Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Leaders for Canada: Marc Mayer, Michael Ignatieff, Jon Stewart

It's a Tuesday, a seemingly typical day to many, but one which magically generated three new leaders for Canada in one 24-hour period. Here's my take.

1) Marc Mayer, newly announced as the head of the National Gallery of Canada: I have a good feeling about this one. Some fondly (and unfondly) call Mayer a crank, but I appreciate his candour and energy in a scene of quietly treading curatorial footsteps. He has spent the past few years making the Musee d'art contemporain de Montreal one of the top spots for art in the country--and, in a truly remarkable feat for Canada, has made those beyond our nation note same. Mayer is also not afraid to speak out controversially on the issues, another good reason to hire him on. Plus on the institution end the man is innovative, getting solo shows for new artists he wants the museum to acquire (like Karel Funk), being savvy with dealers, and instituting new fundraisers like a collectors' evening that sees the collectors themselves decide which work will be purchased with their ticket-fee haul. In other words, I've got high hopes... and anticipation for more exciting things to come now from the NGC. (But hello, NGC board of directors, there's no need to delay a staffing announcement for six months just because the government is holding an election... is there? Or is there just some NGC-head proroguing bylaw I don't know about?)

2) Michael Ignatieff, newly announced as head of the Liberal Party of Canada: I posted on this yesterday, but generally I'm disappointed. Iggy's a centre-right kinda guy, a choice made by the Libs to lure voters away from further-right Conservative party. But that doesn't mean he has Canada's best interests at heart. Though politicians by nature of their job description must have some ego surplus going on, this man comes off as having his own best interests at heart rather than that of the nation. Hopefully, I'll be proven wrong along the way but more than ever this appointment has me leaning towards "trusting the moustache" (ie. the NDP's Jack Layton) as one coalition support sign suggested this weekend in Toronto.

3) Jon Stewart, newly accepted as official comedian of the current Canadian political crisis: Stewart's no Canuck, but he's willing to skewer politicians like no gentle north-of-the-49er I know of. Sure, Rick Mercer definitely has his strong points, I love what he does. But "Provinces in Peril: Indecision Oh-eh?" -- too good. Thanks Stewart (and comrade and actual Canadian Samantha Bee) for helping us laugh at ourselves at a time of (continuing... thanks Harp & the libs) crisis.

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