Monthly Archive: March 2024

Paperback writer

Once, when I was a much younger and more callow man, I was sitting with friends over dinner at one of those restaurants that has brown wrapping paper covering the table as well as crayons for decorative activities. Someone said, “Let’s write down what we want in life.” Various declarations were made: marriage, money, good health. I wrote “Fame.” Looking back, it was a foolish and immature ambition. The closest I ever got to fame was the 1998 publication of The Eatons: The Rise and Fall of Canada’s Royal Family. Canada’s most famous department store had gone bankrupt and I...

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A woman’s place

HBO’s “Succession” is all about which one of his offspring would succeed the feisty founder Logan Roy. In fact, the autocrat’s belligerent handling of the topic gave the four-season television series its vigour. CEOs of the big five Canadian banks cannot conduct any such shenanigans. In those institutions, succession must be as smooth as a kitten’s wrist. That’s why eyebrows popped in 2022 when the board of Scotiabank chose a director, Scott Thomson, to become president, then president and CEO in 2023. To be sure, the board makes the final decision to appoint the CEO, but I cannot recall any...

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Brian Mulroney 1939-2024

After Robert Stanfield announced in the summer of 1975 that he was stepping down, potential candidates for his job as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party bestirred themselves. Brian Mulroney, one of the party’s very few high-profile stalwarts in Quebec, began calling me at home every Sunday afternoon. The reason was not to seek my support but to read me his draft of a possible speech, opinion piece, or policy proposal and ask for comment. Mulroney ran for leader in 1976 but lost to Joe Clark. That must have hurt, but Mulroney kept his curses close. While Mulroney served as...

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