CBC’s sad decline

So President Donald J. Trump has complained that CBC deleted his cameo appearance in the movie Home Alone 2: Lost in New York when it recently aired. He should be happy. Not appearing on CBC may actually be a good thing given the state of disrepair into which CBC has fallen. Despite receiving more than $1 billion a year in government funding (plus ad revenue) CBC cannot seem to mount much of anything on television that is both successful and good. Take their latest offering that launched this month: Canadian Family Feud. Notice the careful use of the designation “Canadian”...

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TV or not TV

I well remember our family’s first television set. I was twelve and returning from two weeks at the Guelph YMCA camp, Nagiwa. My father had picked me up at the bus and was driving me home when, just as our house hove into view, he pulled my cap down over my eyes. He didn’t want me to see the new television aerial decorating our house, preferring to unveil the surprise once I was inside. Of course, I was excited by the RCA Victor black and white TV in a corner of the living room. “Can I turn it on?” I...

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Our daily dread

Canadians are so nice, goes the myth, so courteous. Indeed, there are regular occasions when we do act in thoughtful ways. If you follow someone into a mall or through a workplace doorway, chances are that they held the door so it did not swing shut in your face. I’m of an age now where young people regularly offer me their seat on the subway. I always decline. I’m not over the hill yet, but their kindness is welcome. However, put those same gracious Canadians behind the wheel and instantly they become irate road warriors. Pedestrians don’t get the right...

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We don’t need no education

As someone proudly born in Guelph, every couple of months I read the online obituaries in what is now called the Guelph Mercury Tribune. While Guelph has more than quadrupled to 130,000 since I left long ago, I usually know someone among the deceased. This time, I knew two people who recently died, both of them high school teachers from my days at John F. Ross Collegiate: Bill Scott and Cathy Crack. The first thing I noticed is that Scott was just seven years older than I, Crack only five years older. At the time, they seemed far more mature....

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From Torino to Toronto

Have you noticed how many everyday transactions used to involve people but no longer do? The first major self-serve was pumping your own gas. ATMs dispense cash and online sites accept bill payments as well as allow trades in your RRSP. Grocery and drug stores all have self-service checkouts. In Royal Bank Plaza and two other Toronto locations, new Cake Boss vending machines dispense slices or complete cakes. Not so at Eataly, the eat, shop and learn emporium that opened this past week at Bay and Bloor Streets in Toronto. Even with the hordes that descended on the place, helpful...

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The invisible man

The caucus of the Conservative Party of Canada has decided not to pass judgment on Andrew Scheer. That was kind of them; he might not have passed muster. Instead, he will go on a “listening tour” to find out what Canadians think about him, the campaign and his policies. First, what did he do right? Well, he increased the party’s share of the popular vote by 2.5 percentage points from 2015 and added 26 seats. But, with all Justin Trudeau’s shenanigans, the election was Scheer’s to win … and he didn’t. What did he do wrong? The first television ads...

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Counting on it

In the 1972 federal election, the Liberal Party and the Progressive Conservative Party (as it was then known) were a couple of percentage points apart in the popular vote. So, too, in the number of seats won, 109-107, in favour of the Liberals. In this most recent election, the popular vote was even tighter. The Conservative Party of Canada (as it is now known) was one percentage point ahead of the Liberal Party and won 121 seats. The “loser” Liberals got 157 seats. A close-run thing on that earlier occasion resulted in a near tie in seats; an even closer...

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A life’s work

Hugh Segal has had his share of frustrations and elations. Growing up poor in Montréal taught him how tough life can be and turned him into caring Canadian. A visit to his school by the Right Honourable John Diefenbaker inspired him to believe that politics was a noble calling where change was possible. By the time he was in university, he was active with other students in the Progressive Conservative Party. In 1972, at twenty-two, he ran in Ottawa Centre, not a riding Tories usually won. He lost, but only by about 1,200 votes. I was working for Robert Stanfield at...

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