Progressive politics, ideas & culture


Blog This Contributors

This Magazine Staff

Meet your Blog This contributors…


is a Toronto-based writer who can often be found loitering at the This Magazine World Headquarters. Her political views land her in many arguments with her Stephen Harper – lovin’ friends and family in Calgary. She is often labelled a “radical hippy” and “bleeding heart liberal. ”
Current boy crush: Michael Pitt.
Current girlcrush: Tori Amos.
Political Compass: Economic -7.62. Social – 6.92.


Joyce Byrne is the former publisher of This Magazine (2001-2005) and is now at work setting up the shadowy Western Bureau for Canada’s best alternative journal. As a kid she dreamed of being a spy but
realized her authority issues ruled that out completely. The daughter of a
cop and a banker from the 905 region, it was fate that one day she’d be in
charge of running a small leftwing magazine; so instead she satisfies her
secret agent fantasies by watching ALIAS episodes on DVD.
Current boycrush: Joel Plaskett.
Current girlcrush: Angelina Jolie.
Political compass: Economic: -7.12. Social -8.00


John Degen is a Toronto poet and writer, who likes to reread the prison letters of Vaclav Havel. His first novel, The Uninvited Guest, is available now from Nightwood Editions. He dreams of the day when someone other than a businessman or lawyer is elected Prime Minister of Canada. Read more about John at
Current girlcrush: Maureen Dowd, my
imaginary New York Times op-ed columnist girlfriend.
Current boycrush: A tie between Al Franken and Zinedine Zidane, both excellent strikers.
Political compass: Economic -4.62. Social -3.90


Aaron Leaf is a professional catsitter, a service industry peon and a
small business owner but if anyone asks, he’s a writer. When he’s not
chatting with his thousands of Friendster, Myspace and Facebook
friends he does leftist stuff like protest war and play squash. He
keeps a travel/photo blog and
currently lives in Vancouver.
Current Boy Crush:
Current Girl Crush:
Political Compass: Economic: -8.75, Social –8.31


Ron Nurwisah grew up in Vancouver but is now a Toronto-based freelance writer and editor who writes on urban issues, visual arts and literature. He spends far too much time blogging on Torontoist and his own personal blog He’d like to see more people on bikes, fewer SUVs and better air quality for all.
Current Boy Crush: Graham Hill of or Dave Meslin of
Current Girl Crush: Emily Haines of Metric
Political Compass: Economic -7.13, Social -6.97


Shawn Syms has written on sexuality, politics and culture for almost 20 years, for publications ranging from The Globe and Mail to Spacing to Our Times to Xtra. Right now he’s deep in the middle of rewrites of Human Forces, a short-fiction collection. Shawn’s intensely turned on by Larry the Cable Guy’s buttcrack but deeply turned off by the character’s political sentiments. Oh, life’s contradictory impulses!

Current boycrush/girlcrush: Ty Greenstein of “acoustic, harmony-driven gender pop” band Girlyman
Political compass: Economic -7.00. Social -7.18.

with cait.jpg

Ariel Troster is a writer and activist in Ottawa. By day, she works for a wonderful NGO that lets her act like a professional shit disturber. By night, she writes a column for Capital Xtra and blogs from Dykes Against Harper. She loves snappy sentences, spicy food, booty-shaking music and nerdy girls and boys.
Current Boy Crush: Owen Pallett
Current Girl Crush: Beth Ditto!
Political Compass: Economic -8.25, Social -7.28


Mason Wright is a Toronto-based editor, writer and visual journalist with a particular bent toward issues regarding the environment, media and technology. He also publishes a personal weblog called propeller, located at
Current girlcrush: Feist.
Current boycrush: Jeff Tweedy.
Political compass: Economic -8.88. Social -7.54.

Note: the political compass we used is located at

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