So that's what they call a university research chair of Canadian Federalism and Constitutional Studies!

by 4. February 2010 11:01

A while back I posted an article that was a copy-and-paste of the essay by Tom Flanagan and Stephen Harper called Our Benign Dictatorship.  This essay had been posted on a previous incarnation of my blog, and since it was by far the most popular article on the site, I decided to post it here again.  It just so happens that one of those university types  Googled it up sometime late last year.

Michael D. Behiels fashions himself as the "University Research Chair of Canadian Federalism and Constitutional Studies at the University of Ottawa".  That sounds like a title important enough to serve with caviar.  It's certainly more important sounding than any professional title I've had:  software developer, web developer, or senior .net crm developer.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm not somebody who is paid six figures to dream up idealistic policy machinations that will never have to be put to the test.  Rather, I am paid five figures to work as a problem solver in mission critical situations. One particular website I've developed has an average of 3-4 visiters per second every day, so when things break, you hear about it pretty quick.  The need to research every possible scenario before writing the code is absolutely vital to the success of the application and, often times, your employment itself.

This month also marks the 4th year of blogging at ASTTR.  Blogging requires extensive reesarch.  So while I may not know as much about research as a research chair of canadian federalism and constitutional studies at, say, the University of Ottawa, I think I might know a thing or two about research.

So when someone who fashions himself as a research chair searches Google and find my blog, writes an article about a post he finds but gets information so glaringly wrong, I really must laugh just a little bit.  See this:

In 1997 Stephen Harper and Conservative strategist Tom Flanagan published a long article titled "Our benign dictatorship" on a U.S. blog site called A Step to the Right.

There are a few things wrong with this, namely:

  • I am a Canadian, and I believe my blog site inherits my nationality
  • My blog site wasn't around in 1997
  • Neither Stephen Harper, Tom Flanagan, or anyone else has published content on my blog*

* (I once exclusively ran a series of articles penned by Alan Cutler, "the whistleblower", but he wrote them and I published them)

How one could get three things wrong in one sentance amazes me.  Especially considering the introduction to the post in question:

With the new iteration of the blog, all of the old posts are gone.  Among the most popular post was one where I published an article by Stephen Harper and Tom Flanagan, entitled Our Benign Dictatorship.  Because of it's popularity, I have decided to post it again, here, on the new blog.  Enjoy!

Perhaps we can forgive our research chair for that one error.  It doesn't exactly say that I stole the intellectual property of our Prime Minister and one of his confidants and posted it on my blog, but I don't see how what I wrote could be interpreted as "Stephen Harper and ... Ton Flanagan published a long article ... on a ... site called A Step To The Right".  No doubt that the 17 people who will read this post are not university research chairs, so I apologize if you were even more confused than Mr. Behiels was.

And finally, I find it interesting that a research chair would call my site a "U.S. blog site".  If you look on the right hand column, you will see a header called "Page List" with a link below titled "About ASTTR".  There isn't a lot there, but it does say this:

My name is Matt.  I live in Toronto, write software for a living, and listen to good music.  Sometimes I venture back to my Eastern Ontario roots when I need a breath of fresh air.

Of course, a research chair would definitely always click the about link to accurately describe a website it mentions.  No doubt.  So when Mr. Behiels calls this a "U.S. based website", I can only conclude he thought I meant Ontario, California, and must have missed the word 'Toronto' buried in all that text.

So again, I apologize to those 17 of you who have read my blog at some point.  I have obviously confused a fine intellectual specimen, so I can only imagine what I have done to you.


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