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X-Ray

July 1, 2010

Canada's Politics and Current Affairs e-Magazine


The Hot Seat Notes from the Editor’s desktop Dear Reader, Or should I say “potential” reader. For what follows is not a fully formed magazine. Yet. X-Ray is Canada’s first politics and current affairs e-magazine. At least that’s what we aim to be. What you’ve just opened on your desktop (or iPad?) is a vision for something never before seen in Canadian media: a magazine of national scope, delivered bimonthly as a PDF file to your email inbox. * Why? We at X-Ray believe the time is ideal for an electronic magazine that covers stories of interest to Canadians who, like yourself, are turning to alternatives to corporate media. You’re already reading content onlinesocial networking sites, blogs and dailies like the Globe that still offer free content. And you’re willing to pay for content you care about, or music and apps that catch your fancy. We intend to create a media product that provides investigative journalism, insightful analysis, and entertaining commentary in an attractive, compelling package. And we’re betting the bank that if we get it right you’ll be willing to pay for X-Ray. But more on that later. This is X-Ray’s “soft launch”. What follows is a working blueprint of the magazine. We have much work to do. Over the course of the summer we will publish several trial issues, with content gleaned from a growing list of professional writers, commentators and hardworking pros in politics, media and the arts. We’ll send you each trial issue for free. If you like what you read please forward X-Ray to friends, family and colleagues. Share the magazine and help us grow! And please send us your thoughts, opinions and criticism. We need to hear from you. We also need contributors. If you can help us or want to see your byline in X-Ray email us today. contact@xraymagazine.ca. Last, special thanks to Tim Andries, whose photo “Oh Canada, Au Naturel” appears with permission on the cover. Tim’s work can be found at www.almosteric.ca Happy Canada Day! David Julian Wightman Publisher slash Editor davidjwightman@xraymagazine.ca *This issue, as you’ll have noticed, is a Word document. For the premiere at least I hope the format will allow X-Ray to more easily get through spam filters. That and I haven’t yet figured out how to make a PDF that has working hyperlinks. Any help on that bit of technical wizardry is greatly appreciated.

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Things They Say And probably wish they didn’t This light-hearted regular section isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but who doesn’t love a choice quote? We at X-Ray are intrigued by what falls out of the mouths of our leaders, figureheads, functionaries and even, occasionally, our top spies. In an age when sound bytes are the rule, every once in a while some bite back… “It may have been good for some of my farmers in Arkansas, but it has not worked. It was a mistake.”  Bill Clinton, now UN special envoy to Haiti, tells the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee he was wrong to force cheap American rice on Haiti during his presidency (Mar 10) “The (Border Security Force) has engaged in systematic attacks on civilians and has been responsible for systematically torturing suspected criminals."  An unnamed Canadian diplomat in India rejects an immigration application from retired Indian BSF Constable Fateh Singh Pandher. Our High Commission in Delhi rejected Pandher and other military personnel who served in Kashmir, essentially accusing India of human rights abuses (Dec 9, 2009) “The Government of Canada… deeply regrets the recent incident in which letters drafted by public service officials during routine visa refusals to Indian nationals cast false aspersions on the legitimacy of work carried out by Indian defense and security institutions, which operate under the framework of democratic processes and the rule of law.”  Immigration Minister Jason Kenney apologizes to an angry Indian government (May 28) “We're in fact a bit worried in a couple of provinces that we have an indication that there's some political figures who have developed quite an attachment to foreign countries."  Richard Fadden, CSIS chief and Canada’s Top Spy, effectively accuses China of spying and running agents (sorry, politicians) in two provincial legislatures. His sensational remarks were made just days before Chinese Premier Hu Jintao arrived in Ottawa (June 22) "At this point, CSIS has not deemed the cases to be of sufficient concern to bring them to the attention of provincial authorities."  Fadden climbs down somewhat, though apparently the “cases” were of sufficient concern for the spy chief to raise the public alarm. Embarrassing to be sure, yet there was no international outcry, nary a whimper from China, and no public apology. Spooky. (June 23)

X-Ray Specs Submissions for this regular “Tips and Rumours” section will be welcomed from whistleblowers and frustrated desk jockeys around the country. Our vision is to have X-Ray Specs become a reliable, trusted and rabble-rousing cornerstone of the magazine, and for that we need submissions, all of which will be handled with the utmost sensitivity. Submit your tips and rumours anonymously to tips@xraymagazne.ca. X-Ray will never compromise the secrecy of our sources.

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Maximize your exposure, with X-Ray‌ By its nature, every PDF copy of X-Ray has the potential to reach more than one person. We send the magazine to hundreds of people, some of whom send the magazine to hundreds more, and so on. It’s viral marketing, for less than the cost of a case of premium beer. Email sales@xraymagazine.ca for details. (advertisement)

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Town Crier If something’s fishy in Fredericton, X-Ray wants to cover it. This regular column on municipal affairs looks at our own backyards, and how one community’s wellbeing can affect the country as a whole.

The Middle Child There’s more to Canada than Ontario. This regular column is our look at provincial politics, from Nunavut to Newfoundland.

Under The Hill The round up of Federal politics, this regular column tallies up the efforts, excesses, and follies of the Harper government and its detractors. Parliament may be shuttered for the summer, but we maintain a steely-eyed vigil. At X-Ray, it’s always open season on the political classes, and we have no favourites, grudges nor axes to grind.

O Canada This regular column will look at issues that speak to all of us, or should. What does the G20 protest mean to Newfoundland? Should Canada ban the burqa or help build madrasas? Does it matter that we never reach the World Cup finals? Can the RCMP be reformed in the wake of the Braidwood Inquiry? What makes us Canadian? What issues divide us, and make us stand together?

La Belle Province To English Canada, Quebec is often thought of like a second cousin twice removed. We might have two official languages, but few Canadians speak them both (just 17.7% according to Statistics Canada). Our arts and media culture is different. And the politics of our divide are muddied by decades of constitutional intrigue and institutional stubbornness. The only column in X-Ray that will appear in French as well as English, “La Belle Province” is our attempt to close the comprehension gap. Allo, Quebec, mon amour, can we talk?

The Q Word There’s a lot more to gay rights and politics than sex, marriage, and Pride marches. This semi-regular column takes a close look at contemporary issues, politics and life under the rainbow.

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Policy of Truth Even as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission begins its series of “National Events”, Aboriginal issues are rarely examined at length in mainstream media. Policy of Truth is a semi-regular column looking at the commission, its eventual findings (and failings?), and stories that deserve better hearing.

Foreign Affairs International news and analysis is important to Canadians. We may not all be experts and world travelers, but we care about what’s going on in the world, and how we fit in it. This semi-regular column takes a close look at issues and places that are not always as foreign or far away as we might think.

Pax Americana Musings about our American cousins, this semi-regular column looks at US politics and culture, and its influence on Canada. For this issue and a spot of fun we present a video dual. Sometimes YouTube speaks louder than any column or editorial. Nothing in the New Yorker or Atlantic Monthly could be quite as succinct as watching the two extremes of one nation, very much divided: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKKKgua7wQk&feature=channel Versus http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nunTTyfCr8Y Who won? Let us know at contact@xraymagazine.ca

Prime Minister “X” If I ran the country (in 1000 words or less) This guest column asks notable Canadians to imagine what they would do if they had the powers of Prime Minister. What would you do? It’s a question we might all ask ourselves.

Under the Skin of X-Ray magazine has not one but two subtitles: the masthead “Canada’s Politics and Current Affairs e-Magazine” and the less formal but equally bombastic “Getting Under the Skin of Things.” This regular column asks writers and commentators to dig under the surface of media, the arts, and all things current. Think Jian Ghomeshi on celebrity in Canada (anyone got his email?), Gwynne Dyer (who, you ask?) on Canada’s international footprint, or Christopher Hitchens (swoon) on atheism in America. Okay, sorry dear reader, that last bit was a flight of fantasy, but we at X-Ray are prone to thinking big.

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Wanted: Cartoon

:) We’re looking for a cartoon. Know any one who might draw one? Something thought provoking, satirical, bleeding edge? Send your thoughts/suggestions/cocktail napkin doodles to contact@xraymagazine.ca

eXtra Time to kill at work? Put those murderous thoughts aside and click this… http://9gag.com/top Legendary film director Werner Herzog muses on Where’s Waldo

Xpect Next issue Thursday, July 22. X-Ray, Getting Under the Skin of Things...

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And here’s the Pitch… We hope you’ve enjoyed this “soft launch” issue of X-Ray, and that you’ll anticipate the next, meatier issue delivered July 22nd. Keep an eye on your junk mail box, since we haven’t yet figured out how to bypass those wonderful yet pesky spam filters. We also have yet to launch our website. Or hire a lawyer for the inevitable lawsuits. Hell, we’re only one person right now. But you can help to change all that. If you’ve enjoyed this preview of X-Ray please forward it to everyone you know. You can also SUBSCRIBE to the magazine. While we may someday get revenue from advertising, X-Ray is a subscriber-based magazine. And as an introductory offer we’re selling annual subs for 50% off. E-mail subscribe@xraymagazine.ca for details. And if you can support X-Ray in any other way please don’t hesitate to get in touch… contact@xraymagazine.ca

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Zed The last page of the magazine, this regular column asks notable Canadians to muse about what Canada means to themin 500 words or less. And while he’s not exactly notable, X-Ray’s David Julian Wightman has some insights about the country after spending six years living outside it… “They say if you get far enough away, you’ll be on your way back home”  Tom Waits I was born in Lusaka, Zambia, in 1977, to a Canadian mother and African father. When their marriage collapsed in '84 mom brought my younger brother and me to Canada. We had family here, in Ontario, and friends, and a good start from years of visiting every summer. It was difficult for me, personally, being a precocious kid with a funny accent, darker than the others, often angry and sometimes abused. But it wasn't too bad, and after a few years I flourished. Canada is a good country for that kind of thing. After finishing a journalism degree at Ryersonseven years in the making, I liked it so muchI left to teach English in Korea. It was the start of six years living overseas. In my travels people often asked if I missed home. I must admit I always said no, too wrapped up in my own adventure to think much of it. I'd come home briefly before setting off again. My relationship to Canada was always unlike that of my peers. I'm a socalled Third Culture Kid. I thought Canada meant an okay country with a great passport. Then a funny thing happened. I wanted to come home. Canada is my memory, my collective conscience, the place that most formed me into the person I am. I grew up listening to "As It Happens" every night over family dinner, and taking that running leap off the dock on an August long weekend. Overseas I felt goosebumps hearing a Tragically Hip song on a night out in Seoul. I saw my nationality reflected back to me while working with a Canadian development agency in southern Africa, seeing the good, honest and often frustrating work that Canadians do the world over. In Australia, a country almost the mirror image of Canada, I was warmly welcomed and abused for my accent. And in India, where I lived until recently, and from where I decided to come home, I often found my Canadian sensibilities to be so very different to even my European fellow travellers. As an expat musing about my self-imposed exile I'd complain of how excessively polite Canadians are. Who was I kidding? It's one of our best features. India was a horror show for beastly behaviour, and even my beloved Australia has its unpleasantness (they drink more than us, believe me, and fight a lot more too). So it was that, just three weeks into a nine month stay in India, I decided it was time to return to Canada. It helped that I had a burgeoning relationship with a woman who's equally schooled in the minutiae of CBC radio. And I intended to start X-Ray, a magazine that might someday reflect something of the wonder that is this country. I may never wear the flag on my backpack, but I am a proud Canadian. It's good to be home. Like us on facebook, follow us on Twitter

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X-Ray eMagazine