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J.J. McCullough

HuffPost Canada Media Critic

J.J. McCullough is a political cartoonist and pundit based out of Vancouver, British Columbia. His work has been published in Reader’s Digest, the Vancouver Metro, and the Western Standard, and he’s a regular commentator on CTV New's "Political Express" panel. For the last decade he’s run Filibuster, an editorial cartoon blog specializing in U.S. and Canadian politics as well as J.J.'s Complete Guide to Canada.

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Only a United Tory-NDP Force Can Defeat Rob

Only a United Tory-NDP Force Can Defeat Rob Ford

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="" height="80" width="300"> The lesson for Toronto is obvious. If the city's progressives are serious about pooling their resources and mounting a strong challenge to Mayor Ford, then it behooves them to hold some sort of primary on par with the one New Yorkers used to pick de Blasio, rather than continuing to embark upon their present strategy of polarizing Toronto's Liberals and New Democrats.
03/13/2014 12:20 EDT
Blurred (Party) Lines Are Ruining Canadian

Blurred (Party) Lines Are Ruining Canadian Politics

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="" height="80" width="300"> In the fight against Quebec separatists, its often insisted that Canadian politicians need to "speak with one voice." And that might be true. Everywhere else, however, politics would improve immensely if we could choose between two clear ones. Canada is long overdue for a fundamental re-calibration of provincial politics. Perhaps at the next Manning Centre Conference, all of Canada's supposedly "right-of-centre" politicians   can get together and agree to forge a new provincial political brand (say, the "Conservative Party") that's present in all provinces. And then maybe all the left-wing people can meet at, I don't know, David Suzuki's next garden party or something.
03/10/2014 12:37 EDT
Why Putin's Attempts to Annex Crimea Would Never Fly in

Why Putin's Attempts to Annex Crimea Would Never Fly in Canada

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="" height="80" width="300"> You can argue -- as I do -- that Canada's too immigrant-friendly and too multicultural, but the reality remains that ethnic diversity is now a basic Canadian fact of life. Upholding this nation's territorial and political integrity therefore requires a staunch commitment to the principle that national governments have a right to govern multicultural populations, and even stauncher opposition to any notion that foreign nation-states possess a right to infringe the sovereignty of others in order to protect "their" people living abroad. Canada is a country that worries about foreigners. But it's also a country that has a right to worry about itself.
03/03/2014 12:18 EST
Mulcair's Coalition Flip-Flop Is Bad for

Mulcair's Coalition Flip-Flop Is Bad for Democracy

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="" height="80" width="300">Recently NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said he would be open to forming a coalition with the Liberals, after previously denouncing the idea. Canadian democracy cannot the constant coyness of the sort Mr. Mulcair is now offering; purported claims that he's a serious candidate for prime minister on the one hand, which are then completely undermined by promises to "work with other parties" and reminders that the NDP was "willing to make Stephane Dion the Prime Minister of Canada" on the other. Opportunism of this sort simply reenforces voter apathy, and justifies the entirely credible suspicion that Canada's political elites don't really care much for the preferences of the public they purport to govern.
02/26/2014 05:43 EST
If You Missed Trudeau's Speech, You're

If You Missed Trudeau's Speech, You're Lucky

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="" height="80" width="300"> Justin Trudeau could hardly have picked a worse day to publicly reinvent himself. Though that might not have been such a bad thing. With Canada's not-terribly-stunning gold medal hockey win occurring mere hours after J-Tru's keynote address to the 2014 Liberal convention, the Grit leader's battle to control the weekend headlines was doomed to be a losing one. Few would deny that even on its worst day, the sport is still vastly more compelling than the liveliest political speech. Which Justin's wasn't.
02/24/2014 08:59 EST
Media Bites: Watch Out Liberal Party, Voters Don't Like

Media Bites: Watch Out Liberal Party, Voters Don't Like Elites

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="" height="80" width="300"> Canadians do not want to be ruled by rich snobs. Such was the conclusion of a big survey commissioned by the Tory government last summer, but only revealed last week. The results exposed a Canadian public deeply critical of what they perceive to be an out-of-touch Ottawa elite comprised of "rich politicians" feathering their nests with perks and privileges "while taxpayers personally struggled to make a decent living." Unfortunately for the Liberals, Canada's got an awful lot more suburbanites than bigshots, and the polls suggest the two tribes aren't exactly on good terms.
02/20/2014 12:18 EST
Ontario's Culture of

Ontario's Culture of Defeat

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="" height="80" width="300"> When an election is called in Ontario, chances are the Progressive Conservatives will play to type and pitch a package of vaguely pro-growth policies, while the Liberals and NDP counter with egalitarian ideas that are marginally more statist. Yet all three will stand united in common consensus that whether government needs to do more or do less, the province will only have a brighter economic tomorrow so long as the government does <em>something.</em> However, a new study suggests the economic doldrums of Canada's largest province may actually be rooted in deep-set public pathologies that have very little to do with government and a lot to do with cultural myths.
02/17/2014 11:50 EST
A Boring Budget: The Perfect Excuse for a Boring

A Boring Budget: The Perfect Excuse for a Boring Column

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="" height="80" width="300"> This year's federal budget was par for the course (read: not very interesting). But of course we have a lot of columnists in this country who need to eat, so the slightly more curious need not fear  --  the nation's papers are positively brimming with in-depth insights on precisely how much of a non-event this non-event is.
02/13/2014 12:17 EST

Russia's "Anti-Gay" Laws Aren't Most Worthy of Your Protest

Mayors raising the rainbow flag is the latest trendy protest against the much-despised "anti-gay laws" which passed the Russian parliament last summer, criminalizing the "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors." The implied pretext is that the persecution of homosexuals in Russia is the worst thing the Russian government has ever done, and a unique outlier of homophobic behaviour in an otherwise civilized world. Neither is remotely true.
02/10/2014 12:10 EST
Media Bites: The Fair Elections Act Still Separates Us From the

Media Bites: The Fair Elections Act Still Separates Us From the Yankees

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="" height="80" width="300"> What legislation like the Fair Elections Act reminds us is that in the realm of electoral law, America and Canada are, in fact, noticeably different. Though the reasons why are more complicated and nuanced than the simplistic narratives we're usually given.
02/06/2014 11:56 EST
Why Trudeau's Senate Agenda is Both Confused and

Why Trudeau's Senate Agenda is Both Confused and Confusing

What's all this junk about getting some expert panel to appoint the Senators? Ol' Pepall thinks that sounds like the "Guardian Council in Tehran," and he's not in favour of turning Canada into a fundamentalist Islamic theocracy, which I think we can all agree is the real crux of this issue.
02/03/2014 12:12 EST
Media Bites: Justin Just Reformed the Senate in the Wrong

Media Bites: Justin Just Reformed the Senate in the Wrong Direction

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="" height="80" width="300"> Justin Trudeau thinks Canada's Senate has become irreparably corrupted through "extreme patronage and partisanship," and is trying to set a good example by opting-out of at least half of that equation. It's an exceedingly open question if Canadians even want the sort of reformed, "effective" Senate Trudeau's promising amid such great fanfare. The closer you look at the whole plan, in fact, the closer Trudeau's fix begins to resemble the classic solution in search of a problem.
01/29/2014 06:20 EST
Media Bites: Harper Defines the New

Media Bites: Harper Defines the New Anti-Semitism

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="" height="80" width="300"> Stephen Harper's first-ever trip to the Holy Land wrapped up this weekend, and the reviews were basically worse than <em>I, Frankenstein</em>. But if one specific outrage loomed above all others, it was the PM's January 20 address to the Israeli parliament, during which, in the words of Warren Kinsella, "Harper, a Gentile, literally took it upon himself to redefine anti-Semitism."
01/27/2014 12:24 EST
Ford's Drunken Stupors Are His Greatest

Ford's Drunken Stupors Are His Greatest Strength

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="" height="80" width="300">Hopefully by now we all grasp the concept that Rob Ford maintains his 47 per cent approval rating as much because of his personal flaws as in spite of them. If you're part of the Ford Nation rainbow coalition of indigent immigrants and lower-class suburban whites, chances are you see an awful lot of yourself in the man. Uncomplicated class appeal is not the only reason for Ford's popularity, of course. But it's certainly reason enough to remain bullish on the man's chances for re-election.
01/23/2014 08:50 EST
Harper in Israel? Time for Pundits to

Harper in Israel? Time for Pundits to Whine

The Prime Minister of Canada unveiled his latest stimulus program this week. He's visiting Israel, and in doing so is helping foster a boom in the production of one of our nation's most treasured goods: whiny editorials about Canadian foreign policy. There are a lot of nasty tropes floating out there about the cryptic man running our country. The no less oft-repeated claim that Stephen Harper is the most aggressively pro-Israel leader in the world, however  --  that one's on considerably firmer ground. So if all these bigshot important people say Harper's clearly in the wrong with all this Israel stuff, why's he plowing forth anyway?
01/20/2014 12:09 EST
Media Bites:The Political Popularity Contest Is Won in the

Media Bites:The Political Popularity Contest Is Won in the Polls

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="" height="80" width="300"> What does it say about Canada that two of the most popular things in the country right now are the Quebec Charter of Values and Rob Ford? We're continuously told these things are, in fact, grossly <em>un</em>popular. But if the polls are to be believed, both actually enjoy a larger, stabler base of loyalists than many of the people doing the loudest scolding.
01/16/2014 12:14 EST
Media Bites: Want to Hear How Harper Hates Science? Watch

Media Bites: Want to Hear How Harper Hates Science? Watch CBC

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="" height="80" width="300"> Do Prime Minister Harper's science priorities reflect the best interests of Canada? It's certainly a question worth asking, but you won't find the answer by interviewing the folks guaranteed to have the most biased perspective: laid-off scientists and the left-wing union that represents them. Though that's the CBC's preferred approach. Considering we're supposed to be talking about a war on facts, it is a tad ironic, though.
01/13/2014 12:11 EST
If You Value Free Thought, You Should Value Rob

If You Value Free Thought, You Should Value Rob Anders

Rob Anders represents an independent spirit in Canadian democracy that's under attack from all sides these days, from reactionary journalists who seek to turn any controversial opinion into a career-killing "gaffe," to so-called parliamentary reformers like Michael Chong who want to make it easier for party elites to veto the political ambitions of the unconventional or unorthodox. Rob Anders' successful, 17-year career personifies a sharp rebuke to the forces of conformity and hegemony. Anyone who values free thought and dissent within this country's stagnant political culture should find common cause in his plight.
01/09/2014 12:16 EST
Media Bites: The Eternal Harper Retirement

Media Bites: The Eternal Harper Retirement Watch

One of the unhealthier byproducts of a prime ministerial political system with no term limits is that the media spends an awful lot of time analyzing the vigour and vitality of the current incumbent, eagerly hoping for some subtle sign or signal that his tenure in office will be soon coming to an end. Does he seem bored or listless with the mundane tasks of governing? Is he openly grooming a successor? When's the last time he was seen in public?
01/06/2014 12:42 EST
Is The Order of Canada a Consolation

Is The Order of Canada a Consolation Prize?

What makes the traditional New Year's announcement of fresh inductees to the Order of Canada so consistently galling is how damn many there always are -- this year, 90 in all. For a nation of such supposedly modest people, Canadians give themselves an awful lot of prizes. All this blind awarding can only wind up achieving the exact opposite of what it's supposed to. Just as printing more money doesn't make everyone richer, simply handing out lots of awards for being great won't actually make more great people -- it'll just devalue the privilege.
01/02/2014 12:04 EST