Louisiana is being washed away. In less than a century, it has lost the equivalent of Prince Edward Island, and the situation is getting worse. Globe and Mail correspondent Omar El Akkad reports on an increasingly fractious tug-of-war that may be a bellwether for the looming battle between prosperity and the planet's well-being
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F1


The biggest stingray in Louisiana's history was caught by a retired health and safety worker named Bebe McElroy in the summer of 2013.

It weighed 185 pounds. "And that's 10 hours dry," says the 65year-old, who can't be more than half the size of the broad-winged beast she somehow vanquished that day in July. Had the gatekeepers of Louisiana marine lore managed to weigh the stingray when it was still fresh out of the water, she swears it would have touched 200.

The house in which Ms. McElroy and her husband Vic intend to live out their retirement - a beautiful, single-family home built high on seven-metre stilts - is a 90-minute drive southwest of New Orleans, located along a narrow claw of land just a couple hundred feet wide in places. Three kilometres down the road, Highway 56 comes to a dead stop at the shore of Bay Cocodrie, one of a million bays and bayous that signal the eventual submission of a shredded Louisiana coastline to the vast, looming expanse that is the Gulf of Mexico. It's a place the locals sometimes call the end of the world.

It was here where the disasterresponse teams set up shop following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. It was from these shores that shrimping boats set out with oil booms instead of nets, hired to contain the spill through a program dubbed "Vessels of Opportunity."

In this part of the state, you can see the signs everywhere: The canal that borders Ms. McElroy's back yard is widening, the ridge of marshland on the other side is shrinking. Westward, in the far distance, stands a ghost forest of dead oaks, their branches like smoothed bone, victims of unbearable salinity. "The water is creeping in," Ms. McElroy says.

"That's man doing that. That's not nature."

The worst ecological crisis in North America is happening in southern Louisiana. In the time it takes to read this story, a parcel of Louisiana wetland the size of a football field will have sunk into the Gulf of Mexico.

Over the past century, some 5,200 square kilometres - a land mass roughly the size of Prince Edward Island - has vanished in one of the more culturally and environmentally exceptional regions on the continent.

This has wreaked havoc on wildlife, displaced 10th-generation homesteaders and left major population centres such as New Orleans and Baton Rouge, the capital, far more vulnerable to the wrath of passing hurricanes.

But as Louisiana sinks, it booms.

Thanks to a concentration of industrial plants and a 3,700-kilometre waterway leading into the heart of the country, the Mississippi River in southern Louisiana is now home to the busiest port complex in the world. Some 65,000 people make a living in the state's bustling oil and gas industry - the same industry whose vast network of canals and pipelines has emerged as one of the leading causes of Louisiana's vanishing coast.

The result is one of the more extreme illustrations of what will likely be the defining political and societal challenge of this century - the head-on collision of economic bonanza and environmental ruin.

"There's a lot at stake," says Jonathan Foret, executive director of the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center and a southern Louisiana native.

"There's the energy sector, there's a large fishing industry, but there's also the beautiful culture of a beautiful people.

"Our land is sinking."


It was a Canadian who discovered it, insomuch as someone can discover a place already inhabited. Sailing under a French flag in 1699, Quebec-born Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville navigated the delta that today makes up the southeastern end of the state of Louisiana. A few years later, one of his 11 brothers showed up and founded New Orleans.

What d'Iberville would have seen as he passed through the the yawning mouth of the Mississippi three centuries ago is a delta composed of more than 15,000 square kilometres of marsh and coastal wetland, much of it sustained by the whims of the fourth-longest river on Earth.

Left unleashed, the Mississippi is a sidewinder. For centuries, cartographers recorded a waterway that, rather than adhering to a single path, swung wildly across a 300-kilometre stretch of southern Louisiana. Everywhere it moved, the river deposited silt and sediment, the stuff of new land.

Everywhere you go in southern Louisiana, the Mississippi's impact on the state's very identity is clearly evident. In Oak Alley, a former sugar-cane plantation about a half-hour south of Baton Rouge, a tour guide points north to the grounds where the slaves who built the plantation mansion were buried. Just a few hundred metres away, partly obscured by a gently sloping, grass-lined levee, is the water.

"Some of their graves are under the river now," the guide says, "because the Mississippi, it moves."

As it moved, the Mississippi took as much as it gave, making it a dangerous neighbour to the cities on its banks. In 1927, after months of unceasing rain, the river broke through its levees in almost 150 places. When the flooding finally subsided, 500 people were dead, and another 600,000 were homeless. It was, at the time, the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.

In response, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was authorized by Congress to build a series of levees that essentially locked the Mississippi in place.

The levees were seen as a godsend to places such as New Orleans - a port city that lies below sea level.

But the imposition of geographic order on a naturally chaotic waterway soon began to starve the outlying wetlands.

Deprived of silt and sediment, the coastal areas beyond the river's reach began to disappear.

Today, the elaborate system of walls and levees that bridle the river is seen as a chief culprit in what is happening to the state.

"It's bad, and in a couple of different aspects of being bad," says Darryl Malek-Wiley, senior organizing representative of the Louisiana Sierra Club.

"But if that was our only problem, that would be great."


On Highway 10 just north of New Orleans, where the road is suspended over the southwestern edge of Lake Pontchartrain, a pickup truck passes in the fast lane. On its rear window is a decal - a gushing oil well circled with the words "Oilfield Trash."

In southern Louisiana, the Mississippi is a river of industry. Driving south from Baton Rouge to the southernmost edges of the state, the scenery is of stone yards, concrete plants, barge docks, refineries. A Potash Corp. fertilizer plant neighbours a Total polystyrene facility. Some of the plants are the size of small towns - a vast, labyrinthine metropolis of pipes and smokestacks whistling vapour and flame.

Other than its centuries-old fishing culture, no industry has had a greater impact on Louisiana's landscape than oil and gas. In the last century, the state has approved some 50,000 oil wells along its coast. To reach these wells and connect them to the wider infrastructure, the industry dug about 17,000 kilometres of canals.

This network of canals and pipelines, many researchers and environmentalists say, has greatly accelerated the rate of coastal land loss - not only by physically removing soil to make room for artificial waterways (which were sometimes 45 metres wide) but also by allowing saltwater to enter the Mississippi wetlands. The salinity killed off many of the trees, whose roots had helped to keep the soil in place. In most cases, because it was cheaper than diverting it to land-building projects, the sediment from digging and dredging the waterways was simply dumped into the Gulf of Mexico.

But there's also no doubt that many people reaped enormous financial benefit. The Louisiana Oil and Gas Association pegs the industry's direct and indirect impact on the state economy at about $70-billion (by comparison, the total funds available for the state of Louisiana this year, according to the state budget, amount to about $25.5-billion). In areas such as Plaquemines Parish - in the far southeast, where oil and gas activity is especially high - the impact is even greater.

"Plaquemines, 50 per cent of every dollar that they have comes from the oil and gas industry," says Gifford Briggs, the association's vice-president. "So you walk into a room with 10 chairs, you take out five, you throw them away, and that's more or less what it would look like."

The other side of that monetary equation, however, is geographic. Plaquemines Parish, like so much of southern Louisiana, is disappearing.


Walking down a hallway in Louisiana State University's Energy, Coast & Environment building, John Snead points to one of the many maps lining the walls. It's a political map, concerned chiefly with hard, binary boundaries, such as those between parishes, or between water and land. It is a map of Louisiana adjusted to eliminate ambiguity.

On the wall opposite, a closeup map of the southern coast shows something entirely different. The land drawn as uniform in the political map appears here as a gold leaf, full of fractures and corrosion. Slivers of creeping water are visible everywhere. In places, there is land that isn't - marsh grass that, should you step on it, would give way instantly. This is in part why the state's analogy of choice for the rate at which the coastal land is disappearing - football fields - is so hard to pin down. Depending on where you measure, it's a football field's worth of land loss every hour, or every 45 minutes, or every halfhour. The division between water and land is anything but clear.

"The coastline in Louisiana is ephemeral," says Mr. Snead, a cartographic manager at LSU's Louisiana Geological Survey.

But the distinction between land and water matters. Resources found underground belong to the property's owner, but those found underwater belong to the government. In an area rich with oil and gas, billions of dollars are at stake.

"Coastal land loss can be a very controversial topic," Mr. Snead says. "Landowners and parishes have a very different view than scientists."

Making Mr. Snead's job even more difficult is that fact that, in some parts of the state, the landscape changes not just from year to year, but from month to month. As a result, the official illustration of the state of Louisiana - the one that adorns the highway signs, and shows the landmass as a boot-shaped whole - is a lie. Places that once existed as broad shoulders of land are now thin strips; where once residents raised cattle, they now catch shrimp.

To the people who live here, coastal land loss has been a concern for decades. Fifteen years ago, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana published a report on the crisis; it was titled "No Time To Lose."

All over southern Louisiana, attempts are being made to stem the tide. Lake Hermitage Marsh Creation, a project that diverts sediment, has resulted in 400 acres of new land in just nine months. Signs of "terracing" programs, which place small strips of land in the water to capture passing sediment, are visible throughout the region. As part of its youth outreach, the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center takes kids out to the swamps to plant marsh grass.

But compared to the overall rate of land loss, these efforts are of little practical impact.

"They're not on the scale and scope that we need to restore our coast," says Mr. Malek-Wiley of the Sierra Club. "They're Band-Aids when we need, you know, tourniquets."

By far the biggest, most sprawling weapon in Louisiana's fight to save itself is the state's Coastal Master Plan. Revised and published in 2012, the plan contains some 109 different projects to be completed in the next half-century - everything from sediment diversion to salinity control to riverbank stabilization. In a state where the interests of environmentalists, politicians and industry groups rarely align, the master plan has the blessing of all three.

However, there are several problems. For one thing, the benefits of many projects being proposed are hypothetical - it will take years to find out if they are worth undertaking in the first place. And even the master plan's best-case scenario is unlikely to stand up to the worstcase scenarios of climate change and sea-level rise over the next half-century. At best, the plan will greatly decelerate or possibly stop the coastal-land loss - most observers agree that the lost landmass equivalent of PEI is never coming back.

But more than anything, the master plan has a money problem. The midway estimate puts its cost at about $50-billion over 50 years (a recent study from Tulane University argues that the true cost is closer to $94billion). Louisiana is among the gulf states to begin receiving a greater share of federal off-shore royalty payments in 2017, but that will likely amount to hundreds of millions of dollars - far too little to finance the plan alone.

So far, the chief source of support appears to be the settlement from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The exact figures are yet to be disclosed, but the final amount is likely to be around $20-billion, most of it to be allocated to coastal projects.

The BP spill "hasn't had a silver lining - it's had a platinum lining encrusted with diamonds," says John Barry, a parttime New Orleans resident who has become a central figure in the land-loss crisis. "If it were not for the BP money, the state wouldn't have a dime to spend on the coast right now."

But that still leaves the master plan well short of its financial target. Mr. Barry, however, has found a way to make up the difference: He's suing the oil and gas industry.


"This is about three things that you hope parents teach their kids - keep your word, obey the law, and take responsibility for your actions," Mr. Barry says.

"The industry has failed on all three."

A historian by trade, he became well known as an advocate for rebuilding New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Eventually, he managed to secure a seat on the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, which is responsible for overseeing flood protection in an area that includes New Orleans.

Nominally, the agency is supposed to inspect measures - primarily levees - intended to ensure that New Orleans never goes through another post-hurricane devastation. But Mr. Barry turned his attention to the role played by oil and gas in eroding the coastal wetlands that serve as natural protection against severe weather events. If the industry is, indeed, part of the problem (a report with input from its own researchers holds it responsible for about 36 per cent of the damage), Mr Barry reasoned it should help to pay for a solution.

The result was a multibilliondollar lawsuit, filed by the floodprotection board, against almost 100 oil and gas companies. Both in scope and value (a settlement could well rival that of the BP spill), it is unprecedented.

"The idea that a state agency of Louisiana would sue 97 oil and gas agencies, that's amazing," says Mr. Malek-Wiley. "I didn't think I'd see that in my lifetime."

In essence, the suit claims that companies operating in the coastal areas over the better part of the last century have not adhered to the terms of their state permits - specifically, the obligation to restore and repair the myriad canals they have dug. The industry vehemently denies the accusation and, in a place where oil and gas account for 60,000 jobs and 17 per cent of the money generated by the state, the lawsuit has faced immense political opposition. The same day that Mr. Barry announced it, Governor Bobby Jindal issued a statement calling the suit nothing more than a cash grab by lawyers.

"These trial lawyers are taking this action at the expense of our coast and thousands of hardworking Louisianans who help fuel America by working in the energy industry," he said.

Mr. Barry makes no secret of the fact that he prefers a quick settlement to a lengthy trial. But the industry sees things very differently.

"The reason there won't be a settlement," says Mr. Briggs of the oil and gas association, "is because the legal exposure and the liability that gets put out there when the industry steps forward and says, 'Okay' ...

"Then every single community, every single person that's ever had their house flooded, every hurricane from now going forward, they're going to say ... 'Industry, money, pay.' "

Broadly, the industry's defence is threefold. Primarily, it argues there has been no violation of any permit (and if the state finds evidence there has been, it can take action). Mr. Briggs also echos the governor's criticism of trial lawyers, who he says stand to make billions. Finally, the industry says the levees built to lock the Mississippi in place are the prime cause of the erosion.

Mr. Briggs also complains of bias. "No one's gone to the charter-boat fishermen and said, 'We need you to put up 50 per cent or 20 per cent of the revenue you generate working on the coast.' No one's gone to the oyster fisherman and said we need you to put up 20 per cent. No one's gone to all the people that own duck camps, and the crawfish fisherman.

"We're not the only industry in coastal Louisiana; we're just the only industry that's being asked to pay."

The outcome of the suit is far from certain and, as much as Mr. Barry hopes for speed, a settlement may take months, if not years, to resolve. Whatever happens will likely set a precedent for myriad regions across the continent where the brittle balance between economy and environment is coming undone.

In the meantime, Louisiana - its history and culture along with its land - continues to vanish.


About three kilometres north of where Bebe McElroy lives near Chauvin, construction crews are busy building a levee that crosses the narrow strip of land upon which her home sits. Once complete, the levee is supposed to protect the area to the north from hurricanes and flooding.

But the unsaid message to everyone living on the six kilometres to the south is clear: In the long run, you're on your own. Signs of such calculus are evident all over southern Louisiana, as the state decides which areas are worth trying to save.

And yet Ms. McElroy has no intention of leaving the place she loves. "I was here before the levee," she says, casting a line into the canal that borders her front yard, a bucket of croaking catfish at her feet. "And I'll be here after."

Over the years, the violent ecology of southern Louisiana has created a unique base of expertise in this state. Home builders have learned how to construct houses that, when hovering on stilts above the treeline, can better withstand high winds. Some houses in the rebuilt portion of New Orleans's ninth ward are designed to float when flooded. Louisiana firms have won contracts worth hundreds of millions to use their expertise to help rebuild and protect parts of New York and New Jersey hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy. In all, Louisianans have developed a knowledge base about how to cope with unwelcome water that is second only to that of the Dutch.

"People here enjoy living in a prosperous community economically," says Mr. Foret of the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center. "But they also enjoy living in a place where they can go fishing and hunting and eat things from the water - and not worry about what they're eating."

On a warm, faintly muggy afternoon, he drives to a spot near Ms. McElroy's house, a 1,000-year-old piece of Louisiana history called La Butte. Once a native burial site, and later a grave for hurricane victims, now it, too, is slowly sinking. At the mound's northern edge, the swamp has consumed half the chain-link fence; a rotting fish head lies among the gravestones.

"I think that we had a window, probably in the seventies, to really make this happen and work it out," Mr. Foret says. "I'm concerned that it's almost too late now."

Behind the billion-dollar lawsuits and grand coastal plans and all the outward optimism that a balance between environment and economy can yet be found, there hangs a fatalistic resignation in the Louisiana air - an understanding that the next Katrina may render all the state's best-laid plans moot; or that, without oil and gas, southern Louisiana's level of national influence drops precipitously; or that, should climate change cause sea levels to rise another metre, most of the land south of Baton Rouge may end up underwater anyway.

Mr. Foret pauses for a moment, thinking carefully about how best to put it.

"I think the thing that people are not saying, because they can't say it ... is that, when Mother Nature handles this issue, and finishes it, then Mother Nature will make that decision for everyone."

Omar El Akkad is The Globe and Mail's Western U.S. correspondent.

Associated Graphic

Bebe McElroy heads out on the water that threatens her home, not that she has any intention of leaving: 'I was here before the levee. And I'll be here after.'


A land of shellfish and stilts: Leroy Parfait, 68, casts a net for shrimp from shore while a trawler prepares to set sail near Cocodr

Jonathan Foret of the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center.

Chauvin, LA - 10/15/2014 - Terry Lapeyrouse, Jr.

Chauvin, LA - 10/16/2014 - Tree skeletons across Bayou Petite Caillou, the main waterway through the town of Chauvin. WILLIAM WIDMER FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL

At a time when dads are twice as likely as moms to think they don't spend enough time with the kids, many employers continue to deny them the breathing room needed to get face time with their families. The result: unhappy, unhealthy workers - and unproductive workplaces. But as Erin Anderssen reports, a new wave of men is quietly (and not so quietly) finding new ways to downsize stress, work more flexibly and
Saturday, October 11, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F1

It's the latest thing in corporate corner-office chic: top male executives ditching work to hang out with their kids. In August, Max Schireson, head of MongoDB, resigned to take a lesser executive position at the software company. In a blog post entitled Why I Am Leaving the Best Job I Ever Had, he lamented what he had been forced to miss at home while holding down a job that required him to fly 400,000 kilometres a year: consoling his three kids when the family puppy was hit by a car; being there when his son needed emergency surgery. "The only way to balance," he wrote, "was by stepping back from my job.'"

Then in September, eight months after resigning as head of the Pimco investment fund, Mohamed El-Erian wrote in an essay in Worth magazine that he made that decision following a conversation with his daughter, who, upon refusing a request to brush her teeth, had supplied her father with a list of 22 events he had failed to attend, including her first day of school, a Halloween parade, and the season's first soccer game. "I was not making enough time for her," Mr. El-Erian concluded.

When men at the top of the pile start exchanging power, privilege and fat paycheques for the chance to spend more time with their families, it says that something really is wrong with the way we work. But that's also what makes the decision of these top dogs to downsize so darn disappointing for those of us farther down the corporate ladder who can't afford to reconfigure our working lives to spend all kinds of extra time on the home front. A 2012 study of Canadian workers found that 60 per cent of us are working 50-hour weeks; a majority also take seven hours of work home every week.

Rather than bail from their powerful positions, couldn't those corporate bigwigs - Mr. ElErian was once counted as the 63rd-most-powerful man in global finance - have translated their work-life frustrations into sticking around and setting things right for the many people working below them?

So far, not many women at the top, either, are issuing a battle cry for work-life balance.

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg has famously been urging women to "lean in" to their careers - by playing the corporate game, complete with its macho, hard-driving rules and endless hours devoted to the company. She pays scant attention to the fact that, for many working parents - not to mention lots of childless millennials - getting home at a decent time for dinner might trump their desire to work their way up to Master of the Universe. If only women roared like men, put in the hours, built a private nursery in the office (à la Yahoo's Marissa Mayers) and claimed more corner offices and boardroom seats, so goes the argument promulgated by innumerable think-tank papers and lunch-time workshops, the workplace would be a more equitable, human place.

On one level, that's laudable: Men may indeed do more of their share of the laundry these days, but they still account for 92 per cent of the top earners in Fortune 500 companies - and 96 per cent of the CEOs. And those stats have been shamefully stable for years. But telling women to be more like men also conveniently lets employers off the hook. "When you make it a women's problem, you can really blame women," says Erin Reid, an assistant professor at Boston University's School of Management. Companies, in other words, don't have to change the way they work.

And yet, in many sectors, bottom-up change that nods to work-life balance is exactly what workers are agitating for. In law, more associates are resisting a career track that requires amassing billable hours to make partner. In medicine, incoming male doctors, not just their female peers, are insisting on more reasonable schedules. The tech industry - where, in the words of Kristin Garn of the B.C.-based software company Mathtoons, "the workplace sometimes still looks like the lost island with all the Peter Pan boys" - is debating how to entice and retain more women, a discussion kick-started this year when Google revealed that only 17 per cent of its tech workers are female.

In a fast-changing, global workplace driven by creativity - where study after study has shown that the best leaders demonstrate stereotypically feminine traits (collaboration, empathy, flexibility) - the key to making workplaces more hospitable, say many, is kicking alpha bosses - whatever their gender - to the curb. "The model of male leadership is frayed," says Karl Moore, a researcher at McGill University who studies leadership. "The approach that says, 'I have the answers. Be quiet, salute, and follow me' doesn't work any more."

It is part and parcel, suggests Ms. Garn, of "a vocabulary of business that has nothing to do with people, and has everything to do with profit." And it's not the only vocabulary in need of change. "I don't think the terms 'lean in, lean back' are very helpful," says Joan Williams, founding director of the Center for Worklife Law at the University of California, Hastings, who has been studying work-family issues for 25 years. "When somebody says I want love and work, and I'm going to divide my time between both, that's not leaning back. That's living the kind of life you want to live."

A new generation of men

"I would rather see the CEOs who get it try to stick around and effect more change in their company," says Scott Behson, a professor of business management at New Jersey's Fairleigh Dickinson University, who runs a blog called Fathers, Work and Family.

"It would be ideal if we could figure out how people can achieve the level of success in their career they want, and still be highly involved as parents."

Certainly on the home front, a new egalitarianism is being established. There's been an unprecedented realignment in the division of labour and parenting in recent times, transforming many marriages into something approaching co-operatives of two working partners.

Sure, negotiation is still required on the division of chores, but today's fathers spend twice as much time doing dishes and laundry as did their fathers, and triple the time with their children. Young men, especially, now define fatherhood as a care-giving role, rather than just a breadwinning one.

In surveys, fathers now report nearly as much - and sometimes more - work-family conflict than do mothers. In a 2013 study by the Washington-based Pew Research Center, 46 per cent of fathers said they weren't spending enough time with their kids, compared to 23 per cent of mothers.

In a large-scale Canadian study conducted by the University of Guelph, both men and women believed that mothers felt more work-family guilt than did fathers. But when researchers actually asked both groups about it, men were just as likely as women to feel guilty.

Men are now also coveting flexible work arrangements as much as women are, though are less likely to feel they can access them as easily as their female counterparts. So they tend to use informal arrangements, a reasonable option when you have an understanding manager - or enough security in the organization to bend the rules. But that also reinforces the message that work-family initiatives are a mother's domain.

In 2011, Boston University's Reid began interviewing employees at a national management-consulting firm in the United States. At the time, the company was concerned about retaining female employees, but Prof. Reid discovered that men were equally stressed about work-life conflict, and what's more, that their turnover rate was just as high as that of their female peers.

Many of the men she interviewed were covertly tweaking their careers, specializing in areas that meant little travel, or building up repeat clients who would not expect them to work weekends. "Men were expected to be ideal workers, to work all the time and be totally devoted, but most of them didn't want to do this, so they found ways of getting around it," says Prof. Reid. "They crafted different ways of being."

But often not without penalty. Men who become fathers may get a boost in status at work. But research by Jennifer Berdahl, a professor at UBC's Sauder School of Business, who studies gender, has shown that, once men hop out for paternity leave, or skip end-of-day meetings for daycare, they pay a "mommy" penalty - the term for the career hit previously reserved for women who leave work temporarily to raise children. The traditional workplace still treats families as a résumé-boosting accessory for men, one that will spur them to work harder to pay the bills. "In our culture today, masculinity is really what is being rethought and challenged," says Prof. Berdahl. "We have a lot of models of what a successful woman looks like, whereas the idea of success for men is still more rigid."

For one 39-year-old father in Quebec, a banker in international finance who asked not to be identified, his insistence on a flex-time arrangement has translated into a "lack of commitment" to his job, according to his manager. "My immediate boss, who is 15 years older than me, has a very traditional nuclear family, with a wife who stayed home, and he went home whenever. When I say I have to pick the kids up at day care, he doesn't quite understand why I am doing this or why my wife isn't doing it. It all comes up at performance-review time."

It's frustrating, he says, because he's not working fewer hours, just more efficiently. He dives into his first e-mails at around 6:30 a.m., before putting his daughter on the bus and dropping his son at daycare. He spends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the office - except for two days a week when he works at home - but he leaves every night to have dinner with his family, even cutting meetings so he can catch the train home if necessary. He then works at home, if needed, in the evenings.

"I'm getting to see my kids grow up," he says. "I compare it to my dad, who didn't really see us much when we were young, except weekends. That's irreplaceable."

The cost of long hours

His story highlights another problem: The same Carleton University study that showed we'reworking 50 hours a week also found that 54 per cent took extra work home with them on evenings and weekends (and that 28 per cent would be willing to work less in their current position for a smaller paycheque.) And yet, all that extra work isn't doing us any favours, or even increasing longterm productivity. It's hard to make a health argument for women leaning in - or men hanging in - with longer work hours when overwork has been linked to an increase in heart disease and diabetes, higher rates of depression and suicide among middle-aged men. Recent research has even raised alarm bells about the risk of sitting for long spells.

What companies get in return for all that toil is debatable: Workplace studies have found productivity among knowledgebased workers falls off steeply after six hours. A 2013 Australian study by Ernst & Young found that women with flex-time arrangements wasted less time at work - the equivalent of a week and half a year - compared to both men and women working full-time.

Yet the "flexibility stigma" persists - for both genders. When Prof. Reid presented her research about the pressures on male employees to the consulting firm, she recalls, "a senior partner looked at me, and said, 'Well, maybe these aren't the guys we want anyway.' " But those were exactly "the guys" the company rated most highly in performance reviews - the men making behind-thescenes adjustments to their schedules and projects for the sake of family.

"So, on one level, the organization is saying you have to work all the time, you have to have a stay-at-home wife, you have to be really devoted," says Prof. Reid, "but then at the same time, they are rewarding a different set of behaviours."

Do women do it better?

Bad bosses, it goes without saying, come in both genders. Recent research, however, has been declaring female leaders more effective in today's workplace. In 2012, Zenger Folkman, a U.S.-based leadership-development firm, released an analysis of more than 7,000 executives and managers who had received "360" assessments - performance reviews in which feedback was sought from the leaders themselves, their supervisors, their peers and the people working under them.

The finding, as Zenger Folkman cheekily called its paper, was that "Women do it better than men."

Female leaders slightly edged out male peers on "overall effectiveness." And women ranked higher than men on 12 of 16 skills - including relationship-building, inspiring others, and teamwork.

But they didn't just do well in those oft-mentioned "nurturing skills" - a backhanded compliment that reduces the things women do well to a version of corporate child care. The female managers also outscored men in taking initiative, in honesty, and in pushing for results. (Again, to the home: CEO Jack Zenger speculated, in an interview, that women had learned to "take initiative" because they had a "disproportionate" role managing the household and juggling multiple tasks.)

Another meta-analysis published earlier this year in the Journal of Applied Psychology reached the same favourable assessment of female leadership.

The study analyzed 99 data sets, with sample sizes ranging from 10 to more than 60,000 leaders, from nearly 100 journal publications, unpublished dissertations and books dated between 1962 and 2011. The study found that male leaders tended to give themselves better ratings than their female counterparts - but that their staffs didn't agree. As workplaces become more fastpaced and diverse, the authors theorized, it may be that "a more feminine style of leadership is needed to emphasize the participative and open communication needed for success," thus giving women an advantage with their co-workers.

Still, sociologists are quick to point out that the difference within genders is often greater than the difference between them. That female managers score well against their male peers doesn't mean that all women, in fact, "do it better." It suggests that our myths around leadership are flawed.

The imperial leader who sits in the corner office barking orders, never engaging emotionally with employees while demanding they constantly remain in sight, can't lead in a performancebased workplace in which the most talented workers expect to be trusted with their time.

Leading by example

Not long after becoming the CEO at Ernst & Young, Mark Weinberger flew to China for his first big speech. In the audience were the company's top partners and their spouses.

During the followup Q&A session, Mr. Weinberger announced that he'd have to skip dinner at the Great Wall, so that he could catch a red-eye back to Washington: He had promised his daughter that, no matter what, he would be home for her first driving test.

Mr. Weinberger represents a group of male CEOs changing work by recognizing the economic case for a diverse work force and for a better balance between home and office. Ernst & Young judges partners not just on traditional deliverables, but on how engaged their teams report they are, and on how well flex time has been accommodated.

"Leadership is evolving," he told The Globe and Mail in an interview. "The imperial leader who is above the organization - that's not the approach in the marketplace any more. People are now valued for empowering others, not just for their individual power." He added that, when it comes to flex time, "women do not want to be singled out, and men don't want to be left out. People have to believe that it's a culture, not a giveaway to a [certain group]."

What's more, he says, they have to see the CEO setting the example. "You can have all the initiatives you want, but until [employees] see people in senior positions standing up and taking advantage of it, I don't think they fully believe they have permission, that you can still get ahead and take advantage of those programs." Professionals in their 20s and 30s, he added, talk about flexibility not as some wistful goal but as a job requirement.

In China, Mr. Weinberger didn't get a standing ovation for his speech. But he did get one when he spoke of getting back to his family.

Adds the CEO, "Not a single person really sent me anything afterward focusing on my speech.

But I got hundreds of e-mails about the commitment to my daughter."

Erin Anderssen is a senior feature writer with The Globe and Mail.

Associated Graphic

Toronto lawyer Michael Fenrick's firm, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP, has a progressive work culture that aims to accommodate family life, allowing Fenrick to spend more time with his wife, Eden Kaill, and their daughter, Isadora.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014 – Print Edition, Page P46


Sault Ste. Marie (main), Brampton, St. Thomas and Timmins

Students: 1,400

Cost: $6,400

With no graduate programs and little research activity, tiny Algoma focuses exclusively on offering undergraduate education to students in its region. A minimum entering average of 65 per cent gives students of many abilities a shot at higher education. Its accessibility could be connected to its challenge to hold on to students; a large portion drop out before their second year of studies.

Your typical classmate: Went to high school nearby. More than 94 per cent of Algoma's student body is from Ontario.

Hotshot prof: Michael Burtch ventures into the remote wilderness of Northern Ontario with his fine art students to study the Group of Seven in the setting that inspired their iconic work.


St. Catharines (main) and Hamilton

Students: 18,700

Cost: $6,400

Brock manages to achieve a good balance between research activities and quality undergraduate education. The university's biggest selling point is its co-op program, the fifth largest in the country, which boasts a 100 per cent placement rate. Its beautiful setting on the Niagara Escarpment overlooking Lake Moodie is a bonus.

Your typical classmate: Enjoys the small town feel of St. Catharines.

Students say: They value the unique co-op program. "The biggest pro for me was the integrated co-op program," says Royden Thomson, second-year business. "The biggest con is [expensive food], so I have to really watch my meal plan."



Students: 25,600

Cost: $7,000

Carleton serves the capital with well-known policy and journalism programs and also shines in architecture, computer science and physical science. Despite a good reputation, Carleton's performance is mixed. Students rated the school below average on a national student survey, and its degree completion rate (the percentage of students who graduate within seven years) is notably lower than other comprehensive universities in Ontario.

Students say: That student politics rival House of Cards in nastiness. "I know six people who want to be Prime Minister," says Charles McIvor, fourth-year public affairs and policy.

This year: Carleton was in talks with the cities of Cornwall and Niagara Falls about opening satellite campuses focused on entrepreneurship.


Guelph (main), Alfred, Kemptville, Ridgetown and Toronto

Students: 23,200

Cost: $ 7,500

U of G is recognized internationally for its strong agriculture and forestry programs. Students gave it high ratings across many measures on a national student survey, and the university boasts high retention and graduation rates. With low unemployment and crime, pleasant Guelph is a great place to live.

Students say: The large intramural programs offer many opportunities to try new sports. "Dodgeball, ultimate frisbee, floor hockey and water polo, as well as the regular ball sports [are available]. And I was surprised to find out there was a quidditch team in my last year!" says recent nutrition grad Sarah Gebremicael.

This year: U of G announced plans to shutter its regional agriculture campuses in Alfred and Kemptville in response to low enrolment, a decision that triggered outcry from students, community leaders and the farming industry.


Thunder Bay (main) and Orillia

Students: 8,600

Cost: $6,900

Surrounded by boreal forest near Lake Superior, Lakehead is reflective of its region. A newly opened centre focused on sustainable mining practices will tackle challenges such as environmental impact and aboriginal treaty rights in Northern Ontario's booming resource industry. Students gave the school below-average marks on a national student survey, especially on student-faculty interaction. WiFi and electrical plug-ins in study areas need serious upgrading, according to students.

Hotshot prof: Carney Matheson and Lakehead graduate Margaret-Ashley Veall travelled to Bolzano, Italy, to study weapons and tools discovered with Europe's oldest frozen mummy, Ötzi the Iceman.

This year: Lakehead welcomed the inaugural class to its law school, the first to open in Ontario in 44 years.


Sudbury (main) and Barrie

Students: 9,100

Cost: $6,400

With 50 per cent growth in enrolment over the past decade, Laurentian is undergoing expansion of French language programs and massive construction, including a proposed $25-million campus in Barrie. For a university that focuses primarily on undergraduates, it receives considerable research funding from the private sector. Students rate their overall satisfaction with their education poorly. The tree-filled campus on the shore of Ramsey Lake is lovely.

Hotshot prof: Terrance Galvin had his architecture students build ice-fishing huts that were then auctioned off, raising $20,000 for the brand-new architecture school.

Students say: Transit options to downtown Sudbury from campus are limited.


Hamilton (main), Burlington, Waterloo and St. Catharines

Students: 28,400

Cost: $6,800

Despite being a large research university, McMaster is known for innovative teaching; its faculty netted 14 national awards for teaching excellence. Nevertheless, the school's performance on a national student survey was mixed. With cheaper tuition and fees, and a slightly lower-than-average entering grade, McMaster manages to remain more accessible than other internationally recognized research universities such as Queen's and Western. Gothic arches and stone buildings covered in ivy give the campus a magical feel, students say.

Hotshot prof: Joseph Kim redesigned his first-year psychology course, the largest class in the university, to integrate lectures with online modules, small group tutorials and opportunities to apply concepts to real-life situations.

This year: McMaster will open an $80-million health centre in downtown Hamilton, further cementing its reputation for excellence in health care.


North Bay (main), Bracebridge and Brantford

Students: 5,600

Cost: $6,800

Nipissing students say that accessible professors and plentiful learning resources make them feel like more than just a number. Cons include limited course selection. The university is home to one of Ontario's best education programs, with a unique concurrent program that allows students to get experience in real classrooms starting in first year. The campus is showing signs of wear and tear (beware the leaking ceilings).

Students say: The campus setting is beautiful. "Nipissing is situated in a pristine forest, overlooking the lake. When I first arrived, my heart skipped a beat when looking at the city of North Bay," says Bradley Gaasenbeek, second-year history.

This year: The students' union and university administration squabbled over management of Nipissing's only pub, The Wall, which remains closed as of this writing.



Students: 4,700

Cost: $6,800

Access to professors at the top of their field draws aspiring artists to OCAD U. Innovative programs include indigenous visual culture and digital painting. Students report a hyper-competitive environment and harsh criticism from professors, issues the school appears to be addressing. OCAD U's dramatic campus includes a black-and-white box balanced on six-storey-tall, pencil-like pillars in the heart of downtown Toronto.

Your typical classmate: Is stressed out. The National College Health Assessment found that OCAD U students are considerably more anxious and depressed than other Canadian students.

This year: Frustrated students and faculty banded together to push OCAD U to deal with maintenance problems, including broken sinks and chunks of falling paint.



Students: 9,100

Cost: $8,400

Just over a decade old, UOIT is a technology-rich university specializing in preparing students for careers in science, health care and the justice system. The university recently launched a new initiative exploring hydrogen production at its Clean Energy Research Lab and installed a ventilation system in laboratories that improves energy efficiency. Students rated UOIT below average on many measures in a national student survey, and the university struggles with a high percentage of students who don't make it to second year.

Students say: That paying nearly $2,500 in fees (including a mandatory laptop) on top of tuition is too much. "We pay for so much we do not use," says Courtney Brissette, a recent criminology and justice graduate.

This year: UOIT's forensic science program became the second program in Canada to receive prestigious accreditation from the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.



Students: 42,600

Cost: $6,700

Bilingual uOttawa is a research powerhouse that receives nods from all the major global university rankings. Its sociology department has been recognized as one of the world's best. Dismal reviews on national student surveys indicate undergraduate education needs attention. Perhaps the university's plan to personalize courses by blending classroom instruction with online activities (the target is 20 per cent of classes by 2020) will improve student satisfaction. In 2013 a courtroom opened on campus, bringing real lawsuits directly to law students.

Students say: The massive campus is manageable. "My first impression of my campus was that its size was daunting," says Huidan Sun, second-year speech language pathology. "Over time, it had become a welcoming second home."



Students: 24,800

Cost: $7,100

Queen's offers both the benefits of a prestigious research university and a great undergraduate experience, especially in its world-class humanities and social sciences departments. Students give high ratings for its supportive campus environment. However, they don't enjoy the access to faculty that they would at a smaller university, and Queen's is working to address large class sizes by redesigning courses. With a strong school spirit and the majority of students living within a short walk, the university's vibrant campus culture is arguably the liveliest in the country.

Your typical classmate: Will have higher debt at graduation than other Ontario graduates. However, low loan default rates suggest that Queen's grads don't struggle to repay their loans.

Students say: Campus culture is fantastic. "The school fosters an environment where students take the reins of their own clubs and activities," says Garrett Vierhout, third-year engineering. "This promotes a lot of leadership among students."



Students: 31,500

Cost: $6,800

Ryerson's roots as a polytechnic institution are apparent in its career-focused offerings, such as its high-quality journalism and large undergraduate business programs. Its innovative business incubator Digital Media Zone was ranked fifth globally and tops in Canada in a recent international ranking. The university spends considerably less of its budget on financial aid and library services than other Ontario universities.

Hotshot president: Sheldon Levy is celebrated as an influential city builder for leading Ryerson's growth in Toronto's urban core, including the revitalization of Maple Leaf Gardens.

This year: Ryerson created a new course on social activism in memory of Jack Layton, who taught at the university in the 1970s and 1980s.


Toronto (main), Mississauga and Scarborough

Students: 82,000

Cost: $7,300

Heavyweight U of T is regularly recognized as one of the top universities in the world. With leading faculty and research in many fields, the school offers a breadth and depth of high-quality programs unparalleled in the country. Among all this prestige (and a student body the size of a mid-sized city), the average undergrad student can feel lost. Students rate the university low on supportive campus environment and active and collaborative learning. But U of T is working on it: first-year foundational programs with small classes, enhanced orientation and mental health services and innovative new scholarship programs are designed to help students find their own community.

Hotshot prof: Shafique Virani has won a closet-full of awards for innovative pedagogy and the use of multimedia and other technologies to enhance his history and religion classes.

Students say: That rigorous academic standards and a competitive environment cause stress.


Peterborough (main) and Oshawa

Students: 7,900

Cost: $7,500

Trent is designed after the college system at Oxford and boasts small classes. Students gave their education average ratings on a national student survey. High ancillary fees make Trent one of the most expensive universities in Ontario, but a generous scholarship program helps. The Otonabee River that snakes through campus is breathtaking, and a paved path that runs alongside provides bike access to downtown. Still, students complain that the campus location, seven kilometres from the city core, makes going out inconvenient.

Your typical classmate: Struggles to complete his or her studies in seven years; Trent has one of the lowest graduation rates in Ontario.

Students say: The university is politically active and left-leaning. "As a Conservative-minded individual, it can become frustrating," says Corey LeBlanc, second-year economics.

University of Waterloo

Waterloo (main), Cambridge, Kitchener and Stratford

Students: 33,800

Cost: $6,900

Waterloo is the closest thing Canada has to a Stanford. Students benefit from opportunities to explore business through its leading entrepreneurship offerings and the world's largest co-op program. Stand-out programs include engineering, computer science, mathematics and environmental studies. However, while the school offers great opportunities to enrich one's education, the quality of education occurring in the classroom needs attention. Students rated Waterloo poorly on a national student survey, especially on student-professor interaction and supportive campus environment.

Your typical classmate: Received a scholarship. Waterloo devotes a bigger chunk of its budget to financial aid than any other university in Ontario.

Students say: Co-op is a great opportunity for students willing to seek it out for themselves. "Co-op is preparing me for the real world, to be a successful individual postgraduation," says fourth-year bioinformatics student Ameesha Isaac. "That being said, a lot of my actions that pushed my growth were due to my own initiative."



Students: 28,500

Cost: $7,300

Western has a reputation for being a party school, but its culture runs much deeper than keggers. Students report a fun and friendly atmosphere and big school spirit. The university has good connections with the community of London, with plentiful opportunities to get realworld experience though academic projects or volunteering. Undergrad students give Western high marks on their overall satisfaction, and the university boasts one of the highest rates of student retention in the province. Hot programs include business, psychology, philosophy and English.

Hotshot prof: Riley Hinson's third-year psychology students worked with Quintin Warner House, an addiction treatment centre, to research and make changes to its intake process to address wait lists.

Students say: The community is welcoming. "[It's] very friendly and collaborative," says Lauren Neal, second-year economics. "It's very easy to join clubs."


Waterloo (main), Brantford and Kitchener

Students: 18,000

Cost: $7,000

Laurier is a university with big ambitions. With 14,000 students squeezed into its compact downtown campus, it is developing branch campuses to accommodate growing enrolment. The student body at its Brantford location has grown from 39 students in 1999 to 3,000 today, and the university hopes to secure provincial funding to build a new campus in the fast-growing GTA town of Milton. Student ratings on national student surveys hover around average on every measure.

Your typical classmate: Is business-minded; Laurier boasts a high-quality business education, and one of the largest business co-op programs in the country.

Hotshot prof: Shohini Ghose, a theoretical physicist who researches quantum mechanics, was named a TED 2014 Fellow for her work building a community of female scientists as director of Laurier's Centre for Women in Science.



Students: 15,700

Cost: $6,600

The university is playing an important role in revitalizing the city of Windsor, which continues to struggle with high unemployment. A number of downtown historical buildings are being renovated to house fine arts, executive education and social work programs. Close ties with the community extend into the classroom, and many programs integrate community-based projects into traditional learning. For example, students studying social work, business, law, geography and history collaborate with community leaders to improve social housing in Windsor and Essex County.

Hotshot students: In the faculty of engineering team up with industry or government to solve a real-life problem as part of their final capstone project. This year, students proposed solutions to traffic flow problems and helped design a new waste-water treatment facility.

This year: Administrators held back $7-million in funding from the University of Windsor Students' Alliance because of its governance problems.


Toronto (main) and Glendon (French)

Students: 53,000

Cost: $6,900

York is best known for the liberal arts. However, undergraduate enrolment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics has grown significantly in recent years. York deserves credit for its inclusiveness, attracting more new immigrants than most other universities in Ontario. Almost a third of students are the first in their family to pursue higher education. Students gave the university poor ratings on a national student survey, but new plans to improve student retention and graduation rates may help.

Your typical classmate: Has strong opinions; spirited social justice debates among its politically engaged student body are frequent.

Hotshot departments: Include English, geography, history, law, archeology, philosophy and psychology, all of which were recognized as among the world's best in international rankings.

Associated Graphic

The University of toronto: huge, prestigious, rigorous and competitive.

Rryerson University: a career-focused, innovative downtown school.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Too many students - told that hard work and a university education are the ticket to the good life - are facing a different reality when they graduate. What are universities doing to help students find realistic career paths? And what should students look for from their education?
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 – Print Edition, Page P16

When Clair Parker graduated from high school, her parents urged her to go to college and learn a trade. However, being a strong student and ambitious, college seemed like selling herself short. "Going to university was the automatic thing to do," she says. "Prestige is the appropriate word to describe how university was presented to me in high school."

Fascinated by economics and international relations, Ms. Parker signed up for political science at Carleton University in Ottawa. Although she wasn't sure where she'd end up, she believed that getting a university education would lead her to a fulfilling career.

But when she graduated in January, 2014, she felt completely unprepared for a job related to her field. "When I came out of university, I wondered, 'Why did I just do that?'" she laments. Ms. Parker is now patching together a living working at a restaurant and an artisan deli. She plans to enroll in a public relations program at Humber College in January, 2015, in the hope of landing a communications role in the food industry. "I just hope I come out actually employable," she says.

Ms. Parker's story is all too familiar. Too many young people flounder around the margins of their chosen field, bouncing from unpaid internship to shortterm contract to coffee shop job. Youth unemployment continues to hover stubbornly around 13 per cent, only 2 per cent lower than its peak during the recession and double the national average. And the unemployment rate doesn't tell the whole story. According to a recent report published by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), the rate of those underemployed - people stuck in part-time or low income jobs, unable to secure full-time work related to their field - is double the unemployment rate.

It seems like a bleak picture. And yet, if some politicians and employers are to be believed, Canada is facing a severe shortage of skilled labour. Last year, a Canadian Chamber of Commerce report estimated that skilled job vacancies would hit 1.5 million by 2016. Those most in demand are said to be in the STEM fields: scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians. In multiple surveys, employers complain that not only are applicants graduating from university without the needed technical knowledge, but also with a lack of soft skills such as communication, analysis and collaboration.

Stephen Harper has blamed the situation partly on "people's choices," meaning that students are at fault for choosing to study subjects that are not in demand. Gwyn Morgan, the long-time executive and board director of some of Canada's largest corporations, points the finger at universities. "Many high school graduates who manage to gain the qualifications needed to enter STEM programs are turned away when they apply to university, even with good marks, because universities won't reallocate money to open more slots for students in those programs," he wrote in The Globe and Mail. He cites a 2013 CIBC World Markets report that argued that universities wasted funds on producing graduates in out-of-demand fields, such as arts and humanities, while turning away thousands of qualified STEM applicants.

Regardless of who's to blame, a gap has emerged between young people's expectations for their future (as cultivated by social norms, parents and even some guidance counsellors) and the realities of the labour market. "We've directed kids to university who would normally not have gone to university because we've said that it's the path to success," says Janet Lane, director of the Centre for Human Capital Policy at the Canada West Foundation. "It's an expensive way to learn what you're best at."

So wherein lies the truth? Is a university education still the leg up that it once was? A close look at the numbers reveals a more nuanced story, in which the right sort of education is still the best route to a good job, decent income and, even better, health and happiness. But what makes an education relevant to this brave new world doesn't fit neatly into the "skills shortage" narrative, and not all universities are delivering.

Ms. Parker wishes her high school and university had done a better job of providing accurate information about viable career paths. "The Carleton website lists jobs you can get with specific degrees and under political science, it lists 'diplomat.' How many people get a poli sci degree and go on to become a diplomat?"

So if young people need to readjust their expectations for their future, what should they expect? How can they reconcile the story told by those decrying Canada's shortage of skilled workers with the grim job market their generation is experiencing? And what kind of education will equip them to succeed?


"Our national welfare, our defense, our standard of living could all be jeopardized by the mismanagement of this supply and demand problem in the field of trained creative intelligence," said James Killian, former president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. If Mr. Killian had used today's preferred phrase of "STEM worker" instead of "trained creative intelligence" you could easily imagine his comment fitting into the debate over a skills gap today. But, in fact, he said this in 1934.

The point is that we've heard this refrain for decades: Too few young people are studying technical fields like science and engineering, companies can't find qualified employees and it threatens our countries' competitive advantage. So, get a degree in STEM and you're practically guaranteed a job - right?

This is where the mystery begins. Why do so many people with STEM degrees end up in non-STEM jobs? According to a study conducted by the U.S. Commerce Department, only 25 per cent of the 15 million Americans who have a STEM degree work in a STEM job. And of all the people working in STEM fields, less than half hold a STEM degree. So, at least in the United States, you don't necessarily need a STEM degree for a STEM job and if you do get one, it won't guarantee a job in the field anyway.

Although we in Canada don't track the STEM graduates like our American neighbours, these statistics offer one possible explanation for the experience of recent graduate Heidi Manicke. After earning a bachelor's and master's degree in German language and literature at Queen's University, Ms. Manicke found part-time work as a translator and filled in the gaps with piece-work contracts translating documents for PhD students. "But it was too hard to scratch out a life," she says, "especially here in Vancouver."

While researching her master's thesis on the Berlin transit system, Ms. Manicke discovered a love of engineering. And so she decided to take what she thought would be an easier path to gainful employment and go back to school to earn a bachelor's degree in engineering specializing in geology and hydrology at the University of British Columbia. She earned strong marks, volunteered for Engineers Without Borders and the UBC Engineering Undergraduate Society and completed three work terms at companies including SNC-Lavalin and Norwest Corp.

With all this experience, she was confident when she started applying for jobs last October, a few months before her January, 2014, graduation. But nearly a year and 130 applications later, she has only landed two interviews and no permanent job offers. "My mind is blown," she says, adding that she has had her résumé edited by a recruiter and two executives of resource extraction companies. "I just don't know what I'm doing wrong."

Ms. Manicke is now working at a bike shop earning about $400 a week to "pay the bills" and is becoming increasingly worried about having to make student loan payments soon. She feels like she was sold a false dream. "Twice now I've been told that there is going to be a great career for me at the end a lot of hard work and then there is nothing," she says. "I don't have a sense of entitlement. I'm not looking for anything fancy. I'm happy going up north and earning my way. Just let me engineer something already." (Shortly before this article went to press, Ms. Manicke received an offer for a job she interviewed for in February. The position is a three-month temporary contract for less pay than her co-op positions, but she is delighted. "It's a fantastic opportunity to get started.")

Of course, the numbers above are American and Ms. Manicke's experience is only one story. However, over the past year, evidence has piled up suggesting that the statistics supporting the argument that Canada is facing a skills shortage may be flawed. Economist Don Drummond first sounded the alarm a year ago when he tried and failed to obtain or replicate the federal government's data at the centre of the Canada Job Grant. Then TD Bank did its own analysis and found no serious mismatch between workers' skills and the needs of employers, except in isolated job markets in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Then there were the revelations that the government depended on unsound data based on the online classified ad service Kijiji. And yet, the idea that a STEM degree leads to a guaranteed job lingers, influencing the decisions of young people like Ms. Manicke.

So is a university education still the excellent route to the good life that it once was?


In April of this year, Statistics Canada released a new report that tracked people who graduated from university in 2010. It found that two years after graduation, the unemployment rate among graduates who entered the work force (didn't go back to school for more training) was 5 per cent, two points lower than the national average. More interestingly, this number is unchanged from five years earlier when the economy was at the height of the boom. Average salaries for bachelor's degree holders actually saw a 7-per-cent increase over that period after being adjusted for inflation.

So while it's undeniable that this period of economic stagnation has affected the job market for young people more than older workers, a bachelor's degree appears to insulate graduates from the harsh job market experienced by their non-educated peers. But not all university educations were created equal. As we've discovered, getting a STEM degree does not necessarily guarantee a job. So what should students concerned about their future look for in their university education?

David Helfand, president of the liberal arts institution Quest University in British Columbia, argues that we shouldn't conflate education and training, that a university education ought to be about learning to think, not about acquiring a set of employable skills. To illustrate his point he recalls a conversation he had with Shirley Bond, B.C.'s minister for jobs, tourism and skills training. "A Quest education sounds great for some students," he recalls her saying. "But B.C. needs 40,000 pipe fitters and you aren't going to send them to me." Dr. Helfand's response: "That's true, but we might supply the one person who can show you why you only need 10,000 pipe fitters."

The idea that learning to think, regardless of a student's field of study, will prepare them for the real world may be difficult for young people to swallow while coping with anxiety about their future. But a new survey of 30,000 college and university graduates published by Gallup and Purdue University contains quantitative ammunition in support of Dr. Helfand's assertion that education is about something more fundamental than gaining skills for a job.

Gallup, the large American polling company, started looking into what made workers productive decades ago. By conducting multiple surveys internationally, Gallup learned that people are more likely to be successful at work when they have great lives. As Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup Education, explains, the research pointed to five elements of a great life: purpose and motivation, strong social relationships, secure financial circumstances, living in a supportive community and good health.

And so Gallup set out to figure out what sort of education would increase people's chances of having great lives and, by extension, great careers. Mr. Busteed argues that looking at well-being offers a much more valuable view of the outcomes of higher education than simply considering employment and income.

One of the most interesting results was what didn't have an impact: the prestige of the university. As it turns out, highly selective schools performed the same on the survey as accessible ones.

What had a big impact was the sort of education that a student received. The most important factor was whether a student felt "emotionally supported" during their undergraduate education.

For graduates who reported that they had at least one professor who made them excited about learning, cared about them and provided mentorship as they pursued their goals, their chances of thriving in their personal life and being engaged in their work more than doubled.

Another key finding was that graduates who reported having "experiential or deep learning" were twice as likely to be engaged in work. The survey defined this sort of learning as doing a long-term project that took a semester or more to complete, experiencing an internship or being extremely involved in extracurricular activities.

These insights are interesting in light of multiple surveys in which employers complain that they struggle to recruit employees with so-called "soft skills:" the ability to effectively collaborate, communicate, problem solve and so on. Students who complete a co-op, community-based project, international exchange or genuine research experience in a lab (the sort of learning experiences that Gallup highlights) also have more developed soft skills.

"Employers call them the 'soft skills', but they aren't soft at all; they are very hard to learn," says Canada West Foundation's Ms. Lane. She argues that university is where young people ought to be developing these skills and notes that Canadian companies are spending less on training employees with technical skills in the workplace than ever before. "There is no such thing as a 'job-ready' graduate. Everyone needs training."

The good news is that many of Canada's universities are rising to the challenge and creating new opportunities for undergraduate students to apply their knowledge, work on long-term projects with real-world impact and develop their so-called soft skills. In this year's Canadian University Report, we researched 61 Canadian universities with our lens focused firmly on which universities were innovating in order to create a truly high quality undergraduate education that would best prepare students not only to net a great job after graduation, but also thrive in all aspects of their lives.

Where Canada's universities still need work is in helping students understand how their education, regardless of their chosen field of study, can be applied to life after school. But the students who have received this sort of education, value their experience. In the words of Lauren Tucker, who graduated in psychology from Brock University in spring, 2014: "The main strength of my education at Brock was that it focused on developing well-rounded students," she said. "I not only know the material inside and out but can apply what I've learned to future roles."


Some universities are rising to the challenge and creating new ways for undergraduate students to think about how their education applies to life after school.

The Arts Pedagogy and Innovation Labat the University of Alberta is piloting a program that has arts students engaged in writing assignments that are more related to the real world than straightforward academic essays.

At Saint Mary's University, students in any major have A access to co-op opportunities.

The University of Waterloo features entrepreneurship T education through innovative programs such as its live-in community of student entrepreneurs known as VeloCity.

At the University of Windsor, the Entrepreneurial Practice A and Innovation Centre offers classes on how entrepreneurship relates to students in all fields, from computing to the arts.

At Dalhousie University, students in any major can take A a minor in sustainability, which involves completing a year-long project with a community partner.

Associated Graphic


Clair Parker is like many grads who find themselves underemployed and asking: Why?

Heidi Manicke believed her engineering degree would guarantee a full-time job.


Doug Ford is selling himself on the campaign trail as a sound businessman who has turned his company, Deco Labels and Tags, into an international brand. This week he used this against his rival, John Tory, as evidence that he is best qualified to manage the public purse. But a closer look at Deco's operations tells a different story - one of a troubled expansion into New Jersey and challenges in Toronto. As Ford seeks to make his expertise a deciding factor for voters, The Globe explores the inner workings of a company he has helmed for more than a decade
Saturday, October 11, 2014 – Print Edition, Page M1

PENNSAUKEN, N.J. -- If you weren't specifically looking for it, you'd never spot Wise Tag and Label.

On a recent afternoon, the reception desk stood empty and no one was in any of the offices. A reporter, looking for someone to speak with, eventually found a manager near the back printing press.

This is Deco Labels and Tags' New Jersey division - and according to mayoral candidate Doug Ford, one of the company's "most vibrant locations."

On his newly launched candidate website, the councillor offers up Wise Tag and Label as an example of his savvy business instincts. He writes that he purchased the "failing company" in 2008 and then turned it around. But former Deco employees say that the only thing the Wise Tag venture is an example of is Mr. Ford's impulsiveness and inability to plan.

Wise Tag is a case study of how Doug Ford operates, said one of his close business associates.

The Fords' foray into New Jersey has been a drain on the company, former Deco employees with knowledge of the acquisition told The Globe and Mail. Wise Tag has not been turned around and Mr. Ford turned to his family for a cash infusion to keep it afloat, according to one source. Also, the son of Wise Tag's former owner is suing Councillor Ford for $179,654.27 related to alleged unpaid loans, credit-card debt and compensation.

Two former Deco employees likened the situation in New Jersey to Councillor Ford's 2011 ambitions to build a giant Ferris wheel along Toronto's eastern waterfront: grand plans, poor execution.

Last month, Councillor Ford entered the mayoral race after his brother Rob Ford was forced to withdraw for health reasons. Since then, Councillor Ford has worked to make the ballot-box question about private-sector experience.

He held a press conference on Wednesday to accuse mayoral candidate John Tory, a lawyer and former Rogers executive, of hiding unflattering periods of his career, including time spent on the board of a struggling U.S. cable company. The councillor unveiled a new attack ad.

"You say you have the business experience to navigate this city's budget, but weren't you intimately involved with Charter Communications, one of the largest bankruptcies in American history?" it began.

(The co-founder of Charter Communications has since said that the company's financial issues predated Mr. Tory's tenure.)

By contrast, Mr. Ford has styled himself as an entrepreneur who expanded his father's small printing company into an international brand with 250 employees and offices in Toronto, Chicago and New Jersey. He says he is a keen businessman whose real-world experience as president of Deco best qualifies him to manage public money.

However, since the recession in 2008 - the year Mr. Ford bought Wise Tag - Deco Labels and Tags has struggled, both financially and from an operational standpoint. As a privately owned business, Deco is under no obligation to disclose internal financial information. But an ongoing court battle over child support between Randy Ford, the elder brother of Councillor Ford and Mayor Ford, and his ex-partner has provided a glimpse behind the curtain. Between those court records, documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and interviews with 11 former Deco employees - including staff from the Chicago and New Jersey offices - working in a variety of roles, many of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, The Globe has composed a portrait of the company that Doug Ford has steered for more than a decade.

(Councillor Ford and the manager of the American division of Deco, Larry Wells, did not respond to interview requests. In a letter, Randy Ford's lawyer, Colin Still, said any court records obtained by the Globe are confidential, although they are public documents.)

Deco Labels and Tags was cofounded in 1962 by Councillor Ford's father, Doug Ford Sr. As young adults, Doug Ford Sr.'s four children started working at the family business, although it was apparent early on that Doug Ford Jr. would be the one to take over the company. Rob was focused on politics. Randy and Kathy Ford struggled with drugs and were in and out of the business. Their personal issues sometimes spilled over into work.

According to company lore - a story that was confirmed by a police official with direct knowledge of the incident, a former Deco employee and a source close to the Fords - about two decades ago, police officers spotted Randy walking out of Deco holding a garbage bag in one hand and a weigh scale in the other. They suspected the bag was filled with marijuana. When Randy Ford spotted the officers, he ran into the office. The officers chased after him and wrestled him to the ground. But when they turned to collect the evidence, the bag was gone. Police believe someone disposed of it during the commotion.

By the time Doug Ford Sr. won a seat with Ontario's Progressive Conservatives in 1995, Doug Ford Jr. was essentially running Deco, although he would not officially become president until about 2002.

In the interim, Doug Ford Jr. set out on his own and launched the Chicago branch in 1999. As far as anyone can tell, Councillor Ford didn't do any significant market research before heading south of the border. He showed up and just started "pounding the pavement to get clients," said one former longtime Deco employee.

"He's a people person. ... He knows what he's selling - whether it's labels or what he's selling right now," said another source who has worked with Doug Ford in sales. "I've been with him at trade shows where he literally took people out of the aisle into our booth and did a sales pitch to them. And it worked."

The Chicago branch started to grow. By the time Mr. Ford became a councillor, it was generating around $11-million in annual revenue, two sources with knowledge of the operations said.

Mr. Ford split his time between Toronto and Chicago, typically flying to the U.S. on Tuesday morning and returning on Friday. Sources close to the family say it was always Mr. Ford's hope that he would take over Chicago full-time, add offices in Florida and perhaps California, while maintaining a financial interest in the Toronto operation.

Mr. Ford struggled to work with his siblings, especially Randy. Neither man has a business degree, but former Deco employees say Councillor Ford, at a minimum, was aware that successful businesses measure productivity, monitor inventory and plan incessantly.

The pair often yelled at each other in front of employees.

Though Mr. Ford was the company's president, Deco was still owned by Doug Ford Sr. in 2006, when the Ford patriarch was diagnosed with colon cancer. Before he died, he sat down with each of his sons to ask what he wanted in life. Both Randy and Doug chose Deco. Rob picked politics.

Doug Ford Sr. didn't want to divide up the company by location. Instead, he split ownership - 40 per cent, 40 per cent, and 20 per cent - with Rob Ford receiving the lesser percentage. A copy of Randy Ford's pay stub, which was filed as part of the child support litigation, shows that he makes about $200,000 annually. Doug collects a similar salary, one source said, although he's paid out of the Chicago office. (Rob Ford receives commissions when one of his accounts places an order, but no salary. All three receive shareholders' bonuses during profitable years).

After his father's death, Mr. Ford concentrated even more on the American side of the business.

He is well liked in Chicago. Amy Devitt worked at the branch as a graphic designer for four months between 2008 and 2009. Mr. Ford left an impression.

"I absolutely loved Doug. He was a great guy ... a wonderful guy to work for," she said. She thought the office was a "very well run machine."

But the success of Chicago was not easily replicated.

He tried to launch a Florida division, but the office was described as little more than "a desk and a phone." No former Deco employees interviewed for this story could remember if any orders were placed from that location - or any staff working there.

In late 2011, Deco set up a satellite office in Ohio. Ken Jakubek was the lone salesman there for nine months. He said his experience with Deco was positive, but landing big clients was difficult because the printing plant was seven hours away. To the best of his knowledge, he said in an interview, he wasn't replaced.

Then there was New Jersey. In 2008, Mr. Ford learned about a distressed plant in Pennsauken, a suburb of Philadelphia. One source said Mr. Ford described it as "the deal of the century."

The owner, W. Sprague Wise, was suffering from heart problems. The family was looking for a partner or investor, but Mr. Ford wanted to buy them out.

Back in Toronto, his staff warned him to go slowly. Wise Tag was in trouble and would need a significant cash investment to get back in the black.

"It looked like there might be an opportunity, but we needed to do more work," said one former Deco employee.

Mr. Ford didn't follow the advice. He bought the company and promptly fired Mr. Wise's son, Kevin, who was the acting manager. Former Deco staff say other Wise Tag staffers were let go too.

Tinavalen Nguyen worked as an account executive for a little more than a year in 2010 and 2011.

"Deco had great intentions, was probably a fantastic company. It just didn't translate well when it came time to merge it with Wise Tag and Label," she said, adding that it was never clear for whom she was working - Deco or Wise Tag.

"I was hired by the name Deco Labels and Tags, yet every paycheque I got was Wise Tag and Label. My business cards still said Wise Tag," Ms. Nguyen said.

A well-placed source said Doug Ford turned to his family to ask for extra money. He said without the additional investment, Wise Tag would fail.

Meanwhile, by that point, business at the Toronto office was slowing.

Records show that the current acting head of the company, Randy Ford, has seen his annual income drop from $910,520 in 2007 to $225,543 in 2010. One source said the roughly $685,000 was bonus after a profitable year. By 2009, Randy Ford's anticipated bonus was around $177,000. Internal Deco financial documents, obtained by a source and independently verified by another, indicate that in the years leading up to Mayor Ford's victory four years ago, the Canadian and American sides of Deco were losing money. Between 2009 and 2010, Deco's total loses were around $1.1-million. (Sources say the Chicago side has rebounded in the past few years.)

The reasons are varied. The recession played a significant role, as it did in many companies. Some of the biggest clients demanded discounts, according to sources. Others left because of the bad press around Mayor Ford, said one source who dealt with customers. Separately, another major client left altogether.

"The income of the corporation declined substantially for the year end February 28, 2009 and accordingly my bonus declined, due to the fact that one of the corporation's best customers, namely Avery, decided to take their work to Mexico," reads an affidavit filed by Randy Ford in his child-support case.

Former Deco employees say the real culprit was a lack of organization. The issues they point to seem to mirror the problems that plagued the Ford administration at city hall - before it lost control of the agenda. They say family infighting, little interest in details, and an inability to plan were constantly impeding progress.

Three former employees who worked out of Deco's Toronto office say the best example of the dysfunction is Apollo Health and Beauty Care, which became a significant client in 2011. The Fords wanted to make Apollo happy - even at the expense, at times, of more longstanding clients.

For example, Deco would commit to a printing a major order of meat labels ahead of a scheduled sale. But then Apollo would demand that a comparatively small job be done right away and Deco would jump.

"So instead of making time for a big customer, who is the bread and butter of your company ... they'd be like 'we have to really get that Apollo job on,' " said a former Deco staffer.

This approach to production caused delays, missed shipping dates and ultimately, frustrated clients. Former employees said that the Fords' focus always seemed to be on the thing in front of them and not the big picture.

Even the City of Toronto, which orders thousands of dollars worth of products from Deco - including tourism labels, bike signage, and permit tags - had problems.

One incident chronicled through an e-mail exchange between the city's Randy Smith and Deco's Angie Garcha was obtained by The Globe through a freedom-of-information request. In early 2014, the City of Toronto ordered 500,000 water-meter tags for $24,195.

Deco initially committed to shipping the order on May 12, but it was changed to May 20. Five days before that deadline, Ms. Garcha e-mailed with bad news.

"Due to the long weekend holidays we are going to be a bit late as to shipping this order out. We will have it shipped to arrive there on Friday May 23rd for sure."

Then it was changed to June 5.

Mr. Smith, a supervisor with Toronto Water, waited all day and, when nothing came, e-mailed Deco: "June 5th has come and gone without any delivery." The order arrived June 10.

That wasn't the only issue with the job. At the time of invoicing, the city was billed an additional $2,419.50 charge for extra tags that came off the print run.

"We ordered 500,000 and I never even dreamed that we would need to specify no overs or unders," Mr. Smith wrote to Deco. In the end, the city agreed to take the extras.

Back in New Jersey, Doug Ford is facing a deadline that he won't be able to avoid. After he acquired Wise Tag and Label and fired Kevin Wise, Mr. Wise filed a civil action against Mr. Ford in the Superior Court of New Jersey. The lawsuit alleges Mr. Ford vowed to reimburse him nearly $180,000 in credit-card debt, loans and unpaid salary during the sale of Wise Tag. His complaint alleges that when Mr. Ford made "the promises ... (he) had no intention of performing them."

In a response, Mr. Ford denied making any promise, said he owes Kevin Wise nothing and has asked the judge to dismiss the case. "In the agreement, Kevin Wise and W. Sprague Wise promised to assume the $95,000 creditcard obligations. ... Doug Ford would never have agreed to the financial and other terms had he known that the aforementioned clauses would not have been honoured," Mr. Ford's lawyer, Kevin Siegel, wrote in a January, 2013, court filing.

A settlement conference is scheduled for next Thursday. If unsuccessful, the case goes to trial on Nov. 10.

Associated Graphic

Mr. Ford arrives at a mayoral debate Sept. 29.


The office in Pennsauken, N.J.; Mr. Ford takes a phone call during a city council meeting in July.


The head office of Deco Labels and Tags in Etobicoke. J.P. MOCZULSKI FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Friday Night Northern Lights Neville Gallimore of Ottawa brings a small, football-first school major notice
The Canada Prep Academy Raiders play four-down football exclusively against top U.S. varsity teams. The exposure attracts NCAA Division 1 scouts who wouldn't otherwise see young Canadian talent, Rachel Brady writes from St. Catharines, Ont.
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

In the belly of a small Ontario private school sits a weight room where 40 students muscle through their workouts each day. They stare at walls covered in large bulletin boards, featuring dozens of rousing colour pamphlets and posters they found nestled inside mail received from recruiters throughout U.S. college football.

"It doesn't get easier, you just get better," reads a scarlet-andgrey pamphlet from the Ohio State Buckeyes. "We've got 38 players on NFL rosters," boasts one from the Wisconsin Badgers. There's an oversized poster of fiery defensive lineman Aaron Donald from Pitt, the best defensive player in the NCAA last year, and another of Mississippi State star linebacker Benardrick McKinney leaping at the ball inside a packed stadium. Every college is campaigning for top recruits, and some live right here, in this Canadian startup.

Geoff McArthur, the head coach at this two-year-old private high school, was a premier receiver in NCAA football just more than a decade ago, smashing school records while hauling in touchdown passes from Aaron Rodgers at the University of California, Berkeley. Today, the 31-year-old Los Angeles native runs Canada Prep Academy, a football-centric boarding school in St. Catharines, Ont., 20 minutes from Buffalo. The academy touts itself as the only high school in Canada playing exclusively four-down football and a full schedule of games against American varsity squads.

The Canada Prep Academy Raiders, decked out in the same white, silver and black of the NFL's Oakland franchise, travel south of the border to play an allroad schedule. They go to Michigan, Ohio, New York State, Maryland and Texas to showcase their talents against some of the most highly ranked high-school teams in the United States. They usually lose; sometimes they get crushed. But there, under the Friday night lights, they earn great experience, create valuable game film and play right under the noses of U.S. college scouts. Their top priority is exposure.

Canada Prep joins a growing list of sports schools in North America, a model vastly different from the traditional high-school experience. Many critics have blasted such academies as travel teams masquerading as schools, calling them football factories or diploma mills, with dubious academics. Many have been fly-by-night operations, going out of business because of poor academic programs or failed finances.

"You have to have the right people in charge of your academics," McArthur said, and he's convinced Canada Prep does. Still, it is unquestionably a football-first institution. "Because we play so many Top 100 schools, our total schedule is tougher than most American high school teams would play in a season, and we want to play the big schools no one else wants to face," said McArthur, who was an All-American at Cal in 2003, finishing second in the NCAA behind Larry Fitzgerald in receiving yards. "From the weight room to practice to the classroom, to the dorms and film study, we're simulating what it's like to be in a college football program here. It's still early in the year, but already it looks like we'll have at least five, six guys going on Division 1 scholarships to the U.S. next year."

Attracting scouts and students

The players at Canada Prep have come from all parts of the country, plus four from England, each paying some $16,500 a year in tuition for their schooling, on-campus boarding and meals, training and travel to games. Most players came in the hopes of earning a scholarship to play at a U.S university. While that will be decided largely on a kid's talent, McArthur promises to compile every player's video highlights and shop them to American and Canadian recruiters.

Big-name coaches from such programs as Mississippi State, Oklahoma and Oregon have made the trek to St. Catharines, arrived at the vacated old high school building the school now rents, set back on a side-street next to some train tracks. Most come first to see Neville Gallimore, a 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive lineman with more than 25 offers from NCAA Division I schools. ranks the Ottawa native as the 18th best at his position in the class of 2015, and he is widely considered the top high school football player currently in Canada, exhibiting a rare combination of size, speed and co-ordination. The broad-shouldered 17-year-old looks like a fullgrown man and oozes personality as he jokes with the cook in the school cafeteria, where 40 athletes rumble in like an army three times a day - to eat anything, and lots of it.

"We're like a family here," said Gallimore, who has narrowed his choices to Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Florida and Florida State. "I don't think as many recruiters would have found me in Ottawa. I wanted the chance to show how well I could stack up against American competition. For me, it's been a confidence booster and the expectations are high. The coaches who see our film are a lot more respectful of it when they see us playing other American kids. A lot of people questioned my decision, but I'm glad I came here."

Gallimore hasn't just drawn scouts, but more students too. Canada Prep had 27 students last year and saw a bump in applications after the star defensive lineman started pulling in big-time offers last spring.

"I knew Neville was here, and I wanted to see if I could make that kind of thing happen for myself," said linebacker Troy Hansen, who transferred to Canada Prep this fall from Kent Prep in Connecticut. "The coach there wasn't really getting my film out there. The academics are better here. Before I came here, I had one D1 school interested in me. Now I have an official visit planned for Cal, and I've talked to Oregon and Oklahoma. It's just better for me. You see that it's an attainable dream for a Canadian kid. I don't think I would have got that attention back home in Edmonton."

To a visitor entering its front doors, Canada Prep feels like an old high school closed for summer, with its quiet hallways and empty lockers. The 40 football players, their six coaches and five teachers have the run of the three-floor building, except a small portion inhabited by a 14student private elementary school. Many staples of traditional high school life are nowhere to be found - no other students, sports, clubs, dances, home games or proms.

The Raiders live there together 24/7, in oversized rooms partitioned into dorms for eight, their clothes strewn over the makeshift walls. They train together in the gymnasium, pore over game film together, and watch NFL football while sprawled on second-hand couches in front of a big-screen TV just like college kids; they take team sightseeing trips to nearby Niagara Falls.

"We're here all the time, together all the time, but I came here for the chance to get a Division-1 scholarship and it's all worth it," said receiver Brendan Orange of Toronto. "I think I've matured since coming here."

Building a new model

Canada Prep has risen out of the ashes of a previous failed attempt at a football private school. In 2012, McArthur was originally contracted by a football coaching business in California to coach at the Niagara Football Academy (NFA), a startup private high school in Niagara Falls which intended to play U.S. high schools. Trisha Levasseur, the owner of NFA and a mother of a high school quarterback who would play on the team, partnered with the Niagara Academy of Tennis to provide the education.

Yet four months in, Levasseur struggled to pay NFA's bills, largely because she had given scholarships and tuition breaks to many players. A legal battle ensued between the two academies, and lots of people went unpaid, including McArthur. Police investigated. The kids were left to choose between finishing their final few months of the school year at the tennis academy or going to a new academic provider with the financially uncertain NFA. The coach was caught in the middle, his only loyalty to the players he was coaching. Several other coaches quit.

"I didn't run home to California, because I never did anything wrong and I'm not a quitter, plus my name was all over this thing," McArthur said. "It was terrible, but I stuck it out. I wanted to be a man of my word to those kids, to be part of a Canadian first. Canada isn't where the U.S is at the football development level, and I thought I had something really valuable to share. I could use my college connections to help kids, and I really liked being a head coach. There was a lot of good going on too."

He had a coaching offer in hand from a D1-AA program in the U.S, but seven kids from NFA said they wanted to reinvent the program with him and hoped he would stay in Canada. So McArthur and another former Cal player, Tully Banta-Cain, who spent a couple of seasons with the New England Patriots, pitched in funds to get Canada Prep Academy started in St. Catharines for the 2013 season. They operated out of the building they inhabit today, which last year was run by a private school called Pinehurst, which provided Canada Prep its academics too.

"We didn't have much money, it was very bare bones, but everyone was paid, and we were accountable for everything we said we would do," McArthur said. "People were hesitant because of everything that had happened with the old academy, and I don't blame them. But despite everything, we had three kids on that 2012 team land scholarships in the NCAA, and of the 16 seniors on that team, 14 of them went to play college football somewhere in Canada or the U.S. Exposurewise, people saw that it worked."

A year into Canada Prep's new academic arrangement, Pinehurst School ceased operations because of low enrolment. So rather than rely on yet another outside educator, Canada Prep stayed in the building and applied to the Ontario Ministry of Education to become its own school. One of the teachers remained and became principal, built a teaching staff along with the academic program.

Today, security cameras survey the halls and team spaces at Canada Prep and feed into monitors in the office of principal Patrick Fife, a slender 26-year-old man a few years out of teacher's college who also lives in a residence attached to his office, teaches four classes a day, leads evening study hall and acts as team manager and photographer on trips.

Classes, usually of less than 10 players, cater specifically to their admissions needs and learning styles. In English, they mix in books like Friday Night Lights and The Colony, a political allegory written by former NFL running back Reggie Rivers. Fife sometimes conducts classes outdoors or has the boys run around the gym in search of information he has placed around the room.

"We gear the lessons to boys and what student athletes would have interest in; they thrive when I get them up and moving," Fife said. "As you can see, I'm not exactly athletic myself, but I know how to reach them."

They study only math, science, English and social studies and prepare to take SAT and ACT tests necessary for admission to U.S universities. Other courses, like arts and music, aren't offered.

Nor are the on-field experiences always uplifting: The Raiders sometimes get clobbered, as in last week's 42-0 bruising at the hands of St. Edward High School, a powerhouse program in Lakewood, Ohio. It's work keeping morale up.

"The fact that they're playing so many big programs is getting them lots of attention from coaches, and when you see them on the field, they're a big football team that really looks the part of big college prospects, with lots of real playmakers," said Josh Helmholdt, a recruiting analyst for who has watched the Raiders play this year. "From everything I've seen and heard, coach McArthur has done a really good job there and they have the talent to compete in the Midwest as they grow together."

McArthur and Fife imagine the ways they could grow the academy: adding more students next year and possibly a local junior varsity team that plays some games in Buffalo; perhaps a more substantial science and technology program. Down the road perhaps it could become a multi-sport academy.

"The competition here creates a character chase, these guys all want to beat each other, and the recruiting mail all over the walls kind of serves as inspiration," McArthur said. "They just eat, sleep and breathe football."

Associated Graphic

Neville Gallimore of Ottawa is six-foot-three and 300 pounds, but he doubts he'd get much attention from U.S. college scouts if he wasn't playing at Canada Prep Academy in St. Catharines, Ont. The 17-year-old defensive lineman has had more than 25 scholarship offers from top schools such as Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Florida and Florida State.


Coach Geoff McArthur, top left, heads a program that plays four-down football to get players ready for competition this season against U.S. high schools - and for U.S. colleges later on. Aspiring footballers such as defensive tackle Jadin Ash-Dawson, above (90), live at the Academy, take the same classes and practise and play together. The Raiders sometimes get crushed by the powerhouse teams they play, but students say the tough schedule gives them a shot at a college scholarship.


Tory's way
He's a former CEO and 'peacemaker' at Rogers, who led the CFL and the PCs. He's also a mayoral front-runner who can 'take things too personally' and has faced a string of political defeats. If he wins, he'd step into a divided city hall. Ann Hui and Jeff Gray offer an inside look at what he could bring to the table
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page M1

As John Tory made his way out of a Bloor West Village press conference one recent Saturday morning, his spokeswoman Amanda Galbraith pulled him aside to deliver some bad news.

Like every weekend since he entered the mayoral race eight months ago, Mr. Tory's day was packed with appearances, and until that point, everything had gone smoothly.

But standing a few feet from the crowd, they spoke in hushed tones. The night before, he'd wrongly claimed that he hadn't donated money to the campaign of rival Doug Ford four years ago. Now, another rival, Olivia Chow, was calling him on it.

"I was wrong - that I donated to Doug's campaign?" Mr. Tory said, irritation creeping into his voice. "I mean, who gives a shit?"

He remained annoyed even after speaking again with reporters. "I mean, so what?" he said as he walked away toward the car. "So what?" he repeated again a few minutes later, on the phone with strategist Nick Kouvalis. "Is that the best she can come up with?"

It's understandable if Mr. Tory is tenser than usual. With just a few weeks left in what has already been a gruelling campaign, he has managed to maintain a comfortable lead in the majority of recent polls - and he is increasingly under attack by his rivals.

And, after a string of political defeats - losing the mayoral race in 2003, a provincial by-election win in 2005 quickly followed by losses in 2007 and 2009 - Mr. Tory is poised, for the first time in almost a decade, for victory on election night.

The Globe spoke with more than 20 people who have worked with him throughout his career at Rogers Communications Inc., the Canadian Football League, and Queen's Park for insight on what kind of a mayor Mr. Tory might make. Some paint a picture of a leader ideally suited to city hall: an executive with experience in turning around tough situations and a talent for bringing people together - as he did in keeping the CFL afloat. But at a time when city hall remains deeply divided and under extreme scrutiny, others speak of a man who has trouble dealing with criticism, who lacks experience and has a tendency to micromanage.

But in the car that Saturday, Mr. Tory said he was confident he could do the job.

"I know how to be a leader, and the job is to be a leader," he said.

He paused for just a second.

"Do I know how to be a leader?

The answer is yes."

Despite describing his upbringing as "normal," Mr. Tory also happens to come from one of the most well-connected families in the city, with ties to some of Canada's most powerful institutions.

His late father, lawyer John A. Tory, was a trusted adviser to the late Kenneth Thomson, whose Woodbridge Co. Ltd. is majority owner of The Globe and Mail.

And the senior Mr. Tory's father founded prominent law firm Torys LLP.

But his family instilled in him the importance of public service from an early age, Mr. Tory said, with Christmases spent delivering meals to the needy, and other regular volunteer work. "We were told that we were fortunate to be in a fortunate kind of upbringing."

By 14, Mr. Tory was a card-carrying member of the provincial Progressive Conservative party working on political campaigns - a job he would continue through Osgoode Hall Law School.

After rising to managing partner at Torys, and politically, as principal secretary to former premier Bill Davis, Mr. Tory was asked in 1995 by family friend Ted Rogers to run Rogers Media.

The ties between the two families run deep. Mr. Tory's father was a long-time friend and adviser of Mr. Rogers, who himself articled at the Torys law firm before launching into the broadcasting business.

Mr. Tory's arrival at Rogers was timed the year after the company executed a hostile takeover of Maclean-Hunter. "I was sent in to bring these companies together and to cause them to sort of form one united team," he said.

Several of his colleagues at Rogers say he was well-liked by employees, and adept at dealing with the hard-driving Ted Rogers, who died in 2008.

"So he gets everybody onside.

He's not a polarizer. He doesn't go out of his way to make you mad. He doesn't go out of his way to prove he's smarter," said David Peterson, the former Ontario premier who sits on the Rogers board. Mr. Tory acted as "peacemaker" between the Rogers family, the company's other shareholders and its directors, he said.

By 1999, Mr. Tory was promoted to CEO of Rogers' cable division, the heart of the business.

But at least one former senior insider says that Mr. Tory was distracted during his time, and that many of the big decisions were being made by Mr. Rogers and his long-time right-hand man, Phil Lind. The former insider, who would only speak to The Globe on the condition of anonymity, also said Mr. Tory had designs on Mr. Rogers's position at the helm of the parent company.

"He sort of kept the ship going," the source said of Mr. Tory. He said Mr. Tory was busy at the same time with charity work and an eye on politics: "He was never 100 per cent committed to being in there, rolling up his sleeves and running the business."

Mr. Tory denied this, pointing out that revenue rose steadily during his tenure, with new products, such as video-ondemand, introduced in that time.

He added that much of his charity and political work was done outside office hours.

He acknowledges that he would have liked the top job at Rogers, but said the real reason he left in 2003 was to pursue politics.

"He was never going to give up the reins," Mr. Tory said of Mr. Rogers. "So in that sense, you might have said 'you'd take his job if it was offered,' but it was fairly clear to me that it wasn't going to be available."

At the same time he was running Rogers, Mr. Tory was also cleaning up a mess at the CFL.

"I had to keep it alive. It was bankrupt," he said of his role as chair, then volunteer commissioner of the league. After years of declining revenues, and a failed expansion in the United States, several teams found themselves on the verge of bankruptcy.

Some owners' spending - including on player salaries - was "just outrageous and ridiculous," said former league president Jeff Giles, and Mr. Tory helped convince them that those types of decisions disrupted the salary structure for the entire league.

"They were all seeing the challenge through their own lenses.

What I remember was John's ability to focus on the common goal," Mr. Giles said.

Later, as leader of the Progressive Conservatives at Queen's Park, he exercised those same skills working with a party deep in debt, and caucus members who owed little to the new leader.

"It's a group of caucus members that will win their seats almost no matter what they do," said Brendan Howe, Mr. Tory's press secretary at the time.

"There was no pull that you have to try and get them to fall in line."

To counter this, Mr. Tory spent much of his time travelling to members' ridings, listening to their concerns, and became known for personally calling every member of caucus every Christmas Eve to wish them a Merry Christmas.

But Bill Murdoch, who was kicked out of caucus by Mr. Tory after speaking out against Mr.

Tory's promise in 2007 to extend public funding to all Ontario faith-based schools, attributes the "bone-headed decision" to his political inexperience - and warned it could be his downfall this time, too.

Mr. Tory's faith-based schools decision was widely unpopular among the public, and a misstep that would ultimately lose him the election. He also made the gamble to run in the Toronto riding of Don Valley West against then-popular minister Kathleen Wynne - a decision he defends as based on principle, but left him without a seat after he lost.

Two years later, Mr. Tory lost another by-election, after Laurie Scott stepped aside in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, and he resigned as party leader.

"I think it really helps an MPP or an MP to be in municipal politics and stuff like that to work your way up," Mr. Murdoch said.

With the decision to stick to the faith-based funding issue despite it being unpopular - and then to kick him out of caucus - Mr. Murdoch said, "he was trying to prove a point, that he was a boss."

Others say Mr. Tory was simply sticking to previously-made promises. "I think John has a kind of commitment to principle that outweighs in some respect political consideration," said Senator Bob Runciman, a former MPP.

Still, Mr. Murdoch believes Mr. Tory would be a good mayor.

By 10:30 a.m., Mr. Tory is headed to his third event of the day, a giant Eid Festival celebration at the Direct Energy Centre.

On his way in, he shakes hands and greets people - many of them he knows by name through his work in the community. "I'm not showing any disrespect by walking around while they're praying?" he asks a volunteer, who shakes his head no.

He makes his way into a reception area where he was set to give a speech, and standing inside was Premier Kathleen Wynne - also there to speak.

Ms. Wynne was careful to say that she's not endorsing any candidate, but described Mr. Tory as a "friend."

"He ran against me," she says, chuckling, when asked about running against Mr. Tory in 2007.

She says she has since used the race as an example to show staffers "how I believe people need to relate to each other. We had a respectful campaign and we came out friends at the end."

But others said that Mr. Tory might face a tough transition at city hall. He wakes up at 5 a.m. every morning, and has been known to arrive at work as early as 6 a.m., leaving staffers scrambling to unlock the doors. He described himself as a "demanding" boss - "but at the same time, very encouraging."

And the bureaucracy at city hall could prove frustrating for him, given a leadership style that several staffers - at least when it comes to campaigning - describe as micromanaging.

"A normal candidate might not necessarily want to know how many signs have been ordered, are they at the stations, did we get this length of the wood of the stick, how are we pounding them into the ground, and all that sort of stuff," said a member of his campaign team - one of several members to speak with The Globe on the condition that their names be withheld.

Mr. Tory acknowledged that he can be a micromanager, but said it's only because he has worked on so many campaigns in the past. "I've done it, and that unfortunately creates a history in your head."

And if elected, Mr. Tory's every move will be dissected, and subject to fierce criticism - something that two members of his campaign say he can be prickly about. "I think he's developed more alligator skin - tougher skin than he had before, but I think it's a fair point that he can take some of these things too personally," said the member of his campaign team.

Onstage in debates, he does his best to show he has the stomach for the rough and tumble exchanges - fending off the boisterous Doug Ford, who charges him with being an outof-touch elite, with quips of his own. But he clearly does not relish it.

"It's very different from 2003," he says of the tenor of this race.

"David Miller and I ... we had disagreements on issues, but it was entirely respectful. Entirely respectful."

His mother, meanwhile, has stopped watching the debates.

"She'd call me - she's 82 - and ask 'why is he saying that? If your father saw that, he'd be upset.' " Mr. Tory himself acknowledged that he doesn't like criticism, but said he wasn't alone on this.

"I just think oftentimes politicians aren't honest when they say 'none of that stuff bothers me,' " he said. "What human being would wake up to the newspaper in the morning, read some column containing some stuff that is diminishing your career personally, and not be concerned by that?" The solution, he said, is "much of the time, I just don't bother to read it."

Later, he was asked about a recent article describing his past political defeats. "I think they described it as having gone through the 'valley of hell?' " a reporter asked him.

Without missing a beat, he corrected her: "The valley of defeat."

Associated Graphic


By age 14, Tory was a card-carrying member of the provincial Progressive Conservative party and working on political campaigns.


John Tory doesn't care for the personal attacks. 'Politicians aren't honest when they say 'none of that stuff bothers me.''


Universities are working to kick-start a new generation of entrepreneurs - and prompting critics to question the wisdom of even trying. Simona Chiose reports
Saturday, October 11, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F5

Neesha Desai is an award-winning entrepreneur with a problem. After designing a simple computer program to help her niece with math homework, she set to work on making a computer-writing program that encourages children to develop their vocabulary.

The idea won $20,000 in an innovation competition, and Ms. Desai and several partners spent most of the past year turning Alieo Games into a business that is launching this fall.

So, what's the problem? She did all this while she was supposed to be finishing her PhD dissertation in computer science at the University of Alberta. "If you asked me a year and a half ago," she explains, "I would have never said I want to start my own business." Now, even with a supportive graduate-thesis adviser, she has to do a lot of juggling.

And she is hardly alone. Campuses across the country are racing to provide homes for budding entrepreneurs - incubators, labs, accelerators, and classes where students with business ideas can connect with others of their species, and receive mentoring and advice from senior business people. But as they do so, some observers are expressing caution, questioning whether the programs are proliferating before universities know how to teach entrepreneurship successfully, or even if it can be taught at all.

There is no doubt that Canada needs more entrepreneurs - both to drive productivity and to close the innovation gap. In its annual report on prosperity, the Conference Board of Canada compared the ability of 16 countries to create companies that demonstrate some of the basic building blocks of innovation: investing in R&D, gaining access to venture capital, and successfully taking their business global.

Canada ranked behind all but three countries (at the top of the list were Switzerland, Sweden and the United States). When it came to the venture-capital metric, we came in second-last. Universities are hoping they can improve those outcomes. And governments are keen to demonstrate that they are doing something about underwhelming labour-market outcomes for younger demographics: In its spring budget, Ontario found $51million for student and youth entrepreneurship; and across the country, money like that is buying a lot of what prior generations would see as campus career centres on steroids.

Ontario is home to two of Canada's most high-profile tech incubators: Ryerson University's Digital Media Zone; and the University of Waterloo's Velocity lab.

In recent months, the U of A has launched eHUB, a centre to help budding entrepreneurs; Ms. Desai went to eHUB often over the course of the summer, when she had questions about taxes, accounting and licensing. It is much like the University of British Columbia's Entrepreneurship@UBC and the Imagination Catalyst at OCAD University in Toronto, which takes in recent graduates and entrepreneurs from the community. Many such programs are targeted at science, technology and the digital economy, which tend to incubate companies that grow their earnings and employee numbers quickly.

Do entrepreneurs go to school?

In virtual space, there are long lists of entrepreneurs who dropped out of college, giving rise to the trope that the most risk-taking among us are stifled by the classroom. (Dorm rooms are another matter: Facebook was conceived in Mark Zuckerberg's; and Kik Messenger, a successful messaging app, was born in Ted Livingston's residence at the U of Waterloo's Velocity lab.)

Venture capitalist and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel feels school can be a waste of time and money, and every year he is awarding $100,000 each to 20 students under the age of 20 to help them start a business rather than go to college or university.

As he has put it, higher education "has become a way to avoid thinking about the future." The returns to education for American students have also declined, he has said elsewhere, even as tuition rises every year.

Not everyone in Silicon Valley agrees. After all, the Valley would not exist without the tech and engineering graduates of Stanford University (Mr. Thiel himself is a Stanford alumnus, albeit in philosophy, as is Google's Larry Page). Last year, big-data billionaire Michael Baum responded to the Thiel challenge by giving the same amount to 10 students each year if they start a business and stay in school. (Some of those initial recipients already have their companies up and running.)

"Why not stay in school, finish your degree, and use the environment of the university to bootstrap your company?" Mr. Baum recently told the magazine Fast Company. "Universities," he added, "have gotten a lot smarter about opening up resources to student entrepreneurs."

On a whiteboard at Ryerson University's Digital Media Zone someone has written "Everything is awesome," and its space in a building overlooking Toronto's Eaton Centre holds the detritus of long nights: mega-size bottles of Omega-3 pills, takeout containers. The DMZ, launched in 2010, is one of the country's most prominent incubators, home to dozens of start-ups each year.

While only half of all businesses launched in Canada are still alive five years later, almost threequarters of DMZ grads are still in business, or have been bought out. The centre provides frequent networking opportunities for its entrepreneurs to meet potential clients, and now has businesses in development that include remote-controlled planes the size of your hand able to survey and film large areas; a restaurant ordering and delivery app; and a company that provides opensource educational content.

The hard job of defining success

There are no failures at the DMZ, says executive director Valerie Fox, who worked in the private sector before moving to Ryerson. "So-called failure is where you hit a barrier, but there's no full stop in entrepreneurship ... it's about iterating, changing."

That view - shared by many entrepreneurs - can make success difficult to define. A report this summer from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario found that entrepreneurship programs are growing explosively in all disciplines, but they are doing so with very few models of what works and what doesn't in such programs. Finding common metrics is especially important if universities want their entrepreneurship programs to be seen as more than just another mildly effective vaccine against a bumpy labour market, offering students the skills to start a small business but perhaps not measurably improving national innovation.

Doubts over how much universities can do on their own to incubate tomorrow's visionaries even extend to some of those who have linked entrepreneurship with higher learning. "Innovation is not the top strength of a university education," says Reza Satchu, managing partner at Alignvest Management Corporation and one of the co-founders of The Next 36. An elite entrepreneurial training program for undergraduates and recent grads from across the country, it awards $50,000 for participants to see their idea come to life.

The Next 36 is housed at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and is a non-profit, charitable organization. Classes and lectures at Rotman are part of the sevenmonth program, but participants receive extensive mentoring from business leaders and work remotely with other students in the program during the winter and spring. The only cost to attend is rent for a four-month summer term on campus, and scholarships may cover that.

The program's success will be measured in years, even decades, Ms. Satchu says, an idea that is seconded by Claudia Hepburn, another co-founder and the program's executive director. Begun with support from Jim Pattison, W. Galen Weston and the late Paul Desmarais, among others, it is deliberately focusing on a small number of high-potential people and teaching them, Ms. Hepburn says, to dream not of working for Google but of creating the next Google: "If we can produce one Jim Pattison or Mark Zuckerberg, we are going to move the needle on Canadian prosperity."

Artsies as entrepreneurs

Like entrepreneurs themselves, the programs now catering to self-starters are learning to think outside the box. Most universities offer broader-based entrepreneurial programs. Some schools have one introductory course that any student thinking of setting up their own shop can take, an expansion of the type of education that used to be available only in business schools. U of T, for example, has a course on the development of innovation that can be taken by students from the sciences, humanities and social sciences.

But at a time when only about 2 per cent of the population will found their own company, making a more intense investment in entrepreneurial education is a risk, says Deborah Streeter, a professor of personal enterprise at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. "The creative tension in entrepreneurial programs right now is 'Do you put all your eggs into incubators and labs that produce startup ventures; or do you take a longer view and train students to equip them with tools that might take decades?' ... I have students who call me after 15 years and tell me, 'Remember me? I took your course, and now I am starting a business.' We have to feed the short term but cultivate the long term as well," she says.

Exposure and experience with entrepreneurship might be all some students need to pursue that path, says Rob Annan.

He is the chief executive officer of Mitacs, a not-for-profit organization that works with universities and governments to encourage innovation and linkages between graduate students and business. PhD students who had a business internship through Mitacs were more likely to try out being an entrepreneur after getting a degree, an internal study discovered.

"The standard [academic] context is to really understand your research field and to identify the gaps in the academic knowledge.

Your career is spent trying to fill them. ... Mitacs students can see the gaps in an applied or commercial context. They can ask, 'Am I interested in how a gene works, or do I see a cool application for how it works?' Most PhD students would love to turn their research into a career, and only 20 per cent will get to do that as a professor," he notes.

Not all start-ups involve hightech. Businesses launched at OCAD University's Imagination Catalyst include many smallerscale operations. "It's not artisan manufacturing, but it's not General Motors. We have 3-D printing companies and cultural enterprises," says Catalyst executive director Petra Kassun-Mutch, who ran a cheese plant in Ontario's Prince Edward County before closing up shop two years ago and moving to Toronto.

A generation innovation gap?

For Ms. Kassun-Mutch, entrepreneurship has become too much of a buzzword applied to anyone with a good idea. As a parent and former business owner, she embraces the educational trend but is worried that funding decisions flowing out of the new focus on young entrepreneurs may seed disappointment rather than economic growth.

Indeed, in spite of the money for and attention to Gen Y entrepreneurs, it is their boomer parents who are the fastest-growing demographic to be launching businesses. A 2011 Industry Canada study of mid-career entrepreneurs found that 50 per cent of boomers had secured angel investment compared to only 2 per cent of other cohorts. Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, meanwhile, show that businesses run by baby boomers are more likely to be in higher-paid industries and to employ others.

Indeed, Gen Yers seem to have lukewarm feelings about the sacrifice of work-life balance that going at it outside a corporation can require. One study last year found that the government of Canada was the second-mostdesirable employer among this generation (Google was first).

Regardless of what demographic they belong to, entrepreneurs say that to succeed they need an ecosystem. Educational institutions are part of the solution, but shifts in longer-term business and national priorities are also necessary. Kik Messenger founder Ted Livingston, who has had to raise tens of millions of dollars to grow the business, donated $1-million to his alma mater's Velocity centre as startup money for student entrepreneurs. "We found we had to reach out to United States venture capital," he said in an e-mail interview. Venture funds in the U.S., he adds, "have a better understanding of the way start-ups evolve, can provide good guidance during tough times, and dont get overly excit' ed during the good times."

Many young entrepreneurs know not to get overly excited. They hope their ambition will carry them through, but remain pragmatic. Armin Mahmoudi, a Next 36 participant who designed an online platform for landlords and tenants has given himself only until January to make his business viable.

Ms. Desai isn't planning to make her Alieo Games venture full-time after she graduates from the University of Alberta. And if the company doesn't pan out? No regrets: She and her partners "have been in school forever," she says. "Building something that could have more impact in the world felt really good."

Simona Chiose is The Globe and Mail's reporter on higher education.

Associated Graphic

Neesha Desai is one of a team of five that designed Alieo Games, a creative-writing program, at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.


Secrets and lines
What do designers really think of Fashion Week? Who's planning to move their brand overseas? In the run-up to Canada's biggest fashion showcase, which kicks off on Monday, six established and rising talents open up to Anya Georgijevic about the joys and frustrations of working in the business, from good press to non-existent sales
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L8


Friends from Ryerson University, Rani Kim and Som Kong will be showing their fi rst Fashion Week collections just months after graduation. Kim, who was born and raised in South Korea, currently juggles both a full-time position as product-design assistant for Joe Fresh and her own men's line, Rank by Rani Kim. Hailing from Hamilton, Ont., Kong, whose eponymous line includes both men's and women's wear, was exposed to fashion through his mother, a seamstress for Levi's. "I sewed darts before I even knew what darts were," he says. While in school, both landed good internships: Kong at Danier and Greta Constantine, Kim at Jeremy Laing, Farley Chatto and Astrid Andersen in Denmark. "We've been head-to-head with a lot of things," Kong says, "but it's never been about competition."

As recent graduates, what does it feel like to enter the fashion world?

Som Kong: What I appreciated from school was the set schedule: You knew what was going to happen next. You're constantly learning, making mistakes.

You don't really have to worry about fi nances. Now, time is very valuable - especially if you want to own your own business. I feel more responsible.

Rani Kim: It is a little bit scary; I'm not going to lie. But I love it. I really enjoy it.

The business of fashion is a tough one. Are you prepared?

RK: It is tough. But then, what isn't tough?

SK: When you try to wrap your head around how tough the business is, it becomes tough. But when you kind of just do it without thinking, ignorance is bliss.

It's not always a great thing, but making mistakes is the best way to learn. When you have the mentality that you can do it, you're halfway there.

RK: I should really think more about the business. It's not that I don't think about it, but I'm the happiest woman when I'm sewing. If I keep doing what I love, it will eventually work out.

Many Canadian designers end up moving abroad. Do you have those aspirations?

RK: In Toronto, men's wear is really booming right now so I want to start here. I really do believe that if you can start in Toronto, you can do anything overseas as well.

SK: I was set to move to New York right after graduation. I had the money; I was ready to go. When Toronto Men's Fashion Week came along [in August], I decided to stay. I think Toronto is the best place to make mistakes and grow.

How important is keeping manufacturing in Canada?

SK: I don't think it's realistic, to be honest.

RK: It's so expensive.

SK: With any business, it comes down to the budget. I hope to have my own manufacturer one day in Cambodia, where there's no language barrier [for me], and have my own fashion house there while being located here.

Where do you see yourselves in five years?

SK: I don't want to be looking for a job; I want to be creating jobs. Manufacturing comes into the picture. Sweatshops are constantly on consumers' minds, with big companies having to go to Third World countries to get cheaper prices. With the whole [labour controversy] in Bangladesh and because of social media and increased awareness, people know where their products are coming from. So if I were able to own my manufacturer, I would pay my employees enough for a decent standard of living.

RK: In Korea, all the men have to go to the army for two years after graduating, so, for two years, I'm going to do anything that I can do, anything that's available to me. Any opportunity, I'm going to take it. Eventually, I really want to have my own established brand. It doesn't have to be big, but I want to sell in stores internationally.


"I am a lot older than a lot of people in this industry," says Matt Robinson, the 44-year-old behind Toronto men's-wear label Klaxon Howl. The fashion veteran has been mentoring up-and-coming men's designer Michael Thomas Bálint, who launched his namesake line, Thomas Bálint, in 2010. The two designers first crossed paths at Toronto Fashion Week (now World MasterCard Fashion Week) in 2011 and have "become inseparable since," jokes Bálint. Robinson and his long-time business and life partner, Lena Kim, took a liking to the young designer, whose now-shuttered store was close to their own, even helping him with technique. "What we share in common is our love of classic clothing pieces, form, function and fit," says Robinson. This season, both designers are debuting women's pieces at Fashion Week.

We tend to think of fashion design as a very glamorous job. Do you think young designers have a good understanding of the industry?

Matt Robinson: They don't really know what they are in for. They are looking at blogs and fashion magazines and think that's what the industry is. And everyone wants to be a designer. Try and find somebody who wants to be a sewing-machine operator, a pattern drafter, a cutter. [Designing is] why everyone starts a line and they only last a couple of seasons.

Michael Thomas Bálint: I just closed my store [in Toronto]. A big portion of the clientele were fashion students, so it was really hard to watch these kids come in and know that they are going to have to struggle so much.

MR: It's also timing. We were going to be picked up by Harvey Nichols Hong Kong, Opening Ceremony - there are always these great opportunities and you get all excited and then it doesn't happen.

Neither of you are particularly trend-driven designers. Has that been a challenge in promoting your brands?

MTB: My grandma drafted the blazer [Robinson] wore for this shoot decades ago. She was a tailor. I use her pieces in almost every collection. It's important to the brand.

MR: We usually hit trends before they even happen. We did Hawaiian shirts last summer before Prada did theirs. But I never know until somebody in the industry is like, "Oh, you're really on trend this season."

You make these pieces that are timeless yet not boring, with great fabrics and colours, good construction and fit: Why do I have to reinvent myself every season?

MTB: For the past couple of seasons, I've been going to [my showroom in] Paris and [buyers] have a totally different mindset. You have to have a really strong history, along with your brand, and a strong story to tell with it. It's frustrating that the people who really care about this stuff are so far away; it costs so much money to be able to take your collection [to Paris]. We have an amazing Fashion Week, but it's just all press.

MR: I'm always optimistic that next season [of Fashion Week] will be better. We get some great pictures out of it and we use that.

MTB: I did get really good press last season, but that didn't translate into sales.

MR: [Fashion Week is] good for reminding people that you're there and that you're still doing what you're doing, and to create a certain desire for what you make.

Matt, in the 20-plus years you've been in the business, how has the Canadian fashion scene changed?

MR: It's definitely bigger, way more people are doing it. But there is way less manufacturing. I mean, there's still manufacturing here for the smaller labels. There's no way you can start a line and go immediately to China or India. But even when we were doing large-volume sales, our mantra has always been "made in Canada."

MTB: When I had the shop, it was always very important to tell people where the fabrics were from and where everything was made. All of my fabrics are from First World countries. There's definitely nobody dying at my expense. I think the whole Joe Fresh thing [in Bangladesh] was a pretty big eye-opener, and then everyone forgot about it.


Hilary MacMillan and Leah Antoinette met several years ago through their publicist and, as Antoinette recalls, "it was friendship at first sight." This season, both women are showing their collections at Fashion Week - a first for Antoinette, who designs under her label Elan + Castor. The line of intricate knits and captivating floral prints pays homage to Antoinette's grandmother, who taught her how to wield a pair of knitting needles, a skill she later honed while studying knitwear and textile prints at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. MacMillan, who attended the Blanche Macdonald Centre in Vancouver, is presenting at Fashion Week for the third time. Her classic ladylike silhouettes and fearless use of pattern (her spring 2015 prints are based on sunsets) have been well received - she has established a Paris showroom and is carried in boutiques south of the border.

What are some of the challenges you encounter running your own labels?

Hilary MacMillan: There were a lot of times when it was trial and error, and things didn't exactly always workout the way I wanted them to. I made some stupid mistakes, but you learn and you change. I think shipping is a nightmare. I hate shipping!

Leah Antoinette: Time and money. It's really [about] making the right decisions and trying to get yourself out there. I'll say it: I don't think there's a lot of support for Canadian designers, period. So it's trying to be aggressive in the market, trying to stay in Canada and also trying to get your name out there internationally, because that's how you're going to get more recognition here.

What does Canada need in order to support labels like your own?

LA: Because I was in the States [for school], I saw what was going on there more than what was going on here. They have CFDA [the Council of Fashion Designers of America], they have a lot start-up programs for young designers. It's superfrustrating because there's a lot of talent in Canada. A support system - even tax breaks - would help, because you can keep selling and keep selling, but the bigger you get, the more expensive it is to run a company. Both Hilary and I are lucky enough to have financial backers, but not everybody has that. And retailers don't really support Canadian designers as much as they should.

HM: Even the fact that there is not a really good Canadian trade show is telling.

How much retail buying happens at Fashion Week?

LA: None. We are past [the buying season].

HM: If someone fell in love with your line and they had extra money in their budget, they might.

LA: Or they'll keep you in mind for next season.

HM: If they like you now, they'll call you up for fall 2015. But Fashion Week is mostly for publicity.

You both manufacture in Canada. Is that important or just convenient for a small business?

HM: It's important to me. We talk about supporting Canadian designers, so at the end of the day that should include supporting Canadian manufacturers. You also get better quality control and you can do smaller numbers. If one store wanted a style no one else bought, you can accommodate that.

LA: Half of my manufacturing business is in Canada and half of it is in L.A. because I couldn't find a knitwear production house here. But if I have a chance to support Canadian manufacturers, I do as often as I can.

Do you both plan to stay in Canada?

HM: I'd like to stay here.

LA: I'd like to stay here at least part of the time. This is my home: I was born here. If I can make a go of it here, I definitely will, but I don't know.

These interviews have been condensed and edited.

Associated Graphic


Blunt tech veteran preaches reinvention
Douglas Bergeron, tech investor, philanthropist and former CEO of VeriFone Systems Inc.
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B4

Douglas Bergeron has had a rough ride in the past few years, and he's just fine with that.

As an investor in and chief executive officer of VeriFone Systems Inc., the Windsor, Ont., native turned Silicon Valley resident made a fortune he pegs at about half a billion dollars.

Then things got a little bumpy.

He was roasted in the technology press in the summer of 2012 for his criticisms of highly touted (and valued) payment systems competitor Square, Inc. He called Square, the brainchild of Twitter Inc. founder Jack Dorsey, a modern, a pointed reference to one of the biggest failures of the dot-com bubble. "Oh boy, was that stupid," Business Insider opined at the time.

The following year, he was ousted from VeriFone, which he built into a point-of-sale payments behemoth (think of those little pads where you sign electronically for credit cards, and all the technology that processes the payment securely). Upset at his fate? Sure, a bit. But not any more. Mr. Bergeron is building a new company and his legacy by giving millions to his alma mater and several causes, including multiple sclerosis, a disease his father had. And he is preaching the gospel of reinvention.

"Not to say bad times are great," Mr. Bergeron said on a recent visit to Toronto. "But if you use your negative experiences to take inventory of who you are, what needs to improve, how you can reposition yourself, that's a really good thing. That's a gift. That's a gift from wherever."

Over coffee after a presentation on thought leadership (he was catching a plane to Pittsburgh after his talk, making lunch a no-go), Mr. Bergeron is keen to talk about his views on Canada from afar.

This tech entrepreneur's take is that Canada still does a great job in technology. Stop beating ourselves up over the failure of Nortel Networks Inc. and the struggles of BlackBerry Ltd., he advises. Stop worrying about rivalling Silicon Valley. Stop pouring taxpayer money into ill-advised venture-capital programs that compete with the pros in the industry. Start focusing on reinventing the tech economy here. Start being more proud of Canadians who make good in technology elsewhere. There's no rule that says you have to do it here.

Mr. Bergeron is an example. The 53-year-old entrepreneur is not very well known in Canada, a product of having moved away almost three decades ago. These days he lives in Atherton, a Silicon Valley community that was just named the United States' most expensive zip code.

He jokes that as he has lost his Canadian accent, he has maybe gained some American forthrightness.

Mr. Bergeron is blunt, his speech peppered with spicy language. He is wearing a sober suit, but also pointy boots that appear to be crocodile skin. Picture Dennis the Menace, had the cartoon kid grown up to become a successful entrepreneur, but never quite shed his glee at causing a stir.

He's not coming back to Canada, either, given the weather in California and the fact that his kids are there, but he remains tied to this country. He has never become a U.S. citizen. His mother still lives here, as do siblings.

Much of his giving comes to Canada, including $10-million he and his wife Sandra have donated to York University, in Toronto, where he earned his computer science degree. That money is going mostly to create a new building that will be home to the engineering school, a gift that was just announced a few weeks ago.

"Unless I come back to Canada I feel like a man without a country," he says. He still has only one passport, his Canadian one. "I'm going to have a Canadian flag in my funeral. Not an American flag."

If there's a theme to Mr. Bergeron's life, he says it's serendipity.

Take his choice of university, and his major. Neither was exactly planned. He wanted to be a journalist. Only when one of the fathers at his Catholic high school balked, pointing out that he was a math whiz and there were these new things called computers that might be big, did he consider computer science.

For a middle-class kid who needed money to pay his room and board, York was a practical choice, not an aspirational one. York was simply the closest university to Northern Telecom's offices in suburban Toronto, where Mr. Bergeron had won a job even as a student. At 19, he was writing and maintaining computer programs that helped the sales force.

He shared a townhouse in a dodgy north Toronto neighbourhood, and commuted to class at York and to work in Brampton.

After that, he took full-time work at Northern Telecom in Ottawa. For a kid from Windsor, it was cold. So when he won a scholarship for graduate studies, he chose the University of Southern California, because it was warm.

He liked California, and stayed. Eventually, he found himself on an executive track, working in financial technology at SunGard Data Systems Inc.

A few years later came what he calls his "lightning strike."

He and some partners were raising a private equity fund, and in the wake of the tech bubble's spectacular pop, they got the opportunity to buy a payments business from Hewlett Packard. HP had paid more than $1-billion (U.S.) for a business that was suddenly a money loser. HP sold the company a few years later to Mr. Bergeron's group for $50-million. Of that, all but $5-million was borrowed money.

Mr. Bergeron and his partners reaped billions as they grew the company - VeriFone - and took it public. By 2011, the company was worth more than $4-billion. However, not long after, Mr. Bergeron's time was up. After a long run of growth, VeriFone was struggling and missing earnings estimates. At the same time, Mr. Bergeron had been in that public sparring match with Square (he also accused the rival of having poor security). In March of 2013, his 12-year run as VeriFone's CEO ended.

He wrote in his goodbye e-mail to employees that the company's "terrible results" of late were "my responsibility and I accept the consequences."

Today he says he may have overstayed his time at VeriFone.

"I probably wasn't personally capable of pressing the eject chair myself," he says.

That said, Mr. Bergeron is clearly not thrilled with the decision the company's board made. He argues the board was no longer the same one that had been around in the good times.

"Now we have a bunch of 65year-old guys that just joined over the past few years, so in their lens it was like, 'Hey, we had a bad year. This guy's been around 12 years; maybe it's time for a change,' " he says. "Yeah, I was sad, but it's an opportunity to reinvent myself."

First, he prioritized family. "I've got lots of money so I was able to spend a lot of time with kids travelling around," he said of the time after his ouster. "We spent time in the jungles of Costa Rica, hanging out with monkeys and riding jet skis. We also went to a dude ranch in Montana to ride horses and shoot guns."

But only a few months later he was back at work, teaming up with his old private equity partners to launch a new venture. He is putting up $50-million, and his partners $450-million, and they are looking to get back to building a company.

They are seeking businesses that focus on software that helps companies manage risks through third party vendors. It's in a sweet spot of growing spending, where Mr. Bergeron likes to invest.

"I'm doing something now which is thoughtful, interesting," he says of the new venture. "It's not in 120 countries. It's not with 6,000 crybaby employees and a board of directors I'm having to spoon-feed the news to. I've probably added 10 years to my life."

The idea is to put a few companies together and then sell the combined group, or maybe take it public.

Which brings us to Canadian technology.

Mr. Bergeron laughs when he says he just lost an auction for a Newfoundland company called (in a funny twist) Verafin, which specializes in anti-money laundering software.

So yes, maybe BlackBerry is struggling and Nortel is gone. But Canada's contribution is still strong. There are good companies here, doing excellent things.

"We should not feel defeatist, but take pride that some of our Canadian accomplishments might be by a Canadian elsewhere," he said. "I think this Nortel and RIM experience has given us an unfair sense of defeatism."

Similarly, he's not fond of Canada's propensity to worry about recreating a Silicon Valley here, often with government money.

"These conversations take place in Boston, in Austin, in Denver - all these places where people have declared they are going to be the next Silicon Valley. There's a reason Silicon Valley has an unchallengeable lead by far. It's this network of the people, the money, the weather, the universities."

He points to the fact that Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook in Boston and moved it to Palo Alto because he needed access.

"I say just get over it."

He is similarly critical of Canada's attempts to use taxpayer money to fund venture capital.

"Just because we don't have a later-stage venture market it doesn't mean the government should step in and do it - that's a dumb idea," he says. "It makes politicians feel good, but they are going to blow all their money. It's really hard to beat Marc Andreessen and Vinod Khosla and some of the best VCs. You think you are going to outflank those guys? You are not." And as for his public confrontation with Square, a darling of the venture capital world, he is not backing down.

"That will end badly I'm pretty sure," he still maintains. "They are still floundering for a business model that makes money."

He says he learned at VeriFone that Square's plan to serve micro-merchants is too tough: too much fraud, too little in the way of transactions, too much turnover in the businesses. And Square's planned electronic wallet has been cancelled.

Yet so far, things haven't turned out the way Mr. Bergeron predicted. When he gave his take on Square, the company was valued at about $3.25-billion. It has now reportedly raised money recently at a valuation of $6-billion.

Still, Mr. Bergeron is unrepentant. And unlikely to stop speaking his mind.

"I learned a lesson to keep my own opinions to myself, maybe, but whatever."


Age: 53

Education: Undergraduate degree in computer science from York University. Master of Science from the University of Southern California.

Kids: Five. Two adult children from his first marriage, and an 11-year-old and a pair of 10year-old twins with his current wife, Sandra.

Hobbies: Owning professional sports organizations. He is a part owner of a NASCAR team, and he was part of a (failed) attempt to buy the Nashville Predators.

He's been cited as a billionaire in the press. True? "No, not a billionaire but my life has a billion blessings."

Philanthropy: The Bergerons' $2-million gift to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada is the largest in the organization's history. (Doug's dad had the disease.) They have also endowed a professorship in Neuroscience at Georgetown University with a $1.25-million (U.S.) gift. The family has given $10-million (Canadian) to York University, the largest single amount from any alumnus. That money will help support a program to back entrepreneurial programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and build a new home for the university's Lassonde School of Engineering that will be called "the Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence."

He has been invited to five straight World Economic Forum gatherings in Davos, Switzerland. He is also a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Associated Graphic


Channelling Sir Winston
In London's Churchill Hotel, Mark MacKinnon interviews Boris Johnson about his new bio of the British Bulldog - and his own towering ambitions
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F1

The mayor of London - that guy with the floppy blond hair - has written a book. It's about a politician known for his "journalism, the love of show, the rhetorical flourishes" as well as "the slight air of camp and the inveterate opportunism." But Boris Johnson, the rhetorically gifted and slightly camp mayor - also an ex-journalist who recently announced he was re-entering national politics, amid whispers he wants to become prime minister - swears the work isn't even semi-autobiographical. "Any resemblance to any living politician is entirely accidental," Mr. Johnson says mirthfully, reclining in a chair set up in the library of the Hyatt Regency Churchill Hotel in central London. "Honestly."

Mr. Johnson's 10th book, The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History, is, of course, about Britain's legendary Second World War prime minister - and Mr. Johnson's personal hero - Winston Churchill. The man better known in this city as "BoJo" says he wrote the book after being asked to do so by members of the Churchill family to mark the 50th anniversary of Sir Winston's death this coming January.

But it's nonetheless impossible to separate the timing of the book's launch from Mr. Johnson's recent declaration that he is returning to national politics and will seek a seat in parliament in next year's election.

Mr. Johnson writes that Mr. Churchill, as a rising politician, "did indeed seem somehow predestined for the job [of Prime Minister], and not just in his own eyes."

The same is often said of Mr. Johnson today.

In a YouGov poll taken shortly after he announced his plan to return to Westminster, 69 per cent of Londoners said they believed BoJo's real aim was to succeed Prime Minister David Cameron. A former editor of Britain's high-brow (and small-c conservative) magazine The Spectator, Boris Johnson the journalist is ready for the questions about whether he's trying to make a connection between himself and Churchill in the minds of the public. "People will say that - and, indeed, that's what I would write if I were writing the piece; there's no question of that," he says coyly. "But it's just rubbish."

By now - just eight minutes into our hour-long interview - I understand that Mr. Johnson is the rare politician who enjoys jousting with journalists at least as much as journalists enjoy jousting with him. He's just as ready - with a cheerful and practised non-answer - for the accusation that this is all part of his campaign to lead the nation one day. "I don't think it's remotely likely that I'll be prime minister, because there's no vacancy for the job. I think that we'll win this election [next May 7], and I think by the time David Cameron retires in 2030 or so, younger, fitter candidates - almost certainly female - will be ready to take over," he begins.

Then comes the "but."

"But I still have loads of energy, and my mayoral term is coming toward its ..." His voice trails off, as if Mr. Johnson suddenly remembers his term is nowhere near an end: that he's supposed to serve until May, 2016. (He has promised Londoners that he can simultaneously serve as both mayor of the entire city, and the MP of the West London constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip. He's allowed to keep both jobs, but the same YouGov poll found that almost 50 per cent of Londoners want him to resign as mayor if he wins a seat in parliament.)

Interviewing BoJo in the library of the Churchill Hotel, while he's seated under a portrait of Sir Winston, you feel as though you're playing a part in launching not just his book, but his campaign to lead the United Kingdom.

Like his subject, Mr. Johnson is a captivating orator, someone whose charisma allows him to pull off a man-of-the-people routine even though he came up through England's most prestigious schools. (BoJo went to Eton; Mr. Churchill went to rival Harrow.) Both Mr. Churchill and Mr. Johnson had prominent Conservative politicians as fathers.

Cameron attended Oxford at the same time as Mr. Johnson, and both belonged to the infamously posh and poorly behaved Bullingdon Club, a males-only establishment. But while Mr. Cameron struggles to shake an image that he comes from a too privileged background to understand ordinary voters, no one seems fussed that the mayor of London is a direct descendant of King George II (another wartime leader, who faced down the Jacobite rebellions in Scotland, and served as monarch during the outset of the Seven Years' War with France). In fact, it's BoJo's everyman appeal that makes up for his lack of allies within the Conservative Party caucus at Westminster.

"People like him because he makes good jokes. In that way, he seems to be different from most politicians, who seem rather wooden and weird," says Sonia Purnell, the author of Just Boris, a divisive biography that portrays Mr. Johnson as insincere and calculating, to the point that he carefully messes up his hair each morning to create a perfectly Churchillian dishevelled look.

Just Boris was hailed as "excellent" in The Guardian (a left-wing paper that dislikes Mr. Johnson) but dismissed as a hatchet job on the mayor by the Daily Mail (a right-wing paper that supports him).

Ms. Purnell, a former colleague of Mr. Johnson's at The Daily Telegraph, points to last month's Conservative Party conference as the kind of performance that sets BoJo apart from other British politicians. Mr. Johnson drew gales of laughter by teasing Mr. Cameron about his impolitic remark that the Queen had "purred" with happiness when he told her the majority of Scottish voters had voted "No" in last month's referendum on independence.

"You have permission to purr, if you so choose, Dave," BoJo quipped from the rostrum as the Prime Minister smiled and squirmed. Ms. Purnell sees it all - the conference speech, the Churchill book, the hair - as part of Mr. Johnson's unofficial campaign to be the next Conservative leader. "He's the most ambitious person I've ever met," says Ms. Purnell, whose upcoming book, ironically, is a biography of Mr. Churchill's wife, Clementine.

Ms. Purnell thinks BoJo may be having something of a mid-life crisis. "He's now 50 [two years older than Mr. Cameron, though 15 years younger than Churchill when he first became PM], and politicians have a pretty short shelf life in Britain. He knows he's only got one or two years, so he's got to go for it now. He will not rest until he becomes prime minister."

But The Churchill Factor would have been a worthy contribution without the political overtones. Like Sir Winston - who somehow published 43 books (and won the 1953 Nobel Prize for Literature) while not busy leading the defeat of Hitler - Mr. Johnson is a superb writer. Despite the heavy subject matter, The Churchill Factor is a light and quick read. Much of that can be attributed to Churchill's colourful personality and life story, a mixture of historic moments and astonishing behaviour.

BoJo's brisk style of writing also helps keep the book moving, challenging readers with occasional get-out-your-dictionary words and rewarding them with the odd belly laugh. It's an "explanation of Winston Churchill for the person who doesn't want to read a massive political biography," says the author, effortlessly conjuring up a jacket endorsement for his own book as he sinks deeper into his leather chair.

Mr. Johnson - who pounded out 416 pages in less than a year while doing his day job as mayor of 8.4 million people - is reverential about his subject's own ability to multitask. "No normal family man produces more published words than Shakespeare and Dickens combined, wins the Nobel Prize for literature, kills umpteen people in armed conflict on four continents, serves in every great office of state including prime minister (twice), is indispensable to victory in two world wars and then posthumously sells his paintings for a million dollars," he writes. You get the feeling Mr. Johnson occasionally wishes he'd served in a colonial war or two before going into politics.

He says he managed his own workload by cutting back on his once-tabloid-worthy social life (there are websites devoted to listing the pubs BoJo frequents most) and doing much of his writing before his daily bicycle ride to city hall. "I really did work unbelievably hard. I got up very early in the morning. I don't watch TV, and I don't really go to dinner parties and stuff like that. So, I burnt the candle at both ends," he explains. "It was fantastic fun."

But he's hardly turned into a puritan. Mr. Johnson made fresh headlines this week by claiming that he, like Mr. Churchill, "can drink an awful lot at lunch and then write very fluently and fast."

During our interview, Mr. Johnson happily opines on everything from the Islamic State ("We've got to stop the creation of a state that is deeply antithetical to all of our values, and that can do no possible good in the world") to the challenges of multiculturalism ("I want everybody in this city to be able to speak English fluently") to how Churchill might have dealt with the challenge presented by Vladimir Putin's revanchism in Eastern Europe ("I think he would have been very tough with Putin"). He compares the European Union - something he is an increasingly vocal opponent of, as he courts the Euroskeptic right wing of the Conservative Party - to Hitler's plans to unite the continent under Nazi rule. All the while, his publisher sighs in the corner and reminds us repeatedly that we're supposed to be discussing The Churchill Factor.

But neither the subject nor the author of the book are known as sticklers for the rules.

When asked about the prospect of Scotland leaving the United Kingdom, and what Churchill would have said in defence of the union, BoJo delivers an impromptu address. "Without Scotland, there can be no Britain, and Britain has given as much to the world - politically and culturally - as anywhere on the planet. ... We need to keep it, to keep Britain. We're not done with it yet, and the best is yet to come," he says, unconsciously switching from his rapid conversational patter to a slower speechgiving rhythm. You get the sense BoJo has such speeches at the ready on other topics dear to his heart, such as the need for tighter immigration policies, or why Britain can go it alone outside the EU.

Mr. Johnson says his motivation in writing The Churchill Factor was to show that character and courage matter - "it's a rebuttal of the idea that history is the story of vast, impersonal economic forces." Churchill, he argues, single-handedly changed the course of Great Britain and the world by not backing down and making a deal with Hitler when some in his cabinet wanted to do just that after the fall of France, which left Britain standing almost alone against the mighty Nazi war machine.

Given the chance to write about his hero, Mr. Johnson says he "snatched at it like a seal snatching at a passing, you know, mackerel in the air - I leapt at it." The characterization is a perfect mix of camp, rhetoric and opportunism. "A lot of modern leaders try to pretend to Churchillian qualities, or whatever, and predicaments," he continues. "But I think he was a one-off. I think he was just totally sui generis." And so, we're supposed to think, is Mr. Johnson.

Mark MacKinnon is The Globe's senior international correspondent, based in London.

Associated Graphic

Of his 416-page biography of Churchill, says Mr. Johnson, seated below a portrait of Sir Winston, 'I really did work unbelievably hard... It was fantastic fun.'


With the generation that led the gay-rights movement reaching retirement age, many LGBT seniors are forced to relive the struggle for acceptance, and even re-closet, as they enter care facilities populated with a generation raised to believe that homosexuality is a crime. Wency Leung reports
Friday, October 10, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

When Paulette Kupnicki and long-time partner Ginny Lundgren moved into a Windsor, Ont., condo for retirees two years ago, Kupnicki wanted to get to know her new neighbours. She put up flyers on the building's bulletin board, advertising a seniors' games group and an upcoming play about LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) issues, in which she was involved.

The games group flyer was left in place, but her notice about the play was anonymously taken down. Its removal set Kupnicki's heart pounding: The thought that some residents did not welcome samesex couples filled her with dread.

"I just spent a lot of money to move out of my house into this place," says Kupnicki,now 70 . "Honestly, I'm walking around with a lump in my throat, thinking, 'What the hell am I going to do?'"

Stories like Kupnicki's are all too common. The generation that led the gay liberation movement now faces the prospect of moving into retirement communities, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities alongside more elderly occupants who were raised with the notion that homosexuality was a disease, and a criminal act.

Stories of seniors having to relive their struggle for acceptance are rife. Fearing discrimination from service providers and their peers, some even retreat to the closet when they seek health and social assistance, hiding their sexual orientations, gender identities and domestic relationships. That can be emotionally draining, and have serious consequences on their mental and physical health.

"The number-one fear we hear over and over [from LGBT seniors] is having to age out of their homes, move into care and potentially re-closet," says Dana Parker, executive director of the Vancouver advocacy group Qmunity. She notes that middleaged and younger LGBT individuals rarely give that future prospect a thought.

The issues around integration and acceptance have kickstarted campaigns to raise awareness and tolerance in senior-care facilities, and to educate staff members trying to welcome their first wave of uncloseted LGBT residents.

And as the number of openly LGBT individuals swells among the senior population, the need for sensitivity and inclusivity in elder care becomes more pressing. According to a discussion paper released last month by Qmunity, the number of open LGBT individuals aged 65 and older is believed to be about 6.7 per cent of the overall senior population. In the B.C. Lower Mainland alone, that translates to roughly 25,000 people.

It's a figure that's expected to grow to reflect a shift in demographics that will see seniors make up an estimated 19 per cent of the province's population by 2020, up from 15 per cent today. If attitudes don't change, Parker says, LGBT seniors will be vulnerable to loneliness, isolation and at risk of not receiving the care they need.

Deep-seated fears of discrimination are hard to shake among those who spent much of their adult lives in a world that treated homosexuality as a crime or a disease. The Qmunity paper points out that those who are 85 years old now were already 40 when homosexuality was decriminalized in 1969, and 66 at the time sexual orientation became protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1995.

These older seniors, who may have had relationships and careers ruined because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, aren't likely to live openly in elder care, particularly if they are housed with peers who still hold onto their prejudices. It has fallen on less reticent LGBT boomers, who spent their youth championing gay rights and are now greying themselves, to advocate on behalf of their elders and to push for change in senior care.

"I'm an activist, so I've never been in the closet," says Marie Robertson, community developer of the Ottawa Senior Pride Network, which provides diversity training to long-term-care workers, volunteers and clients of senior services. Now in her 60s, she recalls marching in the streets for human rights protections when she was 19, and she continues to defend those rights. "When I do training," she says, "I'll say to the staff: 'This is who we are. We're not going back into the closet when we go into care. So here, you'd better get ready.'"

Much of the sensitivity training around LGBT seniors involves creating a safe environment in care homes by building empathy, ensuring staff and volunteers understand historic hardships LGBT individuals experienced, and making sure the language used on intake forms and in brochures is inclusive. Through her work, Robertson has heard heartbreaking accounts of the fear and humiliation LGBT seniors face in long-term care, such as the gay couple who had to visit the washroom just to hold hands, or the transgender woman whose careworker made a scene upon discovering she had a penis.

Social exclusion is only one of the fears seniors have of being outed. "They're afraid if the staff knows that they're gay, that diapers aren't going to be changed as fast, the call bell is not going to be answered," Robertson explains. "And the reality is that those fears are justified. That's what happens."

Shoshana Pellman, 68, of Toronto, became comfortable enough to be openly transgender in 2005. Although she lives independently now, the idea of returning to the closet if she needs senior care in the future is unthinkable. "It's like, which part of my body am I going to basically amputate? What part do I have to get rid of to meet your needs or your demands?" Pellman asks. "If someone is forced back in the closet, they're denying who they are. They're losing a part of who they are. That's so cruel... Basically, they're just surviving. You're not living any more."

Research points to positive mental health and wellness benefits linked to coming out in supportive settings, with subjects showing lower rates of depression, burnout and anxiety, and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. However, being openly LGBT may have the opposite effects in environments that are not supportive, says RobertPaul Juster, a PhD candidate at McGill University's Integrated Program in Neuroscience.

Concealment, on the other hand, has emotional and cognitive costs, says Richard Ryan, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester in New York state. "For example, to conceal, one must constantly monitor oneself, which is draining and requires a cognitive load. Concealing also has emotional costs associated with lower selfesteem, more depression and other negative states," Ryan said in an e-mail.

Juster points out that much research in this area, including his own, has focused on LGBT youth, but he says there is growing interest in examining the mental health of LGBT seniors. "There is this feeling that they're an under-represented portion of the population that people don't know very much about," he says.

Aware of the need to address a growing wave of openly LGBT seniors, some care facilities are proactively reaching out to advocacy groups for help, says Steven Little, education and training manager at The 519 Church Street Community Centre in Toronto.

Although they're willing to make changes, most seniors' homes don't know where to start, he says, noting that mental health resources for LGBT seniors are scarce. And for the first time, service providers may be grappling with how to care for aging clients who have HIV/AIDS.

When it comes to welcoming LGBT seniors, Toronto's city-run long-term-care homes have taken a lead. At True Davidson Acres, for example, administrator Carlos Herrera says staff and volunteers hold a variety of LGBT-friendly programs, such as shows starring a local drag performer, and movie nights featuring films such as Brokeback Mountain. They participate with residents in the city's annual pride parade, are careful to use the proper pronouns to address transgender residents, and they've made sure a rainbow flag and pink triangle, symbols of LGBT rights, are visible at the entrance to the home, signalling to visitors and residents that it is a supportive environment.

To be LGBT-positive, Herrera says, "we need to see it, we need to hear it, we need to feel it."

The results of such efforts can be life-changing. At True Davidson Acres's sister home, Fudger House, resident Alf Roberts, 85, finally felt comfortable enough to be openly gay for the first time in his life after moving into the home five years ago. At last, he says, he can be himself. "I hope that, eventually, more long-termcare homes will be more open so that people don't have to worry about coming into a place like this," he says

Back in Windsor, Kupnicki eventually summoned the nerve to address the issue of her missing flyer during a building meeting by pre-emptively thanking her neighbours for welcoming her and Lundgren, and inviting them to join her group activities. Although she made a few new friends that day, some people refused to even look at her.

Kupnicki, who is involved in a 50+ Proud group that provides diversity training on senior care, says it's difficult to have to come out of the closet all over again. "At times, you think to yourself, I don't think I can do this one more time," she says, noting it's more challenging for people to disclose their sexual orientation when in ill health.

Kupnicki, who had a Catholic upbringing, knew she was attracted to both males and females when she was in grade school, but she quickly hid her attraction to women when her parents discovered she had been kissing a girl. She did not open up about it until entering a relationship with Lundgren 32 years ago, after leaving her husband. Even so, for years Kupnicki was careful about disclosing the relationship, referring to Lundgren as her "friend" in public for fear of losing custody of her children. The process of coming out was also fraught with struggles with disapproving family members.

Kupnicki and Lundgren married eight years ago, and though they now live happily in their retirement condo, having warmed up to even those who initially gave Kupnicki the cold shoulder, the memories stay with them.

"As I talk about them, it comes back and reminds me how painful some of that stuff was," she says, noting each senior brings his or her own struggles when accessing services or entering care. "Even if you're out and you've been out a long time and all the rest of it, those experiences sit in the back of you."

Associated Graphic

Ginny Lundgren, left, and Paulette Kupnicki take a walk outside their Windsor condo. The long-time couple moved to a retirement residence a couple of years ago.


Ginny Lundgren, left, and Paulette Kupnicki had to come out all over again when they moved to a retirement condo: 'At times, you think to yourself, I don't think I can do this one more time.'


Trail of memories
'From abroad, I often see Africa perceived merely as a place of war, disease and hunger,' writes Canadian author M.G. Vassanji in his new book, And Home Was Kariakoo: A Memoir of East Africa. '... Seen from the inside, the country is very different.' The two-time Giller Prize winner, born in Kenya and raised in Tanzania, recounts visits to his homeland, revealing an insider's portrait of a dynamic continent rich in overlooked history. One such trip, to the city of Tabora with his friend Joseph, takes him from chaos to quiet contemplation
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page T1

Nzega is a busy way station, a T-junction with no other character to speak of, with one road leading off north to Mwanza, another south to Tabora. One paved, the other bovu - rotten - as they say; on one side the Sukuma people, on the other the Nyamwezi, both major tribes. Which direction to pick? Our bus takes its place alongside others, waiting before a row of stalls and chai shops, all under a red metal roof painted with large white CocaCola signs. Vendors sell fruit and soft drinks from their carts, and an exuberance of coloured small cottons, plastic travellers' bags, and knick-knacks, all made in China. There is the ubiquitous cellphone kiosk, bright and adrift at the edge of the station, a link to the world. We pick a place to have our snack. And after that begins a frantic search for a suitable bus.

Touts and agents abound. The choice is still between the uncertainty of the Tabora road and the safety of the Mwanza one. We decide to risk it and buy tickets for a Tabora-bound at 1:30 p.m.; but when we push through a crowd to claim our seats, we find that they've been double-booked.

After a heated argument with the present occupants, we get off, defeated, and demand a refund. A number of buses have now left and suddenly the choices have diminished.

We resign ourselves to missing Tabora and pick a bus bound for Mwanza. It's hot and dusty and we're tired. But at the last minute the Mwanza driver decides to mend a puncture. Meanwhile the two agents who first sold us Tabora, feeling guilty, have found us another Tabora bus. We follow them to a waiting bus, where we find excellent seats behind the driver. It's too good to be true, and surely enough all are asked to get down, the bus has to go for servicing. Another hour passes. We've become a fixture, Joseph and I, earning pitying looks and sympathetic commentary from onlookers. Finally our bus returns, we sit down, and it begins to fill, and fill. Packed, it drives out slowly from the station, and our hearts leap with joy.

But rounding a corner, it stops again. The driver jumps out. More people squeeze in, the aisle is packed right up to where sits the new driver, a calm elderly man in a kofia. We depart finally at 4:30 p.m. The old driver seems to know his potholes and drives expertly. The countryside is denser than before, scattered abundantly with mango trees of a short variety with spherical crowns. Houses are intermittently strewn about next to the road.

Men sitting around doing nothing, waiting for the sun to go down. It's a strange sign of muted life: no market, no children, no cattle, no electricity. Inexplicably, after two hours the driver stops in the middle of nowhere, "kuchimba dawa," dig for medicine - a pit stop. Some 50 people clamber out, get back inside. The babies, having woken up, start hollering.

The driver looks uncertain about the road now, and for some reason he has his grandson, a little boy, next to him in his seat. An hour later he stops again, for his own convenience. The sun has set, and it's now obvious that he cannot see well any more, since he tends to drive over the potholes. The bus has become quiet, the babies are settled. The headlights beam on a partially wet and streaky road ahead, not easy to follow in the dark - a slight distraction in our captain could land us inside a ditch. The conductor, in the seat across, eyes fixed ahead on the road, begins to signal warnings of approaching road bumps by stretching out an arm or banging his hand on the dashboard. We pass a distressed bus pulled over on the side, the passengers spilled out. The young woman next to Joseph on the other side informs him that those people would not spend the night on the highway for fear of witchcraft. Finally, a few electric lamps ahead on the road. It's close to 9 p.m. when we arrive at the Tabora bus station.

The sight of the meagre settlements on the Tabora road have turned Joseph thoughtful. We are, essentially, on the old slave route.

He wonders if the pathetic, reduced state of human life we see reflects the devastation of the slave trade. He is reminded of his own village, which was divided into families along functional lines - shopkeeping, plumbing, carpentry, harvesting, auctioning.

There would be a central place for people to gather. His area, as much of Kenya, never saw the slave trade.

Am I surprised that the slave trade, on this old slave route, is the ghost we carry on our journey?

There is something pleasant about Tabora, a sense of quiet settledness, a certain self-containment. It was a vital stop on the old east-west caravan route, and is one of the few towns in the country that can be found in the old, precolonial maps. Yet it has hardly any recent urban development. You wouldn't call it pretty - there's no river flowing through it, there are no hills to modulate the landscape, though mango trees abound. Tabora's problem today - why it appears physically neglected, as though development suddenly halted some time in the 1970s - has to do with national politics, as our taxi driver the next day affirms. Chief Abdallah Fundikira of the Nyamwezi - this is traditionally their territory - had run afoul of the ruling national party, TANU, and founded his own party. He lost, and as a result Tabora was punished. None of the roads leading in and out is paved, therefore during the long rainy season the town is rendered into an island of sorts. But help is on the way now, the Chinese will soon come to build the roads. ...

The centre of Tabora consists of a main street, on one side of which are a busy bus stand and a large open-air market. The former Indian quarter lies on the other side of the street, with its typical commercial strip. Here, prominently, is the jamatini [prayer house], the Khoja khano looking very similar to the one in Dodoma and built during the same euphoric era. Tabora was an important Islamic as well as administrative centre, and the old German boma [fort] lies a short drive away from the main street.

It's used by the army now, and to get through the gate one must have permission. I tell the adjutant at the gate that I did my National Service some years ago, expecting a favour. He bids us formally to a conference room nearby and in sombre tones asks for our details, including my NS number, which of course I do not have. Suddenly I am reminded of the hair-raising bureaucracy of old, which I have not experienced in decades, and Joseph senses something similar; we eye each other across the large table, dutifully give our names and cell numbers, and depart in a hurry, hoping not to hear from the army.

We head out of town toward "Livingstone."

Says our driver, there's not a single white man who leaves his country and doesn't come to see "Livingstone." We, however, have not seen a single white man in town. And the driver doesn't really know who Livingstone was; in his mind, he was some white man who lived at the time of his father.

On the way we pass a large but plain white house that belonged to Chief Fundikira, where he is also buried. The driver is chatty, and since on our bus coming in we were told of superstitions and witchcraft in the area, we ask him, "Kuna uganga hapo?" Is there witchcraft here? The answer is strongly in the affirmative. ... "Livingstone" is off the main road, at the end of a rough unpaved trek through lush farmland scattered generously with mango trees, a long, red house with a veranda and a yard in front. Stanley was welcomed to this house by a Tabora Arab, Sheikh Syed bin Salim, in 1871 when he first arrived here from the coast, bound for Ujiji on his search for Livingstone. He immediately raised an American flag on its roof. ... Stanley found a way to continue on his journey west via a southern route. He found Livingstone at Ujiji, and the two of them explored Lake Tanganyika together before undertaking a rainsoaked journey to Tabora, where Sheikh Salim welcomed Stanley again. A plaque on the outside wall of the house says that Livingstone and Stanley stayed here during February to March, 1873; a smaller notice says that Burton and Speke were in Tabora in November, 1857. The Arab house where they stayed, however, had been destroyed when Stanley arrived. It is from here, while Burton stayed behind, that Speke made an expedition to Lake Victoria and was inspired to call it the source of the Nile.

Stanley bid Livingstone farewell and departed for the coast on March 14, 1873. Livingstone proceeded west toward the south of Lake Tanganyika, where he died.

There's a museum inside the house, but the caretaker is away at his farm. We return to town.

Back in Tabora we ask around for old houses, ruins, places where the Arabs of old might have lived. Nobody knows about them. There is utter confusion: the past? what past? Livingstone - they tell you - have you been there? We've been there. Did you go to Fundikira? We saw it. Nothing more. We are stumped. Such an old town and yet no sense of its past, which is substantial. Tabora's history has been entirely erased.

Now Joseph informs me that the girl who sat beside him in the bus had asked him, "Why are you interested in those people who put us in chains?"

It's a profound thought. In one's quest for history, in one's obsession with the past, one forgets that there are those who would rather keep it buried. But is that good enough? In the part of the world where I now come from, time is allowed to take its course, and history is revered as record. It is there to teach us about ourselves. Scholarship provides contexts, nuances, altering points of view to learn from. The past is never simply black and white, after all, never entirely good and bad, us and them, victory and defeat.

Excerpted from And Home Was Kariakoo: A Memoir of East Africa (Doubleday Canada, 384 pages, $32.95)

Associated Graphic

The author in Tanzania: 'In one's quest for history ... one forgets that there are those who would rather keep it buried.'


Touts and agents abound at the Tabora-Mwanza road junction at Nzega, but a seat on the right bus is far from guaranteed.


Author M. G. Vassanji, left, poses with his travel companion, Joseph.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 – Print Edition, Page P40


Vancouver (main) and Kelowna

Students: 61,200

Cost: $5,800

With 29 programs on the QS World University Ranking and about five times the research funding of the University of Victoria or Simon Fraser University, there is no doubt that UBC is the place to go in B.C. for students looking for an emphasis on those things. Competition is stiff: 24,000 students vied for 7,800 first-year seats and admitted science students boasted a 92 per cent high-school grade average. The huge school has made genuine efforts to improve undergraduate education and achieved one of the lowest student-to-professor ratios in the country. Still, students gave mixed reviews on a national student survey, landing UBC well below average on Canadian students' overall satisfaction.

Your typical classmate: Takes his or her homework very seriously; students complain that their peers can be competitive to the point of snobbishness, but getting involved in UBC's huge offering of activities and clubs is a good way to tap into a fun social community.

Students say: That a heavy workload and a huge campus can feel overwhelming. "I was very busy at times and wish I had been able to attend more school events. But, overall, there are plenty of cultural and learning experiences to be had at UBC," says Aurora Tejeida, journalism graduate.


North Vancouver (main), Sechelt and Squamish

Students: 14,000

Cost: $4,100

As a college-turned-teaching university, relatively few professors boast PhDs. What they do bring is extensive industry experience to popular vocational programs such as jazz music, animation, illustration and exercise science. This year, students and professors clashed with administration over deep cuts to art programs, including the cancellation of textile and studio arts programs. The university has currently expanded its successful certificate in the Squamish language and culture to other aboriginal languages, including Lil'wat and Sechelt.

Hotshot prof: Violet Jessen's early childhood education students created plans and 3-D models for a new playground in the community.

Students say: The commuter campus can feel impersonal at first, but an intimate and supportive student community exists for those willing to put in a little effort. "Now I think of Capilano as my second (if not first) home," says Brittany Barnes, third-year communications.



Students: 2,000

Cost: $4,400

This respected art and design school continues to stay on the cutting edge with an innovative interactive design program and a Health Design Lab that allows students to work with real clients in the health-care field. ECUAD is in the midst of a major fundraising campaign for a new $134-million campus, slated to open in 2016. The university dedicates less of its budget to financial aid than any other university in B.C., so don't expect any discount on tuition. Three in five of its graduates find work in the creative industry and 29 per cent are self-employed.

Notable alumnus: Kevin Eastwood's documentary series Emergency Room: Life and Death at VGH attracted record-breaking audiences when it premiered on the Knowledge Network in January.

This year: Industrial design student Scott Forsythe was one of only three selected from around the globe for a prestigious internship at IKEA.


Abbotsford (main), Chilliwack, Mission and Hope

Students: 13,200

Cost: $4,800

Students speak highly of UFV's accessible faculty and small classes (capped at 36). However, the university's cozy size comes with some drawbacks; students complain that limited course availability makes it difficult to graduate on time. They also report a lack of study space, but a new student union building with ample study spots is on the horizon.

Hotshot prof: Michael Gaetz and a group of undergraduate volunteers use world-class brain-imaging techniques to measure and prevent concussions in student athletes.

Students say: The farmland campus overlooking Mount Baker is beautiful. "Part of UFV's goodness comes from its smallness," says Dessa Bayrock, recent English graduate, "but as I near the end of my degree, it's becoming stifling."


Surrey (main), Richmond, Langley and Cloverdale

Students: 19,200

Cost: $5,300

Surrey is home to the largest number of young people in British Columbia, so it's no wonder that KPU is experiencing record enrolment. Expansion plans include a new $20-million campus in Surrey City Centre and a new two-year diploma in craft brewery operations. Students say that a lack of extra-curricular activities on this commuter campus makes meeting new people tough, but KPU's small class sizes help.

Your typical classmate: Speaks more than one language; around half of students who go to KPU straight from high school were previously in an ESL program.

Students say: Their education is preparing them for the real world. "Because many of my profs work in the industry, I think they're more equipped to offer realistic advice and connections," says recent journalism grad Katya Slepian.


Prince George (main), Peace River, Terrace, Prince Rupert and Quesnel

Students: 4,200

Cost: $5,500

UNBC's focus on preparing students for work in the resource sector aligns with the region's strong oil, gas and forestry industries. The school, which calls itself "Canada's Green University," is heated by wood pellets made from trees killed by pine beetles. Students enjoy interesting lab opportunities, thanks to considerable research funding for its size; however, co-op placements are scarce.

Your typical classmate: Eats most meals at the cafeteria. Starting next year, a seven-day meal plan ($2,166 per semester) will be mandatory for both first- and second-year students living in residence.

Students say: They are worried about budget cuts; with a decrease in government funding and enrolment below capacity, UNBC has to make due with $400,000 less than last year.



Students: 700

Cost: $30,200

Seven-year-old, private Quest University ranked tops in Canada on a national student survey for its innovative education model in which students take one intense course each month in classes capped at 20. Despite the high sticker price, one third of Quest's operating budget is set aside for financial aid, and many students report paying tuition in line with other B.C. universities. Some students worry their Quest degree won't be recognized by employers and graduate programs, but president David Helfand's advocacy on behalf of individual grads has landed them at top universities, including Stanford and The London School of Economics and Political Science.

Students say: The best - and worst - thing about Quest is its tiny size. "I literally know the first and last name of every student," says third-year student Eva Schipper. "It's incredibly intimate, at times, too intimate. Dating can be soap opera-esque."



Students: 4,900

Cost: $8,900

This former military college reinvented itself by targeting working adults with professional graduate programs that mix online and in-person instruction. In recent years the school has added 11 undergraduate programs, including environmental science, business and tourism. High tuition and limited financial aid make this an expensive choice, but two years after graduation, RRU alumni are more likely to have higher incomes in jobs related to their fields than the average university graduate in B.C. Students give their educational experience at RRU good reviews.

Your typical classmate: Can be found studying by the classical Japanese garden pool or gazing at the Juan de Fuca Strait.


Burnaby (main), Vancouver and Surrey

Students: 33,700

Cost: $6,100

SFU is known for its flexible trimester system and strong co-op programs. The university is home to one of the top geography programs in the world and, with the recent installation of a high-powered telescope, will offer astronomy courses for the first time this fall. Large average class sizes and consistently low performance across national student survey measures suggest the university could give more attention to its undergraduate experience.

Your typical classmate: Was an honour roll student in high school; at 88.3 per cent, SFU's average entering GPA is the highest in B.C.

Students say: The concrete, mountain-top campus feels desolate. "My initial impression of campus was bleak," says Christina Ma, third-year economics and political science. "Over time, I've explored the nooks and crannies of SFU and found some inspiring architecture."


Kamloops (main) and Williams Lake

Students: 25,500

Cost: $5,100

TRU continues its long history as a pioneer of accessible education by allowing students to get credit for material learned through massive open online courses (MOOCs). Students studying at its main campus enjoy small classes and approachable professors. Although Kamloops lacks a cultural scene, ample outdoor opportunities - skiing, mountain biking and hiking - abound.

Your typical classmate: Is not on campus; 12,000 students are enrolled in distance and online courses.

Hotshot prof: Nicole Schabus was on the legal team that won an unprecedented decision at the Supreme Court of Canada in the Tsilhqot'in Nation's land rights case.


Nanaimo (main), Duncan, Parksville and Powell River

Students: 18,000

Cost: $4,700

VIU has made genuine efforts to serve disadvantaged students in its region. The school deserves credit for becoming the first university in B.C. to offer free tuition to students who were under government care as children. The percentage of the student body who identify as aboriginal has now reached 10 per cent. The city of Nanaimo leaves much to be desired, but easy beach and hiking access partly make up for the drab town.

Your typical classmate: Isn't straight out of high school; the average VIU student is 25.

Hotshot prof: Pam Shaw worked with urban planning students to develop a community plan with the Toquaht Nation on the west coast of Vancouver Island.



Students: 47,000

Cost: $5,900

UVic offers the best of two worlds: the university is home to significant research, such as its world-class undersea laboratories, and also has a more intimate feel (and much smaller average class size) than gargantuan UBC. The university's philosophy is that the best teachers are active researchers, but students rate the university poorly on student-faculty interaction. It has a teaching stream that allows professors to focus on pedagogy research and a unique scholarship program that includes research mentorship to undergrad students.

Your typical classmate: Is a bicycle commuter. With the mildest climate in Canada and great cycling infrastructure, 8 per cent of trips to the university are by bicycle.

This year: The faculty union raised concerns that fewer sessional instructors would be employed because of government funding cuts; with 60 per cent of first- and second-year classes taught by sessionals, union leadership claims this has already led to growing class sizes.

Associated Graphic

Quest: a small school with an innovative education model

Thursday, October 23, 2014

As the debate over legalization heats up, Adriana Barton examines the effects of marijuana on the developing brains of teenagers - our nation's most prolific users - and finds there is no such thing as a harmless habit
Friday, October 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

Like it or not, your kids will probably try marijuana. So will their friends. Canadian teens are more than twice as likely as adults to smoke pot - and have the highest rate of cannabis use in the developed world. Marijuana has become as much a part of Canada's youth culture as hockey or Katy Perry.

Fully 28 per cent of Canadian children aged 11 to 15 admitted to using cannabis at least once in the past year (compared to 23 per cent in the United States, where pot is legal in the states of Colorado and Washington, and 17 per cent in the weed-friendly Netherlands), a 2013 United Nations Children's Fund study found. As much as 5 per cent of Canadian adolescents - and as much as 10 per cent of Grade 12 students - smoke pot every day, according to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

Canada's youth are not only top consumers of the world's most widely used illicit drug - they are also lab rats for the most potent bud the world has ever known. The pot smoked at Woodstock in 1969 contained about 1 per cent of the psychoactive ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol. It was mere shrubbery compared to today's street-grade marijuana, which typically has THC concentrations of at least 10 per cent, but may contain upwards of 30 per cent, according to Health Canada.

As Canadian youth take advantage of easy access to the street drug, despite law-enforcement efforts, pot's reputation as "nature's medicine" continues to grow, fuelling the debate over whether to decriminalize or legalize recreational marijuana use. Legalization is shaping up as a key election issue. Just last week, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto declared criminalization a failure at "preventing or reducing harms associated with cannabis use" - prompting support from Bill Blair, chief of police of Canada's biggest city.

Politicians are staking out ground on marijuana, with the Liberals championing legalization and regulation, the NDP favouring decriminalization and the Conservatives holding the line on enforcement. But do Canadians actually know how the drug affects our most prolific users? For tweens and teens, whose brains are in a crucial stage of development, is there such a thing as a harmless pot habit?

To determine what science has to say about the effects of high-octane pot on the developing brain, The Globe interviewed top researchers in the field and combed through dozens of peer-reviewed studies, taking reasoned critiques into account. Here are some key ways cannabis use could affect your child's brain.

Learning problems, overtaxed brains

While cannabis is not the most dangerous of drugs, as with alcohol, "it has a lot of harmful effects," said Dr. Harold Kalant, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Toronto who has conducted research on alcohol and cannabis since 1959.

Marijuana hijacks normal brain functioning in teens, and many scientists believe the drug may have permanent effects on brain development.

Dr. Andra Smith, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Ottawa, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare brain activity in youth ages 19 to 21 who did not smoke pot regularly, and those who had smoked at least one joint a week for three years or more. Urine samples confirmed their cannabis use.

In a series of published studies, Smith assessed the youth's executive functioning - the umbrella term for mental processes involved in organizing, decisionmaking, planning and meeting long-term goals.

Smith and colleagues found increased brain activity in the regular pot smokers as they completed tasks designed to measure impulsivity, working memory, visual-spatial processing and sustained attention.

While increased brain activity may sound like a good thing, "it is actually interpreted as having to work harder, having to engage more brain resources to respond accurately," Smith said.

The youth were drawn from the Ottawa Prenatal Prospective Study, which has followed them from before birth to age 25 to 30.

Researchers collected about 4,000 lifestyle variables, including socio-economic status and prenatal exposure to marijuana and alcohol, as well as teenage cannabis use.

Marijuana was the most likely culprit for the increased brain activity, Smith said.

Earlier studies on rats, conducted by Kalant in the 1980s, suggest cognitive deficits linked to cannabis use may be long-term. Even after the equivalent of nine human years without marijuana exposure, rats given marijuana extract in adolescence showed residual mental deficits in learning and memory that persisted into adulthood. But rats given marijuana extract as young adults did not develop long-lasting impairments, Kalant said, adding that the cannabis receptors in the brains of humans and rodents work "in very similar ways."

A more recent study, published in April in the Journal of Neuroscience, found structural changes in the brains of 18- to 25-year-olds who smoked pot at least once per week, compared with those of youth with little to no history of marijuana use.

Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), researchers from Northwestern University detected alterations in brain regions involved in emotion and reward processing. The heavier the marijuana use, the greater the abnormalities in both brain regions, they found.

"This study raises a strong challenge to the idea that casual marijuana use isn't associated with bad consequences," the researchers wrote.

A blow to intelligence

Adolescents with a "wake-andbake" habit risk permanent losses in IQ. While marijuana activists can probably list examples of teen potheads turned successful lawyers, it's tough to argue with the findings from a long-term study conducted in the New Zealand city of Dunedin.

The ongoing study has followed 1,037 people born in Dunedin during 1972-73, from birth to their early 40s.

In a 2012 report, researchers from Duke University analyzed data from Dunedin and found that the earlier and more frequently a person smoked pot, the greater the loss of intelligence by the age of 38. Compared to their IQs measured at the age of 13, people who had started using cannabis as teens and maintained a daily pot habit into adulthood had, on average, a sixpoint drop in IQ. The decline was not trivial: By the age of 38, their average IQ was below that of 70 per cent of their peers, according to the report, published in the journal PNAS.

Individuals who began using cannabis heavily as adults did not show similar losses in IQ, but quitting pot did not seem to restore intellectual functioning in those who had been chronic pot users as teenagers, the researchers found.

Critics of the research suggested personality differences could explain the link between cannabis and IQ, since less conscientious people may be more drawn to cannabis - and more likely to perform poorly on intelligence tests. Others argued the drops in IQ were mainly due to socio-economic factors.

But the researchers rebutted each point, noting that they had measured childhood self-control - a precursor of conscientiousness - and had ruled out a range of factors other than marijuana use, including tobacco and alcohol use, schizophrenia and education levels. To account for socio-economic factors, they had conducted a separate analysis excluding participants from both low- and high-income families.

Even after crunching the numbers again and again, the researchers found the association between persistent cannabis use and IQ decline "remained unaltered," they wrote.

Risk of psychosis

Teens smoke pot for its mild hallucinogenic effects, but in some cases, cannabis may trigger a more serious break from reality.

The cannabis-psychosis link has long been a chicken-or-egg question, since people with schizophrenia are known to selfmedicate by smoking pot. One in four schizophrenia patients is diagnosed with a cannabis-use disorder, according to a 2010 review.

Nevertheless, the case that marijuana may provoke psychosis in adolescents with genetic vulnerabilities has grown stronger in recent years.

In 2002, researchers using data from the Dunedin study found that cannabis use in adolescence significantly increased the likelihood of schizophrenia in adulthood, especially in individuals who had used the drug by age 15.

In this study, published in BMJ, the link remained even after the researchers looked at whether participants had psychotic symptoms at age 11 - before they started using drugs. The research confirmed the results of an earlier Swedish study showing that heavy cannabis use at age 18 increased the risk of later schizophrenia sixfold. Studies in the Netherlands and Germany had similar findings.

Scientists say it is still unclear whether marijuana use leads to alterations in brain regions associated with hallucinations, or whether cannabis precipitates psychosis in people with genetic abnormalities. Another theory is that the cannabis-psychosis link is due to an overlap of genetic and environmental factors, such as child abuse and easy access to drugs.

But the idea that marijuana's role in schizophrenia is mainly a phenomenon of self-medication "has been largely eliminated," according to a 2014 review published in the journal Addiction.

Another major review, published this month in the same journal, estimated that the risk of developing psychosis doubles from about seven in 1,000 for non-cannabis users to 14 in 1,000 among regular users.

A hazy future?

Teens who smoke pot daily are 60 per cent less likely to finish high school or get a university degree than their weed-free peers, according to a high-profile study published in September in the Lancet.

The researchers, mainly from Australia, looked at outcomes from three long-term studies conducted in Australia and New Zealand. They compared participants' life status at age 30 to their patterns of marijuana use before age 17 (never, less than monthly, monthly or more, weekly or more, or daily).

Compared to people who had never used cannabis, those who were daily users before age 17 had an 18-times greater chance of becoming cannabis dependent.

They were eight times more likely to use other illicit drugs in adulthood, and seven times more likely to attempt suicide.

But critics suggested that other variables, such as teachers' disapproval of pot-smoking students, could have influenced education levels. Others pointed out users may have had drug convictions that affected entry into universities.

Nevertheless, the Lancet study was widely praised for ruling out more than 50 factors other than marijuana use that might explain the results, and for demonstrating a dose response, meaning that the negative outcomes worsened with increased cannabis use. The researchers noted that previous studies published in 1998 and 2000 had shown similar findings. "Prevention or delay of cannabis use in adolescence is likely to have broad health and social benefits," they concluded.

Smith echoed that idea: "I don't really care if you smoke at 35," she said, "but don't do it when you're 13 because you're just setting yourself up for failure."

Associated Graphic


The cannabis-psychosis link has long been a chicken-or-egg question, since people with schizophrenia are known to self-medicate by smoking pot.


Positioning Trudeau
A year away from the federal election and with a new biography on the shelves, Justin Trudeau is still portraying himself as a sea change in political styles from Stephen Harper. But he needs to cultivate more than differences to win the country
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A12

OTTAWA -- Justin Trudeau took only a few minutes after touring the University of Waterloo to take off his jacket and bound in front of a standing-room crowd at the Student Life Centre. For the next hour, he would speak without notes or Teleprompter, repeating questions into the mic so all could hear.

"What do I plan to do to engage youth in politics?" he said, looking around in mock surprise at the question, and then shrugged: "This."

His audience laughs. He points out that the student union has asked all party leaders to do the same. "Somehow, I don't think the Prime Minister is going to take them up on this invitation."

It's self-serving, but rings true. It is hard to imagine Stephen Harper sauntering across a college stage in shirtsleeves, promising shorter answers so more people can ask questions, or generally doing things the way Justin Trudeau does. Sometimes that seems to be the point of Justin Trudeau.

He is the anti-Harper. If the Liberals did not have him, they would be trying to build him. In some ways, they are.

Whereas Mr. Harper often paints politics as choosing between right and wrong and "standing up" for principles, Mr. Trudeau has titled the autobiography he will publish this week Common Ground. One year from an election scheduled for Oct. 19, 2015, that book is part of a bigger brand-building.

As federal politicians swing into what is effectively the county's longest-ever election campaign, Mr. Trudeau has already given glimpses of his approach.

Between talks to students in Waterloo and the Chamber of Commerce in London, Ont., The Globe and Mail sat down with Mr. Trudeau, and found a man insisting that the process of building his political platform and approach is a key factor in setting him apart, and treating the policy platform as a final exam - insisting voters will be able to test his policy substance in the end.

"If, by the time they reach the ballot box, they're not satisfied that I have demonstrated that - yeah, they have a right to ask about that," he said. "In the meantime, a year out from the election, I'm not going to shortcircuit some valuable conversations."

But it is all building around a contrast of personae, of approach, rather than policy details. Clearly, many Liberals around Mr. Trudeau think that if there is a sentiment for change next year, it will not be driven just by disagreement with Mr. Harper's policies so much as irritation with the way he does things after nine years in power. It is visceral. It will be a referendum on Stephen Harper's persona, and Mr. Trudeau wants to be the other side.

And he is different. Mr. Trudeau keeps underlining it.

Sometimes, he overreaches.

When opposing a Canadian combat mission in Iraq this month, he tried to show his reflexes are less war-like than Mr. Harper's - but slipped into a glib blooper, warning Canada should not "whip out our CF-18s to show how big they are." It played into his weakness: the perception that while Mr. Harper takes things seriously, Mr. Trudeau is not serious.

When it came to time to repair the damage, former prime minister Jean Chrétien stepped forward to defend his position on Iraq - a telling sign that the Liberal leader needed to borrow a cup of gravitas from a heavyweight.

He is open to charges he lacks policies. That has become a half-truth: He has taken stands on not reviving the gun registry, oil pipelines, RESPs, corporate taxes, the Senate, abortion, and yes, legalizing pot. But it is still a hodge-podge with many gaps.

Parties have typically waited for the writs before releasing platforms, but his opponents, notably the NDP, are revealing policies early - pressuring him.

But as he speaks to students or supporters or business people on key electoral turf along southern Ontario's Highway 401, many of the issues he raises underline the contrasts with Mr. Harper.

He talks about Mr. Harper's failure to hold a premiers' meeting, and suggests the country suffers without that kind of cooperation. He insists Mr. Harper is ideological: that his unwillingness to show concern for the environment is damaging Canada's economic prospects, encouraging other countries, and First Nations, to reject Canadian resources.

He is specific about some things. He explains why he would keep corporate taxes unchanged, or why he favours the Keystone XL oil pipeline to the U.S. gulf coast but not the Northern Gateway through B.C.

There are also a lot of generalities. But amid vague statements about values are outlines of direction for his political strategy and his policy.

The next election, he told students in London, will be about the economy and how it treats those who feel vulnerable in the middle class. Mr. Harper will offer tax cuts, but Mr. Trudeau says he will offer policies he frames as pro-growth, like spending on infrastructure and job training.

Yes, he tells a questioner, a national daycare program should be a priority, but growthoriented spending comes first, and he wants to see what the budget surplus will be.

On other social programs, you can learn Mr. Trudeau's approach, if not his policy. When a student asked about the high cost of tuition, the Liberal Leader said society has an interest in more people going to university, and so it should invest in that - up to the point where it is good for society as a whole.

So instead of giving $1,000 to everyone who goes to university, it is better to give $5,000 to those people "for whom it makes the difference of going to school" or not. In other words, government should spend up to the point that it benefits society, not just the individual.

But of course, politics can get in the way of planning, and the real trick in policy is the details.

Mr. Trudeau did not offer any.

He insists he wants people to see an "iterative" process that they can join to develop policies where he outlines "how I see the issues, how I see finding solutions to the issues."

"I think it's a big contrast against what people see a lot in politics, which is, 'These are the talking points, this is what we're sticking to, and I'm broadcasting one way to you,'" he said in the interview in London. "I'm a teacher. I believe in sort of sharing in a discussion and coming out of it with new insights on both sides."

It may not be so easy to stick with such a long process. The NDP is releasing policies now - it has already proposed a national child care plan. If Mr. Trudeau does not reply for seven months, he may find himself again facing the perception that he lacks substance.

While Conservatives complain Mr. Trudeau tops opinion polls without a complete policy book, there is another side of the equation: Mr. Harper has slipped and his policies are not really the problem.

Polls regularly show a plurality of Canadians approve of Mr. Harper's handling of the economy or foreign policy. Ipsos-Reid found 49 per cent of Canadians approve of his record - but 67 per cent want another party to take over.

Perhaps it is Mr. Harper's persona that polarizes. When another pollster, Angus Reid Global, asked Canadians what attributes they ascribe to world leaders like Mr. Harper, the composite was that he is secretive but strategic.

Those who voted Conservative in 2011 think he is strong and credible. Those who voted NDP or Liberal called him uncaring and a bully.

Many Liberals say they think that, outside his Conservative support base, irritation with Mr. Harper is solidifying. Perhaps people who feel that way will be motivated to turn out to vote, and to band behind whoever is more likely to beat him.

Perhaps they will look to someone who strikes them as very unlike Mr. Harper.

And if they want a contrast of style, it is more likely to be Mr. Trudeau than Thomas Mulcair.

The NDP Leader is sharp and strong-willed, but seen as scarcely more upbeat than the Prime Minister.

The other side of embracing Mr. Trudeau's contrasts with Mr. Harper is emphasizing what people like about the PM.

"The number one thing the Prime Minister has going for him is that he's serious," one former aide said. Even people who do not like him think he works at it, and is credible. He likes to make tough decisions, and people see that. He is not trying to look warm and fuzzy.

"He doesn't want people to see him as the guy you'd have a beer with. He says the job is making decisions."

The plan is to use a team - star candidates, a former general, and economic players such as Morneau Sheppell chair Bill Morneau or former Business Council of Manitoba president Jim Carr - to counter the public's questions about whether Mr. Trudeau has the same substance.

Liberals say their leader is not too proud to hire and rely on the right people. Now the question is whether Canadians will want a political chairman of the board, or a hands-on CEO like Mr. Harper.

There is no doubt Mr. Trudeau has remodelled Canadian politics, taking his third party in the Commons to front-runner in the polls.

Does he think Canadians take him seriously now? His eyes darken when he answers: "My opponents do."

It is clear that many voters have not drawn their conclusions yet. In every crowd, there is interest, and those who ask for pictures, and leave smiling.

At the University of Western Ontario, he followed an hour-long, no-notes talk to students with 20 minutes of posing for selfies with them. But some are disappointed. They want to know where the contrasts lead.

"The only thing I'd heard about Trudeau was the weed thing, and I was hoping he'd have some other ideas," said Alex Tonelotto, a 20-year-old international relations student. "It was more general. Bring Canada together - what does that mean?"

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Former patient helped hundreds get jobs
After enduring child abuse and overcoming a heroin addiction, she assisted other mental health patients in turning their lives around
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S12

Beaten and molested as a little girl by a brutal father, repeatedly told that she was stupid and worthless, addicted to heroin by her early 20s, Diana Capponi emerged from years of psychiatric treatment stronger at the broken places. Determined to help society's most vulnerable and damaged individuals, she created work opportunities for women and men who struggled with mental illness and faced unemployment as a result. A home, a job and a friend, she believed, was what former psychiatric patients most needed.

Persuasive and determined, adept at getting governments to support her vision, she was instrumental in the development of successful businesses employing ex-patients. Then, headhunted by Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, she created hundreds of jobs for former (and current) patients within that sprawling psychiatric treatment and research centre. She insisted that they be real jobs paying real money.

By the time she died in Toronto General Hospital on Sept. 21, her ideas had been folded into Ontario's mental health policies and were influencing policy in other jurisdictions.

It is an astonishing achievement when one considers her beginnings. Diana Michele Capponi was born in Montreal on Feb. 22, 1953, one of five children and the youngest daughter of Michael and Bernice Capponi (née Cluff). Her father worked in aircraft production at Canadair and Aviation Electric when he was not terrorizing his wife and children.

"The story of my family is one of continuing tragedy, filled with psychiatric wards and labels, suicide attempts, addictions and too many failures to count," wrote Diana's sister Pat Capponi in her memoir Upstairs in the Crazy House. "We were driven crazy - every curse, every blow, every corrupted touch ended up distorting us, breaking us, shaping our separate destinies."

Anything could provoke Michael Capponi's fury. He beat his children for not eating their supper or for eating too much; for not knowing the times tables; for talking or for saying nothing. "A single fork found dirty in the drawer," recalled Pat Capponi in her book. "Everything in the kitchen - plates, pots, cutlery - emptied out and thrown on the floor, the five of us dragged out of bed, beaten and forced to wash and dry everything again ... finally released to bed as the sun rose."

Diana dropped out of school in Grade 10, convinced by her father that she was brainless. After her parents were finally divorced, she went to India to get as far away as possible from Montreal. There, at age 20, she started injecting heroin. Later she told her sister Pat that heroin, for the first time, made her feel comfortable in her skin.

Back in Montreal, now an addict, she had a disastrous early marriage and gave birth to a baby boy, Christopher, whom she put up for adoption when he was two - a decision she later regretted. Her mother, not knowing how to control Diana's erratic and dangerous behaviour, sent her to Toronto where her elder sisters Terry and Pat were already living, Pat in a group home.

"Diana, after a couple of years, also got into a group home here. She was hooked on heroin and she was also starting to suffer from mental illness," recalled her sister Pat. Diana later likened herself to "a human garbage can" during this period.

Terry, the eldest, was to die of an overdose of prescription pain medication, likely a suicide. A brother, the youngest of the five children, died of AIDS at Casey House.

In 1981, Diana gave birth to a daughter, Julia, in Toronto, and this time she was determined to raise her child. She spent five months locked up in rehab at CAMH, fighting her demons while leaving her daughter with friends. When she came out, she lived in the same run-down group residence as her sister Pat, who explained: "She could keep Julia with her there. The father also had an addiction issue. We had a nursing aide and some good people gave us a playpen and supplies. We lived in Parkdale in a home with 70 crazy people. They were three houses really side by side. It was an eyeopener for her that such places existed."

While she was shaking off the grip of heroin, Ms. Capponi attended a program at the YWCA for women who wanted to change, which gave her the impetus to enroll at Centennial College in the policing program. "She wanted to be a corrections officer to do it right," recalled her sister. Diana graduated in 1984. "Simply finishing Centennial was astonishing - that she had a brain and her professors respected her intelligence was a surprise to her."

Ms. Capponi later told an interviewer: "No one made assumptions about me because of my background. I felt supported at Centennial. Going to college was the most significant thing I could have done to change my life."

After graduating, however, she discovered that her name was in the police database as a former drug offender, making it difficult to get a job in corrections. She went to work instead at Nellie's, the downtown shelter for battered women and children, founded by the late June Callwood, who became an inspiration.

In the early 1990s, Ms. Capponi left Nellie's for management work at Fresh Start, a cleaning service run by psychiatric survivors since 1989. That led her to start OCAB, the Ontario Council of Alternative Businesses (now renamed Working for Change). It eventually operated four enterprises including the cleaning service, the Raging Spoon Café and catering company, the landscaping service Green Thumbs, which maintains street planters in the Parkdale neighbourhood, and A-Way Express Courier service. All the couriers at A-Way have mental health issues, as do the employees of the other businesses. By some estimates, under her leadership OCAB provided jobs for about 1,000 people previously considered unemployable. Some of her workers were the subject of an NFB documentary, Working Like Crazy.

She obtained government grants from both the city and the province for OCAB to start these businesses; then they had to make a profit.

"OCAB was all about changing people's attitudes about [psychiatric] survivors' ability to do jobs," says Paul Quinn, who was the long-time director of the Gerstein Centre in Toronto, a small non-medical crisis centre for mentally ill people. Ms. Capponi did some overnight shifts there while still at Nellie's, and he was so impressed with her, he later put her on his board of directors.

"The best thing about her was her joy in the work and her encouragement of the workers," Mr. Quinn recalls. "The people who worked at OCAB or Fresh Start could maybe do only three or four hours of labour a week but she would praise them as though they had done 40. She celebrated their successes."

Hired away by CAMH 11 years ago, Ms. Capponi became coordinator of Employment Works, a recruitment and retention initiative within the institution for people with mental health and addiction challenges. Among other achievements, she created the Out of This World Café at CAMH, entirely staffed by former psychiatric patients. She reportedly helped 330 patients find work within CAMH, about a 10th of its workforce.

She never lacked for ideas. An unrealized project was a museum about the history of mental illness that Ms. Capponi wanted to create within CAMH.

Her own business cards, recalled her friend Fiona Crean, had the initials FMP after her name: "I asked her, 'Diana, what is this? I don't know this degree.' And she said, 'It stands for Former Mental Patient.' "

Ms. Crean, who is the Ombudsman for the City of Toronto, said Ms. Capponi made an impact on the larger community: "Diana treated everyone the same and had the utmost respect for people. I brought her in from CAMH to train public servants [at city hall] how to deal with people with diminished capacity and mental illness. That grew out of a difficult case I had.

"She had a massive impact, but if you said that, she'd say 'Don't be silly' - she was very self-effacing."

Ms. Capponi found the loving and practical-minded partner she needed 17 years ago when she met Brenda Needham. Ms. Needham worked at the Bank of Montreal in networks and systems.

"We met at a fundraiser for a homeless shelter and I asked her out the next week," Ms. Needham recalled. "We moved in two months later, and bought our first house eight months after that. Diana did not know about mortgages. She thought you had to have all the money at once. Later she became quite interested in real estate."

In 2003, they got married and had a wedding reception at The Raging Spoon on Queen Street West, the café-restaurant that Ms. Capponi had helped to create.

She collected a host of awards and Ms. Needham noted her spreading fame: "She was consulted by people from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Vancouver, from across the country. I remember a delegation arriving from Japan to talk to her. Once she was invited to speak to psychiatrists in Amsterdam - I went with her on that trip."

The marriage lasted six years. "Diana had no life - she worked all the time. We sold the house and split up in 2009 but lived in adjacent apartment buildings. We loved each other and took holidays together but we had no shared life," Ms. Needham recalled. It was she who took Ms. Capponi to medical appointments, tests and procedures that found her to have diabetes, and later, just two days before her death, long-untreated breast cancer that by then had metastasized to the liver.

Diana Capponi leaves Brenda Needham; her daughter, Julia; grandsons Quentin and Julian; sisters Sandra and Pat; and her beloved dog Bob.

To submit an I Remember: Send us a memory of someone we have recently profiled on the Obituaries page. Please include I Remember in the subject field.

Associated Graphic

Ms. Capponi is shown while filming the 1999 documentary Working Like Crazy, produced with the National Film Board of Canada.


Ms. Capponi, a victim of abuse, poses with Janet Mawhinney at a campaign to stop violence against women.


The wife of a small-town reverend confronts her checkered past and contemplates the meaning of existence
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R17

There is a tendency among those who have been wronged to assume that the universe has given them something only to take it away. Lila, the eponymous character of Marilynne Robinson's fourth novel, is one such person for whom happiness is a struggle, and Robinson affectingly and tenderly traces her arc from misery to safety, from abandonment to unconditional, familial love. Lila is in part a masterful portrait of a restless woman - a female hobo - and lovers of Robinson's first novel, Housekeeping, may be delighted to find that the author has returned (after over 30 years!) to the topic of itinerant women. Lila is also the backstory of Gilead, Robinson's second novel (Lila is the second wife of the Reverend John Ames, who narrates Gilead in the form of a letter to their seven-year-old son) and a companion to Robinson's third novel, Home, which explores the relationship between the Reverend John Ames's closest friend, the Reverend Robert Boughton, and his two children, Glory and Jack. The three works could be considered a trilogy, though all four novels feel linked, whether by character or theme.

Of all Robinson's works (four novels, four works of non-fiction), Lila is particularly refreshing in this time of almost crazed confessional writing: here are the inner thoughts of a person who would rather not tell all, who would rather be alone than seek company, and who, after much deep reflection and hardship, still has more questions than conclusions.

Born in Idaho in 1943, Marilynne Robinson has an unusual pedigree - she is an award-winning novelist (among many other honours, Gilead won the Pulitzer; Home, the Orange Prize) and a well-respected essayist, writing on topics from the evils of a nuclear reprocessing plant to the (never-ending) conflict between science and religion. The unusual part is that Robinson is a devout Christian - a Calvinist. When I was a student at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where Robinson has taught since 1991, she was offering a course on the Bible. She would first read us the scripture in Hebrew, then quibble over the Latin and Greek, and finally, refute (at least partly) what was printed in our Oxford versions. In many ways, it was a class on the difficulties of translation, with the Bible as an example text, and I mention it only to illustrate that the breadth of her knowledge (and her faith) is astonishing. Indeed, she is as revered in literary and intellectual circles as she is in the Iowa City church where she sometimes preaches.

Written in one long chapter, Lila begins in almost Dickensian gloom: a little girl sits alone in the dark on a cold stoop, the house behind her full of "people sleeping right on the floor, in some old mess of quilts and gunnysacks." It is the 1920s.

Filthy and neglected, the girl is snatched by a well-meaning drifter named Doll and spends her childhood as a migrant worker, learning to live off the land: "She knew how to get by so long as nobody bothered her. Plenty of fish in the river. There were dandelion greens.

Mushrooms. You can chew pine sap if you want to. You can eat the roots of things." It is Lila and Doll against the world, a timeless landscape in which there were no "other names for seasons than planting and haying." When Lila learns that they live in the United States of America, Doll quips, "Well, I spose they had to call it something."

The two roam the Dust Bowl in a pack led by a man named Doane: they "walk south ahead of the weather, walk north in time for the crops." Interspersed with these Dorothea Lange-esque scenes is the novel's fictive present: the courtship and marriage between Lila and a smalltown Reverend named John Ames. "Interspersed" is not quite the right word: the novel's past and present are woven in such a way that one bleeds into the next, creating a dream-like duality to the prose, similar to the way in which friends reminiscing are as equally in the past as they are in their present. The sentence "Once, Lila asked the Reverend how to spell Doane," for instance, gently pries us from Lila's memories of cornfields and campfires and settles us back into the love story. Stylistically, it mirrors the shifting Lila feels within herself - part wild child, part woman - and whether, given her nature, she will ever be able to accept happiness. This fracturing of the self recalls the character of Sylvie in Housekeeping, a transient woman charged with two children after her sister commits suicide. Sylvie "seldom removed her coat," the narrator of Housekeeping, Ruth, says, "and every story she told had to do with a train or bus station." Sylvie is one of contemporary literature's most fascinating creations, but Housekeeping was from Ruth's point of view. Though Lila is written in the third person, it is Lila's worldview and Lila's gaze. How wonderful to delve even deeper this time into the matter of restless women. Robinson's latest is psychological realism at its best: a journey into an unusual person's mind.

By the time Lila meets the Reverend, she has endured the Depression, Doll's death, and a terrible stint in a St. Louis whorehouse. Despite her lack of a traditional education, Lila is an introspective, philosophical woman, her interior life more real than whatever tangible reality surrounds her. Skittish and distrustful, she settles in a shack just outside of Gilead, Iowa, washing her clothes in the river and catching fish for food. Lila is, among other things, a love story, but what distinguishes it is that a woman is the stranger who has come to town. She is the one who might at any moment pack up and leave, the mysterious one with the checkered past. She describes herself as a "likeness of woman, with hands but no face at all, since she never let herself see it." One day she steps inside a church to avoid the rain and when she sees the Reverend it is, for lack of a better description, love at first sight for them both. He is much older than Lila, as gentle as you'd expect a reverend to be, a "beautiful old man" saddened by the death of his first wife and baby in childbirth so many years before. Were it not for Gilead, he might seem a little saintly. Indeed, with so much badness in Lila's past - and the hint of so many bad men - the Reverend can seem too good at times. That said, this is Lila's show. The old man may be just that to her: Beautiful.

Unsurprisingly, after Lila meets the Reverend she becomes consumed with the problem of existence. How to make sense of all the hardship she endured? Of not knowing what sorrow happened in that mess of a house to make Doll steal her away; of not knowing what badness she might have inherited and what she might pass down through her genes. Faced with the Reverend's religiosity, she struggles with how to think about a person like Doll - or Doane and the other drifters: "all those people out there walking the roads all those years, hardly a one of them remembering the Sabbath." In one of the novel's most sensual scenes, the Reverend finally baptizes her. Days later she is in the river, trying to wash it off: "If Doll was going to be lost forever, Lila wanted to be right there with her, holding to the skirt of her dress."

Instead, she and the Reverend get married and have a child. The novel ends with the birth, and a kind of quiet washes over Lila and her troubled mind. Despite this, one morning she tells her husband, "I can't love you as much as I love you. I can't feel as happy as I am." The universe has given her stillness, a husband, a child, and a home, and yet "when you're scalded, touch hurts, it makes no difference if it's kindly meant." Like Ruth of Housekeeping, the Reverend lives with the sad fact that Lila might leave him. And so he lets her wander; he tells her it's okay if one day she has to go. It's a predicament best explained in a line from Housekeeping: "It seemed ... that if she could remain transient here, she would not have to leave." Even the townspeople of Gilead give Lila a wide berth. They leave her "to her smiling quiet, since it always upset her to feel that more was wanted of her."

By the end of Lila, the problem of existence remains large (as it should). There is no reconciliation of Lila's past and present; there are no easy answers for her, not even those the Bible and her kind Reverend offer. But there is comfort. And stillness. In Lila, Robinson has made a profound statement about the safety, and therefore absolute necessity, of love. And yet, it being Iowa, there is always the possibility of a storm on the horizon, of things "caught up in the wind as if they were escaping at last, at last, from having to be whatever they were."

Marjorie Celona is the author of the novel Y.

Associated Graphic

Lila By Marilynne Robinson HarperCollins, 261 pages, $29.99

Marilynne Robinson is as revered in literary and intellectual circles as she is in the Iowa City church where she sometimes preaches.


What size university fits you?
Tall, grande, venti - the size of the undergrad population can set a campus apart from the others
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 – Print Edition, Page P4

The little school

Danielle Biss, Mount Allison University Class of 2014

Danielle Biss spent her first year studying at the University of Toronto. The school made sense for her - she could live with family and a scholarship covered tuition. But something didn't feel right.

"I enjoyed my courses, but I didn't feel a sense of community, or a feeling of home," she says. "For some people, it's totally their thing.

But I didn't feel part of something."

In high school, she'd toured schools in the Maritimes, and remembered loving Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B. She decided she'd give that school a shot for her second year.

"It's where I was meant to be," says Ms. Biss, who graduated from MtA earlier this year with a psychology degree.

Ms. Biss got the sense of community she was looking for. Sackville is a small town - about 5,500 people - and MtA is a campus of 2,600 students. For many students, it's far away from home, but small schools like MtA inherently offer a sense of community for their students; it's easy to feel part of something.

The small school is home to many Maritimers, but it's a destination for students far and wide, too. "It was an adjustment being so far from home, and not being able to go home for the weekend," Ms. Biss says. "But being in a small community, knowing everybody, made it homey."

Small schools lend themselves to small class sizes, and Ms. Biss found herself getting to know each of her professors. "One benefit of small schools is access to profs," she says. "You never feel like you have to leave their office. At U of T, you have to line up."

It was easy for Ms. Biss to get involved on campus. She became president of her residence, and helped out at the Meighen Centre, the school's space for students with learning disabilities. Because the school is so undergrad-focused, upper-year students get access to jobs normally reserved for grad students, which allowed Ms. Biss to become a teaching assistant in an advanced statistics course and gain valuable experience.

Ms. Biss now works in member relations for the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada in Ottawa. Canada's capital is great, she says, but MtA is still in her heart. When she got her degree this spring from Chancellor Peter Mansbridge, she says, "I was shaking his hand, and thought, 'I don't know how I'm going to leave this place.' "

The medium school

Allison Williams, Queen's University Class of 2009

Many students from northwestern Ontario tend to gravitate toward the geographically obvious when picking universities, says Allison Williams, usually Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, or the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. But when an English teacher extolled the virtues of Queen's University to the Emo, Ont., native, she was sold.

The community spirit, the alumni network and the beauty of Kingston all called her name; Ms. Williams was convinced Queen's was where she would go. The school, which plays host to 22,000 students, became her home for four years. For someone attuned to a smaller community, it was a logical next step.

"A medium-sized university is just right for your undergrad," says Ms. Williams, who now studies law at Osgoode Hall in Toronto. "You get a lot of the benefits of larger schools - all of the sports teams, more class offerings than a smaller institution - but you also get the benefit of being part of a smaller, more intimate community."

Having since taken a master's degree in Toronto, Ms. Williams says she felt the most connected to her school at Queen's. Being located in Kingston, with many students living on or near campus, helps Queen's avoid a "commuter-school feel," she says. It's a community in and of itself.

The networks people build at the school tend to last well beyond graduation, too. "We have really active alumni branches," she says. "The alumni community there is something that's kind of envied."

Ms. Williams, who majored at Queen's in political science with a minor in gender studies, says the mid-sized school gave her more access to professors than she would have had at a megaschool in an urban centre. The quality of teaching, too, was great: "They attract a lot of wonderful professors who have a passion for teaching, as well as research."

The big school

Travis O'Farrell, McGill University Class of 2010

After commuting into Toronto from suburban Unionville, Ont., for high school, Travis O'Farrell swore he wouldn't let himself be stuck on transit for his whole university career. Still, he was drawn to the glow of big cities. So when he was picking which school he'd attend to study engineering, he decided on McGill.

It was the right school for him. Montreal still lives up to the legend of cheap rent - cheaper, at least, than Toronto, but with the same big-city amenities. He could live steps away from class, but still have access to all the culture and nightlife Montreal offered.

"It's a great balance of professional development and personal growth," Mr. O'Farrell says. "It's demanding, but there's still lots of time to have fun."

Some people worry that big-city schools can be impersonal, but Mr. O'Farrell, a Varsity rower and orientation leader, found it easy to fit into the city and campus through extracurriculars at McGill, a campus of 40,000. "It was a great way to meet people," he says.

The school's reputation precedes it - though The Simpsons once backhandedly called McGill the "Harvard of Canada," the joke was built on truth; it's regularly recognized on the world stage, and the Canadian one, too. "All the teachers are passionate," Mr. O'Farrell says. "Even though it's a research focused school, the teachers really cared about the students. I found class really engaging."

Mr. O'Farrell, now an engineer in Vancouver, finds himself regularly surrounded by colleagues who studied at more obvious engineering focused schools, such as the University of Waterloo. Being from McGill, he says, got him a strong education from a less obvious school in his field. "It makes me stand out."

And a big-city school comes with big-city networks. Mr. O'Farrell moved to Vancouver earlier this year, and the first people he reached out to were McGill alumni. He found a built-in network of connections. "They're always willing to help," he says, and "always eager to meet other McGill folks."

The focused school

Katherine Soucie, Emily Carr University of Art and Design Class of 2009 (and 2013)

It took a little while for Katherine Soucie to wind up at Emily Carr. After studying fashion design in the 1990s, she worked in Toronto as a buyer in the textile industry. She eventually realized she wanted to learn how to dye and print her own fabric, and moved to Vancouver for a diploma at what was then Capilano College.

She stuck around Vancouver, and after running a studio there for five years, didn't anticipate taking another undergrad - but when she discovered that Emily Carr would let her turn her Capilano credits into a degree, she seized the opportunity to do textile research and development there.

Today, Ms. Soucie produces a line of sustainable textiles, buying waste materials and reusing them with a zero-waste approach. Not only did she get a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr - she also stuck around, earning a Master of Applied Arts degree, too. The Vancouver visual-arts and design school served as a crucial inspiration, incubator and resource for her textile work.

"When you're going to a university that completely encompasses all aspects of art and design, you're in an environment where you never know what might inspire you," she says. "It becomes an environment that encompasses all forms of creativity."

Emily Carr's research department is "massive," Ms. Soucie says, keeping the institution dynamic. It also partners with industry in both art and design, and its faculty regularly receives grants that allow students - including undergrads - to do cutting-edge research in both the art and design worlds, giving them great experience.

By going to the small, focused school of 1,800, Ms. Soucie had access to resources she wouldn't have had otherwise, while being able to independently focus on her textile research. "It allows you to think and question and contemplate, but at the same time it motivates you to develop your voice as an artist in Canada," she says. "You're allowed a certain amount of freedom that not all universities allow you to have."

Associated Graphic

Easier access to professors is a perk at smaller schools such as Mount Allison in Sackville, N.B.



Social networks built at medium-sized schools such as Queen's in Kingston result in active alumni branches.



Big city schools such as McGill in Montreal can provide students with strong networks going forward.

Focused schools such as Emily Carr can give access to more resources.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chef Vikram Vij is no stranger to television, but he's about to enter a new realm of celebrity as an investor-in-waiting on CBC's Dragons' Den. The move is at once a leap into the unknown, Marsha Lederman writes, and a return to his roots
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

VANCOUVER -- Celebrated chef Vikram Vij, the latest investor to be cast on CBC's Dragons' Den, knows what it's like to stand before a group of successful business people and ask for money; he did it himself 20 years ago, when he was looking to start his own restaurant in Vancouver.

He presented a business plan to four wealthy Indo-Canadian investors and asked for $20,000. "And they all turned me down," he says. "[They] said 'Sorry I don't think this is the right concept. I do not think a modern Indian restaurant would actually work.' "

Crushed, Vij called his father in India, who told him to keep working, and promised to come for a visit. He arrived with a little brown bag stuffed with bundles of cash - $23,000 (U.S.), acquired by selling his last property in India." With $10,000 Vij himself had saved, he was able to open his restaurant, Vij's, in 1994. It was tiny - just 14 seats. And the kitchen was so ill-equipped, Vij's mother would make chicken curry at home and carry it on the bus all the way to the restaurant from suburban Richmond. "For the longest time she didn't tell me that everybody on the bus would look at her [as if to say], this crazy woman has a pot of chicken curry between her legs," says Vij.

The restaurant, now in a much larger location and about to move again, got great reviews, and the customers came - including the businessmen who chose not to invest. "The guys used to come here and have dinner," says Vij. "And they would look at me and I would say to them: 'I told you so.' "

Vij and his wife, Meeru Dhalwala, have spun the concept into an empire, with sister restaurants, a gourmet line of boilin-bag foods sold in grocery stores across the country and partnerships such as Vij's Delhilicious kettle-cooked chips, and Vij's Railway Express food truck (not to mention bestselling cookbooks and judging stints on Recipes to Riches, Top Chef Canada and Chopped Canada).

When he settles into his Dragons' Den chair on Wednesday, he will be the guy with the bucks, sitting in judgment before other entrepreneurs in need of an investor.

It's new territory for Vij. While he may feel at home judging other cooks, investing in ventures that have nothing to do with food is a whole other matter. But even if he's out of his element, the show's executive producer says Vij is a good fit.

"You don't have to be a Bay Street trader ... to be a good Dragon; you have to be a self-made entrepreneur who's built a business," says Tracie Tighe, who auditioned Vij during one of the show's regular casting calls. "We looked at him as someone who's knee-deep in building a bigger business right at this very moment."

There are sacrifices, though, as Vij spreads himself thin: less time for his family, including his two daughters, aged 15 and 17; less time on the floor of Vij's, where he has always been a huge presence, greeting customers and far less time for cooking. But he (or Dhalwala) still makes lunch for their younger daughter every day (their older daughter is now at McGill). On the day we met, it was pasta with a made-fromscratch tomato cream sauce. After the lunch hour, Vij texted her to see what she thought. "She said it's yummy, Papa."

One of two new Dragons (along with Bay Street Porschedriving finance wiz Michael Wekerle), Vij is billed on the show as a "culinary kingpin," but he says he will be a compassionate Dragon who remembers what it felt like to be rejected by financiers who didn't get his concept.

"I said I will not do that. I will not be those people who turned me down because they didn't understand my business mentality," he said during an interview at Vij's. "I am going to give that person that love and that attention and see how much fire that person has in their eyes, how much passion they have and if that is [the case], then I'm going to let them be the ruler of their own fate. I'm just going to give them that helpful hand. ... If they're swimming or sinking, I'm going to be that twig that they can hold onto for a little bit longer so that they can make things happen in their life." Even if Vij positioning himself as the "Dragon with heart" is a bit of show business in itself, it is completely consistent with his personality - and jibes with his own story.

"I'm the immigrant [Vij was born in India; he left at 19], so if there's an immigrant story I have tears in my eyes," he says. "If there's a story about a young entrepreneur that has put heart and soul into this project, I have a tear in my eye. I have a very soft spot. I'm the Jell-O of entrepreneurship. But on the other hand I'm very firm because it is my hard-earned money."

Fairness is another principle that Vij is not willing to sacrifice - one that plays out every day at his restaurant, which has a strict no-reservation, and no-exceptions policy. When Bill Clinton was coming to town, his people called ahead to see if arrangements could be made for the former U.S. president to dine there. But Vij would not bend the rules.

Then there was the night in the late 1990s, when former prime minister Pierre Trudeau came by for dinner.

"He walked in and the whole restaurant went pin-drop silent. [The other customers] wanted to see if I would sacrifice my principles of saying everybody's equal [and] give him a table ahead of anybody else."

He did not. Trudeau, with his son, Justin, waited, like everyone else.

Vij points to the area of the restaurant where Trudeau dined, and recounts what happened as the former prime minister was getting up to leave after his meal. "I bowed down in front of him and touched his feet [a gesture to communicate respect] and I said 'Mr. Trudeau I just want to thank you very much; it was your policies in the sixties that allowed immigrants like us to come and be successful. Had that not happened, chances are I would never have made it here.' He kind of lifted me up and gave me a hug and said 'You know I've had Indian food in lots of places but this is one of the best [meals] I've had.' And you cannot imagine [how I felt], as an immigrant. I was floored. I went home and I poured myself a Scotch and I gulped it down. This is what Pierre Trudeau had said to me. He was the reason why I was in this country. He was the reason I can be who I am."

This is a big year for Vij. Beyond his Dragon launch, he turns 50 in December - a big personal as well as business milestone.

"I had said to myself by the time I'm 50 I'd like to have five projects under my belt; one for each decade of my life," he says, specifying that each is to be a venture in which he has invested his own money. With Vij's set to move to a new location and a new concept planned for the current location - plus Rangoli, My Shanti and Vij's At Home - this Dragon is about to have five dens. "I did it," he says.

But with so many projects on the go, will too many ventures spoil the daal? Is there a risk of overexposure that comes with the ambition?

Vij says he isn't at all concerned about that. Just the opposite - he's excited about getting more exposure for his line of frozen foods.

"It is not about Vikram Vij getting exposure; it's about the fact Vij's Indian Cuisine needs to be exposed. ... I want to be known as Vij's Indian Cuisine, that's the bigger picture. It's a little bit like Henry Ford: it was Ford's cars that mattered; not Henry Ford himself. That's how I see this. I don't see it as Vikram Vij; I see it as Vij's."

And he's not done expanding yet. A big dream is to bring his modern Indian food to India. "I want to say ... okay here it is; here is my interpretation. I was 19 when I left, having traditional mainstream Indian food, and look: [with] the journey, now the food has changed. I want to say: Here's one of your sons that left India and look what has happened to him."

Season 9 of Dragons' Den premieres Oct. 15.

Associated Graphic

Chef Vikram Vij says he'll be watching for entrepreneurs with heart on Dragons' Den. 'I have a very soft spot. I'm the Jell-O of entrepreneurship.'


Vikram Vij says he will be compassionate on Dragons' Den because he remembers how it feels to have a business idea rejected.


More than one million Canadians - including those with full-time employment - constantly worry about being able to put healthy food on the table. Jane Taber explores the long-term health consequences of food insecurity, one of the most basic issues underlying income inequality
Monday, October 20, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

HALIFAX -- Kelly is a single mother, one among the hundreds of thousands of working-poor Canadians who simply can't afford to put nutritious food on their tables.

The Nova Scotia mother of eight children - four of whom are at home and range in age from three to 11 - earns $11 an hour, which is 60 cents above the province's minimum wage, at her 33-hour-aweek job at a daycare in her community.

"It is hard to keep things going," she says. "I don't think you know stress [like this]. I'll dish out their food and ... when they are done eating, if there is enough food left over, then okay, I get supper. If not then it might be picking off of their plate, but that's how it's always been with me since I've had kids. I'd rather see the kids eat, and me go without than for them to still be hungry."

More than 1.7 million households, or four million Canadians, are affected by some level of "food insecurity," which means they can't, or they constantly worry about being able to, properly feed their families because they lack the means. That's almost half a million more than five years earlier, according to the latest Statistics Canada report.

Nova Scotia households report among the highest rates of "food insecurity" in the country, according to a Nova Scotia-based study recently published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health.

And Halifax had the highest rate among big cities, with one in five households at risk.

The Nova Scotia study comes as the percentage of Canadians on minimum wage continues to climb, and amid a North Americawide debate about tying minimum wage to inflation to better address the growing concern around the issue of income inequality. As economists, academics and activists debate the causes and consequences of growing income inequality, the most basic of issues remains the ability to put food on the table - not wieners and macaroni, but nutritious food for optimal health outcomes.

"We often think that if you're employed full-time you should be able to meet all your basic needs, but our research shows that it's still a problem," says Dr. Patricia Williams, the Mount Saint Vincent University professor who co-wrote the report.

Kelly, 37, - who doesn't want her name used - suffers from anxiety and depression, as she struggles daily to provide nutritious food for her kids, scanning for deals on chicken and ground beef, and relying on the monthly food bank. On Thursday night she served her family spaghetti with meat sauce. Friday night was leftovers. Once a week, there is a hot dog and Kraft Dinner night and for another meal she will serve either chicken thighs or legs "because they are the cheapest."

According to the Nova Scotia study, a single mother with three children in the province, earning the minimum wage, will be nearly $500 in the red every month if she were to purchase nutritional food (that's after paying for other basic living costs such as rent, heat, hydro). A family of four, meanwhile, with two adults working for minimum wage, would face a monthly deficit of $44.89.

The study looked at minimumwage data from 2002 to 2012, and used the National Nutritious Food Basket, a Health Canada measurement of 67 foods easily found in grocery stores, eaten by most Canadians and considered nutritionally balanced, to cost the food. And it concluded that the "risk of food insecurity is a critical public-health issue for low wage earners."

The effects of a poor diet are well known. Along with stress and low energy in the short term, poor nutrition over a long time period puts people at risk for obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, and a myriad other illnesses.

Dr. Valerie Tarasuk, a professor at the University of Toronto's Department of Nutritional Sciences, has done significant research on food insecurity and the consequences for Canadians' health, and on the health care system.

"If we look at any point in time ... people exposed to food insecurity are in worse health and they are less able to manage their health problems, so they are absolutely costing the taxpayer money," she says. "We can see that people who are food-insecure are more likely to report having been diagnosed with a whole range of chronic conditions."

Those conditions include, but aren't limited to, asthma, back problems, arthritis, hypertension, diabetes and depression.

In addition, she notes that children in homes that have problems putting nutritious food on the table are being set up for "problems down the road."

"Those are health problems that we - with the universal medicalcare system that we've got - will continue to pay for, and they will continue to struggle with," Tarasuk says. While the primary fix for many Canadians like Kelly is food banks, Tarasuk says that's "such a misdirected effort."

"The numbers of people who are affected by food insecurity are many, many times higher than the number of people using food banks," she says. (Food banks help more than 800,000 Canadians every month, according to Food Bank Canada's report, HungerCount 2013.)

Tarasuk says that food insecurity in Canada is primarily an urban phenomenon. "That makes sense when you think about where the density of poverty in this country resides," she says, noting that there is nothing in recent data to indicate people in rural Canada are worse off.

However, there is a different story in remote northern communities, such as those in Manitoba, where Stefan Epp-Koop is the program director at Food Matters Manitoba, a charity promoting healthy food.

"There is a growing awareness of some of the real issues outside of the city as well ... in northern Manitoba there is real concern in remote northern communities.There are food-insecurity rates that have been measured at 75 per cent ... which I think is eight or nine times the average in the south," he says.

A recent study by Health Canada shows that northern Manitobans pay 60 per cent more than those in the south for the national nutritious food basket. Several of the communities have no food stores, defining these communities as "food deserts."

Remote communities pay onethird more than non-remote northern communities, according to the report Measuring the Food Environment in Canada.

Epp-Koop, who was consulted for the report, says many of these communities are First Nations, which are now exploring reviving old traditions, such as hunting and growing their own food.

Many experts believe that what is needed is a change in public policy. "We've got some examples of success stories that can show us the way," notes Tarasuk, pointing to Canadian seniors. Their rate of food insecurity is a fraction of what it is for people who rely on wages, she says, because they have a guaranteed income indexed to inflation and even discounts at some retail outlets.

"We've got the private and public sector holding hands here to support the senior."

Last year, the Conference Board of Canada, a conservative business group, called for a national school-based feeding program to address the widespread issue of food insecurity to prevent negative, long-term education and health - and thereby, economic - impacts.

Patricia Williams agrees there must be a shift in public policy, though she is advocating for a living wage of $16 or $17 an hour.

The idea of a living wage has been around for decades - and ignored by governments. Hugh Segal, the former Conservative senator and now master of Massey College at the University of Toronto, is a proponent of a guaranteed annual income supplement as a way to reduce poverty.

"About 70 per cent of people who live beneath the poverty line in Canada are in fact working and are not earning enough to get above the poverty line, which means they don't earn enough to cover shelter, food, clothing, heat and transportation," he says.

He wants the federal government to do an "automatic top up" to fill the gap to get people up to the poverty line. He points to the success of a program for seniors in Ontario in the mid-1970s in which a guaranteed annual income supplement: Within two years, just 3 per cent of seniors were below the poverty line compared with 35 per cent when it started.

"They spent their money on better food, slightly better accommodations, on warmer clothes," Segal says. "And what did you get? You got longer life ... they lived healthier, they stayed out of hospital longer and that developed a whole kind of seniors' economic contribution. ... That tells us it's doable, it's sustainable." It would cost between $10,000 and $15,000 to bring a poor Canadian to the poverty line, he estimates.

As Canadians move toward a federal election next year, Segal says political parties must "come clear" about their ideas and solutions for poverty in the country.He said in the last television debate for the 2011 election, the issue of poverty was never raised. "In my view that is just an abomination," he says.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Information in The Nutrition Gap in Monday's Life section was incorrectly attributed to Statistics Canada. It should have been attributed to the Household Food Insecurity in Canada 2012.

ACTs in search of acts of faith
A program to address Vancouver's mental health crisis by taking services into the community is finding small successes. But police and politicians say a lot more could be done, Andrea Woo reports
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

Theresa Pratt sits at her dining table and lights a cigarette, the flicker of the flame briefly illuminating her otherwise dim apartment. Placing the lighter on the table - among the clutter of coffee mugs, utensils and papers - she turns her attention to a visitor, a former adversary turned friendly acquaintance.

These days, Brendan Munden's weekly visits are made up of casual chats about the past seven days.

But they weren't always so pleasant. A couple of years earlier, Mr. Munden and his colleagues in Vancouver's Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams had to track down a reluctant Ms. Pratt several times a week to make sure she was taking the anti-psychotic medication prescribed for her bipolar disorder. The 57-year-old was born at Riverview, a notorious mental hospital, to a mother with schizoaffective disorder. She says she first connected with the teams after a hospital stay during a dark period in her life.

"At first, I didn't know what to think of [their visits] but, over time, I liked it," Ms. Pratt said. "They're a very good team. They do their job well and they're a likeable bunch."

The expansion of these teams was one of a handful of urgent requests Vancouver's mayor and police chief made to senior levels of government one year ago in declaring a mentalhealth crisis in the city.

With hundreds of people with severe and untreated mental illness posing a high risk to both themselves and others, Mayor Gregor Robertson and Police Chief Jim Chu made five recommendations they said would have an immediate impact on affected populations.

But 13 months later, there are no meaningful signs of improvement: Some recommendations - such as growing the ACT teams - were implemented, while others were dismissed entirely. Meanwhile, the numbers of psychiatric emergency visits and police apprehensions of people with mental illness continue to climb year over year.

A month away from the municipal elections, mental health has also become a campaign issue, inextricably tied to Mr. Robertson's ambitious goal to end street homelessness by 2015. Kirk LaPointe, the mayoral candidate for the Non-Partisan Association, has accused the mayor of being disingenuous to the public by setting an unrealistic target.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail this week, Mr. Robertson said he was pleased that last year's call for action sparked some response from the province, such as the ACT teams. However, he said more needs to be done, and soon.

"A big gap remains with the lack of long-term-care beds," Mr. Robertson said. "That's got to be addressed urgently, as we see, in the crisis with homelessness, mental health and addictions are a big factor. There's no treatment available for many of these people who are desperately in need." The mayor has called for 300 longterm mental-health beds.

Under Section 28 of B.C.'s Mental Health Act, a police officer can immediately take a person to a physician if the officer believes that person has a mental illness and could be a safety risk to that person or others. In Vancouver, these apprehensions have grown year after year to 2,872 in 2013 and police expect this year's total to top 3,000. As of this week, there have been more than 2,400 Section 28 apprehensions in Vancouver this year.

Constable Brian Montague, a spokesman for the Vancouver police department, emphasized that these figures account only for Section 28 apprehensions - the most serious of such calls.

"This doesn't include all the calls that our officers go to every day involving individuals with mental-health issues or concerns," he said.

Of all reported incidents that police respond to, 21 per cent involve a person with mental illness - and the department feels the true figure is probably closer to 30 per cent, Constable Montague said.

"But even at 21 per cent, you're looking at tens of thousands of calls a year - like 30,000 calls a year, 75 calls a day, every day," he said. "It's a huge issue, there's no doubt about it."

Acting Inspector Howard Tran, who is in charge of the VPD's mental health portfolio, attributes Vancouver's situation largely to the "gravitational pull of the Downtown Eastside," where lax attitudes and low-barrier services can draw vulnerable populations from across the region. An increase in crystal methamphetamine use, which is linked to psychosis, and a reduction in stigma surrounding mental health may also be reasons mentalhealth cases are becoming more visible, he said.

The Vancouver Police Department created its mental-health unit in November, 2012, and it now comprises about a dozen officers dedicated to mental-health initiatives. This includes working with health authorities, serving on the mayor's task force on mental health and being embedded with the ACT teams. Vancouver's ACT teams started in 2012; two new teams added this spring bring the total to five.

The outreach teams - which comprise nurses, social workers, police officers, psychiatrists and other mental-health professionals - target some of the city's most difficult to treat by taking their services out into the community and following up with clients indefinitely.

George Scotton, manager of the Vancouver ACT teams, describes it as turning the conventional doctor-patient model on its head.

"The office space model works great for guys who can keep their appointments, know what day it is, what time it is, that sort of thing," he said. "Where it tends not to work really well is for guys at the far end of the continuum.

They're quite addicted, [with] challenging psychiatric illness, in and out of the hospital, police contact, that sort of stuff. That's our specialty; that's our bread and butter. And that's where we're most effective."

In the program's first year of operation, ACT clients had a 70-percent reduction in emergency department visits, a 61-per-cent reduction in criminal justice involvement and a 23-per-cent reduction in incidents of victimization, according to the Ministry of Health. The five teams, which each cost about $1.6-million annually, can take on a total caseload of 420 people.

"These are expensive programs and [the Ministry of Health] wouldn't be investing in this if they didn't think there were some gains," Insp. Tran said. "But I don't want to make it seem like ACT is the panacea; there should be many levels of services. Not everyone is appropriate for ACT, and ACT is not going to work for everybody."

The new teams were part of an action plan by the province released in response to Vancouver's concerns. That plan also included the development of a nine-bed behavioural stabilization unit at St. Paul's and a new intensive case management team for youth. However, the mayor's call for 300 long-term mental health beds remains unmet.

Asked about the request, B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake said the province is not confident that 300 long-term beds are urgently needed. The priority, Mr. Lake said, is to move away from the Riverview model of institutionalization and toward communitybased supports. "We have to somehow move off this idea that we need to put people behind walls," he said. "We we want to provide supports in the community to the greatest extent possible, and then go from there."


In September, 2013, Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu declared a mental-health crisis in the city and made five urgent recommendations to senior levels of government.

Recommendations met:

More significant support through Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams for psychiatric patients living in the community. Two new ACT teams were created in May.

An enhanced form of urgent care (crisis centre) at a Vancouver hospital. A nine-bed acute behavioural stabilization unit opened at St. Paul's Hospital in March.

The creation of a joint Vancouver Police-Vancouver Coastal Health Assertive Outreach Team (AOT) for people who do not qualify for ACT teams. The AOT team - which includes a nurse, social worker, psychiatrist, physician and VPD staff - came online in March and helps transition people with mental illness from local emergency departments to community services.

Still outstanding:

Add 300 long-term mentalhealth treatment beds. There remains a gap of 250 secure mental-health treatment beds. A 14-bed secure mentalhealth facility is pending.

More staffing at BC Housing sites to support tenants with psychiatric issues. More training capacity to support mental health and addictions staff is pending.

Associated Graphic

It has taken months to accomplish, but Theresa Pratt has learned to appreciate visits to her home from social worker Brendan Munden, a member of the Assertive Community Treatment team. 'They do their job well and they're a likeable bunch,' she says.



Acting Inspector Howard Tran of Vancouver police cautions that the Assertive Community Treatment program is not a panacea for mental health issues - 'there should be many levels of services.'


Oil giant feels sting of corruption scandal
Petrobras director's willingness to testify in bribery scandal has made him 'the most important witness in Brazilian criminal history'
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B8

RIO DE JANEIRO -- When Brazilian police raided the Rio de Janeiro home of Paulo Roberto Costa, a senior bureaucrat, back in March, they found a remarkable cache.

He had $380,000 in Brazilian currency, $181,000 in U.S. currency, 11,000 ($14,000 U.S.), a $120,000 SUV - and his diary, in which he had scrawled a quotation from the renowned humorist Millor Fernandes: "Rooting out corruption is the ultimate goal of those who have not yet come to power."

Mr. Costa, now under house arrest, is at the centre of a stillunfolding corruption scandal that implicates a great many people who had come to power.

The scale of the case - known by its police code name, Lava Jato, or The Carwash - may yet dwarf anything previously known in Brazil, a country that has seen its fair share of graft cases.

Investigators say Mr. Costa was one key player in a scam worth at least $5-billion (Canadian).

They say that in his position as a director of the national oil and gas company, Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras), he siphoned off millions of dollars into his own pocket and into the coffers of members of the governing Workers' Party and its allies in Congress. And so the scandal has emerged as a key factor in the political fortunes of President Dilma Rousseff, as she fights a fierce campaign for reelection.

"This may hit a lot of important people, in the end: That's what the party is scared of," said David Fleischer, an expert on transparency with the University of Brasilia. "We don't even know how big this may be, by the time all the names are named."

Mr. Costa faces charges of money laundering and corruption. According to an indictment seen by The Globe and Mail, he allegedly ran a classic cash-forfavours operation. A business owner wishing to sell a product or service to Petrobras approached a friendly politician, aligned with government. That politician sent the business owner to Mr. Costa, who agreed to make sure the business got a contract, at an inflated value, with the excess to be divvied up between Mr. Costa himself and the politicians, the indictment alleged.

Police and the prosecutors declined to speak with The Globe and Mail about this case, citing the ongoing investigation.

The latest in a series of lawyers for Mr. Costa declined to comment. Mr. Costa has reportedly made a full confession as part of a deal with prosecutors.

His partner in this was Alberto Youssef, a convicted criminal who is what's called a doleiro in Portuguese - a money-mover, in essence. Mr. Youssef, according to allegations in the indictment, ran a stable of shell companies which contracted and subcontracted with Petrobras, in the process of moving kickbacks out of the country and facilitating their deposit into the bank accounts of politicians from the Workers' Party and its partners. He is also co-operating with police.

The mechanics of such a scam are not new to Brazilians, said Sergio Lazzarini, a professor at a Sao Paulo business school called Insper. But this story has shocked people both for the scale of the money involved, and because it involves Petrobras, the largest company in the country, known internationally for its expertise in deep-water drilling. "It's a very symbolic company, and a source of pride, especially with the new offshore oil fields," he said. Petrobras reported a net profit last year of $10-billion (U.S.).

It was Mr. Youseff who was the subject of the initial police investigation into money laundering. Police apparently were initially focused on drug dealing, and almost by accident stumbled upon the Petrobras activities and other political connections for which profit had to be laundered; Mr. Youssef allegedly ran similar operations bilking a number of different branches of the government, including the Ministry of Health.

He led investigators to Mr. Costa, for whom he bought the souped-up Range Rover, and Mr. Costa's willingness to name names has made him "the most important witness in Brazilian criminal history," as the media here like to call him.

An engineer, Mr. Costa had been with Petrobras since 1978 - but in 2004, was elevated to the level of director of the fuel supply department, allegedly in a deal in which a politician who knew he would co-operate in scams insisted on his appointment, in exchange for co-operation with government. Such deals are common here, in the fractured parliament, which after last Sunday's election contains a record 28 parties. In 2008, Mr. Costa became director for refineries, a department now under heavy scrutiny.

The Lava Jato scam is now the subject of two separate congressional inquiries. Petrobras, once a flagship, is now one of the most heavily indebted listed companies in the world (the state controls 64 per cent), with slumping production figures.

Mr. Costa agreed to co-operate with police in exchange for leniency - he is under house arrest (in a luxury condo, according to Brazilian media) until his trial, will have other indictments dropped and will face a reduced sentence (probably day-release jail time) if convicted. Mr. Costa's family members - who, according to the indictment, were allegedly caught by police carting bags of cash and documents related to the case out of his office when they heard of the raid on his home - will get the same deal. Mr. Youssef, previously found guilty of moneylaundering, is awaiting trial in jail but will also face a reduced sentence if convicted, in exchange for his co-operation.

Veja magazine reports that Mr. Costa has so far named six senators, 25 members of Congress, one minister and three governors in his depositions. And the list is not limited to politicians: Many of the biggest names in Brazilian business are also implicated, as well as transnational firms such as Glencore and Transfigura. Mr. Costa has allegedly told police that the construction giant Oderbrecht, for example, paid him $23-million in bribes in just two years.

Under a law passed by Ms. Rousseff's government last year, a company whose executives are found to have corrupted public officials can see their senior executives jailed, and be fined up to 20 per cent of revenue.

One part of the scandal involves a refinery in Pasadena, Tex., for which Petrobras paid $1.25-billion - about $800-million more than its actual value, an investigation by the public accounts watchdog found. Mr. Costa has allegedly told police that his take on that deal, alone, was $636,000. Investigators are also looking at the contracts for construction of a refinery near Abreu e Lima in northeastern Brazil. From an original budget of $2.5-billion, the cost of the much-delayed, 230,000 barrels-aday refinery soared to $20-billion, making it among the most expensive ever built. The scope of the Lava Jato scam remains unknown, and police say they are looking at Petrobras investments across Brazil and as far away as Japan.

Mr. Costa has so far agreed to give back $32-million - more than the total recovered from all previous corruption cases combined, since a law allowing state asset recovery was adopted in 2004.

All of this has undermined Ms. Rousseff's re-election bid because it involves politicians from her party and their main partners in the governing coalition - but also because she personally had an oversight role at Petrobras during the peak period of the scam. She was Minister of Mines and Energy, and chair of the board of Petrobras.

Her party has said she brought in new executives who purged those who were suspected of corruption, including Mr. Costa.

During the first round of the election campaign, her opponents hammered Ms. Rousseff with allegations of complicity, or, at best, failure to check the corruption.

She won a first-round presidential vote on Oct. 6, but faces a tough re-election battle against Aecio Neves, a centreright candidate who is heavily favoured by the business community.

"There's no indication Dilma personally is corrupt - but it indicates a lack of management skills," said Prof. Lazzarini.

"Before her [oversight], Petrobras was improving governance, with more external board members, less direct government interference: They could have pursued that. When Dilma came, there was more intervention, and that attracts more corruption."

Prof. Fleischer said the details of the Lava Jato case make clear that the politicians and bureaucrats involved believed they had impunity, but one encouraging outcome of the revelations from Mr. Costa is the unhindered zeal with which the federal police and prosecutors are investigating those who wield power. It may serve as some level of deterrent, he said. "If you're going to do something like this in the future you're going to have to be very cautious and very careful - and cover your footprints."

Associated Graphic

Former Petrobras director Paulo Roberto Costa, centre, is escorted by police after a congressional committee in Brasilia on Sept. 17. Investigators say Mr. Costa was a key player in a $5-billion cash-for-favours scheme that could involve key politicians in the ruling Workers' Party.


And Italy, France and Britain. Those countries, Nathalie Atkinson observes, are both innovative and aggressive when it comes to promoting their design industries. Canada would do well to take a page or two out of their books
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L7

Last month, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark made a brief but event-fi lled visit to Canada. They attended luncheons and dinners, participated in seminars on Danish design and posed at product showcases in Ottawa and Toronto. In addition to strengthening existing Canadian business relationships, the purpose of their trip, as stated in their delegation document, was to increase current Danish exports to Canada. Some 80 companies in the fields of green building, health, style and taste took part in the mission, according to consulate reports.

Contrast the vigour and enthusiasm of the Danish trade trip with Adrienne Clarkson's 2003 circumpolar tour designed to promote Canadian culture among our northern neighbours. The fi rst leg, to Russia, Finland and Iceland, saw the then-Governor General squire 51 prominent Canucks around those countries at an ultimate cost of $5.3-million, a sum that prompted howls of outrage from opposition parties. "It's another example of excessive spending on the part of government departments," Conservative MP Peter MacKay said at the time, despite the fact that his own party would go on to highlight the importance of Canada's role in the North. The second instalment of the vice-regal trip, to Norway, Sweden and Denmark, was abruptly cancelled a couple of months later.

In the years before and since, Canada has sponsored international trade missions to important emerging markets such as China. (Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is planning a week-long one to that country starting Oct. 25.) But almost all of these Team Canada sorties have been entirely commercial in nature, not related to promoting a national design identity, as Denmark's was. So how else does Canada actively promote its viable design exports - from contemporary clothing labels such as Smythe to classic furniture designs like Solair chairs - elsewhere? It doesn't, really. Not as a country, anyway. Non-governmental Montreal and Toronto Fashion Week organizations have in the past worked with local and provincial agencies to fly in and host foreign journalists and buyers, part of the funding provided by tourism and economic-development grants. Over all, though, the Canadian government doesn't organize or sponsor trade-show presence or delegations for fashion and design.

On its website, Canada's Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) lists the many sectors it helps promote and develop, categories such as "chemicals and plastics," "wine, beer and spirits" and "arts and cultural." Apparel, textiles and furniture, however, fall under the broad "consumer goods" sector, where there is but one upcoming event listed on the site: an ExpoCuba trade fair in Cuba in November.

Clearly, Canada could take a few promotional lessons from other designminded countries. Here are just a few of the things some nations are doing.

Plying them with wine as they shop

You would think that welcoming the world's top journalists and stylists to Paris Fashion Week (plus Premiere Vision, the seasonal textile market) twice a year would be enough, but UBIFRANCE, the government arm charged with promoting French companies abroad, also carves out space at North American trade shows to directly promote home-decor and fashion companies to showrooms and retail buyers. (In 2013, for instance, it installed a French pavilion at IDS in Toronto.) This year, there have been three different French pavilions subsidized or sponsored by UBIFRANCE at key New York trade shows: International Vision Expo (to which it brought 17 eyewear designers), Accessorie Circuit (11 fashion companies, mainly jewellery) and two editions of NY NOW (where primarily home designers were featured), according to information supplied by the senior trade advisor in UBIFRANCE's New York office. Last year, the organization also produced a special event, called l'Art de vivre à la française, in Los Angeles.

In Canada, two regional offices, in Montreal and Toronto, further support these efforts by organizing group events or preparing market reports, programs and visits based on individual needs. The next of these is a fashion event in Toronto on Oct. 27 and 28, when the fashion brands Jayko, Lancaster, Max, Jean Rousseau and Banen will be brought in for familiarization with the Canadian retail landscape and business-to-business meetings tailored according to their profi le and export strategy.

For the most part, the French design delegations are treated as seriously as other categories, such as fi lm or wine (the latter always abundant at these mixers). This should come as no surprise considering that haute couture is a controlled appellation (like Champagne) that the French consider as much a part of their heritage as commerce. Bottom line: French design is a cultural export.

Taking an artful route

A division of the Italian Ministry for Economic Development, Italtrade sometimes brings together the cultural and consumer sectors in its promotions, as it did when it incorporated choreography by former National Ballet of Canada soloist Roberto Campanella, who was born and raised in Rome, in one of its events.

Recently, Italtrade sponsored Holt Renfrew's Italian Immersion experience, flying in industry players such as Canali president Giorgio Canali and rising talents like Stella Jean for Canadian press events (it also sent top Canadian buyers and press to the latter's runway presentation in Rome this summer). In its promotion of Italian textiles, Italtrade even indirectly helps Canadian fashion designers: Steven Tai, a London-based Canadian known for his experimention with fabrics, was recently sent on a visit to the Filo trade show in Milan to explore creative partnerships with Italian textile factories, ideally with a view to using their wares in future collections. He most likely will.

Being extra-generous

The dynamic British Fashion Council, London Fashion Week's organizing body, does the usual things during its sartorial showcases: It brings foreign journalists and buyers to the shows, arranges showroom visits, even helps place orders. Not content to merely promote its own domestic industry, however, the Council has also been known to engage with foreign embassies and delegations to showcase designers from other jurisdictions on The Strand and at satellite locations. The gesture is a mark, of course, of a confident market and a mature nation, but it creates considerable good will among participants and a sense of occasion around such events.

Canada's sole official presence during London Fashion Week last February was spearheaded by la belle province, which is much more proactive in the promotion of its cultural industries than the federal government tends to be. For the duration of LFW, the Quebec Government Office in London hosted a contingent of the province's most promising designers (UNTTLD, Melissa Nepton and five others) in a promotion called Montreal: The White Winter Fashion City. The event came about as result of collaboration between the Office, Export-Quebec and the Fashion Designers' Council of Quebec (because they have one) and ensured the attention of the international press, buyers and the public at least for that one week.

Bringing out the big guns

There is no doubt that the star power of Prince Frederik and Princess Mary was integral to the recent Danish trade trip to Canada, a key element of which was the opening of Danish Design Obsessed, a pop-up-shop partnership with Hudson's Bay featuring the sleek tableware and accessories of the heritage silversmith brand Georg Jensen among its 30 brands. Princess Mary, an Australian who married Frederik in 2004, made small talk with design press, chatted up her country's talent and even handled the goods, holding bracelets and dresses aloft like one of Barker's Beauties from The Price is Right. And it wasn't at all vulgar. Not even when she inadvertently posed, as one observer pointed out, near a display of men's briefs.

Of course, Canada has no royals to deploy in any sector and an often fractious federal-provincial system. But we do have many homegrown stars who are popular abroad, from Rachel McAdams (her penchant is for green design solutions, something our designers have many of) to Nickelback (hey, Montreal is the largest manufacturer of denim after Los Angeles), who could be deputized to do more than occasionally wear Canadian labels and formally talk up our industrial-design talent. Celebrity ambassadors relevant to mass culture (and commerce) are the next best thing to royalty. They would certainly have a lot to promote.

Associated Graphic

INTERNATIONAL INCIDENTS During London Fashion Week, top, organizers not only showcase domestic clothing, but also provide venues for foreign designers to feature their wares, generating good will. In September, Denmark sent Crown Princess Mary, in dark suit above, to Canada to promote her country's creative industries.


THE ITALIAN WAY Italtrade, an Italian government agency, recently collaborated with Canadian department-store chain Holt Renfrew to fly in designers such as Rome-based Stella Jean, above. It also sent top local buyers and journalists to her runway show in Italy this summer.


7 hours a day of exercise 1,200 calories Welcome to your vacation
Detoxing while hiking at high altitudes may not be everyone's dream holiday, but Amy Rosen finds the bliss in a boot camp getaway
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

NELSON, B.C. -- Day 1: A brand new day

The gentle wake-up knock comes at 6 a.m.: "Good morning, Amy." It's time for my weigh-in at Mountain Trek, a mountainous boot camp near Nelson, B.C., where guests sign up for a week-long induction focused on four health tenants: proper nutrition, fitness, stress management and detoxification. It's supposed to kick-start the body into raising its metabolism, and I could use some of that on the heels of a rather indulgent summer. I'm told to expect seven hours of intense activity each day, mostly in the great outdoors, fuelled by precisely portioned 1,200 calories spread across six small meals.

Mountain Trek's spa and fitness studio have floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the 100-kilometre Kootenay Lake. There are gardens and wildflowers, mountains and blue skies. Meals are local, organic, plated - and mostly delicious, enjoyed by guests around family-style tables. So that's the good news. Back at my weigh-in, the excuses fly: "I've been travelling a lot, no time for exercise. It's summertime ... and those gin and tonics aren't going to drink themselves!" Until, finally, acceptance: I've gained a few on the rump. Let's. Do. This. Cups of chicory coffee substitute with stevia: 2. Hours of physical activity: 7. Chocolate cravings: 567.

Day 2: Waking up is hard to do

It's the detox that's the real buzzkill. No coffee or stimulants (sugar, caffeine, chocolate) and definitely no beer by the campfire. Instead, it's water, herbal tea and no dessert. Thank goodness for yoga. Not only does it mentally prepare me for the day ahead, but the intense stretching turns me from rusty tin woman back into a real-life lady.

My dad's a doctor and my mom's a dietician, so I've always been skeptical about detoxes.

Nevertheless, this morning the 16 guests/masochists are told why so-called detoxing is worth the effort. Our Mountain Trek leaders say we should help our bodies get rid of the chemicals we breathe in and ingest every day. We need to drink tons of water (check!), eat fibre-rich foods (check!), sweat through intense exercise (check!), get heavenly massages (check!), spend time at the nearby hot springs (check!) and enjoy the ensuing raging caffeine-withdrawal headache (doublecheck!). Now properly prepped for this morning's 12-km hike, we toss our backpacks and Nordic poles into SUVs and head out to the Galena Trail along Carpenter Creek. At one point we even crawl into a self-propelled gondola basket over raging whitewater.

Cups of True Blueberry herbal tea consumed: 7. Chocolate cravings: 215. Amount of sweat expelled: 2,130 litres.

Day 3: Toxic Tuesday

The morning ritual: 6 a.m. wake-up, chia-packed minismoothie, yoga, then breakfast - hearty quinoa porridge with apple compote and a side dish of cottage cheese and chopped fresh fruit. (Look how much food you can eat when it's the right food!) Then we grab our packs and head out for the hike: Each day brings different terrain, a different intensity, but always a gorgeous location. We take in the serene scenery on the ferry ride from Balfour to Kootenay Bay - at 35 minutes, the world's longest free ferry crossing, it's the last break we'll get for hours once we start trekking through Pilot Bay Provincial Park. Forest trails wind us up and down around the beach where we stop for lunch, enjoying our Thermoses of lentil-feta soup while sitting on driftwood logs. We toss pebbles into the bay, which is straddled by one mountain after another like a winning hand of cards. There's more hiking, and then there's just enough time to shower before dinner, a circuittraining fitness class and a walk to the Ainsworth Hot Springs where locals and yokels alike are packed into this natural wonder.

Later that night our guide, Jeannie, lights a bonfire on the grassy grounds. She knows it's "toxic Tuesday" - the hardest day of our week-long caffeine and booze purge - and a few of us commiserate about how much harder this is than any of us thought.

Cups of Rooibos Chai tea consumed: 4. Hours of hiking: 5. Chocolate cravings: 6.

Day 4: Whiny Wednesday

It's midweek check-in time when Cathy, our leader, asks me if my goals are being met. And I realize they are: The hiking is intense but beautiful, the guides are amazing and the food is just what I need, not to mention tasty. I do remark that the après-dinner cardio classes are a bit much after five hours of hiking, but she explains it's to teach us new patterns, to take a walk after dinner instead of hitting the couch. On today's hike, I run into problems: The extreme heat at 335 vertical metres over 8.5 km makes my legs feel like lead. But at dinner, we're rewarded with a vibrant meal of wild salmon and halibut fish cakes with pineapple mango salsa, and all is almost forgotten - until a CrossFit class after dinner. Feh! Still, I power through and actually enjoy it. This is a class I'll definitely try back home, if I don't die in my sleep tonight.

Cups of Country Peach Passion tea consumed: 3. Bouts of nausea: 1. Chocolate cravings: 2.

Day 5: Euphoric Thursday

At Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park we hike on snow in the 27 C summer heat and end up at the glacial lake as a few little aquamarine icebergs drift by. The sky is a dazzling blue next to the vibrant green old-growth forests and I cannot imagine a lovelier spot. It gives me clarity and makes me thankful. It also makes me think.

On the hike back down, I ask Mountain Trek's program director, Kirkland Shave (who's hiking these snowy, rocky paths in bare feet), to elaborate on last night's stress-management class. "Using the brain and body together has to be part of our ongoing health," he explains. "You have to fire across both hemispheres." We talk through a problem I'm having at work. He's insightful and thoughtful, and, most important, he's right.

I have a plan of action for when I get home. Be gone, belly-fat storing cortisol!

Cups of Bengal Spice tea consumed: 1. Post-dinner spin classes: 1. Chocolate cravings: 1.

Day 6: Climb every mountain

It's the final hike day, and it's a biggie. We drive an hour to Blue Grouse Basin, where we hike up 427 vertical metres, surrounded by a rainbow-like swath of wildflowers and lakes with mountain ranges from every angle.

As I push myself skyward, I think of last night's final lecture, about taking the tenets of the Mountain Trek program home. "Leave here with an integration plan," Cathy says, "because when you hit the tarmac on Saturday, this bubble bursts." She tells us to go for progression, not perfection. "How did you get up that mountain today? Little steps. Little steps will always get you there."

I know she's right. I've come so far in such a short time and learned I'm much stronger than I ever imagined. My willpower, for example, borders on the superhuman: I never admitted this to Kirkland or the guides, but I had an emergency bar of dark chocolate hidden in my suitcase and I never once took a bite. At least, not until the second I got in the car for the ride to the airport.

Pounds of fat lost: 5.6. Muscle mass gained: 3 per cent. Chocolate cravings: 3,120!

The writer was a guest of Destination British Columbia and Mountain Trek. Neither reviewed or approved the story.


Mountain Trek's all-inclusive hiking retreats (everything from meals and massages to daily laundry) run until Oct. 25 in Nelson, B.C. One week immersions run $4,500; twoweek visits cost $8,550. Air Canada offers daily flights from Vancouver and Calgary into Castlegar Regional Airport, 40 kilometres from Nelson. Mountain Trek will book a shuttle service to the lodge.

In November, Mountain Trek moves the program to Southern California's chaparral highlands at Rancho La Puerta for $4,500 (U.S.)

For more details: 1-800-6615161 or

Amy Rosen

Associated Graphic

Hikers take part in Mountain Trek, a mountainous boot camp near Nelson, B.C.


Each day at Mountain Trek brings a different hike with a different terrain and a different intensity, but always a gorgeous location.



Empty homes amid the boom
Bought and left to crumble, they are more than just eyesores; they kill businesses and damage communities
Friday, October 10, 2014 – Print Edition, Page G8


Jeffrey Ho, owner of Blight's Home Hardware, has noticed that several of the neighbours along his section of Dunbar Street have moved out, their storefronts remaining empty.

His business is long established, so he's in good shape, but he does wonder what's happening around him.

"The convenience store across the street shut down. We have a couple of empty stores on the next block that used to be furniture places and they've moved on," he says. "I don't know if it's the landlords not giving a reasonable rent or the stores are not getting business. It's a bit weird. But I can't dwell on the past, or I'd be in trouble," he adds, laughing.

Real estate agent John Gust sold a large commercial property up the block a year ago, but the building's four retail spaces remain unrented. Even the large Starbucks across the street, at Dunbar and 18th Avenue, moved out, and its space remains empty.

"There's just not a lot of flow through that section of Dunbar," Mr. Gust says.

West side neighbourhoods such as Dunbar and Kerrisdale are feeling the effects of the massive housing transformation around them, says David Wachsmuth, an urban geographer who arrived in Vancouver a month ago. As houses are purchased to only stand empty, the spin-off problems are slowly making their way through communities. Empty houses are bad for neighbours, and they're especially bad for business. Without foot traffic, how is a mom-and-pop shop to survive?

"It's perverse for a big city like Vancouver to be sapping its own strength by allowing houses to be vacant," he says.

Mr. Wachsmuth has worked with affordable housing groups in Toronto, and most recently he completed his PhD at New York University, where he studied cities such as Detroit, Baltimore and Philadelphia.

But those American cities are suffering from abandonment due to a depressed economy. In Vancouver, the vacancy problem is due to a major real estate boom, which has its own set of problems.

"Every house that's vacant is one less customer, so there is no doubt that there's a connection there," says Mr. Wachsmuth, who is a post-doctoral researcher on issues such as house vacancy at the University of British Columbia. "Cities are vital and economically healthy because of density. When a lot of people are on the streets, and they interact with each other, buy things, sell things - that density is the strength. The more vacant housing you have, the more you are stopping that strength. A momand-pop shop fundamentally relies on having a customer base in the immediate area."

Vancouver's empty house syndrome is caused by speculation, or treating houses as commodities, without regard for community livability.

"Speculation fuels vacancy," he says. "Investment pulls housing off the market, and then the demand problem becomes worse. And that can be corrosive."

The numbers of vacant houses are not yet known. But the anecdotal evidence is clear to see. Anybody who lives on Vancouver's west side will know of a vacant house in their neighbourhood. James Macdonald, an urban planner who works around the world, helped start the Beautiful Empty Homes blog to document the vacant Vancouver houses. The city's vacancy rate is low - and yet perfectly livable houses are boarded up and empty. After a period of time, as the house falls derelict, it is ultimately demolished to make way for a bigger house, which often stands empty as well.

"On my street, there are houses built in the last 10 years, and they are definitely empty. A lot of them get sold every year or two. It's an asset class, and people are moving money in and out," says Mr. Macdonald, who rents a house in Dunbar. "Absentee landowners pay property tax, but that's a fraction of the tax base and also all the community and business opportunities - all the things that matter for the economic vitality of the city."

Mr. Gust puts it this way: "People who live here are going to restaurants and hockey games and everything else - they are contributing. But a lot of wealthy people are treating us as a resort town. Big money wants to go where it wants to, and Vancouver is on the list. And it's a shame for people who live here. I think 10 years from now, we will regret it if we don't do something."

It's not just empty houses that are bad for small business - the big new houses that replace them are bad, too. When a house gets torn down on the city's west side, the house that replaces it is much larger. On average, it is 77 per cent larger, according to data provided by Landcor Data Corp. In Kerrisdale, the average new house built is 85 per cent bigger. Oftentimes, that huge house will sit empty, or only occasionally used.

And if it is used, even part of the year, the big house phenomenon alters the demographic that supports small business. Studies have shown there is a correlation between people who buy big houses and their tendency to travel by car to shopping malls and big box retailers, says Mr. Wachsmuth.

"If you look at the trend toward tearing down houses and making them bigger, that's a trend that moves in the opposite direction of walkability of neighbourhoods," he says. "Small retailers generally rely on foot traffic. In neighbourhoods where the houses are getting bigger, people do more driving. There is a strong correlation between people who have more money and people who drive more."

As well, sparsification - his word for the opposite of densification - occurs when multifamily housing, such as a house with a basement suite, is converted to single-family housing. That trend also means less foot traffic.

"There are a whole host of factors that correlate with empty houses and demolitions."

When the demographic no longer values the mom-and-pop shop, the big chain retailer moves in. Kerrisdale is seeing that trend get under way. Mr. Gust says rents have become unaffordable as a result - as high as a whopping $60 a square foot, including tax. That kind of rent makes it difficult for the mom and pop business to survive.

What can be done to help save small businesses, keep neighbourhoods livable, walkable and thriving? That is a matter for the city - and it's not difficult, Mr. Wachsmuth says. They just need to address the problem, like so many other cities have.

The city could easily adopt a "use it or lose it" bylaw to deter homeowners from leaving their houses abandoned for years on end.

"The big, low-hanging fruit is a vacancy fee. Other cities have done this successfully and it's not a crazy idea," he says.

It's standard now for cities with empty house issues to charge an escalating annual registration fee for vacant properties, Mr. Wachsmuth says.

So far, during this election time, only the Green Party and COPE have made a vacant home fee part of their campaign platforms. Neither the Non-Partisan Association nor Vision Vancouver has announced a plan to combat the problem.

"Developers are always very powerful in city politics," he says. "For politicians to push back against them, they need to know there is support from the community."

There are many other deterrents, he adds. San Diego imposes fines every 90 days for vacant properties that don't have a rehabilitation plan registered with the city. Portland conducts quarterly inspections at the property owner's expense. Winnipeg homeowners must keep a vacant property clean and in good shape, and if they apply for a vacancy permit, they pay a higher fee each time they re-apply. Los Angeles keeps an interactive database of vacant homes.

Vancouver could implement any of these ideas to offset a problem that will continue to grow and impact both community and small business.

"It doesn't have to be hard to deal with," Mr. Wachsmuth says. "If you switch things around so that keeping your building vacant takes some work, and some expense, you are making it a little less likely that absentee homeowners will want to do that. And in the meantime, the city generates revenue. It's a winwin."

Associated Graphic

A collection of abandoned houses in Vancouver as documented by the blog Beautiful Empty Homes. Although the city's vacancy rate is low, livable houses are left boarded up and empty by their owners, who treat them as commodities without regard to the community.


Independent poised to derail Republican Senate dream
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

SHAWNEE, KAN. -- Just when it looked like U.S. Republicans were marching to a Senate majority in next month's midterm elections, an obscure race in the state of Kansas blew up in their faces and may prevent the GOP capturing that longed-for lock on both houses of Congress.

Republican Senator Pat Roberts was supposed to be a shoo-in for re-election - the man's been in Congress since 1981 and the last time Kansans sent anyone but a Republican to the Senate, Herbert Hoover was president.

Thanks, however, to an effective campaign by an unknown businessman running as an independent, Mr. Roberts, 78, could be the only Republican senator to go down to defeat Nov. 4. The Democrats withdrew their candidate from the ballot to leave the field open to the independent, Greg Orman, and not even a parade of Republican stars nor all the money the right-wing Koch brothers are spending on TV attack ads seem able to stop him.

Midterm Battles

Since late September, the likes of John McCain, 91year-old Bob Dole in a wheelchair, and Sarah Palin, have stumped for Sen. Roberts. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a likely candidate for president in 2016, is scheduled to make numerous appearances for the Roberts campaign this weekend.

But Mr. Orman has convinced a great many Kansans that Sen. Roberts's longevity in Washington is typical of the problem afflicting national government, and that such Washington figures only accentuate the problem. Polls continue to show Mr. Orman with an average lead of almost 5 percentage points.

That a Republican should fall in Kansas is surprising. That he should lose to the rarest of political characters - an independent - is unheard of and reflects a genuine disenchantment with traditional party politics.

For his part, Mr. Orman has said that if elected, he'll caucus with whatever party holds a "clear majority" in the Senate. But if there are 50 Republicans and 49 Democrats, he can swing control to either party, since the Democratic vice-president, Joe Biden, would cast a deciding vote in the event of a tie.

The man is serious about his bipartisan credentials. When it became clear he had a real chance of winning, Mr. Orman hired five veteran campaign organizers with national experience: three had worked with Democratic candidates and two with Republicans.

At the Orman for Senate headquarters in this Kansas City suburb - a modest storefront operation nestled between a tae kwon do studio and a muscle and joint clinic - the candidate's Princeton yearbook is open at the page describing the college student as a young Republican. On the wall above it a framed 1970s photo has the Orman youngsters with their divorced mom posing with former Democratic vice-president Hubert Humphrey, for whom the mother's father worked.

A print of a famous John Steuart Curry mural also is pinned to the wall. It's the only art in the room. The picture, Tragic Prelude, depicts the radical abolitionist John Brown, with a Bible in his left hand and a rifle in his right, stepping over corpses as he leads a charge against pro-slavery forces along the Kansas-Missouri border in the 1850s lead up to the Civil War. The original mural is in the state capitol in Topeka.

Both Republicans and Democrats are proud of the state's anti-slavery past and while many identify still with the Bible and the gun, this also is the state where a 1954 lawsuit brought against the Topeka school system - Brown versus Board of Education - led to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that desegregated schools.

Now, however, it is Kansas's powerful anti-abortion movement that sees itself as today's abolitionists and wields considerable political influence, especially among Republicans in Wichita and the southern half of the state.

Sen. Roberts had once been known for his moderate views and good-humoured accommodating nature on a wide range of issues. But with the growing clout of the anti-abortion movement, and of the right-wing Tea Party with its less-government less-taxes agenda, the senator tacked hard to the right. The Heritage Foundation ranks him as the third most conservative member of the Senate and he is endorsed by the National Rifle Association and the National Right to Life movement.

Ironically, it was a Republican further to the right, a member of the Tea Party, that dealt a serious blow this year to the senator. In a brutal party primary in August, physician Milton Wolf accused the mild-mannered Mr. Roberts of losing touch with the voters, largely as a result of almost never being in Kansas. The charge stuck.

Mr. Roberts survived that GOP internal ballot but, with 48 per cent, garnered less than half of the votes cast. Dr. Wolf captured 41 per cent and fringe candidates took the rest. The results left Kansas Republicans divided going into November's election, and many moderate Republicans tell pollsters they are opting for Mr. Orman.

A group of former legislators known as Traditional Republicans for Common Sense has endorsed the independent, as has a bipartisan women's organization. Both say they like Mr. Orman's emphasis on being a pragmatic problem-solver not hung up on party gamesmanship.

Former Republican senator Nancy Kassebaum, a daughter of the late governor Alf Landon and a leading moderate, pointedly refused to record an advertisement endorsing the Republican.

In surveys of how the candidates are perceived, Sen. Roberts is viewed negatively by 47 per cent of the people polled, and positively by 39 per cent (the difference gives him a net rating of -8). Mr. Orman, who has never held elected office, is viewed positively by 39 per cent and negatively by 24 per cent (a net rating of +15).

Facing this dismal situation, the national Republican Party took command of the Roberts campaign last month, dismissed his long-time laid-back campaign manager and brought in professionals from Washington. They put the senator, along with Tea Party favourite Ted Cruz from Texas, on a bus last week making a whistle-stop tour of the state and flooded the media with ads, most of them attacking Mr. Orman.

The commercials, on TV and online, are paid for by organizations such as Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners Action Fund, both fronts for money from conservatives Charles and David Koch, owners of Koch Industries of Wichita, the second richest private company in the United States.

The spots portray Mr. Orman as being in league with the reviled liberal Barack Obama. Mr. Orman acknowledges that he voted for Mr. Obama in 2008 and contributed to both his and Hillary Clinton's primary campaigns for the Democratic nomination that year. But he voted for Republican Mitt Romney in 2012, he says.

"The Roberts campaign is desperate," said Patrick Miller, a political scientist at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. "They have no choice but to go scorched earth," he said. "They need to make Orman the issue."

For conservative Republicans, Mr. Orman's stand on a number of policies is the issue. He is conservative on most economic issues but favours choice when it comes to abortion, gay marriage, a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants (with beefed-up security at the southern border to keep more out), and background checks of people buying guns at gun shows. He thinks the Obama health-care program should be fixed, not repealed, and that evolution should be taught in schools.

"People are fed up," says Tim Orman, the candidate's father, owner of a furniture store and a lifelong Republican. Those TV ads attacking his son are "exactly what's wrong with Washington today."

"People here remember an era of moderation and common sense, not ideology," the elder Mr. Orman added.

Mr. Orman does appear to have tapped into something new: the intelligent independents, like him. And such people may not be limited to this state.

In South Dakota, former GOP senator Larry Pressler is running as an independent and giving the incumbent Republican a run for his money, all on a campaign that sounds a lot like Mr. Orman's.

A decade ago, political analyst Thomas Frank published a book called What's the Matter With Kansas? He noted that things that begin here - the Civil War, Prohibition, prairie populism, desegregation - tend to go national.

Associated Graphic

Republican Senator Pat Roberts, left, is trailing independent candidate Greg Orman, seen here last month in Hutchinson, Kan.


She took education into her own hands
Catholic co-founder and principal of the Priory School in Montreal created an environment seen as an extension of the family
Special to The Globe and Mail
Monday, October 20, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S9

Despite a lack of formal training in education or administration, Frances Ballantyne co-founded the Priory School in Montreal, established herself as principal and devised a successful curriculum. The school began in the late 1940s with 25 pupils, promising a revolutionary learning environment for children.

Today, it has 163 students, plus a waiting list.

On the occasion of her 100th birthday, Frances Ballantyne received congratulations from Queen Elizabeth II, the Governor-General and a blessing from Pope Francis. The latter meant the most to her, retaining a place of honour on the mantel above her fireplace.

Catholicism informed Frances Ballantyne's life. Her faith remained unwavering until her death on Sept. 11, four days before her 102nd birthday. It was one antidote to an upbringing in which feelings were repressed in the face of tragic loss.

Frances Elizabeth Ballantyne was born on Sept. 15, 1912, in Paris, the first child of Hazel (née Kemp) and Frances Chatton Stephens, a stockbroker from Montreal. The privileged couple had taken an extended honeymoon in the city where Mr. Stephens hoped to establish banking links.

A year later, their second child, John, was born in Montreal.

After the First World War began, Frances Chatton Stephens joined Canada's first contingent of soldiers and set sail for England. His wife, Hazel, and daughter followed, leaving baby John behind in the care of his grandmother. Hazel first rented a house near the military base then, later, one closer to London.

In her memoir, Frances Ballantyne wrote, "Mother applied for war work and recovered the strands of everyday social life.

This mirage of normality faded quickly."

According to Ballantyne family lore, the elder Ms. Stephens went to Paris every spring for fashion.

Saying "No German is going to stop me," she booked herself and her 18-month-old grandson passage on the doomed Lusitania. It was torpedoed off the coast of Ireland in 1915. Both were killed.

At roughly the same time, Chatton Stephens was admitted to hospital with trench fever. It developed into endocarditis, from which he never fully recovered.

In 1918, he succumbed to Spanish flu in Montreal.

At the time of her father's death, six-year-old Frances Ballantyne was in Toronto with her mother visiting Castle Frank, the mansion belonging to her grandfather Sir Albert Edward Kemp.

Nothing was ever explained to her about her father's death. As far as she knew he had simply disappeared. Hazel Stephens took care to remove all photographs of Frances's father and, even though she had been deeply scarred by grief, rarely mentioned the deaths of her husband and son. Consequently, Frances Ballantyne grew up as an only child left mostly in the care of a succession of nannies and governesses while her mother travelled. If Frances became too fond of a caregiver, allegedly, they were replaced.

In 1920, Frances's mother married an executive with an insurance company. The couple took up temporary residence in England, hiring a devout Catholic governess for Frances. Frances Ballantyne wrote, "Surely her presence was indirectly part of the long process that led Mother into the Catholic Church."

After her mother's conversion, the teenaged Frances found herself transferred from an Anglican boarding school in England to a Catholic one. Wanting to fit in, she came to embrace the religion wholeheartedly and, in 1930, graduated from City House Convent of the Sacred Heart in Montreal. She briefly attended McGill University as an art student but dropped out when she found a suitable husband. His name was Murray Gordon Ballantyne, the son of a politician and like her, a convert to Catholicism. Between 1935 and 1950 they had seven children, raised with the assistance of nannies and babysitters.

Their marriage slowly deteriorated, ending after 30 years.

A slim, attractive brunette of medium height, Frances Ballantyne was intelligent and serious.

Her daughter Felicity Fairbairn remembers her mother as, "shy and private without vanity or any idea of self-promotion."

Widely read on a variety of subjects, Ms. Ballantyne accumulated many books on child psychology and development.

She was also a keeper of meticulous notes about her own children. "The first bottle ... the first poop ... all recorded," said another daughter, Elizabeth Ballantyne.

While Frances Ballantyne viewed children as being academically interesting, she could be sharp-tongued in dealings with them. Her eldest granddaughter, Alex Alba, said, "I believe this defect came from a nervous disposition and an inability to express herself emotionally. She was always horrified to hear she had hurt someone.

She was immediately and openly repentant but people in her family rarely told her, so she had little understanding of this dynamic."

One dynamic Ms. Ballantyne felt she understood very well was education. Through a keen involvement with the Catholic Education Club she met the like-minded Alphonsine Howlett, also a member of anglophone high society. Together they decided it was time to redress that city's lack of independent primary Catholic schools. In a history of the Priory School, Ms. Ballantyne wrote, "Education was of burning interest to us as our young families reached school age and we looked for the ideal school." Unable to find one that matched their standards, they decided to start their own.

Ms. Ballantyne recalled the horrified expression on the faces of their respective husbands as the women outlined their plans.

"They were no doubt feeling as though they had a tiger by the tail but fervently hoping it would turn out to be a kitten."

Ms. Ballantyne credits her backroom thinking and Alphonsine Howlett's "tireless ability to melt opposition away" to their success. She wrote, "As far as the English Catholic community saw us at all it was as a pair of crazy, maverick females whose time had definitely not come."

Yet, in 1947, their time did come. The Priory School opened its doors in several rooms above a parish hall in the Notre Dame de Grâce section of Montreal.

After a year, it was forced to change location. A frantic search for new accommodation resulted in the purchase of the Sir Charles Lindsay House on The Boulevard (where the school still operates today) and for which Ms. Ballantyne supplied the down payment. Until they were able to find reliable help, Ms. Ballantyne noted that she and Ms. Howlett cleaned, tidied, did small repairs, a bit of painting, some cooking and washing up.

The Priory welcomed children between the ages of five and 12 and promised a learning environment that would nurture the whole child. In short, school was to be an extension of family.

Ironically, Ms. Ballantyne was a distant mother with her own children, however, she was passionate that school should be supportive, inspiring and responsive to individual needs. Under Ms. Ballantyne's direction, the Priory School developed a curriculum that included Latin, art, music (she was a highly accomplished recorder player) and her own particular enthusiasm, the italic handwriting system. It was an environment where, as she'd hoped, children flourished. She was shocked, however, when a parent removed two children from the Priory for "liking school too much."

In 1967, Ms. Ballantyne made notes for a revised history curriculum. Perhaps reflecting on her own upbringing she wrote, "We hope to develop an informed attitude that realizes we are the product of our past, and that we can learn from the mistakes and successes of our forebears."

Ms. Ballantyne remained principal of the Priory School until 1981, after which she moved to Oakville, Ont. She continued her pursuit of music, painted with watercolours and read widely.

Shortly before she died, during a final conversation with her granddaughter, Ms. Ballantyne wryly remarked she was very disappointed that more than 100 years of living hadn't been enough to iron out her character defects.

Ms. Ballantyne was predeceased by her husband and their youngest son, Edmund. She leaves her daughters, Ann Oakley, Elizabeth Ballantyne, Felicity Fairbairn and Margaret Ballantyne-Power; her sons, Hugh and John Ballantyne and her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

To submit an I Remember: Send us a memory of someone we have recently profiled on the Obituaries page. Please include I Remember in the subject field.

Associated Graphic

Frances Ballantyne is pictured at a grandson's wedding in 1987, six years after stepping down as school principal.


The Priory School founders Frances Ballantyne, centre left, and Alphonsine Howlett, right, stand beside former principal Teresa McConnon and board president Dr. Richard Haber.


The last of the boat people
What is it about having asylum seekers arrive by water? Ottawa is going to extreme lengths to see that it never happens again - which, Aparita Bhandari and Amarnath Amarasingam contend, shows just how much Canada's attitude toward providing a safe haven has changed
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F3

He came aboard in Bangkok with no idea where the ship was headed (the rumour was Australia) and was seasick for most of the journey. Only when he saw the red helicopters hovering overhead off Vancouver Island was MV Ocean Lady's final destination clear.

"All I knew about Canada," he now says, laughing, "was that it was a country, and that my uncle lived there."

That was five years ago yesterday. And yet, even as he proudly conducts a tour of his new bungalow and celebrates his hardwon permanent-resident status, he does not want to divulge his true identity.

He fears for the safety of his mother and other family members back in Sri Lanka. Before fleeing, "I was getting harassed every day by the army," he recalls.

As a child, he had seen his father go off to sell bananas one day and never returned. His mother was terrified the same would happen to him.

As a result, he is now both a homeowner and a sous chef in downtown Toronto - at a French restaurant where he started out as a dishwasher.

He also may be, if the federal government has its way, one of the last "boat people" ever to reach Canada's shores. Since the arrival of the 76 Tamils on the Ocean Lady (just five months after Sri Lankan forces had brutally ended a 26-year civil war that had claimed up to 100,000 lives) and another 492 the following August, Ottawa has made drastic changes to its immigration-and-refugee policy.

Despite its humanitarian tradition, the government had been moving toward a view of migration that takes other concerns into consideration. Experts say the appearance of almost 600 asylum seekers from a war-torn nation crystallized its thinking.

The treatment of Ocean Lady passengers was in stark contrast with the past. When 150 Sri Lankan Tamils came ashore in Newfoundland in 1986, "the instinctive response of the community ... was how to feed them, where to house them," says Chris Anderson, a political scientist at Wilfrid Laurier University.

"Prime Minister Brian Mulroney at the time had given them the welcome afforded to asylum seekers as a signal of Canada's humanitarian tradition."

In 2009, however, the future French chef was imprisoned and interrogated for three months. He was released when his uncle posted bail, and allowed to move to Toronto - now the city with the largest Sri Lankan Tamil population outside Sri Lanka itself.

Prof. Anderson says that, even though many more would-be refugees turn up at Canadian airports, the arrival of boats has, for some reason, come to strike a disproportionate amount of fear.

"There's often a very stark visual of these decrepit vessels - they are not cruise liners, right?" he explains. "And so often the arrival is a very dramatic thing." The Newfoundland arrivals were in lifeboats and, he says, "literally washed up on shore."

Over the years, the perceived nature of the drama also has changed. By the time the Ocean Lady arrived, it was seen through the post 9/11 lens - "a heightened sense that this is now a security threat," Prof. Anderson says.

So, not only have many Canadians come to consider helping people in need "a question of national security," he explains, the refugees themselves are increasingly suspected of being what the government calls "bogus."

This week, it was revealed that migrants have become so suspect here that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), now equipped with greater powers to detain them, has looked closely at using federal penitentiaries to house them - despite the risk of exposure to violent offenders.

The Australian playbook

The government's model in all this has been Australia, says Jennifer Hyndman, director of the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University in Toronto.

After taking in boats bearing thousands of people, the Australians tightened their borders, and now make it nearly impossible to seek asylum by water. Their "Pacific solution" has them stopping boats and diverting them to islands with detention centres.

Canada followed suit in 2012 with Bill C-31, which made detention mandatory for "irregular" arrivals. As well, it has taken steps to stop potential asylum seekers from even setting sail.

The Globe reported in 2010 that Ward Elcock, former head of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service, has been sent to Southeast Asia as a special envoy to prevent migrant smuggling.

Any "irregulars" who get this far now wait longer to receive permanent-resident status or to have their cases reviewed if their applications are denied, says Toronto immigration lawyer Micheal Crane. As well, health benefits for newcomers are being restricted, and work permits being delayed, "making it difficult for people to get off the dole," he explains. "That's basically a shame. It's inescapable that the government is doing that to discourage what it views as bogus refugee claimants."

However, Mr. Crane has represented almost two dozen people who arrived on either the Ocean Lady or MV Sun Sea, the boat that came a year later, and says the government seems overly keen to process those cases.

Not only must they be prepared more rapidly, he says, there is (unlike other cases) always a representative of the border service or immigration minister in court. "They also have a lot of disclosure ... they want to provide information that, if you were on the Sun Sea or Ocean Lady, you have no extra risk" if sent home.

Typically, the paperwork is at most two inches thick, Mr. Crane adds. But for the boat people, "they have maybe three or four phone books' worth for every single case."

So far, 30 of the 76 men on the Ocean Lady have been told they can stay, while seven have been issued deportation orders, and another 25 had their claims rejected. The Sun Sea had many more passengers - 492 men, women and children - of which 156 have so far been accepted, 25 ordered deported and 158 had their claims rejected while two men remain in detention.

So Canada is prepared to send back as many as half the claimants even though, despite what it argues in court, it seems to recognize the danger they may face.

Ottawa has been so critical of Sri Lanka's human-rights record that last November the Prime Minister even boycotted a meeting of Commonwealth heads of government being held in Colombo, the capital.

"Canada is deeply concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka," Stephen Harper noted in a statement. "The absence of accountability for the serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian standards during and after the civil war is unacceptable."

But many who applauded the boycott - including the Tamil diaspora in Canada - remain confused by the government's heavy-handed approach to asylum seekers. Now that tourists are flocking back, it is natural to assume that Sri Lanka no longer produces refugees, but life is precarious for many. Journalists are harassed, stories of sexual violence and land seizures are commonplace, and people vanish - something for which a UN agency that tracks disappearances ranks Sri Lanka second only to Iraq.

Also, despite the official denials, there is evidence that people who return are abused. Monitoring agencies have documented cases that involve beatings, people having their heads held underwater, and sexual attacks.

A new beginning

Back in Toronto, the sous chef looks to a happier future.

He studied ESL for a year until being allowed to work, which he now does 12 hours a day, six days a week. After renovating his home, with some help from his cousin, he now lives in the basement and rents the main floor to a Tamil family.

"The next step is to get married," he says. "I am not sure how that will happen - it's between my mother in Sri Lanka and my uncle in Toronto."

But whatever the outcome, he adds, "I am thankful to be here."

Aparita Bhandari is a freelance reporter in Toronto; and Amarnath Amarasingam a postdoctoral fellow at Dalhousie University's Resilience Research Centre, and the author of Pain, Pride and Politics: Sri Lankan Tamil Activism in Canada (University of Georgia Press, 2015).

Associated Graphic

The sous chef holds a treasured reminder of the war-torn home he left behind.


Five years ago, he was aboard the Ocean Lady off Vancouver Island.


Seven years after the first mineral discovery, a swath of Northern Ontario that promised resource riches is without its main developer, as a web of red tape and falling commodities prices put the future of mining in the region in jeopardy
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B1

Ontario's "Ring of Fire" mineral belt was supposed to be a $60billion natural resources treasure trove that would bring employment and economic prosperity to a remote part of the province's north. It hasn't worked out that way.

The project's key player has given up, leaving the future of the deposit in question and hurting prospects that it will ever reach the lofty expectations of politicians.

Today, not much is happening in the Ring, a 5,000-square-kilometre crescent of mostly chromite in the boggy James Bay lowlands, 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay.

The region was said to be so rich in resources that it would rival Sudbury's nickel basin and Alberta's oil sands. Instead, the area remains undeveloped, a victim of the global slump in commodity prices and bureaucratic red tape.

"I'm disappointed that it hasn't advanced more. It's a long time, seven years after discovery," said Neil Novak, the geologist who made the first discovery in the Ring and is now exploring for other metals as the chief executive officer of Black Widow Resources Inc.

In addition to the complete lack of infrastructure - there are no roads or power in the area - there is no real plan on how to mine the chromite, which is used to harden steel.

In fact, Cleveland-based Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., the American company that was supposed to develop the Ring, has thrown in the towel and is now trying to find a buyer for its chromite deposits.

Meanwhile, the Ontario government is nowhere close to a deal with local First Nations communities on how to share the project, a key piece of the province's vision to turn the area's mineral deposits into economic wealth for the region.

The situation today stands in sharp contrast to the excitement of a few years ago. Explorers flocked to the area and a bidding war broke out for the largest deposits of chromite. Politicians trumpeted the Ring of Fire as Canada's next big resource play, saying tens of thousands of jobs would be created and untold benefits would flow to northerners. Ontario member of Parliament Tony Clement, the federal Treasury Board president, called it a "game changer" for Canada and likened the economic impact to the oil sands. Ontario's then Premier Dalton McGuinty said it was the most promising mining opportunity the country had seen in a century.

But today, China's slowing growth and slumping steel sector have led to an oversupply in key parts of the mining industry, and make the case for development at the Ring of Fire hard to prove.

"It's strictly economics. If you can make money on it, then you go ahead. And if you can't, it sits on the shelf. That's the reality," said Don Hoy, the miner who discovered the large chromite deposit.

One junior miner is trying to mine the nickel, a smaller deposit than the chromite. Meanwhile, the provincial government is promising to spend $1-billion on a road to the area. But even if the Ring of Fire eventually produces chrome ore, it will face stiff competition from South Africa, the world's largest producer.

"It is a challenging market for newcomers," said Mark Beveridge, a senior consultant with global commodity research firm CRU Group. "It is a matter of cost and how cheaply it can be done from Canada. It would be a question of whether (Canada) could compete on price with the South Africans."

It's all a far cry from when Mr. Novak and Mr. Hoy discovered their deposits in 2007. Mr. Novak's team found nickel and copper in the summer and Mr. Hoy found the motherlode of chrome ore in the fall.

The province quickly pinned its hopes on an established miner to dig up the rocks, which contains some of the highest grades of chromite in the world. But Cliffs Natural, the company that took on the challenge, had little experience building a mine, much less working in the difficult terrain of Northern Ontario.

Nonetheless, Cliffs initially set an ambitious target of 2015 for the start of production and said it would build a ferrochrome processing plant near Sudbury. But the company faced concerns from the First Nations communities who live off the land, as well as what it saw as delays from the province. Cliffs shut its operations in the Ring last year, mainly because its flagship iron ore business had been hit hard by a sharp drop in prices. And last month it put the project up for sale.

Other companies followed suit and now only a handful are working in the ring. Noront Resources Ltd. is waiting for an environmental permit for its nickel project and is banking on the government to build a road to its mine site. Tiny KWG Resources Inc. is trying to raise funds to buy Cliffs' chromite assets. Other junior explorers are struggling to stay afloat.

Despite all this, the Ontario government is adamant the Ring must be developed.

"We are committed to our billion dollars because we recognize how crucial this project is," said Michael Gravelle, Ontario's Minister of Northern Development and Mines. When asked how the government knows it will be economical, Mr. Gravelle said: "That is why discussion with industry is so important."

As for whether the government would build the road without the mine, Mr. Gravelle replied: "There is no question there are other projects, other discussions going on related to opening up access to the communities. But what this gives us an opportunity to provide is access to an extraordinary economic development opportunity that can change the lives, not just of the First Nations in the area, but quite frankly almost everybody in Northern Ontario."

The government estimates the Ring holds $50-billion in chromite and $10-billion in nickel, copper and other metals. However, the $60-billion figure does not take into account the cost to build the infrastructure and all the other expenses that goes into mining and transporting the ore.

"Sometimes people get the wrong impression," said James Franklin, the former chief geologist for Canada who calculated the value. "It sounds like a big number, but after the costs are taken off, there may not be a lot left as profit. That said, much of this value ends up as money spent in Ontario, as salaries, indirect money spent on goods and services, and taxes, so the province would be a winner." The mining process is also complicated. Unlike diamonds or gold, which are also mined in the province's north, chrome ore is bulky and heavy.

Cliffs had planned to mine 4.4 million tonnes of crude ore a year. The only way to get that much rock out of the mining site was by truck. And that would require a wide road and two sturdy bridges to cross a pair of large rivers in the area. After that, there's the issue of shipping the ore to China, the largest consumer of chromite. And if Ontario wants to turn the chromite into ferrochrome, which is much more valuable than chrome ore, a smelter will have to be built.

Another problem is the price of the resource. Like other steelmaking minerals, such as iron ore and metallurgical coal, there is a glut of chromite in world right now, making it difficult to see the benefits of the development. It could be years before there is a recovery. The chromite market is expected to tighten by 2018, according to CRU Group forecasts.

"If you're going to spend a lot of time and effort on the social licence, permitting, First Nations, you better make sure that the quality of the underlying asset is worth it because it is going to be a long tough road to get all those other things done," said Noront CEO Alan Coutts. "You got to make sure that in the end that you have a profitable operation."

Associated Graphic

An undeveloped area southeast of the Ring of Fire. The Ontario government is promising to spend $1-billion on a road to the resource deposits.


Two mining exploration camps in the proposed Ring of Fire development area, which is 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.



On stage, metamorphosis meets mirage
Opera Atelier is pushing the limits again, blending video imaging with traditional backgrounds for its production of Handel's Alcina
Friday, October 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L2

Over its almost 30-year performance history, Torontobased Opera Atelier has prided itself on, and become known internationally for, the authenticity of its staging of the baroque repertoire. Yet, for all its attention to period instrumentation, choreography and set design, gesture and costumery, the company has imbued its productions with sufficient zest, authority and spectacle to ensure audiences have never felt they're enduring a museum piece or scholarly recreation.

This "pact" between audience and artist will be tested later this month, however, when Atelier mounts at Toronto's Elgin Theatre its first full-stage Handel production, the 1735 opera seria Alcina. The test is technological: For the first time in its long history of lavish productions, Atelier will use video projection, as a complement to the epic painted drops conceived by the company's longtime resident set designer Gerard Gauci. Indeed, 30 minutes of Alcina's 150-minute run time will feature video content.

Blasphemy? Well, Atelier's founders and co-artistic directors, Marshall Pynkoski and Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg, insist the use of video isn't a "gimmick" or meretricious irreverence but both something of a storytelling necessity and a logical continuation of the innovations (magic lanterns, flying harnesses, trompe l'oeil, smoke effects) that informed the original baroque aesthetic. "Yes, we want to be sensitive to the period," Pynkoski said recently. "But we have no interest in being a mausoleum. ... We want to keep pushing our audiences in terms of what they expect or accept in a period production. And we do want to be comprehensible."

The necessity is partly rooted in history. "In the mid-18th century, Handel's playwright [Antonio Fanzaglia] took for granted that people knew the story of Alcina," Pynkoski said. Variously described as a sorceress, a force of nature, a malign spirit, Alcina lives with her sister Morgana on a desert island to which she lures males to be her lovers. Once she's finished with them, she turns their souls into objects - animals, plants, buildings, birds, rocks, a waterfall, geographical formations, even the waves of the ocean - to "dress up" her domain. Nothing is real, in short, everything a mirage, and the humans, tormented by their victimhood, yearn for Alcina's spell to be broken and for a return to fleshy materiality. A Christian knight, Ruggiero, arrives as their salvation.

The best-known version of the Alcina story, at least for baroque audiences, would have been found in Orlando Furioso, the immensely popular epic poem by Ludovico Ariosto published early in the 16th century. It's little-read today, however; moreover, "in the opera proper [by Handel], there's only the most passing reference to the fact that Alcina's universe is made up of men and it happens three-quarters of the way through," Pynkoski said. "Clearly, metamorphosis is an extremely key element in the story. But, instead of lecturing to our audiences, we felt we had to start giving them clues from the word 'go' that something else is going on."

Gauci acknowledged that directors and production designers "had very clever scenic devices in the 18th century." David Garrick (1717-1779), for one, was adept at projecting ghost-like figures into "greasy smoke." "But it's not something we wanted to do this time because, to a 21st-century eye, it would look rather primitive and it wouldn't be seamless. We needed transformations that were going to appear and disappear without looking hokey. We really wanted to enhance the mirage effect, the dream-like effect. That's why video projections seemed like such a perfect solution.

"The trick, of course," he added, "was to marry that with what we do, the period-design aesthetic. So, to convey a sense of a landscape inhabited by captive souls, we came up with a way of projecting images that became a part of the painted set."

To achieve this, Gauci connected earlier this year with Toronto's Krystal Levy Pictures, to whom he took high-resolution digital scans of the scale renderings he'd made for the five canvas drops - they include a bedroom, desert and cloudscape - he'd be using in Alcina. The scans were loaded into a computer at KLP's studio where Atelier's male dancers, shot against a blue or green screen, were digitally inserted into the renderings. Alcina audiences, it's hoped, will experience a smooth transition from painted scenery to video projection and back again.

"Every time we have a transition moment," Gauci explained, "we project clouds over the entire scene." When the physical drop "flies out ... then we're able to project the video onto [a] giant white screen" (called a cyc, short for cyclorama) near the back of the stage area. "The projection will be exactly the same scale as the physical drop and it will look exactly the same."

That said, "we don't want people to sit in the auditorium and think, 'Oh, suddenly I'm seeing a movie.' It really has to be, still, a theatrical experience, something married to the sets."

The actual drops are immense - one of a temple, a symphony of blue and ochre painted in latex vinyl, will be 48-feet wide, 25-feet deep onstage (Gauci's renderings, by contrast, are much smaller: A half-inch in a rendering equals one foot in the actual drop). They're also laborious to produce: When I visited Atelier's funky, expansive set studio in a former commercial garage in Scarborough recently, three scenic painters were hard at work finishing the temple, the canvas for which had been tacked flat to a plywood support atop a concrete floor a few weeks earlier. Laughed Gauci: "It's the most highly realized set with more paint than we've ever put onstage in 30 years."

Historically, Atelier has referenced artists such as Watteau, Tiepolo and Canaletto for the mise-en-scène of its productions. For Alcina, the look is decidedly more modern - the surrealist spaces, in fact, of de Chirico, Dali and Magritte. Explains Gauci: "Just as the surrealists looked toward their dreams for inspiration, we looked to their imagery [with its] strange juxtapositions, where one object frequently morphs into another." It just seemed an apt way to "stress that the setting for this production is not of this Earth, that it can vanish before our eyes like the clouds in the sky."

Pynkoski predicts that while some purists might balk at these conceits, Alcina's audiences are likely to be quite accepting. After all, there will be plenty of singing and dancing and tinkling harpsichords and throbbing cellos and things and people flying across the stage and disappearing down trap doors.

Moreover, "we've been changing constantly," he declared. "If you were to look at video of one of our productions from 20 years ago and a video of one of our productions now, it is rather astonishing visually how it's changed, how it's changed gesturally, choreographically. Not change in that we've consciously decided, 'Oh, now we're going to do something different!' It's changed because we've changed as we keep working in this idiom.... We've spent 30 years immersed in this period [the baroque], in the designs, travelling on grants, going to collections in Europe. We're drowning in information.

"That doesn't mean we don't try to find out as much as we can about the opera we're producing. ... But now the question is: Where does this information take us? It's not about the information itself."

Handel's Alcina, sung in Italian with English surtitles, begins Opera Atelier's 2014-15 season on Oct. 23 at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto. Direction by Marshall Pynkoski, choreography by Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg, featuring soprano Meghan Lindsay as Alcina, mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy as Ruggiero. The run is through Nov. 1 (

Associated Graphic

Set director Gerard Gauci with the huge drops depicting a temple: 'It's the most highly realized set with more paint than we've ever put on stage in 30 years.'


To portray a landscape inhabited by captive souls, images will be projected onto a screen in a way that will make them part of the painted set.


'We take for granted a lot of liberties that are present today,' says Ben Schnetzer, who plays an activist in the new British dramedy Pride, one of at least three films this fall addressing the evolution of LGBTQ+ rights. 'That's why I want to act, to encourage people to ask questions'
Friday, October 10, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R1

Movements need their movies. Sidney Poitier's 1967 trifecta To Sir, with Love; In the Heat of the Night and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner helped put a human face on the U.S. Civil Rights struggle. Films such as An Unmarried Woman (1978), Norma Rae (1979) and Nine to Five (1980) pushed the conversation on feminism and gender equality. Now a trio of fall films are doing their part to further LGBTQ+ rights: Love Is Strange, Pride and The Imitation Game.

Love Is Strange, which premiered in late August, begins with a wedding: Ben and George (John Lithgow and Alfred Molina - both excellent), a couple for 40 years, are overjoyed they can finally legally marry. Their happiness lasts a day: George's employer, the Catholic Church, fires him. Because he's the sole breadwinner, they lose their apartment; because they live in New York, they have to bunk separately with friends and family. The ordinariness of their plight, the love they evince as they deal with it, and the way their love affects people in the generations below theirs make a case for equality in the subtlest, least preachy way. Which only enhances the movie's power and charm.

Writer-director Ira Sachs, who is gay, married and a father, said in a phone interview that for him, his film is about "simply being attentive to other people. It speaks to what institutions, educators, parents and neighbours can teach each other. We could have called it Do the Right Thing."

Appearing in the film makes Lithgow feel like he's on the side of the angels. "I didn't feel this way about being in Cliffhanger," he said, laughing, in a separate phone interview. "Ben and George are a gay couple who've been together for 40 years. They've endured second-class citizenship, the AIDS crisis, the death of many friends way too young. Bit by bit, they've seen the blossoming of justice, equal rights and the dignity that had been withheld from them. Getting married is their reward after a lifetime of embarrassment and shame. They're allowed to be proud of each other. There's something so uplifting about that."

But Lithgow knows the battle for LGBTQ+ rights is far from won. "If you go down the street of a Midwestern U.S. city and ask every person you meet how they feel about gay marriage, half will be scornful," he said. "Minds are changing, but not all minds. I was just in Chicago, and there was a story exactly like ours, a choir director who was fired by a Catholic archdiocese. It's simply wrong, and people are beginning to see it as wrong, and courts are beginning to see it. The church is starting to look medieval. Movies like this play some little part in that. It feels great to all of us that we're a tiny part of the solution."

Pride, which opened last month, is based on a true story: In Margaret Thatcher's Britain in the summer of 1984, miners were vilified for striking against pit closures, and gays and lesbians were marginalized and victimized by the tabloids and police. A mixed bag of Londoners decided the two groups should support one another; they formed Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM), and sponsored a tiny, tough Welsh mining town (Bill Nighy plays one of its citizens). Hearts and minds - and laws - were changed. The Brits know how to be winsome without being smarmy, and this is the kind of heartfelt, intelligent dramedy at which they excel.

"I was desperate to be in it," Nighy said at a press conference during September's Toronto International Film Festival. "If I were to be asked by my grandkids, 'What developments in your lifetime made you most proud to be around for,' one of them might be the civil rights movement in America, and the other would be the emancipation of gay men and women."

When Nighy was young, he said, people of the same sex went to jail for any display of affection; now that he can stand in a town hall in London and watch two male friends marry, "I find it almost overwhelmingly moving. I've never understood any resistance to acceptance, and I still don't. I think Pride is one of the most, if not the most, important British films in recent years."

Its director, Matthew Warchus, and its screenwriter, Stephen Beresford, gave their young cast a short history lesson, so they would know the import of what they were appearing in. "We were amazed how omnipresent homophobia was in day-to-day life," said Ben Schnetzer, who plays LGSM's leader. "We take for granted a lot of liberties that are present today. That's why I want to act, to make these movies - to encourage people to ask questions; to encourage them, if they're on the edge of fighting for a cause, to give them a little nudge."

Beresford has seen many films in which gay people come out or are attacked. He wanted to tell a different story, "the very common story about the ordinary people - decent; perhaps socially or politically conservative - who find they have a gay child or neighbour or colleague, and in that instant, their attitude changes," he said. "There are no fireworks. But something incredible happens: Their prejudice melts away. I hope one of the things that this film does is to let those people see themselves represented on screen, as decent people. I hope it galvanizes them."

The Imitation Game, which won the coveted audience prize at TIFF, and will be released on Nov. 21, goes further back in time, to the Second World War and the decade following. It begins as the story of how the English mathematician Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch, perfect) invented the computer to crack the German Enigma codes and win the war. But as the film unspools, another story rises up: To escape persecution for being gay, Turing tried to play his own imitation game, to pass as straight. Eventually he was arrested, punished with chemical castration, and committed suicide.

"Any buzz or success this film may have is important because of how unknown this extraordinary man is in comparison to his achievements," Cumberbatch said in an interview during TIFF. "He was a war hero, a gay icon, the father of the computer age. There should be statues of him in important parts of London. Yet he, and many thousands of gay men like him, were prosecuted and persecuted in England's embarrassing and shaming recent history.

"And it's still happening, right under our noses," he continued. "Any time fascism rears its ugly head, in the form of finding scapegoats in times of hardship, any kind of deviation from the norm is viewed as punishable - be it the credit crisis in Greece, the nationalism in Russia, or fundamentalism in the Middle East. The situation is far from over."

Art alone can't fix it, of course. But it can do its part. At the end of our conversation, Lithgow audibly choked up. "I had dear friends in the eighties, a gay couple, both of whom died, one of AIDS," he said. "It means so much to me that I'm able to make a film which I think is important for them. It's important for young gay couples, for middle-aged and older gay couples, and even for dead gay couples. It's a terrible injustice that anyone should be made to feel second-class because of their sexual orientation. I'm not a fighter by nature, but being in this film" - his voice broke - "makes me feel like a fighter."

"Art can give people strength," agreed Mike Jackson, one of the real members of LGSM, during the Pride presser. "We're all just one word: human."

Associated Graphic


The cast of Pride, a film about the formation of the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners movement in England in 1984, hope it will encourage people to fight for equal rights.

How young buyers are crashing the party
Through hard work and determination these twentysomethings are proud to say they have a mortgage
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S4

Matthew Kennedy is a young man many people would consider to be the equivalent of a unicorn in Vancouver. This is, after all, the city renowned in popular mythology as a place with such astronomical house prices that its young will be forced to live in basement suites forever.

Mr. Kennedy bought his first condo four years ago when he was 20, using the money he had saved from the jobs he started right after he finished high school. The first one, at H&R Block, doing deliveries. The second, doing what his father had done and he'd loved since a kid, painting cars.

He put 10 per cent down on the $265,000 two-bedroom suite in Langley, B.C. He only needed his parents' help because the bank was antsy about him being so young. They lent him another 10 per cent, which he repaid. (His parents, with four other children and no Vancouver west-side house to cash out of, don't have money to burn.)

Mr. Kennedy, who has since married, is now looking for a slightly larger place to buy, a townhouse, with plans to rent out the original condo.

"It was a lot of work," says Mr. Kennedy, who paid rent to his parents while he was saving for his first down payment. "There's definitely sacrifices. I budgeted. I didn't eat out. Some could say I missed some life experiences. But if you have that [home ownership] as your goal, anything is possible."

Mr. Kennedy, as it turns out, is not as rare as many might think.

A recent analysis of home-ownership rates in Canada done by Vancouver-based Urban Futures shows that the proportion of young homeowners increased from 2006 to 2011, a period when prices appeared to be climbing out of reach in many urban centres, including Toronto, Calgary and Ottawa.

"The headlines that portray the current younger generation as being more challenged than previous younger generations to enter the owned side of the housing market are balanced by the data that show continued increase in home ownership rates among young age groups," the report said.

Home-ownership rates among younger people in B.C.'s Lower Mainland went up more than the national average. Vancouver homeowners in the 20- to 24year-old age bracket increased four percentage points, to 25 per cent, in those five years - putting young Vancouverites near the top of the list among Canadian cities in proportion of homeowners under 25. The rate went up to 37 per cent from 35 among those 25-29.

It stayed around 50 per cent for the 30- to 34-year-olds.

As a result, about a third of people under 30 in the Lower Mainland own homes. That's about 10 percentage points lower than in Calgary, but the same as the proportion in Toronto, says Andrew Ramlo, a director at Urban Futures.

UBC's Sauder School of Business professor Tsur Somerville says part of the reason for Vancouver's high rate of young homeowners is that the proliferation of condos and townhouses here gives them a lower-priced product to choose from compared with other cities that are dominated by houses. And they likely feel more pressured to buy early, because, like everyone else in the city, they worry they'll be priced out if they don't buy now.

Mr. Ramlo acknowledged that some of the home-ownership patterns in Vancouver are puzzling, given the disparity between incomes of young people and house prices.

An analysis of local incomes released last week by researcher and urban planner Andrew Yan, who works with Bing Thom Architects, showed that 25- to 55year-olds with BAs in Vancouver make about $41,000 a year, $10,000 a year less than the median for Canada and $20,000 less than in top-paying Ottawa.

The spread was even worse for people with master's degrees.

"The relationship between incomes and prices of homes has totally broken down here," Mr. Ramlo said. He, like others, said part of the explanation has to be that parents, who benefited from the last several decades of real estate appreciation, are transferring their wealth to their children.

But that's not all. It's clear from talking to young people who are buying homes in the expensive Lower Mainland that they're also strategizing how to crack the market on their own.

Siblings or friends will buy an apartment together until they've built up enough equity to sell and take their proceeds to buy their own dwellings. They'll buy a condo in a suburb that's affordable and rent it out to build up equity, while they continue to live in the central city. They'll definitely make do with less space.

Because it's equally clear that they've decided they're going to buy in, no matter what. Despite what many say about the young being driven out of the Lower Mainland, they've decided they're not leaving.

"People I know here couldn't imagine going somewhere else," said Kent Maier, 31, who just closed this month on a near$400,000 condo a few blocks from St. Paul's hospital downtown. Mr. Maier, a federal government employee and his partner, Fabian Gutierrez, an immigration consultant in training, came from Edmonton a year ago and say they are never returning to that city, no matter what the house prices are there. "Most people I know are buying or planning to buy. Prices are high but they're not going to change and you might as well get in."

For Jordan O'Donnell and husband Chris Richards - she works as a specialized tutor, he is a social-media consultant at the Vancouver airport - buying became an emotional decision about moving to a new life phase.

"This was the first step of being an adult," said Mr. Richards, 30, who said he and his 29-year-old wife chose Richmond because that's where they grew up and where their parents still live.

They saved enough for most of the 20-per-cent down payment needed for their $300,000 townhouse - "a real fixer-upper, 43 years old, near Garden City and Williams" - and got over the hump with the help of Ms.

O'Donnell's father. (That saved them extra costs that get tacked onto a mortgage with a lessthan-20-per-cent down payment.)

Some young homeowners have become slightly evangelical about the need for others to realize it's possible if they stop being so clueless about money.

Eesmyal Santos-Brault, a greenbuilding consultant, bought his first condo 10 years ago when he was 28 and working at a non-profit for near minimum wage.

He didn't think he'd even qualify for a mortgage, but his mother, a real estate agent, told him just to try. She also offered to lend him the $7,000 he needed for the minimum down payment on a Commercial Drive condo.

"She kept pushing me even though I was saying: 'I can't qualify, I'm poor, I'm just a kid.' " To his surprise, he found the bank would indeed lend him money.

"I keep telling all my artsy, environmental friends that they should do this," says Mr. SantosBrault, who has since bought a townhouse in Strathcona while renting out the condo.

And he worries that people - those in certain fields who believe they're above talking about money or who come from lower socio-economic backgrounds - are handicapped by the attitudes they've inherited from their families or social circle.

"They don't know anyone who owns, they don't understand money, they just don't think it's possible. I keep telling them: 'It's a conspiracy to keep you as renters. Then you can pay someone else's mortgage.' "

Associated Graphic

Matthew Kennedy says buying a home required sacrifices. 'I didn't eat out. Some could say I missed some life experiences.'



'Young homeowner' is not an oxymoron
Through hard work, determination and helpful parents, these twentysomethings are proud to say they have a mortgage
Friday, October 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page G8

VANCOUVER -- Matthew Kennedy is a young man many people would consider to be the equivalent of a unicorn in Vancouver. This is, after all, the city renowned in popular mythology as a place with such astronomical house prices that its young will be forced to live in basement suites forever.

Mr. Kennedy bought his first condo four years ago when he was 20, using the money he had saved from the job he started right after he finished high school. The first one, at H&R Block, doing deliveries. The second, doing what his father had done and he'd loved since a kid, painting cars.

He put 10 per cent down on the $265,000 two-bedroom suite in Langley, B.C. He only needed his parents' help because the bank was antsy about him being so young. They lent him another 10 per cent, which he repaid. (His parents, with four other children and no Vancouver west-side house to cash out of, don't have money to burn.)

Mr. Kennedy, who has since married, is now looking for a slightly larger place to buy, a townhouse, with plans to rent out the original condo.

"It was a lot of work," says Mr. Kennedy, who paid rent to his parents while he was saving for his first down payment. "There's definitely sacrifices. I budgeted. I didn't eat out. Some could say I missed some life experiences. But if you have that [home ownership] as your goal, anything is possible."

Mr. Kennedy, as it turns out, is not as rare as many might think.

A recent analysis of home-ownership rates in Canada done by Vancouver-based Urban Futures shows that the proportion of young homeowners increased from 2006 to 2011, a period when prices appeared to be climbing out of reach in many urban centres, including Toronto, Calgary and Ottawa.

"The headlines that portray the current younger generation as being more challenged than previous younger generations to enter the owned side of the housing market are balanced by the data that show continued increase in home ownership rates among young age groups," the report said.

Home-ownership rates among younger people in B.C.'s Lower Mainland went up more than the national average. Vancouver homeowners in the 20- to 24year-old age bracket increased four percentage points, to 25 per cent, in those five years - putting young Vancouverites near the top of the list among Canadian cities in proportion of homeowners under 25. The rate went up to 37 per cent from 35 among those 25-29. It stayed around 50 per cent for the 30- to 34-year-olds.

As a result, about a third of people under 30 in the Lower Mainland own homes. That's about 10 percentage points lower than in Calgary, but the same as the proportion in Toronto, says Andrew Ramlo, a director at Urban Futures.

UBC's Sauder School of Business professor Tsur Somerville says part of the reason for Vancouver's high rate of young homeowners is that the proliferation of condos and townhouses here gives them a lower-priced product to choose from compared with other cities that are dominated by houses.

And they likely feel more pressured to buy early, because, like everyone else in the city, they worry they'll be priced out if they don't buy now.

Mr. Ramlo acknowledged that some of the home-ownership patterns in Vancouver are puzzling, given the disparity between incomes of young people and house prices.

An analysis of local incomes released last week by researcher and urban planner Andrew Yan, who works with Bing Thom Architects, showed that 25- to 55year-olds with BAs in Vancouver make about $41,000 a year, $10,000 a year less than the median for Canada and $20,000 less than in top-paying Ottawa.

The spread was even worse for people with master's degrees.

"The relationship between incomes and prices of homes has totally broken down here," Mr. Ramlo said. He, like others, said part of the explanation has to be that parents, who benefited from the last several decades of realestate appreciation, are transferring their wealth to their children.

But that's not all. It's clear from talking to young people who are buying homes in the expensive Lower Mainland that they're also strategizing how to crack the market on their own.

Siblings or friends will buy an apartment together until they've built up enough equity to sell and take their proceeds to buy their own dwellings. They'll buy a condo in a suburb that's affordable and rent it out to build up equity, while they continue to live in the central city. They'll definitely make do with less space.

Because it's equally clear that they've decided they're going to buy in, no matter what. Despite what many say about the young being driven out of the Lower Mainland, they've decided they're not leaving.

"People I know here couldn't imagine going somewhere else," said Kent Maier, 31, who just closed this month on a near$400,000 condo a few blocks from St. Paul's hospital downtown. Mr. Maier, a federal government employee and his partner, Fabian Gutierrez, an immigration consultant in training, came from Edmonton a year ago and say they are never returning to that city, no matter what the house prices are there. "Most people I know are buying or planning to buy. Prices are high but they're not going to change and you might as well get in."

For Jordan O'Donnell and husband Chris Richards - she works as a specialized tutor, he is a social-media consultant at the Vancouver airport - buying became an emotional decision about moving to a new life phase.

"This was the first step of being an adult," said Mr. Richards, 30, who said he and his 29-year-old wife chose Richmond because that's where they grew up and where their parents still live.

They saved enough for most of the 20-per-cent down payment needed for their $300,000 townhouse - "a real fixer-upper, 43 years old, near Garden City and Williams" - and got over the hump with the help of Ms. O'Donnell's father. (That saved them extra costs that get tacked onto a mortgage with a less-than-20-percent down payment.)

Some young homeowners have become slightly evangelical about the need for others to realize it's possible if they stop being so clueless about money.

Eesmyal Santos-Brault, a greenbuilding consultant, bought his first condo 10 years ago when he was 28 and working at a non-profit for near minimum wage.

He didn't think he'd even qualify for a mortgage, but his mother, a real estate agent, told him just to try. She also offered to lend him the $7,000 he needed for the minimum down payment on a Commercial Drive condo.

"She kept pushing me even though I was saying: 'I can't qualify, I'm poor, I'm just a kid.' " To his surprise, he found the bank would indeed lend him money.

"I keep telling all my artsy, environmental friends that they should do this," says Mr. SantosBrault, who has since bought a townhouse in Strathcona while renting out the condo.

And he worries that people - those in certain fields who believe they're above talking about money or who come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds - are handicapped by the attitudes they've inherited from their families or social circle.

"They don't know anyone who owns, they don't understand money, they just don't think it's possible. I keep telling them: "It's a conspiracy to keep you as renters. Then you can pay someone else's mortgage.' "

Associated Graphic

Matthew Kennedy says buying a home required sacrifices. 'I didn't eat out. Some could say I missed some life experiences.'



Toronto sports fans lose a friend
Eccentric who hawked merchandise at ball games became part of the experience for multiple generations of Blue Jays crowds
Friday, October 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S6

All Toronto knew Ralph Platner the program-seller, or so it seemed after news of his death on Oct. 9 began to spread through social media and Internet storytelling softened the unexpected loss of an eccentric savant whose talents were easily overlooked in his lifetime.

They may not have known him by the many names he responded to - Ralph, Rafe, Ray, Rayfield, Raphael, Ralphie - or been aware of what he got up to when he wasn't persuading people to part with their money at the ballpark: He loved to discuss the merits of 1950s film scores, sample the sweets at synagogue receptions, probe the minds of students at an Orthodox yeshiva, rush around the city with a newspaper-filled Mr. Sub Blue Jays giveaway bag over his shoulder or, in a rare moment of repose, soak up the sun's rays in an alleyway behind the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre.

But generations of sports fans and concertgoers recognized him as a dependable and comforting presence at the Rogers Centre and Air Canada Centre, where his never-changing 1950s haircut, bulky horn-rimmed glasses, deeply tanned skin and faded all-weather shorts made him stand out among the hawkers who help turn the spectator experience into an all-enveloping performance.

"If you were at an event in Toronto, Ralph was part of that event," said Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board, who traded quips and career updates with him over 35 years of urban encounters, including Conservative Party conventions - Mr. Platner was an avid political animal who delighted in contrasting John Diefenbaker with Brian Mulroney (while holding a place in his heart for Tommy Douglas) and could tell you what day of the week you were born based on the proximity of your birth date to some historical event he'd committed to his encyclopedic mind.

"He became connected to what was special and personal about the city," Mr. Clement said, "and that's why he was so precious."

That sense of preciousness has been heightened by his death at the age of 67 due to complications following a stroke. He was a shy and solitary person who cherished human contact, and couldn't help but make himself the centre of the crowd scenes he chose to inhabit. Comment boards on sports blogs like the Drunk Jays Fans site have filled up with tender eulogies for the high-energy program-seller whose memory bank could call up fine details about customers he hadn't seen for years.

"People have been really moved by his passing," said Andrew Stoeten, the blog's editor. "A lot of them are asking why we didn't think about him sooner, why we didn't acknowledge this guy more than we did."

A campaign has begun to erect a statue of Mr. Platner in full sales-pitch mode - to be truly lifelike, it would have to include a voice component where he quotes an acceptance speech from the Academy Awards or quizzes fans about the Muhammad Ali/George Chuvalo fight at Maple Leaf Gardens on March 29, 1966.

In a city that skews impersonal, his instant familiarity was a throwback to a friendlier style of village life. The surprising thing was to encounter this intimacy at a 50,000-seat concrete venue, where his primary job was flogging merchandise with a rapidfire sales pitch, not asking about your father's engineering business or raising philosophical conundrums rarely discussed along the steep ballpark steps where he earned his hard living in an effortless rush.

"His last question for me over the past few years was, 'Why can't you have a strong military and strong social programs?' " said James Stewart, a 45-year-old history teacher at Bishop Strachan School who was introduced to Mr. Platner by his father at a ball game when he was 10. "I'd answer, "Well, Ralph, you can't have both the guns and the butter.' But he'd just say, 'I think you can.' He had these bugbears, and he wouldn't let go."

Despite, or perhaps because of his quirky manner, Mr. Platner embodied the ideals of successful salesmanship - every transaction was pleasurably personal, never corporate and mercantile, which assured return business.

But his level of engagement was so intense and his devoted following grew so large that all the joyful nattering sometimes conspired to stall the sales talk.

"He'd be entertaining the older guys, and he couldn't bring himself to tell them, 'I've got work to do," said Ritch Bremner, president of Core Media, which publishes the team programs. "He was too sweet a man."

There were times when his keen business acumen overruled his sweet side, and a packed Beyoncé concert at the ACC would take priority over his apparent obligation to work a lightly attended early-season Blue Jays game. "He'd go where the most money is," Mr. Bremner said. "He was extra work for us because retention of information was difficult for him, he could never organize money and he'd get frustrated with small things. But he was highly focused and a tireless worker with a strong local following: There were guys who would only buy from Ralph."

Toronto lawyer Stephen Turk affectionately described Mr. Platner as "a constant in my life" - and with good reason. In his 13th year, long before he made a habit of searching out his preferred program-seller at sports venues, Mr. Turk came to know Mr. Platner as Jewish Toronto's most celebrated bar mitzvah crasher.

"It wasn't a proper bar mitzvah unless Ralph was there. All your friends would have their bar mitzvah the same year, and once you started going through the circuit, you'd recognize him showing up at all these parties.

Everybody else would change, but Ralph was always present - tall and gangly, with these thick glasses, oddly dressed, heading straight to the sweet table. It got to the point where he had a fan club of 13-year-old boys."

Mr. Platner was most completely at ease in Toronto's Jewish community, where his connections ran deep. His father, Israel Platner, was a Yiddish poet and journalist who had lost his parents and siblings in the Holocaust. His mother, Rae Katz Platner, was a sculptor whose works included a largerthan-life bust of Israeli prime minister Golda Meir.

Mr. Platner remained active in Jewish political circles, had a passion for cantorial music that he indulged at an array of synagogues (especially those where his sweet tooth could be satisfied), combined his Pilates classes at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre with an oldtime steam bath, and sang so enthusiastically at the Hasidic religious school he used to visit that students called him Modzitz - after a rabbinic dynasty famed for its melodic music.

The manager of his apartment building had to ask him to restrain his excellent singing voice when he returned home from Blue Jays games at 1 a.m.

The teaching element in the Jewish tradition is strong, and in death, Ralph the Program Guy has emerged as an exemplar of the things people miss in their everyday encounters.

"He challenges us as a society," said Rabbi Chaim Strauchler of Shaarei Shomayim synagogue, who welcomed Mr. Platner to his Passover seder. "We see the same person 100 times and don't know their name, or fail to appreciate their deeper human qualities. This is a person who did his job very seriously, with great intensity, and there are a lot more people like him out there. Life is rich, and if we paid attention, it would do us good."

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Associated Graphic

Ralph Platner sold Toronto Blue Jays game-day programs for decades, opting to build relationships with patrons by engaging in meaningful discussions about life instead of simply hard-selling.


Where a rebellious country spirit reigns
Josh O'Kane wanted to experience more than honky-tonk bars, southern barbecue and the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. So he slipped out of the city's slick centre and found a grittier, more authentic side of the country-music capital
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

NASHVILLE -- By the end of the night, we had heard four separate bands cover Colby Rasmus's favourite batting song, Boys 'Round Here, and twice as many play Florida Georgia Line's Cruise. It hit us, on the first of seven nights in Nashville, that the city's endless assembly line of cover bands might get a little old.

At first, the annual summer guys' trip sounded perfect: stay in a hotel five minutes from Broadway, the famous Nashville strip of honky tonks and barbecue joints each claiming some slice of country-music history. But once we arrived at the madness - a mess of sloppy bros and bachelorette parties from across the South, with fans of the city's namesake TV series trying to keep up - it became apparent that the experience could grow tiresome.

The seven of us faced a week in what we now realized was a tourist trap. But thanks to some forward planning and Southern hospitality, we managed to defy the odds and discovered corners of the city that were spared from rap-sung Blake Shelton covers.

Nashville, we learned, quickly sheds its slick exterior. A 10-minute cab ride southwest of downtown took us to the Gulch, a half-gentrified postindustrial neighbourhood that boasts both high-end condos and underpasses sprinkled with shattered vodka bottles. There, on a street lined with boutique clothing stores and old warehouses, we stumbled upon Jack White's Third Man Records, a label and concert venue fronted by a record store that featured a phone-booth-sized recording studio.

Deliberately located away from midtown's major labels, it's a required stop for record fans. I walked away with a handful of rare 45s and and a new King Tuff live record. Later, we would come back to record two songs straight to vinyl in the phone booth for $15 apiece, giving us grounds to boast that we'd recorded in the same studio as Neil Young.

We had wandered into the Gulch to find the Downtown Antique Mall, a sprawling warehouse of old treasures and ridiculous collectibles.

The city, we learned, is best navigated by car; it took 45 minutes of walking along crumbling sidewalks and around abandoned warehouses to find the right abandoned-looking warehouse. But there were treasures inside: a vintage ammo box for one friend, an old buoy for another, and a variety of American-flag apparel, which another one of us bought, then wore out of the store. After crowding into another honkytonk bar a few hours later, a man claiming to be a record executive recognized our wariness and gave us a hot tip: escape to East Nashville. Half of our group took the bait and headed east, to Foobar, a smoky joint filled with like-minded hipsters-in-denial in their late 20s, famed for its enormous Jenga game. We would all return to East Nashville's cluster of bars much of the rest of the week; it was the only part of town where everyone around us wasn't trying to be something they weren't.

There is a third tier of Nashville's nightlife, if both honky tonks and hipsters offend your sensibilities: midtown, home of the country music industry and Al Gore's alma mater, Vanderbilt University. Students have the neighbourhood bars in a chokehold, but one midtown spot offers a change of pace. The Villager Tavern is a smoky dive just south of Vanderbilt where the bartender indulged us with a kindness we will never forget: He turned off the heated Yankees-Red Sox game, to the chagrin of the regulars, to let us watch one of the final episodes of Breaking Bad as he kept our drinks full.

We went on a few requisite tours (including the Ryman Auditorium, original home of the Grand Ole Opry), but mostly spent our days seeking out America's greatest leisure stereotypes, as dictated by pop culture: shooting guns and watching baseball.

At the Nashville Armory, a 20minute drive south of the city, staff were generous and helpful, if a little confused about seven Canadians showing up in a taxi. We took turns firing revolvers and a semi-automatic. We walked away in full catharsis, with perhaps a lingering fear that we'd have to explain the gunshot residue no doubt smothering our clothes to security agents on the flight home.

Later, at Herschel Greer Stadium, we watched the Triple-A Nashville Sounds play a minorleague team from Texas. For $14, we sat behind home plate during what turned out to be dollar hot-dog night. As we waited in line for hot dogs three through six, we saw a familiar face waiting to buy his own franks: Jack White, a noted baseball fan, wearing a replica Roy Hobbs jersey.

Starstruck, we surrounded the musician and asked if we could Instagram a photo. He (begrudgingly) obliged, making small talk about his sister in Mississauga. That night, the Sounds let in the most runs in their 37year history, as they were trounced by the Round Rock Express 20-2. We left two and a half hours into the game. It was still the fourth inning.

We did not subsist solely on dollar hot dogs. Southern barbecue was everywhere, and it was delicious. The moment we landed, we dined on pulled pork at Rippy's Bar and Grill across the street from the Bridgestone Arena. We'd have it again and again, including from a makeshift shack in Printer's Alley in the wee hours of the morning. There were stops at Hattie B's Hot Chicken and a storied, greasy dive called the Hermitage Cafe that serves gravy-soaked, country-fried steak. And we capped off the week with a huge family-style Southern dinner at Monell's restaurant in Germantown, sharing meatloaf, peas and iced tea across a long table from a couple whose date we occasionally interrupted.

On our final night, we returned to Broadway. Bar to bar, band to band, cheap cans of Pabst to cheaper cans of Pabst, we relived the first night in town. By my estimate, we had heard Cruise performed at least 30 times since we arrived. But something had changed: After seven days in Nashville, countrycover culture had hooked us in.

When we heard the opening lines of Cruise from the fifth cover band of the night, we were the ones high-fiving and yelling along: "Baby, you're a song, you make me wanna roll my windows down and cruise."


If you don't mind renting a car or taking hotel shuttles, midtown Nashville's pace is a little slower than the core. Visit in the mid-summer and you'll avoid Vanderbilt University students.


There are plenty of hotels next to Broadway that can cater to your needs, but Nashville's downtown is smaller than it looks. The DoubleTree by Hilton on 4th Avenue North, a five-minute walk from the downtown main drag, has rooms from $169 (U.S.). 315 4th Ave N.

Country music's most hardcore fans will want to stay closer to the Grand Ole Opry in the east end. The Gaylord Opryland Resort is steps away from the concert venue, where you can catch the likes of Lady Antebellum, Vince Gill and Trace Adkins on a given night. The resort, with rooms from $159, offers 17 restaurants, three pools and a spa. 2800 Opryland Dr.,

Josh O'Kane

Associated Graphic

The live music on Nashville's Broadway strip consists mostly of cover bands offering multiple versions of country hits such as Florida Georgia Line's Cruise.



While taking in a Triple-A baseball game between the Nashville Sounds and Texas's Round Rock Express at Herschel Greer Stadium, writer Josh O'Kane, second from left, ran into Third Man Records rock star Jack White, centre.


Powerhouse builder of homes and cities
'Community booster' was known for his close attention to detail, his love for life and his ability to light up a room
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S6

In the early 1950s, Harold Shipp spotted an apple orchard alongside the Queen Elizabeth Way just west of Toronto. Mr. Shipp, then in his late 20s, was working in his father's development company in Toronto, and he felt he had just glimpsed the city's future: It lay to the west.

The company, founded in 1923, had begun by building small residential projects in East York and later expanded to Etobicoke. Harold pitched his father on acquiring the orchard parcel, with an eye to building a subdivision, and the elder Shipp agreed.

Harold Shipp also dreamed up a name for the project: Applewood Acres. He borrowed money to buy the land and G.S. Shipp and Son Ltd., as it was then known, built its first residential community on the site at the QEW and Dixie Road.

But Harold Shipp understood it would take more than a new superhighway to lure young families so far west of the city. So he came up with a marketing stunt that garnered headlines as far as Japan: He put a new General Motors car (he co-owned a local dealership) on the roofs of three model homes in Applewood.

Ed Sajecki, Mississauga's longtime planning and building commissioner, recalls that a municipal official informed Mr. Shipp that he had to remove the vehicles because they violated a municipal sign bylaw. But he wouldn't be deterred, insisting the cars weren't billboards and thus should be allowed to stay.

He won the argument, and sold the subdivision, which would expand to include 900 homes.

"He didn't follow the average process," noted Hazel McCallion, Mississauga's long-serving mayor. "He always did something a little different."

Mr. Shipp, who went on to become one of Mississauga's most influential developers, community boosters and philanthropists, died on Sept. 7, 2014, after a short illness. He was 88.

There is little doubt about his role in building the powerhouse municipality that would come to dominate the western reaches of the Greater Toronto Area.

"There wasn't anything that went on in Mississauga that Harold Shipp wasn't involved in," said Paul Godfrey, a former Metro Toronto chairman and now chief executive officer of Postmedia Network.

Mr. Shipp was known as a builder who sweated the small details on both his residential and commercial projects, and insisted on putting the company name on whatever he developed.

"They were proud to put their name on the buildings," Ms. McCallion said.

Friends and colleagues also remember him as an irrepressible figure with a flamboyant taste in clothing.

"He literally and figuratively lit up a room," said Mr. Sajecki, adding that Mr. Shipp might turn up to a meeting in canary-yellow pants, and a bright-red tartan jacket with a flower in the lapel.

Harold Gordon Shipp was born on Jan. 21, 1926, in East York, the only son of Gordon and Bessie Shipp. The family soon moved to Etobicoke, where he attended Etobicoke High School (now Collegiate).

He met his future wife, June Ingram, at a youth group at the Kingsway-Lambton United Church: He had tickets to the Maple Leafs, and June loved hockey.

They married on Sept. 30, 1949.

The couple had three children - Victoria, Catharine and Gordon - over six years, and eventually built a custom home for themselves near Mississauga Road.

During the 1950s, Mr. Shipp and his father accelerated their development business.

Harold Shipp and a partner also operated a GM dealership, later called Applewood Chevrolet Oldsmobile Cadillac (which they sold in 1999).

Mr. Shipp took over the reins of the company in 1968 and soon began developing larger projects - apartment buildings and then office towers, including the Shipp Centre (now the Clarica Centre), built in 1981 at Bloor and Islington, just steps from a subway station.

"It would be one of the first office nodes on the extremities of the subway," said development lawyer Jeff Davies, who worked on the project. "It was real pioneering. It seems obvious now, but it would have been considered unprecedented at the time."

Mr. Shipp also assembled significant tracts of farm land near what would become Mississauga City Centre and later Milton.

In the years after the provincial government amalgamated the Peel municipalities to form the City of Mississauga, he pressed ahead with plans to build a complex of four modern office buildings not far from Mississauga Square One and the site of the future civic centre.

His daughter, Catharine Shipp Wells, remembers riding horses on land that would, by 1978, become a complex of gleaming towers.

As Mississauga's status in the GTA rose, Mr. Shipp decided to push it further, leading a group that sought to build a new domed stadium near highways 401 and 10, instead of closer to the downtown.

"He figured it was well worth the fight and he believed in Mississauga," recalled Mr. Godfrey, who eventually fronted the winning project, which opened in 1989 as the SkyDome (now the Rogers Centre).

"Anything Harold got behind, you have to take seriously."

In 1987, during preparations for the official opening of the Mississauga Civic Centre, Mr. Shipp toured the building with members of a royal protocol team, in anticipation of a visit by the Duke and Duchess of York.

When the team reached Ms. McCallion's office, Mr. Shipp, a stickler for detail, insisted on checking out the mayor's personal washroom. He found that the toilet was an industrial model and ordered that it be replaced with a residential one.

Later, at a luncheon for the royals after the ribbon cutting, Mr. Shipp showed the Duchess, Sarah Ferguson, how to remove a cork from inside a wine bottle.

"He was very down to Earth," Ms. McCallion said. "I don't think she would ever forget that."

Mr. Shipp's reputation as a leading developer meant he ended up in senior leadership positions on various building industry associations, as well as an honorary trustee of the Urban Land Institute.

Political parties also came calling, but he kept clear of politics (although in 2009 he tried to dissuade Mississauga council - without success - from proceeding with an inquiry into conflictof-interest allegations against Ms. McCallion about her role in a project that involved her son).

Away from the development business, Mr. Shipp was involved in Canadian standard-bred horse racing and was devoted to philanthropic activities, most notably his support for Trillium Health Partners, which encompasses three health-care sites, including Mississauga Hospital.

He and his father raised substantial sums for the facility. In 2005, Mr. Shipp offered to match up to $6-million in donations for a stroke centre, in memory of his wife June, who died of a blockage in 2001.

While his children became active in running the company and the family's philanthropic foundation, Mr. Shipp didn't slow down.

He drove red Cadillacs, and attended horse races in top hat and tails. He also went skydiving on both his 80th and 86th birthdays.

Mr. Shipp leaves his second wife, Margaret, whom he married in 2011; his three children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by one grandson.

Ms. Shipp Wells said that when her father's elderly friends would complain about the passing years and each new birthday, he would respond, "Think about the alternative."

"He lived life every single day," she said, adding that he would often say, "If I haven't done it in life, it's only because I didn't know about it. As someone said at his funeral, he jammed 2,000 years into his 88 years."

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Associated Graphic

Mr. Shipp, considered one of Mississauga's most influential developers, is shown in front of some of his buildings.


Flavours to make you forget where you are
An Indonesian restaurant with a Dutch accent may seem typically Toronto, but in fact follows a long tradition of culinary synergy
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page M2

How many layers of culture and interpretation can a cuisine pass through while remaining true to the original? Little Sister is a new Indonesian restaurant set in a stylish room on Yonge Street, just south of Eglinton Avenue. It's run by a Dutch chef who is best known for his Mediterranean-style bistro cooking, whose kitchen crew has almost no experience making Indonesian cuisine.

Yet, against what may seem like long odds, the four-month-old restaurant nails the palm sugar and ketjap manis sweets, the clove, ginger and turmeric depths, and the bright, spicestoked endorphin highs that make good Indonesian eating - wildly underrepresented around the GTA - such an extraordinary experience. Or here's how a Jakarta-born friend of mine put it last month, midway through a meal of spice-crusted fish, Javanese braised beef, chili and limejacked wontons and mustard greens that came soused with the low-smouldering paste called sambal oelek: "I would bring my parents here," he told me, looking surprised even as he said it.

Surprise is a common physiological state around Little Sister. In a city where Southeast Asian restaurant cooking is almost invariably watered down, the kitchen here cooks with love-it-or-leave-it confidence. It's worth noting that the room is packed, too: with Instagram-happy food tourists, certainly, but also with toddler-towing families and middle-aged midtown couples, with young eligibles out for after-work drinks and dinners, with chatty, sixtysomething men who seem overjoyed that, at long last, there's somewhere amazing close to home. What a difference not underestimating your clientele makes.

The restaurant is run by Jennifer Gittins and Michael van den Winkel, a couple who also operate Quince Bistro, just north on Yonge. Mr. van den Winkel's history is a big part of the Little Sister kitchen's fluency with Indonesian flavours: He grew up eating Indonesian twice a month in Amsterdam, he said.

The Netherlands has a 400-year history in the Indonesian archipelago, a colonial possession from the early 1600s through to the Second World War. Over time, the Dutch developed a taste for Indonesian flavours. "Instead of Chinese takeout like in Canada, in Holland people bring home Indonesian food," Mr. van den Winkel said.

As a chef in his country's navy in the 1980s, Mr. van den Winkel was expected to cook a traditional Dutch-Indonesian rijsttafel - a "rice meal" - every Wednesday, a navy tradition.

He settled into bistro cooking when he moved to Canada 19 years ago, albeit with the occasional Indonesian spicing thrown in. Yet, a few nights each year at Quince, he and Ms. Gittins served a rijsttafel. Their customers - homesick Dutch ones and otherwise - started asking for it. Last spring, the chef travelled to Bali to research, and to refresh his palate. While he hoped to do a few Dutch-Indonesian-style dishes, he wanted to cook realdeal Indonesian too.

Little Sister's skewered meats are a good starting point. The satay lilit, Balinese spiced chicken, is marinated, ground and then seasoned with galangal, turmeric and lime leaves - there are more than a dozen ingredients in the spice mix - so that it's floral and refreshing above the meatiness, charred and smoky at the edges. These are not your usual catered cocktail-hour satays.

The pangsit wontons nod to the cross-cultural nature of so much Indonesian cooking. The wrappers are Chinese, paper-thin and bubbled up from deep-frying, but the beef inside (in Indonesia, pangsit are typically filled with shrimp or chicken) is rich and dusky-tasting from cloves, and they come peppered with scallions, sided with a sauce made from red chilies and lime.

From the "snacks" section of Little Sister's menu - it is a collection of the restaurant's less traditional dishes - there are tacos filled with rendang beef. If you're rolling your eyes right now, so did I. Yet, those tacos are all kinds of brilliant. The beef is stewed in coconut milk and a ginger-turmeric-galangal spice paste, and then the chunks are dressed with iceberg lettuce, pickled red onion and thick coconut cream. The flavour builds from the upper and lower registers as you eat them: warm, brooding, beefy depth and dark-soy sweet and saltiness against tart sour cream and the onions' vinegar.

It's only after a minute that you realize there's a good deal of chilies in those tacos, also; the midrange soon fills in with lime leaf and ginger and keeps on expanding until every bit of your sensory system is engaged.

One night, four of us ordered Little Sister's entire menu, and the dishes came in a mad rush until our table was lost under a sea of food. This is by far the best way to do the place. (Better still, do it as a party of six.) The entire menu comes to less than $200.

We ate slabs of ham that had been braised with shrimp paste and tamarind; a slow-building shrimp and coconut curry; finelyflavoured mackerel in a clear, complex broth; sticky-glazed barbecue chicken that could give anything from the U.S. South an insecurity complex. (A rare fault here: the semur Java, a braised beef dish, was dry both times I had it.)

The nasi goreng - the fried rice dish that is one of Indonesia's best-known foods - is seasoned properly with that sweet ketjap manis, tamarind, chili and garlic. It's wokked blister-hot to dark and smoky and the comforting smell of it overtakes everything on arrival. (My Indonesian friend would have liked it better with a fried egg on top, he said.) We had a tiny Mason jar of cucumber spears pickled with turmeric and ground, creamy-textured kamiri nuts that add toasty richness, a way out-of-the-ordinary palate reset with deli-worthy crunch.

All that flavour comes in a room that's built and staffed for bistro tastes. It's friendly and comfortable, done up by the cool-kid downtown design firm Commute Home. There are good, simple beers and an affordable wine list by John Szabo, the consultant and master sommelier. The soundtrack - Miles Davis and Hugh Masekela one night, punctuated with Prince songs - works well somehow with both the food and the neighbourhood.

It's an Indonesian restaurant with a Dutch accent, filtered, just enough, through a distinctly Toronto lens, even if the flavours can allow some customers to forget where they are from time to time.

That night we ordered the entire menu, the floor staff seemed to appreciate our little group's enthusiasm. Another friend of mine, who has spent much of her career living and travelling around Indonesia, got to talking with one of the servers. Indonesia is made up of more than 18,000 islands; my friend wanted to know which one our server's family was from.

"Dari mana?" my friend asked, a little bashfully.

The server started laughing.

"Are you talking to me in Indonesian?" she responded, smiling.

"I'm Filipino," she said.




2031 Yonge St. (at Lola Road), 416-488-2031,

Atmosphere: A cool midtown room with a downtown vibe and an open kitchen meant to evoke a Balinese street market. Smart, friendly service, moderate volume.

Wine and drinks: An inexpensive, well-chosen wine list, a few local craft beers, complicated cocktails.

Best bets: Go with a group and order everything.

Prices: Shared plates, $3 to $16.

NB: Forty per cent of tables are allocated to reservations, 60 per cent to walk-ins.

Associated Graphic

Perhaps the best way to enjoy Little Sister's many delights is to arrive with a party of four to six people and order the entire menu, which comes to less than $200.


No one has done more for vegetables than Yotam Ottolenghi, who has elevated the predictable side dish to all-star status. ChrisNuttall-Smith talks to the Israeli-raised, London-based chef, about his latest delicious endeavour, Plenty More, and how to make carrots as exciting as steak
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

If you've eaten a tomato and egg shakshuka recently, or a dollop of creamy labneh with your roasted vegetables, you should probably thank Yotam Ottolenghi. In only a few years, the Israeliraised, London-based chef and cookbook author has become one of the most influential - and in many quarters, beloved - figures in food.

Plenty, his inspired cookbook of extraordinary vegetable dishes, almost instantly became a blockbuster when it was published four years ago, and not only among vegetarians. While the recipes were distinctly exotic-sounding (smoky eggplant with pomegranate, za'atar and buttermilk sauce; "fried lima beans with feta, sorrel and sumac"), they were also eminently doable, and so delicious-looking they were impossible to resist.

Jerusalem, published in 2012 with Ottolenghi's business partner Sami Tamimi, read like an edible love letter to the city, its food and its cultures - and to a series of complex, extraordinary, enormously tasty ingredients, foods and flavours, just when many home cooks were yearning for something new.

With Plenty More, published this month, Ottolenghi gets back to vegetarian cooking, combing the world for its tastiest vegetable-focused dishes: Persian legume and noodle soups, tart Southeast Asian salads, Brussels sprouts roasted with pomelo and star anise. Following the Ottolenghi formula, they're exotic, they're irresistible and they're easy to make. You can bet they'll be turning up on restaurant menus any day. The Globe spoke with the chef on the phone from London. You've become this sort of hero to a lot of vegetarians, and I'm sure the new book will only strengthen that. Yet you're an omnivore - I've got your amazing leg of lamb shawarma recipe from Jerusalem marinating right now. Has that been a challenge?

Considering where I grew up, cooking vegetables has never been a massive challenge. With Middle Eastern food, it's very much a case of vegetables being at the centre, and if it's not vegetables, it's legumes and rice, grains. So it's never seemed unusual not to serve meat.

I started to expand my horizons a bit. I began to engage with cuisines that I hadn't really met before, through travels and reading, and meeting other cooks.

Think about the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East and Southeast Asia, where you really have whole culinary cultures based on very little meat. It's been less challenging than I thought it would be.

Your food stands out from so much of North America's vegetarian canon because it's often very rich in fats like olive oil and tahini, in pastry, sugar, salt, butter, cheese - have you had much reaction to that here?

Old-school vegetarian cooking was really all about bland cooking, as if to not eat meat means that you need to take all the deliciousness out of your food. There is a sense that the flavours are really put in second place. It's all about denying yourself of something. When your focus is a negative focus, it's a focus about denial, I'm not surprised that the food doesn't taste that great. That's why I don't like the title "Vegetarian" too much, because it doesn't really convey what it is.

Both the Plenty books make a point of calling it "Vibrant Vegetable Cooking" on their covers.

It's just about celebrating vegetables. And you know, vegetables need help. Especially if you're living somewhere the sun doesn't shine all year round, you want to use more herbs and more spices, sometimes a pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt - all those things that help the vegetables to come into their own. You don't need a lot of it, but you do need some to make people, especially omnivores, enjoy vegetables in the same way they enjoy their meat.

What advice do you have for cooks who may be intimidated by sumac or the lowly okra? How do you get comfortable cooking a new cuisine?

Let's talk about Middle Eastern cuisine: It's much simpler to cook than French food! Once you've got to know the ingredients, the processes of cooking them are actually simpler. Many people say, you know, 'I feel overwhelmed by the number of ingredients that you use. Every recipe has a new thing that I don't know.' The idea behind this is not to make you anxious. It's all about exposing people to new ideas. But a lot of people also put a lot of pressure on themselves, to perform the next miracle at the next dinner party. If you want to familiarize yourself with a certain cooking style, then just cook one or two recipes to start , and carry on cooking them over and over again, and that will give you a sense of familiarity . And only then move on to the next thing. Some of the best home cooks I know cook a very narrow repertoire of dishes, but they do them really well.

Are there any cuisines that intimidate you?

I don't get scared so much, because I try to not think that any mistake I make in the kitchen reflects on me in any way. But I will not make my own sushi, because there are enough good people who are trained well .

There's no reason to make an effort. I haven't engaged much with Mexican food, so if you told me that you want me to cook a Mexican meal for you tonight, I'd probably be a little stressed out.

Forget it, I'm not doing it. I'll cook you something wonderful from the Middle East! .

This interview has been condensed and edited.


The inspiration for this dish came from Sarah, who works in my test kitchen. Sarah's "nan" (grandmother), Dulcie, in Tasmania, always used to add some honey to the pan before roasting her carrots. I'm not sure what Dulcie would have thought about a tahini yogurt sauce served alongside, but the sweetness of the carrots certainly welcomes it.

Serves 4

Scant 3 tbsp (60 g) honey 2 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted and lightly crushed 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed 3 thyme sprigs 12 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4 by 2 1/2-inch/2 by 6-cm batons (3 lb/1.3 kg) 1 1/2 tbsp cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped salt and black pepper Tahini yogurt sauce Scant 3 tbsp/40 g tahini paste 2/3 cup (130 g) Greek yogurt 2 tbsp lemon juice 1 clove garlic, crushed salt

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Place all the ingredients for the tahini sauce in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Whisk together and set aside.

Place the honey, oil, coriander and cumin seeds, and thyme in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon salt and a good grind of black pepper. Add the carrots and mix well until coated, then spread them out on a large baking sheet and roast in the oven for 40 minutes, stirring gently once or twice, until cooked through and glazed.

Transfer the carrots to a large serving platter or individual plates. Serve warm or at room temperature, with a spoonful of sauce on top, scattered with the cilantro.

Excerpted from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi with permission of Appetite by Random House.

For his Fava Bean Spread, go to

Associated Graphic

Israeli born chef, food writer and restaurant owner Yotam Ottolenghi's new cookbook, Plenty More, is out this month.


In his vegetarian recipes, cookbook author and chef Yotam Ottolenghi is a strong advocate for using lots of herbs and spices to help vegetables 'come into their own.'


Cries and whispers - the painful price of gossip
The Globe's Robyn Doolittle explains how rumour and innuendo turned one man's death into a double tragedy
Saturday, October 11, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F1

The music teacher had been missing for more than 24 hours when Toronto police issued a scant press release.

"Douglas Queen, 48, was last seen on Monday, March 17." He stood 6-foot-5, had closely cropped, grey hair and was wearing a brown golf sweater, beige pants and a blue jacket at the time.

His car was located at Humber Bay Park the following day, but there was still no trace of him.

When the media picked up the story, anonymous sources came forward with more information.

It looked as though Mr. Queen, a happily married father of two young boys, had gone to work at Brock Public School in Toronto's west end, then left abruptly following an "incident." On the evening news, a CityNews reporter questioned whether that meant a student had made an allegation.

Heinz Kuck, the police superintendent for the area, tweeted a personal plea: "Doug, if you see this, if you read this, pls call ur home, or pls call me direct ... We all care."

Then on Day 3, the grim conclusion. Mr. Queen's body was found in Lake Ontario not far from his car. Neither the school board nor the police offered any explanation.

The news story went away, but speculation continued on social media and in the community. Some drew inferences from the police service's silence, which can sometimes be code for suicide. People pieced together a narrative using the slim details available to them then filled in the gaps with ugly mistruths. A male teacher, an accusation, a sudden death. It was a story people felt they'd heard before. They would turn out to be very wrong.

Trish Queen had been a widow about a month when she realized what people were whispering.

"I'd always found it strange that some people didn't ask what happened. Then someone said something to [sister in-law] Karen about suicide," the 46year-old recalled. "That's when I realized, those people aren't asking because they think Doug killed himself."

But that is not what happened - despite the gossip.

Russell Frank, a communications professor at Penn State University, has written a book on Internet folklore, and says it's human nature to gravitate toward a scandalous rumour - and then tell people about it.

Hundreds of years ago, stories spread slowly, person to person.

The phone allowed gossip to cross the country with a single call, but it was still contained within a single conversation. The Internet changed everything.

"It's hyper speed," he says.

"Instantly people all around the world can see the same rumour, the same true bit of news and the same false bit of news." At the same time, they are more likely to believe that mainstream media suppress certain types of news. It's a perfect storm for malicious gossip to fester.

"Doug would have been horrified that that's what people thought," Mrs. Queen says.

Correcting the record has been difficult - it's hard to compete with the Internet - so she and her family decided to speak out.

On that Monday morning, Mr. Queen said "I love you" to his wife of 11 years before heading off to work. She then headed upstairs to wake up the boys, 9 and 7, and get them ready for school. About the time the trio headed out the door, Mr. Queen was summoned to the principal's office. According to police, a "fourth-hand" accusation had been made. A student had told their parents that he'd seen Mr. Queen push another student.

The board's non-negotiable protocol meant that Mr. Queen - the much-beloved, longest-serving teacher at the school - had to go home. It was a scenario that male teachers dread - Children's Aid and the police were called.

Citing privacy concerns, the school board still won't discuss the incident. Principal Victor Tran, who told Mr. Queen of the allegation, says: "I still remember my first day at the school five years ago. When I came in, I met Doug. He made me feel welcome. He was so warm."

At Brock, Mr. Queen was the one who put together elaborate concerts, created a school song, and did enough work that it required Mr. Tran to hire two teachers to replace him. But on that snowy March morning, he was the subject of a serious investigation.

He drove away from the school around 10:30 a.m. and made his way to Humber Bay Park on the waterfront. His family would later suspect he didn't want to go home and worry his wife. Phone records show Mr. Queen made three calls to his union. At some point, he walked to the lake and climbed up the rocks, perhaps to wait for news.

What happened next is not known for certain, but the coroner's report suggests Mr. Queen slipped on the ice and hit the right side of his forehead on a rock. Presumably unconscious, he tumbled into the lake, and drowned in a few feet of water. The coroner states conclusively that his death was not a suicide.

Around noon, Trish sent her husband a text message to remind him of his dentist appointment after work. He never replied. Back at Brock, police tracked down the student who had supposedly been assaulted.

"We went in and spoke to the student and found it was completely unfounded," says Constable Victor Kwong, emphasizing that the allegation had nothing to do with sexual impropriety. He also confirms that both the police and the school board were aware of the rumours circulating online.

When Mr. Queen didn't come home, his wife phoned police. She was then joined by Mr. Queen's identical twin and confidant, Andrew. Officers set up a command post at the park, but after a two-day search they left.

On the Thursday, friends and family looked for clues on their own. Andrew's wife, Karen, walked to the shore, climbed the rocks and spotted Doug's blue coat. "I just started screaming," she recalls. "The police had been through. How could I be the one who found him?"

Trish Queen spent the next few weeks in a haze. Her world had been smashed apart. Then when she heard the rumours, it was like losing her husband all over again. She is still angry that he'd been cleared but the TDSB did nothing to correct the record .

"I understand the school board's position. They need to protect the kids and their privacy. But who's protecting my family? Who's protecting Doug?

Teachers? They shouldn't be allowed to just leave this misinformation out there. It's wrong."

Mr. Queen came from a big family. He had nine siblings, but he and Andrew were the closest.

"I'm not sure who I am any more," Andrew now says. "Am I still a twin? I hear something and I want to call Doug ... I'm just seething. Not at anyone or anything. Just angry."

Mrs. Queen, meanwhile, says that, even though months have passed, she hasn't begun to deal with losing the love of her life, her co-parent, the man who took her on a picnic for their first date.

"You're trying to grieve, but there's this cloud in the way, knowing what people think," she says. "Getting what really happened out there is my last gift to Doug. I want to clear his name.

That's the last thing before the next part starts."

Robyn Doolittle is an investigative reporter with The Globe and Mail.

Associated Graphic

Doug and Trish Queen with their boys: Police call the 'fourth-hand' accusation against him 'completely unfounded.'

Are authorities taking the right approach in monitoring high-risk offenders?
The killing of 17-year-old Serena Vermeersch in Surrey, B.C., and the subsequent arrest of a man who had previously been the subject of a public warning, has prompted questions on whether provincial and federal authorities have the right tools
Saturday, October 11, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A10

VANCOUVER -- In British Columbia, there are currently 31 high-risk offenders living in the community. Their prison terms have expired and they can no longer be held in custody. The Crown can seek conditions - such as electronic monitoring, or a curfew - but police cannot be on watch at all times.

The killing of 17-year-old Serena Vermeersch, and subsequent arrest of a man who had previously been the subject of a public warning, has prompted questions on whether provincial and federal authorities have the right tools to deal with high-risk offenders - and, if not, what tools they need.

At a provincial level, B.C. has seen a sharp decrease in the use of electronic monitoring in recent years. Exactly why has not been made clear. And, when the monitoring is used, the province's lowtech equipment lags behind GPS systems in jurisdictions such as Calgary and Edmonton.

But some, including a former adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, question the effectiveness of court-imposed conditions and say the solution is new federal legislation - legislation that would allow high-risk offenders to be assessed near the end of their sentence and potentially held in custody, away from the public.

Ms. Vermeersch was last seen alive on the evening of Sept. 15, as she was getting on a bus in Surrey. The body of the Sullivan Heights Secondary School student was found the next day. Raymond Caissie was arrested Sept. 20 and has been charged with seconddegree murder. He is due back in court next month.

Mr. Caissie spent more than two decades in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting and robbing a young woman who had been working at a museum. B.C. Corrections issued a public warning about him in June, 2013, and his plan to live in Surrey drew condemnation from the city's mayor.

Mr. Caissie was not given a curfew or electronically monitored. The Crown did not seek such measures and has only said that an individual's background determines which conditions it pursues.

The RCMP has said high-risk offenders are subject to regular monitoring and checks, but has not provided specifics on the case.

Section 810 peace bonds are granted when there is reasonable fear a person will cause harm. The restrictions last for as long as two years, though an application can be renewed. The court can grant any condition it believes pertinent to a case.

A Section 810.1 order is used in cases in which an individual may commit a sexual offence against a child. A Section 810.2 is used when an individual may commit an indictable offence for which they could be sent to prison for 10 or more years. Mr. Caissie was subject to an 810.2.

Numbers on the use of Section 810 bonds are difficult to find. Public Safety Canada said it's up to local authorities to release them.

B.C.'s Ministry of Justice said 388 offenders have been subject to Section 810 orders in all since 2008. In 2013, 72 total applications were received. A breakdown of 810.1 and 810.2 cases was not available.

An Ontario government spokesman said the number of 810.2 applications received last year was 31.

Acting Inspector Dwayne Lakusta, supervising officer of the Edmonton Police Service's behavioural assessment unit, said the municipal department is currently monitoring 25 offenders under Section 810 orders. Edmonton, unlike B.C. and like Calgary, uses GPS units for electronic monitoring.

Sergeant Shareen Finucan, a supervisor in the Calgary Police Service's high-risk offender program, said the GPS technology recently sparked the arrest of a man with a history of sex assault.

She said an officer noticed the man had started hanging out in an unusual area; it wasn't a breach of his conditions, just atypical. When officers went to check on the man, catching up with him at his apartment, Sgt. Finucan said they ran into a woman who had just been sexually assaulted. The man was charged.

Sgt. Finucan said the GPS units are not used on all high-risk offenders - they're currently in effect for three of 16. She said the units are just one piece of the policing puzzle and should be reserved for the "worst of the worst" or for offenders who have territorial crime patterns. She pointed to a recent study from the University of Calgary that indicated GPS tracking does have a deterrent effect on certain offenders.

The cost of the GPS units, Sgt. Finucan said, is $22 a day.

Bob Aloisio, vice-president of SafeTracks GPS, which supplies the equipment used by Calgary police, said the units have been slow to catch on in Canada despite the low price point. Such equipment is more commonly used in the United States and Britain.

B.C. Justice Minister Suzanne Anton has said a review of the province's monitoring procedures will include an assessment of GPS technology. B.C. spends about $1-million a year on its current electronic monitoring program, which involves a land-line system set up at the offender's home.

While there have been calls for the Crown to use all the tools at its disposal when seeking conditions against high-risk offenders, Benjamin Perrin - a University of British Columbia law professor who has also worked in the Prime Minister's Office - said the peace bonds are not up to the challenge.

What's needed instead, he said, is a new high-risk offender designation, one that would differ from dangerous offender and long-term offender applications in that it could be sought near the end of an offender's sentence.

"The best time and most logical time to assess risk would be near the end of a high-risk offender's sentence, not at the beginning. ... If an offender is kept to the end of their term, it means by definition they have failed at rehabilitation," he said.

Mr. Perrin said an inmate's continued detention could take place at a jail, or a secure treatment facility - such as those typically used for individuals who have been found not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.

"The focus would be on trying to keep people away from the public, but also providing some sort of ongoing treatment to try to overcome what is obviously at this point a very serious tendency towards violence," he said.

Josh Paterson, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said the idea of a high-risk offender designation is worth discussing.

"There are a number of principles in constitutional law that you're not allowed to add new punishment after the fact. So there are some constitutional questions about it that have to be looked at very carefully. That being said, I think it's worth at least examining when you have an inmate for whom there is every indication that an offence is likely to occur," he said.

Mr. Paterson said he would need to see an exact proposal before he could support it, and cautioned it should only be used in extreme cases.

A spokeswoman for Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay did not provide a comment when asked for the minister's response to the idea of a high-risk offender designation.

Mr. MacKay has said Ottawa is studying its options, but has not provided specifics.

With reports from Andrea Woo in Vancouver and Josh Wingrove in Ottawa

Associated Graphic

Left: Serena Vermeersch.

Below: Raymond Caissie who has been charged with second-degree murder in her death.

Far left: a Personal Identification Device that is to be worn around an ankle.


INSIDER Knowledge
One instructor offers tips: Plug into the material, speak up (politely) and do the work
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 – Print Edition, Page P37

WHAT DOES A PROFESSOR LOOK FOR when surveying the sea of faces in a jampacked classroom? What do they think when they see students using personal electronics, especially if they are obviously texting/Facebooking or sleeping or otherwise not paying attention?

Roger Lohmann, associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at Trent University with campuses in Peterborough and Oshawa, Ont., shares Q his point of view.


Universities are institutions for the production, care and dissemination of scientific and humanistic knowledge. They are exciting places where people are brimming with new ideas, treasuring received wisdom from the past, and are excited to share both of these in lively discussions. Universities protect and champion academic freedom, ensuring that truth is not suppressed or distorted by popular notions or vested interests of the day. Universities safeguard standards of academic integrity, to prevent falsehood masquerading as truth. Universities are places for sharing wonder and, when guided by vision, places of inspiring beauty as well. When I first became a university student, I loved all this so much that I never wanted to leave, and it's why I'm still here decades Q later as a professor.


Some university students might think of their professors as primarily teachers; however, teaching is only one of a university professor's duties. A professor's main job is, normally, to produce new research results and share these in the form of publications such as journal articles and books. Teaching is ordinarily the secondary duty of a professor. Professors design and conduct their courses, provide students with a syllabus or course outline that serves as a contract of expectations and responsibilities for instructors as well as students. When teaching, a professor's job includes writing and delivering lectures or preparing for and leading class discussions, holding office hours to meet with students, marking or overseeing the marking of assignments, and recording the grades earned by students. Third, professors aid in the administrative duties for their university such as chairing departments and programs or working with committees, and appearing at events, as well as helping to run professional and commuQ nity associations.


I look for signs of engagement in my students, like looking at me, reactions to what I say like occasional smiles, nods, quizzical glances, or expressions of surprise and interest. When students raise their hands with questions spoken for all to hear and respond to, everyone is more energized and plugged in. Feedback enhances my own enthusiasm and makes my lectures better. I don't think anyone falls asleep in a lecture on purpose or without embarrassment. However, students who chat with their neighbours or indulge their cravings for electronic devices during lectures put their own bad manners and foolishness on display. Some students seem to forget that their professors can see them, and that their classmates can hear them and are irriQ tated by the distraction and disrespect.


Interact with your profs. Come to their office hours to ask questions or share reactions about the class material or the subject. It's an opportunity to find out more about their research and their career, and get advice on your own. Students sometimes make the mistake of being either overly familiar, going straight to first names and sending fragmentary messages, or, more commonly, not being familiar enough, never saying a word. Use e-mail sparingly, and only for simple questions, but each message you send to your professors should be formal, including a subject, salutation and a signature. Unless you have been invited to use a professor's first name, students should always address their instructors as Professor X or Dr. X. But do greet them in the hallway, respond to and raise questions with them, and share the excitement of learning new things with them.


The more you put into classes, the more you will get out of them. The key is to engage. Listen attentively and questioningly to lectures, and relate what you are learning to issues in your life so they become more meaningful for you. Finish all readings before they are due, and read actively, letting the materials sink in and bounce off your previous understandings. Observe, question and share your own reactions to class materials with others inside and outside the classroom. Take detailed notes on lectures and films. Participate thoughtfully in discussions, addressing yourself to your classmates as well as your professor. You will find things you are learning about in your classes coming to mind and providing new and intriguing perspectives on your Q daily experiences.


Cheating is a kind of corruption that is damaging to all involved. Any society that tolerates cheating on assignments and exams, like copying and pasting others' work as though it were one's own, not only promotes lying, it produces people who are not really capable of doing what they are certified to do. You wouldn't want a doctor who got his or her degree by cheating to operate on you, or an accountant who got her job by cheating to handle your books. For these reasons, academic honesty is a prime directive in both the sciences and the arts for everyone's protection. Cheating during exams, getting outside assistance on assignments, and plagiarizing are usually quite obvious to markers and lead to unpleasant meetings with professors and deans, and penalties from failing marks to notations on one's transcript to expulsion. Even from a self-interested perspective, it is always better to hand in bad work honestly done than someone else's Q work no matter how well done.


On assignments, the most important thing is to follow the instructions carefully and exactly, asking questions in advance to clarify any instructions you might not be sure about. Providing extraneous material in your answers, or not providing what your professor called for, undermines your potential mark. Time management is key. Just like in the work world, deadlines are not negotiable. I advise students to set themselves an artificial deadline a few days before an assignment is due. This way, unexpected events don't get in the way of finishing. Never hand in a first draft, but read your own work with a constructively critical eye and revise at least twice, improving it each time.


On exams, I always remind students to answer the question, the whole question, and nothing but the question. To formulate your answer, carefully consider the evidence available to you in the question itself, exactly as it is worded, combined with what you have learned in the course. Double-check your own logic. To prepare for exams, review your course notes, and skim the introductions, headings, key concepts and conclusions of all your assigned readings, which you will have been sure to have already read thoroughly when they were due. Review and discuss your notes from each lecture, reading, film and class discussion with a small group of your classmates as part of your preparations for the exam. Sleep consolidates memories, so be sure to finish all your studying and get a full night's rest the day before the exam.

This interview has been edited and condensed

Associated Graphic

Roger Lohmann, associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at Trent University.


Why the annual performance review doesn't work
Friday, October 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B15

'H ave you ever had a formal performance review? Tell me about your last one." That's one of the questions I ask when interviewing candidates applying to work at my company.

Responses vary from person to person depending on the environment and corporate culture they came from, but one theme remains the same throughout: Everyone wants to receive regular, meaningful feedback from their supervisor that will help them to grow and better contribute to the company.

This is especially true for young professionals. As PricewaterhouseCoopers recently outlined in a strategy piece on the future of work, "How to Manage the Millennials," this fresh talent "want and value frequent feedback. Unlike the past where people received annual reviews, millennials want to know how they're doing much more regularly."

As Kelly Allder puts it in a piece for Benefits Canada, "it's the instant gratification and learning that pushes them to improve." Needless to say, this idea doesn't have to be reserved for your millennial employees; employees at every level can benefit from this style of feedback, so it is worth exploring and implementing.

Here are the key elements to facilitating a performance review program that your employees will appreciate.

Be clear on performance measures

In most organizations, everyone has goals and objectives that they are expected to meet. These goals could be customer satisfaction targets, production volume levels, or sales quotas. Communicating how a role is measured during the interview process and referenced in the employment agreement helps the individual know what defines poor, average, good and excellent on-the-job performance.

Track performance in real-time

Empower both your managers and staff with personalized performance dashboards in your human resource information system or performance management system. The dashboard I am suggesting is a visual representation of reports, displayed in the form of charts, graphs and gauges, and are personalized to the goals of an individual employee with data being refreshed in realtime.

Make tracking their progress visual by empowering employees to see their own results, in realtime, with graphic-rich dashboards on their computers. For example, has the option to track progress with personalized dashboards via a customized customer relationship management system. This is worth looking into.

Use business dashboards to summarize the activities in each of your departments. I also suggest setting up a CEO dashboard where you can see in real-time how the company you are leading is meeting its overall objectives.

The benefit of real-time tracking in this way is that team members know where they stand at any given moment, not once a quarter or only at performance review time.

Take a multifaceted approach

Consider doing a 360-degree review. This type of review allows an employee to do a self-assessment and an upward review of working with their manager. They can also receive a review from the manager about their performance as an employee and member of the team.

Have the employee submit the review to you ahead of time to glean useful tidbits and insight as to how the employee sees things. Their completed self-assessment should provide you with critical information to help guide the conversation during the formal performance review.

Loop in the whole team

Peer recognition means a lot to people. That being said, you might want to start giving your staff opportunities to show gratitude for a job well done, to thank their co-workers for assistance on a project, or for being a customer hero. You can do this verbally or by using an internal messaging system that all team members have access to. Many options are on the market, including the Chatter app, which allows a user to publicly acknowledge the work of a co-worker. The beauty of this is that the feedback, acknowledgment or praise is documented and then fed into a separate channel where you can review individual examples of a job well done and acknowledge the peer kudos when you sit down with an employee.

Feedback features are a positive way to acknowledge individuals for their hard work and creative ideas.

Conduct training so everyone knows what to expect

Running people through a mock performance review (when they are not in the hot seat) will put their mind at ease when it comes to the real deal. Changing up the way your company has traditionally given feedback will be an adjustment, and there may be some hesitation or concern. Show your team the value of frequent feedback and a comprehensive review in a fun and engaging manner, such as during a company retreat or training meeting.

Stick to a schedule

In most organizations, formal sitdowns or performance appraisals may occur quarterly, perhaps annually. The longer you wait to do a performance review, the more ground you have to cover and the more details you have to remember. Leaving a performance review too long can create anxiety for both the employee and their manager. In this scenario, the days leading up to a performance review tend to be filled with frantic data collection and scrambling on both sides to remember exactly what happened over the past quarter or year. These conversations generally turn out to be stilted, uncomfortable and rarely take into account all of the wonderful things an employee has done in between reviews.

While this is by no means desired by either party, it is unfortunately something that is all too common. The frantic, uncomfortable performance review can be combatted by working out a process and schedule with your leadership team and committing to obtaining feedback from a variety of their co-workers along the way.

Tracking progress in this manner helps to keep your eyes on the prize, as it's easy to articulate straightforward, meaningful goals, and then measure a team's progress as everyone collaboratively works to meet them. This becomes critical when you go from a small team to a larger one.

As a manager, you need to have a full view of an employee's strengths, weaknesses and level of engagement. No one is omniscient and you can't be everywhere. Crowdsourcing feedback internally to gain perspective can be a huge win, especially if done in a fun and purposeful manner.

Celebrate promotions together

Quarterly or annual performance reviews are typically also the time when, after a successful appraisal, a promotion is granted. While the employee should know during the meeting what the outcome was, be sure to seize the moment and announce the promotion to the rest of the team. This can be done verbally at an "all hands" meeting, such as a Huddle or during a monthly, internal Town Hall meeting. If verbal announcements aren't your thing, you can congratulate the employee with a department or company-wide e-mail highlighting their successes and explaining why they've been promoted.

Performance reviews should be perceived as an opportunity to calibrate and align everyone's efforts alongside corporate strategic goals. It's a special time to dive deep on individual achievement and encourage people to reach for new heights in the months and years to come.

David Ciccarelli (@davidciccarelli) is the chief executive officer of London, Ont.-based, an online marketplace for voice actors.

This column is part of Globe Careers' Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at

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Farmers worry over dwindling legacy of ALR
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

METCHOSIN, B.C. -- Part three of an eight-part series looking at how food security concerns internationally are raising policy questions in subjects as diverse as resource development in British Columbia, drought conditions in California and restaurant choices internationally.

Bob Mitchell still feeds the soil at Sea Bluff Farm as he has for decades with seaweed that he hauls up from the nearby shores. But the second-generation farmer, now in his 70s, has handed over the daily farm duties to a manager. Robin Tunnicliffe coaxes dozens of crops, from asparagus to zucchinis, out of the enriched land.

The sprawling farm is just a half-hour drive from downtown Victoria, by the waterfront and backing onto a regional park. It would be coveted by realtors for development. But Sea Bluff Farm has been frozen in time, protected under the Agricultural Land Reserve for the past 40 years.

This year, the B.C. Liberal government overhauled the ALR for the first time, creating two zones that will make it easier for non-agricultural development on protected farmland outside the most productive regions. The provincial government says the changes will enhance agriculture because they will allow farmers more options to supplement their incomes, but critics fear the new rules will drive land speculation within the reserve's boundaries.

Driven by a desire for food security, the ALR was established in 1973, the first of its kind in Canada. Today, there is nothing quite like it, although Ontario and Quebec have moved to protect farmland. The ALR was a response to rapid development that saw thousands of hectares of B.C.'s prime farmland disappear under asphalt each year.

Farmers like Ms. Tunnicliffe worry that the government's new two-zone structure will weaken the land reserve, making it that much more difficult for the young farmers she mentors to find a future in agriculture. Unless they are in line to inherit farmland, many of them are destined to head north to find affordable farmland.

If the new rules spur land speculation within the ALR, those opportunities will be further out of reach.

On a warm October day, she has three workers helping her with the fall harvest, each of them eager to learn farm management so they can set up their own farms.

B.C. farmers are aging and their children typically are not staying home to take over the family business. But Kristen Nammour, 28, doesn't fit the profile. She grew up in an urban environment where food came from the grocery store. "No high school counsellor ever said to me, 'you should be a farmer.' " But her small balcony garden in Vancouver produced a spark of interest, and she moved to Vancouver Island to learn how she can be a part of producing nutritious food for local communities.

"These are smart young people with capital, setting about farming in an intelligent and thoughtful way, with well-thought-out business plans," Ms. Tunnicliffe said. "I'm outraged that a change was made to this policy of the ALR. It recognized the inherent value of farmland. We can and should be feeding ourselves." The climate is changing and the province needs to prepare for change, she said. "The future of food production is in the north."

The industry has changed in the four decades since the ALR was established. Ms. Tunnicliffe grows the business by working with with local chefs. Her arugula is destined for an upscale Victoria pizzeria, one of 30 local restaurants that snap up specialty veggies such as her French breakfast radishes. Those niche markets are key because farms like this can't compete with cheap imported produce.

Over all, B.C. farms don't produce enough food to feed British Columbians.

There are 4.6 million British Columbians, and the province has 4.7 million hectares of land preserved for agriculture. On paper, that is more than enough to provide a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food in the province: It takes about half a hectare of producing farmland to produce the food for one person for one year. But about 45 per cent of the province's protected farmland isn't in production, and some of the land that is in production isn't for food - it is used for horses, or producing Christmas trees and flowers.

The result is the province produces only about half of the food residents here consume. And with a growing population and continued pressure on farmland, Richard Bullock, chair of the Agricultural Land Commission, says the trend is worrisome.

"We all have to be careful. The world is getting hungrier and one of the things we all forget as the middle class is that the pressure and competition for what we have taken for granted is going to get stiffer and stiffer. I think we will have to produce more for ourselves over time." His office will manage the results of the government's new rules around the ALR, but Mr. Bullock says it is too early yet to say what the result will be.

Hannah Wittman, a professor in the faculty of land and food systems at the University of B.C., says it is easy to be complacent: "We have a highly subsidized food production system just to the south of us; why not buy from them?" She can point to rising food prices due to the California drought as one reason that isn't a good idea. A domestic food supply system can't be conjured up overnight if the growing population of B.C. finds imports increasingly out of reach. Farmers, like farmland, need time to become productive.

The ALR was an "unbelievably prescient policy," but today farmers are struggling to make a living and new policies are needed to encourage more domestic food production. "I'm the daughter of a rancher, one of five kids and none of us is farming," Dr. Wittman said. She proposes a provincial land bank, where farmers could access long-term leases on Crown land that is within the ALR. That would allow them, like Mr. Mitchell with his bushels of seaweed, to improve the land and grow more productively.

It's one idea that Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick is considering. The MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country was dropped into the portfolio after the legislation was drafted last spring, and has been left to manage the regulatory fine-tuning after a summer of consultation. The Crown leasing proposal is "one of the things we are looking for the next few months."

As he toured the province this summer, Mr. Letnick said he saw "a wealth of people working hard on the land producing products that British Columbians are buying." He believes B.C. can grow its agriculture sector to meet future needs. "I say to all the young farmers out there, there are opportunities out there for everyone."

Associated Graphic

Organic farmer Robin Tunnicliffe harvests red ace beets at Sea Bluff Farm in Metchosin, B.C., earlier this month.


Kristen Nammour hydro cools Swiss chard in water to help prevent wilting at Sea Bluff Farm in Metchosin, B.C., earlier this month. Ms. Nammour moved there from Vancouver to study farming.


Sea Bluff Farm produces niche fruits and vegetables, such as these French breakfast radishes.


New-Asian hot spot is ready for its close-up
Saturday, October 11, 2014 – Print Edition, Page M2

If I had the sort of bankroll that allows people to commission video-art installations, I'd get a time lapse of a meal I ate at DaiLo recently: a window table in darkening evening, a blur of wine glasses and nunchuck-fast chopsticks, a fast-forward orgy of intemperance, of compulsion, of crunchy and savoury, juicy and funky, of mind-melting deliciousness framed tight from directly above.

There would be hunks of smoked trout bundled with satay sauce into betel leaves. There'd be crisp-fried octopus with braised pork, wrapped in rounds of jicama that crunched like fall apples.

There'd be pomelo salad, jellyfish coleslaw, Hakka-style wontons, the sweet and sour pork hock recipe the chef learned from his grandfather. The shot would linger an extra second over the cheeky Chinese steamed buns that the restaurant aptly calls "Big Mac bao."

You'd see sweet-hot steam from Singapore chili crab, messy fingers, a sensational plate of fried rice buried under truffle shavings. Clouds of whipped cream would breeze through in the final seconds, flushed to Szechuan pink.

That video would be a trophy. It would also be historical proof for disbelievers. This is how incredible the eating could get in Toronto, early in the fall of 2014.

DaiLo isn't perfect. I had a second meal there that was less memorable. But, at its best, the new-Asian spot on College Street, run by the chef Nick Liu and front of house veteran Anton Potvin, is an extraordinary place.

Mr. Liu's mother is Chinese from South Africa; his father Calcutta-Chinese. Yet their son, born soon after their arrival in Canada, learned to identify first as a French chef. He spent nine years cooking at Scaramouche, three as a stagiaire in Europe and Australia, two at Splendido and four as executive chef at Mr. Potvin's Niagara Street Café, which closed at the end of 2012.

His reinvention since then as a chef focused on Asian flavours has been public, minutely chronicled on social media. It has been painful at times. Mr. Liu threw high-profile pop-up dinners, joined and split with business partners and gave every indication that he was about to commit his concept, then called GwaiLo, to a permanent address. He couldn't deliver. One city food writer labelled Mr. Liu "The boy who cried restaurant." It looked as if the label might stick.

About a year ago, a couple of enlightened investors reached out to him, hoping to build a new restaurant. Mr. Liu called Mr. Potvin, who had just left his post as sommelier and general manager at The Chase.

The room, which opened in early August, is warm and elegant, the service intelligent. They bring hot towels when you arrive. The décor is sophisticated, never over-the-top. The rough plaster walls are hand-painted with chinoiserie-style landscapes. There are brass-plated filigree screens between the banquettes, and painted red dragon motifs on the hanging lights.

Dai lo means both "big brother" and "gangster boss" in Cantonese. The room nails the swanky, prewar Hong Kong gangster bar look.

Yet, Mr. Liu's cooking is the star. That smoked trout is a terrific beginning: fresh and moist, with a glimmer of smoke and a daub of peanut sauce and umami crunch from fried shallots. The betel leaf is emerald green and shiny; you fold it up around the fish. It tastes of grass, bright chlorophyll. Betel leaves are chewed along with betel nuts as a stimulant in much of Asia. I swear I felt a buzz.

The fried watermelon is mindaltering for different reasons. It's red, sweet watermelon, but rolled in garlic and chili sambal and sealed into a crunchy, fried cornstarch shell. It's blazing on the outside, cold in the middle, deliciously disorienting. You eat it with pickled watermelon rind and tufts of "pork floss," the soybraised and dried pulled pork.

There's pork in the pomelo salad, also: ground and fried hard so its fat and juices commingle with the citrus fruit and green papaya, with the crunch of almond crumble and the sweetness of coconut and caramel dressing. It hits nearly every flavour: salty, sweet, sour, savoury, the full range of bitter.

It's covered with a lacy, beatenegg net. (The recipe comes from the celebrated Longrain, in Sydney, where Mr. Liu cooked for four months.)

Mr. Liu's sweet and sour pork comes from closer to home, from his late grandfather Kemp Sing Key. The cubes are soft inside, crisp on their outsides - Mr. Liu works textures like few other chefs in the city.

If you're with a group, you should also order the whole-fried trout. You should order that and the $40 beef plate, a 90-day dryaged ribeye from Olliffe's. The age gives the meat a nutty, blue cheese-like depth and funk; it is controlled rot made into art. The meat is medium rare, sliced, with a thick cap of buttery fat on it, with "Asian chimichurri" and a salad made from raw young bok choi. This is a superlative steak.

And Mr. Liu's truffled fried rice is the go-to accompaniment. It's a mix of white, wild and puffed rice, wokked hot and fast with egg and edamame, moistened with homemade XO sauce. It is finished with shaved black truffles. It's easily the single greatest rice dish in town.

So why 2.5 stars and not 3 or 3.5? Mr. Liu's kitchen hasn't settled in yet. The menu's too long for a two-month-old restaurant; the killer-to-filler ratio some nights is out of whack. On one visit, the glutinous rice ball the kitchen sent out as an amuse bouche was fried too hard; it was dry instead of moist and chewy. This was an odd way to start the evening, defeating the point of glutinous rice balls and amuse bouches. The shu mai weren't as tasty or finely made as what you can find at a cheap yum cha house in Chinatown.

The "roasted Nagano pork loin," a play on Korean pork bone soup, was bland and charmless, with little of the texture and sinus-clearing deliciousness of the $7 pork bone soups you get in Koreatown.

Despite all that, I have little doubt the kitchen will become one of the best in the city with time.

Mr. Liu's kasu cake, a steamed dessert made from rice flour and the residue left over from sake brewing, is a very fine ending. It's light, almost like angel cake, but rich-tasting, dressed with coconut cream, tart sea buckthorn berries and exotic-smelling threads of julienned lime leaf.

I'd want that on my video also, only you'd barely get to see it. We ate it in roughly the space of a single frame.


2 ½

503 College St. (at Palmerston Avenue), 647-341-8882,

Best bets: Big Mac bao, egg net salad, Hakka wontons.

Prices: Sharing plates from $6 to $39, or chef's choice menus for $50 a person.

NB: Menu changes frequently; vegan, vegetarian and glutenfree menus available on request.

Associated Graphic

The whole-fried trout at DaiLo would be a good choice for a group gathering.


Moving away: Should I stay or should I go?
Leaving home to attend university has its pros and cons. Here are some points to consider when making your decision
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 – Print Edition, Page P58



Like a first bungee jump, leaving home as a young adult is exhilarating and frightening. It also marks the start of adulthood in Canadian culture.

Christine Proulx is a professor of human development and family studies at the University of Missouri and she feels strongly that, when it's an option, students are better off leaving home to go to university.

"The opportunity to carve out your niche and discover your independence, who you are, and learn to become an adult is greater if you're not living with your parents," explains Dr. Proulx.

Living in a university dorm can be an ideal place for this rite of passage. Students are surrounded by peers who are going through the same adjustments, which creates a natural support network.

"The tasks of that time period of your life - individuation, becoming a person, learning and growing - allow for that vulnerability to get to know someone at [a deeper] level," Dr. Proulx says. "Many people make lifelong friends from college, [like] roommates, that they may not have if they went back to their parents' house every day."

The bonds that we make when we are vulnerable become lasting connections. This dormitory camaraderie helps create a lifelong and fond sense of attachment to the university experience that many home-based students do not have. These friendships are also the start of your professional network. The dorm mates you pull all-nighters with are also the people who may eventually be working at companies where you might be seeking employment.


University location is one of the Top 6 factors students consider when choosing a university, according to research by SchoolMatch Canada, a service that helps students find a university that suits them best through data collection and algorithms.

"Students who move away from home at this time usually are moving out of home for the first time and often this shapes a large part of their future careers," says Jeff Lui, co-founder of SchoolMatch. They "generally develop deeper ties to their peers, and the larger school community."

Participating in extracurricular activities can help with future careers because students can gain employable soft skills, such as teamwork and communication.

Students who live at home are often restricted from on-campus activities and peer bonding by factors such as public transit schedules.

Ties to peers can also help with future career networks.

"Going to university away from home is important because you are able to develop relationships in different markets that may sustain you over the course of your career," says Julie Wright, general manager at the Waterloo Global Science Initiative.


According to Dr. Proulx's research, most parents experience their children leaving home for university as very positive, and enjoy the evolution to a more peerlike relationship.

"For many of [the parents] it was just a joy, they spoke with pride about their young [adult] children," Dr. Proulx says.


The university in your hometown may not be the best one for you. If you know what you want to do, there may be a school that specializes in your field. Or perhaps you are suited to a small school that emphasizes teaching, or a big school where there is more course selection and recruiters are more likely to visit, or a school with an established co-op program to help you gain valuable job experience or even finance your education.


Students who live in big cities or the suburbs can easily spend an hour or more a day getting to and from school. Cutting down commuting time means more study time, and it is better for the environment and your health.

According to a study from Lund University, Swedish researchers found that commuting more than 60 minutes a day was associated with negative health outcomes, such as poor sleep, fatigue and increased sick days.



For students who graduated in 2013, the average debt load was $28,810, according to the Canadian Federation of Students.

For students who move away from home, the cost of university includes living expenses, which can add considerably to their debt load. As an example, consider a triple room with a meal plan at Queen's University in 2014-2015: nearly $12,000 a year (their cheapest option), which comes to nearly $48,000 for a four-year degree. This is on top of the average tuition of $5,772 that Canadian students paid in 2013-2014, according to Statistics Canada. And don't forget to add the interest on a student loan, which will be greater the bigger the loan.

Student debt affects you for years, even decades after graduation. According to Statistics Canada, university graduates who borrowed money for postsecondary education had a lower net worth, were less likely to have savings and investments, or be home owners by age 29. And if you miss student loan repayments, your future credit, or ability to borrow to buy a house or car, can be affected.

On top of debt, is debt-stress. Economist John Gathergood at Nottingham University found that individuals who struggled to pay debt not only had poorer psychological health (anxiety and depression), so did their partners.


Most first-year students who leave home live in some form of shared housing such as a dorm. Sharing living space with strangers is part of maturing, but it is also stressful, even if you get along (though sometimes you may not, which is even more stressful). There may be times when you desperately need to finish an assignment or catch up on sleep, and you may not be able to do it in your room. Sometimes, this can get so disruptive that you will need to find new living arrangements.


Students may struggle at times in their relationship with their parents as they work through establishing their independence, Dr. Proulx says. "For young adult children, the focus is creating a sense of self separate from parents and family."

Homesickness can be another challenge.

"All university students miss something about home when they're way," explains Christopher Thurber, a U.S.-based clinical psychologist who co-authored a study on homesickness in university students. While most students develop healthy coping skills, a minority do not.

Dr. Thurber estimates that intense homesickness (when it interferes with behaviour) affects between 5 to 10 per cent of university students and in extreme cases can result in them dropping out.

Also, students raised in culturally distinct families may face additional challenges adapting away from home. Sustained exposure to different values, beliefs and behaviours can be a deep source of stress. The bigger the cultural contrast between the home and university environment, the bigger the adjustment, points out Dr. Thurber.

He adds that establishing a few culturally similar connections, for instance at university clubs, along with getting as familiar as possible with the campus before arriving, will help ease the transition.

Associated Graphic

Students help their fellow students move into residence at Ryerson University in Toronto.


Moving away: independence and stress.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

For sale: requiem to 1980s excess
Château built by developer Robert Campeau is big enough to invite all 300 of your friends over for a sit-down dinner
Friday, October 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page G11


Asking price: $25-million

Taxes: $76,801.58

Lot size: Four acres

Agent: Barry Cohen (ReMax Realtron)

The back story

Even within the exclusive environs of The Bridle Path, business titan Robert Campeau astonished the neighbours with his extravagance when he purchased two lots in the north Toronto neighbourhood and had the houses razed to make way for a 28,000-square-foot mansion built to resemble a château in France's Loire Valley.

Campeau Corp. was emblematic of 1980s excess, when leveraged buyouts and junk bonds were the talk of Wall Street. Born in Sudbury, Mr. Campeau became a home builder and went on to build a real estate and retail empire valued at $10-billion at its apex. His brash multibillion-dollar takeovers of such storied retail names as Bloomingdales and Brooks Brothers made him worldfamous.

Soon stories began circulating about the unparalleled opulence at 68 The Bridle Path: There were 10 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, and a ballroom where members of high society twirled around on a dance floor set atop the indoor swimming pool.

The illustrious overnight guests, legend had it, included former prime minister Pierre Trudeau and the actor Jane Fonda. The house itself was blessed by the Archbishop of Toronto.

Then, in the early 1990s, Mr. Campeau's debt-ridden real estate empire collapsed and he was ousted from the company. He decamped to Austria, leaving his palatial Bridle Path estate to sit empty for many years.

The house today

Today, visitors announce their arrival over an intercom outside the gated estate.

When the wrought iron gate slides back, visitors travel a long drive that winds and dips toward a circular cobblestone motor court encircling an antique fountain. If they happened to notice the dolphin motif in the entry gate, the guests will see it repeated in iron work throughout the house.

The dolphin was a popular emblem in the royal houses of 17th century France, says the current owner, who with his wife bought the languishing property nearly 13 years ago as a home for themselves and their two children.

They brought in a prominent heritage architect - the late Gordon Ridgely - and the interior designer Brian Gluckstein to complete and decorate the interior. Landscape architect Ronald Holbrook created the formal gardens.

The owner begins a tour by pointing out the symmetry that the architect and designers established right from the front door. A mirror above the fireplace reflects the ornate chandelier hanging from the domed ceiling. The mirror features the same shell motif found in the hand-carved Louis XV fireplace, which was imported from France, the owner points out.

The grand foyer, with a domed ceiling 27 feet above the stone floor, contains a sweeping staircase that rises to a surrounding gallery on the second floor.

The bronze and gilt chandelier once would have been lit by candles but has since been electrified, the owner says. A second storey gallery is a good place for the orchestra to set up during parties, he adds.

Flanking the fireplace, Bergère chairs and delicate pieces of Sèvres porcelain are balanced next to two doors offering glimpses of the great room beyond. "It creates a sense of beauty that brings you forward into the next room," the owner says.

The sunken great room is designed to evoke a French orangerie, the owner says.

The architect and designers added plaster mouldings and decorations, which were applied with painstaking attention to authenticity, the owner says. They also added a patina to the walls and trim so they would not appear starkly new.

"There needed to be a softness applied to the background to let all of these elements come together in the foreground," he says, pointing out the antique furniture, oil paintings, clock sets and Gallé glass collected on trips to France.

The great room in turn opens to a 2,500-square-foot terrace that overlooks formal gardens, the owner says.

A horseshoe staircase that connects the garden to the terrace was originally designed so men could ascend up one side and women the other, the owner says. That way, the men wouldn't catch a glimpse of the ladies' ankles when they lifted the skirts of their gowns to climb the stairs.

The main floor also offers a large kitchen with a breakfast area overlooking the garden. There's a formal dining room, a library and Mr. Campeau's home office.

"I did keep the office chair that belonged to Robert Campeau," says the owner, who adds he was surprised one day when Mr. Campeau showed up at the property to reminisce.

Upstairs, the master suite has a bedroom, sitting area, his-andhers en suite bathrooms and dual dressing rooms.

The third floor provides more bedrooms, including the one where Mr. Trudeau is rumoured to have slept. A separate apartment provides a private space for a nanny or household staff.

Throughout the house, the owner has found authentic chandeliers, sconces and period furnishings. The draperies are made of fabrics from such noted French design houses as Scalamandré. They are trimmed as they would have been in a Loire Valley château and held in place by authentic hardware.

The house also comes with a golf cart, which the owner uses to tour of the property. A tennis court at the rear disappears from view behind shrubs and mature trees. Beyond the formal gardens, the lot extends to Wilket Creek.

The house will likely appeal to a buyer who appreciates the location and the authenticity of the renovation, says real estate agent Barry Cohen of ReMax Realtron.

"The buyer now inherits the work," he says of the lengthy design process. "They move into the lifestyle, and they're 10 years ahead."

Much of the furniture and many objets d'art will remain with the house.

Sales in the upper echelons of Toronto's real estate market have been brisk in recent months, Mr.

Cohen observes, adding that domestic and overseas buyers have been purchasing Toronto luxury properties. "There's a lot of world wealth."

The best feature

The ozonated, chemical-free indoor swimming pool is housed in a 5,000-square-foot, cedar-lined pavilion with windowed French doors that can be opened wide to bring the outdoors in. A circular oak staircase leads from the master bedroom suite down to the pool.

When the retractable floor is in place over the pool, the area can accommodate 300 guests for a sitdown dinner - with room left over for dancing.

Throw open the doors, says the owner, and the merriment can expand onto the terrace overlooking the garden. "It's such a celebration, this house."

Associated Graphic

After his business empire collapsed, Robert Campeau vacated his north Toronto mansion to live in Austria, but returned to reminisce, a later owner says.

First impressions count, and when entering 68 The Bridal Path, one cannot help but be awestruck by the bronze and gilt chandelier hanging from the 27-foot high domed ceiling, and the sweeping staircase that connects the grand foyer to the surrounding gallery on the second floor. A big, bright formal dining area has a splendid view of the expansive estate grounds - but for momentous soirées, the indoor pool can be covered over and turned into a banquet hall with enough room left over for dancing.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


A Friday Globe Real Estate headline incorrectly described Robert Campeau as a bankrupt billionaire. In fact, it was Mr. Campeau's businesses that went bankrupt.

The Oilers (probably) aren't this bad
Edmonton fans can take heart in the fact that some bad puck luck has been a key part in a terrible start to the season
Monday, October 20, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S3

So the sky is falling in Edmonton again.

And it's hard to blame Oilers fans given they have watched this movie before - as recently as the start of last season, when netminder Devan Dubnyk's career went off the rails.

Edmonton has had a tough schedule to start the year, but more than that they've had some very tough luck. Their PDO - which is an analytic used to measure which teams are (or aren't) getting the bounces - is a leagueworst 90.8, which helps explain some of their woes.

PDO is one of those stats that sounds nonsensical the first time it's brought up but it's eerily accurate in forecasting a team's fortunes, year after year.

What PDO is is simply the addition of shooting and save percentage at even strength. The Oilers right now have a shooting percentage of under 5 per cent (third worst in the NHL) and a save percentage of .858 (second worst).

We're dealing with very small sample sizes at this point so you can't always draw a lot of conclusions. If you look closely at what Edmonton's done so far, however, they have made tangible gains in terms of driving play.

Having a low PDO isn't sustainable. The worst a team has finished in an 82-game season in recent memory was the 2010-11 Ottawa Senators at 97.4, which tells us that the Oilers are a) going to score more goals and b) are going to get a few more saves than they have been.

Last season, through the first 12 days of the year (which is where we're at now), the three lowest PDO teams were the New York Rangers, Washington Capitals and Los Angeles Kings, who started the season with a combined five wins in 15 games.

Two of those teams made the Stanley Cup final. All three topped 90 points.

That's not to say the Oilers are a contender or Ben Scrivens is Jonathan Quick or Henrik Lundqvist. It's meant to point out that even the best teams can look much worse than they are in small sample sizes.

All of the possession stats out there have Edmonton greatly improved over a year ago, which has been one of coach Dallas Eakins's key mandates and a big reason they hired statistician Tyler Dellow. This is an organization that now understands PDO and that is trying to be patient while fans and media go nuts around it.

Some of the errors the Oilers young players have been making have been egregious, but they have had the puck more. With their talent, they should at the very least be able to finish a lot higher than 28th in five-on-five goals, as was the case last year.

That may be a thin gruel for one of the league's most mistreated fan bases to subsist on right now, but everything we've seen in the past says things will get better in Edmonton in the near term.

Better enough to make the playoffs? Probably not. But if they stick with what they're doing and Scrivens can get back to the goalie he was last season, better enough to not be a lottery team and start the climb up the mountain that is the Western Conference standings.


Mark Giordano, Calgary

The Flames goaltenders are deservedly getting a lot of kudos for their start, but the Calgary captain's contributions can't be overlooked. Prior to Sundays' game, Calgary's possession was nearly 20 per cent higher with him on the ice than off it (54 versus 36). Giordano also leads the team in scoring and deserves to be in the Norris Trophy conversation, even if his team finishes well out of the postseason race.

Alex Ovechkin, Washington

After all the drama and criticism under Adam Oates, Ovechkin is flourishing with new coach Barry Trotz. His goal-a-game pace will stand out, but all the underlying numbers are terrific, too, which could help get the Caps back into the postseason. "A delight every night," was how Trotz put it.

Pekka Rinne, Nashville

No team missed an injured player more than the Preds missed Rinne a year ago, and we've learned why early. He has quietly been the best goalie in the league so far - with a .962 even-strength save percentage - and Nashville looks like a playoff team as a result. The question is who they might bump out in a very difficult Central Division.


Andrew MacDonald, Philadelphia

No player is as controversial as MacDonald when it comes to analytics. His numbers are consistently awful, highlighting how much time he spends in his own end, but teams like the Flyers love him to the extent he got a six-year, $30-million (U.S.) deal. Paid like one of the top 30 defencemen in the league, his possession numbers are last among all players with 40-plus minutes played this year.

Cam Ward, Carolina

The Hurricanes are going to be in tough this year, but they would have loved to move Ward's $6.3million cap hit until 2016 as part of the rebuild, especially with Anton Khudobin playing well. Ward, however, has struggled for several years now and is off to a poor start. He's not going anywhere.

The Florida Panthers

This team can't score, and it's hard to see where the goals will come from. They have only five after five games, including three at even strength. Their leading scorer has two points.


"That was like an NHL team playing against a peewee team." Buffalo Sabres coach

Ted Nolan

We all knew things would be bad in Buffalo, but we didn't know they'd be quite this bad.

The Sabres lost perhaps their two best players of a year ago, goalie Ryan Miller and defenceman Christian Ehrhoff, and it's showed early. Not only is Buffalo 1-5-0 to start the year, but they're getting absolutely hammered territorially every single night.

The Sabres possession numbers after six games are last in the league by a mile and the worst we have witnessed since the data became available. They've been outshot essentially 2-to-1, in large part because they're only generating 16 shots a game at even strength.

In a year with a lot of bad teams, they're huge favourites in the battle (?) to have the best lottery positioning at the end of the year for a crack at generational talent Connor McDavid in the draft.

But boy is it ever going to be an ugly, long season.


New stats sites are popping up everywhere, but one that is worth having a look at in the early going is This is the only site at the moment tracking score-adjusted possession data, which helps overcome the fact we have such small sample sizes early in the year.

Follow me on Twitter:@Mirtle

Associated Graphic

Oilers goalies Ben Scrivens, right, and Viktor Fasth have combined for the second worst save percentage in the NHL so far (.858).


Mark Giordano

Andrew MacDonald

Pekka Rinne

Alex Ovechkin

Rome's catacombs only scratch the surface of underground treasures waiting to be explored
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

ROME -- Anywhere you go in Rome, you are walking on a buried, ancient world. Beneath your feet lie the remnants of the city that ruled an empire: temples and streets, villas and churches, monuments and tombs.

This reality is not exclusive to Rome. Ground levels rise over time, a simple concept that underpins stratigraphy, one of modern archeology's main tenets. Rome's location in a valley next to a (frequently flooding) river, though, means that the ground level has risen particularly dramatically here - about six or seven metres since ancient times.

That, combined with the fact that the city's "modern" burst of construction did not occur in earnest until the 17th and 18th centuries, when the ruins were already halfburied, means that many of the older buildings were never razed completely (although Romans certainly helped themselves to their marbles and precious stones for their new churches and palaces). Often, the structures were used as the foundations for new buildings.

As a result, some of the city's finest, most fascinating historical sights and archaeological treasures are not the ones you see just walking along the street: They lie underground. In recent years, the city has opened up even more "new" (in fact, extremely old) sights. You have likely already heard of the catacombs. Here are some of our other, lesser-known favourites. (Be aware that once these sights have been excavated and open to the air, never mind to the public, they disintegrate even faster, so be careful not to touch anything: Moisture speeds up the process.)


Rome's iconic Piazza Navona has a strange shape. One end has two 90-degree angles, while the other is rounded. This is not because the Renaissance designers decided to get creative. It is because the piazza was built into (and on top of) the first-century stadium of Emperor Domitian. Although the stadium had been partly excavated for years, it was not open to the public. Only visitors who knew to take a peek just outside the piazza's northern end, where a gaping hole revealed one of the massive arches looming up from the depths, caught a glimpse.

That changed in January, when the city opened the Stadio Domiziano museum. Although the 8 ($11) price is unusually steep, for history buffs or the simply curious, it's worth it to see more of the arches, pillars and statues that lay hidden for so long.


When the city opened up two excavated, Imperial-era villas that sat beneath a 16th-century building at the Roman Forum's edge in 2007, it didn't just make the site accessible to the public. It also made it historically accessible in a way I haven't seen anywhere else in Italy. An automated, but extremely well done (and surprisingly dramatic) tour takes you through the villas' remains, from bath complex to kitchen; the rooms are lit up to recreate what they would have looked like - with lasers "repairing" the mosaics, filling in the frescoes, even adding the sounds of water splashing and children laughing. The approach manages to come off as more refreshing than corny. The video midway through also gives an excellent overview of what all of Rome would have looked like in ancient times.

The English slots fill up fast, so make sure to book in advance.


It seems hardly anyone comes to what may be Rome's most underrated museum. Located a stone's throw from Largo Argentina, Crypta Balbi offers one of the most comprehensive takes at what the ancient city centre looked like and how it evolved. Its other major draw, though, is underground. The modest museum was built on the remains of the Theatre of Balbus, which dates back to 13 BC, and access to one of its sections is included in the price of your ticket. While not the city's most exciting underground sight, it is just as spooky-feeling as you'd hope - and with what you learned from the exhibits above, it's much easier to make sense of how it fits into the fabric of ancient Rome.


Not just for pilgrims, the tour of the necropolis beneath St. Peter's Basilica provides a fascinating look at what was once an aboveground cemetery for both Christians and pagans. Seeing the burials together, sometimes in the same family tomb, erases ideas of religion being black and white in the first and second centuries. Many of the tombs retain their elaborate mosaic decoration and viewing the area said to hold the tomb of St. Peter is spine-tingling for anyone, not just Catholics. The number of visitors allowed into the tomb is limited, so you can only enter on a tour with an official Vatican guide (somewhat unfortunately, as the guides tend to be dry and have iffy English). Book in advance by e-mailing


Five years ago, the underground at the Colosseum opened to breathless excitement. Called the hypogeum, it consists of the tunnels and rooms where gladiators waited for their turns to do battle - a kind of backstage area, complete with the remnants of the elevators that brought the fighters to the arena, that gives you a better grasp of just how planned (and purposeful) the violence here really was. As with the Vatican necropolis, it can only be accessed on a tour.


Aside from San Clemente, a number of other churches in Rome have undergrounds that are, often for just a couple of euros, open to the public. My favourite is at this little church just around the corner from the Jewish Ghetto. Even from the outside, you can see how it was built directly into ancient structures: the temples of Hope, Juno and Janus, the oldest of which dates back to the third-century BC and whose columns the church uses as its own. Unsurprisingly, the basement holds some secrets; you'll find both the temples' bases and the ancient Roman path that ran between them. The massive tufa stones might not look like much compared to, say, the mosaics of the Vatican necropolis, but they are 500 years older.

Basilica of San Clemente

Just up the street from the Colosseum, this layer-cake of a church is a 12th-century basilica ... built on top of a fourth-century basilica ... built on top of ancient Roman ruins, including apartments and a pagan mithraeum (place of worship). But don't race to the bottom: The middle level, the ancient basilica, features fascinating frescoes. Don't miss the 11th-century depiction of a tale of the pagan Sisinnius, with its rare example of not only written vernacular Italian, but, shall we say, colourful Italian: Painted on the fresco are Sisinnius' words "Fili de le pute, traite!" ("Come on, you sons of whores, pull!").

Associated Graphic


Above: The Piazza Navona is shaped the way it is because it was built into and on top of the first-century stadium of Emperor Domitian. Below: The Colosseum underground can only be accessed on a tour. Bottom: The Crypta Balbi may be Rome's most underrated museum.


In doubt about debt?
Planning ahead and budgeting are key to getting through university without a crippling debt load
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 – Print Edition, Page P12

Having a degree can pay dividends career-wise, but graduating with too much debt can be debilitating. If you've decided education will be your first big investment, the time to begin with financial planning is now.

Students who graduated in 2013 have an average debt load of $28,810, according to the Canadian Federation of Students. A recent poll by Gallup Inc. measured the financial health, happiness, community engagement and physical well-being of more than 30,000 U.S. postsecondary graduates. It found the higher the student debt load, the worse the graduates scored in all aspects of their well-being.

It is possible to graduate with a manageable amount of debt and still reap the benefits of having a postsecondary education. Before borrowing, you need to figure out exactly how much you are going to need. Start with your assets, such as any savings, scholarships, loans or monetary gifts from family, and then tally up your expenses. Aside from tuition, don't forget to include the cost of transit, clothing, toiletries, food and entertainment, or housing if living away from home. Consider seriously what luxuries you can live without, such as cable or dining out.

There are a lot of great tools available to prospective students to help create a budget, so you don't need to start from scratch. Most banks host student budgeting tools and resources on their websites. Websites such as the Canadian website are hubs of resources, featuring advice, financial calculators and comparison charts.

Don't forget about free money. Many scholarships and bursaries go unclaimed every year because of a lack of applicants. "Lots of that money is being left on the table because students aren't taking advantage of that service," says Janet Boyle, vice-president of unsecured lending at Bank of Nova Scotia. They can help students bridge some of their financing needs, she says. She recommends visiting, which features more than $87-million in awards.


While using savings to fund your education is ideal, 30 per cent of Canadian families don't set aside funds for their children's education, according to Statistics Canada.

However, it's not too late to save up a safety net to avoid relying on expensive borrowing products such as credit cards and lines of credit. Jeannine Mitchell, founder of, cautions students to avoid taking on any debt. Graduates with large debts don't have the freedom to take low-paying jobs or internships, which can affect their career prospects, she warns. Often, students with large debt loads are forced to accept jobs outside of their field just to make minimum payments.

"If you feel you absolutely must take that program that would put you deep in debt, I would suggest working for a year or two so you can save up," Ms. Mitchell says. "That way you'll enjoy your program more because you won't be so stressed about money."


If you do need to borrow to finance your education, Canadian students have access to a combination of provincial and federal loan programs. These are the wisest choice, as they provide various repayment assistance programs after graduation. For example, if you find yourself struggling financially as a grad, you may qualify for a program that offers temporary relief from monthly payments and provides the freedom for you to manage an entry-level job or internship.

According to Ms. Mitchell, no bank can match the favourable terms offered in Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, where the provincial portion of government loans is interest-free. The provincial portion of the loan can be as high as 40 per cent of the total amount, so the savings can be significant.

Another advantage of government loans over bank loans is that you won't be required to repay any portion of the loan until six months after graduation. If you take out a line of credit however, you'll have to make interest payments while in school.

While interest rates and repayment plans vary from province to province, the federal loan program, Canada Student Loans, has two interest options. Borrowers can choose between a fixed interest rate of prime plus 5 per cent, or a variable interest rate, prime plus 2.5 per cent, according to the government's CanLearn website.


For those who don't have enough savings and don't qualify for government loans, borrowing from a financial institution is an option, but should be considered carefully.

Once you are approved for a certain amount, say $10,000, you can use as little or as much of it as you need. If you pay off a portion of the line of credit, you can re-borrow it. "It gives the flexibility of not having to draw down on the full amount, but still having some of that additional fund available should they run into an emergency," Ms. Boyle says. Depending on the length of your program and course load, you may qualify to borrow from $5,000 to $10,000 a year. For more expensive professional degrees, some banks offer larger loans. Interest rates vary, so shop around.

Unlike government loans, you are required to make interest-only payments while in school. Because of this, borrowing too much can lead to unmanageable payments. "Some students underestimate the pressure of growing interest payments on their lines of credit and I've heard of some dropping out before they graduate," Ms. Mitchell says. In most cases, you don't need to make payments on the principal until 12 months after graduation, but lines of credit don't offer repayment assistance plans such as those for government loans.


The risks are real: "A late or missed bill payment can really damage a credit rating so it's important to have a strategy in place, and, again, a realistic budget to help them monitor their spending and staying on track," says Katy Boshart, vice-president for personal and indirect lending with Toronto-Dominion Bank. "Impacting your credit rating can impact your ability to borrow money later."

If there's one thing the experts agree on, it's that seeking professional help is worth your time. Sitting down with a financial adviser at a bank is almost always free, so visit your bank to talk budgets and savings, even if you are only taking out government loans. "There are so many options out there that are available for students in terms of their banking options that it's best for both parents and students to visit their branch and talk to their financial adviser to understand what their options are as they go through that plan," Ms. Boshart says .


Alberta $14,533

British Columbia $16,087

Manitoba $11,712

New Brunswick $17,267

Newfoundland $15,496

Nova Scotia $20,218

Ontario $15,942

Prince Edward Island $21,490

Quebec* $18,574

Saskatchewan $17,881

*Quebec does not participate in the Canadian Student Loans Program and only those students from out of province are captured here.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 – Print Edition, Page P56



Students: 4,300

Cost: $6,000 (N.S. residents), $7,000 (out-of-province)

Acadia offers a great liberal arts and sciences education in a quaint university town, where students outnumber permanent residents. This year, while students at other universities kvetched on "Confessions" Facebook pages (look them up), Acadia students set up a "Compliments" page, which contains messages like, "To the wonderful girls passing out chocolates in the library, thank you!" and "To the girl who wore the R2D2 dress to open mic last night, you are awesome!" This buck of the trend says a lot about Acadia's community.

Your typical classmate: Spends time helping others; 80 per cent of students volunteer.

Hotshot student: Alex MacLean started a clothing company with an $800 loan from his dad as a project in his Venture Creation class; the company sold more than 250,000 T-shirts and hoodies in a year.



Students: 3,400

Cost: $5,600 (N.S. residents), $6,600 (out-of-province)

Students give CBU above-average ratings on national student surveys, especially when it comes to their interactions with professors. So the mystery remains: Why does the university suffer from the lowest graduation rate in Nova Scotia? Only 45 per cent of arts students graduate within seven years of starting classes. Hot programs in engineering are designed to support Cape Breton's growing oil and gas industry.

Your typical classmate: Is from another country; 30 per cent of students are international, the result of CBU's recruitment campaign.

Students say: It's easy to connect with professors. "The biggest pro is small classes," says Moses Mallam, third-year business. "The biggest con is that there aren't enough co-op opportunities."


Halifax (main) and Truro

Students: 17,500

Cost: $6,600 (N.S. residents), $7,100 (out-of- province)

If you want to study at a world-renowned research university in the Atlantic region, Dalhousie is the place to be. The university is strong in the sciences; its earth and marine science department is recognized internationally as a leader. An innovative program allows undergrads from any faculty to simultaneously earn a minor in sustainability, which involves working on a community project. Like many research universities, Dalhousie struggles to create an engaging educational experience for its undergrads.

Hotshot prof: Shawna O'Hearn arranges opportunities for health students to work in local disadvantaged communities, as well as in Tanzania and Gambia.

This year: Graduate Peter Burbridge (BA '06, MBA '09) opened North Brewing, a Halifax microbrewery dedicated to Belgian-style ales.



Students: 1,200

Cost: $6,900 (N.S. residents), $7,900 (out-of-province)

King's is Dalhousie's eccentric, artsy cousin. The two institutions share a campus, but King's distinguishes itself with liberal arts programming in an intimate community that maintains its 18th-century roots. In the words of one student, King's has a reputation for being "the artsy hipster school." Others describe it as an inspiring and challenging introduction to the humanities.

Hotshot choirmaster: Paul Halley, an organist and director of music at King's chapel, has won five Grammy Awards.

Students say: The journalism program is fantastic. "I got a full-time job within two weeks of finishing my degree," says recent grad Dan Malone. "I have so much practical experience, I can do basically anything at a newspaper. I couldn't have been better prepared."



Students: 4,000

Cost: $5,900 (N.S. residents), $6,900 (out-of-province)

MSVU was founded by nuns in 1873 as a women's college. Its mission has evolved to promote accessible education for all, but today its student body is still overwhelmingly female. The school offers small classes and the largest distance education program in the province, which attracts working students who need flexibility. The campus, an eight-minute drive from downtown Halifax, overlooks the beautiful Bedford Basin, but is short on food options.

Your typical classmate: Is not straight out of high school; a large portion of the student body is older than 24 or transferred from another university.

Hotshot president: Ramona Lumpkin was awarded the Order of Canada on July 1, 2014, which marked her 16th anniversary of becoming a Canadian citizen.



Students: 950

Cost: $5,600 (N.S. residents), $6,800 (out-of-province)

NSCAD University's studios, film school and energy-efficient kilns are housed in heritage buildings in downtown Halifax. Students receive a broad introduction to visual arts during their first-year foundation studies program before specializing in programs from metal-smithing to art history to book arts. With a burgeoning cultural scene, several dozen art galleries and more taverns per capita than any other Canadian city, Halifax is an interesting place for emerging artists to develop.

Hotshot alumna: Paula Fairfield received her sixth Emmy nomination for sound editing on the television series Game of Thrones.

This year: The university decided to remain autonomous after exploring whether to merge with Dalhousie or Saint Mary's. In its decision, the board pledged to develop collaborations with Halifax universities, which should create new opportunities for NSCAD U students.



Students: 4,800

Cost: $6,800 (N.S. residents), $7,800 (out-of-province)

Of all of the excellent liberal arts universities in Nova Scotia, St. FX is under-appreciated. While the school may not spend as much on its library or win as many faculty and student awards, its outcomes speak for themselves. St. FX boasts the highest retention and graduation rates in the province, and students report being very satisfied with their education. With nearly 40 per cent of students living in residence, campus is always lively. The iconic "X-Ring" worn by graduates is emblematic of St. FX's strong school spirit.

Hotshot prof: Jonathan Langdon leads an experiential development studies course that places senior students in summer internships with social change organizations, working in areas as diverse as municipal planning in Ottawa and community radio in Western Africa.



Students: 7,400

Cost: $6,100 (N.S. residents), $7,100 (out-of-province)

An early mover, SMU has been building ties with China since the 1980s. With 29 per cent of its student body coming from abroad, SMU has a head start on other Atlantic universities attempting to attract international students as the number of domestic students in the region decreases. Its Confucius Institute promotes Chinese language and culture. Despite being smaller than Dalhousie with less focus on research, SMU scored similarly low on measures of effective educational practice in a national student survey.

Your typical classmate: Is studying commerce; 47 per cent of students are enrolled in the Sobey School of Business.

This year: SMU co-hosted a major conference about conflict resolution; for more than a decade, SMU students studying peace have travelled to Belfast in Northern Ireland to work with children on conflict resolution strategies.

Associated Graphic

ST. FX: students report being very satisfied with their education at this liberal arts university.

NSCAD University: art and design specialization with access to Halifax's cultural scene.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A rock star minus the ego
Celebrity chef Jonathan Waxman says the key to satellite restaurants is in mentorship of the staff
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L4

Jonathan Waxman loves it when things go wrong in his kitchen, when somebody burns something. "I love it when it's bad. I get even more calm," Waxman says, well, calmly. The Berkeley, Calif.-born-and-raised chef tranquilly surveys the scene at his new Toronto restaurant, which he co-owns with film director Ivan Reitman, as if he were taking in a sunset in Santa Monica.

Waxman, credited for introducing New York palates to California-style cooking, doesn't have the ego-fed intensity of the stereotypical celebrity chef. "I'm always chill," he says, "always." The latest star chef to touch down in Canada, Waxman, like his feel-good food, has a welcoming, unpretentious ease. After decades in a cutthroat industry, he could be the role model for how to succeed without selling - or burning - out.

It's not to say that Waxman isn't excitable. During our hourand-a-half-long chat, he talks passionately about peaches from Northern California's Brentwood country ("They taste like peach ice cream. Just not real"); the first time he saw nasturtium blossoms used in a salad ("An amazing moment"); a chicken dish, wrapped and deep-fried in parchment paper, he ate at a Chinese restaurant in San Francisco when he was four years old ("Oh my God, it was so delicious. So delicious! I can see it and taste it right now"). If others might measure their lives in milestones, professional and personal, Waxman's seems signposted by milestones of deliciousness.

Waxman, who worked at Chez Panisse for a year, credits Alice Waters as his greatest influence. Like Waters, Waxman's cooking, with its refined rusticity, puts the spotlight on seasonal ingredients. (It makes him crazy, he says, to see, say, asparagus on a menu out of season. And he hates seeing an ingredient appearing more than once on a menu. "Ingredients need to speak to you, and you need to respect them," he says.)

His culinary credo is simple. "A lot of people are fussy about food," he says. "Fussiness doesn't work for me. I don't make tweezer food. Tweezers are for eyebrows. Or splinters." What he is fussy about, or at least emphatic about, is the importance, as well as the difficulty and deliciousness, of simplicity. "Simple is like the Chanel black dress. How many times did she have to cut it to get it perfect? A billion times, right? It's the same thing for food."

What he has surely prepared a billion times - and perfected - is the roast chicken he has long served at Barbuto, his 11-year-old Italian restaurant in New York's West Village. The now-signature dish inspired New York Times critic Frank Bruni to describe it as "... so impressive that it's arguably cause for scientific study." The famous fowl has found its way to Waxman's menu at Montecito - a grandiose, twostorey affair located next to downtown Toronto's TIFF Bell Lightbox (land long-owned by the Reitman family). Named after the almost objectionably idyllic suburb of Santa Barbara, Montecito bathes in perfect, buttery lighting (presumably among the perks of having a renowned film director as a business partner). The restaurant's grandness provides a theatrical, if contrasting, backdrop to Waxman's cozy, patch-to-plate cooking.

If other celebrity chefs have debuted restaurants in Canada, those satellite restaurants (consider Scott Conant's short-lived Scarpetta in Toronto's Thompson Hotel) have also, largely, disappointed and flopped; the food, atmosphere and service lacking in the finesse and magic of their New York originals. The chief ingredient to the success of this sort of venture, Waxman feels, is in mentorship. "You have to find the right individuals who understand, and get a piece of your DNA," he says, "That's why I settled on [executive chef] Matt [Robertson]. He finished my sentences." Some of what Waxman imparts to the protégés that he calls "my kids": Don't cook with your eyes ("Most chefs cook with their eyes because they want to make it pretty. First, make it taste good. Alice taught me that my job is to taste"); and "You have to be able to improvise. Improvisation is the highest form of flattery in the sense that you want to please your audience, you want to come up with something unusual."

Improvisation is something Waxman learned as a young musician. Before he found his way to the stoves, Waxman played the trombone and landed a scholarship at the University of Nevada, later playing in casino pit bands with the likes of Sammy Davis Jr. It was only when he found himself gig-less in Maui that he took a job at a beachside restaurant, the Rusty Harpoon. "My buddies said, 'You have two options: Sell drugs or work in a restaurant.' I'm going, well, I don't want to sell drugs, I can get them for free.' "

Waxman eventually enrolled in cooking school in San Francisco. Of those early student days, he recalls: "I remember the first time we made chocolate roulade. And I said, 'This is better than sex.' It really was." He arrived in Paris in 1976 on his 26th birthday to start cooking school at La Varenne. "I only knew how to say 'Bonjour,' " he says. And roulade. A vocabulary that, as it turns out, served him quite nicely. He lived in an apartment with the editor of Marie Claire magazine and various fashion models. "It wasn't so bad," he offers summarily, smiling slyly and savouring the extravagance of the understatement.

Although Waxman is now, at 63, savouring his grey-bearded role as wise paterfamilias, he is no stranger to faster, flashier lanes - even literally (he used to drive a Ferrari). And he was known to fly to Paris for the evening just to dine at Taillevent. As the late Michael Batterberry, founder of Food & Wine and Food Arts magazines, said: "Whoever said chefs in the eighties were like rock-'n'-roll stars had Jonathan in mind. The talent, plus the hair, the girls, the cars. It was quite new and very Rolling Stone."

I bring up the fact that the L.A. Times once called him the Eric Clapton of chefs. "It's very flattering. But it's embarrassing. Very embarrassing," he says looking, as he always does, fabulously at ease. But he prefers to turn the conversation to the talents of others: "Great chefs in France like Michel Guérard, those guys are the rock stars, they're the Claptons, I just don't think I'm as good as they are. Michel Richard, he cooks better than anyone I've ever known. Jean-Georges [Vongerichten], a great friend, is a phenomenal cook. He cooks circles around me. That's okay. Wolfgang Puck? Circles around me!" he says, enjoying this line of discussion, almost taking pride in his own humility and self-awareness. "I don't think I'm insecure. I know my place."

Associated Graphic

Jonathan Waxman is credited for introducing New York palates to California-style cooking, but he doesn't have the ego-fed intensity of stereotypical celebrity chefs.


Exhibition as detective story
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L3

The big message of the touring exhibition that reached the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts on the weekend is that the early 20th century art practices known as expressionism were not only or inherently German. In this, curator Timothy Benson is battling somewhat against the name of his institution: the Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies, established 30 years ago at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art at the behest of a Beverly Hills lawyer.

Benson's premise, which has been aired before by others, was stated provocatively in the show's original title: Expressionism in Germany and France: From Van Gogh to Kandinsky. This has been changed in Montreal to the misleading From Van Gogh to Kandinsky: Impressionism to Expressionism, 1900 - 1914, apparently for marketing reasons. Anyone expecting to see Impressionist paintings at this intriguing show is in for a big disappointment.

At a media event last week, Benson framed the exhibition almost as a kind of detective story, prompted by the question: "What is expressionism and where did it come from?" The curator and his show are dogged about tracking down the where, more cagey about the what. The trail begins in France with Van Gogh, Cezanne and Gauguin, then heads east to Germany where their works were shown in galleries, discussed by critics, purchased by collectors and absorbed by artists. The results ranged from slavish emulation by some painters to critical diatribes about German art being corrupted by the French.

All this show and tell from a century ago matters, says Benson, because "exhibitions make meaning, and collectors, museum directors, gallerists and critics are the social network within which these artists interacted with each other." If the MBAM really felt a burning need to rename this show, maybe they should have gone for Expressionism: the Social Network.

The works were chosen "based on when and where they were seen," Benson says, a criterion which puts reception by the artists' invested contemporaries on an almost level footing with the production of art. For Van Gogh, this shifts the narrative from the familiar tale of the great artist toiling and dying in obscurity, to that of the hot European art discovery of the early 20th century. Between 1901 and 1909, writes art historian Peter Kropmanns in his catalogue essay, there were at least 33 exhibitions of the painter's works in Germany.

The current show is anchored by five of Van Gogh's works, including a fabulous self-portrait from 1887, and the spiky vigorous Pollard Willows at Sunset, which is reproduced on the exhibition poster. There's also a good small suite of Gauguin paintings, a somewhat less exciting selection of Cézannes, and dozens of works by artists in France, Germany and elsewhere whose enthusiasm for these three painters filtered into their work more or less strongly.

These include wonderful exploratory paintings by the likes of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde and Othon Friesz, whose canvases' luminosity and original palette are completely lost in reproduction. There are also some piquant works by Alexei Jawlensky, Kees van Dongen and Louis Valtat, and a startlinglyplaced La Noce by Henri Rousseau, whose impact on some German expressionists is usefully outlined in Katherine Kuenzli's catalogue essay. Gabriele Munter's Wooden Doll seems a witty retort to the many passive nudes of her male colleagues, including Adolf Erbsloh's ominous kitschy The Red Skirt and Franz Marc's buttery Sketch, Nude on Vermilion.

There's rather too much work by the likes of Max Pechstein, and a few paintings that look almost like Van Gogh or Gauguin, but are actually by acolytes such as Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Paula Modersohn-Becker. The material darkens as the show progresses, ending with a few early works by Kandinsky, apparently to imply a bridge to a future wave of abstraction.

Nobody is independent in this show; everyone is grouped under a label assigned by the social art network of the time (or by the artists themselves) and in circulation ever since. Expressionists, Fauves, Les Nabis, Die Brucke and Die Blaue Reiter are represented almost as quasi-states that exchanged emissaries and indulged in a free trade of ideas.

The same painters energized by the expressive art of Van Gogh and Gauguin reacted against the technical fixations of people like Georges Seurat and Paul Signac (represented here by two canvases), who divided the world into points of colour. But there was also a deep anxiety, underplayed in this show, about mechanical image-making, starting with Van Gogh, who was among the first generation of artists to grow up with photography. In a letter from Antwerp in 1885, he noted the great number of photographers working in the city, and said "I won't let that idea of painting portraits go, for it is a good thing to fight for, to show people that there is more in them than the photographer can possibly get out of them with his machine....The painted portraits have a life of their own, coming straight from the painter's soul, which the machine cannot reach." By 1900, with consumer cameras like the Kodak Brownie spreading across Europe, a kind of art oriented towards the painter's soul offered a new rationale for figurative painting. "I do not literally paint this table, but the emotion it produces on me," said Henri Matisse, who has eight works in this show.

But photography's influence was still discernible. Kirchner's Seated Woman With Wooden Statue (1912) displays the bluntly drawn figure with almost mystical formality, in a charged colour field with a golden nimbus around the head. It looks very much like Matisse's table remark applied to portraiture. But the more casual Woman in a Green Blouse (1910), a portrait of the same model displayed nearby, seems like an expressionist's dashed-off attempt to emulate the immediacy of a snapshot.

The show is bracketed with photographs, from the Paris Exposition of 1900 in the first room and from the First World War in the last, including shots of six of the artists in uniform. The festive international spirit at the start of the century ended in lethal jingoism. This tragic arc is in line with the pronounced bias of the exhibition, in favour of internationalism and against "nationalist regression," to borrow a phrase from Claudine Grammont's catalogue essay.

When I asked Benson to answer his own question, "what is expressionism?", he refused. Standard definitions are too static to be useful, he said, while learned ones are too fluid to be explained easily. Texts on the walls of his exhibition destabilize the term by telling us that English artist and critic Roger Fry called Édouard Manet an expressionist in 1910, and that a Berlin gallery catalogue the following year applied the name to young French artists.The term seems to crumble as you go through the show, which may be just as well. In the end, the paintings are more interesting than the interplay of labels.

Associated Graphic

A detail of Vincent van Gogh's vigorous Pollard Willows at Sunset.


Head in the cloud
Douglas Coupland's book on connectivity reveals the author's over-simplified view of technology
Saturday, October 11, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R22

Kitten Clone: Inside Alcatel-Lucent By Douglas Coupland Random House Canada, 176 pages, $35

Never trust an author who tells you they're not trying to be cute.

Canadian author/artist/sage Douglas Coupland's latest semifictionalized-docu-essay... thing... sees him dealing with digital anxiety, wrapping ponderous observations inside an ostensibly reported essay. And is it ever cute, despite his protestations to the contrary. Coupland crams Kitten Clone with fictionalized interludes, second-person direct address, HTML tags to break up the text, footnotes - one of which leads nowhere at all (call it a malfunctioning hyperlink) - and flights of formatting fancy, like having densely technical paragraphs ramble on until they run off the page, or leaving a bunch of airy white space around the words "the cloud."

All this eagerly playful textuality is designed to give shape to Coupland's time immersed inside Alcatel-Lucent, a Frenchheadquartered telecommunications conglomerate specializing in mobile and network hardware (so: cables and modems and routers and stuff). Coupland jets from Bell Labs in New Jersey to Paris, France to Kanata, Ontario to Shanghai, as he stalks the halls of Alcatel-Lucent (or "AlcaLoo"). It's a great subject, playing like variations on more common profiles of hot, hip app developers that you might read on Wired or Gizmodo.

Think of Alcatel-Lucent as an unsexy Google: no pods or open concept offices with cushy beanbag chairs. Just a bunch of wildly intelligent middle-aged engineers stalking mazes of faded beige carpet trying to figure out how to jam more data through a piece of glass fiber thinner than a strand of human hair. As Coupland puts it, the researchers and developers at Alca-Loo are "charged with creating an astonishing new future in a time-stand-still physical environment." (This abiding beige-ness is heightened by accompanying colour photos by Olivia Arthur.)

Coupland presses the issue of technological determinism (the idea that progress is an inevitability) and how, if progress exists on such a continuum of predictability, the future proves so difficult to predict. But mostly he fusses over modern hyper-connectivity, and how the researchers at Alca-Loo seem totally removed from the resulting products of their work. His pet image is that of a young kid streaming the Twilight films on her phone. Elsewhere, while touring China, Coupland offers a variation, broad-stroking the Internet's endgame as "a bold and bright place where even a rice farmer can sit in a remote mountain cave and watch Anne Hathaway in HD starring in The Devil Wears Prada."

Bracketing the question of what a rice farmer is doing in a cave, examples like this are totally overloaded, suggesting only what Coupland wants: that technology is accelerating in order to hasten our access to trifling, soulpolluting entertainments. But what if Coupland's rice farmer is tucked away in a cave mainlining YouTube videos about how to boost his paddies' yields? What about the kid gorging on Wikipedia while waiting for the bus? Or the guy listening to a podcast about the history of Mongol empire while pounding the StairMaster at the YMCA? What about the really malicious uses of global connectivity, like government agencies tracking a citizen's every keystroke?

Though he never lapses to fullon alarmism, Coupland's seemingly ascribes to the idea that technological innovation and cultural coarsening directly correlate; that we're all getting dumber and worse because it's never been easier to get dumber and worse. This strikes me as its own kind of fallacious determinism.

And there are places where Coupland's interview subjects reject his fatalism. As a Chinese communist ideologue (yes, yes, consider the source... but still) puts it to him, "Broadband [Internet access] is a new form of infrastructure. Penetration creates much more social potential in all areas of society, and we believe the changes are more positive than negative."

Coupland is right that technological advancement deserves meditation on these positives and negatives, and that sometimes it seems like "this sort of reflection is nonexistent." This has been a truism of technological philosophy since McLuhan, and even since Heidegger's The Question Concerning Technology (1954).

But isn't this book - or any piece of sci-fi doomsday prophecy about sentient computers enslaving mankind - precisely that sort of reflection? Coupland seems to believe that companies should be mulling over the farreaching, abstracted end-results of their R&D, that they should retain an in-house media guru.

But can he really believe that CEOs are debating the deeper ethics of their bottom line?

Save for one tossed off footnote scolding financial traders who exploit lags in cable speeds to their advantage, Coupland seems totally, even willfully, oblivious to idea that the motive forces propelling this technological acceleration don't care about the "societal fallout"; that capital is, and has always been, amoral.

Blaming a hi-def stream of Twilight for the world's woes is mistaking the symptom for the disease.

When he gets to them, Coupland's conclusions feel more like premises: the Internet connects people! The Internet is good... but also, sometimes bad! We prefer faster Internet to slower Internet! That he arrives at these basic deductions while sipping literal scotch in a glass tower overlooking Shanghai is nothing short of infuriating; a caricature of a man out-of-touch.

It's also here - high above Shanghai, the greying guru perched on the precipice of the tomorrow - that Coupland sums up the looming digital future by revisiting a phrase that served as the title for a recent Vancouver Art Gallery exhibition dedicated to his work, "everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything."

It's this sort of totally meaningless statement that typifies Coupland's dusty media guru philosophy, reading like a Twitter spambot spitting out sub-McLuhanist pith. Coupland is a lively, sharp, and occasionally very funny writer. But this sort of techietranscendentalist Zen koan stuff is embarrassingly Web 1.0, and accomplishes little beyond making him sound like an anxious, 19th-century Chicken Little who thinks electricity is some kind of sorcerer's trick.

Of course the possibility to return to more old-fangled technologies is still available, for now.

Unlike Coupland, I doubt that - as he suggests in a concluding fictional passage - we'll ever forget how to pet a kitty cat and, when confronted with one in the faraway year of 2245, would set about eating one. You can still crack the spine on a hardcover book (tellingly, Kitten Clone is glossily packaged as very much a physical artifact), drop the needle on a thickly pressed LP, use your imagination to masturbate by candlelight, or sip real-deal non-replicated Laphroaig in a pillar of light shooting out from Shanghai.

These analog pleasures will exist as long as they're worth remembering, preserved not so much in conflict as an in convergence with who-knows-what-other Digital Age gratifications. Like, say, watching The Devil Wears Prada on an iPhone in a cave. Or anywhere. Or everywhere. Or wherever.

John Semley is a Toronto writer.

Associated Graphic

We're getting dumber: Coupland


'I'm going to die': Malarchuk's book discloses and discusses his demons
The Canadian Press
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S3

The scar on the right side of Clint Malarchuk's neck is still visible. It's there for everyone to see on the cover of his new book.

Hockey fans will always remember Malarchuk as the NHL goaltender who nearly died in 1989 after a skate blade sliced his jugular vein. He knows that.

"It's my claim to fame," Malarchuk said. "There's a lot of goalies in my kind of category that weren't the elite, but I'm remembered, even if it's for the infamous accident."

But in The Crazy Game: How I Survived the Crease and Beyond, Malarchuk opens up about the post-traumatic stress disorder that infamous accident caused, his obsessive compulsive disorder, alcoholism and anxiety and a couple of other near-death experiences that he was fortunate to survive. He details battles in his head that made the chaos of hockey feel like a sanctuary.

The opening chapter of The Crazy Game, which was released Tuesday, ends with Malarchuk putting a gun in his mouth and pulling the trigger. Miraculously, he survived.

"When I woke up in intensive care with a bullet in my head, I felt like I was saved or there was a purpose for me," Malarchuk said in an interview Monday. "Maybe it'll help people and maybe somebody won't feel like they're the only one going through a dark time or depression, anxiety, whatever it might be."

Leading up to that point, though, was the toughest part for Malarchuk to relive as he told his story with the help of Dan Robson, a senior writer at Sportsnet Magazine.

"Going through that time I did feel like I was out of control and crazy," Malarchuk said. "I felt like my brain was on fire and I just couldn't put it out."

Through the early portions of the book, Malarchuk opens a window into his childhood in Edmonton and Grande Prairie, Alta., with an alcoholic father, a mother who was one of his best teammates in life and a brother who taught him a lot - and broke his nose a few times. Fights, arrests and a hospitalization at 12 for anxiety start to paint the picture of the "demons" Malarchuk has dealt with from an early age.

Chapters about junior and minor hockey and his start in the NHL with the Quebec Nordiques include more about his OCD. Malarchuk would run up to 20 miles a day and kept up his workout routine because he felt it was the only way to be the best.

"I think my superior conditioning made up for the fact that other goalies had more skill," he wrote. "I basically willed myself into becoming an NHL goalie."

Along with alcohol and anxiety, it caused personal problems along the way, including marriages that did not last. Then came that infamous incident on March 22, 1989.

Malarchuk describes in graphic detail getting sliced in the throat by St. Louis Blues rookie Steve Tuttle and the fear he had in his own head in the seconds and minutes afterward.

"I'm going to die," he thought.

He survived and was back in the Buffalo Sabres net 10 days later.

To this day, he is still recognized because of that near-death experience. It doesn't bother him because he's proud of the perseverance and courage it took to get back on the ice so soon afterward.

"I accept my career for what it was," he said. "It wasn't the greatest, I wasn't Martin Brodeur. But I had a decent career. But a lot of players had lesser careers and a lot have had better. It happened for a reason."

He cheated death twice more - once when he collapsed after drinking and swallowing pills and then later, when he shot himself.

The book tells the bigger story of a goaltender who played 338 career games for the Nordiques, Sabres and Washington Capitals.

There are plenty of hockey anecdotes, such as riding horses on a California golf course with Dale Hunter and getting in trouble with the Capitals for taking part in a rodeo exhibition at the Calgary Stampede.

But even after writing the book about his mental struggles, the 53-year-old doesn't think there are things he could have done differently.

"I was in such a dark place I didn't know what I was thinking, how I was thinking," Malarchuk said. "I felt like I was crazy. That helpless and hopelessness is not a good place. For me I'm grateful that I've been able to, I don't want to say conquer this because I still struggle at times, but manage it."

The book includes its fair share of profanity, language Malarchuk and Robson decided to include because it's more prevalent in times he was out of control.

"There's a time that that language was there, it was strong and that was more of when I was in turmoil," he said. "I wanted to work up or into that time so when I did use that language it was the real language at that time."

By going into such detail about his own bouts with mental illness, Malarchuk is hoping to reach others who may be dealing with similar issues or have loved ones who are. Part of his wife Joanie's journal from a particularly dark period is published, Malarchuk said, because it tells a different side of the story.

"She was able to get the support and help as well," he said.

"There's probably more people who will read the book that aren't affected with mental illness but are on the other side where they know somebody or a loved one and they don't know how to cope or deal or what to do and they feel trapped."

While promoting the book, Malarchuk knows he has to stay on top of his regimen of keeping his emotions in check because this is a stressful time in his life. He still has his battles, admitting that tragedies such as the overdose of former NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard and the suicides of former Vancouver Canucks forward Rick Rypien and junior player Terry Trafford hit him "on an emotional level."

"I know just how you feel or felt," he said. "It brings back some of that pain where I was in my life and at those dark times. I feel their helplessness, if that makes sense. They feel helpless and hopeless and I feel the same way again."

He says the book has helped him become more self-aware.

"I wanted to impress upon people that I am alive and it's for a reason and it's to be honest and disclose my demons so that other people can maybe be helped by it," he said. "All the stuff that I have gone through, if I don't somehow relay it to people, I've gone through it for nothing."

Associated Graphic

Buffalo Sabres goalie Clint Malarchuk responds to reporters on March 22, 1989, following his harrowing neck injury.


Refuge from the storm
Stocks took a pounding this week, but the underlying market fundamentals have not changed. Here is where to hide from further volatility, and even find a smart buy or two
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B9

Location, location, location: Canadian investors looking to escape the carnage in financial markets may soon realize the wisdom of real estate agents and find benefits in living next door to an 800-pound gorilla of an economy.

That's the message from money managers as the S&P/TSX Composite index formally entered correction territory this week as concerns over growth in Europe, cooling inflation in commodity-hungry China, and the impact of the Ebola virus jolted financial markets.

Canada isn't alone. Stocks across the world have taken a pounding, too.

"It's never pretty when this happens, but as long as you believe the fundamentals have not changed - which they haven't - this is a buying opportunity," said Toronto-based Shailesh Kshatriya, associate director for client investment strategies at Russell Investments Canada.

The United States is strengthening, and Canada will continue to benefit from this, he adds. The economy in Europe is slow, but that has been true for the past couple of years, and China will still continue to grow, he says.

"Fundamentally, not a lot has changed over the past couple of months," said Mr. Kshatriya, adding the selloff is presenting buying opportunities, as many companies are now trading below fair market value.

Here are a few ideas for investors looking for refuge from the storm.


While concerns over global growth, which has weighed on commodities, are unlikely to help the TSX in the near term, the index will draw strength from a rising U.S. dollar and a strengthening economy there, money managers say.

The International Monetary Fund, which slashed its global growth forecast for 2014, recently upgraded its expectations of U.S. growth to 2.2 per cent this year and 3.1 per cent in the next.

In such an environment, stocks of companies that export to the United States, and those tied to domestic demand in North America, will do well. Grocery companies and convenience store chains such as Metro Inc. and Alimentation CoucheTard Inc. are safe bets.

"Large cap dividend stocks are the place to hide. When you have a situation where the market has dropped rather quickly, the risk is of people panicking, and liquidity drying up," said Pat McHugh, chief investment strategist at Kaspardlov, Laverty and Associates, a wealth management firm in Windsor, Ont.

Companies focused on growing dividends are another safe bet, Mr. McHugh says. That would include Canada's big banks and telecommunication service providers.

Exchange traded funds

ETFs have captured the imagination of investors and traders alike, owing to their low cost and ease of trading.

Investors have done well with popular offerings such as the iShares S&P/TSX 60 Index Fund and SPDR Gold Trust Shares. But with innovation spawning newer and increasingly specific ETFs, some whose underlying assets aren't as liquid, investors should evaluate their holdings carefully.

"I'm not sure I want to be holding an ETF that tracks one disease indicator on a particular type of cancer, if the market really plunges," says Elvis Picardo, market strategist at Global Securities Corp. in Vancouver.

Real assets

Investing in hard assets such as pipelines, utility companies and toll roads isn't new by any means, but a lot of investors overlook them in times of volatility.

"Investing in real assets works very well," said Michael Underhill, chief investment officer at Pewaukee, Wis.-based Capital Innovations LLC, who sub-advises on the Sprott Real Asset Class fund.

With low correlation to Canadian stocks and bonds, the Sprott fund is designed to provide diversification, protect investors from inflation and capital loss, and provide strong returns over the long term. He says the fund can switch between assets that rise in an inflationary environment and those that work well at times like these, when pricing pressures aren't as visible.

He cites "master limited partnerships" that are publicly traded companies operating in energy and other infrastructure assets. An example would be a company that manages an oil pipeline gets paid a fixed rate for every barrel of oil that is transported, irrespective of the price of oil. "People will still need to drive and that oil will still need to be shipped," Mr. Underhill said.


Canadian real estate investment trusts could provide shelter from volatile markets.

"REITs would certainly be a good place to hide at a time like this," says Mathieu Roy, portfolio manager at Louisbourg Investments Inc., in Moncton, N.B.

While rising interest rates can hurt REITs, which frequently raise capital in the debt markets, analysts believe that the recent selloff has given enough of a cushion for REITs.

"Prices are falling and rates are falling, which is counterintuitive," said Heather Kirk, an analyst at BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. in Toronto. "But given how low rates have fallen, there's a lot of wiggle room in REITs if rates did start going up."

Your mortgage

Probably the biggest impact most people could have on their level of risk exposure is on their home loan.

"A house is, hands down, the single-biggest investment most investors will make," says Robert McWhirter, the Toronto-based president of Selective Asset Management.

Whether you're shopping for a condo in downtown Toronto or looking for a five-bedroom house in the pricey Shaughnessy Heights neighbourhood of Vancouver, there's no getting away from the fact that we're the closest to an interest rate hike than we have been in five years.

If rates start to rise, those once-in-a-generation low rates will vanish, pushing up debtservicing costs for those with flexible-rate mortgages.

"Someone looking to adjust [fix] their mortgage rate at 2.8 per cent for five years makes a lot of sense," Mr. McWhirter said. "To me, that is worth the peace of mind."


No discussion of safe havens is complete without a mention of gold.

Anyone who was invested in the yellow metal these past few years has probably taken it on the chin.

But given the intense selling pressure elsewhere, bullion prices could move up for the short term, as they did this past week, rising to a onemonth high.

That move, however, is more an aberration and less an emerging trend, analysts say, as the increase will likely come up against a tightening monetary stance from the U.S. Federal Reserve and a stronger U.S. dollar, which will likely offset any safe-haven inflows.

Gold prices hit a low of $1,180 in June of 2013 when then-Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke announced the decision to taper bond repurchases.

The metal retested the low in December, and again recently this year.

"We've seen the low, which may well hold. But I don't see a lot of upside potential from where we are now," said Patricia Mohr, commodity market specialist at the Bank of Nova Scotia.

Satish Sarangarajan

Associated Graphic

The U.S. economy is strengthening, and Canada will continue to benefit from this, says Shailesh Kshatriya, associate director for client investment strategies at Russell Investments Canada.


Like Canada's top justices, readers, print and digital, held court this week on whether the terminally ill and suffering should have the right to a physician-assisted death
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F8

In the mid-1970s, I was the VicePresident Nursing when the first palliative care unit was established in a Canadian teaching hospital. I am now 81, in remission from cancer and watching the assisted-death discussion carefully. I want a new law in place when my general deterioration gives me the courage to act, with enough energy left to hold a leave-taking celebration.

Palliative care is an absolute base for supporting the patient through the time that he/she first engages in the application for a Death with Dignity directive. It's time to free the discussion about dying of all the claptrap about "natural death," "reverence for life," "slippery slopes," "suicide," "assisted suicide" and "euthanasia."

Quebec's Bill 52 goes a long way toward strengthening the place of choice in how I will die. It gives legal backing for "assisted suicide" in the face of intolerable suffering. But our choices at that point in the illness deal only with how I will experience my death. A directive, with my definition of "dignity," would allow the physician to adhere to my request for the when.

Living longer presents us as individuals with a need to think about what that life will be like, for us, for our families, and for society. We are committed to a reverence for life and a natural death. Perhaps we could become as committed to a reverence for a chosen life.

Lorine Besel, Montreal

As a nurse who has seen death up close in a hospital setting, I believe Dying with Dignity's Ipsos Reid survey showing that 84 per cent of Canadians would support "assisted dying" if strong safeguards were in place asked the wrong question.

The question - "As long as there are strong safeguards in place, how much do you agree or disagree that a doctor should be able to help someone end their life if the person is a competent adult who is terminally ill, suffering unbearably and repeatedly asks for assistance to die?" - assumes that strong safeguards are relatively easy to put in place.

Another poll released earlier this year, also by Ipsos Reid, found that 81 per cent of the 1,000 Canadians surveyed said that they are worried about the quality of health care they can expect when they're older, and that six in 10 have little faith that hospitals and long-term care facilities have the resources even now to handle the needs of a rapidly greying population. How then can Dying with Dignity assume that a health-care system that appears to have lost the confidence of a great many Canadians will protect its most frail and vulnerable with "strong safeguards"?

Many Canadians are unprotected from suffering because they don't have palliative care, particularly in Quebec. Where are their safeguards? Who is protecting them?

Dying with Dignity's question should have been: "Considering the fact that not every Canadian who needs palliative care receives it, how much do you agree or disagree that a doctor should be able to help someone end their life if the person is not receiving palliative care and is a competent adult who is terminally ill, suffering unbearably and repeatedly asks for assistance to die?"

Nathan Friedland, Roxboro, Que.

People who are opposed to doctor-assisted suicide forget that many people are alive only because of medical intervention.

We can prolong the lives of many, but often at great cost to that person.

Sorry folks, life is a terminal condition. People should be able to make the choice to end it on their own terms. Ethical doctors would welcome that. Saving a life at any cost is not in tune with "do no harm."

Mary Dale Caswell Bird, Kakabeka Falls, Ont.

I count among my friends and acquaintances several people in their 90s. Their heath situations vary; while none is suffering implacable physical pain, the emotional stress is evident from their frequent comments about such conditions as loneliness, dependence on other people for day-today activities and so on. As a 98year-old of my acquaintance puts it, "That's enough."

Clearly, the "slippery slope" brigade would be totally against helping such a person end his/ her life, citing greedy relatives or some other such reason why the victim's life - and emotional suffering - should be prolonged.

It's time to recognize that suffering takes a multitude of forms, many of which could lead to a very rational desire to "end it all."

Dave Ashby, Toronto

If someone wants to die, they cannot ask someone who has taken a vow to save lives to end theirs.

Shelley Wood, Oshawa

Granting the right to an assisted death to someone terminally ill who wishes to die in no way impinges on the right of a disabled person to continue living as they currently do.

The two rights are not tangled up with each other. If a disabled person is pressured to accept suicide, that would clearly be a criminal act - and should be dealt with as such. This case is about the right to choose. That's all.

Geoff Rytell, Toronto

I hope the Supreme Court sees that "to protect the vulnerable and to preserve the sanctity of life" is not an opposing, but a supporting position to an individual's "right to life, liberty and security" under the Charter of Rights and Freedom.

While many may choose to die a natural death and wait for it to occur, why must this position be forced on all? Why should others not have the right to end their life when they no longer want to suffer pain or the indignities of age?

Who are we protecting when an individual is in constant pain and agony, can no longer feed him/ herself, is forced to sit in feces, and/or cannot carry on a meaningful conversation?

Who has judged this to be the quality of life that needs to be "preserved"? I would equate these conditions with torture.

Compassion is defined as a "strong desire to alleviate suffering." Yet when individuals request assistance to end their own suffering humanely, we deny their request. We are not protecting them. We are judging them, and denying them the liberty to end their own life when it has become unbearable by their own standards.

I hope the Supreme Court will return our right to choose - life and death - with dignity!

Judi Bachmann, Montreal

This debate could go on forever, there are so many different situations where assisted suicide would be acceptable and many where it wouldn't.

Shao Xu, Thornhill, Ont.

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include name, address and daytime phone number. Keep letters under 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. E-mail:

Associated Graphic

Lee Carter and her mother, Kathleen Carter, 89, whom she accompanied to Switzerland in 2010 to end her life. Ms. Lee is asking the Supreme Court to grant the right to physician-assisted death.


Defoe injury may spell end to season and time in Toronto
The Canadian Press
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S7

Toronto FC fans may have seen the last of Jermain Defoe.

The 32-year-old England striker has aggravated a groin injury and will miss Saturday's home finale against the Montreal Impact. His status for the season finale in New England is up in the air, as is his future in Major League Soccer, given the speculation over his status at the end of the last transfer window.

Defoe insists he is happy in Toronto. But he has not looked beyond this season, saying he can't predict the future. The door to the rest of the soccer world swings opens again in January.

Toronto coach Greg Vanney has sympathy for Defoe's physical woes, having suffered a similar injury (osteitis pubis) while playing in France.

"Once it inflames, it is a debilitating injury," Vanney said after practice Friday. "And it takes months to heal. Some players will end up in surgery and some players will miss a full season. If it's anything similar to that, then I understand his plight.

"Aside from that. I think he's a true professional. And at the end of the day, [if] he doesn't feel 100 per cent, he doesn't feel he can give what he's capable of giving and therefore he needs to get right."

Defoe has played in the past three games since missing nine of the 10 previous matches due to the groin injury. He looked like his range-finder was off, missing a penalty and lacking sharpness.

"I think between the groin injury and the migration of the pain and the inflammation, they're not exactly sure what it is," Vanney said of the injury.

"Either way, it's going to take him some time to really get over it."

Defoe, who has not had a break other than injury in backto-back seasons in England and North America, was one day from undergoing hernia surgery during his last layoff.

The former Spurs star has missed 12 games through injury and one through suspension in his debut MLS season.

He collected 11 goals and two assists in 1,169 minutes of play in the team's first 17 games of the season. He has no points in 360 minutes of play in the 15 games since.

Still, he is Toronto's leading scorer with 11 goals in 19 games.

And it speaks volumes about Toronto's sad-sack history that Defoe already stands No. 5 on Toronto's all-time scoring list.

Still, a healthy Defoe has been a considerable weapon. Toronto is 6-0-2 when he scores this season. Unfortunately, he has not scored since July 17 - 16 games ago. And his goals have come at a cost - $561,816 (U.S.) per strike.

Overall, Toronto (11-14-7) is 6-7-6 when Defoe plays this season.

Injuries to both Defoe and Brazil's Gilberto hampered their time and ability to forge a strike partnership. The two designated players have done better alongside England's Luke Moore, who can hold the ball up and plays others into the attack, than they have together, although there hasn't been much service other than from Michael Bradley and Jonathan Osorio.

While Defoe has shown he can score in MLS, he has been less successful in becoming the face of the franchise. Tim Leiweke, the outgoing CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, wanted an ambassador as well as a striker for his $6.18-million salary outlay this season.

Leiweke got only one and it seems clear that he and Defoe had different designated player job descriptions.

Defoe did not help himself by flying to England for treatment and then failing to address the rampant speculation over his future during his last injury absence. Two tweets didn't do much to win over a weary fan base that has heard too many snake-oil pitches.

One wonders just how happy Defoe has been here, despite the fact that Toronto FC has by all reports bent over backward to help him settle in. Defoe's locker stall usually featured two cellphones, presumably one for North America and one for Britain. It may make fiscal sense but it hardly screams settling in.

Defoe has been pleasant to deal with, although it is clear the media access in North America is completely foreign - and somewhat bewildering - to him.

If he was briefed on having to expect cameras in his face while he towels off, the message didn't get through.

He comes across as someone who just wants to play soccer.

Just perhaps, not here.

If that's the case, he's allowed - especially given the departure or impending exit of the people who brought him here. Fans just want some clarity, so they know who to cheer for.

Defoe won't be the only highprofile Toronto FC absentee Saturday at BMO Field. Bradley, the team's other marquee player, is suspended for accumulation of yellow cards. And, perhaps in a symbol of the franchise's run of luck this season, rookie defender Nick Hagglund is both injured and suspended.

Toronto enters the weekend in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, six points behind the Columbus Crew (12-10-10). In order to make the playoffs for the first time, Toronto needs to gain maximum points against Montreal and New England and hope the Crew lose their remaining games against New York and Philadelphia.

It's possible but improbable, although Toronto sees a sliver of hope.

"We know that there's a crack in the door for us," said Vanney.

"Crazier things have happened in this league," added Bradley.

"Stranger things have happened," echoed captain Steven Caldwell.

Should Toronto win Saturday, it will have to wait a day to see how Columbus fares against the Red Bulls.

Sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, Montreal (618-8) is looking to play spoiler.

"Our main focus is to get a result to knock them out of the playoffs," said goalkeeper Evan Bush. "With the rivalry we have with them, it would be special to knock them out. They tried to do it to us last year, and they didn't feel bad about it."

Toronto has lost three straight, during which it has been outscored 7-1. Montreal, meanwhile, has been beaten just once in its last five outings (2-1-2) in all competitions.

Former Impact midfielder Collen Warner is expected to replace Bradley in a Toronto midfield featuring Osorio, Warren Creavalle and Brazil's Jackson. Doneil Henry steps in for Hagglund at centre back. Moore and Gilberto will start up front.

Montreal star striker Marco Di Vaio is available despite travelling to Italy for the midweek announcement that his old club Bologna is being bought by a consortium that includes Impact owner Joey Saputo.

Associated Graphic

Toronto FC forward Jermain Defoe is fouled by Houston Dynamo forward Brian Ownby in Toronto on Oct. 8.


Hôtel Le Germain Ottawa mixes it up with art
Public-private mixed-use project will expand the Ottawa Art Gallery, add a 120-room boutique hotel with eight floors of condos
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B9

A new hotel to be built in Ottawa puts the spotlight on public-private arrangements that are bringing cultural benefits, unique branding and prime downtown locations to mixed-use commercial developments.

Groupe Germain Hospitalité, DevMcGill and EBC Inc. will soon break ground on a 23-storey complex that includes the expansion of the Ottawa Art Gallery as well as the construction of a 120-room boutique hotel, an 82-unit condominium, a theatre, a screening room and four classrooms.

The three Quebec companies make up a consortium recently selected by the City of Ottawa for the redevelopment of Arts Court, Ottawa's 1870 courthouse, which was repurposed in 1988 and today houses 25 arts organizations, including the gallery. The project represents a $60-million investment from the private sector and a $40-million investment from the city and the nearby University of Ottawa, which will use the facility in its educational programming and events.

For Groupe Germain, a familyrun business, the project adds to a growing list of distinctive mixeduse developments that have allowed the hotel chain to strategically locate and market itself.

"Ottawa's strong visitor base and the wealth of tourism make the city an ideal place to pursue our national expansion," says Christiane Germain, co-founder and co-president of the company, along with her brother, Jean-Yves Germain.

The company owns and operates four-star Le Germain Boutique-Hôtels and "no-frills-chic" three-star Alt Hotels across the country. Mixed-use developments make it possible for smaller hotels like theirs to be built on downtown properties that would otherwise be too pricey, Mr. Germain explains, given the rising cost of land in city cores over the past 10 years.

"A stand-alone hotel in a major market is not easy, it's almost impossible," he says. "You need other components to maximize density and to be efficient on the site."

Indeed, the mixed-use formula has helped Groupe Germaine develop hotels in a number of key places. In March it opened a new Alt Hotel in Montreal's Griffintown district, in a development that includes offices as well as condos. It also combined the three functions in the new Hôtel Le Germain Calgary, which opened in 2010.

The chain currently includes 10 hotels, with four properties in the works, including Alt Hotels in Winnipeg and Calgary and one that is to open on Slater Street in Ottawa in 2016. Mr. Germain says there are another four projects in the pipeline.

The hotel market in Canada is strong, says Tony Pollard, president of the Hotel Association of Canada. An annual report released by the organization and PKF Consulting Canada forecasts that demand for rooms will rise 2.7 per cent this year, while supply will increase by just 0.7 per cent.

City cores remain popular as locations, although the cost of downtown land has more and more developers looking for mixed-use commercial opportunities there, he says. "You're able to derive revenue from more than one source."

Ms. Germain says that mixeduse developments allow for some creativity in terms of branding. For the Arts Court project in Ottawa, for example, there are plans for an art theme throughout the hotel.

"Everybody's excited about it," she says. "Cultural tourism is quite an important segment of our business. To be attached to an art gallery adds to our brand, it adds to the destination."

Peter Radke, manager of realty initiatives and development for the City of Ottawa, says the Arts Court redevelopment at the corner of Daly and Waller streets will more than triple the size of the Ottawa Art Gallery and make it more accessible and obvious, with a striking glass box design.

The project overall adds to the intensification of the downtown, he says, while increasing the stock of hotel rooms and tourism facilities, a city goal. The development is positioned between two future stations of the new Confederation Line LRT.

Under the deal with the city, the hotel and condominium are being granted development rights below and beside the existing heritage structure. Hôtel Le Germain Ottawa will extend up through the first 12 storeys of the tower, with the bottom four floors housing the hotel lobby, meeting rooms and services and eight floors above set aside for rooms.

The top eight stories will be DevMcGill's private residences, and there will be two levels of underground parking.

The design of the complex is the result of collaboration between Groupe Régis Côté Architectes and LemayMichaud Architecture Design.

Jean-Serge D'Aoust, senior vicepresident of buildings at the construction company EBC, says the mixed public-private complex "is one of the few projects of this nature in Canada and represents an example of how other public bodies may create value on their real estate holdings."

Ms. Germain cautions, however, that mixed-use projects can be "very complicated" to pursue and execute. "You often have to deal with three developers, three contractors ... the legal stuff is not as usual," she says. "It's not easy, but that's the way it has to be."

Mr. Germain notes that the end result is a hotel in a good location that is relatively simple to manage, albeit with some shared systems and common areas. Each element has its own identity and branding, with separate entrances and security systems, for example.

He says that Groupe Germain has been working for the past decade to locate in Ottawa, which is a strong and consistent market.

Hotel guests are drawn by government business during the year and the capital's many attractions in summertime.

It is hoped that the new Arts Court development will improve and even revitalize the somewhat troubled area around Rideau Street in the eastern part of Ottawa's downtown, Mr. Germain says. "A project like ours will make a difference there, that's for sure."

The redevelopment is timed to coincide with the festivities planned for Canada's 150th birthday in 2017. The art gallery is to open in early 2017, while the hotel and residences are expected to be completed later in the year.


Groupe Germaine Hospitalité has established several of its hotels in mixed-use developments that include condominium residences and/or office space:

Hôtel Le Germain Calgary Opened: February of 2010 Floors: 20 Rooms: 143 Condos: 40 Offices: 87,800 square feet

Alt Hotel Montreal Opened: March of 2014 Floors: 18 Rooms: 154 Condos: 188 Offices: 75,000 square feet

Alt Hotel Winnipeg Opening: 2015 Floors: 20 Rooms: 154 Offices: 40,000 square feet

Alt Hotel Ottawa Opening: 2016 Floors: 23 Rooms: 148 Condos: 164

Associated Graphic

Entrance of the Hôtel Le Germain Ottawa, which will open in 2017 - timed to coincide with Canada's 150th birthday festivities - as part of the Ottawa Art Gallery expansion and Arts Court redevelopment project. See more renderings of the mixed-use project at


TFWs hired in area with high aboriginal unemployment
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

At the centre of an Alberta mall catering to four First Nations grappling with massive unemployment is a cafeteria that dishes out burgers, fries and bannock - cooked and served by temporary foreign workers.

The exact number of foreigners employed by Ermineskin Cafeteria's owner, Howard Ng, is unclear. Mr. Ng, who is not aboriginal, did not respond to repeated interview requests.

His cafeteria in Ermineskin Cree Nation is in the Maskwacis Mall, a hub for about 12,500 people. The mall has an employment centre, which estimated that seven of 10 aboriginal adults in the four First Nations didn't have a job in 2009.

According to interviews with several residents and property management officials, few of Mr. Ng's workers in Maskwacis Mall - or in his cafeteria in the Samson Cree Nation admin building or his Chinese restaurant in the Samson Mall - are aboriginal. A federal government document, obtained by The Globe and Mail through access-to-information legislation, states Ermineskin Cafeteria requested four temporary foreign workers in 2013 and had two foreigners on staff, making up at least one-third of the work force. A staffer at his Maskwacis Mall cafeteria confirmed at least two TFWs work there.

Mr. Ng's reliance on TFWs is a frustration for some residents who contend he should be turning to the local aboriginal community for employees and Ottawa shouldn't be allowing foreign workers in areas of high unemployment.

The federal government appears to be undermining its own efforts to increase aboriginal employment. As the Employment Department approved Mr. Ng's requests for TFWs, other government branches poured public dollars into training, career fairs and mentoring programs in Maskwacis.

"Why would they bring in cheap labour, when we have a community of over ... 12,000 people within the four Nations?" said Allister Northwest, who works in economic development for the Samson band and organizes an annual career fair. "There's not enough jobs to go around on the reservation."

Ermineskin member Angela Roan echoed these concerns. "The unemployment rate is so high, and then we offer outside people to come in and make money on our reserve and then not hire our own band members. It really frustrates me," said Ms. Roan, who started a business last year to shuttle residents to off-reserve jobs.

The Globe asked Employment and Social Development Canada why it approved Ermineskin Cafeteria's requests for foreign workers, but the department did not answer the question. Spokesman Jordan Sinclair noted the department considers labour market information and efforts made by employers to recruit and train Canadians before deciding whether to allow business owners to hire foreigners.

The TFW program has ballooned since 2002. Nearly 222,000 foreigners were allowed into Canada to work temporarily last year, a figure that has doubled since 2002.

Meanwhile, jobless rates among youth and aboriginal people remain high. Unemployment among aboriginals is more than twice the rate for non-aboriginals, the 2011 National Household Survey showed.

Employment Minister Jason Kenney has urged business owners to tap these underemployed groups. New restrictions, including limiting foreign workers to 10 per cent of a company's work force in low-paying jobs and prohibiting them in regions of high unemployment, are expected to reduce low-skilled TFWs throughout Canada.

"I do think that the changes are helpful and are good for First Nations people because it's going to make employers have to look a little harder [for workers]," said Heather MacTaggart, executive director of Classroom Connections, a non-profit organization that supports programs that foster aboriginal entrepreneurship.

"Those type of service jobs are really important as a skill building."

Leiha Crier, who grew up on the Samson reserve and teaches entrepreneurship skills, believes employers need to change their perceptions about aboriginal people and aboriginal people need to do a better job of marketing their skills.

"We are an untapped resource," Ms. Crier said. "In terms of employment, things are really changing. The mentality is changing. People are wanting to work."

Although government reforms will limit the use of TFWs in food, retail and accommodation positions in Maskwacis, they won't prohibit their employment. Despite the reserves' urgent job needs, the area is considered part of the Edmonton economic region, where unemployment was 4.8 per cent in 2013 - below Ottawa's six-per-cent threshold for banning low-skilled TFWs.

Maskwacis isn't the only jobchallenged community where employers have turned outside Canada for workers. Several business owners in Prince Albert, Sask., a city with one of the highest proportions of aboriginal people in Canada, have relied on the TFW program to fill low-paying jobs.

Sarah Culbert, owner of a Chicken Chef restaurant in Prince Albert, employs four foreign workers - about one-third of her work force - and has done so for the past four years. She said the workers give her stability.

"Training is so costly. There's people that want to work, but the locals don't stay. They stay maybe two months," Ms. Culbert said, noting she has hired aboriginal workers in the past. "In restaurants, you don't make big profits and if there's waste or mistakes then you don't profit at all."

Ms. Culbert said the government's changes to the TFW program will have a major impact on her business. She plans to stop using TFWs, she said, because the $1,000 application fee is too costly.

Robert Dunn owns Humpty's, a quick-service restaurant in Prince Albert. A year ago he had a high proportion of TFWs, but the figure is lower now as some have left and some have become permanent residents. He said foreign workers are prized for their reliability and steadiness on the job.

"I've got a big stack of résumés.

The catch is you can't find employees who want to work and stick around more than three months," he said. "The new generation, they just don't want to work. I don't know what it is."

The newly elected chiefs of Ermineskin and Samson were not available to comment. Both reserves have efforts to grow businesses and jobs for residents.

Mr. Ng has operated the Ermineskin Cafeteria since the mid-1990s. He leases space for his food outlets from property management companies in Ermineskin and Samson.

Samson band councillor Patrick Buffalo said Mr. Ng is a good man. "He's easy to communicate with, easy to get along with," he noted, stressing he is not speaking on behalf of the band.

Mr. Buffalo said residents shouldn't rely on Mr. Ng to create jobs for the community. Mr. Ng, he added, is entitled to hire whomever he wishes.

"He's got his own business and he's got his own corporate veil, and what's beyond the corporate veil is his business."

Associated Graphic

Angela Roan shuttles aboriginal people from her Alberta community to jobs off-reserve.


Farmers fear for future of B.C. agriculture
Government's overhaul of the province's Agricultural Land Reserve has critics worried it will price young growers out of the business
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A7

METCHOSIN, B.C. -- Bob Mitchell still feeds the soil at Sea Bluff Farm as he has for decades with seaweed that he hauls up from the nearby shores.

But the second-generation farmer, now in his 70s, has handed over the daily farm duties to a manager. Robin Tunnicliffe coaxes dozens of crops, from asparagus to zucchinis, out of the enriched land.

The sprawling farm is just a half-hour drive from downtown Victoria, by the waterfront and backing onto a regional park. It would be coveted by Realtors for development. But Sea Bluff Farm has been frozen in time, protected under the Agricultural Land Reserve for the past 40 years.

This year, the B.C. Liberal government overhauled the ALR for the first time, creating two zones that will make it easier for non-agricultural development on protected farmland outside the most productive regions. The provincial government says the changes will enhance agriculture because they will allow farmers more options to supplement their incomes, but critics fear the new rules will drive land speculation within the reserve's boundaries.

Driven by a desire for food security, the ALR was established in 1973, the first of its kind in Canada. Today, there is nothing quite like it, although Ontario and Quebec have moved to protect farmland. The ALR was a response to rapid development that saw thousands of hectares of B.C.'s prime farmland disappear under asphalt each year.

Farmers like Ms. Tunnicliffe worry that the government's new two-zone structure will weaken the land reserve, making it that much more difficult for the young farmers she mentors to find a future in agriculture. Unless they are in line to inherit farmland, many of them are destined to head north to find affordable farmland. If the new rules spur land speculation within the ALR, those opportunities will be further out of reach.

On a warm October day, she has three workers helping her with the fall harvest, each of them eager to learn farm management so they can set up their own farms.

B.C. farmers are aging and their children typically are not staying home to take over the family business. But Kristen Nammour, 28, doesn't fit the profile. She grew up in an urban environment where food came from the grocery store. "No high school counsellor ever said to me, 'You should be a farmer.' " But her small balcony garden in Vancouver produced a spark of interest, and she moved to Vancouver Island to learn how she can be a part of producing nutritious food for local communities.

"These are smart young people with capital, setting about farming in an intelligent and thoughtful way, with well-thought-out business plans," Ms. Tunnicliffe said. "I'm outraged that a change was made to this policy of the ALR. It recognized the inherent value of farmland. We can and should be feeding ourselves." The climate is changing and the province needs to prepare for change, she said. "The future of food production is in the north."

The industry has changed in the four decades since the ALR was established. Ms. Tunnicliffe grows the business by working with with local chefs. Her arugula is destined for an upscale Victoria pizzeria, one of 30 local restaurants that snap up specialty veggies such as her French breakfast radishes. Those niche markets are key because farms like this can't compete with cheap imported produce.

Over all, B.C. farms don't produce enough food to feed British Columbians.

There are 4.6 million British Columbians, and the province has 4.7 million hectares of land preserved for agriculture. On paper, that is more than enough to provide a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food in the province: It takes about half a hectare of producing farmland to produce the food for one person for one year. But about 45 per cent of the province's protected farmland isn't in production, and some of the land that is in production isn't for food - it is used for horses, or producing Christmas trees and flowers.

The result is the province produces only about half of the food residents here consume. And with a growing population and continued pressure on farmland, Richard Bullock, chair of the Agricultural Land Commission, says the trend is worrisome.

"We all have to be careful. The world is getting hungrier and one of the things we all forget as the middle class is that the pressure and competition for what we have taken for granted is going to get stiffer and stiffer. I think we will have to produce more for ourselves over time."

His office will manage the results of the government's new rules around the ALR, but Mr. Bullock says it is too early yet to say what the result will be.

Hannah Wittman, a professor in the faculty of land and food systems at the University of B.C., says it is easy to be complacent: "We have a highly subsidized food production system just to the south of us; why not buy from them?" She can point to rising food prices due to the California drought as one reason that isn't a good idea. A domestic food supply system can't be conjured up overnight if the growing population of B.C. finds imports increasingly out of reach. Farmers, like farmland, need time to become productive.

The ALR was an "unbelievably prescient policy," but today farmers are struggling to make a living and new policies are needed to encourage more domestic food production. "I'm the daughter of a rancher, one of five kids and none of us is farming," Prof.

Wittman said. She proposes a provincial land bank, where farmers could access long-term leases on Crown land that is within the ALR. That would allow them, like Mr. Mitchell with his bushels of seaweed, to improve the land and grow more productively.

It's one idea that Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick is considering. The MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country was dropped into the portfolio after the legislation was drafted last spring, and has been left to manage the regulatory fine-tuning after a summer of consultation. The Crown leasing proposal is "one of the things we are looking for the next few months."

As he toured the province this summer, Mr. Letnick said he saw "a wealth of people working hard on the land producing products that British Columbians are buying." He believes B.C. can grow its agriculture sector to meet future needs. "I say to all the young farmers out there, there are opportunities out there for everyone."

Associated Graphic

Kristen Nammour hydro cools Swiss chard in water to help prevent wilting at Sea Bluff Farm in Metchosin, B.C., earlier this month. Ms. Nammour moved there from Vancouver to study farming.


The tinker temptation
The recent rough ride in the markets no doubt has you thinking about making changes to your portfolio. But rebalancing now, amid turmoil, often results in buying high and selling low, investment advisers say
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, October 16, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B10

As markets teeter back and forth amid unprecedented volatility, investors who fear suffering losses might be tempted to rebalance their portfolios.

Tinkering with your investments in the midst of market upheaval driven by fear, greed, low interest rates and geopolitical unrest - just to name a few - is generally not an effective way to rebalance, experts say.

"It's important not to let emotions drive your investment decisions, because you don't want to be rebalancing for the wrong reasons," says Bob Stammers, director of investor education at the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Institute in New York.

And rebalancing out of the fear of substantial losses is a "wrong reason," he adds.

Instead, rebalancing should be part of an overarching strategy that is not driven by market losses, Mr Stammers adds. The decision to rebalance should be made according to your portfolio's asset allocation requirements, ensuring the mix of bonds, stocks and cash reflects long-term goals.

To that end, investors generally need to assess their portfolio regularly, maybe once or twice a year, to ensure its asset allocation still aligns with their longterm needs.

For example, say you plan to retire in 10 years, and you have determined that a portfolio of 50 per cent stock, 40 per cent bonds and 10 per cent cash will best achieve that goal.

During the course of markets hitting record highs, the equity component increases to 70 per cent of the portfolio. So you sell some stock and buy some bonds, and increase cash to rebalance the portfolio's asset allocation.

This strategy has proven effective in growing and preserving wealth over the long term, studies say. One oft-referred-to paper from the 1980s by Gary P. Brinson, L. Randolph Hood and Gilbert L. Beebower found that 94 per cent of the variation in a portfolio's return can be attributed to asset class selection, with stock picking and market timing playing a much smaller role in generating returns.

Yet systematic asset class selection and rebalancing is difficult for many investors to put into practice because it generally involves a contrarian mindset, says Elizabeth Harding, an investment adviser with Richardson GMP in Burlington, Ont.

"It's often uncomfortable because you're selling something that is doing well and buying into something that isn't doing well," she says.

Investors need to be disciplined, and having a plan that regularly evaluates a portfolio's asset allocation, and rebalancing when necessary, helps investors sell high and buy low.

Too often, however, investors consider rebalancing only in the midst of turmoil, which often has the opposite effect: buying high and selling low, Ms. Harding adds.

Some investors may be concerned about the negative impact of taking profits from their equity holdings to increase the fixed income component of their portfolio during this time of low interest rates, when even corporate bonds are paying historically low yields.

Adding to this concern, fixed income has experienced a 30plus-year bull market as interest rates have fallen and bond values have risen. With rates hovering at all-time lows, however, central bankers are now more likely to hike rates than lower them. This will negatively affect the bond portion of your portfolio.

"No one should be buying fixed income thinking they're going to be getting a capital gain now, because interest rates are probably going to rise somewhat in the next few years," says Ben Kelly, an associate portfolio manager with BCV Asset Management in Winnipeg.

Still, most investors generally need fixed-income assets in their portfolios to provide steady, albeit low returns.

Some experts recommend short-duration bonds maturing in less than five years, so when interest rates rise, your bond holdings will not be as adversely affected.

Yet no one can predict when rates will rise, so it's better to avoid making a prediction on duration, Mr. Kelly says.

"That's why we try to diversify around durations," he says.

"We'll buy corporate bonds that go out three years all the way out to about eight years."

More than anything, fixed income assets are a "shock absorber" for your portfolio because they tend to increase or at least hold their value when stock markets fall, he says.

Yet the decision to own more bonds and less stock, or vice versa, must be driven by a longterm strategy that is periodically revisited, refined and rebalanced - only not too much, Mr. Stammers says.

"You've got to really set out in your plan why you're going to rebalance because it can involve significant costs and tax consequences," he says.

This is why many investors choose to let allocations fluctuate within an acceptable range without rebalancing. For example, a portfolio could hold between 50 and 60 per cent equities and 40 and 50 per cent bonds without the need to rebalance.

Regardless of how it's done, regular rebalancing can help keep your investment strategy on track. It's a good way to guard against deep market losses than trying to time the market, which, while not impossible, is unlikely.

"You're never going to catch a top or a bottom on any market," Ms. Harding says. "They're always going to go higher than you think and they're always going to go lower than you think."


The standard investing portfolio consists of equities, fixed-income vehicles and cash. Generally, how a portfolio is structured is dependent on the time until the money is needed and the potential returns offered by each asset class.


Stocks offer the most risk and highest returns for investors. Generally, the longer you are from retirement, the more equities you can hold in your portfolio. Yet money manager Ben Kelly with BCV Asset Management says even retirees should have some equities in their portfolio to provide long-term growth that keeps pace with inflation.

Fixed income

Bonds provide steady returns from interest payments, adding stability to a portfolio. Fixed income is often the first choice of investors who require regular income from their investments without the worry of substantial capital losses. Moreover, bonds offer a hedge against stock market volatility, as they tend to increase in value when the stock market falls.


Includes securities such as term deposits, savings accounts, guaranteed investment certificates and bonds with durations of a year or less. Bob Stammers with the CFA Institute says most investors should hold cash for two reasons: one, they should have enough to cover six months to one year's worth of expenses in case of emergency, and, two, cash on hand allows investors to quickly take advantage of buying opportunities, such as during a market correction when asset prices are cheap.

Associated Graphic

Systematic portfolio rebalancing can seem contrarian to investors, says Elizabeth Harding, an adviser with Richardson GMP.


In the decades since Mao Zedong ignited revolution, China has flourished under the solid grip of one-party authoritarian rule. Western nations have long lectured the Chinese on the need for democratic reforms to match their more recent economic openings, but now Beijing is a global giant with an ever-greater ability to lash back. So what's a country like Canada to do? Nathan VanderKlippe reports from Beijing
Friday, October 10, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A6

Last week, Communist China turned 65, but the outside world could be forgiven for missing it. The date was overshadowed by protests that have overtaken Hong Kong, where authorities went so far as to cancel the celebratory fireworks.

The anniversary nonetheless marks a milestone. For two-thirds of a century now, the revolution that took root under Mao Zedong has flourished, leaving China with a one-party authoritarian rule whose methods have changed greatly over the years, but whose grip on power has not. China today, like China in the years after 1949, rules from the centre, and reacts swiftly and harshly to anyone or anything that could threaten its command.

In fact, if China's 65th anniversary marks anything, perhaps it's a time for other nations to reevaluate how they approach a country that plays an increasingly fundamental role in global trade, but maintains an often-repressive political and civil society regime.

In recent years, Canada's unwillingness to offer more than lukewarm opposition to China's undemocratic practices has brought it criticism. Longtime Hong Kong democracy activist Martin Lee, for example, called the international community, including Canada, "despicable" for not rising up more strongly in defence of Hong Kong's protesters. China has "all the power.

They have all the money. And all the other countries are on their side, too," he said. "I think it's shameful."

(Canada's Foreign Affairs Department, in its most recent comments on Hong Kong, has said it has concerns with "senior members of the Chinese leadership" and supports "the implementation of universal suffrage for the election of the Chief Executive in 2017 and all members of the Legislative Council in 2020.")

But China's rise has created increasingly vexing foreign policy questions for other countries, because when it is criticized, Beijing has an ever-greater ability to lash back. It is now the world's second-largest economy; by one measure, it already occupies top spot. It played a singularly important role in bringing the financial world back from the brink in the recent economic collapse. Its contributions are increasingly sought for international endeavours, such as fighting terror.

But as it whips up internal nationalism under its "China dream" conception, the country under President Xi Jinping has shown itself increasingly indelicate with those outside its borders: Witness its provocative actions in disputed maritime areas - where it is building islands and even drilling for oil to boost its claims - and its willingness to slap aside foreign competitors to benefit its own companies.

(It is one of the great ironies of today's China that Google's Android operating system claims fully 82.7 per cent of the country's smartphone market share, but virtually all of the company's primary ad-driven services - search, Gmail and Maps - are censored, severely hampering the company's ability to profit from its presence there.)

China, moreover, has consistently defied the efforts of Western nations to seek democratic reforms alongside economic opening - repeatedly refuting the perhaps naive belief that the two would, by some inexorable force, emerge together. It's a sentiment still shared by some members of the business community, but one increasingly out of touch with the reality in China itself.

So what is a nation like Canada to do? The first step might be to acknowledge the futility of the idea that China will march toward a more democratic system as its markets open.

"Countries generally seem to feel that they can't just say this is a big, tough, nasty government, but we have to deal with it," said James Mann, the author of The China Fantasy, which respected China watcher Bill Bishop has called "the most important and prescient American book on China of the 21st century."

Instead, Mr. Mann said, countries offer "narratives that are either offbase or downright fictional" - that is, like saying trade is helping improve human rights.

He offered a direct counter to that. "It's a mistake for anyone to think that this regime is not going to be there for the coming decades, or that the nature of China's political system is going to open up very much." Beijing streets may now have Ferraris and Bentleys but China's press, he points out, has less latitude for government criticism than in the 1980s.

And while discussion of problems like bad air is now more open, Chinese citizens are as unable as ever to band together to do something about it.

One solution, Mr. Mann said, is to allow unvarnished criticism to stand on equal footing with an eagerness for trade. But that's getting harder, he said, as China flexes its muscle. U.S. President Barack Obama declined to meet the Dalai Lama before his first visit to China, to escape Beijing's anger. (Mr. Obama did meet the Tibetan spiritual leader in February.) The Dalai Lama himself has of late softened his tone toward China, an acknowledgment of the country's clout. "That is the continuing outrage. I can't be optimistic that that's going to change," Mr. Mann said.

But there are still options. One, he said, is for countries to work together in criticism - not through institutions like the UN, where China has the power of a Security Council veto, but on an informal basis. For example, after China gave a life sentence recently to Ilham Tohti, a moderate voice in defence of the country's Uyghur minority, "it would be most helpful for other governments to work together to have joint statements," Mr. Mann said.

There are other ways, too, says Paul Evans, a University of British Columbia professor who recently wrote a book on the topic, Engaging China: Myth, Aspiration, and Strategy in Canadian Policy from Trudeau to Harper. He suggests Canada has failed when it pulled back from some of its smaller initiatives in China, particularly through the Canadian International Development Agency, to help train jurists and lawyers.

Amid criticism that it has been an ineffective handout to an increasingly wealthy country, CIDA funding has been almost entirely pulled from China (with the exception of legal aid for marginalized groups).

But, Mr. Evans argues, Canada has been at its best when previous governments used a "comprehensive approach to China, and they had instruments for working with the Chinese other than just the megaphone or a statement by the prime minister."

The biggest mistake the Harper government has made, he said, is "we've reduced the relationship to China, far more than earlier governments, to the commercial side."

That, of course, is precisely how Beijing wants it. The question for Canada: Is it worth it to upset a country that has already marked 65 years of Communist rule and is preparing for many decades more?

Follow me on Twitter:@nvanderklippe

Associated Graphic


Saturday, October 11, 2014


A Folio article on Friday incorrectly said Canada's Foreign Affairs Department, in recent comments on Hong Kong, said it has concerns with "senior members of the Chinese leadership." This passage should have said Foreign Affairs has raised concerns with senior members of the Chinese leadership.

Babcock will choose to come and coach in Toronto. Here's why
Friday, October 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

A large part of Mike Babcock's legend is how it wasn't supposed to go this way. To hear him tell it, he became the best coach in hockey by happy accident.

"I never aspired to be a coach," he said shortly before winning his first Olympic gold medal.

But he coached. He coached compulsively from his student days on, for whomever would have him - rec leagues, prep schools, college, major junior, university, world juniors, the AHL, the senior national team and, eventually, the NHL.

"Who knows how I ended up here?" Babcock once said. If that's a real question, he's the only who doesn't have the answer. "I tell my kids I had no plan. I just got lost along the way."

He's coached the game at nine different levels. Whatever the original path was, he didn't make much effort to get back on it.

Reached on Thursday, he doesn't want to talk about the Toronto Maple Leafs - "I coach the Detroit Red Wings a hundred per cent" - but he will speak about his goals, which seem to point in Toronto's direction.

"I feel I'm young in my coaching career. I want to have a lot more success," Babcock says. "I don't want to feel like I've reached the pinnacle at 51. I don't think that's what life's about."

Asked whether he thinks about his legacy, Babcock says, "Not for one second. I think about, 'Can I get a win today?' Honest to God, I don't think about that."

A few minutes later he says, "I want to be the best coach of my era."

The idea of becoming the Leafs' coach when his contract expires at the end of the year exists in the space between those two ideas. If Babcock really doesn't care, he stays where he's comfortable. If he wants to be considered in terms of eras, he jumps to the Leafs.

The question is, which version of Babcock is making the decisions?

Toronto wants him. They want him badly. They also know the worst way to go about that would be to pursue him in some tawdry way - offer him NFL-type money, go at him through proxies, put him in the position of feeling he's going behind the back of a Detroit franchise that helped make him.

As a result, the Leafs haven't approached him in any way, and have no idea what he's thinking.

According to Babcock, the last time he talked to anyone in the Toronto organization was a short call six months ago to congratulate Brendan Shanahan on being named president.

"Shanny was a good player for me and he's a good man and a smart guy."

They'll be poring over that line like the Talmud in the Leafs offices on Friday morning. This is all they have - reading, waiting and hoping.

"If he won here?" an MLSE exec said recently. "He'd be on the opening montage of Hockey Night in Canada 20 years after he retired."

I repeat that to Babcock. He laughs, clearly tickled. But he's too clever to be drawn into filling the silence that follows.

There are two types of strivers - the ambitious, who can't stop reminding you how driven they are; and the successful, who let the results do the talking.

Babcock is prideful about his own abilities, but he credits his achievements to working-class Canadian values. The suggestion is that anyone born north of 49 with adequate zeal and intelligence can do this. Babcock knows they can't, but it's the sort of pose you can hide a great deal of ambition behind.

Having won at every level, he's the best in the game. But he is not yet among the best ever - the Scotty Bowmans or Toe Blakes.

Not even close.

Bowman hangs over him like a wraith - those Detroit teams were Bowman's creation. Babcock took over the family business; he didn't build it.

In order to claim credit as a legend and a creator, Babcock has to resurrect an Original Six club. He has to take something dead and breathe life into it. There's only one current candidate - Toronto.

He's said he will "probably" resign with Detroit. He put a deadline on it - the start of the season. Then he took the deadline off.

Why do that? There are no unknowns in the Red Wings organization. Babcock knows every inch of it. If he wants more money, he can have it. If he wants more power, he knows that's impossible. That he hasn't signed yet means he doesn't want to. So where would he go instead?

At this point, what would he gain by winning in Edmonton or Philadelphia or Vancouver?

Those teams can't raise him up.

Those sorts of clubs also pose no risk, and Babcock craves the cliff's edge.

It's the reason he went back to coach Canada's Olympic team a second time. The risk was limitless, the rewards relatively meagre. But he did it anyway. For the juice.

Consider the attractions of the Leafs job to a man like that. To win a championship here would represent both the greatest challenge and the greatest achievement in modern North American - maybe even world - sport.

There is no mountain higher than turning around hockey's most loved, hated and obsessedover franchise, and turning aside history. The only thing that might come close is winning a World Series with the Cubs. But Chicago is more than baseball, while Toronto is hockey.

If you think of yourself as the best - as Babcock plainly does - how can you say no to that? How could you not think of that constantly, obsessively?

"Some day when I'm retired and I'm sitting by the fire having a rum, I'll be able to think about all that other stuff," he says. "In the meantime, I'm just about winning today."

This is the same guy who claims that he rose to the top of his profession by toodling along without any idea where he was headed. I don't believe it for a second. This is Babcock's respectful way of slowly breaking up with a club he loves.

There's only one destination for a man of his stature and ambition.

That's why he hasn't re-signed with the Wings. That's why Babcock will choose the Toronto Maple Leafs.

He may have chosen them already.

Follow me on Twitter:@cathalkelly

Associated Graphic

In order to claim credit as a legend, Detroit coach Mike Babcock has to resurrect a floundering Original Six club.


Kraft's teddy bears. TD's green chair. Staples' 'easy button.' How brands tap into the power of inanimate objects
Friday, October 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B7

It is difficult to get emotional over peanut butter.

But a teddy bear - that symbol of childhood, home and security, often among the only items to survive countless Goodwill purges and to be carried sheepishly into adulthood - a teddy bear is a different matter.

That was the idea behind an advertising campaign for Kraft Canada that launched in April. Telling the story of a girl growing up with the bear her mother gave her, and then giving one to her own child, the ad aimed to make an emotional connection with consumers that would build their affection for its peanut butter brand.

Now, Kraft is going one step further: it wants to be the source of the little teddy bears that people give to children they love. On Monday, in time for the holiday season, the company will launch a line of bears for sale. The dolls are designed after the bears that appear on the product's labels - one with a red bow tie for crunchy, and a green bow tie for smooth.

Unlike many pieces of brandrelated merchandise, however, the bears are logo-free. The Kraft name appears only on the tags that most customers tend to cut off.

"It's an emotive piece. It's not pushing the hard sell," said Leisha Roche, senior director of marketing for grocery brands at Kraft Canada.

According to Ms. Roche, consumer recognition of the bears is high: even without the Kraft logo, many people associate them with the brand. While the company has offered teddy bears for sale before, the new ones are of higher quality and are meant to feel less like a cheap bit of merchandise. (Kraft partnered with plush toy manufacturer Gund for the new line.) The company is hoping that by choosing not to slap a logo on the toys, adults will be more inclined to buy them as gifts - and families will be more likely to make that emotional bond.

A set of two bears will go on sale Monday on the company's website,, for $34.99 (including shipping). Starting in early November, they will also be sold at grocery stores individually for $14.99, with a jar of peanut butter. The company will also launch an ad featuring real children surprised with teddy bears, to promote the new products.

The bears are just one example of how companies can become more memorable by using inanimate objects as symbols for their brands. Unlike a logo, consumers do not associate these symbols as immediately with advertising messages. People who are resistant to the hard sell, then, may be more receptive to the associations the symbol is trying to convey.

"Symbols have the power to connect differently to people just based on a raw emotion," Ms. Roche said. "If I showed you the same pack, and it just said Kraft Peanut Butter and it didn't have the bears, you'd think differently about the brand. ... A descriptor, a word, doesn't have the same impact."

Symbols have come in handy as mnemonics for other brands. TD Canada Trust has its cushy green chair, a symbol of comfort in an industry many consumers find intimidating: banking. Staples Inc. created the "easy button" to suggest an almost magical ability for the retailer to solve all their shoppers' problems instantly. Staples sells a version of the button as an office tchotchke. Labatt Brewing Co. Ltd. may have lost its sponsorship of the National Hockey League to rival Molson, but in 2013 its Budweiser brand launched its Red Light, a real product for sale that people could rig up to go off every time their favourite team scored a goal. That symbol helped to cement the beer brand's link to hockey in consumers' minds. It even raised the ire of the Canadian Olympic Committee this year, which objected to ads featuring the Red Light that it said suggested a sponsorship of Team Canada.

When ING Direct rebranded as Tangerine this year, the new spokesperson in its advertising campaign was shown always holding an orange mug - even when hanging off the side of a moving train, or on the back of a jet ski.

"We chose a coffee cup because it's often what you have in your hand when you're sitting down with someone to figure things out," said Angus Tucker, partner and executive creative director at Tangerine's advertising agency, John St. That symbol was perfect for the approachable image the bank wanted to convey: it already referred to its branches as cafés.

"It takes a long time for a logo to stand on its own and have immediate, emotional weight, Mr. Tucker said. "Like Apple. Now, if I just see that apple with a bite out of it, it makes me feel certain things. Nike, the swoosh. But that's years of advertising. Sometimes these icons, whether they are visual or audio, can quickly establish a more emotional connection than a pure logo can."

There is good reason for companies to try to make a connection: research has shown that emotional messages can actually lead to higher long-term sales than rational messages.

In 1997, TD decided it needed a symbol for comfort. It considered many options - including slippers, a robe, and other objects - and finally landed on the chair. It tested different chair styles and materials before landing on the final design.

"It helps us differentiate who we are. When people see it, they have a real, personal connection with the brand," said Chris Stamper, senior vice-president of corporate marketing at TD. That is huge in retail banking, an industry where all the competitors offer essentially the same services, and customers tend to see little difference between them.

Now, TD's research shows that 85 to 90 per cent of its customers recognize the chair even when not accompanied by the TD logo.

Among non-customers, recognition is still two out of three.

In marketing, companies make use of a number of things known as "brand elements." These can include the logo, a colour, a melody - or an object or symbol.

"One [reason to use a symbol] is a diversity of customers," said Sarah Wilner, a marketing professor at Wilfred Laurier University.

"For a financial services company, the idea of comfort and ease of use is a message that may not be as important to someone making trades, for example, where efficiency is more important. Where there is a diversity of meanings needed, you can introduce these objects without diluting the brand as a whole."

Kraft executives believe the dolls have the potential to speak to consumers, through a symbol that is more powerful than an ad.

"The bear itself is the icon," Ms. Roche said. "It's not the brand, it's not Kraft."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


A Friday Report on Business article on advertising included an incorrect spelling for Wilfrid Laurier University.

A third of our supply is going to waste
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

Part two of an eight-part series looking at how food security concerns internationally are raising policy questions in subjects as diverse as resource development in British Columbia, drought conditions in California and restaurant choices internationally.

At home and at work, wasteconscious Canadians such as Debra Lawson and Diana Chard have little tolerance for letting food go bad and tossing it out.

Ms. Lawson, executive director of the Toronto food-rescue organization Second Harvest, and Ms. Chard, a Halifax registered dietitian, as well as food industry members, humanitarian and environmental organizations and even some governments, are part of a massive effort to reduce food waste. Such waste is a major threat to food security, defined by the World Health Organization as the universal access to safe and nutritious foods.

A 2013 United Nations report says 1.3 billion tonnes of food, about a third of the world's supply, are wasted annually, costing global economies $750billion (U.S.) and negatively impacting the environment - at a time when 1.2 billion people are living in extreme poverty.

Unlike the food industry, which largely focuses on how food waste affects the bottom line, Ms. Lawson and Ms. Chard see its impact on everyday lives in Canada - where, according to research, seven billion kilograms of food (or 40 per cent of all food produced) is lost along the "food value chain" at a cost of about $27-billion.

Ms. Lawson says Second Harvest, which picks up mostly perishable foods that would otherwise have been thrown away, helps to feed 100,000 people in Toronto every month.

Since it was founded in 1985, Second Harvest, working on donations from grocers, restaurants and other sources, has delivered more than 18 million kilograms of food to community agencies to feed the needy.

"It's an incredible dichotomy in this city - there's an abundance of food and so many people that need to be fed," Ms. Lawson says. "What we do is connect the two."

Ms. Chard says research indicates that about half of all food waste originates in households, so attacking the problem at the consumer level comes down to education and changing attitudes. She says misconceptions about food labels, such as bestbefore dates, mean consumers consistently throw out perfectly safe and nutritious foods.

To experts such as Martin Gooch, an adjunct professor at Ontario's University of Guelph, the problem of food waste goes deeper than consumer behaviour. "We're managing the symptoms [of food waste] relatively well, but we need to manage the determinants of food waste because it's the system that creates it," says Dr. Gooch, CEO of VCM International based in Oakville, Ont., and director of its division, the Value Chain Management Centre, which helps agri-food businesses become more profitable and competitive. "Food waste is a complex problem; it will not be [solved] by simple solutions."

According to a recent report from the food-and-beverage industry advocacy group Provision Coalition, which includes Dr. Gooch's research, 51 per cent of wasted food in Canada comes from households, and he partly blames developed countries' "attitude of abundance and affluence." Waste also occurs in these parts of the food chain:

Processing and packaging (18 per cent): Due to quality of the foods when they're received, inaccurate forecasting, not refrigerating foods properly, improper handling by employees and poor setup of machines.

Retail stores (11 per cent): inaccurate forecasting, food safety concerns, the growing popularity of ready-made food and fluctuations in suppliers' delivery times.

Farming (9 per cent): climate change and weather extremes, incorrect planting and harvesting, labour shortages and overproduction.

Restaurants and other foodservice members (8 per cent): too much food served, larger menu options, mistakes in preparing the foods and improper handling and storage.

Transportation and distribution (3 per cent): food damage, poor record-keeping, allowing foods to exceed their shelf life, and poor packaging and storage.

Where does Canada stand?

A report released last month the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) indicates that behind total emissions from China and the U.S., food waste - much of which ends up in landfills - is the largest source of global greenhouse-gas emissions, an estimated 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

Canada lags many developed countries in the fight against food waste because the "lack of co-ordination and planning across the industry - including in the areas of gathering and distribution - are impacting the entire system," Dr. Gooch says.

"We [Canada] haven't got as widespread broad initiatives to combat food waste - most that are in place were developed by the industry with little government support, so we don't have one overarching, ongoing, highprofile initiative such as WRAP [the Waste and Resources Action Programme] in the U.K.; the Netherlands is also doing quite a bit in the area, and even the U.S. is ahead of us. Government and industry have to take joint responsibility."

Many grocery chains are developing food waste-reduction action plans as part of their corporate responsibility efforts. For instance, Loblaw Cos. Ltd., with about 1,250 grocery stores across Canada, has a three-decade food donation relationship with Second Harvest, says company spokesman Kevin Groh. As part of efforts to prevent waste from happening at the source, the company has introduced vacuum-sealed meat with less packaging that also extends foods' life.

Mr. Groh says Loblaw has also "taken tangible steps to shorten the supply-chain process," including through its "Field to Fork" program - where transport trucks can collect produce, for example, from a single pickup point at consolidation centres in growing regions.

"We're getting more sophisticated in the way we order and send fresh goods to stores," Mr. Groh says. "If we send too little product to stores we run the risk of disappointing customers, if we send too much we'll have waste. Getting the volumes and timing just right is quite a science. It requires knowledge of everything from historic sales patterns to expected weather."

Marie-Claude Bacon, senior director, corporate affairs and corporate responsibility for Montreal-based Metro Inc., which operates stores in Ontario and Quebec, says: "From a business perspective, we really need to avoid waste as much as possible."

As well as consumer and classroom education programs on using food wisely, Metro partnered this year with Quebec Food Banks distributor Moisson Montréal. During one recent fiveweek period, 9,985 kilograms of food valued at about $60,000 were donated, and the company is considering a similar program in Ontario.

Associated Graphic

Patrick Toupin, of Metro Plus grocery store, packs extra food into a Moisson Montréal box in Montreal on Thursday. Metro is considering expanding its food donation plan to Ontario.


Autumn's rich, malty ales and Oktoberfest-style lagers are ideal tipples for an evening of jack-o'-lantern carving. Why not fill a pumpkin with one of them while you're at it?
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L13 @Beppi_Crosariol

I have a new favourite YouTube video. It has nothing to do with cats, which is a departure for me. A woman does things to a pumpkin with a paring knife.

She hollows it out from the top in the usual jack-o'-lantern way, then carves a single, small hole about the size of a dime in the side (roughly halfway between the widest "equator" point and the bottom). Into this hole, she inserts a plastic spigot, then pours several bottles of Samuel Adams Pumpkin Ale into the pumpkin. Presto: nature's perfect beer keg.

It may not be the sort of arts-and-crafts project suitable for your little Spider-Man or Cinderella at Halloween. But it's a fun trick for embellishing the adult treat I prefer at this time of year - rich, malty autumnal beer. In recent years, there's been speedy growth on Canadian shelves in two categories: pumpkin ales and so-called Oktoberfest-style lagers. They're both worth exploring, whether or not you can convince your brood that mommy and daddy's keg party is more important than carving a jack-o'-lantern for the porch.

You can easily guess what pumpkin ales might taste like.

But if you guessed pumpkin, you'd be slightly off the mark in most cases. The dominant fl avour tends to be not of the squash specifically but of pumpkin pie, the vehicle for most pumpkin-flesh consumption in North America. That means not only a rich, suggestive sweetness from the addition of actual pumpkin into the vat (these beers tend to be fairly dry, technically) but also a strong contribution from such baking spices as nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and allspice.

Examples vary widely, with some decidedly un-pie-like - in keeping with the original pumpkin ales of 18th-century North America - and others so reliant on the spice rack that they skip pumpkin as an ingredient altogether. I generally prefer my brews heavy on rich pumpkin fl avour and light on spicing. Either way, these beers tend to be full and smooth, with moderate to low bitterness. They excel with cheeses.

A similarly broad spectrum can be found among Oktoberfest-style brews. What they have in common is a symbolic nod to Munich's mammoth annual beer festival, from which they take their name. And for the most part they are based, paradoxically, on a marzenbier - literally "March beer" - a reddish-brown, malt-forward and subtly hopped style usually weighing in at five- to six-percent alcohol.

March? Traditionally, much of the beer guzzled in copious, celebratory quantities in October came from kegs left over from spring. Before proper refrigeration, beer made in the summer tended to spoil because of all the active microbes in the air. To slake summer thirsts, German brewers would boost production in March, the last of the cold months, and stockpile casks for the warm season ahead. This marzenbier usually was crafted at higher alcohol so that it would keep better. By October, some of its aromatic hoppy bitterness would have faded, leaving a luscious, substantial, malt-forward brew that demanded to be consumed so that the barrels could be emptied and once again receive freshly made beer as the fall brewing season ramped up.

Celebrate Oktober - tap that pumpkin.

Brooklyn Brewery Post Road Pumpkin Ale (U.S.A.) SCORE: 93 PRICE: $2.50/355 ml

From an excellent New York brewery, this clear, deep-amber beer is impressively complex and balanced. Flavours of peaches, apple, nutmeg and other spices take a ride on a pumpkin carriage. It's restrained and elegant for a flavoured brew. Available in Ontario. $15.45 for a six-pack in B.C.

Tree Brewing Jumpin Jack India Pumpkin Ale (British Columbia) SCORE: 92 PRICE: $5.45/650 ml in B.C.

Tree Brewing has wisely balanced pumpkin with strongly bitter hops. Based on hyper-bitter India pale ale, this dark, cloudy-amber brew suggests peach, pine and citrus rind as well as subtle pumpkin essence and baking spices, as though Thanksgiving pie were cooling on a window ledge in an orchard near a spruce forest. It measures 6.5-per-cent alcohol. $5.35 in Ontario, $5.44 in Manitoba.

Shepherd Neame Spooks Ale (England) SCORE: 92 PRICE: $3.35/500 ml

The name might frighten a person into believing this may be little more than a novelty. Bury the thought. The colour is beautiful, ruby-brown and clear, and the texture seductively silky. Malt-forward yet not overly sweet, it shows moderate carbonation and roasted, biscuit-like overtones and caramel as well as a strong, citrus-hop bitterness. At just 4.7-per-cent alcohol, it's not scary at all. Available in Ontario.

Grand River Brewing Highballer Pumpkin Ale (Ontario) SCORE: 91 PRICE: $3.95/500 ml

Grand River's owner, Bob Hanenberg, grows pumpkins for this brew in his garden. I hope he gets a handsome tax writeoff because pumpkins, in my experience, take up a heck of a lot of precious garden space. Hazy orangeamber, the Cambridge, Ont. brew is the colour of a jack-o'-lantern. Spices come through in the aroma but are more subtle on the palate. It's smooth and creamy, with discernible pumpkin flavour along with cinnamon and nutmeg. Everything's integrated, supported by 5.2-per-cent alcohol. Available in Ontario. $5.04 in Newfoundland.

St-Ambroise Citrouille (Quebec) SCORE: 90 PRICE: $9.95/four-pack

There's a good balance here of pumpkin flavour with aromatic cinnamon and clove. The profile is refreshingly dry for a pumpkin brew.

It's flavourful yet clean, with five-percent alcohol. Available in B.C. and Ontario.

Creemore Springs Oktoberfest Lager (Ontario) SCORE: 89 PRICE: $5.95/625 ml

There's not much foamy head retention, which is likely to count as a drawback with beer enthusiasts, for whom appearance tends to count for much. I like the dry, grain, fall-foliage character in this 5.4-percent brew, subtle though it may be. Creemore seems to do that especially well. And it's creamy, with a moderately hoppy backbone to support notes of apricot and apple. Available in Ontario.

Rickard's Lederhosen (Canada) SCORE: 87 PRICE: $9.50/four-pack

This is a Molson brand and thus this new seasonal brew has some convincing to do where craft-beer aficionados are concerned. It's a good effort with a nice marketing slogan: "Grab fall by the stein." A dark-amber lager registering an impressive 6.5-per-cent alcohol, it's rich, slightly sweet and velvety, with pronounced caramel maltiness, dried date and a hint of butterscotch supported by moderate bitterness. Well done. Available in Ontario.

Brock university's sport management program has helped a few grads find high-profile jobs in the field. But the transferable skills learned can mean career choices in other arenas
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 – Print Edition, Page P32

"MY FIRST OR SECOND DAY at school, basically they said, probably none of you are ever going to be the general manager of a professional team," says Cory Wray, who enrolled at Brock University's sports management program in 2002.

But a few people who took the specialized program have come close: Mr. Wray, 29, is the senior manager of team operations for Toronto FC of Major League Soccer and his fellow student, Kyle Dubas, 28, made headlines when the Toronto Maple Leafs recently hired him as one of the youngest assistant general managers in the National Hockey League. Their trajectories are examples of what happens when people who are interested in a specific career, such as sports, pursue it as far as they can with the help of a specialized degree.

When they enrolled, Mr. Dubas was a scout with the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League, and Mr. Wray was working in a Mississauga soccer store.

And while becoming the general manager of a professional team may or may not be in their futures, taking a degree in sports management revealed the true breadth of the career spectrum they were about to embark on. "None of us are, or maybe never will be, [a GM]," says Mr. Wray, "but it hit home that this is about a lot more than just wheeling and dealing and doing trades."

After being hired away from the Greyhounds last month, Mr. Dubas will be fully immersed in the player-acquisition side of his sport. Having worked for the OHL team since he was 11, the Soo native - and Ottawa Senators fan - had always dreamed of becoming an NHL GM, and felt that a specialized degree in sports management at the St. Catharines, Ont.-based school could only assist in achieving that goal.

"While I was working [for the Greyhounds] I'd decided that I definitely wanted to work in sports and thought that the Brock University degree was the best way for me to further my own education and to give myself the best chance to continue to work in sports and have a career in sports," he says.

But Mr. Dubas will be the first to admit that getting to where he is takes a lot more than just going to class.

"You need to really get as much experience as you can and the education and the program can serve as something that can augment your abilities and they give you lots of opportunities to find your way and find your career but it's not easy," he admits. "You're not just going to exit and get a job in hockey operations or anything like that.

"It's a long road, it's not just because you walk out with your degree that you're going to have the job that you've dreamed of your whole life."

For those who have a clear idea of where they want to go though, enrolling into a specialized degree such as sports management can pay solid dividends down the road.

"The pros of going into a specialized program are if the student has specific career goals, specialized education can help you learn the fundamentals skills of the profession," says Susanne Thorup, manager of career and planning services at Concordia University in Montreal.

It can give you some of those skills and it can be beneficial when going on the job market and it also can provide more of a linear career path; you kind of know what career you're going into."

As a die-hard soccer nut, Mr. Wray certainly knew where he wanted to go. The problem was top-level professional soccer didn't exist in Canada in 2002 when he first went off to Brock. At the time, Mr. Wray felt that he may have to relocate to Europe.

But Toronto FC came into being right around the time that Mr. Wray was looking for an internship as part of his degree, and, even though the team had no stadium and just one player, it eventually offered the Mississauga native a four-month internship with the team. That eventually turned into a part-time contract position in game-day operations, where he performed exciting tasks, such as getting coffee, photocopying and wearing a sumo suit during a halftime show.

"Being in Toronto, the largest city in Canada, a lot of people want to work here but obviously there's not an unlimited amount of jobs, so the path getting to where you might want to get [is never clearly defined]," he says. "I was very fortunate because of timing, because of a number of different things, but in this organization, you can get in at a number of different levels and work your way around. Good work is hard to hide."

But that work doesn't necessarily have to be in a sports capacity. Like other specialized degrees, the sports management degree taught transferable skills, such as business, management, economics, sport law, finance, or as Kirsty Spence, associate professor in sport management at Brock, calls it, "a liberal arts degree in sports management."

Having taught both Mr. Dubas and Mr. Wray, Ms. Spence is happy to see the pair blaze their trails through the sporting stratosphere, along with fellow Brock sport management graduate Andrew Tinnish, now the assistant general manager for the Toronto Blue Jays, but says that going into sports isn't a prerequisite.

"We definitely have a number of students who graduate and then go on to non-sport-related work, but the skills are extremely transferable to mainstream or educational settings," she says. "We have a number of students who end up wanting to go into teaching or into the financial sector as financial planners, and so on."

Chantelle Grant is another graduate of the sport management program at Brock. Though she is the deputy manager in accreditation for next year's Pan Am and Parapan Am Games in Southern Ontario, she knows that once those events end, she'll be looking for a new job, and it doesn't necessarily have to be in sports.

"I've had a lot of people approaching me from other industries," says the Mississauga native. "Once you can manage relationships, you can take that anywhere, so I've had people from RBC and CIBC come and I'd never thought of working for a bank, but once you have that relationship management and client service experience, it does transfer to other industries."

Associated Graphic

Hard work and a degree in sports management helped Cory Wray land his dream job with TFC.



Back-alley cool is catching on
Advocates of laneway houses say they are a clever way to increase density. And they're 'way more quiet'
Friday, October 10, 2014 – Print Edition, Page G4

Not so long ago, a three-storey house tucked into a back lane south of Dundas Street West would have appealed to only the most forward-thinking.

"Everybody was scared of them," says real estate agent Jose Nieves of the earliest houses that began to appear in the gaps in back alleys.

The surrounding Parkdale neighbourhood was a good place to buy crack cocaine when he bought his own loft in a converted industrial building on Federal Street.

"If you wanted a good-quality gun you came to our 'hood," says Mr. Nieves, laughing. "Even my girlfriend didn't want to move in."

For the past 14 years, Mr. Nieves, with Sutton Group-Associates Realty Inc., has been a coowner of Lula Lounge, which opened when the stretch of Dundas West between Ossington and Dufferin was an extremely sketchy part of town. "We were the pioneers."

He and his family were also buying laneway houses around the city as investment properties when no one else wanted them.

Mr. Nieves points out that as more homeowners come and go in the laneways, people engaged in illegal activities move on.

Entire neighbourhoods become safer and more desirable, he adds.

Now, he jokes, he has gained a cool factor because of where he lives. He sometimes holds events and turns his loft into gallery space in order to raise money for the arts.

Many architects and planners are proponents of laneway housing. They say it's a clever way to increase density and reclaim rundown areas of the city. Toronto has never made it easy to get permits, they say - partly because of the question on how to get services to those areas. As a result, the city doesn't have a large inventory of infill houses in hidden places.

Currently, Mr. Nieves has a house listed for sale at 25 Skey Lane, near Dundas and Dovercourt. The asking price is $874,000 and he was expecting a few bids to materialize by the deadline for submitting offers on Wednesday night.

As for the broader Toronto market, some agents report there's a slight chill in the air: there have been nights in the past week or two with no bids.

However, the typical summer slowdown didn't occur this year, some point out, and buyers may be taking a breather. Also, more listings tend to come on in September compared with the summer months.

Mr. Nieves says the cool summer weather likely kept house hunters out visiting properties during those months. When temperatures finally climbed in September, people wanted to enjoy the sun, he figures. "We had summer a week or so ago."

Laneway houses often sit a bit apart from the rest of the market, in their own niche.

Real estate agent Max Oliveira, also with Sutton Group-Associates Realty, recently developed a laneway project downtown. He recently listed the unit at 18 Egerton Lane with an asking price of $1.269-million. He received a conditional offer after three days and is still waiting for that deal to close.

Mr. Oliveira says he had to wade through a lengthy process to buy an existing house in front of the three new units, structure the whole project as a condominium, then have the city services extended from the existing house to the new units behind.

The owner at 25 Skey Lane, Lisa Ellenwood, says a steady stream of potential buyers had been through the property over the weekend. By Monday, a few had booked appointments to see the property a second time.

She says she and her husband decided to list the house for sale now because it shows so well in the fall. The quality of light is lovely at this time of year and large trees screen nearby buildings. "It's this green privacy wall between us and the neighbours."

Ms. Ellenwood says what she loves most is the quiet on Skey Lane because there's no traffic.

She walks less than five minutes along one laneway straight into Trinity Bellwoods Park. "I have a dog so right now I'm there twice a day. That park in the summer is so much fun," she adds, citing the regular farmers' market, frequent live music performances and artists' festivals.

She says the lane has changed a lot in the time she's been there. An artist who also teaches at Ontario College of Art and Design owns a warehouse on the lane and rents space to several tenants. Just to the north, construction is under way on lots that have been vacant for years. "Everyone chats and knows each other now," she says. "Our dogs play together."

She also enjoys the proximity to Enoteca Sociale on Dundas West and the Dakota Tavern on Ossington. "It's a really laid-back place to have a beer. It's not pretentious at all."

Ms. Ellenwood imagines the house could appeal to a young couple with children. A family with a two-year-old lives a few houses down the lane. The Toronto West End College Street YMCA Centre is nearby and the area is known as a good school district. But she could also imagine a singleton or couple moving in to take advantage of the nightlife.

Some people can't quite grasp the concept of living in a tucked-away location, she says.

"I think there are a lot of people that don't really understand it and don't understand it's way more quiet." Her tall, narrow house has four floors of living space and a small urban-style yard with a patio.

Mr. Nieves took some older Portuguese clients to see the property on Skey Lane, which is in a pocket traditionally known as Little Portugal. "Obviously, they hated it."

The people drawn to laneway houses tend to be young professionals between 30 and 45, he says.

Mr. Nieves says the houses in laneways come with some hassles. At a couple of his properties he can't get mail - he has to have it routed to a different address. Canada Post doesn't want to enter the lane in winter because there's no snow removal and the City of Toronto doesn't provide that service, he says.

But in many laneways the owners get out there and shovel their own snow and that's how they get to know each other, he adds. "I guess when you live in a laneway you're a different breed. You're more courageous."

Associated Graphic

The bright house at 25 Skey Lane, near Dundas and Dovercourt, is out of the way but enjoys no traffic and is a short walk to Trinity Bellwoods Park.

Food for Thought
Campuses try creative strategies to woo students to healthy eating habits
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 – Print Edition, Page P35

SIMPLY GETTING STUDENTS TO EAT at campus establishments became chef and food activist Joshna Maharaj's main concern when she became executive chef and assistant head of Ryerson University's food services in August last year.

Following a messy divorce with Toronto-based Aramark Canada Ltd. as the downtown Toronto school's cafeteria and catering operator last summer - which reportedly cost Ryerson as much as $5.6-million over a five-year period - food services on the downtown Toronto campus had become a political lightning rod between the faculty and the students. The onus fell on Ms. Maharaj to turn things around.

"My recommendation was around the idea that institutions actually need to invest more in their food service," she says. "The problem is that we have been outsourcing it all completely and letting operators take the complete lead and I don't think that's the right fit.

"I really heavily pushed for us to paint the utopian picture of what we wanted this good-food picture to look like. Those included things like sharp minimums on purchasing from local, sustainable suppliers, and steady growth in that over the years of the contract, a real push towards scratch cooking, a focus on seasonal menus and more conscious engagement with the campus ... because I really want to rebuild the culture of food on this campus."

A chef by trade, Ms. Maharaj had been busy revamping hospital menus before Ryerson came calling, but she went to work right away, helping write up the RFP that was ultimately won by Chartwells, part of Britain-based Compass Group. One of her recommendations was bringing on board roughly 29 new, mainly local suppliers, and shorter payment terms for those suppliers, recognizing the fact that many are small family farms that need money on a more frequent basis.

She also instituted a water bottle-free campus as of last September, harnessed her kitchen staff to become scratch cooks rather than specialists in reheating food, and instituted the Friendly Five, a daily $5 meal in three of the cafés on campus - "I made a promise it would never be a slice of pizza and a bag of chips."

Given the plethora of eating options surrounding Ryerson's campus - Ms. Maharaj estimates that there are 300 eating outlets within a 10-minute walking radius - the level of competition for student food dollars is extremely high, and it doesn't help that out of 36,000-plus students, only 800 are residents of the school.

"I want to suggest a vibe or an idea that says eating on campus is actually a political act because you're supporting a more equitable labour system and a more sustainable food system," she says.


She's not alone in the Canadian university system. To better provide for, and educate, students at the University of British Columbia, an on-campus farm was instituted, complete with thrice-weekly farmers markets to provide fresh, locally sourced and sustainable food to the students, and local residents, around UBC's Vancouver campus. But the idea is about more than feeding the young minds studying at the university.

"Mostly we try to bring the students along the whole seed-to-plate continuum," says Véronik Campbell, academic programs manager at the UBC farm. "So we make sure they're involved at the growing stage of the food. Through their classes, I'm going to work with instructors to make sure students are actually going to be asking questions about how we grow the food and they can come and grow the food with us during the growing season to get a sense of how that works."

The farm teaches between 2,400 and 2,600 students annually about what goes into the food production chain, with credit being awarded for helping out on the farm, which grows about 200 varieties of fruits and vegetables.


The University of Ottawa, along with its neighbour, Carleton University, teamed with the Ottawa Good Food Box about five or six years ago to ensure that its students get access to cheap, locally sourced and nutritious food through the program's monthly food delivery.

About 40 students during the school year pay between $5 and $25 for a box full of fruits and vegetables. Taylor Davidson, a summer assistant at the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa, estimates that the program offers a saving of about 30 per cent over regular grocery-store costs. One issue: The content of the box varies, so some students may not know how to use everything in it. Luckily, the program also offers cooking classes the day after the box is delivered.

It helps students "deal with what's in their box and get a little creative," Ms. Davidson says.


Creativity is certainly the name of the game at Trent University's Seasoned Spoon Café. The on-campus cafe at the Peterborough, Ont., university is a student-driven, not-for-profit co-operative offering local, organic vegetarian food. The cafe is also big on food education, offering courses and workshops to students, and employs 12 students and 40 volunteers to run the kitchen and organize events.

"It is quite different from what you'll find in the cafeterias," says Aimee Blyth, the Seasoned Spoon's manager. "Also all the other work that we're doing around making food affordable and accessible and making food skills accessible I think is ... quite unique to the Spoon."

In addition to having its own vegetable gardens and root cellar, the Spoon also fosters a sense of inclusivity through its membership scheme, all part of what Ms. Blyth describes as a "very active food culture at Trent."

The university itself also switched its food service provider earlier this year, and under its new contract with Chartwells, Trent will be offering such options as a carryover of credit on student meal plans and, like Ryerson, a $5 value meal option for students on a budget. The university is also trying to survive on fewer franchises, but acknowledges that tactic brings its own challenges, as franchises generate substantial revenue for food services as a whole.

"With food services, it's always a bit challenging because you have a number of competing things that you want," says Nona Robinson, associate vice-president of students at Trent. "One is sustainability and also supporting local farmers; another is very good value for money, and another is highly nutritious and also very delicious food."

Associated Graphic

More schools such as Ryerson are focused on creating a culture of food on campus.

UBC features an on-campus farm and regular markets.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dividend stocks look hot, but beware
Thanks to last week's broad equity selloff, yields are soaring above 10-year bonds - though the risk of rate reversal still looms
Special to the Globe and Mail
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B10

This is what was supposed to have happened: A recovery in global markets, led by the United States, would finally push up interest rates. Bond yields and rates on money-market funds and bank deposits would rise, making them more appealing to incomeoriented investors. In turn, dividend-paying stocks would lose appeal, because the downside risk of equities couldn't justify their single-digit yields.

Maybe it'll still happen in 2015, as was widely thought. But it sure didn't start this week.

Instead, all the relevant markets reversed course. Equities sold off and interest rates fell as bond prices rose. And, as a result, there was a sharp increase in the number of stocks, in Canada and particularly in the U.S., with dividend yields that beat 10-year government bonds.

Many investors will look back on this week and see a bloodbath. Some, who feel this is a blip, rather than a first step to a market collapse, will see it as a chance to buy.

"People are panicking and getting out of all equities, good and bad," says Renato Anzovino, manager of the Heward Canadian Dividend Growth Fund. "Nobody likes when the markets go down, but we've been in a higher cash position than normal, and we're using this as an opportunity to add to positions of what we think are great quality companies [whose shares] have come down."

First, let's review some basic math. As investors buy bonds, driving their prices up, yields decline. That's certainly what happened this week, as investors stampeded into nearly risk-free government bonds and sold off their stocks.

As investors sell dividend-paying stocks as part of a broad equity selloff, their prices decline and the dividend yield, the dividend expressed as a percentage of the stock's price, rises.

When these things happen simultaneously, the dividend yields of blue-chip stocks rise as bond yields fall, providing a more appealing return. Mr. Anzovino's fund now yields an average of about 3.25 per cent, or more than 50-per-cent higher than the rate on the 10-year Canadian note.

"There are no stocks out there that are risk-free, but the ones I focus on are companies with recurring revenue and the ability to grow profits on a regular basis," Mr. Anzovino says.

"In Canada, we have some highquality stocks paying dividends yielding 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent, and with the dividend tax credit, you're getting a bond equivalent of over 4 per cent. That's really, really interesting."

Here are some numbers that show just how dramatic the past few weeks' action has been. At the beginning of 2014, there were 92 stocks in the Standard & Poor's 500 that had a dividend yield higher than the 3.03 per cent rate on a 10-year Treasury note. (The 10-year note is a better comparison than a 30-year note, because 10 years is a far more reasonable holding period for a long-term investor in equities.)

Even as the markets climbed in 2014, the 10-year rate fell, so 134 stocks beat the note as of Sept. 19, the S&P 500's high. But at the close of Thursday's trading, a little less than a month from that high mark for equities, 86 more stocks have joined the list, bringing the number of bond-beaters to 220. (All of these results come courtesy of the screening tool on S&P Capital IQ.)

The results are a little less dramatic in Canada, where there's a greater emphasis on healthy dividends among the country's blue chips. (A greater proportion of the S&P/TSX 60 pays dividends, and the dividends are relatively larger, than the members of the S&P 500.).

At the beginning of the year, 31 members of the TSX 60 topped the 2.76-per-cent rate on the 10year Canadian note. With the rate dropping to 1.93 per cent Thursday, that number has now climbed to 38.

"We have been though an unprecedented decline in overall interest rates. It was my call, and many peoples' call, that rates would rise in 2014, so egg on our faces for getting it wrong," said John Stephenson at Stephenson & Co. Capital Management. "But it misses the broader point that rates will at some point go up.

They have to. And when they do, your fixed-income investments will lose money and lose money big."

If all of this sounds familiar, it's because it's not a new theme. Our Vox column noted this phenomenon in August, 2011, soon after Standard & Poor's downgraded the United States' credit rating and stocks swooned. At that time, the 10-year note yielded a thenrecord-low 2.14 per cent - the same as Wednesday - and more than 200 stocks' dividend yields beat it out.

It got even better in June, 2012, when the 10-year dipped to 1.5 per cent. More than 300 companies beat that mark with their dividend yields, we noted at the time.

Even with the recent pullback in the S&P 500, the index is still up roughly 60 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively from those two columns. Neither predicted such stellar returns; both warned, in fact that stocks could continue to slide.

But the advice then is apropos once again: "The price of safety is high. The price of potential equity returns has gotten lower. Choose according to your needs."


These members of the S&P/ TSX 60 couldn't beat the rates on the Canadian 10-year government bond when 2014 began. Now, owing to market forces and, in some cases, an increased payout, their dividend yields exceed the government-bond rate.

Bombardier (2.79 per cent)

Cameco (2.15 per cent)

Canadian Natural Resources (2.33 per cent)

Manulife Financial (3.09 per cent)

SNC-Lavalin Group (2.01 per cent)

Suncor Energy (2.97 per cent)

Talisman Energy (4.08 per cent)

Source: Standard & Poor's CapitalIQ.


Investors were expecting a recovery to push up interest rates in 2015, making dividend-paying stocks less appealing. This week's markets sent things in the other direction, as falling rates and declining share prices made hundreds of dividend-paying stocks look attractive compared with puny bond yields.

Associated Graphic

Thanks in part to last week's selloff, Canadian airplane maker Bombardier Inc.'s dividend now soars well above the 1.93-per-cent return of 10-year Canadian bonds.



Giants take a series lead at home, but the ever-competitive Cardinals still lead the league in haters
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1


This city builds teams on foundations of hate. Theirs or yours - they aren't particular. New Yorkers invite your scorn. It nourishes them.

They accept it, absorb it and turn it into an army of Billy Martins and Sean Averys.

From the outside looking in, you can at least respect this charismatic myopia.

New Yorkers care about two opinions - their own and Boston's (but only when Boston is winning. So, really, they only care about their own).

The Yankees or Knicks or Rangers roll through town, sneering. They despoil the folk. They strut away. A crowd gathers at the airport to massacre them. Then Derek Jeter winks and everyone gets confused. The Yankees are despicable, but they have a cocky charm. That's undeniable. Sickening and undeniable. Hating them is a perverse compliment not worth paying.

This is what the St. Louis Cardinals and their fans don't get. It's the reason people take the time and effort to loath them.

The Cardinals are, easily, the most despised team in baseball, and maybe all the world. If you spend any time on social media, the level of animus is jarring. When the Cardinals hit a gamewinning home run in the playoffs, otherwise rational men and women begin to froth like mangy dogs.

We've tamped down on our hate speech in society's moist, traditional corners, so it has to come spilling out somewhere. People online talk about the Cardinals the way the way people in the village square used to talk just before a pogrom kicked off.

Most of this is down to jealousy. The Cardinals have been too good for too long, and it's begun to look greedy. Since the Jays last made the playoffs, the Cardinals have been there a dozen times. A dozen. If you love the playoffs so much, St. Louis, why don't you move there? Oh, you have? Well, fine. Fine. FINE.

They've built baseball's most consistent farm system. Beyond that, they make terrible decisions, every one of which works out.

Who lets Albert Pujols go via free agency when he's the consensus best player in baseball? The Cardinals do. Pujols immediately begins to play like he's 50 (which he may be).

Who takes a $120-million (U.S.) chance on Matt Holliday, a guy who looks like he's been inflated with a bicycle pump? The Cardinals. Of course, this one works out.

Who trades the future Joe DiMaggio, Colby Rasmus, for a bunch of bullpen mopes? The Cardinals do, and then they win the World Series. In turn, Rasmus morphs into a teenage, baseballplaying goth who won't cut his hair, come to the ballpark on time or listen to anything the manager says.

Beyond success, what bothers people about Cardinals fans is their cartoon wholesomeness. They embody the pornography of U.S. Midwestern values. They're big, toothy, y'all-ing types with the money to travel around the country being smug en masse in other people's ballparks.

They're so ubiquitous, you want to be careful about watching the game at home with the windows open. Cardinals fans may begin congregating in your yard.

They are the best fans in baseball. Just ask them.

Nobody cared when the Cardinals were a middling team. They made the playoffs five out of six years in the early aughties and lost each time. That team contained my all-time favourite player, Scott Rolen. Beyond that, they were awful. Yet, you almost liked them. That was the moment of peak Cardinals sympathy.

They won a championship in 2006 and someone came up with this "Kiss the rings" idea and it all went pear-shaped.

It's become an entrenched fight since. We are united in hating the Cardinals. Cardinals supporters know this and do a very poor job pretending it doesn't bother them. The Wall Street Journal wrote a light, tongue-in-cheek piece about it recently. St. Louis's mayor wrote back with a vaguely hysteric riposte that actually contained the words "Don't hate us because we're beautiful."

Does everyone in St. Louis carry the noses around in their bags, having long ago cut them off?

New Yorkers really, really don't care what you think. You live somewhere other than New York. The credibility of your judgment is shot from the outset.

It's the same principle in St. Louis, but working in reverse. You could start listing off a lot of terrible American cities. St. Louis might be the most depressing of the bunch. There's a festering inferiority complex at work here.

The cycle of St. Louis-baiting and growing local anger has begun to spill out in ugly ways during this year's playoffs. Residents of Ferguson, Mo., one of the city's suburbs, have been protesting the death of Michael Brown outside Busch Stadium.

There have been tense moments and a few cringe-inducing encounters. One deep-thinker was photographed wearing a Cardinals jersey with "I Am Darren Wilson" taped to the back. Wilson is the police officer who shot and killed Brown.

You don't want to confuse a fight over baseball (which doesn't matter) with a fight about social justice (which does). However, you can see how the hard feelings over the former are malignantly feeding the latter. Some Cardinals fans are into the wildly lashing-out phase of their hurt feelings.

Their team isn't easing their emotional pain at the moment, losing 5-4 in San Francisco in extra innings on Tuesday to fall behind 2-1 in the National League Championship Series.

But the Cards will probably be back in the World Series. I have a great faith in the mystic power of streaks and most especially those that promise maximum, generalized angst.

The fans of America's most hated team might want to take a lesson from their counterparts in New York.

It's not being hated that matters. From a sports perspective, it's a badge of honour. What matters is how you carry it.

St. Louis, you've been here before. Start acting like it.

Follow me on Twitter:@cathalkelly

Associated Graphic

The Giants' Gregor Blanco, third from left, celebrates after hitting the game-winning bunt in the 10th inning of Game 3 of the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals in San Francisco on Tuesday.


Opposing fans hate the St. Louis Cardinals, but the team's supporters should take that as a compliment for the team's success in the past decade.


Flags raised over a milk-substitute diet
Toronto-based study finds that children who avoid drinking cow's milk are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L7

If your child is allergic to milk, can't tolerate lactose (the natural sugar in milk) or eats a vegetarian diet, non-dairy beverages are popular replacements for cow's milk.

But research from St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto suggests young kids who drink rice, almond, soy or goat's milk are at risk for vitamin D deficiency.

According to the study, published Oct. 20 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, children who drank only non-dairy beverages were more than twice as likely to have vitamin D levels inadequate to build strong bones compared with milk-only drinkers. The research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Vitamin D supports the normal development of bones and teeth by helping the body absorb calcium from foods and supplements. Too little vitamin D can lead to low calcium levels in the blood, causing the body to pull calcium from the bones to replace what's missing in the bloodstream. In young children, vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets, a condition causing the bones to become soft and weak and potentially leading to bone deformities. In older kids (as well as adolescents and adults), inadequate vitamin D can increase the risk of bone fractures. Vitamin D also helps muscles contract, supports the immune system, reduces inflammation and may be important for heart health and, possibly, cancer prevention.

For the study, researchers looked at differences in blood levels of vitamin D associated with drinking cow's milk and noncow's milk among 2,831 healthy children, aged one to six, living in Toronto. Among children who drank only non-dairy beverages, 11 per cent had a vitamin D level below what's required for adequate bone health compared with 4.7 per cent of milk drinkers, even after accounting for factors that influence vitamin D levels, such as body weight, vitamin D supplementation, use of margarine, skin colour and outdoor playtime.

Vitamin D status is determined by measuring 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the bloodstream; 25-hydroxyvitamin D reflects vitamin D from food, supplements and sun exposure. The Institute of Medicine suggests that a target above 50 nmol/L is sufficient for healthy bone development.

Even milk drinkers in the study who also drank non-dairy beverages had lower levels of vitamin D than if they just stuck to drinking cow's milk.

These findings suggest that substituting cow's milk with milk alternatives that lack vitamin D, or are lower in vitamin D than milk, could put children at risk for complications of vitamin D deficiency.

In Canada and the United States, cow's milk is required by law to be fortified with 100 IU (international units) of vitamin D per 250 ml. (The only other food with mandatory vitamin D fortification is margarine, with 50 IU per two teaspoons.) Because milk fortification is legislated, vitamin D content is monitored by the government.

Fortification of plant-based beverages, such as soy, rice, almond, hemp and coconut as well as goat's milk, however, is voluntary. While many manufacturers do add vitamin D (100 IU per 250 ml) to their products - along with calcium, B12 and other nutrients - not all do.

Parents need to carefully read labels in order to ensure nondairy beverages are vitamin D fortified. And you can't always rely on the front of the package to tell you. Check the Nutrition Facts box and look for a daily value (DV) for vitamin D of 45 per cent, which indicates 100 IU vitamin D per 250 ml.

Even if your child does drink cow's milk and/or fortified nondairy beverages, there's a good chance he or she is not drinking enough of it to meet daily vitamin D requirements. Kids would have to drink six cups each day to get the 600 IU of vitamin D that children, aged one and older, need each day. Children who are obese may require two to four times more to achieve an adequate vitamin D level.

(Infants require 400 IU daily; breastfed babies should receive a daily supplement of 400 IU since human milk, unlike infant formula, is lacking adequate vitamin D.)

Very few foods have vitamin D naturally. Salmon (447 IU per 3 ounces) and tuna (154 IU per 3 ounces) are among the best sources. Eggs (41 IU per yolk) and cheese (14 IU per 2 ounces cheddar) provide a little. Besides fortified milk and non-dairy beverages, some brands of orange juice, yogurt and breakfast cereals may also have added vitamin D.

A major source of vitamin D is sunlight; your skin produces it when exposed to ultraviolet B rays. But in Canada, synthesis of vitamin D is minimal in the fall and winter months.

For children who don't get enough vitamin D from their diet, a vitamin D supplement is recommended in the fall and winter and for some, year-round. Children's multivitamins contain 400 IU; vitamin D is also available in capsules, tablets and drops for children.

Parents should also keep in mind the fact that taking more vitamin D than required is not better. Safe upper daily limits are 2,500 IU (aged 1-3), 3,000 (aged 4-8) and 4,000 IU (aged 9 and older). Excess vitamin D can cause nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, weakness, heart rhythm problems and kidney damage.

Leslie Beck, a registered dietitian, is based at the Medisys clinic in Toronto. She is a regular contributor to CTV News Channel;


A parent's guide to non-dairy everages:

For children aged two and younger, soy, rice, almond, coconut and other plantbased beverages - fortified or not - are not suitable alternatives to breast milk or whole cow's milk as they are generally lower in protein, fat and calories.

If parents choose a plantbased beverage or goat's milk as an alternative to cow's milk for children aged two and older, ensure it is labelled calcium and vitamin D fortified. Or, scan the nutrition facts table: Look for 45-per-cent daily value (DV) for vitamin D and 30per-cent DV for calcium.

Kids who rely on fortified rice, almond, coconut and hemp beverages should eat a variety of protein-rich foods, such as lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, lentils and tofu, to ensure adequate protein intake (the protein content of soy beverages is similar to cow's milk).

Associated Graphic

St. Michael's Hospital found 11 per cent of children who drank non-dairy drinks had vitamin D levels inadequate for bone health, compared with 4.7 per cent of milk drinkers.


Rooming houses not just a downtown issue anymore
The struggle to find affordable housing means many people are living in illegal, unregulated rooming houses in the inner suburbs
Special to The Globe And Mail
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page M6

A man steps off his porch and walks down the driveway. "You going to shut that place down?" he asks, gesturing across the street. Regini David doesn't answer. She knows which property he is referring to: an illegal rooming house, one of a number in this quiet neighbourhood in central Scarborough.

As a legal aid worker and housing advocate, Ms. David has visited dozens of rooming houses across the city. This is one of the nicer ones: With a well-maintained front yard, it doesn't look out of place on this tidy residential street. "It has a beautiful, spacious garden," she says. The tenants, who live in the basement, have access to the garden. But not all rooming house residents are as lucky.

Toronto has a severe shortage of affordable housing. As of the end of July, there are more than 170,000 people on the waiting list for Toronto Community Housing. Rooming houses, many of which are unlicensed, are often the only choice for people with low incomes. But these cramped quarters can create dangerous living conditions, leading to tragedies such as the fire in March at an illegal rooming house in Kensington Market that killed two men and left 10 people homeless, including two children.

Rooming houses are legal only in the old city of Toronto and restricted areas of Etobicoke and York, leaving the inner suburbs - which are home to an increasing share of the city's poor - with many unlicensed rooming houses and a lack of oversight.

This week, the Wellesley Institute released a research paper that examines the role rooming houses play in providing affordable shelter for residents in Toronto's inner suburbs. The report, titled "Toronto's Suburban Rooming Houses: Just a Spin on a Downtown 'problem?' ", looks at how the city can adapt its bylaws to not only make this form of housing legal but also address the issues tenants in these communities face.

When suburban residents argue that rooming houses don't belong in their neighbourhoods, they are invoking an outdated ideal of the suburbs as middleclass havens where homeownership is a prerequisite for being a "good" citizen, says Dr. Lisa Freeman, the author of the report, which was based on her doctoral research on rooming house bylaws in Toronto.

"There's a wide variety of people who are living in rooming houses and they're not necessarily disruptive to neighbourhoods they are not people who are involved in crime," she says.

"A lot of people living in suburban rooming houses want to live in that neighbourhood but can't afford to unless they have that accommodation."

There is a "beggars can't be choosers" mentality around rooming houses, says Michael Shapcott, the institute's director of housing and innovation. "And when there's a tragedy, [people] think, 'That's too bad. Nothing can be done.' But there really are things that can be done."

In 1989, a rooming house fire at the Rupert Hotel on the east side of downtown killed 10 people, prompting an inquest and demands for action. As part of the Rupert Coalition, Mr. Shapcott helped revitalize more than 500 units of rooming house stock in the Parkdale area, which was funded with help from the province and the city.

The pilot project also provided social and health assistance for tenants, and offered forgivable loans to landlords who maintained their properties up to standards.

Mr. Shapcott says the threeyear program demonstrated that there was a cost-effective way to transform rooming houses into a safe and viable housing option for low-income and vulnerable populations - a conclusion that was confirmed by an independent evaluation. "But governments weren't listening at that point. All they wanted to do was cut funding."

At the West Scarborough Community Legal Services Clinic, Ms. David has seen an increasing percentage of her clients living in rooming houses, an observation supported by Dr. Freeman's doctoral research, which concluded that there is a rising number of these illegal shelters in the suburbs.

Dr. Freeman and Ms. David interviewed 75 tenants, housing workers and landlords across Toronto and found a wide variation in the type and quality of rooming houses. While some houses were in poor condition - overcrowded, with fire hazards and mould - others were well maintained and up to code, even when the landlord didn't have a rooming house licence.

"We need to change the bylaw in a way that treats every individual equally," Ms. David says, "so people can live where their family is, where their mosque is, the neighbourhood where they want to live."

Sritharan Kannamuthu moved to Scarborough to be close to his children. The tiny basement unit he rents is in a three-storey house that he shares with 10 other people. No visitors are allowed, cable access has been cut and tenants are barred from using the washing machine. He doesn't like living there, but rooming houses are the only option he has. Because of his epilepsy, Mr. Kannamuthu can't work. He receives $479 a month for shelter from the Ontario Disability Support Program. In February, his landlord suddenly hiked his rent from $400 to $500.

Mr. Kannamuthu looks down at his lap where a book is open to a highlighted page. He runs his eyes over the text, which outlines his tenant rights. He knows his landlord can't arbitrarily increase the rent but Mr. Kannamuthu has little recourse.

If he complains, his landlord will threaten to evict him or the city might shut down the house.

City council's planning and growth management committee voted to defer discussion of a staff report on the issue until after the election. A similar situation happened four years ago.

"And the way they're going, they may be able to kick it past the next election [in 2018]," says Ken Hale, legal services director at the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario.

"The only thing we ever talk about in relation to housing in the city is how much the value of residential property is going up," says Mr. Hale, whose organization filed an appeal of the current rooming house bylaws, arguing that the patchwork of regulations has no planning rationale. "But what about the people who can't afford to buy anything? What kind of housing do they live in?"

Associated Graphic

Sritharan Kannamuthu, left, who lives in a rooming house in Scarborough, is worried about being evicted if he complains about illegal rent increases. Regini David, right, of West Scarborough Community Legal Services, has seen a rise in rooming houses in the area.


Artfully structured, yet full of suspense
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R7

Concord Floral Written by Jordan Tannahill Directed by Erin Brubacher, Cara Spooner and Jordan Tannahill Starring Jessica Munk and Erum Khan At the Theatre Centre in Toronto 4

The Art of Building a Bunker Written by Adam Lazarus and Guillermo Verdecchia Directed by Guillermo Verdecchia Starring Adam Lazarus At Factory Theatre in Toronto

True story: So, in a suburb north of Toronto, these two teenage girls head out to smoke a joint in an old abandoned greenhouse - you know, Concord Floral, the one in Vaughan? And while fumbling around in the dark looking for a lighter, they stumble upon a body.

One girl screams and drops her phone - and the device not only falls onto the body, but actually sinks into it, glowing from within the decaying corpse like a soul.

The two teens run away without it, of course, and they don't tell their parents anything. But the next night, while she's getting ready for bed, the other girl's phone rings. And guess whose number is on the call display?

In his new play, Concord Floral, Jordan Tansnahill invents a very modern suburban legend - but he has more in mind than just sending chills down spines with tales of supernatural cellphone horror. He wants to confront audiences of all ages with something much scarier: the realities of being a teenager in our preapocalyptic times.

"All parents are a little stupid," says one of the teens in the play, which is cast with 10 actors between the ages of 16 and 21. "They need to make themselves that way or they'll go insane worrying about all the things they secretly know to be true."

Tannahill, who runs a theatre company called Suburban Beast and a tiny venue in Kensington Market called VideoFag, has hit his stride. His work as a director is gaining acclaim (his staging of Sheila Heti's All Our Happy Days are Stupid heads to New York in 2015), as are his plays (productions of Late Company, at the Manitoba Theatre Centre, and Post Eden, at the National Arts Centre, are opening next year).

Last week, he was nominated for a Governor-General's Literary Award for Age of Minority, a collection of three solo shows featuring young protagonists.

Still just 26 years old, Tannahill seems to recall the language of teenagers vividly - and, originally from the outskirts of Ottawa, he's intimate with the textures of the suburbs. In his hands, there's nothing dull about them: He creates rich, Gothic landscapes for his plays, where lines blur unsettlingly - not just between urban and rural, but between child and adult, civilization and nature, and reality and fiction.

Concord Floral, named after an actual abandoned greenhouse and developed over the course of several years with teens, is written like a documentary play, with short, sharp scenes of dialogue mixed with bursts of direct testimonial. The point of view shifts between the 10 teenagers - as well as the occasional animal or inanimate object that bears witness to their experiments with drugs or battles with depression or hook-ups arranged with older strangers over Craigslist.

On a rectangular lawn of Astroturf, Tannahill - along with codirectors and co-creators Erin Brubacher and Cara Spooner - has put together a production that is slickly designed, featuring sinister sound by Christopher Willes and spooky lights by Kimberly Purtell.

The acting is the only thing left unpolished. The decision to cast actual teenagers in a scripted play has pros and cons, as you might expect. Many in the cast - notably Jessica Munk and Erum Khan, who play the two teen girls - are excellent, though others are more limited in range.

But the roughness of these seethrough performances is part of the appeal of the show (which I saw in its second-to-last preview).

I could imagine a sleeker production with fresh theatre-school grads, but having real teenage bodies on stage and in peril adds to the hair-raising atmosphere.

The authentic phenomenology results in a deeper creepiness familiar from fake found-footage horror movies such as The Blair Witch Project.

Concord Floral is the strongest script from Tannahill to date - artfully structured, yet full of suspense, with dialogue that shifts smoothly between the poetic and observational. It's got style and substance - and is scary as all get out. Like any urban legend, you know it's made up ... but is it?

Also on stage: The Art of Building a Bunker, the season-opener at Factory Theatre, digs into our anxieties about coming plagues as well.

Elvis Goldstein, a civil servant, is worried about Ebola, climate change, the Islamic State and the disappearance of bees - and he takes out his fears and frustrations on those around him.

And so Elvis, played by co-creator Adam Lazarus, who also plays the rest of the characters in this solo show, has been forced to take a week-long sensitivity training program run by a guy named Cam, who overuses canoe metaphors and the word "Namaste."

We never hear what Elvis's specific crime was, which places this off-beat work in the realm of the Kafkaesque. But there's no doubting that he is insensitive: Elvis despises everyone on his commute - from autistic children to a Portuguese woman with too many bags - and in his internal monologues, he seems deeply comfortable with epithets both racial and sexual.

The narrative stuff doesn't really come together - and Elvis's week of sensitivity sessions, with a group of characters of various races and genders portrayed insensitively-on-purpose by Lazarus, passes slowly. The tone is comedic, but it's not particularly funny.

Where The Art of Building a Bunker, which I saw in its final preview, gets intriguing is in a final section where Elvis has a meltdown. Lazarus launches into a tour-de-force monologue about a confrontation between Elvis and a black neighbour that segues into a list of irritations and prejudices that alternates, unsettlingly, between relatable and racist. Elvis may be white, but he doesn't feel privileged - all he feels is fear for himself and his family. Here, in the end, he's no longer a straw man - and the work becomes truly provocative.

Concord Floral continues until Oct. 26. Visit for tickets. The Art of Building a Bunker continues to Nov. 2. Visit

Follow me on Twitter:@nestruck

Associated Graphic

Jessica Munk, left, and Erum Khan star in Concord Floral, a new play written by Jordan Tannahill and set in the suburbs north of Toronto.


An emphasis on urban
Beyond Toronto's fringe, Markham seeks to emulate the big city as it builds 'Downtown' in an empty field
Friday, October 10, 2014 – Print Edition, Page G2

The little girl, unsteady on 18month-old legs, wobbles around the splash pad of the newly created park. Although there is no water to kick around today, the sheer joy of motion causes her to shriek out to her mother. The joyful sound causes architect Sheldon Levitt to shift his gaze from the tops of the residential buildings to the toddler.

"We used to talk about you in the meeting rooms, and there you are," says the usually softspoken architect, raising his voice. "We did this for you!"

It's true: In about two or three years, when those little legs are strong enough, there'll be a carousel with crazy characters to straddle at the main intersection of this very new, and very urban, development in the heart of Markham, plus oodles more green space in which to run around. There'll also be a movie theatre, cafés, restaurants, offices, and, it's hoped, a whole lot of adults walking around.

And all of this in what used to be car-dependent suburbia.

Fifteen minutes before welcoming the girl to "Downtown Markham," Mr. Levitt had taken me to the rooftop of a newly minted mid-rise condominium a short distance away on Enterprise Boulevard. From this vantage point and with a single sweep of his arm, he was able to illustrate what's been done, what's just beginning, and, most importantly, help me visualize what the vast empty areas now dominating this 100-hectare piece of property will look like when all of those plans on Quadrangle Architects' computers become reality.

Stretching almost to Warden Avenue to the west, there's already a lot to see: dozens and dozens of occupied townhouses and a linear park with a dedicated transit corridor fill our eyes.

To the east, however, it's a whole lot of rutted mud and scrubby grass stretching all the way to the GO tracks near Kennedy Road; in the coming years, however, Mr. Levitt assures me there'll be even more townhouses, mid-rise buildings and, once the Buttonville Airport height restrictions disappear (it's closing and being redeveloped by Cadillac Fairview), a few tall towers ... all ready to be filled with people. And with "connectivity" as the overarching philosophy behind it all, those people will rediscover the joys of a walkable community.

"It really is an unbelievable thing to have been involved in this from the very beginning, and then to see all of this activity and all of the different people coming in," he gushes. "This is really the opportunity of a lifetime."

But the opportunity to create New Urbanism on a grand scale wasn't always the case, says Mr. Levitt. When Remington Group assembled this parcel of land north of Highway 407 in the early 1990s, the thinking was to build yet another bedroom community like those around it. But, with the urging of then-mayor Don Cousens and some seriously open minds belonging to Remington's Bratty family, plans soon changed, and principles of the New Urbanism movement - as espoused by "poster boy" Andrés Duany of Miami, then doing planning work for the City of Markham - were put into place.

So, even as the parcel of land sat undeveloped well into the 21st century, elements such as "the primacy of the pedestrian," scale, massing and "the way that the buildings related to each other rather than being in isolated pockets" were never abandoned, and newer ideas, such as LEED-certified buildings, were added to the mix.

"I give a lot of credit to my client," says Mr. Levitt simply. "It takes a lot to do something like this because they're building in an open field. They're getting into expensive shoring; all the things you have to deal with in a downtown site, they're doing out here where they owned all the land and could've done whatever they wanted."

In 2006, Quadrangle arrived on the scene when it successfully bid on a job for a block-long stretch of mid-rise residential buildings. Back then, however, images of what Remington proposed had more in common with Ye Olde England than with the high-tech hub Markham is today. However, as Quadrangle's role increased - today, it is both architect and master planner of the community - the designs of residential, retail and office buildings alike all became modern (albeit with a small "m").

On this warm autumn day in 2014, only the townhouses Quadrangle didn't design - the ones the little girl was playing near - are faux Georgian. The Marriott hotel now climbing at the northeast corner of Enterprise and Birchmount Road will be all projecting boxes, fins and balconies like any slick downtown condo (it will incorporate condo units as well), and, a little to the south, insurance company Aviva's new, tight-to-the-sidewalk headquarters will look good enough for Queen and Bay.

"I think these guys are going to be absolutely thrilled to be away from the Mandarin [below their old office at Birchmount and Eglinton] and be able to, at lunch time, walk out the door of their office and be able to go to 20 different places," chuckles Mr. Levitt.

And that's the thing. Building a community on this scale, one needs anchor tenants, just like the shopping malls of the 1960s, except back then, it was a department store and a supermarket, and today it's an office building, a hotel and a cinema.

Get those on board, however, and smaller restaurants and cafés will add the necessary life to the places in between.

And lively these streets will be. The solar-powered, "junk art" carousel designed by Quebec artist Patrick Amiot will add colour and whimsy. The hotel will add sophistication. The Pan Am facility and proximity to the Rouge River valley will be a boon for fitness buffs. The condo buildings, with their garage doors hidden from the street, will be fully urban in character, and the overall connectivity to transit will make life easier for everyone.

And, if it all works as well as I think it might, the only thing the little girl will notice is how happy her neighbours are.

Associated Graphic

Instead of building another bedroom community, the Remington Group is creating an area with a mix of office buildings, housing, retail and parks.

Quebec artist Patrick Amiot designed Blue Jay, one of several pieces of 'junk art' built for the community.


I'm okay (sharing it), you're okay (liking it)
Humans are social by nature - and there is nothing inherently wrong expressing it electronically, author Alfred Hermida contends
Friday, October 10, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L4

'People are not hooked on YouTube, Twitter or Facebook but on each other," writes former BBC journalist Alfred Hermida in his insightful new book Tell Everyone: Why We Share and Why It Matters, in which he mines how social media shapes and accelerates our compulsion to share intel, experiences, opinions and emotions.

Hermida, an associate professor of digital journalism and social media at the University of British Columbia charts how technology is radically shifting what we know and how we know it. While sharing viral videos, breaking news, long-form think pieces and overheards from your commute to work can feel like a time-wasting exercise with little reward, Hermida says the ritual of online broadcasting brings us social capital and shows our audience what matters to us.

The trouble arises from the "undetermined" nature of that audience, and from the immediacy of our technology: "Instant information encourages action rather than contemplation," Hermida writes. "It fosters ardour rather than nuance."

The author spoke with The Globe from Vancouver about why we share and how we could do it better.

We've been sharing on Facebook for a decade. Why write about it now?

Twitter and Facebook are so easy to use. They've become part of how we live our lives. Why do we have three-quarters of Canada's population on Facebook?

We tend to focus on how we're doing it but we don't really think about why it is we're doing what we're doing. In some ways, what we're doing is nothing new. We are social animals; forming social bonds is consistent through generations. Now, we do it in a different way, in a different space.

Now what we share is visible and archived. Hasn't that changed how we socialize?

Social media is very much like everyday chatter, but everyday chatter comes and goes. If we met in a bar and talked about what we were up to, no one would record that and keep it for posterity. Also, talking in a bar, we know the context. We might be describing a terrible commute to work: "I'm just going to kill that bus driver."

We're letting off steam. It's quite different when we take these ephemeral exchanges and put them down in text. Here, it's persistent, perpetual and pervasive. It can have a life of its own.

The circles we communicate in now are far wider; you call it an "undetermined audience."

When I'm in class talking to my students, I'm very conscious that I'm their instructor. When I'm at home with my wife and my cats, I behave in a different way. These are all very "me," but the way we behave is determined by context. What happens in these online social spaces is context gets collapsed.

We have friends, relatives, work colleagues, acquaintances, people we met in passing two years ago who are somehow still in our network. It becomes much harder to juggle that context.

You consider sharing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to be a "ritual exchange." What am I giving when I share a viral video of a sloth with my sibling?

This is all about social capital. We want to have shared identity: "I'm sending you this video because we can find it funny together." That strengthens our social bonds. You're confirming that yes, you're like me.

We're also sharing aspirational material that conveys the "idealized projection of ourselves," as you put it. I'm thinking of Sunday morning when people share long reads from their New York Times subscriptions.

We're always crafting different personnas for different scenarios. Through Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, we're creating who we are or who we would like to be. It's tied to context: who we think our audience is and what we want them to think of us.

What do we not share? A recent Pew survey found a "spiral of silence" happens online: People are less likely to share when they believe their views aren't widely held.

If you're at a dinner party and all the guests are Toronto liberals who didn't vote for Rob Ford and somebody comes up and says, "He's done great things for the city," everyone in the room would be flabbergasted. Chances are the Rob Ford supporter wouldn't say that because they'd get shouted down. We're always conscious of what's acceptable in our social circles, of how our ideas and opinions are going to play out. Those dynamics do happen online. We're very conscious of whether people will agree with us or condemn us.

Being "in the know" holds enormous cachet on Twitter. How does telling and sharing late get you stonewalled there?

Each technology promotes a certain type of behaviour. Twitter privileges immediacy. We react straight away because we want to be part of that conversation, the Twitter storm. It's the way that space is designed. You're expected to react right away, not to take a minute to consider, 'Do I really think that?' .

Is there slowly no such thing as oversharing any more?

I think there's no such thing as oversharing. The reaction to oversharing says more about us than about the sharer - it betrays our social norms. We're in a really interesting time because we're all trying to negotiate what's acceptable. If somebody tweets a picture of having a beer after work and they look a bit drunk, is that bad? Everybody's had a beer after work. Maybe we should accept that people have beers after work. Are we too judgmental about what people share?

And yet you're suggesting something simple but radical for those who share: Stop and think about the purpose of doing it.

I was in a class with 18-year-old students last year and I was speaking about why they share what they share on Facebook - why they're seeing so much Justin Bieber and so little Ukraine.

These platforms are extensions of who we are as human beings but we tend not to think about what we're doing and the impact it has on people we connect to. When you make conscious decisions, it makes you a smarter and more powerful sharer.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Associated Graphic

Alfred Hermida says posting things online 'is all about social capital. We want to have shared identity.'


Balanced approach pays off in the long run
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B12

The end of a wild week for stocks is an ideal time to remind ourselves that shortterm pain and long-term investing gains still go together.

No matter what the markets do in the short term, the longterm potential from investing in stocks is not in question. A panel of investment industry people make this point in their projections on what investors can expect from a balanced portfolio over the next 10 years.

The panelists - 11 chief investment officers, portfolio managers and advisers - were asked in September to provide an estimate of average annual returns over the next 10 years for a portfolio based 60 per cent in stocks and 40 per cent in bonds. Responses began flowing in as the market decline gained momentum.

Most panelists said balanced portfolio returns will range from 5 to 6 per cent on an average annual basis. Asked about inflation, they provided estimates of between 1.8 and 3 per cent. This suggests real returns (after inflation) of at least 2 to 3 per cent.

A balanced portfolio will slog its way over the next 10 years to returns that will beat holding bonds or cash. So keep the faith in stocks.

The panelists were originally consulted for their return expectations in a Portfolio Strategy column from June, 2012, when stocks were in a lull period. Asked to re-examine their original projections, four panelists stuck by their numbers. The rest made very slight changes. Example: Sadiq Adatia, chief investment officer for Sun Life Global Investments, expects balanced portfolio returns of 4.5 per cent to 5 per cent, down from 5 per cent (see the 2012 projections here: http://

Investors themselves are markedly more optimistic about future returns, even after the recent market carnage. A total of 82 people accepted an invitation I put out on Twitter and Facebook this week to complete a quick survey on their return and inflation expectations. The average for balanced portfolio returns was 7 per cent, which compares to 5.5 per cent in a similar survey back in 2012.

Return projections like these matter because they remind us that investing is an averaging game where the ups more than offset the kinds of downs we're seeing lately. They also help us evaluate how much our investments will grow over time and how much we will have in retirement saving. Finally, they act as a benchmark for evaluating our investing progress.

Three things to keep in mind as you read:

1.) You must subtract the inflation rate from the estimated portfolio gain to get the real rate of return.

2.) You must also subtract fees charged by the investments you own and, if applicable, your adviser.

3.) After-tax returns will be even lower.


A panel of people in the investment industry offer their 10-year projections for returns on a balanced portfolio that is 60 per cent in stocks and 40 per cent in bonds, and for inflation.



Sadiq Adatia

Chief investment officer, Sun Life Global Investments

Equity returns should continue to move higher over the next few years while bonds likely will be more challenged.

Tom Bradley

President, Steadyhand Investment Funds

Realistic expections are 5 to 7 per cent for stocks and 2 to 3 per cent for bonds.

John DeGoey

Vice-president and portfolio manager with Burgeonvest-Bick Securities

My projections are unchanged.

Keith Dicker

President and chief investment officer, IceCap Asset Management

We forecast a breakup of the euro zone. This will create enormous capital movements, culminating with a surging U.S. dollar and U.S. equities. During this period, sovereign bonds and currencies will experience severe stress. Thereafter, capital will flow back into bonds and away from equities and the U.S. dollar. Investors should prepare for extreme market volatility.

Andrew Guilfoyle

President, Guilfoyle Financial

The biggest challenge for retail investors is that a 40 per-cent allocation to fixed income could lead to a negative return after taxes and fees. This allocation should be subdivided (depending on the individual circumstances) and other asset classes introduced (permanent life insurance, commercial real estate, infrastructure and private equity).

Dan Hallett

Vice-president at Highview Financial Group

It's important to note that my 4-6 per-cent annual figure is before factoring in the impact of a number of factors that can increase or reduce this headline number - fees/expenses, inflation, taxes, timing of flows into and out of the portfolio.

Lori Livingstone

Portfolio manager, BMO Nesbitt Burns

Rolling ahead ten years, we can count on several corrections and a bear market. History repeats itself.

Alexandra Macqueen

Co-author of the book, Pensionize Your Nest Egg, and a certified financial planner (CFP).

My estimates of equity returns and inflation going forward have not changed. The market is telling us (via U.S. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, or TIPS) that inflation is going to remain low.

Adrian Mastracci

Portfolio manager, KCM Wealth Management

We continue to divide the period into the first and second five years.

Stocks will return 6 per cent in the first five and 7.5 per cent in the second five years. Bonds return 2.8 per cent in the first five and 4.5 per cent in the second five years. Inflation is 2 per cent for the first five and 3 per cent for the second five years.

Ted Rechtshaffen

President, TriDelta Financial

We primarily base our view on the past 100 years. So the short answer is, I wouldn't change anything because we are using the same core information to make a 10-year call today as we did two years ago.

Robert Sneddon

President and portfolio manager at CastleMoore Inc.

Our thesis remains that 2018 will see the commencement of a secular bull market in equities, give or take a year. Good returns will come from a very high-quality bond portfolio and equities that can ride through or benefit during a period of change.

Investors like you

Rob Carrick's social media community members

Highlight comments: "0 per cent a year from bonds, 8 per cent a year from slocks, so 4.8 per cent. Why the hell would you own bonds?"; "I expect closer to 8 per cent with my portfolio that is 100 per cent stocks (indexed ETFs)"; "4-5 per cent is realistic bottom, 6-7 per cent is what I expect. "

Associated Graphic


A plunge in world oil prices is forcing the producing countries of the Middle East, former Soviet Union and North America to rethink forecasts for output and what that might mean for their economies. The drop has suddenly brought into sharp focus an increasingly intense high-stakes battle for market share in an energy world that has gone from scarcity to abundance in less than a decade. Jeffrey Jones reports from Calgary
Friday, October 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A8


Saudi Arabia, along with Kuwait and United Arab Emirates, will oppose any moves within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to hold back production, even if they would help prop up prices, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, quoting a Gulf OPEC official. The 12-country cartel is due to meet next on Nov. 27.

Saudi Arabia, OPEC's most influential player, and its fellow producers have watched market share erode as a revolution in oil from shale formations has allowed the United States to sharply reduce imports. In September, their combined production hit a 13-month high amid weaker-than-expected demand in Europe and Asia, causing a glut that has put pressure on prices, according to the International Energy Agency.

Saudi Arabia's production rose slightly to 9.73 million barrels a day. Its officials have long told nervous markets that the country is comfortable with Brent crude between $90 and $110 (U.S.) a barrel, though it has never promised to defend the range, according to FirstEnergy Capital Corp. analyst Martin King.

It has been resolute in defending its franchise, especially in Asia, where it reduced its official selling prices to customers. Market share is crucial to Saudi Arabia as it in the midst of a spending spree at home to improve living standards and diversify its economy, according to The Economist.

Iran, tied for third in OPEC production capacity, has struggled with weaker Asian demand. That and skidding prices put it in a precarious economic position, as it requires oil at nearly $140 a barrel to erase its budget deficit. Crude has not come close to that price since months before the financial crisis took hold in 2008.

Mr. King has projected that Brent crude could bottom out in the high-$70s a barrel if the OPEC members move toward coordinating to reduce supplies and the high-$60s by year-end if they do not.


It is the world's third-largest oil producer behind Saudi Arabia and the United States, and revenue from its crude exports has fuelled President Vladimir Putin's increasingly militaristic ambitions along its borders. So far, the fall in crude prices has not blunted them, despite worsening damage to the economy.

Russia derived half its federal budget revenue from mineral extraction taxes and export customs duties on oil and gas in 2013, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That makes its economy highly sensitive to movements in crude markets. Global benchmark Brent oil, which sold on Thursday for $85.02 a barrel, has lost about a quarter of its value since the start of the year.

The country requires oil prices of $100 a barrel to balance its budget, according to The Economist.

Russia has flirted in years past with acting in concert with OPEC to take production off the market to rescue prices, but has shown no signs of doing so intentionally this time, even as global demand slows.

However, third-quarter production slipped from a year earlier, the first time that had occurred since the financial crisis nearly six years earlier, according to the IEA's October Oil Market Report.

In mid-September, the United States and European Union announced their latest round of sanctions against Russia, prohibiting U.S. and European companies from providing goods and services to Russian deep-water, Arctic or shale projects.

The IEA predicted that the sanctions would have minimal impact on short-term production, but will hamper the country's ability to offset declining output from older oil fields. As a result production is expected to average 10.9 million barrels a day in 2015, which would be down from this year's estimated volume.

North America

A renaissance in oil production in the United States has brought dramatic change to the global oil movements. Output has surged to 8.5 million barrels a day from five million in 2006, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration has predicted output of 9.5 million next year.

At the same time, imports have dwindled to 7.6 million (b/d) from 10.1 million. Canada is the only foreign supplier to have boosted U.S. market share.

As much as 70 per cent of the annual U.S. output gains come from three major shale deposits - the Bakken in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford and Permian in Texas, according to Manuj Nikhanj, managing director at ITG Investment Research.

The plays require active horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operations to keep the oil flowing, with well costs running between $6-million (U.S) and $12-million each. Break-even oil prices for most of the major shale fields are between $60 and $70 a barrel, Mr. Nikhanj said.

It is doubtful crude prices in the current range will force producers to curtail operations, though reduced cash flow may prompt them to trim capital spending, especially as shaky capital markets make it tougher for companies to raise extra money by issuing shares or debt. The eventual result could be a slightly flatter profile for overall production gains.

In Canada, the Alberta oil sands have generated the bulk of new production. In recent years, developers expanded multibillion-dollar projects as congested pipelines backed supplies up within the province, at times leading to deeply discounted prices. Currently, that discount is unusually narrow. That, and the weaker Canadian dollar, have combined to keep realized prices for domestic heavy oil relatively steady in comparison with world prices. According to BMO Nesbitt Burns, it takes oil at $90 a barrel, on average, to develop and operate oil sands mines profitably, though well-established projects can run at much lower prices. All-in costs for steam-driven projects, which comprise most new developments, average $65 a barrel.

A boom in North America, driven by three major U.S. shale deposits and Alberta's oil sands, has dramatically changed the global oil production balance

OPEC is allowing prices to slide as low as $80 (U.S.) to slow down the flow of non-conventional North American production and protect its market share

Demand for oil is growing far slower than previously forecast as global economies remain weak, particularly in China and Europe

Higher-cost oil-producing regions, such as the Alberta oil sands, have come under pressure as a result of benchmark prices approaching $80 (U.S.) a barrel

Associated Graphic



Time to embrace the office condo
For lawyers, doctors and other entrepreneurs who prefer not to lease, buying a chunk of Class A office space fits the bill
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B6

From his rented office in northend Toronto, lawyer Nikolay Chsherbinin can look across the street at the construction of a high-rise tower where he has purchased space for his firm to move into early next year.

Yes, he's buying, not renting, his future office.

Toronto is a top market for residential condo purchases, but only a tiny slice of commercial office space is for sale. Several current office condo projects in the Toronto area illustrate the appeal of ownership for economic and, in some cases, cultural reasons.

"For me, leasing is not a good option," says Mr. Chsherbinin, who founded his four-person firm in 2011. "When you lease, you are paying someone else; you are not building any equity."

Several factors weighed in favour of buying, not leasing, for the 36-year-old Russian-born lawyer.

His boutique law office specializes in employment issues and immigration litigation and he plans to stay small-scale. He regards his North York location, at the crossroads of two subway lines and minutes from Highway 401, as ideal given its potential for future commercial growth.

Not least, his office condo represents a retirement nest egg.

"This is an opportunity for a forward-looking professional," he says of his purchase. At retirement, he says he could sell the unit or lease it to others instead of paying "hundreds of thousands" of dollars in rent for the next 30 years. "Instead, I am generating that amount as equity."

Last year, he purchased one office unit and later an adjacent suite - about 2,400 square feet in total - in the Hullmark Corporate Centre at the southeast corner of Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue.

The project, a partnership between Tridel Corp. and Hullmark Developments Ltd., is a mixeduse development of about one million square feet with two towers, 35-and 49-storeys high, and a five-storey podium between them for retail.

The first 12 floors of the taller north tower are allocated for 198 office condo units, with a separate entrance on Yonge Street and upscale services that include a concierge and access to a conference room. As with a residential condo building, the office owners have their own board of directors and pay monthly maintenance fees. The south tower has 39 office units.

The developers initially planned to lease the office units, but drew little interest from renters, according to Jim Ritchie, senior vice-president of sales and marketing for Tridel. In 2010, in a change of strategy, the developers offered the units for sale. That year, buyers snapped up 137 of 198 units.

Today, with occupancy set for November, only three of 237 units in total remain unsold in the Class A buildings. An average unit of 845 square feet sells for $515,000, Mr. Ritchie says.

Though pleased by the near sellout, he describes office ownership as a narrow slice of the real estate market.

"I don't think this can apply anywhere and everywhere," he warns.

"We tried to address users who were more entrepreneurial and smaller in scale and who wanted an upmarket, triple-A environment and liked the whole idea about ownership," he says, with the marketing focus on doctors, lawyers and other professionals.

"We didn't go out to chase big users because they were not going to buy these things."

Though office condos are a niche segment of the commercial market, Mr. Ritchie says "we would do this again under the right circumstances," citing key factors such as a building's location and the profile of potential buyers.

James McKellar, professor of real estate and infrastructure at the Schulich School of Business at York University, says that for some, businesses office condos often "don't make sense economically" because it may be cheaper to lease than to buy in certain locations. Others may not want to commit to ownership when company operations could expand or shrink over time.

One part of this niche market has drawn interest from Torontoarea immigrants, especially from China, South Korea and Iran, who value owning a long-term asset. "For what you get for your money in Toronto, [it] is extraordinary from their point of view," says Prof. McKellar.

Farzam Jalili, president of the Professional Iranian Canadian Real Estate Association, says "ownership is very important in our culture." Self-employed professionals, he notes, "normally go for a freehold or free-standing premises for their own uses rather than to rent."

Mr. Jalili, owner of Real Home Realty Inc., in Richmond Hill, Ont., says he knows of young professionals who have purchased in Hullmark Corporate Centre and at suburban locations along Yonge Street's northern corridor.

While office condos often are located in the suburbs, one developer is bringing the concept to downtown Toronto.

"Toronto is really the [residential] condo capital of the world, but not for commercial condos," says Patrick Quigley, president of St. Thomas Commercial Developments, with the project at 7 St.

Thomas St. his company's first commercial condo. "It is completely foreign to them [local buyers] but quite common in New York, Chicago, London and everywhere in Europe."

Located just south of the city's toney Yorkville district and on the same site as the company's recently-completed high-end residential condo tower, the office condo is a nine-storey, 93,000square-foot luxury building designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects and scheduled to open in the spring of 2016.

The Class A office building of curving fritted (porous) glass tucks behind six 19th century townhouses incorporated into the project. Priced from $450,000, the units appeal to established companies who want a long-term investment in a prestige location, says Mr. Quigley.

The project is about 50 per cent sold, but Mr. Quigley concedes the concept is unfamiliar to potential buyers.

"The sellout of this has been arduous because it is an education process," he says. "Now that we have started construction we have had a lot of activity and some who came by a year ago are coming back again."

Back in North York, Mr. Chsherbinin concedes the office condo option "is not for everybody" but he remains "very excited" about his decision to move across the street.

Associated Graphic

Nikolay Chsherbinin has purchased two office condo units in the Hullmark Corporate Centre for his boutique law practice. At the crossroads of two subway lines and minutes from Highway 401, the North York location was a key factor in driving sales for the project.


The Nobel Prize as a snub of creative writing
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R3

A waggish Wikipedia editor got away with a quick prank just after the recent Nobel Prize for literature was announced: For about 10 minutes, on the bio page of laureate Patrick Modiano, a subsection was titled "To The Reporter Now Copying From Wikipedia." It read: "Be careful boy. Primary sources are still best for journos."

The joke was on the whole of North America, pretty much. Our entire intelligentsia responded to the announcement with "Who?" Modiano, it turns out, is a wellknown novelist in France - he had already won the most prestigious literary prize there, the Goncourt, and he had co-written the screenplay for Louis Malle's Lacombe, Lucien, which was nominated for the best foreign-language film Oscar in 1975 (I found that out from Wikipedia, too).

The thing is, we don't know France. We don't know too much literature not written in English, as a matter of fact. The stern men of the Swedish Academy, who select Nobel laureates, like to rub this in American faces. They have variously hinted as hard as can be hinted that the year when another U.S. writer can expect to be awarded the prize will be an exceptional year, indeed. Don't hold your breath.

The most truculent and obvious of the anti-Americans of the Academy is the garrulous Horace Engdahl, a university professor who complained in 2008 that Yankee writers don't read any books in translation and this leaves their literature dull.

Recently, he came out with more unsolicited advice for the world's dominant culture: Your creative writing courses are not helping your literary quality, he said. Interviewed by French Catholic newspaper La Croix just before the prize winner was announced, he scorned American literary culture for being dominated by universities and their students. Even grants and teaching positions, he said, have a negative effect, because they "cut writers off from society" and create "an unhealthy link with institutions."

The result, he claimed, is literature that doesn't take many risks. He suggested that writers take jobs such as "taxi drivers, clerks, secretaries and waiters" to make a living instead.

He slammed contemporary literary journalism as well, for mixing up actual criticism with reporting on "merchandise," a practice that confuses the meritorious with the merely popular.

Engdahl regrets a lack of "hierarchization" and "centre" among genres. I would guess he sees this postmodern laxity as also an essentially American trait.

The guy basically just doesn't like the United States. That's understandable, if not exactly rational: European intellectuals don't want to see the U.S. dominate global art the way it already dominates popular entertainment and geopolitics and every other thing. Some have already detected evidence of this creep toward hegemony in the recent decision of the Man Booker Prize to admit American writers to the competition; they say it will eliminate the Commonwealth character of the prize, which it probably will.

Not surprisingly, Modiano is not a graduate of a master of fine arts program, and indeed never took any formal creative writing classes. Those things, too, are basically American, and also in the process of being exported around the world, like McDonald's and Batman. One can't help but see the acclamation of this writer as a kind of snub of MFAs themselves.

Engdahl is not the only one to question the MFA effect on literature. Indeed, creative writing as academic discipline has been under attack for some years now, including from inside the U.S. This is because a massive economic change has occurred: It is simply more difficult for literary writers to attract large enough audiences to support themselves through the marketplace, even with critical success, so universities have become their benefactors.

The result is that the ideal book-buyer for a novelist or poet is not just the reader, it is the prospective university employer.

And writers enrol in MFA programs not just to better their craft but to gain professional credentials so that they may themselves become teachers in MFA programs. It's an odd new state of affairs.

A detailed history of the discipline in the U.S., The Programme Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing by Mark McGurl, came out in 2009 and spurred animated debates about whether the fiction produced in a university environment was too uniform or precious. Then came various essays denouncing the workshop model, notably a widely circulated piece from last February in the Chronicle of Higher Education, by Eric Bennett. Called "How Iowa Flattened Literature," it described the author's disappointment with his experience at the fabled Iowa Writers' Workshop, the granddaddy of all of them.

Then novelist Chad Harbach started an important discussion about the economics of all this, with an influential essay called "MFA vs NYC." It distinguished between two current models of earning a living as a writer in the U.S. - from a university salary or from book sales. (Harbach came down on the side of the MFA as incubator of more original fiction than the bestseller lists.)

For what it's worth, I teach creative writing in an MFA program and have not, over several years, noticed any particular MFA style or subject matter emerge from the students. Their work is as varied as any national literature can be. We do have art schools for painting, after all, and we don't constantly worry over whether painting can be taught.

Nor do I think it seemly for a professor at a Swedish university to lecture artists on how they should be working as taxi drivers or waiters.

Engdahl was in fact hilariously taken down after his French interview, by a British poet named Tim Clare, whose blog entry was titled "Creative Writing Courses Aren't Killing Literature - Sanctimonious Rich White Tossers Are."

Clare suggests - in saltier language than this - that working full-time in minimum-wage jobs actually prevents people from writing literature.

All these arguments are about economics, actually, rather than about national literary characteristics. Well, they should be, anyway. The Swedish Academy has somehow managed to make a celebration of literature into a petty slight against one country's intellectual culture, and that just seems like grumpy, reactionary conservatism.

Associated Graphic

Novelist Patrick Modiano, winner of this year's Nobel Prize for literature, may not be known in the U.S., but is well known in his home country, France.


Judge from humblest beginnings to decide famed athlete's fate
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

PRETORIA -- Growing up in a crowded two-room house in Soweto township under apartheid, Thokozile Masipa often slept on a makeshift bed under the kitchen table. Too poor to go to university, she toiled as a clerk, a messenger, a self-described office "tea girl" and eventually a crime reporter.

It took 10 years of night studies, while raising two children and working day jobs, but she finally became a lawyer at the age of 43, and then a judge - only the second black woman in the country to do so. And this week, in the culmination of an extraordinary South African journey, the former tea girl from Soweto will decide the fate of one of the world's most famous athletes.

On Thursday, Justice Masipa will begin delivering the verdict in one of the most-watched trials in recent history: the murder trial of Olympic doubleamputee hero Oscar Pistorius, who shot his girlfriend through a bathroom door last year.

The 66-year-old judge could convict him of murder or a lesser charge of culpable homicide, or she could free him entirely. Her decision could send him to prison for life, or a shorter jail term, or allow him to return to stardom in the global sporting arena.

The post-apartheid symbolism is stark. The prosecutor and defence lawyers, products of a system of white privilege, must now accept judgment from a black woman from Soweto's gritty Orlando East neighbourhood. It's a vivid example of South Africa's transformation, but also an inspirational story of a woman who overcame every obstacle that the apartheid system could throw at her, from poverty to sexism to racism.

"I love the image of these powerful elite lawyers kowtowing to a woman from Orlando East," said Jane Thandi Lipman, the Canadian director of a 2008 South African documentary about the country's female judges.

"She had to fight so hard to get where she is. It was sheer hard work and determination."

In the courtroom during the Pistorius trial, Justice Masipa was soft-spoken but stern, reprimanding the lawyers for their missteps and giving a tongue-lashing to journalists if their cellphones beeped.

But she has said her background has also made her compassionate toward poorer defendants. Growing up amidst crime and despair in Soweto, she saw suffering and hardship all around her.

"A lot of young children didn't have role models, because all they saw at the weekend was people getting drunk and getting stabbed," she said in a rare interview for Ms. Lipman's documentary.

"Children saw that happening, and most of them didn't really go to school with an aim to do something, they just went to school because someone said, 'You have to go to school.' That is why it means a lot for me that I was able to be something."

Justice Masipa was the eldest of 10 children. Five of her siblings died in childhood, and a brother was murdered in his twenties. Known as Matilda or Tilly in her youth until she switched to her African name, she lived with her husband in a tiny house of just one room "which served as a bedroom, bathroom, study room, you name it," she said.

After working in menial office jobs, she earned a university degree in social work in 1974, but apartheid made her career almost impossible. She worked instead as a crime reporter and an editor of the "women's section" - where she explored political and social issues that weren't traditionally written about in those pages.

A year after the 1976 Soweto uprising, with the police cracking down on dissent, she and other women reporters organized a demonstration in downtown Johannesburg, and were promptly thrown in jail for the night. They slept with newspapers as their blankets, defying orders to clean a clogged toilet and refusing to see themselves as prisoners.

The first newspaper where she worked was banned by the apartheid authorities, but she moved to another newspaper and began her legal studies at night, finally earning her degree the same year that Nelson Mandela was released from prison. Eight years later, in 1998, she became a pioneer: one of the first black female judges in South African history.

"To the young women in the townships where I've grown up," she said later, "I would tell them one thing: anything is possible."

Yet even today, in a country where black women represent about 40 per cent of the population, only about 15 per cent of South Africa's judges are black women.

In 2003, Justice Masipa applied for a position on the Constitutional Court, the country's highest court. When a bar association said she wasn't experienced enough, Justice Masipa tartly pointed out that this was always the argument that people used to protect the racial privileges of the past.

"This is not the first time that people have spoken about lack of exposure, lack of experience ... and unfortunately it is not the last time," she told a panel of officials who interviewed her for the Constitutional Court job.

"What scares me is that those words are usually used by people who want to block transformation," she told the panel. "There are a lot of people out there who have got the potential, who can do the work, but because at the back of people's mind they've got this lack of exposure, lack of experience, people with the right kind of potential are not put forward."

As a judge, she has shown no tolerance for men who abuse women. In one of her most famous judgments, she imposed a 252-year sentence on a serial rapist who had attacked women "in the sanctity of their own homes, where they thought they were safe."

Her court rulings have revealed an utter fearlessness of South Africa's most powerful institutions. She ruled against the Johannesburg city government when it tried to evict squatters without finding new housing for them. She told prosecutors to investigate police who had tampered with evidence in a case before her.

Under the glare of the world's spotlight this week, she will need all of that fearlessness again.

Associated Graphic

Justice Thokozile Masipa, left, inspects the bathroom door that Oscar Pistorius used a cricket bat to break down after shooting through it, during his trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in May. On Thursday, Justice Masipa will begin delivering the verdict.


Craft, once focused on all things cute, is now a medium saturated with politics and narrative. Nathalie Atkinson talks to author Leanne Prain about the evolution of craftivism and the art of storytelling through textiles
Thursday, October 16, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L1

The knit graffiti trend, which has seen trees, vintage planes, buses and even entire structures like the Andy Warhol Bridge in Pittsburgh covered in miles of yarn, evolved into a more pointed political movement earlier this year when the headquarters of a craft store started receiving knitted uteruses in the mail.

The womb-bombing campaign erupted in protest to a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that said chains such as closely held American craft-supply emporium Hobby Lobby had the right to opt out, on the basis of religious grounds, of covering certain types of birth control through their benefit plan. In addition to community and activist groups breaking out their knitting needles, satirical videos demonstrating how to craft DIY-IUDs using pipe cleaners started surfacing. Funny or Die took up the cause with their own videos of birth control made from craft supplies. The medium became part of the message.

Personal stories and activism are the next logical steps from the revival that began more than a decade ago and repositioned craft, "pushing back against cute kittens and ducks," says Leanne Prain, the author of Hoopla, and co-author of Yarn Bombing. Her new book, Strange Material, focuses on the art and process of storytelling through textiles.

"Now I think people want to see things that are more personal, that relate to them and where they live," Prain says. "That's the thing about the knit graffiti movement that I've been reading and writing about for over seven years." What began as a guerrilla crochet and knit movement, a covert, often anonymous underground phenomenon now has makers who acknowledge their work, and are thinking bigger.

"It went from a fuzzy pole to a personal marker to a more community-minded moment." Prain says.

"Part of the reason I wanted to write Strange Material," she says on the phone from her Vancouver home, "is that I really want to know people's stories and what their motivations are - I find that much more compelling than what your business card is. That's why I am pushing the question of what are you making and what's the personal resonance in it versus what are you making to impress other people."

It's as much anthology as workbook, with each chapter exploring an approach, highlighting the history or an artist working in the medium and ending with an activity prompt, "because we do have a materialistic craft society now. Interested people are so used to going out and buying a craft kit and going from A to B," she continues, "and I really wanted to focus on stories and story generation and explore personal themes through cloth. The hope is that the people reading the book will be able to generate their own projects."

Prain underscores how craft is "saturated with narrative," from the chain of events that lead to creation to the choice of materials. In her 2010 "Logo Sweater," Carlyn Yandle addresses the controversy surrounding the Vancouver Olympics Hudson's Bay sponsor co-opting the traditional Cowichan sweater by knitting the logos of event sponsors such as Coca-Cola and McDonald's into her pattern.

A "Bridezilla" dress of digitally printed fabric, part of Noël Palomo-Lovinski's 2008 "Confessions" series, is one of a dozen gowns adorned with phrases taken from confessional websites she was reading while negotiating the demands of life as a new mother, wife and professional. Another of the artists in the book makes bereavement quilts using cloth items that belonged to the deceased, a craft way to approach the healing process that is laden with meaning. "It's not just about telling stories with this book, it's the fact that we have emotional attachment to fabric," Prain says. "I don't think we talk about that that much. We all wear fabric, we sleep under fabric."

Tracy Widdess's sculptural monster mask knit headpieces are deliberately disquieting, as an antidote to the proliferation of cutesy, while Philip Stearns's Glitch Textiles are machine-knit renderings of digital patterns, a commentary on the technological world. "It's interesting that you're using a machine to knit visual examples of technical glitches, Prain says, "like when a CD skips or a computer file comes out bitty - in that way I think his process echoes what he's trying to communicate.

Which is meta."

Prain is partway through a shared book tour (with a stop earlier this week at Toronto's Textile Museum and ending at the Smithsonian) with craft and visual art authors Kim Werker and Betsy Greer. It was Greer who coined the term "craftivism" in 2003 and her new book shares a title with the portmanteau. "In the very beginning around 2002 when I was first writing about craft and activism they were definitely seen as two polar opposites," Greer said. "That's why I started writing about craftivism in general, because craft seems like it was this antiquated thing, not relevant, obsolete.

"For me it's about them playing against themselves, to soften one and toughen up the other. Because when you use things that are opposites like that you open up a dialogue. People aren't expecting it and that's the device and methodology," she says. The goal? To make the world a better place. In the case of Fine Cell in Britain, an organization featured in the anthology, it's teaching British prisoners craft, in effect, both as an economically-empowering skill and as a means of managing anger and depression.

"Two things together that for most people don't fit and a lot of people ask about why someone stitched about war - stitching is 'quaint' but war is violent. That juxtaposition leads to conversations." Instead of a more violent or directly confrontational medium, she continues, craft is one that encourages dialogue and interrogation. "We in general turn away from protest signs," Greet adds. "Craft is a back door into a conversation. A question has a response, whereas a statement doesn't have a next step."

Associated Graphic

This 'Bridezilla' dress, made of digitally printed fabric and part of Noël Palomo-Lovinski's 2008 Confessions series, is adorned with phrases taken from confessional websites she was reading while negotiating the demands of life as a new mother.

Carlyn Yandle made her 'Logo Sweater' in 2010 in response to the Hudson's Bay co-opting the traditional Cowichan sweater for the Vancouver Olympics.

Godfather of metal still going to extremes
King Diamond, who helped lead the first wave of European black metal, remains an imposing and entertaining figure in the genre
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R4

Here are three facts, as I understand them.

First is gravity. If it goes up, it comes down. Newton's apple, et cetera.

Two: Belgium is a country in Europe, sure.

And three: Heavy metal is the best music.

Wait. Metal's maybe not necessarily the best music. But it's the most music.

Metal seduces types who like the most of a thing. I mean, the genre's defining joke is taking an amplifier that goes to 10 and making it go to 11. If you want the most power, the most dread, the most notes-per-guitar solo, you probably like heavy metal.

And if, in that whole superlative sonic panorama, you settle for nothing more than the most of the most, then you probably like King Diamond.

Front man of Denmark's Mercyful Fate and his own eponymous outfit, known for extravagant stage theatrics and baroque concept albums, King Diamond's as good a mascot for heavy metal as Satan himself. His voice wavers between sinister howls and falsetto quivers, his lyrics indexing grisly sabbatic rituals. Until it was stolen in the mid-eighties, he sang into a human skull, which he named Melissa.

He's not just the most metal.

King Diamond is metal.

So, reaching him by phone at his home in Austin, Tex., on the cusp of his first major North American tour in nearly a decade, it's odd to find him so ... boring. The image in my mind of a glowering metal icon, face plastered in monochromatic corpse paint, is inconsistent with the chipper, excitable 58-year-old more eager to talk about his cholesterol, daily power-walking routine and recently acquired recording equipment ("I got a new vocal booth from") than pacts with Lucifer.

Diamond talks about his music more or less like any musician I've ever talked to talks about their music: as an expression of something deeply, meaningfully personal. He rejects the idea that Mercyful Fate's early-eighties albums - fast, scary, filled with poker-faced references to the desecration of souls - were meant to rebuff the bombast of British metal acts of the late seventies. "We were not even thinking about those things," he swears, in his plucky Danish accent. "The inspiration for the lyrics came from experiences, and from interest in the occult. We did what we felt."

That guiding ethos - "We did what we felt" - echoes the core tenet of British occultist Aleister Crowley: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." It also sums up the spirit of heavy metal, particularly in the wake of Mercyful Fate, when bands got darker, heavier and more severe in terms of both sound and ideology.

"Merycful Fate were the first band that was really extreme in terms of their viewpoints, and their artwork," says Metal Blade Records founder and CEO Brian Slagel. "They made it okay for bands to take it to the next level."

Alongside Sweden's Bathory and Switzerland's Hellhammer, Mercyful Fate led the first wave of European black metal, a genre defined by high-pitched guitar work, lo-fi recording and legitscary vocal screeches.

Second-wave black metallers like Darkthrone, Mayhem and Emperor stripped what was left of macho metal triumphalism, doubled down on the scowling misanthropy and committed singularly to the extremity, Slagel mentions. Increasingly stark shock tactics were one-upped in the scene's blackest quarters by straight-up violence: murders, hate crimes, a string of church burnings across Norway. Black metal's second wave took metal's most-ness to its furthest periphery - a scorched-earth campaign to define the genre's sonic and ideological margins.

But time, taste formation and the Internet's hastening of both have drawn those margins closer toward the mainstream. Netflixable black-metal docs have offered crash courses in music that had long seethed under sheets of Scandinavian permafrost. Last month, at a Toronto show by San Francisco black-metal act Deafheaven - critical favourites frequently dogged by the peculiar "hipster metal" tag - I saw kids who looked no older than 14 decked out in Mayhem and Burzum shirts.

The adolescent underclass of scrawny dorks and pimply chubs has long donned heavy metal's livery of pilled tour T-shirts and patched-up denim vests as an overstated tough-guy pose. But this was something different: teenage kids flexing not just taste-as-T-shirt-choice, but something closer to discernment.

These were outsiders wanting to be the most outside, because it meant something to be there.

Elsewhere, poets and novelists like Michael Robbins and John Darnielle are name-checking death-metal bands in their work and the subsequent interviews, pushing metal beyond the barricades of mere acceptability and endowing it with its own pop-intellectual dimension.

It's hard to know how the return of black metal's corpse-painted godfather (stopping in Montreal and Toronto this weekend) will fare with "hipster metal" types.

By modern standards, inverting a few crosses on stage or singing into a mike stand made out of human bones feels quaint.

To wit, when asked about shock tactics in metal past and present, Diamond focuses on the mechanics, not the politics, of terror. Such as: "You think of certain scenarios that can be very realistic. You squoosh a spider on your pillow, for instance, and you start thinking.

People say we eat a whole bunch of spiders every year that we're not aware of. And your brain goes, 'What? No, no, no ...,' then, 'Oh yes.' You shock yourself!"

(This trick of mental deception, incidentally, recurs across Diamond's discography.)

Slagel confesses that King Diamond's whole aesthetic - while treasured among hardened headbangers - is demonstrably un-hip.

King Diamond is imposing, massively entertaining and maybe even important. But he's not cool.

Then again, it's not very cool to be an adult man backlighting yourself with a desk lamp against a home-office wall, peeking over your shoulder at your silhouette as you belt King Diamond's At the Graves into a coffee mug you're pretending is a skull named Melissa, secretly hoping your body will atomize into a puff of smoke or turn into 10,000 bats and disperse into the dusk. But it's sure fun.

The most fun, even.

King Diamond performs at Toronto's Sound Academy on Saturday night.

Associated Graphic

Black metal artist King Diamond is known for his extravagant stage theatrics and baroque concept albums.

Company culture a magnet for talent, not a frill
Klick Health, Habanero Consulting, Hootsuite build workplace environments to attract and keep the very best
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page E3

In 1997, when Leerom Segal cofounded Klick Heath, a Toronto-based digital marketing agency for the health sector, he already knew the kind of company culture he wanted to build.

As chief technology officer for a big public company by 16, the tech prodigy felt stifled and depressed, "managed by accountants" who put PowerPoint presentations for financiers ahead of doing good work.

As he watched the best people leaving, he came to realize that others were frustrated with that model, too. So he became obsessed with creating a talent-centric culture where one could attract the best people and ensure that their environment enabled them to thrive and work well together focused on craft.

"When we get all those things right, our reward is profit but most people think the other way around," says Mr. Segal, now 35. "Never begin with profit as a focal point. The better we design our culture, the more attractive we are to the individuals who are motivated by craft."

The perks are there for Klick's 400 employees: the Lego wall, fitness room, free ice cream from the store-sized cooler and annual trips to Camp Muskoka - the signed canoe paddles proudly displayed at the entrance.

But beyond yoga classes, Klick's founders set out to free people from many operational and management tasks by using tools to automate them. Genome, their computer program for the workplace, creates more time for people to spend at their craft, resulting in happier, more productive employees. It also includes their own social media platform where staff share ideas and stories, communicating across locations freely without any kind of censorship.

With Klick's focus on people, cultural fit is everything when it comes to hiring. The process is intense, given that when candidates apply, the probability of actually being hired is one in 100. While hiring processes typically value experience and hard skills first, Mr. Segal says what they're looking at is harder to gauge but much more worthwhile because it's the essence of the individual.

"We look for people with the right balance of drive and empathy," Mr. Segal says. "It's a very sensitive conversation. It's important that they're motivated by the human impact of their work and more broadly empathic so they'll be easy to interact with and that the team dynamics are going to be right. Almost everything we're doing during our hiring process is to recreate those situations."

At every single stage, Mr. Segal explains that they try to be really deliberate about what personality they're looking for in a particular role.

"Is this a person we could have been friends with in high school, who shares our values, who's motivated to learn and has that insatiable curiosity?" Mr. Segal asks. "That's where our obsession lies. Once they come on board, then it's our job to teach them what we consider to be the secret sauce."

At Habanero Consulting Group, a Vancouver-based IT services firm with offices in Calgary and Toronto, cultural fit is also nonnegotiable. Once they make sure the candidate has the technical skills required, there's a series of steps to make sure they're bringing on the right people in the right roles at the right time, explains staffing and resourcing co-ordinator Mami Shimada.

The initial step might be a conversation to get to know their background, what motivates them and how they want to grow their career. Then they'll do a series of interviews including meeting their potential teammates so both sides can get their impressions. The tail end of the interview process is a chat with company president Steven Fitzgerald.

"The chat is embedded in our hiring process because it's a bit of an ice breaker," Ms. Shimada says. "It's worked very well for us because then people don't hesitate to go to him with their ideas or go for a coffee with him. That goes for anyone at the company here. We encourage that."

When a company hits hypergrowth like social media management company Hootsuite Media Inc., hiring for cultural fit as well as skills - both are equally important to the company - can be a challenge. The Vancouver startup has ballooned from 20 people 31/2 years ago to more than 700 - with plans to hire another 100 or more in the next two months.

Ambrosia Humphrey, vice-president of talent, says that while Hootsuite has a 10-person talent acquisition team, they spend a lot of time partnering with managers so that there's a network of people involved in the process to give their opinion and gut-check. By clarifying what their culture is and what they're looking for, it makes it easier to scale up and find people who are culturally aligned. One of the ways they've done that is by creating their hashtag #hootsuitelife, which employees tweet out, sharing and tagging pictures on the Internet about their culture.

"That's our way of showing people who we are and not trying to control the culture message," Ms. Humphrey says. "We let it be genuine and let our employees own it. Instead of saying we're innovative and collaborative, our employees tell that story. What we hear from our candidates is that they know what our culture means."

Ms. Humphrey describes the company'e environment as employee-centric where employees run 90 per cent of their cultural events.

"We find that's how they want it," she says. "They don't want HR to walk in on a Friday, throw down a beer keg and say, 'There's your culture. Go.' " While the company offers many perks such as nap rooms and yoga, Ms. Humphrey says culture isn't just a laundry list of frills. What it's really about is a sense of purpose, collaboration and partnership with employees.

"We define culture as who we are and how we get things done," Ms. Humphrey says.

"If your culture is to be collaborative, that's going to affect how you act and do things. We're very clear. When people talk about culture and they're talking about frills, they're usually not the right fit."

Associated Graphic

Leerom Segal, co-founder of Klick Heath, a Toronto-based digital marketing agency, became obsessed with creating a talent-centric culture where one could attract the best people.


Assailant held, released by RCMP
Police defend actions after soldier's death: 'We could not arrest someone for having radical thoughts'
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A1

OTTAWA, TORONTO -- A Quebec man who used a car to run down two Canadian soldiers, killing one and injuring another, had been on an RCMP watch list for months as a possible Islamic extremist and his passport had been revoked when he tried to fly to Turkey in July.

The Mounties tried to explain on Tuesday how Martin CoutureRouleau evaded their grasp, saying they had arrested and questioned the 25-year-old Quebecker at the airport in July, but released him because they had insufficient grounds to lay charges. Turkey, his planned destination, is a gateway for jihadis bound for Syria.

RCMP brass said police talked to Mr. Couture-Rouleau as recently as Oct. 9, but they insisted authorities had no clear indication that the man, whom they considered radicalized, intended to commit a crime in Canada or abroad.

"We could not arrest someone for having radical thoughts. It's not a crime in Canada," RCMP Superintendent Martine Fontaine told a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

The case of Mr. Couture-Rouleau, who was shot dead by police on Monday in Saint-Jeansur-Richelieu, Que., after the two soldiers were run down, illustrates the challenge facing authorities as Canada goes to war against Islamic jihadis in Iraq. The Canadian government appears better equipped to prevent would-be extremists from heading abroad to fight than thwarting them here, especially lone-wolf actors.

RCMP Supt. Fontaine said it is hard to stop domestic extremists who have the civil liberties enjoyed by all Canadians without solid evidence of a threat.

"Unless we have clear indications of what he was doing, it was very difficult to prevent and stop him," the Mountie said.

A source familiar with the matter said police are investigating whether the suspect tried to reach out to Islamic State militants or other terrorist groups.

Police said on Tuesday they believe Mr. Couture-Rouleau set out to target soldiers, spending at least two hours in a Quebec parking lot south of Montreal before hitting the victims.

Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, 53, died on Monday evening from his injuries. He had served in the Forces for more than 28 years from Victoria to Halifax. The other soldier, so far unidentified, is expected to recover. Witnessess reported hearing up to seven shots when police fired on Mr. Couture-Rouleau.

RCMP said on Tuesday that, earlier this month, Mr. CoutureRouleau gave police the impression he was changing his ways. "The meeting ended on a very positive note, so we had no reason to believe after he would commit a criminal act in Canada," Supt. Fontaine said.

Officers in a patrol car who saw the attack chased Mr. CoutureRouleau's Nissan Altima, and he was shot dead in a confrontation after he wielded a knife, police said. During the pursuit, Mr. Couture-Rouleau managed to dial 9-1-1 to claim responsibility for his act, the Sûreté du Québec confirmed on Tuesday.

At their press conference, the RCMP detailed the challenges they faced in preceding months trying to stop Mr. Couture-Rouleau from committing illegal acts.

"We didn't know his intention to use his car as a weapon," Supt. Fontaine said. "It would have been very difficult to prevent that. It's not a crime either to drive a car or be in a parking lot."

Mr. Couture-Rouleau converted to Islam last year and called himself Ahmad Rouleau.

The RCMP was alerted to him in June. "Some items on his Facebook page indicated that he was radicalizing himself" and was planning to travel overseas, Supt. Fontaine said.

The authorities designated him as a high-risk traveller, and he was among about 90 suspected extremists the force was investigating.

When he tried to leave Canada in July, the RCMP arrested him.

However, the Public Prosecution Service determined it did not have enough evidence to press charges.

Authorities continued to investigate, and this fall met several times with him, his family, the imam of his mosque and outreach police officers.

During a long discussion on Oct. 9, he "show[ed] some intention of wanting to change and improve," Supt. Fontaine said.

She said Mr. Couture-Rouleau's behaviour showed nothing alarming in the days before the incident.

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said the Mounties do not believe Mr. Couture-Rouleau had partners, but are still probing.

"We're open to that and we're concerned about that, so we're going to be pursuing every investigation avenue to satisfy ourselves that we've eliminated that possibility," Mr. Paulson told reporters.

In the Commons, Prime Minister Stephen Harper praised Warrant Officer Vincent as a 28-year veteran who served with distinction."This was a despicable act of violence that strikes against not just this soldier and his colleagues, but frankly against our very values as a civilized democracy."

Since Monday's incident, it has emerged that the Integrated Threat Assessment Centre of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, which warns government security agencies about terrorist threats, raised its warning level to medium from low last Friday.

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney's office said the threat level change was not a result of the hit-and-run in Saint-Jean-surRichelieu.

"The increase is not the result of a specific threat," said JeanChristophe de Le Rue, director of communications for Mr. Blaney.

"The decision to raise the level is linked to an increase in general chatter from radical Islamist organizations like [Islamic State], al Qaeda, al-Shabaab and others who pose a clear threat to Canadians."

Also on Tuesday, eight CF-18 fighter planes left Cold Lake, Alta., for Kuwait as Canada prepares to join an international coalition launching air strikes against Islamic State militants.

Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said Monday's attack does not deter Canada.

"Our Canadian Armed Forces members represent the best of Canada, and to have one die in a senseless act such as this only strengthens our resolve," he said in a statement.

Associated Graphic

A knife was found in the wreckage of the suspect's car after it rolled during a police chase Monday. Martin Couture-Rouleau had been monitored by the RCMP since June as a possible Islamic extremist.


Master Corporal Champagne Leblanc, a medic with the Canadian Armed Forces, tapes poppies to a pole in front of the Service Canada building where two soldiers were deliberately hit by a car.


Patrice Vincent

Rotterdam's new market should inspire us
Markthal blends housing and retail in a creative way, while the redesign of St. Lawrence's North Market falls flat in comparison
Friday, October 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page G4


Imagine this: You wake up, shake last night's dream away, stretch, and then look out the window, only to be greeted by a giant snail hiding behind a mushroom. Or, perhaps you spy a massive raspberry, shrimp and flower.

No, you haven't fallen down Alice's rabbit hole. Rather, you're one of the lucky few who get to call Rotterdam's new Market Hall home, and that colourful explosion of produce, grain, insects, fungi and a snail are your constant companions (there's a cow, too). The largest art piece in the Netherlands, Horn of Plenty by Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam wraps the curving interior walls of the hall with such joy, you won't want to hang curtains.

Opened to the public just two weeks ago, MVRDV's Markthal is one of the most breathtaking food markets you'll ever explore, and not just because of the surreal wallpaper. A long, horseshoeshaped tunnel, both ends of the building are finished in soaring glass walls to allow light to rain upon the food vendors, as well as deep into subterranean levels; the thick exterior walls contain 228 apartments, most with sweeping views of the rugged port city.

In short, this is a piece of architecture that will quickly become a landmark for locals and visitors alike.

And, says MVRDV public relations chief Jan Knikker, it needs to be. Not only does Rotterdam long for even half the tourists that flock to Amsterdam (only 80 kilometres away), the historic city centre continues to work hard at shedding its 1980s reputation as one of the "drug hot spots of Europe" in order to rebrand itself as a safe, fun destination middleclass folk will live in, and, especially, shop in: "Because the Dutch people are not used to markets, there was this idea that this market needed to be bigger, but then it became a financial issue - how do we create a big building that is a market, but with the low rents that [vendors] will pay for the market-stalls?"

To complicate matters, the city's 2004 competition brief called for rental apartments, condominiums and a significant number of parking spaces (1,200) as well as an enclosed market to complement the open-air one nearby.

Eschewing the typical scheme of creating a separate building for each function, MVRDV's solution rolled these requirements into one big architectural croquette, so the walls of the market itself contain the housing units, and all parking and loading is done underground and out of sight. This novel approach took first place for the Rotterdam-based architecture firm, established in 1993 by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries.

In addition to the 96 food stalls and 20 retail units on the 43,000square-foot ground floor (for comparison, Toronto's St. Lawrence Market is 50,000 square feet according to ERA Architects), Markthal also boasts a full grocery store on the lower level, a flexible "edutainment" space, and yet another art installation beside the escalators titled "The Time Stair," where the deeper one descends, the more one learns of the site's history via archeological artifacts found during excavation, video, and sound.

Because of its low energy use and passive ventilation system, the Building Research Establishment (BRE) awarded Markthal a "Very Good" certificate. In addition, tenants must sign an agreement promising green practices regarding water consumption, waste and the use of certified construction materials; some are already using their roofs for urban farming.

Housing units range in size from approximately 850 square feet to a whopping 3,200 square feet, and all have exterior balconies. Because of the raked roof, the 24 penthouses have expansive terraces and a price tag to match; your humble Architourist walked through a tastefully decorated 1,000-square-feet model suite on the fourth floor, and an empty $1.7-million penthouse so large it could pass for an art gallery. A highlight was the penthouse atrium with a small glass floor framing ant-like people 11 storeys below. Both units had gorgeous views of the medieval Laurens church to the north, and I'm sure most south-facing units must be able to take in Rem Koolhaas's brooding De Rotterdam on Wilhelmina Pier a few kilometres away.

"A lot is happening in Rotterdam right now," Mr. Knikker says, "and it makes the city quite livable."

Which brings us to an even more livable city ... Toronto. When National Geographic awarded historic St. Lawrence Market "No. 1 food market in the world" in 2012, there were few chests that swelled larger than mine. Still, I wondered what was happening with the North Market building across the street.

To refresh your memory, a competition was held in 2010 to replace the bunker-like, late-1960s one-storey structure with something larger, and the winning design by London-based Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (with Adamson Associates), while perhaps not an instant landmark like Markthal, was a striking building with adjustable louvers, a segmented 'floating' roof, and an overall muscular appearance.

By 2012, shovels still hadn't hit the ground, and the city released a tepid redesign that Torontoist writer Steve Kupferman called "two enormous Quonset huts on stilts." Fitting perhaps, since upper floors of this new building will house municipal courtrooms - transient, depressing spaces that won't add life or tourists.

As 2014 draws to a close and we've yet to see action, we can now demand something better. While our South Market can more than hold its own, let's take a page from Rotterdam and incorporate housing and retail into a new, better North Market building.

The alternative? Every day, we'll wake up to compromise.

Editor's Note: The author received a grant to cover airfare and accommodations from Dutch government agencies. They did not review or approve this article.

Associated Graphic

Markthal in Rotterdam is shaped like a horseshoe, with glass walls allowing light to rain upon the food vendors. The exterior walls contain 228 apartments, most with sweeping views of the port city.




The revised design for St. Lawrence's North Market, which Torontoist writer Steve Kupferman called 'two enormous Quonset huts on stilts.'

Markthal combines a food market wrapped in condos, with an interior adorned with art.


McCulloch writes about being a Kid
Memoir by founding member of iconic comedy troupe contains many embarrassing moments and life lessons
The Canadian Press
Monday, October 20, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L3

TORONTO -- Bruce McCulloch sees his life as half-success story, half-cautionary tale.

In his new collection of personal essays, Let's Start a Riot, the comedian traces his journey from a young drunk punk in Calgary to a founding member of the Kids in the Hall and finally, to a pyjamaclad dad in the Hollywood Hills.

But he says he chose to focus more on his missteps than his victories - only sharing a handful of stories about the sketch comedy troupe he formed with Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson in 1984.

"Once success takes over, it's not as interesting as struggle. It's what my great friend Gord Downie says, 'Nothing is uglier than a man hitting his stride,' " the 53year-old said in a telephone interview.

"I think then it becomes: 'And then we did this, and then we did that.' I suppose I could write a whole book about how [difficult] filming Brain Candy was, but that wasn't the job I set for myself."

McCulloch's trouble-making youth is now widely known. He is currently filming a television series based on his hit stage show Young Drunk Punk, inspired by his upbringing in Alberta, which is set to air on CITY-TV in early 2015.

But recalling some of his embarrassing moments as a teenager - whether hosting a competitive drinking event dubbed "Tequila-Fest" or trying to beat up his father - still made McCulloch cringe at times.

"Revisiting who I was ... it seemed like a guy I knew, but it also didn't at the same time."

He believes he is a product of his difficult upbringing. His mother left the family when he was young, preceded by the "slamming of car doors" and "tears in the shepherd's pie," he writes. He also felt rage toward his father and tried to punch him (McCulloch misfired and fell on his back in the snow instead).

"I worked as hard as I could to not have the same kind of family that I came out of," he said.

"I've had three families: One is the original, one is the one I've created with my wife and the middle one [the Kids in the Hall] is the one where I got to act out in a different way. So you can probably see in the book that there's a lot of, 'Why didn't they kill me? I was an asshole. "

McCulloch's anti-authoritarian streak runs through the book. For example, during the early days of the Kids in the Hall, the group did their first run in a theatre. After a positive review and a sold-out box office, a Saturday Night Live scout called and asked for tickets.

"If you really wanted to see it so badly, you would have bought tickets like the other people did," McCulloch replied before hanging up.

His fellow Kids were horrified, and so McCulloch scrambled to fix his mistake and get the scouts to attend. In the end, he and McKinney were hired as writers and moved to New York. But McCulloch reflects on his time at SNL with disappointment in the book, describing it as like "being at a party where all the guests are really interesting, but somehow the party is not so 'off the hook.' "

"I think the machine was too big," he said in the interview.

"But also, the more important thing was it made me understand and appreciate my real family, which was the Kids in the Hall. I came out of there 12 pounds heavier and appreciating the guys I had.

"It made me realize that we were a comedic group. They were my gang. They still are, you know?" He said he has been approached before to write a book about the Kids in the Hall, and wanted to focus on his own journey in Let's Start a Riot.

"It's our story. It's not necessarily my story. I was trying to tell my little part of it," he said. "They've had to live with me anyway. Why should they have to live with me telling our story now?" Filming of Young Drunk Punk is now under way in Calgary. The series stars Tim Carlson and Atticus Mitchell as two rebel teens in the 1980s. McCulloch plays a fa..

ther figure named Lloyd, for which he boasts he grew a "creepy" mustache.

"There's kind of an outsider spirit in the TV series that's the same as the book, in a way," he said, adding that he believes the problems he dealt with in his youth still resonate today.

"Now, if you're 18 or 19 or 20, I think you really don't know where you fit in, in a different way. Well, what are you going to do? Are you going to be a Twitter star, are you going to be on a reality show, in video games and apps?" he asked. "I think it's harder now to figure out where you can go, but I think the hunt never changes."

McCulloch is married with two children, five-year-old Roscoe and seven-year-old Heidi, who speak some of the funniest lines in the book. When he announces he is writing a book, Heidi replies, "Why would anyone want to read that?"

He said fatherhood has made him less selfish - in part because he spends so much time responding to his children's demands.

"It's not like it's given my life more purpose, but it's given me more balance. Also, when my daughter was born I've never worked harder in my life. I think it reminds me of why I'm doing what I'm doing, whatever that is," he said.

While McCulloch hopes readers can learn from his youthful "stupidity," he added that above all he wants like-minded people to connect to his story.

"When I talk about marriage or family, or trying to have kids or whatever it is, if people relate to it, I think that's the strongest emotion I want," he said. "I want them to be moved by it and laugh and all that sort of stuff, but I want them to relate to it."

Associated Graphic

Bruce McCulloch, who wrote a memoir Let's Start a Riot, hopes people can learn from his youthful 'stupidity.'

Was Obama eight years early?
He's delivered a respectable domestic record but little abroad. America may have reversed its historic firsts
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A19

Professor of European Studies at Oxford University, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Whatever happened to the messiah? He for whom Americans danced in the streets on that unforgettable election night just six years ago. He whose name was on every tongue abroad. He who promised that humankind would look back and remember this moment "when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal."

As America approaches its midterm congressional elections on Nov. 4, six years to the day after Barack Obama was elected, Democratic candidates don't want to be seen with him. Elizabeth Drew, a veteran observer of U.S. politics, writes that "probably not since Richard Nixon have so many candidates shied away from being in the presence of their party's president when he shows up in their states." His approval rating is down to around 40 per cent. Outside the United States, we barely talk about him any more.

What went wrong? Or is this new low just as unrealistic as the original high? During a summer spent in the United States, I asked various observers to draw up their Obama balance sheets. Obviously, much can still happen in the two-plus years left, but he has probably done most of the big things he is likely to attempt, and he increasingly sounds as if he would rather be on the golf course.

It's important to recall that no president since 1945 has been dealt such a difficult hand. He came into office facing the worst financial crisis since the 1930s, the legacy of George W. Bush's disastrous, unnecessary war in Iraq, a dysfunctional political system that snarls around a gerrymandered, polarized and moneydominated Congress, and a millennial shift in the global balance of power. This year sees China overtaking the United States as the world's largest economy, measured at purchasing power parity. In a column I wrote from Washington the morning after Mr.

Obama was elected, chants of "Yes we can!" still ringing in my ears, I already expressed doubts that the spirit of hope would be enough to surmount all these obstacles.

One obstacle I did not sufficiently anticipate. While the arrival of a black president in the White House was hailed as finally overcoming the greatest stain on the world's greatest democracy, it turns out that much prejudice endures. "It's undeniable," Ms. Drew soberly comments, "that the President's race has a significant part in the destructive ways in which he is talked about and opposed."

All this being said, what is the interim balance sheet? My answer is: moderately good in domestic policy, very poor in foreign policy.

The U.S. economy is doing better than any other major developed one. It has grown nearly 8 per cent since early 2008. Unemployment is below 6 per cent. The federal budget deficit for fiscal year 2014 was under 3 per cent of GDP.

We can argue about who should get the credit for this, but it happened on Mr. Obama's watch. The Dodd-Frank restraints on the financial sector are incomplete, but his Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers significant new protection for those on the wrong side of the banker's desk.

He has done what he can to start reducing carbon emissions, despite a lobby-dominated Congress.

The rollout of the Obamacare website was a managerial disaster, for which he bears responsibility, but the whole program has already brought perhaps 10 million people into insured health care or Medicaid. Two Princeton scholars have found that in his first term, Mr. Obama quietly budgeted far more for meanstested anti-poverty programs than other Democratic presidents. He talked less about the poor but did more for them.

This is a respectable domestic record for hard times. In foreign policy, by contrast, the President from whom the world expected so much has delivered so little.

It's true that he hasn't done "stupid stuff" like invading Iraq. But that's about it.

The visionary statesman of the 2009 Cairo speech failed to seize the opportunity of the Arab Spring, especially in Egypt. He declared a "red line" on chemical weapons in Syria, then let President Bashar al-Assad cross it with impunity. Mr. al-Assad proceeded to concentrate his fire on the moderate Syrian opposition, which former secretary of state Hillary Clinton had urged Mr. Obama to support more vigorously. This let the militants now known as the Islamic State gain a stronger foothold. Meanwhile, his weakness in dealing with Shia Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki meant that some discontented Sunnis turned to the Islamic State. Now America is re-engaged in Iraq.

The premature Nobel Peace Prize winner has not (yet) pulled out all the stops to achieve a twostate solution for Israel and Palestine, although he knows he should. He has been weak in responding to Russian aggression in Ukraine. The scandal of mass electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency has alienated crucial allies, especially the Germans, and he did not even fire his top intelligence official, who had lied about it to Congress.

The pivot to Asia is a good idea, but neither China nor U.S. allies in the region have yet been impressed by the results. Then there's development. The man who came to power as Mr. NorthSouth has actually done little more for U.S. development aid to the global South than Mr. Bush did. Oh, and he hasn't closed Guantanamo. Need I go on?

All this leads to an interesting question: Did American voters in Democratic presidential primaries put their historic firsts in the wrong order? First African-American before first woman. Although neither Ms. Clinton nor Mr. Obama had held major executive office, she had more experience and would probably have been tougher as president. She was the right age then, whereas she will be 69 if she wins in 2016. Eight years on, with some more time in the Senate, followed by a stint as secretary of state or vice-president, Mr. Obama would have been better equipped to face the challenges of a dangerous world.

Now there's one for the great book of What If.

Associated Graphic

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama tour Cairo's Sultan Hassan Mosque in 2009. She probably would have made the tougher president.


McCarthy needs out of the hot-mess pigeonhole
Friday, October 17, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R4

I think Melissa McCarthy is the bee's knees. When I interviewed her last month during the Toronto International Film Festival, my cheeks hurt afterward from grinning non-stop at her self-deprecating charm. She looked great: She was wearing a chic, swishy, black-and-white chiffon number and rocking the most appealing dimples in Hollywood - you just want to climb into them and see the world from there. For my money, she's the best thing about her new comic drama, St. Vincent. As Bill Murray's neighbour (and essentially, straight man), a struggling single mom, McCarthy grounds the film and gives it the emotion it needs to offset Murray's patented cool-dude-ery. (It opens in select cities today.) Yet I'm worried about her.

The clue is in that adjective, self-deprecating. We were talking about the hot-mess characters that McCarthy, 44, has been playing recently, some of whom she's co-written for herself with her husband of seven years (and frequent co-star), Ben Falcone. These include the crazed con woman in Identity Thief; the sloppy detective in The Heat, opposite Sandra Bullock, which earned a staggering $160-million (U.S.); the downward-spiralling title character in Tammy, which Falcone directed, and which netted $85-million this past summer; and the title character in Michelle Darnell, a new script she and Falcone just finished, which they plan to shoot next year.

McCarthy suggested that her willingness to throw herself around onscreen, her openness to anything that might get a laugh, stemmed from bombing so many times with the Groundlings, the L.A.-based improv troupe she belonged to for 10 years. "Bombing helps you not be precious," she said. "The gems, we barely remember those. When any of us get together, we only talk about the tanks."

She launched into a story about one Groundlings sketch she and Falcone did together: The second the lights came up on them in their matching outfits, she realized, to her horror, that the scene was disastrously unfunny. She butchered her way through a few minutes. But halfway in, she was so desperate to end the pain that she delivered a line as if it were the kicker - then nearly broke her neck by flipping herself backward off a riser. From her crouched position, she raised her hand in the air and made the pinching motion that indicated to the lighting guy that he should go to black. But he didn't. So after a few silent moments in which her pinching fingers waved wanly, she had to stand back up and finish the (now even more nonsensical) scene. "And I have a million of those stories," she concluded.

Her description made me laugh, but after we parted it stuck with me for a different reason.

McCarthy is an immensely likeable performer. She spent a lot of years making the most of single scenes in films, and being a smiling sidekick on Gilmore Girls. She won an Emmy for her series Mike & Molly. The self-deprecating characters she's playing are part of a long, honourable tradition of comedians, especially female comedians, using their own foibles and vulnerabilities as material, from Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers through Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling and Lena Dunham.

But what rocketed McCarthy to the privileged position she's in now was Megan, the eccentric cousin character she played in Bridesmaids. The film's star and co-writer, Kristen Wiig, initially wrote Megan as more pathetic, but McCarthy twisted her into something fierce and unexpected by being so cocksure. The more unquestioned Megan's confidence was (no matter how unfounded), the funnier it was. The cast was full of winning comedians, but McCarthy blew them away.

In St. Vincent, McCarthy plays against type again. Her character, Maggie, whose son finds an unlikely hero in Vincent (Murray), is the opposite of outrageous - she's the one who makes sense. She has the film's best speech, describing her challenges to her son's teacher (Chris O'Dowd, also great), and she nails it.

But I'm worried about the type that McCarthy seems to be settling into: shouty, food-stained irrationals with rat's-nest hair and aggressively unflattering clothes. Her look may be "funny," but it's in such marked contrast to everyone else onscreen, whose perfect hair and makeup gleams, that it seems cruel. I mean, did Bullock have to look so much like a Barbie doll in The Heat - whose sequel has just been announced - and did McCarthy have to look so much like a troll? By saying yes too often to things that are too similar, McCarthy risks squandering the goodwill she built for so many years.

Raised in an Irish-Catholic family on an Illinois farm, McCarthy was always funny. "We have a funny family, especially my dad, who tells amazing stories," she says. At dinner every night, they would take turns talking about their days, and McCarthy loved nothing more than to make them all dissolve in laughter.

"That feeling - it was so great," she says. "I remember that kitchen, that table, I remember everything about it. I realized, it's a good thing to make people laugh if you can." She even loves the sound from strangers who have nothing to do with her. "If I'm in a restaurant, and I hear somebody really losing their mind laughing, it fills me with happiness," she says.

McCarthy is grateful that she's in the catbird seat, and humble enough to believe it could all disappear tomorrow. "At the end of every day I'm like, 'Well, it's been great, and I can always make kids' skirts or start a cooking company,' " she says. "I always think, 'What will I do tomorrow when I'll never act again?' Not in a negative way, just like, 'Well, it clearly can't last.' I feel like I've been on a magic carpet for four, five years. After 20 years as an actor, trying so hard just to get a job, I still have a muscle memory of things not working. While it's here, while I'm invited to the party, I feel I have to do everything."

I just hope, for her sake and ours, that she finds more Megans and Maggies, and fewer messes.

The next page in your portable library
With this app, if you already own a physical copy of a book you can get an e-book version
Thursday, October 16, 2014 – Print Edition, Page L2

VANCOUVER -- Packing for a four-city/five-person family trip this summer, I reluctantly plunked Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch in the not-going-tomake-it pile. Weighing in at nearly two kilograms, that brick of a book was an impossible sell up against the stuffies, travel-sized board games, airplane snacks and iPads already squeezed into my carry-on. The Pulitzer Prize-winner was reshelved, unread.

This is the kind of problem BitLit was invented to alleviate. The idea behind the app, released earlier this year, is that if you already own a physical copy of a book, you should be able to get an e-book version for free, or at a deep discount.

To date, more than 200 publishers have signed on, with more than 30,000 titles available. Last week, at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the company's founder was busy signing more deals.

"A lot of people at the fair are extremely interested in this because it's print and digital. It's always been one or the other, and finally there's this elegant way to bring them together," said Peter Hudson, BitLit's Vancouver-based CEO. He was speaking from Germany, where he was also promoting the latest upgrade to his app - the shelfie.

The spark for BitLit came over dinner, two years ago. Hudson was at a restaurant with a friend, discussing, as one does at a Boston Pizza, the nature of free will and the advent of D-Wave Systems' quantum computer and how quantum superposition may affect the multiverse. During this conversation, a disagreement erupted. Hudson's friend said he had a book at home that would prove Hudson wrong; he could envision the citation and even the page number - if only he had access to the book.

"And I said, 'that's the thing, Dan. You should be able to get the e-book for free or a really, really cheap price if you own the physical copy of the book,' " recalls Hudson. If you can take a CD you own, rip it, store the information in iTunes and have the tracks accessible on your smartphone, why shouldn't you able to do that with your books too?

And now you can. Here's how BitLit, which has been available since January, works: You download the app, take a photo of the cover of the book, write your name in pen on the copyright page and take a photo of that (this ensures that you don't buy the book from a store, take the photo, and then return the book), and you get a link to a download. Hudson has now launched the shelfie - which is just out this week on iTunes (it's been available for a few weeks on Android devices). You take a photo of your bookshelf, the app inventories it, giving you a list of all the books, and then a list of your BitLit eligible books.

Beyond the engineering challenges of creating the technology, and raising the necessary capital (Hudson appeared on the first episode of this season's Dragons' Den Wednesday night, looking for investors) getting publishers on board was a monumental task.

"I spent the first 29 days picking up the phone and cold-calling publishers leaving messages and e-mailing people before I got one person to tell me that this was not a terrible idea," says Hudson, now 34. That publisher was the Toronto-based independent ChiZine Publications, which specializes in "dark genre fiction."

This first bit of interest was fundamental in BitLit's big turning point this summer. Bestselling author Joe Hill was at Comic-Con in San Diego when he learned about BitLit over Twitter. Hill, who has more than 200,000 Twitter followers (and who is also the son of Stephen King), downloaded the app on the spot and tried it out on the one book he had with him - which happened to be a ChiZine title.

What luck. "At this point we had like 15,000 titles in the catalogue, so the odds of this working are .1 per cent chance," says Hudson.

It worked "flawlessly," Hudson continues. "Within 15 seconds he's got an e-book for the print copy." Hill tweeted out a link to the app, called it "officially cool," and then worked with his publisher, HarperCollins, to offer owners of his book Heart-Shaped Box a free e-book download (in the U.S. only). He went on to promote the heck out of his deal - and BitLit.

But HarperCollins has piloted with only seven books (including Heart-Shaped Box) and only in the U.S. Meanwhile none of the other so-called big five trade book publishers - Penguin Random House, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan - are on board.

Yet. From Frankfurt, Hudson reported interest from the other companies but said they are being cautious in light of the recent U.S. Department of Justice investigation around the pricing of e-books. He's also in talks with HarperCollins about expanding the pilot - more territories (including Canada) and more titles - thousands, Hudson says.

So I wouldn't have been able to get my free or deeply discounted e-book version of The Goldfinch to read during my travels this summer anyway. I'm also hooped by my choice of technology: The app is not available for the BlackBerry and you can't take the picture with your iPad - you need an iPhone or an Android device for that. When I tried BitLit using my husband's iPhone this weekend on the random pile of books by my bed, we received a succession of non-recognition messages. "We couldn't identify your book!" None of the books in my stack was available. So I never did manage a successful BitLit download.

"That's a big reason why the shelfie is so important, because if you have to try the books one at a time then you're going to get disappointed and quit," says Hudson, now back in Vancouver. "That's why the shelfie is so critical for what we're doing."

Follow me on Twitter:@marshalederman

Associated Graphic

Using the Bitlit app, you scan the cover of a book and sign a copyright page to get access to the e-book version.


Canada's Health Minister says doctors are overprescribing painkillers, fuelling an epidemic of prescription drug abuse.
Saturday, October 11, 2014 – Print Edition, Page F8

Patients with chronic pain worry they'll be collateral damage if there's a crackdown. Readers, print and digital, offer their diagnosis In the debate over the role of health practitioners in inadvertently contributing to opioid abuse, surely one player is getting off far too easily (Pain, Killer - editorial, Oct. 7). If prescription drug companies were forced to act more responsibly in informing both prescribers and patients of the potential dangers, perhaps we'd see fewer health and social repercussions at the other end of the pipeline.

Rosalyn Wosnick, Toronto

As a doctor with 30 years experience treating patients with chronic pain, rarely with opioids, I've seen big pharma companies seducing physicians, and desperate patients imploring physicians to prescribe narcotics. This need to "get rid of the pain" stems from a basic misunderstanding of the nature of chronic pain.

Chronic pain has multiple causes, including physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioural. It is not usually curable or even best treated by powerful medications.

No special group, doctors included, has all the answers.

For many of us in this field, it has been our experience that interdisciplinary teams, working together and ranging from physiotherapists and chiropractors to psychologists and cognitivebehavioural therapists, can help people decrease pain, improve function and learn to cope better.

Through mindfulness meditation, patients can learn to better accept their symptoms.

If governments would fund these programs and give physicians non-pharmacological alternatives to prescription pads, it'd go a long way to both "solving the painkiller crisis" and saving lives.

David Etlin, internal and behavioural medicine, medical consultant, Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital and University Health Network

I'm lucky to even be working: Most chronic-pain patients are unable to work. Even with a good salary and extended health benefits, my physiotherapy and physical rehab alone cost upward of $400 a week. Getting in to see a chronic-pain specialist can take more than a year; specialists are often not available in smaller centres. Add to that the delisting of physiotherapy in Ontario several years ago and you can quickly see why chronic-pain patients are left with few options.

I've lost friends to prescription painkillers. I know how dangerous they are - but they are cheap and easy to access. The other pain-management route takes a long time and costs a great deal. So, before blithely saying there is an alternative to painkillers, understand that for most Canadians with chronic pain, this level of care is out of reach.

Rosalind Robertson, Toronto

Doctors need federal help to put down their pens? How about just reading their Hippocratic oath?

Scott Mellon, Ottawa

It has long been recognized by those of us practising personal injury litigation that the phenomenon known as "chronic pain syndrome" is iatrogenic. The prescription of opioids for simple soft-tissue injuries following trauma is ubiquitous throughout the medical profession in Ontario, particularly at chronic-pain centres where doctors are apparently blind to the rampant addiction, choosing to believe patients just cannot manage their pain.

While many clients are able to wean themselves off the drug in time, an equal number find life more comfortable with oxycodone and graduate to multipleuse opioids, such as the fentanyl patch and hydromorphone, all of which are prescribed and crossprescribed by a combination of family doctors and "pain specialists." Many of the latter are nothing more than general practitioners who use this designation and happen to work at chronic-pain centres which are government funded.

My objections to the inappropriateness of opioid treatment, when made to both my clients and their physicians, may be met with a change of lawyer and the common refrain: "You are a lawyer, not a doctor." True enough.

It is the insurance companies, whether private or OHIP, which pay the considerable price for this abuse in disability and other related claims, which means that in the end, we all do.

Ava Hillier, Brampton, Ont.

What is the government going to do that doctors can't do already? The doctors are the people prescribing. The logic is flawed.

Nicolai Hilckmann, Vancouver

Several years ago, I had a minor surgical procedure. Afterward, much to my surprise, the surgeon handed me an opioid prescription. I didn't need it. My pain was well managed with ibuprofen. I got the impression this surgeon reflexively handed out opiate prescriptions. Physicians need to get a lot more thoughtful about this.

Jane McCall, Delta, B.C.

Do we really believe that most of those on opioids don't know they run the risk of addiction? Is it not possible a patient might choose the likelihood of addiction over the reality of 24/7 pain? Those of us who suffer that level of pain are caught in a horrible quandary.

There are just not enough tools in the toolbox to safely fix the problem. Banning the few we have or making them nearly impossible to access is not the answer.

Those who do not suffer from regular pain cannot possibly understand that it is persistent pain (whether excruciating or not) that is often the most debilitating factor, leading to permanent exhaustion and other symptoms.

Alternative methods for treating pain are expensive. Even relatively good insurance plans are very limited in their coverage of physiotherapy, therapeutic massage, acupuncture, etc. For many, these treatments are out of reach.

The best solution would be more funding for medical and pharmaceutical research. In the meantime, let's not arbitrarily cut off the small relief that is available for those who'd like to continue with a relatively normal life.

Paula Chabanais, Cobourg, Ont.

I'm an RN who has lived with chronic pain for years. Health professionals who prescribe and dispense these medications need to go beyond the instructions on the label and the usual handout, and actually educate people on how to self-manage pain. Ideas such as keeping a simple pain diary, including rating pain on a scale of 1-10 and recording when drugs are taken to avoid overdose, and using non-opioid drugs for minor pain (<5). Treating the person with pain as a partner in the painmanagement process, rather than as a potential drug abuser, could be the strongest solution of all.

Wendy Vlasic, RN, London, Ont.

Associated Graphic

Morphine, often used for chronic pain.


Firms beef up cybersecurity amid surge in data breaches
Monday, October 20, 2014 – Print Edition, Page B1

Canadian businesses are pumping more money and resources into the battle against cyberattacks, taking action to ensure the security of corporate data.

The latest C-Suite survey of business executives shows that security budgets are increasing and firewalls are being beefed up, as anxiety over possible attacks on computer systems ratchets higher.

Indeed, the recent breaches aimed at customers of Target Corp., Home Depot Inc. and Apple Inc. have raised the profile of the issue to the point where many executives say they must act.

Almost half of those surveyed said they are more concerned about cybersecurity in light of the recent breaches.

Sixty per cent have boosted computer-security budgets in the past two years, and 87 per cent say they are now prepared for threats - although only 23 per cent say they are "very well" prepared.

"I am thrilled to see it being more on the agenda, because it is something that corporations and society as a whole have not put adequate thought into," said Rupert Duchesne, chief executive officer of Montreal-based Aimia Inc., the company that runs the Aeroplan points system and other international loyalty programs.

"The perceived threat has been lower than the actual threat. We are now getting the actual and the perceived into balance, and so people are spending more time and focus and money on it, and that is exactly what should be happening."

The worries are substantially higher among companies in the service sector, where 72 per cent of executives say they are very or somewhat concerned about threats to their firm's networks or electronic data.

By contrast, 50 per cent of manufacturing executives show the same concern, and only 28 per cent of resource sector bosses.

But even in the resource sector, there is a recognition that risks exist.

Gestur Kristjansson, president of Winnipeg-based mining firm San Gold Corp., said recent high-profile security breaches made his company sit up and take notice, even though it has no retail customers.

Data security "is more on the radar than it has been, given the recent breaches," he said. The key concern for San Gold relates to personal communication devices such as mobile phones, which have been very valuable, but also present security issues, Mr. Kristjansson said. "On the one hand you want the efficiency of [employees] being able to access the network, but with that, comes a price. There is a trade-off between communication and security. We wrestle with that."

Mr. Kristjansson said he is very confident that San Gold's key mission-critical data are well protected, but he is more concerned with threats that might arrive through the communications system - especially since the company has already had a couple of "denial-of-service" attacks that have forced a temporary shutdown of the e-mail system.

Indeed, 28 per cent of the surveyed C-Suite executives said their businesses have already been the subject of some kind of cyberattack.

At International Road Dynamics Inc., a Winnipeg-based company that sells traffic management technology, CEO Terry Bergan said his firm has detected attempts to hack into its computer system.

While he thinks the perpetrators were more likely random hackers rather than someone bent on corporate espionage, the result is that data security "is of increasing concern to us [and] we have beefed up our budget and put different layers in," Mr. Bergan said. "I certainly didn't appreciate personally how serious it was until we did find that somebody tried to breach our security."

Where IRD's IT department once consisted of "a junior computer guy," it is now is a much larger team "and a couple of them are very senior," Mr. Bergan said.

"We have put in the resources and given them the authority and budget to be able to manage it."

Willy Kruh, global chair of consumer markets at KPMG, said the C-Suite results show that companies are getting more serious about this issue, but there is still not a full understanding among executives of the true risks of cyberattacks.

Anything in a company, from research data to intellectual property to accounting information can be at risk, he said, along with the firm's reputation.

While there can never be absolute security, companies need to carefully assess where "holes" might be, and educate employees, suppliers and customers about the issue, he said.

Mr. Duchesne, of Aimia, agreed that almost every company, from a corner store that accepts credit cards, to a big corporation or government department, has sensitive information that needs to be protected.

"It doesn't matter what kind of business you are in, you have to take this very, very seriously."


Q: With which region should opening up trade be a top priority for Canada?

A great majority of executives polled in the C-Suite survey - more than 90 per cent - say the recent foreign investment agreement with China will be positive for Canada. Indeed, that market is crucial for Canada, the executives say - 65 per cent list China as the top priority for the country's trade efforts. The European Union comes second, followed by India, Korea and Brazil. But there are caution flags. Executives say they are held back from doing business in Asian markets because of regulations and bureaucracy, currency concerns, cultural barriers and an uncertain political landscape in some countries.


As more executives experience some kind of attack on their companies' computer systems - ranging from viruses to more severe hacking or theft of data - they are taking action to beef up security. Many think they are now well protected, but there is still work to be done. And it is not just client information that is at risk: Corporate data and personnel information also need to be safeguarded.

Q: Has your business already been the victim of a cyberattack?

Q: Have recent high profile breaches of data security made you more concerned about breaches at your own firm?

Q: How well is your business prepared against security threats?

Q: What concerns you most about threats to your company's electronic data?

Associated Graphic



The NFL loses its soul after sordid Rice spousal-abuse video comes to light
It's hard to believe that a league as powerful as the NFL did not procure a copy of the infamous tape, and even harder to believe that they did their best to absolve the Ravens star
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

For several months after we saw her being dragged unconscious from an elevator by her fiancé, Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice, Janay Palmer became the NFL's Schroedinger's Cat.

We saw the aftermath of something. The event itself - whatever had happened inside the metal box - remained obscure.

In that conceptual space, Palmer could exist in two states - as both an abuser and the abused.

Putting aside common sense, the NFL chose to believe the former. Now it is reaping the whirlwind for its cynicism.

On Monday, TMZ released surveillance video showing the entire story. It starts with Palmer and Rice arguing outside the elevator. He says something to her. She reaches out and bats at him, then keeps walking.

They both get into the elevator. Rice moves threateningly into Palmer's space. She raises her arm defensively. He slaps her hard across the face, then backs away. Palmer comes across the elevator, angry. Rice swings from the hip, a left cross. He catches Palmer flush on the jaw. She goes down hard, possibly slamming her head into the handrail on the way down. She's out. So little time has passed, the doors have only just closed.

Rice stands there for a second. The doors open. He tries to drag Palmer out of the elevator, but isn't quick enough. The doors close on him. When they open again, he's got her under the shoulders.

He drags her halfway across the threshold, and drops her like a sack of potatoes. Her skirt is hitched up over her underwear. Her feet are still inside the elevator. Rice absent-mindedly retrieves a shoe she's lost. Two passersby appear. One of them is a casino security guard. Presumably, this is where Rice begins his prevarications. He tries dragging Palmer to her feet. She can't manage it, and collapses in a heap. She's conscious, but only barely. Rice stands, hands in pockets, watching her. It's left to someone else to comfort her.

When the attack first made news, it was described by Rice's lawyer as "a misunderstanding." The Ravens called it "a situation."

"After reviewing surveillance footage it appeared both parties were involved in a physical altercation," Atlantic City police said in a release. This is good example of facts obscuring the truth.

The NFL clung desperately to this initial description of events. Rice and Palmer gave a press conference in which he spoke a great deal about God, and she somehow ended up apologizing. A day after he was indicted on assault charges, the pair was married.

Almost immediately, Palmer was assailed by a whisper campaign of character assassination. It wasn't what was said. It was what wasn't.

Nobody inside the NFL family - official or unofficial - spoke out on her behalf. Instead, coaches and players were lining up behind Rice, citing his character and decency.

Palmer was invisible in all this. We were reminded again and again that she had once been arrested for shoplifting.

Rice was suspended for two games. When that prompted outrage, the NFL's media proxies were left debating in code language what might have happened in that elevator. This started a public connect-the-dots effort - if the NFL has seen the video; and the NFL has been so lenient; then mustn't the NFL know something we all don't know; and wouldn't that tend to implicate Janay Palmer, a 125pound woman, as the person who started a fist fight with her 215-pound partner?

Much of the United States was willing to believe a frankly unbelievable story - that Ray Rice was the good guy in a fight that ended up with a woman flat out on the floor - because the NFL lent its moral weight to that suggestion.

On Monday, the NFL was into full flail. League officials had not seen the video, multiple anonymous sources assured every major U.S. outlet, after many other anonymous sources had previously suggested to the same outlets they had. I call shenanigans on that one right away.

As with any other billion-dollar corporation, the NFL is shot through with ex-law-enforcement types. So is the casino where Rice attacked his future wife. The idea that no one was able to quietly pass a copy of that video from one organization to the other - as a courtesy between colleagues - is preposterous.

I find it far easier to believe that several NFL executives saw that tape, but came to it with a predetermined focus - to exculpate one of their own.

The Atlantic City police had provided them with the template - a fight, and both sides to blame. They saw that initial swipe from Palmer ("She started it"). They saw her come across the elevator ("She's the aggressor"). They convinced themselves up was down.

This is what happens when you bring a lawyerly outlook to simple issues of right and wrong. You get lost in minutiae and your own self-interest. You're able to convince yourself that what you've seen - a very large man viciously striking a very small woman - is a complicated matter.

It isn't.

On Monday, the league suspended Rice indefinitely. The Ravens cut him. His career is finished. He's toxic.

Before we start gloating about that, remember that Rice is still married. He's going to be home a lot more, with time on his hands and a grievance to nurse. Poor Janay Palmer.

The NFL will try to quickly move the focus back onto the field. That will probably work. A lot of people howl about the NFL's wobbly moral compass, and most of them watch 12 hours of football every Sunday.

What won't survive is our presumption of the league's basic goodness. We assume that most right-minded people would watch that video and be shocked into action. Apparently, the NFL was not.

That loss of faith won't hurt their bottom line. But, man, if that really was what they set out to protect here, Earthly riches are the least of their existential problems.

Follow me on Twitter:@CathalKelly

Associated Graphic

Janay Palmer, right, with husband Ray Rice, was blamed as the aggressor by many, including Atlantic City police.


Spain spells messiah without the 'ah'
Monday, October 20, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

Ten years into his career and long before the beatification, they're already collecting Lionel Messi's holy relics.

Prime among them is the napkin on which his father signed his first La Liga contract. That is football's Magna Carta. It's the beginning of the current era.

Eventually it will end up in FC Barcelona's museum, which already has a loft-sized space dedicated to Messi. No club has featured so many legends, yet Messi is the first player they've honoured in this way while still active.

At the time of signing in 2000, Messi was 13 years old and suffering from a hormone deficiency that stunted his growth. Despite the evident quality of the young player, no Argentine club would cover the roughly $1,000 a month required to treat the problem (daily leg injections, administered by Messi himself). It will go down as the most ill-judged economy in sporting history.

Barcelona paid $60,000 for his signature, and promised to find his father a job in Spain. Even for a club of Barcelona's size and ambition, it was seen as a bit of flyer.

As a teenager, Messi stubbornly refused to grow past five-feet tall.

His teammates began to call him la pulga (the flea). He was too shy to speak to anyone. So they also called him il mudo (the mute).

Amongst the aesthetes, he was a recognized commodity well before his top-level debut. PreYouTube, you knew him from the stories: the ten-goal games; slaloming through entire teams.

One youth opponent famously dropped to the ground as Messi sprinted forward and tried to grab him by the ankles.

By the time he finally arrived - all of 17 years old - he was advertised as the most precocious talent since his countryman, Diego Maradona. A skinny little kid, and he'd already been jacked up onto a towering, pencil-thin pedestal.

Since then, the core of Messi's mythology is that he has never disappointed. He's pulled so many of us out of our chairs over the years, it's a wonder he hasn't thrown off the tilt of the world.

He played his first match for Barcelona ten years ago this week, subbed in at the 82nd minute against Espanyol. Afterward, he'd say, "I'll remember those ten minutes my whole life."

He's had a few of those days since.

The very best slow the game down. They make it seem articulated - every small move visible and connected to each successive one.

With the ball at his feet and attacking from the edge of the box, Messi appears to move in high-def slow motion. Everyone around him is just standing still.

Messi performs miracles. The most consistent of them - folding time.

Even as the tide of his greatness continued to rise and rise, you already knew you were never going to see the like of him again. His peculiar proportions married to the super-abundance of fasttwitch muscle and an instinctive fearlessness. Shortly after first noticing him, you were already beginning to miss him.

There is only so much Messi to be enjoyed, and we are daily running out of it. What separates the experience of watching him from any of his contemporaries is the bitter-sweetness resulting from that ongoing sense of loss.

The superlatives are, well, superlative. Four World Player of the Year awards. The calendar year in which he scored a staggering 91 goals in all competitions.

At 27, he's one tally away from becoming La Liga's all-time leading scorer. The total value of the buyout clause in his contract - the number that, if offered by a rival club, would trigger automatic transfer negotiations - is a reported $360-million. And that almost sounds reasonable.

Objectively, we lack the basis on which to make comparisons.

Messi is playing the game at a time when the competition level is exponentially greater than it was even fifteen or twenty years ago. Matched against that superior skill, he is still better than anyone before him has ever been.

Then there's the shy charisma.

Messi is the athlete your grandmother would build in a computer, if God were your grandmother.

He's a koala bear out on the pitch. You'd like to pick him up and put him in your pocket. Most great athletes slowly become paternal figures in our imagination. Messi is aging backwards, like Benjamin Button. He will always be everyone on Earth's kid-brother.

He's also the most famous face on the planet. He may be the most famous human to have every lived.

Nonetheless, after ten years of scrutiny, there have been no cracks in his winsome image. No angry outbursts; no sneaky cheats; no tell-alls from disgruntled former teammates.

This may be the rarest thing of all about Messi - he apparently is who he presents himself to be. A slightly befuddled young man about whom the only remarkable things are the lightness of his public persona and the depth of his gift.

That's why we all love him - he makes being special seem an uncomplicated business. Unlike his mirror image, Cristiano Ronaldo, there is nothing effortful about Lionel Messi. While Ronaldo flaps his arms frantically, Messi drifts along in the upper currents.

After finally making an impact at a World Cup this past summer (though not winning it), I'm coming around to the idea that Messi will eventually be regarded as the best of all time. It's less about talent and trophies, and more to do with emotion.

Alfredo Di Stefano was too ancient; Cruyff too gnomic; Pele too obscure; Maradona too louche.

Messi's brilliance is a familiar and open-armed thing. He invites you in. He wants to share this with you, regardless of your rooting interest. You recognize in him what you would like to believe about yourself - that a successful life is a function of luck and decency.

If you have both, there's nothing you might not find yourself managing.

Follow me on Twitter:@CathalKelly

Associated Graphic

At 27, Barcelona's Lionel Messi is one goal celebration away from becoming La Liga's all-time scoring leader.


Michelangelo's genius doesn't need help
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Print Edition, Page R6

Malcolm Gladwell's name doesn't appear in any of the press materials or the wall panels for a new exhibition of drawings by Michelangelo opening Saturday at the Art Gallery of Ontario. But the best-selling author's now-famous notion that it takes at least 10,000 hours of dedicated practice to make perfection is very much present in spirit. Indeed, the exhibition's subtitle, Quest for Genius, is essentially a nod to the Gladwellian thesis that genius is less bestowal of nature, more feat of blood, sweat and tears.

Certainly Mick Buonarroti - Mick likely being the moniker Michelangelo would be called by were he alive today - expended more than his share of those precious bodily fluids (and much else) in an 89-year lifespan (1475-1564) that saw this lateral-thinking, light-sleeping workaholic master seemingly, well ... everything - sculpture, drawing, poetry, architecture and, reluctantly (on his part, that is), painting. Drawing was especially foundational to the man's creativity, something he purportedly did every day wherever he was, whatever the circumstance. "It was basically how he thought," says David Wistow, the AGO's senior interpretive planner who, with Lloyd DeWitt, the AGO's curator of European art, is the primary developer of Michelangelo: Quest for Genius. Yet for all the artist's voluminous output in chalk, pen and ink, only 600 or so authenticated Michelangelo drawings are known to exist today.

Thirty of these are on view at the AGO. Twenty-nine, including one double-sided work, are loans from the Casa Buonarroti, the Florentine palazzo designed and owned by Michelangelo (but never lived in by him), that his great nephew, Michelangelo the Younger, subsequently converted to a museum. By the time the master's last direct heir died, in 1958, the casa was the largest single repository of Michelangelo drawings in the world. The other drawing, Studies of a Left Thigh and Knee, a Right Knee and a Right Foot (1550), is from the Thomson collection and as such is the only Michelangelo in the AGO's permanent collection.

Thirty is generally regarded as the optimum class size in grade school - not too big and not too small. However, it's a number the AGO seems uncomfortable with, or at least deems insufficient to affirming the genius and enduring relevance of the great Michelangelo. Perhaps, too, there's a belief the drawings themselves, fragmentary that they are, lack the oomph today's audiences supposedly require. Whatever the reasons, the upshot is that the gallery has chosen, peculiarly, meretriciously, to interlard Quest for Genius with 10 sculptures of varying sizes by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). While there's no denying Michelangelo's importance to the creator of The Thinker - he once called the Italian "my master, my idol" - the Rodins largely intrude and distract rather than enhance, particularly in the third and final exhibition space. Drawn almost exclusively from the AGO's own collection, the mostly posthumous casts feel like a graft or jerry-built addition to what should have been a focused, rather intimate show about the pleasures of close looking. With Mick Jagger already in the house, why let Steve Tyler crash the party? And if the point is to demonstrate Michelangelo's contemporaneity, might not the skinhead paintings of Canada's Attila Richard Lukacs or, more provocatively, the cartoons of Tom of Finland or some (very) carefully chosen Lisa Yuskavage canvases better serve that point than artifacts by an artist dead for close to a century?

Half the Michelangelos here are figurative, the rest are architectural drawings for fortifications, libraries, façades and entrances. As ever with any exhibition where process rather than completion is the focus, the offerings are a mixed bag. Most visitors, I expect, will be most enchanted by the most realized figurative drawings. These include four famous works: the truly astonishing Madonna and Child, from 1524, the double-sided Cleopatra (1532-1533), Man's Face, a red-chalk study from 1510 for The Flood fresco on the ceiling of the Vatican's Sistine Chapel, and Studies for the head of Leda, the last prepared in red pencil circa 1630 for a painting subsequently destroyed because of its sexual explicitness.

Michelangelo once opined: "He who is not a master of the human body cannot understand architecture." Be that as it may, the architectural renderings for the most part lack the unalloyed power of the figurative works. However, in a smart move, the AGO has enlivened the presentation of some of them by installing videos that show the buildings as they exist today. Thus, for Michelangelo's first important architectural commission, the (still unbuilt) façade for the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence, the artist's 1516 riff, in red chalk, on the Arch of Constantine in Rome is superimposed on the extant arch. A 1561 multilayered drawing for another Roman monument, the Porta Pia city gate, is supplemented by images of several significant Toronto doorways, including that of the 1864 Don Jail, clearly indebted to Il Divino. In addition, LG Electronics has mounted two virtualreality screens that realize, in quasi-axonometric fashion, Michelangelo's unbuilt designs for the Laurentian Library in Florence and the church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini in Rome.

LG also has installed a large digital video wall that allows a visitor to more closely examine two architectural and three figurative renderings in the show.

The Rodin glitch aside, Michelangelo: Quest for Genius largely succeeds as an exploration of the all-too-human side of artistic greatness. Sometimes, though, it tries a little too hard to bring him down to earth. The headings on the wall panels, for example, have a melodramatic cast better suited to the chapters of a romance novel or the episode title cards in a silent movie. Here are a few: "Frustration in Love," "Second Thoughts," "A Great Disappointment," "Misses and Hits" and "Out of Control."

Michelangelo: Quest for Genius continues at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto through Jan. 11 (

Associated Graphic

A drawing of Madonna and Child from 1524 is on display at Michelangelo: Quest for Genius, at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. Thirty of the artist's works are being showcased.


U.S. market comes with many headaches
From confusing rules to unexpected delays, shipping south of the border becomes a 'total nightmare' for some
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 – Print Edition, Page E2

'I see here that your fabric comes from another country," the Buffalo border agent told Virginia Johnson over the phone.

So? As owner of Toronto-based Virginia Johnson Lifestyle Ltd., she had been shipping her clothing and home decor products across the U.S. border since soon after launch in 2002. She had always disclosed the source of her (mainly imported) fabrics, but under the North American free-trade agreement, most of her products were exempt from tariffs because they were manufactured in Canada.

It turns out, the fine print of NAFTA states that such rules generally don't apply to fabrics. "I had been shipping the wrong way for five years." Ms. Johnson should have been applying annually to the Canadian federal government for a "tariff preference level" (TPL), which would still have made most her goods tariff-free.

For the next few months, she and her team descended into a "total nightmare," sifting through all U.S.-bound shipping paperwork dating back to 2003. She argued passionately that she would easily have received TPL, but the exemption proved not to be retroactive and she had to back-pay all the tariffs, plus a fine.

It was a huge hit for the company, which now does 70 per cent of its business south of the border, shipping to 100 stores worldwide.

Ms. Johnson's story is dramatic, but not unusual. In 2011, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business did a case-study survey of 12 cross-border trading companies.

"Every single one of them had learned how to do exporting the hard way," says Corinne Pohlmann, senior vice-president of national affairs for the Ottawabased organization. "When you're doing trade with the U.S., there are a lot of things you have to know about. If you don't, it can be a very expensive enterprise."

Yet trading with the United States is a must-do for Canadian manufacturers wanting to grow. Those with consumer-facing e-commerce websites, meanwhile, often end up with stateside orders whether they've planned for them or not.

But free trade is not easy trade. Sending products or people over the border is marred by heaps of paperwork, hidden costs and rules that change constantly and are interpreted differently by different border personnel.

"The inconsistency and uncertainty when sending goods and people is the biggest problem companies tell us about," says Matthew Wilson, vice-president of national policy for the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.

Going south means paperwork. "The paperwork is so challenging for some small-business clients, they say, 'Forget it,' and just pay the tariff," says Laura Dawson, a cross-border trade specialist who runs Dawson Strategic in Ottawa.

Particularly tricky is the paperwork related to NAFTA. Companies must itemize where all components in their products came from. Some products are completely duty-free while others require advanced math to calculate the duty on a percentage of the value.

More math is required to fill out the U.S. sales tax paperwork. Skip this step and the importer is required by law to tack a 30-percent tax on your shipment, pass on that cost to you, and remit it to the government.

Stateside, importers must do paperwork, too. But they don't want to. So, many Canadian companies register themselves as an importer (more paperwork) and deal with that end as well.

Make a mistake at your peril. "If you miss something or if you don't do the tax calculations correctly, you are obliged to not only pay the difference, but there are also punitive fines," Ms. Dawson says.

Ms. Pohlmann of CFIB recalls the story of a truck arriving at the border. Its manifest paperwork had arrived half an hour before the accepted time frame, and the shipper was levied a $1,000 fine.

Along with a fine, if there are border problems and your shipment gets held, you'll be given a bill for storage costs for the 48 hours or two weeks your product was held at a border warehouse.

Cost of errors aside, companies usually spend about 5 per cent of a product value dealing with border fees. For starters, products not governed by NAFTA get hit with a minimum $25 (U.S.) merchandising process fee. Ms. Johnson says it's not a problem for large shipments, but can become very expensive when she ships samples to U.S. retailers.

Then, the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) checks out everything for a fee.

Then, depending on the product, there is a corresponding government agency that watches over that sector. The extra catch here: Companies with large product lines may see different products go under different agencies.

Border agents often don't know what to do with niche products, and slap fines and delays when they fear things have been done wrong.

Yet another fee: Most border transactions require the use of a border agent, who charges for services.

Stringent immigration rules also limit the flow of people across the border. Manufacturers often need to send staff members south to train clients on products or service broken parts, and they can be turned back at the border or asked to produce extensive paperwork.

Like all border rules, these are rarely enforced uniformly. "It's at the whim of the customs agent," Ms. Pohlmann says. "A lot of people just go to another border crossing and try to cross there."

Exporting to the United States has become easier in many ways. Automation has sped things up. The Beyond the Border project between Canada and the United States looked into the flow of goods and people across the border and made recommendations in 2011, some of which have been put in place.

However, dealing with the border is a moving target. Though there are some improvements, new rules and regulations can crop up at any time.

What endures is that most companies figure it out. They lose money here and there, but mostly gain a market about 10 times larger than Canada's.

Associated Graphic

Entrepreneur Virginia Johnson, whose business ships clothing and home decor products across the U.S. border, learned that she had been shipping 'the wrong way for five years.'


Officials seeking to contain the virus can learn from Nigeria and Senegal. A quick response, relentless tracking and clear communication helped end outbreaks
Monday, October 20, 2014 – Print Edition, Page A8

JOHANNESBURG -- It seemed like the nightmare scenario: Ebola had reached Africa's biggest city, a chaotic and densely populated metropolis of slums and shantytowns where the virus threatened to spread to millions of people.

Health experts were terrified when Ebola struck Lagos in late July. They were deeply worried that it would be unstoppable in Nigeria, a rapidly urbanizing country of 170 million, far bigger than the nations where Ebola had begun. Their fears were heightened in August when the virus leaped another border and reached Senegal, another key West African country.

Yet today, in a remarkable display of how to beat the lethal virus, both Nigeria and Senegal have defeated their Ebola outbreaks. The World Health Organization announced on Friday that the outbreak was officially over in Senegal, and it is expected to make the same declaration for Nigeria on Monday. In both countries, 42 days have passed since their last reported case - the standard rule for declaring an outbreak over, since it is twice the maximum 21-day incubation period for the virus.

"The most important lesson for the world at large is this: An immediate, broad-based and well-co-ordinated response can stop the Ebola virus ... dead in its tracks," the WHO said on Friday after declaring the end of the Senegal outbreak.

Based on the successes of Nigeria and Senegal, here are the strategies that can be adopted by other countries, including the United States and Canada, as they prepare for the threat of the virus.

1. Rapid response to the first case

Nigeria's first Ebola patient, Patrick Sawyer, was initially thought to have malaria. But when malaria treatment failed at a local hospital, doctors immediately began treating him as a possible Ebola patient, and he was kept in isolation at the hospital. Officials were notified and a blood sample was rushed to a testing lab.

On July 23, just three days after Mr. Sawyer arrived in Lagos on an indirect flight from Liberia, the Nigerian health ministry set up an Ebola Incident Management Centre, which evolved into an Emergency Operations Centre to co-ordinate the response and the decision-making.

The centre took over the management of each suspected Ebola case. It investigated every possible case and supervised the decontamination of their homes. Each suspected case was isolated in a special ward of a treatment facility. Blood tests were rapidly conducted to verify if suspected cases were genuine or not.

Senegal, meanwhile, had been well-prepared with an Ebola response plan as early as March. It created a National Crisis Committee as the "nerve centre" for its response, and deployed its emergency plan nationwide in August, even though only a single case had been detected. "The whole country moved into a heightened state of alert," the WHO said.

2. A rigorous and relentless system of contact-tracing

Nigerian health teams visited 18,500 homes in Lagos and Port Harcourt, the two cities where Ebola cases were reported, as they searched for anyone who had been in contact with the 20 Ebola patients in the country. More than 150 contact tracers were deployed.

The tracing teams tracked down 894 people who had been in contact with Ebola patients, and began monitoring their health closely. The WHO described it as "world-class epidemiological detective work." Even mobile-phone data and lawenforcement agencies were employed to trace contacts, using an emergency presidential decree, and airplane manifests were scrutinized. Health workers visited any contact who reported symptoms - or who failed to provide health updates via cellphone text messages.

In Senegal, tracers found 74 close contacts of the country's sole Ebola patient.

The health of each of these 74 people was carefully monitored, twice a day. To encourage their co-operation, the contacts were offered food, money and psychological counselling.

3. An energetic campaign of public education

In Nigeria, social mobilization teams went house-to-house to visit 26,000 families who lived within two kilometres of the Ebola patients. They explained Ebola's warning signs and how to prevent the virus from spreading. Leaflets and billboards, in multiple languages, along with social-media messages, were used to educate the broader Nigerian population.

Education was crucial in a country where dangerous myths were spreading.

There was even a rumour that drinking large amounts of salt water would protect people from Ebola - a rumour that sickened and even killed some Nigerians who attempted the harmful diet.

Senegal, too, created a national publicawareness campaign, using media experts and local radio networks.

4. Effective institutions of public health

Senegal and Nigeria both benefited from a stronger and better-financed system of public health than Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the impoverished countries where the current epidemic began.

Nigeria also took advantage of the infrastructure of a polio eradication program that had been active for years. A polio and HIV clinic in Lagos, financed by the Gates Foundation, was transformed into an emergency centre for Ebola, with dozens of doctors available.

Nigeria was also quick to welcome foreign help. There was remarkable co-ordination between every level of Nigerian government and global health organizations such as the WHO, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Médecins sans frontières (Doctors Without Borders). Private companies donated ambulances, disinfectant and other important supplies.

5. Heightened vigilance and screening at borders, but no halt to air travel

Nigeria and Senegal boosted their surveillance for Ebola, especially at land border crossings, but they never closed their airports.

"Critically important early on was the government's decision to open a humanitarian corridor in Dakar to facilitate the movement and activities of humanitarian agencies," the WHO said.

"This decision meant that food, medicines and other essential supplies could seamlessly and efficiently flow into the country."

Associated Graphic

Nigerian health officials prepare to screen passengers in the arrival hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos on Aug. 4.


A school official takes a pupil's temperature using an infrared digital laser thermometer outside a private school in Lagos last month.


Muslim pilgrims form a line prior to being screened for Ebola before boarding a plane for Saudi Arabia at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos on Sept. 18.


Today marks the beginning of Pistorius's return to competition
We will forgive a celebrity for anything, as long as he isn't boring us. And nothing excites us more than murder, Cathal Kelly writes
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S1

As Oscar Pistorius was sent down on Tuesday, he shed no tears. That was a first. He shook a few hands, looking stoic.

Despite the fact that he's headed to prison, this must have been something of a relief. Pistorius understands the hard part is over.

He was sentenced to five years for culpable homicide in the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He'll likely serve 10 to 20 months in proper jail, and the remainder under house arrest.

It sounds sour to say it, but today marks the beginning of Pistorius's return. He'll go away and get fit again, find God, mentor inmates, rescue small birds, what have you. All the jailhouse clichés.

In a year or two or three, he'll reappear in a flashy TV special. He'll look better. He'll be contrite. People will have forgotten, which is just as good as forgiving. Plus, there's the simple pull of curiosity. We want to know how the story ends.

The truth is that we will forgive a celebrity anything, as long as he isn't boring us. Check the top-rated shows on TV. Nothing excites us more than murder.

Upon hearing Pistorius's sentence, the International Paralympic Committee imposed a matching ban - five years. The International Olympic Committee wasn't so hasty.

Neither was the International Association of Athletics Federations. They want to see how this plays out before they abandon the sort of splash Pistorius's return to competitive running would occasion.

You can already feel the outrage over his crime abating. Putting aside the issue of intent, 10 months does not seem like much for massacring someone in a toilet. People who kite cheques get 10 months.

But the world shrugged in this instance. We're all anxious to get to that future point where we can feel freshly infuriated by Pistorius' re-emergence.

He's only 27. He'll be back for Tokyo 2020. What else has he got to do? In turn, we will stomp our feet and pretend this impacts our lives, which it does not.

We like to congratulate ourselves that we've grown up when it comes to athletes and crime. No more pretending it didn't happen.

No more free passes.

Nowadays, we get properly outraged when our Player X gets caught pistol-whipping someone or beats up his girlfriend. We have a serious discussion amongst ourselves about whether Player X deserves to be on our team.

We make that decision not on a moral basis, but on the pragmatic concerns of the hockey/football/ baseball/basketball club. I'll guarantee you this much: If Ray Rice had been an elite 24-year-old quarterback rather than an overpriced running back in decline, the Baltimore Ravens would have found room in their hearts to forgive him.

We haven't replaced willful ignorance with enlightenment. We've only added a new layer to the narrative of sports - the redemptive crime story.

The 10 million channels dedicated to sports can only spend so much time talking about the Dallas Cowboys and Peyton Manning's good character. You need something more visceral.

Nothing makes for more compelling storytelling than the sordid details of our neighbours' lives. Since we don't talk to our neighbours any more, professional athletes are filling the void.

The biggest story in English sports right now is that of Ched Evans, an averagely talented footballer who's just been released from prison after serving 21/2 years for rape.

In the British press, they're clawing one another's faces off on the topic of whether he should be allowed to play again. In one instance, TV presenter Judy Finnigan argued for discretion because Evans's crime was "non-violent."

Years ago, this might've prompted a little thought and a few rebuttals. Nowadays, it's spinning into madness 10 seconds after the words are out of Finnigan's mouth. This sort of provocation is treated like taffy - you can pull it in any direction you like. Nobody seems to really care if Evans wears cleats again. (If he's still any good, he'll play.) What they want to do is argue about it.

Nobody understands the seedy value of these topics more than ESPN's white-noise generator, Skip Bayless. This week, he claimed that Kobe Bryant's 2003 rape charge had given him "edge" and "sizzle" that made him more marketable.

Is that offensive? I'm not sure how. Is this a fruitful line of debate? Maybe, but not in the way Bayless will pursue it. Is it amusing to watch people go mental over it? Maybe just a little.

That's the point. Arguing is fun, especially when the argument feels important, but isn't. It isn't because nothing ever comes of these discussions. Nothing changes because our priority has always been and will always be the team.

Bryant is an instructive example to other pros who find themselves jammed up on a felony charge. It doesn't really matter what you did or what you do, you will be flayed for it. If you're still any good on the field/rink/court, you will eventually be forgiven.

This pattern is as predictable as the tides because that's what people enjoy doing - flaying and forgiving. It satisfies their sense of order.

Ray Lewis had something to do with a double-homicide - we never were able to say exactly what. But in his defence, he was a really good linebacker. So now he's a talking head on ESPN on Sundays, and nobody seems to mind.

The same pattern will redeem Pistorius, but only as long as he can still run.

This tendency to valorize rogues and criminals is neither good nor bad. It simply is. We need to confront the darkness in our lives. We don't want to do it ourselves. So our heroes do it for us, while we look on from a safe distance.

The only thing that's changed is our insistence on pretending there is a point at which we will stop watching if this continues. We won't. We watch precisely because it does.

Follow me on Twitter:@cathalkelly

Financier, philanthropist began as a teller
Member of elite Montreal business family rose through BMO ranks, led Royal Trustco and Heritage Canada charity
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 – Print Edition, Page S6

Hartland MacDougall was the embodiment of the central Canadian establishment, and the scion of an elite Montreal business family. In 1849, his paternal grandfather's uncle founded the brokerage firm that became MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier Inc. (now known as "3 Macs"). His maternal grandfather was a Molson, of brewery fame. His sister-in-law married into the McConnell clan, onetime sugar barons who owned The Montreal Star.

And with a name like Hartland Molson MacDougall, it is perhaps apt he became one of Canada's premier bankers.

He rose through the ranks at the Bank of Montreal to become its vice-chairman and later became chairman of Royal Trustco Ltd. In an industry known for its conservatism, he was athletic, chummy and had matinee-idol looks. "He was the least stuffy person I ever knew," said his wife, Evie.

Mr. MacDougall, who died on Sept. 17 in Toronto of leukemia at the age of 83, tallied a long list of philanthropic activities. His favourite may have been the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, bestowed on young Canadians who excel at community service, fitness and adventure. He served as the award's president for Canada and later as international chairman. He established a friendship with Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the two would often duck out for drinks after official functions.

Hartland (Hart) Molson MacDougall was born in Montreal on Jan. 28, 1931, to Mary Dorothy Molson and Hartland (Tommy) Campbell MacDougall, himself a frustrated banker who worked in the family brokerage firm, following in the footsteps of his own father, Hartland Brydges MacDougall, who had won four Stanley Cups playing for the Montreal Victorias before becoming a stockbroker.

Hart MacDougall and his three siblings were a hardy bunch, rising each day at dawn for riding and tennis, and skiing in winter on the slopes of Mount Royal. During the Second World War, he was sent to boarding school in Switzerland, which he loved and where he played for the hockey team. Back at home, he enrolled in McGill University's engineering school and aced all the math courses - until he encountered calculus. "He just couldn't pass it," his wife recalled. After five years, he did not graduate.

In 1953, he found a job at a Bank of Montreal branch at Sherbrooke and Drummond streets licking stamps, as he put it. One day a robber walked in, pointed a toy gun at the teller and demanded cash. Mr. MacDougall vaulted over the counter, chased the man into the winter cold and tackled him outside the Strand Theatre on the corner of Mansfield and Saint Catherine streets. For his action, he received a cheque for $100 and a gold watch - and a reprimand from the bank's president warning him never to repeat his heroics.

But he was promoted to teller, at a salary of $250 a month, and began a 30-year ascent that took him and his growing family to London, Ont., Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, back to Montreal, then back to Toronto. He was a director of the bank from 1974 to 1984, and in 1981 was named vice-chairman. It was a time of aggressive expansion into foreign markets and the brokerage industry.

"His personality was perfect for dealing with customers," noted friend Ron Riley, vice-president of National Bank Financial. "He made them think he cared about them - because he really did - and he would go to bat for them if required."

If Mr. MacDougall chafed under BMO's cantankerous chairman and CEO, the late William Mulholland, as many of his fellow executives did, he didn't show it. "If things got tough, he simply rose above it," his wife said. Even so, one business profile referred to Mr. MacDougall as Mr. Mulholland's "long-suffering" lieutenant.

In 1984, Mr. MacDougall left BMO to become chairman of Royal Trustco. Trevor Eyton, his predecessor at Royal Trustco, had promised its directors that he would find someone better than he had been as chairman. After a few months under Mr. MacDougall's leadership, some of them pulled Mr. Eyton aside and said, "He is better than you."

"My reply was, 'You don't need to tell me that,' " Mr. Eyton, a former Canadian senator and business executive, recalled with a chuckle

After nine years with Mr. MacDougall at its helm, Royal Trustco, along with its 146 Royal Trust branches across the country, was bought by the Royal Bank of Canada for $1.6-billion. It was considered a bargain. Royal Trustco had lost $850-million in 1992, a victim of the global real estate collapse of the early 1990s.

Among Mr. MacDougall's many awards and accolades were the Royal Victorian Order; Knight Commander of the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem; and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star from the Emperor of Japan, for forging business relations with that country. He was named a member of the Order of Canada in 1981 and promoted to officer a decade later. He would tell people that the medals and laurels were bought at a pawn shop.

In 1973, Jean Chrétien, thenminister of Indian and northern affairs, named Mr. MacDougall as founding chairman of the Heritage Canada Foundation (now Heritage Canada the National Trust), a national charity that works to preserve historic places. At St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Mr. MacDougall served on the foundation's board for 40 years.

He spent his last 23 years as a gentleman farmer in Ontario's Caledon Hills, on a property affectionately dubbed Pimple Hill. Later in life, he was so mortified by bankers' massive compensation packages that he stopped giving his occupation on forms as "retired banker" and instead simply wrote "retired."

Mr. MacDougall leaves his wife of 60 years, Evie (née Gordon); brother Bartlett and sister Marian; five children, Cynthia, Wendy, Keith, Willa and Tania; 10 grandchildren and one greatgrandchild.

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Mr. MacDougall, shown in 1984, was named a member of the Order of Canada in 1981.


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