Using student job funding to silence critics

The Liberals’ latest decision means summer employment is now a testing ground for ideological adhesion, obedience and purity

Using student job funding to silence criticsIt’s tough work to imagine two groups more radically different than the Canadian Council of Christian Charities and the gays rights network LGBTory. So when both join the rising chorus opposing changes to what should be among Ottawa’s most innocuous programs, it’s a signal something significant is going on. The Four Cs, as the council…

The soft tyranny of Quebec’s ongoing linguistic crossfire

Quebecers find themselves taking sides in language squabbles their better judgment says are irrelevant to life outside the political bubble

The soft tyranny of Quebec’s ongoing linguistic crossfireQuebec’s anglophones, francophones and allophones should all be on their smart phones demanding to know what in the name of Saint René Lévesque just happened in the National Assembly. “We are not a small people,” the late premier, Lévesque, famously said after his victorious Parti Quebecois stunned everyone on election night in 1976. “We are…

A museum opts for happy hippy love bugs instead of honesty

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts exhibit mythologizes the 1960s by ignoring the dark ugliness masked by all those drug-addled smiles

A museum opts for happy hippy love bugs instead of honestyThe Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is a major institution in Canada’s only real city, which is why its summer Revolution exhibit is such a serious letdown. Devotees of the museum expect far better than Revolution’s intellectually lazy merchandising of 1960s mythology. Based around the eponymous Beatles song, Revolution purports to be a fresh exploration…

The stone cold truth: marijuana clouds reality

Contrary to decades of marijuana proponent propaganda, it’s not a drug like alcohol or caffeine. It's very purpose is intoxication

The stone cold truth: marijuana clouds realityThere’s something quasi quaint about the federal government introducing legislation to legalize marijuana. News reporting on the budding bill has generously employed terrible puns to create a sense of giggling excitement about it. A Canadian Press story advised that all of Ottawa is “buzzing” at the audacity that dope represents. Buzzing? Among the permanently buzzed, perhaps.…

Getting snowed under in a political Potter’s field

The fault isn’t with Quebec society. It’s with a political world that utterly rejects that it must bear responsibility when hundreds are stranded in a storm

Getting snowed under in a political Potter’s fieldThere are times when timing alone tells you everything you need to know about what’s truly wrong. An example arose last week when the head of McGill University’s Institute for the Study of Canada abruptly resigned because of a highly critical article he’d published about Quebec and Quebecers. Social media and mainstream media alike quivered with…

The enduring value of good manners

The gesture that costs nothing more than a down payment on decency becomes noteworthy precisely because it asks for no return

The enduring value of good mannersI woke up Monday morning with mockery of Ottawa habits in mind. I ended the day in an attitude of quiet respect, sensing something meaningful in the shift. It began Sunday night as I sat in a local bar with some neighbours watching my New England Patriots – yes, smarty pants, they’re mine; I own…

Finding, within ourselves, the power to forgive

The new film Hidden Figures goes to the heart of racism in 1960s United States life and illuminates the path to justice through love

Finding, within ourselves, the power to forgiveVisiting Atlanta’s Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, I once overheard a black boy ask his mother: “Why were white people so bad to us?” The question was neither surprising nor unreasonable. The King Center’s detailing of racism’s history makes it a place – Yad Vashem memorial to Holocaust victims in Jerusalem is…

Tweeting to “mourn” celebrities a sad commentary of our times

Using social media to “mourn” the passing of celebrities you never knew makes it all about you, you, you

Tweeting to “mourn” celebrities a sad commentary of our timesIt’s never diplomatic to speak of funerals as good news. Still, a silver lining in last weekend’s return of Debby Reynolds to the dust from which she came is that it should put an end to the necrotic cataloguing of celebrities who kicked it in 2016. Given that we’re almost two weeks into 2017, surely…

A refugee reaches out to help Fort McMurray’s displaced

Part of Basel Abou Hamrah' desire to help is prompted by a need to give back to Canadians who helped him

A refugee reaches out to help Fort McMurray’s displacedFor Basel Abou Hamrah, the difference between an evacuee and a refugee is a simple matter of months and of who is helping whom. Four months ago, on New Year’s Eve, the 27-year-old Syrian accountant arrived in Edmonton as one of the refugees being helped to resettle here from that wartorn country. Last week, he…

Tom Mulcair: the New Democrat nobody knew

Mulcair was never someone who could win

Tom Mulcair: the New Democrat nobody knewShowing the pride and impenetrably thick hide of the best political performers, NDP leader Tom Mulcair ignored his own deep wounds to savage the Liberal government in the Commons this week. He was fresh from crippling betrayal by his party at a weekend convention in Edmonton. Yet Mulcair was still at his finest going after…