We are one forest of family trees


Can you see the sunset rainbow? Yes, it is there, just above the trees to the left of the driveway. It is faint, but still wonderful, and full of Hope

My AncestryDNA kit has finally arrived.

Not that many years ago such a test might have cost thousands of dollars, to find out your ancestral genetic background. Now it comes at a tiny fraction of that cost. Continue reading

On weeding the garden, here and there


The well-tended potato plants are starting to bloom north of the border

There’s a lot to be said for growing a garden, especially one as big as mine here at Cathedral Drive Farm in Hope Ness, on the Bruce Peninsula, in Ontario, Canada. It’s like ballet, or any other creative discipline that requires your absolute devotion and attention for hours a day, every day. You can get lost in it, but not aimless. It can be an escape for a while from the world of cares and woe and discouraging news about how the future is likely to unfold; and these days it’s not very good at all.

And, yes, I am referring to the infernal T-word. Continue reading

A lost opportunity in relations with First Nations

I have a clear memory of sitting across from the late Chief James Mason in his office at the Saugeen First Nation Band Office at Chippawa Hill more than 30 years ago. It may not have been the first time, or the last time. I had several such meetings/interviews with him. My beat as an Owen Sound Sun Times reporter at the time included Aboriginal Affairs and the various issues affecting the two First Nations in Ontario’s Grey-Bruce area, the other being the Chippewas of Nawash at Cape Croker.

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Celebrating Canada’s diversity

I suppose one of the advantages of getting to a certain age is the view it offers of how dramatically things have changed, in so many ways. Whatever may be happening elsewhere in the world that is troubling and worrisome, my country, Canada, has changed and is still changing for the better. I will go so far as to say it’s surely one of the more hopeful places in the world; perhaps even the hope of the world.


Toronto, my home town, is now one of the most multicultural cities in the world

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In praise of “ink-stained wretches”


Well, if there’s a daily prompt I can’t let pass it’s this one – newspaper.

I was for 30-plus years, and still at least part-time, what veteran Canadian journalist Allan Fotheringham has often called an “ink-stained wretch.” (Now Foth, don’t deny it, I remember you using that expression quite often when your column appeared regularly in Maclean’s Magazine. I trust you still do wherever your work now appears in print, as it must surely. It gets to be a habit doesn’t it, this work we do? Like breathing.) Continue reading

They take us for fools

I am by Canadian standards low-income. I try to live simply here on my secluded, rural property on a modest pension income, supplemented by a relatively small amount of money from self-employment.money

I’ve always worked hard, and always will, for as long as I can. In that respect I daresay I’m the same as the vast majority of people in the world, especially these days.

And like most Canadians I’ve always paid my taxes. Now that my 2015 income-tax return is done I have a small amount to pay to help support the cost of government, including the projected $29.4 Billion federal, economic-stimulus budget.

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Capital Punishment Doesn’t Work

A recent editorial in this newspaper under the heading “10 reasons to oppose the death penalty” listed the names of the 10 Canadians who have been cleared of murder convictions because of miscarriages of justice or are still trying to clear their names. Some, possibly all, of them would have been executed by now if the Canadian government hadn’t outlawed the death penalty in 1976, and re-affirmed that position in 1987 despite polls that showed most Canadians favoured capital punishment. Continue reading

Candidate Meet for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound Riding

Well, nothing like a dose of cold reality to bring one’s feet down to earth.

Just a few days ago it was easy enough to be fooled into thinking it was still summer, that the possibility of frost and even snow was still somewhere in the future. But a couple of mornings ago I looked out the upstairs window of this old farmhouse and saw the cold, brisk east wind blowing the clouds in the wrong direction – always a bad sign; and the need to take certain steps to batten down the hatches for the winter, and so on, suddenly seemed urgent. Continue reading