You know you live in interesting times when the chief of police is the most powerful person in town. What propelled Chief Blair to the top of our Influentials list was Rob Ford’s Crackgate—a story that consumed the city for much of the last year and whose bewildering narrative is still being written. Of course, Ford wasn’t the only politician who behaved badly in 2013. Chronic dysfunction is evident at all levels of government, from the petty infighting at city hall to the crippling gamesmanship at Queen’s Park and the expense scandals on Parliament Hill. And yet, it’s not all doom and gloom. Some of the city’s most formidable leaders are outside the traditional halls of power: global hip-hop stars, tech titans, gossip bloggers and guitar-strumming astronauts, among others. The people ranked here all did something in 2013 that made an impact on our lives, for better or for worse. Our list demonstrates that sometimes influence is enduring, sometimes it’s fickle and sometimes it rests on a single cellphone video that could forever change the complexion of the city.
Andrew Coyne is about as close to a celebrity political columnist as there is in this country, and news broke yesterday that he’s leaving Maclean’s to go back to the National Post. According to a statement on the Post’s website, Coyne will write three columns a week for the Postmedia chain’s newspapers and websites. First thoroughly public spectacle Christie Blatchford returned to the Post, and now Coyne. The paper sure is stacking its roster with (presumably pricy) heavy-hitters. Read the entire story [National Post] »
It’s not particularly polite to ask rich people what they earn. But tact is overrated, and we wanted to know, so we asked anyway. When they told us to get lost, we got sneaky. We dug up disclosure documents, annual reports and the tax filings of charitable organizations. When those trails went dry, we surveyed industry insiders who know what other people make—headhunters and consultants and analysts and colleagues—and asked for an educated guess. After hundreds of calls and emails and deep-throat meetings in dark alleys, we phoned the high earners back and told them what we found. Again, with feeling, they told us to piss off.
What follows is our shamelessly gawking, as-precise-as-possible examination of the highest-paid people in the city’s top industries. When the information was available, we included bonuses and perks and, in some cases, exercised stock options. Our findings verified that a high earner in finance is almost always on a different plane (a private jet, usually) than a high earner in, for example, the lowly arts. One major discovery: Heather Reisman took a pay cut. One truth reconfirmed: no matter how rich you are, there’s always someone who makes a helluva lot more.
The last time this blogger had the pleasure of speaking with Jack Layton was for an Informer post during the federal election. The good folks at the NDP campaign headquarters had tried several times to put us in touch with him, which seemed a bit silly for what was really just a few hundred words about baseball. But Layton finally returned our call late in the day and, between campaign events, proceeded to unload some of his happiest baseball memories.
We noted then that it was easy for a Toronto politician to choose a favourite baseball moment (one of the two Blue Jays World Series wins are the only correct answers), but Layton wasn’t mugging for the microphone. He could, and did, speak for far longer than he needed to about the joy of walking down Yonge Street the night the Jays claimed their first World Series victory, as crowds cheered and drivers honked along the length of the city’s spine. He was always comfortable about being a man of this city, something he brought to federal politics as a champion of urban issues and something he never apologized for.
At a vigil yesterday evening at Nathan Phillips Square, people waved Layton posters—both from the NDP and homemade—and when the lineup to sign city hall’s condolence book proved to be too long, they took chalk to the concrete to remember him. By 6 p.m., the crowd had turned the last few sentences of Layton’s final letter into a chant, giving the vigil the feel of a protest, an appropriate atmosphere in which to remember the long-time activist.
The tributes to Layton are as extensive as they are touching, and we couldn’t capture them all in one place. But we did our best to select a few of the more prominent reactions. A list of those, after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Because nothing in this city happens without Twitter anymore, that’s where the news of Christie Blatchford’s Globe departure breaks
The man behind the Mondoville Twitter account, Marc Weisblott, caused something of a media tizzy this afternoon with a single-sentence tweet: “Christie Blatchford gone from ‘The Globe and Mail’…” Reporters and other media types had two basic reactions: confused glottal noises and wondering aloud how Mondoville got the story first (these are reporters, after all). Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Ken Finkleman, the creative mind behind CBC hits like The Newsroom and Paramount non-hits like Grease 2, has a new show coming out called Good Dog. So it’s not surprising that he would come to a CBC Radio show like Q to sit and chat with host Jian Ghomeshi. What is surprising, however, is that the two of them almost managed to talk about everything but Good Dog.