Yearly Archive: 2014

The silence of the lambs

We are living in a bizarre time of mixed morality messages. The National Football League suddenly gets tough on players who are wife-beaters. Campuses are giving wholesome talks on the meaning of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ while dating. Both of those feel like good steps.  Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke, who twerked on last year’s MTV Video Music Awards have had very different outcomes. Cyrus is widely admired as a rebel; her career has taken off. Thicke is pilloried as philanderer; his career has cratered. Even his “forgive me” album for his wife flopped with sales of less than 50,000....

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Innocence and experience

The events at the War Memorial and in Centre Block on Wednesday are a reminder that the veneer of civilization is thin. If one individual decides to take a gun and do harm, he can do so with impunity – at least for a few minutes. You’d need dozens of armed guards in the area to stop the death of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo or the crash-through arrival of the gunman on Parliament Hill. No less a well-defended place as the White House also recently had menacing intruders. Of all the comments on Wednesday’s events, surely the most foolish was by...

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Get a job

I wrote this a while ago, shared it recently with a young job seeker, and thought others might benefit, or have a daughter or son who would. Here are my top ten steps for getting a job. Step #1: Figure out what you want to do. I can’t tell you what that is, but make it something you enjoy. There’s nothing worse than working with duds, accomplishing little of consequence, and having no fun. Step #2: If you’re a humanities grad, many will say you’re fit for nothing. I say you’re fit for everything. You can research, write, talk, and analyze....

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The people are speaking

There was some confusion at the advance poll where I voted. Like a lot of people, I hadn’t received my “vote at” card in the mail so we were all lined up to go through the ID process and be verified. The wee woman behind me had white hair. She said to no one in particular: “We’ve got to get rid of the F boys.” The way she said “F boys” made the phrase sound like an expletive. Once we got sorted away, each of us was handed a ballot the size of a kitchen-cupboard door. The ballot was further...

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Thumper launch

Last night was the official launch of Thumper: The Memoirs of Donald S. Macdonald (McGill-Queen’s University Press). Of all the cabinet ministers in the Pierre Trudeau government, Don was the most powerful. His portfolios included House Leader when the rules changed, Defence during the War Measures Act, Energy when oil costs quadrupled, and Finance when he imposed wage and price controls. After leaving government, he chaired the Royal Commission that led to free trade, was High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, and served on a number of corporate boards including Scotiabank and Sun Life. Don and his wife Adrian both spoke,...

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Just asking

Why can’t baseball players who win a big game or a best-of-something series devise some other celebration rather than dance in a circle with heads down and arms around each other’s shoulders?  Why are we sending CF-18s to battle ISIS when the humanitarian aid we promised in August has yet to arrive and the last I heard we’ve welcomed less than 100 of the 1,000 refugees we promised to take from Syria. Why are we not accepting thousands of refugees as we have done ever since the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 through Uganda and Vietnam to Somali and Sri Lanka....

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Feel the heat

With only one game left in the regular season, it’s time to look ahead at the 2015 Blue Jays. Who to keep, who to dump and who to go after. First, the easy part, who to let go: Colby Rasmus, who should be playing wherever they sell barbecue; Juan Francisco, a happy presence in the dugout, but a lug on the field; and R. A. Dickey, whose future is behind him. And if Dickey goes, catcher Josh Thole is sure to follow. Get rid of Casey Janssen. Aaron Sanchez or Brandon Morrow could be the closer. Or, either of them...

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Talking heads

Two weeks of hearings by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) called Let’s Talk TV are over. With the exception of a contretemps with a Netflix official, the proceedings were predictable. Everyone from the Harper government to consumers is in favour of pick-and-pay rather than the lump-and-allow preferred by the cable companies but we have to put up with months of delay before any CRTC decision, let alone action. Cable television is the last great monopoly in Canada. If you move into a neighbourhood and want cable, you only have one choice. Ridiculous. What if you were told you...

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