Who Should Win: Bond Papers is a new blog for me. It offers civil, middle-of-the-road commentary that isn’t afraid to tweak a few noses. He’s joined by Molly’s Blog, a louder voice (just look at the typeface) advocating “anarchism, socialism” and “evolutionary biology”. They’re up against some big hitters, however. Nunc Scio is a non-partisan blog that often scoops the political stories I end up commenting on. If this is a case of great minds thinking alike, he thinks quicker. Then, of course, there is Kate McMillen’s Small Dead Animals, which dominates the Canadian political blogosphere, whether you like it or not.
For me, the clear winner of this category is Dan Arnold’s Calgary Grit, which is one of the most remarkable political blogs in the blogosphere, full stop. It has so much to offer. There’s the unlikely juxtaposition of a Liberal in Alberta; there’s the insight that Dan offers as being an official within the Alberta Liberal Party, but most importantly there is the fact that, despite being unafraid and unashamed of joining the Liberal Party, Dan Arnold is one of the most non-partisan bloggers that I know. He writes civilly and honestly, he criticizes his own party when he feels it needs criticizing, and he acknowledges the worth of his opponents. In one fell swoop he offers us both commentary we can trust, and access to the thought processes of a political institution. This is a blog for the Canadian archives.
Surprise Exclusion: None. A good field, here, with two of the usual suspects up against three underdogs and a diverse range of political opinion.
Who Should Win: This field contains a number of names you’ve seen before. Steve Janke’s Angry in the Great White North is recognized here for his investigative work on behalf of the Conservative Party. Daimnation is Damien Penny’s blog. He speaks passionately but pretty civilly about the things cares about, and deserves recognition for his longevity, at least. Blue Like You, formerly Joanne’s Journey boasts an impressive template. I also think she breaks into this list for the first time, and is thus a blog to watch. And then of course, there is Kate’s Small Dead Animals. I suspect everybody is running to come in second place to her.
But my vote goes to Olaf’s The Prairie Wrangler, who if he were as connected to the Conservatives as Dan Arnold is to the Liberals, would be a Conservative version of Calgary Grit. He’s even handed, intelligent, passionate, and willing to criticize his own party. His return to the blogosphere was much appreciated from this corner.
Surprise Exclusion: Stephen Taylor. Again. This guy works his tail off setting up the Blogging Tories and building the community that have made you such a big part of the Canadian political blogosphere. It’s about time he gets honoured for something!
Who Should Win: Another list of the usual contenders who have made their appearance in these awards last year. Daveberta is a slightly more partisan version of the Calgary Grit (and with Dan’s departure to Toronto now has the benefit of being the only prominent Alberta Grit in the blogosphere — correct me if I’m wrong) but an excellent read nonetheless. Danielle Takacks continues her strong commentary, and I appreciate the fact that she has taken my earlier criticism to heart and improved on her template. However, Danielle, it’s time to move up. Get yourself a Movable Type blog at danielletakacs.ca and have somebody design something a little less out-of-the-box. Maybe I can help.
Filling out the list is The Galloping Beaver, which passionately tackles progressive issues, and We Move to Canada, which talks politics and follows the life of a family of recent immigrants to Canada.
But my vote for this category goes to Dr. Dawg and his new co-blogger. He’s not as objective as Calgary Grit, but this isn’t a category for objectivity, it’s a category for passion and Dawg is certainly that. And, agree with him or not, his arguments are well constructed, a challenge to debate, but he always welcomes honest debaters.
Surprise Exclusion: None.
Who Should Win: Some of these entrants made their appearances last year and even competed for the title of Best Blog. Knitnut is an excellent personal website that talks about local politics, issues of drug use, and knitting. Meg Fowler is in the running for Best Blog this year, and Under the Mad Hat has her blog post series about finding the best children’s books. Joining these blogs are Letters Home, No Ordinary Rollercoaster and the Peach Pit, all fine blogs capturing the voices of the people writing them.
It’s a hard choice to make, but with Meg Fowler already receiving my endorsement for Best Blog, I’m picking Knitnut for this category. Hers is a very personal and at times hard hitting blog; an eclectic mix that will surprise you.
Surprise Exclusion: A number of blogs didn’t make the cut, including the powerhouse Raymi the Minx. But so many blogs were nominated that worthy choices were going to be overlooked. You need to visit this page, click on some links and add some of these people to your RSS feed.
Who Should Win: Again, a large round one field gets whittled down to six different but deserving contenders. As far as I can tell, Non-Partisan Alliance member Slap Upside the Head is the only second round nominee based on their artwork; the rest are photoblogs.
I voted for Blog Guelph, though it was a hard choice. They’re fellow members of the Waterloo Wellington Bloggers Association, and the do an excellent job with the scads of photogenic material available in the Queen City.
Who Should Win: I guess I’m not a very funny guy, since none of these websites appear to be in my reader (and Noise to Signal’s Rob Cottingham is a friend of mine — I’ll have to add him). Enjoy Every Sandwich promotes the sassy humour of Skippy, an energetic young woman in Toronto (correction. He’s a dirty old man who likes to post pictures of energetic young women. In the middle of the night it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference). Mitchieville is far more political and right wing, but still a good read. Mightygodking gives us funny videos, clips and commentary while Noise to Signal is a good web comic. Finally, Useless Advice for Useless Men offers us humorous columns on whatever subject the author discovers.
My vote goes to Rob Cottingham’s charming web comic, Noise to Signal, and now I’m going to go read some more.
Surprise Exclusion: Unknown. I was going to say Rick Mercer, but is he still blogging?
Who Should Win: This one was a hard choice. The Delete Bin ably conveys one father’s passion for music, while the Department of Culture almost won me over with this post suggesting that our current constitutional kerfuffle be solved by a tug of war. The Nag on the Lake and Popped Culture offer excellent culture commentary and some of the oddest YouTube videos you’ll ever see, while Mikes Bloggity Blog talks about his life in Calgary, and the interesting things in the world around him.
Mike’s Bloggity Blog speaks more for me in this category, mixing insight into his life and television and movies. Witness his take on the things that are worse than our current government controversy.
Surprise Exclusion: None.
And now onto part 3