Quebec, France poised to reject diversity, pluralism

Freedom of religious expression is a human right

Quebec, France poised to reject diversity, pluralismAccording to the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practise, worship…

Napoleon was a bitter man in his final years

He bitterly resented his exile to St. Helena, blaming it all on Wellington

Napoleon was a bitter man in his final yearsA childhood history book included a reproduction of Jacques-Louis David’s famous portrait of Napoleon crossing the Alps. It’s an idealized representation, not a realistic one. Mounted on a rearing Marengo – his grey Arabian stallion – the man who became emperor of the French and conqueror of Europe gives off an invincible vibe. Two recent…

Wealth taxes cripple economic growth

Blocks entrepreneurship, economic growth and jobs

Wealth taxes cripple economic growthThe introduction of a wealth tax in Canada is a recurring subject that has drawn new interest during the current COVID-19 crisis. It’s a temptation best ignored. In the 2020 throne speech, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “The government will also identify additional ways to tax extreme wealth inequality,” arguing that it will help the…

Flu pandemic of 1918 brutal, virulent killer

One hundred years ago, a flu pandemic swept across the world, killing tens of millions of people, particularly those in the prime of life

Flu pandemic of 1918 brutal, virulent killerFrom the wet and windswept northwest of Ireland to rural southwestern Ontario, the flu pandemic of 1918 to 1920 was remorseless. My mother and my wife’s father lost siblings to an illness where death might come within 24 hours of first symptoms. And sometimes it was particularly brutal. Historian John Barry has described it this…

The revolution always eats its own children

History shows plenty of radicals who pushed too hard. We have plenty on today’s world stage

The revolution always eats its own childrenIn the summer and autumn of 1789, the French National Assembly overturned 1,000 years of law and custom to produce a modern constitutional democracy. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen spelled out all the new conditions of civil life: the abolition of feudalism and aristocratic titles, freedom from arbitrary arrest,…

Believe it or not: There was once a plan for a Franco-British union

From the failed Franco-British Union during the Second World War to Brexit, some things are just meant to fail

Believe it or not: There was once a plan for a Franco-British unionIn these contentious Brexit days in the United Kingdom, it’s strange to remember that there was once a plan for a Franco-British Union. No, I’m not making that up. However short-lived, the plan was real. On June 16, 1940, the British cabinet approved a “declaration of indissoluble union” to this effect: “France and Great Britain…

The failure of an American president to compromise

Woodrow Wilson failed to accept the limitations and checks explicit in the American democratic system

The failure of an American president to compromiseWhen the Paris Peace Conference opened on Jan. 18, 1919, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson seemed to be at the top of his game. America’s entry had played a critical role in ending the First World War and Wilson’s famous Fourteen Points were acclaimed as the blueprint for a just settlement and a future world where…

Why Canadians should embrace the yellow jacket movement

Some Canadians and French believe that their ‘leaders’ are mere followers of a supra-national agenda, not champions for their electorate

Why Canadians should embrace the yellow jacket movement“Canadians do not need to be liberated,” said Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson half a century ago, after French President Charles De Gaulle lit the fuse for Quebec independence with his famous “Vive la Quebec libre!” speech. But neither of their current counterparts are standing for national freedom, let alone calling for it. President…

A Brexit perspective with 55-year-old roots

Charles de Gaulle's view of the English should help inform the conversation about whether the U.K. belongs in Europe

A Brexit perspective with 55-year-old rootsWatching the fraught state of Brexit negotiations brought Charles de Gaulle to mind. On Jan. 14, 1963, de Gaulle – in his capacity as president of France – publicly blocked Britain’s entry into what was then known as the common market. “England,” he said, “is an island, sea-going, bound up by its trade, its markets,…

Discovering Monet’s lifelong fascination with architecture

London’s National Gallery exhibit offers rare glimpses into the artist’s examination of the play of light on human structures

Discovering Monet’s lifelong fascination with architectureOne of the great things about being a retired museum and art gallery CEO is that you know most of the basic tricks of the trade. For instance, you can get a very quick gauge of an exhibition’s successes and high points by talking with the gallery security staff. So as soon as we had…