Common Sense Communications Revisited


As promised I will keep providing my blogging audience with advice and information on my new concept which I termed Common Sense Communications.

So here are a few snippets

Do the American automobile manufacturers have any PR people working for them. Who in their right mind would come to government to ask for a handout in a corporate jet. Have they ever heard of the term “optics”.

Does the Pope have any Communications experts. Imagine a Pope allowing a member of their church… a Bishop no less who has denied the Holocaust ever took place. Initially the Pope did not have a problem with this and invited him back into the club. But when the outcry from “thinking people including the Chancellor of Germany was heard around the world , the Pope, a German by birth, says he did not know he was a denier and now has decided that he should be excluded from the Catholic clubhouse. Question…How did he not know that among his flock was a Bishop who is  a Holocaust denier, does he not have any advisors who “keep their ear to the ground”?

Swimmer Michael Phelps … great athlete but hope he has some communications advisors . When you are receiving hundreds of millions from sponsors, many of who sell products to families and children , it probably not a good idea to be involved with illicit drugs. Michael so long as your getting big bucks from sponsors you have to be like Ivory Snow “99 44/100 % Pure”. Put that in your bowl of Corn Flakes Michael.

Hey!!!  Stewart Parnell President of the  Peanut Corporation of America. Can I introduce you to Michael McCain President of Maple Leaf Foods.

Even after Peanut Corp. of America learned its products were tainted with salmonella, it kept shipping them to unsuspecting customers, apparently putting profits ahead of public safety, according to documents and testimony presented at a congressional subcommittee hearing Wednesday.

Company president Stewart Parnell and Sammy Lightsey, manger of the Blakely plant at the center of one of the biggest food poisoning cases in recent history, refused to answer questions from a House panel, invoking their Fifth Amendment right not to present self-incriminating evidence.

Stewart Parnell, owner and president of the Peanut Corporation of America,

The salmonella outbreak has sickened 600 people and has been linked to nine deaths. More than 1,800 products have been recalled, and manufacturers of peanut-related products have lost millions of dollars.

E-mails and other documents released by the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations indicate the company and its executives knew their products contained salmonella and shipped them out anyway to keep the money flowing.

The Common Sense Communications Approach

On Aug. 23, a Toronto Maple Leaf Foods plant was confirmed as being involved in the outbreak of the food-borne illness, caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. A day later, Maple Leaf upgraded a precautionary recall of 23 of its products, issued the previous week, to all 220 packaged meats from the plant, which has been shut down. The company has estimated the recall will directly cost it at least $20 million, with further costs expected due to lost sales and advertising to rebuild its image.

Michael McCain, the CEO of Maple Leaf Foods at a news conference in August 2008. (CBC)

Michael McCain, the CEO of Maple Leaf Foods

The company has been highly visible since the crisis hit. The firm’s CEO, Michael McCain, held press conferences and posted an apology on its web site. A company spokeswoman did interviews in a wide range of media. The firm also ran TV spots and took out advertisements in newspapers.”This is a corporation with more than $5 billion in sales, they made $200 million in profit last year, so, therefore, they’re a company worth billions of dollars.

“I think for the chief executive to be on camera about it is the most effective way, and probably the only thing that should be done in a situation like this,” said retail strategist Don Watt of DW+Partners Inc.Watt believes the Maple Leaf brand will recover quickly from the crisis.”I think there may be a little hit, but … I think the recovery will be quite rapid. I think the reassurance is there. The fact that [McCain] took it off [the market] quickly mitigates any risk to consumers. They should feel confident the stuff that caused the problem is gone.”

Finally the wonderful folks who run the banks in the USA. Not sure if they even hire Communications people or Spin Doctor Flacks but buying corporate jets and rewarding yourself with big bonuses when you are getting handouts from the taxpayers is NOT A GOOD IDEA…DUH!


Oh by the way American bankers can I introduce you to Canada. yes that big frozen place North of you . They have great banks who actually know how to manage money . Yes Manage Money!!! Does that ring a Bell!!!

Here is a great article from Fareed Zakaria at Newsweek .

From the magazine issue dated Feb 16, 2009 The legendary editor of The New Republic, Michael Kinsley, once held a “Boring Headline Contest” and decided that the winner was “Worthwhile Canadian Initiative.” Twenty-two years later, the magazine was rescued from its economic troubles by a Canadian media company, which should have taught us Americans to be a bit more humble.

Now there is even more striking evidence of Canada <> ‘s virtues.

Guess which country, alone in the industrialized world, has not faced a single bank failure, calls for bailouts or government intervention in the financial or mortgage sectors. Yup, it’s Canada. In 2008, the World Economic Forum ranked Canada’s banking system the healthiest in the world.

America’s ranked 40th, Britain’s 44th.

Canada has done more than survive this financial crisis. The country is positively thriving in it. Canadian banks are well capitalized and poised to take advantage of opportunities that American and European banks cannot seize. The Toronto Dominion Bank, for example, was the 15th-largest bank in North America one year ago. Now it is the fifth-largest. It hasn’t grown in size; the others have all shrunk.

So what accounts for the genius of the Canadians? Common sense.  (There is that C word again)

Over the past 15 years, as the United States and Europe loosened regulations on their financial industries, the Canadians refused to follow suit, seeing the old rules as useful shock absorbers. Canadian banks are typically leveraged at18 to 1-compared with U.S. banks at 26 to 1 and European banks at a frightening 61 to 1. Partly this reflects Canada’s more risk-averse business culture, but it is also a product of old-fashioned rules on banking.

Canada has also been shielded from the worst aspects of this crisis because its housing prices have not fluctuated as wildly as those in the United States. Home prices are down 25 percent in the United States, but only half as much in Canada.

Why? Well, the Canadian tax code does not provide the massive incentive for overconsumption that the U.S. code does: interest on your mortgage isn’t deductible up north. In addition, home loans in the United States are “non-recourse,” which basically means that if you go belly up on a bad mortgage, it’s mostly the bank’s problem. In Canada, it’s yours.

Ah, but you’ve heard American politicians wax eloquent on the need for these expensive programs-interest deductibility alone costs the federal government $100 billion a year-because they allow the average Joe to fulfill the American Dream of owning a home. Sixty-eight percent of Americans own their own homes. And the rate of Canadian homeownership? It’s 68.4 percent.

Canada has been remarkably responsible over the past decade or so. It has had 12 years of budget surpluses, and can now spend money to fuel a recovery from a strong position. The government has restructured the national pension system, placing it on a firm fiscal footing, unlike our own insolvent Social Security. Its health-care system is cheaper than America’s by far (accounting for 9.7 percent of GDP, versus 15.2 percent here), and yet does better on all major indexes. Life expectancy in Canada is 81 years, versus78 in the United States; “healthy life expectancy” is 72 years, versus 69.

American car companies have moved so many jobs to Canada to take advantage of lower health-care costs that since 2004, Ontario and not Michigan has been North America’s largest car-producing region.

I could go on. The U.S. currently has a brain-dead immigration system. We issue a small number of work visas and green cards, turning away from our shores thousands of talented students who want to stay and work here.

Canada, by contrast, has no limit on the number of skilled migrants who can move to the country. They can apply on their own for a Canadian Skilled Worker Visa, which allows them to become perfectly legal “permanent residents” in Canada-no need for a sponsoring employer, or even a job. Visas are awarded based on education level, work experience, age and language abilities. If a prospective immigrant earns 67 points out of 100 total (holding a Ph.D. is worth 25 points, for instance), he or she can become a full-time, legal resident of Canada.

Companies are noticing. In 2007 Microsoft, frustrated by its inability to hire foreign graduate students in the United States, decided to open a research center in Vancouver. The company’s announcement noted that it would staff the center with “highly skilled people affected by immigration issues in the U.S.”

So the brightest Chinese and Indian software engineers are attracted to the United States, trained by American universities, then thrown out of the country and picked up by Canada-where most of them will work, innovate and pay taxes for the rest of their lives. If President Obama is looking for smart government, there is much he, and all of us, could learn from our quiet-OK, sometimes boring-neighbour to the north. ( YES WE ARE TERRIBLY BORING ALTHOUGH WE DO ALLOW SAME SEX MARIAGE , ABORTION ON DEMAND and RELIGION PLAYS NO PART IN OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM) Meanwhile, in the councils of the financial world, Canada is pushing for new rules for financial institutions that would reflect its approach.This strikes me as, well, a worthwhile Canadian initiative.




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