Good will hunting

Earlier this month I received a notice from the Globe and Mail telling me there would be “a change in the terms and conditions” of my print subscription. Beginning on June 29, if I suspended delivery while away for a weekend or a longer holiday, I would not receive a credit for that period, I would continue to pay just as if I had received the paper. I was apoplectic. Ever since I could read, I’ve been reading the Globe. It’s one thing to sign up for Netflix and understand that whether you watch 100 hours a month or zero,...

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Parliamentary privilege

Some of Mike Duffy’s Senate expenses certainly look suspect, e.g. $8,000 billed for four days in Vancouver visiting family with one business lunch. A so-called principal residence in his home province of PEI that was snowed in for months at a time. Is it fraud? This current court case, which seems mired in minutiae, will eventually rule. But to understand how we got here, you have to go back to 1971 when Duffy arrived in Ottawa to work as a radio reporter for the CHUM Group. The Parliamentary Press Gallery was the peak of a journalistic career. Some of his elders...

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The sounds of the sea

For the second year in a row, my daughter and I headed to the Shaw Festival to see a play that the critics had lambasted. Last year it was The Philanderer; this year You Never Can Tell. The latter was scorned as “over-the-top antics” by The Globe and Mail; The Star knocked it down for having an “overenthusiastic design team.” Both years the critics were wrong. The plays were a great success. George Bernard Shaw still succeeds at what he set out to do more than a century ago. And that is shock the audience with non-conventional thinking and presentation. Director Jim Mezon ably...

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Petering out

I was never much impressed with Peter MacKay who has announced he will not be running in the October federal election. My lack of enthusiasm dates from the deal he struck in May 2003 to become leader of the Progressive Conservative Party. After the third ballot, MacKay was in first place, Jim Prentice (who went on to lesser things) was second, and David Orchard third. To obtain the support of Orchard and win the leadership on the fourth and final ballot, MacKay signed a four-point agreement with Orchard that included a promise not to merge the PCs with the Alliance, then headed by one...

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Love is all you need

You get to a certain point in your life when you realize that a lot of the goals you sought were irrelevant: fame, promotions, or supremacy in your surroundings. All those meetings, office politics and impatience with others were just a waste of time. And what about all those worries? A doctor I used to see always said, “Most of the tragedies in my life never happened.” David Brooks, the New York Times columnist, has written an excellent book on this very topic: what matters in life. In The Road to Character he says there are resume virtues and eulogy virtues....

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As seen on tv

Nobody makes the news like newspeople. ABC chief anchor George Stephanopoulos gave $75,000 over a three-year period to the Clinton Foundation and we are supposed to care because he used to work for Bill in the 1990s. Is his credibility suspect all this time later when he reports on Clinton matters? NBC bingo caller Brian Williams lied about his participation in a war-zone event and is off the air for six months. Vanity Fair hired ace writer Bryan Burrough to dig into the matter in the current issue. Most of those quoted in the article are not named, a possibility not...

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Flatlining on Front Street

If Justin Trudeau’s speech to the Canadian Club of Toronto today was any indication of his oratorical capacity, he’s going to flounder and fail in the fall election. Usually politicians are pumped, even passionate, on such important occasions. He was deadly; the speech was a dud. Trudeau was purportedly there to elaborate on his fairness for the middle class message that he launched last week. If there was any fresh meat, it must have been lost in the morass. The words were workmanlike. There were no applause lines. I’d hate to be a television producer looking for a news clip. The closest he...

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Good play, sweet prince

Jonathan Goad plays Hamlet at the Stratford Festival with the full range of emotions that the role demands. At various times he is confused and bemused, antic and pedantic, foul and befouled, vital and vengeful. The stage is spare, the costuming portrays a relatively drab 1914 era, and the special effects almost nil. None is required. In this Shakespearian play, more than most, the words are all. And delightful words they be. I have to admit that I sometimes get lost and frustrated by the romantic comedies where there are three couples, some in disguise, and the dialogue becomes little more...

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