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The 2012 Olympic mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville, make their debut in the playground at St. Paul's primary school in London on May 19, 2010.
The 2012 Olympic mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville, make their debut in the playground at St. Paul's primary school in London on May 19, 2010.

Miscellany

Is British coalition to blame <br/>for ugly Olympic mascots? Add to ...

1. Wenlock and Mandeville. It didn't take long for the Twitterati of political Ottawa to pronounce - in 140 characters or less - on the creepy, Cyclops-like London 2012 Olympic mascots.

This from Industry Minister Tony Clement, a humourous and avid user of Twitter: "Saw the pic of the UK mascots. See what happens when you create a Coalition?"

Mr. Clement was, of course, referring to the coalition government between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in Britain; attempts at a coalition here totally backfired on the opposition parties.

Controversial Conservative pundit Kory Tenecyke writes: "The IOC should run a mandatory drug test on the London 2012 mascot selection committee. I suspect they are on acid."

And from Maclean's magazine scribe Paul Wells, who when he is not writing about politics is writing about jazz: "We are planning a Maclean's cover: the rise of extremist parties in Europe, led by #scarymascots."

In a shot at Vancouver's mascots, he added later: "Surely the one with the blue stain in his nether regions is named Crotchi?"

2. Cry of the loon. So far the common loon is winning The Mark's on-line poll as to which bird should be Canada's national avian symbol.

Forty-four per cent of readers of the on-line publication have voted for the loon compared to 26 per cent for the Canada goose, 15 per cent for the red-tailed hawk, 10 per cent of readers for the short-beaked crow and only 3 per cent for the trumpeter swan.

Two senior politicians, meanwhile, are weighing in with their choice. Dean Del Mastro, the parliamentary secretary to the Heritage Minister (the department deals with these sorts of symbols), supports the loon.

"Being raised surrounded by the Kawartha Lakes, I'm tempted to vote for the loon," the Conservative MP for Peterborough says. "And I mean the bird not one of my political opponents that I have described as such."

And Industry Minister Tony Clement, who represents Parry Sound-Muskoka (the cottage-country riding that hosts next month's G8 summit) is also pushing the loon. "Seeing as I represent this part of Canada is the Loon a choice? Or is it the subject of Name Discrimination?" he joked. "We're the riding with very nice people plus some Loon birds!"

3. Open the books. The Facebook campaign to have Betty White as guest host on Saturday Night Live was successful; the Facebook effort to put Captain Kirk/William Shatner in Rideau Hall may be slightly more difficult.

Still, social-networking site is the clearly the new go-to for all sorts of drives and protests. The latest? A new Facebook group is up supporting the idea of regular reviews by the Auditor-General of MP expenses.

"Members of Parliament from all elected parties save the Bloc Quebecois are on record as not favouring the Auditor General's scrutiny of their accounts - Why on earth not?" the group's description says. So far there are 30 members.

MPs have refused a request by Sheila Fraser to do the audit - but it appears that they may be softening. On Wednesday, the Liberals appeared to be backtracking after Michael Ignatieff told reporters he supports Ms. Fraser sitting down with members of all parties to discuss what she wants to do in her audit.

"I understand what Canadians are saying," the Liberal Leader said. "They want accountability and transparency. We are going to find a way … we have to work out a way to move forward on this."







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