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…

Debunking the myth of immigrant assimilation

Language, religious laws and practices, cultural and culinary traditions all function to discourage, prevent or, at the very least, slow down assimilation

Debunking the myth of immigrant assimilationThere are approximately 260 million immigrants in the world. An immigrant is defined as someone residing in a country other than their place of birth. Of that number, roughly 50 million are “illegal immigrants” who lack official authorization to reside in their host country. In 2017, roughly 3.4 per cent of the world’s population of…

Vive le Quebec libre, 50 years later

There was a swift response to Charles de Gaulle’s intrusion into Canadian affairs during the centennial summer of 50 years ago

Vive le Quebec libre, 50 years laterI remember the reaction to French president Charles de Gaulle’s intrusion into Canadian affairs during the centennial summer of 50 years ago. Astonishment and outrage are perhaps the two best descriptors of public sentiment, at least as far as English-speaking Canada was concerned. Being a new Canadian of less than two years standing, I didn’t…

Did France put an end to the new nationalism?

Marine Le Pen can still be a huge game-changer in Europe and North America, despite her loss

Did France put an end to the new nationalism?In recent years, Europe and North America have faced a rising political force called the new nationalism. It’s a cobbling of right-leaning and left-leaning parties and politicians with nationalist, populist and anti-establishment views which oppose such things as free trade, globalization, open borders and modern liberal values. Brexit in Britain, Italy’s Five Star Movement and…

On burkinis, burkas and Halloween masks

While the burkini may offend the fashion sensibilities of some French mayors, it doesn't pose a threat to public safety

On burkinis, burkas and Halloween masksThe burkini ban has taken the movement to ensure public safety a step too far. In late July, Cannes Mayor David Lisnard banned wearing burkinis on public beaches, calling them “the uniform of extremist Islamism.” More than 30 other French municipalities, many along the French Riviera, have since followed suit. Then France’s highest court ruled that mayors don't…