It may be last call for many Canadian magazines (Maclone’s, Flare, Canadian Business, c’mon down!), but Ottawa Lite just keeps rollin’ along.
Who could have imagined that when he took over the capital pifflesheet some 25 years ago, that Dan Donovan would be one of the last media mavens standing?
Unlike publishers of failing rags that maintain the quaint notion of a Chinese wall between advertising and editorial, Dan has no such qualms.
He discovered early in the game that high-minded jernalism wouldn’t pay the bills. Better to churn out “custom content” that only an advertiser could love. Bought and paid for. QED.
Hence, the front and back covers of OL get sold to the highest bidder, e.g., the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre. Inside the OICC gets three pages of slavish advertorial.
-A Canada Health Infoway feature is brought to you by — wait for it — Canada Health Infoway (advertisement, see page 38.)
-A story about the great works of Seaspan Shipyards, sponsored by, er, Seaspan Shipyards, see facing page.
-How about three pages on bus driver fatigue? No problem. Here’s the ad for the bus drivers’ union, Amalgamated Transit Union.
On those rare occasions when Dan tries his hand at real journalism, his whoppers give fake news a bad name.
Take, for example, his recent fantasy fluffer on Justina McCaffrey, the newly-nominated Conservative party candidate in Kanata-Carleton.
According to Donovan, Justina’s well qualified for the political arena because she’s “one of the biggest names in Canadian fashion and her wedding gown designs have drawn attention and comparisons with internationally renowned designers like Vera Wang and Oscar De La Renta.”
“At a recent fundraiser in the riding,” quoth Donovan, “McCaffrey invited former Conservative Minister Stockwell Day to be guest speaker.” (Justina claims Stock and his wife, Valorie-with-an-“O”, are longtime friends and “great supporters.” In the event, however, they couldn’t be bothered to show up, and sent a ghastly good luck video on YouTube instead.)
McCaffrey tried to get Andrew Scheer to make an appearance, but he begged off, perhaps due to Justina’s dubious connection with Rebel reject Faith Goldy (Franks passim.) Scheer’s father, James, a deacon of the Archdiocese of Ottawa, spoke instead and bored the bejeezuz out of everyone.
Meanwhile, Justina popped off about Justin Trudeau, saying he “obviously never worked in business nor has a clue about the trials, tribulations and sacrifices small and mid-sized businesses in this country make every day.”
On the tribulations of small bidniz, Justina speaks from a deep pool of experience.
She went personally bankrupt to the tune of $1,495,839 in 2008 and still dodges unsatisfied customers all over Ottawa, including Ellie Campbell, fiancée to NHLer Marc Methot, who sued Justina for $7,500 plus expenses for stiffing her on a wedding gown in 2017 (Frank 108).
The year before, three much-pissed investors, “Not the Real” Tom Thompson, Walter Lechky and Christine Frieze, took Justina to court, demanding she return not only their dosh ($186,531.46) but a pile of gowns they claimed were theirs, not hers.
Grifter, heal thyself.