Culinary expert, prolific tweeter and, now, author. Her allies see a feminist hero in a male-dominated industry, her enemies see a cantankerous bully. The only thing everyone can agree on is that she's one of the most powerful - and radical - forces in Canadian dining
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M1

Here is Jen Agg up in arms (not for the first time) on April 14, 2017. In answer to a three-star Toronto Life review - three stars! very good! - of Grey Gardens, the fifth and newest gem in her small but sparkling crown of beyond-hip restaurants and bars, the most controversial restaurateur in Canada is, over two days, snapping out nearly 150 tweets.

She started punching before eight this morning, and won't stop until after 11 p.m. In the meantime, she's publicizing her new book I Hear She's a Real Bitch and steering three other successful drinking and eating establishments (Rhum Corner and Cocktail Bar in Toronto, Agrikol in Montreal), all while reopening The Black Hoof, the miraculous restaurant that made her famous when she introduced Toronto to tip-to-tail eating.

The tweets are not for the faint of heart. (Agg tweets seldom are.) "Honestly I'd really like to (JUST ONCE) be judged solely on my work in a review," she types in one. In another she praises one local restaurant and disses all the others ("they are the ONLY local restaurant owners who've had the courage to show me any support for this TL nonsense"). She demands retractions and apologies.

The reviewer raved about the food of Grey Gardens chef Mitch Bates, a former mainstay at David Chang's Momofuku empire and now Agg's business partner in the restaurant, but took issue with Agg's décor and her personality, her talent for controversy. In Agg's view, this is restaurantbusiness sexism as usual - praise the man, slag the woman. "The review attributed all the positive experiences of the restaurant to my partner," she says. "And said that it was all in spite of me. And that's crazy. Because everything here is me."

But by day's end, thanks to her 13,400 Twitter followers - her "support network" - she has reaffirmed her role as defender of women in the food industry, and exponentially multiplied the publicity value of a three-star restaurant review into a five-alarm blaze.

Upping the ante is something Agg does. One famously busy Saturday night at the Hoof in 2011, she tweeted "Dear (almost) everyone in here right now ... please, please stop being such a douche." Her reputation for confrontational insouciance - or inhospitable bitchiness, if you count yourself among the crowd she is mocking in the title of her book - has not abated since. Agg's conclusion: "It's always felt like the city is quick to hang me for even a whiff of arrogance while they encourage and applaud ego and macho swagger in my male contemporaries."

She wades in on gender and non-gender issues alike. She recently countered a National Post list of "hot" trends in food (it included craft beer and sustainable seafood) with withering sarcasm:


She once told a group of Newfoundlanders at her first bar, Cobalt, that they couldn't have rum and cokes: Cobalt didn't do rum and coke, at least not that dull old way.

"She is everything loathsome about the new Toronto," a longtime patron of her bars told me.

"She also makes the best cocktails in the city by far, and I've tried them all."

All these assertions are made off the record, because her critics are terrified she'll flambé them tableside on social media.

"Maybe the reason why Jen doesn't get the respect she wants," Grant van Gameren, her former partner at the Hoof, says, "is because she's too much of a bully."

Agg's reluctance to coddle cantankerous customers isn't just pique, either. She's the tip of a new generation's philosophy of hospitality, one that believes in overturning the conventional wisdom that a paying customer is always right - "an anachronism," she writes, "so ridiculous it's shocking how many people still hold onto it so dearly."

All Agg's methods are radical.

But they raise interesting questions. Is her outspoken feminism essential to her value as an owner precisely because it challenges the status bros of foodland? Likely. Or is she just another egomaniac with a genius for making sublime restaurants? Also very likely.

Here is Jen Agg at her post at Grey Gardens, leaning against the antique sink between the bar and the lively kitchen counter. She rarely rests when she's hosting the floor: chats with guests, clears tables, carries drinks, pivots. The staff - young, attractive, casually attired - are forbidden from saying both "You still working on that?" as if they were conversing with a pit of plumbers, and "Hi, I'm Darla, I'll be taking care of you tonight," because Agg always imagines a patron replying "Does this come with a hand job?" She likes the table to be wiped between every course and again before the bill is dropped.

David Greig, her partner in what will eventually be a pub in the basement of the Grey Gardens building, is concocting cocktails like a sorcerer's apprentice. Her sommelier and general manager, Jake Skakun, is plucking wines from the restaurant's mind-opening list. The majority of cooks in the kitchen are men, even here. Agg says this is the result of a shortage of women coming into the business, which she feels only proves her point about its structural sexism.

And the crowd at Grey Gardens? Hipster Supreme: eclectically dressed women in their thirties out-number slim-trousered, besweatered men, two thirds of whom have exactly the same furzey beard (the no. 2 setting on the clipper after days of growth). No one colour of skin predominates amongst the clientele at Grey Gardens, which gives the restaurant a hopeful feel. They're the young downtown elite, couples who can afford $200 dinners - although Agg has lowered the standard three-times markup on wine so more customers will try the restaurant's wide-ranging list.

The room is peaceful and original, elegant but relaxed, its grace pulled from, but somehow mindful of, the rubble of the original space. She spent nearly $500,000 to make it this way.

Agg and her husband, Roland Jean, a painter originally from Haiti, respectively designed and made the lights suspended over the kitchen counter, which set off an eclectic collection of decanters and table lamps. An entire wall of gray-green botanical silhouettes, palms and ferns and colocasia drawn free-hand directly onto the white-washed cinder block wall give the room the air of an artfully primordial jungle.

These were all Agg's decisions.

"I like the colour grey," she says.

"I like the ambiguity of it."

Unlike her Twitter feed, which bristles with certainty, the room refuses to be pinned down.

Even the security gate drawn permanently across the front window is a statement: It hints at safety, by fencing off the outside world. Grey Gardens is Jen Agg's refuge.

The food is spectacular. Spalls of rutabaga, endive, watercress and cheddar make a perfectly balanced salad, the sourness of the turnip working off the sharpness of the cheese like a good-natured argument. Agg suggests a rare sake, a perfect synch. The plates by Mitch Bates and his chef de cuisine, Peter Jensen, don't feel like meals so much as a series of short stories by a brilliant new writer you should already be reading. Jen Agg knows how to run a restaurant.

"I believe she is incredibly talented, incredibly prescient, especially for the Toronto market," one long-time industry insider says. "Jen looks at the restaurant scene and sees the shortcomings, and does something about it." She did it when she reinvented meat-eating at Black Hoof, with postnuclear cocktails at Cobalt and Cocktail Bar, with heaven-tender griot from Haiti at Rhum Corner and Agrikol (in which her partners are Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, founding members of the band Arcade Fire), with the idea of a prewar Parisian wine bistro at Grey Gardens. She has been a huge success, five times, in a notoriously competitive and sexist business. Just to open the doors at Gray Garden costs her $1,500 in wages. The wait for a table is pushing three months (the bar is saved for walk-ins).

One member of her team estimates the restaurant is clearing $12,000 a week in profit - or what will be profit, once the build is paid off. Agg refuses to disclose the tricks of her trade, but there are signs that, at Grey Gardens, with new partners, she is exercising a financial and managerial discipline she had yet to learn in the looser early days. After her first bar, Cobalt, collapsed in 2006, she owed $300,000 in back taxes and declared bankruptcy.

The font used for Grey Gardens' name is faint lowercase grey handwriting, suggestive of a desire to disappear, which Agg sometimes admits to. "I don't like people," she says, even as she works to please them. She is not afraid to contradict herself.

She spent three hours today at the as-yet-unopened Black Hoof, testing recipes. At some point she posted a picture of herself as a teen - skinny, tall, not shy.

She has long brown hair and wears a lot of grey. Tonight she's wearing tight white pants and has her ever-present phone in her back pocket.

Gradually, as the restaurant's hubbub subsides a little after 9:45, Agg allows herself a glass of wine. She's wary, sometimes to the point of suspicion, and famously impatient: An innocent question about the handpainted wall brings the response, "Are you trying to wind me up?" It's the tension of running a restaurant for hours on end, the strain of trying to please as many people as possible without evaporating in the process. Earlier today, her husband texted her: "I miss you so much." She texted back, "I miss you too, but you can't do that to me," by which she means make her feel bad for not being with him while she works (incessantly).

She is, but she insists she does not want to be, a spokesperson for her industry and her gender.

"So why don't you just shut the fuck up?" she says, asking and answering her own question.

"Because I don't want to do that either. I like saying stuff, I just don't want to say it from a politically roped in position."

Pause. "The truth is, what you see is what I think in the moment."

Here is Jen Agg, preparing to publish her memoir, I Hear She's A Real Bitch, next week.

The book was the brainchild of Kristin Cochrane, president and publisher of Penguin Random House, who - this is rare - asked Agg to write it the same evening they met at Cocktail Bar. Cochrane was looking for the next Blood, Bones & Butter, the best-selling memoir by Gabrielle Hamilton, owner of Prune, a tiny perfect restaurant on Manhattan's East Village. "Of all the food memoirs," Cochrane says, "that's the one that stays with you."

Agg's book chronicles her youth in the suburban sameness of Scarborough during the early Bernardo years, and her desire to escape as a teenager - a desire that propelled her out at night, downtown, through her first marriage to Tyler Taverner, with whom she owned the avant-garde cocktail bar Cobalt, and into her marriage to Roland Jean and the heart of the hipster restaurant business, where she advertised on Craigslist for a charcuterie chef and found Grant van Gameren, in 2008.

When Agg and van Gameran parted ways at the Hoof in 2011, the unspoken question was who would survive.

Both have, in uncannily parallel ways. They're both demanding perfectionists, both neurotic, detail-driven ... curators is the only word for it ... of restaurant experience. She also devotes 60 pages of her book to her battles with van Gameren, accusing him of being a sexist control freak who couldn't acknowledge her front-of-house importance to their restaurant. According to Agg, he dismissed cocktails and assumed that, because she wasn't sweating in the kitchen, she was out shopping. By the end, they were bickering nonstop. During one exchange, Agg told van Gameren he had to find a therapist to get over his mother issues - his died when he was 11. Van Gameren (who followed Agg's advice) has gone on to create a bevy of booming bars and restaurants in Toronto (Bar Isabel, Bar Raval, El Rey), as has Agg (with the exception of Raw Bar, her ambitious seafood venture that closed a year after it opened). But they still don't get along.

"She's really passionate," van Gameren says, in a rare break from his vow of public silence on the subject of Agg. "A bold and risk-taking personality that I gravitated towards. The Hoof was an amazing experience. But at times, I felt I was distancing myself from her because it was hard for me to be viewed, essentially, as one identity when, quite frankly, our views on hospitality were so different."

She let fly at customers, wine merchants, clients. "My whole thing is that we are in the hospitality business," van Gameren continues. "Customers and suppliers alike deserve a certain level of respect. From my experience, that was only her approach if she deemed you worthy from the get-go. That was one of our fundamental differences."

The most common complaint you hear about Agg from bros in the city's kitchens isn't that she's wrong about sexism in the restaurant business - but that her complaint is too broadly aimed at all white men. "Many white men I know that support her ideals find her comments offensive," van Gameren says. "I believe there are good people and bad people. I think we need to spend more time highlighting the progress these good people are making. Change doesn't happen overnight and she intimidates people to the point that they will stay silent with fear of possibly not getting it perfect."

And yet, Agg is a role model to an entire generation of young women in the restaurant business, and then some. When former pastry chef Kate Burnham launched harassment allegations against Weslodge ("a Toronto restaurant of dubious distinction," according to Agg), Agg organized an international conference on the sexual abuse that's daily fare behind the pass-through of most restaurants. Kitchen Bitches: Smashing the Patriarchy One Plate at a Time broke the industry's institutional silence, and established Agg's reputation as a crusader.

It also earned her death threats from men's rights activists. But she doesn't intimidate easily. Durga Chew-Bose, a Montreal-born, Brooklyn-based essayist, sees Agg's nonstop outspokeness as a form of generosity. "She's just had to work harder than most of the men. I mean, she must have, it's such a male-dominated industry." Agg's controversial status is the result of her "not being silent. From not just taking up space, and not being silent."

Saying what one thinks, which Agg knows how to do, is not the same as being forthright.

For all the full-frontal revelations in I Hear She's a Real Bitch - Agg gets caught with her mother's vibrator, cheats with her best friend's boyfriend, admits she's better friends with men than women, etc. - the book, like its author, can be stingy with genuine emotional candour. Agg is very smart, very funny, and terrific on the antics of running a restaurant, but she prefers pronouncements - a style honed in her 20,900 tweets - to detailed scenes of emotional revelation that might upend a memoir's intellectual certainties and make it less predictable. But the cracks that let the light into her story are there, if you look carefully.

On page 133, by which time Agg is well into her 20s, she reveals for the first time that she was born with Poland Syndrome and thus only one breast. She had corrective surgery at 16, but will tell you that some evidence remains. "As a teenager," she writes, "this was a source of much conflict and resentment."

That and a handful of paragraphs are all she devotes to a formative affliction, the kind of chip not on her shoulder that drives her fierce and admirable desire to be accepted as she is, and not as she is supposed to be. The moment Roland - who was 49 at the time, to her 29 - first sees her body in the shower, and instantly accepts her, is the moment she falls in love with him. "I respected him so much, I reasoned that if he found me beautiful, maybe it was true. Which doesn't sound very feminist, but it was the thing that helped the most."

Here is Jen Agg having dinner with her husband Roland Jean at Scaramouche, an old-style, customer-is-always-right nook at the foot of Forest Hill in Toronto. In his company she's a different, less anxious person: Her voice lightens and she laughs more. Maybe, like a lot of people, she is her truest self in the company of her partner. He doesn't drive, so she drives him - and texts for him and "suggests" what he might want to order (the pepper steak with pasta).

Their conversation winds on for hours, through their respective origins (she boldly maintains her upbringing in Scarborough was riskier than his as a political cartoonist under Papa Doc Duvalier and the Tonton Macoute in Haiti, where his life was in danger); the history of their business partnership; a standoff over Beyoncé and whether she is good or bad for feminism (Agg says bad, but admires her as a role model for young black women; Roland insists she exploits the artists who create her public image); their common enemy (older white men); his global haziness on dates and details; her intergalactic stubbornness. Eventually she admits that sometimes when she wants to tweet - she actually has a draft tweet file! - Roland convinces her not to.

"He's a better thinker than I am," Agg says. "I get that. I'm too angry to think clearly sometimes. At the end of the day, I cannot have conciliatory conversations with people whose beliefs clearly and fundamentally do not line up with mine in a certain way. I can't handle it."

She finds it shocking that some people think she provokes public outcry intentionally, à la Trump. "The intention is not necessarily to be provocative.

It's to be direct. I really do mostly come from the heart.

I'm an instinctual gut person.

And I don't fully think things through sometimes. And sometimes I say dumb shit. It's true."

"You never say dumb shit," Roland offers, casually, in his deep French-Haitian accent.

Jen's afraid he is going to fall asleep. This is the third time she has dragooned him into attending a publicity interview.

He claims it's the last. "You're just not a diplomatic person."

"How kind of you. I'm not a politician, that's true. I try sometimes."

"She never tries."

"Thank you, honey."

Every morning when she walks down the steps of their house - every single morning - Roland stands at the bottom and grabs her by the waist and lifts her off the last step. Given that he is 20 years older, a day will likely come when he is not there to catch her, a possibility she does not relish. I Hear She's a Real Bitch is dedicated to "Roland, without whom I'd die."

Here at last is Jen Agg, curled in the corner of the Sam James coffee bar on Queen Street West, a block south of where she lives, in the heart of downtown Toronto. Coffee is her first requirement after rising at eight and eating steel-cut oats with kale and fruit and yogurt, before a day of buying, managing, designing, hiring, firing, tasting, making bitters and otherwise performing the endless front-ofhouse jobs required to run a successful principality of distinctive downtown bars and restaurants. She seems calmer and more yielding at this time of day, but not that much more yielding.

"I'm a little controlling," Jen Agg says. It's Monday. Yesterday she saw her beloved father, her biggest fan, "the only man I have never eye-rolled." He was a hard-working poor kid who became a teacher but preferred to flip houses and make money, who helped finance Cobalt, her first bar.

He has Alzheimer's now, which crushes her. On Sundays, she drives out to the house in Scarborough where she grew up and he still lives, to cook him a meal. (She is by her own admission "an amazing cook," though she has never wanted to slave in a kitchen for a living: It's not brainy or conceptual enough.

"The restaurant business is not a business overflowing with intellectuals," she says. "That's not to say there aren't any smart people. But it's a different world.") Lately she has been making her dad spaghetti, but plans to switch to penne soon: He can no longer manage the twirling of his fork. It's one of those details she is always noticing, that makes her good at what she does.

"He just says the same thing over and over again," she says.

"And also, he forgets that I have success. Which is heartbreaking."

Associated Graphic

Jen Agg is seen in her Toronto restaurant Grey Gardens on April 26.


In her new book, Jen Agg chronicles her youth in suburban Scarborough and her desire to escape as a teenager.


Agg is seen at Cobalt, her first bar, in March, 2000. She owned the bar with her first husband, Tyler Taverner.


The vanishing public company
The rise of private equity and headaches related to regulatory matters are making IPOs increasingly invisible
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B6

Starting up a software company catering to the oil patch seemed like a good fit for Glen Gray and his brother back in the early 1990s.

Between them, they had engineering and computer-science expertise. Microsoft had recently introduced a version of Windows that represented a major advancement in operating systems.

And the brothers were from Calgary.

So it was that Peloton Computer Enterprises was born.

They landed a demo of their data-management product for oil wells with Exxon - then the largest publicly traded company in the world. The brothers would soon get Exxon's business, and the company remains a client to this day.

Over almost three decades, that two-man software startup became the global front-runner in oil-well data management, and now employs about 100 people in 11 countries. About 70 per cent of the world's oil wells are in Peloton's system. And the most important figure: The company has a $1-billion valuation.

Now Mr. Gray needs to unlock some of that value. The company has been entirely self-funded through its history, but some of Peloton's earliest shareholders - all current and former employees - want to cash in on the company's success. The need for liquidity is just the kind of issue traditionally solved by an initial public offering.

But while the idea of going public is a natural next step, for Mr. Gray, it's more like a last resort. "I really don't want to if I don't have to," he said. "With the public market, you get a lot more pressure for short-term results. And it would be tough for me to keep explaining things to investors."

Instead, he will probably either sell to a foreign acquirer or take a big cheque from a private-equity firm. Big numbers have already been discussed with American PE investors, he said. An IPO is a distant third choice.

Many other Canadian entrepreneurs needing liquidity or capital to support the next phase of growth are also turning their backs on the public markets.

What was once a rite of passage for the best private companies is increasingly being displaced by alternatives that don't carry the extraordinary burden of leading a public enterprise.

This kind of retreat from the public route is apparent in the wilting IPO market, which has squeezed the pipeline for new listings. IPOs on the Toronto Stock Exchange have declined steadily over the past decade, with last year seeing a grand total of three new issues.

The roster of existing listings on major exchanges is also in longterm decline, as hundreds of stocks vanish from North American exchanges year after year.

The two trends - fewer IPOs and mass delistings - have combined into what researchers have called the "systematic decline" of public equities. And it seems to be part of a financial megatrend fundamentally reshaping North American markets.

Just since the end of 2008, the number of corporate listings on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) has declined 30 per cent to 861 from 1,232. U.S. listings have fallen by nearly half over the past 20 years, and are now at a level on par with the early 1970s, when the U.S. economy was one-third of today's size.

Publicly listed companies have to disclose a great deal of information on how they operate and how they perform, but every company such as Peloton that chooses to stay private will remain out of public scrutiny.

And it will remain off limits to average Canadians saving up for retirement, who have an ever-shrinking roster of stocks to choose from.

What is to blame for the exodus from public financial markets?

The rise of private capital and excessive regulation are often named as the primary culprits.

Another is that younger companies seem inclined to sell out sooner.

Most likely there is no single cause, said Bryce Tingle, who holds the Murray Edwards chair of business law at the University of Calgary.

For him, it all boils down to this: "We have made the public markets a very unpleasant place to be." Keeping private Canadian investors are by now terribly familiar with the distortions in the domestic stock market: big-bank dominance, heavy resource concentration, few consumer stocks and minimal health care and technology representation. The country's main stock index - the S&P/TSX composite index - has just 11 tech companies with valuations of at least $1-billion. Only six of them are software stocks. None are doing quite what Peloton does.

Peloton is "precisely the kind of company that Canada needs in its public markets," Mr. Tingle said.

But the rigours of being a public company these days have little appeal, Mr. Gray said. He is deeply involved in the day-to-day operations of his business, and being a public CEO would add a new set of responsibilities, whether attending to regulatory requirements, financial reporting, or investor relations. "Other parts of the business would suffer because of that," he said.

Mr. Tingle said he's encountering that kind of aversion to public markets a lot these days. "You now find people who've run three or four public companies in the past, who are bending over backward to not go public this time around," he said. "They say they just don't want to put up with the grief."

Today's public companies face enormous pressure to deliver smooth quarterly earnings or risk incurring the market's wrath if analyst forecasts are not met.

"You have two bad quarters, and 40 per cent of your stock gets sopped up by hedge funds, and they're changing the board on you," said Tom Liston, managing partner at Difference Capital Financial.

Two Canadian companies that struggled under the market's system of quarterly performance reviews were construction firm Canam Group and LED lighting company Lumenpulse. Both saw their stocks punished for failing to meet the Street's earnings expectations. And both ultimately opted out of the public space altogether with deals to go private in late April. "I think there's a disconnect between the pace at which we see our business going and what the markets were expecting," Canam CEO Marc Dutil, said in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

For managers repelled by intense public attention, an alternative has arisen in the form of private funding. "Today the dollar amount available for investment in private companies is staggeringly higher," said Tom Kennedy, the founder of Kensington Capital Partners, a Toronto-based venture capital (VC) investor.

Although the Canadian private markets have evolved in recent years, most of the firepower is concentrated in U.S. private capital. U.S. private-equity and VC firms controlled $1.2-trillion (U.S.) in assets under management by the end of 2016 - a tenfold increase over the past 20 years, according to a Credit Suisse report. And the big U.S. players are finding the Canadian market to be a bountiful hunting ground.

Canadian health-care software firm PointClickCare Technologies looked all set to go public on the Nasdaq and TSX when it received a better offer - $85-million in a private financing led by San Francisco fund Dragoneer Investment Group announced in February.

"We found that there were private alternatives that looked as good as public ones," PointClickCare founder and chief executive officer Mike Wessinger said. "They had roughly the same terms, but without the obligations of quarterly reporting, earnings calls, and that sort of thing.

"On a near tie, you're going to go private every time."

Not only has private capital become abundant at attractive valuations, allowing younger companies to incubate longer, but general attitudes regarding public versus private seem to have shifted. It used to be that going public was seen as "far sexier" than being private, said Ungad Chadda, the president of capital formation for equities at exchange operator TMX Group Ltd. "The other folks on the private equity side have done a good job branding it as, 'Why would you go into the throes of being public?' " Going public needs a rebranding of its own, to bring back "the appropriate balance," Mr. Chadda said.

Once a private investor is involved, that company might never IPO. The preferred exit is generally through being acquired by another public company. Over the past four years, venture capital investors have exited positions in Canadian companies through mergers and acquisitions in 125 deals, while just 14 exits took place through IPOs, according to data from the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association. "They pay cash, and by and large you get your money out the day you close," Kensington's Mr. Kennedy said.

The finality of a takeover was a big selling point for Cambridge Global Payments, which just this week, sold to U.S. work-force payment company FleetCor Technologies for $900-million (Canadian). Over 25 years, the Toronto-based company, which processes payments between businesses and their clients or employees, has grown from a two-person startup, to the second-biggest non-bank company of its kind in the world behind Western Union. It now has 470 employees, is growing at more than 25 per cent a year and, in a previous era, would probably be looking at an IPO.

"Just getting to market is an unbelievably tedious task. I would be using half of my leadership team working on that," said Gary McDonald, Cambridge's CEO. The pressures don't exactly ease up once a company has gone public. "You look at the disclosure, the legal requirements, the scrutiny you go through," Mr. McDonald said. "I've seen a lot of companies get listed and it really drags them down."

The regulatory environment for listed companies isn't exactly welcoming either, particularly in the United States. There, the cost and risk of being an officer in the public company increased dramatically with reforms enacted in response to accounting scandals such as Enron, and again in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. While elements of the governance reform movement made their way north, regulatory changes here were largely discretionary and watered down, Mr. Tingle said in a co-authored study. "We have nevertheless succeeded in dramatically increasing the exposure of managers to shareholder pressure."

Canadian managers today have their compensation and personal details made available for virtually anyone to access. CEOs report that investor relations and satisfying the many gatekeepers - securities regulators, stock exchanges, proxy advisers and auditors - take up most of their time, Mr. Tingle said. The average tenure of a Canadian CEO has declined to 6.3 years from 8.1 years between 2000 and 2009. In 2013, Encana Corp.'s then-CEO Randy Eresman stepped down, reportedly "fatigued" with the public marketplace.

"Presumably they originally got into business because they wanted to do business, but that isn't what they get in the public markets," Mr. Tingle said.

IP-no Public companies come and go.

Some get bought. Others go belly up. A few break the rules and are forced to delist. That's why new listings are the lifeblood of the capital markets. The problem is that businesses aren't going public like they used to.

"Every situation is unique," said Kirby Gavelin, the head of equity capital markets at RBC Dominion Securities Inc. "People are making decisions based on how they evaluate their own best interests and what the other alternatives are. People are making choices."

And more companies are making the choice not to go public.

Last year was the worst on record for IPOs in Canada since PricewaterhouseCoopers began surveying the market in 1998. The three new corporate listings on the TSX in 2016 were a far cry from the 79 IPOs that joined the country's senior market in 2005.

It's even fewer than the five that listed in 2009, in the midst of the financial crisis.

Bankers have said some IPO candidates never made it to the public market because they were able to fetch higher valuations by selling their companies outright.

Others choose to shelve their listing plans in turbulent markets, find money elsewhere and wait for brighter days.

Aritzia Inc. snapped a monthslong IPO drought last October, in between the summer Brexit vote and the fall U.S. election. Bankers have said the clothing retailer's success out of the gate amid choppy global markets emboldened the likes of Freshii Inc. and Canada Goose Holdings Inc. to pursue stock offerings of their own. When their dual-class shares made it to market during the first quarter of this year, investors lined up to get a slice of the offering, gobbling up the deal in the hopes of either diversifying their portfolios or hastily flipping their positions for a pretty penny.

But, in the equity market, sentiment can turn on a dime. Any stock, especially a newcomer, can be hot today and cold tomorrow - and some entrepreneurs who have poured their life savings into their businesses would rather avoid this daily roller coaster if they could.

By January, Aritzia's early backers pressed their luck and sold more stock to the public, this time at $17.50. The company's share price took a hit and has never recovered, closing Friday at $14.95. Freshii has seen the momentum around its stock wane. After pricing its IPO at $11.50 and trading above $15 in March, the shares have retreated to $13.50.

Despite the dearth of IPOs, investors still aren't clamouring to own everything that's being sold to them. Last month, Source Energy Services Ltd. became the first Canadian energy firm to complete an IPO in 21/2 years. The energy services firm sold its shares for $10.50, a price well below what the company and its private-equity owners had initially hoped to raise. STEP Energy Services Ltd. ran into the same conundrum this week with its IPO.

After an optimistic start to 2017 in the energy patch, tumbling oil prices have put a dent in valuations, which will likely keep energy companies considering an IPO from the sidelines.

Making matters worse for many of these businesses is the regulatory burden they face as they prepare to IPO, then become and stay public. It's a regime that some describe as costly, cumbersome and time-consuming.

"It's a bit of a shock to the system when [companies] recognize the true extent of all their obligations," said John Sabetti, a lawyer at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP who advises clients on IPOs and other money-raising transactions. "The cost of regulatory compliance, it's expensive for issuers."

Canadian securities regulators have taken notice. This year, they kicked off a review aimed at reducing the regulatory burden on reporting issuers. It comes as the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump promises to roll back a raft of financial rules, which could make the process of raising money in the United States cheaper, faster and easier.

"If you could ease the regulation that would facilitate more public market financings," said Ian Russell, who heads up the Investment Industry Association of Canada. "The regulators have put that down as a priority. They need to move on and achieve some results."

A new year has brought some life back into the new-listings space. So far in 2017, several companies have hit the market, headlined by Toronto-based parka maker Canada Goose, and others are working with their bankers to test the waters for an IPO. And these bankers say that there's more to come - as long as the market stays receptive.

"Many very good companies are currently considering an IPO," said Benoit Lauzé, head of equity capital markets at CIBC World Markets. "Our pipeline for the rest of 2017 is healthy."

But whether these companies make it to market, or get sold to the highest bidder before then, remains to be seen.

The big get bigger When a listed company disappears from the public market, more often than not it has been acquired by a larger public entity.

At least in the U.S. market, research suggests the recent wave of mergers and acquisitions has been the cause of most delistings.

As a result, the listings that remain have gotten bigger and bigger. Over the past 20 years, the size of the average publicly traded firm has tripled in real terms, according to a study co-written by Yelena Larkin, assistant professor at York University's Schulich School of Business. "This phenomenon has been fuelled by consolidation of public firms into mega firms," the paper said.

The biggest corporations have become planet-sized, sucking in an incredible concentration of value and profits into their orbits.

As of 2015, 35 firms accounted for half the assets of all U.S. public companies, while 30 accounted for half the profit, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) working paper.

Similar patterns seem to be at play in the Canadian market.

Since 2008, the market capitalization of the average TSX stock has more than tripled. "Industries are more concentrated and the average company that has a listed stock is bigger, older, more profitable, and has a higher propensity to disburse cash to shareholders," Michael Mauboussin, head of global financial strategies at Credit Suisse, wrote in a recent report. More than three-quarters of U.S. industries have become more concentrated over the past 20 years, as companies have bought up rivals at an unprecedented pace. "A small number of firms account for most of the market capitalization, most of the net income, most of the cash, and most of the payouts of public firms," according to an NBER paper titled Is the American Public Corporation in Trouble?

Many factors seem to be contributing to the frenzy of deal making, which has seen U.S. deal volume hit a record high of $2.8trillion in 2015, while the $2-trillion-mark has been topped in each of the past three calendar years. Lax enforcement of antitrust laws has been an important driver in facilitating consolidation, Ms. Larkin's paper said. But perhaps the best explanation is that larger companies are able to extract higher profit margins through weakened competition.

"Mergers have become more profitable over time," the authors wrote. "Excess profits may be driven by higher market power, thus emphasizing the importance of industry consolidation."

With incentives to become ever larger, U.S. corporate acquirers have become eager suitors of Canadian small-cap companies, particularly in the tech sector.

Delistings in Canada: small-cap carnage When Vancouver-based consumer payments processing firm TIO Networks announced in February it had been sold to PayPal Holdings Inc. for more than $300-million, Beacon Securities analyst Gabriel Leung lamented the loss.

"The universe of Canadian smallcap technology stocks continues to shrink," Mr. Leung wrote in a note titled: "Desperately Seeking New Stocks To Cover."

The wave of delistings in Canada has carved a swath through the market for smaller stocks in particular. And now that the small-cap space has rebounded in price in recent months, few are paying attention. One-quarter of the boutique brokerages have disappeared, fewer sell-side analysts track that segment of the market, and the number of funds focusing on smaller stocks has dwindled.

The carnage in the small-cap space was made considerably worse by the commodity downturn. As the global resource complex tipped into a long-term decline in 2011, it pulled the market for smaller Canadian stocks into a brutal selloff. Resource concentration is a pervasive Canadian vulnerability, but the smaller segments of the Canadian market are even more heavily weighted in commodities. Prior to the downturn, the S&P/TSX Venture composite index had a combined energy and materials weighting of about 75 per cent. As a result, that index fell by 80 per cent between 2011 and early 2016, with the lows hitting depths not even visited through the worst of the global financial crisis. The S&P/TSX SmallCap Index, which tracks lesser-known names on the main exchange, dropped by nearly 50 per cent over the same time.

For years, the bread and butter for many Canadian boutique dealers has been in advising, investing in and promoting fledgling energy and mining companies. But those stories became much harder to sell to the Street after the latest rout in commodity prices.

Since 2012, 46 boutique dealers have shut their doors, either by going out of business, merging with other firms or relocating to another corner of the financial services sector.

But commodity prices are not solely to blame for the attrition in Canadian small caps. That trend seems to have been in place long before the most recent commodity sell-off, according to Mr. Tingle.

Smaller companies are not going public at the pace they once did.

And acquisitive U.S. companies have proven to have an appetite for promising Canadian small caps. "That's particularly true in areas like technology. Apple, Google, and Cisco are coming up here to buy promising startups," Mr. Tingle said.

The remaining small Canadian tech stocks that might be next targets of U.S. takeovers include Montreal-based supply chain software company Tecsys Inc., Toronto-based fleet management company BSM Technologies, and Quebec City-based H2O Innovation, which designs water treatment systems, according to Mr. Leung.

"While it's disappointing to see good companies go, this has been an ongoing theme in the Canadian marketplace and will continue to remain so," he wrote.

Associated Graphic

Gary McDonald, CEO of Cambridge Global Payments, accepted a takeover offer rather than deal with the hassles of going public.


Canadian LED specialist Lumenpulse, which provided lighting for the Pont de la Caille bridge between Geneva, Switzerland, and Annecy, France, had a rocky ride on the markets after its initial public offering. The company's stock was punished for not living up to the Street's expectations.


Friday, May 12, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A8

In 1960, a new West German wonder drug, thalidomide, was about to hit the U.S. market. Just one thing stood in its way: A Canadian-born doctor, Frances Kelsey, who was in charge of reviewing the file for the Food and Drug Administration, became suspicious of the drug company's grandiose claims. Despite increasing pressure from the manufacturer, she stood her ground, ultimately sparing thousands of lives and preventing much needless suffering and babies with birth defects. This excerpt from the forthcoming book Why Dissent Matters by William Kaplan tells the story

In the 1950s, millions of people all over the world were looking for something to make them feel better. The demand for barbiturates, sleeping pills and amphetamines was huge - and growing.

Most of the sedatives were barbiturates, which made people feel relaxed and euphoric, but the death toll from overdoses, deliberate and accidental, was rising.

Thalidomide promised to change all that: Marketed under the trade name Contergan in West Germany, Distaval in Britain and Talimol in Canada, it may have been the best sleeping pill ever invented: It actually cured insomnia and provided prompt, deep and natural sleep. It also relieved pain, headaches, coughs and colds. It was especially effective for pregnant women suffering from morning sickness. The manufacturer insisted there were no side effects.

In 1960, Frances Kelsey was a recently appointed medical reviewer at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The new drug application (NDA) for thalidomide was her second file.

"They gave it to me because they thought it would be an easy one to start on," she said. "As it turned out, it wasn't all that easy."

Frances Oldham was born on July 24, 1914, in Cobble Hill - a village just north of Victoria on Vancouver Island. Her English father, Colonel Frank Trevor Oldham, a retired British Army officer, had married a young Scotswoman, Frances Katherine Stuart. Their daughter was one smart tomboy, graduating from high school when she was only 15. "I always knew I'd be some kind of scientist," she recalled.

Frances Kelsey received her PhD in pharmacology in 1938 from the University of Chicago. At war's end, she began medical school there.

She accepted a position with the Journal of the American Medical Association and, together with her PhD supervisor Dr. E.M.K. Geiling and her husband, Dr. F. Ellis Kelsey, published Essentials of Pharmacology. Then, in 1960, a job offer arrived from the FDA's director of the Bureau of Medicine, Dr. Ralph Smith, who, like Dr. Kelsey, was from Canada and a pharmacologist.

Dr. Kelsey, who had become an American citizen in the mid1950s, began work in 1960 in Washington in a ratty, uncarpeted cubicle in a dingy temporary office building on the National Mall. She was appointed one of a handful of medical reviewers of new drug applications (NDAs).

Dr. Kelsey didn't know it at the time, but her predecessor, Dr. Barbara Moulton, had quit the FDA in disgust because her superiors regularly overruled her.

One month after Dr. Kelsey was hired, the NDA for a drug called Kevadon, or thalidomide as it is better known, arrived at the FDA offices. The applicant was William S. Merrell Inc. of Cincinnati, an American pharmaceutical company with plans to manufacture thalidomide under licence from Chemie Grunenthal, a family-owned West German company.

As it turned out, Grunenthal had a record of rushing bad and inadequately tested drugs to market.

The company claimed it was impossible to overdose on the drug.

This claim was untrue: Taken in syrup form, thalidomide killed laboratory animals, but Merrell kept quiet about these results.

There was another bonus: Thalidomide was not addictive, or so they said.

The NDA rules required a decision from the FDA within 60 days.

Merrell was so confident of speedy approval that it planned a massive marketing campaign for the beginning of March, 1961, and began to stockpile supplies.

The long-term plan was for the drug to be made available over the counter, but first, the FDA had to say yes.

Under the leadership of FDA Commissioner George P. Larrick, the relationship between the regulator and the pharmaceutical industry was closer than it should have been. There was the usual wining and dining at the top, and from time to time the coziness decayed into outright criminality.

One senior official was exposed in 1960 after he accepted more than $250,000 from the antibiotics industry. When the Merrell NDA arrived, three FDA employees were assigned to the file: Dr.

Kelsey, the medical officer; a chemist named Lee Geismar; and a pharmacologist, Oyam Jiro.

Soon after they began their investigations, Ms. Geismar and Mr. Jiro had some concerns, and Dr. Kelsey had a lot of questions.

The way the approval system worked at the FDA, if staff identified issues within the 60 days, a notice could be sent requesting further information. The company would have to submit a new NDA, and the 60-day clock would begin to run all over again. Two days before the deadline, after which approval would be automatic if she did nothing, Dr. Kelsey mailed a notice declaring the application incomplete; in her words, "the chronic toxicity data are incomplete and, therefore, no evaluation can be made of the safety of the drug when used for a prolonged period of time." She also asked for more information on the animal studies, and many other items. As one analyst has written, "Kelsey's doubts were piqued early on by the vagueness of the application and the grandiosity of the claims." Dr. Kelsey was particularly concerned about the clinical trials and wanted more detail. "My job," she said at the time, "is to pick these new-drug applications to pieces." U.S. law allowed the experimental use of drugs while the approval process was in process. Drug companies routinely sent free samples to doctors - to begin laying the foundation for future sales. As for the patients, no informed consent was required by law.

When Dr. Kelsey asked for more information, Merrell pushed back - hard.

Because of concerns that the FDA was captive to the industry, Commissioner Larrick had recently promised Congress that pharmaceutical companies would not be allowed to contact examiners during the approval process. That did not stop Merrell: On more than 50 occasions, aggressive industry representatives visited the FDA and hounded Dr. Kelsey and the other medical reviewers. Sometimes they sent a good cop, offering assistance, and other times a threatening bad cop. Some representatives were accompanied by respected clinical investigators - window dressing, really - to bolster their case.

Company executives insisted that Dr. Kelsey was depriving the American people of an amazing drug. They complained to Dr. Kelsey's superiors that she was fussy, nitpicking, stubborn, unreasonable and obstructionist, a completely gendered critique that almost certainly would never have been applied to a man.

"Most of the things they called me, you couldn't print," she said.

It was clear to Dr. Kelsey that Merrell considered her "an unreasonable female." Many pharmaceutical companies applied pressure to obtain FDA approval, but "in no instances was it as severe as with this application." But still, she would not budge.

Dr. Kelsey's thorough approach seems to have "put her at odds" with older members of her organization. Internal disagreements have been described as a "civil war." But Dr. Kelsey had the support of her boss - Ralph Smith - and she was not being obstinate without reason: She followed the best scientific practices. She conducted a thorough literature review, consulted colleagues and other researchers, carefully studied the underlying research design of Merrell's supporting studies, scrutinized thalidomide's chemical composition and stability and did her best to verify Merrell's various claims.

In mid-January, 1961, Merrell resubmitted the Kevadon NDA.

All the questions about the drug's metabolism, excretion, absorption levels and toxicity remained unanswered. Dr. Kelsey was not prepared to rush: It was a sleeping pill, after all, and plenty of safe brands were already available. Then, in late January or early February, she read a short letter in the British Medical Journal from a Dr. A. Leslie Florence. Titled "Is Thalidomide To Blame?" Dr. Florence reported that some patients taking thalidomide were experiencing peripheral neuritis - a painful tingling in the arms and legs.

Although a pharmacologist and a physician, Dr. Kelsey could make no sense of this report from any scientific or medical perspective. "Peripheral neuritis did not seem the sort of side effect that should come from a simple sleeping pill," she reasoned. Dr. Kelsey got some reassurance at home.

Her husband was a respected scientist in his own right. He looked at the revised NDA and described it as a "collection of meaningless, pseudoscientific jargon, apparently intended to impress chemically unsophisticated readers." It was worse than bad: "I cannot believe this to be honest incompetence," he concluded. Relieved to have her suspicions confirmed, Dr. Kelsey deemed the second application incomplete.

Again, she wrote Merrell asking for additional information and more proof about safety.

Dr. Kelsey soon learned that the side effects mentioned in the doctor's letter were already documented in Europe, though they had never been mentioned in the NDA. When Grunenthal's American representative was asked about them, he replied, like Sergeant Schultz in Hogan's Heroes, that he knew nothing.

"I had the feeling," Dr. Kelsey wrote after one meeting with company representatives, "that they were at no time being wholly frank with me." Merrell then made matters worse by claiming, after an investigation, including a trip to England and West Germany, that the reports about neuritis proved not to be serious, and were, Grunenthal advised, reversible; moreover, they were possibly connected to vitamin deficiencies and poor diet, not to thalidomide. The truth, however, was that the side effects were severe, widespread and directly related to the drug.

Although Dr. Kelsey had no way of knowing, by the time Dr. Florence's letter was published, Grunenthal had received hundreds of reports of severe peripheral neuritis attributable to thalidomide, and 1,500 reports of other side effects, all of which the company summarily dismissed. Privately, however, the company was worried, and with good reason. It took a baby step and ended over-

the-counter sales in Germany, but it was too little and too late. Documents uncovered as part of a class-action lawsuit in Australia started by a thalidomide victim named Lynette Rowe revealed that Grunenthal's lawyers were, at the time, repeatedly warning it of a legal "avalanche coming at us." As if on cue, the West German medical press was soon filled with articles about the dangers of thalidomide. It was now revealed that doctors, including those paid by Grunenthal to test the drug, had complained from the start about its safety. In response to these complaints, Grunenthal always played dumb: "We feel obliged to say that this is the first time such effects have been reported to us" was a standard and completely untrue response.

Based on Dr. Florence's letter alone, however, Dr. Kelsey had demanded all the background clinical reports and research.

When Merrell failed to follow through on its promise to provide the documentation, Dr. Kelsey became convinced that thalidomide really was too good to be true.

In April, 1961, Merrell changed tack with its application for approval.

Thalidomide might have problems, company representatives advised Dr. Kelsey, but it was better than most barbiturates that were commonly used to induce sleep. It now admitted that its own studies had shown that rats could be killed by the drug. Dr. Kelsey asked the company point blank how it could submit an NDA without disclosing the evidence of neurological toxicity. In her opinion, it was impossible to approve this application: The animal and clinical studies were unpersuasive and incomplete, there was no proof the drug was safe, and information indicating other problems had been withheld.

But Merrell did not see it that way. "They thought I was nuts," Dr. Kelsey recalled. When she wrote Merrell observing that "evidence with respect to the occurrence of peripheral neuritis in England was known to you but not forthrightly disclosed in the application," the company appealed to her boss and grumbled about "libel" and the "meddlesome fool" who was standing in their way. Still, Dr. Kelsey would not give in - and upped the ante.

Just at this time, the FDA was becoming interested in the effect of drugs on fetuses and had begun to develop guidelines. Dr. Kelsey knew from her time at Chicago, when working in Dr. Geiling's laboratory, that drugs affected adult rabbits and rabbit fetuses differently. She also knew that drugs could and did pass through the placental barrier.

Some drugs caused malformations, or teratogen, in fetuses.

When steroid hormones were prescribed in threatened miscarriages, for instance, some babies were born with heightened masculine qualities.

This was not rocket science, but established science. There were hundreds of published papers, references in leading texts and international medical conferences devoted to the phenomenon. Dr. Kelsey now asked Merrell about thalidomide in pregnancy. "Here was a drug that, given for three or four months, could cause severe neuropathy.

With thalidomide, a growing infant might, perhaps, be exposed to it for five or six or up to nine months," she remarked, and so she wanted to know whether it might have an adverse effect on a child. Merrell had no answer. Apart from one study conducted during late pregnancy, the company had not even considered the question. It later turned out that thalidomide, even a single pill, caused deformities if taken between the 27th and 40th day after conception.

Testing for birth defects should have been normative. Merrell had conducted reproductive testing on several of its drugs, but not this one, having relied on Grunenthal's assurances. While Grunenthal would endlessly repeat that it followed best practices, this was not so.

The one thing Grunenthal did say that was correct was that there was, at the time, no legal obligation to conduct these tests.

Maybe that is why Merrell rejected Dr. Kelsey's invitation to conduct a study, offering instead, in return for FDA approval, to put a warning on the label that thalidomide should not be taken during pregnancy and that peripheral neuritis was one possible side effect. When this offer was rejected, Merrell "ordered" Dr. Kelsey to approve the drug within one week or else, and provided some of what would soon turn out to be completely fabricated studies attesting to thalidomide's safety.

Again, she stood firm: If the drug could save lives, that would have been one thing, but it was just a sedative in a market saturated with them. "The field of usefulness of the drug is such that untoward reactions would be highly inexcusable," Dr. Kelsey replied coolly.

By this point, a year had passed since Merrell first submitted the NDA for thalidomide in September, 1960. Formal approval had been prevented by a slim, wellmannered and shy woman who turned out to be an obstreperous and obdurate bureaucrat - at least in the manufacturer's eyes.

"Then, quite suddenly, the news came in from Europe about horrible deformities." In November, 1961, a German pediatrician, Widukind Lenz, head of the children's clinic at Hamburg University, determined that a growing number of mothers with deformed children had taken thalidomide during their first trimester - the period scientists call organogenesis, when limbs and organs are formed.

Dr. Lenz called Grunenthal and spoke to the chemist, Heinrich Muckter, who was disturbingly nonchalant. Dr. Lenz thereupon put his concerns in writing to Grunenthal, outlining the epidemic of a "certain type of deformity" that could be traced back to 1957. The one common denominator was thalidomide.

At almost this exact moment, information came in from Australia that left no doubt that thalidomide was causing serious side effects (as did private reports from the British manufacturer).

The German press got hold of the story, which became big news throughout the fall of 1962. Welt am Sonntag (World on Sunday) reported that a popular sleeping drug was injuring babies. It did not have to name thalidomide - everyone knew. And so it was that Grunenthal finally agreed to withdraw the drug. Reports of massive numbers of birth defects, spontaneous abortions and stillbirths began to come in from all over the globe.

Astonishingly, Grunenthal continued international marketing until the end of January, 1963.

Some countries like Canada dithered and dallied: There were 30 more victims before regulatory authorities finally woke up in March, 1962 (including some truly remarkable Canadians like Fiona Sampson, the tireless humanrights advocate who received the Order of Canada in 2015).

Around the world, in contrast to the United States, the thalidomide story was just starting. It is hard to know for sure, but perhaps as many as 10,000 people were affected in about 50 countries, not counting the thousands of spontaneous abortions and stillbirths. Many infants did not survive their first birthday. Whole families were destroyed by the guilt, shame, rage and terror. The financial burdens were overwhelming.

In Canada, the situation was made much worse than it should have been.

Thalidomide was not ordered off the shelves until March, 1962, and it could still be found in some pharmacies as late as midMay, three months after West Germany, England and dozens of other countries had banned its sale.

In April, 1962, notwithstanding the weight of the evidence, the head of Canada's Food and Drug Directorate mused that thalidomide approval might be reinstated. Fortunately, saner heads prevailed. Today, estimates indicate that there are about 3,000 survivors worldwide, with just less than 100 in Canada. While formally approved for sale in April, 1961, free samples of thalidomide had been given to doctors as early as 1959.

Senseless tragedy could have easily been avoided if Canadian regulators had exercised proper vigilance.

There were lawsuits and demands for justice. It was not easy anywhere; it was a pitched fight everywhere. In Britain, survivors now receive an annual pension of around $88,000 a year.

In West Germany, it's about $110,000 a year. In Canada, the then minister of health, Jay Waldo Monteith, promised in 1963 to care for the victims in "the best possible manner," which apparently meant doing nothing. Canada provided a one-time payment in 1991 - a pittance - and the process was a farce. Desperate people in financial need will often compromise their legitimate claims.

Many survivors were in terrible shape. By and large, they could no longer rely on their parents - some abandoned them immediately, others struggled and did their best, but almost all are now deceased. Many of the victims were too disabled ever to work - the average annual income was only $14,000 - and most of them endured decades of grinding poverty and social isolation, fear and shame. All of them experienced a lifetime of chronic pain and physical ailments.

That changed in May, 2015, when the Conservative government of Stephen Harper, bowing to public and media pressure, and in one of the few compassionate actions in its entire 10-year term and thanks in large part to Health Minister Rona Ambrose, announced a generous funding package. It did not go as far as the victims and their advocates had requested, but it was a long overdue step in the right direction.

The thalidomide tragedy was averted in the United States because Dr. Kelsey, alone and in the face of fierce opposition, did her job. Her perspective was educated, fresh and unique. If there had been no thalidomide crisis, the United States, with the rest of the world following, would still at some time have brought pharmaceutical regulation into the 20th century. But thalidomide created one of those moments when something had to be done. It could not be ignored in 1961-62, and it led immediately to a better and stronger regulatory system.

Maybe someone else would have stopped thalidomide in the United States had Dr. Kelsey not been assigned the NDA, but, interestingly, no one else stopped it anywhere else until it was too late.

Dr. Kelsey was the only person in the entire world who said no. She said no to a bad drug application, she said no to an overbearing pharmaceutical company and she said no to vested interests who put profits first. She was one brave dissenter. In the end, the question is not what made Frances Kelsey, but why aren't there more like her?

Excerpted from Why Dissent Matters: Because Some People See Things the Rest of Us Miss, by William Kaplan (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2017). Reprinted with permission from McGill-Queen's University Press.

Associated Graphic

Left: Dr. Frances Kelsey is photographed in London, Ont., in 2014. Her staunch refusal to submit to pressure over her thalidomide investigation for the FDA may have saved thousands from the drug's side effects. Above: Thalidomide was marketed as a cure for insomnia that also relieved pain, headaches, coughs and colds. It was later found to carry many debilitating side effects.


Far left: The lab of Chemie Grunenthal - maker of thalidomide - is seen in 1969 in Stolberg, West Germany. Left: U.S. President John F. Kennedy presents the President's Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service to Dr. Frances Kelsey in August, 1962. Above: In a 1965 photograph, a three-year-old girl born without arms to a mother who took thalidomide uses power-driven artificial arms in their place.


Run for your life - but like the tortoise or the hare?
In their 80s, Ed and Earl both raced into sports history. Bruce Grierson discerns what we can learn from each man's road to fitness
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F1

Ed Whitlock, a quiet gentleman of wry British wit, an iron will and a body seemingly purposebuilt to run marathons, held 36 age-group world records. He was the oldest person ever to run a marathon in under four hours, and the only person aged 70 or over ever to run a marathon in under three hours. "Ed was really my hero," said Earl Fee, two days after attending Ed's funeral in Milton, Ont., just west of Toronto.

On March 13, Ed succumbed to a cancer only his close friends and family knew he was battling. He was 86.

Earl, who turned 88 in March, is similarly decorated in his own, shorter-distance events. He holds 15 World Masters Athletics world records. At age 66, in Buffalo, he ran 800 metres in 2:14 seconds, so demolishing the world record that officials drug-tested him twice. He is one of so few runners his age who still does hurdles that at the world championships in Costa Rica three years ago, there was no one for him to run against. So race organizers ended up pitting him against worldchampion sprinter Christa Bortignon from West Vancouver, then 77. (Earl led for the entire 200metre race, but Christa pipped him at the post. She leaned in.)

Ed and Earl, Earl and Ed. Two white guys of similar vintage and background - both loners; coincidentally, both engineers - who ran their way into sports history at an age when most of us are comparison-shopping for walkers, if we're lucky. The two friends present a kind of natural experiment. For beyond these base traits that throw them in the same sample hopper, they are a study in contrasts - and the differences may be telling.

Earl is a devotee of HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training. He hardly ever works out for more than 20 minutes at a time, but he makes those 20 minutes count.

He goes for it, typically in a series of sprint bursts - between short breaks - that leave him gasping for air. He is fastidious in his training habits - timing his intervals, salting in weight-lifting and cross-training, tweaking his regimen according to the evolving sports science. What's more, he gets fairly frequent medical consults, eats half a pound of steamed vegetables with dinner, and takes six supplements.

Ed had long followed a program of LSD - Long Slow Distance running. He tallied endless training laps under Evergreen Cemetery's tree canopy, patiently building a "race base" - "drudgery," he called it, but all that mileage was money in the bank which he could draw on round about mile 22, when other guys were crashing. In 2004, in the run-up to the Toronto marathon, Ed put in three-hour training runs, more days than not, for months. Then he duly turned in what was arguably the greatest marathon ever run - 2:54:48, in Toronto, at age 73. Decidedly unfastidious in his training habits, he sometimes stretched on race day, and had seen his family doctor for a check-up exactly once since Trudeau came to office - Pierre Elliott Trudeau. His diet? Ed ate "whatever they're serving," he once told me. At meets, he sometimes seemed to subsist on coffee and grilled-cheese sandwiches.

Ed and Earl, Earl and Ed. They were, in a sense, the hare and the tortoise. And their approach to fitness may hold lessons for the rest of us mere mortals - who aren't aiming to topple world records, just trying to stay young - whether our working definition of that is hanging on to our muscles or our marbles or our sex drive, or even, potentially, keeping cancer at bay.


In their only laboratory matchup, Ed takes the lead Certainly Ed looked older than Earl - at least off the track. But when the starting gun cracked and he broke into a run, he became almost supernaturally youthful, gliding so gracefully, so gossamer-lightly, he looked as if he could run through freshly poured cement without leaving a mark. Earl is all power on the track, but no less "youthful" for that. On appearances alone, you could call it a wash.

But was Ed younger on the inside? Or was Earl? To get a bead on that, it won't do to look from the outside in. You have to look from the inside out.

In 2012, Tanja Taivassalo and Russell Hepple, then kinesiology professors at McGill (both are now at the University of Florida) did just that. As part of what has become known as the McGill Masters Study, involving more than two dozen participants, aged 75 to 93, they invited Ed and Earl separately into their lab. This allowed for a rare head-to-head comparison of the two athletes, who along with their fellow subjects were submitted to a battery of tests that assessed everything from cardiovascular health to muscle composition, flexibility to brain density.

Unsurprisingly, both men crushed it. More surprising, given the differences in the way they lived and trained, was that their "numbers" were often pretty similar. Both had roughly twice the mitochondria in their muscle cells as did the sedentary controls. That means twice the ability to suck in fuels such as glucose and fat, to make energy - and twice the anti-inflammatory protection against chronic disease in the bargain.

Both men also had NASCAR engines in their chests. Ed's heart showed no signs of the hypertrophy (dangerously enlarged left ventricle) or arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) that ultra-distance runners are often heir to. His blood pressure was a little high, but that was no surprise to him. "My own theory is that my heart is a bit too strong," Ed once told me - the pushing power maybe exceeded the width of the plumbing in there, he ventured.

"Or it could just be all the salt in my diet." (Indeed, it is Earl, not Ed, who has inexplicably developed a heart hiccup in latter years. He has tachycardia, a scary condition that can cause the heart to rev for no apparent reason. The times that happens, he says, are the only times he feels his age.)

At one point in the McGill testing, Ed and Earl were ushered into a hospital room, and a scientist brandished a gleaming instrument that looked a bit like a wine corker. He extracted a little plug of muscle from each man's thigh. (Earl, particularly, had some trouble recovering from that procedure. Back in Toronto, he visited the storied sports-medicine doctor Anthony Galea, who fashioned a little artificial divot out of Earl's own blood plasma, and plugged the hole with it, to speed healing.)

Earl, it turned out, had somewhat more "fast-twitch" fibres in his leg - which provide explosive power, but fatigue faster - than Ed. That's understandable, since he's a sprinter and Ed was a distance man. Fast-twitch muscle ratio could be considered a metric of youthfulness: We are young, one might argue, to the degree that we can really bring it on when we need to - even if that just means sprinting for the bus. Then again, endurance may also signal "fitness," at least in the Darwinian sense: Back on the veldt, it may have been the most important attribute of all.

The biggest difference was their VO2 max scores. That's a measure of the highest rate that the body can take up and use oxygen. Earl's score was high.

But Ed's score was literally off the charts - the highest ever recorded for someone his age.

VO2 max scores correlate not just with longevity but with basic health - youthfulness, if you like. So much so that a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last month suggested that one's VO2 max score should be considered a vital sign, as basic as blood pressure or pulse.

Score a point for Ed.


Earl catches up Not so fast, says HIIT devotee Earl: "I believe that to stay young, intensity of exercise is more important than volume." Until recently, evidence for that has been circumstantial at best. But last month, data emerged to give Earl's assertion some real teeth. In a study published in the journal Cell Biology, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., looked at how different kinds of exercise affect aging muscles at the cellular level. In one trial, three groups of older test subjects - 65 years and up - were randomly assigned to one of three experimental groups.

The first group trained like Ed - long, lower-intensity sessions with no breaks. The second trained like Earl - pulses of shorter, harder effort. (The third group did weight training alone.) Biopsies revealed that both kinds of running changed those aging muscle cells - rejuvenating them, in effect - by producing more (and better quality) mitochondria while dialling up the activity levels in certain genes.

But the interval training rejuvenated those cells more than the long, slow aerobics did. The intensity seemed to be a tonic that undid some of the cellular damage that naturally occurs when we age.

Score a point for Earl.

THE BRAIN Ed surges ahead One hallmark of how well we're aging is what's happening to us between the ears. How well are we managing practical things, such as recalling names at parties and remembering that we just put a full cup of coffee on the roof of the car? In our brain, that's largely the job of the hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped region in the centre that helps us make and consolidate memories.

We know that exercise beefs up the hippocampus. But recently, researchers from the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland wondered whether any particular kind of exercise is better at building this part of the brain. In a study on rats published last February in The Journal of Physiology, they tested the effect of long, steady-state running (the Ed protocol) vs. interval training (the Earl protocol) vs. resistance training: weightlifting. (The rats, if you're wondering, pulled a weight up a ramp.)

The result? Both kinds of running grew new neurons in the rats' hippocampus. But the Ed workout grew a lot more of them. The joggers' hippocampus positively teemed with new neurons. The greater the distance the marathon rats travelled, the more neurons they grew.

(Weight training alone, by the way, didn't spark any neurogenesis at all.)

One point for Ed.


Earl pulls up to the side What about plain old wear and tear on the body, surely another sign of how well we're staving off the ravages of time? Turns out, intense interval training - the Earl Protocol - does create greater "impact forces": sudden compression that puts strain on joints and tendons.

But there's a coda. "If you're working out for less time in total, maybe the cumulative loading on the joints is reduced," says Martin Gibala, head of the kinesiology department at McMaster University in Hamilton, and author of The One Minute Workout. In other words, when you work out like Earl, your moving parts get a rest and your joints are spared the sort of relentless pummelling that keeps orthopedic surgeons in Caribbean vacations.

The data are not unanimous on this, but they tip Earl's way.

Ed, says the science, was an outlier. He could do what he did because he was Ed: a 107-pound package of awesome mechanics.

(He dropped to 105 in November, but generally hovered around 110.) And even Ed felt the strain - he had chronic arthritis in his knees. And the main reason he ran his training runs (relatively) slowly, he once told me, was that "my Achilles hurts if I go faster."

Point for Earl.


It's a tie Running is good. On average, every hour you run lengthens your life by around seven hours, a recent meta-analysis found.

Aerobic exercise stresses the body, mostly in a good way.

True, it does goose the production of "free radicals" - highly reactive molecules that damage our DNA (and whose accumulation is, according to one theory, the most potent driver of human aging). But exercise is both the snakebite and the antidote: Exercise itself is an antioxidant, mopping up the free radicals it creates, and then some. Almost always, the medicine trumps the venom.

Almost always. Could it be that there's some tipping point at which aerobic exercise becomes so exhaustive that it stops being protective, and hastens aging more than it slows it? Could it be that all the "oxidative stress" that Ed was subjecting himself to, with all that mileage, was aging him faster than Earl's 20minutes-and-done workouts are aging him?

Again, the data are murky.

"The idea that oxidative stress is bad, that's a very challenging thing to sort out," says Dr. Hepple, of the McGill Masters Study.

Some studies say it is. But when McGill biologist Siegfried Hekimi increased oxidative stress in his lab mice by letting them run and run and run on a wheel, he found the opposite: They aged more slowly. "If there is a tipping point" where exercise stops rejuvenating us and starts aging us, says Dr. Hepple, "we don't know where it is."

Ed and Earl each score a point.


No clear winner Ed's cancer diagnosis didn't just surprise the grieving running community; it surprised Ed.

It wasn't until last fall, around

the time he was casually smashing the 15-kilometre world record for his age at a race in upstate New York, that Ed suspected something might be up.

He was having trouble keeping weight on. Then, his shoulder hurt so much that he finally saw a doctor. The diagnosis: prostate cancer that, an MRI revealed, had moved into his spine and bones. "After that, things moved very quickly," says his son Neil.

In a man with longevity in his family (his Uncle Arthur was actually Britain's oldest man when he died at 108 in 2000), Ed's death raises questions about the way he lived his life.

Could there possibly be a link between the cancer and the training?

David Agus, a professor of medicine and engineering at the University of California, and a noted cancer specialist, is doubtful. "We know that there's an association between some cancers and inflammation, but there's no association we know of between strenuous exercise and prostate cancer," he says. "Mutations happen. About half of the DNA changes in cancer just happen."

In a 2008 study on potential links between exercise and cancer, scientists at Duke University in North Carolina found that prostate cancer grew twice as fast in mice that ran to their heart's content as it did in sedentary mice. Exercise seemed to feed their tumours, perhaps by supplying more blood to them.

But that study comes with a very important caveat. "Those were human tumours that we planted in the mice," notes Lee Jones, the clinical-exercise physiologist who headed that study.

"The only way you can get a human tumour to grow in a mouse is if the mouse doesn't have an immune system." Exercise boosts the immune system, but it can't work its magic if there's no immune system to boost.

In a subsequent study, in which Dr. Jones's team planted mouse breast-cancer tumours in mice - thus allowing the mice to keep their immune systems - the running rats showed the opposite result: Their tumours grew more slowly.

"If you life long enough as a man, you're going to get prostate cancer," Dr. Jones says.

"Eighty per cent of men who are age 80 have prostate cancer.

Seventy per cent of 70-year-old men have prostate cancer. The fact that Ed was 86, he probably had prostate cancer for years.

But because he was in such a trained state, his body was very likely able to keep that cancer from spreading as long as it did."


Once again, a draw We make a fetish of longer and longer life. But "lifespan" is not the most meaningful metric, argues Stephen Harridge, a respected physiologist at King's College London. "Healthspan" is.

Actual time above ground means little if much of your Third Act takes place in the ICU.

Something happens to our bodies around the eighth decade of life. Most of us tend to just start coming apart like a clock; afflictions compound, slowly choking off quality of life.

But for master athletes, their slow, linear performance suddenly takes a discouragingly exponential plunge. Ed didn't have "co-morbidity" issues. One single thing crept up on him right at the end. Like track-andfield legend Olga Kotelko, who died suddenly from a brain hemorrhage in the summer of 2015, just weeks after setting a passel of new world records at age 95, Ed was world-beatingly fit and feted - and then suddenly gone.

"Both of these folks" - Ed and Olga - "compressed their morbidity into a tiny, tiny fraction of their time on Earth," says Dr. Hepple. And that might be the best definition of successful aging that we have. "Ever since Ed died," adds Earl, "I've been thinking, it's kind of a gift, what we do."

In his heroically researched, 664-page book 100 Years Young the Natural Way he presents a kind of template for people to hit the century mark, following a protocol of exercise, stress reduction and strategic eating.

Since the book came out in 2011, Earl has tweaked his diet a bit. He has almost entirely cut out fish and chicken, convinced by the data that vegetarians probably live longer. He avoids processed foods that create inflammation. He tends to his gut flora with foods such as sauerkraut and yogurt (although, he acknowledges, "some of that fermented food is not too tasty").

Will he justify his book's title?

He hopes so. "I'm still aiming for 100," he says. "But life can be more fragile than you think."

Bruce Grierson is the author, most recently, of What Makes Olga Run?

He lives in North Vancouver.

Associated Graphic

'Ever since Ed died,' says Earl, referring to the fine art of staying fit, 'I've been thinking, it's kind of a gift, what we do.'


Requited love: P.K. Subban finds his groove in Nashville
The Habs broke his heart when they traded him, but the star defenceman is no longer singing the blues after finding true love in Music City
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

NASHVILLE -- Three weeks after his trade from the Canadiens, P.K. Subban arrived in Nashville with his usual flourish. Dressed in black, including a cowboy hat, he went straight from the airport to Music City's historic entertainment district.

When hockey's most charismatic player got to Lower Broadway, he was greeted by Jim Hill. A former merchandising manager for Merle Haggard, he is so beloved locally that he is known by his nickname, the Governor.

The Governor took the Predators' new defenceman on a brief walking tour through honky-tonk heaven, passing one bar after another where songs of love and heartbreak pour non-stop through tavern doors.

They passed The Stage, a venue where the house rules include "no dancin' on tables with your spurs on." They passed the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, where the singer of Walking the Floor Over You and The Yellow Rose of Texas hosted his famous radio show, Midnite Jamboree. Ernest is gone, but fans still come to buy records, postcards, Moon Pies and fly swatters that bear his name.

They passed the statue of Elvis outside the Legends Gift Shop, where visitors stop to take a picture of old swivel hips, and passed the boot store where business booms late into the night.

They stopped when they came to Tootsies Orchid Lounge, the club with walls painted purple, where Willie Nelson got his first songwriting job and Haggard, Patsy Cline, Kris Kristofferson, Loretta Lynn and Roger Miller were among the regulars. Charlie Pride once presented a bejewelled hatpin to Tootsie Bess, which the owner used to stick unruly patrons.

Entering the bar, the Governor and the hockey star climbed three floors of stairs to a rooftop patio overlooking the Bridgestone Arena, Subban's new place of employment.

"That day, just by coincidence, there were a lot of Canadians up there," says the Governor, who oversees a handful of dining and drinking establishments along the entertainment strip. "They were sitting there drinking, and up the steps came one of their heroes. It was the greatest thing they had ever seen."

Retreating to the first floor, the Governor brought Subban up onto the stage and introduced him to the crowd.

"As you can see, I am wearing black," Subban told them. "That's because I am a huge Johnny Cash fan. Feel free to sing along if you know this one."

With that, and a band playing behind him, he launched into a rousing rendition of Folsom Prison Blues.

Standing elbow to elbow with barely enough room to hoist their beers, fans of country music more than hockey joined in, and cheered their city's new favourite son.

"He killed it," says Jeff Easlick, the marketing, promotional and events manager at Tootsies.

For Subban, whose entire career had been spent playing in Canada's most hallowed market, it was a bold first move in reaching out to an unfamiliar fan base.

Nashville is a hotbed for NASCAR and football, but a place where hockey had been slow to catch on.

Few players would have the moxie to show up, and sing to capture people's hearts. There is maybe only one.

"It's not like anybody told me I had to go to Tootsies and sing," Subban says this week between games in the third round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. "I did it myself, for fun.

"I figured, why not, and why not sing something by Johnny Cash? There couldn't be any place better to do it. The Johnny Cash Museum is a block away."

P.K. being P.K. likely cost him his job in Montreal One of the reasons hockey lags in popularity in the United States relative to other professional sports can be found within the NHL's culture and old-school expectations.

The game's most talented stars - Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid among them - are often its most bland. In hockey, understatement is valued more than individuality. Players learn that when they are young. Nonconformists roll eyes and ruffle feathers.

P.K. Subban plays with joy. He is outgoing and sartorially unsubtle.

When he scores, he drops to one knee and pretends to fire an arrow like Robin Hood. For that, he has been called a showboat.

In the second round of the playoffs, he was caught dancing by television cameras during warmups before a game. NBC broadcaster Mike Milbury called him a clown.

P.K. being P.K. likely cost him his job in Montreal. Three years after winning the Norris Trophy as the league's best defenceman, he was traded to the Predators for Shea Weber, Nashville's captain and a hockey-playing robot.

The Canadiens' management never offered an explanation for trading their most likeable player, one who had become an icon through numerous charitable works off the ice. Even after a backlash from fans, Montreal owner Geoff Molson stubbornly stood by the deal. There were whisperings Subban didn't fit in in the Habs' dressing room.

Subban was stunned when the deal was consummated, two days before a no-trade provision in his contract would go into effect. He never envisioned playing anywhere but Montreal. He hoped that, in retirement, his No. 76 jersey would hang from the rafters at the Bell Centre.

In his first game back in Montreal with the Predators, he cried during a pregame tribute. Earlier that day, he received a GovernorGeneral's award for his work at the Montreal Children's Hospital.

On the same trip, he took time from his schedule to go back for a visit.

If somebody seems to be disingenuous here, it is not him.

"Until the Canadiens give an explanation, there will always be speculation for why it happened," Subban says this week at the Predators practice facility.

"For me, I have moved on. I am not focused on it any more.

"Ultimately, I think I am in a better place. I am with an organization that values what you bring every night to the team, and what you bring to the city. I am not somewhere where management doesn't want me.

"People have embraced me here. There is no better feeling."

It is an unlikely marriage - a gregarious Canadian hockey player finding love in a southern city where the sport has taken time to grow. It has worked fine so far.

The Canadiens underperformed in the playoffs, while the Predators, with help from Subban, are two victories shy of reaching the Stanley Cup final for the first time. Their series with Anaheim is tied, with Game 5 back at the Honda Center on Saturday night.

In Nashville's first game of the second round, Subban became the first defenceman in franchise history to have three points in a playoff game. In Game 1 against Anaheim, he assisted on the winning goal in overtime. On Thursday night, he sparked a two-goal rally that sent the game into extra time by firing a slap shot past Ducks net keeper John Gibson with 6 minutes 27 seconds left. The Predators lost when a puck deflected off Subban's stick by Pekka Rinne, but they wouldn't have likely gotten to overtime without him.

"P.K. has done all you could ask of him as a teammate and player," says Mike Fisher, Nashville's captain and husband of country star Carrie Underwood.

"He has been great."

The trade that sent him to Nashville raised eyebrows around the league The son of immigrants who came to Canada from the Caribbean, Pernell Karl Subban grew up in the Rexdale neighbourhood of Toronto. He began skating not long after he could walk, and learned to play hockey wearing second-hand equipment on outdoor rinks where the ice time was free.

He was chosen by the Belleville Bulls a few days after his 16th birthday in the sixth round of the 2005 OHL draft, and two years later, was selected by the Canadiens in the second round.

After spending four years with Belleville and one with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL, Subban made his NHL debut with Montreal at the end of the 200910 season. He was a stalwart on defence for the Canadiens for the next six years.

The trade that sent him to Nashville last summer raised eyebrows around the league. More than anything, it was a kick in the teeth to Subban and the Canadiens' rabid fans. Many remain angry.

Few athletes invest as much of themselves in a place as him. In 2015, he pledged to raise $10-million for the Montreal Children's Hospital over the next seven years - and promised to maintain that commitment even after his trade.

Two years ago at Christmas, he turned the hospital in Montreal into a winter wonderland for kids. Last December, he donned a top hat and tails and surprised young patients being treated for sickle cell anemia with a horseand-carriage ride through the streets of Nashville.

Subban sat in the back of the white sled singing with the children until it stopped at Bridgestone Arena. There, the kids were taken on a shopping spree at the Predators' gift store, with one of Subban's teammates, Roman Josi, playing the role of an elf.

"My 8-year-old son loves him to death," says Jon Taylor, a Predators season-ticket-holder. "I was born with a birth defect and spent a lot of time in a Shriners hospital when I was a kid, so I can relate to him.

"It is not easy to do the things he is doing, or to see the things he sees. I pray that the Predators win the Stanley Cup so he can take it to the hospital for all those kids to see."

To help him celebrate his 28th birthday this week, patients and staff at the children's hospital in Montreal presented him with a video message.

"They have done that a couple of times, and each time it happens, my heart is in my throat," Subban says. "It is pretty special to know that they are still thinking about me.

"In some ways, it has been a tough year. Coming here was a big change, and I was just beginning to get comfortable when I had an injury. But in looking back, I am happy with how I have integrated myself within the community and on the team."

Predators are the talk of the town On Tuesday night, country superstar Keith Urban sang the U.S. national anthem at Bridgestone Arena before Game 3 of the conference final. When Josi netted the Predators' winning goal, Urban's actress wife Nicole Kidman jumped up and cheered, hands raised over head.

On Thursday, Grammy awardwinning Kelly Clarkson sang The Star-Spangled Banner before a sell-out crowd draped in Predators gold. Messages on the scoreboard urged fans to raise the noise level a few decibels more, and they quickly did. The Bridgestone Arena is already considered to be the loudest in the NHL, with such an ear-splitting din created that earplugs are provided to journalists seated in the press box.

Marcus Mariota, the quarterback of the Tennessee Titans, has been on hand with his offensive line to lead fans in waving yellow rally towels. A local bank gives away a free Predators jersey to anyone who opens a new account.

They are suddenly becoming the talk of the town, in a place where grabbing that attention is hard.

"As recently as eight or 10 years ago, people didn't give a damn about the Predators," says Easlick, the marketing manager at Tootsies. "I am an old-school Tennessean, and I find myself watching more hockey.

"What has been bad for the Titans has been good for the Predators. As the Titans have struggled, the Predators have improved. There has been a big shift here in favourability toward the NHL and away from the NFL, and that is huge. This is the South."

Ten years ago, people held rallies in Nashville to save the team.

"It has taken a long time to get where we are, but we have to be pleased with our success," says David Poile, the Predators' Toronto-born general manager. "We have a sold-out arena and are in the third round of the playoffs. It is very gratifying."

Nominated this week for the NHL's general manager of the year, Poile has run the team since it entered the league through expansion in 1998. Before that, he was the long-time GM of the Washington Capitals. He began his career as an executive assistant with the Atlanta Flames in 1972.

"The catch phrase here has always been that we would have to sell the game," Poile says this week. "There was a small fan base, so we had to work as hard off the ice as on. This is a nontraditional market, and we had to create new fans."

Terry Crisp, who coached the Calgary Flames in 1989 when they won the Stanley Cup, has served as a broadcaster in Nashville since the Predators' first year. He and fellow broadcaster Pete Weber were engaged by Poile early on to help recruit fans.

At one point, they taught a Hockey 101 class to fans of the Southeastern Conference.

"When we came here, there was only a smattering of people who knew what hockey was," Crisp says. "Pete and I should have written a book about the questions we got."

Selling tickets was a challenge.

"People were used to buying football tickets and couldn't fathom a team playing 41 home games," he says. "They would say they could never afford it, even though, if you did the math, tickets to 41 Predators games were probably cheaper than going to see the Titans eight times.

"But we never felt we were in competition with them. All we wanted to do was be liked, and to be part of the sporting calendar."

There were only 300 kids playing minor hockey in Nashville when the Predators arrived. The number is in the thousands now.

There were only six high school teams playing hockey. Now, there are 18.

"These are all the fruits of our early labour," Crisp says.

Poile was the guy who pulled the trigger on the Subban deal, even though Weber had become immensely popular while playing for the Predators for 11 years.

Despite missing 16 games with a lower-body injury, Subban had 46 points in 66 games in the regular season, and has nine points in 14 playoff games.

"I felt that this would be the hardest year for him, with a lot of tough adjustments having to be made," Poile says. "As it has played out, P.K. has played his best hockey over the last quarter of the season.

"If anything, he is ahead of schedule. The future is bright for both him and the Predators here."

Crisp says he didn't know Subban until he arrived in Nashville.

He has since become a big fan.

"From the day he got here, he has been charismatic and open to everybody," Crisp says. "He has never snubbed anyone. To me that is just as important as what you do on the ice.

"He fits the bill perfectly, and aside from that, he is a hell of a hockey player."

One day last month, Crisp says the Predators invited a woman from Canada to watch them practise. She uses a wheelchair, and her one wish was to meet Subban.

"What I saw that day made me proud of the hockey world," Crisp says. "The way he treated her makes everything we have gone through here worth it. It was awesome, a day she will never forget."

Nashville is a happy place right now This week, Randy Carlyle, the Anaheim coach, considered the Predators' rise as both a team and in popularity. They surprised everyone by sweeping the Blackhawks in the playoffs' opening round. They are a fun, gritty team to watch, befitting of the nickname "Smashville," and have no villains to speak of.

"This town has come a long way," Carlyle says. "The team has taken on a blue-collar ethic and style that they play, and the organization is reaping the benefits of its hard work. It is not easy to do what they have done.

"There are elderly ladies out there swinging sledgehammers at a wrecked car painted in Ducks colours."

Before each playoff game at Bridgestone Arena, fans gather in a plaza out front to drink beer, eat barbecue and beat the hell out of junked cars.

They pay $5 for one swing and $10 for three, and then don safety glasses and a Smashville cowboy hat. As buddies and strangers cheer, some climb on top of the hood before slamming away.

A little boy knocks a bumper off, and people roar.

Two cars - one painted in the Blackhawks colours, the other with a Blues logo, lie off to the side, beaten to wrecks. They look as though they have gone through some sort of giant compacter.

Wearing a P.K. Subban sweater, Chas Kelly takes his swings, and then stops to chat. He is a Louisianian who relocated to Nashville a year ago, and a fan of the Predators and their Johnny Cash-singing defenceman.

"Ever since he moved here, P.K.

has been remarkable for the city," Kelly says. "He absolutely loves the city and has done an excellent job. He has become a household name in Nashville."

On Lower Broadway, fans down $5 pitchers at pregame parties before Predators games. After, they spill from the arena and chant and shout in the streets.

Then they return to drinking.

Nashville is a happy place right now.

P.K. Subban could be somewhere worse. Somewhere hockey, for now, has come and gone.

Somewhere like Montreal.

Associated Graphic

P.K. Subban, centre, and the Predators salute their fans in Nashville on May 7 after clinching a series win over the lues to secure their berth in the Western Conference final.


P.K. Subban celebrates his first goal as a Predator in the team's season-opener win over Chicago Blackhawks with his trademark bow-and-arrow pantomime. The ebullient star has won the affection of Nashville fans for his performance both on and off the ice.


What happens when you use 19th-century travel guides to navigate Venice? Gabriella Gage tackles the ancient locale's twisting streets
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page T1

VENICE -- From across the Grand Canal at the Venezia Santa Lucia train station, the patina of San Simeone Piccolo's dome glows an unnatural hue, intensified by the canal water. Disoriented, I glance at the guidebook in my hand by travel writer Mariana Starke. "It is scarce possible to discover the magnificent edifices of Venice floating, as it were, on the bosom of the deep, without exclaiming, 'Singular and beautiful City!' of whose appearance imagination can form no idea, because no other work of man is like thee," Starke writes. If this sounds more lyrical than the everyday travel guide, that's because it's from 1828. Starke's text, along with two other 19thcentury guidebooks, will serve as my companions on a day's journey through Venice.

The plan: Explore and/or stumble around this foreign city relying solely on their antique guidance - a scavenger hunt in which the only prize is the strange, transcendent satisfaction that comes from being directed by the words of the dead.

The oldest of my three guidebooks, Travels in Europe Between the Years 1824 and 1828 was written by Starke, a pioneer of the modern travel guide and a bit of an anomaly in her time as a solo British female traveller. She is joined in historical spirit (and in my backpack) by a detail-oriented German named Karl Baedeker, whose Italy: Handbook for Travellers more closely resembles the traditional guidebook.

Published in 1883, it helped solidify the Baedeker guidebook powerhouse (still around today), with its red leatherbound volumes the mark of the emerging 19th-century tourist.

My third companion, A Week in Venice: A Complete Guide-book to the City and Its Environs, lists only G.E.M. and Colombo Coen, an obscure Jewish publisher from Trieste, in the publication information.

The 1880 guide focuses exclusively on Venice, offering the insider details of a resident rather than the generalizations of an interloper.

Like favourite characters out of life and literature, Starke, Karl and Colombo - as I begin to call them - form a motley crew of cicerones. I picture Starke wearing an oversized safari hat. Karl sports uncomfortably trim but practical khaki shorts.

And for Colombo, a cigar - and a detective's eye scanning the small details of the city.

Why this experiment? In short, I like old stuff.

I've always been drawn to vintage aesthetics and have a quiet feeling that I'm a walking, talking anachronism - a feeling that sometimes borders on hypernostalgia and temporal displacement (a made-up term that sounds appropriately like a 19thcentury ailment). It's like a bustle-wearing Victorian showing up at a keg party where everyone is on hoverboards, except that I was born in the era of Muppet Babies and can claim no such cultural superiority. It feels daring but also somehow comforting to go into a trip blind to the present, with nothing but extensive, up-to-date information from long ago.

Though I'd prefer the sweetsmelling, faded leather of the original hardcovers, my photocopies of these guidebooks are more practical - lightweight, disposable and free, thanks to public domain. I wonder how much will have changed since their publication, figuring they will tend toward obsolescence. Many timelines of Venice's history conspicuously end around Italian unification, so it seems a uniquely positioned "timeless city." But time is the foe of timeless places, and Venice is sinking at the rate of about two millimetres a year.

The blockish railway station behind me is unabashedly modern, not the original Colombo and Karl mention (rail was not yet the dominant form of travel when Starke was writing). But their terminal can't be far off, since both descriptions place me roughly at the northwest corner of the Grand Canal.

"Paved with water," Colombo says, "the Grand Canal is the finest street in Venice, and one of the finest in the world." The gondolas, once the primary mode of transport for my guides ("four francs per day," scoffs an imagined Starke), are now a pricey novelty at 80, propelled by gondoliers who can be "weird and melancholy" (Karl's words). Nostalgia, I'm learning, comes at a price. Most of the gondolas are occupied by the same selfie-taking passengers you might see hailing a horse and buggy in Central Park. Like the buggies, there's romance in another era's everyday, though it's slightly more practical here given that Venice has evolved far less than 1890s Manhattan.

I'm off to a rough start until I read Karl's tip that "vaporetti comunali of the municipality ply on the canals." Seeing the signs for these vaporetti, I purchase a water-taxi ticket for 6.

"Let the reader accompany us with this guide-book in his hand down the Grand Canal," Colombo says as he describes point-bypoint attractions from left to right. I am in no position to verify their accuracy. As I follow along the landscape of tangerine structures popping against viridian water and overcast skies, I quickly and fully commit to trusting the guides with my destiny, much as I would the all-powerful GPS wizard.

We arrive at Piazza San Marco.

Colombo assures me it is "one of the finest squares in the world; not the largest - for Trafalgar Square is larger - or the most regular - for it is crooked compared with the Place de la Concorde - but it defies London and Paris to produce its equal." Twirling in place leaves me with distorted impressions of multiple styles - classical, neoclassical, gothic, Italo-Byzantine - and skewed angles, as in convex mirrors. It looks like a larger version of a small-town square, equal parts monastery and market, air filled with classical music. "One Venice, one sun, and one Piazza San Marco. This is the boast of the Venetians," Colombo adds, and I'm inclined to agree.

"The nucleus" of this square, Karl notes, is St. Mark's Basilica, built in the 11th century. We shuffle along in line on raised wooden planks, a few feet above the puddles from the recent acqua alta (flooding), until I learn of the "no bag" policy that my guidebooks could never have anticipated. I am booted out with a swift hand gesture by the uniformed guard and directed to a bag check down a nearby alley.

Once inside, three people are scolded for taking photos of the gold glass mosaics. I wonder how my three Virgils would view such modern cruelties. We escape to the second-storey porch of St.

Mark's, where the Triumphal Quadriga, otherwise known as the Horses of St. Mark, preside over the square. The horses, Starke chimes in, are made of bronze gilt and, in her opinion, "extremely ill placed." They were captured in Constantinople in 1204, brought to Venice, looted by Napoleon in 1797 and finally returned after his defeat at Waterloo in 1815. It isn't until I'm back inside that I discover the real Horses of St. Mark (the ones outside are replicas) and learn they are actually copper, not bronze.

Born in 1761, Starke grew up in India, where her father was governor of the British East India Company's colony in Madras. She began her travel escapades while visiting an ailing relative in 1792 and experienced Napoleon's First Italian Campaign firsthand. As both memoir and travel guide, her work stood apart from the travel literature of the period, which was chiefly geared toward young, wealthy British males embarking on the Grand Tour, considered a path to dignified manhood. Instead, her guides presented practical information, such as the fact that entry into Venice required a passport signed by an Austrian ambassador, and details such as prices, accommodations, mail routes and other budget-conscious, even familyfriendly advice. Starke never married and continued her writing and travels - often under the name Jack Starke - until her death in 1838.

I exit the basilica, where a fluted brick tower with a golden weather vane looms overhead to my left.

Colombo tells me it's a 10th-century structure, 98.6 metres high, and Starke interjects, saying it "is well worth seeing" and is where "Galileo made his astronomical observations." I'm skeptical, wondering how it has survived the centuries on soft ground. It is only when I consult an earnest Karl that I learn the structure should no longer exist. "The square Campanile di San Marco 322 ft in height which rose opposite St Mark's to the SW collapsed on July 14th 1902 crushing the Loggetta at its foot," he writes.

Since I'm staring at a tower, I can reasonably deduce that it was rebuilt. Later, a sign informs me that the new structure was completed in 1912.

I had assumed that the guidebooks would offer outdated dining information, but Venice's frozen-in-time vibe proves me wrong. "Under the same arcades of the New Procuratie," writes Colombo, "is the Caffe Florian the resort of the aristocracy and the favourite coffee house of English and American tourists." Famished, I head there, even though Karl, ever the downer, cautions me that Florian is "the bestknown café, numerous newspapers, high charges." Opened in 1720, Florian was a favourite haunt of the legendary Casanova, thanks to it being one of the only establishments of its time to allow women.

Wanting to avoid the pigeons and the patio surcharge, I select a seat in a partially enclosed tearoom - with marble tables and red-velvet upholstery - to enjoy the piazza's music and tableau.

Outside, a pair of newlyweds try to pose for a photo with the famed colombi amid the puddles.

Despite being entirely "dependent upon private charity," according to Karl, these pigeons appear unco-operative to the couple's blissful plight. "The Pigeons are the protégés of the city as the Lions are its protectors," Colombo offers, before explaining in detail the various punishments - such as fines or imprisonment - for "ill-treating a pigeon." By the looks of disgust I witness, a clear shift in pigeon-Venetian relations has occurred in the past century or so; the only punishment now associated with pigeons, according to the signs, is the fine for feeding them.

My waiter wears a pristine white jacket and an oversized black bow tie and brings my club sandwich on a silver platter. With no Casanovas in sight, I shake my ghosts momentarily for a brief interlude into the realm of the living and strike up a conversation with Alexandra and Hannah, two New York designers on a work-related textile trip to Florence. "It's worth it, even for a short trip," said Hannah, who shares my philosophy that if one has a chance to get to Venice, he or she better do it or live with the regret of a thousand pigeon offenders. As a more expensive, touristy option, it's no surprise the café did not make Starke's guide, but the ambience is as exactly as promised.

Hunger vanquished, I am confronted by the biggest - and most logical - failure of the books: their lack of relevant museum opening or ticket information.

That part of my visit must be done entirely on the fly. But what they lack in practical information, all three guides make up for it with strange facts and extensive descriptions of works of art and artifacts in each church and museum, unmatched by the modern travel guide. Long before user reviews and travel websites, they also offered thinly disguised narratives, despite their attempts at objectivity.

The most modern of my companions, Karl, began publishing worldwide travel guides in 1830 in German, and later English, with meticulous prose and sometimes offensive cultural generalizations typical of the period. While "rheumatism is prevalent," Karl explains, "its perfect immunity from dust is one of the chief advantages of Venice." He goes on to bombard me with facts and even an accurate estimate of the seasonal average temperature (14.8 C).

By way of contrast, Colombo - the publisher and perhaps even author - is more elusive. He was known for producing beautiful editions of the Haggadah until his death circa 1877. He offers detailed background information on Venice. "She has suffered severely by the discovery of America and the Cape of Good Hope, and her position as a commercial city was no longer so central as heretofore," he explains, personifying the city.

Starke also provided a revolutionary travel invention: a rating system for attractions using exclamation marks, a precursor to the modern star system later adopted by her more famous male counterparts John Murray and Karl.

And so she leads my greatest hits tour of museums. Given her extensive journeys throughout the continent and the sheer ubiquity of priceless works in Italy, the highest rating anything in Venice gets is (!!), while sights in Naples and Rome receive a rare (!!!!!). The absence of exclamation marks does not seem to indicate a negative opinion, but each mark extends her enthusiasm for a site beyond baseline intrigue, as with increasingly friendly e-mails. Starke hints that Venice's appeal is more other-worldly and poetic, almost beyond the realm of ranking.

I travel below the Bridge of Sighs, which Colombo tells me was built at the turn of the 17th century and displays a style "neither very good, nor very bad."

Likewise, he mutters, the iconic Rialto Bridge is "not very remarkable as a work of art." He did not predict that my attempts to cross the bridge would be thwarted by a dozen or so women belly dancing down the steps toward me with jangling belts on their hips.

I learn that a compass is more useful than a map in Venice. A 20-minute walk can easily become a 45-minute circuitous journey of dead ends. Just when I'm about to give up my search for "a pretty winding-staircase,"

the smell of a bakery marked only by a number leads me to Scala Contarini del Bovolo. The snail-like staircase's architect, Colombo says, "seems to have wished to imitate the famous leaning tower of Pisa and has produced something still more curious though less important."

As with much of chimerically designed Venice, it begs the question "Why?" and answers with a starry-eyed "Because."

As the day concludes, the unique voices offered by Colombo, Karl and Starke create a sense of poetry and companionship, hitting that sweet spot between travelogue and the modern guidebook - a reminder that sometimes a void in the current literature is best filled by looking to the past.

As I board the last train to Rome, my farewell is an echo of those who've come before: "Oh, singular and beautiful city!"

Enthralled by the day's idiosyncrasies, I feel as though I've pieced together an intricate puzzle, with the help of three strange characters, across space and time in an exotic kingdom that persists despite its inherent vulnerability. A city like my trip - ancient, irrational and beautiful.

Associated Graphic

The Rialto Bridge in Venice, seen in a 19th-century painting, is one of the best-known sites in the ancient city.


Imposing buildings line the Grand Canal, seen from a Venetian vaporetto.


China's return to the oil patch
Five years after Ottawa put the brakes on a surge of foreign investment, a new wave of Chinese investors is quietly snapping up a host of energy companies in the wake of the industry slump
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B6

CALGARY, BEIJING -- The aging ranch-style house in suburban Calgary with the view of the Rocky Mountains doesn't look like a beachhead in a new wave of Chinese investment in Canada's oil patch. The intercom at the foot of a looping driveway is broken.

Scraps of wood and old camping chairs lay about cracked asphalt. The roof shingles are weathered and starting to cup.

But for a time, it served as the Canadian headquarters of Shanghai Energy Corp., at least on paper. Last fall, Shanghai Energy and an affiliated numbered company also listed at the Springbank-district address bought oil and gas properties from Endurance Energy Ltd., a Calgary-based producer that, unable to pay its bills, sought bankruptcy protection in the spring of 2016. It owed banks roughly $221-million.

The deal's backers are among a new breed of Chinese investors who are plowing fresh funds into Canadian energy companies in a takeover binge that has largely escaped public notice.

Feasting on assets from debthobbled domestic producers and companies in receivership, a handful of well-connected Chinese financiers and oil executives has spent nearly $2-billion in a series of deals since Ottawa imposed restrictions on buying by state-owned enterprises in 2012, a move thought to have soured China on the Canadian oil patch.

Spyglass Resources Corp., New Star Energy Ltd., Twin Butte Energy Ltd., Hyperion Exploration and other small to mid-size oil and gas producers have been snapped up with private Chinese capital amid the energyindustry downturn.

The investors and several gobetweens who scout out opportunities and enlist overseas capital guard their privacy closely and tend to look for deals that are below the value that would trigger a review by Investment Canada, a Globe and Mail investigation found.

Investment bankers say groups of such suitors, who operate outside the confines of bigname state oil companies, such as PetroChina, CNOOC Ltd. and Sinopec, have turned up at most recent asset sales in Calgary, using various corporate names.

In an indication of how new some of the players are to Alberta and its main industry, several have registered companies in suburban homes before taking up space in the sprawl of downtown Calgary real estate left vacant by retreating domestic rivals. Shanghai Energy, led by China-born and University of Calgary-educated financier Wentao Yang, has since relocated to an office tower alongside established energy companies while adding to its holdings.

The influx of capital, tallied through public statements, corporate registrations, court documents, confidential brokerage reports as well as interviews with industry executives and investment bankers, is led by an array of small companies that share directors and addresses, including some in the British Virgin Islands, a noted tax haven - all with origins in China.

They now employ hundreds of domestic employees and produce more than 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, virtually all from conventional oil and gas deposits.

It shows that, far from disappearing, Chinese investment in Canada's oil patch has shifted from high-cost oil sands projects, which had been the target of blockbuster deals by the state-owned giants, to smaller acquisitions that garner few headlines. At least some of the buying is motivated by a desire to transfer money into hard foreign currency beyond the reach of authorities in Beijing, according to a recent proprietary report from a major Canadian bank.

That has prompted comparisons to the spike in foreign investment that enveloped Vancouver's real estate market, and pushed up housing prices to the point where the provincial government stepped in with tax measures to slow the rush.

However, since the collapse in oil prices in late 2014, there has been no shortage of potential buys in energy and the flow of capital has had little distorting effect on asset values.

"You had PetroChina and Sinopec and a lot of the big companies in here buying out oil sands reserves, primarily," said Tom Buchanan, former chief executive officer of Spyglass Resources. "Now, the new wave is a lot of these family businesses, where guys have made a ton of money in China."

Spyglass was purchased in the spring of 2016 by an entity called SanLing Energy Ltd., led by chief executive officer Shuo Shi. According to corporate registration forms, the company's principal shareholders are Jeremy Song and Yuhan Song. Court documents put the price at $59.7-million, less than half the $172-million Spyglass owed lenders when the junior oil company was pushed into receivership the previous fall.

Mr. Shi is among such other active investors as Beijing-based oil executive Tianzhou Deng, chairman of Shanghai-listed compressed natural gas firm Changchun Sinoenergy Corp., and Mr. Yang. Other companies that have bought assets since the clampdown on state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have included TriWin International Investment Group and China Oil & Gas Group.

In the past decade, SOEs spent tens of billions of dollars in Canada as Beijing sought to secure reserves around the world to fuel economic growth.

The $15.1-billion (U.S.) takeover of Nexen Inc. by CNOOC Ltd. raised some worries, including among members of former prime minister Stephen Harper's cabinet, that control of the country's oil sands was being absorbed by arms of foreign governments, including China's.

Mr. Harper approved the takeover of Nexen and its Long Lake oil sands project but ruled that further bids for control of such assets were off-limits.

China's appetite withered amid the political backlash in Canada, and operational disappointments plagued buyers, too, raising questions about whether they overpaid.

The SOE clampdown has since been raised by Beijing in freetrade talks with the Canadian government. Chinese envoys have pressed Ottawa for unfettered access to key sectors of the domestic economy, including Alberta's oil patch.

Since the oil crash, however, the influx of private money has helped Canadian lenders stem losses on soured loans that became an epidemic. Opportunities have been plentiful.

"The Chinese have a true global suite of opportunities presented to them. Every investment banker on the planet has been making their way to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong for a long period of time - 15-plus years," said Adam Waterous, who made excursions to the country as a top investment banker with Bank of Nova Scotia before leaving to found Waterous Energy Fund.

"It's a well-trodden path. If you've got something in the North Sea or something in West Africa, all roads lead to China," Mr. Waterous said. "What's interesting is that private-sector Chinese investors are treating Canada frequently as a preferred destination."

Few of the players are well known and many are reluctant to speak to the media. In April, SanLing's Mr. Shi abruptly cancelled a scheduled interview, then hung up on a reporter trying to reschedule. A LinkedIn profile belonging to Shanghai Energy's Mr. Yang disappeared from the site after The Globe exchanged several messages with him.

Besides his role at Shanghai, it described him as the president and chief executive of another company called Rockyview Resources Inc. Court documents show it bought B.C. natural gas assets from bankrupt Quicksilver Resources Canada Inc. Mr. Yang is also listed as founding partner of Kailas Capital Ltd.

Privately, associates compare Mr. Yang with some of Calgary's most prominent merchant bankers, such as Brett Wilson and Murray Edwards, when they were striking their early deals in the 1990s. Known for an impressive network of investor contacts, he has figured in numerous transactions, putting capital together to buy up assets and setting up management teams to operate them.

Reached by e-mail, Mr. Yang would not discuss his investments, citing privacy concerns.

"We are a private Canadian company and prefer to maintain our privacy as we are entitled, to the extent possible," he said.

He said Shanghai's parent company, China Energy Reserve and Chemicals Group Co. Ltd., is undergoing a public listing process in China, which also prevents him from making public statements.

His activity appears to overlap at times with Changchun Sinoenergy's Mr. Deng. Mr. Yang is listed in registry filings as a director at Mr. Deng's Sinoenergy Pacific Corp. and on his LinkedIn profile as a director of New Star Energy.

Sinoenergy Pacific purchased New Star in 2015 for $170-million (Canadian), plus the assumption of $45-million in debt. The company is an affiliate of Calgary Sinoenergy Investment Corp., which in turn is controlled by Sinoenergy Oil Investment Ltd., corporate registration documents show.

That company shares an address used by dozens of firms in the British Virgin Islands, a corporate secrecy and tax haven, according to a trove of leaked financial and legal documents known as the Panama Papers. Mr. Deng is also listed as a beneficiary of BVI company Priceline Investments Ltd.

Among its shareholders are Qingdao Sinoenergy Corp. as well as another firm that shares a Hong Kong address with a company that controls Shanghai Energy.

The use of an offshore company by itself is no indication of wrongdoing, but it can effectively obscure a firm's true owners.

In Calgary, bankers indentified New Star's acquirer as a unit of Shanghai-listed Changchun Sinoenergy, the same company that bought financially troubled Long Run Exploration in 2016.

The price tag in that deal, which required federal approvals, was $100-million, a whopping 215-per-cent premium, plus the assumption of roughly $600-million in Long Run debt.

A Changchun Sinoenergy affiliate also recently closed the acquisition of bankrupt Twin Butte Energy, paying more than $260-million.

Changchun Sinoenergy is far from a household name in downtown Calgary even though it now employs about 400 people, including contractors, and produces as much as 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day.

And there is likely no bigger player in the oil patch who is less well known than its 60year-old chairman, Mr. Deng.

Yet, Mr. Deng travels in distinguished company. Following a visit to Ottawa by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang last fall, a press release from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office touted a commitment by Changchun Sinoenergy to invest $500-million into Long Run over the next two years - an outsized sum during a slump that has forced competitors to slash spending.

A spokesman for the PMO said Mr. Deng was not part of the premier's delegation. However, photos posted on the WeChat account of the China Construction Bank show Mr. Deng at a signing ceremony with the bank's Toronto branch manager, with the premier and Mr. Trudeau in the background.

Mr. Deng oversees a growing stable of Canadian investments from Changchun Sinoenergy's head office on the 29th floor of the swooping Zaha Hadiddesigned Wangjing Soho, one of Bejing's more striking office complexes. Inside, a staff of 100 works at cubicles. A sign near the front desk says "carrying out decisions with high efficiency, building careers."

The spending is far from over.

By the end of this year, Sinoenergy expects to build up production to 70,000 barrels a day, rising to 100,000 by 2018, said Hu Hai, a consultant for the company, in an interview. That will vault the firm into "the top 20 in Canada," Mr. Hu said.

Operating from China, he said, Sinoenergy can benefit from cheaper labour and an unsentimental approach to the Canadian oilpatch, which Mr. Hu faults for getting fat on the good times. "We fired many high-level managers. We simplified management teams and reduced those costs," he said.

He figures the company can turn a tidy profit with U.S. oil prices as low as $48 (U.S.).

"Why do so many oil companies lose money? It's because of heavy financial costs, property depreciation and management costs. The CEO of a small oil company might enjoy a $500,000 (Canadian) annual salary. He also has many vice presidents enjoying luxury offices.

It's all very high cost."

Changchun Sinoenergy benefits from cheap capital at Chinese banks, he said, and from networks of investors with cash to spare and a desire to find a safe place for it. None of Sinoenergy's investors are in Canada, he said.

He identified Priceline as "one of our companies," used for tax purposes but also because of Canadian scrutiny on Chinese money. "Sometimes, Chinese investors have to invest in Canada by setting up a company in the BVI," he said. It is related to "passing federal government checks a bit faster." Sinoenergy has similarly worked with other Chinese companies in buying Canadian energy assets. Mr. Hu called Shanghai Energy a "partner" and said SanLing "is us."

Some oil executives in Calgary say the Chinese investors are bringing capital to an industry that sorely needs it, as other sources have moved on to other oil- and gas-rich basins, such as the Permian in Texas.

Many are also keen to establish themselves as credible operators in a mature region as oil prices begin to firm up. Some even aim to ship physical barrels of oil back to China, profiting from a new opening across the Pacific for private firms to import crude.

"They have the ability to execute a deal and close a deal," former New Star chief executive Steve Sugianto said. "They bring the money. That's pretty good."

This month, more Chinese capital snapped up oil and gas assets, located in northwestern Alberta, according to well-placed industry sources. This time, the sellers were companies in the stable of Calgary's wealthy Riddell family. Paramount Resources Ltd. unloaded $150-million worth of properties and Trilogy Energy Corp. divested $50-million worth. Jim Riddell, who is chief executive officer of both companies, declined to name the buyer when contacted for comment.

The investments are part of a wider outward flow from China's borders that has raised concerns among senior government officials in Beijing. Indeed, the demand has spawned a new sub-industry of go-betweens in Calgary who seek out potential investments then go about raising captial to buy them from their contacts in China.

Robert Kwauk, the Beijing managing partner at Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP, said he occasionally receives inquiries from what he calls "really, really small" Chinese buyers, people who identify themselves as representing investment companies or private equity funds.

"They're certainly not oil companies - they're just really nonames," Mr. Kwauk said.

But they want to know about buying small oil and gas companies in Alberta, the kind that might have only a few wells, but nonetheless pump out regular barrels. That can make for favourable math.

"If you buy a house in Vancouver for, say, $3-million, you get a very average house," said Mr. Kwauk, a respected and well-connected lawyer in Beijing.

By comparison, in Alberta, "for $3-million, you can get a small producing asset that spins out regular cash flow."

Associated Graphic

In 2016, Changchun Sinoenergy bought financially troubled Long Run Exploration, which has operations near Edmonton.


Sinopec was among the first wave of Chinese companies that bought into Canada's oil patch.


Where does each party stand on key election issues?
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

When British Columbians head to the polls for next week's election, they'll be armed with a host of platform promises from the major parties, ranging from a sweeping remake of the province's childcare system to smaller, targeted proposals designed to pick up votes from key groups. Here's what you need to know about where the parties stand on the campaign's most important issues.


Liberals: The party had already put in place its housing strategies and isn't promising anything more. They include a 15-per-cent foreign-buyers tax on purchases, a new program of interest-free loans of up to $37,500 for first-time home buyers, and a commitment of about $1-billion over all toward building affordable rentals around the province, which housing groups say would mean $133-million a year for the next three years on top of what's already been committed. The Premier and her ministers have also said repeatedly that they want to get municipalities to cut down on waiting times for building permits, in order to speed up supply, and to increase density around transit. The specifics on that are vague.

NDP: The party says it would use government money and partnerships with cities and non-profits to create 11,400 new units of affordable housing a year for 10 years - the amount the B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association says is needed.

The NDP is also promising a $400-a-year grant to renters to give them something equal to the homeowner grant, and more protections for renters under the law, including the removal of the current "fixed-term lease" provision.

On the demand side, the NDP has said it would introduce a "yearly absentee speculators' tax" of 2 per cent (details unclear) and more attention paid to closing loopholes for speculators, money laundering and fraud. (Again, no specifics.)

Green Party: The most aggressive approach on the demand side, with a promise of a 30-percent foreign-buyers tax that would apply to the whole province. As well, the party says it would introduce a speculation tax, plus a capital-gains tax for sellers who flip properties in less than five years.

On top of that, the party adds a progressive surtax on property that is payable if owners can't show rental income or B.C. income tax paid and a homeowner grant that disappears faster for expensive properties than currently. On the supply side, the party has promised $750-million a year for government-subsidized affordable housing. Frances Bula


Liberals: The latest numbers from Statistics Canada show B.C. led most other jurisdictions in GDP growth last year with a rate of 3.7 per cent - second only to Yukon. The province has among the lowest unemployment rates in the country, at 5.5 per cent for April, and has also recently led job growth.

But that performance has not been felt everywhere. The Vancouver region and Vancouver Island both saw increases in employment in 2016, compared with 2015, but every other area of the province actually lost jobs.

Unemployment was as high as 9.7 per cent in the province's north. While most of the growth in the past several years has been in full-time jobs, a recent CIBC report found the province had the highest increase in the proportion of jobs with belowaverage wages, now at 60 per cent.

The Liberals say they will invest $87-million in the tech sector and put B.C. tech and business first in line for government contracts.

NDP: The NDP would increase B.C.'s minimum wage to $15 per hour. The party has also pledged to create 96,000 construction jobs by building schools, hospitals, roads and rapid transit.

The NDP would recruit a chief talent officer for the tech sector, contribute $100-million to techrelated postsecondary programs and provide investment tax credits to local software developers.

The NDP says it will expand apprenticeship and trades training programs, double the province's investment in the B.C. Arts Council and expand B.C.'s film labour tax credit to include B.C. writers. It will also cut the smallbusiness tax rate by half a per cent.

Green Party: The Greens want to create a Fair Wages Commission to establish the minimum wage and phase in a basic-income plan for people 18-24 who are aging out of foster care. For people with disabilities, the Greens have promised a 10-percent increase to disability assistance rates by this October and that rates will be 50 per cent more than what they are now by 2020. The Greens would also provide a benefit of up to $205 per month for low-income families.

For students, the Greens would invest $65-million over four years to support co-op and work experience programs for highschool and undergraduate students. For workers, they would invest $10-million a year for inservice job training at small and medium enterprises, as well as retraining for people who have been displaced by automation or market changes.

The party says it would earmark $20-million per year to support mentoring and networking at postsecondary institutions and $70-million over four years to support entrepreneurs. Megan Devlin .


Liberals: The most dramatic promise in the budget that was tabled in February, but not passed into law, was changes to Medical Service Plan premiums, but otherwise the Liberals are proposing a largely stand-pat tax regime.

The Liberals promise to maintain the carbon-tax freeze until 2021, while other provinces catch up. Last December, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a historic climate-change accord that requires all provinces to set a price on carbon at a rate of $50 per tonne by 2022.

The Liberals would also cut the small-business tax rate to 2 per cent and eliminate the provincial sales tax on electricity for business. Until Monday, the Liberals were open to a business proposal to trade the PST for a made-in-B.C. Value Added Tax but Ms. Clark now says that will not happen.

NDP: Leader John Horgan has made commitments to eliminate the MSP and freeze other service fees such as BC Hydro, but will send the details to a review if his party forms the next government.

To pay for new programs, the NDP platform proposes to increase government revenues by $530-million in the current fiscal year and of that, roughly 60 per cent would come from tax increases. (The balance would come from emptying the Liberal's Prosperity Fund, and projected increases in economic growth.)

Under the NDP, personal income taxes would be raised for individuals with incomes more than $150,000 - undoing a tax cut that was introduced by the Liberal government. The corporate income-tax rate would climb from 11 per cent to 12 per cent, which would bring B.C. on par with the other western provinces. The carbon tax would rise in step with federally mandated increases and the small-business tax rate would be cut to 2 per cent.

Green Party: The Greens would establish a working group to develop proposals to overhaul the tax system, but there are some specifics in the platform.

The Greens would increase the share of tax contributed by those earning more than $108,460 per year by 1 per cent in the current fiscal year, and that would rise to a 3-per-cent increase by 2020.

They would make the property transfer tax more progressive, and introduce a speculation tax on property sales. Like the NDP, they would raise the corporate tax rate to 12 per cent. The carbon tax would rise under the Greens by $10 per tonne each year for four years, starting in 2018. As well, the carbon tax would be applied more broadly, to capture fugitive emissions from natural-gas extraction, and slash-pile burning in forestry.

Justine Hunter


Liberals: MSP premiums, which brought in $2.4-billion to government last year, have doubled since the party came to power in 2001. Now, the Liberals say they would reduce MSP rates for middle-income earners. Starting in January, 2018, the Liberals would cut the MSP in half for about two million B.C. residents with household incomes of l-ess than $120,000 and phase it out entirely at some undetermined date.

B.C. is the only province to charge flatrate health-care premiums.

NDP: The NDP says it would slash the MSP by half, as outlined in the existing 2017 budget, and eliminate it completely within four years, saving families as much as $1,800 a year. A nonpartisan MSP elimination panel would be struck to determine how to pay for the plan, according to the party's platform.

Green Party: The Greens say they would eliminate the premiums and roll them into the payroll and income-tax systems so the payments are progressive, following a model used in Ontario. Justine Hunter


Liberals: The Liberals support expanding the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline as long as it meets their so-called five conditions, that focus on environmental protection. The Liberals also support constructing the Site C Dam.

B.C. was an early adopter of the carbon tax back in 2007, but it has been frozen at $30 per tonne since 2012. The Liberals would continue that carbon-tax freeze until 2021. The party has conceded that the province will fall short of its goal of reducing emissions by 33 per cent below 2007 levels by the end of 2020.

NDP: The NDP stands opposed to twinning the existing Kinder Morgan pipeline that transports bitumen from Alberta to port in Burnaby and has vowed to fight it, despite its approval. Mr. Horgan has said he's going to review the Site C Dam construction and will make a decision after the election.

The NDP would phase in increases in the carbon tax, starting with $6 per tonne in 2020, $7 a tonne in 2021 and $8 in 2022. The party would also expand rebates on the carbon tax for low and middle-income families. It would also introduce stricter reduction targets in greenhouse-gas emissions. The NDP wants B.C. to be 40 per cent below its 2007 emission levels by 2030.

The party would abolish the grizzly bear trophy hunt.

Green Party: The Greens are against the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion and against building the Site C Dam. The party would increase the carbon tax even sooner than the NDP and puts more emphasis on research into climate change and being prepared for its effects.

Megan Devlin


Liberals: Last year, the party brought in about $13-million, more than half from corporate donors. Party Leader Christy Clark had previously rejected calls to impose limits on donations or to ban contributions from corporations and unions, instead insisting on greater transparency as the answer. In March, she promised to appoint an independent panel after the election to make recommendations for change, but she's not said what system she would prefer. She's also said the panel would be barred from making any recommendations that involve public subsidies for political parties.

NDP: The NDP has promised to ban corporate and union donations, and to review donation limits. Last year, the NDP raised $6.2-million.

Green Party: Like the NDP, the Greens promise to ban both corporate and union donations - and have already stopped taking such contributions. The party says it would set limits in line with federal rules, which caps individual donations at $1,550 a year. The Greens would also ban contributions from anyone living outside B.C. James Keller


Liberals: The Liberals responded to B.C.'s worst overdose crisis on record by declaring a public health emergency; ramping up access to opioid-substitution drugs such as Suboxone and methadone and establishing the B.C. Centre on Substance Use, which is guiding the province's response. They have also funded a harm-reduction program that has distributed more than 35,000 naloxone kits across the province since January, 2016. Their boldest initiative may have been spontaneously opening 20 "overdose prevention sites" - essentially small-scale supervised injection sites, without the required federal approval - as an emergency response.

NDP: The NDP says it would create a ministry dedicated to mental health and addictions to give the issues the attention they deserve and "put a voice at the cabinet table." It would also emphasize early childhood intervention by increasing supports in schools, and increase all income assistance rates by $100 per month. Further, the party has pledged to license recovery homes, provide more support to police efforts to disrupt the supply chain and reopen facilities at Riverview Hospital, a shuttered mental-health institution. The platform includes $35-million over three years to increase general supports for mental health and addictions.

Green Party: Like the NDP, the Greens would also create a ministry dedicated to mental health and addictions and focus on early childhood interventions, creating a Youth Mental Health Strategy for early detection of mental-health issues. The party would allocate $80-million over three years to early intervention and related initiatives, as well as $4-billion over four years to the public-education system, in part to hire specialty teachers and support staff. The Green Party is the only party that has committed outright to expanding a prescription heroin program that in part addresses the pressing issue of the toxic drugs washing across the province, and Andrew Weaver is the only major party leader who has voiced support for the decriminalization of drugs.

Andrea Woo


The U.S. imposed duties of nearly 20 per cent against Canadian softwood lumber exports in April. The cross-border lumber fight is in its fifth round of trade litigation since 1982. B.C. accounts for 60 per cent of Canada's softwood exports to the U.S. Last year, B.C. sold $4.6-billion worth of softwood - spruce, pine and fir used primarily for framing in construction - to the U.S.

Liberals: In late April, Ms. Clark asked the federal government to ban the shipment of thermal coal through B.C. ports in retaliation for the U.S. duties, saying B.C. would act on its own and impose a hefty tax if Ottawa didn't act. (Most of the thermal coal shipped through B.C. ports is mined in the U.S., although some is mined in Alberta.) Ms.

Clark has said she would visit Washington to promote B.C.'s interests.

NDP: Mr. Horgan, too, has pledged to travel to Washington.

The NDP platform calls for processing more logs in B.C. and expanded investments in reforestation. Mr. Horgan would not say if an NDP government would impose Ms. Clark's thermal-coal levy.

Green Party: The party proposes several forestry-related measures, including curbs on raw log exports, protection of old-growth forests and steps to encourage value-added processing. Wendy Stueck

Thursday, May 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

A country is not just its people and places, but its stories. On the occasion of Canada's sesquicentennial, The Globe and Mail has invited a group of writers - from home and abroad - to celebrate the country's history in fiction. The results will be published throughout the course of 2017. Read more from the series at storyofcanada

He was not at the table. Then he was at the table without ever crossing the room. My head jerked up. The windows all around him black. The white collar was the first thing to form in the dark, floating just under his chin. The white cuffs, poking out of the dark wool jacket, also floating. That is all there is of him at first.

He coughs. Two slime-clotted hacks.

Then the rest of him becomes visible, as though the cough has made him seep through the fabric of the dark. Made him coalesce at the end of the table. A cold draft circles my ankles.

The boy they had polishing the silver yesterday saying the devil. Taking the sheets off the line with Sarah Callahan, them stiff as boards because of the frost, me and her having to bend them up to get them in the basket, and she saying the letter S was for Satan.

There were others saying he could contact the dead with his secret box. They talked about how he held himself. They said confidence. They said money.

I was told I should be waiting. He's liable to get up in the dark, wanting something to eat, Mrs. Hearn had said. I was in the corner on a straight-backed chair.

Be ready, I was told, in case he wants something. But I must have dozed off.

He coughs and I jump and smooth my apron with both hands. He lights a match and holds it to the candle on his table. The light sliding up the bevelled edges of the bow window.

Good morning, I say. I take a step closer to him and my reflection in the glass splits and multiplies where the window curves; I am an infinite army receding into the deep black space of the garden and the gardens beyond and out over the ocean into the dark forever.

I ask him what he wants.

His hand shoots up and he grabs my wrist.

His grip tight enough to hurt. He's twisting the skin so it burns. He draws me close to him. My elbow smacks down on the table next to his own. In the candlelight I can make out the checked pattern of his jacket, the leather buttons. His eyes are just sockets.

But when he leans in to me, I can feel his breath on my chin. He's that close. His breath smells of Christmas oranges.

I will say this: the rug in that room. They say a silk carpet from India. If you scuff it, the pattern goes invisible. Runs the other way. I had scuffed across the carpet in my boots and just before he grabbed me: an electric shock. He felt it, too. A tingling spark, no bigger than a mote in your eye, a tiny jolt with no location, except the skin - there, gone - it had leapt between us.

That wind will rip the features off your face, Mrs. Hearn says. Several men have hammers and they're kneeling on the silk, up here on top of the hill and the frame is wonky. They stand up the kite on one of its corners. The fabric ripples and snaps so it sounds like gunshots. Five men and they're having a hard time hanging onto it.

They speak to each other the way men who are making something with wood will do.

They hardly speak at all.

He put it in the papers: Something Big is what he called it. The men look chastened and sly, as if they've been had.

Mr. Peach is the oldest and he coaxes them by saying, Easy now. Easy. Sometimes they say each other's names. Gerry? Got it, Gerry?

Or they say: Clarence.

A very hard blast of wind. The men with the kite dig their heels but they are dragged across the ice. Leaning back, skidding.

They'll be carried over the cliff, Mrs. Hearn says. She tuts at the folly. One of the government men standing in the crowd loses his hat and he runs after it, hunched low against the wind, arms outstretched toward the ground, fingers scrabbling after it. His coat snaps out behind. A flash of the red lining.

My Frank has a coat like it, passed down from a house where his mother is a char, but the red lining is worn so thin there's a hole where the fabric has rotted, only a sagging ladder of threads holding it together. The hat rolls like a wheel on its brim.

In the dining room, his grip on my arm loosens but I don't pull away. I wouldn't give him the satisfaction.

The gall of you, I say. He turns my hand over so the palm faces up and he traces the blue vein with his finger.

I've heard it's not even your own idea, I say. He blushes. He has skin like a baby. I have never seen a man so handsome. Everything plays out on his face.

My Frank is probably the same age but his nails are black all the time.

I am the one making it happen, he says. He looks around the empty dining room.

Is there anyone else here? he asks. Do you see anyone else? He might have been asking me to take off my clothes.

Frank and I haven't ever taken off all our clothes. It was just the once with me and Frank. Behind the foundry there's a field of long grass. Just the once but I was caught.

The men have lost their hold on the kite and it rises up very high and dives. It comes crashing back down hard and fast.

It looks like the corner is heading straight for Mrs. Hearn's skull. She squeals and ducks out of the way. But before it crashes, it twists and lurches up.

It wrenches itself higher; it dips and shivers. The noise of it. Lifts, falls and then straight up and out. Through the Narrows.

A shout. The crowd is shouting.

He has been standing in at the edge of the crowd watching the kite, but he turns and enters the abandoned fever hospital where he has set up the machine. The kite is so high up; it's just a white dot among the gulls.

That'll do the job, the men say.

What do you want? They said about his mother, the Irish whisky heiress, traipsing from bank to bank, raising the money. They said her dresses and her red hair.

A hundred thousand more of me in the window.

Tell me what you want, I say. I ask him about the waves and he makes little circles with his finger on my wrist. Hardly touching me at all. It runs straight through me.

They can circle the Earth, he says. No man has ever touched me like this, without haste or intent. Desultory and possessive.

I need to get above the curvature of the Earth, he says. He doesn't say anything about the waves. I don't ask.

What he wants, he says, is breakfast. I go down the narrow, spiral staircase to the kitchen.

Mrs. Hearn with the cleaver - bang - on the rabbit's legs and the two front paws tumble away. Mrs. Hearn buries her lyechafed fingers into the soft fur of the rabbit's neck, wedging the animal's stiff shoulder out of the way and - bang - the cleaver comes down again. The head is off. Then she digs down between the fur and the flesh, wiggling her fingers.

She rips the fur all the way down the hind legs, revealing the scrawny purple body webbed all over with skeins of yellow fat.

Skin the rabbit, she says in a sing-song voice, the way I have heard her sing it when she is lifting the knitted sweaters over her grandchildren's heads, on those occasions when they have visited her in the kitchen.

Skin the rabbit, skin the rabbit, she sings. She tosses the carcass in the sink of cold water with the others.

There's his coddled egg, she says, her chin lifts toward the sideboard.

He never asked for bacon, I say.

I put tea biscuits, she says.

He takes cream, I say.

He don't mind everybody should hop, Mrs. Hearn says. She sways the cleaver over the chopped onions, potatoes, carrots, turnip and the pastry rolled out on the counter, all the purple rabbits floating in the sink, legs stretched out as if they were springing through tunnels in the underbrush. It is the feast for the celebration tonight, if his machine works.

The mineral tang of blood hits me.

Mrs. Hearn knows I've been out with Frank. I'd looked in the door of the foundry and he was a silhouette, lit all around in bright orange fire. He struck the mallet on the table and a fountain of sparks and flankers shot up behind him.

He came out to the sidewalk leaving the storm of embers and clanging metal. He had a horseshoe in his hand, asking me to walk into the field with him.

My mother's got 14 youngsters and we were burnt out in the fire. We stayed in the tents down by the lake for six months; my father gone into the logging camps and me at Government House with the aprons and the dinners. All the crystal. Everybody depending on I bring the dinners laid out nice on the lovely china plates. The horseshoe was still warm from where he had hammered it.

Take it, he'd said. Good luck.

None of your foolishness, I told him.

Mrs. Hearn has taken another rabbit from the pile and - bang - the cleaver.

She has dentures that don't fit and she almost always keeps her lips pinched tight in what looks like an effort to hold back whatever she has to say. I put a napkin over his tea biscuits, straight out of the oven, to keep them hot.

You're in a fine state, she says. She brings the cleaver down on the back paws. Then she wipes the back of her hand across her brow.

Young girl like you, she says. You won't be able to hold your position. I know Frank's mother and I will speak to her on your behalf. But you will have to be the one.

It wasn't my idea, I say.

To call him to account, she says.

I put the tray down on the table and set out the plate, the toast, the silver teapot, the sugar bowl, the pot of jam and the little jug of cream. I tip the little jug of cream into his tea and ask him how much without speaking and he nods; it spills out yellow in the candlelight. I lift the cover off the egg. The sulphurous smell. The smells are too strong. Whatever he has in his soap. Not like soap here.

Sit down, he says. I sit because he is a husk now, just the desire for the machine to work. He's a shell and the whole thing is playing out on his face.

Where did he come from?

He insists on walking up the hill, digging his forehead into the snow squall, his head butting against the wind, his shoulders. Sometimes he disappears as the snow engulfs him. But by the time the kite is launched and he has entered the abandoned fever hospital, the snow is over and the sky is sodden and grey.

I lift the rusted latch and the hinges creak. The wind nearly takes the storm door out of my hand and it slams behind me. Everything is dusty inside.

There are a handful of men there from the government. The two men he brought with him, standing beside him.

You can see your breath though they started up the little stove. The floor creaks under my feet.

He is seated, holding part of the machine to his ear. There's an empty chair on the other side of the table and I push a shoulder between the men and sit down in front of him.

The receiver is pressed very hard to his ear, his face pinched in fierce concentration. Listening. But his eyes on my eyes.

His expression does not change, but he sees me. I will tell Frank tomorrow. I will make him do what I want.

I put the rabbit paw on the table beside his hand. He picks it up. Not looking at it but holding it tight in his raised fist. He goes rigid all over. Then his face softens, ecstatic, his mouth opens; his lips form a slack O. He is awed and soft.

His eyes on mine but he can't see me now. He has already left the island. He is miles beyond us; he has flown out of the room, across the ocean, over the horizon, which is only an illusion. He is circling the Earth. He hands the receiver to the man beside him.

Author's Note: It's the idea of connection that exhilarates me about Marconi. The metaphor of an electric spark flying from one person to another. A physical spark like the bytes of information that hop from synapse to synapse in the brain. We are numb to the miracle of instant communication now. We have forgotten the phone that was moored to the wall and the spiralling cord.

We have forgotten dial-up and Hal, in 2001: A Space Odyssey. There's a novel by the Irish writer Elizabeth Bowen called Eva Trout, whose very wealthy heroine buys one of the first personal computers and the machinery fills the giant living room of her great house. A crumbling mansion with faded furniture dwarfed by a big, blinking, whirring machine. Imagine those Newfoundlanders helping to raise a kite on the top of Signal Hill: what witchcraft. Did he fake the connection? Marconi was a fast talker, some thought a snake-oil salesman. But the snake was a lasso that could circle the globe. I wanted to capture a few moments of that leap; let him have a connection with a local woman, however brief.

Lisa Moore's books include the short-story collection Open and the novels Alligator and Caught, all three of which were finalists for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her most recent book, the young-adult novel Flannery, was published in 2016.

Associated Graphic


Navigating the world in hazardous times
With fresh revelations coming out of Washington that imperil the world order, mutual accommodation is more crucial than ever
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F8

"You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else," said Winston Churchill.

This observation is key to navigating a Donald Trump-led United States in political turmoil.

Voters do their best with what is on offer. Last November, American voters chose Mr. Trump and the Republican Party.

Reserve judgment but Seasoned commentators said Mr. Trump could not get the Republican nomination and would not become president. He did both. Many now say he cannot succeed as president, but perhaps he will. There is much to worry about. The United States has for some years now experienced its greatest political turmoil since the Civil War. We must be watchful and careful. We should also keep open the possibility of Mr. Trump's success.

This was never more than a possibility. Unless the web of Russia questions can be quickly resolved, the challenge will not be whether he can succeed but whether he can last. The U.S. turmoil he exploited could now bring him down.

The big 2017 question The United States built and led the post-1945 global order by broadening the inclusive order at home and abroad and containing what could not be included. The big 2017 question is whether a new world order can be reshaped under some form of U.S./China co-leadership. Or will the centrifugal forces within the West and between it and the rest of the world undermine that possibility? If or how Mr. Trump survives will be crucial. It is an ominous moment.

The Trump-led United States and Brexit are the greatest challenges to the West since the 1938 Munich crisis. They are key to how things now turn out with Western Europe, Russia, and China. Russia has an increasingly hostile policy of combined aggression (in the Crimea, Eastern Ukraine, and Syria) and subversion of political institutions in Europe and the United States. A West subverted from the outside and undermined from within will become a weaker defender against overt external aggression (Russia).

China understands a destabilized West would hurt a Chinese economy still dependent on Western economies. A denuclearized North Korea could help make possible a United States and China-led reshaped global order. This could help fend off Russian aggression and subversion - step one of a long journey to bring Russia back into a new global order. Fortunately, the key Trump foreign-policy and security team are of high quality.

Is the United States still a world player?

The Munich failure to face up to an expansionist, authoritarian Germany came when the United States was not yet a world player.

Winning the Second World War and creating the postwar inclusive global order were possible because the United States became part of the solution.

Today's Munich comes from centrifugal forces within the West. The United States is part of that problem. If this challenge cannot be countered, the world will enter a darker, more authoritarian age. The post-1980 Ronald Reagan/Margaret Thatcher world of free markets and democracy has proved the trigger for the first global transition moment in history. Can the rest of the world help the United States as it pulls back from the Reagan/George W.

Bush era of economic, financial and geopolitical overreach?

Barack Obama started the country on its withdrawal path. Can a now weakened Mr. Trump (if he survives) deal with the still unfinished U.S. overreach without falling into underreach or dangerous new overreach?

The arrival of Mr. Trump Mr. Trump rode to the U.S. presidency partly on voter disaffection with a Washington that no longer worked (primarily because of no-compromise Republicans).

The other, bigger but related forces stemmed from the founding nature of the United States and the rising challenges of the American-led inclusive global order. There are big questions - Mr. Trump himself; what he most deeply wants from being president; his personal strengths and limits; and the kind of country the United States has become.

Can its strengths be mobilized and shortcomings overcome so it can move beyond its current identity and existential crises?

Can it be relied on to help contain the centrifugal forces in itself and the world?

Mr. Trump is faced with enormous, fast-moving, unavoidable, and interacting systemic challenges from America's technological change, global trade, and inclusiveness strengths, now in manageability overreach. What they have brought is increasingly hard on more and more Americans. Can Mr. Trump and the Congress get on track to do better? The Republicans lack a sure governing majority, and the uncompromising Democratic side (Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) stridently oppose Mr. Trump. Now the Trump presidency has been weakened by its inability to put Russia behind it, making his prospects worse.

There are now two Americas - the people who can cope with the forces of change and those who feel they can't. Mutual accommodation is the answer, but goes against America's natural drive for division. Russia has become more than a distraction. At best, it is creating a wounded presidency, with reduced leverage at home and abroad.

Is America still about the future?

The United States has always been about the future - a "new world." Now, more people are looking to the past, not because they are unwilling to move forward (only a minority are "deplorables") but because they are afraid they cannot. They need recognition and concrete sources of encouragement. Where can that come from is one of the big questions for the West's future.

Ideology, individualism, and a culture of winners and losers are all barriers to figuring out how to move forward as one country.

Both Republicans and Democrats have deep-rooted ideologies that exclude, divide, and interfere with thinking and seeing - mak.

ing mutual accommodation almost impossible.

Mr. Trump realizes the need to compromise to make deals.

Sometimes he shares more policy instincts with Democrats than with the no-compromise Republican Party he has taken over. But he needs more inclusiveness before he can become a full leader. That may require a national crisis. What will be the future U.S. glue? Mr. Trump does not believe in American exceptionalism. If Americans lose faith in the American dream, what will happen?

Could the only American glue become shared fearfulness and enemies?

Is America no longer forwardlooking?

Can Mr. Trump communicate confidence in a United States able to mutually accommodate its strengths and the everyday economic and identity challenges its strengths bring? How will the political fight go between fearful (hesitant to move forward) and confident (raring to go)? Can the two come together? It could take years unless forced by some crisis.

Many saw the Obama coalitions of 2008 and 2012 as threats to the country itself. Some version of them may return. If the 2012 Obama coalition had held in only three key states in the 2016 election, Mr. Trump would not be president. The Republicans chose as their presidential nominee a man whose policies, had he been a Democrat, they would condemn out of hand. The hardline Republican no-compromisers must now compromise to "clean up the Washington swamp." The history of the Obamacare bill so far shows how difficult that will be.

The Mr. Trump of "the deal" had only himself to satisfy. He could always leave the room.

Now he has political supporters, a country, and a world all with a stake - a room he can't leave. No U.S. president can. Mr. Trump understands successful business deals require "enough" for all parties.

Politics is harder; governing even harder. Mr. Trump is not stupid - he knows he cannot always get what he wants. But he has never had so much reality to respond to, with so many people affected, or so many people out to get him. Does he get what is great about the United States, and what keeping it great will take? Does he realize the ability to attract more and more followers is how one becomes great?

Which Mr. Trump has come to Washington?

Voters will pressure Mr. Trump on his vow to make Washington work - a promise even bigger than ending Obamacare. His leverage with the Republican Congress will increase or decrease, depending on how the public likes what he does. Two Donald Trumps will likely emerge in this Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde world. The U.S. political system works only if the president has political leverage. The growing Russia issue risks losing that. It makes Mr. Trump much harder for the Republican Congress to live and work with.

Mr. Trump faces a series of mutual-accommodation challenges, beginning with himself.

Then there's the challenge of mainstream Republicans on both the domestic and foreign-policy fronts, where he's considered, respectively, too liberal and too isolationist. Other challenges come from his own base.

Negotiators should warily take the slow and bumpy path toward one-at-a-time normalizations (real relationships likely beyond reach) and reasonable accommodations. The world is in a dangerous situation right now as it waits for what happens in Washington.

The United States began to lose its domestic post-1932 capacity for mutual accommodation after the civil-rights legislation split away the Southern part of the Democratic coalition. After the 2008 election, mutual accommodation became almost non-existent. If the United States is to move forward, some mutual accommodation is essential.

Have Brexit and Mr. Trump brought a new world?

The post-1945 forces of integration and disruption on the world stage are becoming unmanageable; the centrifugal pressures from within, hard to contain. Mr. Trump cheered them on, particularly during the U.S. election.

Meanwhile, Britain decided to pull out of the European Union (Brexit). As the United States experiences its most divisive moment of political turmoil since the Civil War, the remaining months of 2017 will tell much of the story. Will the big systems push back and find a focused path forward that works? Or will things move farther further down a path of divergence and dangerous division? A defiant Mr. Trump doubled back to his earlier calls for closer Russian ties after firing FBI director James Comey. Will he bring himself down?

Since its foundation, the United States has followed an individualist and isolationist path, except in the period from 1945 to 2000 (when it responded to the global failures of 1914-45). The current U.S. political turmoil, and the challenges coming from the European Union and Britain, have created a dangerous global moment. The United States has huge economic, military, technological, and innovation strengths.

These strengths are vulnerable in a racially divided country split between rich and poor, the confident and the left out fearful; and one awash with guns, drugs, and more demoralized people.

The world has to figure out how to deal with this deeply challenged nation led by a man who uses people of opposite views to create a chaos of differences which he then navigates for his own purposes. As president, he inherited an ongoing chaos of views among his own base voters and the Republican Congress. He has never had to deal before with systemically interconnected markets, the responses of other countries, and uncompromising Republican and Democratic parties at home. More divisive decades likely lie ahead, as American limitations from its past and a weakened president interact with today's global centrifugal forces.

Is a new-compromise Washington possible?

The biggest realistic hope of the 2016 election - a new-compromise Washington - was dealt a big blow with the first Obama care-bill failure. However, no one becomes president of the United States without having many strengths. Mr. Trump's greatest survival strength may be his remarkable "dot connecting" ability (so far, he has not done a very good job on connecting the domestic politics of the Russian dots). His greatest weaknesses may be his short attention span and self-centredness. What Mr. Trump proposed to Ohio governor John Kasich as his possible running mate now looks prescient. Mr. Kasich as vice-president would do domestic and foreign policy, leaving it to Mr. Trump to make America great again.

Mr. Trump's first job is to move immediately on Russia and reconstruct his White House team with one or more people able to play the role Mr. Trump envisaged for Mr. Kasich. The second is to face how difficult it is to develop policies that work in today's complicated world. The third is to overcome the deep divisions within the Republican Congress and combine Republican and Democratic votes when essential.

Mr. Trump could still surprise one more time. If not, who then knows? There is always the possibility of another deal - but not of another United States. Can Mr. Trump extend himself once more and expand the art of the deal to include a capacity for leadership based on more inclusiveness and accommodation? This goes against both Americans' and Mr. Trump's natures.

Mr. Trump may prove to be an agent for two of the changes the United States and the world need: a return of compromise to Washington and a reshaped, somewhat less inclusive and less global order, co-led by the U.S. and China. The post-war inclusive global order is now under threat.

It will only survive if it can become somewhat less inclusive and somewhat less global. The element needed to get there would be the containment of a nuclear-threatening North Korea.

This would give China the stable trading order it needs and avoid a potentially disruptive U.S. on the trade front.

This is a huge opportunity for China and the United States - a safer world and reinvigorated global vision and new project.

But hard to get from here to there. The increasing U.S.-governance and rule-of-law stresses do not help. No matter what, there will not be much rest on the Trump journey ahead. Until it is behind Mr. Trump, the Russia problem will at best get in the way of success on all fronts; at worst bring the end of his presidency. The U.S. has two sources of political turmoil - its own historic nature and Mr. Trump. The first will last long after Mr. Trump.

Breaking good news The Department of Justice announcement of the appointment of former FBI director Robert S. Mueller as special counsel to an investigation into Mr. Trump's Russia ties late last Wednesday will stanch the bleeding for the moment. Nothing less could do that. Adults are at last in charge.

William Macdonald is a corporate lawyer turned consultant with a long history of public service and social engagement.

The Governor-General's Innovation Awards are a celebration of Canadian creators who have reshaped lives nationally and abroad. In the ceremony's second year, awards were handed out for a breakthrough in mental-health-service accessibility, a new approach to treating hearing deficits in the poorest parts of the globe, the development of plastics that are less likely to cause blood clots, technology that identifies disease-resistant cattle in the dairy industry, the removal of allergens from a key medical material and the digital preservation of Indigenous languages
Thursday, May 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A8


Patricia Lingley-Pottie and Patrick McGrath of the Strongest Families Institute




Distance-based mental-health services that reduce wait times and improve access

The barriers to access for mental-health care can pile up fast. Time, geography, cost, and stigma all still hold many people back from seeking treatment. Nova Scotia's Strongest Families Institute builds evidence-based distance-education programs to clear the path through all of that for children and families.

The not-for-profit runs bilingual programs for children and teens between the ages of 3 and 17 to help them overcome struggles such as anxiety and behavioural difficulties, using a mix of video, manuals and regular telephone-support coaching sessions. From the Halifax area, the institute's team of 50 provides support to about 4,000 families a year in a growing number of jurisdictions, including most Atlantic provinces and Alberta.

In broadening access to mental-health services, they can drastically reduce wait times: In Nova Scotia alone, the Institute boasts that it helped get a 400-person wait list into its programs in 31/2 months.

"We wanted to build something designed to meet the needs of families, but also the system itself," says Dr. Patricia Lingley-Pottie, its president and chief executive.

That's on top of giving families a comfortable and private way to seek help without having to skip work, school or other routines, and opening up treatment opportunities in remote corners of Canada.

The Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation nominated the Institute for the Governor-General's Innovation Awards.

The Institute found a niche, its founders say, by simply using old methods in new ways. "We're not radically original, but we're quite innovative," its chair, Patrick McGrath, says.

The team refers to its therapists as coaches in order to get clients in the mindset that they're building strengths to get healthier. "There's no shame in learning new skills," Dr. McGrath says.

"You might do it for your golf game, or get a fitness coach."

As a not-for-profit, the Strongest Families Institute depends on funding from provinces and the likes of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Bell Let's Talk in order to expand its programs and service regions. It will launch in New Brunswick soon, and hopes to expand coverage to Ontario and Quebec, and is connecting with global partners. And it plans to broaden its services, including post-traumatic-stress-disorder programs to help military veterans and Syrian refugees. - Josh O'Kane


Audra Renyi




Helping the poor to hear

As a child, Audra Renyi always thought the ailment that afflicted her father, Pierre, was something of a fluke.

He and his sister, Ms. Renyi's Aunt Katy, both wore hearing aids to correct the profound hearing loss they suffered as children in their native Romania, where they could not get the antibiotics they needed to treat their ear infections. "I always thought it was just something in my family that had happened to us, that it was an isolated case," Ms. Renyi said.

When she learned as an adult that more than a billion people around the world have some degree of hearing loss, Ms. Renyi decided to draw on her experience as a Wall Street investment banker and international aid worker to co-found World Wide Hearing, a Montreal-based non-profit organization dedicated to correcting hearing deficits in some of the poorest parts of the globe.

Ms. Renyi, now 35, and a recipient of the Governor-General's Innovation Award, wasn't keen on the old charitable model of handing out used hearing aids and moving on. Her innovation was to persuade companies to drastically cut the price of new digital hearing aids, while at the same time training local women to test for hearing loss and to fit the devices in patients' ears on the spot. Sympathetic hearing-aid makers gained access to rural markets in the developing world; deaf and partly deaf children, some of whom had been kept hidden by their families, gained access to devices that changed their lives.

World Wide Hearing launched its first project in the Jordanian town of Salt in 2012. The non-profit, which has so far screened about 20,000 people and distributed 2,000 hearing aids, has since expanded to run programs in Guatemala, Peru, Vietnam and the Philippines. Now it's moving into Canada's North, where more than one-third of school-age Inuit children have some form of hearing loss.

Although Ms. Renyi is a fan of high-tech solutions for hearing loss - her organization won funding from Google to try out inexpensive options for hearing-loss screening with smartphones and to develop a cloud computing solution to aggregate that data - she is also open to fixes that are decidedly low-tech, such as offering children special stickers to decorate their hearing aids.

"Sometimes that 25-cent sticker makes the difference between a child wanting to wear their hearing aid or not," Ms. Renyi said. - Kelly Grant


Paul Santerre




Making plastic medical devices the body won't reject

Trained as a chemical engineer, Paul Santerre found his true calling in the mid-1980s when he went to McMaster University to work on a PhD and became fascinated with how plastics interact with blood.

At the time, the potential for working with synthetic materials that could function with and within the body had become an exciting new frontier, a development made dramatically clear when a Seattle dentist named Barney Clark became the first recipient of an artificial heart.

"I thought that was quite riveting," said Dr. Santerre. "I just jumped at it and haven't looked back since then."

In 1990, Dr. Santerre went on to become a materials expert with Canada's first artificial-heart program at the Ottawa Heart Institute, a collaboration that brought together industry with university and clinical researchers - a rare combination at the time.

The work included quarterly design and development milestones that served to accelerate new technology and its translation into the clinic. It was a sensibility that Dr. Santerre took with him a few years later to the University of Toronto, where he embarked on a research program to develop plastic surfaces that don't cause blood to clot.

It's a daunting challenge. Millions of years of evolution have equipped humans with an immune system that is quick to recognize and reject any foreign substance. A typical plastic item found around the house may seem inert when handled, but the same material in the bloodstream quickly attracts proteins that bind to its surface and begin to form clots.

Dr. Santerre's key innovation was to add ingredients during the manufacturing of plastic to make it less likely to generate an immune response.

"If you design the material to fool the body into thinking it belongs, then the proteins and cells just keep doing what they were naturally designed to do," he said.

The practical result has led to more than 60 patents and devices, such as catheters that can be inserted into a blood vessel - for example to deliver a cancer therapy - and kept in place for a year or more without causing harm.

In 2001, Dr. Santerre founded Interface Biologics Inc., which manufactures the devices, and now directs U of T's efforts to help spinoff companies in the health-care sector, where he continues to teach what he learned about building companies.

- Ivan Semeniuk


Bonnie Mallard


Guelph, Ont.


High Immune Response technology

Canada's dairy industry is big business: Across the country, more than 11,000 farms generate more than $6-billion in sales every year. With stakes that high, no small detail is left to chance.

From breeding for specific cattle traits to the use of automatic milking robots - every step is carefully managed to ensure maximum production.

But until recently, one important piece of the puzzle remained largely unpredictable: diseaseresistance.

Enter Bonnie Mallard. This week, Dr. Mallard, a professor of immunogenetics at the University of Guelph, was a recipient of the Governor-General's Innovation Award for her invention of High Immune Response (HIR) technology, which helps to manage animal health on dairy farms.

HIR technology allows farmers and breeders to identify animals with the best immune systems, who are naturally the most disease-resistant. Cows identified as "high immune responders" experience roughly 50-per-cent fewer disease occurrences than their herd mates, according to Dr. Mallard.

That means fewer instances of illness such as mastitis and pneumonia, which cost farmers in veterinary charges and lost milk production.

"That's what this is about - identifying those individuals, and then breeding those together to pass those genes on to the offspring," she said.

"Through that, you can make generations of healthier offspring."

Dr. Mallard's HIR technology, licensed to Canadian livestock genetic company Semex, is being used in some form at most dairy farms across Canada. Farmers can purchase bull semen that comes from "high immune responders" directly from Semex, for use in inseminating the cattle on their own farms.

Healthier cows also allow for a reduction in the use of antibiotics and other treatments - something that has become increasingly important to consumers.

"It's not about treating sick animals. This is about making sure animals don't get sick in the first place," she said.

So far, Dr. Mallard's technology has been focused mainly on the dairy industry. But she plans to expand to other animals, including beef cattle, horses and pigs. - Ann Hui


David Brown




Using fungus to make chitosan, a medically useful material

When David Brown was still an undergraduate at the University of Alberta, he took a course in industrial microbiology that changed his perspective on what he could do with his science degree.

"It was the first course that looked at the industrial applications of bioscience ... that was something I'd never really considered before," said Mr. Brown, 27, who is the youngest winner to date of the Governor-General's Innovation Award.

It was a lesson he took to heart. Since he graduated five years ago, Mr. Brown has founded two biotech companies based on an idea he developed for manufacturing chitosan, a versatile plastic-like substance that is in demand for a range of medical and other applications.

Derived from chitin - the durable material that makes up the protective outer covering of shrimp and other crustaceans - chitosan has several useful properties, including as a clotting agent. But because the traditional source of chitosan is shellfish, it comes with a risk of triggering allergies.

"I realized there was a real problem there," said Mr. Brown, who worked on a fermentation process that yields pure chitosan from fungus rather than shellfish. "Our work was to discover which species of fungus produces the most of it so that we could build a feasible business around that fungus."

The process has the additional advantage of requiring relatively little energy and few chemical ingredients, making it more environmentally friendly than other methods.

But it was not an easy start. When he graduated, Mr. Brown returned to his native New Brunswick and was hampered without startup funding or a facility to work in. With early support from the organization Futurpreneur, Mr. Brown rented lab space in Grand Falls, a small community in the northern part of the province, where he could test his concept.

"I wanted to stretch every penny, so I spent the summer living in a campground," he said.

Once he had his system working, Mr. Brown founded Mycodev, which supplies chitosan for medical products. He is also co-founder and chief operating officer of Chinova Bioworks Inc., which is exploiting chitosan's antimicrobial properties for use as a natural preservative.

Mr. Brown said one of the biggest challenges he and other biotech entrepreneurs face in Canada is finding investors who are willing to look beyond a two-year horizon for generating returns.

"It does take time," he said. - Ivan Semeniuk


Marie-Odile Junker




Digital resources designed to preserve endangered Indigenous languages

In the late 1980s, a few years after a young MarieOdile Junker first arrived in Canada from France, she saw a large statue of French explorer Samuel de Champlain, considered the founder of Quebec, outside a major art gallery. In front of him was a much tinier statue of his Indigenous scout. As an outsider, this helped Ms. Junker understand how invisible First Nations communities were to much of the rest of Canada.

While languages from all around the world could be studied in universities across the country, Indigenous languages such as Cree or Dene weren't offered. Ms. Junker, a linguist, realized that without outside intervention, many of these languages, like other elements of Indigenous cultures, faced the threat of extinction.

In the past 17 years, Ms. Junker, who now teaches at Carleton University, has done her part to change that. With a background in computer science, she's built resources to preserve languages in the Algonquian family (Cree, Innu and Atikamekw), including a linguistic atlas. And by using the style of "participatory action" used in the fields of international development and psychology, she's elevated the individuals she works with from mere data sources into project partners who directly benefit from the tools she develops.

She has heard from people in communities all over Quebec and Ontario about the practical uses they've had for the tools she's developed: everyone from educators in First Nations communities who are teaching Algonquian languages to their students to Indigenous inmates at prisons relearning a language lost in adolescence. From January to June, 2016, users of the online Innu dictionary she developed looked up more than 75,000 words.

"It's not the same as immigrant languages," Ms. Junker explains. "These are the languages from this land. These are the languages that were here before. People have nowhere to go to relearn that."

Recently, she heard from a woman in a small Cree community in Chisasibi, Que., along the eastern shore of James Bay. Her 16-year-old son had made a trip to Ottawa to attend an intensive hockey camp and was deeply homesick, having been plucked from the only home he knew and the language he was most comfortable with.

Later, he discovered the only thing that soothed him before bed was listening to the Cree instruction on a conversation app Ms. Junker's team had developed to help teach the language.

- Dakshana Bascaramurty

Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F1

In many ways, the X2 condominium development in the heart of Toronto is emblematic of a red-hot real-estate market that's pushing prices into the sky. Jill Mahoney and Matthew McClearn examined more than 1,000 transactions in the 49-storey tower and provide a revealing snapshot of the lucrative - and potentially destabilizing - world of condo flipping

It was a genuine Toronto real-estate street fight. Police were called to calm tempers after realtors who had camped out for days to land units in a new condo building got into angry skirmishes when the developer recognized just one of three rival lineups.

It was the fall of 2009 and the city was still recovering from the global economic meltdown. It had been a year since a major high-rise project had launched in a sluggish real-estate market. The unexpectedly strong demand for the development, known as X2, marked the return of Toronto's unquenchable thirst for condos.

More than seven years later, the black-framed, 49-storey glass tower stands tall in the sky at 101 Charles Street East - near the busy downtown intersection of Yonge and Bloor - as the region's housing market has plunged into another crisis, this one centred around affordability.

In all kinds of ways, the building on the former site of a pizza chain's headquarters is like many others in the city. Values have skyrocketed, and units there change hands at a brisk pace, as in much of the rest of Toronto. Profits are high, just like in other prime developments. More than half the building's 558 suites are being leased, and rents have jumped, as they have in many other downtown condos.

The Globe zeroed in on X2 after an analysis of realestate transactions across the region that changed hands again within two years. Taken as a microcosm of the city's investor-driven real-estate market, the project illustrates many of the forces that have sparked a housing frenzy that the province is now trying to calm.

The Globe and Mail examined more than 1,000 transactions in the building, from preconstruction sales to rental offerings, to understand the economics behind condo flipping. The results reveal the potential for lucrative gains - almost $500 a day, on average - and support analysts' concerns that investors and speculators are buying and selling condos just like stocks, driving up prices, crowding out first-time buyers and creating unstable rental housing.

Stand in the opulent lobby of X2, with its large gas fireplace, and a stream of stylish young professionals files past the watchful concierge. The hallways on the floors above are eerily quiet, and the suites, ranging from 400-square-foot bachelors to a handful of 1,500-square-foot two-bedrooms, feature contemporary fixtures and appliances and, in some cases, stunning views.

They also offer jaw-dropping profits.

"There's a lot of opportunity within real estate," said Susan Tavana, a 34-year-old mortgage broker who owns a twobedroom, two-bathroom corner suite that she rents out for $2,500 a month. "I've done quite well."

Ms. Tavana is now selling her unit for $699,000 and is hoping for a six-figure profit. The suite, which she bought in 2013, was her fourth in a total of eight downtown condo purchases. In all, she now owns four units, two of which are for sale; she has also bought two others that haven't been built yet. "It was always good, in my experience, to have at least one or two rental properties that you're going to hold over the long run."

In the two years or so since X2 buyers took possession of their condos in early 2015, some 21 per cent of units sold again - or flipped, which, loosely defined, involves a property being resold within 24 months of the initial purchase. This suggests a sizable presence of investors and speculators in the building. Analysis of data from Teranet, which runs the province's land registry, revealed that X2's flippers reaped average gross profits of $126,398 - or $478 for each day they held the property.

Before developers Lifetime Developments and Great Gulf even registered X2, speculators sold at least a dozen preconstruction units on assignment, a practice by which a contract is transferred to another buyer before the deal closes. Known as "paper flipping," the transactions yielded, on average, $69,191 in gross profits. Assignment sales aren't publicly tracked, and realtors use a variety of means to market them, but The Globe found 12 by reviewing MLS listings. The province has vowed to crack down on the practice - Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa went so far as to call such speculators "property scalpers" - which analysts say is adding more uncertainty and risk to the market.

The building's developers did not engage in any "extraordinary efforts" to attract investors, said Danny Roth, a spokesman for the development partnership known as Lifegreat Developments Ltd.

"We developed a project that was meant to appeal to end-users.

Any investment-related decisions made by our purchasers were not the result of a conscious effort by the development team," he said in an e-mailed statement.

In addition to X2's key selling points, including location, architecture, amenities and price, Mr. Roth said the project "also benefited from good timing, as our sales program at launch benefited from pent-up market demand, due to the U.S.-based credit crisis." (The building is so named because it is across from X The Condominium, an earlier Great Gulf development.)

Baker Real Estate - which specializes in marketing and selling preconstruction condos, and which handled X2's sales - courts investors, however, noting that preconstruction housing usually appreciates in value. By the time a building is completed, if you are an early buyer who made a deposit of just 20 per cent, you "have then made a substantial return on your investment of a down payment should you decide to sell immediately," its website currently says.

In Toronto last year, 8.5 per cent of condo sales transactions were flips, according to Teranet.

As the housing market has swelled, so, too, have the number of investors - a classic chickenand-egg scenario. Last year, some 121,000 homeowners held more than one residential property in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, more than double the 2006 figure, according to figures released by the provincial government.

Many investors - especially foreign ones - favour condos for their overall lower prices and turnkey conveniences, which include negligible upkeep as well as on-site concierges and property managers. At X2, for example, Balance Residential Management, an arm of Great Gulf that runs the building, offers a tenant-management service to find renters, collect cheques and oversee repairs.

The majority of the building's occupants are tenants rather than owners, a key indicator of significant investment activity.

Almost 60 per cent of X2's 558 units were rented out during the last fiscal year, according to figures from Balance Residential Management. The Globe found several suites listed on Airbnb, despite a prohibition on shortterm leases in the building.

Instead of checking in at a downtown hotel, visitors can stay at X2 for $170 to $225 a night.

There is no way to determine the share of foreign investors who own X2 units - until last month, the province didn't track citizenship on property sales. Mr. Roth said the developers "did not actively market X2 internationally." Ownership records reveal the building is broadly held, with just 20 people appearing to own two units each, with the rest holding single suites. The Baker Real Estate sales team "discouraged the sale of multiple units," Mr. Roth said.

Though there's mounting evidence that speculators and investors are playing an outsized role in the city's condo scene, it is important to note that many buildings would not have even been built were it not for their deep pockets and early purchases. "They're the biggest segment that's driving the preconstruction" market, said John Pasalis, president of brokerage Realosophy Realty Inc.

Developers typically offer their lowest prices early in a project to spur sales, given that they need to sell the majority of units before they can secure financing to begin construction. But it can take five or more years for a building to be ready for occupancy, too long for many first-time home buyers to wait. Investors have filled that gap and helped grow the housing supply in a city with seemingly endless demand.

Those who gambled on the market in recent years have seen enviable gains. Prices for all types of homes, including houses and condos, in the Greater Toronto Area were up 25 per cent in April from a year earlier, despite now showing early signs of cooling, according to sales data from the Toronto Real Estate Board.

Josh Gordon, a professor at Simon Fraser University who researches Toronto's housing market, said both foreign and domestic speculators are "fairly clearly overheating the market" in the city, creating supply shortages and fuelling bidding wars, panicked buying and skyrocketing prices.

"There is a sense that prices are always going to rise, and so housing is seen as a foolproof investment for investors or speculators, and people in the population at large also come to see things that way and thus they kind of really overleverage themselves and get themselves into precarious situations," he said.

While investments in condo developments such as X2 have been profitable for owners, their role in the city's future housing stability is open to debate. If a sizable portion of the housing stock is controlled by investors seeking profits, not accommodations, what happens when the market shifts?

Investors' heavy interests in condos has turned those properties into de facto modern-day apartments, given the nearabsence of purpose-built rental units in recent years, said Jennifer Keesmaat, the city's chief planner. But turnover in such a tight market, where many tenants have faced huge rent increases and low vacancy rates, can lead to precarious housing situations.

"If someone owns a unit and wants to rent it out, that's great in terms of adding to rental supply. But it's a very vulnerable form of rental supply, because it's not protected in any way," she said. "And the minute you have something happen, like what's happening today with the hotness of the market, you see those units becoming unaffordable or they're getting sold and the rental supply is decreasing very quickly and creating really a pressure-cooker environment with the low, low vacancy rates."

As well, some renters whose units are sold find themselves pushed into home ownership that they can ill afford, Ms. Keesmaat said. "It's destabilizing and it's a disincentive for people to rent. You see people, even though they maybe shouldn't be, taking on an astronomical level of debt in order to own a home because a home is seen as stable."

In addition, investors' interests have shaped the type of units that make up the city's housing stock, creating an overabundance of small, one-bedroom condos rather than larger, family-friendly suites.

Faced with escalating concerns about runaway price inflation, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne's government jumped in to cool the housing market last month with a package of 16 reforms, including a 15-per-cent tax on foreign buyers, expanded rent controls and a pledge to allow certain municipalities to tax vacant homes.

Prof. Gordon cast doubt on the effectiveness of those measures, calling them "timid" and arguing that the non-resident speculation tax has so many loopholes that it appears "designed to fail." He also noted that the province opted not to crack down on speculators with a targeted levy on those who flip properties within a short period of time. "Because they didn't do those types of things which might suggest price depreciation in the near term, they didn't fundamentally alter the dynamics."

For their part, X2 residents can see how the market has changed just by looking down their hallways. Few, however, are bothered by the periodic waves of people moving in and out (other than having to endure longer elevator wait times).

Most say that they appreciate the building's central location, responsive management and above-average amenities, including a rooftop pool, wellequipped gym and yoga classes.

"The convenience is kind of what everybody really likes and people love to talk about that," said David Colin, a 25-year-old personal trainer and yoga instructor who, with a roommate, rents a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit for $2,375. "People are really friendly in the building."

Still, in many respects, X2 feels more like a hotel than an established residential complex. Visitors can be heard in the lobby asking where to find the gym. In addition to cracking down on Airbnb rentals, building management is also introducing new security measures; on one recent morning, a superior harangued a security guard for allowing an unauthorized person to enter the building.

Outside on the street, the impact of investors is even more evident. Several megacondo towers have sprouted in X2's immediate vicinity, each one seemingly taller than its predecessors, like trees competing for light. The half-complete Casa III promises 56 floors and a lobby furnished by French luxury retailer Hermès.

Nearby, The Manhattan, a stately but weathered two-storey apartment building, is marked for demolition, to make way for a 47-storey tower. An understated City of Toronto placard announces: "A change has been proposed for this site."

Jill Mahoney is a national reporter at The Globe and Mail. Matthew McClearn is a data journalist at the newspaper.

Associated Graphic


The X2 condo building sits at 101 Charles Street East in Toronto, steps away from Yonge and Bloor.



'It's something I can hide. You can't see the worry churning in my head'
In her new book, Andrea Petersen combines personal anecdotes about anxiety with research on science and treatment
Monday, May 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L3

When it comes to mental illnesses, depression often gets the most attention and research funding. But, according to Wall Street Journal reporter Andrea Petersen, anxiety is more prevalent.

Anxiety disorders typically emerge earliest, with warning signs sometimes appearing in toddlers and even babies. They can be debilitating and can be "gateway illnesses" to other problems, such as depression and substance-abuse disorders.

Moreover, Petersen reports, they can be deadly, leading to suicide.

Petersen, whose reporting has focused on health, psychology and neuroscience, has delved into the science and treatment of anxiety disorders. (An estimated three million Canadians, or 11.6 per cent, ages 18 and older, reported having a mood or anxiety disorder, according to a federal 2014 survey on living with chronic diseases in Canada.) But her interest in this topic is also deeply personal.

Having struggled with anxiety through childhood, she was eventually diagnosed with an anxiety disorder as a university student, after suffering a prolonged panic attack. Of the 11 different anxiety disorders listed in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is used as a standard diagnostic tool for clinical care, Petersen had symptoms of four: panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, specific phobia and agoraphobia, characterized by avoiding places for fear of experiencing a panic attack.

In her new book, On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety, Petersen chronicles the impact her anxiety has had on her relationships, work and parenting. She also explores the possible origins of anxiety disorders, weaving interviews with leading researchers in with her personal anecdotes.

As Petersen explains to The Globe and Mail, her anxiety will likely never go away, but she's learning to live with it.

What does a panic attack feel like?

It basically feels like you're dying or going crazy. It's these periods of intense, blinding terror, coupled with very, very strong physical symptoms. A lot of people think of anxiety as stress or worry.

But anxiety is really a wholebody experience, and a panic attack is sort of the epitome of that. My panic attacks tend to be characterized by a racing heart, a shortness of breath, visual changes, I feel dizzy and light-headed and get tingling in my face and my hands.

According to the DSM, a panic attack is supposed to peak within about 10 minutes and it gradually subsides. I'd say generally that does happen, but when I had my - for lack of a better word - breakdown in college, I felt like I had this five-week-long panic attack. There were peaks and valleys to it, but those intense physical symptoms and the terror didn't really abate that much.

You mention in the book that many of your acquaintances have been surprised to learn you have anxiety. How have you kept it from them?

If I'm not having a panic attack, it's something I can hide. You can't see the worry churning in my head. While worry may be taking up 70 per cent of my brain, I still have that 30 per cent that allows me to fake it.

Especially when I was younger, I was embarrassed by it, so I would take great efforts to be perceived as totally fine.

At the end of the day, not only are you exhausted by the physical wear and tear that happens to your body by being in this perpetually amped-up state, there's the emotional hiding and the disconnection you feel from other people because you either don't want to burden anyone with your worries, or you're afraid of being perceived as weak or not capable.

What are some of the common misconceptions about anxiety that you'd wish to dispel?

Anxiety is a normal human emotion, and it's based on this threat-detection system that we and most other organisms have to protect us from threats. But some people don't quite understand that it can be so impairing. It's not just an issue of being stressed out and if you just did some deep breathing, or just tried to relax or take a vacation, you wouldn't have this problem.

I also think it's wonderful that people are being more open about mental illnesses, but I feel like there's still this stigma that having an anxiety disorder means somehow that you're weak or that it's a moral failing.

I don't think that's the case at all.

In what ways have the people around you helped when you've gone through rough periods?

When I was kind of falling apart in college, I didn't appreciate it at the time, but my parents made me go back to school.

Because my symptoms were so physical, I was bounced from doctor to doctor, and I wasn't diagnosed for a year.

I had dropped some classes and I wanted to stay home, but my parents told me I couldn't. I felt pretty betrayed at the time.

But once anxiety gets entrenched, what often causes impairment is you stop doing the things you want to do in your life. Those avoidance behaviours are actually associated with harder-to-treat and more chronic illnesses.

I've also had many close friends sit with me, hold my hand and get me through intense periods of time.

I was lucky to have incredibly patient and supportive boyfriends in college, who would take me to class and immediately take me home when I needed a break.

One of the upsides of anxiety is I've had to be vulnerable, and that has created a level of intimacy in my friendships that I might not have had if I didn't struggle with this.

When you were dating, you started telling your dates early on that you had anxiety. What was that like bringing it up?

I had one boyfriend in particular who couldn't cope with my anxiety. After that experience, I realized I wanted someone who was smart and funny and kind, but also someone who could deal with my anxiety. So I treated it like having a [sexually transmitted infection]. On the second date, I'd tell them, "This is the condition I have. I've had it since college. I definitely deal with it, but it waxes and wanes.

It's chronic and it's probably not going to go away forever."

The lucky thing is, after I started doing that, I met my husband shortly after.

When it came to dealing with anxiety while at work, how did you talk to your employers about it?

I didn't. I'm lucky that medication works for me, and it does not work for everybody. Cognitive behavioural therapy worked for me as well. Fear of hurting my career is what ultimately drove me to begin medication in my late 20s. I had a full-time job as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal. I knew there was no time-out from the working world.

I always had a couple close friends at work whom I could be very open with. So if I had a panic attack in the middle of the day, I could e-mail my friend and say, "Can you take me for a walk?" But I didn't tell my current editors until I'd actually finished the proposal for this book.

They were great. I was really lucky. But I did purposely wait until I had a 20-year track record in journalism, in my chosen field, to out myself. I'm hoping others won't have to wait that long.

You mention in the book that researchers are looking at anxiety in toddlers and babies.

What does anxiety look like in children so young?

There are certain risk factors for who will develop anxiety, and some of them are apparent in babies as young as four months old. Based on pioneering work by Jerome Kagan at Harvard University, there's a whole battery of tests that they do. They dangle novel toys in front of the baby, they put a little swab of alcohol under the baby's nose, they expose them to strange voices. And it's basically to see how the baby responds to novelty in the environment.

About 20 per cent are what they call "high-reactive." They thrash their arms and legs and they're obviously distressed. And those babies tend to become behaviourally inhibited by toddlerhood. So they're socially reticent and exhibit clinging behaviour.

And those children who stay behaviourally inhibited are at much higher risk of developing anxiety disorders by adolescence.

But there are other risk factors, like experiencing trauma in childhood. Even being sick as a kid or witnessing the serious illness of a parent is a risk factor.

Certain types of parenting, like controlling parenting, increase the risk of developing anxiety.

There's very interesting work looking at the interaction between the environment and genes as well.

What do anxiety prevention and intervention programs for toddlers and preschoolers entail?

I looked at a program at the University of Maryland. It's focused on children who are behaviourally inhibited. A lot of these kids are already meeting criteria for anxiety disorders at age 3 and 4. There's two components to it. One is social-skills training for the kids. So it's really teaching them how to identify their own emotions, how to make friends, how to have conversations with other kids.

The other element is working with parents because, often, what parents of anxious kids do is they naturally start protecting their children. They see their kids in distress, so they say, "You don't have to go to that birthday party," or "You don't have to go to ballet class if you don't want to." Or they'll even speak for their children, like when a kid doesn't want to say hello to someone. That reinforces the message that their children aren't capable and the world is a dangerous place. So part of it is to train the parent to stop doing that and to ignore anxious behaviour and really promote brave behaviour.

What measures have you taken with your own daughter to build her confidence?

A lot of kids do not stay behaviourally inhibited. As a toddler and preschooler, she was much more shy and skittish and very, very sensitive to rejection. Since then, she's gotten much more confident. She's still, I believe, not necessarily going to be the most extroverted kid.

One thing I did early on was I really focused on her sleep because the evidence was pretty clear that kids who have sleep problems, insufficient sleep or difficulty sleeping are at much greater risk of later developing anxiety or depression. So that was something I was pretty militant about.

Expectant women who are dealing with anxiety and depression have to weigh the risks of staying on medication while pregnant against the risks of going off medication.

How did you navigate that decision for yourself?

I went and saw a reproductive psychiatrist. I had a pregnancy and, unfortunately, there was a terrible fetal anomaly, and so that pregnancy ended. But I had a major resurgence of anxiety. I was on Prozac at the time, and the reproductive psychiatrist I saw basically told me I had to stay on medication. So I did.

There's a growing number of reproductive psychiatrists who are really focused on helping women manage their medication and to manage their symptoms during pregnancy. The risks of relapse is very high for people who go off medication, and some of the concerns for the baby are actually the same for staying on the medication and being exposed to anxiety and depression in utero.

The one message I would like to get out to the medical community is that while it's great the psychiatry community and reproductive psychiatrists are really focusing on helping women navigate this, I don't think there's enough focus on nondrug treatments for pregnant women. I think everyone would agree the ideal scenario would be to not have that SSRI [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor] exposure and not have exposure to maternal anxiety or depression.

In some cases, it seems your anxiety has served you well.

For instance, it led to doctors catching a cancerous spot on your cheek. How do you know when to trust your anxiety?

One thing that has been incredibly helpful is having a primarycare doctor who I really trust. I call her "Dr. G" in the book, and she is really sort of an interpreter of my very noisy and sometimes unreliable body. I do tend to have all sorts of weird symptoms and I need someone to help me navigate them.

She doesn't dismiss things out of hand, saying, "Oh, that's just your anxiety talking." And she's also not having me run to an MRI machine every time I have an ache or pain.

Sometimes, she'll say, "This is why I've ruled out whatever it is you've read on the Internet," or "Let's see if you do some of the techniques that have helped your anxiety in the past, and we'll see if this goes away."

But there are other really grown-up, adult things that help, like getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising. We're all taught to do this. For people with anxiety, that boring stuff is even more important.

Associated Graphic

Andrea Petersen, whose reporting at The Wall Street Journal has focused on health, psychology and neuroscience, has delved into the science and treatment of anxiety disorders in her newest book, On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety. Her interest in this topic is deeply personal: Having struggled with anxiety through childhood, she was eventually diagnosed with an anxiety disorder as a university student, after suffering a prolonged panic attack.

As a doctor, I helped women trying to conceive. Then I became a patient
After three and a half years of trying to get pregnant, I feel more like an expert than I ever expected to be
Special to The Globe and Mail
Monday, May 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

As a family doctor with a special interest in reproductive health, much of my work is caring for patients who are pregnant, who are trying to become pregnant or avoid getting pregnant or who are struggling with miscarriage or infertility.

Over the past few years, I, too, have become a patient going through fertility treatment and have had to cope with the burden that this carries emotionally, physically and financially. My husband and I deferred starting our own family until our late 30s, after we were settled comfortably into our careers and were together long enough to have travelled and enjoyed our childless freedom. Three and a half years of trying to conceive later, I feel more like an expert than I ever expected to be.

In our journey, my husband and I have been labelled infertile, sub-fertile, unexplained, having decreased ovarian reserve, unlucky and just plain old. I have sat in the cold waiting room gowned in blue with my fellow patients, avoiding eye contact to preserve the already limited privacy.

I've heard the follicle counts of others while waiting in line outside of the ultrasound room, frustrated that this incredibly personal information was being shared without consent. I have plunged down the dark hole of Internet searches and chat forums trying to gain some comfort that our less-than-optimal numbers translated into positive results for others. High-dose hormones in injection, pill, patch and vaginal-insert forms have sent me through emotional and physical upheaval.

We've laughed about the tiny "donation" room and the random selection of adult material available. I've attended social outings and ordered glasses of wine - that went untouched - so that people would not ask if we were pregnant or trying. We have felt the heartbreak of getting a period - a physical stain of failure - and then the renewed sense of hope to move on the next day. I have felt the toll it has taken on my husband as he comforts me while he himself has limited supports, as men are not given the same level of care as women through this process.

As I am writing this, we are going through our second invitro fertilization cycle. (An IVF cycle is a process in which the ovaries are medically stimulated to produce a large number of follicles that are later retrieved through a minor surgical procedure.

The follicles are then analyzed to see which contain potential eggs that may be fertilized in the hopes they will become viable embryos.)

We are currently in the week of waiting for the lab to call us with daily updates informing us of the number of embryos that survived the night. It is as awful as it sounds.

We went through five failed intrauterine inseminations (IUIs - sperm is washed for the fastest swimmers and then inserted into the uterus) in our first year at the infertility clinic, and we had our first IVF cycle last year. In the first IVF round, we had a low response rate but were fortunate to have three embryos to use, of which one took. We were blissfully pregnant for seven weeks until the heartbeat stopped and we miscarried.

I generally do not share my personal stories, but it has become clear that we need to discuss these things openly so we can all feel a little less alone. As with any topic related to our reproductive organs - such as miscarriage and abortion - infertility can carry a significant stigma that makes it difficult to discuss.

Earlier in my career, I understood the process of conception and infertility through my patients' experiences and from lectures that taught me what tests to order and when to get the help of specialists. When I did refer my patients, I had no idea what I was sending them into, a sentiment shared by many of my colleagues.

Now, having gone through infertility as a patient, and even in my privilieged position as a member of the health-care system, I have experienced firsthand how it feels to navigate the complex and sometimes scary health-care maze.

My consolation is that I am now better equipped to support my own patients as they navigate their own journeys. I have changed how I refer, the advice I give and how I emotionally support them to help avoid the pitfalls we faced.

Here are some of the tips I share with my patients: .

Timing of pregnancy Before, when patients asked about how to prepare for pregnancy, I would sugarcoat the issue of age and fertility by giving the few examples of patients I knew who were able to naturally conceive in their 40s.

I have stopped tiptoeing around the issue and now have more open discussions with my patients about the decline in fertility potential as we age. It gets harder to get pregnant and maintain a pregnancy as we get older, especially after the age of 35. If childbearing is something that is in your future plans, consider doing it earlier than later, if you can.

Choosing your fertility clinic Our clinical guidelines recommend referral to a fertility clinic if a patient has been trying to conceive for more than six months if they are over 35, or for more than a year if they are under 35. In the past, I would choose clinics based on location and patient preference. Now, I expand my questions to include their preferences for cost considerations and convenience.

Cost While your provincial health card covers some costs of testing, there are potential extras to consider, including administrative and procedural fees. In Canada, an average IVF cycle will cost approximately $10,000 to $20,000 and there are no returns, discounts or redos if it doesn't work out. If you live out of town and have to travel in for treatment and monitoring, consider the costs and budget ahead for accommodation and transportation. If you have a drug plan, check with your pharmacist for what is and isn't covered, as some medications that are used are not unique to fertility treatment (i.e. progesterone and estrogen supplements) and may actually be covered.

In addition to general costs of procedures and medication, there are some tests that may not be covered by provincial health-care plans. Ask if every test that is not covered is needed and proceed armed with knowledge that you are doing only the medically necessary tests.

A little-known bonus of infertility treatment is that the costs can be claimed as non-refundable tax credits. Most procedural and drug costs are eligible medical expenses. The amount you get will depend on what province you live in.

Cycle monitoring - schedules and convenience While infertility can seem to put a pause on your life, the majority of patients are still working, taking care of their families or have other commitments. If you're going through a fertility cycle such as IVF or IUI, it may involve going to a clinic three to four times a week or more. Most cycle monitoring (ultrasound, blood work) is from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. - on a first-come, first-serve basis - and you can usually expect to be in and out in 45 minutes or less.

After your tests, you may meet with your nurse or doctor to review next steps and medication. Sometimes, they will communicate with you via e-mail, which can save time. This process varies, so before committing, review how timing works to see how it can fit with your schedule.

Be an active participant in your care at a clinic you trust It is not uncommon for people to change clinics at some point for any number of reasons, from dissatisfaction with the care to not wanting to be at a clinic where there has been a failed cycle. This initially made me uncomfortable, until we also decided to leave the clinic we started at. We had a different nurse every day and we rarely saw our doctor. Errors, although minor, were made with our prescriptions. When we attempted to address these concerns, I was met with "Well, Sheila, you're a doctor - you know that mistakes happen." In the infertility journey, when every step you take to prepare your body feels as if it has to be properly done to ensure optimal results, one error, regardless of how small, can feel as if you've lost a month of trying.

Going through fertility treatment is a vulnerable process and you have to trust the clinic you go to. If you do not, ask for a new referral. If this is not possible, it is your right to ask for clarification on your treatment protocol and voice your concerns. Keep a file of your medical information that includes records of your cycles, medications, monitoring results and any tests, especially those that you pay for out-ofpocket. This record is also helpful if you change clinics.

Minimize errors by knowing your protocols and medication doses. Not all pharmacies know that fertility clinics use higherthan-normal doses of hormonal therapy. Some of my medications had their doses "corrected" at the pharmacy to about half the amount in the actual prescription. We were able to reach our nurse via e-mail to confirm and correct, but this was a fortunate catch. If its easier, just have it dispensed from the clinic and submit receipts to insurance if you have coverage.

When most aspects of fertility care can feel out of your control, it can be helpful to state how you'd like to be informed of your results, especially pregnancy tests. If you know you're not going to be sitting with your partner or support when the phone rings, ask your clinic to leave a message so you can be together for the news.

Take care of yourself Since going through our own journey, I realize now that I did not do a good enough job of supporting my patients and emphasizing the importance of self care. Despite my medical background, I still threw my legs up in the air after sex (no evidence), ate a lot of supplements (some evidence) and stopped exercising (despite evidence to the contrary), all to try to control a seemingly uncontrollable situation.

There are ways, however, to regain some of yourself even if you feel as if your body and mind are no longer working for you. We were able to find balance by returning to exercise, starting with acupuncture and working with a naturopath to help clarify the complexities of supplements.

I also saw a therapist for support that was invaluable, especially when I was feeling at my lowest.

These additional activities add extra cost, so consider what is within your budget and what will give you the most support.

Lean on others The topic of infertility treatment is sensitive enough without having to navigate conversations with people who mean well but can cause distress with unsolicited advice. Limit your discussions about fertility to individuals who will support and nurture you.

One of my girlfriends introduced me to a neighbour who was going through a similar process and we've been anonymous IVF pen pals since. It has been incredibly helpful.

An excellent Canadian resource is; it has several blogs, online forums and information on local support groups that can be found across the country.

Find someone (or something) to nurture I now counsel my patients that if their wish is to expand their family, they could consider opportunities that allow them to take care of something or someone.

My husband and I adopted a puppy, which has been a saving grace through our journey. With her, I started running again and she gave us a source of comfort with each failed cycle. Or consider buying a plant and watching it grow - something you can nurture that brings you some joy.

Try to keep up the activities you enjoy participating in, even if you have to schedule them. This way, you can keep infertility as a part of your life, but not allow it to be all-consuming.

Being both a patient and a member of our health-care system, I know there is more we can do for our patients who struggle with infertility. I am extending this conversation to colleagues to help them understand the patients' perspective. Fertility clinics should provide better support in the form of groups and workshops that are low to no cost to ease the emotional and financial burden of treatment.

Systemically, we should be finding ways to increase access to fertility treatments that are out of reach for so many, because of cost.

If you are trying for pregnancy and it hasn't happened yet, know that you are not alone. I encourage you to reach out for support.

Speak to your family doctor about getting the right referral, where you feel you are being heard and cared for. Stay strong, arm yourself by doing your research, make your wishes clear and surround yourself with people who will nurture and support you in this journey.

Associated Graphic

'I realize now that I did not do a good enough job of ... emphasizing the importance of self care,' Sheila Wijayasinghe writes.


Sheila Wijayasinghe, seen in her Toronto office May 9, says going through infertility has better equiped her to support her patients navigating treatment.


Wijayasinghe says she encourages her patients to keep up with activities they enjoy participating in through the treatment process. In doing this, infertility remains a part of life, but not all-consuming.

On the trail of an oil tanker
The Globe follows the Eser K, carrying more than 356,000 barrels of Alberta crude oil destined for California, through the most hazardous stretch in B.C. waters to observe the risks and safeguards in place. Justine Hunter reports from aboard the Seaspan Raven
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

On a Sunday morning, the tanker Eser K idled in Burrard Inlet, off of Kinder Morgan's Westbridge Marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C. The ship had just loaded 356,626 barrels of Alberta crude oil, destined for California.

Deckhands prepared to weigh anchor, their departure timed so that the ship would cruise under the Second Narrows rail bridge at the precise moment that the currents were neither pushing nor pulling: slack tide.

The roughly 250 large commercial vessels that enter the Port of Vancouver each month do the same, but Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, approved by the federal government last November and now at the centre of the delicate negotiations over the future of British Columbia's minority government, has put oil tanker traffic off the province's coast in the spotlight.

The company hopes to begin construction this fall, although the decision is on hold until the company has all the financing is in place. The project would triple Kinder Morgan's oil shipments from Cold Lake, Alta., to the coast and the expanded capacity would mean a sevenfold increase in the number of oil tankers leaving the terminal to make the passage through these narrow, busy waterways.

According to Kinder Morgan, the risk of a major oil spill on this route is small. A major spill, as defined by the company, would be one 3,000 times larger than the Marathassa spill in English Bay in 2015 and is a oncein-473-years event. But critics say the risk has been dramatically underestimated.

The City of Vancouver, in its submissions to the National Energy Board, tabled a report showing the risk of a marine oil spill in the 50-year life of the project is between 16 and 67 per cent. The city argued the risk is too high because a spill could cost the economy hundreds of millions of dollars, and the environment would be devastated with the deaths of more than 100,000 sea and shorebirds. Harbour seal and salmon populations could be decimated, and the endangered southern resident killer whale population would be at risk of extinction.

The Concerned Professional Engineers, a group with expertise in the design, construction and operation of the systems for moving marine goods such as oil, said even using Kinder Morgan's data translates into a 10-per-cent chance of a 8.25 million-litre heavy oil spill over the project's operating life. However, they say that figure is conservative because the risk of a tanker colliding with one of the three bridges along the route in Vancouver's harbour have not been adequately calculated.

The Globe and Mail followed the Eser K through the most hazardous stretch in B.C. waters, a 10-hour journey spanning 80 nautical miles, to observe those risks and the mitigation measures in place.

On the morning of Feb. 5, two Canadian pilots, assigned by the Pacific Pilotage Authority, boarded the Eser K to take command of the vessel until it passed Victoria. The ship is flying a Marshall Islands flag and the international crew may have little experience in these waters. Canada requires locally trained pilots to be in the wheelhouse on commercial vessels of this size, to direct the ship's course and speed from the Port of Vancouver out to Brotchie Ledge, near Victoria.

The port of Vancouver is the most active in Canada. Icefree and deepwater, it is home to terminals for oil, chemicals, containers and bulk goods, as well as a cruise ship terminal. For vessels as large as the Eser K, a tug escort is mandatory in addition to the pilots, and two Seaspan tugboats, the Raven and the Kestrel, were tethered to the 250-metre-long Aframax class vessel - the largest oil tanker class allowed in the port - before the massive anchors were hauled in.

Once the ship was loose, the pilot's voice came across the radio on the bridge of the Raven: "Show us what you can do."

Butch Peever, at the helm of the Raven, twirled a dial on his console and the engines hummed.

The 30-metre-long tug with 5,000-horsepower engines nudged the Eser K around to face the twin spans of the Second Narrows rail bridge and the adjacent Ironworkers Memorial bridge.

Captain Peever has served on tugboats on these waters for 40 years, and has worked tanker escort runs since 2001. He has dealt with engine failures, steering failures, "a couple of instances when things have got tense," but no major mishaps. "I've been pretty lucky."

The crew of five will live aboard the Raven for a week at a time, working in six-hour shifts as engineers, chefs, deckhands and masters. Technological advances have improved marine safety, but the changes have also allowed companies to whittle down the size of their crews.

Just east of the Second Narrows lies the narrowest corridor on the route. Although there appears to be ample space between the shores, a man-made obstacle lurks below the surface, a line of loose rock that has been piled up to serve as armour for a municipal water line.

Passing the Second Narrows railway bridge is a carefully calibrated move, said Robin Stewart, vice-president of BC Coast Pilots.

"There is a defined edge, at the rail bridge, of 138 metres. The rest of the channel [depth] varies greatly depending on the height of the tide. The area around the water line presents the least amount of channel, so it is there that defines if the vessel can transit or not." The Eser K requires a clear channel 125.4 metres wide to safely pass, but that can change depending on the tide, or how shallow the ship is sitting in the water. "If there is not enough tide, we do not sail the vessel."

Thirty years ago, larger ships would be allowed in these waters without tugs or modern navigational aids, he noted.

But the Exxon Valdez disaster changed everything.

In 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez struck a reef in Alaska, releasing 44,000 tonnes of oil.

The Canadian government rewrote the rules to improve shipping systems to reduce risk, to improve spill response, and to ensure that industry was responsible for the costs.

The pilots gauge the ship's clearance in all directions, including space for the tugs to manoeuvre, the draught of the hull below the waterline, and the air draught - the distance from the surface of the water to the highest point on the vessel.

Clearing all those points under the span of the bridge is a bit like threading a needle, and the harbour master allows only one tanker through at a time.

These precautions reflect the risk. The Concerned Professional Engineers group notes that this bridge has been knocked out of commission five times because of ship collisions. Aframax tankers such as the Eser K are five times heavier than the largest of those vessels, and the group estimates that such a vessel could knock the bridge right off its foundations and carry the bridge superstructure into the adjacent highway bridge that lies 110 metres to the west.

Between the Second Narrows and the Lions Gate bridge, the Vancouver harbour is alive with pleasure craft, container ships, SeaBuses and float planes landing and taking off. The Eser K moved slowly, towering over most other vessels. At the Lions Gate, the traffic narrows again and no other ship was allowed through while the Eser K slid beneath, into English Bay.

A recent oil spill in English Bay provided a vivid reminder of how difficult any cleanup would be. In 2015, the cargo ship MV Marathassa spilled 2,800 litres of bunker fuel while at anchor in the bay.

Despite ideal weather conditions and close proximity to an oil spill response base, it is estimated that only half of the fuel was recovered. An independent review described the incident as "an operational discharge of persistent fuel oil with very high consequences."

Det Norske Veritas is an international independent agency that provided a risk analysis of the Trans Mountain project for Kinder Morgan. The company looked at what could go wrong, from a ship-to-ship collision to a fire on board the vessel. They pinpointed several locations most likely for an oil spill to occur, and despite the high traffic, the authors concluded that collision with another ship in English Bay was a low probability.

However, Det Norske Veritas did indicate there is a risk of a collision with another vessel out in the open waters past Roberts Bank because of the frequency of ferry traffic and the traffic crossing from the Fraser River. This, though, is where the safety restrictions imposed by the port are reduced.

As the Eser K headed past the emerald green point of the University of B.C. lands, it picked up speed to 13 knots. The Seaspan Kestrel tug peeled off, its escort duty complete. The pilots radioed over instructions to the Raven to begin a training exercise - a rare opportunity to practise controlling the ship from the tug.

It was now Capt. Dave Dawson's shift. The Raven was tethered at the stern of the tanker by a cable that is rated to pull 300,000 lbs.

The Raven swung out to port, and then starboard, changing the tanker's direction. As the Raven pulled to each side, it keeled over to 15 degrees, its black bumper rails kissing the waves. Capt.

Dawson focused on keeping his cable taut, but the chef in the galley cursed as lunch preparations bowled around.

Out on the Strait of Georgia, the next stretch was 35 nautical miles of open waters. The tug's tether was dropped and the Raven paced the Eser K.

"Right now we have snow squalls, we have a gale, probably six-foot waves and we have less than a half a mile visibility," said Capt. Dawson. "Yeah, that's more like it. I do like routine but it's also fun to get a little bit of - snow showers? I can't believe this winter."

After a bouncy crossing of the strait, the tug resumed its tethered escort duties as the two vessels entered the stretch between British Columbia's Gulf Islands and Washington State's San Juan Islands.

This is the turn point at the Arachne Reef and Des Norske Veritas warns this is a dangerous junction. "Possible powered grounding is a low probability event due to pilots and tethered tug," the report states, "but this location is rated with greatest level of navigational complexity for the entire passage. Location also has high environmental values."

The Eser K lowered its speed, winding through Boundary Pass and then Haro Strait. By now, the dark of an early winter evening had set in. Keeping the tug crew busy, the pilots used the Raven at times to steer the tanker around the islands.

Near the end of the trip, the tug's master swung the Raven out to port as instructed, but was visibly anxious because in the dark and with the blowing snow, he could not see if the cable was wrapping around the Eser K's stern. Capt. Dawson returned to the bridge, threw a spotlight on the line and the tug adjusted its position, manoeuvring the tanker on a line into Juan de Fuca Strait. This is the kind of experience that isn't replicated in the computer simulations that pilots usually train on.

Capt. Stewart of the BC Coast Pilots joined the crew on the Raven to answer questions on the trip. Before he departed, he said he was proud of his relatively uneventful career. "There's nothing flamboyant about success; there are not a lot of sea stories to tell about successful voyages."

Capt. Stewart, who served 22 years as a captain tug master before becoming a pilot, said his team brings a deep knowledge of the local waters, as well as specialized equipment and training, to their work. But it's also a passion for this marine environment that keeps them sharp. "We were raised on this coast. You take it so seriously because we know we have so much to lose."

As the ships passed the city of Victoria, a pilot boat pulled alongside the Eser K, matching its speed.

The pilots descended a gangway part of the way down the steep side of the ship, then hopped over to a ladder dangling down to reach their own vessel.

The ship was approaching the final risky point, according to Kinder Morgan's risk analysis. In the Juan de Fuca Strait at Race Rocks, where the marine weather can be strong, a collision with another vessel was determined to be a low probability but possible because not all vessels in this location have a pilot aboard.

But this is where the Raven ended its escort duties, and the Eser K made its way out toward the Pacific alone.

Associated Graphic

A tugboat escorts the 250-metre-long Eser K oil tanker from the Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby, B.C., to Victoria on Feb. 5. Kinder Morgan says the risk of a major oil spill on this route is small.


The tug passes Kinder Morgan's Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, B.C.


Captain Robin Stewart of the BC Coast Pilots says his team brings a deep knowledge of the local waters plus specialized equipment to their work.

Just over a decade ago, the Six Party Talks secured a promise from North Korea that it would abandon nuclear weapons. With Kim Jong-un now threatening to launch an intercontinental missile, Nathan VanderKlippe asked those who sat down with Pyongyang in 2005 to offer frank assessments on a grim situation
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F4

There was a time, not so long ago, that the world looked at North Korea and dared to breathe a sigh of relief.

In June of 2007, Washington gave about $25-million (U.S.) in frozen regime funds back to Pyongyang, following a landmark deal to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. A month later, a team of International Atomic Energy Agency monitors landed in the isolated Asian nation to verify that it had, as promised, shut down its nuclear reactor.

By December, George W. Bush, who once ridiculed Kim Jong-il as a "pygmy" and "tyrant," had signed a remarkably civil letter that addressed the North Korean leader as "Dear Mr. Chairman."

A decade later, the furious escalation in tensions around North Korean missile and nuclear tests makes such civility seem almost unthinkable. But do past breakthroughs offer any hope for a more peaceful future?

Underlying what looked like a remarkable chance for peace in the mid-2000s were the Six Party Talks, which took two years from their launch in 2003 to produce a joint statement in which Pyongyang said it "committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons," while the U.S. pledged it had "no intention to attack or invade" North Korea. Both sides said they would "exist peacefully together." The two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan all came together to hash out the framework for a solution - and finally, it seemed, decades of tensions with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, as North Korea calls itself, could dissipate.

Then the agreement fell into a muddle of mutual recriminations followed by an alarmingly quick development of new weapons technology by North Korea that has led to the crisis today: a pariah state that appears on the verge of its sixth nuclear test and is closing in on the ability to deliver a nuclear-tipped missile to the continental U.S. Even normally staid China has warned that war appears terrifyingly close at hand.

Is there a way, again, out of this mess? The Globe spoke with some of the most authoritative voices on North Korea in four countries: people who negotiated at the Six Party talks, helped draft the 2005 agreement and now provide scholarly support to their country's policies. Their comments have been edited for clarity and length.

North Korea has repeatedly proved an ability to detonate nuclear devices. Can it still be expected to abandon its nuclear program, or disarm?

Christopher Hill, former U.S. ambassador, former assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, and head of the U.S. delegation to the Six Party Talks: They have proved a capacity to detonate nuclear devices underground. They have never, to our knowledge, taken one of these devices, miniaturized it and made it into a warhead, nor have they ever tried to put the warhead on a missile and tried to deliver the warhead. So they have a long way to go in terms of a deliverable nuclear weapon.

But I don't think it's to be ruled out that they could get there somewhere in the next four years. Whereupon President Trump will have some explaining to do to the American people why, on his watch, he allowed a new threat to the U.S. I don't think they have indicated any interest in negotiating away their nuclear weapons. If anything, they have embraced them even more closely than they did before. I think this has to do with the impetuous leader they have. So it's not a pretty picture.

Song Min-soon, former South Korea national security adviser and Six Party Talks chief negotiator: The 2005 joint statement envisaged the abandonment of all nuclear weapons and nuclear programs, if any, in North Korea.

So at that time we already adopted a catch-all clause in case North Korea had nuclear weapons - that they were to be abandoned. Now the problem is how to bring North Korea back to talks based on the promises we had in that joint statement. And I think it's up to what we can offer. They demand the abolition of all hostile intent and threats toward them. We have to characterize what threats they are talking about, and how to get rid of them.

Alexander Lukin, director of the Center for East Asian and Shanghai Co-operation Organization Studies at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: North Korea won't give up nuclear weapons unless you somehow destroy it completely, or it collapses. To destroy it is impossible, and this is obviously a bluff from the United States.

Because you cannot really strike its facilities, since that will start a terrible mess. China will probably protect North Korea, and then there will be a serious conflict, possibly nuclear.

But you also cannot make any dictator reject nuclear weapons, because they understand that if they do it, like [Saddam] Hussein or [Moammar] Gadhafi, they are going to be punished for that. [Both leaders, unpopular in Washington, were taken down by U.S. forces, creating worry that the same will happen to North Korea's Kim Jong-un if he is not protected by nuclear weapons].

Yang Xiyu, senior fellow at the China Institute of International Studies in Beijing and drafter of the 2005 Six Party Talks joint statement: North Korea indeed has severe security concerns because of the U.S. and South Korean military pressures or threats. But the more severe and tangible threat to the North Korean regime is the sustainability of their economy. That is the basis for the regime's stability and survival.

So we need to maintain existing sanctions measures. But we also need to make greater efforts to create an environment under which North Korea has confidence, so that even without nuclear weapons they see no problem with their national security. That's the key for a peaceful solution.

What sort of preconditions should there be before talks can begin - both for North Korea and for other countries?

Song Min-soon: North Korea has to reiterate clearly that they intend to abandon all their nuclear weapons if their conditions are met. The United States, South Korea, Japan and others must also commit to implement what was promised in the joint statement from 2005. We don't need to rearrange all of those commitments - they can be a good platform for new talks.

Christopher Hill: If North Korea said, "We want to get back to talks and get back to things we've already agreed to," I think we could find a route forward that wasn't humiliating. But they doubt our resolve, they doubt South Korea's resolve, they doubt China's resolve. Until they are convinced that these three countries are of considerable resolve, then I don't think they will agree to any talks on the basis of denuclearization.

They have talked about the idea of talking to the U.S. on the basis of one nuclear power to another, sort of like the SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) talks between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. But I don't think anyone in Washington is prepared to accept that, because it would usually involve some aspect of them limiting, but not eliminating, their nuclear program in return for which the U.S. stops having exercises with the [South] Korean military.

Yang Xiyu: North Korea has repeatedly said that if the U.S. gives up its hostile policy against the DPRK, there would no reason for them to keep even a single nuclear weapon. But we have never had a clear definition of what they see as "hostile policy."

Diplomatically, they should elaborate what they want. Then at least all of the related parties can seriously bargain over that.

What would a long-term solution look like?

Alexander Lukin: A solution was possible near the end of the 1990s. But the United States has shown that it's an unreliable partner. They have this strange custom of changing presidents, for example. So you agree with one president and then the next one says, I don't know anything.

And the U.S. agrees to things but never delivers. So I think the North Koreans have decided that it's useless. The only way this conflict is going to be solved is when the North Korean regime collapses. But we don't know when that will happen - and if it does, it may be a terrible mess.

Song Min-soon: A peace treaty is necessary, but between whom?

In my view it should constitute two sets of normalization of relations: between the United States and North Korea, and in inter-Korean relations, too. Based on those terms and formalities, we can have a peace treaty. But I don't know whether U.S. politics would allow it.

Christopher Hill: It would include a peace treaty, it would include assurances by the U.S. of no intention to attack. The problem is North Koreans have no interest in collective security, and no interest in any international guarantees.

But the idea that they can maintain nuclear weapons in a place like northeast Asia is a very dangerous concept. If it's security they want, there are plenty of ways to assure that.

But I think what they really want is for the U.S. to leave South Korea. And I think they feel that nuclear weapons could be a part of an eventual process to decouple the U.S. from its ally. I think that's the problem right now.

Yang Xiyu: A future peaceful regime should be built up by a set of agreements rather than a single peace treaty. There should be a trilateral peace treaty between North Korea, South Korea and the U.S. - and another treaty agreement between China and the U.S., because those countries were the major players in the [Korean] war. A treaty between them would guarantee a future reliable peace for the peninsula.

The U.S. and China should also sign a document to guarantee some fundamental things for the peninsula, including a pledge to support and not intervene in the independent peaceful reunification between the two Koreas.

How should other nations employ sanctions or threats of military strikes - if at all - to persuade North Korea to the negotiating table?

Song Min-soon: I don't think either military threats or the threat of economic sanctions can bring North Korea to the negotiating table, unless China is ready to economically and socially strangulate the North Korean region. But I don't think China will be ready to do that under any circumstances in the foreseeable future. So under those circumstances, what kind of sanctions can be effective?

Alexander Lukin: Military threats are useless - because everyone knows it's a bluff, and the North Koreans also know it. The only thing they can be scared of is a real united front against them, if the U.S., China, Russia and possibly Japan really agree on some united action. But I don't think that's possible. What China wants to do is persuade North Korea to have some kind of China-style reforms. But the North Koreans understand that if they do that, they have to open their borders, and then they are going to collapse.

Christopher Hill: I don't think any solution will ever be arrived at without Chinese assent. So I think we have to find a common language with the Chinese. We need to make sure there's no perception in China that they are losers and we are the winners in a solution on North Korea. At the same time, though, I think it's important that we not talk to the Chinese in a way that suggests that we don't care about the South Koreans. After all - it's their peninsula.

All of this requires some rather deft diplomacy.

Yang Xiyu: Military strikes are not useful to persuade North Korea back to the table. The more threats, the more necessity for Pyongyang to get more nuclear weapons. So stop. Stop anything provocative.

At some point, North Korea will have to make a choice between a bright future with reliable security, or a dark future with an unpredictable and fragile security - an even more dangerous environment. During the past two decades, with the increasing nuclear buildup by North Korea, their external security environment has gotten worse and worse. So the logic of nuclear weapons for security is totally wrong for them. Every step of progress in nuclear and Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles eans a loss of economic opportunity.

But if they make a right choice toward denuclearization, they will gain removal of all international sanctions and the international community's business and help in bringing a prosperous future.

So how do you build up the kind of trust it will take to get people talking?

Song Min-soon: Trust is based on action, not on rhetoric or words - and it can be accumulated from small steps to larger steps.

It could start with a small lifting of some portion of the sanctions on North Korea, and North Korea simultaneously suspending some part of their nuclear and missile activities. And small symbolic steps can develop into more trust-building steps.

Nathan VanderKlippe is The Globe and Mail's correspondent in Beijing.

Associated Graphic





Will Donald Trump be shown the door?
The U.S. President may be only a few major missteps from facing serious calls for his removal from office. But as David Shribman reports, impeachment is a radical step that imposes extreme stresses on the political system - and exacts a high price on all sides
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F1

The political scientist who correctly predicted the results of every American presidential election in the past three decades is out with a book setting forth the case for impeaching President Donald J. Trump.

Meanwhile, this week, Lawrence Tribe, the Harvard Law School professor who taught former president Barack Obama and Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, has called for impeaching Mr. Trump because his "conduct strongly suggests that he poses a danger to our system of government." And a conservative House Republican and a House Democrat breached an important symbolic barrier Wednesday when they separately said the President's conduct might merit impeachment.

Though Mr. Trump only recently completed his first hundred days in the White House, he may already be only a few major missteps from facing more serious calls for his removal from office. This month alone he has abruptly dismissed FBI Director James Comey, who had been examining possible collusion between Trump advisers and Russian officials during last year's election; faced an assertion by Mr. Comey the President had asked him in February to shut down the investigation of former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, who had earlier resigned amid a scandal over his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States; and struggled to contain a controversy over sharing classified information, with a Russian diplomat, about a planned Islamic State operation.

Those controversies culminated this week in the appointment of former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead an investigation into "any links and/or co-ordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump," and the empowering of Mr. Mueller to press criminal charges.

Despite talk of impeachment in the air - Democratic Rep. Al Green of Texas is the latest voice, coming, in his case, in the well of the House of Representatives - the truth is that impeachment is a radical step which, by intent and tradition, is reserved for radical departures from respectable political comportment; imposes extreme stresses on the political system; and exacts a high price not only on the president but also on the men and women who undertake the procedure.

"Political figures approach this issue very carefully," says Ken Gormley, author of The Death of American Virtue, considered the most authoritative account of the events that led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998. "There are many recourses outside impeachment for people who are upset with a president," he notes. "Talking about impeachment, getting it to happen in the House, and then having a successful Senate process are separate steps, each very difficult. And they can consume a country and waste a lot of time."

Presidential impeachment used to be one of those political instruments widely recognized but seldom employed.

Only three times have American presidents been put through this ordeal. Only twice have chief executives actually been impeached. And never has a president been removed from office through this process, which requires the equivalent of an indictment by a majority vote of the House and a conviction by two-thirds of the Senate in a trial that would be presided over by another of Prof. Tribe's former students, Supreme Court Justice John Roberts.

Indeed, a full 130 years passed between the 1868 impeachment of Andrew Johnson, who survived removal by a single vote in the Senate, and the impeachment of Mr. Clinton, who never was in serious danger of conviction in the Democratic-controlled Senate of the time. During those 13 decades - a period extending from Thomas Edison's application for his first patent to Google's application for incorporation - presidents from Ulysses S. Grant to Warren G. Harding faced searing questions about their roles in major scandals, and yet no serious steps were taken toward impeaching the 18th and 29th U.S. presidents.

The late historian David E.

Kyvig, one of the few academic experts on the issue of impeachment, wrote that the dormancy of impeachment could not endure. "It was often mistakenly written off as comatose, if not completely dead," he wrote in his 2008 book, The Age of Impeachment, adding that "it was merely slumbering and awaiting the call that would cause it to arise and demonstrate its vitality."

The resistance of American lawmakers to undertake formal impeachment hearings in 2017 may be eroded by the fact that Congress has already resorted to this procedure twice in the past 44 years: the Clinton impeachment growing out of his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky; and the Richard Nixon episode that grew out of Watergate but stopped after Mr. Nixon resigned his office rather than face certain impeachment, conviction and removal from the White House.

And yet the relative frequency with which impeachment has been employed may make the process seem less forbidding to contemporary political figures.

"This is a formidable process, but it is taken more lightly now than before," says Michael Les Benedict, Ohio State University historian and author of The Impeachment and Trial of Andrew Johnson, which, since its publication in 1973 - the year before Mr. Nixon's resignation - has been regarded as the standard account of that first such levelling of charges against an American president. "Impeachment may even have become part of the ordinary lexicon of politics," says Mr. Benedict. "But the process was never thought about easily, and the word was never bandied about until recently, when it has become easier to contemplate by people who really dislike a president."

Even so, the mere mentioning of impeachment - still the congressional process that, as a rule, dare not speak its name - by two lawmakers, Representatives Justin Amash, a Michigan Republican, and Ted Deutschland, a Democrat of Florida, in a single day this week was taken as an important political moment, far more significant than the earlier casual invocations of impeachment by two Democrats, Representative Maxine Waters of California and Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. Just as knowledgeable baseball fans know not to mention that a nohitter is in progress lest the feat be disrupted, political figures know not to mention impeachment lest the furies be unleashed.

In 1974, as in 1998 and 2017, the effort to define an impeachable crime has been at the centre of the political debate.

Impeachment has its roots in British law, dating to the 14th century, and so was familiar to the men who met in 1787 to recast the country's government by replacing the failing Articles of Confederation with the Constitution that still provides the contours of the American government. Moreover, several state constitutions in effect at the end of the 18th century provided for impeachment as a remedy for "maladministration" or "corruption" - the concept was well established in the New World when the Constitutional deliberations began.

So it was natural that when these men - the group included George Washington and James Madison, who would become presidents, and Alexander Hamilton, a cerebral political theorist who later became the first secretary of the treasury - began to craft a new Constitution, they included impeachment in their early drafts.

Indeed, these Framers, as they became known, debated impeachment even before they decided that the new executive branch of the United States government would be headed by a single president rather than by a council of executors. A report published by the House Judiciary Committee after the effort to impeach Mr. Nixon in 1974 noted that, early in their work, the Framers unanimously endorsed a provision permitting the removal of the executive for "mal-practice or neglect of duty." Those terms are broad, as is the eventual Constitutional language of "Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors," and so difficult to pin down that Rep. Gerald Ford of Michigan said during the debate over whether to impeach Supreme Court Justice William O.

Douglas, largely for political and personal reasons growing out of his four marriages, that "an impeachable offence is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history." Mr. Ford, then the minority leader of the House, had no reason in 1970, two years before the Watergate break-in, to foresee that his remarks would echo through the chambers of the Judiciary Committee that initiated an impeachment proceeding against President Nixon - an action that would catapult Mr. Ford himself into the White House.

But the remarks by Mr. Ford - who, in one of the ironies of American politics, represented the very same Grand Rapids, Mich., district now served by Mr. Amash, the GOP lawmaker who raised the spectre of a Trump impeachment - are a reminder that impeachment is as much a political process as it is a legal undertaking. It is possible that the impeachment of Mr. Nixon, the first president in 120 years to face a Congress where both chambers were controlled by the opposition party, might well not have advanced had Republicans held power in the House.

That is a central element in the political calculus affecting Mr. Trump. Although he has few historical or personal ties to the Republican Party, he was the GOP's presidential nominee in 2016, and the Republicans hold a large (241-194) advantage in the House. The margin is smaller in the Senate (52-48 - if one counts the two Independents as Democrats; they most often vote that way). But the two-thirds requirement for Senate conviction, and thus for the removal of the President, puts the target at 67 votes - a high bar that, today at least, seems out of reach.

The party profiles, and thus the chances for impeaching Mr. Trump and removing him from office, would shift dramatically if the Democrats were to take power in the House following next year's midterm congressional elections. That would require a Democratic pickup of 24 seats, a formidable swing in voter behaviours given the unusual ideological purity of some current congressional districts. But it is not out of the question; Barack Obama's Democrats lost 63 seats in the 2010 midterm congressional elections, when his approval ratings were in the general range of Mr. Trump's today.

More than four decades ago, the House Judiciary Committee, which eventually would approve articles of impeachment against Mr. Nixon, warned against broad application of congressional impeachment authority even as it asserted the right of lawmakers to proceed with actions that could lead to the removal of the president. "The elective character and political role of a President make it difficult to define faithful exercise of his powers in the abstract," the committee's report said. "A President must make policy and exercise discretion.

This discretion necessarily is broad, especially in emergency situations, but the constitutional duties of a President impose limitations on its exercise."

The context of the debate over impeachment in the Constitutional Convention is vital to understanding the origins of this element of the American government.

The delegates met between May and September of 1787 in the very building in Philadelphia where, only 11 years earlier, the Second Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. Both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written as antidotes to the rule of King George III, the goal being to limit the power of any future single ruler.

"The Revolution had been fought against the tyranny of a king and his council," the Judiciary Committee report emphasized, "and the framers sought to build in safeguards against executive abuse and usurpation of power."

The Framers were concerned, however, that, just as executive power could be abused, impeachment, too, could be abused.

Some delegates believed that periodic elections themselves were sufficient guards against tyranny; they had not yet fixed the length of the executive term at four years, and the two-term limit for presidents wasn't ratified until 1951, after Franklin Roosevelt's four election victories from 1932 to 1944. But in the only formal test of impeachment in the final version of the Constitution, the provision passed with only two states dissenting.

In The Federalist Papers, the effort by leading American statesmen of the day to explain the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton wrote that impeachment was adopted, for the new form of government, to be a bulwark against what he called the "misconduct of public men, or in other words from the abuse or violation of some public trust."

The phrase "violation of some public trust" is at the heart of the argument being mustered by Mr. Trump's opponents as they wish for impeachment proceedings to begin. Their hope was stoked midweek when Mr. Mueller was appointed special counsel.

"We're in a situation where impeachment is mentioned quite a bit by people who think the President has gone beyond merely proposing and enacting policy that is deeply flawed," said Mr.

Benedict, the authority on the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. "I'm an academic, not a politician, but I still think impeachment is the nuclear bomb of American constitutional politics."

David Shribman is executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and a former campaign reporter for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Associated Graphic

The sun sets at the White House on May 15, 2017.


President Trump awaits the arrival of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos at the White House this week: The phrase 'violation of some public trust' is at the heart of the argument being mustered by Mr. Trump's opponents as they wish for impeachment proceedings to begin.


On the trail of an oil tanker
The Globe follows the Eser K, carrying more than 356,000 barrels of Alberta crude oil destined for California, through a hazardous stretch in B.C. waters to observe the risks and safeguards in place
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

On a Sunday morning, the tanker Eser K idled in Burrard Inlet, off of Kinder Morgan's Westbridge Marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C. The ship had just loaded 356,626 barrels of Alberta crude oil, destined for California.

Deckhands prepared to weigh anchor, their departure timed so that the ship would cruise under the Second Narrows rail bridge at the precise moment that the currents were neither pushing nor pulling: slack tide.

The roughly 250 large commercial vessels that enter the Port of Vancouver each month do the same, but Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, approved by the federal government last November and now at the centre of the delicate negotiations over the future of B.C.'s minority government, has put oil tanker traffic off the province's coast in the spotlight.

The company hopes to begin construction this fall, although the decision is on hold until the company has all the financing is in place. The project would triple Kinder Morgan's oil shipments from Cold Lake, Alta., to the coast and the expanded capacity would mean a sevenfold increase in the number of oil tankers leaving the terminal to make the passage through these narrow, busy waterways.

According to Kinder Morgan, the risk of a major oil spill on this route is small. A major spill, as defined by the company, would be one 3,000 times larger than the Marathassa spill in English Bay in 2015 and is a oncein-473-years event. But critics say the risk has been dramatically underestimated.

The City of Vancouver, in its submissions to the National Energy Board, tabled a report showing the risk of a marine oil spill in the 50-year life of the project is between 16 and 67 per cent. The city argued the risk is too high because a spill could cost the economy hundreds of millions of dollars, and the environment would be devastated with the deaths of more than 100,000 sea and shorebirds. Harbour seal and salmon populations could be decimated, and the endangered southern resident killer whale population would be at risk of extinction.

The Concerned Professional Engineers, a group with expertise in the design, construction and operation of the systems for moving marine goods such as oil, said even using Kinder Morgan's data translates into a 10-per-cent chance of a 8.25 million-litre heavy oil spill over the project's operating life. However, they say that figure is conservative because the risk of a tanker colliding with one of the three bridges along the route in Vancouver's harbour have not been adequately calculated.

The Globe and Mail followed the Eser K through the most hazardous stretch in B.C. waters, a 10-hour journey spanning 80 nautical miles, to observe those risks and the mitigation measures in place.

On the morning of Feb. 5, two Canadian pilots, assigned by the Pacific Pilotage Authority, boarded the Eser K to take command of the vessel until it passed Victoria. The ship is flying a Marshall Islands flag and the international crew may have little experience in these waters. Canada requires locally trained pilots to be in the wheelhouse on commercial vessels of this size, to direct the ship's course and speed from the port of Vancouver out to Brotchie Ledge, near Victoria.

The Port of Vancouver is the most active in Canada. Ice-free and deepwater, it is home to terminals for oil, chemicals, containers and bulk goods, as well as a cruise ship terminal. For vessels as large as the Eser K, a tug escort is mandatory in addition to the pilots, and two Seaspan tugboats, the Raven and the Kestrel, were tethered to the 250-metre-long Aframax class vessel - the largest oil tanker class allowed in the port - before the massive anchors were hauled in.

Once the ship was loose, the pilot's voice came across the radio on the bridge of the Raven: "Show us what you can do."

Butch Peever, at the helm of the Raven, twirled a dial on his console and the engines hummed.

The 30-metre long tug with 5,000 horsepower engines nudged the Eser K around to face the twin spans of the Second Narrows rail bridge and the adjacent Ironworkers Memorial bridge.

Captain Peever has served on tugboats on these waters for 40 years, and has worked tanker escort runs since 2001. He has dealt with engine failures, steering failures, "a couple of instances when things have got tense," but no major mishaps. "I've been pretty lucky." The crew of five will live aboard the Raven for a week at a time, working in six-hour shifts as engineers, chefs, deckhands and masters. Technological advances have improved marine safety, but the changes have also allowed companies to whittle down the size of their crews.

Just east of the Second Narrows lies the narrowest corridor on the route. Although there appears to be ample space between the shores, a man-made obstacle lurks below the surface, a line of loose rock that has been piled up to serve as armour for a municipal water line.

Passing the Second Narrows railway bridge is a carefully calibrated move, said Robin Stewart, vice-president of BC Coast Pilots.

"There is a defined edge, at the rail bridge, of 138 metres. The rest of the channel [depth] varies greatly depending on the height of the tide. The area around the water line presents the least amount of channel, so it is there that defines if the vessel can transit or not." The Eser K requires a clear channel 125.4 metres wide to safely pass, but that can change depending on the tide, or how shallow the ship is sitting in the water. "If there is not enough tide, we do not sail the vessel."

Thirty years ago, larger ships would be allowed in these waters without tugs or modern navigational aids, he noted.

But the Exxon Valdez disaster changed everything.

In 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez struck a reef in Alaska, releasing 44,000 tonnes of oil. The Canadian government rewrote the rules to improve shipping systems to reduce risk, to improve spill response, and to ensure that industry was responsible for the costs.

The pilots gauge the ship's clearance in all directions, including space for the tugs to manoeuvre, the draught of the hull below the waterline, and the air draught - the distance from the surface of the water to the highest point on the vessel. Clearing all those points under the span of the bridge is a bit like threading a needle, and the harbour master allows only one tanker through at a time.

These precautions reflect the risk. The Concerned Professional Engineers group notes that this bridge has been knocked out of commission five times because of ship collisions. Aframax tankers such as the Eser K are five times heavier than the largest of those vessels, and the group estimates that such a vessel could knock the bridge right off its foundations and carry the bridge superstructure into the highway bridge that lies 110 metres to the west.

Between the Second Narrows and the Lions Gate bridge, the Vancouver harbour is alive with pleasure craft, container ships, SeaBuses and float planes landing and taking off. The Eser K moved slowly, towering over most other vessels. At the Lions Gate, the traffic narrows again and no other ship was allowed through while the Eser K slid beneath, into English Bay.

A recent oil spill in English Bay provided a vivid reminder of how difficult any cleanup would be. In 2015, the cargo ship MV Marathassa spilled 2,800 litres of bunker fuel while at anchor in the bay.

Despite ideal weather conditions and close proximity to an oil spill response base, it is estimated that only half of the fuel was recovered. An independent review described the incident as "an operational discharge of persistent fuel oil with very high consequences."

Det Norske Veritas is an international independent agency that provided a risk analysis of the Trans Mountain project for Kinder Morgan. The company looked at what could go wrong, from a ship-to-ship collision to a fire on board the vessel. They pinpointed several locations most likely for an oil spill to occur, and despite the high traffic, the authors concluded that collision with another ship in English Bay was a low probability.

However, Det Norske Veritas did indicate there is a risk of a collision with another vessel out in the open waters past Roberts Bank because of the frequency of ferry traffic and the traffic crossing from the Fraser River. This, though, is where the safety restrictions imposed by the port are reduced.

As the Eser K headed past the emerald green point of the University of B.C. lands, it picked up speed to 13 knots. The Seaspan Kestrel tug peeled off, its escort duty complete. The pilots radioed over instructions to the Raven to begin a training exercise - a rare opportunity to practise controlling the ship from the tug.

It was now Capt. Dave Dawson's shift. The Raven was tethered at the stern of the tanker by a cable that is rated to pull 300,000 pounds. The Raven swung out to port, and then starboard, changing the tanker's direction. As the Raven pulled to each side, it keeled over to 15 degrees, its black bumper rails kissing the waves.

Capt. Dawson focused on keeping his cable taut, but the chef in the galley cursed as lunch preparations bowled around.

Out on the Strait of Georgia, the next stretch was 35 nautical miles of open waters. The tug's tether was dropped and the Raven paced the Eser K.

"Right now we have snow squalls, we have a gale, probably six-foot waves and we have less than a half a mile visibility," said Capt. Dawson. "Yeah, that's more like it. I do like routine but it's also fun to get a little bit of - snow showers? I can't believe this winter."

After a bouncy crossing of the strait, the tug resumed its tethered escort duties as the two vessels entered the stretch between British Columbia's Gulf Islands and Washington State's San Juan Islands.

This is the turn point at the Arachne Reef and Des Norske Veritas warns this is a dangerous junction. "Possible powered grounding is a low probability event due to pilots and tethered tug," the report states, "but this location is rated with greatest level of navigational complexity for the entire passage. Location also has high environmental values."

The Eser K lowered its speed, winding through Boundary Pass and then Haro Strait. By now, the dark of an early winter evening had set in. Keeping the tug crew busy, the pilots used the Raven at times to steer the tanker around the islands.

Near the end of the trip, the tug's master swung the Raven out to port as instructed, but was visibly anxious because in the dark and with the blowing snow, he could not see if the cable was wrapping around the Eser K's stern. Capt. Dawson returned to the bridge, threw a spotlight on the line and the tug adjusted its position, manoeuvring the tanker on a line into Juan de Fuca Strait.

This is the kind of experience that isn't replicated in the computer simulations that pilots usually train on.

Capt. Stewart of the BC Coast Pilots joined the crew on the Raven to answer questions on the trip. Before he departed, he said he was proud of his relatively uneventful career. "There's nothing flamboyant about success; there are not a lot of sea stories to tell about successful voyages."

Capt. Stewart, who served 22 years as a captain tug master before becoming a pilot, said his team brings a deep knowledge of the local waters, as well as specialized equipment and training, to their work. But it's also a passion for this marine environment that keeps them sharp. "We were raised on this coast. You take it so seriously because we know we have so much to lose."

As the ships passed the city of Victoria, a pilot boat pulled alongside the Eser K. The pilots descended a gangway, then hopped over to a ladder dangling down to reach their own vessel.

The ship was approaching the final risky point, according to Kinder Morgan's risk analysis. In the Juan de Fuca Strait at Race Rocks, where the marine weather can be strong, a collision with another vessel was determined to be a low probability but possible because not all vessels in this location have a pilot aboard.

But this is where the Raven ended its escort duties, and the Eser K made its way out toward the Pacific alone.

Associated Graphic

A tugboat escorts the Eser K oil tanker from Kinder Morgan's terminal in Burnaby, B.C., to Victoria on Feb. 5.


Captain Robin Stewart of the BC Coast Pilots says his team brings a deep knowledge of the local waters to their work.


On the trail of an oil tanker
The Globe follows the Eser K, carrying more than 356,000 barrels of Alberta crude, through a hazardous stretch in B.C. waters
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A18

On a Sunday morning, the tanker Eser K idled in Burrard Inlet, off of Kinder Morgan's Westbridge Marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C. The ship had just loaded 356,626 barrels of Alberta crude oil destined for California.

Deckhands prepared to weigh anchor, their departure timed so that the ship would cruise under the Second Narrows rail bridge at the precise moment that the currents were neither pushing nor pulling: slack tide.

The roughly 250 large commercial vessels that enter the Port of Vancouver each month do the same, but Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, approved by the federal government last November and now at the centre of the delicate negotiations over the future of B.C.'s minority government, has put oil tanker traffic off the province's coast in the spotlight.

The company hopes to begin construction this fall, although the decision is on hold until the company has all the financing is in place. The project would triple Kinder Morgan's oil shipments from Cold Lake, Alta., to the coast and the expanded capacity would mean a sevenfold increase in the number of oil tankers leaving the terminal to make the passage through these narrow, busy waterways.

According to Kinder Morgan, the risk of a major oil spill on this route is small. A major spill, as defined by the company, would be one 3,000 times larger than the Marathassa spill in English Bay in 2015 and is a oncein-473-years event. But critics say the risk has been dramatically underestimated.

The City of Vancouver, in its submissions to the National Energy Board, tabled a report showing the risk of a marine oil spill in the 50-year life of the project is between 16 and 67 per cent. The city argued the risk is too high because a spill could cost the economy hundreds of millions of dollars, and the environment would be devastated with the deaths of more than 100,000 sea and shorebirds. Harbour seal and salmon populations could be decimated, and the endangered southern resident killer whale population would be at risk of extinction.

The Concerned Professional Engineers, a group with expertise in the design, construction and operation of the systems for moving marine goods such as oil, said even using Kinder Morgan's data translates into a 10per-cent chance of a 8.25 millionlitre heavy oil spill over the project's operating life. However, they say that figure is conservative because the risk of a tanker colliding with one of the three bridges along the route in Vancouver's harbour have not been adequately calculated.

The Globe and Mail followed the Eser K through the most hazardous stretch in B.C. waters, a 10-hour journey spanning 80 nautical miles, to observe those risks and the mitigation measures in place.

On the morning of Feb. 5, two Canadian pilots, assigned by the Pacific Pilotage Authority, boarded the Eser K to take command of the vessel until it passed Victoria. The ship is flying a Marshall Islands flag and the international crew may have little experience in these waters.

Canada requires locally trained pilots to be in the wheelhouse on commercial vessels of this size, to direct the ship's course and speed from the port of Vancouver out to Brotchie Ledge, near Victoria.

The Port of Vancouver is the most active in Canada. Ice-free and deepwater, it is home to terminals for oil, chemicals, containers and bulk goods, as well as a cruise ship terminal. For vessels as large as the Eser K, a tug escort is mandatory in addition to the pilots, and two Seaspan tugboats, the Raven and the Kestrel, were tethered to the 250metre-long Aframax class vessel - the largest oil tanker class allowed in the port - before the massive anchors were hauled in.

Once the ship was loose, the pilot's voice came across the radio on the bridge of the Raven: "Show us what you can do."

Butch Peever, at the helm of the Raven, twirled a dial on his console and the engines hummed.

The 30-metre-long tug with 5,000-horsepower engines nudged the Eser K around to face the twin spans of the Second Narrows rail bridge and the adjacent Ironworkers Memorial bridge.

Captain Peever has served on tugboats on these waters for 40 years, and has worked tanker escort runs since 2001. He has dealt with engine failures, steering failures, "a couple of instances when things have got tense," but no major mishaps. "I've been pretty lucky."

The crew of five will live aboard the Raven for a week at a time, working in six-hour shifts as engineers, chefs, deckhands and masters. Technological advances have improved marine safety, but the changes have also allowed companies to whittle down the size of their crews.

Just east of the Second Narrows lies the narrowest corridor on the route. Although there appears to be ample space between the shores, a man-made obstacle lurks below the surface, a line of loose rock that has been piled up to serve as armour for a municipal water line.

Passing the Second Narrows railway bridge is a carefully calibrated move, said Robin Stewart, vice-president of BC Coast Pilots.

"There is a defined edge, at the rail bridge, of 138 metres. The rest of the channel [depth] varies greatly depending on the height of the tide. The area around the water line presents the least amount of channel, so it is there that defines if the vessel can transit or not." The Eser K requires a clear channel 125.4 metres wide to safely pass, but that can change depending on the tide, or how shallow the ship is sitting in the water. "If there is not enough tide, we do not sail the vessel."

Thirty years ago, larger ships would be allowed in these waters without tugs or modern navigational aids, he noted.

But the Exxon Valdez disaster changed everything.

In 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez struck a reef in Alaska, releasing 44,000 tonnes of oil.

The Canadian government rewrote the rules to improve shipping systems to reduce risk, to improve spill response, and to ensure that industry was responsible for the costs.

The pilots gauge the ship's clearance in all directions, including space for the tugs to manoeuvre, the draught of the hull below the waterline, and the air draught - the distance from the surface of the water to the highest point on the vessel.

Clearing all those points under the span of the bridge is a bit like threading a needle, and the harbour master allows only one tanker through at a time.

These precautions reflect the risk. The Concerned Professional Engineers group notes that this bridge has been knocked out of commission five times because of ship collisions. Aframax tankers such as the Eser K are five times heavier than the largest of those vessels, and the group estimates that such a vessel could knock the bridge right off its foundations and carry the bridge superstructure into the adjacent highway bridge that lies 110 metres to the west.

Between the Second Narrows and the Lions Gate bridge, the Vancouver harbour is alive with pleasure craft, container ships, SeaBuses and float planes landing and taking off. The Eser K moved slowly, towering over most other vessels. At the Lions Gate, the traffic narrows again and no other ship was allowed through while the Eser K slid beneath, into English Bay.

A recent oil spill in English Bay provided a vivid reminder of how difficult any cleanup would be. In 2015, the cargo ship MV Marathassa spilled 2,800 litres of bunker fuel while at anchor in the bay. Despite ideal weather conditions and close proximity to an oil spill response base, it is estimated that only half of the fuel was recovered.

An independent review described the incident as "an operational discharge of persistent fuel oil with very high consequences."

Det Norske Veritas is an international independent agency that provided a risk analysis of the Trans Mountain project for Kinder Morgan. The company looked at what could go wrong, from a ship-to-ship collision to a fire on board the vessel.

They pinpointed several locations most likely for an oil spill to occur, and despite the high traffic, the authors concluded that collision with another ship in English Bay was a low probability. However, Det Norske Veritas did indicate there is a risk of a collision with another vessel out in the open waters past Roberts Bank because of the frequency of ferry traffic and the traffic crossing from the Fraser River. This, though, is where the safety restrictions imposed by the port are reduced.

As the Eser K headed past the emerald green point of the University of B.C. lands, it picked up speed to 13 knots. The Seaspan Kestrel tug peeled off, its escort duty complete. The pilots radioed over instructions to the Raven to begin a training exercise - a rare opportunity to practise controlling the ship from the tug.

It was now Capt. Dave Dawson's shift. The Raven was tethered at the stern of the tanker by a cable that is rated to pull 300,000 lbs. The Raven swung out to port, and then starboard, changing the tanker's direction.

As the Raven pulled to each side, it keeled over to 15 degrees, its black bumper rails kissing the waves. Capt. Dawson focused on keeping his cable taut, but the chef in the galley cursed as lunch preparations bowled around.

Out on the Strait of Georgia, the next stretch was 35 nautical miles of open waters. The tug's tether was dropped and the Raven paced the Eser K.

"Right now we have snow squalls, we have a gale, probably six-foot waves and we have less than a half a mile visibility," Capt. Dawson said. "Yeah, that's more like it. I do like routine but it's also fun to get a little bit of - snow showers? I can't believe this winter."

After a bouncy crossing of the strait, the tug resumed its tethered escort duties as the two vessels entered the stretch between British Columbia's Gulf Islands and Washington State's San Juan Islands.

This is the turn point at the Arachne Reef and Des Norske Veritas warns this is a dangerous junction. "Possible powered grounding is a low probability event due to pilots and tethered tug," the report states, "but this location is rated with greatest level of navigational complexity for the entire passage. Location also has high environmental values."

The Eser K lowered its speed, winding through Boundary Pass and then Haro Strait. By now, the dark of an early winter evening had set in. Keeping the tug crew busy, the pilots used the Raven at times to steer the tanker around the islands.

Near the end of the trip, the tug's master swung the Raven out to port as instructed, but was visibly anxious because in the dark and with the blowing snow, he could not see if the cable was wrapping around the Eser K's stern. Capt. Dawson returned to the bridge, threw a spotlight on the line and the tug adjusted its position, manoeuvring the tanker on a line into Juan de Fuca Strait. This is the kind of experience that isn't replicated in the computer simulations that pilots usually train on.

Capt. Stewart of the BC Coast Pilots joined the crew on the Raven to answer questions on the trip. Before he departed, he said he was proud of his relatively uneventful career. "There's nothing flamboyant about success; there are not a lot of sea stories to tell about successful voyages."

Capt. Stewart, who served 22 years as a captain tug master before becoming a pilot, said his team brings a deep knowledge of the local waters, as well as specialized equipment and training, to their work. But it's also a passion for this marine environment that keeps them sharp. "We were raised on this coast. You take it so seriously because we know we have so much to lose."

As the ships passed the city of Victoria, a pilot boat pulled alongside the Eser K, matching its speed. The pilots descended a gangway part of the way down the steep side of the ship, then hopped over to a ladder dangling down to reach their own vessel.

The ship was approaching the final risky point, according to Kinder Morgan's risk analysis. In the Juan de Fuca Strait at Race Rocks, where the marine weather can be strong, a collision with another vessel was determined to be a low probability but possible because not all vessels in this location have a pilot aboard.

But this is where the Raven ended its escort duties, and the Eser K made its way out toward the Pacific alone.

Associated Graphic

A tugboat escorts the Eser K oil tanker in Burnaby, B.C., to Victoria on Feb. 5. According to Kinder Morgan, the risk of a major oil spill on this route is small.


The idiosyncratic eating habits of Canadians show how the traditional grocery-store model - developed for housewives in the 1950s - is being challenged as customers' demographics and tastes evolve. Ann Hui reports on a research project in Ontario that is studying how supermarkets can be adapted to suit a diverse market
Thursday, May 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A10

While their classmates and colleagues prepared for classes and attended lectures earlier this month, Jennifer Leslie and Andrew Baynham instead spent the first few couple days of May making trip after trip to the local supermarket. Over the course of two days, they racked up a nearly $11,000 bill, filling up dozens of grocery carts with bags of Ruffles, boxes of cereal and tins of coffee.

Each time the Volkswagen SUV they'd borrowed was crammed full, they'd drive back to the University of Guelph campus to deposit the bags in a second-floor research lab. Inside that lab, they were building their own supermarket.

Ms. Leslie and Mr. Baynham are both research assistants in a project run by Guelph agricultural economics professor Michael von Massow. Under his direction, the group has quietly, over the course of the past few weeks, built a 1,200-square-foot "research" grocery store inside of the school.

The focus of that research is simple: Can they rebuild the supermarket?

Like a real supermarket, theirs has a cereal aisle, a potato chip aisle and a canned food aisle - shelves piled high with jars of tomato sauce and soup. There are refrigerators full of egg cartons in the back.

But nothing here is for sale.

In the next few months, the lab will welcome its first "customers."

As they move through the lab taking part in different shopping experiments, the researchers will watch from surveillance cameras set up in every aisle.

Prof. von Massow and his team will take careful notes on how customers negotiate the space, what they stop to look at and how they make decisions on what to place inside their grocery carts.

With the customers wearing a $30,000 (U.S.) eye-tracking device, the research team will be able to capture in precise detail what each shopper spends time looking at - whether it's the ingredient list on a box of cookies, the amount of sodium on a package of crackers or the price difference between two brands of yogurt.

As an academic, Prof. von Massow's interest isn't simply in selling products. Rather, he (and Longo's, the grocery chain helping fund the project) want to better understand what people are looking for in supermarkets - how they make choices and why.

Every so often, the team will change the design of the lab.

They'll refashion it as a discount store with store-brand products and sale signs, or as a high-end, health-focused store. They'll reconfigure the aisles or product placement to see how those changes affect consumer choice.

They'll also try out dramatically new ideas, such as bringing in farmers to sell their products directly.

The hope is to figure out whether the traditional supermarket can be redesigned to better suit today's consumers. "We have more choices now," Prof. von Massow said. "So how do we keep people engaged with grocery stores?" Across the country, grocers are grappling with that same question.

One after another, traditional food retailers have had to fend off new competition from the likes of Wal-Mart, Costco, ethnic grocers and even dollar stores. Sears, too, has announced its intent to enter the grocery game - not to mention new entrants to the food market, such as UberEats. Meanwhile, the threat of the as-yetunknown plans of AmazonFresh, already in place in certain U.S. cities, hangs overhead.

But what preoccupies Prof. von Massow most is a bigger, more fundamental question. Does the traditional, 30,000-square-foot grocery-store model - an idea first developed around the 1950s housewife - still make sense for our diverse marketplace? And can the model simply be adapted to changing demands, or is it in need of a dramatic overhaul?

"Is this the death of the grocery store?" wrote Sylvain Charlebois, dean of the faculty of management at Dalhousie University, in an op-ed in The Globe and Mail a few years ago. He was frustrated at the time with what he saw as the industry's sluggishness to keep pace with changes.

These days, he's a bit more measured. He's still impatient for change, but cognizant of efforts that are being made. "What was holding the industry back is the industry itself," he said. "There's a bit of an awakening going on."

'The grocery store of 1975 is dead' A young woman pushed her shopping cart down the frozenfood aisle of a Loblaws store in east end Toronto one recent Saturday. As she stood surveying the ice-cream selections, the nineties pop hit Stay (I Missed You) by Lisa Loeb began to play in the store.

The woman perked up, a smile spreading across her face. She sang along and knew every lyric.

The store's playlist that afternoon was no coincidence. The song was a moderate hit when it was first released, but its cultural significance lies in its lasting popularity amongst a small, but very specific demographic - namely older millennial women, between the ages of roughly 30 and 35.

Still, the song barely seemed to register with two other customers standing just one aisle over - a man with greying hair studying the price of maple syrup and a middle-aged woman eyeing a magazine rack.

Therein lies the challenge for modern supermarkets. It used to be that these stores were the exclusive domain of just one group: the housewife. "Everything was oriented toward the classic middle-class family," said Harvey Levenstein, a retired McMaster University history professor.

Over the years, supermarkets developed a sophisticated template to attract that target customer and maximize what she placed in her cart. Everything from music (the slower the tempo, the longer the time spent instore), to lighting (the brighter, the more products handled), to layout (the more products she walked by, the better) was designed with her in mind.

But things have changed.

"The grocery store of 1975 is dead. It's been dead a long time," said Anthony Longo, whose family started the namesake grocery chain in 1956. "The consumer has changed."

Look around any supermarket today and you're just as likely to see men, or retirees, or young people shopping for just themselves, or for families of all sizes.

This week, Dalhousie University researchers, led by Dr. Charlebois, released a study filled with data on the idiosyncratic eating habits of Canadians.

Amongst Dr. Charlebois's findings: Single people in British Columbia are especially likely to skip breakfast; men are more likely to eat dinner at a restaurant than women; and people in the Atlantic region are more likely than anywhere else in the country to eat lunch at their desks.

Taken collectively, the study illustrates just how fragmented the market in Canada has become. Aside from age, gender and location, the study also showed differences in eating habits based on everything from level of education obtained and income, to household type.

Grocers have responded in part by diversifying their offerings.

Most major grocers now have their own discount lines. Some, too, have purchased or partnered with ethnic grocers to reflect the changing faces of Canadians.

And while most grocers have taken a cautious approach to online sales, they've begun in recent years to expand their offerings, with Longo's Grocery Gateway and Loblaws' Click and Collect programs.

To differentiate from their discount lines, the mainline, or "conventional" supermarkets, meanwhile, have moved toward a more upscale market, with sushi stations, oyster bars and gleaming gourmet cupcake displays.

But the trickiest balance has been in juggling the many different initiatives aimed at the many different demographics.

Some stores have experimented with making signs and font sizes bigger to appeal to baby boomers, for example. Others, such as Metro, emphasize health and wellness - a concern that is top of mind for this group - building a "natural dispensary" of health supplements inside one Toronto store. But this same supermarket is located in Toronto's condofilled Liberty Village, meaning such changes must be made without alienating the hordes of 20somethings who also frequent the store.

"We ask our merchandisers to do cartwheels sometimes," Mr. Longo said. "It's a balance."

To attract millennials - who value convenience above all else, according to numerous surveys - grocers have increased their "togo" sections. And because millennials tend to spend shorter periods at stores (but visit more often), these sections are generally placed toward the front of the store so that shoppers can pop in and out quickly.

In the past two decades, these ready-made meals and other "convenience" offerings have gone from practically non-existent to taking up about 20 per cent of the shelf space in his stores, Mr. Longo said.

Others, such as Sobeys, have tried to attract the idealism of millennials by aligning themselves with social movements. By partnering with celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver and his "better food" movement, they've attempted to differentiate themselves as selling a better-quality product.

These attempts have been met with varying levels of success, independent food analyst Kevin Grier says. Figures released this week show the market share that traditional grocers have been losing to Wal-Mart and Costco is finally slowing. Still, traditional grocers' share of food sales has shrunk from about 90 per cent in 2004 to just less than 80 per cent last year. In the same time, the share of general merchandisers such as Wal-Mart and Costco has more than doubled.

The strategy of many of these retailers is undermined by the fact that they all seem to be doing the same things, Mr. Grier said.

"They're all trying to talk about where the food comes from - the food, the story, all that," he said.

"It's all in a desperate attempt to differentiate. But if they're all trying to differentiate, how different is it?" .

The European model The answer, according to some, is Europe.

"Europe has a great preponderance of smaller format stores," said Stewart Samuel, program director at grocery expert IGD in Vancouver. He said chains such as Tesco, with 3,000-square-foot stores, are a good model for North American supermarkets to consider.

Other European chains, such as the discount grocers Aldi and Lidl, have already begun spreading in the United States.

Prof. von Massow, too, thinks Canada will eventually move toward the European model. But this will require customers to change their expectation of endless choices and endless supply.

In Europe, an empty produce shelf is a sign of a good store, he said. "In the consumer's mind is 'They're selling lots, and the stuff is fresh.' " In Canada, meanwhile, we still expect row upon row of shiny apples and oranges. "It has to be full, and if it's not it must not be good."

To Prof. von Massow and others, it's obvious that change is happening - it's just a question of whether retailers are moving quickly enough. He's also aware of the fact that, for real-life grocers, implementing change is not as simple as in his lab.

Standing in the middle of the cereal aisle, he cocks his head to the side, imagining new ideas for the shelves. "What if we put the yogurt in the middle, between the sugary cereal and the healthy cereal?" In a real grocery store, this would require complicated logistics. But it's this precise kind of experimentation that his lab is for.

He has a long list of other ideas to test. The dairy industry has been trying to promote chocolate milk as a "rapid recovery" beverage, in the same category as sports or energy drinks. What would happen, he wondered, if he placed it next to the Gatorade?

Or instead of simple tweaking, what if he did something dramatically different - such as displaying banners containing nutritional advice next to certain products, or information about environmental sustainability?

Or what if some of the aisles - all of the aisles, even - were removed completely?

"The footprint here is flexible," he said. "The things we can try are really only limited by our imagination."

With a report from The Canadian Press

Associated Graphic

Above: Wearing $30,000 (U.S.) eye-tracking glasses and recorded by cameras, University of Guelph research assistant Jennifer Leslie is continuously monitored as she winds through the school's 1,200-square-foot mock store. Far left: Whether it's ingredients or price differences between products, everything graduate student Andrew Baynham glances at is recorded and analyzed. Centre: Agricultural economics professer Michael von Massow, who heads the study, takes plenty of notes on how his assistants negotiate the lab. Left: The team will often change up the design of the lab, refashioning it as a discount store with store-brand products and sale signs, or as a high-end, health-focused store.


The debate is over. It's time for action
Endless discussions about cultural appropriation are distractions that pull Indigenous writers and publishers away from what we ought to be doing: writing, telling and publishing our own stories, writes Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A12

In 1989, my cousin, Chippewas of Nawash poet Lenore Keeshig, took the issue of "appropriation of voice" to The Writers' Union of Canada to tell non-Indigenous writers to "stop stealing our stories." The controversy she sparked raged for months afterward. Some writers were supportive of the call while others were vehemently opposed. In 1990, Lenore wrote an op-ed, in this very newspaper, titled, "Stop Stealing Native Stories." In it, she wrote that, "Critics of non-native writers who borrow from the native experience have been dismissed as advocates of censorship and accused of trying to shackle artistic imagination ..." Since that time, the issue has simmered, occasionally boiling over as it did at the end of 2016, when issues around the writing of one of Canada's bestselling authors and his "shifting" stories about his identity were finally made public after years of questions quietly swirling in conversations among Indigenous writers and artists.

This controversy continued into 2017, a year that, for Indigenous people, marks 150 years of colonial oppression. As the Canadian government unrolled its Canada 150 budget and agenda, Indigenous people across the country recoiled. Canada "150"? Really? To suggest that this country didn't exist for us before 1867 is a punch to the gut - a half-billion-dollar, year-long celebration that hammers home the message, over and over again, that Canada depends on our erasure. The reality of our existence does not fit the official national narrative and so it must be dismissed, ignored and forgotten.

Whether that erasure is attempted through the Indian Residential School System, the ongoing apprehensions of our children by Child and Family Services, the murder and disappearance of Indigenous women and girls, "starlight tours" conducted by police in Saskatchewan, the wildly disproportionate incarceration of Indigenous peoples in Canada's prison system, the theft of our lands and resources, the stealing of our stories or the inequitable policies of a party on Parliament Hill, the message is persistent - and devastatingly familiar.

This past week, I reread my cousin Lenore's article. How heart-breakingly familiar it is 27 years later. In her piece, she cites the same objections to our concerns today, the same disingenuous reframing of the issue into one about freedom of speech, the same subtext embedded in arguments that suggest we are not capable of telling our own stories with the skill, beauty and depth that white middle-class writers could, or that, unlike them, we are too biased. And there are similar explanations from us that our stories are ours to tell, that they have power, and that we can tell them best.

Since the publication of Hal Niedzviecki's "Appropriation Prize" editorial in The Writers' Union of Canada's Write magazine, white Canadians from powerful media corporations have attacked and insulted us for opposing the idea that cultural appropriation doesn't exist. They imply that we have the power to censor, to ban and to deny their creativity. They assert that they are sure this is our real goal, despite at least 28 years of clear articulations from us that this is not the case. If that were true, if we were that powerful in this Canadian society, there would be no issue of appropriation of voice and no call for relentless debate because there would be no need.

Even though we know the history of this issue - and have witnessed the inability of many white Canadians to hear our voices in this debate - many of us have continued to engage in discussions about cultural appropriation, including Alicia Elliott, Joshua Whitehead, Daniel Heath Justice, Ryan McMahon, Jesse Wente, Zoe Todd, Drew Taylor, Niigaan Sinclair, Trevor Greyeyes and Al Hunter. We have been interviewed on radio and TV by Indigenous, alternative and mainstream media. We've written articles, blogs and poems. We have closely followed social media, correcting misinformation, suggesting resources, promoting Indigenous literature, publishers and writers and tackling antiquated notions that we are incapable of telling our stories effectively and that we are unworthy objects of ridicule. In doing so, we have shouted from the rooftops that we refuse to be erased. It has been exhausting.

But this has also brought us closer together than we have been in a long time. This fight has made it easier to see our allies, to let go of false friends, and to identify our enemies. In the past month, we have said many of the same things Lenore was saying in 1990 and we have added many more voices to those responses. We have opened our hearts to talk about the pain that the Write editorial and the fallout from it has caused us, our children, our families, our friends and our communities. We have shared our frustrations, anger and tears.

I was interviewed as an Indigenous publisher in that same issue of Write magazine. I am a writer, poet and publisher. I have put my own writing career on hold many times to fight for respect and space for Indigenous writers and our books. I am also a consultant and have worked with Indigenous groups and organizations across the country, including the Aboriginal Healing Foundation (AHF) in the early stages of its mandate. (Established in 1998, the foundation was an Indigenous-managed non-profit dedicated to responding to the impact of residential schools in Canada.)

There were three employees busily and excitedly working in a newly rented office space. The empty offices spoke of the potential: An opportunity for Indigenous people to tell the truth about residential schools, not only to themselves, but to the Canadian public and to start a long and painful process of healing and recovery.

Those empty offices were soon filled, and I worked, off and on, with the organization until its final project: a history of the foundation. I wrote a chapter about emerging issues that the foundation wasn't able to address before its funding was cut in 2014 - among them, the Scoops of the 1950s and '60s (when the Children's Aid Society "scooped up" Indigenous children and placed them in foster homes or offered them for adoption) and the continued apprehensions of our children. I was especially excited to write about the CAS apprehensions, because my sons are Anishinaabe and are adopted. I wrote that chapter with passion because that story of the link between residential schools and the CAS is one that needs to be told and because it is part of my sons' stories as well.

As part of my work with the AHF and later, the Legacy of Hope Foundation, I listened to residential school survivors such as Garnet Angeconeb speak about their experiences and their dreams for the future. I sat in an office for days reading survivor testimonies. I watched in awe as survivors came together to heal the wounds they carried, tell their stories and work with a gritty determination to create a better world for their families and communities. It was both gutwrenching and profoundly inspiring.

I listened with outrage when their voices were pushed out of the way and silenced and the residential school stories were distilled down, primarily, to one writer's voice. I saw the harm it caused when someone who admitted that none of his family attended residential schools became the voice sought out by media and publishers. It was a singular voice, unable to tell a story that could possibly carry the depth and breadth of the many stories the survivors and members of their families and communities had been telling.

So it's time to say it: The appropriation debate needs to end. But not because the war has been won or because our stories are no longer being stolen. Young Indigenous women and men are still sleeping in stairwells or dying alone in tents after they become too old for foster care; apprehensions of Indigenous children are continuing to rise; Indigenous families have to fight for things such as dental care (one family recently took the federal government to court to force it to pay for care for their daughter so that she could eat, speak and live without chronic pain); First Nations students go missing and are pulled, lifeless, from rivers in Thunder Bay; residentialschool experiences are still publicly denied and degraded, even by mainstream "award-winning" journalists; and the federal government keeps selling reconciliation, even though far too many Canadians still do not know or cannot handle the truth.

It's time to stop the debate because fighting these battles is getting us nowhere. What's the point in setting ourselves up so that some of the dinosaurs around us can roar out the same worn out stereotypes about who we are, replicating once again a power imbalance that serves their interests at our cost? Why bother responding to proudly ignorant tweets that whisk us back almost three decades or, perhaps, three centuries? After all, who needs this debate? I certainly do not.

Had I known that the Write editorial would try to dredge up the appropriation issue again, I would not have participated in the issue. But none of us were given that opportunity and so we have found our lives and time hijacked, discussing an issue we have already discussed many times, with people who still are not listening.

Don't get me wrong: I am strongly in favour of educating and raising awareness. My mother, Julie Damm, was a teacher. Her mother, Irene Akiwenzie, was a teacher. I have spent a huge amount of my life speaking in schools and universities and working in various ways to live up to my ancestors' name, Kegedonce, "little orator."

But if the past 30 years have taught us anything, it is that there is a powerful, loud bunch of privileged white settlers who do not want to learn about us or from us. They spew out their impressions of our experience and double down when confronted with research and data and our first hand accounts. They want to "debate" appropriation, on their terms and make these demands as if it has not been done before. As if the past 30 years of our work is meaningless because they are unaware and do not have to bother doing the research. For us, to continue to debate at this point is nothing but a type of busy work that pulls Indigenous writers and publishers away from what we ought to be doing - namely, writing, telling and publishing our own stories.

The world is shifting. Here's a hard truth that may move us closer to reconciliation: We do not need them. We do not need to debate them because they demand it and we do not need them to tell our stories. It is time now for us to refocus our energies on what matters to us: first and foremost, working within our communities to strengthen, empower and build each other up. We need to envision, together, the world we want to create and work without this distraction.

Many Indigenous writers are writing with a reinvigorated drive, heartened by the way so many of us came together and talking about new collaborations and new projects. It is exciting. We're dreaming about a future and how to get there.

For me, this work includes reaffirming my commitment to my own writing, continuing to publish and promote Indigenous literature and writers through the publishing company I started, Kegedonce Press, and helping to establish an Indigenous writers organization. I'm also working with non-Indigenous friends and allies to create new, impactful and long-lasting opportunities for Indigenous writers.

Some of this work is already under way and has been since before this latest controversy.

Among the new initiatives is the Emerging Indigenous Voices fund for a "Canadian literary award to support the vision of emerging Indigenous writers." It was the response of one person, a non-Indigenous lawyer named Robin Parker, who truly listened to what was happening and instead of "debating" it endlessly, took action.

Her initial fundraising goal was a modest $10,000. Within a few days of its two-month long campaign it had raised $66,556 from 913 backers. She's working with Indigenous organizations to set up the details of the award. Meanwhile, contributors and Indigenous people are dreaming about the possibilities.

That is far more important than parsing terms, restating again why we want to tell our own stories, and engaging with bullies online or wherever they may be. We need long term, sustainable change. Not one-off interviews or invitations to speak. We need to move this issue away from debate into action.

My sleeves are rolled up. Let's get to work.

To read Lenore Keeshig's 1990 essay, Stop Stealing Native Stories, visit

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Money's worth
Two new books question the conscience of capitalism
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R12

The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age By David Callahan Knopf, 344 pages, $38.95

Generation Wealth By Lauren Greenfield Phaidon, 504 pages, $95

The best book for understanding the problem of wealth and income maldistribution is neither Capital (Karl Marx's three-volume economic history) nor Capital (the more recent work by French economist Thomas Piketty). It's Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Published in 1897, as Britain reaped the benefits of the industrial revolution(s), Dracula allegorized a cautious ambivalence toward the emerging capitalist order. The tale of an immortal, ascetic and (lest we forget) blood-sucking real estate prospector who travels from Transylvania to England to snatch up property and seduce bourgeois, upper-crust recruits for his army of the undead, Stoker's novel hinted at a latent fear of the industrial-capitalist boom. Where capitalism promised the end of feudal servitude, pledging a new gilded age of equality and freedom through labour, the realities of industrialism told a different story.

"The vampire, like monopoly, destroys the hope that one's independence can one day be bought back," literary theorist Franco Moretti wrote in 1982. "He threatens the idea of individual liberty. For this reason the nineteenth-century bourgeois is able to imagine monopoly only in the guise of Count Dracula, the aristocrat, the figure of the past, the relic of distant lands and dark ages." In this Old World guise, the Count represents the unspoken fear of the new-bourgeois British capitalists: the return of a monopolistic, downright feudal organization of property and wealth. The analogy was seeded by Marx himself. In Vol. 1 of Capital, he writes that "capital is dead labour which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks."

And yet Dracula also offers another image - one of the possibilities of capitalism and wealth accumulation. It's precisely through the concentration of "new money" that the heroes of Stoker's novel are able to defeat the monstrous Transylvanian monopolist. As the character Mina Harker reveals in her journal, the heroes are furnished with funds, horses and "all the maps and appliances of various kinds" required to stalk and kill Dracula. "It made me think of the wonderful power of money!" she exclaims. "What can it not do when basely used."

Stoker succeeds where ol' Marx, perspicacious though he was, fails: by anticipating the ways in which capital would not merely revert to the operations of feudalism (embodied by Dracula) but would manage to revolutionize itself as a newer, harder-tohate force. It's tricky to argue with the concentration of wealth and power when it bankrolls something as patently noble as vampire slaying.

Dracula's monopolist metaphor seizes on a recurring theme in the history of capitalism: that the way to fight shamelessly greedy money is with altruistic money.

It's an idea explored in great depth in David Callahan's The Givers, a book that looks at the modern rise of "megaphilanthropists." Callahan turns a chary eye to the seemingly selfless act of philanthropy, exploring how it works to undermine (or at least drastically change) the basic operations of liberal democracy.

He zeroes in on altruism's builtin vampire-slaying defence - the idea that giving constitutes an obvious, unproblematic, inherent good. The book opens with a case study of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, who in late 2015 pledged an estimated $45-billion (U.S.) to a charitable initiative. "Here was one kind of solution to an age of vast and vexing inequality," Callahan writes. "The richest of the rich could give all the money back.

Who could possibly complain about such an act of generosity?" Who indeed? What would possibly be wrong with donating enormous sums of money to construct a new library, underwrite cancer research or otherwise contribute to the public good?

The thing is, most developed liberal democracies already have a nifty system for ensuring that the wealthy give back to the broader society at a level that reflects their inordinate income.

It's called taxes.

Instead of giving $45-billion to charity, or even structuring their own charity, Zuckerberg and Chan founded the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), a limited liability corporation. As such, it can (hypothetically) operate as a forprofit while taking advantage of big-ticket tax exemptions. Engaging in grandstanding shows of philanthropic giving while simultaneously avoiding taxes is an increasingly common tack among tech titans. Apple, according to an analysis cited in The Givers, used tax havens to dodge $2.4billion in remittances in 2011 alone, pioneering methods commonly employed by Facebook, Google, Adobe, Yahoo, Netflix and other industry leaders who seem to be giving with one hand while taking with the other.

Again, so what? If Zuckerberg avoids a few billion in corporate taxes only to invest tenfold in a charitable initiative, isn't the net benefit still positive?

Perhaps. But, as Callahan reveals, the large-scale philanthropic initiatives of this "creeping plutocracy" aren't beholden to the public will - or, more precisely, are beholden to the philanthropist's sense of what's good for the public.

"Often," he writes, "philanthropists are shaping arenas in ways that never entail a roll-call vote by elected representatives. ... Private funders have been pushing more energetically into public life even as many ordinary people have been withdrawing." As Callahan puts it, this trend can be "very scary if you're worried about civic equality."

The sneaky seizure of power in the United States may be seen as a fix - or, in TEDhead techno-plutocratic jargon, "disruption" - for the perceived inefficiency of American political life. Congress is logjammed. Schools are terrible. Hospitals are a joke. If the government can't cure what ails society, who better than a cabal of openhanded elites? The issue, as The Givers illustrates, is that the machinery of politics is grindingly unproductive because of the influence of private money - with lobbyists, think tanks and byzantine bureaucracies of "experts" commandeering the mighty ship of state.

At an even baser psychological level, flashy exhibitions of "giving" scan as little more than a way for shrewd capitalists to justify their exorbitant wealth. Charity gives the illusion of a conscience stirring in capitalism, like some genial ghost in the apparatus of inequality and wage exploitation.

In the 2012 documentary The Queen of Versailles, an employee of timeshare tycoon David Siegel vindicates his boss's wealth to two hapless tourists lured into a Las Vegas sales pitch. Presenting a wall of photos featuring Siegel alongside various celebrities (Alec Baldwin, Morgan Freeman, the Rock, Rudy Giuliani, etc.), the canny salesman makes a rushed, requisite note of the self-appointed Timeshare King's selflessness.

"A lot of these are different charity events he donates a lot of time and money to," he says, as if by rote. "So that's a good thing."

A new photo book by Lauren Greenfield, the producer/director of The Queen of Versailles, submits another image of wealth in contemporary America - not so much a counterpoint to the philanthropism of The Givers as a complement. Callahan's book quotes supergiver and former New York mayor David Bloomberg as noting that "the reality of great wealth is that you can't spend it." Greenfield's Generation Wealth indexes wild attempts to do just that - to conspicuously display great wealth.

The book maps the overlapping landscapes of money, aspiration, insecurity, celebrity and vacuity that define the American Dream's contemporary topography. One of the book's characters is a wealthy limousine driver known as Limo Bob. He holds the Guinness record for the world's biggest limo (100 feet long and equipped with a swimming pool and a helicopter landing pad).

Yet Limo Bob and the other blinged-out, made-up, megawealthy subjects of Generation Wealth speak less to the infinite possibilities of affluence than to its hobbling limitations. Such garish displays of hyper-conspicuous consumption betray a crippling lack of imagination.

In the introduction to their 2011 book The Trouble With Billionaires, Canadian authors Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks pose a hypothetical question: How long would it take Bill Gates to physically count his money? They surmise that, counting at a clip of one dollar a second, it would take Gates 1,680 years to tally his fortune. The point is not that Gates has a lot of money, it's that the amount of money he has is near unfathomable. As McQuaig and Brooks put it, the realities of being a billionaire are for most people "beyond their comprehension."

What we can fathom, however, is a bigger house, a nicer car, a more expensive jacket or a Jacuzzi hot tub bubbling with fine champagne (and fetid bacterial cultures). Such are the ambitions of Limo Bob, with his record-setting luxury car, or David Siegel, with his 90,000-square-foot mansion modelled after the Palace of Versailles. If a big house or a long sedan are judged as signifiers of wealth, then surely the biggest house and the longest sedan signify a consummate amount of wealth. We can dream in superlatives, but we can't conceive of something else - something altogether better.

As the frothing anti-capitalist journalist Chris Hedges puts it in Greenfield's book, "if you are living in a poor neighbourhood, and you drop $200 to buy a pair of Jordans, it's as if suddenly you're not poor anymore. But the social mobility you have is fictitious and is provided by expensive designer brands. Once you acquire them, then at least in the presentation that you give the rest of the world, they deny your reality. ... The same ethical rot runs from one end of the society to another."

Likely the most troubling aspect of Greenfield's collection is her sojourns to China and the former Soviet bloc, where the plague of mindless accumulation and greed has spread, like Count Dracula disseminating the vampiric logic of monopoly. One of Greenfield's photos shows a 28year-old Chinese tutor who charges women as much as $16,000 to learn "skills for the wealthy, such as how to fold a napkin" or "how to wear a hat."

But even the pronounced displays of wealth in Greenfield's book - which, with its $95 price tag and glossy, hardbound objet d'art presentation, is itself a marker of modest distinction - pale in comparison with the megadonors and superbillionaires of The Givers. In addition to lavish houses and fancy cars, these (to use Callahan's designations) "agents of wealth," "disputers" and "new Medicis" are able to buy influence and actual political power. But to paraphrase Hedges, the rot remains the same. At least the models, millionaires and playboys of Generation Wealth have the poor taste to be vulgar and conspicuous about their wealth, unlike the tech juggernauts in zipped-up hoodies and pleated Dockers nimbly juking around the checks and balances of governance to fix America's political agenda.

Callahan sets out acknowledging the thorniness of questioning philanthropy. His book proves fairly evenhanded, careful not to cast blanket aspersions on the superwealthy. Ultimately, his concern - and ours - comes back to the question of how people give and how the structures of enormous charitable institutions affect the operations of democracy itself. It is precisely because these megaphilanthropists are so altruistic-seeming that we should regard them more cautiously.

The vampires may have been defanged, dressed in frumpy Eddie Bauer windbreakers, but they still live to leech - not only the labour force or the marketplace, but liberty and democracy itself. And all the while we watch them in wide-eyed adoration, admiring the wonderful power of money so basely used.

John Semley is a writer based in Toronto.

Associated Graphic

'Limo Bob,' the self-proclaimed Limo King, holds the record for owning the longest limousine in the world. He appears in Lauren Greenfield's new book, Generation Wealth.


Can the online community be saved?
Friday, May 19, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

It seems quaint now to speak of online communities in romantic terms. I'll do it anyway. For the past few decades, we've been in love with them.

What made them so appealing was the way they made the world suddenly seemed to open up. Bulletin boards, and then forums, then blogs allowed everyone from knitting enthusiasts to politics nerds to find and talk to others who shared their interests or views. We liked that, and made hanging out there a mainstay of life. But as can happen with love, things can sour bit by bit, almost imperceptibly, until one day you awake and find yourself in toxic relationships.

It wasn't always this way. Years ago, in the mid-2000s, I sat in a Toronto basement apartment, adding my thoughts to posts on a site called Snarkmarket, which delved into the artsy and philosophical sides of technology and media. To my mind, these wide, wild, intimate discussions seemed to capture everything wonderful about the new modern age: I found like-minded individuals and, eventually, a community.

And then, I was on a plane, flying over the deep blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico in November, 2013. Somehow, a blog comment section had led me from Toronto to Florida. A group flew in from all over the continent to St. Petersburg, and brought our online discussions to life around tables replete with boozy pitchers shared on patios in the thick Florida air. Putting faces to usernames made fleeting connections feel more solid, and years later, a small number of us are still in touch: so much for the alienating nature of technology.

It does, however, already feel like a different era, and that such recent history can seem so far away brings with it a strange sense of vertigo. Logging on each morning now, I sometimes forget why I ever had so much faith in all this novelty, and wonder if it can be saved at all.

The first fault line was when the centre of gravity of our online socializing shifted to giant platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and more. With that shift to mainstream sites composed of tens of millions or hundreds of millions of users colliding together in a riot of opinion and expression, online communities started to seem unwelcoming, even dangerous places.

Signs of fissures in the experience of online life are everywhere but perhaps most emblematic of the change was Gamergate, an eruption in videogame communities that spun out into a reactionary, bitterly conservative movement of onand offline harassment that presaged the tenor and tone of social media to come. It was, depending on who you ask, a kind of canary in the coal mine, or more ominously, the final result of what was there all along.

Prominent users of Twitter (often outspoken feminists) such as Lindy West have quit the platform thanks to rampant abuse and conflict. Almost everyone I know is spending less time on social media than they used to - in part because of all the bad news, yes, but also because it's far less enjoyable than it used to be. Reaction and debate can spin out of control so fast that I often keep my mouth shut rather than risk the wrath of detractors or trolls.

In an age in which acrimony is seemingly everywhere, polarization is rampant and that social media is not just toxic, but often translates into real-world harm, the question is: Can the online community be saved? And why might we want to?

Even now, talk of online community still brings with it rhetoric about holding on to what is best in us. Recently on a Reddit subsection simply called Place, users collaboratively created an enormous image by individually placing tiles on a 1,000 by 1,000 pixel board. It could have been a mess, but instead turned into a beautiful collage, and amidst the bitter tension of postelection America, Place was a rare and symbolic return to the utopian ideals of the Web at its communal best.

Given the centrality of online life to life in general, though, it also hinted at something deeper: that in 2017, when one inquires whether online communities can be saved, what one is in essence asking is whether public discourse can be saved, too.

If there is reason for hope, perhaps it is found in communities that are thriving rather than imploding. One small, hopeful example: Bunz, a community that began in Toronto in 2013 as a bartering group on Facebook after founder Emily Bitze was so broke, she took to the social network to trade things for necessities such as food. Bunz has now expanded to have 300,000 members and its own app, yet often retains the close-knit feel that arose from the group initially being private and invite-only.

"Everything we do is driven by the community," Bunz community manager Eli Klein says. "The community took our ethos of community betterment and bartering as a central ethos of sharing, and used that to model other groups." Now, Bunz can be a place to not only discover or get rid of stuff, but also find a place to live, get a job or just find some help for random projects.

But as Klein points out, Bunz's strength is that it is not a social network in the traditional sense - "your aunt isn't going to come on and criticize what you say."

The general tone of the group is progressive. If it is a community, it is so because there are standards: Users who flout the rules are chastised, or simply banned.

It is tempting to say, then, that the solution is simple: barriers.

A functioning community should draw a line around the kind of people it wants, and keep others out. But that's also demoralizing in its own way. It suggests those lofty ideals that we could find community with people of all sorts across the globe are well and truly dead, forever.

Anil Dash doesn't believe they are - at least not fully. A mainstay in the U.S. tech scene after founding the blogging platform Typepad in the early 2000s, he has been vocal in his disappointment that platforms such as Twitter have been slow in responding to abuse. "The damage that can be done now is so much more severe because everyone is on these networks and they have so much more reach," he says on the phone from New York. "The stakes are now much higher."

The idea that technology can be neutral and that behaviour can't be predicted, Dash argues, simply isn't true: It's not, and it can, and things can be done to keep communities healthy.

He does see some signs that the misguided instinct to avoid dealing with negativity is changing. "The most positive thing after the election is that now there's broad awareness these communities have been broken for some time and are exploitable by bad actors," he says. Positive choices can be made.

Instituting ombudspeople is one example, and maintaining a functioning appeal structure - where admins act as arbiters to manage disputes - can go a long way.

Platforms can also encourage persistent identities, rather than throwaway accounts used to harass people: Twitter recently (and finally) instituted these types of measures, such as the ability for users to ignore accounts that didn't link to a phone number.

Mostly, though, Dash suggests that the way forward is listening to users, in particular the most vulnerable users, who tend to be women, people of colour and LGBTQ folk. The unfortunate impediment to this simple solution is the same as ever: money. As Dash points out, Twitter for years placed vastly more importance and resources in its advertising division than in community or harassment. The results speak for themselves.

This is a pattern that gets repeated everywhere online, as the need for scale and advertising come into conflict with the those things that define a community: not just standards, but values, respect, tolerance, truth.

At some point, you need to either annoy or kick off some users or content to make the place bearable for other users.

But fewer users and content in Silicon Valley's growth-mad climate means less revenue and a lower share price. There is, then, a fundamental tension at work created by the fact that private companies have provided the platforms for public speech.

Their interests don't line up, and indeed, are often contradictory.

Yet, as Dash points out, when Disney scuttled a content deal with Twitter in 2016 precisely because of its abuse problems, the issue became impossible to ignore. At certain points, economic necessities and the needs of community do in fact overlap, and it is in those spaces that hope lies.

At a scale of tens of thousands or even millions of people, it's not just notions of community that are lost, but norms, too, where what would be obvious offline - don't yell at someone to make a point, don't dominate a conversation just because you can, and so on - are ignored because of the free-for-all vibe of much social media.

Britney Summit-Gil, a writer, academic and researcher of online communities at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, suggests that while sites such as Facebook and Reddit can be full of hate and harassment, there are increasingly effective tools to build smaller, more private spaces, both on those platforms, and on other sites such as messaging app Slack, or even group text chats.

Summit-Gil also argues that in adopting the idea of community, these huge platforms are responsible for endorsing the principle of guidelines more generally: rules for how and by what standards online communities should operate, that allow these spaces to work at all.

Our online relationships aren't dead, but our sense of community has become more private: hidden in plain sight, in private Facebook or Slack groups, text chats with friends, we connect in closed spaces that retain the idea of a group of people, bound by shared values, using tech to connect where they otherwise might not be able to. Online communities were supplanted by social media and for a time we pretended they were the same thing, when in fact they are not.

Social media is the street; the community is the house you step into to meet your friends, and like any house, there are rules: things you wouldn't do, people you wouldn't invite it in and a limit on just how many people can fit. We forgot those simple ideas, and now it's time to remember.

My own online community that took me to Florida was, sadly, subject to the gravity of the social giants. It dissipated, pulled away by the weight of Twitter and Facebook, but also the necessities of work and money and family. Nonetheless, we still connect sometimes, now in new online places, quiet, enclosed groups that the public world can't see. New communities have sprouted up, too - and I still dive in. I'm not sure I would do so as easily, though, had it not been for what now threatens to be lost: that chance to get on a plane, look down from above and see, from up high, what we share with those scattered around the globe.

That sense of radical possibility is, I think, worth fighting to save.

Associated Graphic

With the shift to massive mainstream sites such as Twitter, in which tens of millions or hundreds of millions of users collide together in a riot of opinion and expression, online communities started to seem like unwelcoming, even dangerous places.


Chasing PrivateBancorp: CIBC's moving target
Five offers. $4.9-billion. One looming vote that will decide the fate of CEO Victor Dodig's signature deal
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B1

By this time next week, should all go as planned, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce could be in the final stages of sealing a blockbuster deal that would give it a much-needed beachhead the United States.

But first it must persuade a majority of PrivateBancorp Inc.'s shareholders to bless its $4.9-billion (U.S.) takeover of the Chicago-based lender at a special meeting on May 12. For Canada's fifth-largest bank by assets, this is proving to be easier said than done.

CIBC has tabled at least five offers to PrivateBancorp's board, two of them informally, and racked up frequent flyer miles between Toronto and Chicago since talks became serious in January, 2016, according to regulatory filings. The Canadian bank first floated a deal for $44 a share that winter, with the two companies coming to terms five months later, in June, for a proposed $47 a share.

Since then, "for better or worse, the world changed," said John Rodis, the St. Louis-based senior vice-president of research at FIG Partners, who has followed PrivateBancorp for 15 years. U.S. bank stocks soared after President Donald Trump was elected in November, and more recently, Canadian banks' share prices have dipped, which may be partly due to a crisis of confidence in besieged alternative mortgage lender Home Capital Group Inc.

This diverging trend has forced CIBC to adjust on the fly. The bank has publicly sweetened its offer twice, once in March and again on Thursday, when it bolstered the cash component by $3 a share for an implied price of $60.43 a share. With this latest bid - described as its "final and best offer" - CIBC has tried to draw a line in the sand.

Spokespeople for CIBC and PrivateBancorp declined to comment on the deal. But make no mistake: The proposed takeover will be the signature feature of Victor Dodig's tenure so far as CIBC's president and chief executive officer, whether it succeeds or fails. The bank has been kicking the tires on a major U.S. acquisition since at least 2013, under his predecessor Gerald McCaughey. And after more than a decade spent de-risking in the wake of the financial crisis, CIBC needs a new platform for growth.

The approval of PrivateBancorp's shareholders would all but consummate a proposed marriage whereby CIBC would acquire an all-star executive team to lead its U.S. efforts; a portfolio weighted toward commercial loans, which grow more lucrative in step with interest-rate hikes; and a footprint in the U.S. Midwest that stands to benefit if Mr. Trump's administration can ignite the economy. These are just some of the reasons CIBC views PrivateBancorp as "the right partner," but also why the price tag for this bank has kept rising - and why it is at risk of stretching just beyond CIBC's reach.

"It's a toss-up" whether the deal will win approval, Mr. Rodis said. "To be honest if you asked me, gun to my head, I don't even know."

PrivateBancorp's story Founded in 1989, PrivateBancorp is a relative adolescent next to 150-year-old CIBC.

The PrivateBank, as it is commonly known, grew up through a period of intense consolidation in Chicago's banking market during the 1980s and 1990s, and now conducts business in 36 offices across 12 states. But it still generates 75 per cent of its sales from the Chicago area. It serves corporate clients that typically earn between $20-million and $500-million in revenue each year, but as much as $2-billion. It also caters to the wealthy owners and executives who run the bank's mid-market commercial clients through its private wealth group, private banking and asset management services.

A pivotal moment in the lender's 28-year history came in 2007, when Larry Richman joined as CEO from LaSalle Bank, a heavy hitter in Chicago's banking landscape that had been swallowed up by Bank of America Corp. A long list of employees and their clients decamped with him.

Mr. Richman is a sharply dressed, well-respected banker with wide-ranging connections in the Midwest - a relationship banker who is said to be most at home meeting with company CEOs and lending money. But when he arrived, at the precipice of the financial crisis, he inherited problems with PrivateBancorp's credit quality, and set about cleaning up the bad assets on its books.

Since then, the makeup of its loan book has evolved. Whereas 65 per cent of the 2007 book was comprised of riskier loans to construction and commercial real estate - some of which turned into troubled assets during the crisis - 64 per cent of loans are now to more reliable commercial and industrial clients, as of March. During that same period, the bank has more than doubled the size of its staff from 597 professionals to 1,329 and quadrupled its total assets from $5-billion to $20-billion.

"It's a completely different bank than the old company was," said Jared Shaw, a managing director at Wells Fargo Securities LLC.

Analysts speculate that Mr. Richman and his team, with their extensive relationships across the United States, may be among the most prized assets CIBC is trying to acquire. If the deal goes through, Mr. Richman will become head of CIBC's U.S. region for a three-year term, and CIBC will pay handsomely to keep his team intact. PrivateBank's five top executives will collect a combined $15.9-million (U.S.) in retention payments, including an $8.2-million deferred award for Mr. Richman.

On its own, the mid-sized PrivateBank has its limitations, however. It doesn't have a stable base of deposits to fund its loan book, and the prospect of gaining access to CIBC's much larger balance sheet is one reason the lender could benefit from tying itself to a larger institution. The PrivateBank has about $28-billion (Canadian) in total assets, compared with CIBC's $513.3-billion.

"I continue to view PrivateBancorp as this big bank that's trapped in a small-bank body," said Terry McEvoy, an analyst at Stephens Inc. "That's kind of their mentality."

In 2016, the PrivateBank's loan syndication division was the lead or co-lead on 118 deals totalling $3.2-billion (U.S.) in commitments to commercial borrowers, up from $2.3-billion the year before. But the bank only kept $1.2-billion on their own balance sheet.

"So they're growing in excess of their capacity," Mr. McEvoy added. "If I'm part of a larger entity, that $3.2-billion, I can keep that on the balance sheet, and that's incremental revenue growth. ... The combined company stands to be more profitable."

CIBC says PrivateBancorp will also provide a place to park deposits and manage treasury services to its cross-border Canadian clients and private U.S. wealth manager CIBC Atlantic Trust, acquired in 2014. PrivateBancorp says 75 per cent of its commercial clients have a treasury management relationship with the bank today.

The upshot is that, unlike many deals in the U.S. banking sector that focus intensely on reducing costs, CIBC's interest in PrivateBank appears to be mostly strategic.

"If [CIBC is] looking at this as the long term, over the next generation they want to have a platform for growth in the U.S., they're not going to be able to find a well-run, well-positioned bank for a cheaper price," Mr. Shaw said. "It's not so much just what does Private bring to the table today - it's what type of market positioning does it allow CIBC to have in the U.S. market?" But CIBC can't escape tough questions about a price tag that started out high last June and has gone higher since.

CIBC's U.S. history CIBC once had a much bigger presence in the United States, but decided to retreat back to the safety and familiarity of the Canadian market after a series of missteps in the early 2000s. In early 2005, CIBC paid $2.4-billion (U.S.) to settle a class-action lawsuit with Enron investors after becoming entangled in the energy firm's accounting scandal.

And after amassing substantial exposure to the U.S. subprime mortgage market, the bank took billions of dollars in writedowns.

As early as 2004, one analyst wryly described CIBC as the bank "most likely to walk into a sharp object."

But that's history, and CIBC is only one of several of Canada's largest banks moving aggressively into the fiercely competitive U.S. market. Forecasting projects only modest growth from their core domestic operations for the foreseeable future. And that makes the U.S. market - where optimism among banks and businesses has surged of late - a tantalizing opportunity to boost profits.

Since 2005, Toronto-Dominion Bank has built an extensive U.S. presence with more branches in the United States than it has in Canada, while Bank of Montreal has a long-standing presence in the U.S. Midwest through BMO Harris Bank. Meanwhile, Royal Bank of Canada re-engineered its U.S. strategy in 2015 with the $5-billion (U.S.) purchase of City National Bank.

In 2015, CIBC had a false start: The bank sold off its 41-per-cent stake in U.S. wealth manager American Century Investments because it saw no path to gain full control.

In hindsight, CIBC's timing on the PrivateBancorp deal could have been better. But a driving force behind the U.S. bank's soaring share price since the deal was first announced rests on interest rates - a factor beyond its control. That's because a whopping 96 per cent of its loans have variable pricing, and about 70 per cent of its loans are tied to Libor, which measures banks' estimated borrowing costs.

PrivateBancorp is one of the most sensitive banks to rate hikes because so many of its assets - loans and investment securities - will reprice immediately. They will adjust much faster than the cost of servicing the bank's deposits, the lion's share of which are in business chequing accounts, and PrivateBancorp stands to cash in as spreads widen.

This week, the U.S. Federal Reserve held its key benchmark rate steady, but it is expected to gradually hike short-term rates this year if economic growth picks up.

Should the deal be voted down, it's not clear either bank has a viable alternative in mind. CIBC could pursue another mid-sized U.S. bank - analysts speculate about Texas Capital Bancshares, Western Alliance Bancorporation and PacWest Bancorp - but it isn't clear the price tags for those banks would be any more achievable.

As for PrivateBancorp, "I don't necessarily think that there's another buyer for PrivateBank out there," said Mr. Shaw from Wells Fargo.

Most analysts agree the PrivateBank would be fine standing alone. But after a year and a half of courtship with numerous twists and turns, the $4.9-billion question is whether shareholders can stomach walking away from their most devoted suitor.

"They've put a lot of effort into this," Mr. Shaw said. "I think this is the best deal for them."

Associated Graphic

CIBC once had a much bigger presence in the United States, but decided to retreat back to the safety and familiarity of the Canadian market after a series of missteps in the early 2000s.


Calm amid a political storm: BMO's big bet on the U.S.
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B1

U.S. President Donald Trump is trying to unleash the animal spirits of American commerce with his promises of lower taxes and lighter regulations. Set free the nation's entrepreneurs and business owners, say the proponents of Trumponomics, and growth and investment will soar.

No one yet knows whether he will be able to get his economic agenda through Congress, especially as his presidency becomes further embroiled in controversy over his firing of the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But Bank of Montreal is making a bet that regardless of the political drama in Washington, the good times will carry on for Corporate America - and the bank will be able to profit from a resurgence in confidence among medium-sized companies that have now fully recovered from the financial crisis.

After an extended push into the United States, including a post-crisis hiring spree and the acquisition of a merger-advisory boutique in 2016, BMO has built a U.S. investment bank that rivals, in some respects, what it has in Canada. It has about the same number of bankers on both sides of the border; its equity analysts cover 580 U.S. stocks, compared with a little more than 300 Canadian ones.

The bank says its ability to help companies raise equity and debt is the same in both countries.

And it's generating almost as much in fees from advising on mergers and acquisitions in the United States as it does at home.

Yet the United States accounted for 35 per cent, or $1.5-billion, of the bank's total revenue from capital markets in 2016, hovering around that percentage since 2014. Profitability is lower: last year, the unit contributed $259-million in net income, or 20 per cent of the group's total earnings.

Senior executives at BMO say that its U.S. capital markets arm is on the verge of a growth spurt, as it looks to ride a strong economy that has pushed U.S. unemployment down to 4.4 per cent, the lowest since 2007. Within five years, BMO estimates that half its capital-markets revenue could come from the United States, and if it manages to keep its costs in check, it should be more profitable growth.

"We know that we can operate in Canada with the same number of people and generate more revenue," Bill Downe, BMO's chief executive officer, said this week during an interview. "We should be able to do that in the United States."

If BMO's capital markets division in the United States is going to catch fire, you'd think it would need a spark from within. But the bank hasn't drawn up a new game plan. Instead, it says it can fuel growth just by doing what it's done for years.

While its Chicago-based U.S. retail and commercial bank, BMO Harris Bank, has a sizable footprint in the U.S. Midwest, its capital markets efforts are not defined by geography, but by sector specialties. BMO focuses on mid-sized companies with market values of between $200-million (U.S.) and $5-billion that operate in any of seven sectors, among them being commoditybased industries such as energy, mining and food and agriculture.

"Clients have repeatedly told us, both in investment banking and in trading products, 'Don't try to be everything to us. We don't need another JPMorgan,' " Patrick Cronin, the new head of BMO Capital Markets, said in his first interview since he took the job in November. He replaced Darryl White, who will succeed Mr. Downe to become the bank's CEO on Nov. 1. "We're going to focus on what we're really good at."

Though BMO's focus is narrower in the United States than it is in Canada, where it is among the top three among investment banks in equity and debt sales, the fee pool within its reach in the mid-cap space in the United States is three times the size of the entire fee pool in Canada, Mr. Cronin says. Increasing its average market share across product lines to as much as 3 per cent from roughly 1.5 per cent "isn't a huge stretch," he added.

BMO isn't the only large Canadian investment bank that's relying on the United States to fuel growth. The capital-markets divisions of Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank are aiming to earn more south of the border. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, for its part, is in the final stages of gaining a much-needed U.S. beachhead as its acquisition of Chicago-based commercial bank PrivateBancorp Inc. closes next month.

While a recent wave of megadeals has kept some Canadian bankers busy, there's only so much runway for growth in Canada, where the economy has been more sluggish, there has been a drought in the the number of companies going public and many large corporations are loyal to the banks they already work with.

Even if BMO is successful with its U.S. capital-markets expansion, some question whether the opportunity is large enough to move the needle for a bank that earned $4.6-billion (Canadian) last year.

"These banks are so big now that it's very hard for them to do anything that has a meaningful impact, outside of large acquisitions," said Rob Wessel, a managing partner at Hamilton Capital, a Toronto-based asset manager that focuses on the global financial sector. "I wouldn't expect the bank analysts to change their earnings estimates over this initiative. My guess is they'll probably just watch."

Canadian banks haven't always had a smooth ride south of the border. The large domestic banks that maintain significant U.S. businesses, including BMO, have all had their share of stumbles over the years, when corporate loan losses or bad trades piled up in their American units.

But it's also a market in which investment banking has been upended by steep fines and a stiffer regulatory regime since the crisis. Many large Europeanbased banks are in the process of retreating from the United States, while the mega-American banks are taking a second look at their client bases as they grapple with a higher cost of capital. In the process, some companies are being orphaned, spurring them to look for a new bank.

"They are shunning away clients, especially in the mid-market, that do not drive volumes and margins for them," said Roy Choudhury, the Americas banking and capital-markets leader at Ernst & Young in New York.

It's not just the Canadian banks that are trying to seize growth in the U.S. mid-market, however.

"We see a lot of the regional banks in the U.S. expanding their footprint into this market. We see some expansion from Japanese banks, especially in the New York area," he said.

Said Mr. Cronin: "Other firms shrink aggressively and expand aggressively. As firms become less aggressive, there are opportunities."

For Mr. Downe, however, what separates BMO from all the other banks is its focus on those seven sectors. His early-career experience as an energy banker in Houston "was really, for me, evidence that if you specialize by industry sector, you can be very relevant to clients based on the depth of your knowledge," Mr. Downe added. "I think our long track record in the market has left a clear brand position for the bank."

Such specialization can have a sharp edge to it, leaving an investment bank heavily exposed to narrower parts of the economy. (TD, for example, built a corporate lending business with telecom firms - which briefly killed the bank's earnings power when the sector went through a vicious downturn in the early 2000s.) Still, Randy Stuewe says BMO's intellectual horsepower is what has earned his business for years.

As CEO of Darling Ingredients Inc. of Irving, Tex., Mr. Stuewe has retained BMO bankers to advise on three key acquisitions over the past decade that transformed the company, which collects inedible materials from the animal slaughter process and repurposes it into food, feed and fuel.

"Every January to March, you see every one of the investment banks come through, all asking you for an idea so they can go work on it. With BMO, they're always bringing us ideas," Mr. Stuewe said. "It means they have built an expertise in our industry."

That expertise and counsel is what Mr. Stuewe counts on. And in return, he has included BMO in the financing arrangements for those three deals, putting BMO alongside heavyweights Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan on a stock sale in 2013.

"They might not have what I refer to as a top-end execution on bonds or equity, but the reason we are going to go issue stock or debt is because they got the deal done. And they need to be rewarded," he added. "You don't need [BMO] if all you wanted was execution. But it still comes back to relationships."

Mr. Stuewe has known the BMO bankers since the early 1990s, a decade before he became the CEO at Darling in 2003.

But the relationship between the bank and Darling wasn't always so smooth. Mr. Stuewe says when Darling hit a rough patch in 2002, BMO Harris Bank was among the first of its lenders to run for the exit signs. "We always tease them. We always say, 'you guys were the first to run and we allowed you back in,' " Mr. Stuewe said.

"They all just cringe. They never like to hear that story. But it comes down to, do you trust them?" For years, the bank has worked to break down barriers that have existed between different product groups, such as equity and debt capital markets and corporate lending. To do so, BMO has been "taking a more holistic view" of its relationships with clients, Luke Seabrook, chief operating officer at BMO Capital Markets, said in an interview.

"When you have the trust that it's going to be measured more broadly, it creates a different dynamic. It takes time and it is a cultural thing."

In practice, that means looking at a debt issuance, foreignexchange hedge and an interestrate swap as one transaction for BMO rather than three - and pricing it as a package.

"There's still people in the marketplace who will take the view that these are three distinct transactions, done by three different groups, each group will have a return hurdle that they're looking to make and by the time you add them all up, you're uncompetitive when you price it," added Mr. Seabrook.

Mr. Cronin concurs. "You've put too much margin into the product," he added.

"Whereas if you look at it holistically, price it as a package and as long as the package over all has a sufficient level of profitability, most often times we find that we're much more competitive than we would have otherwise been."

Associated Graphic

BMO Capital Markets head Patrick Cronin, left, and Luke Seabrook, the division's chief operating officer, pose at the First Canadian Place corporate head office in Toronto. Both aim to push for 'a more holistic view' of BMO's relationships with clients.


Home, suite home
Co-living/co-working hostelries provide a new option for globetrotters seeking transience over a long-term lease
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page T4

Six months ago, Ester Morales sold all her belongings and gave up her California condo. "All I want is to be free," says the solutions architect, who originally hails from Barcelona.

Free she is, except for some obligatory meetings at her company's headquarters in Texas.

Morales, whose skill set is in high demand, can work from anywhere. She admits that, at first, she had qualms about cutting loose. But "once I did it," she says, "magic happened."

What Morales "did" exactly was take up residence in one of the many co-living/co-working space hostelries that are sprouting up across the globe. Some of these latter-day boarding houses are like boutique hotels, some like high-end hostels. But all are designed to shelter and entertain the growing demographic of the gainfully employed and uprooted by choice.

Just back from Outsite, a cowork/co-live space in Costa Rica, she's now in Miami at one of Roam's four international "homes." Roam is a one-year-old growing network of homes on three continents that caters to location-independent workers.

To one degree or another, each of these spaces offer a comfy bedroom, a state-of-the-art communal kitchen and stylish communal workspace with lightning-speed Internet. Some have maid service, others swimming pools and a few have small, hip eateries on site. Some of these projects have multiple locations, and each has a wide range of stay and lease options.

All cater to the growing army of mostly young, nomadic, tech-savvy globetrotters, whose talent and temperament allow them to choose transience over a longterm lease or mortgage. On a whim, these digital drifters pack up their Macs and roam from location to location - London or Thailand or Tokyo. These digerati simply move in, plug in, get to work and play in their new digs with their new friends.

Another wandering cohort, Liza Hall, sitting at the same outdoor communal table as Morales, surrounded by bougainvillea, chirping birds and gentle Florida spring breezes, nods her head at the word "magic." Hall is the marketing manager for a company in Minnesota. Asked where she lives, she laughs and says, "Wherever."

But does "wherever" provide real community? Absolutely, says Vancouver native Alana Banks who, for almost a year with partner Laura Mcllvain and a couple of suitcases, has been bouncing around Roam's locations in Miami, Bali and Tokyo, to Sun and Co.'s seaside co-live/co-work space in Spain.

"The community we help to build and all of the friends we have made is more than I could have imagined," Banks says.

And it's not just any community, she says. Banks has her own bookkeeping business, and says that being an entrepreneur can get a bit lonely. Spaces such as Roam's are the antidote. "Living in a community of entrepreneurs and like-minded people wanting more than the traditional lifestyle of settling down in one place has been amazing," she says.

Projects such as Roam, which merge co-living and co-working with reasonably priced opportunities to see the world, are not a hard sell to a demographic already used to car-sharing and bumping around the world in other people's homes.

Chip Conley, Airbnb's strategic adviser for hospitality and leadership, says the concept of combining housing, work and travel is more than a trend, but rather a sustainable long-term shift. Conley says the confluence of a few factors conspire to make this a durable change in the way people travel. The first is a changing work landscape.

"Evolving technologies for mobile devices and wireless mean there will be more digital nomads," he says. Secondly, he says that this younger cohort, made skittish by a U.S. housing crash, is less interested in owning a home. "They think real estate is not safe, and they don't want to be weighed down with purchases like homes or cars for that matter."

Those labour and real estate trends, plus millennials' and Generation Z's obsession with social hubs, comfort with sharing space and desire to meet likeminded people, has not gone unnoticed, magazine editor Jeff Weinstein says. "Hotels are dabbling with more communal concepts, and you will be seeing that concept at various levels like luxury, high-end and budget."

Weinstein points to harbinger French brand AccorHotels' new JO&JOE, a blend of hostel and hotel for millennials. Not surprisingly, Marriott, often the leader of the pack when it comes to institutionalizing under-theradar trends, is piloting a communal living option at its Element brand, which seizes on the work/pleasure hybrid. Each space has four private bedrooms built around a communal kitchen and workspace.

"Next-generation consumers want more than just a place to put their heads down," says Toni Stoeckl, Marriott's global brand leader, lifestyle brands at Marriott International. "They want a sense of community."

Along with the space, of course, Element guests will have the amenity options of the largest hotel brand in the world.

The idea of community is also central to Roam's founder, Bruno Haid. There are other co-living/ co-working projects such as Nomad House, Remote Year, Outsite and WeLive (a WeWork spinoff), but if the digital nomad movement in high-end hostelry has a guru-in-chief, it's Austrianborn Haid, who is based out of Britain.

"Show up and find community anywhere," is a Roam motto.

Haid, who is not a hotelier but a graphic designer, says he got the idea from seeing people like himself in Bali, working out of coffee shops and living in bed-andbreakfasts or Airbnbs. Betting on a generation already more transient, global-thinking and communal, he thought, "Why not bring it all together: accommodation, travel, work with the likeminded in international locations?" His idea, though thoroughly entrepreneurial and commercial (he has a substantial infusion of venture capital), has elements of a social experiment. "Roam homes provide a stage for expression of cultural values aligned with community," says Haid, pointing to the way the physical space is laid out in each venue to "engineer guests' encounters with one another."

Each guest has an attractive private bedroom with en suite bath, but cooking, dining and working is a communal affair. Long tables are natural gathering places, as is a state-of-the-art kitchen. Staff mingle with guests and do their own work from the same communal "office" space, all the while subtly encouraging group activities such as weekly dinners and on-site yoga classes.

Roam guest Steven Azoulay, a Montrealer who is chief executive of Findor - a company that organizes travel packages for sports and entertainment events - is simply not comfortable at hotels. "I just don't feel at home," he says. Here at Roam, he says, everyone is working and has a shared understanding about that.

"It is very motivating. We work where we sleep."

While the whiff of freedom is alluring and the idea of potlatching all one's belongings has merit, the set-up is not for everybody. It would be hard to imagine juggling diaper bags or managing toddlers or sulky teens in spaces such as these, where meals are ad hoc, nine-to-five doesn't exist and work plays a central role.

But for those untethered by work or family, roaming is perfect, Banks says.

"This lifestyle is not unrooted if you think about it. Rather, it is putting down roots wherever we go, making more friends and building connections around the world."


From Melbourne to Montenegro, and Thailand to Tenerife, there are co-living/co-working spaces for the location independent, otherwise known as digital nomads. Here are a few:


San Diego, Venice Beach, Lake Tahoe, Sonoma, Santa Cruz, Peurto Rico, Costa Rica Outsite boasts lots of outdoor activities and the company's locations have a team-building retreat feel about them. The California focus means lots of Silicon Valley types there for "Work-ation" as they call it.

Price: From $1,500 (U.S.) a month for a private room.


San Francisco, Montreal; coming soon: Shanghai, Barcelona, Paris Although there are several locations, Startup Basecamp's centre of gravity is in San Francisco, where it promises to immerse you in "the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem."

While other co-living spaces have pool parties at night, Startup Basecamp offers

"pitch nights with VC/Angel investors."

Price, San Francisco: Starting at $69 a night for shared room and $99 a night for private room; 6 Price, Montreal: $35 (Canadian) a night shared or private.


Nomad House hosts co-working trips to a variety of destinations and provides co-living accommodation in those locations.

Prices: Vary depending on length of stay, destination and room quality. Fifteen-day trips from $1,000 (U.S.) to 30-day trips from $2,000.


New York, San Francisco, Washington Common offers co-living/coworking spaces in three cool U.S. cities' coolest neighbourhoods (Okay, Washington's cool quotient dropped like a stone in January), with flexible leases that allow you to switch locations on a whim.

Price: Bedrooms begin at $1,340 (U.S.) a month based on a 12-month lease.


Remote Year is a kind of gap year for grownups. A year-long tour takes professionals who can work remotely to a dozen different co-live spaces in 12 different cities on four continents.

Price: $5,000 (U.S.) down and $2,000 a month get you the package, including travel from destination to destination.


Miami, Bali, Tokyo, London Probably the most attractive of all the co-living spaces with its stunningly designed locations. A single lease lets you stay in any one of its four high-end global digs.

Price: Starts at $1,800 (U.S.) a month to $3,200 for premier locations.


This WeWork spinoff has two locations: Washington and New York. WeLive seems to offer a little more privacy with its range of furnished accommodation, from studios to three-bedroom apartments, including private kitchen facilities, with communal options.

Price: Varies. New York starts at $3,000 (U.S.) for studio to $10,000 for a four-bedroom apartment. Washington checks in at $1,640 for a studio to $1,200 a person in a fourbedroom.


Javea, Spain This sun-and-sea hideaway offers a dreamy Mediterranean holiday in a historic 19th-century home with 21st-century high-speed Internet connection so you can work 24/7 (except when you use the kayak or surfboard included with your stay).

Price: Depends on room occupancy and length of stay.

For example, a private room is from $50 (U.S.) a day for a seven-day stay to $36 a day for a 30-day visit.

Associated Graphic

Roam's Miami location is one of four 'homes' set up on three continents by the co-living and co-working network.


Politician opened our doors to boat people
Some 60,000 refugees from Indochina came to Canada in 1979 and 1980 thanks to his efforts as immigration minister
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, May 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S7

In 1979, Canadians watched with horror as hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees packed barely seaworthy boats and cast off into the treacherous South China Sea. It was the biggest peacetime exodus the world had seen. Many would drown fleeing the Communist regime.

At the same time, a world away, two young Toronto historians made a copy of a manuscript they had written and mailed it to Ron Atkey, the immigration minister in the new government of Joe Clark. The academics, Irving Abella and Harold Troper, had documented Canada's woeful record of turning away European Jews before, during and after the Second World War; the manuscript was later expanded into a book that took its title from the remark of an immigration official who was asked how many Jews would be allowed into Canada after the war. He replied, "None is too many."

The authors enclosed a note: "We hope Canada will not be found wanting in this refugee crisis the way it was in the last."

They expected no reply.

Only later did they learn that the deputy immigration minister, John Manion, had read the manuscript and after showing it to Mr. Atkey, declared, "This should not be you."

Mr. Atkey needed little prodding. Disturbed by the historical parallels between Jews fleeing Nazism and the "boat people" from Indochina, he later said the article "stiffened my resolve to be bold" - a resoluteness that would reappear decades later in another migration of exiles, these from Syria.

True to his word, Mr. Atkey, working with his friend and cabinet colleague Flora MacDonald, began hiking the number of refugees from the region that Canada would admit. Just two weeks into his job in June, 1979, he announced an increase from 5,000 to 7,000 a year. This country, he averred, would use international forums to denounce the "genocide" taking place in Vietnam and show "the world that we are a compassionate nation."

In a letter to The Globe and Mail a few weeks later, Mr. Atkey said the number had been revised upward to 8,000 a year. Another 3,000 were expected to arrive via private sponsorship, and yet another 1,000 through the family-reunification program.

By the end of July, the target was 3,000 a month.

But all those numbers were eclipsed. In the end, Mr. Atkey's department, with an assist from Ms. MacDonald and Canadians at large, took in a stunning 50,000 refugees from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in 1979, with 10,000 more admitted by the end of 1980, when Mr. Clark's government was succeeded by Pierre Trudeau's Liberals.

Mr. Atkey was the "principal author of the policy change, which dramatically widened Canada's doors," Mr. Clark told a memorial service for Mr. Atkey recently.

"His hand actually turned the wheel that turned the world."

Mr. Atkey was also spurred by the entreaties of his predecessor in the immigration post, Bud Cullen. The day after Mr. Atkey was sworn in, Mr. Cullen informed him that a program allowing sponsorship of immigrants by private groups and citizens, enacted under the Liberals, had stalled. Mr. Cullen "quietly suggested that a new government might do better," Mr. Atkey recalled, according to Mr. Clark.

Mr. Atkey rekindled the program, which was called Operation Lifeline. Community groups, private citizens and houses of worship came alive, and about 39,000 of the Southeast Asian refugees arrived under private sponsorship. "That was a big surprise for us, that private sponsorship should be so high," he would recall. "It kind of grew like topsy ... community-based groups, neighbours all came together and it became very fashionable to sponsor a family." The program became the crown jewel of Canada's immigration policy and a model for the world.

Combining government with private sponsorship "was unprecedented and remained unMr. Atkey modestly attributed the success of the immigration to "a rare time in Canadian history," he told The Globe and Mail last fall. "What permitted this to go ahead was a genuine change of heart by the Canadian community."

The response of many Canadians was indeed generous, but the Atkey family also faced threats of violence. One promised that their newborn baby son would never make it home from the hospital and the clan received an RCMP security detail for a time.

Though the Tories' policy was greeted with much public sympathy and activism, "the courage and leadership of MacDonald and Atkey in fighting for an unprecedented commitment, and in inspiring officials and ordinary Canadians to deliver on it, cannot be overstated," declares the book Running on Empty: Canada and the Indochinese Refugees, 1975-1980, launched May 17 in Ottawa and written by four retired foreignservice officers. Mr. Atkey wrote the forward, at the authors' insistence.

Admitting the boat people "was Ron's initiative," recalled Mr.

Clark in an interview with The Globe and Mail. Mr. Atkey and Ms. MacDonald, Canada's first female foreign minister, "were close and I believe they had personal discussions before it came to cabinet. The two of them advanced it very strongly. I was very supportive of it but my practice was to leave a lot of initiatives to my ministers and I did in that case."

Mr. Clark said his government, which lasted just nine months, "encountered an extraordinary Canadian reaction" to the boat people. "We were highly encouraged by it. Even at this early time, it was evident that there was going to be much more buy in to this, much more involvement by citizens and groups.

"Ron was a very principled actor in all of this."

Mr. Clark, at the memorial service for Mr. Atkey, referred to his old friend as a proud Red Tory (the kind one today sees "only in museums," half-joked Toronto Mayor John Tory, who managed one of Mr. Atkey's campaigns).

But the former prime minister also called Mr. Atkey "an architect of the future."

By that he meant that 35 years after the influx from Southeast Asia, Mr. Atkey again witnessed a refugee crisis and the boat people clearly remained moored in his memory. As chair of Humanity Wins, a group of prominent Canadians, he became a loud voice in the campaign to admit Syrian refugees to Canada. "We still have the same goal now as we had then," he told The Huffington Post in December, 2015, "and that is to set an example of a humanitarian nation."

But sensing a harsher public tone when it came to the Syrians, he added: "There seems to be a xenophobia sweeping through and silly things are being said."

He felt that the Justin Trudeau Liberals' commitment to settle 25,000 Syrians initially was "bold and emphatic," but he called on Ottawa to double that number.

"If Canada can do another 25,000, that would make a significant contribution in line with Canada's contribution with the Vietnamese boat people in 1979 to 1980," Mr. Atkey told the Toronto Star last winter. "It will demonstrate to the Americans that they have to do more. We'll shame them into it, similarly the Australians."

Between November, 2015, and February, 2017, this country took in just over 40,000 refugees of the Syrian civil war, with about 14,000 of them sponsored privately, according to Immigration and Citizenship Canada Mr. Atkey died unexpectedly at his Toronto home on May 9 of undisclosed causes thought to be heart-related. He was 75.

Ronald George Atkey was born on Feb. 15, 1942, in Saint John, where his pregnant mother had travelled to see his father ship out to war in Europe. Back home in Petrola, Ont., about three hours west of Toronto, Mr. Atkey's father, Osborne Atkey, practised law while his mother, the former Mary Hills, taught school.

A star student at the University of Western Ontario, he earned a law degree as a gold medalist in 1965, followed by a master's degree from Yale University and co-editorship of a highly regarded textbook on Canadian constitutional law.

He experienced an alternating series of victories and defeats in his four consecutive federal election bids against Liberal rival John Roberts in Toronto's St. Paul's riding: Mr. Atkey won in 1972, lost in 1974, won in 1979 and lost again in 1980. Mr. Atkey served as an MP for a total of 21/2 years - "not as long as he was needed," Mr. Clark eulogized.

As his death notice stated, he had one speed in life: busy. After politics, Mr. Atkey practised law in Toronto; was the first chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, which provided civilian oversight of Canada's spy agency; was a member of the commission of inquiry into the wrongly accused terror suspect Maher Arar; taught law; patronized the arts; and published a spy novel, The Chancellor's Foot, with coaching from Margaret Atwood, who advised him to stop writing like a lawyer.

Mr. Atkey also played a key role in quieting the turmoil that engulfed Pakistan in the early 1990s. Former prime minister Brian Mulroney recalled in his memoirs that Benazir Bhutto was ousted as prime minister of Pakistan in August, 1990, and threatened with arrest. The memoirs relate that Canada's ambassador to Pakistan at the time, Manfred von Nostitz, asked Ms. Bhutto whether appointing an impartial Canadian legal expert to examine the constitutional issues surrounding her status would help.

She agreed, and that expert was Mr. Atkey, whose report supported Ms. Bhutto's legal and constitutional rights.

Mr. Atkey's report was "a godsend to the beleaguered Bhutto and her political party," Mr. Mulroney quoted Mr. von Nostitz. "It no doubt helped her at that time to stay out of jail and to eventually be re-elected for a second term in 1993."

Morton Beiser, a Toronto psychiatrist known for his research in the fields of immigration and resettlement, interviewed the "greying, impeccably dressed" Mr. Atkey in 1988 for a book on the boat people's first decade in Canada. It's not often, the former minister mused, that one is given the chance "to make a difference." He added: "I didn't want my children to have to remember me as somebody who said, 'None is too many.' " Mr. Atkey's first marriage ended in divorce. He leaves his wife, Marie Rounding; children Matthew Atkey, Erin Tait and Jennifer Price; and four grandchildren. He was predeceased by a son, Jonathan Atkey, and a sister, Jane Atkey.

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

Associated Graphic

Ron Atkey said his initiative to bring thousands of refugees to Canada in 1979 and 1980 was possible because of 'a genuine change of heart by the Canadian community.'


Mr. Atkey became immigration minister in June, 1979, just as thousands were fleeing from Indochina in dangerously overloaded boats.


Political tensions rise over the dam
The work already completed in the construction of a $9-billion dam in B.C.'s Peace River Valley may all be for naught as the project sits in the balance ahead of next week's election
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A12

VANCOUVER -- On the floor of the Peace River Valley, the biggest capital construction project in the history of British Columbia is taking shape. Every day, more than 2,000 workers clock in to dig for bedrock that will anchor the base of the Site C hydroelectric dam and to strip the riverbanks before the reservoir floods the valley.

The BC Liberal government has tried to get this $8.8-billion project past the point of no return before the May 9 provincial election; however, if the NDP form government, the project may never be completed.

No matter what verdict is delivered by voters on their next government, the outcome will have a strong impact on the province's approach to resource development, the environment and Indigenous rights. And the path forward that British Columbia takes on those issues will be felt across the country.

The two main parties - the Liberals, who have governed the province for 16 years, and the NDP, who have served as the Official Opposition all that time - promise to take B.C. in different directions. The Greens, having won just one seat in the previous provincial election, have had an outsize influence on their rivals, reflecting the coast's strong leanings toward sustainability.

But the Liberals have made it their mantra to "get to yes" on resource development, while the NDP have vowed to block billions of dollars' worth of development because of environmental concerns or aboriginal opposition.

The Site C dam illustrates the divide: The BC Liverals say that with a peak capacity of approximately 1,100 megawatts, the project will encourage economic growth and could help Alberta wean itself off coal power.

The New Democrats have sided with environmental and First Nation critics who oppose the dam because of the threats to farmland, wildlife and traditional uses of the land. An NDP government would send the project to a review if elected, to determine whether the project is the most cost-effective way to build new capacity - and if the additional power is really needed. But they would continue with construction while that review is carried out. More than $4-billion has been spent or committed. Left unanswered is whether they would hand out pink slips to workers halfway through construction.

In British Columbia, the political debate is framed by these dimensions: Jobs versus sustainability, and what degree of influence should the province's 203 First Nations have on those decisions. In this election, British Columbian voters will be choosing where the balance should rest.

It is a traditional resource economy - still rooted in forestry, mining and natural gas - but it is also the birthplace of North America's first carbon tax and the home of the Great Bear Rainforest that protects 6.4 million hectares of the B.C. coast. And it is here, in a bid to gain consent for expanded oil-pipeline capacity to get Alberta's oil to tidewater, that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $1.5-billion oceanprotection plan, which he described as "the most significant investment ever made to protect our oceans and coastlines."

In addition, British Columbia has been at the leading edge of defining modern Indigenous rights, which are intertwined in almost every resource development in this province where the founding colonial government mostly overlooked the resolution of treaties - a failure that is felt today across the sectors of mining, forestry and energy.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), newly blessed by the federal Liberals after formal concerns lodged by the previous Conservative government, is one of the key dividing lines between the political parties.

It's promise of free, prior and informed consent is the lens that the BC NDP would apply to every action taken by government - in step with Ottawa. However, the BC Liberals warn that UNDRIP could cripple the economy if consent turns out to be veto power.

In 2014, yhe Supreme Court of Canada delivered a landmark ruling in the case of a small Indigenous community in central B.C. that has huge implications for natural-resource industries across the country. In the William decision, aboriginal communities gained important new economic assets, and powerful leverage over development by outsiders.

But the decision did not grant those communities a veto.

BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark is convinced some of the wording in UNDRIP holds the prospect of an effective veto: "I think that British Columbians would say no single group of people or individuals should have a veto over the things that happen in our province," she said during an editorialboard meeting with The Globe and Mail this week. "For me, I'm not looking for ways that we can say no to each other, I think we should be looking for ways to say yes to each other, yes to economic development."

The Heiltsuk Nation on the central coast of British Columbia signed a protocol agreement with Ottawa earlier this year in which Canada promises to uphold UNDRIP's principles within their territories, located in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest. With this, the Heiltsuk people hope to assert some measure of control over logging and grizzly bear hunting on their lands, and the shipment of oil off their shores.

Without the B.C. government on board, however, that sought-for collaboration will be limited.

Marilyn Slett, chief councillor of the Heiltsuk First Nation, played host to Ms. Clark a number of times last year in the Heiltsuk traditional territory, which spans 3.5 million hectares, for initiatives related to the preservation of the Great Bear Rainforest. She is unimpressed with Ms. Clark's position on UNDRIP.

The province is responsible for most issues around resource development. A Liberal victory on May 9 means B.C. will not adopt the same approach as Ottawa. In an interview, Chief Slett said: "The Liberal Party is fear-mongering about UNDRIP and that only hurts First Nations and it hurts British Columbians. We really need to be involved in discussions about resource development from the start, not after the fact."

John Horgan, the NDP Leader, told The Globe's editorial board this week that he is committed to taking conflict over the land base out of the courts. He said B.C.'s economy needs to be developed "so that we can all benefit from our natural resources and ensure the economic activity that flows from that benefits the Nations who have title to the land - or will, over time - and the UN declaration is a step along that road," he said. "A dollar spent by First Nations or the Crown in court is a dollar wasted. Negotiation is the best course of action. Title exists, it's real and it's going to happen right across the province."

The Canada-U.S. softwood-lumber dispute has become, in this election, another sharp wedge.

Mid-campaign, Ms. Clark lobbed a retaliatory grenade at the Trump administration by calling on Canada to ban thermal-coal movements through B.C. ports.

"It's incomprehensible that the federal government would ban the movement of oil on the coast of British Columbia, and not ban the movement of coal," she said this week.

When Ottawa was silent on her request, she vowed to use provincial authority to slap a prohibitive levy on those shipments.

Ms. Clark says it is a measure she has long wanted to take, but she feared upsetting delicate negotiations between Canada and the United States on softwood lumber. Now that the United States has imposed a punitive tariff on Canadian lumber, however, she said she is free to follow her desire to attack "dirty coal" and help the environment.

The measure takes aim at the United States but ensnares Alberta, as well. Ms. Clark said she did not speak with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley before announcing her decision, but she suggested Ms. Notley should welcome the move: Ms. Notley questioned her counterpart's legal right to make the move.

Mr. Horgan has described Ms. Clark's retaliation measures as reckless sabre-rattling. He said he would sit down with the Prime Minister to discuss joint measures, calling the softwood-lumber dispute the greatest threat today to B.C.'s economy. (It is worth $4.6-billion to the province annually, and B.C. produces 60 per cent of Canada's softwoodlumber exports to the United States.) He would not rule out retaliation, but said he would not be bound by Ms. Clark's coal tariff.

British Columbia makes up 13 per cent of Canada's economy, but beyond that, it plays a critical role as Canada's gateway to the Pacific. This is the home of the country's largest port. Between Vancouver and Prince Rupert, B.C. ports handle more than 150 million tonnes of cargo worth in excess of $200-billion annually, most of it Canadian imports and exports.

Yet, whether it is coal or oil, the heat of the campaign has produced little empathy from either leader toward the economic stakes for the rest of the country.

Mr. Horgan has "agreed to disagree" with his NDP counterpart in Alberta about the Kinder Morgan oil pipeline expansion project, which he has vowed to use every lever at his disposal to stop.

While Ms. Notley can't count an NDP government in B.C. to support her need to get Alberta oil to new offshore markets, Ms. Clark has brushed aside concerns about embroiling Alberta in her thermal-coal trade threats.

The NDP is counting on Ottawa to help fund new daycare spaces, housing and public transit. But what would a government under John Horgan offer the rest of Canada in exchange? "We're citizens of Canada, that's what we have to offer," he said. "It's kind of part of the terms."

The decision is for B.C. voters alone. Their decision will be felt across the country.

Associated Graphic

Despite having already accrued costs to the tune of $4-billion, the Site C hydroelectric dam may never be completed, as its construction has become a point of contention for the Opposition New Democrats as they look to win votes away from the governing BC Liberals.


Indigenous land-rights issues have risen to the fore, as efforts to extend the Trans Mountain pipeline have prompted protests.


A model of the Site C dam sits on display in Fort. St. John. The finished dam is estimated to cost $9-billion if completed.


British Columbian softwood lumber accounts for roughly 60 per cent of Canadian lumber exports to the United States.


Water ways are seen near the Gale Pass, an important site and food harvesting area for the Heiltsuk First Nation.


Habs owner had a passion for hockey
Under him, the Montreal Canadiens won five Stanley Cups, and he helped drive the NHL's first expansion to 12 teams
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, May 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S6

John David Molson was happy on ice. As an adult, as a husband and father, as a scion of the brewery family and as owner - with his two brothers - of the Montreal Canadiens, you could often find him at midnight in the Verdun Auditorium, a lone figure illuminated by the lights, skating up and down the length of the rink, fast, faster, his hockey stick arcing behind him as he practised shooting into an empty net.

At university in Brussels, he played for the Belgian national team - a prolific scorer who became known in the country as the player with "blond hair that flows like Canadian wheat." And in 1955, driving back to Montreal from his honeymoon in SaintSauveur, 60 kilometres north of the city, he told his new wife, Claire Faulkner Molson, that he had to make a pit stop along the way in the town of Saint-Jérôme to play in a hockey match.

"This was long before the days of helmets, masks and mouth guards and he was struck across the bridge of his nose by a hockey puck and ended up being rushed to Montreal General Hospital," Mrs. Molson said. "I never did get to be carried across the threshold of our new home."

Mr. Molson, who was known as David, died in Montreal on May 8 of congestive heart failure. He was 88 years old, a quiet, generous man who hated the limelight and, despite his father's disapproval, turned a passion into his business. It was under him that the Canadiens won five Stanley Cups, and he was one of the forces behind the National Hockey League's first expansion in the 1967-68 season from the original six teams to 12.

"It was a tough, exacting job," said Marc Cloutier, who did public relations for the Canadiens and helped Mr. Molson with promotions. "Having to choose which teams would fit, where to build new audiences or take advantage of an audience that was already there, which teams would get which players - the answers weren't obvious."

John David Molson was born on June 1, 1928, the third of John Henry Molson and the former Florence Hazel Browne's four children. His father, who served in both world wars and worked in the family's Molson Brewery business, loved his offspring but expected them to conform to the codes of the day. They were to be seen and not heard, always be respectful to their elders and attend church on Sundays. It was a rigid world where you acted out of duty, no matter if you wanted to or not.

There were strict bed times and there was afternoon tea. His mother once told his wife, Claire, about the time David was four years old and burst into tears at a birthday party.

"He wanted to be at home for teatime," the older woman said.

There were tennis lessons, football and soccer games, and yachting in an oft-leaky boat called the Heather. In wintertime, there was an ice rink in the family's expansive back yard in tony Westmount, complete with boards, lights and metal posts. It was here that young David began to skate at the age of 3, learning to fall, get up and do it all over again.

When his parents finally moved from his childhood home, he transported that rink, piece by piece, to his own back garden in Baie d'Urfé, in Montreal's West Island. Each year, as soon as the weather got cold, he could be found outside at night in a winter jacket and snow boots, carefully tramping the snow and sprinkling water on it so it would freeze evenly.

As a teen, David played with the Montreal Royals, which was part of the Quebec Junior Hockey League, mostly on the left wing but sometimes subbing as a centre. Scotty Bowman, who would go on to coach the Canadiens, recalls that he was quick, competent and calm.

"He played as he was in real life," Mr. Bowman said. "He was reserved but gave it his all."

His elementary and highschool years were spent at Lower Canada College in Montreal's Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood. Now co-ed, at the time it was a boys-only institution modelled after British public schools such as Eton and Harrow, a place that emphasized academics and sports and counted among its graduates university presidents, politicians, worldrenowned scientists and pioneers in medicine, the military, business and the arts.

After LCC, at the behest of his father, Mr. Molson attended the Université libre de Bruxelles, in Belgium, for a year to learn French and groom himself for an entry into the family's brewery business, which he did in 1949 at the age of 21. He got to know the business from the ground up, starting on the trucks that delivered the product and making friends with the other drivers and supply room workers who would go on to join his industrial hockey league team and play against teams from other major companies.

Soon, he was promoted upstairs, but chafed at having to work in an office. While other executives met for long business lunches, he went and played tennis instead. And it was at Montreal's Hillside Tennis Club that he caught sight of a tall, blond woman in 1955 and expressed an interest in meeting her.

"That's Claire Faulkner," he was told. "Don't bother. She's already engaged to someone else."

Undeterred, he still managed to wangle an introduction. After a few minutes of polite chitchat, he abruptly asked: "Want to come see my yacht?" He didn't say that he'd bought it from his father for $1 or that it needed lots of repairs.

She did, and they were married a few months later.

"From the get-go, David was so easy to be with," Mrs. Molson said. "We just enjoyed each other."

The couple shared a love of water, over the years sailing to places such as the Bahamas and exploring the Mackenzie River, the largest and longest river system in Canada. Once, while coming back from an outing on the St. Lawrence Seaway, Mr. Molson, at the suggestion of his wife, honked as he came into the locks, a salute to the people gathered there to watch the boats coming in.

"To his horror, the horn wouldn't stop," Mrs. Molson recalled. "Here was a man who hated the limelight and the horn was blaring away. He took a hammer to it once and it stopped, then again to be sure - and it started up again."

In 1957, Mr. Molson's older cousins, senator Hartland Molson and Thomas Molson, bought the Canadian Arena Company and its holdings, which included the Club de Hockey Canadien.

Just before the start of the 196364 season, they asked the younger man to take over leadership of the company, an opportunity he jumped at, despite his father declaring that he'd never known anyone to make work out of what was supposed to be a hobby.

Mr. Molson and his two brothers, William and Peter Molson, soon bought the Canadian Arena Co. from their older relatives for $5-million. Under his leadership over the next seven years, the Montreal Forum was rebuilt and the Canadiens won five Stanley Cups, including a nailbiter on May 11, 1968, when the team, coached by the legendary Toe Blake, came from behind in the final minutes of the third period with goals by Henri Richard and Jean-Claude Tremblay to beat the St. Louis Blues, 3-2.

"He was a delegator," said Mr. Bowman, who was the coach of that St. Louis team and would come back to coach the Canadiens in the summer of 1971. "He knew the game, understood it intimately and he trusted the people he had around him."

On Dec. 30, 1971, the brothers arranged to sell the company and the hockey club to Placements Rondelle Ltée, whose main shareholders were Peter and Edward Bronfman, for about $15-million. The team would win one more Stanley Cup with Mr. Molson at the helm - another dramatic Game 7 victory, this time against the Chicago Black Hawks.

Mr. Molson never really spoke about why he sold the team, but his wife said the political climate in the wake of the October Crisis in 1970 didn't help. The couple went to every home game, leaving their three children in Baie d'Urfé with a nanny - and when the police informed them that there had been a bomb threat, that was it.

"It was unnerving to know that anyone watching TV could see that we were at a game and not at home," Mrs. Molson said.

"Someone who shall remain nameless said 'David, you need a gun in your house' and he gave one to us, along with the shells, instructing us to put it under the bed. Can you imagine?

"You're never left alone. You never have any private time," she continued. "People had our phone number and address. We used to get calls at 11:30 at night.

Constantly being in the public eye was affecting our health and with a family and a long future together, we just couldn't manage it any more."

Following the sale of the team, Mr. Molson bought Continental Galleries in downtown Montreal; he and his wife, an artist, dealt mostly in Canadian art. It closed its doors for the final time on October 1, 1990.

Mr. Molson died at 12:06 a.m. after days of torrential rains.

When his daughter took his hand, she remarked how warm it was.

"I told her to open the window so his soul could fly out," Mrs. Molson said. "She did, and there was a difference in the room.

After all the rain we had, the moon suddenly came out and it was so nice."

Along with his wife, Mr. Molson leaves his younger brother, Peter Molson; his children, John Henry, Catherine Elizabeth and David Hugh Molson; and seven grandchildren.

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

Associated Graphic

Above: John David Molson, right, shakes hands with Jean Béliveau in this undated photo. Left: Mr. Molson was a notable hockey player in his own right, playing for the Montreal Royals as a teen and for the Belgian national team while he was in university. In Belgium, he was a prolific scorer who became known in the country as the player with 'blond hair that flows like Canadian wheat.'


Ivanka's quote sandwich is mighty hard to swallow
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F2

Move over, Trump Natural Spring Water. When it comes to flavourless, odourless, tasteless and utterly transparent products you really don't want to get on your e-reader, the arrival this past week of Ivanka Trump's Women Who Work means you have been replaced.

As with the bottled water, Women Who Work is, essentially, a repackaging and branding exercise.

There's water, water everywhere and there are inspirational quotes and anecdotes everywhere, and now the Trump name has been applied to both of these resources.

Watch your back, Donald: It's one thing to slap your name on condominiums, casinos and boxed frozen steaks in an attempt to add a veneer of luxury to them. It takes a whole other level of Trumpian gumption to do the same with the Dalai Lama and Jane Goodall.

Women Who Work is nothing if not a collection of quotes and, on reflection, it really is a toss-up between the two. It is a book in which quotes generally introduce other, lengthier quotes - excerpts of already successful works of advice being the stuff of which the book's chapters, sections and subsections (all of which are graced with names such as "Elevate Your Meetings" and "Hiring to Fortify Your World Class Team") are largely made.

This cavalcade of "curated," as Ms. Trump calls them, co-options and recountings are mostly concluded by yet another quote in order to create a sort of quote sandwich, if sandwiches were just loaves of sliced white bread turned the long way.

Strange bedfellows emerge from this citation soirée. "Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another," Toni Morrison wrote in Beloved on the subject of grappling with the enduring trauma wrought by slavery.

Ivanka, bless her, has the vision to repurpose this quote to open a chapter about the importance of being "the master of" your time rather than a "slave" to it. One accomplishes this feat, we learn, by not doing "reactive" things such as "returning calls, attending meetings, answering e-mails, and managing your team." So: working, as Ivanka Trump understands the concept.

Maya Angelou gets misquoted, and "Ask For Flexibility" is introduced by a quote from none other than Nelson Mandela because, really, isn't that exactly what his particular project was about? If spending 18 of one's 27 years in prison offshore on Robben Island in an effort to dismantle a system of racial discrimination in one's entire country isn't a lot like asking "your team" (Ms. Trump seems convinced all working women have one of these) whether you can telecommute, I don't know what is.

Institutional change - or even acknowledgment of systemic disadvantage, or systemic anything, really - were clearly not on Ms. Trump's mind when she pasted some Mandela into her go-girl, feel-good, jargon-choked, apolitical empowerment scrapbook. Ms. Trump, after all, seems convinced that bad things only happen to people who refuse to "pro-actively devote [their] time to what really matters to [them]" because they "can't stop negatively overreacting to [their] daily obligations and demands" or properly identify their "passion," which is, after all, "our reason for being." The fools! One senses she would have suggested Mr. Mandela perhaps try "a conversation" with his team about flex-apartheid but, notably, she advises against playing "hardball."

Mr. Mandela's quote is the opening act for a hefty chunk of Sheryl Sandberg's 2013 Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Ms. Trump's begins her book by insisting that she's stepping up to write it because "the time to change the narrative around women and work is long overdue."

Then, throughout the rest of the book, she copies and pastes many of the writers who met that deadline some time ago - Joanna Barsh and Susie Cranston of How Remarkable Women Lead; and political scientist Anne-Marie Slaughter, whose piece in The Atlantic, Why Women Still Can't Have It All, led to her book Unfinished Business, for example.

It appears the thing Ms. Trump most wanted to change about the "working-woman" narrative was the fact that she wasn't starring in it.

There's an obvious parallel to be found in Ms. Trump's clothing line. Until her brand stepped in to save us, she informs the reader, the image of working women was a "one-dimensional, suit-clad, caricature, striding down Fifth Avenue, briefcase in hand, a stern expression on her face."

This was a serious issue because, by Ms. Trump's account, the single biggest obstacle facing working women in America today isn't childcare (daycare is scantly mentioned in Women In Work - once in a quote about instructing your minders to send you photos and updates throughout the day) or the briefly, belatedly, mentioned wage gap, presented largely as something that happens to single mothers. Women, she seems to be saying, were oppressed by the absence of the opportunity to purchase "apparel and accessories" with which to "express ourselves." It is to this end that Ms. Trump, back in 2007, bravely, selflessly set about trying to advance our cause with her line of womenswear. Truly, she is the Margaret Sanger of 5-per-cent spandex, 95-percent polyester.

Beyond writers who, she alleges, failed to portray the reality of working women's lives, but whom she earnestly quotes in her book professing to be about working women's lives, a lot of women are erased in Ms. Trump's retelling of fashion history as well. There was never a Diane von Furstenberg, let alone an Anne Klein or a Claire McCardell.

Donna Karan's Seven Easy Pieces collection of 1985 was but a bodysuit-based dream, apparently. There is only Ms. Trump, fashion quoter, and her endlessly derivative line, hawked as liberating.

There's nothing clever in this, no marketing genius. Women have been asked to purchase fetishes of their own empowerment since we had an income.

"Because I'm worth it," was the L'Oréal line when I was growing up. Before that came Virginia Slims' "You've come a long way, baby."

Women Who Work, it can most charitably be said, is in that tradition. It is promotional, a bland catalogue for the Ivanka line. It's not even a text for readers in the market for some knock-off feminism.

Ultimately, its scope is so mind-crushingly small that it is only a book about how to be Ivanka Trump and - spoiler alert - it's really easy.

Step 1. Think about what you want.

Step 2. Get it! It's not that, in all the quotes and cribbing, there's no Ivanka Trump in this book. Oh, she's there. "Our attitudes influence our mindset," Ms. Trump tells us. This makes me cry, in both my mindset and my attitude.

Barring travel at relativistic speeds, we move forward through time constantly and at a constant rate, one second per second, or, as Ivanka Trump expresses it, "If you choose to have a child or children early in your career, and later you decide to return to a traditional corporate setting, be prepared for the fact that you will be older than your peers at the same level ..." Although only by a maximum of eight weeks if you work for Ms. Trump, that being the amount of maternity leave her employees were eventually able to finagle from this self-professed champion of women. Note as well that everything, having a baby, staying home, going to work, in Ms. Trump's world, is a choice.

You would need a Kelvin scale for self-awareness to describe just how little of that precious quality Ms. Trump demonstrates in her appropriated opus.

"During extremely high-capacity times, like during the campaign, I went into survival mode ..." she writes. But no, she didn't eat anyone. It turns out that what "survival mode" means to Ms. Trump is "I worked and I was with my family; I didn't do much else."

"Honestly, I wasn't treating myself to a massage or making much time for self-care."

It's the "honestly" that catapults that sentence into the realm of superhuman egocentrism.

What working mother, what person on Earth, did she think would be incredulous of this statement?

(Besides herself.)

Also, and this goes for everyone, you say "selfcare" and I will want to hurt you. Your call.

The void left behind by this total absence of selfawareness is filled with an astronomical level of artifice.

"I realized that it might be helpful in changing the narrative - even in a small way - to, for example, debunk the superwoman myth by posting a photo that my husband candidly snapped of me digging in the garden with the kids in our backyard, my hair in a messy ponytail, dirt on my cheek. I've been careful not to pretend it's easy because it is not."

Oh, Ivanka, that is not debunking the "superwoman myth." Showing the world that you - when you're not running your own company or attending glamorous evening events - can be found digging in your garden with your children is the "superwoman myth."

You, with the dirt on your cheek and the downhome ponytail, are a Parthenon frieze celebrating that mythic figure who has and does it all, an Instagram obelisk at the door to her temple. And you know it.

Why does Ivanka Trump's book - or 256-page pictureless inspirational calendar, as I came to think of it - matter?

Largely because the spin has consistently been that she's in the White House, moderating her father, looking out for women, and so if she does have an agenda beyond her own advancement, beyond the promotion of the Trump brand, then this book would have been the logical place to explore that vision. But a more vacuous document would be hard to find.

"What exactly is she doing there?" many Americans ask.

"She's doing her bit quietly," they're told, it's leaked.

"She teared up this one time when her father didn't want to apologize, after the world listened to him describing on tape how his fame allowed him to get away with just grabbing women 'by the pussy,' " we hear, but then she helped him get elected and now she's helping out, in a womanly way, we are to understand. She's there to smooth things over, make things pretty, ask for nothing.

Ivanka Trump is doing the altar flowers at the Church of the Patriarchy, but there's some pink tulips in the arrangement, so rest easy.

It's been a long, bumpy ride from expansion-draft punchline to surprise playoff run
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

OTTAWA -- Ah, 2017 ... the year of endless celebration.

It is the country's 150th birthday. It is 100 years since Canada came into nationhood at the Battle of Vimy Ridge and 100 years since the man who painted Canada, Tom Thomson, went missing. It's 100 years since the federal government brought in that "temporary" income tax that no one today remembers, 100 years since the NHL was founded ... and 25 years since the modern-day version of the Ottawa Senators played their very first game.

That the Senators are still kicking in the spring of 2017 is testament to a different sort of survival. Like the century-ago Income War Tax Act, no one really saw it coming and no one expected it to last as long as it has.

When the NHL announced that it was taking in two new expansion teams in 1990, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Ottawa Senators, the reaction was nothing short of incredulous. If Canada was going to get another franchise, it should have gone to Hamilton. Hamilton, after all, had the rink, the financial backing and the surrounding population. The only hitch, apparently, was that the Hamilton backers wanted to pay the $50-million expansion fee in instalments.

The Ottawa bid was the brainchild of three young men - Bruce Firestone, Randy Sexton and Cyril Leeder - who conjured up their dream over a few cold ones after a beer-league hockey game. They would build a rink, they said, and a town would grow up around it.

They didn't ask for instalments - then again, they didn't have the money.

No matter, the NHL, which has never been known for foresight, embraced the young men and their wacky ideas and the Ottawa Senators were reborn, back in Ottawa and the NHL after a 58-year hiatus.

There were problems from the start, and not just financial troubles. The NHL held an expansion draft - Lightning co-founder Phil Esposito likened it to being offered "snow in winter" - and the inexperienced management team screwed up its choices so often that "Ottawa apologizes" became a punchline that to this day requires no explanation in hockey circles.

They put together a team, however, and, miraculously, they won their very first game, defeating the Montreal Canadiens (who would win that year's Stanley Cup, the most recent Canadian team to do so) 5-3.

"Maybe Rome was built in a day," read the headline in the Ottawa Citizen.

Well, Rome wasn't and certainly the Senators weren't. They lost their next game, against the Quebec Nordiques, 9-2. They then flew to Boston, boarded a bus and got hopelessly lost in the fog. It was the perfect metaphor for a team that would go on to set records for futility.

But that doesn't mean they weren't entertaining. They were, in fact, hockey's equivalent of the '62 Mets - baseball fans may remember manager Casey Stengel saying his best fielders were sitting in the upper deck - and the stories from that first 1992-93 season are today the stuff of legend.

When young defenceman Darren Rumble, previously a minorleaguer, showed up for the first plane ride out of town, he carried his own pillow and bag of sandwiches. Told by one of the broadcasters that he should sign up for Aeroplan, he asked what that was. When the travel-points program was explained to him, he went wide-eyed and exclaimed, "If they'd had Bus-o-Plan when I was in the minors, I could go around the world."

Another rookie, Darcy Loewen of Sylvan Lake, Alta., became a fan favourite for his wild style of play - the other players called him Taz - and even his mother said he had "cement hands." Veteran Andrew McBain, a fine player, became the only Senator to make the ESPN "plays of the year" - by falling down the steps leading to the old Chicago Stadium dressing room.

Alain Vigneault, now coach of the New York Rangers that the Senators are facing in the Eastern Conference semi-final, was then an assistant coach with the Senators. To take his mind off the team's woes, he took up running.

By Christmas he had dropped 30 pounds.

The Senators had to fire their mascot for "abusive conduct," only to have him run off with the car they'd rented for him.

They had burglars break into their practice facility and make off with all their video equipment but the game tapes. "Burglars with taste," said assistant coach E.J. McGuire.

The Senators were also going broke.

The first financial saviour was entrepreneur Rod Bryden, who finished building the team's new rink in a cornfield on the western edge of Ottawa and who was immediately billed by the province for the building of an overpass so fans could get to the games.

Bryden ran into multiple other roadblocks, from a government directive that civil servants could not accept free tickets to a shrinking dollar. At one point, in early 2000, the financial situation was so dire that the federal government was willing to step in and put up a $20-million support plan for struggling Canadian clubs.

The backlash was so livid, particularly in media-centre Toronto, where the Maple Leafs had no need of charity, that the government quickly backed off its offer.

Meanwhile, the Senators as a hockey team had been improving dramatically.

So desperate had one coaching regime become, late in 1995, that the staff had assembled candles and a table and were on the verge of holding a seance before one of the assistant coaches, a deeply religious man, panicked and backed out.

But in early 1996, they had their new arena, a new general manager in Pierre Gauthier and a new coach in Jacques Martin. They also had a rising young star in Daniel Alfredsson who - to give the original managers full credit - had been plucked 133rd over all in the 1994 draft.

Beginning with Alfredsson, who would serve as team captain from 1999 to 2013, the Senators slowly gained respectability on the ice.

Off the ice, the struggles continued - the club eventually declared bankruptcy under Bryden's watch and was purchased by current owner Eugene Melnyk in 2003 - but on ice the team eventually reached the Stanley Cup final in 2007, losing to the Anaheim Ducks.

That may not, in fact, not have been the best Senators team ever.

The team would have been formidable had NHL owners not locked out its players for the 2004-05 season. As well, the Senators seemed Stanley Cup bound in 2006 before star goaltender Dominik Hasek injured his groin at the Turin Winter Games.

The Senators slowly faded after the apex of 2007. They launched a complete rebuild in 2011 under then general manager Bryan Murray. It was a low, often painful process. The Senators missed the playoffs two of the previous three seasons and only made them in 2015 thanks to the incredible play of unknown goaltender Andrew (The Hamburglar) Hammond.

The magic did not last, however, as earlier this year Hammond was placed on waivers by the Senators, the team having decided to go with regular Craig Anderson and new backup Mike Condon.

That the Senators are one of only two Canadian teams - along with the Edmonton Oilers - to win the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs was a bit of a surprise. Much more had been expected of other Canadian teams, particularly the Montreal Canadiens, but the Senators dispatched the Boston Bruins in six games and are currently tied at two games each with the New York Rangers, who put the Canadiens out in the first round.

It has been a year of tremendous change for the Senators. A year ago, it seemed their future in Ottawa was finally a lock when the National Capital Commission chose Melnyk's group for a $3.5billion redevelopment project on LeBreton Flats. If all goes according to plan, the team will eventually be playing downtown, where critics have long said it should have been in the first place.

Murray, who has valiantly battled cancer the past many months, stepped aside to allow his assistant, Pierre Dorion, to take on the duties of general manager. Dorion hired a new coach, Guy Boucher, to replace the fired Dave Cameron, and Boucher brought a new, defence-first system.

Today's Senators may have the most entertaining player in their history to watch - defenceman Erik Karlsson - but Boucher's overall style of play did not immediately capture the public imagination. Empty seats early in the season infuriated Melnyk to a point that he cleaned house, firing several of the franchise's top executives including co-founder Leeder. One of those let go, chief financial officer Peter O'Leary, has launched legal proceedings against Melnyk that have yet to reach court. Former Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment executive Tom Anselmi was brought in to run the operation.

Dorion had a good rookie year.

He traded young forward Mika Zibanejad to the Rangers for veteran Derick Brassard, who turned out to be a pivotal player in the Boston series. He brought in depth forwards such as Alex Burrows and Tommy Wingels and Viktor Stalberg. For a fifth-round pick, he pried Condon away from the Pittsburgh Penguins and Condon's arrival proved fortuitous, as Anderson was often lost to the team over the season so he could be with his wife, Nicholle, who has been battling cancer. Condon was often superb in relief.

Few, if any, would have thought last fall that the team would still be playing on May 6, with the puck about to drop on what is now a best-of-three series with the Rangers, the winner to move on to the conference final and the winner of that to play for the Stanley Cup.

The Senators would be a long shot to reach the final, but it is not as though they have never raised the Cup.

In their early years, they won it 11 times.

But the last, for those keeping track of anniversaries, was 90 years ago.

Associated Graphic

Today's Ottawa Senators may have the most entertaining player in their history to watch - defenceman Erik Karlsson.


Former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, seen in a 2008 photo, was plucked 133rd over all in the 1994 NHL entry draft and led the team to respectability and one Stanley Cup final.


What's next for The Walrus, and Canadian media
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

TORONTO, SURREY, B.C. TORONTO -- Onstage in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Shelley Ambrose was charismatic and cheery.

"Who knows about The Walrus magazine?" Hands flew up.

"That is excellent. Who subscribes?" Fewer hands in the air.

"Pretty good; we can get that number up."

Ambrose, publisher of The Walrus and executive director of The Walrus Foundation, is on a special Canada 150 national tour with The Walrus Talks - events during which a series of interesting people deliver seven-minute lectures. Monday night, with the cover of the program declaring in bold type "We Desire a Better Country," the air seemed particularly charged, thanks to the previous weekend's events. The magazine's high-profile editorin-chief, Jonathan Kay - under social-media fire after coming to the defence of another magazine editor who had lost his job over an editorial advocating cultural appropriation - resigned on Saturday.

Onstage in her sealskin jacket, Ambrose said nothing about the behind-the-scenes drama. But one of her speakers did.

"No one can appropriate my stories," said Aaron Mills, a member of the Bear Clan Anishinaabe from Couchiching First Nation. "Not because I'm an Indigenous man; because of Indigenous law. You have no relationship with my stories."

With The Walrus Talks tour wrapping up in Toronto on May 31, Ambrose has a big new project that Canadian media are already taking about: finding Kay's replacement.

The last time The Walrus needed to hire a new editor-inchief, in 2014, it pulled out all the stops. Generally considered to be Canada's most esteemed English-language magazine, it enlisted the headhunting services of Searchlight Recruitment to help find a replacement for John Macfarlane, who had served as editor since 2008. The firm cast a wide net, putting together what Ambrose this week called "a giant list," with candidates from academic, publishing, political and media circles. At the time, it was widely considered the most sought-after job in Canadian journalism, a once-in-a-decade opportunity for an ambitious editor to leave their mark on Canadian culture.

Less than three years later, the publication finds itself right back at square one, albeit in much different circumstances.

As he went out the door, Kay told The Globe and Mail and others that he had frequently butted heads with Ambrose. His tenure was marked by frequent staff turnover as well as allegations of idea theft, workplace bullying and censorship of fiction.

The media industry is already in the midst of extraordinary structural change that would be a challenge for anyone to navigate.

But with Kay's departure taking place amidst the roiling conversation about cultural appropriation, The Walrus Foundation - an educational not-forprofit funded in part by the federal and Ontario governments - will be under uncommon pressure to ensure its choice recognizes that the demographics of those in Canadian media are not nearly as diverse as the country itself.

This week, The Globe and Mail surveyed more than two dozen current and former Walrus employees, contributors and veterans of Canada's magazine industry, asking them who should take charge.

"What I would tell Shelley is she's out of her mind if she doesn't hire a woman or person of colour after all this," said one regular contributor who asked their name not be used. Especially, they added, "given that reconciliation is a theme the magazine has to explore."

The argument that the magazine must branch out and hire its first non-male, non-white editor (following David Berlin, Paul Wilson, Ken Alexander, Macfarlane and Kay) was a common refrain.

That may be in part why the two candidates mentioned most often were Rachel Giese and Sarmishta Subramanian.

Giese, currently an editor-atlarge with Chatelaine, is also a former editor at The Walrus and enjoys a fairly high public profile thanks to regular appearances on CBC. That might help, especially considering the increased importance of The Walrus Talks series of public events as both a brandburnisher and a money-maker.

"She is, in my opinion, the best possible candidate for the job in the country, bar none," said Richard Poplak, a frequent contributor who wrote the magazine's cover story on a Papua New Guinea mine last November. "These people have to ... give her what she wants in order to elevate the product and reach out to a more interesting writer pool." She was apparently an in-house favourite during the last search: "She was so obviously the right candidate last time," one former editor said.

Last Saturday afternoon, shortly before Kay resigned, Giese posted a long message on her Facebook page that could be read as a manifesto for how she'd want to run a magazine. When asked if she has any interest in the role, Giese declined to comment.

Subramanian, who took over as editor of the Literary Review of Canada last year and immediately infused it with a renewed energy, has enjoyed a long career in journalism, with stints at Maclean's, The Walrus and Saturday Night.

One magazine industry veteran said she "would be a breath of fresh air at The Walrus." Subramanian also declined to comment.

Another name with strong support is Jeet Heer, currently a senior editor at the New Republic. He enjoys a large following on Twitter, where he is best known for posting long "essays" on everything from politics to comic books. (This itself might pose a problem: "How would he wrest himself away from Twitter?" one Walrus contributor asked.) Encyclopedic in his knowledge and unafraid to share his (progressive) politics, "Jeet would bring Kay-esque attention to the magazine, but from the other side of the fence," said another longtime contributor to the magazine.

While Heer would not discuss his interest in the role, he did offer both Giese and Subramanian as candidates, though he also said that "I might pick someone from inside the magazine to assure greater stability, since The Walrus has had a very chaotic history lately."

"In terms of content, I think Jon and his colleagues put the magazine on a good path," Heer said.

"It's livelier now and engaged with contemporary controversies in a thoughtful way."

Other possible candidates ranged from Jeremy Keehn, a former Walrus editor who is currently features editor at Bloomberg Businessweek; Andrew Potter, the former editor of the Ottawa Citizen who recently stepped down from his position as director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada; and Lianne George, the current editor-inchief of Chatelaine who is, as another editor put it, "someone who really understands what it takes to run a magazine and has a progressive, intelligent sensibility but doesn't herself need to be the centre of public attention."

Another name floated was Jesse Wente, a Toronto International Film Festival programmer and regular contributor to CBC's Metro Morning, who captivated Toronto radio audiences this week with his account of how cultural appropriation has affected him and his community.

"It's an important job and I do hope it goes to someone who has a different view of the world than Mr. Kay. I don't know if I'm that person," Wente said when asked by The Globe if he would be interested. "I need to reconsider a lot of things, to be honest, around the work I've done, the work I'm doing. I have a lot of thinking to do around what's next for me.

And I don't know if that is the best place and the best outlet for me to do the work."

In a column published in the National Post this week, Kay framed the question of his successor in terms of class distinctions drawn from H.G. Wells's The Time Machine. He wrote that, "the perfect candidate would be a man or woman with Eloi-grade literary street cred, but also a lived appreciation for the concerns and rhythms of suburban, workingparent Morlock life. Ideally, he should also be bilingual, have a strong personal connection to Canada's status as a land of immigration and stand apart from the (increasingly self-loathing) WASP firmament that traditionally has controlled English Canada's commanding cultural heights."

In the meantime, The Walrus will be run by deputy editor Carmine Starnino - who was also repeatedly suggested as a candidate to take over from Kay - and a small editorial team: senior editor Jessica Johnson (who joined in June, 2016); editors Harley Rustad and Daniel Viola (who joined in January and November of 2016, respectively); acting editor Alex Tesar (January, 2016); and managing editor Samia Madwar, who has been with the magazine since August, 2016.

In his Post article, Kay praised the editorial staff, saying it "has turned a somewhat sleepy, bienpensant Annex-centric journal of arts and letters into a general-interest magazine and website that Canadians actually enjoy reading."

Macfarlane responded to that slap in an e-mail to The Globe: "I have no wish to get into a public pissing match with Jonathan, but I think the circulation data - the only accurate measure of reader enjoyment - was significantly higher then than now. I find it curious that he speaks so harshly.

And, oh by the way, it was a magazine (not "journal," a word he uses deliberately and with condescension) of arts, letters and politics. What else could it be?" Ambrose said in an e-mail that The Walrus had, under Kay, greatly expanded from a 10-issue-ayear print magazine to find new readers online with daily and weekly content. "The audience is far, far bigger than it was two years ago - and is cooking."

On Monday in Surrey, Ambrose told The Globe: "I don't know what we're looking for yet; it's way too soon to think about that.

We have an amazingly strong team. As you know, The Walrus is way bigger than one person. The team is strong, they're doing their work and we will be taking our time."

Would she be looking for a person of colour, a woman?

"I have no idea. In fact, haven't even thought about it yet," she replied.

Did she have a timeline in mind?

"Don't know. Don't know. Need to get back to the office."

Associated Graphic

Shelley Ambrose, publisher of The Walrus, says she's not sure if the magazine will be looking for a person of colour or a woman as the next editor-in-chief.


Searching for Jackie Shane, R&B's lost transgender superstar
More than four decades after she vanished from the spotlight, the Nashville artist who found fame in Toronto is about to receive some long-delayed recognition, Elio Iannacci writes
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

When R&B singer Jackie Shane appeared onstage during her heyday in the 1960s, there was always a moment where she'd let her audience know just how lucky they were to be there. It is easy to catch on Jackie Shane Live - a disc that was recorded in Toronto's historic Sapphire Tavern in 1963.

On the recording, Shane, an American who moved to Toronto to build her career until mysteriously disappearing from the limelight in 1971, can be heard reminding the crowd of her prowess. In between the lusty roars and megaphone notes she vigorously exudes on Money, Shane pauses to state things such as, "This is the closest to Jesus Christ some of you will ever get!" or "I got so much to work with here - I'm a little piece of leather but well put together!"

Shane had no other choice but to be so self-assured. She was one of the only black transgender women working in soul music at the time, well before the idea of trans was identified and years prior to Canada's decriminalization of homosexual acts in 1969.

To revisit Shane's recordings today thoroughly requires an ability to read between the political and social lines of the ground she was breaking. "I go along handing out blessings [and] satisfying souls ...," Shane says on the live album, before cautioning her crowd in a preacher-like swagger, "... but I don't satisfy nobody that's a square!"

More than four decades later, musicologists, soul fanatics and LGBTQ historians are still unsatisfied. In an era in which Oscarwinning films such as 20 Feet from Stardom and Searching for Sugar Man are about long-forgotten artists who helped pave the way, it is mind-boggling that Shane's legendary story hasn't yet made it to the silver screen.

But her legacy is about to receive some long-delayed exposure.

Although Shane hasn't recorded a song, performed live or spoken to the media for more than four decades, a budding new interest in the soul singer's past is getting her more attention than most artists climbing the Billboard charts today. For example, a new anthology of essays, titled Any Other Way: How Toronto Got Queer (Coach House Press), chronicles the performer's life as a black transgender vocalist who took up a musical residency in Toronto in the 1960s. It repositions the Nashville-born talent as one of Canada's earliest transgender pioneers. On Yonge Street, minutes from Toronto's Gay Village, a larger-than-life mural includes a portrait of Shane; it was created using a whopping 55 gallons of paint by local artist Adrian Hayles in December. The 22-storey public artwork is one of several signs representing a sudden, powerful curiosity surrounding Shane's legacy.

In October, a two-disc musical project by Numero Group will showcase Shane's repertoire, including songs taken from studio recordings and live gigs. The comprehensive collection features never-heard-before tracks such as an extended, bluesy version of You Are My Sunshine.

What makes this album so significant is that it will be the first group of recordings the artist has been directly involved with since the launch of her last two singles in 1969. Few facts about Shane have been checked properly (online bios have inaccurately stated Shane is a cousin to Little Richard, for instance), leaving many fans perplexed over her decision to abruptly leave an occupation that gave her so much acclaim and purpose. What is commonly retold is the idea that Toronto was a place Shane considers her second home and that the city's club scene in the sixties, which she brazenly took on with groups such as Frank Motley and the Hitchhikers, helped shape her sound.

Record collectors and die-hard followers online have long speculated about Shane's whereabouts - and well-being - ever since she quit the music business and left Toronto in 1971. A slew of rumours led fans to believe that Shane had been the victim of murder in 1998 - a myth that was ultimately dispelled by a 2010 CBC Radio documentary on the evasive singer.

The task of getting Shane on board the new album following a 45-year hiatus from the music business was challenging, to put it mildly. Numero producer Douglas Mcgowan spent hours on the phone with the now 77year-old; he let her know about the countless Jackie Shane tributes that exist online, from YouTube to blogs to Facebook and Instagram (Shane does not own a computer). When Mcgowan was finally invited to meet Shane at her home in Nashville, he was forced to patiently hang out outside as she stewed.

"She didn't open the door for me and we'd been talking for months!" Mcgowan says over the phone from Los Angeles. "I had to come to her with an open mind - not an agenda - because I knew a dozen people had already reached out wanting to do book projects. You have to understand, Funkadelic asked her to join the band and she flat-out said no. She would like to return to the public eye on her own terms and on her own time."

In 2014, a shadow-puppet-animated short video by Torontobased artists Sonya Reynolds and Lauren Hortie, called Whatever Happened to Jackie Shane?, made its rounds in LGBTQ-focused film festivals and tried to further crack the mystery.

"It was an obvious story for us to work on because all the elements are there: She has an obscure background, she's a mu.

sician and she was visible and queer in such a homophobic time," Reynolds says. "There's a real hunger for knowing LGBTQ icons of the past and a desire to know more about people like Jackie because not much is documented," she adds, noting that Shane's appearance wasn't the only thing that read as transgressive.

"Jackie was undermining a lot of gender norms with the way she pushed people to question gender. She sang songs with very coded lyrics. Even if the original songs she sang - which were not written by her - didn't mean to be coded in queer language, they were," Reynolds says.

Tracks such as Any Other Way (which implores the listener to tell the singer's female lover "that I'm gay"), Sticks and Stones (which deals with gossip and abuse) and New Way of Lovin' (self-explanatory) are far from explicit.

Listening to Shane live, you get another story. The anecdotes she revealed between her set lists at Toronto's now defunct Sapphire Tavern and the mention of chicken (a.k.a., young gay men) is direct and intentional. However, the lyrics to covers and standards that she interpreted through performance are what most people are fascinated by.

"Jackie's songs had a long life because the lyrics had double meanings and double entendres," Reynolds says.

Part of the surprises woven into Whatever Happened to Jackie Shane? are stories taken directly from the pages of Canada's oldest tabloid, Tab. One describes how CHUM Radio invited Shane to the station for an on-air chat.

To commemorate the event, Shane picked a stylish makeup palette and an ensemble that was as deliberately chic as Marlene Dietrich's costumes in Morocco. "[CHUM] were so upset by Shane's appearance that they didn't grant [Shane] the interview and didn't play [Shane's] record until it became so popular that they were forced to," Tab printed in an April 6, 1963, issue.

Canadian R&B singer Jully Black can relate to Shane's selfimposed exile from the stage. In fact, it is something that Black feels deeply connected to as she begins recording her first album in eight years (tentatively titled The Re-Education of Jully Black).

"There are many layers to Queen Shane's work that resonate today for people who are struggling and need some reprieve," Black says. "There's a layer of being a black singer and then there is the idea of gender identity. These are heavy weights for anyone to bear, so regeneration is necessary. If she does end up coming back, she has an opportunity to lead a whole new generation because they have a social conscience and they are being fed music that takes a 'just add water and stir' approach.

Jackie is the opposite of that and depending on what she says, if she comes back, it could be incredible on a social level. She could be the Betty White of soul music."

Black's hope for Shane to return to the stage may be more than just a pipe dream. According to York University ethnomusicology professor Rob Bowman - a Grammy-winning writer tasked with penning the liner notes for Shane's upcoming album - Shane is contemplating a proper homecoming. "If she does, Toronto would be the place it'll happen," Bowman says.

Although it took weeks of postponed calls, Bowman extensively interviewed Shane; what he's gleaned from 30-plus hours of phone calls with the artist is worthy of a Hollywood biopic.

"Jackie did not want the idea of being gay or non-straight as something to be focused on. As far as she was concerned, it's as normal as the sky being blue.

Jackie is extremely happy that the world has moved if not 360 degrees, at least a whole bunch of degrees from where it once was," Bowman says. "I told her about the mural going up on Yonge Street - I took a picture and sent it to her, which she framed. Jackie has said to me more than once, 'I never realized that I'd still mean something to people all these years later.' " .

Associated Graphic

Jackie Shane poses for a photo between sets in Toronto in the 1960s.


Jackie Shane, centre, performs between King Herbert Whittaker, left, and Frank Motley. It is believed that Toronto was a second home for Shane and that the city's 1960s club scene helped shape her sound.


Vancouver tailor stitched his way to success
After prejudice thwarted his dream of being an engineer, he toiled at the family shop, dressing mayors and Hollywood royalty
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S11

After the Second World War ended, Bill Wong graduated from the University of British Columbia as a mechanical engineer along with his brother Jack, a civil engineer. A recruiter from City Hall came to the campus to offer jobs. What he said when he addressed the class in 1948 was crushing to the hardworking Wong brothers, and they never forgot it: "Tell the Chinese boys in the back not to bother applying or we'll all be embarrassed."

Instead of applying elsewhere to work as engineers, they retreated to Modernize, the thriving tailor shop their father opened in Vancouver's Chinatown in 1913. Having worked there part-time since they were teenagers, they were on familiar terms with its ancient Singer sewing machines, antique buttonhole maker and enormous steam iron. In its heyday, the shop employed 20 people and stocked hundreds of bolts of high-quality suiting material.

Mr. Wong measured and pinned and pressed there six days a week until his death, becoming a Chinatown legend.

He died in Vancouver General Hospital on April 8, of heart failure, at the age of 95. Five years ago, he had suffered congestive heart failure and had been given a pacemaker. (Jack died in 2013.)

Vancouver's nattiest men ordered their made-to-measure suits at the shop, knowing they would get a perfect fit. "It has always been a sign of a real Vancouverite to have a Modernize suit," recalled former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan, now a member of the B.C. legislature. "We open our jackets and show each other our badge.

My dad used to go there and I went there to order a suit as mayor in 2006. I felt like I was doing time travel, as if I was a part of history.

"Bill had strong opinions. I'd say, 'I think I want that colour,' and he said, 'No, this is the colour for you.' I always deferred to his judgment."

Among other Modernize clients were loggers from up and down the coast who would pour into town to spend their money and some First Nations customers who would pay for their suits with smoked salmon.

There were, too, Hollywood stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Leslie Nielsen and Sean Connery. Mr. Schwarzenegger had dozens of identical suits made for The 6th Day, an action movie he starred in in 2000. Mr. Connery had a white suit made that he subsequently wore in a Japanese TV commercial.

William Kwanda Wong was born in Vancouver on March 9, 1922, the first of 10 children of Kung Lai Wong and his wife, Man Ming (née Chu), of whom nine survived to adulthood.

Kung Lai Wong had arrived in Vancouver from southern China in 1911, at the age of 20, and had to pay a $500 head tax. He worked for a time as a houseboy then apprenticed himself to an English tailor to learn a trade and open his own shop.

For his staff, Kung Lai imported "paper relatives" from China, bachelor tailors who would never have a chance to marry.

His two eldest boys, Bill and Jack, born a year apart, did everything together. As toddlers, they were allowed to play with scraps of wool and spools of thread at the tailor shop. Later, they would go help out in the shop after attending English school, followed by Chinese school. In 1936, their restless father left the shop in the care of his two brothers and took his sons back to China for a year. In Canton, the boys attended the prestigious Pui Ching Middle School for overseas Chinese students, where they studied history, math, physical education and classical Chinese language instead of the Toisanese dialect spoken in Vancouver. They visited their father's home village - which had no electricity or running water - and met their grandmothers along with an army of Wong relatives. When the school year was over, they helped to build a new two-storey home for grandmother Wong, paid for by their father.

A diary that Bill kept during that time was translated and published in 2014 under the title A Year in China. The boys sailed home on the Empress of Canada, accompanied by an uncle, just one step ahead of the invading Japanese.

Their father remained a little longer in Hong Kong where, unbeknownst to his sons, he took a second wife - not uncommon then for prosperous Chinese men, though it was hurtful for Man Ming, his No. 1 wife back in Vancouver.

After the war, his father went to visit his second wife each year and the couple adopted a daughter named Sabrina. (That story is told in Joanna Wong's self-published book Wong Family Feast.)

Back in Vancouver, Bill and his brother went to Camp Artaban on Gambier Island, sponsored by the YWCA, where he made many friends outside the Chinese community. He spent a summer working at a fish cannery, before attending the University of British Columbia. At university he met the beautiful Zoe Yip, studying to become a nurse. They married in 1951 and had four children.

The 1950s, when the brothers took over Modernize, were prosperous years, with some 20 tailor shops operating in Chinatown. The so-called zoot suit was introduced by jazz musicians in the United States in the 1940s and became wildly popular with young men in Vancouver a few years later. This louche style called for widelegged, high-waisted trousers pegged at the ankles and long jackets with wide lapels and exaggerated shoulders. Modernize produced scores of such suits.

They also made costumes for Vancouver's Theatre Under the Stars musical productions and for performances at the historic town of Barkerville in the B.C. Interior.

The popularity of the suit began to wane in the 1960s, under the influence of such bluejean wearing film stars as Marlon Brando. A trend toward informality in office wear followed with the introduction of casual Fridays. Mass manufacturing of clothing in Asia meant a flood of cheap off-the-rack clothing that had not previously existed.

In Chinatown, the tailor shops disappeared one by one. Still, there were men who appreciated the special alchemy of a well-cut suit made just for them and Modernize survived. Remarkably, Mr. Wong, who practised a system of Korean breathing exercises called SunDo, could still thread a needle in his 80s.

In his 2011 memoir, The Measure of a Man, JJ Lee, a Vancouver writer and broadcaster, has provided an affecting portrait of Modernize in the 21st century.

Mr. Lee apprenticed himself to Mr. Wong in 2006 to learn how to alter a suit that had belonged to his abusive, hard-drinking father before his death. "I love," he writes, "the thrum of the sewing machines. I love the button jars and the blue box of pins and razor blades. I love the soft thump of the iron and the scrape of the stool leg on the concrete floor. Most of all I love Bill."

Though Mr. Lee lasted only a year at Modernize, he paints Mr. Wong as an artist, a thinker and problem solver - a wise father figure who was the heart of the business.

Mr. Wong was also the subject of a documentary film Tailor Made: Chinatown's Last Tailors by Len Lee and Marsha Newbery, that aired on CBC Newsworld in 2008.

He lived through enormous changes in the status of Chinese people in Canada from the time of head taxes, not lifted until 1923, and the Chinese Exclusion Act that followed the same year, designed to stop all immigration. When he was a boy, Chinese people could not use public swimming pools and could work in only a limited number of occupations. Even if born in Canada, they could not vote.

Mr. Wong never expressed bitterness at the prejudice that had kept him from working as an engineer. "I think when you look back, I'm better off this way, because we had a going concern," he told the Vancouver Sun in 2007, after moving the tailoring shop back to its original location at 5 Pender St., from 511 Carrall St. across the street.

"We were very successful. If I had gone into engineering, I'd have been sent out to the sticks, and you're just on for that particular job. Once that project is over, you've got to start looking for something else. This way, I think my family life is much better."

Among his younger siblings was a financier and philanthropist (Milton Wong), a dentist (Maurice), an artist who lived in New York (Anna), a teacher (Helen) and a lab technician (May).

"Bill and Jack were the pathfinders for our family," commented Maurice Wong, the youngest brother. "Milton went into the financial world in Toronto, I went to Dalhousie.

The vote for Asians came in 1947 and it was a seismic change. I remember our father putting on his best suit and proudly going off to vote. We were able to participate in Canadian society after that."

Bill Wong leaves his wife of 66 years, Zoe; children, Steven, Glenna, Susan and Peter; and grandchildren, Karen and Michael. Of his many siblings, only his brother Maurice Wong and sister May remain, in addition to stepsister Sabrina in Hong Kong.

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

The Wong family is seen in 1946. Bill Wong (back row, third from left) was a student at UBC at the time, and he and his brother Jack (back row, second from left), belonged to the Reserve Officers' Training Corps.


Mr. Wong is seen using a machine in Modernize, the tailor shop his father opened in 1913. He became a Chinatown legend for his work, measuring, pinning and pressing there six days a week until his death.


How does it feel to taste the hottest peppers in the world? A visit to Las Cruces will let you test your chili-pepper tolerance, as well as introduce you to the many charms of New Mexico, Barbara Ramsay Orr writes
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, May 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO -- I like a little heat. Actually, I pride myself on being able to take a lot of heat. I always order the "inferno" chicken wings and the curry with four little red chilies beside its name on the menu. But even I, a seasoned and proud chilihead, hit the wall with the Bhut Jolokia pepper.

I met my chili Waterloo at the shrine to the pepper, the Chile Pepper Institute. The institute is the only one in the world totally dedicated to the study and cultivation of the chili pepper.

It's arcane, hard to find, smallish and really cool - tucked away on the campus of New Mexico State University in downtown Las Cruces. It is a serious place, so serious that the institute was awarded a Guinness World Record for discovering the hottest chili in the world - the Bhut Jolokia.

When you consider that the ubiquitous jalapeno pepper scores about 10,000 heat units on the Scoville scale (the international measure for the heat of peppers), the realization that the Bhut Jolokia pepper measures more than one million Scoville heat units (SHU) gives one pause. Even more amazing is the fact that the Chile Pepper Institute has since grown the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, which clocks in at somewhere around two million SHU.

Ever the culinary risk-taker, I sampled the Holy Jolokia purée - just a smidgen on the tip of my finger, touched quickly to the end of my tongue. Twenty minutes later, I still couldn't feel my cheeks. Awesome.

There is more to chilies than heat, however, and Adan Delval, the program specialist at the institute, explains some of the breeding goals it is working on.

"I am very excited about our ornamental chili plant varieties," he says.

"We are developing several ranges of bright colours and shapes, making them perfect for accent plants in landscapes or inside as a decorative element."

But can you eat ornamental peppers? "All peppers are edible," Delval says. "But the ornamental ones are bred for colour and appearance. They will be very hot, but not have much chili flavour."

His favourite? "Right now, I really love the new jalapenos that we are developing. They range in colour - pale green, yellow, orange - and they are very flavourful."

The institute sells seeds for many of the exotic chili peppers (there will be Jolokias and Trinidad Scorpions growing in my garden) as well as posters, cookbooks, books about chili peppers, and several chili products - sauces, chili powder, even chili-decorated T-shirts. You can order many of the products from its website.

The institute also has a chili pepper teaching garden where visitors can view more than 150 kinds of chilis. Look out for the NuMex Big Jim, the institute's record holder for the world's largest chili pepper.

The chili pepper is central to New Mexican cuisine. The founder of the Chile Pepper Institute, Fabian Garcia, developed the New Mexican pepper, which has become a staple in dishes across the state. It is a long, narrow pepper, green to begin with, but red when fully ripe, with a medium heat and a garlicky, sweet and slightly smoky taste. That chili features on almost every menu in Las Cruces and surrounding communities. Many shops display a "ristra," an artfully arranged string of dried chili peppers, and if you visit in the fall, the air is rich with the smell of chilies being roasted.

Because the area also grows pecans, there are some delicious marriages of pecans and chilies.

At the Las Cruces Farmers Market, one of the largest in North America, I found candied chili pecans and chili-infused pecan brittle, a decadent fusion of nuttiness, sweetness and heat.

At the Pecan Grill, I sampled green-chili stew, a green-chili margarita, green-chili pizza and green-chili ice cream. Best of all was a "Corked Bat" from a sports bar called The Game II, a peeled and seeded green chili, stuffed with cheddar cheese, breaded with crushed pecans and deep-fried. It was delicious, and not overly spicy.

But Las Cruces is not entirely about chilies. There's much to do in this historic town, close to the Rio Grande River and cupped by the Organ Mountains.

There are excellent hiking and biking trails,and one of the most popular is the 6.4-kilometre hike to the ruins of the old Dripping Springs hotel and sanctuary, and on to La Cueva, a mountain cave that provided shelter for prehistoric Mogollon people. The abandoned Dripping Springs resort was built in the late 1800s by a former Confederate officer, and flourished for years until financial difficulties led to its closing.

It was run as a tuberculosis sanatorium, and then left again to decay.

The old buildings are interesting, but the beauty of the surrounding mountains, the fresh-water spring, and the views of the valley below are the real attraction. It's not a difficult hike, though you do climb steadily. It's a bonus if the cactus are in flower. Hardy hikers can continue on to La Cueva, a cave with a long history and many stories, including one of an Italian priest who became a hermit and took up residence in it until he was murdered.

For culture, the New Mexico State University Art Gallery is home to more than 1,700 19thcentury Mexican retablos, the largest collection in the United States. Retablos are small devotional paintings, placed on church altars, often done on tin, and frequently depicting a tragedy averted by divine intervention. Their vibrant colours, folk-art style and personal stories make them both beautiful and moving. The gallery also showcases local artists.

Nearby is the otherworldly White Sands National Monument, a carefully preserved expanse with kilometres of fine white gypsum sand dunes. It is the largest such natural site in the world. Walking through the dunes is unnerving - the sand is white as snow, and it's cool to the touch, but there's a burning hot sun overhead in a clear blue sky. Even stranger is the sight of kids and adults speeding down the highest dunes on sleds. A guided sunset walk through the white dunes, as the sands turn pink and gold and the stars come out, feels like a lunar stroll.

There are special hikes on nights when the moon is full.

Mesilla, close by, is a historic New Mexico town, famous for hosting a murder trial that condemned Billy the Kid, and it's full of interesting shops and good places to dine, as well as its carefully restored and attractive Basilica of San Albino. The mission-style basilica was built in 1908 on the grounds of the original church that was established in 1852. The stained-glass windows are magnificent, and best viewed in late afternoon with the sun streaming through.

The town's plaza is one of the few that remains as it was in the early years, surrounded by traditional adobe structures that today house boutiques and galleries. Bowlin's Mesilla Book Center sells pecan oil and freshly ground chilipowder, and the Mesilla Book Centre is a place to linger out of the midday sun while browsing through books on local history and western lore.

La Posta Restaurant celebrates New Mexico cuisine in a rambling building full of statues, carvings, whimsical art pieces and colourful murals.

For music lovers, there is the annual Las Cruces Country Music Festival (held in May this year but with a planned move to the fall for 2018). It is a celebration of country music, featuring stars like Tanya Tucker, Kacey Musgraves and Travis Tritt. Young girls, dancing together in front of the stage, wear short dresses with denim jackets and cowboy boots - a look that is dressed up and dressed down at the same time.

The New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum is a good family activity and a reminder of the hardships of cowboy life, with heritage cattle, cowboy art and antique farming equipment. For those who like their tipple, there's an Ale Trail that takes visitors to several local microbreweries. There is, of course, a green chili beer.

But best is the Walk of Flame, the Green Chile Trail that leads visitors to 28 restaurants, retail stores and producers, where the chili rules.

Green chili wine at St. Clair's Winery, green chili lasagne at Lorenzo's Italian Restaurant and, at La Posta de Mesilla, a "chilerita," a potent margarita that is a blend of "Besito Caliente" blackberry and habanero sauce, lime juice, Hornitos 100 per cent Agave Reposado tequila and Patron Citronge, a lime-infused tequila liqueur. It's a drink that packs a double punch. At Crazy Maizy's, you can finish with green chili popcorn.

You don't have to be a chilihead to enjoy Las Cruces. But if you are one, it's nirvana.

CHILIS 101 .

One fresh green chili has as much Vitamin C as six oranges.

Hot chili peppers burn calories by triggering a thermodynamic burn that speeds up the metabolism.

Chili pepper tea can be used to treat a sore throat.

Wild chilis are spread by birds, who do not have receptors in their mouths to feel the heat.

All chili peppers, even ornamentals, are edible.

Chili peppers are relatives of tomatoes, potatoes and eggplants, all belonging to the nightshade family.

Oleoresin, the colour extracted from very red chili peppers, is used in everything from lipstick to processed meats.

Chile Pepper Institute, New Mexico State University

Associated Graphic

The Organ Mountains create a rugged background for the city of Las Cruces, in southern New Mexico.


Las Cruces is home to New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute, an organization totally dedicated to the study and cultivation of the chili pepper.

White Sands National Monument is the world's largest white gypsum sand dune field.


Las Cruces, N.M., is nirvana for lovers of all things chili.

The conversation about appropriation is important, but it's also fraught with irony
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

To begin with, a recent situation: Visions Gallery in Toronto recently cancelled an exhibit by an artist who calls herself Amanda PL. The problem, it seems, is that Amanda PL has used elements in her painting that resemble elements in the work of Norval Morrisseau and the "Woodland School" of Indigenous artists.

After receiving complaints - we don't know from whom - that PL's work is an act of cultural appropriation, the gallery cancelled her solo exhibit.

And then another situation: Hal Niedzviecki, after telling us that he doesn't believe in "cultural appropriation" and informing us about how Indigenous writers work - hint: they don't write "what they know" - proposes a so-called "appropriation prize" for best work of "appropriation" - that is, fiction written from the perspective of a culture or race to which the author does not belong.

This is an idea so bewilderingly silly that you can't help wondering if Niedzviecki is dull or, like Swift of A Modest Proposal, beyond measure in his brilliance.

I'm not an expert on the matter, but it seems that "cultural appropriation" means, in the case of Amanda PL, that Morrisseau's work, being that of an Indigenous artist, has a context and content that PL - who is not Indigenous - does not understand.

She has, therefore, no right to take these elements out of their context and use them without regard to their meaning in Indigenous culture.

There are levels of irony at play in all this. To begin with, Norval Morrisseau was himself criticized for using sacred symbols in his work. He was accused of debasing them.

There is a consistency, here, but how strange that some of the condemnation of PL would necessarily be a condemnation of Morrisseau, too.

Morrisseau defended his work on the grounds that his painting, showing the sacred in a different context as it did, gave renewed power to the sacred by allowing another vantage on it, by restoring its strangeness. The images and symbols are not important in themselves. Their power fades or even dies. The renewal of their power is one of the byproducts of art. Morrisseau himself used Christian symbols with Indigenous ones. In so doing, he could point to what both traditions venerate: the things beyond words and signs.

That's not to say that it's impossible to misuse sacred symbols. It clearly is possible. The wanton display of sacred objects - or the display of an "Eskimo" skeleton in a museum - is despicable because it refuses to acknowledge that things from other cultures can have deep meaning the way things in our culture do, that things in other cultures can be sacred, that they are more than curious and that human remains are not just worthy of dignity but deserving of it. This will seem obvious to most people, I imagine. As it will seem obvious that none who truly thought of Qisuk as human - as opposed to a "specimen" - would have countenanced a display of his skeleton in the American Museum of Natural History.

The problem with cultural appropriation is in the use of humans or human artifacts as if they were instruments, there to say what we choose to have them say. But, to my mind, some of the recent talk about Morrisseau's work also has the feel of a reduction. What's most unsettling about the veneration of Norval Morrisseau is that it does not allow the work of an artist (Morrisseau) to be fully part of the common stream (visual art). It reduces Morrisseau's work to one of its aspects: the use of sacred symbols, the illustration of sacred narratives.

But Morrisseau and the other members of the Woodland School were artists. It isn't the Woodland Church or the Woodland Cult. They were influenced by European work. The abstract paintings of Benjamin Chee Chee, for instance, are the work of a painter working in a medium that he knows intimately. To deny this aspect of Morrisseau or Chee Chee is to make them servants of the sacred rather than renewers of it. Priests, in other words. Which they were not. It sometimes feels as if the words "cultural appropriation" have been used to create a straightjacket for Indigenous artists: a straightjacket similar to the ones for which "black artists" or "gay artists" - name your minority - are fitted.

It's not difficult to understand the impulse to preserve for Indigenous use signs and symbols that have Indigenous origins and specific meanings within Indigenous spirituality. But if Indigenous spirituality is valuable to humans - as opposed to valuable only to a specific and small group of humans - what's served by this hiving off, this making unavailable? Cui bono, as the Latin has it: Who benefits from this exclusivity?

I'm not suggesting there's no good answer to that question. On the other hand, some of the reactions to Amanda PL's work - and the justifications of those reactions - have been bizarre. The idea, for instance, that a white artist (Amanda PL) influenced by an Indigenous artist (Norval Morrisseau) is effecting some sort of "cultural genocide" - words actually used - is not just over the top. It's contrary to common sense. The most influential and living spiritual doctrines we know are precisely those that are widely disseminated and interpreted in the widest variety of ways. To imagine IndigenousAmerican spirituality as common is not to imagine it dead. It's to imagine it as vivid as Christianity or Buddhism. The same can be said of "culture." Films and music from the United States - which disseminate American values - have massive influence not because they are kept from other cultures. But because they have been ruthlessly exported and exploited - exploited by Americans, yes, but also by those who take American music and film in unique directions.

This is, I guess, as good a place to talk about Hal Niedzviecki as any. A few days ago, Niedzviecki - editor of Write magazine, a publication of the Writers' Union of Canada - wrote an editorial in which he suggested that there is no such thing as cultural appropriation. To me, the piece seemed, first of all, arrogant. It wasn't arrogant because it suggested that cultural appropriation does not exist. It was arrogant because it lumped all Indigenous writing together and then asserted that many Indigenous writers do not write "what they know" but, rather, "what they don't know." The assertion that, say, Eden Robinson, Thomas King and Tomson Highway - to choose three interesting writers at random - are at all similar in their procedures is a flagrant display of the reductionism I spoke of earlier.

Niedzviecki's editorial drew exactly the kind of response you'd imagine. People were outraged. There then followed the usual response. Niedzviecki resigned his editorial post and wrote an apology for his words.

He thus became the usual kind of martyr for "free-speech" aficionados. And, now, an "appropriation prize" is being funded in Niedzviecki's honour. The amusing thing - if you find any of this even remotely amusing - is that if you take the idea behind an "appropriation prize" seriously, a prize jury will regularly have to enact the arrogance Niedzviecki showed in the first place. Who, for instance, gets to judge if a white writer's black character is "faithful"? Who gets to judge if a black writer's Caucasian character is faithful to "real Caucasians"?

All of these ideas - those brought on by the PL exhibit and Niedzviecki's resignation - feel more urgent, to me, lately, because I have been wrestling with some of them in my own work. I'm a writer of fiction who is obsessed with the idea of place.

In the novel I'm currently writing, I have tried to give voice to the Canadian forest - well, Ontario scrub, anyway. Naturally, I wondered if I had the right to use the names of Indigenous gods in my work. It seemed to me that the land I love had been travelled - its mysteries named - hundreds of years before me; that at some point an Indigenous artist had looked on a (cleaner, less cemented) version of our landscape and listened for its voice.

Why should I have to refer to Judeo-Christian gods or Greek gods - gods who are strange to my land - when speaking of the holy? Do I have the right to speak the sacred names of those whose names are part of the language I speak - Toronto, Ottawa, Saskatchewan. Our most beautiful names come from those who've been here longest.

I decided not to use the names and gods because, in the end, I wasn't at ease with them. Certainly I was less familiar with them than I am with the Greek pantheon, say. The culture of the people who first named the land isn't taught to me. I don't know their religions. I wish I did know them.

I wish I had been taught them.

And, in fact, I feel at times as if I have been excluded - by white culture, not Indigenous culture - from a birthright. Or is it my "birthright"? To what extent do I have common cause with the people of the nations who walked the land before me, those who were the first to walk the land?

I don't know the answers to these questions, of course. I ask them respectfully and with a proper place cleared within to hold the answers. I can't help feeling, though, that as we celebrate Canada 150, we have devised an idea - "cultural appropriation" - that runs the risk of hiding Indigenous Canadian culture, not preserving it. We are effecting, through kindness, the kind of exclusion that the first Europeans effected through violence.

André Alexis is the author of Fifteen Dogs, which won the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2015, and The Hidden Keys, which was recently nominated for the Trillium Book Award, among other books.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Social media as sales pitch
The new wave of direct sellers is using the Internet to promote, network and move product. But if they don't do it right, the end of a friendship is just a click away
Thursday, May 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

A few years ago, a woman I was friendly with became a sales representative for Arbonne, a cosmetic and skincare company that is built on network sales, or rather friends selling to friends. "That's great!" I told her, though I thought to myself, "Oh no."

She began to send invites to parties, stressing that there was no obligation to buy: "Just come out and try!" E-mail invites became Facebook events, which I pretended not to see; I didn't want to feel obligated to buy something just because the salesperson was someone I knew. Over time, as a growing number of independent sales contractors - as my friend and her contemporaries are known - began crowding my social-media feeds, I deployed my "unfollow" function liberally. And I'm not the only one.

A key part of direct sales is tapping into and expanding one's network (the industry also goes by the term network sales).

People buy into a company, investing in a starter package that costs anywhere from $100 to $700, and then get a cut of any sales they make. "We always say tap into four different social circles," says Heather Wilhelm, a sales rep with jewellery company Stella and Dot. Some firms also offer referral programs that pay out commissions on the sales made by the representatives a person has recruited into the company.

This is where direct salespeople differ from, say, someone in pharmaceutical sales. They're not just pushing their product, but also their lifestyle as a means of recruiting new salespeople, which makes it essential to deploy their social-media accounts - platforms designed to publicize that users are living their best lives in their Wallpaper* magazine-worthy homes and looking great while doing it (and by the way, that bracelet is available for purchase!). Because their sales reps are part and parcel of the product being sold, direct-sales companies are increasingly teaching the art of being social on social media. Everyone knows a deluge of selfies is annoying, but in the world of direct sales, it can also be bad for business.

"I have people on my Facebook that are with Arbonne and other companies that I unfollowed because I can't stand it," says Vanessa Ortali, a Toronto-based entrepreneur who runs four businesses, one of which is being a sales representative for Arbonne. On her own social-media channels, she relies on subtle publicity.

"I don't want people to feel that I'm shoving Arbonne down their throat. My posts are very lifestyle based - last week I posted a recipe for my protein pancakes and showed some [Arbonne] product in the background."

Ortali likens her social-media sales efforts to online dating.

"At the end of the day it's a numbers game - you're looking to expand your network, and if it works it works," she says.

"Once you join a network marketing company, people have had so many good or bad experiences they get really nervous of you.

'Oh ... you're doing Arbonne? I can't talk to you.' It has nothing to do with me, it's something they've already dealt with."

The Direct Sellers Association of Canada estimates there are 800,000 Canadians involved in direct sales - 91 per cent of whom are women. Sales in Canada are worth more than $2-billion annually, the DSA reports, while the global industry is worth $182.8-billion (U.S.).

Arbonne and companies similar to it - and there are more than you can imagine, in all types of industries: food (Epicure), accessories (Stella and Dot), health supplements (Herbalife), cleaning products (Norwex), even cannabis lifestyle products - take their cues from similar companies before them, such as Avon, Mary Kay and Tupperware. The idea: Help women earn an income by selling to other women via a social party-like setting in the comfort of their homes.

With the advent of the influencer and the often paid promotion of "lifestyles" via social media, one would think that people would be accepting of sales pitches infiltrating their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. But that's not the case, says Jennifer Fong, a New York area business consultant for the direct-sales industry.

"I think some of it has to do with the fact that probably everyone has had a bad experience with an untrained or unethical direct seller, or knows someone who has. Because the barrier to entry in a direct selling business is so low, there are so many people who have tried it, and not everyone is good at it," Fong says.

"When direct sellers try to share on social media, there is an inherent bias that people face that isn't there for influencers who already have respect because of something else. This bias can be overcome through integrity and service, but it takes time and patience."

Lorie Tokola, Canadian vicepresident of sales for Park Lane Jewelry, has been in direct sales since the mid-1990s, first with Weekenders, a women's clothing line, and Silpada Designs, another jewellery company. "When I first started, cellphones were just coming out in the late nineties.

Back then, it was very much the telephone on a cord. I find nowadays people just don't answer their phone - you have to get people's permission now to have successful contact on the telephone," she says from her Niagara-region home in Sherkston, Ont.

Tokola asks prospective clients if she can friend them on Facebook and other social-media platforms before sending them a message about Park Lane. She'll ask if they want to be alerted about sales and specials and if they say yes, she invites them to a "VIP" group page, where she posts company, product and show information. "I've always been of the school that you don't blast on your personal account about business. That's a good way to have people unfriend or unfollow you," she says. "No one told me to do that; I just think it's polite."

Tokola oversees all of Park Lane's reps in Canada and advises them to communicate with potential and existing customers in the same way.

Epicure, a grocery and cookware company, now teaches social-media best practices to its representatives. When Carmen Locke started working as an Epicure direct sales rep 11 years ago, she took it upon herself to learn how best to use Facebook and the like to promote sales. But recently, she attended a session led by Fong.

"I used to have a business page on Facebook, but it wasn't getting that much traction, so I created a group so that people could opt in to get the info," Locke says. "In the class, they taught you that you want people to opt in because if they're just added in that annoys people and they want to get you off their page completely."

Locke posts about Epicure on her personal page only on occasion to avoid the perils of oversharing. "I do see a lot of other businesses and other Epicure consultants who haven't picked up on that and it's sad because they're just pushing it down your throat," she says. "I've unfollowed people. I would rather be in their business group. Yes, I use Arbonne products, I try to support others that are in direct sales, but if we're friends I don't want to see that all the time."

Those who oversell on social media risk losing their friendships. Says Fong: "I advise direct sellers to respect the 80/20 rule on their personal profiles: Talk about your personal life 80 per cent of the time, and only talk about your business - as it relates to you personally! - 20 per cent of the time. Direct sellers have to be careful not to jump to the close while missing the 'social' aspect of social media ... or they will lose friends and be the one that others avoid." When dealing with rejection, Fong recommends accepting that no means no. "If someone pushes back, let them know you've heard them and respect those boundaries," she says.

Stella and Dot's Wilhelm, who's based in Hamilton, recounts one such instance. "I had a woman, not too long ago, contact me through Facebook Messenger, saying, 'I appreciate you reaching out but I'm going through a divorce and this isn't something I can deal with right now.' " Wilhelm removed the woman from her distribution list immediately. She says the company has policies about how reps should govern themselves online.

"They give ideas about great words to say, great imaging, ways to boost things. People might think I react negatively [to a request to stop pitching], but it's all about learning a balance."

Asking permission, subtly promoting, fostering friendships - as the way we communicate evolves, so must the sales pitch.

Still, when every new contact is a possible lead, the charm offensive never ends.

While researching this story, two interview subjects sent me Facebook friend requests and another offered to send me product samples. I have made promises to neither.

Associated Graphic

Independent salespeople aren't just selling their products, but also their lifestyle as a recruitment tactic, making it essential to deploy their social-media accounts.


Left: Vanessa Ortali, a sales representative for Arbonne, says she relies on subtle publicity online, so she isn't pushing the product on her contacts. Right: A post from Stella and Dot sales representative Heather Wilhelm's social-media account. Wilhelm says she encourages independent sellers to tap into different social circles to expand their network.


After a nasty campaign, France faces its Trump moment
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A9

ENNEMAIN, FRANCE -- French voters have already sent shock waves across the country by upending a political system that has been in place for a generation. Now, they'll have a chance on Sunday to rattle the foundations of Europe when they elect a new president to give voice to their rising discontent with the status quo.

Their choice couldn't be more profound. They either embrace Marine Le Pen of the National Front and endorse her brand of populism that has led elsewhere to Brexit and the election of U.S.

President Donald Trump; or turn to political novice Emmanuel Macron, a former banker who wants to strengthen the country's ties to Europe and who embraces globalization. Either way, Europe is in for a shakeup and the world will have to adjust to a new French leader who shunned traditional politics and has never held high office.

Voters here have already rejected politics as usual. They obliterated the establishment-party candidates in the first round of voting last month, opting for Mr. Macron and Ms. Le Pen as the finalists in the second round, even though Mr. Macron has never held elected office and Ms. Le Pen's party has been on the margins of French politics for 40 years. Their head-to-head campaign has also been among the most bruising and acrimonious France has ever seen. The low point came this week when their only debate descended into a shouting match, with Mr. Macron calling Ms. Le Pen "a hate-filled liar feeding off France's misery," while she labelled him the candidate of "savage globalization" who will cause "a war of everyone against everyone."

The campaign "has been extremely shocking in many ways," said Nicole Bacharan, a political scientist who lectures at Sciences Po University in Paris.

"I've never been so worried, so stressed out and so shocked."

Most unsettling has been "the division of the country and the hatred that came out of groups of people who can't discuss anything, can't understand each other, can't talk," she added. "It's like they don't speak the same language." Whoever wins, she says, will have to deal with that divide "because it isn't going away."

Mr. Macron has the edge heading into Sunday's vote, thanks to a comfortable lead in most opinion polls and the backing of the country's main political figures. But his support is soft and analysts expect as many as 25 per cent of voters will abstain or spoil their ballots in protest at both candidates. That could play into the hands of Ms. Le Pen, whose supporters remain fiercely loyal despite her debate performance, which was widely panned even by her father, National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Ms. Le Pen is conceding nothing and on Thursday she held her final campaign rally in Ennemain, a village in northern France that typifies the growing anger she has tapped into.

Just 230 people live here and the signs of rural angst are everywhere. Mayor Patrice Grimaux said Ennemain used to be a thriving place with a butcher shop, a bakery, a store and a garage. "Now we have nothing," he added, gesturing to the scattered houses from the doorway of the village hall. "All of the villages are dying."

He pointed across the street to the À l'Habitude coffee shop, which closed a few years ago and remains a boarded-up relic.

Someone tried to reopen it, he said, but the bank wouldn't lend them money. There aren't even many family farms left because most have been swallowed up by large agribusinesses. The only jobs available around here are seasonal work picking vegetables or at the Bonduelle food-processing plant in nearby Estrées-Mons.

This is Le Pen country and Mr. Grimaux, a line manager at Bonduelle, proudly backs the National Front candidate, saying she cares about rural communities.

His son, an out-of-work engineer, is volunteering with her campaign and the village has shown its support, too, handing Ms. Le Pen a comfortable victory in the first round of voting, with 61 of the 195 ballots cast. Mr. Macron came fourth with 21 votes. "She's our president," said Philippe Devillez, a local resident who couldn't wait to see Ms. Le Pen.

Hundreds of people from across the countryside came to hear Ms. Le Pen, and the rally had a carnival-like atmosphere - with food trucks, rides for children and a tent selling locally grown carrots, radishes, onions and potatoes.

When she hit the makeshift stage, Ms. Le Pen drove home her message of anti-globalization and insisted that she spoke for the disaffected and the silent majority who are fed up with elites.

"My voice is nothing but an echo of the social violence that will explode in this country," she said. Then, she railed against immigration, the European Union and greedy bankers such as Mr. Macron. "You have one chance, one chance Sunday, to say that we are the only masters in our country," she said.

Few people even in her entourage expect her to win on Sunday.

"We are not disillusioned," said Florian Philippot, a National Front vice-president who is a key adviser to Ms. Le Pen. "We are not the favourites. We are the challengers and it will be up to the French people to decide."

But he knows a message has been delivered and he took pleasure in mocking the release of a video by former U.S. president Barack Obama endorsing Mr. Macron. Mr. Obama "supported Hillary Clinton and she lost," he said with a smile. "He campaigned against Brexit and Brexit won.

And now he campaigns for Macron. Good."

He also had something to say to Canadians who might fear Ms. Le Pen and her movement. "Canada, and notably Quebec and all of the Francophonie, will win with a victory of Marine Le Pen. We will relaunch the relationship and create a special link," he said in a brief interview before the Ennemain rally. But he also had a warning about the Canada-European Union trade deal, calling it "a catastrophe for us" and vowing to work to scrap it.

Mr. Macron has been treading a fine line in the past few days of the campaign, pressing his call for France to broaden its ties with the EU but mindful of the discontent with the union. He's won points from many pundits for his deportment during the debate and for challenging Ms. Le Pen's call for France to drop the euro and bring back the franc. And he's seen a slight boost in his support in a couple of opinion polls released on Friday that put him at around 60 per cent.

"I'm a pro-European, I defended constantly during this election the European idea and European policies because I believe it's extremely important for French people and for the place of our country in globalization," he told reporters this week. "But at the same time, we have to face the situation, to listen to our people."

He has talked more openly lately about changing how Europe operates, including reforming labour rules and other regulations that some say has inhibited France's economic growth.

Many people are already planning for his victory and jockeying for positions in his future government. There are still parliamentary elections in June that will determine how far Mr. Macron as president could go in implementing his domestic reforms, which include overhauling the country's rigid labour market as well as slashing public spending and civil-servant jobs. By any measure, his campaign has been a phenomenon. Mr. Macron only founded his movement, called En Marche!, last year after resigning as economy minister in the government of Socialist President François Hollande, a position he'd held for just two years. He's never run for office and when he launched his presidential bid last summer, he vowed to be a nonpolitician, "neither right nor left."

If he wins, he'll be the youngest president in French history, at 39.

"When you look at what he has achieved, coming from nowhere and putting together a political operation in a very short time, this is actually an astonishing trajectory in political terms," said French economist Nicolas Véron, a senior fellow at Bruegel, a Brussels-based think tank. Mr. Macron has also realigned French politics and served up a lesson for other countries, Mr. Véron added. He said Mr. Macron caught on to the idea that the old left-right divide was no longer as important as the split between those who want an open economy and society, and those who feel left behind by globalization. The result has been a structural change in the country's politics and the demise of traditional parties such as the Socialists and Republicans, he said.

That shift in the power base is all too clear when it comes to people like 26-year-old Kevin Dodre, who's fed up with the political system, elites and especially the EU. "It's Europe that decides most things and that's wrong," said Mr. Dodre, a railway worker who lives in Paris but grew up near Ennemain. He's backing Ms. Le Pen but wants to see major changes no matter who wins. "It's wrong that we don't have our future in our hands. It's Europe that controls our future. That has to change."

Associated Graphic

Children pass by posters for French presidential candidates Marine Le Pen, centre, and Emmanuel Macron in Ossès, France, on Friday.


Parenting the President: Executive tips for raising your Baby-in-Chief
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F2

Washington is leaking, the same way that Niagara Falls is "leaking." The news these days reads as if there's a parking garage in Washington so full of shadowy figures that none of them can get an empty parking space in which to breathe portentously any more. They're all packed in there, seven or eight to a vacant spot.

Some are on parked cars - perched in a row on the bumper, lying like sardines on the roof of a Lexus - trying to shout out their secrets over each other to a waiting crowd of journalists.

"Get out your notebook!"

"What? Get out? We just got here?" "No! Get! Out! Your! Notebook! There's mor ... " "Our phone book? It's 2017, nobody has a phone book!"

The journalists are wearing hip waders because Washington is leaking.

Nearly lost in the off-the-record deluge this week was this snippet: National Security Council officials admit, according to one source, that they make a point of including Donald Trump's name in "as many paragraphs as we can because he keeps reading if he's mentioned."

Oh, America, I feel for you in these times. The first three to four months of a presidency can be exhilarating, but they're never easy, and reports - so many reports - are that this has been a particularly difficult stretch for you. In an effort to be supportive, to reach out to you, our neighbour - to be honest, I keep seeing you crying in your national driveway - allow me to give you some tips from that classic, What to Expect When You Elect a Giant Toddler Leader of the Free World.

1. Pick your battles. You'll probably never get your President to understand that the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard aren't just interchangeable masses of people in uniform eagerly awaiting his thoughts on how mean the press has been to him.

"I won't talk about how much I saved you on the F-35 fighter jet. I won't even talk about it. Or how much we're about to save you on the Gerald Ford, the aircraft carrier," he told the commencement crowd at the Coast Guard Academy this week. You might be tempted to remind the Toddler-inChief that the Coast Guard does not operate either piece of military equipment. Keep your presidential parenting powder dry. Consider buying him a set of actual little green plastic army men to play with as a distraction from people who have work to do.

2. Sometimes a toddler can't yet differentiate between fact and fiction.

That doesn't necessarily mean he's lying. This, however, is not one of those times. Odds are astoundingly high that if your President-toddler is talking, he's lying. Unless, it seems, he is talking to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, in which case, multiple sources say, he is unbelievably candid. Err on the side of caution. Did your President happen to remark on the colour of the sky today? Go double-check. It can't hurt.

3. Imaginary friends can be a source of reassurance. They often provide comfort in times of insecurity. Don't be alarmed if your toddler talks about them. An imaginary record-breaking inauguration crowd is another matter entirely. You should really get that looked at.

4. Have a bedtime strategy. When picking out a story, try for something calming, a book that may address some of his fears and possibly stave off nightmares. See if your local library has a copy of The Little Emoluments Clause That Couldn't Really Do Much they are selling in anticipation of the proposed cutting off of their federal funding. Make an elaborate ritual of checking under the bed for Department of Justice special counsels.

Remind your President that John McCain never actually does anything.

5. It's important to teach your childPresident about boundaries. For example, use a map and explain gently, but firmly, that "This is the Mexican border, you can't send police, soldiers or invoices for big, stupid walls beyond here."

6. It's generally safe to leave your President unattended in a car. However, it is vital that you not leave him unattended with FBI directors overseeing an investigation into his campaign.

7. Encourage your young President to share his toys. Discourage him from sharing Israeli intelligence with Russian officials. Explain that this is a "special, no-fun kind of sharing" called "an international incident."

8. It has been reported (leaking!) that some of your President's staff are worried about leaving him alone with other heads of state. This is a good instinct. Your President now has selfinflicted wounds on his self-inflicted wounds. You will long for the day you had a president who just tried to give other another world leader an unsolicited shoulder massage. Maybe stick to supervised foreign-dignitary visitation until you are confident the man you have just chosen to govern you will not say anything colossally stupid (so never).

9. Presidents (well, mostly just your President) can be very impressionable. While you don't want to discourage him from making new friends, it's important to know who might be influencing him. If he tells you his new best friend is "John Smith. Totally normal American. Not at all from Great Nation of Russia," maybe try to arrange for him to spend more time with little Angela instead. Also, avoid scheduling any more play dates with "Michael Flynn." That's not a pseudonym or anything; Michael Flynn just has a nasty habit of reportedly altering U.S. military operations for the benefit of the Turkish government while secretly being on their payroll.

10. Teething is a difficult time for any administration. Giving your President a teething ring can make things much more comfortable for him and you. As convenient as it might seem, do not allow your President to chew on an intercontinental ballistic missile. They are both too large for even your President's mouth and, of course, usually tipped with nuclear warheads. Try to keep your President from gumming on either NATO or NAFTA. It turns out, they're more delicate than we thought. Ideally, your President should not be allowed to mess with anything more vital to your country's security than NBC's Tuesday night schedule.

11. Don't discuss private body parts with your President. That's just weird; he's the President. Maybe leave a note on his desk reminding him that the phrases "grab 'em by the pussy" and "hot mic" are two things you never want to hear on CNN again. Put his name in the note, at least twice.

12. Travelling with your toddler-leader brings additional challenges. A nine-day trip to the Middle East and Europe with stops in Israel and Saudi Arabia can ... Oh, dear God, I have no advice. There's really no way out of this. He has apparently asked that the trip be shortened to five days. Cave! Cave! Cave! I don't know; bring crayons. No, bring one big, heavy crayon. Lay it on his chest and watch him struggle like a turtle on his back.

This may at least earn you back some cred with the rest of the Five Eyes.

13. Sometimes a little bribery may be necessary. Call it "positive reinforcement" and you'll feel less ashamed. If getting two scoops of ice cream when everyone else gets only one is what it takes to get your President to behave himself, a little extra ice cream isn't going to hurt him any more than his belief that the human body is "like a battery" whose finite energy can be depleted by exercising.

14. The next three years may feel like one very long, very awkward parent/ teacher conference. Remember, not communicating is important. Seriously, why bother? Do not, White House staff, squander the dregs of your credibility writing presidential parent's notes explaining that you're certain Donny did not tell little James to drop his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. You might follow this up with a note asking if Donny can be excused from both gym class (the battery thing) and allegations that he has tainted the United States' relationship with Israel by disclosing highly classified information to Russian intelligence as though that top-secret information was a rare Pokémon card, if Pokémon cards could get intelligence sources killed.

Remember, your toddler was in the presence of men he wanted to impress and, one assumes, a live mic, and you did ask him not to boast about sexually assaulting women. This one's kind of on you, and it promises to be the lamest sequel to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy ever. "We have a leak. It's high up."

"Yeah, it's the President." Roll credits.

15. Offer limited choices. Tell your President that he can either publicly state "No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly," as he did this week, or tweet "This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!" as he did this week. It won't matter; nothing you do matters. He'll do both, because he is totally out of control; these are the end times, but at least you can tell yourself you tried. Remind him gently and often, "Don't use your words."

That won't help either.

Sick Kids' hospital of the future and challenges of the present
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M1

Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children is preparing to launch the biggest fundraising campaign in the history of Canadian health care as it lays the groundwork for building a new clinical hospital of the future.

The project, which the Toronto institution's president and chief executive officer, Dr. Michael Apkon, estimates will cost up to $1.6-billion, will turn to the public for the bulk of the $600-million Sick Kids will likely be expected to fund.

It's a massive undertaking, one fraught with challenges not foreseen when its existing buildings were constructed in 1949 and 1993.

A year ago, Sick Kids submitted preliminary plans to Ontario's Ministry of Health for two new buildings on its site, including a new high-acuity care hospital for its three most sensitive units. Two of its existing buildings would be torn down. But even if Sick Kids gets the approvals and funding it needs, the project is 10 years away from opening. That means 10 years of growth the current campus must manage.

That campus is already run thin.

Inside the walls of its critical cardiac care unit, a mother tiptoes over the orange tape that holds her baby's equipment to the floor. She is two hours from home in the only hospital in the country capable of caring for her child, with no end in sight and little space to access her child.

Around her, clusters of machines support other children, their families seated in the middle of a cramped communal room, out of sight of their own kids in the only chairs in the unit. Red tape defines each patient's space. When a nurse or a parent enters or exits the space, they must clean their hands, but equipment overflows the space, blurring lines and pushing families into one collective world.

It isn't uncommon for surgeries to happen at the bedside in critical wards at any children's hospital. But at Sick Kids, doctors can't afford to move children to operating rooms because hallways lack proper air control, risking contamination.

When the room's door opens, children and their families worry if doctors are rushing for them. Sometimes resuscitation is necessary. Sometimes, mothers grieve with mothers.

These children and their families have no privacy.

Half will suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder from the things they've seen and heard inside, says Karen Kinnear, the hospital's clinical vice-president.

"You're supposed to be watching Barney, not the kid across from you," says Dr. Steven Schwartz, the hospital's head of cardiac critical care. "We can't protect them from what happens around them. They're seeing traumatic things that you're not supposed to be watching."

In the bone-marrow ward, Seri Stenning stands over her threeyear-old daughter, Stella, as she rests inside a room filled wall to wall with a bed, recliner and often IV pumps and cardiac monitors. There is no room to entertain a child for as many as 60 days. Here, families aren't allowed to visit. Stella and her mother live in isolation, unable to leave and unable to get out of the bed to exercise in their small space.

Stella has acute myeloid leukemia and has just been through an extreme dose of chemotherapy. She's no longer capable of fighting disease. There is no washroom. Nurses transport bedside commodes or pans for Stella. Every time she goes to the bathroom, she risks infection from the commode, says Jennifer LaRosa, the marrow transplant program's clinical manager.

Here, Sick Kids often does more than 100 bone-marrow transplants a year.

"This is the cell that you're in," Dr. Apkon says. "It's not what the children of Ontario deserve."

Ms. Stenning's husband stays a few blocks away at Ronald McDonald House. She couldn't; she wouldn't sleep. "This is the luxury that I get to sleep in," Ms. Stenning says, laughing and pointing to the recliner.

"If you're not getting a good night's sleep, you're going to get sick and, if you get sick in our ICUs, we're going to send you home and then you're not there at your child's bedside, and we know a child gets better when their parents are near," Ms. Kinnear says.

"Separation from the parents, when you're two or three, whether you're critically ill or not, is traumatic, let alone with needles and drugs that make you feel bad," says Judy Van Clieaf, the hospital's chief of nursing.

Down a different set of hallways, in Sick Kids's neonatal intensive-care unit, as many as six bassinets in every room house the country's most premature and critically ill newborns.

It's loud. Overhanging ear monitors alert nurses and physicians when the noise level gets too high, but there's a constant hum due to the unavoidable proximity of the families. In winter, the beds nearest to the window grow cold. In summer, natural light is eliminated by blinds to avoid overheating - temperature is critical to these children, but the building's circulation is failing. There is no room for bedside breast-milk storage freezers or warming devices. Supplies are kept on lines of trolleys in the hallways, forcing nurses away from the bedside and towards potential contamination.

In a 44-bed unit, there are two isolation rooms. If a baby contracts an infection brought from the outside, the ward's ability to admit patients must be shut down and all equipment and supplies disposed of to avoid contamination. Some families spend up to a year here, sleeping in tiny reclining chairs. There is no welcoming area. A distant waiting area overflows. There are cooling units at the end of one space, gas cylinders at another and pumps at each. Work stations for medical records and drug administration further crowd it.

The entire hospital is over capacity. Last year, Sick Kids admitted 16,224 patients and conducted 12,535 surgeries, with growth for the fourth consecutive year in both areas. Nearly 7,000 of those patients spent at least one night, a 10-year high.

Direct admittance and transfers into each of its three most critical wards also rose from 2015 to 2016.

Sick Kids is ill-equipped for modern technology and a rapidly growing population. None of these problems were envisioned when the 1993-built atrium was constructed, let alone the 1949built campus on University Avenue.

To make it happen, Sick Kids would demolish the out-of-use McMaster research building between its Peter Gilgan Centre and its atrium. There, it would erect a building designed for patient support and office space.

That would enable Sick Kids to move its office operations out of its nearly 75-year-old building on the west side of the campus, demolish it in a second phase and build a new critical-care hospital for its cardiac, bone-marrow and neonatal units, opening space up in the atrium for less at-risk patient care.

By doing it in two stages, the most at-risk patients wouldn't have to be displaced. Only a small amount of ambulatory care would be impacted for a short period of time, Dr. Apkon says.

"The single thing that keeps me up at night the most is thinking about how to contemplate continuing to provide cutting-edge, advanced, safe patient care in this facility for the next decade, which is the minimum that we have to address even if we were to receive full government approval for this," he says.

The hospital is growing by 2 per cent a year, forcing it to, on rare occasions, turn families away to other hospitals, Ms. Kinnear says.

"At the physician and nurses level, we believe as deeply as we can to take care of anyone that needs our care and a lot of these cases when we get a call, time matters," Dr. Schwartz says. "We will bend over backwards, but it's becoming a more complicated jigsaw puzzle to manage."

But the cost of demolishing two buildings and replacing them is not cheap.

The $600-million that Sick Kids will turn to philanthropy for will be on top of ongoing donations it already relies on to operate the hospital and its research on an annual basis. It will finance some of that funding with a bond offering, but will need charitable donations from Canadians for the bulk.

The need is urgent, says hospital staff.

"These aren't nice-to-haves, they're need-to-haves," Dr. Apkon says. "The 10-year runway to create the capacity that we need self-creates a matter of urgency for the province in ensuring that there's sufficient beds."

Ten years from now, by the time a new facility is built (if all goes according to plan), the hospital could be in crisis.

"Unless you've been in the environment, witnessed it firsthand, it's really hard to appreciate how much of a difference what we're trying to do will make in the lives of children and their families," Dr. Apkon says.

"The people who have been through here and have spent a very troubling night at a loved one's bedside understand it immediately."

Associated Graphic

Seri Stenning sits by the bedside of her three-year-old daughter, Stella Stenning. Seri and Stella live in isolation, unable to leave and unable to get out of the bed to exercise in their small space.


Women taking charge
While parity has not been reached, an increasing number of women are in positions of influence in Canadian sports
Thursday, May 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

CALGARY -- When Tricia Smith was younger and on her way to athletic glory, her mother offered some advice, "Don't beat the boys at school. It makes them feel bad."

Beating the boys didn't motivate Smith. She simply wanted to be the best she could be. It turned out that attitude helped take her to a place she never imagined at a time when a meaningful number of power brokers in Canadian amateur sport are women - and there's no reason to feel bad about it.

Through Carla Qualtrough, Anne Merklinger and Smith, women occupy the top three positions of influence from Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, to the CEO of Own The Podium, to the president of the Canadian Olympic Committee, respectively. All three were athletes. Qualtrough competed as a visually impaired swimmer at two Paralympics and won three medals. Merklinger swam for the Canadian national team and curled in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Smith was an Olympic silver medalist in rowing before becoming a lawyer. All three worked their way through a male-dominated system to help shape sports and inclusiveness in this country.

And they're not alone. Joining in are: Karen O'Neill, CEO of the Canadian Paralympic Committee; Lorraine Lafrenière, CEO of the Coaching Association of Canada; Susan Auch, CEO of Speed Skating Canada; Eva Havaris, CEO and secretary general of Equine Canada; Michele O'Keefe, president and CEO of Canada Basketball; Katherine Henderson, CEO of Curling Canada; Caroline Sharp, executive director of the Canadian Fencing Federation;

Debra Armstrong, CEO of Skate Canada; Penny Joyce, COO of Diving Canada; and Jasmine Northcott, CEO of Water Ski & Wakeboard Canada. To name some, but certainly not all.

"I just did a quick calculation and in terms of executive directors and CEOs we're just under 40 per cent in the COC membership," Smith said from her Vancouver legal office. "Right now all of us are very much on the same page on where we'd like to see sports go. We all believe and live the Olympic values and it's all about what the leadership team respects - friendship and teamwork."

That so many women have advanced to a position of authority within Canadian sports is due, in part, to the federal government having made diversity a crucial element in its operations.

It was recently reported in The Globe and Mail that 57 per cent of the judges appointed in the past 11/2 years were female. Some saw that as filling a quota rather than hiring the best person. In sports, the heightened presence of female administrators is groundbreaking in its scope.

Women are involved in every level of sports, from the field of play to the head-office boardroom. They support one another, call each other for advice. They also mentor younger women and girls for careers in sports administration as a way of opening doors for a new generation of female leaders.

"We're a close-knit group," Merklinger said. "It's quite a deliberate network that's been established."

It's a group that knows just how vital women are at their sports' highest level. At the Summer and Winter Olympics over the past 15 years, women have been making more and more trips to the podium. Speed skaters Cindy Klassen and Clara Hughes, who also raced in cycling, have each won six career medals, one better than male counterparts Marc Gagnon and François-Louis Tremblay.

Trampolinist Rosie MacLennan became the first Canadian woman to win individual gold in backto-back Summer Olympics (2012, 2016), while 16-year-old swimmer Penny Oleksiak became the first Canadian to win four medals at a Summer Games (2016). Aurélie Rivard won three golds and a silver in the pool to become Canada's most decorated athlete at the Rio Paralympics.

Such accomplishments have created springboards for advancement, nationally and internationally. Former wheelchair athlete Chantal Petitclerc was made a Senator last year. Nathalie Lambert was appointed chairman of the ISU's short track speed skating's technical committee. Former cross-country skier Beckie Scott is now chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency's athlete committee. These are highperformance athletes who have found a way to better their sport and fellow women.

"How has this happened?" asked Allison Sandmeyer-Graves, CEO of the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport. "As with many of these complex, incremental things, you can point to a lot of different influences, some of them are just the broader shifts in society.

There's been emphasis on women grabbing leadership roles in all kinds of sectors, not just sports.

Sports doesn't live in a vacuum. It is affected by those movements.

Specifically, certainly the professionalization of sports organizations has contributed to that.

Boards are placing value on the diversity of perspectives as a way of advancing their organizational progress. Then, of course, women have really been pushing for change and working hard to position themselves for those roles."

That's the case not just at the highest plateau, but at the entry level, too. Women have proved to be the backbone of minor sports, driving their kids to and from games and practices, volunteering for events, organizing socials and fundraisers. They are collaborative by nature. There's a willingness to build a partnership with other groups rather than always compete for the same results.

"Women have played a pivotal role at the community-sport level and it's no surprise then that it's trickled up to the provincial and national level," Qualtrough said, adding that more women are enrolling at universities offering sports-administration programs.

"Women are taking these courses and getting these jobs to run major events, to lead major organizations in a board capacity. It used to be all the positions on the national sports organizations' boards were middle-aged white guys. It doesn't happen any more."

It was the Marcel Aubut scandal of a year and a half ago that shone a spotlight on what one of those aged white guys was doing.

As COC president, Aubut was a showy figure whose style and connections attracted sponsorship revenue. It also led to allegations of sexual harassment; that he was too touchy, feely with female staffers who felt uncomfortable in his presence. Having already been warned about his ways, Aubut squandered his second chance and ultimately resigned.

It immediately became a talking point across the nation. Olympic gold freestyle skier Jennifer Heil called for a discussion on the abuse of power in amateur sports.

She said it extended beyond Aubut's alleged harassment to "female coaches who get passed over even though they are as qualified as their male counterparts." (Women comprise 25 per cent of reported coaches and 29 per cent of reported technical officials, according to the Coaching Association of Canada. Those who took the National Coaching Certificate Program were 66 per cent men, 34 per cent women.)

Smith took over as the COC's interim president until an election could be held. A year ago, she was voted in on a full-time basis.

"For me it was all about identifying what had happened," she said of the Aubut incidents. "Having experts come in; there were recommendations made [to help women come forward and deal with being harassed]. It was an extremely challenging time. But I think every sport provided that training."

Changing attitudes remains a noble pursuit, one that requires both sexes to alter their perceptions. Women need to be more self-assured in going after positions while men need to encourage women and what they bring to the mix, that sense of inclusiveness. As speed-skating executive Susan Auch put it: "The reason we are not there yet is partly because women, when they think about doing something, they think really hard about whether they're actually going to do a good job or if they're qualified, whereas a man, when he has the opportunity, will jump into it ... "It's why you don't see very many women at the top - we don't always assume we can do it."

But as sports become more complex, as the demands and expectations grow, the need for new ideas continues to escalate.

It's not about beating the boys; it's about doing what's best for the athletes and their program so that the wins are celebrated and not divided.

"In order to move some of the bigger agendas forward, whether it be a policy perspective, more funding, more priorities, [it takes] strong emotional intelligence to be able to engage with partners, to be able to mobilize and create consortiums," the CPC's Karen O'Neill said. "I think it's a sense of timing for what's needed in sports and the readiness of so many women at so many levels. It's new for sports; it's good for sports.

"I don't think any of us take it for granted for one moment."

Associated Graphic

Anne Merklinger, CEO for Own the Podium, swam for the Canadian national team and curled in the Scotties. She says the women in positions of authority within Canadian sports are 'a close-knit group.'


Thoracic surgeon made medical history
He participated in the world's first lung transplant and piloted the use of a blood test to detect changes related to lung cancer
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S6

Bill Nelems's daughter Sarah was joking with him recently about planning his final exit on his 100th birthday, in another 22 years. They agreed that going out like Tolkien's hobbit Bilbo Baggins wouldn't be so bad: setting sail from Middle Earth toward whatever new adventure awaited.

Things didn't turn out that way. But by all accounts, Dr. Nelems would have been content that his sudden death from cardiac failure on March 31 took place in his family's beloved cabin at Coldstream, B.C., to which he regularly cycled from his home in Kelowna, 80 kilometres away. A man of many enthusiasms, he'd recently developed a passion for birdwatching, and loved the wild and marshy property.

"The thing I loved about my dad was that he was always reinventing himself," recalls Sarah Nelems, the oldest of Dr. Nelems's four daughters. "He had so many interests, from his athletic endeavours to his charity in Zambia to his five grandchildren, whom he was completely devoted to. He was so much larger than life, but what made him real was the presence he had in so many people's lives."

Dr. Nelems will be remembered by history as a renowned thoracic surgeon who was part of the Toronto General Hospital transplant team that performed the world's first successful lung transplant in 1983. But that accomplishment was just one on a very long list, say those who knew him. Philanthropist, athlete, mentor and citizen of the world, Dr. Nelems was happily preparing for a new career as an end-of-life counsellor when his own life ended shortly before his 78th birthday. "The world feels a lot less interesting without him in it," his daughter says.

Bill Nelems was born April 26, 1939, in Springs, South Africa, the second-born child of British Columbia couple Harry and Dory Nelems. Harry was a young mining engineer who had found work in Johannesburg at the start of the Depression. He returned to the Fraser Valley in the mid-1930s, just long enough to marry Dory and move her back to South Africa.

Dr. Nelems and his older sister, Beverley Barron, also a doctor, spent much of their childhood in the care of nannies and travelling back and forth to boarding school. Dr. Barron remembers the family's return to Canada in 1956 as one of the first times in her life that she and her brother had lived under the same roof.

The family settled in Toronto.

Bill, 17 years old at the time, initially followed in his father's footsteps and studied at the University of Toronto to be a mining engineer. That career choice didn't last long, but did help pay his way through medical school after he had an epiphany soon after graduating as an engineer in 1962 and realized he'd rather be a doctor, Dr. Barron says. He finished his medical studies in 1966.

"Those first years in Toronto weren't that happy for any of us," Dr. Barron recalls. "My father hated his new job. My mother was very unhappy. I couldn't get into medical school because Canada wouldn't accept my credentials from South Africa. Bill couldn't get into university because they had an extra year of high school in Ontario, Grade 13. When he was finally able to start at the University of Toronto, I think he found his companionship among the expats who played on the university's rugby team."

And what a team it was. Team captain in 1960 and 1961, Dr. Nelems saw two undefeated seasons during his five years with the team. When the University of Toronto inducted the 1959-63 Men's Rugby Team into its Sports Hall of Fame last year, Dr. Nelems and his former teammates regaled the audience with a tune they once sang when headed for the pub after practice.

Dr. Nelems and his first wife, Wendy Brown, moved west in the early 1980s, settling in Vancouver and later Kelowna with their three school-age daughters, Sarah, Martha and Rebeccah. He was much in demand for the next 30 years, during which time he worked at the University of British Columbia's faculty of medicine, established a new cancer centre in Kelowna and developed a teleconsultation program to improve access for patients outside of the urban core. He and Ms. Brown divorced in 1990 and Dr. Nelems went on to marry Mary Ellen McNaughton; they had a daughter, Rachel.

He leaves his wife; four daughters; sister; ward, Bev, for whom he was a guardian; grandchildren, Alexander, Kate, Lucy, Willem, Evy; Bev's children, Amanda and Tess; and first wife, Wendy Brown.

Dr. Nelems's curiosity and compassion led him into many side projects. His sister recalls him helping a group of Sudbury miners get compensation and surgery for lung cancers resulting from workplace exposure to radiation. While at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver, he led a project involving 10,000 British Columbia miners that piloted the use of a blood test to detect early changes related to lung cancer, the first mass screening of its kind.

A trip to Zambia in 2006 took him back to Africa for the first time in decades, and ignited a new passion. While there, he met up with an old University of Toronto classmate, Chifumbe Chintu, who had become a renowned pediatrician there. Dr. Chintu introduced him to the assistant dean at the University of Zambia's Faculty of Medicine, who was deeply concerned at the dismal medical outcomes in Zambia's impoverished Western Province. (In a twist of fate, Dr. Chintu died not much more than a month after Dr. Nelems.)

That meeting got Dr. Nelems enthused with the idea of bringing Canadian doctors and nurses to Africa to mentor and support their Zambian peers. The Okanagan-Zambia Health Initiative (OkaZHI) was born in 2009, and continues to bring medical professionals and nursing students into Zambia to teach, mentor and learn.

"What was so great about Bill was that he not only genuinely saw nurses as the equals of doctors, but he had that same approach in his Zambia work," says Muriel Kranabetter, a former OkaZHI board chair and a UBC nursing instructor who leads student groups to Zambia.

"We were never the Canadians who knew all, coming to Zambia to tell people what to do.

We were equals. That was the essential piece that made the initiative so effective."

Dr. Nelems blogged about Africa being "in his blood," and how he felt driven to help the continent of his birth. "Simply stated, I have been blessed beyond reason by the education, the good fortune and the career opportunities that I have enjoyed," he wrote on the OkaZHI website.

"I have lived a charmed life. It is time for me to give back a little of what was so abundantly gifted to me."

To raise funds and public awareness for the Zambia work, Dr. Nelems joined the 2010 Tour d'Afrique annual cycling event for the final 4,500-kilometre leg from Lilongwe, Malawi, to Cape Town, South Africa. He marked his 71st birthday that year by riding 204 kilometres in a single day.

His blog posts from that period are filled with enthusiastic accounts of his daily adventures, like the time he cycled through a herd of angry water buffalo blocking the road by drawing on remembered advice from back in B.C. to "look big" if a grizzly bear attacks. Another day, he performed impromptu plastic surgery on a fellow cyclist who sustained serious facial injuries after colliding with another cyclist.

UBC nursing instructor Jessica Barker helped Dr. Nelems launch his Zambian non-profit, and cycled with him on the Tour d'Afrique. She was in Zambia with a group of student nurses when Dr. Nelems died, and said his Zambian friends and co-workers were deeply saddened by the news. "I had the pleasure of working with him as a surgeon, too. He was so good with his patients," Ms. Barker recalls. "He pulled out stories from people, and connected with them through those stories."

Dr. Nelems never lost the drive to tackle new challenges and test his capabilities, notes his daughter Sarah. At the time of his death, he was working at a pain-management clinic in Kelowna, with plans to add another medical specialty to his list of accomplishments and become the oldest Canadian ever to write a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada exam.

"There were a lot of milestones in Dad's life," Ms. Nelems says. "We hoped for many more, of course, but we are so grateful for a life well lived."

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

Bill Nelems arrives victorious in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2010 after completing a 4,500-kilometre leg of the Tour d'Afrique bicycle trek. He did the ride to raise funds and awareness for an initiative that sends Canadian doctors and nurses to Africa to mentor Zambian peers.


Friday, May 19, 2017


A Tuesday obituary on Bill Nelems incorrectly identified his first wife by her maiden name, Wendy Brown. In fact, she is Wendy Nelems.

Irish tourism used to be all about Guinness and good times, but that's beginning to change. Bruce Kirkby scales the rocky moors of Ireland's 'coolest place on the planet' and finds the beauty in a once-hidden Celtic nook
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page T1

AN PORT, IRELAND -- A crooked sign on the highway, lost amid brambles, is all that marks the dirt track leading toward the ghost village of An Port. Iain Miller - originally a mariner from the Orkney Islands, now a pioneering climbing guide on Ireland's remote northwestern coast - swings his cargo van onto the laneway. Crammed beside him on the front seat, my wife Christine and I brace ourselves as we bounce across stark moorlands of heather and bracken, dotted with occasional yew and prickly yellow gorse.

"Until the last coupla years, Irish tourism was all about Guinness and craic," Miller says, referring to the Irish term for fun, or good times, and a vital part of the local vernacular. "But that's beginning to change."

Powerful and tattooed, Miller spent decades crisscrossing the globe as an engineer on container ships before settling down in this desolate region, drawn by the untapped potential for climbing. Similarly, it was whispers of world-class surfing, scrambling, hiking, mountain-biking and kayaking that drew Christine and me. Not ones for crowded cities, we have come to explore the budding opportunities for adventure amid the sheep-speckled headlands and sandy beaches of Ireland's last great wilderness.

"The more beautiful the land, the poorer the people," Miller says as we pass abandoned cottages, their slate roofs splotched with lichen, crouched in nooks away from the eternal winds. In Ireland's far flung County Donegal, we have entered Straboy Townland; an area stretching beyond the horizons with just five inhabitants and no church.

Like so much of rural Ireland, the youth here were drawn away to the busy streets of Dublin during the "Celtic Tiger" - a booming period of Irish renaissance that began in the mid-1990s. The 2008 collapse was catastrophic, and the country is still recovering.

A few tenacious residents remain. One "cantankerous old man," rumoured to be 102, lives alone in a stone shanty. The 82year-old woman across the moors was Miller's first Facebook follower. Then there are the sheep farmers - "Jerry and Jerry's brodder" - who have developed the habit of plopping a milk bucket down in the middle of the track when they spot a car approaching.

"Of course, they'll pretend they didn't see ya coming," Miller laughs. "But they won't move that bucket till they've learned yer business; where ya live, where ya work, who yer modder is and most importantly, why yer here." In this barren land, gossip is as precious as gold.

We avoid the "bucket-trap" and soon arrive atop precipitous cliffs. Beyond, the cobalt waters of the North Atlantic are speckled with listing rock pillars.

Battered by swell, and fringed with sea foam, they reach upward like fingers, many more than 100 metres tall. It is an exquisite view - prehistoric in its beauty - and deserted.

Far below, in a small cove, lies the lonesome harbour of An Port (The Port). Poet Dylan Thomas once spent a winter here, purportedly to dry out.

Now the handful of homes lies in ruins, abandoned during the Great Famine more than 170 years ago. On a bluff stand memorial stones, tributes to those lost at sea. A rusty truck is blocking the cement boat launch. Miller scans the horizon, then points. Old Fred - the only fisherman still plying these waters - is at sea, rowing a wooden clinker-built boat and dropping lobster creel.

Our objective for the day is the Sturrall Headland, a dark, forbidding stack to the south, attached to mainland by a narrow ridge.

Setting off by foot, we hug the coastal cliffs, passing above secluded coves and vast beaches of powdery sand. Basking sharks and orcas frequent these waters but, apart from seabirds, the only wildlife we spot are bleating lambs that race after their mothers.

Several hours later, we begin ascending rapidly steepening slopes. After roping up, we climb a vertical section, then traverse a dizzying knife edge - arguably the most stunning footsteps of my lifetime - to arrive on a small, grassy summit. Six hundred feet below, ocean swell breaks against the cliffs. Seabirds - fulmars, gannets, razor bills and puffins - soar over the blue waters. The piercing cry of the peregrine falcon drifts on the wind.

"By my reckoning, less than 40 people have ever stood here," Miller tells us. "Just walking off the paved road is still considered an extreme sport by many locals."

But that is slowly changing.

National Geographic Traveller picked Ireland's County Donegal as "coolest place on the planet" for 2017. In slow-paced seaside towns, businesses are springing up: ice-cream shops, bed and breakfasts and plenty of adventure guide services. For the first time in recent memory, instead of leaving, people are being drawn to the land.

After three days of hiking, climbing and surfing, we arrive in the beachfront town of Strandhill, famous for its seaweed baths. For 300 years (and perhaps millenniums more) seaweed baths have offered traditional healing to tired Irish farm workers; women receiving a glass of sherry with their soak, men a pint of stout. More than 300 stone baths once stood along this coast, but the last was destroyed in 1961 by Hurricane Debbie.

The practice has recently made a resurgence, thanks in large part to the efforts of triathlete Neil Walton, who employs the restorative effects in his own training. Trim and energetic, Walton meets us at the front doors of his Voya Seaweeds Baths day spa, explaining that every morning, immense buckets of kelp are harvested from local beaches, and then steeped in tubs of hot brine, where they release a treasure trove of benefits; gels that moisturize ski and hair; macro-nutrients, minerals and antioxidants, which are absorbed through the skin, easing aches and pains.

"Seaweed bathing was always a thing for the common folk," Walton says. "So we've priced our baths accordingly."

A private one-hour bath, popular with tourists and locals alike, costs $40. Led to a darkened private room with two clawfoot tubs, Christine and I lower ourselves amid strands of floating seaweed. The water feels unlike anything I've experienced; silky and gelatinous. A blissful hour passes in a blink.

The next morning, we meet slim, dark-haired William Britton at Mullaghmore harbour. In a land where "local" is differentiated from "local-local," young Britton is "local-local-local." His great-aunt was the legendary "Mrs. B," owner of the Sandhouse Hotel which overlooks nearby Rossnowlagh Beach. In the 1960s, Mrs. B returned from the United States with a fibreglass surfboard, planning to mount the strange contraption on the lobby wall. Instead, her sons commandeered it and spent hours in the frigid winter ocean wearing nothing but woolly jumpers and dungarees.

Their exploits formed the cornerstone of early surfing in County Donegal, which has since grown to enormous popularity.

Britton, founder of among the first adventure outfitters on Ireland's northwest coast, is an accomplished bike racer and free diver. We spend two hours with him in a local swimming pool, learning techniques which allow divers (and surfers) to hold their breath longer, and more confidently. For Christine - ill at ease in big waves - the lessons are revolutionary. Then we surf and surf and surf, as golden clouds drift over the towering cliffs of Slieve League.

The next day, Britton takes us stand-up paddle-boarding down the gentle Bonet River, lined with sycamore and beech, toward Lough Gill, where we treat ourselves to tea and scones in a country manor.

On the final morning, we ride mountain bikes across rocky moors and through mossy forests.

The pastoral Irish midlands spread beyond, dotted with thatched homes, stone churches and lichen-splotched Celtic crosses. The air holds the tang of burning peat. Later, over a bowl of seafood chowder served with salty soda bread (Irish flour that doesn't take well to yeast), Britton glances up and asks, "Good craic, no?" I nod eagerly. Not only is the chowder vitalizing, but every minute of these wholly unexpected Irish adventures have been mad good craic.

The writer was a guest of Tourism Ireland. Content was not subject to approval.


William Britton's Northwest Adventure Tours offers an array of adventures, including stand-up paddling, biking, stargazing, digital detox and skin diving.

For climbing sea stacks, contact Iain Miller at Unique Ascent.

To save disappointment, book ahead for traditional seaweed bath at Voya Seaweed Baths.

Bruce Kirkby

Associated Graphic

The coast of An Port, Ireland, allows travellers an exquisite view of the North Atlantic's cobalt waters, which batter the rocky shoreline for an almost prehistoric look.


Clockwise from top left: The towering cliffs of Slieve League give climbers a view of the drifting clouds; the Sturrall Headland, a dark, forbidding stack to the south, makes for a challenging climb; the moors above Lough Gill give cyclists long stretches of open horizon; traversing the Bonet River can allow for a serene break from crashing coastal waves; surfing at Rossnowlagh Beach has grown in popularity in recent years; Lough Eske Castle Hotel gives travellers a place to rest while exploring the remote northwestern coast.


Saturday, May 20, 2017


A May 6 Travel article on Ireland's County Donegal incorrectly referred to sheep farmers "Jerry and Jerry's brodder." In fact, it should have read "Kieran and Kieran's brodder."

Cycling legend gears up for new challenge
Champion cyclist Guiseppe Marinoni has set his sights on breaking the hour record in the 80-to-84-year-old category this summer
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A19

TERREBONNE, QUE. -- Giuseppe Marinoni - master craftsman, champion cyclist, world-class grouch - rolls in from a 75-kilometre bike ride with two younger partners trailing behind. He pulls off his helmet and exposes a head of damp grey hair.

"The wind was very strong.

That's normal - Canada is a windy country," the 79-year-old says in the spring chill.

His buddies, both more than a decade his junior, say Mr. Marinoni was uncatchable. "We have to work hard to keep up," says André L'Archevêque, 67. "It's like he's superhuman."

Mr. Marinoni has entered enough feats into life's logbook to allow himself a rest. He has racked up cycling victories, built a cult following as a bike-frame maker and, when he was 75, set the world record for his age group in one of cycling's most prestigious benchmarks, the hour record.

Now, the Quebec grandfather and wild-mushroom enthusiast is setting out to silence the doubters - the youngsters who foolishly try to pass him on rides, skeptics who think there's no fire left in athletes in their sunset years: Mr. Marinoni is training to break the hour record in the 80-to-84-year-old category this summer.

The cycling legend is the first to admit he's a little crazy to try.

"Maybe I need a good psychologist," he says. "But in life, if you don't have a goal, you'll never go far."

He adds, "Of course, I could die. The heart has its limits."

Mr. Marinoni's back is curved now, as if it's been moulded to fit over a set of handlebars. His fingers seem permanently stained with grease from a lifetime building bike frames. But his eyes betray a single-minded focus on winning. Like other older athletes, he's pushing the boundaries of high-level performance.

"When I'm on my bike, I'm ageless," he says at Cycles Marinoni, north of Montreal, after his morning training ride. "I don't feel I'm 80. I push myself to my limits just like I did when I was 20."

The record he's seeking to break sounds deceptively simple: Ride around an indoor track and go as far as you can in 60 minutes. But cyclists compare the challenge to their own Everest, a required milestone for the sport's biggest stars. It's an unforgiving endurance test pitting one cyclist in a race against the clock. British cycling great Bradley Wiggins, who broke the overall record in 2015 with a distance of 54.526 kilometres, called it "torture" and said it was the closest he would come to knowing what it's like to give birth.

"There are no teammates, no tactics, no shelter. There's just an athlete alone on the track," said Michael Hutchinson, a former British professional cyclist who twice attempted - and failed - to break the hour record. "It's just you and the bike."

Mr. Marinoni set the record in the 75-to-79-year-old category in 2012 for riding 35.728 km in one hour. To set the bar in the 80to-84-year-old group, he will have to beat the current record of 38.657 km.

"I'm in my early 40s, and most cyclists my age would struggle to do that," said Mr. Hutchinson, author of the book The Hour.

(The finest example that there's no age limit on athletic achievement is a Frenchman named Robert Marchand. Last January, Mr. Marchand set the hour cycling record in his age group; he is 105. After riding 22.547 km in an hour, he said all that he wanted to prove was that you could be 105 and still ride a bike. Mr. Marchand, a onetime firefighter and prisoner of war, may have gained some of his fortitude during his time in Canada: As a youth, he worked as a lumberjack in Ontario and as a stud-farm employee in Quebec, both of which he later recalled as backbreaking.)

Mr. Marinoni could have his pick of the newest and sleekest bike for his attempt on Aug. 19 at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton, Ont. Instead, he's turning to a 39-year-old steel bike he made for Canadian Olympian Jocelyn Lovell, considered the greatest cyclist of his generation. Its white hue has yellowed, the paint is chipped and scuffed, and the metal is exposed where Mr. Lovell rubbed the frame with his shoe on each pedal stroke.

The name on the frame, however, still says Marinoni.

"I delivered it to him at noon," Mr. Marinoni recalls of the day in 1978. "At 4 p.m., he was a Canadian champion."

Mr. Lovell had his career cut short when he was hit by a truck during a training ride in 1983, rendering him a quadriplegic. He returned the winning bike to Mr. Marinoni. Last year, Mr. Lovell died at the age of 65.

"I could use a more high-performance bike. But I want to do it for him. He honoured this bike," Mr. Marinoni says. He rode the bike for his successful 2012 hour record and wouldn't dream of attempting the new goal any other way, he says.

"For me, Lovell was a great friend and a great champion.

I'm going to ride it - in his memory."

Along with Mr. Marinoni's mythic name in bikes comes a reputation as a curmudgeon, which he does little to dispel.

One day, a customer brought him an expensive bike to have a part fixed; when Mr. Marinoni showed him the repair, the customer said that in any event, he was planning to buy a new bike anyway.

"I took a pair of pliers," Mr. Marinoni recalls, reaching over to his work table and grabbing a pair in a rigorous re-enactment, "and broke the part. I put it back to how it was. He didn't trust me!"

Hard work has never scared Mr. Marinoni, even if he's ready to admit his physical frailties.

He reckons he's shrunk about three inches in the past few years. He broke five ribs rolling over a pothole during a riding mishap a few years back. He has lost his sense of smell. Last year, he almost had a catastrophic bike accident after losing his grip on his handlebars while going downhill at 75 km an hour and hitting an obstacle, leading him to finally agree to wear a helmet.

But Mr. Marinoni, who was the subject of the documentary Marinoni: The Fire in the Frame, is undaunted. He's a workhorse, and has been ever since he landed in Canada in the mid sixties to race for the Italian national team, and never left.

For a while, he made a living as a tailor - he even sewed suits for Montreal Canadiens players - before discovering his passion: building bikes.

He has made more than 30,000 frames over the years, some of them for Canadian champions such as Tour de France stage winner Steve Bauer, some for everyday devotees who cherish them the way some motorcyclists cherish a Harley. These days you'll still find Mr. Marinoni in his workshop in baggy work pants and protective goggles, wielding a blowtorch like an artist with a paintbrush, sometimes at 5 a.m., sometimes at 9 p.m., sometimes on holidays such as Easter.

"For me, it doesn't feel like I'm working," he says. "It feels like I'm having fun."

Behind the sometimes gruff exterior, friends say, is a man with a mountain-sized heart, known to give cycling shoes to friends in need and put in extra hours to finish a job.

On Thursday, Mr. Marinoni flew off to his native Lombardy region in northern Italy to begin his training in earnest. Though he won't turn 80 until September, he is eligible to compete in the 80-to-84-year-old category because his birthday falls during the race year.

His wife of 50 years, Simone, admits that all her husband's hours pedalling on the road sometimes leave her concerned for his safety. Last year, he logged 12,000 km on his bike, the equivalent of cycling between Montreal and Toronto more than 21 times.

"But he won't slow down," Simone says. "When younger riders say they can't believe he's nearly 80, he says he's only 40 years old in one leg and 40 in the other."

She is philosophical about her husband's time on two wheels.

"It's dangerous. Each time he goes out on his bike, I worry," she says. "But if he dies, it will be the death of his dreams - on his bike. For him, that would be the most beautiful death possible."

Associated Graphic

Giuseppe Marinoni, seen on a long-distance ride in Quebec on April 27, set the world record when he was 75 for his age group in the hour record. This summer, he is setting out to recreate that moment and silence the doubters.


Getting tough on green
As revamped energy-efficiency standards kick in, Vancouver faces a brave new world
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, May 19, 2017 – Print Edition, Page G6

VANCOUVER -- What Lucio Picciano noticed when he moved into his ultraenergy-efficient new house was how his daughter started sleeping through the night.

Previously the two-year-old had constantly been woken up by sounds from outside.

"Her patterns changed because everything was so quiet," Mr. Picciano said.

That's because Mr. Picciano's house is Vancouver's first certified Passive House, which means it has met a rigorous standard for construction that ensures that it is so well insulated and air-tight that it requires very little energy to heat and cool. That also, as turns out, means the house is extremely soundproof.

Mr. Picciano, an architect who designed and oversaw the construction of his hyper-modernlooking east-side home, said his electricity bills for the 1,800square-foot house's three electric baseboard heaters are a joke because they're so low.

"Sometimes we only pay the service charge."

Go back to a regular house ever? "It would be very difficult."

The house also meets the city's new, precedent-setting green building code.

The only one in Canada of its kind, Vancouver's "zero emissions building plan," whose first phase kicked in May 1, will eventually require that all new buildings meet a strict standard for greenhouse-gas emissions and energy efficiency by 2030.

That's part of a larger plan to see the city get all its energy from renewable sources by 2050.

Developers getting rezonings for multifamily buildings had to start meeting the new requirements this month.

Vancouver is in the rare position of having the legal right to create its own building code, which has enabled that requirement.

The city's aggressive action has set off a backlash in the province's natural-gas industry, including fireplace installers, whose representatives say the new requirements are so strict that they essentially make it prohibitive for a builder to install natural gas for heating or cooking.

That's something they say deprives people of the right to choose, as well as forcing them to use a much more expensive option, electricity. (Other critics have also said the requirements will drive up the cost of housing in Vancouver, already astronomical, even more.)

The issue got so hot that the BC Liberals, in the middle of their election campaign, declared that they would remove the city's right to impose that requirement - a promise that is now up in the air with the current hung government.

But the city's new green building code is about much more than just natural gas.

It is pushing some builders now, and will push more in the future, to rethink the way they design houses, apartment buildings and condo towers. And it will mean a new generation of residents making their homes in buildings that look and feel different from what is now the norm.

For houses - single-family, duplex, rowhouse and other variations - the most noticeable differences will be the thickness of the walls and the size and placement of windows.

Passive House-certified homes are built with much thicker walls - up to 17 inches, compared with the usual eight - with more insulation.

"It's really just wrapping a sweater around our house," says Shaun St.-Amour, a contractor who is about to start building a Passive House duplex - one of a cluster of builders and architects in the city getting excited about the concept.

Windows are triple glazed and look different because they're set back in the deep walls. As well, windows are placed to ensure the house doesn't overheat or get too cold - larger on walls that don't get too much sun, smaller on ones that do.

Windows on the west side are limited. In Mr. Picciano's house, there's also a mechanical shade on that window to block the sun even more.

And then, yes, in most of them, there is no natural gas.

Not that it's impossible to install something that would generate an unacceptable level of greenhouse-gas emissions.

It's just that there's so little demand for heating in the wellinsulated Passive House that it's not worth the expense of bringing natural gas in just for that and a cooktop. Instead, Mr. Picciano installed an induction stove and cooktop in his house - something his wife wasn't so sure about at first, but is now quite happy with.

Induction stoves and cooktops work by heating using electromagnetism. Aficionados claim that restaurant chefs are starting to favour them. So are some private builders doing Passive Houses or homes approaching that level of energy efficiency.

But they're not something likely to become common in Vancouver's ubiquitous condo towers, which will have to be constructed according to the green building code as of this month.

Instead, developers are saying that electrical appliances will be the norm.

Again, they could use natural gas if they chose, but the cost of achieving energy efficiency in other parts of the building, in order to compensate for it, would be so high that they're unlikely to do it, says Anne McMullin, CEO of the industry group Urban Development Institute. But natural gas is only one small element of how condo buildings will be changing.

To get a sense of how different they'll look, Vancouver residents can stroll past the Marine Gateway project in south Vancouver.

Although it was officially opened a year ago, the 35-storey project was built to energy standards that exceed the city's new code.

"We worked with [the developer] to create the most affordable energy-efficient building we could, without knowing where the city was going to go," says architect Ryan Bragg at Perkins + Will, a Vancouver firm known for its work on sustainability.

The biggest difference that residents and casual observers notice about the building is the windows. Unlike so many condo towers in Vancouver, where at least one wall of an apartment is typically floor-to-ceiling glass, Marine Gateway has windows set into a real wall.

"We have solid walls with insulation on the outside of the walls," Mr. Bragg said.

The company chose not to go with electric baseboards for heat because of the dry, crackly heat it produces.

"The next generation is getting away from electric baseboards," he said. Instead, there are baseboards that use a hydronic system. They circulate heated water, a little bit like the radiators in old apartment buildings, but a modern version.

At Marine Gateway, the heat for the water is generated mostly from excess heat off the commercial spaces in the complex (there's a grocery store, several restaurants and a multiplex movie theatre), as well as from a geo-exchange system - that is, pipes that go 300 feet under the building, where water in them is warmed by heat stored in the ground.

There are natural-gas-powered boilers and chillers in the complex to provide one final extra energy source for the building and that's extended to barbecues and a fireplace in the common spaces.

Like Ms. McMullin, Mr. Bragg said natural gas is just not something developers want to install unless they're appealing to a luxury buyer. Marine Gateway, which also includes some rental units, was designed and marketed for the budget conscious.

"It's really the price point," he said. "Gas piping is not incredibly expensive but what is the return on it?" To critics who say that that, in essence, is forcing all but the wealthy to live with electricity as a heat source and that electricity costs three times as much, Mr. Bragg says the problem is not the heat source but the building.

"If electricity is costing too much, I think that's a problem with the architecture, having way too much glass."

Like Mr. Picciano's Passive House, Marine Gateway doesn't have any air conditioning.

Instead, there are exterior shades on the west side of the building, the one most vulnerable to what architects call solar gain.

For a small core of builders in the city, like Mr. Bragg and Mr.

Picciano and others, the city's push for energy-efficient buildings is a welcome initiative.

"There's an argument for doing what Vancouver is doing, just jumping to the finish line," says Bryn Davidson, a builder who is moving his company, Lanefab Design/Build, in the direction of Passive House-style efficiencies. That makes more sense than going step by step, as some jurisdictions have done.

Mr. Davidson attended a talk in Vancouver recently by Belgian builders who saw their whole country go through a similar upheaval, after a change to building rules there, to what the city's construction industry is experiencing.

"They said the hardest project was the first project, but then after that, it wasn't hard and projects were coming in at 10 per cent less [in cost]."

In the end, he said, "the marginal cost of going really green is almost nothing."

Associated Graphic

Marine Gateway in Vancouver is a 35-storey project that was built to exceed the city's strict energy standards.


Getting tough on green
As revamped energy-efficiency standards kick in, Vancouver faces a brave new world
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S4

VANCOUVER -- What Lucio Picciano noticed when he moved into his ultraenergy-efficient new house was how his daughter started sleeping through the night.

Previously the two-year-old had constantly been woken up by sounds from outside.

"Her patterns changed because everything was so quiet," Mr. Picciano said.

That's because Mr. Picciano's house is Vancouver's first certified Passive House, which means it has met a rigorous standard for construction that ensures that it is so well insulated and air-tight that it requires very little energy to heat and cool. That also, as turns out, means the house is extremely soundproof.

Mr. Picciano, an architect who designed and oversaw the construction of his hyper-modernlooking east-side home, said his electricity bills for the 1,800square-foot house's three electric baseboard heaters are a joke because they're so low.

"Sometimes we only pay the service charge."

Go back to a regular house ever?

"It would be very difficult."

The house also meets the city's new, precedent-setting green building code.

The only one in Canada of its kind, Vancouver's "zero-emissions building plan," whose first phase kicked in May 1, will eventually require that all new buildings meet a strict standard for greenhouse-gas emissions and energy efficiency by 2030. That's part of a larger plan to see the city get all its energy from renewable sources by 2050.

Developers getting rezonings for multifamily buildings had to start meeting the new requirements this month.

Vancouver is in the rare position of having the legal right to create its own building code, which has enabled that requirement.

The city's aggressive action has set off a backlash in the province's natural-gas industry, including fireplace installers, whose representatives say the new requirements are so strict that they essentially make it prohibitive for a builder to install natural gas for heating or cooking.

That's something they say deprives people of the right to choose, as well as forcing them to use a much more expensive option, electricity. (Other critics have also said the requirements will drive up the cost of housing in Vancouver, already astronomical, even more.)

The issue got so hot that the BC Liberals, in the middle of their election campaign, declared that they would remove the city's right to impose that requirement - a promise that is now up in the air with the current hung government.

But the city's new green building code is about much more than just natural gas.

It is pushing some builders now, and will push more in the future, to rethink the way they design houses, apartment buildings and condo towers. And it will mean a new generation of residents making their homes in buildings that look and feel different from what is now the norm.

For houses - single-family, duplex, rowhouse and other variations - the most noticeable differences will be the thickness of the walls and the size and placement of windows.

Passive House-certified homes are built with much thicker walls - up to 17 inches, compared with the usual eight - with more insulation.

"It's really just wrapping a sweater around our house," says Shaun St.-Amour, a contractor who is about to start building a Passive House duplex - one of a cluster of builders and architects in the city getting excited about the concept.

Windows are triple glazed and look different because they're set back in the deep walls. As well, windows are placed to ensure the house doesn't overheat or get too cold - larger on walls that don't get too much sun, smaller on ones that do.

Windows on the west side are limited. In Mr. Picciano's house, there's also a mechanical shade on that window to block the sun even more.

And then, yes, in most of them, there is no natural gas. Not that it's impossible to install something that would generate an unacceptable level of greenhouse-gas emissions.

It's just that there's so little demand for heating in the wellinsulated Passive House that it's not worth the expense of bringing natural gas in just for that and a cooktop. Instead, Mr. Picciano installed an induction stove and cooktop in his house - something his wife wasn't so sure about at first, but is now quite happy with.

Induction stoves and cooktops work by heating using electromagnetism. Aficionados claim that restaurant chefs are starting to favour them. So are some private builders doing Passive Houses or homes approaching that level of energy efficiency. But they're not something likely to become common in Vancouver's ubiquitous condo towers, which will have to be constructed according to the green building code as of this month. Instead, developers are saying that electrical appliances will be the norm.

Again, they could use natural gas if they chose, but the cost of achieving energy efficiency in other parts of the building, in order to compensate for it, would be so high that they're unlikely to do it, says Anne McMullin, CEO of the industry group Urban Development Institute. But natural gas is only one small element of how condo buildings will be changing.

To get a sense of how different they'll look, Vancouver residents can stroll past the Marine Gateway project in south Vancouver.

Although it was officially opened a year ago, the 35-storey project was built to energy standards that exceed the city's new code.

"We worked with [the developer] to create the most affordable energy-efficient building we could, without knowing where the city was going to go," says architect Ryan Bragg at Perkins + Will, a Vancouver firm known for its work on sustainability.

The biggest difference that residents and casual observers notice about the building is the windows. Unlike so many condo towers in Vancouver, where at least one wall of an apartment is typically floor-to-ceiling glass, Marine Gateway has windows set into a real wall.

"We have solid walls with insulation on the outside of the walls," Mr. Bragg said.

The company chose not to go with electric baseboards for heat because of the dry, crackly heat it produces.

"The next generation is getting away from electric baseboards," he said. Instead, there are baseboards that use a hydronic system. They circulate heated water, a little bit like the radiators in old apartment buildings, but a modern version.

At Marine Gateway, the heat for the water is generated mostly from excess heat off the commercial spaces in the complex (there's a grocery store, several restaurants and a multiplex movie theatre), as well as from a geoexchange system - that is, pipes that go 300 feet under the building, where water in them is warmed by heat stored in the ground.

There are natural-gas-powered boilers and chillers in the complex to provide one final extra energy source for the building and that's extended to barbecues and a fireplace in the common spaces.

Like Ms. McMullin, Mr. Bragg said natural gas is just not something developers want to install unless they're appealing to a luxury buyer. Marine Gateway, which also includes some rental units, was designed and marketed for the budget conscious.

"It's really the price point," he said. "Gas piping is not incredibly expensive but what is the return on it?" To critics who say that that, in essence, is forcing all but the wealthy to live with electricity as a heat source and that electricity costs three times as much, Mr. Bragg says the problem is not the heat source but the building.

"If electricity is costing too much, I think that's a problem with the architecture, having way too much glass."

Like Mr. Picciano's Passive House, Marine Gateway doesn't have any air conditioning.

Instead, there are exterior shades on the west side of the building, the one most vulnerable to what architects call solar gain.

For a small core of builders in the city, like Mr. Bragg and Mr. Picciano and others, the city's push for energy-efficient buildings is a welcome initiative.

"There's an argument for doing what Vancouver is doing, just jumping to the finish line," says Bryn Davidson, a builder who is moving his company, Lanefab Design/Build, in the direction of Passive House-style efficiencies.

That makes more sense than going step by step, as some jurisdictions have done.

Mr. Davidson attended a talk in Vancouver recently by Belgian builders who saw their whole country go through a similar upheaval, after a change to building rules there, to what the city's construction industry is experiencing.

"They said the hardest project was the first project, but then after that, it wasn't hard and projects were coming in at 10 per cent less [in cost]."

In the end, he said, "the marginal cost of going really green is almost nothing."

Associated Graphic

Marine Gateway in Vancouver is a 35-storey project that was built to exceed the city's strict energy standards.


In his new cookbook, Pantry and Palate, Simon Thibault documents the history of Acadian food. This excerpt recalls when bread was the staff of life
Wednesday, May 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

It's important to remember that for thousands of years, bread truly was the staff of life for people. It was the cornerstone of the table, a filling and nutritious form of sustenance. Historically speaking, white bread was a sign of luxury. It meant you could afford to have pure white flour freed from its bran (which went rancid quickly). The lack of bran gave the flour a longer shelf life.

Interestingly enough, according to Marielle Cormier-Boudreau and Melvin Gallant's A Taste of Acadie, white bread was a staple for the Acadians, at least until the Deportation. After that, "the wheat harvest was generally poor on the land on which they were forced to live, and white flour was a commodity they could rarely afford." That's putting it mildly.

The land that many Acadian families worked after the Deportation was not the best for growing wheat, but thankfully buckwheat grew relatively well.

Breads of all kinds were eaten in many Acadian homes in various forms. Today, packaged white bread is no longer seen as a luxury item that liberated women from the drudgery of baking daily, but rather as a bland, tasteless filler.

Until the popularity of cake yeast (and later dry instant yeast, which is found in most people's pantries today), breads were leavened by various methods: either through fermenting part of a bread dough to create a levain, leaven as it is known in English, or by boiling hops and potatoes and fermenting the mash left over from the two. The method for making such a mash, like all good recipes, depends on whom you ask.

In the book La Cuisine de Chéticamp, Ginette Aucoin mentions that baking bread "could take as long as two days." Aucoin talks about using "ups," which were also used for making beer. Although the French word for them is houblon, Aucoin is indeed talking about hops, which would have been pronounced "ups" by the French-speaking Acadians of the region.

In Travel On, Jean Doris LeBlanc, another Acadian from Cape Breton, writes that hops would be placed into a canvas bag, which was then placed in a pot of boiling water and potatoes. "The mixture is boiled for about an hour - until the water turns colour. We then take out the bag of hops and put it away to be used another time. We can generally use it twice before it's worn out. After this we pick out the potatoes, one at a time, with a large spoon and mash them in the spoon with a fork, then drop the mashed material back into the liquid. When all the potatoes are mashed, we pour the thick liquid into a crock and cork it. It can be used immediately."

Learning how to bake bread has made me appreciate the eating of bread tenfold. The first time I tried making cornmeal and molasses bread, I knew it would be perfect for people who have never baked bread or who have been intimidated by the process. This is a very sturdy dough that can handle heavy kneading and a good amount of flour; it teaches a baker to understand one of the most important things you can learn in making bread: the feel of the dough.

I found versions of this recipe in multiple books, both private and published. One version came from a small blue notebook that was owned by my grandfather Augustin's cousin Denis. The notebook looked like it was cobbled together from various family sources, with hints, tips and recipes for the bachelor. I found the same recipe, written verbatim, in another notebook by Rosalie, Augustin's wife. It is a popular recipe that has been transmitted from one generation to the next.

What is interesting about this bread is that it's a prime example of a food found throughout Atlantic Canada. I found a version of it in a book of recipes written by descendants of black Loyalists, who brought the use of cornmeal in breads with them from the United States in the 1800s. This makes sense, since cornmeal is found in many a Loyalist pantry and also in many an African-American pantry throughout the American South.

The bread is also known as Anadama bread in Boston. Its colourful name comes from the rather apocryphal tale of a man who was tired of eating the same cornmeal mush his wife served him every day. "Anna, damn her," he apparently said, and added yeast, flour and molasses to his mush and baked it into a bread.

It doesn't matter who came up with this bread or who cooked it first. What matters is that it was shared and eaten because it's delicious.


Makes 2 loaves

Breads made with grain porridges, like the one used in this recipe, are a great way to add fibre or bulk to bread, especially in places (or times) where refined flour would be scarce. The amount of flour required here is a little more open-ended than other recipes because of a few variables in making this bread.

Depending on how long the cornmeal is left to absorb the water, you will need more or less flour for kneading.

If you've never kneaded dough before, it's a pretty simple process, one which you will get the hang of faster than you think.

Trust the dough, it will "tell" you how much flour it needs when you knead it.

The nice thing with this dough is that you don't have to be gentle with it, so don't worry about overkneading it. Find a video online for hints, or even better, ask a friend to show you how to knead. A dough scraper can also help you pick up all the loose bits of bread dough off of your counter and aid in cleanup.

This is a great everyday bread that can be eaten on its own, used for sandwiches or toasted.

3/4 cup cornmeal, plus

1 tablespoon for dusting

2 teaspoons sugar

3 teaspoons lard (or vegetable shortening)

2 cups boiling water

1/3 cup room-temperature water

2 teaspoons yeast

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup molasses

4 to 5 cups flour, plus

1 tablespoon for dusting

In a bowl, mix cornmeal, sugar and lard. Add the boiling water and mix thoroughly to eliminate any lumps. Let cool for about 45 minutes. The cornmeal will expand and look somewhat like porridge. Just make sure that the porridge is cool enough for the yeast to become active, rather than too hot, which can kill the yeast.

In room-temperature water, thoroughly mix the yeast and baking soda. Add this to your cornmeal porridge, then add salt and molasses. Mix until well blended. Stir in flour one cup at a time, making sure flour is completely incorporated before you add more. By the time you have finished incorporating the third cup of flour, the dough should start to come together, pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and dust it with more flour to start kneading.

With flour-dusted hands, gather the dough into a large ball and begin to knead the dough. The dough will be slightly tacky at first; a good rule of thumb for this bread is to keep adding small amounts of flour as you knead it. Eventually the dough will become rather smooth and no longer tacky, and it will feel taut and less elastic as you knead it.

Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover it with cling film and allow it to rest for about 45 minutes. Take the dough out and knead it gently for about one minute. It will feel very elastic compared with your previous kneading. Place back in bowl and allow it to rise for about one hour.

Grease your pans with a little lard, and dust with one tablespoon flour and one tablespoon cornmeal. Take the dough out of its bowl and cut it in half.

These will be your two loaves.

Gently pinch the ends of the dough to shape the loaves.

Place each loaf in a greased and floured loaf pan. Allow to rise for another hour.

Preheat your oven to 400 F.

Place the bread into the oven and bake for one hour.

Remove the bread from the oven and remove the loaves from the pans. They should fall out quite easily. The bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. If not, return to oven for 10 minutes, without the loaf pan. Allow the bread to cool for at least one hour before cutting into it.

Excerpted with permission from Nimbus Publishing.

Copyright © 2017 Simon Thibault

Associated Graphic

White bread was a staple for the Acadians, at least until the Deportation.


Breads made with grain porridges are a great way to add fibre or bulk to bread, especially in places (or times) where refined flour would be scarce.


Feeling the need for speed
Ford's new Markham-built supercar is truly a race car for the streets
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, May 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page D1


Base price (estimated): $400,000 (U.S.)

Engine: Twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V-6

Transmission/drive: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic/rear-wheel drive

Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 21.4 city, 13 highway, 16.8 combined

Alternatives: Ferrari 488 GTB, Ferrari 812 Superfast, Lamborghini Aventador S, McLaren 720S, Porsche 911 Turbo S

The track session is out of the ordinary, as these types of things go.

Only one car at a time is allowed on the west course at the Utah Motorsports Campus. Helmets are mandatory, as are head-and-neck support devices. Occupants are fastened to the car using sixpoint racing harnesses. An instructor in the passenger seat - someone with a deep understanding of the racing line and, possibly, a slight death wish - is deemed necessary.

These directives make sense, from a safety standpoint.

After all, this is the global drive debut for one of the most hotly anticipated supercars.

A supercar with 647 horsepower under foot. A supercar armed to the teeth with race-bred technology. A supercar that has, in its brief time, already won two of the most prestigious races on the calendar, the 24 Hours of Le Mans (last year) and the Rolex 24 at Daytona (this year).

But, curiously, the introduction of the road-going version of the 2017 Ford GT is presented as a challenge to participants.

The car is fitted with on-board cameras, as well as the Ford Performance App to capture speed, braking performance, cornering forces and, yes, lap times. The lap times and top speeds of the two Ford GT factory race drivers, Joey Hand and Dirk Muller, have been shared beforehand as a point of reference.

This rarely happens at media events. This is the throwing down of a gauntlet. This is a challenge, I can only assume, to really - no, really - put myself in the shoes of the lucky few who already are, or who will soon be, Ford GT owners.

You see, this is not your typical supercar; it's a race car adapted for road use. And there's a difference.

In 2012, the 50th anniversary of Ford's historic win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans was fast approaching.

A small group of Ford executives, engineers and external consultants began to meet, at night and on weekends, in the basement of the Ford Product Development Center in Dearborn, Mich. Their mission: to develop the best supercar in the world and to use it to win at Le Mans in 2016.

"We had just one chance to repeat history," said Henry Ford III, global marketing manager for Ford Performance and greatgreat-grandson of the company founder. "[And] to compete at Le Mans, you're up against the best in the business."

The development process was exhaustive, in part because time was so short. From the time the Ford GT concept first appeared at the Detroit auto show in 2015, work was under way behind the scenes to build the race car and the road version in parallel. To fast-track the project and ensure a high standard of performance, Multimatic, of Markham, Ont., was enlisted to help drive development. The firm has expertise in a number of critical areas, such as lightweight construction and suspension design.

"One of the key objectives for the Ford GT was to use it as a proof-point for what we can do," Ford says. "Achieving a sales target was never an objective. We wanted to use the project to find ways to mass produce carbon fibre and to push the EcoBoost technology to its limits."

On paper, the Ford GT certainly pushes limits.

That 647-horsepower engine is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V-6 engine that churns out 550 lb-ft of torque. It's mounted in the middle of the car and linked to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. In sport and track mode, an anti-lag system keeps the throttle body open and the turbochargers spinning to improve engine-response time. This trick feature makes its presence felt with a crackling, popping sound that is just the right amount of cool.

The inherently sleek shape of the GT is aided by the latest in active aerodynamics. The rear wing deploys automatically at set speeds to help create downforce at the back; it also extends under aggressive braking to act as an air brake. In track mode, the active dynamics system lowers the ride height, making the GT appear slammed to the ground, and increases the spring rates on the suspension system.

The car is largely constructed of carbon fibre (the monocoque) and aluminum (the substructure). The main exception is the FIA-spec integrated roll cage, which is made of steel. This supercar is no poseur; it rolls off the assembly line ready to hit the track running - all that's needed is the six-point racing harness in place of the standard three-point shoulder belt.

This is where the gauntlet gets thrown down.

As I am strapped into the Ford GT, I feel 50 per cent encouraged and 50 per cent dared. The ability to bring this ultra-exclusive supercar back in one piece is a significant concern. A small team of Ford Performance representatives studies the proceedings from behind a pit wall; I can only assume they would frown upon damage of any kind. But setting a respectable lap time also runs through my mind. There's pride at stake, after all, and this could be my best and last chance to drive the GT in anger.

The acceleration is, as expected, prodigious.

The dual-clutch transmission is pure race car; the speed and certainty with which shifts happen is profound. The shift lights along the top of the steering wheel streak from left to right and change colour in lightning-like fashion. Getting the timing of shifts perfectly right takes both practice and patience.

The cornering grip of the Ford is so formidable, I may need to reassess my love for the Tilt-A-Whirl.

The 325/30R 20-inch rear wheels, clad in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, create a big footprint and massive G-forces. But the GT is also remarkably predictable; slides are easy to anticipate and easier to control, surprising for such a technologically sophisticated car.

But it's the performance of the carbon ceramic brakes that strikes me as the most significant.

The brake pedal feel is strong at the start of the session and never falters. The active rear wing is like a parachute fitted to a dragster.

It's the most stopping power I've felt since testing a Formula One car from the late-1990s.

As the laps reel off, I get faster and edge closer to the theoretical limits of the Ford GT. I'm still not sure where these limits may be; in part, because I'm not Joey Hand or Dirk Muller. It's also because the limits are stratospherically high and 10 laps behind the wheel are not nearly enough - this thing is just that good.

The writer was a guest of the auto maker. Content was not subject to approval.



The Ford GT is clearly an authentic supercar, but it's anything but typical. A thinly disguised race car in street-car camouflage, the GT features bespoke engineering from tip to tail. The aggressive air vents buried in the hood, radically tapered shape of the car, flying buttresses, dual exhaust pipes tucked into the rear bodywork and active rear wing are all noteworthy.


The interior is clearly designed for track duty: it is carbon-fibre minimalism at its best.

The steering wheel appears lifted directly from the race program.

The digital instrument panel, fixed seat, moveable pedal set and adjustable steering wheel, likewise. But some competitors deliver a similar level of raciness with more overt luxury, in case that's your thing.


In a word, wow. Of course, the GT is quick in a straight line.

But other aspects of it are even more impressive. The active suspension system makes it incredibly compliant on the open road, the braking system is stupendous and the handling is sublime.


The GT has five drive modes, including one for wet weather, one for track driving and one to reduce drag so you can get close to the car's 348 km/h top speed.

Switching from one mode to the next triggers changes to the engine response, transmission response and suspension settings.


Even by supercar standards, the cargo area, behind the engine compartment, is small. There's enough space for a pair of gym bags and maybe a pack of gum.


9.5 The Ford GT may have faults, but you need to be a Formula One driver to figure them out.

Associated Graphic


An anti-lag system in the Ford GT's 647-horsepower engine keeps the throttle body open and the twin turbochargers spinning to improve engine-response time.


The anatomy of a comeback
More than a decade after Meredith Grey and Dr. McDreamy first donned their scrubs, the series' ratings and relevance are on the rise
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R3

NEW YORK -- When Grey's Anatomy actordirector Debbie Allen recently attended the bat mitzvah of a neighbour's daughter, she didn't recite any Torah passages but still wound up the centre of attention.

"I've had people ask for my autograph, but this was a whole different level," she recalled with a laugh. "People were taking pictures of me - they wanted selfies. They all had so many questions about storylines and what was going to happen next.

Child, I was the star of the show!"

Grey's, which Allen now also runs as executive producer in addition to playing Dr. Catherine Avery, has managed to hook younger viewers, returning the show to the cultural conversation more than a decade after Meredith Grey and Dr. McDreamy donned their first set of scrubs. Thanks to Netflix, creator Shonda Rhimes's expanding influence and the surprisingly retro tastes of teens, the show has become the rarest of entertainment unicorns: a broadcast show ending its 13th season with both ratings and relevance on the rise. It has been renewed through Season 14, and ABC executives have said that as long as the creative team is committed, they'd love to see it surpass ER's 15 seasons on the air.

Andy Kubitz, ABC's executive vice-president of program planning and scheduling, said the show has ranked in the top 10 among viewers 18 to 34 for the past six years, jockeying with the likes of This Is Us, The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family.

Among teens (in TV terms, viewers 12 to 17), it is No. 11, but has held that audience far longer than shows such as Empire or Glee. In fact, its teen ratings have increased 12 per cent over last year.

Allen said the show's young viewers, many of whom were infants when it debuted in ABC's mid-2000s lineup alongside Lost and Desperate Housewives, have arrived through serendipity, not deliberate effort.

"I think they are connecting with the reality of the situation.

Grey's is rooted in reality," Allen said. While not as frothy as more recent Rhimes shows such as Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, she added: "There certainly is a lot of love story going on. As a young teenager, you are at an age when you are starting to notice that this guy or that guy likes you. And it's a very dynamic turning of stories.

So they really respond to that."

The show's fountain-of-youth ratings are especially striking when one considers how dramatically TV viewing has changed since the show premiered. Overall broadcast primetime ratings have plunged more than 30 per cent over the past decade as one distraction after another - video games, mobile devices, streaming services - has atomized the live TV audience.

Kevin Goetz, founder and CEO of Hollywood research firm Screen Engine/ASI, considers the teen audience "the most difficult segment to reach and predict in the entire entertainment business." Entire networks have made it their mission to cater to teens and twentysomethings, as youth-obsessed advertisers chase consumer loyalty from the time viewers take in their first frame of Dora the Explorer. ABC's cablenetwork sibling, previously called ABC Family, went so far as to change its name to Freeform and started releasing some shows in binge-quantity batches in order to seem au courant. The youth-focused CW Television Network, home of Jane the Virgin and The Flash, has rebooted Archie Comics characters in the new series Riverdale. Even Netflix has made this group a cornerstone of its shock-and-awe original programming strategy, drawing a huge teen crowd with shows such as 13 Reasons Why and Stranger Things.

Even more noteworthy are shows Netflix has acquired from networks. Full House, a hit for Nickelodeon in linear reruns, joined the Netflix lineup and did well enough to get a full-on series reboot, following the path of Arrested Development and Gilmore Girls. The streaming service has also been a conduit for network classics such as The Office and Friends, served up one episode after another via the Netflix auto-play feature, screen media's answer to the Pez dispenser.

Kubitz pointed out that the 2009 Netflix deal for Grey's was one of the first ABC made with a streaming service other than Hulu (which is partly owned by ABC's parent company, Disney).

Being so early in the streaming revolution meant fewer limits, so the show has streamed for eight years, whereas newer titles often cycle on and off. Digital exposure has also overlapped with linear syndication on networks such as Lifetime. While data are notoriously scarce on Netflix shows, a person who has seen the numbers said the pilot episode of Grey's Anatomy is viewed hundreds of thousands of times a month. "It's incredibly bingeable," Kubitz said.

"People just want to curl up with a blanket and a bowl of popcorn and watch Grey's."

One such curler-upper is my daughter, Margot, who could easily have been one of the eager fans stalking Allen at that bat mitzvah. So I decided to do as Hollywood marketers do and convene my own focus group.

When I asked them why they tuned in, Margot and her friends used words such as "timeless" and "modern" to describe the show. "The show is so real," Dana Cohen, 13, said.

"Bad things happen to the characters on the show, just like they happen in real life. Also, it has the perfect balance of the drama between the characters and the medicine."

There is indeed plenty of hospital action, though less than in most episodes of ER or more recent adult-skewing medical dramas such as Code Black or The Knick. Abscesses develop.

Surgeries are performed. Characters talk the talk. But they also hook up and cheat on each other and have thorny workplace dilemmas, often to a shimmering, Starbucks-ready pop soundtrack. They form alliances, get promoted or passed over.

And, of course, they occasionally die: In a still-controversial plot twist in 2015, Patrick Dempsey's character, Dr. Derek (McDreamy) Shepherd, died from injuries suffered in a car accident.

Allen said the creative team has never wanted to construct storylines with binge-watching in mind, even though they appreciate that many young fans catch up in bulk on the first 12 seasons of the run. "We stay in the moment," she said.

"That's what makes us sharp.

We take the same approach as actors: If you got applause yesterday, you have to forget about it and play it today, and tomorrow hasn't happened yet." The other reality for Grey's, ABC and TV networks in general is that they still make billions of dollars from advertising as sponsors stick with the traditional model. That tends to favour serialization, the opposite of how Netflix, a subscription service, releases full seasons at a time. With that week-by-week approach, Rhimes & Co. have perfected a means of stoking interest: live tweeting. Cast and crew - often including Rhimes, who has 1.47 million Twitter followers - watch Grey's live, all while interacting with fans and learning from viewer reactions they hadn't anticipated.

Twitter's launch in 2006 (after Season 1 of Grey's Anatomy aired) helps explain how a show built on the same model as I Love Lucy has become a magnet for middle-schoolers who have never bothered to find MTV on their cable dial. Allen remembered several instances in which the social network altered the show's course. For example, it helped determine a key bit of timing involving Callie Torres and Arizona Robbins, married doctors played by Sara Ramirez and Jessica Capshaw.

"The love affair between them was the most popular gay relationship ever televised," Allen said. "It took a really long time for Shonda to break them up.

Millions of people didn't want anything to come between them."

Allen, who became known for acting in 1980s hits Fame and A Different World before expanding into directing and producing, sees some risk in turning what used to be a one-way medium into a dialogue.

"The danger for actors is that they can forget that they're playing characters," she said.

"People will react to this storyline or that storyline, and an actor can feel personally involved. They need to remember: If your character does something people hate, it's not about you! But that's just how our audience connects with the characters on Grey's. They're like family."

Associated Graphic

Camilla Luddington is seen in an episode of Grey's Anatomy. The series, which debuted in ABC's mid-2000s lineup alongside Lost and Desperate Housewives, has ranked in the top 10 among viewers 18 to 34 for the past six years.


Ellen Pompeo, who plays the series' titular character, Meredith Grey, is seen alongside Martin Henderson. Younger viewers have connected with the show's character- and romance-rooted drama.


Scholar fought to empower women
Her advocacy work included speaking out for equality in academia and denouncing restrictive abortion laws
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S12

On April 12, the evening she suffered an aneurysm that would eventually end her life, Wendy Robbins was out doing what she regularly did: Laughing, socializing and fighting the good fight.

Prof. Robbins, a celebrated advocate for women's rights and a long-time Liberal supporter, knew that Jean Chrétien was in Saint John to appear at a Liberal Party fundraiser alongside New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant.

She remembered that the former prime minister had once spoken in favour of dual-member constituencies, a policy that would help more women enter the political process.

Mr. Chrétien did not recall his endorsement of that particular idea when reminded by Prof. Robbins, but then it's not surprising that she had the more extensive knowledge of feminist history.

Improving women's lives was her life's work. She slipped alongside Mr. Chrétien that evening and handed him a letter she'd written about dual-nomination constituencies.

"She never missed an opportunity to make things better," said her friend Heather Robinson, who was also at the fundraiser.

"She came up to me later and said, 'I did it!' with a big smile on her face." To friends and family, it seemed fitting that Prof. Robbins spent one of her final evenings as she had spent her life, in energetic pursuit of justice on behalf of others.

On the way to a friend's house after the event, Prof. Robbins fell ill with a terrible headache and nausea. She was taken to the Saint John Regional Hospital, where it was discovered she'd suffered an aneurysm. After a second bleed and a subsequent surgical procedure, Prof. Robbins's condition deteriorated. A vocal proponent of assisted dying who had spoken out on the Liberals' policy in 2016, she had made clear to her family that she did not want to be kept alive artificially if her cognitive function was severely impaired.

She died at Moncton City Hospital on April 18, surrounded by friends. She was 68.

Prof. Robbins, who taught English at the University of New Brunswick and was a co-founder of the school's gender and women's studies program, could perhaps trace her feminism back to her happy childhood in Quebec.

She was born Aug. 4, 1948, to Catherine and Maurice Robbins in Saint-Jean, about 40 kilometres southeast of Montreal. They raised her alongside her brother, Neil.

Her own mother, Catherine, left "obey" out of her marriage vows, which was unusual for the era. In those days, a married woman couldn't even have her own bank account, as Prof. Robbins recalled in her acceptance speech when she was given the Governor-General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case in 2007. (The award honours individuals' contributions to gender equality.)

"We have made substantial, perhaps almost unimaginable, progress since the 1929 Persons Case," Prof. Robbins said in her speech. "However a huge, almost overwhelming, amount remains to be done around the world, and also here at home, before women are truly equal citizens, with one another as well as with men."

Where that work needed to be done, Prof. Robbins rolled up her sleeves. In 2003, along with several other female academics, she launched a complaint with the Human Rights Commission over the gender imbalance in the prestigious Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program. Her analysis had shown that women and people from minority communities were underrepresented in the program, so she challenged its sponsor, Industry Canada.

The complaint was settled through mediation in 2006, with Prof. Robbins calling it "a frustrating case of justice delayed is justice denied." In 2010, she was not much happier with the system, noting that "data still show that women, who are a third of fulltime faculty in Canada, continue to be underrepresented in CRC appointments."

She continued to fight for the rights of female academics, and those who were not traditionally in the centre of power. It was this persistence that people remember about Prof. Robbins - along with a laugh that could be heard through doors, and a desire to celebrate the triumphs of those near and dear to her, usually with a party and Champagne.

The national Liberal convention of May, 2016, showcased Prof.

Robbins's doggedness. As the chair of the Liberals' women's policy commission, she wanted an emergency resolution to open up the debate around the party's policy on medically assisted dying, which she felt was too restrictive. It was an issue Prof. Robbins felt strongly about, having been involved in the decision to take her father off life support after a stroke. She called medically assisted dying "the most important issue of our generation."

However, the policy was contentious and in the public eye. Senior Liberals tried to persuade Prof.

Robbins not to stir the waters at the convention, but she proposed the emergency resolution anyway. The request for debate was refused.

"Wendy didn't see roadblocks," said her friend Anne Forrestall.

"Roadblocks were just something to find a way around. Other people got discouraged, but she never did."

In fact, Prof. Robbins kept persisting on the political front. In 2009, as a member of the political advocacy group Equal Voice, Prof.

Robbins announced she had better "put her money where her mouth is" and seek elective office.

She lost the Liberal nomination in Fredericton in 2011, but, true to form, kept trying to find ways to advocate in the public sphere. At the time of her death, she was looking into being nominated for the Senate, according to her daughter, Chimène Keitner.

"The only thing that could stand between her and her grandkids was the Senate," said Prof.

Keitner, herself a professor of law at UC Hastings in California. Prof.

Keitner thought of her mother as three equally formidable forces: "There was Grandma Wendy, professor Wendy, and Liberal Party activist Wendy."

The three roles were inextricably entwined, said her daughter, "because she believed, and lived, that the personal was political."

To that end, she would befriend her students at the University of New Brunswick, and would support them if they ran into trouble with partners, or work, or the law.

She was the longest-serving member of the English department at UNB, and the recipient of the school's top teaching honour, the Allan P. Stuart Award.

"We were like daughters she'd adopted," said Ms. Robinson, who first took a women's studies class with Prof. Robbins in 1996. "She believed in us more than we believed in ourselves, sometimes."

From the moment of her birth to her death, "she crammed so much into the time she was given," Ms. Forrestall said. That included decades of activism, from her work setting up a pioneering feminist e-mail list while she was research director at the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women to fighting against New Brunswick's restrictive abortion laws, in her final years. In January, she travelled to Washington for the Women's March, and wore a pink knitted "pussy hat" in solidarity with thousands of protesters.

While she was good at protesting, Prof. Robbins was equally good at celebrating. She loved Champagne, for one thing. Ms.

Forrestall remembers sneaking a bottle of bubbly into the hospital where Prof. Robbins was recovering from hip-replacement surgery. (She'd been badly injured in a cycling accident in Ottawa years before, and spent time in a wheelchair.) She also loved the ocean, and playing guitar, which she'd taken up late in life. Most of all, she loved her grandkids; three from her daughter, Chimène, and two from her son, Haydon.

Prof. Robbins and her former husband, psychiatrist Gabor Keitner, were married in 1969 and separated 15 years later. Their children spent alternate years in Providence, R.I., and New Brunswick, where their mother taught.

"Being a tenure-track professor and single mom of two young kids couldn't have been easy," Prof. Keitner said. The fact that Prof. Robbins made it work was a lesson to her children, her daughter says. "I certainly grew up with a strong sense that a meaningful life for me would include parenting and excelling professionally."

The Wendy J. Robbins Women's Empowerment Fund has been set up in her name. A celebration of her life will be held at the University of New Brunswick on May 20.

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

Wendy Robbins, centre, poses with former prime minister Jean Chrétien and New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant at a Liberal fundraising event on April 12, hours before she suffered the aneurysm that led to her death a few days later.


Mr. Robbins received the Governor-General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case from Michaëlle Jean in 2007.


Troops deployed on Britain's streets
Parents issue pleas for help finding their missing children, while police try to identify bodies
Wednesday, May 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND -- When Maddison Simpson got tickets last Christmas to see Ariana Grande in concert, it was like a dream come true and she counted the days to the May 22 show in Manchester.

On Monday, the six-year-old packed her pink suitcase and headed off by train with her mom from their home in Glasgow. The Manchester Arena was packed that night with thousands of teenagers, parents and children as young as Maddison.

Her mother, Hollie Simpson, had been to the arena before and she thought nothing of the quick bag check at the entrance or the few security guards around the venue. After all, this was a pop concert for children.

Ms. Grande sang her final song, One Last Time, around 10:30 p.m., but Ms. Simpson and Maddison were already making their way out of the arena, hoping to avoid the crowd.

Moments after they walked out, a bomb ripped through a foyer that connects the arena to the Victoria train station.

Amid the pandemonium, the smoke and the screams, Maddison and her mother made their way back to their hotel. "We were just so lucky that we left early," Ms. Simpson said. She was still shaking the next morning, sitting with Maddison as they waited to catch the train home. "You don't want to live in fear, but at the moment, I don't think I'll be rushing back to a concert any time soon," she said.

For Ms. Simpson and parents everywhere, Monday's bombing struck a chord.

The pain could be felt by any parent who has taken their son or daughter to a concert, or dropped them off and fetched them afterward. "It wasn't an army barracks, this was a kids' concert," Adam Derring, a father of two small children, said as he tried to cope with what happened during a vigil Tuesday night in Manchester. "It's close to home."

That was made clear throughout the day on Tuesday as parents issued pleas for help finding their missing children while police painstakingly tried to identify bodies. "This is my daughter Olivia, I haven't seen her since 5 o'clock last night, she was at the Ariana Grande concert," Charlotte Campbell said in an emotional appeal on television. "If anybody has seen her, please contact the police. ... Please just somebody get hold of her. I'm worried sick."

Early Wednesday, Ms. Campbell shared the news on Facebook and Twitter that Olivia had died in the attack. "RIP my darling precious gorgeous girl," she wrote. "Go sing with the angels."

By the late morning, police had set up a help centre at the Etihad Stadium and, throughout the day, a stream of families arrived, desperate for any information. "It's a very distressing place to be, it's not an easy place to be," said John Morris, the head of emergency services for the British Red Cross in northern England who was working at the centre. "You can imagine the emotions in there are very high."

Three others have been identified: Saffie Rose Roussos, who was eight years old; Georgina Callander, who was 18; and 26year-old John Atkinson. Police said they may not have a full list of those who died until late Wednesday, at the earliest.

This was the worst terrorist attack in Britain in 12 years when four suicide bombers killed 52 people on the London transit system.

But Prime Minister Theresa May said this bombing was different because of those targeted.

"This attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice," she said. "Deliberately targeting innocent, defenceless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives."

Ms. May announced that the country's threat level would be raised to "critical," the highest level which means a further attack may be imminent. She and other politicians also stopped campaigning for the upcoming general election on June 8.

Erin Jones and Abigail Lincoln definitely felt targeted as they ran out of the arena Monday night, screaming and trying to find their parents. The two teenagers had travelled from Durham, about three hours away, for the show. They'd bought tickets last October and turned the evening into a family event, with Ms. Jones's parents taking them to Manchester and a couple of other friends tagging along.

The girls were sitting in the upper tier and, when Ms. Grande sang her last note, they made their way down to the main floor.

"We left quite swiftly after the music stopped," said Ms. Jones, who is 17 years old.

"The lights had just come up and there was just the last bit of music played and then this huge bang went off."

At first, they thought it was someone setting off fireworks.

But then could smell the smoke and saw the fear in people's eyes as people began to run.

"We just kind of looked at each other and ducked and screamed.

And then everyone ran, just ran wherever they could out of the way because the bang was just horrendous. It was pure terror," Ms. Jones said.

"It was like a stampede of people running away. ... We could see the flash of light, the sound and the smoke coming through the exit to the arena," added Ms. Lincoln, who is 18.

Once outside, they tried to contact Ms. Jones's parents, who had gone out to dinner and were about to head to the arena to pick them up. When they finally reached Ms. Jones's mother, she simply couldn't believe what had happened.

"When I rang my mom that's what she said, 'Erin, surely it can't be a bomb, it will just be someone playing a prank'. But it was too loud," Ms. Jones said.

"We just knew," Ms. Lincoln said. "It was perfectly timed for when everyone was exiting the concert because she'd just finished her last song. It was the last chord. It was perfectly timed."

They scrambled to find their friends who had been lost in the mayhem, flagging down a taxi and scouring the local area.

Everyone was safe, but by Tuesday morning, no one wanted to attend another concert. "Not any public event or any place with a crowd," Ms. Jones said, shaking her head. "We've been quite on edge with everything. I think it's definitely going to change how we view public events and how we go about them."

Several musicians and bands have cancelled concerts in Britain in the wake of the attack, and Ms. Grande has yet to indicate if she will continue with all of the dates on her tour. But other groups have vowed to press ahead and hold tributes during upcoming performances to those who died.

Lloyd Gronow will be among those attending upcoming events despite a close call at the concert on Monday night. He'd got a couple of tickets from a friend at the last minute that afternoon and headed to Manchester from Liverpool with his girlfriend, Lucy Stead. They were about 50 metres from where the blast occurred and still made it out on to the street unscathed.

On Tuesday, Mr. Gronow was trying to take it all in stride, worried that security wasn't strict enough at the arena but also aware that the bomb exploded outside the stadium in the foyer connecting to the train station.

"Obviously, something like this will stay in the back of my mind forever, but it's not going to stop me from doing anything," he said. "There's nothing you can really do about it. If it's going to happen, then it's out of my hands."

By Tuesday evening, all of Manchester and Britain were struggling to come to grips with what had happened. Thousands of people gathered for a vigil in Albert Square, in front of Manchester's ornate Town Hall.

Many people carried signs saying "I Love MCR" and some held bouquets of flowers. Some cried during the moment of silence while others chanted "Manchester" as the service ended.

The bomber "knew what he was doing. He was trying to strike us where it hurt by killing the children," Courtney Sumner said as she held back tears.

"And he has hit us where it hurts. He has."

Next to her, Nathaniel Tornton held a sign that said "No fear here." "Nobody's scared here," he said defiantly.

"People might be worried, people might be a bit more on edge than usual but we're a northern stubborn town. I think this will strengthen the community."

Associated Graphic

Eighteen-year-old Georgina Callander, left, and Saffie Rose Roussos, right, 8, are two of four of the dead who have been identified, along with John Atkinson and Olivia Campbell, following Monday evening's blast at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.

Fun and games
The Toronto Wolfpack is a wonderful reminder of how enjoyable pro sports can be when the main goal is more than a win or a paycheque
Tuesday, May 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

TORONTO -- Shortly after the Toronto Wolfpack have humiliated their opponents and are in the midst of an endless victory lap, the team's PR guy comes over to let you know what's up.

"We're just waiting on the players and then we'll sing the song."

It's still pretty loud out here on the field, so you probably heard that wrong.

"I'm sorry. You'll what the what?" "Sing the song."

No, you heard right.

Twenty minutes later, the media are led into the dressing room for the postvictory fight song, which is apparently a thing in rugby.

The players are all standing around a low-slung concrete tomb underneath the decrepit Lamport Stadium. Most are halfnaked and holding tallboys. A couple of them are already on their third. A couple more are bleeding.

The lyrics are up on a chalkboard. The players have written the song themselves, which explains all the F-words.

It starts out with a slow groove to Will Grigg's On Fire.

This is nice. Like a bunch of bodybuilders and professional killers decided to have a Spring Fling and invite their parents.

All of a sudden, about halfway through, it gets frantic. Some very large people are now bouncing up and down in a very tight space, elbowing each other, throwing their bodies around.

They start spraying beer. It's a good thing someone has dragged the pizza boxes off the floor.

As one panicked group, the media lunge for the door, but it's blocked.

You're stuck in here with these giant berserkers. You're going to get the full rugby experience today.

When the Wolfpack announced their arrival on the Toronto sports scene a year ago - a trans-Atlantic team playing the more obscure branch of rugby in the lowest rung of the English leagues - it seemed like a stunt. It still does. But stunts are the reason people go to the circus. Done right, stunts work.

This isn't about the sport as such. It's doubtful many of the 7,000 on hand on Saturday understood the nuances of rugby league. They got the basics - 13 men line up and run at 13 other men.

When someone is tackled, they stop, line up and do it again. It's essentially bowling with humans instead of balls.

Whenever a penalty was called or a play whistled dead, the crowd did not react. They weren't sure why it happened, or who got the advantage. But they liked the idea of large people hitting each other at speed and, hey, there's craft beer.

At the half, they brought out the hot-dog gun. Not just a gun shaped like a hot dog, but a gun shooting actual hot dogs.

One clueless dope retrieved one from the floor and tried presenting it to his girlfriend. She slapped it out of his hand.

The Wolfpack is the only fully professional side in the Kingstone Press League 1. Their opponents are figuratively - and, occasionally, literally - roofers on a stipend. On the weekend, they faced the league's other undefeated side, Barrow.

Barrow scored the first two points. Toronto scored the next 70. I am no expert, but I feel confident this game was not a classic.

It will probably be like that all summer long - blowout after blowout. That's not the allure.

The beauty of this new entrant into a crowded civic sports landscape is the charming shoddiness of its environment and the way the players - some of them top stars on the downward slope of their careers - have embraced an overseas adventure.

Lamport Stadium is wedged uncomfortably into a busy section of downtown. Most penalty kicks at the south end wind up in a parking lot. In one instance, a young boy picked up a ball that had landed beside him. He showed it excitedly to his father, and then the two of them rushed off with it. No one gave chase.

Kicks the other way are in constant danger of sailing onto King Street West. Eventually, you'll be reading about a rugbyrelated car crash.

By the standard of, say, Toronto FC, this wasn't a sizable gathering, but the players were juiced.

Like rugby union, rugby league is played everywhere. But unlike rugby union, it isn't a top-tier draw in many places.

Before some of these guys got here, they might have been performing in front of a few hundred customers. A few thousand seems like a lot to them.

Most are from small spots in northern England. The brightness of Toronto - such as they are - has gotten to them.

"When you're driving down the highway to the game and you see the CN Tower, it's all very surreal," Scottish halfback Ryan Brierley said. "We're living a dream."

The real show was put on after the game ended. The Wolfpack team spent a half-hour walking the periphery of the stadium, shaking hands and talking to the fans. Yes, that's right - talking to them. Most were drinking as they did so.

The star of the show is your new favourite athlete (and I don't care who you are or whether you've seen him play or care at all about rugby), Fuifui Moimoi.

Moimoi is a 37-year-old cartoon bowling ball that has grown arms, legs and a prodigious head of hair, and then come to life. An Australian sports scientist once reckoned that over the course of a game, Moimoi delivers the cumulative impact of a six-tonne truck going 30 kilometres an hour.

You're sitting fifty yards from him and he's moving away from you, but when he gets the ball, you feel real terror.

Moimoi was the last man off the field because so many people on hand wanted to speak to him, touch him and get a picture with him.

Moimoimania was so frenzied, people were taking selfies of other people taking selfies with the Tongan.

As Moimoi moved slowly around the periphery, two team officials tried to corral him for the song.

"He's got to come in now!" one said, waving his arms.

"I'm trying! I'm trying!" screamed the other beseechingly.

It was no good. They can't move this man on the field, and they're certainly not going to move him off it.

Near the end of his rounds, Moimoi spotted a woman up in the stands waving in his direction. She signalled toward a girl with Down syndrome who seemed too frightened to enter the fray at the edges. Moimoi, who is listed at 230 pounds and probably weighs a few more, ran over, vaulted a six-foot wall and rushed to her side for a long cuddle and a chat. The crowd nearly collapsed in on itself with delight.

As Moimoi finally came off the field, he was pulsing with positive energy. He fairly skipped up the corridor.

"Given the sadistic nature of what people want to see these days, he's quite popular," Toronto coach Paul Rowley said. "Fui likes to smash."

Fui also plainly likes people, as do his teammates.

I've covered a lot of different sports in a lot of different places, and while I have certainly seen at least this much love given off by spectators, I don't think I've ever seen so much of it reflected back from the objects of their esteem. It was remarkable to behold.

It's hard to say if rugby league will catch on in Toronto. It's harder still to say if anyone will make any real money off it, or if it'll graduate to a better stadium, or get a mainstream TV deal. But those are the dreary financial concerns that build a wall between athletes and their fans. The richer they get, the more tenuous their human connection with the people who made them that way. That's axiomatic.

For at least one day, it was wonderful to be reminded how much fun pro sports can be when the main goal is more than a win or a paycheque.

When it's actually about the people there. All of them, for just a moment, being together.

Associated Graphic

The Toronto Wolfpack's Fuifui Moimoi is tackled by the Barrow Raiders' Luke Cresswell during their rugby league match at Lamport Stadium in Toronto on Sunday.


Toronto Wolfpack players sing to celebrate defeating the Barrow Raiders in Toronto on Sunday. The song starts out with a slow groove to Will Grigg's On Fire, but builds to a frantic pace.


Wolfpack player Andrew Dixon comes off the field after Toronto's victory. The Wolfpack is the only fully professional side in the Kingstone Press League 1.

$300 dinner: you win some, you lose some
World-class Chinese fare brings a sumptuous room, exquisite style - but offerings that don't always live up to expectations
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S2

Mott 32 1161 West Georgia St., Vancouver; 604-979-8886; (Hong Kong site); Fine dining, modern Cantonese, reservations recommended.


There will be no politics in this review. No pontificating on a White House in shambles. No conjecture about U.S. President Donald Trump's state of mind. No hand-wringing over the ethics of patronizing a restaurant in the new Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver.

These are all important issues to discuss - elsewhere.

Mott 32, regardless of its location, is the most noteworthy restaurant to open in Vancouver for many years, perhaps decades.

And to be honest, it already has enough problems of its own.

Why does Mott 32 matter so much to Vancouver and, by extension, Richmond? Because, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, our only true claim to international culinary fame (beyond spot prawns and kusshi oysters) is our Chinese restaurant scene. It is often said that we have the best Chinese restaurants in North America. While some would argue that Los Angeles has surpassed us with its vast array of regional cuisines from Mainland China, Vancouver's Cantonese restaurants are still tops.

That said, Vancouver hasn't kept pace with evolutions in Hong Kong. Even our greatest Chinese restaurants (Dynasty, Jade, Chef Tony, Yue Delicacy) are dated, dowdy banquet halls with plush carpeting, blaring lights, brusque service and no wine service to speak of. With few exceptions (Sam Leung at Dynasty is notable for his Western influences), there hasn't been much innovation on the plate. What we have is the Chinese equivalent of Chianti-bottle candleholders - traditional relics trapped in time.

Mott 32, a luxurious import from Hong Kong (with sibling restaurants in Dubai and Bangkok), ushers us into a modern age. It is the first Chinese restaurant in Vancouver to splash out on contemporary design, offer sophisticated service and boldly experiment with techniques, ingredients and flavours. But does it live up to expectations?

'May I take your coats?' Saturday night and the Krug corks are popping in the hotel's sleekly marbled Champagne Lounge. A charming American, who claims to have made his fortune from medical marijuana, swoops in, retreats, then sends drinks - "whatever the ladies want" - from across the room. It's a buzzy scene.

When our table is ready, the drinks are transferred, but the rest of the bill must be settled first. The bar and restaurant, although connected through the lobby, are separate entities.

Our eyes adjust as we step through gilded doors into a dark alcove. "May I take your coats?" How civilized - and rare these days.

Warmly muted and moody, the room is an opulent melange of industrial fixtures (leaded-glass panels, gold-jointed piping, airpocked cement) and chinoiserie (abascus wall dividers, rattan caning chairs, calligraphy graffiti).

There are elevated booths ensconced in wire mesh to look like birdcages and private rooms set behind sliding doors. The aura is graceful steampunk passed through a British colonial filter.

We are led to a table in the central octagon, a see-and-be-seen courtyard of sorts, with a view into the open kitchen and a small bar tucked into the back. The craft cocktail list is speckled with Asian influences - yuzu, shiso, ginger, chrysanthemum, jasmine tea. An adventurous wine list roams widely beyond the usual luxurylabel suspects. Pinot blanc from Oregon? How interesting.

Dim sum at night is one of the restaurant's most intriguing novelties. Who wouldn't want to eat dim sum all day long? But these dumplings aren't the type found anywhere else. The hot-and-sour xiao long bao is a must-order.

Served individually in tall-handled baskets, the bright-orange, spice-infused wrappers are filled with a palate-smacking soup spiked with spicy chilli paste, tangy black vinegar and unctuous Iberico ham. Black truffle siu mai (a bit heavy-handed on the truffle) are a marvel of tight execution, timed down to the second so the small quail egg inside bursts with runny yolk when bitten. Lobster har gow is an ostentatious bauble at $18 a piece, the size of small fist and awkward to eat, but densely filled with lobster meat studded with salty Yunnan ham.

The har gow seems like a natural segue into lobster ma po tofu as a main course, but the transition stumbles badly. The dish is cutely presented, with a friendly little lobster head propped up in a bowl of silky cubed tofu swimming in a dark pool of spicy Sichuan-peppercorn sauce. We eagerly dive into what look like thick, fleshy claws - and sink into soft mush. Uh. The meat has no bounce. It tastes muddy and flat.

The $55 lobster is off. We send it back. General manager Eric Yang rushes to our table. We expect an apology. He doubles down in umbrage. It couldn't be off, he insists. It was alive in the tank five minutes before it was cooked.

Okay, maybe it wasn't dead. But perhaps the chef should talk to his supplier, I suggest, because that lobster tasted like it had started crawling down the highway from Maine some time early last summer.

We ask him to surprise us with something light. He brings wokfried broccoli. Plain broccoli, simply dressed with gingko nuts and crispy bean curd. It would have made a clean counterpoint to the spicy lobster sauce. But on its own?

"Are you giving us gwailo food?" I ask.

"You don't understand Cantonese cooking," he replies, confirming my suspicion.

Something I've never seen before Sunday afternoon, dim sum goes off without a single hitch. Everything is splendid.

Silky-thin rice sheets, rolled to order and steamed to a glistening sheen, are wrapped around melting tender honey-glazed barbecue pork. More barbecue pork is stuffed into sweetly puffy buns.

The skins on water chestnut dumplings are so delicate they're translucent. Pan-fried turnip cakes flake into meaty chunks.

Chewy jellyfish, marinated in aged balsamic, are served intact with frilly edges (rather than being cut into strips), something I've never seen before.

We order an apple-roasted Peking duck, one of the restaurant's specialties. The crackling skin, lacquered to a dark-golden gloss, is carved tableside. We dip the dainty squares into raw sugar granules, which pop against the softly oozy fat cap. The meat is served with pancakes so wispy they cling like Saran wrap. Curiously, the acrid whiff of smoke, dominant when the duck was presented, hasn't penetrated the dark flesh.

The slightly gamey flavour is pure and clean.

The meal is so delicious, the company so delightful, the pacing of the dishes so relaxed, we order another bottle of wine. It's a gorgeous, honey-yellow Gewurztraminer from Alsace, full-bodied and bursting with aromatic stone fruit.

This is the most leisurely, thoroughly enjoyable dim sum I've ever experienced. It's also the most expensive, at nearly $60 a head, before wine.

Everything was perfect, I tell Mr. Yang, who has been hovering attentively.

"That's because you ordered like a Cantonese person this time," he observes approvingly.

Revisiting the lobster: It's perfect Late Thursday night and the restaurant is quiet. Perhaps everyone in the kitchen is bored and impatient. Why else would the food be flying out at such a rapid, whip-speed pace?

Double-boiled soup - which should be crystal-clear, especially at $20 a bowl - is floating with meat particles. Brussels sprouts are wok-tossed with unusually large and uncomfortably fiery shards of bird's-eye chili.

We're onto the mains before we've even finished dim sum. The table is covered with dishes and no sense of order. If Mr. Yang were here, I would tell him that I know enough about Cantonese dining to know that this rushed service is lacking.

We revisit the lobster. This time, it's perfect. The flesh is springy, the tofu is silky, the thick sauce gently hums with Sichuan peppercorns that build in intensity at the back of the throat without overpowering.

Before heading out, I go to the bathroom. Unisex bathrooms are the worst. Why do men find it so difficult to hit their target? The first stall has a puddle on the floor in front of the toilet. I try the second one - another puddle.

Really? I just paid $300 for dinner, without any wine, and now I have to mop up the bathroom floor?

I'm sure Mr. Yang will consider it uncouth - and extremely unCantonese - for me to mention the messy state of the bathroom.

But this final impression leaves a taste in the mouth even worse than dead lobster.

Associated Graphic

Some of the high-end dishes at Mott 32 include lobster ma po tofu, above, and applewood roasted duck, below.

In 2015, the Vancouver Art Gallery announced a blockbuster acquisition of 10 'newly discovered' J.E.H. MacDonald sketches. Yet more than two years later, Marsha Lederman writes, the authenticity of the works remains a question mark
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

VANCOUVER -- It was a spectacular story, infused in mystery: In early 2015, the Vancouver Art Gallery announced the donation of 10 "newly discovered and never-before-displayed" oil sketches by Group of Seven co-founder J.E.H. MacDonald from early in his career.

Where had they been all these years?

It was quite a tale: The VAG explained that the artist buried the paintings on his property in Thornhill, Ont., before his death in 1932. They were dug up by his son Thoreau MacDonald in 1974; Max Merkur, a family friend, happened to be around when the paintings were unearthed. Merkur, a real estate developer and art collector, bought them all. They remained in the Merkur home in Toronto for a further four decades, unseen by the general public.

Max Merkur died in 2007, followed by his wife Reta Merkur in 2012. After Reta's death, the paintings were discovered by their son Ephraim (Ephry) Merkur "in pristine condition," according to the VAG's news release. They were authenticated and donated to the gallery by Ephry and his brother Melvin (Mel) Merkur.

"We are thrilled to have received these extraordinary paintings that are accompanied by such an incredible story," VAG director Kathleen Bartels was quoted in the news release issued at the time.

But almost immediately, experts in Canadian historical art raised eyebrows over the story, and urged the VAG to test the sketches for authenticity.

The gallery did, sending some of the sketches to the Canadian Conservation Institute in Ottawa for scientific testing.

But more than eight months after receiving the report from CCI, the VAG is declining to release information about the report's findings.

CCI has told The Globe and Mail that its report was delivered to the VAG last September. The Globe's requests for information to VAG officials about the report and the sketches have met with a standard response: Research is ongoing; the VAG has no information to share at this time.

One part of the story that raised skepticism in Canadian historical-art circles was the decision to involve a gallery in Hamilton rather than one of the dealers that are considered experts in the Group of Seven. The Merkurs engaged the Arctic Experience McNaught Gallery to organize the vast Merkur art collection and family records - and that's where the story of the burial was discovered.

"We found the correspondence that explained the story," Janet McNaught told The Globe at the time.

The works were authenticated by Ian Thom, the VAG's senior curator-historical, and one of the country's top experts in the Group of Seven.

"When Ian Thom came to see them, no one else knew they existed. No one in the art world at large," McNaught said in 2015.

She added that Thom was "speechless, literally."

"I realized that these were sketches that related to major things in [MacDonald's] career and that I recognized hadn't been seen before and they would be a dramatic addition to the Vancouver Art Gallery's collection," Thom told The Globe in 2015.

The works were also authenticated by another highly respected expert, Dennis Reid, former director of collections and research at the Art Gallery of Ontario and professor of Canadian art in the University of Toronto's Graduate Department of Art.

Alan Klinkhoff, a Montreal dealer and appraiser with great expertise in J.E.H. MacDonald, was asked to appraise the paintings. But when he saw them in Hamilton, he refused to conduct the appraisal. He was uncomfortable with the works, he revealed after the controversy was reported by The Globe.

"With only momentary delay while looking about the room, without exaggeration I can only say that shivers went up my spine," he wrote in a blog post.

He later added in the post, "I preferred caution and refused to conduct the requested appraisal.

Furthermore, had I been given the opportunity to purchase for resale any one of them, I would have elected not to do so."

When contacted by The Globe this week, he said he would still respond the same way.

The VAG announced the donation on Jan. 13, 2015. "Following a remarkable history, 10 rare artworks will be made accessible to the public for the first time since their creation," the news release promised.

"It's really a great tribute to my parents; it's a great tribute to a wonderful artist," Ephry Merkur told The Globe at the time.

The 10 sketches were oils on paperboard made early in MacDonald's career, from around 1910 until 1922. They included studies for some of his most iconic largescale paintings, including Mist Fantasy, Northland and The Tangled Garden, the release said.

But after questions were raised about the sketches and the controversy was made public, the gallery sent some of the sketches to the Canadian Conservation Institute for testing. It was part of a collaborative research project involving the McMichael Canadian Art Collection studying techniques and materials used by MacDonald.

Ahead of the testing, CCI told The Globe: "Through our scientific examination, we will be able to determine if the materials of the VAG works are consistent with those of the J.E.H. MacDonald works studied as part of our project."

CCI says the results were delivered to the VAG on Sept. 2, 2016.

CCI would not reveal the contents of the report, referring the Globe to the Vancouver Art Gallery. But the VAG has not disclosed the results, despite repeated requests by The Globe.

"There is no new information to share at this time," VAG director of marketing, communications and public affairs Johanie Marcoux wrote in an e-mail in response to a request for an interview with Bartels, the VAG director, on the issue in December, 2016.

"Research is still ongoing and we have no new information to share at this time," Thom wrote in a January e-mail.

When asked what the report said, Thom did not respond. But Marcoux, who was copied on the e-mail, replied, "We are still doing extensive research on this matter and we have no new information to share at this time."

When asked about it again this week, Thom responded, "We have no information to share at this time."

Reid, when contacted by The Globe, said it was not for him to disclose the findings.

"I have not seen the reports ... so I have nothing to say about them," he said during an interview in January, adding that he was told the VAG had seen the results.

Contacted this week, Reid said he had still not seen the report.

"The report was prepared, as I understand it, at [the Vancouver Art Gallery's] request and so, in that sense, is theirs to disclose or not as they see fit."

McNaught, when reached by phone last week, declined to comment. She had earlier told The Globe that she knew the report had been delivered to the VAG.

Calls to Ephry Merkur and his son Darcy Merkur, with whom The Globe has previously communicated about the donation, were not returned.

There are tax incentives to be had for donating art to a public gallery. The Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board has a certification process that offers tax benefits as a way to encourage the transfer of significant examples of Canada's artistic heritage from private hands to public collections. Tax credits are based on the fair market value of the property, as determined by the board.

Ten authentic MacDonald sketches in pristine condition would be valuable; these sketches were worth between $5-million and $10-million, according to a January, 2015, article in Maclean's about the donation.

A Globe inquiry made under the Access to Information Act asked for documentation related to the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board regarding certification and any tax receipts issued for the donation. The response indicated that 110 pages relevant to the request were found but withheld entirely, as they qualify for exemptions under the act owing to the nature of the information (including personal and financial information).

No result has been received to a second Access to Information inquiry to the Department of Canadian Heritage, requesting information about the CCI report itself, despite the deadline having passed.

At the time the donation was announced, the VAG said the works would be displayed as part of a larger exhibition in the fall of 2015. None of the sketches has been displayed publicly to date.

The mystery remains.

Associated Graphic


Experts in Canadian historical art urged the Vancouver Art Gallery to test its 10 'newly discovered' J.E.H. Macdonald oil sketches for authenticity.


The RCMP's case of broken telephone
Communications and data issues have plagued the Mounties in recent years, putting both officers and the public at risk. Some RCMP officials are now taking matters into their own hands, Colin Freeze and Carrie Tait report
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

Fort McMurray RCMP were in the midst of evacuating 90,000 people as last year's massive wildfire chewed through the city when they ran out of radios.

On top of that, the radio channel overloaded and the force doesn't have a backup communication system. Officers in the field were co-ordinating traffic, rushing children out of schools, rescuing strays and changing plans on the fly when the flames got too close to the escape routes - all while police were unable to connect with the emergency headquarters.

As the city burned, some evacuees were trapped north of town, evacuation centres across the province were still being assembled and people were stranded on the southbound highway because they ran out of gas. Further, the RCMP and the federal agency designed to support the Mounties were unable to obtain enough functioning cellphones as the operation expanded.

Officials in Ottawa had sent RCMP in Alberta about two dozen phones, but they could not be used immediately. Some phones were dead. Some were locked. Some contained data from their previous users.

Canada's top cop wasn't happy.

"We are not operating in an environment where otherwise innocuous bureaucratic stumbling is tolerable," RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson wrote in an e-mail to the head of the federal procurement agency as the fire burned out of control.

"Happening all the time and I can't accept the risk."

E-mails obtained by The Globe and Mail through an Access to Information request reveal a series of missteps, with RCMP brass sharply chastising federal officials and calling the situation risky and intolerable.

The force had been in this position before, to deadly effect. In 2014, three Mounties were shot and killed during a multiday rampage in Moncton and the RCMP now faces allegations the officers did not have enough equipment to deal with the crisis.

The Horse River Fire in Fort McMurray revealed multiple gaps in the RCMP's communication systems. The failures hampered communications during the crisis and the RCMP say they put the public and the police at risk in other emergencies as well.

Mounties in Fort McMurray are now building their own backup system in the absence of a national strategy. Meanwhile, the RCMP's top leaders continue to clash with Ottawa over the procurement issues that led to the cellphone problem.

As officials at the highest levels try to smooth out their differences, those on the ground are organizing themselves, said Brian Sauvé, an RCMP sergeant working to unionize the police force.

"Ottawa needs to accept the fact that we're cops and not public servants," he said. Officers need the ability to communicate "24 hours a day, 365 days a week."

Even with a compromised communications system, Fort McMurray's Mounties and other emergency responders safely evacuated the entire city. RCMP in Alberta delivered extra radios, along with supplies such as food and face masks, to officers on the ground in the northern city after the first wave of crisis. At the same time, the provincial RCMP headquarters in Edmonton requested dozens of phones, but it's unclear why.

The Mounties have long struggled with getting the right gear to their far-flung officers.

Communications and data issues have compounded in recent years owing to the RCMP's fraught relationship with Shared Services Canada, the information-technology agency created in 2011 to buy communications and computer gear for all federal government bodies.

Police officials, however, argue they need latitude to get their own specialized gear without running plans through Ottawa first.

Commissioner Paulson argued in his e-mail that Fort McMurray serves as an example of why the current procurement system does not work.

First, RCMP and Shared Services agreed the situation was so urgent Mounties in Edmonton should immediately buy phones from Rogers and Bell in Edmonton.

But then, after multiple changes to the plan, Shared Services offered to courier dozens of cellphones from Ottawa.

The phones in the first shipment had so many problems - locked, dead or otherwise unusable - they could not immediately be sent to Fort McMurray. Mr. Paulson intervened with his blunt e-mail to the head of Shared Services on May 6, 2016.

"Here is just a taste of why we need out," Commissioner Paulson said, copying a deputy minister.

Shared Services' own review shows it quickly tried to address the crisis. It sent the first shipment of cellular phones on May 4, 2016, arriving the next morning, albeit with problems. Shared Services sent a second shipment May 5. These were configured to RCMP specifications in Edmonton and were then ready to go to Fort McMurray, along with the original batch of phones. The agency subsequently sent another 100 cellphones, as well as wireless hubs, aircards, upgraded Internet connectivity and additional people to Alberta in support of RCMP efforts. (The e-mails do not reveal whether all the equipment was used.)

The Mounties, in a statement Friday, said: "The RCMP and its partners rely on critical 24/7/365, no-fail, operational IT systems to investigate crimes and protect the public."

It is "critical to the safety of our members because it ensures that we can stay in contact with them when they're responding to calls and track their location during quickly evolving situations."

The procurement and communications problems exacerbated a 2014 crisis that turned deadly.

In that case, a gunman shot dead three RCMP officers in Moncton with an assault rifle, and prosecutors now allege RCMP commanders failed to give their officers enough weaponry and gear to defend themselves.

An internal RCMP review of the Moncton killings concluded police communications were often overloaded, unco-ordinated, absent and confusing. It recommended implementing better radio technology and that every serving RCMP member should be "in possession of a cellular or satellite phone (where available) and police radio while on duty."

As a result, the RCMP is being put on trial under labour-code laws. A new law has been introduced to Parliament that would give federal departments some added flexibility in informationtechnology procurements through Shared Services Canada.

Meanwhile, Fort McMurray RCMP is trying to build a backup communications system, hoping to avoid another communications crisis such as the one that hit as chaos in the city peaked.

Superintendent Lorna Dicks is the head of the RCMP's Fort McMurray detachment and was in command May 3, 2016, when the fire forced tens of thousands in northern Alberta to flee. That day, she issued a mandatory overtime order for every available officer. In turn, 136 RCMP members clocked in. That created the radio dilemma.

"There's no police agency out there that is built to have everybody on staff [deployed] at the same time," Supt. Dicks said in an interview this week.

And the RCMP's most valuable tool when it comes to managing a crisis, Supt. Dicks said, is an effective communications network.

"Any major event that has ever happened - it always comes down to communication and getting that information out as fast as you possibly can," she said.

More radios are not the answer.

They cost about $10,000 each, so it is not feasible for detachments to have enough for every member of the force at all times, rather than enough to outfit officers on duty on routine days, Supt. Dicks said. Further, extra radios are not helpful when the channels are clogged or when trying to reach off-duty members in a crisis.

Now, the detachment is compiling a database of its members' contact information: work cell numbers; personal cells; home phones; home e-mail addresses.

Supt. Dicks wants to build a network that would allow the detachment to send mass texts to officers' personal cells, serving as backup communications for the radio network.

"We could have kept up with the immediate information flow during the emergency," she said.

"During those first few days, keeping your people in the loop and letting them know what was going on as fast as you possibly could - that's key."

Other RCMP detachments have shown interest in her homegrown solution, which will be tested in the coming weeks, Supt.

Dicks said.

"A system like this would be extremely beneficial."

Associated Graphic

Police officers direct traffic under a cloud of smoke from a wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alta., on May 6, 2016.


A police officer looks over a fire-damaged building in the Abasands neighbourhood in Fort McMurray, Alta., on May 9, 2016. Officials were able to evacuate the entire city despite communications issues.


Details of trade-offs emerge in China's One Belt, One Road plan
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

BEIJING -- China's bid to forge new connections for cargo and commodities across Asia and into more distant regions is about trade, development and the pursuit of mutual profit - and nothing more, it insists.

China's One Belt, One Road project promises other countries new roads, trains and power plants. What China wants in return is only the willingness of other countries to link arms and make a buck together, says the Chinese President, who has made it his signature project.

"We will not base co-operation on ideological grounds, nor will we pursue any political agenda or make any explicit arrangements," Xi Jinping said Monday. He spoke at the close of a summit attended by dozens of global leaders who gathered to discuss China's Belt and Road Initiative to spread its development model and cash among neighbours near and far.

But as a document made public in Pakistan on Monday makes clear, the planners behind China's overseas ambitions envision far more than economic co-operation among so-called "Belt and Road countries."

China also wants to export its surveillance-heavy security model, deliver content from its state-controlled media and gain privileged access to foreign agricultural lands and mineral deposits for its corporate giants.

Those details are contained in a Chinese planning document, which upon publication by a Pakistani newspaper offers one of the clearest insights yet into the sweep of what China hopes to gain from its One Belt, One Road investments - and the trade-offs that face even those who have decided that Beijing's global leadership ambitions present more opportunities than problems.

Pakistan is one of the most important countries along China's "new Silk Road," with a national leadership receptive to Beijing's concept and a geographic position that stands to open a far more efficient trading path to Europe, Africa and the Middle East for Chinese companies. China's Belt and Road spending is expected to hit $51-billion (U.S.) in Pakistan.

Exactly what Beijing wants in return has never been made clear in public.

In private, however, China Development Bank and the country's powerful planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, have assembled a highly detailed 231page document that lays bare Beijing's ambitions.

It "envisages a deep and broad based penetration of most sectors of Pakistan's economy as well as its society by Chinese enterprises and culture," wrote Khurram Husain, a Pakistani journalist and scholar in a report for Dawn, a Karachi newspaper, which published details of the report Monday.

"Its scope has no precedent in Pakistan's history in terms of how far it opens up the domestic economy to participation by foreign enterprises." The report has raised new questions in Pakistan about the real price of doing business with China.

Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, a Pakistani senator, has raised comparisons to the East India Company, the British company and colonizer that for centuries controlled great swaths of South Asia. "They did put in the railways, which still exist in India and Pakistan," Mr. Mashhadi said.

But the company is now "despised because they stole the wealth while they were here."

Similarly, the proposed ChinaPakistan Economic Corridor, is "very one-sided," he said.

"It's Chinese investments and Chinese banks, Chinese money, Chinese industry - everything is towards China. And, of course, the profits go to China."

Other countries, too, have expressed concern that the One Belt, One Road project leans too heavily in China's favour.

"Tenders need to be open to everyone," German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries said on Sunday, warning that Germany could not sign on if that condition was not met.

(European news reports on Tuesday said European Union countries had made good on the threat, refusing to sign one of China's proposed One Belt, One Road joint statements on trade.)

India, which opposes Chinese construction in regions whose ownership it disputes with Pakistan, skipped China's One Belt, One Road summit altogether, instead cautioning countries that accept Chinese funds risk taking on an "unsustainable debt burden." In Pakistan, meanwhile, the Chinese document suggests potential points of conflict will go far beyond corporate access and borrowing terms.

The document details how Pakistan would be divided into geographic zones according to the industries that could prosper there, including gold, diamonds and other minerals in the west and northwest, cement in the centre and petrochemicals, iron and steel in the south.

The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a quasi-military group in western China, could be used to overhaul agriculture in Pakistan by bringing mechanization and new methods of irrigation and breeding.

At least some of that would be enabled by leasing large tracts of agricultural land to Chinese interests, and allowing Chineseinvested companies to build fertilizer factories and storage facilities.

In textiles, Pakistan's "cheap raw materials" can be used to build up China's own garments industry "and help soak up surplus labour forces in Kashgar," a city in China's far western Xinjiang region.

Installation of a fibre-optic connection from China would be used to bring high-definition television, but also become a "cultural transmission carrier" to present a friendly face of China with "future co-operation between Chinese and Pakistani media."

To address security issues, the Beijing planners propose a "safe cities" project that would have Pakistan's urban centres adopt some of the surveillance architecture common in China by installing video cameras to monitor "major roads, case-prone areas and crowded places." The project would start small in Peshawar and then roll out to Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.

The idea of an authoritarian state exporting its populationmonitoring methods to Pakistan is "grounds for immense concern," Mr. Husain said in an interview.

What the document makes clear is that what China wants in Pakistan "goes far beyond just economics," he said.

It prompts "a lot of questions for Pakistan about what the implications are going to be in terms of our democracy, our democratic traditions and the right to free speech."

Although the plan was drafted in 2015, it circulated only inside Pakistan's federal government and the Punjab provincial government. Other provinces were sent a less detailed, 30-page version.

Still, the plan is a vision subject to change, rather than an immutable description of the future.

And even many of those in Pakistan with access to the detailed version remain ardent supporters of China's One Belt, One Road concept, key among them Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. "We stand at the cusp of a geo-economic revolution," he said this weekend in Beijing. "In fact, this is the dawn of a truly new era, of synergetic intercontinental co-operation."

China, as the world's secondlargest economy, "is coming and saying, 'I can do a lot to improve standards of living in your country in terms of creating jobs from infrastructure and what comes from that,' " said Jean-Guy Carrier, executive chairman of the Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce. " 'But of course, I want privileged access to some things,' " he said. Still, that compares favourably with the European colonial powers of old, he said. "China isn't going in and occupying anybody."

With China taking a bigger role in the global economy, "we should get used to it - but we should also not be so defensive and protective that we are not able to see that, in fact, they're doing some very positive things with their wealth," Mr. Carrier said.

Even Mr. Mashhadi, who chairs the country's Planning Development and Reforms committee, acknowledges that with Chinese spending, "we will get better infrastructure. We will get more development in our country. ... We will become a centre of trade."

But, he cautioned, there is "hardly any free lunch involved" - and if Pakistan is not careful, it may end up giving away too much. "There's no use having motorways with Cadillacs flying down while your people are standing on the roadside with their two goats and a cow and watching everything go by," he said. "That is not what we want."

Associated Graphic

Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and delegates arrive for a meeting in Beijing on Monday.


Chinese President Xi Jinping leaves a news conference at the end of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on Monday. Although his country has marketed its initiative to prospective recipients as a simple gesture of goodwill, critics have raised concerns over the plan's potential as an expansionist foreign-policy tool.


From a legendary grotto once called 'the eighth wonder of the world' to a former Medici residence that now offers renowned spa treatments, here are some ways to get into hot water in Tuscany - and enjoy it
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

MONSUMMANO TERME, TUSCANY -- I've been to hell and back - and it's not what you might expect. Contrary to popular belief, the road isn't paved with good intentions, but with concrete.

In the dimly lit afterlife, towering stalagmites and daggerlike stalactites punctuate corridors that wind through dimpled rock, like the pathways of a giant, labyrinthine brain. There are even handrails to prevent you from falling into the abyss.

Fortunately for me, this intriguing netherworld is actually the largest thermal cave in Europe, nestled deep within the Grotta Giusti resort in Tuscany.

Quarry workers accidentally discovered the grotto, home to a 130-million-year-old mineral-rich spring, in 1849 near the villa of Italian poet Giuseppe Giusti.

Shortly afterward, the entrepreneurial wordsmith converted his estate into a spa and hotel.

When the 19th-century composer Giuseppe Verdi gave the grotto a big thumbs up, dubbing it "the eighth wonder of the world," its reputation was made.

Today, the enterprise encompasses a 64-room hotel, which debuted a 1.5-million ($2.2-million) refurbishment this spring, revealing refreshed guestrooms and a lighter, airier restaurant and piano bar, without sacrificing the villa's original frescoes and selection of period antiques. Two outdoor thermal pools feature hydro-massage jets, where guests bob like poached eggs, and an expansive spa offers everything from massage to mud therapy, anti-aging and anti-cellulite treatments, and a recently launched "Equilibrium" program focusing on nutrition, relaxation techniques, thermal therapy and exercise.

The surrounding 45-hectare park provides plenty of ways to escape the creeping tendrils of inertia, with a hiking trail, tennis courts, rock climbing and paragliding, while a nearby golf course treats guests to a discount.

It's the grotto, though, that steals the show.

Vapours from the thermal spring transform the cavern into a natural sauna where temperatures vary from around 28 to 36 degrees.

A 50-minute tour is meant to alleviate a laundry list of ailments, including respiratory, circulatory, osteo-muscular, nervous and skin conditions.

According to the hotel's marketing director, Barbara Guidi, "the heat helps muscles totally relax and absorb these minerals into the bones. It stimulates the production of endorphins, which is why you feel so relaxed. It's like a drug."

In fact, it's so much like a drug that the Italian government subsidizes citizens' visits here.

Visitors can also enjoy full immersion therapy - a baptism, if you like - in the Lago del Limbo, the crystal clear, 34-degree lake that stretches out beneath the cavern's cathedral-like arches. Grotta Giusti offers the rare opportunity to scuba dive in a thermal-cave system, but as I've always been keen on breathing oxygen that doesn't come from a can, I opt instead for "flotation therapy" in the lake with cave guide Luciano Tanini, who has been exploring these caves since 1980.

Cradling me in his arms, Luciano stretches and bends my limbs as he moves me gently through the balmy water. Swaying like seaweed, entrusting myself to the strong hands of a stranger, I'm as carefree as flotsam and jetsam on an infinite ocean.

You might even say that I'm as happy as a pig in mud ... but just what is it about mud that's supposed to induce such euphoria? That's what I aim to find out when I travel 45 kilometres west to Bagni di Pisa, which places a special emphasis on fangotherapy. (It's nothing to do with vampires. That's spa-speak for detoxifying, anti-inflammatory treatments using hot clay steeped in thermal waters.)

Like Grotta Giusti, the 61-room Bagni di Pisa is part of the Italian Hospitality Collection, and it's also housed in a historic Tuscan property with a renowned thermal spa. The Bagni di Pisa villa, replete with historic frescoes, was owned by the Medicis before the Lorena family adopted it as their summer residence, six kilometres from the city of Pisa.

Through the centuries, Bagni di Pisa has hosted illustrious guests such as George IV of England, Lord Byron and Mary Shelley, for whom the hotel's glamorous Shelley Bar is named.

(Maybe Mary dreamt up Frankenstein after one too many martinis?) It's easy to imagine such glitterati sitting down to dinner in the elegant Dei Lorena restaurant, although perhaps not so casually attired as some guests today, who don't hesitate to rock up in their spa robes and slippers, particularly at lunch.

Set amid flowering fruit trees and botanical gardens, Bagni di Pisa features an outdoor thermal pool and four indoor pools; the Hammam dei Granduchi, a romantic, natural grotto with a two-person bath fed by a thermal waterfall, and the Salidarium, where I'm buried up to my neck in a bed of warm salt crystals, emerging some 20 minutes later feeling as delectable as a salted cod.

But the resort's pièce de résistance is the aforementioned fangotherapy, which is also subsidized by the Italian government. Before I meet the mud, a man in a white lab coat takes my blood pressure, which proves to be low - hardly surprising, given that I've already spent two days kicking back at Grotta Giusti.

After he explains that the mineral-infused mud will be applied to my back, shoulders and flanks, I'm ushered to the treatment area, where I meet Rossella. With a mass of black curls framing her kindly face, she just about puts me at ease, despite the fact that she's wearing a plastic apron and gloves. (It's possible I've seen too many episodes of Dexter.)

Stripping down to a pair of paper panties, I sit on bed enshrouded in gauze while Rossella slathers me in medicinal muck dispensed from an industrial-looking silver pipe. Then she swaddles me in a sheet of plastic and a thick orange blanket before easing me onto my back, where I lay like a helpless burrito.

"Cinque, cinque, cinque!" Rossella smiles, flashing five fingers at me repeatedly to indicate that I'll baste for fifteen minutes.

Occasionally, she returns to check on my progress, mopping my brow with a tissue and bestowing a beatific smile, like Mother Teresa in a Saran Wrap habit.

When Rossella finally frees me from my cocoon, such is her delight that you would have thought she was unwrapping her first bicycle, rather than my sweating, shrivelled carcass.

"Bueno!" she says, clapping her hands, clearly pleased with the lagoon of perspiration I've produced. Never have I been so roundly applauded for so little effort, but nevertheless, I feel myself blushing with pride ... or possibly heatstroke.

Finally, Rossella leads me to a warm tub, leaving me to simmer like suet pudding. Closing my eyes, I take stock of my various body parts and realize that, for the first time in ages, the tangled knots of tension that usually plague my back are gone.

Perhaps we should all take a page from the piggies' playbook.

I think I've found my paradise at last.

The writer was a guest of the Italian Hospitality Collection. It did not review or approve this article.


Grotta Giusti is about a 50minute drive from the Pisa and Florence airports. Bagni di Pisa is 20 minutes from the Pisa airport and approximately an hour from the Florence airport.


Grotta Giusti, four-star resort in Monsummano Terme, from 135 ($200) a person,

Bagni di Pisa, five-star resort in San Giuliano Terme, from 144 ($215) a person,

The Italian Hospitality Collection also includes a third Tuscan resort, Fonteverde, which features along with Grotta Giusti and Bagni di Pisa on the new nine-night "Tuscan Route." All three properties offer thermal spas and the collection's signature Equilibrium program, developed by Dr. Nicola Angelo Fortunati.

For details, visit

Associated Graphic

The largest thermal cave in Europe is nestled deep within the Grotta Giusti resort in Tuscany; vapours from the thermal spring transform the cavern into a natural sauna where temperatures vary from around 28 to 36 degrees, and a 50-minute tour is supposed to alleviate a laundry list of ailments.


Bagni di Pisa, above and far left, specialize in fangotherapy: detoxifying, anti-inflammatory treatments using hot clay steeped in thermal waters. At Grotta Giusti, left, visitors can take advantage of a rare opportunity to scuba dive in a thermal-cave system.


Thursday, May 18, 2017


A Life & Arts article on Tuesday on Tuscan spa resorts incorrectly said the Grotta Giusti spa hotel recently underwent a 1.5-million refurbishment. In fact, it was worth 15-million. And the photos were incorrectly attributed. All images were courtesy of the Italian Hospitality Collection.

The RCMP's case of broken telephone
Communications and data issues have plagued the Mounties in recent years, putting both officers and the public at risk
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A17

CALGARY, TORONTO -- Fort McMurray RCMP were in the midst of evacuating 90,000 people as last year's massive wildfire chewed through the city when they ran out of radios.

On top of that, the radio channel overloaded and the force doesn't have a backup communication system. Officers in the field were co-ordinating traffic, rushing children out of schools, rescuing strays and changing plans on the fly when the flames got too close to the escape routes - all while police were unable to connect with the emergency headquarters.

As the city burned, some evacuees were trapped north of town, evacuation centres across the province were still being assembled and people were stranded on the southbound highway because they ran out of gas. Further, the RCMP and the federal agency designed to support the Mounties were unable to obtain enough functioning cellphones as the operation expanded.

Officials in Ottawa had sent RCMP in Alberta about twodozen phones, but they could not be used immediately. Some phones were dead. Some were locked. Some contained data from their previous users.

Canada's top cop wasn't happy.

"We are not operating in an environment where otherwise innocuous bureaucratic stumbling is tolerable," RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson wrote in an e-mail to the head of the federal-procurement agency as the fire burned out of control.

"Happening all the time and I can't accept the risk."

E-mails obtained by The Globe and Mail through an Access to Information request reveal a series of missteps, with RCMP brass sharply chastising federal officials and calling the situation risky and intolerable.

The force had been in this position before, to deadly effect. In 2014, three Mounties were shot and killed during a multiday rampage in Moncton and the RCMP now faces allegations the officers did not have enough equipment to deal with the crisis.

The Horse River Fire in Fort McMurray revealed multiple gaps in the RCMP's communication systems. The failures hampered communications during the crisis and the RCMP say they put the public and the police at risk in other emergencies as well.

Mounties in Fort McMurray are now building their own backup system in the absence of a national strategy. Meanwhile, the RCMP's top leaders continue to clash with Ottawa over the procurement issues that led to the cellphone problem.

As officials at the highest levels try to smooth out their differences, those on the ground are organizing themselves, said Brian Sauvé, an RCMP sergeant working to unionize the police force.

"Ottawa needs to accept the fact that we're cops and not public servants," he said. Officers need the ability to communicate "24 hours a day, 365 days a week."

Even with a compromised communications system, Fort McMurray's Mounties and other emergency responders safely evacuated the entire city. RCMP in Alberta delivered extra radios, along with supplies such as food and face masks, to officers on the ground in the northern city after the first wave of crisis. At the same time, the provincial RCMP headquarters in Edmonton requested dozens of phones, but it's unclear why.

The Mounties have long struggled with getting the right gear to their far-flung officers.

Communications and data issues have compounded in recent years owing to the RCMP's fraught relationship with Shared Services Canada, the information-technology agency created in 2011 to buy communications and computer gear for all federal government bodies. Police officials, however, argue they need latitude to get their own specialized gear without running plans through Ottawa first.

Commissioner Paulson argued in his e-mail that Fort McMurray serves as an example of why the current procurement system does not work. First, RCMP and Shared Services agreed the situation was so urgent Mounties in Edmonton should immediately buy phones from Rogers and Bell in Edmonton. But then, after multiple changes to the plan, Shared Services offered to courier dozens of cellphones from Ottawa.

The phones in the first shipment had so many problems - locked, dead or otherwise unusable - they could not immediately be sent to Fort McMurray. Mr. Paulson intervened with his blunt e-mail to the head of Shared Services on May 6, 2016.

"Here is just a taste of why we need out," Commissioner Paulson said, copying a deputy minister.

Shared Services' own review shows it quickly tried to address the crisis. It sent the first shipment of cellular phones on May 4, 2016, arriving the next morning, albeit with problems. Shared Services sent a second shipment May 5. These were configured to RCMP specifications in Edmonton and were then ready to go to Fort McMurray, along with the original batch of phones. The agency subsequently sent another 100 cellphones, as well as wireless hubs, aircards, upgraded Internet connectivity and additional people to Alberta in support of RCMP efforts. (The e-mails do not reveal whether all the equipment was used.)

The Mounties, in a statement Friday, said: "The RCMP and its partners rely on critical 24/7/365, no-fail, operational IT systems to investigate crimes and protect the public."

It is "critical to the safety of our members because it ensures that we can stay in contact with them when they're responding to calls and track their location during quickly evolving situations."

The procurement and communications problems exacerbated a 2014 crisis that turned deadly.

In that case, a gunman shot dead three RCMP officers in Moncton with an assault rifle, and prosecutors now allege RCMP commanders failed to give their officers enough weaponry and gear to defend themselves.

An internal RCMP review of the Moncton killings concluded police communications were often overloaded, unco-ordinated, absent and confusing. It recommended implementing better radio technology and that every serving RCMP member should be "in possession of a cellular or satellite phone (where available) and police radio while on duty."

As a result, the RCMP is being put on trial under labour-code laws. A new law has been introduced to Parliament that would give federal departments some added flexibility in informationtechnology procurements through Shared Services Canada.

Meanwhile, Fort McMurray's RCMP is trying to build a backup communications system, hoping to Savoid another communications crisis such as the one that hit as chaos in the city peaked.

Superintendent Lorna Dicks is the head of the RCMP's Fort McMurray detachment and was in command May 3, 2016, when the fire forced tens of thousands in northern Alberta to flee. That day, she issued a mandatory overtime order for every available officer. In turn, 136 RCMP members clocked in. That created the radio dilemma.

"There's no police agency out there that is built to have everybody on staff [deployed] at the same time," Supt. Dicks said in an interview this week.

And the RCMP's most valuable tool when it comes to managing a crisis, Supt. Dicks said, is an effective communications network.

"Any major event that has ever happened - it always comes down to communication and getting that information out as fast as you possibly can," she said.

More radios are not the answer.

They cost about $10,000 each, so it is not feasible for detachments to have enough for every member of the force at all times, rather than enough to outfit officers on duty on routine days, Supt.

Dicks said. Further, extra radios are not helpful when the channels are clogged or when trying to reach off-duty members in a crisis.

Now, the detachment is compiling a database of its members' contact information: work cell numbers; personal cells; home phones; home e-mail addresses.

Supt. Dicks wants to build a network that would allow the detachment to send mass texts to officers' personal cells, serving as backup communications for the radio network.

"We could have kept up with the immediate information flow during the emergency," she said.

"During those first few days, keeping your people in the loop and letting them know what was going on as fast as you possibly could - that's key."

Other RCMP detachments have shown interest in her homegrown solution, which will be tested in the coming weeks, Supt.

Dicks said.

"A system like this would be extremely beneficial."

Associated Graphic

Police officers direct traffic under a cloud of smoke from a wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alta., on May 6, 2016. Officials were able to evacuate the entire city despite a slew of communications problems.


In Toronto, a spectacular redesign merges the past with the future
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

Up front, the old Knox College is all Victorian adornment, an array of gables, turrets and lancet arches. But around back it has a very different vibe. A long, flat glass façade pulls in northern light. Green roofs feed on rainwater. Zigzagging concrete forms say, in their own language: Welcome to 2017.

These two sections, old and new, form a new home for what is arguably the country's leading design school, the University of Toronto's Daniels Faculty. The 156,000-square-foot centre will house, as of this fall, programs in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design and visual studies.

The Daniels Building's design was led by the firm NADAAA, with the surrounding landscape by Public Work, and it will open for a preview during the Doors Open festival this month.

After years of complex construction, it's not quite done (and the school is raising the last portion of $36-million in donations).

Yet it is already spectacular - one of the best buildings in Canada of the past decade, rich with arguments about how contemporary architecture, landscape and urbanism can work with history and build the city of the future.

And it has to be full of ideas.

This will be a place where people learn how to design buildings, landscapes and cities. Plus it's meant to welcome the public, including a central passageway that links this university campus to its downtown neighbourhood. "It's a university space, but it's also a civic space of the city," says the lead architect, Nader Tehrani of NADAAA. "By creating a space and prospect" - a view - "where there hadn't been one before, it extends the public imagination."

How can a piece of architecture do all that?

The project begins with the 1875 building, designed by Smith & Gemmell as a Presbyterian seminary on the edge of Toronto.

The Victorian gothic pile later took on other purposes - a military hospital, medical laboratories and then as miscellaneous purposes for the University of Toronto. On the western edge of the university's current campus, it held mouldering old fridges and was splattered with art students' old paint. "There was this ... indescribable smell," says Tehrani's partner, Katherine Faulkner, with a laugh. In short, it was a serious fixer-upper. But the scheme by NADAAA in collaboration with heritage architects ERA and architect-of-record Adamson Associates left its smallish, rectangular rooms in place for use as offices, classrooms and a library. The faculty's dean, Richard Sommer, explains: "If you have an old building, you have to ask, 'What can it do well?' And for everything else, you look to a new building."

What did the school need? Sommer answers with a simile: "We've been like a theatre company that never had the right space to put on its performances," he said.

"The new building is a great theatre that allows us to put on a much bigger show."

If you know how design schools work, this makes perfect sense. A crucial part of the learning process is the "review," or "crit": students present their design work to a panel of invited guests who draw them out, challenge them, push for deeper ideas and clearer explanations. There's a highly theatrical aspect to this process.

And the new stage - actually, several stages - will be big, flexible and spectacular. They're located in the new wing, tightly insulated and served by efficient radiant heating and cooling systems. A tall lecture hall sits right in the centre, cutting east-west between wings of the old triplebrick building. North of that, two broad, open design studios look north through that new glass façade; below them, the ground is carved away to reveal labs where students can fabricate models and objects.

When I toured the facility recently with Tehrani, it was still in the chaos of construction, but the vision was clear. The new spaces are pierced and interconnected by stairs and skylights. The result will be a sequence of rooms with remarkable spatial complexity. Tehrani offers another metaphor: "The building is a piece of landscape," he said, speaking over the whine of a table saw, "that is contorted to bring light and to bring social relations together."

Architects go overboard with metaphors, but as we stood in the third-floor studios, one made obvious sense. The ceiling above rippled with angular protrusions, opening up for diamond-shaped skylights, and it reached a full 34 metres without ever touching down. All the heavy masonry of the old building and the concrete of the new one disappear. The street reaches north, a vector of the city that seems to begin right below you.

If you're an architecture student, you will wonder how this is done, and the answer is two long assemblies of steel that reach out from either side, meeting at a little peak that diffuses the forces on the building. It also serves as the high point for rainwater, which is carried two ways along a central axis and down into cisterns, which will hold water for irrigation. "This integration of all of these strategies is a narrative that works on the scale of the building," Tehrani explains.

The point of the roof also echoes the old Knox's picturesque quality. The old building has been artfully cleaned up - it looks amazing, with old hardwood and plasterwork restored, and highperforming new windows - but the new building establishes a conversation with it. "The gothic skyline of the building presented a challenge for us," Tehrani says.

"That is: How do you not mimic the existing building, but speak to it in a corresponding way?" Their answer has been to capture its geometric exuberance and express it in contemporary language, with spiky concrete protrusions, panels of ultrahighperformance concrete laid like shingles and a new landscape around the building that both dips and rises, linking to the structure in terms of drainage, use and form.

In contemporary design, architecture and landscape architecture are increasingly linked. That connection is visible here, and the green areas around the building, which will rise to cover several small pavilions, will also provide a site for the school's landscape architects to study green roofs.

Within Toronto, it's hard not to see the building as a symbol, thanks to its unique site. It sits in a circle in the middle of Spadina Avenue, one of few streets in the city that was conceived with ceremonial character. William Baldwin, the doctor-lawyer-politician, laid it out in the 1830s to cut through his family's landholdings as a grand avenue.

"Someone recently observed to me that the old collegiate gothic building at the head of Spadina was a symbol of the old, uptight, Anglo-Saxon Toronto, and that the new addition represents the new, more cosmopolitan Toronto," Sommer says. "Maybe so."

And yet Spadina Avenue, as he points out, was also "a spine of immigration," hub of the garment industry and, for half a century, of Jewish Toronto. The development industry that built Toronto after the Second World War was filled with Jews and Italians, immigrants or their children who were less than welcome in WASP

Toronto society. And now one of them, architect and developer John Daniels - who arrived in Canada at 12, speaking no English - has put his name on the old Knox College. Things change.

And that is the central lesson of this bold project. A structure that has been a seminary, a hospital and laboratory can - and probably will - become something else.

Accordingly the people conceiving it didn't insist on predicting the future; the university's spaceplanning professionals wanted to allocate every square foot to a particular purpose, but, Sommer says, the faculty is ready to adapt to the old building and keep reexamining the new one. "How we work is going to continue to keep shifting," he says. The building will "remain in a state of becoming," he argues, "a kind of scaffold on which to experiment." That is, to explore and to build the city of the future.

Follow me on Twitter: @alexbozikovic

Associated Graphic

Knox College's Daniels Building is all Victorian adornment in the front, but has a modern vibe around the back.


The Daniels Building's third-floor studios, located in the new wing, have ceilings rippling with angular protrusions and opening up for skylights.

We are in the middle of a social-digital-workplace revolution, Elizabeth Renzetti writes, and what was formerly pleasurable about online socializing has become a real pain
Friday, May 19, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

It was the pain in my neck that brought me to the massage therapist. During our initial consultation, she asked if I had any pressing concerns.

"Pain in the neck," I said.

"Uh-huh," she said. "And you're doing this a lot?" She mimed the zombie posture that I, and every other person on the street, adopt as we stare at our phones.

"Oh my God," I said. "I have texter's neck!" What a horrible discovery: To have brought an affliction on myself was bad enough, but one caused by excessive self-absorption was particularly humiliating. Tennis elbow is heroic by comparison.

"Do you see this a lot?" I asked the massage therapist, hoping at least to find myself in widespread, debased company. She raised an eyebrow that said: you wouldn't believe.

My texter's neck will be of no surprise to you. Perhaps you suffer from it as well. It is not tied to texting specifically, but to the prayerful posture one assumes at the altar of the phone, as one posts, likes, scrolls, retweets.

It will also not come as a surprise that we are drowning in information, swept away on a tide of social media, fettered by our phones. If Grace Jones were to release an album today, it would probably be called Slave to the Algorithm.

The strange thing is, I hadn't thought that I was particularly addicted. Much like the alcoholic who weaves home from the dinner party saying, "Well, at least I didn't hit the Listerine," I had actually thought it was other people who had the problem, who actually enjoy social media.

For me, social media have largely lost any pleasure it once had: It has become a second job, a chore, a source of endless guilt for my already overflowing guilt-box.

As of this writing, I have three Facebook pages that I can't keep straight ("I think there's an imposter out there pretending to be you," a friend messaged when my professional page appeared).

I am on Twitter, professionally, and Instagram, barely. I have a personal website that sits abandoned like a Soviet-era theme park.

I have joined and fled Slack, Jabber and Kerfuffle (okay, I made up one of those platforms.

You'll have to guess which). I have five e-mail accounts, three of which I haven't checked in more than a year. I have forgotten my WhatsApp password.

Many nice people with smiling faces want to be my LinkedIn buddy. I feel like HAL 9000 at the end of 2001 A Space Odyssey, except in this case I'm begging Dave the astronaut to unplug me.

In his new book Irresistible: Why We Can't Stop Checking, Scrolling, Clicking and Watching, author Adam Alter downloads an app called Moment, which tells him how often he's looking at his phone. Alter, an assistant professor of marketing and psychology at New York University, guessed he might look at his phone 10 times a day, for a total of an hour.

Instead, he was shocked to find that he was picking up his phone 40 times a day, and spending three hours on it. The app's creator told him that he was an average user.

"User" has a deliberate double connotation here, because Alter's premise is that we are suffering through a collective behavioural addiction that is rapidly altering our social relations.

The addictive features of social media are not an accident, but the results of painstaking effort by the platforms to get users to return and engage more intensively, to hit all the brain's pleasure buttons.

"It's hard to exaggerate how much the 'like' button changed the psychology of Facebook use," he writes. How many of our friends would "like" a post?

Who would ignore it? The urge to come back and check is overwhelming - and this feedback loop led to the introduction of other reaction buttons, including sobbing and loving. All of human interaction in a halfdozen thumbnails.

I think the arc of my own social media addiction, from pleasure to misery, is tied to the "like" button. If you feel, as I do, that you're not present enough in meatspace - not thoughtful enough as a daughter or mother, not supportive enough as a friend - then social media is just another place to fail. The social grooming tasks I couldn't manage in real life multiplied beyond count online.

At first, it was enough to "like" a Facebook or Twitter post, but then I began to feel like Lucille Ball on the assembly line - always two chocolates behind, never able to keep up with my obligations.

Whose baby did I forget to "like"? Did I accidentally "love" someone's death notice? Was I retweeting enough? Were my retweets causing people to hate me? Whose birthday had I forgotten? How many ways can you say "happy birthday, we should have a drink"?

Did my lack of Instagram "likes" mean that my life on Earth was banal and meaningless? Why did I need Instagram to tell me this, when I already knew it?

I had thought it was just me, but it turns out many of us are in the stealing-a-car-to-financeour-next-joyless-hit phase of the addiction. When I reached out (on Facebook, of course), I heard that social media had become a drag for many, often promoting their work, and a source of irritation and shame (when they posted too much, or too boastfully). For many people, it had become a second or third job.

"I find it an absolute chore," a writer friend wrote, "and also a distraction because the minute I log into any account to post something book-related, I fall into an endless pit of clicking on links."

Those of us in the slough of midlife can afford to break the addiction - we can download an app that limits our social-media interaction, or a browser extension, such as Facebook Demetricator, which removes the thrilling (or dispiriting) numbers attached to posts. That way, you never know how many people liked your posts, or exhibited a terrible lack of taste and judgment and did not.

Young people are more entangled, and not just for social reasons. Many of them view an engaging social media presence as a vital prerequisite for a career. Potential employers will scan their profiles not just for embarrassing margarita-related incidents, but also to see who has built the most enticing online brand across multiple platforms. Whether it's authentic or not is beside the point; what matters is the effort that's gone into it.

As Natalie Coulter sees it, employers have outsourced the work that recruitment divisions used to perform. Now the potential employee's social feeds perform the selection function, and it's stressing university kids out.

"I think my students find it incredibly burdensome," says Coulter, an assistant professor of communications studies at York University in Toronto. "There's huge pressure on them to participate socially, but also constantly to be constructing an image to get them a career. They have LinkedIn profiles, they participate in blogs and Tumblrs, they have to create a social media profile that reflects a certain professionalism.

"They have this double pressure of living their lives but also feeling like they have to be building toward a career. They have that plus schoolwork, plus they all have jobs. And then there's pressure to keep up and engage socially. You're isolated if you're not participating on social media." We are obviously in the middle of a social-digital-workplace revolution, the consequences of which we can't begin to understand. How will young people learn to juggle the many demands of their on- and offline lives? Anxiety about technology has always been tied to fear and suspicion about young people's lives - hello, television ruining our minds - and I can only hope that they will learn to cope, as their nimble cohort did in generations past. Digital Weltschmertz is an old person's game.

I do know that, for me, what began as sheer pleasure has become a chore. The friend who used to live in my pocket is now a nagging boss - and, sadly, a pain in the neck.

Associated Graphic


Strength in numbers
After a week in which controversy engulfed CanLit, Marissa Stapley reflects on the importance of literary community
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R13

Lost amidst all the controversy engulfing the increasingly polarized world of CanLit last week was an article by the poet and critic Jason Guriel in the Walrus titled "What Happens When Authors Are Afraid to Stand Alone."

In it, Guriel wrote that being a member of a writing community is detrimental to good writing, and that serious scribes are brave and mature enough to know that - while the rest of us are too busy kibitzing to pay attention to our craft, I suppose.

I was in the midst of reading Guriel's piece when the latest scandal broke. As I observed the furor surrounding the resignation of Hal Niedzviecki as editor of the Writers' Union of Canada's magazine (after making dismissive editorial statements about cultural appropriation in an issue dedicated to showcasing Indigenous writers), I couldn't stop thinking about what the idea of community had to do with everything that was happening.

It was finally put into words - and not my own - as I sat listening to Jesse Wente's interview with Matt Galloway on CBC's Metro Morning on Monday. The raw emotion in Wente's voice and the measured truth behind his words stood in stark contrast to the flippancy with which the stories and feelings of Wente's own community had been treated by the old CanLit and Canadian media guards. "We are beholden to our communities," Wente said before he broke down, exhausted and demoralized by the repeated requirement to explain why thought must be given to words before they are spoken, written or tweeted in the dead of night, and why a call for compassion is not an attack on freedom of speech.

"When we [as Indigenous writers] say these things, we know exactly who will hold us responsible. Who is that for non-Indigenous writers when they don't have connections to that community?" Who, indeed? And who will it be if we as writers shun the idea of community, as Guriel suggested, if we refuse to go out into the world looking for connection, ever, and if we use as reasoning for avoiding our contemporaries arguments like the fact that it becomes difficult to "bloody" the work of another artist in a review if we've met her at a party?

Solitude and selfishness only worked when the majority of writers looked and sounded the same. Pull back the curtain on that cantankerous, solitary writer you're certain must know something you don't and you mightn't find a literary genius after all, but rather a small person pretending to do magic.

I'm not saying writing isn't alchemy. Every time I have a good writing day I wonder how I got so lucky. I keep crystals on my desk, I wear talismans around my neck, all in the hopes that these items will help me catch the pieces of gold I can't see but can feel rushing past me every moment of every day. And so, when I go out and meet people, whether they're writers or readers, I dread questions such as, "How do you do it?" The truth is, I don't always know. So perhaps it would be better if I locked myself away.

Trying to answer those questions makes me a better writer, though. (It also means I spend less of my advance money on crystals.) And communing with other writers has made me a better person. It is hubris to suggest that there is no one like you, no one who can do what you do.

One of my best days was the day I realized there were people out there who understood me. It took time, admittedly, to find my writing community. I had some false starts and I got hurt. Writers are like anyone else: Some of them are excellent and some of them are lousy. All of them feel jealousy. And all of them feel, at one time or another, that they haven't a clue what they're doing. The ones who have a problem admitting that are the dangerous ones.

Communing with other writers means knowing that when you emerge from your writer's cave you will find people who know why you are so raw, so sad and so absurdly exhilarated, all at the same time. Communing with other writers means that the part that comes after the writing - feedback from agents, editors, reviewers (some of them out for blood), readers and the threat of rejection by any or all of these people - isn't so terrifying.

To suggest that one must be isolated from the world in order to produce work that offers genuine connection to the reader is nonsensical - especially today.

It also suggests there's only one way of doing writing and that anyone who is doing it differently is just dabbling. And to believe that good writing can only happen in complete isolation appears to seek to exclude many from doing it. It would definitely exclude me. I'm a mother and I'm uncomfortable with the assertion that writers are selfish and therefore bad parents. (As I wrote this, I became so caught up in it I lost track of time and was late to pick up my kids from school for lunch. But my children don't think I'm selfish; they think I'm absent-minded.) Which is another reason I need my community: to remind me of the things I might forget or overlook.

These can be small things, such as the new novel plot I described over dinner has some holes and big things, such as reminding me, in moments of fear or weakness, that I'm good at what I do and that it was our writing that brought us together in the first place.

There are limits to communing, of course. I don't tend to advise attending writing workshops, which feel to me like inviting a group of strangers to an ultrasound appointment, strangers who aren't going to reassure you, when you're at your most vulnerable, that your baby is going to be just fine, but who might instead tell you that he looks a little small and probably won't have friends when he grows up. It's my belief that first drafts especially are lonely work and need to stay that way.

As with any community, there are certain rules of decorum that must be observed. It can be hard to talk about writing when one is in the middle of that lonely first draft. It's definitely hard to talk about writing when it isn't going well.

Importantly, being a member of a community does not preclude you from speaking out when you don't agree with what other members of your circle are saying. The cowardly facelessness of social media can feel like a community; sometimes it is, but more often, it isn't. Stepping away and standing alone might be necessary. But there is also bravery in standing in solidarity.

Don't forget that.

Sometimes, communities break up and new communities are formed, using a combination of what was learned before and what must be learned in the future, by listening. I think this is where the CanLit community finds itself now. And I hope it's not true that the old community would rather self-destruct than simply move away from the podium once in a while and allow others to speak, others who are just now finding their voices - only to have them buried in an avalanche of defiant protest by members of a group who don't understand what it truly means to be silenced.

Writers are not alone and shouldn't pretend to be. We are beholden to one another and we are responsible for our words. No one person can speak for all of us and a loud chorus of voices cannot speak for one person. But we're in this together; there's no way around that. In the face of the scandals currently plaguing the literary community in this country, that's a brave thing to admit.

Marissa Stapley is the author of the novel Mating for Life, and writes the Shelf Love column each month for Globe Books.

No campaign regrets for Kellie Leitch
The Conservative leadership contender may agree that she needs 'acting lessons,' but stands by her message regardless
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A10

OTTAWA -- Kellie Leitch has no regrets.

Not even that video.

For the past nine months, the 46-year-old Ontario MP and pediatric orthopedic surgeon with an MBA has run an anti-elite, anti-establishment Conservative leadership campaign that centres on a proposal to screen immigrants, refugees and visitors for "anti-Canadian values" with face-to-face interviews. Ms. Leitch has defined the values as equal opportunity, hard work, helping others, generosity, freedom and tolerance.

She has been excoriated from all quarters, including her own party, for her pitch. She has been labelled a demagogue and the "karaoke version" of U.S. President Donald Trump. Her former campaign manager, Nick Kouvalis, stepped down after using a term espoused by supporters of far-right ideology on Twitter. She has had to publicly reject support from white nationalists. But still, a core group of supporters likes what she's selling.

Because of her polarizing policies, party insiders don't give Ms. Leitch much chance of winning the leadership on May 27, but with an unpredictable ranked ballot system, it is certainly possible. With Kevin O'Leary's abrupt departure from the race, Maxime Bernier is now considered the front-runner.

Ms. Leitch claims to have signed up 30,000 party members - not far off from the 35,000 or so that Mr. Bernier and Mr. O'Leary claim to have sold, each, before Mr. O'Leary dropped out. A party volunteer since the age of 14, Ms. Leitch is believed by party insiders to have a strong get-out-the-vote team. With almost 260,000 members eligible to cast a ballot, the outcome is harder to predict. Her fundraising numbers are among the highest.

Recent figures show Mr. Bernier raised $1.031-million in the first quarter of this year, followed by Mr. O'Leary at $1.029-million.

Ms. Leitch raised $536,418 from the third-most contributors.

For a long and lengthy race, Ms. Leitch probably won the most headlines. And more than any of the others, she has staked both her personal and professional reputation on the outcome.

Perhaps most infamously, she sought to explain her idea in an 81/2-minute video that was punctuated with awkward pauses and off-camera glances. She's never sat through the whole thing, herself. "I don't watch any of my own [videos]," she said. She said the message in the video was made in earnest.

"People now at least got it straight from the horse's mouth.

Albeit that I was a little nervous doing these kind of things, because it's not my natural milieu," she said.

What did Ms. Leitch make of the reaction? "That I should take acting lessons."

Sitting in her office on Parliament Hill recently, surrounded by framed articles about her late mentor, finance minister Jim Flaherty and a surgical textbook that lay open on the table, Ms. Leitch stood her ground on her decision to focus her campaign on immigration.

"I don't have any regrets, because I think this has been a really - and is now becoming even more so - a thoughtful dialogue that Canadians are having," she said.

She said the idea for values came early on in the campaign during the exploratory phase in late 2015 and early 2016. She decided to link it with immigration by observing what was happening globally, such as mass migration from Syria and watching European countries "grapple with these things."

"When we talk and think about immigration for our country, we are fortunate that we are surrounded by three oceans," she said.

Mr. Flaherty, whom Ms. Leitch credits with initiating her run for office in 2011, died of a heart attack in April, 2014. Ms. Leitch was with him when he died but won't talk about the details.

She believes he would have supported her campaign. "I'm very confident he would have," she said.

During the race, she said she drew on a lesson she learned during the 2015 federal election campaign: Don't stop repeating the message.

It doesn't matter that the context was the much-maligned "barbaric cultural practices" tip line, which Ms. Leitch and her fellow Conservative leadership candidate Chris Alexander announced toward the end of the campaign and which many cite as a contributing factor in the party's election loss.

For Ms. Leitch, the idea for a tip line to report forced marriage and other "barbaric practices" to the RCMP was a good one. "The communications of it was atrocious. It went off the rails. But the policy premise of it was one that I stand behind," Ms. Leitch said.

"What we didn't do in that announcement, and what I have done on my campaign, is then go back and continue to reiterate the clear message, again and again and again."

No one can accuse her of failing to repeat the message this time.

Ms. Leitch said she's simply taking a stand on an issue that Canadians care about, but have been afraid to express. "If that makes me populist, talking about what the average guy and gal on the street want to talk about," Ms. Leitch said, "then it does."

Conservative MP Peter Van Loan, whom Ms. Leitch dated in her teens, calls her idea to screen immigrants "thoughtful and coherent," and onside with what many in his York-Simcoe riding north of Toronto feel about immigration.

"When you peel back the hysteria, saying that you should interview more people, and make sure that they don't want to, you know, blow up the country ... that doesn't strike me as extreme at all," Mr. Van Loan said.

Ms. Leitch is described by both supporters and detractors alike as hard-working, intelligent and focused, although many who have worked for her recount a tense and erratic work environment. "She loved to remind us that she was the smartest person," said Kyle Mirecki, Ms. Leitch's former issues manager, who now supports Mr. Bernier.

A letter provided to The Globe by one of Ms. Leitch's former employees describes an encounter with Ms. Leitch, then minister of labour and status of women, in 2014, in which she is accused of "bullying and intimidating behaviour" at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

"I am demanding. And I do work hard," Ms. Leitch said. "I don't think I'm going to change."

But many feel Ms. Leitch's career will be forever altered by her relentless focus on a proposal that some view as antiimmigrant.

"I worry about it, longterm," said Hugh Segal, a retired Conservative senator who has known Ms. Leitch for 25 years, but does not support her leadership campaign.

"It pains me immensely because we were such good friends for so long, that because of what she has said, I can't vote for her."

Former Ontario premier Bill Davis, who helped Ms. Leitch campaign for her seat in 2011, feels the same. "I cannot agree with her position, and that's why she knows that I am not helping her," Mr. Davis told The Globe.

Ms. Leitch insists she's been consistently talking about, and living, the values mentioned in her campaign. "I don't think talking to people about who they are when they come to this country is a stretch."

But she still can't explain in detail how her screening plan would work. Would interviews be five minutes? An hour?

"If you're asking me if I'm going to outline exactly what each immigration officer is going to ask each individual that sits across from them? No, I'm not," she said during one of two sit-down interviews with The Globe.

Can't people just answer yes, they agree with certain values?

"Are you asking me if people are going to lie and people are going to slip through the cracks? Yeah, of course, let's be realistic," she said. "But I think it's a lot more challenging to lie to someone when you're looking them in the eye."

Associated Graphic

Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch released an infamous campaign video in which she spent 81/2 minutes punctuating her message with awkward pauses and off-camera glances.


Troops deployed on Britain's streets
Suspect's profile similar to other second-generation citizens who have attacked European cities
Wednesday, May 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND -- Salman Abedi, the man suspected of blowing himself up among a crowd exiting an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester on Monday, wasn't a refugee.

But his parents were, and that makes Mr. Abedi the latest name on an extremely worrying list of second-generation citizens to violently turn against the countries and the societies their parents worked so hard to join.

The attack on Manchester Arena - which killed 22 people, including young children, and left dozens more with severe injuries - was claimed by the Islamic State group.

The extremist group didn't name Mr. Abedi, but referred to the concert bomber as "one of the soldiers of the Caliphate."

Security experts say secondgeneration citizens, because of their feeling of cultural dislocation, are particularly vulnerable to the brand of propaganda produced by IS - and may be specifically targeted by the jihadi organization as potential recruits.

In the wake of the Manchester attack, British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday raised the country's "terror threat level" from severe to critical, meaning "not only that an attack remains highly likely but a further attack may be imminent."

Mark Rowley, the head of the national counterterrorism police, indicated that soldiers will now be deployed into the streets of British cities alongside police for the duration of the alert.

The concert attack was the deadliest in Britain since 2005, when 52 people were killed by bombs on London's bus and subway systems. It was also the second attack on Britain this year, following a truck-and-knife assault on pedestrians and police in March that killed four people in London's Westminster district.

The 22-year-old Mr. Abedi was identified Tuesday by Manchester police as the suspected bomber. British media reported that he was born in Manchester to parents who fled the violent repression of Moammar Gadhafi's Libya.

Little else is known about Mr. Abedi - British authorities have been tight-lipped about the investigation and only released Mr. Abedi's name after it was leaked by U.S. officials - but his profile as the child of Muslim immigrants is similar to that of other recent Islamic State and alQaeda devotees who have brought terror to the cities of Europe.

Second-generation immigrants born in France to parents who had immigrated from Algeria carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre in the centre of Paris in 2015. The Belgian-born children of Moroccan immigrants masterminded the shooting and bomb attacks on the Bataclan nightclub and Stade de France later the same year. All five perpetrators of last year's bombings of the Brussels airport and subway had a similar profile.

"If the story of radicalization and Islamism in Europe is about anything, it's about secondgeneration immigrants, children of immigrants who feel culturally dislocated ... a sense of dislocation related to being brought up in Western culture and finding something doesn't quite fit," said Shashank Joshi, a senior fellow at the London-based Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies.

That dislocation, Mr. Joshi said, creates an opening that Islamic State propagandists - who produce videos featuring Muslims killed in Syria and Iraq by Western bombs - are skilled at exploiting, turning angry youths into soldiers willing to strike those they live among.

It's not yet clear how Mr. Abedi felt about his life in Manchester, a city with high youth unemployment and a fast-growing Muslim population.

British media reported Mr. Abedi had been a student at the city's Salford University, where he studied business and management before dropping out two or three years ago.

He last lived in a red-brick walk-up in the middle-class district of Fallowfield, in the south of Manchester.

Heavily armed police surrounded the home Tuesday morning and blew the white door off its hinges before storming inside with assault rifles raised. At least one other south Manchester property was raided and a 23-year-old man, reportedly Mr. Abedi's older brother, was taken into custody.

Mr. Abedi lived just a short walk from a girls' high school that gained infamy three years ago when two students - twin sisters Salma and Zahra Halane - left their homes and moved to Islamic State-controlled Syria after being radicalized online.

Police said they were still investigating whether Mr. Abedi acted alone, or whether he was part of a network.

The claim of responsibility from IS will be closely examined, as will the material used in making the bomb that Mr. Abedi detonated to such deadly effect.

Security experts saw worrying signs that the bombing represented a step up in terms of Islamic State's ability to carry out attacks in Europe.

While 130 people died in the November, 2015, attacks on the Paris nightlife, most of those who were killed were hit by gunfire. A trio of suicide bombers who simultaneously targeted soccer spectators at the Stade de France killed one passerby in addition to themselves.

The SUV-and-knife assault on Westminster in March, meanwhile, was decidedly low-tech.

The high death toll in Manchester, however, suggests the concert bomb was built by someone who knew what they were doing.

"What scares me is that the person who did this was in possession of a very effective explosive, unlike what happened in Paris in November, 2015," said François Heisbourg, chairman of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

"This guy either received an extremely effective explosive, or cooked it up himself - in which case he was very lucky. My fear is that it's the former, and the bomb maker is still at large."

While IS has a history of only claiming attacks that it had a direct or indirect hand in, it wasn't clear whether Mr. Abedi had any direct contact with the self-declared caliphate, or whether he was merely inspired by the jihadi group. A U.S. government official told Reuters that investigators were looking into whether Mr. Abedi had recently travelled to Libya, and whether he had any contact with Islamic State militants there.

The IS claim of responsibility - posted on a social-media channel it regularly uses to make announcements - matched poorly with events on the ground in Manchester.

The statement referred to multiple explosive devices, when Manchester police found only one bomb, and the IS claim conspicuously made no mention of the fact the group's "soldier" had died in the attack.

The Manchester bombing comes at a time when IS is facing the likelihood of defeat on the ground in Iraq and Syria.

The group has lost more than 60 per cent of the territory it once controlled in Iraq, including most of Mosul, the city from where leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed his caliphate in June, 2014.

All but two neighbourhoods of Mosul are now under the control of the Iraqi army, which has been accused of carrying out torture and extrajudicial executions in the recaptured neighbourhoods.

IS is rapidly losing ground in Syria too, with air strikes by the U.S.-led coalition clearing the way for an advance by Kurdish fighters toward the city of Raqqa, the de facto IS capital, and the city that has lived longest under its horrific interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

Western policy-makers will now have to consider whether the Manchester attack - if it was indeed carried out by IS - represents a violent death throe, or a signal that the group will carry on its campaign of terror even if it loses its territorial base in Iraq and Syria.

"If anything, this sort of attack could become more, not less, common" as IS suffers military defeats in Syria and Iraq, said Andrew Gawthorpe, a lecturer on security studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands who has also taught British military officers at London's Joint Services Command and Staff College.

"There's a chance we're seeing a bid for relevance in this attack, as they lose territory."

Follow me on Twitter: @markmackinnon

Associated Graphic

Members of the public attend a candlelight vigil at Manchester's Albert Square on Tuesday to honour the victims of Monday's terror attack. The country's 'terror threat level' has been raised to critical from severe.


A walk back in time with gentle giants
Easter Island contains phenomenal remnants of a lost culture, but without the tacky tourist traps and masses of onlookers
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, May 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L3

EASTER ISLAND -- Most everyone has an image of Easter Island - of gigantic stone heads with jutting jaws, hats and expressionless eyes, staring out over the most remote inhabited island in the world. For more than 800 years, they have been Easter Island's guardians, a secret to all but the ancestors.

What many don't know is that nearly 1,000 of these monolithic sentinels, known as moai (pronounced mow-eye) are thought to have protected the people of this Pacific island, which lies 3,700 kilometres west of Chile and 4,000 kilometres from Tahiti.

The statues were said to represent the spiritual energy - or mana - of each tribe's ancestors.

When the clans fought, they knocked over one another's moai to disrespect the ancestors. In 1960, a freak tsunami toppled others.

Since then, some moai have been restored. Now there are 397 located in the stone quarry and another 380 scattered around the island. It's a mystery why these huge monoliths were created or how they were moved from the quarry, often as far as 15 kilometres away.

I've always been fascinated by these enigmatic statues, so I booked a five-day adventure trip with a Chilean tour operator that offered luxury accommodations, gourmet meals and daily smallgroup hikes.

The first morning, six of us set out with our two local guides, Tsinga and Uri. Almost immediately, I spotted a colossal stone head lying face down in the grass. Next to it two horses grazed. More toppled moai were scattered like dead soldiers on a battlefield. I couldn't hide my disappointment. Is this why I had flown 15 hours on three planes to one of the farthest places on Earth?

My disenchantment was shortlived. At the stone quarry were dozens of upright moai giants buried to their necks in the earth, some twice the size of an upended SUV. I stood beneath one that wore an incredibly human expression. Here were the remnants of a lost culture, every bit as phenomenal as Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat but intensely more intimate, without another tourist in sight except our small group. The only sound was a hawk screeching overhead.

Uri, a 24-year-old woman wearing a Nike cap and a yellow flower behind her ear, led us up to the quarry with 28-year-old Tsinga, whose dark hair was twisted into a bun on top of his head. I could see how the reddish hats on the moai represented topknots, the same as their descendants still wore. "Look at the rockie," Uri said. I knew she meant rock. We paused before a 20-metre statue lying on its back, staring upward. "It weighs 270 tonnes," she said. "You see? It was never finished because it would be impossible to move it.

It is still attached to the rockie."

As we trudged up the steep path behind the quarry, Tsinga explained the history of Rapa Nui, the name locals call the island. Westerners call it Easter Island only because a Dutch explorer landed here on Easter Sunday in 1722. Some anthropologists think 10,000 to 20,000 people lived here, while others say it was only 3,000 to 6,000.

What is known is that around 1200 AD, the Rapa Nui started building moai. Anthropologists think they cut down the trees to help move the moai vast distances. Tsinga shook his head. "They did not use trees," he said. "They moved themselves by mana."

No matter how they were transported, in the process, all the natural resources on this island, three times bigger than Manhattan, were used up. By the time the Europeans arrived, wood, water, food and safe anchorage were scarce, so none of the explorers, including Captain Cook, stayed. Peruvian slavers arrived next to kidnap and kill the Rapa Nui. A civil war killed many more locals, and by the end of the 19th century, the population was only 111.

Today, there are more than 6,000 people on the island - along with 7,000 horses and 5,000 cars, Tsinga said. "They don't need all those cars," said Tsinga, "but they want them and everything else - computers, cellphones, designer clothes."

Each day we'd hike two to four hours, sometimes crawling through lava tubes or entering a hidden cave perched over the rocky coastline. Once we trudged up a steep volcano to look at ancient petroglyphs and beehivelike stone houses. Often, we made our own trails through grassy pastures, with cows and horses running off when we came near. At one beach, the touring company staff greeted us with snorkelling equipment, beach chairs, chilled wines and a buffet picnic. Another time we shopped for souvenirs in the main village of Hanga Roa with its smattering of restaurants, crafts shops and a Catholic church.

On our last day, shortly before sunset, we headed to see the seven restored moai near the village. I asked Uri how she thought the statues were originally moved, and she said, "You know how you sometimes think you can't do something but you really try and then you can?" I nodded. "Well, that's how I think they moved them," she said, "by mana. Not like Tsinga thinks, but their mana gave them physical energy. I think everybody just took a deep breath and moved them inch by inch, mile by mile."

Church bells chimed in the distance as we arrived at the moai jutting over a rocky cliff near the sea. Out on the ocean, six people in a canoe paddled just beneath the sinking sun, their bodies in golden silhouette. There was something almost spiritual about standing here with the moai towering over me. "How lucky you are to see this every day," I said to Uri.

"I hope we stay lucky," she replied. "A local businessman is trying to build a casino."

"A casino? Here?" She nodded. I imagined a gaudy building with blinking neon signs and the jingling sound of slot machines. It seemed so out of place on an island with no fast food restaurants or even stoplights.

As the sun sank, we returned to the van. Tsinga put on a CD, a ballad sung in the Rapa Nui language. The melody was hauntingly beautiful, especially the chorus, which I began to hum: "Hapa'o ta tou i ke henuanki."

"What do the words mean?" I asked.

"They say, please protect the land because new people are coming and draining our people's thinking - now they want cars and casinos," Tsinga said.

I thought about the five perfect days I had spent here - hiking through the silent countryside to see the moai and petroglyphs and deserted beaches. Rarely had we witnessed another car, just an occasional horse and rider or a colt or cow. And I thought how little it would take to ruin this peaceful, timeless place. Even the mana of the stone giants would be unable to save it. "Hapa'o ta tou i ke henuanki," I sang, louder.

Later, back at home, I followed up to see what had become of the casino plot. In 2005, Chile passed a gambling law opening the door to a casino. The only locals who approved were those who would benefit by leasing their land. The rest objected, afraid they'd lose their cultural identity and that the enterprise would bring too many tourists to the island. Eventually, the Chilean Gaming Control Board rejected the idea on the grounds that it would not satisfy the terms of its licence.

I like to think Tsinga's singing helped as well.

The writer was a guest of Explora Rapa Nui, a luxury lodge with 30 rooms, all with ocean views. The three-night minimum rate is inclusive of all meals, an open bar and all excursions and guided hikes.

Prices from $2,343 (U.S.) to $2,520 for three nights a person; The hotel did not review or approve this article.

Associated Graphic

The moai of Easter Island are still a mystery - some say the stones were rolled into place on trees; others say they moved themselves using spiritual energy.


There are 777 moai on the island.

Good news: It's okay to eat bread again
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, May 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

I live down the block from Blackbird, the best bakery in Toronto. As I make coffee in the morning, I open the window and the scent of baking bread sneaks into my home, the warm air rising up four flights, luring me to crash against the rocks of its siren's call.

But although I want bread all the time, I hardly eat it. Because the idea that it's bad for me is lodged in my head.

I am, by most standards, a thin guy. I try to stay that way by swimming, lifting weights and, since my wife bought a used treadmill on Craigslist, running in one spot, a maple-scented candle lit to cover the musk of stale cigarette smoke inexplicably locked into the plastic and metal contraption. I cook every day, eating a balanced diet, with lots of fresh vegetables and protein from a variety of sources.

Despite all that, I feel terrible about my body. When I pass a mirror, I see my tummy hanging out. When I pass the bakery, I think of the mirror. My wife tells me I'm handsome, sometimes patting my belly, as if to add, "just the way you are." But she was also the one who bought Old Smokey, so her testimony does not stand up to cross-examination.

So I get that the turn-of-thecentury Atkins Diet craze, when carbs became the new tobacco, are in the rear view. But even after the zealots turned their sights on sugar, bread has remained on the wanted list of semi-forbidden bad-boy foods.

Lately, though, the bread evangelists - author Michael Pollan, Noma Founder Claus Meyer, Williamsburg Hotel chef Adam Leonti - have come out of hiding, to tell us that bread is okay again and always was. Especially Pollan, the author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food and Food Rules: An Eater's Manifesto, and who occupies an exalted status in the food world, equal parts sagely guru and radical disruptor.

Although he writes and speaks with bountiful detail and nuance, over the past decade Pollan's message has consistently been new permutations on the theme: Eat better food. He homes in on what makes better bread in his Netflix series, Cooked.

The series starts with an episode called Air, which positions the popular gas that you and I breath every day at the centre of bread's identity. "Air is one of the reasons we love bread," says Pollan, showing us microlensed close-ups of sourdough interior, air pockets as craterous as the moon's surface.

He cuts to a food scientist named Nathan Myhrvold, who crushes loaves of bread on camera to demonstrate how, removed of air, bread is quickly compacted from the size of a laptop to an iPad. The stunt only makes you think that eating a loaf of bread, when you flatten it, doesn't sound like so much bread. Myhrvold's folksy, television-ready science lesson describes the process of bread rising as gas expanding within the dough by bacteria "farting into balloons" called gluten.

Did that cause you to gasp in fright? As a reason-slash-scapegoat for why we shouldn't eat bread, gluten has been a phenomenal target. But this is actually the show's Keyser Soze moment, when an antagonist is introduced with the suggestion our arch-villain's power may be an exaggeration of mythical proportions, a boogeyman to scare kids.

That's not to say gluten is without its issues - for the 1 per cent of people who suffer from celiac disease and 0.4 per cent who have real wheat allergies (my numbers are from the Celiac Disease Foundation). That's a real problem, but for a pretty small number of people.

"Gluten sensitivity," on the other hand, as promoted by the antigluten bible, cardiologist William Davis's 2011 Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health, has become as easy to diagnose as chocoholism. And a generation of fad-dieters, believing they've found that one simple trick, have made bread the enemy while generating consumer demand for gluten-free options of nearly everything in the supermarket - including foods that never contained it in the first place.

"Bananas are gluten-free, too," says Bryn Rawlyk, owner of the Night Oven Bakery in Saskatoon.

"I remember being a kid in a grocery store and asking, what's cholesterol and why are bananas cholesterol-free? Because they had stickers in the eighties, when everyone was worried about cholesterol. It's all happened before and this is just elaborate marketing."

Rawlyk says he regularly gets customers who tell him they are gluten-sensitive, only to discover they are fine eating his bread. He believes that while some bakeries did take a sales hit at the height of anti-gluten hysteria, public opinion is shifting back.

"The point that people missed was that it was about the industrialization of flour and bread," he says. "If you're taking grain and milling it to make sourdough, it's a lot different than Wonderbread, which is hardly even bread in my opinion."

In a mill he built himself, Rawlyk grinds whole grains from Saskatchewan farmers - Red Fife, Marquis, carberry, einkorn, spelt, buckwheat, rye - into flour as needed to bake about 100 loaves a day in a wood-fired oven.

"We just put grain in the top and flour comes out the bottom," he says. So his breads contain 100per-cent whole-grain wheat flour, which retains all the nutrition of the grain's three main components: bran, germ and endosperm. This is distinct from whole-wheat flour that you might buy at the grocery: In Canada, up to 5 per cent of the whole grain can be removed, usually the bran and most of the germ, to help reduce rancidity and prolong the flour's shelf life. But with the germ goes all its nutrients, including iron, zinc, potassium and calcium.

Grocery-store white bread is made with white flour, which is itself made from commodity wheat that is milled to a powder after the nutrient-rich germ and bran are removed entirely to make it shelf-stable. Instead of the gradual fermentation process of sourdough, the rising of the dough is stimulated by active dry yeast. And yeast, argues MarcAndré Cyr of Automne bakery in Montreal, is not the enemy either.

"Yeast gets a bad rap. ... I think it's about the amount," he says.

"You can get some beautiful results with a small amount of yeast and long rising times." The case for (and against) bread then is that white bread, or "supermarket bread" is the real villain.

"Industrialization is not inherently evil," Pollan says.

"But often in the rush to make something cheaper, we overlook the reason why it was done in the somewhat more painstaking way.

And in the case of bread, what we may have overlooked is the importance of a long, slow, sourdough fermentation."

For Automne (and Blackbird), such effort yields lineups every weekend. "From 8 a.m., as soon as we open, until midday, sometimes out the door," says Cyr, whose bakery produces about 500 loaves a day.

Another harbinger of bread's return to a key position in our lifestyle is the fancy-toast craze: While it hasn't caught on in Canada as much as the United States, if you're a hip urbanite, you or someone you know has Everything I Want to Eat on coffee-table display. The luscious book, based on Jessica Koslow's popular Los Angeles restaurant Sqirl, has 10 pages of bread-related recipes that are pretty much just "toast bread and put stuff on it."

A final update: I have bought a loaf of whole-grain sourdough from my neighbour. After two slices, I can report feeling as if I've reunited with my college roommate. Having spent a day and evening reliving old times, I have completely forgotten why we ever stopped being best friends.

Associated Graphic

The importance placed on a long, slow, sourdough fermentation is what draws lineups outside the likes of Montreal's Automne bakery, above, and Blackbird in Toronto.


Thursday, May 25, 2017


A Life & Arts article on Wednesday on better bread incorrectly said Adam Leonti is chef at the Williamsburg Hotel. In fact, he is chef of Sessanta at the Sixty SoHo hotel in New York.

Winery owners face closed trial in China
Firm representing Canadian couple detained in Asia for 'smuggling of common goods' takes Trudeau government to task for inaction
Friday, May 19, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A5

OTTAWA -- Charges of smuggling against a Canadian winery owner who has been locked up in a Chinese jail for more than a year are trumped up, his lawyers say, accusing China of criminalizing a customs dispute, one that could have far-reaching consequences for an eventual bilateral free-trade deal.

John Chang, who owns wineries in British Columbia and Ontario, will face a closed-door trial at the Shanghai High People's Court next Friday, as will his wife, Allison Lu. Ms. Lu was released from jail in January, but is barred from leaving China and must report regularly to Chinese authorities.

The couple's Canadian passports have been seized.

China's legal system has a 99.6per-cent conviction rate, and the couples' family fears Mr. Chang and Ms. Lu could receive lengthy prison sentences over what is a commercial dispute.

The legal battle casts doubt on China's willingness to treat Canadian investors fairly - a standard foundation of any free-trade deal.

The Globe and Mail has obtained a copy of a brief prepared for the Trudeau government by the law firm Fasken Martineau - which represents the family - that takes the Canadian government to task for doing little to get Mr. Chang and his wife released.

"The arrest and continued detention of two Canadian business people and citizens, Mr. Chang and Ms. Lu, is on its face outrageous and unconscionable," the brief says. It added the situation is urgent because Mr. Chang's physical and mental health are deteriorating.

China has charged Mr. Chang and Ms. Lu with "smuggling of common goods" for allegedly underreporting the value of the wines they exported to China.

The trial of Ms. Lu and Mr. Chang, who has been imprisoned for more than 13 months, takes place as the federal government pursues exploratory talks on a free-trade deal with Beijing.

Prime Minster Justin Trudeau has made a bilateral trade pact with China a cornerstone of Liberal foreign policy.

But Fasken Martineau argued in its presentation to the government that expanding trade with China can work only if Canadian businesses can trust Chinese authorities will treat them fairly.

"It is imperative that Canadians seeking to do business with China can do so in reliance on agreed upon rules and basic principles of justice, both substantive and procedural," the brief stated, and noted the charges against the Canadian couple are "particularly troubling now, at a time when the government of Canada is consulting Canadians on a bilateral free trade deal with China."

The law firm has asked International Trade Minister FrançoisPhilippe Champagne and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to engage their Chinese counterparts to secure the immediate release of Mr. Chang from prison and to allow the couple to return to Canada "pending a resolution of the customs valuation dispute."

David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said what happened to Mr. Chang reminds him of issues he encountered during his posting in Beijing.

"When I was in China, we were concerned about the disturbing tendency of local officials to transform any commercial dispute between Canadian and Chinese business partners into a criminal prosecution of the Canadian," Mr. Mulroney said.

"We saw this as an attempt to intimidate the Canadian into making some kind of confession."

The former diplomat says this tendency is an example of "how the playing field in China is tilted against foreign passport holders and how tenuous and conditional Chinese legal protections actually are."

Liberal MP Omar Alghabra, the parliamentary secretary for consular issues at Global Affairs, told The Globe that Ottawa is seeking to get Mr. Chang and his wife out of China and have reached out to high-ranking Chinese officials.

"Economic cases have a different flavour than criminal cases, but they are done within our consular division in consultation with the Chinese government," he said. "We are certainly having consultations with the Chinese government and with the family about this case."

Mr. Alghabra said he was unable to "give any prediction of what might happen" at the couple's trial next Friday "but we are taking this case very seriously and doing what we can to assist the family and help resolve this case."

Fasken Martineau says this is a customs dispute, and China's conduct is a violation of its international trade obligations under the World Trade Organization Valuation Agreement.

Under international trade law, disagreement over the valuation of imported goods is supposed to be resolved under the agreement.

Instead, China is using the state's police power - arrest, detention and eventual prosecution - to address what is fundamentally a trade and customs dispute.

"The excessive power of China Customs to unilaterally jail the owners of a reputable Canadian business on a mere allegation of non-compliance with custom valuation rules, and to detain them in jail for more than one year without hearing or any meaningful recourse to justice, is a gross violation of personal liberty and security," the brief said.

"In Canada, the actions of China Customs would be a clear violation of Section 9 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees the right against arbitrary detainment and imprisonment."

Dan Brock, a lawyer with Fasken Martineau, confirmed the law firm had prepared the brief for Ottawa but would provide no further comment.

Lulu Island Winery, one of three in Canada owned by Mr. Chang and Ms. Lu, said on Tuesday it hopes Ottawa can find a way to bring them home.

"We have been without our founders ... for more than one year, and remain anxious for their safe return to Canada. Lulu Island denies the allegations made by the Chinese Customs Authority, and respectfully requests that China uphold its international trade obligations," the winery said in a statement.

"As a Canadian company we have let our federal government take the lead in resolving this matter, and we patiently await progress."

Conservative MP Gerry Ritz called Mr. Chang "a fantastic guy and a great entrepreneur" and criticized the Canadian government for not pressing hard enough to win the couple's freedom.

"Nobody is taking it seriously. It is disconcerting," he said. "Global Affairs is saying it is all consular and they are not going to do anything and that is unfortunate. It is a business side. It is trade. It is not criminal."

NDP MP Nathan Cullen said the case of Mr. Chang and his wife should give the Liberal government serious pause about concluding a free-trade deal with a country that uses its judiciary to resolve commercial disputes.

"The more times China acts in aggressive ways toward people from other countries in ways that would seem to be unfair in our country, the less and less likely they will have the Canadian public onside for a trade deal," he said. "What Trudeau is offering is that closer ties to China means greater influence with China on cases like this."

Mr. Chang, who was born in Taiwan, was named an RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant award winner in 2015. He came to Canada in 2000 and built up a wine business with principal exports to the Asian market.

Since his arrest on March 25, 2016, Mr. Chang has received one visit every three months from Canadian consular officials, but the law firm said in the brief it was advised "the Government of Canada, including the Trade Commissioner Service, cannot interfere in the judicial affairs of another country."

The wine business - with wineries in Richmond and Kelowna, B.C., and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., has been run by the couple's 23-year-old daughter Amy, in the meantime.

China's embassy in Ottawa said it had no "specific information" about Mr. Chang's case and that Canadians should be assured "China is a nation with rule of law and China's law-enforcement departments handle cases strictly according to law."

Associated Graphic

John Chang, who was born in Taiwan, was named an RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant award winner in 2015. He came to Canada in 2000 and built up a wine business with principal exports to the Asian market.


'Voluntary affordability' in Edmonton
Study shows nearly half of the city's garage suites are rented to friends and family
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S4

A researcher at Dalhousie University, Halifax, has compiled the first comprehensive data set on garage suites in Edmonton as part of a thesis on social relationships and affordability of accessory dwelling units.

Her study, published last month, finds that nearly half (48 per cent) of all garage suites in Edmonton currently being used as dwelling houses are rented to family or friends.

"This type of infill development is much more relationship driven than financial," Ashley Salvador says. "A large number of these suites have been built for the benefit of a family member or to allow the homeowners to age in place."

Ms. Salvador undertook the research as part of her degree in Environment, Sustainability and Society.

She has since co-founded YEGarageSuites, where she runs workshops for the public to learn more about building a garage suite in Edmonton, from the permitting process to financing and energy efficiency.

The aim of her thesis was to explore a concept called voluntary affordability, whereby owners of accessory dwelling units charge low or no rent to tenants, creating a form of affordable housing.

She found that the average rent charged to family members is just $504 a month, compared to units rented to tenants previously unconnected to the owners, which are rented at an average of $1,154 a month. In total, 25 per cent of garage suites in Edmonton are considered affordable (that is, dwelling units that rent for less than $700 a month).

"Voluntary affordability is real and it's happening in Edmonton," Ms. Salvador says, "but my research also found that it's not really accessible for people in lower- to middle-income brackets, who arguably need it the most. More than 70 per cent of garage-suite owners in Edmonton have a household income greater than $100,000, so currently the affordability aspect of garage suites is benefiting quite a specific demographic."

Ms. Salvador's research identified 45 per cent of respondents had a household income of $150,000 or more and 27 per cent had an income of between $100,000 and $149,000. According to Edmonton's 2016 municipal census, 33 per cent of households in the city earn above $100,000 annually.

"From a policy perspective, reducing the cost to build, the cost for permits and reducing the time from conception to completion would make it a more widespread housing type," Ms. Salvador says. "I know the city is looking into changing the restrictions from discretionary use to permitted, which means neighbours will no longer be given the ability to appeal a project, but I think policy needs to go further to help homeowners in lower- to middle-income brackets, and their family members, to benefit from this as a form of affordable housing."

Currently there are 115 detached garage suites in Edmonton, 88 of which have been built in the last three years. There are a further 10 detached garage suites classed as under construction.

But the growing interest from some homeowners has caused alarm from others. Many residents of Edmonton's mature neighbourhoods have campaigned against what they consider to be a one-size-fits-all approach to density. More recently, there have been concerns that the city isn't doing enough to service and enhance the back alleys that have now become residential spaces.

"In 2015, the city relaxed the rules around garage suites to allow almost anybody to build one," Ms. Salvador explains.

"That's what makes it a really interesting field for study, particularly the social relationships which are driving the projects."

"The desire to age in place and house aging parents is one clear driver," she continues, "but another trend on the rise is parents housing adult children and that's something that's absolutely happening in Edmonton."

Of those owners renting their garage suite to family, Ms. Salvador found that 55 per cent are renting to aging parents while 15 per cent are renting to adult children.

Brian and Laura Finley are among the 15 per cent. They completed their garage suite last month and Ms. Finley's son Mackenzie, 25, will soon be moving into the property.

"Mackenzie has a mild disability so he'll benefit from living in a supported environment," Mr. Finley says. "The plan is that, further down the line, when we're gone, he'll be able to rent out the main house while continuing to live in the garage suite. That will provide him with any income he'll need for the future."

The Finleys' garage suite was a 10-month project in the backyard of their 1950s home in Bellevue.

It's a 650-square-foot suite above their detached garage which has its own utilities including water and gas. It was designed to mirror the main residence in appearance and Mr. Finley says the final cost "will come in something under $200,000."

Ms. Salvador's research found the average cost to build a garage suite to be $145,185 and the average size to be 645 square feet. Forty-five per cent of respondents said they financed the construction of their suite with cash savings and 36 per cent used a home equity line of credit.

Dave and Deborah Soutar, who recently built a garage suite at their Avonmore home, are also providing affordable housing to a family member: their daughter, Emma.

"My original intention was to build a new garage and take advantage of the new garage suite rules to generate some retirement income," Mr. Soutar says. "But in the midst of the project my daughter was injured in a boating accident while swimming in a lake in B.C.; her injury was severe and she spent a long time in hospital before returning home to live with us.

With therapy and a prosthetic leg, she's recovered well and at the end of last year it occurred to me that she could move into the garage suite, which had recently been finished."

The retired carpenter built much of his 720-square-foot suite with his own hands, in addition to the double garage and shop beneath it.

Forty-two per cent of respondents in Ms. Salvador's research said they completed some or all of the physical-labour construction on their garage suite themselves, while 44 per cent said they designed the suite.

Mr. Soutar enjoyed the process so much he'd like to build more garage suites.

"The cost to me to build the suite was about $160,000. I think I could supply and build a regular double garage with a second-storey suite for about $145,000, which would include design, engineering, permits and drawings," he says.

Mr. Soutar says his garage suite has added significant value to his property.

"Every spring the city sends a new property-tax assessment based on their market evaluation. My assessment for 2015 was just under $400,000, for 2016 it's just under $800,000, so I assume the new building pretty well doubled the value of the property," he says. "Pretty good considering it cost about half of that."

But, he says, the real value in his garage suite comes from having his daughter live there.

"The garage suite has improved my property and increased its value but it's also improved my life. When my daughter moved out of the family home, I cried," he says. "Having her here makes me happy.

She's also happy because she gets to live in a home that's better than what she could otherwise afford. Everybody benefits from this, it's a great thing."

Associated Graphic

Top: Brian and Laura Finley prepared this garage suite in Bellevue for Ms. Finley's son Mackenzie. 'Mackenzie has a mild disability, so he'll benefit from living in a supported environment,' Mr. Finley says. Left: Dave and Deborah Soutar, who recently built a garage suite at their Avonmore home, are providing affordable housing to their daughter Emma. Mr. Soutar says his garage suite has added significant value to his property.


Britain clamps down on security as police expand bombing probe
Multiple arrests made in U.K. and Libya, including Manchester suicide bomber's father and brothers
Thursday, May 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

Britain is under a sweeping security buildup with close to 4,000 soldiers expected to start patrolling city streets as fears of another terrorist attack increase.

Nearly 1,000 armed soldiers began guarding landmarks across the country on Wednesday, including the Houses of Parliament, 10 Downing St. and Buckingham Palace. Officials also closed Parliament to the public, cancelled the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and shut public galleries at the Old Bailey court house. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said a total of 3,800 soldiers will be deployed over the next few days in addition to thousands of extra police.

The country is under unprecedented pressure, with a shaken public, an election campaign on hold and rising tensions over race and religion. There are also growing concerns that efforts to combat radical extremists have been dealt a major setback. After years of insisting that police intelligence gathering had been improved across the country, questions are being asked about how a 22-year-old university dropout could carry out a bombing powerful enough to kill at least 22 people and injure 59 others at a packed concert arena.

On Wednesday, British police broadened their investigation into Monday night's bombing at Manchester Arena, arresting six people associated with the suicide bomber, Salman Abedi. The sprawling investigation also extended to Libya. Police say the bomb was designed for massive destruction and was packed with nuts and bolts that sprayed across the arena's foyer just after a performance by Ariana Grande.

At least 16 victims have been named, including an eight-yearold girl, a couple from Poland, an off-duty police officer and a 51year-old school receptionist. One victim, 32-year-old Kelly Brewster, died while shielding her two nieces from the explosion, her family said. The young girls remain in hospital with broken bones and shrapnel injuries. Police said they have identified all of the dead, but won't formally release the names until forensic post-mortems have been completed.

Manchester police raided a house in the centre of the city Wednesday. Those in British custody include Mr. Abedi's brother, Ismail, 23.

His younger brother, Hashem, 20, has also been arrested in Libya, where he lived with his parents, on suspicion of links with the Islamic State.

"It's very surreal," said Adam Prince, 38, who arrived back to his flat in the heart of Manchester's gay district on Wednesday afternoon only to discover that police had raided an apartment on his floor in connection with the probe. Mr. Prince said the apartment is regularly rented out on Airbnb but he had not seen the latest occupant. The extra police presence around the building and in the heart of the city has shaken him. "There are so many people that love this city so to see people try to destroy the city in some way is just heartbreaking," he said.

Police have released few details about Mr. Abedi, but reports say he was born in Britain and that his parents came to the country as refugees in the 1990s from Libya. He attended local schools and briefly studied business management at nearby Salford University. His parents returned to Libya six years ago, but Mr. Abedi and his older brother stayed behind. However, reports say Mr. Abedi went to Libya several times and recently returned from a three-week-long trip. Much of the North African country has become virtually lawless since the fall of long-serving ruler Colonel Moammar Gadhafi in October, 2011, and parts are now controlled by the Islamic State.

"We don't believe in killing innocents. This is not us," his father, Ramadan Abedi, told reporters in Libya shortly before he was held for questioning by Libyan police. "My son was as religious as any child who opens his eyes in a religious family. As we were discussing news of similar attacks earlier, he was always against those attacks, saying there's no religious justification for them."

The Abedi family attended the Didsbury Mosque in South Manchester and there are reports some people in the neighbourhood had concerns about him and contacted police several years ago. Manchester police have declined comment.

On Wednesday, many of those attending daily prayers at the mosque were struggling to come to grips with bombing. "This act of cowardice has no place in our religion. ... We encourage anyone with information to contact police," said Fawzi Haffar, who spoke on behalf of the mosque.

Hamila Khan expressed outrage at the attack as she arrived for prayers. But she also aimed her anger at people who condemn all Muslims for the actions of a small number. "Islam is a religion of peace. You're not allowed to take the life of another human being because it's hellfire for you," she said. "This is my country. This is my community. I've done my best. I want the best for Manchester and for Britain."

When asked if she knew Mr. Abedi, Ms. Khan shot back: "I don't know this gentleman. How many people do you know in your church? How many do you speak to?" Tension briefly heightened when a man stopped on the sidewalk to yell at Mohammed Fadeil, who was entering the mosque.

"You need to sort this thing out in your community, and put a stop to it," said the man, named Ian MacIntosh. "It could have been my 19-year-old daughter going to that concert."

Afterward, Mr. Fadeil appeared shaken by the encounter. "This is what the terrorists want," he said.

"They want to divide us. I'll reach out to him. We're Muslims, we're here to fight this together, join us."

One 30-year-old man standing outside the mosque offered an explanation for the bombing, saying that while he condemned all killing he could understand why people such as Mr. Abedi become suicide bombers. In Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan "Muslims are being killed left, right and centre and nobody cares," said the man who declined to give his name but said he attended the mosque.

That kind of response infuriated Mohammed Shafiq, who runs the Ramadhan Foundation, a Manchester-based organization that promotes peaceful co-existence.

"I get some of that, to be honest, on Facebook," Mr. Shafiq said.

"But at the end of the day, it's children that have been brutally murdered for no other reason than they had gone to a music concert. And nobody should justify that."

He believes Muslim leaders need to do more to challenge the ideology of the Islamic State and others on a theological basis. And he said there has been too much disconnection in mosques between young people and imams.

"We've got to take on the theological battle which is that Islamic State and al-Qaeda justify their violent methods by using the verses from the Koran, using the sayings of the prophet Mohammed. ... We've got to take them on because we believe their distortion is leading to a wrong image of Islam."

The South Manchester area has become one of the country's hotbeds for radical extremists. It was home to Raphael Hostey, who became a leading Islamic State recruiter before he was killed in a drone strike last year. Earlier this year, another man from the area, Ronald Fiddler, blew himself up in a suicide attack in Mosul. Police have long struggled with the powerful online propaganda employed by the Islamic State, which Mr. Shafiq said brainwashes vulnerable young people.

"We've got to face this extremism head on and I think there's a responsibility on the part of us in the Muslim community," he said.

"Have we done enough? I don't think we have."

Associated Graphic

Nearly 1,000 armed soldiers began guarding high-profile locations across Britain on Wednesday.


British soldiers are led into Buckingham Palace in central London on Wednesday. Britain deployed soldiers to key sites on Wednesday and raised its terror alert to the maximum after the Manchester bombing.


Brazil's sordid tale of beef and bribes
Thursday, May 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B1

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Joesley and Wesley Batista built the world's biggest meat company through a succession of savvy deals. They grew their father's country slaughterhouse into a global empire and became billionaires in the process. But all the Batistas' deals to date are dwarfed by their latest.

Faced with the prospect of prison sentences as prosecutors investigated years of corrupt practices, Joesley Batista, 44, hid a recorder under his shirt collar and went to talk business with Brazilian President Michel Temer. Then he turned over the tapes and other evidence to investigators.

In exchange, he won immunity from prosecution for himself and his brother. Last week, days before the contents of their plea bargain went public, Joesley Batista escorted his family on to a plane to New York, where they have been filmed enjoying the city - while his country reels under the impact of surreptitious recording and the political and economic chaos it has sown.On Saturday, a combative President Temer accused the Batistas of carrying out "the perfect crime."

"The creator of the tape is free and at ease, strolling the streets of New York, while Brazil, which had emerged from the most serious economic crisis in its history, faces days of uncertainty," he said in a brief address to the country.

"[Mr. Batista] did not spend a day in jail, was not arrested, was not tried, was not punished and furthermore, won't be."

The supreme court is now awaiting police analysis of the recording and considering whether to allow its use in an impeachment case against Mr. Temer.

But even those Brazilians who want to see the president resign will concede he has a point about JBS, the Batistas' company.

"This was a very, very good deal for the brothers," says Sergio Lazzarini, the co-author of Reinventing State Capitalism: Leviathan in Business, Brazil and Beyond, who has studied the Batistas and JBS.

The firm began as a five-cows-aday slaughter operation in the central state of Goias, founded by Jose Batista Sobrinho (hence the JBS) in the 1950s. In the 1990s, he and his sons began to buy meat from other sources and, in 1997, started to export. But it was another decade before the company made its big leap - when the Batista brothers' ambitions matched up with that of the Brazilian government.

Former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva favoured a "developmentalist" model of economic growth: His Workers' Party authorized the use of vast amounts of state resources to enable Brazilian companies to become international titans in their areas, what his government called the "national champions." The Batistas took JBS public in 2007 and then turned to the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES in Portuguese) to fund a shopping spree. BNDES lent the company more than $3-billion over the next decade, at single-digit interest rates, when commercial banks were charging close to 30 per cent for capital.

The bank also bought a 21-percent stake in the meat company.

With the 2007 purchase of the U.S. firm Swift & Co. (maker of the Butterball turkey, among other meat products) for $1.9-billion, JBS became the world's largest beef company. Next they bought the U.S. chicken firm Pilgrim's Pride, in 2009; combined with two national producers it acquired, that made JBS the biggest producer of poultry globally.

By 2014, JBS was the second-largest food company in the world, behind only Nestlé.

The Batistas also expanded beyond food: They set up a holding company, J&F Investments, in 2012, which owns producers of everything from paper pulp to cleaning products (and Havaianas, the ubiquitous Brazilian flipflop). Today J&F says it employs some 260,000 people in more than 30 countries. Joesley Batista is president of the holding company while Wesley, 46, runs JBS; their three sisters and father have equal shares in the holding company, while a third brother sold his stake. The Batistas lured star executives to the expanding business: For example, Henrique Meirelles, who was Central Bank president in Mr. da Silva's government and is today the finance minister, took over as chair of the J&F advisory board in 2012 (he resigned when he returned to government).

But JBS' low-cost loans allegedly came with an off-the-books price: In his plea bargain, Joesley Batista told prosecutors that from the time of the first loan, it was routine for JBS to deposit a percentage into an overseas account for an agent of the then-finance minister, Guido Mantega. He said that he put a total of $62-million into accounts abroad for Mr. da Silva and for Dilma Rousseff, who succeeded him as president. Both have denied accepting any illegal funding, for campaigns or for their personal use.

The cozy relationship between politicians and JBS was not secret.

In the 2014 federal elections, for example, the company contributed more than $125-million in campaign financing, the largest political donors. But the five executives who joined the Batistas in the plea bargain say the funding went far beyond that. Ricardo Saud, a JBS director, said the company paid some $248-million to 1,829 candidates for political office from 28 different parties in 2014, just $5-million of it legal donations. Another director testified that one politician suggested he send bribe money over in a cooler with a layer of choice steak on top as a disguise.

"All those allocations and investments by the state were based on political connections," said Prof. Lazzarini. "Our research shows that companies that donate more to winning candidates get more money - there was a process, simple as that. And bribes were disguised as campaign donations. ... The brothers were like the owners of Brazil.

They were really, really professionals in this."

But over the past couple of years, a new drive for transparency has swept Brazil and began to ensnare the Batistas and their businesses. In 2016, they came under scrutiny in an investigation into pension-fund contributions to their pulp company, which briefly obliged the brothers to step down from their executive roles. They had to delay a U.S. public offering earlier this year after JBS was among meat producers targeted in police raids in an action called Operation Weak Flesh, accused of bribing inspectors to clear substandard meat for sale and export.

The major threat to the firm seems to have been the federal police Operation Bullish, an investigation into fraud at BNDES - and the sight of other top Brazilian executives, such as Odebrecht SA's former chief executive Marcelo Odebrecht, behind bars seems to have persuaded the Batistas that they had best make a deal. Prosecutors appear to have seen an irresistible opportunity to obtain hard evidence against the President and promised to keep them out of jail (the brothers face a $93-million fine).

It is not clear that their business will get off as easily. Prosecutors are demanding that J&F pay a fine of $4.6-billion over 10 years, which is 4.5 per cent of its 2016 revenue; the company is offering a tenth of that.

Between Operation Weak Flesh and a stock price plunge after the plea-bargain news, JBS lost $7-billion in market value over the last two months; the share price fell 30 per cent on Monday alone.

And now Brazil's security commission is investigating the company for allegedly having bought a billion dollars worth of U.S. currency to hedge against the real in anticipation of the impact of the plea bargain.

"The million-dollar question is how the Brazilian and American authorities didn't notice all that money floating around," said Felippe Serigati, a professor of agricultural economics at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Sao Paulo who studies JBS. But the brothers will not have to worry over much about political consequences for their business, he added: "They're a very diversified supplier in a consumer market for which this [political scandal] makes no difference: People are still going to eat meat and other JBS products. "

Canadian theatre's battle lines have blurred
Rick Salutin's 1837 returns to the festival it once sought to revolutionize, but its themes mean something different a generation later
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R3

For anyone steeped in their Canadian theatre history, one particular show on this year's playbill at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., will stand out like a Tim Hortons double-double at an English high tea.

1837: The Farmers' Revolt, Rick Salutin and Theatre Passe Muraille's 1973 collective creation about the rebellion led by William Lyon Mackenzie against the Family Compact in Upper Canada, will open next week at the repertory theatre in the colonialera town alongside three British plays: Saint Joan by Bernard Shaw; Alan Bennett's The Madness of George III; and a West End musical from the 1930s called Me and My Girl.

It's not only the Canadian subject matter that makes Salutin's play noteworthy, however - but its history as part of an attempted revolution itself against the Shaw Festival and other theatrical institutions that were, at the time, run by Englishmen and produced mostly English plays.

That 1837 has shown up at the Shaw in the first season of new artistic director Tim Carroll - an Englishman himself, whose appointment a couple of years ago was greeted with mixed reactions - shows how the battle lines that seemed so clear at the height of nationalism in 1970s Canada have become blurred since.

"I think it's a universal thing, isn't it, that today's act of rebellion becomes tomorrow's classic?" says Carroll, who discovered what he calls the playful, vaudevillian history play while boning up on local dramatic literature.

The initial creation of 1837: The Farmers' Revolt is delightfully well documented in Salutin's production diaries of the time - which appeared, along with a historical essay Shavian in its length, when the script was published after it had toured the country and been broadcast on CBC Television.

Early in the rehearsals in 1973, Salutin and director Paul Thompson gave the actors who helped create the script "anger exercises" to try to get them into the mindset of the 19th-century farmers who took up arms against the oligarchic colonial elite with the intention of declaring a republic.

One actor, Neil Vipond, found his rage by drawing on his experience working in Canadian theatre at the time, roaring: "Nobody is going to make me speak with an English accent!"

"Theatre is one of the few areas left in Canada where the main imperial oppressor remains England and not the U.S.," Salutin wrote at the time. "They run every regional theatre in the country; Englishmen waft over and drown in role offers."

More than 40 years later, Salutin is a well-known novelist and journalist - who, among other things, wrote for this newspaper for 20 years. Over a coffee in Toronto, he recalled the atmosphere at nationalist companies such as Theatre Passe Muraille, Factory Theatre and the (now defunct) Toronto Workshop Productions in the 1970s, run by artists such as Thompson who were trying to remedy the fact that the theatre companies set up in postwar Canada paid little attention to Canadian repertoire.

"There was a sense of a kind of historic mission and it was great to have an enemy: Stratford and Shaw," Salutin says now, noting how during rehearsals, English actor Paxton Whitehead, the artistic director of the Shaw Festival at the time, was jokingly compared to Francis Bond Head, the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada at the time of Mackenzie's rebellion.

While Salutin is pleased that the Shaw Festival is producing 1837 now, he doesn't see it as any sort of vindication. The victory of the nationalist cause was only partial: While Canadians run almost every major theatre in the country now, it's still the case that Canadian plays remain outnumbered by American and British fare at most of the biggest ones. And yet, Salutin does looks back on the politics of the 1970s from a different perspective now.

"Nationalism is in one of its ugly phases at the moment, globally," he says, referencing Trumpism and Little Englandism. "We were proudly nationalist - cultural nationalists, political nationalists - and I found myself thinking [recently] it was good fortune that we didn't succeed any more than we did."

Ever since Carroll was announced as the new leader of the Shaw Festival, there has been debate over whether his appointment was a sign of a lingering colonial mindset - or of an internationalist open-mindedness. But it's been much milder than, for instance, the controversy that erupted in 1976 when British director Robin Phillips was appointed to run the Stratford Festival and director John Juliani challenged him to a duel.

"I mostly feel like it's conversation about Canadian theatre - and that I don't really have anything to add to it," Carroll says. "I don't take it personally, because I trust it isn't personal."

It was a canny decision of Carroll's to ask Philip Akin - who directed last season's extraordinary production of "Master Harold ..." and the Boys - to tackle 1837, as the veteran theatre artist has his own perspective on the battle between the anglophilic institutions and the feisty nationalist "alternative theatres" in the 1970s.

Now artistic director of Toronto's Obsidian Theatre, one of Canada's leading culturally diverse theatre companies, Akin was at Ryerson Theatre School at the time Theatre Passe Muraille was producing its famed collective creations in the 1970s.

"I had nothing to do with them: They were doing white shows about white people," says Akin, who did, however, perform in Caesar and Cleopatra at the Shaw Festival straight out of theatre school. "I ignored them as they ignored me."

For Akin, it was a whole other stream of Canadian theatre that really faced an uphill battle at the time: Companies such as Black Theatre Canada and the culturally diverse Theatre Fountainhead that, unlike the surviving - if enduringly scrappy - Passe Muraille and Factory theatres, eventually shut down.

"Because they were not perceived to be doing Canadian stories, they kind of fell off the funding stream and ended up disappearing," Akin says.

Reading 1837: The Farmers' Revolt in 2017, it's definitely clear what voices Salutin and his Theatre Passe Muraille collaborators of the time omitted in their telling of this crucial slice of Canadian history - which Akin sees as an important step toward Confederation.

An early scene where a farmer has the land he's spent two years clearing taken away by a colonial magistrate would now lead an audience member to ask: Okay, but who did the farmer take the land from?

Similarly, the collectively created play has nothing to say about the hundreds of black Loyalists who volunteered to fight against Mackenzie's rebels.

Akin says his production tackles some of these gaps in perspective - Rachel Forbes's design making it apparent that the story is taking place on top of other untold ones, and a mixed group of actors of all ages (the original cast was all young and white) bringing a different flavour to the story.

"I think there's a real broadening of who these people could be," Akin says. "We have an older artist playing an ingénue, women playing men, a black woman playing a white Scot ..." Salutin has no qualms about admitting that there were blindspots in 1837's very 1973 take on Canadian history. "It never occurred to us that there were these other components," he says.

"I think that's just what happens in history - you think you're as far out on the cutting edge as anybody could ever get, and then a generation or two passes and there's another perspective entirely," Salutin adds, sagely.

Indeed, that's true of the history of Canada - and the history of Canadian theatre, too.

1837: The Farmers' Revolt opens May 27 and runs to Oct. 8 at the Shaw Festival's Court House Theatre (

Associated Graphic

Rick Salutin's 1837: The Farmers' Revolt will open at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., next week.


Withstanding the heat
After putting her stampe on Canada's restaurant industry, the unstoppable Jen Agg delivers her first memoir
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R14

I Hear She's A Real Bitch By Jen Agg, Doubleday Canada, 355 pages, $32.95

At one point in Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain's turn-of-the-millennium memoir on the lows (and sometimes literal) heights of a male cook's life, he spies a chef having sex with a stranger on her wedding day behind the seafood joint where he washes dishes. He decides, then and there, that he wants to be a part of the restaurant industry for good. It's worked out for him: Almost 20 years later, he's written many more books, hosted several wildly popular TV shows, and unwittingly inspired a generation of young chefs to pursue a life of hard kitchen living.

Early on in Black Hoof restaurateur Jen Agg's new memoir, I Hear She's A Real Bitch, a man also pulls his pants down. In this case, however, it's to secretly masturbate on the other side of the bar where Agg worked as a teenager, her first job in the business. That man went to jail, while Agg went on to open a series of cocktail bars and restaurants that have influenced the way Canadian dining looks and feels ever since.

Unlike Bourdain's origin story, Agg's memory isn't a confession so much as a straightforward anecdote of a woman working in hospitality.

The difference between these early-career experiences probably comes as little surprise to many women who've poured pints at a sports bar or worked years of dinner services in tiny, overheated kitchens staffed mostly by men.

That Agg's memoir spends a great deal of time pointing out the double standards and harassment women in restaurants often face will also come as little surprise to anyone who has followed her career, or her Twitter missives on sexism, Via Rail's customer service and good wine.

The book's title, for example, highlights the way peers have tended to react to her personality - and what a personality like hers does when called "angry" or a "mean girl" in one too many restaurant reviews, often for running her businesses precisely as she likes, or refusing to be patronized by old-school construction contractors.

Call her a bitch? She'll take the word and redefine it for you as an empowering adjective. Don't think workplace sexism is a real thing in restaurants? She'll organize a whole conference around the issue, as she did in the fall of 2015 after a Toronto pastry chef launched a human rights complaint over sexual harassment allegations at a King Street restaurant, and call it Kitchen Bitches. (A whole chapter in the book is dedicated to the event.)

Through the book's 20 chapters, Agg details different iterations of herself: A skinny tween who jumps out of trees and discovers a far more comforting use for her mother's back massager; an ambling teenager who sleeps with her best friend's boyfriend and moves out at 16; a twentysomething who finds all-consuming love after a failed first marriage; and a determined woman who, arguably, falls equally hard for something else: the thrill of opening restaurants.

For a book that details a vibrant sex life and includes a nude portrait of the author herself, some of Agg's more revealing writing comes when she describes the thought process behind the creation of a space, and how she occupies them. Entire chapters are dedicated to the rhythm of a dinner service that bring to life the deeply ingrained muscle memory earned from years of swiftly moving between tables without bumping a shoulder, passing plates among cooks in impossibly small kitchens and describing the same dish to diners a thousand times over.

Watch her as an earnest 22-yearold who keeps a guest book for Cobalt, her first business venture; who insists on grouting and polishing her own stained-glass tables and tinkers with a preserved-cherry recipe until it is perfect for cocktails. Or 10 years later, on the cusp of the Black Hoof's massive success, listing rules on how servers should pick up glasses (never from the top) what they can or can't say to diners (always amp up bar stool seating; "Are you still working on that?" is verboten) and obsessing over every last light bulb and candle in the dining room. While they may start as a napkin drawing or rum-soaked conversation, the ambitiously casual environment of Agg's restaurants aren't at all whims - and when bankrolled on personal budgets far smaller than your average bigname restaurant chain, they can't afford to be.

There are moments when this exacting approach spills into the writing itself, and while at times this is cleverly winked at as intentional - the book's jacket introduction is punctuated with edits and objections from Agg herself - there are other occasions when it stops the reader short. More than a few times, Agg will follow a story or observation with a bracketed hedge. "(OKAY, I'LL STOP WHITESPLAINING BLACK CULTURE)," she concedes at one point after diving into the aesthetic and ethos of Rhum Corner, her and husband Roland Jean's Haitian-Caribbean restaurant. "(I am fully expecting a dissection of this line as evidence of my admitted bourgeois, white-girl feminism)," she quips in another, following a description of the relative freedom of her childhood in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough.

Agg has described these asides as "conversations I have with myself when I think or say a horrible thing." In a one-on-one conversation, which is much of the feel in Agg's writing, these brackets function as raised hands that cut off critique before it's even articulated as a question. "I know what you're thinking," they seem to say, "And I'll explain to you why this is problematic before you can do it for me." This may work for the title, but when discussing issues of power and privilege in restaurants beyond sexism alone, it's a lost opportunity. There are times, for example, when she touches on the gentrification the Hoof's success ushered in for the Toronto neighbourhood of Trinty-Bellwoods that three of her restaurants reside in, but distances herself from the effects.

Some of the most valuable takeaways are Agg's observations of the less obvious, but equally pervasive ways that sexism weaves its way into this minutia of restaurant life. Take the concept of emotional labour - the idea that smiling for every guest who walks through the door or nurturing tightly knit back- and front-of-house staff who actually get along with each other is, in fact, hard work. It's a concept easily glossed over in an environment where 10-plus hours of frying, crouching, reaching and lifting in oppressively hot kitchens are celebrated as the only real (and, frankly, often underpaid) type of hospitality labour.

Equally instructive: Agg proves the value of that labour by weaving knowledge throughout the book that initially comes off as flip comments about the business, but for the reader looking for it, are really schematic instructions to how to open a restaurant: Always rent your dishwashing machine, IKEA lighting is never worth the money it saves, and never buy a fridge secondhand unless you're keen on having it break down in the middle of a Saturday night service.

If a generation of cooks followed Kitchen Confidential into the industry on the promised glory of good times and hard living, for largely different reasons - because restaurant ownership is so desperately lacking in diversity, and because kitchen culture could sure use a change - with hope, I Hear She's a Real Bitch will do the same.

Chantal Braganza is a digital editor at TVO and a writer in Toronto.

Associated Graphic

Jen Agg details a vibrant sex life, but also describes the creation of an eating space and the rhythm of a dinner service.


'We are all living some form of Option B'
Facebook COO opens up about putting life back together after her husband's death and how that experience inspired a new book
Tuesday, May 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A10

As chief operating officer of Facebook Inc., Sheryl Sandberg wrote 2013's Lean In about how women could shatter the glass ceiling at work. Two years ago, Ms. Sandberg's husband of 11 years, Silicon Valley executive Dave Goldberg, died from a cardiac arrhythmia while the couple was on vacation in Mexico. Now, Ms. Sandberg has released her latest book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy, on finding resilience in the face of tragedy.

The title of your book is based on something a friend said to you in wake of Dave's death about filling in for him on a father-child activity. You also included it in a Facebook post you wrote about a month after Dave's death. What is it about that phrase that resonates with you?

What he said to me was "Okay, Dave can't be there. Option A is not available, we're going to [make the most] of Option B."

Everyone is living some form of Option B. For some people, it is the really big tragic stuff: For some people it's losing a job, losing a love. For some people it's a very big illness. For some people it's a knee they can't run on any more. Who knows what it is, but no one's life is perfect. And we are all living some form of Option B. That feels pretty universal.

Did you ever hesitate in sharing this personal experience so publicly?

Oh definitely. That 30-day post [on Facebook] was done really out of desperation. I just felt so isolated. No one would talk about it. I [used to] walk into work and people used to chit-chat. But when Dave died, no chit-chat. I've dropped my kids off at school and there wasn't the friendly hellos there was before. People were just so nervous they would say the wrong thing.

I went to bed the night before the shloshim, the Jewish [30-day] period of mourning, thinking there's no way I'm posting this.

And I woke up the next morning and it was so bad, I thought to myself it's not getting any worse, it might get better. And I posted.

And that experience is what led to the book, because by sharing personally, it didn't bring Dave back, but it really made me feel less alone.

There's a quote in the book where you write: 'If your ankle gets shattered, people ask to hear the story. If your life gets shattered, they don't.' What was that isolation like for you?

I really realized that I got this wrong before. Before Dave died, I was afraid to remind anyone of their pain. So if someone was going through something, the first time I talked to them I would say: 'I'm so sorry.' But after that, I wouldn't bring it up again.

Losing Dave taught me how absolutely ludicrous that was.

You can't remind me I lost Dave.

It's not that everyone wants to talk all the time, but when we bring it up, when we say I know you're hurting - you may or may not want to talk but I am here - it makes such a big difference.

You returned to work after 10 days. How did you know it was the right time for you?

The grief counsellors I was working with for my kids told me I should get my kids back to school as soon as possible. [By] getting back to school as soon as possible, they meant a few days - I extended it longer than that.

But 10 days in, it was a Monday, it felt like the time. Look, it was both hard to go back to school for them and work for me. But I think being at home was worse.

I've heard that from a lot of people. When I sit in my conference room as I'm doing right now, I'm not waiting for Dave to walk in. I still miss him. But it's not a place he used to just walk in and surprise me whereas, when I'm in my kitchen to this day there's a part of me that just wants him to come home.

You talk about losing your selfconfidence after Dave died and likening it to watching a house that took years to build burning down overnight. How surprised were you when your confidence disappeared?

It really surprised me. I wrote Lean In. I wrote a whole book about how women should gain confidence and I had really built up my own in the process. I had read about grief, so I wasn't shocked by the anger, even though I was shocked by how much of it I had. And I wasn't shocked by the sadness. But my confidence crumbling was not something anyone had spoken to [me about].

Mark Zuckerberg, your boss, was one of those who helped rebuild your confidence by giving you time and space to grieve, but also reminding you when you were doing a good job at work.

Mark was the one who [said]: 'Hey, you made a good point in that meeting.' I really thought I would never make another good point again. Mark really built me back up, and now when someone's going through something hard I both offer them time off and say we'll take that project off you. But if they want to be there, I'll also say do you want a project? Or you made a great point.

Or I'm so glad you did that.

Because even the basics of their job, they may worry they can't do it. It's just another way of being there to support people.

Not everyone has a boss that's as supportive as Mark Zuckerberg was for you. What is your advice for employees who don't have that kind of support at work?

I'm hoping their boss reads my book or looks at the public statements I've made on bereavement leave and how we bring our whole selves to work. So I'd like the structure to change for them, let's be clear. And I'm working pretty hard on that. I went to a CEO summit in the last couple weeks and I gave my whole speech on how we should have longer bereavement leave and how you should treat people when they're going through things and family medical leave.

So I don't think it's only up to those individuals. I think we've got to work to change the system around them and I'm working hard on that and my foundation [the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation] is working hard on that.

When you posted on Facebook in the month after Dave's death you wrote, 'I know that I will never feel pure joy again.' But finding joy is a major theme in your book. How did you do it?

Probably the best suggestion anyone ever made to me, which is probably the best suggestion in the book, is write down three moments of joy every night. What it makes us do is focus on them. I didn't realize until I did that, that I went to bed every night worried about what I did wrong. But I did.

And now that I'm writing down three moments of joy, I notice those moments of joy along the way. It makes a really big difference and is something I really strongly recommend.

Are you still doing that?

Every night. Every single night.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Associated Graphic

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, seen in Paris in January, has released a new book titled Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy.


Supreme Court offers rare glimpse into life of a top justice
Monday, May 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

JUSTICE WRITER -- A law professor, a trial judge and an appellate judge are duck hunting. Only ducks are in season; nothing else must be shot. Spotting fowl, the law professor quotes illustrious academics on the properties of duck feathers, then opens fire. The appeal court judge, spouting case law, pulls the trigger. And the trial judge? Blam! "I hope it's a duck."

Justice Russell Brown tells the joke at an evening gathering in the Grand Entrance Hall of the Supreme Court building in Ottawa before about 100 members of the public. He has been all three, and his joke suggests judges and law professors are, after all, only human, and decide matters according to their own lights.

The May 9 event was An Evening at the Supreme Court with the Hon. Justice Brown, organized by the Bora Laskin Law Society, a group of Jewish lawyers and law students in Ottawa named after the Supreme Court's first Jewish judge, and open to nonmembers for $30. It offered the public a rare chance to ask him questions and get to know the person beneath the black silk robes - or in this case, beneath an Edmonton Oilers jersey (with a tie and a sport jacket adding a touch of formality). Wine and pastries provided.

Consider it the public hearing Justice Brown never had when he was nominated to the Supreme Court, because the prime minister of the day, Stephen Harper, expunged the public hearings he had created - at which parliamentarians got to question new nominees - for his final three appointments.

Now 51, Justice Brown was Mr. Harper's final appointee to the Supreme Court, in the summer of 2015. From the prime minister's perspective, he was a real find - a conservative libertarian, by his own description, willing to question foundational rulings from the early years of the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In the Canadian legal community, that marked him as a rare rightwing skeptic.

He also had the academic heft and the writing chops (as a blogger, he mocked Justin Trudeau as "unspeakably awful"). All in all, an unusual combination of brains and verve, and comfortably bilingual to boot.

He has already had a pronounced effect on the lives of Canadians: He was a co-author of last summer's ruling in the case R v. Jordan, which set time limits for criminal trials and pushed the justice system into a hasty overhaul to protect the right to a timely trial.

(Judges do not always turn out the way the appointing government expected.) In person, Justice Brown is, like any good blogger, a bit of an entertainer - humorous, easily able to hold a crowd's attention, although as a judge, no longer willing to be edgy. (When a law student asks him about the "political correctness movement," he claims not to know anything about it.)

Instead of parliamentarians asking questions, University of Ottawa law professor Adam Dodek sits in a comfy chair next to Justice Brown, teasing out the judge's views. What emerges is less about his legal philosophy than his personal story, which began far from the centres of power, in Burns Lake, B.C., then a community of 1,000 people, half Indigenous. (Edmonton was closer than Vancouver, hence the Oilers jersey.)

From his idyllic childhood, fishing and playing in the bush, to a young man's wanderings along the world's fault lines, to a career fuelled by the desire to "make sense of things," for himself and others - Justice Brown demonstrated that the path to the Supreme Court is anything but a straight line.

His father owned a hardware store. "He was the type of citizen who makes a lot of these small towns tick," Justice Brown says, by supporting community endeavours such as a ski club and a hospital. His mother, from a pioneering Italian-Canadian family, was the one who pushed him to go to university. "She made it very clear that she wanted to see me leave Burns Lake and go to university and try to make something of myself."

As a young man with a bachelor of arts degree, he backpacked around Europe on $7 a day, sleeping on trains and in cemeteries. He landed in Poland in 1989 as the Solidarity movement was making its breakthrough against Communist control, leading to parliamentary elections; and later, after taking a train from Warsaw to Moscow and a nine-day train ride across the Soviet Union to China, was at Tiananmen Square at the time of the historic student protests.

"You're Forrest Gump," Prof.

Dodek says. (A Gump with a doctorate in law from the University of Toronto.)

He reached the Supreme Court in much the same way he reached China: by having an adventurous spirit, one destination leading to another, without ever having an overall plan.

A light bulb went on during a stint as an intern in the B.C. government, supporting caucus and then a cabinet minister; in policy meetings in which the subject matter seemed to him "an incomprehensible mess," government lawyers spoke and cleared it up. "I thought, 'I want to be that person. I want to be the person who makes sense of things that people find hard to understand.' " He chose the University of Victoria law school for his initial law degree because he wanted to play rugby (Justice Brown has a rugby player's stocky build).

After earning his bachelor of laws in 1994, he became a civil litigator (medical negligence, insurance, personal injury), expecting to stay in private practice two or three years before heading to graduate school. He loved it, and stayed nine or 10.

He also loved being an academic at the University of Alberta, until a period as chair of an appeals body for student-misconduct cases led him to reflect that being a judge "might be something I was cut out to do."

Once he became a judge, he rose rapidly. He spent a year on the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench, and two years on the Alberta Court of Appeal. Now in his second year on the Supreme Court, he misses the Alberta wilderness. Living in Edmonton, he liked to escape to nearby Elk Island National Park where he snowshoed 12 or 15 kilometres at a time, and chilled with the bison. Uprooting was a challenge, he says.

"If I could wave my magic wand," he says, "I would move the Supreme Court to Red Deer."

Occasionally, the conservative makes himself known, as when he dissented, with two other judges, in support of the Conservative government's mandatory minimum sentences for illegal gun possession, chiding the majority under a snarky heading, "Respecting Parliament." But when an audience member asks him about treading on Parliament's turf, and moving beyond the court's proper role under the Charter of Rights, he replies: "As a general proposition, that's not helpful. You have to look beyond that. What's the issue? What's the right at stake?

What has the jurisprudence established about the content of that right?" His biggest surprise on the court? "It is incredibly hard to predict what anyone is going to do on any particular file."

Of all the cases at any level of court, the kind he found the toughest to decide was child custody disputes in which one parent wishes to move with the child across the country, or to a distant land. Each side had its army of courtroom supporters; there was no clear methodology to decide between two sides where neither was at fault; and the life-changing decision fell to an individual who is, after all, only human.

"I didn't get to the bench by being parent of the year," Justice Brown says. "We're all imperfect.

You take your best shot and wait for the next duck to fly over."

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


A news article on Monday on Supreme Court Justice Russell Brown incorrectly reported that he took part in a dissent on mandatory minimum sentences for illegal gun possession, which contained the heading "Respecting Parliament." In fact, it was a dissent in a case that involved mandatory minimum penalties for drug trafficking, and it contained no such heading.

Is gluten always to blame for digestive distress?
Wednesday, May 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L5


Whenever I eat bread and pasta I feel bloated and gassy. My gastroenterologist tested me for celiac disease and the results were negative. Is it possible to still be sensitive to gluten? Should I avoid it?


There are reasons beyond celiac disease for why eating wheat and wheat products can cause digestive upset. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, is certainly one culprit. But it's not the only one.

You shouldn't cut gluten from your diet unless you know for sure that you need to. Doing so has potential risks - it could degrade the nutritional quality of your diet and, as recent research suggests, increase your health risk.

Celiac disease defined

A gluten-free diet is a must for people with celiac disease, a lifelong genetically based disorder that occurs when gluten triggers the immune system to attack and damage the lining of the small intestine, interfering with nutrient absorption.

Celiac disease can be detected by a simple blood test that measures antibodies that perceive gluten as a threat. Almost all people with celiac disease who eat a diet that contains gluten (98 per cent) will test positive for these antibodies.

Although rare, it is possible for people who have celiac disease to test negative to gluten antibodies.

That's why a biopsy of the small intestine lining that looks for damage caused by celiac disease is the only way to definitively diagnose the disease.

There's an important point here. The accuracy of these tests require that you are eating a gluten-containing diet.

If you've self-diagnosed and put yourself on a gluten-free diet before getting tested for celiac disease, a false negative result can occur. (For an accurate result, your doctor may recommend that you add gluten back to your diet for six to eight weeks prior to testing. This allows antibodies to build up in your bloodstream.)

A false negative poses real risks for people who have celiac disease but don't know it. For one, they may not follow a gluten-free diet strictly enough to prevent complications.

According to Shelley Case, a Regina-based registered dietitian and author of Gluten Free: The Definitive Resource Guide, "It takes only a small amount of gluten to keep the autoimmune system revved up enough to damage intestinal cells."

There's also the risk that family members won't be screened.

Research suggests that 10 per cent to 15 per cent of first-degree relatives of people with celiac disease also have the condition.

Not celiac? It could still could be gluten

If celiac disease has been ruled out by your doctor, it's still possible that you are sensitive to gluten. You may have what's called non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

People with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) experience a reaction to gluten that can cause symptoms similar to celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome, including bloating, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea and/or constipation.

NCGS can also lead to fatigue, "brain fog," headache, joint and muscle pain and depression.

Symptoms disappear when gluten-containing foods are removed from the diet and reappear when they are reintroduced.

At this time, there is no diagnostic test for NCGS. But research suggests that scientists are getting closer to developing a blood test to identify people with the condition.

Last year, a study from Columbia University Medical Center in New York suggested that in people with NCGS, gluten seeps through a weakened intestinal barrier and causes a body-wide immune response.

The study, published in the journal Gut, revealed that participants with NCGS showed signs of intestinal cell damage and an immune-system activation that differed from that seen in celiac disease.

The culprit could be carbs, not gluten

Bloating and gas may have nothing to do with gluten. Instead, uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms may be triggered by carbohydrates called FODMAPs.

(FODMAP stands for fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols.)

FODMAP carbohydrates are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and, as a result, make their way to the large intestine where they draw in excess water and are fermented by gut bacteria, resulting bloating, flatulence, abdominal pain and, in some cases, diarrhea and/or constipation.

Carbohydrates found in wheat and rye (and garlic and onions) - called fructans - belong to the FODMAP family. So does fructose (fruit), lactose (milk), galactans (beans, lentils, soybeans) and polyols (sweeteners containing sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol).

Finding out which FODMAPs cause symptoms involves eliminating high FODMAP foods for six to eight weeks. If FODMAPs trigger symptoms, noticeable improvement can occur in just a few days.

After the elimination period, FODMAPs are tested, one at a time, to determine which ones trigger symptoms and which ones don't.

Teasing out the dietary cause of digestive symptoms - be it gluten, FODMAPs, or something else - is often not straightforward. It requires a strategic approach and, importantly, the assistance of a doctor and a knowledgeable dietitian.

Potential downsides of a glutenfree diet

If it's determined that a glutenfree diet is right for you, you will need to pay attention to nutrition. A steady fare of commercially produced gluten-free foods can shortchange your diet of important nutrients and antioxidants.

In Canada and the United States, there are no regulations to enrich gluten-free breads, muffins, cereals, pastas and flour mixes with thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, iron, nutrients that must be added to white (wheat) flour to restore what's lost during processing.

Many gluten-free products also lack fibre, a concern since fibre helps guard against Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

According to European research published earlier this month, a gluten-free diet may also add inches to your waistline. The study compared 655 gluten-containing products (e.g., breakfast cereals, breads, pasta, cookies) to 654 gluten-free alternatives and found that, overall, gluten-free foods were more calorie-dense than their gluten-free counterparts.

Gluten-free breads were found to contain more fat than conventional breads and most glutenfree products less protein.

Bottom line: Focus on the quality of your carbohydrates. A healthy gluten-free diet is one that includes nutrient- and fibrerich fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains.

Leslie Beck, a registered dietitian, is based at the Medisys clinic in Toronto.


Whether you avoid gluten because you have celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy - or you simply believe that gluten-free is right for you - the following strategies will help you maximize the nutritional value of your diet.

Include fibre-rich grains.

Gluten-free whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, sorghum, millet and teff are high in fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Serve them cooked as a side dish or use them to make salads, pilafs and hot cereals.

Sweet potato and legumes (e.g., black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils), while not grains, also deliver fibre-rich gluten-free carbohydrates, protein and plenty of disease-fighting nutrients.

Choose whole-grain products. Look for breads, cereals, pastas and flour mixes with one or more whole grains listed at the top of the ingredient list. Gluten-free products made with brown rice, buckwheat, millet, quinoa and amaranth will have more fibre, protein and nutrients than those made with white rice flour.

Look for enriched. Compare brands of similar gluten-free foods to see if nutrients such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid and iron are listed on the ingredient list.

Take a multivitamin. Women of childbearing age should take a daily multivitamin supplement to help ensure an adequate of folic acid.

Associated Graphic

If celiac disease has been ruled out by your doctor, it's still possible that you are sensitive to gluten. You may have what is called non-celiac gluten sensitivity.


Vancouver's single-family myth
New census data reveal a 'hidden density' in the inner city, with homes that are more complex than they appear
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S5

If you have a house all to yourself in Vancouver, you are in the minority. The single-family house - by some held as a cherished goal, by others perceived as an outmoded housing type and bastion of the wealthy few - is not so single family after all.

In Vancouver, only 15 per cent of dwellings are considered "singledetached houses," according to 2016 census data released this week. Vancouver has one of the lowest percentages of singledetached houses in Metro Vancouver, says Andy Yan, director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University.

The data show that residents are living in denser types of dwellings than commonly believed, turning single-family homes into multiple units, rooming houses or shared collective housing, or adding secondary suites. Those suites could be legal or illegal.

It is the city's "hidden density" Mr. Yan says.

"This is a view of how people actually live - not a zoning fixation, but their actual usage," he says. "In large parts of the city, what looks like a single-family home can have two or more households in it."

His analysis also shows that the old-fashioned one-family, onehouse lifestyle in Vancouver began to wane way back in the 1970s. It dropped from 50 per cent down to the 15 per cent we are seeing now.

New Westminster also has an ultralow rate of single-family living, at 15 per cent. Delta is as high as 59 per cent. Metro Vancouver has an average of 29 per cent.

Today, in Vancouver, 24 per cent of dwellings are either a duplex, townhouse, row house, or any other attached ground-oriented home; 29 per cent live in apartment buildings taller than five storeys and 32 per cent live in small buildings, fewer than five storeys.

Developer Michael Geller says the statistic is an alarming indicator that hidden density needs to be better recognized by policy makers.

"It does change a bit the conversation about future Vancouver single-family neighbourhoods, because what this is suggesting is that, while many of us are arguing for more housing choices within these neighbourhoods, in many instances they already are happening."

Instead of obsessing on a particular housing type as an imagined enemy, perhaps we should be focusing on how people live, Mr. Yan says. Many residents want ground-oriented homes with direct access to the outdoors and they want modest density.

"We need to focus on who we are trying to house and what's actually on the ground, as opposed to a blind, dogma-driven assault on an imagined zoning type," he says. "Meeting real estate market demands does not necessarily reflect or fulfill fundamental human needs for a home and community.

"The fact is, we have been stepping away from the singledetached house for a long time, and we were actually already moving into other types of denser housing when nobody was looking."

The debate about adding density to single-family zoned areas of the city is a hot and divisive one.

Some argue, especially those in the development industry, that increasing density will create affordable housing. Others argue that older housing stock is affordable and new housing displaces people from their communities.

"My line was always building affordable housing is an oxymoron," says history writer and artist Michael Kluckner. For about 20 years, he's lived next door to a bungalow that is home to three generations of family members.

"You retain affordable housing.

You can see that by all these socalled single-family houses - if they were to go on the market, they sell at lot value. That means the house is free. In terms of the builders' market, it has no value.

But in terms of human needs, people can live there in just about any way they choose."

Rezonings lead to land assemblies, such as what is happening throughout Grandview-Woodland, says Wendy Pedersen, founding member of the Downtown Vancouver Tenants Union.

Around the city, residents are being displaced, or live in fear of displacement, which can be devastating. She knows families who are at risk of having their children apprehended because they don't have proper housing.

Her group lobbies for subsidized housing and rent control, and to protect renters against evictions. Ms. Pedersen says she knows many people who live in small rental houses and she worries about renters who may be displaced from their homes in the Grandview-Woodland area.

"There are probably so many renters tucked in there, and it will get wiped out. [The government] will put in some token bits of social housing as if that's going to make up for the losses.

"It's a huge Trojan horse, this redevelopment of wider arterials as a way to start to chip into the single-family-home neighbourhoods. I don't believe that affordability can come with increased supply. Affordability has to be mandated and subsidized, and if that's not part of the picture, then it's just a big Trojan horse. Whatever rental housing that gets built along there will be too unaffordable and families won't be able to afford it.

"You don't need to know anything else, other than the developers want Vancouver. And they have been looking for a way to rezone the single-family neighbourhoods for a long time, and this is it. And the supply doesn't work."

But the fact that so many people are living under the radar in single-family housing proves the need for more diverse housing, says Sauder School of Business associate professor Tom Davidoff, at the University of British Columbia.

"That information reinforces my stance that single-familyhouse zones should be rezoned for multifamily housing," Dr.

Davidoff says. "Get working households out of the basement and into more suitable townhomes and family-sized apartments." UBC architecture professor Joe Dahmen says land is simply too valuable for a single-family house, and the addition of a laneway house and secondary suite, which are currently allowed in single-family zones, is not enough to address the housing problem.

"Vancouver has gone through tremendous changes in the last couple of decades and zoning has yet to catch up with where we are as a city, and we reconsider zoning as one of the mechanisms to address affordability, sustainability and heritage.

"Demanding that a single-family house is replaced with another single-family house clearly is not ameliorating the situation."

Mr. Geller says instead of another big house on a 50-foot lot he wants to see side-by-side duplexes with basement suites under each side and a laneway house, which would create five units.

While not "extremely affordable," each unit would be "more affordable" than a single-family dwelling.

However, the new data should also have an impact on city policies.

"The city can first of all recognize that these houses are not truly single family, and then the next thing, should the city be going through a process that somehow legitimizes these housing arrangements, and that safety standards can be met?" He also thinks that the city should legitimize suites that are illegal but are safe and well maintained, to ease the fears of landlords and renters that the city could force the suite to be shut down.

"If one further investigates Andy Yan's findings, we will be opening a can of worms, but it is one worth paying attention to."

Associated Graphic

In Vancouver, only 15 per cent of dwellings are considered 'single-detached houses,' according to 2016 census data released this week. The data show that residents are turning single-family homes into multiple units, rooming houses or adding secondary suites.


Organic wine has a PR problem
It's increasingly easy to find high-scoring organic wine. Selling it is another matter
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Like time travellers and Yogi Berra's mind-bending witticisms, organic wine seems stuck in a paradox. It keeps growing in popularity, yet most consumers are disinclined to pay more for it. In fact, in the case of highly rated wines, those that are explicitly labelled organic often fetch lower prices versus comparable-quality cuvées made via conventional means.

That apparent organic price "penalty" is a key upshot of a recent study conducted by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Researchers tracked more than 400 premium Tuscan red wines that were produced by 50 wineries between 2000 and 2008 and sold through online retailers in the Italian and American markets. (Narrow though the data set was, the study was designed to have statistical relevance beyond just Tuscan wines.)

To rule out sticker-price differences that could be attributed to differences in hedonistic wine quality, the researchers, led by former graduate student Lane Abraben, used a complex economic model that factored in published reviews by such tastemakers as Wine Spectator magazine and influential critics Robert Parker and Steven Tanzer.

Oddly, of the bottles produced organically but not labelled as such (a common practice in the premium-wine sector, where many producers believe the designation carries a hippie stigma), consumers were often willing to pay more than they would for standard wines. This is presumably because such wines are, in many cases, associated with higher critical scores. But when it came to bottles branded as organically certified, another picture emerged. It seems the organic boast did indeed act as a turnoff, in many cases driving down prices that wineries were able to fetch.

Published last month in the journal Food Policy, the results stand in contrast to the general grocery marketplace, where consumers typically pay more for items that have been certified organic. In Italy, for example, surveys have shown that shoppers are willing to fork out anywhere between 10 to 40 per cent more for such products, while in the United States the premium ranges as high as 60 per cent. This seems justified given the generally higher cost of farming without quick-fix chemicals.

The Florida findings might seem especially odd coming at a time when demand for - or at least the supply of - wines produced without resorting to artificial pesticides and fertilizers is booming.

Globally, the market is projected to grow by more than 10 per cent annually between 2017 and 2021, according to a new report by London-based market-research firm Technavio.

And organic wines have vastly improved from the generally dull, oxidized plonk of the 1980s. They even tend to garner higher scores from certain critics than standard wines, according to a joint American-French study I reported on last year (though many such wines are not explicitly labelled organic).

But I guess a lot of healthconscious and environmentally sensitive people would rather spend less on organic wine in order to save cash for important items like organic frozen waffles and GMO-free cheese puffs.

The wines below are all made from organically farmed grapes. Try one if you feel so inclined. If you'd rather not, don't worry. As Yogi Berra might say, nobody's going to stop you.

Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2014 (France)

SCORE: 91 PRICE: $89.95

The Perrin family plunged into organic farming in the pre-Silent Spring 1950s, before pesticide alarm bells began ringing around the world. This is the flagship, a big southern Rhône red that can vary significantly from vintage to vintage. Think of a strawberry, then imagine a bracing combination of Provencal herbs, cracked pepper and bright acidity. Worth cellaring for up to a decade. Available in Ontario at the above price, $85.99 in British Columbia, various prices in Alberta.

Château Juvénal La Terre du Petit Homme 2014 (France)

SCORE: 91 PRICE: $27.95

Smooth and chunky, this organic grenache-syrah blend from the Rhône sure is concentrated and ripe, at 15-per-cent alcohol. Plum-blackberry fruit mixes with licorice, herbs and damp earth. Creamy and luscious.

Available in Ontario at the above price, $25.95 in Quebec.

M. Chapoutier Les Meysonniers Crozes-Hermitage 2014

SCORE: 90 PRICE: $28.95

Chapoutier (the brand with the embossed Braille labels) is a big name in France's northern Rhône and mostly farms organically. Here's a fine offering from one of those pesticide-free vineyards, a full-bodied syrah that suggests blackberry jam, licorice and black pepper set against a polished texture and ultra-fine tannins. Available in Ontario at the above price, $26.49 in British Columbia, $35.54 in Saskatchewan, $28.99 in Manitoba, $34.99 in Nova Scotia.

Momo Pinot Gris 2015 (New Zealand)

SCORE: 90 PRICE: $19.95

From Seresin Estate, a leading light in the organic/biodynamic wine world, this displays the opulent yet still well-priced side of fine pinot gris (the same grape of pinot grigio fame).

Medium-weight, it comes across with pear-like fruit on a seductively oily texture, with a touch of spice on the finish. Fermented with wild yeast, too, and partly matured in French-oak barriques. Available in Ontario.

Tormaresca Trentangeli 2014 (Italy)

SCORE: 88 PRICE: $19.95

Tormaresca lies on the heel of Italy's boot, far to the south. Aglianico, one of the south's great red varieties, plays the star here, with smaller proportions of cabernet sauvignon and syrah in the organic mix. Sweet, smooth and spicy, it conveys a core of blackberry jam, prune, raspberry and baking spices. Available in Ontario at the above price, $19.49 in British Columbia (on sale for $17.49 until June 3).

Palacios Remondo La Vendimia 2015 (Spain)

SCORE: 88 PRICE: $16.95

This is a red Rioja, but in a lighter, fresher, fruitier style than is par for the course in Spain's best-known wine region. And the fruit is organically farmed and vinified by one of Spain's most revered modern houses (with very pretty label designs). A blend of 60-per-cent tempranillo with 40-percent garnacha, it's medium-full and savoury, with spiced berries and a still grapey, youthful essence. Designed for early consumption. Available in Ontario at the above price, various prices in Alberta, $17.99 in Manitoba, $17.20 in Quebec.

Angove Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (Australia)

SCORE: 86 PRICE: $15.95

Here's a red that wears its organic designation loudly and proudly.

Angove, a family winery since 1886, has plastered "organic" across the label in big, bold lettering, with "cabernet sauvignon" in relatively tiny script, almost as a footnote. I suspect such conspicuousness could turn off as many consumers as it will turn on. But this is priced presumably for the "green"-conscious shopper, not for cigar-chomping collectors.

Medium-full, it leans toward the simple side, with currant jam and candy-shop fruitiness, a whiff of smoke and notes of cedar and mint.

Available in Ontario at the above price, various prices in Alberta.

Lupi Reali Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2015 (Italy)

SCORE: 86 PRICE: $10.95

No need to guess this wine's politics.

The green capsule on the neck tells the tale in a word: "organic." Also, the name - it translates to "royal wolves" in English - is a tribute to a nature preserve devoted to restoring the endangered Italian wolf. The wine is uncomplicated, a light-medium-bodied quaffer with tart-berry fruit, herbs and a saline snap. Oh, and it's vegan friendly, which is to say clarified without the use of animal products, such as egg whites. Available in Ontario.

This time, it really is different
It's possible we're moving into a new investing era, one in which stocks will go on being frothy for years
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B11

John Templeton, the great value investor, famously said that the four most expensive words in the English language are, This time, it's different.

But what if, this time, he's wrong?

Maybe the economy isn't going back to its old ways any time soon. Maybe markets aren't going to revert to historical patterns in short order.

If so, it's possible that we're in a new investing era, one in which frothy stocks will go on being frothy for years to come.

That, to be sure, is far from a sure thing, but it would be in keeping with the views expressed by a couple of respected thinkers who have recently spoken about the state of the U.S. economy. The points they make seem relevant to Canada, too, because many fundamental forces - in particular, low interest rates - are similar in both countries.

Jeremy Grantham, co-founder of money manager GMO, and Lisa Emsbo-Mattingly, director of research, global asset allocation, at Fidelity Investments, didn't mention each other in their presentations but their perspectives are strikingly alike in some ways.

Both cite a disturbing lack of economic vibrancy. The fading vigour is apparent on many levels. Gross domestic product is expanding at a rate that would have been considered sickly a generation ago. New firms are being born at a much, much slower pace than in past decades. Old firms are sticking around longer than they used to.

The net result of this dwindling turnover is a geriatric private sector. We all know populations are aging at an unprecedented clip, but most of us don't realize corporations are greying, too.

In a presentation to a National Bureau of Economic Research conference last month, Ms. Emsbo-Mattingly compared the current economy to a forest that has been clear cut and restocked with only one type of seedling.

Instead of the diversified ecology that used to exist, where fledgling firms of all types were constantly popping up, "the big trees" now dominate.

The shift is striking. In the early 1990s, those big trees - firms more than 16 years old - made up less than a quarter of all U.S. businesses. Today, they account for more than a third of the total and there's no end in sight to the aging trend, because new firms are becoming rarer. Despite all the hype that surrounds Silicon Valley and disruptive technology, the pace of business launches across the economy has actually been on a downward slide for years.

All of this sounds quite worrisome. But here's the odd thing: Times are actually good. While fewer people are starting new ventures, the incentives to do so have rarely been bigger. Corporate profits are unusually large as a slice of the overall economy and existing firms are doing just fine.

The intriguing question is why, despite this seemingly wonderful climate, fewer and fewer upstarts appear interested in challenging the big trees of the current business environment.

"This doesn't seem to make a ton of sense," Ms. Emsbo-Mattingly says.

She points to several possible reasons, most notably the increasingly powerful role of central banks and their low-rate policies. Companies have several ways to enhance their bottom lines, but instead of investing in new production or launching innovative products, they now seem focused on using today's remarkably low rates as their chief profit-boosting tool.

For many of today's managers, the winning formula is simple: Borrow money, leverage up the balance sheet, watch the bottom line grow. It's a plan that makes perfect sense given the puny cost of servicing the soaring amount of corporate debt. But it's not a strategy that leads to strong economic growth or a fertile climate for new business launches.

Many of those same themes are echoed by Mr. Grantham, the famous skeptic who warned of both the dot-com bubble and the U.S. housing bubble long before either crashed.

In his quarterly letter to investors, he notes that he and other value investors have always relied on the concept of mean reversion. This is the notion that history inevitably wins and that this time is never different, no matter how novel an era may appear at first glance. Economic fundamentals that get out of line with long-term averages inevitably eventually swing back into line.

Well, until now, anyway.

Today's prevailing mystery is the unusually high level of corporate earnings. Profit margins used to be the most dependably meanreverting of all financial statistics. If profits fell, companies would exit the market and profits would rise back to a normal level. Conversely, if profits surged to unusual levels, existing companies would expand while new entrants would flood into the market, driving earnings back down.

But that doesn't seem to be happening any more. Over the past two decades, corporate profits have found a new level - one much higher, as a slice of the overall economy, than used to be typical.

Reflecting this, stock valuations have gone up as well. Despite the dot-com crash and the financial crisis, price-to-earnings ratios seem stuck at far higher levels than used to be the case.

From the point of view of a classic value investor, today's elevated valuations set the stage for an inevitable crash. If meanreversion were to occur suddenly - if corporate profits were to crash back to historical norms and PE ratios were to plunge to more traditional levels - the loss of wealth would be devastating.

But there are few signs of that happening. The biggest and most obvious reason why stock investors aren't panicking is low interest rates. Not only do low rates support higher profit margins, they also reduce the attractiveness of bonds and other investments. As fund managers like to say, there is no alternative to stocks.

However, Mr. Grantham points out that low rates can't explain everything. In fact, they raise an even deeper question. Why aren't companies competing away the benefits of those low rates by expanding and fighting for market share?

One possibility is that many companies - think banks, consumer-product giants, telecom providers - have no great interest in risky, aggressive expansions. They possess an unusual degree of monopoly power and already dominate their sectors.

Thanks to brand power and regulatory barriers, they don't have to worry about being displaced by new entrants. So they simply focus on driving profit margins as high as possible.

Mr. Grantham sums up his view this way: "Stock prices are held up by abnormal profit margins, which in turn are produced mainly by lower real rates, the benefits of which are not competed away because of increased monopoly power."

All of this is stable - until real rates begin to rise, upsetting the delicate balance that holds everything together. But there's no sign of that happening soon. In fact, given slow productivity growth, aging populations and other factors, Mr. Grantham believes it may be years before rates begin to rise in any serious fashion.

His conclusion is oddly consoling, if a bit surprising for a value investor: Maybe things really are different this time. He's not ruling out a garden-variety correction that might knock the market down by 15 to 20 per cent, but he's not worrying about a bigger catastrophe.

"If you are expecting a quick or explosive market decline in the S&P 500 that will return us to pre-1997 ratios ... then you should at least be prepared to be frustrated for some considerable further time," he says.

Raise a glass to winery architecture
Canadian vineyards are adding stunning buildings to their properties to define their brands, entice customers and even bring attention to an entire region
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B9

WEST KELOWNA, B.C. -- Visitors to Mission Hill Winery in West Kelowna pass under a massive archway that frames the courtyard and buildings beyond.

Suspended at the apex of the archway is a 5,000-kilogram limestone cube, etched with the winery founder's coat of arms.

It's an impressive welcome to the award-winning hilltop winery, a mainstay of wine production in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley for 35 years. It's also an indication that the winery's attention to detail extends beyond its liquid products to its property and buildings.

Mission Hill has 11 key architectural aspects, designed by Seattlebased architect Tom Kundig, from the fortress-like gates on the drive in and the archway entrance to a 12-storey bell tower and a grassy amphitheatre that plays host to open-air concerts in the summer.

"After winning for top Chardonnay in the world in the 1990s I realized that award-winning wines weren't enough to put the Okanagan on the world map," says Mission Hill founder Anthony von Mandl. "I really believed that if someone didn't build an icon winery in the Okanagan, we simply wouldn't be able to build the region.

"To bring someone to our region, we needed to design an unforgettable visitor experience, and making an architecture statement that would draw visitors from the world over, I believe, was essential."

This architecture statement even extends underground, to its subterranean cellars.

The capacity of Mission Hill's cellar is about 800 barrels (each barrel itself costs $1,600), and the cellar is controlled for climate and humidity. The only natural light that enters is from an oculus (Latin for eye), which is also the name of the winery's premier blend (at $125 per bottle).

"You walk into the winery under this arch and a 10,000-pound block of limestone, and you have no idea underneath there are these two cellars that have been blasted out of volcanic rock. Just like the monks in their monasteries, who build these amazing light sources, these oculuses, that was the idea here," explains Mr. von Mandl. "You can see the barrels several storeys below as you peer through it, and from inside, you have the light shining through."

Mission Hill's architecture plays almost as key a role in the enjoyment of the setting as the vino itself. The winery is not entirely unique, though, in this regard.

Wineries across Canada are increasingly cognizant that their properties can be just as much of a draw for oenophiles and agritourists as their elixirs, so they've stepped up their landscaping, architecture and amenities to showcase more than just row upon row of grapes.

In Ontario, two wineries have been recognized by the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) as finalists in its two previous Design Excellence Awards.

Redstone Winery in Beamsville, Ont., combines traditional wineproducing techniques with stateof-the-art technology and creates organic wines. Reclaimed Ontario barn boards were used along with hickory and stone to construct its main building in the Niagara wine region.

"We wanted to create something that fit with the local landscape and really made a mark," says Paul Pender, head wine maker at Tawse Winery, a sister winery to Redstone, and located in the same area. "We didn't want something that was big and grandiose or over-the-top. We used four materials: glass, stone, wood and concrete, and we wanted it to be as local as possible."

Redstone, designed by Sweeny & Co. Architects Inc., opened in 2014 - it was an OAA finalist a year later - and has been compared to a winery one would see in the Tuscan region of Italy.

"Historically when we look at what Niagara had, the older [wineries] like Château de Charmes have a French chateau look," Mr. Pender says. "The people who came to Canada had their sensibilities and thought that's what a great winery should look like. But with the newer wineries coming up, there's more of that Canadian sensibility. It has a much more modern feel to it."

About 2 1/2 hours northwest of Redstone sits Dark Horse Estate Winery in Grand Bend, Ont. Designed by William J. Krohn Architect in association with Veld Architect, it opened in 2016 near the beaches of Lake Huron and received the same recognition from the OAA as Redstone that year.

Its facility, which is more than 31,000 square feet, is designed with the owners' love of horses in mind - rustic stone and reclaimed lumber are used to make the inside look comparable to a horse barn, albeit with a modern touch. Some of the wine production areas can be seen through all-glass walls and the building also features an event centre that seats 300 people.

Dark Horse president John Rasenberg says his wife, Sue Ann, a designer and decorator, was heavily involved in the process.

"We had to have a wow factor," explains Mr. Rasenberg. "We had to have people say, 'Oh my gosh, we have to go there.'" The winery wasn't open until last year (it is yet to put out a vintage), but given that wow factor of the design, Mr. Rasenberg says Dark Horse is already planning to host 14 weddings in 2017 and one is booked for 2018.

Maxim Voronov, a professor of strategic management at Brock University's Goodman School of Business in St. Catharines, Ont., has done research on the Ontario wine industry and how wineries create a loyal following with their customers. He says audiences are motivated to visit wineries - or book weddings, as is the case at Dark Horse - in part because of various physical arrangements, including the architecture.

"Physical arrangements can support, rather than replace, other ways of establishing and managing relationships with customers. So wineries often intentionally use a certain type of architecture to leave the right impression on their customer," he says. "Other times it is simply a reflection of the owners' personal style and preference."

At Karlo Estates in the Prince Edward County wine region, about three hours east of Toronto, that reflection is prominent.

Unlike Mission Hill, Redstone or Dark Horse, which rely on statement buildings that mix classic materials with modern styling, the Karlo Estates home base is built in a two-century-old barn with a hip roof.

"It was as if the family before us just closed the barn one night 50 years ago after work, and when we came along, we opened the doors 50 years later," says Sherry Karlo, who co-founded the winery with her late husband, Richard. They purchased the barn in 2005 and Karlo Estates officially opened in 2010, becoming the world's first certified vegan winery.

"There was so much hay it was up to my rib cage," Ms. Karlo says. "Sometimes barns become too modernized and they lose that charm. But we built [and renovated] this just on our own shoestring budget with our own money.

"We designed this out of necessity. We had to come up with an affordable solution to get started, but because of what we did with the barn, we pioneered a winery architecture style. A lot of people have come to us and said, 'Your barn should be the benchmark for how to start a winery in a barn.'"

Associated Graphic

Whether it's the grand entrance at Mission Hill in British Columbia or the rustic charm of Karlo Estates' barn headquarters in Eastern Ontario, many Canadian wineries are putting the same level of attention into their facilties as they do their vino.


Canada threatens U.S. over aerospace as countdown to NAFTA begins
Friday, May 19, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

OTTAWA, WASHINGTON, TORONTO -- The Trudeau government is threatening to jettison a multibillion-dollar purchase of Boeing Super Hornet fighters if the United States proceeds with damaging trade action against Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. - a warning shot fired the same day the Trump administration officially started the countdown to the renegotiation of the North American free-trade agreement.

The looming trade battle ratchets up the tension between Ottawa and Washington as the two sides gear up for NAFTA talks set to kick off in mid-August, and signals Canada's willingness to stand up to President Donald Trump.

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced Thursday it will investigate accusations from Chicago-based Boeing Co. that sales of Bombardier's new C-series jetliner constitute dumping into the U.S. market, because the plane is subsidized by the Canadian and Quebec governments.

The investigation could lead to punitive U.S. duties being slapped on sales of the jet as soon as July.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland promptly fired back.

In a blunt statement, she said that Boeing's complaint is aimed at blocking the jet from the U.S. market. And she warned that Boeing's attempts to sell fighter jets to the Canadian government could be at risk as a result.

"Canada is reviewing current military procurement that relates to Boeing," Ms. Freeland said. "Our government will defend the interests of Bombardier, the Canadian aerospace industry and our aerospace workers."

The federal government has started negotiations this year to buy 18 Boeing Super Hornet fighter planes as an interim measure to bolster the capacity of the Royal Canadian Air Force as it seeks a longer-term solution to replace its fleet of aging CF-18 warplanes.

The dogfight comes a month after Mr. Trump blasted Canada's softwood lumber and dairy industries for "taking advantage" of the United States under NAFTA and considered - but ultimately decided against - triggering an American withdrawal from the deal.

Earlier Thursday, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer formally gave Congress 90 days' notice of the administration's intent to reopen NAFTA. His one-and-ahalf page letter was short on specific negotiating objectives, sticking instead to broad themes. It steered clear of the protectionist language that permeated an earlier draft circulated in March.

The letter listed the digital economy, intellectual property protections, labour and environmental standards as possible areas of discussion. It said the United States will look for better enforcement of the provisions of the deal. "We note that NAFTA was negotiated 25 years ago, and while our economy and businesses have changed considerably over that period, NAFTA has not," the letter read. "Many chapters are outdated and do not reflect modern standards."

The earlier draft, by comparison, suggested that Buy-American policies and tax provisions meant to favour U.S. goods could be among the things demanded by negotiators. It also floated abolishing NAFTA trade panels - which have previously ruled in Canada's favour in the softwood dispute.

The Canadian and Mexican governments, as well as business groups, publicly embraced the renegotiations Thursday - even though officials have privately conceded they would rather NAFTA be left the way it is.

The aim is to divert the talks into a discussion over how to improve the deal, such as by adding new provisions for e-commerce and strengthening environmental and labour regulations, while leaving the integrated market intact and pushing back against Mr. Trump's protectionist inclinations.

"Two areas that I think could very usefully benefit from modernization in NAFTA are the labour and environment chapters," Ms. Freeland told reporters.

Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray, speaking after a meeting with his American counterpart Rex Tillerson in Washington on Thursday, took a similar tack: "This is a 25year-old agreement ... The world has changed."

Perrin Beatty, CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, said Canada will have to hold firm against Mr. Trump - but must also bring its own demands to the table with the goal of improving the deal. Ottawa should push for new NAFTA provisions that would make cross-border business even easier, such as more digital trade, labour mobility and regulatory co-operation, Mr. Beatty said.

"Nobody is under the illusion that these negotiations won't be difficult. The government has to be prepared to defend Canada's interests," he said in an interview. "But it should go in with its own agenda, it should go in with optimism and confidence - it is possible to get a trade agreement that is better."

The chief executive officers of two Canadian companies that have a big stake in the integrated North American economy staying that way said this week that they believe renegotiation of the trade agreement will not lead to wholesale changes.

"Mr. Trump is a businessman," Linda Hasenfratz, president of auto parts maker Linamar Corp. said. "He will make fact-based decisions and it's a matter of putting those facts in front of him."

Those facts relate to the negative impact that drastic changes in NAFTA would have on the auto industry, which relies strongly on duty-free trade of parts and vehicles among the three countries.

Keith Creel, chief executive officer of Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd., said he thinks Mr. Trump's call to revamp NAFTA is aimed at Mexico.

"I think he's a negotiator," Mr. Creel told The Globe and Mail earlier this week. "I think he's trying to create leverage and at the end of the day if he does what is right for the country he understands how critical Canada is as a trading partner to the U.S."

Still, the battle over the jets signals that neither side is afraid to put its elbows out as the negotiations draw near.

Ms. Freeland noted any pain served on Bombardier by Washington would hurt Americans because many companies supplying the C Series jet program are based in the United States. "Components for the C Series are supplied by American companies, directly supporting high-paying jobs in many U.S. states, including Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, Washington, New York, Ohio, Iowa, Kansas, Pennsylvania and Colorado."

The initial purchase of these Super Hornets could cost $2-billion, but their maintenance, support and upgrades could cost as much as $10-billion over the full period of their use.

That could mean billions of dollars more in parts and support for Boeing beyond the initial capital investment.

Analysts had been warning that Boeing's actions against Bombardier could come back to bite the company, especially as it relates to the business it does with the Canadian government.

"Boeing is now part of Trump's anti-Canada jihad," Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group said in a recent note.

Boeing has also supported a Republican plan to impose a border tax on imports - a proposal that would hurt Canadian firms shipping products to the United States.

Renegotiating or pulling out of NAFTA was one of Mr. Trump's central campaign pledges.

He blames the deal for hollowing out the U.S. manufacturing sector in the Rust Belt.

Congressional notification, a legal requirement before talks can start, was delayed as the Senate dragged its feet on confirming Mr.

Lighthizer as Trade Representative. Mr. Lighthizer was finally confirmed last week, sworn in Monday and has spent the last three days in meetings with members of Congress.

With a report from Nicolas Van Praet in Montreal

Associated Graphic

Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland speaks with reporters about the North American free-trade agreement on Parliament Hill on Thursday.


Rebuking the Debra Winger myth
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, May 19, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

When Debra Winger was in her 30s and people called her "outspoken" or "difficult" - meaning, "She has opinions" and, "She says them out loud" - she didn't care. She was plucking plum roles and earning Oscar nominations (three, including for Terms of Endearment). When haters whispered, "It must be her time of the month," if she took extra minutes in her trailer to prepare a scene, she shrugged it off.

"If it were Robert De Niro or Al Pacino taking that time, they'd be labelled serious and everyone would be really quiet when they came on the set," Winger says with a laugh. She's on the phone in her car in Los Angeles, driving from rehearsals for her Netflix series The Ranch (she plays Ashton Kutcher's iconoclast mom) to a hospital to visit a friend. Her voice is warm and husky, and still bears the flat vowels of her native Ohio.

"I had so much energy for the fight, I wasn't fazed by it," she goes on. "I speak out when there's injustice or indignity, but mostly I get on with my work. If you want to be a sexist or a racist, you better not be in my way or hurt anyone in my scope. But if you're suffering your inner problems, that's your evolution. I feel bad for men who don't see what they're doing. But those aren't the men in my life and they're not going to stand in my way."

In the late 1990s, so the Winger mythology continued, she tired of the fight, and stalked away from Hollywood (an impression exacerbated by the 2002 documentary Searching for Debra Winger, which was really about the dearth of female roles). But her absence wasn't about rejecting work; it was about spending more time with her sons - Noah, from her first marriage, to the actor Timothy Hutton; Gideon (Babe), from her current marriage, to the actor Arliss Howard; and Sam, Howard's son from a prior marriage.

"I'm not being a poster child for it, I just wanted to raise my kids," Winger says. "When I was working on location, no matter how much they were there with me, I don't know that I was there." She still worked intermittently - for example, her juicy turn as Anne Hathaway's mom in 2008's Rachel Getting Married. "I just didn't go full out for every role I could find.

I never didn't like acting." She laughs again. "People would ask me, 'Where have you been?' Well, just not in the same place as you."

Winger turned 62 this week.

Her youngest is in university.

And she's diving back into work with "fresh feeling about everything," she says. "I'm in a good place. Every day is essential.

That's how I've always lived, but I feel it anew. I'm excited to tell some real stories."

Her new film The Lovers, opening Friday, is as unvarnished as it gets. She and Tracy Letts play an unhappily married couple; each is having an affair and about to leave the other. But unexpectedly, something reawakens between them. Writer/director Azazel Jacobs wrote the script with Winger in mind - they'd been friends since 2011, when Winger saw his film Terri and was moved enough to send him a letter.

"I'm so grateful to address the confusing subject of how to make love stay," Winger says.

"How do you do that? So many of us want a long relationship, yet have a love/hate relationship with that wanting. We fear becoming boring, turning into someone we don't want to be."

She and Howard have been married 21 years. Letts recently wed the actress Carrie Coon. Jacobs came to set every day wearing a Clash T-shirt and a safety pin in his ear. It's a testament to his writing, Winger says, "that there's room in it for all our points of view."

The film also dovetails with the political, the missing middle class, she adds: "It's about people who are white-knuckling their lives because they can't afford the luxury of separating. They have jobs, not careers. They're trying to madly express themselves but they can't afford psychotherapy."

Winger thinks most contemporary films "miss the point" by not dealing with real lives. People chide her that films can be simply entertaining. "But that isn't my deal," she says. Lately, though, she's seeing "an opening for hard stories to be more palatable. Maybe because the news is so bad, maybe audiences are toughening up and are willing to work a little harder."

As far as making her own marriage last, "That falls under the broad category of, 'I don't know anything,' " Winger says. "Full disclosure, we would have been divorced four times if it was up to me. I'm a flee-er. I would have tried to cut my losses. But Arliss decided, 'This is where I'm staying.' And each time when the feeling passed, God, was I grateful that he was standing there."

Two years ago, turning 60, Winger "prepared for a huge experience." She spent the birthday alone at her farm in upstate New York (she also lives in New York city), and had "an amazing experience of feeling totally enlivened by the fact that I'm here, relatively healthy. It amazed me that I made it." She snorts a little. "It wasn't exactly a new feeling, though. We women get our mortality sandwich long before 60.

"And I feel so many of the same things I felt at 29," she continues.

"So many! I feel like a little kid.

When I was a little kid I felt like an old person. I'm not afraid of aging. I don't love my face, so I own a few less mirrors. Soon I'll just have the one over the bathroom sink to make sure I don't have spinach in my teeth. But I'm forging ahead with the face I've got." I ask if she's happy. "Oh, jeez, that's such a minefield," Winger replies. "I am, as much as I've ever been. I'm accused on a regular basis of being intense. But people's perception of 'happy' is strange to me. The days when I can really feel my life, it doesn't matter what I'm feeling: sad over a sick friend, angry about something, fighting for a better part.

That fully engaged feeling is what I refer to as happy."

The hardest times in her younger years, Winger realizes now, were about "feeling all alone in the world, that nobody understood me. The longer I live, I really kind of see that we're [expletive] in this together. Not just me and the people I love, but the world. It's why people are in so much pain about our current political picture. They hate the divisiveness, the creating a chasm from a small separation."

For Winger, being intense means being in the moment - "in present tense," she says. "People say, 'Whoa, back off, there's time.' I don't feel that. I never have felt that. The only thing I know for sure is that there may not be another moment."

Associated Graphic

Debra Winger, who is starring in The Lovers, wants more films to be made that deal with real lives.


The most debonair of the James Bonds
He was already a TV star when he took on the career-defining role, which he played in seven films during the 1970s and 80s
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, May 24, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S6

Sir Roger George Moore, who gave the most light-hearted and debonair portrayal of the English superspy 007, died on Tuesday at the age of 89. His epitaph should be written with the proper Bond credits, a grand pop ballad and cutout silhouettes of men shooting guns and lithe women go-go dancing, although Mr. Moore, who made a virtue of modesty, would probably have had none of it.

The actor, who took on the role of Bond at the age of 45, was an already established TV star when he joined the globally famous franchise. He played Bond between 1973 and 1985, in seven of the two dozen movies in the franchise, maintaining a light, escapist touch in his films, which took place during the deep freeze of real-life Cold War anxieties.

Although Mr. Moore wasn't the most forceful incarnation of the Bond character, he did reflect a more swinging, carefree sensibility.

In the current millennium, after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the rise of serious comic-book movies, heroism is defined in terms of trauma and terrible responsibility, as with the most recent Bond, Daniel Craig, whose character is brooding and brutal. Mr. Moore was more allied with an older model, in the Cary Grant mode, emphasizing grace, humour and persistent randiness in the face of potential calamity.

The Bond role had been defined by Sean Connery in the 1960s as a character with a dangerous sexual swagger. (George Lazenby, who played Bond in the romantic 1969 movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service, was overshadowed by the two more famous Bonds.) Mr. Moore was chosen not for his similarity to hairy-chested Connery, but for his dandyism.

Mr. Moore had already established his persona as a suave cloak-and-dagger expert in two previous TV series. In The Saint (1962-69) he played Simon Templar, a sly operative who steals from bigger thieves. In his subsequent series, The Persuaders! (1971-72), he co-starred as an Oxford-educated swell who teams up with a streetwise Brooklyn-raised tough, played by Tony Curtis, to bring criminals to justice.

Mr. Moore's typically uppercrust persona was, arguably, his most artfully sustained performance. He was born in South London on Oct. 14, 1927, in fairly humble circumstances, the son of a policeman. He dropped out of school in his teens. After a stint in the army, he eventually ended up at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he learned to lose his accent. While working as a repertory actor, he supplemented his career with stints as a model for knitwear and toothpaste.

He moved to Hollywood in 1953, landing at MGM with a seven-year contract, but was let go after two. (Eventually though, he found his métier as a sort of Cary Grant-lite in a series of television shows, including Ivanhoe, The Alaskans, Maverick and, later, the lead roles in The Saint and The Persuaders!) "There was no sudden moment when I was famous," he told a British newspaper in 2014. "It was all sort of gradual."

When Mr. Moore joined the Bond franchise, the writers of the series worked around the actor's already established image as an international playboy. Mr.

Moore added to Bond's persona some of his personal predilections, including safari suits and cigars (rather than cigarettes) and the writers emphasized style over toughness.

Mr. Moore's Bond films - Live and Let Die (1973), The Man With the Golden Gun (1974), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981), Octopussy (1983) and A View to a Kill (1985) - earned more than $1-billion dollars (U.S.) in global box-office earnings.

While films such as The Spy Who Loved Me continue to rate highly on the best-of-Bond lists, others have not held up so well.

By the eighties, the Bond films bordered on camp, filled with ever-more gadgets, double entendres and comic-book plots.

In Octopussy, for example, Bond disguises himself as a clown, while Moonraker has action scenes set in outer space. Mr. Moore embraced the silliness. In the 1981 comedy, The Cannonball Run, he played a character so obsessed with Roger Moore that he had plastic surgery to look like Roger Moore.

In 2004, Sean Connery described the difference between himself and Mr. Moore this way: "His is a sort of parody of the character, as it were, so you would go for the laugh or the humour at whatever the cost of the credibility, the reality. I think that's basically the difference."

For Mr. Moore, the premise of Bond itself was too absurd to justify high seriousness. As he told Entertainment Weekly: "This is a famous spy - everyone knows his name and every bartender in the world knows he likes martinis shaken, not stirred. Come on, it's all a big joke! So most of the time I played it tongue-in-cheek."

In interviews, Mr. Moore was down to earth and exaggeratedly self-deprecating, He would even bring it up in interviews that he was considered "the worst James Bond ever, according to the Internet" (although Academy Award polls in 2004 and 2008 rated him the Best Bond). He also played along with a joke first made about him by the English Spitting Image satire puppet show that he acted only with his eyebrows, saying he "only had three expressions as Bond: right eyebrow raised, left eyebrow raised and eyebrows crossed when grabbed by 'Jaws.' " In fact, the subject Mr. Moore seemed to enjoy bragging about the most was his modesty. In the first of his two memoirs, My Word is My Bond, published when he was 80, he described himself as "a suave, modest, sophisticated, talented, modest, debonair, modest and charming individual."

In his second book, One Lucky Bastard: Tales from Tinseltown, written three years ago, he wrote that his proctologist, after reading his earlier book, congratulated him, saying he'd seen him "from a whole new angle."

In 1991, following the lead of his friend Audrey Hepburn, Mr. Moore became a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. He earned a knighthood in 2003 for his charitable work. Married to his fourth wife, Kristina (Kiki) Tholstrup, Mr. Moore spent his last years between Monaco and Switzerland, where he died.

Although Mr. Moore's writing reveals the compulsive jokester behind the suave persona, he also had a philosophical side.

His last book was about famous friends and acquaintances, most of whom "have shuffled off this mortal coil." (The book's English title was Last Man Standing.) He said his philosophy on death came from a bad television play he did years ago, which had one memorable passage: "When one dies one has actually just gone into another room; we know you're in there but don't have the key to get in."

"That line has always stuck in my mind," Mr. Moore wrote.

"And now, being one of the last men standing, I'm finding that a great many of my friends are in the next room."

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Associated Graphic

Roger Moore stars as James Bond in 1979's Moonraker. Mr. Moore thought the premise of Bond was too absurd to justify high seriousness.


Luxury SUVs more affordable than you think
There are a number of significant incentives and attractive finance and lease rates on this high-end segment of sport utes
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, May 25, 2017 – Print Edition, Page D6

Sport-utility vehicles have been one of the fastest-growing vehicle segments in recent history.

Their ability to combine versatility, comfort and performance makes them the perfect vehicle for nearly every scenario and buyers have flocked to them.

Nearly all auto makers have taken advantage of this trend and adapted their model lineups to cater to buyers. Even Bentley has an SUV called the Bentayga.

The dominance of SUVs is particularly evident in the luxury segment, an area of rapid growth.

In fact, seven of the top 10 bestselling luxury vehicles in 2017 are SUVs. Here are the bestselling luxury models with units sold and year-over-year growth:

1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class - 3,871 (+50%)

2. Audi Q5 - 3,079 (+28%)

3. Lexus RX - 2,836 (+16%)

4. Audi A4 - 2,233 (+51%)

5. Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class - 2,229 (+78%)

6. Acura RDX - 2,220 (+1%)

7. BMW X3 - 2,152 (+27%)

8. Lexus NX - 2,141 (+20%)

9. BMW 3 Series - 2,117 (+6%)

10. BMW X5 - 2,072 (+3%)

With significant incentives and attractive finance and lease rates on many of these models, luxury may be more affordable than you think. We've featured our favourite offers this week below, but if you don't find one that suits you, be sure to check out the new Globe Drive Build and Price Tool to see the latest incentives and discounts on any new car, truck or SUV.

Andrew Tai is chief executive of Unhaggle.

Manufacturer incentives and pricing calculations are based on Ontario customers and subject to availability of inventory. Dealer discounts shown are estimates for illustrative purposes only, may vary by region and are given at the discretion of individual dealers. Please note that while every effort is made to ensure the information above is accurate at the time of publication, pricing, incentives and discounts are subject to change or discontinuation at any time. Vehicle images may not represent the exact model featured in the pricing provided. Consult your local dealership for details.

2017 LEXUS RX 450H

The 2017 Lexus RX 450h puts out an impressive 308 horsepower from its advanced electric motor working in seamless combination with a 3.5-litre V-6 engine with Atkinson cycle timing. It also features standard all-wheel drive, Active Torque Control System, Vehicle Stability Control and customizable sport, eco and normal drive modes. The exterior features 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels, door handle lock/unlock touch sensors, aluminum roof rails, power moonroof and a roof-mounted spoiler. For convenience, the RX 450h features a Smart Key System, push-button start, power rear doors with jam protection and four 12-volt auxiliary power outlets. Plus, the interior comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control and a 12-speaker Lexus Premium Audio system.

MSRP: $70,300

Manufacturer cash incentive: $4,000 (as compared with $1,500 in April; applied after tax)

Estimated dealer discount: $1,500

Freight, PDI, government fees: $2,185

Cash purchase price before tax: $66,985

Finance for 60 months at 2.9per-cent interest for $1,411 a month including tax, which includes a $1,500 manufacturer incentive (applied after tax) and assumes zero down payment

Lease for 48 months at 2.9-percent interest for $1,044 a month including tax, which includes a $1,500 manufacturer incentive (applied after tax) and assumes a 20,000 annual-kilometre allowance and zero down payment 2017 AUDI Q5

Standard features on the 2017 Audi Q5 include a 2.0-litre I4 16valve turbocharged direct injection engine with the Audi Valvelift System capable of delivering 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. It also includes xenon headlights, aluminum roof rails, leather upholstery, Bluetooth connectivity and a dash-mounted Multi Media Interface. Safety features on the Q5 include stability/traction control, a highly comprehensive airbag system and technology features such as a rear-view camera, blind-spot warning and parking sensors.

The Q5 also comes standard with Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive transmission, providing superior control in all conditions.

MSRP: $50,700

Manufacturer cash incentive: $2,500

Estimated dealer discount: $1,250

Freight, PDI, government fees: $2,235

Cash purchase price before tax: $49,185

Finance for 60 months at 0.9per-cent interest for $949 a month including tax, which includes a $2,500 manufacturer incentive and assumes zero down payment

Lease for 48 months at 1.9-percent interest for $696 a month including tax, which includes a $2,500 manufacturer incentive and assumes a 20,000 annualkilometre allowance and zero down payment 2017 BMW X3

The 2017 BMW X3 comes standard with BMW's innovative TwinPower Turbo technology in a redeveloped 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that can achieve 240 horsepower and 257 lb-ft of torque. This is controlled by an eight-speed Steptronic transmission that is designed with unusually fine increments between gears that help facilitate optimum power delivery at all speeds as well as high efficiency. The X3 also features performance-control technology that distributes engine and braking control to the individual wheels when turning, maximizing the traction on each of the wheels. Additional available convenience and comfort features include the comfort access system, hands-free trunk opening and optional leather heated seats.

MSRP: $52,100

Manufacturer cash incentive: $2,000 (as compared with $1,500 in March)

Estimated dealer discount: $2,000

Freight, PDI, government fees: $2,385

Cash purchase price before tax: $50,485

Finance for 60 months at 1.9per-cent interest for $998 a month including tax, which includes a $2,000 manufacturer incentive (as compared with $1,500 in March) and assumes zero down payment

Lease for 48 months at 1.9-percent interest (as compared with 2.9 per cent in March) for $726 a month including tax, which includes a $2,000 manufacturer incentive (as compared with $1,500 in March) and assumes a 20,000 annual-kilometre allowance and zero down payment 2017 ACURA RDX

The 2017 Acura RDX features a standard 3.5-litre, 24-valve i-VTEC, six-cylinder engine that can deliver 279 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque. Other highlights include its Jewel Eye LED headlights and LED tail lamps, power tailgate, multiangle rearview camera with guidelines and Smart Entry with push-button start capabilities. The interior includes a one-touch power moonroof with tilt feature and visor, an eight-way power adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support and two-position memory and the Acura 360-watt Premium Sound System with SiriusXM, MP3/Windows Media Audio capability, in-dash CD player and seven speakers. The RDX also includes AcuraWatch driver-assist features, such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping-assist system and forward-collision warning.

MSRP: $46,790

Manufacturer cash incentive: $3,500 (as compared with $2,500 in April)

Estimated dealer discount: $1,500

Freight, PDI, government fees: $2,185

Cash purchase price before tax: $43,975

Finance for 60 months at 2.9per-cent interest for $926 a month including tax, which includes a $2,000 manufacturer incentive (as compared with $1,000 in April) and assumes zero down payment

Lease for 48 months at 1.9-percent interest for $624 a month including tax, which includes a $2,000 manufacturer incentive (as compared with $1,000 in April) and assumes a 20,000 annual-kilometre allowance and zero down payment

Associated Graphic





Rising rent starving Toronto's restaurateurs
Restaurants are increasingly caught in a vicious cycle of being priced out of neighbourhoods they helped develop
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M2

When Brittany and Bryan Jackson opened their waffle-centric brunch restaurant, Starving Artist, in 2009, Bloor and Lansdowne was a different neighbourhood.

"Bryan spent the first year of business kicking crack-heads and prostitutes out of our basement bathrooms," Ms. Jackson recalls.

The neighbourhood's imperfection was exactly what made the 850-square-foot space affordable at $2,700 a month.

After seven years of stuffing and topping waffles with eggs, bacon, peanut butter, pineapple, chicken, cheese, ham, turkey and sauces both secret and Hollandaise, the community has transformed. There are now multiple brunch spots.

"The changes in the Bloor and Lansdowne area are night and day from when we opened," Ms. Jackson says. "We like to think that we helped to turn the area into a more community-friendly hub by adding a trendy yet family-oriented destination spot to have weekend brunch."

Starving Artist is no longer around to enjoy a return on its investment in the neighbourhood, though. In January, with the landlord asking for a 40-percent rent increase while reducing 29 per cent of the restaurant's floor space (a planned renovation was going to eat into the dining room and eliminate the patio), the Jacksons decided to close. In February, another brunch spot, Holy Oak, also closed because of a rent increase.

With no rent control on commercial real estate, restaurateurs who invest in some of the city's most depressed neighbourhoods are increasingly being priced out thanks to the revitalization they help spark.

"You help build a neighbourhood, until the point you can't afford the neighbourhood you built," says Rachel Conduit, former owner of the Avro.

When Ms. Conduit's popular Riverside bar opened in 2010, she was paying $1,600 a month.

It closed three years later, when the landlord refused to accept anything less than $4,100.

"Thankfully, I haven't had to negotiate renewals at my other bars yet," Ms. Conduit says of her other businesses, Farside and Handlebar. "But if rents don't calm down, I'm very fearful."

While home buyers keep track of the market in terms of the cost of a three-bedroom house, restaurant spaces are expressed in price per square foot, plus/or including TMI (taxes, maintenance and insurance).

The strip of Queen Street West where Fidel Gastro's is located is priced around $40 to $70 a square foot, which is more than the city average of $38, but cheaper than the most expensive land, Queen between University and Spadina Avenues, where nothing goes for less than $100, according to Stephen Murphy, a real estate agent who specializes in restaurants.

"Thanks to Vogue magazine, Queen West was voted secondcoolest street in the world," Fidel Gastro's owner Matt Basile says.

"My rent has gone from $7,000 to just over $11,000 in four years.

Eventually, it will price us out."

Mr. Murphy says there are still some areas of value to restaurateurs, such as Moss Park or St. Clair Avenue West. But even those pockets are gentrifying fast. He describes the Little India part of Gerrard Street East as "what Parkdale was six years ago."

Using the Toronto average, a smallish, 50-seat restaurant (about 1,500 square feet) would cost $57,000 a year, or $4,750 a month. And with popular wisdom dictating that rent shouldn't exceed 10 per cent of sales, that intimate restaurant needs to generate more than half a million dollars a year to maintain profitability. That's before the cost of an expensive renovation or a rent increase.

Restaurateurs additionally have to worry about property assessments from the city, Mr. Murphy says, which can raise property taxes, a cost the owner will likely offload to the tenant.

Some restaurateurs are so desperate to open in prime areas, they gamble with leases that could end up costing them thousands more a year.

"I put Figo, La Carnita, a Fox and Fiddle in [John Street and Adelaide Street]. I think it's ridiculous," Mr. Murphy says of the cost, $75 triple net, a real estate term meaning that the tenant is responsible for all repairs. If their pipes, electrical or air conditioning breaks, they fix it.

"Keep in mind that each one of those locations spent a millionand-a-half to two-million dollars in build-out, that technically you'd have to amortize as well."

Even if owners are able afford Toronto's most expensive properties, this sprawling city has only so many dense, high-foottraffic areas.

"I've got five different groups that have mandated me to find them a place in Yorkville and I just can't," says Mr. Murphy, of the posh $80- to $100-persquare-foot enclave. "So I'm going to existing operators and saying, 'Here's some cash. Would you mind moving?' But when you approach someone with that, all of the sudden they think there's gold in their restaurant and they triple the price."

Many restaurants dread renewing their leases, knowing they may have to pay for their success. When Ed Ho opened Globe Earth in Rosedale in 2009, the tony neighbourhood welcomed him. He liked the location and its wood-burning oven. But as the end of his five-year lease approached, the landlord wanted to jump the rent from $33 to $61 a square foot (TMI included). In the 10 years prior to Mr. Ho taking over the space, there were nine different tenants.

At 4,700 square feet, Mr. Ho was paying about $13,000 a month. And the landlord wanted close to $24,000.

"At the end of the negotiation, I basically realized I would be working for the landlord and that there was no way forward that made economic sense," said Mr. Ho, owner of Globe Bistro on Danforth Avenue.

A pioneering restaurateur can always save money by moving farther away from urban density.

But how far is too far, before customers won't come to you, or the neighbourhood won't or can't support your kind of restaurant?

Foxley is the restaurant that started the boom on Ossington Avenue in 2007, when there was no nightlife on the strip. Chef/ owner Tom Thai leveraged cheap rent to try something fresh, his signature South Asian styles of ceviche, in a location that may not have been popular, but was close enough to other dense or commercial districts. With the street now vibrant and busy, Foxley is only still there because Mr. Thai negotiated a 15-year lease.

Whether that's good or bad, the one thing that residents, landlords and restaurateurs agree on is that these restaurants are harbingers of change.

"When you see a restaurant or cafe open, within the next couple years a condo development is gonna happen," says Suzanne Barr, chef/owner of Saturday Dinette. "It's a sign of a neighbourhood that is on the cusp of something really great. We were lucky enough to get in when we did and be a part of that."

Since opening in 2014 at the corner of Gerrard Street East and Logan Avenue, her restaurant has become a lively community hub, locals dropping in not just for weekday meals, but during off-hours to coo over Ms. Barr's newborn son.

"We're the epicentre of any new neighbourhood. We should be able to reap the benefits."

Thursday, May 25, 2017


A Globe T.O. article on Saturday on rising restaurant rents incorrectly said Toronto brunch restaurant Starving Artist was opened by Brittany and Bryan Jackson. In fact, it was founded by Bryan Jackson and former partner Tara Hendela.

Driving like a dream
GM has performed all the necessary tricks to turn this suburban appliance into a legitimate off-road contender
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, May 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page D7


Price as tested: $44,215

Engine: 3.6-litre V-6 gasoline, 2.8litre diesel

Transmission/drive: Eight-speed automatic (gasoline); six-speed automatic (diesel)

Fuel economy (litres/100 km): Gasoline, 14.7 city /13 highway; diesel 12.4 city/10.7 highway

Alternatives: Toyota TRD, Nissan Pro-4X

With Raptors and Power Wagons, TRDs and Pro-4Xs, the heated off-road truck market has delivered some pretty amazing products recently, each claiming their own performance niches.

Where could a latecomer, such as General Motors, carve out its own spot?

The answer is in a hopped-up version of the Colorado, the midsized pickup that was (thankfully) completely redesigned and reintroduced to the North American market in 2015.

The Colorado ZR2 is unapologetically built on the bones of its basic kin - but this is no lipstick on a pig. In fact, the vehicle is rock solid, with a traditional body-on-frame construction (unlike Honda's car-like Ridgeline), appealing looks and utilitarian - but, okay, let's say it - uninspiring engine options.

GM has performed all the necessary tricks to turn this suburban appliance into a legitimate offroad contender. The front bumpers and fenders have been cut back to allow clearance for big objects, taller suspension lifts the truck five centimetres higher off the ground, cast-iron control arms up front add durability, standard steel-tube protectors save the rocker panels, aluminum plates shield the radiator and transfer case from errant rocks and 31-inch Goodyear Duratrac off-road tires sit on handsome 17by-eight-inch aluminum wheels.

The front and rear track has also been widened by 8.9 centimetres.

But that's not the real story of this truck. The real story is in the inspired decision to turn to a Canadian high-performance parts maker to create highly innovative shock absorbers, the likes of which have never been seen on a production off-road vehicle before. GM contracted with Multimatic Inc., of Markham, Ont., to adapt their unique dampers to a truck application.

Multimatic created something called Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSV) dampers for Formula One race cars. Those dampers contributed to F1 championships from 2010 to 2013, and they are also used in the Ford GT supercar, among others. The 2014 Camaro Z/28 was the first production car to use the technology, and now, the Colorado ZR2 is the first off-road vehicle.

The secret sauce is in the unique spool valves that take a novel approach to modulating the flow of fluid in the shocks, says Murray White, Multimatic's technical director for vehicle development. The net effect is that they respond with the right amount of cushioning and support in a broad range of conditions, hang tough in the rough and let the truck glide like a limo on pavement. Even after hours of punishment, their self-cooling design prevents shock fade. Most important, they save your spine even when you're doing your best Dukes of Hazzard imitation.

Which is what we did in western Colorado's semi-desert. We hammered these trucks around a pitted dirt track, caught big air with 70 kilometre-an-hour jumps and then climbed up and down rock ledges. Yet instead of dropping like a bucket of bolts, the truck landed those jumps like a deer leaping over a fence and then stretched to extremes as it tiptoed down the rocks. Flex was virtually undetectable.

The ride on the pavement at the end of the day, meanwhile, offered near-sedan smoothness.

Multimatic execs at the reveal admitted that adapting their expensive boutique product to an affordable high-volume production vehicle was a challenge that forced the company to scale up in a hurry.

Also impressive are the electronically controlled transfer-case options. The driver need only pop into neutral at low speed to switch from two-wheel drive to four-high or four-low. The rear axle, or both front and rear, can also be locked by push button - a handy option in extreme conditions.

A little less inspiring was the 3.6L V-6, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Although the revvy engine produces a claimed 308 horsepower, it is no small trick to get it on its power peak when you most need it.

The Duramax diesel engine was our preferred option (adding $4,090 to the price tag). It produces just 181 horsepower but its 369 pound-feet of torque makes mountain-climbing feel like a Sunday picnic.

Towing capacity is rated at up to 2,268 kilograms.

Mid-sized trucks have a few offroad advantages over their fullsized brethren. For one, it's easier to squeeze through tight spaces, such as the rocks and tree branches that threaten to add random stripes to your paint job.

They're also a bit lighter - the ZR2 weighs around 2,130 kilograms, depending on how it's equipped.

Full-size trucks can weigh up to a tonne more.

GM says the ZR2 covers two market-niches: desert runner and rock crawler. That would, in effect, give you the best of what the Ford Raptor (desert) and Ram Power Wagon (rock crawler) can do. The smaller trucks also have their limitations, however, such as those smaller wheels which find it tougher to climb over big rocks.

What is for certain is that Chevy has dropped an absolutely serious contender into the midsized off-road market, a turf largely owned by Toyota and Nissan in North America. The Colorado ZR2 has just raised the bar; it will be exciting to see how competitors respond.

The writer was a guest of the auto maker. Content was not subject to approval.


Sporty update on the basic truck, more cute than aggressive.


Nicely appointed for a truck you plan to flog over rocks and plow through desert sand with.

The optional leather is a classy touch - if you can live with the fact it's going to get dirty.


The suspension is robust and versatile, absorbing the hardest of landings, yet providing sedan smoothness on paved roads. The sturdy little diesel has so much torque it barely wakes up on climbs. The V-6 is more workmanlike - adequate but uninspiring. Both are available with two-wheel-drive, 4WD Hi and Lo, and front and rear locking axles.


Switching from 2WD to 4WD requires literally just the push of a button. A favoured feature, however, is a real-time dash display showing tilt and angle of the vehicle. It also comes with descent speed control, back-up camera and, naturally, GM's OnStar communications and nav system.


Put the showy spare tire in the back and you've got about enough room left for a couple of fishing rods and two bicycles. The crew cab version comes with a teensie 5-foot-2 box; the extended cab has a 6-foot-2 box. No sheets of plywood are going in here, but that's not why you're buying the truck, is it?


9 This is a highly attractive alternative to the full-size off-road products. This right-sized contender strikes a nice balance of power, agility and rock-solid design.

Associated Graphic

The mid-sized pickup from Chevrolet strikes a nice balance of power, agility and rock-solid design.


Out-of-this world architecture
A course at the University of Calgary has masters students building homes for Martian explorers
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, May 12, 2017 – Print Edition, Page G10

In August, 2016, NASA awarded six contracts to companies to develop habitats for astronauts on Mars to support its ambition to establish a human colony on the planet by 2030. In September, 2016, SpaceX revealed its plan for a manned mission to Mars by 2022.

As the race to the Red Planet heats up, architects are starting to seriously consider what a habitable human colony there could look like and the University of Calgary has been fuelling the debate with a new course for masters students called Mars Studio.

"Students have been working on two projects in the studio over the past three months," course instructor Jessie Andjelic says, "firstly to design a temporary settlement for up to six people for the year 2030 and secondly to design a settlement for up to 100 people for 2050. In preparation for that, we spent time considering what the opportunities on Mars might be; why would we go there and what the environmental considerations would be to establish life there."

The course has had six guest lecturers including a NASA Space Architect and the university's chancellor, former Canadian Space Agency astronaut, Dr. Robert Thirsk. Dr. Thirsk holds the record for the longest space flight by a Canadian with 188 consecutive days in orbit in 2009.

"We're already starting to consider what is the next human space flight endeavour beyond the international space station and it will likely be the moon," Dr. Thirsk says. "I wouldn't be surprised if we have a moon habitat 10 years from now, which would be a stepping stone to Mars, which is widely recognized as the ultimate destination."

"There are two planets in our solar system which have the potential to sustain life, one is Earth and the other is Mars," he continues. "I would envision a habitat on Mars 20 years from now."

Dr. Thirsk says he believes space architecture is "set to be a blossoming field" and he's "tremendously excited that the University of Calgary is at the forefront of that."

His own experiences living in space orbit formed the basis of his lecture to students.

"Architects would do the astronauts a great service if they could design habitats that reminded us of home, of family, of nature and appeal to all five of our senses," he explains. "By definition, an expedition to Mars would be a minimum of 21/2 years in length. If we could hear the ocean waves and smell cedar and lilac and touch natural surfaces and not just cold steel, that would really help aspects of psychological stability."

Ms. Andjelic, who is a founding partner at Spectacle Bureau for Architecture and Urbanism, agrees architecture would be an important "bridge" between astronauts and Earth.

"From Mars, planet Earth would be just a star in the sky and conversations with Earth would come with at least a threeminute delay," she says. "So, for those first settlements there would definitely be a desire to create familiarity. We spent a lot of time looking at how to adapt typologies from Earth to create a sense of connection and belonging for that first generation of settlers." "We also had students consider vernacular architecture so, when you're bringing everything from Earth and all of your materials and reliance is still on Earth, how do you create a meaningful connection with a new planet?," she continues.

Dr. Thirsk speculates that aesthetics will also be driven by functionality, at least initially.

"The first buildings on Mars certainly won't look like cathedrals, they're going to be primarily functional and designed to deal with the challenges of radiation and such. But I think there will be some commonality with habitats on Earth. Windows for example: Humans need to be looking outside, it feeds our curiosity which is part of our DNA.

Mars also has one-third of the Earth's] gravity, which means architecture there will have an up and a down."

Ms. Andjelic says observing her students' design process for other-worldly architecture was "exciting and really eye-opening."

"Everybody looked at the project through a different lens.

Some people focused on this idea of exploration in a new frontier while others focused on how you would establish a culture in the place. Some people looked at how resource extraction might shape a colony while others looked at what life might look like if space tourism existed there," she explains.

Student John Ferguson took the course as an opportunity to speculate on what elements of current culture might find their way to a new planet and how those might manifest themselves architecturally.

"I was interested in looking at corporate land ownership and how workers' colonies might begin to occur around mineral and water extraction," he explains. "I looked at oil sands and the way those communities grow. My architecture ended up being a mobile colony designed for resource extraction; like a mobile colony which strip mines its way across the landscape."

Ms. Andjelic says many students identified interesting parallels with establishing a new territory on another planet and the establishment of settlements in Western Canada.

"Here you had oil and the railroad, which established settlements, and on Mars resource extraction also comes into play but it would be a different way of expanding a territory because here you would land by flight and then expand from there," she says.

Mr. Ferguson admits his design is "a dystopian view rather than a utopian one, based on the idea that corporations are the controlling force on the planet," but says he enjoyed the freedom afforded by "designing for a context which is largely devoid of context."

"Lack of context means there's no reason to slap a gable on something or add a peaked roof," he says. "The only things you have to consider are atmospheric pressure and protection from radiation."

Ms. Andjelic says it's exciting for architects to design free from earthly constrains but warns you can't tear up the rule book for architecture just yet.

"It's not that there's no rules, there's different rules and we're still learning what those rules are," she says. "Because the processes are different, the process of accessing air and water, gravity, the construction process which would likely be using drones or automated robots or 3-D printing, that means the buildings will look very different."

While the architects continue to speculate on what habitats for Mars could look like, Dr. Thirsk says he is certain of one thing: That the future of humanity depends upon the establishment of habitats on other planets, and architecture has an important role to play in that.

"I don't think that Earth is our cradle for humanity," he says. "I think we're destined to move elsewhere into our solar system and from there our great, great, great, great, great grandchildren will find humanity and civilization elsewhere, outside our solar system. That might sound like science fiction but that's what I believe to be true."

Associated Graphic

University of Calgary student John Ferguson designed a regional hub for a mining development as part of the course.


Designs for buildings on Mars will likely have some commonality with Earth so that people living there still feel a connection with their home planet.

Eternal sunshine of Meghie's spotless mind
The rising Toronto filmmaker joins forces with YA star Nicola Yoon for the fantastical Everything, Everything
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, May 19, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R3

Nicola Yoon wrote Everything, Everything in small snatches over three years in the morning twilight, as her baby slept between 4 and 6 a.m. Terrified of the laundry list of things she felt she needed to protect her newborn daughter from (allergens, bacteria, viruses), Yoon imagined a world where a young girl named Maddy grows up medically unable to withstand the necessary filth of normal life. What would it be like for a teen girl to come-of-age by herself, inside her hermetically sealed home? Then girl under house arrest meets boy on the other side of the glass, and Maddy's sterile world of pressed white T-shirts and daily blood work starts to spin on a new axis.

A modern Romeo and Juliet redux, Yoon's debut young-adult novel sprang to the top of The New York Times bestseller list and stayed put. The movie rights were optioned to MGM, a script was adapted from the novel and a copy was sent to Hollywood newcomer Stella Meghie. Stars aligned, light through yonder window broke and Everything, Everything with Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson was born.

Yoon and Meghie are both part Jamaican, both Libras (even sharing the same birthday) and they vibe on a complementary aesthetic level. Meghie was just basking in the glow of her first film Jean of the Joneses (which got her an Indie Spirit Award nomination) when the MGM script appeared. Jean of the Joneses is a quirky, Brooklyn independent film that premiered to praise at SXSW and endeared itself to audiences at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival - so Meghie thought she'd make another independent movie next. She sat on the Everything, Everything script for a couple of weeks. Finally, after some gentle nudging from her agent, Meghie read it and found in its pages some of the family drama and romance that had made Jean of the Joneses come to life. A spark. Meghie explains that Yoon's book "was this dark fairy tale to me. I saw it as the YA version of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - it was such an interesting dynamic and tone that you really had not seen in this kind of movie before.

"I literally finished the book, put it down and five seconds later picked up my phone to talk to the producer," the director says. "I gave notes on the story and how I saw it - as if it had all sunk in! I was talking off the cuff, but when you connect to something, you can."

Meghie, who was born and raised in Toronto, did not intend to become a Hollywood director overnight. "It's been so fast I don't know that I've unpacked it," she says. "It was just serendipity with this project and with Nicola."

It would be easy to credit serendipity for Meghie's fast-tracked career, but that would discredit the director's extreme talent, which has caught the attention of the industry on every level. After leaving a career in fashion PR, Meghie took up screenwriting in 2010, producing a first draft of Jean of the Joneses at the University of Westminster in London.

From there, she won a prestigious screenplay award at the Nantucket Film Festival, followed by a joint fellowship between the Canadian Film Centre and the Tribeca Film Festival.

Everything, Everything, though, represents a new opportunity for Meghie. The film was shot over 29 days in Vancouver (as a stand-in for California) and Mexico (posing as Maui), with a budget, it's fair to guess, that outstripped Jean of the Joneses by many decimals. Where did the money go?

"You'd have to ask the producers," Meghie says with a laugh.

"We had a set, which we didn't have for Jean, so the productiondesign budget was bigger. The crew was bigger. But you know, it was the same job. The stakes are higher because there's more money, but it's the same job. If you don't get the performances you need, your movie is going to suck."

Suck it does not. Meghie gets the performances she needs from Stenberg (best known as Rue from The Hunger Games) and Harry Styles-lookalike Robinson (Jurassic World) as the young lovers Maddy and Olly. Stenberg, an activist and outspoken supporter of Black Lives Matter, has been vocal that the interracial relationship is an important aspect of the book and film. The need for more black women in lead roles is close to the hearts of Yoon and Meghie, too, though the author bristles at the question of why it was important to have an interracial couple.

"Maddy looks the way she does because my little girl looks the way she does," Yoon says. "And my husband is Korean-American and we are happy! We are not struggling and we certainly don't think about being interracial. We are totally in love, we are goofy and this is just life. These are just two kids who find each other and make each other happier. They just are."

Letting go of her book - watching as it passed through different hands and changed from her original vision - was hard at first. "But you see different versions of the script and then you start finding things that are new and different and better," Yoon says. "And that's a beautiful thing. It's nice to see another piece of art from something that I started."

Even though Meghie connected with Yoon's novel immediately, she takes the artistic licence needed to make Everything, Everything her own. What is subtly magical in the book is transformed into fantastical tableau - moments that telescope Maddy out of her ill captivity. "There isn't really fantasy in Nicola's book - it's magical. So I was trying to figure out how to make the film feel magical," Meghie says. "It's not just a quirky, indie film. There are huge grappling themes and I felt like the fantasy elements made the small film feel bigger."

There were practical reasons for diverging from the original text, too. Focalized through their teenaged imaginations, Meghie allows the lovers to be in the same room as their many text and online conversations unfold. These scenes of fantasy afforded Robinson and Stenberg physical proximity, "much more than if we'd kept it grounded," Meghie explains. And when you have two young, gorgeous leads like these, you want them in the same room as much as possible.

Of the cast and chemistry, Meghie thanks Lady Fortune. "We got lucky, and we had a week together to rehearse. It was kind of like a Breakfast Club. We'd get together in the morning and just talk, and then realize that we should work," she says with a laugh. "I remember once I had to take a phone call and I looked up to see Nick rolling Amandla around on a cart like a makeshift wheelchair and she was holding a plant like they were straight out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - while I was trying to talk to an executive. The chemistry was just there and their chemistry was very real."

Associated Graphic

Director Stella Meghie says she instantly connected with the book Everything, Everything.


'I'm going to cash out'
An avalanche of listings turns a market on its head
Friday, May 19, 2017 – Print Edition, Page G4

Toronto real estate agent Davelle Morrison recently bought a truckload of modern chairs, crisp bed linens and stylish lamps. She had to, she says, because the surge in listings in the Greater Toronto Area has sucked up all of the furniture normally used to make properties look as appealing as possible.

The stagers who place the furniture are so overbooked that Ms. Morrison had to track down an interior designer with some time to spare. "One furniture rental company had to shut down," she says.

Ms. Morrison says she invested in her own stock of furniture because she's going to need it for other properties in the pipeline.

This is just one weird twist in a market that has been turned on its head.

Agents are also reporting price cuts for some listings, bidding delirium for others and a swarm of investors looking for deals.

After holding on to their rapidly appreciating asset for so long, some sellers in the Greater Toronto Area appear to be rushing headlong to cash in. Buyers who lamented that there were so few listings now seem incapacitated by the amount of choice.

"I think they're overwhelmed - there are so many houses to look at," says Ms. Morrison of Bosley Real Estate Ltd. "No matter what neighbourhood they want to be in, there are so many houses to look at."

In another harbinger of change, Ms. Morrison has also started receiving phone calls that are strange to her ears: Listing agents are pleading for her to bring her house-hunting clients to their properties.

Ms. Morrison recently listed a duplex for sale in the posh enclave of Moore Park. It's the kind of property that appeals to both investors and those who want to live in half of the house while renting out the rest.

"No agents booked showings," she says.

Quite a few did go through the agents' open house, however, and one brought a client who promptly made a "bully" offer - which means the potential buyer refused to wait for the scheduled offer deadline. Ms. Morrison says her client decided not to take the bully bid and wait instead to see what happens at the table on offer night. The indecision in the market has agents perplexed: Showings are down but bullies can be as aggressive as ever.

Another wrinkle, Ms. Morrison says, is that house hunters are so accustomed to competing in multiple offers, they are flummoxed by houses that are actually available to buy.

Buyers are not attuned to "offers any time," she says.

Ms. Morrison listed a duplex for sale at 137 George St. in downtown Toronto with an asking price of $1.26-million. When it didn't sell within days, buyers began to wonder what's wrong with the house. They were interested in the location and the property, she says, but they became wary when there wasn't a bidding frenzy.

"How often do you get houses that are walking distance to the St. Lawrence Market?" she says in disbelief.

She recently generated a new round of showings when she cut the asking price to $1.199-million.

Sellers, she believes, figure the time is right to take some profits after a stunning run-up in prices over several years.

"I'm going to cash out and make a move," she says of the sellers' psychology.

At the same time, not all properties are being stifled. Ms. Morrison knows of one house that was listed with an asking price of $1-million plus. It sold for $1.6million, she says, when in her opinion it should have sold for $1.3-million.

"I don't see how it will appraise," she says, figuring that a lender will be hesitant to provide the financing.

But some sellers have waited too long, she believes. Those who might have received eight offers earlier in the year may now get only two.

"Some of the sellers are greedy and they just want more and more and more," she says. "We're in a new market now - you can't expect the moon."

Figures from the Toronto Real Estate Board show that new listings surged by 33.6 per cent in April compared with April, 2016.

That compares with sales in the earlier part of the spring when listings had plummeted 50 per cent from the same time last year.

TREB reports that the average price jumped by 25 per cent in the GTA in April from the same month last year.

The market shifted gears at about the same time three levels of government were holding confabs to decide whether they needed to take action to curb runaway price growth in Toronto and surrounding communities.

In April, the Ontario government brought in a cluster of new policies, including a 15 per cent tax on purchases by foreign buyers.

Christopher Bibby of ReMax Hallmark Bibby Group Realty Ltd. has seen both sides of the patchy market.

This week he sold an Ossington Avenue penthouse that drew seven offers and sold for $230,000 above the asking price of $999,900. The unit is very spacious with an unobstructed view and a terrace, Mr. Bibby says, and buyers tend to step up for such rare properties. On the same day, he reduced the price on another listing by 5per cent.

Never has he seen more investors out looking for deals, says Mr. Bibby, who specializes in the condo market.

"A month ago everyone is in a panic about a lack of inventory and unaffordable properties," he says. "Now we have a surplus and buyers are hesitant."

Ira Jelinek of Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd. says his own business has slowed after a fast start to the year. He was so busy in the first few months of 2017 that he didn't have time to prospect for new clients. Now he's building up the pipeline again.

Mr. Jelinek thinks it's too early to tell if a malaise has settled over the market or if there's any broad slowdown. "If anything it's just a psychological change."

He says some people can choose to sit on the sidelines but those who have recently sold their existing house or are having another child or another life change may not be able to. For those reasons, he expects properties will continue to change hands. Sellers who have a fantastic location and the correct asking price will still attract buyers, he says.

The condo segment of the market continues to see brisk trading even as some single-family homes languish.

Mr. Jelinek recently sold a twobedroom condo unit at 33 Bay St. for $930,000 after listing it for sale with an asking price of $869,000. The 930-square-foot unit drew three offers.

He believes that many condo buyers are looking at the amount they would pay in rent for a similar unit and figuring they might as well buy and pay down some principal on a mortgage, he says.

"Money is still cheap on the street," he says of the low level of interest rates.

Associated Graphic

When a bidding frenzy didn't happen for this duplex at 137 George St. - walking distance to St. Lawrence Market - potential buyers began to wonder if there was something wrong with it.

Few early challengers of any stripe emerge to take on Tory
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M1

The starter's pistol for Toronto's 2018 mayoral race doesn't officially fire until next May. But to mount a serious, $1.5-million campaign with a chance of knocking off an incumbent such as John Tory, any real challenger needs to be lacing up their running shoes now.

And while Doug Ford, who lost to Mr. Tory in 2014, has repeatedly threatened - but not yet committed - to rile up his suburban Ford Nation base and run again from Mr. Tory's right, no progressive champion has emerged. Yet.

Traditionally, first-term mayors do not face strong opposition: Mel Lastman handily beat leftwing environmental activist Tooker Gomberg in 2000, while David Miller easily fended off conservative Jane Pitfield in 2006.

Some potential left-wing standard bearers - including downtown city councillors Joe Cressy, Mike Layton and Kristyn WongTam - say they are not interested for now in facing Mr. Tory, who has pledged to serve just two terms. Liberal MP and former councillor and TV reporter Adam Vaughan says he is too busy in Ottawa working on the federal government's national housing strategy.

This, despite the fact that Mr. Tory, who has been busy defending himself from the Ford threat by keeping property-tax hikes low and championing both the Scarborough subway and the rebuilding of the eastern Gardiner Expressway, may have exposed a weakness on his left flank.

One surprising political outsider just might be persuaded to take a crack at it. Former Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president and chief executive officer Richard Peddie tells The Globe and Mail that he has not ruled out taking on Mr. Tory in 2018.

A career executive who held leadership roles at Pillsbury Canada, SkyDome (now Rogers Centre), Labatt and the Toronto Raptors before being credited with transforming MLSE into the massive multifaceted enterprise it is today, the Windsor-born Mr. Peddie has long been a charter member of Toronto's corporate elite.

But he calls himself a progressive, and surprised many of his business-world peers by publicly endorsing Mr. Tory's NDP challenger Olivia Chow in the 2014 race. He said he would support another such candidate next year, if one were to emerge. But he says he is also considering a run himself.

While Mr. Peddie, 70, is about to take over as chairman of the philanthropic Toronto Foundation, for months he has been meeting with city councillors, political advisers and urban-policy experts, as well as criticizing Mr. Tory's policies on Twitter - causing rumours about his ambitions to swirl.

In an interview this week over a salad at the private Soho House club on Adelaide Street West, he said the Toronto City Hall scuttlebutt was at least partly true: "No, I am not running for mayor. I would consider it, because I am worried about the city ... I do worry about where we are going."

His platform, if he were to run, would appear to borrow much from the playbook of council's left.

Mr. Peddie is starkly critical of many of Mr. Tory's signature moves. He calls both the $3.5-billion one-stop Scarborough subway extension and the plan to rebuild the elevated eastern Gardiner Expressway rather than tear it down "horrible." The mayor's insistence on only an inflation-matching 2-per-cent property-tax rate hike, with spending cuts imposed this year and a budget freeze set for 2018, also rankles.

If he was mayor, Mr. Peddie says, he would have increased the city's relatively low propertytax rate by as much as 5 per cent, producing more than $75-million in additional tax revenue. That, he said, would have rendered this year's divisive debate at council about cutting front-line shelter staff, for example, completely unnecessary.

"We're a rich city. And we have a revenue issue. ... We're way too low on property taxes," Mr. Peddie said. "Those debates we had about eliminating 10 front-line people, a lot of that would have gone away."

Ms. Wong-Tam says she plans to run for her council seat in 2018 and isn't contemplating a shot at the top job - although she wouldn't categorically rule one out in the future. She also heaped praise on Mr. Peddie, who shares her own views on the Gardiner and the Scarborough subway.

"I think he is actually quite formidable," Ms. Wong-Tam said. "I have an incredible amount of respect for him. And it has a lot to do with the fact that he is just so willing to listen and learn. ... He deeply cares and loves this city."

Mr. Layton, son of former councillor and federal NDP leader Jack Layton, would not rule out a mayoral run but says he is focused at the moment on countering Mr. Tory's budget cuts as a councillor: "I already have a vote on council, like every other councillor, including the Mayor. So I am going to use whatever powers I have in that role to continue to try to fight that austerity and cuts agenda."

In a City Hall corridor this week returning to his office from a workout, Mr. Cressy ruled out any mayoral campaign for 2018. And he was blunt about how his ambitions have been tempered after a gruelling term as councillor: "I'll be brutally honest: For a long time, it was something that was front of mind for me. Over the last three years here, amidst bouts of anxiety and depression, realizing the toll this place takes, what had long been something I had seriously considered is now an open question for me."

In an interview, Mr. Ford said he has yet to decide whether to try for a seat next year at Queen's Park in his home base of Etobicoke North under Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown or take another shot at the mayor's chair.

"I'll tell you, Tory and Wynne are making it very difficult for me. Both the city and province are a financial disaster," Mr. Ford said. "... My heart is with the city. I'd love to go back in there. I understand the city inside and out. That's obviously a tougher challenge, to go around the city and put the campaign together versus running in Etobicoke North as an MPP."

Recent polls put Mr. Tory ahead of Mr. Ford. And any campaign, by anyone, against the mayor would be tough slogging. Since winning in 2014, Mr. Tory has maintained a relentless schedule of campaign-style news conferences and photo-ops, and his fundraising last time set records, hauling in $2.8-million, close to double the spending limit. His office wouldn't comment on speculation around the 2018 race.

"The next election day is more than a year away," spokesman Don Peat said in an e-mailed statement. "Right now, Mayor Tory is focused on standing up for Toronto and doing the job he was elected to do - building transit, tackling traffic congestion and getting more affordable housing in the city."

Associated Graphic

Former city councillor Doug Ford, left, may have lost to current Mayor John Tory in the last election, but that won't necessarily prevent him from staging another electoral challenge.


Can Ottawa's new plan lower drug costs?
Canada pays some of the highest pharmaceutical prices in the world, an issue the Health Minister is vowing to fix