Phillip Tallio has been jailed for three decades for a brutal crime he maintains he did not commit. Jana G. Pruden tells the story of a young outsider, a troubling police investigation, and the three women whose efforts won him the right to an unprecedented appeal
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F1

In the first year after he was charged with the rape and murder of a child, Phillip James Tallio wrote his teenaged girlfriend 116 letters, every one of them repeating the same thing. He said it before his trial and after his conviction, and when he was sentenced to life in prison. For more than 34 years he said it, over and over, and he would not stop. He said it to family members and to correctional staff, in prison programs and to the parole board, even though he knew saying it meant he would not be released. When people told him to stop saying it, so at least he could get out of prison and have some kind of a life, he told them he would never admit to something he didn't do. And then he'd repeat the same thing he'd been saying for 34 years: I didn't do this.

Now, a lifetime later, people are listening.

After years of intensive investigation and research, the Innocence Project at the University of British Columbia has won Mr. Tallio the right to appeal his 1983 conviction for the murder of his 22-month-old cousin, Delavina Mack, well over three decades after the appeal deadline passed. The historic appeal is based on new DNA evidence and questions about a flawed and tunnel-visioned police investigation, serious concerns about his two alleged confessions, evidence of Mr. Tallio's cognitive limitations, reports of systemic racism, and witness accounts that raise the possibility of other suspects never investigated by police.

"It's something that us outside of the prison life will never be able to fully comprehend, especially that many years," says Rachel Barsky, who began working on the case six years ago while a law student involved with UBC's Innocence Project, and is now a lawyer working as co-counsel on the case. "Thirty-four years in prison. Phillip has missed out on a lifetime."

The case has largely come to light because of a former correctional officer who knew Mr. Tallio when he was a teenager and the subsequent efforts of her daughter, Robyn Batryn, who, for the past 15 years, has been working to have the case reviewed.

"It makes me sad. He's lost everything. It's almost like he has to start right from the beginning," says Ms. Batryn, a health-care supervisor. She says her mother, now almost 93, wants to see Mr. Tallio released before she dies.

The questions around his conviction are significant enough that even the judge who presided over Mr. Tallio's preliminary hearing has filed an affidavit saying he has come to wonder whether the man imprisoned for 34 years is actually guilty.

Mr. Tallio, 51, has been eligible for parole since 1993, but has been repeatedly denied any kind of release, because of his steadfast refusal to accept responsibility for the murder. He has been held long past when most offenders are granted parole, even for the most heinous crimes.

If Mr. Tallio is innocent, it is the longest known wrongful conviction imprisonment in Canadian history.

"Sometimes I step back and say, 'Is this reality?' " his lawyer, Ms. Barsky, says. "But these cases do happen."

Early on the morning of April 23, 1983, 17year-old Phillip Tallio walked up to the door of a house in Bella Coola, B.C., and let himself inside. He had recently been released from the Willingdon Youth Detention Centre, and was back living with relatives in the Nuxalk Nation.

There had been a series of parties around the community that night, and a handful of people were still awake to observe Mr. Tallio walking toward the house and then running away a few minutes later, looking upset and panicked. He ran back to his uncle's house, where he woke his cousin and told her that her 22-month-old daughter, Delavina, had been raped and killed.

Within four hours, RCMP officers had detained Mr. Tallio in the toddler's death.

Within 14 hours, he signed a written confession and was charged with first-degree murder.

Marie Spetch met Phillip Tallio at the Willingdon Youth Detention Centre in 1978, when he was 14 years old. She was a correctional officer at the centre, he a skinny teenager bouncing in and out of the facility for mostly petty offences. Somehow, they connected.

Even then, Mr. Tallio's life had not been easy. His earliest memory was of being sexually abused by his uncle at the age of 4, and the memories that followed were filled with trauma. His mother was an alcoholic who neglected and physically abused him and his brothers, once throwing Phillip down the stairs and causing a serious head injury. She died of an overdose in front of Mr. Tallio when he was 9, and his father passed away suddenly five years later. Mr. Tallio spent most of his life between foster homes and youth facilities, and by the time he reached his teens, he was drinking and getting in trouble with the law.

There were lots of kids at Wellingdon, but something about Phillip stood out to Ms. Spetch, and he soon became "her boy." Mr. Tallio had clear cognitive issues, and at the age of 17 was described as operating at the level of a 10- to 12-year-old. He had committed one especially serious offence, firing a gun through a door and hitting a member of his foster family who interrupted his suicide attempt. But Ms. Spetch had never seen him be aggressive or violent, even within the correctional facility. She thought he was sensitive and caring. She hoped that, with some support, he may be able to make something of his life.

Instead, she arrived at work on April, 25, 1983, and learned he had been arrested for murder.

She believed immediately that police had the wrong man.

The rape and murder of Delavina Mack sent shock waves throughout the community of Bella Coola, both for its brutality and the identity of its suspect.

Those who saw Mr. Tallio said he was not drunk that night, and had appeared to be in good spirits and looking forward to his future. He and his girlfriend, Theresa Hood, had just learned she was pregnant. Earlier that evening, they had gone to see the movie E.T. at a local hall, and talked about the future they were going to have together. He was planning to buy her an engagement ring.

Some of those who knew Mr. Tallio at the time remembered him being protective of children, and never exhibiting any behaviour with them that raised concern. People knew him as "a gentle spirit" who defended other kids and defused fights, more likely to hurt himself than someone else.

And though Mr. Tallio had apparently confessed to RCMP, he strongly proclaimed his innocence to everyone else, even telling one aunt that he would "swear on a thousand Bibles" he was innocent.

Some residents of Bella Coola had also seen suspicious things around the time of Delavina's death that had nothing to do with Mr. Tallio. People who lived in the child's house were seen burning things down by the creek that morning, and one woman said she saw the child's grandmother with what appeared to be a discoloured mattress spring. Another woman said she later found bedsheets and a child's toy in the smouldering remains of the fire.

In the Nuxalk tradition, some of a deceased person's possessions are burned, but it is not done until the fourth day after death.

Roseanne Andy, an elder who lived across the street from the house where Delavina was killed, was among those who watched the activity early that morning.

She says she went to tell RCMP but officers didn't take a statement or write down her information, and never spoke to her further about what she saw.

"Being ignored by the RCMP was not uncommon for us as Nuxalk individuals. Nor did we wish to become involved in the white justice system," said Ms. Andy in an affidavit filed as part of Mr. Tallio's appeal.

"At that time many people were worried, and continue to worry today, that their information will be misunderstood in court due to both cultural and language barriers.

People in this community have often said that they would rather not say anything."

One man, Larry Moody, says he was asked to burn a box of bloody clothes for the child's great-grandfather that day, and saw blood in the man's bathroom. But Mr. Moody says he didn't learn about Delavina's murder until a few hours later, and didn't approach authorities because by then he'd heard Phillip Tallio had confessed to the crime.

"It was my understanding in 1983 that Phillip Tallio had confessed to killing Delavina Mack," Mr. Moody said, in a statement filed with the court. "I thought that was the end of it."

After his arrest, Phillip Tallio was interrogated by RCMP for 10 hours without speaking to a lawyer. He maintained his innocence during the recorded interview, but then apparently confessed during a period in which the tape recorder malfunctioned. Mr. Tallio also allegedly gave a second confession during a later session with a forensic psychologist, which was also unrecorded.

With no direct evidence linking him to the murder, his conviction rested on the two confessions.

A judge excluded the RCMP confession from the trial based on doubts about the voluntariness of the statement given Mr. Tallio's intellectual level, that he was unable to speak with anyone who could help him, and the length and nature of the interrogation - including that he had been held in isolation for 10 hours. The decision left the entire case resting on the statements Mr. Tallio had reportedly made to a forensic psychologist, Dr. Robert Pos.

The Crown prosecutor in the case, Deirdre Pothecary, now says she believes

Mr. Tallio would have been convicted of first-degree murder if the alleged confession to Dr. Pos was allowed to go before the jury, but found not guilty if it was excluded.

Instead, a plea deal was struck before that was decided.

Mr. Tallio pleaded guilty to seconddegree murder nine days into his trial that fall, which would see him eligible for parole after 10 years rather than face a firstdegree conviction with no chance of parole for 25.

Unable to get involved in Mr. Tallio's court proceedings or give him advice because of her position as a correctional officer, Ms. Spetch did not find out that the trial and sentencing had occurred until the proceedings were already finished. Though she had concerns about whether Mr. Tallio had the capacity to understand the plea agreement, she felt that all she could do was be there to support him.

Meanwhile, Mr. Tallio steadfastly and continually proclaimed his innocence, assertions that are recorded in institutional reports and reviews throughout his sentence.

"This is something that I know the parole board does not want to hear, but I would be lying to myself and to others if I were to say that I did the crime that I am here for... " Mr. Tallio wrote in a document for one prison program, as his parole eligibility neared in 1992. "I myself know that if I were to be released after my ten year review I would not reoffend, again, because I did not do the crime in the first place. All I want is to get out of this place and start a brand new life."

Mr. Tallio now says he didn't fully understand what an appeal was until 1992, when two older inmates explained it to him and advised him to get the transcripts of his court proceedings. He says that when the inmates read the transcripts, they told him he shouldn't be in prison.

Some time around 2003, Ms. Spetch's daughter, Robyn Batryn, came to the same conclusion.

Ms. Batryn had gotten to know Mr. Tallio at the urging of her mother, Marie Spetch, who worried that if something happened to her, Mr. Tallio would have no one.

Through the years, the three of them had grown close. The women would sometimes go for private family visits at the prison, and Mr. Tallio had come to describe them as his adoptive mother and sister. Believing he could not have been convicted without strong evidence against him, Ms. Batryn grilled Mr. Tallio over and over about what happened, but his story never changed.

One day, he asked her if she wanted to read his transcripts.

"I read them twice," says Ms. Batryn, 69, who had once worked briefly in the correctional system in New Zealand. "And there were a lot of discrepancies. A lot of things that shouldn't have happened, happened."

Ms. Batryn began taking the train into Vancouver whenever she could, going to lawyers' offices with his transcript in hand, begging someone to read it.

Eventually she found a lawyer willing to have some students review the proceedings, and she "hounded him to death" until it happened. Ms. Batryn then took their notes to the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (now called Innocence Canada), which had been involved in overturning high-profile wrongful convictions such as those of David Milgaard and Thomas Sophonow.

Progress stalled when it was discovered that all the RCMP forensic evidence in the case had been lost or destroyed, but Ms. Batryn refused to accept it was a dead end.

In 2009, she heard about the UBC Innocence Project, and after an extensive review, the group took on the case.

Having previously done a journalism degree focusing on investigative reporting, second-year law student Rachel Barsky not only explored the legal aspects of the case - such as whether Mr. Tallio was capable of understanding his guilty plea - but also began investigating it, tracking down new leads in a murder that happened before she was born.

She gathered dozens of affidavits from people who had seen or heard suspicious things that night, as well as from those who had information about other potential suspects, knew Mr. Tallio or his case, or had insight into the dynamics of the community at the time.

In his own affidavit, the judge who presided over Mr. Tallio's preliminary hearing described serious concerns around policing and the administration of justice in the area, including an RCMP practice of imprisoning young Indigenous men for no reason on weekends to keep the community quiet.

Judge Charles Cunliffe Barnett said that people in the community were also extremely reluctant to believe a local could commit a terrible crime, and noted that, having lived away for most of his life, Mr.

Tallio was an outsider.

"I have, over the years, wondered about Phillip Tallio's case," Judge Barnett wrote.

"Initially, I focused my thoughts upon what I perceived to be the failings of the child protection system. As time went on and I learned that Phillip Tallio was still imprisoned and refused to acknowledge guilt, I came to wonder if he, an outsider in Bella Coola, had truly been guilty of violating and killing Delavina Mack."

The affidavits also raised significant questions about both of Mr. Tallio's confessions and his guilty plea.

One psychologist who had examined Mr. Tallio before the trial described him as being easily confused and overwhelmed, unable to think things through and anticipate consequences, and having "blind faith" that people would help him. She said he would sometimes tell people what he thought they wanted to hear so that they would stop questioning him, and she expressed concerns about his ability to understand the court proceedings he was facing.

She said that before the trial Mr. Tallio appeared to think that the sooner he went to prison, the more likely he would be home for Christmas. A court stenographer who worked on the case described Mr. Tallio as being like a child, and said he was upset over missing Halloween.

Mr. Tallio claimed he did not make either confession, and never even met with Dr. Robert Pos, the forensic psychologist he supposedly confessed to. In one affidavit, a retired criminal defence lawyer says he believes Dr. Pos lied about meeting with his client in a different murder case, and the lawyer expressed serious concerns about Dr. Pos (who is now dead), calling him a "deluded professional" who believed he could tell if people were lying by looking at their carotid artery.

And then there was the lack of physical evidence to prove or disprove Mr. Tallio's claims. With all of the RCMP exhibits missing, Rachel Barsky and her colleagues at the UBC Innocence Project located 45 tissue samples that had been taken during the child's autopsy and were still being stored at the BC Children's Hospital.

Shortly after the samples were located, Mr. Tallio was interviewed again by the RCMP. During the interview, he repeatedly said he hadn't killed Delavina Mack, and expressed frustration at being unable to prove his innocence. He offered to give the officers any kind of DNA sample they wanted.

Asked by one of the officers what DNA meant to him, Mr. Tallio said, "Freedom."

"And if we take your DNA sample and have it checked to the potential DNA located on the vagina sample, what's that going to show us?" the officer asked.

Mr. Tallio answered, "That it wasn't me."

In late June of this year, more than 1,000 pages of affidavits, legal argument and other documents were opened to the media after an appeal court judge in British Columbia lifted a publication ban that had been requested by the Crown and other parties, including the child's parents. A publication ban remains in place on the affidavits of the parents, who, the judge said, "revealed highly personal information in order to protect their daughter's identity and dignity." The child's parents could not be reached for comment.

In its court filings, the Crown contends Mr. Tallio was properly tried and convicted, and only became motivated to appeal his conviction after it became apparent he would not get parole. A Crown memorandum says the affidavits filed with the court are "not reliable because of the passage of time and apparent bias," and describes Mr. Tallio's claims of innocence as "a denial stance that he and his family have committed to for decades."

"No miscarriage of justice occurred in this case," the memorandum reads.

Instead, the Crown says that Mr. Tallio had "almost exclusive opportunity to commit the offence," and that police took few steps to investigate other suspects only because Mr. Tallio was identified quickly, and then confessed within 14 hours.

It describes Mr. Tallio as a "highly disturbed young man" who sometimes experienced blackouts, and had been described in an earlier psychiatric report as "a danger to himself and others." The Crown memorandum points to other indications that Mr. Tallio was the killer, including that he knew the child had been raped, and that Mr. Tallio was not wearing socks when he was arrested. (A sock with blood and semen on it had been found at the murder scene.)

"The 'rumours and speculations' regarding this case are just that," the Crown memorandum reads, "there is no credible evidence that anyone else committed the offence."

DNA testing on one of the samples taken from the child's vagina excluded Phillip Tallio as the male donor but the Crown says that is not proof of his innocence as the samples are contaminated and were never intended for DNA analysis, which didn't exist at the time they were gathered.

A second sample was inconclusive.

The Crown is now refusing to release any additional samples for analysis, saying there is "no utility in further testing" because they are too compromised to be of any value.

In his own 35-page affidavit, Mr. Tallio tells a story he has been repeating since April 23, 1983: There was a party at the house where he was staying. In the early morning, he walked to a house two blocks away to check on Delavina as the child's mother had asked him to do earlier in the night, fearing that the child's grandparents who were babysitting would be drinking. He found the toddler dead in a bedroom with her pyjamas pulled down to the knees, a large blood stain on the bed between her legs. He tried to wake the child's grandparents, who were passed out drunk, then he ran back to his uncle's house and told everyone she was dead.

"I did not kill Delavina Mack and I did not agree to plead guilty to her murder," his affidavit reads. "I have told everyone this since I got to jail."

Proclaiming his innocence has come at a high cost for Mr. Tallio, who has served far longer in prison than he would have if he admitted the crime. In the correctional system, maintaining innocence is the same as not accepting responsibility, and the consequences have been profound.

"He's been in for 24 years longer than he had to be, had he said he did it," his lawyer, Ms. Barsky, says. "That's something he's really stuck to his principles about. I think a lot of people would say, 'I'm guilty' just to get out of prison. He somehow has stuck to it. That's his own morals. He refuses to admit to something he says he didn't commit."

Though Mr. Tallio has taken programming for other issues, including attending counselling and Alcoholics Anonymous, he has either refused to take, or was unable to enroll in, other prison programs because he maintained his innocence.

"I am unable to admit guilt because I am not guilty and I am unable to describe how and why I killed my cousin - because I did not do it," Mr. Tallio wrote in his affidavit.

"I cannot complete the sex offender programs because I am not a sex offender."

Because of his lack of programming and refusal to accept responsibility for the crime, Mr. Tallio has been denied parole and other additional freedoms and privileges, including an escorted absence to visit his dying grandmother and a move to minimum security. One institutional report reads, "The only real concern is the fact that he denies committing the offence for which he is serving time."

As those who know Mr. Tallio have observed, his protestations and story have never really changed.

After more than 34 years, the case of Phillip James Tallio is far from over.

Mr. Tallio's lawyer, Ms. Barsky, says she expects it to take at least five or six months to apply to the courts to have additional samples released for DNA testing. If a judge does order them to be released, the new samples have to be tested before the appeal can proceed.

"There are a lot of steps that go into a case as complex as this," Ms. Barsky says.

"We're dealing with a lot of issues that are unprecedented and that haven't been done in Canada before ... so we have to figure things out as we go along."

Theresa Hood, who was pregnant with Mr. Tallio's child when he was arrested in 1983, has been attending the recent court proceedings with their daughter, Honey, who is now 33. Ms. Hood and Mr. Tallio have stayed in touch throughout the years, and she still believes he is innocent.

"To me, he's finally getting the justice he deserves that someone finally believes him," she says. "Back then, nobody believed a Native. But now somebody finally heard his story and ran with it. To me it's a blessing. I always told him, you didn't get to watch your daughter grow up, but you will be out to watch your granddaughters."

Ms. Hood says Mr. Tallio is excited about the appeal and grateful for the work that has been done on his behalf, but she has tried to make sure he knows this is only the first step in what could still be a long fight.

"I said, 'You can't think you're out right away. You got the first door open, and now we have to keep going forward. You have to be patient. The world is going to hear your story,' " she says. "We can't turn back the time, but we can get the truth. And the truth will set him free."

Their daughter, Honey Hood, now has three daughters of her own. She has only met Mr. Tallio in person once, and is still trying to comprehend the possibility that his conviction could be overturned, and that the father she has never known could one day be free.

"I'm happy that he finally got what he deserved, but at the same time I'm a little scared because I don't know how to go about building a bond with him like I have with my stepfather," she says. "And I've explained to my children that they do have another grandfather, but the only grandfather they know is my stepdad. I'm scared of how all of it is going to play out. I'm thinking when he does get out, it's going to be such a shock to him to be back in society."

Some of the same concerns are weighing on Robyn Batryn, who says she's even wondered whether she should have pushed to have his case reviewed, knowing how hard it would be for Mr. Tallio to adjust to life outside an institution.

"My guts have been churned up because I questioned myself whether I was doing the right thing by him, even though I thought he wasn't guilty," she says. "How was he going to cope himself after being in there so long, and was I putting him at risk?

That's still my feeling now."

Mr. Tallio has spent his entire life in prison, and in many ways he is still a teenager, his life frozen at the point he went inside.

Many of the relatives and friends who believed in him are now dead, as are witnesses and professionals who were involved with his case. Lives have come and gone while he has been behind bars. The world has changed drastically.

"He is going to need an awful lot of support," says Ms. Batryn, who has recently been going with her mother to see him every week. "He's going to find it extremely hard, I don't think he has any concept of it.

It's going to be tough."

Mr. Tallio and his lawyer, Ms. Barsky, also speak regularly, and they communicate in writing as well, because he expresses himself more easily and clearly that way. In a letter to her in 2012, Mr. Tallio remembered how his grandmother made him promise never to give up, and told him, "The truth will one day come out."

"Some people have asked me why I don't just say that I did it so that I can get out on parole," he wrote in his affidavit filed with the court. "I said that I wouldn't do that, because I am innocent."

Jana G. Pruden is a feature writer at The Globe and Mail.

Associated Graphic

Phillip Tallio is pictured here in a photograph held by Robyn Batryn, who has worked to help secure Mr. Tassio's right to appeal the 1983 conviction for the murder of his 22-month-old cousin.


Mr. Tallio's youth was marred with tragedy, but those who knew him prior to his conviction described him as 'a gentle spirit'

As a boy, Mr. Tallio, left, pictured with his grandmother, spent time moving between foster homes and youth facilities.

A photo in Robyn Batryn's home shows Mr. Tallio in his prison garden.


Marie Spetch, a former correctional guard, formed a bond with the young Mr. Tallio, eventually becoming something of an adoptive mother to him. When she learned of his arrest, she immediately believed police had apprehended the wrong man.


Theresa Hood and Mr. Tallio were expecting a child together when he was sentenced to jail. She has always maintained his innocence.


Honey Hood, Mr. Tallio's daughter, now has three children of her own. She has only met her father once.


In a letter to his lawyer, top, Mr. Tallio writes about spending quality time with 'mom,' meaning Ms. Spetch, whose daughter holds a photo, a above, of Mr. Tallio and her mother.


Marie Spetch's daughter, Robyn Batryn, was troubled upon reading transcripts of the trial, and sought legal help.


Lawyer Rachel Barsky began working on Mr. Tallio's case six years ago. She is now co-counsel on the case.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Guelph's post-Mercury blues: How a city is coping without its local newspaper
A year and a half after its local daily stopped printing, Guelph is a living laboratory for the loss of traditional local media - a rising risk in communities across Canada. Simon Houpt explores what Guelphites have lost, and who's trying to fill the void
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A10

GUELPH, ONT. -- It must have seemed auspicious rather than ironic, back in July of 1867, in a town full of promise and a country not yet two weeks old, to name a newspaper after the Roman god of financial gain.

And so Mercury (who was also, of course, the god of communication) became the namesake of the new daily newspaper of Guelph, Ont.

The publication lived an important and, sure enough, financially gainful existence for most of its life, until a more contemporary god - a monstrous hydra with ever-more-sprouting heads named Craigslist and Google and Facebook and whatever the Latin word is for Internet - decreed that information wanted to be free. Or, at least, that people thought it should be, so they largely stopped paying for it.

Which left the Guelph Mercury in retrograde. And on Jan. 29, 2016, its parents at Metroland Media Group Ltd., a division of Torstar Corporation, euthanized the paper about five months shy of its 149th birthday.

If that was likely the first time most Canadians ever thought of the Mercury (or the 141-year-old Nanaimo Daily News, shuttered the same day, by Victoria-based Black Press), it certainly was the last. Amid the tweeted farewells, loyal readers and local politicians turned out for speeches on the front stoop of the newspaper's office, as fat snowflakes fell from the sky and mingled with their tears. And then the 26 newly unemployed staff, including eight in editorial, turned out the lights in the newsroom on Macdonell Street one last time, and the rest of the country flicked to the next story in their socialmedia feeds.

But that's precisely when one of the most important stories in Guelph's recent history began, the tale of what happens when a large and growing city is left without the connective tissue of a daily newspaper. And the story is much larger than Guelph: The city of 132,000, about an hour's drive west of Toronto, has now become something of a living laboratory for dozens of other places across the country - large metropolises and small bedroom communities alike - which may be in danger of a similar fate if Canada's two largest newspaper chains can't find a way out of a devastating economic malaise.

The Mercury's death was not the end of local news in Guelph.

Over the past 18 months, outlets sniffing opportunity have opened new operations or expanded coverage: Metroland's own Tribune, a twice-weekly tabloid published since 1986 and distributed free to most homes in the city, has bulked up its reporting ranks. (It also rechristened itself the Mercury Tribune and took possession of the Mercury's website.) But in conversations with dozens of Guelphites over the past month, The Globe and Mail has found high anxiety at the overall drop in news, despair over a growing sense that city politics are becoming nastier and more polarized without the moderating influence of a daily and a creeping dread that fact-free politics - enhanced by the canny use of social media by those in power - could be spreading north.

"I honestly believe we have an emergency in this city," says Tony Leighton, a local freelance writer.

As media dies, not everyone cares Before we continue, an acknowledgment: Odds are you don't think this is a big deal. In a survey conducted last month by Abacus Data Inc., 32 per cent of respondents said they already live in communities with no daily newspaper, 44 per cent have one daily and 24 per cent have more than one. But a whopping 86 per cent of respondents across the country said that if their local daily (or dailies) went out of business, they would still be able to get the news they feel they need.

We are, after all, drowning in news, a sea of information just a click or two away. And even as the industry cries poor, events over the past year have financially rejuvenated a handful of outlets, especially in the United States. The New York Times and The Washington Post, especially, have benefited from a so-called Trump Bump as readers, prompted by a chaotic presidency and concern over the explosion of fake news, rushed to buy new subscriptions to publications that proved their worth during the election campaign.

But most of the gains are going to a select few brands able to aggregate large audiences around stories of global importance (or at least bigly drama). Local outlets simply don't have the same economies of scale. And newsrooms continue to hemorrhage: According to research released last month by the Washingtonbased Pew Research Center, total ad revenue for the U.S. newspaper industry (including digital) dropped more than 63 per cent in 10 years, from $49-billion (U.S.) in 2006 to an estimated $18-billion last year.

In Canada, there appears to be no end in sight for the financial losses at Postmedia Network Inc.

The country's largest chain by circulation, it publishes the National Post as well as 44 local dailies in 38 cities and towns, including all the paid daily newspapers in the 10 largest Englishlanguage markets besides Toronto and Winnipeg. It also publishes dozens of free community newspapers - many of which are the main source of local news - and their related websites.

Meanwhile, operating revenue at Torstar Corp., the country's second-largest chain by circulation, which publishes the Toronto Star, The Hamilton Spectator and the Waterloo Region Record as well as more than 100 community papers, dropped more than 55 per cent from 2011 to 2016. Shareholder equity fell from $706-million (Canadian) to $326-million in the same period.

This week, the stock price hit a historic low.

In the 2015 book Local Journalism: The Decline of Newspapers and the Rise of Digital Media, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, the director of research at the University of Oxford's Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, argued that local dailies serve the vital if little understood role of "keystone media." Even in straitened circumstances, that is, they operate the largest newsrooms in their local markets, digging for and grinding out original stories that are then picked up by radio and TV stations and other media.

Chris Clark, who retired as editor of the Guelph Tribune two years ago, said that he used to wake up to the local oldies radio station CJOY. "The only reason I listened to it was for the news," he says with a chuckle, "because I wanted to know what was in the Mercury that day."

Local media hold governments and leaders accountable, provide a forum for people to learn about and chew over issues and help them stay plugged in to the life of their communities.

They also serve as an earlywarning system, unearthing problems brewing under the surface that might later sweep across the country. When U.S. President Donald Trump squeaked out his win last November, U.S. media were ridiculed for having failed to grasp the disenchantment among certain voting blocs, especially in the Midwest. But with local media lacking resources to dig deeply into stories, national outlets may have been slower to pick up on the social and economic convulsions in the heartland. All politics may be local, but if the only place for local voices to be heard is at the ballot box, politicians - and national media - are going to find themselves surprised a lot more often.

News over the breakfast table If you drop in on the old Mercury newsroom on Macdonell Street nowadays, you'll find a cheery staff manning something called the Guelph-Wellington Business Enterprise Centre, a governmentsponsored knowledge hub where you can get help writing a business plan that is presumably more promising than the Merc's.

From there, you might saunter down the street to Breezy Corners Family Restaurant, a friendly diner with gingham curtains and orange-accented walls, where a couple of dozen concerned residents gather over bacon and eggs every Thursday morning to hash out issues dogging the city. The coffee klatches - dubbed "Breezy Brothers Breakfasts" - are the brainchild of city councillors Phil Allt and James Gordon, who, after the Mercury's closure, sought to replicate the vigorous debates from its letters-to-theeditor pages.

The other week, it being the start of summer, the agenda was a little loose: grousing about Canada geese and their propensity for pooping downtown (a never-ending issue to which the Mercury Tribune recently gave page-one treatment), affordable housing and development, Guelphites' alleged resistance to properly sorting their garbage and complaints over parking. (plans for a large downtown parkade, which has been years in development, continue to lurch and morph).

And then, because a reporter from the big city had popped by, talk turned to the state of Guelph's media. Someone pointed out that Rogers TV had recently closed its local studio (although it is still producing shows about Guelph from Kitchener, 30 minutes down the road).

One fellow said he had felt "well served" by local media until the Tribune's long-time city-hall reporter, Doug Hallett, retired recently. Mr. Hallett's replacement had gone to high school in Fergus, just up the road, but he'd been away for years, working in Yellowknife and Oshawa, Ont., and the consensus among the Breezy breakfasters was that it would take him some time to get up to speed on local issues and personalities.

At the far end of the table, one woman stood up uncertainly.

"The deaths are coming to me far too late," she announced, briefly leaving her tablemates flummoxed. "I know there was a fantastic funeral on Monday and I missed it. I wanted to be there, but I didn't know about it, because the Tribune comes out on Tuesday."

Mr. Allt, the councillor, clocked what she was saying, and nodded. "That's interesting, because that mundane issue is not one that I ever thought of. The truth is, I'm relying more on social media for [obituaries]." A few people nodded.

Mike Salisbury, another councillor, acknowledged social media has become an indispensable source of news, but he believes it has also sickened the city's politics. "It's become very abrasive and confrontational," he said. "If something doesn't go someone's way, they say really mean, nasty, poisonous things on social media, and you just go, 'Really?

Does it have to be like that?' It's a very toxic environment."

The Mercury used to have a moderating effect, he said: "If you said something really significant online, the press would have picked it up and checked it out."

As breakfast wound down, a few folks grumbled about the social-media savvy of the city's mayor, Cam Guthrie, who maintains a playful Instagram account, an upbeat blog and a busy Twitter feed with more than 11,000 followers. "He's fantastic at it," Mr. Salisbury offered. "He's also going to be a major benefactor from this environment."

What's missing when news goes online A couple of weeks earlier, Mr. Guthrie's predecessor, Karen Farbridge, explained over the phone that - perhaps counterintuitively - she valued aggressive media coverage of city hall, especially if it peered into dark corners she could not reach. "You might think you have the capacity, as an elected official, to have information about everything, or that you're aligned or in agreement with everything the administration does. That's not how it works. The fact that a reporter might report on something that caused me or another elected official [to have] challenges, or the administration challenges - that's part of it."

Over the course of her time in office, which stretched from 2000 to 2014 (with one three-year interruption, during which Kate Quarrie served as mayor), Ms. Farbridge says the number of local reporters assigned to beats covering large institutions such as the school board and the courts shrivelled up. "So, press releases from those organizations drove the coverage, as opposed to having reporters embedded." ("The joke," says Mr. Clark, the former Tribune editor, "is that, when the police department's PR officer is away, there's no crime in Guelph.") "In more recent years as mayor, sometimes I would be the only person interviewed on a story, because there was simply no time [for the reporter to speak to other sources]," Ms. Farbridge says. "While you might think it's great to be the only one, it's not.

You didn't get the investigative reporting, which - to me, that's part of a really healthy democracy."

Even non-investigative stories can take a while to appear.

Reporter May Warren, who won three Ontario Newspaper Awards during the 10 months she worked at the Mercury between late 2014 to summer, 2015, recalled spending a long day in court waiting for a specific case to be administered. While there, she observed a judge hand down sentences in two other cases - one of sexual assault, another of drunk driving - that didn't include jail time, since the guilty men required medical attention and the judge was concerned they would be sent to solitary confinement because the prison infirmary wasn't open.

"If I hadn't have been there that day, that never would have gotten out," she notes. "That's the kind of thing people just don't know about now, because there's not enough resources."

Filling the Mercury's shoes No one hangs around the courts any more, it's true, but the stories didn't stop after the Mercury shut down. Less than two weeks after Metroland pulled the plug, Village Media, a network of online community-news operations based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., launched with two of the Mercury's former reporters. The newsroom, a three-minute walk from their old office, consists of a jumble of desks in a disused jewellery store on Wyndham Street.

In addition to national and international wire stories, serves up about half a dozen quick, local news hits a day about events in town, city-council decisions and crime stories, along with a handful of regular freelance columns.

It also publishes news releases from the Ontario Provincial Police and the City of Guelph, which are given the same editorial treatment as regular stories - grabby headline and informative subhead - and frequently played at the top of the site.

"We're essentially trying to be the source for someone who wants to know what's going on today," explains Mike Purvis, Village Media's managing editor, who oversees a stable of similar sites in Sault Ste. Marie, North Bay, Barrie and Timmins.

"I think we're also trying to be that place where they're having those conversations around what's important to Guelph. It's a cool city, a lot of history there, it's a university town, full of academics and people who are not afraid to push boundaries and talk about what's going on. It's also a place that's really growing, so there are those pressures, development's always happening, not everybody's happy with that all the time. Those people need a place to talk about those issues, those conflicts."

Traffic at is increasing at a steady clip, according to Mr. Purvis, with 1.2million page views in May, up 25 per cent since January. The site currently counts about 12,000 weekly unique desktop users, 25,000 mobile users (it's best experienced on your phone) and about 6,000 tablet users.

In an e-mail conversation, Village Media's chief executive Jeff Elgie said that annual costs for Guelph Today run about $300,000, and it is currently taking in a little more than $200,000 a year in advertising.

He added that the company's Soo and North Bay sites are profitable, and he expected Guelph's to be as well: Each of the three cities has a strong sense of community, and few other media outlets chasing local dollars and audiences. (He says Barrie has not been profitable, which he chalks up to stiff competition from other media outlets and the fact that the city, about an hour's drive north of Toronto, "acts more like a commuter community/part of the GTA.") Village Media wasn't the only company that saw promise in Guelph. Metroland Media's Tribune (or, rather, the newly renamed Mercury Tribune) also picked up another former Merc staffer, increasing its reporting ranks from two to three. (It also has a sports editor who writes regularly.) The paper was "inundated with requests for coverage," editor-in-chief Doug Coxson says over the phone. "The community was expecting us to pick up where the Mercury left off."

Mr. Coxson says the paper is trying to do more investigative work. Still, community-news staples dominate: council decisions, announcements about new developments, crime briefs, feelgood stories about local heroes.

Another of the outlets that benefited from the Mercury's disappearance is Guelph Speaks, a tart politics blog. Edited by a former newspaperman by the name of Gerry Barker, the blog seems to be the only outlet that regularly shows interest in digging deeply into the numbers on a handful of money-losing ventures overseen by the city. But Mr. Barker is also written off by many as an irritant, because he has a habit of slinging accusations of corruption at politicians and other media, sometimes without fully providing sufficient evidence.

Last fall, a city executive filed a $500,000 defamation lawsuit against Mr. Barker. (Mr. Barker has filed a statement of defence and, in an e-mail to The Globe, denied he had defamed the executive.)

Mr. Barker has a mild-mannered counterpart in Adam Donaldson, an earnest fellow who aspires to provide Guelph's most comprehensive coverage of local politics. After the Mercury closed, he revived a dormant blog of his, Guelph Politico, where he offers impressively detailed explanations of council meetings (which he also live-tweets) as well as podcasts of Open Sources Guelph, a weekly politics show he cohosts on CFRU, the University of Guelph's radio station.

Mr. Donaldson launched a campaign through the crowdfunding site Patreon to support his work full time. It may be a quixotic quest: His evenhanded coverage seems unlikely to incite anger and therefore sharing on social media, which would help bring in sponsors. As of this week, he was only $185 toward his $1,000 monthly goal.

Still, Mr. Donaldson and Mr. Barker play by established rules.

Some other communities struggling with thin coverage have had to grapple with outlets run by anonymous operators who have unknown agendas. During a conference last month on the state of local news, sponsored by the Ryerson Journalism Research Centre (RJRC) in Toronto, Brian Lambie, the president of PR firm Redbrick Communications, noted that, after Sun Media closed the Georgian Bay-area Midland Free Press in June, 2013, a number of new sites cropped up offering local coverage to the community of 16,000. But it can be surprisingly difficult to determine who operates them: Mr.

Lambie told the conference there are suspicions that one blog is being run out of the local police station.

Signs of progress Rob O'Flanagan is a case study of the changes roiling both the news industry in general and Guelph in particular. At 57, he has 23 years in the business, including a long stint at The Sudbury Star and nine years at the Mercury. With a laptop, digital camera, iPhone and voice recorder, he can crank out stories from anywhere. (And often does: Sometimes, it's just too hot to work in the office, so he escapes to a café.) If the technological adjustments have come easily, the psychological ones are tougher.

"When you work for a daily newspaper in a community, that's a prestigious thing to do, because there is that deep-rooted history," he notes, sitting in the spartan office.

(His fellow reporter, Tony Saxon, was on vacation.) "You feel that inherently. But when the Mercury closed, that evaporated. Now, it's basically a startup, online daily news service that is new, that people aren't familiar with. And you feel like a kid in a lot of ways, just starting out. And people have been just a touch more reticent to open up and to take it seriously."

Still, he adds, "Over the past year or so that we've worked on this, people have warmed up to us. There's a lot more name recognition. People for the most part seem to appreciate what we do, and that has won their trust."

Mr. O'Flanagan says he's usually working by 7 a.m., scanning social media and e-mail to see what might be worth covering.

He's obligated to crank out two to three stories a day. "The problem is, I'm used to being a daily news reporter, so I'm used to having more than two sources and I'm used to writing kind of long. And I still want to do that. I don't want to bang off three paragraphs and a photo. So I put a lot of pressure on myself."

Are there stories he'd like to do, but simply can't find the time?

"Oh yeah, absolutely," he says quietly. "We have a big drug problem in the city. Particularly in the downtown. It's really grown. Fentanyl, all the opiates, crack is still a big problem. It really seems to have changed the downtown culture in recent years. There are a lot more people panhandling in the streets. In this location, we hear a lot of street confrontations happening right outside the door.

"All of that would make just an exceptional story. But it would take two or three days to find people to talk to, to get the cops involved, the social agencies that deal with these kinds of things."

Is he really saying that he's so busy feeding the beast that he literally can't report on something happening right outside his door? "Yeah, that's a good way to characterize it," he says softly, then pauses. "I feel I would not be able to produce the content that I need to produce on a daily basis if I focused on that kind of story." He looks up. "It's actually very discouraging."

Mr. O'Flanagan isn't the only one seeing stories that won't get written. Phil Andrews, the Mercury's last managing editor, left journalism after the paper closed and now works as a spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

"I think our local media are doing a good job of saying, 'What's that smoke in the sky and where's it coming from?' Where we're lacking is, I haven't seen an example of an FOI [Freedom of Information] request done by a local media organization that's begotten local reporting."

Mr. Andrews's smoke-in-thesky reference wasn't just a metaphor. "One thing that has been playing out for months now is a crime story. We have a firebug that's at play in Guelph and Wellington County. The number [of fires] is approaching about 20 over the last 18 months." (Another blaze two weeks ago in Aberfoyle, southeast of Guelph, destroyed two homes and left two more damaged.)

The reporting, Mr. Andrews says, has been variations on, "'Here's the latest one, and Crime Stoppers is looking for tips.' " A daily newspaper, he says, "would grapple with it in a way that other media outlets haven't had the bandwidth or the focus or the resources to say, 'Hold on here, this is probably a national story.' " He adds: "This is probably a public-safety problem that isn't being described as such."

Those are the days he wishes he still commanded the resources of a newsroom. "You reach for the holster and there's nothing there," he says.

Sitting now in the office on Wyndham Street, Mr. O'Flanagan is turning reflective. He explains that the upheaval of the past couple of years has him questioning the goal of journalism itself.

"What is its place? What is it supposed to be doing? Who does it serve?" he asks. "In the environment that exists now, with the death of papers, the loss of staff and resources for journalism, I can't help wondering: Where is it going and what is its purpose, and do people value it?

I feel that personally, I feel that in the work that I do and the grind that I'm a part of.

"Is it valuable? Do people appreciate it? What purpose does it serve? That's a general philosophical question, I think. And I really don't know the answer.

Does the fact that a story that I do gets shared 400 times on Facebook, does that give it value?

I don't know. Do you know?"

Simon Houpt writes about media for The Globe and Mail.

Associated Graphic

Serious journalistic coverage has become hard to find in Guelph, Ont., since the shuttering of the city's daily newspaper, the Guelph Mercury. Journalists, city officials and local residents have since turned to alternative means to keep abreast of community news. Some, such as one-man news machine Adam Donaldson, top, seen at a a Guelph police news conference on July 6, have started their own news blogs. Guelph city councillors and residents, left, have begun weekly gatherings at a local restaurant to catch up on municipal issues that used to be covered in the Mercury.


Valley of the bros
As new tales emerge of the high-tech world's toxic masculinity, Tamsin McMahon reports on the men behind the machismo, the women fighting back, and what it all may mean for the economy, and the workplace, of the future
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F1

SAN FRANCISCO -- As a woman working in venture capital and technology in Asia, including launching the Japanese operations for Meitu, a popular Chinese photo-editing app that went public in December, Yumi Alyssa Kimura faced her fair share of bullying and discrimination.

But Ms. Kimura, who was raised in China and Japan, was still surprised at the level of sexual harassment she encountered when she moved to Silicon Valley. During a business meeting last year, a venture capitalist asked Ms.

Kimura back to his San Francisco office so that, he said, she could study its decor and make sure it would appeal to the Asian investors he was trying to court. As the meeting wound up, he opened a bottle of champagne. Then, he tried to kiss her.

"I said, 'I thought we were in a business meeting,' " she recalls, declining to name the investor. "He said, 'Yes, but that just finished. We want to work together, so let's build a relationship.' " She later met him at a business event in Japan, but he barely recalled their previous encounter.

"He was doing that to every woman, which is why he didn't remember," she says.

It was not the first - or the last - time that Ms. Kimura would face such behaviour. A few years ago, she successfully went to court in San Francisco to get a restraining order against an acquaintance who had assaulted her.

More recently, an entrepreneur located her on LinkedIn, asked for a business meeting, and, when they met, proceeded to proposition her for a date.

Ms. Kimura's story is hardly unique. This past February, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler publicly described the ride-hailing company's discriminatory workplace culture, detailing how she had been propositioned by a manager and was subsequently undermined by the company's human-resources department. Her exposé proved to be the tipping point that forced the resignation of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who was already under scrutiny for his role in fostering the company's aggressive, frat-like culture.

Soon after that, several women came forward with stories of being groped and propositioned for sex by venture capitalist Justin Caldbeck, whose firm, Binary Capital, has since shut down. A little more than a week later, angel investor Dave McClure stepped down from the business accelerator 500 Startups after a female entrepreneur said he had pressured her for sex and kissed her without her consent during a business trip in Malaysia.

Allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination have dogged Silicon Valley for years. But many women in the industry see the current discussion as a watershed moment in a debate that began with Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg's 2013 book on women in leadership, Lean In, and gathered steam with Ellen Pao's highly publicized sexual-harassment lawsuit against her former employer, Silicon Valley venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which she lost in 2015.

The most recent scandals have also ignited debate within the tech community north of the border, says Michelle McBane, managing director of StandUp Ventures, which invests in companies with at least one female founder and is run by Toronto's MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund. The sheer scale of the money flowing into Silicon Valley startups has fuelled excessive behaviour beyond anything commonly seen in Canada's technology and venture-capital industries. But the Canadian industry's small, tight-knit nature, says Ms. McBane, also makes it even harder for women to come forward.

"There are some very, very brave women in the U.S. who stood up," she says, adding that, in Canada "I think it is a lot harder to do because there are fewer companies, there are fewer funds, so if you actually do speak out, it's a little bit more challenging."

The accusations of Silicon Valley's widespread culture of toxic masculinity have cut deeply across an industry that prides itself on being a meritocracy where intelligence and enthusiasm matter more than gender, skin colour or pedigree. They have also exposed the ways that, in building the economy of the future, Silicon Valley has somehow managed to replicate the boys'-club trappings of the old economy: tight networks of white males who have graduated from elite universities, untouchable executives and investors, and a cutthroat competitive spirit that rewards companies who place unstoppable growth ahead of ethical considerations.

That Silicon Valley may have much in common with many of the staid old professions that it is trying to disrupt is all the more remarkable because of the shift from the industry's origins as a female-dominated work force, in which computer programming was considered secretarial work, to the hypermale culture that dominates today. It is one of the only disciplines that has actually seen the proportion of women entering the field shrink over the years, even as women's opportunities for education and career advancement across society have expanded.

Meanwhile, the industry's potential to upend all sectors of the economy - from taxicabs, to the global monetary system - has attracted an influx of wealth looking to grab a piece of the latest in cutting-edge technology.

That poses major issues for how the culture of Silicon Valley will shape the future of the workplace far beyond a few thousand square miles of Northern California.

PayPal's 'Stanford Mafia' To understand how Silicon Valley's origins as an aspirational meritocracy bent on changing the world have managed to breed a culture of aggressive masculinity, it's helpful to look back at one of the most successful startups of the dot-com era: PayPal.

The company, which revolutionized online payments, was one of the few to emerge unscathed from the bursting of the Internet bubble of the early 2000s. Its initial public offering, followed shortly by a $1.5-billion (U.S.) sale to online auction house eBay in 2002, made its founders and early employees enormously rich.

Now dubbed the PayPal Mafia, several of the company's former employees constitute a veritable who's who of today's most powerful and connected entrepreneurs and investors. The list includes venture capitalist and Donald Trump supporter Peter Thiel, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, LinkedIn co-founder and venture capitalist Reid Hoffman, as well as the disgraced Mr. McClure of 500 Startups.

Many have gone on to have an outsized influence over the current generation of Internet startups - founding or investing in such companies as Facebook, YouTube, Airbnb, Yelp and Pinterest. PayPal's wild ride has become a template for success among many of the newest crop of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.

An early inkling of how some of PayPal's founders saw the world came in 1996, when Mr. Thiel and another early PayPal employee, David Sacks, published a book called The Diversity Myth. Inspired by their time as students at Stanford University, where they helped run the conservative student newspaper, The Stanford Review, which Mr. Thiel co-founded, the book was a blistering takedown of political correctness and the multicultural policies the authors feared were destroying colleges across America. It excoriated the "radical feminist agenda," criticized preferential admissions for underrepresented minorities, and took issue with seminars on diversity, including one on the history and culture of African-American hair.

But The Diversity Myth's main thesis was that, by promoting diversity and multiculturalism, colleges were instead breeding a dangerous intellectual conformity. A diversity of ideas, they argued, was more important than a diversity of people. "You do not have real diversity when you have a group of people who look different, but think alike," Mr. Thiel said, during a television interview to promote the book.

The Diversity Myth is hardly Silicon Valley's defining playbook on how to build a successful tech startup - and both Mr. Thiel and Mr. Sacks have since apologized for some of the more controversial notions they expressed as young men. But many of the libertarian beliefs that underpin the book remain widely accepted in the industry even today.

The 'paradox of the meritocracy' The most prominent of these is the idea that Silicon Valley should aspire to be a meritocracy, where intelligence, passion and hard work are rewarded and where money does not discriminate based on race, gender or economic status. Belief that the tech industry really is such a meritocracy has been fuelled in large part by the fact that Silicon Valley has become a mecca for talent from around the world, that a significant portion of the industry's work force is of Asian descent, and that a number of successful tech entrepreneurs - including several members of the PayPal Mafia - are immigrants to the United States.

In 2010, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Indiana University published an analysis of what they dubbed the "paradox of the meritocracy." They conducted an experiment that asked MBA students to pretend to be managers and to rate the performance of the employees of fictional companies, dividing the students into those working for firms that had meritocratic cultures, and those that didn't. The results were striking: Managers who were told they worked at meritocratic organizations nonetheless consistently favoured male employees, awarding them significantly higher bonuses than what they offered to women.

When major tech firms such as Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft finally gave in to calls to release statistics about the diversity of their work forces in 2014, they offered a real-world equivalent of that experiment. Silicon Valley turned out to be even less of a meritocracy than many of its critics had anticipated: Fully 70 per cent of its work force was male, and 60 per cent was white.

In a state where more than 30 per cent of the work force and an estimated 18 per cent of students graduating from four-year colleges are Latino, major California tech firms reported that just 3 per cent of their employees were Hispanic.

Yet even after several years in which similar statistics have come to light, the needle has barely budged. "Diversity numbers have been constantly published," says Angie Chang, co-founder of Women 2.0, which organizes events for women working in technology in the San Francisco Bay Area. "And that hasn't seemed to be able to effect any change."

Beer, yes. Hoops, no When it came time to start hiring employees for their nascent startup in 1998, PayPal co-founders Max Levchin and Peter Thiel recruited heavily from their alumni networks. Mr. Levchin favoured engineering friends from his alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Mr. Thiel looked chiefly to his network of college friends, hiring several of those who had written for The Stanford Review, including his Diversity Myth coauthor.

Ensuring that the early team was as un-diverse as possible was one of the keys to PayPal's success, Mr. Levchin has said. The comment was intended to highlight the importance of ensuring that employees have similar technical backgrounds, rather than physical attributes, but the notion reflected itself in the company's culture. One idea drawn from PayPal's origins that has become startup gospel is that of "culture fit" - the belief that, for a company to be successful, employees must be similar to one another. New hires, so the conventional wisdom goes, should be people that employees would "want to have a beer with."

In subsequent retellings of the company's history, Mr. Levchin has described how PayPal founders disqualified an engineering candidate because he said he liked to play "hoops" in his spare time, an instant red flag that he wouldn't fit in with the techies.

The company, Mr. Levchin said, also had trouble attracting women who could mesh with a culture that was a mix of "nerdiness and alpha-maleness." Among the distinctively macho PayPal traditions: Disputes between employees were often settled by way of wrestling matches on the floor.

"All of this is about self-selecting for people just like you," Mr. Levchin was quoted as saying in a Forbes profile on the PayPal Mafia in 2007. "He thinks like me, he's just as geeky, and he doesn't get laid very often. Great hire! We'll get along perfectly."

Culture fit is often held out as an important factor when firms are starting out. Disagreements between founders and early employees can tear apart fragile new companies. But not all the titans of high tech would agree.

In their 2014 book How Google Works, that company's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, and former senior vice-president Jonathan Rosenberg lay out just how easily certain ideas around culture fit can become a problem.

"You often hear people say they only want to work with (or elect as president) someone they would want to have a beer with," they wrote. "Truth be told, some of our most effective colleagues are people we definitely would not want to have a beer with."

Work forces full of best friends tend to be homogenous, they warned, and "homogeneity in an organization breeds failure."

From house party to startup In recent years, an unprecedented amount of outside money has flooded into Silicon Valley.

That has only helped to amplify some of the industry's shortcomings. As interest rates plunged in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, global investors rushed to cut cheques to U.S. venturecapital firms in search of higher returns and the chance to get in on the ground floor of what could become the next Google or Facebook.

Last year, venture-capital firms invested $73-billion in U.S. startups, well above $45-billion invested at the peak of the dot-com bubble. More than half of that was destined for California. Angel investors - wealthy individuals who are often corporate executives or entrepreneurs themselves - have also flocked to the tech sector, pouring $24-billion into startups in 2015. According to multiple estimates, men make up between 80 and 90 per cent of both venture capitalists and angels.

The torrent of cash had made it easier for even relatively inexperienced venture-capital firms, as well as young new entrepreneurs, to raise a lot of money very quickly. Two of the founders of GoAhead Ventures, which bills itself as working with "young entrepreneurs at the earliest stages of their company," are under the age of 25. They formed the company while still students at Stanford. Less than two years after graduating, they have raised $55-million.

The money has only reinforced some of the ingrained biases about what a successful startup should look like. It can be difficult for even the savviest of investors to evaluate the potential of brand-new technologies, making them far more likely to rely on gut instincts about the entrepreneurs themselves.

"You're really taking a bet on a founder," says StandUp Ventures' Ms. McBane. "If a founder is a first-time founder and doesn't have a successful track record, there is absolutely an unconscious bias that's built in."

The influx of money desperate to invest in Silicon Valley startups might seem like an opportunity for female entrepreneurs.

Instead, critics say, the heady mix of money and youth has exacerbated the problems of sexual harassment. "It's easy to note that in places like Silicon Valley - where there's a lot of capital and there's a lot of growth and there's a lot of success - comes a certain amount of arrogance," says Kate Mitchell, co-founder of the Bay Area venture-capital firm Scale Venture Partners. "Couple that with people who maybe have never worked in a large company.

For some people, their startup or their venture firm may be their first job out of college."

One result is that the predominantly male investment industry has a tendency to support entrepreneurs who closely resemble themselves. In 2013, Reuters studied 88 startups that had been funded by the top five venturecapital firms. Seventy of them fit a typical Silicon Valley mould: They had held senior positions at large companies, been entrepreneurs in the past, or had graduated from Harvard, Stanford or MIT.

Angel investors' decisions were similarly skewed. Female entrepreneurs made up 30 per cent of startups pitching investors last year, but just 14 per cent of companies that received funding, a figure that has remained stubbornly unmoved in recent years, according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire.

Despite the influx of money into the sector, venture capital remains a niche industry of predominantly small firms consisting of a handful of friends. That has made it difficult to impose the kind of formal policies commonly found in larger organizations. "We're best designed and we're most profitable over many years, decades, as this cottage industry," says Ms. Mitchell. "Our industry doesn't scale in the way an Apple, or a Facebook, or a Google does."

With a $335-million fund and 20 employees, Ms. Mitchell's firm is larger than average, but it is not big enough to have a formal human-resources department.

The average venture-capital fund is closer to $50-million, and those companies might not even be large enough to justify having a full-time chief financial officer, she says, let alone formal HR policies.

Even then, relationships between investors and entrepreneurs are typically not covered by employee-employer guidelines. Venture capitalists still tend to source many of their deals informally, through recommendations from their social network and in casual meetings over drinks. "A lot of people meet investors not in conference rooms, but at a house party, or maybe a wedding, or maybe even a bar," says Yumi Alyssa Kimura.

"So the way they meet each other is not that formal, and then later, when you start to talk about business, people say, 'Hey, we are friends, I just happen to be an investor.' " .

Founder-friendly structures The rush of money into tech startups has also swung the balance of power in favour of the most sought-after founders, who have been able to negotiate terms that give them exceptional control over company decisions, including those involving hiring, promotions and overall culture.

One such tool is the growing popularity of dual-class shares - a structure that gives a regular investor one vote per share, while reserving a "supervoting" class of shares for company insiders. The structure has allowed the founders of companies such as Google, Facebook and Uber to maintain control over their firms even as they've diluted their overall ownership by going public or raising large sums of cash.

Mr. Thiel's venture firm, Founders Fund, is among those that have supported founder-friendly structures that limit investor control. "Companies can be mismanaged, not just by their founders, but by VCs who kick out or overly control founders in an attempt to impose 'adult supervision,' " reads the company's website, which emphasizes that the firm "has never removed a single founder."

Dual-class shares are not unique to the tech industry, but some critics complain that founder-friendly policies have made it difficult for investors to push for changes or remove a problem executive. Despite being ousted as chief executive of Uber, for instance, Mr. Kalanick remains on the company's board of directors, alongside two of his close allies and early Uber employees, who each hold "supervoting" shares.

Companies such as Uber are also staying private for longer because the deluge of private money makes it less necessary to tap public markets. In Silicon Valley, which prizes moving quickly and breaking rules, that has created an intoxicating level of freedom. "It's like giving a mischievous toddler a bag of sugar instead of a time out," long-time Silicon Valley journalist Sarah Lacy told Montreal's StartUpFest conference last week.

Far-reaching implications But while all that freedom may be good for those in charge, the lack of diversity it invites in Silicon Valley has profound and farreaching real-world implications, particularly as technology continues to upend traditional industries - from retail to medicine - where the preferences and biases of software developers can easily become embedded in the products themselves.

"Every industry is becoming a tech industry, every company is becoming a technology company," says Alaina Percival, chief executive of the San Franciscobased non-profit Women Who Code. "If this emerging industry isn't pushing toward gender balance, there's a risk that, at the executive level, across all industries, there will be even fewer women represented."

That is particularly true when it comes to artificial intelligence and machine learning, an industry in which Canada is working to carve out an important role. Last year, Microsoft unveiled an experimental chatbot that was meant to learn how to speak like a teenager by interacting with users on Twitter. It was shut down only days later - after it began spouting racist, sexist and anti-Semitic musings. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, meanwhile, have determined that Google's algorithms were six times more likely to display ads for senior executive jobs to men than to women.

"Who's going to be taking care of our elderly two generations from now? It's going to be AI," Melinda Gates told Wired magazine last year. "But do you want all males in their early 20s and 30s creating the AI that's going to take care of you when you're older?" .

A turning tide?

Despite the obstacles, many women in Silicon Valley believe that the current conversation around sexual harassment may begin to tip the balance in their favour, in part by inspiring more women to become angel investors or venture capitalists.

Ms. Chang, the co-founder of Women 2.0, sees potential in crowdsourcing and other sources of financing that can help female entrepreneurs build businesses without being forced to rely on the traditional venture-capital industry: "There's a lot of ways we can encourage more people to invest in women so it's not just 'Let's change the VC game (which we can and we will eventually), but how can we enable all of us to invest in these women-led businesses?" Research from the University of Pennsylvania and New York University provides support for such optimism. In a study published last year, researchers found that projects created by women on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter tended to be more successful at raising money than were projects created by men.

That was largely due to a small group of female activist investors who felt strongly about backing women as a way to combat discrimination.

The intensifying spotlight on sexual harassment might also open new opportunities for women to start companies that use technology to tackle the problem of institutionalized sexism. Ms. Chang points to Joonko, co-founded by a woman, which has developed programs that plug into a company's existing software, analyze its data for signs of unconscious bias, and then make suggestions, such as giving female employees more tasks that can demonstrate their capabilities.

Ms. Kimura is among those whose experience with sexual harassment has inspired her to start a new business. Earlier this year, she launched Lead, an online platform that uses artificial intelligence to help women connect for networking and mentorship. Her male business partner, a Web developer she met at an English-language school in Berkeley, was initially skeptical that sexual harassment was enough of a problem in the industry to warrant much demand for an app to help combat it. She suggested he take 10 days and talk to his female friends and relatives and then see how he felt. "He came back and said, 'I want to be your co-founder,' " she says.

This month, their company was formally accepted into TechCode, a network of startup incubators in China, Israel and Germany that recently launched an accelerator for artificial-intelligence technology firms in Silicon Valley. "Now, companies are trying to make a change," says Ms. Kimura. "They want to have something to solve the problem within the organization before these things happen."

Tamsin McMahon is a U.S. correspondent for The Globe and Mail in its recently opened California bureau.

Free traders of the red states
In Kansas and Missouri, 56 per cent of voters cast their ballots for Donald Trump. But many did so despite his virulent anti-trade views, not because of them. Adrian Morrow finds that even in the heart of Trumpland, Canada has strong allies in the NAFTA fight
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B6

KANSAS CITY, MO. -- On the night Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency, Patrick Ottensmeyer sat glued to his living-room television until 3 a.m.

It wasn't only civic interest that kept him transfixed: Mr. Ottensmeyer is the chief executive officer of Kansas City Southern Railway Co., a 130year-old railway that reinvented itself in the 1990s as a prime conduit for commerce between the U.S. heartland and the rapidly opening Mexican market.

And the man on Mr. Ottensmeyer's TV had just won the most powerful political office in the world on the back of a promise to build a wall along the Mexican border and tear up the North American free-trade agreement.

The next day, Mr. Ottensmeyer, a brown-haired, roundfaced man, watched the stock market wipe out $1-billion (U.S.) in his company's market capitalization. He bashed out a memo to employees, trying to reassure them that KC Southern could navigate the new reality in Washington.

"Our stock was down 12 per cent. Our Mexican employees were ... 'What does this mean?

What's going to happen?' "Mr. Ottensmeyer recalls in an interview at KC Southern's headquarters, a postmodern brick-and-green-glass building on the edge of this Midwestern city's downtown. "My main message was really: I'm going to do everything I can to engage.

We're not going to sit back and wait to see what happens."

Founded in 1887, KC Southern spent its first century as a regional railway in the U.S. South and Midwest. In 1996, two years after NAFTA came into force, the company bought the rights to operate a large chunk of Mexico's railway network from the government. Today, its tracks run like a spine down the centre of the continent, connecting the U.S. heartland to Mexico City and ports on both of Mexico's coasts. "Any way you look at it ... 50 per cent of our company is in Mexico: 50 per cent of our route miles, our employees, our revenues, our carloads," says Mr. Ottensmeyer, who wears a lapel pin with the U.S. and Mexican flags.

The rail network is only the most concrete illustration of how tightly bound Middle America has become to its southern neighbour under NAFTA.

Midwestern farmers supply the corn that makes Mexican tortillas and the soy that feeds Mexican cattle. American factories provide parts to auto-assembly plants south of the border.

Those cars, along with loads of other goods - from clothes to beer - are shipped back north to stoke the world's most voracious consumer economy.

During the election campaign, Mr. Trump portrayed the Midwest as a place suffering because of NAFTA, dominated by shuttered factories and dying mill towns. But the picture is more complicated: Canada and Mexico are by far the region's largest export markets, buying a combined $136.2-billion in goods and services from the Midwest last year, an increase of 194 per cent over the 23 years the deal has been in place.

As the NAFTA renegotiation looms, with talks set to start in mid-August, the economic interests of the U.S. heartland - which voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Trump - are largely aligned with those of Canada and Mexico, and rely on commerce continuing unobstructed between the three countries.

"The largest commodity that we move ... is southbound, and it's grain coming from the upper Midwest," Mr. Ottensmeyer says as he points at a map of KC Southern's line sitting on a conference table in front of him: "All these red states in the middle of the country."

At Lowell Neitzel's Kansas farm, 45 minutes west of Kansas City, Kan., green corn stalks sprawl across thousands of acres beneath a blazing sun and clear sky. Come fall, much of what comes from this ground will be headed south to feed Mexico's burgeoning middle class. To Mr. Neitzel, the value of NAFTA is clear, and he seems a little surprised at how heated the rhetoric got during the campaign.

"When they start running for office, you just never know what they really mean or if they're just saying stuff with smoke and mirrors," says Mr. Neitzel, a slim man with dark, close-cropped hair. "It's foolish for them not to realize how important NAFTA is to us."

The 36-year-old is a fourthgeneration farmer. He met his wife at agriculture college and now works a farm founded by her great-grandfather, along with his wife's parents, brother, uncle and aunt. If they choose to farm, his nine-year-old son and three-year-old daughter will be the fifth generation.

Mr. Neitzel says he hopes someone can show Mr. Trump the value of market access to Mexico: "You've got to be kind of optimistic that maybe somebody will get his ear and make him listen and make him realize."

Lucas Heinen runs through the math of farming as he sits in an outbuilding on the land he works near Everest, Kan., about an hour north of Mr. Neitzel's operation. Planting an acre of corn costs about $550, between the seed, herbicide, fertilizer, rent, fuel and equipment.

If the price of corn is $3.50 a bushel, this means that the first 157 bushels an acre produces serve only to cover costs. With 160 to 200 bushels an acre, the profit is small.

"Margins in farming are historically nothing. It's a competitive enterprise: We bid the profit out of anything. I think I can make a dollar an acre on something; someone else might be happy to make 50 cents. That's the way it works," says Mr. Heinen, a tall, gregarious 37-year-old who has worked the land most of his life - with the exception of a few years getting an agronomy degree at Kansas State University and working as a crop scout. A married father of four, he's passing along the tradition to his children. His oldest, 14-year-old Sam, is off clearing locust-tree sprouts from a hay field as we talk.

Terry Vinduska, 66, who farms near Marion, Kan., says he hopes he can just break even most years. Domestic demand for corn is flat, meaning he needs the export market to stay afloat.

"From the very beginning, I thought 'Where are these guys coming from?' " he says of the tone of the anti-NAFTA pledges during the election. "We need every bit of demand we can get."

Mr. Vinduska, Mr. Neitzel and Mr. Heinen voted for Mr. Trump.

And they are certainly in the majority among their peers: He carried Kansas with 56 per cent of the vote and utterly dominated rural and small-town America.

Mr. Vinduska laughs when asked why he gave his vote to a man who repeatedly slammed a trade agreement that's so important to the farmer's livelihood. "We're getting way off of agriculture and way into the political realm," he says.

Mr. Vinduska explains that he liked Mr. Trump's promise of reducing red tape, particularly his pledge to overhaul the Waters of the United States rule. The Obama-era environmental regulation, which sought to give the federal government more power to regulate rivers and lakes, was unpopular with farmers, who feared it would make irrigation and other agricultural practices more difficult.

"To be perfectly honest, I saw him as the lesser of two evils.

Now, is that a good reason to vote for someone? No ... Does that mean I like everything about him? Of course not. But I just felt like the overall picture was better for me with Mr. Trump," he says.

Mr. Vinduska also points to the Midwest's social conservatism as another dividing line that pushed it in Mr. Trump's favour: Despite his previous support of abortion rights, Mr. Trump adopted the GOP's standard anti-abortion position during the campaign.

Mr. Neitzel heaves an audible sigh in discussing his vote for the President. "He was less regulations and he was more conservative," he says, adding there were also "trust issues" around Hillary Clinton.

For Ivry Karamitros, the election was a wakeup call. Director of Kansas City's World Trade Center in Missouri, she is used to advising companies on the benefits of jumping into the export market by selling their goods to Canada and Mexico. Kansas City is in an ideal place for that, sitting at the crossroads of northsouth and east-west highway and rail corridors.

"We really need to do a better job of educating the public as to the drier aspects of free trade," she says.

"It became very apparent there is obviously a messaging issue, that people are not educated on the facts and how important NAFTA is and what that means on a local basis in our economy."

Ms. Karamitros's organization has been holding educational events with business leaders, academics and trade officials and running online seminars in a bid to build public support for NAFTA.

The warehouses of Scarbrough, a trucking company in a suburban Kansas City industrial park, are visual representations of the integrated economy.

In one of the cavernous, 20,000square-foot buildings, Adam Hill, the company's lanky, boyish vice-president of operations, points to cases of tequila trucked in from Mexico in one corner. A couple hundred metres away sits a flat of tents, flashlights and other camping equipment destined for a warehouse in Canada, where it will be used to fill Amazon orders.

"You name it, we move it," he says.

Mr. Hill cites one example of how a single product crosses the border multiple times: Scarbrough imports plastic pellets from Europe for a U.S. factory that turns those pellets into plastic bottles. Then, Scarbrough ships those bottles to a Canadian whisky distillery to be filled with rye, which the company then moves back into the United States.

"It's neat to see the whole supply chain in action with several of our customers on each side of the transaction," he says.

And if Mr. Trump's supporters are apoplectic about NAFTA, Scarbrough's clients can't get enough of it. Kevin Ekstrand, the company's vice-president of sales, says part of the motivation to expand into the Mexican market was sheer business interest: A couple years back, Scarbrough brought in officials from a Mexican logistics company to hold a seminar in Kansas City about getting into that market.

"The place was packed with people wanting to know how to do business in Mexico," he says.

"There was an 'a-ha' moment."

To Scarbrough, the logic of NAFTA is simple: Mexico can supply products at the same prices as China, but where it takes 30 days to import from China, Mr. Ekstrand says, the company can move a product from Mexico in two. And it's in the United States' interest to bolster Mexico's economy.

"If they're manufacturing more, their wages increase, they become consumers, they develop a middle class and now all of a sudden, they're consuming U.S. products. We export intellectual-property rights and insurance and education materials. If we can build up a country that's sitting right next to us that needs all of those things, they're going to start consuming them and then we're going to reap the benefits," he says.

Not all lawmakers seem to understand how integrated the economies are. Mr. Hill has met with senators and congressional representatives to explain the importance of trade - and particularly complex supply chains - and says he's often met with blank stares.

"To sit down and to have those conversations is like deer in the headlights. Most people walk into a store and they just say 'Oh, my product is here and it was made in China.' They know nothing else about what happened, they don't understand what it means," he says.

The bottle of whisky is a small-scale example of what is happening across industries.

While some of the $1-trillion in annual NAFTA-zone trade is accounted for with straight export-import transactions - a product is made in one country and sold in another - it is often more complicated.

According to research by the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center think tank in Washington, U.S. and Mexican industries in 2014 traded $268-billion worth of intermediate goods - components to be used to manufacture finished products, from car parts to fabric for making clothing.

The argument goes that such efficiencies make the companies better able to compete internationally, which ultimately helps the people who work for them.

Not everyone sees it that way.

At the union hall across the street from Ford's sprawling truck-assembly factory in a Kansas City suburb, a sign jokingly warns that foreign cars found in the parking lot will be towed.

Inside the hall, Jason Starr, president of the plant's United Autoworkers local, says the changes wrought by NAFTA have directly affected the wages and working conditions in the industry.

Ford uses the threat of moving to Mexico to extract concessions in bargaining, he says. And competition with Mexico is also helping drive the push for antiunion "right to work" legislation. Missouri just passed such legislation earlier this year.

"Prior to NAFTA being passed, our primary focus in collective bargaining was making gains for our membership. Post-NAFTA,

we've had to adapt our negotiation style to make sure that we were getting product investments," he says. "It's a huge leverage point for them, something that is always brought up."

There may be more jobs over all in the auto sector, Mr. Starr says, but what is that worth if the employment is offered for lower wages and harsher working conditions? Over the years, for instance, the auto companies have got out of parts manufacturing, outsourcing the jobs to smaller companies, he says.

"A lot of those manufacturers in auto parts have become different companies, and they employ temporary workers.

They're still in auto, but they don't have the big benefits or the pay structure that we have," adds Tony Renfro, vice-president of the union local.

In Mr. Starr's view, NAFTA has eroded American employment standards. Instead, he argues, trade agreements should oblige other countries to rise to the United States' level - by action such as enforcing tougher labour and environmental laws.

"We can either bring ourselves down to the standard of Mexico or China, or we can work with them as they bring themselves up," he says.

"There aren't a lot of folks in Mexico that can go out and buy a brand new F-150."

Mr. Starr, who has a large photograph of Harry Truman - the Democratic ex-president and native son of Missouri - on his office wall, didn't vote for Mr. Trump. But some of his members did, and he understands why.

"He spoke to working-class values. A lot of our own membership ended up throwing their support in his direction because he did talk about issues that they knew directly impacted their ability to provide for their families," he says.

But if Mr. Starr's colleagues will be hoping Mr. Trump steers straight ahead on his campaign promise to overhaul or abandon NAFTA, others in the heartland will be praying for a U-turn.

And this may be the key to NAFTA's salvation: The argument in favour of the trade deal sounds more persuasive to the Trump administration coming from supporters.

Mr. Ottensmeyer, the Kansas City Southern CEO, points to the story of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, on his second day on the job, showing Mr. Trump a map of all the agricultural products heading from the

Midwest to be exported in the NAFTA zone. His intervention was, by some accounts, a key factor in the President backing down from a plan to trigger Article 2205, the process for pulling the United States out of NAFTA.

It's the same message Mr. Ottensmeyer says he has been pressing home in his meetings with administration officials - including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the point man on the NAFTA file: that much of the U.S. economy relies on the pact.

He's also been co-ordinating with Mexican officials. On April 26, the day Mr. Trump's musings about 2205 were leaked to the media, Mr. Ottensmeyer was in Mexico City.

He was en route to a meeting with Juan Carlos Baker, the Mexican government's head of foreign trade, when one of his subordinates sent him a link to a Politico story on the draft order. Mr. Ottensmeyer turned to the head of KC Southern's Mexican operations and joked "I need to know what floor this guy's office is on - can I survive the fall?" In Mexico, after all, Mr. Trump's pledges to tear up NAFTA and build a wall on the border have touched off political turmoil. President Enrique Pena Nieto's administration is caught between the forces of business, which want the accord preserved at all costs; the public, which wants the country's leaders to stand up to Mr. Trump; and newly emboldened protectionist politicians.

When the meeting began, Mr. Carlos Baker was more taken aback than angry.

"He actually said, 'We're trying to hold a country together.' And I kind of felt small at that point," Mr. Ottensmeyer said.

"I'm worried about the next quarter's earnings, and you're trying to hold a country together."

That national perspective isn't lost on corn farmer Mr. Vinduska, who sees free trade as a natural extension of the sort of competitive capitalism he lives with every day - and that has made America the world's largest economy.

"I compete with my neighbour in that whoever is more efficient is going to make more profit," he says.

"There are going to be small individual winners and losers with any trade agreement. So you have to look at the overall big picture."

Associated Graphic

Lowell Neitzel, right, seen working on a Lawrence, Kan., farm with his father-in-law on June 20, hopes Donald Trump is shown the value of market access to Mexico.


The Scarbrough trucking company, seen operating a warehouse in Kansas City, Mo., on June 21, frequently moves products across the border with Mexico.


Two years after being hit by a devastating earthquake that claimed around 9,000 lives and ruined prized historic and religious sites, the small Himalayan country is eager to showcase its recovery efforts and prove to the world it's once again open for business, Wency Leung reports
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page T1

POKHARA, NEPAL -- Shanker Phuyal felt a sudden blow, as though he were struck in the head by an unseen force. His legs buckled beneath him and he couldn't regain his balance. He feared he was suffering a stroke.

The seasoned tour guide had been leading a hike through the tranquil green hills about an hour's drive east of Kathmandu when he found himself knocked off his feet. In the distance, he could see small explosions of dust, where villages had stood just a moment ago. The clusters of rural dwellings were now falling in on themselves, collapsing into piles of stone, brick and debris. It was then Phuyal realized he wasn't experiencing a medical catastrophe, but an earthquake - a big one, the likes of which Nepal had not seen in more than 80 years.

To Phuyal, it seemed apocalyptic. "This is the end of human beings. I felt like that," he recalls.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake that jarred this Himalayan country on the morning of April 25, 2015, and subsequent aftershocks, claimed around 9,000 lives, injured many thousands more, destroyed roads and left millions homeless.

It also badly damaged some of the country's most prized historic and holy structures, including UNESCO heritage sites such as Kathmandu Durbar Square and structures within the Swayambhu Monument Zone, which are still under reconstruction. Tourism slowed to a trickle in the aftermath, which was further hampered later that same year by a lengthy, politically spurred blockade of Nepal's border with India. Still reeling from the earthquake, Nepal was cut off for months from its large and powerful neighbour - also its main source of fuel, food staples and medicine.

Yet, people here picked up the pieces and carried on, whether through equanimity or sheer practice after enduring decades of turbulence and uncertainty.

Now, two years later, Nepal's tour operators, hoteliers and guides, such as Phuyal, are eager to spread the word that the country is open for business as usual. The Nepal Tourism Board beckons travellers to return with the slogan, "Once is not enough."

This small, landlocked country not only welcomes visitors, it needs them. Tourism is its largest source of foreign currency, second only to remittances from Nepalese citizens working abroad in India, the Middle East and beyond. From Kathmandu's humble, single-runway Tribhuvan International Airport, hundreds of Nepalese passport holders, mostly young men, depart daily for better employment opportunities elsewhere.

Nepal nevertheless generously rewards those willing to travel here. Though battered by natural disaster and still struggling to find economic and political stability, the country is rich with natural scenery, biodiversity, cultural diversity and spiritual wisdom.

Many think of Nepal as a destination for trekkers and mountain climbers. But you don't need to be particularly outdoorsy or athletic or an adventure junkie to find a visit worthwhile. There are leisurely safaris to join, villages to explore, historic sites to see and resorts at which to luxuriate.

9 This brick-shaped country, roughly the size of New York State, is composed of three distinct terrains that run cross-wise in layers. At the bottom are the plains, known as the terai, where, among stretches of open farmland, you'll find Chitwan National Park, a World Heritage nature preserve that is home to wild Bengal tigers, crocodiles, monkeys, sloth bears and one-horned rhinoceroses.

In the middle are what people here modestly call "hills," but which most Canadians would consider mountains. Their picturesque green slopes are often carved into tiers for growing rice, bananas and vegetables to sustain local farmers for at least part of the year.

The final layer consists of real mountains. These are the rugged, dusty valleys and glacier-capped Great Himalayas, which, of course, includes Mount Everest.

On the road to the town of Jomsom, in the Lower Mustang region, broad-leaf forests give way to pines and shrubs. As the land becomes increasingly arid the higher up you go, apple groves and buckwheat fields replace banana trees and rice fields.

It seems impossible to capture a bad photo when you're travelling through the countryside.

During a pit stop between the central lakeside city of Pokhara and Jomsom, I pull out my camera and take a picture of yet another scenic canyon.

"It's beautiful," I say, redundantly, to Phuyal, the tour guide.

Although his daughter, Bidhya, a smart and capable 26-year-old gender-studies student, has been hired to be my official tour guide, Phuyal has decided to accompany us, uncomfortable with the idea of two of us women travelling on our own into remote areas of the country. (The irony of this is not lost on Bidhya, who speaks eloquently and with good humour about her university education in feminism and patriarchy.)

Phuyal nods. "Beautiful but deadly," he replies, and I can't be sure whether he means the canyon itself or Nepal in general.

Indeed, several recent deaths of foreign visitors, reported in the media, would support the latter interpretation of his statement.

In April, a Taiwanese man was rescued after being lost for 47 days in the wilderness, though his girlfriend died just three days before he was found. In the same month, Ueli Steck, a renowned Swiss climber, died in what was reported to be a mountaineering accident near Mount Everest.

Of course, the perils of climbing the world's highest peak do not apply to the average traveller.

It takes extensive training and acclimatization to make an attempt, and it costs thousands of dollars for a permit alone. But less ambitious visitors should be mindful of certain risks, too. Although hiking trails are wellmarked and maintained, trekkers are warned never to travel alone and to always stay hydrated.

Even crossing the country by car requires titanium nerves.

Nepal's roads are narrow and wind sharply through the hills and mountains. On these treacherous routes, vehicles carrying tourists jockey for space among whizzing motorbikes and rattling Tata trucks, brilliantly painted like jewel boxes, which drive to the Indian border empty and return laden with imports.

Slogans handpainted on their bumpers offer clues to the individual temperament of their drivers: "Slow drive, long life," "Speed control," "Risky Rider," "Pimp my drive, baby."

Occasionally, you'll encounter a lorry that bears the words, "Buddha was born in Nepal." This doesn't necessarily mean the vehicle owner is Buddhist. Only about 8 per cent of the population is Buddhist, and more than 80 per cent is Hindu. More likely, the statement is both made as a point of historical accuracy (it is said that although he attained enlightenment in India, the prince Siddhartha Gautama was born in the Nepalese terai area of Lumbini, now a UNESCO World Heritage site and pilgrimage centre), as well as a point of pride for an underdog country, sandwiched between two powerhouses: India on one side and Tibet, controlled by China, on the other.

Regardless of your spiritual leanings, it's hard to come here and not be moved in some way; the briefest glimpse of the Himalayas can put one's very existence into perspective. You know they're big, of course, but nothing prepares you for the staggering experience of seeing with your own eyes just how big. (Fortunately, domestic carriers such as Yeti Airlines make this experience more accessible by offering quick, hour-long mountain flyovers. The sight of the famous peaks is made all the more satisfying with sparkling wine, distributed by a cheerful flight attendant.)

If patience and flexibility were not your strong traits before you arrived, Nepal has a way of instilling these values. Getting from point A to point B is never certain and rarely easy. Flights can be cancelled at the last minute because of extreme winds or fog.

Bus and car journeys can be delayed because of traffic accidents, construction and mudslides - or, as I discovered on the road through the Palpa region, due to threat of unrest from dissenting political party supporters.

For those who are accustomed to them, such obstacles are often met without even batting an eyelid. Bidhya, for instance, explains to me how until recently, power outages in the capital of Kathmandu occurred daily, sometimes for as long as 18 hours at a time. The reason? "Corruption," she says simply.

There is nothing you can do but roll with the punches.

It's easy to become enchanted with this country, but a deeper understanding of it is difficult to grasp. In 1992, acclaimed travel writer Pico Iyer described Nepal as an "impossible phantasmagoria," which still holds true today.

"More than most places, it leads a double life: the one in reality, which seems relatively tranquil and benign, and the one on paper, where it looks completely desperate," Iyer wrote.

While the paper version has improved in many ways and is no longer completely desperate, it still remains grim. Nearly 10 per cent of the population lives in severe poverty, according to the United Nations Development Programme's 2016 Human Development Report. And close to 44 per cent of those with jobs are considered working poor, earning the equivalent of $3.10 (U.S.) per day. Child labour is common and infant deaths are not uncommon; 30 babies die for every 1,000 live births.

The Nepalese countryside is definitely not developed, but not necessarily destitute either, Kathmandu resident Ranjan Shrestha, a 35-year-old digital designer, tells me.

"Generally, I don't think people are so poor here ... You can see they're content," he says, pointing out that his compatriots are known for their generosity and hospitality. "They'll give you a place to sleep. They'll give you the best food. If they have a chicken, they'll cut it for you ... That is most important; if you have good company, you'll be happy wherever you are."

Nepal is also a country where homes in even hard-to-reach villages have satellite dishes, where drivers in the dusty mountains may be as likely to play Tibetan Buddhist chants as Katy Perry on their stereos. It is a place where the underemployed youth in Kathmandu are plugged into Instagram and Facebook on their smartphones, aspiring for jobs at high-paying "INGOs," or international non-governmental organizations. The most coveted jobs, in other words, are at charities.

In the hilly Palpa district, I meet Rana Kumari, 88, whose approach to personal hardships perhaps sheds a light on how people here have weathered broader political and natural calamities. Kumari, who was married at the age of 12, gave birth to four sons and six daughters, but only four of her children are still alive today. As a resident of Gorkha, which was the epicentre of the 2015 earthquake, she also lost her house in the disaster.

"It's in our fate," she says, as Bidhya translates. "There's no time for sorrow, for grief. It's like that."

In the lakeside city of Pokhara, Santosh Karki is optimistic about the future of his country.

The general manager of the city's Waterfront Resort tells me at least 15 new hotels open in Pokhara every year. The edge of serene Phewa Lake is surrounded by restaurants and shops aimed at tourists, as well as hotels and guest houses.

"Tourism is the best opportunity for the prosperity and development of the country," Karki says.

"We've been so blessed by nature ... we just have to utilize it in a proper way."

After the past few tumultuous decades, the people of Nepal are now more engaged than ever in politics and nation-building efforts, he says. "We have been through the worst of the worst situations, and we cannot afford to have more [setbacks]," he says. "It will be better in the years to come."

Yet, doesn't he worry that the future may be as shaky as the very ground beneath his feet?

Karki smiles.

Imagine you're planning to climb Mount Everest, he tells me.

Everyone you meet along the way will have his opinion about what you should do and how you should do it.

"If you listen to everybody, you'll miss your goal," he says. "If [you] just worry, you can't move ahead."

This trip was arranged and paid for by the Embassy of Nepal in Ottawa and the Nepal Tourism Board. It did not review or approve this article.


Be prepared for a long journey, including at least a couple of stopovers. Jet Airways ( flies from Toronto to New Delhi via Amsterdam, and New Delhi to Kathmandu.


"If you want to see the real Nepal, you have to go to the villages" and into the countryside, says Ranjan Shresthra, a 35-year-old digital designer from Kathmandu.

This is sound advice.

Here are three must-see places beyond the capital.

Chitwan National Park Nepal is one of the smallest countries in the world, but also one of the richest in terms of biodiversity. This national park in the terai lowlands is home to more than 540 species of birds, 120 species of fish and as many as 68 species of mammals.

The luxurious Kasara Resort (, is among several businesses that offer wildlife adventure tours in and around the park area, including elephant and jeep safaris, canoeing trips, nature walks and full-day hikes. Cool off in the pool or unwind with a spa treatment after a day of spying rhinos, deer and crocodiles in their natural habitat. Rooms from $80 (U.S.).

Pokhara This central city overlooking Phewa Lake is a popular destination for international and domestic vacationers alike.

With its panoramic views of the water, hills and glaciercapped mountains, it's easy to see why. Leisure travellers will enjoy strolling along the lakeside, hiring a boat or renting a bike from local businesses, while the more adventurous types can explore nearby caves, go bungee jumping or paragliding.

The lakeside is bustling with guesthouses and hotels, such as the Waterfront Resort (; rooms from $39). But if serenity is what you're looking for, check into a lodge-like room at the secluded, ecofriendly Raniban Retreat (; rooms from $120). You'll have to climb 500 stone steps to get to this hilltop retreat, but like many places in Nepal, the harder it is to reach, the greater the payoff will be.

Marpha Located in the Lower Mustang area, Marpha is a charming village known for its traditional flat-roofed stone buildings, apple orchards and apricot and apple brandies. Marpha is only a short distance from the larger town of Jomsom, but it feels even further removed from the trappings of modern life. Visiting here may be the closest you ever get to travelling back in time.

Make a stop on the road to Jomson, or fly into Jomson and take an 11/2- to two-hour hike here.

While guesthouses are not difficult to find in this area, don't expect luxury accommodations. Om's Home in Jomson is a cozy place to stay (; rooms starting at $40).

Associated Graphic

Top: The area around Swayambhunath stupa, a Buddhist monument in Kathmandu, is still under reconstruction after surrounding buildings were damaged in the 2015 earthquake. Above: A suspension bridge allows villagers and trekkers to cross the river near Kalopani village.


Top: Prayer flags flutter over Marpha, a village known for its traditional flat-roofed homes, apple orchards and apricot brandy. Middle: A greater one-horned rhino grazes in the buffer zone of Chitwan National Park, a World Heritage nature preserve. Bottom left: Brilliantly painted Tata trucks drive toward the Indian border empty, and return to Nepal laden with imports. Bottom right: Dal bhat, a traditional meal of rice and lentil soup, is the foundation of Nepalese cuisine.


Domestic carriers such as Yeti Airlines offer a shortcut to seeing the Himalayas, with quick flyovers of Nepal's famous peaks.


The great unwinding
From Ottawa and Washington to London and Frankfurt, central bankers are gingerly dismantling the emergency measures they put in place to deal with the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B6

It's not often the world's financial markets pay rapt attention to the deliberations of Canada's central bank.

This week marked one of those rare moments as the Bank of Canada announced a modest quarterpercentage-point rise in its key interest rate - its first rate hike in seven years.

It's not that traders in London and Hong Kong care what the future holds for Canadians on fixed incomes or those stuck with big variable-rate mortgages and crushing debt loads. Nonetheless, they were watching events in Ottawa this week with unusual interest, seized by a sense that the world has reached a tipping point, where the costs of low rates are starting to outweigh the benefits.

In the rear-view mirror lies an unprecedented era of easy money. Ahead looms a future of steadily rising interest rates, not just in Canada, but globally.

And so it was big news that a G-7 central bank would suddenly flip the switch from loose monetary policy to tightening, without a whiff of inflation in the summer air. Tired of waiting for a spike in consumer prices, inflation-fighting central banks everywhere are suddenly looking at how to get out of the rut they've been in for nearly a decade - flooding the global economy with liquidity through ultralow interest rates and relentless bond buying.

"This is a really important turning point, not just for the Canada story, but for the global rate story," explains Frances Donald, senior economist at Manulife Asset Management in Toronto.

"Central banks seem to be saying, collectively, that they don't expect inflation to get back to target. But they realize they can't keep rates at emergency levels forever. It's a tacit admission that low rates can't solve all of the world's problems. In fact, they may be exacerbating them."

From Ottawa and Washington to London and Frankfurt, central bankers are starting the complex process of unwinding a series of emergency measures they put in place to deal with the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession. They realize these policies have hung around, increasingly uncomfortably, for much longer than anyone had anticipated.

The way forward creates a delicate balancing act for the world's central banks. Higher interest rates will inevitably cause stress, particularly in pockets of the global economy where cheap money has created bubbles. Canada is just one of several countries that have witnessed sharp runups in real estate prices. There are also concerns that too much borrowed cash has flooded into bonds, emerging markets and even some infrastructure projects - investments that could now crumble in a rising rate environment.

One of the legacies of low-forlong interest rates is the potential for a dangerous debt hangover.

Global debt as a share of GDP reached a record high of $217-trillion (U.S.) in early 2017, reaching 327 per cent of the world's GDP, according to the Institute for International Finance. That's higher than it was before the financial crisis, driven by a combination of consumers, businesses and governments feasting on low rates. The shift in policy could take years to fully play out and will have a profound impact on lenders, savers, borrowers and investors.

The past decade has been a remarkable learning experience for central bankers. They exposed us all to the exotic world of negative interest rates, quantitative easing and financial engineering. The consensus of experts is that these extraordinary measures were necessary, saving the global economy from financial ruin. But all that easy money, including lowfor-long interest rates, was not without cost. And the unwinding process will not be without pain.

Canadians who live in Toronto, Vancouver and other hot housing markets know all too well what low interest rates have done to the cost of homes and to urban skylines. Million-dollar fixeruppers, mushrooming condo towers and home buying bidding wars are all part of the legacy of easy money.

On the flip side of the low-interest-rate problem, savers are also feeling the unpleasant side effects of near-zero interest rates. There are people on fixed incomes struggling to get by and pensionfund managers scrambling to generate adequate returns to meet generous promises made to retirees.

Investors have poured cash into stocks, corporate bonds, real estate and emerging markets - all in the pursuit of higher yields in a low-rate world.

Perhaps most troubling for Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz and other central bankers is that easy money has not magically produced the robust economic recovery everyone hoped for. Instead, Canada and other countries have experienced a frustrating series of false economic starts since the last recession. Key economic drivers, such as business investment and exports, remain weak and inflation continues to fall in many countries.

"There has been a general belief that central banks can save the day, and the past few years are a great example that there are limitations to monetary policy," explains McGill University economist Christopher Ragan, a former special adviser at the Bank of Canada.

One of the lessons learned in Canada is that interest rates are a blunt instrument to deal with events such as the commodities shock in 2014 and 2015, when the price of crude plunged 50 per cent. The Bank of Canada responded with two quarter-point "insurance" rate cuts in a bid to ease the hit to the broader economy.

The rate cuts accelerated the decline of the already falling Canadian dollar. While that was good for exporters, it has inflated the cost of imported goods for consumers and businesses. Low rates also encouraged consumers to load up on debt - to buy cars, furniture, electronics and the largest personal expenditure of all: homes.

"The aftermath [of low rates] was to take an already hot housing market and throw kerosene on it," Bank of Nova Scotia economist Derek Holt complains. "One of the reasons we've had supercharged growth for several quarters now is because we have applied excess stimulus - both monetary and fiscal."

The Bank of Canada would have been wiser to let the dollar drift lower on its own, easing the pain of lower revenues from oil exports, according to Mr. Holt.

Mr. Poloz would dearly love to get back to a normal world, McGill's Mr. Ragan says. In that world, inflation would be on target at two per cent, growth would be steady and workers would be seeing their wages rising. And most importantly, interest rates would be firmly neutral, neither stoking excessive borrowing nor deflationary pressures.

"He wants to get back to normal," Mr. Ragan says.

There is now a growing consensus among central bankers - Mr. Poloz among them - that the time has come to start scaling what was clearly intended as emergency stimulus. The U.S. Federal Reserve has led the way with a few modest rate hikes and a promise this week from Fed chair Janet Yellen to shrink the central bank's $4-trillion (U.S.) balance sheet in a "slow, gradual, predictable way," likely starting later this year.

In Britain, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has hinted at a possible rate hike. Even European Central Bank head Mario Draghi, the most enthusiastic user of unconventional monetary policy, endorsed the shifting mood when he mused recently that "deflationary forces have been replaced by reflationary ones." Even China is in tightening mode.

"The unwinding of monetary stimulus is significant, especially if central banks are jumping the gun," economist David Andolfatto, vice-president of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of St.

Louis, said in an interview this week. "If central banks guide their decisions through the lens of conventional theory, then raising interest rates is contractionary and disinflationary. Given the present [weak] measures of real economic activity and inflation, it's not entirely clear why central banks are suddenly so keen to embark on a tightening cycle."

Former Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge sees it differently. He says the world put too much faith in monetary policy to carry the global economy in recent years, without the help of government spending. Rates have stayed too low for too long, creating dangerous distortions in asset prices.

"It's not a question of should we be going up [with rates], but how late are we in doing that," Mr. Dodge argues.

The unwinding won't be easy.

Interest rates remain ultralow - negative even - after you factor in the rate of inflation.

Global central banks have swollen their balance sheets, scooping up mortgage bonds and other assets in an effort to create liquidity in financial markets artificially. Those assets have swelled to $19-trillion - roughly the size of the U.S. economy - from $3-trillion in 2000. And every month, the ECB and the Bank of Japan add tens of billions of dollars more in assets to their balance sheets.

A sudden move to sell those assets by Ms. Yellen or Mr. Draghi would send long-term interest higher and shock waves through financial markets. No one wants a repeat of the 2013 "Taper Tantrum," when the Fed first mused about scaling back its bond purchases.

"You have to watch the pace in which you unwind [central bank balance sheets]," says Steven Ambler, professor of economics at the Université du Québec à Montréal. "If you dump all this stuff on the market at once, it will be hard for the private sector to absorb."

As this unwinding progresses, central bankers in Canada and elsewhere will have to figure what to do about inflation - or rather, its mysterious absence. Inflation has become the most persistent and frustrating riddle of the lowfor-long rate era. Over the past quarter-century, the use of a clearly identified inflation objective as a critical guide for setting interest rates has become a widely accepted practice among the world's leading central banks. (A 2-per-cent target, which the Bank of Canada has relied on for more than 20 years, is pretty much the accepted standard today.)

But in many economies now talking about unwinding their substantial monetary stimulus, the inflation target remains stubbornly elusive - despite years of low rates that were pretty much designed to reinflate the economy. Indeed, that's the whole point of inflation targeting - to apply interest rates to steer the inflation rate toward the target. By extension, a near-target inflation rate is supposed to imply an economy generating relatively healthy and stable growth. (This relationship between inflation and the broader economy is known in economics circles as "the divine coincidence"; it is the very backbone of inflation-targeting monetary policy.)

Economists generally agree that extreme low rates successfully staved off a deflationary spiral during the depths of the 2008-09 financial crisis - and in doing so, averted a full-blown depression.

But after the better part of a decade on the job, they have failed to revive inflation. Indeed, when central banks cut their rates to the bone, and even introduced quantitative easing in the wake of the crisis, many critics feared that, in their zeal, they would unleash an inflation storm; we've seen nothing of the sort.

Even as economies accelerate, inflation has continued its persistent lag. And most disturbingly, there are virtually no wage pressures, even in areas where there are skills shortages. Canada's inflation rate is a tepid 1.3 per cent, as is the euro zone's. In the United States, where the Fed has raised its key interest rate three times in the past eight months, the core inflation rate was a modest 1.6 per cent in June. Japan's inflation rate is a puny 0.4 per cent.

The reasons for why inflation is so weak are myriad and complex.

The most obvious recent factor is the collapse in the price of oil and other commodities, whose effects filter throughout the global economy. Global trade, the emergence of new markets and technological change have also made it easier and cheaper to make things.

Finally, populations in the developing world are greying, slowing the growth of the labour market.

All this creates what economists call "slack," or an excess of labour and factory capacity.

"I don't think [ultralow rates] did what they were supposed to do. If they were supposed to get inflation back up to more or less target rates around the world, it has not been successful," UQAM's Prof. Ambler says.

"Part of the job of monetary policy was to prevent booms and recessions in the real economy, and inflation targeting was supposed to be a means in part to achieving that end. It didn't work," adds Nicholas Rowe, economics professor at Carleton University in Ottawa.

In the short run, central bankers face the kind of decision the Bank of Canada did this week: whether to forge ahead with monetary tightening, despite the lack of an imminent inflation signal.

Mr. Dodge thinks central banks should set aside inflation targeting temporarily and commit to gradually lifting interest rates from their current extreme lows to something approaching "normal" levels.

"There's an argument to say, 'We're going to move those rates up to, say, 2 per cent, and we're going to move them up in a slow and deliberate fashion, and we're going to tell you ahead of time.' So that there need be no panic and no uncertainty as to what is going to happen. Without having some understanding of how fast and how far you're going to move, there's a danger that markets become unsettled," Mr. Dodge says.

In the longer term, central bankers will have to confront a much bigger question: Whether they've put too much faith in inflation as an anchor for monetary policy.

"I think the inflation target itself has taken a hit," Prof. Rowe says. "The 2-per-cent inflation target needs to be looked at. It didn't turn out to be as good a thing to target as some of us thought it would be."

There is no shortage of ideas out there to replace the 2-per-cent target. Some economists believe central banks need a higher target, say 3 per cent, to reset inflation expectations and create more breathing room from the bottom for both inflation and, by extension, interest rates. Others think central banks would be better off targeting a price level rather than an inflation rate, so slowdowns in inflation would be offset by policy aimed at temporarily higher inflation to return prices to their original growth path. Still others think that targeting growth in nominal gross domestic product - an indicator that essentially combines real economic growth and inflation in one package - is the solution.

"There are more questions being raised as to whether targeting domestic inflation is as appropriate as it was 20 years ago," Mr. Dodge says. "I don't think any central bank really has a definitive answer to that. We're all a little bit puzzled, quite frankly."

And Mr. Dodge feels for Mr. Poloz, Ms. Yellen, Mr. Draghi and the others. "This is a challenging time for central banks everywhere," he says.

Associated Graphic

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz, seen arriving for the opening session of meetings of G7 finance ministers in Bari, Italy, on May 12, attracted significant attention this past week as governments across the world consider the future of their own monetary policies.


New memoir chronicles the devastating legacy of family sexual abuse
The book belongs to a haunting genre of memoirs that detail the crime. Experts share what can be done in the aftermath
Monday, July 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

A child sits at the side of the road with a suitcase full of pennies and Cheerios. She's run away, but goes back home when she gets thirsty.

"When an animal is scared, it goes home, no matter how terrifying home is," writes the woman, now an adult, in a relentlessly sad new memoir called The Incest Diary.

The book, published this week by McClelland & Stewart, chronicles the anonymous woman's sexual abuse by her father from the age of three to 21. Her writing is exceptionally clear-eyed and beautiful, though the content is appalling, revealing a monstrous family.

Incest is the worst betrayal of trust, a crime we continue to look away from. While we are slowly coming to understand that most child sexual abuse doesn't come in the form of "stranger danger," with men lurking in unmarked vans, there is reticence to acknowledge that much abuse happens within families.

Nearly 13 per cent of women and nearly 8 per cent of men have reported childhood sexual abuse by a parent or caregiver, according to an exhaustive meta-analysis of global studies published in 2011. "Incest offending is a big, important puzzle," said Michael Seto, a clinical and research psychologist who has assessed and treated incest perpetrators and who is forensic research director at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group.

"It accounts for a large proportion of child sexual abuse. It's something that, as a society, we've not fully grappled with."

The Incest Diary is one in a haunting genre of memoirs that detail incest and child sexual abuse.

They include Canadian author Elly Danica's Don't: A Woman's Word (1988) and Kathryn Harrison's The Kiss (1997), which describes the author's relationship with her father beginning at the age of 20, after she is reunited with the man who was absent throughout her childhood. Another is the disturbing memoir Tiger Tiger (2011) by the late author Margaux Fragoso, who recounts the 15 years she spent with a pedophile, starting when she was 7 and he was 51.

Critics blasted the book for being tantamount to child pornography and rightly wondered who would be reading. It's very likely some readers will have the same visceral reaction to The Incest Diary: The book is highly graphic, which is problematic. It's a legitimate concern that has been considered by the publisher.

"This is a discussion we had, about whether it is exploitative," said Jared Bland, publisher at McClelland & Stewart. "Ultimately, I don't think it is. This is a person who in the very authorship of the book and in the execution of the writing, demonstrates a profound level of self-awareness."

The author told her editor that she would have felt less alone had she read such a book in her youth. Bland added that he hopes it will help people trapped in situations involving sexual violence. "It's important for us as publishers, where we can, to publish work that advances the discourse and challenges the way we, as a society, think," he said. The memoir shows the complex ripple effects of incest. The Globe and Mail spoke with Canadian researchers, educators and therapists about survivors, perpetrators and what can be done to heal in the aftermath.

How the trauma of sexual abuse imprints on children Incest is a profound misuse of power and of one's role in the family. Many offenders intimidate children with violence; others threaten to leave the family or commit suicide if the child discloses, as The Incest Diary author's own father did.

"For children experiencing chronic childhood abuse, they're in survivor mode all the time," said Jacqueline Compton, a psychotherapist at Toronto's Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic who helps women who were abused as children.

Unable to fight back or flee, many children freeze during the attacks, dissociating from their bodies to cope. The Incest Diary author often imagines floating above the scene in the sky during her assaults, though trauma remains afterward. "My body remembers everything," she writes.

Offenders will often alternate violence with care, creating immense confusion for a child who may love the relative but not their behaviour, which the child is forced to tolerate. Sometimes, the abuse is the only reprieve from other forms of violence: The Incest Diary author surmises that participating saved her from being killed by her physically abusive father.

That resonates with the complicated dynamic experts see time and again with this type of abuse.

"We don't get to choose who our caregivers are or who provides us safety, so children have to navigate the world and find a way to survive their environment and get their important needs met: security, trust, attention, connection, care," Compton said.

"Often, when a child experiences trauma, [there is a] linking of having your boundaries violated - or having a belief formed that you don't have boundaries or needs - with some kind of connection and care. It's complex and it builds a map at a young age for how we're going to navigate."

Damaging new norms can emerge as some children come to view such abuse as the only form of recognition and attention they get within deeply dysfunctional families. "On the nights when my father didn't do anything to me, I felt abandoned," the author writes. "Was I not good enough anymore?" As Seto explained it: "There is a normal desire to want to be loved and to want your parents to pay attention to you and to appreciate you. For [the victim], instead of appreciating her because she's smart or athletic or kind - things we value as a society - it has become muddled with, 'He sexually desires me.' " Cycles of abuse Experts agree that not every victim who endures abuse will be permanently scathed. "Some people are extraordinarily resilient and can go on to lead healthy and happy lives," Seto said. "Others are extremely damaged."

Sexual consequences can involve inhibition, a delaying of sexual activity, low sexual desire and dysfunction. Other victims develop precocious sexuality, having sex earlier and with more partners. "They're more likely to get pregnant and to get STIs and - this is one of the tragedies - more likely to be sexually victimized again," Seto said.

Throughout their consensual relationships in adulthood, some victims may develop deep trust issues, severe shame around their own sexual needs or they may start to correlate violence with intimacy.

"Trauma impacts how we are in relation with others. ... If you are taught not to have boundaries and you step into a relationship not having boundaries, it can be hard to navigate what's safe and what's respectful," Compton said.

Some victims form unhealthy relationships, such as the author, who takes up with a married 49-year-old man when she is 18 and studying in Chile. Once again, she becomes a family secret, this time, in someone else's family. She is revictimized at various points in her adult life by a teacher who kisses her, a friend's father who solicits sex and a work colleague who rapes her.

"It's a direct line from one abuse to another," said Lyba Spring, a sexual-health educator who created lesson plans on sexual abuse during her three decades of work with Toronto Public Health.

"Kids who are sexually abused, if they don't disclose and they don't get counselling, they become revictimized because they live with the mentality of, 'I am worthless,' 'I am garbage.' "

The family members who condone Tragically, family and friends will often turn a blind eye when children disclose incest. Often, they simply can't believe it is true. "If the perpetrator is an upstanding member of society and is, as far as everybody else is concerned, a good husband and father, people have a hard time reconciling it with the idea that he would do this," Seto said.

The author's family's well-todo façade doesn't help matters either: Mom rides horses, dad plays tennis and their beach house has an American flag planted outside. Although abuse crosses all class lines, the veneer helps to conceal the reality.

Her credibility takes another hit because she is, on occasion, "a problem child" who runs away and grows aggressive at school. They are common behaviours among victimized children, but are used to undermine them when they disclose, Seto said.

The psychologist sees parallels with the way people doubt victims of domestic violence, questioning why they stayed or returned to their abusers. "People have a hard time reconciling the anger and the fear associated with being abused with simultaneously still wanting to have a relationship with this person," Seto said. "What I hear often is, 'Why did she not leave as soon as she could and never talk to them again?' But it's family. It's complicated."

The memoir author discloses to a number of friends and family members, but has her story rejected each time, leaving her completely isolated: "These secrets are the most protected things," she writes. When the abuse comes to light, her grandfather tries to have her committed to a mental-health institution. And when the author confides in a beloved family friend, the woman confesses that she too had been molested and her parents did nothing.

She advises the author to "forget it, and get over it."

But it is her mother's inaction that devastates the author most of all: "More than everything my father did to me, it hurts me that she denies it."

Mothers who stand by and do nothing often suffer from depression and substance-abuse issues and may be victims of violence themselves, Seto explained: "Sometimes she has her own abuse history and it shuts her down. This is what she grew up with and her way of coping as a child was to shut down."

In a horrifying legacy of intergenerational abuse, the author divulges that her abusive father's maternal grandfather molests him, his sister and his mother. Says Seto, "It's rare for incest to occur in isolation."

Why incest offenders do it The clinical explanations for why people sexually abuse their family members are broad.

Some offenders have a sexual preference for minors and some are highly opportunistic or have high arousal, novelty or thrillseeking tendencies. Others exhibit psychopathic traits: "Their lack of empathy for others and strong desire to meet their own needs for pleasure, thrill or stimulation would be a motivator," said Julie Zikman Toporoski, a Toronto social worker whose clients include sexual offenders who are mandated by the court system to see her.

Often, sexual offenders will try to rationalize their behaviour with a series of "thinking errors," as the clinical community calls them. Many offenders are in denial and dishonest with themselves about the harms they've caused. Some will minimize frequency ("It was just once or twice"), intention ("I was educating her") or seriousness ("She was sleeping, it couldn't have harmed her"). Entitlement is a recurring theme: Some offenders will blame a victim's mother ("She shouldn't have trusted me") or erroneously believe that a child initiated or willingly participated, as does the author's father before denying it and gaslighting her in front of other members of the family.

"What's different about working with intrafamilial sexual abusers is that there is often quite an almost delusional bubble around the nature of the relationship and their role in the relationship," Zikman Toporoski said. The social worker will share a list of these "thinking errors" with her clients so that they can identify such thoughts when they bubble up.

Treating perpetrators Individual therapy can serve to educate offenders on consent.

For others, the wake-up call comes during group therapy: "Hearing other people's distortions is so very effective. It's identification: 'Oh wow. That's me,' " Zikman Toporoski said.

The court process can also shatter offenders' mythologies, as can reading victim-impact statements.

The social worker said that while every offender's "lightbulb moment" is different, the rehabilitation process is long. "On some level, they know what they're doing is harmful, hurtful, illegal, immoral and taboo, which is why they do it in secrecy," she said. "There's a lot of internal conflict around continuing to harm their child."

Also in dire need of help are the men who have not yet acted out, men who have the fewest resources. "They don't wish to act," Zikman Toporoski said.

"They don't know where to get help. That's a tough group to reach. It's a large, significant group."

Healing victims Spring believes schools need to strengthen their education about inappropriate touching and reporting abuse. She also stresses teaching proper dictionary names for all body parts so there is zero misunderstanding when a child discloses. While she does not believe childhood sexual abuse can be prevented, Spring argues that schools can help bring about disclosures, meaning a child can see a counsellor faster and a perpetrator can be removed from the home sooner. "While a kid may not be able to stop someone from doing what they intend to do - because predators are magnificent manipulators - at least they would know that they can come and tell," she said.

Spring would speak to Grade 5 and 6 classes about sexual abuse: "We'd say, 'You tell and you keep telling until somebody believes and helps you. Is there somebody in the school you could tell, or a teacher?' " A number of children disclosed to her after class. (The Incest Diary author recalls a Grade 11 health class where child abuse is discussed. She faints at the word "incest" and later lies to school staff about the assaults. No one pushes the issue further.)

For Catherine Gildiner, a retired Toronto psychologist whose forthcoming book Still Standing is about abuse survivors, the word to watch for is "secrets." Gildiner advised educators and other caregivers to say this: "If someone comes in at night or when nobody's around and says 'This is our secret,' it's not a good secret."

In adulthood, it takes time for survivors of incest to reassert boundaries, explore their own desires without guilt and build a healthy sexual relationship with themselves, something Compton works with her clients on, using art therapy and sensorimotor therapy, body-centred work that asks clients to notice the sensations that the body in trauma holds, and physically work through them.

Gildiner helps people develop friendships, closeness and consensual intimacy. "It takes a long time to figure out what you want. You have shut that down and have no idea what you want," she said.

It's crucial, Gildiner said, to work to break the bonds victims have with those who hurt them and then reframe their sexuality on their own terms: "It's about understanding that you have rights."

Associated Graphic

Above: Kathryn Harrison, author of the 1997 memoir, The Kiss. In it, Harrison describes her relationship with her father, after being reunited with him when she was 20. Left: The late Margaux Fragoso. Her 2011 memoir, Tiger Tiger, where she recounts the 15 years she spent with a pedophile, was blasted for being tantamount to child pornography and had critics wondering who would read it.


Tiger Tiger by Margaux Fragoso

The Kiss by Kathryn Harrison

The Incest Diary

Can people warm or cool their bodies using only their thoughts? Wency Leung speaks to scientists about the surprising physiological effects of meditation - even in a deep freeze
Monday, July 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Vitina Blumenthal rolled out her yoga mat on the back patio of the Nicaragua hotel, where she was recently leading a wellness retreat. Seeking relief from the 35-degree Celsius heat, she sat down, cross-legged, with her hands in her lap.

The Toronto mindfulness coach straightened her spine, closed her eyes and took three deep breaths. Then, curling up the sides of her tongue and sticking it out, she slowly inhaled through the tunnel she had formed, and exhaled.

After repeating this several times, she could feel herself becoming calmer, lighter and less bothered by the oppressive heat.

"I get really overwhelmed sometimes when I'm superheated and I can feel frustrated," says Blumenthal, founder of the luxury wellness travel company WanderfulSoul. "That breath is a nice way to kind of trick the mind that you're now cool."

Blumenthal, who has been practising yoga for more than a decade, explains she learned the meditative breathing technique, called sitali, while living in an ashram in India. Whenever she feels unbearably hot, she uses the technique to make herself feel cooler, whether she's travelling abroad or riding out a humid Toronto heat wave.

Meditative techniques for regulating body temperature are part of ancient spiritual practices.

Yoga practitioners, for instance, refer to sitali and the similar sitkara, which involves positioning the tongue just behind the teeth, as breathing exercises that lower one's body temperature.

Other yoga breathing exercises such as kapalbhati, which involves forceful breaths using the diaphragm, are meant to increase body heat. Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns are known to practice tummo meditation, which is believed to create "inner fire," allowing them to withstand frigid temperatures.

Similarly, Wim Hof, a daredevil from the Netherlands, is renowned for incredible feats such as submerging himself in ice for more than an hour at a time and climbing Mount Everest clothed in only a pair of shorts.

He attributes his seemingly superhuman resilience to his eponymous method of breathing and meditation exercises.

Such phenomena have prompted researchers to investigate the physiological effects of meditation on body temperature.

Can people actually think their way to becoming hotter or cooler?

Inner fire One of the first Western scientists to examine this type of meditative practice is Dr. Herbert Benson, a mind body professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and now director emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. In February, 1981, Benson and his team travelled to the Himalayan town of Upper Dharamsala in India to study monks as they practised tummo meditation.

As they reported in a 1982 paper published in the journal Nature, the only descriptions of this esoteric practice that existed previously were unscientific eyewitness accounts. These depicted novice monks sitting naked and cross-legged on the ground, then wrapping themselves with sheets dipped in icy water. The men were then said to have dried the sheets with their body heat.

Benson says he observed seasoned monks practising tummo meditation in temperatures of 4 C to 10 C. He noticed they first entered what he calls a "relaxation response" state, which he describes as the opposite of the "fight or flight" stress response, slowing their breaths and settling into a deep rest. Then, they visualized their bodies being heated by fire, which they explained comes from "the scattered consciousness," he says.

"The purpose of that is to burn away the harmful effects of stress," Benson says, noting that at such low environmental temperatures, "You and I would go into uncontrollable shivering.

[But] here, they were able to actually have the sheets steam on their bodies. That was for them, a sign of successful meditation."

Benson and his team took a number of measurements of three monks, between the ages of 46 to 59, including temperatures of various parts of their body.

They recorded no change in their rectal temperature, but found the monks were able to increase the temperature of their fingers and toes by as much as 8.3 C.

"This was fascinating," Benson says. He noted the monks were able to keep their peripheral body temperature raised for as long as they were visualizing heat generated in the body.

The question, though, is how?

Benson never found the answer.

After the study was complete, he didn't end up researching tummo further.

The financial costs of returning to India were too high, he says, and instead, he turned his attention to examining the impact of meditation on health issues such as high blood pressure.

Mental imagery Dr. Maria Kozhevnikov has since picked up where Benson and his team left off.

Kozhevnikov, an associate professor of psychology at the National University of Singapore, has studied the physiological effects of Vajrayana techniques (Vajrayana is another name for Tantric Buddhism), including tummo meditation, on practitioners in Nepal, the Chinese province of Qinghai (also known as eastern Tibet) and Bhutan. Unlike mindfulness practices that induce relaxation, Vajrayana techniques elicit an arousal response controlled by the sympathetic nervous system, she explains.

Practitioners "use stress to go to a higher state of consciousness, not a relaxed state of mind," she says. So contrary to what Benson believed he observed, practitioners of tummo and other Vajrayana techniques don't dial down the stress response during meditation; they actively crank it up, she found.

Kozhevnikov, who is also a visiting associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School and specializes in the neural mechanisms of visual imagery, believes the answer to how tummo practitioners raise their body temperature consists of two parts: breathing and intense visualization.

The breathing, which in tummo practice is forceful and involves abdominal and pelvic muscle contractions, "is not that interesting," she says. Rather, it's just one of a few mundane techniques, such as engaging in physical exercise, that allow people to increase their core body temperature to a certain point.

Typically, once they hit 37 C, the body's cooling mechanisms automatically kick in. They start to sweat, their blood vessels dilate and they're unable to raise their body temperature any further.

This is where she believes intense visualization comes in. In tummo meditation, practitioners conjure mental images, such as flames, and imagine sensations of intense heat. Kozhevnikov suggests this visualization allows practitioners to override the body's automatic cooling response, allowing them to push past their typical threshold.

"By using the visualization, apparently, the body doesn't understand what's happening and they can go on and on and on, and higher ... than 37 [degrees]," she says.

Kozhevnikov says she's still trying to figure out how visualization may produce this overriding effect. This summer, she has been recording the brain activity of nuns in Bhutan using electroencephalography as part of her efforts to understand the mechanisms at work.

Acclimatization training Some scientists are skeptical that this kind of body-temperature regulation can be explained by the powers of the mind. Dr. Maria Hopman, professor of integrative physiology at Radboud University in the Netherlands, thinks the answers are likely more physical than mental.

Hopman has performed several highly publicized experiments on Hof, also known as "the Iceman," whose training method has gained followers around the world.

One of her most "amazing" findings, she says, was Hof's ability to maintain his core body temperature at close to 37 C, even after an hour and a half of being submerged in ice water, while his skin temperature plummeted.

Hopman believes the main factor behind his resilience appears to be his vasoconstriction ability, or his ability to reduce blood flow to the skin in response to cold, so that he doesn't lose too much heat. She suggests he has acquired this ability over many years of training.

Even though Hof's method involves meditation and breathing exercises and is described as similar to tummo and yogic breathing, Hopman says she has witnessed him perform stunts in extreme cold without much time to meditate in preparation.

"I don't know that the meditation is so important," she says. "I think the most important thing is the training and the adjustment of the body."

If you were to take daily minutelong cold showers, for instance, and gradually increase the length of your showers over time, you'd likely be able to withstand a 15minute cold shower by the end of a year, Hopman says. "I really think it's an adaptation of the body as you exposure yourself to it regularly."

Hopman notes Hof's extraordinary abilities do not extend to tolerating heat. One of her colleagues once studied him as he ran a marathon in the heat of a desert in Namibia, she says, noting, "He was not extremely good at it. He really was not any better than anyone else with some strength and a fit body."

Cooling down If these hypotheses provide possible explanations for how one might keep warm in cold temperatures, what could be behind yoga and meditation techniques that are meant to cool you down?

Indeed, it's possible to improve your tolerance to heat through similar repeated exposure. For instance, Bikram yoga, which is practised in a heated room, can be considered a form of heat training, says Dr. Jessica Mee, a lecturer and researcher in the school of sport, health and exercise sciences at Bangor University in Wales.

Typically, after 15 sessions over four weeks, people start to experience certain physical adaptations that allow them to better cope in heat, such as an increase in sweating, more dilute sweat and lower cardiovascular strain, she says.

These adaptations may, over time, help you feel less uncomfortable in heat and become more efficient at cooling yourself down.

The acute effects of specific cooling postures and breathing techniques, however, such as the sitali breathing that Blumenthal practices, are not well studied.

While they're widely recognized and practised in yoga, there's a lack of scientific literature on the effects of these techniques on body temperature, Mee says.

But ultimately, Mee explains, our body temperature is dictated by our heat storage, which is determined by our heat production - or metabolic rate - and our ability to lose heat, which is typically through the evaporation of sweat.

She suggests certain meditation and breathing techniques may help relax the body, reducing one's metabolic rate to resting levels.

"So when we're rested or calm and in a meditative state, you would likely expect a lower heat production," she says, noting this is likely achieved through multiple responses including a lower heart rate, a lower respiratory rate and less skeletal muscle activity.

Psychological resilience None of these practices for consciously controlling one's body temperature are particularly mystical, says Dr. Norman Farb, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Toronto Mississauga.

But he suggests our bodies may be capable of more than we think.

How we interpret our state of being hot or cold can contribute to how well we tolerate extreme temperatures, he says.

For example, he explains, if we feel as though the summer heat is unbearable, the stress of that discomfort can itself affect our physiology, such as causing our heart rates to increase and our metabolism to speed up, thus making us even hotter and making the situation feel worse.

"That's going to create a vicious cycle, like, 'Oh, it's too hot and now I'm getting stressed about getting too hot and so I feel even hotter and I get more stressed,' " Farb says, noting many meditation practices are aimed at helping people distinguish between the primary sensation of what they're experiencing and the interpretive layer they add on top.

"If you can stay with the primary sensation, it lends itself to psychological resilience because the things that often make people quit or or panic or fail are appraisals that they can't cope," he says.

Blumenthal, the Toronto mindfulness coach, believes this is what sitali enables her to do.

While it may not actually change her body temperature, it calms her nerves and relieves her frustration over the heat, allowing her to better deal with the sweltering weather, she says.

Farb warns, however, that the body still has its physical limits.

People who are good at breaking away from their concerns about the heat or cold may actually put themselves at risk of becoming overheated or making themselves vulnerable to hypothermia.

"It isn't always just mind over matter," he says. "You could get to the point where you still freeze to death or overheat. And in fact, this is a practice that would let you get to that place."

Associated Graphic

Daredevil Wim Hof, known for withstanding intense cold, uses techniques similar to tummo and yogic breathing to prepare for his incredible stunts.


Wim Hof of the Netherlands, known as the Iceman, is renowned for incredible feats such as submerging himself in ice for more than an hour at a time.


Above: Tibetan Buddhist monks leave their prayer hall in China's northwest Qinghai province in 2012. In Tibet, practitioners of Vajrayana techniques, including tummo meditation, actively crank up the body's stress response as opposed to dialling it down. They raise their body temperatures through breathing and intense visualization.


Left: It is possble for those who practise yoga to cool the body down by improving tolerance to heat through similar repeated exposure, such as with Bikram yoga, which can be considered a form of heat training.


The secret legacy of the man who 'captured' Louis Riel
Many may be familiar with the story of Robert Armstrong, the 19th-century hero who accepted the surrender of the Métis leader, which ended one of this country's most historic rebellions, but fewer know the tangled destiny that launched him from his Indigenous origins into one of Canadian history's most iconic chapters
Friday, July 21, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A8

About a dozen women were waiting for Robert Armstrong when he came down the hotel stairs for breakfast.

"Is this a delegation?" he asked, a little slyly.

When the answer came, no amount of cheek could keep him from being startled: "We want to kiss the man who captured Riel," the women said.

Such was life as a hero in 19thcentury Winnipeg. According to the account, published in a magazine nearly 40 years later, Armstrong was there because he had recently accepted Louis Riel's surrender near Batoche, in what is now Saskatchewan - the beginning of the end of the 1885 Indigenous uprising known as the North-West Rebellion.

The cooing of fans notwithstanding, Armstrong did not "capture" anyone. When Riel encountered the three scouts sent to find him, the Métis leader handed over his revolver and a note of surrender. But Riel was as feared in Western Canada as he was hated back east. A young country was now in Armstrong's debt.

For the dark, playful man from Prince Albert,Sask., the moment was a kind of apotheosis. In nearly two decades on the edge of the American Wild West, as a wagon train escort, buffalo hunter, ranch hand and party to a government land survey, Armstrong had dedicated himself to the conquest of the frontier.

If that path in life reached its greatest glory near Batoche, holding Riel's pistol, or in the Winnipeg hotel with the women lined up, it was also an odd destiny for Armstrong to fulfill. A destiny that made the secret he carried with him all the more peculiar, and all the more tangled in irony.

As the amateur historian John Pihach has discovered, and written up in a recent book from the University of Regina Press, Robert Armstrong was a member of the Wyandotte tribe of Oklahoma. His real name was Irvin Mudeater, and he was the son of a prominent chief. The person who formally ended the most dramatic assertion of Métis nationalism in Canadian history was himself an Indigenous man with mixed ancestry and a culturally hybrid background.

The story of how Mudeater became Armstrong sheds light on a key chapter in Canadian history during the country's sesquicentennial, as the country grapples with so many of the colonial legacies and questions of identity that Armstrong, or Mudeater, represented.

A neighbour's story If Armstrong's strange triumph in Batoche was a long time coming, the truth about who he really was arrived like a bolt from the Prairie sky.

Mr. Pihach, a retired weather observer who lives in the small Saskatchewan city of Yorkton, is about as unlikely a conduit for the story as it is possible to imagine. His area of interest is not Indigenous history, but Eastern European genealogy (he is the author of Ukrainian Genealogy: A Beginner's Guide) and seems a little stunned that he has brought the true identity of Riel's captor to light.

"I still feel it's very uncanny that I ended up writing this book," he said by phone earlier this year.

The result, Mudeater: An American Buffalo Hunter and the Surrender of Louis Riel, is the product of enormous research and careful reconstruction of shadowy events, but it began with a conversation between neighbours.

The man who lives next door to Mr. Pihach told him one day that his great-grandfather was Robert Armstrong, the man who brought Riel into custody - and that Armstrong had written a memoir.

The neighbour, Trevor Wheeler, had been telling people this for years, to general skepticism.

But Mr. Pihach was intrigued.

Armed with a copy of Armstrong's manuscript and the Mudeater name - which does not appear in the memoir but was known in the family - he began his research. What he found would connect the story of Irvin Mudeater to the wider story of North American colonization at every turn.

The present-day Wyandotte Nation's history stretches back to early colonial contact in Southern Ontario, when the tribe was assembled from remnants of the Wendat Confederacy and neighbouring peoples that had been decimated by European disease and war with the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois, in the 17th century.

Called the Wyandot, they spent much of the next two centuries moving south and west from their Great Lakes homeland, all the while facing harassment, lopsided land exchanges and attempts at assimilation from American settlers and the U.S. government. They settled first in Ohio, then in Kansas and finally in Oklahoma, where a faction within the tribe changed the spelling of its name, and where the Wyandotte Nation is based today.

A history of displacement By the time Irvin Mudeater was born, in 1849, the Wyandot "were really integrated into the white world," Mr. Pihach said.

"They were farmers, they were businessmen, they were Christians."

Irvin's father, Matthew Mudeater, was typical in this respect.

During the tribe's Kansas period, he became a respected but controversial chief who argued in favour of forgoing tribal affiliation to secure U.S. citizenship and developed a reputation among the white residents of Kansas City as a sort of gentleman farmer. He even seems to have had a variety of peach named after him - the "Wyandotte Chief."

Mudeater's ancestry, like his cultural patrimony, was marked by the tribe's history of displacement: The family traced its roots to a white man who had been adopted by the tribe as a child after being left behind by settlers during a Wyandot raid.

The boy was found keeping himself alive by eating soapstone from a creek bed - hence the name Mud Eater, according to one genealogical account that Mr. Pihach uncovered. Mudeater later married a Wyandot woman - Matthew and Irvin were his descendants.

If his family background gave him a head start, Irvin's path into mainstream American society was eased by the Civil War, when he began accompanying wagon trains to Colorado and Santa Fe that were left exposed to Indigenous raiders by the army's deployment in the south and east. When a Cheyenne war party attacked one of Mudeater's convoys, it served as a kind of baptism into the violent and bitterly prejudiced world of white frontiersmen; he took his first scalp after that skirmish, and in his memoir began referring to Indigenous people as "Redskins" thereafter.

After dropping out of a college preparatory class in Ohio, he returned to the Plains and joined Bill Cody in hunting buffalo. This way of life could be a romantic lark - while working as a guide for rich Europeans on pseudo-safaris in the Wild West, Mudeater wrote that he gained 20 pounds on a six-week excursion with the voluptuary "Lord Sanford" - but it was also laced with menace.

The depletion of buffalo herds by overhunting in these years was among the leading instruments of American domination over the Indigenous Plains tribes, whose diet, religious rites and nomadic lifestyle were all intimately tied to the animals.

Serving the increasingly efficient and mechanized hide-tanning industry, Mudeater followed herds from state to state as they were driven into extinction.

The real Robert Armstrong When Mudeater came to Canada in 1882 - probably to escape the law after shooting a man in Montana, Mr. Pihach tells us - he took a new name: Robert Armstrong. There are two theories for why he picked that one.

Mr. Pihach thinks it may have been the name of a colleague on an old surveying crew.

But Lloyd Divine, tribal historian of the Wyandotte Nation, has another theory: Robert Armstrong, he says, was the wellknown name of a five- or sixyear-old boy who was captured by a Wyandot war party in Pennsylvania and adopted into the tribe near the end of the 18th century, like Mudeater's namesake. Later in life, the young man turned down the chance to return to his birth family and lived the rest of his days as a Wyandot, becoming an important figure in the tribe, Mr. Divine said, "because of his ability to communicate back and forth across cultures."

The two families were close, so Irvin Mudeater would have known about the original Robert Armstrong, Mr. Divine believes.

This leaves the possibility that, just as he was slipping decisively into white North American society, Mudeater chose as his alias the name of a man who took the opposite route, out of the white world and into tribal life.

"Even though he was in Canada denying his heritage, I would think that by using the name Robert, he was honouring his heritage," Mr. Divine said. "That could have been the constant reminder to keep him grounded, to always remind him of who he was and where he came from."

Why Mudeater began passing as a white man, and when, is bound to remain a mystery: His memoir does not mention his Indigenous ancestry at all.

Government officials, in any case, were not interested in the elaborate quilt of his identity - they wanted to know where he was from. In Canada, he started telling census-takers he was an English Presbyterian, and then Irish.

He preserved his tribal membership for years after his rechristening, though, and eventually went to live among his people in Oklahoma for a decade, leaving his Canadian wife behind. Mr. Pihach concludes, of Armstrong's shifting self-identification, that he "represented himself variously and according to the community in which he was living at the time."

This was more than the usual frontier myth-making, the kind that saw men with checkered pasts reinvent themselves with tall tales in the wide open West.

For Indigenous people of Armstrong's time, keeping secrets or maintaining evasions about the nature of their identity was a familiar experience.

"At the time, there would have been a lot of Indians, not necessarily just Wyandots, but all the tribes had a lot of difficulty surviving and retaining their identities," Mr. Divine said. "There was a lot of persecution, there was a lot of trouble you could get into simply for being Indian. It was very, very, very common up until the 1960s, and even 1970s, for people to deny their heritage and simply live as whites. So if Irvin did that, he would have been one of many."

"It's such a painful history," the Cherokee scholar Eva Marie Garroutte, author of the 2003 study, Real Indians: Identity and the Survival of Native America, said in an interview earlier this year. "And it's not like it's history, either."

A strange question Of all the people who were deceived about Armstrong's real identity, his family members do not appear to have been among them. He married a fellow Prince Albert resident named Adeline Burke in 1888, a woman reputed by family lore to have Inuit blood. Although he was going by Armstrong at the time, and his background "wouldn't have been widely known" in Canada, his wife "probably knew" about his past, Mr. Pihach believes.

An understanding of their Indigenous ancestry certainly trickled down to his descendants. Mr. Pihach spoke to four of Armstrong's grandchildren or great-grandchildren and while "their daily consciousness is not Indigenous," he said, "there is no concealment of their Indigenous roots."

Mr. Wheeler, who described himself as "part Indian," evidently sensed the tension between this heritage and his great-grandfather's role in arresting Riel, who many Indigenous Canadians consider a hero.

"He probably didn't think that they were going to hang him," Mr. Wheeler said, almost apologetically.

But Riel did hang, for treason, in November, 1885 - and Armstrong showed little remorse.

When the execution made the benign circumstances of his arrest reflect badly on prime minister John A. Macdonald, who had called for the charge of treason, Armstrong signed a letter published in The Prince Albert Times falsely claiming that Riel was preparing to flee when he was taken into custody.

Armstrong cherished the spoils of his role in ending the rebellion. After the arrest, he looted a horse that had belonged to Riel.

Later in life, a silver medal bearing Queen Victoria's image that he received for his service in the rebellion was one of his prized possessions, Mr. Pihach reports.

In 1925, the Calgary Stampede made Armstrong a guest of honour.

But even the rollicking, amoral frontiersman seemed, in old age, to experience some sense of disquiet at having helped lead Riel to his controversial fate. During Armstrong's retirement in Calgary, when he lived with one of his daughters, a Riel biographer asked him whether he would have arrested the Métis leader had he known what was going to happen.

Armstrong replied that he was following orders. Mr. Pihach has also reproduced the rest of his reply: "'That is a funny question to ask me. ... I was sorry for Riel. If I had had my way, there would have been no hanging of such a man. But that is a strange question to be asked."

Associated Graphic

Robert Armstrong, who accepted Louis Riel's surrender in the late 19th century, was the son of the chief of Oklahoma's Wyandotte tribe.


Above: Louis Riel and his councillors pose for a photograph in 1869. Left: Prince Albert, Sask., seen in 1891, is near Batoche, the site where Robert Armstrong accepted Riel's surrender.


A (cat)walk on the wild side
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M1

In the hallway of their house in Toronto's East End, Matthew Carver and his partner Joy Tan slip a tiny purple harness onto their cat, Eleven. Eleven submits with dignity. She does not display the crazed enthusiasm of an outdoor-bound dog, but crazed enthusiasm is not the cat's way.

Reserve, stealth, calculation, occasional use of lethal force - these are the ways of the cat.

Once outside, Eleven's curiosity is piqued by butterflies, insects and, especially, lavender. The adorable, striped 14-month-old - possibly part Bengal, but who knows with a rescue cat - walks calmly beside Mr. Carver, stopping occasionally to rest in a bed of succulents. Mr. Carver waits patiently at the end of a purple leash. Across the street, a woman walking a rambunctious border collie calls, "Is she just learning? I love to see that!"

Mr. Carver, a painter, is used to the curiosity that a cat on a leash brings. He and Ms. Tan began training Eleven for the harness soon after they picked her up from the cat rescue (they would also like to buy her a tiny life jacket so they can go kayaking).

Mr. Carver had never owned a cat and was smitten by the kitten; Eleven now features in some of his paintings.

He and Ms. Tan, worried that their small cat would be threatened by predators both fourlegged and four-wheeled, decided Eleven would go outside only with supervision. It's an idyllic picture - man, cat, sunny street - that does not hint at the larger conflict raging in neighbourhoods and among animal-lovers: Should all cats be kept indoors and only allowed outside, such as Eleven, in the company of a human?

One compelling piece of evidence is all around on Mr. Carver's street: the sound of birdsong. It's estimated that cats kill between 70 million and 300 million birds each year in Canada and between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds in the United States (feral cats, a problem in many Canadian cities, are thought to kill three times more animals than house cats). That's on top of voles, chipmunks, rabbits, mice and rats, who are also prey, but whose interests are less fiercely protected.

Mr. Carver scoops up his cat - in typical fashion, she has decided enough is enough and demands that her human bend to her will and carry her home.

"We mainly didn't want her going outside because we were worried about her," he says.

"But when you think about all the birds that might be saved, it just makes sense."

Rationality, unfortunately, is not the cornerstone of our relationship with our pets. We project onto them our notions of freedom and happiness and independence - especially cats, animals that we love not just for their cute faces, but for their aloofness and spectacular hunting skills. Cats are pretty much the living embodiment of the Seinfeld dictum, "no hugging, no learning."

For many cat owners, restricting their pets' movements means destroying some essential element of catness. Conflict, in the past few years, has escalated between outdoor-cat owners and people who own indoor cats and love birds: Researching this story, I heard from one man whose friendship with a bird lover ended over his free-roaming cats, and a woman whose East End neighbourhood was engaged in a hissing, spitting fight over stray cat turds and backyards ominously strewn with feathers.

The forces of captivity are in the ascendant. About one-third of households in Canada owns at least one cat and nearly 20 municipalities across the country have "no-roam" bylaws restricting cats to their owner's properties (Toronto is not one of them, though the city's website notes that "an indoor cat lives a longer, healthier life than that of an outdoor cat"). Highprofile authors such as Jonathan Franzen and Margaret Atwood have written about the threat posed by cats to wild birds. Ms. Atwood teamed with the advocacy group Nature Canada to produce her first graphic novel, Angel Catbird, a humorous look at the perils of life on the street for birds.

Younger pet owners may be more sensitive to the issue: In a survey done by Nanos Research in 2016, slightly more than 40 per cent of cat owners said they let their cats run free, but the group most likely to supervise their cats was young people under the age of 29. The tide may be turning and it's sweeping cats inside.

Not everyone wants to go along with the tide, of course. In a hilly pocket in Toronto's West End, on a short, secluded street perfect for ambling, sunning and mooching food from strangers, is a neighbourhood that one of its residents describes as "a cat's paradise." Here, York University professor Julia Creet lives with her outdoor cats Indy (black, almost human) and Winter (white, not really sure about humans). Ms. Creet rescued both cats - Winter was living on the street and Indy was homeless after his owner's death.

When Ms. Creet rescued Indy, he'd been living in a condo for weeks. "He was so ecstatic about being outside again," she says.

That ecstasy, unfortunately, came at the expense of some local birds. Ms. Creet tried putting a bell on Indy and then found something even more effective: A Birdsbesafe collar, which is essentially a bright ruff that fits around the cat's neck and warns away prey. (Although it cost $35 and had to be ordered from the United States, it worked, and Indy stopped bringing his kills home.)

For Ms. Creet, whose house is fitted with a door flap activated by the cats' microchips, the benefits of the pets' freedom outweigh potential risks to their health: "They're animals. They have intense senses. When you restrict them to small spaces and sterile environments, there's some part of them that's not allowed to live."

As humans, we anthropormorphize the animals we love (less so the ones we loathe; there aren't a lot of stuffed scorpions out there). You only have to look at the worldwide success of the hit documentary Kedi, about the feral cats of Istanbul, to understand how strong that pull is.

As one man says in the film, "The cat embodies the indescribable chaos, the culture, the uniqueness that is Istanbul."

What isn't said, but is obvious to the viewer, is the way the residents of the city love and envy the cats for their freedom.

A small, shame-faced personal confession here: I have always been in the outdoor camp. I've been the personal doorman for a dozen cats over the years (As T. S. Eliot wrote of Rum Tum Tugger, "When you let him in, then he wants to be out;/ He's always on the wrong side of every door"). My current two were born in London, England, where house cats roam more often than not, and some cat rescues will even make sure the adoptive owner has a garden for the cat to use.

It never occurred to me to keep them inside the house, because they seem so happy to leave. It gives me huge pleasure not only to see them outside, but to watch the neighbours interacting with them - the elderly lady who leans down from her walker to talk to them, the toddler who stops crying when his mother says, "Look at the kitties!" They are part of the streetscape of my neighbourhood.

Of course, as with all cats, they are languid until they're not. The older one, Perdu, is like Tony Soprano - a big, deceptively genial killer. The younger, Athena, is Christopher Moltisanti - jittery, territorial, largely luckless. I praise them when they kill mice and rats, and shriek at them on the extremely rare occasions they bring in birds. You don't need to tell me that it makes no sense.

This lack of logical consistency does not surprise Ted Cheskey, a conservationist and ornithologist with Nature Canada. As part of Nature Canada's Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives program, Mr. Cheskey conducted focus groups with cat owners and discovered that there's a lot of projection going on between owners and their cats. People who valued their freedom, in particular, "didn't want to be constrained and felt their cats had the same needs," Mr. Cheskey says. Telling them that cats could lead perfectly happy lives indoors, with lots of play, didn't work. Neither did chastising them or taking an antagonistic approach. The thing that did change cat owners' attitudes was educating them about the risks to wildlife, particularly the threat to songbirds.

So how many birds do house cats actually kill? It's hard to know for sure. When the University of Georgia tracked the movements of 55 suburban kitties for a year in 2010-11, using the wonderfully named Kittycam, they discovered that our big-eyed friends really are like the Sopranos, blithely strewing carcasses all over the countryside. About a quarter of the prey was brought home; half was left at the site of the kill. A little more than a quarter was eaten.

An equally fascinating BBC documentary called The Secret Life of the Cat revealed how little we know about the extent of cats' roaming, especially nocturnally: It tracked some 50 cats in a village called Shamley Green and discovered that the most footloose feline (a hermaphrodite named Hermie) had a territory of eight acres. Most of them brought home frogs, birds and small mammals a couple of times a week. Who knows what they left in the great rubbish bin of the countryside?

The problem, obviously, is not limited to Toronto's borders.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature "ranks house cats as one of the world's worst invasive species," writes Abigail Tucker in her wonderful book The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World. Cats adapt quickly to new environments, can eat a wide variety of prey and are quite stellar breeders. The problem is worse on islands, and in countries where cats drive extinctions. A particularly fervent anti-cat mood has gripped Australia, where the environment minister once blamed the world's favourite pet for "a tsunami of violence and death."

There are 600 million house cats in the world, Ms. Tucker writes, making them the most popular house pet: "The lion's little jester of a cousin, once an evolutionary footnote, has become a force of nature." The problem is that we still think of this pet as a lion, free to roam the veldt, and not as a dog - a companion creature whose movements should be constrained, for their own good.

The cat-safety argument is one that often gets lost, according to Jen Edwards, who has been fostering kittens for Ontario's Uxbridge Cat Rescue for three years. Indoor cats are not only safe from predators, but also a variety of illnesses. Ms. Edwards lives in the countryside northeast of Toronto and does not like to think about the number of times she's seen cat corpses on the road, or scrolled past "Lost Cat" postings on Facebook.

As with many cat rescuers, she insists that adopters promise to keep their cats inside.

"Whether my cats would choose to be inside or outside honestly doesn't matter to me," Ms. Edwards said in an e-mail interview. "I chose to make them part of my family. And every day I choose to keep them safe and loved. It is my responsibility as a pet owner to ensure they have lots to do to keep them busy. And truly, it's not hard to keep a cat busy and stimulated."

Indeed, the range of cat distractions available for indoor cats rivals the array of toys for bored children. The helicopter feline-parent can buy "catios" - fenced outdoor runs - as well as climbing towers that rival the Burj Dubai, chic loungers that double as scratching posts, and every manner of simulated bug on a stick. There are "cat dancers" for those cats not too proud to dance. There are harnesses for cats, such as Eleven, who can be coaxed to walk in them. It may not be a walk on the wild side, but it's still a walk and, in the words of the great Canadian pop song, nobody hurts and nobody dies. We may be looking at a very tame future.

Associated Graphic

Matthew Carver, a painter, is used to the curiosity that comes with his cat, Eleven, walking on a leash. Conflict, in the past few years, has escalated between outdoor-cat owners and people who own indoor cats and love birds, who fear for the safety of the birds.


York University professor Julia Creet allows her cats Winter, above, and Indy to roam outside. For her, the benefits of the pets' freedom outweigh potential risks to their health. When they're restricted, she says, 'there's some part of them that's not allowed to live.'


In the King-Spadina district, a forest of skyscrapers is growing at breakneck speed. Marcus Gee explains how condos conquered a rundown district of the city
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M1

Cities have an endless ability to evolve, to rebound, to reinvent and regenerate themselves, sometimes in ways that would astonish generations past.

In their wildest dreams, no one imagined that a rundown Toronto warehouse district could turn into a bristling Shanghai of glass skyscrapers. And yet come to the King-Spadina district, epicentre of the building boom that is transforming the core of Canada's largest city, and behold.

King-Spadina lies just to the west of Toronto's downtown core, flanking Spadina Avenue around its junction with King Street West. The Rogers Centre where the Blue Jays play baseball is to the south, the Art Gallery of Ontario to the north. It is undergoing a high-rise construction boom like Toronto has never seen.

If you stacked all the tall buildings that have already been constructed there one on top of the other they would reach nearly as high as four CN Towers. Another four CN Towers' worth are under construction, 10 in various stages of approval and three on the drawing board.

Add that all up, and you get close to 21 CN Towers. Lay all those buildings on their side end to end and they would stretch from City Hall to Highway 401.

No fewer than 99 projects have been built, approved or pitched since 2004. That's one quarter of the total for the entire city and more than the count for two vast suburban districts - Scarborough and Etobicoke - combined. King-Spadina is overtaking even high-rise hubs such as Yonge and Eglinton in midtown Toronto and the Bay and Yonge corridors downtown.

How Toronto deals with the density explosion is at the heart of a big question: Can modern cities become bigger, busier, denser and still be decent places to live? Can you build this much, this high and keep it human? The challenge in KingSpadina is to make sure the district isn't overwhelmed by its own success.

The seemingly overnight explosion of residential development in King-Spadina is part of a broader success story.

Toronto has escaped the hollowing-out effect that afflicts many North American cities. About 10,000 people are moving into the downtown area every year, many to live in tall buildings.

Toronto has 153 under construction, second only to New York among North American cities, according to one building database. Seven of those buildings are more than 60 storeys, says another source,, and plans for 15 building towering more than 70 storeys have been proposed. Unlike the skyscrapers built for the big banks in the nearby financial district, King-Spadina's are mostly towers for living. A development summary for the Entertainment District, which includes KingSpadina, shows more than 1.5 million square metres of residential space being added to the area. That's more than 20,000 new housing units - and 2,443 additional storeys. The number of people who call King-Spadina home is expected to double to 40,000-plus by 2020. One proposal alone, the Mirvish-Gehry complex, a collaboration of David Mirvish, the theatre impresario, and Frank Gehry, the acclaimed architect, will feature spectacular residential towers of 82 and 92 storeys. On a tour one recent afternoon, local city councillor Joe Cressy passed sign after sign announcing that "a change has been proposed for this site" and showing a drawing of another tower-to-be. On one little block that takes just a couple of minutes to circle on foot, four separate tower projects of more than 50 storeys could soon rise.

"Not only did it happen overnight," he says, "it's literally happening in front of your eyes, because every time you come down here there's another project under construction."

The pattern of high-rise development is driving up land prices, which run from $40-million to $70-million an acre, so developers want to find ways to build to the maximum height possible - and incorporate the highest possible number of units - on tiny lots. In the land rush of the past few years, they have snapped up just about every available site in the district, no matter how small or awkward. Parking lots that once held 20 or 30 cars are seeing towers of 40 and 50 storeys rise on their tiny footprint. On one site on Charlotte Street, a 46storey tower is proposed on a space smaller than two tennis courts.

With so many old and protected buildings in the area, developers are forced to build behind, around or even over them. One developer wants to create what is in effect a bridge in the sky, using wire, cable and steel to suspend a new building over an existing one.

If the scale of King-Spadina's growth isn't impressive enough, consider what was there before.

In the two centuries or so of Toronto's modern history, KingSpadina has been, in turns: a military precinct associated with nearby Fort York; an institutional district that was home to the provincial parliament and Upper Canada College, the famous boys' school; an industrial hub where factories turned out clothing, furniture and machinery; a haven for bohemian artists and other creative types; and an urban club land where the streets came alive after midnight. By the early 1990s, it was a gritty, half-deserted precinct of barren parking lots and slummy warehouses.

What makes the change since then doubly remarkable is that it happened more or less by accident. One tall building, the Festival Tower that rises above the Toronto International Film Festival's Bell Lightbox, became a precedent for another, then another and another. Developers started going to the Ontario Municipal Board, a powerful planning tribunal, to argue that if other towers were rising, theirs should be approved, too. The floodgates opened.

Today, city planners find themselves struggling to keep up with a building boom of a scale and character that no one expected.

Mr. Cressy, 33, worked on issues such as AIDS in Africa before he was elected in 2014. Now he spends much of his time negotiating with big developers over such things as the space they must leave between their towers so that residents don't end up staring into each other's bedrooms. "I was doing anti-retroviral treatment for grandmothers until three years ago, so I'm, like, 'Oh, towers? Separation distances? Seriously?' " Yet he calls King-Spadina the most interesting part of his job.

"You're literally deciding what the future of a neighbourhood is going to be. Is it going to be healthy or not? Is it going to be livable or not? Where do I walk my dog? Where is the grass?" King-Spadina, he argues, needs more parks, community centres, libraries, bike lanes, transit service. The amenities simply haven't kept up with the torrid pace of development. He is so eager to find more open space that he led a move to buy the site of the Hooters restaurant on Adelaide Street for a park. Nicknamed Operation Owl, it failed - the site was too expensive.

Some city leaders share his worries. Jennifer Keesmaat, the city's influential chief planner, has warned about the threat of "hyperdensity" - too much building in one place. But others say the good that has come from King-Spadina's boom far outweighs the bad. Once-sleepy streets throb with life. Scores of restaurants, bars, theatres, shops and other attractions keep the area humming at all hours.

Architects, designers and film and television companies were the first businesses to take over King-Spadina's old factory spaces. Tech firms such as Shopify, the rising Canadian e-commerce firm, have followed, drawn by its urban magic. One developer calls demand for commercial space there "insatiable."

The district already has 45,000 office workers. Looked at this way, King-Spadina is an urbanist's dream come true, a place where people live, work and play all in the same district. Urban "intensification" has been a planners' mantra in recent years as they sought to counter years of urban sprawl and create densely populated, walkable communities. The emerging King-Spadina is intensification on Red Bull (a company that naturally has its Canadian offices at the northern edge of King-Spadina, on Queen Street).

David Mirvish says that when his father, "Honest Ed" Mirvish, bought and refurbished the rundown Royal Alexandra Theatre on King in the early 1960s, it looked out on a rail yard across the street. The area around it was "desolate." The change is remarkable. "My father would have loved it. He thought a healthy downtown with many restaurants and stores could be a great place to live."

Many residents, too, relish the area's new vitality, even if they complain about the pace of change. When Valerie Eggertson moved into a Richmond Street condo west of Spadina in 2000, a friend said she would be looking out her window at the drug addicts in the park below. The area was sketchy, but it was all she could afford. Today, she revels in the busy life of the neighbourhood. "To go to TIFF or go to the theatre and walk home, I just love it."

She argues the city simply needs to work harder on making the neighbourhood work. With space so short, where does the pizza delivery vehicle stop without blocking the bike lane? How does an area with so many little apartments accommodate families? She wishes developers would branch out a bit and build more than cookie-cutter glass towers such as the big black one that is proposed near her place.

While many buildings fall into the glass-box-on-a-brick-podium category, a cliché of recent Toronto condo architecture, the district is getting some fresh and creative stuff as well. At Front and Spadina streets, the site of the old Globe and Mail building, developers are starting work on the Well, a mixed-use work-liveshop complex with laneways running through to open it up to people on foot.

Public spaces are improving, too. On John Street, the city is narrowing the roadway to one lane of traffic each way and using the space to put in wider sidewalks, new trees and public art.

The intersections are designed to be closed off for street performances during festivals such as TIFF.

On the west side of Spadina, the Waterworks project on Richmond Street will combine condos with a youth centre, a new YMCA, housing for artists, an expanded playground and a big food hall.

To save cultural spaces such as artists' and dancers' studios that are being priced out of the district, the city is using the fees collected from developers to build new spaces - or striking deals with them to include theatres and art galleries. One project, the two-tower King Blue, will include a new home for Theatre Museum Canada, one of several big new cultural venues coming to the area.

As for transit, the city is about to experiment with a special transit corridor on King Street, limiting automobile traffic to clear the way for the crowded, often painfully slow, King streetcar.

Resident Nicole Mantini, a 33year-old lawyer, says King-Spadina has changed a lot since she moved there in 2009, when singles and young couples were predominant. Now, "you see people out for Sunday brunch with babies and strollers."

That heralds yet another unlikely transformation for this dynamic quarter of an everchanging city. Mr. Cressy likes to say that in many ways the city of Toronto began in King-Spadina, it grew up in King-Spadina, and, now, much of its future will take shape in King-Spadina.

Associated Graphic

A small building is flanked on the right by a completed condominium and on the left by one being built in the King and John streets area. There are many condominium projects being built, or in the planning stages, that will fill in most of the empty spaces of the King and Spadina neighbourhood.


Left: The site at 19 Duncan St., centre, will have a condominium built over it, reaching 57 storeys. Right: A 17-storey condominium is proposed to be built over top a heritage building at 24 Mercer St.


Above: Over the past two centuries King and Spadina has transformed several times, from a military precinct, to the home of the provincial parliament and more recently, an industrial hub.


Left: Owners David Mirvish, left, and his father, Ed Mirvish, prepare to cut the cake at the press opening of the new Princess of Wales Theatre on King Street West in 1993. David Mirvish says that when his father opened the Royal Alexander Theatre on King in the early 1960s, it looked out across a rail yard.


Left: Construction cranes on the site of the Greenland King Blue Condominiums project being built at the corner of King St. W. and Blue Jays Way. Right: A peek at work being done at a construction site on Widmer Street that will eventually become a 41-storey condominium.

Child's death led to rebirth of Yonge Street
Today's bustling urban centre bears little resemblance to the seedy Sin Strip where Emanuel Jaques was murdered 40 years ago
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M4

The Vans flagship store at 245 Yonge St. bears almost no trace of its former self. In 1977, the property housed Charlie's Angels, a body-rub parlour above a storefront that offered massages, adult movies and "love aids." Today, the store's window displays skate shoes and designer hoodies. There isn't so much as a plaque to commemorate the tragic event that took place in the building 40 years ago. But for those who follow the history of Toronto, the address played a key role in a dramatic transformation of Yonge Street. And it all began with a murder.

For much of the 20th century, downtown Yonge Street was the closest thing Toronto had to an urban centre: a region of haberdashers, lawyers' offices, vaudeville houses and night clubs.

Around the beginning of the 1970s, though, the strip south of Bloor became seedier and racier, a transition that began with the development of the Toronto Eaton Centre. Construction began in 1973, causing massive street-level upheaval. Landlords across from the site figured it was a matter of time before they, too, were bought out by a shopping-mall developer.

Instead of seeking permanent tenants, they offered monthly rentals to fly-by-night entrepreneurs. The stretch between Gerrard and Queen, where Charlie's Angels opened, became known as Sin Strip, a neon-lit Gomorrah of peep shows, peelers and porn theatres.

The decline of obscenity laws around the same time meant that these new businesses - many of them backroom operations in second- and third-floor walk-ups - could now brazenly advertise their services. Sex workers called out from doorways to potential clients, while handbills and storefront signage - much of it in bubbly Seventies typography - promised topless dancing and naked massages.

"You saw sex written on the landscape in a way that you didn't before," says Daniel Ross, an urban historian who teaches at the University of Quebec at Montreal.

The public bought into it. In the era of Deep Throat, sex was entertainment, and Yonge had long been an entertainment district. "People were fascinated by the Strip," Prof. Ross says. "It was exciting. It was the place to go for Saturday night action."

The cops, having little by way of funding or legal mechanisms with which to crack down on vice, patrolled Sin City but refused to end it - until the dramatic summer of 1977.

On July 28 of that year, Emanuel Jaques, age 12 and an immigrant from the Azores, was shining shoes on the Strip when a group of men offered him money to help move camera equipment into an upper-floor flat at 245 Yonge. Over the course of 12 hours, the men raped and tortured the boy before drowning him in a sink.

Three days later, one of the killers, Saul Betesh, turned himself in to the police. The other two, Robert Wayne Kribs and Joseph Woods, were arrested on a train near Sioux Lookout, Ont.

The trauma reverberated across the city, particularly among Portuguese-Torontonians, a community approaching 100,000 people, mostly from the Azores.

The author Anthony De Sa, a son of Azorean immigrants, set his novel Kicking the Sky in the summer of 1977. Mr. De Sa, who was roughly Emanuel's age at the time of the murder, remembers his parents' generation as one of self-sacrificing labourers.

They'd clean hospitals by day, gather worms for bait stores by night and sew pockets onto jeans over the weekend. "They never had a sense that they were making money to enjoy life," Mr. De Sa says. "Their dream was invested in us." In a community that did everything for its children, the Jaques killing was the ultimate betrayal.

At the urging of Jose Rafael, a DJ at a local radio station, 15,000 people - most of them Portuguese - stormed Nathan Phillips Square, calling on authorities to purge Yonge Street and reinstate the death penalty.

For the first time since arriving in Toronto, Portuguese immigrants began locking their doors.

In the chaos of the moment, signals got crossed. Yonge was already synonymous with vice, but now it became associated with homosexuality, pedophilia and murder. "The general myth was that gays were always trying to seduce and harm children," says writer Gerald Hannon, who at the time worked for The Body Politic, Toronto's gay monthly.

"The Jaques murder was the ugly stereotype come true."

The killers may not have been gay, Hannon says, but newspaper and police reports weren't interested in such distinctions.

The notion of downtown Yonge as a gay mecca was also far-fetched.

Farther north, near Yonge and Wellesley, there was an area, nicknamed Track Two, where male hustlers hung out. And if you walked a few kilometres in almost any direction from Yonge and Dundas, you'd find one of the gay bars or bathhouses that orbited the Strip like rainbow moons around a red-hot planet. The Strip itself, however, catered mainly to heterosexual men who sought the swinging Hugh Hefner lifestyle.

But in 1977, moral panic was the enemy of nuance, and for the thousands of Torontonians who either wrote to their councillors or signed anti-Yonge petitions, the Strip was gay, tawdry and murderous. Such sentiments had been present throughout the decade, but the Jaques killing gave them new urgency. "It was all about location," says Ed Jackson, an historian and former editor of The Body Politic. "There was a sense that Yonge Street itself had made the bad thing happen."

As Prof. Ross's PhD research shows, the police responded swiftly, emboldened by a sudden influx of provincial and municipal resources. Cops kicked down doors, apprehended sex workers on the street, and reportedly conducted warrantless raids. They made arrests under the 1943 Disorderly Houses Act and the 19th-century Bawdy House Law, which prohibited business owners from operating brothels; few of these charges stuck, but they resulted in damaging court injunctions.

When criminal cases couldn't be made, the authorities buried Sin Strip establishments beneath ribbons of red tape. The police teamed up with the health and fire departments to inspect massage parlours daily, making business untenable.

In a designated courtroom at Old City Hall, a special prosecutor brought 93 cases related to bylaw and licensing violations.

By October of 1977, 36 of the 40 sex-related businesses on Yonge had closed, most of them permanently. The heyday of the Strip was over.

But the new police task forces didn't disband. After the Yonge Street blitz, the two relevant departments - the morality and intelligence units - started casting around for new work, resulting in a vice-squad industrial complex. Historian Tom Hooper links the post-Jaques crackdown with the ensuing raids against gay bathhouses, which culminated in the largest mass arrest in Canada since the October Crisis.

"You've got these two bureaus in the police force who've been very busy bees," says Dr. Hooper, who teaches at York University. "They have to continue to justify their budgets, but Yonge Street is now clean. Of course, they're thinking, 'What else are we going to do?' " When, on Feb. 5, 1981, police simultaneously raided four bathhouses, ripped one down to the studs and arrested more than 300 people, they justified their actions, in part, under the Bawdy House Law, one of the statutes behind the post-Jaques sweep.

The Jaques murder and its tumultuous aftermath testifies to the role of narrative in civic life. Many Torontonians felt uneasy about having Sin Strip in the heart of their city, but it was only in '77 that they found a suitably powerful story with which to rationalize their discomfort. Of course, the murder was a massive collective trauma, but it was also a political opportunity. "In moral campaigns against vice," says Ross, "there's always an event that's seized on as justification."

In 1991, Kyle Rae was elected city counsellor for Ward 6, which included the former Sin Strip. "Immediately, the pressure was on me to find a solution to downtown Yonge," he says. "I'm a brand-new councillor, and I'm thinking, 'How do you fix a problem like this?' " In the nearly 15 years since the post-Jaques crackdown, the area had continued to decline. Few people think of porn theatres and dirty massage parlours as symbols of economic health, but these businesses, in their time, brought a measure of vitality to an ailing part of town. In their absence, the Strip became even more depleted.

The Eaton Centre, which opened in 1977, drew foot traffic indoors, leaving the sidewalks vacant.

The remaining commercial enterprises included dollar stores, temporary clearance houses and empty shopfronts with random merchandise in their windows.

The local economy also depended on street crime and crack cocaine. When, in 1992, a protest in solidarity with Rodney King turned rowdy, business owners installed metal bars on their windows.

Mr. Rae founded the Yonge Street Business and Residents Association, which in turn commissioned Ron Soskolne, a development and planning consultant who'd worked on London's Canary Wharf, to devise a neighbourhood plan.

Mr. Soskolne surveyed recent attempts to revitalize Yonge - a façade-improvement program; a suite of festive, ladybug-shaped garbage cans - and concluded that they were laughably feeble.

"These were cosmetic procedures," he says. "What we needed was open-heart surgery."

Mr. Soskolne took an approach that, today, we'd call rebranding.

A region once known for vice would instead become a mainstream commercial destination.

He took Rae on a tour of the Greater Los Angeles Area, stopping at big-box retail hubs: places where you can park, shop, catch a movie in a multiplex and get dinner at a chain restaurant.

Such areas, with their enormous, brand-name shops and steady retail traffic, are sometimes referred to as "suburban power centres." The new Yonge would mimic this formation but in the middle of downtown.

City council, with Mr. Rae's backing, expropriated businesses just east of Yonge along both sides of Dundas. The city resold the north side: PenEquity Management Corporation, a successful power-centre developer, created 10 Dundas East, a complex designed for big-box retailers and a massive AMC cinema.

(Today, the building's tenants include GoodLife Fitness, Jack

Astor's and Cineplex.) On the south, it created Yonge-Dundas Square.

Soon after, these developments, well-known brands - from the Hard Rock Café to Urban Outfitters to Gap - began populating the former Strip, creating the corporate chain-reaction that Mr. Soskolne had banked on.

"In the early 2000s," he says, "every small piece was a win."

While the residents' and businesses' association tolerated existing adult establishments, it didn't want more. Mr. Rae recalls a sex-toy retailer whose owners planned to open a location on Yonge. "I sat down with them and said, 'I'm not putting up with this,' " he says. " 'You want zoning, but I'm not going to help you.' " If Yonge was to be born again, he argued, it couldn't revert to its former self.

City council's targeted, marketbased intervention enabled the Yonge of today, which is economically vibrant, safe, and estranged from its history. There are a few Broadway-style marquees or gaudy strip-club façades, but they seem out of place among condos and sportswear retailers.

The new Yonge isn't groovy or bohemian, but it passes the most important test of any urban development: Lots of people use it. And the crowds are noticeably more diverse - in terms of age, class and ethnicity - than in hipper precincts, such as West Queen West.

Forty years ago, Yonge was a realm of upper floors and backrooms, where people did illicit things in dimly lit spaces. Today, an architecture of secrecy has given way to one of openness.

Ryerson University's new Student Learning Centre has a welcoming, street-level atrium. The eastern edge of the Eaton Centre, once an impassive façade - Mr. Soskolne compared it to "an ocean liner docked against the street" - now has shopfronts that engage with the sidewalk.

James Brown, a founding partner at Brown and Storey Architects, the firm that designed Yonge-Dundas Square, says he didn't want the site to have a back end. "Each side," he says, "was meant to be a front." The space is open but carefully regulated: Busking and panhandling are prohibited on the square.

And the surrounding landscape is easy to monitor.

Diners can look down at Yonge and Dundas from the panoptic vantage point of the Milestones Restaurant four floors above.

As for 245 Yonge St., the room where Emanuel was murdered no longer exists. Vans occupies a minimalist, lofty shop in which the second and third floors have been removed.

Stand amid the shelving units on the ground level, and you can see all the way to the top.

The building feels airy and sanitized. There are no rafters in which a ghost might dwell.

In honour of Canada 150, Catherine Dawson March wanted to explore a corner of the country her family hadn't seen. So they loaded up a motorhome and headed for Quebec's Gaspé Peninsula. Along the way, they learned a few lessons about camping on wheels
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page T1

GASPÉ PENINSULA, QUE. -- 'How many are in the VR?" asked the woman in the campground office.

Her switch to the French acronym threw me for a moment before I could stumble out a reply. But every time I heard VR instead of RV I was struck at how fitting the slip was: By trading in the family sedan for a 24-foot motorhome, our annual road trip crossed into another realm - we covered the kilometres just fine, but the experience was a little surreal.

When asked about our vacation plans, eyes either lit up in delight or shifted away in embarrassment. But more often than not, I was surprised to hear we were embarking on what is a bucketlist trip for many: road tripping in an RV.

In honour of Canada 150, we wanted to explore a corner of the country none of us had seen. The charms of the Gaspé Peninsula won out: its rugged coastal highway, the seafood, coastal hiking in Forillon National Park, plus the grandeur of Percé Rock and Hitchcockian wonder of the Bonaventure Island bird sanctuary had to be seen to be believed.

By renting an RV, we'd be in good company. GoRVing Canada reports that more than one million of them are on the road, and that 14 per cent of Canadian households own, or have access to, RVs. Maybe more: The shared economy has taken notice and peer-to-peer rental services are popping up. Maybe that's why it always feels like you're stuck behind one on the highway.

We had nine days, six campsites booked, and a new Winnebago to venture out in. It was a sweet ride: shower, designer fixtures, LED lighting, USB ports, speaker system, memory-foam mattress in the pop-out bedroom; tiled kitchen back-splash, plus lots of room to spread out.

Later, I was told that this was not, technically, an RV: If you pull it, it's a recreational vehicle; if you drive it, it's a motorhome.

This was the first of many lessons learned on the road.

Lesson No. 1: The drive has never been so awesome We covered ground quickly: It was only five steps from the passenger seat to the toilet seat; three to the sofa; four to the fridge - on long-haul days, we only needed to stop for gas or to switch drivers. If you weren't driving you lounged around in the back (belted in, of course) and reached for a snack upon demand. This was a gamechanger.

Not once did we stop at Tim Hortons or McDonald's - that's some kind of a miracle. Throwing together good meals while parked overlooking the St. Lawrence or the Baie-des-Chaleurs was too easy. The Winnebago had a fridge, propane stove, a microwave and lots of cupboard space.

Throughout the drive, we'd make impromptu pullovers into poissonniers, which meant scallops or crab or mussels at the campsite that night. No one missed Big Macs.

I cringed when we pulled into our first Wal-Mart to stock up; it was like all RVs come with a homing beacon for the store. But I let the cliché go, and vowed not to boondock (overnight without electricity or water) in one of its parking lots.

And passing 18-wheelers in the rain? It's not so scary when you're driving more of a truck than a car yourself.

Lesson No. 2: The drive has never been so nerve-wracking I retrained myself to drive without a rear-view mirror; and we never reversed the RV without making sure someone was watching the back end.

I even got over the shock (on Day 2) of smashing half our dishes when a sharp right and an open cupboard sent a cascade of Corelle over my son's head. But I nearly lost faith on the Gaspé Peninsula's north shore. Some time after passing through Sainte-Anne-des-Monts on our way to Forillon, the blacktop turned into a roller-coaster, and the ride went on for about 200 kilometres. Route 132, with its rock cuts and stunning Gulf views, rivals California's famed Pacific Coast drive. It's breathtaking and hard to keep your eyes on the road.

This drive would be thrilling in a sports car. It is stomach-churning in a 10-foot by seven-foot, 10,000-pound metal box on wheels.

Lesson No. 3: You'll become obsessed with your tanks Spending so much thought on expunging waste was odd, but fascinating for one of us. We had to keep a watchful eye on our tanks: fuel (propane and gas); fresh water; sewage (both black, from the toilet, and grey, from the sink and shower); plus the battery levels (car and cabin).

A digital panel with lots of buttons in the middle of the RV kept us up to date - and this is where my 13-year-old shined. He was constantly guesstimating when we'd have to fill up on water; when we'd have to do the sewage dump; how to conserve on propane; how long till our battery needed charging and when we'd need to stop for diesel (final tally: $499.80 over more than 3,000 kilometres).

The sewage-dump situation was much discussed - we'd seen Robin Williams's movie RV, and didn't want to experience our own "shower of sadness." But when it was time, Jack slipped on the rubber gloves and took over.

Far from disgusting, he found it "strangely satisfying." Your kids will always surprise you.

Lesson No. 4: Plan when and where to park it, and explore on foot These big metal beasts are not meant for driving into cute towns, which we learned the stressful way. There seemed to be only one place to park an RV in Percé, a town well known for its views of one of the world's largest natural arches, and the lot was not easy to find. But it is free - and conveniently close to the beach steps that let you walk out to the 85metre-high Percé Rock in low tide - a rare stroke of luck since the limestone and shale sandbar was getting thinner every minute.

With our rig safely parked out of harm's way, we could relax, explore the rock, wander the town's shops - and hop on the ferry to circumnavigate Bonaventure Island. It's estimated that 250,000 birds live here - among them, more than 116,000 northern gannets, which return annually to nest on its sunny side - not to mention the herds of seals that frolic in its shallows. Necks craned, we watched hundreds of sea birds fly over the ferry, twirling in all directions or hovering in the wind - the gannets' enormous wingspan lets them simply float, motionless over our heads. It was mesmerizing. And it wiped away the stress of the highway's hills and dales, and the pressurecooker to find parking.

Lesson No. 5: There's a different vibe to RV 'camping' By the time we reached Forillon National Park, we'd come to realize that RV "camping" was different than what we were used to.

Some RV campgrounds are simply a stretch of grass with electrical outlets. Others are party parks, with pools and playgrounds and street after street of RVs whose owners have covered every inch of their site with satellite dishes, barbecues, lawn furniture, outdoor carpets and party lanterns. It was more carnival than camping, although firelight does sparkle nicely from the ubiquitous washing machine-drum fire pits. And to be honest, one of our favourite trip moments occurred in one of these parks, when we playfully let loose on a set of ancient, possibly dangerous, teeter-totters. And RVers can be kind: Our first day's drive was too long, and we arrived late to Parc de Motorisés Godefroy outside Trois-Rivières. Not only did the owners back up our rig into our site, but they sent us off in the morning with sun-warmed local strawberries.

Still, I hoped Forillon's RV camping would get us back to the land. Which it did, sort of.

New this summer, Forillon opened 31 RV sites with electricity and water.

"VRers kept asking us for this," Igor Urban of Parks Canada said.

"We're booked up for the summer."

Adding the underground water lines, however, meant cutting down a lot of trees. The RV campground was more spacious and more forested than others we'd stayed in, but the view from my bedroom window still reminded me of a clear cut. Thankfully, it was just a short walk through delightful porcupine-filled meadows to Petit Gaspé beach, where we watched seals play in the water and the sun set over tide pools. The next day, under bluebird skies, we moved our big rig to the trailhead at Cap Gaspé and spent a pleasant few hours on the eight-kilometre trek. Lilacs were at their peak, buttercups and daisies glowed beside the trail and clover was just starting to open. A weasel sauntered by with a mouse in its jaws, a groundhog tried to hide in the cliff nearby: It was all incredibly enchanting and we hadn't even reached the grand Gulf views at Land's End. It was a long, hot hike, but happily - instead of returning to a hot car - we knew there were Freezies waiting for us in the RV.

Relishing my hot shower in our RV that night, it occurred to me that maybe this was more of a movable cabin anyway. Our own RV had the wiring for two flatscreens - a 32-inch and a 24-inch - only four steps away from each other.

And then it started raining. The pitter-patter of rain on an RV roof is hypnotizing; I stretched out in our pop-out bedroom with a cup of tea and a good book, and relaxed. It was incredibly satisfying to look out at the rain instead of sitting in the rain under a wet tent.

Making that mental shift - from camping to cottaging, from driving vacation to different vacation - made a difference. I let the VR of the RV take over, and it became a road trip to remember.

The writer was a guest of GoRVing Canada. Le Québec Maritime covered the ferry ride to Bonaventure Island.


If you're not sure what you want to drive, the GoRVing Canada website is a good place to start. This is where you'll find rental dealers, campgrounds and even a quiz to help you figure out what kind of RV fits your travelling style. Want to try the Airbnb of RVs? Private rentals can be arranged online, and they include insurance coverage for the vehicle. offers a lot of RVs in Western Canada, though its inventory in the east is limited. is an Ottawa-based business, and its website has rigs available across the country.

No matter where you get your motorhome, take the time to understand the insurance coverage. Awnings, windshield and the undercarriage may not be covered. What happens if you hit a stationary object or drive on a gravel road? Does it come with roadside assistance? All could be costly and kill your postvacation buzz.

Associated Graphic

GoRVing Canada reports that more than one million RVs are on the road, and that 14 per cent of Canadian households own or have access to one.


Forillon National Park, at the tip of Quebec's Gaspé Peninsula, has opened 31 RV sites with electricity and water this summer. 'VRers kept asking us for this,' Igor Urban of Parks Canada said. 'We're booked up for the summer.'


Above: Percé, Que., is a town well known for its view of one of the world's largest natural arches, Percé Rock. Left: A hard-to-find but free RV parking spot was located conveniently close to steps that let you walk out to the 85-metre-high rock in low tide - a rare stroke of luck since the sandbar was shrinking every minute. Below left: Although adding underground water lines meant cutting down a lot of trees in Forillon, the park's RV campground was more spacious and forested than others the writer had stayed in.


A taste of what's to come
Seventy-five years after the country's official nutrition guide made its debut, Ottawa is hard at work on a new version, Ann Hui writes. Health Canada faces a tremendous task in their first update since 2007: Addressing concerns from experts who feel the document is dated, while calming the industries that will be affected most
Wednesday, July 19, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A8

In the 1958 short film Mystery in the Kitchen, Mr. Jones has scurvy, and is limping slowly from his tractor.

Daughter Marilyn is anemic, and has trouble concentrating in class. Son Walt suffers from rickets.

But the bowler-hat-wearing detective has solved the Jones family mystery. Poor diet and malnutrition are the cause, and Mrs. Jones is to blame, guilty of not serving enough milk, eggs and liver, which contain the nutrition her family needs.

"Canada's Food Rules?" the inspector says, looking straight at the camera. "Ignore them, and enjoy the worst of bad health!"

In the nearly 60 years since Mystery in the Kitchen was first broadcast - produced by what was then known as Canada's Department of National Health and Welfare Nutrition Division - the country's eating habits have changed dramatically.

So, too, have the government's "food rules," known today as Canada's Food Guide.

Now, 75 years after its first publication, the government is preparing to release a new version of Canada's Food Guide - the first update since 2007 - expected to be made public early next year. For Health Canada, it has been a years-long process, and a monumental task.

The influence of the food guide is felt across the country, used by teachers, doctors and dieticians as the authority on healthy eating. The guide is available in a dozen languages and is the federal government's second-most-requested document.

It has also emerged one of the government's most controversial publications and the subject of fierce lobbying.

In updating the guide, Health Canada will have to address concerns from doctors and nutritionists who say it has not changed enough over its 75 years.

Specifically, they argue it has done a poor job of adapting to changing health concerns, away from the malnutrition and wartime rationing the guide was originally intended to address, and toward more pressing, current concerns of obesity and diet-related chronic illness. At the same time, the department will have to balance those with concerns from the agriculture and food industry, which fear the effect a reduced presence on the guide might have on sales.

Recent signals from Health Canada have the former group encouraged. Last month, the department released its "guiding principles" - a mission statement that outlines the priorities. This document emphasizes a regular diet of "vegetables, fruit, whole grains and protein-rich foods - especially plant-based sources of protein," and explicitly warns against processed foods high in sodium, sugar and saturated fat.

It also appears to de-emphasize the necessity of animal meats and dairy - prompting at least one media report earlier this month to claim the new food guide "eliminates dairy as a food group." (Health Canada officials told The Globe and Mail no such decisions have been made.)

The Health Canada document also mentions a host of new food concerns - everything from environmental sustainability and animal welfare to the importance of eating local - illustrating just how much food culture has changed since Mystery in the Kitchen introduced Canadians to Mrs. Jones and her sickly family.

Even the iconic four food groups are up in the air. "There might still be food groups ... there might not be food groups," said Hasan Hutchinson, director general of the Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion at Health Canada. "We're still trying to establish what the policy will be."

Once thing is clear: The new guide is intended to represent major change.

"This is not tweaking, whatsoever," Dr. Hutchinson said.

The guide through the years When Canada's Official Food Rules debuted in 1942, it was designed for a country at war. The goal was to keep the more than one million men and women in the armed services healthy and strong, with rules designed to maximize energy levels. A daily diet, for example, included a half pint of milk and "4 to 6 slices of Canada Approved Bread" each day. And these were just the daily minimums.

"Use more if you can," the rules stressed.

"The guide itself was premised on military strength, industrial strength, building up soldiers," said Ian Mosby, a food historian. The guiding ideology, he said, was that "to be healthy, you have to eat more."

The rules were also meant for everyone else living with wartime rations and poverty. Leaflets encouraging Canadians to "check your war efficiency" emphasized tips for maximizing nutrition despite rationing.

The focus on increased consumption was strengthened two years later in the 1944 guide. "The basis of the rules shifted from 70% of the Dietary Standard as was the case in 1942 to a fully adequate figure,'" according to Health Canada. Milk requirements were boosted to one half to one pint a day, and vegetables from "one potato a day to at least one." Bread was to be served with butter.

By the mid-century, the thinking began to shift. Worldwide food shortages and an increasing understanding about the health effects of overeating led the 1949 guide to include a stern warning: "More," the guide stated, "is not necessarily better."

Throughout the latter half of the century, the rules continued to loosen. By 1961, the document was renamed from "rules" to "guide."

With each subsequent version, the guide moved further and further away from recommendations on specific ingredients and more toward general "food groups," recognizing that a variety of foods could make up a healthy diet.

"Right now, it's a mess" By the time the new guide is released, the current guide will have been in place for more than a decade.

In that time, the guide has become the target of substantial criticism for what many perceive as outdated advice based on old research.

One of the most common criticisms is that it simply prescribes too much food - too many calories for a healthy daily diet. The current model is focused on ensuring specific nutrient requirements are met - that people are getting enough zinc, vitamin A and so on, as opposed to encouraging a broad-based diet, said Yoni Freedhoff, an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa.

"You can't tell a country to eat a whole hell of a lot more, and then when they do eat a whole hell of a lot more, wonder if you're not a part of the blame," he said.

He also pointed to other specific recommendations in the guide as outdated. Dr. Freedhoff is just one of many who have questioned the continued inclusion of dairy as a required food group. Others too doubt the wisdom of allowing fruit juice to count as a serving of fruits and vegetables.

Another frequent criticism of the food guide is that it does not adequately take into account the increasing diversity of Canadian palates.

Shortly after the food guide's first publication in 1942, the B.C. government conducted a study at a Vancouver-area elementary school that an classified alarming number of the Chinese children as malnourished. They soon realized those children were not malnourished, but that the survey was based on the official food rules, which required milk and bread and other items not common to a Chinese diet.

Since then, Dr. Mosby said, the guide has done a better job - the 2007 version includes items such as pita, couscous and tofu - but it still has a long way to go to reflect the way many Canadians eat.

"It's very culturally specific," he said. "They try to define food in these groups in a way that sort of defines what Canadian food is and isn't - if you're missing one of these groups, not only are you malnourished, but you're also clearly not Canadian."

Others still say the guide's design is simply flawed.

"From a consumer perspective, the food guide is six pages long - it's long, it's cumbersome, it's not the best tool to put in your back pocket," said Sue Mah, a Toronto-based registered dietician.

Critics say the idea of measuring food based on "serving size," is impractical and confusing. In the current food guide, one serving size of meat and alternatives is described as "1/2 cup cooked fish, shellfish, poultry, lean meat; 3/4 cup cooked legumes; 3/4 cup tofu; 2 eggs; 2 tbsp peanut butter; or 1/4 cup shelled nuts and seeds."

Even his university-level students have trouble following the food guide, Dr. Mosby said. "I hope they do a good job of this [update], because, right now, it's a mess," he said.

Dr. Hutchinson acknowledges the design needs improvement. The serving sizes, he said, were "way too complex." And, because the current guide was meant for everyone from school-aged children to doctors and dieticians, "It tried to be everything to everyone."

The new guide, he said, will likely have different versions for different audiences.

Guiding principles While the food guides of the past have been preoccupied with telling Canadians what to eat, it appears the new one will be equally focused on telling people what not to eat and also how to eat.

As part of its first guiding principle, Health Canada lists foods that Canadians should regularly eat: "vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and protein-rich food - especially plantbased sources of protein." Meat and dairy are not mentioned until the appendix, as examples of "proteinrich foods."

Dr. Hutchinson said these recommendations should not be taken as a signal that any one group will be eliminated from the final guide.

"Some of what's out there is taking it as saying: 'No animal products whatsoever,' " he said. "What we're talking about is going more plantbased, without necessarily eliminating animal products."

The second principle, which focuses on what not to eat, suggests limiting consumption of "processed or prepared foods" - a category that has not been mentioned in earlier guides.

"Saturated fat, sugar or too much salt - there is stronger evidence than ever that these are problematic," Dr. Hutchinson said.

The third principle, which focuses on how to eat, is perhaps attracting the most attention. This looks at overall food skills and knowledge, and encourages people to cook their own meals, and to eat together with family and friends whenever possible.

These arguments, including "preparing meals from scratch," and "eating slowly with enjoyment," echo the Brazilian dietary guidelines launched in 2014, a policy that has received acclaim worldwide for its simple-to-follow, common-sense messages.

Dr. Hutchinson said these are meant to address what he sees as the disconnect between general interest in food and practical knowledge about food. There is a massive interest in food in popular culture, on television and on social media, he said. Yet, "when you look at what's happening with food skills, we're not actually cooking as much, we seem to have lost that ability to pick up basic food and put healthy meals on the plates of our families."

The public consultation period closes next week. In the coming months, Dr. Hutchinson and his team will continue to finalize their plans for the guide. This means that the end result could still look very different from what has been released so far.

It will likely also receive intense scrutiny from the food industry.

Unlike in previous food guides, Health Canada has committed this time not to meet privately with food-industry representatives as part of the process. Still, the public consultations are open to everyone, and already, groups such as the Dairy Farmers of Canada are making their feelings known. In a statement on their website addressing Health Canada, the group wrote, "milk and milk products are an important food category to keep."

Whatever the guide winds up looking like, it will not please everyone - inevitable, given the range of perspectives and evolving research surrounding nutrition and food.

"I don't know if we can ever have a perfect food guide," Dr. Freedhoff said. "It's a tough balancing job. I don't envy them."

Associated Graphic


The poet of the 21st century
He has nearly 400,000 Instagram followers, recently published his first book and wears a mask. Meet Atticus, the most famous Canadian writer you've never heard about
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R14

VANCOUVER -- Hundreds of people showed up to see the Canadian Instagram poet known as Atticus give the first public reading of his career earlier this month at The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles.

The poet wore a mask.

Atticus has kept his identity under wraps, even as his poet persona has exploded, with about 400,000 Instagram followers - including celebrities such as actor Emma Roberts and supermodel Karlie Kloss. His readers are devoted; some have tattooed his words onto their bodies.

Atticus won't reveal much about himself. He's from British Columbia, he's "in the kind of older 20s," and he bounces around a lot, he says, between Canada, Europe and L.A. - he lives in Venice Beach when he's there, as he was when we connected by phone.

The occasion for our conversation was the publication of his first book, Love Her Wild, which includes some of his Instagram poetry but also a great deal of new work and photographs, separated into three sections: Love, Her and Wild.

Here's a sample from Love: Break my heart and you will find yourself inside.

And from Her: She was afraid of heights but she was much more afraid of never flying.


It may strike you as the kind of poetry that might feel more at home in a greeting-card store than a library - but can so many Instagram followers be wrong?

The Globe and Mail caught up with Atticus a few days after Love Her Wild arrived in bookstores.

When did you start writing poetry?

My mom had a poster on the wall growing up of the top Irish playwrights and poets. Under each of them there was a little quote and I think that was my first exposure to poets and poetry and writers.

But I didn't start writing physical poetry myself until about three years ago. I was in France and I had a chance meeting with an actor, Michael Madsen. I found him to be the most profound, interesting gentleman and he told me a lot about his history and his struggles with depression and alcohol and troubles with the family and everything. He had just put out his own poetry book.

And I couldn't believe it; here was this American badass, the most manly, whisky-drinking motorcycle-riding guy and he put out this book of poetry and he said that writing and being able to vent truly saved his life and certainly saved his marriage and his family. And I really took that to heart. Later I was in Paris walking the streets and I saw something and I ended up writing in my phone about it. And that's how it started.

Was it always short-form poetry you were interested in?

I love the short form. I love epigrams and aphorisms and turns of phrase and just trying to say a lot with just a few words. I'm a huge fan of Hemingway and his ability to say a lot in a little. I certainly write longer-form things, but I think because my medium has started as Instagram, the short-form quotes and turns of phrase play a lot better on there.

And they're certainly a lot more consumable. A beautiful thing about Instagram is that it's very experimental. I try things out and some things work and some things very much don't.

How do you know if something works? Is it the reaction from your followers?

You never want to just completely write for the critics, but I think one of the beautiful things about sharing your work on social media is that you get this kind of instant feedback - where back in the day you'd write something and you wouldn't necessarily get feedback for years down the road. But now you can try things and see what resonates and see what doesn't, by likes and comments and engagements and shares; it's an interesting and useful tool.

How did you develop such a devoted following?

I don't know the answer to that. I just started writing and posting and I did it all anonymously. That was important to me. I chose to wear a mask because I wanted to remind myself to always write what I feel and not what I think I should feel. I feel like if I wasn't anonymous that I would start writing for the wrong reasons - trying to impress and such. I think because I try to write very truthfully and vulnerably, I would guess that that's what people relate to.

Do you think it's the socialmedia age that compels you to remain anonymous in order to be truthful with your feelings?

When people like those classic writers were writing, there certainly was a removal of connection to the audience. You could be James Joyce up in a tower writing for years and you could be very private, so I think it was potentially easier to be more vulnerable and truthful and not have it personally connected to you. I think a lot of people would be fine writing very vulnerably and not anonymously. For me, I felt it was important. The poetry is a part of me and I don't want it to define me. I don't want people to think they know me because I write poetry. To be honest, I think it came also from a fear of what it meant to be a poet. I grew up as a boy getting the pressures to be a real man. I'm Canadian - chopping firewood and riding motorcycles - and I grew up boxing and I think that was in conflict with this vulnerability. I think I was like, I need to keep these things separate, just kind of from a place of fear. I'm not scared of that any more but I keep it anonymous for that reason and other reasons now.

Such as? What are the other reasons now?

To write what I feel and not what I think I should feel. But also, I think I've been exposed to an immense amount of celebrity and fame and a lot of my friends are people who are very wellknown and notorious celebrities.

And that world doesn't interest me. But that's not why I started wearing a mask.

Do you think you will ever reveal your identity?

I don't think I will. I'm not precious about who I am underneath. If people found out, if people have guesses, I don't care; I'm not worried about that. If everyone knew who I am, I'd still wear the mask because at this point I feel it's a symbol of something bigger and that's what I want to project.

Have you been able to make a living at this?

I have another career, but it was an interesting moment when I started to realize that I was making more money as a poet than I was in my career. If you're making more revenue doing something that you're really passionate about, at what point do you take your art much more seriously? Certainly it was the last thing on my mind, making money in poetry. I don't think anyone gets into poetry for money. I think it also speaks to the change in the world. With the advent of social media, you can build this brand, you can monetize it, people can make livings as brands. I think it's a very interesting shift in global economics.

I'm sure you hear a lot from your readers. Have there been any particular comments that have really touched you?

I receive hundreds of messages every day [from] people who are suffering with depression and anxiety, and oftentimes, it's youth [who have] problems with self-injury and things like that.

It's been a humbling experience to have those messages come in and people [say things] like, your words spoke to me and in my sadness it made me a little bit happier. Or I got one of your poems tattooed on me and it's a constant reminder of hope.

There was one that was hard to read, but also very powerful. It was [from] this young girl who'd been sexually abused at a young age. She had gotten out of this situation and after seven years had gone by, she got a tattoo of my words. She told me that it was a symbol because there's this saying that after seven years, every single cell of your body has been regenerated so you're a completely new person after seven years; there's no cell that existed that was in that body. And she's like, today I'm a new person and nothing that that person touched is still in existence and I'm looking forward and not back and this poem signifies all of that and it's my body now. That was just immense for me. I read it 1,000 times.

Is there anything particularly Canadian about what you do?

Probably some of my spelling. I grew up sailing around the islands on the West Coast and I think that comes into it. I'd say nature is one of my best muses.

Do you think social media has been good for poetry?

100 per cent I do. There are huge cons to Instagram poetry, but there are huge pros. At the end of the day, there's a huge resurgence of poetry and it's because of social media. You're introducing a generation of people to words and playing with words and messing up and making mistakes and that's a beautiful, powerful thing. I sometimes see Instagram poetry as a gateway drug, as it were, to poetry and to more classical poetry. I think you'd have a hard time throwing James Joyce into schools and getting interest from a younger generation. However if you get these young people into poetry by a short quote and they're like, 'wow that's amazing,' and they start following poets and writing their own poetry, I promise you they'll start coming to James Joyce; they'll start coming to these classics and they'll start coming to longer-form poetry.

What are the cons?

People throwing up poems that they didn't spend a lot of time on or throwing up quotes they didn't spend a lot of time on. It's less polished. I don't think you can fault that necessarily; it's just a different art form. I think we're all just learning and experimenting and having fun with it. Last summer, I was lucky enough to go to Oxford and take some poetry classes at Wadham College and I learned so much. I basically learned how little I know about poetry and the immense world of poetry. I think I'm speaking for a lot of online poets, but we have a long way to go and tonnes to learn, but we're having fun just doing it. I write to enjoy it and to connect with people. I don't write for any other reason.

Associated Graphic

Atticus, who hails from British Columbia, says that he prefers to remain anonymous as it allows him to write more vulnerably.


Atticus says that while most of the poetry on Instagram is less polished, the medium allows writers a chance to experiment and find their voice.

The rousing lessons of the Avro Arrow
Ottawa hasn't been a reliable supporter of science and technology. Quantum computing gives the country a chance to reverse course
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F8

As Canada marks its 150th anniversary, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been working hard to signal a new determination in Ottawa to put Canada on the world's technological map.

Mr. Trudeau dubbed his most recent federal budget an "innovation budget" and has been promoting his government's agenda through visits to promising startups and tech companies. He even gave media reporters a brief lesson in quantum computing at a highly publicized press conference last year.

In choosing quantum computing as his theme, Mr. Trudeau was selecting a hot topic, one very much in the news these days.

Moreover, he had in mind a technology that was actually pioneered in Canada, by the company D-Wave Systems, currently based in Burnaby, B.C. So, does this herald a new golden age for Canadian R&D?

There is precedent here for some skepticism. When it comes to science and technology, Ottawa has a long history of talking the talk but not walking the walk. The controversial story of MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates provides a case in point. The iconic spacetechnology firm, based in Richmond, B.C., managed to corner much of the world market in sophisticated satellite surveillance during the period from 1990 to 2005, as well as design and build the famous Canadarm for the American space shuttle. And yet the company has now shifted its focus to the U.S., a move that became almost inevitable once the government of Stephen Harper decided to pull back from investing in aerospace. Canada's future in space has been uncertain for years, even according to reviews prepared by the Canadian government.

Such hesitance from Ottawa is not new. Those with long memories, or an interest in Canadian history, will recall the infamous Avro Arrow story, one of the most remarkable betrayals of a Canadian industry by a Canadian government. Immortalized in the media, books, and the 1996 CBC film, The Arrow, starring Dan Aykroyd, the Avro story has acquired mythical proportions in the Canadian consciousness, and is still worth relating.

In October, 1957, Avro was the third-largest company in Canada, employing 50,000 people, and it had just rolled out the world's most advanced fighter aircraft, the CF-105 Avro Arrow. The Arrow was entirely designed and built in Canada by an extraordinary team spearheaded by Crawford Gordon Jr. How Canada came to take the lead from the world's superpowers, and how it could have gone on to become a big high-tech player, has provided material for historians and journalists for many years. But the reality turned out to be very different.

In February, 1959, the government of John Diefenbaker cancelled the Arrow project and ordered all the Arrow aircraft - as well as the blueprints, models, and designs - to be destroyed.

The government tried to argue that cash was short and that the future of defence was in missiles.

They accordingly bought from the U.S. a collection of Boeing Bomarc missiles, which turned out to be useless. Later on, when the political dust had settled, the government bought 64 secondhand Voodoo fighters (capable of less than half the speed of the Arrow), also from the U.S. The total value of these purchases amounted to more than the cost of the entire Arrow program.

Mr. Diefenbaker's actions destroyed far more than just the Arrow project. Before long, almost all the talent responsible for the company's success had left Canada, with many former employees going on to play key roles in the design of the supersonic Concorde civil airliner and the hardware for the American Apollo and Gemini space programs. The damage to Canadian aerospace, to national selfesteem, and to other innovative technological efforts was colossal and far-reaching.

This history echoes into the current day. In 2017, Canadian aerospace policy is dominated in the news by the attempt to buy, at fantastic cost, a set of 65 unproven F-35 fighter planes from Lockheed Martin. Apparently, Canada remains dependent on foreign suppliers for military aircraft; what will happen in the civil-aviation sphere now seems to rest largely on the fate of the Quebecbased company Bombardier.

Given this 50-year history, we can certainly ask: What hope is there for Canadian high tech on the world stage? And what of quantum computing?

The advent of quantum computation (and, more generally, of quantum information processing or QIP, for short) will likely have as great an impact on the 21st century as aerospace did on the 20th century. As one might expect of anything with the word "quantum" in it, QIP is a little harder to understand than is flight, but we think the effort is worthwhile. QIP depends on quantum mechanics, the gamechanging theory discovered in 1925 by Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger, and others.

Until 1925, it was universally assumed that all objects in the universe, from the smallest elementary particles to the largest cosmic structures, could exist in only one physical state at a given time - what we now call a "classical state." The idea that a molecule could be in several different places at once, or that an electronic circuit could carry two different electric currents at the same time, would have been ridiculed before 1925.

However, the nonsensical has now become fundamental. In spite of enormous efforts to show that quantum mechanics must fail, it has withstood all tests and has, along with Einstein's theory of space-time and gravity, extended our understanding of the physical world from sub-nuclear scales up to the entire universe. The idea that physical systems can be in "superpositions of states" - in several states at once - is here to stay.

Around 1980, the renowned American physicist Richard Feynman noted that such superpositions must also apply to any kind of information, and hence to any information-processing system.

Thus, a computer could be in a superposition of different computations, a database in a superposition of different searches, a data transmission in a superposition of different coded messages, and so on. The ability to run many computations simultaneously meant that quantum computers would be almost unimaginably powerful. Early ideas included quantum decryption (allowing the decryption of any classical message - past, present, or future - with ease) and quantum encryption (encoding messages beyond the reach of any conceivable classical computer).

Other ideas included ultrafast data searches, computations, and optimization (the search among many different scenarios or outcomes for the one best satisfying certain predefined criteria). All these relied on the possibility of having exponentially many operations going on at once -s uperposed - in a single physical system.

However, what really counts in a game like this is to actually make a quantum computer - and this is what D-Wave did. Its "quantum optimizer" has now attracted enormous attention, with a cover article in Time magazine and the purchase of D-Wave computers in the U.S. by Lockheed, NASA, and Google, as well as by several universities, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and a data-security company.

In response to this success, there have been major investments by a number of large corporations and governments.

Within the space of 2016 alone, the European community announced a $1.5-billion research initiative in quantum computing; the Chinese government, in collaboration with Austria, launched a $500-million satellite intended to accomplish global quantum communication; and in an announcement of enormous hubris, Google published a plan for world domination of the new field. It is nevertheless amusing to observers that all the Google and European Union publicity so far has featured photos of D-Wave processors.

Obviously, when the stakes are this high, these are merely gambits - there are still many moves left to play. The D-Wave quantum optimizer is not a full-blooded "gated" quantum computer, which will require solving the difficult problem of eliminating what is called "decoherence," the process by which even tiny interactions of the computer with its surroundings disrupt the very delicate correlations between the different parts of a superposition.

Suppressing decoherence requires extraordinary control over these minute interactions, and thus remains a significant challenge. More radical designs - such as the "topological quantum computer" advocated by Microsoft - are even further in the future. But this simply means that fortune will favour not only the brave but also the persistent, those in for the long haul.

So, will Canada stay in the game? A complaint often directed at Ottawa over the years has been about its inability to engage in ambitious long-term planning, both domestically and in foreign affairs. So far, the federal interest in quantum computing has concentrated on style over substance - the majority of D-Wave's funding has come from the U.S., and there has been little effort to bring together researchers from the Canadian university community and the R&D effort in Canadian industry (a mistake not being made in other countries).

But there is still time for both Ottawa and the provincial governments to focus, to maintain the momentum already gained, and to make sure that an Avro-style hemorrhage of talent does not occur again. For Canada's 150th anniversary, it would be refreshing to see a daring and ambitious effort in this direction, with a clear desire in Ottawa to stay the course.

But herein lies the root of the problem. For great enterprises of this kind to succeed - whether it is an Avro Arrow, an Apollo moon shot, or even an agenda for social change such as that advocated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of - the participants must feel inspired by what appears to be a lofty goal, and they must believe they can succeed in attaining it. Canadians, however, are not used to the idea of taking on the world and winning (except perhaps in winter sports). To get past this, we clearly need a commitment by the federal and/or provincial governments to give real backing to such enterprises.

But, perhaps even more than this, what is required is a change of mindset in the country as a whole. And this is where strong and visionary political leadership can make a big difference: first, by inspiring the country to believe that we really can succeed; and then, by making sure that small groups of dedicated people get the support they need. It will not be enough to say "Yes, we can," or to have photo ops about quantum computation.

Nearly a dozen other countries are now seriously investing in quantum computation, with a mixture of private and government capital. If we really believe that Canada is capable of playing in such a high-stakes game, then we should also get serious and get on with it - now, before the Canadian advantage is lost and the enthusiasm (and the people) drain away.

Perhaps by the time of Canada's 200th anniversary, in 2067, Canadians will be able to proudly say that their country has finally succeeded in playing (and winning) at the big table. This would befit a country that already has four times the population of both Switzerland and Sweden (two big international high-tech players) and that is projected to have a larger population by 2067 than any European country except Germany.

The Trudeau government has promised change - now, as we look to the future, is the time for Canada to deliver.

Philip Stamp is the director of UBC's Pacific Institute of Theoretical Physics. This piece appears in Reflections of Canada: Illuminating our Biggest Possibilities and Challenges at 150+ Years, Philippe Tortell, Margot Young, Peter Nemetz, eds. (Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, 2017).

Associated Graphic

The Avro Arrow with test pilot Jan Zurakowskim in 1958.


What would Tom Thomson think?
Art or abomination: A tribute to a legendary Canadian artist in small-town Ontario sets chins wagging, Roy MacGregor writes
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A8

HUNTSVILLE, ONT. -- Ottawa has Voice of Fire.

Little Huntsville - a picturesque tourist town in the heart of Ontario's cottage country - has Pipe Man.

Both works of art are 5.5 metres tall, both have but two colours - red and blue for Voice of Fire, black and white for Pipe Man - and both opened to initial public outrage.

One, the Barnett Newman painting that the Canadian government purchased to wide outcry in 1990 for $1.76-million, hangs in the National Gallery, overlooking the Ottawa River. The other just hangs around the town docks, bobbing in the Muskoka River.

Pipe Man, as it is known locally, is an homage to Tom Thomson, the legendary Canadian artist who vanished 100 years ago last Saturday and eight days later was found floating in Algonquin Park's Canoe Lake, a deep bruise on his left temple and fishing line wrapped more than a dozen times around one ankle. The mystery, blessed with precious few facts, several "alternative facts" and endless speculation, will never be solved. Nor does anyone today wish it to be, as the mystery has become equal to the art in the enduring legacy of Thomson.

There is no such mystery behind Pipe Man. It was a gift to the town from Pipefusion, a local success story that builds and sells floating docks and this year celebrates its 35th anniversary as one of the small town's most important employers. The offer of a gift was made by Pipefusion owner Jan Nyquist and town officials suggested some public art that would require little to no cost maintenance. As the town had honoured Thomson with a statue in front of the town hall and several murals on buildings, it was suggested something special for the 100th anniversary of his passing might be appropriate.

An accomplished local artist, Beverley Hawksley, was commissioned and the town ensured that every possible consideration was given - including gaining permission from Transport Canada to anchor the floating industrial art work along a navigable waterway. The floating statue would even be lighted for night safety.

Through many months of planning, including open council sessions and media stories on the project, there was some debate, but mostly about its prominent location . It would be anchored just off the swing bridge in a widening of the river that is surrounded by retail outlets and restaurants.

The local Rotary Club was onside. Nearby businesses approved. One citizen wrote council saying the sculpture "is a stunning piece of dare to be different art work and we are fortunate to have the artist and the sponsor both living in our town." "Public art is not meant to be liked or disliked," wrote another. "It is meant to be discussed and cause thought. Tom Thomson would have known this since his art, too, was deemed controversial in some circles."

The new work was "installed" late last year ... and the proverbial immediately hit the fan.

"It's strange how passionate many people are in their dislike of Pipe Man," says Elizabeth Rice, former publisher of the Huntsville Forester and currently publisher of Huntsville Doppler, a popular online publication. "We can spend hours working on really important stories about local health care, tax increases, sewer capacity, and people are like, 'Yeah whatever - but that Pipe Man has to go.' " Doppler ran an online survey that found only 9 per cent like Pipe Man and wished him left alone, while 31 per cent felt the art was fine but the location wrong - and 60 per cent checked off "Not my cup of tea."

Comments ran to 55 pages in the survey, with many calling it "an eyesore," some saying it was "dangerous" and many condemning it as "advertising" for Pipefusion. "SELF SERVING ABOMINATION" wrote one anonymous critic. Many have pointed out its resemblance to an erect penis.

A small portion of those who commented were favourable, especially kind to Ms. Hawksley's evocative etching of Thomson. "If we only had art that the 'masses' love," wrote one, "then we would be like every other town."

Huntsville, it should be noted, is most decidedly not "like every other town." They do things differently here and take great pride in it. Back in the late 1800s, when the town's "founding father," Captain George Hunt, staked out lots on the prime land around Fairy and Vernon lakes, he insisted on a clause in each deed that would ban alcohol from the premises for 20 years and 10 months after the death of Queen Victoria's last grandchild. The people responded by building on the surrounding hills and drinking whatever they wished.

It is a town that sometimes feels as if it poured from the pen of Stephen Leacock.

Seven years ago, during the G8 Summit, the town revelled in the national media's outrage over the $50-million fund that local MP Tony Clement snagged in order to pave roads, plant flowers and build state-of-the-art public toilets. When the actual summit was held, the army was on hand to deal with protesters, the most memorable of whom was a young boy holding up a sign requesting more cookies.

Not even Leacock could make up some of this stuff.

"It's kind of funny," says Mayor Scott Aitchison of Pipe Man. "This is what art is supposed to be. It's supposed to provoke a response."

Jonathan Shaughnessy agrees. The associate curator of contemporary art at Canada's National Gallery, Mr. Shaughnessy has seen Voice of Fire shift from being a national outrage to "one of the masterpieces that people will come to Ottawa to see."

Public art, he says, can be "a prickly realm." On any arts jury selecting an item for public display, there will invariably be the "safe" way to go, as well as the "risky." Safe isn't always the smartest

"Sometimes the most obvious, you get it right away and that's great," Mr. Shaughnessy says. "But then it languishes in a park for 20 or 30 years and nobody pays any attention to it. What's there to pique your interest?

"This is what Voice of Fire does. If there's something there that gives you a sort of confusion, it's like you have to go back to it. It's the question of what matters over time. Is it the work that at first might be a head-scratcher in some ways? Not to give offence, but just sort of ' Oh, what's up with that?' Art is not the same as every other item out there in consumer culture. Sometimes it's meant to lob a bit of a ... whatever into the conversation.

"You can avoid . going to a museum if you don't want to see what*s in there," Mr. Shaughnessy says, "but when yous tart putting things outside, then you're saying 'You have to deal with this object in some way. We hope you'll enjoy it, but not everyone does.'"

"I like Pipe Man because it's doing what art should do," says Grant Nickalls, a local broadcaster and actor who will present a one-act play, When Winnie Knew, tomorrow at the Algonquin Theatre in town. "Winnie" is Winnifred Trainor, the Huntsville girlfriend left behind when Thomson died. Local legend has the painter booking a honeymoon cabin at Billie Bear Lodge just before he disappeared.

"Sometimes, I feel a little bit like I'm living in Negativeville, not Huntsville," Mr. Nickalls says in a video posted on YouTube. For the anonymous critics of the art, he has nothing but condemnation. Ms. Hawksley, he says, is "an incredible artist" who is duly celebrated for her talent. Nyquist, he says, has a long history of giving generously to town causes.

As for those who criticize it as nothing but advertising for Pipefusion, Mr. Nickalls suggests they look again at the town's popular Christmastime Parade: "Other than Santa Claus himself, is that not just a bunch of business cards rolling down Main Street?" "We don't even have our name on it" says Mr. Nyquist, the Pipefusion owner and donor. Indeed, a prerequisite of council was that there be no advertising attached. The only mention of the donor is found in a discreet sign put up on shore by the town.

All the same, one anonymous critic called it "shameless advertising," proving that Leacock had it pretty much right when he wrote in The Garden of Folly that, "A half truth, like half a brick, is always more forcible as an argument than a whole one. It carries further."

Mr. Nyquist understands that there is a certain element of surprise to encountering a work of art in the middle of a river. "I have no issue with someone not liking it," he says. "The issue is about not insulting someone like Beverley. If you call it a 'turd,' fine - but if you attack Beverley, that's bullying."

As for his own feelings, he says: "Once in a while you feel a little beat up, but I'm way past that."

"The donation was handled with the best of intentions," says Teri Souter, the town's manager of arts, culture and heritage. "The artist was assigned and paid to design it. The council approved it and Transport Canada okayed it. It's unfortunate that the public was not engaged throughout, but it was discussed at council and reported in the media." The artist, Ms. Hawksley, says that Mr. Nyquist should be thanked for his generosity. "How many companies want to celebrate their anniversary by giving art to the public?" she asks. "What a wonderful gesture."

The four-sided black pipe column has Ms. Hawksley's image of Tom Thomson on one side and 35 ripples on another, the sole tip to the company's anniversary. In retrospect, Mr. Nyquist says, they might better have put art on all four sides, as many are confused when they first see it and it has yet to spin around to show the image.

"If I get asked one more time what it is," says a worker in a nearby outfitting store, "I'm going to cry."

The town has opened up an online survey to gauge public response on what, if anything, to do about the controversy. The survey runs until Aug. 5, Thomson's birthday. One possible result will be to move it, at considerable cost, to a less prominent location.

Some, however, are coming around to liking it right where it is. "The more I look at Pipe Man in person and in photos," says Ms. Rice, the publisher, "The more I grow to like him."

Mr. Aitchison would agree. "I like it," the mayor says, "especially at night when there's a little haze over the water and you can see it glowing."

"In the evening it looks like a great big glowing penis ready to take on the world," adds Mr. Nickalls.

"Now how does that not make you proud to be living in this town? How does that not make you smile?

"Long live the Pipe Man!"

Associated Graphic

The 5.5-metre-tall Pipe Man sits in the Muskoka River in Huntsville, Ont. A survey found just 9 per cent of respondents like the artwork, while 60 per cent give it thumbs down, many condemning it as an eyesore and free advertising for the local company that donated it.


A small group of friends in the Vancouver area are at the forefront of slacklining, a burgeoning subculture that's pushing a fringe sport to ever-greater heights and distances. David Ebner reports
Monday, July 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Two summers ago, Spencer Seabrooke stepped off the edge of a cliff and out into the air.

Seabrooke was held aloft by a narrow band of fabric, three centimetres wide. The slackline stretched over a deep gully atop Stawamus Chief Mountain in Squamish, B.C.

The plan was to walk across - without a safety harness. The ground was 290 metres below Seabrooke's feet. A fall meant death. The walking distance of 64 metres would mark a world record in the obscure extreme sport of free solo slacklining. "You're standing on nothing," Seabrooke said at the time. "Everything inside your body is telling you this is wrong."

Several steps into the crossing, Seabrooke looked down. It was a searing moment of reckoning. He crouched to steady himself and reached with his hands to grab the slackline. He suddenly flipped over - but hung on. He righted himself, let out a few screams, and stood again. He had walked the same slackline - tethered by safety gear - many times before. He exhaled his nerves, settled into the adrenaline. He crossed in four minutes. The video of the stunt became an online sensation and the story was broadcast by ABC News. The feat is dizzying to watch.

Seabrooke and a small group of friends in the Vancouver area are at the forefront of slacklining, a burgeoning subculture that's pushing a fringe sport to ever-greater heights and distances. The ethos is similar to rock climbing. The endeavour exists without precisely set boundaries, without exact rules, with no big paydays. Slackliners dream up new challenges and then broadcast their exploits on YouTube and Instagram, aiming to attract attention and potential sponsors.

The sport is percolating into the mainstream.

There was a slackline performance during Madonna's 2012 Super Bowl halftime show.

And this month, to start the new season of Amazing Race Canada, one contestant on each team walked a slackline over a 40metre gap high up on the Hotel Vancouver, which Seabrooke and his friends had helped rig.

The racers - harnessed and holding a rope as an aid - were a dozen storeys above the street.

"Fear is a natural reaction," one participant counselled himself after he fell and bounced on a bungee. "Courage is a choice."

Another racer, who didn't have to walk the line, exclaimed, "I'm so happy I'm not doing this."

On a highline - any slackline of a considerable height - fear is universal, even for the likes of Seabrooke and his band.

Almost all slackliners use a safety tether. (Free solo highlines are a tiny niche of an already niche sport, for the obvious reason of extreme consequence.)

Stepping from the edge, even with the seeming security of the safety tether, adrenaline spikes, the heart pumps, limbs quiver.

Marshalling this is the challenge, one that can take months of practice, overcoming fear and mastering balance. Eventually, there is zen. Slacklining, at its best, is a kind of physical poetry, a slow-motion flying, walking through the air.

"While I'm out there, it's home, for me," said Seabrooke, 28. "You find yourself in a really calm place."

Tightrope walking has a long history. A fresco unearthed from Pompeii depicts fairy-like creatures dancing across tightropes.

A Spanish tightrope walker performed at the coronation of England's nine-year-old Edward VI in 1547. Niagara Falls was first crossed in 1859 by Charles Blondin, a Frenchman. Nik Wallenda, part of the famous circus family, did it for a large audience in 2012. Philippe Petit, another Frenchmen, garnered fame in 1974 when he walked on a wire between the two towers of the World Trade Center.

Slacklining is a cousin to, and an evolution of, tightrope walking. As the names indicate, a tightrope is much more taut than a slackline. Tightropes are generally steel, whereas slacklines are a fabric webbing, polyester, nylon, or a similar material. On a slackline, a person can bounce and swing, and on long lines, the sag is also significant, so one is walking up or down an incline.

The sport emerged in the early 1980s, around the rock climbing scene at Yosemite National Park in California. Scott Balcom, in 1985, was the first to walk tethered on a 17-metre highline on Lost Arrow Spire, the valley bottom some 880 metres below.

Charles (Chongo) Tucker, a longtime denizen of Yosemite, was there in slacklining's earliest days. Later, in 1994, he was one of the next people to walk the Lost Arrow Spire highline.

"As scared as I was, it was as cool as anything I've ever done in my life," Tucker said.

Slacklining remained a littleknown pastime. It is only in the past few years that the sport has started to grow.

"It's unbelievable what people are doing now," Tucker said.

Seabrooke grew up in Peterborough, Ont., in love with snowboarding and the outdoors. On a chairlift when he was a boy, he asked his mom what religion they were. She answered, "This is our church." As an adult, Seabrooke moved west and worked pouring concrete. He saw a documentary in 2012 that featured Andy Lewis, a slackliner and free solo pioneer who performed at the Super Bowl with Madonna.

Seabrooke was entranced and devoted himself to the sport.

Three years later, he walked his record free solo highline on the Stawamus Chief.

The attention Seabrooke won led to work, everything from commercials (including one for Stoli vodka) to paid appearances at slackline festivals from Poland to China. SlacklifeBC, the group he co-founded, also got into the business of selling gear.

They started to imagine bigger projects. Seabrooke and his friends couldn't take their eyes off the Lions, two iconic peaks visible from much of Vancouver.

A year ago, a group of seven hiked six hours with more than 200 kilograms of gear to get to the Lions. It was July and they camped on snow between the peaks. But their planning was poor - they pushed ahead even with a forecast for a lot of rain - and problems ensued. Seabrooke's thumb was badly cut up by a loose rock when he worked to anchor one side of the line. Another person, while rock climbing East Lion to help anchor the other side, was nearly hit by a soccer-ball-sized boulder that fell from above. Then came full-on failure. The gap between the two Lions is 375 or so metres. The group realized their slackline wasn't quite long enough.

Atop East Lion, Seabrooke cursed and shed a few tears.

"This is really sad," he said over radio to the camp.

Lessons were learned. In August last year, the group headed to Hunlen Falls, 400 metres high, in B.C.'s Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park. They drove 10 hours from Vancouver and then flew in by float plane.

A string of successes were achieved.

Friedi Kuhne, a German slackliner, walked a free solo highline 72 metres long, besting Seabrooke's record. For Kuhne, it was a physical journey into mind and soul. "I remember thinking that nothing is impossible," he said. "I truly got to know myself."

Mia Noblet, tethered, crossed a 222-metre highline, then the farthest by a woman. Noblet had taken up the sport only 11/2 years earlier. As a teenager, she was a competitive speed skater. But she had long been inspired by a poster in a shop in Nelson, B.C., where she grew up, that pictured Dean Potter on a highline at Yosemite. (Potter, a rock climber and wingsuit BASE jumper, was also a free solo slackline pioneer.

He died in 2015 in a wingsuit crash.)

Noblet, 22, has since bettered her record, walking a 450-metre line this spring at Skaha Bluffs near Penticton, B.C. Then, in June, after SlacklifeBC scoured Google Earth for new sites, they rigged a 680-metre line, the longest in North America. It was on Mount Seymour, on Vancouver's North Shore Mountains. Noblet wasn't able to cross the entire distance but made it almost 500 metres.

For months, when she first started slacklining, the height froze her with fear.

"I would stand up, so terrified," Noblet said. "I couldn't even move my foot to take a step - battling my own mind."

The breakthrough came last year. At Hunlen Falls, she said, "my mind was in the moment.

Just walking. And it was so enjoyable."

There are variations of slacklining, everything from highlines to tricklining, which is devoted to bouncing and doing flips and spins. There are competitions but there's no governing body, and no go-to website. The slacklining Wikipedia page is a rough compilation of information.

Progression in the past two years has been rapid. In late 2015, the longest highline was about 500 metres. The figure was bumped up to 1,020 metres last year, in France north of Nice.

This year in June, northwest of Marseille, a 1,662-metre line was rigged and crossed. With such long slacklines, the rigging can be the most difficult part, involving arduous days of work to anchor the line on two distant points.

With the escalation of distance walking, Seabrooke and Noblet turn their focus to projects of esthetic beauty and unique challenges - such as Hunlen Falls last summer. The Lions remain a goal of SlacklifeBC. And while it's not a sport to make much money, Noblet is now paid to travel to festivals, as Seabrooke has been. And SlacklifeBC has sold upwards of 10,000-metres worth of slacklines - and 6,000 more are being manufactured.

Still, it's niche. Most of the best-known slackliners such as Seabrooke, have only a few thousand followers on Instagram.

Seabrooke continues to work the occasional day job, pouring concrete. But his slackline ambitions grow. He cheered on Kühne at Hunlen Falls when his free solo record was broken.

Seabrooke tore the meniscus in his right knee in late 2015 and struggled thereafter. Now, he feels poised to outdo his 2015 stunt, again drawn to walk on the edge of death.

"It's always on my mind," he said. "It's really about the battle with myself. It's the feeling of control."

He's thinking about a 101metre free solo highline on the Stawamus Chief, farther than Kuhne's mark and his previous walk.

"When you step out into the air, there's something so clean about it," said Seabrooke.

"Height makes it real."

Associated Graphic

Spencer Seabrooke crosses over a deep gully atop Stawamus Chief Mountain in Squamish, B.C., two summers ago held aloft by a narrow band of fabric.


Mia Noblet walks the slackline 400 metres above the base of Hunlen Falls in British Columbia's Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park.


Spencer Seabrooke once walked a slackline 290 metres off the ground in Squamish, B.C. He accomplished the feat without a safety harness but was unfazed. 'While I'm out there, it's home, for me,' the 28-year-old said. 'You find yourself in a really calm place.'


'Vive le Québec libre': How Charles de Gaulle's rallying cry resonates with the politics of today
Fifty years later, the French president's notorious words aren't the call to revolution sovereigntists had hoped for - but his rough diplomacy is back in style, Robert Everett-Green writes
Monday, July 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A6

MONTREAL -- President arrives on a state visit, says and does things that offend his hosts and startle even his advisers. That could describe U.S. President Donald Trump in 2017, but it really fit Charles de Gaulle when the French president visited Canada 50 years ago, and shouted "Vive le Québec libre!" from a balcony at Montreal's City Hall.

The visit still strikes sparks in Quebec. A plan by the sovereigntist Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste (SSJB) to commemorate the famous speech on the balcony where it occurred on July 24, 1967, was scotched recently by Mayor Denis Coderre, whose spokesperson insisted that "City Hall is neutral and apolitical."

City Hall will, however, mark the occasion with its own weeklong de Gaulle exhibition, and provide guided tours of the balcony.

General de Gaulle's apparent expectation that Quebec would become sovereign hasn't panned out, but his rough diplomacy seems to be coming into style.

Mr. Trump has offered apparent affronts to the leaders of several friendly nations, including Germany, Mexico and Australia.

Former Mexican president Vicente Fox has attacked Mr. Trump's border-control policies in language that no one would call presidential.

Even Gen. de Gaulle's decadeslater successor, Emmanuel Macron, went a bit rogue last month after the United States quit the Paris climate-change agreement, appealing directly to American climate scientists and entrepreneurs to move to France and help "make the Earth great again." High-level diplomacy seems to be turning less diplomatic, and Gen. de Gaulle deserves a precursor's share of the credit.

Some have argued that his balcony utterance was a lastminute slip-up by the then-76year-old statesman. According to a new French-language book about the visit by Montreal journalist André Duchesne, however, the speech in Montreal was the logical climax of a series of deliberate slights and provocations that began months before Gende Gaulle arrived in Quebec City on the French cruiser Colbert.

La Traversée du Colbert: de Gaulle au Québec en juillet 1967 digs into private letters, diplomatic notes and memoirs by those close to the events. It paints a sometimes hilarious portrait of an old soldier obsessed with grand gestures, and a behind-the-scenes marathon of diplomatic mud wrestling over where the visitor would go and who would receive him when he got there.

"French Canada is bound to become its own state," Gen. de Gaulle wrote privately to an aide in 1963. "This perspective must guide our actions."

France had lost its Algerian colony a year earlier. Gen. de Gaulle had resisted the decline of the French empire after the war, but by the early 1960s he saw promise in a loose alliance of French-speaking states, including Quebec. That suited the newly outward-looking Liberal government of premier Jean Lesage, which established an agency in Paris and forged new links with a French homeland that had all but ignored Quebec since the fall of New France.

Some federal cabinet ministers grumbled about the "imperialist aims" they saw behind France's new-found interest. They were further alarmed when Mr. Lesage's successor as premier, Union Nationale leader Daniel Johnson, was received in Paris like a head of state in May, 1967.

The Belgian ambassador to Canada noted privately that Ottawa was terrified that Gen. de Gaulle's reciprocal Quebec visit would turn into an "apotheosis of bilateral relations" between France and the province.

Gen. de Gaulle was one of many world leaders invited by Canada to celebrate the centennial of Confederation, but Mr. Johnson made a point of saying that Quebec had issued its own "personal" invitation, without asking leave from Ottawa. "We must share the cake," the premier said. Quebec angled for more of the cake by proposing the cruiser crossing, which would allow the general to land near Quebec City, skirting the usual rule that heads of state must visit the national capital first.

Ottawa resisted the boat idea, but relented when it realized that the Colbert would have to dock in a federal port. Each side scrambled for a diplomatic prize identified by a front-page headline in The Globe and Mail: "Who shakes his hand first?" Governor-General Roland Michener finally claimed the honour, but the general, dressed in military uniform instead of his usual civilian clothes, more or less ignored Mr. Michener after the greeting.

During an official dinner hosted by the province at the Chateau Frontenac, Gen. de Gaulle saluted Quebec as "a people taking their destiny into their own hands." The Globe's front-page story announced: "Separate Quebec seen by de Gaulle."

The next day, the president climbed into an open Lincoln Continental limousine, for a 270-kilometre motorcade to Montreal along the Chemin du Roy (Highway 138), a remnant of French rule before the Conquest. Fleurs-de-lis were stencilled onto the asphalt and a replica of the Arc de Triomphe was erected along the route. The Quebec government rented a private radio station so as to provide full coverage, further annoying Ottawa by flouting its control over broadcasting.

The SSJB and local priests had mustered friendly throngs all along the route; the SSJB claimed one million onlookers.

Gen. de Gaulle passed through 24 towns and villages and stopped in six of them. He waded into crowds and rode through towns standing up, gripping a bar installed in the limo for that purpose. U.S. president John Kennedy had been assassinated in a similar vehicle less than four years earlier, and Gen. de Gaulle himself had narrowly missed being shot during an attack on his car in 1962, yet no one seemed to worry much about his becoming a target in Quebec.

Wherever he stopped, he gave speeches that amped up his rhetoric of Quebec's national destiny. "If this keeps up," Mr. Johnson joked to an aide after a speech at Trois-Rivières, "by the time we get to Montreal, we will be separated!" The size and enthusiasm of the crowds may have encouraged Gen. de Gaulle to believe that Quebec was hungrier for independence than it actually was.

But Mr. Duchesne recounts that the general mulled over the famous slogan during his sea crossing. He asked a senior naval officer: "What would you say if I told them, 'Vive le Québec libre?' " - adding that he might, "depending on the atmosphere."

The famous moment came on the evening of July 24. Mayor Jean Drapeau knew about his guest's previous speeches, and had ordered the balcony to be cleared of a microphone that had been placed there. But it was only unplugged - and easily revived by a technician when Gen. de Gaulle said he wanted to speak to the people.

Still wearing his military uniform, the general told the large crowd he had a secret for them, which was that his journey across Quebec felt just like his return to Paris after its liberation in 1944. He knew this "secret" would be received in Ottawa like a rifle butt in the guts. "Vive le Québec libre!" was the coup de grâce. It was also the slogan of the separatist Rassemblement pour l'indépendance nationale (RIN).

Federalist condemnation was swift and severe, though it took prime minister Lester Pearson's cabinet nearly a day to muster an official response. Gen. de Gaulle's words were "unacceptable," Mr. Pearson said in a national broadcast. "Canadians do not need to be liberated. Indeed, many thousands of Canadians gave their lives in two world wars in the liberation of France and other European countries. Canada remains united."

Gen. de Gaulle was still expected to visit Ottawa, the PM said, though no one imagined he would, after such a rebuff. The president continued his Montreal visit, touring Expo 67 and the new Metro system. He attended an official dinner at which Mr. Johnson remarked that Quebec and France were linked by "le culte de la liberté." Mr. Drapeau spoke in a different key, saying that France had left Quebec to its own devices long ago, and that "one can't be nostalgic after four centuries."

Sovereigntists, delighted as they initially were, also expressed doubts about the import of the general's sympathy. René Lévesque, who cofounded the Parti Québécois a year later, said that liberation would come through "purely domestic action, or not at all."

Gen. de Gaulle skipped his appointments in Ottawa, as expected, and flew home from Montreal. He was widely criticized in France for embarrassing the country abroad. "I went to Quebec to help the Québécois escape their conditions of insubordination," he explained. "I didn't tell them to rebel." He offered no apologies.

Could he have helped in a way that wouldn't have soured relations with Canada, as he certainly did in the short term?

Unlike Mr. Trump, who often seems unaware of when and how he breaks the rules, Gende Gaulle was a keen student of protocol and diplomatic symbolism. He could easily have found gentler means of showing his support.

In other ways, the general was very much like America's businessman president. Gen. de Gaulle had a grand sense of himself, huge faith in executive power and distrust for anything that might limit his country's independent lustre. He had no qualms about treating supposed friends abrasively, including, in the early 1960s, the United States and Britain. He loved attention, and got it by making dramatic, unexpected gestures.

He was also, like Mr. Trump, sensitive to slights. When Canadian veterans travelled to France in April, 1967, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Gen. de Gaulle refused to send an honour guard. He was offended that the Canadian government had arranged for Prince Philip to preside over the ceremony. The president was so mad, according to a Globe report at the time, that he nearly cancelled his forthcoming Canadian trip. "It's always the same with these Anglo-Saxons!" he complained.

In the end, he stuck to the plan and boarded the Colbert.

He would show them, those Anglo-Saxons in Ottawa. Vive le Québec ...

Associated Graphic

French President Charles de Gaulle meets guests for a reception aboard the French cruiser Colbert in Montreal on July 23, 1967.


Above left: French President Charles de Gaulle ascends the ramp of a French military jet at Montreal Airport on July 26, 1967, 24 hours after being rebuked by Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson for remarks made in Montreal.

Above right: A University of Toronto student protests the remarks made by Gen. de Gaulle outside the consulate of France in Toronto on July 25, 1967.

Left: Gen. de Gaulle delivers his famous 'Vive le Québec libre' speech from the balcony of Montreal's City Hall on July 24, 1967.


Residents push back against city park plan
Homeowners vow not to sell; board willing to play the long waiting game for remaining seven houses to expand Trout Lake
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S4

VANCOUVER -- Residents of the 3000-block of Victoria Drive are not about to let their houses get mowed down for parkland.

The homeowners, whose houses abut John Hendry Park - also known as Trout Lake - are forming an association to thwart a City of Vancouver park board plan to convert their houses to park. They are including homeowners along East 13th Avenue and Garden Drive who also might be at risk, since their homes also back onto Trout Lake.

The residents of the 3000 block only learned that their houses are slated for a park extension after The Globe and Mail reported the city's closed-door decision to purchase 3030 Victoria Dr. and demolish it for parkland, even though the lot sits in the middle of the block.

The city bought the lovingly restored 1919 character house for almost $1.6-million as part of a quiet long-term plan to eventually bulldoze all eight houses, close down the laneway to the rear and extend John Hendry Park. The house was purchased early in 2016 and it's been sitting empty ever since. That a city-owned house has been empty and neglected for 17 months has raised eyebrows, especially considering the city has just brought in an empty-homes tax. As well, there is a near-zero vacancy rate.

The house is zoned for duplexing, and could easily house eight people like other duplexes on the street.

Also, residents are furious that they were not informed of the city's interest in their houses.

They have placed big signs around the house, urging others to write the city, and they are starting a petition, calling for the city and park board to back away from the plan.

The community was already tight, so the group mobilized easily. On Thursday afternoon, the residents of the block gathered in the park for a meeting.

NDP MLA for Vancouver-Kingsway, Adrian Dix, who lives in the area, dropped by to listen.

"We're going to fight it," longtime resident Katherine York had told me beforehand. "And if we do sell, it will not be to the City of Vancouver. Yes, we have an informal pact, and not just my block.

We are creating a Trout Lake Lakefront Association, running down Victoria, along 13th and Garden Drive - right around the park. The support is growing rapidly. It's been tremendous."

Catie Norris, one of 11 siblings who grew up in 3030 Victoria Dr., says her family would purchase the house back from the city if it came back onto the market. Her brother Dave sold the house to the city believing that it would be used for housing.

"I don't understand this. I don't get it," Ms. Norris says. "Excuse me, there's a housing shortage.

Why is the city buying a home and leaving it empty to get ruined when somebody could be living there? It's absolutely ridiculous ... They are literally ruining a neighbourhood."

It's also a good example of existing gentle density that is praised by urban planners. Ms.

York lives at 3036 Victoria Dr., the house next door to the cityowned house. Her grandfather bought the house in 1938, her mother was married at the house and she herself was married in the park. She plans to leave the house to her kids.

"We are a community. We have a lot of kids on our block. We all know each other. We don't want an empty lot beside us," she says.

Today, six family members live in the York house. The block of eight homes, including two duplexes and a triplex, has at least two dozen residents, including long-time renters. One woman runs a daycare.

Like the other residents, Rich York is angry that he wasn't notified of the park board plan.

"It's like we're held hostage," he says. "You're stuck in neutral."

The park board assembly of their houses into park land means they no longer have the option to sell to a developer if they wanted to, which isn't fair, he argues.

"At some point down the road, say we all want to sell, we're trapped.

"And I can understand the desire to accumulate property for 20 years down the road, but why not rent it out and generate revenue for taxpayers?" "What's going to happen is I have a crater beside me and I have to look at it every day, knowing the next one is going to come down, and the next one. It's mind games they are playing."

Several houses adjacent to park land have been purchased and demolished on the east side of the city. Malcolm Bromley, general manager of parks and recreation, said until this one at Trout Lake, the acquisitions had been a smooth process. Once residents see a house come down without a new house going up, they usually want to sell as well. Mr. Bromley said that chain reaction is part of the reason they demolish right away, instead of leaving the houses for rental.

"[Demolition] does a couple of things. If people see we are looking to expand the park, maybe the house beside says, 'We are interested in going, too.' We also want to avoid having that struggle at times when you do have a tenant who is very reluctant to leave, because you can't predict the market."

The reason they do not inform residents that they have plans to buy and demolish their homes is it will drive up prices. The park board is developing a master plan of Trout Lake, but it does not include any indication that any houses adjacent to the park would be removed. Decisions to purchase and demolish houses for park are voted upon by council and are not made public.

"We do want to pay market value," Mr. Bromley says. "But there have been times when you couldn't get a property because the person asks too much."

As for why the property was not rented immediately, Mr. Bromley says the acquisition didn't go as planned.

"We were optimistic we would get a few of the properties, because typically when people see what their neighbour gets, it can create some momentum.

Others say, 'That makes sense to me, too. I'll move to Parksville, off I go.' That's what has happened in our other experiences. It didn't happen here."

It didn't happen because the residents are happy with their community. Vancouver's unaffordable housing market means those that are fortunate enough to own a house now want to pass it along to their children.

But not all residents are against the idea. A homeowner who lives near the park and is not at risk of having her home bought for parkland, says she supports the park board decision.

"I am all in favour of heritage protection and retaining our housing stock, but in this instance, the city acquiring these houses makes sense," says the woman, who wanted to remain anonymous to avoid conflict with her neighbours.

"I've lived in several major cities and planners never say, 'I wish the city hadn't bought this piece of parkland,' and residents never say, 'There's too much green space, we should build more houses on it.' Eventually, the houses on Victoria would be torn down and sold to developers who would put up expensive duplexes anyhow.

"So it's solid long-term thinking, even if it means a small handful of houses are removed.

As long as the owners aren't being forced to sell and they're getting fair market value, I think it's a good thing, and will be appreciated for generations to come."

The city is looking at renting the house at 3030 Victoria Dr.

now that it's facing backlash about it being left empty for a year and a half. However, because the gas line was removed, in the midst of a severe winter, the pipes burst and the house flooded. Mr. York witnessed the flooding and called the city, which sent someone right away. Mr. Bromley says there are other issues that might make it difficult to rent, such as bringing the house up to code.

But the possibility of short-term rental is being considered.

"When you try to grow parks, it's a good news story. It concerns me that this has been turned into a bad news story," Mr. Bromley says. "I understand it from a housing perspective, but our motives are pure. We are community building."

Samantha Reynolds and husband Pete McCormack find the phrase "community building" ironic, since they consider themselves a community that is slowly getting the heave-ho.

"We're not properties to be acquired," Ms. Reynolds says.

"We're families. We're not a dispensable block that the park board and city can dismember, house by house.

"I want the city to do the right thing and abandon their misguided plan to annex our block. Many of us on our block don't ever plan to sell our homes as we intend to pass our homes on to our children 50 years from now, but if we do sell, it will not be to the city.

They should put this beautiful 100-year-old heritage home back on the market and let a family look after it, as the city proved it was unable to do."

But the park board is sticking to its plan to demolish the house one day, and it will continue to try to purchase the other houses.

The park board isn't going anywhere.

"I'm not belittling people's feelings. If the other seven homeowners don't want to sell, they don't have to sell, but the park board has been here 130 years and it took 15 years to acquire Emery Barnes Park, so things change," Mr. Bromley says. "Forever is a long time. People who say they won't sell, they sell over time.

We've never abandoned a strategy where we think, 'It's impossible - we are going to back away.' But I don't want it to be antagonistic.

This has touched a nerve for some people. I respect that.

"Have there been lessons learned?" he asks. "I would not leave a property vacant for this long."

Associated Graphic

Residents of Vancouver's Trout Lake community gather in John Hendry Park on Thursday to discuss the city's plan to purchase and tear down nearby homes. The city has already bought one house on the targeted block, leaving it empty since it was purchased in early 2016.


With bet on Trump, Cohn makes riskiest trade of career
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B1

NEW YORK -- In more than three decades on Wall Street, Gary Cohn honed an instinct for taking risks. As he rose through the ranks to the No.

2 spot at Goldman Sachs, he weighed profit against danger, first for his own trades and eventually for the entire firm.

Now, in joining U.S. President Donald Trump's inner circle, he has made the bet of a lifetime.

In the span of several months, Mr. Cohn has moved with disorienting speed from someone with no connection to Mr. Trump's campaign and no experience in government to one of the most powerful people in the White House.

As Mr. Trump's chief economic adviser, Mr. Cohn is leading the push on some of the President's key campaign pledges, including tax changes and an infrastructure overhaul. But his influence also extends to trade policy and even foreign affairs: Together with the national-security adviser, he has written two editorials articulating the administration's view of the world.

With the administration lurching from crisis to crisis, Mr. Cohn's role is even more crucial.

Stock markets have continued to rise despite the continuing controversy over contacts between Mr. Trump's campaign and Russia. That is partly because investors believe Mr. Cohn will help Mr. Trump deliver on his promises to spur economic growth.

Mr. Cohn's current job is chair of the National Economic Council, but his name is already being floated for other possible positions, including White House chief of staff and even chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve (the current chair, Janet Yellen, is due to step down next year, and Mr. Cohn is heading the search for her replacement).

At a rally last month in Iowa, Mr. Trump crowed about recruiting Mr. Cohn to his team. "He went from massive paydays to peanuts," the President told the crowd.

Whatever the salary, Mr. Cohn is an unlikely adviser for Mr. Trump. Not only is Mr. Cohn a registered Democrat, but his career on Wall Street makes him an incongruous pick for a President who once railed about the excesses of the financial industry on the campaign trail.

Mr. Cohn was deeply involved in piloting Goldman through the financial crisis and the controversies that followed. Back in 2010, Mr. Cohn, then Goldman's president, testified before a congressional panel investigating the causes of the meltdown. He also worked to manage the fallout when U.S. regulators charged the firm with civil fraud based on investments it sold prior to the housing collapse.

Mr. Cohn was a key figure "taking the heat from an enraged government, from a rabid press and from irate investors in the wake of the crisis," said Charles Hintz, a former Wall Street executive and industry analyst who teaches at New York University.

Mr. Cohn's past also puts him at odds with the populist faction of Mr. Trump's aides (allies of Stephen Bannon, another senior adviser to Mr. Trump, call him "Globalist Gary," according to CNN). But investors and the business community see in Mr. Cohn a highly capable and politically moderate adviser who eases their concerns about an unpredictable White House.

"The market's willingness to look past the Trump scandals and tweets is because of Gary Cohn," wrote Jaret Seiberg, a policy analyst at Cowen & Co. in Washington in a note to clients in May. Investors trust Mr. Cohn, he continued, and believe he "will prevent the White House from doing anything rash" on the economic front.

Mr. Cohn, now 56, grew up just outside Cleveland and struggled with dyslexia throughout his childhood. It was a defining experience, he has said, which heightened his ability to handle failure. It also allowed him to "look at most situations and see much more of the upside than the downside," he told the author Malcolm Gladwell. "I wouldn't be where I am today without my dyslexia. I never would have taken that first chance."

After graduating from American University in Washington, Mr. Cohn took a job selling aluminum siding but longed to become a trader. He got his break on a visit to New York when he spent the day at the commodities exchange. He managed to share a taxi to the airport with an options trader who asked him to interview for a position the following week. Knowing nothing about options, Mr. Cohn spent the weekend cramming a reference book - and got the job.

Mr. Trump "would do well to have Gary as a chief of staff," said Richard Schaeffer, the former chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange, who has known Mr. Cohn for years. "He's one of the few in that group who is an absolute builder of bridges, not someone who tears them down."

Mr. Cohn is leading the search for the next chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve but is reportedly himself one of the leading contenders (there is a famous precedent for such an outcome: Dick Cheney was in charge of the search for George W. Bush's vice-presidential candidate).

Unlike most previous Fed chairs, Mr. Cohn is not an economist. The next leader of the central bank will also face the difficult task of unwinding years of unprecedented monetary stimulus. But if the administration's troubles deepen, a move out of the White House could hold some allure.

A White House spokesperson said that Mr. Cohn is "focused on his responsibilities as Director of the National Economic Council."

Back in New York, there is a degree of disbelief at Mr. Cohn's new incarnation. People who know him say they didn't realize a move to politics was on his radar screen, and certainly not Republican politics. One Democratic fundraiser remembered meeting Mr. Cohn - and being impressed by him - at an event for major Wall Street supporters of Barack Obama held shortly after he was first elected President.

Mr. Cohn continued to support Democratic candidates but soured on the party's approach to Wall Street. In 2010, Mr. Cohn attended a fundraiser in New York for Democratic Senator Harry Reid, then the majority leader in the chamber. Mr. Cohn and other Goldman executives expressed frustration with the criticism of their industry, according to a person with knowledge of the event who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Goldman has a tradition of executives leaving to work in the public sector, earning it the moniker "Government Sachs."

But until Mr. Cohn's fateful meeting with Mr. Trump last November, there was little sign he would follow that trajectory.

Another acquaintance recalled having dinner with Mr. Cohn two years ago where he discussed potential options for life post-Goldman. Politics didn't come up. "Look, this is a historic moment and you don't know how it's going to turn out," the person said. "I could understand how it would have appeal for him." (Six people who know or worked with Mr. Cohn spoke with The Globe on the condition they not be identified.)

For Mr. Cohn's former colleagues at Goldman, his choice to leave the firm has its own logic. Mr. Cohn joined the investment bank in 1990 as a metals trader and ascended the hierarchy in tandem with Lloyd Blankfein, now Goldman's chief executive. When Mr. Blankfein assumed the top job in 2006, he made Mr. Cohn - both a close friend and a trusted lieutenant - his No. 2.

However, in recent years, Mr. Blankfein has shown no inclination to relinquish his post, even after a bout with cancer. Mr. Cohn's seemingly perpetual wait to lead Goldman prompted one newspaper dub him the "Prince Charles of Wall Street."

"If you're not going to run the firm, why not sell all your stock tax-free and work for a guy in Washington for a couple of years?" one of Mr. Cohn's former colleagues said. "It's a great exit strategy."

Upon leaving Goldman, Mr. Cohn received a compensation package worth $285-million (U.S.), most of it in stock.

Because such shares must be sold to comply with conflict-ofinterest rules, the government allows new executive branch officials to defer capital-gains taxes indefinitely if the proceeds are reinvested in bonds or mutual funds. Mr. Cohn's timing was perfect: In January, the bank's shares were trading near their highest point in a decade.

For years, Mr. Cohn crisscrossed the country and the world advancing Goldman's interests. Several former colleagues described him as an aggressive, hard-charging executive. Mr. Cohn is a "very smart, very savvy guy, but he is a blunt instrument," said one person who worked with him, who added that he has little patience for those who disagree with his views. A White House spokesperson declined to comment on that characterization.

Mr. Cohn can also display a softer side at work. One Goldman alumnus recalled an episode where Mr. Cohn intervened to protect a junior employee from bearing the brunt of an unintentional mistake that nearly cost the firm money.

Watchdog groups say that Mr. Cohn brings too much Wall Street baggage to his new role, which includes co-ordinating a possible rollback to the financial regulations instituted in the wake of the financial crisis.

"There is really nothing he has said [so far] on financial matters that he would not have said in his capacity as president of Goldman," said Dennis Kelleher, president of Better Markets, a non-profit organization that supports strict regulation of the financial industry.

Mr. Kelleher, a former senior aide to a senator, also questioned how well Mr. Cohn's skills will transfer to the capital.

"If Wall Street is a land of numerical clarity, Washington is a land of ambiguity and fog," he said.

But for Mr. Cohn - in keeping with the philosophy that has guided his whole career - it is a gamble worth taking. Even during the depths of the financial crisis, in a commencement address at his alma mater, he urged young people to stand out from the crowd by taking risks.

"Failure is not a problem," Mr. Cohn told the assembled graduates and their families. "In fact," he continued, "95 per cent of my great decisions started out as bad decisions."

Associated Graphic

Gary Cohn, second from left, and senior Trump adviser Jared Kushner, second from right, depart the White House on June 7. Mr. Cohn has been named U.S. President Donald Trump's chief economic adviser.


The self-starter's guide to invoking a witch hunt
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F2

'My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history.

Sad!" U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted, should the "Sad!" not give the source away.

"Sad!" is becoming Mr. Trump's signature signoff. It is the mirror of Edward R. Murrow's "Good night and good luck," in that it reflects the opposite. Mr. Trump's "Sad!" generally punctuates an ill-considered, insincere, unscripted broadcast hellbent on putting a lid on the truth. His now-iconic "Sad!" often follows some encouragement to Americans to look away from what their government is up to just now.

For the record, here in Opposite Land, it is no longer ludicrous to assume that many of those in the United States, some with considerable influence, are secretly in bed with the Russians.

Mr. Trump's Twitter statement came in the aftermath of New York Times reports that his eldest son had met with Natalia Veselnitskaya - a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer - in hopes of obtaining damaging information on his father's then political opponent, Hillary Clinton. It was further reported that Donald Trump Jr. attended this meeting having already been informed, in an e-mail, that the get-together was part of a Russian government effort to aid the Trump campaign.

More importantly, Mr. Trump's statement about his son was made in the aftermath of that aftermath. It is seldom a good sign when your aftermath has an aftermath, but following the reports of these long-denied meetings, Mr. Trump Jr., in what appears to have been an attempt to defend himself, tweeted images of the e-mails in question.

As defences go, this is like "I see a bear, I better roll in honey." In releasing those e-mails, Mr. Trump Jr. took the story from "sources familiar with the e-mails say" to "more than 17,000 people have retweeted your highly damaging e-mails" scenario in the press of a button.

A case could be made that, since The New York Times had the e-mails and they were about to be released anyway, the younger-but-still-pushing-40so-don't-give-me-that Mr. Trump Jr. was "getting in front of the story," but the part he seems to have missed is that "getting in front of a story" generally involves presenting a narrative more favourable to oneself than the one contained in the damaging news about to break.

"Getting in front of a story" is not a "breaking the story a bit earlier while confirming its veracity," which was done in this case to the point where news outlets could pretty much go with "When approached for comment regarding the allegations, Mr. Trump Jr. said 'Boy, did I!' " That is what I would call "Getting under the story," and, God bless Junior, he just dove right down there, much the same way one might "get under" a moving semi.

What those e-mails Mr. Trump Jr. shared with the world prove is that, having been specifically told that information he was being promised by a publicist named Rob Goldstone "is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump," he responded with an unequivocal, unpunctuated "if that's what you say I love it."

So sure, Mr. Trump, it's a "Witch Hunt," a witch hunt in which the accused stood up midway through the trial, lifted his shirt and said "Hey, everyone, check out my third nipple, the one from which I daily nurse my toad familiar!" while pointing at said supernumerary nip, before adding "Don't hurt yourselves lugging those crushing stones around, I am totally a witch and holy moly did I blight your crops!" as he mounted a broomstick and flew away with a cry of "Tell Mr. Henderson that that stillborn calf was me too!" and "By the by, if you're looking for someone to burn, my brother-in-law never misses a Black Mass!"

One for the books, really, as witch trials go.

The original e-mail inviting him to the meet and greet and cheat was addressed only to himself, but the documents Mr. Trump Jr. chose to share with the world were from a bit further down the chain he forged. The e-mails were also addressed to Paul Manafort, whom he asked along. Mr. Manafort - a professional Republican political operative since the seventies, not a naif who might wander into a meeting like a lost shepherd - became Mr.

Trump's campaign manager shortly after the meeting took place on June 9, 2016.

The e-mails Junior sent flying around the world on their little Twitter wings were also addressed to Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump's son-in-law, who is currently a senior adviser to the President because what is shame anyway?

Both of these men attended the meeting, although a source close to Mr. Manafort told Politico that he had no idea who was going to be at the meeting because he did not read the entire, short e-mail chain which bore the subject line "FW: Russia - Clinton - private and confidential."

Thank you, Mr. Paul "Too Long; Did Not Collude!" Manafort.

The week's spectacle was dismissed by Mr. Trump Jr.'s lawyer as "much ado about nothing."

As far as this being a tale of deception, driven by conversations (that may well have been) orchestrated to be overheard, he may be right. Both stories also have significance - the e-mails provide the most conclusive evidence to date that Trump family members and campaign staff were keen to get a boost from the Russian government during the 2016 presidential campaign - even as they have the audience laughing.

A broader parallel between the Trump family saga and the works of Shakespeare can be found in the Trump family's liberal use of what can best be described as "asides" to communicate their motivation. An important difference, one apparently entirely lost on the family, from Mr. Trump on down (excepting Melania and Barron, who at this point can be considered as more scenery than cast), is that Shakespearean characters don't speak their innermost secrets to the other characters in the play.

Studies show the most common reaction to hearing a Trump family member speak is the yelling of "Hey, dude, we can hear you!"

Trumps just keep telling us things they shouldn't tell us. Whatever else the Trump administration is doing to his country's science programs, he is bringing us that much closer to isolating the "complete lack of an interior monologue" gene.

"My son is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency," was Mr. Trump's initial statement on this week's events, leaving some doubt as to whether he knows he sired his children or thinks he picked them up at the Sharper Image.

I await his statement on Eric Trump's "Innovative design that slices, shreds and dices at the touch of a button" shortly before the President appoints his beloved fog-free shower mirror and Bluetooth speaker ambassador to Latvia.

At the end of the day, Trump Jr.'s Russian tale is a strange, meandering thing. It started out in the peaceful town of Never Been To a "Set Up" Meeting With Any Russians At All land. Then it took a charming detour through It Was a Short Introductory Meeting About Helping Russian Orphans country. Now we're in She Wasn't Technically Employed by the Russian Government and While I Went in the Hopes of Acquiring Free Opposition Research from a Foreign National, She Didn't Have Anything Useful in the End So We're Good, Right? territory.

It's like Rashomon - except the same event is being repeatedly described in contradictory ways from the perspective of one really stupid person.

The Trumps give little indication that they understand the enormity of what they face, legally or otherwise, and glimpses of their crisis-management strategy don't inspire confidence. "The view in Kushner's orbit is that the brutal new revelations are more P.R. problems than legal problems.

And if he makes progress with his Middle East peace efforts, perceptions would be very different," Mike Allen of Axios wrote in his early-morning news report this week.

There are so many layers of miscomprehension and hubris contained in that mass, it's like a Death Star-sized onion of delusion just hove into view.

There have been attempts to spin Mr. Trump Jr. as a hick from out of town who is just not familiar with your high-falutin' ethics. He just, according to one anonymous White House official speaking to the Washington Post, "wants to hunt, fish and run his family's real estate business."

The poor innocent lad, he just yearns to run the old family international real-estate empire and, apart from all those times he literally asked the American people (and, it has been suggested, the Russians) to make his father president, he never asked to get caught up in any of this.

It's as if the Trumps are the Beverly Hillbillies and, gosh, darn it, we should leave Jethro alone.

What is increasingly apparent is that what we're witnessing is a transposition problem: All the bluffing, posturing, firing, threatening to storm out, exaggerating, flat-out lying, dabbling with shady characters, name-dropping, spinning, suing to exhaustion, settling just before they're slaughtered that Mr. Trump dealt in worked in the Trumps' former New York milieu, where the foibles of a famous real estate family were not exhaustively scrutinized. And the children learned his ways.

Mr. Trump Sr. and his family come from a place where a puff piece in a city magazine can alter public perception at least long enough to affect the outcome at (tiny) hand, where there was nothing a smear and a softball interview (Mr. Trump Jr. did Hannity that same night) couldn't fix.

Watching them lurch about now, I can't help thinking that it's as if the Trumps have landed on a planet with a different gravitational field. They can't fly any more and they're angry, confused, and angry about being confused, and there may at least be some justice in that.

The outrage heard through time and space
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F2

In a casting decision heard around the world, it was announced last week that the 13th Doctor in the more than half-century-old Doctor Who series will be played by Jodie Whittaker, who is a woman and has breasts that needed to be reported on pronto, of course.

Britain's The Sun was on that aspect of the story faster than a sonic screwdriver can trivialize an escape scene. They likely have a person on the breast beat full-time, or at least a titern they can call on when a story like this breaks.

The new Doctor had "flashed her boobs" in her "saucy screen past," read the spread - illustrated with photos from Ms. Whittaker's role in the 2006 film Venus.

The headline on the story was "Dalektable," which doesn't even make sense. Those determined to wring their hands over the decline of a great British cultural institution should worry less about the sex of a two-hearted, sometimes jelly-baby-loving time traveller and more about the British tabloids being so off their cheeky pun game.

The response to the announcement was predictable. There was excitement from the fans who welcomed the change, partly because they're Doctor Who fans. Most Doctor Who viewers understand that change, literal regeneration, is what has kept the show ticking - ticking like an organ-harvesting clockwork android in a jester's mask out to steal Madame de Pompadour's brain - for so long.

There was also "will never watch again!" anger from those fans who view the casting move as capitulation to the dark forces of "political correctness."

"Political correctness" is the euphemism employed by people who claim they only want to be allowed to speak plainly (often about women, gay people and black people) and without censure, just before they get really sulky when women, gay people and black people tell them to piss off.

These people seem to think art exists in opposition to society, as a sort of dam to keep change in check, rather than as a reflection of change, sometimes with bonus inspiration. They managed, this week, to miss the distinction between visiting the past (in an "I'm just going to see a queen about a werewolf" sort of way) and just being stuck in the past. They're trying desperately to keep Doctor Who from moving through time, and think that by tweeting "What's next? A MALE WONDER WOMAN!!!!?" they are basically boosting the Doctor's dematerialization circuit.

For the record, were emerging from near-death in different forms one of Wonder Woman's hallmarks, I'd be okay with her waking up one day and discovering she's now Tom Baker. Instead, Ms. Woman is really hot and has a magic lasso.

The Doctor being played by a woman is not a BBC about-face nor is it pandering. If the 14th Doctor is an Ewok, we can have that conversation. In fact, the "Should the Doctor be a woman?" question is older than many of the people watching the show.

It's a question provoked less by fans than by the nature of the show itself. Although were it a move provoked by fans, that would also be fine. "Popular entertainment series develops in a way that the producers think will engage the fanbase and draw in new viewers" is hardly breaking news.

Of note, "What? The new Transformers series has cars that turn into giant robots? Why are they pandering to the Transforming Automotive Warrior agenda?" was never a rallying cry. You don't have to be a mad-genius neurochemist exiled from the planet Gallifrey - along with, apparently, a hairstylist from Dynasty - to see what opposition to Ms. Whittaker's new role is about.

The very nature of the Doctor's face-changing ways suggested he take the form of a woman. This is not a departure for the series, it's a continuation.

The Master, the Doctor's nemesis, also a Time Lord, claims credit for breaking the glass ceiling back in 2014. Although a case is working its way through Fictional Time-Travelling Alien Court that, while "Missy" might have been the first to do so onscreen, the complainant, the Corsair, had been mentioned as switching genders regularly back in 2011.

Much of the defence for Ms. Whittaker's casting offered this week involved citing the oddities of the Doctor Who series before insisting that having a woman Doctor was no more far-fetched than an invasion of malevolent department-store mannequins or a traipse through time with Lady Conan the Space Barbarian.

That defence is a slight to both women and genre fiction, as if the addition of one more bizarre element (a female) couldn't make the situation (a sci-fi series) any worse.

It's important to remember that there's an internal logic to successful constructed realities. Accepting that fantastical things happen in a fantastical world is not the same as just accepting anything.

Build these universes with care, and readers and viewers will be happy to embrace talking giant eagles or an old man who breaks stone bridges by shouting and whacking them with a stick. The Lord of the Rings establishes that these are the kinds of things we can expect in Middle Earth. We will nod as someone called "The Witch King" declares that "no man" can kill him, just before this prophecy is unexpectedly fulfilled by his being slain by a woman - but that doesn't mean we'd be chuffed if the Lord of the Nazgûl were slain by the Rockettes.

"The show didn't need to be political!" was another complaint heard this week. What show have they been watching? Even if the big revelation of the next season is that the Tardis is literally powered by burning bras, it would still not be half as political (or one 10th as surreal) as Sylvester McCoy's seventh Doctor lecturing a 17th-century sorceress on the horrors of nuclear war with a cry of "Death, death gone mad!"

Nice try, 2017, but if the 13th Doctor is an attempt to ruin a classic piece of television by making it "overly political," she'll have to contend with 1988's The Happiness Patrol, wherein the Doctor was instrumental in the downfall of Totally Not Margaret Thatcher, I Mean, She's in Space, and Margaret Thatcher Never Went to Space, So There! In those three episodes we saw how, for too long, Space Non-Britons suffered Non-Thatcher's tyrannical reign under which innocent citizens who appeared insufficiently joyous in public were rounded up by the titular Happiness Patrols and enemies of the state were cruelly drowned in strawberry fondant by an evil robot made entirely out of candy.

For the record, this was a genius serial and if you disagree, I will fight you, any planet, any time, but let's accept, just for the sake of argument, that the casting of Ms. Whittaker is a massive unexpected change for the series. That wouldn't be anything new.

Overall, if your main expectations of science-fiction series are "Don't change a thing!" and "I don't want to be lectured!" Doctor Who may not be the show for you. After all, the series was originally conceived as an educational children's program, one which would not, under any circumstances, feature "bug-eyed monsters." The Doctor's first companions included two schoolteachers, one to lecture the Doctor's teenage granddaughter, and the audience, about history, the other to do the same for science.

Then, in the second serial, it was decided it would be much more fun for everyone if the team fought bug-eyed, genocidally angry salt shakers instead.

The only reason controversy over "the next Doctor" is even possible is because of a major change to the nature of the character. When it was decided that William Hartnell, the original Doctor, would be leaving the show, producers were left with the challenge of continuing the successful series without its leading man.

Rather than just recasting the Doctor and moving on, it was determined that the change should be acknowledged in the story and so the Doctor went from an alien with a time-travelling police call box to an alien with a time-travelling police call box who turned into Patrick Troughton when mortally wounded.

Obsessive attention to continuity has never been a focus of the series. Major elements of the mythos were often freely changed if discarding something from the past would make for a better story in the present. Originally portrayed as wise and aloof demigods watching over the timelines in The War Games, the Time Lords were almost totally reimagined as a somewhat doddering bunch of academics and politicians to give Tom Baker's fourth Doctor more room for heroism when he visited Gallifrey in The Deadly Assassin.

Even the more continuity-focused relaunch has not been afraid to make changes far greater than the Doctor regenerating him-now-her-self an extra X chromosome. From the very beginning of the new series, the Doctor's destruction of his own home planet of Gallifrey had been at the core of both the series and its title character. Then, in 2013, it was decided that the "last of and destroyer of his kind" arc was exhausted and anyway, the writers would really like to play around with the Time Lords again and so, in The Day of the Doctor, it was revealed that the Doctor had not destroyed Gallifrey after all. The planet was just hidden away, awaiting the day executive producer Steven Moffat would pluck it from limbo.

Doctor Who ran for 26 years, was cancelled, then brought back after 16 years and has been on the air ever since, mostly because it flashes its creative licence at anyone who pulls it over and speeds right on.

The casting of a woman is just one more reason to say, Godspeed, Doctor.

By now, everyone should know that online is real life and bad behaviour has consequences. Shane Dingman explores why we just can't control ourselves
Friday, July 21, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

The year is 2017, and there are still people who act as though the Internet isn't the real world.

I'm sorry if it seems obvious to you that actions taken and words written online are published utterances and can have the same impact as if you shouted them at a judge in a trial.

But recent digital high jinks suggest some folks aren't hearing the message that things that happen online are not "virtual" or "cyber" or any other term that suggests ephemerality or a lessgrounded reality. They aren't getting it, even though that message has been delivered repeatedly by courts, employers, social groups and colleges, as well as racial and religious minorities and majorities.

The Internet is real and it has real-world consequences. Why is that so hard to understand? The answer lies wedged somewhere in the mess of psychology, political culture and the Internet attention economy that has invaded modern life.

Example one: Dr. June Chu, who resigned as a dean at Yale in June because of controversy over Yelp reviews, including one in which she labelled a Japanese restaurant as perfect for "white trash."

Chu has a degree in psychology from Bryn Mawr College, as well as graduate degrees from the University of California, Davis, and Harvard. In a response to the publication of her reviews, Chu wrote that she had "learned a lot this semester about the power of words and about the accountability that we owe one another."

My question is, just this semester?

Example two, from Canadian Twitter: The May debacle of several senior media leaders chortling about kicking in money to fund a "cultural appropriation prize." In the aftermath, some of these powerful figures found their careers derailed, while others scrambled to distribute apologies, both inside and outside their organizations.

Let's not argue whether the media moguls were meaner and more immature than the "online mob" that told them their conduct was gross, but rather focus on what other, savvier users of the service wondered: "Do they not know we can see them?" It was rather bewildering that longtime journalists devoted to the written word didn't realize they were creating a shameful, very permanent record.

A final example: U.S. President Donald Trump, whose tweets routinely undermine his administration. Multiple court rulings regarding his Muslim immigration ban reference his Twitter account in an attempt to determine his true intentions, while he could be in personal legal jeopardy if his tweets regarding the Russia bonfire are found to show obstruction of justice or even just evidence of a guilty mind.

This habit is now rubbing off on his children, as seen in Donald Trump Jr.'s unorthodox decision to tweet screen grabs of e-mails discussing his meeting with Putin-linked lawyers. For their own safety, the Trumps really should heed Hillary Clinton's advice and delete their accounts.

One reflex is to accept that people are just prone to saying dumb stuff, including presidents, media executives and professors at Ivy League colleges. That flies in the face of the idea of humans as rational actors, but also blames individuals for a problem we all have: a failure to properly calibrate our interactions that happen through screens.

"We are witnessing online a digitized version of Lord of the Flies.

When you take away authority structures and accountability, many people regress," said John Suler, a clinical psychologist and professor at Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J.

Suler has been writing and thinking about the way the human mind adapts (or fails to adapt) to the Internet since 2001, and is one of the earliest chroniclers of the "online disinhibition effect:" the idea that when using the Internet, most people "selfdisclose or act out more frequently or intensely than they would in persson."

His 2016 book, Psychology of the Digital Age: Humans Become Electric, identifies eight different factors that create disinhibition, including online anonymity, a frequently referenced and debated cause for alarm.

But to understand our present moment, where public figures and other people using trackable identities act in totally disinhibited ways online, it's also worth looking at what he calls the most pernicious of the eight. That is "solipsistic introjection," the easy definition of which is: President Trump.

"People who are truly inappropriate online are lashing out not really against other people, but against all the toxic people from their past who are lurking in their imagination and in their unconscious mind," Suler said.

This helps explain why someone who disagrees with you online can go from zero to 100 - or "I've never met you" to "I'll burn your house down and kill your family" - in the space of a few tweets.

Social media let that rage go both broad and narrow: narrowly to fellow travellers, who will promote messages they agree with, and broadly to everyone else, many of whom may well be horrified at the way people express their desires to stick it to "them," whoever "they" are.

Another handy factor in this disinhibition is the Western preoccupation with freedom of speech, the cause célèbre of those Canadian media celebs. Lindy West, an American writer who is a frequent target of online abuse, penned an essay for The New York Times that dissected how cries of "free speech" are now being hurled at anyone who disagrees with any hate-filled utterance.

What she refers to is the torrent of on- and offline hate unleashed on women and people of colour by MAGA hats, Bernie Bros, gamergaters, "no platformers" and men's-rights activists who say they are compelled to promote free speech.

These people are "pretending to care about freedom of speech so they can feel self-righteous while harassing marginalized people for having opinions," West said. "Conflating criticism with censorship fosters a system in which all positions deserve equal consideration, no bad ideas can ever be put to rest, and lies are just as valid as the truth."

Many others don't like the idea of embracing racists on the Internet in the name of free speech and often point out that Canada has boundaries on protected speech.

Here, at least, speech is not free to be hate speech and various human-rights statutes and hatespeech laws go beyond libel and slander in legally penalizing people. In February of this year, a Saskatchewan oil worker was convicted of uttering threats after a paint-peeling Facebook screed that both advocated and fantasized about killing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Now, it is not hyperbole to point out that when states monitor and enforce speech laws more heavily, the consequences of social-media commentary can be drastic. In Pakistan, a man was recently sentenced to death for allegedly blaspheming the Prophet Mohammed in Facebook comments. When Nobel Prizewinning writer Liu Xiaobo died in Chinese custody, that country's digital censors went so far as to block even the display of his name inside the largest social platforms (such as WeChat and Sina Weibo).

The United States does have very strong guardrails for free speech, but they are aimed almost entirely at keeping government from overreaching.

In the last term of the Supreme Court of the United States, an Asian-American band called the Slants won a victory over a 1946 law that said trademarks cannot "disparage ... or bring ... into contempt or disrepute" any "persons, living or dead." In the ruling, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that "the proudest boast of our free-speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express 'the thought that we hate.' " But an "online mob" that yells at you is not the government.

Even in the United States, it's well within the rights of nongovernmental bosses, communities and social networks to react to crap spewed online. Negative consequences to personal liberty can still come as a result of speech, even if the speech itself is free.

What's amazing is that it's not just old folks unfamiliar with digital-culture rules who trip up.

Ten students recently found their early admissions to Harvard rescinded after being foolish enough to join a "private" Facebook group called "Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens." These young digital natives proceeded to post a slew of racist and offensive bon mots ("When the Mexican kid hangs himself in the school bathroom: Pinata Time"). When the administration found out, no more Harvard for them.

Those who grew up with social media should know better, but Suler blames the "amnesiac" nature of our "next new thing" technological culture.

Even though 16 years have passed since he first started researching online disinhibition, his first-year students are still shocked to discover there is academic language to explain "keyboard warriors" and other lords of the anti-social Web.

"Each new generation of users seems to have to discover, and even reinvent, the principles we already know to be true," Suler said. "People still like cyberspace as a 'wild, wild west' where they can do and say whatever they want ... and in the process, be forced to deal with others who have the same desires."

Which means it's unlikely that online nastiness will end any time soon: If everyone from young "digital natives" to the President of the United States is compelled to behave badly, what hope do the rest of us mortals have?

"It's not easy changing human nature," Suler said. "The temptation to be disinhibited, whether benign or toxic, is too great."

Associated Graphic


Top: Writer Lindy West, seen in 2013, says people are using the idea of free speech to harass marginalized people online for having opinions. Above: Donald Trump Jr., left, is seen with brother Eric Trump during the Republican National Convention in 2016. Trump Jr. is a recent example of how Internet posts have real-life consequences.


Regulators set their sights on double ending
Critics argue that realtors cannot fairly represent both buyer and seller, a practice more common in smaller markets
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S4

A 5.5-acre Whistler property with separate staff residence and infinity pool recently sold for $17.5-million, after sitting on the market for 150 days.

It had been listed at $19.9-million, but long-time real estate agent John Ryan found a buyer, and an offer, that suited the seller. Mr. Ryan says he received the one offer on the house from a friend.

"It's a buddy who's buying it, so I can go up there and drink his wine," he joked.

The sellers had owned the house for years, he says, and did an $8-million renovation before deciding they wanted something bigger. They've purchased three properties that are also in the Stonebridge neighbourhood and are building a compound, according to the agent.

Mr. Ryan has sold about $80million in real estate in the past couple of years in Stonebridge alone. Many of his clients come from referrals, built up over a long history of selling Whistler real estate. A luxury property can take more time to pair with the right buyer.

Limited dual agency, in which an agent represents both buyer and seller, and collects the full commission, is a large part of his business, Mr. Ryan says. But critics argue that an agent cannot fairly represent both parties.

Ontario is currently considering a ban on the practice as part of its 16-point housing plan. And, through a spokesman, B.C.'s new superintendent of real estate, Michael Noseworthy, says he's "very close" to publicly disclosing potential new rule changes on the practice. If implemented, they could change the landscape for many of British Columbia's 22,000 licensed real estate agents. As the government continues to clamp down on an industry that many have perceived as a "wild west," the issue of double ending remains unresolved.

Regulators are aware that double ending is much more common in smaller markets outside of the Lower Mainland and an outright ban could have more of an impact on those regions.

"It's something that we do a lot," Mr. Ryan says. "I've been selling real estate for almost 30 years, and it is a big part of our business. If things change, we'll deal with it. I don't know what they are going to do.

"Obviously, I love it, because we put deals together."

Mr. Ryan adds that the current rules are "very strict in what we are allowed to do and not to do" in the dual-agency arrangement. For example, if he knows the seller's bottom line, he can't disclose it to the buyer. And he can't tell the seller how high the buyer is willing to go.

"In a lot of ways, it's no different than if it was another agent bringing in an offer, because it has to be played out."

However, there is no way to enforce those rules. An agent could leak information without the other party knowing. Also, agents may be less inclined to market the property as widely as possible if there's a chance that they could double end it instead.

Last year, when the province got tough on unscrupulous real estate practices, it created an advisory panel to come up with a list of recommendations based on public and industry feedback.

One of its top recommendations to the government and the Real Estate Council was to cease double ending, says lawyer Ron Usher, who was a member of the panel.

"The feedback we got was that this was a very big problem," Mr. Usher says.

"Realtors felt that they could handle it, that they were ethical, and I get that they didn't want to be tarnished. They believe they can act ethically and I think they can. I believe someone could do it ethically, but the problem is, they are saying, 'I will offer you a narrower range of service and loyalty.' Can you do that ethically? Yes.

But does it mean something is being left out? That's the question."

Superintendent of real estate spokesman Mykle Ludvigsen said that Mr. Noseworthy had met with industry members throughout British Columbia to discuss banning the practice. He wants more feedback for "smoother rule implementation."

Mr. Usher says the problem they face is that the rest of the province is not like the Lower Mainland. In small communities with fewer realtors, everyone knows each other. Realtors often have repeat clients for decades who trust them to act as both buying and listing agent, in places such as Whistler.

"The law of unintended consequences is always at play," Mr.

Usher says. "They have to ask, 'Are we clear we are not going to cause more harm than the problem we are trying to solve?' That's a challenge to every regulator. I cut them some slack on this one, because from the discussion we had in our group, everybody realized it was not a slam-dunk simple thing to do, even though it was very clear there were great problems associated with it."

Peter Larsen purchased a property in a community that is small enough he did not want to disclose its name, for fear of repercussions. In hindsight, he feels that he was not shown as many listings in the area because the realtor steered him toward her own. He ended up buying one of her listings, so the realtor represented both him and the seller. As it turned out, the property had many deficiencies, including a faulty roof, chimney and well.

"There were a lot of places [the realtor] didn't bother showing because they were not her listing," says Mr. Larsen, who believes double ending should be illegal. "I know that even the realtors know it's wrong, but they are so greedy at this point." In a hot market, the practice of offering "exclusive listings" or "pocket listings" always goes up, Vancouver realtor Ian Watt says.

An exclusive listing is one that is not on the Multiple Listing Service. The realtor offers the seller the option to sell without listing, so as to avoid the hassle of open houses. The seller might want to sell quickly, without neighbours traipsing through their home. And the agent might say they have the perfect buyer lined up, in which case the realtor would double end the deal. But Mr. Watt doesn't see any benefit to the seller, even if the rules are followed.

He gives the example of someone living next to a loud party house. The realtor might not disclose that fact to the buyer in order to make the sale. That disclosure is not a requirement, so it comes down to trust.

"If you're looking for someone to look out for your best interests, why the hell would you use [dual agency]?" he asks. "If you were getting divorced and you hadn't agreed on the terms, you would never say, 'Let's just save money and go directly to one lawyer, he will be impartial and look out for both of us.' "When I'm representing the seller, I'm the coach. When I represent the buyer and the seller, I'm the referee. That's the difference. There is no way that somebody can be involved in a transaction on both sides and be 100 [per cent] fair. There is no way."

North shore realtor Patricia Houlihan, who is also a lawyer, agrees that exclusive listings make no sense for the seller.

"That makes me crazy," she says. "How can your seller possibly get the most when it's not even exposed to the market? I don't think that it should happen other than in very rare situations."

If it does happen, she says it should say at the top of the agreement in bold letters: "You are choosing not to put your property on MLS, and it will not get the exposure it would otherwise get."

Ms. Houlihan says she'd happily be part of a committee on the industry's problems.

She also thinks the screening process for realtors should be tougher.

"You need to go into it because you want to learn, you want to represent people to the best of your ability, because the little old lady and the 25-yearold are all relying on you to do the best you can with their money. It's important. And we have so many realtors."

Mr. Watt thinks managing brokers should take charge of any double-ending deals that come up.

"The managing broker is not going to lose his licence over a commission, so let the boss take it over [from the agent]. And if that doesn't work, then just [ban it] completely."

The upside is that the public is far more aware of how the industry operates since it came under media scrutiny last year, Mr. Usher says. People are using more caution. And with the support of the Real Estate Council of British Columbia, fines for bad agent dealings are as high as $250,000, which has changed the landscape.

"Ultimately, the mark of a true professional leaves aside remuneration and asks, 'Am I a salesman or an agent?' " Mr. Usher says.

"We've come a long way in the last year - but there are lots of details yet."

Associated Graphic

This 5.5-acre luxury property in Whistler was on the market for 150 days. Long-time real estate agent John Ryan found a buyer, and an offer, that suited the seller. Mr. Ryan often represents both buyer and seller, a practice known as limited dual agency, or double ending.


Birks scion led family firm for 40 years
He ran the iconic jewellery retailer during a period of rapid expansion and prosperity, though he never trained as a jeweller
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S12

Drummond Birks, who died on June 23 in Montreal at the age of 98, belonged to the fourth generation to run the family firm, Henry Birks and Sons, when it was the largest retail jeweller in the country. He was with the company for 50 years and in charge for 40.

The Birks family originally came from Yorkshire, in England, and many of them were silversmiths and members of the Goldsmiths Guild in London, dating back to the 17th century. John Birks was the first to immigrate to Canada, in 1832. He worked as a pharmacist in Montreal, then a city of 30,000 people. Two of his children died in a cholera epidemic in the same day, but one of his children, Henry Birks, started as an apprentice at the firm of Savage and Lyman, reputed to be the finest jewellery store in Canada at the time.

As a young man, Henry Birks lived in St. Lambert, across the river from Montreal, and in the winter would walk to work across the frozen St. Lawrence River.

There was a financial crisis, known as the Panic of 1837, which triggered a worldwide depression, the greatest until the 1930s. That put pressure on Savage and Lyman. Also, the British garrison had left Montreal, and Canada, in 1870, and the British officers were among the jeweller's best customers. Eventually, Savage and Lyman went under.

Henry Birks had saved $3,000 and borrowed $1,000 from his wife's uncle in Hamilton and on March 1, 1879, opened Henry Birks and Co. His sons eventually joined the firm and it prospered, establishing itself as the largest jewellery store in what was then Canada's largest and richest city.

One of his friends was Henry Morgan, owner of the eponymous upscale department store, and the two men decided to move from St. James Street, in the financial district, to Phillips Square, where the original Birks store remains to this day. Henry Birks's eldest son, William Massey Birks (no relation to the Massey family of Toronto), expanded the firm after the First World War.

He bought up a series of highend jewellery stores across Canada, and by the 1930s, Birks was in every major city in the country.

Drummond Birks, a grandson of William Massey Birks, carried on this expansion across Canada, in particular in shopping centres.

In 1957, the first such Birks store opened in the Dorval Shopping Centre near the Montreal airport.

The anchor store there was Morgan's (now The Bay).

The Birks flagship store on Phillips Square was, at its peak, the largest jewellery retail space on one floor in North America. The firm had a silver factory across the road from the main store in the New Birks Building, where it produced cutlery and other silverware. Newborn babies in Montreal were often given a silver cup from Birks and generations of affianced Montrealers had their wedding-gift registry at Birks.

The silver business was profitable, but jewellery made the most money.

"Drummond Birks sent me around the world to buy diamonds and coloured stones," said John Cameron who worked at Birks for 35 years. The firm had buying offices in London and Amsterdam. Mr. Cameron could understand Japanese because his father was a diplomat in Japan and so bought pearls there. "Mr. Birks was more than just a great businessman; he was very kind."

Children of employees who made less than $60,000 a year were given full scholarships; higher-paid employees were given partial bursaries. "It was important to our family and my children took advantage of it," Mr. Cameron said. The Birks Foundation provides scholarships at many universities, most of them in Quebec. All the hospitals in Montreal were supported by the foundation.

The Henry Birks collection of Canadian silver was donated to the National Gallery as part of the company's centennial celebrations in 1979. It is one of the largest silver collections in the world. Not all of it was produced by Birks; the collection also includes some early examples of Quebec-made silver.

George Drummond Birks was born in Montreal on Feb. 18, 1919, and went to Selwyn House, a private day school, and then to St.

Andrew's College, a boarding school north of Toronto. He went by his middle name, Drummond, which came from his mother (née Lilian Cockshutt Drummond); the Drummonds were also a prominent Montreal family and there is a Drummond Street in what was once known as the Golden Square Mile in downtown Montreal.

Drummond went to McGill, graduated with a degree in commerce and then immediately enlisted in the army in 1939. He had already been in the Canadian Officers' Training Corp (COTC) at McGill and went on active duty with the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, a prestigious regiment in Montreal, and one that saw a great deal of action in both wars. His father, Henry Gifford Birks, had also been in the Black Watch and fought at Vimy Ridge in the First World War.

The Black Watch Archives recorded Captain Drummond Birks's war record: "His posting to the Anti-Aircraft Platoon on his arrival at the Black Watch in England seemed logical since his COTC qualification at McGill was in Artillery. He would have been familiar with the large bore antiaircraft guns and that assignment was proper based on his training.

"He scored well in the War Intelligence Course. The Black Watch, at the time, had an abundance of qualified infantry trained officers. His transfer to the 5th Brigade Headquarters (not Army Headquarters) was most likely the result of assigning him to the best position he was suited for, based on the results on the Intelligence Course.

"While with 5th Brigade Headquarters, he would have landed in Normandy one month after D-Day, the same time as the Black Watch and followed the same path into Germany at War's end."

Mr. Birks was "Mentioned in Dispatches," in early 1945 and given an award for bravery, though there is no record of what the citation was for. After the war, he went into the family business and by the mid-1950s, he was running the Birks operation and expanding it.

Men in the Birks family had always apprenticed as jewellers when they entered the business, but because of the war, Mr. Birks skipped that step. It didn't hurt him as his strong organizational skills helped the firm prosper.

When Mr. Birks's son, Jonathan, got married in Peru in 1970, however, the president of the jewellery firm did some shopping there and came home with some blue stones. He believed them to be aquamarine and bought them at a knock-down price. Back in Montreal, Drummond Birks sent his find to the jewellery department to have it assessed. He was surprised when he didn't hear back for quite a while. The truth was, and it was a story Mr. Birks often told, that he had bought blue glass.

Mr. Birks had few hobbies. One of his family members said that business was his only hobby. He played golf at the Mount Bruno Golf Club about 10 times a year and was involved with the Black Watch Regiment at its armoury on Bleury Street in Montreal.

"Drummy Birks was a generous man who was self-effacing and didn't seek the limelight," said Stephen Angus, a family friend and former honorary colonel of the Black Watch Regiment. "He was always loyal to the Black Watch. We have some valuable silver memorabilia, including a ram's head with silver on the end of the horns and other silver accoutrements. I took it in to Birks to have it repaired. It was quite a big job. It came back in mint condition and there was never any charge. He was generous in big and small ways."

At his funeral in Montreal, Jim Armour, the pastor of the Black Watch and minister emeritus of the Church of St. Andrew and St.

Paul, gave an appreciation focusing on "his services to not one, but all the universities of this city - the Birks building at McGill, Birks Hall at Concordia, the Birks Medal, Birks scholarships - to say nothing of all that he did for the Children's Hospital, the Salvation Army, the YMCA, the Montreal Association of the Blind. The list goes on. Drummond Birks was a generous and public-spirited human being."

Like his 17th-century ancestors, Drummond Birks was a member of Goldsmiths Hall and a Freeman of the City of London. In Canada, he was the director of a number of companies, including Standard Life and the Royal Trust.

Henry Birks and Sons went into bankruptcy protection in the early 1990s following an unsuccessful expansion strategy. At its height, the firm ran about 220 stores in Canada and the United States. In 1993, Birks was sold to the Italian-based Borgosesia, now known as Iniziativa Regaluxe SrL.

Mr. Birks leaves his sons Jonathan and Thomas; daughters, Lynn and Cynthia; wife, Anne Charlotte Lohéac; 18 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his first wife, Muriel Anne Scobie, who died in 1979, and his son Barrie, who died in 2002.

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

George Drummond Birks, pictured in 1974, was part of the fourth generation to operate the family-run Henry Birks and Sons, a jewellery retailer that once was the largest in Canada.


Anatomy of a music fest's death
How 'the best weekend of your life' became a nightmare for Pemberton investors, creditors and fans
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

VANCOUVER -- The festival was supposed to take place this weekend, at the foot of Mount Currie in British Columbia's picturesque Seato-Sky Corridor. Tens of thousands of people would have filled the sprawling festival grounds each day. Chance the Rapper, Muse and A Tribe Called Quest were scheduled to perform.

Instead, the Pemberton Music Festival was suddenly cancelled in May, news of its bankruptcy trickling out in dribs and drabs.

The event organizers had billed as "the best weekend of your life" was suddenly no more - possibly along with more than $8-million of ticket holders' money.

The cancellation made those in the industry question the viability of large-scale commercial music festivals in B.C. The Squamish Valley Music Festival, Pemberton's chief competitor, was cancelled just one year prior.

"No one's going to do this again for a long, long, long time," said Lewis Neilson, owner of Production Power Corp., which provides electrical, heating and lighting services to the film, entertainment and special-events industry.

Mr. Neilson's company, which has serviced the Pemberton Music Festival since 2014, is owed more than $55,000 and is one of 120 unsecured creditors owed a total of more than $13-million.

"I've been doing this for 35 years, so I've seen a lot of stuff.

This will take a long time to recover [from] - if we ever do," he said.

The Pemberton Music Festival began as the Pemberton Festival, a three-day event in 2008 produced by Live Nation and headlined that year by Jay-Z, Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and the Tragically Hip. While Live Nation was optimistic the festival would become an annual event, financial hurdles and delays in obtaining land-use permits resulted in cancellations in 2009 and 2010.

Canadian investors partnered with Louisiana-based Huka Entertainment, a seasoned festival producer, to resurrect the event for 2014. But the two sides have starkly different accounts of what has transpired since.

According to a preliminary bankruptcy report prepared by Ernst & Young in June, Huka projected a profit of $2.4-million (U.S.) - approximately $2.64-million (Canadian) at the time - for that first year, but instead the festival lost almost $17-million. In 2015, the festival was projected to lose about $4-million (U.S.) - approximately $4.9-million (Canadian) at the time - but instead lost $16.8-million, according to the document. For the 2016 festival, Huka assured the Canadian investors that the Pemberton Music Festival brand was growing and that that year's festival would, at a minimum, break even. Instead, it lost $14-million.

Over three years, Huka collected monthly producer fees totalling $3.45-million (U.S.), according to the Ernst & Young report. The investors said they were not aware of this and received no funds in return on their investment.

In March, 2017, the investors said they would not proceed with this year's festival with Huka as producer. The parties went into mediation, which resulted in a numbered company, 1115666 B.C.

Ltd., replacing Huka subsidiary Twisted Tree Circus GP Ltd. as a general partner.

"After [1115666 B.C. Ltd.] took possession of the books and records of the [Pemberton Music Festival LP], it became clear that the PMF was in worse financial shape than Huka had initially represented to the Canadian investors," the bankruptcy report states.

Meanwhile, weak ticket sales added to the worry. In 2015, the festival averaged 25,151 tickets sold for each day, generating $10.3-million in revenue; in 2016, the average was 38,423 for each day for $15.2-million in revenue.

By mid-May of this year, the festival had sold about 18,230 tickets for each day, generating $8.2million in revenue. Budgeted expenses hovered around $22million.

It also became clear that Huka would not be able to attract new investors, as it had promised, and it would therefore "be impossible to hold a safe and successful festival," according to the report.

On May 16, directors of the numbered company voted to file for bankruptcy, officially doing so two days later through Ernst & Young. On the evening of May 17, as vendors and suppliers began receiving phone calls about the festival's cancellation, word began to spread online and to ticket holders, who tried in vain to get answers from the festival's website and Twitter account.

The cancellation was officially announced late in the afternoon of May 18. There would be no automatic refunds.

The bankruptcy report cites decreased revenue, increased operating costs due to the weakening Canadian dollar, the inability to secure additional funding and increased difficulty in sourcing talent as the causes of insolvency.

Huka characterized various aspects of the report as misleading, incorrect and exaggerated.

In its response, the festival producer said the Canadian investors were "operational partners from the outset" and had full access to the music festival's finances. It also vehemently denied taking any funds to which it was not entitled or without explicit authorization.

"In fact, Huka worked for months at a time without pay, in an effort to make events viable," Huka's submission states.

"By way of contrast, the Canadian investors did redirect funds intended for other purposes, including taxes owing, and instead used those funds to pay for themselves and a select group of vendors."

At a meeting of creditors held in early June, a representative from trustee Ernst & Young outlined Pemberton's dire situation.

The festival owes unsecured debt of just over $13-million; the trustee took possession of just over $3-million and is working on recovery of the festival's remaining assets.

The two secured creditors, the investor groups who were together owed $3.5-million, withdrew their claims. As of this week, Ernst & Young has received 267 claims from unsecured creditors.

However, ticket vendor Ticketfly is claiming a deemed trust; if successful, all money in the estate would go back to Ticketfly and there would be no recovery to the unsecured creditors, Ernst & Young's Kevin Brennan said. If not, the money would be distributed among unsecured creditors. The application is before the courts.

Mr. Neilson of Production Power Corp. said he kept working with the festival over the years because, while it often paid vendors late, it did ultimately pay. He was disappointed to learn of Pemberton's demise and saddened by what it might mean for major music festivals in B.C.

"Pemberton tried to compete with Squamish and that killed them both," he said. "Who wins? We all lose."

While smaller festivals such as Shambhala and the Rockin' River Country Music Fest continue to draw sizable niche crowds in B.C., industry insiders say the thin profit margins and huge financial risk of bigger events make them unviable.

"Major festivals of 30,000, 40,000, 50,000 people, with camping and all the stuff that goes along with it - I'm not sure if that's a sustainable model any more," said BrandLive's Paul Runnals, executive producer of the Squamish Valley Music Festival.

"In the festival business, you start at the beginning of a booking cycle hoping for a lineup that will sell enough tickets to get you to where you want to be, but that process can take four, five, six months. You're committed before you really know what it is you're selling to your ticket buyers.

"The model of trying to camp and house and feed and water and keep safe tens of thousands of people - it's a challenging model. And there are signs in numerous places that it may not be sustainable."

As well, many artists sought for these large commercial festivals hail from the United States and must be paid in U.S. currency, which has become increasingly costly with the relatively weak Canadian dollar.

The trend, Mr. Runnals said, appears to be toward city festivals, such as Osheaga in Quebec, Austin City Limits in Texas and the Governors Ball in New York.

These events are close to a city's downtown core rather than in small towns and are easily accessible by public transit.

On a smaller scale, Surrey's FVDED in the Park is one such festival. In the three years at Holland Park, the two-day festival's attendance has grown from 28,000 to about 40,000, according to organizers.

The TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, which draws about 500,000 people over 10 days, utilizes various indoor and outdoor locations around the city, including concert venues, public plazas and parks.

Mr. Runnals said it's doubtful the Squamish Valley Music Festival would return in its previous form.

"Never say never - I would be a fool to do that - but the underlying issues haven't really changed," he said. "The size and scale ... that we had grown it to, I don't see it being viable until something changes in that equation."

Associated Graphic

Hopes were high for the Pemberton festival as fans celebrated during the Flaming Lips' set at the inaugural event in 2008.


Lead singer Wayne Coyne began the Flaming Lips' set by rolling over the audience in a plastic bubble at the first Pemberton festival in 2008. Festival organizers filed for bankruptcy last May.


A concert goer is thrown into the air while waiting for N.E.R.D. to perform at the 2008 edition of the Pemberton festival.


Standing out from the crowd
Once a land of spacious abodes, Vancouver is becoming compact - and residents are feeling the squeeze
Special to The Globe and Mail
Monday, July 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

VANCOUVER -- The Globe and Mail's B.C. bureau is spending the summer examining how Vancouver's increasing density is shaping the city and its residents.

This is the first in a series.

A century ago,Vancouver was seen as a utopia of singlefamily homes with lots of space to spread out.

Now, it's becoming a city where many of its residents are shuffling in together and squeezing in at a steady pace.

The region has the lowest proportion of single-detached houses of anywhere in Canada, with only 29 per cent of the nearly million homes in the Lower Mainland in that category. A study from Toronto's Neptis Foundation has shown that, for every 1,000 new people who arrive in the city, Vancouver uses half the space Toronto does and a quarter of Calgary.

And it's not just in the City of Vancouver. Contrary to the image of the suburbs as the domain of the quarter-acre lot with the big house, there are more multifamily homes built in the suburban communities surrounding Vancouver every year than single-family.

According to the latest census, a quarter of people in B.C.'s Lower Mainland live in low-rise apartments. Almost one in five live in apartments with more than five stories. And about one in six live in what are called duplexes, which, in the Vancouver region, are often homes that look like singlefamily detached but also include a basement suite.

That translates into less space, inside and out, for everyone.

And not just the people living in downtown Vancouver, but people throughout the region who are moving into condo towers in Burnaby or Surrey, new mid-rise buildings in Richmond, townhouse complexes in Port Moody and low-rise apartments in Langley.

This slow transformation means having to get along with a lot more people in close quarters. It means planners and builders having to think ever more carefully about how to service these newly dense areas with parks, libraries, schools and transit. Builders are now experimenting with how to provide some of the benefits of singlefamily living - storage space, workshops, back yards, hang-out spaces - to people now living at densities as high as 350 people for every square kilometre in some clusters in the region.

It's a profound change, say planners, that means more than just doing more of the same as cities such as Vancouver have become magnets, attracting ever more people who want the urban experience.

"There are enormous issues and it means thinking very differently. It's not just about how tall buildings are," says Ken Greenberg, an award-winning urban designer and architect in Toronto who has worked on city transformations around the world.

That means planning for whole neighbourhoods - not just their infrastructure, although that's important, but about their social make-up.

"We're facing the issue of income polarization by geography.

Unless we are prepared to deal with this, we run an incredible risk in undermining this idea of us being an inclusive society," he said.

For many individual residents, it also means making a profound mental shift in the kind of housing they aspire to.

"Going forward, multifamily is going to be a reality, especially in Vancouver. The townhouse or rowhome, it's going to be the single-family home of our generation," Darin Wong says.

Mr. Wong is a typical Vancouverite. He grew up in a singlefamily neighbourhood in east Vancouver. In his 20s, he bought a place in a condo tower in Burnaby near the Gilmore SkyTrain station - a soulless place with nothing around it that would make a resident feel like going for a walk. But he saw it as a good investment. It was also convenient when he was young and childless. A quick SkyTrain ride took him to his job downtown in environmental assessment or to restaurants and bars in the evening.

Last year, he and his wife, Rosine Hage-Moussa, both 35, moved to a townhouse complex at Heritage Woods in Port Moody with their two young children.

They have 1,260 square feet, a garage, and small yards, front and back.

"It feels like a house," he said, and that's the main thing they wanted, along with still being close to transit. Sometimes, he admits, "it's a little bit close for comfort - I can hear the neighbours going up and down the stairs."

In the end, he and his wife like the feel of the complex. There are a lot of other families with children. Because everyone has a ground-level entrance and some space outside, people see each other and socialize more easily.

There's a private Facebook group for the complex where everyone trades news about recent bear sightings, holiday party plans or break-ins.

Increasingly, families are feeling more comfortable even in big high-rise towers or large multi-unit buildings in neighbourhoods that would never have been considered family-friendly a few decades ago.

Gerry and Pamela Findling live on the 27th floor of their building, which sits above the New Westminster SkyTrain station and adjoining mall, with their 12year-old son. As with Mr. Wong, Mr. Findling, 48, grew up in a standard-issue single-family neighbourhood, his in Edmonton.

"I feel like the stereotype of the close-knit family neighbourhood hasn't happened in 40 years," he said. Kids are scheduled into activities or not allowed to roam the streets the way they used to, so those neighbourhoods, even when they have children in them, seem empty. He doesn't miss that at all. "I love living in a condo. I don't have the yard work. I can spend more time taking my son to soccer."

The Findlings feel as if they have a real sense of community in their building, even though it has 239 units and a mix of owners and renters. There are garden plots on the roof, something that attracts the building's older residents. And people organized a camp-out on the building's large, grassy ninth-floor terrace one night last summer, complete with camp songs and a propanefueled fire.

Denser housing is often less expensive, closer to transit and activities and friendlier to the environment. But there's the issue of getting along in close quarters. Not everyone feels positive about multifamily living.

Some likely won't get there ever.

Single-family homes remain hugely popular in the region, but that has also pushed prices out of reach for many. Strata ownership - and more specifically, strata councils - is a perpetual thorn in the side of many who live in denser communities. Mr. Wong in Port Moody said that is the one thing he wishes he could change about his strata complex.

There's also a stigma associated with density.

For decades, there's been a persistent image that people who live in areas of apartment buildings and towers are lonely, unhappy and deprived. At Vancouver's city council a couple of years ago, residents opposing new towers at the Oakridge shopping mall in the southern area of the city made the argument that building that type of housing would produce a neighbourhood of depressed and alienated people.

Vancouver's best-known density planner, Larry Beasley, said new dense cities will only work if builders and planners ensure they create a high-quality environment.

Most people around the world think they hate density, said Mr.

Beasley, who oversaw much of the development in Vancouver's new downtown residential neighbourhoods, such as north False Creek and Coal Harbour, in the 1990s and early 2000s before going on to consulting work in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Dallas, Abu Dhabi, Moscow and more. "It's usually because they find a dense environment very brutal. They associate density with losing in life."

Apartment builders in earlier years created projects they thought were for just a couple of demographics: seniors and young people who were often transient. So there was little effort made to build in the kinds of things families wanted or that would create connected-feeling neighbourhoods.

During his time as the city's planning director, Mr. Beasley pushed for design elements such as townhouses at the base of large buildings, so there would be a sense of people living along the street, or more storage space in multi-family buildings for the many things that families need to find a place for. He and other planners in Vancouver also insisted on building attractive neighbourhoods around the towers and townhouses complexes so that there were all kinds of activities for people right outside their doors.

"We tried in Vancouver," Mr. Beasley says, "to make density delicious."

But not every city has made that a priority, leaving future residents more conflicted than ever.

Is compact housing shared with many others something they will only tolerate as a second choice?

Or something that can be a first choice?

Associated Graphic

Rosine Hage-Moussa, left, and Darin Wong hold their daughters, Celine and Madeline, in their Port Moody backyard on July 13.


Darin Wong, right, moved his family to a 1,260-square-foot townhouse last year, which he says is sometimes 'a little bit close for comfort - I can hear the neighbours going up and down the stairs.'


Trump Jr. faces legal risk for welcoming Russian help
Wednesday, July 12, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

The e-mail promised "very highlevel" and "ultra-sensitive" information that would "incriminate" Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to support Donald Trump's bid for president.

Donald Trump Jr. quickly wrote back: "If it's what you say I love it."

The newly revealed correspondence from June, 2016, marks a striking development in the controversy over the Trump campaign's contacts - and possible collusion - with Russia to influence the U.S. presidential election.

The messages depict the junior Mr. Trump as an eager consumer of Russian information damaging to Ms. Clinton. The e-mail exchange and the meeting that followed could place him in legal jeopardy, some experts say. It is a federal crime to solicit or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with U.S. election campaigns.

Mr. Trump Jr. himself released the e-mails on Tuesday just as The New York Times was preparing to publish a story on their contents. His father issued a brief statement of support Tuesday via a spokesperson.

"My son is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency," the President said.

The e-mail correspondence between Mr. Trump and Rob Goldstone, a British publicist with Russian business ties, culminated in a meeting at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016, with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer. Also present at the meeting were Paul Manafort, then the campaign's top manager, and Jared Kushner, an adviser to the campaign and the President's son-in-law.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr. Trump Jr., the President's eldest son, said he believed the information on offer was "opposition research" on Ms. Clinton. However, Ms. Veselnitskaya provided no such information at the meeting, he said, and instead wanted to discuss the Magnitsky Act, a bipartisan U.S. legislation enacted in 2012 that bars Russian officials suspected of human-rights violations from entering the country and freezes their assets.

Rick Hasen, an expert on election law who teaches at the University of California, Irvine, wrote Tuesday that after reading the younger Mr. Trump's e-mails, it is "hard to see how there is not a serious case" for a violation of campaign-finance law, in particular its prohibition on soliciting anything of value from foreign nationals. "There's a lot for prosecutors to sink their teeth into."

Joseph Sandler, a specialist in election law who formerly served as general counsel of the Democratic National Committee, concurred. Tuesday's e-mails "greatly strengthened" the case that the younger Mr. Trump may have broken the law, he said, because they demonstrate he considered the information valuable and knew it came from a foreign national.

"It's surprising that there was this level of explicit encouragement of something clearly presented as a foreign government-sponsored effort to benefit the candidate," Mr. Sandler said.

It is also astonishing, he added, that Mr. Manafort, the top official in the Trump campaign, would attend such a meeting. "What in the world would possess [Mr. Manafort] to meet with a Russian lawyer?" asked Mr. Sandler. One possible explanation: "They thought this was the Holy Grail here."

The e-mails are "extremely significant from a legal standpoint," said another expert in election law in Washington who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Subpoenas will be raining down on Trump Jr., Kushner, Manafort and Goldstone."

The fact that Mr. Goldstone described the information on offer as one part of an apparent broader effort by Russia to help the Trump campaign will also attract prosecutorial attention, the expert predicted. "That phrase 'part of' is going to be the subject of a lot of depositions," he said. A lawyer representing the younger Mr. Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Discovering whether any laws have been broken will fall to Robert Mueller, the special counsel charged with investigating potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. In recent weeks, Mr. Mueller has continued to add investigative firepower to his team, recruiting federal prosecutors with expertise in public corruption and international terrorism cases.

Members of Congress are conducting their own parallel probes into the Russia controversy. Both Republican and Democratic members of the Senate intelligence committee called this week for the younger Mr. Trump to testify.

"Happy to work with the committee to pass on what I know," Mr. Trump Jr., 39, wrote on Twitter on Monday.

Mr. Trump Jr.'s version of what occurred has evolved. As recently as March, he told The New York Times he had never participated in any meetings involving Russian nationals where he was "representing the campaign in any way, shape or form."

In his initial statement regarding the June 9, 2016, meeting released on Saturday, he said the encounter primarily involved a discussion of an adoption program for Russian children (the program was ended in retaliation for the Magnitsky Act). On Sunday, he admitted the meeting was set up as an opportunity to receive information that would be "potentially helpful" for the Trump campaign in its battle against Ms. Clinton.

Mr. Goldstone, the publicist who brokered the meeting, originally reached out on behalf of Emin Agalarov, a Russian pop star and the son of Aras Agalarov, a Russian billionaire. The senior Mr. Agalarov partnered with the senior Mr. Trump to bring the 2013 Miss Universe pageant to Moscow. In his initial e-mail, Mr. Goldstone said Mr. Agalarov had met that morning with the "crown prosecutor" of Russia - an apparent reference to the country's top prosecutor - who offered to provide incriminating documents on Ms. Clinton.

Political consultants from both parties stressed how unusual the resulting meeting was. Matthew Dowd, a veteran of more than 100 campaigns who was chief strategist for George W. Bush's reelection bid, wrote on Twitter that it was the first time he had heard of someone meeting with a foreign adversary in order to get "oppo," or opposition research, on a competitor.

For Democratic lawmakers, the e-mails provided the first concrete evidence that the Trump campaign attempted to co-ordinate with elements in Russia to influence the election.

"There is no longer a question of whether this campaign sought to collude with a hostile foreign power to subvert American democracy," said Senator Ron Wyden, who sits on the Senate intelligence committee, in a statement. "The question is how far the co-ordination goes."


Who are these e-mails from? In June, 2016, Donald Trump Jr., was a key player in his father's campaign. He got a tip from publicist Rob Goldstone that the Russian government had damning information about his father's Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. Mr. Goldstone represented the Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, whose father, Aras Agalarov, is one of Russia's wealthiest men - and was the elder Mr. Trump's business partner when the Miss Universe pageant came to Moscow in 2013. The nature of their e-mail conversations between Mr. Goldstone and Donald Trump Jr. first became public this week in reports from The New York Times, which cited sources familiar with the e-mails' contents.

What do they say? The e-mails show the future President's son discussing plans to hear damagjing information on Ms. Clinton that were described as "part of Russia and its government's support fosr Mr. Trump." Mr. Goldstone writes that the Agalarows "helped along" this support. Donald Trump Jr. replied by saying he would "love it especially later in the summer," apparently referring to the information they were promised.

What is this meeting they're talking about? Donald Trump Jr. has acknowledged that, shortly after the e-mail exchange with Mr. Goldstone, he met with a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, with the understanding that she would provide damaging information about Ms. Clinton. The Republican candidate's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, also attended the meeting. But in his statement Tuesday, Donald Trump Jr. says that, instead of the damning information promised, the Russian lawyer offered nothing of substance and the meeting ended after she began talking about a U.S. law that blacklists suspected Russian human-rights abusers.

Why do these e-mails matter? Revelations about Russia's meddling in the 2016 election have raised difficult questions in Washington about whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to win the election by dishonest means. There are currently four congressional investigations and one FBIJustice Department probe examining these questions. Donald Trump Jr.'s e-mails are the first documentary evidence that a top Trump associate took a meeting to hear damaging information about Ms. Clinton with the understanding that it was connected to a Russian government effort to help Mr. Trump.

Why is Trump Jr. releasing them now? In a statement Tuesday, Donald Trump's eldest son said he was posting the e-mails "in order to be totally transparent." Donald Trump Jr. has also offered to co-operate with the Senate intelligence committee investigating the Russian interference in the election.

With reports from Associated Press, The New York Times and Globe staff

Associated Graphic

Donald Trump Jr. said in a statement on Tuesday that he believed the information on offer from a Russian lawyer in a June, 2016, meeting was 'opposition research' on his father's election rival, Hillary Clinton.


DavidsTea founder takes a bet on salad
With two Mad Radish locations opening in Ottawa, Segal will be facing a crowded fast-casual market
Friday, July 14, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B2

OTTAWA -- From the state of affairs at 859 Bank St. in Ottawa's upscale Glebe neighbourhood, you'd never guess a restaurant launch is just three weeks away.

It's late June, and the 1,700square-foot space is cluttered with ladders and tool bins, buckets and discarded cups. Wires hang from unfinished sockets.

You have to step carefully to avoid dust piles, bags of grout and giant spools. A half-dozen construction workers pore over blueprints or ascend to the rafters to hang fixtures. The oven and ice cream machine are still shrink-wrapped, countertops have yet to be installed and most of the fridges haven't arrived - they've cleared customs, but are somewhere in Brampton, Ont.

The health inspection is in five days.

"I've seen worse," says David Segal, surveying the scene. "It's always like this in the end."

Every day for the past two weeks, he says, he's woken up to an unanticipated cost "or a launch-threatening delay."

Mr. Segal has a lot riding on the success of this fast-casual salad restaurant, called Mad Radish.

The 36-year-old Ottawa native is best known as the David behind DavidsTea, the chain he co-founded in 2008 with cousin and Le Château founder Herschel Segal.

Together, they've turned tea from a stodgy drink into a sensory retail experience. The bright, airy, teal stores feature walls of eclectic, unconventional blends with names such as Chocolate Cake and Cotton Candy. Service was high touch. Tea purists scoffed, but customers couldn't get enough.

But DavidsTea has been in a steep descent since going public in 2015. It's on its fifth chief executive officer in six years (Mr. Segal gave up the role in 2011 and later became its "brand ambassador"), sales growth has stalled and the stock has lost 70 per cent of its value. New CEO Joel Silver recently admitted that the company - with 232 stores in Canada and the United States and facing stiff competition from Starbucks' Teavana chain - suffered from "self-inflicted wounds." At the June annual meeting, former chairman Pierre Michaud criticized the firm's leadership and stock performance.

Amid the turmoil, Mr. Segal left the company in March, 2016, and subsequently sold his remaining shares. Herschel remains on the board and holds 51 per cent of DavidsTea shares.

Mr. Segal won't comment on his departure or the woes facing the chain that bears his name, but they clearly rankle. He tried to mount a takeover bid backed by Bain Capital, but his cousin, the controlling shareholder, wasn't interested. "Absolutely I do" feel DavidsTea's hard times personally, he said during one of several interviews over the past six months. "Leaving DavidsTea was hard. But I'm more excited for Mad Radish at this stage than I was at DavidsTea. I'm excited to take some of the lessons I learned ... and apply them here."

Now, Mr. Segal is out to show that his initial success with DavidsTea was no fluke. Starting with two Ottawa locations - the first opens Friday downtown, followed by the Glebe location on July 24 (four days later than planned). He plans to expand nationally, adding five Mad Radishes next year and 10 in 2019.

He has personally bankrolled the millions of dollars for the launch and recruited a top chef (Nigel Finley, from Toronto's the Chase), a seasoned operator (Adam Tomczyk, an executive with U.S. chain Chopt Creative Salad Company) and co-founder Stephanie Howarth, DavidsTea's former marketing vice-president.

Can the man who made tea exciting succeed in salads? It won't be easy. Fast-food customers aren't suffering for healthier options: Freshii and Mexican food giant Chipotle are expanding in Canada, and major cities boast multiple healthy-orderand-dash options. Even quickservice giants such as Tim Hortons and McDonald's have broadened their menus. The big question: How to stand out?

Mr. Segal and Ms. Howarth - Mr. Segal's first hire at DavidsTea - began developing Mad Radish a year ago, weeks after leaving their former employer. Before they had one salad conceived - or even hired a chef - they set out to build the concept's look, marketing and food philosophy.

They wanted a warm and happy experience, so they chose blue, not green, as their brand colour and a name that suggested playful creativity while nodding to the fresh ingredients.

Other salad chains, Ms. Howarth said, "had what we called the green-and-white spaceship aesthetic," with aloof urban concepts where it felt like "you're being prescribed a salad because you're a bad boy.

"We're going to focus on food quality and 'chef-driven,' " she said. "Health is the third message. A lot of salad concepts start with health. You're wasting marketing dollars by going back to something that's inherent to the concept."

Other names they considered but discarded included Black Radish ("too serious," Ms. Howarth said), Brassica ("intimidating") and Fat Carrot.

They decided utensils and dishes would be recyclable or biodegradable, despite the higher cost, and that all sales would be transacted digitally - allowing customers to order and pay from their phones while saving on cash-handling costs. "We're trashless and cashless," Mr. Segal said.

These branding decisions go beyond colours and names, he said. At DavidsTea "we were in the water-infusion business."

That empowered his team to reimagine tea as more than a dull, narrowly defined beverage.

Inventive, aromatic blends were packaged into an inviting concept where customers could sniff tins for 20 minutes before shelling out for pricey products.

Doing the same thing for salad? That's where Mr. Finley comes in.

Mr. Segal found the 33-year-old chef late last year through a recruiter. The bearded, low-key Halifax native with a mackerel tattoo on his right forearm grew up eating meals made from scratch and has spent half his life working in kitchens, developing a passion for knowing the source of his ingredients. "I was immediately enthralled by the opportunity to be a pioneer," Mr. Finley said, adding he was impressed by the clean-cut Mr. Segal, an enthusiastic, fasttalking individual with lively eyes. "He's passionate from the first sentence."

With Mad Radish, the founders hope to please foodies while targeting the masses. Mr. Segal believes Mad Radish could work at roadside stops.

The concept aims to position salads as a "crave-worthy" meal for the fast-food crowd, with average dishes priced at about $13 - an amount the founders say is justified by the use of fresh ingredients and the presentation.

"You've got to taste this and be like, 'Oh God, I want more,' " Mr. Segal said. "It shouldn't feel like eating bird food [or honouring] a New Year's resolution."

That means no frozen corn, "sad" cubes of factory chicken, hard croutons, canned chickpeas or globs of quinoa. Iceberg lettuce is out and even romaine is scarce (chicory and kale are preferred). Every ingredient in Mad Radish's 12 salads and three "warm bowl" meals - as well as drinks, bread, homemade vegan ice cream and soups - has been thought out by Mr. Finley and much of it sourced from small Canadian farms. Mr. Finley started by creating 150 salads, then cut that number in half before focus groups tasted them earlier this year, leading to the final cut.

Everything will be prepared on site - even the croutons.

Amid the chaos in late June, Mr. Segal sounds optimistic but nervous. "Shame on us if we can't deliver," he says. "It has to work."

Despite increasing competition in a crowded space, "fast casual" remains the top-growing restaurant segment and is "quite open" for a concept such as Mad Radish, said Doug Fischer of foodservice consultancy FHG International. "It's still a good opportunity."

Asked about sales expectations, Mr. Segal admits he's not sure. "People need to fall in love with what we're doing. That's the first objective. The biggest mistake you can make out of the gate is to overemphasize cost structure. You believe there's a market, you do everything you can to execute at a world-class level, then you open the doors and see how the public responds."

"We spent a lot of time trying to answer the question: 'Why does the world need this?' " Ms. Howarth said. "We've done our homework. I need a sale ... to validate what I believe are great choices."

Associated Graphic

From left, Mad Radish co-founder Stephanie Howarth, co-founder David Segal and chef Nigel Finley stand in front of a soon-to-be-opened location in Ottawa in June. Mr. Segal says the chain will be 'trashless and cashless' - all utensils and containers will be biodegradable and only digital payments will be accepted.


How this little brown book can keep China's lovers worlds apart
In China, a householdregistration system called hukou decides migrants' social status, where they can afford to live - and who they marry. Nathan VanderKlippe explains how
Thursday, July 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A8

SHANGHAI -- The way Lai Jie sees it, there are two kinds of relationships.

There is romance. And there is marriage.

They are not always the same, and in a city such as Shanghai, the deciding factor on who to wed can have little to do with personality, interest or chemistry.

It comes down, instead, to a little brown book, the hukou (pronounced hoo-koh) document, part of a household-registration system that creates distinctions between urban haves and have-nots that influence salaries, education and, it turns out, love lives for huge numbers of migrants.

In China, families are registered by hometown. Each person's hukou document anchors them to their family's place of origin and the services available there no matter where they move.

It means that those who move to big cities chasing jobs and opportunities typically do not enjoy full local rights of home ownership or benefits such as public schools. Without local hukou documents they are, effectively, second-class citizens - and despite Chinese efforts to reform the system, it remains largely in place today.

Many of the effects of hukou are wellknown: It bars migrant workers in big cities from public services and education, and creates a difficult bureaucratic obstacle to personal advancement.

But it also plays a surprisingly important role in love, forming a major relationship barrier, creating a cleavage that calcifies social mobility and solidifies an underclass of citizens with curtailed rights.

Having hukou is "very important for the ones who don't have it," Ms. Lai said. "We must consider married life and then having children, unless it's a romance not aimed at marriage."

It's a problem reflected in new research from the University of British Columbia and Brown University. It found that although migrants make up just under half the population of Shanghai, only 20 per cent of marriages there cross hukou lines.

Most unions are either between two people who possess Shanghai hukou, or two people who do not.

It is what researchers call "assortative mating," a dry term that describes an important social issue for China.

"Marriage and China's hukou system can work together to contribute to the growing socio-economic disparities between migrants and locals," said Yue Qian, a UBC professor who is the study's lead author.

"Hukou just offers little chance for migrants, especially for less-educated migrants, to integrate or prosper in urban cities."

Conversely, it enhances the ability for those with Shanghai hukou to leap beyond their station.

"Local Shanghainese, with their hukou status, may still be able to marry relatively highly educated migrants. They can use their hukou to gain socio-economically through marriage," Prof. Qian said.

What it means is "migrants fare even worse in China compared with immigrants in Canada or the U.S.," she said.

"Children born to immigrants can get citizenship status automatically, as long as they are born in the U.S. or Canada," she said. "But in the Chinese context, even children born to migrant parents - those children are still migrants. They cannot gain Shanghai or Beijing hukou by birth."

China's hukou system is almost as old as Communist rule.

In 1958, Beijing required people to be classified as "agricultural" or "non-agricultural" (since amended to "urban" and "rural") along with their place of registration. The system is complex, but in general ties people to the homes of their ancestors, a practice that meant little in the agrarian China of a half-century ago.

But its persistence in modern days, with a quarter-billion Chinese who have left home to find better futures, has created numerous stresses.

It is on display at Shanghai's weekly marriage market, where parents seeking spouses for their children regularly advertise their hukou status. Shanghai hukou is considered the hardest in the country to obtain.

Chinese families are famously open about partnership requirements, bluntly asking potential mates about incomes, jobs and house holdings. Marriage offers one route to local registration, and the benefits it confers - spouses can, after waiting several years, apply to join each other's hukou.

But the persistence of hukou divisions underlie worries about class stratification and social mobility that have simmered in China. In 2011, Cai Zhiqiang, a professor at the powerful Central Party School, wrote an article lamenting that "the momentum for upward social mobility is being gradually lost," creating a situation where "hereditary poverty has become a reality."

Recent scholarship has borne that out. A Stanford study last year showed that a modern Chinese son's earnings were more likely to resemble his father's than those of someone in Brazil, the United States, Pakistan, South Korea or Canada, an effect researchers called a "very high level of intergenerational rigidity."

A 2014 study by Chinese and British researchers pointed out that on the scale of decades - dating back to before Communist rule in 1949 - China's upward mobility has exceeded that of Britain. But great class divisions remain, and "the prime driver for social inequality in China was the hukou system."

It can be surprising, then, to discover that hukou remains popular in China, even among those who recognize its role in maintaining social separation.

Take Ms. Lai, who cites former leader Deng Xiaoping's exhortation to "let some people get rich first." That has happened, and those living in places such as Shanghai "who got rich first also now enjoy the fruits of being rich first," Ms. Lai said.

Hukou keeps those still poor from descending upon wealthy areas and taking away all that fruit.

That is not a bad thing, she said. "If Shanghai opened up its hukou policy, the city would be unable to bear such a large population," she said. "China has too many people. That is a fundamental fact."

Ms. Lai, a manager at a financial company, moved to Shanghai and married a man with local hukou - although his registration, she says, was not the primary attraction.

For many young Chinese today, though, hukou continues to weigh heavily as they venture into the marriage market.

Often, the primary consideration in choosing a spouse is home ownership.

That, too, is tightly tied to hukou - which, scholars say, is the single-largest obstacle to buying a home for those not locally registered.

"Some with local hukou feel superior to others," said Anny Yuan, who recently graduated from a Master's program in economic management at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, one of the top education institutions in the country.

"For example, if one person has hukou, even if he doesn't have much in savings, he may expect the other half to be wealthier. The way I see it, it's a kind of marriagemarket ploy."

Ms. Yuan is not from Shanghai, but her boyfriend is. She, however, has her own path to local hukou, which is granted more generously to top graduate students.

Even for those with Shanghai credentials, meanwhile, there is value in seeking out a spouse with a similar background. Life in Shanghai is not easy: Rents are high, jobs are fiercely sought after and square footage is small.

Most couples need both of them to work, meaning they rely heavily on grandparents to take care of children - which is much simpler when the older generation lives in the same city.

Cultural issues matter, too. Some of the city-born women who attend workshops run by Shanghai relationship consultant Wu Di are not interested in partners whose rural backgrounds may be geographically and culturally distant from their own.

In fact, Ms. Wu encourages this.

"It's not a question of hukou," she said.

"Locals are better suited to marry other locals, in my opinion."

But, she said, marriage is complicated - and hukou is just one of a list of reasons that might make one person more attractive than another. Looks matter, as do wallet and house sizes.

"The more advantages one has, the easier it is for him or her to find their other half in marriage," she said.

With a report from Yu Mei

Associated Graphic

Opposite: A woman shows reporters a hukou household-registration document. In China, families are registered by hometown. Each person's document anchors them to their family's place of origin and the services available there no matter where they move.


Top: New research from the University of British Columbia and Brown University found that only 20 per cent of marriages in Shanghai cross hukou lines.


Above: A young boy sits in his aunt's house after his school in Shanghai was shut down in 2014. Without a hukou document, many migrant children do not qualify for public schools, making illegal migrant schools their only option.


Why a 94-year-old war veteran started a podcast to save democracy
Harry Leslie Smith is deeply disturbed at how democracy has become endangered. He's convinced young people can be the planet's salvation - and he's reaching out to them, one podcast at a time, Elizabeth Renzetti writes
Monday, July 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A6

If you were to write a play, there would be few more compelling characters than a 94-year-old Second World War veteran who is so despairing of the world that he turns to young peoples' technology to reach young peoples' ears.

Harry Leslie Smith, a nonagenarian podcaster, is that person and this is the story of his late-life awakening, told in three acts. It almost has an happy ending.

Act 1 I first heard Mr. Smith speak in June, 2015, at a sold-out lecture in Vancouver. He was 92, a small, wizened figure who walked haltingly onstage and commanded it for the next hour. He spoke about the shattering poverty he'd experienced as a child, growing up in Yorkshire, England: His 10-yearold sister died of tuberculosis, her body tossed in an unmarked pauper's grave. His father followed, years later, in another unmarked grave. Mr. Smith spoke about his worries that the world was once again separating into the haves and have-nots, both in his native Britain and his adopted home, Canada.

"Austerity will spell the end of democracy," he said, "unless we the people take back our right to a dignified life through the pragmatic protection of the socialwelfare state."

At the beginning of his 10th decade, Mr. Smith had become a bit of a rock star, although one who favoured tweed and bifocals.

He had just published his first book, Harry's Last Stand, a zesty takedown of the betrayals he felt as an RAF veteran who'd fought for a better world. Annie Lennox was a fan. His speech defending Britain's National Health Service from budget cuts had pinballed around the digital world. He had 40,000 Twitter followers and fought neoliberals online with the ferocity of a man one-quarter his age.

When I interviewed Mr. Smith, he was worried about the toll that austerity policies were taking on the world, including in Canada, the country where he had settled 50 years earlier with his Germanborn wife, Frieda, and where they'd raised their three boys. Educating young people about the horrors of the past was his main mission. "The last years of my life should be devoted to at least trying to make a change in the world, and reminding people of the way it was," Mr. Smith said.

"The way it shouldn't be again."

At the time, he seemed quite cheery. He felt he was spending his last years and his last stores of energy usefully, touring campuses and talking to young people.

But not enough people were listening, and the world got worse.

Act 2 When I caught up with Mr. Smith in March of this year, I could hear the worry, raw in his voice. In the two years since we'd spoken, he'd been busy: He'd published a book about meeting his wife in warravaged Germany, Love Among the Ruins, and he was up to nearly 100,000 Twitter followers (both good developments.) But the Brexit vote had happened, and Donald Trump had been elected (both bad, very bad.) He was near despair.

"We are at a dangerous crossroads for society and democracy," Mr. Smith said, over the phone from Belleville, Ont. (He splits his time between Britain and Ontario, where one of his sons lives, as well as the widow of another son.) "I believe the world is in just as dangerous a state as it was when I was a teen, watching democracy dissolve all across Europe."

He was having a bit of trouble catching his breath, and paused before his next sentence: "That's why I'm starting a podcast."

A podcast? He probably heard the disbelief in my voice. It wasn't as much of a leap as it seemed, he said. He'd been a radio operator in the RAF, and had always been interested in new technology. He was in constant demand as a speaker, but didn't have the time or energy to fulfill every request. He wrote newspaper articles railing against the demise of the welfare state, but he knew that the young people he wanted to reach weren't likely to pick up a paper. But they might listen to a podcast.

A month later, with the technological help of his son, John, Mr. Smith had launched his podcast, Harry's Last Stand. It begins, evocatively, in a most British way: "Think of this as a conversation in the snug of a railway station pub on a wet winter's day. We are just two strangers who have missed our trains, but don't feel like waiting alone. ... Our mobile phones are dead, no newspapers are about and the television is off. As we are strangers, we can speak the truth."

In the seven episodes he's recorded so far, Mr. Smith recalls in pungent detail the deprivation and hunger of his Yorkshire childhood during the Great Depression: "My sister and I would huddle on the floor on a piss-stained mattress and stare at the shadows cast on the dirty garret walls by a lone candle stump.

..." Just try telling that to kids these days. Mr. Smith did, spurred on by a British election that he called "the last whistle stop for democracy." The wolf in this fairy tale was the Conservative government and its seven years of austerity cuts, which had created living conditions that seemed alarmingly familiar to him. Mr.

Smith cast his first vote in 1945: It went to Clement Attlee, the Labour prime minister who was the architect of the National Health Service. In the 2017 election, he again campaigned for the Labour Party, although he was initially dubious about its leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

Mainly, though, it was easier to record episodes than knock on doors. A few thousand people listened to each podcast episode, which pleased Mr. Smith, especially as he grew increasingly frustrated that his message was perhaps not being heeded: "My generation certainly didn't go to the chop willingly. We fought and we protested all through the Great Depression," he said in Episode 5. "... Now the working class has been defanged by Netflix and weeklong all-inclusive holidays to Spain on the never-never. Whingeing while you wait in the queue of life will get you nowhere."

Mr. Smith's podcast was increasingly filled with the distress and frustration of a 94-year-old man who felt he was shouting into the wind. But then, by the time he recorded the sixth episode, there was an astonishing change in the political mood.

The Tories' shoo-in collapsed as the result of a calamitous campaign. Mr. Smith recorded one final exhortation to the young people of Britain: "You can stop this, like my generation did when we were young and our future lay before us like the outline of a New World seen from a sailor's spyglass."

Act 3 A few days after the election, I catch up with Mr. Smith for a final time. His voice sounds much stronger. He is filled with hope. Labour didn't win the election, but it performed much better than expected, thanks to a surge of support from young voters. Theresa May's Conservatives lost their majority and had to negotiate an agreement for support from the socially conservative Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland.

"I'm elated," Mr. Smith says. "It was young people who put us in this position where we finally have the chance to change Britain. I've spoken to young people in schools and universities across England for the past many years, but I never got that sense of awakening that I did this time."

He has returned to Ontario for the summer, but he'll hardly be idle. He has to prepare for the fall publication of his next book, Don't Let My Past Be Your Future.

He believes another election in Britain is imminent. And you know what that means: back to the studio, because there are more episodes to write.

Associated Graphic

Left: Harry Leslie Smith is a 94-year-old veteran of the Second World War who is so despairing of the world that he has turned to technology to reach young people. Centre: Mr. Smith maintains a strong social-media presence; he currently has about 100,000 Twitter followers. Top: Mr. Smith stands beside a bomber on May 8, 1945. Above: Mr. Smith gets a standing ovation after delivering a speech about his life and the National Health Service at the 2014 Labour Party Conference in Manchester, England.


Hurrah for B.C. syrah
Excellent offerings abound among the newly released vintages
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L11

A discerning drinker ("wine nerd," if you prefer) might be inclined to detect a soupçon of wild herbs in the excellent new 2015 syrah from British Columbia's Laughing Stock Vineyards.

It's an intriguing essence and fitting complement to the lush fruit of the full-bodied, velvety red. Winemaker David Enns, who owns the Naramata-based estate with wife Cynthia, believes nearby Anarchist Mountain may have something to do with it.

"It's just covered in sage," he said of the slope that rises up from his five-hectare Perfect Hedge vineyard in Osoyoos in the south Okanagan near the Washington border. Heat extremes for which the desert pocket is known tend to release volatile compounds from the giant, decadesold bushes, he adds. "And you get an herbal note, which will get absorbed somewhat by the skins on the syrah."

The herbal essence may (or may not) be a happy accident of wind transfer, but the wine's other qualities, including its impressive structure and smooth concentration, certainly owe a considerable debt to smart vineyard management and intricate vinification techniques in the cellar. Enns goes to impressive lengths to turn out his version of a meaty and muscular grape that, thanks to such other standout producers as Le Vieux Pin, Nichol and C.C. Jentsch, has rapidly grown to rival merlot as the south Okanagan's signature red variety.

It starts with not one but two harvests. The first syrah batch gets picked when Enns' nearby viognier vines ripen so that he can add a small proportion of the floral white grape into the vat and coferment the varieties in the signature style of great syrah producers of France's Côte Rôtie appellation in the northern Rhône. (Even a 3-per-cent dash of white viognier can add aromatic verve and help stabilize syrah's colour for a richer hue.) The second syrah batch is picked about a week later and vinified separately for a riper contribution to the final blend.

In the cellar, Enns then crafts three separate wines from all that juice. The syrah-viognier blend gets fermented in 5,000-litre stainless-steel tanks for maximum fruitiness and is gently stirred using bubbles from a compressedair machine rather than the standard, more aggressive, liquidcirculating pumps, which can lead to bruised flavours. A second batch of syrah juice is fermented in 500-litre wooden barrels that are later used for maturation, a step that helps to better integrate the wood's vanilla and spice characters. Finally, a third component is fermented in a tall, 2,600-litre French oak tank designed to accommodate not just de-stemmed grapes but also whole clusters - tannic stems and all. Enns fills the tank in 60-centimetre-high layers, alternating whole berries with whole clusters, as though he were composing a gigantic ice-cream parfait.

"Especially in ripe years like 2015, the extraction from the stems is really magnificent," he said. "You get this backbone to the wine that's just pretty special."

Enns says that when the three components are blended together, the result is always better than any constituent part.

Laughing Stock's 2015 syrah is one of several excellent new B.C.

reds from the warm 2014 and 2015 vintages reviewed below. (They're mainly available through private wine stores in the West and direct from the wineries, some of which will ship to consumers across Canada; the 2014 Burrowing Owl Syrah is available in select Ontario stores.)

My selections include some stellar pinots and merlot-led blends as well as two syrah-based wines from Road 13, which has been specializing in Rhône varieties for years. "I firmly believe that syrah is the single best varietal for the south Okanagan," Joseph Luckhurst, Road 13's general manager, told me recently. "What we've seen is that it's consistent from vintage to vintage, something to hang our hat on. You can make a killer cab in the south Okanagan, but it's difficult to do it year after year."

To my mind, Road 13's 2015 Syrah and 2015 Syrah Malbec blend taste uniquely Okanagan, combining the ripe richness of a sunny, dry climate with a fabulous blast of peppery spice and the firm structure classically associated with the northern Rhône. I jokingly asked Luckhurst if his vines in the south Okanagan happen to be situated anywhere near a peppercorn plantation.

"Not quite," he said with a hearty laugh. "If we were getting transfers of flavours, that wine would taste like rattlesnakes. We get a lot of rattlesnakes."

Painted Rock Red Icon 2014 (British Columbia)

SCORE: 94 PRICE: $47.79

The 2014 edition of Painted Rock's flagship and fabulous red is a blend of 33-percent merlot with lesser proportions of cabernet franc, malbec, petit verdot and cabernet sauvignon. It's a benchmark for Okanagan wines based on the Bordeaux grape mix, luscious and lavish yet kinetic and mineral-flinty in a Médoc way. The main flavours hint at cassis, blackberry jam, dark chocolate, vanilla and smoky cedar, supported by chewy-ripe tannins.

Approachable now, it should improve with up to 15 years in a cool cellar. Available direct through

Road 13 Syrah Malbec 2015 (British Columbia)

SCORE: 93 PRICE: $32.17

Inky purple in a way that's reminiscent of youthful, high-priced Argentine malbec.

And this delivers the crowd-pleasing, youthful fruitiness of a malbec, though the blend is mostly syrah (at 70 per cent) with 24-per-cent malbec, 3 per cent viognier and, oddly, 3-per-cent gamay. Superrich and seamless in texture, it delivers a thick essence of plum along with big, peppery spice, espresso, leather, fall foliage and vanilla. If the French could make a wine like this, they'd charge $80 and call it a bargain. Available direct through

Road 13 Syrah 2015 (British Columbia)

SCORE: 92 PRICE: $30.43

Paging northern-Rhône fans: Perfectly ripe fruit suggesting blackberry and currant jam is interwoven with licorice, leather and lavender. It's like fruity allsorts packaged in French stiletto shoes. Plus a whole lot of black pepper.

And if you like Rhône-style whites, do yourself a favour and order Road 13's superb, silky-succulent 2016 Marsanne at a very reasonable $20.87. Available direct through

Laughing Stock Syrah 2015 (British Columbia)

SCORE: 92 PRICE: $35.99

Ripe and lavish yet disciplined by well-buffed tannins, which supply the backbone. The velvety texture delivers notes of blackberry, plum, coffee, licorice and pepper along with a nuance of Provencal herbs (or is that the windblown sagebrush from nearby Anarchist Mountain?). This sumptuous red carries its 14.9-per-cent alcohol well, with no trace of heat. Available direct through

Liquidity Pinot Noir Estate 2015 (British Columbia)

SCORE: 92 PRICE: $26

Medium-bodied, juicy and intriguingly earthy, with a cherry and raspberry core and hints of beetroot, smoke and spice. Fully ripe (unlike too many weedy, overcelebrated cool-climate pinots) yet bright and tangy on the finish. This is subtle, trim and elegant pinot - crafted in a style that more people should come to appreciate. Available direct through

Meyer Pinot Noir Reimer Vineyard 2015 (British Columbia)

SCORE: 92 PRICE: $40

From a stellar pinot noir producer, this gem is sourced from vineyards in South East Kelowna, where the relatively cool climate favours such varieties as pinot, chardonnay and riesling. Medium-bodied, the wine is fleshy and obviously ripe, with jammy strawberry and cherry fruit infused with essences of caramel, damp earth, smoke and nutmeg. Remarkable depth of flavour and lively spice. Refreshingly bright acidity for such a warm year. Think of velvety, perfumed Volnay - only with more sunshine. Available direct through

Burrowing Owl Syrah 2014 (British Columbia)

SCORE: 92 PRICE: $40.95

So smooth and dense it could have been named Trump instead of Syrah, this is rich with flavours of blackberry, blueberry, espresso and dark chocolate, lifted by notes of licorice and peppercorn.

A seductive and generous Okanagan syrah. Available in Ontario.

Stag's Hollow Merlot 2014 (British Columbia)

SCORE: 90 PRICE: $18.99

This contains 5-per-cent petit verdot, a late-ripening grape that no doubt added tannic backbone and darker colour to the merlot. Bottled unfined and unfiltered, it's medium-full-bodied and supple, with cherry-plum fruit joined by dark chocolate and a savoury tang. Velvety yet not at all wimpy the way most merlots at this price tend to be. Serious and interesting merlot for the money. Available direct through

Alex Bozikovic explains the fresh eye that photographer Iwan Baan has brought to architecture
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

When we look at the cities of the world, what stays in the picture?

That's the question that Iwan Baan insists on asking. Baan is the world's leading photographer of architecture, and the Dutchman has, in the past year, jetted between jobs in London, Hamburg, Beirut, central China, Burkina Faso and Iowa City.

Often paid to capture the work of ambitious designers, Baan insists on presenting a relatively honest view of what he sees. He leaves in the chaos at the edge of the frame.

"My background is in documentary photography," the 42year-old said recently over breakfast in Toronto. "The goal is trying to tell stories through your photographs. It's not just a building or a nice detail; there is the city around it, how people use the space, and how all these ingredients come together."

Baan's unique view of the world matters, because it shapes the world we live in.

The world of design is radically global in its perspective; websites such as Dezeen and ArchDaily funnel a constant stream of images to architects around the world. You may not look at them, but the people who design your city certainly do.

Most of those images are paid for by the architects themselves, and they are always stylized, heavily edited and often heavily processed. If an electrical pole is in the way, or a piece of the façade is falling off, this disappears through the magic of Photoshop - except in Baan's work, where it is likely to stay in place. His clients, which include top architects such as OMA, Zaha Hadid Architects and Herzog & de Meuron, pay for a certain kind of honesty.

Baan, whose photographs are featured in the new book Portman's America, has come to dominate his field; the world of architecture, as it shifts away from "icon buildings" and "starchitecture" to a more socially engaged model, is defined by his clear visual style.

"I don't do much Photoshop," he said, sipping espresso at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto. "I hate sitting behind the computer. Reality is often strange enough, so it's much more interesting to be there and to see it."

Baan was in Toronto for a day, giving a talk and visiting family, before getting back on the plane. His partner, who is from Ontario, and two-year-old son generally travel with him; they have homes in Rotterdam and New York State, but are more or less constantly in the air. He'd recently returned from Kathmandu, where he was researching the work of an Austrian architect, Gotz Hagmuller, who spent decades working on adaptive reuse of historic buildings.

That is a personal book project, one of several Baan is working on along with paid commissions. His creative goal is to combat the "plague of sameness," he says, "that is killing human joy."

"It's more and more a generic world and city we live in: The same shops, the same developers, anywhere in the world," he argues. "And that destroys the local identity, the local building techniques."

And who can beat that sameness? He cites Herzog & de Meuron, the Swiss architects who have been tapped to design a new Vancouver Art Gallery. "They're an office that's well suited to discover a new idea and make something completely new for a particular place," Baan says.

"I believe that architecture still has an important role," he says, "in helping us to do that."

The two streams of architecture's avant garde today - experimentation with material and form on one hand, and socalled "social architecture" that aims to improve quality of life for the world's 99 per cent - come together in his work.

Sometimes his concerns and his business come together.

Baan flew to Newfoundland to shoot the Fogo Island Inn, which draws on the handicraft and particular character of outport Newfoundland. The building, by Todd Saunders, is sleek and beautifully detailed, and lends itself to close-ups. Yet Baan's most powerful photo of the site is taken from the air, placing the seaside hotel in one corner of a vista that takes in a frozen inlet and the adjacent village. You can barely see the hotel, but you can see clearly how it speaks to the region's architecture and topography.

"Newfoundland's vernacular architecture is all about siting, and the relationship to the water," says Zita Cobb, the inn's visionary owner. "The inn is a bit of a visitor, and Iwan got that immediately."

For architects, Baan's perspective has been welcome, says Florian Idenburg, the DutchAmerican architect of the firm SO-IL, who has long collaborated with Baan. "He has a very sharp eye for the situations that arise around buildings, when perhaps things don't go as planned - and he is quick to pick up on the ironies that arise."

In Shenzhen, Baan shot the new tower for the Shenzhen Stock Exchange by the Dutch architects OMA, but rather than frame this shiny icon of global capitalism against the sky, one of his shots captures the city under construction, and a woman pulling containers of water along a highway overpass.

"His interest is not in buildings, but in people - in how we are shaped by the built environment and how we react to it," Idenburg says. "Some photographers shoot materials and details; he's not interested in that."

Baan has a particular interest in what urbanists call "informal settlements." He made evocative photographs of the Torre David in Caracas, where 3,000 people had settled the unfinished skeleton of an office tower. In Cairo, he's captured self-built apartments that belong to the Zabaleen - "garbage people" - a community of Copts who make their living through painstakingly sorting and recycling waste from city households.

And Baan travelled to the Makoko neighbourhood of Lagos, where about 100,000 people live entirely on the water; he knows the Nigerian architect Kunle Adeyemi, who designed a floating school for the district, built by locals from affordable or scrap materials.

Baan's images of the school were very compelling and probably helped Adeyemi receive an award for a similar project at the Venice Biennale of Architecture.

And yet the original floating school apparently collapsed while out of use, sparking an online critique over whether the project was merely an impractical showpiece.

But Baan points out that the school was built as a prototype, and in difficult circumstances.

"In this community, every year, hundreds of houses collapse from weather conditions - or the government, who is trying to push people out and bulldozer whole neighbourhoods," he said. "The project put on the map a community which was for years on the verge of being wiped out."

In the 21st century, it may be that architecture's most urgent task will be helping to suggest how design can address the conditions in places such as Makoko; work such as Adeyemi's, and Baan's, bring attention to the incredible social needs in the rapidly urbanizing cities of the developing world.

"I was just in Mumbai," Baan mused when we met, "and just looking at the need for housing, it's overwhelming. It can be depressing at times."

But that is where architecture comes in: "It still spurs the imagination of what the place could become," he says. "It provides a utopia."

Ideas - and pictures - can, perhaps, change the world.

Associated Graphic

Photographer Iwan Baan's concerns and business came together when he flew to Newfoundland to shoot the Fogo Island Inn, drawing on the handicraft and particular character of outport Newfoundland. The building, by Todd Saunders, is sleek and beautifully detailed.


Top: In Shenzhen, Iwan Baan shot the new tower for the Shenzhen Stock Exchange by the Dutch architects OMA, but rather than frame this shiny icon of global capitalism against the sky, his shot captures the city under construction.

Above: Baan flew to Newfoundland to shoot the Fogo Island Inn. The sleek and beautifully detailed building lends itself to close-ups, but Baan's most powerful image of the site is taken from the air, placing the seaside hotel in one corner of a vista that takes in a frozen inlet and the adjacent village construction.

Left: Bann is the world's leading photographer of architecture, and the Dutchman has, in the past year, jetted between jobs in London, Hamburg, Beirut, central China, Burkina Faso and Iowa City.


Modernist islands in the traffic stream
The 12 islands along University Avenue - once a marvel of landscape architecture - have become largely neglected and overlooked
Friday, July 14, 2017 – Print Edition, Page G3

The forest green paint isn't fooling anybody. No amount of camouflage can hide this, City of Toronto, so grab a stencil and paint "We Don't Care" on it.

Almost daily for the past two years, I've walked by the "Big Green Box of Shame" at the corner of Richmond Street West and University Avenue, and almost every time I cringe at the sight of the plywoodentombed fountain.

The 12 landscaped islands that begin at Adelaide Street West and stretch to the foot of the provincial legislature buildings were conceived and executed by Dunington-Grubb and Stensson, arguably the most important landscape-architecture firm in Ontario from the end of the Edwardian era to the Age of Aquarius. Architect Michael McClelland and landscape architect Brendan Stewart, writing in an issue of Ground magazine, state that the design is "perhaps one of the most significant modernist works of civic landscape architecture in Toronto," yet, somehow, it "remains largely overlooked."

It also remains untended, littered, neglected, cracking, sinking and, in the case of one island, obliterated.

As a native Torontonian, I know the islands well, but even I was surprised at the lack of care in preserving their crispness and once-striking geometry, and how quick cover-ups and infrastructure additions have diluted the DG&S vision. I phoned Karl Stensson, 66, president of Sheridan Nurseries, to see if I was alone in my disappointment; Mr. Stensson is nephew of Jesse Vilhelm Stensson (known as J.V. or Bill), who designed the islands under the watchful eye of Howard Dunington-Grubb, an octogenarian by the early 1960s. Mr. Dunington-Grubb and his wife/partner, Lorrie, came to Toronto from England in 1911; in 1913, they created Sheridan Nurseries and hired Herman Stensson (Karl's grandfather) to run it.

While Karl Stensson agrees the boxed fountain is "disappointing," he suggests that, in general, "the public is much more aware than they were" about landscape architecture. He then switches gears: "I think the public underestimates the value of proper [landscape] design, what it provides for the eyes, for health, serenity, property value [and] for tourism ... I don't think they appreciate how much it costs."

Just after the lunch rush on a lovely afternoon, I spent almost two hours inspecting the islands.

I'm no landscape architect, but aside from repairs to two fountains, much of what I saw didn't seem to require heaps of new spending - only person-hours.

Here's what I found: Island A begins rather unceremoniously at Adelaide as a one-footwide piece of pointed concrete with a traffic sign. By the time Rising by Zhang Huan at the Shangri-La Hotel comes into view, the island has gained enough girth for a few trees.

There's also a first glimpse of the smooth brick in caramels and chocolate browns that provide trim for all islands. Unfortunately, here they are being dramatically pushed up by tree roots.

Island B contains the Box of Shame. It also has the city's solution to sinking brick trim: slap shiny black asphalt on it. On this island is the first of the thick, precast slabs of exposed aggregate (pea-gravel, here in a caramel colour) that form much of the walking surface. Pedestrians can also admire the trunk of the first chopped tree.

Island C at Queen Street West is the one most Torontonians know best for its curving marble bench and three burbling fountains (the city wouldn't dare box this one).

Here, the caramel brick, in rows of three, alternates with the aggregate slabs as it approaches the stepped platform of the towering South African War Memorial, but, as much of it the brick is sinking, the geometry is obscured.

Island D is fun. It confronts pedestrians with a concrete culet - the tip of a diamond - and invites them up stairs to examine six octagons of grass. Panels of black aggregate create stripes. Raised slate-clad planter boxes create a feeling of shelter, plus protect plants from winter salt-spray.

Island E, the longest, begins at Armoury Street. It sports a complex network of rounded, raised planter boxes with groovy, inset concrete benches; underfoot are square aggregate slabs with inset red circles. Unfortunately, part of the composition has sunk so severely it is underwater. About two-thirds of the way up, another boxed fountain.

Island F has been destroyed in order to install wheelchair elevators to St. Patrick subway station; a few original bricks remain at the north end. It's unclear from TTC bulletins and online postings if the island will be recreated.

Island G, which sits to the west of the mid-century modern (former) Shell Oil headquarters at 505 University, is the "checkerboard" island. A few of the squares have eroded so much, however, rebar is visible. Just before the Sons of England War Memorial, there is another dead tree trunk.

Island H begins with a regular sidewalk, but soon jazzes things up with jaunty red and black aggregate slabs and asymmetrical grass strips.

While these slabs are in better condition than most, soil upheaval is causing wide gaps in many areas.

Island I begins at Gerrard Street, and three steps up passersby can enjoy the shade. Here are loose chevron patterns traced in the caramel brick.

Island J lacks shade, but it is well used by hospital workers on smoke breaks. It features ruler-like patterns done in black and caramel on either side; wear is causing rebar to show itself on a few.

Island K, which sports an elegant row of trees in the middle, seems to be well cared for by city staff. Perhaps that's because former Toronto mayor Robert Hood Saunders keeps watch at the top.

Island L is small. There is only one raised planter in the middle that creates two narrow pedestrian paths on either side. But one is forced to walk so closely to the rushing traffic of University, so it's not inviting ... or safe.

My overall impression? Ninety per cent of the original pieces remain.

A few islands need only straightening, levelling and minor cleanup work. Some need major restoration.

Various interventions by independent contractors have cluttered up the cleanliness of the geometry.

According to period documents, the islands were intended to be "architectural, instead of horticultural," yet the city seems to have reversed this focus. And while plant materials are rich and colourful, Mr. Stensson, who worked for his uncle in the late 1960s while studying landscape architecture, suggests J.V.

probably wanted "pleached lindens"- closely spaced trees that form a crisp architectural "hedge in the air" - along some of the borders, so it would be nice to implement those if money were to become available.

He acknowledges, however, that the scheme DG&S implemented in the early 1960s was a compromise from the get-go, as the city balked at the more ambitious one presented (that's to say nothing of the really, really ambitious plan the firm first presented in the late 1940s).

Mr. Stensson mentions Oakes Garden Theatre at Clifton Hill and River Road in Niagara Falls or Gage Park in Hamilton, which was recently restored to its former glory: "If you look at those you'll see what a full DG&S design would be, and in comparison I don't think University Avenue came out as they envisioned it in the first place because of the money."

And there's the rub: money.

But if buildings are the set pieces of our urban stage, what is landscape architecture? It's the lighting, the dry ice, the smoke bombs and the depth of that stage. Take those away, and what's left?

A plywood box, painted forest green.

Associated Graphic

From top: The 'Big Green Box of Shame' on Island B makes the writer cringe when he passes the plywood entombed fountain. This was not how Dunington-Grubb and Stensson had conceived the islands' design, as seen in a layout sketch proposal from 1949. The curving marble bench and three fountains by Queen Street West may make Island C the best known, but they're not enough to distract from the wear on the others. Bricks that trim Island A, for example, are pushed up by tree roots, while a dead tree trunk stands right by the Sons of England War Memorial on Island G.


Is it a blip, or is the GTA on the verge of severe correction?
The spectre of rising interest rates is only one of the stressors in a topsy-turvy market
Friday, July 14, 2017 – Print Edition, Page G2

Is the recent downturn in the Greater Toronto Area's real estate market a blip or the start of a severe correction?

John Andrew, a professor at Queen's University and executive director of the Queen's Real Estate Roundtable, is calling it a blip. He expects strength to return to the market after prospective buyers get their heads around the Ontario government's recent policy changes. But the business professor cautions there are risks to his prediction.

One is the spectre of rising interest rates.

This week, the Bank of Canada hiked interest rates for the first time in seven years when it lifted its benchmark rate by 25 basis points to 0.75 per cent. The move was widely expected by financial markets.

Prof. Andrew warns that a series of rate hikes in Canada would put pressure on a lot of households - especially in Toronto and Vancouver, where many people hold massive mortgages.

Another factor is the level of trepidation buyers already appear to be feeling after Ontario's introduction on April 20 of a tax aimed at foreign buyers.

"What a quick transition we've seen from a very strong sellers' market to a very strong buyers' market," Prof. Andrew says of the abrupt decline in sales.

Data from the Toronto Real Estate Board show sales plunged 37.3 per cent in the GTA in June compared with the same month last year. New listings last month jumped 15.9 per cent from June, 2016. That tally follows a topsy-turvy May, when sales dropped 20.3 per cent compared with a year earlier and new listings skyrocketed 48.9 per cent for the same period.

The swell of new listings subsided in June after May's surge, but that's partly because June traditionally marks the end of the spring season, when the number of people putting their properties on the market tends to dwindle.

But the GTA market has been in a skid since the provincial government introduced a slate of new measures aimed at taming runaway price growth. After a blistering first quarter, the province launched a 15-per-cent tax on non-resident speculators who purchase property in a part of Ontario known as the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

The measures appear to have spooked buyers, but even in the weeks leading up to the announcement, some buyers were becoming hesitant about venturing into such a zany market.

Prof. Andrew believes the foreign-buyers tax is the most significant factor in pushing buyers to the sidelines.

Last week, the Ontario government reported that 4.7 per cent of homes purchased in the Greater Golden Horseshoe between April 24 and May 26 were by foreign buyers.

"It's not a very significant number that are being bought by foreign investors," Prof. Andrew says.

"But it has changed buyer psychology and that's all it takes." He says there is not a lot of objectivity or rationale for the market responding as it has, which bolsters his belief that people were just looking for an excuse for the market to cool off.

He believes the percentage reported by the province is a flimsy reason for the market to tank because the tally is not all that reliable. The data were collected over only a few weeks. There's also a relatively high degree of error in such reports, he adds, and they tend to skew on the low side.

A more thorough breakdown of the numbers obtained by The Globe and Mail this week confirms that certain pockets in the Toronto area have much higher rates of foreign investment.

Prof. Andrew adds that it's difficult for the government and industry to know who the actual buyer of a property is. There are various loopholes and exemptions that allow overseas investors to get around the tax, he adds.

People exempt from paying the tax include immigrants who either have or are seeking permanent-resident status, and foreign students studying in Canada.

"That's a no-brainer. That's quite an exemption," Prof. Andrew says of the international-student status.

"These are sophisticated investors, and who doesn't want to get a Canadian university or college education anyway?" John Pasalis, president of Realosophy Realty Inc., thinks the province's numbers need some context.

He notes the data were based on deals that closed - that is, ownership was transferred - between those dates. Mr. Pasalis points out that closing the deal typically happens 60 days after a home is sold.

He reckons the majority of these sales took place before the province introduced the non-resident speculation tax.

Also, while the data cover the Greater Golden Horseshoe, most foreign buyers are zeroing in on the GTA.

The numbers obtained by The Globe this week back up Mr. Pasalis's view that the 416 area code and parts of York Region, such as Richmond Hill and Newmarket, have pockets that attract large numbers of deep-pocketed overseas investors.

Mr. Pasalis adds that even 4.7 per cent is meaningful in a market where prices were rising by as much as 33 per cent on an annual basis in the first quarter. Homes purchased in the first quarter required 72 per cent of the average local household's income to cover the carrying costs.

Looking ahead to the fall, Prof. Andrew will be interested to see what the central bank does at its next policy meeting.

"Certainly, the Bank of Canada is very disciplined in not responding to the real estate market," he says, noting that the bank remains focused on keeping inflation in check.

He adds there are real estate markets in Canada that don't need cooling off.

But he figures if the central bank were to raise rates two or three times, housing markets across the country would slump.

"By about the second increase, the response will be 'the gravy train has stopped.' I think we would see a decline in house prices right across the board."

In that scenario, Prof. Andrew's biggest concern is what happens when homeowners' mortgages come up for renewal.

Those with a five-year fixed-rate mortgage, for example, may be facing significantly higher rates when the five years are up. If consumers were stretched with rates below 3 per cent, they will be reeling if they have to renew a mortgage at 5.3 per cent, for example.

The problem is that employees' income levels, on average, are not climbing. Those who took out a mortgage in 2016 or 2017 could feel a lot of pressure in 2020 or beyond.

"In a market like this, they borrow every dollar they can possibly borrow."

Homeowners will find all kinds of ways to cut costs so they can stay in their principal residence, he says.

"They will go to Herculean efforts to not lose their home."

His fear centres on the investors who own downtown Toronto condo units. In the current low-rate environment, those owners may be able to rent out the unit for $3,000 a month, which covers their mortgage payments and costs. But in a rising rate environment, carrying costs may shoot up to $4,000 a month. Even if the rent has risen to about the $3,300 level during the same period, the owner is no longer recovering expenses.

"Those are realistic numbers," Prof. Andrew stresses.

He worries about investors in that situation because their commitment quickly vanishes.

Rather than be out of pocket every month while hoping the unit rises in value, the investor is more likely to sell and take any gains from the appreciation above the purchase price.

"A lot of investors will do the math at the same time and they'll dump them."

The panic would be compounded by the fact that so many buildings are reaching completion within a relatively short time of one another. That means those unit owners would also be renewing their mortgages at about the same time.

Prof. Andrew says those owners will drop the asking price quickly and repeatedly until the unit sells.

"They want out," he says. "Investors like that tend not to be patient."

Associated Graphic

A Queen's University academic says the reported 4.7 per cent of homes in the Greater Golden Horseshoe purchased by foreigners between April 24 and May 26 is not entirely accurate owing to the methodology used to collect data for this period.


Fisherman risked his life to save whales
He co-founded a team of rescuers who were trained to free the huge creatures when they became entangled in fishing gear
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, July 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S6

Joe Howlett flashed a big, happy grin after cutting the last entangled fishing line, knowing he was successful in freeing another giant North Atlantic right whale.

Over the past 15 years, a combination of bravery and passion for the sea led Mr. Howlett, the cofounder of the Campobello Whale Rescue Team, to help save dozens of whales entangled in fishing gear mostly in the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Being a commercial fisherman, he had a good understanding of the fishing gear and how to remove it from the whales.

"He was so enthusiastic about being able to do this," said Jerry Conway, a retired marine mammal adviser with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and an adviser with the Canadian Whale Institute.

"To see the whale swim away, free of its gear - the crew would be excited," Mr. Conway said. "Joe took particular pleasure in that."

But on July 10, Mr. Howlett's exuberance over freeing the endangered North Atlantic right whale in the Gulf of St. Lawrence was short-lived. Once it was free, the massive whale, measuring up to 20 metres long and weighing as much as 70 tonnes, suddenly dove into the water. As it did, its tail came down on Mr. Howlett.

Still aboard the ship, he died almost immediately from the impact. He was 59.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada had called Mr. Howlett after spotting the North Atlantic right whale entangled in a heavy snarl of rope. With his expertise, they knew he could help. At the time of the call, Mr. Howlett was aboard the Shelagh, a privately owned vessel. Having been hired to captain the boat, he was with researchers from New England who were monitoring and tracking whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

When the call came, Mr. Howlett dropped everything and was soon aboard a Fisheries and Oceans fast-response vessel. They soon found the entangled whale, one of only about 500 remaining, about 20 kilometres off Shippagan, N.B. There were six people aboard the vessel, but he was the only one involved in the disentanglement, according to Mr. Conway, who was not part of the rescue.

During a rescue, Mr. Howlett typically worked with a team of about five people from the Campobello Whale Rescue Team. A group of volunteers consisting mostly of fishermen, the team received training from the New England Aquarium and the Center for Coastal Studies, in Provincetown, Mass. Each team member had a specific job during a rescue. Mr. Howlett was primarily responsible for cutting ropes around the whale. When the boat went alongside the marine mammal, Mr. Howlett's job was to decide which ropes to cut first and then use a piece of equipment such as a curved knife on a long pole or a grapple with a cutting edge to make the cut.

"I think Joe felt he was taking from the ocean," said his wife, Darlene Howlett. Rescuing whales "was his way of feeling like he was giving back."

The waters around Campobello, a small New Brunswick island off the Maine coast in the Bay of Fundy, where Mr. Howlett called home, attract many North Atlantic right, fin, humpback, minke and other whales. An important mating and feeding ground for whales, it is also a rich fishing area for lobster, crab, shrimp, herring, haddock, pollock and cod.

Fishing gear is difficult for the whales to avoid. If they swim into the gear, they can become entangled, often causing serious wounds, or sometimes anchoring them to the sea floor - resulting in drowning.

At a moment's notice, Mr. Howlett and his team of rescuers would risk their lives when they drove their inflatable Zodiac boat filled with equipment next to a giant, scared and entangled whale. But Mr. Howlett, known for his upbeat sense of humour, was not afraid of his work. He found it exciting.

"I'm a fisherman and I've been fishing for half of my life and I know what it's all about with ropes and things like that," he told CBC Radio in 2013.

"Somehow, fishermen try to make a living and they do what they do, and they have to, and whales seem to get caught every once in a while," he said. "And when it does, we are there to help out."

Five days before his death, Mr. Howlett had taken part in freeing another entangled whale. Last year, he was involved in rescuing two whales in the Bay of Fundy in less than four days.

Joseph Michael Howlett was born on June 23, 1958, in Lunenburg, a quaint coastal town on Nova Scotia's south shore.

Though fishing was once the mainstay of life in the town, Mr. Howlett didn't hail from a long line of fishermen. His father, Jim, worked for the railway and his mother, Jean, was a school teacher. Mr. Howlett spent much of his childhood outdoors fly fishing and setting snares in the woods.

At the age of 16, he left home and went to sea. He got on with the Canadian Coast Guard and travelled up through the Arctic Ocean.

In 1986, the Coast Guard took him to Campobello Island, a place fewer than 900 people call home. At a dance at the local Legion, a woman named Darlene Brown caught his eye. Within a year, they were married. His bride was raised in a family of fishermen and Mr. Howlett was welcomed onto their fishing boats.

Before long, he was making his living fishing everything from lobster to snow crab.

"He loved being at sea," Mr. Conway said. "I know Joe enjoyed the challenge of being at sea."

Mr. Howlett was well liked in the tight-knit fishing community.

Wearing his trademark ballcap and sunglasses everywhere he went, he was known on the island for his jokes and for flashing the peace sign rather than giving a standard wave when driving by.

"People adored him because Joe saw the good in everyone," Ms. Howlett said.

At a party, Mr. Howlett liked to play his harmonica or the spoons.

A trip to the grocery store was never quick. He would always run into people he knew and spend time talking and telling jokes.

When he wasn't fishing, he loved to spend time with his two sons and grandchildren. He also played baseball and coached a girls' team.

"Joe loved excitement. He loved life," Ms. Howlett said.

A religious man, he appreciated the wonders of nature, whether it was the large whales he rescued, a tiny bird, or the pattern of the waves on any given day. He was also fascinated with the night sky.

He often stargazed and tried to get other people to share his enthusiasm for astronomy.

Every year, he helped make the Christmas season special in his house knowing it was important to his wife. Despite grumbling about having to hear carols for more than a month before Christmas, he would faithfully decorate his house with bright lights, often after working a long day fishing.

When he was finished, he would go to his sons' houses to help them, too.

"He would have done something for anyone," Ms. Howlett said. "He's not your average Joe."

Mr. Howlett's death was the first in the world of a trained whale rescuer, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Following his death, whale rescues in Canada are suspended until Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada complete their investigations into the tragedy, Mr. Conway said.

"The last thing he would want is for us to stop," Mr. Conway said.

"He gave his life to save a whale."

Mr. Howlett leaves his wife, Darlene; sons, Chad and Tyler; grandchildren, Mason, Haylee and Rylan; brothers Vernon, Doug and Tony; sister, Mary Ellen; and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents and his brother David.

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

Joe Howlett, seen off the coast of Campobello Island in 2015, was welcomed into the world of fishing after marrying into a family of fishermen. Within the community, Mr. Howlett was known for his upbeat sense of humour and his fearless approach to his dangerous job.


Vancouver eyes scheme to lock in low rents
City switches from supply-focused policy to one geared toward income, but some fear the initiative will lead to waiting lists
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

VANCOUVER -- Life in Vancouver for a renter such as Ian Martin is a tightrope walk every month across the financial abyss.

The 51-year-old makes $31,000 a year as a delivery driver for a commercial printing company.

The cheapest livable apartment he has been able to find in Vancouver - a one-bedroom in the northeast corner of the city - costs him $1,050 a month. That's a little more than 40 per cent of his gross income and well more than 50 per cent of what he actually takes home each month.

He has watched as the buildings around him are either upgraded - with accompanying rent increases - or demolished and replaced, and is resigned to the idea that he will face paying a lot more in the future.

"It's an inevitability. The clock is ticking," Mr. Martin said.

Now, Vancouver's mayor and planners are promising a new initiative for rental housing aimed at helping people exactly like Mr. Martin.

The strategy, which Mayor Gregor Robertson says is the first of its kind in Canada, will aim to lock in lower rents by requiring developers to ensure up to 25 per cent of units in new projects are rented at rates affordable to those earning $30,000 to $80,000.

The city is considering a variety of options, from giving incentives to imposing the requirement on developers and offering them a fixed amount of extra density.

"We've put a huge focus on creating more rental supply in Vancouver for eight-plus years with some success. The next step is to ensure that some supply is locked in at lower rates," said Mr. Robertson, who will announce more details of the policy on Sunday.

Mr. Robertson's party, Vision Vancouver, has taken some criticism in the past eight years for its rental program, now called Rental 100, which offeres developers incentives to build rentals rather than condos.

Critics have said the rents defined as allowable for those units - $1,360 for a studio on the east side is the lowest - were laughably high and did not create any affordable housing at all. Asked why his party did not move sooner on a policy such as the one to be announced on Sunday, Mr. Robertson said Vision set precedents in the country with its previous incentives, which have boosted rental construction by hundreds of units a year, and with a rental-only zone in the Downtown Eastside.

As well, he said, the market changed so quickly.

"We thought we were responding with very innovative programs eight years ago." But now, he said, he and his colleagues have realized that supply alone is not enough.

"There's this false assumption that more supply will mean more affordability. But that hasn't panned out in Toronto or Vancouver. We do need lots more supply, but if we don't tie that to rents that connect to income, we'll just be behind the eightball."

As part of the initiative to lock in lower rents, the mayor sent out a letter this week warning developers that new requirements are coming and they should avoid over-paying for land in the current out-of-control market.

"We are writing to express concerns about the amount of speculative behaviour in the real estate market," the mayor wrote to the Urban Development Institute on July 20.

"The purchase prices we are seeing reflect a housing market that is disconnected from local economics, and will lead to proposals that will be challenged to meet the City's requirements for affordability.

"If you or your members are involved in buying, selling, or marketing property in Vancouver, particularly in areas near transit stations or along arterial roads, with the expectation of being able to redevelop for multifamily housing, please be aware that deeper levels of affordability will be required. This expectation needs to be factored in to land assembly considerations."

Planners say they will run experiments this fall to see what kinds of strategies will work to lock in 20 or 25 per cent of units in any given project at rents affordable to households with incomes of $30,000 to $80,000 a year. That would mean rents as low as $750 for people such as Mr. Martin, or as high as $2,000 a month.

It is not clear what mechanism will work for developers, because B.C. and Canada do not have the tools or programs for reducing rents that are available to apartment builders in the United States.

In Seattle, for instance, almost 30,000 apartments were built between 1998 and 2016 through a mechanism that gave developers a property-tax rebate in exchange for guaranteeing that a certain percentage of units in the projects would be rented out at rates affordable to households below the median income.

B.C. has no legislation that would allow a city here to give that kind of property-tax break.

U.S. builders also benefit from a long-standing federal program that offers tax credits for projects that include some apartments renting at rates that are affordable for low-income families. Canada has never had a program like that, although it did offer tax incentives for investors in apartments until the early 1980s.

Vancouver will have to try other strategies.

The city's chief planner, Gil Kelley, said city staff will look at whether additional density, reduced requirements for parking or lower fees can provide enough of a bonus to make the balance sheet work for a building in which as many as a quarter of the units are rented for substantially less than usual market rates.

Rental 100 offers some of those incentives, but the amounts could be bumped up.

Mr. Kelley said the significant increase in rentals produced in Vancouver since Rental 100 was introduced show those incentives are working. About 8,000 of the 42,000 housing units built in the city since 2007 have been rentals, a big jump from near zero.

The city could also demand what is called inclusionary zoning - developers are not offered incentives, but simply required to include a certain proportion of low-cost apartments in any project in return for a fixed increase from the standard density allowed on that site.

Such a system has just been introduced in San Francisco, where Mr. Kelley worked most recently, with a requirement that 18 per cent of units in any project with more than 20 units be rented at affordable rates.

"We don't know what the perfect mechanism is," Mr. Kelley said.

"We will do economic testing and see what makes sense as a density bonus, what makes sense as inclusionary zoning." Once some agreements have been worked out through individual pilot projects, city planners will figure out what to include as a permanent policy for creating low-cost rentals.

The city and developers will also need to work out the monitoring process for those units. If they are to be rented out based on household income, some agency will need to monitor incomes every year to determine the rents. As well, that agency will have to choose tenants from what will likely be a long list.

It's the prospect of a waiting list that makes some Vancouver renters dubious about the effectiveness of the city's initiative, as well-intentioned as it might be.

Rachel Maxcy, her husband and three-year-old child currently live in a two-bedroom, 850square-foot apartment in Mount Pleasant that costs almost half of the $4,000 a month Ms. Maxcy earns as a career counsellor.

(Her husband has been a fulltime university student for the past six years.)

She, like many renters, feels stressed about what is coming next. And she cannot see how a program with a few hundred units a year, in a city where half the population of almost 700,000 are renters, is going to make a difference.

"The rental market is so competitive and rents keep going up and up. This program will take forever and there will be a huge wait list."

Associated Graphic

Ian Martin is seen in his rental apartment in Vancouver on Thursday. Mr. Martin pays well more than 50 per cent of his after-tax income on rent each month.


China taps a new export opportunity: education
As the rising superpower aims to extend its might, it's eyeing textbooks, learning materials and even university campuses
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F3

SHANGHAI -- When primary school administrators in the U.K. choose study materials for the fall semester this year, they will have a new option: math textbooks imported from Shanghai, a city celebrated as a global math power.

In the books, the British pound will replace references to the Chinese yuan. But in just about every other way, the versions of Real Shanghai Maths available in London will be exactly like those used in China, the ideas, sequencing and methods kept intact.

It is a remarkable admission by British education authorities that their own methods have stumbled, and that Chinese educators - after years of racking up world firsts in math scores - have developed something admirable enough to import in whole cloth.

As best Colin Hughes can tell, "that's never happened.

"This deal that we've done is a recognition that they're producing content that is of a fantastically high quality," said Mr. Hughes, who is managing director for Collins Learning, the education division of HarperCollins, which is publishing the texts.

In China, it represents something more significant. The export of textbooks is a historic moment, as China stages a broad effort to become a superpower whose might extends beyond military and economic means.

Education is a key element in that strategy, one that has brought a swell of Chinese investment overseas, through university campuses, children's books and concerted efforts to revamp its own systems of instruction as it seeks to elevate its soft power.

Long derided for an education system that values rote over thought, the idea that others could covet China's instructional methods runs counter to longstanding views on the country.

But serious educational change in China began more than a decade ago, as functionaries and educators opened the door to experimentation in schools, eager to modernize a moribund education system built to manufacture engineers and bureaucrats.

"The government is well aware that there's a crisis in education," said David Moser, the academic director of an overseas studies program in Beijing.

"The reason for the crisis, of course, is that China realizes that they are losing their best and brightest students to ... foreign universities," he said.

"They really need creative minds and creative young people developing ideas to build the economy they want," a future built on digital prowess and invention rather than concrete and steel.

"Whether or not China succeeds will determine China's fate for the next 20, 30 years," said Jiang Xueqing, a Harvard researcher who also consults for Chinese schools on creativity.

At the same time, as China rises in influence, "it realizes that it can actually one day challenge American hegemony," Mr. Jiang said. One way to do this is to make places like Peking University and Tsinghua University "the epicentre of China's soft-power push.

"The top priority of the Chinese school system is to bring in the future leaders of the world, and being able to indoctrinate them in a way that Oxford indoctrinates the future leaders of the world."

One Chinese school is even physically setting up in the U.K.

Earlier this year, Peking University, long the most elite name in Chinese education, bought a medieval campus in Oxford to serve as the overseas branch of its business school. The school called it a "milestone" in "the development of China's higher education. ... China is opening its higher education market to the world."

Other schools are going elsewhere. Last year, Xiamen University began educating the first students at an enormous $411million campus it is still building not far from Kuala Lumpur.

Tsinghua University last fall opened a "global innovation exchange," a research partnership in the Seattle area.

There are major obstacles, Mr. Jiang said. A university like Tsinghua remains rigid and hierarchical. A friend of his once compared it to West Point, the U.S. military academy.

"It's just not enough to reach out. You need to actually have values and a system in place that appeal to the world's future leaders," he said.

But opening campuses abroad, he said, offers a chance for China to "reverse-engineer creativity."

At home, meanwhile, the country has poured money into education, hiring foreign experts and wooing foreign youth. China now counts four universities in the QS World University Rankings top 100, and local schools have brought in people from all over the world, with some 440,000 overseas students in China last year. That is not far off the 523,700 Chinese students abroad in 2015.

It is creating new materials for export, too.

Han Yuhai, a language and literature professor at Peking University, has written a pair of children's books on Mao Zedong and Karl Marx that have been translated into English, Dutch, Nepali and Italian, with 100,000 copies sold.

China is led by the Communist Party, and students around the world would do well to learn more, Prof. Han said. His books are meant to answer questions like "What role did Marx and Mao's thinking play in China's development? What do they mean to China today?" Even so, China's elite students often reject their country's education system. Top scorers in China's annual gaokao college placement exam regularly are educated in Hong Kong, which is seen as having better schools.

Only 15 per cent of Chinese doctoral graduates of foreign science and engineering programs return home full-time, although that number has risen.

"The very best people are either not coming back, or they're coming back part-time," said David Zweig, a scholar at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology who is writing a book on the subject.

In math, however, China has won international plaudits. Its teachers use the "mastery" method, ensuring each student has wholly grasped a concept before moving on - a method that has produced stunning results. In 2009 and 2012, Shanghai students led the world in global math testing from the Programme for International Student Assessment.

The city's success has prompted the U.K. to stage a major turn toward China on math, sending British teachers overseas and then inviting a few dozen Shanghai teachers to take over British classrooms.

The British government has allocated $71-million to train teachers in the methods used in Chinese schools.

To provide them with material, HarperCollins has pursued two projects to source Chinese learning materials, one to replicate the Shanghai textbook and another, working with East China Normal University Press, to adapt Shanghai's "One Lesson, One Exercise" workbooks that use Chinese methods and the British curriculum.

In total, 63 books are being prepared for use in British schools.

(Oxford University Press has also created books for the U.K. based on the Singaporean math program.)

Still, even Chinese math experts have doubts about how well their system can be exported. In Shanghai, math teachers from primary school onward are specialists who are expected to conduct their own research, regularly confer with colleagues to share ideas and enjoy classrooms filled with students already prepped by private tutors.

Merely translating a Shanghai textbook into English stands to "bring many difficulties" for students in the U.K., said Ni Ming, a commissioning editor at East China Normal University Press, and one of Shanghai's top experts on math instruction.

He sees more promise for his company's adapted workbooks, and is already beginning to convert Shanghai junior high school materials for use in the U.K., even as he looks at other subjects, such as physics and chemistry, where other countries might be interested in Chinese methods.

HarperCollins has engaged in a similar process. "We're asking ourselves, where is the best science pedagogy in the world?" Mr. Hughes said. He expects other foreign markets will also be interested in the Shanghai math textbooks, pointing to elite schools in the Middle East and India as potential buyers.

He acknowledges that schools and teachers may balk at the idea of importing an entire foreign system.

"I know that I'm taking a gamble," he said.

But he is convinced that those who bet on the translated textbooks will come out winners.

"They will actually find that their students will outperform the U.K. national curriculum quite significantly," he said.

With a report from Yu Mei

Among Indigenous communities, lacrosse has traditionally been something only men participated in, but in the sport's mecca, five teams of women are blazing a new trail at the North American Indigenous Games
Thursday, July 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

SIX NATIONS OF THE GRAND RIVER, ONT. -- This week, in the heart of a region many call the birthplace of lacrosse, Kiana Point is part of something special.

The sport has deep roots in Indigenous culture and has always been a keystone event at the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG), a popular multisport gathering for Indigenous youth held every few years since 1990. Point's two older brothers both played lacrosse at NAIG, and her father was twice a coach. This week, she is finally getting her turn, as female box lacrosse makes its long-awaited NAIG debut. Five teams are competing in the female under-19 division - Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Eastern Door and the North (EDN), a team representing Indigenous territory straddling the borders of Quebec, Ontario and New York state.

Two of the event's three arenas are in the Six Nations of the Grand River, Canada's largest Indigenous reserve - and a mecca of lacrosse in Southwestern Ontario.

Trophies, photos and championship banners inside both Iroquois Lacrosse Arena and Gaylord Powless Arena tell the story of Six Nations' deep devotion to the sport. It's the setting this week for hard hits and dazzling goals, for relatives cheering wildly and beating drums, for cultural celebrations and the community's most famous lacrosse champs returning home to rub elbows with stick-twizzling kids. It's a celebration of the game their people invented, and for the first time at NAIG, females are part of the action.

"It's an absolute honour," said Point, a 19-year-old member of Team BC who hails from Vernon, B.C. "It feels like I am following in the footsteps of my brothers. I have been waiting for there to be a female division at NAIG before I got too old to play in it."

Lacrosse was created by the Haudenosaunee people - commonly called Iroquois - before Europeans arrived in North America. It is considered sacred: The Haudenosaunee call it "the Creator's game" or "the medicine game" and believe it has healing powers. Traditionally, lacrosse was played only by men, as a form of medicine for the sick, as a method of resolving conflicts instead of going to war or as an act of gratitude for the Creator.

Point, like many other women playing at NAIG, has played most of her lacrosse on boys' teams. She's been playing since the age of five, running around the rinks watching her older brothers and learning from her dad. Today, she plays for the Okanagan Junior B Shamrocks - alongside men six-feet tall and weighing 200 pounds. She knows just one other woman in the league and doesn't know many girls her age playing in the B.C. Interior.

Point's team, Ontario and EDN are the three powerhouses of the NAIG tournament. The games between the three have been close and very physical, and emotions have run high. Still, the women shake hands with each other and the referees after every match and even ride the buses back to the athletes' village together.

The event has drawn lacrosse players from various backgrounds. For some, this is the first time they've been surrounded by all-Indigenous teammates.

Others are star field lacrosse players coming over to box for the first time, lured by the appeal of playing in the NAIG - an event drawing 5,000 Indigenous athletes over 14 different sports - and the chance to play in a lacrosse hotbed such as Six Nations.

"Some of us were throwing up before the game, we were so nervous. We feel so proud, and it's something we can tell our kids about some day - women making history at NAIG," said Team Ontario's Kamryn White, a 16year-old from Delaware Nation.

"I know Haudenosaunee women didn't play the sport back in the day. However, girls today are picking up sports that boys are, and it's so wonderful to be recognized for it. It's great to know NAIG is supporting the Creator's game."

Traditionally, women were said to attend games as spectators or to provide nutrition, water or care for the injured. But they did not play, and wooden lacrosse sticks were considered sacred objects that should only be touched by males.

Some First Nations communities still don't allow women and girls to play lacrosse. Some coaches and players participating in NAIG this year fully support females playing the sport, but only if they are using one of the more commonly produced hollow sticks made of synthetic material or metal. Other coaches don't mind if their players want to use wooden sticks, calling today's synthetics "Tupperware sticks."

"In my opinion, I don't want my female players to touch wooden sticks," said Team EDN coach James Burns, who has three granddaughters on the team. "Even if the guys bring their wooden sticks around, I tell my female players not to touch them. I have coached non-native female goalies before and I have no problem with them using a wooden stick if they want to."

Many coaching the women in this event have long histories in men's lacrosse and are now helping grow the women's game.

"We play the game for the elders and the sick. And while it used to just be a game for men, it's acceptable today for women to play, and that's why I'm so honoured to be coaching Ontario's women at NAIG," coach Pat Pembleton said. "I know growing up, when I was playing, we had a couple of girls playing with us, but it wasn't something you saw much. I think the popularity of women's field lacrosse paved the way for this to happen with box lacrosse. On some residences, though, you will still find that women playing is still not accepted."

There are 15 male teams competing over two divisions at NAIG - U16 and U19 - in the same rinks where the females play. Both girls and boys fill the lobbies lugging equipment bags, and they all packed Iroquois Arena Tuesday night to watch the popular local Major Series Lacrosse team, the Six Nations Chiefs.

There was also a lacrosse cultural fair in the fields surrounding Gaylord Powless Arena Tuesday, with booths selling traditional crafts and hand-popped Iroquois kettle corn. It was attended by several pro lacrosse players who grew up in Six Nations and now hold celebrity status there. Johnny Powless of the Georgia Swarm and Rochester Nighthawks teammates Sid Smith and Cody Jamieson were among the homegrown National Lacrosse League stars mingling with NAIG players and playing with star-struck young kids. Even National Hockey League rookie Brandon Montour was there, a defenceman for the Anaheim Ducks who had been a dualsports star in the area and won a lacrosse Minto Cup in 2014 with the Six Nations Arrows.

"It is my sincere hope that by having all the visitors come to Six Nations to play lacrosse as part of NAIG, they will experience the infectiousness of the game in our community," said Russ Doxtator, Indigenous director for the Canadian Lacrosse Association.

This week, there was a simple ceremony to mark the first female game at NAIG, including a traditional dance by local children and an address from Six Nations Chief Ava Hill.

"You will inspire all the young girls watching," Chief Hill told the female players.

The first gold, silver and bronze medals in box lacrosse will be awarded to women on Friday.

Associated Graphic

Team BC's Kiana Point looks on before playing Team Ontario in their under-19 women's lacrosse match during the 2017 North American Indigenous Games on Monday. Point's two older brothers played lacrosse at the games, while her dad coached twice. For the first time ever, the NAIG has a women's lacrosse event.


Team Ontario's Shkuhnodin Shognosh-Myers celebrates her goal with teammates against Team BC on Monday.


Kiana Point's parents, Jim Point and Cynthia Murphy, cheer their daughter on against Team Ontario.

Kiana Point, wearing the "A," leads Team BC in a cheer before playing Team Ontario on Monday.

Why outdoor discomfort is good for growth
Six lessons gleaned from spending time out of your element with implications for productivity and inspiration at the office
Monday, July 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B8

Now, being uncomfortable may scare you, but so does the road to discovering all of the power and goodness inside of you. We need to unleash that power inside of us because we don't have many opportunities to do this throughout the daily grind of our regular lives.

Don't fret, there are plenty of outdoor programs that are accessible and ready for you - just don't put this off as you have those other projects in your inbox.

How do we do this? To name a few ideas: You could sign up today and learn to canoe, book an introduction to hiking course, discover how to stand-up paddle board or get in some rock-climbing action. You'll be high-fiving yourself and sharing newly gained confidence with others in no time.

We can learn so much from challenging ourselves in the outdoors, which makes us stronger and more confident. It also helps us shape a more inspired life from the situations Mother Nature throws our way.

Here are six tips to consider for a more productive and inspired life. For perspective's sake, let me take you to the edge during a rock-climbing course to explain why pushing yourself outside of your limits can assist you in your regular life.

When your grip on the rock begins to fail, you're already freaked out. Your leg is shaking more violently than your favourite cocktail mixer, and a torrent of sweat soaks your athletic wear and blinds you as you search for a better grip. Throwing your arm, your fingers skid into place, safely stuck in a clinging state of mind.

Calmness rushes over you, if even for just a second. Your first time rock climbing outside pushed you to the limits. Having to push yourself as never before fills you with new-found confidence , giving you a better vantage point to reflect on your personal and professional challenges.

As with so many people, your work environment may have recently become a stressful atmosphere, leaving you feeling the brunt of its negative effects. That experience rock climbing gave you the strength to stand up and challenge mediocre minds, and to start inspiring others with a positive, can-do attitude. This propelled you to become the positive change, the little spark your company needed.

This feeling wasn't only making an impression at work. An inner personal growth flourished from putting yourself in uncomfortable situations outside, helping you develop a variety of tools that release the goodness inside of you. This helps you deal with all of life's challenges. We're not just talking about the niggling details and tedious responsibilities of our daily lives, but those big mountains we may face in life on the broader spectrum of our relationships, family and personal development.

Real growth comes from the outside, pushing yourself in nature and challenging yourself in ways nothing else in your repetitive, regular life can. Don't wait. Get outside now, not only for the health benefits, but to develop your own toolbox that will act as a springboard for living your life with confidence and inspiration.

Go all in

Just as with rock climbing, don't be afraid to take on new challenges. Being perched on a rocky cliff does not give you many options but to focus and put 100 per cent of your effort behind each move, so that you make it to the top.

Learning to dig deep and apply all of your effort to a project will consistently move the needle in your everyday life. You can't move forward if you can't get things done or - in today's digital world - ship your art.

Look around

We need to learn that changing direction is all right and that moving outside of our comfort zone is healthy for us. While rock climbing, this can occur through a variety of scenarios - adapting to changing weather conditions, taking on more degrees of difficulty in your route selection or overcoming deteriorating rock conditions. Unlike responding to text messages, you may not have time to pause and think or procrastinate; you act quickly as survival instincts kick in and take over. We may not realize it, but we face these decisions on a smaller scale on a regular basis.

When you're outside, you make instant choices when potential risks arise, such as changing ski touring routes based on avalanche conditions or taking another canoe route based on a prediction of stormy weather ahead. This greatly enhances your skill set, giving you the ability to make decisions on the fly and determine major directional changes when needed.

Be cold

Sure, you have some uncomfortable situations at work, such as the ego-driven team member who is taking credit for all your work, or communication challenges with one of your colleagues in another city. You will take on different perspective after you reflect on that canoe journey when your boat flipped over in a raging storm. You'll recall having to quickly erect a makeshift camp while shivering for hours, leading to a sleepless night you will never forget. With that experience top of mind at the office, all other situations will seem much easier to deal with. Plus, you'll always be grateful for heat and a dry office space.

Always be learning

World-class climbers are constantly practising new moves and honing their skills in preparation for their next challenge. Settling is the beginning of death. You have one opportunity to live, so why not learn as much as you can? Stir your mind and soul regularly. Besides, having something to look forward to keeps your head in a progressive state of mind. When you don't have challenges, worries and stress can fill your head. Your career will benefit from a clear mind. Even if those around you do not recognize it, do it to better yourself.

Your future self will thank you for it.

Never give up

Put yourself in situations where you have to rely on yourself to slog it out, such as mid-way through a 70-kilometre backpacking trip on the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island, in a seemingly never-ending rainstorm. Nothing is dry. Winds whips your eyelids up and down. Yet you still have 35 kilometres to go. You complete the backpacking trip due to your persistence, inner strength and resolve to make each step count.

In nature, you have no choice but to continue. We can get too complacent in our daily life; we need to challenge ourselves. Have the tenacity to keep going, constantly creating and honing your skills.

Face your fear

How do we do that? First we need to embrace the power it entails.

The main ingredient is adrenalin, which gives you that rapid heart rate originally meant to kick in and save us from being eaten in caveman times. The key is to embrace the fear and channel the powerful energy into good.

Positive fear helps you, giving you that lifesaving leap as you are crossing the street and there is a car coming directly at you. Negative fear is when it holds you back from doing something good for yourself, such as trying a new sport or challenging your boss with a different view. Tell fear that you are going to do this, you are going forward. Familiarize yourself with your fear. Trying a new sport outdoors, such as rock climbing, can assist you in a big way by letting you meet your fear head on. This will not only provide you the incredible life confidence you deserve, but also show you how to face your fear.

Accomplishing something you are told you cannot do - by yourself or by others - is good for you in so many ways. We grow most when we face fear.

Executives, educators and humanresources experts contribute to the ongoing Leadership Labs series. Find more articles at

Associated Graphic

People stand to learn so much from challenging themselves in the outdoors. These experiences make us stronger and increase confidence, with myriad benefits to be gained in other facets of life.


Stuck in the middle of the right-of-centre
With possible party unification on Alberta's horizon, Kelly Cryderman finds that some long-time conservatives are left wanting
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

CALGARY -- Long-time Wildrose member Dan Davy says he will vote "yes" this weekend on the question of whether Alberta's two right-of-centre parties should merge. Yet he has struggled with the decision.

"I know the way we have to vote - for logic, and for reason.

But I do have trouble with all those PCers that we left for a reason," the 70-year-old farmer said, taking a break from haying in Torrington, Alta.

This weekend is a crucial one for Alberta small-c conservatives, as well as the political history of the province. On Saturday evening, the Alberta Progressive Conservative and Wildrose parties will announce whether their respective members have voted in favour of the two political forces combining into one United Conservative Party. The results will set a new course for Alberta politics - and will shape the two-year lead-up to the 2019 provincial election.

For the governing NDP, unity on the right heightens the political risks. But unity proponents have fretted about the possibility that many devoted Wildrose members, such as Mr. Davy, will mark a "no" on the ballot question and kill the measure. Mr. Davy personally relinquished his Progressive Conservative membership about a decade ago, and he still harbours concerns about the party's $680,000 debt, and what he calls the PC culture of "entitlement."

However, his reservations about joining with the PCs are outweighed by his exasperation with Alberta's NDP government for "spending money like a drunken sailor" and introducing farm-worker-safety laws he says are unnecessarily heavy-handed.

"I'll hold my nose and I'll vote for unity," Mr. Davy said. "Personally, I think it will pass. And it will probably be over 90 per cent."

Most expect the unity question will easily pass amongst Progressive Conservatives, a party where some members still have reservations about joining with Wildrose, but where party rules only require a simple majority of members vote in favour of the measure. However, the Wildrose constitution requires that more than 75 per cent of its voters say yes - a threshold that has been an unwavering source of dread amongst unity supporters.

If the measure is successful, the new party will require the writing of policy and an interim board, along with the selection of a caretaker leader who is not interested in the final prize. The debts of the legacy parties will have to be paid off. And the minute the unity question passes, the implicit political jockeying between Harper-government cabinet minister Jason Kenney and Wildrose Leader Brian Jean in recent weeks (many view Mr. Jean's remarks against a "hardright" government as a slight against Mr. Kenney) will turn into an all-out campaign toward the Oct. 28 leadership vote.

However, if the unity measure fails, it will be the beginning of a mad scramble to roll out a Plan B, one that could include how the two parties might still work together through some kind of electoral co-operation. Mr. Kenney - the Progressive Conservative party Leader - and Mr. Jean will continue to be political competitors.

"A lot of us are chewing nails over it," said Thompson MacDonald, a long-time political operator in conservative circles who was a confidant of former premier Ralph Klein. Mr. MacDonald is part of a group of backroom organizers and former cabinet ministers that have been campaigning for unity since last year. He says getting 60 per cent of people to agree to something is an uphill climb. "Everyone knows 75 per cent is a big challenge."

For unity boosters such as Mr. MacDonald, the end goal of defeating Alberta Premier Rachel Notley's NDP in the next election justifies political compromise.

They blame Ms. Notley's twoyear-old government for racking up a massive provincial debt and driving foreign energy investors from the province. While Alberta's economic tailspin of the past two-and-a-half years is clearly correlated with the oil-price drop that began in 2014, unity supporters believe policies such as a carbon tax, the costly phase-out of coal-fired power generation and the refusal to make significant cuts to public sector spending have made the situation far worse.

"Whether or not we have we have a united party will determine, I think, the outcome of the next election," Mr. Kenney said in an interview this week. "If a merger is vetoed, we could very well end up with a vote-split and re-elect an NDP government."

Alberta's oil-focused economy was pinched as the New Democrats took power, and the governing party has continued to spend on new programs and maintain public-sector jobs even as the provincial economy and energy royalties have shrunk - leading to deficits of more than $10-billion a year. The NDP has also pushed hard to green Alberta's image and enact tougher environmental rules, and has raised of ire of rural voters by including farm workers under in the province's Workers Compensation Board system.

Calgary and communities outside the province's two largest cities, where there has been the loudest opposition to NDP policies and where economies have been especially hammered by the downturn, are fertile grounds for a United Conservative Party.

But a unified-right movement faces political challenges. Ms. Notley has characterized the new party taking shape as "extreme," and raised the spectre of massive public-spending cuts, tax breaks for the wealthy and an unwelcoming environment for LGBTQ communities.

The political scene also has a new player: Alberta Together, a group created by self-described centrists - many of them PC members unhappy with the potential of a harder right bent of the unified party. Increasingly, it appears that Alberta Together, members will direct their political goodwill toward Greg Clark's Alberta Party.

And some of the biggest issues might be within the new party: The battles between the right-of-centre factions still loom large and the leader of the new party will have to be a unifying force.

The different camps were held together by the charismatic personality of Ralph Klein - who revived a moribund PC dynasty in 1992 and then led the party and the province until 2006. But his final years in office saw a weakening of the ties between the progressive and more conservative wings of the party. The past decade has seen a succession of PC party premiers - Ed Stelmach, Alison Redford and even former federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice weren't able to shake the perception that they had let provincial spending spiral out of control, and that they were arrogantly clinging to power and its perks.

Strong suspicion about the PCs still lingers in the "no" camp on the Wildrose side.

Edmonton lawyer Marilyn Burns says the "elitist unity agreement" ignores the party base. If the vote is yes, she will start talking about creating a new party with uncompromised Wildrose principles at a meeting on July 29.

But it's unclear how much support the naysayers have.

Unity boosters point to a jump in membership sales - to bring membership in the PC party to more than 50,000 and Wildrose membership to about 40,000 - as a sign that people are joining to vote "yes."

How many of those members actually turn out to vote will be key. Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt said this week that he's feeling more optimistic than before about the measure's chances of passing. Mr. Fildebrandt, who is considering entering the leadership race himself should the vote pass, has worked to portray himself as the protector of true-conservative values even as he campaigns for unification.

"Some skeptics will vote against it, where some might sit on the sidelines," Mr. Fildebrandt said.

"But I think we can get our 75 per cent among our traditional Wildrose members. And the flood of new members who have come in, I believe, will overwhelmingly be supportive of unification."

Associated Graphic

Dan Davy, a supporter of the Alberta Wildrose Party, has concerns about party unity and says 'I do have trouble with all those PCers that we left for a reason.'


Stuck in the middle of the right-of-centre
With possible party unification on Alberta's horizon, some long-time conservatives are left wondering if it will be unity in name only
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A6

CALGARY -- Long-time Wildrose member Dan Davy says he will vote "yes" this weekend on the question of whether Alberta's two right-of-centre parties should merge. Yet he has struggled with the decision.

"I know the way we have to vote - for logic, and for reason.

But I do have trouble with all those PCers that we left for a reason," said the 70-year-old farmer, taking a break from haying in Torrington, Alta.

This weekend is a crucial one for Alberta small-c conservatives, as well as the political history of the province. On Saturday evening, the Alberta Progressive Conservative and Wildrose parties will announce whether their respective members have voted in favour of the two political forces combining into one United Conservative Party. The results will set a new course for Alberta politics - and will shape the twoyear lead-up to the 2019 provincial election.

For the governing NDP, unity on the right heightens the political risks. But unity proponents have fretted about the possibility that many devoted Wildrose members such as Mr. Davy will mark a "no" on the ballot question and kill the measure. Mr. Davy personally relinquished his Progressive Conservative membership about a decade ago, and he still harbours concerns about the party's $680,000 debt, and what he calls the PC culture of "entitlement."

However, his reservations about joining with the PCs are outweighed by his exasperation with Alberta's NDP government for "spending money like a drunken sailor" and introducing farm-worker safety laws he believes are unnecessarily heavyhanded.

"I'll hold my nose and I'll vote for unity," Mr. Davy said. "Personally, I think it will pass. And it will probably be over 90 per cent."

Most expect the unity question will easily pass amongst Progressive Conservatives, a party where some members still have reservations about joining with the Wildrose, but where party rules only require a simple majority of members vote in favour of the measure. However, the Wildrose constitution requires that more than 75 per cent of its voters say yes - a threshold that has been an unwavering source of dread amongst unity supporters.

If the measure is successful, the new party will require the writing of policy and an interim board, along with the selection of a caretaker leader who is not interested in the final prize. The debts of the legacy parties will have to be paid off. And the minute the unity question passes, the implicit political jockeying between Harper-government cabinet minister Jason Kenney and Wildrose Leader Brian Jean in recent weeks (many view Mr. Jean's remarks against a "hardright" government as a slight against Mr. Kenney) will turn into an all-out campaign toward the Oct. 28 leadership vote.

However, if the unity measure fails, it will be the beginning of a mad scramble to roll out a Plan B, one that could include how the two parties might still work together through some kind of electoral co-operation. Mr. Kenney - the Progressive Conservative party Leader - and Mr. Jean will continue to be political competitors.

"A lot of us are chewing nails over it," said Thompson MacDonald, a long-time political operator in conservative circles who was a confidant of former premier Ralph Klein. Mr. MacDonald is part of a group of backroom organizers and former cabinet ministers that have been campaigning for unity since last year. He says getting 60 per cent of people to agree to something is an uphill climb. "Everyone knows 75 per cent is a big challenge."

For unity boosters such as Mr. MacDonald, the end goal of defeating Alberta Premier Rachel Notley's NDP in the next election justifies political compromise.

They blame Ms. Notley's twoyear-old government for racking up a massive provincial debt and driving foreign energy investors from the province. While Alberta's economic tailspin of the past two-and-a-half years is clearly correlated with the oil-price drop that began in 2014, unity supporters believe policies such as a carbon tax, the costly phase-out of coal-fired power generation and the refusal to make significant cuts to public sector spending have made the situation far worse.

"Whether or not we have we have a united party will determine, I think, the outcome of the next election," Mr. Kenney said in an interview this week. "If a merger is vetoed, we could very well end up with a vote-split and re-elect an NDP government."

Alberta's oil-focused economy was pinched as the New Democrats took power, and the governing party has continued to spend on new programs and maintain public-sector jobs even as the provincial economy and energy royalties have shrunk - leading to deficits of more than $10-billion a year. The NDP has also pushed hard to green Alberta's image and enact tougher environmental rules, and has raised of ire of rural voters by including farm workers under in the province's Workers Compensation Board system.

Calgary and communities outside the province's two largest cities, where there has been the loudest opposition to NDP policies and where economies have been especially hammered by the downturn, are fertile grounds for a United Conservative Party.

But a unified-right movement faces political challenges. Ms. Notley has characterized the new party taking shape as "extreme," and raised the spectre of massive public-spending cuts, tax breaks for the wealthy and an unwelcoming environment for LGBTQ communities. The political scene also has a new player: Alberta Together, a group created by selfdescribed centrists - many of them PC members unhappy with the potential of a harder right bent of the unified party. Increasingly, it appears that Alberta Together, members will direct their political goodwill toward Greg Clark's Alberta Party.

And some of the biggest issues might be within the new party: The battles between the right-ofcentre factions still loom large and the leader of the new party will have to be a unifying force.

The different camps were held together by the charismatic personality of Ralph Klein - who revived a moribund PC dynasty in 1992 and then led the party and the province until 2006. But his final years in office saw a weakening of the ties between the progressive and more conservative wings of the party. The past decade has seen a succession of PC party premiers - Ed Stelmach, Alison Redford and even former federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice weren't able to shake the perception that they had let provincial spending spiral out of control, and that they were arrogantly clinging to power and its perks.

Strong suspicion about the PCs still lingers in the "no" camp on the Wildrose side. Edmonton lawyer Marilyn Burns says the "elitist unity agreement" ignores the party base. If the vote is yes, she will start talking about creating a new party with uncompromised Wildrose principles at a meeting on July 29.

But it's unclear how much support the naysayers have. Unity boosters point to a jump in membership sales - to bring membership in the PC party to more than 50,000 and Wildrose membership to about 40,000 - as a sign that people are joining to vote "yes."

How many of those members actually turn out to vote will be key. Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt said this week that he's feeling more optimistic than before about the measure's chances of passing. Mr. Fildebrandt, who is considering entering the leadership race himself should the vote pass, has worked to portray himself as the protector of true-conservative values even as he campaigns for unification.

"Some skeptics will vote against it, where some might sit on the sidelines," Mr. Fildebrandt said. "But I think we can get our 75 per cent among our traditional Wildrose members. And the flood of new members who have come in, I believe, will overwhelmingly be supportive of unification."

Associated Graphic

Dan Davy, a long-time supporter of the Alberta Wildrose party, has concerns about party unity and says 'I do have trouble with all those PCers that we left for a reason.'


Trumpcare: A play in three acts
After years of promising to get rid of Obamacare the first chance they got, Republicans have now missed several opportunities
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A16

WASHINGTON -- For seven years, it was one of the Republicans' most persistently stated promises: They would scrap Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

The law, popularly known as Obamacare, extended health coverage to 20 million Americans through a series of measures: Obliging companies to buy insurance plans for their employees; making insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions and allow people younger than the age of 26 to stay on their parents' plans; offering subsidies for people to buy insurance; and expanding Medicaid, a government-funded health care program for low-income people.

But the GOP complained it was an unacceptable intrusion of the federal government into the free market and it pushed up premium prices for some people who already had insurance.

Congressional Republicans repeatedly voted to kill all or part of the ACA (more than 60 times, according to one CNN tally) - symbolic actions as long as Mr. Obama could wield his veto from the White House. On the campaign trail, Donald Trump promised to demand an "immediate" repeal bill from Congress on "Day 1" of his presidency.

But now, after six months of complete control over the government - White House, Senate and the House of Representatives - the Republicans' repeal bill lies in tatters. What was supposed to be a rallying point for the party has instead turned into a messy, protracted internecine battle. Some of the blame will no doubt rest with the factionalism in the party. Rightwingers wanted the entire ACA repealed; moderates, however, balk at the idea of throwing millions of people off health insurance.

But much of it, political watchers say, falls squarely on Mr. Trump. The President made confusing and contradictory promises on health care (pledging that he would simultaneously repeal Obamacare, but somehow also ensure people didn't lose healthinsurance coverage, for instance) and didn't bother to lay out any specific directives on what the bill should look like.

"It was really quite extraordinary that such a major decision was ultimately delegated to Congress with no involvement from the President on the policy side," said Robert Shapiro, a political science professor at Columbia University in New York.

"On health care, he had no opinion. It wasn't clear what he wanted - he just wanted a victory."

Now, Mr. Trump may be staring down a major legislative defeat.

Act I. March 23, 2017: Freedom Caucus fail Mr. Trump climbed into the cab of an 18-wheeler parked outside the White House, honked its horn and made a tough-guy face as he pretended to steer the rig down a highway. The President was trying hard that early-spring Thursday to show he was in the driver's seat - and not only during this trucking industry photoop.

In a flurry of meetings at the White House and on Capitol Hill, the President, his aides and the party's congressional leadership worked frantically to broker an agreement between the factions of the party's House caucus to pass an Obamacare repeal bill, dubbed the American Health Care Act. Mr. Trump had left Speaker Paul Ryan to handle the drafting of the bill, and the Wisconsin congressman was having trouble getting enough votes to pass it.

The Freedom Caucus, a band of right-wing ideological purists led by North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows, objected to the fact that the AHCA retained some Obamacare provisions, including the rules on insurance companies.

Mr. Trump hunkered down with the Caucus at the White House, but failed to win it over.

Later that evening, the President dispatched his budget chief, Mick Mulvaney, to tell the Republican caucus holed up in a basement of the Capitol that he was done negotiating. If a vote on the bill failed the next day, he would move on and leave Obamacare in place.

The hardball tactic didn't work.

Shortly after noon the next day, Mr. Ryan visited the White House to tell Mr. Trump he still didn't have the votes.

They decided not to bring the bill to a vote after all.

Act II. May 4, 2017: Coming up roses Six weeks later, the President stood in the White House Rose Garden, surrounded by the cheering GOP caucus. "We don't have to talk about this unbelievable victory," he said, as legislators applauded and laughed.

"Wasn't it unbelievable?" Earlier in the day, the AHCA had squeaked through the House by a 217 to 213 margin. Mr. Trump had finally won over hardliners with a provision allowing states to opt out of the rules on insurance companies. In a show of unity, Mr. Meadows stood just behind Mr. Ryan, looking out at the assembled reporters over the President's shoulder.

But not everyone in the GOP caucus was whooping it up: Fully 20 Republican Congresspeople had broken ranks with the President to vote against the AHCA.

Act III. July 17, 2017: Done like dinner As far as Mondays go, it was pretty good. In the afternoon, Mr. Trump inspected an array of American-made goods piled up at the White House to highlight his promise to bring factories back to the country: He pretended to drive a fire truck, swung a baseball bat and tried on a Stetson.

That evening, the President tucked into a steak dinner with GOP senators as he looked to build support for the AHCA - now also referred to as the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Dessert, however, was anything but sweet: Senators Mike Lee and Jerry Moran, who were not at the meal, simultaneously announced they would not back the bill.

Combined with previously announced defections by Kentucky's Rand Paul and Maine's Susan Collins, there was no way to move the proposal forward.

The BCRA was crushed between the party's two extremes.

On the right flank, senators such as Mr. Lee argued the proposal didn't go far enough in rolling back subsidies or the taxes to pay for them. Moderates such as Ms. Collins were concerned about the consequences of cutting Medi.

caid. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could not find a way to bridge this divide.

It likely didn't help that Mr. Trump himself described the legislation as "mean" in a meeting with senators, the Associated Press reported, and suggested it should be watered down.

The next act?

No one in Washington has any idea what happens now.

After Monday night's debacle, Mr. Trump and Mr. McConnell said they favour fully repealing Obamacare and figuring out a replacement for it later. "Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!" the President tweeted.

But two days later, POTUS abruptly changed his mind. "I don't think we should leave town unless we have a health-insurance plan," he told a meeting with senators at the White House.

Capri Cafaro, a former Democratic minority leader in the Ohio state senate, said a straight repeal of Obamacare would be even less popular with senators than the BCRA. "Market instability would occur. States are having to budget, health-care providers are having to budget," she said. "It would create chaos within the health-care system."

Dr. Shapiro, the political scientist, contends Mr. Trump's best move might actually be to work with some combination of Democrats and moderate Republicans on an improved version of Obamacare. After all, the little that the President has said about health policy - such as his characterization of the repeal bill as "mean" - suggests he is more inclined to a liberal view.

Most concerning for the GOP may be the fact that, during its long spell in opposition, it never sorted out how to fulfill such a major promise.

"They did not come in with a substantial plan," said Ms. Cafaro, now an executive in residence at American University in Washington. "You guys had seven years to come up with policy and nobody did."

Associated Graphic

In March, U.S. President Donald Trump was working hard to show he was in the driver's seat on the health-care file. Today, the President could be staring at a major legislative defeat.


Strike a pose
As acidic whites from temperate climates become popular, some producers of big, oaky chards are trying to be cool
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L6

As a devotee of Chablis, which I would nominate as my desertisland wine if desert islands had fridges, I am impulsively drawn to any chardonnay that bills itself as "cool." Chablis, the northernmost district of Burgundy, is the quintessence of cool-climate chardonnay, known for producing the most compellingly crisp, lean, electrically charged interpretations of the world's most popular white grape.

That's what coolness does.

It preserves acidity and minerallike verve while permitting grapes to mature slowly, with not just sugar but also full physiological ripeness, delivering subtly complex flavours along the way. On the chardonnay flavour spectrum, Chablis - which generally sees little or no new-barrel contact - is the opposite of the plump oak-bomb style more typical of warm climates and uninteresting restaurant wine lists. Think of a crunchy green apple versus a grilled slice of pineapple topped with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

But there is a rising tide of chardonnay out there laughably posing as cool. I've noticed a spike in the rhetoric even since last year, when I last wrote about the stylistic dichotomy on the occasion of the annual International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration, a three-day festival that's become the Niagara peninsula's biggest and best party.

Cool is in, as you might have guessed if you're a regular reader of back labels or if you follow wine trends. Three months ago, the Emmy-winning American wine personality Leslie Sbrocco hosted a master class in Toronto titled "Cool Climate Chardonnay - California Style" hosted by a California-wine trade group.

"Cool climate is the hot phrase when it comes to California Chardonnay," she stated in a press release.

In other words, cool has become sophisticated. It's the way of the future, especially in the face of global warming, which many winemakers say has been ratcheting up sugar and alcohol levels to unfavourable extremes in some regions. Sweet oak bombs, by contrast, are increasingly considered déclassé, the Double Down burgers of white wine.

Yet generally when I see the words "cool climate" on the back label of a 14.5-per-centalcohol, oak-matured California chardonnay, I smell something fishy even before I pop the cork.

Almost invariably, one syrupy sip verifies my suspicion: It could not be further from Chablis than if it had been grown on Venus. To borrow a term from today's cultural-theory discourse, many winemakers, not least in California, are guilty of coolness appropriation.

Yes, high altitudes and ocean breezes can bring chilly discipline to otherwise balmy, sundrenched vineyards. But such effects are often obliterated with winery tricks (special yeasts and the like) by producers wisely convinced that many consumers like to talk dry while drinking sweet. Conversely, as I've noted in the past, winemakers in bona fide frigid climates can choose to harvest late and slap sweet chardonnays with heavy oak to yield liquids that could easily be mistaken for something out of the hottest pockets of Napa Valley in the 1990s.

It's all relative in the end.

Too often, "cool-climate" wines bear scant resemblance to the sort of profile most of us actually intend by the term (paging Chablis!), at least those of us regularly exposed to wines from such regions as Northern France, Niagara, Prince Edward County, New York state and New Zealand. They might be very good wines, don't get me wrong, but they simply don't pass the acid (or mineral) test.

And that's not cool.

Most selections below will be poured at various events at this year's International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration, which takes place July 21 to 23 and features a keynote address by California-based Karen MacNeil, one of the world's most distinguished wine educators and author of the excellent book The Wine Bible. Check for tickets and event information. Some wines are available in stores as noted.

Domaine Laroche Les Vaudevey Chablis 1er Cru 2014 (France)

SCORE: 93 PRICE: $38.95

Medium-full-bodied and wonderfully complex in that whispering way of Chablis. Great tension and leesy depth of flavour, with notes of apple, nuts and citrus. It's like a fine Champagne, only without the froth, and in this case the bubbles would have just gotten in the way. Available in Ontario at the above price, various prices in Alberta.

Stratus Chardonnay 2014 (Niagara)

SCORE: 91 PRICE: $48

Full, silky and generous. Tastes a lot more like a fine Californian chardonnay or oaky Meursault than Chablis, with notes of butter, pineapple and toasted nuts. Expertly balanced, with ample acidity standing up to all that lusciousness. Available at the winery and direct through

Sperling Vineyards Chardonnay 2015 (British Columbia)

SCORE: 91 PRICE: $26

From cool East Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley, this is grown on the home ranch of Ann Sperling, the director of wine-making and viticulture at Niagara's Southbrook Vineyards. It's mediumbodied, tight and tense with acidity, just enough to accentuate the apple-, pearand peach-like fruit. There's but a whisper of oak in the mix, evidence of the expert's hand in the cellar. Genuinely cool chardonnay. Available direct through

Vasse Felix Filius Chardonnay 2016 (Australia)

SCORE: 90 PRICE: $24.95

All over southern Australia these days winemakers are clamouring to find elevated sites to capture more vibrant flavours than has been the norm in that country. They should all move to Margaret River in the remote west, where coolness is easy to come by.

Here's an impressive example from a terrific producer, registering just 12.5per-cent alcohol (how un-Australian!).

It's got lemon-lime zestiness, apple and, remarkably for a ripe chardonnay, a suggestion of herbs. Available at the above price in Ontario, various prices in Alberta.

Trail Estate Chardonnay Unfiltered 2015 (Niagara)

SCORE: 90 PRICE: $32

The winery is located in Prince Edward County, a couple of hours east of Toronto, but the fruit in this cuvée comes from Niagara. Medium-bodied and instantly crunchy with solid acidity.

Deftly oaked. The subtle wood never gets in the way of the fresh apple-pear fruitiness, which is supported by nuances of pastry dough and toast.

The residual sugar is a scant 2 grams per litre and alcohol level just 12.2 per cent. Classically cool-climate chardonnay. Available direct through

Invivo Chardonnay 2016 (New Zealand)

SCORE: 90 PRICE: $17.15

Medium-bodied and juicy, with a bright profile of green apple, melon, tropical fruit and grassy herbs as well as whispers of vanilla and smoke.

Available in Ontario at the above price.

Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay 2015 (California)

SCORE: 89 PRICE: $34.95

This comes from the Santa Lucia Highlands, an elevated region above the Salinas River valley that enjoys cool breezes from Monterey Bay. Despite the climate, which is cool by California standards, the wine managed to achieve a formidable 14.9-per-cent alcohol. More than a year in oak delivered added volume and texture as well as a caramel note to the sweet-tasting, syrupy-peach fruit. A crowd-pleaser, to be sure, but to me it tastes more like old-school California than new-age "cool." Available at the above price in Ontario (on sale for $29.95 until July 16), $33.99 in British Columbia ($29.99 until July 29), various prices in Alberta, $39.03 in Saskatchewan, $33.35 in Quebec, $39.30 in Nova Scotia.

Rodney Strong Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2014 (California)

SCORE: 88 PRICE: $29.95

This hails from the Sonoma Coast, a cool enclave, at least by Californiavineyard standards. But if this is coolclimate chardonnay, I wonder what they call run-of-the-mill chardonnay in California. Pancake syrup? Described as "zesty" and "lively" by panelists of a major U.S. tasting competition, the wine weighs in at 14.5-per-cent alcohol and, yikes, 11 grams per litre of residual sugar. Expect a thick texture and rich flavours of sweet tropical fruit, butter and caramel. Chablis it's not. Available in Ontario at the above price.

Drop-top, cross-country
Touring Canada's capitals in a fleet of Mercedes convertibles offers a vivid view of breathtaking scenery - and something more
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, July 13, 2017 – Print Edition, Page D4

The post office is closed in Fleming, Sask., but no matter - the postmistress, Jean Green, is outside on the gravel road, looking at the open-top MercedesBenz with her two granddaughters.

"We think your car is just beautiful," she says. It does look sleek and impressive, if out-of-place among the dusty pick-up trucks parked on Main Street. "We don't often see cars like this here. Can we look in it?" Of course they can, and her eldest granddaughter, 14-year-old Karris, ends up sitting behind the wheel, getting a back massage from the seat of the $170,000 S 550 Cabriolet. Jean takes photos to send their dad while eddies of dust scuffle in the air.

"Is it always this windy?" I ask, and she shakes her head.

"Oh no, not at all," she says.

"Sometimes it's windier."

There's not much to shield the wind in Fleming, the first town west of the Saskatchewan-Manitoba boundary on the Trans-Canada Highway. I had been driving through the wind, off and on, since Halifax, on a frenetic road trip to visit all 10 of Canada's provincial capitals in conjunction with the country's 150th birthday.

The first stop was St. John's, but I only drove around the block before hurrying off to get screeched-in. There aren't many convertibles in blustery Newfoundland, but if you want the roof off while driving on the Rock, a Mercedes is a good choice. Every Canadian Benz cabriolet includes heated seats, and from there, you can add all kinds of extra warmth including AirScarfs that blow hot air onto your neck from below the head rest and AirCaps.

Why bother? Because opening the cabin to the sky opens your heart to the country, that's why.

There's a lot of heart in Canada, and a road trip in a convertible is still one of the best ways to experience it.

I flew west to Halifax and drove up in the sunshine to the Pictou ferry, crossing to Prince Edward Island and Charlottetown. People didn't look at me so strangely now with the top down, but the $57,000 SLC 300 still attracted come-from-away attention. They looked at me especially strangely when I drove down a boat ramp to dip the tires in the ocean. More symbolism, especially since I was nose-first; a similar stunt a few years ago taught me the hard way to not dunk the driving wheels into the slimy, slippery water.

All good road trips should include a ferry, and the PEI ship to Wood Islands is officially a part of the Trans-Canada Highway. It drops tourists onto the south shore of the postcard-pretty island, giving them an hour's drive up to Charlottetown or, turning right, 90 minutes to Anne of Green Gables and the best beaches. The province might be neat as a pin, but its potholes are memorable. I paused only for lunch in the capital, just long enough to see the birthplace of Confederation, 150 years ago.

The 12.9-kilometre bridge over to New Brunswick is a stunning piece of engineering that drops westbound drivers in a marshy area scenic only for birdwatchers.

The road on to Moncton seems just a passage between endless unremarkable trees, but a detour south to the Bay of Fundy makes up for everything. I swapped over to a more powerful AMG C 43 for this drive, and the Benz ate the bends of the secondary highway, skimming past farms and patches of forest on its way to the coast.

Farms, forest and the sea - could that be Canada?

A flight to Ottawa followed, and then a drive in the larger and more expensive SL 550 east to Quebec. I ignored the navigation system and stayed in Ontario beside the Ottawa River all the way to the bridge at Hawkesbury, which considers itself Canada's most bilingual town. The SL was pleasant enough to drive in the sun but was wasted on the highway, stuck in traffic near Montreal; I switched to a tiny Smart Fortwo Cabriolet, just a third of the price of the larger Mercedes, for the rest of the drive to Quebec City.

Suddenly, the roads grew bumpier; was it the Smart's urban suspension or just Quebec? I found a museum along the way dedicated to Gilles Villeneuve, Canada's Formula One hero, and parked the funky little Smart next to a mural of Villeneuve's Ferrari. Hey, they're both open to the wind.

Then a pair of flights through Toronto to Winnipeg, to make this drive feasible in five days and skip the monotony of Northwestern Ontario. It meant I missed the wonderful drive beside Lake Superior from Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay, but time was pressing. If you drive across Canada yourself, do not avoid this section. The road was built to attract tourists and it's one of the finest drives in the world.

And now, here I am, in dusty Fleming, in the most expensive car yet, where the sky dominates everything and the people are as friendly and unassuming as anyone you'll meet. "I sold some property and I could buy this car," Green says to her granddaughters, teasing. "I'd have to live in it, but do you think I should?" Their eyes widen and she smiles even more broadly.

The make-time flight from Regina to Calgary drops me just an hour from the Rockies, and I drive west in an AMG SLC 43. The sky is very dark ahead, and I raise the top at last. It's a hard roof with a large piece of laminated glass to let the remaining light in, and the cabin is very quiet when it's in place. The clouds hurl rain to the ground, followed by sheets of hail and ice, and then blow away as if they'd never existed.

I drop the top again in Canmore, under the tall shadow of the Three Sisters, and turn back from the mountains, hurrying past ranch lands and oil pumps to Edmonton.

A final flight, sadly taking me right over the glory of the Rocky Mountains and down to the oasis of Vancouver, and then a drive in the most powerful Benz of the trip over to Vancouver Island.

The AMG C 63 S makes 505 hp and, like with the SL in Quebec, there's far too much traffic at this time of day to properly experience such a car. It's stop-and-go over the Malahat Summit, but the car devours the twisting highway west to Sooke.

And before I really know it, I've dipped the tires in the Pacific, doubled back and now I'm in Victoria, parking beside Mile Zero of the Trans-Canada Highway.

Did Canada prove itself to be farms, forest and sea, with some mountains thrown in for good measure? The geography is breathtaking for sure, especially seen without the filter of a roof or even a side window.

But no - Canada is not geography. It's an experience and a sense of worth and pride, and a value that's no different at the ports of St. John's and Victoria than at the inland terminals of Winnipeg and Regina, and - dare I say it after a trip that stayed in the country's southern reaches - in the woods and on the tundra of the North.

The writer was a guest of the auto maker. Content was not subject to approval.

Associated Graphic

Clockwise from top left: The writer began his journey by dipping an SLC 300 into the Atlantic in Nova Scotia, then flew to Ottawa and drove an SL 550 to Quebec. An S 550 was his ride for part of the Prairies and he finished by kissing the Pacific with an AMG C 63 S.


An eccentric trip across China
Self-taught chef and mad scientist Yue Shen revives his eclectic restaurant, where the food can vary as widely as his mood
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S3

Nine Dishes and 1029 Café 9231 Beckwith Rd., Richmond, B.C.

778-246-1199; Cuisine: Northern Chinese Additional information: Open daily, 5 p.m. to midnight.

A Cheap Eats pick, where you can dine well for under $30 before alcohol, tax and tip.

Let me tell you about the time I went to Richmond for Szechuan food and fell down the proverbial rabbit hole.

On a quiet side street beside Costco, there is a three-storey clad in pebbledash, red banners and assorted signage emblazoned with crescent moons.

Entering from the front foyer, you can either, a) climb a tall wooden staircase that leads to a locked gate, beyond which lies a warren of small offices behind closed doors, or, b) go straight and enter a spacious restaurant with a soaring atrium that looks like a Mad Hatter's tea party held in an all-night dance club.

Sugary Cantopop blares from a high-tech karaoke stage beside the front door. Oversized, wavybacked sofa booths upholstered in dusty mauve are mounted on step-up platforms set against a wall of tall windows draped in gauzy sheers. A massive crystal chandelier hangs from the coffered ceiling above. In the back, there is a more casual café-style seating area and covered patio.

Bright neon lights blink, flash and strobe everywhere.

Welcome to the newly resurrected Nine Dishes, the spicy domain of self-taught chef and mad scientist Yue Shen, who prefers to be called "If" - because it reminds him that "life is full of possibilities."

A former hippie and electronics engineer, he studied at a Beijing university and previously worked at an optical-research institute developing laser technology.

After years of travelling around the world, he landed in Vancouver and opened the original Nine Dishes on Kingsway in 2010.

The casual hole-in-the-wall developed a cult following for its mouth-burning water-boiled fish, spicy skewers and cold "drooling" chicken, all washed down with $2 bottles of Yanjing beer.

The eccentric owner was a big part of the appeal. When he was in a good mood, he'd pick up his guitar and strum the blues. When he was in a cranky mood, he'd spend the whole night playing solitaire. Thirsty? He'd drop off a six-pack and an opener. Want rice? Help yourself, he'd say, nodding to the self-serve cooker in the corner.

Last winter, about two years after the original Nine Dishes closed down without warning (the landlord apparently sold the building to a developer), Mr. Shen quietly opened in this new location off the beaten track.

When I first visited in April, the restaurant was empty, save for a young Caucasian hipster couple that sat down, looked around, perused the menu, then promptly stood up and walked out.

There had obviously been customers earlier in the evening, as several tables were covered in dirty dishes. The bathroom was also a mess. Mr. Shen didn't say much. He spent most of the night behind the bar, scrolling through his phone and passing our plates over the counter.

Even at its original location, the beer-drinking pub fare was never spectacular. But that night, the water-boiled fish served in a tureen of dried chili peppers was slicked with a one-note pool of oil that seemed thicker than normal. The deep-fried Thousand Chili Chicken nuggets were a little bit greasier. The hand-cut noodles were grey and lifeless.

The smashed cucumbers were pulverized into a sloppy mash.

The fried potatoes doused in black vinegar were undercooked and crunchy - although still immensely addictive. The lamb skewers were gristly.

Perhaps Nine Dishes was always this way. But relocated in this Disney-esque mausoleum, it had lost its former charm. And what about those empty offices upstairs? Was the restaurant a cover for an underground massage parlour?

Curiouser and curiouser! As I later discovered, this is Café 1029, a Mainland Chinese crowdfunding club that costs $10,000 to join and has earned its own fair share of controversial notoriety. One of the members was a fan of Mr.

Shen's cooking on Kingsway and asked him to set up independently downstairs. The bizarre decor was inherited from three cafés and restaurants that previously occupied the space.

I returned with a friend who has attended a couple of pitch meetings in the upper offices. He made the reservation with Mr. Shen through WeChat. It was a very different experience.

This time, the restaurant was busier and the customers awfully eclectic. Sitting across from us was a mother and son, she casually dressed in a girly eyelet sunhat, he in shorts and sneakers.

Beside them was a handsome couple who appeared to have sprung from the pages of a glossy fashion magazine, he in a threepiece suit and bright harlequinpatterned silk socks, she in silver slippers. (The latter must have been club members.)

Mr. Shen was in a chipper mood, coming to our table frequently to chat and drop off complimentary morsels, including an excellent lotus-root sandwich (lightly deep-fried in an airy batter and stuffed with minced pork).

This time, accompanied by my friend's wife, who once lived in Beijing and has travelled extensively through northern China, we ordered better.

Highly recommended is the Old Jar Pickle Fish, which is only advertised on the daily specials menu written in Mandarin (#801). Although similar to the more familiar water-boiled spicy fish - with thinly sliced Dover sole simmered in a spicy broth of hot dried chili peppers, mentholated Sichuan peppercorns and sweet chili bean paste - this dish had a special sour tang from the addition of house-pickled mustard greens. The chartreuse soup was thick, rich and glistening (not coated) with oil. Big chunks of ginger added another layer of complex spice. And the tingly, numbing ma la flavour - the key characteristic of spicy Szechuan cooking - sneaked up slowly on the back of the throat, rather than beating you breathless.

Huge braised pork balls, a Shanghainese specialty often called Lion's Head when served with a "mane" of bok choy, were juicy, light and airy. Were they fluffed up with mashed tofu, we wondered, or milk-soaked bread, as Italians sometimes do? No.

They were simply whipped with egg whites, quickly fried (yet barely browned) and simmered in a soy-based broth flecked with warmly spiced star anise.

There was also collapsed eggplant stewed in dark garlic sauce made from caramelized sugar, and excellent Shanghainese chicken noodle soup (better than mama would make). We chewed rustic Szechuan sausages (also made in-house with big globs of melty fat) and curious fried wheat balls - Beijing student comfort food, tossed with salty yellow bean sauce, corn niblets, shrivelled peas and caramelized minced pork.

"That's the Maillard reaction," Mr. Shen enthused, still an engineer at heart. "Chinese cooking is broad and deep, but they take the techniques for granted. Western cooking tells you why and how. If it doesn't have Maillard reaction, it's a fail."

The menu at the new location is much larger and roams all over China. "I cook what I want, but I make it all myself. I'm a chef. If it's not made from scratch, what's the point?" After ranting and raving about Vancouver's real estate market - "It's ruining the city and draining all the talent" - he excused himself, flipped on the TV at full volume (a Heat vs. Lakers NBA game - from 2013) and returned to the kitchen.

Eccentric as ever. Try it if you dare. But don't say I didn't warn you.

Associated Graphic

The menu at Nine Dishes in Richmond roams across China; highly recommended is the pickle fish soup, seen above, which mixes sour and spicy flavours. Chef and owner Yue Shen, below, says he makes everything on the menu is homemade: 'If it's not made from scratch, what's the point?'


Olympian Michael Phelps finally jumped the TV shark
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

TORONTO -- We know all about Olympian swimmer Michael Phelps, but what do we know about the great white shark he will race in a prime-time special on Sunday night?

Is the shark fit, as far as sharks go? What are his racing credentials? Has he ever won anything before or is he more of an "I only run for the bus" sort of shark?

Is he a drinker, or maybe a social smoker? You know, just at parties or whenever someone else is doing it.

Does he work out or is he the kind of shark who goes to the gym more to socialize? We hate to bring this up, but has he done anything that might give him a little boost? A few pep pills? The occasional rail? Again, just at parties. It's not a sin, but it's only fair that the viewing public know.

Even if this particular shark doesn't touch drugs, surfers do.

A lot. It's part of the culture. So when was the last time he ate a surfer? Because that stuff might still be swirling around in his shark blood system.

Don't try to use that excuse later - "It must have been the guy I had for dinner who did all that Nandrolone" - if you haven't been honest about your habits.

Without knowing anything about his lifestyle, it's hard to tell if Phelps vs. Shark should impress us. This might be a really poor specimen of sharkhood.

Or maybe it's a doped-up super shark sent by the shark leadership to demoralize us ahead of the invasion. We should be prepared for both possibilities.

Now, even the laziest great white has an enormous advantage here. The species can typically reach speeds in the water of 40 kilometres an hour. At his best, Phelps can hit 10 km/h.

(Think about that the next time you're at the beach and someone yells "Shark!" and you start flopping toward shore like a half-inflated waterbed with arms.

Stand and fight and be devoured like a man.)

So let's get this straight - unless the fix is in, humanity is taking an 'L' on this one. For a very long time now, we Homo sapiens have been going around the world meeting a lot of new, interesting lifeforms and wiping them out.

With that in mind, we should to try to give back once in a while.

Let the ducks have that swamp, as long as they filled out the correct zoning paperwork. Let the bees go extinct at their own pace, and stop bothering them with whiny magazine articles about it. And let the sharks win a race on cable TV where all the deeply out-of-touch people who still pay for cable can see it. It's good manners.

There are two pieces of news you should go into this armed with. First, the race has already happened. Second, Michael Phelps is still alive.

I know. I'm disappointed, too.

Phelps has been out on the publicity circuit hinting around how this thing went down. It took place in open water over 100 metres. Phelps wore a bodysuit and a monofin for added propulsion. There were lanes. He won't say who won (though it's the shark).

"It was a tough race, probably the hardest race I've ever had," Phelps said.

Again, there are questions. How did they get the shark into a lane?

Did they throw a shrieking production assistant in there as an incentive? Maybe they tied the PA to a stick and dangled him in front of the shark, like a donkey with a carrot? Or did he get him?

Was the shark all full and bloated when this thing kicked off?

I don't think the rudimentary body language of sharks (here's a tip: if the fins are pointed down, you are about to die) has an equivalent to "Take your marks."

Plus, his shark physiology does not allow him to stand still for the gun, which means he had a running start, which in turn is unfair.

This whole thing already sounds a bit short of the Olympic standard.

But they raced, I guess. Did the shark give it his all? Did he even care? What type of psychological screening was used in the selection process?

Is it possible this was an existentialist shark who refuses to participate in our sad human need for prizes and adulation? Maybe he'd rather just stay home, eat a live seal and read Being and Nothingness. Who cares if everyone knows he beat the best human swimmer of all time. Sure, he did it and, yes, by a lot, and, yeah, some sharks might call that impressive. But it's not the sort of thing he's going to tell strangers about. The sharks that really matter to him already know. They also know he's not the sort of shark who takes himself too seriously.

Really, it was just fun to see how a TV show is made. So many lights! And you should have seen the craft services. The waiters were wearing starched shirts, so they had this great "pop" as you bit into them.

Even Phelps is slow rolling this sideshow, presumably understanding it's about to go off like Geraldo Rivera pulling a pop bottle out of a pile of rubble and getting a look that tells you he knows his big-league career has just ended.

They've already amended the first line of Phelps's obit - "Won 23 gold medals. Raced fish for money."

"The odds are pretty stacked in the shark's favour," Phelps said, avoiding names. "But you guys'll have to wait and see what happens."

(No. We won't. It's the shark.)

Phelps doesn't sound too upset.

In fact, he looked quite upbeat for someone who has obviously lost "the hardest race" of his life.

Perhaps despite the fear and suspicion most humans feel toward sharks, Phelps was able to look past that prejudice and see into the real shark, the one inside.

He's just a regular dude who likes all the things humans like - sunshine, sea breezes and killing inferior organisms.

Maybe they went to a tiki bar afterward to toast their new interspecies friendship.

Phelps might have said something like, "No offence, bro, but I thought you'd be faster."

And the shark said, "No offence, man, but once the camera crew leaves, I'm going to chew you in half."

And they'd laugh and high-five/ fin. Then it would get quiet and weird and the shark's staring a little too hard and Phelps would offer to help the sound guy carry his gear back to the truck, which he never does.

Later, the shark would try to text Phelps and realize he gave him a number that's one digit off.

Yeah, a "mistake." Sure.

I suppose it's all harmless fun.

No one expects this to become a regular thing. That wouldn't be cool. All of a sudden, you'd be out for a nice hike and some random bear would burst out of the underbrush and challenge you to a foot race or a tree-climbing competition. You jog once in a while, but you've never run competitively. Not since grade school. And tree climbing? When was that in the Olympics? That's not even close to fair.

"How about we do some multiplication tables instead, tough guy?" you say a little too sharply and the bear leaves angry after maiming you severely.

No, that won't work. It's better that we limit these Man vs. Animal competitions to formalized TV environments featuring professionals.

Otherwise, it seems a little cheap.

Associated Graphic

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps's race against a great white shark, not unlike this one, will be televised on Sunday.


Without Peele, Key turns to the future
Monday, July 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L2

The Smothers brother. Abbott, singular. Laurel, sans Hardy.

And, for the more modern-minded, Tim, forever searching for Eric.

In the comedy world, it can be difficult for audiences to separate the artist from the artistic duo, and even more challenging for the performers themselves. But Keegan-Michael Key seems to have solved the secret to his postpairing success. Although the performer is best known for his collaboration with Jordan Peele on Comedy Central's incendiary sketch series Key & Peele, he is hard at work creating his own singular career in film, television and the stage since the show ended its run in 2015. Part of this new path includes the Netflix series Friends from College, which premieres July 14 and offers a slightly darker side to Key. On the eve of the series' premiere, Key, 46, spoke with The Globe and Mail about fulfilment, comedy and how not to write a sketch about Donald Trump.

Friends from College is an interesting choice for you, in that it's an ensemble piece - are you seeking to immerse yourself in a cast, rather than stand out in your own project?

Not necessarily. It just happened to be that this ensemble was the one I wanted to work with. I do what I can to surround myself with people who are better than me or better than me at certain skill sets, so I'm always in a learning environment. Here, we have Cobie Smulders, who was on one of the most successful sitcoms of all time. Here's Fred Savage, a child actor who's now directing and acting. Here's Nat Faxon, who started out in sketch comedy and now has an Oscar! To be in the midst of these people is lovely.

It's interesting that you mention the learning aspect, because looking at your projects so far post-Key & Peele, they're of such a varied range that you must have picked up quite a bit of knowledge on every type and size of project.

I do look for a challenge in everything. I want every project to scare me a little bit. I'm in what I would consider right now this lovely, exciting transition period in my career. When I was in grad school, I was 90:10 drama to comedy. And then, all of a sudden, my professional life had an amazing detour into sketch comedy, and the ratio was flipped, 90:10 comedy to drama. So the past few years of my life, I started nudging back a bit, to 88:12. With the film Don't Think Twice, it was like 85:15. I'd love to get to this 50:50 place. I look at people such as Bill Murray as a model, or early De Niro, actors who were really trying to inhabit a character whose heart beats at a different speed than yours, who never think about things that you think about.

That's what I crave as a performer.

Playing Horatio in Hamlet [offBroadway] can only further balance that ratio.

Absolutely, but the funny thing about Hamlet is it also brings me back to my roots. I mean, some of the greatest days of my life were, I'm in Detroit, driving up to Ontario to go the Stratford Festival to see Shakespeare. It was always what I thought my life would be; it was something I'd craved for so long. So with Hamlet at the Public Theater, I'm coming home and evening out that ratio. I'm getting a two-for-one on this.

You mentioned Nat starting off in sketch and ending up with an Oscar [for his Descendants screenplay] - is that something you're trying to actively emulate?

I'm not as interested in the writing of it, to be quite honest with you. I'm very interested in, and have always been, an interpretive artist. I do have a mild interest in being a generative artist, but it's much more in taking others' work and bringing it to fruition, or enriching it in some way. Every now and then, an idea comes into my mind and I want to bring it to life, but those moments are few and far between.

Would I like to win an Oscar? If an Oscar was a byproduct of me being on the healthiest artistic journey that I can, then I would certainly welcome an Oscar. I'd also love, say, to be in a movie that Nat wrote. With Nat co-starring. And I'll produce it! That's more the framework that excites me.

In terms of working with great writers, what was your experience with Shane Black on his upcoming reboot of The Predator?

The great thing about that was Shane would turn to me sometimes and say, "I want this to be this, but how are we going to do it? Throw a line at me." I think of him as a singular voice, but there was always a collaborative sense of wanting us, the cast, to bring ourselves to these roles in the framework he set up. He's exactly the kind of person who I just want to spend time with - people who are better than me.

It seems there are increasing opportunities to do that these days, with the explosion of productions thanks to companies such as, well, Netflix here.

The opportunities abound. But what's most attractive, artistically, is that we don't get these homogenized stories. Netflix has been so niche-y, showing us what's going on in our world.

There is this strange cultural polarization taking place in our country, and I think that [with] Netflix, you can explore it and one of its shows will make you go, 'What the heck is this?' But then you watch a person's story that has nothing to do with anything in your life, and suddenly the human connection is built. It's a wonderful, varied landscape.

Speaking of a culturally polarized country, though: Do you wish that Key & Peele was still around to scrutinize what's going on in the culture right now?

I do, I do. I think if Jordan and I did that, though, it would manifest itself in a way that you're not expecting, necessarily. I know that we would sit down with our writers and say, "How do we talk about the state of our country and never ever make a sketch about Donald Trump specifically?" I'll share this sketch idea with you. We never made it, but I might put it in something else.

What if you had a guy who was spying on his neighbours across the street? He's got binoculars, and he's looking at these people who are brown and clearly Muslim. They're living their lives, playing with their kids. His nextdoor neighbour, meanwhile, is Chechen. He's also a Muslim, but with blonde hair and blue eyes. So while this guy is watching his neighbours across the street, his other neighbour is building a bomb. But he doesn't look at him because he's white and and has blue eyes, so he can't be bad. The way to get the story across most effectively is to get granular. Get the minutiae of how we're really being affected.

Trump is a whole other discussion, but he's not the problem.

There's something going on systemically in our country, and that's how we elected him. We're not connecting, and that's what I would want to reflect on. I do wish we had that opportunity.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Associated Graphic

Actor Keegan-Michael Key, seen at the 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles in 2016, is hard at work creating his own singular career, apart from comedian Jordan Peele.


Which three-row mid-sizer should you buy?
Can the revamped Highlander compete with the top-selling Explorer?
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, July 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page D4

Compact CUVs are making all the news of late, having displaced compact cars as the biggest-selling vehicle species in Canada. But their mid-size brethren are also taking sales away from traditional sedans. Among three-row mid-sizers, the Ford Explorer is the top-selling nameplate, but the recently refreshed Toyota Highlander is snapping at its heels. Let's find out why.


Base price: $48,899; as tested: $56,814

Engine: 2.3-litre, turbo four-cylinder

Transmission/drive: Six-speed automatic/all-wheel drive

Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 13.1 city, 9.2 highway

Alternatives: Chevrolet Traverse, Dodge Durango, GMC Acadia, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Santa Fe XL, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Kia Sorento, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Highlander, Volkswagen Atlas


To our eyes, the Explorer is neither eye-catchingly appealing nor offensive - it's one of those shapes that "just is." It's also bigger than it looks - 15 cm longer than the Toyota and eight centimetres wider, according to the specs. New for 2017 (although not on the Limited test sample) is a sport-appearance package for the XLT that includes 20-inch wheels.


The Explorer's standard 3.5-litre V-6 is a little down on power (290 horsepower) and torque (255 lb-ft) versus the Highlander, while the $1,000 optional 2.3-litre, turbo four-cylinder on the test truck rates 280 hp and 310 lb-ft (for a lot more money, the Sport and Platinum tout 365 hp and 350 lb-ft from their EcoBoost V-6).

The four-cylinder is impressively refined, but, perhaps disadvantaged by its two-gear transmission deficit, didn't feel as quick (zero to 60 miles an hour in 8.2 seconds, according to Motor Trend) as the Highlander, and its tow rating is only 3,000 pounds, compared with 5,000 for its V-6 siblings and the Highlander. We liked the Explorer's light and lively steering feel, less so its rather brittle ride quality.


Perversely, even with poweradjustable pedals and power steering-column adjustment on the test truck, our body type was challenged to find the right combo of seat height and thigh support; you feel buried down low and front-left sightlines are compromised by thick A-posts. The menu-based mostly digital gauge cluster enables lots of display possibilities, but you'll have to work to find them. According to official numbers, the Explorer has more passenger volume than the Highlander, although combined second- and third-row legroom seemed the same in both: an adult might fit, but wouldn't be comfortable for long.


Significant automated safety features that are standard on the Highlander are extra-cost options on Explorer and available only on the higher-priced trims. On the other hand, only the Ford has standard front and rear parking sensors. Blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert is a $500 option on XLT and Limited, standard on higher trims. Also on the top trims, automated parking is an option not available on any Highlander. On the communitainment side, SYNC3 on an eightinch screen is standard on XLT and up, with a WiFi hotspot; voice-activated navigation is optional on XLT, standard on Limited and up.


What the Explorer loses in seat count, it makes up in cargo room.

Its 50/50-split third-row seats fold away as that of a minivan, so when they're up, there is a deep well behind them. The resulting 21 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row is well above average for the segment and a whopping 52 per cent more than the Highlander. But that space disappears when the third row is stowed.


With three engine choices, five trim grades (including a 365-hp Sport model worthy of the name) and a laundry list of options (many not available at all on the Highlander), the Explorer offers loads of choice, and its generous all-seats-up cargo room is no small asset. But over all, this design is in its seventh model year and starting to feel its age.


Base price: $43,995; as tested: $45,590

Engine: 3.5-litre, direct-injection V-6

Transmission/drive: Eight-speed automatic/all-wheel drive

Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 12.0 city, 8.9 highway

Alternatives: Chevrolet Traverse, Dodge Durango, Ford Explorer, GMC Acadia, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Santa Fe XL, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Kia Sorento, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Pathfinder, Volkswagen Atlas


Refreshed for 2017, the Highlander is a handsome beast - all the more so with the test vehicle's SE package that includes black 19inch wheels (18s are standard) and matching black accents. It has a presence on the road even though it's one of the smallest CUVs among mid-size peers.


All grades of Highlander share the same new-for-2017 powertrain, a 3.5 L, direct-injection V-6 rated at 295 horsepower and 263 lb-ft, hitched to an eight-speed automatic. Although we experienced an odd hesitation when flooring it off the line, Motor Trend's numbers make the Highlander a full second faster to 60 miles an hour (7.2 seconds) than the Explorer. It would be even quicker if the eight-speed wasn't geared so tall: The payoffs are a superrelaxed highway stride (1,760 rpm at 120 km/h) and excellent fuel economy (9.9 L/100 km over our full test, 11.2 for our back-to-back drive with the Explorer). Credit also the exceptionally subtle engine stop/start system. The SE package on the XLE test vehicle firms up the steering and suspension enough to save expressive drivers from terminal boredom, but not enough to inspire them.


Despite claiming less passenger cubic footage, the Highlander has two key advantages over the Explorer: Its wider third-row bench is a three-seater to the Explorer's two, and all versions of the second-row bench adjust foreaft, providing much more maximum legroom. Up front, the Highlander makes it easier to achieve a tall-in-the-saddle posture at the wheel. Its conventional analog gauges are straightforward, and the high-and-centre touch screen and HVAC controls are easy to access (although the command structure of the touch screen itself is somewhat quirky).


Like most 2017 Toyotas, the Highlander comes standard in all trims with the Toyota Safety Sense-P bundle of automatic alert-and-assist safety tech, including adaptive cruise, lane-departure alert and assist, and automatic braking with pedestrian detection; on the XLE and up, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are included, too.


The conventional flip-down backrest of the Highlander's third-row seat means there's no well behind it (although there is a briefcasesize compartment below the floor). Power folding is not an option. On the other hand, the seat's 60/40 split does permit an extra measure of flexibility. Cargo volume is marginally less than in the Ford with the third-row seat stowed and a little more when all seats are down. At its narrowest point, the Highlander's cargo deck is almost 12 cm wider.


What the Highlander may lack in ultimate performance or technology in its top trims, it more than makes up in sheer efficiency: Faster, yet also much more frugal than the mainstream Explorer models and containing more useable passenger space within a more compact exterior - not to mention an impressive array of standard safety features.

Associated Graphic

The Ford Explorer, left, is the top-selling model among three-row mid-sizers, but the Toyota Highlander isn't far behind.


New market reality: 'non-buyer's remorse'
After 'fear of missing out' drove the spring frenzy, purchasers often wield the power now. So why don't more seize it?
Friday, July 21, 2017 – Print Edition, Page G2

House hunters in the Toronto area lamented for years that sellers had a tight grip on the market. Now, that tension has eased and buyers often wield the power.

It's hard to fathom why so few are seizing it, according to real estate agent Geoffrey Grace of Re/Max Hallmark Realty Ltd.

He points to one house that was listed with an asking price of $4.2-million and recently sold for $3.6-million. All the time it was on the market, buyers were circling.

"Were there buyers out there who would have wanted it for $3.6-million?" He expects there were. But they didn't come to the table. "Even if they like a house, they're not confident in what to pay for it."

In recent weeks, Mr. Grace has had a few listings that sold for less than the asking price. He's heard later from buyers or their agents that they would have been interested if they had known they could get the house at a discount.

"It seems like buyers are nervous to buy," he says. "When they miss out on a house they've been watching for a while, they have a bit of nonbuyer's remorse."

Mr. Grace coined the term on the fly because it's been so long since anyone in the Greater Toronto Area has experienced anything approaching "nonbuyer's remorse." It's a big shift from the "fear of missing out" that drove the spring frenzy.

He says it's hard to predict what will happen in the coming months, but he hopes the market is levelling off.

Buyers and sellers need to learn how to navigate this strangely balanced market.

But he doesn't rule out the much more grim scenario that could play out: Buyers remain paralyzed and sellers take their houses off the market, aiming to try again in the fall. Some agents are already pulling listings for the summer and he expects more will follow.

Now, sellers have to contemplate whether they should sell in a stagnant summer market or risk facing their own regrets later in the year. Mr. Grace warns that a potential swell of new listings in the fall could give buyers even more clout in negotiations.

If that happens, sellers may hold out for their asking prices for months, but the most stubborn will see their houses languish on the market. As the fall market winds down, they may decide they have to sell, and that's when prices compared with those of a year earlier turn red.

He points out that buyers who entered the fray during the rapacious price growth of early 2017 would often offer more than they thought a house was worth because by the time they got the keys, the market had caught up.

He advises sellers to be realistic about the price their house can fetch now rather than clinging to hope for the windfall they might have received in the "imaginary market" of the spring.

"It's the reverse of the buyers in the hot market," Mr. Grace says. "Selling for a tad too little is better than selling for a lot too little."

The most recent data from the Canadian Real Estate Association show that June sales were down, "led overwhelmingly by the Greater Toronto Area." The downturn follows the Ontario government's introduction of new policies, including a 15-percent tax on real estate purchases by non-resident buyers.

CREA says actual sales - not seasonally adjusted - fell 11.4 per cent nationally compared with June, 2016.

The surge in new listings that swamped the GTA in May has eased, but that number is still higher than at this time last year.

The drop in June sales was much sharper than the decline in new listings, CREA says, which moved the national salesto-new listings ratio further into balance at 52.8 per cent. In a balanced market, the ratio generally sits between 40 and 60 per cent.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, prices in the GTA slipped 5.8 per cent in June from May.

Mr. Grace says the market dynamics have changed in the east-end neighbourhood of Leslieville, where he specializes.

It's a walkable urban area with lots of semi-detached and relatively affordable detached houses that make it wildly popular with young families.

But even in that coveted neighbourhood, he is no longer setting an offer date. Instead, he sets an asking price close to what he believes is market value and states that offers are welcome any time. And still, he looks for ways to give listings a boost.

Mr. Grace recently listed a house with an asking price of $1.029-million and tried to draw attention to it by calling around to other agents. "Which seems archaic because the house is on MLS," he says referring to the Multiple Listing Service of the Toronto Real Estate Board. He noticed one local agent hadn't been through at all. "The house is on the street your office is on, how come you haven't showed it yet?" he asked.

That agent said her clients weren't willing to pay more than $1-million. Mr. Grace was surprised that the buyers had ruled out the property without walking through or calling to see if there was any room to negotiate.

"That's not a huge spread from where we are," he told the agent.

Still, he lowered the asking price to $989,000 to get past the psychological barrier. The agent brought her clients, who ended up buying the house for $975,000.

He says the deal illustrates his point that buyers can also adjust to the new reality and not wait for sellers to drop their asking price. "If you've got a number in mind, make the offer and try to negotiate it."

As for homeowners who are deciding whether to sell, the serious ones are accepting the reality of a decline in prices while those who who are just testing the waters may hold out in the hopes of a rebound.

"Those are the people who are not adjusting and they're taking their houses off the market."

Mr. Grace reminds them that, as of June, prices are still higher than they were at this time last year. That trend may not continue, he says - especially if great numbers of sellers list in the fall.

But he knows many people are anxious about buying at what could be the start of a longer correction. During bidding frenzies, offers didn't land without a hefty deposit cheque attached.

But now that deals are taking some time to negotiate, he will drive over and pick up the deposit cheque himself because some buyers have second thoughts.

In one case, a builder has told him he plans to walk away without closing the deal he agreed to a few weeks ago. The developer purchased a bungalow with plans to add a second storey and sell the renovated house for a higher price.

"They're looking at the math and it's just not going to work right now."

The seller had a deal on paper at a number she was willing to accept, he says, but now she faces the prospect of selling again in the fall for less, which is going to hurt, Mr. Grace says.

Jilted sellers can take legal action, but in this case the property was purchased through a corporation. Typically, sellers who successfully sue builders have trouble collecting, he explains.

"That corporation probably has very few assets," he says.

"You can't get blood from a rock."

Corrupt soccer official turned informant
After years of taking bribes and living extravagantly, he wore a wire to gather evidence against his associates
Associated Press
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S12

The charade only ended in the final years of Chuck Blazer's life.

Stripped of his extravagances, soccer's gregarious and greedy deal maker was forced to admit to his years of corruption and confined to a New Jersey hospital.

The eccentric bon vivant who once strode across the global stage being flattered by sport and political leaders eager to capture his World Cup hosting vote died in disgrace on Wednesday at 72.

However much Mr. Blazer elevated the status and wealth of soccer in North America over several decades, any achievements were polluted by the ravenous appetite of "Mr. 10 per cent" to seek bribes and siphon cash from deals into his personal account.

Mr. Blazer did go on to play a central role exposing soccer's fraudulent culture, which led to FIFA President Sepp Blatter being toppled. But he turned only when presented with little option but to become a co-operating witness.

The impact of Mr. Blazer's death on the FIFA prosecution in the United States - where three South American soccer officials are set to go on trial in November - is unclear. Many of the more prominent figures who might have faced him as a star government witness have already pleaded guilty.

Any recordings Mr. Blazer made after agreeing to become an FBI informant and wear a wire could still come into evidence without his testimony, said Timothy Heaphy, a former U.S. lawyer now in private practice.

Even if Mr. Blazer didn't record the defendants, prosecutors could have tried to "call him to testify generally about the ways and means of the corrupt practices, as pseudo-corruption expert," Mr. Heaphy said. But Mr. Blazer's absence, he said, "is like one brick removed from the wall.

It won't make the edifice come crumbling down."

Mr. Blazer was driving his mobility scooter on a Manhattan street in 2011 when he was stopped by U.S. government agents and threatened with arrest.

It was the failure to fill in tax returns for years that put Mr. Blazer on the radar of the Internal Revenue Service. He became a government informant in 2011, using his role on FIFA's alreadytainted executive committee to secretly record conversations with associates in soccer's governing body.

Mr. Blazer swept up evidence that formed the foundations of a Department of Justice case against world soccer executives who embezzled cash from commercial contracts and sought payments in return for backing countries as World Cup hosts.

At a November, 2013, court hearing where his treatments for rectal cancer, diabetes and coronary artery disease were disclosed, Mr. Blazer entered 10 guilty pleas. He admitted to sharing in a $10-million (U.S.) bribe scheme with others to support South Africa's bid for the 2010 World Cup and facilitating a kickback linked to Morocco's failed bid for the 1998 World Cup.

Mr. Blazer's guilty pleas were only unsealed by a New York court in July, 2015, after the U.S.

investigation into FIFA exploded into public view with a raid on a Zurich hotel ahead of the annual gathering of soccer countries.

Since then, U.S. prosecutors have brought charges against more than 40 soccer officials, marketing executives, associates and entities, while the Swiss attorney-general has been conducting parallel investigations.

"Chuck hoped to help bring transparency, accountability and fair play to [The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF)] , FIFA and soccer as a whole," Mr. Blazer's lawyers said in a statement late Wednesday. "Chuck also accepted responsibility for his own conduct by pleading guilty and owning up to his mistakes. Chuck felt profound sorrow and regret for his actions."

While some sports executives try to shirk the limelight, Mr. Blazer relished the status gained through his 16 years on FIFA's executive committee until 2013.

For a suburban soccer dad, Mr. Blazer gained unimaginable influence and access. Journeys into the heart of power across the world were catalogued on a personal website inspired by Vladimir Putin during a 2011 meeting with the Russian President.

When he wasn't travelling the world, Mr. Blazer was cutting deals from an office and apartment in Trump Tower, where he lived a chaotic life surrounded by cats and a pet parrot.

Mr. Blazer started in soccer by coaching his son's club in New Rochelle, N.Y., and joined boards of local and regional soccer organizations. He was the U.S. Soccer Federation's executive vice-president from 1984-86. He helped to form the American Soccer League, a precursor to Major League Soccer, in 1998 before entering regional soccer politics.

Mr. Blazer urged Jack Warner to run for president of CONCACAF in 1990. When the Trinidadian won, he made Mr. Blazer the general secretary - a position he held until 2011.

In 1991, Mr. Blazer created the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the organization's national team championship that is played every two years, and he rose within FIFA to become chairman of its marketing and television advisory board.

Mr. Blazer turned on his boss, Mr. Warner, who also served with him on FIFA's executive committee.

Corruption had been rumoured for years within world soccer before Mr. Blazer provided evidence, accusing Mr. Warner and Mohamed bin Hammam of offering $40,000 bribes to voters in the 2011 FIFA presidential election. Mr. bin Hammam, a Qatari who headed the Asian Football Confederation, had been the lone challenger to Mr. Blatter, who was elected unopposed to a fourth term after Mr. Warner and Mr. bin Hammam were suspended. Mr. Blatter was elected to a fifth term in 2015 before resigning after the raids in Zurich.

Mr. Blazer's conduct was as corrupt as the actions of the people he accused.

Mr. Blazer pleaded guilty in November, 2013, to one count each of racketeering conspiracy, wire-fraud conspiracy, moneylaundering conspiracy and willful failure to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, and to six counts of tax evasion.

A separate CONCACAF investigation report released in 2013 said that Mr. Blazer "misappropriated CONCACAF funds to finance his personal lifestyle," causing the organization to "subsidize rent on his residence in the Trump Tower in New York; purchase apartments at the Mondrian, a luxury hotel and residence in Miami; sign purchase agreements and pay down payments on apartments at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas."

"His misconduct, for which he accepted full responsibility, should not obscure Chuck's positive impact on international soccer," his lawyers said. "With Chuck's guidance and leadership, CONCACAF transformed itself from impoverished to profitable."

While Mr. Blazer was banned for life from soccer by FIFA in 2015, he was awaiting sentencing when he died.

There were almost no public tributes from FIFA or CONCACAF after his passing; CONCACAF merely said it extended "sympathies and condolences" to Mr. Blazer's family and loved ones.

The only acknowledgment of Mr. Blazer's death by U.S. Soccer was a comment in a news conference by national team coach Bruce Arena.

"I've known Chuck for a lot of years. He did a lot for the sport.

Sorry about all the issues regarding FIFA," Mr. Arena said. "But he was a good man."

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

Chuck Blazer, then the general secretary of CONCACAF, is seen at a Frankfurt, Germany, news conference in 2005. Mr. Blazer's controversial conduct in the soccer world eventually led to his lifetime ban from the sport by FIFA in 2015.


A 5 a.m. blast out of the Pyrenees in Audi's new RS 5 blurs the line between transportation and entertainment
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, July 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page D1

ANDORRA -- It's 5 a.m. in Andorra, a tax haven masquerading as a country high in the Pyrenees. It's summer, so the ski hills and duty-free malls are empty. Right now, Andorra is the world's nicest ghost town.

We have a flight out of Toulouse, France, in a few hours. There's no airport in Andorra, so we'll drive north, winding out of the Pyrenees to slog a few kilometres across French highways, hopefully avoiding the gendarmerie (French law enforcement). There's no traffic.

The sun is an hour away. We have Audi's latest supercoupe, the RS 5 with 450 horsepower. This should be good.

On mornings such as this, coffee seems unnecessary. The high-beams light up a ghostly black-and-white scene ahead. Off the side road, beyond too-thin metal barriers, it's black. Probably best not to see the sheer drop.

I can't recall which car-company CEO said it, but the gist was that he thought of his company not as a provider of transportation, but of entertainment. This is true if you've ever driven a McLaren or Lamborghini. Some cars get you from A to B, others entertain you. Like an Avengers movie, this latter type offers a whiz-bang spectacle of speed, light and sound.

Before setting off, the all-newfor-2018 RS 5 requires a preflight checklist. Engine, gearbox, steering set to Dynamic: check. Suspension set to comfort: check. Exhaust note: dynamic. Red seat-belt: click. It feels very Top Gun.

With no traffic to worry about, we enter each roundabout faster than the previous. Yanking the steering wheel right, then left to clip the centre, then right again, the car grips and goes. No fuss, little body roll, neat and tidy. It's impossible to tell how much grip the tires have - the variable-ratio steering doesn't transmit much information back to the driver - but it is unfailingly precise. Any speed you want to go on public roads seems to be well within the RS 5's comfort zone. If anything, it's a little aloof.

On faster, flowing bends, the RS 5 carves corners like a skier, making elegant arcs. For the RS model, Audi Sport reinforced the regular A5 body around the front wheels. Combined with stiffer bushings, it makes for a crisp turn-in.

On these unfamiliar roads, it's reassuring to have a car that's as forgiving as the RS 5. It responds effortlessly to midcorner corrections. When a bend tightens unexpectedly and the guardrail is fast approaching, you can ask the front tires for more grip and they oblige. Need to dab the brakes mid-corner? No problem. The Audi is rock-steady.

Powering out of yet another hairpin bend, there's a hint of lag before the turbo hits its stride.

Above 1,900 rpm, the twin-turbo V-6 is putting out its maximum 443 lb-ft of torque. The horsepower dial on the dash winds up steadily until the engine peaks at 450 horsepower. Those are dramatic numbers but the effect is anything but. The Quattro all-wheeldrive system puts the power down without wheelspin through an eight-speed automatic. A regular automatic replaces the double-clutch gearbox from the previous RS 5. The old 'box couldn't handle the new motor's torque.

To provoke any hint of oversteer you have to turn in hard, lift, flatten the throttle and, even then, you'll only get a whiff. The Quattro system is always working to keep the car straight. It's not tail-happy like Audi Sport's smaller RS 3.

Speeding down the mountains, the exhaust note should be echoing from the hills like we're in The Sound of Music, but it's not.

There's a little noise maker under the front window that produces a distant rumble below 3,000 rpm but it's too quiet, even with the exhaust in Dynamic mode.

And here's the strange thing about Audi's supercoupe. It's not pure entertainment. It looks like a summer superhero blockbuster but doesn't act like one. Look at those flared wheel arches, huge ceramic brakes, bazooka-sized exhaust tips. The sheetmetal looks like it's stretched to the limit over rippling muscles. All it's missing is the cape and unitard.

The RS 5's rivals all clearly put entertainment ahead of practicality. BMW's M4 is a twitchy beast.

Driving it fast can feel like your head is inside a lion's mouth.

AMG's C 63 has such a glorious soundtrack, you could almost forgive it for not handling so well.

Except it does handle brilliantly.

In both cases, if all you want is to get from A to B, there are cheaper coupes that do a better job.

They'll get you to your destination without turning you into a puddle of adrenalin.

Despite its rivals' singular focus, the RS 5 was never meant to be pure entertainment - it was always meant to be more of a compromise.

"The idea was to make a very sporty car that feels very safe," said Matthias Nothling, technical project manager on the RS 5. "You have everyday usability, like a normal A5."

The A5 coupe starts at $46,000.

The RS 5 will cost an estimated $85,000. (Audi hasn't announced pricing.) It begs the question: If it's not all about entertainment, are the power, features and handling of the RS 5 really worth double the price of an A5?

The reason for pushing the RS 5 in this softer direction was customer feedback.

"We know our customers pretty well," said Benjamin Holle, product marketing manager for the RS 5. "Yes, I admit we probably changed it - not in a more sharp direction like these AMG or M things - but with this everydayusability/high-performance mixture in mind."

Not only is it what customers of the old RS 5 were asking for, but Holle said positioning the new RS 5 this way will attract new customers, people who wouldn't otherwise buy a high-performance RS model.

Like Andorra, caught between France and Spain, the RS 5 finds itself caught between entertainment and transportation. The features that make a car entertaining - loud exhaust, snappy gearshifts, stiff suspension, telepathic handling and an engine with a thirst for premium gas - also make it lousy as daily transportation.

Audi Sport has done an admirable job of trying to split the difference, to merge these two types of cars into a single do-it-all machine. It has come closer than any other auto maker, but still hasn't quite pulled it off. Even with its myriad adjustments and settings, the RS 5 sacrifices pure entertainment for usability. While gearheads may lament this softer direction, Holle is probably right: This compromise will broaden its appeal.

The RS 5 is comfortable, quiet and civilized. I forgot I was in Audi's flagship supercoupe until I looked down at the speedo and was shocked to find we were cruising at an un-gendarmeriefriendly 170 kilometres an hour.

We arrived in Toulouse relaxed and well ahead of schedule.

Associated Graphic

The Audi Rs 5 looks like a summer superhero blockbuster but doesn't act like one. 'The idea was to make a very sporty car that feels very safe,' says Matthias Nothling, technical project manager on the new supercoupe.


The Audi Rs 5 provides a tight, rock-steady ride, even while speeding through the mountains of Andorra.


Can comedies survive the superhero era?
In an increasingly conservative Hollywood, provocative humour is quickly losing ground to big-budget action
Associated Press
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R10

NEW YORK -- Days before the opening of the Will Ferrell-Amy Poehler comedy The House, producer Adam McKay could see the writing on the wall. The box-office forecast for the film wasn't looking good.

In the end, The House opened with just $8.7-million (U.S.), the latest in an increasingly long line of comedy flops. The House may have had its problems (Warner Bros. opted to not even screen it for critics), but what stood out about the result was how dispiritingly typical it was.

"This has just been happening a lot. If it's not our comedies, it's other comedies from friends of ours that just are underperforming very consistently," said McKay, whose production company with Ferrell makes a handful of comedies a year.

Unless the upcoming Girls Trip - promoted as the black, female version of The Hangover - breaks out, this summer will likely pass without a big comedy hit. Rough Night, Baywatch and Snatched have all disappointed despite the star power of Scarlett Johansson, Dwayne Johnson and Amy Schumer, respectively. The lone sensation has been the Kumail Nanjiani-led, Judd Apatow produced The Big Sick. But that Lionsgate-Amazon release is a specialty one; it's made $6.8-million in three weeks of limited release.

Laughs are drying up at the multiplex and it's a trend that goes beyond this summer. Last year, the shockingly poor performance of Andy Samberg's Popstar ($9.6-million in its entire run) foreshadowed the trouble to come. There have been some successes (Bad Moms, Sausage Party, Trainwreck, Central Intelligence, Spy) but it's been a long while since a cultural sensation like The 40 Year-Old Virgin, The Hangover or Bridesmaids.

The downturn begs the question: Can the big-screen comedy survive the superhero era? As studios have increasingly focused on intellectual propertybacked franchises that play around the globe, comedies are getting squeezed. Though usually relatively inexpensive propositions, comedies often don't fit the blockbuster agenda of riskadverse Hollywood.

"They really want these movies to work in China and Russia, and comedies don't always work like that," Apatow says.

In interviews with many top names in comedy, as well as numerous studio executives, many in Hollywood expressed optimism that a turnaround could and will be sparked by something fresh and exciting - a Get Out for comedy. But they also described an unmistakable sense that the era of Superbad, Pineapple Express and Step Brothers may be closing - and that an increasingly restrictive Hollywood landscape is partly to blame.

"It does worry me because it feels like the studios aren't developing as many comedy scripts," Apatow adds. "In the old days, they used to buy a lot of scripts and develop them.

And now it feels like times have changed. Unless you bring them a script with an actor or actress and a director and it's all packaged, there's not a lot of chances to get comedies made. We have a nice reputation so we're able to get our movies made most of the time. But I feel like there's not as many young comedy writers writing movies. I think a lot of them are headed toward television and I think that's bad for the movies."

The comedies that have managed to get made have often recycled many of the familiar, previously profitable formulas.

McKay has watched marketing departments increasingly dictate which comedies get greenlit.

"That's their whole thing: 'What's the formula so we can go to the boardroom?' " McKay says. "All of a sudden, I start noticing that people keep asking for comedies to look like other comedies. And we keep saying, 'Yeah, but comedies have to be original.' " But "original" can be a scary word in today's Hollywood.

Thus, the Ghostbusters reboot, thus Baywatch. At the same time, other formats - Old School-like party movies, for example - have grown a little stale from overuse.

"What I think you're seeing in the last three years is just fatigue with those structures," McKay says. "They did the worst thing that a comedy can ever do, which is start to feel familiar. I really think this isn't permanent.

It's going to break out but what it's going to require is three or four accidents to happen again, like Austin Powers and Anchorman."

Both of those films also depended on a long afterlife on home video; comedies historically have been especially strong sellers after theatrical release.

"You can't really do that now," says producer Michael De Luca, who championed Austin Powers at New Line and produced comedies like Rush Hour and The Love Guru. "You have to be a theatrical event when you open." De Luca recalled the thunderbolt experience of reading the spec script for American Pie, which heralded the explosion of R-rated comedy.

"I do feel like these things are cyclical," De Luca says. "Each generation discovers their punkrock comedy. It may not have happened yet for the generation that's coming up behind Seth Rogen, who was behind Judd Apatow."

But the next generation might gravitate to HBO or FX or Netflix instead. That's where you'll find many of today's most exciting comic voices, like Donald Glover (Atlanta), Lena Dunham (Girls) and Issa Rae (Insecure).

The path to a nationwide movie release is more difficult and may offer less creative freedom, unless you have in your corner a big-name producer like James L.

Brooks, who shepherded Kelly Fremon Craig's terrific debut The Edge of Seventeen to the screen last year. A large percentage of recent comedies have starred either Kevin Hart, Seth Rogen, Melissa McCarthy or Ferrell - who are, granted, some of the funniest people alive.

"You see a lot of the big Hollywood comedies have the same people playing the same type of people in the same sort of highstakes but not-too-high-stakes situations," says Nanjiani, who also stars on HBO's Silicon Valley.

"The fact that there's only a handful of people that are deemed worthy of being big comedy leads, it means that you can't really have that much variance in the types of movies that get made."

But even the top stars are having a more difficult time. Ahead of the release of Sony's Sausage Party, Rogen acknowledged he's seen first-hand that comedies are getting harder and harder to make.

"The truth is, you're now probably better off selling it to Netflix or something. Which is a bummer," Rogen says. "You look at a lot of comedies and it's just like: Five years ago that would have made $120-million and now, unless there's big action, huge helicopters and tanks and car chases, just people talking and being funny is a lot harder to do."

Sausage Party was a gleefully raunchy animated comedy about grocery store food that most studios would have immediately turned down. It went on to make $98-million domestically on a $20-million budget, packing theatres with cackling audiences.

It was a good reminder that even at a time when many doubt the future of the theatrical experience, nothing beats a good comedy.

Associated Graphic

Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler's The House, which opened to just $8.7-million (U.S.), is the latest in an increasingly long line of comedies to flop at the box office. A large percentage of comedies star the likes of Ferrell, Kevin Hart and Seth Rogen, leading to less variance in the types of movies that get made.

As times change, so does the role of computer-software programs in the world of design. Today, Matthew Hague writes, computers are coming up with building layouts, package designs and furniture pieces that are as creative or better than what humans can envision on their own
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, July 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Computer-aided design, or CAD, programs are as new to the world as bell-bottom pants and disco. Architects and designers started trading in their mechanical pencils and drafting tables in the 1970s - around the same time computerized dating started to vie for the place traditionally held by boozy nightclubs and wellmeaning matchmakers (hi, grandma).

These days, though, the technology has been updated so drastically that it would be hard to compare the current incarnations to its predecessors - it would be a bit like putting a Tesla next to a Pinto. More than merely assisting creative professionals draw out their ideas, software programs are now helping generate the very ideas and products themselves. Computers are coming up with building layouts, package designs and furniture that are as creative or better than what humans can envision on their own.

"It's a radical departure from what we've been using for the last 40 years," says Francesco Iorio, director of computational science research at Autodesk, which develops CAD software. Later this year, a program that Iorio has been working on called Generative Design will hit the market, and, according to him, will act more like "an actual partner" in the design process rather than a passive tool. In effect, designers will be able to ask the software questions and get optimal answers back.

The program has already produced a muscular, Gaudi-esque chair called the Elbo. Rather than coming up with the shape of the seat themselves, a design team used the software to determine the best structure given certain parameters - height, material, loads. The legs and arms mimic forms found in nature, such as bones, which have been optimized through evolution to withstand the forces of the world. In essence, the program came up with a design "that was most fit to survive," says Iorio, by learning from the world around it.

"The results can be surprising," Iorio says, "because the program isn't constrained by biases."

Such algorithm-based software is also a way of developing mass-customized goods - broadly available items that are uniquely different for each shopper. For example, Nutella, in partnership with HP, recently used an algorithm to generate more than seven million unique package designs to be sold across Italy. Each one is singular, though they share a similarly jubilant aesthetic - a bit like someone has taken close-up photos of confetti as it has fallen through the sky.

It would have taken a massive team of designers an impossible amount of time and mental energy to achieve the feat. But "the program has no limit," according to Lavinia Francia, client creative director at Nutella's ad agency, Ogilvy & Mather, Italy, which oversaw the project. "It starts choosing one out of four different textures and it zooms in on it or out and/or rotates. Then it crops the selection and creates a unique sleeve.

So the number of unique labels is technically infinite."

That said, there's still a place for people in the process. To ensure that no meme-worthy, phallic shapes unintentionally made it onto a child's sandwich spread, "a Nutella employee checked on every jar," Francia says. And a "check was made on every pattern that was mixed by the algorithm to make sure the final result would be appropriate." (The program was so popular that all seven million jars sold out within a month).

Architect Alexis Rivas also believes there is an important, enduring role for people to play in algorithm-generated designs.

He's the co-founder of Cover, a Los Angeles-based company that builds custom backyard studios, cottages and pool houses using algorithms and robots. "Many people's first instinct is the fear of computers taking over all of our jobs," he says. "But the software we use helps our team put all our time and effort into wellconsidered details, and the touch and feel of our spaces."

Rivas, along with his lead designer, Thomas Heyer, have devised a way, using a proprietary software, to take the desires of their clients (captured in a questionnaire) and generate a fully articulated plan in as little as three days. "We have worked closely with the guys optimizing the software," Heyer says, "to design a set of building blocks - fixed details, how corners come together and integrated storage.

Those details are taken by the software as Lego blocks and assembled into a custom design."

One of the benefits of this kind of technology-enabled standardization is that it brings the price of the design down. Cover's initial consultations cost less than the price of an iPhone and the structures start in the low six figures, despite the sharp, California aesthetic more commonly associated with million-dollar homes in the Hollywood Hills.

"That's the beauty of the tech available to us today," Heyer says.

"It makes high-quality design accessible to a lot more people." Dutch designer Merel Bekking isn't just interested in using technology to make high-quality design, but design that is "technically perfect." And instead of algorithms, she uses machines that help her get directly into the minds of those she is designing for - literally. She uses MRI scanners to access the desires that are trapped deep within our brains.

"The reason I use MRIs is because I wanted to know what people really think," Bekking says. "I know that if you ask people questions they are always prone to give socially desirable answers or maybe they don't really know what they like, and so on. But if you put people in MRI scanners, you look at how their brain reacts," without a filter.

For a recent project, she used MRIs of one of the world's top design editors - Marcus Fairs, who founded the popular website Dezeen - to create a chair that was perfect for him. "Marcus was shown pictures of different materials, shapes, objects and colours," Bekking says, "while his brain activation was measured using a 3 Tesla MRI-scanner."

From the experiment, Bekking learned that Fairs's brain "had a preference for orange, for closed, round shapes, for plastic and for chairs," Bekking says. "But these ingredients were all loose ingredients. They still had to be put together." So Bekking put together what looks like a giant, orange pill pierced on a stick, cracked open so Fairs could perch in the middle.

Curiously, though, Fairs did not like the chair, asking Bekking to take it away from his house shortly after she delivered it to his London home. "The research results were completely solid," she said, but "as soon as he realized he had to defend to others that this is what his subconscious likes, he really started to hate it. I think this is really fascinating."

For Bekking, using technology to create a scientifically perfect design process has also left her with a curious reaction: "Forget all the target groups, forget numbers, scientific research and big data," she says. "I think you should trust your designer's instinct and make beautiful things because you really feel your ideas, not because you think it will please most people."

Associated Graphic

Nutella recently used an algorithm to generate more than seven million unique package designs to be sold across Italy.

Alexis Rivas, co-founder of Cover, says computer software helps his team put together well-considered projects, such as this backyard lounge and office.

The Elbo chair was designed using a program Francesco Iorio is working on called Generative Design. Iorio says the program will act more like an actual partner in design rather than a tool.

The indestructible cowboy
Bareback riding is a passion and a love for Oregon wrangler Steven Peebles, broken bones and a brush with death be damned
Friday, July 14, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

CALGARY -- There is no injured list for cowboys. That is because they all play hurt. The one-tonne bulls, bucking broncos and beefy steers they scrimmage against invariably leave scars.

Steven Peebles has more than most. He is one of the world's best bareback riders, and a walking miracle. Even in a sport full of rugged athletes, the Oregon wrangler's recuperative powers are supernatural.

In the past two-plus years, he has twice suffered a broken back.

One of those times, after his spine was fractured when his horse reared up in the chute, Peebles still completed an eight-second ride.

"I got a 68.5," he says with disdain. From where he sits for an interview at the Calgary Stampede, you could flip a cow patty into the Bow River. On Tuesday, a few hours earlier, he won the day's bareback competition with a score of 90.5 points.

In bareback riding, where the wrangler has to stay on top of a horse without a saddle and hold on one-handed without being bucked off for eight seconds, points are awarded based on the rider's control and technique, and for the horse's power, speed and agility.

On a scale of 1 to 100, 68.5 is usually not enough to cash a prize cheque. But it is remarkable for a guy who has been thrashed around while he has a broken back. Think about it the next time your hamstrings are yipping a tiny bit from climbing stairs.

In between those two calamities, Peebles barely escaped death. On July 2, 2015, he landed badly after being launched off a horse at the Livingston Roundup in Montana.

He won with an 86-point ride, but lost his grip at the last second.

"I landed so hard I broke ribs in four spots and it shoved one of them right through a main artery," he says. "I was bleeding out and didn't know it.

"I tried to tough it out, but it felt like I had a knife in my gut. It was way worse than anything I had ever experienced."

Peebles was dizzy and nauseous, but told his travelling companion, fellow bareback rider Brian Bain, that he was well enough to accompany him 100 kilometres to an airport in Billings.

Bain saw Peebles sweating and looking pasty white and insisted on taking him to a clinic in Livingston. There, it was discovered that Peebles's lungs were collapsing and blood was pouring into his chest cavity.

"I thought I was toast," Peebles says.

He was rushed by ambulance to a hospital in Bozeman, 45 minutes away, where doctors saved his life.

"They broke open my left rib cage and shoved a hose inside and started sucking the blood out," he says. "I passed out."

The next morning, he learned he had come within 15 minutes of dying. His blood pressure plummeted. His lungs were 80-per...

cent full of blood. He lost six litres before the artery was repaired.

"When I woke up, my first thought was 'Thank God, I made it,' " Peebles says. "Then two doctors came in and told me they had made a bet the night before.

"One expected me to drown in my own blood, the other thought I would bleed out. They told me, 'Somebody is looking out for you.' " He is 28, clean-cut and unfailingly polite in that cowboy sort of way. Unlike the rest of us, he looks like he was born wearing a Stetson. His girlfriend, Marie, whom he met at an event four years ago, radiates the same country charm.

"He gets cranky when he can't rodeo," she says.

Peebles grew up in California and learned the basics of bareback riding and roping from his uncle, former rodeo cowboy Bob Sailors. When he was 14, his family moved to Redmond, Ore.

There, Peebles worked as a ranch hand for Bobby Mote, a worldchampion bareback rider who helped sharpen his skills.

Despite his many injuries, Peebles has become one of his sport's elite athletes since turning professional in 2009. Along with spinal fractures and cracked ribs and a severed artery, he has broken his right leg in seven places, torn ligaments in his right ankle, torn cartilage in his right hip, dislocated one foot and suffered a torn rotator cuff.

At one point last year, he was wearing a back brace and had a splint on one arm at the same time.

"I have ridden with pain my entire career," he says. "I have learned to block it out."

In 2015, he won a world championship. In 2014 and again in 2016, he collected the $100,000 winner's cheque at the Calgary Stampede as the top bareback rider. He has finished first, fifth and seventh in pool competition this week and remains in the running to take the top prize for bareback riders on Sunday at one of the world's most famous rodeo.

He might have won in 2015, too, but was recovering in the hospital after his near brush with death.

"I have the same goals I have always had and still strive to have the same result," Peebles says. "It is just a little harder now for me to get there.

"I have to stretch and warm up and cool down differently. I can't sleep on too soft of a bed."

More than 727,000 people turned out during the Stampede's first five days, and the grandstand at the rodeo arena has been packed. Attendance is up by nearly 20,000 a day over last year, despite heat and storm warnings. A twister touched down just outside Calgary on Wednesday night.

Fans especially appreciate the toughness and danger of the broncos and bulls and the fury that ensues when a bareback rider and horse burst out of the chute. It is like riding a tornado with one hand. Peebles and fellow competitors are left horizontal as they try to hang on.

"It is a passion and a love," Peebles says. "It is what I do and what I love."

He was in the running for a world championship in 2014 when he broke his back for the time. His mount bucked and nearly flipped over in the gate. A compression fracture occurred as his face was pushed down into his stomach.

"I was mad," he says. "I didn't want to go to the hospital."

The next morning, his girlfriend says, Peebles chatted up medical staff at the event hoping they would allow him to ride again.

"I wanted to see how high-risk it was," he says.

Peebles incurred a spinal fracture for the second time in February of last year. He and his brother were taking a spin in a Polaris Ranger when the $20,000 all-terrain vehicle flipped over on a friend's ranch in Oregon. He had received the Ranger as part of the prize package when he won the world championship in 2015.

"The Ranger was totalled and I snapped my back in half," Peebles says. "It was a bad day."

Associated Graphic

Steven Peebles rides Ultimately Wolf in the bareback event during the Calgary Stampede on Thursday.


Steven Peebles tapes his arm before the bareback event at the Calgary Stampede, Wednesday. Along with spinal fractures and cracked ribs and a severed artery, Peebles has broken his right leg in seven places, torn ligaments in his right ankle and torn cartilage in his right hip.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

As the penultimate season of HBO's Game of Thrones begins, coverage has drawn more comparisons than ever between Westeros and Washington, John Doyle writes. But the series reveals less about what's going on in the White House and more about the universal allure of brutal power
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

Daily, for weeks now, the stars of Game of Thrones have been appearing on late-night chat shows and giving interviews to select newspapers and magazines. There have been pop-up Game of Thrones theme bars and there's a range of GoT wines being launched.

With a new season starting (Sunday, HBO Canada, 9 p.m.) and an end in sight, just two short seasons to come, every dollar is being squeezed from the fantasy series. And every kind of meaning, too. Because the actors can give nothing away about plot developments, they tend to talk in generalizations and anecdotes.

This leads to ever-more speculation, not just about the plotting of the coming episodes but about the meaning of it all. Often, fan and media coverage concentrates, in high-blown terms, about what can be extrapolated and learned from the series, especially the political resonances.

There have been many attempts to connect Game of Thrones to Washington politics: DC Always Was King's Landing says a Guardian headline. And British politics - "Westerexit" was a term used in The Washington Post, for blimey's sake - and, for all we know, Brazilian politics.

This is a versatile and durable approach to the shenanigans on the series. But it amounts to almost nothing. It is, however, illuminating and disturbing.

The first point to be made on Game of Thrones is that it isn't about politics in the context of parliamentary and other forms of democracy. The series is about power, not conventional politics as it is practised in most countries. It's about power in the sense that power is about subordination, exploitation and humiliation. That form of power applies in personal life, the workplace, personal relationships and family dynamics.

What's disturbing is how easily, these days, some fans and analysts see U.S. politics playing out on the series. Little wonder, in realistic terms, since the drama is about family dynasties, which can be loosely applied to the Trumps and the Clintons. Hillary Clinton can be, and has been, connected to both Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and Cersei (Lena Headey). Somebody has probably been busy finding meaning in how Ivanka Trump fits into the fictional drama's high-octane daddy-daughter twists. Given this past week's events on the Trump front, there is probably an idiotson theme being nurtured by some in GoT analysis.

Thing is, Game of Thrones is not an allegorical text. It's set in a fantasy feudal world, not a modern country. If there is any connection to today's electoral politics, it is only in the sense that it's about autocrats.

Now, it's true that U.S. President Donald Trump has a soft spot for autocrats and autocratic style is his first-impulse response in politics. But he's an anomaly.

The fact that so many viewers see political allegory in Game of Thrones is actually disturbing because it reveals the visceral appeal of brutal autocratic cruelty. You know who would have probably been taking notes on ways to learn from Game of Thrones? Donald Trump, that's who.

Most TV series do not challenge orthodoxy; they support it.

They reaffirm people's biases and prejudices. Often they confirm what people secretly, and in the privacy of their own headspace and homes, think about the world. There's a reason why the formulaic CBS drama NCIS, not Game of Thrones, is the most popular show in the world. NCIS validates what most people like to believe - the world is scary but the authorities will come and sort it all out and save the vulnerable.

Game of Thrones is, in that arena of meaning, a confirmation of perversity. It is sexualized violence and power porn. The very title of the books and TV series suggests both that thrones of power play a dangerous game against each other and that players in a game compete for acquisition of one of several thrones.

For there to be a game, there has to be rules and the rules, in the books and the series, are rooted in an assumption of the rightness of a small hereditary noble class having power over a much larger group of common peasants. There is a lot of elaborate blather about the intricacy of the laws in GoT's sprawling landscape, but it all amounts to inherited social standing and the fact that women, no matter their class, do not have the same rights and privileges as men.

In that, Game of Thrones gives succour to sexists everywhere and its most defining scene, traumatic for some and consumed gleefully by others, was Cersei being forced to walk naked through the streets of King's Landing while being verbally and physically abused. Swords, sorcery, some magic and men having risible conversations about honour and betrayal is the gist of much of it. All very male.

This all amounts to a very traditional escapism from the humdrum daily world, in which most of us are obliged to acknowledge that we don't live in feudal times and it is incumbent upon us to be sensitive to the rights of others. One cannot begrudge anyone their enjoyment of it or their admiration for the craft in the acting and storytelling.

The series has some serious admirers, including Margaret Atwood, who announced in an aside in a recent interview, "And I for one will be quite annoyed if Mother of Dragons does not marry Jon Snow. But since both the series and the author of the series have a habit of killing people off in great numbers, who can tell what will happen?"

The crux of the appeal, beyond the layers of possible meaning and the gusto of the mainly British and Irish actors, is that element of, "Who can tell what will happen?" The fevered analysis of trailers and short interviews with the main actors is a thing to behold.

One trailer/preview had Cersei warning of "enemies to the east, enemies to the west, enemies in the south, enemies in the north."

And anyone familiar with the plot could only nod and agree that, yes, trouble is coming, big time.

We know that winter has arrived. We know that dangling storylines are being woven together - Daenerys Targaryen, with her forces, is heading for King's Landing. And there she will encounter Cersei, who is currently in residence on the Iron Throne. In another neck of the woods, Jon Snow has been crowned king.

Certainly the synopsis of the first new episode, titled Dragonstone, doesn't give much more away - "Jon (Kit Harington) organizes the defence of the North.

Cersei (Lena Headey) tries to even the odds. Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) comes home." Right. People knew that already. Possibly, it will all conclude with justice restored and an emotionally positive twist that will satisfy its many ardent followers.

In the meantime, Game of Thrones means many different things to many people. And it is a strange tool to use in drawing parallels with contemporary politics. Used as such, it only tells us that the principles of feudal power and the magnetism of family dynasties have an abiding, unsettling appeal and barbarity appeals to some people in a way that moral complexity and sensitivity does not. What you draw from it says a lot about you.

Follow me on Twitter: @MisterJohnDoyle

Associated Graphic

Emilia Clarke is seen in an episode Game of Thrones. Often, fan and media coverage concentrates, in high-blown terms, about what can be extrapolated and learned from the HBO series, especially the political resonances.

How Shakespeare ensures summer stages still skew male
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

Crunch the numbers and it's clear: Shakespeare is still sexist.

The dominance of the Bard of Avon in Canadian theatre each summer continues to mean more work for male actors than female ones - despite some prominent recent examples of genderreversed or gender-blind casting in his work.

Dozens more men than women are acting on stage because of the continuing fascination by arts institutions and audiences with William Shakespeare's comedies, tragedies and histories - written during a time and in a place

where women were legally prohibited from acting.

At the Stratford Festival, the foremost centre of Shakespeare in Canada, male actors outnumber female actors 73 to 47 this season - making the acting company only 39-per-cent female, whereas women make up just more than half of the Canadian population.

While that Ontario repertory theatre produces everything from the ancient Greeks to new plays, it's clear who's to blame for the gender imbalance in the ensemble.

Take a look at the casts for the three plays penned by Shakespeare at Stratford this summer: Timon of Athens features only five women in a cast of 22 (23-percent female); Romeo and Juliet involves 20 male actors and 10 female actors (33-per-cent female); and even the ensemble of Twelfth Night is just 36-percent female.

"I do feel that there needs to be growing gender parity and I think that's something we need to work harder and harder towards," says Antoni Cimolino, the artistic director of the Stratford Festival - who points to how roles have shifted behind the scenes at the Ontario repertory theatre in recent years.

This season, for instance, more Stratford productions are directed by women than men, and when it comes to living playwrights, women outnumber men.

It's a different story on Stratford's stages: While star Seana McKenna has played Richard III and Jaques at Stratford in recent seasons, and last summer's Breath of Kings history play cycle featured a slew of male characters played by women, those gender-bending practices are still the exception rather than the rule.

Most productions of Shakespeare still hew closely to how his plays have been produced since women were allowed to perform on the English stage - with the four to six roles in each play that were originally performed by boy actors now played by women.

A look at other repertory theatre companies that focus on Shakespeare shows that Stratford is hardly alone in having a company tilted in favour of male performers.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival's company is slightly more female than Stratford at 42 per cent - featuring 50 men and 36 women in its 2017 season. England's Royal Shakespeare Company, centred in the playwright's birthplace of Stratford-uponAvon, meanwhile, employed 163 actors at home and on tour in 2016 - and only 57 (or 35 per cent) were female. (Those numbers supplied by the RSC's exclude the various productions of its West End and Broadway hit, Matilda: The Musical.)

Other Canadian repertory theatres that focus on different repertoire seem to have a greater representation of women on stage. Soulpepper in Toronto reported that 45 per cent of the performers on its stages (including concerts, presentations and tours) were women in 2016, while the Niagara-on-the-Lake Shaw Festival's acting ensemble currently sits at around 46 per cent female.

While neither of those companies have achieved gender parity, they come closer than most of the summer Shakespearean institutions I surveyed across the country. Bard on the Beach in Vancouver has hired 18 male actors and 11 female actors (38 per cent female) this season, while at Shakespeare by the Sea in Halifax, male actors outnumber female ones by nine to five (36 per cent).

Even Shakespeare in High Park in Toronto has two more men than women in its 12-person ensemble - despite its production of King Lear, starring Diane D'Aquila in the title role.

"It's the 21st century now and it's time - it's time that parity goes not just in the parts, but in the salaries," says D'Aquila, a Canadian stage legend who played at Stratford for at least 15 seasons.

"Why not shake it up? Why not make it a different viewpoint for an audience to wrap their head around? I say this as an audience member - as I'm getting to the point where I'm ready to just retire."

These skewed numbers don't necessarily attest to limitations of Shakespeare's plays, but instead to the limitation of institutional imaginations when it comes to staging his work.

From the very first performances of Romeo and Juliet and Henry V, an actor's gender and the part involved didn't have to match up - with young men or boys playing the female roles in Shakespeare's time.

Today, you can still find all-male troupes performing Shakespeare.

Before he ran the Shaw Festival, Tim Carroll took a pair of such "original practices" productions from Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London to Broadway, while Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd recently flipped the script with a trilogy of all-female Shakespeare plays in London that received rave reviews last fall.

In Toronto, audiences have been exposed to the gamut of female-friendly approaches to Shakespeare in the past year: Thought for Food produced an all-female Measure for Measure at the Red Sandcastle in the fall, while the Groundling Theatre Company produced the same play with just one lead role switched: Duke changed into a Duchess for actress Lucy Peacock.

Why Not Theatre, meanwhile, hit all the right notes with a Hamlet at The Theatre Centre that featured not only Christine Horne in the lead role, but more women than men in the cast as a whole - with some actors playing characters than matched their gender, and others not.

At Shakespeare's Globe in London, artistic director Emma Rice stated her intention to move toward gender parity on stage - and hit around 45-per-cent female in her first season, before the theatre company shockingly announced she'd be leaving after just two years in charge of her experimental vision. "Just do it!"

Rice said about going 50/50 in an interview with American Theatre before she was pushed out. "You don't need to agonize about how or why."

In Canada, Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan has been just doing it. Last season, the Saskatoon theatre company hired more female actors than males - and this year, it's doing Richard III and Twelfth Night in repertory with a cast that has achieved gender parity - six men, six women.

"We plan to keep it that way as much as possible moving forward," says Alan Long, director of marketing. "In our opinion, there are only opportunities in this, and it is a lot of fun."

Follow me on Twitter: @nestruck


Company; total number of actors; female actors in company; percentage female; season

Royal Shakespeare Company (Britain); 163; 57; 35 per cent; 2016

The Stratford Festival (Stratford, Ont.); 120; 47; 39 per cent; 2017

Oregon Shakespeare Festival (U.S.); 86; 36; 42 per cent; 2017

Bard on the Beach (Vancouver): 29; 11; 38 per cent; 2017

Shakespeare in High Park (Toronto): 12; 5; 42 per cent; 2017

Shakespeare by the Sea (Halifax): 14; 5; 36 per cent; 2017

Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan (Saskatoon): 12; 6; 50 per cent; 2017

Associated Graphic

Tim Campbell, centre, plays Alcibiades in Shakespeare's Timon of Athens at the Stratford Festival in Ontario.


Defamation lawsuit takes new twist
Donald Trump's lawyer gets dragged into particulars of legal war between Toronto businessman and Marvel movie mogul
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A5

A defamation lawsuit involving a wealthy Toronto businessman and the billionaire chairman of Marvel Entertainment has taken a bizarre new twist with allegations of a big-money shakedown that involves Donald Trump's lawyer, Marc Kasowitz.

For years, Harold Peerenboom, founder of the multinational executive search firm Mandrake Management, has been locked in a bitter legal battle with his Palm Beach neighbour, Isaac Perlmutter, the notoriously reclusive head of the superhero media empire.

What started as a fight over management of a tennis court in their exclusive housing complex has devolved into a multimillion-dollar lawsuit over an alleged international smear campaign.

Recent court filings have added more wrinkles to an already complicated case. They call into question Mr. Peerenboom's long-held assertion that Mr. Perlmutter and his wife, Laura, were behind hundreds of pieces of hate mail about him sent to his neighbours, associates and even strangers starting in 2011.

Now, Mr. Perlmutter has accused Mr. Peerenboom of trying to frame him, suggesting in legal submissions that the Toronto businessman cooked up the defamation campaign with one of his former employees, and that his lawyer, Mr. Kasowitz, was in on the "extortion scheme."

Mr. Peerenboom, in his own new filings, maintains that he is a victim and points the finger back at the comic-book billionaire.

Both men are members of Mr. Trump's Mar-a-Lago country club in Palm Beach, and Mr. Perlmutter considers the President a close friend. Mr. Kasowitz is also Mr. Trump's lawyer for the Russia investigation.

The new allegations stem from the discovery of a package sent from Toronto and intercepted at the border. It included letters discrediting Mr. Peerenboom.

Toronto police have charged one of his former employees in relation to the parcel. In legal filings, Mr. Perlmutter says it proves he was never behind the smear job - and that the Toronto businessman and his legal team knew it all along.

Miami lawyer Roy Black, who represents Mr. Perlmutter, outlined the latest development in court documents filed on May 30, saying U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents had intercepted a "hate-mail kit" that was being sent via UPS from Toronto to Florida in January, 2016.

The package consisted of sealed envelopes with preprinted addresses, latex gloves and four hate letters including one that falsely accused Mr. Pereenboom of being a child molester.

Officials sent a decoy box to a Flordia UPS facility, but no one picked it up.

But according to the Black filing, U.S. Homeland Security and Canadian authorities discovered it was mailed by former Mandrake employee David Smith, using an alias.

"David Smith is a former employee of Peerenboom's company, Mandrake, where he worked for 14 years, eventually rising to the rank of partner, and served as a director of a Mandrake affiliate," the court filing states. "David Smith's efforts were so clumsy they could only possibly fool someone - like Peerenboom - who either wanted to be fooled or was in on the act."

Mr. Smith was arrested and charged in Toronto on June 22 with forgery and criminal harassment and released on bail. As part of the bail conditions, he is not allowed to contact Mr. Peerenboom or Mr. Perlmutter.

Mr. Smith's lawyer, Frank Addario, had no comment when contacted by The Globe and Mail on Thursday.

Mr. Black claims in the court documents that Mr. Kasowitz may have known that "David Smith was responsible for the hate-mail campaign from the start" and kept the information secret.

"After throwing their lot in with Peerenboom and his criminal plot, Kasowitz has been forced to spin a web of lies, distortions, and misrepresentations to advance the extortion scheme and to conceal its fraudulent and illegal components," Mr. Black said in his filing.

Mr. Kasowitz and New York City colleague Michael Bowen filed a response calling the allegations "wholly irresponsible, and baseless." They described Mr. Smith as a disgruntled former employee who was fired in 2011 after being caught "misappropriating Mandrake proprietary information and other misconduct at the firm."

Their filing suggested Mr. Smith might be linked to Mr. Perlmutter.

"What is still unknown is what connection the Perlmutters themselves had with David Smith ... or even the source of the tip that led to that border inspection," they said.

The Kasowitz legal team says Mr. Smith's alleged role in the hate-mail campaign was leaked to the Hollywood Reporter "to distract attention" from the court-ordered release of e-mails that show Mr. Perlmutter and an assistant had sent negative newspaper articles about their client to residents of the gated condominium complex in June, 2011.

Mr. Perlmutter has always denied he was involved in attempts to smear Mr. Peerenboom.

"For years, they lied about their involvement in the anonymous hate mail, tried to hide documents and inculpating emails and tried to cover it up through false legal filings, coercing and intimidating witnesses and suborning perjury," the Kasowitz-Bowen filing said.

Mr. Peerenboom's lawyers dismissed as "lunacy" and "moronic" the suggestion that the Canadian tycoon would subject himself to the "most vile slander - including claims of child molestation and murder" and incur massive legal bills "simply to try to shake down the Perlmutters."

They assert in the court document that Mr. Black made the allegations of a criminal extortion scheme in an attempt to prevent Laura Perlmutter from having to testify in the hatemail case. She is scheduled to give evidence in early August.

DNA evidence collected from one of the earlier hate letters allegedly matches DNA on a water bottle that Ms. Perlmutter left in court in a separate case on Feb. 27, 2013.

The Kasowitz filing also calls for sanctions against Mr. Black's firm for impugning the integrity of Mr. Kasowitz, who "is at the pinnacle of his career ... which now includes having been selected to serve as personal counsel to the U.S. President in a matter of international import."

In a response on June 21, Mr. Black said the newspaper clippings that his client disseminated were not defamatory, and insisted the Marvel executive had nothing do with the hate letters that accuse Mr. Pereenboom of being a Nazi, child predator and murderer.

He did not retract the allegations of a criminal conspiracy.

At the centre of the legal soap opera is Karen Donnelly, the tennis instructor at the ritzy Palm Beach complex where the two men reside.

It is alleged that the 74-year old Mr. Perlmutter, an avid tennis player, was infuriated when Mr. Peerenboom wanted to hold a competitive bid for the position in 2011.

Soon after, the hate letter campaign began. The first letters were Canadian newspaper articles about Mr. Peerenboom's past legal entanglements in Canada and escalated in December, 2012, to accusations that he was a murderer and pedophile.

Both sides in the continuing legal saga have hired private detectives and public-relations experts.

Mr. Perenboom's lawyers have even launched a separate court case in New York City. Mr. Kasowitz subpoenaed further e-mail records from Marvel Entertainment in an attempt to prove that Mr. Perlmutter - one of the largest shareholders in Disney - started the hate campaign to force his client out of the swanky Palm Beach complex.

A New York judge is now examining 600 Marvel e-mails to determine whether they should be released to Mr. Kasowitz.

Associated Graphic

U.S. President Donald Trump hands his pen to Isaac Perlmutter after signing an executive order on whistle-blower protection in April.


A multicultural makeup drives Canada's tennis power
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S4

LONDON -- Canada's drive to become a tennis powerhouse is getting plenty of help from places such as Russia, Poland, Romania and even Togo.

From Milos Raonic to Daniel Nestor and Eugenie Bouchard, Canada has produced some topnotch players in recent years. And with teenagers including Denis Shapovalov, Bianca Andreescu and Félix Auger-Aliassime coming up the ranks, the future of Canadian tennis looks bright.

Just about all of those players, and many more, share something in common beyond athletic ability: They were either born outside Canada or have a parent who recently immigrated. It's a remarkable phenomenon that speaks to Canada's multicultural makeup and the expanding global reach of tennis. And it's not showing any signs of changing.

Just consider this year's Wimbledon tournament. Of the 13 Canadians competing, all but one - Bouchard - have a direct parental connection to another country.

Those countries are as varied as Montenegro, Israel, Serbia, Russia, Kenya, Cameroon, Poland, Czech Republic, the United States and Spain. And that doesn't include 16-year-old Auger-Aliassime, who wasn't at Wimbledon and learned the game from his father, who's from Togo.

"Tennis is, for sure, very international and many of the European, Asian and South American countries have a great culture of tennis," said Hatem McDadi, senior vice-president of tennis development at Tennis Canada. "There's an affinity, a love for tennis, from many new Canadians."

Indeed, studies show that when it comes to sports, new Canadians tend to gravitate to activities they knew best in their homelands. A 2014 study by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship found that, among new immigrants surveyed, tennis was the third most popular sport behind soccer and badminton, and far ahead of North American sports such as hockey, football and baseball. Tennis is the kind of sport "that many new citizens are already familiar with and played before coming to Canada," the report said.

"There aren't that many solo Canadian tennis players with British descent," said Gabriela Dabrowski, a 25-year old doubles specialist from Ottawa who made it to the fourth round in mixed doubles at Wimbledon and won the event at the French Open this year. Her first coach was her father, Yurek, a sports enthusiast who left Poland in the 1980s after the government declared martial law.

"I think for Eastern Europeans, there's that hunger that we have in our blood because our parents want the best life possible for their kids, the life they were not able to have. At times, the parents live a little bit vicariously through their kids, which can be good or bad if it's not properly managed," she added.

Others with Eastern European roots include Raonic, who was born in Montenegro; and Shapovalov, who was born in Israel to Russian parents and received early coaching from his mother, Tessa, a former top player in the Soviet Union. There's also Vasek Pospisil, whose parents fled Czechoslovakia in 1988; Frank Dancevic, whose father is from Serbia; Nestor, who was born in Serbia; and Peter Polansky, who has Czech connections.

"I actually started playing tennis in Romania," said 17-year old Andreescu, a rising star from Toronto, who lost in the first round at Wimbledon this year, but has the second-highest world ranking of any female player her age. "And then we decided to move back to Canada for me to have a better opportunity at what I wanted to do."

The wave of immigration also coincided with the development of Tennis Canada's high-performance training centre in Montreal, which opened 10 years ago, along with the recruitment of French coach Louis Borfiga, who has groomed some of Canada's best young prospects. The elite program provides full-time coaching, covers the cost of travel and offers educational tutoring for about a dozen athletes. There are also regional centres in Toronto, Vancouver and one coming soon to Calgary.

For players such as Françoise Abanda, whose parents immigrated to Montreal from Cameroon, the national program has been a lifesaver. Her mother, who is now a single parent, would never have been able to afford the demands of an international tennis player such as Abanda and her sister, Élisabeth, who also plays.

"It really gave me that opportunity to expand myself and evolve and kind of travel the world," said Françoise Abanda, 20, who made it to the second round of Wimbledon. "It also takes away that pressure from you. You don't feel like, 'Oh my God, my family is wasting so much money I have to win.' " Abanda's African roots are also no longer as unusual in tennis as they would have been only a few years ago. The game has expanded far beyond its traditional base in North America and Europe, and there are now players coming from countries as diverse as Fiji, Belarus and China. The International Tennis Federation, the sport's governing body, runs 448 tournaments for junior players in 125 countries. That compares with nine events in six countries in 1977. The fastest growth is coming from Asia. Players from places such as China, Japan and India account for around a quarter of all junior boys and girls competing in ITF events.

At Wimbledon, Dabrowski's mixed-doubles partner was from India and she played women's doubles with a player from China.

Carson Branstine, who moved to Canada from California last year, played junior doubles with a girl from Ukraine and Canadian Adil Shamasdin, the child of Kenyan immigrants, paired up in men's doubles with a player from India.

"If you look at the past [ITF junior] rankings, even just from two, three or four years ago, there weren't as many international kids, it was just all the major countries were kind of at the top," said Branstine, 16, who is among the top six junior girls in the world. "Now, you're seeing these players from kind of random places coming up through the rankings and it's cool. I really like it. I have friends from all these different places," she added, citing Burundi and Malta.

Dabrowski credits her father for helping her get to the top echelon of Canadian tennis, and it wasn't easy. She hasn't gone through the Tennis Canada program and her father has been the driving force in her career, serving as her first coach and quitting his job to accompany her on trips to tournaments. Dabrowski estimates that it costs more than $50,000 a year for her to compete at events around the world. She has no corporate sponsors, meaning she relies on prize money for most of her income. Her parents took out a mortgage on their home to get her started and she's decided to focus on doubles partly because it pays the bills.

"My parents and I, we've had to make a lot of sacrifices over the years," she said. As for her father's commitment and enthusiasm, she said: "Sport is just so huge in Europe that it kind of carries over a little bit."

Associated Graphic

Denis Shapovalov returns a ball at the Aviva Centre in July, 2016. Shapovalov, born in Israel to Russian parents, is one of many young Canadian tennis players who embody the multicultural nature of both Canada and the sport of tennis itself.


How have foreign buyers affected the housing market?
Expert opinion varies, but the provincial levy on international investment appears to be having an effect on sales patterns
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M2

After months of intense speculation about the role of foreign buyers in the Toronto area's overheated real estate market, this week marked an important milestone: the first detailed release of actual data.

But economists and industry watchers who analyzed the Ontario government's numbers came to very different conclusions.

For some, the revelation that international investors accounted for 9.1 per cent of home sales in a recent month in York Region and 7.2 per cent in the city of Toronto was evidence those buyers were not the driving force behind the area's recent unsustainable price gains.

For others, it was just the opposite: Such levels of foreign investment were clear signs of enough extra demand in an already robust market to send prices skyrocketing while pushing out many local buyers.

There is no widely accepted threshold at which experts agree that foreign home buyers start to drive up prices. While it is clear that overseas investors have had some impact on Toronto's housing market, just how much remains the subject of great debate.

John Pasalis, a Toronto realtor who analyzes industry statistics and has been waiting for the first concrete data, argues that even though they comprised less than 10 per cent of buyers, according to the government's official figures, an influx of several thousand foreign investors sparked the frenzied conditions that led to pitched demand, massive price gains and tight inventory.

"When you're in a market that is already competitive like Toronto ... then it is a tipping point," he said.

Mr. Pasalis believes a deeper analysis of property sales by community - the province has only released statistics at the regional level - would find even higher rates of foreign investment in areas popular with overseas buyers, such as Markham and Richmond Hill.

Contrast that with John Andrew, a professor of real estate at Queen's University in Kingston.

He characterizes the rate of international investment in York Region - the highest in the broader area, with one in 11 homes purchased by foreign buyers - as a "very low number.

"It's hard to imagine that's going to have a tremendous impact," he said.

U.S. researchers have examined a similar issue: the influence of out-of-town second-home buyers on housing markets in several U.S. cities in the 2000s. In a paper published in The Review of Financial Studies in 2015, they found that every percentage-point increase in the fraction of sales to non-locals in a given month was linked to a 1.9-percentage-point increase in price appreciation over the following year.

Part of the challenge in determining the role of foreign investment in the Toronto region has been a lack of data collection and dissemination. The Ontario government only began tracking sales to international buyers in late April, after unveiling a package of measures - including a 15per-cent foreign buyers' tax - intended to cool the market and calm a public outcry. By contrast, the B.C. government brought in a foreign buyers' tax last summer after first gathering data on home buyers' nationalities (initial results found foreigners bought one in every 10 homes in Metro Vancouver and almost one in five in the suburbs). The province continues to release detailed statistics every two months.

After repeatedly insisting it would not follow in B.C.'s footsteps, the Ontario government abruptly changed course on April 20 with the imposition of a levy on buyers of residential property in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada.

Before the tax was announced, the average price of a detached house in the Greater Toronto Area was up 33 per cent, to $1.21-million, in March compared with a year earlier. However, after the government's move, average home prices tumbled 13.8 per cent in June from April's high and the number of homes sold fell 37.3 per cent from a year earlier, according to data from the Toronto Real Estate Board.

York Region has been the hardest hit. The volume of sales in the affluent area plunged almost 60 per cent and the average price was almost $200,000 lower in June compared with the March peak. At the same time, active listings were also up by 2,600 last month compared with March.

Some industry experts argue the government's foreign home buyers' data understate the true picture. While the figures are from sales that closed between April 24 and May 26, buyers were not required to disclose their citizenship until May 6. (Most contracts were signed before the announcement of the tax, given the conventional 60-day closing period.) Given this delay, overseas buyers may have been responsible for about 14 per cent of sales in York Region and 11 per cent in Toronto, assuming sales were constant throughout the period and that purchasers did not voluntarily report their citizenship before May 6, some analysts say.

Mr. Pasalis estimates that foreign citizens bought some 10,000 homes in the GTA in the span of one year before the tax was announced, assuming a rate of about 9 per cent in the region.

Josh Gordon, a professor at British Columbia's Simon Fraser University who researches Toronto's housing market, notes that tracking home buyers by citizenship doesn't capture all the foreign capital that flows into the region's real estate sector, decoupling prices from the local labour market, because some purchasers with offshore money are citizens or permanent residents.

"If there is a sudden surge of money and supply takes time to build, then that can have a major impact on the market. That will lead to the tight inventory conditions that set off such craziness in Toronto," he said.

However, industry observers agree that international buyers were not the only source of soaring demand and prices in the Toronto region. Domestic investors and speculators played a key role - perhaps even a larger one than foreign buyers, some analysts say - especially given recent price gains and low interest rates.

The number of people owning more than one residential property in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area almost doubled between 2010 and last year, according to provincial data.

In addition, as a region that attracts significant numbers of newcomers, high immigration and migration levels contribute to higher demand for real estate.

As well, many realtors say the Toronto area's recent soaring prices, bidding wars and low inventory prompted panic buying among local residents who were fearful they would miss out as prices continued to rise.

Prof. Gordon noted that many foreign investors favour higherend houses, which creates a spillover effect. When non-citizens buy expensive houses in desirable neighbourhoods, thereby pushing up prices in bidding wars, locals who would otherwise purchase those homes are driven to secondary areas, which affects everyone else down the line, he argues. In addition, sellers who reap the benefits of higher prices often downsize to smaller homes and sometimes lend money for down payments to family members, which helps spur additional demand that is not captured in foreign buyers' data.

"You have this money that arrives in the high-end areas that ripples out," he said.

Associated Graphic

A Toronto open house attracts potential buyers Friday. Average GTA home prices dropped 13.8 per cent in June from April.


Cochrane's growth exceeding expectations
Its population has risen by nearly 50 per cent in the past six years, and that activity shows no signs of waning
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S4

While Calgary's population suffered negative net migration in 2016, 18 kilometres west, the town of Cochrane's population grew by 4.5 per cent to reach 26,000 residents.

It's a familiar trend: Four of the five fastest growing municipalities in Canada are located in Alberta - and Cochrane is at the top of that list, outgrowing its neighbouring cities of Airdrie and Chestermere. Since 2011, Cochrane's population has risen by nearly 50 per cent and its growth spurt is showing no signs of waning.

"We've had a growth strategy in place since 2013 which is aiming for a population of 66,000 by the year 2062," says Drew Hyndman, senior manager of development services for Cochrane.

"Current trends are exceeding our initial forecast," he says. "We anticipated a 2- to 3-per-cent population rise for 2016 and we exceeded that. We're expecting 2017 will be higher again and we're preparing for that growth to continue."

Since 2010, more than 4,600 new dwelling units have been added to Cochrane's inventory, yet the town's resale numbers have remained strong. Calgary Real Estate Board's most recent monthly regional sales report for Cochrane states: "So far this year sales growth outpaced the growth in new listings. Year-to-date residential sales totalled 262 units at the end of May. This is 11.5 per cent above the same period for 2016."

Preparing to meet the housing demands of the town's growing population, a number of large developments are aiming to break ground in the next 18 months.

"Developments currently in planning stages include Precedence, which is the final stage of the Riversong community, Greystone and Southbow Landing," Mr. Hyndman says.

Collectively, these developments alone could accommodate another 50-per-cent population growth; Southbow Landing could house up to 9,000 residents upon completion.

"Existing communities of Fireside, the Willows, Sunset Ridge and Heartland will also accommodate further growth when they reach full build out," Mr. Hyndman adds.

Mayor Ivan Brooker says Cochrane's growth plan is more than just a framework with which to manage the town's housing needs - it's a strategy to shift the dynamics of Cochrane from a commuter town to a place where people choose to live and work.

"We used to be a very bedroomoriented community," Mr. Brooker says. "About 70 per cent of the population worked in Calgary, but that's reduced to about 50 per cent now and Cochrane is better for it. The town has become far more self-sustaining and we've been working hard on that for years. We recognized that we needed economic independence and diversity."

Achieving diversity, Mr. Brooker says, means Cochrane is "somewhat immune to the boom and bust cycles" of neighbouring Calgary, which he says accounts for the town's continued growth.

"We've been trying to create a culture where Cochrane can thrive as a high-tech business community. Garmin is currently building a brand new facility here that will double their work force," he says. "4iiii Innovations is another great example. They have European cycling teams purchasing their technologies, power meters and such, and are a great local success story."

Mr. Brooker says Cochrane is keen to attract more tech businesses to take up residence in the town and they're ensuring future developments are planned with this in mind.

It's a task that Mr. Hyndman says is "a bigger challenge right now because the office vacancy rate downtown in Calgary is so high. To get those businesses who can get prime office space in downtown Calgary for a steal to relocate is tough."

Mr. Brooker believes Cochrane has what it takes.

"Those kind of technology businesses want a certain quality of life for their employees. They look for great locations close to nature and the outdoors and places with exceptional athletic facilities and a variety of quality housing options," he explains.

"Cochrane already has many of those things and we're doing a lot to bolster them with additional facilities. We're about to open a new recreation centre for example, which will have a curling rink and a huge aquatics centre. We're integrating commercial centres into developments to ensure businesses have space to grow and infrastructure to establish themselves here."

The largest of Cochrane's future planned developments, Southbow Landing, aims to break ground next year with a build-out period of 15 years. The 545-acre site will feature a large employment centre as well as schools, retail and a village core.

"Philco Farms has owned this site for more than 40 years," says James Scott, vice-president of planning for PBA Land and Development, which is managing the project. "The town annexed the land for planned growth back in 2004. In 2007, Cochrane started to undergo a phenomenal rate of growth and the market was showing signs of really taking off.

That's when we started the early planning process and began detailed planning in 2013; the neighbourhood plan was approved in 2015."

"The idea is that it will be a complete community," he continues. "There's a push right now towards growing businesses in Cochrane and attracting them from out of town and we're trying to do both with our project."

Greystone is also a mixed-use development. It too includes a business park, while shops, offices, restaurants and a hotel are envisioned for the core. It also aims to break ground in 2018.

Aside from consistent demand and immunity to the boom and bust cycles of Calgary, the task of building communities is cheaper and easier in Cochrane, Greystone's developer says.

"It costs less to get more in Cochrane," explains David Allen, president of Situated, Greystone's project adviser. "It can be up to $100,000 less for an equivalent home versus Calgary. It's also a smaller town, so there is not as much bureaucracy as a larger city," he continues. "Generally, the development rules and process are similar to that of Calgary, but there is a common-sense approach and closer engagement with decision makers and the community, which is rewarding and, we think, results in better outcomes."

Mr. Scott agrees that "developing within a smaller framework is certainly easier," but says he thinks the economies enjoyed by developers in Cochrane could be waning.

"Cochrane's growth has in the past been more economical and I would argue it still is, but I believe there will be some tempering of that ahead," he says. "With increased growth, especially at this rate, comes a need to deal with the complexities that come with it - a key one being infrastructure. ... "There is a catch-up which has to happen, but Cochrane has been very pro-active in dealing with that," he continues. "There are big moves ahead in infrastructure, like the new bridge crossing over the Bow River, and with those come more cost to developers through off-site levies.

It's still relatively less expensive, certainly, but I would foresee that gap beginning to close as more infrastructure is needed in Cochrane.

"That's not necessarily a bad thing," he adds, "it's good that Cochrane recognizes the need to manage growth appropriately."

Associated Graphic

Even as new dwelling units have been added to its inventory, Cochrane's resale numbers have remained strong.


The need for speed
An annual event in Britain is a great tribute to the country's motorsports heritage
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, July 13, 2017 – Print Edition, Page D1

SUSSEX, ENGLAND -- High clouds in the sky and thunder on the ground - for the 25th year in a row, the Goodwood Festival of Speed pits some of the fastest wheeled machines created by human hands against a narrow, 1.86kilometre ribbon of tarmac. Four hundred and fifty vehicles, 4,500 hay bales, 100,000 spectators a day. It is perhaps the greatest tribute to Britain's heritage of motorsport.

Founded in 1993 by aristocrat Lord March - Charles GordonLennox, Earl of March and Kinrara - the Festival of Speed initially celebrated the history of the Goodwood Circuit. A place that launched a dozen legends and famously claimed the life of Bruce McLaren in a tragic testing accident, the circuit is steeped in racing lore.

Unable to obtain a permit to stage a race on the circuit itself, Lord March simply constructed a hill climb on the grounds of his nearby estate and started inviting the world to show up. An immediate success, the festival now spans from a Thursday to a Sunday, and attracts both immense crowds and some of the finest marques in the world to race against the clock, one at a time, up the twisting track.

To pick just one example at random, as I sit among onlookers in the stands, a howling V-12 echoes among the oak trees, hammering down toward the first corner. It's a Ferrari, perhaps the Ferrari: a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, considered the most valuable car in the world. Part of Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason's collection, the GTO is in this case helmed by three-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti, who is driving it not like a museum piece, but like the thoroughbred racing machine it is.

As if that could be topped, not long afterward another Scottish great arrives driving one of Maranello's finest. In this case, it's Jackie Stewart, his plaidringed helmet visible behind the wheel of a Ferrari 330 P3/4, such as the one that he campaigned at Brands Hatch in Kent, England. Billionaire Canadian businessman Lawrence Stroll, father of rookie Formula One driver ..

Lance Stroll, owns both the stunning P3/4 and the brutally fast Ferrari 512M that follows it.

However, if you were worried that the festival was some stuffy aristocratic affair for the toffs, be not afraid. A few rounds after the Ferraris blitz the hill, the Americana class lets loose a couple of bulls in a china shop, with the 1,500-horsepower Porsche 917/30 Can-Am car screaming past the stands, followed soon by New Zealander (Mad) Mike Whiddett's rotarypowered Mazda stadium truck.

Mad Mike whips his truck over on its soft suspension, sliding into the verge and firing a shower of shredded soil and grass all over the nattily-attired audience. Everyone roars their approval.

As a squadron of supercars makes ready for their timed runs, I wander up into the paddock to get a closer look. On the way up is a Concours d'Elégance crammed with 1960s Ferraris and prewar Rolls-Royce Ghosts. A young couple peers into the window of a McLaren F1, while a crowd gathers around the spidery carbon fibre of a Pagani Zonda.

Aside from the multiple layers of hay bales, there's not much here to separate the spectator from the spectacle. Stern, whitesuited marshals force the milling crowd to part as a stricken 1930s racer is towed in for mechanical work. As soon as they pass, the people flow back in. A few stalls have ropes up, but for the most part, onlookers are free to rove between the classic Ferraris, modern endurance racers, and F1 and Indy racers.

More stewards hold the line at crossing points up and down the line. Waiting over by the infamous flint wall with a small knot of attendees, we all crane our necks in anticipation as the crescendo builds - something wicked this way comes. With the shriek of tortured rubber and a hammering V-8, one of the modern drift cars locks it up, then flicks its tail to the right as it slides past the unforgiving, rocky surface.

I climb higher, hiking up through the billowing clouds of dust stirred up by the knobby tires of purpose-build all-terrain machines tearing up the off-road course. The ice cream stands are doing a brisk business, as are the mobile bars, most carry some of Goodwood's own craft-brewed organic ales.

Entering the forest, a stillness descends. Apart from tramping feet, there's little sound and turning a corner reveals the reason. A red Ford Escort is sitting between the trees on its roof, with a pair of Land Rover Defenders working at dragging it off the course.

At the top, the rally cars are massed, waiting for their turn.

Though their event is held on a separate course, the machines here are no less impressive than the hill climbers. Chief among them are the insane Group B cars: a Lancia Delta S4, an Audi Quattro S1 E2, a couple of Ford RS200 Evos and a trio of MG Metro 6R4s.

With the wreckage cleared and the Killer Bs back spitting gravel, I head back down toward the midpoint of the forest-stage rally, which lines up with the finishing line of the hill climb, on the opposite side of the path. If you stand between them, you can hear the turbocharged stutter-step of the rally cars and the scream of unseen beasts approaching the finish at terrible speeds.

Back at the bottom of the hill, I'm just in time to see the gargantuan Beast of Turin hunch into view. Built in 1911, the huge, red Fiat S76 speed record car has a four-cylinder engine that makes nearly 290 hp and displaces an incredible 28.5 litres. It blats angrily, its driver and ride-along mechanic perched heroically - or nervously - at the back.

Following up is a tribute to John Surtees, the only racing driver to win the world championship on both two wheels and four. Il grande John, as he was known, was a regular at Goodwood behind the steering wheel of a racing car of the grips of a motorcycle. He exemplified the heroism of the truly great British drivers.

In the skies above these fields, brave pilots once fought the Battle of Britain. Their machines were as fierce as they were beautiful, engineered by other men with deep mechanical genius. When war was done, those same men went racing.

The Festival of Speed still echoes with that long-ago glory - even when the machines hurtling up to the top are relatively noiseless, utterly ruthless electric vehicles. Two wheels and four. The glorious past and the startlingly fast future. Classic grace, or gnarly sideways mudslinging. It doesn't signify: The only thing that matters here is the speed.

Associated Graphic

The Goodwood Festival of Speed pits some of the fastest wheeled machines and a classic jalopy or two against a narrow, 1.86-kilometre ribbon of tarmac.


Red Bull's Dakar desert endurance-racing truck, top, slewed up this year's 1.86-kilometre course like an elephant on meth. While most cars are timed on their runs up the hill, particular bragging rights are awarded when the supercars show up.


Bond investors, hang tough
As long as there's an expectation of rising interest rates, bonds will struggle. Here's a seven-point survival guide
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B10

Doing the right thing as an investor can sometimes be costly and painful. Example: Holding bonds when interest rates are rising.

Bonds are a non-negotiable part of a well-diversified portfolio, but they're struggling right now. Count on this continuing as long as there's an expectation of high rates in Canada.

Here's a seven-point survival guide for bond investors in our new rising-rate world.

1. Remember why you own bonds Bonds are a hedge against two big risks to your portfolio - a stock market crash and an economic downturn. At times of uncertainty, money flows out of stocks and into bonds.

Over the 10 years to June 30, the benchmark FTSE TMX bond universe index produced an average annual return of 5.1 per cent.

You probably made less in your bond mutual fund and exchange-traded funds as a result of fees, but bonds still produced a decent return.

Bonds and bond funds have already started to fall in price and you can expect this trend to continue if rates keep edging higher. Don't abandon your bond holdings - adjust them.

The hedge against disaster they provide is as important today as ever.

2. Duration is key Duration is how you measure the extent to which a bond is affected by changes in interest rates.

If rates rise by one percentage point, the price of a bond or bond fund with a duration of five years would fall five percentage points (and vice versa if rates fell). The higher the duration, the more risk there is if rates rise.

The fund profiles that issuers of bond ETFs provide online show you the duration for the portfolios these funds hold.

Some mutual-fund companies include duration in the information they post online about their funds. A quick review of online brokers found that many don't show duration for individual bonds listed for sale.

One exception was TD Direct Investing, which includes duration in the online information page you see when reviewing a particular bond in the firm's inventory.

The lowest duration risk is in short-term bonds. Diversified bond funds have somewhat more duration risk because they mix short and longer-term issues, while long-term bonds are the riskiest.

3. Yields for individual bonds are still awfully low Wondering how much of a yield boost you can expect based on recent events if you were to buy some bonds or bond funds right now? The yield on the five-year Government of Canada bond is a useful gauge of what's happening in the bond market.

Since the end of May, the yield on this bond has soared to 1.5 per cent from 0.94 per cent.

That's a huge increase by bond market standards, but it still leaves yields at low levels on a historical basis. A scan of online brokerage bond inventories this week suggests that five-year provincial bonds might get you a yield of a bit over 2 per cent, while a blue-chip corporate bond might get you something in the midpoint between 2 per cent and 3 per cent. A corporate bond rated BBB - that's the low end of investment grade - might get you to 3 per cent or a bit more over five years.

The largest diversified bond ETFs offer yields between 2 per cent and 2.2 per cent these days - that's their yield to maturity minus fees.

4. Corporate bonds are a good place to be Investor sentiment favours corporate bonds over government bonds right now. Rising rates mean a healthier economy, which makes corporations financially stronger and better able to repay what they borrow through their bond issues.

The FTSE TMX Canada all government bond index was down 0.9 per cent for the 12 months to June 30, while a related index tracking corporate bonds was up 2.6 per cent. Yes, government bonds typically have higher credit ratings and are thus less likely to default on interest and repayment of principal. But if interest rates keep moving higher, expect corporate bonds to outperform. If rates rise sharply, this could mean losing less money than government bonds.

If you own a broadly based bond fund or ETF, you already have a mix of government and corporate bonds. You can add a corporate bond fund to bulk up your exposure to this sector, but don't forget that government bonds are what investors will want if there's a shock in financial markets.

5. Consider the GIC ladder Guaranteed investment certificates offer better rates than government and most blue-chip corporate bonds, with comparable security. GIC issuers are either members of Canada Deposit Insurance Corp. or provincial credit union deposit insurance plans.

GICs are illiquid securities, which means there's no easy way to sell them before maturity. If you do manage to sell in mid-term, expect to pay a stiff penalty. On the plus side, GICs don't rise and fall in value in your investment account like bonds and stocks.

Laddering - it works for GICs and bonds - means dividing your money evenly into deposits maturing one through three years and then investing maturing money into a new three-year term. You can also try a fiveyear ladder, but there's not much premium these days for locking down money for five years rather than three.

6. Home Capital rules on GIC rates Late this week, DIY investors were able to get 2.75 per cent for one-year GICs, 3.05 per cent for a three-year term and 3.25 per cent for five years from Oaken Financial, which is part of Home Capital Group, the alternative mortgage lender. No one even comes close to these rates in the GIC market right now.

Higher rates mean higher risk.

Deposits at Oaken are covered by Canada Deposit Insurance Corp. to a maximum of $100,000 in combined principal and interest for eligible accounts, but there's an emotional side to consider as well.

Will you be eaten up by stress if once-troubled Home Capital stumbles again? Do you invest in GICs for a strict zero-stress experience? If so, the extra yield is not worth it.

If you have an adviser, check out the rates at Home Trust and Home Bank. Both divisions of Home Capital have lower rates than Oaken, but still beat most other GIC issuers. They're both CDIC members.

7. Floating-rate bond funds are holding up well Floating-rate bonds are considered a defensive play because they adjust their interest payments in line with fluctuations in interest rates. The duration for these bonds is typically less than one year, which makes them more stable than even short-term bond funds. There are a few floating-rate bond ETFs and they've held up comparatively well in recent weeks, though yields are low. Among the ETF companies offering these funds are BMO, Horizons, iShares, PowerShares and Mackenzie.

Follow me on Twitter: @rcarrick

Associated Graphic

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz, shown in April. Bonds and bond funds have started to fall in price and you can expect this trend to continue if rates keep edging higher. Don't abandon your bond holdings - adjust them.


Six SUVs to watch
If you want the latest and greatest, take note of new models coming from Volvo, Ford, Hyundai and more
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, July 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page D2

If only buying a car was as simple as buying an iPhone. If you want the latest and greatest, Apple releases a new one every September, so you know that's the time to buy.

Car companies, on the other hand, release new models seemingly at random throughout the year. This makes it difficult to jump in at just the right time to ensure your new car stays feeling fresh for as long as possible. A new car is a big purchase, and most people don't swap them out every year like cellphones, so buying at the right time is important. That new-car feeling can be quickly dashed if, soon after you bring your ride home, it's been superseded by an updated model with new bells and whistles. Alternatively, if you're looking for a deal, it's helpful to know when the new models are coming because dealers may want to shed existing stock.

In Canada, compact SUV sales are up 15 per cent as of March compared with the same time last year, according to data from Good Car Bad Car. With the market booming, auto makers are launching new 'utes at an unprecedented pace. It can be a bit of blur, with all these new models blending into an alphanumeric jumble. Let's cut through that fog: If you're in the market for a new SUV, and you want the latest and greatest, take note of these six upcoming SUVs.


What is it?

An all-new compact SUV from Volvo, the born-again Swedish brand that is - in the words of Zoolander's Mugatu - so hot right now.

Why is it worth waiting for?

Volvo is the brand to watch for the foreseeable future, as it rebuilds its lineup from scratch with money from Chinese auto giant Geely. Volvo's flagship models - the 90 Series - have been raking in accolades worldwide. But those vehicles are expensive. We're curious to see if Volvo can successfully bring the same level of design and quality downmarket. The XC60, the first new compact vehicle from reborn Volvo, has the same ingenious four-cylinder engine as its bigger siblings. The motor comes in three increasingly complex and powerful versions: turbocharged; supercharged and turbocharged; and supercharged and turbocharged, with plug-in hybrid. Prices for the XC60 will start at $45,900.

Arrives: Late August


What is it?

Alfa Romeo's first SUV. Sacrilege, maybe, but Alfa's small lineup needs an SUV if it is to survive in North America.

Why is it worth waiting for?

If you're in the market for an SUV with some Italian bravura, there aren't many options. Lamborghini made the LM002 a while back. Maserati has the Levante, but it's a black sheep.

The Stelvio will be significantly more affordable than both, starting around $53,000. It's handsome in a lumpy sort of way, and will be available in Quadrifoglio high-performance trim, meaning it'll have a 500-horsepower, Ferrari-derived V-6 under the hood.

The Quadrifoglio grabs the headlines, but will the basic four-cylinder model - the version most people will buy - provide enough Italian flair to justify its price over the proven, reliable German competition? We'll find out soon.

Arrives: Summer


What is it?

An affordable SUV from Ford, coming to Canada to take a slice of the booming mini-SUV market.

Why is it worth waiting for?

The EcoSport is based on the Fiesta, so if you can do without the junior-SUV styling, just get that hatchback. It's cheaper and you won't have to wait until fall.

If you need a cute 'ute, there are many to choose from, including the Mazda CX-3, Toyota C-HR, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade and the upcoming Hyundai Kona.

Ford is late to the party, so expect it to offer more than just a blue oval on the hood to tempt buyers. The EcoSport puts tech first in the form of the SYNC infotainment system, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto software.

Blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert and navigation will be available, too. Pricing should start at around $20,000 for a basic model with front-wheel drive and a 1.0-litre turbocharged engine. All-wheel drive and a 2.0litre motor will be available as an upgrade.

Arrives: Late fall


What is it?

All-new for 2018, the formerly petite Tiguan can now be found in the big-and-tall aisle.

Why is it worth waiting for?

The Tiguan has put on a few pounds, but wears them well.

The added bulk means it has seating for "5+2," which in car math means it has room for five adults plus two gymnasts or children. Its increased space and cargo room make the Tiguan a more tempting proposition than the outgoing model. The Tiguan slots into Volkswagen's lineup below the new Atlas SUV. The latter has seven seats, too, but it's one size larger and more expensive, starting at around $36,000. Canadian pricing for the 2018 Tiguan has yet to be announced. We expect it will cost slightly more than the outgoing model at $26,000, but you'll be getting more SUV for your money.

Arrives: Late August


What is it?

A more affordable SUV from Jaguar, which hopes to capitalize on the unprecedented success of the F-Pace.

Why is it worth waiting for?

If it's as good as Jaguar's first SUV, the F-Pace, this second one will be a force to be reckoned with. And yes, it seems Jaguar will be sticking with this goofy Pace naming scheme for all its SUVs. The E-Pace will start at $42,700, which is $7,500 less than the bigger F-Pace. We only have one photo of the E-Pace to go on, but it looks like a squished version of its bigger sibling. The steeply raked rear end is meant to give it some sporty chutzpah.

Whether the performance lives up to it yet, we don't know.

Jaguar hasn't said anything about engines, other than that the E-Pace will be gasoline-only, no diesel or hybrid engines. The allelectric I-Pace is slated to launch in the second half of 2018.

Arrives: Early 2018


What is it?

Hyundai's newest, cheapest 'ute and the latest entrant into the crowded sub-compact SUV arena.

Why is it worth waiting for?

As with the Ford EcoSport, Hyundai is late to the party here. The Kona's rivals are many. It's Hyundai's first foray into this particular niche. The Kona brings an interesting design to the table - it's something between the Toyota C-HR and Audi's Q2. The styling is the work of Luc Donckerwolke, who left Bentley to lead the design departments at Hyundai and Genesis. Beyond the style, the Kona's chief selling point is all the technology Hyundai has crammed into it: wireless phone-charging, heads-up display and lane-keep assist, among others. An optional forwardlooking camera and radar system can detect an imminent collision

Associated Graphic







Developers eye net-zero multifamily builds
Even with challenges such as heating and ventilating parkades today, Niche Developments is preparing for future breakthroughs
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S4

Niche Developments has a lofty goal: to be building affordable, net-zero multifamily developments across Western Canada, as standard, within five years. Chief executive officer Peter Purewal says he believes it's achievable - he's just not sure yet what breakthrough will make it possible.

"The barriers to achieving scalable net-zero developments are heating and ventilating the parkade efficiently - because everyone still expects developments above a certain size to come with underground parking - and generating or storing sufficient solar energy on-site," he says.

"When we get solutions to these issues, we'll be net zero."

Mr. Purewal and his business partner John Clarke have been developing with geothermal technology in Alberta for a decade.

They founded Niche Developments two years ago to specialize in medium-sized energy-efficient multifamily developments.

The pair completed their first project at the end of 2016: an 18-unit apartment condo in the Rosscarrock neighbourhood of southwest Calgary called Niche One. It's heated with a closedloop geothermal system and built with high-insulating precast concrete. They're planning to break ground in September on their second development, called Belgravia Square, a 70-unit apartment condo in Edmonton's Belgravia neighbourhood.

"Belgravia Square will have solar panels in addition to the geothermal system, so we'll be supplying power back to the grid to offset the building's consumption," Mr. Purewal says. "The precast concrete and structural steel construction means the building can handle a lot of weight, so we'll have a perimeter of solar panels around a rooftop garden for residents," he explains.

"Because of the fire code with a building of this size we can't use the solar panels to power the building, nor could we. So we'll be using them to reduce our net energy consumption and costs," he adds. "Maybe one day, we'll be able to hook the solar panels up to the building, because battery technology advances. If you don't have it set up now, it's a lot harder and more expensive to do it in the future."

Offsetting the power costs for the building reduces the utility bills and ultimately the condo fees for residents.

"It costs $10 per month to heat a one-bedroom unit in our Calgary development in winter, so utilities will total around $60 per month, depending on usage.

Because of the energy savings throughout the building and the low maintenance required for concrete structures, condo fees will be around $180 per month, which is about 30 per cent less than comparable developments," Mr. Purewal says. "Insurance is also 25 per cent less per unit than a wood frame building."

And the numbers look good from an environmental perspective, too.

"Our engineers on the Calgary project tell us we've saved 30 metric tonnes of greenhouse gases per year as a comparative to the old way of building and we've exceeded the new energy code by 30 per cent. If we can do that in Edmonton, on a bigger scale, we'll be very happy."

In addition to the energy savings, Mr. Purewal says his company is specifically targeting infill sites where they can remove and replace aging, environmentally inefficient single-family homes.

"We're looking for infill sites that are close to transit lines where we can help densify. We see it as a win-win for neighbourhoods because we're abating and replacing these old 1950s buildings which are really not environmentally friendly," he says.

"In Calgary, we took down a triplex and a duplex, from 1952, which were full of asbestos. In Edmonton, we took down three 1953 homes, which, because of their gas consumption, were probably the three worst polluting properties on the street," he adds.

But for now, heated parkades are Niche Developments' biggest challenge.

"Without the parkade, we could be net zero pretty quick," Mr.

Purewal states. "I'd be more willing to go to a power-based heating system if the coal plants in Alberta were shut down, but I don't feel right increasing the power consumption just to burn more coal. Or maybe if we could offset more of that power with the solar array I'd be okay to go to power," he muses. "But right now, we don't have those options."

Meanwhile, north of the river in the community of Westmount, Habitat Studios is currently building what will be Canada's largest net-zero multifamily development to date.

"It's a 16-unit, four-storey, stacked townhouse development with no parkade, just surface parking," says architect Peter Amerongen, who has been building net-zero single family homes in Canada for 35 years and is considered an expert in net-zero energy design and construction.

"I hypothetically added another two storeys as an exercise just to see if we could make it work but the requirement for lighting and appliance energy is too great, there's not enough roof area to offset that with solar," he says.

Mr. Amerongen believes getting to net-zero with larger scale multifamily projects won't happen with one single breakthrough.

"It's likely that we'll chip away at it and eventually get there," he says. "Solar has to become more efficient, for a start. In a well-built building, you need double the energy for lighting and appliances as for heating. As you scale up, there are efficiencies with heating which you don't get with power for appliances and heating. You require more energy but you have the same roof space for solar panels."

"I believe we need to relax the definition of what it means to be net zero," he continues. "By the current definition, solar panels feeding the grid have to be onsite but I'd argue that it doesn't matter where they are. They could be on a warehouse somewhere for example."

Mr. Amerongen agrees parkades are one of the biggest challenges to scaling up net-zero multifamily developments.

"Heating and ventilating a parkade is a big problem. I don't think they need to be as warm as they are and better CO2 sensors would allow developers to stop overventilating. The energy requirements could be reduced a lot, certainly, but not eliminated entirely. Moving towards electric cars will also make a difference."

But for now, Mr. Amerongen says, developers need to at least be planning for a net-zero future, as Niche Developments is, and be ready to embrace the breakthroughs that will make it possible.

"The development industry needs to be carbon neutral by 2050 and that's not far away.

Developers should be building net-zero ready today at least.

Because, if we're not building netzero ready, by 2050 those buildings will only be 30 years old and they're going to require a lot of expensive and wasteful upgrading to convert them."

Associated Graphic

Niche Developments is planning to break ground in September on its second development, Belgravia Square, a 70-unit apartment condo in Edmonton's Belgravia neighbourhood. It will feature 'solar panels in addition to the geothermal system, so we'll be supplying power back to the grid to offset the building's consumption,' CEO Peter Purewal says.


Your new retirement-income tool: TFSAs
A breakthrough strategy using these versatile accounts to pay yourself in retirement offers simplicity - and new levels of tax freedom
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B10

TFSAs are still new enough that using them for generating tax-free retirement income is a fresh concept.

Just fill your tax-free savings account with dividend stocks, real estate investment trusts, preferred shares and such, and then pay yourself tax-free income using the combined income and share price appreciation. For simplicity and efficiency, it's a breakthrough strategy.

"I think the idea is great, in general," said Neville Joanes, who oversees portfolio management at the robo-advisory firm WealthBar and holds the chartered financial analyst (CFA) designation. His proviso: Because they have only been around since 2009 and yearly contribution room is limited, TFSAs won't typically have enough money in them to meet an individual's entire retirement-income needs. Registered retirement plans and non-registered investments will also play a role.

TFSAs were designed to be versatile, and so they are. People use them to hold savings, or investing to generate both growth and dividends.

But with registered retirement savings plans and registered retirement income funds so well entrenched, TFSAs may not be considered as much as they should be for use by seniors as a retirement vehicle.

"When people ask me what to do first, I say that I think the TFSA is more important than the RRSP," said Nancy Woods, an investment adviser with RBC Dominion Securities.

"The best two tax-sheltered vehicles - your home and your TFSA."

The retirement-income TFSA offers two levels of tax freedom.

Income paid into your account in the form of dividends, bond interest and more is sheltered from tax, and so is all money withdrawn from the account.

None of RRSPs, RRIFs or non-registered accounts can deliver both of these benefits together.

Tax-free withdrawals address a commonly heard complaint from seniors about how money taken out of a RRIF and RRSP is treated as regular income and taxed accordingly.

RRIF and RRSP income can also push you into the zone where some or all of your Old Age Security benefits are clawed back. TFSA income has no impact on your benefits from OAS or the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

Both Mr. Joanes and Ms. Woods believe in using a totalreturn approach with a TFSA being used for retirement income. That means drawing on conventional investment income such as interest and dividends while also selling a bit of your holdings here and there.

Your initial capital is left untouched - what you're tapping into is the growth in the value of your holdings over time.

Ms. Woods believes total returns of 5 per cent to 7 per cent are possible on average in a TFSA designed for retirement income. Dividends might hypothetically account for two to three percentage points of that amount, while growth delivers the rest.

Tempted to build a TFSA that produces enough of a yield in dividends and bond interest to meet your income needs? Mr. Joanes warns that you could end up with a portfolio that is highly vulnerable to rising interest rates. "Yes, you might be able to pull off a certain yield," he said. "But the value of the investments is going to decrease significantly."

Mr. Joanes's firm uses exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, to build portfolios. It's natural to think about using dividend stocks or ETFs for a retirement-income TFSA, but he prefers conventional equity funds.

Dividend ETFs are less volatile, but equity funds produce similar returns and have markedly lower costs in some cases.

He does see one argument for dividend ETFs: The monthly distributions they pay (equity ETFs typically pay quarterly or semiannually) may satisfy much of your need for cash income and reduce the need to sell investments. Each buy and sell transaction will typically cost close to $10 at an online broker, although some offer commissionfree ETF trading.

To keep a retirement-income TFSA easy to manage, Mr. Joanes suggests using four or five ETFs covering bonds, global stocks and maybe real estate investment trusts, or REITs, as well. High-yield bonds and preferred shares are other possible choices.

For bonds, he suggests using a short-term bond ETF containing both government and corporate bonds. For U.S. and international exposure, he suggests using funds without currency hedging where there is a choice available between hedged and nonhedged. He finds that nonhedged versions of the indexes that many ETFs track are less volatile than those with hedging.

The tax advantage of using TFSAs for retirement income over RRIFs is not quite as dramatic when you compare TFSAs with taxable accounts. You pay zero tax on a TFSA withdrawal, while money paid from a RRIF is taxed as regular income. With a non-registered account, dividends get the benefit of the dividend tax credit and capital gains are taxed at a 50-per-cent inclusion rate. In both cases, the tax hit is lighter than it would be for regular income.

Where TFSAs look amazing in comparison with taxable accounts is in relieving you of the responsibility to track how much tax you owe. Let's use REITs as an example. Mark Goodfield, a partner at accounting firm BDO Canada, said these securities may produce a mix of capital gains, which are subject to a 50-per-cent inclusion rate for tax purposes; various types of income that are treated as regular income; and, a return of capital, which isn't taxed in the year you receive it. Instead, a return of capital lowers your cost base for an investment.

This in turn means a larger capital gain when you sell, or a reduced capital loss.

REIT distributions are documented in T3 slips on a year-byyear basis. But when it comes time to sell, it's up to you to supply your adjusted cost base.

"I would say there's a significant number of people who would not be aware of this or, if they are aware of it, they would take a guess or ignore it," Mr. Goodfield said.

A small tax flaw in the TFSA is that dividends paid by U.S. stocks are subject to a 15-percent non-resident withholding tax. You avoid this tax in RRSPs and can claim a foreign tax credit in a taxable account, but the money is lost in a TFSA.

Ms. Woods said U.S. stocks should first and foremost go in RRSPs. But she believes that losing a bit of your dividend in order to have a strong totalreturn stock in your TFSA portfolio is a fair trade-off.

U.S. dividends are also useful as a source of cash for Canadians who spend time in the United States, she said. "A lot of snowbirds I have [as clients] want accessible U.S. money in their TFSA."

Follow me on Twitter: @rcarrick


Introducing the retirement-income TFSA The tax-free savings account is ideal for use by retirees to produce investment income. Here are two approaches to building a retirementincome TFSA, one emphasizing simplicity for do-it-yourselfers and the other a more sophisticated approach. Both portfolios were put together by Neville Joanes, who oversees portfolios for the robo-adviser WealthBar. Exchange-traded funds are used in each case.

Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, July 14, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R5

Baby Driver 3

Baby Driver bleeds cool. Telling the story of a young getaway driver (Ansel Elgort) forced into a life of crime by a ruthless Atlanta gangster (Kevin Spacey), director Edgar Wright's ode to the heist genre is a zippy slice of expertly soundtracked carnage. It has perfectly choreographed car chases, bank heists and shootouts. It has a witty setup, wiseass heroes and a vast warehouse of one-liners. It has actors you know and love (Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx) having a ball being bad. But in being so very cool, Baby Driver speeds right past anything resembling maturity or restraint. Our hero - in fact, every single character - makes truly stupefying decisions that just don't track given what we've come to learn about them thus far, even if they operate in what's clearly a whacked-out underworld. The finale is a sloppy mix of video-game-inspired "boss level" antics and a manufactured fantasy that's as studiotested safe as anything out of Hollywood's intellectual-property machine this summer. Is all that enough to flatten Baby Driver's tires? Not quite. The ride is still fast, furious and fun as hell. (14A)

The Big Sick 3½

In a summer bereft of original comedies, The Big Sick is not only necessary, it's downright revolutionary. Here's a layered, nuanced film whose only goal is to tell a story of real people and real heartache, not to act as a crass marketing plank for a series of hopeful sequels and spinoffs (hi and bye, Baywatch and CHIPS). More than its divorce from the franchise game, though, The Big Sick is refreshing thanks to its onscreen diversity - aside from Master of None, has there ever been a Hollywood product with a brown actor as its romantic lead? - which is wisely played as really not that big of a deal at all. Kumail Nanjiani lets his natural charisma and hilarity carry the movie, which lightly fictionalizes his real-life courtship with co-writer Emily V. Gordon (played here by Zoe Kazan).

There's a slightly terrifying twist planted along the pair's path to romance, but it's handled with a deft level of sincerity by director Michael Showalter and the uniformly excellent cast (including a scene-stealing Ray Romano as Gordon's father). Like all Judd Apatow-supervised productions, it's about 10 minutes too long, but that is a small complaint when weighed against Nanjiani and Co.'s remarkable achievement. (14A)

Cars 3 2

The car-as-human idea was never Pixar's biggest brain wave and, as Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) hits the track for a third outing, the Disney animated franchise is running on fumes. To return a conquering hero to underdog status, the screenwriters have invented a bunch of younger, slicker new rivals with high-tech training methods who can overtake the reigning champion on the straightaway: Can an aging Lightning stay in the race? It's a plot that seems more likely to appeal to weary parents than the next generation of bouncy youngsters, although it does deliver one very funny scene where Lightning crashes a fancy new racing simulator as its preternaturally calm computerized voice describes the disaster. Otherwise, we get a lot of repetitive racetrack scenes - only a demolition derby stands out for the inventiveness of its animation - and a familiar message about believing in yourself. That's delivered by Lightning and his new trainer, a poorly developed character named Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), a token female figure who seems unlikely to rescue anything. (G)

Rough Night 2

Why isn't Rough Night, the new bridesmaids-on-a-tear comedy, funnier? Blame the patriarchy.

(That's a joke. Or is it?) Rough Night has the pedigree of funny.

It's written by two of the team that write the divinely funny television series Broad City: Lucia Aniello, who also directs; and Paul Downs, who also costars as Peter, fiancé to bride-tobe Jess (Scarlett Johansson).

Jess's friends are played by funny women: Broad City star Ilana Glazer as Frankie, a wild-child lesbian protester; comedian Jillian Bell as Alice, a chubby teacher who wants to be Jess's bestie a little too much; SNL's Kate McKinnon as Pippa, Jess's hippie friend from her semester abroad in Australia; Zoe Kravitz as Blair, rich and perfect. The premise is a classic: a bachelorette weekend in Miami gone wrong. But at the first crisis - an accident with a hunky stripper - the movie falls apart and flounders to the end, because it doesn't know what its funny is supposed to be. (14A)

Spider-Man: Homecoming 3

As far as movies-as-line-items go, Homecoming is better than it has any right to be. The story is slight but spry, thanks partly to the jettisoning of origin story but also due to its blessedly small stakes. Tom Holland is no match for Tobey Maguire's endearing earnestness, but he handily erases Andrew Garfield's legacy. Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark pops by to dole out the necessary pinches of smarm, without overstaying his welcome. And the movie is gifted with one of Marvel's few genuinely interesting villains: Michael Keaton's Adrian "Vulture" Toomes. The film's subtitle, though, promises more than it can deliver, with "Homecoming" an obvious nod to the bigdance-high-school genre, one rightfully dominated by John Hughes. But just repeating the name "John Hughes" does not make your film a Hughes-ian exercise. The film takes place in a high school, there's a dance, there's a one-note bully and there's an embarassingly slavish Ferris Bueller nod. But to suggest that Homecoming even tentatively approaches Hughes's understanding of the pain of adolescence is as far-fetched as ... well, a boy being able to climb the walls. (PG)

Transformers: The Last Knight Zero stars Hate. That is the first word that comes to mind when thinking about Transformers: The Last Knight. Possibly "contempt." Or "joke." Maybe "slap in the face," though I realize that is more than one word. How else to explain, though, the motivation behind creating this fifth chapter in Michael Bay's exhausting toy story? Whatever you think of the previous four Transformers films, it is impossible to ignore the sheer malice that went into this new production. It is ugly to look at. Its characters are stupid - as in their decisions seem dictated by a level of subhuman intelligence - and grossly conceived. Its story is an exercise in Final Draft-sponsored Mad Libs, a string of impossibleto-decipher narrative beats that only exist to fill the next chunk of maddening screen time and, inevitably, lead to yet another sequel (teased, as is the current fashion, in a post-credits stinger). It is not so much lazy filmmaking as it is a very expensive middle finger to common sense and the basic concept of entertainment. (PG)

Associated Graphic

Spider-Man: Homecoming stars Robert Downey Jr., as Iron Man and Tom Holland as Spider-Man.

Jon Hamm, left, Eiza Gonzalez, Ansel Elgort and Jamie Foxx star in the fun action comedy Baby Driver by director Edgar Wright.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Federer makes quick work of Raonic
Defending champ Murray and second-seeded Djokovic exit tournament, leaving Swiss master with a clear path to Wimbledon title
Thursday, July 13, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

LONDON -- Milos Raonic could only sigh when asked about Roger Federer.

There wasn't much to say.

Federer had just thrashed the Canadian 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (4) in the quarter-final of Wimbledon on Wednesday, a defeat so certain it took less than two hours to complete. Raonic can at least take some comfort from the fact that he's in good company. Federer has yet to lose a set at Wimbledon this year and the victory over Raonic was his 89th career win at the tournament, a record run. It also put him into the semi-finals for the 12th time, another record. And on a day in which injuries took out top seed Andy Murray and second seed Novak Djokovic, the 35-year-old is now the clear favourite to win his eighth Wimbledon title.

"It's a stiff task," Raonic, 26, said after the match when asked about how to handle the Swiss master. "I guess you can know what you have to do, it's a lot harder to do it, than just to know it. ... I did everything I could. I tried. He's doing a lot of things well."

This was a far cry from last year when Raonic beat Federer in five sets in the semi-final, a resounding victory in which Federer made some uncharacteristic blunders, including double-faulting twice in a row in the crucial fourth set. That was a different Federer, one still battling knee and back injuries, and struggling with inconsistent play. Federer arrived in London this year a changed man. He'd taken six months off in 2016 and returned to win the Australian Open in January. He picked up two more wins at Indian Wells and Miami before skipping the French Open in May to preserve his strength for Wimbledon.

"I'm playing very well," Federer said after the match. "I'm rested.

I'm fresh. I'm confident, too.

Then great things do happen.

Confidence is a huge thing." It sure is and it showed from the opening set on Wednesday.

Raonic got off to a quick start, smashing two aces in the first game, including one that topped 140 miles an hour. But Federer kept his cool and promptly took a break point off Raonic, putting him on track to win the set 6-4.

He cruised through the second set, breaking Raonic twice and taking a 6-2 lead. The match was barely an hour old and Federer was already in control.

Before the third set began,

Raonic tried a different tactic. He took a lengthy bathroom break and changed his shoes. The pause and new footwear seemed to work and he managed something of a comeback, earning five break-point opportunities and pushing Federer around the court. But he couldn't convert on any of the break chances and Federer regained his composure enough to win the tiebreaker 7-4.

Raonic's famous serve amounted to little this time. Both men had 11 aces and Federer won points off his first serve 90 per cent of the time, compared with just 71 per cent for Raonic.

"He didn't serve as well as he did last year," Federer said. He noted that last year, Raonic hit his second serve far faster, topping out at 130 miles an hour at times. This year his second serve averaged just 101 miles per hour and his fastest was 111. "I just felt like I could somewhat get a read on his serve," Federer added.

Raonic also acknowledged the difference in Federer from a year ago. "I think the most significant thing is he's mentally sharper and I think he's moving better," he said, adding that with Murray, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal all out, Federer stands the best chance of winning. As for his own future, Raonic said he came out of the match healthy and feeling confident in his preparation for the summer ahead, which includes the Rogers Cup in Montreal and the U.S.

Open in New York. "I'm happy with the way my body's progressing. I'm happy with the things I'm doing," he said.

The same can't be said for Murray, beaten by Sam Querrey 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-1 in another quarter-final. Murray has been hobbled by a persistent injury to his right hip, something that has bothered him for most of his tennis career. Before the tournament, he'd insisted all was well and that he was ready to go for the seven matches it would take to defend his title.

But by the fourth set on Wednesday, it was clear the injury had returned.

"The whole tournament, I've been a little bit sore. But I tried my best right to the end. You know, gave everything I had," he said afterward, adding he may have to take some time off to recuperate.

Injuries took a toll on Djokovic, too. Tomas Berdych took the first set 7-6 (2) and was Djokovic was down 0-2 in the second before quitting because of an elbow injury that has been troubling him for more than 18 months. That injury was on top of a sore shoulder he'd suffered this week as well, leaving him frustrated as he had been playing some of his best tennis in a year.

"It's unfortunate that I had to finish Wimbledon, a Grand Slam, this way. I mean, if someone feels bad about it, it's me," he said after the match, adding that he'd spent more than two hours before the match getting treatment.

Djokovic was the 10th player to withdraw from the tournament because of injury and he acknowledged the long season is tough on players. He and Murray "both had a very long, very tough year, a lot of matches, a lot of emotions, a lot of things in play," he said. "Professional tennis is getting very physical in the last couple of years. It's not easy to kind of play on the highest level throughout the entire season, then be able to do that over and over again every season, and then stay healthy."

It was left to Federer to offer some wise counsel about injuries and recovery. "Once you hit 30, you've got to look back and think of how much tennis have I played, how much rest did I give my body over the years, how much training have I done, did I do enough, did I overdo it or not enough," he said. "Sometimes maybe the body and the mind do need a rest."

Associated Graphic

Canada's Milos Raonic stretches for a ball during his quarter-final match against Switzerland's Roger Federer at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London, on Wednesday.


Switzerland's Roger Federer celebrates beating Canada's Milos Raonic after their quarter-final match at the All England Club in London, England, on Wednesday. Federer won 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (4).


'It seems like people don't want to move forward'
With the 30th anniversary of her maison this year, Quebec-based designer Marie Saint Pierre can't stop thinking about how she'll defy the fashion industry's cynicism next
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L8

Montreal-based designer Marie Saint Pierre has long been admired for her bold aesthetic and cutting-edge vision. Now celebrating her 30th anniversary in the business, the 55-year-old Saint Pierre has earned her stripes as a true pioneer in the fashion industry.

She was the first Quebec designer to participate at New York's Coterie tradeshow, and the first Canadian designer to showcase a collection in Paris. She also participated in New York Fashion Week over twenty years ago, and presented a collection at the main branch of New York's Public Library less than 48 hours after she gave birth to her daughter.

With two boutiques in Montreal and one in Miami (and plans for more shops to open in San Francisco and Chicago in the next 18 months), Saint Pierre is intent on controlling her destiny and building her brand. I caught up with Saint Pierre at her Rue Chabanel studio to talk about the challenges in continued success, and how she grows her business while being based in Canada.

Celebrating three decades in a business that's gone through so many changes, and is getting tougher by the minute, is a great accomplishment. How did you get this far?

First of all, I'm very stubborn. I cannot take no for an answer, which means I always push to the limits. I've been fortunate, too, to have been surrounded by amazing people. I've had my ups and downs and tons of hardships to conquer in this business. But I'm fortunate because I'm in a personal environment that is absolutely fantastic. I have an amazing husband - we're real partners in life. We have two really cool kids together who understand what we're going through. They're smart, healthy, and have good reflexes in life. Some people don't have that to start with, so having that gives me more time and liberates my spirit to build this business.

Still, I'm sure there were many times that you thought, "That's it! I'm done.

I'm out of here!" What made you want to hang in there?

What's kept me going are the amazing women I end up dressing. It's like I become part of their lives, and I have become very intimate with lots of them, and they've become intimate with me.

They know who I am, even if I don't know them. I receive letters, emails, texts from them, and I realize that I accompany these woman through amazing times in their lives.

You always had a forward, almost avant-garde vision - always pushing it in terms of cuts and fabrication.

How did that progressive way of thinking come to you at a time when there wasn't a lot of that happening in this country?

For the last 20 years that I've been in the fashion industry, it hasn't been very progressive anywhere in the whole world. We've been feeding people a lot of old decades and vintage styles, a lot that's been redone and remastered.

That goes for music, art and fashion. It seems like people don't want to move forward. They want to get stuck in the past or they're afraid of too many changes. What I see in the fashion industry is just the reorganization of shapes, but very rarely do I find intricate novelty, whether it's in the making, a fabric, or a graphic element. There are very few liberal thinkers. There are very few independent designers on the planet. We're not ignored but we're not talked about either, because we cater to a clientele that doesn't relate to the same media environment. For us, it's not about giving clothes to young supermodels or actresses. The business of fashion has changed immensely. Right now, who would want to get into it?

Because everybody gets gifted more and more - as an independent brand, you cannot survive by gifting people. You rely on people to buy your clothes in order to survive. So it's been a difficult journey, for sure.

You're starting to really get your product out there internationally, certainly in America. Are you trying to build a following in Europe?

We would love to work harder in Europe but the American market is a big one for a luxury brand like us. Imagine: Apart from The Row, there haven't been any luxury brands that have emerged in the last 20 years there. So it's either the old ones, like Ralph Lauren - or look at what's going on with Donna Karan.

There are still a lot of turbulent times ahead, so you have to make sure that you cater well. Even though we would love to have some presence in Europe, we are fabricating everything in Montreal and we are doing it at a luxury level.

Our numbers and our sell-through are so amazing because we deliver product that is very high in standard, quality, and design. There's also a timelessness to it. People wear it for so long. So, we cannot multiply this production by two.

We can increase it by ten to fi fteenper-cent for now, and the market here demands that.

Right now, the spotlight of the world is on Canada and people fi nally seem to be buzzing about Canadian designers.

But many of them still work from abroad, like Dsquared2. They chose to go elsewhere, and they were right because there's no infrastructure in Canada. We are creating an infrastructure in Montreal right now with Marie Saint Pierre. We have a design studio and we have the manufacturing facilities. But the fact that there has been no infrastructure is so demanding for a designer, besides having to produce at the fast pace that the industry demands.

So it's easier to go to Europe. But at the same time, if you want to be a luxury house, I'm sorry but you have to build it from ground up How proud are you of the fact that you've managed to create this thriving, burgeoning business here, and managed to stay here, live here, raise a family here?

I have no time to think about it. If I do sometimes, it overwhelms me. I feel tired. So I'd rather not look, and stick to my vision. I know where I want to go, so it's always in front. It's never backward.

If I look at what happened in the past, I get dizzy because sometimes I see it's been too much of a battle, too much work.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Associated Graphic

DESIGNING WOMAN Marie Saint Pierre (above) has cultivated a loyal following by offering unique pieces that can be built into a wardrobe season after season. Her fall collection (top) focuses on the theme of contrasts with elements that are both minimal in spirit and maximal in proportion.


'Difference isn't a bad thing'
Roxane Gay talks to The Globe's Hannah Sung about secrets, boundaries and her powerful new memoir, Hunger
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R14

Roxane Gay was 12 when she was raped by a group of boys.

She began eating to comfort herself and create a "fortress." With Hunger, A Memoir of (My) Body, Gay uses direct, plain prose to chart her continuing relationship with her body, one that she tries to treat with kindness while publicly exposing it as a crime scene.

She recently sat down with The Globe and Mail's Hannah Sung.

You have a relationship with your body that you recount in great detail. As a writer and public figure, what is your relationship with this book?

I'm proud of it. It's difficult to talk about, not because of anything in the book but because in general, people don't know how to talk about fatness and so they ask very bad questions and are generally awkward or condescending, so that's a challenge.

I would also imagine that people don't know how to talk about rape.

People are fine with talking about rape. They're not good at it but they are very comfortable with it.

They ask bad questions like, "So you were raped, tell me about it."

There's a prurience that emerges whenever you're talking about sexual violence and they want to know the who and the why. They want a Lifetime movie. We do, for better or worse, have a general cultural conversation on sexual violence. It's not a good one, but it's there. In terms of fatness, it's not really there.

How do you hope to move the needle forward with Hunger?

I try not to have such grand ambitions, other than to write well. I certainly hope that we have a more expansive conversation on different kinds of bodies.

And just treat people with more empathy. Difference isn't a bad thing and someone else's body is really no one else's business.

When it comes to all women, is there anything you can say that Hunger has taught you about us?

No, we're not a monolith. This book hasn't taught me anything about women. It has reminded me that most women struggle with bodies, no matter what their body looks like. It's very depressing, honestly, to see the level of grief so many women are carrying in their bodies. I get lots and lots of e-mails in which people just pour their hearts out to me with just such sadness about how they see themselves and how they're treated. It's unnecessary and it's unfair.

Do you have any protocols for how you deal with those messages?

I try to listen to them as respectfully as possible because I know people are trusting me with their story but I'm not a therapist. And I say, "Thank you" and "I'm glad that my work resonated with you." And that's the truth. When you write about these kinds of topics, you know you're going to get certain kinds of responses and I respect that, but I also have firm boundaries. I can't carry everyone else's stories in addition to my own in the way that I think people sometimes expect me to.

What are your boundaries when it comes to protecting your friends and family when you write?

I always remind myself that it's my choice to write about my life.

Just because people are in my life doesn't mean I have carte blanche to write about them. In general, I write very vaguely if I'm writing about a relationship.

One repeated phrase that I found powerful, and it is a repetition in and of itself, is "I ate and ate and ate." The biggest word is three letters. What was your thinking behind that choice? I like the cadence of it and also, it was accurate. I ate and ate and ate. I didn't need to dress it up.

Oftentimes, when people want to hear narratives from fat people, they want these extravagant descriptions.

"There I was, on my couch, surrounded by bags of food," and that's just not how it was. It was more just this act of eating all the time. But in a really controlled, weird way.

You've thought a lot about "what ifs." Is there a perfect "what if" that someone could have said to you at 12 or 13 that might have changed your life in a positive way?

I just don't know. The game of "what if" is so futile. I do know that I wish I had told my parents then. I know they would have gotten me the help that I needed.

They're very loving, they're very aware, they're not afraid of mental-health professionals, so yeah, I don't know what should have been said but I should have talked to actual adults who cared about me and they would have figured that out.

Why do you think you could tell Time magazine but couldn't tell your parents [about being raped]?

Well, Time magazine pulled it from the book, I didn't tell them outright. It's just easier to put something on the page than it is to have conversations with people that have known you your whole life. Now, my parents definitely knew something was wrong and they had their suspicions but you don't want to hurt your parents, especially when they've been so good to you for so many years. When you start keeping secrets, it's hard to stop.

On the topic of secrets, you know the comedian Hasan Minhaj? One line I loved from him was, "Immigrants love secrets!"

Yes. That's very true.


I don't know. I think that we're always thinking that we're protecting each other when in fact, the truth is the best thing for all of us. I started being secretive with my parents at 12 and to this day - it's not that I'm secretive, I'm compartmentalized.

In the book, you mention a devastating moment where you bought some makeup and put it on for someone. And you mention that you still have that makeup in the bag it came in, shoved at the back of a closet.

Why do you hang on to it?

I hold on to it as a reminder: Don't let anyone ever treat you like that again.

And you want that reminder.

Yeah, absolutely. Boundaries are very new to me. I still am not super great about advocating for myself.

Really? It seems so surprising when I read your Twitter.

Well, it's easy on Twitter. Anything is easy on Twitter. Give me a keyboard and I'll have all sorts of things to say. It's much harder face to face.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Associated Graphic

Roxane Gay, who has a new memoir, Hunger, says that people don't know how to talk about fatness.


A bystander's legal obligation or overreaction?
Even if a child wasn't left alone in a hot car for long, police recommend calling 911 to minimize potential hazards
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, July 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page D3

A woman here recently left her children alone in an SUV for a few minutes on a 20 C day and outraged bystanders surrounded her car until police arrived. This seems like a crazy overreaction - children who die in hot cars have usually been forgotten in there for hours. Should people be calling 911 while taking the law into their own hands like this when there's no actual danger?

- Winnie, Vancouver W hether or not parents catch heat for leaving their children alone in the car is for police to decide, but you should still call 911 and follow directions, they say.

"With respect to children left in a hot car, our messaging has been to call 911 and use the commonsense approach," Sergeant Jason Robillard, Vancouver police spokesman, said in an e-mail.

"Every situation is different and there is no easy answer to how a citizen should respond and act."

On July 3, several people called 911 to report two children left alone in an SUV in a Vancouver parking lot, police said. When a woman came to the vehicle and tried to drive away, bystanders surrounded it to keep her from leaving, a video showed.

"The people who called 911 did the right thing," said Amber Andreasen, director of Kids and Cars, a U.S.-based advocacy group. "We don't recommend that people confront the parent because it usually never ends well. Instead, we want people to follow the instructions of law enforcement."

Depending on a child's situation, those instructions could include safely breaking the glass to get the child out and taking him or her somewhere cool, Andreasen said.

Nineteen U.S. states have laws against leaving children in cars, Andreassen said. In Canada, Quebec is the only province with a specific law banning children from being alone in cars - there, it's children younger than 7.

Everywhere in Canada, if a child is alone in a car and is injured or dies, the parents could face charges under the Criminal Code, including criminal negligence. Also, provincial-child welfare laws usually apply.

'Why are you arguing?' That same week as the Vancouver kerfuffle, two Edmonton women were charged, in separate incidents, with causing a child to be in need of intervention under Alberta's Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act after leaving children in their cars while they were errands. In both cases, the children weren't harmed.

In the Vancouver case, a video shows an officer telling the woman that her children, 6 and 31/2, "could have died."

"Why are you arguing?" the officer said in the video, after the woman said it was just five minutes. "You want me to seize your kids and you'll never see them again?" The woman wasn't charged, but police referred the case to British Columbia's Ministry of Children and Family Development.

It doesn't have to be 30 C outside for a vehicle to heat up quickly, even if the windows are down and it is parked in the shade, the Canada Safety Council says.

"It is never okay to leave a child in a vehicle not even for a minute," said Lewis Smith, manager of national projects with the Canada Safety Council, in an e-mail. "Even in the low teens, temperature in a car rises exponentially fast. ... Being gone for only a few minutes is plenty of time for a car to heat up and for a child to get dehydrated and suffer from heat stroke or worse."

A large number of children left in hot vehicles are left there accidentally, Smith said.

"The best solution we've found to fight this is for parents to leave an object they'll need - their wallet, for instance, or a cellphone - in the back seat of the vehicle," Smith said. "This will cause them to reach back and grab it and, in the process, they'll be more likely to notice a child that isn't meant to be left in the vehicle."

In May, the owner of an unlicensed Vaughan, Ont., daycare received a sentence of 22 months after she pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death after leaving a two-year-old in an SUV for seven hours in 2013.

While there have been no deaths in Canada so far this year, in the United States, there have been 19 heatstroke deaths involving children in cars. In those cases, all the children were younger than 3.

"People just don't understand all the dangers children face when left alone in a vehicle," Andreasen said. "Heat is only one - children get strangled to death by seat belts, injured by power windows, start fires, put the cars into gear ... or find guns and accidentally shoot themselves or somebody else."

According to Kids and Cars statistics, from 1994 to 2016, 810 children in the United States died from heatstroke in cars; 11 were

fatally strangled by seat belts; and 81 were killed by power windows.

Fetishizing supervision?

The outrage over leaving even an older child alone for a few minutes ignores the reality that children are exposed to activities that are statistically more dangerous, such as riding in a car, all the time, Free Range parenting advocate Lenore Skenazy said.

"There's this idea that you can't leave your kids in the car for four minutes while you go in and pay for your gas - even though more kids die from getting hit in parking lots," Skenazy said in an interview with Globe Drive in June.

"What's really being fetishized is not safety, it's supervision."

So, is there an age where children can be alone in a vehicle?

There's no "hard-and-fast rule," the Canada Safety Council said.

"We typically recommend 10 years of age as a minimum for staying home alone, but a vehicle has some inherent safety risks that include likely being restrained to the seat, the potential for sudden mechanical issues and, of course, sudden and extreme temperature changes," Smith said.

"Our absolute minimum recommendation would be a child who is no longer in a booster seat, who is self-sufficient enough to be left at home alone for short amounts of time, and who is able to take care of themselves in emergency situations."

If the question needs to be asked, the child probably isn't old enough to be left alone, Smith said.

"This holds especially true if there's a younger sibling in the car, because it requires the care of another human being and not only self-sufficiency."

Have a driving question? Send it to

Canada's a big place, so please let us know where you are so we can find the answer for your city and province.

Associated Graphic

Experts say parents shouldn't leave children in a car alone, no matter how short a period of time as vehicles can heat up quickly. Other hazards to unsupervised children include seat belts.


Chinese telecom giant expelled from trade association
Friday, July 21, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

OTTAWA -- A Chinese telecom giant at the centre of a controversial takeover of a Canadian high-tech firm has run afoul of China's powerful Ministry of Public Security.

Hytera Communications - whose principal shareholder is billionaire chairman Chen Qingzhou - has had long-standing close ties to the ministry that oversees China's police and security agencies. It has won numerous contracts to supply mobile and digital radio systems to Chinese police departments and local governments.

But last month, just days before it closed a deal to buy Vancouver-based Norsat International, Hytera was suddenly expelled from a mobile-technology trade association run by the ministry for its involvement in disputed bidding on a police contract.

The expulsion is unrelated to the takeover of the Canadian satellite communications company, but critics say Hytera's past connections to Chinese security authorities and its questionable business dealings should have raised red flags in Ottawa.

The Trudeau government approved the Norsat sale to Hytera in early June without conducting a full-scale national security review.

Such a review would have examined the economic and security impact of transferring sensitive Western satellite technology to Hytera, which has also been accused of stealing patents from Motorola.

"This is concerning and damaging new information that indicates that Hytera is a bad actor," Conservative critic for public safety Tony Clement told The Globe and Mail this week.

"I call upon the Liberal government to do a full new nationalsecurity review based on this new information and assess what risks there are to Canadian policies that could be potentially violated because of this information."

The domestic trouble engulfing Hytera, a company that only burst onto the Canadian landscape this spring, is reminiscent of the problems facing Anbang Insurance Group, whose chief executive has run afoul of the Chinese government this year.

Anbang, one of the biggest players of Chinese firms pursuing high-profile overseas acquisitions and investments, recently purchased a retirementhome chain in British Columbia.

It announced last month that CEO Wu Xiaohui has been detained by authorities and is "unable to perform his duties" with the company. The Anbang billionaire's arrest came amid an anti-corruption campaign by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

On the Norsat controversy, the U.S Defence Department began a review of all its contracts after the firm closed a deal on June 23 to be swallowed up by Hytera. The U.S. military has contracts to buy satellite communications equipment from Norsat - technology that will now be transferred to China.

The details of what exactly led to Hytera's expulsion from China's Professional Digital Trunking (PDT) alliance remains shrouded in mystery.

The PDT alliance issued a statement on June 19, saying Hytera's membership was terminated for undisclosed actions during the bidding process on a digital policy system for the police department in the city of Maoming, in the southern province of Guangdong.

One source said Hytera was accused of undercutting other Chinese competitors with low prices.

It is unknown whether Mr. Chen, who has travelled on trade missions with the Chinese President, has run into trouble with the Communist Party, which has recently detained several billionaire businessmen and top party officials over alleged corruption and bribery.

Hytera did not respond to requests to explain why its membership was terminated.

PDT alliance spokesperson Zhou Yameng would not provide any details on the reasons for the expulsion or what punishment Hytera may face. It is the first time the alliance has expelled a member, according to one source who is part of the alliance.

"About the issue that Hytera was expelled by PDT alliance, we won't take interviews by any media," the spokesperson told The Globe.

The office of Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, who approved the takeover without an in-depth national-security review, said the government took the advice of security officials in allowing the transaction to proceed but had no comment on Hytera's troubles with China's Ministry of Public Security.

However, Mr. Bains's press secretary, Karl Sasseville, said Ottawa has other tools that could prevent the transfer of Norsat's technology to China.

"Canada has robust domestic laws in place to prevent the exploitation of sensitive goods and technology and know-how," he said. "These laws, which apply to Canadian and internationally owned companies, provide valuable checks and balances."

Mr. Clement said the mystery behind Hytera's ouster from the PDT alliance underlines the problem the Liberals have in their efforts to negotiate a freetrade deal with China. Since the Liberals came to power in 2015, they have taken a more laissezfaire approach to Chinese investment than the former Conservative government, including foregoing national-security reviews of several Chinese takeovers of Canadian technology companies.

"This is the problem of engaging with the Chinese government more generally, because the people you are engaged with and are the decision makers one day may be out on their heels the next day. This is part of the concern that Conservatives have in going full-bore with a free-trade agreement set of talks," he said.

China expert Charles Burton, a former diplomat at the Canadian embassy in Beijing, questioned how seriously the Trudeau government examined the Norsat takeover.

"Evidently, Hytera has engaged in business malfeasance to win contract bids with local Chinese police departments on multiple occasions," Mr. Burton said.

"As this has been an ongoing issue with Hytera long prior to its bid for Norsat, it calls into question whether the government became aware of these serious concerns in the course of its review of Hytera's application to acquire Norsat and if so, why were these concerns dismissed when the bid was approved?" Motorola has alleged that Hytera has bolstered its business through technology that uses patents and trade secrets stolen from the U.S. firm in 2008. The case is the subject of court cases in the United States and Germany, as well as an investigation that is being conducted by the U.S. International Trade Commission.

Aside from the security concerns raised by the Hytera takeover, Mr. Burton said he was puzzled over why Ottawa allowed the deal to proceed given Hytera's ties to China's Public Security Ministry.

"It is clear that Hytera is complicit in developing technologies for the use of police communications," Mr. Burton said. "Canada has in past been unwilling to transfer technologies for Chinese police use due to the pervasive reports of Chinese police violations of human rights through gross invasion of privacy of communications in investigations and use of torture in interrogation."

In March, the Liberal cabinet approved the takeover of Montreal high-tech firm ITF Technologies - which the former Harper government had blocked on the grounds it would undermine a technological edge that Western militaries have over China. At the time, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service had recommended against the takeover, saying ITF technology transfer would give China access to "advanced military laser technology" and would diminish "Canadian and allied military advantages."

With reports from Xiao Xu in Vancouver

For Congo's women, mines offer opportunities - and hurdles
Tuesday, July 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

Standing barefoot in a swampy pond, Bibicha Sanao sloshes the muddy water in her basin with an expert motion, panning tenaciously until she finds the hidden treasure: a few tiny slivers of gold.

It can be hazardous work. She lifts her pant leg to show the scars from a water snake's bite.

Sometimes she gets sick from the contaminated water and the chilly rain. It's not much safer when she toils in a nearby gold pit, where she was once buried in a landslide.

Yet, she won't give it up. Her mining work here in northeastern Congo is crucial for supporting her family, and she's been doing it for many years - despite obstacles that men never face.

Now, activists are fighting to remove those barriers, giving African women a chance at the higher incomes that traditionally go to men, while improving the health and safety of their working conditions.

Small-scale mining is a huge source of revenue in Africa, providing jobs for an estimated eight million workers who support 45 million family members.

At least a quarter of the workers are women.

And even though they are paid less than men, they earn six times more than what they receive in other work, researchers have found.

Mining could be a much bigger source of financial support for African women, but they are hobbled by restrictions that range from the discriminatory to the nonsensical - including cultural taboos and superstitions that are now being challenged.

Activists and civil society groups, including Canadian groups, are seeking to develop education and human-rights programs to give women a fairer chance in the mining sector. It's an example of the greater emphasis on gender issues by development experts in many countries, including Canada, where the Trudeau government has announced a "feminist" aid strategy to put women at the centre of its foreign-aid policies.

In interviews near their homes in Metale village, Ms. Sanao and other women revealed some of the irrational rules and cultural taboos that are imposed on them at the gold mines of Ituri province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The best-paying jobs are underground, in the tunnels and shafts, where diggers pry loose the rocks that contain gold. Yet, women are largely barred from underground work, because they are seen as "too weak" for digging. Instead they are often limited to lesser-paid tasks: pumping water, carrying rocks or washing and grinding the rocks.

In the mines around Metale village there is an even deeper discrimination against unmarried women. They are often perceived as prostitutes or temptations to the men, and they are chased away from the mines.

Married women face barriers, too. When they are menstruating or when they become pregnant, they are forced out of the mines because of superstitious beliefs that they will "curse" the mine and bring bad luck to the miners.

The result is a significant loss of income for the women.

In some mines in this region, the rules are even more bizarre.

When they are two months pregnant, women are banned from the mines. They are allowed back into the mines at four months, then banned again at seven months. "It's a traditional belief that they hear from their grandfathers," a local women's leader says.

Some of the women themselves are convinced that the superstitions are true. They claim that their husbands won't find any gold when they are menstruating or when they are two or three months pregnant. "I've experienced it myself," insists Mami Basikawike, who has worked in the mines for six years with her husband.

"Instead of finding a matchstick worth of gold as usual, we find none," she says, citing a traditional measure for the weight of small amounts of gold.

She describes another rule that discriminates against women miners here. Unlike men, they must ensure that they are modestly dressed at all times. The work is strenuous and they often rip their clothes, yet they are not permitted to keep working with torn pants. "The men could criticize you or chase you away," Ms. Basikawike says. "It's not a lot of money to buy one pair of pants, but over the course of a month, it's a lot."

The rules that discriminate against women are drafted by government committees in which women have no voice.

When a national agreement was drafted on Congo's small-scale mining sector in 2012, the agreement included an attempted ban on mining by pregnant women - even though women were not consulted and were not present on the committee that drafted the rules.

Consultations in the mining sector are routinely conducted in all-male meetings. "It's terrible - the women are never there," says Gisèle Eva Côté, a mining gender specialist at Partnership Africa Canada, an Ottawa-based civilsociety group with projects in Africa.

In interviews for her research, women told her: "We don't have the right to speak. We have to sit at the back in the meetings, and they don't listen to us."

A study by Canadian and Ugandan researchers, including a team from Carleton University, found similar issues in six mining zones in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo. They found that only 15 per cent of women held the high-paying digging jobs, while 62 per cent of men were diggers.

"Almost all positions of authority over mining operations are held by men," the study concluded.

Yet, it also found that 58 per cent of female miners in the survey were the main income earners in their families. Mining work can have huge benefits for women, allowing them to support their families during lean periods when farming is unproductive.

Some women are even able to build up enough income from mining to diversify into businesses, the study found.

To unlock the economic potential of female miners, advocates from groups such as Partnership Africa Canada are discussing a new strategy. Their plan would aim to reduce the restrictions on pregnant miners, give women a greater voice in mining policy decisions, help women miners with technical and safety training, and launch education campaigns to tackle the cultural taboos and the traditional rules that limit women to lower-paying mining roles.

It will be difficult to introduce the plan in a region where the taboos have been entrenched for decades. But if it works, it could finally allow women a fair share of Africa's vast mining wealth.

Associated Graphic

Mami Basikawike digs up soil in her search for gold in a small mining site near the village of Metale, located in Ituri province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ms. Basikawike has worked in the Congo's mines for the past six years.


Bibicha Sanao pans for gold at a mining site near Metale. Ms. Sanao was once buried in a landslide while working in a gold pit.

Federer wins eighth Wimbledon title
Looking fitter than ever, 35-year-old Swiss dismantles hobbled opponent Marin Cilic in divine fashion in less than two hours
Monday, July 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S3

LONDON -- If Roger Federer weren't already godlike, he sure is now.

Just look at the records: eight Wimbledon titles, 19 Grand Slam victories and playing tennis so well at the age of 35 that even he thinks he could still be competing here at 40.

Federer made it look all too easy on Sunday, claiming his latest Wimbledon crown by manhandling a hobbled Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 in less than two hours. Fittingly, he finished the match with an ace as his wife and four children - two sets of twins - looked on.

The victory capped a remarkable run for Federer. He didn't lose a single set during the tournament and looked fitter than ever as rivals Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic were felled by injuries and Rafael Nadal buckled in a five-set marathon. He won his first Grand Slam title here 14 years ago and he hadn't claimed victory at Wimbledon since 2012.

As he took his seat immediately after the match and waited for the award ceremony, the enormity of the accomplishment began to sink in and he shed a tear. Later, he tried to put into words his remarkable career, saying he was never a child prodigy.

"I was just really a normal guy growing up in Basel, hoping to make a career on the tennis tour," he said. "I guess I dreamed, I believed, and really hoped, that I could actually maybe really do it, you know, to make it real. So I put in a lot of work, and it paid off."

Sure, he had talent, supportive parents and great coaching. But that wasn't all. "I felt like I dreamed pretty big as a kid. I believed that maybe things were possible that maybe others thought were never going to be achievable," he said. "Then in the game, I guess, yes, I was blessed with a lot of talent, but I also had to work for it. Talent only gets you [so] far, really."

And beneath that calm exterior is a fighter who loves the spotlight and taking on opponents when it really matters. "I've always been a big-stage player. I always felt like I played my best on the biggest courts."

Few expected him to be back at Wimbledon this year and even he wasn't so sure. He lost in the semi-final last year to Milos Raonic and had been plagued by a host of knee and back injuries that could have finished his career.

After Wimbledon, he took the rest of 2016 off and vowed to take better care of his body. He returned in January, winning the Australian Open and picking up victories at Indian Wells and Miami before skipping the clay season to concentrate on Wimbledon.

"I'm incredibly surprised how well this year is going, how well I'm feeling, as well," he said. "I knew I could do great again, maybe one day, but not at this level. So I guess you would have laughed, too, if I told you I was going to win two [Grand] Slams this year. People wouldn't believe me if I said that."

The lanky Cilic was supposed to represent something of a challenge to Federer's place in history.

Seven years younger, five inches taller and possessed with a booming serve, Cilic had thrashed Federer in the semi-final of the U.S. Open in 2014. He looked the picture of confidence as he breezed through the tournament, losing just three sets. But the Cilic threat failed to materialize and the Croat was done in by a blister on his left foot, so severe that he lost concentration after a few games. It was all too much for the 28-year-old and after the third game of the second set, down 0-3 and already a set behind, he broke down crying.

"It was just emotionally that I knew on such a big day that I'm unable to play my best tennis," he recalled afterward. "For me it was actually very difficult to focus on the match, as well, as my mind was all the time blocked with the pain. It was tough for me to focus on the tactics, on the things that I needed to do." Medical staff taped up his foot and Cilic valiantly tried to carry on, but he was not up to it and rarely posed a threat.

And his mighty serve just couldn't deliver.

He'd gone into the match with the second highest number of aces during the tournament, at 135, but managed just five aces in the final, while Federer had eight.

Cilic's serve was so wonky during the opening set that he was putting less than half of his first serves into play. He also committed 23 unforced errors and didn't win a single break point. "I wasn't serving very good today because of [the blister]," he said. "I was just not able to set up properly on the balls."

For Canada, this year's Wimbledon didn't have the glory of 2016 when Raonic lost to Murray in the final and Denis Shapovalov won the boy's title. But there were still plenty of encouraging signs for Tennis Canada particularly among the younger rising stars.

Raonic got to the quarter-final and Shapovalov, now 18, has established himself enough as a professional that he received a wild-card entry, although he lost in the first round. Teenage sensation Bianca Andreescu breezed through qualifying and lost in the first round of the main draw, but picked up invaluable experience for someone just 17 years old.

Françoise Abanda, 20, also made it through qualifying and got to the second round of the main draw. Carson Branstine made it to the fourth round of girl's doubles and Gabriela Dabrowski, 25, got just as far in mixed doubles.

But Wimbledon was all about Federer this year. When asked what he thought made Federer so great, Cilic replied: "I think his ability and his desire to continue to improve is definitely one of the best in the game. Even at the age that he is at now, he's still improving, still challenging himself to get better and better."

Federer isn't sure if he'll be back at Wimbledon next year. The Rogers Cup in Montreal is also a question mark as he monitors his recovery and preparation for the coming hard-court season. But he has no plans to retire any time soon. "What keeps me going? I don't know, I love to play," he said with a smile. "I feel like I'm working part-time these days almost, which is a great feeling."

Associated Graphic

Marin Cilic of Croatia (left) and Roger Federer shake hands after the Wimbledon single men's final on Sunday in London.


Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R4

War for the Planet of the Apes 4

The supposed capper in Fox's new Apes trilogy is directed by Matt Reeves, who took over for Rupert Wyatt with 2014's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and has brought a peculiar sensibility to the modern studio tent-pole.

There are the obligatory set pieces, too-frequent slices of comic relief and a swelling score by Michael Giacchino that risks drowning out any of the script's subtlety in a tsunami of strings.

But Reeves prioritizes character above everything else, creating instantly relatable heroes and villains in record speed. Which is where Andy Serkis and his wonderfully game co-stars come in.

As the chimpanzee leader Caesar, Serkis conjures an empathetic, deeply complex hero. To bring any such character to life without resorting to histrionics is a great endeavour. To do so via performance-capture technology, your facial expressions and body language hidden beneath vast reams of digital code, is quite another.

Yet, with Reeves's quiet and cautious direction, a screenplay that favours emotion over explosions and the next-level magic of Weta Digital, Serkis conceives a fresh art form right before our eyes.

There isn't a single moment in War where Caesar does not seem real. It is a feat nothing short of miraculous. (PG)

Baby Driver 3

Baby Driver bleeds cool. Telling the story of a young getaway driver (Ansel Elgort) forced into a life of crime by a ruthless Atlanta gangster (Kevin Spacey), director Edgar Wright's ode to the heist genre is a zippy slice of expertly soundtracked carnage. It has perfectly choreographed car chases, bank heists and shootouts. It has a witty setup, wiseass heroes and a vast warehouse of one-liners. It has actors you know and love (Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx) having a ball being bad. But in being so very cool, Baby Driver speeds right past anything resembling maturity or restraint. Our hero - in fact, every single character - makes truly stupefying decisions that just don't track given what we've come to learn about them thus far, even if they operate in what's clearly a whacked-out underworld. The finale is a sloppy mix of video-game-inspired "boss level" antics and a manufactured fantasy that's as studio-tested safe as anything out of Hollywood's intellectual-property machine this summer. Is all that enough to flatten Baby Driver's tires? Not quite. The ride is still fast, furious and fun as hell. (14A)

The Big Sick 3½

In a summer bereft of original comedies, The Big Sick is not only necessary, it's downright revolutionary. Here's a layered, nuanced film whose only goal is to tell a story of real people and real heartache, not to act as a crass marketing plank for a series of hopeful sequels and spinoffs (hi and bye, Baywatch and CHIPS). More than its divorce from the franchise game, though, The Big Sick is refreshing thanks to its on-screen diversity - aside from Master of None, has there ever been a Hollywood product with a brown actor as its romantic lead? - which is wisely played as really not that big of a deal at all. Kumail Nanjiani lets his natural charisma and hilarity carry the movie, which lightly fictionalizes his real-life courtship with co-writer Emily V. Gordon (played here by Zoe Kazan).

There's a slightly terrifying twist planted along the pair's path to romance, but it's handled with a deft level of sincerity by director Michael Showalter and the uniformly excellent cast (including a scene-stealing Ray Romano as Gordon's father). Like all Judd Apatow-supervised productions, it's about 10 minutes too long, but that is a small complaint when weighed against Nanjiani and Co.'s remarkable achievement. (14A)

Cars 3 2

The car-as-human idea was never Pixar's biggest brainwave and, as Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) hits the track for a third outing, the Disney animated franchise is running on fumes. To return a conquering hero to underdog status, the screenwriters have invented a bunch of younger, slicker new rivals with hightech training methods who can overtake the reigning champion on the straightaway: Can an aging Lightning stay in the race?

It's a plot that seems more likely to appeal to weary parents than the next generation of bouncy youngsters. Otherwise, we get a lot of repetitive racetrack scenes - only a demolition derby stands out for the inventiveness of its animation - and a familiar message about believing in yourself.

That's delivered by Lightning and his new trainer, a poorly developed character named Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), a token female figure who seems unlikely to rescue anything. (G)

Rough Night 2

Why isn't Rough Night, the new bridesmaids-on-a-tear comedy, funnier? Blame the patriarchy.

(That's a joke. Or is it?) Rough Night has the pedigree of funny.

It's written by two of the team that write the television series Broad City: Lucia Aniello, who also directs; and Paul Downs, who also co-stars as Peter, fiancé to bride-to-be Jess (Scarlett Johansson). Jess's friends are played by funny women: Broad City star Ilana Glazer as Frankie, a wild-child lesbian protester; comedian Jillian Bell as Alice, a chubby teacher who wants to be Jess's bestie a little too much; SNL's Kate McKinnon as Pippa, Jess's hippie friend from her semester abroad in Australia; Zoe Kravitz as Blair, rich and perfect.The premise is a classic: a bachelorette weekend in Miami gone wrong. But at the first crisis the movie falls apart and flounders to the end, because it doesn't know what its funny is supposed to be. (14A)

Spider-Man: Homecoming 3

As far as movies-as-line-items go, Homecoming is better than it has any right to be. The story is slight but spry, thanks partly to the jettisoning of origin story, but also because of its blessedly small stakes. Tom Holland is no match for Tobey Maguire's endearing earnestness, but he handily erases Andrew Garfield's legacy. Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark pops by to dole out the necessary pinches of smarm, without overstaying his welcome. And the movie is gifted with one of Marvel's few genuinely interesting villains: Michael Keaton's Adrian (Vulture) Toomes. The film's subtitle, though, promises more than it can deliver, with "Homecoming" an obvious nod to the big-dance-high-school genre, one rightfully dominated by John Hughes. But just repeating the name "John Hughes" does not make your film a Hughes-ian exercise. But to suggest that Homecoming even tentatively approaches Hughes's understanding of the pain of adolescence is as far-fetched as ... well, a boy being able to climb the walls. (PG)

Associated Graphic

Andy Serkis plays Caesar in War for the Planet of the Apes.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Gastown pop-up raises the (wine) bar
Vancouver lovers of natural offerings should look no further than this cozy café complete with unique eats and inexpensive libations
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S3

The Birds & The Beets 55 Powell St., Vancouver 604-893-7832, Café & bakery Open Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Juice Bar Natural wine and pasta pop-up at The Birds & The Beets; @juicebaryvr Wednesdays, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., entrance at 54 Alexander St.

A Cheap Eats pick, where you can dine well for under $30 before alcohol, tax and tip.

Don't you just love the thrill of the chase? Natural-wine lovers in Vancouver - where the pickings of fresh, fermented grape juice made with little to no chemical intervention are slim - will surely relate. So when I heard about Juice Bar, a new Wednesday-night pop-up at The Birds & The Beets, I made a beeline to Gastown. Even more exciting was that it finally offered the perfect excuse to write about this adorable café and bakery.

I was utterly charmed by The Birds & The Beets when it opened two years ago, and often recommend it to visitors from out of town. Yet the daytime hours and short counter-service menu seemed somewhat limited for a review. Having gone back several times over the past few weeks, I realize I was wrong. A café so whimsically curated, intensely food-focused and community-oriented deserves a typewritten hug.

The space feels tiny if you walk in from Powell Street, but it actually sprawls into a more expansive back room with a second entrance on Alexander Street. The look and feel is difficult to capture in a single snapshot. As the eyes wander around various cubbyholes and nooks, the sightlines emerge more like a collection of thoughtfully composed still-life paintings framed in unfinished wood as seen through rose-tinted glass: loaves of crusty sourdough displayed on the counter next to Mason jars filled with toasted granola and half-pound bags of coffee; a sunny window-side benchtop surrounded by bouquets of bright-yellow billy balls, eucalyptus, lavender and prickly purple thistles (yes, they also sell flowers, from Wild Bunch Florist); self-serve water taps mounted over a bushy boxed fern to catch drips; natural canvas totes silk-screened with botanical prints hanging from a brick wall; a faded-green metal library trolley stacked with every cookbook you wish you had at home.

The breakfast-heavy menu is similarly wholesome. Save for mayonnaise, everything is made in-house with local ingredients, including all the bread and baked goods. There is thick, tart filmjolk yogurt sprinkled with darkly toasted granola and fresh berries (from UBC Farm). Fat slabs of red-fife-wheat sourdough (the flour is stone-milled in Vancouver by GRAIN) are ladled with loosely runny ricotta and a crimson float of sweet strawberry preserves. Creamy scrambled eggs are stuffed into buttery brioche buns, while softly poached eggs ooze vibrant yellow yolk over smashed-avocado toast.

To think, all this deliciousness costs about the same as the doughy, undercooked breakfast rolls at Starbucks. And the service, overseen by owners Matt Senecal-Junkeer and Sean Cunningham, is so much more relaxed.

Later in the afternoon, you might want to try an intensely nutty bowl of warm barley tossed with roasted carrot-sweetened miso dressing, tangy pickles and spicy seeds. Or perhaps an oil-poached albacore-tuna sandwich (the fish is from Finest at Sea) on tooth-tugging ciabatta spread with a gloriously green parsley vinaigrette emulsified to the texture of mustard.

In addition to locally roasted Bows & Arrows coffee (espresso drinks and drip), there is a small selection of cider, craft brews and house-steeped ginger beer with a spicy kick.

The Birds & The Beets is a perfectly cozy (occasionally loud) hideaway for whiling away the day on your laptop. But it is only open during the day - for now, at least. The Juice Bar popup has been so well received, here's hoping it becomes permanent.

In the true spirit of pop-ups, the night is a casual collaboration with a short and sweet chalkboard menu: two pasta dishes (prepared by Gregory Sugiyama and Alexandrea Fladhamer, both of whom work fulltime at Burdock and Co.), two cream puffs (from the bicyclemounted vendor Sweet Boy Cream Puffs) and three natural wines (selected by Sion Iorwerth and Sarah Coxon; the former also works as a server at Burdock and Co., which probably explains why I love the concept so much.)

Inspired by the exploding bar à vins scene in Paris, Juice Bar fills a big gap in the Vancouver wine scene. Sure, you can go to a number of forward-thinking restaurants that serve these lively, juicy, unmanipulated wines.

Burdock and Co., Farmer's Apprentice, Grapes & Soda, Royal Dinette and Mak N Ming offer extensive lists. But they're all sit-down restaurants and relatively expensive.

The thing about natural wines is that they really do lend themselves to sampling. Without all the preservatives piled into mass-produced labels, they can be fragile. They are idiosyncratic.

And sometimes, they are terribly flawed. Unless you're a diehard purist who enjoys turpentine scent of volatile acidity and the mouse-droppings taint of lactobacillus infection, the thrilling treasure hunt can quickly crash into a high-stakes game of Russian roulette. Juice Bar, where the wines are priced at only $10 a glass, lowers the risk.

And it's a fun, festive event.

The organizers close off the front bar and squeeze everyone into the back, light some candles and crank the tunes. The wine bar is set up on a shelf along a walkway in the centre of the room. There is nothing pretentious about it.

The crowd favourite from last week's selection was a pét-nat rosé - Autour de l'Anne Wonder Womanne, replete with a bustier-clad superheroine on the label that belied the structural depth of the frothy fizz. There was also a surprisingly fruity chardonnay, Les Ammonites from Jura, that expressed very little of the oxidized mustiness common to the region. And Puszta Libre!, a juicy, chewy, refreshingly chilled Austrian Zweigelt that tempered the humidity of the muggy evening and went down easy with grilled-eggplant lasagna topped with ripely scented Taleggio.

If you are at all curious about natural wines, this cute café and inspired weekly collaboration just made them a lot more accessible.

Let's hope it turns into something more than just a summer fling.

Associated Graphic

Vancouver's The Birds & The Beets is a whimsically curated café that feels tiny upon entry, but sprawls into an expansive back room with sightlines akin to still-life paintings.


Birds & Beets' miso barley bowl is intensely nutty, tossed with roasted carrot-sweetened dressing, tangy pickles and spicy seeds.

Save for mayonnaise, everything at The Birds & The Beets, such as the charred vegetable sandwich, is made in-house with local ingredients.

Canadian allegedly behind Dark Web marketplace undone by Hotmail address
Arrested on July 5 and found dead in a Bangkok jail cell days later, 25-year-old millionaire faced extradition to the United States on 16 criminal counts - the second instance this year of U.S. agents targeting wealthy Canadian computer whizzes involved in a global online conspiracy
Friday, July 21, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

Earlier this month, Alexandre Cazes, a computer whiz from Quebec, was living in Bangkok.

He had a villa in Phuket, a Lamborghini and a Porsche, along with bank accounts in Thailand and Liechtenstein.

But the 25-year-old millionaire planted the seed of his downfall years ago, when he left his Hotmail e-mail address visible online. It was that clue which led police to detain him as the alleged mastermind of AlphaBay, a Dark Web site that served as the world's biggest anonymous online marketplace of illegal goods.

Within days of his arrest on July 5, Mr. Cazes was found dead hanging in a Bangkok jail. His apparent suicide occurred ahead of his extradition to the United States, where he was indicted on 16 criminal counts, including racketeering, narcotics conspiracy and money laundering.

Details of the investigation that led to Mr. Cazes's demise and the dismantling of AlphaBay are outlined in U.S. court documents released Thursday. This case amounts to the second time this year that American federal agents have successfully targeted an ostentatiously wealthy Canadian computer expert in his early 20s while unfurling a global conspiracy.

U.S. Attorney-General Jeff Sessions announced the charges in Washington, telling reporters the AlphaBay bust stands as one of the most significant criminal investigations of 2017. He said such marketplaces are directly linked to a deadly continuing opioid epidemic, which is now killing one American every 11 minutes.

"We know of several Americans who were killed by drugs [bought] on AlphaBay," Mr. Sessions said. "One was just 18 years old when in February she overdosed on a powerful synthetic opioid which she had bought on AlphaBay."

The RCMP assisted the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation in its probe of Mr. Cazes and started a parallel criminal investigation of him after being tipped by U.S. authorities in January.

While the Mounties have lately been redoubling their own efforts at tackling cybercriminals and halting fentanyl smuggling, a chief superintendent has publicly lamented how Canadian efforts have been stalled by clandestine transactions done anonymously on the Internet, through sites that bear a close resemblance to AlphaBay.

In March, an alleged hackerfor-hire from Ancaster, Ont., was arrested on a U.S. indictment alleging that he hacked customer information from computer giant Yahoo on behalf of Russian intelligence agents. Until that point, 22-year-old Karim Baratov was simply known as a wealthy Ontario resident who had somehow amassed a Lamborghini, a Porsche 911 and an Aston Martin.

According to the U.S. indictment against Mr. Cazes, he had a net worth of $23-million (U.S.). A U.S. asset-seizure order issued against him and his Thai wife includes a Lamborghini Aventador, a Porsche Panamera, a Mini Cooper, a BMW motorcycle and accounts with four Thai banks, Bank Alpinum AG in Liechtenstein and Bitcoin Suisse AG, in Baar, Switzerland.

The filings also said the couple owned real estate in Bangkok, in the resort town of Phuket, in Cyprus and in the Caribbean state of Antigua and Barbuda.

Mr. Cazes obtained citizenship in Antigua, the documents say, thanks to his $400,000 purchase of a beachfront property. They also say he was in the process of acquiring Cypriot citizenship by spending 2.4-million ($3.5-million Canadian) to buy a villa in Famagusta, a picturesque port on the east coast of Cyprus.

"The payments for these illegal items," the forfeiture complaint said, "represent racketeering proceeds based on their connection to the AlphaBay marketplace."

Mr. Cazes was born Oct. 19, 1991, and he grew up just outside Trois-Rivières, 150 kilometres downriver from Montreal. His father, Martin, a garage owner, described his son as a trouble-free child who was so gifted that he skipped a year ahead in school. "An extraordinary young man, no problems, no criminal record," the elder Mr. Cazes recently told the TVA news network. "He never smoked a cigarette, never used drugs."

Alexandre Cazes was 17 when he founded his own business, EBX Technologies, which he incorporated as a company selling software and repairing computers. The family believed that he had made his fortune by transacting in digital currencies, but according to the U.S. indictment, EBX Technologies was simply a front.

At the time the FBI shut it down, AlphaBay allegedly carried 250,000 listings for illegal drugs and chemicals and more than 100,000 listings for stolen items. This dwarves the 14,000 listings that had existed on Silk Road, another infamous Dark Web marketplace that was dismantled by the FBI in 2013. In fact, Mr. Cazes launched AlphaBay just a few months after Silk Road was put out of business, according to the U.S. indictment in Eastern California District Court.

Like its predecessor, AlphaBay operated on the Dark Web, which means the marketplace could be accessed only through Tor, an increasingly popular software that enables anonymized Internet communications that are very difficult to trace, even for government-intelligence agents. In addition to selling drugs, AlphaBay users also sold weapons, computer malware and stolen credit-card information.

According to the court complaint, the site charged a commission between 2 per cent and 4 per cent.

AlphaBay grew to have about 10 employees, the court documents say. "We take no responsibility if you get caught," the site allegedly warned, "so protecting yourself is your responsibility."

U.S. authorities began investigating AlphaBay by tasking federal agents to make undercover purchases of illicit drugs, fake ID documents and a device that steals card data from bankmachine users.

The turning point in the probe came late last year. That's when investigators discovered that during an early phase of AlphaBay's operations, it displayed an administrator's e-mail address when users initiated a passwordrecovery process.

That e-mail - Pimp_Alex_91@ - belonged to Mr. Cazes, according to U.S. federal agents. They discovered that when he was 17, Mr. Cazes used the same e-mail account to post a virus-removal tip on a tech forum.

Last month, U.S. authorities obtained warrants against Mr. Cazes, who was at his home in Bangkok when it was raided by the Royal Thai Police. They found an open laptop computer in his bedroom that was logged on AlphaBay as an administrator, the complaint said. Inside the laptop were passwords, a list of AlphaBay servers and a file detailing assets.

A week after his arrest, and just before his extradition hearing, Mr. Cazes was found dead. According to the Bangkok Post, he used a towel to hang himself from the toilet door of his cell.

In Quebec, Martin Cazes can't comprehend that Alexandre's life ended in such a fashion. "In my heart as a father, it's hard to accept that my son committed suicide," he told TVA. "He was under police supervision. It's unbelievable."

Associated Graphic

Alexandre Cazes

Father of the zombie movie
With debut film, Night of the Living Dead, he reinvented horror genre, adding social commentary and inspiring legions of imitators
Associated Press
Tuesday, July 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S6

George A. Romero, whose classic Night of the Living Dead and other horror films turned zombie movies into social commentaries and who saw his flesh-devouring undead spawn countless imitators, remakes and homages, has died. He was 77.

Mr. Romero died Sunday following a battle with lung cancer, his family said in a statement provided by his manager, Chris Roe. Mr. Romero's family said he died while listening to the score of The Quiet Man, one of his favourite films, with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher, and daughter, Tina Romero, by his side.

Mr. Roe told The Canadian Press in an interview from Los Angeles that Mr. Romero died in Toronto, where he had lived since 2004.

Mr. Romero "was a gentle giant and one of the kindest, most giving human beings I've ever had the pleasure of knowing," Mr. Roe said Sunday, noting he and the director had been friends for 15 years.

Mr. Romero is credited with reinventing the zombie movie with his directorial debut, the 1968 cult classic, Night of the Living Dead. His zombies were always more than mere cannibals. They were metaphors for conformity, racism, mall culture, militarism, class differences and other social ills.

"The zombies, they could be anything," Mr. Romero told the Associated Press in 2008. "They could be an avalanche, they could be a hurricane. It's a disaster out there. The stories are about how people fail to respond in the proper way. They fail to address it. They keep trying to stick where they are, instead of recognizing maybe this is too big for us to try to maintain. That's the part of it that I've always enjoyed."

Night of the Living Dead, made for about $100,000 (U.S.), featured flesh-hungry ghouls trying to feast on humans holed up in a Pennsylvania house. In 1999, the Library of Congress inducted the black-and-white masterpiece into the National Registry of Films.

Mr. Romero's death was immediately felt across a wide spectrum of horror fans and filmmakers. Stephen King, whose The Dark Half was adapted by Mr. Romero, called him his favourite collaborator and said, "There will never be another like you." Guillermo del Toro called the loss "enormous."

Night of the Living Dead "was so incredibly DIY I realized movies were not something that belonged solely to the elites with multiple millions of dollars but could also be created by US, the people who simply loved them, who lived in Missouri, as I did," wrote James Gunn, the Guardians of the Galaxy director, who penned the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead.

Mr. Romero's influence could be seen across decades of American movies, from John Carpenter to Edgar Wright to Jordan Peele, the Get Out filmmaker.

Many considered Night of the Living Dead to be a critique on racism in the United States. Ten years later, he made Dawn of the Dead, in which human survivors take refuge from the undead in a mall and then turn on each other as the zombies stumble around the shopping complex.

Film critic Roger Ebert called it "one of the best horror films ever made - and, as an inescapable result, one of the most horrifying. It is gruesome, sickening, disgusting, violent, brutal and appalling. It is also ... brilliantly crafted, funny, droll, and savagely merciless in its satiric view of the American consumer society."

Mr. Romero had a sometimes combative relationship with the genre he helped create. He called The Walking Dead a "soap opera" and said big-budget films such as World War Z made modest zombie films impossible. Mr. Romero maintained that he wouldn't make horror films if he couldn't fill them with political statements.

"People say, 'You're trapped in this genre. You're a horror guy.' I say, 'Wait a minute, I'm able to say exactly what I think,' " Mr. Romero told the AP. "I'm able to talk about, comment about, take snapshots of what's going on at the time. I don't feel trapped. I feel this is my way of being able to express myself."

The third in Mr. Romero's zombie series, 1985's Day of the Dead, was a critical and commercial failure. There wouldn't be another Dead film for two decades.

Land of the Dead in 2005 was the most star-packed of the bunch - the cast included Dennis Hopper, John Leguizamo, Asia Argento and Simon Baker.

Two years later came Diary of the Dead, another box-office failure.

There were other movies interspersed with the Dead films, including The Crazies (1973), Martin (1977), Creepshow (1982), Monkey Shines (1988) and The Dark Half (1993). There also was 1981's Knightriders, Mr. Romero's take on the Arthurian legend featuring motorcycling jousters. Some were moderately successful, others box-office flops.

George Andrew Romero was born on Feb. 4, 1940, in New York. He was a fan of horror comics and movies in the preVCR era.

"I grew up at the Loews American in the Bronx," he wrote in an issue of the British Film Institute's Sight and Sound magazine in 2002.

His favourite film was Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's The Tales of Hoffman, based on Jacques Offenbach's opera. It was, he once wrote, "the one movie that made me want to make movies."

He spoke fondly of travelling to Manhattan to rent a 16mm version of the film from a distribution house. When the film was unavailable, Mr. Romero said, it was because another "kid" had rented it - Martin Scorsese.

Mr. Romero graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in 1960. He learned the movie business working on the sets of movies and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, which was shot in Pittsburgh.

The city became Mr. Romero's home and many of his films were set in western Pennsylvania. Dawn of the Dead was filmed in suburban Monroeville Mall, which has since become a popular destination for his fans.

The last film Mr. Romero directed was 2009's Survival of the Dead, though other filmmakers continued the series with several sequels, including a recently shot remake of Day of the Dead.

But Mr. Romero held strong to his principles. A movie with zombies just running amok, with no social consciousness, held no appeal, he often said. "That's not what I'm about."

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

Filmmaker George A. Romero, seen in 2008, said making movies in the horror genre allowed him to express himself and say exactly what he thought. He maintained he wouldn't make horror films if he couldn't fill them with political statements.


Dissident provoked China's fury
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who was imprisoned for 'inciting subversion,' wrote of love, philosophy and human freedoms
Friday, July 14, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S6

BEIJING -- His pen was a sword wielded at China's Communist Party, a spotlight illuminating his country's social contradictions and a minstrel soothing his wife with poems of tender lament for the woman he loved, and the life they were forced to live apart.

For decades, Liu Xiaobo was one of his country's most important voices, a critic, thinker and scourge of authoritarianism whose work won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the fury of a Chinese state that repeatedly incarcerated him, making him its most famous political prisoner.

The Chinese government announced his death on Thursday. Mr. Liu, 61, had been battling liver cancer in a hospital where he spent his final weeks on medical parole from an 11-year prison sentence. He was sentenced in 2009 on charges of "inciting subversion of state power," accused by the Chinese government of working with anti-China Western forces and seeking to overturn the government.

He is only the second Peace Prize laureate to die in custody, after German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who spent his final days under the watch of Nazi secret police.

"Terribly sad that this champion of human rights has died. We mourn his loss but his message of hope and freedom will endure," Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister, Chrystia Freeland, tweeted on Thursday.

Liu Xiaobo was born on Dec. 28, 1955, in China's northeastern Jilin province, the third of five brothers. His father, a literature professor, was a Communist Party member with an enduring faith in the party's theories and leadership. His father's library of Marx, Engels and Lenin gave him an early introduction to Western philosophers. His father's strict approach to child-rearing also helped to cultivate an early rebellious streak in Mr. Liu, who first found licence to run wild during the chaos of the Cultural Revolution. It was a period that left a profound mark on him, sobering him to the realities of life in Communist China.

"The lot of us grew up under a savage regime, which cultivated hate, worshipped violence, indulged in cruelty and encouraged indifference," he once wrote. "It made brutality and viciousness part of people's genes."

Encouraged to pursue knowledge by his father, he studied Chinese literature after the Cultural Revolution, writing poetry as a university student, reading Kafka and Dostoyesvky and becoming caught up in the student ferment that produced a nascent democracy movement in the late 1970s.

He became a literature professor, writing about philosophy and human freedoms. He provoked controversy with acerbic critiques of popular domestic writers and disdain for China's most famed thinker, Confucius. His rising profile in an opening China allowed him to travel abroad in the 1980s and he was lecturing in the United States when student protests began to roil his home country.

He returned to China in April, 1989.

"In his mind, that was going to be an opportunity to write history, one he couldn't miss," said Hu Ping, a friend of Mr. Liu who is a critic of China and editor of the Chinese-language monthly Beijing Spring.

Mr. Liu joined the protesters at Tiananmen Square, participating in a hunger strike. But as tanks approached in early June, Mr. Liu orchestrated a negotiation with the troops that allowed students to leave peacefully.

"Many students wanted to stay and fight and die for democracy, including myself," said Rose Tang, who was there at the time and has since edited a Facebook page devoted to Mr. Liu. She now credits him with saving her life and told him as much years later.

"He stuttered: 'Don't thank me,' " Ms. Tang said.

"He deserved the Peace Prize definitely for saving the lives of some 2,000 students inside Tiananmen Square alone," she said.

"As a thinker, activist and moral leader, he was ahead of his time," she said.

To Chinese authorities, he was a traitorous figure who stomped on his homeland and compatriots and organized opposition against them. Bitter at a society that he faulted for allowing the rise of chairman Mao Zedong and authoritarian Communist rule, he famously said it would require "300 years of colonialism" to achieve real change in China.

"Chinese people are totally weak both physically and psychologically," he said once. Another time he argued that "if Chinese people want to live as human beings, they should adopt the system of Western countries."

He was detained after the Tiananmen protests and then sent to a labour camp in 1996 for "disturbing public order." It was at that camp that he married Liu Xia and the bright flame of their romance kindled an outpouring of poetry tinged with the sadness that theirs would always be a relationship interrupted by the interventions of a hostile state.

(A previous marriage produced a son from whom he was estranged.)

Neither love nor his time behind bars moderated Mr. Liu's political passions. He refused the entreaties of friends to leave for the safety of a democratic country, telling them he admired Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese Nobel Peace Prize laureate who endured years of house arrest for her prodemocracy views.

"Liu Xiaobo took her as a model," Mr. Hu said. "And he believed that China needs a model of morality, someone who stays inside China."

He wrote under heavy surveillance, until he co-authored Charter 08, a 2008 document that accused China's Communist Party of legion wrongdoings and called for the end of one-party rule.

He was arrested hours before the document was released and sentenced to prison for 11 years.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, given to him in absentia for "his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China."

Prison ended the public part of that struggle, by silencing him.

But to his supporters, it also imbued him with a moral force.

"The appearance of a martyr will completely change the soul of a nationality," wrote exiled Chinese writer Liao Yiwu. "Gandhi was one occasion, as was [Vaclav] Havel and the farmer's kid born in a manger 2,000 years ago. The improvement of humankind is up to these infrequentlyborn people."

And as with those others, Mr. Liu's words remain. They are incisive and passionate; inflected with a sense of history and justice; unstained by despair or enmity but cutting in denouncing nationalism, repression and atavism. They are also infused with an optimism that authoritarianism must one day give way to political openness and individual autonomy.

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

Pro-democracy activist Liu Xiaobo, seen in 1995, was one of China's most important voices; a critic and scourge of authoritarianism.


As Canada signs pacts with China, Nobel laureate dies in custody
Friday, July 14, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

BEIJING -- A Canadian goodwill mission led by Governor-General David Johnston met with the top tier of China's political leadership in Beijing on Thursday, agreeing to work more closely together on culture and winter sports.

The agreements mark a new effort to join hands with the world's second-largest economy as Canada prepares for a third round of free-trade exploratory talks in about two weeks, and an expected second visit to China by Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister later this year.

But an afternoon meeting between Mr. Johnston and Chinese President Xi Jinping inside Beijing's luxurious Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on Thursday also underscored the potential pitfalls for Ottawa in pursuing a new "golden era" with an authoritarian regime that keeps thousands of political prisoners and is regularly accused of torturing those who press for human rights.

The meeting began at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday. Five minutes later, imprisoned Chinese writer and democracy champion Liu Xiaobo died. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 for "his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China," and his death marked the first time since the Nazi era that a Nobel laureate died in custody.

Although the time for the Canadian meeting was confirmed far in advance, the seriousness of Mr. Liu's latestage liver cancer was well known - the Chinese hospital where he was kept issued grave updates on his health, warning this week that his organs were failing.

He died as Mr. Johnston and Mr. Xi exchanged pleasantries.

"You are an old friend of the Chinese people," Mr. Xi told Mr. Johnston.

"I'm willing to make joint efforts with you to push forward Sino-Canadian relations to achieve new levels of co-operation and communication," the Chinese President added. He later called for the two countries to "initiate negotiations on a freetrade agreement as soon as possible," state media reported.

Mr. Johnston reciprocated his host's warm feeling. "Mr. President, it's wonderful to be back in China. I feel I've returned home," he said.

"We are especially grateful to you for making time for us."

The two men later looked on as Chinese and Canadian officials signed a pair of deals meant to create new ties between the two countries. Canada pledged to co-operate on the development of China's Winter Olympics and Paralympics, and signed on to a new China-Canada joint committee on culture.

Then the meeting broke and the Canadians, including Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism, and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, moved to a formal dinner with Mr. Xi.

Hours later, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland issued a statement eulogizing Mr. Liu as a "giant of humanity" who "believed in the human quest for freedom, the certainty of political progress and the importance of dispelling hatred with love."

He "selflessly declared that he would 'forever be living with the guilt of a survivor and in awe of the souls of the dead.' Today, the world stands in awe of Mr. Liu, his example and his quest for a better world."

The statement said Mr. Liu "spent many years imprisoned for peacefully exercising his right to speak freely," but its tone contrasted with more damning responses from ministers in other countries, including British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who said of Mr. Liu's treatment by China: "This was wrong."

And the pictures of Mr. Xi and Mr. Johnston smiling together near the moment of Mr. Liu's death created a striking image of the uncomfortable situations that can arise conducting affairs with a regime in which the crushing of dissidents and promises of international amity are carried out by the same people.

The Canadian government in a recent internal report said China's treatment of its people is worsening. "In the past two years the overall trend for human rights continues in a decidedly negative direction," says the report, which was obtained by The Canadian Press.

Mr. Trudeau's government has urged China "to do more" on human rights, but also approved Chinese investments in sensitive sectors.

Canada has not, however, been silent on Mr. Liu. John McCallum, the former cabinet minister who is now ambassador to China, said in a statement on Wednesday: "We have repeatedly expressed our grave concerns about Mr. Liu's well-being to the Chinese authorities. ... We continue to appeal to China to uphold its international human-rights obligations, including freedom of expression, and to release those imprisoned for exercising their rights." And the Governor-General's trip has sought to elevate Canadian connections with China in areas such as innovation, elder care, support for the disabled and hockey - hardly unsavoury goals.

"We have to sell Canadian people that stronger ties with China is a good thing. And I am convinced that they are," Mr. McCallum said on Thursday in a meeting with the Communist Party Secretary of Beijing, who is also president of the city's Olympics organizing committee.

Conducting sports diplomacy will allow China to benefit from Canadian expertise on ice and snow - while also improving access to China for Canadian coaches, athletes and businesses before the 2022 Winter Olympics, Ms. Qualtrough said.

It "definitely is part of the trade agenda," she said. But cooperating on the Olympics and Paralympics also gives Canada a new platform to "advance the agenda for people with disabilities in China through the hosting of the games," she said.

Mr. Qualtrough offered sports, too, as a potential way to bridge some of the thorny questions with China. Forge bonds through sport, she said, and it can be "easier to have more difficult, heavier diplomatic discussions."

Canada is far from alone in grappling with how to navigate China's central importance to the global economy while maintaining a commitment to human rights.

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Mr. Liu "dedicated his life to the betterment of his country and humankind, and to the pursuit of justice and liberty" and "embodied the human spirit that the Nobel Prize rewards."

He was joined by other leaders in expressing anger and sorrow.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Mr. Liu a "courageous fighter for civil rights and freedom of expression."

But U.S. President Donald Trump expressed enthusiastic praise for China's President on Thursday, calling Mr. Xi "a friend of mine. I have great respect for him."

"He's a very talented man. I think he's a very good man," Mr. Trump said.

Associated Graphic

Governor-General David Johnston, far left, meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping, far right, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Thursday. Chinese and Canadian officials signed a pair of deals meant to create new ties between the two countries.


Selling the farm
Escaping city life for the charms of the country often requires a business plan
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

On a road trip in upstate New York, I once detoured to the former 19thcentury spa town of Sharon Springs to buy a $20 spoon. In fairness, it was an unusual pewter alloy, hand-moulded and based on an 18th-century fruit spoon design.

(Or something like that.) This was several years ago when farm brand Beekman 1802 was still a fledgling enterprise, well before NASDAQ named it one of the fastest-growing lifestyle brands in the U.S., but shortly after Beekman co-founder Brent Ridge had been working around the clock, maintaining the goat farm and making cakes of goat milk soap as fast as he could sell them to well-heeled Manhattanites in G order to keep up on mortgage payments.

Ridge, a physician, is the former vice president of the healthy living division at Martha Stewart Omnimedia, a job that didn't survive the 2008 economic downturn. Nor did the job of his now-husband Josh Kilmer-Purcell. Financial circumstances forced the duo out of New York to the 19th-century farm they'd purchased in 2007 as a weekend getaway. They were faced with a choice: make a go of it or lose it all. When a neighbouring farmer in a similar plight needed land for pasturing his herd, the city slickers became accidental goat farmers.

The Beekman boys branded their fi rst item in 2009 - goat milk soap, because it was easy to make - and by the time Beekman 1802's print-only quarterly launched in the fall of 2015, the publication, and by extension the lifestyle brand behind it, was dubbed the hottest newcomer by AdWeek and other industry heavies.

Today, the company acts as an umbrella brand, a sort of distributor-imprimatur for local artisans. Its FarmHouse furniture line at Target and the more mass-market bath and body care ranges (with scent names like "Fresh Air") it sells on The Shopping Channel in Canada are balanced with small-scale production from ceramicists and woodworkers.

The lesson for others: If you're buying the farm, saving it can depend on how well you sell it.

Such is the emotional allure of the imagined bucolic life as both entertainment and branding concept that last year several British supermarket chains came under fi re for creating fake farms as product branding names to mislead consumers. This spring, France's BHV department store opened a rooftop farm at its Paris flagship and is selling related products.

Today, dozens of Beekman products bear the tagline "Clean and simple. Just like country life." But make no mistake, it's sunrise to sunset labour, and while many may yearn to live the simpler farm life, most think better of it and are content to double-tap "like" on that image of lens flare over the barn and buy a spoon instead.

Unlike Beekman farm, Ted Pickering and Shauna Seabrook's alpaca farm in Prince Edward County, Ont., is open to the public and visits both virtual and real are part of their marketing and business plan. They bought the land in 2007 and added a small herd of alpaca five years ago. "We were looking for something that would satisfy that minimum requirement farm status, so as a folly we thought, 'Well, Shauna knits, we could shear the fleece,' and thought it would be the kind of business that [would keep us busy] as we rolled into retirement," Pickering says, with a laugh. "Except each only produces about eight to 10 skeins of yarn annually, which is really the equivalent to one generously knit sweater.

It became very obvious very quickly we needed to supplement it."

Chetwyn Farms has a plum location near the region's top wineries and a local lavender farm, and as they watched the cars rolling by they thought, "Holy cow we should open a shop!" Pickering says. Both in their 50s, the couple have career backgrounds in product development and non-profit fundraising; Pickering's work as a retail consultant also came in handy close to home.

To figure out the demographic and test product offerings ("whether somebody would actually pay $300 to $500 for a blanket," he says - and yes, many have), the pair fi rst operated a booth at the local farmer's market.

Today they have their own range of alpaca accessories and related products under the SHED banner as well as acting as stockist for a few local favourites like Stacey Hubbs' Edible Antiques heirloom seed packets. They're also developing collaborations with designers like artist Kate Golding in Picton and Alicia Adams in New York.

The skeins of yarn bear their source animal's name.

"Shauna would like to do sizesensitive clothing but we don't do sweaters right now because you're managing inventory," Pickering says. "Suddenly you're not a little farm shop in a chicken coop any more!"

In recent years, Pickering had noticed the evolution of experience-based retail, and says the alpaca experience on the farm isn't that different from a winery visit and tasting. "It's really about the sensibility. If you're buying a $32 tea towel, it's a remembrance of your day at the farm and it captures completely the feeling and flavour of the experience."

The rustic shop is at the sleek new entrance of the farm, but "we're not a petting zoo," Pickering cautions. "We're a farm first, and the way the shop is positioned takes advantage of the views into the paddock. It's a very natural sort of setting." They select the animals in their display herd with care, "choosing for colour, and have all the sub-looks like whites, blacks, greys and caramels," he says.

It's fitting that Chetwyn Farms commissioned the hand-woven blanket that was presented, during the royals' recent visit to the County, to the Prince of Wales on behalf of the Upper Canada Fibreshed, a regional association that supports sustainable agriculture and the small-scale textile industry. In addition to the launch of his promotional Campaign for Wool initiative in Britain, the Prince of Wales started the now-bestselling Duchy Originals brand (named after his Duchy of Cornwall title) as a small-farm organics and lifestyle brand on his Highgrove Estate in 1990.

While the lifestyle these farms sell may seem fresh, it's still old-fashioned hustle that makes it work. "Our social media - Facebook and all that - is integral to what we're doing on the farm," Pickering says. "Instagram is a farm chore now."

Associated Graphic

COUNTRY STRONG Shauna Seabrook and Ted Pickering (top left) bought Chetwyn Farms in Ontario's Prince Edward County in 2007. Over the past decade, the property has become the base and inspiration for SHED, their line of yarn, housewares and accessories.


In Wapekeka, a community grappling with suicide, calls grow for federal funding and local solutions
Monday, July 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

They have dismantled part of the outdoor rink on the Wapekeka First Nation.

While other Canadian kids go to their arenas to play hockey or chase each other around the ice, the children of the tiny fly-in community north of Thunder Bay look at their rink and think about the suicide of a friend.

On June 13, 12-year-old Jenera Roundsky hanged herself in one of the warming huts.

Her death came after two girls the same age killed themselves in January elsewhere on the reserve and set in motion a suicide watch of Wapekeka's young people that continues to this day.

"What we're doing right now is just trying to stabilize the community, the youth and that is the short-term goal," said Brennan Sainnawap, the chief of the First Nation of about 350 people. The remote village took care of one of its immediate needs by removing a portion of the rink that might have prompted other young people to consider ending their lives.

Children have been visiting the site since Jenera's death and community leaders were worried that they were doing so unsupervised.

First Nations leaders point out that many of their communities across Canada are searching for ways to stop young people from killing themselves.

The act is performed five to six times more often by First Nations youth than by other Canadian children.

They say broader strokes are necessary, including a change to the way the federal government delivers health-care funding to First Nations, so they can adequately respond to suicide crises when they hit. And they say the situation in Wapekeka proves their point.

The community went through a previous spate of 16 suicides between 1982 and 1999.

Those deaths abated after Wapekeka introduced a program of support largely centred around an annual conference that brought together hundreds of people to discuss prevention strategies and healing. That conference ran for two decades, but ended in 2014.

Two years later, it was discovered that six children living on the reserve had entered into a suicide pact - a number that eventually climbed to 10.

Wapekeka went to Health Canada in July, 2016, with a strategy for keeping the children from carrying out their plan.

It involved bringing a four-person mental-health team into the community to take a "holistic approach" to suicide prevention that would involve the children, their families and extended family members.

The cost would have been $376,706. But Health Canada's Ontario regional office did not have any extra resources at that time, a department official explained.

So no funds could immediately be provided.

Now, Wapekeka is once again in the middle of a crisis that has left the community mentally and physically exhausted.

Notes from conference calls that have taken place in recent weeks show that Mr. Sainnawap and other community members are desperately trying to ensure that the children who are most at risk are getting help.

They include the brother of one of the girls who died this year who subsequently tried to kill himself in the village playground, the 12-year-old boy who discovered Jenera's body and a 15-yearold girl who came home from Sioux Lookout to attend Jenera's funeral to find her own mother in the act of trying to hang herself.

The leaders of Wapekeka have called in the Canadian Rangers, a mobile force of army reservists who specialize in patrols, to watch for children who might be sneaking off to a solitary place to end their lives.

But they are also working on a five-year plan that Mr. Sainnawap says will be rolled out in phases and involves training his people in suicide prevention.

Valerie Gideon, an assistant deputy minister at Health Canada, says the suicides of First Nations people have become a top priority within her department.

All First Nations have access every year to a suite of mentalhealth and addictions programs that have been in existence for decades, she said.

That money is provided through five-year agreements and the communities have a lot of flexibility in terms of how it is spent, Ms. Gideon said. In Wapekeka's case, it amounts to about $650,000 annually.

In addition, the money for the four councillors that Wapekeka had requested last July was eventually approved last winter, after the first two suicides, and has since been extended for two years.

So the community now receives more than $900,000 annually for mental-health and suicide prevention, Ms. Gideon said.

"And since the terrible tragedies last winter, in addition to all of the community-based funding," she said, "we are also funding 24/7 counselling support on the ground in Wapekeka."

But Isadore Day, the Ontario regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations, said all of that federal money is still provided as line items on a budget and not through continuing block funding that can be accessed quickly by First Nations.

The fact that Wapekeka was denied its request for a suicide-prevention team at a time that the money was desperately needed, is proof that the current system does not work, Mr. Day said.

Rather than pay for individual mental-health programs that require frequent reapproval by Ottawa, give the money to a First Nations health authority that can act decisively and responsibly in a First Nation's interest, he said "That will allow us greater ability to be within the decision-making process," Mr. Day said.

"It will cut the level of red tape, it will cut the level of cost expenditures going to a bureaucracy that knows nothing of our communities and it will get the monies closer to the communities."

Mike Kirlew, a doctor who has worked with the First Nations people of Northwestern Ontario for more than a decade, agrees that the Indigenous health system needs a funding overhaul.

"When they [Wapekeka's leaders] detected that there could be a hint of a suicide pact or an increased rate of suicide, they developed a comprehensive plan that was community centred, that was based on community values, and it was not funded.

And six months later, two girls lost their lives ..." Dr. Kirlew said.

"Help us transform the system so we are not in crisis-response mode," he said.

Back in Wapekeka, the suicide watch continues, but the chief is determined to get past the point of continual crisis response, past the time when the locations of suicides must be dismantled to stop copycats.

"Right now, we are just concentrating on the youth, to stabilize them. But we need the whole community to come on board - the parents, the elders, everybody," Mr. Sainnawap said, because "eventually it is just going to be the community that is going to help themselves."

Spieth weathers gusts for Open lead
American turns in a brilliant short game in strong winds to take a two-shot advantage into the weekend in the British Open
The Associated Press
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S5

SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND -- Jordan Spieth expected a rough time at the British Open before he even got to the golf course.

He spent Friday morning at his rented house in front of the TV, watching players battle a relentless wind at Royal Birkdale, all the while checking a forecast that was even worse for when he played in the afternoon.

"It wasn't a great feeling knowing we were coming into something harder than what we were watching," he said.

Spieth did more than just survive.

With a short game as sharp as it has been all year, and a 3-wood that turned out a lot better than it looked and led to an eagle, Spieth seized control with a one-under 69 that gave him a two-shot lead over Matt Kuchar going into the weekend.

Spieth turned a bogey or worse into an unlikely par by chipping in from just short of the 10th green. And he learned enough from watching TV to know that going a little long on the par-five 15th would give him a better birdie chance than playing short. So he switched from a 3-iron to a 3-wood, hit it a little off the neck and watched it run hot and fast some 100 yards along the wet turf to about 18 feet away.

"I mis-hit the shot, which is probably why it looked so gross," Spieth said. "I hit it low off the heel, which is easy to do when you're trying to carve a cut. And it just ... one hop, scooted around the group of bunkers there, and then it was obviously fortunate to get all the way to the green."

The flight of that 3-wood looked as ugly as the weather.

The outcome was as bright as his chances of getting his name on another major championship trophy.

Spieth was at six-under 134. It was the 12th time he has been atop the leaderboard at a major, including the fourth rounds of the Masters and U.S. Open that he won in 2015. Spieth is the sole leader at a major for the first time since the third round of the Masters last year, when he was runner-up to Danny Willett.

"Anytime you're in the last group on a weekend in a major ... you get nervous. And I'll be feeling it this weekend a bit," he said. "But I enjoy it. As long as I approach it positively and recognize that this is what you want to feel because you're in the position you want to be in, then the easier it is to hit solid shots and to create solid rounds."

Austin Connelly, a dual Canadian-American citizen who was born in Irving, Tex., is five shots back after a 72. He's in a tie for sixth at one under. Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., struggled in his second round and missed the cut at 13 over.

Kuchar played in the morning in steadily strong wind, but without rain, and pieced together a solid round until a few mistakes at the end for a 71. He was at 4-under 136, and it would have been a good bet that he would be leading with the nasty weather that arrived.

"I think that's what people enjoy about the British Open is watching the hard wind, the rain, the guys just trying to survive out there," Kuchar said.

"Today is my day. I get to kick back in the afternoon and watch the guys just try to survive."

He wound up watching another short-game clinic from Spieth.

The key to his round came in the middle, starting with a 10foot par putt on No. 8 after he drove into a pot bunker. The biggest break came at No. 10, when the rain was pounding Royal Birkdale. Spieth hit into another pot bunker off the tee, could only advance it out sideways, and came up short of the green in light rough.

"Massive," he said about the chip-in par. "Nothing said 'four' about this hole. I feel a little guilty about taking four on the card."

And he wasn't through just yet. Spieth rolled in a 35-foot birdie putt across the 11th green, and then after watching Henrik Stenson's tee shot on the parthree 12th land softly, Spieth realized he could take on the flag.

He hit 7-iron to two feet for another birdie, and followed that with a beautiful pitch to tap-in range for par on the 13th.

Even so, his work is far from over. The chasing pack features U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, who failed to make a birdie but stayed in the hunt with 16 pars in a 72, and Ian Poulter with his new-found confidence, which is rising even higher with the support of the English crowd. Poulter shot 70.

Not to be overlooked was Rory McIlroy, who recovered from a horrific start Thursday to salvage a 71, and then kept right on rolling. McIlroy, who was five over through the opening six holes of the tournament, ran off three birdies with full control of every shot on the front nine.

And much like Spieth, he kept his round together with crucial par saves early on the back nine when the wind was at its worse.

McIlroy posted a 68 and was at one-under 139, only five shots behind with only five players in front of him.

"To be in after two days and be under par for this championship after the way I started, I'm ecstatic with that," McIlroy said.

Not everyone got off so easy.

Justin Thomas, who started the second round just two shots behind, drove into the gorse on the first hole and took double bogey. That wasn't nearly as bad as the sixth hole, where he tried three times to hammer out of the thick native grass well right of the fairway. He couldn't find the ball after the third one, and he wound up taking a quintuple-bogey nine. Thomas made another double bogey on the 13th hole and shot 80.

Spieth never looked as if he was under any stress, except for his tee shot into the bunker on No. 8. A British writer suggested a lip-reader could have detected some choice words coming out of his mouth. Spieth smiled and replied, "I speak American. You probably didn't understand me."

The language of his clubs - especially the wedge and the putter - was all too familiar.

Associated Graphic

Jordan Spieth plays from a bunker on the 14th hole during the Open Golf Championship near Southport, England, on Friday.


k.d. lang collection finds home in Alberta
Big, Big Love, an exhibit featuring a number of items donated by the musician, opens this week at Calgary's National Music Centre
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R4

k.d. lang received a personal tour of the National Music Centre in Calgary from its president and CEO Andrew Mosker, and she liked what she saw - a lot. So much that she offered him her collection.

"When I saw the museum, I was like: I would love to give you my clothes; I have all my clothes; I have Junos, I have Grammys, I have gold records that I don't use or display, I would love you to have them," lang says. "It was a beautiful collective match."

The 56-year-old lang donated a number of items to the NMC, which opened in Calgary's East Village just over a year ago. She also provided loans for a temporary exhibition looking at her career. Big, Big Love: k.d. lang on Stage opened this week at Studio Bell, the physical home of the NMC.

"It's an amazing honour and it's kind of circuitous that all my sort of material items would end up back in Alberta, including myself," says lang, who was born in Edmonton, grew up in Consort, Alta., and now divides her time between Calgary and Portland, Ore. "It's a funny circuitous turn."

The exhibition's artifacts include instruments - such as the custom-made black acoustic guitar with decorative crow inlay (lang has a thing for crows) and white mandolin (this one has a rooster) from her 1989 Absolute Torch and Twang tour. The show also features more than 20 costumes, including her iconic mid-1980s cowpunk stage outfit; the striped shirt she wore in her Constant Craving video; the ball gown from her Miss Chatelaine video; and the fringed westernstyle outfit she wore for the closing ceremony of the 1988 Calgary Olympics - a favourite of hers.

Viewers will also see awards, including her beloved first Juno, which she painted with friends after she won it (in 1985 for Most Promising Female Vocalist). She says it's probably her most precious item - and yet she does not display her awards at home.

"I feel like that stuff can impede my thinking in a way," she says, when asked about that decision.

"I always like to work from a place of feeling like I'm [new].

That I'm just beginning; that I'm swimming upstream. So I don't want to remind myself necessarily of my accomplishments.

Because I think in a way it can weigh my spirit down a little tiny bit."

Lang is speaking as she prepares to launch her Ingénue Redux tour, marking the 25th anniversary of her breakthrough album, Ingénue. A 25th anniversary reissue is also out this month. Ingénue was lang's second solo effort and it shot her into the stratosphere. But it was a gamble, she says, when asked about the experience of making the record with key collaborator Ben Mink.

"It felt honest; it felt like Ben and I kind of decided to move away from the country thing. I really wanted to get back to the influences that really I felt were closest to home - Joni and jazz and Ben's Eastern European influences.

"I was scared," she says. "I thought we were going to get killed for it and we did get a lot of bad press at the beginning, but it felt honest. And it felt like a real natural pivot in terms of longevity and focusing on what feeds me as a musician. We just put our heads down and made music that we felt."

In addition to the move away from traditional country music, the album was a risky departure from the mainstream in other ways.

"I made a conscious decision to not ornament my vocal style; to keep it really still. It's a very meditative record. I wouldn't say a dirge necessarily, but it's very introspective and very insular and it was just very different than what was happening at the time."

The impact of that album on lang's life was enormous; she describes it as "good, bad, ugly, amazing, surreal." But it catapulted her to superstardom. She was all over the radio, burning up the music charts and became a darling of American media, from The New York Times to late-night TV to Barbara Walters. She came out publicly on the cover of The Advocate, and then there was that infamous Annie Leibovitz cover of Vanity Fair, which featured lang lying back in a barber chair while swimsuit-clad supermodel Cindy Crawford gave her a shave. There was a lot of focus on her sexuality. "k.d. lang is the type of politically radical vegetarian lesbian defender of wildlife you'd want to bring home to mother," began the July, 1992, Times profile.

A quarter-century later, lang says going through the old material was unnerving and emotional as she prepared to launch the tour July 18 in Melbourne, Australia. "A lot of memories, a lot of everything came rushing through me, coursing through me when I first listened and I started preparing for the tour," she says.

"But as time went on, I sort of started to realize that, similar to a film director who makes a film based on a book that's been around for 25, 30 years, it's probably best to not superimpose your own emotions on it too much and just sort of offer it in the most open, most unfiltered way, so that the audience can listen and experience their own emotions with it.

And hopefully the audience who are coming have had a relationship with the record."

We discuss the idea that a work of art is not complete until it has been experienced by a listener - or reader or viewer.

"I don't think art is ever finished, because a new experience is a type of rebirth. So it dies and is reborn and in nanoseconds," she says. "There are times when you walk away from it and there are times when you're reacquainted with it or someone else is reacquainted with it. I guess it's kind of like air. You breathe it, but it's not over; it goes on and becomes something else."

Big, Big Love: k.d. lang on Stage runs through June 1, 2018. The Canadian leg of her Ingénue Redux tour begins Aug. 12 in Victoria, and ends Sept. 19 in Hamilton. Visit

Associated Graphic

k.d. lang calls a National Music Centre's exhibit about her career, featuring many of her costumes and instruments, 'an amazing honour.'


This outfit is one of several of k.d. lang's iconic costumes on display at the National Music Centre in Calgary.


A study in disciplined saving
Helen's goals include buying her own home and finding 'a relatively simple and efficient way to invest'
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B11

With a $70,000-a-year teaching job and some savings under her belt, Helen wants to map out her financial future, from buying a car to retiring one day. She's 25, single and living in Alberta.

Helen's other goals include going back to school for a Master's degree in education, buying a place of her own in four years and devising some investment strategies.

"I am looking for a relatively simple and efficient way to invest," Helen writes in an e-mail.

She describes her risk tolerance as medium. "What financial investments would be best for my level of interest?" she asks. So far, she's been a do-it-yourself investor, having set up a self-directed brokerage account in her tax-free savings account.

If she stays with her current employer, Helen will have a defined-benefit pension plan partly indexed to inflation when she retires at the age of 65. She wonders when she should start contributing to a registered retirement savings plan or whether she needs one at all.

We asked Morgan Ulmer, owner of Calgary-based financial counselling firm CentsAbility, to look at Helen's situation.

What the expert says Helen has done an admirable job of saving during her career so far, Ms. Ulmer says. Laying this strong foundation was prudent because her cost of living will rise after she buys a vehicle and a home.

Helen figures she'll have to pay $30,000 for a car that she would use for anywhere from five to eight years. Helen is in the enviable position of having enough cash saved to pay for a vehicle outright. She should use this to her advantage. She could buy a new vehicle where paying cash triggers a "cash-back" bonus.

Alternatively, Helen could buy a reliable used vehicle that will last her desired five-to-eight-year time frame.

For Helen, financing a vehicle would only make sense if she found a zero-per-cent financing deal that does not require her giving up a cash-back option, Ms. Ulmer says. If getting a zero-percent deal means forsaking a $5,000 cash-back offer, then the "free" financing is a red herring.

Helen should direct her surplus cash to fund her medium-term goal of buying a home. She plans to buy in the $400,000 range in 2021. After the car purchase, she will have $32,504 left in her savings accounts.

If Helen can save $1,400 a month for four years, that plus the $32,504, earning 1 per cent a year in a savings account, will give her $102,350. (These projections do not incorporate Helen's TFSA savings.) "This savings plan would give her a 20-per-cent down payment of a home worth $512,000," Ms. Ulmer says. This amount builds in some allowances for real estate appreciation by 2021.

The extra savings could also cover any emergencies Helen might encounter over the next few years and give her more flexibility in her choice of a place to live. Any funds remaining could be used for a larger down payment or to help cover real estate transaction costs and furnishings.

Putting 20 per cent down is prudent because it would save Helen more than $15,000 in CMHC premiums over the life of the mortgage, Ms. Ulmer says.

Fortunately, Helen's employer will pay for her Master's program if she has been working for seven years. She plans to take advantage of this benefit and begin working toward her Master's degree part time in 2023.

Even though Helen has stated that she can tolerate some risk, a four-year time-horizon until she buys a house makes investing her savings earmarked for the down payment in market-based securities such as stocks or bonds unadvisable, Ms. Ulmer says. "The risk of a market decrease over a four-year time horizon could jeopardize her principal and the goal of a 20-per-cent down payment by 2021."

Helen's budget shows that she has an extra $1,750 each month.

Assuming $1,400 a month is saved toward home ownership, Helen has an extra $350 to be saved or spent.

Helen could verify the accuracy of her budget figures by tracking her expenses over the next three months. If in fact she does have another $350 a month, some of that money should be automatically invested in market-based securities within her TFSA. "With her down-payment savings already looked after, these extra savings give Helen a chance for higher returns, as well as the flexibility to use them toward her home purchase or another longer-term goal that may crop up over time," Ms. Ulmer says.

As for simple and efficient ways to invest, Helen is already using a trading account for her TFSA. If she is comfortable and satisfied with her current system, she can continue as is, the planner says.

She should investigate the fees she is paying on her current investments and ensure she feels that she is getting value for her money. Some easy ways for a medium-risk investor to invest in a TFSA include low-fee balanced mutual funds or index exchangetraded funds. If Helen wants some investment guidance at a low price, she could also look into online portfolio managers, more commonly known as robo-advisers.

Does Helen need an RRSP?

"The short answer is no," Ms. Ulmer says. Helen's public-service pension will provide for a comfortable retirement, especially since she joined it at a young age.


The person: Helen, 25

The problem: Laying out a financial plan for the next several years .

The plan: Use some cash to buy a car. Save $1,400 each month in a savings account toward a down payment on a house. Any extra should go to longer-term investments within her TFSA to shelter potential income tax. She probably doesn't need an RRSP.

The payoff: A clear path to the big goal of home ownership

Monthly net income: $4,525

Assets: Bank savings accounts $62,504; TFSA $12,923; estimated present value of DB pension plan $15,735. Total: $91,162

Monthly outlays: Rent $650; tenant's insurance $25; electricity $25; transportation $245; grocery store $300; clothing $75; gifts, charitable $40; vacation, travel $150; other discretionary $50; grooming $75; dining, entertainment $170; sports, hobbies $50; other personal $25; dentists, drugstore $50; cellphone, Internet $135; pension plan contributions $710.

Total: $2,775 Surplus: $1,750

Liabilities: None Want a free financial facelift?


Some details may be changed to protect the privacy of the persons profiled.

Associated Graphic


Canada 150 projects given extra funds
Ottawa gives additional $9.3-million to 11 of 38 'signature' programs, but Canadian Heritage says money was already accounted for
Monday, July 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A3

OTTAWA -- The federal government is awarding millions of dollars in extra funding to some of its key Canada 150 projects to shore up budgets, compensate for lower-thanexpected private fundraising and help projects promote themselves in a crowded field.

Even though Canada Day has come and gone, dozens of Ottawa's key projects - pitched by private companies and funded from federal coffers - are still under way. Collectively, they seek to engage millions of Canadians in celebrating their country through activities such as public talks, film viewings and competitions.

The funding for these 38 "signature projects" represents almost 40 per cent of the $200-million the federal government is spending to recognize the 150th anniversary of Confederation. The rest of the funds pay for major anniversary events, such as July 1 on Parliament Hill, and hundreds of smaller projects across the country. When combined with the money set aside to fix up community buildings under the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program, Ottawa is spending more than half a billion dollars to commemorate the country's birthday.

A spokesman for the Heritage Minister says the $9.3-million in additional funds for 11 of the signature projects has already been accounted for.

"For us, the eventual need for supplemental funding for some projects had been predicted and there was a reserve in the Canada 150 signature envelope. This is not new money," spokesman PierreOlivier Herbert said.

Canadian Heritage budgeted $79-million in total for the signature projects and expects an average of 500,000 Canadians to participate in each one, according to the department's annual report to Parliament.

The biggest top-up was provided to the RDV 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, under which more than 40 "cathedrals of the sea" are scheduled to make stops in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. Approved by the Harper government in 2015, the project initially received $7-million.

That amount has been boosted by an extra $3.4-million to cover "docking licence fees," Canadian Heritage said.

A spokesperson for Heritage explained that the additional funding for Rendez-vous Naval de Quebec, the company behind the program, was used to add 20 days in August to the event and increase the number of cities visited by the tall ships.

The most expensive signature project is Sesqui, a travelling cinematic show that seeks to marry cutting-edge art and technology with a film of Canadian landscapes projected inside custombuilt domes.

The project, billed as "this generation's Expo 67" in its application for Canada 150 funds, received an initial $9.5-million investment from the government, followed up by an extra $1-million last year when anticipated support from provincial and corporate sponsors did not materialize. Sesqui cut down its national dome tour to just Ontario, but produced new film and virtual-reality content that still allowed it to schedule events in cities across the country.

"We did have our project scope change based on support levels last year, but through partnerships across the country, we're on target to reach our targets for participation," spokesperson Sean Moffitt said in an e-mail.

For most of the signature projects, federal Heritage funding is only one source of revenue, with other government or private sources making up the balance.

The Students on Ice Foundation, which received $4.8-million from Heritage to pilot an icebreaker for a 150-day journey from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage, received an additional $2-million earlier this year to fill a fundraising gap and to participate in Winterlude.

"Over the two years of planning for the Canada C3 project, the scale, scope and budget also grew," said Students on Ice president Geoff Green. "It became much more than a voyage of celebration. It became a voyage of reconciliation, science, education and a massive communication platform. With all that, the overall project budget went over $10-million."

In the case of an exchange program called Canada 150 & Me, which initially received $700,000 from the government, organizers found $500,000 in external funding. However, they were still short and the government pitched in an additional $200,000.

Deborah Morrison, president of Experiences Canada, said that as part of the project, 450 kids travelled around the country to participate in forums on issues such as human rights, immigration and the environment.

"Our choice was either to reduce the number of kids travelling or cut back on the programming, and we made a decision together it was worth the additional investment," she said.

ParticipAction, which received $4.9-million from Heritage, says an extra $500,000 helped it add events to its 150 Playlist program to promote physical fitness.

CEO Elio Antunes said the government is funding only about a third of the project's overall budget, the rest is coming from corporate sponsors such as Manulife and Chevrolet.

"We have leveraged the government money significantly to attract additional investment," Mr. Antunes said.

He added that the project got a lot of attention when it debuted late last year, but that became harder to get Canadians engaged as other Canada 150 programs picked up.

"Leading up to July 1, there was lots of activity, both governmentsponsored and otherwise. So it's been a bit tougher to break through," Mr. Antunes said.

Another organization received additional funds to expand its plans for the Canada Day weekend.

A non-profit group called WE got an extra $1-million on top of its initial funding of $500,000 to put together a July 2 show on Parliament Hill that featured Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip and artists such as Nelly Furtado.

Organizers predicted a crowd of up to 100,000 for the show, but the RCMP estimate only 14,000 attended. The show was also broadcast online.

Not all signature projects have launched yet.

Vox Pop Labs, which received $576,500, had planned a spring unveiling for its Project Tessera nationwide survey on what it means to be Canadian. But after receiving the results of its original pilot studies, the firm needed time to readjust its methods, CEO Clifton van der Linden said, and Vox Pop's media partner, CBC, pushed for a fall launch.

4Rs Youth Movement, which received $398,000 to produce a series of gatherings for young people to discuss Indigenous issues, says it hopes to begin its programming in August.

Associated Graphic

Winnipeggers form a 'Living Leaf' as part of Canada 150 celebrations on July 1. Canadian Heritage budgeted $79-million in total for a number of 'signature projects' and expects an average of 500,000 Canadians to participate in each one, according to the department's annual report to Parliament.


Well suited
What started as the antithesis of fashion, the jumpsuit, is now the trendiest item in men's wear. Jeremy Freed marvels at the wearability of the singular style
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L4

In 1920, an advertisement appeared in the Italian newspaper La Nazione for a new kind of clothing. Composed of straight lines, a few seams, a handful of buttons and a belt, the "TuTa" was a one-piece unisex coverall designed to be functional, stylish and easily reproduced. The advertisement included a pattern as well as a pronouncement from its creator, hailing the TuTa as "the most innovative, futuristic garment ever produced in the history of Italian fashion."

This wasn't just hype. The TuTa, or as it's better known, the jumpsuit, turned out to be one of the most successful fashion designs ever created - just not in the way it was intended.

The TuTa's creator, Ernesto Michahelles, was a Florentine artist better known by his pseudonym, Thayaht. A sculptor, painter and industrial designer, Thayaht aligned himself with the Italian Futurist movement, a group of impassioned young men obsessed with burning down the gilded, silk-trimmed old world and replacing it with one defined by mechanization, speed and modernity. The futurists saw fashion and foppery as serious problems facing society and the TuTa was their solution.

While the futurists would go on to become staunch proponents of fascism (Thayaht's most famous painting is a representation of Mussolini flanked by airplanes and barbed wire), some of their ideas about creating a better world were more palatable. Which brings us back to the TuTa.

Show me a vision of the utopian future and I'll show you someone dressed in a jumpsuit. By almost universal agreement, when asked to envision a time when humanity has solved a great many of its problems, our best creative minds all predict the disappearance of fashion and its replacement by a sturdy garment that's a shirt and pants in one. Part of this is certainly due to the fact that in the future we'll spend a lot more time on spaceships, but it also simply makes sense. How much time we'd save - and how many resources - if instead of following the whims of hemlines, trouser widths and statement accessories we could all just agree to wear the same thing every day. Despite the fact that I make my living writing about fashion, I find this idea immensely appealing.

In 2011, I went to Paris for fashion week. Aside from drinking at the Hemingway Bar at The Ritz, and eating a life-changing jambon beurre, the most memorable thing about that trip was a beautiful, supple and buttery soft deerskin jumpsuit I saw at the Hermès men's-wear show. I was familiar with this type of one-piece as a boilerman's uniform and as the stage costume of both Ziggy Stardust and aloha-era Elvis, but this one was something quite different. It was tough, masculine and utilitarian while somehow remaining completely impractical. I was fascinated. As much as I wanted one, however, I wasn't sure how it would fi t into my wardrobe. What works for Bowie, I reasoned, doesn't necessarily work for me. The jumpsuit has had a cultural moment in just about every decade since its inception, from the olive drab mechanic's uniform of Second World War to the fl oppy-collared disco onesie, to the neon-hued ski suits of the 1980s. Rappers favoured them in the '90s and they're perennially popular with toddlers.

Now, after a few years' absence, they are suddenly everywhere again. Louis Vuitton, Armani, and J.W. Anderson all had a go at creating the perfect jumpsuit this spring, as did Rick Owens, Junya Watanabe and Levis. There's also the infamous RompHim men's romper, but the less that is said about it, the better. Some are more wearable than others, and each is appealing in its own way, but the question remains: How does one actually wear a jumpsuit in real life? I fi nally worked up the courage to buy a jumpsuit a few months ago in Japan. I found mine at a uniform shop in a part of Tokyo full of restaurant supply stores. The fi rst time I wore it out of the house I felt like I was walking around in a tuxedo or a fi refi ghter's uniform. It seemed like people were staring at me, and I didn't know if that was good or bad. The feedback, however, was quite positive. "Don't you look snazzy in your jumpsuit," said a colleague who's old enough to remember how fetching Elizabeth Taylor looked in hers. "I should get one of those for work," said a writer friend who'd heard J.D. Salinger used to wear one.

"You look like Tom Cruise in Top Gun," said my editor. I'm pretty sure this wasn't true, but it was too good a compliment to turn down. It's impossible to say with certainty what Thayaht would have thought of Ziggy Stardust, Top Gun or Diddy and Mace in the video for Mo Money Mo Problems, but I'm pretty sure he'd be disappointed. The average person probably spends more time, money and resources on fashion now than ever before. Indeed, while the TuTa has been embraced with equal enthusiasm by celebrities on red carpets and tradespeople who perform oil changes on cars, it has largely been ignored by its intended audience: the vast numbers of normal people doing everyday things. Why put on a coverall to run to the store when you can wear jeans and a T-shirt? Or around the house, when you can slip on cozy sweats? I'm sure there are offi ces in which a jumpsuit would be appropriate attire, but I don't know anybody who works in one.

I like my jumpsuit, though. I wore it out to lunch one day, and to meet friends for drinks on a couple of occasions and it served me well. It's comfortable, has enough pockets for all of my stuff and is remarkably easy to accessorize. Thayaht knew this, of course - that was the whole point. He probably wouldn't have approved of his invention being co-opted by the fashion world, but perhaps it's not all bad news: this summer may be the closest he'll ever come to achieving his dream of a one-piece unisex utopian future.

Associated Graphic

SUIT SUPPLY Columnist Jeremy Freed (top) sports a pair of Levi's Orange Tab coveralls, one of the season's more affordable jumpsuit options. Designer labels including (above, from top to bottom), J.W. Anderson, Louis Vuitton and Salvatore Ferragamo all offered their own swish versions for summer. GETTY (RUNWAY).


Tories slam Trudeau for Khadr payout
Conservatives take to the Internet and U.S. media to lambaste Ottawa over apology and compensation to former child soldier
Wednesday, July 19, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A4

OTTAWA -- Federal Conservatives are mounting an aggressive cross-border campaign against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his government's $10.5-million payment to Omar Khadr, appearing in U.S. media outlets and launching a website criticizing the Liberal government's decision to compensate and apologize to the former child soldier and Guantanamo detainee.

This week, Conservative MP and former journalist Peter Kent drew significant U.S. attention to the case after he wrote an opinion piece about the payment in the Wall Street Journal, calling it a "cynical subversion of Canadian principles," while Conservative MP Michelle Rempel appeared on Fox News with host Tucker Carlson to lambaste the government.

"Most Canadians are absolutely outraged about this," Ms. Rempel said during her in-studio visit.

When Mr. Carlson asked if the payment was "a way of giving the finger to the United States," Ms. Rempel replied, "I think that this should have played out in a court of law."

Ontario Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant also targeted Canadian journalists in a faux newscaststyle Facebook video, accusing the "elite-stream media" of "fake news" stories about Mr. Khadr to keep the Liberals in power. The video has since been taken down, but was saved by Press Progress, the media project from the leftleaning Broadbent Institute.

The federal Conservative Party recently launched a website, called "Khadr Questions," with suggested social-media posts questioning why and when Mr. Trudeau's government made its decision to compensate "a convicted and self-confessed terrorist."

"Justin Trudeau has made Khadr one of the wealthiest men in Canada," it says.

The Liberals quickly shot back at the opposition. Stephen Fuhr, the Liberal MP for Kelowna-Lake Country in British Columbia, called the Tory website an example of the "unacceptable politics of fear and division that has become a hallmark of [leader] Andrew Scheer," in a statement provided by the Prime Minister's Office.

One of Mr. Trudeau's top advisers, Gerald Butts, weighed in on Twitter, suggesting Mr. Scheer's Conservatives have abandoned the bipartisanship that defined interim leader Rona Ambrose's tenure. "The Canada-U.S. relationship should be above domestic politics. For a brief moment, between permanent CPC leaders, it was," he wrote in one tweet.

In reference to Mr. Kent's article, Mr. Butts tweeted: "A long CPC tradition of airing Canadian disputes in the Wall Street Journal. It's where Stephen Harper advocated for joining the Iraq War." He also said Mr. Khadr "beat the federal government three times at the Supreme Court" because he "got tortured in Guantanamo."

Mr. Trudeau has publicly defended the government's apology and settlement, saying Mr. Khadr's rights had to be defended.

"The Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects all Canadians, every one of us, even when it is uncomfortable," Mr. Trudeau said at the end of this month's Group of 20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. "This is not about the detail of the merits of the Khadr case. When the government violates any Canadian's Charter rights, we all end up paying for it."

The Toronto-born Mr. Khadr was captured in Afghanistan at the age of 15 in 2002, following a shootout with U.S. troops in which he was badly wounded. He was accused of throwing a grenade that killed U.S. Army medic Christopher Speer in the firefight and was sent to the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Mr. Khadr, now 30, spent more than 10 years in U.S. and Canadian custody, much of that time in Guantanamo. Once the youngest detainee there, he was transferred to Canada in 2012 after accepting a plea deal.

He now argues the acts he is accused of committing as a 15year-old in Afghanistan were not war crimes at the time and says he only pleaded guilty to throwing the grenade that killed Mr. Speer as a way out of American captivity.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2010 that the actions of federal officials who participated in U.S. interrogations of Mr.

Khadr had offended "the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects." At the U.S. military prison, Mr. Khadr was subjected to physical pain, isolation, sleep deprivation, shackling in stressful positions and threatened with rape.

Mr. Khadr's lawyers had filed a $20-million lawsuit against the federal government. Mr. Trudeau recently said he understands why Canadians are angry about the payout, but insisted a court case would have ended up costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars more. "I share those concerns about the money. In fact, that's why we settled," Mr. Trudeau told reporters last week.

The payment stymied efforts by Mr. Speer's widow, Tabitha Speer, and Layne Morris, a fellow Delta Force soldier who was blinded in one eye during the 2002 firefight, to stop the government from settling with Mr. Khadr.

Ms. Speer and Mr. Morris won a 2015 default judgment in Utah against Mr. Khadr for $134-million (U.S.) in damages for his alleged actions in Afghanistan, and want courts in Canada to recognize and enforce that judgment. Mr. Khadr was in prison and did not defend himself.

Conservative Party spokesman Cory Hann said the Khadr website was created "due to the overwhelming amount of questions Canadians have surrounding the $10-million taxpayer-funded payout to an admitted and convicted terrorist." The Liberal government has faced a public backlash against the apology and payment to Mr. Khadr, with a public-opinion survey showing 71 per cent of Canadians opposed the deal.

Mr. Hann denied, however, that the personal data collected on the site will be used for fundraising purposes.

"This is not a fundraising website and no fundraising will be done off it. It's meant to keep people up to date on the story and allow them to share the questions they have that the Liberals refuse to answer," he wrote.

An online fundraiser set up by right-wing Rebel Media, which aims to raise $1-million for Mr. Speer's two teenage children, had raised almost $200,000 by midday Tuesday.

Matthew Dubé, the NDP's public safety critic, blamed both the former Conservative and Liberal governments for causing the controversy in the first place.

"New Democrats have always maintained that Omar Khadr's case should be handled by Canadian authorities in accordance with Canadian law, free from political interference. It's very troubling to see Conservatives continue to play politics by fundraising off the case," he said in a statement.

"If past Liberal and Conservative governments had done their jobs, there would be no need for this compensation."

With a report from The Canadian Press

'An inspired choice' to represent the Queen
Those who have taught and worked with Julie Payette have nothing but praise for a 'brilliant ... hard-working ... a bit intense' woman, John Ibbitson reports
Friday, July 14, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A9

In the late 1980s, Julie Payette asked Graeme Hirst, a computer specialist at the University of Toronto, if she could take one of his courses. The answer was no.

Ms. Payette was a graduate student in computer engineering and Prof. Hirst's field was computer science; she lacked the necessary prerequisites, he told her.

But Ms. Payette "does not take no for an answer," he recalled Thursday. Not only did she take the course, filling in the prerequisites in her spare time, Prof. Hirst ended up co-supervising her master's thesis in the area of computational linguistics.

"Brilliant ... hard-working ... a bit intense," said Prof. Hirst, describing a student who excelled at whatever she turned her hand to. She was, he thought, a natural choice for Canada's space program in the 1990s. And he believes she is a natural choice to be Canada's next governor-general.

Being an astronaut is perfect training for being a governorgeneral. Both must serve as an ambassador for Canada to the world and to Canadians themselves. And both may be called upon to make difficult choices under considerable pressure. Ms. Payette shone in these tasks as an astronaut and will as well as the Queen's representative in Canada, predicted Prof. Michael Stumm, who taught Ms. Payette at U of T. "She'll be stupendous."

Born in Montreal in 1963, the daughter of a theatre accountant and an engineer, Ms. Payette was a stellar student at McGill University, where she came to the attention of Claude Guay, an IBM executive then and now. He hired the student intern after she graduated. "It was clear right away that we had a very gifted individual," Mr. Guay recalls. "People would rave about the kind of work that she would do. ... We were actually very disappointed when she left."

In Toronto, as well as getting a graduate degree in engineering, Ms. Payette sang for three years in the choir of Tafelmusik, the acclaimed baroque chamber orchestra. She took a copy of their recording of Handel's Messiah with her into space, "which was very cool," said choir director Ivars Taurins. Is she competitive?

When Mr. Taurins told Ms. Payette that she would be singing with the second, rather than the first, sopranos for Bach's Mass in B Minor, she practically cried.

Upon graduation, Ms. Payette worked with IBM in Zurich and Bell-Northern Research in Montreal, before becoming one of four chosen from more than 5,000 applicants in 1992 to become an astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency. Marc Garneau, who was one of Canada's first astronauts, was on the committee that selected her.

"It was a no-brainer to choose her back then," said Mr. Garneau, who is now the federal Minister of Transport.

Ms. Payette had an impressive background in science and engineering, she was multilingual, a lover of the arts - an articulate, cosmopolitan personality who was curious about the world. "I couldn't be more pleased" by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's decision to recommend Ms. Payette as governor-general, he said in an interview. "It's an inspired choice."

As part of her training, Ms. Payette learned Russian (she is also conversant in Spanish, Italian and German and idiomatic in English and French) and earned a pilot's licence. She flew in 1999 in the space shuttle Discovery to the International Space Station, and again in Endeavour in 2009. From 2000 to 2007, she was chief astronaut of the Canadian Space Agency.

After leaving the agency in 2013, she spent three years as chief operating officer of the Montreal Science Centre, leaving abruptly in 2016. She has also served on various boards, including a board of advisers at McGill's faculty of engineering. "She's been looking at science education for quite some time," said Benoit Boulet, the faculty's associate dean, and pays particular attention to encouraging women to enter STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

Personally, Ms. Payette is a "kind, gracious, people kind of person," Prof. Hirst said. "She was like that as a student and she was like that as an astronaut as well."

She can be very direct and demanding, setting high standards, not only for herself, but for those she works with. In 2011, Ms. Payette spent a year at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. "She's a real person," says David Biette, who was director of the Canada Institute at the time.

"She's not this perfect little butterfly who went up in space ... I don't think she has a lot of patience for bullshit."

Though the public role of astronaut translates easily into the equivalent role of governor-general, Ms. Payette's background is in science rather than law. This could leave her in unfamiliar territory when confronted with a challenge, such as the one that governor-general Michaëlle Jean, a former broadcaster, faced in 2008, when Stephen Harper recommended that Parliament be prorogued on the cusp of what would have been his government's defeat in the Commons.

(She accepted his advice.) B.C. Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon, a former rancher, faced a similar decision in June when Premier Christy Clark, whose government had been defeated on its Throne Speech, recommended she call an election. (Ms.

Guichon declined the advice and turned to NDP Leader John Horgan to form a government.)

That said, governors-general and lieutenant-governors have legal scholars to advise them when such situations occur. And ultimately, "a lot of these things are common sense," Prof. Stumm observes. "And I can tell you that Julie has a tremendous amount of common sense."

With files from Ingrid Peritz in Montreal


Oct. 20, 1963, Montreal


Jacqueline, a theatre accountant


André, an engineer


International baccalaureate from United World College of the Atlantic in South Wales (1982)

Bachelor of electrical engineering, McGill (1986)

Master of applied science in electrical and computer engineering, Toronto (1990)



STS-96, a 10-day mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery to the International Space Station (ISS), May 27-June 6, 1999. First Canadian to board ISS.


STS 127, a 16-day mission aboard the space shuttle Endeavour to the International Space Station, July 15-31, 2009. Served as flight engineer and mission specialist 2.


Single mother, 14-year-old son


Plays flute and piano, sang in choirs of Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra


French and English (fluent); Russian, German, Italian and Spanish (conversant)


Enjoys scuba diving, racquet sports, skiing, running. Has a pilot's licence.

- John Ibbitson

Events collide with one another and the past
With so many festivals taking over the streets of Montreal this summer, it can be hard to discern where some end and others begin
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R6

Montreal in summer is packed with festivals, especially during this year of major anniversaries for Confederation, Expo 67 and the founding of Montreal.

Such is the crush of events that some festivals overlap in space as well as in time, as I inadvertently discovered while checking out free outdoor events by Montréal Complètement Cirque (MCC).

This fête strives each year to blanket more of the city in circusrelated shows and workshops. It has a particular grip on parts of bustling Saint Denis Street, where several blocks have been closed to traffic, decorated with festival banners and opened to roving performers. The nearby Place Pasteur acts as a stage for emerging circus acts - the place to be, perhaps, to spot the next big talents.

MCC also features large-scale creations such as the dance-inspired Rouge; and Les 7 Doigts' Vice & Vertu, a skilled but verbose threehour spectacle about 1940s Montreal that left me thinking that documentary circus is an idea whose time has not yet come.

In the free-range part of Saint Denis, I ran into a troupe of acrobats doing stunts on the asphalt, dressed in what looked like a skimpy version of paramilitary gear. Further on, some clowns pretended to stage equestrian events with horses that were actually extensions of their costumes - a playful allusion, I thought, to the once-central role of horses in the modern circus.

Another group of performers in a wooden pen were doing a hilariously detailed impersonation of sheep grazing, lying down and staring into space. This disciplined but nearly static clowning looked like a bold breach in the limits of circus, which is usually more athletic.

What I didn't know until later was that some of the clowning I saw on Saint Denis was part of another festival happening on the same city blocks at the same time. Both the sheep and the equestrians were installed by À nous la rue, a citywide July festival that will have presented about 800 street-theatre performances by the end of the month.

Embarrassingly, I discovered my mistake when I asked MCC director Nadine Marchand for her thoughts about how sheep impersonation could be an extension of circus. "That's not my programming," she said briskly.

And yet, the MCC website has a well-illustrated page devoted to several À nous la rue shows, including the sheep (Les moutons, by the physical theatre company, Corpus). There was almost more information there than I was able to find on Saint Denis, where signs associating some of the performances with À nous la rue were few and inconspicuous.

Does it really matter to most people if something they see and enjoy, for no cost, is part of festival A or festival B?

Probably not, but the festivals care. An important behind-scenes aspect of the business is proving you have an audience that knows when it is experiencing your work.

Two winters ago, Luminothérapie seemed to realize that passersby couldn't distinguish between its annual light installations around the Quartier des spectacles and other creative projections nearby. It stopped inviting multiple parties to dream up diverse projects and hired a design company to create content that would give the multisite spectacle a single harmonious look. À nous la rue shouldn't think of going that far, but could stand to work on its street identity, especially when sharing space with another festival.

Another, more ghostly kind of spatial overlap is happening all this summer along Sherbrooke Street West, where the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has installed a kilometre-long exhibition called La Balade pour la Paix: An Open-air Museum. The art part of this show consists of about 30 large sculptures and dozens of photographs, all deemed by the curators to support "a humanistic message of peace."

The overlap in this case is with Balade's notorious precursor: Corridart, a 1976 display of sculptural installations and photographs on a much longer stretch of Sherbrooke, organized as part of the cultural program for the Summer Olympics. The night before it opened, however, the provincially funded exhibition was torn down and carted away by city workers under orders from mayor Jean Drapeau, who called the works "a pollution" of the streetscape.

Ironically, the mayor's vandalism against a show that might otherwise have been seen and forgotten ensured Corridart an undying place in Montreal's cultural memory. The show was on everyone's lips last fall, when one of its works (by Pierre Ayot) was restored and installed on the Plateau; and more recently when Bill Vazan, another Corridart alumnus, created a labyrinthine land-art piece near City Hall -

"right under the nose" of a bronze statue of Drapeau, as Le Devoir noted last week.

Corridart is the spectre that haunts Balade. Not surprisingly, perhaps, the new show has positioned itself to be as unlike its predecessor as possible.

Corridart was a mainly local meditation by Montreal artists on how the city's built environment was changing, not always for the better. Balade's photojournalistic images, and its choice of sculptors (including Magdalena Abakanowicz and Wang Shugang), are resolutely international. Corridart's prime unit of collective humanity was the neighbourhood or civic community.

Balade's is the nation-state, as represented by more than 200 flags strung along cables the length of the display; though national flags symbolize conflict at least as often as they do peace.

Balade has the identity issue well in hand, however: All components are uniformly laid out and labelled, in part to distinguish them from other artworks already on the street. Corridart was much more ambiguous in presentation, with photos mounted on construction scaffolding, and a three-storey installation by organizer Melvin Charney that mimicked the stately Sherbrooke mansions being sacrificed to civic modernization.

That may be the difference between a festival, as an orderly container of events, and an intervention, which positions things and events where they may startle. The best combination may be a street-festival performance that overturns your expectations of what can happen in a public place, while leaving you with a more or less clear idea of how it came about and who put it there.

Montréal Complètement Cirque continues at various locations through July 16. Rouge continues at Place Émilie-Gamelin through July 30. Vice & Vertu continues at Société des Arts Technologiques through Aug. 6. La Balade pour la Paix continues on Sherbrooke Street West through Oct. 29.

Associated Graphic

Montréal Complètement Cirque is putting on many outdoor events this summer, some of which confusingly intersect with installations by À nous la rue, a citywide July festival.


Tax changes would shake small business
Three tax-planning tactics that Ottawa is looking to shut down will leave the backbone of Canada's economy significantly worse off
Friday, July 21, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B8

Ever since the 2017 federal budget in March, when the government announced that tax changes affecting private corporations would be coming, I've been feeling queasy. Well, the proposed tax changes were announced by Bill Morneau, the Finance Minister, on Tuesday.

And ugly they are. Here's a primer on the potential changes.


Mr. Morneau announced in the budget back in March that the Liberals have not been pleased with some Canadians who are using corporations in their tax planning, and that changes would be made. The claim is that certain folks are using corporations to pay less than their fair share of taxes. While the proposed changes are meant to affect the wealthy, there will be no shortage of small-business owners, the backbone of the Canadian economy, who will be significantly worse off as a result.


There are three tax-planning tactics the government is looking to shut down:

Income sprinkling

Some business owners sprinkle income to family members by way of salary or wages, or dividends, to reduce the family's overall tax burden. There are already rules in place to prevent unreasonable salary or wages from being paid to family members who are not truly earning the compensation they receive.

There are even "kiddie tax" rules to prevent dividends paid to minor children from being taxed at their lower rates.

So, what's changing? The government wants to now restrict the ability to pay salary or wages, or dividends, to adult children between the ages of 18 and 24, by extending the "kiddie tax" rules - formally called the "tax on split income" (TOSI) - to them. The proposals will apply a "reasonableness test" that will assess the adult child's contributions to the business (both labour and capital) in determining whether amounts paid to that child should be taxed at his or her normal tax rates, or at the highest tax rate possible.

In the past, families have also taken advantage of the lifetime capital gains exemption (LCGE), which shelters from tax up to $835,716, in 2017, of capital gains on qualifying small-business corporation shares). Good tax planning has seen the LCGE of each family member used to shelter gains on the family business. The government has proposed to restrict this. Starting after 2017, capital gains realized by a family member can no longer be sheltered with the LCGE to the extent those gains accrued while the individual was a minor. Further, any capital gains accrued while the shares are held in a family trust, or gains subject to the TOSI would not be eligible for shelter using the LCGE.

Finally, in the past, the TOSI (which you'll recall is a special tax, at the highest rate going, that applies to certain income reported in the hands of children) has not applied to second generation income - that is, income on income. So, if a corporation paid, say $100 in dividends to a child, and the child paid the highest rate of tax (the TOSI) of, say, $40, there would be $60 left after taxes. That $60 could be invested and any income in the future on that $60 (income on the income) would not be subject to the high rate of tax (the TOSI). This will change if the new proposals are enacted. All future income (income on any income) will be subject to the same high rate tax (the TOSI).

Confused yet?

Passive income

When a corporation generates income, it's eligible for a pretty attractive rate of tax (about 15 per cent, but it varies by province) on the first $500,000 (federally) of active business income.

If a business owner doesn't need all of his earnings to support his lifestyle, it's common to leave the rest in the corporation to invest - perhaps in a portfolio earning passive income. For example, if you earn $100 in active business income and pay $15 of that to the taxman, you'd have $85 left to invest in the corporation. If you had earned that business income personally, and you're in the highest tax bracket (a marginal tax rate of about 50 per cent), you'd be left with just $50 to invest. So, there's an advantage to earning business income in a corporation if you earn enough that you won't spend it all.

The government thinks this is unfair, notwithstanding that you'll actually pay more tax over all if you invest inside the corporation and then eventually pay that income out to yourself as dividends later. That's right, corporate tax rates on passive income are high even under today's rules - don't let the government tell you otherwise.

So, the only meaningful benefit is the larger amount to invest up front as noted in my example above. It appears that the government believes that having more money working for you today, if you have a corporation, is offensive (so much for helping Canadians save for the future).

The government is exploring how to limit the perceived benefit of leaving excess earnings inside a corporation to grow in a passive portfolio. Mr. Morneau is looking for comments from Canadians on a couple of primary options: (1) implementing a refundable tax that would apply to ineligible investments (the tax would be refunded once the capital is either paid out to you as taxable dividends personally, or is used in the active business), or (2) change the current refundable tax system on annual passive income so that the tax is no longer refundable if the investments were made with excess business income taxed at low rates. How does all of this simplify our tax system?

Converting income to capital gains

Some corporate owners have taken steps to convert what would otherwise be taxed as salary or dividends into capital gains. This has been done using a complex set of steps involving selling of some shares to another company related to the shareholder. The government proposes to close these opportunities by tweaking section 84.1 of our tax law, which was intended to prevent this type of planning but doesn't quite do the trick. On this one, I think the changes make sense.

If you're so inclined, read over the 63-page consultation paper that outlines these proposed changes (available on the Department of Finance website). In my view, what you'll find are a lot of changes that will do nothing but make our convoluted tax law even more complex.

Tim Cestnick, FCPA, FCA, CPA(IL), CFP, TEP, is an author and founder of WaterStreet Family Offices.

NAFTA's Chapter 11 provision under fire
Monday, July 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B1

OTTAWA -- Nearly 10 years ago, Nova Scotia's then-environment minister, Mark Parent, sent a letter to U.S.-based Bilcon of Delaware Inc., informing the company that its proposed quarry on the shores of the Bay of Fundy would not be allowed to proceed due to the threat of environmental, social and cultural impacts.

With encouragement from the provincial government, Bilcon had spent considerable time and money on the plan for a basalt quarry and terminal on Digby Neck, only to have a federal-provincial review panel advise against it, saying it would run counter to "core community values."

In response to the rejection, the company sued under the North American free-trade agreement's "investor-state dispute settlement" (ISDS) mechanism contained in the treaty's controversial Chapter 11. A binational panel of arbitrators - two Americans and one Canadian - ruled two years ago that Nova Scotia had violated NAFTA's guarantee of "fair and equitable treatment" and that Bilcon deserved compensation.

The Digby Neck battle continues. While a NAFTA panel is due to weigh the firm's demand for $100-million in compensation, Ottawa has challenged the 2015 panel ruling in federal court, arguing the arbitrators overstepped their role in issuing a judgment that was outside the scope of the trade deal and "in conflict with the public policy of Canada."

As NAFTA renegotiation gets under way next month, Ottawa is being urged to demand significant reform to the ISDS provision - or eliminate it completely.

In its objectives for NAFTA renegotiation published last week, the Office of the United States Trade Representative proposed minor tweaking of the Chapter 11 provisions to ensure more openness in the process.

It would also strengthen "national treatment" provisions.

And it proposed to include a "general exception" to allow for protection of legitimate domestic objectives, including protection of health, safety and security, "among others."

Featured in myriad trade and investment deals globally, ISDS provisions are designed to protect firms that invest abroad against unfair treatment by foreign governments. They require governments to pay compensation for expropriated property, and provide the "fair and equitable treatment" to foreign firms.

Suits are heard by an arbitration panel made up of privatesector lawyers, and proceedings can be held in secret, with no clear appeal provision.

Opponents see NAFTA's ISDS mechanism as an unwarranted intrusion on sovereignty which benefits powerful, multinational corporations at the expense of ordinary citizens.

Defenders argue investor-state chapters are necessary to prevent protectionist governments from running roughshod over foreign investors for the sake of political expediency.

Canada has been particularly vulnerable to NAFTA arbitration suits. Since the treaty came into force some 25 years ago, U.S. companies have filed 39 claims against Canadian governments, winning or settling in eight cases that have cost taxpayers $215million. (The federal government is responsible for paying claims, even when the company was challenging a provincial action.)

Mexico has paid out more than $200-million (U.S.), while the United States has not lost a NAFTA Chapter 11 case.

Some environmentalists and academics worry the track record of Chapter 11 judgments is creating a "chill," preventing governments from pursuing environmental or other regulations if the actions would reduce the profitability of a foreign investment and leave the jurisdiction open to a NAFTA suit.

The Liberal government has not listed its negotiating objectives, but Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has indicated she wants to update the accord in order to increase the legal rigour of the arbitration process and to assert governments' right to regulate in the public interest, such as on environment and labour.

Such changes - along with a new appeal process - were incorporated into the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that Ottawa concluded recently with the European Union.

However, some critics would rather see the ISDS regime scrapped entirely.

"I find it an unbelievable intrusion into sovereignty," said Gordon Ritchie, a principal adviser at Hill+Knowlton Strategies and a top negotiator on the original Canada-U.S. trade agreement.

The NAFTA provision creates "super rights for foreign investors who, as a result of these provisions, have recourse that Canadian investors do not have," Mr. Ritchie said. "I can make no case for it; I have never heard anyone make a case for it that was remotely convincing. In my view, it's a very, very bad provision."

Environment groups, in particular, worry the investor-state provisions are being used by multinational companies to challenge regulatory decisions that go against resource projects, as was the case in the Bilcon ruling.

Last June, Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. filed a $15-billion (U.S.) NAFTA suit against the U.S. government after then-president Barack Obama rejected the company's proposal to build the Keystone XL pipeline to carry oil-sands crude from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

TransCanada discontinued its claim after President Donald Trump approved Keystone XL in March. However, its precedent has raised speculation that U.S.based Kinder Morgan Inc. could resort to an investor-state NAFTA suit against British Columbia if the new government manages to block its planned expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline from Edmonton to Vancouver.

The dispute settlement provision "is one of the most dangerous chapters on the NAFTA," said Ben Beachy, Washington-based director of the Sierra Club's trade program. "It is empowering what is already the most powerful group in the world - multinational corporations - to bypass domestic courts and laws. No other class of actors has that ability."

However, Ottawa remains committed to investor-state dispute settlement, which has been a feature of every trade deal signed since NAFTA. Canada is a major supplier of capital for resource development - especially mining - in places such as Africa and Central America, and the government is eager to ensure Canadian firms are protected from politically motivated expropriation or discrimination.

Toronto lawyer Barry Appleton said the NAFTA-type investor protections are now standard in binational agreements, while the volume of actions is minuscule compared with the amount of global trade and investment that occurs. Mr. Appleton - who represents Bilcon - argues Canadian governments, particularly provincial governments, have been more vulnerable to NAFTA suits because they have a history "being engaged in highly protectionist types of policies."

But he argued Canada should ensure investor protections remain in NAFTA, given that U.S. federal and state governments - led by the Trump administration - are increasingly willing to discriminate against Canadian companies.

"You would think a country like Canada that is so trade reliant and so investment reliant would want to have the strongest protection possible in its treaties rather than weak protections," he said.

Guess who's coming to TIFF 2017
Friday, July 14, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

Will less be more at this year's Toronto International Film Festival?

Each year, TIFF aims for a program that is based on taste as much as it is on cold, hard math - it's a carefully calculated formula of a lineup, consisting of awards bait for the Oscar-obsessed industry players, celebrity fluff for those willing to while away hours for the faint hope of a selfie, art-house gems for the cineastes and a dutiful slice of Cancon for everyone else.

This mix works better some years than others, but its execution will be especially critical this September, when TIFF will screen 20-per-cent fewer films, part of what artistic director Cameron Bailey described to The Globe and Mail this past February as a "fine-tuning" of its programming. (The 2016 festival featured 296 features, an intimidating number that Variety critic Peter Debruge decried in a nowinfamous article headlined, Has the Toronto Film Festival Gotten Too Big for Its Own (Or Anybody's) Good?) Despite the bloat of 2016 - including such high-profile disappointments as American Pastoral, Snowden and The Birth of a Nation - last year's fest still delivered such all-timers as Moonlight, La La Land, Manchester by the Sea and Jackie.

Yet what to expect this year, with all eyes on TIFF to not only curate a tighter lineup, but one that washes away the taste of an especially bitter summer-movie season? The festival will not announce the first, and typically glitziest, portion of its programming until July 25 - but that doesn't mean it's not too early to play Guess Who's Coming to TIFF, an industry pastime from which the eventual answers will map out the film calendar for the rest of the year and the festival's place within it.

The most obvious, and vexing, place to start is opening night, scheduled for Sept. 7.

Although the slot's timing gives off the impression of prestige, TIFF has programmed so many misfires that the honour is practically a running joke - they might as well just run those tired old ads for the Grolsch People's Choice Awards over and over and see if anyone notices.

Last year, the festival tried an overhaul of sorts, fully embracing Hollywood gloss with the remake of The Magnificent Seven.

But does anyone, aside from Denzel Washington's agent, remember the film? If recent gossip-mongering is to be believed, TIFF may be angling toward a new balance by snagging Blade Runner 2049 - a blockbuster that also boasts serious homegrown credentials, thanks to its Canadian star (Ryan Gosling) and director (Denis Villeneuve). But with the film already highly anticipated the world over, its plot guarded as if a state secret by Warner Bros., and a wide release set for one long month after opening night, the film has nothing to gain by playing TIFF and everything to lose.

A compromise, then: Xavier Dolan's The Death and Life of John F. Donovan. It's loaded with festival-friendly stars (Natalie Portman, Kit Harington and Jessica Chastain, the latter of whom seems to be shooting in Toronto every other week), comes from Canada's most polarizing director and would be a nice kick in the teeth to Cannes, which has premiered five of his six films.

(There is, however, the question of whether it would even be ready in time; it only entered post-production last month.)

In terms of the awards chum that TIFF hopes to crow about come February, the festival is likely courting the tennis biopic Battle of the Sexes, with Academy-primed performances from Emma Stone and Steve Carell; the second Winston Churchill biopic of the year, Darkest Hour, with Gary Oldman; Aaron Sorkin's Toronto-shot poker thriller Molly's Game, starring Idris Elba and Chastain; the tearjerker Wonder, featuring everyone's favourite tiny Canadian, Jacob Tremblay; George Clooney's crime comedy Suburbicon, with BFF Matt Damon; Stronger, the second Boston Marathon-centric biopic of 2017, but this time featuring Jake Gyllenhaal and Canadian Tatiana Maslany; Darren Aronofsky's typically freakylooking Mother! (expect Venice to snag this first, as it did with Aronofsky's The Wrestler and Black Swan); Martin McDonagh's black comedy Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, starring a foul-mouthed Frances McDormand; and the romance Our Souls at Night, the latest onscreen pairing of Robert Redford and Jane Fonda.

Like this spring's edition of Cannes, expect Netflix to shove its algorithmic head into the conversation, with the streaming service eager to tout the Oscar bona fides of Dee Rees's period drama Mudbound, and Angelina Jolie's First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers - even though those films won't make it to many theatres outside the festival circuit. (This year, before Cannes reversed course and effectively banned Netflix from its competition because of the company's insistence that its films play big screens the same day they are made available to stream, TIFF's Cameron Bailey told The Globe that "our festival selection is open to the best work we can find, whether or not it's destined for theatres.") Then there are the holdovers from Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and SXSW, titles that used to make up the bulk of TIFF's lineup back when it was simply the "festival of festivals." Good bets here include Luca Guadagnino's same-sex romance Call Me by Your Name; Sean Baker's universally acclaimed drama The Florida Project; François Ozon's ribald L'amant double; Loveless, from Russian auteur Andrey Zvyagintsev; Michael Haneke's Happy End (spoiler: it's the exact opposite); The Killing of a Sacred Deer from Greek provocateur Yorgos Lanthimos; Lynne Ramsay's sex-trafficking thriller You Were Never Really Here; James Franco's meta comedy The Disaster Artist (a Midnight Madness candidate if there ever was one); the transgender drama A Fantastic Woman; and Ruben Ostlund's Palme d'Or-winning art-world satire The Square.

This spit-balling doesn't even include a rash of late 2017 films that might want to pop earlier than normal (Alexander Payne's dark comedy Downsizing, the Hugh Jackman/P.T. Barnum musical The Greatest Showman, the Thomas Edison vs. George Westinghouse historical pic The Current War) and early 2018 films that might shift their weight back into the calendar year (Alex Garland's dystopic thriller Annihilation).

Finally, you can be certain that gender parity will be carefully looked at, too, with TIFF having recently unveiled its "Share Her Journey" campaign.

Suddenly, selecting 20-per-cent fewer films seems like an immeasurable headache.

Trudeau urged to lay out NAFTA goals
Opposition parties call on Liberal government to explain to Canadians how they will benefit from trade negotiations
Wednesday, July 19, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

OTTAWA, WASHINGTON, CALGARY -- The Trudeau government is facing increased pressure to spell out what Canada hopes to achieve from the renegotiation of the North American freetrade agreement requested by the Trump administration.

Both major opposition parties in the Commons asked the Trudeau government Tuesday to appear before a parliamentary committee as soon as possible to explain Canada's negotiating objectives.

The United States on Monday released a sweeping list of more than 100 negotiating objectives for NAFTA to overhaul the accord in that country's favour.

The demands included scrapping the Chapter 19 dispute resolution panels Canada fought hard to secure in trade talks decades ago and that have ruled in Canada's favour in the past.

Derek Burney, a former Canadian ambassador to the United States who helped negotiate the Canada-U.S. free-trade agreement in the 1980s, said he's worried there is too much "America first" rhetoric coming from Washington and insufficient talk of how Canada and Mexico would profit from an overhaul of NAFTA.

"If there is no common goal of mutual benefit coming from the top, and it is about unilateral concessions by Canada - and Mexico - then it is not really a negotiation," he said.

Mr. Burney called on the federal government to justify to Canadians exactly how this redrafting of NAFTA will help this country and lay out what Ottawa wants to achieve from the talks.

He said the lobbying blitz the Trudeau government and Canadian premiers conducted to build allies among U.S. governors is a good start but Canada needs to be upfront about what it will, and will not, negotiate. "What is the substance of our negotiating position? What are the things we are hearing that we are prepared to negotiate on. Don't you think Canadians want to hear that?" Mr. Burney said.

Conservative trade critic Gerry Ritz wrote the clerk of the international trade committee asking MPs be allowed to question Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and chief NAFTA negotiator Steve Verheul.

The NDP also requested the same hearings. A government official said the Liberals would appear before the committee. The committee of MPs meets Friday to try to set hearing dates.

Under Chapter 19, when one country slaps anti-dumping and countervailing duties on products from another country, the duties can be appealed to the panel rather than to the court system in the country that imposed the penalties. The chapter has been invoked over the years to deal with disputes on everything from softwood lumber to pork to magnesium to beer to cement.

For Canada, Chapter 19 was a way to appeal American attempts to slap duties on Canadian goods without having to appeal to the U.S. court system. For some Americans, however, the entire concept was a ceding of U.S. sovereignty.

U.S. uneasiness with the panels turned to anger after major NAFTA rulings went against Washington. A series of Chapter 19 panels in the early 1990s and mid-2000s found in Canada's favour on the softwood dispute. In the early 1990s case, the United States's complaints were exacerbated by the fact that panel decisions broke down on national lines, with Canadian members of the panels ruling in Ottawa's favour and Americans going for the U.S.

Critics contended the panels failed to properly apply the relevant U.S. laws.

The push to scrap the panels has the enthusiastic backing of the U.S. lumber lobby. "The Chapter 19 system is unconstitutional, unworkable in practice, and for decades has seriously undermined the enforcement of U.S. law against unfair trade practices by Canada and Mexico, to the detriment of U.S. industries and workers," Zoltan van Heyningen of the U.S. Lumber Coalition said in a statement.

Ottawa, meanwhile, indicated it would put up a fight to keep the arbitration panels.

"We think it's critical to have some kind of a dispute resolution mechanism incorporated - it was in 1994, and it continues to be," David MacNaughton, Canada's ambassador to the United States told reporters at a premiers' conference in Edmonton.

Elliot Feldman, a Washingtonbased trade lawyer who is representing Canadian lumber industry interests in the current softwood battle, said Chapter 19 is necessary for Canadian goods to have access to the American market.

He said there are problems with Chapter 19, but the governments should look to fix the system and improve it rather than throwing it out. For instance, he said, neither Canada nor the United States has maintained standing rosters of potential panel members, meaning it is a more arbitrary process when panellists have to be chosen to hear a dispute. Mr. Feldman said panellists should also be better paid and properly vetted to ensure they have expertise in trade law.

"Chapter 19 has to be, intellectually, the thing Canada cannot give up," he said. "But it also has to be fixed."

Mr. Burney said the Americans should be forced to better justify why Chapter 19 is so injurious to U.S. business. "We should not let them get away with unilaterally announcing they will do away with it," he said.

Meanwhile, NAFTA was frontand-centre in discussions at the summer meeting of Canada's premiers in Edmonton.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said Ottawa has done a good job in preparing for major trade talks with the United States, including its engagement with the Trump administration and state offices. However, Mr. Wall said Canada should be prepared for a trade war if negotiations go off the rails. He said Canada should quietly prepare a list of trade areas where it could take some retaliatory measures - if need be.

"Let's walk softly and carry a big list," he told reporters Tuesday.

"Just know what it is, and understand that we need to be prepared - for something that we don't want to see happen."

Earlier in the day, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard predicted NAFTA talks would drag on for years given the broad list of American objectives. He added there are still many unknowns, including "to what extent does the U.S. want to have an agreement on softwood [lumber] before starting negotiations on NAFTA?" The premiers emphasized they want to continue their active role in courting a broad range of American lawmakers as part of the Canadian push to highlight the benefits of NAFTA.

Associated Graphic

David MacNaughton, Canada's ambassador to the United States, speaks during a news conference at the Council of Federation meetings in Edmonton on Tuesday.


As rates rise, beware the Great Doldrums ahead
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B6

Thanks in large part to seven years of rock-bottom interest rates, many investments around the world are shockingly expensive. From Canadian homes to U.S. stocks to European bonds, asset prices teeter at historic highs.

So what comes next? Most of the world's major central bankers - including the Bank of Canada - have delivered unusually uniform messages in recent weeks, pointing to higher rates ahead.

Everything else being equal, a global move to higher rates is likely to start pressing down on asset prices over the coming year, in much the same way as lower rates after the financial crisis provided a powerful push upward.

It's easy to sketch a nightmare scenario in which central bankers jerk on the rate lever too fast, toppling housing markets and stock prices into the ditch and bringing about a new crisis.

More likely, though, is for rates to inch higher in a slow, cautious crawl. Our monetary overlords know the risks of being too aggressive.

They will want to avoid setting off a new emergency even as they attempt to bring rates back to more normal levels nearly a decade after first slashing them.

Exactly how this move to higher rates will work out is open to conjecture. Never before have the world's central banks had to normalize their economies after an extended period of what Andy Haldane, chief economist at the Bank of England, reckons to be the lowest interest rates in 5,000 years.

For now, one scenario that many people appear to be willfully ignoring is the prospect of a Great Doldrums - a situation in which rates rise, but asset prices do little or nothing for several years to come.

For workers, this could be pleasant. Homes would gradually become more affordable; stocks, too. Savings accounts might even start to provide a reasonable return, while higher rates on GICs and bonds would benefit retirees with large fixedincome portfolios.

For other investors, though, the new era could come as an unwelcome jolt. A typical Canadian family, which has seen both its stock portfolio and home value soar in recent years, might have to buckle up for an extended period of much lower returns. That could be painful to people who are counting on big investment gains to finance their golden years.

Still, a long lull would be much easier for an economy to handle than a market crash. In fact, an extended pause would be the most painless way to reverse the effects of years of ultralow rates and bring asset prices back into line.

Consider real estate. Based upon the historical relationship between property values and personal incomes, Canadian home prices are overvalued by 30.5 per cent, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

So a decade in which real estate prices flat-lined while incomes grew at 3 per cent a year wouldn't take the market into unfamiliar territory, but simply restore the traditional relationship between home prices and family paycheques.

Similar math holds true for the U.S. stock market, where many valuation measures point to frothiness. The Shiller priceto-earnings ratio, which compares current stock prices with corporate earnings over the preceding 10 years, hovers around 29, far above its historical average of 16.6. A flat decade for stock prices, coupled with steady growth in corporate profits, would go a long way to bringing that distorted ratio back into kilter.

To be sure, a long period of flat asset prices would be a historical anomaly, but if the past decade has taught us anything, it's to be prepared for the unusual.

Nobody in 2007 foresaw an extended period of zero, or even negative, interest rates across many of the world's developed economies.

Right now, a long period of flat asset prices would be the logical result of a standoff between tighter monetary policy and more ebullient growth.

Think of it this way: Central banks' new willingness to raise rates amounts to a vote of confidence in the global economy.

For the first time since the financial crisis, all major regions appear to be expanding at a decent clip.

As a result, central banks are eager to dial back the easy-money policies with which they've nursed sick economies back to health. This doesn't have to be disruptive.

If investors conclude that the strengthening global economy is just enough to balance off the drag of tighter monetary policy, then there's no need for asset prices to move much, if at all.

The danger is if central banks miscalculate and raise rates too fast or too slow. Some observers worry that years of low rates following the financial crisis have created financial imbalances across the global economy that can't be easily reversed.

Among other things, near-zero rates have encouraged borrowers around the world to take out mammoth amounts of loans. According to the Institute of International Finance, global debt hit a record $217-trillion (U.S.) in the first quarter of this year, equivalent to 327 per cent of global gross domestic product.

"Financial markets will need to adjust after an exceptionally long period of dependence on ultra-easy monetary conditions," the Bank for International Settlements warned in its annual report this past month. Among the most prominent dangers is that "the global economy is threatened by a global debt overhang."

Another risk is a stock market collapse. GMO, a widely followed money manager in Boston, predicts that large U.S. stocks are set to lose roughly a quarter of their inflation-adjusted value between now and 2024 if markets revert to their historical valuations over the next seven years.

Losses of that magnitude would gut many pension-fund assumptions, not to mention many personal portfolios.

Central banks know all of this, and will move cautiously to normalize their economies. "Expect a gradual reversal in yields that will play out glacially over many years," says Tyler Mordy, of Forstrong Global Asset Management.

Expect, too, that this will not be an entirely smooth operation. Capital Economics notes that seven of the 11 central banks it covers have raised interest rates since 2008, only to subsequently lower them again when growth disappointed.

The global economy appears to be on a more solid footing this time.

Still, "we suspect that the Bank of Canada will reverse [this week's] rate hike next year, because we anticipate that the bubble in the country's property market will burst," Andrew Kenningham, chief global economist at Capital Economics, writes.

Brace for some bumps ahead.

'The idea of being hidden somehow was so appealing to me'
Casey Affleck goes under a sheet for his new film, which explores themes of love, life and eternity
Associated Press
Monday, July 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L2

LOS ANGELES -- Casey Affleck plays the ghost in the new David Lowery film, A Ghost Story. For most of the movie, expanding wide Friday, he's silent and cloaked in a white sheet with eye holes cut out as he returns to his home to look in on his still-living partner, played by Rooney Mara. It's a weird, wild, sometimes funny and breathtakingly gorgeous film that will leave you thinking about the big ideas of love, life, eternity.

Affleck, coming off of a best actor Oscar win for Manchester by the Sea and an awards season marred by intense public scrutiny around a past civil sexualharassment lawsuit, is dipping his toes back in the spotlight to promote the film.

He spoke to the Associated Press about his year and moving on.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Congratulations on A Ghost Story. It is not a scary film per se, but it has truly haunted me.

It's been great how much people have responded to it. Usually you have some sense of what a movie is going to be and this is probably the film that turned out most differently than what I expected.

The ghost costume you have to wear is incredible.

I can't think of another single costume in another movie where so much of the movie depended on it working. The sheet looks simple but it wasn't just a sheet and it was hard to get it to look that way. It was a perfect balance of not being exactly scary, but not seeming silly and also not seeming slapdash.

How did they persuade you to be in a movie where you are acting through a sheet most of the time?

I may be unusual, I can't say for sure in this regard, but when I heard that I was like, "I'm totally in." The idea of being hidden somehow was so appealing to me. And David doesn't have to persuade me. I have so much fun working with him and Rooney and his producers. It was a three-second conversation.

People have really latched on to that long take of Rooney eating the pie.

There was quite a bit of buildup to that. What kind of pie is it going to be? Where is the pie coming from? Who is making the pie? Rooney had strangely never eaten a pie, which is the weirdest thing. There are lots of things I haven't eaten, but you'd think a pie is something you'd have come across at some point.

It's a fairly contemplative film; do you think it has a broader audience than just cinephiles?

I don't really consider myself a cinephile. I have pretty mainstream tastes. I have an appetite for some difficult movies like [Andrei] Tarkovsky movies or Bela Tarr movies. But I also kind of really just love World War Z too. And I love this movie. I think it's really, really moving and romantic and sweet and full of ideas that I wasn't really aware of.

A good movie tends to bring out all of these ideas from other things that you read and this movie does that in a way that's really accessible. I don't think it's a weird, esoteric, experimental art-house movie at all. It's very touching, just not dumbed down.

You've worked with David three times now. What do you think his future holds?

I think he's one of our most interesting directors. I would bet that he has a very long career marked by very different types of movies in the same vein as the Coen brothers or Stanley Kubrick. And I bet, just like those guys, there will be a few masterpieces in there.

And you're directing a feature now, too, called Light of My Life?

Just finished a first cut. It's torture. You have to sit there with something you wrote, acted in, were there every day directing.

You see the first [cut] and think, "Wow, I've made one of the worst movies of all time."

I've been reassured by directors who I really love who make great movies that that's always their experience too.

Finally, the year was coupled with both a professional high in your best actor win and intense public scrutiny of you personally. Do you have any reflections on that experience?

There were very high moments and there were some difficult challenges. Winning an Oscar was such a high it was an out of body experience. I was genuinely honoured by that and the other awards for Manchester.

Publicizing a movie is, you know, something that I'm used to. That's part of my job and I have no complaints talking about the work.

The challenges of being spoken about personally in the media were very sobering and they really hurt, especially my family, which is what I really cared about.

And it was confusing because it was all so at odds with my core values.

The more kindness and compassion we can find for all people, the better all our lives will be. And I believe harassment of any kind is completely unacceptable. Bullying and mistreatment of anyone is totally abhorrent.

Everyone should be treated with respect in the workplace and anywhere else. That's what I teach my kids and it's how I try to live my life.

However, I couldn't and can't talk about it as it related to me because everyone involved signed something saying we wouldn't talk about it and that it has been settled to the mutual satisfaction of all parties. That's all we can say. So I am just trying to move on. Period.

Ultimately, I am really glad that there's a heightened cultural awareness around those issues. I took my kids to the Women's March in Vancouver where I was working and there were a lot of people there.

It was a family event and I got the sense that this generation of kids growing up, my own included, are going to be filled with a sense of activist empowerment and they're going to be loud voices for social justice. I think that that might be the silver lining.

Associated Graphic

In A Ghost Story, Casey Affleck is cloaked in a sheet most of the film. 'It was a perfect balance of not being exactly scary, but not seeming silly,' he says.

Canada's Hawrysh puts Olympic dreams on ice
Wednesday, July 12, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

CALGARY -- After the heartache of not qualifying for Sochi, Cassie Hawrysh had badly wanted a better run-up to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. What she got was funding cuts and coaching changes and, for her part, not enough top placings to salvage her dream.

She was recently outlining everything she'd gone through as a national team skeleton racer when, mid-interview, she stopped and explained how it had all been so draining, like nothing she could have prepared for. It was why she told Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton on June 20 that she was formally retiring and why she confirmed it on social media Monday.

And with that, Hawrysh's once promising career in racing headfirst down an icy track came to an abrupt end. From start to finish, it had been a wild ride that began with a rapid ascent through the ranks, followed by a series of setbacks that she said included stinging rebukes from anonymous critics who used social media to call her a "disgrace" and "a piece of garbage."

For what? For supposedly passing herself off as an Olympian when she was actually an alternate who never went to Sochi.

"I've never once - ever - told this story without giving extreme context to what happened," the 33-year-old Brandon, Man. native insisted. "The truth is I didn't go to the Games and, no, I didn't get to compete as an Olympian, and I know that more than anyone in the world."

For a time, it looked as if Hawrysh might be bound for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. After trying the sport as a raw amateur in October, 2009, the former University of Windsor volleyball player and University of Regina track athlete began to work her way up in the standings. The plan was to give herself five years, then take stock of how well she was competing.

Everything seemed on course.

She threw down a pair of fourthplace World Cup finishes in her rookie season, 2012-13. She finished 12th at the 2013 world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and was also a member of Canada's gold-medal entry in a World Cup team event in 2012. (The team event accumulates the times of a male and female bobsleigh pilot and a male and female skeleton racer.)

Mellisa Hollingsworth and Sarah Reid had claimed the top two sleds for Sochi, but Hawrysh was confident she could earn her spot because Canada was used to qualifying three women's sleds for an Olympics.

After finishing 10th and 11th at the first two Word Cup events leading up to the Olympics - both results failed to qualify her for Sochi - Hawrysh felt she had to win two Intercontinental Cup races in Park City, Utah. (The Intercontinental Cup is a notch below the World Cup.) If she did, she believed she would head to Igls, Austria, to compete at a World Cup race, hopefully to gain enough points to qualify another sled for Sochi. She finished first in both races, overcoming a faulty time clock on Day 1 and heavy snow that slowed conditions on Day 2.

Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton chose to rest its three World Cup skeleton racers - Hollingsworth, Reid and Robynne Thompson - over concerns they were showing concussion-like symptoms. Sitting them out meant no points, no third sled, no last chance for Hawrysh to make the Olympic team. Instead, she was named an alternate, which meant she stayed in Calgary and watched the Games on TV.

"It seems like Cassie's career has been a series of odd circumstances and near misses," said former head coach Duff Gibson. "On more than one occasion, finishing only a position or two better could very well have put her on the path to the Sochi Olympic team."

Hawrysh was ready to quit after Sochi, but chose to take a run at the 2018 Olympics. Then came the changes.

High-performance director Nathan Cicoria and Gibson stepped down. Kelly Forbes, formerly the strength and conditioning coach, was named head coach, then wasn't: His tenure was cut short when Own the Podium's skeleton funding went from $3.498-million for the quadrennial leading to the Vancouver Olympics to $386,000 for Pyeongchang. (Forbes is now the playerdevelopment coach for the NBA's San Antonio Spurs.)

On top of all that, Hawrysh struggled with equipment problems and never got the placings she wanted. She was also slagged on social media for labelling herself as an Olympian, as she does on her Facebook page. It identifies her as an RBC Olympian.

Cicoria said that's happened with other athletes, too.

"I understand that first hand.

[Being an alternate] puts you in a tough position," said Cicoria, now the managing director of Aerium Analytics. "Sponsors want to grab an Olympian and they promote the athlete. Often it's completely outside the athlete's call." Cicoria added that Hawrysh "had all the tools, but sometimes timing and strategy need to come together just to get someone to the Games. Just to make the national team for Canada would put you on the Olympic team for other countries. She wasn't an Olympian but she could very well have been one, twice."

Hawrysh is too busy these days to be bound by disappointment.

Not only does she work as a "millennial ambassador" for the Canadian Business Chicks - a Calgary-based organization that supports women in business - she has been nominated as a 2017 Woman of Inspiration. The award is sponsored by the Business Chicks, and other nominees include singer Sarah McLachlan and former Olympic gold-medal winners Chandra Crawford and Michelle Cameron.

"It wasn't that I didn't want to keep competing. It was that the adversity had started to feel so draining - nothing you could prepare for, with the level of expectation and pressure with no results," Hawrysh said. "I didn't want to quit. That's what I struggled with. What I knew was it was my decision.

"I've been through so much, I feel like I have a great toolkit of preparation elements. I have a lot of things I'd like to do in my life."

Associated Graphic

'It wasn't that I didn't want to keep competing. It was that the adversity had started to feel so draining - nothing you could prepare for, with the level of expectation and pressure with no results,' Cassie Hawrysh said of her decision to retire on Monday.


Park earns redemption with U.S. Open win
Last year's runner-up rallies to stave off challenge from teenage amateur Choi, who was the story of most of the final round
The Associated Press
Monday, July 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S2

BEDMINSTER, N.J. -- Sung Hyun Park gave away the U.S. Women's Open a year ago with a couple of bad rounds on the weekend. The South Korean didn't make the same mistake this year.

Park shot her second straight five-under 67 on Sunday and won a final-round battle with front-running Shanshan Feng and teenage amateur Hye-Jin Choi at Trump National Golf Club for her first LPGA Tour victory.

Park birdied the 15th to move into a tie for the lead and the 17th to open a two-shot edge after Choi made a double bogey on the previous hole. Park finished at 11-under 277 for a twostroke win over Choi.

U.S. President Donald Trump attended the biggest event in women's golf for the third straight day. There was a peaceful protest after he arrived at his box near the 15th green shortly after 3 p.m.

Park needed a fine chip from over the green on the par-five 18th hole to save par and win the $900,000 (U.S.) top prize from the $5-million event.

Walking to the scoring tent to sign her card, she got a thumpsup from Trump from his box.

Choi closed with a 71 to finish as the low amateur for the second straight year. She was 38th in 2016.

Top-ranked So Yeon Ryu (70) and fellow South Korean Mi Jung Hur (68) tied for third at seven under. Feng, from China, had a 75 to drop into a tie for fifth at six under with Spain's Carlota Ciganda (70) and South Korea's Jeongeun6 Lee (71).

Brooke Henderson (71) of Smiths Falls, Ont., tied for 13th at three under.

South Koreans Sei Young Kim (69), Mirim Lee (72) and Amy Yang (75) tied for eighth at 5 under. Marina Alex of nearby Wayne, N.J., was the best American at four under after a 70. It was the worst finish in the Open for the top American since Paula Creamer was seventh in 2012.

Choi was the story for most of the final round. The 17-year-old had a two-shot lead with nine holes to play and needed a birdie at 15 to regain a piece with Park.

The 139-yard, par-three 16th over water ended her hopes. Her 7-iron landed in the water to the right of the hole. She ended with a double bogey and basically lost her chance of becoming the second amateur to win the Open.

"At the time, I