited, youth who haven’t yet had the opportunity to participate in the electoral process before. As well, starting people voting at a younger age could get them thinking about how else they could impact their communities in the future or in the present, either through politics, charity work or other means.
For those who have read my previous Caped Cearnsader columns, you may remember my 2017 column titled ‘Youth voice’ where I said that I encourage youth to be involved in the issues that affect them and their communities. I think these 16 and 17 year-olds deserve a stake in helping decide who will get to make the decisions that affect them and everyone else in this province.
As well, I encourage and appreciate the different perspective and different ideas that youth can bring to a problem or issue, and by lowering the legal voting age, you might encourage more youth to attend election debates and ask questions that older voters might not have thought about asking.
I think lowering the voting age to 16 makes sense and is a great idea.
Now, before I wrap up this column, I would also like to mention that I am considering doing a question and answer style column in the near future. If you, dear reader, have a question about myself, my job or the journalism industry you would like me to answer, email me, at firstname.lastname@example.org, reply to my tweet on my twitter page @DanCearnsy, or call me at The Standard office at 905-985-6985.
I have been watching the Toronto Maple Leafs for many years, but this year there is a different feeling. For the first time since I have been watching, at least that I can recollect, the Leafs have a cushion of over 10 points on a playoff spot.
As a fan who has watched this franchise for a long time, I’m used to seasons like 2007, when their playoff hopes came down to the last game of the season, or even last season, when the Leafs finally clinched a playoff spot in the second last game of the season. Now, in writing this, with weeks left on the NHL regular season schedule, I realize no team has yet clinched a playoff spot and a disaster could still take the Leafs out of playoff contention, but it is remarkable to see how far the team has come in almost two seasons.
Looking back on my very first column in The Standard, I was reminded of the feeling of despair I felt when the Leafs lost the opportunity to draft Connor McDavid in 2015. But, just a season later, the Leafs won the right to choose Auston Matthews first overall, and the first round pick has since taken Toronto by storm. Matthews scored 40 goals in his first year with the club, and he currently has 28 goals and 50 points this season.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention former first round picks Mitch Marner and William Nylander are currently part of the top three Leaf scorers this season.
For a team who years ago didn’t have any of their own drafted and developed talent on the roster, the Leafs have drafted and developed a list of mainstays on their NHL roster, including Matthews, Marner, Nylander, Nazem Kadri, Morgan Rielly, Travis Dermott and Connor Brown.
Looking at the Toronto Marlies stats, there is 'reason to be optimistic' about the future of the Leafs as well. As of press time, Andreas Johnsson leads the Marlies in scoring with 52 points, which includes 24 goals in 52 games. To give you an idea of how he has grown from one season to the next, last year he banked 47 points in 75 games.
I am also excited about the future of Justin Holl, having had a glimpse of his potential in the two NHL games he skated in. He scored a goal in each of those games.
Timothy Liljegren, the Leafs first round pick from the 2017 draft, is another player to watch, as he currently has 12 points in 30 games, in his first season in the AHL. I think he could potentially make the Leafs next season.
Having watched some bad Leafs teams in the past, pessimistic about the team’s future during that time, it is somewhat new to see my favourite team winning, drafting well, and sitting in the top 10 in the league standings.
I’m excited about the rest of this season and the future of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
On Family Day, I did something I hadn’t done in years. I went skating.
It was something that, for a couple years, I had on my list of things I wanted to do but I hadn’t found time in my busy schedule to do it until then. Heading to the arena, I remembered how much I enjoyed skating as a kid, gliding around the arena in a circle on skates and feeling the cold air on my face. I thought it would not take long for me to be gliding again on the ice at full power, but, like any skill learned, you can get rusty at it, if you haven’t practiced it in a while.
Prior to Family Day 2018, I think the last time I went skating was during my elementary school days. Since then, the closest I got to public skating was taking some photos at some of the free public skating events in Scugog.
So, when I got on the Manvers Arena ice, for this year’s Family Day skate, the first couple of laps was mostly me slowly trying to move while keeping myself upright, and keeping myself from falling. It was humbling to see young kids of many ages gliding effortlessly by me, as I slowly moved up the ice. But, as I continued to skate, it got a little bit easier. On a positive note, I can report, I only stumbled to my knees twice during the experience.
Looking back on it, I am reminded of what my colleague Chris Green wrote in his last column, about how once in a while we need to laugh at ourselves. My mother and I both laughed during the early laps when we stumbled.
Despite it being somewhat of a challenge, getting re-adjusted to how to skate again, I enjoyed the experience and it is something I hope I can find some time to do again in the near future. I look forward to the opportunity to practice skating and improve at it. I also encourage others who may not have done something in a while, that they had enjoyed when they were younger, to try it again. You might just enjoy the experience.
As has been reported in this week’s edition of The Standard, the PJHL Orr division playoffs are set to begin this week. The Lakefield Chiefs and the Uxbridge Bruins will both take byes in the first round. The round 1 Orr division matchups include Port Perry MoJacks vs. Georgina Ice and Clarington Eagles vs. North Kawartha Knights.
Those who have been reading The Standard’s sports section over the past six months have probably noticed that I have been covering the MoJacks this season, and with the playoffs soon to start, I will try my hand at predicting the outcome of the two first round series.
Let’s start with Port Perry vs. Georgina. I’m picking the Port Perry MoJacks to win this series. Yes, the reporter who covers the MoJacks, picking them to win a playoff series probably doesn’t sound like a huge surprise to some people, but I have plenty of information to back up why I think they will win this series.
First off, the MoJacks swept the season series against Georgina, winning all seven games they played against them, including their most recent 9-3 victory to finish the regular season. Port Perry finished the season as the highest scoring team in the division, while Georgina finished with the least amount of goals among the six playoff teams. Two MoJacks forwards are in the top four in division for goals and points, Graham Lamers and Derek Risebrough. In goals against, the MoJacks allowed the third fewest goals against in the division, while Georgina allowed the most goals against of the six playoff teams.
Next up is Clarington vs. North Kawartha. I feel like this is going to be a tight, close series, and I’m picking the North Kawartha Knights to win it.
After losing in the seventh game of their round 1 series, against Uxbridge in last year’s playoffs, the Knights are looking to get further in this year’s playoffs. Yes, they did lose the season series against Clarington, but it was only by a one game difference.
Clarington won four of the seven meetings while North Kawartha won three. North Kawartha is a speedy team that can score, as they were third best in the division for goals for. Out of the two series, I have a feeling, this one is the most likely to have an upset, even if it is the fifth placed team defeating the fourth placed team.
As with any predictions I make, feel free to call me on any of these if they end up being wrong.
Is a reporter for The Standard Newspaper, so if you see him, feel free to say hello. You can follow Dan on Twitter at @dancearnsy