Yearly Archive: 2017

Backbone before brain

I don’t like Donald Trump. No one I know does. He’s a groper, a blowhard, and a liar. But, you know what? He’s getting things done. They might not be what you or I would want but they are what he said he would do. He’s designated Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, taken two million acres of national monument and turned the land over to strip miners, altered the makeup of the Supreme Court, and may get a tax bill that pays off his oligarch donors. Meanwhile, Ottawa has become Never-Never Land. As one of those who voted for the Justin Trudeau Liberals,...

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The incredible shrinking industry

The much-ballyhooed redesign of the Globe and Mail arrived today and it is disconcerting. In a week when Torstar and Postmedia exchanged papers and killed their young, I wish the redesign had been more uplifting. First off, while top to bottom measures the same, there is one inch less width to the paper. Beyond shrinkage, the other obvious alteration is what has become the Globe’s definition of news. On the front page, there are three stories and one photo with a pointer inside. Of the four topics, two are news, the other two are soft stuff. With an average of three...

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Senate selfies

There is now a more thoughtful method in place to appoint Canadian Senators, one that doesn’t depend only on partisan activities. But apparently this even-handed selection process has not altered the culture of the upper chamber. Its members remain as self-serving and sanctimonious as ever. Imagine, striking special medals for themselves and a few of their friends. Why would they want to look like bespangled generals who have just carried out a coup in some emerging country? It’s not as if Senators don’t have enough perquisites already. Annual salaries are approaching $150,000 a year plus a generous pension. Leaders, whips and committee chairs make even more....

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Scotland the forgotten

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer had been pushing for a Canadian peacekeeping force in Ukraine, but when the Prime Minister made his announcement yesterday, no particular destinations were cited, there was just a grab bag of offerings of troops and equipment. Maybe it’s just as well the location of any eventual contribution is being left to the United Nations. Otherwise it could all come down to vote-pandering. Scheer, of course, was trying to get on the good side of the 1.3 million Canadian voters of Ukrainian descent. But if ancestral echoes matter so much, what about the 5 million Canadians of Scottish descent?...

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Not quite ready for prime time

As someone who has been watching CBC television news since the days of Larry Henderson, Earl Cameron, and Stanley Burke, I was looking forward to the launch this week of the new National. Certainly it was long past time to retire Peter Mansbridge, but four nights of dipping in and out of the National with its quartet of hosts has left me unable to decide if the package works or not. With all the time they’ve had to plan, the show should have been more polished and professional. As far as I could tell, there was no discernible core to the news judgment. One...

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Vive la différence

Tales of inappropriate groping and worse that happened in the past are falling like leaves from the trees. Women are coming forward in droves, finally feeling free to tell about the time they were accosted by some famous name. The kind of behaviour that’s being reported is offensive and abusive, but it also demonstrates a basic difference between men and women. It all depends on who is making the moves. Every man has a few treasured moments that are stashed away in his memory about approaches by women. In my case, there are three such stories, none of which came to...

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Conflicts and character

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is exactly the sort of person who should be in Parliament. He’s a successful and well-educated business leader with an INSEAD MBA and a master’s from the London School of Economics. He’s worth millions and in his fifties could take the time to run for office. Morneau is also a member of the lucky sperm club. He joined the actuarial firm founded by his father and eventually became CEO of Morneau, Shepell. Until very recently, Morneau had made no mistakes and was a star in Ottawa. Last week, you could see how far he’d fallen when a reporter’s questions about Morneau’s financial affairs...

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Walking the line

During the 1950s and 60s in my hometown of Guelph, Ont., you made your own fun. There were no touring orchestras or theatrical groups, just the local light opera company doing The Gondoliers or the little theatre presenting The Importance of Being Earnest. The boffo offering was always the annual minstrel show by the Kiwanis Club with a row of ten men called names like Rastus and Bones who sat on the high school auditorium stage telling cornball jokes and singing. The highlight was “Old Man River” crooned by the owner of Kelly’s Music store. They all wore white gloves and blackface until the civil rights movement was launched in the...

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