Monthly Archive: February 2013

A good and gallant man

I did an interview today with Catherine Christie-Luff of CPAC who is preparing a five-part series looking at specific periods in Canadian history. The series, which airs this fall, begins in 1917 with conscription and ends in 1988 with the free trade debate. She has spent the last six months doing archival research for film and still photos and is now conducting interviews. Among those she’s done so far are with historians Robert Bothwell and Stephen Clarkson. Among the luminaries who have agreed to be interviewed are author Michael Bliss and Jean Chretien. My modest participation focussed on Robert Stanfield,...

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All in

I was standing in line at a corner store recently waiting for the man ahead to buy what I thought were a few lottery tickets. The process seemed to be taking longer than usual so I began paying more attention. Turned out he was playing Poker Lotto, a watch-and-win game that offers instant prizes. His first batch of poker hands brought no winners, so he tried again, and got two free plays. I thought, have I come to the wrong place to buy my Dentyne Ice? After he’d spent more than $50, he walked away a loser. We all know...

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I think, Argo I am

As a result of Ken Taylor’s participation in the escape of six Americans from Iran in 1979 he is Canada’s most famous ambassador. How many other emissaries can you name from that decade or any other? Taylor and his wife Patricia have been the toast of the United States for years. They live in New York City and he has received numerous honours including the key to that city, the California Medal of Merit and the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal. His exploits have been celebrated in song and story. The Canadian Caper, a 1981 book written by Jean Pelletier and Claude...

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Fashioning a cabinet

OK, first let’s get the embarrassing part out of the way. My candidate for leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, Sandra Pupatello, as named in my fearless New Year’s predictions, did not win. Kathleen Wynne did and, in the early going, I am impressed with her performance. A bus bringing thirty delegates committed to Charles Sousa at the leadership convention was delayed. She told thirty of her own supporters to strip off their badges and go sit in the Sousa section so it wouldn’t look empty and cause him embarrassment. To be sure, Sousa supported her on the second ballot...

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A booster and his reward

The Mike Duffy I met in Ottawa forty years ago was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. And you knew he was from Prince Edward Island. As a press secretary on Parliament Hill, I dealt with scores of journalists in the Parliamentary Press Gallery. Mike, then a radio reporter, was the only one among them who talked incessantly about where he was from. I knew everything about the the Garden Province right down to the name of the main taxi firm in Charlottetown – Ed’s. These days, he wears his pride of birthplace like a shield. In a statement released on Friday, Mike...

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Countdown to tomorrow

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is worried about balancing the federal budget by 2015, and rightly so, that’s his job. But whose job is it to focus on fixing the economy for the future? Who has a vision of the country as a whole place, one where the economy is not so focused on natural resources as our only saviour? No one, as far as I can see. No politician, no business leader, no economist. Here’s the thing. Canada’s problem at the moment is that much of our oil production is of the wrong variety. Our oil is heavy, requires more...

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A penny for my thoughts

Shed a tear for the penny. Today is the beginning of the end as the penny gets taken out of circulation. This event was even celebrated by Google with the Canadian penny replacing the first “o” in the word Google on the search engine’s home page. Despite the nuisance value in recent years of battling to find a couple of pennies in your pocket to make exact change for a cash transaction, I will miss the penny. Think of all the sayings that are now minus that metal marker. A penny saved is a penny earned. In for a penny,...

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