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Oprah does it every month—and everything Oprah touches turns to gold—so it must be good form.

Such is not the case when Sarah Thomson, a provincial Liberal candidate and publisher of the Women’s Post, graced the cover of her own publication not once, but twice. Thomson’s magazine is free and published in Toronto’s Trinity-Spadina riding. She first appeared on the February-March 2010 issue headlined, “Sarah Thomson: Toronto’s Next Mayor,” during her Toronto mayoral bid. Suffice to say, Sarah Thomson is not Toronto’s current mayor.

She appeared, yet again, on the Summer 2011 cover headlined, “Sarah Thomson Weighs in on the Tough Choice Facing Ontario Voters.” This headline may not be as bold as her first, but she is definitely not weighing in on anything—rather, she is cashing in a cheque of shameless self-promotion. The last time she pulled this trick, the cheque bounced. There is nothing new about Thomson’s latest shenanigans. In fact, Frank Stronach appeared on the cover of his own Focus on York in 1988 to no avail.

Despite her claims that she went on the cover for lack of a suitable substitute, it is blatantly obvious she has propaganda written all over the magazine. Of course, Sarah had no one for the cover: she planned to appear on it herself. To say that Thomson decided to appear on the cover of her own magazine without ulterior motives would undermine her intelligence. She hopes that the extent of her knowledge about covers and cover lines increasing circulation and readership will place her on a platform unreachable by other political candidates. The results, however, are debatable.

Thomson said her cover and accompanying editorial are in no way campaign literature and, therefore, not a campaign expense. A political figure plasters herself on the cover of her own publication and expects the informed public of Toronto to raise nary an eyebrow?

Twice she took the front page of a publication for which she is at the helm. Twice she attempted to rally troops at what she figured would be an advantageous start to her political campaign. Though once bitten, she most certainly has not shied away to media obscurity. Provincial candidates go into full election mode this month. We know that Thomson has already covered one of her bases.

CORRECTION: The magazine Frank Stronach put himself on the cover of was Focus On York, not Magna and the time was 1988, not the ’70s.

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About the author

Rudy Lee was the Visuals Editor for the Winter 2012 issue of the Ryerson Review of Journalism.

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