Brazil has been making a concerted effort to combat many kinds of inequality. But as Stephanie Nolen discovers, one of the world's most diverse nations is only just starting to talk about race Photography by Mario Tama/Getty Images for The Globe and Mail
Saturday, August 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F1

RIO DE JANEIRO -- When Daniele de Araújo found out six years ago that she was pregnant, she set out from her small house on a dirt lane in the outskirts of Rio and climbed a mountain. It is not a big mountain, the green slope that rises near her home, but the area is controlled by drug dealers, so she was anxious, hiking up. But she had something really important to ask of God, and she wanted to be somewhere she felt that the magnitude of her request would be clear. She told God she wanted a girl, and she wanted her to be healthy, but one thing mattered above all: "The baby has to be white."

Ms. de Araújo knows about the quixotic outcomes of genetics: She has a white mother and a black father, sisters who can pass for white, and a brother nearly as dark-skinned as she is - "I'm really black," she says. Her husband, Jonatas dos Praseres, also has one black and one white parent, but he is light-skinned - when he reported for his compulsory military service, an officer wrote "white" as his race on the forms.

And so, when their baby arrived, the sight of her filled Ms. de Araújo with relief: Tiny Sarah Ashley was as pink as the sheets she was wrapped in. Best of all, as she grew, it became clear that she had straight hair, not cabelo ruim - "bad hair" - as tightly curled black hair is universally known in Brazil.

These days, Sarah Ashley has tawny curls that tumble to the small of her back; they are her mother's great joy in life. The little girl's skin tone falls somewhere between those of her parents - but she was light enough for them to register her as "white," just as they had hoped. (Many official documents in Brazil ask for "race and/or colour" alongside other basic identifying information.)

Ms. de Araújo and Mr. dos Praseres keep the photos from their 2005 wedding in a red velvet album on the lone shelf in their living room. The glossy pictures show family members of a dozen different skin colours, arm in arm, faces crinkled in stiff grins for the posed portraits. There are albums with similar pictures in living rooms all over this country: A full one-third of marriages in Brazil are interracial, said to be the highest rate in the world. (In Canada, despite hugely diverse cities such as Vancouver and Toronto, the rate is under five per cent.) That statistic is the most obvious evidence of how race and colour in Brazil are lived differently than they are in other parts of the world.

But a range of colours cannot disguise a fundamental truth, says Ms. de Araújo: There is a hierarchy, and white is at the top.

Many things are changing in this country. Ms. de Araújo left school as a teenager to work as a maid - about the only option open to a woman with skin as dark as hers - but now she has a professional job in health care and a house of her own, things she could not have imagined 15 years ago. Still, she says, "This is Brazil." And there is no point being precious about it. Black is beautiful, but white - white is just easier. Even middle-class life can still be a struggle here. And Sarah Ashley's parents want her life to be easy.

Brazil's history of colonialism, slavery and dictatorship, followed by tumultuous social change, has produced a country that is at once culturally homogenous and chromatically wildly diverse. It is a cornerstone of national identity that Brazil is racially mixed - more than any country on Earth, Brazilians say. Much less discussed, but equally visible - in every restaurant full of white patrons and black waiters, in every high rise where the black doorman points a black visitor toward the service elevator - is the pervasive racial inequality.

Brazil's experience stands in marked contrast with the way those issues are playing out in the United States. A mass shooting like that in Charleston, S.C., allegedly carried out by a white supremacist, would be unimaginable here. So would a speech by the president calling on the country to confront its racial inequality. What happened to Rachel Dolezal - a blue-eyed white woman who chose to pass as black, and was pilloried - is equally alien to Brazil, where racial identity is always fluid, and has been wilfully subsumed into questions of colour. Many Brazilians, of all races, contrast their own country favourably with the U.S., where the discussion of racism is overt and often angry.

Yet discrimination is every bit as powerful a force in Brazil, and it exacts a high price here, too.

This cost takes obvious forms (for example, the disproportionately huge number of young black men in prison) and more subtle ones, such as the conversations that Ms. de Araújo and Mr. dos Praseres have about their daughter, and whether she is white "enough."

But there is change afoot here, as well: It is sluggish, may prove to be transient, and is certainly fragile. But for all that, it is happening, through both institutional reforms and personal choices.

In the process, it is calling into question centuries-old constructions of identity, and offering people such as Ms. de Araújo whole new ways of imagining their lives.

The road to pigmentocracy

Ana Maria de la Merced Guimarães knew, of course she knew, that Brazil once had slavery. They did not teach much about it when she was in school 40 years ago, but the black faces of some of her neighbours were evidence that many Brazilians have roots in Africa. Still, it was not something people ever talked about.

Ms. Guimarães, who is white, certainly wasn't thinking about it back in 1996, when she decided to renovate her home. It's a row house with a tiled roof, about 150 years old, on a Rio street soaked in history: Samba was invented in this neighbourhood, and the city's first Carnaval celebrations were held nearby. Ms. Guimarães, who ran a small pest-control business, wanted to add a second floor to make space for her growing family.

Workers began to excavate the foundation, planning to reinforce it. After a day of digging, they found bones that appeared to be human. "At first, I thought it was a murder victim," says Ms. Guimarães, now 58, in the cool interior of the house. She lowers her voice as she recalls her unease. "And then they found more bones. I thought, 'It was a serial killer.' But then there were more bones and more bones, and I thought, 'No, there is no such perfect crime that someone could have killed all these people and it wasn't discovered.' " So she called city hall, and a few days later an expert arrived to investigate. Ms. Guimarães was informed that her house stood atop what was once called the Cemitério dos Pretos Novos - the Cemetery of the New Blacks.

Right here, she learned, was where the city once dumped the bodies of Africans who had survived the brutal journey across the Atlantic but died before they could be sold in the slave market that stood at the end of the road.

"We call it a cemetery, but it's not: It's a grave where they were dumped and they rotted there and then they burned them and ground them up and pushed them out of the way to put new people in," she says. "No one was buried intact. The more I learned about the history, the more upset I got - many are children, there are babies, and there are so many, more than 50,000, I think." Eventually Ms. Guimarães learned that the cemetery had been used to bury about 2,000 people each year from the 1760s until about 1830, when the British abolitionist movement began to slow the arrival of slave ships in Rio's harbour. A generation later, the mass grave was cobbled over, and the first row of houses, including hers, was built on the site in about 1876. "They were trying to erase the memory," she says.

And they did a fine job. There is a $4-billion dollar (U.S.) project under way today to rehabilitate Ms. Guimarães's neighbourhood. It features commercial real estate and condominium towers and a giant Museum of Tomorrow. There is not, however, a museum of the past - nothing to commemorate that this port was once the global capital for the trade in humans.

Brazil imported more slaves than any other country. Fully 20 per cent of all the people abducted from Africa to be sold were brought here - an estimated five million people; 400,000 went to the U.S. and Canada.

The journey to Brazil was cheaper than the one to North America because of both proximity and wind patterns, which meant that the slaves were cheaper, too. Slave owners saw no point in spending money to feed their slaves well or care for them; it made more sense to work them to death and replace them. As a result, slaves in Brazil had dramatically shorter life spans than those who went to the United States. But they were essential for the development of the economy - the sugar plantations, the coffee farms, the gold mines. More than two million slaves came through Rio alone, fed in the casas de engorda ("fattening houses") near Ms. Guimarães's street before they were paraded naked, inspected and sold in the squares. Brazil was the last country in the world officially to end slavery.

By 1888, when abolition finally came, there were more black than white people in Brazil, and also a large population that could be described as "mixed race" - the product of a settlement history that saw Portugal export mostly male settlers here for 300 years. At first, those men had sexual relationships, both consensual and forced, with indigenous women. When the indigenous population failed to provide the captive labour force the Portuguese wanted - fleeing into the interior rather than working on the new plantations, or dying of infectious diseases -the colonizers turned to the import of African slaves, who were routinely raped by their owners.

When slavery was ended, members of the white elite were left feeling anxious and outnumbered. They were also vexed, explains Ivanir dos Santos, a black activist and educator in Rio: How, they wondered, could they build a productive and prosperous nation if the predominant stock of the citizenry was the offspring of African savages? The obvious solution, they concluded, was to import better genes.

The government actively discouraged their former owners from giving the slaves paid work, and launched an effort to woo poor white Europeans to the country as a new labour force - with the overt intention to "embranquecer," to whiten, the population.

"The founding principle of the first republic was eugenics," is Mr. dos Santos's sardonic assessment.

This was eventually enshrined in an immigration law that stated, "The admission of immigrants will comply with the necessity of preserving and developing, in the ethnic composition of the population, the characteristics that are more convenient to its European ascendancy."

The long shadow of slavery

Even as the former slave owners set about diluting the country's blackness, they also went to work on their cover story. In the Brazilian creation myth - the country's version of Canada's "cultural mosaic" or the U.S. "melting pot" - the country is a democracia racial, a racial democracy. This official story was built on the idea that from the day slavery ended, Brazilians of all colours were equal.

After all, there was no segregation, no apartheid, no Jim Crow.

Glossing over the massive disparities between the former owners and the newly freed slaves - who had no education, land or assets - the Brazilian elite, almost entirely white, declared the country uniquely equal and, in effect, postracial.

"It was 'invisibilization,' " says Marcelo Paixão, who is black and a professor of economics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. "The discourse was that we don't have race in Brazil, so you don't have race problems in Brazil, and you don't need to discuss the inequality."

The first census after the end of slavery, in 1890, asked not about race, but about colour: Citizens were asked if they were white, brown, black, yellow or caboclo - a Portuguese word for those with some indigenous ancestry, more commonly known here as being vermelha, or red. Over the next years, racial identity was steadily replaced with considerations of colour. In 1976, the national statistics institute, seeking to hone the precision of the census, surveyed thousands of Brazilians about what word they themselves used - and came back with a list of 136. They included terms such as amarela-queimada (burnt yellow), canela (cinnamon) and morena-bem-chegada: very nearly morena, a word for brown.

On some level, it was a progressive ideology, notes Prof. Paixão - it allowed for nuance instead of clear-cut indicators of racial purity. It also resulted in a more genuinely mixed culture, although that mixture is the outcome, in part, of appropriation.

Cornerstones of black culture - such as samba music and the martial art capoeira, practised in secret by slaves - have been thoroughly co-opted into Brazilian identity.

But within that culture, and that society, there was an ineluctable hierarchy of what were to be considered racial traits. The dominant idea, propagated by whites, and eventually accepted by many black and mixed-race people as well, he explains, was that the "white" part of the mix brought a European rationality, while Africans brought happiness and creativity, a positive outlook - he ticks off adjectives and rolls his eyes. The more white that one was, the more of the "valuable" characteristics one had. To be whiter was to have a better chance of getting a job, and of earning more in that job. To be whiter, in other words, was to have it easier. Brazil became what is sometimes called here a "pigmentocracy." (Prof. Paixão is among the fewer than five per cent of faculty members at the federal university who are black).

Meanwhile the division of power and wealth that locked itself into place at the time of slavery's abolition was never addressed. Brazil's freed slaves were "free," as well, of the fundamental things needed to forge material equality: assets, education and access to capital. There was no land reform to break up the giant plantations and give the former slaves a way to support themselves. In Rio, former slaves were denied the right to live in the city proper, and so scrabbled for rough housing on the surrounding hills - this is the bleak origin of the favelas, or slums, that today are integral to the city's postcard identity.

The legacy of slavery, and the failure to address it, is visible in myriad other ways as well. Brazil has seen enormous social progress in the past 13 years: more than 30 million people, nearly a sixth of the population, has moved out of poverty into the lower middle class. That boost came from both an economic boom (driven by vast offshore oil finds, and high commodity prices fuelled by Chinese demand) and from progressive social policies implemented by a series of leftwing governments that dramatically raised the minimum wage and used targeted cash transfers to bring economic security to the poor.

But that progress has not touched all Brazilians equally. Even after those 13 years of rapid change, black and mixed-race Brazilians continue to earn far less than do white ones: 42.2 per cent less. More than 30 per cent fewer of them finish high school.

Black Brazilians die younger, and young black men die at dramatically higher rates, than do white ones, typically victims of violence, often at the hands of police.

Indeed, in many ways the economic and social progress has served only to bring into stark relief how entrenched the hierarchy of race and colour remains. At the last census, in 2010, 52 per cent of Brazilians identified themselves as black or of mixed race. But the halls of power show something else. Of 38 members of the federal cabinet, one is black - the minister for the promotion of racial equality. Of the 381 companies listed on BOVESPA, the country's stock market, not a single one has a black or mixed-race chief executive officer. Eighty per cent of the National Congress is white. In 2010, a São Paulo think tank analyzed the executive staff of Brazil's 500 largest companies and found that a mere 0.2 per cent of executives were black, and only 5.1 per cent were of mixed race.

Even interracial marriages are not the tribute to colour-blindness that they might appear to be.

Disaggregate the data on who is marrying whom, and they show that such marriages are least common in the highest (predominantly white) income brackets, and most common among the lowest earners, who are almost entirely black or of mixed race.

Carlos Antonio Costa Ribeiro, a white sociologist at Rio's Federal University who studies race and economics, describes it as a sort of bleak bargain: When such marriages do occur, the darkerskinned partner usually has a higher level of education or a higher income or both. The relationship, at least on one level, is an economic transaction - each person is gaining social mobility, of one kind or the other.

There is also a sort of alchemy, Prof. Ribeiro explains, by which people with a mixed racial heritage who succeed in business or politics, such as billionaire media magnate Roberto Marinho, come to be viewed as white. Even in the two fields in which black Brazilians succeed at the highest levels - sports and music - that alchemy can work its dark magic. Soccer phenom Neymar da Silva Santos Jr., who presented as black when he first began to attract attention on the pitch, has, with his ascendancy, become in the popular perception, if not white, certainly not black.

It was against this long and complex backdrop that Ms. de Araújo and Mr. dos Praseres met 15 years ago as teenagers in a rough part of Rio. They hung out with a multiracial bunch of kids, and neither thought about race, they say, when they wound up kissing on a street corner one night. Mr. dos Praseres, shy and stocky, recalled in a recent Sunday afternoon conversation that he knew, from the minute he met her, that this willowy girl who could talk the birds out of the trees, was the one for him. He didn't hesitate, even briefly, to bring her home to his family (Why would he? His own father is as dark-skinned as she is.) He says it went over just fine.

But that's not quite how his wife remembers it. Turning to him with an expression of exaggerated surprise, she reminds him: "They called me neguinha [little darkie] and all sorts of things! I heard people asking you, 'You're with that dark one?' " At her family's home, on the other hand, the new boyfriend was received differently. "They congratulated me," she says matter-of-factly. "Because I was lightening the family, right? It felt like I was doing some great thing."

'If you're not white, you're black'

There is a cost, for Brazil, in this determination to let race continue to dictate opportunity: in the huge numbers of black men who find themselves in prison rather than in schools or workplaces, in successive generations of black women consigned to domestic work because that is all for which they are perceived to be suitable.

In 2008, Jose Vicente, rector of Universidade da Cidadania Zumbi dos Palmares in São Paulo, calculated that Brazil's gross domestic product would be two per cent higher if blacks were full participants in the economy. This costs everyone, notes Prof. Paixão, and yet the captains of industry who maintain nearly all-white work forces are still "too shortsighted" to see it.

And then there is another kind of cost, the kind that comes in an intimate moment between mother and daughter. Sarah Ashley sometimes sits in her mother's lap and holds her own arms against Ms. de Araújo's.

"I wish I looked like you," the five-year-old says. "I wish my skin was like yours; your skin is beautiful." Her mother gently corrects her. "I tell her, 'My skin is ugly.

This colour is ugly.' "Ms. de Araújo clearly struggles with the contradictions in her own ideas about race. She moves with the confidence of a woman who knows she is beautiful. And as an evangelical Christian, she does not want to suggest that God could have made a mistake when he created her. But those innately felt truths are sometimes hard to reconcile with what she has been told all her life. When she was growing up, her mother, who is white, said things such as, "I found you in the garbage."

"She didn't say it in a mean way, exactly," Ms. de Araújo says. Yet her mother never made comments like that to her sister. "I always wondered if it was because my sister was older, or because she was lighter," she recalls. "I believed I was the worst of the worst, the ugliest. I believed everyone was looking at me."

Ms. de Araújo and her family live in Nova Iguaçu, a dormitory city that is only 40 kilometres inland from the palm trees and white sand of Copacabana. But it could be another universe. The roads are terrible, the police swoop through only to collect bribes, and people live in rough brick houses behind high walls.

But there is space out here, away from the more expensive, congested favelas in the city centre, and a chance to build a house like she and her husband have; extended families move here seeking a toehold in the new middle class. Ms. de Araújo's grandmother, Nadir de Mattos Corrêa, lives about two blocks away, with her daughters, Daniele's aunts Simone and Michelle, and their families. They pop in and out of each other's houses all the time.

Ms. de Araújo is close to her aunt, Simone Vieira de Lucena, whose skin is as dark as hers, and who grew up, like Daniele, as the

darkest of her multihued siblings. Ms. de Araújo often uses the family nickname for her: Neguinha. "I'm the darkest - so they always called me that," says Ms. de Lucena, 42.

When she was a kid, she says, her sisters told her that someone with her nose, her hair, could not hope to find a husband. The idea took such firm hold that she would not let anyone take her photo until she was in her 20s.

Like Ms. de Araújo, she credits the church for somewhat improving her sense of self-worth. And, she says, as she got tired of hoping, fruitlessly, to be lighter. She and her niece refer to each other as preta, black, sometimes, instead of by name, and Simone calls her best friend, whose skin is darker than hers, macaca (monkey) or fumaça (smoke). They do it, Simone and Daniele say, with complete affection. "It's different," says Simone, "when it's between us."

When she fills out the census, Ms. de Lucena ticks the box for "negra." Her husband, Joacinei Araújo de Lucena, 48, has a black parent and a white one, just like she does, but identifies himself as "pardo," or brown. He insists that he, Ms. de Lucena and their two children are mixed - not one, not the other - and that mixed is a race of its own. Ms. de Lucena doesn't buy it. "Não passou por branco é preto," she often says, often tells their teenagers: If you're not white, you're black.

Such bluntness makes Simone's mother flinch. At 68, Ms. Corrêa says she has no memory of racial discord in the house; she rejects the idea that some of her daughters could have used race to torment each other. And she insists she was blind to race, too.

"It's true, I'd be with her in line somewhere and people would say, 'She's cute, is she adopted?' and I'd say, 'No, she's mine,' " she recalls, sitting on the couch in Simone's small living room.

"It was just because she looked different. But I treated everyone the same."

Simone, listening to this, is so frustrated she can't stay in the room, and goes to dry dishes, - vigorously - in the kitchen. Her childhood, as she recalls it, was marked by the fact that no one in the family could or would take on the task of styling her hair, and instead her mother kept it in a buzz cut. "I looked like a boy."

Nadir disputes this. "I took care of it," she assures a visitor.

Simone cannot help herself; she pops her head back in the room and glares. "Mother, tell the truth!"

Nadir looks defensive. "Her hair is not so awful," she says.

Simone stalks out again.

These are not conversations that Brazilians have easily. Although Simone and Daniele can call each other preta, among strangers, it is polite to describe colour by using a word that implies lightness: Call the person you're looking for morena, not negra, even though her skin is black.

And for sensitive topics, it is better not to use the word at all.

There is a universal gesture - hold out one arm, then take a finger from the other hand and rub a bit at the skin, as if you are testing a cream. That's code for black.

Ms. de Araújo remembers adults at school doing it, with a significant lift of the eyebrows, when something went missing in the classroom and a thief was suspected. And when Ms. de Lucena's son Rodrigo, now 23, wants to let her know why he isn't interested in dating that nice girl from church - he does it, too. It makes his mother throw her hands up in exasperation.

A black doctor in Liberdade They call Liberdade the blackest place outside Africa. It's a neighbourhood - a city within a city, really - in Salvador, the capital of the northeastern state of Bahia.

The state is 80-per-cent black; Liberdade, even blacker. Freed slaves settled here, below the formal town; today the neighbourhood is a jumble of small stores and coffee shops, brick houses perpetually awaiting another storey, and creaking buses navigating narrow alleys. Liberdade is under the control of criminal gangs who run drugs, and extract extortion payments from the small businesses; it is also full of kids playing in the street and old men gossiping on sunny stoops.

The two-storey Santa Mônica Health Post stands on a crowded corner where the guy with the fruit cart doubles as a lookout for the drug runners. The clinic is crowded from the moment it opens each day; it serves 6,500 people, or twice as many as it is meant to on paper, and it has a star attraction: Dr. Ícaro Vidal.

He is one of two doctors at the clinic. Six-foot-four and lanky, with hipster glasses and a funky T-shirt under his white coat, he has a joke and a smile for everyone, and the line outside his door lasts all day long. "Everyone loves Ícaro," says Ana Cláudia Sousa Farias, who has staffed the clinic reception desk for the past 12 years. But it wasn't always that way; when he first began to work here, many people were dubious, she recalls, the old ladies, especially: They didn't trust his hair.

About that hair. Some days Dr. Vidal wears it in narrow braids gathered in a ponytail at the nape of his neck. Sometimes, he leaves it loose, in a nimbus like a lateseason dandelion. He never cuts it short, the way most black Brazilian men do. "Proper hair," he calls that, with a derisive snort.

Still, he understands the unspoken questions; he knows why people push open his office door, look at him in his white coat, then ask when the doctor will be back. He is the first black physician most of his patients have ever had. When he graduated from the medical school at the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), just two years ago, he was the only black student on the stage. He grew up here, in Liberdade. "Doctors don't come from here," he says.

Progress and pushback

For 130 years, Brazil's census data showed one steady trend: Every time the government counted its citizens, more of them were white. The successive waves of immigration played the biggest role in this. But so did a less tangible process: the slippery business of "passing," through which mixed-race people took on a white identity.

And then, in 2010, came a change that startled demographers. For the first time since the slavery era, there were more black and mixed-race Brazilians than white ones. The census enumerates adults, so the birth rate doesn't explain the change - and in any case, that rate is nearly equal across races.

Something else is going on, says Sergei Soares, who heads the national Institute For Applied Economic Research. It's a shift in self-identification. "You could say that what's happening is not that Brazil is becoming a nation of blacks, but that it is admitting it is one," says Mr. Soares, who is white. There has been a black movement here since before the end of slavery, but it has never been influential. With the end of two decades of military dictatorship in 1985, however, there began to be new space for debate about rights.

The constitution adopted in 1988 awarded some descendants of former slaves title to the land they lived on. By 1996, there was a national human-rights action plan, and it included a directive on the need to compensate black people for slavery, although no plan for how to do it. Slowly, there began to be a public conversation about the legacy of slavery as more than just a range of skin tones and their corresponding adjectives.

That conversation began just in time for Ícaro Vidal.

His grandmothers on both sides were illiterate; two generations before, his ancestors had been slaves. Dr. Vidal's mother, Raimunda dos Santos, finished eighth grade, and moved from the countryside to Salvador to be a maid. At 21, she married a man with a basic education, like her own; he was a low-ranking member of the military police force, part of the vast pool of low-paid black men (and lately women) Brazil uses to do most of its street policing.

The couple had two children; his work often took him way, while Ms. dos Santos got a job as a cashier in a furniture store. The boss urged her to bring her young son Ícaro in to help out in busy seasons, the way other employees did with their kids - but she found ways to dodge the invitation. Instead, she sought out English lessons to fill his afternoons.

English is still not widely spoken in Brazil; at the time, it was a preposterous pursuit for a poor black kid. Everyone thought so, except Ms. Santos.

"I didn't think it was fair: Me working hard, the father working hard, so they could be like us?" she recalls in a conversation in the living room her son renovated and filled with new furniture, using his first paycheques. "What kind of ladder doesn't go up?" Ícaro and his sister, Isis, absorbed this sense of ambition.

"I wanted a professional, comfortable job working Monday to Friday with a salary that let me travel two or three times a year - to have leisure and security," Dr. Vidal says nonchalantly, as if this were a perfectly normal thing to want in a neighbourhood where the only kids who ever had new shoes were the ones who ran packages for the drug lords.

But his plan required a university education. And that presented a conundrum. Brazil has two kinds of universities: There are private ones, which are either exceedingly expensive or of very poor quality. And there are public ones, run by the federal and state governments, which tend to be of a much higher calibre - and are free. But because competition for spots in the public schools is fierce, only applicants who have had a private-school education, and the benefit of months or even years of private coaching for the entrance exam, can pass the entrance test.

But in 2004, the Federal University of Bahia (also known as UFBA) introduced a new policy: 36 per cent of seats would now be reserved for black and mixed-race students. For years, black activists had been targeting the universities, as the ultimate symbols (and purveyors) of the elite, for a first effort at affirmative action. In 2002, university administrations began to adopt ad hoc strategies, reserving spots for non-white students. The quotas, as they are baldly called here, applied to every faculty, but they had an outsized impact on the prestigious schools of law, medicine and engineering, which, even in majority-black Bahia, had long graduated all-white classes, year after year.

The quotas pushed the normally veiled discussion about race in Brazil into the open. Students and faculty staged large, angry protests against them. Television news programs showed weeping white mothers describing how their children had prepared their whole lives to follow in their parents' footsteps but suddenly were being denied their birthright. The harshest critics of affirmative action insisted the policy was introducing racial discrimination into Brazil - rather than working to mitigate it - simply by noting the very existence of a hierarchy between the races.

The policy "costs Brazil the mixed identity created in the beginning of the 20th century and that's an important thing because if you see yourself like a mixed person, you don't have racial politics," says Demétrio Magnoli, a prominent white sociologist whose criticisms of the quotas are widely published in Brazil. "I am against racism - so I prefer we don't have racial questions."

The goal of the quotas, he says, is to help a small slice of middleclass blacks - not because the government particularly likes them, but because they are a useful political constituency. "If you create races in the law, you create races in politics. And I don't want to live in a country like that."

The essential argument against affirmative action is this: that Brazil's chief problem is economic inequality and, that as this is reduced, the lives of the poor, who happen to be majority black, will improve - that there is no need to target intervention on race. The argument, notes the activist Ivanir dos Santos, neatly sidesteps the discussion of the historical roots of the inequality, or the need to compensate for it.

In 2005 Dr. Vidal wrote the UFBA entrance exam, applied as a black student, and was accepted in the first class under the quota system. He says that he and a handful of other affirmativeaction students, while not publicly identified as such, were startlingly visible against the backdrop of the all-white student body. There was rarely overt hostility - racism in Brazil is never overt, Dr. Vidal notes sardonically - but opposition to the policy was palpable. A professor, looking somewhere over Dr. Vidal's head as he sat in a lecture hall, one day observed that the average grade on a test had been quite low but "that's the effect of the quota."

Other students talked about it in groups, just loud enough for Dr. Vidal to overhear.

"People would say, 'All my life I studied and now someone comes who's not as good as me or my friend, and this space is taken by someone who is not as qualified.' " Brazil would no longer reward those with merit, they said - only those with certain physical characteristics.

When people said that to his face, he had a succinct response: "I said, 'You know, merit starts when you're a child. If you have a room of your own in which to study, all the food you need to eat, if we're at the same school and you don't have to start working at 13 to look after other children or earn money to feed them - then we're all competing on equal ground, and then we'll talk about merit.' " Research at UFBA and other Brazilian universities has found that affirmative-action students do as well as or, in many cases, outperform their classmates. Dr. Vidal graduated at the top of his class and promptly began a residency in the family-health program in his old neighbourhood.

The older women soon made peace with his hair. All the pregnant ladies began to seek him out, for his patience and that 1,000-watt smile.

"When he started, people were dubious - you heard it in the community - because he was black and young: Black patients had even more skepticism than white ones - they think white people have more capacity to study or learn," Mônica Nascimento França, a 39-year-old teacher jittery with anxiety over an imminent first baby, confides one afternoon in the stuff waiting room.

"But you can see it in the kind of doctor he is, that he's Afro-Brazilian and from this community - you know how much prejudice there is here. And he faced it."

Seeking truth, and equity

On a sunny day last November, Rio's mayor, Eduardo Paes, presided over a reception to mark the opening of a 22-storey office tower. Waiters passed trays of canapés, and smartly dressed guests lounged on white leather sofas.

The tower is the first new building in that multibillion-dollar redevelopment project, which the mayor calls the Porto Maravilha - the Marvellous Port he vows will reclaim the blighted inner city.

Mr. Paes, who is white, talked at length about Rio's glorious history, but in a few words glossed over the previous period during which it was the centre of the slave trade.

The new tower had been built by a U.S. development company, and its CEO, a white American named Rob Speyer, spoke that day about how happy he was to be in Brazil, where "different ethnicities blend together" in "wonderful unity" - so preferable, he said, to the violent demonstrations then under way back home, in Ferguson, Mo., in the wake of the shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer.

His listeners nodded approvingly. There were about 200 people at the event; of the eight who were not white, six were waiters or other staff.

While the mayor was opening the tower, another event was unfolding less than a kilometre up the road. Brazil's Black Bar Association had gathered about 100 people (all but two of them black) in a conference hall looking out over the harbour, and announced the launch of a "truth commission" to explore the history and repercussions of slavery in Brazil, and what redress might be made for the descendants of slaves.

At the meeting, Marcelo Dias was named to head the commission's work in Rio; he called the initiative "the most important moment for Afro-Brazilians since the end of slavery." From their seats on the dais, the new commissioners vowed to probe precisely which companies got rich on forced labour, and to dig deeply into the atrocities visited on the Africans who were brought here - details that have received little public airing. They said they would push the federal government to make their initiative a national effort, like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, concluded last year, that investigated decades of human-rights abuses during military rule in Brazil.

But in the months to come, the commission foundered. Public meetings were sparsely attended, and received scant media coverage. The federal government made no move to take over the commission or even endorse it.

And the commissioners struggled to find sources for the truth they wanted told - for a variety of reasons, including the fact that, because few slave owners were themselves literate, there is a much thinner surviving historical record of Brazilian than, for example, American slavery.

One question, of course, is what happened here; another is what its victims are owed. Commissioners made cautious use of the word "reparations" - a subject of growing debate in other countries that have a history of sharp racial inequality, such as South Africa and the United States - but one that is almost never discussed in Brazil.

"We always say: All whites now, who are alive today, are not responsible for the slavery process, but they benefit until this day from this system," Mr. Dias explained in an interview before the meeting began. The commissioners discussed the model that was implemented in Germany after the Second World War, but concluded that it would be impossible, hundreds of years later, to calculate a value that is owed to individuals - and in any case government would never pay.

"Affirmative action already generates a heated debate. Imagine when we hand them the bill," Mr. Dias said the first day, laughing heartily. "'Look, here it is, your bill. Half of what you own is ours. We want it back.' There would be a civil war here!"

As Mr. Dias notes, affirmative action benefits only a minority of rare individuals (such as Dr. Vidal) who are able to take up spots at elite universities. And yet broad-based reparations cannot be made in the form of straightforward monetary compensation.

So his commission proposes they take the form a fund that invests in majority-black communities - new spending on hospitals, transport, schools, social services and job creation. And museums, more ambitious and official than that of Ms. Guimarães, with her living-room-based exposé of the slave graveyard: Brazil needs a genuine effort at telling an accurate story of slavery, Mr. Dias says, of making it public instead of paving it over.

"I don't know if we will be strong enough to obtain these reparations from the state," he said, when the commission had been in operation for four months.

"But we need to create this debate in society."

In 2003, the federal government created the Ministry for the Promotion of Racial Equality; it oversees the implementation of affirmative action and of anti-discrimination laws covering everything from hate speech (most frequently applied to racist fans at football games) to bias in hiring, housing and school enrolment. After universities began to adopt affirmative-action policies, the federal government moved to implement them for other institutions as well. Roughly 20 per cent of jobs in state governments, plus some federal institutions such as the diplomatic corps, are reserved for applicants who identify as black and mixed race.

In late June, the National Council of Justice, which manages judicial appointments, announced that, from now on, 20 per cent of seats on the bench would be reserved for black applicants - an apparently straightforward plan that crystallizes the challenges of trying to build diversity in the centres of power.

But it is doubtful that there are enough black lawyers in the country to fill that many spots, even if they were all to apply.

And, as with the universityentrance tests, the exam given to potential new judges is so difficult that, by the council's own admission, the only people who pass it are those who can take years off to prepare.

Mr. Dias and others want to see the reservation policy extended to private-sector jobs. That suggestion is viewed dimly in Brazil's boardrooms and political caucuses. But it is increasingly uncommon to hear it repudiated in public.

Marcelo Nilo, for example, was once an outspoken critic of quotas of any kind. Mr. Nilo, 60, is a slick conservative politician who, after seven consecutive terms as an assembly member, rose to be president of the state legislature in Bahia. But a few years ago he switched parties, when power shifted and left-wing parties came to dominate - a move that allowed him to keep the top job.

That meant championing quotas. So when a reporter recently came calling in his vast office in the Brutalist concrete state assembly, he set out to defend affirmative action.

"Today, Brazil has evolved a lot, because white people and black people have the same rights, but black people have yet to achieve the same economic power," he began, then trailed off, then began again. "To get into university, in my point of view, blacks don't have difficulties; there is no prejudice against them. There's discrimination against poor people. ... If you put a quota for blacks, are you discriminating against whites? I am in favour, because I know black people have a hard time to access these jobs.

But some people aren't."

Mr. Nilo says that progress on racial equality is evident in the assembly he represents. The Congress in Brazil's blackest state, appears, at first glance, almost uniformly white. Asked who, exactly, is black, he shouts out the name of the two mixed-race deputies, before turning to a gaggle of white aides who fill a row of sofas in his office: "That guy, that guy, what's his name? We have him!"

An assistant flicks frantically through a list on her phone, trying to come up with the name of a black congress member.

Anyway, Mr. Nilo continues, skin colour is irrelevant. "I've talked to all the congressmen here, and I don't know one racist.

I've talked to them all and I swear I don't know one racist one. Yes, all are white, and married white women. But that's because they like the colour white better ... It's a question of affinity."

He pauses to offer small cups of coffee, carried in by a black waiter, while two security guards, both black, look on. In fact, Mr. Nilo says, it is specious to talk about skin colour when everyone in Bahia has a mixed racial heritage. "I'm not white," says the deputy, whose skin glows like a first snowfall. "My father was moreno," he adds, using the word that means brown, and is the catch-all term for mixed-race.

He then sends the aide to fetch a picture of his father, who also appears white to the uninformed observer. Mr. Nilo concedes that many people probably read his father, who was also a politician, and mayor of their town for years, as white. But no matter, he concludes, "I'm moreno."

Missing: an explicit conversation Ten years ago, Daniele de Araújo moved from her job as a domestic worker to one as a telemarketer - she was fiendishly good at it, but she had even bigger ambitions. So she went back to school, and now is about to graduate as a radiation technician with a specialty in bone-density scans.

Her husband Jonatas left the military after seven years and now works as a security guard at a steel plant - a union job that comes with an excellent benefits package. Sarah Ashley goes to a private school where the curriculum includes English classes - the stamp of aspiration.

It's tempting, says Marcelo Paixão, the black economist, to believe that the narrowing of economic inequality in recent years will also, in time, reduce the racial inequality. And yet, he notes, while the income disparity has shrunk, the rate of police violence against blacks, for example, has actually risen. There needs, he says, to be an explicit conversation that acknowledges that all poor people are not equal. "Can Brazil transform itself without examining racial inequality? I believe it's impossible."

For now, that conversation remains muted. In Brazil's federal election last year, for example, one of the three candidates for president was a black woman, Marina Silva. She came close to winning.

But, Prof. Paixão says with a laugh, you would "have to remind her" she is black, so little mention did she, or anyone else, make of it through her campaign.

But in Salvador, Icaro Vidal finds himself talking about race more and more. One day during Carnaval festivities last year, a guard snapped the velvet rope down in front of him as a line of his friends (all white) filed into a party in a club. "I said to the security guy, 'You know what your problem is? You believe that black people like us can only be the ones holding the rope.' " The guard apologized, and waved him through. Dr. Vidal went dancing. His hair was loose, and wildly curly. He knew people were talking about it. And that was just fine.

Stephanie Nolen is The Globe and Mail's Latin America bureau chief, based in Rio de Janeiro. Manuela Andreoni contributed research and reporting to this project.

Associated Graphic

Family members congratulated her, Daniele de Araújo says, when she introduced them to her husband, Jonatas dos Praseres. 'Because I was lightening the family, right? It felt like I was doing some great thing.' She believes their daughter, Sarah Ashley, doesn't really notice race, and hopes she will stay that way as long as she can.

Sisters, from far right, Simone and Michelle, mother Nadir and Simone's husband, Joacinei.

Simone's daughter, Isabelle, left, with her cousin Jessica. See their video on

Lounging in the streets of Salvador - a largely dark-skinned city, and one of Brazil's oldest.

A younger Nadir with her multihued clan: She denies favouring light-skinned Michelle, centre.


Students take a prep course for Brazil's gruelling university-entrance test.

After class, the aspiring scholars take a few moments to unwind.

Ícaro Vidal on the job: the first black doctor most of his patients have ever seen.

Dr. Vidal shares a laugh with colleagues at the clinic, where patients wait for hours to see him.

Cleusa de Jesus Santos, servant or slave? See her story:

A diver climbs back up the rocks after plunging into the sea off Salvador, the capital city of Bahia, which is Brazil's blackest state. The state's congress, however, is almost uniformly white.

Stephen Harper's courts
For a decade, the Prime Minister has been on a quest to take back the judiciary from the Liberals. Sean Fine goes inside the opaque world of judicial appointments to reveal the making of a Conservative legacy
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F1

The judge looked down at the full-bearded young man who sat relaxed and smiling before him. Omar Khadr, a former teenage terrorist, was in a Canadian courtroom for the first time.

Years earlier, through various channels, the judge had lobbied Prime Minister Stephen Harper for a promotion - and got one.

Part of his new job was assigning cases, sometimes to himself. Now, in 2013, the case before him involved an individual in whom Mr. Harper had expressed an emphatic interest. In the end, Associate Chief Justice John Rooke of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench ruled for the government and against Mr. Khadr, deciding he had been convicted as an adult, not a juvenile.

No one, including Mr. Khadr's defence lawyer, said the judge was in any way biased or unfair.

But some familiar with the judge's lobbying said the appearance was unfortunate - that justice must also be seen to be fair.

The Rooke episode is one glimpse of a much bigger, untold story. It is the story of how Mr. Harper and the Conservatives have reclaimed the judiciary from the Liberals, who had held power for the 13 years before Harper took office and for most of the previous century.

"Dripping blue ink into a red pot," is how one Alberta Conservative who has been involved in the appointment process described it. In the public glare of Parliament, the Conservatives have passed dozens of crime laws that reduced judges' power to decide on a sentence. Behind closed doors, the government has engaged in an effort unprecedented since 1982, when the Charter of Rights and Freedoms took effect: to appoint judges most likely to accept that loss of discretion - the little-noticed half of Mr. Harper's project to toughen Canadian law.

Mr. Harper's battles with the Supreme Court are well known. The court has struck down or softened several of his crime laws. When the Prime Minister named an outspoken conservative, Marc Nadon, to the Supreme Court in 2013, the court itself declared Justice Nadon ineligible. Mr. Harper would go on to publicly assail the integrity of Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, turning an institutional dispute into a very personal battle - another Canadian first.

But while those public conflicts were playing out, the government was quietly transforming the lower courts. The Conservative government has now named about 600 of the 840 full-time federally appointed judges, or nearly three in every four judges on provincial superior courts, appeal courts, the Federal Court and Tax Court.

These are the courts that, at the appeal level, decide how the government's crime crackdown is to be implemented. At the trial level, they decide high-profile cases like Mr. Khadr's. In constitutional cases, they rule on what are called social and legislative facts - anything that establishes the realworld context in which a law plays out, such as whether prostitution laws endanger sex workers. Higher courts, including the Supreme Court, do not change these facts, unless they view them as wildly wrong. Constitutional rulings depend on these facts.

The judges, who can serve until they are 75, may be sitting long after other governments have come along and rewritten the laws. They also are a farm team or development system for the Supreme Court. They are Mr. Harper's enduring legacy.

In the course of this transformation, entire categories of potential candidates, such as criminal defence lawyers, have been neglected; prosecutors and business attorneys have been favoured. So cumbersome is the system of political scrutiny that vacancies hit record-high levels last year. And sometimes, critics say, judges and politicians, even cabinet ministers, have come into close contact in the appointment process, raising questions about neutrality and fairness.

Underlying the appointments issue is a covert culture war over who gets to define Canadian values, Parliament or the courts, and what political party puts the most indelible imprint on the nation's character.

The rules in the appointments system are few, and all previous governments have used the bench to reward party faithful.

But Mr. Harper is the first Prime Minister to be a critic of the Charter, and early on he told Parliament that he wanted to choose judges who would support his crackdown on crime.

The Globe spent months exploring the secret world of appointments to understand the extent of the changes and how the government set out to identify candidates who share its view of the judiciary's proper role. We spoke to dozens of key players - political insiders, members of judicial screening committees, academics, judges and former judges - often on a condition of anonymity, so they could talk freely.

Neither Mr. Harper nor his justice minister, Peter MacKay, would grant an interview.

Chopping at the living-tree doctrine

The appointments system has five steps, four of them political. The first - screening committees spread across the country - is intended to be neutral and independent. Its members originally consisted of lawyers nominated by law societies, bar associations, provincial governments and the federal government, and a provincial chief justice or other judge. In 2006, the Conservative government added a police representative, and took away the judge's vote - ensuring that federal appointees had the voting majority on the committees.

Next, cabinet ministers responsible for patronage appointments in their regions make recommendations, chosen from the committees' lists, to the justice minister.

The minister's judicial affairs adviser scrutinizes those picks, and the minister sends his choice to the Prime Minister's Office for review. Finally, cabinet decides.

Long before he became prime minister, Mr. Harper made it clear that he objected to the judiciary this system produced, and that the deck was stacked against his view of constitutional rights. A Liberal prime minister, Pierre Trudeau, was the driving force behind the Charter. He made the first Supreme Court appointments of the Charter era, choosing liberal judges such as Brian Dickson and Bertha Wilson, who were determined that the Charter would make a difference in Canadians' lives.

Gay rights were a flashpoint. In 2003, as Canadian courts began to legalize gay marriage, Mr. Harper, then opposition leader, hired Ian Brodie as his assistant chief of staff. Mr. Brodie, at the time a political scientist at the University of Western Ontario, had just published a book in which he decried "judicial supremacy" - the notion that Supreme Court judges had usurped the role of Parliament.

At Western, Mr. Brodie teamed up with Grant Huscroft, a young law professor who would go on to organize conferences, write articles and edit books to give life to U.S.-style "originalism," which holds that constitutions mean what their drafters said they meant, and don't change with the times. This is the philosophy of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, the most conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices.

That year, Mr. Harper made a daring accusation, based on originalism, in the House of Commons. The Charter's framers deliberately did not protect gays and lesbians in the equality clause, he said. Therefore, the Supreme Court, which had read such protection into the Charter back in 1995, had violated the Constitution, he argued. And now, in 2003, that decision had become the legal foundation for gay marriage.

"I would point out that an amendment to the Constitution by the courts is not a power of the courts under our Constitution," he said.

Mr. Harper was challenging a status quo rooted in modern women's rights. In 1928, the Supreme Court ruled that women could not be appointed to the Senate because they were not "persons" - they did not vote or run for office in 1867, when the country's founding Constitution was written. But the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England said on appeal that the Constitution should be seen as a "living tree capable of growth and expansion within its natural limits." Women were indeed persons, because constitutional interpretation changed with the times.

The living-tree idea has been at the heart of Charter legal rulings since the beginning: It has not been a matter of dispute on Canadian courts. The Supreme Court has rejected originalism in several rulings, including the landmark same-sex marriage case of 2004.

But to Mr. Harper and his circle, the living tree means rule by judges. "We have in very significant measure ceased to be our own rulers," Conservative MP Vic Toews told a pro-life group in Winnipeg in 2004, after quoting from a book by conservative U.S. jurist Robert Bork.

Two years later, Mr. Toews became the first justice minister in the new Conservative government. He quickly revamped the appointments process, giving the government its voting majority on the screening committees. A furor erupted. The country's chief justices complained that judicial independence was at risk.

Mr. Harper did not back down.

He got to his feet in the House of Commons and said something no prime minister in the Charter era had ever said publicly. He declared that his government wished to appoint judges who saw the world in a certain way - that is, those who would be tough on crime.

"We want to make sure that we are bringing forward laws to make sure we crack down on crime and make our streets and communities safer," he said on Feb. 14, 2007. "We want to make sure that our selection of judges is in correspondence with those objectives."

But even with voting control on the screening committees, the Conservative government's choices were constrained. There were few proponents of originalism like the Americans' Justice Scalia, who dissented bitterly from last month's landmark gaymarriage ruling and as late as 2003 supported a state's right to criminalize homosexual sex.

There was nothing like the Federalist Society, a grassroots national movement in the U.S. that encourages young lawyers to promote conservative views and support the doctrine of original intent. There was no single defining political issue like abortion. In the U.S., judicial conservatism is much more about activism - judges trying to roll back precedents such as Roe v. Wade, which established women's right to abortion on demand, or to reject gun controls, or limit affirmative action policies.

In Canada, judicial conservatism tends to mean judges who accept the wishes of legislators - judges who defer to Parliament's primary role as lawmaker and are reluctant to find fault with a government's choices. Judges who know their place.

Finding reliable judges

The key to the Conservative strategy is identifying prospects with the right views. The Prime Minister has eyes and ears across Canada.

These belong to the cabinet members responsible for dispensing patronage appointments (known as political ministers).

They use their local contacts, such as party fundraisers (or "bagmen") to identify lawyers, academics and sitting judges who fit their specifications, and recommend them to the justice minister. Appointments under the Liberals, worked in much the same way: A cabinet minister opened the door.

"You always have to have a champion," a Conservative from Alberta explained. "Nobody gets appointed without somebody walking them through, in one way or another."

In Ontario, the political ministers are Joe Oliver in Toronto, Pierre Poilievre in Ottawa, Diane Finley in the southwest and Greg Rickford in the north. Mr. MacKay is the political minister in Nova Scotia. Defence Minister Jason Kenney and Health Minister Rona Ambrose are the political ministers in Alberta. Some political ministers are more intent on identifying conservative-minded candidates for the bench than others. (Strangely, three leading criminal defence lawyers have been appointed on Mr. MacKay's home turf. What he supported in his own backyard he did not foster in the rest of the country.)

Mr. Kenney has a political office in Calgary separate from his constituency office, with separate full-time staff. Both he and Ms.

Ambrose need to sign off on each candidate either one recommends for a judicial appointment, another Alberta source said. "The person has to make it by both Jason and Rona. They both have a veto. In Calgary, there's generally a respect on Rona's part for Jason's picks and vice-versa."

Mr. Kenney and Ms. Ambrose are not lawyers. They ask their contacts to recommend candidates.

"It's not, 'Is this person going to be tough on crime?' " the first Alberta source said. "It's, 'Can you recommend this person, are they reliable?' There's a little bit of code in there." Reliability means being both right-of-centre and competent - a two-level filter.

Reliability has a more nuanced meaning, too, according to an appeal court judge, not in Alberta, who follows judicial appointments closely: judges who are technically minded and stick to precedent, who won't "play with the rules or make new rules."

Finding reliably conservative judges is a challenge. In Alberta, roughly one-third of federal judicial appointees are not right-ofcentre, the first source said, but are chosen for being competent and not left-of-centre. The ideological requirement is not a litmus test around a single issue, but around a general worldview involving a lack of sympathy for minority causes or convicted criminals - which some Conservatives see as the demarcation line between right and left.

"You either see a criminal as a victim of society or as someone who needs to pay his debt to society," the source said. "One's a little bit to the left, one's a little bit to the right. You don't always get that right either when you pick.

People sometimes surprise you when they get up there and have no boss other than their own conscience."

This either-or view of sentencing incenses legal observers such as Allan Wachowich, a retired chief justice of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench. Mr. Wachowich, a long-ago Liberal "bagman" by his own description, was a Liberal appointee who was named associate chief justice by a Progressive Conservative prime minister, Brian Mulroney. (His champion was cabinet member Don Mazankowski, but he didn't know until Mr. Mulroney told him, he said. He told the prime minister jokingly that it was all part of a "Polish conspiracy.")

"You have to treat every case as an individual case," Mr. Wachowich said in an interview.

"Is there any hope of redemption? Is there a prison where he isn't going to be influenced by hard-core criminals? You've got to sit there and listen and contemplate, and give it a weekend sometimes."

About four years ago, at a time when judges had begun striking down Conservative laws on crime and drugs, political ministers such as Mr. Kenney and Ms. Ambrose came under increased pressure to choose judges who would defer to legislators.

"Deference became a buzzword when a number of laws were being struck down, mostly for Charter violations," said former Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber, now an Independent.

As one of the few lawyers in the Alberta caucus from 2008 to 2013, he was sometimes consulted on appointments by a political minister. "The PMO decided it would be better if we had a judiciary more deferential to Parliament's authority."

In at least one case in Alberta, Mr. Kenney and Ms. Ambrose personally checked out a new candidate for the bench, according to a source familiar with the process.

The candidate first attended a series of get-to-know-you breakfasts and lunches with Conservative Party insiders, before a chat with the two ministers, and was ultimately named to the Court of Queen's Bench, the province's top trial court, the source said.

There are no written rules prohibiting such contacts between prospective judges and cabinet members or other politicians. A Conservative, who did not confirm that the meeting took place, said there would be nothing wrong if it did, because the appointments are for life and mistakes can't be undone.

But mention of the meeting often brings a shocked reaction from lawyers and judges, who view it as compromising independence. Peter Russell, a political science professor emeritus at the University of Toronto and a leading expert on judicial appointments, explained the sense of shock.

"Yes, the public should be concerned about partisan interviews of prospective candidates for judicial appointment," Prof. Russell said. Such interviews mean that, in Canada, "appointments to the highest trial courts and courts of appeal in the province remain open to blatant partisan political favouritism in selecting judges - something most provinces and most countries in the liberal democratic world have reduced or eliminated."

Both Mr. Kenney and Ms. Ambrose refused to speak to The Globe for this story. They would not confirm or deny that they interviewed a candidate for the Court of Queen's Bench. An Alberta source said the appointment process is a matter of practice and tradition. "It's not even really written down anywhere."

'Interested in a promotion? Play with us'

The government's strategy is to change the judges at the same time as it toughens the Criminal Code. And sitting judges have a record that can be monitored.

Former prosecutor Kevin Phillips of Ottawa had barely taken his seat as a provincially appointed judge in the fall of 2013 when his fellow judges began rebelling openly against a new law. The victim surcharge, a financial penalty used to subsidize victim services, had just become mandatory; even the poorest criminals would have to pay. Judges in several provinces refused to force them.

In Edmonton and Vancouver, some judges allowed 50 or even 99 years to pay. In Montreal, a judge found a way to make the surcharge $1.50. An Ottawa judge ruled the law unconstitutional without even giving the government a chance to defend it.

The surcharge was typical of the government's crime laws: It removed discretion from judges, with a mandatory minimum penalty. It took from criminals and gave to victims.

Instead of joining the rebels, Justice Phillips, a police chief's son, turned against them. Thwarting the will of Parliament is a "recipe for arbitrariness," he said in a ruling released eight weeks after he joined the Ontario Court of Justice in Brockville, and "arbitrariness is antithetical to the rule of law."

His stay on that court didn't last long: On April 13, four months after Justice Phillips took his public stand, Mr. MacKay announced his promotion to the Ontario Superior Court, the top trial court in the province.

This is not to imply that Justice Phillips is less than fair-minded.

As a prosecutor, he received high praise for his fairness from criminal defence lawyers in Ottawa interviewed for this story. But his appointment sent a message to judges on lower courts - those appointed by the provinces.

As a veteran lawyer in Toronto put it, "'You're interested in a promotion to the Superior Court?

Play with us.' "A provincial court judge in Western Canada, speaking not about Justice Phillips but generally, says he is concerned that some judges have a "career plan" that involves a promotion.

"I worry that some judges hear the footsteps," he said. "They read the headline in The Globe and Mail before it's written, and maybe, just maybe, they temper their judgment as a result. As soon as you get to that stage, the integrity of the system crumbles.

But do I think that happens? Yes, I do think it happens."

The judge, the PM and the promotion

Some judges make their case for promotion directly to politicians - despite a Canadian tradition that usually keeps judges and legislators apart to ensure that the system appears to be, and is, neutral.

On three separate occasions when he was still a Conservative MP, Mr. Rathgeber says judges came to him. "I can tell you of one Court of Queen's Bench judge and a couple of Provincial Court judges who were seeking elevation to the Court of Appeal and Alberta Court of Queen's Bench," he said. "The judge would tell me why they thought they were not a good fit on the Court of Queen's Bench trial division and why their skill set might be better doing appellate [work] at the Court of Appeal. And if there's anything I can do to help that occur."

Some in the legal community view aggressive lobbying by sitting judges as unseemly. Sometimes it backfires. Other times, though, it is rewarded - as appears to be the case with Justice Rooke.

In 2009, the judge on the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench lobbied the Prime Minister through channels for the job of chief justice, multiple sources told The Globe. He put together a dossier on his record. Jim Prentice, then the federal environment minister, spoke to Mr. Harper on Justice Rooke's behalf. Justice Rooke and Mr. Prentice had been "little Clarkies" - party workers who had supported Progressive Conservative leader Joe Clark decades earlier.

Justice Rooke also reached out personally to well-regarded figures in the legal community who tend to be consulted by the Conservative government in judicial appointments, an Alberta Conservative said.

Some of Justice Rooke's colleagues resented his lobbying, believing that Neil Wittmann of Calgary, then the associate chief justice, deserved to be chief justice. Justice Myra Bielby, the senior judge in Edmonton, would probably then become associate chief justice. According to a 100year-old tradition - never broken - if a chief justice was appointed from Calgary, the associate chief was chosen from Edmonton, and vice-versa.

A committee of his colleagues on the bench approached Justice Rooke about a rumour he had even met personally with Mr. Harper. (The Prime Minister appoints chief and associate chief justices.)

In the Canadian system, such a meeting would have been seen as irresponsible, and the committee's approach was a sign that the judges were alarmed by the prospect. Justice Rooke vehemently denied that the meeting took place, which the judges accepted.

But some made known who they felt should be chief and associate chief. "There were a lot of 'bank shots' [from Justice Rooke's colleagues] to make sure that for an appointment like that, you have the right person, because the system has to work," the source said. To make a bank shot is to have someone else send your message - "you get the justice minister [of Alberta] to make a call, you get the chief of staff to make a call, you get three or four senior lawyers to make a call."

Mr. Harper named Justice Wittmann, who joined the bench as a Liberal appointment, as chief justice. Then, despite the centuryold tradition, he chose Justice Rooke as associate chief. The government later promoted Justice Bielby to fill the first vacancy on the Court of Appeal.

In 2013, Justice Rooke took on the Khadr case. On the day of the hearing, Mr. Harper publicly stated his support for the most severe punishment possible. Politicians rarely comment on cases before a court because it may look like an improper attempt to influence a judge. Still, Justice Rooke said his ruling in favour of the Canadian government - to treat Mr. Khadr as an adult - was a straightforward matter of statutory interpretation.

Six months later, the Alberta Court of Appeal overturned the ruling in a 3-0 vote. Among the three were two Conservative appointees, including Justice Bielby. This spring, the Supreme Court also ruled in Mr. Khadr's favour - adding insult by deliberating for just a half-hour.

No one has suggested that Justice Rooke was unfair, or that there was a quid pro quo for his appointment as associate chief justice. Dennis Edney, an Edmonton lawyer who represented Mr. Khadr, said he found the judge "attentive and fair in his dealings with me and my representations.

That is all I ask."

To some Conservatives, the appointment of Neil Wittmann ahead of John Rooke showed that ability matters more than politics in Conservative appointments.

"It's a very, very good example to show where skill and talent and colleagues' confidence trumped political bias," a party source said.

But to outside observers, when judges lobby for promotions, they undermine the appearance - and perhaps the reality - of judicial independence.

"If you're starting to get into a lobbying process, are you not then beholden to those who make the appointment?" said John Martland, a former president of the Alberta Law Society, speaking generally.

The Globe contacted Associate Chief Justice Rooke through his assistant and asked if he wanted to correct any facts or provide comments. Diana Lowe, his executive counsel, replied that judges speak only through their judgments and a response would not be appropriate.

In an ironic postscript to these events, the federal government went before the Alberta Court of Appeal in May to block Mr. Khadr's release on bail. A single judge heard the case - Justice Bielby.

Mr. Khadr is now free on bail.

Tapping a 'very small pool'

Because there is rarely a straight line from what an appointing government expects to how a judge actually rules, the Conservative strategy is designed to reduce uncertainty, using broad categories as a convenient shortcut to predicting the ideological orientation of candidates for the bench.

Criminal defence lawyers are underrepresented, according to a Globe and Mail review of all appointment notices since 1984.

Academics are, as well, with some notable exceptions. So, too, is anyone who has a senior role in a group with the word "reform" in its title. (One such group is - or was - the Law Reform Commission of Canada, later known as the Law Commission of Canada; in the Conservative government's first year in power, it scrapped the organization.)

Business lawyers are favoured.

Prosecutors are favoured.

Judges appointed by Progressive Conservative prime ministers Mulroney and Kim Campbell look very much like judges appointed by Liberal prime ministers Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, apart from the underlying political affiliations. They appointed more criminal defence lawyers than prosecutors. They did not shy away from academics, either. And Mr. Mulroney chose leading liberals such as Louise Arbour and Rosalie Abella in Ontario, and Morris Fish in Quebec; Liberal governments later named them to the Supreme Court.

The current Conservative government has appointed few judges in the past nine years who have liberal reformist credentials.

Three judges it named to the Ontario Court of Appeal since late in 2012 represented groups arguing against gay marriage at the Supreme Court in 2004. As of this winter, it has appointed 48 prosecutors, compared with 12 lawyers who did primarily criminal defence work, and 10 academics.

Conservatives say the system is no more ideological today than it was under the Liberals. "I can't see the difference," a Conservative said. "When someone is a committed federal Liberal and has worked for the party for 30 years and gets to be of a certain age and a certain standing where some political heavyweights recommend them [for the bench], it's because they're ideologically framed by working for the party."

But David Dyzenhaus, a University of Toronto law and philosophy professor, says he is deeply worried by the pattern of appointments.

"It's very clear that it's almost impossible for a judge who comes from the political centre or to the left to be appointed," he said.

"Which means that the appointment of judges is from a very small pool of lawyers. That invariably means people of considerable ability are being passed over.

The quality of the bench is going to be lower. It will invariably take its toll on the Canadian legal order."

How to evade 'lefties'

The screening committees set minimum standards for the selection of judges. Across the country there are 17 such judicial advisory committees (JACs), as they are known, and they are the only stage of the appointment process whose rules are public.

Until 2006, the committees had three choices when presented with a candidate: highly recommend, recommend or not recommended. Mr. Toews changed that, however, stripping out the first option; now committees can only recommend, or not.

The loss of the highly recommended category "removes a lot of the committee's ability to express to the minister its view as to who really should be appointed to these positions," said Frank Walwyn, a Toronto business lawyer appointed by the Ontario government to the screening committee in the Greater Toronto Area.

Of the 665 applicants in 2013-14, the committee recommended 300, or nearly one in every two. Of those 300, the government anointed a chosen few - 66 judges, or roughly one in five of the recommended group. Under the last year of the old rules, 2005-6, the committees "highly recommended" 76 applicants; if a government wished, it could find enough highly recommended judges to fill all the vacancies.

In practice, despite the changes that put federal government appointees in the voting majority, the committee members tend to seek common ground. "What I've found is that consensus really is the order of the day," Mr. Walwyn said. "If you have a number of people saying this person is not balanced either in the prosecution or defence of individuals, the committee will take that very seriously."

From the Conservative government's perspective, the committees sometimes stand in the way of the judges it wishes to appoint.

So the government has taken deliberate steps to evade the committees, at least in Alberta, a local source said. It has a kind of express lane to bypass the need for a committee recommendation: choosing from judges already serving on the Provincial Court, a lower level of court appointed by the province. (The committees comment on these judges, but make no recommendation.)

These tended to be right-of-centre judges with a known track record.

The advisory committees "were not letting through tough-oncrime candidates because they wanted some lefties to be appointed," the source said. "Liberal judges had control of the screening committees. One of the ways [the government] could get around this is if you were already appointed to another court, the screening committee could not block you; they could only comment." In this fashion, a Provincial Court judge, Brian O'Ferrall, made an unusual leap straight to Alberta's highest court, the Court of Appeal, in 2011. Several others went to the Court of Queen's Bench.

This is not against the rules. The appointments system has wide discretion.

The next steps: recommendations from the political ministers, then the judicial affairs adviser checking out the candidates. One such adviser, Carl Dholandas, was a former president of the McGill Progressive Conservative club who served as executive assistant to Nigel Wright when he was chief of staff in the PMO. The justice ministry declined to make him available for an interview. He left the post early this year, and the ministry would not even reveal the name of the new adviser. (It's Lucille Collard, who was an official at the Federal Court of Appeal.)

After the Justice Minister's recommendation goes to the PMO, an appointments adviser, Katherine Valcov-Kwiatkowski, screens the candidates yet again, before a name makes it to a cabinet vote.

This unwieldy process has slowed the system. Chief justices grew restive at the high numbers of vacancies on their courts: at record levels last year - more than 50 open seats. That number plummeted to 14 in June, with an avalanche of appointments before the official start of the federal election campaign. Quebec Court of Appeal judges were stretched so thin last fall that Chief Justice Nicole Duval Hesler asked Superior Court chief justice François Rolland if she could borrow some judges on an ad hoc basis, a source said. Chief justice Rolland said no.

In his annual public address in September, chief justice Rolland complained that one of the vacancies on his court went back to August, 2013, and four others to April, 2014. Civil trials expected to take longer than 25 days must be booked four years in advance, he said. He jokingly asked if anyone could get Justice Minister MacKay on the phone, because he had tried and failed. The judge has now retired.

One seat that was filled: In 2013, an opening on the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench went to former justice minister Vic Toews.

The judge who doesn't like Canadian law

It is easy to see why Mr. Harper would be a fan of Grant Huscroft, Ian Brodie's friend and co-editor, and why the Conservative government named the Western law professor to Ontario's highest court, effective in January. (Mr. Brodie, now at the University of Calgary, tweeted his congratulations.)

In his published work, Mr. Huscroft has rejected virtually everything at the heart of the Canadian constitutional order. He is opposed to judges reviewing rights claims under the Charter - an important part of his job. He believes it's undemocratic and judges are no better than anyone else at deciding whether a law is consistent with the rights commitments of the Charter. He has made the same point as Mr. Harper on gay rights and the Charter - that the framers deliberately did not protect gay rights. He has written that democracies do not "grossly violate rights," but put "thoughtful" limits on them.

Wil Waluchow, a legal philosopher at McMaster University who strongly disagrees with Mr. Huscroft's originalism, describes him as open-minded and respectful of different viewpoints. "He may fight against the mainstream to some extent, but I don't think it will be in a way that is disrespectful or dishonest," Prof. Waluchow said. "I respect Grant an enormous amount."

Prof. Dyzenhaus, who co-edited a 2009 book of essays with Mr. Huscroft, is also familiar with his work, and has a somewhat different view. "He's an attractive choice for Stephen Harper because he shares with Harper an antipathy for entrenched bills of rights and the way of interpreting those rights that Canadian judges have developed for 30 years," Prof. Dyzenhaus said by phone from Cambridge University, where he is the Arthur Goodhart Visiting Professor of Legal Science.

So why does Mr. Huscroft want to be a judge? In Canada, unlike in the U.S., there is no public review of the federal appointments of new judges in which that question could be asked. Or this one: How can he stay true to his principles while respecting precedent?

Mr. Huscroft declined multiple requests for an interview. But Prof. Dyzenhaus believes Mr. Huscroft hopes to bring change from within.

"If I'm right that he thinks large chunks of the Canadian legal system are illegitimate, one reason for taking office is he wants to get involved in a kind of damage-limitation exercise. So to the extent he can, he will try to prune the living tree."

The constitutional romance

"Constitutional romantics assume the worst of elected legislators and the best of judges," Mr. Huscroft has written. For nearly 10 years, the Conservative government has been dripping blue ink into a red pot - attempting to expunge, bit by bit, the country's 30-year romance with the Charter, and with judges who go out of their way to be the guarantor of rights.

The moves have produced mixed results. The government is up against a culture of unanimity; when Liberal and Conservative appointees sit down together, they tend to find common ground. It also faces a tradition of judicial independence, as some Conservative-appointed judges have demonstrated in striking down tough-on-crime legislation.

"This, irrespective of who appointed you, is always the dominant culture," one appeal court judge said.

There is no strong evidence, in a statistical sense, of more severe criminal sentencing. But there are other areas of the judicial system where the effects can be seen. Perhaps the clearest sign of change is on the Federal Court. Refugees whose claims are rejected by the immigration board can ask this court to review their case. The review is not automatic, and Conservative appointees on the Federal Court agreed to a review in just 10 per cent of cases, compared with 17.6 per cent for Liberal appointees, a study found.

David Near, a former judicial affairs adviser for the Conservatives, accepted 2.5 per cent of requests for judicial review he heard on the Federal Court. In 2013, he was appointed to the Federal Court of Appeal.

As an election approaches that will be fought in part on security from terrorism and crime, the Prime Minister and his cabinet continue their determined effort to reshape the judiciary. In June, they promoted Justice Bradley Miller, another former Western professor and proponent of originalism, to the Ontario Appeal Court. He opposes gay marriage and asks whether the Supreme Court has lost its moral centre.

Business lawyers were again prominent, criminal defence lawyers scarce.

Mr. MacKay's office has given only one answer when The Globe has asked questions over the past eight months about individual appointments and the judicial appointments process: "All judicial appointments are based on merit and legal excellence and on recommendations made by the 17 Judicial Advisory Committees across Canada."

Sean Fine is The Globe and Mail's justice reporter.

Associated Graphic



Louise Arbour: A conservative prime minister's liberal choice.

John Rooke: Sought a promotion on the bench, and was given one.

Bradley Miller: Said the Supreme Court has lost its moral centre.


Grant Huscroft: Rejects the current constitutional consensus.

Myra Bielby: Promotion delayed in a break with tradition.

Vic Toews: Political critic of judicial activism later became a judge.

Rising sea levels, epic droughts, massive flooding: the effects of climate change are already here. How do we adapt? From the Netherlands to Manhattan's Lower East Side, Alex Bozikovic explores the cutting-edge engineering -- and cultural shifts -- that could help
Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F1

Seventy per cent of the Earth's surface is water, though most people focus on the other 30 per cent. Henk Ovink keeps his eyes on the line in between. A wiry, fasttalking expert on water management, Mr. Ovink grew up between sea and land, in eastern Holland. "It is a place that is made out of water," Mr. Ovink says of his home country.

Now Mr. Ovink's job is to explain to the rest of the world, as his country's Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, how the Dutch have done it: how they've thrived, over nearly 1,000 years, by building a complex network of dikes, dams and floodgates to hold back the sea.

"We survived not only because we have great engineers and designers," he says, "but mostly because we have learned to work together.

Even before we were a kingdom, we built a collaborative approach to build a safe place for all."

He hopes cities across the globe will follow that example. With the increasing effects of climate change, urban dwellers must brace for a new reality in which extreme weather events are more frequent, less predictable - and more deadly - than ever before. Two to four billion people in coastal regions could be hit hard. We are all, in a sense, Dutch.

Except that we, unlike the Dutch, don't have centuries to get used to our new, endangered status. In Canada, scientists predict that climate change will mean rising sea levels that affect Vancouver; glacial melt and flooding, but also water shortages, on the Prairies; more frequent and powerful storms battering Montreal and Toronto with ice and vicious rains. The 2013 storms in Alberta, which killed five people and made a $6-billion mess, will not be the last to shake the country.

Our need to cope with long-term climate shifts - known by the bland term "adaptation" - is acute. "You hear lots of people talk about climate change, but very little on adaptation to climate change," says Blair Feltmate, an ecologist at the University of Waterloo. "We need to be doing that. Right now. And we need to think about where water is going to be 25 or 50 years from now."

The challenge goes beyond high water. It is, in fact, so vast and diffuse that it's hard to get our heads around it, a drumbeat of disaster demanding action: emergency-response plans, new wetlands, stronger power grids, big piles of soil and clay. Some of it will be hard and expensive; some will be easy.

None of it will be possible without a change of mindset.

"We have a management-by-disaster mentality," Dr. Feltmate says.

"What we need to do is take a different approach - to avoid having problems in the first place." In other words, we need to live and build like the Dutch.

Remaking our culture, and our cities, will be slow work. North America's richest and most influential city, New York, was hit by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and it is thinking big about resilience - yet changes there are still difficult to detect. Even the Dutch have needed a reminder: the country's largest new sea defences were put in place after the infamous North Sea Flood of 1953, which killed more than 1,800 people.

A generation ago, Canada learned similar lessons from disasters, and responded. The Red River floodway was built after Winnipeg was washed out in 1950, and in 1954 Hurricane Hazel led to the creation of the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority to preserve that area's rivers and ravines. Do we need to be slammed again before we move to protect ourselves for the future?

New York state of mind

In a city of islands, bays and peninsulas, the sea has always been there, coursing and lapping, rarely raising its voice.

Victor Papa never worried much about it. He has lived his 70 years in a neighbourhood - the Lower East Side of Manhattan - where the East River will occasionally flood across the concrete and asphalt. "All my life," he says, "we were part of the river. We were in the river. " So on the night that Hurricane Sandy blew into New York, promising disaster, he scoffed at the TV. "The lights were on, and I said, 'These weather reports are exaggerated. What are they trying to do?' Then, I heard an explosion."

It came from an electrical substation about three kilometres north of his apartment. The local power utility, Con Edison, had built it to survive the highest recorded storm surge, from 1956.

Sandy pushed the water about a foot over the top. The substation went up with a blue flash and a boom. Mr. Papa's lights went out.

More than 600,000 people were without power, and often without water, for a week. "The impossible became possible," Mr. Papa says.

For the city's government, the storm was sobering. "Sandy really highlighted the risks for us," says Daniel Zarrilli, director of the New York Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resiliency. "It revealed a lot of the vulnerabilities we knew we had - showing them up in a very stark way."

Yet the superstorm did not catch New York totally unprepared. Although Mr. Zarrilli's office was established after the storm, the city and local experts had spent years thinking about resilience - the capacity to prepare for, and respond to, crisis.

The city even has its own Panel on Climate Change, which assesses local risks. But how ready was it for Sandy in Mr. Papa's neighbourhood? Not very, by his account.

In the days after a disaster, there is crucial work to be done in getting a city back up and running: providing medical care, water, food, power. On the Lower East Side, city agencies and the Red Cross were hardly in the area at all, Mr. Papa says. He is the director of Two Bridges Neighbourhood Council, a non-profit group that manages two towers of rental housing. One of them, 10 storeys tall, houses seniors, and its elevators failed when the storm flooded the basement.

Two Bridges, a tiny organization, found itself delivering food and water, and checking on residents' well-being. Mr. Papa mentions one tenant, an elderly single woman who is deaf and has limited mobility. "When you rang her doorbell, a light would go on in the apartment - but now that didn't work. So she was wondering what the hell was going on."

Only Two Bridges staff - her neighbours - knew how to help her.

This sort of local knowledge and engagement is known as "social resilience," and it was especially important in the Lower East Side and surrounding neighbourhoods.

It is also easy to overlook. Fortyfour people, ages two to 90, died in New York, and most of them lived along the sea. Their deaths, and the physical devastation of waterfront neighbourhoods in Brooklyn and Staten Island, drew much of the media coverage. Yet in Lower Manhattan, the storm affected hundreds of thousands more people: the social cost was, in Mr. Papa's words, "a human disaster."

'Giant global loudspeaker'

In planning for resilience, policy-makers have to play Solomon, and in a city of 8.4 million people, with 835 kilometres of coastline, the scale of the challenge is monumental: Mr. Zarrilli is now overseeing 257 projects in New York.

The aftermath of Sandy presented a rare opportunity "to buy down risk," Mr. Zarrilli says. The federal government poured $10.5billion (U.S.) into the country's Northeast for reconstruction after the storm, including $3.2-billion into New York alone.

The city's $3.7-billion coastal resiliency plan includes many small projects, such as green roofs and bioswales - small gardens that capture and absorb stormwater.

None will be transformative, but they will have a cumulative impact.

There are also, necessarily, some massive projects. A highprofile design competition called Rebuild By Design - run in part by Mr. Ovink - solicited big ideas to build resilience. One of the winners was called the Dryline, and its face is the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. Mr. Ingels, at just 40, has become one of the world's most prominent architects on the strength of his ability to reframe tough problems with so-crazyit's-brilliant leaps of logic.

In this case, Mr. Ingels sees New York's infrastructure spending as an opportunity to make a more beautiful city. "The Chinese character for crisis is the combination of 'danger' and 'opportunity,' " he tells me in his Lower Manhattan office, overlooking the harbour from the safety of the top floor. The Dryline team included nine other firms of landscape architects, ecologists and planners. They imagined a system of flood protection looping around the tip of Lower Manhattan and also serving as parks and open space. "Our thinking was: What if you design it from the get-go for positive social impacts?" Mr. Ingles says.

The Dryline is as sexy as infrastructure gets. In drawings, it is imagined as a series of verdant hills, flip-up barriers, Technicolor planters and benches - all designed to animate the edge of the water while controlling floods from the rivers and the harbour.

The project, as it gets built, could set an important global benchmark.

"Manhattan is a giant global loudspeaker," Mr. Ingels says.

"Anything you say here is definitely heard louder and clearer.

Which raises the bar and responsibility to build precedents."

How much of the Dryline's elegant urban design will get built is an open question. So far, only one section is underway, a $335-million (U.S.) first phase covering an East River area that houses an aging and vulnerable population, and the power plant that turned out Mr. Papa's lights.

But its berms will stop at the northern edge of the Lower East Side. In a storm, it will not help the buildings overseen by Mr. Papa and Two Bridges - maybe the opposite. If the river floods and hits the barriers to the north, will the water push even farther into their streets? "We're very concerned about overflow," says Two Bridges associate director Kerri Culhane. "We realize we're on the front line here, and nothing is being done to protect us."

The city is studying that issue, but there are many other challenges to consider. To survive in an unpredictable climate, a society must always be thinking about weather: What is the worst case?

And how can we be ready?

A successful case study is visible from Mr. Ingels's office windows: Governors Island. The northern half of the 172-acre island is on high ground and houses structures dating back to the American Revolutionary War. West 8 - a Rotterdam and New York-based landscape architecture firm that won a design competition to remake the island as a park - focused on the southern part, where the Coast Guard had built on landfill.

Its solution was what West 8 partner Jamie Maslyn Larson calls "transformation through topography." It raised the level of the ground in the vulnerable section by about four metres. Some areas around the fringes were designed as lawns and ball fields, with grass and trees that can handle a drink of seawater. As the site rises, curvaceous white concrete curbs direct floodwater along paved paths and back to low ground.

The Trust for Governors' Island, the nonprofit group that runs the site, footed the bill for this strategy, which involved shipping 80,000 cubic yards of landfill onto the island. That paid off right away. The park had begun construction in October, 2012, and when Hurricane Sandy was coming in, the construction crews parked their machines on that new, higher ground. The floodwaters that night exceeded the most current 100-year flood projection - yet the excavators and graders remained dry, and much of the park, including hundreds of new trees, survived more or less intact.

"The next day, we were ready to get back to work," says Ellen Cavanagh, the trust's director of planning, design and construction. "I'm glad," she adds, "that our landscape architects were Dutch."

The Dutch way with water

In his 1936 poem Memory of Holland, Hendrik Marsman wrote: "in every district/ the voice of the water/ with its eternal disasters/is heard and is feared." If any nation understands the vagaries of weather and water, it is the Netherlands. Huge areas of the country's land mass have been reclaimed from the sea, and its waterways have wandered dangerously, growing and shrinking and changing shape, through the centuries.

Yet despite nearly a thousand years of building against the sea, it took two disasters in the 20th century for the country to get its defences in order. The Netherlands was hit by a deadly storm surge in 1916, and then in 1953 the North Sea Flood hit. This event "was like the 9/11 of Holland," says Adriaan Geuze, a principal of West 8.

The response was the Delta Project, a collection of public works that reshaped the coast of the southwestern Netherlands. A comprehensive system of surge barriers, dams, locks and dikes was designed to deliver particular levels of flood protection, dictated by legislation - work that continued through the 1990s. In other words, reestablishing a comfortable level of protection against the sea took half a century. "It's a myth that you wake up the next morning and everything will be okay," Mr. Ovink says. "But that is not a reason to stand still.

You should start now: it will take a generation."

The Dutch tradition of reclaiming low-lying land goes back about 1,000 years. After storms reshaped the coast in the 12th century, the Dutch drained and protected increasingly large swaths of terrain. Water management became central to the culture and politics of the area; farmers and landowners pooled resources. Count Willem II of Holland founded the first water board in 1255, and the modern Dutch state has 25 of them - regional bodies responsible for water barriers and management, each governed by an assembly of households, landowners, building owners and industry representatives.

The boards, elected through a different system than local or federal governments, have the independence to think long-term.

That capacity, Mr. Ovink says, is crucial. "Most places only respond to a disaster," he says. "I work all over the world and I see this: A long-term regional plan will fail to build resiliency if there is not the institutional capacity to lead it over the years."

The contemporary Dutch approach to water management includes large and small moves.

Rotterdam, the country's second biggest city, is 90 per cent below sea level. It is protected by infrastructure measured in kilometres; its main shipping channel has a 13,000-tonne pair of surge gates that can be closed in anticipation of a storm.

Its urban design and architecture are also prepared to reduce the impact of extreme weather.

As Mr. Ovink says, "You can't keep an umbrella over the whole city." Rotterdam and the local water board commissioned the design of a downtown "water square," which captures rainwater from nearby buildings and streets.

The design by local firm de Urbannisten makes a spectacle of the water as it moves over falls and through glimmering steel gutters, disappearing into a massive holding tank and being slowly, safely dispersed.

But the Dutch also realize their previous strategies won't be enough. Along the Rhine River and its branches, large areas have been enclosed by dikes over the past 1,000 years. Now, climate scientists are recording heavier rains and predicting still further increases. In the Netherlands, as elsewhere, the sort of event that used to be a 1,000-year storm or a 500-year flood is happening with distressing regularity. The historic solution - building dikes higher and higher - will no longer work.

And so the Netherlands is well into a new set of water projects, called Room for the River, that turn 1,000 years of tradition upside down - working with, not against, the water. "We have reinvented the past," Mr. Ovink says.

Its 39 sites are employing every imaginable water-management tactic, from creating new reservoirs to deepening riverbeds. In many places, they are lowering barriers, removing dikes and - strategically - allowing the rivers to flood on a grand scale.

In Nijmegen, the country's oldest city, this means broadening the River Waal. Instead of raising dikes, a Room for the River project is moving them back by 350 metres. In the resulting space, a new channel has been cut to expand the river. The city, to the south, gains a measure of safety; a new island in the river adds to the region's parkland, and the city is building a new quay and constructing housing on the north side.

However, the land that's being surrendered to the river was not empty. A village, Lent, was home to about 50 families. "In the beginning, [those] people were not happy," says Karsten Schipperheijn, a project manager working with the local government on the plan. Some were farm families "who had lived there for ages," and some were retirees who had moved into this green area "to live there for the last 20 beautiful years of their life."

The answers: money, and respectful conversation. "We had discussions at their kitchen tables - it was important to hear their stories," Mr. Schipperheijn says.

In the end, the city was able to address their concerns: Every one of the 50 households voluntarily accepted a buyout.

To Mr. Geuze of West 8, this response is characteristically Dutch.

"In Holland," he explains, "the social and political acceptance of water measures is fundamental. If government wants to change something to build a road, it is a not-in-my-backyard culture. But for water, it is different."

For Americans, and even for Canadians, it will be impossible to replicate the long tradition of public works on which the Netherlands is founded. But Mr. Ovink suggests that the very process of assessing our vulnerabilities, and correcting for them, can itself change our culture. One engineering solution "in itself doesn't build resilience." he says. "We need a suite of interventions - and that over time builds social resilience."

Canada: of rivers and seas

Social resilience is a technical term for a simple concept: the capacity of community members to take care of each other. And Mr. Ovink's idea is an elegant one.

This spring, Ottawa launched a $200-million National Disaster Mitigation Program. Could Canadians pull together on resilience as a new national project, despite the country's geographic spread and its differences of culture and climate?

If so, it would be by thinking of climate change and resilience in very personal terms. Alec Hay, a civil engineer who teaches resilience planning at the University of Toronto, has set students an exam question: An elderly woman lives alone, and she is isolated after a winter power outage. How does she eat? Who looks after her? Engineering has no answers.

"Difficult things will happen," he says. "People have to look after each other."

A major ice storm or flood is likely to generate massive infrastructure problems as well, so resilience must also involve turning the lights back on. The policial and conceptual problem is that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy: In Canada the disaster scenarios vary between ocean cities and river cities. The challenges, and their solutions, are local.

The picture along the ocean is complex, says Glenn Milne, Canada Research Chair in Earth System Dynamics at the University of Ottawa. Sea-level rise "is not going to be a tidal wave smashing things to bits," he says. "It's going to be slow, eating it away faster and faster. And then there will be storms." What it will look like depends on where you are. For most of Canada's coastline, the impact of climate change will likely bring sea level down - but at a certain point as you move south, sea level will start to rise.

In Nova Scotia, he predicts, many buildings and towns will be vulnerable to flooding. "There are lot of houses close to the coastline.

That area will be one of the hardest hit in Canada."

Vancouver, with its large population and flood-prone low geography, will be more vulnerable. "If you look at a map of Vancouver and imagine a sea-level rise of one metre, you get a totally different city," says Craig Applegath, a Canadian architect who consults on sustainability and resiliency.

Indeed, the city is implementing an adaptation strategy that includes hardening individual buildings against flooding and limiting development in flood plains. A 2013 study suggested that the city would be among the top-20 most vulnerable in the world, but that local measures would provide some degree of protection.

For river cities, climate change is likely to mean more rain and storms of greater frequency and magnitude. On the Prairies, warmer temperatures bring increased snowmelt. "In Edmonton and Calgary, the rivers are fed by the Rockies," Mr. Applegath says.

""As the climate warms, you have the snowmelt from the winter before happening in the spring, plus you have the glaciers - which have been there forever - melting. You add a flash storm and you get [the Calgary flood] again."

"Kim Sturgess, a Calgary water engineer, says the city is unusual in being so close to the mountains. "Where in a major storm Winnipeg will get a gigantic amount of water, they'll get four days' notice," she says. "We get half an hour."

"To be ready on that kind of notice demands that everyone has a sense of what's coming. That sense has been in place in Calgary for a while: The city built its environmental operations centre and improved its planning after the floods of 2005, and was quite well-prepared for the 2013 flood.

"When it is again time to evacuate, many Calgarians will be ready.

"Preparedness is one thing; prevention is another. Late last year, Ms. Sturgess authored a report that looks at the Bow River basin with a Dutch eye. "How do you give the river room to move so it doesn't cause a lot of damage?" Ms. Sturgess asks. "If you look at that study, here in the Calgary area, every option about what to do was put on the table."

"The report emphasizes the naturalization of the river's edges and imagines relocating old infrastructure, more buyouts of property owners, limiting new development, closing of old infrastructure sites and returning them to the river. "There are a lot of different ways of going at the issue, and they need to be assessed," Ms. Sturgess says.

"Some major projects have already been put in motion, though critics argue they are more about gratifying political impulses than meeting infrastructure needs. In the wake of the 2013 storm, the Prentice government was focused on big infrastructure works, the sort of project that brings the sense of reassurance - and the political payoff - that more nuanced strategies do not. The government announced three major projects along the Elbow River, including the Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir introduced last September. It would add a new dam and berm to divert water from the Elbow, when the river floods, into a new basin west of Calgary. The reservoir had not been anticipated by local water management plans, and the proposal faced stiff oppositiuon from some locals; during this spring's campaign, the NDP signalled that it would oppose that project.

"Since taking office, the Notley government has not yet firmed up its position. Jason Penner, a public affairs officer with Alberta Environment and Parks, says the department is still waiting for direction. "There will likely be a test checking how the three Elbow River projects would go together - a cost-benefit analysis of having all three," he says.

"Deadly lessons of Hazel

"What good is an analysis if government won't follow it? Or if each new government sees the need to revisit its assumptions?

"Without long-term commitments from the province and municipalities, and the steady financial backing of the federal government, building resilience in Canada - or anywhere for that matter - is impossible.

"Globally, Mr. Ovink says, this is a profound challenge. "The problem with big projects is that they take a long time," he says with a laugh. And on the other hand, slow consultative work doesn't pay off politically. "Nobody wants to be the mayor who built a plan," Mr. Ovink says.

"In some places, it is the insurance industry that may lead the way toward a better understanding of the issues. Dr. Feltmate works on research with the insurer Intact, which is spearheading pilot projects for soft infrastructure, such as planting new wetlands to help with drainage, on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. So far the Canadian insurance industry has little exposure to flood events, since overland flood insurance is largely unavailable here. But the floods of 2013 had sewers backing up in the Toronto neighbourhood of Downsview, several kilometres from the nearest river. Insurers largely paid for the repairs, though Feltmate says they are reluctant to cover the endangered area. Where is next?

""Calgary was a $6.1-billion flood, the worst in Canadian history," Dr. Feltmate says. "But what worries the insurance industry is the $30-billion flood that wipes out the Fraser Valley. Or the flood that wipes out Kingston. Since there's no chance we're going backward on climate change, this is what we have to think about."

"Even if Canada moves in the right direction, Mr. Ovink cautions that the next few decades will be wet and wild. "There will be devastating events," he says.

""There will be casualties. Just because you understand a risk doesn't mean it won't hit you."

"This week Toronto, the province of Ontario and the federal government announced $5-million toward a proposal to renaturalize the mouth of the Don River in downtown Toronto - work that will soften the edges of the river and make it less prone to flooding. It's a move in the right direction, but small and overdue. It will allow important new development in the area - and yet existing neighbourhoods to the east of the river are vulnerable to flooding right now. "You can't let a portion of the city float out into the lake," says community activist Julie Beddoes, "when there are plans in someone's drawer to fix it."

"The other side of the river - downtown Toronto - is lucky that such a washout hasn't already happened. That too is a flood plain. Until recently, a large hurricane along the Don River could have sent water coursing through King and Bay streets, flooding subways and crippling the country's largest city. And that danger was never a major political issue.

"A solution - a berm, or earthwork, along the Don River - was first proposed in the mid-1980s.

"The government agency Waterfront Toronto finally built a $135million, 8.5-metre-high bank of soil and clay in 2012.

"A weather-related disaster would help focus the minds of citizens and governments. But of course Toronto has already had one: Hurricane Hazel in 1954.

"West of the Don is the Humber, Toronto's other major river. Here, in a broad swath of valley, lies Raymore Drive, where Hazel hit with its deadliest force. The river dammed up with debris at a bridge, then broke loose and swamped a stretch of modest suburban houses. Thirty-two people lost their lives in one little block.

"I went there this week to see where their houses once sat. The area is now public land, one of the many ravine parks managed by the region's conservation authority to keep the city safe from more floods. An odd meadow of wildflowers fills the valley floor, a few ash and ironwood struggling with what's buried under the surface. In the water, ragged hunks of concrete from the broken bridge remain where they fell.

"This is where Canadians once made room for the river - proof that we are able to adapt, after we have been hit hard enough.

"Alex Bozikovic is The Globe and Mail's architecture critic.


"Associated Graphic

"A series of projects, large and small, are in the works to help New York adapt to the worst effects of climate change. They include everything from parkland upgrades to the Dryline, a proposed 12-kilometre-long band of hills, bridges and flood barriers decorated by local artists.


"A rendering shows part of a proposal to protect New York from rising water levels: walls attached to the underside of FDR Drive, ready to flip down to prepare for floods.




"Community leader and Lower East Side resident Victor Papa describes Hurricane Sandy as "a human disaster" for which the city was ill-prepared.




"The key to successful climate change strategies, is melding infrastructure development with social resilience - using public space to build communities as well as physical protection from the elements.




"From left to right: high water at the Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier in Oosterschelde, the Netherlands; the giant Maeslant Barrier that guards entrance to Rotterdam, the largest port in Europe; a tow truck driver floats a car out of the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto during the floods of 2013.




"The Maeslant Barrier, a 13,000-tonne pair of surge gates that helps protect the main shipping channel in Rotterdam.




"On October 18, 1954, the Holland River flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Hazel. Southern Ontario was pounded with more than 200 millimetres of rain in less than 24 hours.



The winner of this battle will rack up more meat, money and market share. How a young upstart is exposing cracks in Ontario's multimillion-dollar ribfest industry and forcing his opponents to feel the heat. Michael Fraiman reports
Saturday, August 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M1

ST. THOMAS, ONT. -- The St. Thomas Ribfest looks, smells and sounds like any other ribfest. Sunscreened families line up, sometimes for close to an hour, to pay $23 for a full rack of pork ribs, or $13 for a half. There are lemonade stands, funnel cakes, face painters, ice cream vendors, children playing and five boisterous, smoking rib vendors. Four middle-aged men jam on Led Zeppelin covers at the bandshell in Pinafore Park, a verdant 90-acre space on the southern edge of town and a 30minute drive south of London, Ont.

There is one important distinction about this ribfest: It is run by a 28-year-old entrepreneur and rib-world interloper named Justin Brown. "We're blacklisted," he explains. Rotary International, whose local chapters run more ribfests than any other organization in Ontario, has cost Mr. Brown award-winning ribbers, national sponsors and local charities, all of whom fear eviction from lucrative Rotary events if they work with him.

"I'm just trying to put on an event in a city that doesn't have one," Mr. Brown says. "I like doing it and I'm not gonna stop doing it. Take my sponsors, fine.

I'll find other people that are interested."

In a smoky subculture with the scent of the Deep South and a firm footing in Ontario, several Rotarians view Mr. Brown's fledgling for-profit rib series as an affront to their multimilliondollar charitable system. "It's pretty public that we're upset about it," says Jeremy Racicot, co-chair of Canada's Largest Ribfest, a Rotary event in Burlington that many feel is uncomfortably close to Mr. Brown's upstart Hamilton Ribfest. "It was tough for us to hear that there was a for-profit series that was sparking up and it was in direct competition with our brand."

It wasn't just Hamilton. Mr. Brown has started ribfests in Welland (near the St. Catharines Rotary Ribfest, 20 kilometres and three weeks apart), Georgetown (19 km from Rotary Rib 'n' Roll, in Brampton) and Newmarket (26 km from the Richmond Hill Ribfest, a municipally run event), all under his sleek Northern Heat Rib Series brand. This year, the St. Thomas Ribfest preceded the for-profit London Ribfest, run by Doug Hillier, by just a single week. But Mr. Hillier can handle it, and says he's "disgusted" by how Rotary clubs have treated Mr. Brown. "Even though I do not like the St. Thomas Ribfest coming so close to me, I believe they have the right to do that," he says. "Small business is how this country is run."

Several ribbers still side with the Rotary. One said Northern Heat would "kill the industry"; several believe Mr. Brown's business strategy is parasitical, draining nearby markets for his own private gain and working with charities as a guise. "Despite what [Mr. Brown] says, the fact is, he's worded it very carefully," says John Kasias, who runs Railroad Ribs. "If you know them, you know that's lip service."

In early 2015, Rotary clubs circulated a letter among ribbers admonishing Mr. Brown, suggesting the Rotary would protect its own interests. "They didn't outright say, 'We don't want you doing this' or 'You can't do this,' " says Tom Diavolitsis, who has run Boss Hogs BBQ for 10 years. Nonetheless, Mr. Diavolitsis quit Northern Heat's Hamilton show. "It scared me," he says. "They made a point of kicking Victor out. ... I don't want to fall into that same fate."

Victor Anastasiadis, the 21year-old who inherited the lauded Kentucky Smokehouse chain from his father, chose to remain in Mr. Brown's rib series; Mr. Brown is good friends with Mr. Anastasiadis's older brother.

After refusing to abandon Northern Heat, Kentucky Smokehouse was axed from Canada's Largest Ribfest. Soon after, Mississauga followed suit.

Mr. Anastasiadis declined to comment for this story, but Rotary members are unapologetic.

"We do not just do this on a whim. We spent a lot of time and a lot of consultation," Robert Peeling, the Burlington event's co-founder, says. "We don't help people setting out for private profit."

Mr. Brown avoids phrasing it this way, but Northern Heat has exposed cracks in Ontario's ribfest industry. Everyone The Globe and Mail spoke with agrees ribfests are good for local economies, charities and private business people. But Rotarians believe that donating 100 per cent of their profit is the right thing to do, while Mr. Brown, who has yet to profit from any of his ribfests, is content committing to a 10- or 15-per-cent donation in the future and use the rest to grow his business. Neither side says it wants to fight: Rotarians want Mr. Brown to simply move his events farther away, while Mr. Brown has already shifted around controversial dates to pre-empt confrontation.

But the schism exists and ribbers looking to expand their businesses are left in limbo. "There's nothing for them to say Boss Hogs can go to Burlington every year - I have to perform, I have to run a clean operation, I have to be professional," Mr. Diavolitsis says.

"But normally that's always been enough. I've never had an issue where I've had to think twice about where I'm going."

He sighs and leans back. "But I guess that's just growing pains now."

'If I have a month of raining, my year is over' Ontario has hit peak ribfest. This is a distinctly heartland phenomenon: More than two million people will visit one of the province's 65 ribfests this summer. (There are only three dedicated ribfests in British Columbia; Alberta has two.)

"We pretty much saturated the market," Gus Sakellis, owner of Ribs Royale, says. "There's nowhere else, really, in Ontario to go right now."

There are ribfests in towns as small as Gananoque, population 5,191, and as remote as Owen Sound, Timmins and Cornwall. In 2012, organizers in Toronto commemorated the 100th Grey Cup by bringing a mini-ribfest to Front Street; this year, Ottawa is faced with a ribfest rivalry, with two in the downtown core and one in the suburb of Kanata, while Etobicoke hosted what was billed as the world's first-ever ribfest wedding, officiated in the ski chalet of Centennial Park.

Ribfests are popular, partly, because they're successful. Burlington's ribfest alone generated $3.3-million in economic activity around the city in 2014, including taxes, bought food and paid accommodation; on top of that, it raised $230,000 for charity. Even smaller festivals punch above their weight: The Kemptville and Brockville ribfests, both organized by local Big Brothers Big Sisters chapters, garnered about 40,000 combined visitors in 2015 and raised more than $150,000, co-ordinators say. Virtually every ribfest will raise more than $1 for every attendee, with an average of 38,000 attendees in 2014. Every festival's financing scheme differs slightly, but the pillars are constant: diligent fundraising, beer sales, vendor payments and corporate sponsorships.

These dollar figures preclude the ribbers themselves, whose business is made exclusively from hawking meat. Ribbers' profits are closely guarded secrets, making ribbing perhaps Ontario's largest cash-only industry. Vendors don't accept credit or debit cards, and asking for a receipt will earn you a quizzical look from the cashier. One ribber sent me an angry e-mail when asked how much sauce he went through in a season. Many cite competitive or safety reasons for this; several ribbers in Ontario have been robbed in the past.

Whatever they make, they spend much of it in overhead. To appear at a ribfest, they have to pay an entry fee of a few thousand dollars, and there's also a small staff of cooks and cashiers to be paid and put up in hotels for a weekend. This is to say nothing of start-up costs: A decent-sized rig costs $250,000, according to Matt Smith, a veteran ribber who runs Gator BBQ. On top of printing new banners every year and buying the rig itself, which unfurls, Transformers-style, from a meek box of sheet metal into an open-kitchen restaurant replete with at least one (but more often two) $20,000 smokers jammed with up to 700 pounds of meat, there are safety certification costs, drivers' fees and energy bills.

"I don't make money till the last two shows," says Bernie Gerl, who runs the storied Camp 31 out of Paris, Ont. Mr. Gerl says his income is on par with an average restaurant's, with one important caveat: His venture is weather-dependent. "If I have a month of raining, my year is over," he says.

"This is a messed-up business."

The only insurance against the rain is keeping busy. It's a big investment to build a second rig, let alone a third, but the rewards are significant. Boss Hogs and Gator BBQ spend summers in two provinces at once, sending one rig each across Western Canada while leaving their others in Ontario.

Ideally, they can put each team to work every weekend of the summer and spread them out enough that a storm won't ruin business for all their teams.

This is why ribbers saw Northern Heat as an opportunity. Mr. Smith, like Mr. Diavolitsis, had planned on expanding with Mr.

Brown's rib series. Why not? He had the extra rig and wanted to keep his staff employed. Once the Rotary's letter spread around, however, Mr. Smith withdrew from several Northern Heat shows, deeming it not worth the risk. As he put it to me, "Ribbers are gonna have to walk softly there."

'A hurtin' little place' It's hard to understand Mr. Brown's side of the story unless you've visited his hometown, St.

Thomas. Once a booming railway hub before the train industry collapsed, the town thrived as an automotive-parts manufacturer until the 2008 recession sank the local Ford and Sterling factories, slashing 6,000 jobs in the process.

"We lost everything," my cab driver told me as we passed the city's most famous landmark, a statue of a carnival elephant named Jumbo who was struck by a train and killed here in 1885. "It's a hurtin' little place."

Mr. Brown wasn't living in St. Thomas during the recession, but he knew what was happening.

Though boyish and bro-ish, a sharp business savvy undercuts his grey Blue Jays cap and scruffy blond beard. He started a landscaping business while studying at the University of Western Ontario and has been organizing events for just as long; his résumé includes charity golf tournaments and London's annual Block Party music festival. But he hadn't done much for his hometown, 30 kilometres south. "I've got all these friends back here, and I've got family back here, and I've got ties [to] the community," he recalls thinking. "Why shouldn't I do an event here? Why am I not going back? Why am I avoiding my hometown?" In 2012, an idea popped into Mr. Brown's head: Why not a ribfest?

He spent the next two years developing the idea with the city's special events committee and the Innovation Centre for Entrepreneurs, a government-funded business incubator that's operated in St. Thomas since 1986. He brought it to city council in May, 2014, three months before the event debuted. "It's something residents were waiting for," Mayor Heather Jackson says. "We don't have a lot of big events. Three or four, tops. Nothing to the scale like this one."

For that first year, Mr. Brown brought in veteran rib teams, including Kentucky Smokehouse, Boss Hogs and Gator BBQ. His mother helped organize volunteers; his father handled the beer.

As many as 12,000 people came out - more than one-quarter of the city's population. Everyone agreed it was a success. Mr. Brown relaxed.

It was fall, while Mr. Brown was sitting in his marketing office in downtown Toronto, that he began seriously reflecting on the event. He thought about how much he'd enjoyed putting on the ribfest, and how he'd like to do more. Then, the next obvious question formed: Where could he go?

He began randomly typing Ontario towns and the word "ribfest" into Google. He couldn't go too far, nor could he double-up over Rotary territory. Eventually he settled on five cities that, while near pre-existing ribfests, he still regarded as "underserved" communities. Georgetown residents could drive out to Brampton's ribfest, but don't 40,000 people deserve an event of their own?

Ultimately, the guiding question always led him back home.


You walk into the park and see a dozen rigs. They've all got heaps of golden trophies and first-place banners. Old men with beer bellies and thick white beards are calling you from every direction.

How do you choose?

Ignore the trophies Everyone's won trophies. Some ribbers won't even display them, preferring to focus on the product and character of their teams. If you really care about awards, look to their banners and see whose won the most recent first-place awards. (Even this will be fairly arbitrary.)

Get sauced Most teams, especially at big festivals, will send a staffer out to give out samples. Since every ribber buys meat from the same few sources, sauce is a key differentiator.

Don't follow the lines Once ribbers have a few people waiting for food, they'll slow down - this is called "building the line." Consumers are more inclined to line up behind 50 people than they are to be first in line at a quiet rig, because they assume popularity denotes quality. It doesn't - it just means staffers are working slower.

None of them are American Whether their names refer to the likes of Kentucky, Louisiana, Florida or Alabama, they're all Canadian now. Brands may have originated down south, but they would have been bought by Canadians years ago. And those Southern accents, we're sorry to say, are just part of the show.

"If I'm gonna do another ribfest, where could I do it? Where are the ribfests now?" he recalls thinking. "Where are cities like St.


'Nobody knew what pulled pork was' Some Canadians spend entire summer vacations road tripping between Ontario ribfests, marking a devotion that's hard to imagine transposed onto, say, chicken wings. Wings are small and ubiquitous, whereas ribs are goofy and flamboyant, trickling with Down South exoticism and eaten, necessarily, in a vulnerable, child-like state - with messy hands and lots of napkins. This is the paradox of ribs: They are a food nobody should want to eat in public, yet millions in Ontario do.

It's impossible to pinpoint why ribfests erupted in Ontario, but Mr. Hillier, whose London Ribfest is the oldest in Canada, has a theory. Barbecue festivals date back to the mid-19th century, when they were rowdy political events for U.S. presidential candidates such as Andrew Jackson. In the background, black slaves would spend up to 12 hours roasting the meat.

Wealthy slave owners wanted only prime cuts: chicken breasts, rump roasts, pork shoulders.

"The joke's on them, because they didn't get the sweetest meat - the sweetest meat is closest to the bone," Mr. Hillier says. "Ribs, chicken wings, collard greens - all those things were soul food. We try to soften this, but it was the food of the slaves."

Those who escaped to Canada through the Underground Railroad brought along the tradition of fire-smoked, open-grill cooking, Mr. Hillier says. Over the following decades, former slaves would celebrate Emancipation Day in border cities such as Windsor and Sarnia with massive barbecue festivals.

The competition element has a foggier backstory. As Jonathan Deutsch and Megan J. Elias write in Barbecue: A Global History, "Like barbecue itself, barbecue competitions are a simple concept that probably evolved in multiple locations, at multiple times, whenever one person said to another, 'My barbecue is better than yours.' " Canada's first was what is today London Ribfest, which began in 1985 as a barbecue competition. Mr. Hillier believes its founder was a man named Bill who, in 1988, handed it over to the local Boys and Girls Club, which rechristened it a ribfest but gave it up to Mr. Hillier in 2009 after deciding it was too much work for their volunteer group.

Mr. Hillier has not been able to track Bill down to confirm the early details, though. "Some say he died of a heart attack, motorcycle accident," he says. "Nobody knows."

Around that same time, Larry Murphy - the grandfather of Canadian ribbing, a 63-year-old Alabaman with a wrinkled forehead whose thick drawl rhymes "sauce" with "house" - was running a general store called Camp 31 in Brewton, Ala. In barbecue circles, the state is known for its abundance of rural pigs and hickory wood, an ideal combination for smoked ribs. Mr. Murphy made his so well that Brewton's police department sponsored him in a barbecue cook-off in Pensacola, Fla., where he surprised even himself by winning first place for sauce and ribs. "I wasn't no competition," he recalls today. "I was just down tryin' to do the best I could." He decided to turn his store into a rib shack and take his business on the road, touring across North America.

"He was a player down in the States, but he became the king up here," says Mr. Smith of Gator BBQ. Back then, Mr. Smith was working for the carnival company Conklin Shows, which recruited Mr. Murphy into their national tours. "Nobody knew what pulled pork was," he recalls. "Had to put a little extra on the ribs just to get people to taste it."

Ribfests proved as popular as Mr. Murphy's pulled pork until the Rotary got involved in 1994.

Members Robert Peeling and John Thorpe were tasked with finding a new fundraiser when they considered a ribfest. Mr. Peeling chanced upon Mr. Murphy ribbing at the Canadian National Exhibition, and, after a 90-minute conversation that day and subsequent weeks of backand-forth, committed to bring one to Burlington's Spencer Smith Park. Even though that first festival, in 1995, was doused by rain and netted Rotarians just $850, "we still had people coming out, standing in line in the pouring rain, waiting for their ribs," Mr. Peeling says. "That showed you there that something was right."

'It became a war' Canadian ribbing enjoyed a quiet first decade, but grew antsy in its teenage years, as more teams crammed into the Ontario circuit and increasingly costly border restrictions deterred Americans from entering the country. Competition got nasty: Ribbers began discreetly stuffing ballot boxes to rig audience-choice awards; some set their trophies in front of rival teams; others erected huge, confusing banners to mislead locals into thinking they'd won first place recently at any given festival. One owner alleges another took a pole to his rig and scratched it up. "All of a sudden, it became all about the money," a senior ribber told me. "They were all doing it. It became a war."

Something had to change. In early 2012, before the summer season kicked off, a dozen or so ribbers met in a hotel conference room and hashed out 10 rules for ribfest etiquette. "We sit down, we have a couple drinks two times a year, we decide what should we talk about," Mr. Gerl of Camp 31 says. "To stop the bullshit in the park."

If Larry Murphy is the grandfather of ribs, Bernie Gerl is the godfather. A burly man of 50, Mr. Gerl has the large, calloused hands of someone who's worked in restaurants all his life; at 17, he took a loan from his family to buy his own pizza restaurant in Hamilton. He helped launch Camp 31's Canadian location in Paris, Ont., in 1995, and inherited the role of ribbing ringleader after Mr. Murphy retired. He is the association's first and only president and has a financial stake in several association rib teams.

Together, these ribbers standardized banners and prices and slapped restrictions on sauce sampling and trophy placements.

They chose a president, a secretary, a board of directors and a name: the Ontario Ribbers' Association.

Although it originated as the ribbers' United Nations, it evolved into something resembling a union. Ribbers suddenly had leverage against rising vendor costs and organizers' arbitrary rules and threw their weight around against what they saw as unfair requests, such as too many free meals or price hikes. "There's been threats, game-playing and stuff," Hugh Williams, Toronto Ribfest's director, says. "It's part of the business."

Ribbers and Rotarians are hesitant to talk publicly about these issues, because both sides agree the association has helped smooth out more problems than it's caused. In fact, several ribfest organizers say they will only bring in association members, because it makes selecting ribbers easier. Mr. Racicot, in Burlington, wants to go one step further and adopt a similar union among Rotary ribfest organizers. "My thinking is we should band together to leverage our brand," he says, which would allow a streamlined avenue for sponsorship across all ribfests in Ontario.

These parallel monopolies - those in charge of festivals and ribbers - shed light on how this industry functions. It is based largely on history and loyalty, who you know rather than how well you rib. It has allowed for a comfortable status quo to thrive for two decades.

This has created a brick wall for entrepreneurs on both sides. "It is tough for a new guy to get in, no question about it," Mr. Gerl says.

"Is it a problem? I don't think it's a problem." The association doesn't guarantee anyone a spot in a festival. Instead, entrepreneurial ribbers can head farther out into the province, paving their own way if they need to, pollinating Ontario with more and more ribfests.

Which is exactly what they're doing.

'This is the beginning' Gus Sakellis, a newer association member, is one of the last upstart ribbers in Ontario. After starting Ribs Royale in 2006, he spent four years trying to break into the scene. "It was very difficult to get into ribfests," he says. "There's not much real estate to go around." Festival organizers select ribbers based on history and loyalty.

So in 2010, Mr. Sakellis created his own opportunities. Instead of working a second job during the winter months (as done by certain ribbers, dubbed "weekend warriors" by full-timers), Mr. Sakellis toured rural Ontario, pitching ribfests to non-profits around Thunder Bay, Kemptville and Perth. "We were quite taken by surprise year one," says Jim Comuzzi, who organizes Ribfest Thunder Bay with the city's downtown BIA. They expected 12,000 people to show up; twice that many did.

John Kasias, who founded Railroad Ribs in 2010, is in a similar situation. Railroad is a small rig with few awards to its name; the first time he played London Ribfest, Mr. Kasias walked away in the red because of the severalthousand-dollar entry fee. The following year, on the same weekend, he worked an event that cost him only $1,000 to enter, and now frequents such non-ribfest events as Buskerfest in Toronto and Westfest in Ottawa. "I choose to see opportunity in all places," he says.

Mr. Sakellis and Mr. Kasias are clever and intrepid business owners, just as Mr. Brown is; and, like Mr. Brown, they are helping expand rib culture exponentially in pockets of Ontario that would otherwise lack the spectacle of live fire-grilled ribs. And yet the ribbers themselves have eschewed criticism of market saturation, while Mr. Brown has been bludgeoned with it.

"It's a slap in the face to Justin," says Rob Mise, the general manager of St. Thomas's local radio station and a staunch supporter of Mr. Brown's. "Here's a guy who wants to go and start a business, employ people, get the economy going in these markets, too. Why should Welland go without a ribfest? Is that fair?" Welland is perhaps Northern Heat's most controversial market.

It is 15 kilometres and three weeks apart from St. Catharines Rotary Ribfest, one of the oldest in Ontario. Wade Stayzer, who organizes the event, says he's more worried about retaining local sponsors than he is about attendance, and "would love to see Justin focus on communities without ribfests."

How communities are defined is precisely the problem. For many Rotarians, it is an area beyond city borders, mingling tourists with locals and turning dollars into donations. According to Mr. Brown's side, a community is any municipality of ribfest have-nots who want an event to call their own.

There's some precedent for blurry market definition. The Rotary Club of Cambridge kickstarted a ribfest 16 kilometres away from Kitchener's ribfest, a forprofit event that had been running strong for a decade. Mr. Stayzer helped the Niagara Falls Rotary club set up its own ribfest 20 kilometres away from St. Catharines. "We don't see it as a big deal," Mr. Stayzer says, because seven weeks separate the two events and both raise money exclusively for charities.

The Rotary cannot avoid Northern Heat indefinitely; popular business models are destined for enterprise growth. Several Rotary ribfests, such as those in Burlington and Toronto, are expanding to include full-time salespeople and celebrity chefs. Ribbers are cultivating Western Canada, with the hopes that, 10 years from now, B.C. and Alberta will be as bloated with pork and ribs as Ontario is now.

Mr. Brown isn't sure yet if he'll add more cities next year, but even if he doesn't, others surely will. Mr. Mise, at least, has faith.

"This is the beginning," he says.

"This is only gonna get bigger, bigger and bigger. He's not stopping."


Like any industry professionals, ribbers have developed a jargon that outsiders may not grasp. A translation guide:

Ribfest The Globe has defined ribfests as any community-oriented festival that exclusively brings in professional touring ribbers for main-course meals. (Arepas and Tiny Tom Donuts, for example, are not considered main-course meals, but may still appear at ribfests.) General barbecue competitions, which are more common in Western Canada, and ribbing festivals wherein local amateurs compete, are not considered authentic ribfests.

Barbecue The act of roasting meat over a fire for at least 12 hours.

What you do in your backyard for 30 minutes with chicken breasts and a propane tank, traditionalists would say, is not true barbecue.

Ribbing A verb that encompasses everything professional ribbers do, rather than any specific facet of the job e.g. "Larry Murphy ribs out of Brewton, Ala."

Saucing The act of handing out sauce samples to attract customers.

(One of the Ontario Ribbers' Association rules: "No saucing in the middle of the park.")

Membrane The film-like layer on every rack of ribs. Competition ribbers tend to keep the membrane while smoking ribs to contain the fats and flavour, though many will scrape it off as a final step on the grill before slathering on the sauce.

Rig A ribber's mobile kitchen, including refrigerators, ovens, smokers, grills, banners and countertops.

Convection oven Ribbers cook their meat in an oven for around two to three hours before smoking it for much longer. The final step - flame-grilling the ribs, which customers see - is mostly for show, and to garnish the ribs with sauce.

Smoker An industrial machine that smokes meat for anywhere from three to 16 hours. Ribbers toss logs, typically of apple or cherry wood, into a back section of the $20,000 machines. In the front there are five or seven spindles that rotate up to 100 pounds of meat each - meaning a fivespindle smoker can handle 500 pounds of meat at a time.

Associated Graphic


Ryder Dyiea mans the grill at the Kentucky Smokehouse at the St. Thomas Ribfest. Event organizer Justin Brown has been criticized for running for-profit ribfests.


To appear at a ribfest events ribbers have to pay an entry fee of a few thousand dollars and a decent size rig costs $250,000.

In the past ribbers would display trophies and banners that would mislead people about their success.


Juande Ugarte, left, daughter, Skyanne, son, Ethan, and mom, Ashley, enjoy their rib dinners at the St. Thomas Ribfest.

The Ontario Ribbers' Association was created as sort of a ribbers' United Nations, which evolved into something resembling a union.


In an exclusive excerpt from his new book, Stephen Harper, John Ibbitson explores the forces that made the Prime Minister
Saturday, August 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A8

He is a lion in autumn, weaker than in his prime, but still a force of nature. He faces his fifth, and perhaps final, test as national leader. But in a way, the result won't matter. Whether Stephen Harper wins or loses the general election of October 19 is moot. He has already reshaped Canada.

And Canada will not easily be changed back.

He has made the federal government smaller, less intrusive, less ambitious. He has made Canada a less Atlantic and a more Pacific nation.

He has brought peace to a fractious federation.

Under his leadership, Canada speaks with a very different voice in the world. He has also given us a very different politics - more intensely partisan, more ideological, more polarizing. This, too, is unlikely to change, now that people are used to it.

And then there is Harper himself. Slow to trust and quick to take offence, brooding and resentful at times, secretive beyond reason, perhaps the most introverted person ever to seek high office in this country, he has nonetheless defeated a plethora of challengers to give Canada its first ever truly conservative government, with profound consequences for the country. He has brought the West for the first time fully into the life of the nation, while making his Conservatives the only conservative party in the developed world broadly supported by immigrants. And he has lasted a decade in office, no mean feat in this democracy or any other.

But despite those many years in the public eye, who he is, and why he does what he does, remains elusive- even though such an understanding is crucial for voters who may be unsure of how to cast their ballot. How did Steve Harper become Stephen Harper?


If, as essayist and editor B.K. Sandwell claimed, "Toronto has no social classes / only the Masseys and the masses," the Masseys and their friends went to "Trins." Bishop John Strachan founded the college in 1851 in bitter opposition to the Upper Canadian government, which had decided that King's College, which Strachan had also founded, should be secular rather than Anglican. From that day onward, Trinity has fostered a reputation for exclusivity and exclusion. Small, cloistered, its architecture and mores a self-conscious imitation of Oxford or Cambridge, the college educated the sons and daughters of the elite, many of whom had already submitted their children to the academic excellence and social terrors of private boarding schools.

"We are the salt of the earth, so give ear to us," the men and women of college loved to proclaim in their fake Oxbridge accents: No new ideas shall ever come near to us! Orthodox! Catholic! Crammed with divinity! Damn the dissenters, Hurrah for old Trinity! Students wore black academic gowns. At the men's residence, jacket and tie were required for dinner. The food was appalling, but you could leave your coffee cup pretty much anywhere you liked, and someone would silently pick it up and return it to Strachan Hall.

The rituals of the college were bizarre, but proudly held. They included "pouring out," in which second-year students would forcibly eject from the dining hall any man of college who annoyed his neighbours at the table; "deportations," in which second-year students would kidnap first-year students and leave them stranded, sometimes naked, in a park, at Centre Island, or even in another town; and Episkopon, in which the ghost of Bishop Strachan visited the men and women of the college to chastise them for their erring ways, through skits and songs composed by a committee that sought to push the boundaries of sexual - especially homophobic - humour.

Initiation was hell. Days of drinking and hazing culminated in the Cake Fight, in which the students of first year would seek to push through a phalanx of second-year students guarding the gate at Henderson Tower.

Though the tower protected the sophomores, the freshmen were drenched in an indescribably foul concoction from the roof above that dedicated students had been preparing all summer. It typically included beer, urine, scraps from the kitchen, yeast, and anything else that could be found and then left to ferment in the heat. Only after surviving this misery were freshmen and [fresh]women entitled to don their gowns.

Trinity also offered an excellent education, and the camaraderie of a small college filled with exceptional students. Rather than eating cafeteria-style, the students were served dinner, which brought the entire college together each night (the men at Trinity; the women at their own residence, St. Hilda's), and the discussions and debates this fostered could be the best part of a student's education. But a shy freshman arriving from a suburban, middle-class background, educated at public schools, already suspicious of the Tory descendants of the Family Compact with their snobbish disdain for anyone Not Like Us, could be traumatized by such an environment.

Steve Harper lasted two weeks.

Or maybe three. No one can remember exactly; this isn't a part of his life that Harper prefers to talk about. But he was clearly not happy at Trinity. He was put off by the huge, impersonal classes of the University of Toronto. He didn't like the professors who warned the students that the person sitting beside them would be gone by Christmas. He didn't like the pretensions of many of the students. He didn't like any of it.

Robert Harper does not believe that Harper's decision to quit university was sudden; in fact, he believes it was something that had been brewing for more than a year, that Steve didn't know what he wanted to do with his life and wasn't prepared to commit to university until he had answered that question.

But whatever was going through his mind in the months leading up to his decision to quit, the fact remains that in his first encounter with the Upper Canadian elite - the young men and women who would go on to run the businesses, lead the political parties, manage the bureaucracies, and shape the arts and academies of English Central Canada - Stephen Harper decided he wanted none of it, or them. He could have tried to fit in to this new world, which was closed but less impermeable than in the past, but instead he fled from it. His decision to reject that world, and his sense of exclusion from it, would shape his life and his politics. It marked him.

It also produced a deep ambivalence toward academia that would shape the next decade of his life. It would be three years before he returned to university - an eternity for someone that young and that intelligent - and he would drop in and out of school repeatedly during his years as a graduate student. All his life, Stephen Harper has resisted taking orders from other people.

Starting with professors.

Or maybe starting with his dad.

The news that he was quitting university did not go down well with Joe and Margaret. They couldn't believe their ears. Their eldest son had always worked so hard and done so well. How could he have decided to quit, and so quickly?

Joe had insisted that the boys pay their own university tuition, to instill the notion that a degree was a means to an end, and the end was a good job. In high school, Steve had worked as an office boy in a provincial government office, and as a summer clerk at the local LCBO to help pay for his tuition and books. If he wasn't going to go to university, then he was going to have to earn a living. But doing what? He was 19 and had only a high school education, but he didn't care. The one thing that both Steve and his father agreed on was that he needed to get a job.

Gordon Shaw was overseeing offices for Imperial Oil in both Edmonton and Calgary. He got a call from Joe Harper, who confessed he had a problem with his son. "We can't get along with him at home," Shaw recalls his friend saying. Was there a job for Steve out there? There was - for an office clerk, in the Edmonton office. Shaw extended the offer.

Steve took it immediately. At that point in their relationship, it appears, both Joe and Steve needed to put a couple of time zones between them.

At certain crucial times in his life, Stephen Harper has displayed a tendency to prefer flight over fight. If a situation becomes untenable, he simply abandons the situation, rather than trying to change it to his advantage.

Over the years, Harper learned to curb this tendency, but he hadn't yet when he was 19. The same week he quit school, he flew west to a new city, a new life, and a new job - though not much of one.

Steve Harper was on his own.


There are disagreeable aspects to Stephen Harper's personality. He is prone to mood swings. He can fly off the handle. He goes into funks, sometimes for long periods. He is suspicious of others.

The public is aware of these traits mostly through what's written and reported in the media. In public, Harper is almost invariably calm, measured, and careful in what he says and how he says it. Yet none of us, watching him, have any difficulty believing that this closed, repressed personality is capable of lashing out from time to time. We all get the vibe.

His personality also comes out in the tactics that the Conservative Party uses against its enemies, both perceived and real - which are, in a word, ruthless.

As with most of us, Harper's character flaws are the reverse side of his character strengths: One would not exist without the other. He has been Prime Minister for a decade not despite these qualities but because of them.

The most cited characteristic of Stephen Harper is his legendary temper.

He can descend into rages, sometimes over trivial things, at other times during moments of crisis. A former aide to Harper recalls a time during the 2004 election campaign when things suddenly started to go very badly for the Conservatives, for reasons we'll examine later. Harper was on the campaign bus, in Quebec, leading a conference call with senior campaign staff back at headquarters in Ottawa. "He was very, very angry," the former aide recalls. "It was: 'We are fucking going to do this, and you are fucking going to do that and I want to see this fucking thing done right now.' And then he paused and asked: 'And why does nothing happen around here unless I say 'fuck'?

"Harper's temper manifests itself in different ways. Some days, he just gets up on the wrong side of the bed. Other times, he flies off the handle when confronted with bad news. That's when the decibel level goes through the roof and the f-bombs start flying. Harper's reaction when he was told in April, 2008, that the RCMP had raided Conservative Party headquarters in connection with the in-and-out affair, carrying out boxes of material past the TV cameras, was wondrous to behold.

But when Harper is really angry at you, he's very calm. He looks you straight in the eye and tells you how you've failed him, and if you are a faithful follower, you simply want to die. The state beyond that is even worse. He simply cuts you out. He doesn't speak to you, doesn't reply to your messages, freezes you out of meetings. At this point, you should be pursuing a new career opportunity.

Another of Harper's less attractive qualities is a perceived lack of loyalty toward others. One-time political adviser Tom Flanagan points out that Harper has betrayed or estranged many in the conservative movement who were at one time senior to him - Joe Clark, Jim Hawkes, Brian Mulroney, Preston Manning. This, Flanagan believes, is the product of Harper's need to dominate whatever environment he is in. "I think he has this very strong instinct to be in charge," he said.

"He really wants to be the alpha figure, and he's achieved that. So part of that is to dispose of anyone who might be considered to be a rival in some sense or another."

Flanagan also asserts that "there is a huge streak of paranoia in Stephen. And he attracts people who have a paranoid streak. And if you don't have one to begin with, you develop it, because you're constantly hearing theories." At its root, "looking back, there's a visceral reluctance to trust the motives of other people," Flanagan concludes. "He often overcomes his initial suspicions and will sign on to other people's ideas. But the initial response is always one of suspicion." Flanagan believes Harper is prone to depression. "He can be suspicious, secretive, and vindictive, prone to sudden eruptions of white-hot rage over meaningless trivia," he wrote in 2014, "at other times falling into week-long depressions in which he is incapable of making decisions."

Concerning Flanagan's contention that Harper is prone to paranoia or depression, [one of his oldest friends, John] Weissenberger simply replies: "Bullshit." Harper does not suffer from depression. Depression is a clinical condition that may be unrelated to external events. When Harper goes into a funk, there's always a good reason. Those funks can be long and deep, combining introspection with sulking with a sudden loss of selfconfidence. But he always comes out of them, and over the years he's done an increasingly better job of keeping them under control.


In early February, 2006, Derek Burney sat across a desk from Harper, who was reading the mandate letters Burney had prepared for the new cabinet. Each letter was three pages. The first reminded the new minister of the Conservatives' governing priorities: tax reduction, the child care benefit, the Accountability Act, reducing patient wait times, criminal-justice reform. The second page outlined the minister's particular responsibilities. The third page contained what Burney called the "mother of God" paragraphs, reminding the minister of his or her duty to act with integrity, to avoid conflicts of interest, to adhere to directives coming from the Prime Minister's Office, and to be prepared for instant dismissal if the minister committed any act that tarnished the image of the government, the party, or, especially, the Prime Minister.

Burney had routinely prepared these documents when he was chief of staff to Brian Mulroney, who paid little attention to them.

Now Burney sat silently as Harper went through each letter, line by line. By the time he had finished, the pages were festooned with changes. "I don't agree with this," Harper explained to Burney, or, "This isn't in our election platform." Burney shrugged. "It's your government." Yes it was. This is how Stephen Harper would govern for the next decade.

Some leaders like to micromanage; others prefer to delegate. Each approach has its strengths and weaknesses. But Harper's determination to grasp all of the levers, and even the widgets, of the federal government is matched by an equal determination to control the flow - or rather, the trickle - of information coming out of the government.

Bureaucrats are prohibited from speaking to reporters. Scientists are prohibited from releasing the results of their research. Ambassadors have been ordered to obtain permission from the Centre before representing Canada in meetings. (The mantra from the PMO, as diplomats bitterly put it, is: Do nothing without instructions. Do not expect instructions.) Access to Information requests are routinely held up for so long that by the time the information is released, it's no longer of any use, and the pages are mostly blacked out in any case.

Although they are in fact separate issues, this general air of secretiveness gets mixed up with the Conservatives' willingness to demonize opponents. In fact, the Tories don't have opponents; they have enemies. The Leader of the Liberal Party is an enemy.

Judges who strike down their legislation are enemies. Union leaders are enemies. Authors and other artists who criticize the Conservatives are enemies. Journalists who cast a more-thanoccasional critical eye on the government are enemies. And toward his enemies Stephen Harper bars no holds.

The Conservatives' autocracy, secretiveness, and cruelty, critics accuse, debase politics to a level that threatens the very foundations of Canadian democracy.

"Hardly anything in this world hints of Putinism more than Harperism," columnist Ralph Surette of the Halifax Chronicle Herald opined.

Let's consider the bill of indictment, starting with the accusation of autocracy. Over the course of the past 10 years, this government has had repeated run-ins with Elections Canada. The biggest was an in-and-out money shuffle, which involved sending funds from the national office to ridings during the 2006 election; the ridings then used the funds for, in effect, national campaign advertising, thus doing an endrun around the spending limits.

Elections Canada laid charges against campaign chair Doug Finley and others, but the matter was dropped after the party pleaded guilty and paid a $230,000 fine.

And then there was the robocalls affair, which badly tarnished the government, even if it turned out that voter fraud had been limited to the riding of Guelph. The Tories' response: the 2013 Fair Elections Act, which, among other things, limited the power of Elections Canada to investigate allegations of election fraud and to promote voter turnout.

Twice the Conservatives prorogued Parliament for partisan political reasons: the first time to avoid defeat at the hands of the opposition parties in 2008; the second, to shut down an inconvenient inquiry into Afghan detainees. But there were many other, less egregious offences, such as the secret 200-page handbook issued to committee chairs on how to prevent opposition politicians from dominating parliamentary committees, and how to shut down the committees' business if they succeeded. As for the Harper government being secretive, that puts the matter charitably.

A few examples: Among other efforts to muzzle government scientists working on environmental issues from presenting their research, Environment Canada scientist Mark Tushingham was prohibited from speaking publicly about a novel he had written that centred on climate change.

Along with its notorious reluctance to reply to Access to Information requests, the government eliminated the Access to Information database (the Coordination of Access to Information Requests System), which had listed every request for access to information, citing a lack of demand for its contents. Further, the government sought to vet the news releases even of such independent agencies as the Auditor-General. In his most public act of secrecy, Stephen Harper simply refuses to talk to the media more than he absolutely must, and he rarely must. His ministers also avoid the press. And of course, who could forget Nigel Wright's secret cheque to settle the accounts of Senator Mike Duffy?

So what to make of it all?

By any objective comparative standard, Canada remains, today, one of the freest nations on earth.

The Economist considers it the freest in the G8. As for freedom of the press, Reporters Without Borders ranks Canada the 18th-freest nation on earth, which sounds mediocre only until you realize that Canada, by this organization's measure, ranks far ahead of Great Britain (33), France (39), or the United States (46).

But have the three Harper governments been autocratic, secretive, and cruel? The answer is yes, sometimes. At other times they have exhibited other traits.

At all times, they have reflected the qualities of Stephen Harper and the circumstances he confronts.

From his boyhood in Leaside, Harper learned not to trust those beyond the inner circle of family and close friends. That circle is not much larger today. Relations with those outside the wall can be cordial, but they are rarely based on implicit trust, an emotional resource that Harper invests in only a very few. And his encyclopedic memory includes not only the history of maritime border disputes, or who starred in what film; it also includes every act by every person who has slighted, offended, or betrayed him. Such acts are never forgotten and only rarely forgiven. Stephen Harper holds grudges.

He has never successfully cultivated the social skill of pretending to connect. He has difficulty feigning interest. His associates talk of him sometimes simply turning his back and walking away from them while they are in mid-sentence. He rarely displays much ability or desire to be collegial, or even polite. This tendency toward abruptness gets worse when he is tired or under stress.

Politics involves the exercise of power. There are a great many people who seek to take advantage of that power, or to take it away. Harper's reluctance to trust has served him well in his climb to power and his decade of exercising it as Prime Minister. But because his suspicion of the intentions of others is so overt, those who serve under him inhabit an environment of suspicion, and are, or become, suspicious as well - the culture of paranoia that Tom Flanagan observed when he worked for Stephen Harper. The reservoir of goodwill in the Prime Minister's Office is shallow and quickly drained.

That said, if Harper is suspicious about the world around him, he has reason to be. As Joseph Heller famously said, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you." Harper sees himself as an outsider because he is an outsider. He is from the West, but most of the country lives near the Great Lakes or St.

Lawrence River. He is from the suburbs, but the Laurentian elites generally live downtown. Harper is hostile toward these elites, and they are hostile toward him. He is contemptuous of progressive academics, and they reciprocate. He distrusts the judiciary, and the judiciary has vindicated that distrust by striking down parts of his law-and-order agenda. The galagoers he derides spit out his name in the foyer at intermission. When Stephen Harper rejected the University of Toronto, when he rejected the life of a Tory political aide in Ottawa, when he embraced the West, he fled from the commanding heights of the Central Canadian academic, cultural, and political landscape. He is the embodiment of alienation.

But in Western Canada and even in parts of Central Canada, there are millions who feel equally alienated. They tend to live in suburbs or in towns or on farms.

And they tend to vote for him.

John Ibbitson's Stephen Harper will be available as an e-book on Tuesday and in bookstores on Aug. 18.

Excerpted from Stephen Harper by John Ibbitson. Copyright © 2015 John Ibbitson. Published by Signal/ McClelland & Stewart, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B6

WATERLOO, ONT. -- "On a sticky August Saturday in 2008, Steven Woods got a call on his cellphone. The Saskatchewan native had just moved from Silicon Valley to Waterloo, Ont., to serve as Google Inc.'s site director for an outpost of engineering excellence in the mid-sized Canadian city. He was surprised to get a call while he was unpacking boxes in his new house, on a phone he'd received that day. On the line was Iain Klugman, the CEO of a local organization called Communitech, a private not-forprofit company devoted to supporting startups, inviting him out for dinner. Still reeling from the stresses of the move, Mr. Woods suggested they talk Monday and figure something out. Mr. Klugman was in more of a hurry, and suggested the next night, a Sunday.

"The following night, Mr. Woods arrived at a local restaurant to find a group of people with a mission. "I get in there, and it was Iain, Tom Jenkins from OpenText, David Johnston from the University of Waterloo [now Canada's Governor-General] and a couple others," says Mr. Woods. "And it was like, 'Welcome, here's a glass of wine. Okay: What are you doing for us?' Seriously, within five minutes the conversation was, 'We need to talk about what Google is doing for us in town.' " Mr. Klugman makes no apologies for his cajoling, and his efforts have been paying off.

"Waterloo, long considered little more than the home of BlackBerry, has become one of Canada's technology hot spots, attracting some of the biggest rainmakers in the business.

"Canada has its share of startup hubs where an entrepreneur can set up shop: Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and, to a degree, Calgary and Halifax. The Kitchener-Waterloo region is among the smallest by population, with about 550,000 people.

"But the Southern Ontario centres are among the most successful.

""Internationally, their reputation is off the charts. I'm not sure Canadians understand that," says Mr. Woods, who has a PhD and a master's from the University of Waterloo. In just the past five years, 1,845 new technology startups have formed in the area many call KW, raising at least $650-million in investment.

"If technology and innovation are the future of the Canadian economy, then the group of dreamers, coders and entrepreneurs who live 100 kilometres away from Canada's biggest city think they have the inside track.

""We believe there's this future where Waterloo is one of the top cities for technology in the world," says Ted Livingston, CEO of chat app Kik, Canada's largest homegrown social media company, headquartered in Waterloo.

""Right now, for those of us inside, that's already true."

"'One of the best places in the world to build a technology company'

"The names Research In Motion and BlackBerry will always define Waterloo, and former co-chief executives Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie still make their presence felt in the city: Mr. Lazaridis's Perimeter Institute is harnessing theoretical physics to discover the next generation of technological breakthroughs; Mr. Balsillie is still an active investor in the area.

"But this isn't a story about how Waterloo has been defined by BlackBerry. This is about a generation that grew up alongside BlackBerry and seeks to forge a new identity for the city. At the centre are an indispensable institution, the University of Waterloo, a bunch of young people starting companies, and a dedicated group of community leaders eager to support the region's ambition to become a world-class technology centre.

"Leading this rebirth is Communitech. Founded in 1997 by local tech leaders including Mr. Balsillie, Communitech is funded by all three levels of government, by member companies and by corporate partners. It operates as a hybrid economic development agency, marketing board and business support network.

"A compact, tanned man with perpetual silver stubble, Mr. Klugman got his MBA at Wilfrid Laurier University and his start in marketing at Nortel in the 1990s.

"Prior to joining Communitech in 2004, he worked in communications for the CBC and the Ontario government.

"His job at Communitech is to help the community punch above its weight when it comes to providing support for startups.

""We feel that we have to try harder and work harder because we don't have a lot of natural assets to work with - we don't have an ocean or mountains or a beach," Mr. Klugman says . But what the region lacks in breathtaking scenery it makes up for with the talent of its residents. "We invented the smartphone here," he adds, "we invented the foundation for search with Open Text, we invented the touchscreen display here, we were at the forefront of wearables here."

"Attempting to keep track of the startups setting up shop in town is one of Mr. Klugman's many tasks. In 2010 some 155 startups registered with Communitech; that figure doubled the following year and topped 500 in 2014.

"Some of those new ventures - Miovision, Clearpath Robotics, Aeryon Labs and Thalmic Labs, among others - have attracted a lot of buzz and investment. There have been stumbles, too, notably Communitech's Hyperdrive accelerator that failed to take off.

"If things were moving any faster, Mr. Klugman fears, a scarcity of talent might force companies to pump the brakes. "The first thing somebody does when they do a startup is they want to raise some money and hire three people. So you're talking about 1,500 people immediately," he says.

"Indeed, a 2013 PriceWaterhouseCoopers survey attributes more than 20,000 jobs to the region's innovation ecosystem.

"Communitech's efforts have included startup mentoring and peer-to-peer networking, and its latest plan is to give entrepreneurs a head start on building a sales strategy. It does all this by hosting events, encouraging executives of established firms to participate in its education sessions, luring venture capitalists and lobbying various levels of government. And fledgling firms needed the help because, says Mr. Livingston, "It's a massive disadvantage in partnerships and funding and press not to be in Silicon Valley."

"But that's changing. "Waterloo right now, I have to believe, is one of the best places in the world to build a technology company," says Dave Caputo, CEO and cofounder of Sandvine Inc., which mixes hardware and software to optimize the flow of data over some of the world's biggest telecom networks. And he would know: He's done it twice in the past 20 years - first with PixStream, a video conferencing company, which he and his co-executives sold to Cisco Systems in 2001, and now Sandvine.

""I assumed that Communitechlike organizations were everywhere, but I've come to learn that they are relatively rare," says Mr. Caputo.

"For decades, global tech companies set up shop in Waterloo even if it was just to recruit and ship out talent. Intel, Electronic Arts, Google and SAP moved in alongside local enterprise tech companies such as OpenText, Descartes and Desire2Learn. Waterloo engineers can be found in large numbers in many of the biggest companies in the capital of global tech, Silicon Valley. But now, local players say, people with those skills have reason to stay.

""Let me say what's changed here: It is now an absolute career alternative of students graduating from Wilfrid Laurier University and University of Waterloo to say, 'I am gonna start off as an entrepreneur,' " Mr. Caputo says.

""There was significantly less of that when I graduated university.

"The idea was, if you wanted to be in technology ... go make your mistakes with some big technology company, and then eventually you might want to start a tech company."

"The value of a co-op education

"Is there one thing you could take away from KW that would make it disappear as a tech ecosystem?

""To me, the answer to that question actually is yes," says Mr.

"Livingston of Kik. "And that one thing, and one thing only, is the co-op program at the University of Waterloo."

"The school's system is unique: It takes five years to do a four-year undergrad degree in many programs because students are expected to complete up to six coop placements. Last year, the university filled 19,250 placements in 40 countries, and the students earned $225-million in wages. Not bad for a university with 35,000 full- and part-time students.

""There is no other institution in this world that does co-op like we do," says university president Feridun Hamdullahpur. "We are leading in entrepreneurship and innovation that I don't see anywhere else that is so successful."

"One measure of the co-ops' effectiveness can be seen in the statistics the university collects on employment outcomes. The university claims a 98-per-cent employment rate within two years of graduation. Some 74 per cent of 2011's co-op grads were earning more than $50,000 a year by 2014, compared with 39 per cent for all Ontario graduates. Waterloo's student-debt default rate is among the lowest in the country: 1.7 per cent of grads couldn't pay their debts two years after graduation. The second-lowest rate in Ontario is the University of Toronto at 4 per cent, and at most postsecondary institutions it's more like 10 per cent.

"Kitchener-Waterloo benefits enormously from those talented students. In 2015, 3,374 work terms were served in the area. Mr. Livingston, who did his co-op placement at BlackBerry, says the international success of his company's popular app means he has every reason to relocate. "And yet we still stay here, and it's because of this access to the co-op talent, period, full stop," he says.

"The university also operates one of the key breeding grounds for some of the region's most famous tech startups. More than 100 companies have been created out of the university's Velocity program, a non-academic hub that started in 2008 with the Velocity residence, a dormatory the university filled with its most entrepreneurial students.

"Velocity offers students free office space for a period of time, and lab space on the university grounds. There's also the Velocity Fund, a pool of money made up of university cash and donations.

"It distributes $125,000 to seven startups three times a year.

""Velocity is really unique in that everything non-academic is Velocity. Everything we do on campus is about creating awareness and creating the experience of entrepreneurship," says Mike Kirkup, who heads the Velocity program. "What a lot of other universities really struggle with, they've only built a piece of the puzzle. Berkeley has eight different entrepreneurship programs, one in engineering, one in business, so they don't connect all the pieces together."

"Among the early Velocity participants was Eric Migicovsky, maker of the most talked about nonApple smartwatch, Pebble, which holds the crowdfunding record from U.S. site Kickstarter.

"A more recent grad is Rachel Pautler. She and her two co-founders came to the University of Waterloo for one of North America's only undergraduate degree engineering programs specializing in nanotechnology.

""We honestly all applied to nano because it had the highest admission average and we thought we wanted that. You need over a 95 [grade average] out of high school," says the 23-year-old from nearby Cambridge, Ont.

"Ms. Pautler believed she was going to be a professor, but it took her only three co-op terms doing nano lab work to realize she hated pure research.

"Engineering students at UW have to do something called a capstone project in their senior year. Some people build solar cars, others build new, highly sensitive radio sensors, but Ms. Pautler had a problem to solve: "I get sunburned super easy, and I hate it because I get sunburned wearing sunscreen," she says.

"After a session of yelling at each other in a room with a white board, Ms. Pautler's team came up with a concept: not a new sunscreen, but a type of ink that that would change colour when it sensed UV rays, which would tell you when it was time to re-apply.

""We took it to a professor, he said, 'That's awesome. You should start a company.' " They did and their company, Suncayr, has become an example of the many supports in the university's startup ecosystem. The co-founders used some of their co-op sessions to develop their idea. They perfected the product at the Velocity lab, won several cash awards from the university and met drug-company sales reps and retail buyers during networking events at Communitech. After graduating this year, Ms. Pautler's Suncayr team moved into the Velocity Foundry space, with plans to stay in the region for at least the next few years.

""The education of the future engineer is based on three main beliefs," says Pearl Sullivan, the university's dean of engineering.

""Experience early - that's what co-op does. Innovate early - if you have an idea, go for it. Finally, incubate early - if we can help you take your idea to the next level, we will help you.

""The lesson here is that maybe the role of university is not just to complete a five-year program in engineering," she says. "Maybe the role is to ensure the ideas they have go beyond the academic program and help them to deploy them so it is a successful venture, so they can strengthen the ecosystem, and the economy of the country."

"City building

"One of the key elements of the Kitchener-Waterloo startup ecosystem is the impact it has had in shaping local infrastructure.

"Under David Johnston, who served as the university's president from 1999 to 2010, the school was a major player in helping launch a project to remake the downtown of Kitchener. It's an area that 28-year-old Michael Litt, CEO of video marketing startup Vidyard, says was "the place where I was not allowed to go growing up."

""In 2005, when I started with the city, you could shoot a cannon down the street any time of the day or night and not worry about hitting anybody - there was a lot of vacant retail space," says Rod Regier, executive director of the city's economic development team.

"In 2004, the city set up a $110million fund for an economic-development program financed through a 1.2-per-cent property tax hike over a 10-year period.

"The university used $30-million out of the fund to help build a new pharmacy school in the downtown area. Other money went toward cleaning up industrial sites and transforming warehouses.

"One of those sites was the Lang Tannery. Once the largest tannery in the British Empire, it stopped curing hides in the late 1950s, and its 450,000 square feet of space spread across more than 40 buildings stumbled through a number of iterations, including a paintball range. It was purchased by a Toronto-based developer in 2007, and the city spent almost $1-million of its strategic fund cleaning up contaminants on the site.

""The true genesis of that project came in May of 2007," says Mr. Regier. "We held a meeting of half a dozen tech, university and Communitech leaders, here at City Hall, to ask what was the future.

"How could we leverage the assets of our creative industries?" Indeed, the first anchor tenants for the redeveloped complex were Communitech, Google and education-software firm Desire2Learn. More tenants came from the university's Velocity program.

"The impact has been transformative. In 2002, realtors told the city there was essentially no condo market for the downtown; now there are three newly opened condo developments, and more on the way.

""When we got down here, there were no startups," says Google's Mr. Woods. "There must be 500 startups within a couple of kilometres of here now. And at least 100 within two blocks."

"Among the notable startup tenants is Thalmic Labs, and offices for Vidyard, MappedIn, ReeBee, Igloo, Renomii and Sweet Tooth are all in what the city now calls its Innovation District. According to Kitchener's planning agency, 1,300 jobs moved downtown between June, 2013, and June, 2014.

"The city, province and federal government are also spending more than $800-million on a new light-rail transit line to connect downtown Kitchener to the University of Waterloo campus. And there are plans for a new train service between Kitchener and Toronto, which Mr. Klugman and his peers hope will help create a "super cluster."

"Can startup activity pay for all this infrastructure?

""If you add up all the development sites within a five-minute walk of the [train] station, we're going to put together at least fivemillion square feet of new development in the next 10 to 15 years.

"That is essentially 10 Tanneries, maybe 4,000 new residents, in that pedestrian area," says Mr. Regier.

"To be sure, many challenges remain, and one of the biggest is financing for startups. Despite a string of local success stories, venture capital financing remains paltry in Canada. Recent studies show the total amount of venture capital investments in the U.S. surpassed $48-billion (U.S.) last year, with 60 per cent of it being spent in California, mainly in the tech sector. In Canada, by contrast, the total amount raised in 2014 was about $2.4-billion (Canadian).

"Access to capital is not the only metric worth measuring, but it can be a useful proxy to discuss scale. For a technology hub to rival Silicon Valley, it needs to at least get in the ballpark in terms of the level of investment. The other crucial metric, however, is human capital, and the region's reputation starts with the quality of the locally grown talent.

"One of Mr. Woods's priorities in Waterloo has been to repatriate Canadians who are ready to come home after working abroad, and to recruit non-Canadians to the region. "Mike Lazaridis made this argument that if you bring 15 people in and one starts a company, you've paid the tax on all the others for a generation," he says.

""That's what we need, that's what Silicon Valley did. We definitely don't want to slow the wonderful growth of this ecosystem through a lack of talent."


"Associated Graphic

"Rachel Pautler, co-founder and CEO of Suncayr; nanotechnology engineering grad, University of Waterloo: 'Through a Communitech random-drink-beer-and-meet-people kind of thing ... we actually met a sales rep for SC Johnson and he's going to introduce us to people at Shoppers, Rexall and Loblaws.'


"Dave Caputo, co-founder, president and CEO of Sandvine; startup investor: 'I try to go to every pitch competition if I'm in town. I love, love doing that. Everyone who asks you for advice means they are asking you for money.'


"Michael Litt, co-founder and CEO of Vidyard: 'I've got a personal goal of deploying a billion dollars of U.S. capital into Canada. I've got about $950 [million] to go. I think the success of our business hinges on the success of our community.'


"Pearl Sullivan, University of Waterloo's dean of engineering: 'Maybe the role of university is not just to complete a five-year program in engineering. Maybe the role is to ensure the ideas they have go beyond the academic program and help them to deploy them so it is a successful venture.'


"Mike Kirkup, director of Velocity entrepreneurship program at University of Waterloo: 'We've helped a lot of investors [who say], 'Yes, this is the first Canadian company I've invested in.' Because what we found is if we get them over the hurdle of doing it once, then they'll do it again and again.'


"Iain Klugman, CEO of Communitech, private not-for-profit company devoted to supporting startups: 'We run this place like a startup: We try a whole bunch of stuff, we see what's got some legs, and we kind of kill the other stuff. A lot of it is hard work leads to luck. There's a lot of luck in all this.'


"Rod Regier, executive director of economic development for Kitchener: 'We think there's something special about the way that cities with compact urban places, that have high concentrations of creative people, stimulate innovation, foment entrepreneurship and create new opportunities.'

Saturday, August 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B6

Every day, 10-year-old Katharina McGregor takes two white capsules with breakfast and two with dinner. Katha, as she is called, has a rare genetic disease and the pills have let her swim and sing and watch the movies she loves. But they come at a hefty price. The drugs cost $120,000 a year.

Her parents, Amory and Terese McGregor, have overseen the medication regimen ever since Katha was diagnosed at the age of seven with Niemann-Pick disease, type C. The condition means she can't properly metabolize cholesterol, so lipids build up in her liver, spleen and brain. The drug she takes, called Zavesca, is not a cure, but it can slow the progression of the illness and treat her symptoms.

Finding the money to pay for the pills has been a roller coaster ride for the family, who live in the town of Blackfalds, Alta., outside Red Deer. The insurance plan at Mr. McGregor's workplace, a steel pipe manufacturer, initially pledged to cover the drug claims with no limit. That brought relief since reimbursement of Zavesca isn't approved for this disease under Alberta's provincial health plan, in the way it is in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec.

Within six months on Zavesca, her parents say Katha went from being withdrawn and often wheelchair-bound to dancing and talking to anybody who walked by on her Make-a-Wish trip to Disney World. "It has been almost three years of her being almost a normal kid again," Ms. McGregor said.

But the McGregor family was left scrambling after the insurer pulled the plug one year into treatment, saying a financial cap had been hit. Swiss manufacturer Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd. agreed to give Katha the drugs at no charge, while her medical specialist appealed to the province for support. The family received some good news just a week ago, when Mr. McGregor's company's new insurance provider agreed to cover Katha for a year. But they worry about what will happen then.

"This shouldn't have to be another stress that we're dealing with," Ms. McGregor said. "It shouldn't be this big of a fight to get a drug that is life or death, especially when you have drug coverage."

The McGregor family is typical of many Canadians who are caught in a high-stakes game of hot potato with governments, drug makers, insurers and employers for the costly medications they need. The situation is expected to worsen as a growing number of Canadians seek promising new treatments not only for rare diseases, but also for latestage cancers and chronic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and high cholesterol.

These specialty drugs - in some cases near-miracle cures - make up an increasing proportion of the total dollars spent on prescription medication, which hit nearly $29-billion last year. That will put pressure on governments and businesses with health insurance plans, especially since Canada already has some of the highest prescription drug prices in the world. As Canada's growing population of seniors seeks medical treatment for chronic diseases and improved screening processes catch conditions earlier, there will be even more stress.

Pharmaceutical coverage in Canada is a patchwork system.

Various levels of government pay for about 42 per cent of prescription drug costs, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. Provincial and territorial health plans cover drug therapy in hospitals under the Canada Health Act, as well as prescriptions for those in need, based on factors such as age, income, and medical condition.

Ottawa covers two percentage points of the overall government share as the drug buyer for First Nations communities, prisoners and the military. About 22 per cent of all the money spent on medication is paid by individuals as out-of-pocket expenses. The remaining 36 per cent is paid for by private insurance, mostly through workplace benefit plans that support employees and their dependents.

All of these payers will feel the pinch of rising drug costs, and some provincial and territorial health ministers are now rallying for a national system that would negotiate lower prices and more evenly distribute pharmaceutical coverage. With a federal election less than three months away, the topic is likely to remain in the spotlight. But, so far, discussions about how it might work have largely excluded employers and insurers, through which billions of dollars are spent annually on drugs for millions of Canadians.

Insurance companies such as Manulife Financial Corp. and Sun Life Financial Inc. administer thousands of voluntary companysponsored health-benefit plans throughout Canada - only Quebec employers must provide some coverage. Businesses have long viewed this coverage as a critical investment in employee wellness, productivity and retention. But the steady increase in the cost of specialty drugs is beginning to spook some employers, leading to a quiet clampdown on the depth of coverage they offer. Insurers, too, are grappling with costs and a system that many say is at risk of becoming unsustainable.

"We've hit a bit of a wall on the financial side and it's pushing people to look for change," said Stephen Frank, vice-president of policy development and health at the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association.

Some, like Steve Morgan, a professor in the school of population and public health at the University of British Columbia, say it is time the private sector found its voice in the debate over the future of drug coverage.

"One of the most important actors in that dialogue is Corporate Canada," said Prof. Morgan, who has spent 20 years studying pharmaceutical policy. "I don't mean the insurers; I mean the employers - the manufacturing sectors, the tech sectors, the resource sectors, the transportation sectors in this country - the biggest employers, who bear the brunt of the current burden in terms of private costs of medicines, need to be part of the dialogue and, to date, they have not been."

From blockbuster to niche

Before the rise of pricey specialty drugs, there was the blockbuster drug boom. Big-name pills such as cholesterol reducer Lipitor, blood thinner Plavix and impotence buster Viagra began filling medicine cabinets in the late 1990s, each aimed at common ailments.

While they didn't have exorbitant price tags, each of these blockbusters generated more than $1-billion in total revenue for their drug makers. But patents on these medicines have been expiring, clearing the way for lowcost generic versions. That has left pharmaceutical companies searching for new revenue sources. Enter the next wave of treatments: specialty drugs and so-called biologics - treatments made from living cells rather than drugs that have been chemically synthesized.

These niche medications accounted for just 2 per cent of the total number of drug claims made to private benefit plans last year, according to a report by Express Scripts Canada, a health benefits management company that works with clients such as insurers, employers and governments to manage the costs and effectiveness of benefit plans. But the amount of money spent on them has ballooned to 26.5 per cent of last year's total. Continued double-digit annual spending increases could push specialty drugs up to 35 per cent of the total by 2020, the research suggests.

The first $1-million drug claim landed on insurers' desks in 2009, and now industry estimates indicate that about 60 per cent of new drugs in the pipeline are highcost specialty products.

Two trends complicate the picture for specialty drugs. First, they are difficult to replicate, meaning that when alternative treatments come to market, they don't offer much cost savings. Second, drugs that treat more common illnesses, such as autoimmune diseases, are now coming to market at prices once reserved for rare conditions. For example, Gilead Sciences Inc.'s Harvoni, which treats hepatitis C, can cost up to $71,000 for a 12-week cycle, or double that if the condition is more advanced. Bills could pile up quickly with an estimated 242,500 Canadians living with the disease.

Insurers are also closely watching the development of a new kind of high cholesterol medication that could move the industry standard from pills that cost a couple of dollars each, to an injectable treatment that costs thousands.

Predicting how high prices could climb on the next wave of medications is a challenge.

"There are so many variables, all the way through the approval and adoption process," said Mark Rolnick, assistant vice-president of product development for the group benefits department at Sun Life. "I think clients are starting to get a sense of, 'wow, where is the ceiling here?' "

Spreading the risks

Canadian insurers and governments are experimenting with ways to reduce the sting of highcost claims.

Workplace health plans generally fall into two buckets. The majority are insured plans, where an employer pays premiums to an insurance company to administer the plan, pay benefits, and take on the risk that claims will exceed estimates. A smaller proportion of plans, often at larger companies with many employees, are structured so the employer takes on the responsibility of paying claims with its own funds. In the latter scenario, employers pay a third-party insurer to administer the plan and then pay for some "stop loss" insurance, which will reimburse them for outsized specialty drug claims - but that can lead to major premium increases.

Still, more than half of workers with private health care benefits are covered by the second type of plan.

The insurance industry began to spread the risk of the biggest claims in the fully insured plans they cover through a pooling system launched in 2013. The most expensive claim in the pool right now is $1.2-million, and there are seven or eight worth more than $500,000. "We're getting some experience on what the growth of those upper-end claims are like," said Mr. Frank of the insurance association. "But it's not a solution. It spreads the costs, but it doesn't bring the costs down. We need to be bulk purchasing to bring prices down."

That's the route taken by provincial governments, which boosted their buying power by creating the Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance, or PCPA in 2010. That framework allows provinces to jointly negotiate drug prices with manufacturers.

At the start of this year, the PCPA had whittled down prices on 49 brand name drugs and 14 generics. In 2013, there was also a government-led crackdown on the pricing of several popular generics. But these lower prices don't extend to the private sector, which almost always pays substantially more for drugs.

The federal government is now poised to join the PCPA. But the insurers are still waiting for their invitation. "We've been asking to be at the table," Mr. Frank said.

Insurers have also been on the fringes of the recent debate over whether Canada should create a national pharmacare program.

Several provincial and territorial health ministers, led by Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins, said the topic should be in the spotlight during the federal election campaign. In June, eight ministers met to discuss the costs, benefits and challenges of universal access to drugs. Mr. Hoskins said devising such a system would be a challenge, although the private sector would be "critically important."

But not everyone agreed that the private sector should be consulted. "Some participants at the roundtable expressed the view that a proposal for a pharmacare program should be developed in isolation from the private sector," said a private summary report by government agency Health Quality Ontario.

"It just happens that, in the last few years, this has really become a hot-button issue," Prof. Morgan from UBC said. "The costs of medicines have reached a point - and they arguably reached a point 10 years ago - where the burden on employers and unions that negotiate extended health benefits for the private sector has become one that they're asking questions about: How do we sustain this?" In a recent article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Prof . Morgan ran some numbers for a universal pharmacare system that would be funded entirely by the public sector. It suggests significant savings are available for companies at a low added cost for governments. The private sector would save $6.6-billion in the study's worst-case scenario, and up to $9.6-billion in the best-case scenario. But costs to government would only increase by about $5.4-billion in the worst case, or could even result in $2.9-billion in net savings.

Changing benefits

In the meantime, employers and insurers are looking for their own ways to cut costs.

"Traditionally, drug plans have been relatively open - many plans have covered virtually all drugs that require prescriptions; they often have been reimbursed at 100-per-cent coverage," said Barbara Martinez, practice leader of drug benefit solutions at Winnipeg-based insurer Great-West Lifeco Inc. Now, employers are tightening their belts, changing the benefits on which Canada's greying work force relies in a few key ways.

More employers are looking for ways to share drug costs with employees. They're doing so by restricting reimbursement to 80 per cent of prescription costs, adding deductibles or having employees share in premium payments through paycheque deductions. While 40 per cent of Great-West's clients still offer full coverage of drugs, Ms. Martinez says more of them are thinking about changing that. Insurance consultants are also recommending caps to protect companies and insurers from high-cost claims.

Another option is to push more plan members toward generic drugs whenever possible. The private payers have been slow to embrace these lower-cost alternatives, in part because patients don't like to switch from medications that they've been on for years, even for alternatives with the same key ingredients.

Patients have less choice under government health coverage.

Employers are also embracing case management services that monitor specialty drug use, including teaching people how to give injections at home and ensuring medications are taken properly. This is increasingly important as more specialty drugs that were once administered in a hospital or clinic can be taken at home, shifting the costs from the public sector to private payers.

Other cost control efforts include making sure plan members apply for government assistance where possible and moving them to preferred pharmacy networks where dispensing fee discounts have been negotiated.

Manulife created a new role for a director of pharmaceutical relations this year, hiring Laureen Rance to help address the cost and accessibility of prescription drugs. "What we are doing with the position is announcing to the pharmaceutical manufacturers we want to talk and engage with you," Ms. Rance said.

Durhane Wong-Rieger, head of the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders, said she's "terribly concerned" about the direction private drug plans are going, and says small employers are already struggling. She's seen a group of employees give up their dental and eye insurance so one struggling staffer could get therapy. "Most of the other times, and I just had it happen again, the patient quits work," she said. One recent patient "said 'It's not fair for everybody else's premiums to go up so much to cover my drugs.' Now she's unemployed and trying to get coverage under a public plan."

'Radically different' options

With each nip and tuck to workplace plans, Corporate Canada must weigh its responsibility for the health and well-being of employees. But most companies have yet to take a position on pharmacare.

"The average employer is not paying that much attention to it yet," said Martin Chung, assistant vice-president of strategic health management at Waterloo, Ontbased Equitable Life Insurance Co. of Canada. Mr. Chung, who is also a qualified pharmacist, estimates that, within two to five years, inflationary pressures around specialty drug use will force employers to look at radically different options for their drug benefit plans. "It's going to be a dramatic difference in what they currently provide as coverage."

Michael Biskey, chief executive officer of Express Scripts Canada, predicts that future private drug plans will go the way of pension plans, where protected and guaranteed future benefits are replaced with annual contributions toward employees' retirement saving plans. His hypothesis is that "employers are going to start saying 'Okay, there's a cap on your employee benefit,' " he said. "I would call it the beginning of a crisis in the private sector."

There are many other players who have yet to join the debate, such as drug makers, distributors and pharmacies. Each is facing its own pressures and demands.

But blowing up the whole public-private system is not the only way to get lower drug prices, insurance companies insist.

"The simplest and quickest way to deal with [high drug prices] is to start leveraging our market - both public and private - to start bulk-purchasing drugs. And there's nothing within the current system that would stop us from doing that," Mr. Frank said.

Such a solution could include adding the insurers to the existing PCPA program.

Prof. Morgan said the public sector should play a dominant role in drug coverage by 2020, similar to the systems in Britain and Australia. As for what insurers could do to replace the loss of their drug benefit businesses, he said: "[Insurers] might expand coverage for dental care, or vision care or physiotherapy - the list goes on," he said, adding that many Canadians also need improved access to mental health services.

Back in Blackfalds, Alta., Ms. McGregor said she is grateful for the support Katha has received from their community and that her lifeline has been secured for another year. "This medication gave us the chance to have the diagnosis and have our daughter," she said.

But the public and private sectors need to be better prepared to help other families who faces similar challenges, she said. "It should be on some kind of drug program - no one can afford this.

And I realize that it might be years before someone else shows up with this disease and needs this medication, but at least they wouldn't have to go through the fight we've gone through."

Associated Graphic

Terese McGregor on her daughter Katha's medication: 'It shouldn't be this big of a fight to get a drug that is life or death, especially when you have drug coverage.'



'The average employer is not paying that much attention to [the situation] yet,' says Martin Chung, assistant vice-president of strategic health management at Equitable Life Insurance Co.


Terese McGregor with daughter Katha.


Thursday, July 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A8

It is often said that Canada has no national housing market, only a series of local markets, each reflecting its own unique circumstances. That may be true, yet no housing market in the country has been immune to the reversal of fortunes in Canada's economy over the past year. A slowdown in the oil patch has hit housing markets in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland. Government belt-tightening ahead of a federal election has kept Ottawa's market in the doldrums. Meanwhile, as low interest rates push prices in Toronto and Vancouver into the stratosphere, buyers are turning to smaller, more affordable markets in Ontario and British Columbia. Real estate reporter Tamson McMahon explores six local markets that may not often garner national headlines, but have their own stories to tell about the country's changing economic conditions

10.4% Squamish, B.C.

When Matthew Spitzer bought his two-bedroom condo in Squamish, B.C., three years ago, the home had been in foreclosure for months and Mr. Spitzer snapped it up for a bargain. But as he found out when he sold his condo last month, just days after putting it on the market, Squamish is quickly losing its reputation as the small, sleepy pit stop on the road between Vancouver and Whistler.

As detached houses in Vancouver skyrocket out of reach of most buyers, young families are venturing further afield in search of affordable housing.

Many are making the drive north along the Sea to Sky Highway to Squamish.

Home sales in the community of nearly 18,000 were up 58 per cent in May compared with last year, the local real estate board reported. Average resale prices in the community have jumped 10 per cent to nearly $450,000, while detached homes have soared more than 20 per cent. Much of that growth is being fuelled by buyers trading their condos in Vancouver for detached houses in Squamish.

In Valleycliffe, a family-friendly neighbourhood that's at the first highway exit toward Vancouver, prices have soared by $100,000 in the past two months alone, Squamish Realtor Brian Loverin says.

For an extra $40,000, Aaron Hall and his young family traded a townhouse in Burnaby for a 2,200square-foot, four-bedroom house in Squamish with a view of the mountains and a swimming hole in the backyard. "It's still affordable for a young family who doesn't own anything to try to get into the market," said Mr. Hall, whose children are one and three.

His commute to Vancouver, where Mr. Hall works in the film industry and his wife Beki is a pharmacy technician, takes 40 minutes and is traffic-free. "It's probably one of the nicest commutes in the world," he said. "I literally get goosebumps driving home, with the sun setting over the islands and ocean."

Upgrades to the Sea to Sky Highway for the 2010 Olympics and a new gondola that opened last year are attracting both commuters and tourists. Proposals for a new liquefied natural gas terminal and a four-season resort, while controversial, bring the promise of new jobs and more visitors.

Already, the community is experiencing a building boom, including houses with Vancouver-style prices. In Crumpit Woods, a new subdivision marketed toward high-end buyers, builders are marketing houses with $1-million price tags.

All that change, coupled with a hot real estate market, convinced Mr. Spitzer, 28, that it was time to move on. He recently bought a house in Agassiz, B.C., nearly three hours away. "I was able to get a three-bedroom with a yard for $300,000, and you really can't find that here any more."

3.2% Edmonton

Unlike its sister city, Calgary, Edmonton's housing market hasn't felt quite the same pinch from falling oil prices. Sales rose 2.4 per cent in June and prices were up 2 per cent from a year earlier.

Yet, while housing prices have so far avoided a crash, Edmonton has witnessed a different type of housing-market phenomenon this year: a boom in rental-apartment construction.

Developers began construction on nearly 4,300 multifamily houses in the first three months of the year, almost three times more than during the same period last year. By April, there were more than 2,600 rental apartments under construction in Edmonton. In total, the city is expected to see 10,000 new rental apartments and condos built this year and last.

Many were conceived years ago, when oil prices were high and Edmonton had one of the lowest vacancy rates in the country.

Between 2009 and 2014, the vacancy rate plunged from 4.9 per cent to just 1.7 per cent. That pushed up rents in Edmonton faster than any other city in Canada last year, real estate brokerage Colliers International said, with average rents rising $89 each month. By late last year, the city was tied with Toronto as the country's second-most expensive housing market, behind only Calgary and Vancouver.

"Last year, I'd personally get phone calls from high-school [friends] I haven't seen for over 30 some years, panicking to find apartments for their children in Calgary and Edmonton going into university," Sam Kolias, chief executive of Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust, a major Alberta landlord, told analysts in May.

Soaring rents caught the attention of institutional investors, particularly pension funds, many of whom were looking to bulk up their rental portfolios. Land was cheaper in Edmonton than in Calgary and new developers rushed into the market, while others shelved plans to build condos and partnered with investors to build rentals instead.

There were nearly more than 2,200 new rentals built in the city last year, higher than in previous years but a small drop in the bucket of the city's 67,000-unit rental-apartment universe, Boardwalk president Rob Geremia said. Rental construction can take decades before it turns a profit, so most landlords are in the market for the long term, he says.

Still, the surge of new supply, coupled with the province's economic slowdown, have taken the steam out of Edmonton's rental market. The vacancy rate rose from 1.7 per cent last fall to 2.4 per cent today. Rental growth has slowed down and apartments are taking longer to fill. Boardwalk has begun offering incentives such as smaller security deposits and discounts off rent to attract new tenants, which has helped keep its occupancy rate in the city at 98 per cent.

"It's real tough right now, but that's life," Mr. Geremia said. "You have to develop and you can't always have a good time. The real question that we need to answer - and no one can - is how long oil prices will stay where they are."

1.7% Regina

When federal housing watchdog Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. warned that several Canadian housing markets were at risk of a correction, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary weren't on the list. But Regina was.

The city's housing market has benefited enormously from soaring prices for oil, potash and other commodities, sailing through the global financial crisis comparatively unscathed. Prices leapt more than 50 per cent between October, 2006, and June, 2008, alone. Real estate speculators moved in, snapping up derelict buildings in the city's impoverished North Central neighbourhood by the dozen, often leaving them vacant while waiting for prices to keep on soaring. "I remember thinking at the time that these aren't going to come back on the market at the same price," Regina real estate broker Mike Duggleby said.

That fuelled a spike in new construction, particularly among condos aimed at first-time buyers, many of which were originally planned during the boom years but came onto the market just as prices began slowing over the past few years.

The number of homes listed for sale has hit a 20year high, says Gord Archibald, CEO of the Association of Regina Realtors. Average house prices are about 10 per cent lower than peak levels and have fallen 3 per cent since last June.

Regina's economy has been hit by slumping prices for oil and potash. The city is home to a large refinery, and international oilfield-services giant Halliburton Co. announced in February it was closing its Regina office.

That has hit the rental market particularly hard.

Vacancy rates have jumped across Saskatchewan from 3.3 per cent last year to 5.6 per cent this year.

For rental landlord Boardwalk REIT, first-quarter results in Regina "weren't pretty," Mr. Geremia said.

"We're now seeing pretty major corrections in Regina."

Some think the market reaction is overwrought.

Regina still boasts an enviable 4.6-per-cent unemployment rate, higher than in previous years but still stronger than many other Canadian markets.

Realtor James Wruth figures buyers have been scared off by the swift change in the market from bidding wars to a surplus of unsold listings. "The fact that buyers have plenty of homes to choose from, lower interest rates and lower prices, but still aren't making an offer, makes me scratch my head sometimes," he said.

4.8% Windsor, Ont.

If Calgary's housing market serves as a proxy for the health of the country's resource industry, then Windsor's real estate market is perhaps the best gauge of the strength of Canadian manufacturing.

The Southwestern Ontario city's work force was hard-hit by the global financial crisis, which sent North American auto makers scrambling for government bailouts. The economic downturn came on top of a steadily appreciating Canadian dollar that helped to bleed jobs to cheaper markets to the south. Windsor's housing prices took a similar beating, falling more than 6 per cent from 2006 to 2009, in what was already among the country's cheapest housing markets.

These days, Windsor appears to be in the midst of a remarkable turnaround. House sales were up nearly 30 per cent in the first quarter of the year.

Average resale prices are up 5 per cent from last June, making the city one of Canada's hottest markets.

"Any decent home is selling fairly quickly and is getting multiple offers," Windsor real estate broker Gary Barbesin said. "A lot of them are going over the asking price."

Windsor's housing market is being helped by a trifecta of favourable economic developments: lower interest rates, cheaper oil prices and a falling loonie. The resurgent North American automotive market has also helped. Tool-and-die shops are staffing up and the local Chrysler assembly plant recently reopened after a major retooling.

Many of the workers in the skilled trades who had been sitting on the fence over fears their jobs could be cut or hours scaled back are starting to return to the market. "My clients that are working in the factories, it seems like they can get all the overtime they want," Windsor mortgage broker Brad Carr said. "If you've got a skill or you're an engineer, you can kind of write your own ticket right now."

Mr. Carr has also seen an increase in out-of-town investors looking to buy property in what remains one of Canada's most affordable urban markets.

Yet, there are plenty of reasons to be cautious about whether the jump in house sales in Windsor is really a sign that the city's economy is in the midst of a resurgence. The housing market has seen its share of false starts in the past. Commercial and industrial real estate sales have picked up, Mr. Barbesin says, but not nearly at the same pace as the housing market, and the city still faces a glut of vacant office space. "It's certainly not that more jobs have come into town," he said.

Bank of Montreal senior economist Robert Kavcic points out that home listings have fallen to among the lowest in a decade. The shortage of homes for sale is helping to drive up resale prices.

Still, Mr. Carr thinks this time the housing market may have finally started to turn a corner. "Windsor went through its real estate correction years ago and now I think we're one of the safer markets in Canada," he said.

1.8% Ottawa

When Finance Minister Joe Oliver announced that the Harper Conservatives had balanced the federal budget for the first time in eight years, many economists and voters cheered. But budget cuts have been bad news for those looking to sell their homes in the national capital's moribund housing market.

"It's actually a bit of a conundrum," said Brian Johnston, chief operating officer of Mattamy Homes, one of the city's biggest house builders, in a May interview. "I think Ottawa is very much a onehorse town - the federal government - and the federal government is basically taking the view that we're not going to allow government to grow."

The federal public sector shed nearly 25,000 jobs between 2011 and April of last year, Treasury Board records show. The office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer has estimated Ottawa is poised to shed another 9,000 public-service jobs by 2017.

Many of those job cuts have been centred in Ottawa, helping to put a chill over the city's housing market. New-house sales plunged 25 per cent in May compared with a year earlier, according to building-industry analyst PMA Brethour Realty Group. Resale-house prices have fallen more than 6 per cent since last August, although the market rebounded in May and June.

Public-sector relocations, which account for roughly 10 per cent of the city's housing-sales transactions, dried up last year, driven by fewer transfers in and out of the city for National Defence and RCMP employees, real estate broker Gord McCormick says. "Last year was a very tough year for the government relocation market and that definitely had an impact on us," he said.

The city is also grappling with a surge in newly built condos that have been flooding the market, which has kept condo prices flat over the past year.

Mr. McCormick estimates it would take more than a year to sell off all the condos now listed on the market.

Ottawa has witnessed the same condo boom being felt in cities such as Toronto and Vancouver, but without the high levels of immigration to support it. Developers have since shifted plans to build smaller in order to appeal to a more price-conscious buyer.

4.1% St. John's

It may come as a surprise to many Canadians that for several years the hottest resource economy in the country wasn't Calgary, but St. John's. Propelled by a boom in offshore oil development and billions in mining and infrastructure investments, the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador has grown roughly 50 per cent since 2000. Jobs and wage hikes quickly followed. Investors from other provinces and as far away as Ireland poured into the market, buying up dozens of houses at a time for rentals.

Housing prices boomed, more than doubling since 2000 and rising 25 per cent in one year through 2007 and 2008.

"It's like Newfoundland had to catch up to the rest of Canada, but they did it in just 10 years," St. John's real estate broker Teri-Lynn Jones said.

Such furious growth was bound to come to an end eventually. Softening prices for oil and other commodities have slowed the province's economic growth. Rural areas outside St. John's have seen the return of workers from Alberta. Economists are calling for the province to slip into recession this year. Unemployment hit 13.8 per cent in May, the highest level since 2010. Mines have closed, while the bulk of construction has finished on several major infrastructure projects, meaning less demand for construction workers. Several restaurants have shut down and the closing of Target and Future Shop have left an abundance of retail space.

The slowdown has effectively cooled the city's overheated housing market. The volume of resalehousing sales across Newfoundland fell 5 per cent in May compared with a year earlier, while average prices dropped 4.6 per cent.

"The heat went out of the market," Realtor Glenn Larkin said. "Multiple offers have slowed down. We were down to where homes were selling in a week.

Now, we've gone back to a normal market, where you put a house for sale and 60 to 90 days later it sells."

The resale market is being supported by first-time buyers, who make up about half of the St. John's market, Ms. Jones said. Many have been able to find good jobs after graduating from university, helping to slow the outflow of young workers to other parts of Canada.

But the market is also grappling with a surplus of expensive, newly built homes aimed at move-up buyers; many started when property values were soaring. Builders have begun offering incentives to move a glut of new supply. "If you need to sell your current home first, don't worry about it - the builder will buy it," reads an ad for Southlands, a new development of executive homes.

Associated Graphic

Families getting priced out of Vancouver are moving to Squamish, where prices in some areas have gone up $100,000 since May, 2015.


The 'heat went out of the market' in St. John's after commodity prices began sinking and demand for workers dwindled.


Friday, July 24, 2015 Friday, July 24, 2015

Hundreds of Canadians die every year awaiting organ donation, and many more suffer before they reach the top of the list. Simon Keith, one of the world's longest-living heart transplant recipients, wants to change that - and he knows what it will take to turn Canada's fragmented organ donation system around
Monday, July 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

LAS VEGAS -- It is late afternoon on a sweltering day, and a group of doctors at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada has gathered around the body of a teenage boy. His accidental death days earlier cut short a life of potential - but his parents' decision to donate his organs is giving a second chance at life to others.

In operating room 17, three teams of surgeons get to work. For more than two hours, eight white-gloved hands at a time carefully cut, position and irrigate as others look on. On a table behind them, silver bowls of sterile ice await. A cardiac monitor beeps.

After examining the organs and arteries for abnormalities, the doctors are finally ready to remove the heart. They administer a solution for organ preservation and an anti-coagulant to prevent blood clots. To one side, a team member calls the receiving hospital. "We've just heparinized and we'll cross-clamp within five minutes," she says.

At 7:29 p.m., doctors place a clamp across the aorta and sterile ice into the body cavity. No longer beating, the heart is quickly removed, cleaned up and packed for transport. There is a sense of urgency; the heart must be transplanted within four hours of removal.

It is rushed down the hall and into a waiting vehicle bound for the airport, where it will then be loaded into a private jet. In all, seven of the boy's organs will go to five recipients between the ages of 34 and 68, in Nevada, California and Utah.

From the corner of the operating room, Simon Keith has followed the entire operation. He is chief operating officer of the Nevada Donor Network (NDN), the not-for-profit organ procurement organization (OPO) that brought together the doctors in the operating room today. And the procedures he just witnessed have personal significance: Nearly 30 years ago, Keith himself received a life-saving heart transplant. He went on to become the first athlete to play a professional sport after such a procedure, and today, at 50, he's one of the world's longest-living heart-transplant recipients.

Keith - who was raised in Victoria, B.C., but had to look elsewhere for his transplant - is now using his unique position to call for improvements to what he describes as a "fragmented" organ-donation system in Canada.

In 1984, Simon Keith was an active, 19-year-old soccer player well on his way to fulfilling his dreams. He had just completed a season playing for second-division Millwall Football Club in England and returned to Canada to join its national team, then based in Victoria. The Olympics and World Cup were on the horizon.

He was playing at the University of Victoria when he first noticed something was wrong.

There would be times he would play a great game, but then struggle to climb the stairs from the locker room. His hands would turn ghastly pale and feel colder than they should even in the dreary grey of a Pacific Northwest winter.

"I remember vividly, looking down at my hands, and they were just white as a piece of paper," Keith recalls in an interview at his Las Vegas home. "But, you know, you just stick them in your pockets and keep going."

He was diagnosed that year with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle caused by a viral infection. But despite his weakening condition and a flurry of doctors visits, Keith played on - he now admits he spent the better part of two years in denial.

That came to a halt on March 3, 1986, with a visit to a cardiologist in Vancouver.

"[The doctor] had done some more tests and he just looked me in the eye and said, 'There's nothing more we can do. You need a heart transplant, or you're going to be dead,' " Keith said.

They gave him six months to live.

"It was that moment like you see in the movies, where you sort of leave your body and everything is in slow motion," he says.

"I couldn't talk, I couldn't process it."

At 21, Keith was introduced to the complicated process of organ transplantation. B.C. was not yet doing heart transplants at that time - the province's first one wouldn't be performed until 1988 - so his family turned its search to Ontario.

Meanwhile, Keith endured months of exhaustion and intense nausea. He began taking a high dosage of prednisone, a powerful synthetic drug used to treat inflammation. As it became more difficult for Keith's heart to pump blood through his system, so, too, did it become difficult for him to take in air. Everyday smells such as food, smoke or perfume made him wretch.

But in medical tests, the naturally athletic Keith pushed himself, running as fast and as far as he could on a treadmill, for example, believing he would have better odds of receiving a transplant if he performed well.

The prednisone at times made him feel invincible.

Looking back, Keith believes he made a "critical mistake" in appearing relatively well.

"The policy [in] Ontario, and a lot of places at the time, was to help the sickest person first," Keith wrote in his 2012 autobiography, Heart for the Game. "In other words, whoever was closest to death was first in line. I was being told: 'You're not sick enough. Go home, get sicker and then come back.' " Ultimately, Keith's dual Canadian-British citizenship played a significant role in his treatment.

In July, 1986, with a referral from a Victoria-based cardiologist, Keith travelled to Cambridgeshire, England, and checked into Papworth Hospital - a leading heart and lung transplant centre and the site of the first heart transplant in Britain - and received the heart of a 17-yearold boy.

Canada has three specialized patient registries for those with diminished access to transplants because of difficulty in finding a match: the National Organ Waitlist, for non-renal patients who have end-stage organ failure; the Kidney Paired Donation program, which aims to find matches among otherwise incompatible donor-recipient pairs; and the Highly Sensitized Patient program, which gives provincial transplant programs access to a larger number of potential donors. The three are grouped under the umbrella of the Canadian Transplant Registry, which includes a national real-time wait-list.

Donor registries, however, fall under provincial and territorial jurisdiction, and their policies and protocols can vary, complicating an already complex process.

For example, Alberta, which recently established an organand-tissue donation system, requires prospective donors to register online, print out a form and mail or fax it to Alberta Health for processing. Saskatchewan advises those who wish to donate to affix an orange sticker to the back of their health-services cards.

Many organ-donation advocates, such as Keith and the B.C.based David Foster Foundation, are calling for one national organ registry and allocation system.

Instead of having to contact so many different provincial and territorial registries for matching organs, they could speed up the search by using one comprehensive database.

"We would love to see that," Michael Ravenhill, CEO of the foundation, says. As is, "each province has different regulations, different ways to become an organ donor, and those change. So there are a lot of misconceptions out there, and a lot of misinformation."

And critics say that because of the regulatory walls, organs donated in one province tend to be transplanted there, too, unless they're for hard-to-match patients.

However, not everyone thinks a national organ-sharing system would be particularly helpful. Dr. Kathryn Tinckam, a transplant nephrologist, medical advisor at Canadian Blood Services and codirector of the histocompatibility lab at the University Health Network, notes that patients with specialized needs already have a national wait-list.

"If you're not difficult to match, then you have just as good a chance of finding a donor in your own region," Tinckam says. "I'm not sure that the programs and services that we're offering right now require any more of a single national list, because there is great communication now between all the [OPOs] and through the Canadian Transplant Registry."

BC Transplant and Ontario's Trillium Gift of Life Network are modelled after world leaders such as those in Spain, and are considered to be the most advanced OPOs in Canada. The two provinces credit their success to improved education of health-care professionals and initiatives such as appointing specially trained critical-care physicians to hospitals to support organ donation.

And unlike other jurisdictions, both provinces offer online organ donor registration that can be completed in two minutes.

Even people on opposing sides of the national database argument agree on one thing: They all need to recruit more donors. If Keith had his way, for example, it would take people mere seconds, on social media or a mobile app, to register on a national database their intent to be an organ donor.

He notes Apple and Facebook currently have little-known options for users to share their organ-donor status.

"It's not legally binding, and that's what people's arguments are," Keith says. "But I'm in the business and I see what happens: When we get a refusal or a decline from a family member of [someone who is not registered as an organ donor], the words we hear are: 'If only I knew what they wanted to do.' So what happens if there's a way for me to show them the [patient's] iPhone and say, 'He clicked yes on this.' Or if I was able to show that, on Twitter, he tweeted #Iamanorgandonor.

"I think that the concept of registering as an organ donor could potentially be obsolete if we could embrace the concept of declaration," he adds.

According to the Canadian Transplant Society, 90 per cent of Canadians support organ and tissue donation, but less than 25 per cent have made plans to donate.

"It's something that's easily put off until later, and if it's put off until later, you usually don't do it," Ed Ferre, provincial operations director at BC Transplant, says. "What [BC Transplant does] is encourage people to register their decisions. The probability of you becoming a donor is lower than actually needing an organ transplant."

In 2013, the latest year for which data is available, 1,141 living and deceased organ donors resulted in 2,367 solid organ transplant procedures in Canada.

A total of 245 Canadians died while waiting for an organ transplant, and 4,433 patients remained on the wait-list at the end of the year.

"The discrepancy between those numbers illustrates the magnitude of the problem," Tinckam says. "At the end of the day, we need more donors to start to address this problem. All the computer systems don't solve the problem of having more patients needing organs than organs that are available."

Canada had 15.7 deceased donors per one million inhabitants in 2013. By comparison, the United States and France both had 26 deceased donors per million in 2014. However, it is worth noting that Canadian measures account for donors whose organs were recovered and transplanted, while U.S. measures also include donors whose organs were recovered, but not transplanted.

Keith's recovery, while impressive, was not without its challenges. Just three weeks after being discharged from hospital, driven by the natural stubbornness of a burgeoning professional athlete, the 21-year-old snuck out of the house where he was recovering and headed to a nearby soccer pitch. He figured he felt good enough to go for a run.

The first 10 metres felt "freeing" and "awesome," Keith recalled in his book. But at 30 metres, his legs started burning. At 60, "everything was on fire." At 100, he hunched over, forced to stop.

"I was discouraged, mad, sad, hopeless," he wrote.

But the episode was indicative of his drive. Just one year later, Keith returned to competitive soccer, moving to Las Vegas to join his older brother on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Rebels roster.

Two years after that, he was drafted No. 1 by the Cleveland Crunch of the Major Indoor Soccer League. Through his 20s, he would play professionally for the Victoria Vistas, Winnipeg Fury and Montreal Supra of the Canadian Soccer League.

When he retired from soccer in 1992, Keith became an entrepreneur, building and selling a string of businesses in Las Vegas that included sports-, casino- and financial-management. In 2011, he served on the governing board of the Nevada Donor Network, with the intention of learning more about the organ-donation process to inform his occasional speaking engagements.

At that time, NDN was the only organ procurement organization in the U.S. to be deemed a member not in good standing by the United Network for Organ Sharing, a non-profit organization that co-ordinates U.S. organ transplant activities.

In 2012, Keith stepped in to become the organization's chief operating officer. He instigated sweeping changes that included public education campaigns, diversifying company revenue and networking with politicians, business groups and high-performing OPOs. Keith says NDN was able to identify a tax-incentive program that drove more capital into the organization than in previous years.

Furthermore, with a goal of "every donor, every organ, every time," NDN transformed its ranking as one of the country's worst organ procurement organizations to one of its best.

Now, he's turning his sights north. By telling his story and meeting with officials, he says, his hope is to increase the profile of organ donation in Canada and, with enough pressure, help change the way the system is run.

In the summer of 2011, Keith stood quietly at a cemetery in Wales, trying to find the right words for the many thoughts in his head, but finding them all inadequate. Persuaded by a friend, Keith had reached out to the family of the boy whose death had sustained his life.

With two of his own children, he now stood before the teenager's grave with the boy's 71-yearold father, Roger, feeling overwhelmed with gratitude and solemnity - and taken aback by the jarring similarities between the donor and his own son.

The donor's name was John Edward; his son's is Sean Edward.

They both had red hair, freckles and blue eyes. They both played soccer; in fact, John Edward had died suddenly on the soccer pitch when an aneurysm ruptured in his head. The field where he died was bordered by a road called Vancouver Drive.

"We all went around and shook hands," Sean says. "Roger shook my hand and just held on to it, and looked at me."

"When I stood with Roger at the gravesite," Keith says, "it became very real for me. It's indescribable. There are no words to describe how you feel, standing there with the guy's dad, whose son's heart you have in your chest. It was very powerful."

ONLINE Simon Keith shares his journey from imminent death to success on the soccer pitch, to his latest role as advocate for reforming our fractured organ donation system.

Associated Graphic

Simon Keith and his son, Sean, in Las Vegas. A heart transplant saved Keith's life, and he went on to play professional soccer.


Simon Keith takes part in testing conducted by Dr. Lawrence Golding on the effects of cardiac transplantation at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1988.

Simon Keith's donor was John Edward, left, who bears a striking resemblance to Keith's son, Sean Edward.

At 21, Keith was given six months to live and told he needed a heart transplant. 'I couldn't talk, I couldn't process it,' he says. A year after his transplant, he returned to competitive soccer.

Postsurgery, Keith joined the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Rebels roster.

Keith helped transform the Nevada Donor Network into one of the best U.S. organ procurement organizations.


Municipalities feel the squeeze as companies win appeals to reduce their property tax. Residents pick up the slack
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B6

The town of Espanola, Ont., needs a new fire hall, but the $2-million cost to build one is beyond its means.

"When they built this place, there were 15 firefighters here," said chief Mike Pichor. "Now we've got 28. In our training room, they pretty much sit on top of each other for any kind of training. It's absolutely ridiculous."

The town, located just off the Trans-Canada Highway about a one-hour drive west of Sudbury, is making do with a fire hall built in 1960. But a day of reckoning looms, because the new fire trucks it will have to buy in a couple of years are too big to fit in the current station.

The problem Espanola faces is a sharp decline in the amount of money it collects from the local pulp-and-paper mill - now owned by Domtar Inc. - that for decades has been the biggest contributor to the town's tax revenue. An appeal board found the drastic slump in the forest industry meant the value of the mill had declined. So, Espanola was forced to refund $5.2-million to Domtar for the municipal taxes it paid between 2009 and 2012.

Espanola, population 5,500, is far from unique. In fact, it's just one of scores of municipalities across the country struggling to adjust to the fallout from steep declines in tax revenue caused by successful appeals that companies have made to the agencies that regulate municipal tax rates.

Reductions in taxes from large manufacturers, big retailers and even the ubiquitous doughnut shops have left cities and towns straining to find other revenues to compensate for what they have lost from corporate Canada.

From Kitimat, B.C., to Halifax, and in almost every municipality in Ontario, some of Canada's biggest companies are winning reductions in the values tax assessors have placed on their properties, often because their factories and mills have cut production. Decisions in favour of the companies mean some towns and cities have been forced to emulate Espanola and issue refunds - in some cases amounting to millions of dollars.

The loss of tax revenues from pulp-and-paper giants, auto makers, steel producers, retailers and other companies has caused a massive shift in the burden to residential taxpayers, staff layoffs in some municipalities, and delays or cancellations of upgrades to roads and other infrastructure.

"First it was our mill, but we have also been impacted by [appeals by] Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire, Home Hardware and Loblaws," said Cynthia Townsend, Espanola's clerk/treasurer and administrator.

Domtar appealed the assessment of $49.7-million put on the mill by the Ontario Municipal Property Assessment Corp.

(MPAC), and won a reduction in that value to $11.1-million, which provides the basis on which taxes are levied. To adjust to the new reality, Espanola increased residential tax rates, slashed its operating budget by $1.5-million, cut 15 people from its full-time and part-time work force of 120, and put water and sewer projects, road upgrades and the new fire hall on hold.

"There was no department unaffected by these cuts," Ms. Townsend said. Espanola appealed the decision and eventually settled on an amount she would not disclose and received a special one-time payment from the Ontario government that helped compensate for some of the lost revenue.

Domtar filed a similar appeal in Dryden, Ont., where it also won a reduction. Almost a decade's worth of restructuring led to the closing of two paper machines and other operations at the mill, and the elimination of hundreds of jobs amid the crisis that has hammered Canada's forestry industry.

The company switched the output of the Dryden mill to just pulp from pulp and paper, spokeswoman Bonny Skene said.

There was no such action taken in Espanola, but "we're very focused on remaining competitive in the global context," Ms. Skene said.

The revenue reductions stemming from successful appeals by corporations were particularly acute in Northern Ontario towns, such as Fort Frances, Terrace Bay and others, where a single mill or a single factory dominates.

Fort Frances has faced the double-whammy of lower taxes from a Resolute Forest Products Inc. mill and the permanent shutdown of that operation. The loss of 400 jobs because of the closing will eliminate millions of dollars in annual wages from the community.

Municipal officials in Fort Frances and Dryden have taken similar actions to those made by Espanola, raising residential taxes, cutting jobs and slashing infrastructure spending.

The tax squeeze is not confined to Ontario; nor does it affect only one-industry towns.

In larger municipalities, such as Toronto, Hamilton and Windsor, Ont., industrial and commercial assessments are also being challenged. However, bigger cities have much larger and more diverse tax bases, so the reductions in revenue they face have less of an impact.

In Nova Scotia, protracted negotiations between Halifax and Irving Shipbuilding Inc. - including whether it's a commercial business or an industrial company - led to an agreement that cut the company's property tax payments by about $1-million for the 2014-2015 fiscal year in return for higher taxes in future years, depending in part on employment levels.

On the other side of the country, Rio Tinto Alcan is seeking a reduction in taxation for the 2012 to 2015 years on its smelter and the land underneath it in Kitimat, B.C. That property has a 2015 assessed value of $554million.

Officials in Hamilton have been adjusting for more than a decade as taxes paid by Stelco Inc. and its successor U.S. Steel Canada Inc., fell to $4.5-million last year from $13.7-million in 2000 amid cuts in steel production. The steel maker contributed more than 3 per cent of Hamilton's $718-million in revenue in 2000, but just 0.61 per cent of the $975-million the city took in last year.

U.S. Steel Canada has taken its bid to cut its taxes even further.

The steel giant locked out its unionized workers on two separate occasions, then argued it was entitled to a municipal tax refund because its steel mill and pickling plants in Nanticoke, Ont., were vacant.

Ontario's Assessment Review Board, which passes judgment on appeals that are not settled through negotiation, agreed and granted the steel maker rebates for the 2010 and 2013 tax years.

That decision will be appealed to the Ontario Divisional Court, said Mark Merritt, treasurer of Haldimand County. "Even the interim decision is precedentsetting in that every business in Ontario that has a lockout will now be eligible for vacancy rebates - which they may not have considered in the past," he said.

In Thunder Bay, Ont., Mayor Keith Hobbs figures city revenue from industrial companies should be growing every year.

But they are declining because of successful appeals, such as the decision earlier this month that slashed the assessed value of Resolute's flagship mill to $32.6-million for the years 2009 through 2012, from the city's valuation of $72.2-million. Thunder Bay will have to pay the forest products giant millions of dollars in rebates.

"We're taking one step forward and two back," Mr. Hobbs said.

"It's got to change."

Resolute spokesman Seth Kursman said the decision by the Ontario Assessment Review Board reflects in part the deterioration in the fortunes of the forest products industry in the past decade. That has led to the decommissioning of large portions of Resolute's Thunder Bay mill, he said, including a paper machine, a de-inking pulp mill and a kraft mill.

When it comes to taxes "we certainly believe that we should pay our fair share," Mr. Kursman said. "But that fair share should be based on commonly applied and accepted principles ... A fair and equitable property assessment is one of many factors that ensure the facilities are not put at a competitive disadvantage, which can ultimately compromise our viability."

MPAC this week issued a statement on the decision that said it "recognizes and appreciates the tax revenue impact this will have on the local community."

With few exceptions, Canadians want to pay as little in taxes as they can. Corporations are no different as they try to keep a lid on rising operating costs, adjust to global competition and respond to shareholders insisting on ever-better returns.

But residential properties are easy to compare and evaluate in an active real estate market. It's more challenging to assess the values of pulp and paper mills or steel plants because they're usually one of a kind.

So the Assessment Review Board in Ontario has been using production from a plant as one way to measure the value of an industrial property. That methodology has contributed to rulings in favour of companies and against municipalities.

Any Ontario residential landowner or company that pays property taxes can appeal the assessment of the property that is established by MPAC, the Ontario agency.

Canadian Tire Corp., for example, is challenging the assessments on more than 100 of its stores in Ontario.

"Through the normal course of business, it's important for us to prudently manage our business expenses, including ensuring our realty assessments and ensuing taxation liability are fair and equitable," spokeswoman Jane Shaw said in an e-mail response to a question on the retailer's appeal.

She added that Canadian Tire's appeal is "consistent with that of our competition and simply an indication of prudent management of our expenses."

Catalyst Paper Corp., of Richmond, B.C., found the 2009-2011 property taxes imposed by the Municipality of North Cowichan, B.C., so onerous that it appealed them all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, where it lost.

The tax burden has been reduced at some of Catalyst's B.C. mills since then, but the forest products company said in a 2014 Ontario Securities Commission filing that "we continue to press for a fair and sustainable level of municipal property taxes for major industry in the B.C. communities in which we operate."

Jon Lefebure, mayor of North Cowichan, said the municipality has reduced taxes on major industries such as Catalyst and shifted the burden to homeowners in order to help keep the mill open amid the devastation that has ravaged Canada's forest-products sector.

"I think, generally, most people recognize that it was an unjust tax on our major employer," Mr. Lefebure said.

"When we reduced our [industrial] taxes, we're actually getting that money back into the community in re-investment in the mill."

Residential taxes rose about 25 per cent, he said, but the community is growing because its location on the east side of Vancouver Island is a popular retirement destination.

Homeowners in Victoria, for example, can sell their properties and buy comparable or better residences for $100,000 to $150,000 less in North Cowichan, he said, which is helping to spur growth and mitigate the burden on existing residential taxpayers.

The mill towns of Ontario, on the other hand, are shrinking, so residential tax increases are spread across fewer homeowners even as taxes from industrial and commercial properties decline.

"The municipal property tax is going to do more than it used to, and, more specifically, the residential taxpayer is expected to do more," acknowledged Mark McCaig, chief administrative officer of Fort Frances, which is trying to make up for $1-million in revenue that has evaporated because of cuts in taxes paid by the Resolute mill.

But tax increases for homeowners can't entirely compensate, so, in addition to other actions, the town has increased user fees. Fort Frances has delayed for six years the repairs needed to a town road that leads from the border crossing from International Falls, Minn., to Highway 11, one of the key arteries in northwestern Ontario.

"We're not even close to putting the amount of money away [we need] to fix our aged infrastructure," Mr. McCaig said.

"That's always what feels it first - those capital programs - and that's going to have significant consequences for us down the road."

As a cottage owner on Black Sturgeon Lake, near Kenora, Ont., and part of that municipality, Jim Quinn has watched his taxes soar since 2005, the first summer he spent on the lake as a property owner. Taxes were about $2,200 that year, he recalls, but they have since climbed to more than $5,000 annually.

Part of the increase comes from additional policing costs that were downloaded to municipal governments by the provincial government. Rising property values have also had an impact.

Mr. Quinn, who is retired and spends most of the year in Winnipeg, said he would like to pass the cottage down to his daughter and son who are in their 20s, but the taxes on the property threaten to make that impossible.

"Our kids look at me and say: 'We don't want that aggravation of dealing with the taxes and everything else that goes on out there,' " he said.

The 2005 closing of a paper mill by Abitibi-Consolidated Inc., the precursor to Resolute, eliminated the largest industrial

taxpayer in Kenora and the burden has been shifted to residents, Mayor Dave Canfield said.

"It's kind of a succession of a whole pile of things that have pushed our taxes up," he said.

"I feel for them, but it's a lot of things that are pretty much uncontrollable."

Taxes on residences have risen 80 per cent in Thunder Bay since 1999, said Rob Colquhoun, the city's director of revenue.

Industrial properties generated $4.6-million in taxes for Thunder Bay last year, compared with $23-million in 1999. Those numbers reflect the impact of several paper mills closing and a change in the way grain elevators are assessed - they now pay a commercial tax rate, rather than the industrial rate, which is higher.

Mayors and municipal officials in Ontario are critical of the province's Assessment Review Board and MPAC for the financial predicament they're facing.

The question of how mills can be assessed in the tens of millions of dollars, then have their values slashed by more than 70 per cent by the review board - as happened in Espanola - leaves the officials shaking their heads.

"It sort of leads to the point that the ARB don't know what they're taking about, or MPAC doesn't," said Fort Frances Mayor Roy Avis.

The provincial body acts as an expert on assessment when appeals are made to the review board, said MPAC president and chief administrative officer Antoni Wisniowski.

In many appeals, Mr. Wisniowski said, new details are revealed about properties, so MPAC has developed new methodologies for assessing auto plants, pulp-and-paper mills and other large industrial properties in part to make sure all the facts are known before appeals are heard.

Meanwhile, some Ontario towns and cities are fighting back with appeals of their own.

Dryden will seek leave to appeal to the Ontario Divisional Court an Assessment Review Board decision on its Domtar mill.

Thunder Bay said it will not appeal the decision on the Resolute mill, but will present recommendations on improving the system to provincial cabinet ministers at an Association of Municipalities of Ontario meeting next month.

Associated Graphic

Espanola fire chief Mike Pichor's hope for a new fire hall may have wait as the town deals with a tax revenue shortfall.


Espanola faces a sharp decline in property taxes it collects from the local pulp-and-paper mill - now owned by Domtar Inc.


Rising rents, excessive noise, public-health problems. While artists in affordable spaces at Artscape's Wychwood Barns grapple with liveability issues, the non-profit organization that manages their homes has become a name brand to the city's top developers and creative class. As Artscape grows, can it remain committed to its daily role as landlord?
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M1

On most Saturday mornings, the grounds of the seven-year-old Artscape Wychwood Barns hum with activity. With stalls featuring fresh produce and baked goods, the farmer's market attracts locals who come to shop or just chat. Musicians play at one end, while children run around the playground at the other.

It all presents a tableau of gentrified urban cool - one that has drawn thousands of visitors to the former streetcar repair shop near St. Clair and Bathurst.

But behind the scenes, the city-owned hub, which has won numerous design and sustainability awards, is anything but blissed out. In the past two months, artists and community groups that rent affordable space in the Barns from Artscape, the non-profit that operates the facility, have been hit with bracing property tax bills for thousands of dollars. As a result, one tenant says, the rent on a 316-square-foot studio will rise from $740 a month to more than $1,000.

The reason: Following a contested property reassessment, Artscape received a tax arrears bill of $350,000. Since Artscape informed its tenants they'd have to pony up, several have left or are actively looking for less expensive space elsewhere.

While stressed-out Barns tenants have been grappling with these and other headaches - several have had to vacate their live-work apartments multiple times in recent years, due to repairs necessitated by high lead-paint levels and excessive noise - Artscape itself has grown into a highly visible player straddling the city's real estate and cultural industries. The growth-minded organization now employs 113 staff full- and part-time, and earned $12.8-million in revenue last year, partly due to partnerships with condo developers and the sale of studio condos.

As well, Artscape's events income has grown tenfold since 2004, to $1.5-million annually. It launched a "creative place-making" consultancy that brought in more than $300,000 in 2014 and management fees generated a further $1.4-million. Artscape's foundation has raised nearly $10million since 2012, almost all of which goes to a few new projects.

The corporation's assets are valued at $44-million, with several projects in the pipeline. Artscape, however, remains heavily leveraged, with over $12-million in long-term debt, including a $7-million mortgage on the Barns.

Yet, Artscape's relentless focus on expanding its footprint and brand may have compromised its less sexy responsibilities as a landlord. Indeed, the Barns' simmering problems came to a head earlier this month, when the artists who live in the Barns' rentgeared-to-income, live-work apartments learned that some of their dwellings still contain high levels of lead paint dust, despite a remediation ordered by the City of Toronto in 2009 after a tenant complained. The Barns received a LEED Gold certification for sustainable design in April, 2013.

Despite that seal of approval, samples taken last November from roof joists above several apartments showed lead levels well in excess of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards used by Canadian consultants, including one unit where a dust wipe revealed concentrations 56 times above the limit, according to documents obtained by The Globe and Mail.

Barns residents, however, didn't get the results until this month; indeed, Toronto Public Health officials were only notified in June. Many have had blood tests, with most coming back negative but some showing elevated levels.

The contamination is of concern given that several children live in those units. Associate medical officer of health Howard Shapiro says the health risks are slight, but include elevated blood pressure and potential concentration deficits in young children. "If there's lead there and the potential for people to be exposed, we do recommend that it be cleaned up." A second remediation is now under way.

"Anybody would be concerned" about the lead, says Peter Gillett, a landscape artist whose unit was cleaned up over two days earlier this week. He had his blood checked, but the slightly elevated levels didn't concern his physician. The sound issues, Mr. Gillett adds, "concern me more than anything else."

In fact, persistent "sound transfer" problems are a major irritant for occupants who've complained about the situation for years.

Late-night noise from the Barns' private events - the weddings and corporate functions that help cover operating costs - wafts into the apartments.

Those units, in turn, have such thin walls that some tenants say they hear everything their neighbours do - a design flaw that has fostered tension and even police calls. "You can hear your neighbour's microwave," one says. "It feels like a giant experiment."

Some Barns tenants do like their digs, despite the problems.

"I don't want to move out," says Alma Roussy, a graphic artist.

"Artscape is doing the best job it can under the circumstances."

Artscape chief executive officer Tim Jones also points to surveys showing that nearly 80 per cent of Artscape's tenants are satisfied with their accommodations.

Yet, others have reached the end of their tethers. "It seems like the place is just falling apart," says Bernadette Peet, a sculptor who rents a small Barns studio.

The occupant of a subsidized live-work apartment, who didn't want to be identified for fear of eviction, put it this way: "Moving into that building is one of the biggest mistakes I've made in my adult life. It screwed up everything for me."

Mr. Jones insists his team is trying to address the concerns at the Barns, including the taxes, which, he says, were originally pegged at $700,000 but have since been reduced because council exempted part of the property. "We have a long history of solving problems and no history of project failure," says Mr. Jones, who notes that Artscape is pressing ahead with a new "stewardship" plan for the Barns. He stresses that no tenant should fear losing their unit "for having an opinion."

(Last week, after a Globe reporter was asked to leave a Barns tenants' meeting convened to air these issues, Mr. Jones posted a statement on Artscape's website saying, "we deeply regret the distress that these challenges have caused [tenants].") Mr. Jones also contends that some of these dilemmas are the responsibility of the City of Toronto. He blames city officials for providing poor advice on how Barns tenants could avoid a tax hike by shifting their leases to "licences." Deborah Blackstone, a city spokesperson, says no such advice was ever provided.

During a June meeting with tenants, Mr. Jones also said city officials "attempted to block" a new lead cleanup and speculated that "the City may be concerned about setting a precedent with this building in regards to lead management, which could come with significant costs if similar work has to be done at other Cityowned sites," according to minutes obtained by The Globe. Ms. Blackstone says those statements are "incorrect" and points out that remediation is Artscape's responsibility under the terms of its council-approved lease.

Even Councillor Joe Mihevc, who fought for the Barns restoration in the early 2000s and is now an Artscape director, concedes the organization's focus on rapid expansion may have come at the expense of stabilizing existing projects such as the Barns, which has received none of Artscape's recent fundraising revenue. "It's hard to get money for what we would normally call state of good repair," he says. "This is hurting the brand."

"I would dispute that," Mr. Jones responds. "The facilities are in fantastic shape."

Many people assume Artscape is a city agency. But while the municipality provides hundreds of thousands of dollars in subsidies and loan guarantees, and more public dollars flow in from the other levels of government, Artscape is an independent development and property-management organization, albeit one that describes its mandate as fostering "creative communities."

It has a complex corporate structure with three boards dominated by builders, prominent artists, philanthropists and "ambassadors" such as creativeclass guru Richard Florida and author Margaret Atwood. UrbanCorp owner Alan Saskin heads Artscape's fundraising arm and has also done deals with Artscape. Besides Mr. Mihevc, Councillor Ana Bailao is also on the board.

A former general manager of the theatre company Buddies in Bad Times, Mr. Jones has been the driving force in Artscape since 2008. He is not a public servant and declined to reveal his salary or disclose whether he receives bonuses for completing projects.

While an Artscape spokesperson acknowledged its overall salary and benefits expenses exceed the amounts cited on its financial statements, the organization would not provide details about its total annual payroll outlay.

Mr. Jones's vision of Artscape bears scant resemblance to its roots. With $1-million in seed funding, the Toronto Arts Council in the mid-1980s established Artscape with a mandate to rent industrial space and make it available to artists at below-market rates. "Artscape was seen as the agency that would assist artists and hold head leases," recalls Ian Murray, a video artist who had a studio in a Liberty Village industrial building at 60 Atlantic Ave. for nearly 20 years.

During the 1990s, Artscape amassed a portfolio of properties, including 900 Queen West, 60 Atlantic and a nature school on the Toronto Islands, among others. It still runs some of those and several newer ones. Three years ago, it vacated 60 Atlantic, an 1899 Liberty Village factory built by St. David's Wine Growers Co., after the city sold the structure to an office developer for $8.9-million.

While city officials wanted to unload 60 Atlantic for years, some tenants say Artscape hustled them out. Mr. Murray spent $5,000 to store his gear and has been unable to find the funds to secure a new studio.

Others had more luck. Sandra Bell, general manager of Array Music, an Artscape tenant at 60 Atlantic since 1991, says her group faced a tough slog finding new space because it needed a soundproof venue. It found a west-end landlord prepared to invest in sound abatement, as well as a performance space that allows Array to mount shows and lease studio space. "We were extremely lucky," Ms. Bell says. "It was a difficult transition."

Such industrial buildings still exist, but artists now have to go farther afield. A few private firms, such as UrbanSpace, rent affordable arts space downtown.

Artscape competes with these organizations in the studio-rental market but is the only outfit that provides government-subsidized live-work lofts to artists. Using revenue from events and other sources, it claims to provide $3.6million in subsidies to its tenants, who, on average, pay 42 per cent of rates in Class B and Class C commercial buildings, according to its surveys.

Yet, some Barns tenants feel the price gap has narrowed because Artscape rates have risen steadily.

Ms. Peet, who rented a small studio in the Barns, says she can find space for less than what she must pay Artscape after the tax hikes kick in.

In fact, Artscape, with its close ties to Toronto's development industry, has focused increasingly on securing apartments in new condo towers. It will operate 80 affordable rentals in a 225-unit Tridel/Hines project planned for the East Bayfront and has 68 apartments in UrbanCorp's Triangle Lofts.

Increasingly, Artscape sells those units instead of renting them. It earned $4.9-million from selling condo studios at Youngplace, an $18-million project. Eligible buyers include not just artists but also employees of arts organizations. By selling studios, Mr. Jones says, "it's become much easier to make projects viable."

The buyers, he adds, tend to be "senior artists."

Visual artist Barbara Astman bought a space in Youngplace after leasing for years in a Junction factory that had been full of artists but was being taken over by a games developer. "The biggest difference between this studio and my past studios is the fact that it is well maintained," she says.

Yet, others balk at the costs. The asking price on a 490-square-foot studio, one of the smallest in Youngplace, was $210,000, with owners paying $350 a month in fees. "I don't know any artists who could afford to buy a workonly studio," a long-time Artscape tenant says.

It's not the only way the organization's business model chafes.

Artscape rents its spaces out for private functions. But in the Barns, several tenants say, those events have created excessive noise, as well as conflicts over access to common space. An artist who once rented a studio that opened onto the Barns' main event area says her clients were turned away because a private function was taking place. "That's unheard of," she says.

The fundraising has also raised eyebrows. A tenant in one downtown building says Artscape officials bring wealthy prospective patrons through the premises.

While Artscape's foundation has raised millions in recent years, this tenant points out she's had to fight with Artscape's managers to approve routine repairs, including fixing an elevator that was out of service for years.

The persistent sound issues at the Barns are another example of nickel-and-diming, some tenants say. Asked why a long-recognized problem still hasn't been fixed, Mr. Jones replies, "It's taken a long time to get expert [acoustics] advice and, to be honest, we're not there yet." He provided The Globe with recent quotes for test repairs, most under $20,000.

"It would be absolutely inaccurate to say we've done nothing."

For all the controversy, some in Toronto's arts world back Artscape but say it shouldn't be the only entity delivering subsidized space. "It's essential that Artscape exist and we should support it," Array's Sandra Bell says. "But we shouldn't put all our eggs in one basket."

Others have had enough. As one Barns tenant says of the hefty bill for back taxes she received in the spring, "This is the straw that broke the camel's back."


Artscape properties with long-term live/work units: 5

Total number of units: 143

Rented: 78 Owned: 65

Rent geared to income (subsidized): 39

Below market/affordable: 104

Rental income: $3.5-million (2014)

Revenue from events: $2.1-million (2014); event revenue in 2004 was $147,000 and $362,000 in 2009.

Revenue from fundraising: $2.9-million (2014); $1.2-million (2010)

Revenue from sale of condo studios at Artscape Youngplace: The renovation cost $18-million; the sale of 21 units raised $4.9-million.

Revenue from federal and municipal grants/subsidies: $791,000 (2014)

Revenue from consulting: $304,916 (2014)

Revenue from management fees and project recovery: $1.34-million

Full-time staff: 45

Part-time staff: 68

Source: Artscape

Associated Graphic

Visitors to Wychwood Barns can see a kaleidoscopic art installation in the main common area. However, private events often disturb the artists who live there.


Artist Ruth Tait walks through her live-work studio at Artscape Wychwood Barns in Toronto on Thursday. She is not worried about reports of high levels of lead found in the building.


Landscape painter Peter Gillett has registered slightly elevated levels of lead in his blood because of the paint at Artscape Wychwood Barns, but he's more concerned with the lack of sound proofing.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 Tuesday, July 28, 2015 CorrectionA Saturday Globe TO article on Artscape included information from environmental assessment documents on lead levels in roof joists. While there is no accepted EPA limit on lead levels in roof joists, Canadian consultants use EPA limits for windowsills as a benchmark. That information was not included in the article.

The good stuff
Chris Nuttall-Smith ate his way through, around and near downtown Toronto searching for extraordinary international restaurants. These are some of his favourites
Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M2

"JR SWEET'S 522 Oakwood Ave. (at Vaughan Road), 416-913-0110

"The sign outside this Oakwood Avenue scoop shop says "Jamaica Inspired Ice Cream." When I asked what that means, precisely, owner Claude Fearon began passing out samples. Some are made in-house, others brought in; once we started tasting, I couldn't have cared any less. There's a very good soursop, malty Guinness ice cream, cream sodalike cola champagne and a Grape-Nuts flavour that tastes exactly how it sounds. (I loved it.) Ice-cream aficionados may quibble about texture here (a few of the varieties showed a touch of icy-graininess, and others a hint of stabilizer chew), but in my book, the flavours overrode all that. The show-stealer is Mr. Fearon's coconut rum ice cream, which starts out nearly as light as coconut water, and finishes like a nip of barrel-aged booze.

"MAHA'S FINE EGYPTIAN CUISINE 226 Greenwood Ave. (at Sandford Avenue), 416-462-2703

"East side food types went gaga pretty much as soon as chef Maha Barsoom and her kids Mark and Monika Wahba opened their cheery Egyptian café and brunch spot last September, and since then, the you've-got-to-get-there clamour has only grown. Ms. Barsoom's cooking, a blend of classic Egyptian tastes and Western twists, is unlike any Middle Eastern cooking I've found around the GTA. Her "mind-blowing chicken sandwich" combines the roasted crunch and spice of shawarma-style chicken with the freshness of chopped tomato, parsley and oregano, with the shirt-staining maximalism of a sloppy joe - all on a soft, sesame-seeded egg bun. The "pharaoh's po' boy" piles fried battered shrimp and tahini into a softly charred pita; this is also a total bell-ringer. For a more classically Egyptian start, try the chef's appetizer platter. There are a dozen different tastes on it, including house-made hummus; bright, clean-tasting baba ghanouj; punchy homemade feta("My mom makes it from scratch. It takes about nine months to ferment the cheese," Mark told me one morning); wedges of the Egyptian whole-grain pita called aish baladi; salty-sweet chopped beets; and pickled lime quarters that you pop, skin and all, like summer cherries. The falafel on that platter, made with fava beans instead of chickpeas, clinched it: Ms. Barsoom does them fried-chicken crisp on their outsides and impossibly loose and moist and fragrant with fresh green herbs in their middles; they're studded with toasted coriander seeds. I was raving like an east sider by the time I was done.

"KHORAK SUPERMARKET 6125 Yonge St. (at Centre Avenue), 416-221-7558

"Before you even think about eating, you should wander through this old-school Iranian supermarket's produce section, with its crates of tiny table grapes, its downy stacks of mint and tarragon, its bins of snacking cucumbers and its whole, shell-on favas. Head from there to Super Khorak's bakery (you will know it by the wheat- and yeast-perfumed updrafts), where they roll out long, soft, oven-hot sheafs of lavash and barbari bread. You must pop through the nuts section (check out all those pistachios!) and breeze, at the very least, past Super Khorak's deli counter (a friend of mine, who is married to an Iranian-American, described the texture of a signature product here as "cream Cheez Whiz"). But no matter how you approach the place, all paths lead to Super Khorak's outstanding hot table and takeout counter, laden with jewelled rices, delicate, spice-braised meats and sublime vegetable stews. The celery stew, called khoresht-e karafs, makes a superhero of the stalks; it's richly bittersweet and vegetal, but with mint, parsley and nubs of beef for balance and fullness. The beef kebabs are good, if not exceptional (the ones just down the street at Super Arzon are done over charcoal instead of gas, and the selection's far better); there are condiment packets filled with sumac to go with them. The rice varieties include a superb fava bean and dill number and another that's dotted with pistachio nuts and sour cherries. (That Iranian-American friend complained that the sour cherry rice, called albaloo polo, was nowhere near as good as it ought to be. I nodded sympathetically and kept on plowing food into my face.) Yet the best thing here by far is the tahchin: a fat, wide cake of saffron rice that comes toasty golden brown on its outsides and moist on its insides from torrents of sour Middle Eastern yogurt and chicken bits that are baked right in. Afterward, head one plaza south to Super Arzon, if not for the kebabs, for the soft-serve machine, which they keep filled with saffron sweet-cream ice cream. You can get it in a cone or in a cup or, better still, doused with fresh-pressed carrot juice.

"SAFFRON SPICE KITCHEN 459 Queen St. W. (at Spadina Avenue), 416-203-0222

"Chef and owner Johnne Phinehas's signature offering is kothu roti, a hash of red and green chilies, onions, leeks, whole curry leaves, meat, spice-laden gravy and - the key ingredient - day-old roti, all of which he chops together on a flat-top griddle. The bread soaks up the spice and the gravy and the flavours marry as the mixture cooks; you eat it with a squeeze of lemon and chunky cucumber raita. It's exhilarating stuff. The dish is a staple in Sri Lanka, as well as in some of Toronto's suburbs, but it took Mr. Phinehas's tiny kitchen and takeout counter, open since 2013, to popularize kothu roti downtown. His spicing is generally mild (if you're used to the kothu roti in Scarborough, you may find Saffron Spice Kitchen's distressingly meek; ask for more green chilies). The protein options offer something for everyone: You can order it vegetarian or vegan, with seafood or even with butter chicken, which isn't Sri Lankan, exactly, but you can't blame the chef for hedging his bets. Have a mango lassi to drink, or if you'd like something more interesting, go for the faloodeh, a gluggable dessert made with rose milk, strawberry jelly and chia seeds, and said to have origins in ancient Persia some 2,500 years back. It's huge in Sri Lanka, as the cool kids like to say.

"PIZZA PIDE 949 Gerrard St. E. (at Pape Avenue), 416-462-9666,

"The "pizza" part of this standout east side pie shop's name should not be taken literally; the meat, cheese and spicetopped Turkish flatbreads called pide are their own thing, with their own traditions and tastes. And, in any case, the comparison is hardly fair: Pizza Pide's offerings put most city pizza joints to shame. The feta and spinach, roast lamb and mozzarella, and ground beef and sunny-side-up egg pide are all excellent, as are the (rounder, thin-crusted) flatbreads called lahmajun, which come topped with spicy beef and are meant to be eaten rolled up with parsley and fresh lemon inside. My favourite is the Turkish sausage pide called sucuklu kaçarli; the sausage combines the peppery, smoked chili flavour of chorizo with an assertive cumin kick. The pies here come with stacks of chopped onion and tomato, lemon wedges, curly parsley and pickled peppers on the side, which you're meant to crunch through as you go along. (And don't neglect to buy a few cans of the sour cherry juice.) "This place just wrecked ordinary pizza for me," a friend said when we ate there recently. "Exactly," I replied.

"PATCHMON'S HOMEMADE THAI DESSERTS 2463 Bloor St. W. (at Jane Street) 647-882-5250,

"Patchmon Su-Anchalee took a job with Ace Bakery after moving here from Bangkok 12 years ago. She stuck with it for a few years, but a problem nagged at her through all that time. Though Thailand has one of the richest, most complex dessert cultures on the planet, Ms. Su-Anchalee couldn't find a single Thai bakery in Canada, much less around the GTA. This spring, she opened Patchmon's, a bakery and sweets shop on Bloor Street West. There are dozens of selections: one-bite steamed banana and cassava cakes; taro custards made sweet and savoury with super-caramelized shallots; and a breathtakingly delicious layered pudding of coconut cream, fresh corn and pandan leaf jelly, served jiggly tender inside a pandan leaf bowl. Others feature sticky rice, finger bananas, duck eggs, toddy palm fruit, Thai pumpkin (this is formed into a sort of dumpling skin around sweetened mung beans; the treat is served inside a banana leaf packet) and even mackerel. There are samples for many of them; Ms. Su-Anchalee's friend Wadee Deethongkham, who works the counter, will ply you with tastes before she lets you buy. (Many of the more intricate steamed desserts are made to order; they can take a good 30 minutes.) What unifies Ms. Su-Anchalee's treats is their clarity of flavour and the extraordinary range of tastes and textures. These are nothing at all like your typical take out sweets.

"CHURRASQUEIRA MARTINS 605 Rogers Rd., Unit 1 (at Keele Street) 416-657-4343,

"Even in a city that's been shaped by Portuguese immigrants, it can be hard to persuade diners there's more to Portugal's cuisine than grilled chicken and egg custard tarts. The menu at this cavernous, affordable and deceptively casual grillhouse runs from gleamy-eyed whole fish to Alentejo-style pork with clams, to superlative chorizo sausage and the (vastly underrated) rice dish called arroz de tamboril. It all makes a convincing argument. The carne de porco à Alentejana is true to the classic here, the clams and cubed pork bathed in garlic, white wine and gentle aromatics. The grilled picanha steak - it's a coulotte, but with its fat cap - was excellent with good fries for $23, and the chorizo, brought to table on a flaming dish of aguardiente, is beautifully spiced and nubbed with cubes of fat. I liked the churrasco chicken, though if you prefer an aggressive piri piri you're better off at Costa Verde on Oakwood Avenue. The whole grilled fish are done with a light touch, which is to say Martin's kitchen doesn't grill the bejesus out of them. And do not miss the arroz de tamboril, a decadent stew of long-grained rice, vegetables, spice and monkfish - the one here is better even than the versions I've had in Portugal.

"RANDY'S TAKE-OUT 1569 Eglinton Ave. W. (at Oakwood Avenue) 416-781-5313,

"After 36 years of gangbuster business, this beloved Little Jamaica takeout counter is as much of a classic as you'll find in the city. Randy's owes much of that success - not to mention the lineups, which often stretch well out onto Eglinton Avenue West - to just four or five staples, each of them a brain-scrambling benchmark for value and for taste. The Jamaican patties are quite possibly the best in town, the beef version dark, drippy-moist and redolent with scotch bonnets and black pepper, and the veg ones (the go-to here) stuffed with potato, peas, the spinach-like green called callaloo and a complex, buttery-textured gravy that's imbued with near-miraculous decongestant properties. These are baked into flaky turnover crusts (praise be the beef suet) and sell for around $1.50 each. But you also shouldn't miss the goat and oxtail curries, which are braised to melting and piled onto rice and peas and a palate-refreshing tuft of vinegared cabbage slaw. The best way to do the place is to bring a group directly after work on a Friday (Randy's closes at 8 p.m.; many other nearby places stay open late) and use it as the starting point for a jerk chicken crawl; the strip's sidewalks come alive with charcoal grills after around 6 p.m.

"SEG'Z RESTAURANT 503 Oakwood Ave. (at Vaughan Road), 416-656-7349

"Chef Horace Wilson's friendly Oakwood Avenue spot combines Jamaican flavours with a neighbourhood diner format; you can get jerk chicken with your French toast here, and plantain with your saltcod omelette, and both are fine ideas. His chicken is not your typical jerk: It is braised slowly instead of grilled, so it comes out juicy and round-tasting, with warm, sweet spicing instead of the more common chili hots. (Another difference: He doesn't chop the bones.) I'm still partisan to the scotch bonnet-peppery, hard-grilled style you find at Rasta Pasta in Kensington Market and along Eglinton West, but I quickly succumbed to Seg'z mellow charms. Be sure to get a side of the fried plantain, which comes custard-soft and deeply concentrated, but with a whisper of char from the flattop. And don't miss the excellent (but not at all typical) cabbage slaw, which the chef dresses with dill and broccoli. As for the restaurant's name, "When I was three, I used to sing this song that went 'Sega degga duggo doo,' " Mr. Wilson said. "When I grow older I become Seg." For dessert, you'll want to head across the road to JR Sweet's.

"SUPER NOODLE EXPRESS 358 Spadina Ave. (at St. Andrew Street), 647-346-8588

"Who, or more to the point, what makes better noodles: robots or human beings? At this new, northwestern Chinese-style noodle joint in Spadina Chinatown, you have to choose. The human element is on display in the back, where a spry, flourdusted man rolls, twists, kneads, thwaps and stretches fat lengths of dough into satisfyingly chewy handmade noodles. Directly behind him, a malevolent looking noodle robot - complete with light-up kaleidoscope eyes and a furrowed unibrow - cuts lengths of dough into satisfyingly chewy machine-made noodles and issues them down a conveyor into a boiling vat. I loved the house special hand-pulled ones, which were broad and flat and had a wheaty, satisfying firmness to them; they came in a light beef broth, with a few bits of meat and a passel of greens; the chili sauce and black vinegar on the table are worthy additions. But I also loved the robot-sliced noodles with pickled cabbage and beef, which were even thicker and chewier but also ragged-edged, as though they'd been cut with a hatchet, which, What the hell, robot? If you know Sun's Kitchen, in Pacific Mall, or Scarborough's Magic Noodle (or any number of hand-pulled noodle shops that have begun springing up around town) the ones here will be familiar. Hence the market-differentiation of the robot, a cynic might suppose. The menu, which includes barbecue and cold dishes as well as noodle ones, is enormous; I need more time to reach a verdict on the man or machine imbroglio. Meanwhile, it's a worthy quest. You may want to find the answer for yourself.


"Associated Graphic

"Photos by Jennifer Roberts

'Priceless and precarious'
Despite its size, beauty and pivotal role in the history of the nation, Roy MacGregor reports, the mighty Ottawa is a river in trouble. After more than a century of abuse, it badly needs cleaning up - and the battle to make that happen has begun
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F3

MONTEBELLO, QUE. -- RIVER COUNTRY An occasional series on the rivers that shape our nation

'Every day on this river is an adventure." Judith FlynnBedard is speaking from the stern of Pier Pressure II, the small cabin cruiser she owns with her husband, Robert, and she shakes her head at a string of memories.

There was the day a sleek boat with a menacing tiger chained to the deck pulled into the marina.

There was the dawn she was awakened by a yacht full of drunks pulling in after a night of wild partying with hired strippers.

There was the time she found a frogman checking the hull of her boat - in preparation for the day George W. Bush descended from the sky in the presidential helicopter on a 2007 visit.

The Bedards, both retired from work in the nation's capital, have boated along the Ottawa for 30 years. They anchor on the Quebec side, within shouting distance of Le Chateau Montebello, a resort famous for the world's largest log cabin.

On this side of the Ottawa, you can enjoy a glass of wine during an evening cruise; on the other side, it is considered a crime to have a drink in a small vessel.

Not a lot makes sense along this magnificent river that flows past the houses of Parliament. To celebrate the 300th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain's historic journey up the Ottawa in 1613, a statue was erected on a majestic point not far from the Peace Tower. Champlain is depicted making solar observations using his astrolabe. He is, unfortunately, holding it upside down.

There are so many things not quite right along this waterway, says Ms. Flynn-Bedard, but one matter bothers her more than any other. "I've seen human feces floating in the river," she says.

"This river is coming right out of the nation's capital. What does that say about our politicians? If any river should be cleaned up, it should be this one."

The Ottawa has been described as the greatest unknown river in the world. Perhaps because it is dwarfed by the St. Lawrence, which the Ottawa feeds into, the more inland waterway has failed to register much with Canadians.

It is, however, long and massive, its speed, volume and rocky descent creating a recreational paradise for rafters and kayakers, its periodic widening into dammed "lakes" perfect for sailing, its deep waters home to 96 fish species and its wetlands visited by a remarkable 300 species of birds.

The Ottawa River carried the first explorers into the interior and served as the delivery route for fur and timber. It was critical for European settlement. It was the "safe haven" chosen by Queen Victoria for the nation's capital. The source of the river is Lac Capimitchigama, far to the northeast in Quebec's Laurentian Mountains.

The flow of the Ottawa circles to the west, south and east through a distance of more than 1,200 kilometres. The watershed is twice the size of New Brunswick, with 11 main tributaries ranging from the Dumoine on the Quebec side, beloved by whitewater enthusiasts, to the Rideau on the Ontario side, a multi-lock system perfect for houseboating.

"Look at the watershed as a leaf," suggests Chief Kirby Whiteduck of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation, "and the Ottawa River as the main stem, and the veins going out as the tributaries." The Pikwakanagan band is found 150 kilometres west of Ottawa and is one of 10 Algonquin communities recognized as part of a massive land claim stretching from North Bay to Kingston that includes much of the vast watershed.

Ms. Flynn-Bedard is far from the only person in that watershed with a serious complaint. The Algonquins of Kitigan Zibi First Nation, upstream on the Gatineau River, which joins the Ottawa across from Parliament Hill, are under an advisory to use only bottled water for drinking and cooking. The advisory has been in force for 16 years.

Chief Harry St-Denis of Wolf Lake First Nations near Temiskaming says natives lived in harmony with the river for millennia, while "it took government and industry 150 years to transform it into what it is today." The temptation for First Nations stakeholders, he adds, is to say, "You screwed it up, you fix it."

It's tempting, but unlikely to accomplish anything. As Chief Whiteduck says, "You have to find the right balance."

It was June 22, 1871. Sir John A. Macdonald, first prime minister of the new Dominion of Canada, was writing to John Sandfield Macdonald, first premier of the new province of Ontario.

"The sight of immense masses of timber passing my window every morning," the prime minister wrote to the premier, "constantly suggests to my mind the absolute necessity there is for looking into the future of this great trade. We are recklessly destroying the timber of Canada and there is scarcely a possibility of replacing it."

The enormous success of the Ottawa Valley timber trade had been due to Napoleon, whose 1806 blockade of Britain had cut off wood supplies from northern Europe. The harvesting of timber, particularly white pine, created a string of communities along the river. Fortunes were made, lives were lost - as many as 80 in a single season - and the river was forever changed.

It is impossible today to imagine the beauty that was once the Ottawa. Chats Falls, upstream from the capital, was considered a major tourist attraction second only to Niagara Falls. Today, at Fitzroy Harbour, it is a massive hydroelectric dam, the roar seemingly angry and frustrated as suppressed water boils and surges from a release gate at the Quebec end.

Chaudière Falls is an impressive set of cascades right in the heart of the capital. In 1860, the Prince of Wales visited the colony and the highlight was a ride down the Chaudière slide on a specially built timber crib guided by expert rivermen, his heart-pounding drop through the tumbling water and spray greeted by 2,000 special guests assembled on river steamboats and another 20,000 loyal citizens cheering wildly from the banks.

Today, commuters moving between Ottawa and Gatineau do not even notice what remains of the falls - long since dammed and harnessed for electricity and a variety of mills. The location, last owned by Domtar, is a 15-hectare site that Windmill Development Group and Dream Unlimited - with the blessing of the National Capital Commission - intends to turn into a $1.2-billion vision that would include condos, green space and, once again, public access to the forgotten falls.

The project, called "Zibi" after the Algonquin word for river, is intended to honour First Nations as well, and while it has gained approval from some native leaders, others - including Museum of History architect Douglas Cardinal - are fighting the proposed development.

Disagreement, unfortunately, is as common to the Ottawa River as it is to the House of Commons.

Heritage without the label

In 1984, the federal government established the Canadian Heritage Rivers System (CHRS). There are now 38 designated heritage rivers, including the Mattawa and Rideau, which both flow into the larger Ottawa - but it, inexplicably, is not counted among them.

Legendary canoeist Max Finkelstein, an Ottawa resident who once worked for CHRS, says this failure is the "gaping hole" in the national designation. "No river reverberates as strongly with the spirit of Canada," Mr. Finkelstein says. "This river is priceless, and precarious. It has given us many gifts, including this country we call Canada. It's time for us to give back to the river - and we should begin by properly designating the Ottawa as a heritage river."

In 2007, approximately half the length of the Ottawa was nominated to be so designated, but the nomination, absurdly, was solely for a 600-kilometre-plus strip along the Ontario side. It was almost as if there were no far shore to the river, no other side, no Quebec always within sight of the boundary line.

"No nomination can be considered valid unless it includes both provinces," Mr. Finkelstein says a bit wistfully.

This is a river under considerable stress, with more than 200 municipalities throughout the watershed, including one large city, making for a total population of roughly two million. There are more than 30 beaches along the Ottawa River alone, many of which have to be closed during times of heavy rain and are closely monitored for water quality.

There are roughly 90 wastewater treatment plants, perhaps only half of them providing the bare essential primary treatment.

At Chalk River, 180 kilometres upstream from Parliament Hill, a nuclear research facility produces much of the world's supply of medical radioisotopes. Its presence, and that of a nuclear power plant, have also caused concern over the years through rare-butalarming leaks and temporary shutdowns. Although the safety record has been impressive, the reactor is now considered ancient and expected to be decommissioned in 2018.

Given all this, it is nothing less than astounding that no government agency has ever had a specific mandate to safeguard the health of this vital river.

In the years before Bytown - the mill town known for its filth, poverty and drunken brawls - was chosen by Queen Victoria as the capital, an 1847 outbreak of typhoid had all but decimated the population, and cholera was a constant concern.

A paper prepared by Jamie Benidickson, a professor of environmental law at the University of Ottawa, says issues about the sawdust, lost logs and raw sewage found in the river were being raised shortly after Confederation. Yet decades later, 174 deaths from typhoid were recorded over a two-year period (1911 and 1912).

So concerned were early city dwellers about the water supply that in 1913 a consultant recommended a pipeline be built to Thirty-One Mile Lake and two other isolated lakes deep in the Quebec highlands, and that drinking water be drawn from there rather than from the nearby river. Ratepayers balked at the expense. A year later, the public health board declared the Ottawa "beyond any question, a polluted source of supply at all points in the vicinity of the city."

Ottawa Riverkeeper has become a major proponent of cleaning up the Ottawa. In late May, Riverkeeper joined with the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation to hold an Ottawa River Summit at Gatineau's Lac Leamy. The irony was not lost that politicians and environmentalists were gathering at a casino to talk about the odds of something actually being done.

That something can be done is a given. Waste management systems have been built in communities on the Quebec side that lacked such facilities and, while the situation is far from perfect, it has improved. North of Mattawa, there is a large body of water known as Lac la Cave, where keen river-watchers have noted the water significantly improved from the days of logging.

"Over the past 50 years," says Catherine Fortin, whose family has summered in a rustic cabin since the early 1960s, "we've seen firsthand how this portion of the river has healed itself."

Farther downstream, at Quyon, the old fuel-driven ferries have been replaced by a brand-new cable ferry that runs on 14 large, rechargeable batteries and can carry far more vehicles across the river in about half the time. "No pollution," says pilot Eddie Scott, who has completed approximately 100,000 crossings over the three decades he has guided the seasonal ferry.

Back in 2009, Ottawa city council announced an Ottawa River Action Plan, a series of 17 projects aimed at reducing pollutants entering the river around the capital city. The province is a partner and, in April, the federal government committed more than $60million toward the cleanup.

"The Action Plan is a great step forward in cleaning up the river," Mr. Finkelstein says. "Reducing the raw sewage going into the river means that it is no longer the 'Big Flush' for the city of Ottawa."

But, he adds, "that's only one slice of a cleaned-up Ottawa River, and the easiest one to achieve." In his opinion, commitment from Quebec is equally important if one day the river is going to live up to Mr. Finkelstein's dream.

"For me," he says, "a clean river means dipping my cup over the side of my canoe and having a cool refreshing drink of Ottawa River water like the First Nations peoples and the voyageurs and explorers and fur traders did not so long ago."

Should be Canada's cleanest

It was only appropriate, then, that the mayors of Gatineau and Ottawa would open the Lac Leamy summit. Together, they called for action beyond the current projects. Pollutants from sewage to pharmaceuticals have been reduced significantly, yet some contaminants still find their way into the river.

"Clearly," said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, "in the 21st century, that should not be happening."

The Ottawa, declared Bernadette Conant, executive director of the Canadian Water Network, should become "the cleanest, most livable river in Canada."

Some have called for dramatic action. Environmental analyst Daniel Brunton, a co-founder of Ottawa Riverkeeper, wants to free the rapids by tearing down the dams. The rapids, he said, "are the lungs of the river. We don't float logs down the river any more - get rid of them."

Participants at the summit tabled the Gatineau Declaration, a document that says "government, business and civil society all have a stewardship role to play in solving our water challenges and that raising the level of awareness and understanding of water protection issues is essential."

To that end, David Heurtel and Glen Murray, environment ministers for Quebec and Ontario respectively, announced a new Joint Committee on Water Management that will see the two provinces join in water management in the Ottawa River, the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.

It is a beginning, though much remains to be done.

"I'm still seeing 'floaties' when I dive," says Gord Black, whose company, Logs End in Bristol, Que., produces wide-plank flooring from 200-year-old logs that sank during the heyday of the timber trade.

Hopefully, he has seen the last of them. And perhaps, while they're cleaning up the river, they might consider turning Champlain's astrolabe right-side up.

Roy MacGregor is a Globe and Mail columnist and the author, most recently, of Canoe Country: The Making of Canada, scheduled to appear in September.

Associated Graphic

River rafting in the capital this week: On one side, you can enjoy a glass of wine during an evening cruise; on the other side, that's a crime in a small vessel.


River of wood (1999): 'We are recklessly destroying the timber of Canada,' Sir John A. Macdonald once wrote, '... and there is scarcely a possibility of replacing it.'


'For me,' says Max Finkelstein, 'a clean river means dipping my cup over the side.'


Quyon's battery-powered ferry: More cars, less time and 'no pollution,' the pilot says.


Saturday, August 01, 2015 Saturday, August 01, 2015 CorrectionA photo of the Ottawa River published Saturday, July 25, incorrectly said it was taken in 1999. In fact, it was taken in 1899.

The disaster scenario
Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F1

MIAMI -- "Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is a strange-looking beast. Its south runway, unveiled last September as part of a $2-billion expansion project, rests like an overpass atop six lanes of highway traffic. Across the road, facing the vast turquoise sweep of the Atlantic Ocean, is Port Everglades - home to some of the largest cruise ships on Earth. Between them, the bustling terminals handle a significant portion of the human cargo that fuels Florida's $70-billion-a-year tourism machine.

"Easily lost in all this bigness is a temporary water feature - a large puddle by the side of the road near the foot of the elevated runway.

""This is just from rain," says Lee Gottlieb, an environmental activist and 40-year resident of South Florida. "I don't think it's rained here in five, six days."

"But the rainwater pools anyway. Virtually all of South Florida is only a few feet above sea level.

""They elevated the runway," Mr. Gottlieb says, "but all the terminals ..." he pauses, exasperated.

""Obviously, if we had a major deluge - this is a flood area."

"It has become increasingly commonplace for politicians at every level of U.S. government - from smalltown mayors to the President himself - to describe climate change as the single most important challenge of the coming century. Such rhetoric is buoyed by myriad crises, from sinking landmass in southern Louisiana to historic droughts in California. In lowlying Florida, the culprit is the rising sea level.

"Should the ocean crawl just one more foot up the edges of this peninsula - something that's projected to happen in the next two decades, by some estimates - most of the canal systems that keep the saltwater out of the area's drinking wells would cease to function. A few more feet, and entire towns suddenly turn neo-Venetian, the roads flooded, the infrastructure almost impossible to salvage.

"But beyond the dire warnings, something else is happening in South Florida. Here, for the first time in North America, the conversation is no longer just about what climate-change countermeasures or conservation initiatives to pursue - taking shorter showers or subsidizing electric cars. It's about a much more existential question: What if it's too late?

"Scientists are starting to suggest that, in the long run, much of South Florida cannot be saved and that policymakers should begin planning for how to best deal with a massive northward exodus in the coming decades, as some of the most iconic real estate on the continent begins to succumb to the sea.

""Sooner or later, this city, as you see it right now, won't be like this," says Henry Briceño, a water-quality researcher at Florida International University. "Miami and the whole of South Florida is not going to be like this any more. So we have to develop a way to plan and supply services in a changing scenario, and that's not easy. And then, sooner or later, we'll have to move. Most of the population will have to move."

"Imagine a prohibition on fossil fuels, effective tomorrow. Every gas-guzzler off the road; every coal plant shuttered; every source of greenhouse-gas emissions brought under control.

"Even then, by some estimates, the atmosphere would experience residual warming for another 30 years. That, in turn, would continue to heat the oceans for about another century. The warming ocean would melt the ice-packs in Greenland and Antarctica. And, finally, those melting masses of ice would raise the sea level.

""We've missed the boat, so to speak, on stopping serious warming in a way so we can turn it around real quick," says Harold Wanless, chair of the department of geological sciences at the University of Miami. "That's gone, we've warmed the ocean too much. So we're in for it now."

"Very few people in Florida have spoken as passionately - or for so many years - as Prof. Wanless about what the irreversible mechanics of rising sea levels are likely to do to the southern half of this state. The son of a geologist, he has been talking to anyone who'll listen - community organizations, high schools, even the religious TV program The 700 Club - since the early 1980s.

"Back then, projections estimated that sea levels would rise by about four feet by the end of the coming century. Today, that number is in the low to middle segment of U.S. government projections, which run as high as six feet.

""That's going to eliminate living on all the barrier islands of the world," he says. "It's going to inundate major portions of the coastal delta in China, India, the U.S. and elsewhere. That's where a huge amount of agriculture is."

"At six feet of sea-level rise, roughly half of Miami-Dade County will be under water. Given the impact such land loss would have on vital infrastructure, it may well render the area totally uninhabitable.

"Few places are as geographically ill-equipped to deal with rising water as southern Florida. Not only is much of the land barely a few feet above sea level, it also sits on a bed of porous limestone and sand, making measures such as dikes far less effective. Higher sea levels would eat away at the barrier islands that buffer the coast against powerful storms - which is hugely problematic, given that more powerful storms are one of the hallmarks of climate change. The rising water also threatens to slip inland and contaminate the wells that provide much of the region's drinking water.

""The biggest stress on the system is water supply," says Doug Young, a long-time environmental activist who moved to Florida from Montreal 24 years ago.

""We're just about the most susceptible place in the entire world.

"The saltwater pushes in from the ocean and gets into the aquifer.

"It's happening as we speak."

"But even as experts tried for years to explain these looming catastrophes to South Florida residents, showing them maps of how much land would be lost with every foot of sea-level rise, often they would encounter the same response.

""They'd look at a map and say, 'Oh, my house will still be there,'" Prof. Wanless says. "Yeah, but the infrastructure has totally collapsed, you just happen to be in a little high spot. There's no sewage, and there's probably no reliable electricity or anything any more. You're just camping out there on your little hill."

"The response illustrates the central hurdle for climate-change activists: The changes will unfold over the better part of a century.

"In geologic terms, it's a blink of an eye. But in human terms, where the standard unit of measurement is often a 30-year mortgage cycle, it's easy to dismiss rising waters as a problem for a future generation to face.

"Indeed, advocating for billiondollar conservation measures - to say nothing of planning for an outright evacuation in several decades' time - is lonely work in a place where the tourism and real-estate industries are doing brisk business. Countless condos are going up in Miami-Dade County alone, and new beachside hotels are popping up all along the southern coast. Of these, the closest thing to a forward-looking project is a proposal by a Dutch company to build a community of multimillion-dollar mansions that float.

"Perhaps as a result, scientists here have had a particularly difficult time convincing the state's leadership to treat climate change as a priority - or even a reality. In March, allegations surfaced that officials with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection were being ordered not to use the terms "climate change" or "global warming" in any official capacity.

"The state government flatly denies that accusation. "The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has no policy banning the use of 'climate change," says Lori Elliott, a spokesperson for the DEP, adding that the department is running a number of multiyear sea-level-rise monitoring and adaptation projects.

"Regardless of where state authorities stand on the issue, rising sea levels pose another fundamental problem: unpredictability. So the prospect of oceans rising in a uniform, linear fashion - in a way that can be accurately approximated and planned for - appears unlikely.

"A time-travelling cartographer, standing on the southern edge of the Florida peninsula some 18,000 years ago, would have seen a landmass roughly 160 kilometres wider than the one today. There used to be far more of this place, but the sea swallowed it.

"What's left of that land is a series of old beach ridges. Scanning the underwater ridges produces a time-line of how the land was drowned. Instead of a gradual rise, the spacing of the ridges indicates that the land loss happened in what Prof. Wanless calls "pulses." Somewhere, a massive ice sheet would disintegrate, and over the following hundred years, a relatively huge sea-level rise would follow. The gradient was less akin to sliding down a smooth curve, and closer to falling down an uneven staircase.

"That's what worries scientists - the prospect of shocks, of sudden changes. And not just geological ones.

"On a clear April day, Mr. Gottlieb, the environmental activist, drives to a seawall near Ft. Lauderdale. It is new, rising about three feet in the clearing between a sandy ocean beach and the road. It was built with flooding in mind, after rain from Hurricane Sandy inundated the roads here.

"The base cost of the seawall is about $10-million a mile. It is yet to be seen whether the wall will withstand, in any meaningful way, a direct hit from the next major hurricane.

"Rising waters may eventually consume large swaths of South Florida, but sudden storms will likely change the geographic and economic landscape first. "Insurance companies are already increasing flood insurance premiums," Prof. Briceño says.

""There is a point when insurance companies will say 'no more.' And if you are unable to insure a property with a mortgage on it, your property is worth nothing."

"It is those sorts of shocks - uninsurable properties, credit-rating declines, crippling storm-damage bills - that a growing number of policymakers are trying to avoid.

"Tired of waiting for the state to act, a group of counties that occupy some of the most vulnerable ground in South Florida have formed a task force of sorts to figure out how to best address rising sea levels.

""We should be building for transition," says Philip Stoddard, a professor at the department of biological sciences at Florida International and the mayor of South Miami. "We should be elevating areas to make it possible for some business activity to remain as the water comes up."

"But even with such measures, Prof. Stoddard has little doubt that, 20 years from now, many communities will begin fading away. "We'll be depopulating," he says. "You can either depopulate in a frantic, disastrous fashion, or you can do it methodically according to people's risk tolerance. I'm all in favour of doing less damage as people head out the door."

"But Prof. Stoddard's work is further complicated by the fact that nobody really knows just how much sea-level rise to expect.

"Models from 20 and even 10 years ago are looking increasingly conservative. And some new estimates are producing numbers that make the previous projections look trivial by comparison.

"A few years ago, climatologist James Hansen suggested a sealevel rise of about 16 feet by 2100 - a number far higher than most other projections. The estimate was based in part on the idea of "amplifying feedbacks." For example, ice reflects almost all solar radiation, but open water absorbs it. So as an ice sheet melts, it has a reinforcing effect, increasing the melting rate. Several of those feedbacks had not been incorporated into other climate-change models. Accounting for them, Dr. Hansen argued, pushed the numbers up.

"The projection was met with skepticism. To test it, Prof. Wanless recently decided to see if the melt rate in Greenland was consistent with Dr. Hansen's projections. Looking at satellite data, he found it was not - it was melting at an even faster rate.

"Lee Gottlieb stands on a pristine beach a few kilometres north of Miami, observing his creation - a set of rolling dunes, anchored in place with sea oats.

"The grass is thin and shivers in the breeze. The structure is a sacrificial lamb; a major storm surge would likely destroy it. But it would still serve as a buffer, protecting the infrastructure farther inland. Mr. Gottlieb has been trying to convince municipalities and private developers to support the dune project.

"Some prospective partners have been receptive. Others declined, complaining, in one case, that if the oats grew too tall, they might ruin the ocean view from a condo's mezzanine-level pool.

""Do we really think [the sea oats project is] going to save the day? No," Mr. Gottlieb says.

""But we need to bring people's attention to the issue. We can't afford to wait another 10 years."

"Exactly what South Florida will look like a decade from now is anyone's guess. It's impossible to predict whether another hurricane will devastate the area, or at what point insurance companies might balk at the risk.

"Meanwhile, not everyone wants to discuss the notion of long-term evacuation. There's the prospect of plummeting home values, of the massive public and private costs. And there's a decidedly human factor: Some people don't want to leave the places they call home, come hell or high water.

""People think that everywhere we live has always been there, and that's just not true," Prof. Wanless says. "Every community is so afraid of facing the reality that you have to move on some day, and honestly plan for it."

"Omar El Akkad reports on the United States for The Globe.


"Associated Graphic

"North Miami is at the front line of climate change. If the sea rises six feet - within current predictions - half of Miami-Dade County will be under water.




"Florida Department of Transportation Operations Engineer Cleo Marsh inspects water damage on route A-1-A in November, 2012 in Fort Lauderdale.




"Vehicles negotiate heavily flooded streets in Miami Beach in last September. New storm water pumps are currently being installed.




"The flooded Piedmont Street in the Cordova Park neighborhood of Pensacola, Fla. In April, 2014 a major storm system dumped more than two feet of water on the Florida Panhandle in a little over a day.



A new role for Canada and the U.S. in a world of persistent menace
Globalism is great and good, notes William A. Macdonald, but not everyone wants to join the club. When dealing with problem nations such as Russia, China and Iran, having an effective Plan B is crucial
Saturday, August 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F10

Mutual accommodation - the willingness to compromise, if required, to settle a dispute or move forward - may not always work, but it should always be an option. Even when circumstances don't seem promising, we should keep in mind the impact that flexibility could have.

Canada's story shows that mutual accommodation is one of the better ways to conduct human governance that emerged from the 20th century. Non-violent resistance is another. It sparked the great achievements of Mahatma Gandhi in India, Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Martin Luther King in the United States - which ultimately also became achievements for those who opposed them, those who initially resisted before giving up ground rather than resorting to drastic measures.

Non-violence is a particular way of achieving mutual accommodation but since 1945 the Western world has developed other effective techniques for avoiding war and achieving peace and prosperity:

collective rather than unilateral action;

broadening the inclusive order both at home and abroad; and

containing (rather than defeating) what cannot be included at any particular time.

Hazards to world peace

At the same time, three new threats to the inclusiveness and scope of the global order have emerged:

Vladimir Putin's Russia;

the multidimensional mess in the Middle East; and

an expansion-minded Iran.

Each has emerged, in part, because the United States has forgotten what has worked so well for it and the rest of the world since 1945.

Mike Mullen, the admiral (now retired) who served as chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007 to 2011, recently criticized his country's triumphalism and lack of assistance to Russia after the Soviet collapse. The U.S. would have been better to approach the diminished Russia the way it did Germany and Japan after the Second World War even if the two situations aren't comparable. In fact, Russia, like Iran and the Islamic State, has two traits that make it hard to handle - a thirst for revenge and a desire to reconstruct a lost "empire."

These narratives look backward, not forward. They get in the way of seeing a better, more collaborative and safer way ahead. This makes it extremely difficult for other countries to work constructively with any of them.

The United States, more than most countries, is seeking paths forward that strengthen the global order. By contrast, these three danger zones have expansionist ambitions that threaten their neighbours and undermine that order.

A forward-looking expansionism that takes the needs and interests of others into account - that operates through mutual accommodation - can exist within a peaceful and prosperous world order. But a fixation on vengeance and lost empires is more likely to respond to a strategy of containment, of "disintertwinement," than to the increasing inclusiveness of the world order.

It demands uncompromising stands and decisive actions rather than the small steps that mutual accommodation allows - steps that feel less risky for all participants because whatever is done requires consent. This kind of limited accommodation happened more than once during the Cold War in key areas such as arms control.

Russia, the Islamic State and Iran are each of special importance right now. They pose huge, immediate and imponderable risks to the global economy and to longterm global security. Their strong geopolitical drivers are not a good fit for what their own countries and the world need right now.

Let's begin with Russia. Mr. Putin had a real opportunity to become a major player in making the global order better in ways that also worked for Russia. So far he has not followed that route, but he or a successor can still do so at some future date.

Looking backward no longer works in a world that, since 1945, has been on a fast and powerful track forward. Both the Soviet Union and China lost ground for decades because they did not acknowledge that fact. Now Russia, from a weaker position, seems back into the same kind of overreach that plagued the Soviet Union before it collapsed. It may have some early success, but over time it will further weaken Russia. The sooner Moscow acknowledges that it must collaborate with Europe, the better it will be. Europe and Russia need each other.

Neither Iran nor anyone else in the Middle East has given any indication of being ready to become a positive participant in the inclusive global order. By its very nature, Islamic State could never be a partner, but Iran could be - if it set its sights on that goal.

Unfortunately, though, in the Middle East and, to a lesser extent, Iran, the revenge and reconstruction stories are reinforced by cultures that have found modernization difficult. Countries in the Middle East cannot overcome these backward-looking drivers any time soon. There are simply too many obstacles preventing them from moving forward. In Iran, however, a large part of the population is looking to the future, or already there.

The West and these troubled places have only one constructive way forward - mutual accommodation. Given their complex history, that is not a natural way for any of them to think or operate. One good thing about mutual accommodation is that it is hard to do. It requires minimal illusion among all parties. That same quality makes it safer to try and safer once it is accomplished.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Iran's leaders were right to try to find a mutual accommodation on the contentious nuclear file. That is so, even if the deal fails to achieve its goals. The nuclear talks are limited in scope and aspiration, which is good. Although the purpose is big - to forbid any additional nuclear weapons in the Middle East - it, too, is limited in scope.

After 50 years of distrust between the countries, an agreement will not in itself bring trust or peace, but it could be the first step along the way.

Iran may or may not be open to a different way of going about achieving its aspirations. It has a significant population that is attracted to the West but also key players who are stuck in the past. Now that a nuclear agreement is near, the West needs to think about the longer-term benefits for both sides in the dispute if Iran can be persuaded that a more collaborative approach will be both safe and productive. In the meantime, policies and active efforts to thwart destabilizing Iranian behaviour will be needed.

At the same time , the U.S. itself remains a potential global risk due to its hyper-partisan, no-holds-barred politics, which reflect a lot of divisiveness within U.S. society. If that divisiveness were to derail the agreement Iran, the ramifications would go far beyond nuclear weapons and the rising risk of military action in the Middle East. It would be the U.S. turning its back on the other four permanent members of the UN Security Council as well as Germany. It is hard today to get other countries on the same page. To get the U.S., France, the United Kingdom and Germany on the same page with China and Russia does not happen often or easily. Having the U.S. refuse to go along because of what the world sees as its dysfunctional politics could not fail to weaken Washington's ability to attract international support for other geographical and economical challenges.

The fading U.S. presence

All three of these troubled places would be better off, as they look forward, if they can view the United States as a less dominating threat than it has been in recent years. In fact, it is withdrawing, not because of weakness but of overreach. This withdrawal is making the country stronger and, simultaneously, less dominating.

There will always be geopolitical dangers in a fast-moving world. The most striking feature of the Cold War and the 25 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union has been how containable big crises, including high-risk moments such as Cuba in 1962, have been. In the past, similar events have led to catastrophe. If we consider some significant "moments" in the past two centuries - the bad Napoleonic wars (up to 1815), the good Western Europe era (1815 to 1914), the bad Western Europe era (1914 to 1945), the (on average) good global period (1945 to 1990) and now the post-Cold War era - we have to conclude that we are now back in a "bad" era. It is not clear where the world is headed. Almost certainly, though, it is in a more manageable state than it was in the first 50 years of the last century. So far, extreme outcomes are being avoided.

Major countries like Russia and China do not consider the current world order suited to their needs. They see it as something imposed by the United States. For that reason, the inclusive global order will be less inclusive and less global. At the same time, no major country wants either the economic or the security foundations of the global order to collapse. Both China and Russia seem to worry about the social and economic risks they would face from a weakening global economic order, even as they build their security strength opposite that of the United States.

In principle, today is not very different from the postwar era that ended in 1990.

Both Russia and China are strong military countries with clear borders, and their governments are in control of their territory. The big difference is that they are more intertwined with the global economy, so the idea of containment is not as simple today as it was in 1950. And disintertwinement is a central and difficult-to-implement part of any containment strategy.

Russia could become a second 50-year containment challenge. There is little immediate prospect of becoming a positive player. That is just not how President Putin sees Russia's future. Western policy has to figure out how to deal with that reality in a way that avoids extreme outcomes.

The several failed states in the Middle East present a completely different set of problems: Islamic State's absolute brutality, the absence of functioning states, the huge number of refugees, the thousands of immigrants fleeing from Africa, all alongside the poor stressed middle classes and unemployed youth everywhere. This set of challenges has no real historical precedent.

It will be a fundamental challenge to all Western countries and require action from both governments and private institutions.

The United States faces a new and difficult world, one that has never been more connected - yet so disconnected at the same time. It is in the late stages of withdrawing from ground it can no longer hold to ground it can hold. Until the collapse of the Soviet Union, it lived in the two-superpower world that marked the years after the Second World War. Then, for a few years, the U.S. was the only superpower.

But a superpower is not what it used to be. America is bumping up against challenging limits it has yet to think through.

Other countries also need to rethink the current global realities as the U.S. withdraws. It is still a superpower, but it has definite limits on its effective reach. It is still indispensable, but not as pervasive as it used to be.

In his new book Superpower, political scientist Ian Bremmer, a consultant and active observer of political risk, has outlined three broad choices for America's role in the world. All non-Americans, including Canadians, should think about his arguments carefully. No country will be more important to the world over the next few decades than the United States. It needs to get the part it should play as right as possible, but its divisive politics will make that very difficult. Just as war is too important to be left to the generals, America's role is too important to be left to the Americans.

A Canadian contribution

Great powers usually don't feel any particular need for mutual accommodation as they go about their business. But without it, lesser powers like Canada cannot make much progress on anything. To thrive, Canada needs to rethink its role, that of the United States and how, together, the two countries can use their individual strengths in a world that desperately needs fresh thinking, more vision and greater collaboration. This reconsideration should be at the top of the new government's todo list after the federal election in October.

Canadians in the past have chosen a peacekeeping role, but there's now little call for that. Canada will be most useful if it commits its resources and experience to disintertwinement and long-term, humanitarian-based broadening of the inclusive global order.

North America has seen the creation of two improbable countries: the United States in the 18th century, driven by freedom and individualism, and Canada in the 19th century, driven out of necessity by mutual accommodation and collective action. Now may be the moment when these two neighbours, who are very different but share many values, can work together in a new way.

It is possible that Canada's talent for accommodation could could join the economic and military strength that are the fruit of U.S. freedom and science - and thus become a dominant and indispensable force in the 21st century.

William A. Macdonald is president of W.A.

Macdonald Associates Inc., which consults on government relations and economic policy, and has an extensive record of public service.

To bolster his campaign for a coast-to-coast conversation about the state and nature of the country, he and his associate, William R.K.

Innes, have created The Canadian Narrative Project, with assistance from Trent University.

For more about the venture, please visit

Associated Graphic

Above, signs of accommodation: Closing of the U.S.-Iran nuclear talks, Barack Obama en route to Africa and Canadian aid en route to Nepal. Below, signs of trouble: Russia's recalcitrant President, flanked by an aerial view of an island China is creating in disputed waters and Beijing's increasingly familiar flag.


Charming, intelligent leader fell from grace
Multimillion-dollar McGill University Health Centre scandal hung over the cancer specialist until his death in a Panama prison
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S11

"When his death from cancer was announced earlier this month, people still doubted that Arthur Porter, the bow-tied former CEO of Montreal's McGill University Health Centre, had really died. After all, the "golden boy" with the silver tongue who was tarnished by a multimilliondollar fraud scandal had spent two years languishing in a notorious Panama prison as he fought extradition back to Canada.

"If anyone could pull a fast one, why not the man who prided himself on his ability to make an environment suit him rather than the other way around? And so members of Quebec's anti-corruption unit trooped down to the tropical country to view the body, allaying the suspicions.

"Dr. Porter was 59 when he died in a Panamanian hospital on June 30, an ignominious, sad and lonely end for a man who had found success far from his birthplace in Sierra Leone. At Cambridge, he was a star medical student. In the United States, where he ran a major medical centre in Detroit, he was a self-declared Republican who in 2001 refused an offer from then-president George W.

"Bush to become the next surgeon-general. In his 2014 memoir, The Man Behind the Bow Tie, Dr. Porter recalled getting a phone call soon after.

""Is that your final answer?" Mr. Bush reportedly asked him, lifting a line from Who Wants to be a Millionaire, at the time a popular TV game show.

"Rotund, funny and occasionally pompous, Dr. Porter was everyone's friend and nobody's confidante, the life of the party and an agile dancer, both in political circles and around a ballroom floor. A member of Air Canada's board of directors, he travelled the world free. His former friend Prime Minister Stephen Harper had him sworn in as a member of the Privy Council so he could serve as chairman of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, or SIRC, the country's spy watchdog agency.

"And he was close to Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, a relationship that began in 2004 when the politician, a neurosurgeon by training, was provincial health minister. Like many of Dr. Porter's friendships, theirs ended with the news of the hospital's megacost overrun and a $22.5-million fraud inquiry connected to the MUHC's decision to award the construction contract to a consortium led by the Montreal-based engineering firm SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.

""In a way, Arthur was like Icarus, who came crashing down to earth when his wax wings melted because he flew too close to the sun," Jeff Todd, an Ottawabased journalist who first met Dr. Porter in the Bahamas and co-authored the memoir, said.

""He told me that if he did anything wrong, it was to go way too fast," Mr. Todd continued. "There was never a peak he didn't want to climb and if there was a huge challenge, he always thought he would simply fly over it. But he couldn't always do that."

"The first indication was in November, 2011, when the National Post revealed he had signed a commercial agreement the year before with Ari BenMenashe, a Montreal-based Israeli security consultant and arms dealer, all while he was head of both the MUHC and Canada's spy watchdog. Mr. BenMenashe was to secure a $120million grant from Russia for "infrastructure development" in Sierra Leone. In return, a company called the Africa Infrastructure Group, which was controlled by Dr. Porter's family, would manage what he wrote were "bridges, dams, ferries and other infrastructure projects" built with the Russian money.

"Within days, he was gone from SIRC. Less than a month later, he resigned from the MUHC, departing on the grounds that he had accomplished what he had set out to do in 2004: bring together a private-public partnership and get a long-dreamed-of facility built.

"Unbeknownst to the public at the time, under his watch, a planned project deficit of $12million had somehow escalated to $115-million.

"The following year, fraud charges were laid, but by then Dr. Porter was on to other projects and living in a gated community in the Bahamas, where he had maintained a home for years. After Interpol issued a warrant for his arrest, he and his wife, Pamela Mattock Porter, were detained June, 2013, by authorities at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City.

"Despite claiming he could not be arrested because he was on a diplomatic mission for Sierra Leone, he was soon confined to overcrowded quarters in a wing reserved for foreigners in filthy La Joya prison. Toting an oxygen tank, he became known there as "Doc," ministering to inmates who included drug dealers and murderers. The man who had begun his ascent to the top as a doctor beloved by his patients would end at the bottom as a doctor beloved by his patients again.

"He was smart, perhaps too smart for his own good, and affable, with an ability to zero in on the most powerful person in the room with laser-like focus. His long-time friend and former teacher Karol Sikora, who partnered with Dr. Porter in a Bahamian medical clinic and is also the medical director of their joint private health-care company, Cancer Partners UK, said he was uncannily good at getting people together everywhere he touched down, even if they had opposing views.

""People like that are rare and they are very good at running big institutions," Dr. Sikora said.

""Arthur reached the peak of his career in 2010, when he was all glowing and bigger than sliced bread. Then it all went wrong."

"Although Dr. Porter claimed the money from SNC was payment for other consulting work he'd done for them, his friend opined that the truth will probably never come out now.

""I'd like to think Arthur was never part of this monkey business, but we'll never know," he said.

"Arthur Thomas Porter IV was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, on June 11, 1956, a descendant of freed slaves. The first Arthur Porter, his great-great-great grandfather, arrived in Freetown from somewhere in Britain and married his great-great-great grandmother, a former slave from Nova Scotia, but the details of their story have been lost to time.

"Young Arthur was named to carry on the tradition. His father, a noted historian and anthropologist also named Arthur, had met his mother, a Dane, when both were studying at Cambridge University.

"In his memoir, Dr. Porter recalled growing up in a home where he and his sister, Emma, lacked for nothing, with an emphasis placed on good behaviour and better grades. His mother was everything: disciplinarian, cook and holder of hands. His father, a professor at Fourah Bay College, the country's oldest university, was usually immersed in his books and stepped in only for serious family matters. But one rainy Sunday evening, he called them into his study.

""Arthur, Emma. The only careers I truly rate are the professions of doctor and lawyer," he said. "It's time to decide what you each want to be."

"Given first choice, his sister, who was two years younger, opted to become a lawyer. (She was eventually hired to work at Canada's federal Justice Department, where she is still employed.)

""Arthur, you will be a doctor," his father said.

"And so he was. Neither white nor black, he might often have felt in limbo, but he used his mixed background to his advantage, whether he was fostering a sense of kinship with members of Detroit's influential black community or as a Cambridge wonk with a posh accent, head for business and a penchant for bow ties.

"In a lengthy profile in this newspaper in 2012, sources in Detroit and Montreal told reporters Greg McArthur and David Montero that Dr. Porter was wont to say flippantly: "I look black but I speak white."

"But there was more to it, namely, an inherent sense of privilege coupled with the need to prove that he could conquer obstacles with charm and finesse. In his memoir, he noted that as the mixed-race descendant of ex-slaves from the U.K. and Canada and the only son of an African father and a European mother, he often felt between worlds.

""My rather rich heritage and personal history have also served me well, however, since people have never quite known where to place me," he wrote.

"It was while he attended Cambridge that Dr. Porter embraced his signature look: Told he had to wear a tie for meals, he went to a second-hand store and bought a pound of them in a bag, unaware they were not the kind that hang neatly down a shirtfront.

"He also met his wife there, moving in on her lunch table in a dining hall. The couple had four daughters whom he loved above all: Gemma, Fiona, Adina and Charlotte. (Unlike her husband, Ms. Porter was extradited back to Montreal; last December, she was sentenced to two years behind bars after pleading guilty to money laundering charges after much of the $11million SNC Lavalin allegedly paid her husband in bribes was found in the account of a shell company in the Bahamas that she controlled. Released from prison, she is now reportedly living in a halfway house.)

"Following his training in medical and radiation oncology, Dr. Porter moved to Canada, taking on positions as senior specialist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and chief of radiation oncology at the London Regional Cancer Centre at the University of Western Ontario.

"In 1991, he moved south of the border to become radiation oncologist in chief and chairman of the Detroit Medical Center. Along the way, he established his pattern of accepting other positions and starting new ventures while working in a demanding job, including opening the Cancer Centre in Nassau.

"In 1999, Dr. Porter was promoted to CEO of the Detroit Medical Center, one of the largest non-governmental employers in the region. And the accolades kept on coming: Two years later, he was named to a presidential commission that was reviewing the quality of health care provided by the national Department of Defence and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and in August, 2002, Michigan's governor appointed him to a four-year term as chairman of the state's Hospital Commission.

"It was a heady time. But underneath, suspicions were roiling. People were put off by the fact he took on other major responsibilities while he was running the centre and he also got involved in some lawsuits. But when Quebec headhunters called, somehow Dr. Porter ended up on a short list of candidates to head up the fledgling MUHC project.

"Eric Maldoff, a prominent Montreal lawyer and member of the MUHC search committee that reportedly pushed to omit Dr. Porter's name from the list because of problems he'd had in Detroit, was diplomatic when The Globe and Mail contacted him this week.

""Arthur was a very energetic, smart, charming, strategic and driven person. He really wanted to be liked and he had a profound need for recognition," Mr. Maldoff said. "The hospital is up and running and no doubt he played a crucial role in moving it forward. It's a vast improvement over what we had before and it forms a very solid basis for the future."

"Others were not so kind. Responding to news of his death, the MUHC issued a terse statement that extended condolences to his family and offered no further comment, while Mr. Harper suspended the protocol that would have seen the Peace Tower flag fly at half-mast to mark the death of a Privy Council member.

"In prison, living in unsanitary surroundings and denied proper treatment in a hospital for the cancer that many doubted he had, Dr. Porter, who leaves his father, sister, wife and four daughters, was outwardly still full of bravado until near the end.

""I just have to survive and make do," he told CBC reporter Dave Seglins in a phone interview in March that revolved around his treatment at the prison and his successful complaint to the United Nations torture watchdog that his human rights were being trampled on.

""[The] water, food, bedding and the fact that one has to urinate in a bucket shared by about 50 to 100 people ... for someone who has an illness and needs treatment, it was pretty obvious, I presume, the UN clearly found in my favour."

"In addition, Dr. Porter continued, his raspy voice rising, he had not had a single court hearing in 22 months.

""I've never left here to go into the city. I have no idea what the inside of a courtroom looks like, not in Panama, Canada, the Bahamas or anywhere," he cried. "I've never been to court in my life."

"In the end, though, he seemed to be aware that the stain on his reputation would not be erased, not even in death.

""My entire life has been devoted to climbing, winning and succeeding," he wrote in his memoir. "But with the end drawing near, it is inevitable that I, like anyone else, wonder if what I have accomplished truly matters. I wonder how I will be remembered."

"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

"In his memoir, Dr. Porter said his life was 'devoted to ... winning.'


"Arthur Porter, left, chats with Stephen Harper at Montreal General Hospital in 2006. The Prime Minister had Dr. Porter sworn in as a member of the Privy Council.



Putt here
Cabot Cliffs, a rollicking golf course of forest, dunes and chasms in Cape Breton, is about to be a big deal for a long time, Guy Nicholson writes. You've never seen holes like this
Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page T1

INVERNESS, N.S. -- "It's late afternoon on an elevated plateau on Cape Breton's sunset coast. Seabirds circle below our small group but still well above the deserted beach, which stretches five kilometres toward a distant headland. The freshest breeze arrives with ocean air and hints of bramble. Boats chug offshore as the sun begins its languid early summer slide into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

"This is a view that holds your focus. But as we stare out to sea, soaking it in, my wife pipes up from behind: "Wow.

"This hole is a monster." She's not a golfer, but even her attention is being drawn to the rugged, rumpled course at our backs, which is about to blow the lid off Canadian golf. Like this sublime place, Cabot Cliffs is a sight to behold.

"The holes tumble down from a glade of tangled woods above the sea, in and out of dunes, along the Broad Cove River and over MacLellans Pond, skirting chasms and cliffs before depositing us on this plateau and the course's final fairway. The bunkers and blowouts are rough-hewn, flowing seamlessly into humps and hollows, beach and meadow grasses, stands of tuckamore, even gypsum knobs unearthed along the way. The greens they guard are rollicking with a touch of wit, like the island and its people. Many of this game's playgrounds are blessed by nature, but few embrace it so thoroughly and enthusiastically. It's not just a golf course; it's a celebration of Cape Breton.

"Cabot Cliffs has been open for limited preview play just a few days. Its greens and fairways are still maturing, but it's been compared with the world's most stirring courses for years, since it was just sketches and stakes on that spectacular plateau above the gulf. Writers and golf insiders have been tossing around superlatives and speculating about the world rankings.

"Those lists are heavy on subjectivity and light on meaning, but for people who care about golf or tourism in Canada, this course is going to be a big deal for a long time.

"If you haven't seen Cabot Cliffs on a magazine cover or brochure yet, give it a few minutes. Most of these images will show the green of the par-three 16th green or the tee of the par-four 17th, which share a tiny, wind-swept promontory at the north end of the property. The postcard photos these two holes yield are dizzying - towering jagged cliff faces, precarious bunkers, endless ocean. It's exhilarating golf, and these pictures are destined to speak as a sort of shorthand for the place.

"But every hole on this course has dramatic ocean scenery and things you've never seen before - every single hole.

"That doesn't mean 18 holes of cymbal-crashing, though. Like many other supremely natural courses, Cabot Cliffs offers a journey with its own rhythm and character. Right from the start, it takes thoughtful inspiration from its location.

""Okay, we have this property," Bill Coore, who created the course with partner Ben Crenshaw, says. "Can we create a golf course that will be a complement to that property? Because it is spectacular. It has very strong individual character."

"From the site of a future clubhouse, play proceeds down a broad expanse of fairway. It's a "friendly handshake" opener, but at the green, the relatively benign par-five offers a glimpse of what's to come. The unique putting surface resembles the half-shell of a scallop, its wavy edges paralleling the outline of Cape Mabou, a rounded highland directly in the line of sight beyond the town of Inverness. Coore confirms that this clever allusion was the work of his long-time friend and colleague, Canadian Rod Whitman, who offered to play a supporting role at Cabot Cliffs after designing its well-regarded sister course, Cabot Links. It brings to mind the artistry of another Canadian architect, Stanley Thompson, who drew inspiration from distant features at Highlands Links, his masterful "mountains and ocean" course two hours from here.

"Do such touches constitute high art or parlour trick? Consider the amount of time, logistics, work and money required to uncover, route and gently massage them, which many retail players won't even consciously notice.

"Eight years of thinking, planning and work went into Cabot Cliffs, and 18 holes of clever nuance are the result. "There was a lot of thought that went into that," Coore says with satisfaction at mention of these little details.

"The second hole at Cabot Cliffs requires less interpretation. It's the kind of unique, visual hole that separates the great golf from the merely good. The central plateau abruptly ends with a tee atop a commanding bluff, a launching point for drives down into the dunes. Below, fairway and green are separated by a thin creek and a giant, hairy bunker that might bring to mind the famous "principal's nose" hazard on the 16th fairway at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland.

"It would be natural to play safely down the middle here, but it's actually false comfort. For the best angles around that "bulbous nose," as Coore describes it, far better to aim a ball left or right down an arm of the Y-shaped fairway.

"That's a lot of words for just the first two holes, but so it goes at Cabot Cliffs; the next hole begins another chapter, out of the dunes and into a riverside meadow.

"This is the kind of journey golf entrepreneurs Ben Cowan-Dewar and Mike Keiser expected when they pieced together the acquisition of this land and hired Coore and Crenshaw, two of the most respected names in golf design, to make something special.

"Coore, 69, and Crenshaw, 63, were on the ground floor of the "minimalist" movement, which brought the game's architecture out of the dark ages. After decades dominated by dull, penal courses, they and a few others set out to draw from golf's old-country roots, promoting bold contours and broad, strategic fairways that allow players to manage risk according to skill and weather conditions.

"Many architects shy from the minimalist label, which is overused. But the best of them are known for paying careful respect to the land they are given and lavish meticulous attention on the finishing to disguise their work. When they are done, it can be difficult to distinguish where the natural ends and the artificial begins - a hallmark of Coore and Crenshaw's work since the opening of their game-changing Sand Hills course in Nebraska 20 years ago.

"At Cabot Cliffs, this legerdemain can be seen at the par-three sixth hole, which is back in the dunes. Wind howls across the exposed tee, then fades to a whisper as the fairway dips into a sheltered bowl of beach grass and bunkers. Approaching the green, some of these sandy pits bleed back into the dunes as if they're going to seed. What's real and what's invented? It's hard to be sure.

"Incidentally, the sixth is the only hole fully within the dunes.

"Why doesn't it feel out of place on a course named for its towering cliffs? Because of a subtle but masterful trick that routes holes not within the property's internal borders, but across them, to smooth the transitions. We tee off on the plateau to enter the dunes. We tee off in the dunes to enter the meadow. We tee off in the meadow to re-enter the dunes, we tee off in the dunes to enter the forest and then we tee off in the forest to re-emerge on the plateau. And that's just the front nine. Many lesser golf courses feature an incongruous paddock of holes that feel apart from the rest, but that's not the case here.

""We tried very hard to do that," Coore says . "When you have a smallish dune area there, where two and six and five greens [come together], we were trying to figure out how best to use that area. It wasn't big; you could have easily taken up every bit of it with one hole. We just felt like, let's touch upon it, let's go away, let's come back to it ..." The back nine at Cabot Cliffs sprawls across a higher piece of the property, dominated by the plateau, a stand of upland forest and the namesake cliffs. It's a more dramatic set of holes, but for all that will be written about the epic cliff-top 16th and 17th, whose potential would have been obvious to any armchair architect, we should also consider what came of the land around them.

"After the turn, the routing tacks hard uphill along the forest's edge, through an area that could have produced less inspiring golf. Instead, these holes embrace their strenuous topography and invoke a feeling not unlike that of Kapalua Plantation in Maui, where Coore and Crenshaw overcame similar challenges and built a celebrated PGA Tour stop.

"The 13th swoops sharply uphill and to the right with the gulf at its back. It might have been an undistinguished connector to better land, but instead, it's unforgettable. The key is right at the front of the green, where a towering sugarloaf mound stands ready to reject or deflect anything but the most assertive, well-struck approach. The hump resembles nothing more than an ancient, worn-down knob of Cape Breton highland, and the architects had the good sense to use it, rather than bulldozing it, as others might have.

""We truly laid that golf hole out around that hill," Coore says. "For what it's worth, it's one of Ben's and my favourite holes on the course. Most people will gravitate toward the holes that face the ocean, but boy, we really like that one."

"A favourite hole on the least favourable land? That's how thoroughly this course celebrates Cape Breton.


"Cabot Cliffs is the second course at Cabot Links resort in Inverness, N.S. The course officially opens next summer but is offering limited preview play at reduced rates ($110 to $150) in 2015. Times are restricted to guests of the stylish hotel ($180 to $345,

"Rooms overlook Rod Whitman's outstanding beachside links course, which remains open to regular outside play.

"Both courses are walking-only except in case of disability, but pull carts and caddies are available.

"Other golf options in Cape Breton include Highlands Links ($42 to $102) in Ingonish, Bell Bay in Baddeck ($70 to $90), Le Portage in Chéticamp ($45 to $80) and the Lakes in Ben Eoin ($40 to 72 plus tax).

"Scheduled commercial flights go to Halifax and Sydney; rental cars and Cabot Links shuttles can be arranged for either airport. Most private planes fly to Port Hawkesbury Airport.


"On comparisons: "I think of Cabot as Cabot. Cabot has its own identity. It's not trying to be Cypress Point. It's not trying to be Pebble Beach. It's not trying to be anything else. ... The beauty of it, it has such a strong individual identity, character, that was created by those land forms."

"On minimalism: "The artistic elements of the golf course, the aesthetics and the visual character - all were determined by what we saw out there on that site. We didn't want to create a golf course out there that looked like it had been brought from somewhere else. We wanted it to look like that landscape. To showcase the natural elements, the spectacular elements of that landscape and do it, hopefully, from a strategic standpoint, in an interesting fashion."

"On the site: "Once you realize what the character of the property is, and what you have to work with, it's sort of like putting puzzle pieces out on the table. You jumble them out of box and there they are - now how do we put this puzzle together? ... If you have a special site like that with a lot of different characteristics, it's like a journey. You want to go out and experience that landscape and you try to find ways to do it in such a way that you can visit different parts of it more than once."

"On Rod Whitman: "As we got down to the green, he had roughed in the green, and yes ... there was a conscious attempt at trying to make those landforms back there not only function for golf, but to make them compatible with what you saw in the distance. All of that is such a compliment to Rod Whitman, it's unbelievable."


"Associated Graphic

"The 16th green is postcard perfect, but every hole takes full advantage of the natural beauty and ocean views.




"It can be difficult to distinguish where the natural ends and the artificial begins at Cabot Cliffs, a hallmark of Bill Coore's and Ben Crenshaw's designs.




"The par-four 17th tee is perched on towering jagged cliff faces, with precarious bunkers and endless ocean, at the north end of the course.



Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F10

"Canada has big things to think about, discuss and do on two major fronts.

"As a country, we must get back to living within our means. Since 2008 we have accumulated massive current-account deficits financed by borrowing abroad in order to consume more than we earn, not to build the country.

"Going forward, Canada has a huge set of advantages and vulnerabilities stemming from its unique varied assets that are in short supply globally.

"Two important factors have contributed to Canada's shortfall over the last decade: A failure to understand our mutual-accommodation strength and how we can use it, and the overall absence of needed business and political leadership on key economic policy challenges.

"The coming decades will bring new choices that will determine Canada's role in a changing world of great peril and opportunity. In this world, working within limits may become as critical as pushing possibilities. Limits drive creativity. Canada's mutual-accommodation story is overwhelmingly one of creatively overcoming limits - in how we go about governing ourselves and living together.

"The national focus since Confederation has been on consolidating the transcontinental nation formed by Sir John A. Macdonald, achieving independence from Great Britain and avoiding domination by the United States. The focus for the rest of this century will be more on what we want and need to do on our own behalf in a rapidly changing world. Will we have the resilient flexibility needed for this more externally focused task?

"What if the 21st century is primarily about resources, creativity, innovation, governing diversity and achieving minimum levels of collective action? What if the population explosion, resource limits and climate change make management of the planet increasingly difficult? What if the demands of an inclusive global order prove too much for many important countries to handle? How might Canada then fit in? The current inclusive global order, ranged around the West, is becoming less global and less inclusive. The world faces a new, post-9/11 and post-Soviet collapse mutual-accommodation challenge that will increasingly test the stability of the several orders in the world. It must decide what kind of global, separate and differently-connected orders are needed going forward.

"Canada should now be moving from a backwater to a global role. England in the early 16th century had a freedom, rule-oflaw and constitutional-democracy gospel to spread. Canada today has a mutualaccommodation gospel to share. A stronger capacity for mutual accommodation is the only lasting way to achieve sustainable purpose in a crowded and stressed world.

"This gospel does not require occupation or military victory; it works only if voluntary.

"Force may be needed to keep the door open, but a lasting mutual accommodation has to be, in some realistic sense, better than the alternative.

"Leadership in the long term

"Canada needs a new generation of political and business leaders who can look beyond short-term votes and profits. Business was at the centre of shaping Canada's economic policy from 1984-2000 - a 15-year span of fiscal progress. Its absence since then has already begun to damage Canada's shortterm future. In time, it will risk its longterm future, too. Business leadership in the narrow pursuit of its self-interest does not work (witness the last decade on the pipeline front), but business is needed to make things happen. Someone has to convey to politicians and public officials what drives the private sector. And the private sector has to be reminded of its social responsibility.

"Great leaders have the vision and the drive to look beyond their own personal interests and offer the community what is needed for economic progress, political stability and national security. Right now, there is little public-policy leadership from the business community, yet Canada's only real security is its economy. Canada needs a more broadly based and vibrant private sector. Our largely absent business leaders must rise to fill the current economic policy leadership vacuum and become more involved. Otherwise, other forces and interests will step in and take over.

"Since 1980, markets and an ideology based on shareholder value have held a kind of moral authority among leadership elites across much of the business and economic community. However, as governments have failed to ensure the basic economic element of any free society - good-quality jobs and decent wages - their credibility and moral authority have begun to erode.

"Moral authority comes to those who recognize the real issues in the world. A dysfunctional economy based on favouring Wall Street over Main Street is no substitute. The year 2013 marked the passing of one institutional leader of great moral authority, Nelson Mandela, and the arrival of another, the Pope - men who stand for an inclusive compassion. It also witnessed the courage of a young Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai, who stands without fear for the right of girls to be educated.

"Challenges on the horizon

"Canadians must start to think about and discuss their future. Staying the course of the last decade will not do it. Politics and political leaders are usually lagging indicators. Fresh policy leadership on competitive growth will almost certainly have to come from the private sector - journalists, academics and business people. It will also need public officials at their best.

"The United States presents another challenge - domestically and globally as well as in its relationship with Canada. It has been clear since at least 2001 that the U.S. was having its own "George Kennan moment."

"As predicted by Mr. Kennan when he was in the U.S. embassy in Moscow in the late 1940s, the Soviet Union by 1989 had developed overreach challenges too great to overcome. Putin is now going down the same path, but with much less strength.

"Mr. Kennan saw that the Soviet takeover of Eastern European countries after the Second World War would have two results.

"First, at least some of those countries would try to break away - as happened almost immediately with the departure of the former Yugoslavia, and in 1956 with the unsuccessful Hungarian Revolution. Second, the Soviet Union would have insufficient public energy to address ongoing internal challenges on a timely basis.

"Around the turn of this century, the United States, the so-called winner of the Cold War, realized it would also have to withdraw from its geopolitical, economic and financial overreaches to ground it could hold. But unlike the former Soviet Union, it is doing so before it is too late. And it is already getting stronger. The post-9/11 geopolitical overreach and the post-Lehman Brothers near-collapses have seen these withdrawals get underway seriously. The fallout is an important part of what is disturbing the United States, inside and out.

"Retreats are rarely positive affairs. Friendly countries find they now resent the U.S. absence, where before they resented its presence.

"This U.S. withdrawal shapes everything in the world today, including the gamechanging positive factors about to reshape Canada. Big changes lie ahead in CanadaU.S. relations. A new era of political turmoil in the United States has emerged: The no-compromise Tea Party dominates the Congressional Republicans on fiscal issues and on social economic issues such as immigration. The U.S. no longer needs Canada in the same way it did during the Cold War, and it does not rely nearly as much on Canada for energy.

"Canada still has many sources of potential leverage. It possesses many of the things that are increasingly in short supply in the world - space, a good neighbourhood and political, socio-cultural and institutional strengths - along with essential natural resources such as food, energy, water and minerals. It will soon be a country bordered by three navigable oceans.

"This changing future will demand all of Canada's capacity for boldness, firmness of purpose and internal and external mutual accommodation. Until now, Canada has stood on the shoulders of other countries for much of what it has become and achieved. Now it must operate more independently in thinking and action at home and abroad. Every country in the world must change how it sees itself and goes about its affairs. Canada is no exception.

"What puts Canada in a different place from most is how much it has of what other countries want and need - its good neighbourhood and its mutual-accommodation advantage.

"Seizing the moment

"In a world of rising populations, climate change and resource pressures, does Canada have better long-term prospects than most people realize? If so, what should Canadians be doing right now?

"Canada must think more for itself, if it is to protect and preserve what it has achieved. Canada developed into an independent country under the military protection of Britain and then the United States, but that is no longer what Canada will need most. As the United States is discovering in Afghanistan and the Middle East, overwhelming military strength at 30,000 feet does not translate into on-theground security.

"In the future, Canada's best protection may well revolve around trade and immigration and a Canada-based economic policy that can drive a stronger competitive supply capability - two areas in which Canada already has solid experience. In addition, Canada's long history of mutual accommodation, ability to collaborate with others, practical "what works" approaches and small-country flexibility in the face of complex situations will all be to its advantage.

"Canada could undergo two huge changes from climate change: An expanded area in its northern regions suitable for agriculture and comfortable human settlement, and the emergence of a third ocean - the Arctic - with new resources and sovereignty issues. So far, Canada's North has been more mythic than "real" - the "true North strong and free." In the near future, that North will need to be occupied, managed and protected well.

"For the past century, Canada has lived in a good neighbourhood. It will now need to think seriously about how political turmoil in the United States and bordering on a third ocean could undermine that position. Canada cannot afford to allow any more of its resources to become hostage to a U.S. political system that is blocking measures simply for partisan advantage, independent of national interest.

"The 21st century may well belong to Canada, in terms of everyday life for ordinary people, in much the way Wilfrid Laurier said the previous century would. Greater volatility and risk are in every country's collective future, but Canada can improve its chances by exploring developments that are most pertinent to us. Knowing more than other countries about what we see to be central for us and having better relevant relationships could make Canada, with its mutual accommodation culture and solid institutions, a haven of opportunity for good jobs and for wealth creation and protection. It could also provide increasing professional, creative and entrepreneurial opportunities for the best people in every field. They will be essential for a more productive and competitive non-resource and non-manufacturingbased Canadian economy.

"How will Canada get from today's here to tomorrow's there? The United States is back as a reliable, forward-moving economy. Canada has lost momentum from its position of comparative advantage in 2012 and has yet to find a new path. The oil price collapse has caused major problems for the economy. The recent suggestion of drought in Western Canada could add to the challenge. Canada lacks policies to reward competitiveness in creating new job opportunities at a time when it is declining in its ability to attract the best people to establish themselves here.

"The message for today's leaders in every field is simple: If you do not see Canada in a strong and long-term positive way and act on that basis, you cannot expect other Canadians, let alone the rest of the world, to see Canada that way.

"Right now, Canada needs a far-ranging conversation that combines the best possible growth thinking with a bolder and higher aspirational performance bar - a new balance between big infrastructure and dynamic, knowledge-based entrepreneurship.

"William A. Macdonald is president of W.A. Macdonald Associates Inc., which consults on government relations and economic policy, and has an extensive record of public service. To bolster his campaign to hold a nationwide conversation about the state and nature of the country, he and associate William R.K. Innes have created The Canadian Narrative Project, with assistance from Trent University. For more about the venture - and to see Mr. Macdonald's essay, Canada: Still the Unknown Country - please visit

Canadian stage greats have him to thank
Former Stratford artistic head was both admired and hated for his perfectionism, but he inspired his players to do their best work
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, August 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S10

It's a priceless image: a young Albert Schultz as Romeo, shivering on the sidewalk outside Stratford, Ont.'s old YMCA on a bitterly cold spring day, trying to rehearse the balcony scene with Susan Coyne's Juliet as she watches him through a closed window. And with her behind the pane, laughing delightedly, is Robin Phillips.

The director's delight wasn't sadistic. Rather, he was thrilled to see Mr. Schultz, suddenly thrust into playing Romeo as a desperately love-struck Canadian kid, tracing hearts for Juliet on the fogged window glass. For Mr. Phillips, transplanted Englishman though he was, believed passionately in making Shakespeare speak to Canadian audiences.

Mr. Phillips, who died July 25 at the age of 75 at his home outside Stratford, after a long illness, was one of Canada's most revered, influential and controversial classical directors. His tenure as the artistic head of the Stratford Festival, from 1975 to 1980, has become the stuff of legend, from its galaxy of stars - Maggie Smith, Peter Ustinov, Jessica Tandy - to its visionary productions. As a director and mentor, he ignited a generation of Canada's best stage artists and sowed the seeds for such fabulous enterprises as Toronto's Soulpepper Theatre.

But in his time he also endured criticism and insults from staunch nationalists, was both admired and hated for his bloody-minded perfectionism and could be unpredictable and even outright brutal in the rehearsal hall.

Yet the Robin Phillips that many actors gratefully remember is a man who taught them as he directed, gave classic texts a crystalline clarity and inspired them to do their best work. And at the end of the day, despite his driven nature, he loved to have fun.

"I don't know that I've ever laughed so hard as I did when I was working with Robin," said Mr. Schultz, Soulpepper's artistic director, recalling his early days in Mr. Phillips's seminal Stratford Festival Young Company. "Robin had a great, infectious laugh," added actress and filmmaker Martha Burns, who was shooting a documentary with Ms. Coyne about Mr. Phillips at the time of his death. "Rehearsal was all about his finding things that could leave you rolling on the floor. He could make you feel like you were really playing, like you were back in your backyard, creating the world under a tree."

Mr. Phillips's first backyard was the English countryside around Haslemere, Surrey, where he was born in humble circumstances on Feb. 28, 1940 (not 1942, as most biographies indicate). The son of James Phillips, a gardener, and Ellen (née Barfoot), a housemaid, Mr. Phillips as a boy got his first taste of theatrical glory when his parents worked at the country home of swashbuckling stage and screen star Stewart Granger. "He remembered being carried around on Stewart Granger's shoulders as a kid," said Joe Mandel, Mr. Phillips's long-time partner.

Mr. Phillips studied at the Bristol Old Vic's theatre school, where he trained as an actor, director and designer, and found himself mingling with many Canadian students. It was then, Mr. Mandel said, that Mr. Phillips became convinced Shakespeare sounded best spoken in a Canadian accent.

With his Byronic good looks, Mr. Phillips seemed destined to be an actor, and during the 1960s he landed guest spots on such beloved British television series as Doctor Who, The Saint and The Avengers, as well as the title role in an all-star remake of David Copperfield. But he couldn't act without also offering advice, and Mr. Mandel said his fellow actors urged him to switch to directing.

Behind the footlights, he quickly made a powerful impression.

His daring London production of Abelard and Heloise, featuring Avengers star Diana Rigg and a much-discussed nude scene, transferred to Broadway. At the Royal Shakespeare Company, his then-radical modern-dress revival of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, starring Helen Mirren and Patrick Stewart and set beside a swimming pool, caused a sensation.

But Mr. Mandel, a New Zealandborn restaurateur who became his partner in 1971, said Mr. Phillips deplored the class system in England. "Robin didn't have a university background and very often felt that downward pressure," he said. "The big [theatre] companies were run by Oxbridge graduates, who were none too pleased that this country boy should be throwing down the gauntlet."

When the offer to run Stratford came up, Mr. Phillips accepted - even though, upon arrival, he found himself the unwitting target of nationalist fury. Canadians sensitive to the colonial implications of a young, hotshot British director being hired to run their country's biggest theatre festival protested his appointment.

Mr. Phillips responded by sweeping away all of Stratford's precious British affectations - the lavish Elizabethan costumes, the grand gestures, the declamatory speech - and instead insisting on a simple but elegant Shakespeare that was played with a cinematic attention to detail and a psychological realism. And he demanded that actors use their natural Canadian accents and rhythms.

At the same time, he worked his London connections to bring star power to the box office - although, in truth, those stars needed Mr. Phillips as much as he needed them. Mr. Phillips was regarded as a kind of brilliant young director-doctor who could cure what ailed you. He convinced Maggie Smith, not yet a Dame but already an Oscar-winning film star - and one suffering from too many comic tics and mannerisms - to come to Stratford for a course of theatrical therapy. He cast her both in comedies - often pairing her with future festival mainstay Brian Bedford - and tragedies. It did wonders for her acting and she spread the word to other stars, such as Mr. Ustinov, who went to Mr. Phillips when he wanted to shed his jovial persona and play King Lear.

Mr. Phillips was also tonic for Canada's top classical actors, including Martha Henry, Douglas Rain, Richard Monette and the formidable William Hutt, coaxing them into giving career-defining performances. One of his first inspired strokes was to artfully cast Mr. Hutt as Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest. "William Hutt always credited Phillips for giving him a new life and direction as classical actor," noted the late Mr. Hutt's biographer, Keith Garebian. The two hit it off immediately, Mr. Garebian said, recalling Mr. Hutt's description of their first get-together. "Hutt invited Phillips to dinner at his home one blustery evening in January, and plied him with his lethal martinis until Robin was lying on the dining room floor, bombed out of his mind, but still talking and making eminent sense."

There was also much conviviality at the Church Restaurant, which Mr. Mandel opened in Stratford to coincide with Mr. Phillips's first festival season. It became the regular watering hole for Ms. Smith and her husband, playwright Beverley Cross, while Mr. Ustinov regaled strangers with stories as he stood at the bar. Ms. Burns said Mr. Phillips and Mr. Mandel shared exacting standards. "One of my favourite moments was eating in the Church Restaurant with Robin and him being so proud of a plate of food that had come from the kitchen, saying, 'Look at the attention to detail in this!' His pride in Joe's own perfectionism was obvious."

Perfectionism and a fierce work ethic eventually took their toll on Mr. Phillips, who expanded the festival's programming and then staged most of the shows himself. In six years, he directed or co-directed 35 productions.

Burned out, he resigned at the end of the 1980 season, not returning until 1987 when, under artistic director John Neville, he took charge of the festival's Young Company for two critically acclaimed seasons.

The remarkable troupe of actors included many of the future founding members of Soulpepper. He directed them in productions that were breathtaking in their simple beauty, including a King Lear with William Hutt and an As You Like It with a young Nancy Palk. Ms. Palk remembers that for her Young Company audition, Mr. Phillips asked her to play Lady Macbeth as if she were then-prime minister's wife Mila Mulroney. "We had a lot of fun," she said, "but behind it there was always this dead-serious notion that being in the theatre and doing Shakespeare was a calling - it was something bigger than just putting on a play."

Mr. Phillips seldom directed new Canadian work, but he made a notable exception with the plays of John Murrell. "Robin directed everything, new or old, as though the play had never before been directed," Mr. Murrell recalled, "and he, personally, had to make profound sense of it."

Mr. Murrell remembers an incident when Mr. Phillips was directing his poetic tragedy Farther West at Theatre Calgary in 1982.

The playwright was absent from rehearsals for a few days and, when he returned, there was tension in the air. "Robin took me aside and said, 'John, I want you to know this before one of the others tells you: Yesterday, in the middle of rehearsal, I threw your script with all my strength across the stage and cried out, "Nobody could make this shit work!" But I also want you to know that I did exactly the same thing, the last time I directed King Lear.' "In 1988, Mr. Phillips was lured to Edmonton by canny Citadel Theatre founder Joe Shoctor, first to stage a double bill of A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Crucible, and then to run the theatre itself. Mr. Phillips kicked off that new chapter in his career with typical panache, winning the rights to reboot Andrew Lloyd Webber's poorly received musical Aspects of Love, which in his new conception would tour successfully to Toronto and the United States.

One of his more striking achievements at Citadel was a counter-intuitive interpretation of Cyrano de Bergerac, with a new translation by Mr. Murrell and a gentle, sensitive Brent Carver as the flamboyant title character.

Kate Newby, a small, dark Calgary actress known for sultry roles, was cast as the luminous Roxane.

"I was both terrified and exhilarated," Ms. Newby said. "He could be brutal and a bully, but he had passion and heart and his expectations for you were huge."

Dave Jackson, who served as public affairs director at the Citadel and became a good friend, said Mr. Phillips transformed the theatre in his five years there.

"Before he came, a lot of the programming was just about putting bums in seats. He made it all about the art - and we still managed to play to good houses."

After Edmonton, Mr. Phillips freelanced, directing and designing operas at the Canadian Opera Company and the musical Jekyll & Hyde, which ran for almost four years on Broadway. He also reunited with his Young Company alumni to help launch Soulpepper, directing two of its inaugural productions. But health problems dogged his final years. He underwent quadruplebypass heart surgery and suffered from diabetes, limiting him to occasional projects.

Mr. Phillips had received an honorary doctorate from the University of Western Ontario in 1983 and more honours followed later in life. The man the nationalists had once reviled was named to the Order of Canada in 2005 and given the Governor-General's Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2010.

Aside from Mr. Mandel, Mr. Phillips leaves a sister, Hilary Weatherburn, and a niece and nephew.

Antoni Cimolino, Stratford's current artistic director, is among the many who regard Mr. Phillips as a mentor and he said the director's once-startling approach to Canadianizing the classics is "now part of the Stratford acting DNA. And it's not just at the festival," he added. "His influence can be seen right across the country."

His spirit, meanwhile, continues to goad and inspire those who knew him. "If I imagine Robin in the audience," Ms. Palk said, "I know I'll give a truer performance."

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

Despite being born in England, director Robin Phillips brought a distinctly Canadian influence to the Stratford stage.


Robin Phillips was a teacher as much as he was a director, serving as a mentor for a generation of Canada's best stage artists.


All forecasts announced that, this year, the sugarcane-based liquor would have its moment. And while rum bars, craft rums and even rum sommeliers have multiplied, Chris Johns reports, drinkers are still reluctant to order it neat. Here's why the longtime cocktail favourite hasn't achieved Scotch status - and why holding a top-notch rum tasting is one way to help a worthy spirit along
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, August 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L6

The weekly spirit tastings at the Four Seasons on the Caribbean island of Nevis attract an appreciative crowd, the resort's well-heeled guests more than eager to fork over $130 per person to sample regional booze with or without food pairings. But it isn't whisky, bourbon or tequila - the craft spirits du jour - that pack them in. Rather, it's rum, a once-humble spirit that is growing in stature among connoisseurs well beyond the West Indies - even if it continues to have image problems among the uninitiated.

"As a distiller of artisanal rum, I have to sometimes steel myself to the fact that people will be taking it away and putting Coke in it," says Lynne MacKay of Ironworks Distillery in Lunenburg. N.S. "It's a hazard of doing what we do. Folks don't go up to the creators of single-malt whisky and ask them what they mix with it. If they did, they'd get slapped upside the head."

Expect less slapping in the future. Hailey Pasemko, bar manager at Wolf in the Fog in Tofi no, B.C., is just back from Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, where she attended a rum seminar hosted by some of the cocktail world's most distinguished players. "It was made extremely obvious to me that rum is taken very seriously by professionals," she says of this year's event, adding that the "average consumer" is nonetheless still catching up. "We're just starting to see people come in and wanting to taste through our lineup and taking their rum neat rather than in a classic cocktail."

The very thing that makes rum appealing to this new generation of drinkers, says Vancouver-based bar consultant Shaun Layton, is the same thing that works against it: "It's a spirit without rules," he says, pointing out that, unlike whisky or bourbon, which follow strict ingredient, aging and production guidelines, rum tends to be less regulated and more freewheeling. Of course, cane-juice rums from Martinique fall under a special European AOC appellation, but they represent only a small percentage of overall rum production. When a beverage category encompasses everything from unaged white cachaça to 25-year barrel-aged dark rum to Malibu, there's a lot of room for confusion.

"I often recommend rum as a sipping beverage to people," says Robin Kaufman, a bartender at the Toronto Temperance Society, "and right away they say, 'I don't like rum.' They associate it with flavoured rums - so they've probably never had a good one."

But there are plenty of premium brands of rum, which has a long and illustrious history. Beverages made from sugarcane juice, the base component of rum, are among the earliest alcoholic products on Earth. It wasn't until the 17th century, though, that plantation slaves in the Caribbean discovered that molasses, a byproduct of sugar processing, could be fermented and, most importantly, distilled, resulting in the fi rst proper rums. That high-alcohol hooch was often mixed with water or coconut water to make it more palatable, predating cocktails by a couple of centuries. Rum's affi liation with Britain's Royal Navy, a 300-year tradition that ensured sailors were given a daily ration of rum up until 1970, spread the practice of making rum around the world. In postwar North America, the tiki craze saw the spirit, with its exotic flavour and affi liation with the tropics, become the star of countless umbrella-garnished drinks.

Today, as part of a greater trend toward increased spirit consumption, rum sales, according to Statistics Canada, are increasing, although not as quickly as bourbon, whisky and vodka.

At the same time, trendsetting bartenders have been substituting rum for other brown spirits in classic cocktails such as Manhattans and Old Fashioneds.

"The fact that rum comes from sugarcane gives it a more neutral backbone," explains Kaufman, "but it's still really complex, so instead of having a rye or something made from corn you have this sugarcane distillate that still has a distinct flavour."

That easygoing nature means that, after vodka, rum is the most consumed spirit in the world, according to a survey conducted by the Economist. Much of that is due to India's love affair with the drink, but Canadians still consume an average of .9 liters of the stuff per person each year.

Rum's ubiquity is what Layton blames for some of the drink's lack of respect. "It has always been around," he points out. "Mojitos are probably the most popular cocktail in the world, but I think people just think of rum as something for mixing and not something that you sip or try a bunch of different brands."

A couple of recent developments, however, are helping to bring a newfound respect and seriousness to the world of rum. Organizations like the ACR (Authentic Caribbean Rum) are striving to develop an industrywide set of regulations around the production of rum - in the same way that Canada's VQA ensures a certain level of quality and authenticity for Canadian wines - that would guarantee provenance and quality for consumers. Similarly, as with whisky and bourbon, craft distillers are likewise turning their attention to rum and looking to bring a high level of care and innovation to the craft.

"We went through white spirits such as vodka and gin in the nineties," says Charlene Rooke, a B.C.-based spirits writer and trained distiller, "and we've passed peak brown spirit with the bourbon and whisky mania. Rum, like tequila, offers a deep vertical where you can go from white to brown, light to heavy, floral to spicy, chugging drinks to sipping drams. For craft distillers, this is like fi nding an animal that has white meat, dark meat and vegetarian matter on the same bones."


Set the scene for a lively night of drinking with a tabletop inspired by rum's seafaring past


Lynne MacKay, co-owner of Ironworks Distillery in Lunenburg, N.S., makes a spirit called Bluenose Black that was named the World's Best Dark Rum at the 2014 World Rum Awards. We tapped MacKay for her top tips to get the most out of your tasting.

1 TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT GLASS "Grappa glasses are really good," MacKay says, but notes that "anything that funnels the aromas to the nose is a good bet."

2 GET WARMER MacKay suggests serving rums neat and at room temperature, "because that's where you're going to get the most flavour and the most aroma out of them." Unlike at a wine tasting, she says, it's okay to hold the glass in your hands in order to warm the rum up ever so slightly.

3 APPROACH WITH (NA SAL) CAUTION "Take it slowly. Don't breathe it in like you would wine because that will blow your nose to smithereens," MacKay warns. "You want to kind of creep up on it slowly - even one nostril at a time - from a distance. Let the beverage seduce you with its fragrance and aromas, then kind of back away from it for a minute before you take a closer sniff. That will produce the best effect, because strong alcohol will render your nose incapable of discerning anything."

4 DOWN THE HATCH "Take a tiny little sip fi rst," MacKay suggests, "just to get your mouth used to it and let it roll around every section of your tongue. Remember, there is no spitting in spirits. Part of the excitement of a really good spirit is what comes afterwards, once you exhale - you'll get a whole treat of things that come up into your palate on that breath."

5 WELCOME DISSENT "Everybody's tastebuds are different," she notes. "All of the lovely vanilla tones and cocoa flavours and the honey and the tannins that you get from a barrel will be there in different proportions for different people."

THE LINEUP For a well-balanced tasting party, our expert panel - composed of craft distillers Lynne MacKay and Pierre Guevremont and Halifax mixologists Steven Cross of Two Doors Down and Shane Beehan of the forthcoming Lot Six Bar - recommends the following six sippers, based on history, geography and overall deliciousness. Serve, as below, from lightest to darkest and prepare for things to get a little rowdy.

Diplomatico Blanco Reserva

This celebrated Venezuelan "white" white" distillation is actually a blend of light and dark t rums that are aged for no less than two and up to six years before being charcoal fi ltered for clarity. Cross and Beehan consider this a er great sipping rum, but also an especially good ally choice for daiquiris. Perfectly clear with a buttery vanilla nose that enhances its caramel s and roasted banana flavours.

Bacardi 8

Rich and complex, this blend of rums, all aged for a minimum of eight years, is one of the oldest private rum blends in the world, and a favourite sipping rum with bartenders. Far from being a craft distiller, the formerly Cuban and now Bermudabased company is the largest privately held, family-owned spirits company in the world. Look for dried fruit and dark berry aromas emanating from within a floral nose that gives way to crushed nutmeg and pepper flavours on the palate.

Flor de Caña Centenario 12-year Rum

This Nicaraguan rum producer is consideredered one of the best in Central America. A seririous sipper, this medium-dark rum has a deep, balanced complexity and chocolate te notes, a rich tobacco aroma and wellrounded butterscotch flavours that tend to impress die-hard spirits snobs.

St Nicholas Abbey 10 year

Although it was the fi rst rhum agricole - that is, a g rum made from fresh fresh-pressed sugarcane and not molasses - to come out of Barbados, everything else about it is rooted in tradition. The sugar cane is harvested by hand before beh ing cru crushed in a steam-driven mill, batch batch-distilled in customized pots and a aged in new bourbon barrels for 10 years. This blond rum has a maho mahogany appearance and sweet spice a espresso aromas that lead and to a nutty, sweet marzipan fi nish.

Guyanese Demerara El Dorado 15

This exquisite beverage from one of the most e storied rum producers continues to be made in nearly 400-year-old wooden stills, and the d blend of specially selected rums is aged for up to 25 years in used American oak boururbon barrels. This extremely well-rounded ed sipper displays roasted pineapple and dried ried citrus-peel aromas backed up by the smokyoky leather aromas of an old library.

Pusser's British Navy Rum

Considered the "single malt of rum" for the way it is pot stilled and made without the use of additional flavourings, this dark rum is based on the original recipe - a blend of five West Indian rums - that was offered to sailors as part of their rations for over 300 years.

A deeply complex drink with an intense woodiness. Expect allspice and nutmeg flavours with a vanilla undertone alongside ripe date and fig.


The sugarcane-based spirit pairs well with a spectrum of flavours, from cured and creamy to acidic and bitter. Offering guests a selection from each category is a good way to bring the versatility of rum to the fore.

With light rum: Sweet and mellow grilled coconut wedges and an umami-heavy bowl of tamari almonds.

With darker rum: Cold-smoked salmon or gravlax on dark rye, which draws out darker rum's complexity.

With aged rum: Spicy, boldy flavoured 'nduja on toast points or jerk chicken wings.

With your final pairing: Sharp, creamy Crottin de Chavignol goat cheese or good-quality single-origin chocolate such as St. Lucia's Hotel Chocolat.


Find three new bartender favourites at

Associated Graphic


FROM TOP The Glencairn Whiskey Glass, $10.95 at Crate & Barrel ( Anchors Aweigh! leather coaster, $14 through Brilliant Skull Shot Glasses, $16.99 for a set of two through Beachbum Berry's Potions of the Caribbean: 500 Years of Tropical Drinks and the People Behind Them, $39.95 through Woven Rattan Tray, $92 through

MP 'inspired people from all walks of life'
Trailblazing parliamentarian took greatest satisfaction in NGO she founded to educate women and to make development durable
Monday, July 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S8

If Flora MacDonald had been born 20 years later, she might well have been Canada's first female prime minister. As it was, the Cape Breton, N.S.-born politician, who died early Sunday morning at the age of 89, broke down the invisible door that barred women from high office in Canada.

The political path she blazed led her to become the first woman in the Western world to serve as foreign minister and the first to challenge for the leadership of Canada's Progressive Conservative Party.

In her post-parliamentary years, she travelled the developing world empowering women as she fought poverty and injustice.

According to long-time friend and aide David Small, Ms. MacDonald died at 4:30 a.m. in Ottawa.

"She inspired a whole generation of young people to get involved in their communities and politics," said Mr. Small, who was the youth chair of Ms. MacDonald's leadership campaign.

Her slogan when she first ran in 1972 was "Flora power," he said.

For many Canadians, a key moment in her career happened in February, 1976, when she made her entrance at the leadership convention in Ottawa. She was one of 12 candidates vying for the party's top job.

When her name was called, the room fell silent and a lone bagpiper began playing the Skye Boat Song, which eulogizes the first Flora MacDonald, who saved the life of Scotland's Bonnie Prince Charlie. Forty-eight more pipers gradually joined in and Ms. MacDonald walked regally to the stage.

She told the audience: "I am not a candidate because I am a woman. But I say to you quite frankly that because I am a woman, my candidacy helps our party. It shows that in the Conservative Party there are no barriers to anyone who has demonstrated serious intentions and earned the right to be heard."

Growing up during the Depression in one of Canada's poorest areas, Ms. MacDonald knew the hardship people faced. As a teenager during the Second World War, she watched the ships set sail from Nova Scotia's Sydney Harbour carrying coal and munitions to the Allied forces in Europe.

Her enduring interest in world affairs was instilled during this period.

For a girl in North Sydney in the 1930s and 40s, school after Grade 10 meant the Empire Business College, where Ms. MacDonald learned the skills of a secretary.

She worked as a teller for the Bank of Nova Scotia, lived frugally and saved enough money to travel to Britain in 1950. Ms. MacDonald bounced around England and Scotland, and hitchhiked across war-torn Europe.

"Flora was daring," said John Meisel, an eminent political scientist at Queen's University who met Ms. MacDonald in 1957. "She tackled things other people didn't have the guts to try."

Ms. MacDonald returned to Canada and plunged into politics.

She worked in Robert Stanfield's victorious 1956 campaign in Nova Scotia, then landed a job at the PC party's national headquarters in Ottawa.

She helped John Diefenbaker, the prairie populist, win a minority government in 1957 and the largest majority ever in 1958. As secretary to the party's chairman, Ms. MacDonald became, effectively, the Tories' national director.

"Flora impressed me a great deal," said Mr. Meisel, who was writing a book on the 1957 election. "Clearly she was meant to be more than just a secretary."

In the course of numerous election campaigns, "she got to know everyone in the country," said Lowell Murray, a long-time Tory activist and eventual senator.

When "the Chief" learned that Ms. MacDonald was supporting a fellow Maritimer, Dalton Camp, in his effort to become party president and to seek a leadership review, Mr. Diefenbaker had her fired. Mr. Meisel quickly brought her to Queen's as an administrator in the department of political studies.

There, she rubbed shoulders with some of the brightest political minds in the academy and worked to advance the anti-Diefenbaker movement in the PC Party. She helped Mr. Stanfield capture the party leadership in 1967.

In 1971, Ms. MacDonald became the first woman to participate in the year-long program for senior public servants and promising laypeople offered by the National Defence College in Kingston. The students travelled the globe and met many world leaders.

It would be one of the most formative experiences of her career.

She no longer saw herself in a supporting role, said Mr. Meisel.

She was a player.

The course hadn't even finished when Ms. MacDonald captured the 1972 federal Tory nomination in Kingston and the Islands, the riding represented by Sir John A. Macdonald a century before.

She won the seat - the only woman among the 107 Tories elected and one of only three women in Parliament during the minority government of Pierre Trudeau. She won again in 1974, when another Trudeau victory spelled the end of the line for Ms. MacDonald's role model, Robert Stanfield.

Then, with barely three years as an MP under her belt, she sought the party leadership.

"In my view, the party needed a leader who could carry on where Stanfield left off, who would emphasize progressive values and continue his efforts to appeal to Canadians of moderate views," she wrote with former Ottawa columnist Geoffrey Stevens in her still unpublished memoir.

"When Flora gets committed, she really locks in and pours all her energy into whatever the cause may be," said Mr. Stevens.

True to form, Ms. MacDonald travelled cheaply and minimized costs at the convention. People volunteered their services.

Instead of serving liquor at her hospitality suites, Ms. MacDonald served coffee and cookies baked by friends. Supporter David Crombie, then mayor of Toronto, hosted soup kitchens in Ottawa church basements, inviting delegates to join the homeless and hear about Ms. MacDonald.

"There was something in Flora that inspired people from all walks of life," said Hugh Hanson, former deputy to the cabinet of John Robarts in Ontario, who had met Ms. MacDonald on the Defence College course, and joined her leadership campaign as political adviser.

Ms. MacDonald also insisted the campaign make public the source of all contributions over $20 and before the convention, the first Canadian leadership campaign ever to do so.

Even John Diefenbaker told her how proud he was of her campaign.

Ms. MacDonald, however, was in for a shock on voting day at the 1976 convention.

Delegate tracking by her staff and surveys by various television networks had found 325 delegates who insisted they would cast ballots for her. That would be enough to put her in third place on the first ballot, ahead of the other progressive candidate, Joe Clark, and in position to face off with the right-wing Claude Wagner from Quebec.

However, when results of the first ballot were announced, Ms. MacDonald received only 214 votes, 63 fewer than Mr. Clark, who sat in the third spot.

The phenomenon became known as the Flora Syndrome.

(Joe Clark would defeat Claude Wagner on the fourth ballot 1,187 to 1,112.)

"I was very much in the progressive wing of the Progressive Conservative party - a Red Tory, and proud of it," Ms. MacDonald said later. "I was opposed to capital punishment when most Conservatives were in favour of retaining it. I believed abortion should be left to the decision of the woman and her doctor - which was very much a minority view in our party in those days. In the eyes of many Tories, I was a little too radical," she reasoned.

Perhaps, but from that moment on, the party and the country took Ms. MacDonald more seriously.

"From being the person who used to take dictation, she became the one who dictated," said Mr. Meisel. "From being a secretary, she became Secretary of State for External Affairs."

When Joe Clark formed his minority government in 1979, he made Ms. MacDonald foreign minister, even though diplomats in the Department of External Affairs didn't know quite what to make of her.

The department biography omitted the section on the new minister's education, since they deemed the Empire Business College not fit to include.

"Flora was adamant," recalled Michel de Salaberry, a diplomat and close friend who met Ms. MacDonald at Queen's. "She insisted on including the school - she was very proud of it."

Ms. MacDonald faced two major foreign crises during the shortlived Clark government and distinguished herself in both.

The first involved the flood of refugees fleeing Vietnam in the wake of North Vietnam's victory over U.S.-backed South Vietnam.

Together with Ron Atkey, another Red Tory who held the Immigration portfolio, she launched a scheme whereby the government allowed Canadians to sponsor refugees to Canada and then matched the public's total with an equal number of unsponsored refugees.

In that way, more than 60,000 "boat people," as they were known, came to Canada - the highest per capita refugee influx of any country during the crisis.

The second issue concerned the small group of U.S. diplomats that escaped capture in Tehran when radicals took over the U.S. embassy in 1979 and were hidden by Canadian diplomats in the Iranian capital. Behind the scenes, Ms. MacDonald secretly authorized false Canadian passports and money transfers to the group, while in public she couldn't say a word about it.

As Minister of Culture and Communications during the first Brian Mulroney government, Ms. MacDonald found herself at odds with the leader's position on free trade with the United States.

She lost that battle and lost her seat in the 1988 election after 16 years as MP.

"She could have had any appointment she wanted," recalled retired senator Mr. Murray. "But she turned everything down." Mr. Murray, who along with Mr. Clark will be giving the eulogy for Ms. MacDonald, said her rise into politics was unparalleled.

"This is a girl who started out as a bank teller in ... Cape Breton.

It's the most remarkable career," he said.

"She found new life in international development," said Mr. de Salaberry. "She became more fulfilled, more genuinely happy."

As former foreign minister, Ms. MacDonald found herself in demand to travel the world on behalf of charities such as Oxfam, CARE and Médecins sans frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

She was appointed by the UN Secretary-General as a member of the Eminent Persons Group studying transnational corporations in South Africa and travelled to Pretoria with former NDP leader Ed Broadbent, with whom she became friends.

The work that gave her the greatest satisfaction, however, was with the NGO she founded: Future Generations Canada. As director from 1997 to 2007, she sought to educate women in places such as Afghanistan and to introduce participatory systems that make development durable.

"In the villages we're in, the women and girls participate alongside the men and boys - that's different from most other places in Afghanistan," Ms. MacDonald recalled.

"Flora gave out mixed messages on feminism," noted Marcia McClung, granddaughter of activist Nellie McClung and former spouse of Mr. Hanson, Ms. MacDonald's closest adviser.

"She wanted more women in office" in Canada as well as in Afghanistan, she said, "but she didn't want to be defined as an advocate for women.

"She was a great dame," said Ms. McClung, "and a great example for others." Rising from those three female members of Parliament in 1972, Canadians elected 76 women MPs in 2011.

In her Ottawa apartment, overlooking the canal on which she often speed skated to her parliamentary office, Ms. MacDonald kept a photograph of the gravestone of the woman for whom she was named: "Flora MacDonald, preserver of the life of Prince Charles Edward Stewart. Her name will be mentioned in history, and if courage and fidelity be virtues, mentioned with honour."

Ms. MacDonald wished for nothing more.

Associated Graphic

Flora MacDonald, seen in the House of Commons in 1985, was the first woman in the Western world to serve as foreign minister.


Among other firsts, in 1976 Ms. MacDonald became the first woman to challenge for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015 Tuesday, July 28, 2015 CorrectionA Monday obituary of Flora MacDonald incorrectly said she was one of three female MPs elected in October, 1972. In fact, there were five: Ms. MacDonald, Grace MacInnis, Jeanne Sauvé, Monique Bégin and Albanie Morin.

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Do we want our girls to be well-compensated, professionally satisfied glass-ceiling smashers? Then this is our moment to parent differently - and teach them how to turn their natural ability to bargain for better allowances into the skills needed to triumph in the corporate world
Friday, July 24, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

Before Sheryl Sandberg became Facebook's chief operating officer, she had to agree to the terms of her contract, including compensation. Facebook's founder and chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg, had made an offer, which Sandberg, then vicepresident of Google, thought was fair. They had been discussing Facebook's mission and Zuckerberg's vision for the future, and as Sandberg describes in her 2013 book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, "I was dying to accept the job."

She had no intention of negotiating a higher salary.

"I was afraid of doing anything that might botch the deal," Sandberg writes. "Was it worth it when I knew that ultimately I was going to accept the offer? I concluded it was not."

But both Sandberg's husband and her brother-in law told her to negotiate. Her brother-in-law asked her: "Why are you going to make less than any man would make to do the same job?" She realized, "No man at my level would consider taking the first offer."

Sandberg then "negotiated hard" and got a better offer.

Her reticence to negotiate is not uncommon. It's well known that women, fearful of being labelled barracudas or bitches, are overwhelmingly less likely than men to bargain for a better salary (though they will negotiate over the "softer" issues of flex time, vacation and working hours). As a result, starting salaries in the private sector tend to be slightly higher for men than women, and then stay that way - creating a wage gap right out of the gate.

The repercussions are longterm, not only in terms of earning power and financial independence, but also when it comes to reinforcing gender stereotypes at home. When Canadians struggling with the high costs of child care (which costs as much $1,394 a month for an infant in St. John's, for example) decide one spouse will stay home, generally it's the lower-income partner who leaves the work force. While there are exceptions and other motives that factor into these decisions, we know who the lower-earning spouse usually is.

How is it, then, that men are willing to negotiate, but women know intuitively what social-science research has borne out: that to do so is to risk being considered aggressive and greedy. Is it something about the way boys play, the way they trade hockey or Pokemon cards and then later build teams within salary cap allowances on NHL 2015? Or is it more about how girls are expected to "play nice," to think and care about others and keep the peace?

Though research into women and the negotiation backlash is fairly new, experts know that socialized norms of expected behaviour are formed early on in a child's development.

"Girls are taught and reinforced to have good communication skills and to be co-operative. They also have a maturational advantage for understanding social expectations," says Erin Rajca, of the Child Development Institute in Toronto. "These are all positive elements of a good negotiator."

But, she says, the problem begins when girls step outside their traditional gender role and try to negotiate.

"Girls who attempt to take on a leadership role can sometimes come into conflict with people's expectations about what it means to be female," says Rajca. "When parents and other influential adults are critical of girls for promoting themselves outside the gender box, it really limits a girl's potential."

For instance, when a girl tries to be assertive, she can be interpreted as bossy. "A boy, for example, engaging in a parallel behaviour - what would the perspective be? It [could] be, 'Okay, good. He's taking on a leadership role,' versus, 'She needs to be more patient, or she's coming off too strong.' I don't think that's a conscious process going on in people's brain, but it's a reaction," says Rajca.

Complicating matters, at around ages 12 to 14, girls can start to see a loss of confidence, which can lead to an inability to identify and speak up for their wants and needs, Rajca says.

Parents, guardians and other adults can help prepare girls for the negotiation table by dispelling preconceived notions that girls need to act and behave a certain way.

"There's a number of things [parents and adults could do]," Rajca says. Key, she notes, is talking about experiences and reflecting on the role the girl played.

If there's an opportunity for a girl to negotiate, parents can coach her and think about how she might act in those situations.

"They may engage her in a role play, for example, and discuss with her, 'Well, how would you deal with that? And what are the pros and cons of dealing with the situation in that way? And why don't we try it like this?' " Positive female role models can also help girls develop their confidence so they feel more compelled to ask for what they want.

"[They] can engage them in conversations where they are bringing attention to the stereotype. They're teaching them to recognize it, label it and break it down," Rajca says.

As any parent of a teenage girl knows, the ability to negotiate is not unique to boys. Young women can be exceptionally skillful negotiators, finagling concessions from people in positions of authority with a determination and mastery that can be equal parts irritating and awe-inspiring.

Whether it's negotiating walking the dog in exchange for staying out later with friends, or lobbying for an increase in allowance, girls are definitely capable.

But something holds them back when women enter the work force.

"It's not that we can't negotiate, it's that we don't negotiate," says Margaret A. Neale, the Adams Distinguished Professor of Management at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and co-author of the book Getting (More of) What You Want: How the Secrets of Economics and Psychology Can Help You Negotiate Anything, in Business and in Life.

In the corporate environment, at the salary table, women know their negotiation skills could actually hurt them. And that's not just women's intuition.

"That turns out to have a basis in reality because we can give a script to a woman and a script to a man about negotiating, and the woman and man could say exactly the same thing, and the woman is more likely to be perceived - especially by a male evaluator - as greedy, demanding and simply not nice," Neale says.

While parents and role models can do their part (by ensuring allowances and expectations for brothers and sisters are fair, that stereotypes about housework and child care aren't reinforced at home, and by teaching girls how to express their value), also critical is corporate leadership focused on eliminating gender barriers, experts say.

"You've got to have senior leaders who talk about this and think about this," says Alex Johnston, executive director of Catalyst Canada in Toronto, a research and consulting firm aimed at improving opportunities for women. "There's no reason, there's no excuse, with the evidence that we have - these gaps and these barriers are real. Business leaders [have] to look at them very seriously and say, 'What do I need to do as the senior person or the leader of this organization to make sure these barriers don't exist, and that we're doing everything that we can to equip our men and women to succeed, and [that we're] removing barriers in their path to fully contribute?' " Ellen Pao, the former interim CEO of Reddit, made a bold attempt to even the compensation field.

After she lost her gender-discrimination lawsuit against a past employer, the U.S. venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, Pao made the executive decision to ban salary negotiations at Reddit. Her reasoning: Men tend to negotiate harder than women do, and sometimes, when they do negotiate, women are penalized for their efforts.

"As part of our recruiting process, we don't negotiate with candidates," Pao told The Wall Street Journal. "We come up with an offer that we think is fair. If you want more equity, we'll let you swap a little bit of your cash salary for equity, but we aren't going to reward people who are better negotiators with more compensation."

Although some lauded Pao's approach, Neale says the nonegotiation policy could backfire.

"What happens to Reddit as they try to negotiate with their customers and clients over the long-term?" Neale asks. "If they systematically attract people who are very aversive to negotiating, the capacity of Reddit to negotiate effectively with its customers and clients will likely be diminished."

Instead, the Stanford professor suggests companies should actually offer women a higher salary than men to account for the fact women don't negotiate.

"Everybody, but most importantly women, need to move away from [the idea of] negotiation as an adversarial kind of battle," says Neale. "Rather than kind of putting on the battle armour and getting ready to try [to] get stuff from people that they don't want to give us, and trying to keep you from getting stuff that they don't want you to have, what we need to do is really think of negotiation as collaborative problem-solving."

When it comes to the actual act of negotiating, Neale suggests women look at it as if they are helping a colleague.

"I'm going to try to frame my negotiations in terms of solutions to problems that my counterparts have," she says. "We know from empirical research that when women pair their requests with a communal concern for the other, they don't get this backlash."

Does that amount to concession, to submission to the woman-as-caregiver stereotype? Sure it does. But in Canada, where men still make up the majority of senior managers and board positions and are, for the most part, the ones sitting across from you at the negotiating table, it pays to be aware of the realities women face.

Why, out of principle, would you leave money on the table?

When it comes to speaking up for what you want, Neale says, "If you don't ask, then who will?" The next time your daughter comes asking for an increase in her allowance, and is clear about why she deserves it, then maybe, funds allowing, you should grant her wish.


Of 34 OECD countries, the gender wage gap in Canada is seventh highest, at 18.97 per cent. (New Zealand is best at 5.62 per cent, Korea is worst at 36.6 per cent.) - OECD

Women working full-time in Canada (including those with university degrees) bring home 20 per cent less than men in their field. - National Household Survey 2011, Statistics Canada.

That gap is wider for aboriginal women, racialized and immigrant women. - National Household Survey 2011, Statistics Canada.

Of female students graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with master's degrees, only 7 per cent tried to negotiate a higher offer. Of the male students, 57 per cent asked for more. On average, those male students landed starting salaries 7.6per-cent higher (almost $4,000 U.S.) than their female peers. - Survey by Carnegie Mellon professor Linda Babcock

For every dollar earned by a university-educated male worker in Canada, a university-educated female in the public sector makes 82 cents, and a university-educated woman in the private sector makes 73 cents. - Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Though women make up half the work force, as of 2013 only 5.3 per cent of Canadian CEOs were women. - Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

As of 2014, women held 15 per cent of seats of S&P/TSX composite index companies. - Globe and Mail Board Games study, 2014

As of 2011, more working-age Canadian women (64.8 per cent) have postsecondary education than men (63.4 per cent). - National Household Survey, Statistics Canada

Associated Graphic

Ellen Pao, centre, Reddit's former interim CEO, banned wage negotiations to even the field.


Athletes, officials say facilities left behind worth the cost of Games
Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

TORONTO -- "If people in the Greater Toronto Area can set aside the issues of inconvenience and cost - $2.4-billion or so, depending on who's doing the math - the athletes and others connected to the Pan Am Games promise the legacy of worldclass facilities left behind will be worth the initial pain.

"Two-time Olympic medalist Ryan Cochrane grew up in Victoria, which played host to the Commonwealth Games in 1994 when he was 5. His parents took him to the swimming competition at the aquatics centre built for those Games, and it became his home pool as he developed into one of the best 1,500-metre swimmers in the world - and a medal favourite in Toronto.

""It was the best thing that ever happened to sports in Victoria," Cochrane said earlier this week while at the recently built $205-million aquatics centre and fieldhouse at University of Toronto's Scarborough campus. "Building these venues is something for the generations to come.

"[The cost] is a bit painful now, but I think it means something for the next 30 to 40 years to the athletes. That's how we build champions. With terrible facilities, you're not going to have athletes competing in the sports."

"But, the critics shout, what about the cost? History has proved, from the 1976 Montreal Olympics to the 2014 soccer World Cup in Brazil, that billions can be spent on facilities that sit empty as soon as the Games are over.

"Among the 10 new facilities built in Southern Ontario for the Pan Am Games, the most expensive are the aquatics centre, Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton ($145-million), which plays host to soccer, the athletics stadium at York University ($45.5-million), home of track-and-field events, and the velodrome ($56-million) in Milton, Ont., where the cycling competitions will be held. More than a dozen existing facilities were renovated or upgraded for the Games.

"Toronto Mayor John Tory argues none of them should fall into disrepair. He says the city and its other partners in the facilities are committed to using them to attract international competitions, and lure the best athletes in the world to train in them (as has happened at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, built for the 1988 Winter Games, and the Claude Robillard Complex in Montreal, built for the 1976 Summer Games). Tory also cites the $70-million Legacy Fund - established by the federal and Ontario governments to help pay to maintain the aquatics centre, velodrome and athletics stadium - as a safety net.

""This is what we do in Canada," Tory said. "We want to have firstclass events, and we want to see if we can do them by half-measure, and argue about it a lot, and moan about the cost. Then we have these facilities which we don't keep up properly and wonder why we don't do so well in sports. I think that mentality is changing."

"As far as spending goes, Tory points to the lasting value of venues, such as the athletes' village, which will become a housing and retail development, and says, "I don't think we did anything that was over the top. The aquatics centre and the velodrome are world-class buildings, but why shouldn't we have world-class buildings?" The group most grateful for a new facility is the Canadian track cycling team. Until the $56-million velodrome was finished in Milton, Ont., the only other Olympic-calibre indoor cycling venue in North America was in Los Angeles. That meant the Canadians spent the World Cup racing season living and training in Los Angeles from November through February, away from their families and at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars to Cycling Canada.

"The entire national team moved its headquarters to the velodrome in Milton, which also houses a gym, weight room and other training facilities that are also available to the public. The cyclists no longer have to move south for half the year and they no longer have to compete with the U.S. team for time on the track.

""We've got this world-class facility, we can just camp out, get our daily training in and do everything right," said Craig Griffin, the women's endurance coach.

""It's one-stop shopping for cyclists or elite athletes. When you have everything central, you're not jumping around town trying to go to the gym, go to massage, things that just eat up the day."

"Sprint cyclist Joseph Veloce, 26, can now drive about 40 minutes from his home in the Hamilton suburb of Ancaster to Milton to train through the winter. It has had at least one profound effect on his personal life: He has a two-month-old daughter at home, who he gets to see every day. That wouldn't have been possible in Los Angeles.

""This allows me to live and train at this level while still in Canada and have time for my family," he said. "Here, we have one central facility where we can show up in the morning, do our track session, in the afternoon do our gym session. We get therapy there, we have a strengthand-conditioning coach. It's more of a complete training picture than bits and pieces put together."

"Both Griffin and Ben Titley, Swimming Canada's head coach of the National Swim Centre - Ontario, which operates out of the aquatics centre, emphasized that all of the new facilities are open to the public. They think this will help attract new athletes to their respective sports.

""I just hope everyone understands this is a public facility," Griffin said of the velodrome.

""We can get people in the door, they can ride, they can try the track and fall in love with a bicycle again that they may not have touched since they were children, especially over the winter months. It's really a commodity for athlete development, cyclists or just recreational cyclists."

"The question remains, though, of why cities such as Toronto have to chase and land international competitions at the cost of billions of dollars just to be left with some new and upgraded facilities. It would have been far cheaper simply to have built the three major venues for the cyclists, swimmers and trackand-field athletes.

"Ann Peel, a 1987 Pan Am silver medalist as a race walker, is now on the board of directors of Athletics Canada. She is happy to see new venues in her hometown of Toronto, as well as the Games.

"But she also understands the criticism and lays it at the door of generations of politicians.

""I think in the GTA it's been appalling, our [lack of] attention to sports facilities," Peel said. "I think that's a failure of politics and politicians to understand the need for infrastructure in many areas. That's a failure of government for two decades. If that's a failure, what a shame, but at least [now] we have those facilities."

"Tory said politicians aren't entirely to blame. He said taxpayers and governments can't be prodded into building large-scale sports facilities unless there's an equally large-scale competition to showcase them.

"He also said governments have to look at the total investment and factor in legacy assets such as the neighbourhood development left by the athletes village, the train from Union Station downtown to Pearson International Airport and other nonsports infrastructure would not have been built without the Pan Am Games.

""It's just the way we are," Tory said. "It's human nature - you get yourself dressed up, put your best foot forward because the show must go on. I believe in my heart that, had we not had [the Games], we might not have had the train to the airport by now.

"We probably would not have had an aquatics centre because nobody would have had the gumption to say we need to have one.

"We wouldn't have had the velodrome for sure and we wouldn't have had the new track stadium [at York].

""It happened because of these Games. Ask why that is, and it's human nature not to do things until you sort of feel you have to."

"Canadian sports authorities made sure to present the best possible teams to showcase the facilities. While athletic powers such as the United States sent lesser-ranked athletes to compete in many sports because the Pan Am Games are not considered an elite event (the world championships in swimming and athletics are just weeks away), Canada has mainly sent its best, which is reflected in the country's early Games spot atop the medal standing.

"Canadian athletes are focused on future events, too, but they say they are not treating the Pan Ams as a warm-up to, for example, the world athletics championships next month in Beijing.

""The next 10 days are geared to Pan Am," pole vaulter Shawn Barber said. "My priority is putting on a good show for the hometown crowd. It might not be as great a deal on the world view as a large-scale meet compared to Beijing, but I think it's still a great meet for the athletes."

"Once the Games are over, the question becomes how will the facilities be kept up to international standards? Each is controlled by different partnerships between the cities and other levels of government, and in the case of the aquatics centre, the athletics stadium and the velodrome, the Legacy Fund will provide most of the annual upkeep costs.

"Tory said the City of Toronto plans to actively pursue international competitions for the venues, although he did not want to discuss an Olympic bid. He sees those competitions as drawing elite athletes as well as investors to Toronto, which is incentive enough to pay what is necessary to keep the facilities current.

""I think having these facilities and keeping them in good order and having an ambition like that is going to be an important part of us being positioned for more international events," Tory said.

""It's good for the city - it keeps us on the map."

"In Milton, which claims to be the fastest-growing community in Canada, the population is still just a fraction of Toronto's at 102,000. Town councillor Rick Malboeuf is less sanguine than his colleagues on council about the future of the velodrome.

""I can see where the athletes, the coaches, the cycling enthusiasts are so excited. For them it's great," he said. "My concerns are for the taxpayers, not only the taxpayers of Milton but the taxpayers of Ontario. They are going to have to fund this thing for a minimum of 20 years. The business plan shows this thing is going to lose money every year, and that's why they set up the Legacy Fund. This thing is not a money-maker."

"The current agreement between the town and the federal government calls for the Legacy Fund to pay $736,000 toward the velodrome's estimated annual deficit of $1-million, with Milton paying the rest. That agreement expires in 2017, however, and a new one has yet to be negotiated.

"Malboeuf thinks the business plan is too optimistic about the number of international events the velodrome will attract, as well as about the operating costs.

"He also wonders if the Legacy Fund can maintain its commitments if there is a steep rise in costs.

""My concern is we're not set up enough to cover the maintenance and upkeep down the road," Malboeuf said. "We've never had a facility like this in Canada. We don't know what it costs to maintain. The wood [in the track] has to be kept at a certain temperature summer and winter.

"It's a massive building, it's going to cost a lot to air-condition and heat it. That's all guesswork as far as that goes."


"Associated Graphic

"Before the velodrome was built in Milton, Ont., for the Pan Am Games, the Canadian team had to train in Los Angeles.



DROP THE WRIT: Understanding the effects of an early election call
While this election period is likely to last twice the usual length, the fact that the opposition parties are expected to spend much less than the prospective maximum of more than $50-million means taxpayers probably will not be hit up for double the rebates
Saturday, August 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A6

Are we really about to see a full-out election campaign for 11 weeks?

Probably not.

Given that the election date has long been set for Oct. 19, many would argue we're already in a campaign regardless of whether it's official. But even with the writ drop, it's unlikely that the parties will ramp up fully until September.

On all sides, there is a common belief that most voters will not pay close attention before Labour Day. They anticipate a flurry of interest after the writ drop, and the leaders' debate that is scheduled for next Thursday, but a simmering-down thereafter.

So the parties are unlikely to burn out their leaders, and their cash reserves, by launching their campaign planes in August. Nor will they probably run as much advertising over the next month as they normally do when an election is on.

The most noticeable indication that an election is on will be candidates' signs suddenly sprouting up on lawns across the country - something that is not allowed until the election is officially on.

But otherwise it might not entirely feel like a campaign for a while yet.

So what's the big difference between a long campaign and a normal one?

Mostly, it comes down to campaign-finance rules.

In the past, the spending limit for parties and candidates was the same whether the campaign was the usual 37 days or much longer than that. But the current government changed that with its Fair Elections Act, so the cap rises proportionately to the number of extra days. As a result, if the election is called this weekend, the parties will be permitted to spend more than $50-million nationally during the campaign, rather than the approximately $25-million they could have spent during it otherwise. And limits for individual candidates at the riding level, which would average around $100,000 during a 37-day campaign, will more than double, as well.

While the parties will be able to spend a fortune if they're able, an early election call is bad news for any third-party groups hoping to influence the vote result. Until the election is official, they're effectively able to spend whatever they want. But once the writ has dropped, they're subject to very low limits - about $200,000 nationally per organization, which isn't enough to fund any serious advertising efforts. So we may not be seeing many more of those television spots from the anti-Conservative Engage Canada, or radio spots from the pro-Conservative Working Canadians, which have been running through the summer - and which, without the early call, probably would have ramped up in the weeks ahead.

The other type of messaging that is about to come to an abrupt end is government advertising and spending announcements, which the Tories have been unapologetically using over the summer to try to boost their fortunes. Once an election campaign officially begins, they lose that ability.

Who benefits most from the early start?

Stephen Harper wouldn't be going this route if it didn't seem to offer his party the most advantage.

According to many Conservatives, the Prime Minister's primary incentive is to have the third-party rules kick in. The Tories have long fretted about union groups, which are especially motivated this election campaign because of contentious legislation that takes aim at them, spending millions of dollars in attack ads this summer.

While it's not entirely clear that those groups have been much more effective so far than the proConservative ones, the Tories didn't want to wait to see how much the likes of the unionbacked Engage Canada ramped up this summer.

To many eyes, though, it's the higher party spending limits that really help the Tories. Even they may not be able to quite reach a limit of more than $50-million, but many years of outpacing their rivals on fundraising mean they should be able to get very close.

The Liberals, based on conversations with party insiders, are unlikely to get above $35-million.

The New Democrats, who despite their current strength in the polls have consistently brought in the least cash, will probably spend less than the Liberals.

At least as much as at the national level, the Conservatives are also poised to outspend the other parties heavily on the ground. Their riding associations appear to have more money in the bank than those of the other parties combined, and new rules around campaign loans will make it harder for candidates who run short on cash to get an infusion.

In some ridings, it would not be a surprise if Conservative candidates were to spend by multiples higher than their opponents.

The end of government advertising and announcements is the one big drawback for the Tories.

But it appears they may have flooded the airwaves so heavily in recent months partly because they knew they would have to stop around now.

How will the Tories use their financial advantage?

It's important to understand that, while the spending limits grow in direct correlation to the number of campaign days, there is no requirement that parties or candidates spend it evenly throughout the period.

If the Conservatives wanted to outspend the other parties in August, they could do that without the early election call, in which case there would be no limits on spending then at all.

What changes with an early start is that the Tories give themselves the chance to outspend the other parties in the final weeks before election day. With a normal campaign length, all the parties would be spending same amount then - the limit of about $25-million. With a longer one, assuming they're reasonably frugal over its first half, the Conservatives could financially overwhelm the other parties when voters are paying close attention - notably with a massive late-campaign advertising push the likes of which the country has never before seen.

Leveraging their advantage will require picking the right moment. If they go too early, their effort may fall on deaf ears. If they go too late, and another party has momentum, they may be unable to change the narrative.

But if they get it just right, their re-election could be fuelled by a very rare ability to outspend their nearest rivals in crunch time.

How will the opposition parties respond?

New Democrats and Liberals have been stressing that they are not going to dramatically change their plans for August, which involve continuing to have their leaders tour the country at a more relaxed pace than they usually would during the campaign, and slowly rolling out policy announcements and messaging. Considering the potential for Conservative spending close to election day, the opposition parties will need to leave as much money in the bank for then as possible.

More than just trying to make the best of a bad situation, those parties will also probably try to use the early writ drop to their rhetorical advantage by accusing the Conservatives of cynical meddling with electoral convention and costing taxpayers more for a longer campaign.

"If he tries to bend the rules to his advantage again, you know what? I think that Canadians will judge him on that," NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair said of Mr. Harper this past week in a preview of that sort of argument. "It will just become another reason to make sure we get rid of this government."

Expect that message to also feature heavily in the New Democrats' and Liberals' fundraising pitches. The more they can convince supporters that the Tories are unfairly giving themselves a financial advantage, the more they might be able to narrow the gap.

How unusual is this long a campaign?

Very. If Mr. Harper calls the election on Sunday, as expected, the campaign will last 78 days. That would be the longest federal campaign since Confederation, excluding the first two elections in 1867 and 1872, which were rolling elections. Over the past 15 elections, the average campaign length has been slightly more than 50 days. And the modern trend is toward shorter periods: Since 1997, only one campaign has been longer than the minimum 36 days required between the writ drop and the election.

Previously, the longest federal campaign in modern Canadian history was the 66-day epic preceding the 1980 election.

Adding to its sprawling feel is the fact that, with a fixed election date, the parties have already been largely in campaign mode this year. And rather than a pair of leaders' debates (one in English, one in French) being the focal point of a shorter campaign, this longer one will see a series of debates that starts with the one hosted by Maclean's magazine this coming week and continues with four others (including one hosted by The Globe and Mail) in September.

How much will the longer campaign cost the public?

Though the exact figure isn't clear, the answer is certainly "a lot more," for a couple of reasons.

The first of those is administrative cost. Even a standard-length, 37-day campaign would cost $375-million to administer, Elections Canada estimates. The agency could not say how much money a longer campaign would lard onto the bill, but a spokesperson told The Canadian Press it would indeed cost extra, in part because of the need to pay for returning offices in each riding for an extended period.

The second is the tax rebates political parties receive for campaign expenses: up to 50 per cent for parties and up to 60 per cent for individual candidates. After the 2011 contest, Elections Canada estimated the value of campaign reimbursements at more than $60-million.

While this election period is likely to last twice as long as usual, the fact the opposition parties are expected to spend much less than the prospective maximum of more than $50-million, taxpayers probably will not be hit up for double the rebates. Still, the added costs of reimbursements this time could run to the tens of millions.

Why is an election call known as a 'writ drop'?

A "writ" is the piece of paper ordering returning officers in every riding to hold an election for the local member of Parliament. "Drop" is a corruption of "draw up."


What is the most popular season to hold a federal general election in Canada?

Canadians have gone to the polls most often in the fall: Fourteen fall elections have been held since 1867, 12 in the summer, 10 in the spring and only five in the winter.

What was the highest voter turnout for federal general elections from 1867 to 2011?

March 31, 1958: 79.4 per cent of the electorate voted.

What was the lowest voter turnout for federal general elections from 1867 to 2011?

Oct. 14, 2008: 58.8 per cent of the electorate voted.

What was the shortest election campaign and when was it held?

The campaign for the Jan. 22, 1874, election lasted only 20 days.

What was the longest election campaign and when was it held?

The campaign for the Feb. 18, 1980, election was 66 days long.

Raised: Parties' financial returns to Elections Canada at the end of 2014 Conservatives: $20.1-million Liberals: $15-million NDP: $9.5-million

Electoral district associations ended the year with net assets Conservatives: $19-million Liberals: $8-million NDP: $4.4-million Green Party: $1.2-million Bloc Québécois: $410,000 ..

Parties' financial returns to Elections Canada up to June, 2015 Conservatives: $13,779,723.94 Liberals: $8,238,634.09 NDP: $6,762,457.81

Associated Graphic


A building reveals divided loyalties in the March, 1958, election, with posters for the Liberals on one level and the Progressive Conservatives below.

What makes Oslo tick? Mark Medley is on the case, exploring the city through the eyes of homegrown crime writer Jo Nesbo
Saturday, August 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page T1

OSLO -- On the last afternoon in May, I found myself walking down a side street in downtown Oslo, on the way to a crime scene. The small group with me was composed of an equally morbid bunch, including a mother and her young daughter. They appeared excited to be here. It had been raining off and on throughout the day, and the sidewalk was mostly empty. Although we were just a few blocks south off the Norwegian capital's main strip, Karl Johans gate, which begins at the Royal Palace and drifts southeast past shops and restaurants toward Oslo's usually bustling central train station, I felt like I was in a different city altogether.

"It's about seeing Oslo from a new angle," explained our tour guide, Mari Atlanta Lunde, perhaps sensing my uncertainty.

Truth be told, I wasn't sure if I wanted to see the city formerly known as Kristiania from this angle. I knew from the map that we were only a few blocks from the staggering Oslo Opera House, which opened to great fanfare in 2008, a white marble- and granite-clad edifice that, from a distance, looks to be sliding into the chilly waters of the Oslofjorden like a giant into a bath. This is what visitors come to see! Lunde, though, was leading us through a part of town unlikely to be promoted by the tourism bureau.

This was the realm of sadistic serial killers and corrupt cops, of brutal violence and rampant crime.

In books, at least.

I was in the middle of a Harry Hole walking tour. Harry, for those whose literary tastes don't include crime fiction, is the detective (anti-) hero of 10 wildly successful novels written by Oslo's own Jo Nesbo, described last year as Norway's "first international pop-culture star" by The New Yorker. His books, which include several stand-alone novels (including Blood on Snow, which was released in Canada in April) and a series for middle-grade readers (Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder), have sold more than 20 million copies combined and appeared in almost 50 languages around the world. Nesbo, one of the country's main cultural exports, is also responsible for a slew of imports, namely tourists eager to see the real-life haunts of their favourite fictional detective, even if they aren't always particularly exciting.

Walking east on Tollbugata, we arrived at a yellowing four-storey building called the Sentrum Pensjonat, the real-life inspiration for a fictional hostel where Harry stays in the ninth novel, Phantom. The hostel is "among the cheapest places you can stay in Oslo," said Lunde, which was actually good to know considering the city consistently ranks among the world's most expensive. "I've heard of a few people who've stayed here because they're Harry Hole fans." She led us inside, up a winding staircase, and over to a bemused receptionist, who agreed to hand over the key to Room 301, where Harry bunks down. "Oh, I've never been in here," she told us excitedly after unlocking the door, as if we were inside a cordoned-off room in the Royal Palace and not a dreary room filled with four beds, a bar fridge and a small wooden table.

Lunde, an affable 65-year-old schoolteacher who conducts this tour on a weekly basis, was dressed in a black T-shirt dripping with (fake) blood with the word "Politi" printed across its chest - the Norwegian title of the most recent entry in the series, 2013's Police. She was also wearing a pair of snowman earrings, a nod to Nesbo's grisly 2010 novel of the same name.

Later, leading the tour through Gronland, a vibrant and heavily multicultural neighbourhood in the city's east end, Lunde admitted that, when she founded the tour in 2011, she had never read one of Nesbo's books; she has now read them all multiple times. ("My husband's very jealous of him," she said, though I wasn't sure if she meant Nesbo or Harry.) In any case, she was having a blast guiding the group on the two-hour tour of the city, which ranged from a scenic walk along the Akerselva River that snakes through town - a perfect place to dump a body - to the police headquarters where Harry plies his trade. You don't have to have read the Harry Hole novels to enjoy the tour, which mostly attracts guests from Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, as it focuses on Oslo and its history as much as the fictional detective.

When, the following night, I mentioned to Nesbo that I had taken the tour - while Lunde obtained his approval, he doesn't profit from it - he seemed slightly embarrassed, though also a bit curious: "How was it?" he asked.

We were picking away at plates of sashimi at a sushi joint near his home, just across the street from Frogner Park and the Vigelandsparken, which, even at this hour, was filled with tourists taking selfies with artist Gustav Vigeland's bronze statues. With more than a million visitors a year, it's one of the city's most popular attractions, even though it can be rendered creepy in Nesbo's work.

"I certainly don't try to portray Oslo in a realistic way," said Nesbo, 55, who was born here, moved away at a young age, and returned for good in 1986. "That was never my goal. But I use the real Oslo because it's convenient, because it's easy, and it gives authenticity to the story that you can't really make up. Then again, it's a bit more twisted."

If anything, the fact that Oslo is now fertile ground for a series of bestselling crime novels is something to be celebrated. His latest book, Blood on Snow, a taut thriller about a hit man who falls in love with one of his targets, is set in the 1970s, "back when Oslo was a really small city. It's not that it's grown much, but it has opened up to the world. Back then, it was a village on the outskirts of Europe, really. Nothing really happened here. ... Norway was one of the three poorest countries in Europe. The city and the country and the people have transformed ever since we found oil - actually, the Americans found oil - in the late sixties.

"It became a much more interesting city."

With an equally interesting literary scene. Nesbo is one of several Norwegian writers who have recently achieved success on the international stage - Karl Ove Knausgaard, Per Petterson, Karin Fossum, Erlend Loe, Anne Holt, Thomas Enger and others - which is especially impressive considering the country boasts a population similar to that of Costa Rica.

"Norway is, by some people outside Norway, presumed to be the capital of Sweden or something," Andreas Wise, the executive director of Norway's House of Literature, said over lunch in the building's ground-floor restaurant, which doubles as a bookstore. (The litteraturhuset - the largest such building in Europe - is a tourist attraction in its own right; opened in 2007 and located across the street from the Royal Palace, it's the sun around which the country's literary community revolves, hosting more than 1,500 events each year, and providing work spaces for dozens of writers, free of charge.)

"The identity of a small country is hard to raise awareness about. So, we have skiing and we have books. And, together, we're an Arctic skiing country with an incredible amount of very brilliant writers, which is a good image to have. It would be sad if they thought we were a bunch of illiterates who only went skiing."

Leaving the litteraturhuset, if you cut south across the gardens of the Royal Palace - you can watch the changing of the guards each day at 1:30 p.m., or, if you have more time, take a one-hour guided tour - you'll end up at the Ibsen Museum, a shrine, of sorts, to the country's best-known writer, playwright Henrik Ibsen, the second-most popular playwright in the world (only the plays of William Shakespeare are performed more). The museum is housed in the apartment where he lived from 1895 until his death in 1906. (His last words were "On the contrary," said after his wife, Suzannah, told a visitor that her recently ill husband was feeling better.)

The museum features a tour of his apartment, which has been partly restored to its former glory, as well as exhibitions devoted to Ibsen's life and work. (Turn right when leaving the museum and follow the quotes carved into the sidewalk down to the Grand Hotel Oslo and its historic Grand Café, opened in 1874, where Ibsen lunched each day.)

Head north on Akersgata from the Grand Café and you'll soon wind up at the Deichmanske bibliotek, the city library. Margaret Atwood was in town the same week as me, dropping off Scribbler Moon, the first instalment in the Future Library project: Each year, a different writer will submit a manuscript that will not be read until 2114. The entire collection is to be housed in a purposebuilt room in the new Deichman library, scheduled to open on the waterfront in 2018, next to the Opera House, where a new Munchmuseet, devoted to the work of Norway's most famous painter, will be built, too. Meaning that there will still be reason for book lovers to visit Oslo a century from now.

Mark Medley is The Globe and Mail's Books editor.

Some of the writer's travel costs were covered by the Royal Norwegian Embassy. It did not review or approve this story.



The centrally located Scandic Victoria (Rosenkrantz' gate 13) is a three-minute walk from Oslo's National Theatre, a 10minute walk to both the Royal Palace and the Ibsen Museum.

Want to follow in the footsteps of Harry Hole? Book a room at the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Norway's tallest building, and featured in Jo Nesbo's 2000 novel, The Redbreast. Sonja Henies plass 3. From $237 (1,495 Norwegian Krone); .


If you want to combine dinner with a little sightseeing, check out Nodee Asian Cooking (Middelthuns gate 25), a stellar East Asian fusion restaurant (with a patio to match) just across the street from Frogner Park. If you're on the Harry Hole diet, try to grab a table at Schroder (Waldemar Thranes gate 8), a traditional Norwegian restaurant (opened circa 1925) that doubles as one of Harry's favourite haunts.


If you haven't read any of Nesbo's books, I recommend starting with The Son, a standalone thriller that doesn't feature Harry Hole. Stop by Tronsmo Bokhandel (Kristian Augusts gate 19), which features an eclectic array of Norwegian and English-language titles. It's around the corner from the National Gallery.


Once you've read all the Harry Hole novels, take the walking tour. It begins every Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the lobby of the Best Western (Karl Johans gate 33); 200 Norwegian Krone for adults and 100 Norwegian Krone for children.

Associated Graphic

Lights are reflected on the ground at Jernbanetorget square in front of Oslo Central Station.


Oslo is home to literary-rich sights, such as the litteraturhuset, the Ibsen Museum and the Deichmanske bibliotek.


Crime fiction author Jo Nesbo was described last year as Norway's 'first international pop-culture star' by The New Yorker.


Accounting for the legacy of Miles Nadal at MDC
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B1

When MDC Partners released its year-end earnings report in February, 2014, the news was upbeat: record results that included growth in cash flow and profits. It was "another year of exceptionally strong performance for MDC Partners," the company's founder and CEO, Miles Nadal, said in a press release.

But that announcement would change MDC in ways few would realize. Within days, a whistleblower filed a complaint with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the top regulator of the New York City based company. Not long after, SEC staff began questioning MDC about the way it presented its earnings and accounted for its profitability. That led to a subpoena from the SEC, questions about compensation and pledges by Mr. Nadal to repay millions of dollars of his compensation.

Mr. Nadal, 57, resigned as chief executive this week, leaving the advertising conglomerate he created in 1986 and foregoing a multimillion dollar severance package. It was an ignoble departure for Mr. Nadal, a high-flying executive known for his lavish lifestyle who earned more than $70-million (U.S.) since 2011 and is well-known in Toronto for his charitable activities.

With new leadership and a public commitment to co-operating with the investigation, MDC may have reassured investors that the worst is over. Several analysts say the shares, depressed by all the bad news, are a buy. But a close look at MDC's presentation of its financial results reveals unusual accounting methods that call into question the company's financial health. Investors are left pondering; What, exactly, did Mr. Nadal build in all these years of running MDC?

Certainly, the headlines in the news release for the results of the 2013 fiscal year suggested a strong enterprise. The company reported "EBITDA growth," referring to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, of 33.1 per cent, to $159.4-million.

"Free cash flow growth" was an even-more-remarkable 82 per cent, to $91.6-million. All that profit and cash-flow growth helped the company boost its dividend by 12.5 per cent.

It was only on page five that investors might have found that the company's 2013 bottom line, under generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, was a net loss of $148.9-million, up from a net loss of $85.4-million in 2012. Its operating loss, also calculated under GAAP, was just under $32-million, double the nearly $16-million operating loss of 2012.

While the size of MDC's net loss was unusual for the company, the general result was not. From 2005 to 2014, a period when the company was winning wide acclaim for its focus on acquiring successful, high-calibre advertising and marketing agencies, the company posted net losses in nine of those 10 years, according to Standard & Poor's Capital IQ. Only a $100,000 profit in 2008 offset what would add up to $444-million in losses in the decade.

Net income includes the interest expenses MDC pays on the debt it has incurred to build its empire; those figures, nearly $280-million in the decade, have helped swing the company to a loss. But on an operating basis, which excludes interest and taxes, the company is not terribly profitable: It has recorded an aggregate $299.5-million in operating profit on nearly $7.3-billion in revenue, an operating margin of just over 4 per cent. (Last year's operating margin of 8.5 per cent was, to MDC's credit, the highest of the past decade.)

Little wonder, then, that MDC prefers to emphasize EBITDA, which attempts to measure the earnings of a business independent of some of the decisions of its management. By stripping out interest, it equalizes companies that are highly leveraged, versus debt-free. By removing depreciation and amortization, EBITDA ignores the "sunk costs" of buildings and equipment that are already paid.

But MDC's problem, however, was how it chose to define EBITDA and other measures.

In May, 2014, the staff of the SEC's corporation finance division sent MDC chief financial officer David Doft a four-page letter with questions about the company's annual report and its earnings release. There is no assurance that the staff of corporation finance, which is separate from the SEC's enforcement division, was acting directly on the whistleblower's tip, nor is it certain that the subpoena that followed five months later related to any of the queries in the letters. (The company declined to comment on the SEC investigation and related matters, and Mr. Nadal did not respond to requests for comment).

The dialogue that ensued from May to September, however, reflected the SEC staff's skepticism about the appropriateness of MDC's disclosures. And it ended with MDC flatly refusing to change its accounting for cash flow, despite a number of queries and a conference phone call with SEC staff.

In that 2013 year-end release, MDC's EBITDA excluded not only interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, but also stockbased compensation and acquisition costs. Those extra items were large: In the fourth quarter, for example, the company had just $6.4-million in depreciation and amortization, but $2.4-million in stock compensation and $27.6million in what it called "deferred acquisition consideration adjustments." These are part of earn-out agreements or other post-acquisition payments to the owners of the firms MDC acquired.

MDC's calculation method took a $6.6-million operating profit, good for a 3 per cent margin, and boosted it to $43.1-million in EBITDA, a 19.8 per cent margin.

But the SEC's Carlos Pacho said in a letter to the company that "EBITDA" was not the appropriate term. "If you adjust such measure for items other than interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization, please revise the title to 'Adjusted EBITDA.'" Its "free cash flow" metric excluded some operating items, the SEC said, "so we do not believe that it is appropriate to refer to this measure as 'free cash flows.' Please revise."

Mr. Pacho also told MDC there was a problem with the company's failure to present "the most directly comparable GAAP measures" alongside its preferred metrics.

He added: "Also, we note your reference to 'record results.' However, we note your GAAP loss from continuing operations and net loss. Please revise accordingly."

It sounds dry and nitpicky. But the presentation of earnings is returning as a hot topic at the SEC some years after it took its first corrective steps in the matter. In the 1990s tech bubble, and on through the 2001 Enron scandal, companies took advantage of the lack of a GAAP definition of EBITDA by presenting all sorts of adjusted earnings figures with that term. Wags joked that EBITDA was coming to mean "earnings before expenses" or "earnings before bad stuff."

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 required the SEC to adopt rules to govern how companies used these non-GAAP measures. They were introduced in 2003 and included the requirements that the SEC suggested MDC had overlooked. In December, 2013, the chairman of an SEC accountingfraud task force said it was looking at the use of non-GAAP measures. The Wall Street Journal called his comments "the first indication that the SEC is looking at these metrics with an eye toward possible enforcement cases."

In MDC's early responses to the SEC in 2014, the company quickly agreed to most of the agency's requests. It subsequently relabelled the metric "adjusted EBITDA" and agreed to highlight GAAP measures, including limiting the use of the phrase "record results" to those GAAP metrics. After a phone call with SEC staff, MDC agreed to stop using "free cash flow" and instead called the measure "Adjusted EBITDA Available for General Capital Purposes."

The company stuck to its guns, however, on an accounting treatment that serves to boost its reported operating cash flow.

When MDC buys an advertising or marketing agency, it buys the future performance of the people who run it. MDC offers an upfront payment to the agency owners, then supplements it by paying the owners, who have typically become MDC employees, additional cash or stock when the agency meets or exceeds the earnings MDC expected.

That, to many people, looks like a form of compensation that belongs in the operating expenses of the company. And indeed, it is the "deferred acquisition consideration adjustments" - the extra payments for beating the expected earnings performance - that it stripped out when calculating EBITDA (and now removes from adjusted EBITDA).

MDC says the payments are more like seller-financed debt. So in the cash-flow statement, the company records these extra payments not as operating costs, but as financing costs. That serves to increase the company's operating cash flow.

SEC staff told MDC to reclassify those payments as operating expenses in the cash flow statement. After a phone call with staff, MDC refused, saying the accounting literature had no specific guidance on the matter and that it had found several other companies that treated these earn-out payments the same way.

It is these earn-outs, actually, that complicate net income for the company. When MDC buys an agency, it makes an estimate for what its future profit-based payments will be. If the agency's earnings are higher than expected, the payouts are higher than was estimated, and the company must book a higher expense, dampening profits. Conversely, if an acquired agency's earnings are lower than expected, the payouts are lower, and the company books a gain on the lower expense.

That is why the message from MDC has, for some time, been that GAAP earnings do not matter. "Our strategy is to maximize cash generation," Mr. Nadal told analysts in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to a transcript. "It has not been to maximize GAAP [earnings per share]."

But much of the cash that appears in MDC's preferred earnings measures is gone: From 2011 to 2014, the company paid $301million in "acquisition-related payments," all recorded in the financing cash flows.

Meanwhile, the net losses under GAAP have created negative retained earnings of $521-million as of March 31. The company's tangible book value - its tangible assets, minus its liabilities - is negative per share.

If MDC keeps up the kind of success Mr. Nadal trumpeted, those numbers will only get worse under his successors.

MDC Partners Inc. (MDCA) $17.96 (U.S.), down 57¢


MDC Partners' favourite earnings metric is EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Except that for many years, MDC partners excluded additional expense items in calculating the figure. The staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission told it in 2014 to stop the practice and call the measure "Adjusted EBITDA" instead. The figures below show how MDC's EBITDA calculation claimed far greater profits than either operating income or net income, as calculated according to generally accepted accounting principles.

Associated Graphic


At R&D, the food isn't as glamorous as on TV
Go for the dim sum, but don't stay for the rest - you're better off with any of the other spots in Chinatown
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M2

Alvin Leung and Eric Chong first met on the set of MasterChef Canada, the popular CTV game show that feigns, with a whole lot of television magic, to crown one bumbling but telegenic home cook as not merely a chef, but a masterful chef. It's an absurd conceit: After a few weeks of minutely choreographed and edited kitchen hijinks (plus plenty of the expected tears and backstabbing), the winners are no more deserving of the title "chef" than a month of diaper-changing and Teletubbies reruns would make me deserving of the title "pediatric neurosurgeon."

It does make for great TV, though. It's great enough TV that - full, slightly mortifying, disclosure here - I auditioned a few years ago to be a judge on the program after its producers approached me. Even more mortifying, I didn't get picked.

Mr. Leung, though, was an inspired choice, because his own story makes the MasterChef conceit seem eminently reasonable.

Mr. Leung, who was raised in Scarborough, was working as an engineer in Hong Kong when he decided, in his early 40s, that he'd rather cook for a living.

With no formal training or experience, he opened a restaurant called Bo Innovation, and developed a brand of molecular gastronomy-influenced "x-treme cuisine," as he calls it, that earned the place a global following, as well as three Michelin stars.

Like Mr. Leung, the 21-year-old Mr. Chong (he's 23 now) had trained as an engineer, though mostly to appease his parents.

What he really wanted was to become a chef, and so he signed up as a contestant on MasterChef Canada, and poof! the program made him one. Or at least it made Mr. Chong into a guy who played a chef on TV.

This all would have been harmless enough, except late this spring Mr. Chong and Mr. Leung opened a real-life restaurant together, at Spadina and Dundas.

The place serves "a Canadian take on traditional Chinese dim sum," our bored-sounding server told us one evening recently.

The restaurant's name, R&D, is an allusion to the two men's engineering backgrounds, as well as a play on their biographies.

Mr. Chong, who spurned the career path his family had set for him, is the R in the name, for "rebel," while Mr. Leung, who likes to call himself "the Demon Chef," accounts for the D. (Michael Bonacini, who is also a judge with MasterChef, helped back the place with his company Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants, which has been instrumental with HR, purchasing, logistics and back-office functions, but is not otherwise involved in kitchen operations.)

Though the pair claim to have done plenty of research and development building the restaurant and its menu, the experience of actually eating at R&D does not make that clear.

The restaurant is grim, but not gruesome; amateur but with moments of genuine not-awfulness, which is an accomplishment when you stop to consider how little actual experience Mr. Chong has.

To his great credit, the place is nowhere near as abysmal as it might have been. Also to his credit, he knows he's not ready to run a restaurant, and has said as much repeatedly. (You'd better believe, meanwhile, that the three-star Michelin Mr. Leung has better things to do than run a kitchen in Toronto's Chinatown.) So the pair hired an actual chef named Nelson Tsai to sort of run the show.

The room is the first of R&D's problems. Though there's a perfectly attractive bar area up front, and the open kitchen is beautifully lit, the main space is a windowless, two-storey box that Commute Design (I generally love their work) tried to pretty up with tall, raw-wood beams and monumental pop art portraits of Chairman Mao and the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei.

This might just barely work in a space that wasn't reminiscent of a Costco tire centre.

The lighting is harsh up high, as if the designers didn't have any ideas for all that vertical space except to klieg it; it glares off the walls near the ceiling but is pallid grey at lower elevations, where all the customers sit, lending the place a Deathly Hallows vibe. As if in compensation, the soundtrack cleaves to the likes of the Baha Men's Who Let the Dogs Out and Shaggy's Boombastic, played in a gratingly short loop. We had an excellent and cheerful server one night, but otherwise it was hard to tell if anybody actually owns or runs or feels pride in the place.

The cooking starts out well, especially from the menu's dim sum section. Mr. Chong's "CSB," which is short for char siu bao, or Cantonese pork buns, are by far the best thing, and the best I've had in the city.

Rather than pack the roast pork into the usual plush, bland, steamed doughy whiteness, Mr. Chong's char siu bao are made with butter, egg white and icing sugar-topped "Mexican buns," as they're called in Hong Kong, that are baked, so they crunch and dissolve into a sweet buttery, steamy fog when you bite in. The style is increasingly common in Hong Kong, popularized by the dim sum mecca Tim Ho Wan, but until R&D I hadn't yet seen it here.

Be sure to snag an order, or maybe two.

Mr. Chong's tributes to his dim sum chef grandfather, called "grandpa's fun guo," are very good. They're crystal-skinned dumplings filled with chicken, bamboo and black truffle. R&D's egg rolls, though atypical, are also excellent: The long, thin phyllo tubes look and crunch almost like grissini, and are filled not only with crisp bamboo and chicken, but also with Thai basil, Parmesan cheese and pine nuts - with pesto, roughly.

These add a weird but terrific green herbal freshness as well as a nutty crunch.

The Szechuan lamb "little dragon buns," which you have to nip at their sides and slurp at (they're xiao long bao, effectively) are also worth ordering. But the cooking mostly goes downhill from there.

We had an "aromatic fivegrain rice" one night that was mushy with adzuki beans, quinoa and brown rice. If you've ever imagined eating a porridge of antique linen tunic, you've got it nailed.

The spot prawn and scallop ceviche was so overwhelmed with soy and mayonnaise-like avocado puree that you couldn't taste the seafood; there was a puddle of "jolo butter" with it - that's a mix of butter, vinegar, spices and Chinese pickle sauce; it's a fixture on the Bo Innovation menu - but that didn't add nearly enough acidity to the dish.

The char-grilled octopus suffered from similar issues: With its "eggplant caviar" and choy sum "chimichurri" it sounded like a winner, except that the eggplant was just eggplant and the chimichurri was a flat-tasting puree, like overprocessed guacamole, without even a glimmer of the bright vinegary punch that's chimichurri's entire point. The octopus was dry. Mr. Tsai knows better than this, if Mr. Chong and Mr. Leung do not. Mr. Tsai, though he's the grown-up in the kitchen, is merely an employee of the restaurant, and not a partner. I'd love to know what that dynamic's like.

We ate disappointing lobster chow mein made with Italian chitarra noodles (the noodles were excellent, but the portion was tiny; the lobster was rubbery and slack-tasting), excellent charred Brussels sprouts and sweet, sticky Hawaiian-style spare ribs that were about as good as you might find at an East Side Mario's, which isn't all that bad.

R&D's sort-of-Chinese, sort-ofCanadian fried chicken (it comes with tinny-tasting Szechuan maple syrup and is called "General Sanders's Chicken" - get it?) was simultaneously overcooked and greasy, and the batter was thick, hard, crusty and tasted like Thanksgiving stuffing, and it came with a bland, dry Hong Kong egg waffle that was only half as good as you can find in the atrium of the Dragon City shopping mall across the street.

There are 20 better fried-chicken variations in this city, many costing about half as much. Correction: Every fried-chicken variation in the city is better than here.

Yet the worst of it all was R&D's appallingly overpriced $75 "duck duck bao," which is a play on Peking duck, but made without the skill or the flavour, and which managed to combine both chewy, underseasoned meat with uncrisp skin and a layer of unrendered, lukewarm fat that made me wish I'd brought a flensing knife.

It came with cloying smoked plum sauce, some sort of mango abomination and a gloopy cabbage, carrot and ginger slaw.

If you want roast duck, go to People's Eatery or Dayali uptown, both of which serve infinitely better and cheaper versions, or to one of the windows along Spadina, where they'll happily hack off a few prime pieces and put it on noodles for $7.

Desserts were okay. The crispy smoked milk balls tasted like burning foolscap paper, but my standards had toppled by then and so I glumly ate them. The banana split another night was great on first bite, but then the crust on the fried bananas started to taste too much like the crust on that imbecilic fried chicken (they're done in the same fryer) and I couldn't force myself to go on. I can't say for certain what would happen if somebody cooked like this on television, except that I hope they would be asked to turn in their apron.

R&D, though, is real life.

Follow me on Twitter: @cnutsmith



241 Spadina Ave. (at Dundas Street West), 416-586-1241, .

Atmosphere: The lunchroom at your local Costco tire centre got a makeover, and wow, there's an enormous Mao portrait on the wall. Service ranges from enthusiastic and friendly to rather-be-washingtheir-hair.

Wine and drinks: Decent cocktails, affordable wines (but only because they're starting with the super-cheap; markups can be insane), the expected beers and spirits.

Best bets: Go for the dim sum: CSB, egg rolls, dumplings, little dragon buns.

Prices: Small plates, $7 to $18; sharing and large-format dishes from $17 to $75.

Associated Graphic

The eggrolls are filled with crispy bamboo, chicken and a refreshing pesto (more or less) made of Thai basil, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.

While the open kitchen is beautifully lit, the main space is a grim, windowless, two-storey box.


A complete unknown: Like a Rolling Stone turns 50
Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R1


"An' I sung my song like a demon child/With a kick an' a curse/From inside my mother's womb -Bob Dylan, 1963

"An' it's clear, ain't it, what with hindsight's wisdom that Bob Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone was gonna be a big hit 50 years ago this summer. Course nobody coulda predicted it would peak at No. 2 by late August, 1965, held off the highest rung by the Beatles' Help! Or that almost 40 years after that the editors of Rolling Stone magazine would vote it the greatest song of all time. What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson? Cole Porter has left and gone away?

"Still, there were signs somethin' was happenin' back in the day - somethin' noticeable even in Regina, Sask., population 110,000, where I'd just graduated Grade 9.

"'Course Dylan himself, just in his 24th year, hadn't had a Top 10 hit.

"Not as yet. But it was only a matter of time an' timin' an' air waves - and, of course, the right song.

"Because his sound, his sensibility felt ubiquitous, at least on radio and TV shows such as Shindig! and in what Time magazine liked to call the cultural climate.

"The Byrds had gone to the top of the pops a couple of months earlier with a chimey, truncated version of Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man, vinyl my friends and I played repeatedly on portable turntables in our parents' base.

"ments. Then they'd quickly followed that with another Bob song, All I Really Wanna Do, right around the same time a woman named Cher was releasing her cover of the same, thereby causing mixed-up confusion for radio and jukebox programmers. And let's not forget that Peter, Paul and Mary had had two Top 10 hits in 1963 covering Bob's Blowin' in the Wind and Don't Think Twice, It's All Right.

"The land had been prepared, in other words, the seeds sown.

"Then there was Eve of Destruction. I know Dylan didn't write it - P.F. Sloan did and Barry McGuire growled his way to No. 1 with it. But such were the a-changin' times - "a world of racism, war, greed, starvation and lies" and imminent nuclear apocalypse, as one critic would later write - that even ersatz Bob could get a hearing. Indeed, my friends and I took a perverse pride that our hometown, the Queen City of the Plains, was cited in Eve of Destruction! Yes, there it was, plain as our adolescent ears could make out, Barry McGuire, at the two-minute and 33-second mark, exhorting us to "Think about all the hate there is in Regina/Take a look around at Selma, Alabama."

"Of course, this was the preGoogle era. People misheard lyrics all the time, and we were set straight soon enough: Barry McGuire was not simultaneously excoriating and immortalizing us for our mistreatment of Regina's aboriginal population (or, as we would have called them then, Indians) but rather pointing out the hate in, er, Red China. Still, we thought, it could have been us. Collective guilt, paranoia and anxiety floated as free as radioactive dust at that time, and wasn't McGuire's wife Canadian? To this day, whenever I hear Eve of Destruction, Red China is Regina to me.

"Eve of Destruction's pessimistic pleasures were quickly subsumed, though, by the release of Like a Rolling Stone. Here at last was the real-meal Dylan, the right song at the right time.

"History records that Like a Rolling Stone was officially issued by Columbia Records on Tuesday, July 20, 1965, but we didn't know that then or care. The song - introduced by the loud crack of the downstroke on a snare drum, followed by this fat wailing wall of organ, tambourine, piano, electric guitars, bass and (later) harmonica, then the jeer of its first, fairytale-like line("Once upon a time ...") - seemed simply to appear all at once, an event in and of itself, a rip in time's fabric.

"Of course, my friends and I noticed it was longer than anything else we'd heard on commercial pop radio (6 minutes 14 seconds, according to one measurement; 6:06 by another; and six minutes by Columbia's reckoning). But not oppressively so.

"After all, the other song that had enjoyed, until Rolling Stone, the most spins on our turntables that spring/summer had been I Can't Get No Satisfaction, 3:45 of thwarted desire (and a song that Rolling Stone, the magazine, would go on to rank as the second-greatest ever).

"Here, in fact, the minutes seemed to fly, the song this relentless, churning gyre toward and out of its anthemic chorus("Hoooow does it feeeel?"), then back to the verses that are both condemnation and a kind of celebration of illusions lost.

"And my, the language that he used! Tough words, words you didn't hear in pop songs - "bums," "scrounging," "juiced in it," "tramp," "vacuum." Obscure expressions, fanciful ones, too - "mystery tramp," "chrome horse," "Napoleon in rags." And what about that diplomat with the Siamese cat? Also peculiar: the use of "you." At once singular and plural, outward-referring and reflexive, it seemed to implicate or potentially implicate everyone, even Dylan, not just the "doll," the "Miss Lonely," the "babe" who seems the singer's primary target. You get the feeling that had Dylan had the "vomitric" (his term) inclination, imagination and energy, he could have woven dozens of other verses into Like a Rolling Stone, making of its tapestry a sort of cosmic J'accuse.

"(Bob, in fact, realized something of Rolling Stone's universalism in late 2013, when he released the anthem as an interactive video that permits the viewer to flip back and forth among 16 TV channels, each one featuring a different personality - Drew Carey of The Price Is Right, Jon and Drew Scott, "the Property Brothers," a news presenter, etc. - lip-syncing the lyrics.)

"Later one of my fellow avid listeners of Rolling Stone - the guy, in fact, who bought it first - developed a fondness for the tight-fitting, Cuban-heeled boots favoured by Dylan and the Beatles and, in an action called, I believe, "flashing," took to flicking his sharp-pointed toes at the groins of selected pals, myself included.

"How did it feel? It felt bad, and eventually we parted on snarling terms. Maybe it was just his way of saying, "It's all over now, baby blue."

"A few months later, maybe spring, 1966, a classmate hitchhiked (or I like to believe he hitchhiked) to Hibbing, Minn., 1,000 kilometres east and south of Regina, the small mining city where Dylan lived from the age of six to his late teens and where the singer-songwriter's dad, Abe Zimmerman, reportedly owned a hardware and appliance store on the main street. He was obviously a hardcore Bobhead, and when his boot heels got back from wandering Hibbing, I asked him what the place was like. "It's like Moose Jaw," he replied.

"Moose Jaw is 75 kilometres west of Regina.

"As thrilling and successful as Like a Rolling Stone was, it proved divisive as well. People took their Dylan really seriously then, and for many fans the song represented nothing less than apostasy, "a retreat into privatism," an unfortunate renunciation of all that had made His Bobness great, and they would not, could not, cross over. Their alienation reached an aphelion of sorts on May 17, 1966, at Manchester's Free Trade Hall, where Dylan and his quintet were playing a live concert. Just as the band set to launch into Like a Rolling Stone, a chastening male voice rang out from the sold-out house. "Judas!" it cried, to which an infuriated Dylan responded: "I don't believe you.

"You're a liar!"

"Today, of course, "Judas!"

"ranks as the grandest, most famous heckle in popular music.

"But it took more than 30 years for anyone to fess up to the epithet, and when it happened there were two claimants, each with equally valid stories. When I heard that one of them, Keith Butler, was a 53-year-old Canadian, a Torontonian no less, well, I just had to track him down. We connected by phone in early February, 1999, just a couple of weeks, in fact, after his return from a Dylan symposium in England on the Manchester gig. Butler was the father of two sons and, 24 years after moving to Canada from Britain, somewhat chastened. He wouldn't say where he worked or what he did. He didn't want his picture taken. He wanted to be invisible now, lest Dylan fanatics would ask him, "How does it feel to be/On the wrong side of history?" "There was nothing premeditated or religious about what I said [back then]," he told me.

""It was straight from the heart, a spontaneous reaction. It probably wasn't the best choice of words, but that's just what came out." There have been rumours over the years that Dylan's manager paid for the heckle but, Butler told me, "There's no 30 pieces of silver in it for me." Three-and-a-half years later, he was dead of cancer.

"Today Like a Rolling Stone isn't the incendiary device it once was. Yet it still thrills. Many people haven't forgotten when and where they first heard it. A half-century on, it has gathered no moss, remains, like Summer Wind by Sinatra, I Feel Fine by the Beatles, the Stones' Gimme Shelter, one of those rare songs that creates its own moment and space the instant it's played, whatever the circumstance.

"The other day while shopping in the supermarket I noticed that, one after the other, the songs playing on the store P.A.

"system were vintage 1965, 1966 - Friday on my Mind by the Easybeats, I Fought the Law (and the Law Won) by the Bobby Fuller 4, the Byrds' Mr. Tambourine Man.

""I betcha Like a Rolling Stone is next," I told my wife. And of course in a perfect world it would have been, but it wasn't.

"Instead it was Little Darlin' by the Diamonds, doo-woppy fluff from 1959 that Like a Rolling Stone was supposed to have consigned to history's dustbin.

"Had Like a Rolling Stone played, shoppers would have stopped shoppin', wouldn't they, started wonderin' if they got it made and ya can't have that, now can ya? The wife an' me, we rolled our cart down the aisle. It was time to check out.


"Associated Graphic

"Musician Bob Dylan is seen in 1965.



Soaring to success with a firmly grounded work ethic
Jean-Marc Eustache, CEO, Transat A.T.
Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B8

MONTREAL -- "The chief executive officer and co-founder of Canada's biggest tour operator dislikes travelling and is not a fan of flying. He doesn't drive, either.

"But Jean-Marc Eustache hasn't let his homebody leanings stop him from turning Transat A.T. Inc. into a global player in the tourism business, with sights set on expanding further in the United States and Latin America.

"A Quebec student organizer back in the late sixties and early seventies, Mr. Eustache's entrepreneurial drive soon trumped political agitation and he ended up building, with two partners, what is now a wholesale vacation packager that also owns or franchises about 500 travel agencies throughout Canada, runs a charter airline - Air Transat - and has a 35-per-cent interest in a joint venture with Spanish chain H10 Hotels that manages six hotels in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba.

"Mr. Eustache chuckles as we discuss the latest wave of student protests over university tuition in Quebec, savouring the irony that he - a former rabble-rouser at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) - now occupies the venerable position of chairman of the fund-raising foundation at his alma mater.

"Transat's 67-year-old chairman, president and CEO says he hasn't lost the hard-driving ethos he traces to his days as a teenager when he organized high-school dances and sugaring-off parties.

""I've always been in business," he says as an array of platters is laid out before us on the massive walnut boardroom table at corporate head office: cold cuts with wild pickles, Greek salad in a balsamic vinaigrette, grilled salmon with flying fish roe, Cajun-style chicken breast in Dijon mustard sauce, Quebec cheeses, fresh fruit and sweet caramel-crusted cake.

"The sixth-floor boardroom windows offer a commanding view of the city's mountain and greensward-flanked Park Avenue.

"Mr. Eustache remembers deciding at the tender age of 14 to see to his financial needs through various business ventures, such as event promotion, after quarrelling with his dad over allowance money. A self-described workaholic, he still puts in sevenday weeks, rising at 4 a.m. on weekdays to make tea and fire up a fat Havana cigar for a few hours of distraction-free prebreakfast work. He has no mobile phone or computer, preferring to pore over good old-fashioned printouts.

"Although at the stage in his career when retirement or easing off might be appropriate - indeed, his two founding partners, Lina De Cesare and Philippe Sureau, took their leave in 2009, although they remain on the board and are advisers to Mr. Eustache - he has chosen to delay his departure to oversee a three-year strategic plan that includes a $100-million cost reduction and margin improvement program, a major rebranding effort, a streamlining of the corporate Web presence and a big push onto mobile device platforms.

""It's not a job. It's my life," says Mr. Eustache - his napkin worn bib-like, tucked into one of the gaps between the buttons of his pink-striped shirt; he retains a continental French accent even though he's lived in Quebec ever since coming over in 1957 at the age of 9 from his native Algeria with his French father, a civil engineer, and his stepmother, a Quebecker, as the violence escalated in the bloody Algerian War of Independence.

"Associates say that one of Mr. Eustache's special qualities is his ability to motivate those around him. "He's a natural leader with vision," Mr. Sureau explains.

""He's had many good ideas; his first very good one being vertical integration."

"In Transat's early days, Mr. Eustache ripped a page from the European leisure travel playbook, popularizing the now ubiquitous all-inclusive package to sun destinations but also adding tours to and from Europe.

"Notorious for his finicky reading of every line and statistic of each document crossing his desk as well as for a phenomenal memory, Mr. Eustache is a detail man sans pareil, Mr. Sureau says.

""He would tell you: I'm not very smart but I'm hard working. It's clear that you can't put one over on Jean-Marc by - let's say - telling him something was taken care of when in fact it was not."

"One heavily publicized event Mr. Eustache would rather forget is the near-tragic 2001 incident when Air Transat pilot Robert Piché brought his Airbus, carrying about 300 people, to a safe but spine-chilling landing in the Azores Islands after the Lisbonbound plane ran out of fuel. "I prefer doing without that kind of publicity," he says curtly.

"Less than a month later came the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The fallout led Transat to lay off 25 per cent of its staff and cut capacity by 30 per cent.

"Yet another setback was the loss of about $30-million in the 2007 asset-backed commercial paper fiasco. Transat bought the securities on the advice of National Bank of Canada. Transat not only survived all the bad press and disasters but went on to thrive while other players in the sector fell by the wayside. Mr. Eustache says he has seen about 40 companies go under in his 37 years in the business. There are not enough barriers to entry, in part because of ridiculously easy financing terms for $80-million planes, he believes. Three lowcost carriers are currently launching out West, he exclaims.


"Transat went public in 1987 with an $8.25-million initial public offering after it lost its supply of planes when privatized provincial carrier Quebecair's charter operations were gobbled up by Nationair and the new owner refused to do business with Transat. The company was rebuffed by other operators, so it decided to launch its own air charter unit. It also went shopping over the years, buying up rivals in a series of smart acquisitions.

"Mr. Eustache embarked on his unplanned career path in 1977 working for the Montreal-based co-operative Tourbec, an agency catering to students and young people seeking budget-conscious travel options. When Tourbec shut down in 1978, Mr. Eustache, with colleague Mr. Sureau, took it over; Ms. De Cesare joined them in 1980.The name later became Trafic Voyages and then, coinciding with the IPO, Transat. At one point, their modest office space was located above a Dunkin' Donuts shop. "It smelled like doughnuts in there. It was something else," Mr. Eustache recalls.

"Also part of the team was François Legault, who left suddenly in 1997 and went on to become a Parti Québécois minister and then co-founded a new centreright, provincial political party.

"A 2006 deal to acquire Thomas Cook's 190-branch Canadian travel agency network swelled Transat's size. Current rivals include Sunwing Vacations, WestJet Vacations and Air Canada's Rouge.

"Mr. Eustache's pet peeve is the lack of discipline in the industry, with too many seats chasing too few passengers. "It's been 30 years that I've been seeing this and it has never changed and - unfortunately - I don't think it will ever change, at least not in Canada."

"He is not concerned by the debt consumers are accumulating and the possibility people will cut back on treats, like vacations. It's too firmly ingrained now as a kind of entitlement, he believes. "It's become a habit of consumption." And the cost of travel is cheaper than it was 10 years ago, he adds. Not to mention that inhabitants of subzero countries such as Canada will always crave a sunny respite from the snow.

"To fuel growth, the Chinese vacation market represents huge potential. But the priority for now is to extend Transat's tour operator territory into the United States, Mexico and even South America. "To venture into China you have to find the right partner," Mr. Eustache says.

"He is a true child of Quebec's Quiet Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s: He was in one of the early graduating cohorts at UQAM, created in 1969 by the provincial government in a sweeping educational reform aimed in part at making postsecondary studies more accessible to French-speaking Quebeckers.

"And his company benefited from the controversial Quebec Stock Savings Plan, created by thenfinance minister Jacques Parizeau in 1979 to encourage Quebec companies to raise capital on the stock market by offering generous tax benefits to investors.

""Thank God for having had the QSSP in those days," Mr. Eustache says, although he allows that the program encouraged some poorly suited companies to go public, the result being several duds on the stock exchange.

"Ms. De Cesare marvels at how high Transat has soared: "I've always been amazed at everything we achieved." One reason for the venture's success is Mr.

"Eustache's determination as well as his talent for rallying people, says Ms. De Cesare, who has a country retreat near Mr. Eustache's in the Eastern Townships and enjoys taking country walks with him and their dogs.

"He maintains the same high energy levels he did in the early days, she adds.

"The CEO himself acknowledges he isn't going to stick around forever: "Clearly [my departure] won't be in 10 years. I won't stay until I'm 77."

"A formal succession plan has been adopted and a development program for internal candidates is in place. "The shareholders can throw me out whenever they want. The day I am seen to be no longer doing my job, please be kind and tell me."


"Jean-Marc Eustache

"Age: 67

"Place of birth: Oran, Algeria; moved to Quebec at age nine

"Education: Bachelor of Science degree in economics, University of Quebec at Montreal, '74

"Family: His partner, Martine Dauvet

"Book: None; he prefers to read newspapers, magazines

"Favourite vacation spot: His country house in West Bolton, Que.

"Ideal lunch mates: Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, Nelson Mandela, Angela Merkel

"Wines: Bordeaux, Tuscany

"Music: Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen

"Pastime: Hobby farm that includes lambs, Malayan peacock-pheasants, Indian runner ducks, two donkeys (Paco and Pedro)

"Food: Italian, especially pasta

"Striking childhood memory: Being driven to school in buses seated next to armed soldiers during the Algerian War of Independence

"Quote: "I don't like travelling. It means I have to fly."


"Associated Graphic


Turf's up
Artificial lawns are becoming a growing alternative for homeowners interested in high curb appeal, low maintenance - and battling drought-like conditions. But, Marsha Lederman asks, is the grass always greener?
Thursday, July 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

Brown is the new green, they are saying in Vancouver this hot, dry summer. Typically rain-soaked and lush, the grass here has turned brittle and a certain golden-brownish. Rain last weekend did not do much for the toasted state of the city's parks, yards and boulevards.

So then what's this? A yard in deep green, perfectly manicured, without a hint of rain-deprived ruin, sandwiched between so much parched crispiness fronting both of the houses next-door.

"I am delighted with it," says Arthur Bensler, the lawn's owner.

But this surprising, verdant patch of lawn in Vancouver's Point Grey neighbourhood is not grass at all, but synthetic. Artificial grass is becoming a real alternative for people interested in high curb appeal and low maintenance. A world away from the carpet-like AstroTurf of decades ago, today's synthetic grass looks a lot like a uniform, impeccable (some say too perfect) version of the real thing. (And in a barefoot test on one high-end lawn, felt not too different either.) After years of being banished to patios, pool decks and putting greens (still a huge growth area), synthetic turf is sprouting up in yards all over the place.

"Interest [has] grown double over last year," says Shaun Hunt, owner of Precision Greens and Bella Turf - artificial grass installation and distribution companies respectively. "Our spring was insane. ... Nobody wants to put real grass in because they can't water it."

In drought-like conditions, Metro Vancouver moved to Stage 3 of its watering restrictions last week, meaning watering any lawn is not permitted; even exemptions for new lawns have been cancelled. (Flower or vegetable gardens can be watered only by hand.)

The City of Vancouver is urging people to report violations, and bylaw officers have been dispatched to write tickets to any wrongheaded sods who persist in their watering ways. (The term "grassholes" was coined by some clever person to describe such people.)

So the grass is always greener - this summer, anyway - when it is not real, at least in the Lower Mainland. People desperate for an attractive lawn have done everything from hiring someone to paint it green to replacing it with artificial grass.

Hunt's company is training installers of real grass to work with the artificial stuff because work is drying up with the watering restrictions.

Another significant factor in the artificial-grass spike has been the infestation of chafer beetles, which have been tearing up lawns and tearing through sales records at SynLawn, the company that did Bensler's lawn.

"We've had 100 per cent sales increase two years in a row," SynLawn owner Chris Berry says, adding that 80 per cent of the work is back and front yards - and 70 per cent is done for pet owners. Urine can be a killer for real grass. The artificial turf installation may include a natural product that kills the ammonia smell. Rain will wash it away, but owners may have to hose it down.

The tremendous growth of the industry is not simply a West Coast phenomenon. In April, a Toronto Public Health report found that the city's public and Catholic school boards have installed artificial turf on 22 school properties and plan to install it on 19 more.

SynLawn's Eastern Canadian sales manager, Larry Roy, says the company has sold the stuff for homes, playgrounds, splash pads and daycare centres. Other recent jobs include a highway roundabout in Windsor, Ont., a dog run at the Ottawa Humane Society and an indoor golf facility in Charlottetown.

But the real explosion is in the residential market. Synthetic turf is being installed on everything from postage-stamp lawns to extravagant properties such as the West Vancouver compound where Precision Greens laid down 12,000 square feet of it, in addition to creating two putting greens, a full-sized bocce court and a one-third-sized private soccer/football field (with scoreboard, lighting, seating and even video cameras to capture the action), built over an underground garage on what was originally an adjacent property.

The compound, nestled between two mountain creeks, also features a great deal of real nature - old trees and a lot of new landscaping. "It looks perfect all the time," Hunt says during a tour of the property, which also features a pool, two hot tubs, outdoor television screens, fire pits and two outdoor kitchens. "You can do anything to it and you won't wreck it."

So if it rains before a garden party, for example, guests will not get mud on their fancy shoes or gowns. The owner is so happy with the stuff that he had it installed at two adjacent properties he recently bought.

At an oceanfront residence not far away, also in West Vancouver, you will find a synthetic putting green built on land jutting out over the water. Another nearby home is landscaped with artificial grass and (real) palm trees.

For such high-end places, the look is the key issue, Hunt says.

But for more everyday homeowners, he says, it is about the maintenance.

Bensler, who built his airy contemporary house a couple of years ago, says the chafer beetle has been causing problems on his street, and his front lawn, which faces north, was not doing well - in addition to being a lot of work. "You need to top-seed it, fertilize it, plug it, water it, the list goes on and on.

And then you look at your lawn at the end of the winter and it's a bunch of weeds and looks terrible." The California drought clinched it for Bensler, who spent about $19,000 this spring to put artificial grass on his front and back yards.

In White Rock, meanwhile, homeowner Sande Marples says the carpet-like uniform green of her new artificial lawn, which cost her about $6,000, is a huge improvement over the mucky, mossy stuff that until last April formed the backyard of her suburban home.

"All my friends think it looks great. Nobody would know that it's not real unless I tell them or they walk on it."

Her Yorkshire terrier happily pees on it without tracking mud into the house, Marples can pad around on the clean turf barefoot without her feet getting dirty (it took her a little while to get used to the slightly crunchy texture), the raccoons and crows do not come around any more - and she likes it that way.

Not everyone does. Susan Herrington, a professor of architecture and landscape architecture at the University of British Columbia, has concerns.

"Something living is different than a piece of plastic," she says, adding that synthetic lawns do not contribute to habitat value. "Animals can't eat it, things can't live in it that would normally live in the grass environment."

Herrington also points to reports that have raised questions about its safety for sports.

The concern is the crumb rubber - pellets made from recycled material - that is used on artificial playing fields to emulate sand, holding the turf up and adding some cushion for cleats.

(The rubber should not be used in residential landscaping, both Berry and Hunt stress.) In the United States, the Synthetic Turf Council says more than 60 technical studies and reports say no research directly links crumb rubber exposure to cancer.

The Toronto Public Health report on artificial playing fields that use the rubber concluded that, based on available evidence, "third-generation artificial turf is not expected to result in exposure to toxic substances at levels that pose a significant risk to human health."

But it also pointed out that artificial turf lacks the biodegrading properties of natural surfaces, and raised concerns about increased surface and air temperatures around the fields. And it said hazardous substances from the crumb rubber can leach into surface or ground water, although the releases are below levels of concern to human health.

At Simon Fraser University, Health Sciences professor Bruce Lanphear worries about chemicals in the material. "When we say, for example, that there's no evidence that these things are harmful or that the levels of toxins that children are exposed to when they play on them are harmful, therefore they're safe.

That doesn't mean they're safe."

Lanphear, who specializes in the effects of toxins on children and the developing brain, adds: "If it was me and I had children, I wouldn't put these things in my yard."

Hunt says independent tests found his materials to be safe.

He also points to an added benefit - fewer mosquitoes.

Herrington adds that the offer of a free artificial surface for her child's Vancouver high school was accepted by the parent advisory council, but rejected by the students. "It's not a very nice surface to fall on," she says.

There was much controversy (and even a lawsuit) over FIFA's decision to use artificial turf at the 2015 Women's World Cup in Vancouver this summer even though men's events are on real grass.

But beyond any safety concerns, some do not find the aesthetics appealing.

"It's got this uniform colour and cut that you don't really see in grass," says Herrington.

"Some people might like that. It looks fake to me."

In Ottawa, Roy defends his turf, citing, among other grounds, the support of his wife.

"I am married to a holistic nutritionist; she's a tree hugger," he says. "And let me tell you, if I couldn't sell the concept of synthetic grass to my wife, I wouldn't be in this industry."

Associated Graphic

Some homeowners in West Vancouver are turning to artificial lawns as a result of problems with maintenance, water restrictions, and the chafer beetle.


Shaun Hunt, owner of Bella Turf, inspects a West Vancouver home's artificial turf on Monday. ng for The Globe and Mail.


Artificial turf can include a product that kills the ammonia smell in animal urine. Rain will usually wash the urine away, but owners may have to hose it down.

As he turns 85, the currency trader-turned-philanthropist is still too busy burnishing his legacy to define it, writes biographer Anna Porter
Saturday, August 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B5

George Soros turns 85 in a few days. A few weeks ago, he celebrated the happily imminent event with a lively gathering of hedge-fund managers and their fellow travellers at London's Victoria and Albert Museum. It was, I am told, lovely to see all those Brits cheering "the man who broke the Bank of England" in 1992, when he famously bet against the pound sterling - and won. His third wife, Tamiko Bolton, a mere 40 years his junior, looked as splendid as she had during their somewhat over-the-top wedding celebrations two years ago.

One could imagine that at 85, Mr. Soros would have slowed down somewhat, but that would be wrong. His net worth is estimated by Forbes at $24.2-billion (U.S.), 17th among the richest people in America. He established his own hedge fund - renamed Quantum after Heisenberg's famous theory - in New York in 1969 with $12-million and grew it, exponentially, to what it is today, despite having given away $15-billion to his philosophically grounded charities.

Although Mr. Soros is the most successful currency trader in the world, he is known as much for his underlying philosophy of life and investing (he calls it "reflexivity") as for the fast, opportunistic moves that have left his competitors baffled.

"The prevailing wisdom is that markets are always right. I take the opposite position. I assume that markets are always wrong," he said. He went on to elaborate that, while the markets may often be right, it is on those occasions when errors are corrected that he can foresee a dramatic change. "I know what is wrong with it while the market does not. I am ahead of the curve."

But his son Robert, president and deputy chairman of Soros Fund Management, has said that, theories be damned, his father "changes his position on the market because his back starts killing him. It has nothing to do with reason," and much to do with instinct.

George Soros is a contrarian. While he has taken advantage of tax-deferral schemes, offshore filings and very smart accounting, Mr. Soros speaks convincingly about how the rich must pay more taxes, how the 1 per cent cannot continue to increase its wealth at the expense of the 99 per cent, and how those who believe that the markets are self-correcting suffer from the dangerous delusion of "market fundamentalism" - one that has caused such disasters as the 2008 financial crisis and is likely to cause similar meltdowns.

Investor behaviour will cause the market to overshoot on its way up and crash on its way down.

Whether because of instinct or theory, Mr. Soros is one of the most celebrated investors in the world, perhaps the only hedgefund manager to have earned $40-billion in profits for his investors. According to Market Watch, his Quantum fund's gains exceeded those of all other hedge funds. As recently as in 2013, they led the other funds with $5.5-billion in net gains.

In philanthropy, as in the markets, Mr. Soros has been governed by a combination of philosophy and instinct. His foundation, Open Society, operates on the basis of his conviction that democratic principles of free speech, respect for human rights, a diversity of opinion, an independent judiciary, elected governments and market economies are best for the world.

In an uncharacteristically modest moment, he has described himself as a failed philosopher.

Yet, in 1993, when he decided to donate $50-million to bring water to Sarajevo's beleaguered citizens, his intervention was driven by instinct. Aryeh Neier, who ran the Open Society Foundations for almost 20 years, said in an interview that their interventions have often been opportunistic, and that unlike other foundations, they had the ability to turn on a dime.

Mr. Soros and his highly educated employees have spread his ideas. There are offshoots of his foundations in a hundred countries. My recent book, Buying a Better World: George Soros and Billionaire Philanthropy, attempts to gauge what effect all these philanthropic activities have had - from Myanmar to Poland, Liberia to the International Criminal Court.

Meanwhile, in his 85th year, Mr. Soros has barely stopped for breath.

He advocates a number of options for the European Union's survival in these troubling times. He has been critical of the way bureaucrats have taken over a group originally united by far-seeing statesmen in the wake of two devastating world wars. In the current situation, the EU has degenerated into two groups: creditors and debtors. Since the publication of his book, The Tragedy of the European Union: Disintegration or Revival?, the prospects for an amicable solution to the European problems have become even dimmer. Sadly, he told me, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has not been reading him or listening to him.

He focused on Europe's refugee crisis this week in a Financial Times op-ed titled By Failing To Help Refugees, Europe Fails Itself. Europe has not come up with a comprehensive plan to deal with the crisis, thus leaving each member country to develop its own methods of dealing with asylum seekers.

France and Austria, he said, have reinstated passport controls and Hungary is building a fence.

He has extended financial support to Greeks through "health and solidarity centres" that offer health care and legal advice. It is a pity that Greek tycoons with offshore funds have not followed Mr. Soros's example to help their fellow countrymen.

But even if they had done so, it might be too little, too late.

He has advocated both financial and political support for Ukraine. "If Ukraine flourishes, that will tell the Russians that their problems are created by [President Vladmir] Putin," not by the West, he has said. Putting his money where his words led, he has given millions through his International Renaissance Foundation to Ukraine.

At the end of March, Mr. Soros declared that he would invest $1-billion in Ukraine if the West helped to improve investment conditions.

"The West can help Ukraine by increasing the attractiveness for investors. Political risk insurance is necessary. This could take the form of mezzanine financing at EU interest rates - very close to zero," he said in one interview.

This is the kind of assistance he advocated for Russia when the Iron Curtain crumbled and the Soviet Union ceased to be.

Then, as now, those in a position to make a significant difference have declined to do so.

During one of our interviews, he spoke of the role he had tried to play in the former Soviet Union and, subsequently, in Russia. One of Mr. Soros's more endearing characteristics is that he does not hide his disappointments and failures. Mr. Putin's Russia is a case in point.

"Sadly," he had said, "democratic elections do not necessarily bring open societies. They could, as easily, bring the opposite."

At a May event titled When Societies Open, organized by the Asia Society, Mr. Soros and moderator Orville Schell talked about the democratic transitions in a dozen countries where Mr. Soros's Open Society Foundations have actively sought to help. "There are windows of opportunity," Mr. Soros said. "And when they are open, you want to walk in."

Myanmar has been such a place. Open Society played an active role in pushing for regime change and supporting Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi while she was in exile in her own country. Since her release and the ruling military's agreement to affect reforms, Open Society has supported nongovernmental organizations, spent more than $10-million on documenting human-rights initiatives and urging the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to provide aid packages. Sadly, Ms. Suu Kyi has not done much to help racial minorities under attack, nor the growing floods of desperate refugees.

In a July essay for The New York Review of Books, Mr. Soros echoed earlier warnings by Henry Kissinger about the inevitability of U.S.-China conflicts.

"Rivalry between the U.S. and China is inevitable," he said, "but it needs to be kept within bounds that would preclude the use of military force." He argued for a closer relationship between the United States and China, and said he admires Chinese President Xi Jinping's efforts to bring China closer to the West. This, despite China's deplorable human-rights record and its form of government that could not be farther from Mr. Soros's own model of a tolerant, open society.

In the United States, he is viewed as a left-wing liberal, a very dangerous man in the opinion of Republicans of all stripes. "For traditional-minded Americans, George Soros is public enemy No. 1," Bill O'Reilly declared on Fox News.

Americans who have interviewed me seem surprised to learn that most of his attentions have been turned outward, rather than toward the United States. Even at home, his funding of the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, the Baltimore Institute, the Project on Death in America, even the Drug Policy Alliance has been overshadowed by partisan politics. In 2004, he partnered with a fellow billionaire in a fund meant to defeat George W. Bush's hopes for a second term in the White House. He failed. He had donated to President Barack Obama's campaigns and is now helping to raise funds for Hillary Clinton's team. He contributed $1-million to American Bridge 21st Century, another Super PAC supporting her.

Despite his age, Mr. Soros is singularly uninterested in discussing his legacy. He seemed irritated by questioning along these lines. He has never wished for buildings or institutes named for him, and has not become a monument builder. At the end of his 85th year, he is as peripatetic and nimble as ever, flitting between countries and ideas, doling out his cash to those who propagate his philosophies while continuing to make billions.

Associated Graphic


Social justice is in her blood
Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International
Saturday, August 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B3

LONDON -- Winnie Byanyima is tired. It's early morning and, suitcase in tow, she is just off an eighthour flight from Uganda, her native country. The executive director of Oxfam International has met me in the tiny, noisy seating area at the back end of a vaguely French bakery called Bonne Bouche near London's Paddington train station. Her mobile phone's battery has died, she faces a barrage of meetings in Oxford, where Oxfam is based, and she announces she has to flee in a mere 45 minutes.

So, I spring into action, plunk the recorder on the table and she goes silent, not willing to share her story with a pack of strangers only centimetres away from us.

"Let's get out of here," she says, looking annoyed. Being chivalrous, I grab her suitcase and, five minutes later, we are having breakfast in the Hilton Paddington lobby.

The Hilton lobby is noisy, too, but as she tucks into a bacon sandwich, Ms. Byanyima relaxes and doesn't stop talking for almost two hours - so much for the 45-minute deadline. She warms up, is pleased when I tell her that my teenage daughter is a volunteer worker at an Oxfam used-clothing shop in north London, smiles and laughs as she recounts the remarkable story of her eccentric African youth, her escape from Idi Amin's murderous regime and rise through Uganda's parliament and the international-development and human-rights worlds.

In 2013, she landed at Oxfam, one of the world's biggest agencies for emergency relief, poverty eradication and development, where she has used her position to hound the rich at the World Economic Forum in Davos, to anger Western multinational corporations by calling for a global tax authority and to fight the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Along the way, she parted company with Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson, who was an Oxfam global ambassador, over Johansson's promotion of SodaStream, the Israeli company whose factory is located in occupied territory in Palestine's West Bank.

"I love my job," says Ms. Byanyima, who considers herself first and foremost a social-justice advocate.

Ms. Byanyima has none of the air of a firebrand revolutionary; nor that of an executive who oversees a confederation of 17 Oxfams around the world (including Oxfam Canada and Oxfam Quebec), 10,000 employees and 50,000 interns and volunteers. She is soft spoken, to the point that I strain to hear her, and she dresses simply: jean jacket, colourful, long Indian dress and lots of purple - purple blouse, earrings and head scarf. She is 56 and looks a decade younger.

She can be playful. When I tell her I am soon going on "holiday," she gives me a funny look and says: "You white people are always going on holiday. We just go home to the village."

Ms. Byanyima was born in the "small dusty town" of Mbarara, a city in southwestern Uganda near the Rwandan and Tanzanian borders. She was one of seven children (one died) born to Boniface and Gertrude Byanyima, two headstrong schoolteachers who became social-justice crusaders.

They had little money, no running water and no electricity.

Young Winnie walked five kilometres to school and studied by kerosene lamp.

Her childhood was anything but normal. Boniface, now 95, became a local politician who gained a reputation for fighting injustice and opposing the dictatorship, and was routinely flung into jail. "I remember he was once arrested because he had secretly taken photographs of prisoners who were taken out of jail and being used by some politicians as their personal workers," she says. "He exposed the politicians' abuse of power and the police arrested him. He always said that dying for the cause of justice would be a good thing."

Her mother, an orphan who was raised by French-Canadian nuns from Chicoutimi, Que., was a women's rights activist and supported the family by making clothes on a Singer sewing machine, growing food and running a hardware store. Gertrude was an especially fierce opponent of arranged girlhood marriage, which often happened when the girls reached puberty.

"She would fight to keep girls in school," Ms. Byanyima says. "She used to hide young girls in our house to prevent them from getting married."

Ms. Byanyima was not even a teenager yet, but the exposure to activism would set her career path. "Our home really became a centre for opposition," she says.

"Anyone who was suffering abuses of power and oppression ran to us. So I grew up seeing that as a normal thing. ... I grew up thinking the most decent job to do was to fight injustice."

Anyone with ambition, though, had to get around Idi Amin first.

The psychotic Ugandan dictator, who rose to power in a 1971 coup d'état, slaughtered his opponents, including intellectuals; expelled the Asian business class, collapsing the economy; and stripped women of what few rights they had, right down to banning lipstick and short skirts.

Ms. Byaniyma attended Kampala's Makerere University for a year as one of three women in the engineering faculty.

"Then an incident happened that I never talk about," she says.

"It made me realize I wouldn't get my degree without making a lot of compromises with this awful regime."

Her plan: To obtain a passport, no easy feat during the crazy Amin years, and flee to Britain.

She went to see a higher education commissioner to obtain permission to study overseas. The commissioner insisted on meeting her at a hotel - a sex attempt set-up. She fled. A week later, another meeting was arranged for her, this time with the country's very top education official, in his office. Of course, it was another harassment attempt. "I walked out and was shaking with fear, and ran down 10 flights of stairs," she says.

She found refuge with an aunt, learned that "some men" were looking for her - they had showed up at her university room - and realized she had to get out of the country in a hurry.

Her mother paid a small fortune for a forged Ugandan passport and bought three $100 (U.S.) bills on the black market. Using a "rat path" at night to avoid border soldiers, she stole across the Kenyan frontier, made it to Nairobi and hopped a flight to London.

Her adventure wasn't over. At Heathrow airport, she tried to exchange her American money for pounds at the foreign exchange counter. One of the three bills was a fake and suddenly she was in trouble again.

Trembling with fear and crying as the police arrived, she claimed innocence. The police believed her. She gained refugee status and was on her way to a new life.

She was 18.

At the University of Manchester, she received a degree in aeronautical engineering, then indulged her political passions and became a revolutionary. By that time, Idi Amin had been deposed, only to be replaced by the repressive regime of Milton Obote. Ms. Byanyima joined the National Resistance Movement, led by an old family friend, Yoweri Museveni, to bring him down in what became known as the Ugandan Bush War (Mr. Museveni has been Uganda's president since 1986). After receiving a masters' degree from University of Cranfield, she returned to Uganda and was elected to three terms in the Ugandan parliament, where she championed gender equality rights.

Along the way, she married the Ugandan politician Kizza Besigye, the perennial and oft-arrested presidential candidate, and had a son, Anselm, who is now 15 and attending a boarding school in Connecticut. Then, she stepped onto the world stage.

She had stints at the African Union Commission and the United Nations Development Program, where she was director of gender and development. She is co-founder of the Global Gender and Climate Alliance.

As Oxfam's boss, she has set a few lofty, seemingly unattainable goals. The biggies are highlighting extreme wealth inequality and the evils of multinational corporations gaming national tax systems. She is lobbying for a global tax body that would close loopholes and clamp down on tax dodging, especially in developing countries. While the idea may seem absurd to Western governments and companies, Ms. Byanyima observes that "we have international organizations for health, trade and football, even for coffee, but not tax. Why not?" (She was referring to the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, FIFA and the International Coffee Organization.)

Ms. Byanymia is getting more traction on the wealth-divide file, where Oxfam-sponsored research show that the richest 1 per cent have seen their share of global wealth rise to 48 per cent in 2014 from 44 per cent in 2009.

Executives such as Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, the world's largest advertising agency, have challenged Oxfam's argument that the growing wealth divide helps to spread poverty. "You have no proof ... that equality brings prosperity," he told Ms. Byanyima during a Davos TV panel in January. But research by the International Monetary Fund and other economic think tanks supports Oxfam's stance that inequality does damage growth.

At the end of our long breakfast, I feel I have barely scratched the surface of the Byanyima file.

She is late and has to get to Oxford. I toss in one more question: What do you want to do when you leave Oxfam (her term goes until 2018)? "Whatever I do, it will be fighting for social justice," she says.


Winnie Byanyima

Age: 56 Birthplace: Mbarara, Uganda Education: MSc, mechanical engineering, energy conservation and environment, University of Cranfield; BSc, aeronautical engineering, University of Manchester Family: Married to Ugandan politician Kizza Besigye; one child, son Anselm, 15 Favourites ... Author: Nigeria's Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Film: Gone With the Wind Place: Rwenzori Mountains City: Cape Town Pastime: Gardening Collection: African paintings

Associated Graphic


As J. Kelly Nestruck discovers at Lakeshore Collegiate, drama programs are increasingly shrinking in public schools. It might not only affect the future careers of artists, but the future of theatre itself
Saturday, August 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R1


A series about theatre and growing up This is the fifth instalment of High School Drama, the Globe Arts summer series about Lakeshore Collegiate Institute's production of Les Misérables. To read the first four entries and meet the cast, visit

'H ow do you criticize something kids have done with tender loving care?" Drama teacher Greg Danakas asks me this one day in May, standing on the stage of the auditorium at Lakeshore Collegiate Institute. I'm a critic by profession - but I don't have an answer.

As opening night of Les Misérables gets closer and closer, more and more people become involved beyond Mr. Danakas's Acting Class - and more and more elements move outside of his direct control. Cosmetology students are working on the hair and make-up; business students are planning front-of-house operations; and the after-school sewing club is making long, black skirts for all the young women to wear in Mr. D's non-musical, dystopian take on Victor Hugo's classic tale.

9 On top of that, Timothy O'Hare, Lakeshore's shop teacher, runs an entire for-credit class devoted to the design and construction of the set. I pop by the Toronto high school one morning in early May to see them at work. Instead, I find a handful of students studying or on their phones under the supervision of a substitute teacher, while a documentary about the history of sneakers plays unwatched.

Mr. O'Hare - who is muchloved by his students and doesn't seem to mind his nickname "Mr. No Hair" - is away with much of the class at the Ontario Technological Skills Competitions. Grade 11 students Lamisa Hasan, Nicholas Latincic and Shamar Shepherd - who all had to stay behind for various reasons - happily leave the doc behind to talk to me about how they collectively designed and built the Les Misérables set.

First, Mr. O'Hare played the movie version of the musical of Les Mis for the class - "a lot of singing," is Shamar's skeptical review. Then, after looking up "dystopian" in the dictionary and discussing its definition, the students started to brainstorm.

The barricades for the famous climax were built out of old pieces of furniture and scrap wood found in the Lakeshore basement. "We had an outline of the set the way Mr. Danakas wanted it and then we worked around it," Lamisa, who also takes drama, but isn't in the acting class because she doesn't like performing in front of audiences, explains.

As for the black-and-white scenery flats, four feet by eight feet, three were designed in an inclusive way: Each student suggested ideas and then the best were voted on by the class. "One represents Jean Valjean's time in jail, one represents the outdoors and one represents the broken society of the play," Nicholas, who is also in the acting class playing a revolutionary named Champmathieu, explains. Shamar's design was chosen for the outdoor scenes - a haunting silhouette of a bare tree with a crow sitting on a branch. A little bit Beckett, a little bit Poe, the flat is bleak in a way that contrasts with its designer's cheerful, positive demeanour.

After spending a couple years away at a boarding school, Shamar, who wants to be a carpenter and eventually own his own business, recently returned to the neighbourhood where he grew up. "It's like one of those TV episodes where you see everyone grown up all of the sudden," he says. "It's weird."


Dropping by Lakeshore's drama studio a few days later, Mr. Danakas is nowhere to be found - but there are other adult volunteers from the community on hand. Kirsten Souwand, a former actress who helps Mr. D, is in charge of the rehearsal and is honing a key confrontation scene between Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert with actors Bradley Plesa and Gabriel Valencia.

Meanwhile, Dan Souwand, Kirsten's husband, is unloading a U-Haul full of lighting equipment donated by his company, Christie Lites. He tells me Mr. D is in the "aud" and shows me the way.

"I had a drama teacher who kept me out of trouble," Souwand, who grew up in blue-collar Sarnia, Ont., and now is vice-president operations at Christie Lites, says. "She kept me in school until I graduated - and then helped me get my first job in tech." Now, Souwand is paying it forward - doing the lighting design and mentoring the Grade 10 lighting technician, Elliot Robson.

In the auditorium, Mr. Danakas is found on stage with another volunteer industry professional - David Charles, currently the onset decorator on the TV series Reign - and their conversation falls to a hush as we enter.

Charles designed the sets for Mr. D's productions of The Trojan Women and The Three Musketeers. "They were spectacular," Mr. Danakas tells me by way of introduction. "They were Stratford quality."

What the set class has recently moved into the aud isn't quite up to that level: The barricades are too short and look as imposing as picket fences, while the painted scenery floats in an otherwise bare stage. "I asked David here for some artistic consultation," Mr. Danakas says, diplomatically.

"My No. 1 priority is to do the best show I can do, so [the kids] can feel they're just as good as any arts school. ... My No. 1 priority is the kids - not worrying about ruffling feathers."


I understand where Mr. D is coming from the more I learn about Lakeshore. Formed when three local schools were merged in the 1980s, the public school's population has been shrinking again in recent years. At its peak, about 1,100 students roamed the halls, but now enrolment is down to 650.

This is mostly due to demographics - and Lakeshore is expected to grow again soon - but another factor in the decline is also the increased popularity of magnet schools in the public system such as nearby Etobicoke School of the Arts.

"It doesn't matter if it's arts or not, everyone's looking to have their son or daughter go into a special something," Allan Easton, Lakeshore's new principal, says to me one day over lunch.

"We're all marketing for students, especially as there are fewer and fewer students - and so you need to have some programs that you can market."

Mr. Danakas's remarkable drama program is definitely marketable - after arriving at the high school in 1998, he built it up from four sections to 10 and added all sorts of extracurricular activities that he doesn't get paid to run.

But drama has become smaller again along with the student population - and is now down to six sections. Fewer students at Lakeshore means less money from the school board; less money for the school means less money for drama; less money for drama means a smaller budget for plays like Les Misérables.

Adult professionals donating time and material - such as David Charles and Dan Souwand - help Lakeshore punch above its weight and compete with the magnet schools.

My own fear about drama getting smaller in regular public schools like Lakeshore is that it limits the ability of kids to stumble upon it - and that affects not just future theatre professionals, but future theatre audiences.

The set class is full of students who have only seen plays because of Mr. Danakas: His student production of The Three Musketeers was the first play Shamar ever saw. Likewise, Lamisa's family never took her to plays, but she's gone to every one of Lakeshore's productions and visited Toronto's Factory Theatre on a trip with the set class.

They have other professional plans - but I'd love to see more Torontonians like them in audiences down the line.


On my second attempt to visit the set class, Mr. O'Hare is back and his students are all hard at work in the auditorium painting and building up the barricades.

Charles has done a superb job of filling out the space around them, adding hanging burlap and chicken wire and a giant industrial tube that snakes its way above the stage like an abandoned warehouse. It all looks particularly impressive when Souwand's truck full of professional lighting equipment makes it glow ominously.

The scenery flats the set class has painted have faded a little into the background, however. I find Shamar to ask what he thinks.

"He kind of just took our idea and give it his touch," he says, after giving it some thought and really taking in the environment. "He added on to our stuff."

But then he looks a little closer at his flat. "Oh man, they covered my crow," Shamar says, noticing that a piece of cloth is hanging over it. "I'm going to ask if we can move that."

(They didn't.)

Next week: Tensions rise as Les Misérables reaches its dress rehearsals - and Mr. Danakas celebrates his 50th birthday.

Follow me on Twitter: @nestruck

Associated Graphic

Shamar Shepherd (top) and Lamisa Hasan (above) are part of the team who designed and built the Les Misérables set.


Shamar Shepherd's design was chosen for the outdoor scenes of Les Misérables. Eventually, Shamar wants to be a carpenter and own his own business.


Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R14

Love May Fail By Matthew Quick, Harper, 416 pages, $19.99

The latest from Matthew Quick, author of The Silver Linings Playbook, has already been optioned for film, and it's easy to see why: The success of Silver Linings aside, Quick knows how to write with a cinematic fervour.

The novel opens with a vivid scene: Portia Kane is hiding in her closet waiting for the right moment to burst through the door and catch her husband in the act of infidelity, her gun blazing. Ultimately she decides he isn't worth the bullets, and instead embarks on a quest to try to become the person she thought she was going to be when she was in high school and under the tutelage of Mr. Vernon, who encouraged her to be "extraordinary." (The Dead Poets Society references are on purpose, but do sometimes feel derivative.) Yearly, Mr. Vernon makes Official Members of the Human Race cards for his graduates: "This card entitles you to the ugliness and beauty, heartache and joy - the great highs and lows of existence - and everything in between," the card begins. Unfortunately, Mr. Vernon, now in his twilight years, has fallen into a deep existential pit. He's hiding in the wilds of Vermont with only a dog named Albert Camus for company - a dog he appears to have made a suicide pact with. As Portia tries to drag her teacher away from the brink, it becomes clear that her motives aren't selfless: She's trying to save herself by saving her hero, and Mr. Vernon, now hopelessly jaded, would rather be left for dead than save anyone ever again. Her journey towards= the realization of what being extraordinary really means is played out alongside a cast of sad, charming and recognizable small-town characters, and documented through Quick's eccentrically delightful lens.

Things You Won't Say By Sarah Pekkanen, Washington Square Press, 352 pages, $21

Sarah Pekkanen's sixth novel, Things You Won't Say, begins when Jamie Anderson, the wife of a police officer named Mike, receives the call family members of police offers live in fear of: There's been a shooting at headquarters. Mike's partner has been badly wounded, but the scars that remain for Mike have tragic implications: Not long after Mike's partner is shot, Jamie receives another call. This time, it's Mike who has pulled the trigger, and the fact that the youth he shot and killed is Hispanic turns the case into a media-fuelled drama. Pekkanen's writing is always thoughtful; she is kind to her characters, and reveals their inner truths with care. And here, she handles the narrative in a unique way, telling the story through the perspectives of Jamie, and Mike's ex-girlfriend, Christie Simmons. The novel was already in the copy-editing stage of publication when Michael Brown was shot to death by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., and I found myself wondering as I read how that event may have informed the arc of this story, had it been given the chance. The timing is not the fault of the author, and this is fiction meant to entertain, not delve too deeply into the political and sociological implications of race, police brutality and PTSD. But the problem is that these real, timely issues - and the death of the teen that sets the plot in motion - feel in the end as if they matter less than the romantic happiness of the characters, and that's a little hard to swallow at this moment in history.

Against a Darkening Sky By Lauren B. Davis, Harper Avenue, 365 pages, $22.99

Montreal-born author Lauren B. Davis charts new territory with each book she writes, but Against a Darkening Sky, her fifth novel, is the biggest departure yet. Rather than the literary fiction she's known for - Our Daily Bread was long-listed for the Giller Prize in 2012 - it's a historical epic set in 17th-century England, just as Christianity is making its way into a land once ruled by gods and superstition. What Davis has proven with Against a Darkening Sky is that she's a very capable historical writer. The novel tells the story of Wilona, a young girl orphaned after a brutal plague. After months of wandering the moors, she is saved by Touilt, a respected healer in the village of Ad Gefrin. In Wilona, Touilt sees a protégé - but the life of a healer is a lonely one, and Wilona grapples with the power that lives within. Soon, her story merges with that of a young monk named Egan, whose spiritual struggles turn out to be uniquely parallel to hers. Because it's written by an author with a such a solid literary background, this novel is richly layered. It's not just a compelling story, but also a treatise on the idea of fighting back when one's beliefs are challenged from every direction. The way one's ideals might survive in an ever-changing world, as imperative now as it was thousands of years ago, is at the crux of this expertly rendered parable, and Davis's colourful - if at times uncharacteristically overblown - prose keeps the tale flowing nicely towards provocative revelations about love, religion and the human instinct to survive.

How to Start a Fire By Lisa Lutz, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 337 pages, $33

How To Start a Fire follows the friendship of college friends Kate Smirnoff, who was raised by her diner-running grandfather after her parents died when she was a child; Anna Fury, who does everything in her power to turn away from her privileged background and nearly ruins herself and her friends in the process; and beautiful Georgiana (George) Leoni, who runs aground on too many men but still manages to face her life with remarkable aplomb. A tragedy in their 20s casts a mysterious shadow over the narrative that makes it impossible to put down, and difficult to forget once it's over. But the narrative travels back and forth in time too often, with what feels like little rhyme or reason, making it a little too easy to get lost.

Don't put the book down, though: With this novel, Lutz joins the ranks of authors who write deeply and sensitively about the shadowy yet life-affirming terrain of female friendship. The characters are perfect because they are flawed and real and kind and cruel. And the story delivers staggering insights into the consequences of choice, no matter how insignificant a moment may seem at the time, as well as the meaning of forgiveness and the ways in which friends can become more like family than our own blood relations - for better or for worse.

The Truth According to Us By Annie Barrows, The Dial Press, 512 pages, $34

Remember The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? It was one of the most charming books I've ever read, and I was saddened to learn that Mary Ann Shaffer had died before it could be published. But Annie Barrows, Shaffer's niece, cowrote the book with her aunt so she could help see it through to completion. And now, with The Truth According to Us, Barrows has proven she is a talented author in her own right, capable of spinning a tale just as enchanting as Guernsey. The novel begins in 1938, when plucky but pampered Layla Beck is sent from her home in Washington, to a little town in West Virginia; her exile is her penance for not marrying the rich boy her father chose for her. Tasked by the Federal Writers Project to document the history of the sleepy town, Layla presumes the next few months of her life will be lacklustre at best.

Instead, through interviews with town founders and residents, scandals and secrets are revealed and Layla even learns some important facts about her own family, and herself. This novel is nicely paced and populated with irresistible characters; it also provides striking moments of meditation on the power of history to change the present and the strength of the human spirit.

Re Jane By Patricia Park, Pamela Dorman Books, 352 pages, $32.95

Debut novelist Patricia Park pays homage to Jane Eyre with her novel Re Jane, and her approach is fresh and wise. Jane Re is a half-Korean, half-American orphan who is raised by a strict uncle. She toils away at his grocery store while he focuses on fostering good manners and adherence to outmoded ways of thinking, rather than giving her any sort of affection. She's desperate to get out of Flushing, Queens, and so she's thrilled to accept a job as an au pair for two Brooklyn English professors and their adopted Chinese daughter. Jane quickly falls in love with the family - quite literally; she begins an affair with the father, Ed Farley. But their forbidden love is interrupted by a death in the family and Jane is required to travel to Seoul, where her heritage - and some key life lessons about love and New York, lessons that can only be learned from a distance - await. The Bronte references help paint an important portrait of a struggle with cultural identity juxtaposed against the struggle that all young people face as they come of age, fall in love and make mistakes that are necessary to personal growth but still incredibly painful.

Key laws vulnerable to growing power of trial judges
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

It is the biggest legal challenge to medicare yet. A lone judge will hear a private medical clinic's claim that the public system is exposing patients to serious risk of harm, even death, by forcing them to wait too long for care and making it difficult for them to pay for private care on their own.

The case, to begin late this year or early next year in Vancouver, highlights the growing importance of federally appointed trial judges - and, as a result, of the appointment process that gives them their power.

A major shift has occurred just beneath the surface of Canadian law, attracting little public notice.

Less than two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that a trial judge's findings on so-called social facts, such as how a ban on street soliciting affects the safety of prostitutes, should rarely be overturned by higher courts. As a result, two major laws have fallen - prostitution laws and a ban on assisted suicide - in Supreme Court rulings shaped by the factfinding of trial judges. Both trial judges were appointed by Liberal governments, and both had backgrounds in social justice.

The new-found power of trial judges will play out in the medicare case. What one judge determines to be the all-important facts - how the suffering of patients at the Cambie Surgery Centre in Vancouver has been affected by the public system, including the lack of extra-billing and user-pay options - could alter a defining feature of Canadian life. It is not known yet who the judge will be.

Joel Bakan, who teaches law at the University of British Columbia, is concerned social programs such as medicare can be "decided in effect by a single judge listening to competing expert testimony in the context of litigation. We're talking about a single judge with his or her own values and dispositions and expertise."

The federal government's appointment of judges is a mostly unfettered power, as a Globe and Mail investigation highlighted last weekend.

Except at the first stage, when independent screening committees across the country mark applicants as recommended or not, the appointment power is in cabinet's hands, entirely behind closed doors, with no public hearings at which questions can be asked of new appointees, or of the government that chose them.

For nearly 10 years, the Conservative government has been seeking candidates it believed would defer to Parliament and not go out of their way to defend individual rights.

"People were extremely naive back in 1982 if they didn't see this coming," University of Calgary law dean Ian Holloway said, referring to "the politicization of the judicial appointments process. I don't know how anyone could have imagined that the same kind of tensions that have arisen in the U.S. wouldn't arise here."

The power of the country's federally appointed trial judges cuts both ways: They can help determine whether conservative crime laws or liberal social programs live or die.

"The fact-finding role of the trial judge profoundly shapes the outcome that the Supreme Court reaches," Prof. Bakan said.

Trial judges may serve as a kind of one-person royal commission of inquiry, on social issues that have bedevilled the country for years and that were once thought of as belonging to the realm of Parliament.

And because Canada has no tradition of "originalism" - being bound by the intent of the Charter's framers - it falls to the trial judges to keep the laws in tune with changing times. They can even overturn Supreme Court rulings.

But trial judges depend on the quality of the evidence presented to them by lawyers for the parties involved - in the medicare case, the Cambie clinic and the B.C. government.

They do not go out and seek evidence on their own.

"We rely on the ability of lawyers to make sure that cases are well-argued," Prof. Holloway said.

"In and of itself, that can be a problem. When I was a law student, I remember reading judgments and thinking, 'What kind of idiot wrote that?' But when I was a law clerk working for a judge, I came to realize that as often as not, a bad judgment reflects bad lawyering."

He said the power of trial judges raises questions about whether judges and their research staffs have adequate training for major public-policy cases.

"These are issues we just can't continue to duck."

Prof. Bakan was a law clerk for the late Supreme Court chief justice Brian Dickson (1984-90), who did as much as any judge to expand the reach of the 1982 Charter's protection of life, liberty and security - the rights that brought down laws on assisted suicide and prostitution, and that pose a challenge to medicare.

"He was always very clear that the judiciary should be deferential when dealing with social legislation and social programs that have as their aim protecting vulnerable groups," Prof. Bakan said.

Here are some examples of cases in which trial judges' rulings are important.


Three sex workers challenged laws against operating a brothel, living off the avails of prostitution and street soliciting. The case went before Ontario Superior Court Justice Susan Himel. She had been appointed by the government of Jean Chrétien, and had worked in mental-health law with prominent Toronto advocate Barry Swadron before becoming public guardian and trustee of Ontario.

Justice Himel amassed 25,000 pages of evidence during the trial. She heard testimony from researchers on prostitution from the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, the United States and elsewhere, and ruled in 2010 that the Canadian laws at issue endangered prostitutes' lives. Even though the Supreme Court had upheld prostitution laws 20 years earlier, she said she was not bound by that precedent, partly because the Constitution is a "living tree" capable of growth over time.

The Ontario Court of Appeal said it did not have to defer to Justice Himel's findings on social and legislative facts. But the Supreme Court sided with Justice Himel. It said that, from here on in, appeal courts are bound by these facts found by trial judges, unless those facts are wildly wrong.

"This has enhanced the importance of the role for the judge hearing constitutional cases where such fact-finding is particularly significant," Justice Himel said in an interview by e-mail. "It allows for the possibility that judges of first instance, who must carefully review, analyze and draw conclusions from social and legislative evidence, may be faced with a changing environment and, thus, may see things differently than those presiding over cases heard in the past."

Assisted suicide

Two people suffering from debilitating diseases and a doctor challenged the criminal prohibition of physician-assisted suicide. The case went before B.C. Supreme Court Justice Lynn Smith, now retired. Justice Smith had been dean of the University of British Columbia law faculty and a founding director of the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund.

The Chrétien government appointed her to the bench. Her activist credentials are rare among appointees of the Harper government, a Globe review found.

She heard testimony about jurisdictions in the United States and Europe that allow assisted suicide, and concluded they are successful in protecting those who are vulnerable to being pressured into accepting an unwanted death. Despite a 1993 Supreme Court ruling upholding the ban on assisted suicide, she struck down the law in 2012; as with Justice Himel, the province's Court of Appeal said she was wrong, that only the Supreme Court could reverse its 1993 precedent upholding assisted suicide. But the Supreme Court, as in the prostitution case, said Justice Smith was right, and used the facts she found to uphold her ruling.

Before becoming a judge, Ms. Smith had fought for feminist causes, including the battle over discrimination against pregnant women. But she said in an interview that her background is not what matters in the case.

"Judges are required to decide cases on the basis of the facts and the law, applying the values embodied in the law and the constitution - not on the basis of their own emotions or values," Ms. Smith said by e-mail.

Cuts to refugee health care

Several refugees said government cuts were deeply harmful to their health; the government argued that those refugees had other options available to them. The refugees' challenge to the cuts went before Federal Court Justice Anne Mactavish, an appointee of the Chrétien government. She had been a president of the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, a reform-minded group. Such credentials are rare among Harper government appointees.

In a ruling last summer, she found that the cuts created severe health risks, and that other options were not available. She struck down the cuts as "cruel and unusual punishment" under the Charter's Section 12, the first time that section had been successfully used outside of criminal law. The federal government has appealed the ruling.

Associated Graphic

Gloria Taylor, front, and her sister Patty Ferguson head to the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver in 2011 seeking the legal right to die with dignity. The ban on assisted suicide was struck down in 2012.


Paddlers rolling on the river
Minden's white-water Pan Am event part of the ebb and flow of the community and the Gull, Eric Duhatschek writes
Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

MINDEN, ONT. -- The Gull River meanders peacefully through the town of Minden, a picturesque dot on the map of Ontario's cottage country, just off Highway 35.

But that bucolic image will change this weekend. The Minden Wild Water Preserve just north of town, on a much more challenging stretch of river, is host of the fiercely competitive whitewater canoe and kayaking competitions of the 2015 Pan Am Games. And the events being staged at the Pan Ams' farthest-flung venue, 191 kilometres northeast of Toronto, are also the toughest tickets to come by.

Sluggish sales were a big story before the start of the Games, but the small allocation of white-water canoe and kayak tickets were snapped up almost instantly, largely a function of how small the viewing area is. Some parents of competing athletes were unable to land tickets to watch their children compete because demand was so high.

Haley Daniels, who is paddling for Canada in women's slalom canoe (C-1), counts herself among the lucky ones.

"My parents were the only parents of all the athletes who got tickets through the lottery," Daniels said, whose sport is making its Pan Am debut. "The Canadian Olympic Committee released some tickets [last week], but still, half the families that have athletes in the event aren't able to come see their kids compete."

Daniels is from Calgary, and for years she did most of her paddling on the Bow River near the downtown community of Inglewood, where they had what she calls "a really good training site.

Unfortunately, it got ruined in the flood. So now most of our training happens out in Kananaskis Country, which is really cold, but really picturesque and has good white water, which is what we need."

Daniels's reference was to Calgary's 2013 flood, which devastated the downtown area and among other things, left the Scotiabank Saddledome under water.

But two months before that natural disaster in the largest city in Alberta, a similar chain of events on a much smaller scale unfolded in Minden, with its population of 5,655.

In April of that year, the Gull River overflowed its banks because of high water levels in the Trent-Severn Waterway System, leading to a state of emergency in the town. Businesses were closed for months. In the midst of the summer tourist season, the local beer store had to temporarily relocate. Fundraisers were held to assist the many uninsured home owners, including a benefit concert held at the Kinmount Fairgrounds later that summer, by Greg Keelor and Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo. Keelor is a cottager in the area, which relies heavily on summer tourism as its economic lifeblood.

That summer, White Water Ontario, the sport's provincial governing body, had scheduled selection trials on the river. But with water levels reaching unprecedented levels, they had to decide whether to go forward with them.

"We had to adjust the course below the drop because the volume of water was huge," explained Jim Tayler, the president of White Water Ontario and one of the driving forces behind the Pan Am Games effort.

"We had never ever seen anything like that before. Mother Nature definitely changed the makeup of the river. Rocks moved and it required some rehabilitation to the retaining walls. We lost some docks.

"But the fact is, that's part of the cycle of a river's life. Once we got through that and the water levels came back to normal, everybody was back on the river and enjoying it and sort of relearning it too."

In all, four Canadians will compete for gold in five events over two days. Apart from Daniels, Jazmyne Denhollander of Chilliwack, B.C., is entered in women's K-1. On the men's side, Cameron Smedley of Dunrobin, Ont., is paddling in men's C-1 and C-2, while Ben Hayward of Edmonton is competing in men's K-1 and C-2.

Nowadays, most white-water courses (including the one used in London in 2012 and the one being prepared for Rio de Janeiro in 2016) are man-made.

"Compared to the artificial courses of London and Rio, the Gull may not be the most spectator-friendly because it's out in the middle of nature, but that adds to the beauty of the event," said Tayler, whose son Michael paddled for Canada in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

"It strikes a chord about the sport because the sport developed outdoors. Based on conversations I'd had with some of the competitors, the Gull River is one of the most enjoyed rivers and competition sites - and it's partly because of the natural water. I think it brings out the best in people. People appreciate and recognize that we have a real jewel in the Gull River."

Mark Coleman, the director of community services for the township of Minden Hills and also the staff co-ordinator for municipal services for the Pan Am Games, believes the event will help showcase the area to a broader audience.

"If you're an international traveller to this part of the world, when you get off the plane in Toronto, you're usually going to Niagara, to the CN Tower or to Algonquin Park," Coleman said.

"Our Haliburton County landscape is the gateway to Algonquin. It brings more international attention to our community - and it will show just how accessible our facility is.

"You can go to the Colorado River or the Ottawa River or some of the other big-name rivers in North America, but accessibility sometimes becomes the issue. We have a very condensed course with a lot of features and technical parts. Some of it is natural.

Some of it is man-made - engineered and constructed where we helped nature out a bit. It's a paddler's dream to have that in your backyard. And it's very picturesque so even if you're not a paddler and you want to just see people do their thing on the river."

Daniels competed in the national team trials back in May and thus won her Pan Am Games berth here, which gives her a little bit of a home course advantage.

Daniels described the Gull as "a very challenging river. There's a big slide in the middle of the course we call The Falls. It has sharp rocks on either side, but there's a nice tongue, you can go down the middle. You really want to catch the tongue, because if you don't, you can tear up your boat or hurt yourself. It has small eddies, which are harder [to navigate] because that's where we do our upstream gates. It's really fast - it has a lot of volume going through it. Really just trying to get ahead of the water is our goal there."

Minden previously hosted World Cup slaloms as far back as 1991, but according to Tayler, the Pan Am events represent a far greater logistical challenge for his small volunteer association, which has been building toward this moment for nearly six years.

"Generally, a race out here would attract 50 or 100 people at best," said Tayler, who believes any the spectators lucky enough to get a ticket won the lottery - both literally as well as figuratively.

"This is a gorgeous sport - very challenging and very unique.

Standing on the river, watching the athletes perform, you'll be asking yourself, 'How do they do that?' And the answer is, 'thousands upon thousands of hours on the river.' "And that river will remain the focal point of the town, even after the excitement of the Pan Am Games passes.

"The river is part of the life and blood of our community," Coleman explained. "Most communities in Canada settled on a waterfront or a river. It's no different for us here - because of the fur trading and logging that occurred at various points in history. I guess if you were planning an ideal community in the future, you wouldn't necessarily build on a flood plain.

"But Minden's not alone. There are hundreds of communities in North America in the same situation and some of them flood every single year. But life carries on. People learn to live with it and adapt because of the values it does bring - in terms of the transportation and recreation and aesthetics it offers; and the fact that it's part of our energy system.

"It is very much part of our life.

We take the good with the bad - and at the end of the day, people see the tremendous value and beauty the river brings."

Associated Graphic

Canadian white-water paddler Haley Daniels works her way down the Gull River during training for the Pan Am Games. Daniels is in the women's white-water C-1 event.


Haley Daniels describes the Gull as 'a very challenging river. ... It's really fast - it has a lot of volume going through it. Really just trying to get ahead of the water is our goal there.'


A thick skin for refining skepticism
Stockwell Day, Senior adviser, Pacific Future Energy
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B3

VANCOUVER -- Stockwell Day nearly collapsed from exhaustion while running in China five years ago.

He struggled to get his legs moving again after 36 kilometres, including a steep stretch along the Great Wall of China. Six kilometres from the end of the Great Wall Marathon, he became immobilized - feeling the effects of climbing thousands of steps along the course.

"It's uphill most of the way. It's the most gruelling marathon I've ever done. It was 31 degrees, humid, and they ran out of water," he said during our spring meeting at the Cactus Club Café on Vancouver's waterfront.

An Australian runner gave him water with crystal nutrients. Mr.

Day caught a second wind and made it across the finish line in Huangyaguan's Yin and Yang Square after six hours, 29 minutes and 26 seconds. But who's counting? Just completing the arduous course is a victory. "I still highly recommend it," he said.

At the time, he was a Conservative cabinet minister under Prime Minister Stephen Harper and determined to prove his long-distance mettle before beginning an Asian trade mission.

Over the years, he learned to persevere. As leader of the Canadian Alliance party, he had dark moments that made him the subject of political ridicule. Political observers have praised Mr. Day for reviving his career after stumbling out of the blocks in Ottawa.

With the Harper government, he held key cabinet posts such as Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Treasury Board.

Mr. Day's grit as a running addict will come in handy in his role as senior adviser at Pacific Future Energy. The fledgling company wants to transport bitumen from Alberta's oil sands to northwestern British Columbia for refining. The idea is to load refined petroleum products such as diesel, gasoline, propane and jet fuel onto Asia-bound tankers.

Canada's energy industry has greeted the concept with skepticism, mainly because many refineries have slim profit margins at best, and major players are not clamouring to build new plants.

Still, Mr. Day and other Pacific Future Energy executives want to begin exporting in 2023 from the Prince Rupert area, assuming investors and commodity buyers can be secured. Newspaper publisher David Black is aiming to open the rival Kitimat Clean Ltd. oil refinery project in 2022.

Both proposals face long odds because of the enormous capital costs and concerns in British Columbia about the potential adverse environmental impact of transporting even refined oil products in ocean-going tankers.

Pacific Future Energy backers say refined petroleum products would be much more easily contained than bitumen in a spill into the ocean.

Mr. Day's mind races around. He covers an array of topics, from politics to the energy industry to food. While he is not obsessed with counting calories, he cautions that having extra weight takes its toll. "Every now and then, I will dive into a bowl of poutine. I'm not a fanatic, but I do recognize that if you put too much food into your diet, it's not to your advantage to carry a heavier load when you run. Every extra pound - you're going to be carrying that for 42 kilometres in a marathon," he said, digging into his grilled Cajun chicken on Caesar salad.

He began training for and running in marathons six years ago at the age of 58. The long hours and large workload in political life made it hard to stay in shape.

"You're working late and somebody brings in pizza and you're pounding down four or five pieces," he said.

Our meeting came before Rachel Notley led the NDP to a majority government in Alberta on May 5, but Mr. Day already saw warning signs for Jim Prentice's Progressive Conservatives. Mr. Day, a former Alberta cabinet minister, said his old boss, Ralph Klein, would have frowned on Mr. Prentice's plans to raise personal income taxes.

"Mr. Prentice chose to significantly increase taxes and not go as hard on reining in spending.

That position would not have survived at the cabinet table of fiscal conservatives with Ralph Klein," said Mr. Day, a former Alberta treasurer.

Ms. Notley's government introduced a bill in mid-June to hike taxes on corporations and highincome earners.

In a phone call in late June, Mr. Day said the rise of the Alberta NDP was a surprise: "I have to admit that I did not think that she would get a majority government.

I'm still concerned generally about NDP economic policies, but I applaud her on some of the initial steps that she is making to reach out to people."

Mr. Day is hoping the NDP government will embrace a made-in-Canada solution for stalled oil exports, and that Pacific Future Energy's project is the best option. He said a West Coast refinery makes economic sense because refinery modules built overseas could be efficiently shipped to B.C. and assembled near Prince Rupert.

Shortly after leaving politics in mid-2011, Mr. Day accepted an appointment in Vancouver as senior strategic adviser for McMillan LLP, helping the law firm broaden its interests in Asia and South America. Also in 2011, he joined the board of directors at investment banking firm RCI Capital Group Inc. and telecommunications company Telus Corp.

One aspect of political life that he does not miss is the scrutiny of his support for creationism.

During our lunch, he recalled that his religious beliefs were put under the microscope during the 2000 federal election campaign.

"I believe our creator loves us and that we can have a wonderful relationship with our creator," he said between sips of sparkling mineral water. "But I never raised it as an issue during the campaign. The mainstream media in the United States does not get as hung up on politicians expressing themselves religiously as the mainstream Canadian media."

Mr. Day has developed thick skin after years of criticisms in political life, especially after he became leader of the Canadian Alliance in 2000. He was labelled gaffe-prone for arriving at a news conference on the shores of Okanagan Lake aboard a WaveRunner and wearing a wetsuit after he won a federal by-election in September, 2000.

He said he has no regrets about the incident, which critics called a lame publicity stunt designed to show his fitness and vitality.

"That was totally my idea," he said, explaining he sought to appeal to younger voters.

He suggested Pierre Trudeau got a free pass from the media for his stunts while prime minister: "Remember Pierre Trudeau and the famous shot of him bouncing off the diving board into the swimming pool or pirouetting behind the Queen? I realized that I was taking on a national media culture, which was very traditional. The national media types were upset that I would show up in a wetsuit instead of being more properly adorned."

Mr. Day was also slammed for remarking during the 2000 federal election campaign that Canadian jobs were flowing south like the Niagara River. The river flows north. He accepts responsibility for the photo op gone awry. "I wasn't thinking. I should have known better. That's life. That was off the cuff," he said. "I don't like to read from notes."

Jean Chrétien's Liberals won a huge majority in 2000, but Mr. Day says he is proud to have helped lay the groundwork for the merger of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative Party in 2003.

Since joining Pacific Future Energy last August, Mr. Day has delivered several speeches in his ad-lib fashion. He wants to open minds to the possibility of exporting bitumen in refined form. He will be working to help win support from First Nations and provincial and federal leaders.

Stalled plans for the Northern Gateway bitumen pipeline leave an opening for others to seek ways to move oil out of landlocked Alberta to the West Coast for export to Asia.

"We have to look at ways to maximize our natural resources.

It can be done in a way that does not hurt the environment but gives great opportunities for First Nations," Mr. Day said. "We're serious and we're sincere. Bitumen from Alberta already goes to U.S. refineries, so the more we talk about our B.C. project, the more people listen."


Stockwell Day

Age: 64

Place of birth: Barrie, Ont.

Education: Attended University of Victoria, but did not graduate.

Family: Second-eldest of six children; married to Valorie for nearly 44 years. They have three married sons and 14 grandchildren.

Early business experience: Auctioneer in Kelowna, B.C.

Favourite sports teams: Montreal Canadiens, Manchester United.

Reading: Rise to Greatness: The History of Canada, by Conrad Black; Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler.

Favourite cuisine: Korean; western barbecue.

Guilty pleasures: Yam fries; chocolate cherry Blizzard.

Two of his favourite films: The Pursuit of Happyness; American Sniper.

Favourite music: Eclectic - classical, gospel, rhythm and blues, country. Fan of his musician brother, Matt Day.

Associated Graphic


Censor and sensibility
How to walk the fine line of offence in an increasingly sensitive culture
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R5

This is the fourth instalment of High School Drama, the Globe Arts summer series about Lakeshore Collegiate Institute's production of Les Misérables. To read the first three and meet the cast, visit HSdrama.

I t's March 31 - and there are 57 days, five hours, 12 minutes and seven seconds until the opening night of Les Misérables at Lakeshore Collegiate Institute.

I know this because a countdown clock has been posted on the Toronto high school's home page. No pressure.

Greg Danakas and his drama students are working on a scene where Fantine, a 19th-century single mother in search of work and caregivers for her baby, stumbles upon the unscrupulous innkeepers Monsieur and Madame Thénardier.

"You want me to walk like this?" asks Samantha Dodds, who is playing Madame Thénardier, waddling across the stage and scratching herself.

Mr. Danakas wants the Thénardiers to be as clownishly disgusting as possible. "Yeah, you've got genital warts!" he says - and the drama studio erupts in laughter.

But someone is missing: Stefan Bechler, who is playing Monsieur Thénardier, is still behind the black curtains that hang at the back of the drama studio. "Stefan?" Mr. Danakas calls out.

There is only the faint sound of sniffling in response. Stage fright has struck.


Lakeshore's annual spring shows are known for pushing boundaries - but the wider culture of taking offence is beginning to push back.

Mr. Danakas's most popular production to date was a stage adaptation of Dracula inspired by the 1998 Wesley Snipes movie Blade. It featured 17 vampires who were - in Mr. D's words - "dressed like prostitutes," watching the action unfold from scaffolding.

Dracula sold out Lakeshore's 600-seat auditorium all three nights it played in 2005 - and Kathleen McCabe, the principal then, wrote Mr. D to praise him.

"I am sure that producing a high school play may have limited your true creativity because of the censoring that I imposed on you," she wrote in the letter, which Mr. D has framed and hung on his office wall.

"However, you were able to design an amazing play and keep it on the edge."

Times have changed, however - and now it's Mr. Danakas who has to censor himself. "I wouldn't be able to do Dracula now," he says with a sigh.

The drama teacher is continuing to deal with fallout from his relatively tame, gender-bending Three Musketeers from last year.

Mr. Danakas had d'Artagnan - who wants to join the Musketeers - played by a female student and decided to deal with the implications of dropping a woman into the jocular world of 17th-century French swordsmen.

Athos, Portho and Artemis gradually gained respect for d'Artagnan, but they behaved chauvinistically toward her in the early scenes. "I thought it was totally harmless, juvenile silliness," Mr. D says.

That's not what a couple of local middle-school teachers thought of the groping and crude gestures with épées, however. They pulled their classes out of a matinee due to the sexual slapstick.

Cali Phillips, a Grade 11 student who is playing Fantine this year, recalls the incident with uncharacteristic anger. "We could hear all these seats closing - they couldn't even wait to intermission," she says, still irritated by the rudeness. "The kids liked it.

They weren't offended, it was the teachers."

Reiana Ramdeen, one of the Grade 9 students in Les Misérables, backs up Cali's account. She was at the Musketeers matinee last year - and hers was the only school not to walk out. "I liked it - it was really good," she recalls.

The middle-school matinees of Lakeshore's shows - which precede a three-night run - are often a recruiting tool for the school and its drama program. Reiana, a taekwondo enthusiast who has never seen a professional play, took drama in part because of what she saw.

But the Les Misérables matinee is in peril because of what happened last year. Principals from the local middle schools have sent letters to Lakeshore: They want to know if there will be anything objectionable - in a stage adaptation of a 19th-century French historical novel by Victor Hugo acted by teenagers.

"Why is the world getting more prudish?" Mr. Danakas wonders.


About half an hour later after his stage fright, Stefan is calming down in Mr. Danakas's office as the countdown clock ticks away on the desktop computer. "It's also counting down to my heart attack," Stefan says. "I'm excited that I got Thénardier, but I'm not sure I'm getting what Sir wants from it."

Mr. Danakas wants a largerthan-life portrayal to fit his dystopian production of the play. Stefan will eventually have clown-like makeup around his eyes and wear a ratty old pimp's jacket as his costume - and Mr. D has asked him to play Monsieur Thénardier with the voice of the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the body language of Jack Sparrow from The Pirates of the Caribbean.

Occasionally, Mr. D models this for Stefan - a directorial move he knows would be frowned upon in professional circles, but that he finds useful with students.

Stefan doesn't mind. "It's really kind of fun to see him take each role and show what he wants out of them," he says. "It's almost like he's putting on his own one-man show on the side."

What's not bothering Stefan is any of the sexual slapstick between Monsieur and Madame Thénardier. He grabs her breasts; she hits him in the crotch. The two roll around a lot, each giving as good as they get, and often exit in a clinch, excited by the casual cruelty they've inflicted on each other.

Stefan and Samantha have played husband and wife in a number plays at this point - and love working together. "We're really comfortable with each other," Stefan says. "I always ask before: 'This is okay, right?' " Teaching consent may just have been added to Ontario's controversial new sex-ed curriculum - but drama class is ahead of the curve.


A few weeks later when I stop by Mr. D's class, he has visitors:

Rachel Dowzansky and Beckey Broadshaw, two 2007 Lakeshore graduates, who have returned to say hi to their beloved teacher.

Beckey is reminiscing about going with her mother to a sex shop called Aren't We Naughty to buy her costume for Dracula in 2005. Both she and Rachel think the middle-school walk-out from last year is ridiculous.

"Hate to break it to you, but kids have never been kids," says Rachel, noting that most boys have been exposed to porn online by the age of 12 these days.

Back in Beckey and Rachel's time at Lakeshore, the concern was more about middle schoolers being offensive - not being offended. The two recall Grade 8 students heckling with sexually suggestive comments.

Drama class, on the other hand, was a place for respectful discussions around sex and sexuality - and also about the emotions surrounding falling in love and lust.

Rachel remembers the invigorating discovery that Juliet is 13 years old in Romeo and Juliet: "There was love and sex - and Shakespeare didn't judge it."

I had forgotten that element of the appeal of drama class when I was in high school: We had sex ed, but it was all about diseases and birth control. There was nothing about the messy feelings that accompanied sex - for that, we had to turn to Shakespeare.

Doug Floen, my high school drama teacher, was a boundary pusher, too. In a production of Much Ado About Nothing, Mr. Floen decided to move the sex scene between Borachio and Margaret on to the stage. And so in Grade 10, I pretended to do it doggie-style on stage.

The experience hooked me on William Shakespeare for life, essentially.

In the end, Mr. Danakas tells us he's decided to take out the Thénardiers' sexual slapstick for the student matinee. He'd rather expose the school's work to potential future drama students like Reiana than not.

"I want to have them come to see the show," he says. "I want them to know about Lakeshore - that it's not a bad school." I wonder if they're as likely to get hooked on theatre that's good for them, however.

Next week: The set-design class moves the barricades into the Lakeshore auditorium - but Mr. Danakas finds them lacking.

Follow me on Twitter: @nestruck

Associated Graphic

Reiana Ramdeen is silhouetted behind the stage while waiting for her cue on opening night at Lakeshore Collegiate Institute in Toronto on May 27.


Above: Stefan Bechler wears clown-like makeup for his role as Monsieur Thénardier. Below: Jesse Thompson, Stefan and Samantha Dodds perform onstage on closing night on May 29.

A tale of two Marshas
There may be thousands of Jim Smiths in the world, but only two Marsha Ledermans. What happens when one pursues a friendship with the other? The Globe's Marsha Lederman chronicles her new relationship, a byproduct of our curious Internet age
Friday, July 31, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L4

Marsha Lederman is pouring milk into her coffee - and by Marsha Lederman, I mean the illustrator and sculptor based in Arlington, Va., not the Marsha Lederman typing these words (I prefer cream). We have met in Seattle - she's in town for an engineering conference that her husband is attending; I've travelled there to meet her - but also for a weekend rendezvous with my best friend, who now lives in Atlanta (and, just to complicate matters, is also named Marsha). Marsha Lederman and I happen to be staying at the same hotel, having breakfast daily in the same penthouse lounge, and we have separately become fond of the Greek yogurt dish on offer. Despite all the time we have each spent hovering over that particular platter, we have never bumped into each other.

But finally, at the appointed hour, we meet.

"Marsha Lederman, I presume," says her husband, Art Schwartz, (to me). There are big, generous hugs. I feel instantly as though I have acquired two new family members.

The Internet - Facebook in particular - has made finding your appellation doppelganger a common and easy pursuit. My colleague David Ebner is Facebook friends with 18 Dave and David Ebners (and one Gregor David Ebner) - in places including Budapest, Santiago and Menomonee Falls, Wis. There is a Jim Smith Society. Director Alan Berliner made a film about the practice, inviting a bunch of other Alan Berliners to dinner in The Sweetest Sound. What was once a convention of people named Phil Campbell in the town of Phil Campbell, Ala.

(first held in 1995, organized through snail-mailed form letters) was resurrected in 2011, when a disparate group of Phil Campbells descended upon the tornado-ravaged town to help in relief efforts.

But Marsha Lederman is no Phil Campbell or Jim Smith.

According to, there are 125,124 people named Marsha in the United States and 3,179 people with the last name Lederman.

And there is one Marsha Lederman.

I found her after receiving an office going-away card from a job I was leaving. A colleague had scribbled a complimentary note in which he remarked upon a surprising achievement - that in addition to being a journalist, I was also a children's book illustrator.

After a bizarre moment of confusion - had I illustrated a children's book? (of course not) - I went looking for the Marsha Lederman who had, and found her at

It's not the only misunderstanding that has resulted from our shared names (and, I suspect, creative professions). A decade after the going-away card mix-up, that same website - hers - was listed under my bio at a book festival in which I was participating.

A few years after the greetingcard incident, I friended Marsha Lederman on Facebook. And so began the weird experience of seeing my own name pop up on my timeline with status updates about experiences I was not having. Marsha Lederman is installing the granite countertop for her kitchen renovation. Marsha Lederman is in South Africa, photographing penguins. Marsha Lederman is biking in New Mexico. I have still not become accustomed to this. I feel a jolt of weirdness every time.

When we meet, I go into reporter mode, collecting details.

She is 13 years older than I am and compact - 5-foot-4, super-fit (yoga) and angular. I am shorter and nobody has ever described me as angular (or super-fit).

We're both white, but have different colouring. Even accounting for the accents, we sound nothing alike. (But we pronounce our last names the same way, with a long "e" - lead-erman. Then again, most of my family pronounces it with a short "e" - but that's a whole other story.)

I am hunting for physical similarities because, of course, the big question has been whether we can determine a family connection. With most of my father's family wiped out during the Holocaust, I am like a hawk when I hear the name Lederman, always on the lookout for potential relatives.

Another way to gauge this, since Jews are generally named after a deceased relative, is to determine the origin of our first names. I am named after two grandfathers named Moshe; she is named after her great aunt Marasna. All three were killed in the Holocaust. Her middle name is Anne (""Ann" at birth; she added the "e") Mine, I'm afraid to report, is Estelle.

When she tells me her grandfather's name - Jacob Lederman - I get a charge. This was my father's name, and it's my son's.

("Then again, Jews of Eastern European descent named Jacob were a zloty a dozen.)

Her father's family was from a tiny village in the eastern part of the Russian-Polish Pale of Settlement, while my father came from the big city of Lodz in the western part of the Pale. Her grandfather left at the turn of the 20th century ("after, according to family lore, tossing all of their gold into a little pond during a pogrom); my father after the war. It is possible that my father's Ledermans moved west within the Pale between the turn of the century and when he was born in 1919, but I don't know anyone any more who can provide that information. ("MAL's father was born a year earlier than mine.)

Both of our families operated grocery stores - hers in Rochester, N.Y.; mine in Lodz, Poland -but that's about it for any shared family experience ("beyond running from persecution).

During our hours-long coffee date, I seek out familiar personality traits, as if our shared names might somehow have bestowed upon us common characteristics. ("Which seems ridiculous, I acknowledge. A rose by any other name and all that jazz.)

She is curious, outgoing, social - a self-described "people collector." She has been drawing from the time she could hold a pencil, and has a thing for anthropomorphizing animals in her illustrations - cats and pigs especially ("for a book catalogue's drawing of the Lincoln Memorial, she turned Honest Abe into a feline). Among her biggest projects: illustrating the children's book Virginia: An Alphabetical Journey Through History.

She has been focusing on sculpture lately, and jewellerymaking. She carries around a little Moleskin sketchbook and whips up detailed pencil portraits of people she encounters - on buses, subways, in waiting rooms, often with a little note.

"Exhausted," reads one. On another page, "Amazing blond curls." ("This notebook, like her Facebook posts, gives me a start when I see her name listed on the front page. "What is she doing with my book?" I think for a flash.)

I can't draw ("or sculpt) for beans and as a consumer of art, I'm generally not big on animals. She, on the other hand, doesn't consider herself much of a writer. ("When we meet, we resurrect a fantasy previously discussed on Facebook: to collaborate on a children's book - I'll write; she'll draw.)

While I do, like Marsha Ann("e) Lederman, consider myself a people person, this is hardly an unusual trait.

We did both keep our names when we got married - not uncommon, but a key element in our story; it's how we have found each other.

And we establish with some gusto one unsurprising mutual experience: I ask her if she ever gets a Brady Bunch-inspired "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha" ("or "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia" - that's how Marcia Brady spelled it) chanted at her when she introduces herself to someone new.

"Oh God," she says. "All the time."

Marsha A. Lederman has a grown son ("31) and daughter ("23). Her parents are 96; she is about to move them from Florida to assisted living in Virginia.

She has a lot of family scattered throughout the United States and beyond. My parents died years ago and I have a tiny extended family.

In her early 60s, Marsha A. is travelling, exploring different media in her artistic practice, volunteering to help run a local ampitheatre and growing taller ("really!) through her yoga practice. I, meanwhile, am enmeshed in the constant worklife balance battle brought on by a demanding full-time job and a young("ish) family.

We are at different life stages in different geographical places.

Marsha A. certainly doesn't need another ("fake) family member. I certainly don't need another commitment - even if that commitment is a new friendship.

And, yet, the meeting of the Marsha Ledermans ("or, as my husband calls us, Marshas Lederman) solidified this tenuous name-based connection. I knew instantly that we would make room for each other in our lives.

Friends, almost family. Potential creative collaborators. Maybe it's ridiculous, but with another Marsha Lederman around, I feel a little less alone in the world.

With this lovely story, we have somehow formed a family, and a new chant of "Marsha, Marsha" sounds just right.

Associated Graphic


Last Laugh?
With a new movie, a zeitgeist-catching television show and an entire culture tracking her every move, Amy Schumer is beyond the next big thing. But her days at the top may already be numbered, or so she tells Barry Hertz
Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R1

"Amy Schumer knows her moment can't last forever. As the star of one of the summer's most anticipated films, the creator of a genuine television phenomenon and poster girl for whatever movement wants to co-opt her this week, the comedian finds herself in a sort of Hollywood Catch-22: if she truly breaks through to the mainstream, she risks softening the hilarious but jagged edges that made her so unique to begin with.

""I know my days are numbered, but it's so out of my hands," Schumer says in an interview with The Globe, bemoaning not just her ever-shifting spot on the cultural index, but the fact that seemingly everyone has an opinion about her every move (just witness this week's flare-up over her Princess Leia-lickingC-3PO GQ cover). "I've seen the things that my friends have gotten in trouble for. It actually makes me a little indignant, and pushes myself to be even more honest to say what I want. I'm doing this in the first place because I have something to say. I've always been this way, and I'm not going to change now."

"Schumer may not have a choice. With her new movie, Trainwreck, opening in theatres this weekend, the actress and comedian will be top of mind come Monday morning, no matter how well the film fares at the box office: If it succeeds, she'll be hoisted up as a new feminist icon, a provocative and brilliant comedian who is deconstructing gender roles and is a beacon of hope to the next generation of young women. If it flops, her career will be dissected within an inch of its life, with everyone struggling to figure out how a progressive, complex comedian was once again reduced by the powers that be to just another woman who tells dirty sex jokes.

"Comedian Dave Attell, a long-time friend of Schumer's who has a brief role Trainwreck, puts the dilemma best: "Amy is at that point where I consider her on the verge of becoming a great comic, but the unfortunate thing is that she's so good at what she's doing that she's going to become a role model, and that means the death of everything funny," he says.

""Amy is a special person and this movie will lead to more success, but I just hope it doesn't water down her process, because there is so much funny in her."

"On that last part, at least, there is no doubt. But many funny women have come before her, too, only to find themselves on the wrong side of the perceived cultural lines of what's deemed acceptable, or even likeable. Just ask Sarah Silverman, Melissa McCarthy or Chelsea Handler: Women who embrace raunch, or at least the less delicate sides of comedy, are destined to endure a career under a microscope. Schumer seems prepared for the critical onslaught, or is at least game for the challenge. "It's strange and overwhelming to have no control over it. It's nerve-racking: When are they going to find some huge piece of evidence to burn me at the stake?" she says. "I think people coming at me with hate is inevitable - but then I get to complain about it, which is great!"

"It's a confidence you won't find among Hollywood's typically wary up-and-comers, which makes sense: Schumer is far from a conventional movie star.

"A 34-year-old comic who has only played small roles("Woman #1," for instance) in the few films she's been in, Schumer is enjoying a remarkable ascent - even if it's only being sold that way. Yes, Schumer has little acting experience, but she is hardly a rookie to the entertainment world, having worked in the small-screen comedy world for almost a decade, starting with a stint on the fifth season of NBC's Last Comic Standing.

"Although she didn't win the reality show (that would be Jon Reep - yes, the Jon Reep), it led to a series of projects with Jon Glaser, Mike Birbiglia and other members of the influential altcomedy crowd.

"In 2012, she landed a Comedy Central special whose title, Mostly Sex Stuff, would go on to define her career, for better or worse. "My opener, Mark Normand, talks about sex for about 80 per cent of his act, and I talk about sex for 40 to 50 per cent," says Schumer. "Yet nobody would ever say Mark has a lot of sexual content, where I'm the 'sex comic.' " However back wards the label's legacy, it shone a spotlight on Schumer's layered, occasionally provocative act. It was then a short leap to her own show - which caught fire thanks to a series of wickedly funny, zeitgeist-catching skits - and, crucially, the attention of comedy kingmaker Judd Apatow.

""I ask people I'm interested in working with if they have any ideas they're dying to do, and some come back in three months or even never. Amy came back with a script in five days," says Apatow, who directed Trainwreck, the first movie that he didn't also write. "She put in a massive amount of work, which is scary, because when you have to write something, you have to confront the possibility that you're not as good as you hope you are. You sit in front of a blank page, and think, 'I'm about to find out if I have no value as a human being.' " That fear can be doubled when it's a personal tale like Trainwreck. In the film, Schumer stars as Amy, a semi-fictional version of herself, though swapping the grimy world of standup for the slightly more glamorous environs of magazine writing. Sexually adventurous, borderline alcoholic and terrified of commitment thanks to her parents' long-ago divorce, Amy is a character foreign to the fluffy modern rom-com: a fully complex, wounded female lead who embraces life's uglier corners.

""When I wrote this two years ago, I was going through the same things. I wouldn't call it sleeping around - I was never having as much sex as Amy, unfortunately - but I was definitely spreading myself too thin, not committing in one direction so I wouldn't get hurt, and drinking," says Schumer. "But what I learned working on this with Judd was trust: to trust both myself and Judd to communicate that Amy's story is important, that she's not just a drunk tramp."

"The result is a stereotypesmashing triumph, a lacerating and hilarious look at a hero whose life is messy at best, but always compelling. No doubt there have been male variations on the same - many courtesy of Apatow himself - but Schumer delivers such an honest performance that Trainwreck isn't merely a refreshment of the genre, but a wholesale reinvention.

""There's a very low threshold for being forgiven of women for showing any kind of promiscuity, and that's even a word that you'd only use for a woman, too," Schumer says. "We're still not used to women as sexual beings ... I hope this causes a bit of a shift."

"Undoubtedly, the cultural conversation is primed. But even if the film does succeed, there are still those lingering trade-offs to consider. "Everybody gets changed by fame - nobody is immune," says Colin Quinn, a stand-up and Saturday Night Live veteran who plays Schumer's father in Trainwreck. "It's going to fuck you, it just depends on the degree."

"Adds Attell: "It's cool that Amy is leading the charge here, but comedy clubs are really the last un-PC place for somebody to let it all hang out - when you have more on the agenda, when people are looking toward you more, you get baggage," he says.

""I think she could do it all eloquently and well, but it'd be cool for her to not have that baggage."

"History has a long line of comedians who've lost their edge after succumbing to the Hollywood cycle (hello, Eddie Murphy). But as Schumer has already proven, she doesn't much care for how things have worked in the past.

""I remember we had a table read [of the Trainwreck script] when someone in the crowd asked, 'Why would anyone like her?' Then Jonah Hill popped up and said, 'Because she's awesome!' " recalls Schumer. "It was one of those moments when I was really wondering whether she was too unlikable or not for audiences, and it was a fine line. But you know what? She is awesome." No argument here.


"Associated Graphic

"Amy Schumer's new film Trainwreck opens this weekend, while her Comedy Central series was recently renewed for a fourth season.




"Trainwreck is Amy Schumer's first lead role in a feature film.



With billions at their disposal and the will to spend it... Silicon Valley tech titans are expanding their political reach
After years of antitrust headaches, patent lawsuits and battles over net neutrality, companies such as Google and Facebook all have an agenda, writes Omar el Akkad
Friday, July 24, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A6

PORTLAND, ORE. -- Earlier this month, a phalanx of private jets descended on Sun Valley, Idaho, carrying the technology industry's gilded class. They arrived at the resort town for an annual get-together nicknamed "the billionaire's summer camp."

But among the billionaires, there mingled another powerful demographic - presidential hopeful and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie showed up, as did Defence Secretary Ashton Carter and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. Most years, the tech titans who come to this conference like to talk shop. But this year, on the eve of what is expected to be the most expensive presidential primary season ever, they also talked politics.

Just a decade ago, many of the best-known tech firms in the United States not only eschewed traditional lobbying, but actively opposed it. Today, Silicon Valley is one of the most powerful lobbying forces in Washington. On issues ranging from immigration reform to tax loopholes, companies such as Apple, Google and Facebook now function as Beltway insiders, spending tens of millions to get their way. The industry whose technology helped change the way politics is practised in the U.S. now hopes its wallet can do the same.

The result is a new, heavy-spending political power centre - one that defies the traditional Democratic-Republican dividing lines. Indeed, Silicon Valley's lobbying philosophy - extremely liberal on social issues but equally as committed to low taxes and deregulation - may well prove an alluring blueprint for Republican strategists looking to revitalize the party.

"By and large, employees of tech companies - from junior employees to CEOs - are liberal. ... And because of that, I think the Democratic Party takes the tech industry for granted," says Julie Samuels, executive director of Engine, a firm that helps Silicon Valley startups advocate on policy issues at the state and national levels. "But it won't be long before we see a Republican who's very liberal on social issues take [Silicon Valley] by storm."

There is an obvious caveat here: The Republican base, which dominates the primary process, tilts heavily to the right on social issues and seems unlikely to change any time soon. But should a viable candidate come along who is willing to incur the wrath of those voters, Silicon Valley would be ready to listen.

"As far as electoral politics is concerned, the tech industry is up for grabs," Ms. Samuels said.

For years, the very notion of showering politicians with money in exchange for a friendly ear was considered anathema to Silicon Valley's central ethos - one in which engineering and problem-solving, not politics, were the only priorities.

But that ideological high ground proved more and more difficult to hold as the Web's startups grew into mammoth multinationals. For the first few years of its existence, Google barely spent any money on lobbying. By 2010, facing myriad patent lawsuits and cognizant of Microsoft's billion-dollar antitrust headaches of the late 1990s, the Web giant was spending $5-million (U.S.) a year on lobbying.

In 2014, it spent three times that much, the most of any tech company in the country.

"Most of these companies are libertarian in outlook and don't like any regulation at all," says John Simpson, director of the Privacy Project at Consumer Watchdog, which monitors corporate lobbying efforts. "They feel they've got to be players. And they've got enough money now to throw around like drunken sailors."

The federal numbers paint only a partial picture of Silicon Valley's political reach. That's because much of the companies' lobbying - for example, on issues such as regulation of direct-to-consumer automobile sales or the rules related to self-driving cars - takes place on a state-by-state basis. The lobbying amounts also don't take into account the millions that tech companies spend funding individual candidates (some companies, such as Google, have their own political action committees). And even that isn't everything - Silicon Valley giants spend millions more funding think tanks and conferences designed to tackle policy issues in which the tech industry has a stake.

Many of the tech titans' pet issues relate directly to Silicon Valley's own corporate needs. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has become one of the most vocal supporters of immigration reform, even founding an advocacy organization dedicated to the cause. But it is likely his position has something to do with the fact that, throughout the U.S. tech industry, companies have been in dire need of more skilled foreign labour than the current visa process allows.

A similar theme is evident in the debate over Net neutrality. A host of tech companies lobbied vehemently for Washington to uphold the principle that all content on the Internet should be treated equally - not simply because they believed the integrity of the Web was at stake, but also because companies such as Google and Netflix stood to lose millions if traditional cable and Internet providers suddenly had the power to treat their services differently.

But more than any other issue, tech industry lobbying has focused squarely on deregulation. Convinced that many of the current laws are hopelessly outdated in the Internet age, Silicon Valley has campaigned furiously for Washington to simply get out of the way. In recent months, major tech players such as Uber have employed an even more aggressive version of that strategy - setting up shop in cities where current regulation prohibits the company's services, confident that it has enough money and clout to outspend and outmanoeuvre the local government. On more than one occasion, the strategy worked.

But the valley's new-found appetite for lobbying presents the industry with a fundamental challenge. Many of the biggest proponents of decreased government regulation - including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin - are also vocally liberal on social issues such as environmental protection and gay rights.

But many politicians who are all in favour of cutting as much red tape as possible don't often tend to share the tech executives' social views.

"The question I don't think anyone has an answer to yet is: How does the tech industry compete successfully in politics while staying true to its ethos?" Ms. Samuels says.

That might be why, in the past few months, Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul has started building a campaign outpost in the San Francisco Bay Area. If early polls are to be believed, the senator from Kentucky has almost no chance to secure the Republican nomination. And yet his central message - a distaste for most forms of taxation and regulation, and a somewhat less absolutist view on some social issues than many of his Republican opponents - has resonated among some in the valley.

Far from the ideal candidate, Mr. Paul nonetheless represents an untapped opportunity for the United States' right-wing political ranks - the chance to woo one of the wealthiest and, suddenly, most politically active industries in the country.

"We've seen Republicans coming out to the valley," Ms. Samuels says. "Rand Paul made a huge push with his anti-regulation theme. On a lot of corporate issues, there's alignment between the tech industry and Republicans."

Larry Page Networth: $29.7-B and Sergey Brin Net worth: $29.2-B Google

The co-founders have always been obsessed with big ideas, such as driverless cars, all of which are likely to create regulatory nightmares. But the two co-founders' longest-running area of interest has been environmental issues, and increased efforts to combat climate change.

Reed Hastings Netflix Net worth: $1.26-B

In large part because it makes a huge difference to the profitability of his company, Reed Hastings has been one of the loudest supporters of measures to keep traditional corporate players (read: the big cable and Internet providers) from treating different types of Internet content in different ways.

Tim Cook Apple Net worth: $500-M

In addition to Apple's numerous lobbying efforts in areas ranging from electronic payment regulations to immigration reform, Tim Cook has been perhaps the most powerful and outspoken corporate proponent of gay rights in the country.

Mark Zuckerberg Facebook Net worth: $33.4-B

Mark Zuckerberg has joined a chorus of tech-company heads lobbying for immigration reform. That's because Facebook and many other tech companies have more jobs than there are skilled workers to fill them. As such, Mr. Zuckerberg has been outspoken on the need to make it easier for skilled labour from outside the U.S. to enter the country without the many constraints of traditional immigrant work visas.

Elon Musk Tesla Net worth: $12-B

By dangling his myriad mpanies' new headquarters the jobs that come with them) nt of several states, Elon Musk managed to make huge strides tting various local governments ke big concessions in the areas eregulation and tax breaks - erhaps his two biggest areas of focus.

Ardent researcher made mark at SickKids
Scientist who also worked on the Manhattan Project helped grow the hospital to one of the world's premier pediatric establishments
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S10

Aser Rothstein became a top physiologist and cell specialist by way of pique. His university physics professor wasn't impressed when he was often late for the early morning class, and deployed a series of caustic remarks to predict that his sleepy student would surely receive a BAC ("Bounced at Christmas") degree. Instead, the student wrote a perfect exam in his first semester, scored 94 per cent on his final and was invited by the now-friendly professor to major in physics.

"Although I liked physics, largely to spite him, I announced in triumph that I planned to major in biology," Dr. Rothstein later wrote in his memoirs.

"Thus, my major career decision was made in about 30 seconds, on impulse, to spite a professor."

Dr. Rothstein at first regretted his move, as physics crested during the Atomic Age. Young physicists worked on great things and received full professorships. Biologists were lucky to have a job.

But in the long run, it was biology that bloomed, and Dr. Rothstein was swept along in its tide.

His earlier decision, he would realize, was "both rational and clever."

Globally, Dr. Rothstein achieved renown for his contributions to the fields of cellular physiology and toxicology. In Canada, he made his mark as director for 14 years of the Research Institute at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, which he grew to one of the premier pediatric research establishments in the world.

His own research focused on cells, specifically how and why the plasma membranes that encase cells allow certain substances to pass through, but not others. Membrane research has important implications for a host of issues, including cancer and organ transplants, and genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy.

One of his notable achievements, in the late 1960s, was to identify the protein responsible for anion transport in red blood cells (an anion is a negatively charged ion). With pioneering experiments using radioisotopes, he found a chemical that would bind to a specific molecule, and, using radioactivity, separated all the proteins from the red cells, finding the one responsible for anion transport.

"It was really the first functional membrane molecule to be identified," Sergio Grinstein, who was a post-doctoral fellow in Dr.

Rothstein's lab beginning in 1976 and is now a senior scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, said. Until the discovery, "nobody had any way of knowing what molecule was responsible for a specific transport function. He was able to identify, for the first time, a membrane protein that transports something."

Dr. Rothstein was a passionate researcher. He wrote some 300 papers in his lifetime, and the title of his memoir is My Love Affair With Membranes.

"He just had an abiding love of research, whether thinking about it, doing it, talking about it or facilitating others to do it," his son Steven Rothstein, a professor of molecular and cellular biology at the University of Guelph, said.

"When I was growing up, he would bring famous scientists home for dinner and he'd just be talking with them. We wouldn't know what was going on, [but] you could tell he just really had a passion."

His love of research was rooted in curiosity. "If you know what's going to happen, you don't have to do the research," the elder Dr. Rothstein reasoned to an interviewer in 1986.

Aser Rothstein died in Guelph, Ont., on July 4 at the age of 97.

He was born in Vancouver on April 29, 1918. His father, Sam, had been smuggled out of prerevolutionary Russia at the age of 16 to join an older brother in New York. His mother, Etta (née Wiseman), had emigrated from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The family ran several businesses, including trading in scrap metal and selling burlap bags.

Their son earned his spite-fuelled undergraduate degree in biology at the University of British Columbia, set his sights on becoming a professor and completed graduate work at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Rochester, in New York. His first project, undertaken while he was a doctoral student, was to learn how humans could adapt to extreme heat and dehydration, as a prelude to an American invasion of North Africa during the Second World War. Underpaid medical students were wired up and ordered to bicycle in 49 C heat, while in the California desert, pilots were subjected to 60degree heat in their cockpits. "A sweaty good time was had by all," he later wrote.

Next came work on the Manhattan Project, the top-secret U.S. drive to build an atom bomb ahead of Nazi Germany. At the University of Rochester, Dr. Rothstein developed chemical probes to learn how mercury and uranium moved across cell membranes and how metals affected the normal function of organs. For example, inhaling uranium dust was found to inhibit a cell's ability to absorb essential sugars and amino acids.

"We wrote the bible on protection against radioactive materials," he told a University of Guelph publication in 2009.

Propelled by his research into cell membranes, then considered cutting edge, Dr. Rothstein was lured to the Hospital for Sick Children from the University of Rochester, where he co-chaired the department of radiation biology and biophysics. He agreed to visit Toronto out of curiosity and was impressed to find the largest pediatric hospital in North America, with 800 beds and a long history of research, starting in the 1920s with the development of the baby food Pablum.

But he wasn't interested in heading a research body that answered to other clinicians. "His no-nonsense attitude impressed everybody," Bibudhendra Sarkar, a senior scientist emeritus at the SickKids Research Institute who participated in Dr. Rothstein's interview, recalled. "He demanded quite a few things. He insisted that he would report directly not only to the [hospital's] CEO but also the board of trustees. That was something unique."

His talents and bluntness combined to win "space, money and power, and that was how he was able to expand the research institute," Dr. Sarkar said.

He would become involved in all aspects of the job: research, fundraising and administration.

Under his direction, the department's budget grew by an average of 12 per cent a year. He turned 65 in 1983 but stayed on for another three years, and when he retired, the research institute had a staff of about 700 and an annual budget of $24million (today, it's $214-million and has 2,000 staff).

For Dr. Rothstein, many mysteries lay in cell walls and how they function as gatekeepers. In an interview with The Globe and Mail following his hiring at SickKids, he mused on why one cell is a liver cell, another a kidney cell and another a brain cell. If a single liver cell, for example, is isolated from other liver cells, it no longer resembles a liver cell and it changes functions. But when placed with other liver cells, it reverts to its original state. Something about physical contact with other cells produces certain enzymes, with the cell membranes triggering the process.

This was relevant to cancer, he noted, because cancer cells grow uncontrolled and lose their differentiation. Later, he would turn his attention to cystic fibrosis and the abnormal way salt is transported through cell membranes of those with the disease.

On his retirement, the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel established the Aser Rothstein Career Development Chair in Genetic Diseases. As well, Dr. Rothstein was awarded the $40,000 Wightman Award given periodically by the Gairdner Foundation to a Canadian who has shown outstanding leadership in medical science. "It sure is a nice goodbye," he said at the time.

But he came out of retirement for about 10 years, on and off, to join his son Steven in a venture that would have used patented technology to produce proteins in bacteria to accurately mimic the function of elastin, which is important for blood vessels and the maintenance of youthful skin. It was ultimately unsuccessful because of insufficient funding.

Dr. Rothstein insisted he never pushed his children into the academic life. Still, his daughter, Sharon, earned a master's degree in psychology, and his other son, David, is a microbiologist. Dr.

Rothstein offered a scientific explanation for his children's success: "It had to be by osmosis."

He leaves his wife, Evelyn; children Steven, Sharon and David; a brother, Mort; seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

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

Associated Graphic

'He just had an abiding love of research, whether thinking about it, doing it, talking about it or facilitating others to do it,' Steven Rothstein says of his father.


Cultural shift squeezing retirees' savings
Parents are increasingly expected to pitch in on their millennial children's housing costs, but experts caution it can get out of control
Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S4


"Sarah and her husband had done everything right for retirement, squirrelling away savings, paying down the mortgage on their condo and not touching their line of credit.

"However, when their daughter ran into financial trouble, they started paying her mortgage as well as other expenses. When their daughter got divorced, they stepped up the support, fearing that their young grandchildren would suffer. First, they paid her mortgage, and when she had to sell her house, they paid her rent. The support went on for at least seven years, completely draining their savings. Sarah - who did not want her full name used - says they eventually took out a second mortgage and maxed out their line of credit and credit cards.

"The couple, who'd never missed a bill payment in their working lives, were forced to file for creditor protection. They are depending on a reverse mortgage on their condo while making payments on the second mortgage. Sarah's husband, also in his late 60s, must work part time in order to make ends meet. Sarah, who is retired, receives a pension from her employer. But they cannot afford trips or fancy meals out. If her husband loses his job, she says they'd "have to sell everything and move somewhere like Newfoundland."

"Their daughter, who is in her 40s, has finally stopped asking for money.

""There isn't any more money," Sarah says. "She has to be selfsufficient. We're okay, but we have to be very frugal now. It's absolutely not what we had planned. We figured the condo would all be paid for in about 10 years. It just spiralled out of control. I should have been tougher and put my foot down sooner."

"The couple are not outliers, trustee Judy Scott says. Seniors are increasingly running into financial problems. From 2010 to 2014, there was a 20.5-per-cent increase in the number of consumer insolvencies among seniors, according to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy data.

""It is alarming when you consider that the percentage of seniors in the population will probably continue to grow for at least the next five years or so," Ms. Scott says. "We are therefore likely to see seniors reach even higher percentages of total insolvencies in the next few years." A new Angus Reid Institute survey shows that 74 per cent of people nearing retirement are worried they haven't saved enough. Of those already retired, 48 per cent are concerned about outliving their money.

"Meanwhile, there's a lot of talk about "the equity generation," the great transference of wealth from the boomers to their kids, as parents help out with down payments on houses, or assist with mortgage payments. Urban Futures and Landcor released data in 2012 that showed there's an estimated $88-billion worth of equity tucked away in clear-title properties held by 55- to 74-yearolds, waiting to be transferred to their kids once the parents downsize, if not before. Some parents even take out mortgages to help their kids, or lines of credit, as Sarah and her husband did.

""The first-time buyer is a benefactor of this aging demographic," marketer Bob Rennie told the Urban Development Institute, when he first released the data.

"Real estate agent Keith Roy says he sees a lot of millennial buyers purchasing houses with $300,000 down payments that either came from an inheritance or a generous parent. It's routine to see that sort of scenario playing out on the east side, where the median house price for June was at $1.2-million, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

""The kids are in their 30s, they've built equity along the way," Mr. Roy says. "They have decent jobs and combined incomes of $150,000. They are going to their financial limits to make it happen. Maybe Grandma passed away, left them some money. And there's the bank of Mom and Dad."

"But can parents really afford to be throwing money at their kids, particularly when their own earning potential is reduced?

"Borrowing money to help one's kids is an especially risky proposition, Ms. Scott says.

""Right now, taking on that extra debt seems quite manageable, so it seems like a good decision. However, the parents are responsible for that debt. The cost is going to increase unless they pay it off fairly quickly."

"Even if they think they can afford it outright, parents should think twice before giving their kids money for a down payment, Karin Mizgala, chief executive officer of Money Coaches Canada, says. They should question whether their kids even need to buy a house.

""My default position is that it's generally not a good idea to give money to kids for down payments on homes or whatever else," Ms. Mizgala, the Vancouver-based author of Unstuck: How to Get Out of Your Money Rut and Start Living the Life You Want, says. "There are a few reasons.

"Often, parents can't afford it, and also, people don't always do a very good job at their own financial planning. It really is imperative that before handing over money to anyone, you are sure you can afford it. Make sure it isn't going to have an impact on your comfort in the future."

"Also, money may be cheap to borrow, but retirement is costly, especially when inflation is factored in.

"The Angus Reid survey found that soon-to-be-retired Canadians are particularly nervous about the amount they've put away, Shachi Kurl, public policy analyst for Angus Reid, says.

"Many Canadian workers are being laid off from jobs earlier than expected.

""There is a significant portion of retired Canadians today - about half - who say they ended up exiting the work force and not earning what they planned," Ms. Kurl says. "So that can be a source of concern. If you're counting on working until a certain year and you calculate for that, and one day you get a tap on the shoulder and you're in your mid-50s, it can be pretty hard to get back in."

"Ms. Scott says another factor that can affect retirees is floating interest rates.

""That can have a big impact on people. For most mortgages, the term is five years. Every five years, you have to re-qualify. If you have a drop in income, or if your other debts are high, or if rates go higher, the bank will look at all those factors and determine whether you qualify.

"People's financial situations change."

"The desire to pay for kids' housing needs is part of a cultural shift. Somewhere along the way, we collectively decided that we should spoil ourselves, kids included. The older generation indulged in a trip to Hawaii or Florida a couple of times in a lifetime. Dinners out were for celebrations. Their kids got jobs at McDonald's. The boomer generation, however, indulges in annual trips and dinners out routinely.

"Likewise, they indulge their kids.

""I work with lots of people who are transitioning into retirement and part of their unpreparedness is the fact they have not put as much into savings because they've been supporting their kids in various ways," Ms. Mizgala says. "It didn't used to be that parents had the same pressure to write cheques to the kids for down payments, but it seems like that has culturally changed a bit. There's so much pressure to consume and spend, generally speaking.

""I would rather see parents do a better job educating their kids around fiscal responsibility and budgeting ... as opposed to handing money over.

""If a child can't swing it on their own, it really suggests to me that there's something that's not right with that equation. I know housing is expensive, and I know the job market is challenging for kids, but I think the expectation for the younger generation is they have so much more, so much earlier. That just creates a false sense of what's possible and sustainable."

"Sarah learned the hard way.

"Now, her advice for parents is to just say no.

""You better really, really know you can afford it, and you're not going to go into any kind of a debt situation to do it," she says.

""And assume you are never getting repaid - I don't care how great your kid is. Basically, you're taking this pile of money and you're setting fire to it."


"Associated Graphic

"There's a great transference of wealth in the 'equity generation,' as boomers help their adult kids out with down payments on houses or pitch in on mortgages.





Phenom Auger-Aliassime is way ahead of the curve
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

GRANBY, QUE. -- In one rickety grandstand, the seats are demarcated with lines of white spray paint.

Once there, you might hear a child yelling for mum on an adjacent balcony while a small slice of tennis history unfolds on centre court.

When it rains (and it usually rains), there might be room for everyone in attendance to huddle in the bar tent.

If Wimbledon is tennis's acknowledged cathedral, the Granby Tennis Club, one of the stops on the well-trodden path to the big time, is more like a no-frills suburban chapel.

Grander stages await Montreal's Félix Auger-Aliassime.

For now, he seems perfectly content to own this one.

Professional tennis is a brutal, Darwinian contest of wills.

Fourteen-year-old boys aren't supposed to be this good at it.

Yet, there he is, plunging into volleys, mashing groundies and generally befuddling older players with his mix of power and guile.

Not every burgeoning player plays for a slot in the semi-finals in his first real exposure to the pro game.

Auger-Aliassime, who shares a birthday with tennis legend Roger Federer, did just that on Friday evening.

Despite a rousing first-set comeback - he clawed back from a 1-4 deficit by winning five straight games - AugerAliassime ran out of gas in a three-set loss (4-6, 6-2, 6-1) to fourth seed Yoshihito Nishioka, a 19-year-old lefty who is ranked 140th in the world.

Even in defeat, the teenager showed his run through the tournament was no accident.

But perhaps we're getting ahead of ourselves.

Hype is easily built and even more quickly deflated, so it's improvident to get too excited about a kid who is a couple of weeks shy of his 15th birthday.

But earlier this year Auger-Aliassime, a lanky 6-foot-1 righty who grew up in L'AncienneLorette, a neighbourhood by the

Quebec City airport, qualified for another Challenger event in Drummondville, Que. He didn't play in the main draw because of a muscle strain - his showing was still enough for a spot in the record books: He became the first player born in the 21st century to earn an ATP point and world ranking.

He sits at No. 1,237, but that will change on Monday when he moves into the top 800.

In Granby, he mowed through three opponents in the qualifying round and then became the youngest-ever winner of a Challenger tournament match.

"He's a phenom, obviously. But he's 14. A lot can happen, so let's wait and see," said Eugène Lapierre, Tennis Canada's senior vice-president and the tournament director for the Montreal portion of the Rogers Cup. "I can't wait to see him in two or three years, but we've got some recent examples of what pressure can do to a young player."

To watch Auger-Aliassime is to be awed by his technical proficiency. He changes speeds, booms serves, uses spin, hits deftly angled returns, covers the court like a tarp, volleys crisply - the full-meal deal.

At this week's National Bank Challenger - a $100,000 tournament on the ATP's second-tier circuit - Auger-Aliassime is showcasing his considerable promise alongside men, some of them twice his age.

There are ball kids older than he is.

"I keep using the word incredible to describe it. I wish there was a better one, but there really isn't.

It really is kind of hard to believe," Canadian Davis Cup captain Martin Laurendeau said.

Most players are big hitters nowadays (and Auger-Aliassime is certainly that), but what impresses more is his mental strength.

"He's relentless. He's like a boxer who just keeps coming," Laurendeau said.

A small example: During a service game in the second set of his second-round match against Barbadian pro Darian King (ranked 205th in the world), Auger-Aliassime airmailed a simple forehand that should have put him up 4015.

He bellowed in frustration and immediately fired an emphatic ace to the deuce court.

One point later, the game was his.

The moment was mostly important because it came shortly after the rally that tilted the match.

Having won a see-saw first set 7-5, the Montrealer dropped the first two games of the second.

With the eighth-seeded King serving at 3-2, Auger-Aliassime worked himself into a break opportunity.

That sequence illustrated what Lapierre meant when he said "the way he manages his matches is simply amazing."

In a furious rally that saw the players thump 40-plus groundstrokes at each other, AugerAliassime patiently moved his opponent around.

Attacking King's back-hand side, he scuttled in from the baseline on a high, short ball to end the point with a pinpoint, devastating drop shot.

He celebrated as only a teenager can.

With the crowd on its feet, he looked toward his family, pointed at his right temple, then gave a triumphant, windmilling fist pump.

"Just the heat of emotion," Auger-Aliassime said afterward.

"You don't really think about much during the rally, but I knew it was a pretty big moment and you have to stay tough in those. I was getting more and more tired, but I was thinking 'just one more, just one more.' " He then held serve, broke King again, and closed out a 7-5, 6-3 win on his second match point.

No one who was there will argue the better player didn't win.

There is a tendency among younger players to bounce around the court as if they are overcaffeinated deer. While there is some of that energized impatience in Auger-Aliassime's game, there is also a great deal more.

There's preternatural poise and showmanship, but he also has the skills to go for winners from anywhere on the court.

As with most stories of overnight success, Auger-Aliassime's was several years in the making.

According to his father, Sam, a tennis coach in his own right, young Félix picked up a racquet when he was four (his older sister Malika is also an accomplished junior player).

The story goes that he lost the first match he played and cried when he realized it meant he'd have to leave the court.

Though he only started playing at the National Tennis Centre fulltime last fall, he joined the parttime, under-14 program two years earlier.

But his progress over the past 10 months has been nothing short of stunning.

He has climbed more than 500 spots in the world junior ranking - he currently sits 69th, which will give him entry to the qualifiers at junior Grand Slams.

Some of it has to do with a recent five-inch growth spurt (he was listed at 5-foot-8 last fall, but said "I didn't really pay attention to how much, I just know I've grown.") "Being taller might allows me to get a few more balls, but really the turning point for me was coming to the National Training Centre full-time," he said.

It turns out another of the youngsters from the program was slated to play a quarter-final match Friday: 16-year-old Charlotte Robillard-Millette, the eighth-ranked junior player in the world.

But injuries can happen, as does life, and the people who run Tennis Canada's junior program are keenly mindful of the pitfalls of early success.

So, Auger-Aliassime will be brought along slowly.

Tennis Canada junior coach Jocelyn Robichaud said his chief concern is "to make sure he still enjoys playing the game. This all needs to be fun, not stressful. We try to make all the kids laugh a lot. The danger is he'll become a professional - not in terms of ranking but in terms of mentality - too quickly."

Media attention is one thing, but there are whispers of growing interest from agents, potential sponsors, and the like since his surprise showing in Drummondville.

But Auger-Aliassime seems keen to live up to reputation for unusual maturity.

"It's easy to get carried away.

You get back to the room at night and open social media and there's lots of - I don't know - parasites, I guess," he said, laughing. "I just need to focus on playing my game and put all that stuff aside."

Yes, it's premature to anoint a 14-year-old player as anything other than a neat tale and a prospect to watch.

The point will become harder to argue if he keeps improving at this rate.

Associated Graphic

Félix Auger-Aliassime, 14, seen at the National Bank Challenger in Granby, Que., is competing alongside players almost twice his age.


A visit of firsts, but Obama's Africa policy mostly symbolic
Africans rejoiced at the presence of a man many consider one of their own, but a closer look at the U.S. President's track record in sub-Saharan Africa reveals a lot of rousing speeches and little action, writes Paul Koring
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A6

WASHINGTON -- Just before he delivered another of his trademark soaring speeches, President Barack Obama leaned over and joked to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, that he might go on a little long.

"That's okay," replied the former anti-apartheid activist, who became South African health minister for Nelson Mandela and, in 2012, the first woman to lead the AU, adding Africans had "waited 50 years" for a U.S. president to speak to them.

Mr. Obama, who made much of his African-American heritage when he ran for U.S. president in 2008, largely turned his back on his father's birthplace after he got to the White House. During his first term, Mr. Obama spent less than a day in sub-Saharan Africa, in Ghana, a visit memorable mainly for the symbolic photo-op at Cape Coast Castle, the grim "door of no return" where slavers sent their human cargo to the Americas.

Despite big promises, the President's focus on Africa mostly paled compared with his predecessors, especially George W.

Bush, whose massive and sustained anti-HIV campaign was widely credited as a huge success that saved millions of people. Bill Clinton, too, launched a series of big-ticket economic initiatives in Africa.

During his second term, Mr. Obama has rediscovered Africa.

He delivered a stirring speech at the memorial for Nelson Mandela, where he was enthusiastically received, but there has been little substantial policy involvement in Africa aside from closer military links with governments willing to wage war on groups designated as terrorists by Washington.

The current five-day trip, likely Mr. Obama's last visit to Africa as U.S. President, includes stops in Kenya, the birthplace of his father, and Ethiopia.

So, while Kenyans rejoiced in the return of the man they regard as one of their own, there were murmurings of disquiet and disappointment among Africans seeking an end to the plague of Big Man rule that still dominates much of the continent and hoping for more than dancing from the first American president with African roots. Mr. Obama "chose to wine and dine with dictators" said Merera Gudina, vice-chair of Ethiopia's Medrek opposition coalition, after the U.S. President twice called the Addis Ababa regime "democratically elected."

In his farewell speech in Addis Ababa on Tuesday, in the gleaming new, Chinese-financed AU headquarters, Mr. Obama did deliver a clear call for Africa's Big Men to surrender power peacefully and democratically.

"I have to also say that Africa's democratic progress is also at risk when leaders refuse to step aside when their terms end," Mr. Obama said, adding he had been "a pretty good President" who could win a third term if it wasn't constitutionally forbidden. And then, with a proverbial wag of the finger at the latest in a long line of African leaders who defy their own constitution to stay in power, Mr. Obama said: "When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife - as we've seen in Burundi."

Mr. Obama was applauded by the audience in the 54-country African Union's Nelson Mandela Hall, but the President's message rang hollow for some in a continent where authoritarian regimes far outnumber functioning democracies.

Two days ago, "he was a tricky and mischievous politician," said Yonathan Tesfaye, a spokesman for Ethiopia's opposition Blue party, referring to Mr. Obama's description of Ethiopia's government. "Today, he has become a passionate, inspirational humanrights activist.

"Which one should we believe?" Rights groups roundly condemned Ethiopia's previous elections as a sham, in which the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front and its allies won all 547 seats, while democratic activists and journalists are routinely repressed, threatened and imprisoned. "I don't bite my tongue too much when it comes to these issues," Mr. Obama claimed at a joint news conference with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, whose party has held unbroken sway for a quarter of a century.

Still, Mr. Obama heaped praise on the Ethiopian government for its stunning economic growth and for having one of the "most effective militaries on the continent" that takes a leading role in the war against al-Shabab, the Islamic militant group controlling parts of Somalia that has staged violent attacks in Kenya and other East African countries. "We don't need to send our own marines, for example, in to do the fighting. The Ethiopians are tough fighters," Mr. Obama said.

In Kenya, where his half-sister, Auma Obama, introduced him as "my brother, your brother, our son" to thousands of Kenyans at an indoor arena, the President urged them to root out the "cancer of corruption" but softened the blow by saying "there are many countries that deal with this problem ... so I don't want everybody to get too sensitive."

Meanwhile, the nasty fact that, until last December, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was facing indictment by the International Criminal Court for postelection atrocities in 2007, including murder and rape as "indirect co-perpetrator," was ignored. ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda had blamed Kenyan officials for obstruction and witness intimidation in thwarting her investigation. The dropping of those charges, coupled with Mr.

Obama's second-term focus on legacy shaping, opened the door for the President to visit Kenya.

"I'm proud to be the first Kenyan-American president," Mr. Obama announced with a nod to the symbolism. It was the first time he has publicly described himself that way.

While this visit to Kenya, the first time a U.S. president has ever visited the country, was clearly an emotional moment for Mr. Obama, his powerful connection to the country first emerged publicly in the autobiographical Dreams from My Father, in which he recounts being asked, on an 1987 visit as an unknown university student, if he was related to "Dr. Obama."

"This had never happened before, I realized; not in Hawaii, not in Indonesia, not in L.A. or in New York or Chicago. For the first time in my life, I felt the comfort, the firmness of identity that a name might provide, how it could carry an entire history in other people's memories, so that they might nod and say knowingly, 'Oh, you are so and so's son,' " the future president wrote.

But the emotional connection hasn't so far shaped the President's priorities. Mr. Obama's foreign-policy focus has largely been on Asia, fitting perhaps for a man who grew up in Hawaii and spent some of his childhood years in Indonesia. Mr. Obama's "pivot to the Pacific" and repeated references to the 21st century as "America's Pacific Century" have defined his foreign policy. Africa has been, mostly, an afterthought.

Still, Mr. Obama has now racked up a series of African firsts, even if they are mostly symbolic. His current visit is the third, the most ever by a sitting U.S. president, to sub-Saharan Africa. The stops in Kenya and Ethiopia were both firsts. His speech to the AU was also a first by a sitting U.S. president.

Obama loyalists insist there is substance as well as symbolism and more than soaring speeches to the President's African legacy.

Although his Power Africa, an electrification effort, and Feed the Future, the administration's flagship development program aimed at small farmers, have yet to make any marked difference, officials claim they will deliver in the long run.

"President Obama's record on Africa will not only match that of his predecessors but, I will predict with confidence, will exceed it," says Susan Rice, the White House National Security Adviser.

As for Mr. Obama, he promised Kenyans "I'll be back." But the next time it would be as an expresident with a smaller security entourage and perhaps a chance to visit his ancestral village of Kogelo.

Visits to sub-Saharan Africa by U.S. presidents

Barack Obama

July, 2009: Ghana June-July, 2013: Tanzania, South Africa, Senegal July, 2015: Kenya, Ethiopia

George W. Bush

July, 2003: Nigeria, Uganda, Botswana, South Africa, Senegal February, 2008: Liberia, Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania, Benin

Bill Clinton

March, 1998: Senegal, Botswana, South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana August, 2000: Tanzania, Nigeria

George H. W. Bush December-January, 1992/93: Somalia

Jimmy Carter March-April, 1978: Nigeria, Liberia

Franklin D. Roosevelt January, 1943: Gambia, Liberia

Associated Graphic

U.S. President Barack Obama, flanked on his right by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on his left at the African Union in Addis Ababa, issued a clear call for Africa's Big Men to surrender power peacefully and democratically.


The art of paying your dues
To pursue a career in the arts, sacrifices must be made. But as J. Kelly Nestruck discovers, economics play an all-too-heavy role, even in high school
Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R3

"High school drama A series about theatre and growing up

"This is the third instalment of High School Drama, the Globe Arts summer series about Lakeshore Collegiate Institute's production of Les Misérables. To read the series from the beginning, and meet the rest of the cast, visit

"Jean Valjean has just been released from prison after serving 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread. But Inspector Javert doesn't have any sympathy for him.

""Five years for stealing a loaf of bread - 14 years for trying to escape," Javert says, fact-checking Valjean's sob story.

""The law is the law," he adds - but a note of uncertainty has crept into his voice.

""Strength!" Greg Danakas, Lakeshore Collegiate Institute's drama teacher shouts from across the Toronto school's rehearsal studio. "Strength!"

"Gabriel Valencia, the Grade 10 student playing Javert, takes the note and banishes any second thoughts. "The law is the law!"

"he says again, this time sternly, with steel.

"It's early March and the cast of Les Misérables has stayed after school for a run-through of the first act. As opening night gets closer, there are more and more out-of-class commitments - until, in May, rehearsals run until 9:30 p.m. almost every night.

"Hilliary Lyn, who is playing Valjean's adopted daughter, Cosette, is here even though she is not in the first act. "Mr. Danakas prefers it," says the Grade 12 student - who, as drama club president, is also setting a good example for the Grade 9s newly added to the cast.

""Paying your dues" is a phrase I hear often at Lakeshore. If you demonstrate a commitment to drama, show up at all afterschool rehearsals on time and focused, and stay to the end, Mr. Danakas will notice - and you are more likely to move up, grade by grade, from bit parts to lead roles. That's why there's controversy about Gabe being cast as Javert.

"Hilliary is cautiously optimistic that the Grade 10 student will be good - but she believes the casting was unfair to certain students in older grades. "Mr. Danakas, and I've told him this, didn't think a lot about what actors he cast."


"It's easier for some students at Lakeshore Drama to pay dues than others. Lakeshore, a high school located in south Etobicoke, is not only representative of Toronto's cultural diversity - but also the city's economic diversity.

"Allan Easton, the school's new principal, explained the catchment area to me one day over a surprisingly delicious lunch prepared by the culinary-arts students. In the 1980s, Lakeshore was formed by the amalgamation of three schools - an academic-oriented school in a higher-income area, a technical school in a more blue-collar neighbourhood and a third in the centre that was what Mr. Easton calls a "classic public school catering to whoever."

"The demographics of the school still reflect that mix: There are students who live near the water and come from families with incomes that may be significantly six figures, and there are students who live to the east in Toronto public housing. That class disparity is often apparent in the Les Misérables cast - one student contributes to discussions of the play by talking about what she learned on a trip to France, while another shares his experiences growing up in foster care like Cosette.

"Many have part-time jobs they struggle to balance with rehearsals - but that hold different importance from person to person. Certain students are saving up to go to expensive universities abroad; others are earning money to help out at home.


"During a rehearsal break, Gabe tells me that he was surprised to be cast as Javert, too. "At first, I wasn't sure what Mr. Danakas was thinking," he says.

""First, I'm in Grade 10; and then, the characters I've played before with Mr. D weren't really authority figures - they were bad guys."

"Gabe tells me about how his mother wanted to be an actor when she was little, but was discouraged by his grandmother and became a teacher. She's encouraging of his dreams, however: He hopes to work in theatre, television and film.

"The Grade 10 student is already demonstrating the dedication it will take to make it, often using his assertive voice to get other, less-focused cast members to quiet down. "Last year, when I was in Grade 9, a lot of people had been dropping out of the play, so Mr. D asked me to pick up lines and stuff like that," he says. "I guess he saw something in me."

"Background-wise, I most identify with Cali Phillips, a Grade 11 student who is playing Fantine and wonders if she should consider a career in acting or child care. Her father, like mine, is a musician - and she sees how difficult it is to be a selfemployed artist. "Despite how much fun it would be, is it really practical?" she asks, rhetorically.

"Whenever I thought of going into the arts at Cali's age, I thought of pouring powdered milk on my No Name Toasted Oat Os at my father's house.

"When it came down to it, after university, I went into journalism - and what looked like a steadier paycheque (at the time).

"Part of what I've found discouraging the longer I write about theatre is that many young talents give up in their 20s and 30s while they are still - the term is used by professionals, too - paying their dues.

"It's a tough time for most stage artists, but those from privileged backgrounds can focus entirely on paying dues with unpaid shows, apprenticeships and internships - while others have to pay off debt and pay the rent at the same time.

"At Lakeshore, however, I see that it's more than a professional problem - class plays a role in who participates in theatre even in high school.


"Shy-Anne Lawton was saved by Mr. Danakas, she tells me at one rehearsal.

"When she was in Grade 9, she hung out with a group of kids who skipped class and smoked cigarettes.

""It wasn't like I was bad - I just hung out with a bad crowd," she recalls.

"Drama was the only class ShyAnne was passing - and Mr. D told her she had to smarten up or he wouldn't let her join the main stage production that year.

"She dropped the friends and got her grades up - and got in. Now the Grade 11 student is hoping to go to Ryerson University for law.

"Shy-Anne is playing the flower-seller Marguerite in Les Misérables - but, due to problems at home, she hasn't been able to attend rehearsals as consistently or as late this year.

"She and her little sister and brother had to move in with their godfather - and his house is a long bus ride away from Lakeshore.

""Some days, I had to go pick up my sister from school," she says. "It's been crazy."

"At one point, Shy-Anne had hoped to have a lead in Grade 12 - but she's decided not to try out for drama again next year in part because of the extracurricular time commitment. "That's what I feel Mr. Danakas doesn't get - he doesn't get that people have other things going on," she says.

"After a long first-act rehearsal, I grab Mr. D for a quick chat in his office before he starts the drive home to Brampton and his family. The drama teacher is happy with how Gabe's Javert is evolving.

""Sometimes you don't think of grades, you think of who can convey the character the best," he says.

"As for behind-the-scenes politics over his casting, Mr. Danakas knows it's there, but is trying to ignore it. "I always stress that everybody is equal," he says.

""I try not to get into that competitiveness - everybody's equal, everybody's the same."

"Next week: Stefan has a breakdown at rehearsal over how to play Monsieur Thénardier - and Mr. Danakas must decide whether to tone down his production for a middle-school matinee.


"Associated Graphic

"Gabriel Valencia, left, and Ember Cope, right, laugh with friends while waiting for their scene during rehearsal.




"Gabriel Valencia receives a kiss from his father, Antonio, on closing night.


"Gabriel Valencia, left, and Cali Phillips perform on opening night at Lakeshore Collegiate Institute.

Home is where the art is
Home Ground, a contemporary Arab collection showing in Toronto, is a poetically poignant exhibit that isn't afraid to provoke
Tuesday, July 28, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L2

Curating and mounting an exhibition of Arab contemporary art from the Middle East and North Africa has to be a fraught affair. After all, the region - if one can even deign to use such an encompassing term to describe what clearly are diverse societies - has long been a geopolitical and religious hot spot. Should the exhibition be a raw reflection of those tensions? Or feature art of a more disinterested and personal kind? Should it highlight the "exoticism" or "otherness" of the region's art-making, or demonstrate affinities and congruences with the so-called "international art scene"? Link artists by adherence to a particular trend or aesthetic? Or celebrate eclecticism and individual difference?

Home Ground, an exhibition of work by 12 Arab artists, nine men, three women, now up at the Aga Khan Museum in north Toronto, answers these binaries not by excluding one option at the expense of the other but by embracing the validity of each apparent antinomy. The result, blessedly, isn't some shallow mishmash but a smartly assembled survey whose mix of video, sculpture, installation, photography and other practices pleases both retina and cerebral cortex.

It's at the Aga Khan through early January next year.

All the art in Home Ground comes from one source, the Barjeel Art Foundation of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (barjeel means windcatcher in Arabic).

The foundation was established in 2010 by Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, the 37-year-old scion of one of the UAE's ruling families, and contains about 1,200 separate works from his personal collection, dating from 1888 to 2015. Most of the art is of contemporary or modern vintage, the foundation's guiding principle being to help "the intellectual development of the art scene in the Arab region by building a prominent, publicly accessible art collection in the UAE." Part of the Barjeel's mission also is to build partnerships with other cultural institutions in the Arab world and abroad and, where possible, lend art to those institutions. Home Ground, directed by Barjeel's chief curator Suheyla Takesh, is the foundation's first exhibition in North America. (More than 100 works from the Barjeel are scheduled to be shown at London's Whitechapel Gallery, in a series of four exhibitions running for almost a year starting early September, 2015.)

Al-Qassemi, known internationally for his commentary on Arab affairs in publications such as Foreign Policy, The Guardian, The Independent and The Globe and Mail, has been a serious art collector for about 15 years, concentrating on Arab work with occasional forays into Indian, Pakistani, Turkish and Iranian art.

(His cousin is Sheikha Sultan Hoor bint al-Qasimi, founder of the Sharjah Art Foundation and curator of the UAE's official entry in the 2015 Venice Biennale.) In a brief interview at the Aga Khan Museum last week, he said he sees "the art [as] an extension of my social commentary. Just like I write articles in English to try and explain Eastern points of view and all that, I feel like the arts can also play an important role. You know the cliché 'a picture is worth 1,000 words': It really does sometimes resonate. A lot of the work is political, and has social commentary already in it. So I feel as though we complement each other in that sense."

At the same time, Suheyla Takesh was quick to stress that "there's no agenda to showcase the artists in Home Ground as political artists." Yes, she observed, "they're operating in a certain contextual framework - you can't get away from that - but they're talking about experiences that a lot of people from elsewhere have experienced. ... Anybody who's travelled between geographies and has experienced situations of displacement, by choice or not, and questions of home, identity and belonging, will be able to connect. I think this is something people in Toronto will especially be able to relate to because it's a very multicultural, cosmopolitan place and a lot of its residents are immigrants or descendants of immigrants. I certainly wouldn't want these artists to just be perceived as some exotic thing coming out of the Middle East."

The art, in fact, is frequently more poetic and poignant than sharply pointed. Take Mixed Water, Lebanon, Israel by the Lebanese-born mixed-media conceptualist Charbel-joseph H. Boutros.

It consists of a seemingly plain glass of water propped on a white shelf positioned between two small, framed, simply drawn maps of Israel and Lebanon. The water, it turns out, is an admixture, one half Israeli mineral water (Mey Eden), the other half mineral water from a Lebanese source (Sohat). The small black nails holding up the maps also pinpoint the locations where the waters are from. Has the blending to create a new identity/entity resulted in an enhanced concoction? Or is it a contamination?

To create Responses to an Immigration Request from One Hundred and Ninety-Four Governments, Raafat Ishak, a Cairo-born artist whose family moved to Australia in 1981, sent out letters, in English, to individual governments around the world, including Canada's, asking each what steps he should take to become a citizen.

After waiting two years for responses (half replied, the remainder did not), in 2009 he began to paint, in muted oils on hardboard rectangles 30 by 21 centimetres, abstracted, egg-shaped versions of the flags of the contacted countries. On top of each flag he then wrote, in Arabic, transliterations of each response (The Canadian reply? "Please refer to our website"). The paintings are arranged in three long rows on a wall at the Aga Khan.

For her commentary on the Saudi practice of forbidding women to travel independently without the written permission of their father or husband or legal male guardian, Manal alDowayan fired two lovely porcelain doves on which she imprinted signed travel permits on their folded wings. The work, Suspended Together (Standing Dove, Eating Dove), is part of a larger ensemble piece, some 200 doves, in fact, each one imprinted with travel documents she solicited from high-achieving Saudi women.

Volleyball by 39-year-old Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar is just that: a volleyball, albeit one made of concrete, using a real rubberbase, leather-panelled ball as the casting mould. What gives the artifact, which is mounted on a plinth, its weight is that the concrete comes from the Israeli West Bank barrier that runs through Jarrar's home city, Ramallah. The artist clandestinely scraped concrete from the wall to make the ball - inspired, he says, by Palestinian youngsters complaining that the barrier, under construction since 2000, was either eliminating or reducing the size of their playgrounds.

Unsurprisingly, the names of pretty much all of Home Ground's artists will be unfamiliar to most Canadians. The one likely exception is Mona Hatoum, the Beirutborn, London-based Palestinian installation/video artist who in 1995 was short-listed for the prestigious Turner Prize. An art-world superstar, she's represented here by two powerful, elegant works.

You Are Still Here (2013) is a 38by-29-cm mirror, affixed at face level to a wall, the surface of which has been sand-blasted with the words of the work's title, each word forming a line. Infinity, from 2009, strictly positions more than two dozen identical bronzed toy soldiers in the loop symbol for infinity; the loop in turn has been welded to a minimalist bronze side table, thereby rendering its intended use useless. Takesh notes that each soldier is male and holds a gun - and "none is able to see a particular target or direction since, in the loop, his immediate view is blocked by the soldier in front of him." Infinity - it rhymes with futility and absurdity.

Home Ground abounds with such provocations. (Dig, for instance, Larissa Sansour's combination video/photography display, Nation Estate, which cheekily adopts and adapts Le Corbusier's fantastical notion of the Radiant City as the physical "solution" to the issue of Palestinian nationhood.) It's a valuable show - less, perhaps, than a view into a littleseen art scene but certainly more than a glimpse. Open less than a year, the Aga Khan Museum already feels like an important presence in the country's cultural firmament.

Home Ground: Contemporary Art from the Barjeel Art Foundation is at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto through Jan. 3, 2016 (

Associated Graphic

Top: Heap by Mohamad-Said Baalbaki. SIEGFRIED BUCKER Far left: Suspended Together (Standing Dove, Eating Dove) by Manal al-Dowayan. MIGUEL VETERANO Left: Volleyball by Khaled Jarrar.


Food's new four-letter word
In a culture that fetishizes gourmet doughnuts and 'nduja-slathered everything, maintaining la bella figura has never seemed more controversial. Courtney Shea finds out how 'cleanse' became code for 'diet' (and why no one wants to admit it)
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

If you've been on Instagram lately, you I know about the current love affair between tiny women and supersized baked goods: Heidi Klum poses beside a cake that's bigger than her head; Katie Holmes mows down on a cupcake tower; Sports Illustrated model Chrissy Teigen proclaims her loves for her dad's Swedish pancake recipe (with Mrs. Butterworth's on the side). When she's not gracing magazine covers in a thong bikini, Teigen is the creator of Delushious, a food blog that chronicles her gastro adventures. Recent snaps on the "Stuff I Eat" page depict a creamy carbonara, a wood-oven margherita pizza and ramen that twinkles with pork fat.

The heroine-chic glamazons of yesteryear may have subsisted on a dangerous cocktail of cigarettes and celery, but at least there was a level of transparency to their approach. The updated expectation that people (and women in particular) should be chowing down on the hottest artery-clogging it-foods (churros ice-cream sandwiches, anyone?) and still maintain la bella figura is more harsh, and definitely more confusing. Like Epicurus's "problem of evil" paradox (God is all good/God is all powerful/Bad things happen), contemporary diet norms present three related but incompatible truths: The latest poutine fad is cool; dieting is uncool; having a body that belongs in a Victoria's Secret catalogue is cool, as ever. It's by way of this conundrum that cleansing has emerged as the ultimate not-so-secret weapon - a kale- and flaxseedflavoured loophole that allows members of the modern-day foodie tribe to cut calories without doing damage to their all-important gastro-cred.

Over the past decade, our relationship to sustenance has shifted dramatically. In subcultures that tend to be the butt of #firstworldproblem jokes, food is no longer just about what we eat, but who we are. Like fashion and travel and the wardrobes of our children, it's a way in which we brand ourselves. And while it's cool to be a bushel of locally grown kale, nobody wants to be the human embodiment of microwaved Lean Cuisine.

"We are seeing it more and more, this new standard that modern women don't diet," says Dr. Kjerstin Gruys, a sociologist at Stanford University who studies the relationship between feminism and food. "It's very out of style to say, 'I'm just eating a salad,'" she says. "We're supposed to enjoy all of this incredibly fattening food. But don't get fat!" What we're left with is what Gruys identifies as a cultural binge-and-purge mentality that is unhealthy, dangerous and very much on trend.

"The cleanse industry has been so successful in aligning itself with this whole new-agey, holistic approach to life. That's how the circle is squared," says Timothy Caulfield, an Edmonton-based academic and healthpolicy expert who wrote this year's Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? The book is a scientific debunking of dozens of celebrity-endorsed health and wellness practices including the almighty juice cleanse.

Caulfield's findings on that particular subject were definitive: There is no science to support the notion of detoxing, or that cleansing is an effective way to do so. "We're looking at multiple levels of absurdity," he says.

The vast and peculiar range of cleanses currently on the market supports his point. Take tea-toxing, a twist on juicing that got a recent boost thanks to endorsements from various members of the Kardashian clan. Or the burgeoning gazpacho cleanse (for summer 2015, cold soup is the new pressed juice). Practitioners of these highly restrictive regimens often fall back on the fallacious mantra "I'm not dieting - I'm on a cleanse," as if restricting oneself to a 600-calorie, no-solids diet could be considered anything else.

Not all cleanses are so extreme. Many involve solid food and relatively square meals. Still, what they all share is an elevated ethos.

Conventional dieting is tied up with vanity and the desire to look great in a bikini - a goal that few want to cop to in this #iwokeuplikethis #nomakeup era. "With a cleanse," says Caulfield, "it's like it's this more cultured, sophisticated endeavour. It's part of a lifestyle: You go to yoga, you shop at the farmers market, you care about being healthy, but you also live life to the fullest, so you eat fries and hamburgers, too." And then you juice-cleanse.

You Did Not Eat That is an Instagram feed that cries foul on the skinny people/fatty food myth by pointing out the obvious. Created by an anonymous fashion-industry vet, the account reposts photos like the one of Heidi Klum with the massive cake. Occasionally the subjects are celebrities, but more often they are beautiful unknowns. In an interview with New York magazine, the site's creator explains how she got the idea for YDNET after noticing how people in her industry would rather take artsy, Instagram-ready photos of food than eat it. Of course she can't say for certain who ate what, but she believes that, broadly speaking, something isn't adding up: "If you're a size zero, and you're frolicking in a tiny bikini on the beach, you probably did not eat the doughnuts that you posed [beside] the sunglasses. It's just presenting this curated life that's beautiful and perfect and totally unrealistic."

But is it impossible?

In the most basic sense, weight gain and loss comes down to the calories in/ calories out formula. It's technically possible to eat 1,500-calorie snacks without putting on pounds, but most people have to make up for it somehow, via food restriction or a whole lot of exercise.

Genetic factors do give some people an advantage, but even a warp-speed metabolism can only take a person so far. "The images that are out there can give the impression that this is how a person is eating on a regular basis and that is very misleading," says Vanessa Ast, a Toronto-based trainer and nutrition expert, adding that everything - even doughnuts - are okay in moderation. "I've got Timbits in my car right now for my kids. I'll have one or two."

Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak says that his clients (Megan Fox, Katy Perry and Halle Berry among them) are exercising regularly and eating healthy 90 per cent of the time.

"When you're posting a photo on Instagram, you're saying, 'This is a special moment.' If you're eating doughnuts every single day, you're probably not taking pictures of it."

Dana McCauley, a food marketing specialist from Toronto who hosts Food Trends TV on YouTube, says that our need to photograph our food choices in the fi rst place speaks to how much times have changed.

"When my mom came home from work every night and made meat, veg and potatoes, she wasn't doing it as a form of self-expression." Further, McCauley notes, while food crazes have always been about the swinging pendulum (from extreme carnivore to vegan cuisine and so on), what we're seeing now is different because the two extremes are part of the same trend. The expression "work hard/play hard" grew up around the Wolf of Wall Street office culture of the eighties.

Today we expect our livers and our gastrointestinal systems to do the same thing. But will there be consequences?

"What's appealing about the whole cleanse/detox thing is that it's a lot like going to church," McCauley says. "There is this sense that because you've deprived yourself for a few days and raced to the bathroom nine times, you have given penance for the pork bellies and craft cocktails that you had on the weekend. It's like cleansing gives you this halo.

But I'd be careful, because that halo just might slip down and choke you."

Associated Graphic

SAY CHEESE The Instagram feed You Did Not Eat That, created by an anonymous fashion-industry vet, raises an eyebrow at the fetishistic celebration of high-fat foods by lithesome women on social media.

GLUTTONS FOR PUNISHMENT ? In a food-mad world where dieting is verboten, cleansing has emerged as a loophole, a way of cutting calories without losing gastro-cred.


Apologies fall short for Canadian POWs who suffered atrocities
Friday, July 24, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

On Christmas morning, 1944, 23-year-old Corporal George Peterson of the Winnipeg Grenadiers was told by his Japanese guards that he wouldn't have to go down the Mitsubishi-owned coal mine that day.

Mr. Peterson, who had already spent three grueling years as a prisoner of war, said it looked as though the POWs were about to get a break from the slave-like working conditions. The guards first dragged out a fir tree, then brought out extra food for the famished prisoners, including riceballs and beer.

"They lined us up behind the table and took a picture," says Mr. Peterson, now 94. But then "they said we could go back down the mine. ... When we came up from the mine at about 5 p.m., the guards were laughing at us, saying the food was pretty good. We laughed right back, because we were trying not to let them know how much it hurt."

Nearly 70 years after the end of the Second World War, Mitsubishi Materials Corp. has begun to issue historic apologies to POWs - but it has not yet apologized to Canadians.

On Sunday, Mitsubishi outside director Yukio Okamoto made a landmark apology to American POWs in Los Angeles.

Mr. Okamoto, who is an adviser on historical issues to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, later said the firm - the first Japanese company to issue such apologies - would also make them to British, Australian and Dutch POWs.

But Canadian POWs, the vast majority of whom were captured by the Imperial Japanese Army when it overran Hong Kong as part of a surprise offensive that included the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December, 1941, have not been included.

When reached by The Globe and Mail this week, a spokesperson for Mitsubishi Materials said they "have no records and no means to verify whether or not we used Canadians POW in our predecessor company" - but that the company would make such an apology if presented with proof that they had forcibly employed Canadians.

"We will consider [an] apology [to] such people if we can verify the fact and have [the] appropriate opportunity," Mitsubishi spokesperson Takuya Kitamura said in an e-mail.

But the president of the Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association, Carol Hadley, is unsure what sort of proof or evidence might remain beyond oral accounts - since, she said, many of the historical records were destroyed in Japan. Her father Borge Agerbak was captured in Hong Kong, and told her he was forced to work in a separate Mitsubishi mine.

"I'm pleased that they are apologizing to some, I just wish they would include the Canadians in it," said Ms. Hadley, whose father died in 2001 and who is now working with others to amass documentation. "A lot of our veterans would never drive anything that had any Mitsubishi parts in it. My dad thought he should have had some shares in that company for all the work he put in."

Roughly 1,600 Canadians were captured at the Battle of Hong Kong. More than 250 of them would die in Japanese captivity by the end of the war as they suffered through starvation, beatings and diseases such as diphtheria.

The legacy of such abuses by Japanese soldiers and businesses continues to reverberate. Unlike in Europe, which moved on after Nazi Germany's atrocities, modern East Asian geopolitics are still complicated by Japan's refusal to fully acknowledge its violent military colonization of Asia in the 20th century - from the annexation of Korea in 1910 to its subsequent invasion of China and much of Southeast Asia.

Although Japanese leaders have in the past offered contrition, there is constant fury from China and South Korea over issues related to Japan's wartime record, such as military brothels.

And there is great anticipation over remarks Mr. Abe is set to make on Aug. 15, the 70th anniversity of the end of hostilities.

Mitsubishi's unprecedented apology, as well as a financial agreement it reached on Thursday with Chinese forced labourers, are historic steps in acknowledging past corporate injustices, and form just part of Japan's complicated process of reconciling with its history.

In an interview this week, Mr. Peterson said there were roughly 125 other Canadians imprisoned and employed alongside him at that particular Mitsubishi coal mine - adding that prisoners suffered through "disease, starvation, overwork" and that some prisoners were even murdered by their Japanese captors.

"I think they should apologize to the Canadians, too," said Mr. Peterson, who was one of three Canadian POWs who travelled to Japan and accepted a separate apology from the Japanese government in 2011. "I'd accept it, if they apologized."

The tales from POWs interned by the Japanese are truly horrifying. One Canadian POW, Edward Shayler, described life in a Mitsubishi coal mine on the day prisoners were told they would be buried alive in the mine if Allied forces invaded Japan. In an account recorded on the website of the group run by Ms. Hadley, Mr. Shayler wrote that after 1,365 days of confinement without adequate food or warmth, he was riddled with lice, fleas and bed bugs. He had sores all over his legs, and his teeth were aching, covered in a "thick scale," and riddled with holes. "The hunger pangs were something I never could get used to," Mr. Shayler wrote.

There was some resistance.

Mr. Peterson, who was forced to labour in Hong Kong before he was shipped to Japan's mines, described working on a runway at Hong Kong's Kai Tak airport, shovelling soft clay onto the tarmac. He said the first Japanese plane to land "went through the runway," but a Japanese engineer was blamed. Another group of Allied POWs at a Japanese shipyard, he said, managed to burn down the shed that held ship blueprints - but also avoided blame.

At times, Mr. Peterson added, the POWs at the Mitsubishi mine would commit subtle acts of sabotage by refusing to haul out the required amounts of coal during their 12-hour shifts, which simply made the guards keep them down the mine even longer.

Jennifer Lind, an associate professor at Dartmouth College who has written a book about apologies in international politics, said there is no legal obligation for Japanese corporations to get involved in the complex apology process - although German companies, along with the German government, agreed to offer roughly 4.4-billion ($6.3billion) to more than 1.6 million people in nearly 100 countries who were forcibly employed or used as slave labourers in Europe during the Second World War.

"So far the debate has focused on the policies of Japan's government: whether a government was willing to offer apologies and to support reflection upon Japan's past in history textbooks and so forth," said Prof. Lind. "Firms have been uninvolved in this, basically, though there is a huge legacy of guilt that they could choose to explore if they wanted to."

The apology Mitsubishi issued to American POWs in L.A. was organized by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, a human-rights activist who serves as the centre's associate dean, told The Globe he will raise the Canadians' case when he meets with the CEO of Mitsubishi Materials on a trip to Japan next week.

"This is an incredible opportunity for Japan," said the rabbi, who is trying to encourage other Japanese companies to follow Mitsubishi's lead in making an apology. "There is a window of opportunity here."

In Canada's case, the window is fast closing: Including Mr. Peterson, there are just 25 Canadian veterans from the Battle of Hong Kong left alive, according to Ms. Hadley. One passed away in mid-June, she said, and of the rest only five are well enough to travel to the association's convention in August.

Associated Graphic

'I think they should apologize to the Canadians, too. I'd accept it, if they apologized,' says George Peterson, 94, who spent three horrific years working in a Mitsubishi-owned coal mine during the Second World War.


George Peterson, a 94-year-old Second World War veteran who served at the Battle of Hong Kong, was captured by the Japanese and forced to work in a Mitsubishi mine for more than three years.


Liam Lacey spent almost four decades as a critic at The Globe and Mail, writing about music, theatre and, for the last 20 years, film. This week, he retires - but not before offering some wisdom from the culture trenches
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R1

Status update: After 20 years of covering film, preceded by 16 writing on pop music, theatre, television and other matters, I'm retiring as as a full-time employee of The Globe and Mail.

For historical perspective, I started in 1979, the year of the Iran Revolution, Apocalypse Now and the introduction of the McDonald's Happy Meal, the year Jurassic World star Chris Pratt was born. It seems a good time to get a few things off my chest.

Unlike so many film critics who lost their jobs in recent years and wrote sad farewell columns, I'm leaving voluntarily, and I wouldn't say this is necessarily the best gig in the world. "King" for example, might be better, so long as you could still see free movies when you wanted, but not have to write an overnight review of Grown Ups 2.

I'm not what could be called a real "fan." I'm not arranging my action figures in anticipation of the 29 upcoming comicbook adaptations over the next five years. Or pencilling into my daybook: "Sex and the City 3!" The Academy Awards are not my favourite night of the year, I don't own a home theatre or have any celebrity friends, because, as I mentioned, I'm not a king.

Nor am I a frustrated anything, except, rarely, a frustrated film critic. Criticism is some of my favourite reading, sometimes more than the works that are being written about.

How do you separate enjoyment and trying to understand what you're enjoying? That's why I'm particularly happy that my successor, The Globe and Mail's Kate Taylor, is an actual critic.

Not just a fan, a buff or an enthusiast. Okay, she's a successful novelist, too - but definitely a critic.

I learned about my favourite films and musicians from reading critics, often long before I had the chance to experience their work first-hand. I can remember critics who introduced me to favourite artists: Alfred Kazin on novelist Walker Percy; John Leonard on Maxine Hong Kingston; Pauline Kael on Taxi Driver; Robert Christgau on Al Green; Jon Pareles on Richard Thompson; The Globe's Jay Scott on Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

Reviews, for me, are like those three-minute pop songs Bruce Springsteen celebrates, that take you out of your little personal world into the big, wide, fascinating one. Hold on, baby.

Naturally, I worry about criticism's future. A lot of people worry about film criticism's future in the age of social media: CBC and CNN have even covered the subject.

In the past decade, it's been difficult to attend any film festival or arts conference that doesn't have a panel about it.

The consensus is that it's all going down like a boulder into an abyss.

First, it was the layoffs of talented critics at the Village Voice and Entertainment Weekly. More recently, there have been film writers losing their Internet jobs with the closing of sites like The Dissolve.

The trouble is that the financial numbers just aren't crunching. Even at sites that pay reviewers for piece work at a rate equivalent to minimum wage, the film reviews just aren't driving enough traffic to justify the cost. It's tough when just a click away you can check out Justin Bieber's backside or watch Ariana Grande licking doughnuts in a protest against American portion sizes.

There is a flip side to this unhappy story. The Internet has had an explosive and largely positive impact on film culture.

The average film lover can read good critics from around the world for free, draw on more academic resources than ever and simply see more films than ever before. They can argue, engage, question and inform each other in film forums and keep up on the latest discoveries from festivals around the world. The paradox of film culture closing down locally and opening up globally was the subject of Jonathan Rosenbaum's book Goodbye Cinema, Hello Cinephilia. You may think of this as A Tale of Two Cines: the best of times and the worst of times.

I'm also not sold on the idea that the golden age of print reviewing, which I caught the tail end of, was really all that golden.

There's a case for the investment newspapers make in giving young journalists a period to develop their knowledge and judgment on the film beat, but the notion of the "professional critic" is a suspect term. It doesn't refer to a trained and licensed professional, just someone who's found a publisher to support their viewing and writing habits. Or, in my case, got too old for the rock beat.

Hyperbolic praise for movies didn't begin with the Internet.

("My eyeballs were literally riveted to the screen, by literal rivets ..." wrote Dave Barry in a satiric review of The Lord of the Rings). And snarkiness had a long history before Gawker ever went online. As a New Yorker cartoon showing a couple talking at a party put it, "The reviews said the reviewers were very clever."

Although they're often referred to with reverence today, both Kael and Roger Ebert were, in their time, sometimes disparaged and held up as examples of the Great Dumbing Down.

Things haven't changed that much. The critic's basic questions - what is it, how does it work and does it matter? - are the same. What has altered are the objects of our attention and how we see them.

Films are, for the most part, not really films any more.

They're part of the digital video soup we're all swimming in. The democratization of media production tools, once in the hands of big corporations, has atomized the moving image formats: Movies, television, games, YouTube, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat and phone captures have created a porridge pot of "microfame" and "nanofame" bubbles.

To quote a meme that originated with the Scottish musician and writer Momus: "On the Web everyone will be famous to 15 people."

Last year, a Variety survey determined that U.S. teenagers are more familiar with YouTube stars than they are with the biggest celebrities in film, TV and music.

Meanwhile, those "legacy media," old-school celebrities are in oversupply, put out of work by reality television and Hollywood's lack of attention to smaller movies. At the film festivals, we see hundreds of them, eager to talk to anyone about their latest projects. When they can't find movie and TV jobs, they lend their names to lifestyle brands. You can actually read a Gwyneth Paltrow blog on how to yawn like a star.

Maintaining a distance from your subjects used to be a basic tenet of the critics' code, but no more. We interact on social media, both positively and negatively. More often I hear critics describing filmmakers they like as friends, which is hard to imagine. At some point, you will probably have to choose between being a good friend and a good critic. What you can't do is hide out. Marketing your journalistic brand on social media is now a job requirement. Some journalism schools even include Klout "influence" scores as part of students' grades.

There's a strong incentive to try to trade tweets with a real celebrity and gain some reflected light. Or find the right sequence of characters to light up the Twitterverse and briefly fluoresce as a Twitter firefly yourself. Everyone's a critic, everyone's a star, everyone's an audience. All this increases rather than diminishes the importance of the dedicated evaluator, someone who is agile enough to operate in the new media ecosystem and extract the signal from the noise, the art from the hype.

We're all ultimately in debt to the people who create content, the writers, composers, filmmakers and performers who give us the gifts of the imagination. The least we owe them, and our readers, is an honest response to their work.

Associated Graphic


Liam Lacey's career covering film has spanned 20 years. Above are movie posters of Academy Awards Best Picture winners during that period.

Let the great Games debate begin
These were Canada's most successful Pan Am Games ever, with the host country winning 78 gold medals - a national record. But as Oliver Sachgau writes, the excitement has barely begun to die down and talk has already turned to the Games' legacy - and the momentum all that metal will give to Canada's athletes in Rio
Monday, July 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A6

After 17 days, almost 400 events, a $2.5-billion budget and one Kanye West concert, the 2015 Pan Am Games are done.

Some people are already busy debating the legacy of the Games, while others are looking forward to translating the momentum of the Games into an Olympic bid.

Either way, there's a lot to unpack from the past two weeks.

The final weekend

Saturday and Sunday were full of highs and lows for the athletes.

Canada captured gold in women's road racing (cycling), team foil fencing and boxing; silver in men's basketball; bronze in men's singles bowling; and silver and bronze in the women's 1,500metre race - the third-place finish in that race going to Sasha Gollish, despite getting her left shoe knocked half off 150 metres into the contest.

Funny enough, almost the same thing happened to her last year during a race in Europe.

"I actually told myself: If this ever [happens] to me again, I'm going to drop out of the race ... You get the worst blister you can possibly think of in the bottom of your foot," Ms. Gollish told The Globe and Mail.

Still, it's a bittersweet victory, she said.

"Canada really wanted to be one-two in every event, and there's a little part of me that goes, 'I let my country down,' but there's a huge part of me that shows other people that you never give up," she said.

Also on Saturday, the men's 4x100-metre relay team looked like it had won gold, but a protest filed by several countries saw the team disqualified.

Sunday added a few medals to Canada's total. Gold was won in women's softball, silver in women's baseball and bronze in men's volleyball.

Canada's most successful Games

Canada's total medal count was 217, behind only the United States and its 265 medals. It's a new Canadian record, easily surpassing the 196 medals we won at the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg. And with 78 golds, Canada beat its record of 64, also set at the Winnipeg Games.

They are records that Canadian Olympic Committee president Marcel Aubut was more than happy to talk about. Mr. Aubut said he wants the success of the Pan Am Games to carry over to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"We are not done yet. We will do more. We are always reaching higher. We don't know anything else," he said at a news conference Sunday.

The local response

For a while there, it seemed that ticket sales would fall short of expectations, with just half of the 1.4 million tickets sold shortly before the Games. Experts blamed the lack of star power, as many high-profile athletes such as sprinter Usain Bolt and swimmer Michael Phelps did not show up for these Games.

However, ticket sales slowly picked up and crossed the onemillion mark on July 19.


Before the Games, all Torontonians seemed to be able to talk about was traffic - specifically, the introduction of high-occupancy vehicle lanes that were only open to vehicles with at least three people, Pan Am vehicles, first responders and taxis.

While some praised the fast travel times in the lanes, those who didn't meet the requirements complained about increased traffic and commute times.

The HOV lanes also brought out the creative side of some drivers, who used mannequins to pose as passengers.

Did Toronto benefit from the Games?

A big event such as this means tourists, and tourists mean money for the local economy, said the proponents of the Games.

Rob Cameron, the chief marketing officer for debit and credit-card transaction processor Moneris, said Toronto saw a rise in sales during the Games.

Data for the Pan Am opening weekend, from July 10 to 12, show an 8-per-cent increase in spending in the downtown area. Restaurant spending, in particular, was up almost 11-per-cent from the previous week.

Still, some local businesses were disappointed. Jason D'Anna, co-owner of Parlor Foods & Co., a restaurant on King Street, said he saw a little bit of extra traffic on the day of the opening ceremony.

But by the end of the first week, things hadn't picked up.

"It's not what I was expecting it to be ... I mean, especially this district, a majority of the hotels are here. ... We really anticipated a lot bigger and better," he said.

How does Toronto 2024 sound?

The possibility of an Olympic bid came up even before the Pan Am Games were officially over.

Toronto Mayor John Tory has said the decision on whether to bid for the Games would come very quickly and that "nothing is off the table." The deadline to register interest is Sept. 15.

Mr. Aubut announced Sunday that he would use "the full power of [his] office" to encourage Toronto's bid.

"I think it's time for Toronto," he said.

One roadblock is an existing vote by the city's economic development committee to reject a bid for the 2024 Olympics. Mr.

Aubut said a decision to overrule that rests with the mayor.

"The mayor of Toronto ... knows what to do," he said. "He's got all my confidence [that] he's going to do what's good for Torontonians."

The legacy

Now that the Pan Am Games are over, the focus will shift to the Parapan Am Games, which start on Aug. 7 and run until Aug. 15.

But the debate over the Pan Am Games' legacy is just starting.

Curt Harnett, Team Canada's chef de mission, said Canadian athletes will remember the Games for the sports infrastructure they will continue to use but, more importantly, the knowledge that hundreds of thousands of Canadians cheered them on.

"For me, that's an immeasurable and profound impact, and I think a long-standing legacy the athletes will carry," he said.

Associated Graphic

Ellie Black of Halifax on her way to winning gold in the balance beam - one of five medals she would win at the Pan Am Games in Toronto.


Canada's Magali Harvey sprints past the Argentine defence to score during women's rugby sevens action.


Andre De Grasse wins gold in the 100-metre sprint. A few days later, he would win the 200-metre final as well.


Canadians Matt Hughes and Alexandre Genest on their way to a one-two finish in the 3,000-metre steeplechase final.


Canada celebrates its 81-73 win over the United States to take the gold in women's basketball. Breakout star Kia Nurse scored 33 points in the game and would carry the flag for Canada in the closing ceremony.


Whitney McClintock of Cambridge, Ont., competes in the women's waterski slalom. She would win gold to add to a previous gold and two silvers, making her one of the Canadian stars of the Games.


Teammates mob Peter Orr (4) after he scored the game-winning run against the United States in the 10th inning of the gold-medal men's baseball game.


Audrey Lacroix of Pont-Rouge, Que., pushes to the wall in the women's 200-metre butterfly. The 31-year-old inspired her younger teammates by winning the gold.


Rosannagh MacLennan competes in the women's individual trampoline final. She won the gold.


Mark De Jonge wins the men's K1 200-metre final, his first of two medals that day.


Damian Warner competes in the 110-metre hurdles on his way to winning gold in the decathlon.


Monique Sullivan celebrates her gold-medal win in the women's cycling sprint final.


Cities seek family-size housing units
Municipalities are asking developers to build more two- and three-bedroom apartments - but it's tough to make the footprint work
Saturday, August 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S4

Graham Plant does not want to copy his father's housing choices: move to a suburb, live in a big place, commute an hour a day to a job downtown.

Mr. Plant and his wife, who are expecting their first baby next year and live in a large basement suite near Cambie Street, want to stay in a central Vancouver neighbourhood near their jobs. He works as a real estate consultant for groups building subsidized housing. She is a counsellor at a support recovery house.

They are willing to forgo the kind of space their suburban ancestors saw as a necessity for family living. They also accept that they will pay more in spite of that sacrifice.

But, even with help from the parents of both and reasonable household income (in the $100,000 ballpark) for their age group (29 and 27), they face unpalatable choices.

Single-family houses are out of the question. The dominant family-sized offerings in Vancouver are the townhouses for $850,000 and up being built around Oak or Cambie, or the rare threebedroom condo elsewhere.

"That's what my parents would be interested in buying. It's not even being built to suit young families," says Mr. Plant, whose father, former attorney-general and lawyer Geoff Plant, eventually upgraded to a house on the west side of Vancouver.

Mr. Plant the younger does not imagine ever being able to afford to live on the west side.

To get something large enough and in the $500,000 to $600,000 range they think they can manage, the Plants have a choice between the optimistically labelled two-bedroom-and-dens of east Vancouver or small townhouses in Richmond or Burnaby.

"We don't want to give up living in the city," Mr. Plant said. "But there's such limited stock in the places we want to live."

In the more urban parts of the region, that is increasingly the situation facing service, clerical and factory workers, as well as young professional couples such as the Plants.

Some want larger places to buy.

Some want to rent. But very little is available for either group.

Statistics put out by the city indicate the 55,000 rentals in Vancouver include only 500 three-bedroom apartments. No statistics were provided for condos and townhouses, but a longstanding concern in Vancouver is that condo developers have defaulted overwhelmingly to bachelor and one-bedroom apartments because those sell more quickly to investors.

Cities such as Vancouver and New Westminster are trying to fix this housing mismatch by requiring developers to include more "family-size" housing in their projects.

Vancouver said in May it will require 35 per cent of units in all new developments to have two or three bedrooms. Rentals built under an incentive program will need to make 5 per cent of the units three bedrooms.

It is also promising to create new developments with donated city land and non-profit builders in which a large proportion of units are family-sized, with some at below-market rents.

As of January, New Westminster will require that 20 per cent of all units be two-bedroom and 10 per cent three-bedroom for condo or townhouse developments. (Rentals will have to meet a 5-per-cent target for three-bedroom units.)

"All of our growth here is going to be in multifamily," says New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote, who lives in a townhouse with his young family. "We want to make sure there's housing options for everyone."

The city was prompted to act when it got a proposal from a rental-apartment developer for a large project that was entirely studio and one-bedroom units.

The story is similar in Vancouver.

"Developers have four to five thousand new starts a year. They do provide the greatest supply of new housing in the city," said Mukhtar Latif, Vancouver's chief housing officer.

But creating housing for young families is more complicated than just telling builders to put in more three-bedroom units.

Developers say they have actually been building more twoand even three-bedroom units lately. Binning House at UBC, for example, was redesigned to create more large units.

Jon Stovell, who is co-developing Burrard Place with the Pattison Group, said 35 per cent of the units in that project will have two bedrooms or more.

But those units are for older families, not younger ones, including downsizing boomers who want the space (and have the money) to accommodate furniture from their houses and perhaps a temporary boomerang child living with them.

The large units for that demographic are in the $800,000 to million-plus range and are often in buildings' prime spots, such as higher floors and corners.

To create larger but cheaper units, developers say they have limited options: Put them on lower floors, build them in areas where land costs less or make them smaller.

On top of that, the archetypal slim Vancouver condo tower makes it particularly difficult to build three-bedroom units with a window for each room, except on corners. And there are not enough of those to go around.

For developers, the solution in towers is for third bedrooms to use "borrowed" light via a transom or an opening into another part of the unit - which means they do not have a window.

Mr. Latif and Mr. Stovell, who is also vice-chair of the Urban Development Institute, acknowledged the city and development industry are at odds over that strategy. The city is saying no to both. Builders are saying it is the only feasible solution.

"We've said to the city, 'You tell us how to do it in a tower,' " Mr. Stovell said. "I support and respect their objective of opening the door to families, but for this to be meaningful, the city is going to have to ease up."

Mr. Cote said New Westminster had to adopt rules to ensure that "the third bedroom isn't just a closet" and all of them are livable.

But neither city has any kind of minimum square footage for the two- and three-bedroom units.

In contrast, BC Housing, the province's social-housing agency, spells out the minimum sizes for family-sized apartments and townhouses. Two-bedroom apartments must be at least 795 square feet; townhouses 969. Threebedroom apartments cannot go below 1,000 square feet; townhouses 1,195.

Alexis Hinde, a film-industry worker who lives in a 950-squarefoot, two-bedroom apartment near Stanley Park with her husband and son, says she could not imagine trying to function in something smaller. The kinds of amenities that families say make living in smaller spaces possible are not mandatory.

Neil Salmond, who lives in a 750-square-foot rental apartment in the west end with his wife and son, says being in a small space works if other areas are available.

His building has storage rooms in the basement, a rooftop garden for all tenants, and a big lobby where people can take off wet coats or drop their groceries for a minute.

Mark and Gillian Hollett managed to get all of that in the threebedroom condo they bought for $350,000 two years ago in New Westminster.

Their fifth-floor apartment has three bedrooms, a den, two sundecks and two full bathrooms.

The building has a pool, a full gym and a library, and it sits on top of a SkyTrain station, which makes life with their three children, 7, 6 and 2, much easier.

They would rather be in Vancouver. This was their next best choice. But even this was hard to find.

"We looked at everything on this side of the river," Ms. Hollett says. Mr. Hollett adds: "It was a challenge finding something this size that was affordable."

Other young families say they will wait to see if cities can make a difference.

Associated Graphic

With a baby coming, Graham and Sarah Plant are having difficulty finding reasonable family-size housing in Vancouver.


Memphis, the colourful Italian postmodernist design movement known for bold shapes and countours, is staging a comeback. But, as Elizabeth Pagliacolo reports, the young designers inspired by it have their own ideas
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, July 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

Memphis is back. Remember multicoloured sofas with spheres and pyramids for feet, bookcases with jutting shelves in motley laminates?

The 1980s Italian postmodernist movement - which thumbed its nose at function-obsessed modernism with loud, over-the-top aesthetics - has seen a resurgence in the past couple years. In 2015, it came full circle. Kartell, the manufacturer of sleek plastic furniture, made it official during Milan design week by decorating its shop windows in the vibrant squiggles and confetti of Memphis patterns. Inside, contemporary chairs - such as Philippe Starck's Mademoiselle and Patricia Urquiola's Foliage - were dressed up in eye-popping prints. The brand also debuted a collection of glossy sculptural furniture by Ettore Sottsass, the founder of Memphis who died in 2007.

This renewed interest coincides with the postmodern-inflected trend embraced by many young talents who were barely born during the Memphis heyday. A few weeks after the Milan fair, during New York design week, Anna Karlin displayed rugs and chess-piece stools decked out in a mix of raucous patterns. And, at Colony, a designers' co-op in Tribeca, New York, Montreal's Zoë Mowat exhibited Ora, a side table with a double-top; in one version, the upper layer, made of glass, is propped up on the lower brass surface by two sculptural objects, one double-sided marble, the other green-lacquered wood. It looks like a more refined, and functional, descendant of Sottsass's Park Table from 1983.

Yet, the 29-year-old isn't beholden to a defunct style. Like many designers around her age playing with pomo, she's reinterpreting its playfulness with subtlety. "In terms of what we're seeing," she says, "it's not the same subversive, anti-design movement of the 1980s. It's more embodying a similar spirit - a lively spirit - in terms of the focus on boldness, colour and pattern."

The Memphis Group was definitely subversive. Its intentions ran much deeper than a desire to unleash wacky, look-at-me furniture on an unsuspecting world.

The San Francisco Chronicle has called the aesthetic "a shotgun wedding between Bauhaus and Fisher Price" - albeit a ceremony officiated by Federico Fellini.

When its founders, a group of radical designers led by the visionary Ettore Sottsass, came together in 1980, they were rebelling against the rigid rules of modernism. At Sottsass's Milan apartment, they rhapsodized about what would become the New International Style while listening to Bob Dylan's tongue-incheek lament Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again.

The gorgeous art book Sottsass by Philippe Thomé, released last year by Phaidon, describes the heady months after that first meeting. (Another book, Ettore Sottsass and the Poetry of Things, is due out in September.) Designers including Michele De Lucchi, Matteo Thun and Nathalie Du Pasquier sketched, prototyped and promoted their inaugural collection in the evenings and on weekends - they all had day jobs. In September, 1981, their show at Milan's Design Gallery attracted more than 2,000 spectators. "We arrived by taxi, understandably excited and terrified," Barbara Radice - the design critic and Sottsass's wife - later recalled.

"We thought there must have been an accident. We couldn't even get in."

The movement had no manifesto of its own. As Radice wrote, "the roots, thrust and acceleration of Memphis are eminently anti-ideological." Yet that first collection said it all: It mixed high and low materials, including kitchen-grade laminates with Bacterio and Spugna patterns, and it put form before function, presenting multifarious furnishings that collaged textures, shapes and uses. It included Sottsass's now-famous Carlton roomdivider-cum-bookcase, with shelves branching off in all directions, and Masanori Umeda's Tawaraya boxing-ring bed - even nuttier than it sounds. I encountered it this spring at a retrospective staged by Post Design, the Milan gallery run by the successors of the original Memphis Group.

The excitement soon flamed out. Sottsass tired of the media circus, and the world tired of the movement's tackier tendencies, and it went the way of teased bangs and neon sweatbands before the decade was over. But now, the aesthetic - and its influence on a new generation of designers - is back in the spotlight. Besides the end-to-end retrospectives in design galleries, the market for Memphis is hot.

The young designers who are riffing on postmodernism, though, are turning down the volume, opting for softer hues and more pleasing material and pattern mashups. They include many New York studios, such as Chiaozza and Ladies & Gentlemen, featured in the trendsetting - and pomo-loving - online design magazine Sight Unseen.

The aesthetic is also big again in Europe; the new collection by London's Lee Broom includes the Drunken Side Table, an off-kilter, black-and-white-striped cylinder balancing a sphere topped with a circular slab that screams Memphis.

The aesthetic is also a source of inspiration for Canadian designers. During Toronto design week in January, furniture designer Khalil Jamal displayed Column, a table made up of 22 layers of felt that can be stacked symmetrically or rearranged into various shapes. He's now also working on a chair and shelf that similarly experiment with colour and configuration. "Memphis's use of colour, decoration and shape were a big influence in conceiving these pieces," he says.

And the movement has captured the imagination of young artists, as seen in some of the offerings up for auction at the Stellar Living event by Toronto's Mercer Union gallery in May.

There, Vanessa Maltese showed off the multihued Ornament Swatch, consisting of three hinged sticks each topped with a different shape: half-circles, pegs and triangles - "a humorous, useless object," she says, "like a swatch you might reference when deciding on gingerbreading for the roof of your house." She encountered Memphis six years ago at the St. Lawrence antiques market, where she saw three kitchen tools by the group. "The bread knife had a circle, square and triangle punched out of the blade and each were painted in black, sea foam green and powder pink.

I thought they were so ugly that they were beautiful."

The new Memphis-inflected design is simply lovely - without the ugly quotient - but it's still an antidote to the sameness of massproduced furniture. It channels the desire for the hand-crafted, custom and authentic. Eight years ago, when Zoë Mowat began designing, her pieces were a reaction to the white shiny blobs that were big back then. "I wanted to focus on material and simple geometric forms, but with colour.

And make people wake up a little bit," she says. She's more interested in seeing what happens when different materials - such as lacquered wood, brass and marble - butt up against each other, than in creating a pastiche of inscrutable materiality. Her tactile, selfproduced designs, including the Ora mirror, Arbor jewellery stand and Stack lamp, beg to be touched as much as be looked at.

Her affinity lies with the enduring designer (Sottsass), rather than the short-lived movement (Memphis). In fact, Sottsass was constantly innovating, before, during and after Memphis. An exhibit opening in September at the eminent New York design gallery Friedman Benda covers his career from 1955 to 1969; and his sculptural collection for Kartell - six vases, two stools and a lamp, with names such as Colonna (column), Pilastro (pillar) and Calice (chalice) that exemplify his love of blowing up small objects and shrinking down architecture - was actually designed in 2004, when he was 87 years old. Kartell is producing a selection of the pieces today because it now has the plastic moulding technology to do so. As always, Sottsass was ahead of his time.

Associated Graphic

The Memphis Group was subversive, and its intentions ran much deeper than wacky furniture.

The Memphis Group, which rebelled against the rigid rules of modernism, led by the visionary Ettore Sottsass (whose works include those in the top left and top right photos), inspired recent pieces by Vanessa Maltese, bottom left, Zoë Mowat, bottom right, and Lee Broom, middle right.

Doctor provided 'The Human Touch'
He performed more than 4,000 surgeries and was so calm and unflappable that colleagues nicknamed him Perry Como
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, July 24, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S8

Tony Dobell performed the first heart transplant in Canada that significantly lengthened a person's life. The patient was 52year-old John Parkinson; the four-hour operation was at Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital on Nov. 3, 1968. Dr. Dobell later put in a pacemaker for Mr. Parkinson's new heart. The patient lived for four years after his first operation, a long time for a heart transplant patient in that era.

By November, 1970, there had been 185 heart transplants in the world and only 11 of the patients had survived longer than 18 months. There had been 10 heart transplants in Montreal up to that time - nine of them at the Montreal Heart Institute - and Mr. Parkinson was the only patient still living. The world's first heart transplant patient, in South Africa in 1967, lived for just 18 days.

In the case of John Parkinson, the relationship between doctor and patient was close. Dr. Dobell's 10-year-old daughter, Sarah, and Mr. Parkinson became pen pals.

"My father would deliver the letters. He saw it as part of the treatment. He cared about the personal side as much as the physical side," said Ms. Dobell, who lives in Nelson, B.C.

Tony Dobell, who died on June 17 at the age of 88, believed that surgery was part science, part art, and the art was the human dimension. He wrote about it in a 1982 paper, The Human Touch, in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

"Surgery is not primarily a business or a technology; nor is it pure science nor pure art. It is the care of one human being by another; a relationship involving to some extent technology, science, art, and business; a relationship involving invasion and manipulation of one individual's body by another; a relationship requiring the human touch."

Anthony Richard Curzon Dobell was born in Montreal on May 13, 1927, and lived most of his life in the same neighbourhood near Atwater and Sherbrooke in Montreal. As a boy, he could walk to school, as a youth, to McGill University, and as an adult, to the Montreal Children's Hospital. His father, Frances Curzon Dobell, was a lawyer, his mother was Sybil (née Robertson). Her middle name was Octavia because she was the eighth child in her family, showing a sense of whimsy that was passed to Tony Dobell. His children say he had a great sense of humour and was a happy, positive person all his life.

At McGill, he became the main goalie for the Redmen, the senior hockey team, for the 1943-45 seasons after his predecessor, Jack Gelinas, moved up to the NHL.

There was a shortage of players during the war years because so many men had joined the armed forces. Tony Dobell returned as goalie from 1948 to 1950.

"Jack Gelinas, who played for the NHL after the war, told me Tony could have played in the NHL had he chosen to," said David Mulder, the chief surgeon for the Montreal Canadiens and a fellow thoracic surgeon who knew Dr. Dobell well.

Dr. Dobell graduated from McGill's medical school in 1951 and went to study at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.

He was in the operating room at the hospital when Dr. John Gibbon performed the first openheart surgery in North America.

When he returned to work in Montreal, at the Royal Victoria and Montreal Children's hospitals, he was part of the first teams performing open-heart surgery.

Over his working life, Dr. Dobell performed 2,000 heart operations on adults and 2,000 on children. He was so calm and unflappable in the operating room that his colleagues nicknamed him the Perry Como of heart surgery.

By 1969, Dr. Dobell had performed open-heart surgery on five children under the age of six months. The youngest was sixweek-old Debby Lecompte. She had been born with a defect that doctors thought they could correct when she was older, since the larger the heart the easier it is to operate on. But when she arrived at the Montreal Children's Hospital she was close to death.

"I've described [Debby's heart] as the size of a walnut with each chamber the size of an acorn," David Murphy, the hospital's chief surgeon told the Montreal Star at the time.

Keeping the patient informed was part of Dr. Dobell's philosophy. He gave the example of a heart valve in which he and his colleagues had "lost confidence" and they told one of their patients about it.

"He took about 10 seconds to decide that we ought to change it, which we did successfully within the week. The point is that as a result of a long-standing relationship, the patient had confidence in us," Dr. Dobell wrote. "I use science but that does not quite make me a scientist. Science cannot always accomplish the cure without the bond of understanding between patient and doctor."

Along with surgery, Dr. Dobell taught at McGill University's School of Medicine and mentored young doctors working to become heart surgeons. He was chief surgeon at the Montreal Children's Hospital and chairman of McGill's Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Division.

"He said his legacy was the young men and women he trained as surgeons," said Dr. Mulder, his long-time friend and colleague. Many of those students sent condolences to his family and they all spoke of how he helped their careers.

"I loved this man and truly enjoyed every minute that I spent as a resident and thereafter as faculty under his wing," Dr. Hani Shennib wrote. Another student, Dr. David Latter, wrote: "Dr. Dobell was such an important part of my life. Beyond his surgical teaching he was instrumental in providing opportunities to me and mentoring me throughout my career."

Dr. Dobell retired in 1995 but worked part time for several years, installing pacemakers for cardiology patients. The year after his retirement he was named a member of the Order of Canada. Over the years, he received many awards and was the first Canadian to become president of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

Outside of the hospital and the classroom, Dr. Dobell was a busy man. He remained athletic all his life, playing tennis right up to this year, and four years ago he went skiing in British Columbia. He loved his home in the Laurentians at Lac Manitou and was devoted to his vegetable and flower gardens there. Among other projects he and his son, Curzon, built a hydroplane. Part of life in the country included some canine surgery: removing porcupine quills from a pet dachshund and a giant Newfoundland, a gift from a grateful patient.

Dr. Dobell loved the outdoors and once took his children on a wilderness canoe trip. He was also a keen sailor and his daughter remembers he could be almost too competitive.

"As a skipper he changed his personality, barking orders. He never did that in any other part of his life," his daughter, Sarah Dobell, said, then laughed. She recalled her father was active until the end of his life. He and his wife, Marion, visited Scotland in May.

Last month, Dr. Dobell complained he wasn't feeling well and his wife took him to the emergency room of the McGill University Health Centre. He died of a heart attack a short time later. Dr. Dobell leaves his wife; his four children, Karen, Curzon, Julie and Sarah; seven grandchildren; and one great grandchild.

He was predeceased by his first wife, Cynthia, who died in 2006.

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

Tony Dobell, left, at Montreal Children's Hospital with three-month-old heart patient Debby Lecompte in 1969. The doctor performed open-heart surgery on her to repair a heart defect.


Saturday, July 25, 2015 Saturday, July 25, 2015 CorrectionAn obituary of Dr. Tony Dobell on Friday incorrectly said that Jack Gelineau (whose name was incorrectly spelled Gelinas) was Tony Dobell's predecessor as goalie for the McGill Redmen. In fact, Mr. Gelineau was the McGill goalie after the Second World War.

Rockin' Tony Clement is 'always worried'
'Run scared or run stupid' is the mantra of the unconventional politician who juggles high finance, electioneering and punk music
Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A14


"Welcome to Tony's Rockin' Shindig! Snap-snap-snap-snap-snap-snapsnap-snap.

"Those snapping fingers belong to the President of the Treasury Board, as well as to the two paid employees of 88.7 FM and any volunteer who happens to drop in to the front-room studio of Hunters Bay Radio.

"Tony Clement, federal minister of a string of portfolios and, so far, three-time member of Parliament for Parry Sound-Muskoka, is also a punk, as in rocker, and serves as once-a-month unpaid DJ at this community radio station in the heart of Ontario's cottage country.

"Here, he does his own snapping. He also selects the music - punk rock and new wave his personal specialties - and, from a black notebook of scribbled jottings, delivers a patter of impressive knowledge on the likes of Van Halen and AC/DC.

""He wouldn't be here if it weren't legit," says Jeff Carter, the little station's managing director.

""He was in here one day for an interview and we said, 'We're looking for DJs - would you like a tryout?'" For the past 18 months, he's been a regular.

"Four years ago, when Mr. Clement turned 50, he bought a guitar and turned to YouTube to teach himself how to play. "You try getting an instructor to come and teach at 1 a.m.," he says.

""That's when I've finally got some time to myself."

"This warm Saturday afternoon, after attending four weekend events, after knocking on more than 200 doors in nearby Bracebridge, he has picked up his newest treasure, an electric six-string Epiphone, and is already working through the chords of his favourites.

"The song that means most to him, he says, is Subdivisions, by the Canadian band Rush, and the lyrics could well have been written with Tony Clement in mind: In the high school halls In the shopping malls Conform or be cast out (Subdivisions) In the basement bars In the backs of cars Be cool or be cast out Any escape might help to smooth the unattractive truth But the suburbs have no charms to soothe the restless dreams of youth.

"He was born in England but raised in Toronto. His parents separated when he was still a child, his last name changing from Panayi to Clement when his mother remarried. Being slight and nearsighted, but highly intelligent, he quickly understood - as so many others have - that there is a certain truth to "Be cool or be cast out." He became encyclopedic when it came to rock music. He had all the right albums. When he got to the University of Toronto, it was his music they played at the college pub. And since he owned the records, he successfully argued, he should be the one spinning them. He was cool, sort of.

"Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill had trouble finding electoral success, but both would be impressed by Tony Clement's persistence. He ran, unsuccessfully, for Toronto council. He ran for the Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership and lost. He ran for the leadership of the federal Conservatives and lost - this time to Stephen Harper. He ran for Mr. Harper's new party in 2004 in Brampton West and lost.

"There were, of course, victories along the way, but none quite so remarkable as his 2006 triumph in this cottage-country riding.

"They don't warm to outsiders here, and who could be more outside than a nerdy city politician?

"This is a riding, after all, that was held for years by Stan Darling, renowned for his fall-fair folksiness and eccentricities. Stan once ran over a baby moose when he was driving back to his riding. Told by the garage that towed him in that the car was okay but the stench unbearable, Stan simply grabbed a couple of pine tree scents, placed one in each nostril and carried on.

"Mr. Clement lucked in, however.

"He had convenient ties to a family cottage. The popular Liberal incumbent, Andy Mitchell, had the gun registry and sponsorship scandal pulling him down and, on election day 2006, "Landslide" Tony took the riding by 28 votes.

"Those who claimed he would never be seen again have discovered, after nine years, that he is as ubiquitous as Stan Darling ever was. He shows up everywhere, often in appropriate garb, though he recently drew the line at a farm machinery show.

""Me trying to look like a farmer," he says with a self-deprecating lift of the eyebrows, "I don't think it works."

"What does work for him is social media. While other ministers shun it or else have staff handle it, @TonyclementCPC is more like a high-schooler than a ranking policy-maker, sending out more than 17,000 tweets on everything from cute pets to the Tragically Hip - as well, of course, as tweets on events attended and policies announced. His prolific use of his mobile and camera has gained him more than 52,000 followers.

"In a government that considers a short leash to be generous, Mr. Clement has become virtually the last strong minister standing, as Mr. Harper's cabinet has lost or is losing the likes of Jim Prentice, Jim Flaherty, John Baird, Peter MacKay and James Moore.

""Still here after all these years," he says. "Twenty years in politics and still standing. Look, we've got a lot of great people still in cabinet and on the back benches, I want to make that point clear.

"But yeah, it's 20 years in politics and still going and feel great, feel energized.... I feel more relaxed than I did 20 years ago and more comfortable in my own skin."

"Local politicians jokingly call him "Uncle Tony" in reference to the initiative he is best known for - the Legacy Fund that pumped $50-million into the riding as it prepared to host the 2010 G8 summit.

"It is a story that should be on political science courses, perceived as scandalous by the national media, seen by most locals as "finally getting something of our own back."

""People show up and actually want to see the $50-million gazebo," says Mr. Clement, referring to the small park and public toilets in the village of Baysville that became the focal point of so much negative media coverage.

""But the people who live here loved it."

"The people who live here do not necessarily love what they have seen in Ottawa, however, and the Oct. 19 election is now but three months away. Mr. Clement has his detractors, as does any member of Parliament, but federal elections tend to be far more national than local. The Senate scandal is an obvious issue, though Mr. Clement says his weekend door-knocking finds a lot more talk about leadership.

"He says he sticks to a favourite political saying - "Run scared or run stupid."

""So I never take it for granted," he says. "I am always out there and making sure people have access to me, making sure I understand where they are coming from on national issues. They have shown increased faith in me in subsequent elections. People say to me, 'Are you worried?' I say, 'I'm always worried.' I'm always trying to be the best MP I can be."

"When the actual election is on, Tony's Rockin' Shindig will be temporarily suspended to avoid any suggestion that the sitting member was given two hours of free air time.

""Hopefully," he says, "I'll be back in October - both places.

"Otherwise, I could do a daily show."


"Associated Graphic

"Treasury Board President Tony Clement plays his guitar at Hunters Bay Radio.



Make a connection when choosing advisers
A genuine conversation helped veteran money manager Colin Monteith select the right person to manage his portfolio
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B9

After 43 years in the brokerage business, Colin Monteith went looking for an adviser of his own. He found one after a few months, but what an epic search it was. The onetime adviser and manager of advisers saw 10 different people and conducted 13 interviews.

To help you in your search for an adviser, I asked the now-retired Mr. Monteith to do a Q&A about his experience. Here's an edited transcript of our conversation:

In total, how long did it take you to find an adviser?

I probably spent close to 40 or 50 hours in total over close to two months. I didn't rush into it because I wanted to make a rational decision about who the correct adviser would be for me and my wife. If couples are going to invest their wealth together, they should go to see the adviser together.

It's usually suggested one interview a few advisers before choosing someone. How many people did you interview?

I interviewed 10 people once, I did three a second time and then I made my selection.

Where did you find the names to interview?

I worked purely from websites.

The majority of advisers have personal websites under the umbrella of their firm. I looked at a number of advisers at each individual firm - before long you can tell whether they're using the corporate-speak from their firm's marketing department. I look for a different articulation of the story of the adviser - what they believe in and what makes them different.

Looking at individual sites, you can eliminate 75 per cent to 80 per cent of advisers.

What were you looking for?

Two key things I look for in an adviser are a meeting of the minds, and a meeting of the hearts. With every single adviser, I said, 'Tell me a little bit about yourself.' I'm looking for them to open up, and I expect them to ask me the same questions.

What if they don't?

That tells me an adviser is not very good at relating to personal questions, and all too many issues we have as investors involve personal aspects of our life. If they're not very good with that sort of stuff, I don't want to deal with them.

At what point in the interview process did you raise the issue of fees?

Right at the very end. I just said, 'What does all this cost?' How much did annual fees vary from adviser to adviser?

Hugely. (Mr. Monteith said in an e-mail that the fees he was quoted ranged from 0.8 per cent to 1.75 per cent for his seven-figure portfolio; the adviser he chose was the one at 0.8 per cent.)

What's the trend in terms of there being add-on fees for things such as trades or custodial services?

They all claimed their fees were all-inclusive.

In your interviews, what things did advisers do that turned you off?

They'd go right into things such as performance. Performance is only an issue in the absence of perceived value. If someone's bragging about 10-per-cent-plus performance year after year, that's a bad signal.

Can you tell us something that impressed you about the adviser you eventually chose?

In our first conversation, he said, 'Tell me a little about your life, Colin.' I went, okay, another box ticked. And then he said, 'We're not talking about investments at the first meeting.' A big plus.

What was your experience with advisers offering financial plans?

They all claim to be doing financial planning, but I know there are different levels of that. I was looking for someone who would take me through to the very end [of life] - financial planning and estate planning.

What was your thinking on how many clients your adviser should have?

I wouldn't touch an adviser with more than 400 clients, unless there are multiple people on the team. There are advisers out there with thousands of clients, and they're sole practitioners.

No way can they handle that. I automatically dropped people like that.

Did you do any sort of a background check on the advisers to look at whether they have ever been professionally disciplined?

I did a check on disciplinary actions, and I did a straightforward Google search, as well.

That's an important thing to do, as well as looking at an adviser's personal website. Just google someone and see what stuff comes up.

[Note: For advisers at full-service investment dealers, you can look up background, qualifications and disciplinary information on the website of the Investment Industry Association of Canada website; also check the disciplined persons list maintained by the Canadian Securities Administrators.]

Did you ask for references?

I did ask one adviser for references. He said, 'Here's a client list of people who have given me authorization - pick whichever one.' I did follow up with one client, and the comments were exceptional. He wasn't the adviser I went with, though. In the end, I went with someone I felt more comfortable with. I knew him by reputation.

Can you share your thinking on downtown versus uptown advisers?

If you're a suburban person, retired, how can you relate to some high-flying guy downtown?

The mindset is fast-fast, clickclick, very quick thinkers. They tend to leave some of their older clients with their heads spinning. The suburban adviser can be a little more grounded, a little more willing to spend time.

Based on your experience, how big does your portfolio need to be to get a decent level of attention from an adviser?

Realistically, the adviser is probably going to be looking at $150,000 to $200,000 plus. Most advisers will look at total household portfolio values. Some will turn you away with anything less than $500,000. I wouldn't get too hung up on portfolio size. Most advisers aren't as hung up on this as some people think.

What do you think about online advisers (a.k.a. roboadvisers) for small and starter accounts?

I think there's a natural place for robo-advisers. It depends on someone's ability to understand risk.

If it's not great, I'd go with a robo-adviser. If you have the ability to understand risk, go direct and do it yourself.

Follow me on Twitter: @rcarrick


Born: 1952, in Glasgow

Start in the investment industry: 1968, in Scotland

Comes to Canada: Takes a back-office role at Pitfield Mackay Ross in 1981

Next stages: Worked as an adviser at Burns Fry; in management at BMO Nesbitt Burns for 27 years; then consulted

Portfolio size: Seven figures

His philosophy on ...

Finding a compatible adviser: "I really like advisers who connect with me by talking about my life goals, what do I want my money to do for me, my family and my financial legacy."

The location of the adviser's office: "I wanted someone local that either or both of us [his wife included] could visit easily, so location was important. There is also something emotionally different about advisers downtown and those outside of the core."

How fees charged by advisers vary: "What the stats don't clearly show is the spread between advisers not only in the same firm, but at the same branch."

- Rob Carrick

Associated Graphic

In assessing advisers, Colin Monteith found suburban advisers would spend more time with him than those downtown.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015 Tuesday, July 28, 2015 CorrectionA Saturday Report on Business column incorrectly identified an organization as the Investment Industry Association of Canada. In fact, the database on background, qualifications and disciplinary information related to financial advisers at full-service dealers is offered by Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.

Cementing Samsung's overseas success
Canadian Gregory Wade is working to help the South Korean tech giant thrive where BlackBerry could not
Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B3

"Tech . Telecom . Media

"In early October last year, just two months after he was hired by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Gregory Wade found himself in the South Korean tech giant's Silicon Valley offices in San Jose, Calif., sitting across the bargaining table from some of his longtime former colleagues.

"For 12 years, Mr. Wade had worked as a senior executive at BlackBerry Ltd., leading the company's fast-growing Asia-Pacific business unit - a division that included vast emerging markets such as Indonesia.

"But at this meeting - which came as BlackBerry continued its pivot from a flagging hardware business to focus on software and services - Mr. Wade found himself on an unfamiliar side of the table.

"He was now helping Samsung hash out the final details of an unprecedented partnership with BlackBerry, his former employer, to deploy some of the Canadian company's renowned security software on the company's popular Galaxy smartphones.

""I joked, 'Hey, you guys are finally going to have an opportunity to sell some really cool tablets,' " Mr. Wade said, referring to BlackBerry's unpopular PlayBook tablet.

"For years, Samsung has built smartphones that have proven enormously popular with consumers around the world - challenging Apple Inc.'s iPhone and propelling the company to the upper echelons of global technology. But as Samsung's red-hot growth has cooled - it recently lowered second-quarter profit forecasts after poor sales of new Galaxy S6 smartphones - the company has aggressively focused on winning over new business and government clients to boost its bottom line. The Suwon-based firm scoured the globe for talent that could help the company conquer this extremely lucrative "enterprise" market, which was previously dominated by BlackBerry, where customers take a whole suite of software in addition to buying devices - making them much more valuable clients than your average consumer.

"Mr. Wade, now the vice-president of Samsung's enterprise business team, joined as part of the company's push to succeed in the enterprise space that was once thoroughly dominated by BlackBerry. Over the years, BlackBerry's software and devices became outdated, and corporate employees increasingly preferred to use Samsung phones, which ran Google Inc.'s Android software, and iPhones in the workplace - kickstarting the IT phenomenon known as BYOD, or bring your own device. But IT departments, which had long trusted BlackBerry's prowess with security and encryption, viewed Android's more open, vulnerable software with disdain - and worried that it would lead to security breaches. Samsung knew that was a problem, Mr. Wade said.

""They recognized there were certain hurdles and challenges to overcome with respect to Android from a security perspective," he said. "And that's where the company was able to tap into its talent to be able to build out that security platform."

"Unlike BlackBerry, Mr. Wade notes, Samsung's 300,000-odd employees give it the scale and capacity to make dramatic, world-spanning strategic shifts - and part of his job was making sure that Samsung sales staff from Brazil to Russia were equipped with the information to sell Samsung devices to business people and IT departments.

""You take a look at that experience, and contrast that to 12 years at BlackBerry - you look at timeliness, time frames, the product development cycles," he says.

""You just do recognize the powerhouse that Samsung is."

"And because Samsung's business spans mobile phones, tablets, TVs, visual panel displays and health technology, there is a whole suite of devices the company can offer to businesses - unlike either BlackBerry or Apple.

"And so far, the hirings of people such as Mr. Wade, the introduction of its Knox security platform, and its partnership with BlackBerry seem to be working. Back in 2009, Android phones accounted for just 2 per cent of the phones shipped to commercial clients ordering new devices, according to research firm IDC, compared to BlackBerrys - which accounted for 45.9 per cent of the market.

"But in 2014, corporate shipments of Android devices reached 49 million phones, versus just 2.5 million BlackBerrys and roughly 23 million iPhones. (Android devices shipped to corporate or government clients are almost exclusively Samsung, since most companies rarely deploy any other type of Android phone.)

"The roughly 80 million socalled "enterprise" devices shipped last year comprise a relatively small slice of broader mobile phone sales. But for a company such as Samsung, the additional sales of device management software and security services can help boost profits.

"J.P. Gownder, an analyst at Forrester Research, said Samsung has built a "world-class enterprise organization" and has built out a viable security platform that has eased companies' fears about deploying Android to their workers. Samsung, he said, entered the enterprise market through the sheer popularity of its smartphones to regular consumers.

""They're consumer-friendly, therefore they're worker-friendly," he says, which led to employees requesting their Android phones be hooked up to work e-mail. But Samsung, he said, despite the fact that it has a suite of technology products to offer to businesses, is far from dominant in the corporate space the way BlackBerry once was - and is still outsold by Apple at many of the large American firms that he consults with as an adviser at Forrester.

""In North America, enterprises are not buying a whole lot of Android equipment at this point," Mr. Gownder said. "But if you look at emerging markets ... you're seeing pretty vast scale."

"In Tunisia, for example, Samsung accounts for roughly 40 per cent of the devices that wireless carrier Ooredoo Tunisia ships to corporate clients, said chief executive officer Ken Campbell, who was previously the CEO of Wind Mobile in Canada. He said the devices have become a solid contender for many regular employees, but are still not favoured by senior executives.

""When I go and visit a business customer, Samsung is definitely one of the handsets we're going to be talking about," he said. "But at the higher level, the executive directors and senior managers, they tend to take iPhones."

"At the same time, he said, iPhones are limited to the elite because Apple's application store requires a credit card - which many in Tunisia, as well as other emerging markets, do not have.

"Android, on the other hand, has a very open ecosystem with a lot of free, localized apps, he said. Samsung also makes a much wider range of devices, including popular dual-SIM phones with two SIM cards, and models ranging from ultra-cheap, small devices to premium devices with large screens.

"Mr. Wade, who led BlackBerry's push in many emerging markets and is now helping Samsung cement a new lead with corporate customers around the world, said executives at BlackBerry's headquarters in Waterloo, Ont., never fully exploited the company's popularity in emerging markets - including cashing in on the company's hugely popular BlackBerry Messenger platform.

""The business itself was growing in vast developing economies, not just in Asia-Pacific but everywhere - in [Latin America], South Africa and other developing markets," Mr. Wade said.

""Sure, they were lower-end, midrange devices. But from what I observed, it was really difficult for the company to separate itself from its Western, developed markets and its [wireless] carrier roots. That's the challenge. It just didn't generally understand the markets in developing economies enough to say 'This is where we're willing to double down and invest further.' "


"Associated Graphic

"Gregory Wade worked as a senior executive for BlackBerry for 12 years prior to joining Samsung in August, 2014.





Blog depicts new judge as vocal, irreverent
Newly appointed Justice Russ Brown is likely to shake up a court with his rulings based on what he has blogged about
Saturday, August 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A13

His rise to the country's most powerful court was, in the words of a former law-school colleague, "meteoric." And thus far it has been unexplained. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Justice Minister Peter MacKay have said little about why the government chose Russ Brown of Alberta, who has just two years' experience on the bench.

But before he became a judge, Justice Brown was a law professor, and he blogged frequently on the University of Alberta's website from 2007 to 2012.

In those blogs, he emerges as a vocal and irreverent conservative. At times, he appears more pundit than professor - describing Justin Trudeau as "unspeakably awful" and deriding the Canadian Bar Association as a left-wing, anti-Conservative group. He also wonders whether Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin shares the CBA's anti-Conservative bias.

His writings offer a portrait of judge he might be - a judge likely to shake up a court that has ruled more often and with greater unanimity against the federal government in big cases than it has since the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into effect; a judge who stands outside the court's consensus and, as a professor, said so on many occasions.

Justice Brown has not given media interviews. And there is no longer any forum in which he can be asked about his views on the law. The government appears to have given up on the parliamentary hearings at which MPs publicly grilled the Supreme Court's newest appointee. The Globe and Mail asked an official at the Supreme Court to contact him to ask if he would discuss the content of his blogs. Justice Brown declined to do so.

In his blogs, the 49-year-old Justice Brown accuses the court of expanding the reach of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms beyond what those who drafted it intended. From the beginning, he says, the court misinterpreted the right to life, liberty and security, the section that caused prostitution and assisted-suicide laws to be struck down. (He is the third former academic appointed in the past eight months to voice this view. Bradley Miller and Grant Huscroft, named by the Conservative government to the Ontario Court of Appeal in the past eight months, are the others.)

Now a member of a court that since 2001 has barred all extraditions of accused murderers to face the death penalty in the United States or elsewhere, he says in a blog that he sees no obvious reason why capital punishment in the United States should not be used in cases of child rape. (In a ruling he was part of last year, the Alberta Court of Appeal allowed the extradition of a suspected terrorist to face life without parole in the United States, saying the penalty would not "shock the conscience" of Canadians.)

Justice Brown, who has a doctorate in law from the University of Toronto, is not lacking for confidence; he thinks the court is weak on "private law" - his specialty, also known as civil law, which relates to disputes among individuals or companies.

And he is no federalist - he refers to the Canada Health Act, which defines the terms of public health care, as "an inappropriate [federal] intrusion into sacrosanct provincial swimming pools." (The square brackets are his.) And he thought the 1998 secession reference case, which scholars deem one of the most important in Canada's history, on the terms of Quebec's possible separation, was none of the court's business.

Reflecting separate strands in the Conservative Party, he appears to see himself as a "conservative libertarian." But when push comes to shove, he says he favours the libertarian over the conservative.

That is, he believes in judges defending constitutional rights when government goes too far in limiting them.

And he does not think much of the judicial appointment process - calling it a "disgrace" in its lack of parliamentary oversight. He goes much further than the CBA, representing 37,000 lawyers, ever has, in calling for a parliamentary review for each judge appointed to the top trial and appeal courts of the provinces.

On Oct. 21, 2008, with the Liberal Party looking for a new leader after Stéphane Dion stepped down, Justice Brown blogged: "As someone who hopes the Grits just fade away by the next election, I'm cheering for Justin Trudeau or Joe Volpe. Or have I missed a possible candidate who is as unspeakably awful?" Someone asked in response whether his position was based on a hatred of the nanny state.

His reply was that he is "no fan of the nanny state," but more important is that "I'm no fan of any party that comes to see itself as the embodiment of the nation."

His sympathies with the Conservatives are clear. On Sept. 8, 2008, responding to a blog post describing Prime Minister Stephen Harper as "scary," he said: "I don't see it. Admittedly, I harbour some hope for a hidden agenda, but I doubt it's going to happen." (Critics had said Mr.

Harper had a "hidden agenda" of conservative policies that would emerge once he had a majority government.)

Justice Brown views the Canadian Bar Association as politically partisan, mocking it for calling on Canada to demand freedom for Omar Khadr at a time the United States was holding the accused teenage terrorist at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He said the bar association is indifferent or silent when repressive Middle East regimes hold, torture or, in one case, even kill Canadians, such as Zahra Kazemi, Maher Arar or William Sampson. The reason for its selective outrage, he said, is that it doesn't like the Conservative government.

He also wondered, in a blog post on April 12, 2008, about whether Chief Justice McLachlin has a bias similar to the CBA's.

"Perhaps I'm reading too much into this, but I could not help being struck by the penultimate sentence in Chief Justice McLachlin's news release announcing the imminent retirement of Justice Bastarache. 'I know,' the Chief Justice said, 'that the Canadian government will consider the appointment of a new justice with the care and deliberation required.' Again, I might be reading too much into this, but it seems to come off more as a shot across the bow, rather than as a genuine expression of being reassured. Kind of like the way we tell our kids, 'I know you wouldn't think of tracking mud into the house,' when we're afraid they are about to do just that.

"Thinking that this is maybe something she says all the time, I tracked down the news release from February, 2004, when the Chief Justice announced the imminent departure of Justice Arbour. Not a peep about any concern for care and deliberation in choosing her replacement." A Liberal government was in place at the time.

He was also less than impressed by the Chief Justice, with whom Mr. Harper has publicly tangled, on another occasion, writing on Sept. 21, 2008: "By the way, did anyone notice when McLachlin CJ spoke at the law school on Friday that she listed China (!?!?!?) as one of the countries whose constitutional law might be a helpful source from which to draw? Frankly, if the SCC justices are going to dabble in comparative constitutional legal analysis in order to 'inform' the content of Canadians' constitutional rights, I'd prefer they stick to countries that observe the rule of law."

Associated Graphic

Justice Russ Brown did not hold back his aversions to the court system in his blog posts.


Tulowitzki exactly as advertised
Fans shouldn't expect a lot of emotion from the new shortstop, who homered and doubled in his Jays debut. He's the perfect addition to a clubhouse full of dour, clear-eyed, driven men
Thursday, July 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1


T roy Tulowitzki enjoyed a bunch of new experiences during his remarkable debut on Wednesday.

First game as a Blue Jay. First home run as a Blue Jay. First talktherapy session as a Blue Jay.

The famously intense new arrival was asked to describe his mental makeup.

"People want me to smile more, but that's just not me," Tulowitzki said. "As soon as the game is over is not time to celebrate. It's time to look forward to the next game."

It sounded more like a warning than a self-assessment.

Tulowitzki comes advertised as a bit of a baseball-playing cyborg, in all that implies about both his abilities and his personality.

He was upset about the way he'd been jettisoned from the Colorado Rockies.

"I was blindsided" - those were the first words out of his mouth.

He didn't dwell on it. He said he was looking forward to playing in a new country - "It's crazy to think about."

(Parenthetical: It's Canada. It's not as if you're moving somewhere really weird. Such as France.)

You got the strong sense this openhearted share session was both a first and a last.

How could you tell? Tulowitzki smiled a lot. It looked as if it hurt.

Someone guessed at the spelling of his infant son, Taz's, name.

"Tee-eh-zed," they said.

"Tee-eh-ZEE," Tulowitzki corrected.

"Zed," - the correction to the correction.

Everyone laughed. Everyone but Tulowitzki. He also didn't punch anyone. We'll call it a draw.

Once the cameras were turned off, he returned to his usual expression - the flat aspect of some great predatory animal.

We don't yet know how Tulowitzki is going to change the Blue Jays in performance terms. In his first at-bat, he received a slow-developing standing ovation. He waved back at the crowd.

It wasn't a "Thank you for your kindness" sort of wave. It was more of a "Please stop that, you're messing up my routine" wave. Then he struck out.

The next time up, he hit a tworun homer. To that point, Tulowitzki had hit three home runs in 13 career at-bats at Rogers Centre.

After all those years playing in the Himalayan air pressure of Denver, this - ahem - may bode well for the future.

The crowd tried to call him from the dugout by chanting his name. He didn't even consider it.

He hit two doubles in his next two at-bats. Tulowitzki finished 3-for-5 in an 8-2 Jays victory.

Going forward, try to remember that benevolent thoughts are preferred to outward displays of emotion.

What we can already say is that Tulowitzki definitively tilts this clubhouse in favour of seriousness. Jose Reyes was the last veteran you could describe as "loose." Without him, this locker room is now about as wild and zany as the bench of the Supreme Court.

There are a lot of different types, but all the men left in charge have that Dad aura to them. You wouldn't want to disappoint these guys.

Mark Buehrle is Toughen Up Dad.

R.A. Dickey is Distracted Bookish Dad.

Edwin Encarnacion is Never Talks Dad.

Russell Martin is "Can't you see I'm working?" Dad.

Jose Bautista is Detail-oriented Dad.

Bautista's the particular case.

He wants things just so, and is affronted when they are not. All things.

On Tuesday, he'd offered up this pull quote about the Tulowitzki-for-Reyes trade: "If you want to look at it as a pure baseball move, there's upgrades in certain areas. Maybe not necessarily what we need, but it is an upgrade."

Many in the media, including in this corner of it, took it as a small rebuke of the organization.

Bautista noticed they'd noticed. He tweeted his irritation with "the ones playing psychologist" after the game.

He went further on Wednesday. He was asked if he thought his comments were misconstrued.

"I don't think. I'm 100-per-cent sure," Bautista said. "It was manipulated in order to send a different message than the one I wanted to convey. Why? I don't know."

Oh, he knows. And he knows we know he knows.

Rather than freaking out, this is exactly how cunning dads make you pay.

It works on his teammates as well. Bautista has a natural ability to still a room when he enters. He is the place shenanigans go to die.

Roy Halladay had that same thing.

Everyone straightened up when he walked in. Literally.

Younger guys who slouched in their chairs would sit up abruptly once they spotted him.

Halladay was a workout-obsessed Felix Unger, though often undone by the surrounding Oscar Madisons (e.g. A.J. Burnett, B.J. Ryan et al).

It's all Felixes in there now - dour, clear-eyed, driven men. If Brett Lawrie were to return suddenly, bursting into the room shrieking at the top of his lungs - as was his wont - he'd be stared to death.

There are no rules about what sort of locker rooms work best.

All kinds of teams win - goofy ones, careless ones, deeply divided ones.

But if you've been in the room of a regular winner, they tend to have a "No Slouching" aspect to them. The New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals are famous for it. It's a clubhouse of adults. You can laugh in there, but you would not giggle. Someone would notice, and they would not be happy about it.

In recent years, the Blue Jays' room has been a friendly and occasionally buoyant place, but it has never felt like a winner.

There's a pretty simple explanation for that - they don't win.

But who's to say the chicken doesn't precede the egg, at least in baseball? Maybe if you act as if you expect to succeed - and do it all the time, not just while on the field - you can homegrow that Yankees/Cardinals swagger.

That's what Jays management wants. It's why they talk about character as if it's a tangible commodity.

They've tried it every other way, in all sorts of combinations of staff and skills. There's no harm in seeing if what this team needs to push it past mediocrity is a plurality of backroom buzz-kills.

Follow me on Twitter: @cathalkelly

Associated Graphic

Troy Tulowitzki hits a two-run homer during the third inning, in his second at-bat as a Toronto Blue Jay on Wednesday night.


Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki makes a throw to second base to force an out against the Philadelphia Phillies in the third inning of Wednesday's game in Toronto. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (5-10) gave up two runs and struck out four over eight innings as Toronto (51-51) snapped a small two-game skid in its 8-2 win. Every batter in the Blue Jays' starting lineup had at least one hit, with five players earning two hits and Tulowitzki having three. Toronto finished with a total of 16 hits. Bo Schultz pitched a runless inning of relief to close out the game for the Blue Jays. Meanwhile, a day after he was acquired from Toronto, Jose Reyes was 1 for 3 with a walk and a stolen base in his Rockies' debut. He batted second and singled in his first at-bat for Colorado, then was caught stealing.


Nature-loving urbanites rejoice: You can now enjoy cold-pressed juices, art nights and chic Airbnb offerings in paradise
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, July 28, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

KAUAI, HAWAII -- It's a warm evening in Kilauea, a small beach town on the north shore, and the sun is just starting to set.

Hand-painted signs along the road guide us to a grassy area behind a historic stone building, where a large crowd has gathered under pink-streaked skies and twinkly string lights. It's Art Night, a monthly festival featuring live music, local artisans and trendy food trucks.

Lineups for pulled-pork sandwiches and fresh fish tacos snake around groups of young families and friends stretched out on blankets listening to the band. It's a scene you'd expect to stumble upon in a hip urban neighbourhood rather than a far-flung island in the middle of the Pacific - and it's exactly the sort of thing that's attracting younger travellers to Kauai and redefining its appeal beyond a nature-lover's paradise.

I heard about Art Night from Jenny Mason, founder of Kopa Kauai soaps. I first met Jenny at the Westin Princeville resort, where she sets up a soap stand on Fridays.

"You have to go to Art Night if you like this stuff," she tells me after I compliment her gorgeous hand-crafted soaps. "This island draws a certain type of person, and Art Night is all about young creative people."

Her nearby soap studio is an oasis of calm in the busy Princeville area, which is filled with condos and luxury hotels.

She inhales deeply while describing her bestsellers -there's a soft-smelling sea-salt soap named after Hanalei Bay, the stunning crescent-shaped sandy beach by her home, and a brightly coloured orange-blossom bar that looks good enough to eat. Mason can hardly keep up with the demand for her soaps, which are shipped internationally and now sold in New York and Paris.

According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, visitor arrivals to Kauai grew 7.3 per cent, to 98,782, in May, 2015, compared with the previous year. The number of day trippers from other islands, primarily Oahu, Maui and Hawaii (Big Island) also rose 19.2 per cent, to 11,539 visitors. The increase, particularly among younger entrepreneurs and travellers, may be partly attributable to the arrival of short-term vacation rental sites.

A largely cost-prohibitive paradise traditionally perceived for honeymooners or retirees, Kauai has become a more affordable destination in recent years with private room rates as low as $125 per night on Airbnb. (It's also attracting visitors and entrepreneurs both big and small - last year Mark Zuckerberg bought 283 hectares of land, joining fellow billionaires Steve Case, former chairman of AOL Time Warner, and James Jannard, founder of Oakley, who also have large properties on the north shore.)

Kauai, the geologically oldest and most northern Hawaiian island, is made up of countless towering waterfalls, lush rainforests, verdant valleys, pristine beaches and stunning mountain ranges. It's home to Mount Waialeale, one of the wettest places on Earth, and the Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. The vast majority of the island is inaccessible - 90 per cent by car and 70 per cent by foot - and yet, interesting little towns filled with great restaurants, shops and services have popped up along the coastline.

Kapaa is one of those towns.

Cool coffee shops, tiny bars and charming boutiques are sandwiched between run-down restaurants and shabby playgrounds. It has that same energy and cool contrast of a neighbourhood on the cusp of gentrification. Kauai Juice Co., a sleek juice bar that looks as if it belongs on Toronto's Queen Street West or Vancouver's Main Street, is tucked behind a mini strip mall.

It's owned by Kristal Muhich, a 30-year-old entrepreneur originally from Illinois, who fell in love with the island while visiting eight years ago. Her two retail locations in Kapaa and Kilauea serve up an impressive selection of cold-pressed juices, hand-pressed nut milks and flavourful kombucha teas.

When I visited each location, the juice-slinging staff behind the counter was a group of stylish young women who seemed to be friends. "This island has a really strong and supportive feminine power," says Muhich.

"There are a lot of creative women who are starting their own businesses and building an artistic community here."

Among the glass-bottled juices, you can also find Mahalo Skin Care products in the shop, a new artisanal skin-care line made with local ingredients, including papaya and hibiscus. It was launched last year after raising enough money from a successful crowdfunding campaign to produce the custom bamboo, laser-engraved packaging. Maryna Kracht, the 32-year-old Ukrainian native behind the brand, and her husband, Mark, who moved to Kauai from Detroit eight years ago, say there is definitely a growing population of hipster foreigners (mainland Americans are considered foreigners to Hawaiians) and no shortage of cool restaurants, bars and microbrands that are coming along with them.

Over coffee at a chic Hemingway-themed café, they tell me about a friend on the island who recently launched a handmade clothing label called KaiKini Bikinis, and another who is making raw honey products through her local company, McPhee's Bees. "It feels like it's just getting started," says Kracht.

"And it's inspiring to see so many people coming together and creating things they love." The Krachts generously give us recommendations for places to eat, sightsee and relax. The following day, we take a road through a fragrant tunnel of eucalyptus trees on the south shore in search of a restaurant the Krachts recommended.

When we pull over to admire one of the many lookout points along the road, we spend a few minutes chatting with another thirtysomething tourist.

"Have you been to Art Night yet?" he asks. We tell him how much we enjoyed our evening in Kilauea.

"I haven't been to that one yet," he says. "I went to the one in Hanapepe."

Apparently, there are two.

We're making it our next stop.


Bar Acuda: Sample a variety of small savoury dishes and excellent wines at this stylish tapas bar. Try the north shore honeycomb with local goat cheese from Kunana Farms.

Located at Hanalei Town Centre, behind Harvest Market. Tahiti Nui:This legendary dive bar gets rowdy, with the loudest music and strongest mai tais we found on the island.

Plan to eat early, as the tables are removed to make way for the dance floor around 9:30 p.m. 5-5134 Kuhio Hwy, St. Regis Princeville: Skip the overpriced restaurants in this mega resort and instead enjoy a cold local beer at the bar, which offers the same sweeping ocean views. 5520 Ka Haku Rd.,

Kilauea Art Night: If you're lucky enough to be in Kauai on the last Saturday of the month, don't miss this event featuring local vendors, artists and musicians. The awesome burger at Kickshaws food truck is worth the 40-minute wait.

The Dolphin: A bustling all-inone sushi bar, fish market and fantastic restaurant that serves a good selection of cocktails and a life-changing calamari dish. 5-5016 Kuhio Hwy,

Associated Graphic

Picnic with a view: Roadside stands and food trucks in Kauai lead to some truly stunning outdoor meals.


Kauai, the oldest Hawaiian island, is made up of countless towering waterfalls, lush rainforests, pristine beaches and stunning mountain ranges.


The Dolphin's menu includes an amazing calamari dish.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015 Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mumbling into the mainstream
Friday, July 24, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R5

They never liked the name, but they changed moviemaking - in their characteristically subtle way. Ten years ago at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Tex., three micro-budget films with semi-improvised scripts, character-based stories, non-professional actors and naturalistic dialogue got clumped together under the name Mumblecore.

Checking in with the filmmakers a decade later, that name is passé, but their style dominates independent film and quality television. Its creators' careers are a party, and they're the lives of it.

The three films were Andrew Bujalski's Mutual Appreciation, Mark and Jay Duplass's The Puffy Chair (they're brothers, and their previous claim to fame was a seven-minute short of them recording an answering machine message) and Joe Swanberg's Kissing on the Mouth. Swanberg and his wife, Kris Swanberg, shot it with some pals in their Chicago abodes.

The Swanbergs' story is a Mumblecore archetype. They'd studied film, but felt isolated in the Midwest, out of the New York/Los Angeles action. Kissing on the Mouth took six months to shoot, because they had to do it around their day jobs (Kris was working in a sandwich shop). They didn't have a crew. They used the camera Joe's parents gave him for his university graduation. They'd shoot some scenes, cut them together with Final Cut Pro, and talk about what to shoot next.

"It was really fun," Kris Swanberg said last week in a phone interview. "We made it in the same way high school kids would do skits in the backyard with their friends, just try stuff."

When the film landed at SXSW, they were thrilled. They met likeminded writer-directors and began collaborating with them. A lot. Each made a movie a year of his or her own, and acted in and co-wrote the other's film. In 2007, for example, Joe Swanberg made Hannah Takes the Stairs, and cast Bujalski, Mark Duplass and a then-unknown actress named Greta Gerwig. Now Gerwig is a star, with a freewheeling screen persona often compared to Judy Holliday's. Her next film, Mistress America, is due out Aug.

14. It's her third film with writerdirector Noah Baumbach, whom she met through Swanberg.

The Duplass brothers, meanwhile, jumped on a rocket ship.

They made a horror/comedy (2008's Baghead) with Gerwig.

Then, in 2010, they made Cyrus with Jonah Hill (which led directly to Hill starring with Brad Pitt in Moneyball and Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street, earning Oscar nominations for both).

When I interviewed the Duplass brothers about Cyrus, I took them out to lunch; they were still at the level where they were delighted by that. Little did we know that industry domination was around the corner. Mark starred in the TV show The League. Mark and Jay have an amusing arc on The Mindy Project as obnoxiously smooth obstetricians. Mark and Jay write and direct the HBO series Togetherness (Mark also stars in it), which is a glorious evolution of Mumblecore: It combines honest dialogue and naturalistic performances with pristine production values. Meanwhile, Jay is co-starring in Transparent, another groundbreaking series, which just racked up 11 Emmy nominations.

To cap it off, in March, 10 years almost to the day after The Puffy Chair premiered, Mark Duplass delivered the keynote speech at this year's SXSW Festival. A primer on how to succeed, its advice included: Make a film every weekend on your phone with your smartest friends; make a $1,000 film with extension cords you buy and then return to the store, write a movie for a star whose career is in a lull; collaborate with everyone.

Not only was the speech a rouser, it coincided with the announcement that he and Jay signed a four-picture deal with Netflix.

Who's mumbling now?

"Even though Mark and Jay are making bigger stuff, they're still really scrappy," Kris Swanberg says. "They still have their indie mentality, which is why everyone wants to work with them."

Swanberg hasn't risen to Duplass levels yet, but her latest film, Unexpected, opens July 24. It stars Cobie Smulders as an innercity high school teacher who finds out she's pregnant at the same time as one of her best students. In its unflashy way, it delves into issues of class, race and female ambition. Swanberg lived the research: She once taught film and video to Chicago high school kids, and becamefriends with a few. "It's rare that anyone from one socioeconomic class has a true friendship with someone of a different class," she says. "I wanted to talk about that."

Smulders lobbied hard for the role. She knew that a Mumblcore grad like Swanberg would demand real acting, which she was eager to show after years of sitcom ba-dum-bump on How I Met Your Mother. In keeping with the naturalism, Smulders brought along her own special effect: She was six months pregnant, so every shot of her naked belly is the real thing.

Agents and studio people encouraged Swanberg to amp up the drama: add a car crash, make the student's neighbourhood more dangerous. But Swanberg knew real life provides drama and conflict aplenty. "I was so afraid of making them seem less human, and the story less authentic," Swanberg says. "That's what's great about independent film. I didn't have to answer to anybody. I could tell the story I wanted to tell."

That's the Mumblecore gospel, and it's spreading. In Hollywood, it fills the gap that was created when studios stopped making mid-budget dramas, and focused instead on blockbusters. "I'm into heart. Real, human stories that people can relate to," Swanberg says. "That's why people reacted [to Mumblecore stuff] the way they did. They're hungry for it."

The gospel also dominates the discourse in film schools now.

When Swanberg was studying at a state college in Illinois, nobody was talking about DIY filmmaking. "That would have been crazy," she says. "Everything was by the book." But cheap digital technology and indie success have changed that; now everyone can create a Mumblecorps.

Of course, Hollywood is still Hollywood. A male director such as Colin Trevorrow can jump from helming a micro-budget first feature (2012's Safety Not Guaranteed, which starred Mark Duplass, because the man is everywhere!) straight to a blockbuster, Jurassic World. The path for female directors is more like Lynn Shelton's, who segued from the Mumblecorish Humpday to more polished scripts with bigger-name actors (Touchy Feely with Ellen Page, Laggies with Keira Knightley) and TV directing (Mad Men, New Girl, The Mindy Project).

Swanberg's not chasing blockbusters. Not yet, anyway. Her budget for Unexpected was somewhere between $500,000 and $1-million (barely enough for a few dino teeth in Jurassic World).

"That seems like a tiny budget, I know," Swanberg says. "But to me it felt really big."

After all, the budget on her first film was $10,000. "People worked for free. We slept on the floor," Swanberg remembers. "For my next film, I'm not trying to do crazy car chases, but I do want people to get paid. And I'm 34 years old. I've got one kid and another on the way. I don't want to sleep on the floor any more."

From such Mumble beginnings, greatness can be born.

Associated Graphic

Mark Duplass, left, and his older brother Jay


Crush hour
Games officials warned us about possible traffic woes. Commuters are coping - or trying to, as best they can
Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M5

"While Toronto hasn't descended into total commuting chaos after the first week of the Pan American Games, moving through the city is still a daily challenge for many of the people who live and work here.

"Leading up to the games, the City of Toronto introduced temporary high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to many of the highways and roads in and around the city. Carpooling has increased for commuters trying to meet the three-occupant requirement to use the lanes and Uber also introduced a pilot carpooling service to share rides using the HOV lanes.

"Pan Am's impact on traffic is still unclear: Road data from the Ministry of Transportation haven't yet been released.

"While the games continue until July 26, with events across southern Ontario, many commuters from across the Greater Toronto Area are still in the swing of their normal work routines. Although people were encouraged to work from home during the games, many are still driving or taking transit to their workplaces every day. These are a few of their stories.

"Sean Polden, 36 Immigration consultant

"Commute: St. Catharines to Burlington, then the GO train to the Financial District in downtown Toronto Up until the beginning of July, we would take advantage of the HOV lanes between Burlington and Oakville. My partner and I commute together and when our daughter is in school, she commutes in with us. Now it's just the two of us, so we can't use the HOV lanes and we don't drive from Burlington because of the increased delays. Especially this month, it's been really rough, and to avoid the traffic chaos, we've been taking the GO train.

"As it is, we already leave at 6:30 in the morning to get to our jobs.

"And we couldn't leave too much earlier and drive through traffic because there's that work-life balance. And two hours of commuting each way is kind of enough. Taking the HOV lane during a regular commute for us would probably save us at least half an hour, which works out to the same amount of time as getting on the GO train at Burlington and going to Union Station.

"But where the big difference is, is cost. It works out to a difference of about $400 a month added onto our budget.

"Sangeeta Panat, 41 Customer support at a medical organization

"Commute: From Morningside in Scarborough to Bay and Bloor, via the 401 and Don Valley Parkway I generally don't drive [to work], but I was driving the past couple days - I had a few errands to run in the west end. I find that HOV lanes are great, but it would be better if there were more lanes to work with. There's an express lane, and we only have three lanes on the 401 around Scarborough and they just cut one more. But it is a little frustrating, considering that I left early - normally, I leave about 7:15 and get downtown by 8, 8:05. Now it takes me an hour and a half to get where I need to be. An HOV lane would be great on a regular basis as long as they make a brand new lane. I used to live in California, and there, the HOV lanes are very common, and it's two or more people, and it's very efficient. Again, you need that extra lane.

"Manny Da Silva, 34 Automotive rep

"Commute: From 401-Don Valley Parkway area to downtown Toronto I've had to change my route to accommodate for the extra traffic that's on the DVP. I've had to avoid the DVP at Don Mills and go further east. I tried doing my usual route and the travel times have just drastically increased.

"I've noticed that traffic - especially, say, for example, northbound on the DVP - is jammed as soon as you get off the Gardiner. First time I tried, it was impossible. I think it probably added around 30 or 40 minutes. It's nice when you get to use the HOV lanes, but it's challenging to find not just one person, but two people that can go with you to and fro. Fortunately, there's two guys at work here that kind of live up in my direction, but it's only in the afternoon that I can drop them off. I wasn't comfortable enough using those third-party sites because it's like you're inviting strangers into your own car, right? And being a dad, I just don't want to put myself at risk.

"The idea sounds good on paper, but realistically, it's difficult.

"Alex Soutsos, 24 Works at CI Financial Corp.

"Commute: The GO train from Mississauga to Union Station I find that my GO Train line in general to be delayed a lot. At the beginning of the Games, it was delayed every day, which was a little frustrating. But it's kind of gotten back to its normal pattern now. I do notice larger-than-normal volume for people just riding the train in general. It's a huge inconvenience. Because I go to the gym in the morning, so I'm already up at just before 5 a.m., then I have to be on a specific train if I'm going to make it to work. I try to be at work 20 minutes before. That way I can get in, I can get settled in, I can start, I don't want to feel rushed. When I find the public transit system is unreliable - it tells you it's going to be there at 8:05, then it doesn't get me there until 8:40 - it's a huge frustration to me because it reflects badly on me at work. If I'm always saying I'm late, eventually they're going to get to a point, 'Is it actually him or is it actually the public transit system?'

"Natasha Khosla, 24 Marketer

"Commute: Runnymede station to Leslie station, via the Bloor, Yonge and Sheppard subway lines of the TTC Normally, if there's no delays, it'll take me just under an hour - 45 to 50 minutes. Now it takes me a good hour and a half to two hours. And sometimes it's worse coming back than going there.

"Monday was the worst day. It's so terrible that it's draining. It's already stressful enough getting to work, but then there's no seats - there are so many more people.

"The part that really just gets me: It's really stupid, but they make an announcement every morning on the northbound line, like, "Good morning everyone!" And the Toronto commuters are looking at each other like, "Seriously?

"You don't do this every day. We know that you just do this because of the Pan Am Games."

"It's kind of fake and it's not helping our situation commuting. It would be better if there were subways running on time. It's hard to be in a good mood and it's hard to smile because you just want to get to work on time.

"These interviews have been edited and condensed


"Associated Graphic

"Emily Isaak and Sean Polden usually drive from St. Catharines but have instead been taking the GO train during the Games.



Rentals to capitalize on Crosstown potential
The destruction of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts opens up the underdeveloped area to business and residential opportunities
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S4

Considering how little developable land there is near downtown Vancouver, the inevitable removal of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts is a golden opportunity for the city to create a neighbourhood from a fairly blank slate.

It's also a developer's dream opportunity. But what could that look like? Until the city unveils details when council decides on the removal of the viaducts in September, we can only piece together the information so far.

In the stadium precinct, Aquilini is delivering 600 new rental units to the market with its three-tower project that has just launched. The company has, wisely, been stepping up to fill the demand of a near-zerovacancy-rate rental market.

"It's a good time to be in rental in Vancouver, yes," Kevin Hoffman, senior vice-president of Aquilini Development and Construction, says.

With their new rental community, they are attempting to connect Yaletown, Gastown and Chinatown to finally establish Crosstown, the neighbourhood that has never quite taken off.

The newly completed Aquilini Centre tower connects with Rogers Arena, which Aquilini owns.

They started taking tenants about a month ago, with rents starting at $1,550 for a 460square-foot space and going up to $2,450 for 1,750 square feet.

The groundwork has begun on the south tower, and the east tower is about a year away.

Because they're providing rental, the city relaxed the parking requirements.

"It will be a vibrant area filled with people who want to live near the action," Mr. Hoffman says. "Putting both commercial and residential in the area will add vibrancy that's been lacking.

When you go to the games there aren't a lot of people around."

Aquilini didn't know what the city's plans were for the viaducts when designing its project, so it designed with the viaducts in mind. If the viaduct bridges are removed in 2018, which is the city staff's plan, they can't be completely dismantled, or Aquilini would be in a bind.

"Our towers are designed with the viaduct being in place. So, really, those viaducts won't come down around where we are building the towers - they have to stay. Because our emergency services access is off those viaducts.

"So when we talk about them coming down, they will come down past Rogers Arena."

That extra piece of leftover viaduct required for the Aquilini project, the city's planning director Brian Jackson says, could look like New York's famed High Line elevated park. It could also be part of a bicycle bridge that could help those who might not want to cycle up a 5-per-cent grade.

The details are being worked out.

"We're looking to see how best to get the bikes up from the lower level to Dunsmuir right now," Mr. Jackson says. "We're trying to determine how much viaduct we need."

As for what the overall area might look like without the bulky viaducts, there is talk of a lot of condo towers courtesy of Concord Pacific, park land and a couple of city-owned blocks of mid-rise buildings.

So far, we can envision glass towers with stores, restaurants and wine bars and a lot of jerseywearing sports fans. The rental market is youth-oriented, so we can expect a lot of millennials to move into the neighbourhood, creating demand for more coffee bars.

"Our vision and our hope is that there will be lots of restaurants and lounges, that type of thing," Mr. Hoffman says.

Concord Pacific didn't want to comment on its plans for the area.

"We want to respect the current city process," Matt Meehan, senior vice-president of planning, said in an e-mail.

But Concord has the most to gain if the viaducts come down.

The developer is undertaking a $1-billion plan to add eight buildings around BC Place.

An estimated 12 acres of waterfront park is in the proposal, which is an increase from the original nine acres originally worked out between the city and Concord.

The developer owns a small amount of land underneath the viaducts, but the city owns most of it, about five acres. Half would go toward parkland and the other half toward housing, Mr. Jackson says. To divert traffic from Strathcona, Mr. Jackson says the city is looking at turning either Malkin or National Streets into a major thoroughfare for car and truck traffic.

"We can reconfigure the roads so the entire park is south of the new roadway," Mr. Jackson says.

"Also, the removal gives us two full city blocks on either side of Main Street for potential affordable housing and market housing, which is one way to help pay for the cost of the viaducts coming down. We can recoup the costs this way."

The cost of the removal and new infrastructure is the public's No. 1 concern, he says. City staff has been getting such feedback in meetings with stakeholders.

But they won't present the muchanticipated cost estimate to city council until September.

The other big interest is those two blocks of city-owned land.

It's a major opportunity for affordable housing, although there would be market housing in the mix, too.

Councillor Geoff Meggs says he's open to a suggestion that the city could develop leasehold land around Main Street. At least then it would be hanging on to an asset instead of selling it off.

"I face criticism that this is all a smoke screen for condo developers, and it hasn't been that at all," Mr. Meggs, who's in favour of housing aimed at lower- and middle-income people, says.

"What commitment will there be to affordability in that area?

Council has to determine that.

Where the city has two blocks of land, the emphasis should be on inclusion rather than the pure bottom-line approach.

"But I don't think we should be irresponsible and deploy land that loses money over the long haul."

There is the matter of paying for such a massive project. The city needs to do that, while offering desperately needed affordable housing.

Otherwise, the only true public benefit will be the waterfront park. It's a fine balance.

Not surprisingly, Strathcona residents have been vocal about concerns over traffic and housing.

"If the viaducts do come down, we would like to see that firm commitment to truly affordable housing," Strathcona resident Pete Fry, who is the B.C. Green party candidate for Mount Pleasant in the upcoming provincial by-election, says. Mr. Fry points to the nearby location of the future St. Paul's Hospital as having a major impact, with visitors needing overnight accommodation. That could easily turn a lot of rental suites in Strathcona into Airbnb rooms.

He'd like to see housing that is "truly affordable" in that it reflects local incomes. Vancouver incomes are notoriously low.

That would mean a one-bedroom apartment would rent for about $1,200 a month. And he's not accepting the argument that Strathcona won't be impacted by traffic.

"The reality is, they are building a six-lane road and millions of square feet of residential development, which will have parking for cars. It's ridiculous to think we won't see an increase in traffic."

Associated Graphic

An architectural rendering of Aquilini's three-tower project, which will bring 600 new rental units to the market.


Top court unfairly striking down laws, new justice argues
'Natural law' proponent views federal government as having ultimate authority on broad moral issues
Monday, July 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

The newest judge on Ontario's top court has an explanation for the Conservative government's well-known losing streak at the Supreme Court of Canada: The court's reasoning process is unfair, making it almost impossible for the federal government to defend its laws, such as those involving assisted suicide, prostitution and the war on drugs.

Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Bradley Miller, whose appointment was announced last month, is part of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's vanguard on the bench - a leading dissenter, along with fellow appeal-court Justice Grant Huscroft, from much of what Canada's judges have said and done under the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

As The Globe reported on the weekend, Mr. Harper has been on a decade-long quest to transform the lower courts by finding judges who would be less activist, and less likely to stand in the way of policies such as a crackdown on crime. Justice Miller and Justice Huscroft offer an approach that is more deferential to government than is currently the norm on Canadian courts. If over time they are able to point the court in a new direction, judges will become less likely to strike down laws in which broad moral issues are at stake; government would be given more respect as the authority to decide such issues.

Justice Miller also brings a passionate voice for freedom of religion, arguing that the right to morally disapprove of gay marriage is vital to freedom of conscience. Justice David Brown, appointed to the appeal court last December, makes a similar argument.

But Justice Miller's most important effect on the law could be on the interpretation of the right to life, liberty and security in Section 7 of the Charter of Rights.

This was the section used by the Supreme Court to strike down a ban on assisted suicide this year and prostitution laws in 2013, and to reject the government's attempt to close Insite, a Vancouver clinic where illegal drug users shoot up in the presence of nurses, in 2011.

A judicial "blind spot" explains the government's losing streak in those three cases, Justice Miller said in his published work as a law professor. (As a lawyer, he represented the Christian Legal Fellowship in arguing at the British Columbia Supreme Court against physician-assisted suicide.)

Canadian judges have become blind to certain kinds of harm - harm to important principles and harm to culture, he said. They understood such broad social harms in the 1990s, when the Supreme Court allowed criminal laws on hate speech and pornography to stand, he said.

A bit of background on the Charter is necessary to understand Justice Miller's argument that the court's approach to Section 7 is unfair to government.

The Charter's very first section allows government to put "reasonable limits" on rights, if it can show that the limits are justified "in a free and democratic society." But the court has never allowed an infringement of the Section 7 right to life, liberty and security to stand. The reason is to be found in the wording of Section 7: Any limits have to be in accordance with "the principles of fundamental justice." It would be illogical to say a government could violate a principle of fundamental justice in a free and democratic society.

The result, according to Justice Miller, is a drastically unfair approach.

"The Court remains entirely focused on the rights-holder," such as a sex-trade worker, he wrote in an essay last year published on a British constitutional blog. "Justice and justification are to be considered from one side only. All other considerations are to be postponed to the second stage [Section 1] that never comes."

Thus, he says, it is "profoundly difficult" for the federal government "to articulate the reasoning behind much criminal legislation." Courts do not perceive the harm done by removing the prohibition against intentional killing in the assisted suicide case, he said in a 2012 interview with Cardus, a Christian think tank with offices in Canada and the United States.

He underlined that point in an interview with Western Law Alumni Magazine two years ago, explaining the success of Vancouver lawyer Joseph Arvay, who represented the individuals seeking the right to a doctor's help in ending a life.

"Joe's success - and he does this better than anyone - depends on persuading the court that his client's personal drama is of the utmost significance, and that those persons who will be stripped of the law's protection in order to accommodate Joe's clients just don't matter all that much." (Mr. Arvay said at the time that he tries to show it isn't necessary to trounce his clients' rights to protect the rights of others.)

Carissima Mathen, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, offered another perspective on the courts' approach to life, liberty and security. "Arguments extending beyond the right holder are certainly considered," she said in an e-mail. "They just come up earlier in the process, when thinking about 'fundamental justice,' which is really Section 7's core guarantee."

She added that in the prostitution, assisted suicide and supervised-injection cases, the law's impact was severe. "If you have horrific suffering or risk of death on one side, you're going to need really strong arguments on the other. And it's probably true that symbolic purposes (such as simply promoting a certain moral vision) are not going to make the cut. But I think that is actually a strength, and not a weakness, of the Charter."

Justice Miller is a proponent of "natural law" - the idea that universal, unchanging moral principles are inherently human, and form the true underpinnings of law. Iain Benson, a lecturer visiting his law school at the University of British Columbia, introduced him to the philosophy and gave him a book by Canadian philosopher George Grant called English-Speaking Justice.

(Justice Miller went on to obtain a doctorate in law at Oxford under a leading natural-law philosopher, John Finnis.)

The George Grant book described the contemporary West as having "lost our confidence in speaking about what is good for human beings," Mr. Benson said in an interview from France, where he lives. "He actually refers to it as 'the terrifying darkness that has fallen on contemporary justice.' " Justice Miller, he added, offers "a set of insights that the system desperately needs."

On gay marriage, Justice Miller's main themes come together - that government has the right and duty to protect society from harm to its natural moral principles.

"Natural is code for Catholic values with Brad," in which sex between same-sex individuals is seen as unnatural, or sinful, University of Toronto law and philosophy professor David Dyzenhaus said.

Justice Miller says government is obliged to protect marriage between a man and a woman. "In the same way that government is obligated to steward the political community's forests, fresh water and other resources, it is obligated to identify the morally valuable aspects of a national culture and its morally valuable institutions and to preserve them from one generation to the next," he wrote in a 2011 paper, "Sexual Orientation and the Legal Regulation of Marriage."

"There would seem to be no reason why this obligation to protect a political community's cultural property should not extend to protecting a morally valuable concept and culture of marriage."

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A6

When the engine that has powered global growth since the turn of the century begins to creak and groan, it's time for all of us to worry.

The latest sign of China's problems came in the form of an 8.5-per-cent slide in the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index on Monday, amounting to a paper loss of about $800-billion (U.S.). It was the secondworst day in the benchmark's history and its most severe beating since 2007.

The stock-market rout reflects many things, but among them is growing evidence that the outlook for China's economy is deteriorating. The slowdown is already being transmitted around the world in the form of plunging commodity prices, which hit particularly hard at resource-producing countries such as Canada.

But the apparent end to China's great growth spurt is also being felt beyond mines and oil fields. For more than a decade, the Asian giant was the single biggest driver of the global economy as it expanded at a double-digit clip. It contributed, on average, about 27 per cent of world growth each year since 2000 - far more than the 16 per cent contributed by the United Sates and the euro area put together, according to TorontoDominion Bank.

Without a vigorous China, it's difficult to imagine a strong global recovery - and right now the outlook for the Middle Kingdom is growing increasingly uncertain. Here are a few of its major stress points.

Sliding stocks

The Shanghai Composite Index has gone from shooting star to cowering dog in the space of two months. After more than doubling since the summer of 2014, it hit the skids in early June and tumbled more than 30 per cent in three weeks.

The government responded to the June decline by introducing strong-arm manoeuvres designed to muscle the market doubters back in line. Limits on insider selling and a ban on short selling, combined with large amounts of share purchases by state-owned funds, helped push the index back up, but Monday's fresh selloff signals that investors aren't sure how long the government will decide to keep its support in place or how successful the rescue operation will be.

To be sure, optimists can argue the plunge is just a natural adjustment to the earlier exuberance. Even after the new losses on Monday, the Shanghai index was still up about 15 per cent since the start of the year.

However, the selloff underlines the fact that there are a lot of nervous investors who seem eager to dump their holdings if given a chance. There was no obvious trigger for the decline other than general skepticism.

"We haven't a clue what truly motivated such a large rush to the exits overnight but when you find out, let us know," Bank of Nova Scotia economists wrote in a research note on Monday.

Property and credit concerns

Li Gan, an economics professor at Texas A&M University who heads the China Household Finance Survey, told Bloomberg that winners from the stock boom are cashing in to buy real estate. If so, that may explain some of the recent volatility on the Shanghai composite. But it also means yet another manic chapter in China's wild property saga.

"Like a bouncy castle on a patchy power supply, the Chinese property bubble has been rapidly inflating, deflating and reinflating since 2007," writes Gwynn Guilford, the resident China watcher at online magazine Quartz. She predicts that abundant credit will fuel yet another upswing in the market - which is good news for Chinese banks given that as much as three-fifths of credit in China is secured with property as collateral.

However, another real estate boomlet, with all the borrowing that would imply, would just add to the concerns about China's massive debt overhang.

Non-financial sector debt has surged from 156 per cent of gross domestic product in 2008 to roughly 250 per cent at the end of 2014. "The rapid pace of credit accumulation raises financial stability concerns," Andrew Labelle, a TorontoDominion Bank economist, wrote in a report last week.

The Bank for International Settlements, which works to promote financial stability around the world, uses various measures of indebtedness to gauge the risk of future banking crises. Both of its favourite gauges say China is financially vulnerable and has an urgent need to reduce its debt levels.

"Yet, even with credit growth decelerating, it continues to rise faster than GDP," Mr. Labelle says.

Weak growth indicators

China reported that its economic growth slowed in the first quarter to 7 per cent, its slowest pace since the financial crisis. But many observers think even that figure is inflated.

"There [are] completely independent data that indicate the Chinese economy is much weaker than official data [would suggest]," writes Christopher Balding, an associate professor in the HSBC Business School at Peking University.

For instance, electricity consumption is growing at only 1.1 per cent, while imports are declining at a 15-per-cent annual clip. Neither figure seems consistent with an economy that is supposed to be growing at a 7-per-cent pace.

The so-called Keqiang index devised by The Economist magazine uses three indicators - electricity consumption, freight volumes and bank loans - to gauge Chinese economic growth. It suggests Chinese growth slowed abruptly in 2013 and has recovered to only about a 5-per-cent pace.

A broader measure devised by TD Economics also concludes that real GDP declined by more than the official figures in the first quarter of this year and has managed only a modest rebound since then.

Chinese factories have been especially hard hit. A purchasing manager's index for the manufacturing sector fell last week to its lowest level in 15 months. For the fifth month in a row, it indicated the factory sector was shrinking.

Capital flight

China ran a record balance-of-payments deficit in the first three months of this year, as the equivalent of $79-billion (U.S.) flowed out of the country, according to official data. Chinese businesses and investors appear to be voting with their feet and moving money to more attractive locations elsewhere.

The capital flows signal growing skepticism about China's economy, although it should be noted that the overall amount remains small in comparison with the overall size of the country's production.

Still, the balance-of-payments deficit was striking since China ran its largest trade surplus in five years during the quarter. Yet that wasn't enough to outweigh the flood of money headed out of the country.

What does it mean for Canada?

China's endless appetite for resources fuelled the commodity supercycle of a few years past. Resource-producing countries such as Canada and Australia were among the prime beneficiaries as prices for gold, iron ore, copper and oil all climbed to lofty heights.

Now that process is going in reverse. The Bloomberg Commodity Spot Index has sunk to its lowest level since 2002 - bad news for Canadian miners and energy producers.

Without strong growth in the United States or Europe, the fear is that a slowing China may put the brakes on an already disappointing global recovery. "For the rest of the world, the implications are that China will continue to periodically drain demand from an already demand-short global economy," Andrew Labelle of Toronto-Dominion Bank says.

After Seattle loss, trade deadline looms
The Jays keep swearing that this year is 'different,' but an erratic pitching staff means the Toronto team could be eyeing some help
Monday, July 27, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S2

SEATTLE -- Marco Estrada, quietly and emphatically, made the case for his baseball team on Saturday morning.

The night before, Estrada booked a loss on the mound, as the Toronto Blue Jays fell to the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.

The place was so loud with Jays fans down from the Vancouver region, a big part of the 40,000plus crowd, that winning pitcher Felix Hernandez said afterward: "Today, we played in Toronto."

On Saturday, Estrada made his pitch for why the Jays bosses should double down, again, to make a trade to bolster this roster.

To go for it, after all the win-now bets that haven't paid.

"We can be dominant," the 32year-old pitcher said. Estrada sat relaxed on a folding chair, near the locker room, his gaze fixed straight ahead. "We've seen glimpses of it. It's going to happen. And when it does" - he turned to his right, to look a reporter in the eyes, as his tenor turned emphatic - "watch out."

The Blue Jays, after a July mostly on the road, return home for an extended run at Rogers Centre starting Tuesday, 10 in a row and 16 of the next 19 games. The team is, maybe, on the cusp. It's the biggest-hitting team there is, with an erratic pitching staff. The nonwaiver trade deadline looms on Friday at 4 p.m. ET.

The Jays arrive in Toronto after winning three and losing three on a swing out west, in Oakland, and then Seattle on the weekend, a trip on which the team has struggled in recent seasons. The Mariners beat the Jays 6-5 on Sunday in 10 innings.

This time last year, the Blue Jays had a better record than they do today, and a smaller distance to close in the AL East. At the start of last August, by odds, the Jays were more likely to make the playoffs than not. By the end of last August, their postseason odds had crumpled to zero, another psychic anvil piled on the epic dirge that is Toronto sports history of recent decades.

This time two years ago, the first season of R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes, the odds of the Jays breaking the longest postseason drought in baseball had already cratered to zero.

This time it's different. Those are the four most expensive words in the stock market, and often the four most hollow words in love and sports. But these Jays believe it. They insist. This time it's different.

Saturday morning, nearing noon, after Jose Bautista borrowed a pen so he and Josh Donaldson could sign baseballs for a young boy in the visitor's dugout, the team's leader sat on the stairs on the way back to the locker room.

Bautista made the case. The players are more determined.

They work harder. They prepare more seriously, for every game.

He didn't say it, but this team is staffed by winners, the likes of new arrivals Donaldson and Russell Martin.

"It's a different attitude," Bautista said. "Having that attitude of, 'You know what? I'm pissed off when I don't win.' It's going to be much different than it was last year for the last two months of the season."

Manager John Gibbons, whose future with the team may be determined by how well it plays in the next few months, said, "This year, for some reason, has a totally different feel. I don't know how I can explain that. It's a better team. That's definitely a part of it.

"But we've got to do something.

We've got to do something quick."

On Saturday, when it looked as though pitching had again failed the team, the bats rallied - and then the pitching did, too, in an 8-6 comeback win. Aaron Sanchez, in his return to the mound, threw one strong inning in the eighth, earning the win, and rising star Roberto Osuna, in the ninth, finished the job.

On Sunday, Buehrle helped the team to a 4-3 lead but the relievers stumbled. A Seattle homer in the seventh tied it 5-5. A Seattle homer in the 10th won it. The loss dropped the Jays to 50-50.

So: A trade? A starting pitcher, firstly, and maybe bullpen help, and, perhaps, an outfielder.

"Behind the scenes, there's a lot of work going on," Gibbons said.

"I would be very surprised if something didn't happen. I don't know how big. No guarantees."

Ask Dickey. "There's no secret that it'd be nice to get a starting pitcher," the 40-year-old knuckleballer said. "It's got to be the right move."

Doubling down, one more time.

On a team that, a week ago, was 41/2 games behind the New York Yankees and as of Sunday night was 61/2 games out. A team that has to go 40-22 - 0.645 - to reach 90 wins.

"Absolutely doable," Dickey said of winning the division. It's in this team's hands, with Dickey pointing to 13 games against the Yankees, six of them in the next three weeks.

"We were trying to arrest a free fall the last two years. This year, it's not that way. I feel like we're waiting for the" - Dickey paused, briefly - "surge."

Ask Osuna, the 20-year-old rookie pitcher from Mexico, the youngest hurler to suit up in a Jays uniform. He threw 14 pitches Saturday to four batters, the heart of the Mariners lineup. Ten pitches were 98 or 99 miles an hour. He looked unhittable, a surgeon making several swift and perfect cuts.

"We're going to make the playoffs," Osuna said.

Osuna's work sparked praise from Seattle's Robinson Cano.

Cano hit a three-run homer in the fourth on Saturday and, in the ninth, facing Osuna, drew a walk.

"He's a guy that throws 99," Cano said. "He's a guy who you don't see that often. And [he's] got another pitch. It makes the [fastball] look even nastier."

On the question of whether this time it's different, Edwin Encarnacion, a Jay of seven seasons, said, "It's not the same 10 games, 13 games behind first place. It's different."

Martin, the catcher who has been a stalwart for this team, knows the workings of a winner, having made the playoffs seven of nine seasons in Los Angeles, New York and Pittsburgh.

Whether general manager Alex Anthopoulos makes a trade, this team can hit and drive home runs, and Martin believes it can pitch.

"It's starting to become a strength of ours," Martin said on Sunday morning of the bullpen.

"That could take off some pressure from our starters. And our starters keep us almost in every single game that we're in. Keep us in the game, and we're going to find a way to win."

This time, maybe, it's different.

"Even though the results might not reflect that right now," Bautista said of the beefier attitude, "we can all tell the difference."

Associated Graphic

Mariners catcher Mike Zunino, centre, tags Blue Jay Ezequiel Carrera, left, out as third-base coach Luis Rivera looks on Sunday. Sunday's game started out with a Jays lead but Toronto soon fizzled.


Breaching 'the last bastion of maleness'
Though many professions are working to close the gender gap, elite sport remains a notoriously uneven playing field - but that is changing
Saturday, August 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

When the head coach of the men's basketball team asked the graduating senior on the women's basketball team what she was planning to do next, there wasn't a definitive response.

Coaching would be a good option, suggested Dave Drabiuk, the men's coach at the University of Alberta's Augustana campus. But Rachel Warrack, the fifth-year starter, said the women's team wasn't looking for another assistant.

That was when Mr. Drabiuk cut to the quick: He wasn't talking about the women's team; he was asking whether Ms. Warrack was interested in being an assistant coach on the men's side.

"The look on her face," Mr. Drabiuk recalled. "You would have thought I had three heads."

As much as sports have evolved from old-school attitudes to analytic strategies, women coaching men remains a tall hurdle, one that many can't get over. To those who oppose female coaches, the arguments seldom differ: Women as coaches are either too emotional or not emotional enough.

They're unproven, unsuitable and unable to command the full respect of the male athletes they're leading.

Penny Werthner, dean of the University of Calgary's faculty of kinesiology and a noted sports psychologist, said while there are professions that have worked at closing the gender gap - in law and medicine, for example - elite sports are not among that group.

"I think sport, at the pro and Olympic level, is still the last bastion of maleness," Dr. Werthner said. "This is why I would say - and I'm not over-stating it - it can be a hostile environment for women. It's why women coaches are judged much more critically. They know they have to be twice as good [as their male counterparts]."

Clermont, a French seconddivision men's soccer team, recently hired Helena Costa as its coach. Right away, Ms. Costa realized she had no real authority and was only a "face" for the sake of publicity. The day after she resigned, Clermont's club president Claude Michy told the media, "She's a woman. They are capable of leading us to believe in certain things."

So can the National Football League. It drew its share of threeheaded reactions earlier this week when the Arizona Cardinals announced they had signed Jen Welter as an assistant coach. Ms.

Welter is one of four assistants working on an internship with Arizona's linebackers. She'll be gone come September and the start of the regular season. By then, the NFL will have used Ms.

Welter's presence to help polish its sullied image as a league where players physically abuse their wives or girlfriends. Having a female coach allows the NFL to say it seeks the higher ground, just like the NBA.

Becky Hammon is a full-time assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs under head coach Gregg Popovich. She has been working this summer as the head coach of the Spurs' prospects in the NBA's Summer League. By all accounts, Ms. Hammon has lived up to what Mr. Popovich said when he hired her a year ago: "She's not a gimmick."

As the Augustana basketball coach in Camrose, Alta., Mr. Drabiuk had followed the Hammon story and was open to adding a female assistant to his staff. What he wanted was the right person who could stand up to the scrutiny as the first female assistant coach of a men's team in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.

It turned out Ms. Warrack fit the bill. She had not only played for the Augustana women's team and was well known in the community; she had the personality to shut down her critics.

"I would say my basketball self and my outside self are pretty similar," said Ms. Warrack, a feisty forward in her day. "I'm outspoken. If Dave and I have differing opinions, I'm not afraid to speak what's on my mind. Everything I've done to this point has pushed me in this direction."

Ms. Warrack was the beneficiary of the Female Apprentice Coach Program, established in 2005 to help more women become head coaches. The program gives women a chance to be mentored by experienced head coaches - men or women - in a variety of sports from badminton to volleyball. Sport Canada provides funding and the applicant's school receives a $4,000 honorarium to cover costs.

The program helps female coaches get to the front door. It's kicking it in that can be problematic.

Olga Hrycak coached at Dawson College before moving to the University of Quebec at Montreal.

She handled the men's basketball team, which meant she was an easy target for the non-believers.

Asked if she was taunted for being a woman in a man's domain, the now-retired Ms. Hrycak told the Montreal Gazette, "Oh yeah, especially when I used to go to the States. We would win a few games, but the coaches never shook my hand. And sure enough we'd pass by the locker room of one of the teams and [the opposing coach would be saying], 'Oh, how the hell can you lose to a [expletive] woman?' And stuff like that, excuse the expression."

Brenda Willis has spent 27 seasons coaching the men's volleyball team at Queen's University.

She has been told by other women that if she really cared about female sports she would be coaching women, not men.

"I never set out to be a genderbarrier breaker," said Ms. Willis, who had some advice for the upand-coming Ms. Warrack. "I'd say, do your job. Focus on that. You should also have thick skin because people will not take you seriously all the time. You have to rise above public opinion. ... When you're coaching men as a woman, you're representing all women."

Ms. Warrack has already worked at what is called an identification camp. It's where players show what they can do to earn a spot on Augustana's training camp roster. Mr. Drabiuk watched the interaction between Ms. Warrack and the players in case things went sour.

"If any guy gave us, 'What's the chick doing here?' he was out the door," Mr. Drabiuk said. "But there wasn't anything."

This will be a busy summer for Ms. Warrack. She will attend coaching clinics and work through the National Coaching Certification Program to upgrade her status. Once training camp opens in September, she'll be running drills, breaking down videos from the practice sessions and doing whatever the head coach asks.

The one doubt he had was done away with early.

"I was thinking, 'This is a men's team with men's stuff. Are we going to have to clean up our language?' " Mr. Drabiuk said. "At our year-end awards banquet, the women's team had a video and the subject of it was Rachel's use of a specific [swear] word. ... Let's just say we don't have any worries there."

Associated Graphic

Rachel Warrack, right, joined the coaching staff of the University of Alberta's Augustana campus men's basketball team this summer.


Rachel Warrack was the beneficiary of the Female Apprentice Coach Program, established in 2005 to help more women become head coaches.


J.R. Ewing would feel right at home
Country estate whose design was inspired by the TV show Dallas offers a tranquil lifestyle
Friday, July 24, 2015 – Print Edition, Page G5


Asking price: $2.85-million

Taxes: $15,054 (2014)

Lot size: 262.47 by 502.94 feet (irregular)

Agent: Karen Paul of Karen Paul and Associates, Keller Williams Edge Realty

One of the first things the new owners of 6540 Twiss Rd. did when they bought their house in 2010 was build a wrought-iron fence. The fence encircles the three-acre property, which is in the small town of Kilbride, Ont., just north of Burlington.

"The previous owners used to have people from time to time driving up, wanting to look at the house," real estate agent Karen Paul said.

So, what was it about the long white house, sitting far back from Twiss Road, that would draw strangers? Well, if you're a fan of the television hit series Dallas, 6540 Twiss should look pretty familiar.

The Back Story

The 10,000-square-foot house was built in 1987 by Branthaven Homes, and the original owners wanted it to be a replica of the fictional Ewing family's famous Dallas establishment, Southfork Ranch.

While it's not a perfect match, it is identifiable and does capture the lavishness of the 1980s, Texas-based prime-time soap opera.

"When you walk in the house, you feel the richness to it because of the hardwood floors, because of the colours used and the finishes," Ms. Paul said.

Beyond sharing a sense of luxury, the interior of 6450 Twiss doesn't have much in common with the Dallas abode. In its previous incarnations it was a grand rural home, with a country kitchen, a cowboy-style basement lounge and bedrooms tucked under dormers.

But the current owners, who asked to stay anonymous for privacy reasons, had a desire to leave their imprint on the house's style and decided to revitalize its decor.

"They gave us the guts to work with," the seller said, adding that the home had a major modernization of its key features (the kitchen, its windows, the roof) in 2007.

Along with the fence, the owners also painted the entire house and made many modifications to the first floor, which contains a music room in its south wing and the heart of the home, a large open space that includes the gourmet kitchen, a connected dining area, a pantry and a sunroom that leads out to a deck and tennis court.

Along with the eight rooms on the main floor, the second floor houses five bedrooms and three full bathrooms. And much like the lower floor, the private quarters also got a fresh coat of paint, while the master suite received a full renovation, including new hardwood floors and a brand new bathroom.

While there is cohesion in the elegant ethos of first and second floors, the basement harks back to the home's rancher roots. Its walls consist of exposed, thick planks of wood. There is a wooden bar - complete with a beer tap and TVs embedded into the walls of the bar. There is also an antler chandelier that sits above a round table, perfect for games.

Off to its side is an area for billiards and, beside that, a media room that has an extra-large curved couch and a big-screen television.

Tthat's just one side of it. The other half of the basement has a second kitchen (with its own set of appliances - there are three fridges in the house in total), a bedroom, a full bathroom and a gym space.

"It's a little shocking," said one of the owners with a chuckle.

"But I like it because it's different and when you come down here you say, 'Oh, my goodness.' " This cowboy saloon aesthetic is carried over to the 821-squarefoot second floor of the coach house. While the current owners don't use it much, Ms. Paul suggests it could be a nanny suite or an apartment for parents, as it has a three-piece bathroom and kitchen. The lower half of the coach house is currently used as a secondary garage (there is a three-bay garage attached to the main house), which fits four cars but is deep enough to swallow a limousine.

Ms. Paul sells a lot of houses in the area and the sheer size of 6540 Twiss is one of the reasons why it stands out from other properties. Competing properties are generally between two and 2.5-acres, with homes atop that are under 6,000 square feet.

"This property is probably the largest [in the area]," Ms. Paul said. "It's a very good value."

Favourite Features

For the owners, one of their favourite rooms is one that underwent the biggest transformation: the kitchen.

"I was looking to give this home a French Provençal feel," said one of the owners, who oversaw the renovation. "A bit more formal than it had been in the past."

The formality is in the details.

All of the mouldings and the travertine columns and fireplaces have intricate designs. And the kitchen cabinetry hardware always captures potential buyers' eyes, said Ms. Paul, because each knob is encrusted with Swarovski crystals.

"The price of the knobs could buy a nice kitchen in Toronto," jokes one of the owners.

But the changes in the kitchen went well beyond the addition of bling. Previously, the kitchen had dark wood cabinets, a threeinch-thick slab of teak for a countertop, exposed ceiling beams and forest-green walls.

Part of the renovation was not only to air out the kitchen with lighter colours and formalize it with higher-end finishes, but also to customize for family use (the owners have three children). That meant out with the beer fridge and bar space and in with a second island that acts as a breakfast nook.

The kitchen is one of the main reasons why the property is wellsuited for entertaining.

"It's incredible for parties - we have huge parties and if I didn't have the second dishwasher I'd be in trouble," said one of the owners, adding that guest lists have run from 80 to 100 people.

Plus, when you're spaced apart from your neighbours as you are on country properties, party noise is less of a concern.

And that's because it's generally pin-drop quiet in the area, Ms.

Paul said. That intangible is one of home's best features.

"The tranquillity and the ability to have your own life within these confines is really great," the seller said. "It has a peacefulness to it that people from the city would not realize until they experience it."

The only drawback? When city friends visit, they later realize how much they miss the serenity, Ms. Paul said.

"It's so great to have a country property like this because people come over and they stay the night and they say, 'We want to stay longer,' and that's because it's so quiet," she said.

Associated Graphic

In 1987 Branthaven Homes built this 10,000-square-foot house as a near replica of the fictional Ewing family's famous Southfork Ranch.

After they bought the house in 2010 the new owners revitalized its decor, which included giving the kitchen a Provençal feel. They decided to leave the basement's rancher style as is.

MacKay declines to explain court pick
Despite saying he's impressed by conservative libertarian judge's decisions, Justice Minister says he will not specify which ones
Thursday, July 30, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A4

Justice Minister Peter MacKay is declining to provide a detailed explanation behind the government's choice for the Supreme Court this week of Justice Russ Brown, a conservative libertarian who has two years of experience as a judge.

Mr. MacKay told The Globe on Wednesday that he was impressed by some of Justice Brown's judgments - but he would not specify them.

"Oh, I'm not going to refer to which ones," he said.

The government has said little to explain or justify Prime Minister Stephen Harper's choice of Justice Brown, a former law professor at the University of Alberta and before that a business lawyer in Vancouver, Victoria and Edmonton. Mr. Harper issued a one-paragraph quotation, along with biographical details about the judge, which was similar to the one-paragraph quotations he issued when he named Suzanne Côté, Clément Gascon and Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court.

Justice Brown himself, once a formidable blogger at the University of Alberta law school - mocking Canada's Anglican Church as "dogmatically PC" and "nauseatingly self-righteous" and explaining that he views himself as a conservative libertarian - has declined to be interviewed.

By Canadian convention on regional representation on the court, Mr. Harper had a wide field to choose from - Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Justice Marshall Rothstein, whose retirement at the age of 75 created the opening, is from Manitoba. Some in the legal community in Saskatchewan hoped Mr. Harper would consider top judges from that province, such as Chief Justice Robert Richards, or Court of Appeal Justice Georgina Jackson, or others with ties to Saskatchewan, such as Justice Michael Ryer of the Federal Court of Appeal in Ottawa.

No Saskatchewan judge has been appointed since Emmett Hall in 1962. He retired in 1973. If Mr. Brown, who is turning 50 in September, serves until mandatory retirement, it will be 2040 before a Saskatchewan judge has another chance.

Brent Cotter, a law professor at the University of Saskatchewan, served on a nine-member parliamentary screening committee that created an unranked short list of three names, which led to Mr. Harper's 2006 selection of Justice Rothstein, who then went before a parliamentary committee in a televised hearing, the first of its kind in Canada.

Prof. Cotter said he did not see it as Saskatchewan's "turn," but felt that candidates from the province were deserving of serious consideration. It was "a great disappointment, to say the least," that they were passed over, he said.

The former deputy attorneygeneral for Saskatchewan said the appointment process has deteriorated.

"I think it's fair to say that the process for screening candidates and recommending a short list for the Supreme Court of Canada has become either no process at all or a shambles, notwithstanding the commitments of various governments and celebration of some of the processes they actually instituted and then walked away from."

Mr. MacKay did offer a brief overview of what the government liked about Justice Brown: "He's an outstanding jurist. He has been involved in his community actively. He's also served not only the bench in Alberta, he serves in the North, he's spent time in British Columbia, so he has certainly deep roots in the region, which is one of the requirements, one of the considerations for his elevation. And so he has distinguished himself in the law, and for that reason, on balance, and taking in a number of other important considerations, he now will join the Supreme Court of Canada, which is the pinnacle of our judiciary in Canada."

But Prof. Cotter said Mr. MacKay should do more to inform Canadians of why the government chose a particular judge. "I would have liked to have heard that Mr. MacKay was prepared to say how he and the Prime Minister exercised their appointing authority in this case. We repose a fair amount of authority in our cabinet ministers but we also are entitled to have a degree of accountability."

Mr. Harper promised before he came to office to allow parliamentarians to ask questions of an appointee. He kept that promise with his first appointment, of Justice Rothstein, and again with Justices Michael Moldaver, Andromache Karakatsanis, Richard Wagner and Justice Nadon - failing to hold a hearing for just one appointee in his first six, Thomas Cromwell, in 2008.

But then came the failed appointment of Justice Nadon, whom the Supreme Court rejected as legally unqualified. Afterward, The Globe published a story on the secret short list behind his appointment, and the government responded by cancelling parliamentary involvement in screening, according to a Justice Department document released in response to a Liberal Party request. It also cancelled the public hearings of appointees. Justice Brown is the third judge appointed to the Supreme Court in 15 months without parliamentary involvement.

Before the Conservative government shut down the parliamentary screening committees, candidates were asked to choose five judgments in various categories, including constitutional law, to show the committee. The appointee's selection of five judgments then became publicly available online to Canadians.

Parliament's involvement in the selection process began in 2004 under the Liberal government of Paul Martin.

After a Supreme Court appointment was announced, then-justice minister Irwin Cotler appeared before a parliamentary committee to explain the government's choice.


What Stephen Harper's PMO news releases said about the past four new Supreme Court appointees:

July 27, 2015 "I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Justice Russell Brown to the Supreme Court of Canada. Mr. Justice Brown brings to the Court wide experience as a law professor and legal scholar, a barrister, and a judge at both the trial court and appellate levels. His appointment is the result of broad consultations with prominent members of the legal community and we are confident he will be a strong addition to Canada's highest court." - Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Nov. 27, 2014 "I am pleased to announce the appointment of Suzanne Côté to the Supreme Court of Canada. With her wealth of legal knowledge and decades of experience, Ms. Côté will be a tremendous benefit to this important Canadian institution. Her appointment is the result of broad consultations with prominent members of the Quebec legal community and we believe she will be a valued addition to Canada's highest court." - Prime Minister Stephen Harper

June 3, 2014 "I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Justice Clément Gascon for the Supreme Court of Canada. Currently a judge on the Quebec Court of Appeal, Mr. Justice Gascon's wealth of legal knowledge and experience will be of significant benefit to this important Canadian institution. His appointment is the result of broad consultations with prominent members of the Quebec legal community." - Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Oct. 3, 2013 "Mr. Justice Nadon's remarkable knowledge of both common and civil law and his wealth of experience as a lawyer, a judge and an arbitrator make him highly qualified to join the illustrious ranks of the Supreme Court of Canada," Mr. Harper said. "I have every confidence that he will serve with distinction and honour.

Associated Graphic

Justice Russell Brown in 2013. The latest Supreme Court nominee was once a formidable blogger at the University of Alberta law school.


Police raids unnerve Jamestown moms
Kids believed to be enlisted by gangs to transport and stash guns - with the result that bedrooms are getting torn apart
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A11

On a tiny street in northwestern Toronto, a telltale mark is appearing on more and more doors: two dented semicircles, left by the impact of a battering ram.

Police are using SWAT-style raids in an attempt to rid the public-housing complex of the guns that have increasingly become a fact of life there. The weapons frequently turn up in strange places, from cubbyholes to backpacks casually abandoned in backyards, sometimes surprising even residents who have been unwittingly harbouring them.

These guns - often shared communally, sometimes used for gang initiation - pose an investigative challenge to police, who have been coming to the homes of some of the street's den mothers to search for weapons.

"You're in your bed, and you hear your door fly," Janet Delisser, a mother of three whose home was raided by police in the spring, said. "All I could see was guns pointing on you, lights shining."

Gun crime in Toronto is up this year, with an increase of 57 per cent in shootings causing injury or death over last year, police say.

The danger became all too clear two weeks ago when 14year-old Lecent Ross was shot and killed while she was visiting neighbouring children on Jamestown Crescent in northern Etobicoke, the second shooting death on the street in four months.

There were no parents in the room at the time. Police have no update on the case, and investigators continue to treat Lecent's death as suspicious, although they have not ruled out the possibility it was an accident.

Early last Saturday morning, officers raided at least three houses on Jamestown Crescent. Police wouldn't confirm whether Lecent's death and the raids were linked.

Lately, the search warrants bring them to some of the children's and teens' favourite spots, reflecting what appears to be ever-younger recruitment into gangs.

"Some of our issues are that young people have access to guns," Superintendent Ron Taverner, unit commander of Toronto Police 23 Division, said.

"It's sort of an evolution of gangs - they bring people up through the ranks, if you will."

Jamestown comprises three- to five-bedroom houses, typically occupied by families, and that fact defines the character of the street: Kids are a fixture, riding bikes and scooters down the street before abandoning them on the front lawns of friends' small brick townhouses as they run in unannounced. These same children are sometimes targeted to hold or transport illegal weapons.

Keaton Austin, a pastor at Abundant Life Assembly on Dixon Road, said it's older, adult men bringing guns into the community. "If the police catch an adult, they know it's hard-core [penitentiary]. ... And he knows the kid isn't going to the penitentiary," he said. "It's a slap on the wrist and the kid's gone."

One woman whose house on Jamestown Crescent was raided last Saturday offers neighbourhood children meals, and sometimes even a safe place to stay.

She said she was shocked to see her children's rooms turned upside down.

"I've seen the raids happen around here forever, and I've stood back and watched thinking: 'Oh my god, they must feel horrible,' " said the woman, who asked that her name not be used because she feared she would be searched again for speaking publicly about police actions in the neighbourhood. "Never in my wildest dreams, never did I believe that would ever be me."

She said police were looking for something that they said could have been hidden in her house without her knowledge, which she insisted she would never allow. "Because I don't want to see [the kids] dying on the street, apparently that puts me in a position where people can come in and hide things in my house," she said. "It's the most ridiculous thing I ever heard."

Supt. Taverner said he is aware of guns being passed around and hidden. Sometimes, he said, they are stashed in common areas or buried, and police work with Toronto Community Housing to patrol for weapons. Residents also sometimes call to report them.

Ms. Delisser said that, when her house was raided, the police physically searched everyone before they could leave the house, including her 11-year-old daughter. Police turned up nothing, but her house was "demolished," she says, her children's belongings tossed out of their drawers and the contents of her kitchen cupboards emptied onto the counter.

"Somebody came with information that somebody lives here, or he comes here, and he might have left something here with me knowing or without me knowing," she said.

Ms. Delisser wasn't totally surprised after finding a gun stashed in the storage space next to her front door. She had no idea how it got there, she said.

The gun looked real, and after she called police to report it, they later told her it was a powerful pellet gun, the kind that would serve as a realistic threat during a holdup.

Police also sometimes hit the jackpot: A backpack of guns was found hidden in a neighbourhood backyard last year.

Patricia Crooks, a community outreach worker who runs an after-school program for children in the area, said kids might be asked to do "favours" for older criminals without fully understanding the consequences.

"Maybe they want to be in the gangs. Maybe they don't want to be in the gangs. They could be scared into it," she said.

The process of recruitment is not clear, but one thing most people seem to agree on is that the children are getting younger and younger. "As young as 13.

This is ridiculous. These are babies," Ms. Crooks said.

Allan Bowen, known to Jamestown residents as "Pastor Al," is the senior pastor at Abundant Life Assembly. He has worked in the community for years, and said there is "deep sorrow" around the trauma the police searches often leave behind.

However, he has also presided over the funerals of young people shot to death. "When you see it from the idea of getting guns off the street, guns that have put someone in the casket, guns that have taken someone's life - then you understand the bigger rationale for the raid," he said.

But as for whether the police approach to the searches is justified, "people around the neighbourhood will tell you no," Mr. Bowen said.

Maureen Archibald, who lives close to the house where Lecent died two weeks ago, said the violence in her neighbourhood weighs on her, but so does the uncertainty around whose home might be searched next. "It's stressful. We don't know what's going on. ... If they come kick down my door in the night while I'm in a deep sleep, I won't be able to take it," she said.

"If I had the money, I would be out of here."

Associated Graphic

Janet Delisser is one of the growing number of residents who have had SWAT-style visits from Toronto police, looking for guns and other contraband. She later found a pellet gun stashed in storage space next to her front door. She had no idea how it got there, she said.


Mandaean people on brink of extinction in Iraq
Canadians working to rescue members of pacifist pre-Christian group, some of whom have been kidnapped or forced to convert
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A10

In the years since Iraq's descent into sectarian chaos, two of Ray Siger's relatives were kidnapped.

One was rescued with a ransom; the other, taken at gunpoint after his high school graduation, simply vanished.

They were targets because they are Mandaean, a pacifist preChristian religious group that follows the teachings of John the Baptist and is now on the brink of extinction in Iraq. Before the 2003 war, more than 50,000 Mandaeans lived in Iraq; by 2011, the population had plummeted to a little more than 3,500, according to Human Rights Watch. They are considered one of the world's most vulnerable peoples.

Mandaeans in Iraq have been killed, kidnapped or forced to convert to Islam with terrifying regularity, Mr. Siger, a director with the Mandaean Canadian Community Association who is working to rescue his fellow Mandaeans and get them out of the region, said.

"This is a group that is very peaceful, very learned, and they're going extinct and nobody is saying anything about it," he said. "Give it a few years, it's the end for this religion in this region."

Chuck Konkel, a Toronto police inspector who came to Canada as a post-Second World War refugee, is one of the citizens working with Mr. Siger. Mr. Konkel and Iraqi-born lawyer Ghina AlSewaidi formed a group urging their fellow Canadians to organize a new wave of private refugee sponsorships, similar to the one that brought tens of thousands of boat people migrants from Southeast Asia in 1979, to rescue Mandaeans, Yazidis and other religious minorities from the world's largest humanitarian emergency. So far they've enlisted support from two Catholic parishes and several police chaplains, but they hope for a groundswell of public support.

"We want to motivate Canadians to see they can do something, through private sponsorship," Mr. Konkel, who is also a former federal Conservative candidate, said. "These are people with few connections to families here. They are at risk.

They are suffering. We can't save them all, but if we start with one let's see what we can do."

Threatened by the militants of the Islamic State as well as by Shia paramilitary groups and local authorities, the Mandaeans, who are religiously prohibited from taking up arms to defend themselves, often felt they had nowhere to turn. Some received a single bullet in an envelope and were given 24 hours to flee.

Thousands now languish in refugee camps in the countries that surround Iraq and Syria, where they live in often harrowing conditions. Mr. Siger sees it as his duty to shepherd as many to safety as he can.

Canada is unique among refugee-receiving countries in that it allows private citizens to combine in groups of five to sponsor a refugee, a practice that was launched in response to the Southeast Asian migration crisis.

Sponsors are responsible for helping the refugee and his or her family find housing, learn the language, find a job and get acquainted with the culture, as well as provide some financial support in the first year after arrival.

Canada has pledged to take 3,000 refugees from Iraq this year and 10,000 from Syria over the next three years. There are growing Mandaean communities in Sweden, the United States and Australia, among others. But as the once tightly knit Mandaean population scatters around the globe, they face a new struggle for survival that may redefine their faith.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has expressed support for efforts to bring more refugees to Canada through private sponsorship. In a statement, CIC said the country's commitment gives priority to vulnerable groups. In Syria, in concert with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Canada prioritizes eight groups for resettlement, including women and girls at risk, people with physical protection needs (which include persecuted ethnic and religious minorities) and sexual minorities.

There are nearly 1,000 Mandaeans in Canada, primarily in the Toronto and Vancouver areas, according to Mr. Siger - a small portion of the 50,000 or so spread around the world. Theirs is a pre-Christian, gnostic system of beliefs that follows the teachings of John the Baptist. The sight of Mandaeans dressed all in white performing baptisms on the river bank, their primary religious ritual, has become increasingly rare in the years since the U.S. departed Iraq.

Erica Hunter, head of the religions department at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, described the Mandaeans as victims of a concerted ethnic cleansing.

"The Mandaean population in Iraq has plummeted 90 per cent," Prof. Hunter said. "Many have left and gone to Syria, where they've jumped out of the frying pan into the fire, and many have been killed purely because they are Mandaean in Iraq."

Prof. Hunter said for years Mandaean children have been kidnapped and forced to marry outside their faith. They have also been targeted for robberies and kidnappings because they are perceived to be wealthier than most Iraqis, in part because of their long tradition of working as jewellers.

It's clear that if the religion is to survive, it will be mainly in countries far from its traditional home. The migration out of the Middle East is creating new obstacles for the faith, particularly intermarriage and the maintenance of religious tradition.

In countries such as Canada where adherents are scarce, it's increasingly likely that those born into the faith will marry outside it. Under current rules, they would cease to be Mandaeans, as would their children.

Conversion, prohibited for now, could offer prospective spouses a way to maintain the faith.

But a discussion has begun in the community about how some of these things might change.

Yuhana Nashmi trained as a religious leader but now lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he is a social worker and is among those who have begun a sensitive discussion on how the faith could adapt to its new circumstances.

"The community is having a debate socially, religiously, culturally on how to redefine things," Mr. Nashmi said. "The priests are trying, and the educated people are trying, to revisit the texts and interpret things differently."

One of the challenges facing Canadian Mandaeans is that a proper baptism requires an active body of water, usually a river, something that's hard to manage in a Canadian or Swedish winter. Still, other priests have been saying that municipal tap water could be acceptable, Mr. Nashmi said.

"[They] will have to go through a complex, convoluted process, and whether they manage to survive that, I don't know," Prof. Hunter said.

Canadian Mandaeans do not yet have a formal place of worship, nor do they even have a priest who can perform religious ceremonies. When Mr. Siger, 34, was married last year, he paid to bring in a priest from Texas.

Mr. Siger said the community is still establishing itself in Canada.

It needs a centre where everyone can gather, he said. But the first priority is getting fellow Mandaeans out of the danger zone.

"The people who need urgent help are [in] Syria," Mr. Siger said. "Every day we lose somebody, and for us that's a significant percentage of our population."

Obama's Nixon moment: Mideast hope
If thawing U.S.-Iran relations enlists an important voice for addressing region's discord, it would be President's foreign-policy legacy
Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A7

WASHINGTON -- "Not since Richard Nixon shook hands with China's Communist revolutionary leader Mao Zedong in Beijing more than 40 years ago has a U.S. president so upended long-standing American policy to reach out to a bitter adversary.

"Barack Obama's extended hand to Tehran's ruling mullahs may turn out to be as much of a game-changer as Mr. Nixon's bold opening to Beijing in 1972.

"Mr. Obama isn't likely to be headed for Qum to take tea and talk ping pong with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

"But years of back-channel talks with Tehran and exchanges of letters set the stage for this week's breakthrough just as surely as Henry Kissinger's secret China diplomacy did four decades ago.

"And while Mr. Nixon's legacy will be forever tainted by his domestic skulduggery that ended in historic disgrace and resignation, Mr. Obama's nuclear pact with Iran may prove the shining foreign-policy achievement that salvaged an otherwise grim record on the international stage.

"It may takes decades to determine if Mr. Obama's willingness to ditch the certainties of an adversarial standoff with a hostile state that - if necessary - could be bombed into defeat actually produces a more peaceful Middle East.

"Still, that's what's at stake. The nuclear-limitations deal is just the beginning of a new era in U.S.-Iranian relations, just as Mr. Nixon's parlay with China's Communist regime recast the Cold War and changed the triangulation of Sino-Soviet-American relations.

""The deal validates President Obama's campaign theme of engaging with adversaries," Suzanne Maloney, a senior fellow at the Brookings Center for Middle East Policy, wrote this week. "In a broader sense, it should serve as a reminder to a cynical American citizenry (and an even more cynical policy community) that negotiations can yield real results, and that the investment of time and talent can - at the very least - begin to offer solutions to international problems that had long seemed intractable."

"Critics accuse Mr. Obama of capitulation and appeasement, of being so needy for a foreign-policy success that he sold out U.S. interests and Israel's security just to get it done.

"Mr. Obama has tried to temper expectations of dramatic swift change, pointing to a long list of deep and unresolved differences.

""We'll still have problems with Iran's sponsorship of terrorism; its funding of proxies like Hezbollah that threaten Israel and threaten the region; the destabilizing activities that they're engaging in, including in places like Yemen," he said this week.

"But he clearly hopes for more.

"And he demonstrated a willingness to treat Tehran as a powerful regional player rather than shunning it as a terrorist-sponsoring pariah state fit only to be threatened and contained. That changes every equation in the Middle East.

"Already, the Obama administration and Tehran's Islamic regime have some shared strategic objectives and, while both deny any "co-operation," the military reality on the ground suggests otherwise. U.S. warplanes in the air and Iranian Quds Special Forces on the ground are attacking the same Islamic State targets in Iraq. Both Tehran and Washington are propping up the fragile government in Baghdad.

"Even where they differ, Mr. Obama now accepts that Tehran is a major regional player with a vital role and that, without Iran, some solutions are impossible.

""I do agree that we're not going to solve the problems in Syria unless there's buy-in from the Russians, the Iranians, the Turks, our Gulf partners," the President said this week, specifically adding Iran, to the usual list. To achieve an end to the Syrian war, "there's going to have to be agreement among the major powers that are interested in Syria that this is not going to be won on the battlefield. Iran is one of those players, and I think that it's important for them to be part of that conversation."

"The United States working with Iran as part of the solution - that's the stuff presidential legacies are built on, even if Mr. Obama dare not trumpet too loudly or too soon.

"Playing the Iran card may also be Mr. Obama's best hope of salvaging some achievement in the region, which has otherwise spiralled into widening war, chaos and suffering on his watch.

"The key foreign-policy promise that got him elected - pulling all U.S. troops out of Iraq - has gone sour, with that nation racked again by war and on the verge of collapse. The U.S.-led air war in Libya toppled a dictator but the country remains torn by violence. Syria has collapsed into bloody civil war, the violent jihadis of Islamic State control far more territory and inspire a far greater following for their dream of an extremist caliphate than alQaeda ever managed. U.S. professions of support of democracy in the heady wake of the Arab Spring have retreated back into support of authoritarian regimes as long as they keep order. And U.S.-Israeli relations are at a nadir.

"Dealing with Iran won't change all that, but it does match Mr. Obama's long-asserted preference for parlaying with adversaries.

"Just as he has with Cuba, the President threw out decades-old dogma about shunning hostile regimes. But, unlike Iran, normalizing relations with the enfeebled Cuban regime posed no geopolitical risks and offers no great strategic advantage. Even if closer ties with Havana proves to be a terrible mistake, the costs are inconsequential compared with getting it wrong with Tehran.

""Whether you like it or not, this agreement is a big deal," Aaron David Miller, an adviser on the Middle East to both Democratic and Republican administrations and now a Distinguished Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington think tank, wrote after the deal was done.

""For almost 40 years, Washington based its Iran policy on containment and confrontation. But from now on, the default position will be co-operation. This doesn't mean the beginning of some Golden Age in U.S.-Iran relations.

""But the efforts to keep this accord alive will create new patterns of behaviour, new efforts to thaw other iceberg issues, and an inclination to test whether Tehran is ready to co-operate on regional matters," he added. "The Obama administration will have little choice but to play this game. After all, this is President Obama's signature Middle East success. And he will go to great lengths to protect it. The President was never interested in regime change. What he wants is to change regime behaviour."

"That rather echoes Mr. Nixon's assessment. "This was the week that changed the world," he said after his rapprochement visit to Beijing, adding that the real importance lies in what will be done "in the years ahead to build a bridge across 16,000 miles and 22 years of hostilities which have divided us in the past."


"Associated Graphic

"Barack Obama's extending a hand to Iran's leadership this week could rank with how Richard Nixon forged a new world order 40 years ago by normalizing relations with China and its leader Mao Zedong.



Opening doors, or an act of tokenism?
With Arizona's hiring of Welter as a coaching intern, the NFL may be changing its boys' club ways, though the move has its skeptics
Saturday, August 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S2

Hired to a six-week internship coaching the Arizona Cardinals' linebackers during training camp and the preseason, Jen Welter is still a long way from becoming the NFL's first fulltime female coach. Yet when the news landed this week, the small population of women coaching in this male-dominated sport felt a door open ever so slightly.

Welter played football for 15 years. That included a world championship with the U.S. women's team and as a running back and special-teams player for the Texas Revolution, a men's pro team in the Champions Indoor Football League for whom she went on to coach linebackers last season. The Cardinals made the 37-year-old, who also has a PhD in psychology, the first woman to coach in any capacity in NFL history. Head coach Bruce Arians called her a "trailblazer."

Most coaches and general managers in professional football say they've never come across a female coach at any level of men's or boy's football, nor have they ever received a résumé from one. But they do exist in small numbers, and while not all of them aspire to coach in the pros, they recognize the spotlight that Welter provides and say small opportunities exist if you look for them.

Take Donna Welch, who grew up adoring the sport in footballmad Munday, Tex., but whose father believed good Southern girls had no place in it. Still, she could draw every play she watched her high school team run or write scouting reports on the opposition. She then joined the marching band at West Texas A&M University just so she could attend football games.

When Welch became a high school teacher, she coached a state championship girls' wrestling team, and joined the staff of the boy's football team, coaching receivers and quarterbacks.

Contacts she made there eventually landed the teacher a spot as the special-teams coach of the Amarillo Venom of the same men's arena league that employed Welter. It's a league that has a female commissioner, as well as a handful of women in ownership and management.

"When they first see a woman hanging around the sidelines, some people question your motives, like 'Why do you want to spend so much time hanging around all these men or boys?' " said Welch, who still teaches school and coaches the Venom, with whom she's won two league championships. "They soon saw I had good intentions, passion for football and I could do a job. It's very exciting that Jen Welter has found this opportunity. I've been teaching a long time, and I'm close to retiring now, but I hope this opens the door for young females who play today and love the sport as much as I did when I was young."

Then there's Shirley Benson, an Edmonton firefighter who grew up an avid CFL fan, but didn't start playing until she found a local women's team at age 40. A quick study at centre, she played for Canada's women's tackle team at the world championships six years later.

From there, a high school boys' team in Westlock, Alta., made her its offensive line coach and assistant offensive co-ordinator for the past five years. She has done coaching mentorships with the male staffs of the Canada women's team and a boys' major junior team, the Saskatoon Hilltops of the Canadian Junior Football League's Prairie Conference.

"I'm an in-your-face coach, a disciplinarian; I'm not a coddler, and I think everyone has their own coaching style that corresponds with their personality, not their gender," Benson said. "I think this story with the Cardinals shows that if you want it, you should go get the qualifications, and then look for opportunities. Football Canada and the Prairie Conference, for instance, are being very progressive."

Women are gaining experience as players and coaches in a number of semi-pro leagues in the United States and in the eightteam Western Women's Canadian Football League.

The Cardinals' news this week coincides with other recent small inroads for women into men's pro sports. Sarah Thomas has been announced as the NFL's first female official. Becky Hammon was hired to be an assistant coach for the NBA's San Antonio Spurs last season, and, as the Spurs' summer league head coach, recently led the team to a summer championship. Friday, Nancy Lieberman accepted her second coaching job in men's pro basketball, this one as an assistant with the Sacramento Kings.

"Jen Welter is the real deal; and not the kind of woman who would allow herself to be part of some publicity stunt," said Lieberman, a friend of Welter's, reached by phone a day before rumours of the Kings' hire began. "You can get as qualified as possible, but you still need someone to step out and give you an opportunity."

Of course, young male coaches are given these opportunities throughout pro and college football every year, but few of them turn immediately into full-time jobs. Most do apprenticeships for years before landing permanent positions.

"I think it's about time a woman was given a shot, but if she comes in and doesn't know what she's talking about, it will allow negative things to creep in, like guys might make stupid inappropriate jokes and won't take her seriously," said Toronto Argonauts defensive lineman Ricky Foley, who added that he had a female basketball coach in high school who was very well respected. "If she knows what she's talking about and shows her knowledge, I think it won't take very long until she's just 'coach.' Fairly or unfairly, I think she will have to know her stuff more than a male coach would entering that situation."

The NFL has made efforts in recent years to appeal to women, such as apparel designed specifically for female fans, teams wearing pink for breast cancer awareness, or public-service ads aimed at stamping out domestic violence in the aftermath of last year's scandal with Ray Rice. In light of that, some have speculated that Welter's hiring may just be tokenism.

Others in pro football, away from the cameras and voice recorders, express very different sentiments. Coaches are fired so often, some warn; who wants the scrutiny that could come along with firing a female coach?

Some fear possible gender discrimination lawsuits or worry a female would change the dynamic of their team or bring the outside distractions of the media.

"I didn't even dream that it was possible," Welters said in her news conference with the team.

"Bruce had to get all of the right yeses to make it happen ... it was his belief that the Arizona Cardinals would be the team that could handle this, that he has coaches on his staff that would embrace it and not cast me off to the side."

Associated Graphic

Jen Welter, who joined the Arizona Cardinals' coaching staff this week, is considered to be a 'trailblazer' by her new boss, head coach Bruce Arians.


Desperate measures, by the litres saved
Amid the record drought, businesses, ranchers and municipalities in B.C. and Alberta take bold steps to cut down on water use
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

VANCOUVER, CALGARY -- Sandra Oldfield is a former Californian and partowner of Tinhorn Creek, a winery about five kilometres south of Oliver in a desert-like strip of B.C.'s Okanagan Valley.

She is familiar with drought and what it can mean for businesses such as hers that rely on irrigation to cultivate the grapes that have become an economic mainstay in the region. This week, as many British Columbia learned of fresh limits on when they could water their lawns or wash their cars, Ms. Oldfield suggested people might consider getting used to it.

"Welcome to the rest of the world, B.C., the world that has known water restrictions for many, many years," Ms. Oldfield said Wednesday on Twitter.

With a drought gripping much of Western Canada, homeowners, business operators and politicians are taking a hard look at water consumption, some for the first time. While bans on lawn-sprinkling tend to be the first prong of drought response plans, there is an increasing emphasis on making better use of the resource.

The current water shortage is also drawing attention to water-intensive industries, including agriculture, Alberta's oil sands and B.C.'s potential liquefied natural gas sector. And it has renewed debate over B.C.'s arrangements with bottled-water giant Nestlé Waters Canada. The company extracts groundwater from an aquifer near Hope for free, but under new legislation that takes effect next

year, will be charged a fee of $2.25 per million litres of water to access the water - a price many maintain is not high enough.

Such concerns are global. In January, for the first time in a decade of such reports, water crises topped a list of global risks, in terms of impact, compiled by the World Economic Forum. (Interstate conflict topped the list in terms of likelihood.)

So far, Tinhorn Creek has not yet faced droughtrelated difficulties, other than having to use more water to counter hot, dry conditions. Even so, Ms. Oldfield is looking for ways to conserve. Over the past four years, the winery has converted from sprinkling to drip irrigation, reducing its consumption by about 70 per cent.

"Before we were watering the whole canopy and the grass between the rows," Ms. Oldfield says.

"Now we're just watering the grapes."

The notion of using water judiciously features prominently in local governments' conservation campaigns. The Okanagan Basin Water Board, which co-ordinates water use among the three regional districts that span the Okanagan Valley, urged residents this week to conserve water, warning failure to do so could result in "mining" of Okanagan Lake.

The prospect - extracting more water than what would be restored next spring - could threaten everything from nearby orchards to the floating bridge that links Kelowna to communities on the west side of Okanagan Lake.

"We have never mined the lake," said board executive director Anna Warwick Sears. "All of our infrastructure, our whole community, is built around the assumption that the lake will be operated within this 1.5-metre range," she said, referring to the average amount by which the lake refills each year.

In the Okanagan, the driest part of Canada, agriculture accounts for about 55 per cent of water use. Outdoor residential use - mostly lawns - accounts for 24 per cent.

While urban residents can stop washing their cars and sprinkling their lawns, ranchers can't stop feeding their cows.

Alberta has received less than 40 per cent of the normal rainfall compared with a year ago, and hay is selling for up to $150 a bale - double its typical cost.

Former NHL defenceman Dean Kennedy is a cattle rancher in Pincher Creek. While he was fortunate to produce enough hay to feed his Angus cattle now and put aside some feed for the winter, other ranchers are already tapping winter supplies.

Rancher Dan Pahl is doing everything he can to keep from selling off some of his herd, including moving cattle from one grazing spot to another to allow grass to recover and drawing some water from the South Saskatchewan River. (Those withdrawals are monitored by the province.)

"We're trying to be good stewards of everything," Mr. Pahl said.

"But if we don't get any rain next spring, it's doing to be a disaster."

The drought's ripple effects are being felt by multiple and diverse industries, including beer producers, with business owners finding ways to adapt before they're forced to.

On B.C.'s Sunshine Coast, near Gibsons, Persephone Brewing Co. has reduced the amount of water used to make craft beer through better measurement and some new equipment, says general manager Dion Whyte. It takes Persephone about three litres of water to produce one litre of beer, lower than an industry standard that is closer to four litres.

Reducing water use is part of being a good corporate citizen and will come in handy if water supplies tighten in the future, Mr. Whyte said. The brewery has a grassed event area, but is using brewery waste water to irrigate it.

Municipalities, too, are looking at a host of ways to reduce water consumption.

In Alberta, Okotoks has reduced its per capita water consumption to less than 285 litres a day with a program that includes consumption-based utility rates and door-to-door education campaigns. (In Ontario, Waterloo in 2011 installed a system that collects runoff from two artificialturf fields to irrigate four fields with natural turf, saving about 10 million litres of drinkable water that otherwise would have been used for irrigation.)

Hans Schreier, professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia and an instructor in watershed management, would like to see more jurisdictions use water meters, saying they typically result in a 30-per-cent drop in consumption once they are installed.

According to a 2014 Statistics Canada bulletin on residential water use, 58 per cent of Canadian households were equipped with water meters in 2011, compared with 52 per cent in 1991. Over the same period, average daily water use dropped 27 per cent, to 251 litres in 2011, from 342 litres per person in 1991.

Despite the downward trend, Canadians remain big water users by global standards, using 1,420 cubic metres per capita a year.

Only Americans, at 1,730 cubic metres per capita, use more, according to the OECD.

Residential water use accounts for less than half - about 43 per cent - of water distributed by municipalities, the Statscan bulletin said.

In B.C., a new water sustainability act is scheduled to take effect next year. The legislation will include new rental rates for industrial users and, for the first time, regulate and apply fees to groundwater. Those fees are currently under review following a public outcry related to Nestlé.

Associated Graphic

The owners of Tinhorn Creek, a winery in the Okanagan Valley, have converted to drip irrigation to reduce water consumption.


The drought has renewed focus on ways to use water judiciously, such as getting away from traditional spray irrigation systems.



It's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood
Why wait until an area is 'the next big thing'? Alexander Besant shares six local favourites worth exploring now
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page T1

There are three types of urban explorers. Tourists, who flock to the most obvious places, lured by touts and wax figures. Travellers, who might go further afield, trying a new restaurant or exploring out-of-the-way historical sites. And, finally, adventurers, who discover the up-and-coming neighbourhoods and investigate an area that might one day be the next Lower East Side of New York or London's Soho.

These neighbourhoods are scarcely visited by anyone other than locals in-the-know but often contain the most creative, cutting-edge museums, art spaces and restaurants in the city. Exploring them as a foreigner can provoke awe and admiration from locals who appreciate visitors who want to understand their city inside and out. Here are six neighbourhoods in some of the world's great cities that may one day be on every tourist's agenda - but for now will be all yours.

Madrid: Lavapies

This central Madrid neighbourhood is home to African and Chinese immigrants, as well as Spain's anarchist left wing, a mix not unlike Athens's Exarcheia or Rome's San Lorenzo. Lavapies also distinguishes itself from stately Madrid by the incredibly narrow and steep streets that climb dramatically above the rest of the city. The name, literally translated into English, means "wash feet" and is believed to come from the ritual of washing one's feet before entering a temple that once stood in the area. (After the Spanish Reconquista, the residents of this former Jewish area were expelled and the synagogue was eventually replaced by the church of San Lorenzo.) At one point finding good food was a challenge in Lavapies, but that's changing. Places such as Los Chuchis are leading it out of the depths and into gourmet heaven. The food is an odd mix of Spanish and English cuisine that works strangely well. The wine is cheap and the place is always crowded, so book ahead.

Paris: Belleville

Paris has been parsed, picked-over and its heart so explored that in certain months there are more explorers than locals. The 19th arrondisement has mostly been overlooked until recently, when the cool kids started moving in. Belleville, however, still maintains its gritty, new-immigrant roots. On sunny days, nearby Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is filled to the brim with picknickers fighting for a few blades of grass. The atmosphere is festive and the chance of stumbling across gawking tourists is slim to none. Café Aux Folies is a neighbourhood hub and a Paris institution. Packed from morning until night, this is one of the cheapest and most lively places for drinks in the city. In summer, Le Pavillon des Canaux is a unique place on the forgotten end of Bassin de la Villette, for dinner or drinks next to the water - you can even dine in a bathtub in one of the restaurant's unique rooms.

London: Brixton

Over the past decade, the London neighbourhood has emerged from notoriety to become one of the hottest places among Londoners to eat and drink. Its popularity has not yet brought visitors to London southward on the Victoria line, but that'll change soon. Mainly an Afro-Caribbean community since the late 1940s, the area captured the world's attention when riots broke out in the early 1980s after a version of the "stop and frisk" law was put in place, targeting mainly young black men. Another riot in 1995 solidified this bad reputation. Brixton has calmed down since then, creating a slow and steady gentrification that may be for the better. The area centres on Electric Avenue and its shops, as well as nearby Brixton Market, made up of two separate covered markets. Federation Coffee is a great spot for an espresso drink, while Fish, Wings & Tings and Negril are two great places to sample Caribbean fare. Also in the 'hood, O2 Brixton Academy is one of London's most famous venues and the Dogstar rocks on weekends with music and dancing till late.

New York: Jackson Heights

It's not exactly the centre of New York nightlife, but Jackson Heights is one of the most fascinating multicultural neighbourhoods that has not yet been swept up in homogenizing gentrification. While it's known for being Indian, the area also has a large Colombian community, making this the spot not only for dosas but arepas, too. The train out from Manhattan is admittedly long, but the reward is arriving in a part of New York that few, if any, visitors to the city have really discovered. At night, Roosevelt Avenue beneath the 7 Train turns into a Latin American street food spot, most famous for the so-called "Arepa lady" who sells the Colombian corn pancakes cooked to order.

Cape Town: Woodstock

Cape Town is a city of stark contrasts - none more apparent than the proliferation of shacks in dusty shantytowns lining the highways leaving the airport, mere kilometres away from $35-million holiday homes. Woodstock, just outside the city centre, is one of the few neighbourhoods that escaped these contrasts, becoming something of a cosmopolitan hub in the 1970s and '80s, with a proud and integrated working class. Its tiny, one-way streets, lined by colourful semidetached Victorian homes, give an air of the Old World and yet, because parts of this charming neighbourhood have not always been so salubrious, affordable rents in this otherwise expensive city have drawn many a creative soul with entrepreneurial flare. While it may have escaped enforced segregation, the rapid gentrification of the neighbourhood has exposed the divides that plague South Africa: black and white, rich and poor. Slowly, rents have begun to increase as old businesses sell to wealthier ones with aspirations to serve a more well-heeled clientele. The perils of Brooklyn-style gentrification aside, Woodstock offers everything from quirky art and graphicnovel bookshops, to bespoke and repurposed furniture, to a weekly high-end food and craft-beer market.

Hong Kong: Sai Ying Pun

Filled with brothels and opium dens at the turn of the 20th century, Sai Ying Pun (SYP) has cleaned up its act but is still the place for edgy nightlife - and great food - in the city. Gentrification has moved in, but visitors to the city are still not flocking here en masse - it mostly remains a local affair. The rents in the area remain cheap enough for experimentation both in the arts, drinks and dining. New places seem to open up every week. One of SYP's coolest bars is Ping Pong 129 Gintoneria, which serves gins from around the world along with Spanish tapas. The entrance - a nondescript red door down some stairs - opens up into a spacious former tabletennis hall, hence the name.

Associated Graphic

Paris's Belleville is a charming mix of gritty roots and festive institutions.


Hong Kong's iconic trams run through Sai Ying Pun, which is the place for edgy nightlife.


Belleville, in Paris, has maintained its gritty, new-immigrant roots.


Woodstock in Cape Town offers everything from quirky art to bespoke furniture.

Jackson Heights in New York has yet to undergo homogenizing gentrification.


Under the spell of Jimmy Page
The guitar maestro hints 'it will get loud again,' but dismisses any chances for a much-hoped-for Led Zeppelin reunion
Saturday, August 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R3

So, I was talking magic with Jimmy Page recently.

"You mean the alchemy of Led Zeppelin," the man himself says, his Middlesex accent precise, his intonation elfishly elegant. "That the four musical elements of the band made a fifth?" For the purposes of this conversation, sure, that's what I mean. The Led Zeppelin guitarist (and disciple of English occultist Aleister Crowley) was in Toronto recently to promote the expanded reissues of the band's final three albums - Presence, In Through the Out Door and Coda - and to remind us about his coffee-table tome from 2014, Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page.

We're at the Masonic Temple, the Yonge Street building that Page visited in 1969 with the ascending Zeppelin. Back then, the temple housed the Rock Pile concert venue, where the young Robert Plant moaned about clumsy citrus situations (lemon juice running down his leg) and sang songs concerning extended sexual adventures: Train Kept A-Rollin' ("all night long") and You Shook Me ("all night long").

I had requested that our interview take place in the Red Room, the velvety chamber in which Masonic rituals once took place. The request was refused.

Furthermore, I was not to ask the 71-year-old Page about his personal life, his drug history or any possible, future, muchhoped-for Led Zeppelin reunion.

When I asked Page about a possible, future, much-hoped-for Led Zeppelin reunion, the maestro remembers being asked the same question in 2008, at a press conference during the Toronto International Film Festival for It Might Get Loud, the documentary starring himself and fellow guitarists Jack White and U2's The Edge. "That was six years ago, and people are still asking. But there hasn't been any communication [within the band]."

Back to the magic, then. Was Page familiar with Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, the 2004 novel by Susanna Clarke that had been adapted for a current BBC television series? Not so much, but he had heard about it. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is set in mid-19th-century England, the premise being that "classical magicians" no longer performed magic - they only studied it. "Great feats of magic are read about in books," one of the show's stuffier characters explains, "not seen in streets."

I suggest to Page that classic rock today is in that same moribund, half-theoretical state. "Ah, I see what you're getting at," he says, taking off his heavy, dark shades. (And thank god for that.

With Page's all-black attire and silver hair pulled back tight into a ponytail, for all I knew, the man in front of me was the German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld.)

In person, Page is gracious, dignified and interested. He's not naturally inclined to give a "back in my day things were better" opinion, and so instead offers up modern bands Royal Blood and the Arctic Monkeys as examples of today's great rock and rollers.

The Blood, the Monkeys - they're doing a different thing though. Where's the grand vision of the Who's Quadrophenia, the widescreen-headphone scope of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, the giant angst and iconic riffs of Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction, the weird scenes inside the goldmine of the Doors, to say nothing of the colossal blues, ominous Kashmir opulence and towering misty-mountain majesty of Zeppelin?

I mean to say: Where's the magic? Where's the Gibson double-neck? Give a rock guitarist a violin bow today and he or she will use it only to scratch their back, and not in any Dazed and Confused way.

"Okay, got it," Page says, catching my drift. "You see, in the 1960s and into the '70s, everyone in their own way was trying to open up the musical horizon. There shouldn't be a wall that you're going toward and bouncing off. Our intent with Led Zeppelin was not to get caught up in the singles' market, but to make albums where you could really flex your muscles - your musical intellect, if you like - and challenge yourself. And that's what was happening with all these bands."

To cite an example of his own boundary-pushing, Page brings up Achilles Last Stand, a guitarorchestrated marathon in E minor off 1976's Presence. "I wanted to do something that was really an epic," says Page, about the 10-and-a-half-minute track. "I had it all in my head. I wanted to get it all onto tape, to show people, 'This is what I've been talking about for so long.

This is it.' "Page's lavish overdubs were done in one night. "It's a personal achievement. It's a guitar milestone, no doubt about it."

But what about Plant's words, with lines about "riding the wind, to tread the air above the din, to ... " "It's freedom," says Page, gently interrupting my reading of the lyrics. "Robert is singing about freedom."

Okay, but let's apply the lyrics to you in 2015 - the bits about sleeping now, to rise again.

"I'm leading the charge," Page responds, speaking proudly of the massive Zeppelin reissue project he's helmed. "I'm riding the stallion."

Yes, but you've put out your book, and the reissue campaign is complete. What's next for Jimmy Page? Will it get loud again?

"It will get loud again," he says, "but it will be a quiet whisper at the same time. The whisper will be deafening."

Makes sense - Page and Zeppelin basically invented the loud-soft dynamic of classic rock. The guitarist has new music written; the next step will be to work out the arrangements and to figure in what way he will present it. "I haven't got an answer to that at the moment.

But I tell you what, I'll have one by the end of the year."

With that, Page's assistant gives the wrap-this-thing-up sign, and I hear the bluesy languor of In My Time of Dying in my head. One wonders, after working through the complete studio catalogue of the band, what feelings is Page left with, when it comes to the Led Zeppelin legacy.

"It's good to be in a position to know that I've inspired musicians, from what I've learned to lay down personally, and collectively with Led Zeppelin," he says. "If you listen to our work, from Led Zeppelin I to Coda, it's just a fantastic textbook."

A textbook, or an artifact.

Biographies on Zeppelin are titled Hammer of the Gods and When Giants Walked the Earth.

Rock stars no longer throw televisions from their rooms at the Hyatt (a.k.a. the Riot House) on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, for the windows are now sealed.

Heavy dust is on the era - we will never see the Zeppelin kind again.

Associated Graphic

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page was in Toronto recently to promote the expanded reissues of the band's final three albums, Presence, In Through the Out Door and Coda.


Merkel's 'bad cop' strives for united Europe
Reviled in Greece, hardliner Wolfgang Schaeuble has also been called 'the wisest of German wise men'
Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A13

BERLIN -- "All last weekend and into the wee hours of Monday, European politicians held gruelling meetings on a new bailout for Greece. But the most electrifying moment in the negotiations came not from the assembled leaders, but courtesy of Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany's powerful Finance Minister.

"His proposal was simple but explosive: If Greece was unwilling to implement the reforms demanded by creditors, it should take a "time-out" from the euro for five years. No European government had yet stated that such a move was possible or legal - and it amounted to a bald statement that Germany was prepared to show Greece the door.

"Other politicians rushed to criticize Germany's suggestion. But the threat from Mr. Schaeuble, a passionate defender of European unity for decades who now finds himself vilified by angry Greeks, was the decisive moment in the talks.

"Mr. Schaeuble, 72, is perhaps the most intriguing figure in the crisis now convulsing Europe. A tough veteran politician, he has already played pivotal roles in some of the great European dramas of his time - among them, he led the talks to reunify his country and helped pass the treaty that created the euro zone.

"Now the question is what Mr. Schaeuble wants to achieve in the still-unfolding struggle over Greece. He is a figure of no small tragedy and fascination: Since 1990, he has been confined to a wheelchair after surviving an assassination attempt. He has also forged a bond of loyalty with Angela Merkel, the woman who holds the job - chancellor of Germany - once tipped to be his own.

"In Greece, Mr. Schaeuble is an object of hatred. Caricatures have portrayed him in Nazi uniform or referred to him as a vampire.

"Many Greeks view him as the architect of the policies that have led to economic disaster and forced the country to consider exiting the 19-member euro zone.

"The irony of the current situation is that Mr. Schaeuble is deeply committed to the project of greater European integration, more so than Ms. Merkel. There is no doubt that Mr. Schaeuble wants to forge a closer political union among European nations.

"But it's also increasingly clear that he believes such a group would be stronger without Greece in it.

"On Friday, the German parliament approved the deal reached in Brussels on Monday. But Mr. Schaeuble isn't hiding his unease with the agreement. Greece's debts are so large that it needs a write-off, he said earlier this week, a step that is "incompatible with a monetary union." Still, that might be "the better way," he said obliquely. Other European politicians denounced Mr. Schaeuble's idea of a time-out, with Austria's chancellor calling it "totally wrong." A spokesman for Mr. Schaeuble did not respond to requests for comment.

"A lawyer by training and a father of four children, Mr. Schaeuble grew up in Freiburg, a city in southwest Germany near the border with France. Part of his daily routine is reading Le Monde, the French newspaper.

""He really does believe, as fervently as you can believe it, in principles of European integration," said John Kornblum, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany who has known Mr. Schaeuble for nearly three decades. "He's of a generation, steadily disappearing, who believe that reconciliation and friendship with France had to be one of Germany's main goals."

"As a young man, Mr. Schaeuble joined the Christian Democratic Union, Germany's centre-right party, and was elected to parliament in 1972 (he is now its longest-serving member). He acquired a reputation for determination and stamina, both inside the Bundestag and outside it, where he played forward on a soccer team composed of fellow lawmakers.

"By the time the Berlin Wall fell in November of 1989, Mr. Schaeuble was interior minister under chancellor Helmut Kohl. He later acted as West Germany's negotiator in the talks to reunite the country.

"Just days after the reunification of Germany in October, 1990, tragedy struck. At a campaign event, a mentally ill man shot Mr. Schaeuble twice. He survived, but the injury left him semi-paralyzed and reliant on a wheelchair. Indomitable, Mr. Schaeuble was back at work by the end of the year.

"Mr. Schaeuble's relationship with Ms. Merkel is long and complicated. In 2005, he joined her cabinet as interior minister, where he earned a reputation as a hardliner in matters of security and counter-terrorism. Four years later she named him finance minister.

"Much speculation has surrounded their roles in the current Greece crisis, which roughly boil down to good cop (Ms. Merkel) and bad cop (Mr. Schaeuble). It's a useful division of labour for negotiations, but also points to real differences in their perspectives.

""My sense is that Schaeuble does want Greece out," said Hans Kundnani, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a Berlin think tank.

"The reason, he said, is that a Greek exit could spark a crisis useful for Mr. Schaeuble: The countries remaining in the euro zone would be forced to proceed with further political and economic integration to reassure financial markets.

"Mr. Schaeuble is well-suited to the role of enforcer. He can be stern - he once publicly upbraided a staffer during a news conference - but some say he's not as harsh as he might seem. "In the situation that he's in, he has to be disciplined - and people who are disciplined can appear to be humourless," said Mr. Kornblum, the former U.S. ambassador. A couple of weeks ago, for instance, just before Greece's referendum, Mr. Kornblum said Mr. Schaeuble gave a speech laced with humour in which he admitted he had no idea what was going to happen.

"And there are certain situations that move even the steely Mr. Schaeuble. In 2012, he was awarded the Charlemagne Prize, bestowed in recognition of significant efforts to advance European unity. His good friend Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, gave a speech for the occasion, praising his sense of duty and calling him "the wisest of German wise men."

"Hans Peter Schuetz, Mr. Schaueble's biographer, later told The Guardian that the Finance Minister had tears in his eyes after he accepted the award, saying it was the greatest honour he had ever received.


"Born 1942 in Freiburg, married with four children 1972-present: Member of Parliament 1984-1989: Federal Minister for Special Affairs 1989-1991: Federal Interior Minister. Chief negotiator for West Germany in reunification talks 1990: Assassination attempt at campaign event 1991-2000: Head of the Christian Democratic Union Parliamentary Group 1998-2000: Chairman of CDU 2000: Steps down as Chairman of the CDU and head of the CDU Parliamentary Group in wake of campaign-finance scandal 2005-2009: Federal Interior Minister 2009-present: Federal Finance Minister


"Associated Graphic

"German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is at the centre of acrimonious debate and heated negotiations over the future of Greece in the euro zone and the fate of the entire financial union.



'The Germans look so strong because the others look so weak'
The renowned author, academic and journalist points to the latest Greek bailout and scoffs at growing fears that his homeland has gained too much clout. When push came to shove, 'the golden boys of Europe ...,' he says, 'could not really wield the whip'
Saturday, August 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F3


This is part of an ongoing series in which Rudyard Griffiths, chair of the Munk Debates, Canada's leading public-affairs forum, discusses issues and trends just over the horizon with leading international thinkers and policy makers

You have called Angela Merkel the modern-day empress of the eurozone. What do you mean?

The title empress reflects, in my view, two realities of present-day Europe. First, the Germans look so strong because the others look so weak. The British are withdrawing from Europe. The French are down but not out. They're unable to rev up their economy - same thing for the Italians, same thing for the Spaniards. So, when you add it all up, who is the last man - or in this case, the last woman - standing?

The second reason is more concrete - the Germans have been in the vanguard of driving home fealty to the eurozone's foundational treaties. These conventions enjoined member states, like Greece, not to overspend and over-borrow and, at the same time, to make their economies more efficient. Merkel and her finance minister are not austerity mongers as everybody is harping on about. They are committed to the original treaties' stated rules that require eurozone members to reform their economies and become more competitive.

Are Germans up for being Europe's economic and political taskmaster?

Are the Germans really leading Europe? When you look at the most recent bailout package for Greece, plus the two previous ones, the Germans have in all three cases yielded. They have forked over the money, and they have assumed the largest share of the liability. Same thing during the latest battle earlier this summer. The Greeks are going to get 86-billion and a third bailout.

The fact is that the Germans could not really wield the whip.

They could not be the martinet of Europe, and the Greeks learned something important. They found out that all of Merkel's threats about a "Grexit" were, in the end, empty and that Europe, including its strongest power, will save Greece over and over and over again. So who really has power?

While you criticize Greece for free-riding on Europe, isn't Germany guilty of the same thing?

This is a classic Marxist critique: The Germans are making themselves rich on the backs of the poor. But what are we actually saying? Are we saying that the Germans - the golden boys of Europe again - should conduct the same kind of economic policy that has gotten everybody else, from Spain to Portugal to Greece, into trouble? Should they vastly increase government spending?

Should they generously increase transfer payments ? Should they build cars not as good as Audi or VW or Mercedes? I find this a silly critique that says just because you run faster than the others that means you have to put lead weights on your ankles

If you were sitting in Paris or Rome watching an ascendant Germany, would you be worried?

That's a question that requires a subtle answer. We always look at countries and power relationships in terms of the past and then we draw analogies. Germans in the 20th century tried to reach twice for European dominance and they failed more bloodily each time. Germans learned that you don't do power plays like this any more. So the question of the moment is, are the Germans lapping up their top-dog status? I don't think so. There's a strange kind of cultural transformation in Germany, which we've seen in countries like Sweden. Sweden used to be the scourge of Europe in the 17th century. And Sweden has become as aggressive as a pussycat. And here at a juncture when we might expect the Germans to behave like they did in the first half of the 20th century, not only do they not reach for power, they're deeply uncomfortable with it. You see this in the way Angela Merkel operates on the global stage: There's this hesitance, this rhetoric, which is not at all about, "We are going to do this. You have to follow us. We are number one." Instead, it is almost like an embarrassment. Power has fallen to Angela's lap like an overripe plum and she's staring at it and doesn't quite know what to do with it.

The conventional wisdom is that this latest bailout is doomed What do you think ?

I think it very easy to predict. It's going to be a debt haircut, and a substantial one, because, with Greece saddled with a foreign debt twice its gross domestic product, there's no way in the world that it can ever repay its creditors. So there's going to be a haircut plus more large-scale debt relief in the form of extending the maturities for Greek bonds. If you extend a maturity from 10 to 40 years, that's almost again like forgiving your debt. What we have done, in spite Finance Minister [Wolfgang] Schaeuble banging his fist on the table, is take a large step into a transfer union, or what you call equalization in Canada.

Now, Europe and Germany can afford a transfer zone that includes an ailing Greece, but nobody can afford to bail out large economies like Italy and France.

These two countries do not have systems capable of marshalling the political capital that it takes to enact drastic reforms, uproot vested interests, challenge publicsector unions, and reducing the size of the state to lower government expenditures and deficits.

This is where I become something less than optimistic about Europe's future. It could really kind of call into question the whole idea of the eurozone when you have independent, sovereign countries with different social contracts and dispensations, all suddenly having to obey one-sizefits-all monetary and fiscal policy.

Given these big challenges and tensions, just how steadfast is the German public's support for the larger European project?

There is an old rule, "If you don't know the facts, assert the principle." The principle is that the Germans are very strongly attached to the euro, which over all has served their interests quite well.

And, at the same time, at least the political establishment is deadly afraid of the euro falling apart and going to hell. The reality is that Germans are going a long way to save the euro, by hook or by crook. How long? That again is something I can't predict. But if you subtract the far left and the far right, the country is pretty solidly committed to the eurozone. I think that this consensus will shape German behaviour for, to pluck a number out of the hat, the next five years.

This interview has been edited and condensed. Subscribe to The Next Debate podcast on iTunes or visit

Associated Graphic

The author of The Myth of America's Decline on Chancellor Merkel: 'Power has fallen to Angela's lap like an overripe plum.'


Venue owners sound off on tough rules
City considers revision of municipal code to better suit live music industry's needs following public consultation
Saturday, August 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M2

For Liz Guerrier, all it took was one bad apple. The co-owner of Dave's On St. Clair used to be thrilled to put on live music three nights a week. It was a chance to add to the midtown strip's cultural offerings - to bring music closer to home. But then someone complained about the noise.

Rather than risk a fine of up to $5,000, she pared down the offerings to a once-weekly open mic night. Even then, she lives in fear of a fine.

"A complaint focuses on the negative instance of one person," Ms. Guerrier says. "What about the 15 people who ask me, 'Why don't you have music any more?' They're not going to call 311 to say Dave's is doing great today.

It's balanced in favour of the one possible person who's got a beef."

The City of Toronto is midway through a review of its noise bylaws, and the local music industry has plenty to say about it. Toronto has made a lot of fuss about becoming a music city, but venue owners and concert promoters feel stifled by what they consider Draconian regulations, where even a peep of noise heard from the sidewalk can prompt a potential fine.

City officials have started to hear out their concerns, although it's not yet clear what changes will emerge. But if Toronto really cares about music's economic spinoff, live-music entrepreneurs say, it has to acknowledge the realities that come with the territory: Music makes noise, and its makers shouldn't be punished over idle complaints.

Toronto has a history of musicrelated NIMBYism that stretches back decades: A 1983 concert by the band Chicago at the Exhibition Place bandshell, for instance, prompted more than 60 complaints to the city from Parkdale residents. Every city struggles to balance residential needs and cultural development, but the struggle has most recently come to a head in Toronto thanks to competing city initiatives.

Since the city introduced the 311 information service in 2009, making it easier for citizens to log their concerns, complaints about loud music to the municipal licensing and standards (MLS) department have risen 170 per cent. But for the past several years, the city has also tried to brand itself as a centre where music can prosper, in a bid to capture the economic benefits that come with it.

More than two dozen venue owners, concert promoters and other live-music stakeholders showed up to a public consultation at Metro Hall this week to give input and get updates on the noise bylaw review. The session was run by the MLS department and the Toronto Music Advisory Council - a team of industry and city officials trying to turn music-city talk into action. Moderated by Toronto's new music sector development officer, Mike Tanner, the meeting turned into a a forum for a mass airing of grievances over what stakeholders consider inconsistent, lopsided noise regulation and enforcement.

The city says it will give verbal or written warnings on a situation-by-situation basis, depending on the time and context, and if it's a first-time complaint. But the nature and number of complaints that can lead to a violation and conviction is unclear in the noise portion of the municipal code.

As it's written, the noise bylaw effectively expects silence from every Toronto residence and business. While there are stricter rules for certain time periods - after 11 p.m., for instance - noise that "is likely to disturb the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience" of residents is generally prohibited.

And as it stands, no loudspeakers can project "noise beyond the lot line of the property," meaning businesses can unknowingly violate the code simply by opening a door or window.

Peter Zarow refurbished Detour Bar in Kensington Market with soundproofing insulation and curtains, only to face numerous complaints from what he said is one lone neighbour. He feels the noise bylaws are structured to unfairly target venues based on location. "You open a door from my bar, you're going to hear every single decibel," he said.

"You open a door on King Street, you're hearing nothing because it's getting filtered right into the noise of the street."

Mr. Zarow said he paid a $2,000 fine for noise after the complaints - but there were spinoff problems, too. It cost him an additional $5,000, he said, to have a lawyer make sure the fine wouldn't hinder the future of his provincially administered liquor licence. (The bar is currently under renovations and will soon reopen under a new name.) It's a common concern among bar and venue owners that the current noise complaint system positions them as guilty until proven innocent, creating, like Ms. Guerrier experienced on St. Clair West, a culture of fear.

Lisa Zbitnew, who owns the Phoenix Concert Theatre on Sherbourne Street, called the regulations "all about warnings and last chances." She also pointed out that other legislation compounds with noise bylaws against their favour - such as the new Ontario patio-smoking bans, which forces dozens or hundreds of chatting people from her venue onto the street during concerts.

Joining a chorus of others, Ms. Zbitnew said the city should recognize the venues that do comply with noise regulations as best they can, rather than focusing on complainer-driven problems.

In an interview after the consultation, MLS policy director Carleton Grant said the department is considering how to revise the noise bylaw's language to be more understanding of the live music industry's needs.

Much of the language is deliberately vague, especially in terms of how complaints are weighted and how investigations, including decibel measurements, are conducted.

"In some ways, we don't want the bylaws to be so prescriptive they don't work," Mr. Grant said, but coming up with more specific language, including around investigations and the nature and number of complaints that lead to an infraction, "is something we need to look at. ... Obviously, we need to respond to each complaint, but we want to get a sense of if it's a bigger issue, or if it's an issue where the person who talks the loudest is heard."

The MLS department plans to deliver a report of its recommendations to city council's licensing and standards committee in October, with feedback from residents and a variety of industries, including music and construction. Making things fair and consistent for industry, Mr. Grant says, is among the review's chief goals.

Bar and venue owners hope that will mean less hassle in running their business. "If we want to look at ourselves as a music city," Ms. Guerrier said at the meeting, "we have to understand that music begins with young people coming in to make music, playing little venues like mine."

Associated Graphic

Live music offerings at Dave's On St. Clair three nights a week were reduced to a weekly open mic after a noise complaint.


Desperate measures, by the litres saved
Amid the record drought, businesses, ranchers and municipalities in B.C. and Alberta take bold steps to cut down on water use
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

CALGARY, VANCOUVER -- Dan Pahl is as inventive as his plight is nerveracking. For 50 years, his family has raised cattle on the fringe of Medicine Hat, Alta., overcoming everything from feed shortages to the threat of mad cow disease.

But this summer, caught in the throes of a crippling drought, Mr. Pahl and his family-owned Pahl Livestock are feeling the heat like never before. The situation is becoming so intense it has the Pahls thinking of selling a portion of their cows to help keep the others alive.

"We're moving our cattle from one area [on his acreage] to another so the grass can grow back in the first spot," says Mr. Pahl, who has arranged to have water drawn from a nearby Canadian Forces base. "This is a tough time. We've had to be imaginative."

With drought conditions in much of Western Canada, homeowners, business operators and politicians are taking a hard look at water consumption, some for the first time. While bans on lawn-sprinkling and other outdoor water use tend to be the first prongs of drought-response plans, there is an increasing emphasis on strategies and equipment that can make a resource go further.

The shortage is also drawing attention to waterintensive industries, including agriculture, Alberta's oil sands and B.C.'s potential liquefied natural gas sector. And it has renewed debate over B.C.'s arrangements with bottled-water giant Nestlé Canada, which currently extracts water for free but, under new legislation that takes effect next year, will be charged $2.25 per million litres of water - which many maintain is not enough.

Such concerns are global. In January, for the first time in a decade of such reports, water crises topped a list of global risks, in terms of impact, compiled by the World Economic Forum. (Interstate conflict topped the list in terms of likelihood.)

Sandra Oldfield, part-owner of the Tinhorn Creek winery in B.C.'s Okanagan Valley, is familiar with drought and what it can mean for businesses such as hers. Irrigation is a necessity to cultivate the grapes that have become an economic mainstay in the region.

The Okanagan is the driest part of Canada and agriculture accounts for about 55 per cent of water use. Outdoor residential use - mostly lawns - accounts for 24 per cent.

Earlier this week, as many British Columbians learned of fresh limits on when they could water their lawns or wash their cars, Ms. Oldfield suggested people might consider getting used to such restrictions. "Welcome to the rest of the world ... the world that has known water restrictions for many, many years," Ms. Oldfield, a former Californian, wrote Wednesday on Twitter.

The notion of using water judiciously features prominently in local governments' conservation campaigns. Municipalities are looking at a host of ways to reduce water consumption and ensure future supplies.

In Alberta, Okotoks has reduced its per-capita water consumption to less than 285 litres a day with a program that includes consumption-based utility rates and door-to-door education campaigns. (In Ontario, Waterloo in 2011 set up a system that captures rainwater from two artificial-turf playing fields to irrigate four fields seeded with natural turf.)

Hans Schreier, professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia, would like to see more jurisdictions invest in water metering systems, which he says typically reduce water consumption by 30 per cent once they are installed.

According to a 2014 Statistics Canada bulletin on residential water use, 58 per cent of Canadian households were equipped with water meters in 2011, compared with 52 per cent in 1991.

Over the same period, average daily water use dropped 27 per cent, to 251 litres in 2011 from 342 litres per person in 1991.

Despite that reduction, Canadians remain big water users compared with their European counterparts, who use 150 litres per person a day.

In Calgary, a city report says residents withdrew 176.4 million cubic metres of water last year, a decrease of two million cubic metres from the year before.

The city says the average single family in Calgary uses 220 litres per person ever day.

Epcor, which runs the local water system for greater Edmonton, says the region used about 126.5 million cubic metres of water in 2014 - or about 195 litres per person every day.

As Alberta counties declare states of agricultural disaster, the conditions are forcing change abruptly. At the Minhas Micro Brewery in Calgary, owner Ravinder Minhas is having to keep a close eye on barley prices. He's been talking with Alberta farmers who say it's a bit early for them to panic.

However, if the drought drags on, the price for barley will go up until there's nothing left to sell.

"If we do see a price increase, it will concern us," says Mr. Minhas, who is a member of the International Agriculture Committee for the Calgary Stampede. "The input costs for a beer are 50/50 between barley and aluminum." Alberta has received less than 40 per cent of its normal rainfall compared with a year ago, and that has driven the price of hay for feeding livestock.

"We're trying to be good stewards of everything," Mr. Pahl says. "But if we don't get any rain next spring, it's going to be a disaster."

Fred Hays, policy analyst for Alberta Beef Producers, says the drought is putting pressure on ranchers to sell a portion of their cows rather than have to buy hay, which is now being sold at $140 or $150 a bale.

"That's at least double [the usual cost]," Mr. Hays says.

"They might have to find pastures in Manitoba. That was done in 2002. Ranchers were told: 'There are so many thousands of acres of pastures in Manitoba, if you want it.' Again, there's an expense involved."

Former NHL defenceman Dean Kennedy sells pure-bred Angus cattle at his ranch in Pincher Creek, Alta. He was fortunate to produce enough hay for his summer needs as well as save some for the winter.

"There was very little hay carried over to this year. There's a large area [in southern Alberta] that has no hay crop because of the drought," Mr. Kennedy says.

"Some guys are forced into making tough decisions - do they keep their cows or sell them?"

ALBERTA WATER ALLOCATIONS Ground and surface water, in millions of cubic metres

4,195.9 Agricultural irrigation

648.5 Commercial

2,328.5 Commercial - cooling

785.5 Industrial (oil and gas)

1,146.9 Municipal

21.6 Recreation

NOTE: These numbers are for allocation, actual usage would be notably lower.

Associated Graphic

Rancher Dan Pahl must move his stock to different pastures to give grazing areas a chance to recover in the dry weather.


'If we don't get any rain next spring, it's going to be a disaster,' predicts Medicine Hat area rancher Dan Pahl.



Trevor Noah: change we have no choice but to believe in
Saturday, August 1, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R1


Trevor Noah is up against it.

And he knows it. The South African comic, at 31, has been handed one of the holiest of holy grails in U.S. entertainment. He becomes the host of The Daily Show on Sept. 28.

There's something about him - something mercurial, something that suggests he was chosen because he has this rare, hard-todefine quality. It's kind of mysterious.

When Noah's appointment was announced, the phrase "Who's he?" quickly changed to skepticism, thanks to his juvenile tweets from years ago, then became a hesitant "Good luck, Trevor!"

Now it looks like he's been given a poisoned chalice. Jon Stewart ends his tenure on The Daily Show next Thursday, Aug. 6, and in his leaving Stewart has been so lauded and praised and brought so many genuflections that he might as well be Saint Jon Stewart.

Stewart's like will not be seen again. He changed TV, tutoring a generation in mistrust of mainstream media and politics. The revelation this past week that President Barack Obama twice summoned Stewart to the White House for consultation only added to Stewart's stature. His job on The Daily Show is up there with cabinet-level responsibility and power.

So Trevor Noah has to fill those shoes. Is he nervous? "Immense pressure, yes," Noah said this week to TV critics, but not actually sounding like he's feeling it.

"The biggest pressure for me is living up to the expectations that Jon has of me. Jon believes in me."

Noah is an odd one, and it's hard to put your finger on his core being. He's so utterly unflappable that he's unreachable, in a way. You can tell he knows nobody can become the new Jon Stewart. He has to be Trevor Noah, the one and only. And he's perfectly okay with that.

On Tuesday evening us critics on the TV press tour were bussed to Santa Monica, where, at a local college, Noah did his stand-up routine for us. You can find a lot of Noah's routines online. He's been on the international circuit for years. This one was shaped, refined and sharpened for us. We're the filters.

We'll write a lot about his Daily Show. We'll judge him.

It was a routine heavy on race.

He glided from mockery of everyday racism to a far stronger, stinging take on police brutality in America. As much as he found absurdity in s