World needs a Canadian perspective, steeped in small-town values

Our store of creative capital, entrepreneurial risk taking, peacekeeping and a welcoming attitude rooted in our small-town history

World needs a Canadian perspective, steeped in small-town valuesFor the past year, I’ve been living in a small town. It has about 20,000 residents counting the ‘highway people’ – those few thousands of us who live along Highway 101, which stretches about 30 km north and south of town. We’re seasonally augmented by a few thousand ‘island dwellers’ who essentially show up for…

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…

Trudeau Liberals missing in action on Canada Day

Unless you live in the Ottawa region, you can be forgiven for wondering what the federal government did with your tax dollars on July 1, 2017

Trudeau Liberals missing in action on Canada DayCanada’s 150th birthday has come and gone. Notice anything missing? Like, say, a federal presence. If you live outside of Ottawa, you sure didn’t see much of that. In Ottawa, despite the many terrific Canadian acts available, the big moment at the big show was a song performed by a couple members of U2 – a…

Cultural appropriation controversy is entirely about free speech

The only route to a better appreciation of the cultures in Canada is through exposure, questioning, expressing opinions – even if those opinions are wrong

Cultural appropriation controversy is entirely about free speechIf there’s ever going to be a watershed moment in protecting free speech in Canada, the recent controversy surrounding cultural appropriation could fit the role. The story began in a rather innocuous manner. Hal Niedzviecki, editor of Write magazine (the quarterly publication of the Writers’ Union of Canada), wrote in a column, “I don’t believe…

How western civilization crafted a social miracle

Western society has succeeded where other civilizations failed by being generous and inclusive but we can't stop now

How western civilization crafted a social miracleIt's difficult to find a person with good things to say about western civilization these days. In fact, many westerners are guilt-ridden over the horrors committed by their society. About systemic abuses of indigenous children in Canada's residential schools, Michael Peers, archbishop of the Anglican Church of Canada, was teary eyed and deeply remorseful. “I am…

History has a habit of repeating itself

It's impossible to tour Spain or Mexico without appreciating that spiritual and cultural suppression is a denial of human reality

History has a habit of repeating itselfHistory shows that denying human cultural diversity through force is ultimately futile. One of the most compelling lessons of travel in modern Andalusia in southern Spain is the impact of the attacks by the northern Catholic kings on the Moors and Jews of the great southern cities of Seville, Granada, Cordoba, Malaga and Ronda. After hundreds…

Smudging ceremony crosses line into realm of the sacred

When a school begins to talk about cleansing spirits, it's moving away from something that's strictly cultural into the realm of the sacred

Smudging ceremony crosses line into realm of the sacredImagine if a public school put up a nativity scene to teach students the Christian view of Christmas, and invited a priest to bless the figurines, the school and the school community. Parents would accuse the school of promoting Christian beliefs. They would see the blessing as an imposition of those beliefs on their children.…

Deeply steeped in the Andalusia’s historic charms

Travelling through Andalusia is an exercise in similarities and differences

Deeply steeped in the Andalusia’s historic charmsTravelling through Andalusia is an exercise in similarities and differences. The similar components are quickly obvious: The interconnecting train and road networks are testimonies to national infrastructure investment on an impressive scale. Hotels and restaurants are well maintained, fairly advertised, and at least 10 per cent less expensive than Canada. Amorous behaviour is prevalent, involves…

Patti Smith tracks rock heroes’ slide into ‘careerism’

Too many of today's music stars have strayed into careerism and away from the revolutionary values that many of them began with

Patti Smith tracks rock heroes’ slide into ‘careerism’It would be difficult to find an icon of the early 1970s punk rock scene in New York, Paris and London who was more legitimately its artist’s muse than Patti Smith. A young woman from the swamps of New Jersey strayed to New York and found countless friendships and sometimes romance with the likes of…

Rhodes support for the arts a blueprint for municipalities

Despite the severe economic recession that has gripped Greece for several years, this city's cultural and artistic vibrancy has not waned

Rhodes support for the arts a blueprint for municipalitiesThe European Union will soon select a Greek city to be the cultural capital of Europe for 2021. This prestigious designation will last for one year. The three finalists are Kalamata, Elefsina and Rhodes, but my favourite for several compelling reasons is Rhodes. Rhodes is one of the larger Greek islands nestled in the Aegean…