The prisoner: Free at last

I met a man once who said he had spent his whole life in prison. he said it was the only place he could remember ever having lived, until the day he found freedom. That’s the way he put it: he didn’t say he had broken out of prison, or got released after serving the time for whatever crime he had committed. He said he “found” it, like it was something he saw lying around and just picked up.
Continue reading

Beware of populism

populist-1872440__480

Populism is a political disease that has likely already terminally infected the world’s once-greatest democracy. The word in its modern meaning reflects a low-level of democratic consciousness in a large, poorly informed proportion of a country’s electorate, and the willingness of unprincipled, opportunistic power-mongers to exploit and pander to it.

It does not reflect any respect or sympathy for “the poorly educated,” who Donald Trump claimed “I love” during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Rather, it reflects a deep-seated contempt for such people, and the ease with which they can be manipulated and fooled. Continue reading

A time for going home

mountain lake

A mountain lake in the interior of British Columbia, Canada

It was a moment that lasted all night. At some point though I fell asleep in the passenger seat of his car. I awoke, as usual even then, at dawn. He was gone. Last I knew he was in the driver’s seat where he had been talking his way through the night. He was on his way home to Calgary. He had been away working on a construction project in the British Columbia interior. But a couple of days earlier he had gotten a letter from his wife, telling him she wanted a divorce. She didn’t say so, but he thought maybe she had met somebody else. He was going home to find out what was going on and try to talk to her about it. Continue reading

Let their voices be heard — saving America

 

assault

I admit it: I’ve lately been getting pretty down about the state of the world, mostly on account of the messy situation south of the border with the continuing tragedy of gun violence, and the descent of a once-great democracy into something dark, divided, and decidedly undemocratic.

And it just keeps getting worse, or so it seemed, even in the immediate aftermath of the Feb. 14 shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student at the school, allegedly killed 17 students and wounded 14 others with an AR-15 assault rifle he had purchased a year ago. The usual prayers, platitudes and condolences were offered, but no sign lawmakers were likely to take any common-sense, gun-control action. Too many have been bought off with hefty campaign donations from the powerful gun lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA). Continue reading

Finding Hope for Canada

DSC00443

The hopeful, early-morning sun breaking through the clouds over the Hope Bay Forest

There was just a hint of spring in the air, or so I imagined hopefully, as my canine friends and I took our usual early-morning walk down Cathedral Drive here in Hope Ness, beside the Hope Bay Forest, just north of Hope Bay.

But there were clouds overhead, actually and figuratively, as we headed north on the road. My head was full of troubling, pessimistic thoughts in the wake of the Feb. 9, not-guilty verdict in the trial of Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley. Continue reading

Community involvement guiding local tourism

 

 

 

LionsHead-Web-Banner

The view from Lion’s Head Harbour

I left a well-attended public meeting this week in nearby Lion’s Head confident the future of sustainable tourism on the Bruce Peninsula is in good hands, and that the challenges it is currently facing as a result of booming numbers in the last few years will be dealt with wisely.

My reason for feeling that way is largely because of the continuing strong involvement of the local community in that effort. Continue reading

“I’ve come for the boy”

(Note: This story is mostly based on actual events, to the extent that they are known. The rest is speculative.)

toronto 1935

Toronto, 1935, looking north on downtown Yonge Street. A City of Toronto Archives photo

The boy was 12 years old in the summer of 1935 during the depths of the Great Depression when a big, black car with unusual licence plates pulled up in front of a rooming house on Brock Avenue in the west-end of Toronto.

It was one of the city’s poorest streets, dubbed “bedbug row” at the time, in the midst of the Great Depression. A tall, slender, impeccably-dressed man slowly emerged from the driver’s door. With one hand resting on the roof of the car he paused for a few moments to stretch his neck, before opening another door to reach in for a briefcase, of the fine, leather style a barrister might carry or, as in his case, a special kind of private secretary. He locked the car carefully and, with the briefcase in his right hand, walked the few steps onto the sidewalk, and then turned up a concrete walkway leading to the rooming house. He walked rather slowly, seeming to put each foot down with an odd tentativeness, as if a visitor from another world. There was some kind of emblem on his jacket, over his heart. A coat of arms, perhaps? Hard to tell from a distance. Continue reading