Join the rat race

The Ontario Securities Commission is circulating for discussion a proposal that would pay up to $1.5 million to a whistleblower who feeds the regulator information about a serious misconduct of securities law. Comments are accepted up to May 4. Here’s my view right now: stuff and nonsense. Is the OSC so desperate that they will entice stoolies with cash? Whatever happened to good old-fashioned investigative work? I guess the OSC is so unhappy with its track record that it’s considering this wrong-headed course of action that involves providing confidentiality and protection. I envision a whistleblower given a new name then...

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Speech impediments

When my wife Sandy died almost four years ago, I received numerous emails and letters of condolence from friends. Others, who were not as close, tended to use a particular phrase when they saw me. “Sorry for your loss,” they would say, without the slightest flicker of emotion. Initially, the words were consoling, but after a while I gritted my teeth every time I heard what came to sound like nothing more than an empty banality. Members of the armed forces in the U.S., and increasingly in Canada, must feel the same short shrift after they’ve been told, for the...

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The Hilary candidacy

Now that Hilary Clinton has announced she’ll run for president, what kind of candidate will she be? At first blush, she appears cautious and not at all the confident public person you’d think would be the result of being First Lady, an elected Senator, and Secretary of State. Why, for example, would she use a videotaped message for her launch and then follow a schedule of low-profile events?  Maybe she doesn’t want to peak too soon or maybe she’s worried about having to face some things in her past such as her email habits at State, the lies about the...

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Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled

It may have escaped your attention, but in Canada this is National Tartan Day, launched in 2010 by the Harper government to celebrate the contribution of Scots in Canada. I’m only speaking for myself, not the two million Canadians of Scottish descent, but I have to say this is about as silly as it gets. The reason for so doing was to mark the little-known Declaration of Arbroath when Scotland sought independence in 1320 by writing to the Pope. How did that work out? Not so well as William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and Bonnie Prince Charlie can attest. None...

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Top ten things about Toronto

Christopher Hume has written a piece in the Toronto Star listing the ten things he hates about Toronto. Who cares? Let’s celebrate our city. Here are the ten things I love. 1. The TTC. As a senior, I ride for half price. I take the car downtown rarely, less so with the Gardiner under construction. But I’m downtown three times a week on average. The service disruptions are infrequent and even then I always have plenty to read to while away the time.  2. The interior of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, North Tower. Formerly a branch, it now houses...

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Mon pays, c’est l’hiver

During a walk in the sunshine this afternoon, I saw my first robin of spring. He was sitting alone in the middle of a baseball field in my neighbourhood so he was unlikely a wintering robin, or he would have been surrounded by a flock. He sat for the longest time, hoping to find a worm, but finally flew away, empty-beaked. Maybe he will fill up on berries before nightfall. This has been the winter of our discontent. February was the coldest month ever in Toronto with an average temperature of –12.6C. As a boy growing up in Guelph, the...

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The Agenda

No journalist in Canada knows more about politics – and a lot of other topics – than Steve Paikin, host of The Agenda on TVOntario. In addition to being an excellent broadcaster, Paikin has written several books including Public Triumph, Private Tragedy on John Robarts and Paikin and the Premiers, a personal reflection on the last 50 years of Ontario politics. He is currently working on a biography of Bill Davis, Ontario Premier from 1971-1984. So it was a pleasure and a privilege for me to be asked by Paikin to come into the TVO studios to talk about my...

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Oh, Canada

For years I’ve been struggling to understand why Americans are so much better at so many aspects of life than Canadians. After all, we have drawn on the same pool of immigrants and we are both democracies with excellent education systems. Canadians even have a few advantages such as a universal health care system and a safer environment.  To be sure, we both have problems. The U.S. has a racial divide. We have native Canadians who are routinely ignored even when they’re murdered by the hundreds. But we should also have the same opportunities as Americans do to grow, invent...

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