Alberta’s American heritage and the threat to Canadian national unity


The official municipal flag of the city of Lethbridge, Alberta, a version of the flag American whiskey traders flew over Fort Whoop-up before 1874

Winter has come relatively early here at Hope Ness, as elsewhere in this part of Canada, from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic. It came much earlier on the Canadian prairies, just as farmers were taking in the harvest; and even on Canada’s Pacific coast, normally still quite balmy in mid-autumn.

Meanwhile, another big chill has gripped Canada: a serious threat to national unity in the wake of the apparently divisive results of the recent federal election. Continue reading

The simple truth



Digging potatoes with grandson Jake, and Buddy.

I’m a simple man in some ways. I think my love of growing potatoes reflects that. It takes a certain know-how, and I am proud of what I do to avoid the use of pesticide: thick straw mulch and a lot of hard work. The result this year is my best crop ever, if I say so myself.

But, growing potatoes is not quite “rocket science,” some might say, as if that’s the highest standard of intelligence anyone might reach. Yet, when you give it a little thought how hard can that be? You pack a metal tube full of explosives, point it toward the sky, stand back, count to 10 backward, push a button, and say, “we have lift off,” in whichever language applies at that moment. Continue reading

My “cool” garden, Toronto Island flooding, and “the old fogy days.”


My “cool” garden, with lettuce thriving and in need of picking and thinning

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I might say this is, therefore, a 2,000-word update on the progress of my “cool” garden. But I better make allowances for the fact they’re two views from different angles of essentially the same picture and call it 1,000 words. Nothing but “real” news here, by golly. Continue reading

Trump takes aim at Canada


Cows being milked on a modern dairy factory-farm


Suddenly, unexpectedly, in the midst of worsening tensions with North Korea and the risk of a major, possibly nuclear war that entails, U.S., President Donald Trump took aim at Canada and fire what sounded an awful lot like a trade-war shot across our bows.

But of all the things Trump had to pick as an excuse to get bigly tough with Canada on trade, why did it have to be dairy? Continue reading

The tears of the hopeful dead


The Canadian National Vimy Memorial

Yesterday Canada celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Vimy Ridge during the First World War. That battle in which thousands of Canadian, British and German soldiers died has become part of Canada’s national mythology, a seminal event from which its emergence as full-fledged country in its own right is often dated.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and and a total of 25,000 other Canadians were there, along with many other dignitaries, including members of Great Britain’s Royal Family, Prince of Wales, Charles, and his two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. French President Francois Hollande, were also in attendance.

But I daresay the dominant presence was the collective spirits of those who died there, watched over by one of the most strikingly-impressive, national war memorials ever conceived and built. The crowd has gone; the field of battle is relatively quiet again except perhaps for some visitors paying their respects. And of course the dead remain, in known and unknown graves.

Continue reading

A new generation can lead the way to hope

I’m not an economist, far from it; and someone will no doubt correct me if I’m wrong. But it strikes me that the current spate of daily bad economic news exposes underlying problems that surely need to be recognized and somehow brought into any discussion about how to turn things around.

First, the modern world economy is largely based on the idea that the pursuit of material wealth in all its forms – including monetary wealth itself – is the be-all and end-all of happy human existence on earth. Not that I wouldn’t mind winning one of a number of million-dollar, and now even billion-dollar lotteries: I am also, like most of us, a product of the consumer/materialistic culture into which I was born, and in which I have lived all my life. We are all victims of it, you and I. That’s true even if we’re strapped financially and can’t afford to buy much. We’re not good consumers; instead, we’re part of the economic problem known as a “lack of consumer confidence.” Continue reading


More than four years ago I was among a large group of people, mostly members of the local community, who stood in the damp chill of a late fall day in a farmer’s field south of Lion’s Head and celebrated the start-up of the Bruce Peninsula’s first large-scale wind turbine generating electricity for the Ontario power grid. As the huge blades of the towering, made-in-Denmark, $3 million, Vesta Turbine pulsed overhead with the characteristic “swish”ing sound associated with them, we were told it could generate enough electricity to power a community the size of Lion’s Head, population 500.


Continue reading

Food banks a lifeline for single-parent families

Canada is widely regarded as one of the richest countries in the world.

But be that as it may, a record number of Canadians — close to 900,000 — are going to food banks in hopes of getting something to eat. Their hopes are not always realized. The need is so great that food banks are running out of food; and so the hungry, including a high proportion of children, stay hungry. Continue reading

No Nets in Colpoy’s Bay

It boggles the mind. Where to begin? There are so many things wrong with the-affair-of-the-commercial-nets-in-Colpoy’s-Bay-last-weekend-that-weren’t-there-after-all that I’m tempted to say it sounds like the proverbial “comedy of errors,” starting with a couple of members of the Bruce Peninsula Sportsmen’s Association jumping to the conclusion that a First Nation fishing tug going slow on its way to the Colpoy’s Bay government dock must have been setting nets. Continue reading