Help is at hand

I’m not much for self-help books. It’s not that I don’t need help, I need all the help I can get, but they pretty much all share the same message as lyrics from any Andrew Lloyd Webber musical: You have the power within. Some people can’t seem to help themselves and they write multiple self-help tomes. Hard on the heels of Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg’s book about how women could make faster progress in business, she has a sequel called Option B. Lean In seemed to be about having a supportive husband who could help with the work-life balance. But suddenly, he died. Two years later, Sandberg has...

Read More ....

Bearing witness

I, for one, am bewildered by all the banter about cultural appropriation. What started as an editorial about indigenous writing has ballooned into a full-throated debate. So far, the collateral damage has claimed the jobs or caused demotions of three journalists. I will try to be sufficiently assiduous so I don’t have to tender my resignation as the head of my one-person household. Lost in all of this talk is the only issue that should matter in today’s society: how are we doing at improving the lot of indigenous people? I think we would all agree that we’ve made little progress. I was about...

Read More ....

The seven deadly sins and how they grew

Humorist Will Rogers used to say, “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.” That statement was never more accurate than it is today. Why, even the seven deadly sins can be ascribed to politicians as the following list will show. Well, anyway, most of those on the list are politicians. For sin #1, greed, we need to look no further than Barack Obama who is charging US$400,000 per speech. Bill O’Reilly, late of Fox News, managed to combine greed with sin #2, lust, when he was paid severance of US$25 million after being fired over allegations of sexual abuse. Sin...

Read More ....

Kevin, we hardly knew ye

In my January predictions for 2017, I said Kevin O’Leary would become leader of the Conservative Party. Got that wrong. I believed with the backers he had – a lot of formers like former Ontario Premier Mike Harris and former Senator Marjory LeBreton – that he was a shoo-in. But it turned out not only could he not campaign, he didn’t even try. Yesterday he pulled out. Call him Kevin O’Leery. O’Leary didn’t show up for debates, spent too much time out of the country, and demonstrated that he didn’t really know policy from pinochle. His big idea was to cut taxes...

Read More ....

Cicero, thou shouldst be living at this hour

Ten years ago, when last I bought a television, I had the installer hook up my VHS machine just in case I might need it. It’s never been used since. The time is still blinking 12:00, 12:00, 12:00. But I did use the DVD player. At least for a while. Today I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I actually watched a DVD. In fact, when I bought my most recent iMac, it didn’t even come with the necessary slot for DVDs or CDs. The sales associate kindly told me that if in time I found I needed one, I could buy an...

Read More ....

Bury my heart on bended knee

Don’t you find it passing strange that every company, government, think tank and farm boy is trying to convince U.S. President Donald Trump just how important we are to them and how no changes should be made to free trade? Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been suitably deferential, dispatching cabinet ministers, and even inveigling former PM Brian Mulroney to come out of retirement to pour maple syrup into the ears of anyone in Washington who will listen. In addition, onetime civil servants such as Derek Burney as well as provincial premiers like Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall have either volunteered or been dragooned to the cause. The...

Read More ....

The two solitudes encore une fois

I freely admit to having a brain cramp about the debate surrounding Andrew Potter, the former director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. Potter wrote a feisty column in Maclean’s about the “social malaise” of Québec, calling it a “pathologically alienated and low-trust society.” The outrage was immediate and he quickly resigned his post. Was he pushed or did he jump? We do not know. Part of me says, “Well, what if his observations were accurate?” At least, in his experience. No less an individual than Québec Premier Jacques Parizeau blamed losing the 1995 referendum on “money and the ethnic vote,” another...

Read More ....

Beauty and the beast

Adversity is a tough foe, but it can be your friend, according to Amanda Lang’s new book, The Beauty of Discomfort. Lang’s thesis is that successful people don’t just tolerate discomfort, they seek it out. Again and again. Among the individuals featured in the book is Linda Hasenfratz, who took over from her father Frank as CEO of Linamar Corp. but not before spending nine years working her way up from the factory floor. Throughout her apprenticeship Hazenfratz suffered charges of nepotism, bouts of hostility, and sexism. Her advice is simple: Ignore negativity, don’t make the same mistake twice, and don’t expect people to...

Read More ....