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About "David Akin"

Gemini Award-winning journalist David Akin is the National Bureau Chief for Sun Media and is based at Sun's Parliamentary Bureau in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He has covered events as varied as Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s annual tours through the Arctic to the uprisings in Egypt in the spring of 2011 to terror trials at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, Cuba. Akin received a Gemini Award for his reporting while he was a correspondent for CTV National News with Lloyd Robertson and he was a National Newspaper Award finalist while working as a contributing writer for The Globe and Mail. His 20-year career in journalism also includes being a member of the inaugural staff at the National Post. Akin has long been one of Canada’s journalism pioneers when it comes to exploring ways to use digital media and computer-assisted tools for newsgathering and publishing. His blog, On The Hill, is nearly a decade old and he is a frequent speaker on the use of social media in communications. Akin has been named one of the 100 most influential people on Parliament Hill. A Montrealer by birth, Akin studied history at the University of Guelph. He lives near Ottawa with his wife and two children.

The Hitler Parody Video the New Brunswick Liberals Don’t Want You To See!

- September 20th, 2014

New Brunswickers vote Monday in their 38th general election. They will decided either to keep incumbent Premier David Alward and his Progressive Conservative government or choose Liberal Brian Gallant as their new premier. Only PCs and Liberals had seats in the legislature at dissolution but the NDP, led by Dominic Cardy, believe they have a good shot at one or two.

And while there are some serious issues at play in this campaign, one of the odd issues that cropped up in the campaign’s dying days was a Hitler parody video in which Gallant was, apparently, a German general and the MLA for Shedica-Cap-Pelé, Victor Boudreau, was Hitler. (I annotate the above for non-New Brunswickers below) The Liberals demanded apologies from the NDP, a  party that has not had a seat in the legislature since 2003. We’re not exactly sure who created this video but some New Democrats put this out on their social media feeds and that has drawn incredible Liberal indignation, fueled by the fact that Gallant’s grandfather ended up in a Nazi concentration camp because he helped European Jews escape during the Second World War. On live television, the NDP leader tried to apologize for whatever role his partisans played but Gallant — in high dudgeon — refused.

Now, there are dozens and dozens of  these Hitler parody videos. There are at least three featuring Stephen Harper as Hitler and I’ve never heard Harper complain.  The UK Daily Telegraph even provided a handy listing of their favourite 25 such parodies say  these spoofs have become “one of the enduring memes of the Web.”  YouTube has an entire channel devoted to these Hitler parodies. There’s new ones all the time. Here’s Hitler learning the Scotland has voted no. There’s even a Hitler parody in which Hitler complains about the parodies!

Now, I have opinions about the New Brunswick Liberal reaction to this parody. I think it’s way over the top and that they should have shrugged their shoulders and moved one. I said as much on my program, Battleground, on Sun News Network on Friday.  But you’ll also want to watch this clip for the video of  Gallant’s refusal to accept an offered apology from Cardy in the midst of a debate moderated by CTV’s Steve Murphy.

Need help with NB jokes?

If you’re just coming to the New Brunswick provincial election, here’s some things you need to know to get the jokes in the parody:

    • Brian Gallant’s Liberal Party has been leading in the few polls done in that province for over a year. There have been four public domain polls released since the campaign started, two by Corporate Research Associates and two by Forum Research. While each firms has some different numbers, the trend is similar: What was a monster lead at the beginning (19 points in CRA poll one) by the Liberals over the incumbent PCs has narrowed but still seems healthy enough.
    • “Leader Boudreau” is, presumably, a reference to Victor Boudreau, a Liberal MLA who was interim leader of the New Brunswick Liberals until Gallant won the permanent job. Boudreau, who was finance minister in Shawn Graham’s cabinet, is s cinch for cabinet if Gallant wins government Monday. The video’s creators have made Boudreau the Hitler character.

The creator of this parody has apparently designated this charactor as that of NB Liberal Leader Brian Gallant.

  • “Dominic, Brian, Roger, and Ottawa consultants …” The Dominic here is almost certainly Dominic Leblanc, the Liberal MP who is co-chair of the NB Liberal campaign. The “Ottawa consultants” may be a reference to David Herle and his Gandalf Group who, several reports said, are doing polling for the NB Liberals. Herle has just come off managing the super-successful majority-producing campaign of Kathleen Wynne in Ontario. But I’m pretty sure Herle and Gandalf Group are Toronto-based. I’m not plugged in enough to know who Roger is. The “Brian” though, would seem to be the 32-year-old Liberal Leader Brian Gallant. The video’s creators have assigned him the role of a Nazi general.
  • “Murphy” and “Forestell” are Steve Murphy, Halifax-based anchor of CTV Atlantic and Harry Forestell, anchor of CBC TV New Brunswick.  Gallant’s interviews with Forestell were, in my view, the most disastrous I’ve ever seen a leader give.
  • “The Farmer” That’s the incumbent premier, Progressive Conservative leader David Alward.
  • “Now Cardy is gaining on us”. That would be NB NDP Leader Dominic Cardy. And while the behaviour of the Liberals over the last week — not to mention their indignation over this video — would suggest the NDP are causing problems for the Liberals, the four polls we have seen have shown NDP support has weakened over the course of the campaign.”Coon” is David Coon, leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick.
  • “Shannon” No idea who that is. Anyone?

Now the NB Liberal Hitler parody is not the funniest one you’re ever going to see. The best-ever at making Hitler funny was Mel Brooks (Jewish!) The Producers. Here’s the signature tune from that terrific musical:

Gilmore’s 15 reasons not to trust Apple’s crypto claims

- September 20th, 2014
Apple FaceTime and iMessage

From Apple’s Web site, this image shows the interface for iMessage on the left and shows what Facetime looks like in action on an iPhone or iPad.

For the most of the past decade, the posts at this blog have been mostly about politics — an unsurprising result of the fact that I began reporting from Parliament Hill in early 2005. But in the decade before that, I was a technology reporter, fascinated less by the finances of the industry than by its inventors and inventions, by its rebels, and by its deep thinkers. John Gilmore is an inventor, a rebel and — to me, at least! — a deep thinker. Made wealthy from his work at Sun Microsystems, Gilmore is one of the c0-founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and has long been a champion of the empowering possibilities of software, knowledge, and access to information.

This week, Apple got the (re-newed) attention of Gilmore Read more…

The 2014 Summertime “Ottawa Spends” Winners

- September 18th, 2014

From a tuna sport fishing derby to golf tournaments to brain research, Conservative MPs rang up a whopping $1.4 billion bill handing out cheques on the summertime spending circuit.

The annual summer spending spree began on June 21 when the House of Commons shut down for the summer recess and it ends Monday when the House opens for its fall sitting season.

But in the 85-day-summer that government MPs had to hit the barbecue circuit, a total of 432 spending announcements were logged in our exclusive QMI Agency “Ottawa Spends” database.

Read the rest of the story ...

An unprecedented disaster of an interview for the Liberal leading in New Brunswick

- September 17th, 2014

CBC New Brunswick Harry Forestell, left, takes no prisoners in the “re-do” interview with New Brunswick Liberal Leader Brian Gallant.

With just five full days of campaigning to go until New Brunswickers vote on Monday, Liberal Leader Brian Gallant will be struggling to recover from the worst media interview a politician ever gave in mid-campaign since Stéphane Dion got confused in the 2008 federal election.

But while Gallant’s mix-up, like Dion’s, involved a re-do, Gallant cannot blame his media interlocutor for a confusing, ill-worded question.

In the re-do, in fact, he did the exact opposite of making things right. He was forced to admit, time and again, his own errors and, in doing so, dissembled at least twice. Read more…

In Alberta radio blitz, McIver aims squarely at Prentice

- September 4th, 2014
Ric McIver

Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Ric McIver speaks to the Edmonton Sun’s editorial board on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014 Today, MciVer’s campaign launched a radio blitz against rival Jim Prentice.. (Codie McLachlan/Edmonton Sun)

The race in Alberta to become that province’s next premier takes a new twist Thursday with a province-wide radio blitz aimed at taking the front-runner down a few notches.

Listen: This radio ad from the Ric McIver campaign began playing all over Alberta today

The Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta will hold its first vote Saturday in the leadership contest to replace Alison Redford, who resigned in March in a cloud of scandal involving misspending of public monies.

Former Harper cabinet minister Jim Prentice is the front-runner in a field of three candidates seeking to become leader of the party and the next premier of Canada’s wealthiest province. Read more…