A Canadian returning home from Borneo or Buffalo last week could have been forgiven for thinking an election had been called. There was Reform party Leader Preston Manning riding the buses—and the Grits—announcing a new policy turn: tax cuts instead of slash-and-burn economics (page 16).
For Canadians, stories about downsizing in the corporate and government realm have become routine. But in recent months, there seems to be a new twist: people are increasingly talking of downsizing their personal lives. Downshifting some call it; others refer to it as voluntary simplicity, as they choose to cut back lifestyles that leave little time for friends or families.
Your story on “The power game,” (Cover, Oct. 14) was very illuminating. It explains many of the ills that pervade Canadian society. Looking over your list of who has access to power, it becomes frighteningly clear that we truly have government of, by and for the CEOs.
One hundred years ago, in October, 1896, my great-grandfather, Dr. George Sterling Ryerson, realized a dream when he gathered together likeminded citizens of Toronto to form the Canadian Red Cross. That dream was born in 1885 when he served as a physician at the Battle of Batoche, during the Northwest Rebellion.
A study published in the American Journal of the National Cancer Institute found a lower risk of prostate cancer to be related to the consumption of tomatoes, tomato sauce and yes — pizza. These foods are particularly rich in lycopene, a natural substance believed to have anti-carcinogenic properties.
“The right may complain, but it has itself to blame
Dealing with an imperfect world is difficult if we refuse to see it the way it really is. But we insist on keeping our illusions, which are somehow more comfortable than what is really out there. Baby boomers have been expressing nonstop outrage in recent days about the use of Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin’ in a television commercial for a bank.
After two years clad by scaffolding for repairs, the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill is back in public view. And while it remains topped by its trademark old green copper, the rest of the Centre Block roof is being replaced by gleaming new copper.
1. Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood (1) 2. You Went Away, Timothy Findley (2) 3. Fall on Your Knees, Ann-Marie MacDonald (7) 4. The Englishman’s Boy, Guy Vanderhaeghe (4) 5. The Celestine Prophecy, James Redfield (8) 6. To the Hilt, Dick Francis (5)
DIED: Outspoken feminist Laura Sabia, 80, who forged Canada’s modern women’s movement; after a two-decade battle with Parkinson’s disease, in Toronto. In 1966, as president of the Canadian Federation of University Women, Sabia brought together more than 30 women’s lobbying groups and pushed Ottawa into establishing the groundbreaking Royal Commission on the Status of Women.
During his teenage years, Preston Manning spent many early daylight hours milking cows and performing other chores at the dairy farm near Edmonton owned by his father, Ernest, then the Social Credit premier of Alberta. So, as the Reform party leader stood one sunny afternoon last week amid bales of hay in a barn near Orangeville, Ont., fielding questions from local high-school students, the scene was not quite as incongruous as it at first appeared.
The province’s leaders scramble for economic answers
On the eve of the Parti Québécois government’s second, and much publicized, summit on Quebec’s economic future, stark reminders of decline are not hard to find. Along the one-mile shopping plaza on Montreal’s St-Hubert Street, amid the bridal shops and bargain dollar outlets, sit twodozen vacant stores, their windows empty or papered over.
Buddy Kitchen is one of the foot soldiers of the Canadian labor movement. For over two decades, he has worked in a Navistar International transport truck assembly plant in Chatham, Ont., 290 km southwest of Toronto, and earned a reputation as an effective organizer and negotiator for the Canadian Auto Workers.
For anyone seeking confirmation that a federal election next spring is increasingly likely, consider this: Liberals now sound more like Reformers, and Reformers more like Liberals. When political parties start marching from different sides of the road squarely towards the ideological middle, it is usually because that is where they expect to meet the electorate.
During a two-day visit to Washington, federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion said that the disintegration of Canada is “unlikely.” In a speech, Dion added that gradual changes to the Canadian federation will keep Quebec within Canada—and will make other Canadians more amenable “to accept the Quebec difference.”
Boris Yeltsin's security chief is out—but not down
He is a burly ex-paratrooper with outspoken views and a basso profundo voice. As President Boris Yeltsin’s national security adviser, he negotiated a peace agreement with separatist rebels in Chechnya, attacked crime and corruption—and made himself the most popular politician in Russia.
Scottish separatists push for power, as an election looms
Amazing what one Hollywood blood-and-guts costume drama can do for a nation. Mel Gibson may have moved on to new celluloid adventures since last year’s Braveheart, the rags-to-rebel story of 13th-century Scottish patriot William Wallace, but the Oscar-winning movie continues to resound over the lochs and bens of Scotland.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, western Europe has been more accustomed to German-style reunification than to Czechoslovakstyle separation. But Scotland’s nationalists are one of several movements that have long pressed for greater freedom—or outright secession—on the wealthy side of the continent. An update:
NORTHERN IRELAND The Irish Republican Army has returned to violence in its 25-year quest to end British control of Ulster and unite it with Ireland. If peace talks ever succeed, the result would surely be some form of autonomy for the province.
A year ago, northern Italian separatist leader Umberto Bossi sent a delegation of three senators to observe Quebec’s referendum on separation. The three members of the Northern League came away saying they were inspired by Quebec’s “triumphal march towards freedom” using “perfectly legal means.”
At least 10 people were killed and thousands driven from their homes as Hurricane Lili ripped through Central America and the Caribbean. The storm took five lives in Nicaragua and four in Costa Rica. A toddler in Honduras was killed when his house was swept away.
As the economy keeps rolling, layoffs keep growing
The economic news flew fast and furious last week and, for once, it all sounded so good: interest rates reached a 37-year low, stock markets and exports hit historic highs, and the once-lowly loonie continued its upward flight. Politicians wrestled their deficits to the ground, while foreign investors whistled with delight.
For picketing Canadian autoworkers, it was a symbolic gesture. With the strike against General Motors of Canada Ltd. dragging into its third week, tempers flared at a cavernous GM plant in Oshawa, Ont., when company officials said they would seek a court injunction allowing them to remove machinery used to stamp out components for other auto manufacturers.
Another week, another drop in the prime rate. From mortgages to car loans, borrowing costs are falling like autumn leaves. In political circles, the issue du jour is the growing clamor for tax breaks to spur consumer spending. But the federal Liberals will have none of it.
Quebec is proposing a law to help independent gas stations compete with major oil companies. It would bar the large refiners from retailing gas at their pumps for less than they charge for fuel sales to independent stations. The move followed a protected price war that forced small operators into bankruptcy.
The Bank of Montreal’s Matthew Barrett has always stood out among Canada’s bank chairmen as the guy most willing to debunk the mythology that still surrounds his industry. Last week, by inaugurating an imaginative virtual banking system called mbanx, he finally provided a cure for those Canadians who still feel intimidated when dealing with banks.
In an airy showroom studded with designer silks and tweeds, a 38-year-old brunette with a faultless sense of chic was orchestrating a private revolt. A calculator in one hand, guidebooks for Central America in the other, Sanghun Oh was plotting her escape from a life that, until only four months ago, had seemed utterly charmed.
Low Cost Living in a Parkland Setting,” crowed the half-page ad in The Toronto Sun. “Fresh Air, Pure Water, Low Crime Rates, Lakes, Forest and Hills.” If that pitch called to mind the latest suburban subdivision promotion, readers might be forgiven for doing a double take when they caught sight of the accompanying map.
One slick advertisement features that hip veteran of tobacco commercials, Joe Camel, decked out in a hospital gown on a cancer ward and rechristened “Joe Chemo.” Another shows a snapshot of the typical suburban family, complete with cocker spaniel, by the driveway.
A book celebrates a surprising array of Canadian cultural icons
What with the relentless bombardment of the American cultural machine, combined with ceaseless hand-wringing over their own country's identity, Canadians may sometimes underestimate the scope of popular culture that has emerged within their own borders.
Juggling family life with a busy career is nothing new for Micki Moore, a media entrepreneur who raised two children while hosting radio and television shows and writing magazine and newspaper columns. “The heart of the working-family issue is trying to manage multiple roles,” says Moore.
When an artist applies for public money, there are no guarantees. Bruce Vavrina had been around long enough to know that. But he thought he had a shot. Last year, the 45-year-old actor-director won rave reviews for his production of My Father’s House, an adaptation of author Sylvia Fraser’s disturbing memoir of childhood sexual abuse.
FROM PROTEST TO POWER: PERSONAL REFLECTIONS ON A LIFE IN POLITICS
Politicians who leave office are wise to seek perspective in the passage of time before taking pen to paper. A spell away from the political arena can help them find their place in the world rather than continuing to assume that they are at its centre.
James Laxer is blunt about the dismal state of contemporary social democratic parties. “In the postwar decades, social democrats were seen as pointing the way to the future; today they have lost their compass,” he writes in his new book, In Search of a New Left, an overview of the past 60 years of the CCF-NDP in Canada.
Hollywood is an industry of happy endings. It specializes in escapist tales of characters overcoming the odds. But for those who would rather escape to places so dark that their own lives seem sunny by comparison, three new movies offer an alternative.
Huey Long, the great demagogue who was governor of Louisiana back around 1930, once said—before he was assassinated— that “there may be smarter politicians than me. But they don’t live in Louisiana.” I like that. There went an honest man. He knew his limitations but, even better, he knew his territory.