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The NDP Leader has returned his party to its traditional socialist roots, but he has had to confront issues of race and identity as he fights for progressive votes

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019 – Page A1

The moment he heard the word "brownface," Jagmeet Singh blinked, hard.

This was supposed to be a routine campaign stop: a town hall with 100 or so NDP supporters in northern Toronto. Around 7 p.m., Mr.Singh began taking questions from the audience. That's when a reporter stepped up to the microphone and broke the news: a racist photo of Justin Trudeau had emerged.

Behind Mr. Singh stood a handful of supporters, and the shock of the news played out on their faces. A young black woman looked visibly disturbed. The South Asian man next to her mouthed something that looked like "Oh my God." But Mr. Singh remained still. "Racism is real," he said. The expression on his face wasn't one of anger or frustration - more like resignation.

A couple of hours later, after he'd seen the photos of Mr. Trudeau with his face painted brown and a cartoonish turban on his head, Mr. Singh stood in front of a pair of beige curtains inside a dimly lit airport hotel room, staring into a camera. "I want to talk to all the kids out there, all the folks that lived this, who are now grown up and still feeling the pain of racism," Mr. Singh said. He was wearing the same robin's-egg blue turban and white button-up shirt from earlier that evening.

"I want you to know that you have value, you have worth, and you are loved."

Mr. Singh's reaction, which came just a week into the election campaign, was reminiscent of another moment, shortly before the NDP leadership vote in 2017, when a woman interrupted a Brampton event shouting about "sharia" and the "Muslim brotherhood." Mr. Singh was lauded for his calm demeanour throughout the encounter, and the resultant celebrity helped him win on the first ballot in October, 2017.

Back then, he was hailed as a breath of fresh air. This was after five years of Tom Mulcair, who led the NDP to a rout in 2015, dropping to 44 seats from 103. Mr. Singh was young and flamboyant, and had amassed a huge following on social media (as of this week, he can count among his Instagram followers Drake and Rihanna). He connected with young people - particularly young people of colour - and promised, after the centrist Mulcair years, to nudge the party back toward its NDP roots.

But in the lead-up to the federal campaign, the movement many expected Mr. Singh to build had not materialized.

Several high-profile members of Parliament, including Nathan Cullen and Murray Rankin, decided not to run again. Fundraising plunged (in the second quarter, the NDP pulled in just $1.4-million, roughly even with the Greens) and party divisions endured.

Much of the disarray was of Mr. Singh's own making. He had no experience on a national campaign and brought along a team from his time as an Ontario MPP in Brampton that lacked the institutional knowledge needed in Ottawa. Caucus members second-guessed him.

And under the national spotlight, the candidate himself stumbled repeatedly. For a man who had found success in just about everything he'd tried, Mr. Singh appeared unsteady, unprepared and, in his worst moments, uninterested. With the weight of expectations on his shoulders - as the first racialized person to run for the country's highest office - each of his stumbles felt seismic.

Four weeks into the campaign, polls put the NDP in distant third. But the brownface scandal seems to have been a turning point for Mr.

Singh. Once again, he received widespread praise for "rising above" the incident, and in the weeks since, he has gained momentum.

On the campaign trail, he has looked comfortable and confident. Last week saw one of Mr.

Singh's sharpest moments, when he turned the tables on a reporter during an exchange over providing access to drinking water in First Nations communities. "Why is that even a question?" he asked.

But no matter what Mr. Singh does, the conversation keeps coming back to the colour of his skin. Just last week, hours before the Frenchlanguage debate in Montreal, an older man pulled him aside while he campaigned in Atwater Market. "You should cut your turban off," the man told Mr. Singh. "You'll look more like a Canadian." Mr. Singh responded with what has become his customary grace. But it's not just his performance that is under the microscope here.

The treatment he has received during this campaign has laid bare an ugly truth about our country: that Canada has much further to go in terms of truly embracing diversity. That's the reason Mr. Singh has to answer the same question over and over again, a question none of his opponents has ever had to contemplate: "Is Canada ready for a prime minister who looks like you?" Setting aside the fact that Canadians have never elected an NDP government, Mr. Singh says the answer is yes. But with an election less than two weeks away, it's not clear even he believes it.

The party Mr. Singh inherited in 2017 bore little resemblance to the NDP under Ed Broadbent, or even under Jack Layton. That was the party built on social democratic principles, that believed in equality and the importance of a strong welfare state above all else.

But when Mr. Layton died in August, 2011, three months after leading the party to official opposition status, Mr. Mulcair became leader and started pulling the NDP toward the centre, just as the Liberals were elbowing their way further to the left. As a result, the 2015 election saw an awkward role reversal, with the Liberals promising years of deficits, while the NDP pledged surpluses and a clampdown on spending. Not surprisingly, the NDP lost almost all the ground it had gained in 2011 to the Liberals.

This time around, the Liberals are holding on to many of their centre-left positions, leaving Mr. Singh to carve out territory even further to the left. On climate change, he has pledged to spend $15-billion in part to cut emissions by 38 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, compared with Mr. Trudeau's promise for "net zero emissions" by 2050. To tackle income inequity, he has said he would reinstate a federal minimum wage, at $15 an hour, and build more affordable housing.

To pay for it all, Mr. Singh will increase corporate taxes and create a new 1-per-cent tax on the "super rich." As for when he might balance the budget - a cause near and dear to Mr. Mulcair's heart - Mr. Singh won't make any promises, except to say that the NDP would do so "when prudent."

All of this was supposed to draw clear lines between the NDP and the Liberals. It might not be enough. One of the NDP's key planks would see it dedicate $10-billion a year to extend prescription drug coverage to all Canadians, and to fold dental, mental health and eye care into the public system. But the Liberal campaign has promised pharmacare, too (though they've only pledged a $6-billion "down payment"). The incumbents have also echoed an NDP pledge to lower cellphone and internet rates.

On issues where Mr. Singh clearly opposes the Liberals, he has struggled to articulate his own positions. In the past, he has stood firmly against the Trans Mountain project, which would run through his home riding of Burnaby, B.C., many of whose residents are fiercely opposed to the development. When it comes to the question of future pipelines - whether he would grant provincial vetoes and how he would engage with Indigenous communities over the projects - he has failed to make his position clear.

The policies he seems most comfortable talking about are traditional NDP ones that would have helped him in his own early years.

Mr. Singh was born in Scarborough in 1979, to parents who were recent immigrants from Punjab, the heart of India's Sikh community. By the time Jimmy, as Mr. Singh was then known, was in second grade, his father was a practising psychiatrist in Windsor, Ont., who paid for martial arts lessons and private school. He also emphasized the importance of dressing well as a kind of "social armour" in the predominantly white city. "As people of colour, we couldn't afford not to look good," Mr. Singh wrote in his recent memoirs, Love and Courage. "He wanted to make sure we never felt the way he did: like we didn't belong."

At the age of 8, Mr. Singh - who spent weekends serving meals with his mother at the local gurdwara - decided to revert to his birth name.

He also decided to grow out his hair and began wearing a patka, the piece of cloth worn by boys to cover their emerging top knot. Eventually, he would trade in the patka for a turban and kirpan.

At school, Jagmeet was laughed at, beaten and called names such as "diaper head" and "Paki." That was only part of his torment. In his memoirs, he says he was sexually abused by a martial-arts instructor, which he only disclosed to friends and family more than a decade later.

The experience, he wrote, left him feeling "dirty" and "like I didn't deserve love."

At home, meanwhile, the family's middleclass dream was coming apart. The elder Mr.

Singh began drinking heavily, and over the next decade, he lost his medical licence and the family home, and had to file for bankruptcy. When Mr. Singh was in his second year at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont., he brought his 15-year-old brother, Gurratan, to live with him, fearing for his safety.

The years he spent as a student working parttime retail jobs to feed himself and his brother gave him insight into how precariously many Canadians live. And dealing with his father's addiction and recovery reinforced the importance of public institutions.

Similarly, the values he'd first learned from his faith - the values that lie at the core of the NDP - were ones he watched play out in his own life: community service, sharing of wealth and advocating on behalf of the marginalized.

The fall of 1984 was a seminal time for the Sikh community. That October, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards, igniting a wave of anti-Sikh violence that left between 3,000 and 17,000 dead across India. A year later, a Sikh extremist group bombed Air India flight 182, killing 329 people, most of them Canadians.

It was a painful series of events that sowed deep divisions between Hindus and Sikhs, and Mr. Singh grew up watching the trauma ripple through his community. As a young criminal defence lawyer, he began organizing "know your rights" seminars to teach students how to deal with race-based profiling. The seminars were hosted by the Sikh Activist Network, a community of young people created by Mr.

Singh's younger brother, Gurratan, and his longtime friend Amneet Singh. The group's arts showcases drew thousands of young people and served as an incubator for local talent, including bestselling poet Rupi Kaur.

A turning point for the young activists came in 2010, when two Liberal MPs circulated a petition to formally recognize the 1984 violence against Sikhs as a genocide. For decades, the Liberals had been the de facto party for many immigrant groups. But then Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff refused to support the petition and accused the groups of being "polarizing."

Gurratan encouraged Mr. Singh to take a run at politics as part of the NDP, whose new leader, Jack Layton, had supported the petition. Mr. Singh travelled to Ottawa to meet with Mr. Layton, who reinforced his decision to run. He lost his first campaign, in Bramalea-Gore-Malton, in 2011, but later that year, ran for the provincial NDP in the same area. This time, he won.

His earlier work with the Sikh Activist Network made him a controversial figure. "There's a divide in the South Asian community," says Rupinder Kaur, who worked for both Mr. Layton and Mr. Singh.

"Some are still very connected and loyal to their Indian roots. Those 'pro-India' people may be uncomfortable or unsupportive of Mr. Singh's activism against India, especially on human-rights issues."

Still, he owes much of his early success to that activism. The "know your rights" seminars won him a huge following of young people. He also created a community space at his constituency office where they could hang out and play host to events. Many of these same people would go on to become campaign volunteers and organizers.

In 2016, when his brother (who remains a close adviser) and others urged him to run for the federal leadership, Mr. Singh was wary. He was already deputy leader of the Ontario NDP, and he was hoping for an NDP victory in 2018 that might lead to an appointment as attorneygeneral. Nonetheless, his supporters put out feelers to determine Mr. Singh's viability as a candidate. What they heard was that Mr. Singh represented a fresh face supporters might get excited about.

His campaign focused on four planks - climate change, inequality, reconciliation and electoral reform - that represented a pivot back to the left. He won in the first round, with 53 per cent of the vote.

On an unusually humid August afternoon in New Westminster, B.C., Mr. Singh was looking for a quiet place to sit. He was at a farmer's market and the air smelled of baked strawberries. He'd just wrapped up a scrum in front of glum-faced TV camera operators, railing against Mr. Trudeau "protecting the very wealthy and powerful," while wearing a Rolex watch and $60 T-shirt.

Deeper in the park, there were picnic tables and park benches. But Mr. Singh decided he wanted to sit right there, on the grass. "I'm a grass person," he said. He was wearing tightly fitted jeans, and the grass stuck to his bare ankles. But he looked perfectly pleased, stretching out his legs and setting his palms down behind him.

He speaks in a soothing, surfer-dude tone (he does, in fact, surf). His sentences are frequently punctuated with millennial slang - it's never "yes," but "100 per cent"; not "good," but "awesome." His assessment of two dogs at the market earlier: "They seem pretty chill."

As he spoke about this park and its proximity to his Burnaby riding - about how he'd like to raise a family there with his wife, fashion designer and Instagram influencer Gurkiran - he did so with an earnestness that seemed completely genuine.

But the illusion came apart moments later, when he turned his focus to Mr. Layton.

"He was really humble," he said, gesturing at the grass and the park around us. Suddenly, his insistence on sitting on the ground seemed like political artifice. Mr. Layton was, after all, the kind of politician people wanted to have a beer with - the kind of guy who would have insisted on sitting cross-legged on the grass.

"Really down to earth," he repeated.

Another comparison Mr. Singh wanted to draw between himself and Mr. Layton: The late leader told everyone he was in it to win. That was a major shift for the NDP, to see itself as a party that might wield real power.

Now, Mr. Singh says he, too, is running to become prime minister.

It's an audacious claim and one that will be difficult to deliver on. Since taking on the leadership, Mr. Singh has failed to unite the party.

Some of it has been outside his control. Mr. Layton's success permanently raised expectations.

And after Mr. Mulcair's ouster, with the party millions of dollars in debt, a number of highprofile NDP figures passed on the idea of taking the reins.

His first months as leader were dimmed by criticism from his own caucus. MPs publicly second-guessed his decisions (most notably around kicking out Saskatoon MP Erin Weir after a sexual-harassment investigation). Even Mr.

Mulcair has weighed in - unprecedented behaviour for a former leader - criticizing Mr. Singh for waiting almost 18 months before running for a seat in the House. (It was only under intense pressure from his own caucus that Mr. Singh finally ran in Burnaby South.) After Monday's chaotic televised debate, it was nearly impossible to declare a winner. Mr. Singh was singled out for rising above the fray by some pundits, although Mr. Mulcair proclaimed Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Scheer to be the winners.

Mr. Singh hasn't done himself any favours.

Former staffers and advisers say he was unprepared for how different Ottawa would be from Queen's Park. Some of the young people he'd trained in his Brampton constituency office, and who had taken key positions on his campaign, clashed with the Ottawa party machine.

Several former staffers say that in public appearances, they struggled to keep the leader onscript and had to persuade him not to just "wing it."

In a scrum in April, 2018, outside the House of Commons, Mr. Singh was unsure of his own party's position on a recent gun control bill. In a CTV interview this past January, when asked to respond to comments from the Chinese ambassador amid a continuing trade war, Mr. Singh was unaware of the latest developments.

Granted, he has made up much of that ground in the campaign, gaining confidence with each week. As for his earlier fumbles, Mr.

Singh believes the reaction was overblown. "The people I talk to - their lives, what they're going through - is this something that's going to change their life?" he asked. "No."

When pressed on the fact that some Canadians have had their livelihoods threatened by the trade war - canola farmers, for example - he became impatient. "So, it was who said what about who," he said, the words spilling quickly from his mouth. "I obviously want to be as prepared as possible and always be on top of every issue that comes up. But I don't see that as a thing that impedes the life of someone that I'm trying to improve."

Meanwhile, the party itself has struggled to fill out its ranks. Eleven of its 39 MPs announced they wouldn't be running again, and by Day 1 of the campaign, it had nominated fewer than 200 candidates for 338 ridings. (It now has a full slate.)

Mr. Singh tried to paint that as a positive - an "exciting" opportunity to bring in new faces. He cited the example of a "rising star" he had recruited to run in Hamilton.

"Dave Christopherson is going to continue to help out," he said, referring to the long-time MP who announced his retirement last year. "He's actively supporting" - he paused for several seconds. He clasped then unclasped his hands.

Turning to his assistant, he asked: "Do you remember his name?" The assistant shook his head. Mr. Singh was silent, a bewildered look on his face.

"Oh my God. Let me come back to his name," he muttered. "Um, let me come back to his name."

A few moments later, in the middle of another thought, he finally came up with it: Matt Green. His face lit up.

"So, we've got two people: the brand new city councillor running and the veteran helping him.

It's great."

A few days after the brownface scandal erupted, Mr. Singh appeared on the French-language talk show Tout le monde en parle, which regularly draws a million viewers an episode - roughly 10 per cent of Quebec's population.

For Mr. Singh, it was a crucial night. His chances in the general election are directly tied to his performance in Quebec, where there are 78 seats up for grabs. In 2011, Mr. Layton's Orange Wave took 59 seats (in large part thanks to a successful appearance on Tout le monde en parle), a figure that was reduced to just 14 under Mr.

Mulcair. All of those seats are now in jeopardy, with polls putting the NDP in fifth place, behind the Liberals, Bloc Québécois, Conservatives and Greens.

With the show's upbeat music playing, Mr. Singh bounded onto the stage. Host Guy Lepage wasted no time, aiming his first question squarely at Mr. Singh's yellow turban: What does he say to Quebeckers who are against politicians wearing religious symbols?

The question was a reference to Quebec's Bill 21, which ushered in a ban on government workers wearing religious symbols. Bill 21 means that Mr. Singh - who could, in theory, lead the country - would be banned from holding a government job in its largest province. Outside Quebec, he has described the law as "state-sanctioned discrimination." Tonight, however, his answer was more nuanced. As Mr. Lepage's cohosts nodded politely, Mr. Singh called himself an "ally" to Quebec. He promised to give the province more money for immigration and culture, and to allow for an opt out of federal programs, with compensation. He also said that, although he personally stands against Bill 21, he wouldn't interfere with a legal challenge.

It was not his first attempt to connect with Quebeckers. Early in the campaign, he created Quebec-specific ads that show him with his hair down, tying on his turban. "Like you, I'm proud of my identity," he says in the French-language ad. Repeatedly, he has drawn parallels between Quebeckers' feelings of being a minority with his own experience as an outsider.

But will that be enough to win over a province where many believe multiculturalism poses a threat to its distinct identity and where hate crimes are steadily rising? From 2015 to 2016, Quebec saw a 21-per-cent jump in such crimes, with a large proportion directed at Muslim and Arab communities. In 2017, they jumped another 49 per cent.

It's not just Quebec. Comments on Mr. Singh's social media posts are frequently littered with racist language. Some journalists on Parliament Hill continue to mispronounce his name (it's Jug-meet). During a stop in Toronto, he was mistaken in front of a Globe and Mail reporter for Harjit Sajjan, the Liberal cabinet minister, despite the fact that they look nothing alike, and Mr. Sajjan is nearly a decade older. But they both wear turbans.

Race has been a factor for Mr. Singh's campaign from the start. Initially, at least, it was seen as an asset, proof of the NDP's progressive bona fides. There seems to have been an assumption that, despite the diversity of Canada's South Asian communities - and the deep and lingering divisions between Sikhs and Hindus - that the Indian diaspora would unite behind him, along with other minorities and historically marginalized communities.

It's not that simple. Early on, his team showed his image to focus groups and asked for their reaction. "Quite frankly, some people - a lot of people - think he's a fundamentalist Muslim. They just don't know," says Michael Balagus, a senior adviser on the Singh campaign. "They assumed that this must be a very, very socially conservative person, dressed in this religious garb."

If anything, Mr. Singh's candidacy has shone a spotlight on how poorly equipped much of the country remains in having nuanced conversations about race. In the hours after the release of the brownface image, reporters on Mr. Trudeau's plane - a group that did not include a single person of colour - focused almost entirely on what the image would mean for the Liberal campaign. The conversation about race was flattened into questions such as: "Is this photo racist?"

Mr. Singh, meanwhile, has faced repeated questions about his views on Sikh separatism, with journalists asking him to explain his attendance at events where speakers have called for an independent Khalistan. At one rally in particular, in 2015, Mr. Singh spoke in front of a poster of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the leader of an armed extremist group. In response, Mr. Singh has said his attendance at such events was focused on promoting peace. "I have always tried to give space to all voices so that we can move together towards peace and reconciliation," he wrote in The Globe last year.

Others have questioned an exchange that took place between Mr. Singh and former CBC reporter Terry Milewski, who asked him - on the day after he was named NDP Leader - for his views on Talwinder Singh Parmar, identified by the Air India inquiry as the mastermind behind the bombing. Repeatedly throughout the interview, the reporter demanded that Mr. Singh denounce Parmar. The newly minted leader sidestepped the questions, condemning the attack itself, but opting to focus on bridging the divide between Hindu and Sikh communities. For days afterward, Mr. Singh was accused of "refusing" to condemn a terrorist. (In later interviews, he explicitly condemned Parmar.)

To his supporters, the fact that he was being asked these questions only reinforced their belief that Mr. Singh faces a different standard. Other Canadian politicians, including Justin Trudeau, have also taken part in events, such as the annual Khalsa Day parade in Toronto, where separatist messages are commonly displayed. Besides, they argue that religious violence in India, its effects on Sikh identity and the issue of intergenerational trauma are complicated - not well suited for the blunt questioning Mr. Singh has faced from mostly non-Sikh journalists.

Sarbjit Kaur, a communications strategist who is Sikh, called such questions "outright inaccurate, unfair, misguided" and, ultimately, "exhausting." Ms. Kaur, who is a Liberal, says, "I'm not NDP, but I was really, really upset when those types of allegations were being made the day after he did something so historic."

For all those who worry that Mr. Singh's race and religion have become too front and centre in his candidacy, there are others who criticize him for the opposite. During the debate this week, after Mr. Singh said he would not intervene on Bill 21, he was attacked by Mr. Trudeau for putting politics first.

Toronto-based activist Desmond Cole, who worked alongside Mr. Singh in campaigning against police carding of racialized communities, say that Mr. Singh has let down some of those same groups since taking on NDP leadership. "I have been disappointed with Jagmeet Singh since he became leader of the federal NDP - deeply disappointed," says Mr. Cole. He questions whether Mr. Singh has been overly concerned with being labelled radical. "You could argue that being a brown, Sikh man in a turban, being the first person of colour to lead a political party - that a lot is being asked of him in that scenario," Mr. Cole says. "But what's the point? What are we celebrating when you're the first person of colour but when [issues facing racialized persons come up] come up, you say, 'It's too risky for me to say something?' "

Mr. Singh counters that he has, in fact, been taking strong positions, adding simply: "My existence is a strong position." He recognizes that all this - having his actions dissected and endlessly parsed for significance - is part of the burden of being the first. He also realizes that his performance will likely determine how much longer it will be before another racialized person is given the same opportunity.

"It can inspire more people. Or, if the backlash is so much - if it's so difficult and so negative - maybe it discourages people," he says. "I feel that weight, that burden. I'm aware of it, and I'm motivated by it."

Spend enough time around Mr. Singh, and you're bound to hear him utter the words "charhdi kala," a Punjabi term from Sikhism he first learned from his mother that translates roughly into "optimism." It's the belief that, in the face of adversity, you must maintain a positive mindset.

It will take a lot more than optimism to propel Mr. Singh to a win on Oct. 21. Even with the small bump in support after the brownface scandal, the NDP has only just managed to pull ahead of the Greens.

Some have also questioned whether Mr. Singh even wants the top job, arguing he conceded the race before it even started, when he said in August that he wouldn't prop up a Conservative minority.

But that's nothing new, his supporters say. "They always count my brother out," Gurratan says. "And he's consistently proven them wrong." For proof, he points to the 2017 heckling incident in Brampton that first propelled Mr. Singh into the spotlight. He led the crowd in a chant of "love and courage" to drown out the heckler - the motto his team had only just created for him.

"What we were interested in was creating a movement," says Mo Dhaliwal, the strategist who came up with the slogan. "Because what's different about this guy is how he conducts himself. Yes, he has interesting policy ideas, but he has a way of being that's so unique."

That way of being - the charhdi kala - is what has seen him through his toughest challenges: the bullying, the abuse, his father's addiction. It also signifies a small but crucial difference in how Mr. Singh approaches the world: He refuses to define himself by his race or by the racist acts he's been subject to. Instead, he defines himself through his responses to those acts.

"Living in the struggle, living when things are tough, is very normal for me," he says. "Those painful things taught me to see the connection we share - that we're all often feeling like we don't belong, and that many people are also hurting and struggling."

Sitting in the park in New Westminster, Mr. Singh - the man who either just wants to hang out on the grass or the politician trying to evoke the late Mr. Layton - repeats what he said earlier. "I'm fighting to become PM," he says. "I'm running to become the prime minister of Canada."

He used to watch the leader debates as a kid growing up in Windsor, he continues. If you'd asked him then what a prime minister looked like, he would've pointed to someone who looked like Mr. Scheer or Mr. Trudeau.

Now, children across Canada have had a chance to see him up on the stage, looking calm and confident - and very different from his opponents. "If you ask them what a PM looks like, they're going to say, 'It can look like anything.' " He smiles at the thought. "That's an awesome and powerful thing."

That optimism could be an act of selfdelusion, or it just might be an act of courage.

Associated Graphic

On the campaign trail, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has looked confident and his sentences are punctuated with millennial slang: '100 per cent' and 'awesome.'



New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh arrives for a town hall at the campaign office of Maria Augimeri, candidate for the Humber River-Black Creek riding, in Toronto on Sept. 18.

Mr. Singh, seen speaking at a town hall at Ms. Augimeri's office, first ran federally for the NDP in 2011 in the riding of Bramalea-Gore-Malton. Although he lost, he ran successfully later that year in the same area for the Ontario NDP.

Friday, October 11, 2019


A Wednesday profile of Jagmeet Singh incorrectly said MP Erin Weir represents Saskatoon. In fact, he represents Regina-Lewvan.

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Semi-trucks, cash payoffs and big risks on our roads
As Kathy Tomlinson reports, transport companies with sketchy safety records have hooked up with immigration consultants to exploit foreign job seekers, sometimes with tragic results when unprepared drivers are sent out on the highway

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Saturday, October 5, 2019 – Page A12

Mahan Singh remembers feeling terrified he would lose control on an icy highway and kill someone.

His new employer had sent the 26year-old rookie driver out to navigate a semitrailer through treacherous mountain passes.

"There was no training," says Mr. Singh, who had been in Canada as a visitor for just a few months when he got his first job here under a temporary work permit. "I was scared. I didn't have any idea it would be like this."

Mr. Singh, who comes from Amritsar, in northwestern India, had never experienced ice or snow. He'd never considered being a truck driver, either, but Canadian immigration consultants told him that getting experience in trucking could help him qualify for permanent residency.

So, a year ago, he got a licence and found a company to work for in Surrey, B.C.

Mr. Singh says he had to give $10,000 in cash to GLT Transportation just to get hired, then put up with perilous working conditions for weeks on end. "I had two minor accidents in the first four months," he says. "In my six-month driving period, I only was in Surrey eight to 10 days. Always, we sleep on the road."

He has since found a better employer, but he is still appalled that a country like Canada allows reckless trucking companies to send nervous, unprepared newcomers like him out on the highway. "Everything is supposed to be by the rules in Canada," he says, "but then, when I start work, I find out there are no rules."

A Globe and Mail investigation has discovered that young foreign nationals like Mr. Singh are routinely steered into trucking by some immigration consultants, in collaboration with particular trucking firms. Both take cash payoffs from recruits in exchange for jobs - even though that practice is illegal.

That has spawned an entrenched, lucrative and dangerous immigration scheme, centred in Surrey, that is exploiting newcomers and putting lives at risk across the country.

In audio recordings obtained by The Globe, consultants told one international student trucking jobs cost $35,000 to $55,000 - an astonishing sum for aspiring immigrants, who often borrow the money to pay the fee.

The novice drivers are often unable to decipher Canadian road signs or handle their trucks properly before being sent out on the roads. That inexperience has led to crashes and near misses, according to documented cases, as well as interviews with two dozen sources, including truck drivers, dispatchers, tow operators and industry representatives.

The dangerous scheme has been allowed to flourish partly because there is no systemic integration between provincial regulators for the trucking industry and those overseeing the immigration system at the federal level.

The Globe investigation has revealed that immigration authorities let trucking companies hire newcomers through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, even when the carriers have a proven history of multiple-injury accidents, serious safety violations or exploitive labour practices. (The federal authorities' mandate is to look primarily at whether a company tried to hire local drivers before resorting to foreign workers, not to delve into carriers' safety records, which are held by the provinces.)

The Globe also found marginal operators were granted permits to hire many more foreign drivers than they had trucks, raising questions about whether they actually needed the labour. Several people in the industry say small companies can profit more from cash paid by recruits than they do from hauling loads. Many of those businesses operate out of private homes, sometimes under more than one name. Often they have just one truck, according to government records.

This is just the type of employer that Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, who came to Canada as a student, was working for when he drove his truck through a rural stop sign last year, smashing into a bus and killing 16 hockey players from Humboldt, Sask.

Mr. Sidhu's employer had just two trucks, and the company had committed multiple safety infractions before it put him on the road with what Mr. Sidhu's lawyer called a "complete absence of prior driving skill."

The rookie trucker failed to secure his load of peat moss properly and was nervously checking tarps in his rear view mirror when he missed signs warning him to stop ahead. The horrific consequences continue to reverberate through dozens of families. Mr. Sidhu, meanwhile, is serving an eight-year prison sentence, after which he will be deported to India.

Gypsy Hunking has been watching big rigs barrel through her northern Manitoba town all her life. Now, she calls them "killing machines."

Two years ago, Ms. Hunking's daughter, Carley, and Carley's 17-year-old boyfriend, Dorian Roulette, both died instantly when a new trucker on a temporary work permit drove his loaded flatbed through a red light at full speed and broadsided their car. "She always called when she got home. And that night, I didn't get a call," Ms. Hunking says. "At 12:30, the police knocked on our door."

The truck driver, Gurjant Singh, had arrived in Ontario from India as an international student, but wound up getting a trucking licence and moving west for work. He was 23 and had been driving for a year at the time of the crash.

He'd been sent on a long haul from B.C. to Ontario, where he picked up 27 tonnes of steel pipe.

On his way back, near Portage la Prairie, court records show Mr. Singh failed to heed warning lights telling him the light was turning red at the highway intersection ahead. By the time he tried to stop, he couldn't, because the massive load of steel behind him kept pushing the truck forward - a rookie mistake, says Ms. Hunking, who comes from a family of truck drivers. "My cousin said that before he could even handle that amount of weight, he had to be driving for three years," she says.

Mr. Singh walked away with a $3,000 fine for careless driving and a one-year licence suspension.

Ms. Hunking wanted to take legal action against his employer, for putting a junior driver on the road with that enormous freight. But she says no lawyer would take the case because Manitoba's no-fault insurance system doesn't permit civil lawsuits over vehicle collisions. "Why couldn't I sue the company for hiring somebody who didn't know what they were doing?" she asks. "It's like they are above the law."

Besides, Ms. Hunking didn't even know which B.C. carrier Mr. Singh was working for, because no one would tell her. The RCMP denied The Globe 's request for the name of the driver's employer.

B.C.'s transportation department said it would not release the company's name because the truck's licence plate has expired. When pressed again on the name and on whether there was a post-crash investigation into that carrier, media relations person Danielle Pope gave no answer.

People who come to Canada as students, as Mr. Singh did, can work for any employer as long as they abide by the rules of their student or postgraduate work permits. Others receive permits under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and are restricted to working for one employer.

In that scenario, the trucking companies must get approval from Ottawa to hire them.

Once in their jobs, newcomers can earn credits in the immigration system that can eventually help them obtain permanent residency under provincial programs.

Chahit Sharma is typical of drivers who get their start in Canada working for questionable trucking companies. He arrived in Ontario as an international student, but moved west when he heard there were jobs in B.C. that could help him qualify him for immigration. In 2013, Mr. Sharma says he paid a B.C. consultant $5,000 for his first trucking position, then gave $5,000 to a trucking firm for a second job. "There are so many people behind this game," he says. "Being a temporary foreign worker is a nightmare in Canada."

Mr. Sharma says it took him five years of nonstop work, being underpaid by abusive employers, before he received permanent residency.

"Those were some of the worst days of my life. I was pushed beyond my limits," he says. "The way employers treat people on work permits, it is just ridiculous."

B.C. nominated 711 truck drivers for permanent residency from 2016 through 2018. Ontario just began allowing truckers to submit applications for such nominations this summer. But that province has higher standards than B.C. in one key area. Two years ago, it brought in mandatory training for anyone applying for a truck driver's licence. The Prairie provinces did the same after the Humboldt tragedy.

B.C. is the outlier. It is still consulting with industry on the parameters of any new rules.

In the meantime, 96 B.C. trucking companies received a green light from Ottawa last year to hire between four and 20 temporary foreign workers each as drivers. That represents 43 per cent of the 1,579 authorizations handed out nationwide. By contrast, just four Ontario carriers received approvals.

The Globe compiled data on the B.C. firms from hundreds of court files and other public records. Nearly one-third are either marginal operators or have had significant safety problems, or both. Since 2016, those 29 companies have received approval to hire 291 foreign drivers.

Startlingly, three of those companies don't even hold a safety certificate - the legal requirement to operate transport trucks. Yet, Employment and Social Development Canada gave them approvals to hire foreign drivers.

Collectively, the 29 companies have been sued by 57 people claiming they were injured in B.C.

collisions involving their trucks over the past decade, some quite seriously. U.S. department of

transportation records show their trucks were involved in another 67 accidents in that country in recent years.

Truck drivers named in the B.C. cases, including some company owners, have fines for at least 146 violations, including speeding, running red lights, falsifying drive-time logs and other serious infractions. Some have criminal records.

Gulzar Transport Inc., based in Delta, B.C., is an operator whose dubious public record could have raised red flags with immigration authorities.

Between 2016 and 2018, Gulzar received federal approval to hire 20 foreign workers - even after it broke the law by underpaying drivers and ended up compensating 37 employees in 2016 for a total of $121,517.

Its trucks have been involved in 13 recent collisions where people whose vehicles were hit claimed injuries and blamed Gulzar's drivers.

Four injury accidents were reported to Worksafe BC; another accident happened in the United States.

According to industry representatives, Gulzar's record is not the norm. By contrast, Triton Transport, a similar-sized B.C. company, called a "top fleet" employer by Trucking HR Canada, was sued for one accident, in the same time frame.

"Many of our members make sure their driver profiles are extremely clean," says B.C. Trucking Association president Dave Earle, whose group has been pushing the government for years to get rid of the unsafe operators. "A small cohort of companies is really having a big impact on the rest, because they are not abiding by the rules and regulations."

He estimates that carriers hiring temporary foreign workers make up less than 10 per cent of all "for hire" carriers in the province.

Of the 29 carriers The Globe analyzed, half received permits to hire more foreign workers than they have trucks. Most are small outfits, run out of homes. Half a dozen have more than one company name associated with the same address.

Several sources told The Globe that racking up violations, then changing names and corporate directors, is typical of some small operators, whether or not they hire foreign workers.

Adesh Deol Trucking is one glaring example.

The Alberta trucking company employed Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, the driver responsible for the Humboldt tragedy.

After the accident, Adesh Deol was fined $5,000 for multiple violations and shut down by the province. But the company's owner, Sukhmander Singh, promptly switched to driving for another company, located at the same house (owned by a woman he'd also bought a truck with - likely a spouse or relative). Six months later, that carrier's certificate was revoked.

The Globe discovered yet another company, Gurnimrat Transport Ltd., with one of the same directors, now operating out of that same address. It has no safety certificate or vehicles registered with authorities (at least not under that name).

The Globe's investigation found yet another alarming trend particular to smaller operators.

Sources say these carriers routinely dispatch drivers in teams of two or three, so they can drive around the clock, especially during times when highway inspection stations are closed.

GLT Transportation - the company Mahan Singh worked for - is one such firm, according to Mr. Singh. It has received federal approval to hire 12 foreign workers since 2016, despite having no safety certificate for a decade.

In 2006, a GLT-owned truck was seized at the Canada-U.S. border with $1.7-million worth of cocaine in the back. The driver, who was on his way to GLT's yard in Surrey, was acquitted of trafficking after a B.C. judge ruled he was unaware of the drugs.

Court records show that GLT's owner, Lakhwinder Singh, caused a crash years later while driving a company truck, even though GLT had no permit to operate. The woman whose vehicle he hit claimed multiple injuries, and Mr. Singh admitted he was negligent. Records obtained by The Globe show GLT now has its drivers operate trucks leased to another firm also owned by Mr.

Singh and certified under the newer company's name.

Lakhwinder Singh hired Mahan Singh late last year. After two deliveries with a team partner, Mahan Singh says, the owner's son, Jay Samra, sent him out on his own, despite the fact that he didn't yet know how to chain up the truck's tires to give it traction on icy hills. Mahan Singh says Mr. Samra told him not to worry - there were plenty of truckers on the highway who could help.

Mahan Singh says his boss also falsified the electronic driver log to make it look like he was under the legal limit for hours on the road, even when he wasn't. He provided The Globe with text messages showing those changes. He also filed a complaint to the government, claiming GLT owes him $10,000 in back pay.

The Globe approached Mr. Samra at the company's office to ask for an interview, but he declined. Messages sent to the company received no response.

In the meantime, other truckers and tow operators who work on B.C. roads tell The Globe they've been watching and worrying about all of this for some time.

Trevor Bauder is an operator for Clover Towing, one of B.C.'s largest heavy tow companies. He spent 14 years rescuing trucks and drivers on roads and mountain highways. "I spent more time helping drivers putting chains on than I did pulling vehicles out of the ditch," Mr. Bauder says.

He says he felt badly for new drivers like Mr.

Singh, who work for "next to nothing" on hazardous roads, with "no idea" how to handle the trucks properly. "The root of the problem is the companies," he says. "Whoever owns these companies should know better than to stick somebody in a truck and hope for the best."

Mr. Bauder says drivers with little experience caused most of the crashes he attended, often because they were "riding their brakes" too hard, which can cause them to fail. He says they would also sail past brake-check areas, not knowing they were supposed to stop.

"A lot of them didn't really see the dangers," he says. "That was probably the worst thing out on those highways: They didn't know what they were doing."

Mr. Bauder was often first on the scene of an accident, asking for paperwork. At one accident, where the rig had lost its brakes and hit a mountain, "one of the drivers didn't even have their [regular] Class 5 licence," he says. "He was still a learner."

In many conversations with newcomers, he has found they are driving trucks only because they want to be Canadian citizens. "That is why a lot of them won't have a licence - because they don't want to be a truck driver," Mr. Bauder says.

Some truckers The Globe interviewed, including Chahit Sharma, say that the moment they obtained permanent-residency status, they quit their jobs. "Before that, it was more like slavery, just to get our PR," Mr. Sharma says.

Parag Barbar is a permanent resident who says he drove for an Ontario company last year that hired international students. Those students then applied for immigration through Quebec's nominee program.

"[The employer] would make them do trips against their will," he says. Teams were dispatched to drive overnight, he adds, and there were "quite a lot" of near misses - including one time when he was in the passenger seat.

"I don't like driving at night, so the co-driver was driving," Mr. Barbar says. "I woke up and sat with him, but he wouldn't listen to me. He was falling asleep, and I slapped him hard."

Underpaying foreign drivers is another big issue. In 2017, a Surrey company called Harlens Trucking pleaded guilty to underpaying 29 temporary foreign workers by $350,000 after calculating their pay per mile, instead of per hour. The company argued it was common practice in the industry.

Indeed, others say new recruits earn between nine and 25 cents a mile (which is how pay is calculated), less than half what Canadian truckers earn.

Some employers also make foreign recruits pay kickbacks, sources say, by telling them they must cover company expenses. The Globe found several small-claims cases against drivers for damage to vehicles, which is one way carriers avoid making insurance claims.

Mahan Singh says he was fired by GLT Transportation after he and his driving partner refused their employer's demand to pay $10,000 each for load damage caused by problems with the truck's equipment. His employer had already taken $2,000 from him, he says, on top of the $10,000 fee he paid when he was hired.

He provided The Globe with text messages he said were from his boss, asking for his banking PIN. Records show money withdrawn from a Canadian ATM while Mr. Singh was on the road in the United States.

Mr. Singh and others stress that the exploitation starts with the immigration consultants, however, who give trucking firms a whole other source of revenue. "Sometimes the employers don't need the employees," he says, "but they are selling jobs anyway."

Before he found his B.C. job, Mr. Singh says he met with a dozen consultants in the Greater Toronto Area who told him they could get him into trucking out West or in the Maritimes. The price was $40,000, Mr. Singh says, split with the employers. "I did not give a single penny to those consultants, because they are just like thieves," he says.

Another man from India provided The Globe with recordings (on the condition he not be identified) of meetings he had this year with immigration consultants in Surrey. One was licensed consultant Davinder Chohan, he says, who advised him, in the Punjabi recording, to "arrange for 50,000 to 55,000" for a trucking job. Ms. Chohan didn't answer requests for comment.

At another firm, Orbit Immigration, a man quoted prices ranging from $35,000 to $40,000, suggesting that if the job seeker tried to find work on his own, it would "take a long time to come."

Orbit's only consultant is Sharandeep Singh Mann.

At the time of the meeting, his licence had been suspended over allegations he charged money for jobs. Through his lawyer, Mr. Mann declined a request for an interview.

Immigration consultants are gatekeepers for hundreds of trucking jobs in Canada.

On the advice of drivers, The Globe examined how many of the 96 B.C.

carriers approved to hire foreign workers last year advertised jobs using a generic e-mail address such as Gmail. Drivers say that usually indicates that it's a consultant vetting applications from foreign nationals on behalf of the trucking firm, with an eye to charging placement fees.

More than half the ads posted on government-hosted job sites, from 42 of the 96 companies, had generic e-mail addresses. Some listed the fax number of an immigration consultant's office. In total, they were seeking 426 truck drivers.

Local drivers have learned not to apply through those ads, because they are only looking for foreign applicants. "Some people even go to the trucking company for their application, and they say, 'We don't need drivers,' " says Pawanjit Khandal, who has been a trucker in B.C. for 20 years and is now looking to get out because his pay has shrunk 10 per cent in four years. "Canadian drivers are the ones paying for it," he says. "It is a side business [for carriers] to hire foreign workers and get the money from them. They work many more hours for the same or less pay."

Now that Ontario is allowing truckers to be nominated for permanent residency, there are some reputable companies that are keen to hire more foreign drivers, according to their industry association. But without better rules and enforcement, they also fear this will lead to the same problems The Globe found in B.C.

"We do not want a funnel to the bottom," says Ontario Trucking Association president Stephen Laskowski. "The bottom part of our industry creates the vast majority of unsafe truck operations." His association wants Ontario to restrict permanent residency applications to foreign workers hired by carriers with proven safety records. It's also asking Ottawa to set national criteria all companies must meet before they can open for business - standards that would be enforced by the provinces through uniform audits. "It is way too easy to get into trucking," Mr. Laskowski says. "The reason these bad actors are here in the first place is, it's too easy to get in."

Shawna Benoit is one of many victims who want governments to clamp down. Seven years ago, a coowner of SSB Trucking - a B.C. carrier approved to hire six foreign workers last year - rolled backward into her vehicle as she sat behind him, waiting to turn left at an intersection. Her eight-year-old son was beside her. "I thought we were going to get crushed, and my son was screaming," she says. The driver, Sukhminder Bhuller, took off, but she caught up and flagged him down.

"He bent over and looked at me and said, 'No witnesses, no proof.' " The insurance case settled in her favour, she says, because a witness did show up. Mr. Bhuller's record shows he has racked up six violations since then, including going through a stop sign and driving an unsafe vehicle.

Messages left by The Globe for Mr.Bhuller at SSB Trucking received no response. The company has an "unsatisfactory" rating from the B.C. government, because of serious safety deficiencies. It is still in business, however, because the province has yet to audit its operations.

As for Ms. Benoit, she says she is still afraid of trucks. "Shut down the companies that are doing illegal, shady work," she says. "I couldn't do anything. I will never forget that."

With data analysis by Andrew Saikali

Associated Graphic

Gypsy and Everett Hunking, top, hold a photo of daughter Carley and her boyfriend, Dorian Roulette, who were killed two years ago when a novice driver in a loaded flatbed broadsided their car in northern Manitoba.


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Freeland's world
Behind the Foreign Affairs Minister's crusade is a shrewd politician who knows who's crusade to restore 'rules-based international order' ws what plays well in her own backyard

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Friday, October 4, 2019 – Page A10

There are two reactions you get when you ask around the globe about Chrystia Freeland and Canadian foreign policy under her leadership.

She's either one of the last, best hopes of the liberal world order - or she's an out-of-touch idealist who is risking trade by starting diplomatic fights that Canada can't hope to win.

Not since Lester Pearson has Canada had a foreign minister so widely recognized on the international stage. Despite her loud detractors, she is increasingly viewed as Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's most likely successor, particularly should their party lose power in the Oct. 21 federal election.

In an effort to examine the motivations and implications of Ms. Freeland's chin-out approach - and where her policies might lead if she retains a leadership role after the election - The Globe and Mail's foreign correspondents in the United States, Asia, Africa and Europe spoke to politicians, non-governmental activists and business figures about how they perceived Canadian foreign policy, which has become synonymous with her name over the past 21/2 years.

Ms. Freeland's admirers hail her as a principled and effective diplomat, someone who can turn a room in her favour with a mix of well-researched facts and understated charm. Her Canada is the one that tangled with Donald Trump's White House over trade and came out relatively unscathed, and the one that won't back down in its outsized support of Ukraine in its struggle with Vladimir Putin's Russia. It's her Canada that led the rescue of Syria's famed White Helmets and has become a beacon for women fleeing Saudi Arabia, as well as LGBTQ refugees from around the world. The Washington-based Foreign Policy magazine named Ms. Freeland its diplomat of the year in 2018.

But Ms. Freeland's critics are as vitriolic as her supporters are effusive. She has been the target of startlingly personal attacks from the foreign governments that don't share her worldview. Male leaders, in particular, seem to bristle at being criticized by a female foreign affairs minister who represents a country of just 37 million people.

"We don't like their representative very much," Mr. Trump famously said of Ms. Freeland amid the sometimes acrimonious negotiations that resulted in a new free-trade deal - pending ratification - between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Worse has been said about her by the governments of China, Russia and Saudi Arabia - regimes that Ms. Freeland's foreign policy has put Canada into conflict with.

The 51-year-old journalistturned-politician says she's fine with the heat. "The notion that the objective of foreign policy is to be friends with everyone is to misread very much the situation in the world today, where some very big principles and issues are at stake," she said in a telephone interview during a campaign stop in Vancouver this week. A candidate in the Toronto riding of University-Rosedale, it's a sign of her growing importance to the Liberal Party that she has been deployed across the country in a closely fought campaign.

While she says foreign affairs comes up wherever she goes - "people still like to talk to me a lot about NAFTA, both during the campaign and when I'm buying groceries" - Ms. Freeland was in British Columbia this week, using her star power to boost local candidates.

In many ways, she's acting like the deputy prime minister that Canada doesn't have (both Mr.

Trudeau and his predecessor Stephen Harper left the post empty as more and more power was accumulated in the Prime Minister's Office). But as questions grow about Mr. Trudeau's leadership, the charismatic Foreign Affairs Minister is clearly the Liberal Party's No. 2.

But Ms. Freeland, who served as deputy editor of The Globe from 1999 to 2001, remains most passionate about foreign policy, and specifically the need to defend liberal democracy and what she calls the "rules-based international order" in a time of rising populism and authoritarianism around the world. It's also plain from speaking to her that Canada's global direction is currently hers to set.

While relations with the U.S., China and Russia have been the defining challenges of Ms. Freeland's time in office, those who have worked closely with her on a variety of files say that she's at her most energetic and convincing when she's seized by a cause.

Ukraine, where her late mother was a prominent intellectual who helped draft the country's post-Soviet constitution, has always been close to her heart. Her conviction that Ukraine's struggle with Russia is a front line between the forces of democracy and the rising authoritarian menace has led to a deepening of the confrontation between Ottawa and Moscow that began under Mr. Harper's Conservative government.

"Is it personal? Yes," said Natalie Jaresko, a long-time friend of Ms. Freeland who served as Ukraine's finance minister from 2014 to 2016. "But [Ms. Freeland's support for Ukraine] is based in values, and what will happen if we don't defend those values in the world that we live in today."

Another crisis that captured Ms. Freeland's imagination is Venezuela, where anti-government protests erupted shortly after she became foreign affairs minister.

Ben Rowswell, who was Canada's ambassador to Venezuela during the 2017 uprisings, said Ms. Freeland understood the gravity of the crisis - which saw President Nicolas Maduro attempt to strip the oppositiondominated Congress of its powers amid an economic collapse that left Venezuelans scrambling for food and medicine - earlier than most of her counterparts on the world stage.

Mr. Rowswell recounted how bureaucrats at Global Affairs Canada warned him that Ms.Freeland would be too focused on U.S. relations to take briefings on Venezuela.

To his surprise, Mr. Rowswell received the opposite response from Ms. Freeland.

"She was really quite clear that she placed priority on this because she took time that she really didn't have and invested it," said Mr. Rowswell, who is now the president of the Canadian International Council, a group of foreign-relations experts.

Mr. Rowswell said Ms. Freeland saw Venezuela - like Ukraine - as a "front line in the emerging global competition between democracy and authoritarianism," with Russia, China, Iran and Cuba backing the Maduro regime.

But Ms. Freeland's willingness to use Canada's diplomatic clout in places such as Ukraine and Venezuela invites comparison with the places that she hasn't made a priority.

Africa stands out as one region that appears to have fallen off the Liberal radar. Mr. Trudeau's government came to office promising Canada would return to its previous leadership role on UN peacekeeping missions. Ms. Freeland's predecessor as foreign affairs minister, Stéphane Dion, had helped draft a plan for a large-scale deployment of Canadian peacekeepers and police in the West African country of Mali.

But those ambitions were scaled back after Ms. Freeland took over the portfolio. Mr. Trudeau was "afraid of the risks," according to Jocelyn Coulon, a former top aide to Mr. Dion, in memoirs published this year.

Within weeks of Ms. Freeland's appointment, her chief of staff "informed me that the files I had been working on - multilateralism, peacekeeping and Africa - would not be priorities for the minister," Mr. Coulon said.

Ms. Freeland has yet to make an official visit to Africa during her tenure as foreign affairs minister. The eventual Canadian peacekeeping mission in Mali, which consisted of just 250 troops and a handful of helicopters, was limited to barely a year in the country.

Canada's policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, meanwhile, has become less overtly pro-Israeli than it was under the Conservatives; the Liberals restored funding to the United Nations agency that supports Palestinian refugees after it was cut off by Mr. Harper's government. But Ms. Freeland has stuck to what she calls a "balanced" approach toward Israel and the Palestinians, rarely criticizing Israel's five-decade-old military occupation of the West Bank.

"On this issue there hasn't been any form of recalibration.

None," said Diana Buttu, a Palestinian-Canadian lawyer and former legal adviser to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. "I wish I had the answer."

Jeremy Kinsman, a veteran Canadian diplomat who was a part of Mr. Trudeau's early foreign affairs team, said he believes that on some files, it's still the Prime Minister's Office that calls the shots - and it often does so based on domestic political considerations. Support for Ukraine plays well at home, particularly among the million-strong Ukrainian diaspora. Deploying troops to a risky peacekeeping mission in Africa, or taking a side on Israel-Palestine, are not vote-winning ideas.

Ms. Freeland, unlike Mr. Dion, grasped these realities and built them into her policies, he said.

And while Mr. Dion always remained an outsider in the Trudeau cabinet, Ms. Freeland built friendships and alliances inside the Prime Minister's Office. "She has an emotional intelligence that's highly advanced," Mr. Kinsman said. "When Chrystia came in [as foreign affairs minister], she immediately got what the politics were."

Canada's foreign policy was a muddle after the Liberals came to office in 2015. Mr. Trudeau declared after the election win that Canada was "back" and "here to help" - phrases that meant different things to his two key foreign policy ministers. That sparked a contest of wills that would come to a head over the issue of how to deal with Mr. Putin's Kremlin.

To Mr. Dion's ears, those vague terms meant that Canada would return to its Cold War role of being a country that everyone could get along with. A core priority was to reheat relations with countries such as Russia and Iran that had frosted over under Mr.

Harper. Ms. Freeland, then minister of international trade, interpreted Mr. Trudeau's same phrases through her own prism that Canada best stands up for itself by standing up for principles such as democracy and human rights.

One of Mr. Putin's most prominent critics, financier Bill Browder, recalls receiving a split reception from the new Canadian government. Ms. Freeland, he knew, was a supporter of his efforts to slap sanctions on the Russian officials allegedly involved in the death of Mr. Browder's accountant, Sergei Magnitsky. But Mr.

Browder says he also knew that Canada would never have sanctions, in the form of a Magnitsky Act, as long as Mr. Dion was foreign affairs minister and hoping to mend relations with Moscow.

By January, 2017, Mr. Dion was out of government, Ms. Freeland was foreign affairs minister, ties with Russia were on their way to a new low and the Magnitsky Act was headed toward becoming law.

"In a world where there are few truly moral leaders in the world, Canada has now stepped into the top spot, and a lot of that is due to Chrystia Freeland," said Mr. Browder, who has known her since the 1990s, when she was a Moscow-based correspondent for Britain's Financial Times and he was an investment banker in the Russian capital.

The Kremlin would strongly disagree with that statement.

Russia has had Ms. Freeland on its list of Canadians targeted for sanctions since 2014, when she was an opposition MP who Moscow saw as an extension of the influential Ukrainian-Canadian diaspora. After she rose to become the country's foreign affairs minister, Russian diplomats in Canada launched an astonishingly undiplomatic campaign to tarnish her, alerting media to the fact that Ms. Freeland's maternal grandfather had edited a newspaper in Nazi-occupied Poland during the Second World War, and suggesting she herself might harbour fascist sympathies.

Part of Moscow's anger is born out of the hope the Kremlin placed in Mr. Trudeau and Mr.

Dion after the Liberal election win. Mr. Putin, who has ruled Russia for two decades, had gotten along well with the previous two Liberal prime ministers, Jean for Canada into sharpest contrast with Mr. Dion's, it was the rise of Mr. Trump - and his vow to tear up the North American free-trade agreement - that created a crisis that necessitated the cabinet shuffle that saw Ms. Freeland proChrétien and Paul Martin, and Russian state media expressed hope in 2015 that the rise of another Liberal government might mean an end to Canada's pro-Ukrainian policies.

Mr. Dion's departure put an end to that belief. Ms. Freeland became the first Canadian foreign affairs minister to take office while on the personal sanctions list of a major world power.

She has similarly been singled out for personal attacks in China's state-controlled media as ties between Ottawa and Beijing deteriorated over the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, and more recently over Ms.

Freeland's support for protesters in Hong Kong.

She has also aggravated the Saudi royal family. A tweet in August, 2018, that called for the release of two jailed human-rights activists sent Riyadh into a fury.

Rather than backing down, Ms.

Freeland personally intervened five months later to clear the way for Rahaf Mohammed - a Saudi teenager who fled her allegedly abusive family - to gain asylum in Canada. The official Saudi Gazette newspaper called Ms. Freeland's policies "childish" after she personally welcomed Ms. Mohammed when she arrived in Toronto.

Ms. Freeland does her best to shrug off the attacks: "I think we need to be honest with ourselves and honest with Canadians that standing up on these issues will not always be without a cost. And that's okay."

But while the barbed relationships with Moscow, Beijing and Riyadh put Ms. Freeland's vision for Canada into sharpest contrast with Mr. Dion's, it was the rise of Mr. Trump - and his vow to tear up the North American free-trade agreement - that created a crisis that necessitated the cabinet shuffle that saw Ms. Freeland promoted and Mr. Dion dispatched to serve as Canada's ambassador to Germany and special envoy to the European Union.

"The most important foreignpolicy challenge facing this government was managing relations with the Trump administration and averting his threat to terminate NAFTA," said Roland Paris, a professor of international affairs at the University of Ottawa who worked as a foreign-policy adviser to Mr. Trudeau for a year after the 2015 election. "Everything else pales in comparison."

Canada's original NAFTA strategy was to take a hard line at the bargaining table and concede nothing of substance. During the first five months of talks, Ottawa's negotiators were happy to tell the Americans why their protectionist demands were wrong, but unwilling to meet halfway on anything the Americans wanted.

Canada's intransigence both surprised and confused the Americans, sources told The Globe at the time. They had expected Canada to gang up with the U.S.

against Mexico; after all, both of NAFTA's wealthier countries had seen manufacturing move to their poorer southern cousin.

But Ms. Freeland was ideologically opposed to Mr. Trump's worldview. Rather than fighting other countries for "stealing" jobs, she argued that more and freer trade would ultimately cause higher economic growth everywhere.

In June, 2018, with more than $1-trillion in continental trade hanging in the balance, she went to Washington to deliver a speech excoriating the President's "America first" ideology, including steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the Trump administration.

Ms. Freeland called the tariffs "a naked example of the United States putting its thumb on the scale, in violation of the very rules it helped to write."

To make sure the Trump administration got the point, Ms.Freeland handed a copy of the speech to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer the next day. A source with knowledge of the Americans' thinking said several White House officials were upset by the speech, and that it made them less inclined to make a deal with the Canadians.

But three months later, Canada got a deal.

The agreement effectively saw the worst of Mr. Trump's protectionism taken off the table in exchange for Canadian concessions on a raft of long-running trade irritants from dairy protectionism to pharmaceutical patents.

Because of her tough public persona, one of Ms. Freeland's underappreciated skills is her ability to charm adversaries behind the scenes, said people who have watched her closely. Despite publicly sparring with Mr. Lighthizer, for instance, the pair were said to actually enjoy a reasonably friendly rapport in private.

In early October, 2018, the week after closing NAFTA negotiations, Mr. Lighthizer and C.J.

Mahoney, his deputy in charge of North America, flew to Toronto to accept an invitation to have dinner at Ms. Freeland's house.

She cooked the repast herself, with a main course of roast beef.

China would top most lists of countries that threaten Ms. Freeland's cherished liberal world order.

But she had initially positioned herself as the successor to a long Liberal tradition in China.

She spoke of opportunity for partnership and profit with the world's second-largest economy, a country that greeted the election of Mr. Trudeau, son of a prime minister who sat down with Mao Zedong, as a chance to build a new gilded age of co-operation.

In August, 2017, during Ms.Freeland's first and only trip to China as foreign affairs minister, she met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and discussed a "shared desire for deepened + broadened relationship," her ministry later tweeted.

Ms. Freeland's optimism on China was long-standing: In her book, Plutocrats, she described the 2012 downfall of Bo Xilai, a rival to now-President Xi Jinping, as "part of a wider drive to make the Chinese economy more fair and open." Mr. Xi has instead overseen a strengthening of the state's authoritarian hand on the economy and society alike, and China's assertive foreign policy - including the building of artificial islands in the South China Sea - pose an arguably larger threat to the liberal order than Russia.

But while Ms. Freeland expelled Russian diplomats, she went only so far as to delay visas for some Chinese state media journalists.

Ms. Freeland had "very little knowledge of Asia to start with," said Paul Evans, a China scholar at the University of British Columbia. The Liberals, he said, "have been mugged by a kind of reality which is a very nasty, hard international environment. China is part of that, but so is the United States."

Indeed, by the time Ms. Freeland concluded negotiations toward a new NAFTA deal last fall, the U.S. had already issued a warrant for Ms. Meng, the Huawei executive. Her arrest in Vancouver in December, 2018, would force a harsh new reckoning toward China, which subsequently arrested two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and sentenced two others to death for drug crimes.

Ms. Freeland tends to function either as an energetic pragmatist or an absolutist with a "cold warlike" view of the world: "authoritarians versus democrats," Prof.

Evans said. The diplomatic fight with Beijing shifted her into that second mode.

She spoke out publicly against the "arbitrary" detention of Canadians in China and issued statements of concern about Hong Kong, where protesters, some violent, have for months demonstrated against Chinese influence.

As with Russia, her statements on Hong Kong have earned her the wrath of China's Foreign Ministry, which has repeatedly singled her out, condemning her "gross" interference in Chinese affairs and demanding that she "think twice before speaking."

Online, Chinese media called her a "laughingstock" who has damaged the image of Canada.

Still, Ms. Freeland has also courted criticism at home, where she is sometimes accused of being too soft on China. Ottawa has not responded in kind after Beijing blocked imports of Canadian canola and meat products. The Trudeau government also picked Dominic Barton as its new ambassador to China. A former consultant who has publicly praised Mr. Xi, his appointment has won Canada flattery amid the continuing frictions.

It was the smallest of her diplomatic battles - the tiff with Saudi Arabia over a tweet - that exposed how much Ms. Freeland's ambitions for Canada put the country in the firing line of some of today's new authoritarians.

Previous Saudi rulers had taken Western criticism over the kingdom's human-rights record, and its repressive treatment of women, as part of a grand pact that saw the West buy Saudi oil, while also defending the kingdom from military threat. (The Liberal government has controversially continued to deliver on an agreement to sell 742 light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, some of which have since taken part in the kingdom's bloody military intervention in neighbouring Yemen. The $1-billion deal has been under review since January, though deliveries of the vehicles have continued in the interim.)

But the man who holds sway in Riyadh today, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had clearly tired of Western lectures and seemed to want to make an example of Ms. Freeland and Canada. A furious Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador to Ottawa, cancelled direct flights between Toronto and Riyadh and put pressure on the thousands of Saudi students paying university tuition in Canada to find somewhere else to study.

Shuvaloy Majumdar, who advised three Conservative foreign affairs ministers while Mr. Harper was prime minister, said the episode encapsulated Ms. Freeland's fondness for bold gestures that sometimes harm Canadian interests.

"It's virtue-signalling, rather than substantive contributions or interventions," said Mr. Majumdar, who is now a foreign-policy specialist at the MacdonaldLaurier Institute, an Ottawabased think tank. "For all of the human-rights advocacy done in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia - and I think advocacy is important when done in the right way - in which way has it had any impact on the people she is advocating for?" The Saudi episode also revealed how much the world was shifting under the Liberals' feet.

"The Twitter incident with the Saudis was a wake-up call. None of our allies spoke up in Canada's defence when Riyadh retaliated.

Not the U.S., not Britain, not even Germany, which had been subject to similar treatment by the Saudis. The lesson was that Canada needs to be more deliberate about calling out wrongdoing and that it's generally better to do so as part of a group of countries than alone," said Prof. Paris, the former adviser to Mr. Trudeau.

Prof. Paris said the Saudi episode seems to have influenced Canada's subsequent approach on other sensitive files. Ottawa, for instance, waited to speak in concert with almost two dozen other countries this summer - rather than acting first and alone - in criticizing China over its mass detention of Muslims in the Xinjiang region.

Ms. Freeland is now trying to encourage like-minded countries to join her in the battle to, as she puts it, "fight for liberal democracy." Some 43 foreign ministers met on the sidelines of the recent UN General Assembly meeting in New York last week to discuss how they hold their ground against the populist tide - and start to push back.

"In a lot of countries right now, I think we're seeing the institutions of liberal democracy sort of standing up for liberal democracy.

"And in authoritarian countries, we're seeing a lot of brave people fighting for their freedom," Ms. Freeland said. Suggesting that she's learned lessons from her early scraps, that quote hints at, but doesn't mention, the impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump, as well as recent pro-democracy protests in Moscow and Hong Kong.

But if she has adapted her style, she hasn't altered her conviction. "I feel that we in Canada are on the right side of history," she said.

Associated Graphic




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Albertans have been grappling with hard questions about their traditional industries, the environment and their place in Confederation - but parties have largely written off the province in this election campaign. The West's trust will have to be won no matter who is elected

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Saturday, October 12, 2019 – Page A16

TORONTO -- The signs on the edge of Medicine Hat welcome visitors to "The Gas City," a reference to the natural gas that has built and sustained this southeastern Alberta community for more than 100 years.

There are thousands of cityowned natural gas wells popping up out of the ground in local parks, boulevards and farmers' fields stretching into Saskatchewan, which have given Medicine Hat an outsized wealth for a community of about 63,000.

Generations of natural gas revenues have helped build schools, parks, roads and community centres, while keeping local taxes low. But years of rock-bottom gas prices recently prompted the city to announce that most of those wells will soon be shut down, a painful decision that has only deepened the wounds from an economic downturn that has dragged on for the past five years.

Mayor Ted Clugston says thousands of people in the region who work in the oil-and-gas sector have already lost their jobs.

The city's decision will put dozens more out of work, as Medicine Hat comes to terms with the collapse of what was once its main industry. "We are a microcosm of Calgary and a microcosm of the entire province of Alberta," Mr. Clugston said. "It's been a double hit for us."

The prolonged slump in the province's oil-and-gas sector has left tens of thousands of Albertans unemployed, wreaked havoc with the province's finances and inflamed a sense of anger and resentment in a region that has a long history as seeing itself as ignored by the rest of the country. Calls for separation, while still on the political fringes, have become louder as polls show an increasing number of Albertans questioning their place in the country.

Yet, the province's economic challenges have mostly failed to break into the national conversation ahead of the Oct. 21 federal election.

Alberta's place in the campaign has largely been limited to the future of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion, which the Liberals and Conservatives are both pledging to build. But its completion is still years away, and many Albertans have become skeptical the expansion will ever happen.

Economists have warned that even an expanded pipeline won't return the province's economy to what it was before oil and gas prices plunged in 2014 and 2015.

There have also been promises to eventually move Canada permanently off fossil fuels, with varying degrees of urgency, but few concrete ideas about what life in Alberta and other resource-dependent regions will look like when that happens.

And none of the national campaigns have taken seriously complaints in Alberta that federal equalization payments transfer too much of the province's wealth to provinces like Quebec, which opposes pipelines and oil infrastructure.

While Medicine Hat's problems are largely owing to a glut of cheap natural gas in the United States, rather than too few oil pipelines out of the province, Mr.

Clugston draws a direct line between what's happening in the community to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. His name still evokes memories of his father Pierre Trudeau's hated National Energy Program of the 1980s.

"You can vote Conservative, but there is a sense of just almost giving up," Mr. Clugston said.

"What does he have to do to get voted out?" Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner is not in a swing riding - not even close. The Conservative candidate typically wins with as much as 70 per cent of the vote, and the main competitors are largely seen as sacrificial candidates with no real hope of success.

There is a similar lack of suspense in most of Alberta's 34 federal ridings, with pollsters predicting a possible Conservative sweep later this month. That has meant no party has an incentive to spend much time campaigning in Alberta, much less tackle the very real long-term problems facing the province, said Martha Hall Findlay, president of the Canada West Foundation.

"One of the things that makes it so much worse is that you go outside of the West and nobody in any other part of the country has a clue of just how bad it is - and that speaks volumes," said Ms. Hall Findlay, a former Liberal MP.

The main party leaders have barely visited Alberta. Mr. Trudeau was in Edmonton on the second day of the campaign, but hasn't been back. Mr. Scheer has been twice - once each in Calgary and Edmonton.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has yet to campaign in the province and his party hasn't said whether he intends to before election day.

Green Leader Elizabeth May attended a climate protest in Calgary last month, while Maxime Bernier of the People's Party has also been to Calgary.

Ms. Hall Findlay said the sentiment in Alberta is different from the "West wants in" slogans of the eighties and nineties. Many in the province now see the federal focus on climate change as an existential threat that ignores the economic realities of life in Alberta, she said.

"People here are saying, 'We get that, we're working really hard toward finding those solutions,' " Ms. Hall Findlay said.

"To hear that the environment is the issue in this election misses half of the conversation, because it also has to be about the economy ... and that's the frustration."

From 2000 through 2014, Alberta's economy grew by an average of 4.8 per cent a year - more than double the pace of the rest of the country. The province was responsible for 27 per cent of Canada's economic growth in that time, despite having only about 10 per cent of the national population.

Alberta's population was also growing fast, as its booming economy became a magnet for workers from other parts of the country. The province's labour force swelled by almost 750,000, or nearly 50 per cent, in that period. Average weekly wages increased by better than 5 per cent a year. The average price for a detached home rose by nearly 13 per cent a year.

But a lot has changed since the oil market began to collapse in the summer of 2014.

The Alberta economy sank into a two-year recession in the fall of that year, and still hasn't entirely recovered. The province's GDP at the end of last year was 1-per-cent less than where it was at the end of 2014. Alberta's unemployment rate, which was below 5 per cent in 2014, was 6.6 per cent last month - the highest west of Atlantic Canada. Average wages have been essentially flat over the past five years.

Estimates about how many jobs in the oil patch were lost as a direct result of the price crash have varied. A report released earlier this year pegged the number at about 40,000 oil-and-gas jobs gone since 2014.

There were 166,200 Albertans out of work last month, up from 111,400 in September, 2014, when oil prices started to collapse, according to Statistics Canada.

That's still better than the peak in November, 2016, when that figure had ballooned to 225,000.

Some groups continue to hurt more than others. Women actually saw a net gain in employment during the recession, but young men - who could once command lucrative wages in the oil industry with relatively little education - were hit especially hard.

The unemployment rate among men aged 15 to 24 swelled to 19.9 per cent last month, the highest in the country, and up dramatically from 11.3 per cent in September, 2014. But that number doesn't even count young men who have abandoned seeking work entirely or gone back to school, in light of the dismal prospects.

The employment rate - the percentage of the total male population in the age group who have a job, a more complete picture of the total hit taken by Alberta's young male work force - has fallen to 53.7 per cent, from 63.4 per cent in September, 2014.

Young men without a highschool education have fared the worst.

Consumer insolvencies also ramped up during the recession, and have continued climbing since it ended. In August, the number of insolvencies, including bankruptcies and proposals, was 13.4-per-cent higher than a year earlier.

Mortgage arrears are at their highest rate of the past five years, as well. The percentage of mortgages in Alberta with payments overdue by three or more months hit 0.5 per cent in June - the most recent data available for the Canadian Bankers Association - compared with 0.23 per cent across the country. Home prices in Alberta have seen yearover-year declines almost every month for the past two years.

Economists forecast that the Alberta economy will grow by less than 1 per cent in 2019. Some have even suggested the province may have already slipped into mild recession.

Things look a little brighter ahead, with forecasters projecting growth approaching a respectable 2 per cent in each of the next two years. But, as always, a lot depends on the price of oil; even in a weak oil market, the energy sector still accounted for 30 per cent of Alberta's GDP last year.

Despite the slowdown, Alberta's economy also still has a lot to envy.

Its employment rate - the percentage of people aged 15 and older who have a job - is still the highest of any province. So is Alberta's labour participation rate (the share of people who either have a job or are seeking one).

Albertans enjoy the highest incomes in the country - average wages are nearly 15-per-cent above the national average - and the lowest taxes per capita. (The absence of a provincial sales tax is the biggest factor.)

It has the youngest population among the provinces, with a median age four years younger than the national median. Alberta is also one of the country's best-educated provinces: It ranks near the top in percentage of workers with a postsecondary education, and in test scores among high-school students, based on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a global standard.

In other words, Alberta's labour supply is young, skilled and plentiful - all good traits for future prosperity. The trick, economists say, is figuring out how to put that high-quality labour force to work as the oil and gas industry no longer commands their services the way it once did.

University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe said new pipeline access would clearly help the Alberta economy by

narrowing the price gap, or differential, between the prices oil producers in Alberta receive and the much higher ones in foreign markets.

Constrained pipeline access has depressed Canadian crude prices in recent years as production levels approached export capacity and the industry was left held captive by one market: the United States. The increased reliance on oil-by-rail has also added significantly to transportation costs, which has further weighed on prices. The Alberta government estimated the province was losing $80-million a day when the price differential hit US$50 a barrel last year.

"It's hard to overstate the importance of the pipeline. because that differential does have significant implications for all of the economy," Dr. Tombe said. "In terms of what else the federal government could do, it's not clear because the recession was not a policy-driven event. It was on oil price shock."

Last month, Dr. Tombe published research that attempted to measure how much Alberta's economic downturn has weighed down the national economy. He concluded that if Alberta had kept pace with other provinces, the Canadian economy would be $130-billion larger and the national unemployment rate would be 0.8 percentage points lower.

"We tend to think about provinces too much as isolated entities," he said. "But the economic interconnections between the different parts of Canada are very strong."

While oil prices, and Alberta's economy, have rebounded since the depths of the recession, that recovery has been modest and left many people out entirely.

News of bankruptcies and layoffs in the resource sector is still frequent.

Rory Hale is a recent casualty.

He lost his job as an IT manager at a Calgary-based oil-and-gas firm this past June. He had already been searching for work for much of the previous year, expecting that downsizing and layoffs were coming.

Mr. Hale, 50, assumed his experience in IT would insulate him from the boom-bust cycle of oil and gas, but so far it hasn't helped. "This go around, if I wanted to be insulated from it, I'd probably have to look outside of Alberta to get away from the downturn," he said. "I'm getting a little older with deep roots in Alberta, so that would be a pretty tough move."

Mr. Hale said he views the downturn as "100-per-cent politically driven," and he is deeply suspicious of the Trudeau government, despite its decision to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline. He said voting Conservative is the only option he's considering.

"It started with the oil price collapse, for sure, but the federal government and the previous [NDP] provincial government are basically trying to kill this industry, in my opinion," he said.

"It's not good for Canada. It's not good for Alberta."

Alberta went through a provincial election this past spring in which Premier Jason Kenney brought his United Conservative Party to power with a campaign that seized on those economic frustrations - and held up Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau as the main cause. Mr. Kenney pointed not only to delays in pipeline construction, but federal environmental legislation he argues represents an attack on the province.

Mr. Kenney has made defeating Mr. Trudeau a key goal. He played host to Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer in Edmonton early in the campaign, and last weekend he visited Ontario's 905 region to campaign for the party. He has also promised to hold a provincial referendum on equalization if several conditions aren't met, including the repeal of recently passed environmental laws, such as Bill C-69, and meaningful reform to the equalization formula.

"I would say the frustration is enormous," Mr. Kenney said in an interview. "We have a sense that we played by the rules, that we've contributed massively to the federation ... And most Albertans, right across the political and demographic spectrum, just feel that that has not been recognized."

Mr. Kenney has accused the Liberal government of stoking a national unity crisis, pointing to several opinion polls, including an Environics Institute survey published earlier this year, that showed more than half of respondents in Alberta said the province would be better off on its own.

He said Mr. Trudeau would have an enormous challenge to confront the mistrust of Albertans if he wins re-election. If the Conservatives win, Mr. Kenney said he will also need to push hard for Alberta's interests, but he sees Mr. Scheer as a natural ally.

"I recall that when Stephen Harper was prime minister, no one was talking about separation in Alberta," said Mr. Kenney, who was a senior cabinet minister in the Harper government. "We didn't get everything we wanted, but fundamentally, we had to sense that the federal government was not working against our fundamental economic interests."

The Premier also warned of a worst-case scenario that has been echoed by other pro-pipeline voices in Alberta: a Liberal minority government that would require support from the NDP or Greens to survive.

"It would take a federal government that's already hostile to our energy industry and make it even more hostile," he said.

While Mr. Kenney has held up recent rumblings about Alberta separatism to sound the alarm about national unity, he's also suggested that many of the people who might tell a pollster they support separation may just be blowing off steam.

The Western separation movement, to the extent that it is a movement, appears to be relatively small.

A group calling itself Wexit -a Brexit-inspired name for Western separation - made waves in February when it put up billboards in Calgary and Edmonton that asked, "Should Alberta Ditch Canada?" The group has been making a similar pitch in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Wexit organizers registered as a third-party group in the provincial election under the banner of Alberta Fights Back and raised a little more than $8,000. The group has been holding small events and rallies in Calgary and Red Deer that have attracted a few dozen people.

The group plans to register as a federal political party and wants to run provincial candidates with the goal of eventually holding a referendum on separation. Former Conservative MP Jay Hill has publicly mused about the idea of Western independence, as has Allan Kerpan, a former Reform MP and Saskatchewan Party MLA.

The Alberta Independence Party, which is not formally associated with the Wexit group, received just 0.7 per cent of the vote in the spring election.

Wexit founder Peter Downing said his supporters feel as though the federal government is beholden to Eastern Canadian interests and that Alberta would be more prosperous on its own. He says Alberta is being ignored during the current campaign. "Our vote doesn't count," he said.

Mr. Downing predicted that a Liberal victory would cause the separatist sentiment to explode, and he insists calls for a referendum won't stop even if Mr.

Scheer becomes prime minister.

Liberal candidates in Alberta have been forced to push back against that anger and the perception the party isn't on the side of the oil and gas industry. The Liberals did not have a presence in the province before picking up four seats in 2015, and the party faces the prospect of being wiped off Alberta's electoral map again.

Randy Boissonnault, a Liberal incumbent in the riding of Edmonton-Centre, said there are "4.5-billion reasons" why Albertans should trust the party, a reference to the cost of purchasing the Trans Mountain pipeline. He notes that construction on the expansion project has started in Burnaby, B.C., and crews are mobilizing to get started elsewhere along the route.

When asked why that message isn't getting through, Mr. Boissonnault blames "misinformation from Andrew Scheer and Jason Kenney," and complains that Mr. Trudeau's government isn't getting the credit it deserves.

"There is no political calculus for Justin Trudeau to have bought the pipeline, and yet it's the right thing to do for our country," Mr. Boissonnault said.

The New Democrats face even greater challenges.

The party's lone MP in the province, Linda Duncan, isn't running again, turning her riding of Edmonton-Strathcona into a competitive three-way race with the Liberals and Conservatives.

Across Alberta, the party polls a distant third.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh opposes the Trans Mountain pipeline and drew criticism when he recently said he would not impose pipelines on provinces that don't want them running through their territory, such as British Columbia and Quebec, although he insisted that is not the same thing as a veto.

The NDP candidate in Edmonton-Strathcona, Heather McPherson, has instead attempted to align herself with former NDP premier Rachel Notley, whose support for the Trans Mountain expansion put her at odds with the federal party.

"We need to consult with Indigenous people along the line we're trying to build," Ms.McPherson said in an interview.

"We have to get consensus there.

We have to build it."

Back in Medicine Hat, Mayor Clugston says the city is not waiting for any level of government to save it.

The community has attracted several new companies recently, including an Aurora Cannabis facility that will create about 450 permanent jobs and a bitcoin mining operation, Hut 8, that opened last year. On top of the jobs, both operations need substantial amounts of electricity, purchased from the city-owned power utility (which, of course, burns natural gas).

Even Gas City is investing significant cash in renewable energy. There are three windmills towering over the north edge of town. A municipally-owned solar project is shutting down because it was losing money, but the city plans to keep experimenting with the technology.

The city has yet to replace all the jobs that have been lost in oil and gas, and Mr. Clugston acknowledges that in many cases the wages are not as high. But he says there's a cautious sense of optimism.

"The oil and gas [downturn], it's devastating, and those people are having to navigate a transformational shift in their lives," Mr.Clugston said.

"The irony is that this city was founded on cheap natural gas. It has been our history to burn it, from the clay and the brick manufacturing 120 years ago. Now we make electricity out of it, and bitcoin and marijuana."

With reports from Justin Giovannetti in Edmonton and Matt Lundy in Toronto

Associated Graphic

Medicine Hat, its city sign seen at top, is teeming with natural gas wells, but many of them will soon be closed as the city tries to come to terms with the collapse of what was once its main industry. Mayor Ted Clungston, above, says the city is a 'microcosm' of Alberta.


Further job losses are expected in Medicine Hat as the city moves to close many of its natural gas wells, such as the one seen above.

The city of Medicine Hat, its landmark Saamis Tepee and a downtown mural seen above, was once able to build schools and parks with the natural gas revenue it produced, but now Gas City has begun to look at investing in renewable energy after a five-year economic slump.

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In Cape Breton, international students transform a campus
Once imperilled by declining enrolment, university undergoing massive growth as two-thirds of its students hail from abroad

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Monday, October 7, 2019 – Page A1

SYDNEY, N.S -- The first visible sign of Cape Breton University's transformation was the lineup for the bus. Passing motorists craned their necks to stare at the clusters of students waiting on street corners, sometimes as many as 10 to 20 at a time. The community had never seen anything like it.

Hundreds of new international students, mainly from India and China, began arriving in Sydney, N.S., last fall, and they've kept coming ever since.

Their presence represents a massive shift for Cape Breton University. Once a tiny regional school imperilled by declining enrolment, CBU is now a growing centre for international education.

Its explosive growth triggered a local housing shortage, and forced the university to hire more staff and hunt for additional class space. The university even had to buy the town more buses.

The number of international students at CBU increased more than threefold in 24 months. At a time when revenues are flat elsewhere, its budget swelled by 37 per cent. The school nearly doubled in size. It also crossed a crucial threshold: two-thirds of the university's students, a super-majority, now hail from abroad.

What has happened at CBU is not only changing one community. It's the most dramatic example of a trend sweeping the country: the enormous expansion of international student enrolment.

In just over a decade, the number of international students in Canada has tripled.

That growth has coincided with a shift in the way universities are funded. Across Canada, government funding has stagnated even as costs have risen. One way to bridge the resulting funding gap is through international student fees, which are typically two to six times higher than domestic tuition.

But how does embracing foreign students change a university? What's the right mix of domestic and international students? What's a fair price for a Canadian education? Canadian institutions are all wrestling with how to manage what they call "internationalization."

None has gone as far as CBU.

Cape Breton University, until 2005 known as the University College of Cape Breton, sits just off the highway linking Sydney to Glace Bay. It's a small, modern campus connected by lush lawns and covered passageways to protect pedestrians from coastal winds.

The campus showpiece, the Great Hall of the Student Centre, bursts with the colour of dozens of national flags.

International students are not new at CBU, but the surrounding community has remained closely tied to its Gaelic past even as immigration has transformed other parts of Canada. According to the census, immigrants make up just 1.8 per cent of the local population, about a 10th of the national average. The median age is a decade older than in the rest of Canada.

The university campus, by contrast, looks very different these days.

Cafeteria tables buzz in half a dozen languages. The student shop stocks popular Indian and Chinese snacks. The local cinema swapped Hollywood films for Bollywood a few days a week to boost business. The entire student council is made up of international students. The men's soccer team, a campus rallying point, has risen to the top of national rankings with a team that's almost half international students.

On the first day of fall classes, students dressed in variations of tight jeans and plaid shirts, some in orange CBU gear, greet each other with hugs and slide into plastic chairs to chat. In some spots, Chinese and Vietnamese students sit together; in others, they mingle with Indians and Canadian-born classmates. Students from Punjab gather near the Tim Hortons; South Indians occupy a patch a few metres away.

The international students are 60-40 male, almost the opposite of the 57-43 female-to-male ratio in the Canadian university student population.

They tend to come from relatively well-off families. A large portion already have undergraduate degrees from their home countries. They come to study business, engineering, tourism and public health, among other subjects, often in shorter postgraduate programs. They found CBU either through recruitment agents paid by the school or through their own internet searches. One student said she saw photos of the Cabot Trail on Instagram and was sold. Another said his grades were too low for bigger schools. Some say they wanted a small-town experience.

Almost all said the possibility of immigrating to Canada was a major draw.

About half the international students are from India. The next-largest cohort is from China.

Students from both countries say the Cape Breton countryside, clean air and slower pace of life make a seductive change from the clamour and pollution of the world's most populous countries.

Sristi Sharma, a 19-year-old biology student with a part-time job at Walmart, comes from a family of teachers in Haryana, Northern India. She says she was introduced to the idea of CBU through a recruitment agent.

Like many of her friends, her ambition is to become a Canadian.

First she must graduate, get a job and then apply for permanent residency.

"I think 99 per cent of the Indian students want to stay in Canada," Ms. Sharma says.

At the turn of the millennium, CBU's student body was about 85per-cent Cape Breton-born. Enrolment was flat or declining, and because of decades of unfavourable demographic trends, it was likely to stay that way.

The population of Cape Breton county, the island's largest district, peaked in 1961 at about 132,000. Now it's 95,000. The coal and steel industries dried up long ago, and young people have moved elsewhere. The population aged 19 and under, the target market for universities, is projected to drop by 20 per cent in a little more than a decade.

By 2016, CBU was a university in crisis. The administration claimed it was in such dire financial straits it would have to lay off faculty, which is almost unheard of in Canada. The atmosphere was miserable.

The university decided to chart a new course.

David Dingwall, the former Liberal cabinet minister famed for saying he was entitled to his entitlements, was appointed president in early 2017. In a region accustomed to managing population decline, he promised growth. So far, he has delivered.

Mr. Dingwall, a compact, energetic figure and raconteur, recalls a job interview at which he expected a gentle academic interrogation. Instead, he found himself surrounded by "alligators" who questioned his vision for the university, he said. He told them to hire someone else. They hired him anyway.

When he took the job, he was advised that 3,800 students was a sensible enrolment target. He cruised right past that to more than 5,500 today. "And rising," he nearly shouts. Then he reins in his enthusiasm and backtracks.

He wants to keep expanding, he clarifies, but there have been growing pains. These are good problems to have, he emphasizes, but the plan for now is to pause to allow the university's infrastructure to catch up.

The big shift began last fall.

With the help of agents based in China, India and elsewhere, the school opened its doors. More than 1,100 new international students arrived from dozens of countries.

But many of them turned up at school without having arranged housing. The residences filled up, and the administration appealed to the community to take on boarders. Hundreds did, including a priest who welcomed four Indian students as rectory roommates, according to the local paper. Rents rose because of the sudden jump in demand.

"This institution was not built for what happened last September," says Gordon McInnis, the university's vice-president of finance. "The broader community wasn't built for this either. To put this in perspective, we increased the population in Cape Breton county by about 3 to 4 per cent last year, overnight."

And then there was transit.

Buses were packed. Local riders grumbled. In some cases, students couldn't get to class. The region didn't have the funds to rapidly adjust, so the university offered to buy them new buses.

"Somebody had to," Mr. McInnis says. It cost more than $350,000, but, as he puts it, students not getting to campus was a potential "show-stopper" for the international strategy.

"I know that transit never, ever worked in this community. As of last September, it became viable.

Transit ridership is off the charts," Mr. McInnis says.

The new students have brought in a lot of money - the school's budget went from $57million to $79-million in a year.

But there are also costs associated with growth. The cafeteria has to be expanded. In a year, more than 95 new staff have been hired, 45 faculty and others in support roles to help the international students navigate life in Canada.

There have also been issues with what the school calls "academic integrity." A number of staff say there have been issues with students who seem unfamiliar with Canadian standards for academic citation. The school has added resources to its writing and research help centres and, in the predeparture orientation seminars it runs in India, has made a point of discussing the dangers of plagiarism. They also plan to roll out a module on academic integrity that students would have to complete before getting access to online course materials.

"We've had some challenges, and we had to deal with one last year - a serious situation," Mr.

Dingwall says, referring to those same concerns over academic integrity.

Scott Stewart, a CBU professor and former faculty association president, says language barriers have created problems in some cases that have forced professors to change the way they teach.

"There's no way that you can keep the exact same curriculum, if you've got ... a large proportion of your students who struggle with English language skills," Prof. Stewart says.

"I changed assignments to make it so that students had to write much less. They could write short-answer stuff and not essays. We went over things much more slowly. None of these things are necessarily bad in and of themselves. But it certainly creates a change."

Brian Tennyson, a historian who has taught at CBU, and its predecessor, for more than 40 years, says that in his experience, the students are capable but struggle with the language.

"Their writing skills are shaky.

You have to cut them a lot of slack," Prof. Tennyson says. "You can decipher what they're saying, but you have to be a little generous. They are in a second language, though."

Cape Breton is known as a centre of Gaelic culture and its thriving tourism sector trades on a rich tradition of music and song.

Many families trace their history back generations to the Scots

who came to Nova Scotia during the Highland Clearances.

But the university also wants to emphasize a less trumpeted history of multiculturalism. They point to the working class community of Whitney Pier, just across the tracks from Sydney, an area where black people, Jews, Ukrainians and others settled in the days when the steel plant ruled the local economy. It represents a tradition of welcoming new immigrants to build Cape Breton on which the university hopes to draw.

"We're not afraid of brown people. We're used to them.

Whereas some other institutions aren't," Mr. Dingwall said.

It's an unusual way to frame the issue, particularly for a university trying to woo students from around the world.

But Mr. Dingwall recognizes that, with such a large influx of foreign students, it's important for the university to maintain the support of community. So far, the feedback has been positive, he said.

"Let me put it this way: The community is asking us to do this. The community wants international students."

No other Canadian university has crossed the 50 per cent foreign-student threshold. Even the largest foreign-student cohorts are in the 30-per-cent range. CBU is an outlier.

Prof. Stewart said some programs, particularly in business, engineering and public health, are heavily populated with foreign students. There's a danger that the students themselves will feel that they aren't getting what they thought they paid for.

"I've talked to a lot of our Indian students and as they put it, they didn't come to Canada to sit in a classroom that's almost entirely filled with Indians. They came to get a Canadian education in a Canadian university," Prof. Stewart said.

Mr. Dingwall said he doesn't know why other universities haven't gone as far as he has on internationalization. "Some of them are going to be forced to do it. If they want to exist," he says.

The university-age population, those between 15 and 24, has peaked and is now beginning to decline across almost the entire country. As those numbers shrink, it will put pressure on university budgets, which provincial governments have been reluctant to expand. One of the few tools universities have to generate revenue, other than seeking donations, is to welcome more international students.

"Universities in Canada, generally speaking, are in trouble," Mr.

McInnis said. "The inconvenient truth is that the university model across this region, and I suspect across this country, is unsustainable. People don't like to talk about it, but that is the reality."

Madeline Harpell, 19, is a secondyear student who grew up in Cape Breton. She chose the local university, known colloquially as the "high school on the highway," because it was close to home and she won a scholarship. She's one of about 1,200 Cape Breton students among the 5,500 in the student body.

When she arrived for her first classes last fall, the sudden change to the school's makeup caught her by surprise. "It was very shocking," she says, but in a nice way, she adds quickly. She came from a high school with very little diversity and found herself, unexpectedly, surrounded by people from all over the world.

"It opens your eyes to new perspectives and parts of the world we wouldn't otherwise be exposed to," she says.

She doesn't really have friends among the international students, she says, but has worked with some in group projects, and it went well. The ideas and input were fairly distributed, but as the native English speaker, more of the writing burden fell to her, she says.

There are some who aren't as happy to see the influx of international students, but they won't say so to a reporter, she says.

She's heard people complain about crowded hallways and the difficulty finding housing. In her case, though, her mother was able to rent a property to four international students for a higher price than she initially sought.

"A lot of people, it's not that they're close-minded, but Cape Breton is very traditional," she says.

Over the course of a decade starting in 2008, the number of foreign study permit holders in Canada more than tripled. Today, it stands at more than 570,000 and shows no sign of slowing. It grew 16 per cent last year and 19 per cent the year before that.

As part of its immigration strategy the government of Canada aims to convert university students - who have recognizable credentials, who know the languages and the country, who have already begun their adaptation - into citizens.

Since 2011, the number of new permanent residents who previously had a study permit almost tripled, to more than 53,000 in 2018. In Nova Scotia, a region where immigrants have not settled in large numbers, the number was nearly five times higher in 2018 than in 2011, and on pace to grow again in 2019.

One of the big attractions for international students is Cape Breton's comparatively low tuition price. It's just a little more than $17,000, roughly half of what it is at bigger Canadian schools.

The university's recruitment targets areas of the world where the middle class is growing and where there's a demand for international credentials. India is the biggest market, followed by China, and more recently they've been looking at Rwanda, Nigeria and Senegal, as well as parts of Latin America.

The school has also introduced a number of two- and three-year programs that appeal to students who've already earned a degree in their home countries. Many of the students from India, for example, arrive as graduates, whereas students from Africa, Vietnam and Eastern Europe tend to come straight from high school.

About half of the students who apply eventually get in. Some don't meet the entrance requirements, but the biggest hurdle is getting a study permit from Citizenship, Immigration and Refugees Canada. It's a crucial step in the process. A Canadian visa officer vets the applicants, assesses their finances and credentials, and verifies their identities.

For a majority of international students at CBU, the long-term goal is to become a resident of Canada.

"Nova Scotia has one of the best immigration programs for international student graduates in Canada," says Victor Tomiczek, who works in enrolment at CBU.

He's referring to the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP). Under the AIP, graduates can work after they leave school and, provided they have full-time work and can pass a language test, they have a very strong likelihood of being granted permanent residency.

One big question, for those concerned about the region's economic health, is whether the newcomers will stay in Cape Breton.

"Immigration is not our core business. Population strategy is not our core business. But it's a part of our business," Mr. Dingwall said.

All around Sydney, people talk of a community transformed. In fast-food restaurants and discount retailers, the workers are likely to be international students. There are bustling Asian grocery stores and new restaurants launched by some of CBU's international grads. More than one international student says Cape Bretoners have approached them in stores to tell them how pleased they are to see immigrants in Cape Breton.

Damien Barry, general counsel at Louisbourg Seafoods, a large Cape Breton processor, says his company has benefited enormously from the influx.

"Without international students this year, we would've been in serious trouble," Mr. Barry says. The jobs in seafood processing are often hard, physical labour and difficult to fill. In the past, the company has used temporary foreign workers but would much prefer to hire international students, who by law are allowed to work 20 hours a week in term time and longer in the summer.

He says they'll help some apply for permanent residency.

"They've been a breath of fresh air. They're very appreciative of the opportunity," Mr. Barry says.

Many students say they'd like to stay in Canada. Some aim to live in Cape Breton; others say Halifax, with its larger economy, is their likely destination. And many, still in their early 20s, aren't sure where they're headed next or how Cape Breton will fit into their plans.

Lily Cao, a recent CBU graduate, comes from a city about an hour outside Shanghai. She earned a marketing degree from a Chinese university but wanted to go abroad afterward.

"As Chinese people, we have to compete with somebody for everything. To get good marks, a university place, a job." Life in a massive country was a grind, and she wanted to room to breathe.

This is how she assessed her options in the international marketplace: "The U.S. is not so nice, so cross that one off. Australia, they think Chinese people want to conquer them economically.

It's all over their newspapers ... So, no. Britain, very hard to get into." That left Canada.

A recruitment agent told her that CBU was a good university, and that she could pass the tourism and hospitality program without much difficulty. "And then you can get a job and apply for residency. So that's my plan," Ms. Cao said. She and her husband and young child packed up and moved to Cape Breton. Her husband took care of their child while she studied full time, starting with an English-language program to lift her fluency so she could enroll in the tourism program.

Now she works the night shift at a hotel desk and studies an English language textbook in the down times, readying for the test she'll need to pass to become a permanent resident. That would allow her and her family to put down roots in Cape Breton.

It's taken years to get this far, she says. Just one step remains.

Associated Graphic

International students Juwel Jacob, left, and Akhil Kizhakkekara take a break on the Cape Breton University campus last month.


The Great Hall of the Student Centre is the showpiece of Cape Breton University in Sydney, N.S., as it bursts with the colours of dozens of national flags.

CBU president David Dingwall, middle, speaks with international student Lalit Singh, left, and Darren MacDonald, director of the school's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre.

Gobindpreet Singh, a first-year business administration student from India, stops to take a picture from the top of Kellys Mountain in Cape Breton.

Thursday, October 10, 2019


A Monday feature on Cape Breton University incorrectly said its president David Dingwall was appointed in early 2017. In fact, it was 2018.

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Reconciliation's reckoning: For Indigenous people in Northern Ontario, election season brings disenchantment and defiance
First Nations, Métis and Inuit voters helped propel Justin Trudeau's Liberals to power in 2015. Now, some feel that his promises of a nation-to-nation relationship haven't been fulfilled - and they're going to say so at the ballot box

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019 – Page A10

Past Caribou Island and over the Nipigon River bridge, past the Red Rock Indian Band's hitching post and gas bar, up the Trans-Canada Highway and down a bush road lies Loven Lake.

It is there, about a two-hour drive north of Thunder Bay, that a group of Red Rock members set up camp for the annual moose hunt that will fill their freezers and bellies for the months to come. For this community and others across the country, the fall harvest is under way. Chiefs, elders and youth are out on the land setting traps, fishing, hunting, picking traditional medicines and talking around fires under a twinkling Father Sky.

Joel Haskell's eight-year-old son, Draven, is among the boys at the camp at Loven Lake. "They're getting our kids into our old traditions and back to our roots," said Mr. Haskell, as he stacked logs for his wood-burning stove in the basement of the house he built on the reserve 30 years ago.

Those traditions were forbidden under the Indian Residential School system that forced First Nations children off their reserves and into church-run, government-funded institutions.

That is the truth that was illuminated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which in 2015 released a report detailing the atrocities.

Just as children such as Draven are reconnecting with the culture that the Canadian government worked for decades to eradicate, voters like his father are deliberating which federal party is most fit to govern.

Mr. Haskell was part of the groundswell of First Nations, Métis and Inuit voters that turned out in unprecedented numbers to elect Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau in 2015. Mr. Trudeau rose to power on the promise of a new nation-to-nation relationship and a commitment to reconciliation. The past four years have seen advancements on some Indigenous files, but Mr. Trudeau's term in office is open for criticism. Beyond policy decisions, there have also been questions of character, including as it relates to the high-profile disintegration of Mr. Trudeau's relationship with Canada's first Indigenous attorney-general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, and the release last month of photos showing Mr. Trudeau wearing blackface and brownface. On the latter issue, Mr. Trudeau said he now realizes the makeup was racist and that he was blinded by his privilege. The Liberals have asked Canadians to judge their government on its record.

On Oct. 21, that is what voters will do.

Mr. Haskell gives the current government a failing grade. Mr.Trudeau, he said, has not lived up to his claims to feminism, nor to his pledge to embrace "sunny ways." The Liberals have lost his vote. "There were lots of lies," he said.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, an Indigenous lawyer and former judge who served as B.C.'s children's representative for a decade until stepping down in 2016, said the Liberals' scorecard is not "attractive" at this point. "You can't unwind 140 years of colonialism overnight - I understand that," said Ms. Turpel-Lafond, the director of the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at the University of British Columbia. "But the entire process never really got going ... Did we just have a post-reconciliation government? I would say we didn't."

In their platforms and public statements leading up to and during the current election campaign, the main parties have all promised some version of a commitment to reconciliation.

The Liberals and NDP say they will end boil-water advisories on reserves by 2021. The Liberals, NDP and Greens all say they will implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The NDP, under Leader Jagmeet Singh, says it will launch a national action plan for reconciliation, and then create a council to oversee it and report to Parliament. The Liberals say they will eliminate tuberculosis in the North by 2030. Elizabeth May's Green Party says it will dismantle the Indian Act, calling the legislation racist and oppressive.

The Conservatives, under Andrew Scheer, say they will review the Indian Act "to remove barriers to prosperity." The party, which had a tense relationship with Indigenous peoples under Stephen Harper's leadership, culminating in the Idle No More movement, says it will pursue resource development in a way that is respectful and economically beneficial to Indigenous communities.

The promises go on and on.

Just as the various political parties have their own definitions and visions, so, too, do Indigenous people.

Ahead of the election, The Globe and Mail interviewed three dozen Indigenous people across the country, asking what reconciliation means to them, whether Canada has made great strides and if reconciliation is even possible.

For Sam Achneepineskum, reconciliation is personal and internal. He was torn from his family on Treaty 9 territory in Northern Ontario and flown south to McIntosh Indian Residential School when he was 11 years old.

There is no role for Ottawa in his healing journey.

For Cindy Blackstock, a childwelfare advocate from B.C.'s Gitxsan First Nation, reconciliation is about the federal government no longer "wilfully and recklessly" discriminating against on-reserve children, as the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled earlier this year.

For Tannis Kasteris, a recently elected band councillor in Fort William First Nation, just across the Kaministiquia River from Thunder Bay, reconciliation is about getting out from under the Indian Act. She wants to be able to actually own the on-reserve home she paid off after 15 years.

For Roxanne Moonias, whose fly-in community of Neskantaga First Nation in Northern Ontario only recently got safe running water after 25 years on a boil-water advisory, reconciliation is about equitable and accessible health care. Every few months, she flies to Thunder Bay and then to Toronto with her four-year-old son Brydon, who needs continuing treatment for a congenital heart condition.

For national Inuit leader Natan Obed, reconciliation is about respecting rights and working together to improve conditions for Indigenous peoples.

And for Fort William elder John Charlie, reconciliation is something totally different. It is meaningless and impossible. "I don't know who came up with the word 'reconciliation,' but we sure as hell didn't," said Mr. Charlie, who works at one of the reserve's gas bars. "The damage that was done to our people is unforgivable, forever." Just recently, a white customer called his niece a "dirty fuckin' Indian." "Those are the things we have to deal with," he said. "And then you want to talk about reconciliation?" Mr. Charlie is among those who told The Globe that they will not vote, either because they do not consider themselves Canadian citizens or because they are disenchanted with, or disinterested in, mainstream politics.

Many others, however, said they will show up at the polls to have their voices heard and to make their power known. "We flipped 21 ridings in the last election," Perry Bellegarde, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said in a recent interview. Mr. Bellegarde, whose advocacy organization represents 900,000 people and 634 communities, said he hopes First Nations, Métis and Inuit will "rock the vote" again this year.

Still, he understands the tensions at play. "As Indigenous people, we're part of the land and water - we have cycles," said Mr. Bellegarde, a member of Saskatchewan's Little Black Bear First Nation. "It's the fall hunt, for geese, for moose. And then all of a sudden there's this election, and these two worlds colliding.

But we find balance ... We walk in both worlds."

'IS THERE ANYTHING TO BE PROUD OF?' As rain fell over Thunder Bay, a sacred fire burned inside a tepee on the field outside Pope John Paul II Senior Elementary School, which sits on the land of the former St. Joseph's Indian Residential School. It was Orange Shirt Day, an annual event held across the country to acknowledge residential-school survivors and their families.

Dozens of Grade 7 and 8 students emerged from their classes to listen to the speakers and say the Lord's Prayer, which was led by a Catholic priest who had been invited to recite words of healing and comfort. One of the students, 12-year-old Sienna Bouchard, whose grandmother attended residential school, said it is important for people to understand what happened in the past. "It's not fair for different races to be treated differently," the Gull Bay First Nation girl told The Globe.

Sienna is too young to vote in this federal election, or even the next. But her life is affected by the decisions of Canadian governments past and present, and will be in the future. Her sentiments - of understanding and equity - were echoed by adults, albeit in more complicated terms.

After the event, some of the Orange Shirt Day marchers sought reprieve from the weather at the Columbus Centre, where a community lunch of tuna sandwiches, salad and carrot cake was served. Mr. Achneepineskum and members of his family sat around a table, discussing the notion of reconciliation. One of his siblings - Anna Betty Achneepineskum - is running for the NDP in the Thunder Bay-Superior North riding.

"[Politicians] talk a lot about reconciliation, but I don't think they know what that is," said Mr.

Achneepineskum, whose family is from Marten Falls First Nation.

"The most important thing is to reconcile within yourself everything that happened, and to live the life that you were supposed to live."

His sister, Ida Kubitz, who also attended residential school, said she was "anti-white" for decades.

With time and therapy, she worked through her anger and ended up marrying a white man.

To her, reconciliation is not about making amends; no one can right the wrong of a lost childhood.

"For me, reconciliation is about not being angry any more," she said. As a matter of policy or politics, the word "has no real meaning to the people who survived."

Restoring the nation-to-nation relationship is not only about confronting the dark chapter of Canada's residential schools.

There was also the so-called Sixties Scoop, when child-welfare workers across the country removed thousands of Indigenous children from their homes and placed them with non-Indigenous families. There is the vastly disproportionate violence against Indigenous women and girls; earlier this year, the national inquiry tasked with uncovering the systemic reasons for the murders and disappearances concluded that a genocide is taking place in Canada. There is the Indian Act, first enacted in 1876, which stipulates who is "entitled" to be deemed "Indian" and controls many aspects of First Nations people's lives and the reserve system as a whole. The Liberals had planned to move forward with a new Indigenous rights framework that would say the rights of First Nations, Métis and Inuit do not have to be negotiated because they are simply understood to exist. But their plan was not well-received; First Nations leaders attending an AFN policy forum in September, 2018, said the government was moving too fast.

There is the continuing matter of on-reserve child-welfare funding. In 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled that Ottawa discriminated against tens of thousands of vulnerable First Nations children by providing less money for child-welfare services on reserves than is available elsewhere in Canada. Since then, the Trudeau government has been hit with several non-compliance orders. Earlier this month, it launched a challenge to the tribunal's recent decision on compensation, which would see thousands of children, parents and grandparents receive up to $40,000 each, for an estimated total of around $2-billion.

Ms. Blackstock, the executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, which launched the tribunal case with the AFN in 2007, said she was hopeful that when the Liberals took power in 2015, the government might stop fighting the case.

She has been disappointed.

"The tribunal found that Canada's conduct is resulting in the deaths of children in some cases, and in the separation of families in many cases," she said. "We have to ask: Is there anything to be proud of when you've been found to be wilfully and recklessly discriminating against little kids? I don't think so."

Mr. Bellegarde, who voted in a federal election for the first time in 2015, called the Liberals' decision to challenge the tribunal's compensation ruling "beyond unacceptable." But while he would not say how he will cast his ballot on Oct. 21, he said the Liberal government has done more for First Nations people than any that came before it. He pointed to the decline in boil-water advisories, to funding and legislation in support of revitalizing Indigenous languages, and to child-welfare legislation that recognizes Indigenous peoples' inherent right to exercise jurisdiction over child and family services.

All the while, though, there is the gap.

Mr. Bellegarde said Canada as a whole ranks toward the top of the UN Human Development Index, but said First Nations people would place as low as 78th (currently occupied by Venezuela) if the same indicators were applied.

Reconciliation, he said, will only be achieved when the gap is closed - when Indigenous people are no longer "second-class citizens living in third-world conditions."

KNOCKING ON THE DOOR In all her years growing up in Marten Falls, Ms. Achneepineskum never saw federal officials campaign in her community.

And in all the years she has lived in Thunder Bay, she said, the only federal candidate to canvas her home was Patty Hajdu, the Liberal MP elected in 2015. It is no wonder that Ms. Achneepineskum did not participate in provincial or federal elections until about 20 years ago, when she was in her 30s; the mainstream electoral system felt foreign, she said.

Today, she is not only casting a ballot in that system, she is running for a seat in it. Ms. Achneepineskum, who said she has always voted NDP, is looking to oust Ms.

Hajdu, who won the riding with 45 per cent of the vote in the previous election. Thunder Bay-Superior North, which includes the Red Rock Indian Band, is 15 per cent Indigenous, according to calculations recently published by Policy Options.

"At one point in my life, I used to say, 'What's the point in voting?' " Ms. Achneepineskum said in an interview at her campaign headquarters. "I felt invisible. No one came to knock on my door to talk to me. But later on, I realized that I can go and pound on that table. I can go and knock on the door. I don't have to wait for someone to come to me."

Other Indigenous people, it seems, came to a similar realization in 2015, when the gap between on-reserve turnout and off-reserve turnout was the lowest ever recorded by Elections Canada. Compared with the 2011 election, turnout on reserves rose by 14 per cent, reaching an unprecedented 61.5 per cent.

"If you're a political party in this country, you can't afford to overlook Indigenous voters any more," said Max FineDay, a member of Saskatchewan's Sweetgrass First Nation and the executive director of Canadian Roots Exchange, a national non-profit that works with youth to advance reconciliation. "We're a quickly growing community that doesn't have a traditional allegiance to one particular party."

Ms. Achneepineskum, the former deputy grand chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, said she is running to be an MP because she wants to continue fighting systemic racism. And while Mr.

Trudeau "sounded good" and "fancy words were thrown around," she believes the Liberals have left much to the imagination when it comes to reconciliation. "Whatever their definition of the process is, I don't see it," she said.

Her definition hinges on more than ensuring that federal laws are in line with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, or that First Nations people receive equitable health care, or that the Indian Act is dismantled. "If every community had safe drinking water ... If our corrections systems weren't full of Indigenous people. If we didn't have such high rates of missing and murdered Indigenous women. If they weren't trying to put a pipeline through our traditional territories," she said.

Last year, the Liberal government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5-billion in order to ensure an expansion project would proceed. But the fate of the controversial project, which would triple the volume of crude oil moving from Alberta to B.C., will still be undecided by Election Day. The expansion is yet again facing legal challenges over whether the government adequately consulted with Indigenous groups.

The Liberals' platform says the federal corporate income tax revenue from the Trans Mountain expansion could generate upward of $500-million a year. That money, plus any profit from a future sale of the pipeline, "will be invested in natural climate solutions and clean energy projects that will power our homes, businesses and communities for generations to come," the platform says.

Red Rock Indian Band member Tom Borg has seen the effects of climate change on and around Lake Helen reserve, where the band is located. He used to be able to fish for lake trout right off the shoreline, but the fish have been forced to forage in deeper, colder waters. He blames climate change for the wind storms that cause trees to fall and block his trap line. He blames climate change for the emergence of new species that he said are disrupting the ecosystem.

Earlier this month, Mr. Borg laid out traps for beavers, martens and other animals on a table inside the band's Chalet Lodge.

As a member of the Red Rock trapping committee, Mr. Borg was setting up a display to help youth deepen their understanding of, and connection to, their culture and the land.

On the matter of reconciliation, Mr. Borg said Canada has a long way to go. He is among those who are disenchanted with mainstream politics; his life feels mostly the same whether the Liberals or Conservatives form government. "I just don't believe them any more," he said. "They tell you one thing, and then when they're in power, it never happens."

This past weekend, Mr. Borg's table of traps gave way to a community meal. The Chalet Lodge was the scene of a harvest feast - piping hot moose stew and potluck dishes - and a ceremony to swear in the chief and council who were elected last month.

Shannon Michelle-Ruth, a firsttime councillor, was among those who swore an oath promising not to discriminate against any community member, especially based on their last name or family heritage. As the clouds gathered outside and a storm threatened, an elder laid out four pouches in the four directions and smudged the 50 or so people in the room with smouldering sage.

In an interview in the days leading up to the ceremony, Ms.Michelle-Ruth said she was skeptical that politicians in Ottawa understand the notion of reconciliation. "Us, as native people, we're looking at the government saying, 'What are you reconciling?' Because you're not reconciling the truths we have presented to you," Ms. Michelle-Ruth said.

"All you have to do is look around and see the effects that residential schools have had on us, our parents and our grandparents. It has trickled down to our kids. We feel it here."

Ms. Michelle-Ruth said she has voted in provincial and federal elections ever since she turned 18, and always for the NDP. This year will be no different. Ms. Achneepineskum will get her vote.

Bailey Thompson, 18, has the chance to do the same - to start voting in mainstream politics now that he is of age. But the potential first-time voter has no intention of becoming a first-time voter. He has his moose and his government, he explained. "The only thing I'll vote for," he said, "is chief and council."

With a report from David Jackson, on Lake Helen reserve

Associated Graphic

People march in Thunder Bay on Sept. 30 to mark Orange Shirt Day, which acknowledges residential-school survivors and their families.


Anna Betty Achneepineskum, the NDP's candidate in the Thunder Bay-Superior North riding, says she is running to be an MP because she wants to continue combatting systemic racism.

Bailey Thompson, 18, left, seen with his father, Justin, removing a moose's hide, has the opportunity to vote in his first federal election this month, but is opting to sit out - he says he is content with voting only for his chief and council.

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A chosen death, in the nick of time
To give Alzheimer's patient Mary Wilson the death she sought, her physicians had to make a tough decision in a short time - and risked going to prison if they got it wrong. Now, the B.C. medical college's decision on their actions has been made public for the first time. Kelly Grant reports

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Saturday, October 12, 2019 – Page A12

The speech pathologist turned to Mary Wilson and gestured toward her husband of 52 years.

"Who's that?" the pathologist asked.

"Oh, that's my Bernie," Ms. Wilson said.

"That's my rock."

"And do you know who that is?" the pathologist continued, pointing at Kira Campbell, one of Ms. Wilson's three devoted children.

Yes, Ms. Wilson said, she knew her daughter.

"Do you have any other kids?" the pathologist asked.

Ms. Wilson paused. Over the past four years, Alzheimer's disease had stripped the 73-year-old of her ability to drive and tell time and read the morning paper, but it had yet not stolen the memory of her children.

"Nope," Ms. Wilson replied.

It had started. She'd forgotten Kira's brother and sister.

The descent into dementia is harrowing under any circumstance, but in Ms. Wilson's case, every lost word or forgotten name was freighted with significance. That summer, in 2017, she was trying to become one of the first patients in Canada - perhaps the first - to be approved for a medically assisted death for Alzheimer's disease. But every mental slip made it less likely that Ms. Wilson, a petite former civil servant with a grey pixie haircut and three university degrees, would have the mental capacity to give informed consent for a medically assisted death.

The situation was equally fraught for the doctors who wanted to help her.

Konia Trouton, a Victoria physician, believed that Ms. Wilson should be eligible to end her life under Canada's assisted-dying legislation. But she also knew that the law, passed by Justin Trudeau's Liberal government in 2016, was vague and open to interpretation and, to her knowledge, hadn't been applied to someone whose only illness was dementia. Some legal experts believed it couldn't be, for two reasons: patients need the mental capacity to provide consent and their death needs to be considered "reasonably foreseeable" (although that term is not clearly defined in the legislation). The law seemed clear enough about excluding dementia patients that even the Alzheimer Society of Canada had been telling clients that they could not get an assisted death.

Dr. Trouton knew that helping Ms. Wilson was risky - and could lead to the loss of her medical licence or worse, a criminal sentence. But she and a team of two other physicians believed their patient met the two contentious requirements: She was grievously ill enough to qualify for an assisted death, but not so far gone she couldn't consent.

So on Oct. 29, 2017 - at Ms. Wilson's apartment in Victoria, with her children and Bernie, her rock, beside her - the doctors took a chance and gave her the death she'd been hoping for.

It was a quiet event that didn't draw attention or make headlines then, but may now have wide-reaching implications for tens of thousands of Canadians in the early stages of dementia.

A confidential decision by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia, which spent 10 months investigating the death, has cleared the three doctors of wrongdoing.

While the word of one province's medical regulator is not the same as a judicial precedent, the B.C. College's position is likely to reassure doctors who fear they might lose their licences if they hasten the deaths of willing and mentally capable dementia patients. "One of the reasons [this decision] is so important is because it gives comfort to clinicians," said Jocelyn Downie, a professor in the faculties of law and medicine at Dalhousie University.

"They can see that, okay, the [B.C.] College thinks this is fine."

The B.C. decision is equally likely to horrify opponents of medically assisted death, some of whom worry that pro-assisted-death doctors are pushing the boundaries of Canada's law too far, possibly endangering vulnerable seniors on the knife's edge of competency.

Either way, Canada is at a political crossroads when it comes to who qualifies for medically assisted dying. Last month, a Quebec judge struck down as unconstitutional parts of the federal assisted-dying law and a related Quebec law that seemed - at least on paper - to limit the procedure to the terminally ill. The subject has now become an election issue: Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has vowed to appeal the Quebec decision, which could make access to assisted death more difficult for those with dementia. Mr. Trudeau, meanwhile, has said that if re-elected, his government would rewrite its own federal law rather than challenge the Quebec ruling - potentially making it easier for those with the condition to access medical assistance in dying, or MAID.

Even before last month's legal developments, the Canadian Association of MAID Assessors and Providers had already published clinical practice guidelines designed to teach other doctors how to work within the bounds of the existing law to assess dementia patients for MAID.

But all of these developments were a long way off in the summer of 2017, when Mary Wilson forgot, for a fleeting moment, that she had two other children.

A 'BEAUTIFULLY TUNED MIND' One day in 2011, Ms. Wilson walked into her Victoria apartment, dropped her keys on the kitchen counter and turned to her husband, Bernie Campbell. "You're in charge of driving from now on," she said.

"I'm a danger on the road because I don't know where I am."

Ms. Wilson never deluded herself, not even in the period before her 2013 diagnosis, when denial was still an option. This level of self-awareness is not always common in patients with dementia - a disease that afflicts 564,000 Canadians - but it was typical of Ms. Wilson. She had a "beautifully tuned mind," her son Ken, now 52, said.

A history buff, Ms. Wilson could rattle off the names and ascension dates of every British monarch back to 1066. She added up long columns of numbers in her head with ease as she tended the family's books.

"The only thing that I do not want to happen," Ms. Wilson told her husband when her neurologist confirmed she had Alzheimer's disease, "is that I do not want to be placed in a home and I do not want to live past the day when I can't recognize you or the kids or my sister and brother.


Mr. Campbell began researching ways to help her end her life.

"I was finding out where I could score fentanyl. I was offering to buy a pistol. We were researching Switzerland," he said, referring to the only country that routinely offers assisted death to foreigners.

The couple watched intently as a unanimous Supreme Court of Canada struck down the Criminal Code ban of the procedure in 2015, and as the Liberal government crafted Bill C-14 to respond to the ruling.

The legislation, enacted on June 17, 2016, did not include a provision for advance requests for assisted dying. If it had, Ms. Wilson could have put her instructions for MAID in writing and asked that they be carried out far in the future, when she was closer to death but no longer mentally capable of making medical decisions.

As the law stood, she feared she wouldn't qualify. But she wanted to find out for sure. In January, 2017, Ms. Wilson's family physician referred her to Stefanie Green, a doctor who now leads the Canadian Association of MAID Assessors and Providers.

DEATH, DEMENTIA AND THE LAW When Mr. Trudeau's newly elected government was drafting Canada's assisted-dying law, a provincial-territorial expert group and a joint committee of the House and Senate both recommended that Canada's new regime permit some form of advance request. But the Liberal government rejected the idea, siding with disability advocates and others who feared an overly permissive law would endanger the vulnerable, and the final legislation required patients to be capable of providing informed consent right up until the moment of their deaths.

Before that moment, two doctors have to conclude independently that applicants have a "grievous and irremediable" medical condition, which the law defines as a "serious and incurable illness, disease or disability" that causes "enduring physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable" and "an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability." Most controversially, the Liberals inserted a clause that went beyond the language in the landmark Supreme Court ruling.

Patients can only be granted an assisted death if "their natural death has become reasonably foreseeable, taking into account all of their medical circumstances, without a prognosis necessarily having been made as to the specific length of time that they have remaining."

The "reasonably foreseeable death" concept puzzled doctors. Many took it to mean that only the terminally ill would qualify, which explains why two-thirds of the 6,749 Canadians who had received an assisted death as of last fall had metastatic cancer. But some physicians felt that approach excluded patients with longer life expectancy who were clearly eligible, a position that gained more traction after an Ontario judge concluded in June, 2017 that A.B., an unnamed 77-year-old woman with severe osteoarthritis whose death was not imminent, met the eligibility criteria.

It was against this evolving and uncertain legal backdrop that Mary Wilson e-mailed Dr. Green with her official application for an assisted death on July 21, 2017.

NOT LONG TO LIVE In many ways, Ms. Wilson's case was an ideal test of whether patients whose only illness was dementia could qualify for MAID.

She was given five-to-seven years to live when diagnosed, meaning that, by 2017, there was a persuasive case to be made that her death was reasonably foreseeable.

In March of that year, her neurologist concluded that she still had the capacity to make medical decisions, despite no longer being able to drive or dress herself without her husband's help.

And although there was plenty of debate among assisted-dying providers about what counted as "an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability," Dr.

Green felt Ms. Wilson satisfied that test of the law, too.

"What would be more advanced," she wrote in her notes, "than being close to losing capacity to make decisions for oneself?" Just as important to Dr. Green, Ms. Wilson had the full-throated support of her husband and three children, including her other daughter, who spoke to The Globe at length but preferred not to be named.

The situation came to a head that July, when Mr. Campbell's heart troubles landed him in hospital and Ken flew to Victoria from his home in Canmore, Alta. He was gobsmacked by how swiftly his mother had declined.

"She certainly remembered everyone," Ken said, "but she had a hell of a time remembering their names."

In a fresh capacity assessment in August, Ms. Wilson's neurologist confirmed she was still capable of making health decisions.

Just because a patient cannot remember that a sock goes on before a shoe, does not mean she is incapable of expressing a choice or appreciating the irreversible consequences of MAID - all things a doctor should look for while assessing for capacity in assisted-death cases, according to the clinical practice guideline that the Canadian Association of MAID Assessors and Providers published in May.

In making that assessment, for example, a doctor might make sure a patient who struggles to find words is still able to recognize that their disease severely affects his or her life. The guidelines advise using yes or no questions, so the physician might ask, "Are you able to wash yourself?" as opposed to "How does your illness impact your daily activities?" Vancouver physician Ellen Wiebe, lead author of the guideline paper, said determining capacity in the moment is easier than predicting when it will evaporate. In the fewer than 15 MAID and dementia cases she has handled (not all of which ended with an assisted death) Dr. Wiebe has followed what some Dutch providers call the "10 minutes-to-midnight approach" and checks in regularly with patients as their decision-making capacity winds down.

"It's really hard," Dr. Wiebe said. "When I tell people it's now or never, that's a horrible thing to do. But I only do it in situations where they asked me to do it."

In Ms. Wilson's case, she still needed a second official assessor of her eligibility for MAID. For that, she turned to Dr. Trouton, an active assisted-dying provider who was no stranger to offering medical care that other doctors might shy away from.

(She and her wife, Dawn Fowler, the nowretired Canadian director of the National Abortion Federation, opened the first abortion clinic on Vancouver Island together.)

When Dr. Trouton met her for the first time at her home on Sept. 8, Ms. Wilson was scattered but still able to demonstrate that she understood the nature of her illness. Ms. Wilson, who by then had turned 74, showed Dr. Trouton old journal entries full of neat paragraphs and flowing penmanship, then flipped to a more recent page. "I can't write properly," Dr. Trouton recalled her saying. She pointed to the television remote. She couldn't remember what it was called or how to use it.

"Very clearly she just said, 'I want to die.

I want this to stop,' "Dr. Trouton recalled.

Similar to Dr. Green, Dr. Trouton felt strongly that Ms. Wilson qualified. But both said their approvals would only be good until the end of October, after which they would insist on reassessing Ms. Wilson to ensure she hadn't lost capacity.

Only one obstacle remained: The lawyers.

The Canadian Medical Protective Association, the legal group for doctors that Dr.

Green enlisted for advice, declined to comment on Ms. Wilson's case and the doctor declined to share the written legal opinion she received. But Dr. Green's notes in Ms.Wilson's file (shared with Mr. Campbell's permission) make plain the effect of the advice.

"I have decided that I will not assist Mary in her application for MAID," Dr. Green wrote on Sept. 22, 2017. "To be clear, I believe she's eligible and qualifies ... I also recognize that several interpretations of the law have not yet been tested in court and that if I am incorrect in my interpretation it carries the risk of prosecution and imprisonment."

Dr. Green said she felt like a coward. "I wasn't sure they were going to find someone who was going to help them," she said.

Mr. Campbell panicked and contacted the only other person he thought might help. "I sent up a little prayer: Please let Konia say yes."

Up until that point, Dr. Trouton had only been involved in her capacity as an assessor, but now the family was hoping she would be the one to do the procedure. As she weighed her decision, she thought of her father-in-law, reduced by Lewy Body disease, another cause of dementia, to a shell of his old self before his death in 2016.

She assessed Ms. Wilson in person twice more, recording both encounters on an iPad so she could review them if need be.

She was confident Ms. Wilson qualified.

"If I'm committed to MAID," she said to herself, "Then I should be committed to doing this case."

Paul Pereira, a Victoria physician who had cared for the couple for more than a decade, provided the crucial final assessment of Ms. Wilson's eligibility.

"It's funny," Dr. Pereira said. "I had a little bit of anxiety, but I felt pretty good about it. I really felt that Mary was a unique and good case for this."

On Oct. 29, 2017, the day of her death, Ms. Wilson, Mr. Campbell and their children went out for a last morning coffee and a stroll along the walkway at Turkey Head point. In the afternoon, Ms. Wilson's sister and brother and their spouses joined them.

When Dr. Trouton arrived, she led Ms.Wilson into her bedroom. The two were alone, except for a volunteer from the advocacy group Dying with Dignity Canada who had come to act as a writing proxy for Ms. Wilson. She could no longer sign her own name.

"What do you think we're doing today," Dr. Trouton said, recalling their conversation.

"This is the day I'm going to die," Ms.Wilson replied.

"Do you want to go ahead with your assisted dying today?" "Yes, absolutely."

THE FINAL PROGNOSIS Dr. Trouton was not surprised when a butter-coloured envelope from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia landed at her office on Feb. 5, 2018, announcing that she, Dr. Pereira and the neurologist (whom The Globe was unable to reach) were under investigation for their role in Ms. Wilson's death.

She figured it was only a matter of time before the B.C. Coroners Service - which reviewed all MAID deaths in the province until last fall, when Health Canada adopted a national monitoring system - sent Ms.

Wilson's case to the regulator for a deeper look at whether her Alzheimer's disease satisfied every requirement of the "grievous and irremediable" test.

Ten months later, the College concluded that the doctor and her two colleagues had gotten it right. Their conduct had been, "consistent with the current legislation [and] relevant College standards," and they had taken a, "thoughtful and conscientious approach to this unique clinical scenario."

Dr. Green, who has since gone on to provide assisted death in a dementia case, called the decision, "groundbreaking."

Heidi Oetter, the registrar of the B.C.

College was much more circumspect. She stressed that interpreting the Criminal Code is the job of the courts, not medical regulators; their decisions are not precedents.

The B.C. College never released the results of the investigation into Mary Wilson's death, Dr. Oetter explained, because it did not lead to a formal disciplinary hearing. That's the only circumstance under which the College is allowed by law to publicly acknowledge the existence of an inquiry.

As long as that privacy rule stands, patients, the broader medical community and those who worry that Canada's assisted-dying program may have gone too far all have little way of knowing just how far it has already gone.

"I'm not romanticizing Alzheimer's. I'm aware of the devastating nature of the disease," said Trudo Lemmens, a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Toronto.

"At the same time, I find it worrisome that we try to focus on ending the life of people with Alzheimer's, rather than improving quality of life [and] reducing the suffering of people undergoing cognitive decline."

On the other side of that debate are eligible Canadians with dementia who would prefer to die with the help of doctor - some of whom may have lost the capacity to make that choice in the nearly two years since Ms. Wilson emerged from her bedroom to say a final goodbye to the people she loved most.

"Three times I could tell she really wanted to say something to people, you know?

Just some touching way of saying goodbye," her son Ken said. "She was able to chat with people one on one, but when everyone was looking at her, she had no script.

"I think the third time she just felt like anything she could say was inadequate.

She just shrugged and looked around went, 'Oh well, I just can't find words.

Goodbye.' And smiled. And looked at the doctor, and said, 'I'm ready.' "

Associated Graphic

Dr. Konia Trouton, top, and Dr. Stefanie Green, above, both believed that Mary Wilson qualified for medical assistance in dying, or MAID. Of Ms. Wilson, Dr. Trouton says she said to herself, 'If I'm committed to MAID, then I should be committed to doing this case.'


On the last day of Ms. Wilson's life, the Wilson family, top, went out for a morning coffee and a stroll before being joined by her siblings and their spouses at home, middle. Bernie Campbell, Ms. Wilson's husband, above, says that once she had decided she was going to end her life, he began researching ways to help her achieve that. 'I was finding out where I could score fentanyl. I was offering to buy a pistol. We were researching Switzerland,' he said.


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What Canadians should know - and fear - about deficits before we get too comfortable with red ink

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Saturday, October 5, 2019 – Page B6

Barely 3.5 per cent of Canadians named debt and deficits as the most important issue of national concern in the most recent polling done by Nanos Research. That trails the environment (21.7 per cent) and jobs/economy (18.2 per cent) by a hefty margin, and in fact, the number has never exceeded 10 per cent during the past five years of Nanos surveys.

Voters have lost their taste for government austerity since our most recent serious Canadian debt and deficit problem. The last time things approached a crisis was a quarter century ago, now a distant memory. Nearly half of the current voting-age population was too young to vote then; 11 per cent hadn't even been born yet.

But there could be another reason Canadians tolerate deficits now: a personal financial squeeze that has many feeling that they're falling behind.

Despite a job boom and an unemployment rate near 40-year lows, wage growth has barely kept up with inflation during the past several years. Meanwhile, rising real estate prices are making homes less affordable.

"A lot of Canadians don't feel like they've been getting ahead," says Craig Alexander, chief economist at Deloitte Canada. "And because they don't feel like they're getting ahead, they're looking for governments to offer them more."

Federal parties have responded with promises of higher after-tax income for families and spending more on key priorities, with the understanding of running deficits. Canadians seem to be saying they're okay with that.

But here are seven things to think about that should give us pause about deficits.

It's not all about federal deficits.

Provincial debt is ballooning Justin Trudeau's Liberals like to gloat that Canada has the best balance sheet among the Group of Seven countries. Not true.

That statement leaves out the provinces, whose combined debts, at slightly more than $700-billion, are roughly equal to Ottawa's debt.

That has to be considered in the overall picture of Canada's financial health, because it's the provinces that are responsible for big-budget services such as education and health care - services whose costs will only explode in the years to come.

Canada's aging population is going to put a lot of pressure on the medical system, and provincial governments don't have the fiscal capacity they need, Mr. Alexander says. "I'm worried that health care is going to turn into a black hole that consumes all provincial resources," he says.

Canada has the biggest portion of subsovereign debt among a dozen other countries with triple-A credit ratings, according to Moody's Investors Service.

More than half of Canada's debt (about 58 per cent) is at the regional and local level, pushing up Canada's overall government debt-to-GDP ratio to almost 80 per cent.

And the financial markets and credit agencies have long believed that in a crisis, the federal government would backstop any provincial debt - so, it's overall government debt that really matters.

When all debt is included, Moody's says, Canada has one of the highest debt burdens among its peers - and one of the least affordable. The ratings agency estimates that Canada's interest payments this year equal 7.8 per cent of its revenue and 3.1 per cent of its gross domestic product, the second-weakest in its cohort behind only Italy.

Credit agency Fitch Ratings warned Ottawa in March that sustained deficits will leave Canada more exposed in a recession, and that its combined federal and provincial debt is close a level that's "incompatible" with a triple-A rating.

Still, Canada has some things going for it. Its credit rating is the best there is, according to Moody's metrics. Its power to fund its debt with its still-growing economy has improved in the low-interest-rate environment, the ratings company says.

And the country's large, independently funded public pension funds - the Canada Pension Plan and the Quebec Pension Plan - effectively shield the government's finances from rising future pension costs as the population ages, setting Canada apart from many other countries.

And while there might be disagreement over the pace at which we balance the books - the Liberals have punted their pledge for zero deficits by 2019 well into the future, while the Conservatives say it will take five years - at least our political leaders appear to agree on that goal, Moody's says.

"Every generation has to learn about the consequences of excessive borrowing for themselves," says political scientist and commentator Mark Milke, author of Tax Me I'm Canadian.

Big government is making a comeback The Trudeau government has done more than just reintroduce the notion of routine deficits. It has re-introduced big government - or, at least, bigger government. The spending proposals in its campaign platform would give the government its biggest non-recessionary footprint on the economy in 25 years.

The typical gauge for a government's size is its program spending as a share of GDP. That shrank dramatically during the deficit-slashing era of the mid-1990s - from more than 16 per cent when the Chrétien government took office in 1993, to less than 12 per cent in the early 2000s. It remained between 12 per cent and 13 per cent during Stephen Harper's prerecession years.

But the Liberals have reversed that course - modestly, but unmistakably - since taking office in 2015. And their campaign spending proposals would take it further.

In last spring's budget, the Liberal government envisioned program spending peaking in the 2018-19 fiscal year at 14.6 per cent of GDP, declining to 14.3 per cent this year and continuing to gradually decrease to 13.8 per cent by 2023-24. But under this Liberal platform, program spending now looks set to rise to 14.7 per cent of GDP in 2020-21 and changing little throughout the next mandate; by the 2023 election, it would still be at 14.5 per cent.

Outside of a couple of years around the Great Recession - when the Harper government injected a massive fiscal stimulus - Canada hasn't a run of sustained spendingto-GDP that high since the mid-1990s. And unlike Harper's recession stimulus, these aren't temporary measures.

"Much of [the Liberals' increased spending] has gone into social spending - which is an annual thing, and it becomes entrenched," says Joe Oliver, who, as finance minister in the Harper government, was the last finance minister to present a balanced budget, in 2015. "There's nothing harder in government than cancelling a program - it's excruciatingly difficult."

And that's even if governments stick to their plans, which they don't. According to a study released over the summer by the C.D. Howe Institute, Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments routinely overshoot the targets they set in their annual budgets. Since 2000, they've spent $91-billion (some $2,500 for every Canadian) more than they budgeted and raised $142-billion (almost $4,000 for every Canadian) more than they budgeted.

In sum: Our governments spend far more, and tax far more heavily, than even what they promise in their budgets.

Without the rigour of a zero-deficit framework, spending can quickly snowball, C.D.

Howe president Bill Robson says. "When governments start to spend very freehandedly, pretty soon you start getting stories about people expensing packets of gum and $15 glass of orange juice or subsidies to profitable companies and handouts that appear to be very calibrated to swing ridings. Over time, I think people's tolerance for that is diminished." Just how big a debt burden are we taking on? One key factor that makes deficits and debts more manageable today is also, conversely, what made them so dangerous in the 1990s: interest rates.

In 1991, the interest rate on 10-year Government of Canada bonds was more than 11 per cent. As a result, the cost of servicing federal government debt - of making the interest payments annually - was a whopping 6 per cent of GDP. In the mid-1990s, Ottawa was spending more than 30 cents out of every dollar it collected in revenue just to pay the interest on its debt.

Today, with 10-year bonds at just 1.25 per cent, federal debt-servicing costs are a shade more than 1 per cent of GDP. The interest on government debt consumes just 7 per cent of the budget.

Many economists argue that such low g borrowing costs not only make deficits and debt easier to bear - they may even make them desirable. This could be the best time in history for governments to borrow to finance long-overdue infrastructure projects.

"This is a very good time to do infrastructure spending. It's not just the short-term interest rates that are really low, but the long-term interest rates are extraordinarily low. You can do a long-term project and you know you're going to be locked into a very low-interest-rate environment," says Queens University economist Don Drummond.

The other mitigating factor is that our debt-to-GDP ratio is manageable. Indeed, debt-to-GDP has emerged as the preferred benchmark. As long as the economy is growing enough, the conventional wisdom goes, we're alright managing our debt.

Kevin Milligan calls it "the moral foundation" of debt economics.

"Should we be leaving debt to our kids?" the University of British Columbia economist asks. "The answer is 'So long as debt-toGDP is going down, we're not.' " The context is much different now than it was in the 1990s, Mr. Milligan says. Canada would need to add $800-billion of debt and see a quadrupling of interest rates to be back to the crisis of those years, he adds.

That's not to say that there isn't merit in maintaining fiscal discipline. Runaway deficits are to be avoided, Mr. Milligan says. And he acknowledges there's a danger that Canada's future governments will move the goalposts further out so that a stagnant debt-toGDP ratio might be deemed acceptable, or even increases would be tolerated.

Deficits do matter, Mr. Milligan says. "You want to make sure that [the deficit] doesn't get out of control. But we need to look around us at the environment we have and recognize that it's not getting out of control."

If you accept the notion that going into debt is fine, however, the next question is how much borrowing is okay. And the answer isn't clear. Moody's does not have a specific threshold it considers dangerous, for example. "One of the great failings among many of the economists in public finance is we've never nailed down what is an appropriate level of debt-to-GDP ratio," Mr. Drummond says.

We're spending to buy votes, not promote growth The 2015 Liberal platform promised short-term deficits that would primarily be used to pay for increased spending on infrastructure.

"Now is the time to invest," the party promised. Yet, in government, the Liberals struggled to meet their own infrastructure spending targets. Government-wide program spending still rose though, to $330-billion last year - a nearly $50-billion spike from the year the Liberals came to power. The size of the public service grew 12 per cent during that time.

For 2019, the Liberals and the Conservatives are both promising across-the-board tax cuts that would reduce federal revenues by about $6-billion a year. The Conservative campaign followed that up with a long list of more targeted tax cuts aimed at seniors, parents, homeowners and others. The Liberals are also targeting the same groups with promises of new tax breaks and benefits.

Neither party has so far announced major new infrastructure spending, although large long-term spending increases on infrastructure are already part of federal spending plans approved in recent Liberal budgets. The Liberal platform promises $56.9-billion in new spending and tax cuts over four years, to be paid for with $25.4-billion in tax increases and spending cuts as well as $31.5billion in new debt resulting from larger-than-planned deficits. The Conservative platform has not been released, but the party says it can cut taxes and still balance the books within five years.

The question is whether any of the spending will build the economy, improve productivity and create the conditions for robust growth.

Former deputy finance minister Scott Clark says deficit spending can be justified if it is a true "investment" that produces long-term benefits, such as spending on infrastructure or education. Yet, he's been struck by the speed, volume and size of the Liberal and Conservative campaign promises, and says they do not fit that bill.

"These are just attempts to buy people off," he says. "I don't think of tax cuts as investments."

Queens' Mr. Drummond shares the view that deficit spending should benefit the younger Canadians who will inherit that debt.

"You still, at a minimum, have to justify passing on a burden to a future generation: Are you generating a benefit?" he says.

Cutting now could cost us more later When people talk about investing in things that pay off for the economy and generate economic growth, they often mention hard infrastructure such as roads and ports. But economist Jesse Hajer of the University of Manitoba says the notion of "social infrastructure" is just as important if not more so. By that he means investing in reducing poverty, in things such as enabling the latent potential work force in Canada.

He gives the example of Manitoba's Indigenous community, which has been socially and economically excluded and underrepresented in postsecondary training and work. Helping them integrate into the work force is a good thing to go into debt for, he says. They are investments that pay off in the long run.

The bottom line is that it's dangerous to look at deficits in purely ideological terms. Borrowing is not inherently evil, he says.

You have to look at what you get for the spending.

If governments are going to reduce the deficit, they either have to raise taxes or cut social programs. And those who advocate for a lower deficit typically reject tax increases, he says.

"So it's programs that get cut." Mr. Hajer says. "And there's very little discussion about what are the costs associated with taking that programming away. Like what are the secondary impacts on the economy of people not having access to affordable childcare or people experiencing a diminishing quality of education?" "It's a false narrative that you're saving money by cutting these services," he adds.

Marguerite Mendell, an economist at Concordia University in Montreal, says the context underpinning how we think about deficits has also shifted. Ottawa is no longer fighting high inflation or unemployment - or both at once. So, the government can make more careful choices about where it spends.

"The question one has to ask is what are they spending on?" Ms. Mendell says. "And if you're going to engage in public spending for public purpose, I have no problem with that." This is not what Keynes had in mind The legendary British economist, John Maynard Keynes, believed governments should use spending to lean against the highs and lows of the business cycle, thus smoothing the bumpy economic path. Although this Keynesian approach to fiscal policy has had its critics over the years, it is generally at the foundation of sound government budgeting the world over.

The idea is that when the economy is slumping or in recession, governments should increase spending, even if that means more borrowing and deepening deficits, to stimulate economic activity. When the economy is strong, governments can ease off the spending throttle.

The proposals from the leading contenders in this campaign appear to fly in the face of Keynesian logic. Both the incumbent Liberals and, to a slightly lesser extent, the Conservatives, look prepared to maintain or even expand deficits in the near term, at a time when the Canadian economy is running near full capacity.

Critics worry that deficit spending now will use up valuable fiscal ammunition that could be needed to aid the economy in a downturn.

The enviable fiscal health restored by Ottawa in the 1990s gave the Harper government the flexibility it needed for major stimulus spending in the financial crisis and Great Recession of 2008-09. Canada emerged without the kind of troubling debt load that saddled other countries who went into the recession with less healthy balance sheets, allowing it to avoid harsh austerity measures that hampered the recovery in other parts of the world.

Even if the government felt it couldn't afford a major stimulus effort when the next recession hits - a decision that would certainly deepen the damage and slow the recovery - economists say that deficits would balloon regardless. Tax revenues would go down as the economy slowed, while expenses would increase in support programs such as unemployment benefits.

"You can move from a $20-billion deficit to $50-billion in a flash," former finance minister Mr. Oliver says.

If we don't learn from the past, we're doomed to repeat history When Jean Chrétien's Liberals took power in 1993, they inherited a country awash in red ink. The federal government had run a then-record deficit of $39-billion the previous fiscal year. Net federal debt was closing in on 70 per cent of GDP, about double where it was just a decade earlier (and more than double where it is today).

The budget that year, tabled by the previous Mulroney government, had a smattering of spending cuts, yet they barely kept up with debt costs. Simply paying interest on the debt was costing the government nearly $40-billion a year and climbing. Those costs alone ensured that the debt kept rising, making the problem worse every year.

Mr. Chrétien and his finance minister, Paul Martin, determined that it was time for tougher medicine.

"The debt and deficit are not inventions of ideology. They are facts of arithmetic.

The quicksand of compound interest is real," Mr. Martin said in his speech presenting the 1995 budget - a radical document that laid the groundwork for the most dramatic financial transformation in modern Canadian history.

They set about a sweeping restructuring and downsizing of the federal government.

They slashed program spending by 13 per cent. They reduced the civil service by 55,000 jobs. They cut transfers to the provinces by 30 per cent.

Within four years, the deficit had been eliminated. The success at the federal level spilled over to the provinces, where budget balancing became all the rage during the 2000s. By 2005-06, every province in the country ran a small surplus.

Some observers, such as the Fraser Institute research group, see Canada in danger of repeating the mistakes of the past.

The high government spending and runaway deficits that led to the near-crisis of the mid-1990s are both present today, with warning lights flashing red, the research group says. Canadians, it says, should be worried.

The difference now is that declining labour-force participation is a big headwind to economic growth and government finances while our politicians don't want to talk about debt. As Mr. Oliver puts it: "It's tougher to sell prudence than it is to sell goodies."

Federal government spending a person, adjusted for inflation, increased to a projected $8,804 this year from $7,740 in 2014, according to according to Fraser Institute economists Tegan Hill and Jake Fuss. In 2018, per-person inflation-adjusted spending reached its highest point in Canadian history, the institute says.

"Could small budget deficits turn into bigger deficits in an environment of fiscal complacency? Yes, easily," says Kevin Page, head of the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy at the University of Ottawa. "We should always be nervous of repeating the bad days."

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Having bested the Imitation Game, AI is writing its own story
Artificial intelligence is able to produce copy better than a human - so what happens next?

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Saturday, October 5, 2019 – Page O1

Writer in Almonte, Ont., the founder of Quantum Writing and a writer-in-virtual-residence at University of Ottawa's Institute for Science, Society and Policy

I remember, clearly, my son's first word. How Max's eyes broadened and sparkled in amusement at my expression of shocked surprise when, from the diaper change table, he said "dada."

The diaper table was in a wood-stove heated, century home in a rural Ottawa Valley village where my wife and I limited our kids' screen time and emphasized outdoor and imaginative play.

As self-employed creatives - me a writer, my wife a painter - we encouraged our son, and then our daughter Francesca 18 months later, to discover their own paths of self-expression.

(Her first word was "No".)

Given this bucolic, free-range childhood, it's all the more surprising to me that Max is now an engineering student specializing in artificial intelligence (AI), part of a generation that's eagerly teaching machines to communicate. They're creating the algorithms and software for computers to learn language, and with every "Hey Siri" and Gmail message we're all helping these AI offspring learn to communicate just like us.

This is part of a communications revolution that may outpace the impact of the printing press: the creation of intelligent machines. As with the internet, this new way of creating and sharing knowledge will have profound and unintended personal and social effects.

These include the at once fascinating and deeply troubling possibility that the boy I helped teach to talk and read will help create AI technology that may greatly reduce, and even obviate, the need for writers like me.

This is because making computers that can write like humans is at the very heart of AI. Next year marks the 70th anniversary of pioneering AI scientist Alan Turing's landmark paper Computing Machinery and Intelligence, published in 1950 in the British philosophy journal Mind and perhaps known to most from the Oscar-nominated movie The Imitation Game.

Turing argued that it wasn't useful to ask the question "Can computers think?", but rather the ultimate test of an intelligent computer would be its ability to communicate in a way indistinguishable from a human. Thus, he proposed the Imitation Game.

Imagine you're having an online text chat with two others, A and B, one of whom is another person, the other an AI system. The AI system wins the game, and is "intelligent," if you can't distinguish the human's written communication from that of the AI.

Turing designed the Imitation Game as a read/write-only test so that voice wouldn't bias the evaluator.

Today, we happily command Siri and Alexa; had he known, Turing might not have thought this distinction was necessary.

Nonetheless, the Turing test is really about whether a computer can write convincingly as a human.

As of this summer, the answer is already yes - at least if it's imitating an online-ad copywriter - and probably yes, for many more complicated texts.

In August, JPMorgan Chase, the largest U.S. bank, announced that it had used New York-based company Persado's AI system to write ads that generated up to five times the response rates to text written by human copywriters. In other words, the AI text was more enticing and clickable than that created by the human talent.

Persado's technology "is incredibly promising. It rewrote copy and headlines that a marketer, using subjective judgment and their experience, likely wouldn't have. And they worked," JPMorgan chief marketing officer Kristin Lemkau said in a statement announcing that the bank now has a five-year contract with Persado for AIad copy.

Bank ads aren't the first to get an AI write-up. If you're reading an online data-driven story about a company's stock valuation or an online U.S.

used-car ad, there's a good chance that you're reading text written by Chicago-based Narrative Science's patented AI software (whose company's tagline is "How the future gets written").

Writing "REGARDING YOUR CARD: 5% Cash Back is Waiting For You," as Persado's AI did, isn't Shakespeare. But this low-fruit criticism misses the seismic shift here. Bloodand-bone people read the Persado AI's ads and clicked - a functional version of the Imitation Game worked, no questions asked.

The key to machine learning of any kind is a large data set; the bigger, the better.

The intersection of the internet and vast amounts of online text and voice data means there's now a growing trove of content for those developing natural language processing (NLP) - programming computers to process and analyze large amounts of language data. NLP includes everything from today's amazing AIdriven transcription and translation apps, to convenient interactive voice tools.

The pinnacle of NLP systems are those that can generate coherent and creative texts from scratch. The leading example is GPT-2, developed by San Francisco-based non-profit OpenAI on a supercomputer that, over several months, was trained on a data set of eight million web pages involving 40 gigabytes of text. GPT-2, which debuted in February, was only trained to intelligently predict the next word given what words came before. But what emerged from the training, which involved 1.5 billion parameters or rules, is that when prompted, the system can produce entire paragraphs of coherent narrative text - a vast leap in quality from the online random-story generators some might have tried.

GPT-2, for example, was prompted with these human-written sentences in an experiment earlier this year: "In a shocking finding, scientist [sic] discovered a herd of unicorns living in a remote, previously unexplored valley, in the Andes Mountains. Even more surprising to the researchers was the fact that the unicorns spoke perfect English."

After 10 tries, the AI-language system continued with a news-articlelength story: "The scientist named the population, after their distinctive horn, Ovid's Unicorn. These fourhorned, silver-white unicorns were previously unknown to science. Now, after almost two centuries, the mystery of what sparked this odd phenomenon is finally solved."

Putting aside the Reddit-meetsGame of Thrones content (note to the future: it's not the AI's fault), this was a stunning accomplishment. And, as its makers noted, "The model is chameleon-like - it adapts to the style and content of the conditioning text."

Want it to write (or think) like Donald Trump or Aristotle? Train the model on the U.S. President's tweets, or the philosopher's Poetics.

In announcing its creation, OpenAI made public a significantly scaleddown version of GPT-2, citing "concerns about [its] large language models being used to generate deceptive, biased, or abusive language at scale." The creators didn't want their AI baby to be used to pump out endless fake news, but they did want to provide other NLP aficionados the opportunity to test-drive their system.

In May, Canadian machine-learning engineer Adam King used it to develop TalktoTransformer, an online site that enables users to experience this state-of-the art language AI, updated in August with the latest, larger version.

Similar NLP systems are only getting better as billions of us actively help them learn. For example, Gmail's Smart Reply and Smart Compose features, added in 2018, are machine-learning systems that, when turned on in a user's account, actively learn to predict and mimic the user's language. It's the equivalent of a toddler finishing one of your sentences, and you correcting them if they suggest a wrong word. As a result, Gmail's AI system gets smarter with every e-mail written.

Indeed, it's through this collaborative-style writing and learning (think: much-advertised grammar-correcting software) that NLP engineers see themselves improving a machine's writing - not to mention ours.

Last year, a team of NLP researchers at the University of Washington's Paul G. Allen School for Computer Science and Engineering reported on their development and testing of a new machine-in-the-loop framework for improving our creative writing by training a system on about 400 million words from 390 adventure novels. It was put to the test in an experiment in which human participants were tasked with writing a 10-sentence story based on an uncaptioned, single-panel cartoon taken from The New Yorker's end-page caption contest. One group of nine participants wrote the story on their own. Another group of nine wrote with the AI machine-in-the-loop: The human wrote one sentence and the machine suggested the next, with the human able to keep, reject or edit the AI-generated sentence.

To me, the most intriguing finding is that readers asked to evaluate the stories' creativity, with no knowledge of the writers, judged the solo-written texts and the ones co-authored by a machine as equally creative. This, although the authors themselves judged the human-only texts as more creative.

This finding echoes Turing's Imitation Game argument: We all have different ideas of what makes for intelligence and, in this case, good creative writing (i.e., I hate a book, you love it). So, the real question is whether an AI language system can produce communication that falls within the range of human experience.

As Turing presciently addressed, computers' ability to interact with us gets to the heart of what we think it is to be human on a philosophical level. We are story animals, and for many of us, we believe in a dualist sense of ourselves - that somehow, our minds, our narrative natures, are animated by non-physical properties: a soul, a spirit or a consciousness. But like AI systems, we are wired for language and story, and we must learn it. We watch, listen, try, fail, adjust and try again. We get better at it. We have networks of neurons; AI systems, including GPT-2, are often built on mimicking computational systems called neural networks. As machines learn to communicate, we see the greater possibility of story minds like ours being created artificially.

Already, the line between machine and human is being conflated. In announcing the contract with Persado, JPMorgan said that "machine learning is the path to more humanity in marketing." My generous interpretation of this statement is that using machine learning enables marketers to better understand what potential customers want. I'm more inclined to imagine that the line was written by Persado's AI.

And there is a powerful economic, scientific and strategic impetus driving the rapid development of NLP technologies. For example, the machine-in-the-loop creative writing experiment was funded by the Communicating with Computers program of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency - the same folks who helped bring us the internet. We are now in a phase in which NLP research is being rapidly commercialized, particularly with a plethora of e-commerce conversational bots.

Turing's was a theoretical paper in Mind. Today, the Imitation Game has all the technical requirements to make it real - from computer power and NLP algorithms to huge digital data sets.

As if to mark the coming anniversary of the Imitation Game paper, this month researchers at the Seattlebased Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence announced they're achieved a landmark in AI language understanding and logic. Their AI system Aristo, which "learns, reads and reasons about science," correctly answered more than 80 per cent of the questions taken from a real Grade 12 multiple-choice science exam used by students in New York - meaning Aristo could already get into many university science programs.

That's reason for pause for those of us who grew up when you talked into a phone rather than to your smartphone: For a generation of digital natives, AI isn't the future. It's a race in the present.

Today, Max co-leads QMIND, an independent, student-run group of more than 100 undergraduates from Queen's University in Kingston who are helping companies and academic researchers develop AI-based solutions. For these young AI developers, the present isn't a radical new edge, but a beginning; it's a fresh, new field of endless possibility.

It's the same sense of expansiveness that new parents have, the awe of watching our children mature. My son loved when I read him the Dr.

Seuss book, The Sneetches. One bedtime, before he'd learned to read, he began to recite the story aloud with me. Once again, I looked at him with surprise; he'd rote-memorized the entire book. In that moment, I learned that language acquisition is much more complex than I'd imagined. It is an emergent phenomenon, without binary boundaries between able and not able.

With its roots in our fundamental human nature and intelligence, language is a remarkably powerful tool.

As citizens, we must pay attention to the development of NLP technologies; there will be abundant ethical, legal and political issues that must be addressed. Should it be required that we know if we're chatting online with an AI e-commerce bot, for instance, rather than a person? Should the same rules apply if it's a medical or counselling text-based AI? When does an NLP system's maker get credit and royalties for co-written texts?

How do we respond when an NLP can produce a Grade 12 essay about Hamlet, perhaps even with a choice of Newfoundlander or Texan syntax?

What are the social consequences of having AI bedtime storytellers? How will we see ourselves anew in the texts written by NLPs?

Regardless of when an NLP system will write an A+ high-school English assignment, or when we'll be reading AI-lit - in two years, or 10 or 20? - I'm struck again by our adult experience of how children learn to communicate. The development from newborn bawling to a three-year-old's verbal non-stop commentary is a mostly seamless process. As young parents, we're caught off-guard when suddenly we're arguing with an articulate, obdurate child. We desperately want our children, human or otherwise, to grow up and succeed, yet when they do, we find ourselves flummoxed by a world of our own creation to which we must adapt.

Associated Graphic

The landmark 1950 paper Computing Machinery and Intelligence by British mathematician Alan Turing - seen in a picture behind one of his notebooks in 2015 - was theoretical at the time, but today the AI pioneer's Imitation Game has all the technical requirements to make it real.


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The odds that the next federal government will have to manage public finances through a recession are rising by the day. So why are all the parties proposing to throw caution to the wind?

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Saturday, October 5, 2019 – Page O1

Columnist for The Globe and Mail

When it comes to sheer fiscal audacity, the Green Party of Canada is already the hands-down winner of this federal election campaign. By promising more than $60-billion in new spending starting next year, the Greens would inject fiscal helium into the economy, expanding the size of the federal government by one-fifth almost overnight.

What the Greens would giveth, however, they would also taketh away (just not from the same people) by imposing a slew of new taxes, with a view to balancing the budget within five years.

Just don't take that latter promise to the bank.

Indeed, the Greens are not alone in throwing fiscal caution to the wind during this election campaign. All the parties currently represented in Parliament are vowing big spending increases while expressing either a weak commitment to balanced budgets or no such commitment at all. In today's Ottawa, "deficit" is not only not a dirty word, it's practically become a badge of honour, couched in the progressive lingo of "investing" in Canadians.

"We know that a country can't cut its way to prosperity," says the 2019 Liberal Party of Canada platform. "Cuts don't help people. Austerity doesn't grow the economy. And putting the interests of wealthy people ahead of the middle class is not how you keep a country like Canada moving forward."

It sounds like the 1970s all over again. How did that happen?

Not long ago, deficits were verboten in Ottawa. After a hardfought battle to balance the federal budget in the mid-1990s - after two decades of red ink that had driven Canada dangerously close to a debt crisis - no party dared advocate deficit spending.

The federal government did go deeply into deficit during the 2008-09 recession, but it was considered a necessary evil to combat the economic downturn. The Conservative government of Stephen Harper returned the budget to balance by 2014. If the parties argued about the timing of spending cuts, they all agreed the goal of a balanced budget was the right one.

By 2015, however, cracks had begun to show in the balancedbudget orthodoxy. During the election campaign, the Liberals vowed to run "modest" $10-billion deficits for two years and return to balance by 2019. (Spoiler alert: They didn't make it.) This time, however, the party isn't even paying lip service to balancing the budget. The Liberals seem to have concluded that not enough Canadians care, while their base of progressive voters thinks deficits are cool.

Even the Conservative Party, once the Scrooge of Canadian political parties, has moved away from a hard opposition to deficit spending. The Conservatives do promise to balance the budget, eventually. Just not during the four-year mandate they're seeking from voters on Oct. 21.

"I am sort of surprised at how fiscal prudence has gone out of fashion these days," says Paul Boothe, a former associate deputy minister in the Finance and Industry departments during the 2000s. "The current generation of analysts and policy makers don't seem to understand how hard Canada had to work during the [Brian] Mulroney and [Jean] Chrétien years to get back to balance."

To be sure, the parties running in this election have sought, to varying degrees, the imprimatur of the Parliamentary Budget Officer to lend credence to their fiscal plans. But the PBO has issued so many caveats about the high degree of uncertainty surrounding the costs associated with party promises that its analyses must be considered approximate at best, if not entirely moot.

Indeed, the parties' fiscal frameworks are only as reliable as the assumptions they're based on. And no party is making the one assumption that may end up mattering most. The odds that the next federal government will have to manage public finances through a recession are rising by the day. There is a serious risk that the deficits that Liberals once insisted would be small and temporary will become large and permanent. And that the spending promises being rolled out in this campaign will leave Ottawa with a pernicious structural deficit that undermines investor confidence, putting Canada on track for a painful fiscal reckoning similar to what it faced in the 1990s.

Yet no one seems to be talking about that on the campaign trail.

Maybe they should.

In July, the economic recovery that began in Canada and the United States in mid-2009 became the longest on record. After a decade of rising asset prices, especially in stocks and real estate, almost everyone agrees the party has to end sooner or later.

Historically low interest rates have left consumers with maxedout credit cards and massive home mortgages. Meanwhile, a global trade war threatens to push many export-dependent economies such as Canada's over the edge. A process of "deglobalization" has begun that could radically shrink global supply chains and leave every trading nation poorer than it is now.

"None of the parties are talking about any of that," notes Steven Ambler, an economics professor at the University of Quebec at Montreal. "It is difficult in an election campaign to raise the spectre of a recession. But I would give any party that did so points for honesty."

Indeed, the next federal government could face fiscal challenges greater than those faced during the so-called Great Recession of 2008-09. With interest rates still treading near historical lows, the Bank of Canada has almost run out of ammunition to stimulate the economy. That could put extra pressure on the federal government to pick up the slack if the economy falters.

During the most recent recession, the bank chopped its benchmark interest rate from 4.5 per cent to 0.25 per cent. In fact, during every recession since 1980, the bank has cut its key lending rate by more than four percentage points. With its overnight rate currently hovering at just 1.75 per cent, it has far less room to cut.

And it's not clear that zero, or even negative, interest rates would be enough to rebuild investor confidence when private debt levels are already elevated.

Most central banks are in a similar position, leading to a growing consensus among economists that fiscal policy will have to play a much bigger role in combatting the next recession.

This raises questions about whether the Liberal government's decision to run much larger deficits than it promised in 2015 has left Ottawa with enough fiscal room to manoeuvre when the next downturn hits. Even if the next federal government did nothing, a recession would lead to a sharp drop in revenues and concomitant increase in spending as automatic stabilizers such as employment insurance benefits rise. A fiscal stimulus package of the size needed to help kickstart the economy could end up being outside Ottawa's reach if bond markets begin to worry that Canada has overextended itself with permanent deficits.

"I am disappointed [the Liberals] did not return to fiscal balance the way they promised they would during the last campaign," offers Mr. Boothe. "I think it was a missed opportunity."

The Liberals contend they've managed federal finances prudently by keeping the size of the debt stable relative to the size of the economy, or gross domestic product. The federal net debt as a proportion of GDP has declined slightly, to about 31 per cent, since 2015.

Still, that ratio might be significantly lower now had the Liberals stuck to their original plan. Instead, they amassed deficits totalling more than $50-billion during their first three years in office.

And the deficit is projected to hit almost $21-billion in the current fiscal year, which ends next March. By then the federal government's net debt is set to total more than $705-billion, up from about $630-billion in 2015.

The 2019 Liberal platform projects deficits totalling $94-billion during a second mandate - with no mention of what may happen in a recession. Many Liberal promises, such as increasing Old Age Security benefits for Canadians over 75, come with hefty and verifiable price tags. But the party's projections for revenues from new taxes on luxury goods and multinational technology giants are highly speculative.

What's more, the party platform does not include any projections for spending on a promised national pharmacare program.

The Liberal plan nevertheless projects that the federal net debtto-GDP ratio would fall to 30.2 per cent by the end of a second mandate. How likely is that? If a recession hits, all bets are off.

By the time the 2008-09 recession hit, the net debt-to-GDP ratio had fallen to 28.2 per cent after more than a decade of budget surpluses under both Liberal and Conservative governments. As a result, Ottawa was able to undertake stimulus spending without raising concerns in financial markets about rising federal debt levels. Having wiped out more than $100-billion of debt between 1997 and 2008, the federal government was free to spend, spend, spend.

Not that the Conservative government of the day was inclined to do so. Throughout the fall 2008 federal election campaign, Mr.

Harper stuck stubbornly to his balanced-budget script, even as stock markets cratered and evidence of a severe global recession continued to accumulate.

Some economists believe the Harper government wasted precious time by resisting pressure from the opposition parties to adopt a stimulus package when it tabled its November, 2008, fiscal update. Instead, Mr. Harper prorogued Parliament to avoid a possible defeat in the House of Commons and waited until the following January to table a $40-billion stimulus package, spread over two years. The federal budget deficit surged to a record $56-billion in 2009-10 alone as Ottawa ramped up stimulus spending while registering a steep decline in tax revenues.

The effectiveness of all that stimulus spending remains a matter of some dispute. Most of the outlays for infrastructure spending occurred after the recession had technically ended, and much of it entailed projects that contributed little to enhancing productivity. Still, those at the centre of the action insist adopting the stimulus package was the right thing to do.

"One of the things we learned in 2009 and 2010 is that it is very difficult to spend a load of money both quickly and intelligently," says Christopher Ragan, a McGill University economics professor who served as a visiting economist in the federal Finance Department at the time. Still, he believes the stimulus package helped boost consumer and investor confidence, which had been "shattered" at the outset of the recession.

Another lesson of the most recent recession is that, once a government goes into deficit, it can be very hard to stop the red ink. In all, the Harper government ran six consecutive deficits before finally returning to surplus in 2014.

The federal debt ballooned by more than $170-billion over the same period, pushing the federal net debt-to-GDP ratio to 34 per cent. If the Liberals had balanced the budget after 2015, the ratio would now stand at about 27 per cent, leaving Ottawa with much more leeway to run bigger deficits during a future recession.

Even so, the Liberal platform says that "Canada now has the best balance sheet in the G7."

That is only true, however, if you leave out provincial government debt, which is substantial and remains a growing concern as the country's population ages. Indeed, an analysis released last month by Moody's Investors Service pegs Canada's overall government debt-to-GDP ratio at 80 per cent. The figure includes federal, provincial and municipal debt and is the one ratings agencies use to compare Canada to other countries, such as the United States, where almost all public debt is issued by the federal or central government. In other words, Canada is not the fiscal top of class the Liberals suggest it is.

"Canada stands out as having one of the least affordable debt burdens among [triple-A] rated sovereign [borrowers] and G7 countries," Moody's added, noting that Canadian governments would feel the pain if interest rates were to return to historical norms. "Canada's interest payments to revenue and interest payments to GDP [ratios], at 7.8 per cent and 3.1 per cent, respectively, are the second weakest among this cohort behind only Italy."

Financial markets do not cut us the same kind of slack they happily grant Uncle Sam, whose Treasury bonds are still considered the world's safest investment. And unlike euro zone countries such as Greece and Italy, we don't have a German neighbour willing to bail us out to prevent the collapse of a common currency.

We're on our own, for better or for worse. As a small, open economy that depends on global capital flows, Canada does not get to set its own borrowing limits. Bond markets implicitly do that for us.

At least once before in recent history they have threatened to cut us off. Who is to say it could not happen again?

Back in 1994, when the federal net debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 66 per cent and The Wall Street Journal referred to our dollar as the "northern peso," provincial debt levels were much lower than they are now. Indeed, right up until the beginning of the most recent recession, provincial debt was modest by most measures.

Now, Ontario and Quebec have net debt-to-GDP ratios exceeding 40 per cent. Once debt-free Alberta has racked up more than $45billion in debt since 2015 alone.

The Atlantic provinces have a combined debt of more than $50billion. Experts, including the PBO, insist that provincial finances are unsustainable, raising concerns that Ottawa may eventually have to bail them out.

If a recession hits, Canada's overall debt-to-GDP ratio could quickly surpass the 90-per-cent threshold that credit-rating agencies consider a flashing red light.

The next federal government could face a far darker fiscal situation than any politician on the campaign trail is willing to admit.

Their silence may be the most frightening thing about this sleepy election campaign.

Associated Graphic


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The railway is at the heart of our country's history, but our rail system increasingly feels like a historic relic. Much of the world is investing in trains and related infrastructure, while Canada is the only G7 nation without high-speed rail. A new national strategy is required, writes Elizabeth Renzetti. Canada cannot afford to miss the train

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Saturday, October 12, 2019 – Page O1

Elizabeth Renzetti is a Globe and Mail columnist. Her latest book is Shrewed: A Wry and Closely Observed Look at the Lives of Women and Girls.

If you love train travel, Germany is heaven. I'm living in Berlin for a year, and sometimes I go and sit in the Hauptbahnhof, the central station, just to marvel at the bustle and beauty of a wellrun rail network. And maybe buy some chocolate.

More than 300,000 travellers pass under the Hauptbahnhof's soaring roof every day, exiting or entering more than 1,000 trains.

Yet the hoary joke suggesting German trains run on time isn't all that accurate; only 75 per cent of inter-city trains arrive within six minutes of schedule. And the remaining quarter are a subject of national hand-wringing.

The trains themselves are marvels of comfort, speed, cleanliness and efficiency. I cannot help but compare the experience to travelling on Via Rail, which someone accurately but cruelly described to me as "junky."

Riding a train in Canada can be a wondrous experience, as anyone who's looked out the window and seen a deer or a mountain peak will know. But it can also be maddening: Will we be pulled over for 20 minutes so a freight train can pass? Will the bumpiness of the rails cause my coffee cup to actually levitate off my tray? Will I freeze in my seat, or boil like a lobster? Canada's passenger-rail network could be vastly improved. It should be.

Much of the rest of the world is investing in high-speed rail, or upgrading its conventional infrastructure, and Canada is the only Group of Seven country without high-speed rail.

In the next decade, Germany will invest 86-billion ($125-billion) in passenger service; Deutsche Bahn is currently operating under a shortfall of 3-billion. Its recent "green" platform, largely criticized for its meekness, will see taxes on train tickets lowered and taxes on domestic air travel increased. China has built the world's largest highspeed rail network in only a decade.

Even in the United States, where passenger rail was neglected for most of the past century, bold projects are under way in California, in Florida, in Texas and the Midwest.

Shouldn't the same thing be happening in Canada?

We're a country because of the railway, for goodness sake. As Pierre Berton noted in his 1971 history of the Canadian Pacific Railway, The Last Spike, "it is a country shaped like a river - or a railway." In the days after Confederation, nation-building was the challenge - along with the occasional impassable bit of mountain. Now, the challenge is curtailing our greenhouse gas emissions by curbing car and plane travel, with passenger rail as an integral part of that plan.

Yet, in this federal election campaign, only the Green Party has made passenger rail an issue.

"Rail will be the hub" of the Greens' national transportation strategy. It includes investing $720-million in regional rail upgrades and building the long-debated high-speed corridors between Calgary and Edmonton and Toronto-Ottawa-MontrealQuebec City.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May even did a quick whistlestop campaign tour on Via Rail last month. The NDP's platform pledges support to a proposed high-frequency rail corridor between Quebec City and Windsor, Ont.

Otherwise, Canada's federal parties are happy to let this particular train sit on the sidings.

"We're behind other countries," says David Collenette, the former federal transport minister who wrote a report in 2016 on highspeed rail in Southwestern Ontario for the government of Kathleen Wynne. After a variety of scenarios were tested, Mr. Collenette's report concluded that there was a business case to be made for an electrified, highspeed passenger service (hitting 250 km/hr) between the university hubs of London and KitchenerWaterloo, Ont., and on to Toronto.

Extending the line from London to Windsor would make less business sense.

Farmers complained about the potential disruption to agriculture along the route, but the Wynne government approved the plan and announced in 2018 that it would spend $11-billion over seven years building the highspeed corridor.

And then, as you may have heard, it lost the provincial election to Doug Ford's Progressive Conservatives. The promise of a quick, car-free trip between London and Toronto went off the rails. In Alberta, similarly, Rachel Notley's NDP government had talked about the possibility of a bullet train between Edmonton and Calgary, not the first time such a project had been announced. Then that government, too, was voted out, and with it the ambitious plans for a greener future. This cycle, which also kills urban light-rail and subway projects, could be summed up as: railways long, politics short.

"When governments change, priorities change," Mr. Collenette says. "It's easy to throw out certain promises of a previous government. And passenger rail, whether it's high speed or conventional rail or urban rapid transit, those are often the plans that get changed."

Okay, that's the prerogative of politicians. Fine. Huge infrastructure projects are difficult to push through at the best of times.

And for a variety of reasons, including our strung-out geography and historical underinvestment, intracity passenger rail is a tough sell from a strictly profit-making perspective. In July, The Canadian Press uncovered a confidential memo from Via Rail indicating that the Montreal-Quebec City leg of its proposed high-frequency corridor would be a drain on resources. As mentioned, when Mr.

Collenette studied the prospect of high-speed rail in Southern Ontario, he concluded there was a business case for the service between Toronto and London but not onto Windsor, but "you could make those choices for other socioeconomic reasons," he said.

These decisions might not be the most strictly cost-efficient in this age of the passenger car and the jet, but might in 30 or 50 years time if we're serious about reducing reliance on both. More than one expert paraphrased Field of Dreams: "If you build it, they will come."

The flygskam ("flight-shame," the guilt felt over flight emissions) movement makes more sense in Sweden, where it was born. It's easier, if you're an employer, to give incentives to workers not to fly across the country when the country is relatively small; it's a lot harder to ask Joe or Judith to take a train from Vancouver to Winnipeg.

The flip side of flygskam is tagskryt, or train-boasting, which we could use a bit more of in this country. Electric trains are a more efficient, less polluting way of moving people around, especially if the electricity is generated through low-emission means such as renewable or nuclear energy, and not, say, coal.

According to the International Energy Agency's Future of Rail report, trains carry 8 per cent of the world's passengers, but consume only 2 per cent of the energy used in transportation.

Nadine Ibrahim, who holds the Turkstra Chair in Urban Engineering at the University of Waterloo, says, "If you look at it from an environmental perspective, the fuel used in trains versus the fuel used in planes or cars, it's automatically a better option. It's a larger number of people moved in a more sustainable manner."

Prof. Ibrahim, for one, would like an efficient rail connection between Waterloo, where she works, and Toronto, where she lives. As it is, she leaves home at 6 a.m. to beat the nightmarish traf-

fic on Highway 401. Even a limited light-rail project, such as Kitchener-Waterloo's new ION line, has made a huge improvement in students' lives, she says: "It's made things much more affordable for students who can now live a little bit farther away and still get to school."

In this way, ambitious transportation policy makes life better beyond the time you're in transit.

"High-speed intracity rail policy is also really good housing policy," says urban planner Joe Berridge, citing figures from Britain's expansion of its well-used rail network. In essence, having fast, reliable transit links means you're creating value for those who can live and own a house in a commuter belt, without having to drive to work.

Mr. Berridge recently returned from China, and he's still marvelling over the high-speed trains and the gleaming stations that housed them. "China is a vast country, but so are we. There are vast spaces between cities, as there are in Canada." The difference is that the Chinese government has much more muscle in determining where it will put tracks and stations. And it has fast-growing cities of many millions, where Canada has modestly sized cities with empty stretches between them.

The high-speed train between Milan and Rome is also a marvel, Mr. Berridge says, "and that's something we could do in Canada." Even the train-averse United States, where the car has long been king, is building small stretches of fast rail. Richard Branson's Virgin trains will soon be plying a route between Miami and Orlando. Dallas and Houston are set to have a connection, and even the troubled link between Los Angeles and San Francisco is forging ahead, despite cost overruns, delays and the federal government's attempts to pull its funding.

The federal government could show some initiative by bolstering Via Rail, which has suffered the death of bureaucratic cuts almost since its birth in 1977. But Via does have a plan involving Toronto-Montreal, the most popular of its routes. To see where the problems on this route currently lie, it is instructive to look at the record of VIA's public meeting in 2018, during which it fielded various questions from irritated passengers, most of them on a certain theme: Why are your trains so late, and why do my teeth feel like they're being jarred loose when I ride them? Via's answer, in essence: not our rails, not our fault.

Via's passenger trains run almost entirely on tracks owned by CN and CP, and those tracks are much more heavily used by freight trains and their valuable cargo. As anybody will know who's had to pull over into a siding and watch a freight train go by, conflicts can and do happen, and the passengers seldom win.

So Via has a bold new plan: a route involving yet-to-be-built and existing tracks from Toronto to Quebec City, via Peterborough, Ottawa and Montreal. Passenger trains, running on dedicated tracks and no longer playing second fiddle to freight, would be able to run more frequently, at higher speeds. It would cost an estimated $4-billion (although you know what happens to estimates). Journey times would be shorter, and punctuality would improve. Add to this the benefit of train travel - being able to get up and stretch, to have a scotch if you liked, and to never have to curse the driver who cut you off in traffic. As they used to say in the old commercials: priceless.

In June, Via's high-frequency rail plan got a boost and, more importantly, a cash infusion of $71million from the Canadian Infrastructure Bank and Transport Canada for "additional planning activities," which hopefully means "studies to see if we can make this thing work." The infrastructure bank has also committed $1.3-billion to Montreal's light-rail network, the Réseau Express Métropolitain, or REM, which is currently under construction.

If the feasibility studies are in Via's favour, commuters between Montreal and Toronto could benefit from an alternative to clogged highways and annoying airports.

They could pat themselves on the back for making an ethical choice, and indulge in a little tagskryt. On the other hand, the political power structure might change, and Via's new plan will end up on top of a burning pile of similar reports from years gone by.

Perhaps the fundamental problem is one of perception. Our history is so entwined with railroads that we can only view trains historically. (Clearly, anyone who feels this way has not seen China's new 600 km/hr maglev beast.) As Shoshanna Saxe, assistant professor of engineering at the University of Toronto, put it: "We're used to conceiving travel traditionally as oriented around the car, so we don't have the lived experience of what the alternative can be."

This short-termism is what might ruin us all in the end. It's certainly been the dispiriting tone of this election campaign.

Yes, reinvesting in passenger rail would be expensive and bold, but what's the alternative? To see only what's always been in front of us, to judge everything only by the narrowest measure of immediate return on investment - is that how great civilizations are built? Is that how they're maintained? Or is it how they fall?

The Germans are thinking ahead. The Chinese are, too. In this moment of collective awakening about the planet's future, will Canada be able to make a leap of hope and ambition? As Prof.

Saxe says, "We need to be able to imagine a different way of building our infrastructure. We need a new collective imagination of the future."

I saw a tiny glimpse of that future when my family took a (packed) train out of Berlin for a kayaking trip in the countryside.

We managed to navigate the ticket-buying with little difficulty, but the ticket-taker onboard clucked at our lack of savvy. We could have saved a lot of money, she said, by buying a different family pass. Pretty soon, everyone sitting near us was chiming in with their two euros worth, offering advice in German and English about precisely the best way to get cheap tickets. I think they were still debating when we got off the train. It means something to them, this rail system that they love to complain about. It's part of their national fabric. It could be part of ours again, too.

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The Liberal government's track record on arts and culture has had too few successes and big missteps, Simon Houpt writes. With the election looming, how do the major parties plan to help the stressed broadcasting industry?

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Saturday, October 12, 2019 – Page R1

It's an embarrassment of riches.

Since the pioneering streaming service Netflix kicked off its international expansion in the fall of 2010 by launching in Canada, TV and movie viewers in this country have enjoyed an ever-increasing groaning board of delights. Other foreign streaming services such as Amazon Prime and CBS All Access joined the party, along with the Canadian-based offerings Crave and CBC Gem, wooing viewers with thousands of hours of on-demand content - from delightful short-form videos to slick, epic series boasting production budgets in excess of $100-million.

Canadian creators are reaping the rewards, too, as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and others have helped homegrown shows such as Kim's Convenience, Schitt's Creek and Letterkenny break through with audiences and acclaim around the world.

But that success masks a domestic system under intense stress. Revenues are falling as Canadian viewers pivot from traditional TV to foreign-owned services delivered over the internet.

With a federal election less than two weeks away, industry experts and others are warning of a Canadian media ecosystem - which produces everything from entertainment programming to local news - in danger of buckling without new and imaginative government policy. And some are blaming the Liberals for wasting precious time during their four years in office.

"They have been completely asleep when it comes to the greatest series of challenges to our culture that we've had for as long as I can remember," claimed Richard Stursberg, a former broadcasting executive and the author of The Tangled Garden: A Canadian Cultural Manifesto for the Digital Age, published in April. Television and the news industry are "in a giant crisis. And the crisis is in large measure because [the Liberals] have allowed foreigners to come into the country and enjoy advantages that no Canadian company has in our own market."

Stursberg and others say that in Canada conventional domestic broadcasters operate under a set of heavy regulations - including the requirement to spend 30 per cent of revenues on Canadian programming. Other players such as cable companies have their own financial obligations. For decades those regulations, which limited the activities of foreign-owned companies in this country, protected the system and helped support the creation of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of domestic programming every year.

But regulators turned a blind eye to digital-media enterprises - companies as varied as Netflix and Google - until it was too late.

As revenues at those foreign services skyrocketed, conventional broadcasting revenues fell at an average rate over the past five years of 3.9 per cent, according to a recent report from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. Last year, they fell 4.2 per cent.

But although the Liberals didn't pledge during the 2015 campaign to address those problems, many in the industry greeted them warmly after they took office, not least because they were seen as a respite from the previous government. "In the Harper years, when you talked to government about our industry, you never used the 'c' word," said TV writer Jill Golick, referring to "culture."

"In those years, we only could talk about the value of the industry in business terms - which, in our country and our broadcast policy, isn't the only thing. The Broadcasting Act talks about the value of the television industry to the country's sovereignty. But those things did not appeal to the previous government. So, by comparison, this was good."

The Trudeau government's first few months in office were applauded even by some critics, including Chris Tolley, an audio producer who's now running for the Green Party in the riding of Toronto-Danforth. The new government "brought forward some things that have been incredibly helpful," Tolley said, citing the addition of $150-million to the annual parliamentary appropriation for CBC/Radio-Canada. The government also increased funding for Telefilm Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts and the National Film Board, as it had pledged to do in its 2015 election platform.

Then, out of nowhere, Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly declared in April, 2016, that "the current model is broken" and kicked off an 18-month period of consultation with consumers and content creators to bring the TV and film development, production and distribution system up to date.

"Everything is on the table," she insisted, raising hopes of a bold new vision. She floated the idea of overhauling the Broadcasting Act, which had been passed in 1991 - prior to the advent of the internet - as well as the Telecommunications Act (passed in 1993).

She invoked the glorious history of the Heritage Department and its creation of the CBC and the National Film Board. She flew to Silicon Valley to meet with the disruptors.

But her final report, issued in September, 2017, under the title Creative Canada, was greeted as a crashing disappointment. Critics attacked its flagship announcement - that Netflix had agreed to spend $500-million over five years on production in Canada - over the fact the money wouldn't necessarily be spent on certified Canadian content - that is, TV shows or films made by Canadians in key creative positions, such as writers, directors, producers and actors.

"I think there was a certain element in the Trudeau government of being enamoured of all this cool Netflix stuff," said Andrew Cash, a former MP who is running for the NDP in the Toronto riding of Davenport.

"I think it distracted them from the work of rolling up their sleeves and getting something done."

(A representative of the Conservative Party was also contacted for comment about the Liberal track record on culture. He did not respond.)

The government demurred even on requiring Netflix to charge GST, spurring more outrage.

"It's completely ridiculous," said Pierre Nantel, a long-time member of the standing committee on Canadian heritage who served as the MP for Longueuil- Saint-Hubert under the NDP and switched to the Green Party last summer.

"There is GST on an apple turnover and on tires. So how could there not be on an offering that is so important?" Nantel argues that having Netflix remit GST would be a preliminary step toward bringing the company into the regulatory fold so the government could learn more about its operations, including its support for Canadian content.

Stursberg says there is an enormous opportunity for the next government to bring in policies that benefit Canadian viewers and creators.

"I don't think anyone in their right mind would want to say that Canadians shouldn't have access to Netflix - or Amazon Prime or Disney+ when they get here," he noted. "They're simply saying: Look, we're already going to give you a break by not requiring you to be Canadian-owned. We are going to say, however, that you have to play by the same general rule as everybody else and make the same contributions. If we did that, then what we would do is inject a very large amount of money into Canadian production. And that might be a great thing. Because suddenly we'd have Netflix, we'd have Amazon, we'd have Disney, we'd have AT&T Time Warner all investing in Canadian shows and then distributing them through their global networks. That might be a great thing for the country.

But we've got to require them to do it, as a matter of simple fairness."

Apparently stung by some of the criticism, Joly did eventually launch a process to rewrite the Broadcasting Act, striking an expert panel in June, 2018, that will offer recommendations next January. And she began speaking in terms that suggested she would bring the digital services under some form of regulation, saying, "If you're part of the system, you contribute." But she was shuffled out of Heritage the following month.

And some, such as Nantel, say the new panel is redundant, since the industry already offered its thoughts during the previous 18month consultation. "I think it's really unfortunate that, for everyone involved, we keep repeating ourselves all the time," he said.

Joly's successor, Pablo Rodriguez, has taken up the cause of regulation. In a recent interview with The Globe and Mail, he pointed to the 2019 Liberal election platform, which commits to introducing legislation in the first year of a new mandate that would require "meaningful levels of Canadian content" from all content providers, including digital services.

What exactly does that mean?

Would he level the playing field, as many are demanding, by requiring Netflix and Amazon Prime to spend 30 per cent of their revenues in Canada on Canadian programming? "To be honest, those are decisions that we'll make at that moment, when we receive the recommendations from the [committee]," Rodriguez replied. "We have ideas. I have my own personal ideas."

Why has it taken so long for the Liberal government to act on what was clearly a pressing issue when it took office? "We had to consult, explore, talk to the experts, see the best practices," said Rodriguez, adding that the last review of the Broadcasting Act took six years. "These are structural changes, right? These are fundamental changes, and sometimes when we make fundamental changes it's worth taking a little bit of time to do it right. We're talking here about the role of the CRTC, the role of the CBC, all of the things that have changed and are evolving in a system that completely changed."

If regulating streaming services wasn't seen as important after the Creative Canada consultations, what has changed in the Liberal Party's thinking since then? "Everything changes at the speed of light," Rodriguez said. "Things are changing on a daily basis, and things are going to accelerate. "We understand the challenges, but we also understand that a bill that has not been touched in [almost three] decades, a bill that was drafted and adopted before the existence of the internet has to be totally redesigned to take into consideration the new challenges. And also, not only for today but for tomorrow, because if we draft a bill that answers problems we're facing today without taking into consideration everything that can come in the future, then we have to redo the whole thing in a year or two or three."

NATIONAL PARTY PLATFORMS ON CULTURE The Conservative Party of Canada had not released a platform by press time. The People's Party of Canada's platform does not address arts and culture.

NDP "Arts and culture are at the heart of who we are as Canadians. It's how we listen and understand each other better. It's how we connect across vast distances and celebrate our identities."

Key pledges: Promises to "make sure that Netflix, Facebook, Google and other digital-media companies play by the same rules as Canadian broadcasters. That means paying taxes, supporting Canadian content in both official languages, and taking responsibility for what appears on their platforms - just like other media outlets."

Increase funding for CBC and Radio-Canada. "Arts and cultural institutions [to] receive stable, long-term funding to grow and promote Canada's diverse cultures and histories. We will also extend support to Canadian media to assist them in making the digital transition."

Financial support for the Indigenous theatre program at the National Arts Centre "as part of our larger efforts to honour and support Indigenous arts and culture."

Institute income tax averaging for artists and cultural workers.

GREEN PARTY "Few sectors have such a small ecological footprint, but deliver such multifaceted benefits to communities and our national identity as the arts and culture."

Key pledges: Increase funding to "all of Canada's arts and culture organizations including the Canada Council for the Arts, the National Film Board and Telefilm Canada."

Review film industry tax incentives "to ensure all parts of Canada are competitive and attractive to the industry, with incentives rising when Canadian artistic and technical talent are employed."

"Reform antitrust laws to enable the break-up of media conglomerates."

"Close the loophole that exempts social-media platforms from collecting taxes on advertising and ensure all government advertising is placed in Canadian publications."

"Increase funding to CBC/Radio-Canada by $315-million per year until the per-capital level of funding is equal to that of the BBC." (CBC/Radio-Canada received approximately $1.2-billion in government funding for 20182019, or approximately $34 a person. The BBC receives approximately $115 a person, according to the CBC corporate report, A Creative Canada, issued in Nov. 2016.

Funding CBC/Radio-Canada at the same per-capita level as the BBC would mean an annual Parliamentary appropriation of approximately $4.3-billion.)

"Reform the government structure of CBC/Radio-Canada to remove the potential for political interference in board appointments. (The Liberal government reformed the board appointment process in the summer of 2017, to eliminate the potential for political interference.)

LIBERAL PARTY "From the writers who tell our stories to the comedians who make us laugh to the artists whose music forms the soundtrack of our lives, Canadians are proud of the creativity we share with each other - and the world."

Key pledges: Creation of a $200 Culture Pass distributed to each Canadian child at the age of 12 to help access "theatres, museums, galleries, workshops and other cultural venues and local Canadian content."

Strengthen the regional mandate of CBC/Radio-Canada "so local stations can broadcast more local news; and require CBC/Radio-Canada to open up its digital platform so that journalism startups and community newspapers can access affordable technology to develop and distribute local content."

Increase annual funding for Telefilm Canada "by nearly 50 per cent a year."

New Cultural Diplomacy strategy, including "at least one international mission each year to promote Canadian culture and creators around the world."

In the first year of the new term, introduce legislation to "ensure that all content providers - including internet giants - offer meaningful levels of Canadian content in their catalogues, contribute to the creation of Canadian content in both official languages and promote this content and make it easily accessible on their platforms."

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On the eve of publishing his 25th novel, John le Carré talks to Mark MacKinnon about populists, politics and the new international order

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Saturday, October 5, 2019 – Page R1

'You look haunted," John le Carré says as he welcomes me in the front hall of his stately 19th-century home in north London. He doesn't wait for a reply. "I'm haunted. Who wouldn't be? I can't believe what's going on."

I feel like a character in one of the great spy-novelist's books as I follow him inside, marvelling at how easily the lanky 87 year old moves, while puzzling over his greeting.

Le Carré leads me into a sitting room warmed by Central Asian rugs, and gestures toward a narrow, high-backed, yet surprisingly soft chair.

Finally, he launches into what haunts him: Brexit, and specifically the "children" - as he repeatedly calls British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his cabinet - who are carrying it out.

"He is totally without principle," le Carré says of Johnson, before widening his range of targets to include Donald Trump and his personality-centred rule in the United States.

"We are really being so lied to by our own, and we are inflicting so much damage on ourselves, in the name of something that no one can quite put their finger on."

It quickly becomes plain that le Carré, chronicler of the Cold War, is obsessed with current events.

The headlines on the morning we meet are about Johnson having been forced by the country's Supreme Court to reopen Parliament, and to allow it to continue debating Brexit.

On the other side of the Atlantic, U.S. Congress has announced it will hold impeachment hearings into Mr. Trump's behaviour during a phone call with the President of Ukraine.

It's a bad day for the populists, but le Carré believes their side - he calls them "the ultras" - is winning nonetheless.

"I don't know whether [Johnson] will endure, but even if he doesn't endure, the movement, the ultra movement will still have won the day. They will have poisoned public opinion. They will have lied their teeth out in the interests of a nostalgic Britain."

He carries on, like one of his protagonists unspooling a monologue that reveals their motivations for doing what they've done or are about to do.

He's furious with Trump and with Russian President Vladimir Putin, too, for enabling the authoritarianism he sees on the rise around the world. "The trouble is the good guys don't have a voice. You can't do mob oratory with the voice of reason, because the devil always has the best lines."

It's only after 15 minutes of politics that le Carré returns to what his anger has produced - and why I'm in his sitting room clutching a notebook and pen.

"Ah yes, I wrote a book!" he says with a laugh. "I remember now."

There's no need to alter the course of our conversation. Agent Running in the Field, le Carré's 25th novel, is about the here and now. It's about Brexit, Trump and the charged geopolitical moment that we're in. It's set so much in the present that it risks feeling old the day after - if? - Brexit happens. (The book is due to be published on Oct. 22, nine days before Britain is currently due to leave the European Union.)

The book is also le Carré's rebuttal to the devil's best lines.

The author's fury surges through its characters. Agent Running in the Field is narrated by Nat, a middle-aged spy who has recently been brought home to London after a series of postings in Russia and Eastern Europe. During one revelatory exchange, Nat rages to his daughter about having to work for a "a pig-ignorant foreign secretary" (Johnson held the post at the time le Carré was typing that phrase) as well as the "sheer lunacy of Brexit."

Nat's weekly badminton partner, Ed - who emerges as the key figure in the tale - is a civil servant who wrestles with how to best serve a public he sees as being deceived by its own government. In one scene torn directly from the headlines, Nat and Ed interrupt their postbadminton drink to stare in shock at the television as Trump and Putin gave a real-life joint news conference after their summit meeting last year in Helsinki.

Nat, the veteran agent, sees treachery and perhaps a compromised asset, as Trump repeats Russian talking points, while Putin stands beside him smiling a "proud jailer's smile."

Ed, the questioning civil servant, sees something even worse: "It's 1939 all over again, Molotov and Ribbentrop carving up the world," he says after the U.S. and Russian presidents finish talking.

It's a comparison Nat rejects as exaggerated. There are too many "good Americans," he argues, for the United States to go down the path of Hitler's Germany. Ed, however, is unconvinced, and the chapter ends with him wondering whether "good Germans" shouldn't have done more to stop Hitler.

Gradually, that question is revealed as the central question of the book.

"I set out to write a serio-comedy about the situation," le Carré explains.

"For me, at least, it's difficult to write any novel without speaking through the heart or having my characters speak through the heart. Number one, I want to write a story and my own polemic simply gets in the way of it. If I can invest the same polemic in characters, and make that plausible, make it fun, make it work, then I've done my job."

He pauses to top up our coffee cups and to offer me a biscuit.

Then he returns to the theme of Brexit.

"We were and are living in a morally unguided country, where actual conviction - real conviction, from the heart - is very rare. Contrived conviction, you can buy it anywhere in the street."

Ed, he says, is an exception to that. "Here is one guy who really knew what he wanted to do."

Le Carré's rage is rooted in his own back story. He was famously a member of Britain's secret services before he left to concentrate full-time on writing novels.

Le Carré joined MI5, Britain's internal intelligence service, in 1958 and transferred to the foreign branch, MI6, two years later.

He was stationed, under diplomatic cover, in West Germany during the height of the Cold War - giving his novels a realism that made him the undisputed master of his genre - until his cover was blown in 1964 by the infamous British-Russian double agent Kim Philby.

By then, le Carré's career as a novelist was already well on his way. He wrote his first three novels while he was working at MI6, necessitating the invention of the pen name "John le Carré."

His real name is David Cornwell, and he introduces himself as David. And David Cornwell is hardly slowing down. Even before Agent Running in the Field hits bookshelves, he's already turned his attention to writing a new screenplay version of his 1963 classic The Spy Who Came In From The Cold.

But it's what le Carré did before he became a spy that informs much of his current rage.

From 1956 to 1958, he taught French and German at Britain's prestigious Eton College, the same private boys' school that has produced 20 of the country's prime ministers, including Johnson and David Cameron, the leader who set the country down its current path by calling an inor-out 2016 referendum on the question of Britain's membership in the EU.

"This situation has a very long history," says le Carré, frowning, and rubbing the part of his forehead between his two prominent white eyebrows as he speaks.

"I have a personal anger against the type of Etonian from which Johnson himself springs.

They're frozen children. Nanny educated. Boarding school after boarding school. They never grow up. They don't want to govern, they want to win. That was the Eton ethic. Now he's won.

He'd choose any path to get to power."

Le Carré reveals that Johnson years ago visited this same multimillion-dollar home to interview le Carré about a previous book.

The teacher turned spy turned novelist says he was underwhelmed by the journalist who would become Britain's prime minister. "There's nothing good you can say about him, except that he has charm. ... There was just nothing there. It was a puff of smoke going through the house." Johnson aside, le Carré professes an admiration for journalists, particularly those who take risks to report what's going on. His late half-brother Rupert Cornwell was a foreign correspondent for Britain's The Independent.

Le Carré himself certainly has enough tales to fill an entire section of a newspaper.

He catches a glimpse of the audio files on my phone, and notices the previous interview I recorded was with the dissident Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

That launches le Carré into a story about the time Khodorkovsky, then sitting in a Siberian prison and allowed one social visit a year, requested that he be that one visitor.

Le Carré says he declined, fearing that his visit would make matters worse for one of Putin's most prominent critics. The two men have yet to meet. "I thought I could by mistake deliver the Russian authorities with material to put [Khodorkovsky] back in jail, to extend his prison sentence. 'Look at this man, he has one social visit and he wants a British spy.' " He chuckles as a grandfather clock chimes somewhere behind me.

The conversation about Khodorkovsky blends into a yarn about how the West's greatest chronicler of espionage became friends with the late Yevgeny Primakov, a long-time head of Russia's intelligence services (and briefly the country's prime minister) who turned out to be another fan of his Cold War novels.

"You really have to imagine a lot of vodka across the table, and a sort of love affair with the eyes, because he had been talking about my books," le Carré says.

He affectionately drops his voice to impersonate Primakov's thickly accented English.

"We were terribly fond of each other."

Encounters such as the one with Primakov remind le Carré that not all of his readers share his politics.

As someone who has written a long string of bestsellers - and who has reached millions more people through the film versions of those stories - le Carré knows that he has fans who voted for Brexit, and others who support Trump.

He shakes his head when I ask him whether his work of fiction can change anyone's mind about Brexit or Trump. "I think everything shows, as it does with the Trump base, that the more the principles that they subscribe to are undermined, the more loyal they become, the more defensive, the more angry."

Agent Running in the Field, then, is intended as a statement about the untethered times we're in. The protagonists just happen to share le Carré's take on it all.

"This book, funnily enough, will amuse people on both sides of the divide, because it does correctly suggest a government in chaos, where we are individually thrown back upon our own opinions," he says.

And the book is still very much of his oeuvre, with familiar scenes and themes that could have been set in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy or any of the George Smiley series. When not playing badminton, Nat and his colleagues are running Russian double agents who have been living long-term in England.

They wonder whether their assets might be triple agents that the Russians are using against them. The answers are discovered by trips to see old sources in Eastern European capitals.

But while le Carré's works became famous during the Cold War for painting everyone - the Soviets, the Americans, the British - in shades of grey, there's little of that ambiguity to Agent Running in the Field.

There are characters who see it as their job to follow the orders of the leaders of the day. There are others, such as Nat's wife, Prue, a human-rights lawyer, who are in open rebellion against what's happening. But there are none who give a memorable defense of Brexit or the Trump administration. Agent Running in the Field is a political manifesto, a call to everyone to do what they can to resist nationalism and populism, dressed up as a le Carré spy thriller. It also happens to be a great read.

This book, more than any of his most famous works, is about David Cornwell, and what he thinks about the direction the planet is heading in.

The former spy is still using his nom de plume, but it's clearer than ever what the author himself believes in, and what he thinks the West - to the extent it still exists - should fight for in 2019.

David Cornwell-alias-John le Carré is proud of the sleight-ofhand he's accomplished, producing a spy novel - one very likely to become another bestseller - that doubles as a covert call to arms.

"I don't always like my books," he tells me as we walk back toward the front door. He refuses to say which those are, but Agent Running in the Field isn't one of them.

"I love this one."

Associated Graphic

Former MI6 agent John le Carré says his latest novel, Agent Running in the Field, 'will amuse people on both sides of the divide, because it does correctly suggest a government in chaos.'


John le Carré, who was once a member of Britain's secret services before he left to concentrate on writing novels, reveals that he was underwhelmed by then-journalist Boris Johnson when he met him years earlier for an interview.


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What does it mean to be homeless as an Indigenous person? Discuss
'Discuss' is a Globe Opinion feature in which two people - from politicians to journalists, academics to authors - engage in a conversation that flows out of a single question. Today's topic: Having nowhere to live on your native land

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Saturday, October 12, 2019 – Page O5

Jesse Thistle is Métis-Cree, from Prince Albert, Sask. He is an assistant professor in Métis Studies at York University in Toronto. He won a Governor-General's Academic Medal in 2016, and is a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Scholar and a Vanier Scholar. He recently published his debut memoir, From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way.

Helen Knott is a Dane Zaa, Nehiyaw and mixed Euro-descent woman living in northeastern British Columbia. In 2016, she was one of 16 global change makers featured by the Nobel Women's Initiative for her commitment to ending gender-based violence.

She was named an RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writer in 2018. She recently published her first book, In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience.

They held their discussion over e-mail in August.

JESSE THISTLE: My work in Indigenous homelessness at the Canadian Observatory of Homelessness has described First Nation, Métis and Inuit houselessness as a kind of diasporic mobile community whereby the state has failed to spend on housing, infrastructure, education, work opportunities for home communities on par with the rest of Canadians - which is sad because these rights were enshrined in treaty. Indigenous people have to travel vast distances to access services the rest of Canadians take for granted.

Some don't even have proper houses or safe drinking water.

Another aspect of this is the deep feeling of rootlessness that goes along with it, and that Indigenous peoples have felt within Canadian society, where they see their lands usurped by settlement and development and simply have nowhere to be within the nation-state. The anthropological term "out of place" describes that perfectly.

The final aspect is the misrecognition of territory after continual development, whereby large scale manipulation, climatic shifts and human destruction has changed environments so much that they alter the very composition of the land and animals and make it unrecognizable to Indigenous peoples whose lives traditionally have centred on connection to land.

There is a deep sadness that comes from witnessing the loss of land as it transforms into something that is unrecognizable. Australian environmental philosophers have termed it ecological grief, and the topic is most thoroughly explored by Canadian scholar Ashlee Cunsolo in her work in Labrador around Inuit mentalhealth experiences of watching their lands transform as they live upon them.

I think the first step in healing, then, is understanding that colonial and capitalist processes are under way to profit from the land's exploitation and that it continues to displace Indigenous people into various dimensions of homelessness. We need to start here; we need to admit that as a nation and move forward building policies from this jump-off point. And when I say homeless, I clearly do not just mean without having a structure of habitation, it's more like having no place to be within the nation-state.

HELEN KNOTT: I agree with that definition. I am grateful to be connected to the territory of my maternal bloodline. I once had a conversation with my Auntie and talked about what it is that I do as a writer and a social worker. She called me back the next day with the phrase "yetchay kay nusgee" which roughly translates to: "I remember things from long ago." We are living memory keepers, as writers and as Indigenous people, but the land itself is the oldest memory keeper. The mountains, prairies, lakes, islands, oceans are access to memory, to story and, ultimately, to healing.

I have a specific memory that I pulled on in my early years of sobriety. It was in the summer of 2012 and I stood at the confluence of the Peace River and the Halfway River in northeastern British Columbia. I stood in the water and let my toes settle into the round and flat pebbles and stones. I looked across the river at the valley hillside that was rich with green pine trees and spruce. I closed my eyes. I wiggled my toes further into the floor of the river. I felt the sunshine on my face. I told myself, "Remember what this feels like. Remember what it is like to be so deeply rooted in the territory of your people and watched over." When I was away for school and work for the following years, it was that memory that I summoned in order to carry me through the hard waves of depression.

There is what you called "ecological grief," which I've come to know as "land trauma" as defined by the Native Youth Sexual Health Network through a case study report involving Indigenous women across North America. That very place I described above will soon be underwater in a reservoir for the mega hydroelectric project, the Site C dam. I find my grief in regards to the pending loss of the stretch of valley and land that I know - and which knows me - is ongoing.

Are there any specific memories you pulled on through your early years of healing? THISTLE: I used to run when I first got out of jail. The minutes were like eons at first, holding on for dear life as a lifetime of addictions and trauma gnashed its teeth, calling me to let go and use. Only longdistance running on my rebuilt foot helped stave off the cravings long enough to give me a chance against the psychological and spiritual warfare of first coming clean off crack and alcohol.

You see, my foot is held together by wires, and the scar I had on the side was still wide open when I first dared to run. I used to be able to stick my index finger into it, right down to the bone. But anything was better than focusing on the inner pain I carried. Each step was like running on glass, early on. The pain of bone and metal scraping my ankle was with me on every run. Eventually, the pain turned to a numbing kind of euphoria - it must be like that for those out on thirst dances or fasting with the land or Sun Dances with piercings.

One day, in a state of total bliss while running, I saw an old tree. It stood decrepit, but it was still noble in its own way. I swear I saw it wink at me as I passed the first time, its lead branch extended out toward the finish line. The next run, in a similar state, I felt the same presence and got the same courage to follow where the tree pointed, to finish the race. It was like that every time - the old tree was there, at the end of my run, assuring me I was on the right track. It kept me sober, kept me grounded.

Years later, when I returned to rehab to thank the people who saved my life, I drove with my wife, Lucie, to see my tree.

There it was, crooked and cranky just like before. I remembered it, and it remembered me. As we went to leave, Lucie noted a road sign beside the tree. It read "Carlsbad." I never noticed it back when I was training.

Lucie said, "Carlsbad is the German way to say where I was born in the Czech Republic. That's how you say Karlovy Vary."

Then I looked at the tree again. For the first time, I noticed its long branch, the one that I believed pointed to the end of my daily course, was actually pointing to the sign, and not the end of the running course. The tree had been telling me the whole time to keep going - not to the end of the race - but toward my wife. The woman who'd change everything for me; the woman who'd help me back onto my feet and out of homelessness finally.

I learned then that's how ceremony really is: It comes to us in our daily lives just in different forms, and in ways we might not recognize at first.

I guess I remember that tree as you remember the water.

You talked about the early waves of depression in sobriety. Do you have any suggestions on how to fight the later waves? Things you do? People you see?

KNOTT: The waves are inescapable but I have learned to carry myself through them in better ways.

Last year, my mom was diagnosed with two types of Stage 5 cancer. I felt like a little girl building sand castles on the beach with her back toward the ocean where a tsunami wave loomed in the distance. If I didn't look, then perhaps it didn't exist.

During that period, my mind started to wander to using cocaine again after six years of sobriety. The thoughts invaded the simple moments - waiting at a stoplight, or when I was out picking up schoolproject materials with my son. It was then I knew I couldn't walk through my grief and sadness alone. I took the steps to find a counsellor and she helped me walk through those feelings. I entered into this space where I learned how to let myself fall apart relying solely on the faith that Creator would put me back together again afterward.

I find maintaining sobriety is never just a single choice but it is a series of small choices one makes over and over again.

There is a humility in keeping your wellness, and I suppose the tip would be is that you have to be aware of your journey and when you need to ask for help.

I can recall sitting in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting during my fourth rehab stint with styrofoam cup in hand, sludge coffee in cup and butt on a hard plastic seat. A young guy, around 20 years old, who had two years of sobriety, said something like, "I'm here because even though I know I've been sober for some time, there are things in my thinking that still aren't right. I need other people to fix that, 'cause a broken mind can't fix a broken mind."

Those are words I carry with me to this day. It is okay to need help and it is brave to ask for it.

THISTLE: It's been 11 years sober for me.

I always think of how close I came to death - from suicide to people trying to kill me out on the street. Such is the life of a small-time hustler. That fear and desperation keep me sober. Plus, my foot is always in pain. The pain reminds me, without fail, to fly straight or else. I was also an old duck, 33 years old, when I found Lucie, so when she picked me, I felt like I'd won the lottery. Every morning, I've woken up, from that day to this, wondering how an old skid mark like me ended up with such a goddess like her. Those are what held me for 11 years. Simple, I know. And I say this knowing I don't know much. I am a simple man.

I wouldn't even say I am well or that I have wellness or I am healed. I just deal.

Do you feel this way, too?

KNOTT: I would say that I am more answer than I am question mark these days. Healing is a continuous and ongoing journey, so I have accepted that it is never really over with, especially as an Indigenous person living within a settler state. On that note, I discussed self-care today with my class of aspiring social workers and I am wondering, what is one quirky selfcare thing you do? THISTLE: I go to the spa or play with my cat. I kick this stuffed frog we got at IKEA down the hall and the cat chases it.

So fun.

KNOTT: Cuddles with my son, and babies in general, are medicine for me. He is reaching the age - he's 11 - where cuddles may soon be a thing of the past so I really try to take in these moments. I am curious, did you find that maintaining sobriety while excelling as an academic was challenging?

THISTLE: Yes, always. I daydream of smoking cigarettes and drinking a stiff whisky when I am happy. Sometimes I fantasize about smoking crack and I always have to remember to do my gratitude list because that reminds me of what I'll lose if I slip.

I know you recommend reconnecting with the land to help healing, but how would you help Indigenous urban people do that in the city?

KNOTT: I have never lived in a large city but I would think that one would have to pay a little more attention to find the pockets of sacred spaces around them, because they most definitely exist. When the land has been reconfigured and shifted, it doesn't mean that you can't practice small acts of ceremony and have those moments between you and Creator/spirit.

Take the Peace River here in our territory.

She has two hydro dams on her. Does the interference of men make her any less sacred? Nah. She has had to work harder to show up, but she is still there.

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Diverging paths: Thunder Bay's racial and class divides defined by bus routes and pickup trucks

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Tuesday, October 8, 2019 – Page A1

THUNDER BAY -- On Thunder Bay's official crest, there's a picture of a canoe, and in the canoe seven men in blue shirts sit around one man dressed in black.

Starting in the 17th century, merchants seeking beaver pelts travelled up the St.

Lawrence River and through the Great Lakes to what is now Thunder Bay. They took the trip in 36-foot canoes made of birchbark with payloads of 6,000 pounds, paddled by French-Canadian and Indigenous voyageurs, while a Scottish fur baron, known as a bourgeois, sat passively in the middle.

These were the men in blue, and the man in black.

They survive as a relic on the municipal crest, a celebration of the city's founding industry.

But they also illustrate hierarchies of power and mobility that continue to define Thunder Bay, where transport plays an outsize role in shaping daily life and putting people in their place.

Then, as now, if you wanted to understand this divided city in the middle of the country, look at how people get around.

Public transit is often treated as an afterthought in Thunder Bay. Just 4 per cent of the city's residents commute by bus, according to the 2016 census, compared with the 88 per cent who travel to work by car or truck.

Brad Loroff, the city's transit manager, acknowledges that most of his riders are "not travelling by choice, but travelling by need."

People in need here are disproportionately Indigenous, and the bus reflects that.

The public service announcements posted above the rows of seats this spring included a helpline for Indigenous women and an anti-racism program ("Respect. It begins with you and me").

The fact that the bus is essentially an Indigenous form of travel has made it a locus of racism.

The transit authority gets periodic complaints from people who feel bus drivers have refused to pick them up because of their skin colour. "It's a concern," Mr. Loroff acknowledged.

For Autumn WhiteFeather, it's more than a concern. This spring, the young First Nations woman wrote on Facebook about an incident in which a bus driver asked her to turn her music down, although she was wearing headphones, and then gave her misleading directions. She feels his behaviour was racially motivated.

"This wasn't the first time I had a run in with him," she said in a message to The Globe and Mail. "He is very racist towards the natives and East Indians especially."

Ann Magiskan, the city's aboriginal liaison officer and a member of Lac Seul First Nation, sometimes rides the bus just to keep an eye out for bigotry. She herself has been mistreated on public transit because of her ethnicity, she believes: She accidentally flashed an expired transfer while boarding a bus recently, and the driver responded with undisguised suspicion. "The lady says, 'This is no good, this is from yesterday. Are you trying to scam the bus?' " Ms. Magiskan recalled. "I looked at her and said, 'Scam the bus for $2.75? I work out of the City Hall building.' " Moments of hostility are compounded by an overall neglect of the transit system by a car-dominated city. In 2010, the indoor Brodie Street bus terminal - a popular meeting place for Indigenous youth - was torn down to make way for a new provincial courthouse.

The new terminal outside of City Hall is open to the elements and although its stand-alone shelters have on-demand radiant heat, Mr. Loroff admits that the technology "doesn't work so well when the temperatures plummet to, like, minus 20" - which in Thunder Bay they often do.

Meanwhile, at many stops, there are no shelters at all.

Thunder Bay Transit is also looking to scrap a bus route that covers the neighbouring Fort William First Nation reserve, citing low ridership figures.

If council approves the plan, the socalled Mission route - which alludes to the reserve's history as a Jesuit mission in the 19th century - will be losing its regularly scheduled buses in favour of smaller, ondemand vehicles.

At a public consultation in February, Mr.

Loroff found that some riders were "scared" by the proposed change. "They say, 'I don't want to lose my transit service!' " he recalled. "We tell them, 'You don't have good transit service now.' " It's not just the Mission route: No one in Thunder Bay has particularly good transit service. More heavily trafficked routes are often cumbersome and slow. A bus trip across town can easily take more than an hour and require several transfers, in a place where virtually nothing is more than a 15-minute drive away.

Money is part of the problem. While the city spent nearly $16-million on roads in its 2018 budget, it provided more than $12million for transit. When asked why he didn't ask council for more money to provide better service, Mr. Loroff balked.

"So, [I] can come back at budget time and put [my] head on the chopping block and ask for that," he said.

The bus's low standing on the municipal agenda was in evidence during a city council meeting in May, when the chamber discussed an application for newly available federal transit funding. When it was Mayor Bill Mauro's turn to speak, he said he was concerned that the city would be on the hook for more spending of its own if it accepted the package from Ottawa.

"There comes a point at which, how much more transit money can we use?" he said.

The concerns of drivers take up a much bigger share of the city's political oxygen.

Potholes are a particular obsession. The weekend newspaper is full of reader complaints about them, and until recently "Report a Pothole" was the most prominent feature on the City of Thunder Bay website; visitors looking for "Aboriginal Relations" had to scroll down.

If you can afford to, you drive in Thunder Bay. Preferably something big. Pickups and SUVs are so common that even people who drive a regular car simply call it their "vehicle."

While trucks are popular in many smaller cities with poor public transit, they are at a particular premium in Thunder Bay.

That is in part because of the city's proximity to nature and the local popularity of off-road driving, but also because of the unusual, split nature of the place. Until 1970, Thunder Bay was comprised of two cities, Fort William to the south and Port Arthur to the north. To this day, both downtowns remain, with a long stretch of strip malls and heavy industry between them, making driving by far the most convenient way to get around.

Four wheels and a flatbed may be king in Thunder Bay, but they're also expensive, and many low-income Indigenous people bike instead. That leaves them open to different kinds of abuse. On one hand, the ubiquity of Indigenous cyclists has given birth to a racist trope. Travis Hay, a historian at Lakehead University, cringes as he tells a joke he heard often while growing up in Thunder Bay.

"What does an Indian get for his birthday?" it goes. "Your bike."

On top of prejudice, Indigenous cyclists have to contend with a dangerous lack of biking infrastructure. The city boasts 42 kilometres of bike lanes and "shared" bike and car lanes, but many of them wind through leafy residential streets, and bike riders on arterial roads usually just resort to the sidewalk, when there is one.

When collisions happen between a car and a bike, as they inevitably do, the police sometimes seem to blame the victim. Jeff Moorley, a lawyer at the personal injury firm White Macgillivray Lester, said he has seen cases where a cyclist was hit by a car, then charged with biking on the sidewalk.

"It adds insult to injury," he said.

The same sort of double jeopardy awaits pedestrians in Thunder Bay. In February, 2017, an Indigenous woman was struck by a car while crossing the street, leaving her with a broken leg and a concussion. While she recovered in hospital, a police officer brought her a ticket for "entering the highway unsafely," according to a report last year from the provincial Office of the Independent Police Review Director.

Walking the streets in Thunder Bay as an Indigenous person can be fraught in many ways. Stories of white men hurling garbage out of their car windows at pedestrians are common. In February, 2018, the occupants of a silver hatchback drove through the city shouting racist abuse and pelting Indigenous people with eggs, sending one man to the hospital.

The consequences of these attacks can be severe. Barbara Kentner, a 34-year-old Indigenous woman, was walking home with her sister in the early morning of January 29, 2017, when she was hit in the stomach by a trailer hitch thrown from a passing car. Her sister said that one of the passengers yelled, "I got one," as the car drove away. Ms. Kentner died several months later, and a young white man named Brayden Bushby was eventually charged with second-degree murder in the case. He is awaiting trial.

Thunder Bay is almost exactly halfway across Canada: about 4,000 kilometres of highway driving from both St. John's in the east and Whitehorse in the west.

Historically, that central location has made the city a crossroads, from its use as an annual rendezvous point for fur traders in the 19th century, to Thunder Bay's role as a trans-shipment point for Prairie grain heading east in the 20th.

Today, though, the city's place on the map can feel less like a nexus and more like a confinement. Simply put, it's easy to become stuck in Thunder Bay. Frequent coach service once linked the city to the wider world, but the last Greyhound bus pulled out of the station last fall, part of a corporate retrenchment across Northern and Western Canada. (Now, an upstart company called Kasper offers the only local bus service, and then only to nearby destinations such as Longlac and White River.) The train isn't an option for leaving town either: Via Rail cancelled passenger service to Thunder Bay in 1990. Today, a husk of one of Via's distinctive yellow and blue railcars sits on display along the banks of the Kaministiquia, part of the Kam River Heritage Park, along with an old tugboat.

Historically, hitchhiking has been one way for low-income people to leave town, but that comes with serious risks, and can have deadly consequences for Indigenous women, especially. In 2017, a woman named Diane Geissler testified at the national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. She described how her mother, Kathleen McGinnis, tried to hitchhike from Thunder Bay to British Columbia in the late 1970s, in search of her son, who had been apprehended by a child welfare agency. Ms.

McGinnis was found dead along a highway near Calgary.

Even people with the means to come and go freely can be struck, while travelling, by Thunder Bay's haunting remoteness. Hundreds of kilometres of boreal forest, lake and Canadian Shield stand between them and the next city of any size.

That space was once traversed by voyageurs and bourgeois in birchbark canoes, a journey that helped knit the country together by making its expanses feel smaller.

But distance is distance, and today it is never more stark than when seen from the sky, at night.

"You don't really realize how isolated you are, here, until you fly in the dark," said Mr. Loroff, the transit chief. "When you take off, it takes a while before you see lights ... You're in the dark for a while."

Associated Graphic

In Thunder Bay, a bus trip across town can easily take more than an hour and require several transfers.


Left: Voyageur imagery is seen on the streets of Thunder Bay, as the area was an important hub for settler travel in the 17th century. Today, many bus and rail links have been cancelled, leaving public-transit users, who are predominantly Indigenous, stranded or stuck with cumbersome and slow service.

According to the 2016 census, only 4 per cent of Thunder Bay's residents commute by bus, compared with the 88 per cent who travel to work by car or truck.

Left: The new public-transit terminal outside of Thunder Bay's City Hall is open to the elements, but many stops have no shelters at all. Right: Many Indigenous people choose to bike instead of taking transit, but then they are faced with the city's lack of biking infrastructure.

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On green Welsh pastures, farmers fear lean years when Brexit comes
A sheep and cattle industry that depends on EU markets is bracing for price collapses and economic uncertainty, and anxiety is spreading as other businesses flee the area

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Friday, October 11, 2019 – Page A10

TYNYGRAIG, WALES -- Wyn Evans's family has been raising sheep along the lush valleys of western Wales for 500 years, and as he approaches 60, Mr. Evans would like to pass the farm on to his son. But that's becoming increasingly uncertain because of Brexit.

Mr. Evans is typical of many farmers in this part of Wales, where bumpy roads snake up and down steep hillsides lined with grazing sheep. He has about 400 sheep and 60 cattle across 200 acres. He and his wife, Nicole, and their son, Gwynfor, are just about breaking even. But similar to almost all other sheep farmers in Wales, the Evans family depends on the European Union for survival.

About 40 per cent of Welsh lamb is exported, and nearly all of that goes to France, Germany and other European Union countries, where it's considered such a delicacy it has been given a special geographic designation, like Parma ham and Champagne.

Once Britain leaves the EU, lamb exports to the bloc will face a 46per-cent tariff, and the duty on some cuts of sheep meat will run as high as 61 per cent. And unless Britain slaps similar tariffs on its imports, the country will be awash with cheap lamb from New Zealand.

"It would be quite catastrophic," Mr. Evans said as he sipped a cup of coffee at his kitchen table.

"We could see prices collapse by about 30 per cent. And that would make the job totally and utterly unprofitable."

It's not as though the family has other options. Growing crops is all but impossible in the rugged Welsh countryside, which is why farmers in Wales depend more on sheep than their counterparts in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

For a region with three million people and nearly 10 million sheep, much is at stake.

Mr. Evans said he voted to remain in the EU, but believes the government should respect the referendum result.

It's not just farmers who are worried. As Britain lurches toward a deadline of Oct. 31 to leave the EU, barring a last-minute extension, anxiety is increasing all over Wales. This region is often overlooked as the Brexit drama plays out in Westminster and Brussels, but no other part of the United Kingdom has more to lose from a disorderly departure than Wales.

The EU accounts for 61 per cent of all Welsh exports, compared with 46 per cent for the U.K. overall. Wales also receives about $1-billion annually from the EU in farm subsidies and regional development grants, far more than any other part of the U.K.

The Welsh coast has seven ports, and many rely heavily on EU trade. Among the most vital is Holyhead, which is a crucial entry point for Irish truckers moving goods across Britain to the continent and is second only to Dover in terms of freight traffic volumes.

Many parts of Wales are already feeling the effects from the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the increasing likelihood that Britain will leave without a withdrawal agreement. Ford Motor Co. is closing its engine plant in Bridgend, cutting 1,700 jobs.

Quinn Radiators Ltd. has shut its factory in Newport, throwing 300 people out of work at what was once the largest radiator plant in Europe. The Tata Steel mill in Port Talbot is losing £1-million a day, and Airbus SE has said it will review its U.K. operations after Brexit, raising questions about the future of its wing plant in Flintshire, which employs more than 6,000 people.

"I don't think anybody would disagree that Wales could be more prone to economic problems resulting from a no-deal Brexit," said Max Munday, director of the Welsh economy research unit at Cardiff University.

He added that the region's industrial base is particularly vulnerable to Brexit because it's dominated by branch plants of multinational firms. If Brexit goes badly, those plants "could easily relocate to other areas of Europe, and indeed there's some evidence that's already occurred," Dr. Munday said. Many businesses, particularly in the food and beverage sectors, are also more susceptible to non-tariff barriers such as licensing requirements, product standards and rules that restrict the flow of goods from countries that don't have a trade agreement with the EU. For government officials trying to figure out how to plan for Brexit, "this not knowing what's going to happen is quite a nightmare," Dr.

Munday said.

Beyond the economic concerns, there's also a rising debate about the region's future, particularly among those who want to remain in the EU.

Wales voted 53 per cent to leave in the 2016 referendum, compared with 52 per cent for the country as a whole. The result has prompted a surge of interest in independence as a way of keeping Wales in the EU.

Recent opinion polls have put support for sovereignty at around 25 per cent, and a YouGov poll last summer found that 41 per cent of those surveyed backed independence if it meant Wales would stay in the EU.

That's a far cry from before the referendum, when Welsh independence garnered single-digit backing in most polls.

"Brexit has basically shaken everything out," said Sion Jobbins, a lifelong nationalist in Aberystwyth who co-founded YesCymru in 2014. Since the referendum, the group has opened 35 chapters across Wales, and some of its recent rallies have attracted 5,000 people. Mr. Jobbins said he's never seen such an interest in independence, even among long-time nationalists, who for years preferred to concentrate their efforts on promoting and protecting the Welsh language.

Independence may still be a way off, he added, but "for the first time, people in Wales are asking questions."

Last week Adam Price, the leader of the Welsh nationalist Plaid Cymru, told the party's conference: "The U.K. as we know it could cease to exist in a short few years."

Brexit has also revealed a paradox in Wales that has confounded many outsiders. Support for leaving the EU was highest - up to 62 per cent - in communities that have received more EU funding for regional development than almost anywhere else in Europe. Nowhere is that dichotomy more evident than in Ebbw Vale, a city of 18,000 people in the heart of the Welsh coal country.

This part of Wales once fueled the industrial revolution, and the coal and iron mines employed more than 250,000 people.

Few were bigger than the Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron and Coal Co., which started in 1790 and revolutionized the process of converting wrought iron to steel. The company had 34,000 workers at its peak in the 1920s, and operated the largest steel mill in Europe. Postwar modernization gradually made the coal mines uneconomical, and steelmaking eventually moved offshore. Most of the Welsh pits closed in the 1980s, and the Ebbw Vale plant shut down for good in 2002. By then it was down to 780 workers.

The loss of the mill sent Ebbw Vale into a steep economic decline. Today, the main street is scattered with dilapidated buildings and empty store fronts.

Good jobs are scarce, and most people head to Cardiff or England to find work. Ebbw Vale's plight made it a prime candidate for assistance from all levels of government, including the EU. Regional development grants from Brussels have helped build a highway, a hospital, a sports centre, a community college, a library, housing and an office building. The EU also chipped in to redevelop the city's small main square with a collage commemorating the city's mining history, a giant clock and a four-metre-tall stainless-steel dragon that depicts the symbol of Wales. It's hard to go anywhere in Ebbw Vale without seeing the EU logo on a sign, a building or even at the base of the dragon.

Far from winning over locals, the government money has bred hostility toward the EU. Many people say the glittering projects are poor substitutes for lost livelihoods. This city voted 62 per cent to leave the EU, and feelings about the bloc have only hardened. "It's all a waste of money," Kay Durbin said as she had coffee and cigarettes with three friends outside the Box Café. "I voted to leave because I don't want to be dictated to by the EU." As her friends nodded in agreement, Ms.

Durbin pointed toward the square and added: "The clock doesn't work properly and I can do without the dragon."

Down the street, Mauro Joseph and his wife, Caroline, run the Central Café, which used to be a busy hub for hungry millworkers and now serves just a handful of customers.

The Josephs are among a minority who voted to remain in the EU in 2016, but they feel the Brexit debate has gone on too long and Britain should leave as soon as possible. Mr. Joseph worked in the mill for 22 years before taking over the café in the 1990s, and he says Ebbw Vale has never recovered from the plant closing. "You could leave school on Friday and start work Monday," he said. When asked whether the EU had helped soften the blow, Mr. Joseph laughed and Ms.

Joseph replied: "A lot of the money was wasted. We had a swimming pool and they knocked it down to build another one."

"There was enormous economic and social change that I don't think the EU money could ever have hoped to match or compensated for," said Victoria Winckler, director of the Bevan Foundation, a think tank based in south Wales. "But it was talked up in a way that implied that it could." She's also not optimistic about the future for Wales after Brexit. "My own view is that we will have a period of chaos, which may well resolve quite quickly, but then there will be a long-term lack of economic growth," she said. "Just a very slow decline."

Up the road from Ebbw Vale, Keith Williams is trying to stay hopeful. He's a farmer near Llandrindod Wells in central Wales, and he has 1,000 sheep and 23 cattle. The Waitrose grocery-store chain buys most of his lamb, which gives him some protection from the EU export market. But he's still worried about prices collapsing after Brexit, and he recalled the last time the EU shut out British lamb, in 2001, during an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

"We weren't able to export for about 12 months, so lambs that had been selling the year before for between £45 and £50 were selling for £28 or £30," he said, adding that many farmers were wiped out.

Similar to a lot of farmers in his area, Mr. Williams voted to remain in the EU, but he believes the government should honour the referendum result and end the uncertainty. In a hopeful gesture, he recently signed legal papers to make his 21-year-old daughter a partner in the farm.

When asked if she still wants to be a farmer, Mr. Williams smiled and said: "She does at the moment." Then he paused, and added: "Farming is a long-term thing and it's been through cycles. People have still got to eat."

Associated Graphic

Welsh farmer Keith Williams sells most of his lamb to the Waitrose grocery chain, but he says he's worried about a price collapse after Brexit, adding that many farmers were wiped out the last time the European Union shut out British lamb. That was in 2001, amid an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.


Once Britain leaves the European Union, lamb exports to the bloc will face a 46-per-cent tariff and sheep meat could be tariffed as much as 61 per cent. Welsh farmer Wyn Evans - seen at top on his farm this past January - says the results could be 'catastrophic.' Because of the difficulty of growing crops in the rugged Welsh countryside, farmers in the country are highly dependant on sheep, some of which are seen on Mr. Williams's farm, above.


Anxiety is increasing all over Wales as Prime Minister Boris Johnson, seen above during a campaign event in the country last July, pushes Britain toward an Oct. 31 deadline to leave the European Union. ASSOCIATED PRESS

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The same old stories: How narratives around Ca nada's political parties become pathology

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Saturday, October 5, 2019 – Page O6

Bell Chair in Canadian Parliamentary Democracy at Carleton University

Popular culture seems to be caught in the throes of repetitive, circular narratives.

Prequels, sequels and remakes abound in Hollywood; reunion tours and reliable reruns dominate music and TV. But the 2019 election is serving as a striking example of how everything old can be new again. And Canadian politics seem set to feature the same tired storylines, too.

A Liberal government is trying to move past a major scandal, but has left in its wake an accompanying perception of arrogance and entitlement. A Conservative Party is working to reach for issues and ideas that go beyond the obvious low-hanging fruit.

The New Democratic Party is struggling to articulate why a third party is valuable and relevant. The events themselves change, but the images of these organizations have become so hardened that it feels like we're in a time loop.

How have we gotten here? The answer, in part, lies in the history of each party and the way they're structured. But it's also about how the parties relate to each other in the election-season faceoff. Parties alternately enjoy and fall victim to their time-tested brands, but those only become reinforced by the party systems of the time - and on that front, Canadian politics is looking like another familiar script.

Party systems, as defined by political scientists, are the shape by which the full array of parties compete and adapt to each other, and the common themes and factors that animate the arrangement. Canada went through three distinct national party systems in the past. One began in 1867 and stretched to about 1921, a period that saw a traditional two-way struggle between the Liberals and Conservatives, heavily greased by patronage and local quirks. The arrival of new Western Canadian protest parties, first the Progressives and later the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and Social Credit, heralded a second system, from the 1920s to the 1960s. A third-party system then emerged with three perennial contenders: the Liberals, Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats (and the last gasps of Social Credit).

That system fell apart in 1993, with the collapse of the Progressive Conservatives and the surge of the Bloc Québécois and Reform Party, and for the next 20 years, political scientists worked to identify the fourth Canadian party system. But every few years, things shifted. In 1997 and 2000, we seemed headed to a permanent five-party system.

Then it was a four-party system, seemingly leading to permanent minority governments. That went out the door with the 2011 election and the surge of the NDP to second place, briefly suggesting a total realignment and the potential demise of the Liberals - a long-anticipated fall, given that it has no counterpart in the Anglo-American world, where a clear polarization between two major parties of the left and the right is the dominant party system.

But 2015 saw, in many ways, a restoration to something that looked an awful lot like the pre-1993 third system. A Liberal government formed the centre of gravity, around which the other parties revolve and respond, with a Conservative opposition and an NDP in a respectable third.

While the Bloc Québécois and Greens are in Parliament as well - along with Maxime Bernier under the People's Party banner - the Canadian ballot looks a lot like it did in the late 20th century.

This familiar party system only highlights how old narratives about these political parties become all the more reliable. While political parties do have parts that are nimble and entrepreneurial, these machines are ultimately creaky, cranking beasts that lurch and lumber through parliamentary sessions, with a distinctive brand that is difficult to shake. Parties and their leaders are encumbered and shaped by their histories and internal and external expectations. Even if there have been some unexpected twists at times, each occupies a distinct space in the Canadian political system. And each is prone to following its past patterns and pathologies.

Let's start with the Liberals, for whom the image of a government plagued by a corruption scandal is not new. Many will remember the sponsorship scandal of the Chrétien-Martin government in the early 2000s, which revolved around a long-term scheme that siphoned government funds into Liberal-connected pockets. Revelations of the affair crippled the party in the 2004 election, and the subsequent Gomery inquiry led to almost a decade spent in the wilderness, starting in 2006.

However, given that the sponsorship scandal was largely run by bit players - the chief failure of senior government leaders was in not exercising proper oversight - 1956 provides a much stronger parallel to the Justin Trudeau Liberals' SNC-Lavalin affair. In that instance, Louis St.

Laurent's Liberal government made commitments to a U.S.

firm to support and finance a natural gas pipeline. Multiple issues arose from this, including the cost to the public treasury and American involvement (though not, back then, environmental or Indigenous issues).

The government invoked closure to ram the necessary legislation through Parliament, before even introducing the bill itself - an unprecedented act, at the time - and the resulting "pipeline debate" was enormously damaging for the government, which fell the next year.

The pipeline issue was led and directed expressly from the top.

It was about public policy, rather than explicitly about lining pockets. And it embodied the modern stand-by attack on the Liberals: that they were arrogant and impatient, and seemingly convinced of their own rightness in conjoining the interests of a private firm with the public interest.

Sixty years apart, both the pipeline debate and SNC-Lavalin affair speak to the Achilles heel of the Liberal Party of Canada: its excessive comfort with the levers of power and power establishment in this country, and its resulting blind self-righteous belief that it always knows best for Canada. In both cases, the government blundered into a huge problem without realizing, until far too late, that they were doing anything wrong. Only in retrospect, if at all, did they realize just how bad it looked from outside, and ultimately that they may have been in error. And even then, the party struggled to apologize to the country and make amends.

The Liberals' comfort with power isn't entirely bad - and in fact, it's the inherent flip side of what essentially makes the Liberals the party that they are. The Liberals know how to govern and to use the public service rather than being suspicious of it, which in turn strengthens further the links between the two. It knows the best place from which to retain power is in the middle, and so the Liberal Party has prospered by straddling the centre and cramming in as much as it can under its big tent.

In contrast, the Conservatives (and their Progressive Conservative predecessors) are forced to assemble iterations of the party out of leftovers - from those disgruntled with the Liberal Party.

As a coalition of the unhappy, the party is consequently always better at articulating what it is against, rather than what it is for.

Conservatives also decry Liberal influence in public institutions, but much of this stems from their own suspicious nature; because they never quite trust the institutional establishment, the establishment is reluctant to trust them in return.

Historically, it has also been more unstable. Brian Mulroney assembled a coalition of Western Canadians and Quebec nationalists to win a massive national victory in 1984, but the challenge of keeping this unholy alliance together led to tremendous strains that eventually doomed the entire party. The retooled Conservative Party under Stephen Harper avoided this tendency toward implosion by eschewing the traditional strategy of allowing anyone into the Conservative tent as long as they weren't a Liberal.

The Conservatives instead chose a more disciplined approach and were not afraid to give up on unlikely prospects such as urbanites, environmentalists and intellectuals.

Andrew Scheer has largely copied Mr. Harper's smaller-tent approach. But it is not a growth strategy. Rather, it depends on Liberal missteps more than anything the Conservatives themselves do. And this is the longstanding pathology of the Conservative Party - its historic role as a permanent opposition party, keeping the style even when in government. It frames itself constantly against the hated Liberals, and hopes public resentment with their arrogance boils over to their benefit. The party easily grasps the low-hanging fruit of scandal, entitlement and regional grievances - especially in the West - that seem to bloom perennially from the Liberals. But that makes it harder to articulate a vision showing why they would be better in power.

Then there is the NDP, a party in permanent identity crisis.

Identity crises are common in modern social democratic parties; just look at the current unrest in the British Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn. But identity crises are especially bad for the NDP because the Canadian party system has been cruel to the party. It struggles to own sufficient space on the progressive left against, again, the Liberals.

With the Liberals sucking up so much of the oxygen on the centre-left of Canadian politics, the NDP keeps trying new approaches. And success is always relative for the NDP. Historically, it has been most successful in times of minority government, when the party can swing deals to prop up governments, as it did at various points from the 1960s to the 2000s. But running deliberately for third place is not very fun, and again dependent on the other parties. It is hard to craft into winning messages and there are many ways for this to go wrong. Witness the reaction when Jagmeet Singh said he would never prop up a Conservative government, implying that the party was not going to form government itself.

Under Ed Broadbent in the 1970s and 1980s, the party played a comfortable role as the respectable third-place party, playing familiar ideological tunes but avoiding anything too edgy. But in the 1990s, the NDP struggled to articulate its relevance to moderates and radicals alike, and had a bad run from 1993 to the mid-2000s, only once winning more than 20 seats. Compared with that period, the current NDP is actually not in bad shape; its much-maligned showing in the 2015 election actually produced the second-most seats it had ever won.

Like the Conservatives, the NDP's fate revolves around the Liberals, though more on matters of policy. The NDP's more moderate platform in 2015 allowed it to be outflanked on the left, an opportunity created by the Liberals' flexible centrism and their long history of holding the country's progressive vote.

They also chose Mr. Singh as leader in part because the party felt it needed to create its own young, energetic, progressive icon to match Mr. Trudeau, even though this is no longer a strategic concern.

Can any of this change? Are Canadian political parties destined to always follow the same paths, revolving around the Liberals' decisions?

The answer is that they continually try, individually, to articulate new stories for themselves.

But to truly do so, the system as a whole would have to change and realign. As much as they would like to completely control their own fate and scope of action, each party must operate in relation to each other. They compete for voters' attention, to keep each other off-balance, to steal groups and blocs from each other's tent, and to wield the old stories against them, to try to keep them stuck in place. And they must fend off smaller parties such as the Greens, the People's Party, and the Bloc Québécois.

Things do realign from time to time. The Liberals receive humblings and come back renewed, only to fall back into the trap of arrogance. And from 1993 to 2015, the entire system was caught in a continuous loop of renewal, before resetting back largely where it started. But barring some major breakthrough by the smaller parties, this current election is unlikely to usher in a change in the overall party system - or an end to the dominant position of the Liberals within it, win or lose.

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Beat the Steelers to be a Raven, coach says
Historic rivalry just as intense this year, with Baltimore looking to stay atop the AFC North

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Saturday, October 5, 2019 – Page S5

The fact that neither team has a winning record doesn't diminish one bit of the intensity of the rivalry between the Ravens and Steelers.

If it is not the most historic series in NFL history, it's as intense as any. Just listen to what John Harbaugh told his players this week, heading into their visit to Pittsburgh.

"One of the things that was said in the meetings ... is that you're not a Raven until you beat the Steelers," Harbaugh said. "We have some young guys that still need to beat the Steelers."

To remain on top of the AFC North, that's exactly what Baltimore (2-2) must do. Cleveland is tied with the Ravens, and the Steelers are 1-3, but come off a convincing intra-division victory against Cincinnati.

But even if both squads were 0-4, the passion, the hard hits and the fervour of the crowd would make it a highlight of Week 5.

"No matter who is playing," Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley said, "this rivalry is going to be one of the biggest rivalries in all of sports."

While Ravens-Steelers meetings often are decided in the trenches, Pittsburgh's coaches and players know that stopping fast, versatile and elusive Lamar Jackson is critical to having a chance against Baltimore.

So the Steelers brought in a replica of Jackson in Taryn Christion, who ran a similar offence at South Dakota State.

"You can't really replicate [Jackson in practice], but you can get as close as possible," Steelers defensive back Mike Hilton said.

"Having a guy that moves around and is able to keep plays going is going to be big for us. We know we have to have good rush lanes and keep him in the pocket."


Week 5 began Thursday night with the Seattle Seahawks' 30-29 home victory over the Los Angeles Rams. Russell Wilson threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Chris Carson on fourth-and-goal with 2:28 remaining to give Seattle the lead and the Rams' Greg Zuerlein missed a 44-yard field goal with 11 seconds left. Wilson was 17 of 23 for 268 and four touchdowns for Seattle (4-1). The Rams dropped to 3-2.

Off this week are Miami (0-4) and Detroit (2-2).

GREEN BAY (3-1) AT DALLAS (3-1) Even with both teams losing last week - the Packers' defence showed little and the Cowboys' offence showed even less - this is a juicy matchup. It almost always seems to be.

The Packers have won seven of the past eight in this series, with Dallas' victory coming during a franchise-record 11-game winning streak when QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott were rookies in 2016. And the Packers are 3-0 at AT&T Stadium, including a Super Bowl victory against Pittsburgh.

Green Bay could be missing WR Davante Adams, who had a career-high 180 yards receiving against the Eagles but left early with a turf toe injury.

TAMPA BAY (2-2) AT NEW ORLEANS (3-1) The Bucs stunned the Saints in the season opener at the Louisiana Superdome last season. Now, they come off scoring a singlegame record 55 points on the road against the defending NFC champion Rams.

New Orleans needs that strong pass rush it showed last week in downing Dallas, because Jameis Winston has passed for at least 375 yards and three TDs in two straight outings. In Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, he had dynamic wideouts who each have four TD receptions, tied for first in the NFL.

Teddy Bridgewater has won his two starts in place of Drew Brees (thumb surgery), but it's an aggressive, quick defence that has placed New Orleans atop the NFC South.

CLEVELAND (2-2) AT SAN FRANCISCO (3-0) ON MONDAY NIGHT No team is more of a pleasant surprise than the 49ers. Coming off a bye, they could move ahead of the Rams and Seahawks in the standings by remaining undefeated. But Cleveland has won four of the past five in this series between the NFL's two worst franchises from 2015-18. The Browns were 11-52-1 in that span; 49ers 1747.

Cleveland's balanced offence led by running back Nick Chubb and receiver Jarvis Landry was huge in last week's win at Baltimore. The Browns are tied for first place in the AFC North with the Ravens, the first time since Week 10 in 2014 they were on top of the division.

INDIANAPOLIS (2-2) AT KANSAS CITY (4-0) This is their second meeting of 2019, with the Chiefs' win over Indianapolis in January their first home playoff victory since Jan. 8, 1994. The Chiefs seek to start 5-0 for a third consecutive season and are odds-on to get it: KC is 11-2 under coach Andy Reid in October. Reid needs one win to reach 200 regular-season victories.

He has 211 total, sixth most in NFL history.

Adam Vinatieri needs three field-goal attempts to become the second player in league history with 700. Morten Andersen had 709. The Colts kicker is the oldest player in the league at 46.

ATLANTA (1-3) AT HOUSTON (2-2) A rare meeting: The series is tied 2-2.

The Falcons don't prosper against the AFC. They have lost six straight and 12 of their past 13 to AFC opponents. If they don't improve their turnover margin (minus-5), they can't expect to contend.

Houston, meanwhile, is a plus-2 and has forced a turnover in 17 consecutive games, the NFL's longest active streak.

A key here will be whether Atlanta's leaky and banged-up pass defence can slow down Deshaun Jackson's connections with DeAndre Hopkins.

MINNESOTA (2-2) AT NEW YORK GIANTS (2-2) The Giants were buried by so many pundits after their first two losses. Then Daniel Jones moved in at quarterback for Eli Manning and, now, the G-Men could wind up tied for the NFC East lead with a win here and a Dallas loss.

But, as New York coach Pat Shurmur notes, the Vikings present quite a challenge for any quarterback.

"They have outstanding players everywhere," Shurmur says.

"When you start saying, 'Okay, well, this is their best player. No, this guy is their best player.' All of the guys up front they have two edge rushers. They have interior guys that can get push. They have linebackers that are Pro Bowlers.

They have corners and they have safeties that have all been to Pro Bowls. They're well-co-ordinated and they put pressure on the passer, and they do a good job of stopping the run. That's what you want from a defence."

The Vikings have lost five straight outdoor road games, including 16-6 last week at Chicago.

JACKSONVILLE (2-2) AT CAROLINA (2-2) Both of these teams were buried after 2-0 starts and injuries to starting QBs Nick Foles and Cam Newton. Guess what! The winner here, whether the Jaguars with rookie Gardner Minshew, or the Panthers with Kyle Allen, also could find itself looking down at the rest of its division.

Carolina has the league's stingiest pass defence, which might not make a lot of difference if Leonard Fournette goes off again.

The Jacksonville back had a career-high 225 yards rushing last week and leads the AFC in that department.

Coach Ron Rivera (73-58-1) can pass John Fox (73-71) for most regular-season wins in Panthers history. But the Panthers are 0-2 at home.

BUFFALO (3-1) AT TENNESSEE (2-2) The teams that brought us the Music City Miracle in 2000 - Buffalo folks are still arguing that lateral was a forward pass - meet up in what rarely has been a good series for the Bills. They trail it 28-18, though they have won two straight versus the Titans by one point each. The Bills can match the franchise's longest streak to start a season since 1993 with a third road win, but starting QB Josh Allen has been in the NFL's concussion protocol.

CHICAGO (3-1) VS. OAKLAND (2-2) AT LONDON Oakland's early season trek continues with a trip across the Pond.

The Raiders will find there one Khalil Mack, the edge rusher they traded to Chicago before last season. All Mack has done is lead the most rugged defence in football.

"Vindictiveness. I like that word," Mack says of his approach to Sunday's game. "Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that's the whole point man. You can't play this game with too much emotion, man. Ultimately, I try to stay focused on the task at hand and understanding the situation and understanding what they're going to be thinking that I feel. But ultimately, I'm going to go out there and do what I do, and that's play football and love the game that I play.

You know what I mean?" Sure do: Mack has been showing what he can do his entire career.

NEW ENGLAND (4-0) AT WASHINGTON (0-4) Every opponent for the Patriots has been winless going into the matchup this season. So why should Washington be any different?

New England comes off yet another stellar defensive performance to offset an ineffective offence: Tom Brady's 45.9 passer rating against Buffalo was the sixth lowest of his career and lowest since finishing with a 34 rating in a 27-20 loss to Indianapolis on Nov. 5, 2006. The Patriots had lost the previous six times Brady finished with a passer rating of 48 or lower, but he might rate about 80 points higher in this one.

Washington is in such turmoil - an accurate term politically or athletically - that when coach Jay Gruden was asked about a plan for facing the Patriots, he said he didn't have one yet. Hopefully the team has one by Sunday.

ARIZONA (0-3-1) AT CINCINNATI (0-4) There are reasons to watch this game. We just can't think of any at the moment.

Okay, maybe tune in to see which of the first-year head coaches might get his initial win: Kliff Kingsbury of the Cardinals or Zac Taylor of the Bengals.

Or, if you like seeing QBs get knocked down, the Cardinals have given up a league-high 20 sacks, followed by the Bengals with 19.

NEW YORK JETS (0-3) AT PHILADELPHIA (2-2) New York has been hopeful that Sam Darnold will return less than a month after contracting mononucleosis. One must hope coach Adam Gase isn't thinking about rushing back his franchise quarterback, particularly with this season seemingly a lost cause.

Philly comes off a super-impressive win at Green Bay, the first time the Eagles truly looked like a contender. Their defence is short-handed, though, and they need their receiving group to heal up quickly.

DENVER (0-4) AT LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (2-2) One disappointing team, and one total flop through 25 per cent of the season.

The Broncos have perfected losing close games, and struggle moving the ball on the ground and stopping the run. Which means L.A., much more proficient through the air, might give lots of work to its deep stable of running backs.

Associated Graphic

New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, seen making a pass against the Seahawks in Seattle on Sept. 22, has won his two starts in place of injured QB Drew Brees.


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The Wolfpack looks to finish what it started
After a devastating loss in the Million Pound Game last season, Toronto squad has another shot at promotion to the Super League

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Saturday, October 5, 2019 – Page S11

TORONTO -- One year ago, before a packed house at Lamport Stadium on a chilly October afternoon, Toronto Wolfpack players stood devastated as their quest for Super League promotion had fallen excruciatingly short.

The collection of mostly British and Australian rugby stars who uprooted their lives to play for Toronto's expansion club suffered a shocking 4-2 loss to the London Broncos in the Million Pound Game. The Toronto fans, with a growing fascination for this fast, bone-crushing sport, were quiet and saddened as the Broncos popped Champagne to celebrate their upset victory.

The Wolfpack had topped the second-tier Betfred Championship standing all last season, but they could not win that final game. The Broncos earned promotion to the top-tier of England's rugby league competition that day, not the Wolfpack.

Toronto's side went back to the drawing board and ground through another season in the second tier. The first and only transatlantic team in rugby league, the Wolfpack rollicked to a 27-1 record this season and now sits once again on the doorstep of promotion to the Super League. On Saturday, Toronto is once again holding the deciding Million Pound Game - called such because that is what promotion to the Super League is said to be worth in central funding to its 12 clubs. But this time, the Wolfpack will play against the Featherstone Rovers, a club from the traditional rugby league heartland in Northern England.

The Wolfpack will get another chance to push through the door and seize a spot for next season in Super League.

"It would be the ultimate accomplishment to earn promotion for Toronto, and I don't just mean since I've been on this team - I mean in my whole career," said Australian-born prop Ashton Sims, who has played in Australia's National Rugby League (NRL), in Super League and in a Rugby League World Cup with his mother's native Fiji.

"It would be right up there at the top of the tree, but it will take a lot of hard work to get it done."

Saturday's game will be the last of a 17-year career for 34year-old Sims, a fan favourite.

Some on the team have joked that the imposing 6-foot-4, 244pound player with long hair, sharp jaw and grizzled facial hair resembles a wolf. The friendly Aussie has been front and centre in the Wolfpack's efforts to sell this quick-paced brand of rugby to fans in Toronto and blaze a trail in North America, which some consider the next frontier for rugby league.

He joined the Wolfpack last year in its second season. The club made its debut in 2017 in the bottom-tier league governed by the Rugby Football League (RFL), Kingstone Press League 1.

After the team easily achieved promotion to the second tier in its first season, Sims was among the high-powered talent added to help earn the next promotion to Super League.

Toronto has grown on Sims as much as the player has grown on the city. His wife and four children have spent two summers with him in Canada. He has enjoyed the concert scene, become a fan of the Blue Jays, Maple Leafs and Raptors, even wading into the jam-packed streets on parade day to celebrate the NBA championship.

"Toronto has embraced us as one of their own. I'm a proud Australian and my mom is Fijian, and I wouldn't let anyone trash my nationalities, so I feel like I get the people here because that's how they seem to be in Toronto too," Sims said. "Rugby league is in its youth here, but I think it can be really special in Toronto in the future."

The Wolfpack has planted seeds in Toronto, routinely drawing 8,000 to 9,000 people to home games, which almost fills Lamport Stadium, its 54-year-old home in the heart of the city's Liberty Village neighbourhood.

The Pack's lively, full atmosphere has occasionally upstaged the CFL's Argos, who, amid a losing season, are struggling to draw fans to 25,000-seat BMO Field just five minutes away.

To take a second crack at promotion to Super League in just its third year of existence, the Wolfpack added another handful of big-name rugby league talents this year. Among them is Australian-born Samoan international Ricky Leutele, a six-foot, 207pound centre who won an NRL championship with the Cronulla Sharks. Leutele impressed with three tries in Toronto's semi-final win over Toulouse Olympique two weeks ago.

"I think North America has huge untapped potential in rugby league, because they seem to like the NFL, CFL and NHL and this is another really exciting physical sport," said Luetele, who brought his wife and three small children from their small Australian beach-side community near Cronulla to Toronto for the summer. "It's been awesome, something so different for us. We're not used to living in a big city. I wanted to be part of helping the sport take off in North America."

The Wolfpack outscored opponents 1,010 to 356 this year. It finished the regular season 12 points clear of second-place Toulouse at the top of the table. Even after a different playoff format this year, Toronto has put itself right back on the doorstep of promotion.

All three finalists for the Betfred Championship player-ofthe-year award were from the Wolfpack, as voted by the 14 Championship coaches: hooker Andy Ackers, loose forward Jon Wilkin and full-back Gareth O'Brien, the eventual winner.

"London deserved the win last year. We licked our wounds. It really did hurt," said O'Brien, who scored 22 tries this season. "But this year has gone by like the blink of an eye and here we are with another chance. Hopefully we learned from last year and we can do one better."

Wolfpack director of rugby Brian Noble said he was "like an angry dragon" for a few days after last year's final loss. There had been a missed field goal in that game, and a few scoring chances rebuked after video reviews.

"On another day we might have won that game, but would we have been ready for the top division? I'm not sure," Noble said. "What I'm really confident about now, is that this team is ready for the big division." The Wolfpack parted ways with Paul Rowley, its coach of two seasons, after that. Noble hired fellow Englishman Brian McDermott, who had from 201118 coached Leeds Rhinos - a Super League giant - to eight trophies, including four Super League titles. Last year, McDermott had been fired amid a seven-game losing streak.

Realizing a coach of that quality wouldn't be out of a job long, Noble chased him down quickly, bolstered by the fact they had history together - and a friendship. McDermott had played for Noble in the early 2000s in Bradford.

"He's a bit like me, he's a missionary for the game. We know how great the game is and we want to give it to other people," Noble said. "He's travelled a lot, he's a worldly man and spent time in the marines. He's a wellrounded bloke from a big family who understands the dynamics of a big group and how to be a leader."

Noble says he sold his old friend on the dream, but admits McDermott arrived to see some clunky off-field operations in Toronto when he first arrived on the job. The club had some late payments for the players early on. There were squabbles between the club and a TV-production partner. The Wolfpack's majority owner, David Argyle, stepped aside as chairman and CEO after a perceived racist remark involving an opposing player.

McDermott had little problem leading the team and getting behind the cause. He had spent time coaching the U.S. national rugby league team and believes in the importance of expanding the sport beyond its strongholds in Australia and Northern England. He was a finalist for the coach-of-the-year award this year in his first season with the Pack.

"You don't get too many bigger jobs in the game from the one I just left, but I wanted something different and this is totally different from anything that's going on in Europe," McDermott said. "There is huge potential for this, and I'm not just talking about winning trophies. I'm talking about growing the game here. If you look at the crowds in Toronto, they're not manufactured. They're not bending people's arms to come watch us."

Another newcomer to the Wolfpack this year is Bob Hunter, a former executive from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment who oversaw major venues such as Scotiabank Arena and BMO Field throughout his career. Hunter took over the roles of chairman and interim CEO from Argyle.

"I had attended games before I committed to David Argyle to join the team and he convinced me that this is a great opportunity to grow a new sport in a very difficult market," Hunter said.

"The physical nature of the sport is great and the athleticism. It has already developed quite a passionate following and we hope to develop it at the youth level to grow fans. When it comes to the stadium, David said to me 'I need someone to come in and put a bit of lipstick on this.'" Hunter said the city-owned Lamport Stadium, which the Wolfpack leases, is right-sized at a capacity of some 10,000. Hunter said its locker rooms would need immediate improvement to hold Super League teams next year.

"We know the city doesn't have a lot of money and they may not necessarily be interested in updating it, so the initiative might have to be all our own, but we have a series of upgrade projects in mind over the next three to five years," Hunter said.

Until earlier this week, there had been speculation that the RFL might deny the Wolfpack entry to Super League, even if it were to win on Saturday. The RFL reportedly had concerns about the scheduling, travel costs and the club's financial status. But the RFL released a statement this week verifying that the winner of Saturday's Million Pound Game - be it Featherstone or Toronto - will be granted entry to Super League. The London Broncos will be relegated back down to the second tier.

Unlike the Befred Championship league Toronto now plays in, Super League has a television deal with SkySports and the revenue is shared with its clubs.

Some Super League sides play in stadiums that hold some 20,000 fans.

Playing in Super League would mean matches against better, faster opponents, powers such as St Helens or the Wiggan Warriors. But the Wolfpack says that wouldn't mean a change to its own intimate game-days, where the home team would continue to mingle with fans after every game.

"We're the first to bring it over this time of the Atlantic and we think we're doing a positive thing," O'Brien said. "Maybe a few kids will think, 'Should I be a hockey player? A basketball player? Maybe a rugby league player.' "

Associated Graphic

Wolfpack players practise at Lamport Stadium in Toronto on Wednesday. Toronto will face the Featherstone Rovers on Saturday with the winner earning promotion to Super League.


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High-flying Seahawks ahead of their ETA
Seattle's rebuild is already paying off as 4-1 team gets set for the hyped Browns

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Saturday, October 12, 2019 – Page S5

The Seahawks were supposed to be continuing their retooling project this year, one season after their remake helped get them back into the playoffs. Instead, they have one of the NFL's best records.

The Browns were pegged (hyped?) to be a budding powerhouse with all of the improvements in talent, plus the predicted maturity of Baker Mayfield in his second pro season. Instead, they are perhaps the most inconsistent team in the league, with Mayfield struggling.

Seattle (4-1) is at Cleveland (2-3) in a most intriguing matchup Sunday.

A Seahawks victory, combined with a 49ers loss to the Rams, would put Seattle on top of the tough NFC West. But it's difficult to figure out which Browns squad they will face: Will it be the team that won in Baltimore, or the team that was blown out last Monday night in San Francisco?

"I don't think it was my best assignment as a teacher," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of assigning his players to watch Browns-49ers. "The game didn't work out. I was hoping it was going to be a real battle. The game kind of got lopsided, so it wasn't as beneficial. It's still really good to see the guys. You hear the stories about the players and the backgrounds. The guys will come in here today much more familiar with them because of that. In that regard, it's always helpful. Too bad it wasn't a better game."

Will it be a better performance by the Browns on Sunday?

"We have done it before," running back Nick Chubb said. "After every loss we have, we came back harder. That's what I expect this team to do every time. Hopefully, we can stack some wins, but I know when we do face adversity, we bounce back harder."

Week 6 began with the New England Patriots' 35-14 victory over the New York Giants. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones and the Giants (2-4) kept it close, trailing by a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, but a forced fumble by Jamie Collins led to a TD that gave the Patriots a cushion. New England forced four turnovers and Tom Brady had two touchdown runs and moved ahead of Peyton Manning for second place on the NFL's career passing yards list. The Super Bowl champions are 6-0 for the first time since 2015.

Off this week are Buffalo (4-1), Chicago (3-2), Oakland (3-2) and Indianapolis (3-2).

SAN FRANCISCO (4-0) AT LOS ANGELES RAMS (3-2) The other two contenders out west; isn't that delightful for this long rivalry?

The Rams have lost two in a row as their defence has sprung leaks. The Niners came off their bye and routed Cleveland.

San Francisco is off to its first 4-0 start since 1990. The only 5-0 starts for the franchise since joining the NFL are 1990, 1984, 1952.

They won the NFL championship in the 1984 season.

A key for the Rams' defence is stopping the 49ers early in the second half; they have scored a touchdown on the first possession after the break in all four games this season. Slowing down the running game would help: San Francisco ran for 275 yards against Cleveland and leads the NFL with 200 yards rushing a game.

For L.A., the most efficient offence has come through the air.

The Rams are the only team with three receivers with more than 325 yards receiving: Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods. Kupp is second in the NFL with 41 catches and ranks fourth with 505 yards and four TDs.

HOUSTON (3-2) AT KANSAS CITY (4-1) The scoreboard might blow up from all the points these two could produce.

Houston scored the secondmost points (53) in franchise history last week against Atlanta.

Deshaun Watson, possibly the second-most exciting quarterback in the league behind K.C.'s Patrick Mahomes, has perhaps the most thrilling receiver in DeAndre Hopkins.

No slouches on defence, the Texans have forced a turnover in 18 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL. But Mahomes has thrown 202 consecutive passes without an interception. Alex Smith has the franchise record of 312.

K.C. coach Andy Reid needs one win to reach 200 regular-season victories.

CAROLINA (3-2) VS. TAMPA BAY (2-3) AT LONDON An early riser (9:30 a.m. ET) in their second match-up of the season. The Bucs won in Carolina.

This is the first overseas regular-season game for the Panthers.

If British fans were looking forward to seeing Cam Newton, Kyle Allen has been a superb replacement. Allen has won all four career starts, three this season, with seven TDs and no interceptions, making him the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to win his first four starts without being picked off. And the Bucs allowed more than 300 yards passing in each of the past four weeks.

Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey's 866 yards from scrimmage are the second most through five games in NFL history to Jim Brown's 988 in 1963. Pretty good company there.

PHILADELPHIA (3-2) AT MINNESOTA (3-2) Not quite the same as the Eagles' previous trip to Minnesota, when they beat the Patriots for their first Super Bowl title on Feb. 4, 2018.

Main match-up here is the NFL's No. 3 rushing offence, led by No. 2 rusher Dalvin Cook, against the best run defence. Cook trails only McCaffrey.

Last week against the lowly Jets, Philly became the first team in NFL history with 10 sacks and two defensive TDs in a single game.

NEW ORLEANS (4-1) AT JACKSONVILLE (2-3) They are not chanting "Drew Who?" in the Big Easy. At least not yet.

But Teddy Bridgewater has stepped in for Drew Brees (thumb surgery) and quarterbacked the Saints to three straight victories.

Two were against 2018 playoff teams, the Cowboys and the hated Rams, who, helped by a major officiating gaffe, beat New Orleans to get to the Super Bowl.

Bridgewater has a passer rating or 100 or higher in two of his past three road starts.

It helps to have the most productive receiver, Michael Thomas, with 45 catches and 543 receiving yards.

Jacksonville also is missing its veteran starter, Nick Foles. Rookie Gardner Minshew is one of three QBs in the Super Bowl era with a 100-plus rating and no interceptions through his first four career starts. RB Leonard Fournette seeks his third consecutive 100yard performance. He has had runs of 48, 81 and 69 yards in the past three weeks.

CINCINNATI (0-5) AT BALTIMORE (3-2) The AFC North is the only division with just one winning team, and the Ravens came up with a big win in overtime last week at Pittsburgh to grab the divisional lead.

Lamar Jackson's 11 TD passes rank second in the NFL behind Seattle's Russell Wilson (12), and Baltimore's 961 yards rushing are second most in franchise history after five games.

The Bengals are still looking for a first win under coach Zac Taylor.

They're 0-5 for the seventh time since 1990, most in the NFL over that span. This is their worst start since Marvin Lewis's team went 0-8 in 2008.

ATLANTA (1-4) AT ARIZONA (1-3-1) Kliff Kingsbury got his first victory as Cardinals coach, in Cincinnati.

But Arizona ranks 24th in pass defence, while Atlanta is third in yardage throwing the ball.

Receivers worth watching are the Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald and the Falcons' Julio Jones, who have combined for 100 games with at least 100 yards receiving.

Jones has 51, Fitzgerald 49.

Atlanta and Arizona are tied for No. 1 with 11 forced fumbles.

TENNESSEE (2-3) AT DENVER (1-4) Speaking of turnovers, Marcus Mariota is the only quarterback to start every game in 2019 and have no turnovers. The Titans are the sixth team since the 1970 merger to have just one turnover through their first five games. They do have nine fumbles, but recovered eight, a lost muff on a punt return by Adoree Jackson is the only blot.

Denver has lost both home games on last-second field goals.

One way to turn that around would be for star linebacker Von Miller to start getting to quarterbacks. Miller has 101/2 sacks in his past 10 home games but just two this season.

DALLAS (3-2) AT NEW YORK JETS (0-4) Sam Darnold returns from a bout with mononucleosis, and the Jets were inept on offence in the three games he missed. They have played some tough teams (Philly, New England, Buffalo) and were not competitive since the opening half against the Bills in Week 1.

This is a match-up of the topranked offence against the worst.

The Cowboys are averaging 453 yards a game to 180 for the Jets.

But the Cowboys have allowed two straight opponents to rush for more than 100 yards. It has been two years since three straight opponents reached triple digits on the ground against Dallas, and New York does have Le'Veon Bell.

PITTSBURGH (1-4) AT L.A. CHARGERS (2-3) Pittsburgh has dropped its past three and eight of its past nine on the West Coast. The Steelers will start rookie free agent QB Devlin Hodges, the all-time passing leader in FBS at Samford (14,584 yards). Hodges was 7-of-9 for 68 yards after coming in against Baltimore when Mason Rudolph left with a concussion.

Chargers QB Philip Rivers did not direct a TD drive last week for only the ninth time in 224 starts.

Yet Austin Ekeler had a careerhigh 15 catches in the loss to Denver and leads the AFC in receptions with 39. Keenan Allen is second with 38.

WASHINGTON (0-5) AT MIAMI (0-4) Not a bad opponent for Bill Callahan to face as he takes over as Washington's coach. Yes, the Dolphins are coming off a bye, but all that seems to mean with the way they have been performing with a weak roster is they didn't lose.

The loser is a winner, in a way, taking the lead in the race for the top overall draft pick next April.

DETROIT (2-1-1) AT GREEN BAY (4-1) ON MONDAY NIGHT The Lions come off a bye, while the Packers come off perhaps their most impressive win in years. They ran all over Dallas, led by a different Aaron than quarterback Rodgers - Aaron Jones - who rushed for 107 yards and four TDs.

"All my family was up in the stands," said Jones, who grew up a Cowboys fan in El Paso, Tex. "I could see my brother right there. I threw him one of the balls when I scored. That was pretty cool. Just being back in Texas."

Detroit is a mere 30th against the pass, so the usual heroic Aaron in Green Bay could be flinging plenty of footballs.

Associated Graphic

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb runs against the 49ers in a blowout loss on Monday night. He says the team has to come back harder. 'That's what I expect this team to do every time.'


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Living next to the screech
A near-constant high-pitch steel-on-steel grind has some people's teeth on edge - and worried about property values

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Friday, October 11, 2019 – Page H11

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver residents who live between the Commercial-Broadway and Nanaimo SkyTrain stations, near the track, say increasingly disruptive metal-on-metal noise is making their lives a misery.

For the past year or so, residents living near the SkyTrain in various locations have complained about a screeching noise that is disrupting their lives and is likely the result of an aging infrastructure that needs upgrading. TransLink is in the process of addressing complaints from those who live along the older Expo and Millennium lines with a SkyTrain noise study that was done a year ago. It found that the biggest contributor to noise is the condition of the track, amplified by faster trains. The study says that the accepted noise level for urban environments used by the World Health Organization is a decibel level of 75. A grinding steel sound registers at 110 dBA, the study says.

Until it is fixed, realtors say the screech is bad enough that it would likely affect property values, if owners tried to sell. In the meantime, residents are growing increasingly angry and frustrated as they lose sleep.

Residents don't have a problem with the usual rumbling of the trains - they say they knew what they were getting when they bought their homes near the light rapid transit line. But they hadn't counted on the rumbling to turn into a maddening prolonged high-pitched screech that can occur for days at a time, every few minutes from 5:30 a.m.

to 1 a.m., says Daina Lawrence, who lives a block away from the SkyTrain track that runs by Stainsbury Avenue in the Trout Lake area. She's complained several times to TransLink, but has yet to receive an explanation or promise of a fix.

"I'm just getting blown off.

They are thanking me for my time and forwarding my request to someone else. And I'm banging my head against the wall," she says.

When it first started in May, she was told that there was repair being done to the line and equipment was being stored on a diversion track. It meant the cars had to switch tracks and go slowly around the equipment, thereby causing the screeching.

"I have lived by the SkyTrain for almost two years and I find the sound of the train to be soothing. It doesn't bother me," Ms. Lawrence says. "The train comes by every five minutes. It becomes white noise after a while. But this was not white noise. This was grinding, screeching metal on metal. It is just awful. We're talking 20 hours a day, every four to seven minutes."

She was told the work would be done by July, so she had an end date to look forward to. However, instead of stopping, the sound only became less constant. She lives on edge and she's at home with a new baby.

They've renovated their arts and crafts house, so they have no desire to leave, but she also wonders how the price of their home would be affected by the new noise pollution if they did decide to give up and relocate.

"If this was going on when we were looking at buying this house, it would have been a deal breaker because it's so disruptive," Ms. Lawrence says.

Matthew Kowalyk, a speech pathologist who also lives on Stainsbury Avenue says the trains are getting louder. He and his wife have lived in a suite in her parents' house for the past 12 years.

"You can tell when the older trains come along because they are louder than the new ones," he says. "If you move to the airport you shouldn't complain about the planes, but if the planes are getting old and screechy you might have a thing or two to say."

The area is slated for many high-density developments and he wonders how those new residents will respond to the highpitch screech.

"I'm all for densification and making the city more livable, but I have a feeling those folks might not know what they are getting into," he says.

Mike Avery and Mark Henderson are across the street from Mr.

Kowalyk and they are only a few metres from the track, which they can see from their bedroom window.

Their biggest concern is related to the maintenance crews that work sporadically from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. and talk loudly, shine bright lights and play music. All residents interviewed for this story say they, too, can hear the crews at work in the middle of the night. They question why they can't work during the day on Sundays or work quietly in consideration of the neighbours.

"It's super bright and super noisy," says Mr. Avery, who works in construction. "Not only does it affect my property values, but it affects my sleep. I have to be up at 5 a.m.

"I'm sure if this was the west side it would be a huge deal and somebody would do something about it."

Mr. Avery and his husband purchased the property a decade ago and knew what they were getting into, living right along the track.

"We understood this would be a thing we would have to deal with. But it's getting worse," Mr.

Henderson says. "They are doing more maintenance and they are out there constantly. Is it going to get better? Maybe not."

He worries that because the 30-year-old Expo line is going to need continuing repair and the disruption will become the new normal. They are thinking about leaving.

"We bought this 110-year-old, neglected, practically abandoned property and we spent the last eight years restoring it into a beautiful home and now we are wondering, 'Is anybody going to be wanting to buy this one day, with this in our backyard? Are we going to lose a significant amount of money because of this?' "But at the end of the day, it is our home," he adds. "And we have learned to co-exist as best we can with the noise that goes on. But yeah, we have considered just dropping it all and finding something somewhere else. We spent a lot of time and money making this our home, so it's tough. But there is a lot of development going on around us and because we are so close to the SkyTrain stations it's prime real estate. A bunch of condo developments are happening down the street, so part of us wonders what we'd do if some developer knocked on the door some day and made the decision really easy - which is not ideal, but is a consideration."

Realtor Jerome Deis, who was the buying agent for Ms.

Lawrence's house, says living near the SkyTrain does not usually affect property values. In fact, there is almost always someone willing to pay for a property that may look undesirable to others, he says, including houses next door to brightly lit gas stations, or houses on busy arterials.

Some cultures, he says, prefer to be on busy streets so they can show off their big houses. He's seen a condo in Mount Pleasant sell at the market price two years ago, even though a badly decomposed body that had been there for many months that required remediation of the unit He didn't want to disclose the address to protect the other condo owners, but it sold above asking, for $615,000.

But when it comes to major noise pollution, such as an occasional high-pitched screech, that's where most people would draw the line.

"I think it would [be a deal breaker] because anybody coming to look would go, 'What the hell is that noise? How often do you hear it?' Yes, that would probably affect the price."

A spokesperson for TransLink said that the B.C. Rapid Transit Company, which maintains and operates the Expo and Millennium lines, said that grinding of the rails had been performed in both directions through that stretch in late September. Rail grinding helps to reduce noise by smoothing the rail, "preventing friction between rail and train car wheels," the spokesperson said.

TransLink is implementing its findings of the noise study, the spokesperson said. That study acknowledges that, "a key indicator of noise impacting community livability is its potential to cause sleep disturbance." Potential fixes include maintaining worn out switches, using harder types of steel in the rails, the use of lubricants to calm vibrations, affixing dampers to the sides of the track to absorb noise and grinding the rails to smooth out rough spots. The spokesperson did not say when the Stainsbury Avenue residents could expect relief from the noise.

"It is important to keep in mind SkyTrain has been a working railway for over 30 years and there will always be some noise associated with operations," the spokesperson added.

Ms. Lawrence had also made a noise complaint to the City of Vancouver. But a City spokesperson responded that they would refer such a matter to TransLink.

Realtor Sedi Minachi is one Vancouver resident who got relief from the awful screech. She lives near Royal Oak station where residents adjacent to the SkyTrain Expo line mounted a petition to stop the noise. It seemed to have had an effect. On Sept. 23, she says, the deafening noise finally stopped, after more than a year and a slew of complaints from residents. The sound had been happening in the two blocks between Dunblane and Marlborough, just west of Royal Oak station. Despite their initial complaints, she says, nothing was done.

"We were suffering," Ms. Minachi says. "When I was collecting signatures for the petition a few of my neighbours said they had individually approached TransLink but TransLink didn't care and didn't listen to them. I told them if we act together it would be better and it worked."

TransLink had told the residents that track maintenance was continuing and the organization was conducting tests on noise levels. They said that surface irregularities may cause the screech, and in that case, they also said rail grinding would be done to help eliminate the sound.

But she believes that it was their petition and their group outspokenness that achieved the result.

"They didn't inform us when they fixed it. We noticed some workers early one morning were working and the next day there was no screeching noise," she says. "Now, everyone in the neighbourhood is happy and we are finally able to sleep at night.

"But I use the SkyTrain all the time and I've noticed in some areas the same screeching noise is happening. We weren't the only ones."

Associated Graphic

Mike Avery watches as a SkyTrain passes about 100 metres from his Vancouver home on Stainsbury Avenue. Mr. Avery says late-night maintenance workers talk loudly and play music.


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She overcame racism and broke through a glass ceiling, hiring talented producers to create innovative shows such as Sunday Morning, Quirks and Quarks and As It Happens

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Saturday, October 12, 2019 – Page B23

It was a blessing in racist disguise. In early 1942, when the federal government expelled tens of thousands of JapaneseCanadians from the West Coast of British Columbia, 18-year-old Margaret Inouye moved from her family's berry farm in Mission, B.C., to work as a domestic in Winnipeg. Her mother had trained her in the arts of sewing, Japanese-style cooking and flower arranging. The plan had been for Margaret to be sent to finishing school in Japan, so that she might become a traditional wife and raise a family in what was, until that point, an insular community. But as their world blew apart, Margaret glimpsed emancipation among the shards.

"It was one of the great adversities in her life," Ruth Lyons, Margaret's daughter, said in a recent interview. Still, "people didn't approve of this, but she always said that it was also a huge opportunity for her. Because she would say it got her out of the ghetto."

It got her much further than that. By the end of the 1940s, Margaret was in London, newly married to a Caucasian man and on her way to a pioneering career that shouldered aside racism, broke through a glass ceiling and helped to save public radio in Canada from what seemed at the time to be a likely death.

After cutting her teeth at the British Broadcasting Corp., Margaret and her young family returned to Canada, where she landed at the CBC and helped launch what became known as the Radio Revolution, hiring talented young guns and setting them free to create shows of extraordinary durability: Sunday Morning, This Country in the Morning (which became Morningside), Quirks and Quarks and As It Happens. In 2010, she was invested as a member of the Order of Canada.

"I think Margaret Lyons was arguably the most important and the most influential CBC radio executive in the past 60 years," said Peter Herrndorf, a long-time CBC executive who served as Ms.

Lyons's boss from 1979 to 1983.

And she left this world as she lived her life: on her own terms.

On Oct. 5, at age 95, Margaret Lyons underwent a medically assisted death at her home in Toronto, with her daughter and husband holding her hands.

She also leaves two sisters, as well as several nephews and nieces.

The eldest of seven children [although one died as a youngster], Keiko Margaret Inouye was born on Nov. 21, 1923, to the Japanese immigrant farmers Yoshinobu Inouye and Teru Tsuji.

Margaret grew up speaking Japanese at home, but was a voracious reader of the English-language Vancouver Province, to which her father subscribed, and she dreamed of working at the newspaper some day. She went fishing and hunting with her father, to her mother's displeasure, and was handy with the cross-cut saw.

Months after Japan bombed the United States naval base of Pearl Harbor in December, 1941, the cabinet of Canadian prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King issued an order-in-council excluding all people of Japanese extraction from being within 100 miles (160 kilometres) of the Pacific Coast. Farms, including that belonging to the Inouyes, were seized and later sold off at fire-sale prices by a federal agency known as the Custodian of Enemy Property.

While many Japanese-Canadians worked as labourers in B.C., Margaret went with her mother and most of her siblings to Manitoba. Margaret landed a position in the house of a wealthy family as a cook and downstairs maid, while a sister served as a nanny and upstairs maid.

Still, Margaret regretted that choice. In avoiding the internment experience, she wrote decades later in a magazine published by the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre, in Burnaby, B.C. "I feel that I missed a valuable life lesson, and I admire the hardy pioneer spirit of people who pulled the communities together after they had lost everything."

In 1944, Margaret left the job and travelled to Hamilton - one of the few cities in Canada where those of Japanese extraction were then permitted - to work as a chambermaid at McMaster University while finishing up her high-school diploma at night.

She then entered McMaster and began studying economics, calculating that the subject matter would give her an advantage over other aspiring journalists.

She met a fellow economics student by the name of Ed Lyons, and they fell in love.

According to Ruth, on graduation day they received their degrees, got married, had lunch and hopped on a ship for London.

For the rest of her life, Margaret felt a debt of gratitude to McMaster for offering her an education few other institutions would. She and Ed funded the Lyons New Media Centre in the university library, and sponsored a scholarship in new media. She received an honorary degree from the university in 1996.

Their daughter, Ruth, was born in 1951 and son, Erskine, followed in 1958. In 1952, Margaret landed a job as a dictation typist in the BBC's foreign newsroom and quickly worked her way from one clerk position to another before landing in the broadcaster's producer training program. She served for six years as the senior current affairs producer for Asia.

In 1957, when Lester B. Pearson visited London - the same year he won the Nobel Peace Prize - Margaret interviewed him for the BBC. "He told me that I should be back in Canada working for the CBC, not wasting my time in the BBC," she wrote.

Three years later, she, Ed, and their two children would make the leap back across the Atlantic.

Last week, Margaret told the former CBC radio and TV producer Mark Starowicz that she had hoped to get into the CBC's nascent television service when she returned to Canada.

But TV was a men's-only club at the time, so she had to content herself with radio: She landed a job as a public affairs producer, turning out long-form documentaries.

Within a few years, she became a supervisor and began hiring scores of talented - if sometimes rough-hewn - producers and on-air journalists: Mr. Starowicz, a newspaperman with an anti-authoritarian streak who had been fired by the Toronto Star and ended up in charge of As It Happens, then Sunday Morning and finally CBC-TV's The Journal; Barbara Frum, who had been dropped from the suppertime TV news show but seemed a perfect fit for As It Happens as it went five nights a week; Stuart McLean; Peter Gzowski; Michael Enright.

In the mid-1970s, she hired a 19year-old named Ivan Fecan to create a pop science show called Quirks and Quarks, hosted by the rising star David Suzuki. (Later Mr. Fecan oversaw the creation of such shows as The Kids in the Hall and Road to Avonlea.)

Some wag dubbed the group of young upstarts "Lyons's Kindergarten." Margaret was their diminutive den mother. A 1982 newspaper profile gives her height at 4 feet, 101/2 inches, but she was a commanding presence.

"I remember this conclave of males surrounding her," Mr. Starowicz said. "There would be this clarinet-like voice: 'I want you to do this.' And these hulking males who towered over who would go do her bidding."

"She was arguably the greatest talent developer that CBC radio had ever seen," Mr. Herrndorf said. "She was kind of a contrarian. She looked for people who weren't the conventional obvious choices.

"She and the people who worked with her and after her were responsible for the programming that has defined CBC radio for half a century," he added. "And she was just a ferocious defender of public broadcasting, which isn't about selling things.

In Margaret's mind, it was about getting to know the country, getting to know its history, its values, its aspirations, its rhythms and it was about giving Canadians the kind of information they needed to make thoughtful choices."

Ms. Lyons had a mandate to shake things up: When she took over, ratings for the AM and FM radio services had fallen to perhaps a share of 4 per cent; the bulk of listeners were over 50.

"This place is boring, boring, boring," Mr. Starowicz says she told him. She chased young audiences, introduced more pop music into the rotation and slashed long-form documentaries. She introduced a new mantra: "Presentation is as important as content."

Her changes alienated many.

In 1978, Val Clery, the original executive producer of As It Happens, wrote an op-ed in The Globe and Mail calling himself "one of Margaret Lyons's early victims," and complaining about her "remote, patronizing attitude to listeners. The same philosophy, that hype and packaging are more important for boosting audience figures than content, has permeated current affairs programming also."

After Margaret became the managing director of radio for CBC's English-language division in 1981, the Toronto Star columnist (and CBC broadcaster) Clyde Gilmour noted she was not only "the top woman at the CBC," but also "one of the highest-ranking female executives of any broadcasting system in the world."

Even Margaret's supporters spoke of her in language that now feels of a distant era: Newspaper profiles frequently noted that she was known inside CBC as "the Dragon Lady." Margaret insisted the nickname didn't bother her.

Still, there were private struggles, and immense pain that she hid from all who knew her. Her son, Erskine, battled personal demons and died by suicide in 1985, in his late 20s. And her daughter, Ruth, acknowledged last week that it took years of therapy before she could love her mother. "I think probably her work was in many ways her life. I personally feel that if she were a generation or two younger, she would have said, 'To hell with having a family, I'm just going to pursue my career.' " After Margaret's death, though, Ruth praised her for living "with courage."

She also had a cheeky sense of humour. Mr. Starowicz recalled that at one point Margaret's office was next to the studio occupied by the famously idiosyncratic pianist Glenn Gould.

"He would practise so loudly - I can only assume it was the speakers - that Margaret would thump on the wall to get him to lower the volume. And I said, 'You would thump on the wall to get Glenn Gould to turn it down?' And she said, 'Yeah! You couldn't hear yourself think! We couldn't do a program!' And, as you know, in Gould's recordings, you hear breathing, and humming, and tapping. And on some of them, I wondered: Is that Margaret in the studio next door, thumping?"

Associated Graphic

Margaret Lyons helped to launch what became known as the Radio Revolution during her time at the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., where she aimed to make CBC radio less 'boring' by chasing younger audiences, introducing more pop music and slashing long-form documentaries.

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MLB needs to welcome Shoeless Joe back
Late White Sox player's memory was marred by the team's throwing of 1919 World Series - but a century's banishment is long enough

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Thursday, October 10, 2019 – Page B21

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- In a different time, it was an attractive little two-bedroom home, constructed in the early 1940s out of red brick and owned by one of the greatest players ever to grace the diamond, a towering yet tragic figure who lived the last half of his life and went to his grave as a pariah, shunned and scorned by the national pastime.

Now it's a museum, right across the street from Greenville's retro minor-league ballpark, dedicated to preserving the memory of the man who once lived within its walls.

Shoeless Joe Jackson.

"It is one of the greatest stories," says Michael Wallach, who leads the museum's board of directors. "So many of the baseball players in the Hall of Fame, their story is their career. Joe has three parts to his story: before, during and after. All three are romantic stories."

Growing up in a Southern mill town without a day of formal schooling.

A brilliant baseball career that was snuffed out in its prime.

The life he built after being kicked to the curb by the game he loved.

Even now, on the 100th anniversary of the Chicago White Sox finishing off their infamous throwing of the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds, stamping themselves for eternity as the Black Sox, Shoeless Joe stirs up harsh feelings and fierce debate about his place - or, more accurately, non-place - within the game.

Well, this is not a plea to exonerate a man who surely made some awful mistakes.

It is a call for compassion.

Jackson's century-long banishment is long enough.

Say it's so, Major League Baseball.

Put Shoeless Joe back in the game.

"God knows I gave my best in baseball at all times and no man on earth can truthfully judge me otherwise."

The highfalutin words, plastered on the side of the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum, might ring hollow to those who know him largely as the most prominent of eight White Sox players who allegedly conspired with gamblers to lose a World Series.

To this day, it remains baseball's greatest stain (sorry, Steroids Era).

On Oct. 9, 1919, Chicago completed the shameful deed with a 10-5 loss in Game 8 of the best-ofnine series, handing the championship to the Reds by a margin of five games to three.

White Sox starter Lefty Williams did his part in the decisive contest by giving up four straight hits after getting his lone out, putting his team in a four-run hole before it ever came to bat. With three losses in three starts, there is little doubt about his guilt. Ditto for first baseman Chick Gandil, shortstop Swede Risberg, pitcher Eddie Cicotte, centre fielder Happy Felsch and utility infielder Fred McMullin. Third baseman Buck Weaver is a more complicated figure, apparently aware of the plot but not taking part.

Then there's Shoeless Joe.

While there are conflicting accounts as to what he acknowledged, Wallach concedes that Jackson accepted US$5,000 from the gamblers and was fully aware of the scheme. But his performance on the field largely seems to back up the claim Shoeless Joe made for the rest of his life.

He played to win in 1919.

Jackson batted .375 with a Series-record 12 hits - a mark that stood for 45 years. He hit Chicago's only homer (this was at the end of the dead-ball era) and led his team with both five runs and six runs batted in. He struck out just two times in 32 at-bats, handled 30 chances in the outfield without an error, and was posthumously figured in the sabermetrics world to have tacked on 0.58 wins (known as win probability added, or WPA) to his team's total. That was the second-highest total for any player in the Series, surpassed only by teammate Dickey Kerr, who wasn't in on the fix and won both his starts with a 1.42 ERA.

"If Joe Jackson was throwing the World Series," Wallach scoffs, "that was not the way to go about it."

Even though all of the Black Sox were acquitted at a celebrated 1921 trial, baseball moved quickly to remove a scourge that threatened its very existence.

Gambling and fix allegations were as much a part of the game as balls and strikes, so the owners appointed former federal judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis to clean things up. Despite the courtroom verdict, the powerful new commissioner banned all eight players for life - a harsh edict that stands to this day.

Wallach actually has no problem with Landis's decision.

"Baseball was going to fall apart if Kenesaw Mountain Landis did not come in and say, 'There will be no cheating in baseball,' " Wallach says. "Now, would I have forgiven Joe before his life was over? I think so. Why? Because that's who America is. America does not hold a grudge if someone shows remorse and asks for forgiveness."

Jackson, who couldn't read or write, relied on his wife, Katie, to fire off letters pleading for his reinstatement. All were ignored. He actually received two votes in balloting for the initial class to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936 and was still getting a modicum of support a decade later, but has been formally barred from any consideration under rules passed in the wake of Pete Rose's banishment from the game.

Jackson died in 1951, three weeks before Christmas at the age of 63 (or perhaps 64), in what was a small bedroom but now houses various artifacts related to his life.

A wooden seat from Comiskey Park. A set of dishes. A battered old glove. Even a picture of the white-haired Landis, staring back sternly from the great beyond.

Wallach disputes the notion that Shoeless Joe died a broken man. He hated being known as a cheater but played in the minor leagues into his 40s, sometimes under an assumed name, or with outlaw teams that weren't governed by organized baseball. He owned a liquor store and a dry cleaning business, while his wife invested in real estate and probably would've been called a house flipper in today's world. The couple never had any children but seemed to live a comfortable, generally happy life.

They are now buried side-byside in Woodlawn Memorial Park, not far from their home-turnedmuseum. There are no signs pointing out their gravesite in the sprawling cemetery, but everyone seems to know where it is. Avid fans, who perhaps view Jackson through the sympathetic prism of movies such as Eight Men Out and Field of Dreams, still leave baseballs and cleats and bats around the simple bronze gravestone.

When someone arrives in search of Shoeless Joe's resting place, all they need do is ask a worker on the grounds.

"Joe Jackson's grave? You mean Shoeless Joe?" one drawled when this intrepid reporter came in search of it not too long ago. "It's right over there."

Time supposedly heals all wounds.

Yet, even if Jackson's ban is lifted, it seems highly unlikely he would ever get into the Hall of Fame.

Without a change in the rules, the Baseball Writers of America couldn't vote him in even if they wanted to, while the committees that take a second look at overlooked candidates would surely be reticent about altering the verdict of history.

Former commissioner Bud Selig was adamant in his opposition to Jackson's reinstatement, but his successor, Rob Manfred, seems more amenable to recognizing Shoeless Joe.

Not reinstatement by any means. But baby steps nonetheless.

At Fluor Field, home of the South Atlantic League's Greenville Drive, they now have a statue of Jackson right outside one of the main gates and a large picture of him in an area known as Heritage Plaza. Next year, MLB will construct a temporary stadium in that Iowa cornfield made famous by Field of Dreams, the movie that portrays the ghost of Shoeless Joe emerging from the tall stalks to take part in one more game with other long-gone players. The New York Yankees will play an actual regular-season game against ... the White Sox.

Jackson's team.

"There is a groundswell of support growing for Joe Jackson," Wallach insists. "We're going to make sure that name stays in the forefront of baseball history."

There is little doubt that Jackson was one of the game's greatest players.

He batted .408 one season and finished with the third-highest career average (.356), a number that now adorns the address of his museum - 356 Field St. He could also hit for power within the constraints of the dead ball, not to mention run, field and throw. Today, we'd call him a five-tool player.

"I want people to know what a wonderful ballplayer he was," Wallach says wistfully.

The Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum is run on a shoestring budget by a small group of faithful volunteers. The hours are skimpy.

Saturdays only, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. But bigger plans are in the works.

Wallach's son, Dan, will soon be moving from Chicago to run the museum full-time, with an eye toward expanding both operating hours and its mission in the community. The museum will also be moving - literally, as workers take the entire house to a spot just up the street, clearing the way for a new development at its current (and actually second) location.

The home was brought in from its original spot three miles away to coincide with the opening of Fluor Field in 2006.

As part of this latest move, the museum will get a new gift shop - check out the "Reinstate Shoeless Joe Jackson" T-shirt - and open up more space for exhibits.

Shoeless Joe may never get into the Hall of Fame. But he deserves at least a mention in Cooperstown, some remembrance of his entire body of work and not just those eight infamous games a century ago.

"It's a tragic story," Wallach says. "But we have ways to fix tragedies."

Yes, we do.

Major League Baseball, say it's so.

Welcome back Shoeless Joe.

Associated Graphic

Michael Wallach, seen Sept. 29, leads the board of directors of the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and Baseball Library and says Shoeless Joe's story is 'one of the greatest.'

A statue of Shoeless Joe Jackson stands in front of Fluor Field stadium in Greenville, S.C., on Sept. 29.


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How the Tiger-Cats have clawed their way to the top of the CFL
A rookie head coach, an offensive co-ordinator who got the job days before training camp and losing your starting quarterback, running back and receiver early in the season isn't usually the recipe for greatness, but grit, grime and a star-making performance by a backup pivot has Hamilton looking to bring home the Grey Cup for the first time since 1999, Rachel Brady writes

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Saturday, October 12, 2019 – Page S3

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are close to accomplishing something no team from the CFL's East Division has done in a decade: finish the regular season as the best squad in the league.

Don't look now, but the Tiger-Cats are a CFL-best 12-3 in mid-October. With three games left on their schedule, they have a chance to end a 10-year streak of West Division teams topping the league standing.

It is enough to inspire hope in Hamilton, a city that hasn't won a Grey Cup since 1999. Perhaps most impressively, the Ticats are persevering without star quarterback Jeremiah Masoli.

For five of the previous six seasons, the Calgary Stampeders finished with the best regular-season record. The last team from the East to finish with the year's finest regular season was Anthony Calvillo's dominant 2009 Montreal Alouettes, who went 15-3 and went on to win the Grey Cup.

The 2019 Ticats are a perfect 7-0 at home.

Before this weekend's games, they led the CFL in most points scored (459) and fewest points allowed (288). The Tabbies are 8-2 against West opponents - including wins over all five teams and series sweeps of B.C., Winnipeg and Edmonton.

This is Hamilton's first 12-win season since 1998 and it has already matched a franchise record, with games against Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto still to go in a division in which it holds a 4-1 record. A few teams could still catch the Ticats for the CFL's best record, led by West-leading Saskatchewan. If the Ticats clinch first in the East, it gives them a bye into the division final, which would be in Hamilton.

You could be forgiven if you didn't seen this coming for Hamilton. It has had only had two winning seasons in the past decade - 10-8 finishes in 2015 and 2013.

A string of events early this season could easily have derailed the team. Offensive co-ordinator June Jones left for another job just days before camp, leaving rookie head coach Orlondo Steinauer to quickly replace him with Tommy Condell. Starting Canadian running back Sean Thomas-Erlington suffered a knee injury just four weeks into his breakout CFL season. Veteran receiver Luke Tasker was in and out of the lineup with injuries. Then Masoli's season ended in the team's sixth game, when he planted awkwardly while eluding a defensive tackle in the pocket and tore the anterior-cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Masoli had the Ticats off to an exciting 4-1 start when it happened. The 31-year-old was in the thick of following up a 2018 campaign in which he got the nod as the East's candidate for the CFL's most-outstandingplayer award. Then suddenly, less than a third of the way through his season, Masoli was headed for knee surgery and he was scratched from the team's plans for the year.

"It was a huge blow. Jeremiah was the leader of our team," Steinauer said this week by telephone as his Ticats enjoyed a bye. "It was a classic case of things not going to the original plan. So how do you adjust mid-stream at a professional level?

That's a credit to our coaching staff. Our players bought in to what we were selling - everyone has to be ready to play all the time, because things can happen in an instant."

With their franchise pivot unable to play another down, the Ticats' fate rested with 25-year-old backup quarterback Dane Evans, a native of Sanger, Tex., who had just a handful of CFL appearances to his résumé. The University of Tulsa product had entered the NFL draft in 2017, but didn't get selected. He got a shot in a Philadelphia Eagles training camp, but they released him that preseason. He then signed with the Ticats and had been kicking around as a backup in Hamilton since, perhaps upstaged by the brief hoopla surrounding the 2018 CFL stop-through by Johnny Manziel.

Evans did have a vaguely familiar experience from which to draw. During his redshirt freshman year at Tulsa, the starting quarterback suffered an injury that was to sideline him for two games. Evans started those two college games and played well enough to keep the job even after the starter got healthy. He remained Tulsa's starting QB all the way through his senior year.

Evans took over for Masoli during Hamilton's July 26 game against Winnipeg.

The Ticats won. Since then, the new pivot with red facial hair peeking out from his facemask has gone 7-2 as the Tabbies' starter.

Sometimes the Ticats have leaned on a committee of running backs in Sean Thomas-Erlington's absence, including Maleek Irons, Cameron Marshall, Bralon Addison and Tyrell Sutton. Other times, they have spread the field wide and let Evans throw it all over, especially to targets such as Addison and Brandon Banks, who each have more than 1,100 yards receiving. The Ticats didn't need to adjust too much without Masoli. They could call many of the same plays.

"Dane had put in the work last year on scout team and he was still here for a reason. He's a natural leader who is so easy to follow because he's really authentic," Steinauer said. "We let Dane grow at his own pace and we didn't compare him to Jeremiah. We let him play through mistakes. He could make all the throws, but there were fine fixtures and footwork that he and Tommy worked hard on. The biggest box Dane is checking is that we're winning."

After a few weeks of recovery from surgery, Masoli has come back to the team in a supporting role. Still wearing a knee brace, he is in meetings and picks his spots to use his respected voice. Evans says the two men still room together on the road, as they did before Masoli got hurt.

"We talk about the game plans in our room. It's very good for me to have a guy who has been there," Evans said by phone from California where he spent the bye week. "We bounce ideas off each other and he doesn't withhold anything. I was actually excited to watch him [play] all season and that all changed in the blink of an eye. I still don't want to overstep my boundaries, even though now it is my job to go give my team the best chance to win. I know it's really tough on him, but he's being the ultimate teammate right now. I can attest to that first-hand." Hamilton's defence and special teams have been stout, even as the offence worked in its new starter. Linebacker Simoni Lawrence tops the CFL in total tackles (83, despite missing two games because of suspensions for illegal hits) - including 17 tackles in Week 16, a CFL single-game record. Defensive end Ja'Gared Davis is second in sacks (12). The Ticats rank No. 1 in big-play returns with 19, flanked by Frankie Williams and his CFL-leading 786 kick-return yards.

Evans has picked up steam with time, improving his accuracy and cutting down on his ratio of touchdowns to interceptions. He and Addison were both chosen as the CFL's top performers for the month of September.

The 1999 Grey Cup-champion Ticats were honoured in Hamilton before the team went on to trounce Edmonton 42-12 last week. One of the defensive stars of that '99 team, Rob Hitchcock, had his name added to the Wall of Fame at Tim Hortons Field. He and his championship teammates met with the current Ticats that night. Together, they watched video highlights of that memorable Tiger-Cats squad, one on which Steinauer had been a standout defensive back.

"So we saw Coach O in this video, making interceptions and knocking people around. It was so cool to see that such a humble guy had such a huge role on that '99 team," said Evans, who admits he watched a few CFL games on ESPN as a teen, but didn't follow the league avidly before coming to Canada. "Coach never toots his own horn; he just works. Our team is like that, too."

The Tabbies will clinch top spot in the division - along with a first-round playoff bye and the right to hold the East final - if Montreal loses on Friday night against Calgary.

The Ticats were in the Grey Cup in 2013 and 2014. Both were losses - first to Saskatchewan, and then to Calgary. Some players from those teams remain, including Lawrence, Banks and veteran Canadian linemen such as Mike Filer on offence and Ted Laurent on defence. Steinauer had been a defensive co-ordinator for those teams.

Going into this season, Steinauer was also pursued by B.C. and Toronto to fill their head-coaching positions. Hamilton head coach last season - June Jones - agreed last December to move over and be the offensive co-ordinator if Steinauer would remain with the Ticats and become head coach. The gesture humbled 45-year-old Steinauer. (Later, in May, Jones left the Ticats to become head coach and general manager of the Houston franchise in the reborn XFL).

"I know the city of Hamilton wants a team with a tough blue-collar mentality and I'm really grateful for the opportunity to lead," Steinauer said.

Ticats fans have watched seven of the nine CFL teams win the Grey Cup since their team last hoisted it in 1999. Evans has only been in Canada since 2017, but he has quickly become accustomed to Hamilton's passionate fans. Watching the '99 champs get recognized served as a reminder of how much the Ticats faithful crave the Cup.

"For sure, fans who come to our games are loyal and loud. They have filled our stadium no matter what our record was," Evans said. "They've gone a long time without a Grey Cup, so we owe them one." 459 Heading into this week's games Hamilton leads the CFL in most points scored 288 The Tiger-Cats also have allowed the fewest points this season.

Associated Graphic

Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Dane Evans throws against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during a game last month. Evans has helped lead the Ticats to a 12-3 regular-season record.


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Through the eyes of the law
Memoirs from a former chief justice offer insight into the lives of those who reshape our country's values - on abortion, refugee determination, assisted dying and more

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Saturday, October 12, 2019 – Page R15

Her goal was simple: to tell the story of an ordinary person's extraordinary life, in the hopes of inspiring young people, particularly young women.

And yet Beverley McLachlin's autobiography, Truth Be Told: My Journey Through Life and the Law, was a long time coming. In the 144-year history of the Supreme Court of Canada, the memoirs published last month by its retired chief justice were the first such book from one of its judges.

By contrast, two of the nine judges currently on the United States Supreme Court have published autobiographies, and two others works with an autobiographical component. Some of these authors, such as Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, have become folk heroes.

Even in the United Kingdom, whose staid legal culture resembles Canada's own, Supreme Court judges have been publishing memoirs and diaries in recent years.

Why have Canada's top judges been so leery of writing their memoirs?

It's not as if they have no stories to tell. These are important people who have used their authority to reshape the country - on abortion, refugee determination, crime and punishment, gay marriage and assisted dying, to name a few.

Since 1982, when the Charter of Rights and Freedoms took effect, judges have had the authority, just as their U.S. counterparts do, to strike down laws they deem unconstitutional. Who they are and how they exercise their power might interest Canadians.

But the legal culture has yet to catch up.

Most Supreme Court judges in Canada are unknown to most Canadians. And mostly, the judges seem to like it that way. They give lots of speeches, but mostly "in-house" to lawyers' groups and law students. When Justice Nicholas Kasirer was nominated in August, he would not even consent to having his photograph taken by this newspaper.

In anonymity, there is less of a public spotlight on one's judicial choices.

Legal observers fear that if Canada goes even partly down that road, the appointment of judges will become "politicized," as in the U.S.

"We can learn from the United States," historian John English, former general editor of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, said in an interview, "but maybe some of the traditions we hold to are ones that are worthy of upholding."

What are the benefits to the public of a judicial autobiography? It demystifies the legal system. It takes readers inside a structure that shapes the country's history - and preserves details that might otherwise be lost. And - as McLachlin aspires to doing - it connects with young people.

All these benefits can be seen in the memoirs of U.S. Supreme Court justices.

Sotomayor conceived of her story much as McLachlin did: as an inspiration to young people.

She is the first Hispanic member of the U.S. Supreme Court (her parents were Puerto Rican), and she overcame a difficult childhood in a South Bronx housing project. After her literary and engaging 2013 memoirs, My Beloved World, for which she received a US$1.9-million advance, she published two children's books as companion volumes. Far from the figure of a remote Supreme Court judge, she would answer children's questions at readings and the children would give her hugs.

The beautifully written autobiography of Justice Clarence Thomas, My Grandfather's Son ("I was nine years old when I met my father," he says in the book's opening line), is a powerful and angry work in part about growing up black in the U.S. South. He also rails against allegations of sexual harassment from law professor Anita Hill, raised in his 1991 nomination hearing. He received an advance of US$1.5-million, a measure of the intensity of reader interest.

James O'Hara, an officer of the Supreme Court Historical Society, a private, Washington-based group that seeks to preserve the court's history, calls the books by these two judges required reading, especially for young people.

"The books are remarkably encouraging to kids who face really bad difficulties," he said in an interview.

And for readers generally, he said, the books help humanize the court.

"They both show that the Supreme Court is not something that is merely political. In both cases, they show that the court is made up of thinking people, who have a real concern for the future of their country and the value of the law."

There is a revealing moment in McLachlin's autobiography. Halfway into her first decade as Supreme Court chief justice, she reports a "eureka" moment: "The people of Canada viewed the chief justice as their chief justice."

Somehow, until then, she'd thought of herself only as chief justice of a court.

Cogs in an institutional wheel do not write autobiographies.

And for a judge to be personal - to be seen to have pre-existing views - might be seen as being political. "There's this desire of the old-fashioned lawyers that the law be seen to have come down from heaven," says Peter Russell, an emeritus political science professor at the University of Toronto, "ready-made, with no human input, no human creativity."

By contrast, he says, "Americans were the first judicial realists," recognizing that judges make law, rather than simply apply it. And more than anywhere else, he says, U.S. Supreme Court judges are "superstars" in national history. "And they see themselves as superstars."

Not so in Canada, where a tradition of personal restraint persists.

"Judicial restraint will suck the oxygen out of most of the stuff judges could write if they felt free to do so," former Supreme Court justice Ian Binnie (1998-2011) said in an e-mail.

McLachlin is frank about personal episodes - suicidal thoughts at the age of 13, a dying husband asking her to end his life - but restrained in discussing legal issues and her peers. It is as if she is still wearing the cloak of her former office. (She was chief justice from 2000 to 2017, and joined the court in 1989.)

In the one instance where she removes that cloak - describing how she was tempted to name her dog "Harper" after the prime minister with whom she tangled, so she could say, "Sit, Harper" - University of Saskatchewan College of Law professor Michael Plaxton slammed her on Twitter.

"Selling your book is not worth casting a pall over your legacy or the institution of the Supreme Court," he tweeted.

Authors of U.S. judicial autobiographies may not write tell-all books, but some do offer sharp criticisms of their colleagues.

The late John Paul Stevens published his second set of memoirs, The Making of a Justice: Reflections on My First 94 Years, in May. He pulled no punches in criticizing majority rulings on the right to bear arms, election-financing restrictions and, to his mind worst of all, Bush v. Gore, the 2000 ruling that ended a Florida recount and gave the presidency to George W. Bush.

They also don't shy away from politics. Earl Warren, who was U.S. chief justice in 1954 when the court ruled against segregated schools in Brown v. Board of Education, reported a private conversation he had with president Dwight D. Eisenhower at a White House dinner, while Brown was before the Supreme Court.

"These are not bad people," his 1971 book The Memoirs of Earl Warren quotes the president as saying of Southerners who supported segregation.

"All they are concerned about is to see that their sweet little girls are not required to sit in school alongside some big overgrown Negroes." His report of the conversation added to the historical record.

"The legal culture is oral, and dies with the lawyers that lived it," Binnie said, explaining why he thinks more judges and lawyers should write their memoirs.

It is Britain, with its tradition of judicial anonymity, that has been the predominant influence on Canadian judges. But now, U.K. judges are beginning to find their voice. Late this summer, retired Supreme Court justice John Dyson published an autobiography, A Judge's Journey, recording his harrowing family story - his maternal grandmother survived the Holocaust - and giving readers a window into his loneliness when he first joined the Supreme Court, where he felt that at least some of his colleagues "wrote judgments to impress each other and to win over colleagues to their point of view. I may have been guilty of this myself."

David Hope, the U.K. Supreme Court's deputy president, has published three volumes of his diaries, with a fourth set to come out this year, covering his Supreme Court years.

"He was revealing in several places, and sometimes too revealing," Alan Paterson, a professor at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, said in an interview.

"He will sometimes make remarks about a fellow justice." In 2015, Peter Millett, a retired judge who had been on a predecessor court (the U.K. Supreme Court was established only in 2009), published his autobiography, a humorous, insider's take, As in Memory Long.

The autobiographies are part of a broader trend toward greater accessibility. The U.K. Supreme Court has been on Twitter for several years; it has begun holding hearings outside of London in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It even has a program to permit schoolchildren to Skype with Supreme Court judges. Following the lead of its British counterpart, the Canadian Supreme Court held two hearings in September in Winnipeg and its members visited high schools there.

Still, judges on the Canadian Supreme Court appear to take comfort in being largely unknown.

It's not all of them who appreciate the anonymity, says John Major (1992-2005), but "a significant number, because it's a pretty good cloak. You don't want to sit around constantly reading criticisms. To read about yourself, you want it to be something nice."

When he was on the court, he was recognized just once or twice on Ottawa streets. "You'd be lucky if you're recognized at a bar [association] convention."

Why doesn't he write his memoirs?

"I've always thought I could write a book. I have the material," he said.

"But if I told the truth, I'd hurt so many people's feelings that I'd feel bad."

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U.S. political scandal marks blow to Ukraine's corruption reform efforts

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019 – Page A5

The fight over President Donald Trump's potential impeachment has divided the United States along party lines, Democrats versus Republicans, with Ukraine being talked about as the scene of a crime.

Many Ukrainians, however, feel their country is the victim in all this - not just because of the way Mr. Trump spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the now-infamous July 25 phone call, but also because of the way their country's name and reputation has been dragged through the middle of the United States' political conflict.

Government officials worry about the effect that the scandal, and the incessant headlines connecting "Ukraine" and "corruption," will have on their attempts to promote the country as a safe place to invest. Anti-corruption activists - who have long held the U.S. up as an example of clean governance - worry that their fight to clean up Ukrainian business and politics will lose momentum as the sight of prominent Americans taking cash from dubious figures in Ukraine tarnishes the U.S.'s reputation here, too.

Much of the drama, ironically, revolves around one of the West's signature efforts to help fight corruption in Ukraine.

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau - known locally by its acronym NABU - was founded by the Ukrainian government in the heady days after the country's 2014 revolution, which saw the corrupt and Kremlin-backed regime of Viktor Yanukovych ousted after days of bloody street battles.

NABU was given the task of tackling high-level corruption in Ukraine, the kind that had persisted since it was part of the Soviet Union. NABU is funded by the U.S. and the European Union.

Crucially, NABU was created to be independent from the office of Ukraine's prosecutor-general.

That put NABU - and its backers inside the U.S. embassy in Kyiv - at odds with the political elite who were swept to power by the revolution. While the crowds who had overthrown Mr. Yanukovych wanted to see a corruption crackdown, the politicians they elected had complicated histories of their own. The new president, Petro Poroshenko, was one of the country's most powerful businessmen and had briefly served in Mr. Yanukovych's cabinet.

Acrimony quickly developed between NABU, which sought to investigate how billions of dollars had disappeared from Ukraine under Mr. Yanukovych's rule, and the prosecutor-general's office, which proved willing to cut deals with figures from the former regime.

The power struggle between Ukraine's two main corruptionfighting bodies would end up playing a role in a pair of scandals that have dominated much of Mr.Trump's time in the White House.

It was NABU that originally discovered, in a Kyiv office that had once belonged to Mr. Yanukovych's Party of Regions, a ledger detailing US$12.7-million in payments that the party had made to Paul Manafort, a onetime adviser to Mr. Yanukovych who later briefly served as Mr.

Trump's campaign chief. The ledger was treated as a key piece of evidence by former special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into the 2016 presidential election, and Mr. Manafort is now serving a 7½-year prison sentence in the U.S. on charges that include fraud related to the receipt of the Party of Regions funds.

That was one of NABU's few headline-grabbing successes.

More often, the agency found itself blocked - often by the prosecutor-general's office - in its efforts to expose corruption at the top of Ukrainian politics. A gas company called Burisma came to define the struggle between NABU and the country's political elite.

When Mr. Yanukovych was ousted, the oligarchs who had supported him were suddenly vulnerable. One of them, Mykola Zlochevsky - who owned Burisma at the same time as he served as Mr. Yanukovych's minister of ecology and natural resources - began stacking Burisma's board of directors with prominent figures in what anti-corruption activists say was a blatant attempt to polish Mr. Zlochevsky's reputation. Among those Mr. Zlochevsky recruited were then-U.S. vicepresident Joe Biden's son, Hunter, as well as Aleksander Kwasniewski, a former president of Poland.

Court records show Hunter Biden was paid US$50,000 a month by Burisma from April, 2014, until he left the post earlier this year.

There is no evidence of any criminal wrongdoing on his part.

The prosecutor-general's office has opened at least five investigations into Mr. Zlochevsky or the company since 2014, although three have been abandoned and none has developed into a prosecution. A letter in December, 2014, from the office of then-prosecutor-general Viktor Shokin - stating that Mr. Zlochevsky was not under active investigation - helped the oligarch gain the release of US$23-million that had been frozen in Britain as part of a money-laundering probe.

Olena Halushka, head of international relations for the Anticorruption Action Centre, a Kyivbased non-governmental organization, said three successive prosecutors-general, including Mr. Shokin, had "systematically delayed" the Burisma investigations.

Frustration with Mr. Shokin was also widespread among Western diplomats. But it was a March, 2016, visit to Ukraine by Mr. Biden - who ran the Ukraine file in Barack Obama's administration - that had the most dramatic effect, causing Mr. Poroshenko to fire Mr. Shokin and replace him with long-time ally Yuriy Lutsenko. "If the prosecutor's not fired, you're not getting the money," was how Mr. Biden recounted delivering the message to Mr. Poroshenko's government.

Mr. Biden was addressing a 2018 meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Washington think tank, and referring to US$1billion in loan guarantees the U.S.

government provided to Ukraine.

While anti-corruption activists believe Mr. Biden was right to call for change in the prosecutor's office, they say his efforts were tainted by his son's role at Burisma. "Joe Biden, the vice-president, was going around saying corruption in Ukraine was a cancer, while his son is on the board of Burisma," said Olena Tregub, head of the Independent Defence Anti-Corruption Committee, the Kyiv affiliate of Transparency International. "It might not be corruption, but it was hypocrisy at least."

The tension between NABU and the prosecutor-general's office ultimately came to a head during Mr. Lutsenko's tenure. A politician with no formal legal training, Mr. Lutsenko tried to position himself as the anti-corruption champion of Ukraine. But anti-corruption activists say he obstructed NABU's work at every turn. At one point, his office publicized the names of undercover NABU officers, foiling a long investigation.

A key point of contention would become the financial and political support that NABU received from the U.S. embassy in Kyiv, and in particular from thenambassador Marie Yovanovitch.

The embassy became publicly critical of Mr. Lutsenko. Mr. Lutsenko, it's now known, started campaigning for Ms. Yovanovitch to be replaced.

In January, Mr. Lutsenko flew to New York to meet with Mr.Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Mr. Lutsenko told The Globe and Mail he made the trip to propose to Mr. Giuliani that the U.S. and Ukraine jointly investigate investigate whether Mr.Biden had pushed for Mr. Shokin to be fired in order to protect Burisma, as well as allegations that the Ukrainian embassy in Washington had sought to damage Mr.Trump during the 2016 election by leaking details of the Manafort ledger mid-campaign.

Mr. Lutsenko said he decided to visit Mr. Giuliani after failing to convince the U.S. embassy in Kyiv of the need for a joint investigation into Burisma and the Manafort affair.

The meeting between Mr. Lutsenko and Mr. Giuliani set in motion a chain of events that saw Ms. Yovanovitch recalled to Washington in April. She hinted in her opening statement to a congressional committee last week that she believed Mr. Lutsenko had played a role in her ouster.

In her statement, Ms. Yovanovitch defended the U.S. embassy's anti-corruption drive in Ukraine, saying it had been in the interest of both countries. "Our efforts were intended, and evidently succeeded, in thwarting corrupt interests in Ukraine, who fought back by selling baseless conspiracy theories to anyone who would listen. Sadly, someone was listening, and our nation is the worse off for that."

Asked about allegations that he was personally corrupt, Mr.

Lutsenko - who was fired as prosecutor-general in August - told The Globe that "yes there are political tools and instruments" that were used by his office but that Ukraine saw a "record" number of corruption convictions while he was in the post. "There is no court conviction against me," he added.

(Mr. Lutsenko is now under investigation by his old office for abuse of power. Mr. Giuliani's dealings in Ukraine are under separate investigation in the U.S.

to determine whether any laws were broken.)

After Ms. Yovanovitch's dismissal came the notorious July 25 phone call, which saw Mr. Trump pick up on the themes Mr. Lutsenko had raised with Mr. Giuliani. Although the President didn't name Mr. Manafort, he said that Ukraine's role in the 2016 election should be examined. "They say a lot of it started with Ukraine," Mr.

Trump told Mr. Zelensky. "Whatever you can do, it's very important that you do it if that's possible."

He also leaned on the newly elected Mr. Zelensky to investigate Burisma, holding up US$319million in military aid to Ukraine as he did so. A whistle-blower's complaint about the call has sparked the impeachment hearings against Mr. Trump.

A struggle for power in Ukraine had merged with America's own fevered political war.

Today, all sides say they have high hopes for the new government of Mr. Zelensky, who, similar to nearly all of his recent predecessors, came to office promising to fight corruption.

Ukraine has actually made some progress since the revolution - it ranked 120th out of 180 countries on Transparency International's corruption perception index last year, a climb from 144th in 2013.

"The problem is changing the perception," said Dan Bilak, chairman of UkraineInvest, government investment-promotion agency. It's a problem that's worsened, he said, in the current media environment. "You never get criticized for saying or writing something bad about Ukraine."

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For federal parties, Vancouver region offers big rewards
The voters of Surrey, Burnaby and Richmond switch allegiances often, and it's anyone's guess where they'll turn come election day

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Saturday, October 12, 2019 – Page A18

VANCOUVER -- With an area about four times the size of the United Kingdom, there's no denying British Columbia is a big province. But the fight for votes in B.C. largely centres on the many seats packed into a relatively small, crowded part of the province.

Federal leaders are spending a lot of B.C. campaigning time in the Vancouver region that is home to about half of B.C. residents. That region, comprising cities such as Surrey, Burnaby, New Westminster and Richmond, and others out into the Fraser Valley, has 26 of the province's 42 seats.

It's also been hard to predict which way they might swing.

"In the other provinces, there are fairly traditional trend lines," says pollster Nik Nanos, chief data scientist and founder of Nanos Research. However, he describes a "spaghetti trend line" of intermingling party support in B.C.

that confounds predictions in the province. "In the case of British Columbia, the four parties are clustered much closer together than in any other province," Mr.Nanos says.

In the 2015 election, the Liberals won 17 seats, up from two in 2011. The Conservatives lost 11 seats, ending up with 10 in B.C.

The NDP won 14 seats, up from 12 in 2011. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May won in the Vancouver Island riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands.

BRITISH COLUMBIA, WHERE ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN Petros Kusmu, during a break from an environment-focused, all-candidates meeting he helped organize in Vancouver-Granville, says he has been struck by the shifting nature of B.C. politics since he moved from Alberta to the West Coast 10 months ago.

"In Alberta, there's a far greater degree of predictability electorally, federally than there is in the Lower Mainland or even B.C. I was surprised how much it seems like B.C. is up for grabs," the 30-yearold management consultant said.

"It's a bit more exciting here electorally, which makes it, for a voter, far more exciting as well, because you get the sense that your vote is really going to help actually swing things."

Mr. Kusmu, a resident of Vancouver Centre and self-described progressive voter, said he has yet to decide whom to vote for as he researches candidates.

After an all-candidates meeting in Vancouver Kingsway six days after the campaign began, Guy Rivard, the pastor at a Catholic church across the street from the meeting venue, spoke of a political journey he has taken since voting Conservative in Quebec City in 2015. His new riding's incumbent, New Democrat Don Davies, first elected in 2008, is facing challengers including former Vancouver news anchor Tamara Taggart, now running for the Liberals. Justin Trudeau, the Liberal Leader, attended her acclamation as a candidate and made an early stop in the riding.

Though impressed by Mr. Davies, Mr. Rivard said he plans to vote Green to signify the need for action on climate change. "The Conservatives are the Conservatives. They are not interested in climate change," he said. "The Liberals are obviously interested in selling oil, which makes no sense."

The environment looms large among issues of concern in the Pacific province. A survey commissioned by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade says the key issue for voters is whether parties can demonstrate they can balance protection of the environment with protecting jobs, and addressing the high cost of living.

"If you just read the headlines, you would think that everybody in Vancouver is against the Trans Mountain pipeline, and certainly people in the city of Vancouver and Burnaby are leaning against it, but across the Metro Vancouver region we do find more support than opposition," said Evi Mustel of the Mustel Group, which conducted the survey.

"Our message was [the parties] have to balance both the need to protect the environment, as well as to ensure that we have a viable economy. They can't go too far.

One extreme or the other. They really need to have a platform that addresses both those issues effectively."

There are issues beyond the pipeline. B.C. is grappling with an acute opioid crisis and some of the highest housing costs in the country. The mayors of the province's two largest cities - Vancouver and Surrey - are looking for billions of dollars for transit expansion.

Jody Wilson-Raybould, who broke with the Liberal government over the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin on corruption charges, may have become known across the country after she told her story in Ottawa hearing rooms, but she is a familiar figure in the Lower Mainland as the incumbent MP for Vancouver-Granville, where she is now seeking reelection as an independent.

B.C. is where key policies of Mr.

Trudeau's government have become tangible, according to political scientist Allan Tupper. "[Federal Liberal] messages have been quite important given what's going on on the ground in [a] very visible way," the University of British Columbia academic says.

THE LOCAL FACTOR Beyond the issues, three of the major national political leaders have strong ties to the province.

Ms. May and Jagmeet Singh of the NDP are incumbents in ridings in the province: Ms. May on Vancouver Island and Mr. Singh, who got his start in elected politics as a member of the Ontario legislature, won Burnaby South in a by-election earlier this year.

Mr. Trudeau has spoken of B.C.

as a second home. His mother's family is from B.C. and he relocated to the province in his 20s, when he worked as a snowboard instructor and, eventually, a teacher. The remains of his youngest brother, Michel, were never recovered from a remote Interior lake. Mr. Trudeau regularly vacations in the province.

On Oct. 21, B.C. could provide seats to re-elect the Liberals to a majority government, or put either the Liberals or Conservatives behind the wheel of a minority government. B.C. voters could help bolster an NDP resurgence.

While the Greens are running candidates across the Vancouver region, their national campaign manager, Jonathan Dickie, says the party is focused on winning on Vancouver Island, home base for their two incumbents.

British Columbia, especially the Vancouver region, counts for a lot in the election, says Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute, a not-for-profit, public-opinion research foundation.

"British Columbia, by virtue of the fact that Metro Vancouver is one of the largest population bases in the country, does take on an enhanced role in a way that 40 years ago it didn't, or even 20 years ago, it didn't," she said in an interview.

Since the election was called, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has visited four Vancouver-region ridings, all seats with Liberal incumbents that were previously Tory-held seats. Mr. Trudeau, in the same region, has campaigned in seats with Liberal incumbents and gone on the offence in Vancouver Kingsway - Mr. Davies's riding. During an eight-day swing through the Vancouver region and Vancouver Island, Mr. Singh hit a mix of Vancouver-region ridings with NDP and Liberal incumbents.

On Friday, Mr. Trudeau was scheduled to campaign in Surrey, Port Coquitlam and Burnaby, promoting the campaigns of a mix of incumbents and new candidates, including the candidate competing against Mr. Singh in Burnaby South. Meanwhile, Mr. Scheer was scheduled to release the Conservative party platform in Tsawwassen, south of Vancouver. Each party faces key challenges here, Ms. Kurl says. The Liberals need to galvanize the youth vote that helped them in 2015. The Conservatives need to figure out how to build their base to compete in cities. And the Greens need to expand their caucus, an effort that may be bolstered by elected Greens in the B.C. Legislature and Vancouver city government.

As for the New Democrats, she said they have the benefit of support from legislature members who comprise the B.C. government. Since 2017, the province has been governed by the NDP under Premier John Horgan and supported by three members of the provincial Green Party who hold the balance of power in the legislature.

Glen Sanford, B.C. director for the federal NDP campaign, says there's a strategic calculation that B.C. voters supportive of the job Mr. Horgan and his team are doing may consider supporting federal New Democrats in the province.

The Liberals are speaking bullishly of holding their seats from 2015 and picking up others by focusing on their appeal to the interests of the middle class, and underlining Mr. Trudeau's connections to the province. Conservatives are also wooing the middle class and playing on disappointment with Mr. Trudeau.

To the Green Party, there's political opportunity in British Columbia's fluid political situation.

"What we're seeing in most other provinces is that it's clear that there's one party that is starting to pull ahead. In B.C., it seems like the numbers are shifting quite a bit, but that the four major parties are in play, and so there's likely lots of ridings where there are three or four-way races," Mr.Dickie said in an interview.

"At this point, if the election was now, it would be very hard to determine the outcome in a number of ridings," he said. "The opportunity for us is that we can come up the middle in some three- or four-way races. The downside of that is that's hard to predict."

To the Greens, the provincial legislature members as well as Greens on Vancouver's city council, school board and parks board, are a positive case for electing federal Greens.

"For voters, it makes their federal Green candidate seem much more viable," says Mr. Dickie, adding the Greens believe they have prospects on Vancouver Island.

Associated Graphic

Clockwise from top left: Conservative Andrew Scheer, Liberal Justin Trudeau, Elizabeth May of the Green Party and New Democrat Jagmeet Singh make stops in British Columbia on the campaign trail. Each party leader faces key challenges in the Vancouver area, which contains 26 of the province's 42 seats and about half of its population.


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Federal parties have been all too happy to avoid a serious debate about reforming the system this election. But if human-rights violations aren't enough to stir them, perhaps a pocketbook time bomb will

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Saturday, October 12, 2019 – Page O3

Toronto-based freelance journalist

On the list of issues to be raised in this mad dash of a federal election, it's perhaps understandable that the state of Canada's prisons is pretty low. Indigenous people are still waiting for clean drinking water, provinces continue to fight over pipeline projects, climate change alters best-laid plans and a housing crisis and potential economic recession are leaving urban Canadians nervous.

Amidst all that, why would voters care about the treatment of criminals? Besides, aren't poor conditions in jails a feature, rather than a bug? The logic has long been that if you don't want to face that kind of miserable treatment, just don't commit crimes.

But the conditions of our system reflect a humanitarian crisis lying in wait, laden with systemic rot.

"The Service continues to assume the risk of running prisons without 24/7 health care coverage," Ivan Zinger, Canada's Correctional Investigator, wrote last year. The year prior, in his meticulous annual report, he wrote that at one Alberta institution, "I witnessed outdoor segregation 'yards' that were actually cages, easily mistaken for a dog run or kennel." Long-suffering former correctional investigator Howard Sapers filed his last report the year before that, finding that guards were increasingly using force and pepper spray in dealing with inmates who had attempted self-harm or suicide.

Going back through years of these reports is like reading a meticulous and galling laundry list of concerns: poor food quality; wild abuses of solitary confinement; low prison pay and the rising costs of basic essentials; systemic racism; a failure to help inmates with serious mental-health issues; slashed programming due to lack of funding.

Many of these problems are only magnified in provincial institutions, which often have to house inmates awaiting trial.

The age of the prisons themselves contribute to those outcomes; some are more than 100 years old. "They were built at a time when the correctional philosophy was very different than what it is today," Mr. Zinger said in an interview.

Lockdowns have become a daily part of life inside these prisons. In Ontario's Maplehurst prison, lockdowns were ordered, on average, every other day over a two-year period. Those lockdowns limit the inmates' ability to shower, get clean bedding, see family or lawyers and exercise.

There's a race problem, too.

While the Criminal Code recognizes that the courts should opt for alternatives to imprisonment whenever possible, especially for Indigenous offenders, that has not happened in reality. Nearly a quarter of the prison population is Indigenous, despite being less than 5 per cent of the national population. The problem is more acute in the Prairies, where recidivism rates are staggering. "It is at a crisis point, right now," Mr.

Zinger says. A lack of co-operation with Indigenous peoples, and a lack of culturally informed programming, has made reintegration hard and the problem worse.

One of the more obscene examples of Correctional Services Canada's (CSC) practices has been solitary confinement. Troublesome or at-risk inmates - especially former cops, informants and those suffering from mental illness - are thrown in a tiny, one-person cell, for long stretches of time. Inmates are allowed just one hour of outside time and one hour of human contact a day. Sometimes, they don't even get that. That practice fits the United Nations definition of torture.

But perhaps that's still not enough to shake you. After all, it was in the 2011 election that hapless Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff made the Harper government's construction of "U.S.-style megaprisons" a campaign concern; voters seemed actively bored by the suggestion.

There is one thing that all Canadians care about, we're often told: costs, and the financial ramifications they have on our government and our families. If that's the case, then you should know this: Our prison systems are also a ticking fiscal timebomb.

CSC, the federal government's 15th-largest department or agency by funding, already costs $2.4billion to run. But that budget has been flat over the past decade, in real dollars. At the same time, staffing numbers have grown. There is now roughly one CSC staff member for every inmate in Canada, Mr. Zinger said, and in many institutions, there are more staff than inmates.

That money has to come from somewhere.

Support services, addictions counselling and job training were the first to go, eliminating useful programs to assist with reintegration and skills development to re-enter the work force.

Without that, what happens?

"They reoffend," Edmonton criminal-defence lawyer Tom Engel said. "Surprise, surprise."

In its defence, Ottawa points to prison labour programs as a primary service by which inmates are being prepared for life outside. But that, too, has been turned into a cost-cutting exercise. Most prisoners with jobs are either hired to perform tasks to help run the prisons, such as cleaning, or to make goods for other government departments, which are then sold for some $60-million a year. Both efforts keep CSC's costs low, saving them from having to pay outside staff and helping them make back money at the margins.

The maximum salary is $6.90 a day; most earn less. What's more, up to 30 per cent of that salary is clawed back for, among other things, room and board.

Yes, they're actually paying to be in jail.

Prison labour was also supposed to provide a way to earn money to buy goods that would make prison more bearable, save money for prisoners' release and send money to their families. Increasingly, that is not the case.

Costs at the prison canteens, where prisoners need to buy soap and other basics, have skyrocketed, with some goods costing double what they would outside. Phone calls can be expensive, too. A 60-minute non-local call can cost a day's wage, which is particularly troubling as most inmates are not imprisoned in their own communities.

As programming and services have declined, conditions inside have gotten worse. And for inmates facing inhumane conditions at the hands of Corrections Canada, Mr. Engel said, "there's only one route to take: Go to court."

They're succeeding. Two challenges in Ontario and British Columbia succeeded in having the courts declare the solitary-confinement system unconstitutional. Lawsuits on behalf of mentally ill prisoners who were thrown in solitary confinement, and those who were placed in the tiny cells for longer than 15 days at a time, both succeeded: The courts ordered Ottawa to pay $20-million in damages in both cases. And two inmates from Maplehurst sued for a breach of their Charter rights and won; the court awarded the pair tens of thousands of dollars in damages.

While an appeals court later reversed their compensation, more applications of that type are all but certain to come in the future.

After being told by the courts to end solitary confinement, and after seeking multiple extensions to that ruling while it dragged its feet on a solution, the Trudeau government's answer was to convert the solitary confinement wings to "segregated intervention units," at a cost of about $50-million a year. Under this new system, there will be no cap on the length of stay in these units, and it only increases inmates' time outside their cell to four hours a day. Critics including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association say the new rules constitute "the bare minimum required to address the Charter violation inherent in the existing scheme," and when the government killed a series of amendments designed to strengthen oversight, experts such as Senator Kim Pate argued that, in failing to fix this process, "we put the onus of going back to court to once again challenge the use of isolation on those directly and negatively impacted by segregation - prisoners." In short, it is likely that these new rules will be taken to court, and they will be struck down, too.

More legal challenges will come. Those challenges cost huge sums in legal fees, and have already forced Ottawa to pay out millions in compensation to prisoners thus far - and the federal government remains open to limitless liability. In a 1996 report, Justice Louise Arbour even argued that the courts should consider reducing inmate sentences' based on their treatment in prison.

Once upon a time, Justin Trudeau recognized this. In a mandate letter, he asked the Attorney-General and Justice Minister to "end appeals or positions that are not consistent with our commitments, the Charter or our values."

Ever since, the Trudeau Liberals have been deadly silent on the matter. And Andrew Scheer's Conservatives have put forward farcical policies to address the issue, campaigning on revoking parole for "gang members" and implementing new mandatory minimum sentences.

Other parties are better. The NDP platform commits to reducing the overrepresentation of Indigenous and black offenders.

The Greens have called for an end to mandatory minimum sentences. Only the Greens have pledged money to improve services in prisons.

This needs to be a campaign issue. Prison conditions have become abject - dissonant from what we expect of ourselves, in our image as Canadians - and fixing that will cost money. But investment now, as well as work to reduce the prison population - namely, by eliminating mandatory minimum sentences and expanding supervised community programs - will vastly reduce prison costs, keep people in their communities and save Ottawa from costly legal challenges in the future.

Government after government has been warned about this looming disaster, but because it's not a winning electoral issue, addressing it has become an even more urgent priority today.

"Something's got to change," Mr.

Zinger warns. "Something bold has got to be done." And yet good luck finding a party that will give voice to this simmering crisis.

That's a lose-lose situation for Canadians, both free and incarcerated.

Associated Graphic

A view of a segregation cell at Joyceville medium-security institution in Kingston.


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We rarely talk about illness between generations and the patterns it can leave in our blood, writes Ami McKay. But knowing your family's medical history can help save your life

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Saturday, October 5, 2019 – Page O3

Author of three bestselling novels, The Birth House, The Virgin Cure and The Witches of New York. Her most recent book is Daughter of Family G: a Memoir of Cancer Genes, Love and Fate, from which this essay is adapted.

Thanksgiving, 1992. I'd come home from grad school to spend the long weekend with my family and help my mom prepare Thanksgiving dinner. It was mom's "comeback" holiday, her first big family gathering after surviving a hellish year-and-a-half of surgery and chemo. It hadn't been easy, but she'd fought her way through colon cancer and come out the other side, sinewy, cheeky, determined, tough.

Her return to the kitchen to engineer the perfect feast was the ultimate victory lap. Mom loved the hustle and finesse required to pull off such occasions - the to-and-fro of moving from saucepan to turkey baster, the pageantry of setting the table and carving the bird, the laughter that ebbed and flowed by candlelight once the main event had begun. When this particular Thanksgiving dinner had come and gone, I'd watched her survey the aftermath with her hands on her hips, beaming. Motioning to the dirty china stacked on the worn Formica counter in the kitchen, she'd turned to me and said, "I'll wash, you dry."

Moving to her side, I'd given her hip a gentle bump with mine. "I've missed this."

"Me too," she'd replied.

Mom's kitchen was, by turns, a confessional, a situation room, a therapist's office adorned with copper jelly moulds and Currier & Ives collector plates. Her kitchen was for nurturing souls as well as bodies. It's where I'd learned that stories have power - to make sense of the world, to give voice to dreams, to foster hope and banish fear. Much of the wisdom I learned from my mother was imparted to me while her hands were busy - chopping vegetables, washing dishes, stirring soup.

When I'd finished drying the first of the Thanksgiving dishes that day, I'd taken a stack of salad plates and opened the door to the cupboard reserved for mom's good china. As I'd done so, I'd noticed a letter tacked to the inside of the cupboard door. Bold letters across the top of the page had read: "Permission Form."

In the weeks and months after her diagnosis, the cabinet had become a repository for insurance forms and medical paperwork. Countless prescriptions and appointment reminders flanked the cups and saucers.

Scanning the page on the door, I'd found it slightly different from the rest.

I hereby agree to permit the Department of Preventative Medicine and the Hereditary Cancer Consultation Center to obtain my medical records, pathology slides and tissue blocks from attending physicians and hospitals, in furtherance of the research studies they are conducting.

"What's this?" I'd asked, pointing to the paper.

Plunging a casserole dish into a sink filled will soapy water she'd replied, "Didn't I tell you?

I'm donating my tissue samples to science."

"From your cancer?" It'd sounded a bit too Frankenstein for me.

"Yes, from my tumour, and samples of my blood, too."

"What are they going to do with them?" "Hopefully crack the code to our family's cancer."

She'd come from a family tree that'd seemed remarkably prone to the disease. In particular, cancers of the colon, uterus and stomach had repeatedly targeted her relatives in the prime of life.

She could trace their suffering back several generations because her great aunt Pauline Gross, a dress maker from Ann Arbor, Mich., had first documented the family's suffering in 1895 before handing the family pedigree and their story over to a pathology professor at the University of Michigan. She'd hoped he might be able to assist her kin.

From that moment on, the family had been poked, prodded, observed and studied by numerous researchers. Some had gone so far as to label the family as "inferior stock" and recommended family members "let the line die out." In 1936, Time magazine ran an article about them with the headline: "Cancer Strikes 6 Generations: Malady Dogs Family Since 1856." We would eventually become the longest, most detailed cancer pedigree in the world.

My mother's grandmother, Pauline's sister Tillie, had been the first in the family to survive a cancer surgery and live. She'd taught my mother to talk about the disease openly and honestly and to refuse to see cancer as a death sentence. Stories of symptoms and early warning signs were passed down during kitchen conversations, from my great grandmother to my grandmother to my mother to me.

Even though doctors and researchers hadn't yet solved the puzzle of our family's cancers, we still had the power of story on our side. As Tillie liked to say, "All the flowers of all our tomorrows are in the seeds we plant today."

When my mother had first felt the initial pangs of colon cancer, she'd told her doctor of her family's history and asked for a colonoscopy. He'd shrugged his shoulders and said she should wait it out. "It's probably just a stomach bug." His misdiagnosis had led her to seek a second opinion and a third, until eventually her symptoms led her to the ER where a doctor had finally listened to her story and believed her.

"What happens when they crack the code?" I'd asked, wondering if it would make any difference.

"We'll finally have proof.

There'll be no more begging for colonoscopies, no more doctors saying we're crazy. And maybe it'll mean that one day there will be no more cancer. I'd said to myself if I got through this damn mess that I wouldn't waste any more time. This is my chance to do something big. This could help not just our family, but others, too. We have to do our part."

Seven years after my mother donated her tissues and blood to cancer research, a team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore isolated a mutation in her DNA revealing a genetic condition that's now known as Lynch syndrome. Those who carry the mutation have a greatly increased risk for various cancers (colon, endometrial, ovarian and gastric among them) and they have a 50-per-cent chance of passing it on to their children. With the researchers' discovery, clinical diagnosis was now possible and more than a century's worth of our family's stories had finally been confirmed.

In 2001, I was one of the first cancer-free individuals to be tested for Lynch syndrome. My results were positive. Since that day, I've lived in an unsettling state between wellness and cancer. Each year I undergo a series of screenings and procedures to make sure I'm healthy. Several years ago, I chose to have a prophylactic hysterectomy.

Although these changes have been challenging to navigate, I know my diagnosis has afforded me time and health and opportunities to embrace life in ways my ancestors couldn't. They are part of a greater legacy. They are gifts born from kitchen table stories and my mother's tenacity.

Today, people around the world are "discovering their heritage" through their DNA. Ancestry kits are among the top-selling birthday and Christmas gifts. We spit into tubes and send them off to be analyzed so we can stare at a pie chart on a computer screen that supposedly breaks down our ancestral makeup into clearcut percentages.

We want to know where we've come from - the places, the people, their cultures - as if it will somehow explain our own identity (or, perhaps, give us a new one). The graphs and statistics that result from these pursuits carry the patina of scientific and academic relevance. The pedigree charts and twitching leaves of accompanying family trees cause us to feel a weighty connection with history. We make note of what our own ancestors had to overcome in order for us to be born and marvel at the connectedness of it all. And yet we rarely talk about illness between generations and the patterns it can leave in our blood.

The latest research estimates that one in every 125 people has Lynch syndrome, yet just 5 per cent know it. It's more prevalent than the BRCA1 and 2 gene mutations indicating breast and ovarian cancer risk, and yet the general population is largely unaware of the condition.

In hindsight, I now see how essential my mother's kitchen conversations were, how the lineage of outspokenness about cancer in my family and the insistent keeping-track of symptoms and medical histories informed science, and have ultimately kept me whole.

Mom passed away 12 years ago this past January. Complications from influenza after a second colon cancer and subsequent treatments were more than her 73year-old body could take. Although my time with her will never seem long enough, the lessons learned from our kitchen conversations were many and great.

As I write this, a hurricane is barrelling across Nova Scotia.

The trees in my yard are bending without relief and torrents of rain are sheeting down my kitchen windows. The power went out hours ago, but there's a fire crackling in the wood stove and a kettle sputtering in response, ready for tea.

I am in my kitchen trying to make sense of things while chaos rages outside the door. I'm grateful for the memory of my mother's wisdom that cuts through the din. Don't shrink away from the tough stuff, no matter what comes knocking. Speak your truth at the kitchen table. Tell your stories now. You never know what cures they'll bring.

Associated Graphic


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A First Nation's intergenerational poisoning
Decades after Grassy Narrows learned its fish were contaminated with mercury, research suggests damage is being passed down through families. On the campaign trail, activists are pressing for action

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Thursday, October 10, 2019 – Page A12

FIRST NATION, ONT. -- For years, Chrissy Isaacs watched her grandfather struggle with the symptoms of mercury poisoning. He was a fisherman and a guide, his health damaged by the contaminated fish he ate.

Today, she worries about the fourth generation of his descendants. Her daughters, 18 and 13, are showing signs of neurological issues she believes are linked to the same mercury contamination that has devastated her community.

Generation after generation, Grassy Narrows First Nation has seen its crisis painfully prolonged. It has been almost 50 years since the revelation its fish had been poisoned by tonnes of mercury dumped into its river system by a paper mill owned by Reed Paper Ltd., in the Northern Ontario city of Dryden.

Recent studies by Montrealbased scientist Donna Mergler have found strong evidence - from umbilical-cord blood tests and community surveys - confirming the mercury damage is persisting from mothers to children.

Children at Grassy Narrows are four times more likely to suffer from learning disabilities or nervous-system disorders if their mothers had regularly consumed fish during their pregnancies, one study found. (Dr. Mergler, professor emerita at the University of Quebec at Montreal, was the lead scientist in the studies, which were commissioned by Grassy Narrows First Nation.)

The crisis has emerged as a federal election issue, raised by candidates and audience members at national and local candidate debates since the beginning of the campaign. Activists have urged the party leaders to commit to building a treatment centre and hospice at Grassy Narrows for the victims.

In Toronto, thousands of people chanted, "Justice for Grassy Narrows" during a march for action on climate change in late September, and the mercury issue was debated again by candidates for the riding of Toronto Centre in early October.

This week, at the first Englishlanguage debate of the federal leaders, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh complained that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau had mocked a Grassy Narrows supporter at a fundraiser, while Mr.

Trudeau insisted that "money is not the objection" in the delays to the treatment-centre project.

A specialized medical clinic, with staff who understand the complexities of mercury poisoning and how to diagnose the syndrome, could be crucial for the people of Grassy Narrows. Without it, they must travel for treatment in Kenora or Thunder Bay or Winnipeg, where doctors often wrongly assume their neurological or mental symptoms are due to alcohol abuse, Ms. Isaacs says.

"The doctors don't really know much about mercury poisoning and they come up with different diagnoses," she told The Globe and Mail, speaking on the stairs outside her small home.

"A lot of people end up being treated for unrelated issues," she said. "A lot of times we hear negative comments in the hospitals, claiming that our issues are due to drinking."

She recalls her grandfather, in his dying days, saying he dreamed of getting care in his own community. But he died before the treatment centre could be built.

Now, at 39, Ms. Isaacs says she hopes it will be built in time for her own treatment. Tests showed she was born with a dangerously high level of mercury in her blood. She suffers tingling and numbness in her hands and feet, and she is sometimes too weak to open a jar or a bottle. Like many people here, she is plagued by depression and anxiety.

"There's a worry that the treatment centre is not going to happen and people will have to keep struggling to get help," she said.

The federal government promised in 2017 that the treatment centre would be built, but Grassy Narrows leaders have accused Ottawa of delaying the project by offering only $10-million, far short of the $19.5-million budget recommended by a federally funded study.

Indigenous Services Canada has pledged to fulfill its twoyear-old promise. "We will get this facility built," spokesman William Olscamp told The Globe last month. "We will continue discussions on this with community leadership until we reach a consensus."

But with an election campaign under way, there is no guarantee the next government will fulfill the current one's promise. The people of Grassy Narrows are increasingly fearful that the treatment centre will never be built.

(Conservative election campaign officials did not respond to questions from The Globe about the party's position on the centre.

The NDP has spoken out strongly in support of the project, and on Saturday Mr. Singh visited the community. Grassy Narrows Chief Rudy Turtle is the NDP candidate for Kenora.)

Almost half a century after the mercury dumping began, a study by a Japanese scientist in 2010 found that 59 per cent of the residents he examined were showing signs of mercury poisoning in both Grassy Narrows and nearby Whitedog First Nation.

Only a small fraction of them were receiving compensation payments.

The provincial Environment Ministry is currently investigating new reports of historical mercury dumping, after a former employee raised concerns about buried barrels of waste.

Gary Wheeler, a spokesman for the ministry, said a field assessment was conducted at the alleged location and test results from a well at the site were reviewed. So far, there are no indications of mercury dumping, Mr. Wheeler said, adding that officials are assessing how best to investigate other locations.

"The ministry takes the concerns expressed by the former employee very seriously, and we recognize the importance of determining if there are buried barrels of mercury at the Dryden industrial site," he noted.

Bill Fobister, a 73-year-old former chief of Grassy Narrows, says he hopes to move into the treatment centre if it is built by the time his own mercury-poisoning symptoms require it.

He has seen too many elders dying in hospitals in distant places, far from their families and ancestors.

"Our elders die because they're lonesome," he told The Globe. "If they had a home here, it would alleviate some of the loneliness."

Mr. Fobister's family is an example of how mercury's effects have persisted from generation to generation.

In the 1960s, from the age of 14, he worked as a fishing guide for U.S. tourists in the river near his home, eating a "shore lunch" of freshly caught walleye every day.

Today, his eyesight is impaired by a worsening tunnel vision, his senses of taste and smell have been damaged, and his hands and legs tingle, as if "jabbed by little pins," he said.

He receives a monthly $350 payment from a mercury-disability fund.

But now, he sees the younger members of his family with similar symptoms.

"I think mercury has killed our immune system," he said. "If there's a sickness, we catch it right away. I see it every day.

Young people in their 40s and 50s are dying."

His granddaughter, Betty, is in a wheelchair. She, too, receives compensation from the mercury board. Because there is no treatment centre in Grassy Narrows, she is obliged to live in a foster home in Fort Frances, about 280 kilometres away, where she can get physical therapy.

In the 1970s, Mr. Fobister travelled to Japan and met victims there of mercury poisoning, widely known as Minamata disease because it was first identified in the Japanese city of Minamata in 1956. He saw that the victims had impaired speech and clenched hands - the same symptoms he sees in his granddaughter.

"She's very fragile and crippled, and she can't talk either," he said. "I'd like to see her more often, but it's very hard. She is quite far away."

Mr. Fobister's cousin, Steve Fobister, was a former chief of Grassy Narrows who suffered from mercury poisoning and died last year. And now Steve's grandson, 22-year-old Darwin Fobister, has the same symptoms.

He suffers from headaches, seizures, asthma, memory loss, depression and numbness in his limbs.

"I feel it's getting worse," he told The Globe. "I twitch for no reason sometimes and I get scared. I shake when I try to sleep. I'm scared to take a shower because my balance is affected and I could fall."

He and his mother are both receiving compensation from the Mercury Disability Board, which was created under federal and provincial legislation to administer compensation from the two governments and two pulpand-paper companies. But a treatment centre in Grassy Narrows would save lives, he says.

He is growing weary of visits to doctors in distant towns who know nothing about mercury poisoning. "They just give you Tylenol."

With a report from Renata D'Aliesio in Toronto

Associated Graphic

Top: Fish in the Grassy Narrows river system were poisoned after mercury was dumped in by a nearby paper mill. Above: Chrissy Isaacs, 39, seen with her grandson at her home on the First Nation, says she hopes a treatment centre will be open by the time she needs it for her own poisoning.


Top: A large drum greets visitors on the road to Grassy Narrows. Without a treatment centre nearby, patients with mercury-related symptoms must travel to Kenora, Thunder Bay or even Winnipeg. Middle: Darwin Fobister, 22, suffers from headaches, seizures, asthma, memory loss, depression and numbness in his limbs, and feels his symptoms are 'getting worse.' Above: Children on the First Nation are four times more likely to suffer from learning disabilities or nervous-system disorders if their mothers regularly ate fish during their pregnancies, a study found.

Bill Fobister, 73, is a former Grassy Narrows chief who worked as a fishing guide for U.S. tourists along the river in his teens. His mercury-poisoning symptoms include worsening tunnel vision, impaired senses of taste and smell and tingling in his hands and legs.


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While some steps have been taken to protect transnational adoptees, more must be done, writes Jenny Heijun Wills

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Saturday, October 12, 2019 – Page O1

Jenny Heijun Wills is the author of Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related, which was recently shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction

Phillip Clay was an adoptee, like me. We were part of the same wave of transnational adoption from South Korea, but whereas I arrived in Southern Ontario in 1982, he landed in Philadelphia the following year. We both hailed from Seoul, an electric capital city that today is one of the most densely populated places in the world. We both returned, under different circumstances, to that land that now seems so foreign, years after being away. He was 8 when he met his white adoptive parents. I wasn't yet a year old. I don't have a birth certificate. I suspect he didn't, either. I'm on no one's family registry. Again, I assume the same was true of him. But my parents secured citizenship for me in my adoptive land. Phillip's parents did not.

In 2012, Phillip was deported from the United States to our birth country. He had no connections, no cultural context, no language. Perhaps parts of his upbringing had been similar to mine, both of us in the tail end of an assimilation-centred era of transnational adoption. I wonder if he tried to distance himself from anything Korean when he was small, hoping, as I did, that his difference from the other people would dissolve if he didn't draw attention to it. Maybe he, too, in adulthood, felt the simultaneous longing for Korea and absolute terror of being in a place that means so much but feels so unfamiliar. Of course, whenever I'm in South Korea, that fear is softened by the knowledge that I can always return to the place I know. To the place I was raised.

But that comfort, too, is discomforting.

There is a community of returned adoptees living in Seoul, but their situations there, like mine, are/were different from those of Phillip Clay. He could not leave that place but he also could not stay. He could not leave because he had nowhere to go. He could not stay because he had nowhere to be. And so, in 2017, Phillip Clay rode an elevator to the 14th floor of a building in a small but impressive city called Ilsan, just southwest of Seoul, and flew out into the night. To the hard world below.

Korean adoptees around the world grieved his suicide, but also his troubled life - the disproportionate injustice he faced and the pain with which he lived. Anger also streamed forth as adoptees tried to make sense of a transnational adoption system that results in further adoptee dislocation. Adoptee statelessness. It is the same system that Adoptee Rights Campaign members try to hold accountable as they fight for what they estimate to be the 35,000 adoptees from around the world whose American adoptive parents failed to secure U.S. citizenship for them.

The same system that Adam Crapser, another Korean adoptee who was deported from the U.S.

two years ago, describes in his 2019 lawsuit against the South Korean government and his adoption agency in Seoul. The same system that reaches into other places, too: Adoptees from Vietnam, Thailand and Brazil have also faced deportation for similar reasons - only learning in adulthood that they, once 18, are undocumented. That they do not belong in their adoptive land.

That, in fact, they belong nowhere.

Transnational adoption from South Korea began in 1953, the same year the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed. It began in large part because of the growing number of both war orphans and the children of American soldiers, who were ostracized by a society that valued patrilineage and ethnic "purity," among other things. Since that time, an estimated 250,000 young people have been sent from South Korea to foreign lands on one-way "orphan" visas, raised in places such as Canada, the United States, Western Europe, Scandinavian countries and Australia.

South Koreans expressed shame over their transnational adoption program when the world turned its attention to the country during the 1988 Seoul Olympics, but the industry persisted. The program continued despite rapid economic growth in South Korea and continues today, even though the country is experiencing a population crisis due to falling birthrates.

Unsurprisingly, the U.S. became the main destination for Korean adoptees in the years following the Korean War and still is today. The peak of Korean international adoption was in the 1980s, and the practice has been in decline for the past few years.

Although some steps have been taken to protect transnational adoptees from deportation, more must be done. Importantly, though, this work must not simply seek to secure exemptions for adoptees without proper documentation; it should focus on reforming xenophobic and cruel immigration policies more broadly.

The Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2000 granted U.S. citizenship to adopted people who were born in another country after 1983 (in other words, who were under 18 when the act came into effect in 2001) but excluded the thousands of adult transnational adoptees who had immigrated without their consent and had been raised as American children. And while deportation is the greatest threat, stateless transnational adoptees can face obstacles when applying for passports to leave their adoptive lands, registering for social and/ or student assistance or obtaining a driver's licence.

Most recently, senators from Missouri, Maine, Hawaii and Minnesota - the state with one of the highest rates of transnational adoptions - introduced an updated Adoptee Citizenship Act (2019). The bipartisan bill would remedy the issue by granting retroactive citizenship to all transnational adopted children of American parents.

In Canada, citizenship for transnational adoptees falls under the purview of the Citizenship Act. An adoptee or an adoptive parent can apply for a grant of citizenship, with the caveat that the first-generation limit to citizenship excludes adoptees whose adoptive parents were themselves born outside Canada.

The first-generation limit also precludes transnational adoptees from passing on their citizenship to any children born outside Canada, biological or adoptive. In other words, transnational adoptees can be granted direct citizenship only if their parents were born in Canada, but their own children will not inherit citizenship if they are born in another country. To circumvent these restrictions, some Canadian parents opt instead to apply for permanent residency for their transnationally adopted children, with the understanding that, if the adopted person later applies for citizenship, they may be exempt from the first-generation limit.

The recent crisis of transnational adoption and citizenship is even more insidious than all this. In a cruel revision of the pattern of children being sent out of their birth countries and cultures, we are witnessing more and more parents being deported, deemed "illegitimate" or "illegal" (i.e. undocumented) immigrants, with young people winding up in the care of the country that managed to transform them into adoptable orphans. Agencies such as Bethany Christian Services, despite protesting the separation of children and their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, have already begun placing these children in new homes and families. We know, to borrow from my colleague and fellow Korean adoptee, Dr. Kimberly McKee, that the U.S. and many of its private adoption agencies are working together to "create potential adoptees" through the detention and deportation of their parents.

Regardless of one's opinion on these tactics, one thing is certain: We can no longer naively accept the comfortable narrative that the parents of adopted children always have agency or choice or that they would want their children to be raised by others in another country. We must admit the continuing, primal pain of separation and the terrifying power the state holds over how present and future kinship might be experienced.

This opens a host of questions about reunion, citizenship and possibility. When I reunited with my Korean family, I had a Canadian passport, the right to travel to my birth country and, when my time there was over, the right to leave. I can return to visit my Korean relatives and, should I so choose, stay for months at a time. My Korean sister lives in Canada now. My Korean parents visited to attend my wedding in 2010.

Will young people today, adopted in the U.S. and with transnational parents, be eligible to obtain U.S. passports? What, if it is even possible, would their reunions and returns (temporary or otherwise) look like? Will they one day also be deported if not protected by the Adoption Citizenship Act? Can they travel to their countries of origin and/or the countries of their ancestors?

If they do, can they ever again leave? Presumably, their parents will be disqualified from returning to see them in the United States. In other words, has transnational adoption finally devolved to a point where reunion, what already goes against the odds, what already seems (and usually is) impossible, really is?

While it is not the case with all, there are some adoptive families who opt to participate in transnational adoption because of the perception that the break with first families is final, that there is no possibility of reunion. Some of us have been fortunate enough to prove otherwise. That we always find a way home.

Associated Graphic

Orphans wait in San Francisco in December, 1956, to be sorted into their various foster homes after being brought to the United States from Korea.


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Turkey launches air strikes on Kurdish forces after U.S. pullout
Trump calls offensive 'a bad idea' as panicked residents of northern Syria flee

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Thursday, October 10, 2019 – Page A1

AKCAKALE, TURKEY -- Turkey launched air strikes, fired artillery and began a ground offensive against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria on Wednesday after U.S. troops pulled back from the area, paving the way for an assault on forces that have long been allied with the United States.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the start of the campaign, which followed the abrupt decision Sunday by U.S. President Donald Trump to essentially abandon the Syrian Kurdish fighters, leaving them vulnerable to a Turkish offensive that was widely condemned around the world.

The decision was a major shift in U.S. policy and drew opposition from all sides at home. It also marked a stark change in rhetoric by Mr. Trump, who during a news conference in New York last year vowed to stand by the Kurds, who have been the United States' only allies in Syria fighting the Islamic State group. Mr. Trump said at the time that the Kurds "fought with us" and "died with us," and insisted that the United States would never forget.

After Mr. Erdogan announced the offensive, Mr. Trump called the operation "a bad idea." Later Wednesday, he said he didn't want to be involved in "endless, senseless wars."

In northern Syria, residents of the borders areas were in a panic and got out on foot, in cars and with rickshaws piled with mattresses and a few belongings. It was a wrenchingly familiar scenario for the many who, only a few years ago, had fled the advances on their towns and villages by the Islamic State.

Plumes of smoke could be seen rising near the town of Qamishli and clashes continued late Wednesday amid intense shelling as Turkey struck at least six different border towns along a 300kilometre stretch. At least seven civilians and three members of the Kurdish-led force known as the Syrian Democratic Forces were killed in the Turkish bombardment, Kurdish activists and a Syria war monitor said.

Turkey's campaign - in which a North Atlantic Treaty Organization member is raining down bombs on an area where hundreds of U.S. troops are stationed - drew immediate criticism and calls for restraint from Canada and Europe.

In his statement, Mr. Trump emphasized that there are no American soldiers in the area under attack.

"Canada firmly condemns Turkey's military incursion into Syria today," Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Twitter.

"This unilateral action risks undermining the stability of an already-fragile region, exacerbating the humanitarian situation and rolling back progress achieved by the Global Coalition Against Daesh, of which Turkey is a member," she wrote, using an alternative name for the Islamic State.

"We call for the protection of civilians and on all parties to respect their obligations under international law, including unhindered access for humanitarian aid."

Canadian Armed Forces troops used to train Kurdish security forces in neighbouring Iraq, but have since shifted focus to leading the NATO training mission for Iraqi state security forces, a commitment that extends to 2021.

Turkey's Mr. Erdogan said on Twitter: "Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area."

He said that Turkish forces, with Ankara-backed Syrian fighters known as the Syrian National Army, had begun to eradicate what he called "the threat of terror" against Turkey.

Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, said Turkish warplanes were targeting "civilian areas" in northern Syria and that shells also had fallen near a prison guarded by Kurds and holding some of the most dangerous IS militants.

The AP could not verify the report independently.

In Washington, officials said two British militants believed to be part of an Islamic State group that beheaded hostages and was known as "the Beatles" had been moved out of a detention centre in Syria and were in U.S. custody.

Before Turkey's attack, Syrian Kurdish forces who control nearly 30 per cent of Syria's territories warned of a "humanitarian catastrophe."

More than two million people live in the area affected by the attacks, according to aid groups.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said those killed in the Turkish bombardments included two Christian Assyrians in Qamishli, a married couple and their child, a man in a village outside the town of Tal Abyad and a child in a village west of Qamishli.

The Turkish operation, meant to create a "safe zone," carries potential gains and risk for Turkey by getting even more deeply involved in the Syria war. It also would ignite new fighting in Syria's eight-year-old war, potentially displacing hundreds of thousands.

A resident of Tal Abyad said one of the bombs hit an SDF post, and he fled with his wife and mother by car to Raqqa, nearly 100 kilometres to the south, to flee the bombing. The resident, who gave his name as Maher, said the road to Raqqa was packed with vehicles and families, some fleeing on foot "to get away from the bombing."

"People fled and left everything behind," he said in a text message after he reached safety.

Turkey has long threatened to attack the Kurdish fighters that Ankara considers terrorists allied with a Kurdish insurgency in Turkey. Expectations of an invasion increased after Mr. Trump's announcement Sunday, although he also threatened to "totally destroy and obliterate" Turkey's economy if the Turkish push went too far.

U.S. critics said he was sacrificing an ally, the Syrian Kurdish forces, and undermining Washington's credibility. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, told Fox & Friends that if Mr. Trump "follows through with this, it would be the biggest mistake of his presidency."

Mr. Trump later said the U.S.

"does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea." Mr. Trump said he made clear from the start of his political career that "I did not want to fight these endless, senseless wars - especially those that don't benefit the United States. Turkey has committed to protecting civilians, protecting religious minorities, including Christians, and ensuring no humanitarian crisis takes place - and we will hold them to this commitment."

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, while saying that Turkey "has legitimate security concerns" after suffering "horrendous terrorist attacks" and playing host to thousands of refugees, said the country should not "further destabilize the region" with its military action in Syria.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas condemned the offensive, saying it will "further destabilize the region and strengthen IS." The operation also was criticized by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

The EU is paying Turkey 6-billion ($8.8-billion) to help the country cope with almost four million Syrian refugees on its territory in exchange for stopping migrants leaving for Europe.

Turkey urged the international community to rally behind Ankara, which he said would take over the fight against the Islamic State group.

Turkey aimed to "neutralize" Syrian Kurdish militants in northeastern Syria and to "liberate the local population from the yoke of the armed thugs," Fahrettin Altun, the Turkish presidency's communications director, wrote in a Washington Post column published Wednesday.

Mr. Erdogan discussed the incursion by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mr. Erdogan's office said he told Mr. Putin the military action "will contribute to the peace and stability" and allow for a political process in Syria.

In its call for a general mobilization, the local civilian Kurdish authority known as the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria asked the global community to live up to its and asked the U.S.-led coalition to set up a no-fly zone in northeastern Syria to protect the civilian population from Turkish airstrikes.

The U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish group urged Moscow to broker talks with the Syrian government in Damascus in light of the Turkish operation. The Syrian Kurdish-led administration said it is responding positively to calls from Moscow encouraging the Kurds and the Syrian government to settle their difference through talks.

Syria's Foreign Ministry condemned Turkey's plans, calling it a "blatant violation" of international law and vowing to repel an incursion.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Washington of playing "very dangerous games" with the Syrian Kurds, saying the U.S. first propped up the Syrian Kurdish "quasi state" in Syria and now is withdrawing support.

"Such reckless attitude to this highly sensitive subject can set fire to the entire region, and we have to avoid it at any cost," he said in Kazakhstan.

Earlier Wednesday, three IS militants targeted the Kurdishled Syrian Democratic Forces in Raqqa, once the de facto IS capital at the height of the militants' power. An activist collective in Raqqa reported an exchange of fire and an explosion; the Observatory said two IS fighters engaged in a shootout before blowing themselves up.

IS claimed responsibility, saying one of its members killed or wounded 13 SDF members.

The SDF, which holds thousands of IS fighters in detention facilities in northeastern Syria, has warned that a Turkish incursion might lead to the resurgence of the extremists. The U.S.-allied Kurdish-led force captured the last IS area controlled by the militants in eastern Syria in March.

Associated Graphic

Civilians flee with their belongings during Turkish bombardment on Syria's northeastern town of Ras al-Ain on Wednesday.


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Fine art, legacy and unfinished business
Kathleen Bartels left the Vancouver Art Gallery with a key goal unfulfilled - building its forever home - but she's certain it was time to 'pass the baton'

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Saturday, October 12, 2019 – Page R6

The house was sold, the movers had come and gone, and Kathleen Bartels was two days away from leaving Vancouver for Southern California. After running the Vancouver Art Gallery for 18 years, Bartels had exited the gallery in the spring and was now leaving the city - and doing so without seeing to fruition the passion project that drove her for nearly her entire time there: the move to a new, purpose-built gallery.

"It's hard to leave. I love the institution. I've given it my all. And I hope the next person that comes on is just as passionate and caring and tenacious as I was. And can take it to the next phase," she said.

When news of her immediate departure was announced in May, it came as a surprise to the public.

But her exit, as her contract was coming up for renewal, was not a surprise to her, she says, or her board. "It was a joint decision. It's something that has been discussed for a while," Bartels said during the interview early this month.

"It was time. Eighteen years. I was the longest serving director in the gallery's history. Eighteen years at any institution or organization is a long time," she said.

"And it's time to move on, pass the baton to someone else, and think of other possibilities for myself and my family."

It was a good time to leave, she says: 2019 started with the announcement of the unprecedented $40-million gift from the Chan family, Vancouver-based philanthropists, for the new gallery. A strategic plan for the next five years had been completed.

She says her final fiscal year at the gallery brought in "great" revenue and attendance. Memberships and admissions have increased significantly under her watch, as has the collection. "It's always important to leave when you feel good about where we are," she said. "So the table was set."

But where will the table reside?

There has been a lot of talk about what Bartels's departure means for the project that has long dominated her - and the city's cultural - agenda.

Early in Bartels's tenure, it was determined that the current gallery, in a renovated former courthouse, was insufficient and that it would be preferable to move than to expand on-site. At one point, the plan was to move to False Creek, but the gallery ultimately landed on another spot, known as Larwill Park (currently a parking lot where temporary social housing has been erected).

The city has given the VAG a longterm lease on part of that land, but that deal - which is conditional on funding - has had to be extended again and again.

In 2015, the gallery revealed a concept design by Swiss architecture firm Herzog and de Meuron, a design which has since been modified. But the VAG has not been able to launch a formal capital campaign, having secured $135-million of the estimated $380-million cost: $330-million for construction (which seems low, according to some observers with knowledge of the construction industry) plus a $50-million endowment.

That $135-million includes the $50-million then-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell granted the project in 2008. Since then, there has been no government money earmarked: not the $100-million the gallery was hoping to receive from Ottawa, nor the additional $50-million from the province.

More than $20-million has been spent on the project without a single shovel in the ground. In the meantime, new art galleries have opened in North Vancouver (the Polygon), Whistler (the Audain Art Museum), Edmonton (the Art Gallery of Alberta) and Saskatoon (Remai Modern).

Vancouver's cultural chattering classes wondered if Bartels's departure was an indication of defeat on the building project - either from her or her board. But she says she believes the new gallery is going to be built.

"I think so," Bartels told me. "I would be unbelievably disappointed and surprised if it didn't. I think it would be a very sad state of affairs, particularly with all the private-sector money that's come for]. And more will come. But the government needs to do something."

She said the board has done a lot of advocacy work that she hopes pays off with a new gallery.

"Whether it's exactly the vision that we have, I'm not sure. But I think some change will happen.

And I'm just saying that, based on my personal feelings. But it's going to require the government to come forward."

After her departure, Bartels was retained as a special adviser to the VAG and says she has had some conversations with interim director Daina Augaitis (Bartels's former deputy director and chief curator, who had previously retired and returned when Bartels left), other staff and trustees.

"When advice is needed, I'm there to help."

The protracted gallery project aside, Bartels has a long list of highlights from her tenure. There were seminal shows, including Bruce Mau's Massive Change and Guo Pei: Couture Beyond. She oversaw a number of groundbreaking Indigenous art exhibitions, including Raven Travelling: Two Centuries of Haida Art; Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture; and Susan Point: Spindle Whorl.

She is particularly proud of the importance she placed on local artists, with exhibitions by Ian Wallace, Geoffrey Farmer, Roy Arden and others. She also put an emphasis on acquiring work by local artists such as Jeff Wall.

"Kathleen's arrival at the VAG ended a long drab period when the gallery was very poorly directed. She brought the place back to life and began a reinvention process that kept expanding," Wall wrote by e-mail. "The gallery once again became a place where people interested in art actually wanted to go."

She collaborated with Wall to co-curate a series of exhibitions by international artists who had never shown in Canada before, including U.S. artist Kerry James Marshall.

"I feel this very strong bond with the art community here. And that's been the solace that I've found during the challenging times," Bartels said. "Because the artists were always there. I could go to a studio visit or meet with them, and always feel rejuvenated and buoyed."

A number of artists, including Wall, were among the 100 or so people who attended her goodbye party at the West Vancouver home owned by the proprietors of Tantalus Vineyards. Honorary board chair Michael Audain was there, too, as were some other current trustees.

When Audain - a developer, collector, generous philanthropist and former chair of the VAG's relocation committee - announced in 2012 that he would be building his own gallery in Whistler, it was seen as a blow to the VAG's ambitions for a new facility.

There were other challenges.

After a joyous announcement in 2015 that the gallery had acquired and would display ten sketches by Group of Seven co-founder J.E.H.

MacDonald, which had been buried for decades on his old property in Ontario, some outside experts raised concerns. The VAG enlisted the Canadian Conservation Institute in Ottawa for testing. The gallery has repeatedly refused to reveal those results and has still not displayed the paintings. Over coffee and cookies, I asked Bartels if she could finally tell me what those tests found.

She said she could not; she was no longer in a position to say.

As well, earlier this year, the gallery's 200 unionized employees went on a weeklong strike, making Bartels a target for some workers and donors. (She says she was taken aback by the staff's decision to strike.) Then, the deputy director/chief curator she hired last year to replace Augaitis, Rochelle Steiner, left shortly after Bartels did. (Steiner is now chief curator at the Palm Springs Art Museum.)

Most of all, though, there has been a lot of grumbling about the new building - the need for it, the cost, the design. At times, the opposition to the project was vocal and forceful and, to quote Wall, "astonishingly hostile."

And for others in favour of the new building, the lack of progress in getting it off - or into - the ground has been frustrating.

But Bartels said with conviction that the project is ready to move forward. "I hope that will be a big part of my legacy here. Even if I'm not here at the groundbreaking, I can't imagine that I wouldn't be considered as part of making that project happen."

Wall, an internationally renowned artist, certainly thinks so.

"Her initiative to create an entirely new building was an unprecedented act of visionary generosity and confidence in the culture of this city," he wrote in his e-mail.

He says he knows many leading museum directors around the world and can't think of one who could have done more to encourage support from the city, province or federal government. "Her affection for this place and its culture is already a fine legacy."

Associated Graphic

Kathleen Bartels says she's proud of the local artists she promoted as director of the Vancouver Art Gallery. 'I feel this very strong bond with the art community here,' she says. 'And that's been the solace that I've found during the challenging times.'


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Canlit gets ready for its closeup at the world's biggest book fair
All the world will be looking at Canadian books in 2020, when our country will be the guest of honour at the biggest publishing event of the year
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Saturday, October 12, 2019 – Page R12

Attendees tend to use the adjective "overwhelming."

Montreal publisher Linda Leith describes it as "a city of books, almost inconceivable even to those of us who have attended other major international book fairs."

The Frankfurt Book Fair (which also goes by its German initials, FBM) is the world's largest trade fair for books, "the biggest and probably most important industry event of the year in the publishing world," says Bookhug Press co-publisher Hazel Millar.

Although it may not feature prominently in the minds of the Canadian reading public, it's the buying and selling of literary rights at Frankfurt that puts international books on Canadian shelves and introduces Canadian authors to readers in Seoul and Berlin.

As Canadian publishers, literary agents, publishing associations and printers head to Frankfurt next week, I looked at how smaller presses approach the fair and are preparing for Canada FBM2020, when Canada will be the guest of honour and, as Millar puts it, "all the world will be looking at our books."

The first decision for many small presses will be whether to participate at all. "It's a huge investment to go to Frankfurt," says Millar - not just the travel expense or the cost of having a stand at FBM, but the decision to expand the business.

Bookhug, which turns 15 this year, has developed its catalogue since its early days as a poetry-only press. "We felt it wouldn't be time to go until we had a substantive enough list of fiction and non-fiction offerings to entice other publishers," Millar says.

This will be her third year darting around the fair from meeting to meeting. She figures Canada's spotlight year will be the one to finally invest in a stand - Bookhug already has one reserved for 2020.

Millar is also chair of the Literary Press Group, an association of 60 Canadian publishers. Many LPG member publishers attend Frankfurt; many don't. For the latter group, LPG compiled a rights catalogue of 40 titles that will be represented by rights agent Catherine Mitchell. The catalogue includes Accordéon, a finalist for the 2017 Amazon First Novel Award, published by Arbeiter Ring of Winnipeg; Dimitri Nasrallah's allegorical novel of the Arab Spring, The Bleeds, which has already sold world French rights; and Martina Scholtens's memoirs, Your Heart Is the Size of Your Fist, about her decade working at an urban medical clinic for refugees, published by Victoria's Brindle & Glass.

Bookhug's most successful rights seller is Erin Wunker's Notes from a Feminist Killjoy, which has sold into some unexpected territories. "We're very proud of the fact that it sold into Turkey and Korea," Millar says, adding how the collection of essays about intersectional feminism filled a gap in the acquiring publishers' lists.

Much of the work in selling rights is about finding and filling such gaps, but there's also an element of serendipity. "One of the fun things about Frankfurt is its unpredictability," says Brian Lam, publisher of Vancouver's Arsenal Pulp Press. "We sold an alternative crafting book called Yarn Bombing to a large German publisher after the rights director saw it on our stands as she was walking by.

"In 2013, we were approached by an agent in Europe who had seen our books at Frankfurt and told us, 'I have a book that's in your DNA.' " The book was a lesbian-themed graphic novel from France, which Lam acquired before the film adaptation won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Arsenal Pulp's English edition of Blue Is the Warmest Color has now sold almost 100,000 copies and "really put our graphic novels on the map," says Lam.

"That wouldn't have happened if the agent hadn't taken notice of our LGBTQ titles at Frankfurt."

It's up to Canada what to make of 2020. The Frankfurt Book Fair has highlighted a guest of honour since 1976. Gillian Fizet, who heads Canada FBM 2020, has met with many recent honoured countries. "One of the first things we quickly realized is that there really is no template for being guest of honour," she says. Some countries, such as France (2017), already have a long-standing relationship with the German publishing industry. Whereas New Zealand, which focused at the 2012 fair on penetrating the German market, "and went on to hit an 800-per-cent augmentation in rights sales after its guest of honour year."

Canada's approach to FBM2020 is closer to the New Zealand model. In addition to its regular literary translation fund, the Canada Council introduced a new fund specifically for translating Canadian works into German ahead of FBM2020. In July, 2018, a trade mission of 25 Canadian independent publishers visited Germany to learn about the market and introduce the Canadian market to German publishers, who have since been here as well.

According to Fizet, Canada is very close to reaching its goal of selling the rights to 200 Canadianauthored or illustrated works into the German-language market for next year's fair. Germany's most popular genre is fiction. More English-language works have been sold than French, which Fizet ascribes to the size of these markets.

"I think there's generally a lot more openness among German publishers than many of their European counterparts," Lam says.

Arsenal Pulp has sold more books in Germany than in any other country.

As one of the few Canadian trade publishers working in both of Canada's official languages, translation is at the heart of Linda Leith Publishing/Éditions. The Frankfurt sale Leith is most proud of is Wiebke von Carolsfeld's debut novel, Claremont, with German and world rights sold to Cologne's Kiepenheuer & Witsch (KiWi). Among the factors that attracted the major German publisher to this book set on Toronto's Claremont Avenue was its author. Born and raised in Germany, von Carolsfeld worked at KiWi and comes to fiction writing from a celebrated career in filmmaking.

Canada FBM2020 is undeniably a commercial enterprise. It is also a cultural representation of Canada, with all of the country's contradictions, including the present state of Indigenous relations.

When asked about representing Indigenous writers in a global marketplace, both Millar and Lam note the stereotypes that still sometimes play out in conversations with international publishers. "I believe we have a very big responsibility in front of us to properly present Indigenous writing and break down any misunderstandings," Millar says. She believes Lee Maracle, who publishes with Bookhug and other small presses, should be invited to Frankfurt next year.

Fizet says that the Canada FBM2020 mandate includes Indigenous literary expression alongside English and Francophone works, and all three communities are represented on Canada FBM2020's board of directors, as well as the committee deciding the program of Canadian authors visiting Germany in 2020. "We expect it will include a variety of works from Indigenous authors and illustrators from across the country," Fizet says.

While Lam used to notice a lack of interest among foreign publishers in books that examined the contemporary realities of Indigenous experience, he says that is changing. "When we first published Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead, about an 'Indigenous' young male phone-sex worker finding his place in the world, the initial response from foreign publishers was lukewarm. Now that it's won many awards, we're finally seeing rights sales."

Frankfurt retains its relevance in the internet age because there's no replacing the face-to-face meeting. Every publishing professional will tell you that Frankfurt is ultimately about cultivating relationships. Since Blue Is the Warmest Color, Arsenal Pulp has published several titles from Editions Glenat and has great relationships with queer publishers such as Albino Editions of Berlin, says Lam. Albino published the German edition of Raziel Reid's When Everything Feels like the Movies and just bought the German rights to Jonny Appleseed. Millar has found several corresponding publishers to Bookhug in Britain, including Galley Beggar, Influx and Dead Ink. Norway's Forlaget Oktober and France's Nobilia also have similar publishing visions. Leith, meanwhile, looks to Shanghai publisher Archipel Press and, back home in Montreal, Leméac Éditions.

Millar admits that international rights are still a minimal part of Bookhug's overall business, but the long-term payout of establishing relationships with publishing professionals from all over the world means the real return on Canada FBM2020 probably won't be known for years. "Even if the opportunities might not be there to work together now, I have a lot of confidence that the day will come. I know their tastes now, they know me now, and we're going to find a project eventually to work on together."

Associated Graphic

Every year, one country is named the guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the publishing industry's biggest event of the year. The guest of honour in 2018 was Georgia, seen above, and Canada will hold the title in 2020.


Frankfurt remains relevant, even in the internet age, because the event is as much about cultivating relationships as it is about showcasing books.


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The end of the road for 1950s shopping malls
Developers dig deep to transform retail-only enclaves into mixed-use communities
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Tuesday, October 8, 2019 – Page B6

For Danielle Lenarcic Biss, who grew up near Cloverdale Mall in Etobicoke, the enclosed maze of shops surrounded by acres of asphalt was a great place to stop for brief errands, but it wasn't a destination - a place to spend time.

However, Ms. Biss, who is a master of planning candidate at Ryerson University, is learning that long-time residents of the area remember Cloverdale quite differently.

As the lead engagement ambassador for Vancouver-based QuadReal Property Group, she works directly with community members, gathering input to help the developer decide how best to recreate the space as a place for people to live, as well as to shop and visit for fun.

In 1956, when Cloverdale opened near the intersection of the Queen Elizabeth Way and the newly built Highway 427, suburbia was transforming the face of retail. Nearby residents were given a reason not to drive downtown as the mall's growing collection of food, fashion and service outlets were conveniently accessible and also visually appealing, designed to resemble an old-fashioned, open-air town square.

Every mall had its anchor store, and for Cloverdale, this honour went to a branch of Montrealbased department store Morgan's, which eventually became part of Hudson's Bay Co.

Throughout the 1950s and 60s, ever-larger crowds flocked to witness staged fashion shows and festivals presented by the retailers. Once the seventies rolled around, all that faded into memory, as Cloverdale became an "indoor" mall enclosed by walls and ceilings. The anchor store eventually became Zellers, then a shortlived Target store. However, for the past few years, the space that once held an anchor tenant has been nothing more than a vast vacant box, ripe for redevelopment.

TIME FOR CHANGE As retail trends change and land values rise, the future of aging malls across Canada rests on a greater mix of uses, Andrew Petrozzi, principal and practice leader of research for B.C. for Avison Young (Canada) Inc., explains in his new study, Future Forward: the Rise of Urban Enclaves in Metro Vancouver.

According to his research, there are at least 10 such retail-only malls from the 1950s and 60s scattered throughout the Vancouver region, including Burnaby, Richmond and Surrey, for which residential components are being planned. In addition to soaring land values around Vancouver, a regional growth strategy designed to encourage mixed-use development along transit corridors is seen as driving the impetus for change.

Vancouver's Oakridge Centre, built in 1959 and occupying 29 acres of land (the majority of which consists of parking lots), is a prime example of this shift. In addition to one million square feet of retail, QuadReal's redevelopment plan for the mall includes 400,000 square feet of office space and 5,300 residential units, plus a nine-acre park and a civic centre.

While the Avison Young study concentrated on Vancouver, Mr.Petrozzi says that suburban malls, along with their acres of asphalt, are being similarly reimagined in a number of other Canadian cities, particularly in the fastgrowing Toronto region, as well as in the United States.

At Toronto's Bayview Village Shopping Centre, for instance, planning is under way for two new residential towers. Similarly, redevelopment plans for Dufferin Mall on Toronto's west side and Agincourt Mall in Scarborough also call for condo towers.

"The mall in its existing form just doesn't lend itself to retail trends for the future," says Ben Gilbank, director of development for QuadReal, the firm that purchased Cloverdale in 2004. In order for stores to remain open during the transition, the 33-acre site will be completely rebuilt in stages over several years.

"The area is ripe for change; in a way, we are trying to bring downtown to the inner suburbs.

People want to live in downtown Toronto for its arts and culture and restaurants, but it's become so expensive and traffic is daunting. We see a lot of opportunity to create those urban amenities in a suburban development," Mr. Gilbank says.

Many of the changes being contemplated for Cloverdale are similar to what QuadReal is already doing at Oakridge in Vancouver.

"Both involve creating more sustainable retail offerings, while enhancing the sites to include residential uses and vibrant, public spaces and community amenities," he says.

COMMUNITY FEEDBACK IS INTEGRAL The redevelopment plan for Cloverdale will not be finalized until consultations with the community are complete and an open house is held Nov. 23. An empty retail space has become Cloverdale Common, which displays possible redevelopment scenarios, stages art shows and plays host to the community for discussions.

"We are getting community feedback for what they will want to see. That's the inverse of what usually happens: developing a plan and then asking for comment," Mr. Gilbank says. QuadReal plans to submit a zoning application to the City of Toronto in March, 2020.

Retail will still be the backbone of the project, says Ralph Giannone, principal with Toronto's Giannone Petricone Associates Architects Inc., which is tasked with developing Cloverdale's master plan for redevelopment.

The idea is to make Cloverdale a fully integrated part of the community. The working vision, he says, is a village on a park along with mid- and high-rise residential buildings - a dynamic hybrid of suburb and downtown where people can live and work.

Underground parking will be paramount in order to free up as much surface space as possible for squares and parks and trails, entertainment and recreation venues. The residential component will increase demand for more restaurants and stores that appeal to multiple generations.

"There was a wonderful optimism as the suburbs developed quickly, but these sites were single-use and now the stars have realigned and big fields of asphalt and cars parked 100 metres away from the store is not the most sustainable for the future," Mr. Giannone says.

"There's always nervousness about change and we have to respect that," he continues, "but there is a great opportunity in rethinking aging retailing. Listening to the neighbours about their expectations is important for long-term success."

The concerns of the community are both short term and long term, he says. "They want to know what it's going to mean to them as well as their grandkids. A lot of questions about how retail will change and whether it will still be affordable. They want parkland and a lot of people want to get on wait lists for the housing and seniors' community so they can stay in the area as they age."

MID-SIZED MALLS OFFER NEW OBSTACLES While large regional malls will remain essential to the needs of suburbia, the future of mid-sized community shopping centres that have fallen behind the times is less clear.

An example is Stonegate Plaza, an L-shaped strip mall a few kilometres east of Cloverdale that was recently demolished in order to recreate the 5.5-acre site with a focus on mid-rise residential.

According to Andrew Muffitt - a partner at Kohn Partnership Architects Inc., the firm tasked with designing the Stonegate plan in collaboration with the Vandyk Group of Companies - community involvement was also key to this redevelopment. The developers participated in a number of stakeholder meetings and discussions with the city over a period of several years in coming up with the plan. "With a project like this, we can't just turn the tap on and get it right."

The consensus of the consultations was that the 55-year-old plaza, situated just north of a newer retail complex surrounding the Ontario Food Terminal, had become redundant. In spite of manageable rents, a third of the stores were vacant, many of them family-owned businesses that the next generation was just not interested in taking on.

Situated along transit lines within an enclave of mid-rise residential apartments near the Humber River, the land was deemed too valuable for singlestorey development, particularly with Toronto's high-rise density pushing farther and farther west.

The natural move, Mr. Muffitt says, was to redevelop with a more sensible density and provide more housing for the city. As a result, Phase 1 includes a new health centre, complete with firstfloor pharmacy, as well as a new residential tower with 130 units.

The second phase will see the addition of several more 10- to 12storey residences. Known as the Backyard Neighbourhood Condos, the first phase is scheduled for completion this year and shows that, with a vision and community collaboration, any site is prime for redevelopment.

Associated Graphic

The community flocks to an event at the newly opened Cloverdale Mall in 1956. The shopping centre in suburban Toronto offered nearby residents a reason not to drive downtown.


Cloverdale's first anchor store was a branch of the Montreal-based Morgan's. The space later became a Zellers, then briefly a Target. Of late, it has been nothing more than a vacant box. WALLACE IMMEN

Along with Cloverdale, Vancouver's Oakridge Centre is another example of a decades-old retail-only mall with residential components now being planned.


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No one's home
After the Second World War, returning veterans and their supporters won a legacy national housing program. Despite its success, it was eventually dismantled. The time is now right, says Cathy Crowe, to bring it back

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Saturday, October 5, 2019 – Page O8

Cathy Crowe is a street nurse, educator, activist and filmmaker specializing in advocacy on homelessness in Canada. She is a distinguished visiting practitioner in the Faculty of Arts at Ryerson University. Her most recent book is A Knapsack Full of Dreams: Memoirs of a Street Nurse.

When I was growing up in the small idyllic town of Cobourg, on the shore of Lake Ontario, everyone I knew had a place to live. Families owned cars and took vacations. I don't recall being aware of poverty or homelessness, apart from my illconceived hobo costume for Halloween.

On weekends, we swam in the lake at the bottom of the street, played baseball, hide and seek and board games such as Monopoly and Clue. In the evening, we watched TV shows about seemingly perfect homes and families: Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Lassie, Ozzie and Harriet. We ran wild in empty fields behind our house, built forts in the nearby woods and, under the cover of darkness, sneaked into nearby houses that were under construction, frustrated they were encroaching on our natural playground.

What I didn't realize was that these new homes being built in the fields behind my house were the outcome of a massive, postSecond World War victory: a new national housing program that resulted in a building boom across the country.

Not unlike the gains of other national programs such as medicare, unemployment insurance and CPP, this housing program originated in response to public demand.

Veterans returning to Canada from the war faced a drastic shortage of homes. The vets were vocal about their right to housing and, experienced in organizing, they engaged in dramatic and effective protests with their families, supported by seniors groups and faith-based communities.

Their actions included mass parades, picketing and squatting - one group occupied an empty military hospital in Montreal while another took over an army barracks in Ottawa by moving their families and furniture inside. The barrack conditions were so poor that two children came down with polio, presumably from milk not kept cool due to lack of electricity. That only caused public opinion to swell in support of the veterans.

The result of their fight? Their demands for housing were answered with decisive action: the building of wartime housing followed by amendments to the National Housing Act in 1949 led to expanded federal funding for social housing - a national housing program that by 1964 was close to being a universal program for several decades. Despite its success, cuts were made to the program in the 1980s, and the program was eventually dismantled.

First by Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservative government, which in April, 1993, announced the termination of all new funding for social housing, including renovations, except on reserves.

Later, Jean Chrétien's Liberal government continued the cuts.

Making matters worse, Alberta and Ontario followed suit and cut provincial funding for social housing. In Ontario alone, 17,000 new units of housing that were under development were cancelled. Those units could have housed 40,000 people. The government could not afford this among other social programs, we were told, and the private sector would take over construction.

I was working as a street nurse in downtown Toronto when the national housing program was dismantled. Like many, I was caught by surprise. Over the years, I have witnessed the dramatic results from the loss of this public-safety net. It was like observing a slow-moving disaster: Newly homeless people found themselves in drop-in centres, shelters were more crowded, church and synagogue basements were forced to open to shelter people in the winter, there was no longer enough food for people in the drop-in centres and there were clusters of homeless deaths - including due to freezing - and the return of old diseases and pestilence such as tuberculosis and bedbugs. In Toronto, the epicentre of the homelessness disaster, a "tent city" developed on the waterfront, which grew, over the course of three years, to 50 shacks housing approximately 140 people. Tent City was a refugee camp in the heart of the developed world.

Fast forward to today.

Across the country, shelters are full and in chaos. In many cases, funding pressures are forcing their closings. In Toronto, the Out of the Cold program, now in its 33rd year, acts as an overflow.

While the sites, which are churches and synagogues, provide shelter, they are not shelters. They operate in the winter only and are run by dedicated volunteers.

Homeless people must line up sometimes as early as 5 p.m. to obtain a space, a mat (not a bed or cot) on the community-room floor. When they leave in the early morning, they must prepare to find the next location that is open and repeat the lining up process, hoping they will get in.

Last year, Toronto added three large dome-like structures, such as you would normally see used to house people after a natural disaster, to their shelter inventory.

One hundred people are crammed into each one, sleeping on cots with no dividers between them. Ironically, one is on the old Tent City site. Across the country, from Victoria to Halifax, outdoor sleeping is the norm - ranging from people sprawled out on sidewalks and heat grates to groupings of people under bridges, in parks and in tent communities.

When it still existed, Canada's housing program built 20,000 new units of affordable and social housing a year. Some of the housing, often little bungalows still standing today, is referred to as "wartime housing" because of its origin. Other types of rental housing included public housing, seniors' apartments, student housing, co-operative housing and supportive housing for people with mental-health or developmental-health issues. That was when the term "affordable" actually meant spending not more than one-third of your income on rent. If that program had been sustained at the same level, we would have built 520,000 additional homes.

I personally benefited from this program because I was able to obtain an apartment in affordable co-op housing that had just been built with national housing program support. I was a single mom, returning to school to get my nursing degree. The universal system worked, just as it would with medicare should I need surgery. It should be there for all in need.

Today, in Canada, a staggering 235,000 people are homeless; thousands are without even basic emergency shelter, and there is no right-to-shelter legislation across the country. Our social housing that was built under the original program is in great disrepair and wait lists are long. Approximately 1.7 million people are in "core housing need," a term that refers to housing that might be in a serious state of disrepair, does not have a suitable number of bedrooms for the family size or requires more than one-third of before-tax household income to be spent on rent.

There is no shortage of creative solutions. These include laneway housing, prefabricated housing, repurposing container ships for housing and co-housing for seniors and students. Policy initiatives that include a focus on vacancy taxes, inclusionary zoning, land trusts, clamping down on short-term rentals are also being explored. These are all worthwhile and interesting but are lowhanging fruit.

In 2017, the current federal government dangled what is referred to as a "national housing strategy" in front of us, promising a multibillion-dollar 10-year plan to help reduce homelessness and lift 530,000 people from housing need. At the time, housing expert and University of Toronto professor David Hulchanski pointed out the strategy was "a random and confusing set of spending initiatives, all involving billions of dollars, most starting after the next election." Recently, Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux, released a report that raised many red flags, including that fewer dollars than promised in the national housing strategy were actually spent. He stated: "It is not clear that the National Housing Strategy will reduce the prevalence of housing need relative to 2017 levels."

Veterans and their supporters were aspirational and won a legacy national program. If there is one thing I've learned, it's that once you lose a program, it is hard to get it back. Can we be aspirational this election? The obvious solution is a return to a national housing program. That means universal availability to affordable and accessible housing in the same fashion as we now expect in our beloved medicare.

It's always best to listen to the kids. In the Home Safe film series that I co-produced with filmmaker Laura Sky, a young boy who had been homeless asked: "I'm wondering exactly how the government is going to solve this, or whether it's going to help at all?" Many of us feel the same way now.

Associated Graphic

Protesters march in Toronto in support of affordable housing in March, 1988.


Tuesday, October 8, 2019
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Climate the defining issue for Canada, if not yet this election

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Monday, October 7, 2019 – Page A1

Heading into a pair of leaders' debates within two weeks of election day, the federal campaign still seems in need of a defining issue.

But look past all the candidate controversies, personal attacks and votebuying "affordability" promises, and that issue is right there in plain sight.

It's so consequential, with genuine and pronounced differences between parties' approaches, that it renders wrong-headed and reckless the growing body of weary punditry about this being a low-stakes campaign in which all concerned have failed to distinguish themselves from each other.

On climate-change policy, the world is entering a narrow window in which it may or may not undertake the degree of economic and social upheaval needed to stave off irreversible disaster. When Canadians cast their ballots, they'll go a long way toward determining what this country's role in that will be.

It can be tempting, even for those who consider climate change an existential challenge, to play down Canadian voters' ability to meet it. The pettiness of this campaign has made a relatively small country seem even smaller.

But this is not a world in which one can hunker down and avoid global trends.

Even setting aside what elevated temperatures might do to Canada's North, or rising waters to its coasts, the changing climate could cause everything from massive migration shifts to dramatically different trade patterns, not to mention the potential for international conflicts and abject suffering.

Canada's place in avoiding the worst of those outcomes is yet to be determined, in part because of some unique considerations. It has a very outsized per capita carbon footprint, but is not large enough to put a serious dent in global emissions without other countries doing their part. It is rich enough to have more room than most to adapt, but might have to make unusually large sacrifices because of fossil-fuel extraction's big role in its economy.

It is equally possible to imagine it as a leader, testing the limits of citizens' capacity for rapid change, or as a laggard, hoping that getting caught behind the curve won't come back to bite it.

Politicians on the campaign trail don't always frame it so starkly. They tend to pretend there is no potential downside to their preferred course of action - that we can take dramatic action to cut our emissions without adversely affecting anyone, or avoid making any major changes at all and still somehow do our part.

But unlike the case with many other issues this campaign, there really are three distinct paths from which voters are being asked to choose, which should be readily apparent but are at risk of getting buried by the all-the-same tone to much of this campaign's coverage.

The Conservative position is effectively that climate change is a real problem, but Canada can't solve it on its own, so it shouldn't risk competitive disadvantage by undertaking a hard domestic shift. Or, as Andrew Scheer has put it: "If you shut down Canada's entire economy for a year, China would replace all of our emissions in three weeks."

So, in terms of trying to reshape Canadians' consumption habits, the Tories are promising to do less than current government policy.

They would eliminate carbonpricing requirements introduced last year, including the federal carbon tax collected in five provinces, and likely soften emissions limits for large industry. They would scrap a planned new fuel standard requiring gasoline to be less carbon intensive. They would introduce incentive-based programs, such as around home retrofitting, but generally only with policies that fit into the framework of putting more money in Canadians' pockets.

Meanwhile, they would prioritize oil and gas extraction. Among other measures toward that end, Mr. Scheer promises legislation to make it easier to get pipelines built. It is difficult to know how much success they would have in getting more oil to market, since plans such as the creation of a coast-to-coast "national energy corridor" would face major jurisdictional obstacles. But clearly, the balance would shift toward more promotion of the resource sector and less regulation.

To the extent that the Conservatives see a role for Canada in the global climate fight, it's largely through developing and exporting technologies, to be supported by a new fund (which large emitters would pay into if they exceeded limits). But trying to avoid economic disruption would mean that in the foreseeable future, domestic emissions would go down only marginally - if they didn't rise, as the prominent climate-focused economist Mark Jaccard has assessed would happen under the Conservative plan.

The second path, offered by the Liberals, involves major but somewhat gradual change.

That means carbon pricing at a fairly modest 4.4 cents a litre - enough to build acceptance and awareness of revenue being returned to taxpayers in provinces where Ottawa is collecting them, before a planned increase in 2022, but not enough to dramatically impact consumer behaviour yet.

It means the phase-in of the clean fuel standard, which is still in the consultation stage. It means an openness to more regulation of consumer behaviour (such as a possible ban on disposable plastics), and a suite of incentives more expansive than those offered by the Tories. The Liberals also promise additional investments in green infrastructure, including to facilitate more use of electric vehicles and expenditures such as planting two billion trees.

Most contentiously, the Liberal approach involves a sort of centrism on resource extraction.

While it includes a lot of attempts at regulatory balance-striking, it's been epitomized by the party's pipeline policy: opposing or abandoning the proposed Northern Gateway and Energy East projects, but backing the Trans Mountain line's expansion to the point of spending billions of dollars to purchase it. Justin Trudeau once spoke of a "phase-out" of the oil sands, before backtracking amid an Alberta outcry, and the aim still seems to be a slow transition that keeps getting Canadian oil to market for now, but preparing for diminished demand that other Liberal policies are aimed at creating.

The Liberals certainly prioritize climate change more than the Tories. But they have yet to display the single-minded focus seemingly required to meet their promise to exceed Canada's Paris agreement commitment to reduce emissions 30 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.

That's where the third path, for those who believe patience is a luxury we can no longer afford, comes in, courtesy of the New Democrats and Greens.

Neither has a chance of winning government, but they could push the Liberals toward their positions in a minority Parliament, which is a distinct possibility.

That would mean pressure to abandon the Trans Mountain expansion (although that could be a tough sell at this point), and to end various government subsidies for the oil sands while further tightening regulation. And it would involve a push toward some equivalent of the Green New Deal championed by progressives south of the border, including much more government spending to quickly transition away from fossil fuel reliance.

Of the various scenarios, that third one is the most ambiguous because of how fluid it would be.

And even with the others, nothing is carved in stone. The speed at which climate concern is mounting could, say, cause a Conservative majority government to get more ambitious over the course of its mandate.

The fast-ticking clock, though, also makes the four years until the next scheduled election a long time, when it comes to setting Canada's climate role. And this month's vote could provide lasting decisions on the country's long-term strategy. There's a good chance that carbon pricing is here to stay if the Conservatives don't win government; it's also doubtful the Liberals will ever campaign on it again, if they lose.

None of this is to say that every Canadian should be expected to keep climate change top of mind in the voting booth. There are plenty of other valid considerations, not least a general sense of trust, which neither Mr. Trudeau nor Mr. Scheer have done wonders to earn in this campaign so far.

But when some of the biggest policy disagreements are around the most daunting global issue of the 21st century, no one should be able to dismiss this election as lacking sufficient meaning.

We may look back on it as more meaningful than most, when it comes to setting Canada's place in the world.

Associated Graphic

People take part in a climate-change strike in Toronto on Sept. 27. When it comes to setting Canada's climate role, the federal vote could provide lasting decisions on long-term strategy.


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With Super League promotion secure, what's next for Wolfpack?
With play set to begin in February, Toronto has little time to rest before beginning to prepare for competition faster and more skilled than any team it has faced yet

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Monday, October 7, 2019 – Page B13

TORONTO -- After its bone-crushing victory on Saturday earned it promotion to Super League, the Toronto Wolfpack have just 31/2 weeks to rest up before the players hit the field to prepare for their first season in the highest tier of English rugby league.

There is precious little time down time for the transatlantic expansion club, which just earned promotion to 2020 Super League competition by beating the Featherstone Rovers in the Betfred Championship's Million Pound Game before a soldout crowd of 9,974 at Toronto's Lamport Stadium.

The Wolfpack, a team just three seasons into its existence, is built mostly of Brits and Australians determined to grow their 13-man brand of rugby in North America.

The Toronto club planned to climb through the bottom two levels and up to Super League within five seasons, but it took only three.

Now it becomes a member of the best rugby league competition in the northern hemisphere, alongside 10 English teams and one from France. Hanging with the elite will be Toronto's biggest challenge yet. Super League opponents will be dramatically faster and more skilled than those the Pack faced while rolling to firstplace finishes in the bottom and second tiers of England's pro rugby-league circuit.

"We're in the big leagues now; I've always wanted the people of Toronto to see us in Super League," said the Wolfpack's director of rugby, Brian Noble, who is also the team's general manager, talent scout and roster architect. "We might get beaten a few more times next season, but the competition and the excitement will just go through the roof."

Super League kicks off in February, so the Wolfpack has just a few weeks to heal from a long, hard-hitting season before the players start training in Britain. Because of the Toronto winter, the Wolfpack isn't expected to play home games until spring.

Toronto's current roster has many players with Super League experience, along with those who have competed in the southern hemisphere's top league, Australia's National Rugby League. Noble says the Wolfpack will keep about 90 per cent of its current players and add three or four new ones.

"We need to get a little faster and stronger for Super League," Noble said. "But I think the character of this group will get them through a lot of games next year."

Wolfpack loose forward Jon Wilkin says that just reaching the Super League won't be enough to keep expanding the fan base in Toronto and winning over any critics who still doubt that a North American franchise can be viable long term.

"We're not going in to Super League just to be there; we're going to compete," Wilkin said on the field Saturday, his uniform drenched in celebratory champagne after the win. "It can't be about Toronto idling mid-table in Super League. We've got to push boundaries and standards."

Before moving to Toronto, Wilkin spent 16 seasons with Super League powerhouse St Helens, helping to stock the shelves with trophies. The native of Northern England says he was very skeptical about a North American franchise at first, especially after a Paris franchise tried it 20 years ago and lost its financial backing just two seasons in. Still, Wilkin chose to take a leap in Toronto. The 35-year-old player was asked to create in the Wolfpack the kind of culture and tradition that helped him thrive at St Helens.

The Wolfpack's addition to Britain's top league is a significant step for the brand of rugby that has been largely confined to Australia, New Zealand, Northern England and France. Canadians have traditionally been more familiar with the 15-man code, rugby union.

While the Toronto Wolfpack has grown at a break-neck pace in its quick three years, it doesn't yet have the polish of Toronto's other pro sports franchises. Cityowned Lamport Stadium is 54 years old. Its bench seating is aged and concrete, and its concourses and concession booths look like something from an outdated community hockey rink. The locker rooms are in desperate need of renovation before Super League opponents visit next spring.

The Wolfpack doesn't yet draw anywhere near the media attention that the Maple Leafs, Raptors or Blue Jays do. Media sit on folding tables in the stands rather than a press box.

The team struggled at times with clunky growing pains, such as late paycheques to players.

Authenticity, though, is part of the Wolfpack's charm. Lamport Stadium may be old, but it provides an intimacy that Toronto's big pro-sports venues simply can't. It has a tented craft beer garden in the end zone, and its players make the rounds and visit with fans after every match. The players are often seen taking Toronto's streetcar or riding city bikes to practice. Its majority owner, Australian mining millionaire David Argyle, has demonstrated the deep pockets and passion to see it through.

He was among those wrapping his arms around the players in celebration after the big win on Saturday.

"If you experience this environment in Toronto, I believe you'll come back because it's a violent, physical sport that's played fairly and embraces a lot of the things I think people here like about sport," Wilkin said. "We need this facility to improve. ... To establish this as our genuine home grounds will take some investment from the city, and I hope rugby league can inspire that investment."

Toronto Mayor John Tory took in Saturday's game and addressed the crowd before the Wolfpack received the Betfred Championship Trophy, vowing to give out Wolfpack hats to colleagues on his travels just as he does those for the NBA champion Toronto Raptors.

The Wolfpack's management group will travel to Britain this week to meet with Super League chief executive Robert Elstone to finalize logistical details for next season and the financial terms of their agreement.

The governing body, the Rugby Football League (RFL), has signed off on Toronto's entry to Super League. But for at least this season, the Wolfpack is expected to keep abiding by terms in its current agreement.

That means the Toronto club will keep footing the bill for visiting teams' travel and accommodations, a load eased by a sponsorship deal with Air Transat.

Super League games are broadcast on Sky Sports and the revenue is shared with its teams, however Toronto will not get a cut of that revenue, at least during its first year in the top tier. The Wolfpack's agreement is expected to be up for renegotiation after 12 months.

"We think, quite honestly, that we'll prove ourselves to be a great team member and family member," said Bob Hunter, a former long-time executive from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment who recently joined the Wolfpack as chairman and interim chief executive officer.

RFL's chief executive officer, Ralph Rimmer, travelled to Toronto for Saturday's game and said he has been impressed with team's local support on each of his four visits. He said it was a real "leap of faith" to welcome in a North American team three years ago. A transatlantic team causes major challenges for all teams, regarding overseas travel, game-scheduling, broadcasting and visas for players. At first, many opposing teams thought it would be a real headache to travel to Toronto.

"There's been an amazing amount of problem-solving involved, from both sides of the water, but the progress has been spectacular," Rimmer said. "Toronto has worked its way through the divisions really fast and everyone who has come here has come away with a really good experience."

Rimmer said Toronto's quick progress has inspired interest in other markets. A group in Ottawa is organizing its efforts quickly, and New York may be right behind them. Rimmer confirmed that there have been expressions of other European cities, but he declined to elaborate.

"It's absolutely true that the appearance of Toronto demonstrates what can be achieved," Rimmer said. "It has stimulated interest in other parts of the world."

Associated Graphic

Wolfpack captain Josh McCrone raises the Betfred Championship Trophy alongside teammates after defeating the Featherstone Rovers in the Million Pound Game at Lamport Stadium in Toronto on Saturday.


The Wolfpack's director of rugby Brian Noble, left, seen with head coach Paul Rowley, says Toronto will keep about 90 per cent of its roster intact, and only add three or four players as it gets ready to compete in the Super League next season.


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Seattle developers look to woo spurned Vancouver investors
Builders hope overseas buyers will look further south for real estate

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Friday, October 4, 2019 – Page H11

VANCOUVER -- An American developer is looking to attract the international buyers who would have previously looked to Vancouver.

"There are a lot of international buyers that were buying in Vancouver until they couldn't really do it any more, so we want to capture those buyers," says long-time developer Bob Kagan, senior vice-president of Californiabased Laconia Development. "We want to capture that market."

Mr. Kagan has been building in Seattle for more than three decades and his latest project there, in central Belltown, is a 41-storey condo project called Spire. The tower, which is near the landmark Space Needle, is being built in partnership with China's biggest residential developer, Vanke.

Mr. Kagan will be in Vancouver in October and November to meet with Vancouver brokers from Nu Stream Realty, who will help him entice buyers to his project. About one-quarter of the building has sold since it launched in May. He's not the only one looking to drum up buyers in Vancouver. Last weekend, Concord Pacific, which has a condo project in Seattle, was co-sponsor of a Vancouver event that billed itself "an in-depth understanding of top tier educational opportunities, future job market in Seattle and the Real Estate Boom!," featuring expert speakers from Seattle, with seminars for Englishand Chinese-speaking attendees.

They see an opportunity in Vancouver buyers, now that the city's housing market has slowed.

In May, 2017, Greater Vancouver detached house prices peaked at an average of $1.8-million and have been declining since. House prices on Vancouver's tony west side - once popular with satellite families and foreign buyers - have fallen by 30 per cent since the peak. Experts say a host of taxes deliberately aimed at foreign and speculative buying activity are responsible for the slowdown, along with tighter mortgage rules.

Mr. Kagan says that as a result, he's seeing more Vancouver developers in Seattle and basically, he'd like to beat them at their own game.

"They are all coming down here because your [market] is drying up and we are going to have to compete with them.

"And they come with buyers who'd otherwise like to buy in Vancouver, but for one reason or another they can't, so they buy in Seattle."

The Spire was originally going to be a rental tower, which has been the trend for years in Seattle.

But the developer switched to condos last year, pricing the units at US$1,200 a square foot.

"Everybody was doing rental," Mr. Kagan says. "The condo market dried up around the recession and is just now coming back. In real estate timing is everything.

We call it the real estate casino - that's really what it is."

Vanke is a publicly traded company and Mr. Kagan says they are moving into markets outside of China.

"[Vanke] have been here [in the United States] for awhile, and what they do is provide capital to U.S. developers," Mr. Kagan says, "and they form partnerships with developers like us and we do the work and split the profits.

"So they are doing it because they see the company's future eventually [moving] out of China. They are in London, Singapore, the U.S., and they want to learn how it's done here. The way to learn is through partnering with domestic builders like ourselves." He says the arrangement includes direct sales to China. He is not concerned about Vanke's ties to the Chinese government.

"We're so used to it, it doesn't bother us. But they are a private company and they are expected to make earnings for share, just like we do," he says. "Their name in China is gold; they carry a big marketing punch in China. So they have taken some units to China and we have had some sales from them because of that.

They have sold a good number of units for us in Spire.

"Spire is three blocks away from Amazon's world headquarters and the Chinese investors know that. That's a big deal."

Dean Jones left Vancouver 25 years ago to settle in Seattle, where he is president of Realogics Sotheby's International. He has travelled to China to market Seattle properties to buyers. Mr. Jones says he has closely watched the transformation of Vancouver's housing market in the past couple of decades.

"There's a part of me that regrets leaving my hometown right at the flashpoint of the market," Mr. Jones says, "but I now feel well-positioned - and I benefited from viewing those trends up north, that are following a similar trajectory here in the Seattle market just 20 years later."

He says foreign nationals are arriving in the region for work, to send their kids to school or to invest in a secondary property.

"That's just part of being a global citizen. If you have got a multientry visa program and you can afford it, why not pick up a place in the Seattle area? You can have a second home, or your fourth home or your 10th home," Mr. Jones says. "It's no different than what Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and perhaps Vancouver has been for years - a great place to have a home and also portfolio diversification."

Mr. Jones says every major developer from Vancouver is working in Seattle, as well as many Chinese and Hong Kong developers.

Concord Pacific, Westbank, Onni, Cressey, Bosa and others have all made their mark on Seattle, he says. Because the region suffers from some of the worst traffic congestion in North America, there is a huge push for urban density, to avoid commutes.

He says that Vancouver developers have an advantage because of their experience in building towers. "It seems like those who have it figured out are coming from experienced urban density markets, like Vancouver and Asia.

I would say we are working with more international developers than we are with local ones."

The difference between Vancouver and Seattle is that Vancouver's residential market has been largely driven by wealth; in Seattle, the majority of the market is driven by jobs. The tech industry is flourishing in Seattle because companies don't pay a state tax, as they do in California, and housing costs are still lower. Mr.

Kagan says those lower costs combined with a thriving jobs market makes it a less riskier investment than Vancouver, where wealth can come and go. The rental market especially benefits from a strong jobs economy.

Daryl Simpson, senior vicepresident of Bosa Properties, says his company is developing rental units in Seattle, along with other Canadian developers who are diversifying during Vancouver's market slowdown. He agrees that Vancouver's development frenzy has given them the know-how to do the same in Seattle.

"There are very few other places other than New York that have developed the sheer number of buildings we have developed in the last few decades, so the talent pool is quite deep in Vancouver and the number of projects is pretty significant," he says. "The U.S. has incredibly good home builders, but in high-rise, whether condo or more affordable rental in an urban context, there is an experience in Vancouver that creates a culture of competency."

And while Asian buyers who otherwise might have bought in Vancouver might be eyeing Seattle, he says they're looking at other cities, too. Mr. Simpson says his company will stick with rental projects in the United States.

However, Bosa Development, which is a separate company, has built condos in Seattle.

"The reality is, there is opportunity there now," Mr. Simpson says. "The rental market is incredibly strong."

It's easier to build rental in Seattle than Vancouver, he says, for a few reasons. The permit process is more straightforward and land economics make it more feasible in certain areas of Seattle. Those lower land costs combined with high local salaries make it worthwhile to build luxury rental.

"It's far easier to live in Seattle and pay rent on a brand new luxury rental suite than Vancouver, because incomes are so much greater there.

"The average employee in the Amazon campus earns around US$120,000, and that is the average - so the math works out better," he says.

Associated Graphic

Laconia Development is working with Chinese developer Vanke on the Spire, a 41-storey condo planed for Seattle's Belltown neighbourhood.


The Spire was originally going to be a rental building, but was switched to a condo tower with units priced at US$1,200 a square foot.

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Former Ukraine diplomat opens up about Giuliani meeting
What Telizhenko told Trump's lawyer in their May 17 meeting led to the U.S. President's fateful phone call with Ukraine's Zelensky

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Saturday, October 12, 2019 – Page A4

R udy Giuliani and Andriy Telizhenko both love their cigars. For six hours they smoked and ate hamburgers in Mr. Giuliani's New York law office while the former Ukraine diplomat told U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer exactly what he wanted to hear.

What Mr. Telizhenko told Mr.Giuliani in their May 17 meeting - and Mr. Giuliani's willingness to believe the 29-year-old's version of some key events in recent history - helped send the United States down the path to Mr.

Trump's fateful phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The impeachment hearings that followed have sprung from Mr. Trump's attempts to persuade the Ukrainian leader to open an investigation that could damage former U.S.

vice-president Joe Biden.

Mr. Telizhenko says he told Mr.Giuliani that the Ukrainian embassy in Washington - where he worked as third secretary for seven months before resigning in June, 2016 - had intervened to aid Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign for the presidency, aiming to help keep Mr. Trump from the White House. Separately, Mr. Telizhenko, who worked in the office of former prosecutor-general Vitaly Yarema before beginning his brief diplomatic career, claimed to know that Mr. Biden, who could be Mr. Trump's Democratic opponent in 2020, had put pressure on Ukraine to drop an investigation of an oil and gas company that Mr.

Biden's son Hunter sat on the board of.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Mr. Telizhenko recalled how Mr. Giuliani got excited and took copious notes on a legal pad as Mr. Telizhenko told him how he was asked by Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S. to dig up dirt on Paul Manafort - who briefly served as head of Mr. Trump's campaign after a career in Ukraine, where he helped bring the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych to the presidency. Mr. Telizhenko told Mr. Giuliani that he was directed to share what he gathered on Mr. Manafort with a Democratic Party operative.

Mr. Giuliani was equally keen to hear about what Mr. Telizhenko says was Mr. Biden's strong interest in what was and wasn't being investigated by Ukrainian authorities, though anti-corruption activists in Kyiv said Mr. Biden was actually trying to force out a prosecutor-general who was widely viewed as corrupt.

There were plenty of reasons for Mr. Giuliani to question what he was hearing. Much of what Mr.

Telizhenko says is unprovable, based on conversations that he says he was party to. Mr. Telizhenko also says that it was he who sought out Mr. Giuliani, not the other way around. He says he can't remember who paid for his flight to New York.

Mr. Telizhenko says that he does consulting work - "advising him about international relations" - for Pavel Fuks, a Ukrainian oligarch who a decade ago sought to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, a project that never came to fruition. (Mr. Giuliani also counts Mr. Fuks among his clients. A congressional committee is now seeking records of Mr. Giuliani's contacts with various politicians and businessmen in Ukraine, including Mr. Fuks.)

Within days of Mr. Telizhenko's trip to New York, Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Trump had launched a fierce campaign aimed at coercing Mr.Zelensky to look into allegations of Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election - and to open an investigation into Hunter Biden's business activities in Ukraine.

The pressure campaign culminated in the July 25 phone call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky. An unnamed whistle-blower who came forward after the call points to the May meeting between Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Telizhenko as one of the building blocks in the saga.

Leaning back in a chair in the lobby of a five-star hotel in Kyiv that he jokingly refers to as "my home," with a cigar in one hand and a $100 glass of Lagavulin whisky in the other, Mr. Telizhenko says he approached Mr. Giuliani because he was disturbed by the role the Ukrainian embassy had played in the U.S. election.

Whether someone believes Mr.Telizhenko - now a full-time political consultant - likely corresponds with whether the listener likes Mr. Trump.

Mr. Giuliani obviously does.

"He was interested in what I was saying," Mr. Telizhenko said, recalling how Mr. Giuliani had a surprisingly deep knowledge of who was beholden to whom in Ukraine's murky mixture of business and politics. At the end, Mr.Trump's lawyer seemed delighted with the encounter. "He said 'Oh Andriy, you've filled a gap for me,'" Mr. Telizhenko recalled. "We still keep in touch. I've met with him numerous times since.'" Mr. Giuliani has acknowledged meeting Mr. Telizhenko, but has refused to comment on what was said. "I can't tell you a thing about the meeting," he told The Washington Post in May. "When I have something to say, I'll say it."

Another Ukrainian named in the whistle-blower's report - Serhiy Leshchenko, a journalist and former member of Ukraine's parliament - says Mr. Telizhenko has been trying to make himself useful to the Trump administration by telling Mr. Giuliani what he wanted to hear.

"The integrity of Mr. Telizhenko is very discussable," Mr. Leshchenko said in an interview at a Kyiv café, where he ordered pasta and tomato juice. He said it defied credibility that an effort to meddle in the U.S. election would run through the Ukrainian embassy's third secretary, who had only moved to Washington a few months earlier. "I do not believe such a conspiracy would be ordered by the ambassador to such a low-level diplomat who is not part of his inner circle."

Mr. Leshchenko is himself a key figure in the narrative that Mr.Trump and Mr. Giuliani have latched onto. According to the whistle-blower's report, Mr. Leshchenko had been identified to Mr.Giuliani as having worked with the U.S. embassy in Kyiv to dig up dirt on Mr. Manafort - including a ledger that Mr. Leshchenko published in 2016, revealing payments Mr. Manafort received from Mr. Yanukovych's Kremlinbacked political party. Mr. Manafort was convicted and jailed last year on charges of "conspiracy to defraud the United States" as well as financial crimes related to those payments.

Despite the court judgment, Mr. Giuliani has repeatedly claimed that the ledger was fake, and part of the effort to damage Mr. Trump.

Mr. Leshchenko says he published the ledger for journalistic reasons, and that the alternative version was fed to Mr. Giuliani by another Ukrainian - the country's former prosecutor-general Yuriy Lutsenko - trying to ingratiate himself to the Trump administration. "His idea was to keep his position as prosecutor-general after the [Ukraine's April presidential] election, to be protected by Giuliani and the Trump team."

In a telephone interview, Mr.Lutsenko dismissed the allegation as "stupid" since the White House did not have the power to appoint the prosecutor-general of Ukraine. He said he spoke with Mr. Giuliani because he thought the U.S. and Ukraine should cooperate not only on looking into the Bidens, as well as Ukraine's role in the 2016 election, but also on the recovery of billions of dollars stolen from the Ukrainian state while Mr. Yanukovych was in power.

Mr. Lutsenko said he and his predecessors in the prosecutorgeneral's office had tried and failed to use official channels to get U.S. co-operation on those three files. He says it was out of frustration that he reached out to Mr. Trump's personal lawyer. "It was in Ukraine's national interest for me to meet Mr. Giuliani to ask for advice about what to do legally to activate these investigations."

Mr. Lutsenko left Ukraine last week and is now in London, where he says he is taking English lessons.

On Wednesday, two Trump donors who were instrumental in gathering evidence about the Bidens' activities in Ukraine were arrested as they tried to leave the country by Washington's Dulles International Airport. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were accused of engaging in political activities in the U.S. on behalf of one or more Ukrainian government officials.

Associated Graphic

In an interview in Kyiv with The Globe and Mail, former Ukraine diplomat Andriy Telizhenko recalls how Rudy Giuliani got excited and took copious notes as Mr. Telizhenko told him he was asked by Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S. to dig up dirt on ex-Trump campaign leader Paul Manafort.


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The structure, built for the 1976 Games, became known as The Big Owe after it went over budget, but he defended his work and insisted poor construction was to blame

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Tuesday, October 8, 2019 – Page B17

In Roger Taillibert's fertile, creative mind, concrete was not a mundane construction material but something plastic and versatile that could be moulded, compressed and shaped into the curved forms that he so loved.

However, in Mr. Taillibert's professional life, he had to deal with the realities of budgetary constraints, striking Quebec trade unions and the obsession with the grandiose that marked Jean Drapeau's tenure as Montreal mayor.

Mr. Taillibert, the French architect who designed Montreal's Olympic Stadium, would see his name associated with one of Canada's great public-works boondoggles, the debt-ridden 1976 Summer Games. His most prominent creation would be labelled a white elephant and dubbed The Big Owe.

In recent years, his name had been rehabilitated by some academics and architecture lovers, who praised the scale and elegance of his monumental stadium and acknowledged that it became an iconic part of the city. This summer, his paintings were exhibited in Quebec and the Montreal journalist Alain Stanké, a long-time friend, prepared a documentary about Mr.Taillibert's life.

However, a fall at his Paris home last month forced the 93year-old Mr. Taillibert to be hospitalized. He was eventually discharged, but died in his sleep at home on Oct. 3, Mr. Stanké said.

He felt his friend, Mr. Taillibert, was a genius whose contribution wasn't properly appreciated. "He was understood by some and misunderstood by others. Circumstances here were unfair to him," Mr. Stanké said in an interview.

The stadium that Mr. Taillibert created could arguably be the most important heritage structure in Montreal, said Luc Noppen, an urban studies professor at the University of Quebec in Montreal.

"Around the world, Montreal is known by the image of that stadium," Prof. Noppen said in an interview. "You show that image and people will say, 'That's Montreal,' more so than [St. Joseph's] Oratory, more so than the Notre Dame Basilica."

The Olympic Stadium is often described as looking like a spaceship or, because of its rib-shaped arches, like a giant extinct creature. Next to the stadium's mast, the Vélodrome, an indoor cycling track also designed by Mr. Taillibert, stands out too, with its sleek contours.

Prof. Noppen lauded Mr. Taillibert's Olympic complex for its dynamic character. "The whole structure exudes a kind of tension, like an athlete who is about to start a sprint, or a diver about to plunge."

Mr. Taillibert often said that he didn't like designs with straight lines and angles, favouring biomorphic shapes that could be fashioned from prestressed concrete. "It allows curves and brings along a more lively space," he told the Quebec weekly Hebdo Rive Nord last July.

He had been handpicked by Mr. Drapeau who, despite his claims that the Montreal Olympics would remain modest, wanted to put a unique stamp on the occasion. At the time, Mr.

Drapeau was basking in the success of Expo 67. Mr. Taillibert, meanwhile, was an up-and-coming architect who had successfully built a series of sporting venues in France.

Roger René Taillibert was born on Jan. 21, 1926, in Châtressur-Cher in central France, near some of the famous castles that dot the valley of the Loire River. His mother, Melina, was a seamstress and his father, Gaston, a cabinetmaker who restored vintage furniture from the Loire châteaux.

Young Roger's first exposure to design and aesthetics came from his father's workshop, and also a childhood trip to Paris, where he was wowed by the Eiffel Tower.

After studying architecture at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, he opened his own agency. One of his first projects was a swimming pool in the seaside resort of Deauville. In a concept that was a precursor to Montreal's Vélodrome, he used thin concrete shells and skylights, emphasizing curved lines.

"We designed that pool to be like a wave," he told the newspaper Paris-Normandie.

By the early 1970s, Mr. Taillibert's successful overhaul and expansion of the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris brought him to the attention of Mr. Drapeau. Hired by the mayor without competition, Mr. Taillibert worked without a contract for four years.

Justice Albert Malouf, who later chaired a public inquiry into the costs of the Games, would blame some of the cost overruns on Mr. Drapeau's poor organization and Mr. Taillibert's rigid, demanding attitude.

Construction, which began late, was further delayed by labour strife, absenteeism, corruption and poor co-ordination. A new factory had to be set up to pour the thousands of prefabricated concrete elements that would be the building blocks of the stadium.

At the site, problems started at the bottom. The ground was porous and had to be reinforced by injecting thousands of cubic metres of lean concrete.

Above ground, the stadium enclosure was made up of 34 giant concrete consoles latched together with steel cables. However, workers found that the holes, through which they were to thread the cables, didn't line up. Worse, the epoxy resin used to bind the cables leaked, then hardened and clogged the holes.

Eventually, by November, 1975, the province took over, appointing a board to assume the construction and relieving Mr.

Taillibert of his duties. The Games opened in July, 1976, in an unfinished stadium.

Mr. Taillibert would always say he was singled out for problems beyond his control. "It was a high-quality concept and it was badly constructed. I'm sorry but I'm not the man who did the construction," he said in a 1996 interview to mark the 20th anniversary of the Games. "My name is linked to this because I was used as a scapegoat for all the mistakes that took place."

Back in the 1970s and 80s, that same attitude didn't win him friends as taxpayers faced an Olympic debt that eventually totalled $1.5-billion and took three decades to pay off. (The city had initially forecast after Mr. Taillibert's hiring that the Games would cost $250-million.)

Mr. Taillibert would shrug off budgetary questions, saying that it wasn't part of his job as a consulting architect. He would mention his work in the same breath as he talked about Roman monuments, medieval cathedrals or the Eiffel Tower. "I am not simply an architect or an engineer. I prefer to call myself a builder," he said.

"He was not very tactful. He was rough-edged and that didn't help him. The public prefers people with [a] smoother tongue," Mr. Stanké said.

Mr. Taillibert had been paid $6.9-million for his work, but he sued the province's Olympic Installations Board and the City of Montreal. He was eventually awarded another $2.8-million.

Despite all the acrimony, Mr. Taillibert kept ties with Quebec.

He spent his summers in Saint-Sauveur, in cottage country north of Montreal. He would appear periodically in the media to protest changes made to his Olympic buildings.

The stadium's original retractable roof, made with Kevlar fabric, ripped up several times, then a concrete beam fell. The roof was replaced by a fixed one, and the province is now looking again at installing a model that could be pulled back. In an interview earlier this year, Mr. Taillibert called the replacement roof "a pile of scrap."

Next door to the stadium, the Vélodrome was converted into the Biodôme, a tourist destination housing habitats for plants and animals. Mr. Taillibert hated that his creation had been turned into a home for penguins and parakeets. "They crippled it. You had incompetent surgeons who cut it up," he said.

Mr. Taillibert did not teach, so there is no school of Taillibert disciples carrying his lineage, Prof. Noppen said. "So it is a chapter in contemporary architecture that opened, then ended with him."

Mr. Taillibert leaves a daughter, Sophie. He was predeceased by his wife, Béatrice Pfister.

Associated Graphic

French architect Roger Taillibert attends the launch of an exhibit on the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal in 2016. Mr. Taillibert designed the site of the Games, Montreal's Olympic Stadium, which is often described as looking like a spaceship or, because of its rib-shaped arches, like a giant extinct creature.


Montreal's Olympic Stadium is seen in 1976, just prior to the opening of the Games.


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Take a Risk and Go play a board game. They help people Connect Four Life
Sorry! But games like Settlers of Catan are not a Trivial Pursuit - they are worth the Trouble, and will Boggle your, er, Cranium

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Saturday, October 5, 2019 – Page O9

NEW YORK -- Author whose most recent book (co-written with Joan Moriarity) is Your Move: What Board Games Teach Us About Life

Last month, the Parsons School of Design in Manhattan launched an exhibit on the history of board games called Eyes on the Board - Crossing Game Space. Many of the displayed pieces are related to mancala, an ancient board game family on which the exhibit's Dutch curator, Alex de Voogt, is a world expert. But Eyes on the Board also contains other fascinating elements, such as biographical works on China's female Go grandmasters, and a sixth-century poem by the Greek writer Agathias describing the exact state of play in a game of Tables, an early version of backgammon.

"Board games serve as social lubricants, facilitating interactions between different groups of people," Dr. de Voogt wrote in his curator's statement. "For at least five thousand years, they have connected people across generations."

When I visited Parsons on the exhibit's opening day, the scene signified why the need to connect now feels so urgent: Visitors would drift in and inspect the exhibit as they listened to music on headphones, or absent-mindedly took pictures with their phones.

Then they would drift out again.

It has been documented how loneliness is affecting people everywhere. But New York can seem like an especially lonely place, because the hordes of young people who move here every year use social media to remain enmeshed in their old peer groups, instead of doing the hard work of making new friends. In a memorable 2013 essay about moving to the East Village, the British writer Olivia Laing described "a loneliness more paralyzing than anything I'd encountered in more than a decade of living alone." If there is any spot in North America that cries out for the "social lubricant" provided by my beloved board games, this would be it.

Unfortunately, even amid the current board-gaming renaissance, New York has remained a mostly unwelcome place for board gaming. Yes, Bryant Park and Washington Square still attract daily gamers. And the Chess & Checkers House in Central Park sometimes gets hundreds of people a day on sunny weekends. But many small apartments in this city don't even have a proper table, let alone an actual living or dining room.

Manhattan has only two real board game cafés (Uncommons in the Village, and Hex & Company, way up on Broadway and 112th Street), as compared with the many on offer in my hometown of Toronto, because in a borough where ground-floor retail space tends to rent at an annual rate of at least US$300 a square foot, you can't make money selling coffee and croissants to customers playing out a two-hour session of Settlers of Catan.

For serious hobbyists - the middle-aged nerds and subcultural hipsters who have whole bookcases full of games they bought on Kickstarter - the true board-gaming heartland remains the vast sprawl of suburbia and rural America, where siblings and school friends develop their love of games in basements and cottage porches. (It's no surprise that North America's two biggest board-gaming conventions are in midwestern cities, Indianapolis and Columbus.) This is especially true of the most elaborate and richly thematic games, such as Dungeons & Dragons, which are essentially forms of communal storytelling. Creating fictional worlds with dice and paper is hard to do when New York's very real world of horns, sirens and crowds is constantly assaulting your senses.

Because the young people who come to a place such as New York become untethered from the family and friend networks within which most passionate gamers develop their love of the hobby, they tend to find their gaming communities online - a poor substitute for actual social interaction. Digital media can be useful in preserving the memes and social memory of an established friendship. But they generally don't allow those friendships to mature or develop, or to follow the organic process (that most of us experience in our teen years) whereby bilateral friendships become a seedbed for larger circles of friends.

Over the past year, I've spent a lot of time in New York, as I've been researching a book on the history of film exhibition in this city. It's interesting but lonely work, consisting mostly of traipsing around landmarks and interviewing old souls. So I always time my trips such that I stay over a Tuesday evening, which is the weekly meeting time for a gaming group that meets at an overstuffed 18th Street condo owned by one of the members. This is often the only real social interaction I experience all week in New York.

And so it was a hard blow when, during this month's trip, the session got cancelled. I cast about my network, looking for a game, until a friend agreed to come in from Connecticut so we could spend the evening playing a wargame called Advanced Squad Leader.

For my friend, it was an hour train ride in both directions - which may seem like a weird use of his time, given that the two of us easily could have played Advanced Squad Leader online, using a free program called VASSAL, which allows faithful electronic adaptations of thousands of popular board games. But that experience wouldn't have provided us what humans truly crave, and indeed what our evolved brains are programmed for: direct, face-to-face social contact.

My new book about the life lessons we can draw from board games, Your Move, was tricky to write because every board game has its own subculture. And complex wargames such as Advanced Squad Leader always will attract a different kind of gamer - and yield a different kind of social experience - when compared with, say, a deeply immersive zombie-themed social-psychology thriller such as Dead of Winter (a favourite of my co-author, Joan Moriarity). But two broad generalizations about all serious board gaming hobbyists hold true.

First, we like telling stories as much as having stories told to us, which is why we often can be found plowing through rulebooks while our friends are passively binge-watching Netflix.

This helps explain why modern game designers lavish so much attention on artwork and components, which serve as the backdrop to our narratives. A game of, say, Gloomhaven, isn't just a bunch of plastic swordand-sorcery heroes slaughtering each other: At its best, it's an immersive, communally created story arc about tribes battling for control of a mythical kingdom.

The imaginative element plays a large role. And at game conventions, fans of even fairly simple strategy games will come dressed in costume.

Secondly, serious board gamers want what I would call a totalizing mental experience. My gaming friend Andy Beaton once told me that he enjoys Advanced Squad Leader because it's the only thing he does in life that occupies all of his brain. At its best, this totalizing gameplay experience can produce an effect similar to that of meditation - even if the apocalyptically violent and morbid themes of games such as Gloomhaven might not sound relaxing.

But even if you never hit full Zen, you will at least escape the tyranny of beeps and buzzes that typifies the rest of our lives. One of the reasons I love board games is that I never feel tempted to check my phone. I know of nothing else in life, aside from sleep and sex, that offers this.

Even video games, addictive as they are, serve up their drug on an electronic platform, meaning that e-mail and social-media checks are always a single keystroke away.

The title of Dr. de Voogt's exhibit, Eyes on the Board, could not be more perfect - right down to that crucial third word, the. A world where everyone stares at their own phone, engrossed in their own customized electronic world, has taught us (if only by negative inference) about what it means to live in community with others. At least periodically, we all need to have the same, single object of focus. It doesn't matter so much what the people in a room are looking at - a Monopoly board, Jenga blocks, a deck of cards. What matters is that they're all looking at exactly the same thing.

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First Nations sue Ottawa over water service
Although there has been progress, some reserves are still without clean water, which one leader describes as 'woefully inadequate'

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Friday, October 11, 2019 – Page A9

F our years after Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau vowed to end all drinking water advisories on First Nations reserves, the federal government faces lawsuits from five First Nations demanding water service equivalent to that enjoyed by other communities in Canada.

The latest legal action is from the Okanagan Indian Band. Chief Byron Louis credits the government for making "significant progress" nationally. But at his own reserve just west of Vernon, B.C.

(known as Okanagan No. 1), only one of its half-dozen water systems has been recently modernized; the others remain little changed from when they were built in the 1970s and 80s. The band's list of complaints is long: occasional detection of coliforms, water that smells like rotten eggs, chronic shortages and band members forced to buy bottled water.

"What they've done is woefully inadequate" at Okanagan No. 1, he said.

This summer, the Okanagan Band sued the Attorney-General of Canada in federal court, seeking an order compelling the government to fund ambitious improvements to its water service.

(In 2017, a consultant drafted a plan the band says would have provided safe, adequate service including fire protection throughout the reserve, at an estimated total cost of $45-million.)

The federal Indigenous Services department expressed surprise over the lawsuit and emphasized that the reserve's water was perfectly safe. The lawsuit is nearly identical to another filed in 2014 by four bands in Alberta: Tsuut'ina Nation, Sucker Creek First Nation, Ermineskin Cree Nation and the Blood Tribe. Although the four bands had effectively agreed to put that suit on hold amid negotiations with the federal government, three of the bands said in a joint statement on Sept. 19 that they've decided to end that ceasefire "because we have been unable to achieve a meaningful resolution to the protracted crisis of unsafe drinking water on our reserves." (The fourth, Tsuut'ina Nation, declined to comment.)

The government said that water quality and infrastructure on those four reserves met federal guidelines, in a written response to The Globe and Mail on Sept. 25.

It added that it had invested $28.4million on improvements since 2014.

These lawsuits highlight the chasm between the water service many First Nations want and what Ottawa is willing to provide.

Since Mr. Trudeau issued his promise during the 2015 election campaign, his government has focused on eliminating "long-term" drinking-water advisories on reserves. (An advisory is a public warning about hazards in drinking water; the most common variety is a boil-water advisory, issued when boiling will eliminate the hazard. The government considers an advisory to be long-term if it lasts longer than one year.)

Federal data show his government has nearly halved the number of such advisories from the 105 in progress as of early 2016, often by building new water-treatment plants or by repairing and upgrading existing ones.

The thrust of the lawsuits is that simply ending advisories won't cut it, and that the federal government is legally obliged to provide reserves with water service equivalent to that enjoyed by Canadians living off reserves.

"We should be able to turn on the taps and get the same assurances that the water coming out is safe, just like Vernon, just like Kelowna," Chief Louis said.

"We want to enjoy what other Canadians take for granted," Chief Jim Badger of Sucker Creek First Nation said.

The government has yet to file a defence to the Okanagan Band's claim. In response to the earlier 2014 lawsuit, the government stated: "In answer to the claim as a whole, Canada denies it has any obligation or duty to the plaintiffs, as alleged or at all."

The notion that First Nations deserve the same quality of water service as everybody else isn't new. A federal cabinet decision in 1977 envisioned providing reserves with physical infrastructure "similar to that available in neighbouring, non-Indian communities or comparable locations." Given the small size and remoteness of many reserves, however, achieving equality would be expensive, particularly on a perhome basis.

That reality is evident on Okanagan No. 1. Much of the reserve is undeveloped, but there are several small clusters of homes dispersed across its lands, mostly along the shores of Okanagan Lake. Each small community is served by its own small centralized water system serving at most a few hundred homes.

When water consultant Bill Berzins toured those systems in May, he concluded the community's wells were at risk of contamination. Above what is known as the Head of Lake system, for example, there were homes with septic systems. There's also a nearby golf course, which Mr. Berzins suspected might be applying fertilizer. There were cattle and dairy farms upstream, and unusually high water demand suggested leaky pipes.

Moreover, the community's water wasn't being disinfected between the wells and residents' taps. "In any small communities or, rural subdivision - in most communities in Canada - you would see some level of disinfection because it's not costly to do," Mr. Berzins said. "It requires the installation of a simple system."

Disinfection isn't optional in nearby Vernon or Kelowna. "If you take each one of Okanagan's centralized systems and placed it off reserve, immediately adjacent to the reserve, they would all require chlorination under provincial law," said Clayton Leonard, the band's lawyer - a contention confirmed in an interview with Interior Health, the provincial authority regulating drinking water in those non-Indigenous communities.

Federal records show the government has known since at least 2009 that Okanagan No. 1's systems didn't meet its own drinking-water guidelines. However, "systems that are not capable of providing safe drinking water would normally be subject to a drinking-water advisory," the Indigenous Services department said, asserting there were no advisories in progress on Okanagan No. 1.

In fact, there have been several "do not consume" advisories in progress since May, owing to manganese levels above federal guidelines. The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), which recommends advisories on First Nations lands in B.C. and tracks ones already in progress, does not include that advisory on its official list because it covers only pregnant or breastfeeding women and infants.

But that doesn't mean the FNHA believes Okanagan No. 1's water is safe.

The band provided The Globe reports produced after FNHA inspections of Okanagan No. 1's systems. Those documents revealed that since 2014 the FNHA has repeatedly warned the band of contamination and public-health risks, and has recommended installation of chlorination systems.

The federal government's preoccupation with ending drinkingwater advisories ultimately influenced what it did in Okanagan No.

1. Between 2012 and 2016, it provided $4.1-million to replace the one system that had been experiencing a lengthy advisory. The Bradley Creek and Six Mile water systems were joined to a new well, reservoir and water-treatment plant that included disinfection.

The advisory was lifted in 2015, but many of the reserve's other water-quality problems were not addressed.

Indigenous Services Canada asserts that bands are responsible for designing, constructing and operating their water infrastructure; the department confines its own role to providing funding and advice, in amounts that have never been clearly defined.

The Sucker Creek 150A reserve near High Prairie, Alta., faces different challenges. Roughly 80 per cent of residents draw their water from cisterns filled with water from the reserve's treatment plant. Chief Badger said the reserve regularly experiences advisories and that he and many other locals buy bottled water. But it's not on the federal government's list of systems experiencing longterm advisories and Chief Badger said little has changed since the band filed its lawsuit in 2014.

"Whenever I look into my own cistern, at any given time I would find three or four mice floating inside," he said. "I can go to Slave Lake and get a cup of water from the local hotel there and take a drink. I wouldn't dare take a drink of the water here."

Associated Graphic

Chief Byron Louis of the Okanagan Indian Band, seen last month, says that on his reserve, just west of Vernon, B.C., only one of the half-dozen water systems has been modernized.


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Toronto law firm swaps stale aesthetic for happier staff
Female lawyers are leading the charge to modernize offices, with amenities such as prayer spaces and rooms for nursing mothers
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Tuesday, October 15, 2019 – Page B8

Shara Roy jumped at the chance to refresh the decor of the Bay Street offices of her law firm, Lenczner Slaght LLP. A partner in commercial litigation, she found the reception area - designed a quarter century ago - to be dark, dated and overtly masculine. Considering that about 40 per cent of the firm's employees are women, it's safe to assume that she probably wasn't the only one who felt this way.

"It had very strong colours and lots of wood, and it was right for the time," she says. "But the firm has changed in 27 years and we've gone from being a small boutique firm to an enterprise that has over 70 lawyers and more than 100 support staff."

A CHANCE AT RENEWAL When the firm renewed and expanded its lease with Oxford Properties, taking over another floor in the building at Adelaide Street West and York Street, Ms.Roy became the lead planner for the much-needed update. In visiting other professional offices to survey design trends, she found that, while many accounting offices had gone to more open concepts, individual offices remained a staple in law firms to ensure client confidentiality.

The firm's year-long rejuvenation project has become a journey of innovation that's not only resulted in a brighter, more welcoming office, but has also incorporated thoughtful amenities for staff, including a prayer and meditation room and another room for nursing mothers.

Surveying the employees, it was clear they wanted to see more natural light and areas for collaboration.

"We found a lot of the younger lawyers were booking boardrooms to get together, so they didn't feel so isolated in their offices," Ms. Roy says. She also saw the need to brighten the reception area for clients. "We were going for a calming feel, because people come to us on some of their worst days. We guide corporations that are going under, CEOs who are facing a class-action suit and people facing removal from their professions. We wanted the space to feel welcoming and professional at the same time."

UPDATING, NOT RECREATING, IS KEY The firm brought in Torontobased interior designers, Bartlett & Associates, which advised them to update, rather than completely replace, the office features. "It's always much easier to start from scratch than to reuse materials, but in this case, the elegant woods and stone in the office were just too good to discard," Inger Bartlett, the design team's president, says.

Instead, Ms. Bartlett recommended preserving much of the cherry wood detailing from the existing space and refreshing it with walnut features that would both contrast and complement the lighter wood. There were innovative options for opening up the previously dark, walled-in reception area to allow more natural light. As well, there was an opportunity to create a signature internal staircase to connect the three floors the firm now occupied. Previously, the only way to get from floor to floor had been by elevator.

Elsewhere, the renovation turned former offices into amenity spaces for lawyers and staff, including a gender-inclusive washroom, a private room for nursing mothers, a prayer and meditation room and a collaborative space for use by all members of the firm.

BLEND OF ELEMENTS CREATES UNIQUE, WELCOMING NEW SPACE The design morphed into a blend of traditional and modern elements. "They were looking at branding and being seen as more progressive as they look to the future," Ms. Bartlett says. "They also had to reflect the fact they are a top litigator in Canada and a lot of very high-profile people are clients coming into the office."

A progression of natural materials keeps the aesthetic professional, yet different from other law firms, Ms. Bartlett says. For the elevator lobby wall, the firm chose coffee-hued Eramosa limestone from the Mississauga location of tile supplier, Ciot. The floor is porcelain tile that mimics the look of real wood.

At the same time, there are deliberate touches of whimsy. For instance, the names on the conference rooms include the O.R., a space which is decorated with medical texts, as well as the Hangar and the Dining Room.

The transformation has not all been smooth sailing. Cutting an opening for the staircase required the relocation of an entire beam, and a dedicated structure had to be built to support the weight of a sculptural wood wall.

The staircase also features dozens of handcrafted glass lamps made by Canadian lighting design company Bocci, each of which had to be connected individually from the ceiling.

Perhaps, the most noticeable change was the removal of an entire wall adjacent to the reception area that had previously formed part of a large board room, necessary in order to open up the space to natural light and views of the city.

Taking its place is a partition wall made by Montreal-based company, Skyfold, that accordions up into the ceiling, but can easily be lowered to create a soundproof confidential meeting space when needed. The segmented boardroom table can even be scaled to suit the size of the meeting taking place.

A NEW SPACE ON A SEAMLESS TIMELINE The project was tackled in multiple phases over the course of a year to allow work to carry on seamlessly at the firm. Ms.Bartlett worked closely with the contractors and with Lenczner Slaght stakeholders to create swing space and to schedule construction around the firm's need to keep things running smoothly throughout.

"That became quite a complex dance working around individual staff schedules," Ms. Bartlett says. "For instance, we couldn't have the flooring ripped out of an office the same week its occupant was scheduled for the Supreme Court." Although the public spaces are complete, work is continuing, with a lunchroom still to be added, and the firm is eyeing expansion to an additional floor in the near future.

Bartlett & Associates has won two prizes for this project. One is an American Society of Interior Designers 2019 Professional Design Award in the Large Commercial Interiors category. The second, in the Outside-the-Box category, was awarded for the Bocci lighting installation and sculptural wall feature.

Ms. Roy was also recently honoured by being named one of the Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers of 2019 by Canadian Lawyer magazine. This past spring, she and fellow lawyer Sana Halwani launched a unique initiative called ReferToHer, a database listing of qualified female legal specialists that will be updated periodically, with the goal of increasing referrals to women throughout Canada.

"We found from individual experience and research that, in referral work, which is the lifeblood of private practice lawyers, both women and men tend to refer work to men," she says. "We did not want to disenfranchise male partners, but to make sure that top female litigators are considered at the same time as their male counterparts."

Ms. Roy is still contemplating a number of other changes for the office. "I would like to upgrade our prayer space to make it more calming than it is now.

(Currently it's a 10-foot by 12-foot former office that is carpeted but boasts a view.) I also think we need to get away from the typical law firm mounds of paper. Large areas of our space are taken up by copiers and filing cabinets. I see that all changing to electronic storage over the next five years, which will free up more space."

All the work completed so far has been supported enthusiastically by the staff, Ms. Roy says.

"I'm receiving e-mails from staff members saying how proud they feel to work in a place that puts this much effort into how we live at work. We spend a lot of time here and it's gratifying to hear that kind of feedback."

Associated Graphic

Shara Roy, partner at Lenczner Slaght LLP, says she jumped at the chance to update the firm's offices, and says she wanted to create a calming feel for clients who are often coming to the office on their worst days. A corner of the reception area, top, can now be opened or closed off for meetings or gatherings, while handmade glass lights adorn a new staircase, above.


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Why so serious, everybody?
Arthur's under-the-skin unease is felt in Joaquin Phoenix's every onscreen breath and twitch in Todd Phillips's Joker, but the film isn't here for much more than to cause manufactured uproar

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Friday, October 4, 2019 – Page A14

Joker CLASSIFICATION: R; 121 MINUTES Directed by Todd Phillips Written by Todd Phillips and Scott Silver Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro and Zazie Beetz 2 1/2 stars

If you only know Todd Phillips's Joker from the sound and fury of its prerelease - from its triumph at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion award for best film, to studio Warner Bros.' many curious promotional decisions, including banning journalists from the film's red-carpet Hollywood premiere this past weekend - then you might think that the film is an unholy world-burner, toxic and infuriating. The movie will spark mass violence courtesy of societal rejects who identify with its loner anti-hero. Wait, no: The movie is an overdue call to arms against an elite ruling class. Joker is masterful, it is incendiary, it is essential, it is dangerous. It is a piece of cinema so outrageous that the medium itself must be redefined going forward. There was the time before Joker, and the time after.

I hate to deflate a good gag, but: no. No to all the frantic discourse. No to the film being put atop a pedestal of any sort. No to the energy we're collectively wasting on it. No to an okay-butnot-especially-good-and-ultimately-nothing of a movie. No, then, to Joker.

It gives me little pleasure to play this card. I'm now watching my inbox, admiring its pristine state before it will be turned into a raging dumpster fire of death threats from DC Comics acolytes and those emotionally unsuited to encountering differing opinions - a Flamin' Hot Cheetosdusted middle finger from fanboys who have already offered a small piece of their minds after my short review of Phillips's film was published during last month's Toronto International Film Festival.

Okay, here's an admission: Maybe I do get a little pleasure from this. I wouldn't exactly endorse readers calling me a waste of flesh because I didn't like a movie about a comic-book bad guy, but it is also very funny that people - many of whom have yet to watch any Joker footage outside of promotional clips - will take the time out of their day to tell me that the world would be a better place once a movie critic is dead. That's a sicker joke than even the Clown Prince of Crime could come up with.

Certainly it's a more calculated laugh than anything offered up in Phillips's film, which is a fineenough tweak of the comic-book movie that still struggles mightily to locate the energy necessary to justify its existence. If you ever wanted to know about the origins of Batman's most iconic nemesis, and were not previously satisfied by the material provided in comics, on television, in cartoons and in three separate feature-film franchises, then Joker is here to ... well, not quite to satisfy you. Honestly, I'm not sure what Joker is here for, other than to cause a clumsily manufactured uproar.

Phillips's Joker takes the form of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a stick-thin sack of sad who stumbles through a rotting Gotham City, circa 1981 (no exact date is ever given, but the presence of Brian De Palma's Blow Out on a downtown marquee fits the eraappropriate set-dressing). Arthur lives with his ailing and domineering mother (Frances Conroy), works as a clown-for-hire and suffers from a vague health condition that causes him to burst into fits of laughter at inappropriate times. He also fancies himself a stand-up comedian, and spends a good deal of his days fantasizing about appearing on a late-night talk show hosted by Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro). A large portion of the film dozily follows Arthur falling deeper into psychosis, until Phillips and his co-writer Scott Silver realize they should insert some sort of action, at which point the movie turns into a briefly exciting, but mostly sloppy, #OccupyGotham polemic.

The filmmakers have the base ingredients for an intriguing, challenging character study that just happens to be nestled inside the DC Comics canon. But Phillips appears to be more interested in making a very costly Martin Scorsese fan-film (with Scorsese's implied approval, given that he briefly flirted with producing the project). From its set design to its casting decisions to its hmm-could've-worked soundtrack choices, Joker is Phillips's shiny-grimy bid to prove that he's more a student of capital-A Auteur cinema than a tittering peddler of horny lowbrow comedies (Old School, War Dogs, the Hangover trilogy). Occasionally, Joker even spits up evidence to support this argument.

Phillips's down-and-out Gotham is captured with a slickly, greasy sheen that delivers welcome echoes of Taxi Driver's 42nd Street filth. The film's relatively few flashes of violence are also startling. And while the director's casting coup of De Niro doesn't work in the slightest - the actor is on-hand to remind audiences of both Travis Bickle and The King of Comedy's Rupert Pupkin, but seems invested only in when exactly his cheque will clear - Phillips otherwise pits Phoenix against worthy dramatic adversaries, including Zazie Beetz as Arthur's rightfully leery neighbour, Brian Tyree Henry as an overwhelmed Arkham Asylum clerk, and character-actor superstars Bill Camp and Shea Whigham as a pair of weary detectives.

Phoenix himself is, not surprisingly, riveting. Emaciated and exhausted, today's greatest working actor is easily the best reason to take yet another trip into Gotham City. He doesn't wash away memories of Heath Ledger's more slippery agent of chaos, but he does leave his own indelible bruise. Arthur's perpetual agitation, his under-the-skin unease, is felt in Phoenix's every onscreen breath and twitch.

Yet, for all of the actor's commitment and Phillips's stylistic aspirations, the turbulence that the pair offer isn't exactly fresh.

Arthur is an assemblage of five decades' worth of trickier characters, all more inventively and provocatively explored before: Bickle and Pupkin and Ledger's Joker, sure, but also two of Phoenix's own greatest roles, The Master's disaffected sailor Freddie Quell and You Were Never Really Here's burly vigilante Joe. In those latter two films, though, Phoenix had the respective guiding artistic forces of Paul Thomas Anderson and Lynne Ramsay, filmmakers who operate on a more raw and sincere level than Phillips.

In Joker, the Road Trip director is appropriating the visions of his cinematic idols to repudiate his own filmography - "Road Trip director" would be the first sentence that Phillips would hope to scrub from his IMDb profile - but in the filmmaker's quest to become someone new, he has made something so very old, and familiar. (I have wonderful news, though, for whoever is itching to see Thomas and Martha Wayne once again get shot to death in an alleyway.)

As for politics, Joker has none - and I don't mean that in some kind of meta-contextual way. Nihilism would be something. Joker has nothing - its only philosophy being a firm belief in the value of shock. And weak shock at that.

By the point Arthur finally transforms into the title character - a moment set to Gary Glitter's Rock and Roll Part 2, a supremely weird choice that unintentionally underlines the film's goofiness - Joker reveals itself as very expensive cosplay: effective at first glance, but at its seams superficial, disposable and dishonest.

For all the inevitable debate that Joker will spark, I can't help but wonder what the fuss is all about. Already, this film review is nearly over, and I'm giddy at the prospect of never thinking about this movie again. All those out there who are midway through composing death-threat e-mails would be wise to do the same.

Joker opens Oct. 4

Associated Graphic

Joaquin Phoenix is riveting as the titular character of the Joker in Todd Phillips's latest film, and the actor is easily the best reason to take yet another trip into Gotham City.

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A new take on co-living comes to Toronto

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Friday, October 11, 2019 – Page H6

TORONTO -- A growing trend in rental property management is to convert apartments, houses and townhouses to socalled "co-living" spaces that attempt to add a service layer onto the age-old practice of lodging with roommates.

For Gaurav Madani and his business partner Arnab Dastidar, who founded co-living startup SoulRooms in July, their own experiences in Toronto's property market convinced them of the need for co-living options.

"Finding a roommate on Craigslist is actually searching the darknet," Mr. Dastidar said, expressing a fear he felt personally as he searched for accommodations in the city. They target their service at people who have no trusted friend or partner to share a room with, and may have no credit score because they recently immigrated to the country. He and Mr. Madani were, until recently, international students from India getting their MBA degrees at York University's Schulich School of Business. When they moved to Toronto, "we went through the whole experience ... we figured out that there was something we could do about this."

The pair got started by signing up to take over management of several condominium apartments from Zahra Properties, which claims to have more than 200 apartments under management in the city.

"Zahra Properties is our major strategic partner. We lease properties owned/managed by Zahra Properties since they greatly align with our vision," said Mr. Madani, who also said that Zahra has no financial stake in SoulRooms. "We are working out of their offices currently and using their resources and network to acquire new properties ... using their office space and supplies, utilities, vendors, reception facility and, most importantly, coffee machine."

In 2018, two Zahra Properties employees were connected to a Landlord Tenant Board case in which a condo investor found out the tenant she was leasing to was listing her apartment on Airbnb without her knowledge or consent. One of the Zahra employees was ultimately fined $4,400 for damage to the unit. Zahra owner Afzal Nathoo told the CBC his company had no connection to his employee's activities.

Unlike some co-living properties that try to sandwich anywhere between six and 10 people into one shared house, SoulRooms focuses on three-bedroom apartments or townhouses.

"We started in June. We have about 45 individuals renting now.

We are adding 15 rooms every month," Mr. Madani said. "We have people from Ireland, Croatia, Brazil, Nigeria, China, India, France, Australia. We are trying to get to 100 units by the end of November."

There are already a number of homegrown co-living companies operating in Toronto, including Milyou, founded by real estate investor Mat Abramsky, who comes to co-living with a family history of student housing management in Kingston and has opened two houses in Toronto with seven residents so far. He saw co-living take off while working in private equity companies in Britain, and is looking to finance Milyou's first purpose-built rental in the 25-50 bed range. "We had a 20-per-cent increase in the number of people roommating in Toronto in the last two censuses," he said. "We're sharing space as it is, so how do we take the pain out of that?" In Toronto, the number of nonfamily households with two or more residents (the Census description captures roommates and sibling cohabitation) increased by 38 per cent in 10 years: from 49,045 in 2006 to 59,750 in 2011, hitting 68,010 by 2016.

Across the GTHA, the number of such households hit 104,545 in 2016. That is the fastest-growing cohort of household types in the entire region, although it still represents a minority in absolute terms (Census 2016 recorded 2.5 million households in the GTHA, up 372,280 since 2006).

Toronto tenants are under pressure to buddy-up because of record low vacancy rates and rapidly rising rents. Take the example of Matthew Palm, a postdoctoral research fellow in human geography at University of Toronto, Scarborough.

"I saw an ad to live in a den in a one-bedroom new condo, and I gave it a go. The landlord stitched up some curtains, put a bed in there and said, 'okay, you can rent this for $1,100.' It's sort of like a luxury boarding room in the sky," he said. He didn't know his roommate before he moved in, but tiptoeing and earplugs have helped to keep the peace between the two.

"To the average person, that might sound crazy, but I'm not going to lie to you, I see it as a bargain. If you're a single person and you make $60,000, your posttax income is $35,000 and you just can't find a studio for $1,300. I could spend half my income on my rent, and then I'm not saving up and I'm seeing my family less often [he's from California, originally]."

Mr. Palm's income is right in the sweet-spot for co-living operators: A study by commercial real estate services company Colliers International pegged the ideal demographic as earning between $30,000 and $75,000 and hoping to live in the densest most expensive parts of the host cities.

But becoming a roommate matchmaker for middle-income young people is not what draws operators to this model. In a report on co-living by Cushman and Wakefield published in May, the commercial property specialists said, "typically, co-living providers include additional services and perks, including fully furnished units, all utilities included, hosted community events and even housekeeping, which in the aggregate represent as much as a 20 per cent discount to living alone."

"For the operator, this opens new avenues to differentiate their product, taps into a large renter base not currently served by topend luxury product, and maximizes revenue on a per square foot basis. Given long-term demographic trends and the continued tightening of the housing market, co-living sits on the precipice of rapid expansion.

"Ultimately, due to societal shifts, renting has become a viable, destigmatized housing choice, rather than just an economic necessity," the report says.

For SoulRooms, renting each room separately maximizes revenues per square foot and lowers vacancy rates; SoulRooms claims 96-per-cent occupancy, with a minimum term of three months.

Unlike traditional single-room occupancy housing in Toronto, often the domain of some of the city's poorest residents, the co-living operators seek to make a virtue of sharing by emphasizing downtown location and services: WiFi and social-group programming (barbecues, movie nights and so on) seem to go a long way toward creating a price premium.

The upshot is they charge almost the same price for a single room in downtown Toronto that a renter might be able to find in a less-desirable basement apartment or inner-suburb studio.

For instance, Milyou offers rooms in Cabbagetown for $1,900 a month, and while a solo-renter could pay $2,000 a month for a one-bedroom basement apartment, there's not many one-bedrooms available above-ground at Milyou's price. A three-bedroom house could run close to $5,000 a month, but then roommates would be on the hook for a year's rent (at a cheaper rate, closer to $1,600 a room) and roomies are stuck with a chore rota to clean up the bathrooms and kitchens themselves.

SoulRooms has three price tiers: a 95 square foot "cozy" option ($1,425 for single-room-occupancy, shared bathroom), 130square-foot "mid-size" ($1,595 for slightly larger single room) and similar sized en-suite, which has a private washroom ($1,900$2,050).

Associated Graphic

A Cushman and Wakefield report on co-living says providers typically 'include additional services and perks' with their rental opportunities, such as SoulRooms' furnished units seen here.


Campus1, an 886-bed facility, has a great deal of luxury amenities including a ground-floor 'Inspiration Room' for informal gatherings, movie nights and other events; a cardio and yoga studio; a fully equipped fitness centre with a mini basketball court; a cafeteria and a games room.

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Five costs that kill your investment returns
You can't focus your search on affordable commissions alone

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Saturday, October 12, 2019 – Page B13

A fee war is driving online brokerage commissions to zero in the United States, a spectacle that is going to divert investor attention from more pressing matters.

Competition to lower fees is never a bad thing in the investing industry, but it sometimes amounts to a sideshow. Brokerage commissions are an example - even at the rates charged to Canadian investors (as much as $9.99 per buy or sell), they're not a top concern for people investing for the long term as opposed to short-term speculation.

By all means, check out brokers with low commissions. In Canada, this group includes CIBC Investor's Edge, HSBC InvestDirect, Interactive Brokers, Questrade and Virtual Brokers, all with markedly lower costs than the big bank-owned firms that dominate the sector. On Oct. 15, National Bank Direct Brokerage will introduce a new pricing plan offering young investors (aged 18 to 30) 10 free trades a year plus additional trades at $4.95, and $6.95 trades for National Bank clients with a bank account connected to the NBDB platform.

Others pay the usual $9.95 flat.

Don't focus your search for low costs on commissions alone, though. There are five other costs that do more damage to the portfolios of do-it-yourself investors: 1. FOREIGN-EXCHANGE FEES Forex is a profit centre for online brokers. Investors add Canadian dollars to their account and have it converted by their broker into U.S. currency to buy U.S.-listed stocks and exchange-traded funds. For that service, brokers will mark up the wholesale rate paid by the largest institutions to build in a tidy profit margin.

In my latest online brokerage ranking, I asked firms to provide the cost of an investment in U.S.

shares on a particular day. The markup over the rate published by the Bank of Canada can be as much as 1.5 per cent.

What to do: Use TSX-listed ETFs for exposure to the U.S. market.

Accessing the U.S. market this way allows you to tap into the preferential exchange rate that ETF companies get compared with the rate retail investors pay.

If you invest in U.S. stocks in a registered retirement savings plan, registered retirement income fund or tax-free savings account, make sure your broker offers a U.S.-dollar version of these accounts (this is commonly available for non-registered accounts). In a Canadian-dollar RRSP, RRIF or TFSA account, your U.S. dividends and the proceeds from the sale of U.S. securities will be automatically exchanged into Canadian dollars and you'll be charged accordingly. Another option is a fairly advanced technique for changing Canadian dollars into U.S. currency called Norbert's Gambit.

2. ADMINISTRATION, MAINTENANCE, LOW-BALANCE OR INACTIVITY FEES Slowly, the brokerage business is moving toward a standard fee, usually $25 or $30 a quarter, for clients who have small account balances or inactive accounts where no trades are generated.

Some firms apply these fees only to cash accounts, others to all accounts.

A few brokers also charge annual administration fees of $100 on RRSPs and RRIFs with balances below $10,000 to $25,000.

Account maintenance fees can sometimes be avoided by, for example, setting up preauthorized contributions to your account, by having both a cash account and a registered account, or by making a few trades. If you do end up paying a $100 fee on a $12,000 account over a year, your returns are reduced by 0.83 per cent.

What to do: If you're starting out as an investor or have a modest balance, don't open an account with a broker before you find out (a) what maintenance, inactivity or admin fees you might have to pay and (b) what steps you can take to avoid these fees. You do not want to learn about these fees after seeing them deducted from your account.

3. ETF FEES The cost of owning a portfolio of basic index-tracking ETFs is within sight of zero - as low as 0.06 per cent or so for Canadian equity funds. But in its drive to grow, the ETF industry has introduced a new generation of products with more complex strategies and fees of 0.5 per cent to 0.7 per cent, or higher.

We're talking here about the management expense ratio (MER), the most important indicator of the cost of owning a fund. You also have to be alert to the trading expense ratio, or TER, which tells you the costs a fund incurs for trading the securities in the portfolio. Basic indextracking ETFs don't do enough trading to even have a TER - you'll see it expressed as zero.

But actively managed ETFs may do enough trading to have a significant TER. If there is a TER, add it to the MER to get your allin cost.

TERs are listed in the management reports on fund performance that are available for all ETFs and mutual funds. You can find the management report for an ETF by going to its profile on the issuing company's website and looking for the "documents" link. When you have the management report open, head to the "ratios" section.

What to do: Be cautious about buying higher-fee ETFs unless you're convinced they add value beyond the cheaper core ETFs tracking basic stock and bond indexes. Always check the TER for funds that are actively managed or use a screening process. You get a five-year view of the MER and TER when viewing the management report. Look for funds with declining MERs and consistently low TERs.

4. MUTUAL FUND FEES Note to the investors who held a collective $35-billion in mutual funds at online brokers as of March: Unless you own a Series D version of a fund, you're very likely overpaying on fees in a big way. Series D funds are for do-ityourself investors who neither want nor receive advice. They have lower MERs than standard funds because they have largely stripped out payments to advisers and their firms, known as trailing commissions.

Trailing commissions can account for 0.5 to one percentage point of a fund's MER, so they're significant. Minimizing them is crucial if you're a DIY investor because online brokers are prohibited by regulators from offering the kind of service and advice that advisers provide. You do not want to pay for service you'll never get.

Online brokers typically default clients to Series D funds when placing orders, providing they're available. Brokers have also taken steps to get long-time fund-holding clients to switch to Series D. Still, it's possible that some investors still hold conventional funds with full trailers in their DIY accounts.

What to do: Stick to Series D funds, or funds offered by lowfee fund companies that don't pay trailing commissions. Examples are Mawer, Leith Wheeler, Steadyhand and GBC. Also, check any funds you've owned for many years to ensure you're not paying full trailers.

5. TRANSFER AND WITHDRAWAL FEES Brokers typically charge about $50 if you withdraw money from an RRSP (partial, not the full account). On RRIFs, most brokers let you make scheduled withdrawals at no cost, but charge $25 or $50 for extra ones. To date, there seem to be no fees for taking money out of a TFSA.

The highest transfer fees apply when you move your account to another investment firm. They range from $125 to $150 and apply to all types of accounts.

What to do: When transferring an account to another firm, ask it to pick up the tab for your previous broker's transfer-out fee.

Associated Graphic

Traders work at the NYSE on Oct 3. To save on foreign-exchange fees, use TSX-listed ETFs for exposure to the U.S. market. This method allows you to tap into the preferential exchange rate that ETF companies get compared with the rate retail investors pay.


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Canada and South Africa have a history at the Rugby World Cup
The teams will meet this year for just the third time ever, but a testy 1995 match against host Springboks in a postapartheid climate is a tough one to forget

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Tuesday, October 8, 2019 – Page B13

Former Canada captain Gareth Rees can't escape the memory of getting sent off at the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

People often bring up the volcanic 20-0 loss to host South Africa in the socalled Battle of Boet Erasmus, named after the stadium in Port Elizabeth where the fight-filled game took place.

Plus, Irish referee David McHugh, who also ejected Canadian prop Rod Snow and Springboks hooker James Dalton, gave Rees the red card he brandished after the game's infamous second-half brawl. The card, framed in a picture of Rees and Snow with a note from McHugh, is on display in Rees's home.

"It's funny, for all the rugby I played, it's the one [game] most people know me for or remember," said Rees, currently serving as media manager for the Canadian team at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

"I'm not proud of being sent off, but I don't regret my actions. ... I was the captain and that [Canadian] group was very much one in, all in," he added.

The Canadian men, ranked 22nd in the world, face No. 5 South Africa on Tuesday in Kobe in just the third-ever meeting between the two countries (the visiting Canadians lost 51-18 when the two played in East London in June, 2000).

Canada is 0-2-0 at the tournament in Japan after losing 48-7 to Italy and 63-0 to New Zealand. The Springboks lost 23-13 to New Zealand and defeated Namibia 57-3.

Drawn in a tough pool in 1995, the Canadians opened with a 34-3 win over Romania before falling 27-11 to defending champion Australia. The Springboks had beaten both Australia (27-18) and Romania (21-8).

It was a historic time.

Rugby was on the cusp of going professional. And South Africa was transforming under Nelson Mandela. As captured in the film Invictus, Mandela found a way to use the Springboks' World Cup campaign as a unifying force in a country that had been pulled apart by apartheid.

The Canadians were well aware that the spotlight was on the tournament.

"We were really juiced to play South Africa - in South Africa, in a World Cup, with the political climate as it was. Everything was on the line in this game," said forward Al Charron, like Rees a member of the World Rugby Hall of Fame.

There was drama from the get-go as the stadium floodlights failed seconds before kickoff. With the stadium dark, the teams returned to the dressing rooms. The game eventually got under way 45 minutes late.

Knowing its lineout would not stand up to the Springboks, Canada elected not to kick for territory and kept the ball in hand.

The bad blood surfaced early.

Charron calls it "probably the dirtiest, hardest game I was ever in."

Canadian fullback Scott Stewart was taken out in the air twice.

"We were a proud team, proud players," winger Dave Lougheed said. "We weren't going to give up anything to the South Africans. And that's the way we played."

Neither team backed off an inch.

"Had it just been a clean rugby game, I think South Africa is the easy winner on the day," Snow said. "But for whatever reason - I think it has a lot to do with the kind of South African rugby mentality - they thought 'Well winning the game is not enough. We want to bully the guys and beat them up as well.' "And I think that played into our hands because we knew we couldn't keep with them on the skill level. But if [it] turned into a wrestling match, we had a good chance.

And that's basically what happened. We more than held our own from that perspective."

Video highlights do not do the game justice, according to Charron.

"There was stuff going on in that game that the referee wasn't dealing with properly," he said. "Then we started taking things into our hands, sort of."

"It was pre-digital so there weren't 42 camera angles," Lougheed said.

Under pressure in the scrum, Canada trailed 17-0 at the half after conceding a penalty and two pushover tries. A Joel Stransky penalty made it 20-0 early in the second half. And then the fun began.

A flowing Canadian attack sent the ball wide to the right.

Centre Christian Stewart passed to winger Winston Stanley, who lost the ball at the sideline, only to be hit out of bounds by Pieter Hendriks.

Then two tuss