Citizen Kaine

I like Tim Kaine, Hilary Clinton’s pick for vice-president. I like him so much that I prefer him for president. He’s vibrant, vital, and has a great narrative. There are only 20 Americans who have ever done what he’s done: been a mayor, a governor and a senator. As a Harvard law student, he didn’t work summers at some white-shoe law firm, he volunteered with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. While he was teaching carpentry to teenagers in that country, they taught him Spanish. Odd, wasn’t it, that when he addressed the crowd in Florida on Saturday, that CNN – who must...

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Scars and gripes

Now that the regular baseball season has begun again, let’s go back to Tuesday’s All-Star Game when Remigio Pereira, one of The Tenors singing Oh Canada, altered two lines. Everybody from Don Cherry on up denounced his lack of pride, passion and patriotism. Pereira’s fellow tenors said he was a “lone wolf” and promptly dumped him from the group. I say, hold on here. Exactly what’s the matter with his substitute wording, “We’re all brothers and sisters, all lives matter to the great.” Nobody can argue with that. Was it the wrong venue? In fact, no American viewer of the pre-game show even saw or...

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Big country, small dreams

Jason Kenney, who was the frontrunner for leader of the Conservative Party, has decided he’ll seek the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta instead. Meaning that he believes Justin Trudeau will be a two-term prime minister. Kenney did not want to languish as leader of the opposition for eight years. One of the might-runs is Brad Wall, premier of Saskatchewan. But premiers don’t do well when they become federal leaders. Of the twenty-two men and one woman who have been PMs, only two had previously been premiers. Both were from Nova Scotia in the nineteenth century: Sir John Thompson and Sir Charles Tupper....

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Summer’s ease

Engaged at the Shaw Festival is the perfect light and frothy play. The farcical comedy was written by W. F. Gilbert, one half of Gilbert and Sullivan, the team who wrote operettas such as H.M.S. Pinafore and The Mikado. I grew up listening to my parents play G&S, on what was then called a hi-fi, but this was my first experience with the Gilbert play that premiered in 1877. The plot, if you can call it that, is launched when Belvawney (played by Jeff Meadows) proposes to Belinda Treherne (Nicole Underhay). They may or may not be married because at the time...

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Sound the retreat

No one knows what will happen as a result of Brexit, least of all me. But because I’ve lived in England and travelled extensively in the former United Kingdom, I do know why Britons voted to leave. Just as an individual’s strength can also be that person’s weakness, so too with island residents. As Britain proved during the Second World War, they can be resilient and resolute. But they can also be revisionist historians and fail to remember that others came to their help. Worst at this failure of memory are the educated twits today who should know better but...

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The play’s the thing

My daughter Alison celebrates Father’s Day by taking me to Stratford for lunch and a play. This year it was Breath of Kings: Rebellion, a melding of Richard II and Henry IV Part 1. Such Shakespearean combinations are new to me but worked particularly well in this case because Richard II is a play rarely presented. And because it leads inexorably to the dethroning of the old and the uplifting of the new, the edited pair fit together well. Just as I’d never seen a play of this genre, nor had I previously been to the Tom Patterson Theatre, the perfect...

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Cast of thousands

I hate to draw attention to this one particular institution, but a full-page ad in my morning paper from the faculty of business at Athabasca University announced the graduates from its MBA program. There were 172 of them! A string of universities, some of them better known, have recently run similar ads. The Financial Post published an article saying 4,000 international students come to Canada annually to do graduate work in business management and administration at Canadian universities. Not all are taking MBAs, but whatever the proportion is, when you add Canadian MBA grads, the annual total must be in the thousands. Time was when an MBA was a real cachet....

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A missed opportunity

The Parliamentary Press Gallery is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a book entitled Sharp Wits & Busy Pens. Not the best title one might imagine, but it’s not the best book, either. It’s a collection of essays by current and former gallery members as well as words from a few politicians all accompanied by photos, historical and otherwise. Topics include the fire of 1916, the war years, treatment of women and Jews, the power of the press and the advent of social media along with a series of brief oral histories. Some interesting facts are unearthed but I was disappointed there...

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