Saturday, March 25, 2023

Eating off the Hill: McDonald's Chicken Big Mac a bland sloppy mess

While I consider it my mission to chronicle the fast food chicken sandwich wars, I knew going in that the limited-time stunt sammy from McDonald's, the Chicken Big Mac, would not be a worthy entry. But in the interests of science, I brought one back to the office the other day. And it managed to fail to meet my zero expectations.

I should confess, I've never been a Big Mac fan. I've always been all about the quarter pounder with cheese -- which, in France, they call a royale with cheese. Why they don't call it a royale avec fromage I don't know. Move on already. And I've never had a burger and thought, you know what this needs? More bun! Like really.

But anyway, try the Chicken Big Mac I did -- I did hold the pickles and, thankfully, the special order did not upset them. Besides, there was plenty of pickle taste in the Big Mac sauce.

In short, it was a bland and sloppy mess that after a few bites was a real challenge to eat. Between the heavy sauce and the half a head of lettuce shred, the patties were quickly slip-sliding around. I like to eat an orderly sandwich, without my patty to bun ratio getting out of whack.

And the patties. They seemed to be created for this sandwich, which is an usual fast food move. Taco Bell has perfected the supply chain-friendly practice of using the same dozen ingredients in one hundred different ways. But not McDonald's, it seems.

The McChicken or the fancier fillets would probably too big to replicate the Big Mac esthetic, but the junior chicken patties could have worked. And being a bit peppery would have had more taste than the bland new patties they developed.

I will not be having this sandwich again. Back to the royale with cheese for me.

For the record, God tier chicken sammy is still the spicy chicken sandwich from Popeye's. I've had it several times since that review fresh in store and it is amazing.

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Sunday, February 19, 2023

Building support for my campaign

I've just begun my outreach as I seek the role of VP Communications at the Ontario Liberal Party's upcoming annual general meeting in Hamilton, and I'm gratified by all those who have pledged their support so far and have endorsed my candidacy. I truly appreciate their confidence and trust. If you would like to add your name, just let me know!

Michael Coteau
MP (and former MPP) for Don Valley East 

"Jeff is a passionate and dedicated Liberal. I have seen firsthand his ability to craft winning messaging that resonates with voters. His talent and commitment are exactly what our rebuilding party needs, and I urge everyone to support him for VP Communications."

Marie-France Lalonde
députée (et ancienne députée provinciale) d'Orléans -- MP (and former MPP) for Orléans

« J'ai travaillé en étroite collaboration avec Jeff et je sais qu'il travaille fort et est organisé. Il s'est engagé à aider nos associations à développer leur boîte à outils de communication et à veiller à ce que les membres sachent ce qui se passe. Je suis très heureuse qu'il se soit porté candidat au poste de vice-président des communications et il a toute ma confiance et mon soutien.» 

"I've worked closely with Jeff and I know him to be hard-working and organized. He's committed to helping our PLAs to develop their communications toolbox and ensuring members know what's going on. I'm so glad he has stepped forward for VP Communications and he has my full confidence and support." 

Salma Zahid
MP for Scarborough Centre

“I’ve relied on Jeff’s strategic advice and counsel for nearly a decade. He works hard and knows how to craft a message and communicate across platforms and channels. He is deeply committed to growing the Liberal movement and getting more Liberals elected. His plan to empower members to deliver the message is exactly what the OLP needs and I’m so glad he has stepped forward for VP communications.” 

Sumira Malik
2022 OLP Candidate for Mississauga Centre

“Not every community is the same; our communications cannot all be the same either. To win, we need to take the provincial messages, choose what makes sense for our community, and communicate it in a way that is relevant for them. Jeff understands that a one-sized fits-all approach won’t work. His plan to build our local communications capacity and support locally relevant messaging is how we win more ridings in 2026, and that’s why he has my support.”

Mazhar Shafiq
2022 OLP Candidate for Scarborough Centre

"Thanks to Jeff's hard work, my campaign had a range of locally-developed communications products that spoke directly to what matters to our community, regularly updated based on what we heard at the doors. He is a talented and quick writer, and knows how to craft a narrative. He knows we can't always rely on central support; we need to develop our local expertise and Jeff has the plan to build the capacity of our PLAs and local teams. So happy to support him for this role."

Jonathan Tsao
2022 OLP Candidate for Don Valley North

"Jeff's platform for OLP VP Communications is informed by his experience managing campaigns. He knows we need to constantly improve our communications and build our capacity to bring our message to voters in their community. Communications is an important part of our rebuild, and I'm supporting Jeff as the right person to take the lead."

Jim Calder
PLA President, Ajax

"I am so excited to hear that Jeff is running for VP Communications, Ontario Liberal Party. He’ll be an amazing member of the Executive Council and he has my full endorsement. "

Malika Gous
TDSB Trustee Ward 18 (Scarborough Southwest)

“I’ve worked alongside Jeff on several campaigns. He knows how to craft a narrative, and how to deliver the right message to the right people. His talent for communications, his appetite for hard work, and his commitment to Liberal values make him the best choice for OLP VP Communications.”

Umaid Zahid
OYL Executive Vice-President

“I’ve worked closely with Jeff for almost a decade. I’ve seen how he runs a campaign, how he makes people feel welcome and heard, and how he crafts a communication plan and narrative that fits local issues and concerns. He’s always the first person in the campaign office, and he keeps working until the job is done. We need his communications expertise on the team, and his plan to deliver training and tools to empower local campaigns is a vital part of rebuilding the OLP. Happy to support him.”

Tom Allison
Immediate past treasurer, Etobicoke-Lakeshore PLA

"I have known Jeff for many years and I know he cares deeply about the future of our party. He's also a terrific organizer who knows how to manage winning campaigns. He understands the OLP has to improve how we communicate, both with each other and with Ontarians, and he has a clear plan to develop our communications capacity. He's the best choice to take on the role of VP Communications and has my full support."

Dan Arnold
Former Director of Research and Advertising, PMO

"Jeff is one of the hardest working Liberals I know - no matter how daunting a campaign looks, he'll give it his all. He recognizes the road back for the OLP requires hard work, and will give it his all. That mindset and drive is needed for all board positions, but what makes Jeff especially suited for the role of VP Comms is that he understands how to connect with supporters and voters of all ages and backgrounds. He'd be a great asset to the party in this role."

Ashwani Bhardwaj
EDA Chair, Scarborough Centre

"I've been a part of many campaigns with Jeff. He leads by example, and ensures everyone feels like a part of the team. He puts in the hours until the job is done right, and has a keen understanding of how to deliver the message in a way that resonates with each community. Communicating better is going to be a big part of the OLP's rebuild, and Jeff is the best choice for the job."

Kevin Bosch
Managing Partner, Sandstone Group and longtime Liberal staffer

“I knew Jeff’s communications skills even before I met him, as I admired his long and indefatigable efforts to promote Liberalism through social media. Having had the privilege to work with Jeff for many years, I now know that along with those vast skills at crafting compelling messaging and inspiring narratives, comes an incredible work ethic and drive to build teams to achieve great things. As VP Communications for the OLP, Jeff will bring the energy, know-how and collaborative spirit that this critical role demands.”

Léo Bourdon
OLP Activist

"Je connais Jeff depuis des décennies et je trouve que c'est un excellent communicateur et un travailleur acharné. Il est exactement ce dont le parti a besoin pour se reconstruire correctement. En prime, Jeff soutient le système pondéré 'un membre, un vote' pour choisir notre chef, ce qui, selon moi, propulsera le parti dans l'ère moderne. Jeff fera un excellent VP comms, et je le soutiens de tout cœur."

"I have known Jeff for decades and find him a great communicator and a hard worker. He’s exactly what the party needs to rebuild properly. As an added bonus, Jeff supports the weighted one member one vote system to select our leader, which I believe will propel the party in the modern era. Jeff will make an excellent VP comms, and I endorse him wholeheartedly."

Sheila Gervais
Former VP Communications, OLP

"Jeff's experience as both a journalist and a political organizer informs his ability to craft the right message and know how best to communicate it. I've been part of campaigns Jeff has led, and have always been impressed at how he is able to take the campaign issues and make them relevant to the local community. I know he has the skills to help our PLAs up their outreach. And his long experience as a dedicated, died-in-the-wool Liberal will bring valuable perspective to the OLP's rebuild. So glad he has stepped forward for this role"

Haseeb Hassan
Former chair, Young Liberals of Canada

“People like to joke Liberals are all communications experts. But at some point, we got pretty bad at it. We forgot how to communicate with each other, and how to communicate with Ontarians about their lives and our vision for the future. Jeff has the practical platform we need to get back to doing the basics right.”

Momina Malik
President, University of Toronto (Scarborough) Young Liberals

I’m supporting Jeff because he has the right understanding of what the VP Communications needs to do – help us all communicate better. In the last election we had a hard time getting our message out and couldn’t rely on a central campaign to do the heavy lifting. His plan for more tools and training along with messaging support will help develop the capacity we need to communicate and win.

Peter Maloney
Director, Kitchener South - Hespeler PLA

"Jeff Jedras is a skilled political communicator - the result of a journalist becoming an experienced political organizer and campaigner. What you get with Jeff is an outstanding air warrior who's got great ground game. If anyone can get OLP and PLAs trained up to communicate effectively with all of Ontario's many and diverse communities, it's Jeff Jedras."

Cam Miranda-Radbord
President, University of Toronto Provincial Young Liberals

"Jeff's many years of dedication to the Liberal cause, as well as his practical and focused plan to rebuild our communications capacity and skills, make him the right person for VP Communications and to join the executive council at this critical time of rebuilding. He has my vote."

Joseph Uranowski
OLP Activist

"Jeff is a lifelong Liberal, and his communication skills are unmatched. In addition to his plan to invigorate our communications support, tools and training, he will be a strong voice for grassroots volunteers on the executive council. He has my support!"

Ryan Ward
Past President - Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte PLA

"I've known Jeff Jedras since we attended Carleton University and both worked at The Charlatan newspaper together. Jeff works tirelessly for the Liberal Party and has always shown incredible dedication to making the party better. I wholeheartedly feel Jeff would make an amazing Vice President Communication for the Ontario Liberal Party and hope you are willing to support him as well. You couldn't find a better person for the position."

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Friday, February 17, 2023

Why early nominations need to be part of rebuilding a competitive Ontario Liberal Party

I managed my first OLP campaign, and my second campaign overall as a manager, in 2014 in Parkdale-High Park. We had an amazing candidate, a strong team and lots of resources but, in the end, we fell just short – 544 votes shy of defeating a popular NDP incumbent.

That loss stung, and it stayed with me for awhile. Not just because our candidate would have been an amazing MPP. But because we came so close. I’ve won and lost campaigns by varying margins, but nothing hurts more than a close loss. You start to think about what you could have done differently. The little things that could have made a big difference.

And looking back, there is one clear thing I can point to, and unfortunately it was something out of our control – despite only one candidate seeking the nomination for months, the nomination meeting wasn’t finally called until the day the writ dropped.

If we had been nominated months or even weeks earlier, that would have been more time to knock doors as the official Liberal candidate. We could have gotten her in front of more voters. I can’t help but think what a difference that extra time knocking doors could have made in such a close result.

That's why, while this isn’t strictly a communications issue, if I'm elected to the executive council as vice-president communications I will be a vocal proponent for early nominations.

As soon as the next leader is elected, we need to begin candidate recruitment and start getting candidates nominated as quickly as possible, as part of a clear and transparent nominations process.

I want to give our candidates all the time we can to begin building their teams, fundraise, and knock on doors ahead of the next election. And to listen to residents about their concerns and their ideas, and how we can help them. 

That’s how we’re going to grow our support and offer a strong progressive alternative to the Ford Conservatives in 2026.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Making a zoom connection with Liberals in Ajax

 Zoom campaigning is a new one for me, but it's a great way to drop into a meeting and connect with Liberals about why I'm running for Ontario Liberal Party VP Communications. Tonight, it was the Ajax PLA board meeting.

Some interesting questions, including what went wrong in the last election. And it's not just the last election. I said I think there's a lot we need to do better and it's up to all of us, but at the end of the day we just couldn't get our voters motivated to get out and vote. It's not enough to not like our opponents. We need to get people excited about what we have to offer and how we can help them.

Another question was do I plan to be a candidate for MPP in 2026 -- for sure that's a no. Happy to do all I can to support our amazing candidates and our teams.

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Sunday, February 12, 2023

Making the case for W1M1V in Don Valley North

On Saturday I attended the Don Valley North PLA AGM on Saturday. Good discussion around rebuilding and engaging. And nice to catch up with Jonathan Tsao, who ran a strong campaign last year.

I'm campaigning for VP Communications for the Ontario Liberal Party, but I'm also campaigning to reform how we choose our leader. At DVN's AGM it was asked, would this change the leadership result? Here's my answer. 

It may not change who becomes leader, but it does change the party. When more people have a say in choosing our leader, they feel they have more of a stake in our party's success. They're more likely to knock doors or make a donating. W1M1V helps build the team.


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