Monthly Archive: January 2017

The media and the message

The Shattered Mirror, released yesterday by the Public Policy Forum, is a well-written paper, filled with thoughtful ideas about the future of Canadian media while all around us is in disarray. Typical is Maclean’s, now relegated to being a monthly again. When I joined the newsmagazine in 1978, it was about to go weekly, able to do so because federal legislation steered advertising dollars away from American publications to Canadian ones. So, I’m a long-time fan of government intervention. This new document does not recommend that Ottawa either prop up or pay to run a failing media outlet, but there are reasonable suggestions...

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A nation unaware

Canadians have been clucking a lot lately about Donald Trump and the divided nation that is the United States. How did this happen, we worry? Isn’t it awful, we say? Will many Americans move here, we wonder? Meanwhile, I believe we have our own wide divides. Some of those divides are caused by distance and small populations. A recent article about the seven provinces and territories that have signed health care deals with the federal government noted that the seven contain a grand total of 10 percent of Canada’s population. In my entire lifetime, I’ve only made a handful of visits...

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One thumb up, one down

Two new television series debuted last night; one was disappointing, the other daunting. First, the disappointment, Victoria on PBS. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a dud on Masterpiece. Jenna Coleman does an OK job as the young 18-year-old inheriting the throne. And Lord Melbourne, played by Rufus Sewell, is excellent as her prime minister and special advisor. The rest of the cast is only middling. The goings-on below stairs are almost embarrassing in their silliness. We’ve all come to expect computer-generated imagery to create special effects and Victoria certainly uses CGI for crowd scenes and cityscapes. However, the...

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Life of Brian

Dear Premier Pallister: I’ve been reading about how you’ve pretty much pulled up stakes and moved from Winnipeg to Costa Rica for the next seven weeks. I don’t blame you. As assistant deputy minister in the Manitoba Department of Transportation, I can understand your desire to get away from the snow and the windchill. I’m sick of it all, too. I’ve been living with this weather since I was a boy in Dauphin and now that I’m in charge of snowplows for the province I’ve noticed that my life hasn’t changed that much since I was a tad. Unlike you, I can’t...

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Money for nothing

The gravy train that is Canada’s 150th birthday has left the station and I’m afraid I’m not on it. Ottawa is providing $500 million to celebrate the country’s sesquicentennial through parties, events and other frippery. Among the winners announced is The Red Couch tour where a sofa is hauled across the country so people can sit and say what Canada means to them. There will also be a mobile trio of 20-foot shipping containers to act as studios for local artists and videographers. And La Grande Traverse, a 10-part television series about ten people who cross the Atlantic in conditions similar to their forbears. In the...

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