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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.

Follow J.J. on Twitter.

Email J.J. at jjmccullough@gmail.com.
Media Bites: All the Many

Media Bites: All the Many "Valuable" Lessons We Learned in 2013

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" height="80" width="300"> The Canadian press has been offering no shortage of year-in-review columns as of late. What's <em>my</em> pick for top story of 2013, you ask? I don't know if I have a headline per se, but I do have a theme: the decline of Brand Canada. If there's one thing Justin Trudeau, Rob Ford, and the Senate scandal have in common, after all, it's that they all prove, in different ways, that Canada is not nearly as serious, respectable, and mature of a country as we often like to believe.
12/30/2013 08:30 EST
Media Bites: Predictions for 2014 -- Prepare to Hear the Word

Media Bites: Predictions for 2014 -- Prepare to Hear the Word "No"

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" height="80" width="300"> In the world of Canadian politics, 2013 was one of those years where interesting things seemed perennially on the brink of happening, but rarely did. 2014, in short, will be a year that spends a lot of time providing closure to the unanswered questions of 2013. My guess is there'll be a lot of "no's." Here are some predictions.
12/27/2013 08:31 EST
The Top Five Most Outrageous Canadian Editorials of

The Top Five Most Outrageous Canadian Editorials of 2013

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" height="80" width="300"> Calling an editorial "offensive" simply implies hurt feelings, which implies cruel motive, which demands censorship. Not a string of conclusions I'm eager to draw in a society with constitutionally-protected freedom of expression. No, the following five editorials are merely "outrageous," in the sense they got a great many folks riled up, shocked, annoyed, or befuddled. That's not always a bad thing.
12/23/2013 08:39 EST
Harper Is No Anti-Pot

Harper Is No Anti-Pot Crusader

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" height="80" width="300"> The Economist got quite a few things wrong in their recent smug editorial chronicling the various ways Canada has ceased to be "cool." But no paragraph displayed a starker ignorance -- and a more disingenuous effort to snip and censor facts until they could be shoehorned into a pre-determined Harper-bashing conclusion -- than the one about how Harper has tightened the rules on marijuana. Canada's current government has not been a radically anti-pot administration by any stretch. As is the case on so many issues, the Prime Minister has handled the cannabis file with caution and pragmatism.
12/19/2013 12:16 EST
Everyone Agrees Canada Post Needs to Change, and That's Why it

Everyone Agrees Canada Post Needs to Change, and That's Why it Won't

All the pundits basically agree Canada's public-sector post office is an increasingly useless anachronism in the digital age. Many would say its costs, services, and employees are downright terrible, in fact -- and have been for ages. Yet any government that fails to reverse this decades-long status quo of irrelevant mediocrity is also said to be running the risk of triggering a massive public backlash, capable of leaving its re-election odds, at best, in doubt.
12/16/2013 12:33 EST
Media Bites: Bad Boy Trudeau Skips Out on

Media Bites: Bad Boy Trudeau Skips Out on Attendance

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" height="80" width="300"> There are a few conclusions you could draw from the recent revelation that Justin Trudeau has the worst Question Period attendance record of any federal party leader. We're supposed to either swoon with refreshed delight that he doesn't take the Ottawa rat race as seriously as it takes itself, or furrow our brows in anger that he's not taking it nearly seriously<em> enough</em>. I would imagine most of us can find speckles of truth in both perspectives.
12/12/2013 08:30 EST
Canada, Don't Let Dissatisfaction with Democracy Excuse Michael Chong's Terrible

Canada, Don't Let Dissatisfaction&nbsp;with Democracy Excuse Michael Chong's Terrible Ideas

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" height="80" width="300"> A great many pundits don't seem to have any problem <em>in theory</em> with Chong's enormously regressive idea that a small group of MPs should have the right to unilaterally depose a party leader democratically-elected by thousands of party members (or a prime minister elected by millions).
12/06/2013 08:24 EST
Rob Ford Shows How Canada Spectacularly Fails Certain

Rob Ford Shows How Canada Spectacularly Fails Certain Demographics

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" height="80" width="300"> I still can't get over the Somalis. Though the Rob Ford saga has often been spun as a lurid look into the world of Canada's suburban white trash (which it certainly is -- just read the excerpts from the last police report) it's getting hard to deny this soap opera also reveals a depressingly monocultural slice of Toronto's urban criminal underworld. From my parochial western perspective, it brings to mind the stories you often read about the Somali communities of Alberta, who seem to be disproportionately bound up in that province's drug trade and gang violence too.
12/05/2013 10:59 EST
We Don't Need a Reform Bill That Only Shifts Power From One Clique to

We Don't Need a Reform Bill That Only Shifts Power From One Clique to Another

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" height="80" width="300"> A motion to be introduced by Tory backbench MP Michael Chong proposes giving the inner elite of Canada's political parties the power to overturn the public's clearly expressed preference for who should be PM. Under the terms of his redundantly-named <em>Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Parliament of Canada Act</em>, if, at any moment, just over 50 per cent of the MPs of the prime minister's party vote to turf a democratically-elected PM, out he goes. Though the bill wouldn't take effect until after the next federal election, 50 per cent-plus-one of all current Conservative MPs is just 81 people.
12/02/2013 12:35 EST
Media Bites: In Losing Hockey Night in Canada, CBC Might Have

Media Bites: In Losing Hockey Night in Canada, CBC Might Have Scored

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" height="80" width="300"> So no more hockey for the CBC. For 60 years the mother corp has been permitted to blow millions of tax dollars providing the nation with this redundant subsidized "service" anyway, a more-than-half-century absurdity whose bluff is only now being called. Far from being a stirring symbol of CBC success, Hockey Night in Canada has long been the single most wasteful monument to the network's fundamentally confused mandate.
11/28/2013 08:24 EST
Harper Is a Mere Extra in Duffy's Senate

Harper Is a Mere Extra in Duffy's Senate Spectacular

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" height="80" width="300">Contrary to the sensationalistic headlines appearing everywhere as of late, the big, long, RCMP report released yesterday about the Nigel Wright/Mike Duffy Senate payoff brouhaha doesn't contain much for the Prime Minister to fear. Let alone give him reason to fear for his job. And what, finally, of the Prime Minister? He makes but a brief cameo appearance in the lengthy report, during a single paragraph of Wright's testimony. Beyond that, Harper the man is entirely absent from a narrative that's very much the Duffy/Wright show. To the extent he comes up at all, the references are opaque and fleeting.
11/21/2013 05:14 EST
Rob Ford Just Landed His Dream

Rob Ford Just Landed His Dream Job

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" height="80" width="300"> In rapid succession, several tweeters made the same joke -- did Rob Ford just trick Toronto City Council into giving him his dream job? He'll now have a lot fewer boring meetings to attend and lot fewer contentious decisions to make, and can instead devote his full-time attention to the one part of his job that always interested him most to begin with -- the symbolic.
11/20/2013 05:50 EST
Media Bites: We're All Living in Rob Ford's

Media Bites: We're All Living in Rob Ford's Canada

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" height="80" width="300"> Ford's is the Canada where teenagers deal hash out of their parents' garages and play with shotguns in the basement. Where St. Patrick's Day is the biggest night of the year. Ford's going nowhere so long as <em>his</em> Canada has his back.
11/18/2013 12:28 EST
Media Bites: We Can't Reform the Senate if We're Constitutionally

Media Bites: We Can't Reform the Senate if We're Constitutionally Constipated

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" height="80" width="300"> Our constitutional amendment rules are <em>so </em>terrible, so poorly-written and caked with complex regulations designed to eliminate any hope of ever achieving any meaningful improvement to anything, we barely even know how to <em>read</em> some of them. And we're not talking about 18th century legalese here -- this stuff was written all of <em>30 years ago</em>.
11/14/2013 08:27 EST
Can Tories Turn Youth Against

Can Tories Turn Youth Against Trudeau?

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" height="80" width="300">It's in the Tories' best voter-suppressing interests to encourage this preexisting distaste among progressive youth for such an undeniably flawed anti-Harper as much as possible. If the social stigma around supporting Trudeau persists, and the rate of youth participation in the next election continues to hover in its traditional high 30s as a result, that'll probably suit the Tories just fine.
11/11/2013 12:19 EST
Media Bites: Five Media Perspectives on Rob

Media Bites: Five Media Perspectives on Rob Ford

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" height="80" width="300"> To the endless delight of click-bait authors everywhere, Rob Ford is showing no signs of leaving the headlines anytime soon. The pundits have been smashing their keyboards in wild fury ever since, so what are some of the conclusions they've been drawing? The famous quip about scandals is that "it's not the crime, it's the cover up." But sometimes it's neither a crime nor a coverup, it's just that the politician is a horrible embarrassing moron that no one likes. But that's hard to say openly, let alone in an op-ed.
11/07/2013 07:59 EST
Rob Ford Brings out the Puritan in

Rob Ford Brings out the Puritan in Media

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" height="80" width="300">That the cries for Rob Ford's head would be so loud and unanimous after a week of damning bombshells is hardly surprising. That's a perfectly sensible opinion, but it's also an essentially arbitrary measurement of fitness for public office stemming solely from a subjective standard of morality.
11/04/2013 12:25 EST
Mike Duffy's Latest Revelations Come As A Shock... To No

Mike Duffy's Latest Revelations Come As A Shock... To No One

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" height="80" width="300"> If Duffy is willing to spend day after day squawking on the Senate floor that the Harper government has "no moral compass" then the least he can do, as a gentleman similarly lacking that device, is set a good example and resign from the chamber Professor McCreery says is supposed to consist only of "honourable" persons.
10/29/2013 12:42 EDT
Media Bites: Pundits Split Hairs on the Senate

Media Bites: Pundits Split Hairs on the Senate Scandal

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" height="80" width="300">That sort of loose grasp of the big picture might be enough to produce a few head nods at next week's dinner party -- Can you believe this Senate mess? -- but if you're a professional columnist with 900 words to fill, you might need to make your indictment of the ruling party a tad more coherent. So what does Senategate mean to those pundits who've made careers out of assuming the worst about the Prime Minister? Less than you might expect.
10/28/2013 12:25 EDT
Media Bites: Trouble Sleeping? Try One Dose of Throne

Media Bites: Trouble Sleeping? Try One Dose of Throne Speech

<img alt="2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-04-27-mediabitesreal.jpg" height="80" width="300"> Well, so much for a "different kind" of throne speech. Though Minister Moore and his bored allies in the press had gone out of their way to hype the idea that yesterday's state-of-the-Tory-agenda address to Parliament would be laser-like in its focus on the plight of Canada's middle-class consumers, Stephen Harper's #SFT13 ended up sounding very much like all the others -- hashtag notwithstanding.
10/23/2013 12:27 EDT