Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F4

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. -- It took him four tries.

The first time Fernando Avila left home in El Salvador in the care of a coyote, he was caught in Mexico, detained, and sexually molested in a jail. He was 14. On his next attempt to go north, he was again caught in Mexico and deported. On his third try, he was stuffed in a bus full of other kids in Guatemala; the driver was inebriated and went off the road, and a five-year-old and a 16-yearold travelling with Fernando died that night. He escaped with a head injury; he was hastily bandaged in a hospital, and deported.

Then, last May, his extended family pooled all the money they could muster, for one last try.

They had to get him out; they were certain that he was out of time, and the gangs would no longer spare him. They got him into Mexico. There he waited for months, stuck in a small house in the centre of the country while relatives in the U.S. worked frantically to earn enough to pay for the rest of the trip. Finally, they sent cash, and the coyote drove him to the banks of a river, loaded him into an inflatable black-and-orange dinghy, waded into the water and towed him across the Rio Grande.

Fernando climbed out in the shallows, walked up to a truck parked nearby, and said to the border patrol agent at the wheel, Necesito ayuda. I need help.

It was Sept. 18, 2016.

A desperate bid to flee the gangs

A year before, The Globe and Mail told the story of Fernando's family and their frantic efforts to get their child out of El Salvador, where 25 people were being murdered each day in a country with the same population as Toronto.

He became one of the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children who fled Central America to try to cross into the United States and make a claim for asylum. Parents entrusted their children to human smugglers who took them through territory controlled by drug cartels, where they risked kidnapping; sexual assault; forced labour in narcotics production; death by dehydration, exposure and drowning; even abduction for organ theft.

The trip is monstrously dangerous, and the only thing worse is staying at home.

"If I send him, he may die," Irma Avila said then. "But if I keep him here, he will die."

(The Globe has changed the family's name, because they risk violent reprisal in El Salvador for talking to a journalist, and because Fernando is now at risk in the United States).

Fernando has, for the past four years, been targeted for forced recruitment into one of the gangs that rule swaths of El Salvador and are engaged in what is, in effect, a civil war, between each other and against the government. Members of the Barrio 18 and the Mara Salvatrucha 13 battle continuously for territory and then kill each other in an unending cycle of retribution, while the state ventures in and out of the fray with periodic crackdowns, carrying out extrajudicial killings and stoking the violence. El Salvador had the highest murder rate in the world last year. The gangs rely on young people, because they constantly need to replace dead members and because criminal penalties for minors are lower than those for adults. Many young men join up - because life in the maras seems like the best option in a desperately poor country, and because they don't have a choice.

The Avilas wanted to keep Fernando, who dreamed of being an engineer, out: Their shy, dreamy boy would be dead within days with the Barrio 18, they were sure.

When it was published in 2015, the Avilas' story helped to illuminate a crisis that was mostly being viewed through the lens of a swamped U.S. immigration system, flooded with Central Americans fleeing violence. The Avilas' dilemma helped to explain why parents were making a choice, the dangers of which they knew full well, to send their children away. And it also demonstrated how the U.S. has outsourced its border control to Mexican authorities, effectively moving the frontier 3,000 kilometres to the south, in an effort to choke off the flow of Central Americans.

The Globe has since kept track of Fernando, and other young Central Americans repeatedly attempting the journey to the United States, and this story was originally intended as an update on their progress, as they reached America and began new lives as refugees, far from parents and siblings, but finally safe.

Now the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, and the executive orders on immigration and refugees in his first days in office, has thrown their future into question once again.

An extended family in peril

Fernando always imagined that when he got to America, he would go to school, and learn English, and work to start helping his family pay back their debts. He would go to court - "a real court, one that functions, not like El Salvador" - and tell the judge his story, and be granted asylum. And after a few years of studying and working, he would become a citizen. He could sponsor his little sisters, get them out of El Salvador, before they were old enough to attract the eye of a gang leader; he could perhaps go to college.

Instead, he finds himself in a position nearly as precarious as the one he left behind. He is working - drywalling, night shifts doing renovations in a national drugstore chain, on a crew with other undocumented teenagers.

He earns $80 (U.S.) a day, and sends half of it home to his mother. He is waiting for a court date to make his initial case for asylum. But he is no longer sure if the U.S. will admit refugees, no matter how good their case, or indeed even if he will be permitted to proceed with his claim. It's a reasonable fear: Immigration lawyers and refugee-rights groups have no idea what rules apply now either.

If, instead, he is detained and deported to El Salvador, he will, in the best-case scenario, be a target for redoubled pressure and harassment from the gangs: He defied them in leaving, and because he went to the U.S., they will see him as a flush source of funds. There is also a significant possibility that he will simply be killed: Researchers tracking undocumented Central American children who have been deported in the past three years have a tally of more than 100 migrants who were murdered by gangs on their return.

And in the meantime, Fernando has imperilled his entire extended family. In order for him to be released from a youth detention centre by migration authorities, his Aunt Helena had to identify herself to the Department of Homeland Security, prove that she could act as his legal guardian, supply her address, and respond to followup communications. That system was created to protect unaccompanied minors who were detained at the border. But it has had the effect of making Helena, who has been in the U.S. working as an undocumented migrant for the past five years, and by extension her whole family, known to and immediately locatable by Homeland Security.

The administration of former U.S. president Barack Obama had an unwritten policy that it would not target such family members, acting as guardians for asylum claimants, for deportation. Mr. Trump, with his pledge to deport three million of the people he calls "illegals," has made no such indication. With her job in construction in Florida, Fernando's Aunt Helena is the sole source of support for both her ailing mother, and her own two children, back in El Salvador; she has also been the emergency source of funds to rescue teenagers in the extended family who were targeted for extortion and kidnapping by the maras. If she is deported - from the house whose address she gave to Homeland Security, where she must by law stay if Fernando is to pursue asylum - all of that will be lost.

"I thought twice about it," she said, when the call came telling her to come and register to claim him. "But really I had to do it. So I did.

"Of course, with the documents I had to provide to go and get him, they could come for me," she added. "Any time they want."

A precarious perch in America

I first met Fernando in the parking lot of a migrants' centre run by the government in San Salvador in August, 2015. I had already spoken to his parents earlier that day: Irma and Eduardo had been sitting anxiously in a row of hard chairs, waiting for the buses full of kids to roll into town from Mexico. They told me how crushed they were that Fernando was caught, after the effort it took to raise the money to send him - and also how profoundly relieved they were that he was on his way back, because they had been sick with worry since the day they handed him over to a coyote on a bicycle a few weeks before.

The Avilas were self-contained, self-possessed, and immensely dignified. I talked to them for about 45 minutes, and then moved on to other families. But a couple of hours later, I happened to be in the parking lot as Fernando arrived: I saw him seek out his family, his face a mix of relief, happiness, and the raw awareness that his return was a disaster. I watched as his tiny sisters wrapped themselves around his legs, as his mother hugged him hard, and then as Fernando's studied bravura fell away when his father, no taller than he, wrapped an arm around his shoulders. The boy began to weep, and then his father did, too, and the little girls froze, eyes enormous, at the sight.

I went on to spend a fair bit of time with the Avilas, including a visit to their home in a town called Aguilares, where I had a brief but thoroughly terrifying taste of what life is like living under the maras. The family talked me through the finances - the money lenders, the network of relatives, the "three tries" package they bought to try to get their son over the border. Irma sent me word when Fernando left for his second try a few weeks later, and I waited for news - it wasn't good; he was caught again. Once more, his mother went to meet the bus from Mexico, so glad to have him where she could see him, and more desperate than ever to send him away.

It was more than a year before I heard good news from Irma: In November she sent a message that Fernando had made it to the United States, been detained, and then released to make an asylum claim. He was with her sister in Miami, and they were all jubilant.

I kept my reservations to myself, but I was more cautious: Just 40 per cent of Central American children's asylum petitions are granted, and almost all of those from children whose families are able to pay a lawyer.

(Only two per cent of Central American adults are granted refugee status.) It didn't seem at all certain to me that Fernando would be allowed to stay in the United States. While no one disputes that Central America is convulsed with violence, and that young people are its disproportionate victims, refugee status is, in theory, available only to someone who can prove they are being targeted as a member of a "group" - because they are gay or transgender, or a member of a religion or ethnic minority, or, in a growing body of claims, a woman. Gang membership is not considered a basis for "persecuted group" status, and neither is forced recruitment.

But I interviewed immigration lawyers who told me that Fernando's case sounded relatively strong, and that, at a minimum, he would likely be able to stay in the U.S. for several years as he exhausted all avenues for appeal.

Those would be years in which he could pay off some of his family's monstrous debt, and years in which he would be safe.

And then, 51 days after he arrived in the U.S., Donald Trump was elected the next president.

Persistence, and mounting debt

Barrio 18 first came for Fernando in 2013. It started with the standard mix of intimidation and enticement. When Fernando resisted, it escalated to phone calls at all hours of the night: "We will cut your tongue out. We will cut your ears off. We will dig out your eyeballs. We see you walking to school. We are coming." A car with tinted windows crept along beside the path where he walked to class each morning. There was no help to be had from the police, who almost never investigate forced recruitment - and if the gang knows you have reported them, it means certain death. So Fernando stopped going to school.

Then a childless uncle living nearby, who is a welder and relatively prosperous, began to get phone calls, ordering him to pay $1,000 or else Fernando would be killed. He paid, and the threats stopped for a while.

Then Aunt Helena, in Florida, began to get the calls, too. If Fernando wouldn't join the mara, they would make money off of him other ways. In recordings she made of the calls, the gangster's voice is harsh and snarling, as if to mimic the dogs that bark in the background. "Send it," he says. "You know we don't play."

They said they would put a bomb in her elderly mother's house, that they would kidnap her daughter, murder Fernando.

From Helena, they wanted $4,000. She pleaded that she was sick and not working - on the recordings her voice is high with anxiety, but she is not cowed.

"Who are you?" she demands.

"What's your name?" She tried to buy them off by sending small chunks of money here and there, precious dollars intended for clothes and school fees for her own children. "I fed them," she told me, bitter and rueful and resigned all at once, with the euphemism they use in El Salvador for extortion payments. "You think, 'Hell, I'm going to work all day to feed these bastards.' " After Fernando was deported the second time, the harassment grew more intense: Sharp-eyed mara spies noted his absence; they saw his attempt to flee as defiance, and they knew the family had scraped together the money to send him. They stopped Fernando in the road near his home, and told him he must join. He later told me that he had tried to answer vaguely. "I knew it was just a matter of time until I would have to go again."

Staying, giving in and joining the Barrio 18 so that all of this would just stop: He couldn't face it. "It's crazy - killing someone and then someone kills you," he said. "They don't have feelings - for them it's just fine to kill people. But not for me."

The Avilas had purchased a three-attempt package from the coyote, but he refused to honour their third try without a new payment - and it wasn't as though they could call up the police to complain. (El Salvador's government downplays the role of the country's public-security crisis in driving the flood of children northward, but does little to stop the human-smuggling pipeline.)

The family, frustrated that Fernando had twice been caught in Mexico, decided they would try someone new: It took until May - months that Fernando largely spent inside the family's threeroom house, trying not to attract any attention - for them to raise the $4,000. That was the trip during which the van crashed in Guatemala.

In June, less than a month after he came back, with his head a scabby mess and his memory still blurry, his parents sent him again: "I was scared, thinking about the accident and hoping nothing would happen." But his grandmother urged him to leave - "She said, 'You have to go before something happens to you here.' " The Avilas went back to the first coyote, and tapped the whole extended family to come up with the first $1,000 as an initial payment. When he set off, he had company: A cousin came, too - a girl his age the gangs had been demanding payments for - as did a friend who was being forced into a sexual relationship with a gang leader. They did the first part of the journey, into Guatemala, themselves - Fernando knew the way well, by that point. In a bus station there, the coyote's guide picked them up in a car.

This journey, he told me, was better. It wasn't a succession of days spent climbing into and out of vans, walking through the underbrush to skirt police posts or borders. The guide was less harsh than the ones who took him before, and Fernando felt safer than he had on previous trips.

They crossed into Mexico at La Mesilla, then took dirt roads up to Tuxtla, the capital of the state of Chiapas. When they encountered Mexican police posts, the guide just straight-up said the kids were Salvadoran migrants; clearly, Fernando said, someone important had been paid, because they were waved through. From Tuxtla, they took the highway north to Pachuca in the centre of the country.

And there they waited - nearly three months - while his Aunt Helena and her husband and another aunt worked and scrimped so that they could send the next $1,000. Finally, one night near midnight, the guide hustled Fernando and the girls into a pickup truck and they drove up to Reynosa, a town where the Rio Grande forms the border with Texas. For the next two days, the teenagers dozed in preparation for another nighttime journey.

And then the third day, they were woken in the late afternoon with the words, "Today you're going to cross."

Grateful for 10-hour work shifts

The river was far narrower than Fernando had anticipated. He can't swim, and neither could the girls, but he tells me he wasn't scared as he clambered into the little boat and the guide slipped into the water to start pulling the rope. "I was just thinking, 'I'm going to cross' - I was just excited." There was still enough light when they got out that they could make out the truck belonging to la migra, the border patrol. The Mexican trafficker stayed nearly submerged in the water, but whispered for them to walk toward the headlights.

The agents in the truck were kind, Fernando says, and so were the next ones, at the detention centre in McAllen they drove them to. "They asked why I had come, and I told them about the gangsters." They let Fernando call his aunt. The family had heard from him a few times on the road, when the coyote guide let him to call to say he was safe. By now, their anxiety was feverish.

"When he called - I was very happy, because he'd been through the most dangerous part," Helena said, about the region around the border crossings, which are controlled by narco-traffickers who routinely prey on migrants, robbing and raping them, or worse. "That's where they kill them, that's where they make them suffer the most - so that was past."

Homeland Security held Fernando there for a month. He lived in a dorm full of other kids, went to school in the days, and says it was a nice place. The U.S. authorities were generally kind, he says, and spoke to him in Spanish, and were vastly more gentle than the Mexican police who had three times arrested him.

When his paperwork was cleared, a staff member took him on his first trip on a airplane (an experience he found unpleasant) and he landed in Fort Lauderdale to begin his new life.

He went to live with his Aunt Helena and her husband; a few weeks later they were joined by another teenage cousin who made it across the Rio Grande.

The family rents a ground-floor apartment in a row of nondescript townhouses in a neighbourhood of strip malls, pawnshops and nail salons. The boys share a room with two single beds on the floor; in the main room, there is one small couch, one kitchen chair, and a TV where they watch Mexican and Venezuelan telenovelas when they get home from work.

When he's alone, Fernando writes and sketches in a journal: He muses about God always giving him one more chance, about destiny and whether it's determined - and writes about how much he misses Wendi, a girl back home.

Fernando's prize possession is an LG smartphone, which he uses to call his family in El Salvador through WhatsApp. That's the worst part: how much he misses them all. He steels himself not to weep when he calls. In any case, his sisters badger him to send money for dolls, so that makes him laugh.

He works 10-hour day shifts, or slightly shorter night ones, drywalling; he wants to get more skilled and move up the crew hierarchy so that he earns more.

He comes home from work caked in white powder, and aching, but he's glad to have work.

He would like to be going to school - maybe he could do night school - but he's tired and his erratic schedule makes it difficult. His Aunt Helena had to badger the bosses in the construction crew she has worked on for years to hire him; they prefer to avoid the scrutiny that comes with hiring kids, even if they're cheap.

His asylum paperwork sits in a stack of envelopes in a plastic shopping bag on the narrow kitchen counter. There is a packet that Homeland Security gave him when they released him, listing pro bono legal resources that could help with an asylum case.

But it is in English, and no one in his family had read it. There was also a letter, ordering him to appear in court in December. Fernando didn't go: The letter was in English and no one in the family found someone to translate it in time. Standing in their kitchen, I felt a flash of disbelief, and I asked - after all this, the coyotes and the cartels and the debts, you missed your first court appearance because no one tracked down someone who could read a letter?

No one met my eyes. They were tired - bone weary from years of manual labour and constant anxiety about deportation - and they had no experience of a government that functions, or might possibly function, in their interests. We saw different things, the family and I, when we looked at that letter.

The weirdest thing, Fernando told me, about America, when he finally got there, was that everyone spoke English, all the time.

He'd never really thought about how that would feel. The language, the daunting unfamiliarity, means he goes from work to home and back; what he sees of America is through the dirty window of the van, or the venetian blinds of the apartment.

Executive orders, vast backlogs

The right to claim asylum was set out in the United Nations 1951 Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, and the right of those with a "wellfounded fear of persecution" to seek sanctuary in the United States has subsequently been enshrined in several acts passed by Congress. Mr. Trump's executive order freezing refugee claims for 180 days is the most substantive move to restrict that access.

It has left organizations that assist refugees and migrants scrambling to understand the legal implications, and braced for what may come next.

Asylum seekers such as Fernando are following a process well established in international law, notes Tammy Alexander, who works on immigration policy in Washington with the Mennonite Central Committee, an organization that assists asylum seekers across the U.S. But there is nothing in the law that obliges states to grant refugee status.

Trump executive orders so far have called for the mandatory detention of refugee claimants (so Fernando would remain in detention for the years it takes to process his claim), Ms. Alexander notes. However, a number of lawsuits brought by refugees during the Obama administration obliged the government to release them, so it is unclear if or how that order will be followed.

The executive order talks about immediately adding 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and building more detention centres - but, she notes, those centres are already housing record high numbers of people, and ICE is contracting space in jails to try to accommodate them. There is already a years-long backlog in processing cases; moving swiftly to deport claimants will mean hiring thousands more judges, which was not included in the order.

Meanwhile, people such as Fernando's Aunt Helena are now at enormous risk, she says, simply because they followed the law.

On Friday, the Associated Press reported that a leaked White House memo shows President Trump is considering mobilizing 100,000 National Guard troops to round up undocumented migrants.

Eleanor Acer, who works on refugee protection for the organization Human Rights First in Washington, says that, even without an outright ban on refugees, her organization is expecting hasty processing of claims - "rocket dockets" - without legal counsel or time to gather evidence.

But she believes that refugees will continue to be able to make claims in the U.S. "The Trump administration could look to find loopholes or ways around the law or ways to evade U.S. obligations under the Refugee Protocol but that doesn't mean that at the end of the day they will be successful," she says. "The odds of the U.S. withdrawing from the refugee convention drafted in the wake of World War II, which the U.S. was highly influential in drafting - I think that's highly unlikely."

Ms. Acer pauses, and notes that her comments reflect a surprising degree of optimism in the wake of the executive orders.

"That would be extraordinary, if they did that. The Refugee Protocol is the cornerstone of international law. Then there's no rule of law globally, if they did that."

On the day of Donald Trump's inauguration in January, I flew to Fort Lauderdale to see Fernando.

He waited for me on a corner near his house, wearing a pressed-crisp flannel shirt buttoned all the way to the top and a black baseball cap flipped backward. At the incongruous sight of him, so far from the red dirt road lined with bougainvillea where I last saw him, I jumped out of the car and gave him an entirely unprofessional hug. He endured it with an awkward 16-year-old grin.

We went to Denny's, where a waitress in a spectacular blond wig called everyone "honey" and kept trying to refill our giant cups of soda. On the TV screen above us, Mr. Trump in his long blue overcoat strode past banks of flags.

Fernando had a tiny patch of whiskers on his chin; his nails were bitten to the quick.

He isn't much of a talker at the best of times, and he was ill at ease in the diner. Haltingly, he talked about how much his family owes - $13,000 all together - and how desperate he is to improve his drywalling skills so he can earn more. His eyes filmed briefly with tears when he talked about the serious risk that his family will lose their house. A lawyer to handle his asylum case, meanwhile, will cost $6,000.

Later I joined his family in their apartment, and when he was out of the room, his Aunt Helena said gently that Fernando is terrified that he will be sent home, before he has been able to pay off his debts.

At work, she said, everyone is talking about Mr. Trump, about whether he really would target and deport all undocumented migrants, and even those who are claiming asylum like Fernando.

"If I'm deported - my mother will die," she said. There is no way, she said, that she could earn enough to cover her mother's medication and care costs with the wages she would earn in El Salvador. "Trump says they're going to deport everyone. Then, what are we going to do? I'm scared. We're all so scared."

Mr. Trump popped up again on the muted television beside us. Helena bristled. "If all of us immigrants are gone, what happens to the U.S.?" she said in rapid-fire Spanish, making a dismissive gesture toward the screen. "We're the ones working here, working like teams of oxen."

A little later, Helena softened again, and said it would all have been worth it - the debts and the threats, even if she is deported - if Fernando gets refugee status and the right to stay.

"I don't have papers, I will never have. They could come and get me. But he will have it. We're going to get a lawyer and he will have papers - so it was worth it for me. Because you want the best for your family. If he can make something of himself here, I'll be very glad."

Stephanie Nolen is The Globe and Mail's Latin America correspondent.

Associated Graphic

Fernando lives with his Aunt Helena's family in a rented ground-floor apartment in a Fort Lauderdale neighbourhood of strip malls, pawnshops and nail salons.


Matrimony is about love, family - and an adult identity in the eyes of the law. How the couples of Canada's past fought for the right to have a future, together
Friday, February 10, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Marriage has gotten a rough ride in recent years.

As Canadians live longer, many are having second thoughts about monogamy over the long haul.

The divorce statistics are bracing: Some 41 per cent of marriages will end before the 30th anniversary in this country. Some partners are hoping to beat the odds by not marrying in the first place, opting to live common law or even in separate homes instead. We are starting to ask some hard questions of marriage: Does it really strengthen a commitment? Is the only sure thing about a wedding the ballooning price tag?

Despite the bad rap, most Canadians will end up marrying someone at some point in their lives - and many will spend at least $30,000 doing it.

Today, they marry for love, often wedding their best friends and work confidants. The institution has evolved past strict duty and now means many different things to many different people. Still, some elements remain constant: A wedding confers social recognition and signifies "adulthood," ensuring that a shared estate pays forward to the children.

We have a sense of what matrimony means now, but what did it mean to generations past in Canada?

Well, the stakes were infinitely higher than how the Pinterest photos turned out. For many years, marriage empowered husbands and suppressed wives, who would lose all of their property rights, earnings and custody of their own children to their "better half" when they put a ring on it. Marriage carried a heavy toll for interracial partners and gay couples, who were long denied the right to wed in peace, or at all. For these lovers, getting married was about much more profound recognition as human beings.

Ahead of Canada's 150th anniversary, The Globe and Mail delved into the major milestones, stunts and scandals of this country's matrimonial history - the heavy and the light. Did you know that prior to 1882, a man who tried to marry his dead wife's sister could be accused of incest? Or that Canadians divorcing before 1986 would often hire private investigators to spy on their cheating spouses? Or that many wives in Quebec couldn't get a bank account without hubby signing off - until 1964? The Globe traces the evolution of marriage in Canada and the spouses who fundamentally changed the institution.

1867: In the beginning The British North America Act split up jurisdiction over marriage in Canada: The federal government was handed control over marriage and divorce, while provinces were left to handle ceremonies as well as marital property rights, postdivorce and remarriage. Officials were wary of the situation playing out in the United States, where marriage and divorce were left entirely up to individual states, resulting in a piecemeal system that allowed bickering couples to cross state lines in pursuit of quickie splits. After Confederation, Canadian newspapers would often set this country apart from the United States by invoking the "morality" of Canadian families, mocking the lax divorce laws of our supposedly more promiscuous neighbours to the south.

1872: Steps toward gender equality The slow legalization of married women's property rights began in Ontario, which gave wives the right to earn and control their own wages in 1872. Before the law changed, they had to fork their earnings over to their husbands. Ontario also went first with the 1884 Married Women's Property Act, which gave wives the right to buy their own property (other provinces and territories trickled along in the subsequent decades). Things were perhaps most dire in Quebec, where wives who hadn't signed a special marriage contract were infantilized as "legal incapables" and needed their husbands' permission for nearly every facet of adult life, from signing a lease to opening a bank account.

This finally changed in 1964, when Bill 16 gave married women legal capacity to act independently of their husbands.

1882: Sister act "People moved in smaller circles in those days and the range of marriage partners was less extensive," legal historian Philip Girard said, explaining why a man might want to marry his dead wife's sister.

"Many people thought that this was actually the ideal situation: The deceased wife's sister would be familiar with the family and she'd already be an aunt of the children." But it was a touchy idea both for Anglican lawmakers, who considered the setup incestuous, and proto-feminists, who feared it might "complicate and sexualize family relationships, that even when his wife was alive, the husband might already be looking at the sister as a potential replacement," Girard said.

Nonetheless, a Quebec MP appealed to have the laws reformed and, in 1882, husbands whose wives had died were permitted to wed their wives' sisters. Not surprisingly, the prospect of women marrying their deceased husbands' brothers was a bridge too far: That remained illegal until 1923.

1887: Making it official A federal order-in-council legally recognizes traditional indigenous marriage, meaning these couples didn't have to go the Christian route to wed, the only option available to non-indigenous partners. Marriages performed according to indigenous customs were honoured, so long as they were not polygamous. In an era plagued with high anxiety over polygamous Mormons, who practised plural marriage until 1890, the Canadian government was desperate to protect monogamy.

1919: Female Refuges Act A draconian amendment in this year to the 1897 Female Refuges Act allowed Ontario officials to incarcerate unwed and pregnant women between the ages of 16 and 35. It arose in the wake of the First World War, University of Ottawa law professor Constance Backhouse writes, when "anxieties about the disruption of gender roles and working-class female sexuality were running high." In her 2008 book, Carnal Crimes: Sexual Assault Law in Canada, 1900-1975, Backhouse notes that parents could haul daughters under the age of 21 before a judge if they proved "unmanageable or incorrigible" (other provinces used juvenile-delinquency laws to control young women in similar ways).

Hundreds of Ontario women were imprisoned for "morality offences" through the Depression and Second World War. Most were pregnant or had had extramarital sex with men who weren't white; they were often forced to raise infants in prison or lose them to Children's Aid. Many were poor and uneducated, and many had been victims of sexual abuse before being imprisoned. "They went from the frying pan and into the fire," Backhouse said. "It's a terrible history."

1920: Hollywood-bound Toronto-born actress Mary Pickford married swashbuckling actor Douglas Fairbanks on March 28, 1920, just 26 days after divorcing her ex in Nevada, where it was convenient to dissolve a marriage quickly.

Local legislators contested the paperwork, a battle that would go on for two years.

The public didn't seem to care and the celebrity couple were swarmed by fans on a honeymoon through Paris and London.

They settled at Pickfair, a 25-room mansion in Beverly Hills and the first with a pool, through which the half-Canadian duo once paddled a canoe.

1925: Splitsville For the first time, the new Marriage and Divorce Act let Canadian women divorce on the same grounds as men: adultery.

Prior to 1925, wives had to prove their husbands were not just cheating but also engaging in desertion, bigamy, rape, sodomy or bestiality. Even the government's insistence on adultery as grounds for divorce was problematic, given that some couples were trying to split under less trying circumstances, such as falling out of love.

1930: Miscegenation blues Unlike the United States, Canada had no blatant laws banning interracial marriage.

But while the stigma was more informal in this country, it could be just as terrifying. As Backhouse describes in her 1999 book, Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada, 1900-1950, much of this terror was at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan. In 1927, Klansmen congregated in Moose Jaw, where they burned a 60-foot cross and lectured a large crowd on the risks of mixed-race marriage.

Three years later, on Feb. 28, 1930, some 75 Ku Klux Klan men dressed in white hoods and gowns marched into Oakville, Ont., and burned another massive wooden cross. They had arrived to intimidate Isabel Jones, a white woman, and her fiancé, Ira Junius Johnson, a man presumed to be black but later found to be of mixed Cherokee and white descent. The woman's mother had summoned the KKK to separate them.

The Klansmen kidnapped Jones, 21, and dumped her off at the Salvation Army, where they would keep surveillance on her for days from a car parked outside. In front of the couple's home, they burned a cross and threatened Johnson. During the invasion, the police chief recognized many of the Klansmen as prominent business owners from Hamilton as they plucked off their hoods to shake his hand.

It was only after several black Toronto lawyers pressured the Ontario government that four of the Klansmen were arrested for being "disguised by night," a trivial charge related to burglary. Just one of the four men - a Hamilton chiropractor and father of five - was convicted and given a measly $50 fine. An appeals court eventually sentenced the Klansman to three months in prison. Undaunted, Jones and Johnson married one month after the ordeal.

1939: The colour line, continued Four months pregnant and eating breakfast with her fiancé in their pyjamas at their Toronto home, 18-year-old Velma Demerson was confronted by her father and two police officers. Demerson's father had sicced the cops on his daughter for what was scandalous behaviour at the time: Demerson, a white, unmarried woman, was living with a Chinese man, Harry Yip, and was carrying his child. Under the Female Refuges Act, Demerson was deemed "incorrigible and unmanageable" and incarcerated for nine months at Toronto's Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women, where she was locked in a sevenfoot-by-four-foot cell. While pregnant, Demerson was experimented on and mutilated by a female doctor who, disturbingly, believed the prisoners' genitals held clues about their purported immorality. "I blame the institution. The government allowed it, let's face it," Demerson, now 96, said from Toronto. "We have a lot to know about our background, in terms of how women were treated." Demerson brought a civil action against the Ontario government in 2002 for unauthorized imprisonment, pain and suffering. She was offered a settlement and a public apology.

1968: The blame game The passing of Canada's first unified federal divorce law allowed divorce on the grounds of adultery, mental or physical cruelty, desertion, a spouse in jail or a separation period of three years spent living apart. In an earlier era, Canadian spouses had to publicize their intent to divorce in multiple newspapers over six months - including details of the demise of their relationships - then petition the government to let them go their separate ways. But while the 1968 law was more civilized, for feuding husbands and wives, three years of separation predivorce was an excruciatingly long wait.

Those hoping to speed things up had to prove to judges that they had been cheated on or abused. Toronto lawyer Philip Epstein remembers those early, extra messy days before no-fault divorce came into play in 1986. "They were interesting times," said Epstein, who started practising law in 1970. "You had to have private investigators hanging out of hotel windows and sitting in cars, watching people go in and go out, to prove the adultery.

That was a whole industry. It was sleazy."

1971: Trudeaumania It was Canada's royal wedding: On March 4, 1971, Prime Minister (and most eligible bachelor) Pierre Trudeau, 51, quietly married Margaret Sinclair, 22, in Vancouver.

The reception was intimate, with just 14 guests attending. The menu included turtle soup and pear flambé, but even the caterers were surprised to see who they were hosting, having been told it was an anniversary party. The wedding photographer was also left in the dark, as was Trudeau's entire cabinet: The PM liked to keep his private life private, and so they thought he'd gone skiing. When the unhappy marriage dissolved in 1984, Trudeau became Canada's first divorced, single-dad Prime Minister.

1972: Pioneers of love The road to legalized gay marriage was long, and several couples paved the way.

On Feb. 2, 1972, Montreal singer and journalist Michel Girouard and pianist Réjean Tremblay signed business partnership and personal union contracts in Canada's first widely publicized gay marriage ceremony, held at a downtown discotheque. Two years year later, Richard North and Chris Vogel were married at Winnipeg's Unitarian Universalist Church. They were issued a certificate, which now hangs in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, but were denied an official marriage licence.

As of 2017 - 43 years after their ceremony and more than a decade after Manitoba legalized gay marriage - the province has yet to register the men. Vogel, a retired civil servant, and North, a retired nurse, have launched a human-rights complaint against the Government of Manitoba, claiming it has discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation - then and since.

"We discovered back in 1974 that of all the things that people didn't want homosexuals to have, the one thing against which there was the strongest resistance, was marriage. Perhaps that's what caused us, in part, to do it," said Vogel, who is now 69. "There does seem to be an inexplicable but nevertheless lingering refusal to fully accept the notion of same-sex marriage. In nooks and crannies all over the place, people are still holding out."

1973: Women's work The case of an abused Alberta ranch wife named Irene Murdoch served as a potent catalyst for the overhaul of matrimonial property rights in Canada. Murdoch had reportedly been beaten so severely by her husband that her face and speech were permanently damaged.

She divorced him after 25 years of marriage, requesting a share of their ranch. It was a prosperous operation she'd helped build, but the title remained in her husband's name. Murdoch insisted that she had paid for part of the ranch and was responsible for all the haying and raking, driving of tractors and trucks as well as dehorning, branding and vaccinating cattle for five months out of every year.

She was initially awarded a pittance ($200 a month in "maintenance" payments) and denied any share of the property. The Supreme Court of Canada gave her ex-husband all the ranch land, the home and its furniture, the horses, cattle and machinery equipment; the wife was also ordered to pay a portion of his legal costs.

In a much-maligned ruling, Justice Ronald Martland argued that Murdoch's free labour hadn't saved her husband any money.

What followed was mass public outcry demanding nationwide reform of family law to treat spouses as equal. The Murdoch case "shocked the consciousness of Canadians," Mysty Clapton, assistant dean at the University of Western Ontario's law school, wrote in 2008. It also helped unify wives under one movement: When a skit about Murdoch's nightmare toured through rural communities, "It struck the farm women like a thunderbolt," one of the performers had said. "Each of them suddenly realized, 'I am Mrs. Murdoch.' " .

1974: The stuff of gossip In a highly publicized case, Seagram's tycoon Edgar Bronfman Sr. sued to annul his marriage to Lady Carolyn Townshend on the grounds their union was never legally consummated. During the bitter trial, the distiller testified that they'd had sex more than 25 times before the wedding, but never after. Bronfman demanded the return of several prenuptial gifts, including a million-dollar trust fund, $50,000 of jewels and a baronial mansion in New York.

His wife balked at the story, claiming she had instigated sex with her drunk husband on their Acapulco honeymoon, thereby consummating the marriage. The pair eventually reached an out-ofcourt settlement and their stormy marriage was annulled, but not before all of Canada cringed.

1983: No means no A disturbing fact: Just 34 years ago, rape was considered to be an offence only outside of marriage.

"Husbands could do with their wives as they wished: Women were deemed to be sexual property," said Backhouse, who holds the University Research Chair on Sexual Assault Legislation in Canada.

On Jan. 4, 1983, Bill C-127 came into effect and, for the first time, the Criminal Code made clear that spousal sexual assault was now a crime. Still, Backhouse argues, "There's a legacy here that we haven't been able to shed." In 2015, a survey from the Canadian Women's Foundation found that more than 10 per cent of Canadians still believe spouses do not need to get consent from each other before having sex.

1985: Status update Indigenous women who married non-indigenous men faced prejudice well before Confederation.

In 1876, the Indian Act made this discrimination legal, decreeing that indigenous women would be stripped of official Indian status for marrying non-native men.

This meant women (and their children) lost the right to live on their ancestral reserves, among other legal and societal losses.

Evelyne St-Onge was exiled from her Innu community in 1968 after marrying Gilles Audette, a white Quebecker man she met while looking for a date for her graduation from nursing school.

"When I met him it was like I'd known him for a long time," StOnge, now 71, said through a translator. Their marriage six months later was met by a warning from her father: "He told me, 'You're marrying someone who's different from your own nation.

You're going to lose a lot.' I was in love and I didn't care." When their daughter, Michèle, was born in 1971, the family moved to StOnge's parents' reserve near Schefferville, Que., where the exclusion grew palpable: "The elders told me that I had betrayed them by marrying a white person.

They told me I no longer belonged here," St-Onge said.

St-Onge and her husband split in 1979, and she moved Michèle and son Benoît to Maliotenam, an Innu community on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River.

Here, St-Onge had a son named Sylvestre with an Innu man.

The prejudice persisted: This boy was refused vaccination because of his mother's prior marriage to a white man, which had legally stripped her of native status. "I was considered white," St-Onge said. "They said in order for Sylvestre to be considered Innu, his biological Innu father had to adopt him." Her mixedrace children, meanwhile, faced racist taunts in both provincial and Innu schools in Quebec. "It caused me a lot of pain as a mother," St-Onge said.

In 1974, St-Onge co-founded Quebec Native Women to fight the discriminatory clauses in the Indian Act. In 1985, when the laws finally changed, she re-registered as an Innu in Ottawa and got her status back. "It meant my children would be protected in the future," St-Onge said of the victory. "It was a war. It was my story, but it's also the story of a lot of native women."

1986: At last! The advent of no-fault divorce meant most spouses no longer needed to get into the nitty-gritty of their dissolutions before a judge. Now, after living apart for just one year, they could simply pen in "marriage breakdown" and get out of Dodge.

1988: He shoots, he scores Wayne Gretzky and bride Janet Jones set off wedding fever in Edmonton with their 1988 nuptials, as 5,000 well-wishers crowded outside St. Joseph's Basilica to get a glimpse of the Great One - and Jones's gown. Memorable for its enormous leg-of-mutton sleeves, Jones's dress reportedly cost $40,000 and took 1,500 hours to sew. The wedding gifts filled three rooms at a local hotel, the Toronto Star's Rosie DiManno reported, and included a gold swan from Soviet goalie Vladislav Tretiak (swans are good luck, the Russian explained, because they mate for life).

1993: Who needs a piece of paper?

Before Catherine Peter moved in with William Beblow, he was spending $350 a month on a housekeeper - money he saved when they decided to live together. The couple never officially married, but she cared for six children (four hers and two his) and tended to the pigs and chickens on the property. When the relationship dissolved 12 years later, Beblow's lawyers claimed his girlfriend had been doing the housework out of "natural love and affection," that he hadn't been enriched by his partner's housework and that she didn't deserve a share of the family assets. Supreme Court Justice Beverley McLachlin disagreed, writing that this attitude about gender roles "systematically devalues the contributions which women tend to make to the family economy." Peter got the family home as a result. It was a powerful statement about the value of domestic work: Peter's toiling in the home had distinct economic value.

1994: Power of love With a towering, seven-pound crystal tiara perched on her head and a 20-foot-train behind her, Quebec pop goddess Celine Dion wed her manager and long-time flame, René Angélil, in an overthe-top ceremony at Montreal's Notre-Dame Basilica. Hundreds lined the streets to gawk and scream at Dion, 26, and the husband twice her age. The whole spectacle was broadcast live on Canadian TV.

2001: Trail-blazing down the aisle Elaine and Anne Vautour's wedding day was extraordinarily nerve-racking. The officiant, Rev.

Brent Hawkes, wore a bulletproof vest, having been accosted that morning by a woman in the front pew of Toronto's Metropolitan Community Church. Anne, then a daycare teacher, and Elaine, a counsellor for homeless men, were picked up by a private security firm in an armoured Yukon SUV and then driven around the neighbourhood.

"I found it intimidating," remembered Elaine, now 59.

"Every minute, they'd say, 'Estimated time of arrival: Eight minutes. Seven minutes. Six minutes.' When we got to the church there was a whole row of police officers from our Yukon to the door, congratulating us all the way in."

The Toronto ceremony - a double wedding that also saw two men, Joe Varnell and Kevin Bourassa, marry that day - was a key contribution in the early fight to legalize gay marriage in Canada.

Hawkes had cleverly used the Marriages Act, a traditional, religious holdover that allows a marriage licence to be issued if "banns" (or announcements) are published on three consecutive Sundays without a valid objection. Even so, Ontario's RegistrarGeneral refused to certify the Vautours' licence and the women had to wait until the province legalized gay marriage in 2003 to have their marriage officially registered.

"We did it because we both come from families where people had been married for a very long time; we believed in the longterm stuff of marriage. But a lot of it was also about the community," said Anne, now 54. She recalled a Russian man who approached them at church a year after the wedding: "He had heard about our event when he was suicidal and it gave him the hope to keep living. This is why we did it."

2003: Ontario goes first Canada's first legal same-sex marriage was officiated on June 10, 2003, mere hours after Ontario's Court of Appeal declared the Canadian law on traditional marriage unconstitutional. The couple was Toronto's Michael Leshner and Michael Stark - dubbed "the Michaels" - who landed the title of Time Canada's Newsmakers of the Year.

2005: Same-sex marriage for real With the passage of the genderneutral Civil Marriage Act on July 20, 2005, gay marriage became legal across Canada. Just three other countries in the world had legalized gay marriage up to this point: the Netherlands in 2001, Belgium in 2003 and Spain two weeks before Canada in 2005.

Some 3,000 same-sex couples had already married in the eight provinces and one territory that had legalized gay marriage before the federal decision.

2011: Couples only Six years ago, the B.C. Supreme Court upheld a 127-year-old criminal law against polygamy, condemning the practice for endangering women and children. The decision followed an investigation into Winston Blackmore, who was bishop of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), a Mormon splinter group that holds polygamy as one of it tenets.

In Bountiful, a small community in southeastern British Columbia, Blackmore had 27 wives and fathered 145 children; he is now awaiting trial on polygamy charges. In his 335-page decision upholding the ban on polygamy, Chief Justice Robert Bauman wrote about the practice's harms "to women, to children, to society and to the institution of monogamous marriage."

Critics of the decision took issue with its emphasis on monogamy over all other types of relationships, including benign, polyamorous liaisons between consenting adults who have no intention of marrying.

2013: So, about that piece of paper Canadians are increasingly choosing common-law relationships over marriage, and property rights are a bit of a legal Wild West in the court system. Many co-habitating partners are unclear about what they owe and are owed should their live-in relationships dissolve.

Two 2013 provincial decisions took opposite approaches to the problem.

In January, the Supreme Court of Canada decided that commonlaw partners in Quebec were not on the hook for spousal support or property division in the event of a breakup. While the majority of the judges agreed that parts of the Quebec Civil Code discriminate against common-law couples by not extending the same legal protections doled out to married couples, they ultimately decided it was more important to protect freedom of choice, in this case common-law partners choosing to remain outside the legal rules of marriage.

Women's rights groups criticized the decision, saying it leaves women in such relationships - including women who may have wanted to marry their long-term partners but were denied - particularly vulnerable to poverty.

Later that year, the opposite scenario played out in British Columbia.

A new Family Law Act decreed that living together for two years or more gave common-law partners the same rights and obligations as married spouses, including mandatory sharing of properties and debts they accrued during their relationships.

"It's a momentous change because it attaches life-changing consequences to what are in some cases informal living arrangements," The Globe and Mail warned at the time, calling the ruling "state interference."

Some common-law partners protested, too, saying they hadn't consented to being "married." For those who were disgruntled, British Columbia offered opt-out contracts - but couples would need a lawyer for that.

2014: My Big, Fat Gay Wedding Three thousand hors d'oeuvre, 4,000 glasses of sparkling wine, 12 officiants from 12 different faiths and 120 LGBTQ couples graced the grounds of Toronto's Casa Loma for an epic same-sex wedding when the city hosted WorldPride in the summer of 2014.

Couples from all over the world, from Australia and Brazil to Texas and Taiwan, descended on the kitschy castle on a hill, saying "I do" in unison.

Some had been together for decades; others had travelled from less-progressive countries, where their unions would not be legally recognized. "We hope that ... couples here today will take this energy back to wherever they come from," Toronto city councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam told The Canadian Press, "and that they will continue the fight for equality back home."

2016: Annulment, 2.0

Frozen-food heiress Eleanor McCain launched an annulment case against her husband, Jeff Melanson, former CEO of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In court filings, McCain alleged that she'd been "tricked" into the nine-month marriage, which ended, she said, with an abrupt e-mail from him.

She alleged that her estranged husband was a philanderer with an Ashley Madison account who'd harassed female staff at Alberta's Banff Centre, where he'd previously been president.

McCain claimed there was no "free and enlightened consent" in the marriage, which wouldn't have gone down "had she known the truth about him."

Instead of handing her ex a divorce, she pursued an annulment to freeze him out. Melanson disputed McCain's claims, telling The Globe they are "incredibly undignified." This heated legal battle continues.

Associated Graphic

The institution of marriage in Canada has evolved past duty and now means different things to different people.



The British North America Act of 1867 split up jurisdiction over marriage in Canada: Ottawa was handed control over marriage and divorce, while provinces were left to handle ceremonies as well as marital property rights, postdivorce and remarriage.





In 1974, Seagram's tycoon Edgar Bronfman Sr. sued to annul his marriage to Lady Carolyn Townshend on the grounds that their union was never legally consummated; he said they'd had sex more than 25 times before the wedding, but never after. The pair settled out of court.



Dayna Murphy, left, and her partner, Shannon St. Germain, dance after getting married during a mass same-sex wedding at Casa Loma in June, 2014, during Toronto's WorldPride event.


The long, curious fall of Shawn Beaver
The one-time highly respected criminal defence lawyer who was caught stealing money from his firm's accounts opens up to The Globe about the road that led to his disbarment
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A10

EDMONTON -- On the day it all came crashing down, Shawn Beaver got up early and dressed with extra care. He wore polished shoes and a carefully chosen tie, taking care with the little things as though he were dressing for a wedding or a funeral, an added formality to steel himself for what was to come. From the outside, it seemed like he had it all. He was an elite criminal defence lawyer with his own successful firm, a respected legal mind who taught at the university and argued cases before the Supreme Court. His wife had been discharged from the hospital and was at home with their newborn baby. They'd been married one month. Their baby daughter, Aguilera, was one week old.

That morning had been coming for a long time. But although Mr. Beaver had been expecting it - knew it was inevitable even, and that he could not put it off any longer - its arrival was no less grim. He made a phone call from his office, then he left, walking east, toward the courthouse, alone. It was the same route he walked nearly every day to court, a walk he could do almost without looking. But this time, he turned off and went into an office building instead, up 17 floors, to see a long-time friend and mentor who would now become his lawyer. There, Mr. Beaver opened the door and got ready for everything to fall apart.

There are certain admissions to be made from the start.

Mr. Beaver admits there was a deficiency of $180,000 in the trust fund of his law firm, Beaver Leebody and Associates. He admits he was the only person with signing authority to the accounts and that there was "commingling" of his personal funds with the firm's trust funds. He admits that, in some cases, money was taken for work not yet done and that some client accounts were counted as paid before the funds were actually received. He admits that he wrongfully took proceeds of a house he owned with his ex-common-law wife, who has been severely disabled since a stroke in 2006.

There are certain other things that have been found but not admitted. These include that Mr. Beaver also took large sums of money, totalling $115,000, from the account of a severely disabled, homeless, alcoholic and drug-addicted client, for whom he had been given power of attorney.

That, as the head of a Law Society of Alberta panel said at the conclusion of two weeks of evidence, Mr. Beaver took money from the firm to pay bills and personal debts and used the money not only to prop up his firm, but also his lifestyle. That he violated a fundamental rule of the legal profession and took money entrusted to him and to lawyers in his firm that he was not entitled to take.

The panel of two lawyers and one non-lawyer was tasked with deciding what kind of punishment Mr. Beaver should face, both for what has been admitted and for what has been found.

Mr. Beaver's lawyer said he should be allowed to practise law again - albeit with no access to client money. Lawyers for the Law Society argued he should be disbarred. Some former friends and colleagues in the legal community believe he will be lucky not to go to jail.

But questions continue to surround a man who was once one of Alberta's most successful criminal defence lawyers, and a highly respected legal mind. Why did he do it? And, what will he do from here?

Shawn Beaver was five or six years old when he started telling people he wanted to be a lawyer.

His mother would later say her middle son argued every point almost from the time he could talk, and whether it was an innate quality she saw or something she pushed him toward, the idea took hold.

His father was an accomplished electrical engineer who worked on the Canadarm and, later, the guidance system for the Patriot missile; his mother a nurse who monitored her son's accomplishments so closely she collected and kept his schoolwork from kindergarten. Things came easily to him - and he was never one to be modest about his intellectual abilities.

"I was expected to excel at school, but I enjoyed excelling at school," Mr. Beaver said in a series of interviews with The Globe and Mail over recent months. "If I bothered at all, even to read the textbook or to do the assignments, I would get good marks.

Basically, if I can put my mind to it, I can excel or at least rise above the average in any subject. I'm good at absorbing, understanding and repeating information. If I did badly in a course, it was simply because I had no interest."

He got a bachelor's degree at McGill University with first-class honours and was the gold-medal winner of his law-school class at the University of Alberta in 1993 - a distinction which carries so much weight in legal circles that it was mentioned respectfully more than once during his Law Society hearing 24 years later. Mr.

Beaver would sometimes say the thing that made him proudest of the gold medal is that he got it and still never missed a party.

By May, 2015, it seemed as if he had it all. He was, at 46, an accomplished lawyer who headed his own busy firm in downtown Edmonton, a hip space with exposed brick walls and modern furniture. It was in Beaver House, a historic building that happened to share his name and which, when the space came open, seemed almost like fate. He worked with an impressive cadre of lawyers who believed deeply in the work and were arguing important cases at all levels of court. He taught criminal-trial procedure, evidence and advanced criminal evidence, a class he developed, at the University of Alberta. He was social and generous and some friends and colleagues thought of him as a legal genius. But, at the same time, what he had built was on the brink of collapse.

In fact, there had been growing concern about Mr. Beaver within his firm for some time.

He'd been around the office far less, coming in late and some days not at all. He'd left his common-law wife (who had been a lawyer at the firm until her stroke) for another woman the previous summer and his new girlfriend had become a fixture at the office and at university and legal events.

There were questions about his behaviour and judgment, fuelled by his relationship with the much younger woman who went by the nickname Sugar Lips, and by their gushing social-media posts and unabashed displays of public affection.

There had been sexual behaviour between them in the office that some of his colleagues felt was inappropriate, and the tattoos he got for her - a large portrait of her on his arm, a series of words inked onto his chest - became common knowledge.

From lovers' tiffs to lustful displays of affection, their romance played out openly at legal functions and on social media as the staid legal community looked on in wonder.

They married in April, 2015. A month later, their baby was born.

There were serious complications at the end of the pregnancy and with Mr. Beaver spending his days at the hospital, problems that had been simmering at the firm finally rose to a head.

On a Sunday in late May, 2015, the same day Mr. Beaver's wife and newborn were discharged from hospital, two lawyers from the firm met with his assistant, Jackie Bawol, to talk about a possible intervention. The lawyers were increasingly concerned about Mr. Beaver's behaviour and about the stress it appeared to be putting on Ms. Bawol, who was crying at work and seemed almost on the verge of a breakdown.

At a meeting in her backyard, Ms. Bawol revealed the problems were beyond what they imagined.

Sobbing and nearly hysterical, she said cheques had been bouncing and there wasn't enough money to pay the firm's wages and bills at the end of the month. She said Mr. Beaver had been taking money from the firm's trust fund for months. There was no money left.

That night, three lawyers from the firm called Mr. Beaver to a meeting in the office boardroom and angrily confronted him with the allegations he had drained the trust fund. He didn't deny it.

"There was no disputing it. He just sat there with this dead-eyed look in his eye," one of the lawyers, Brad Leebody, would later say, describing the confrontation at the Law Society hearing.

"There was no remorse. No apology."

They gave Mr. Beaver until the next day at noon to report himself to the Law Society of Alberta.

The next morning, after another tense confrontation, Mr. Beaver walked to his lawyer's office and started preparing a letter. Lawyers from his firm were already speaking to Law Society officials when Mr. Beaver's letter arrived by fax.

The lawyers broke the news to the rest of the firm later that day.

What followed were days of chaos and emotion. Everyone was out of work. There was no money, but the clients who had paid for services still needed representation. There was intense anger at Mr. Beaver, confusion and conflict over control of regular office functions, such as client phone calls. In a close-knit firm, where the seven lawyers and support staff were not only colleagues but friends, there were personal losses as well. Each one felt like a devastating betrayal.

Dave Lloyd, an articling student at the firm, had put just more than $5,000 in the firm's trust as an education fund for the young children of his brother, who had died suddenly a short time earlier. That money was gone.

Lawyer Lee Roe, who had been unable to work for a lengthy period because of a heart transplant, had just won a payout in a civil case and was expecting $56,000 at the end of the week, which he had been counting on to repay loans and get back on his feet.

That money was gone, too.

Mr. Leebody, who considered Mr. Beaver such a close friend and mentor that Mr. Beaver was godfather to his children, learned not only that the trust money was gone, but that Mr. Beaver had deceived him about aspects of a house sale, putting Mr. Leebody himself in breach of the Law Society.

A confrontation between the two men became so heated at one point that Mr. Leebody had to force himself to walk away.

"This is the person who is the godfather to my children and I just found out he robbed from me," he would say later, describing the emotion of those days.

Hundreds of case files were prepared to be passed on to other lawyers, and another firm stepped in to pay the salaries of the secretaries and assistants, who hadn't been paid for the previous month and were now out of work. The lawyers, all also out of a job, continued representing the clients they could, while scrambling to find other places to work.

By the end of the week, Mr. Beaver was suspended from practising law. The firm was quickly taken over by a custodian and closed.

After a lengthy investigation, the Law Society of Alberta charged Mr. Beaver with 12 counts related to misappropriating money, breaking accounting rules and breaching professional responsibilities. He also faced additional citations alleging he touched a legal assistant in a sexual manner without her consent and "failed to maintain a work environment free of sexual harassment."

In the 21 months since the trustfund shortage and Mr. Beaver's suspension became public, speculation and rumours have continued to swirl around the legal community. Among the stories Mr. Beaver has heard about himself are that he took up to $7-million and that he was a gambling addict or addicted to cocaine, all of which he strongly denies.

He says he agreed to speak to The Globe and Mail to "let people know that there's more to this story than just what they may have heard."

"I've been convicted by a group of people that apply the reasonable-doubt standard on a daily basis and would object to any hearsay in the proceeding, yet that is their entire reliance," he says.

For Mr. Beaver, what happened can be traced to a day in December, 2013, when his mother became suddenly, severely ill. She died three weeks later. He says he was completely unable to deal with her illness and death and describes what followed as a "dark and blurry" period where he was severely depressed and couldn't cope with life. He says in this time, he lost control of his business, began drinking himself unconscious most nights, and wasn't able to make the decisions necessary to keep the firm afloat.

"Without remembering the day, I would remember the first time," he says. "I'm not sure I can tell you what the client was, even if I wanted to. I just remember feeling desperate and without time, that overwhelming feeling and desire to survive, if just one more day. That's what I remember about it."

All he could do, he says, was try to get through each day. He says he always intended to pay the money back.

He met Chantal Chmilar in early 2014, weeks after his mother's death. And though he says he was in the beginning of a deep depression, it was the start of a passionate love affair. When Mr. Beaver left his former common-law wife for the new relationship in August, angry separation proceedings ensued, which he says compounded his problems.

"I never understood depression, and had biases against it," he says.

"But I can tell you it was a real thing for me."

But those on the outside saw a different, and maybe less sympathetic, picture.

There were romantic dates, travel, extravagant purchases.

During the Law Society hearing, the panel heard that Mr. Beaver was taking personal draws from the firm every day at times, taking home at least $15,000 - and sometimes far more - every month. In the period of the trust shortages, there were large jewellery purchases at Tiffany's and charges from Holt Renfrew, an allexpense-paid trip for all of the firm's employees and Chantal to Mexico, a Caribbean cruise and a trip to Los Angeles he and Chantal took as a couple.

Doug McGillivray, one of the three people adjudicating the Law Society case, questioned whether the financial problems the firm faced could have been solved if Mr. Beaver took less money for himself, adding: "There's a lot of people that would think $15,000 a month before taxes is a pretty good earning."

Mr. Beaver responded that he had a number of expenses, including ones related to his previous relationships and children.

Mr. Beaver also attempted to purchase a $1.975-million house in early 2015, while already deeply in debt and shortly before the trust shortages were exposed. He put a $50,000 down payment on the house, half on a credit card.

"It's one of the many irrational decisions that I was making," Mr. Beaver said, when questioned about the house purchase during the Law Society hearing. He said he could not possibly have closed the deal.

When the trust-fund issues came out, Mr. Beaver sat his new wife down and told her what he had done and that he'd understand if she left him. They had been together just more than a year at the time. She was 22, barely older than his daughters from his first marriage. They had a newborn baby. At their wedding a month earlier, they had read personal vows in which they said they would die without each other.

"He was like, 'I understand if you don't want to be with me.

You don't have to. It's going to be really bad,'" Ms. Beaver says. She remembers telling him, "It doesn't matter if we lose everything and we're on the street. It's you who I loved, it's not everything else. You are the person I fell in love with.

"Everyone always says, 'Oh my God, you've been through so much with him,' " she says. "I'm a hopeless romantic. I believe that when you make those vows, through good and bad, through sickness and through health, you stick to it. You're there for them.

No matter what comes your way, you get through it."

She sat through nearly all of his Law Society hearing, which ran over the course of two weeks. His father and two grown daughters were also there and, after her own testimony, his ex-common-law wife. Near the end there was a police officer sitting alone in the corner, taking notes.

Several lawyers from Mr. Beaver's firm declined to speak to The Globe, in some cases citing the continuing Law Society proceedings and the potential for criminal charges. But the Law Society hearing exposed glimpses of the toll Mr. Beaver's actions have taken on them.

"This has been nothing short of catastrophic," Mr. Leebody told the hearing, looking straight at Mr. Beaver for the first time during his testimony.

Ms. Bawol, who had been Mr. Beaver's assistant for 20 years and left her previous job to go with him when he started his own firm, sobbed at points during her testimony.

"I thought I was the luckiest person because I had worked for a person who was so smart, so ethical," she said. "I thought I was going to retire [from the firm]. I had it made." The panel called a break at one point for Ms. Bawol to compose herself.

Mr. Beaver's disabled client testified behind a screen, because of concerns about his vulnerability.

"Do you know if anyone else is handling your money now?" Mr. Beaver's lawyer, Simon Renouf, asked. The man replied, "What money?" By message, another former colleague described Mr. Beaver's actions as "indicative of someone entirely without remorse."

"Given his conduct," the person wrote, "it is unimaginable that he would be permitted to practise law in Alberta ever again."

Although some of the losses are covered by insurance, payments didn't start for more than a year and aren't guaranteed. Mr. Leebody described himself working for free for a year and a half and said he was thrust into a situation so financially devastating that his wife had to take a job working the midnight shift at UPS. He said he also spent hours at his own Law Society hearing waiting to learn whether he would be disbarred for his role in Mr. Beaver's house sale.

"When I'm done here after today, I don't want to speak about it any more," he said, looking coldly across the room at his former friend and mentor. "I'm done."

Mr. Beaver, meanwhile, also feels betrayed - or at least abandoned - by many of the same people who were betrayed by him. He says he's seen people cross the street to avoid him and many of his former friends and colleagues no longer return his calls or texts. Others, he says, support him quietly, but aren't willing to come out publicly or be seen with him. In his view, his friends were only there for the good times and he resents those he believes simply walked away.

"When my name was gold they wanted to be around me, and invite me to places and seat me prominently. When I'm going through a tough time, they're not interested in having me in the same room, for fear of association," he says. "That has disappointed me, but I've learned more about human nature, and ultimately you have to rely on yourself. That has to be your foundation, because take it from me: Your best friends, some of them will come through, and the rest will pretend they don't know you. And this is an amazing thing to me, because I thought I was a better judge of human character."

It's a feeling those who worked with Mr. Beaver have expressed in return. At the Law Society hearing, Mr. Leebody said he once believed Mr. Beaver "was the best of us, regardless what people said about his private life."

"I would suggest you are a very good judge of character," Mr. Beaver's lawyer, Mr. Renouf, said.

"I would disagree," Mr. Leebody replied.

"He had a very good mask."

The Beavers live in a new house in a subdivision on the edge of the city, within a tangle of crescents and closes and signs for new show homes. Windows along one wall look out over a man-made lake. The shelves are crowded with pictures of them together and souvenirs of their romance.

The house is warm and busy with their young daughter Aguilera, and their other children: her fiveyear-old daughter Bentley and his two grown daughters, who live with them part-time.

During the Law Society hearing, Mr. Beaver was asked if he owned or rented the house, but his lawyer objected, and Mr. Beaver didn't answer the question.

In the period since the trust shortages came out, Mr. Beaver says he was diagnosed with severe depression and has been treated with both medication and therapy by a team of doctors. He says his wife helped him confront the fact that he has an alcohol problem and that he is in the early stages of recovery and going to Alcoholics Anonymous. He credits his wife and daughters for getting him through the past two years.

Ms. Beaver recently started classes herself and has a 10-year plan to get a bachelor's degree and then go to law school. She says she'd like to be a defence lawyer and have her own firm and says she wants to be "the next Shawn Beaver," and make her family proud.

The Law Society panel found Mr. Beaver guilty of seven financial, trust-fund and professionalresponsibility offences, including "purposely and dishonestly" taking proceeds from the sale of the house he owned with his ex-common-law wife, failing to be candid with the Law Society, and misappropriating $115,000 from the disabled client for whom he held power of attorney.

"It is a sad irony that the funding arrangements put in place by Mr. Beaver, supposedly to protect [the client] from the financial predations of fellow street persons, was the very mechanism that allowed most of his money to be taken by the person he trusted most of all," the panel concluded, in a 27-page written decision.

The panel found Mr. Beaver not guilty of three citations and two more were dropped by Law Society lawyers at the end of the hearing. The sexual-harassment and sexual-touching allegations are slated to be heard separately.

Next week, the Law Society panel will meet again to decide what happens next.

Mr. Beaver's lawyer, Mr. Renouf, is arguing that Mr. Beaver should be allowed to start working as a lawyer again and says he would almost immediately begin paying back his debts. He says that Mr.

Beaver has had little or no employment income for the past 21 months because of his suspension, and because the Law Society shut down his attempts to practise as a "legal consultant." He said a former partner of Mr. Beaver's is willing to hire him and oversee his work.

"In many respects it's a tragic story," Mr. Renouf said. "At least to the point where we're at right now."

Lawyers for the Law Society appeared visibly shocked at Mr. Renouf's application to have the suspension lifted and are asking for disbarment. The majority of disbarments in Alberta over the past 15 years involve trust-fund, misappropriation or accounting issues. In one case, for less than $2,000.

The Law Society panel has already ruled that testimony and evidence gathered in the disciplinary hearing be sent to the Attorney-General for criminal investigation.

Mr. Beaver says he's spent the past months with his wife and his kids, volunteering, trying to slow down and deal with his health. He says he's working on plans in case he can never practise law again, though he declines to say exactly what those plans are. He says he's lucky, at 48, to have his "life correction" now, so he still has time to fix it.

He says despite it all, he's finally happy.

"I'm willing to start from the bottom and re-earn respect, or what have you," he says. "When I come back it will just be even better than I was before, and they'll have to respect me."

He is wearing a white dress shirt, slightly frayed around the collar, with the tattoo on his chest peeking through. It is one of the tattoos he got for Chantal, a necklace of ink bearing words of love.

At that moment, there are only two words visible. They say, "My life."


Shawn Beaver faced the three people who would decide his future. Though it was not expected in the hearing, he stood, as if addressing court. He wore a grey suit and a violet tie.

Reading from a prepared statement, he apologized to his clients, to his ex-common-law wife, to the lawyers and staff at his firm, to his assistant and to the three lawyers he once considered to be his closest friends. He apologized to the legal profession overall, to his students, to his alma mater and to his former mentor, Alex Pringle, who died from cancer not long after the trust-fund shortages came to light. He apologized to the disabled client from whom he had taken $115,000, and who he said he thought of as a friend. He apologized to his wife, his children and his father.

For the first time during the hearing, Mr. Beaver cried.

The Law Society of Alberta panel had spent the day considering what penalty Mr. Beaver should face for violating one of the profession's most fundamental responsibilities and whether there was a way to salvage a career that, as one member of the panel noted, could still have a lot to offer the community and legal profession.

There were letters of support, submissions from Mr. Beaver's lawyer that the transgressions were an isolated and exceptional lapse in a long and distinguished career.

But lawyers for the Law Society argued that Mr. Beaver's actions exposed significant flaws in his character and integrity and had gone on for too long - and were too intentional - to allow him to practise law again.

The panel adjourned for an hour. It was evening when they returned.

Mr. Beaver sat at the table with his hands folded before him and his eyes downcast and drew a deep breath. His wife, father and two grown daughters clasped each other's hands in a row of chairs behind him.

The head of the panel, Fred Fenwick, said Mr. Beaver's apology appeared to be genuine. But he also spoke of the vulnerability of some of those who lost money and of Mr. Beaver's profound breach of trust.

He said Mr. Beaver had to be disbarred to protect the public and preserve the reputation of the legal profession and to deter other lawyers who might be tempted to do the same. The panel also ordered that Mr. Beaver pay $120,000 for the cost of the investigation and hearing and recommended the file be sent to the Attorney-General for criminal investigation.

Mr. Beaver's wife sobbed into her hands.

"It's been a difficult matter. It's been well-handled by all involved," Mr. Fenwick said in conclusion. "There's no sense in going on any further."

Mr. Beaver was calm as he led his family from the hearing room, talking to them in hushed tones about the decision, the future. His wife, father and daughters gathered close around him, crying and embracing as they walked out of the Law Society office to the elevators, then headed downstairs together.

Associated Graphic

Shawn Beaver, seen at his home in Edmonton in July, 2016, cites his mother's sudden health issues as the catalyst for his theft of client and firm monney.


Mr. Beaver was the gold-medal winner of his law-school class at the University of Alberta in 1993.


As boomers go, newcomers are the answer
Canada's strong pro-immigration policy is more than just a humanitarian stand. It's an economic imperative
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B8

In the late 1990s, the economy of Winkler, Man., was stuck in a rut. The problem wasn't a lack of opportunity. It was a lack of people.

"We had local people who wanted to expand their businesses, but we had a tough time finding enough workers," says Martin Harder, the mayor of the community of about 12,600 in southern Manitoba, about an hour and a half southwest of Winnipeg and a short drive to the North Dakota border.

The town, a hub for the Pembina Valley's rich agricultural sector that produces everything from grains, beans and potatoes to dairy, beef and pork, was seeing growing opportunities to expand as an industrial base for the region, with manufacturers emerging for farm equipment and modular building construction. But the town's low unemployment and shortages in skilled labour threatened to stifle business growth.

So Winkler launched an ambitious program to recruit immigrant workers - starting with the skilled trades that were critical to kick-starting the community's business investment. The influx of new families spurred a miniboom in housing construction, a need for expansion in education and health services, rising consumer demand that fuelled investment in a range of other businesses. Some of the skilled immigrants eventually became entrepreneurs, setting up businesses and spurring more hiring.

"That's really how it mushroomed," Mr. Harder says.

Today, Winkler is one of the fastest-growing municipalities in Canada (up 18 per cent since 2011, and top five among centres of 10,000 population of more, according to the 2016 national census). The median age of its citizens is a whopping seven years younger than the national median. Its property values are some of the highest in Manitoba.

And the 53 national flags that hang in the foyer of Winkler's city hall - one for every country represented by the town's immigrants - stand as a tribute to how critical immigration has been to Winkler's prosperity.

"Immigration has always been a part of our company's growth," says Doug Eidse, branch manager at Meridian Manufacturing Inc., whose plant in Winkler has expanded from about 20 staff before the immigration push to nearly 400 today - roughly twothirds of whom are immigrants.

"We simply wouldn't have been able to grow the way we have."

The labour problem that Winkler faced is coming, soon, to the entire Canadian economy. And just as it did in Winkler, immigra.

tion is emerging as Canada's solution - the key to keeping its economy fed with the circle of labour that's critical to a thriving economy. Canada is publicly embracing immigration in the face of growing anti-immigrant rhetoric in the United States and in many parts of Europe - something Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed again this week in his visit to Washington. But it's increasingly evident that Canada's strong pro-immigration policy is more than just a humanitarian stand; it's an economic imperative. For the first time in more than a century, immigration may be about to take shape as the critical central cog in Canada's economic growth strategy.

It may not be immediately evident in Canada's 6.8-per-cent unemployment rate, but Canada is headed for a labour shortage; unless someone can reverse the aging process of the population, it's unavoidable. Where a little more than a century ago the country turned to an imported work force to fill the gaping labour hole in its vast untapped Prairie farmlands, it now needs a new wave of immigration to fill the labour hole being left behind by the baby boomer generation.

As that cohort enters its retirement years, the sun is setting on one of the most powerful catalysts for economic expansion in history.

Behind the government's principled public rhetoric is already one of the biggest immigration programs in Canadian history: Last year, Canada took in more immigrants than in any year since 1913 and it intends to at least match that number this year. Yet, demographers and economic experts, including those advising the federal government, warn that even more will be needed to stem the dramatic slowdown in labour force growth that will come as the boomer generation exits to the workplace over the next 15 years or so. Without a major increase in immigration, Canadians can expect to see annual real gross domestic product growth of about 1.5 per cent become the norm in the coming decades, a discouraging shadow of the 3.1 per cent that it has averaged during the boomer-infused past 50 years.

"That demographic headwind is coming. And it's not coming 30 years from now; it's coming now," says Dominic Barton, chairman of the Advisory Council on Economic Growth that federal finance minister Bill Morneau assembled last year to recommend policies to sustain the economy's longterm health. One of its first recommendations, last fall, called for the government to increase the annual immigration intake to 450,000, from the current 300,000.

"Immigration is critical to Canada's economic strategy," Ahmed Hussen, the recently installed Immigration Minister, told The Globe and Mail in an interview this week. "We have always viewed immigration as a key ingredient in our economic growth, prosperity, and our success as a nation."

So far, the Trudeau government has been non-committal on the council's recommendation; Mr. Hussen said only that the government will reconsider its immigration levels in the normal course of consultations for the setting of the target for the next year's immigration intake, which the government announces every fall.

That suggests that the upcoming budget is unlikely to contain any substantial new announcements acting on the council's recommendations.

But the government's strong public affirmation of an open immigration policy, at a time when some other traditional immigration destinations are taking a step back, may present a timely window for Canada to secure a new generation of highskilled immigrants to provide the foundation for its post-babyboom economy. The stage is set for a public debate that could shape the work force - and the country - for generations to come.

Why Canada needs more immigrants

Economic growth essentially boils down to producing more goods and services. There are two ways to do that: Increase labour input (have more workers producing things) and increase labour productivity (get more production from each worker).

While such things as technological advances, investment in equipment and infrastructure and improved education can raise productivity levels, typically labour-force growth accounts for more than half of Canada's GDP growth.

That's where the problem comes in for Canada's economy.

Demographic forces are grinding its labour growth to a halt.

The initial numbers from Canada's 2016 national census, released earlier this month, show the population grew an average of just 1 per cent a year since the previous census in 2011, the slowest pace since Confederation.

Immigration accounted for about two-thirds of that growth. The contribution of so-called "natural" growth - births minus deaths - has been shrinking since the baby boom ended 50 years ago; Statscan projects that in about 30 years, the country's death rate will likely outnumber its birth rate, reflecting the aging of the population. At that point, immigration will be Canada's sole source for population growth.

And it's not just that the population is barely growing, it's also getting older. At the end of the baby boom in the mid-1960s, Canada's median age was 25. Today, it's 40. Thirty years from now, based on Statscan projections, it could be approaching 45.

It all means that more Canadians are aging their way out of the work force, with fewer young people to replace them. In the mid-1970s, Canada's working-age population (ages 15-64) was growing 2.5 per cent annually; since 2010, it has averaged just 0.7 per cent. Based on the demographic trend line and typical immigration rates of the past several years, that working-age growth pace could slow to a 0.2-per-cent annual crawl over the next decade, Statscan's projections show.

Canada is hardly alone in this aging crunch; all of the world's major advanced economies will face a similar threat in the coming years. Some countries, further along the demographic downslope than Canada, are already living examples of the dangers ahead: In Japan, whose death rate surpassed the birth rate a decade ago and whose net migration rates have historically been among the lowest in the OECD, annual real GDP growth has averaged just 1 per cent over the past six years.

But the issue is more pressing in Canada than for many of its advanced-economy peers. Canada's median age is higher than the OECD average and its fertility rate is below the OECD average.

Canada's under-15 age group as a share of its total population is three percentage points lower than that of the United States, and its natural population growth rate is considerably lower.

"It's not a question of 'whether' for Canada," says Kate Subak, executive director of the Century Initiative, a private-sector group of business leaders and academics that advocates "responsible and thoughtful" population growth as a vital pillar of Canada's future economic vitality. "It's a question of how much."

Too much? Too little?

Immigration of 450,000 a year would represent the highest numbers Canada has ever dealt with in absolute terms; the previous peak in 1913, just before the huge immigration wave of the early 20th century came to an end with the start of the First World War, was 401,000. But the 1913 influx added more than 5 per cent to the national population of the time. By comparison, an increase to 450,000 now would raise the immigration rate from about 0.8 per cent of the population to 1.3 per cent.

"We would love to take it even higher," Mr. Barton says. "Where the government rightly pushed back was that we've got to make sure we can absorb people at the higher rate. Let's demonstrate that we can." Mr. Barton acknowledges that even his advisory council's recommended 50-percent increase of immigration levels won't come anywhere near fully offsetting the coming demographic hit to the labour force.

The council estimates that immigration rates would have to "nearly double" from the current 300,000 to replace the labour that will be lost through the aging of the existing population.

But what the proposed 150,000a-year increase will do, the council has calculated, is add about 0.3 percentage points to the country's annual population growth - enough to at least lift GDP growth to more sustainably healthy levels.

And the increase to the working-age population base would alleviate some of the severe fiscal pressures that are implied by the combination of a growing number of non-working seniors needing health care and social services, and a shrinking base of working-age taxpayers to cover the rising bill. Statscan has projected that the "old-age dependency ratio" - the number of people over 65 relative to the number of working-age Canadians - is on track to surge from about 25 per cent now to 37.3 per cent by 2030. The council estimated that its proposed immigration increase would at least slow that dependency rise to 35.7 per cent by 2030.

Mr. Barton argues that the increase of the immigration system in 2016, to accommodate the large intake of Syrian refugees and to increase total immigration by roughly 30,000 over 2015, is encouraging evidence of the system's ability to expand relatively quickly to process significantly higher immigration numbers.

But critics have argued that immigration at the recent historical levels (it averaged 260,000 a year in the last five years of the Harper government, before rising to 300,000 last year under the new Trudeau government) has placed a substantial burden on government finances, quite apart from the administrative costs.

A 2015 study from the Fraser Institute, a Vancouver-based economic think tank, estimated that recent immigrants (those arriving in the past 25 years) cost Canadian governments as much as $35-billion in 2014, through a combination of lower tax revenues paid (reflecting their generally lower income levels than Canadian-born workers) and higher government services received. While immigration proponents took issue with the Fraser analysis (for one thing, the study treated the lower earnings and resulting lower taxes paid by recent immigrants as "costs," rather than treating all the taxes paid by recent immigrants as a fiscal windfall), the research nevertheless raises an important issue about the relative performance and contribution to Canada's economy by newcomers to this country - and whether bigger immigration quantities will necessarily result in better economic outcomes, not least for the immigrants themselves.

The mix, and the outcomes The unemployment rate among newer immigrants - those who have been in Canada five years or less - was more than 11 per cent last year, versus 7 per cent for the population as a whole. But once immigrants have been here 10 years or more, their employment success is dramatically improved - an unemployment rate of just 6.4 per cent, better than the 6.8 per cent of people who were born in this country.

Similarly, Statscan data show that in 2014, the median income for a new immigrant within two years of landing in Canada was 27 per cent lower than the country's overall median income. But for immigrants who had been in the country for 10 years, the median income was in line for the country as a whole.

Significantly for those shaping Canada's immigration policy, an immigrant's income success depends to a large extent on the circumstances by which they gained entry to the country in the first place.

Canada has main immigration streams: Economic-class immigrants, who gain entry into Canada primarily in recognition of their marketable skills, education, work experience and official-language fluency; family-reunification immigrants, who move to Canada to join family members who previously immigrated to Canada; and refugees. Statscan data show that skilled workers in the economic class earn very close to the national median after two years in the country, but family-class newcomers earn, on average, more than 40 per cent less than the national median income after two years in Canada.

Government-sponsored refugees earn more than 60 per cent below the national median.

The wide discrepancy raises the question of what immigration mix the government will want as it looks to increase its immigrant intake. The Conservative government of Stephen Harper put a strong emphasis on economic immigrants during its nearly decade in power, transforming much of the country's immigration policy into one geared to identifying candidates well suited to immediately fit with the country's labour needs. During Mr. Harper's time in office, economic immigration rose 23 per cent, and the share of economic-class immigrants in Canada's total immigration rose to 63 per cent from 55 per cent.

Under the current Liberal government of Justin Trudeau, the balance has swung back somewhat toward increased numbers of refugees and familyreunification immigration. Last year, even though the government significantly raised total immigration, it actually reduced the target number for economic immigrants in order to accommodate more family reunifications and the surge in Syrian refugees.

Nevertheless, the government's advisory council firmly believes that the government should focus on boosting economic immigration; indeed, it recommended that the entire 150,000-a-year increase that it proposed should be in the economic class.

But some critics say that before Canada further steps up its immigration targeted at the most skilled and educated workers, it needs to better address the underemployment among skilled immigrants that has become a nagging concern in Canada's biggest urban centres. The Conference Board of Canada has estimated that the country's immigrant population loses the equivalent of $12.6-billion a year in income from people working jobs for which they are overqualified, because their academic and professional credentials aren't fully recognized in Canada.

Experts say underemployment has gotten more acute over the past two decades, as the countries of origin for immigrants to Canada has shifted away from Englishspeaking countries and Europe, where education systems and professional standards look a lot more familiar to Canadian employers, and increasingly toward Asia. The result, they say, are the proverbial PhDs driving taxis.

"This has ceased to be a cliché - it's a real problem," says a Vancouver-based publisher and immigration activist who chaired the federal government's 2015 Panel on Employment Challenges for New Canadians. "There's no sense bringing someone over to do something they don't want to do. We're not doing immigrants any favours in that case."

Cities and towns

One key issue for Canada that may have both economic and political ramifications down the road is the strong tendency for new immigrants to gravitate to the country's major urban centres. More than 80 per cent of immigrants to Canada are concentrated in its 10 biggest cities; nearly two-thirds of them are in just three metropolitan areas (Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal). Toronto, the country's biggest city and most popular destination for immigration, takes in 80,000 to 90,000 new immigrants annually.

"There are pressures on the system, no doubt about it," says Toronto city councillor Michael Thompson, chairman of the city's Economic Development and Culture Committee. But in the longer run, he says, the strain on municipal government services is more than made up for by the economic opportunities the inflow of immigrants generates, through expanded labour supply, an increase in the city's skills base, the boost in consumer demand and the trade links that develop with immigrants' source countries.

"It's a great benefit to our economic development," he says.

While immigration is helping keep Canada's urban population younger, the country's rural areas, towns and small cities, where immigration inflows are typically much lower, look increasingly grey. The average age in Canada's large cities is about three years younger than the average in small cities and towns, and nearly five years younger than in rural areas.

About 17 per cent of Canada's rural and small-town population is over 65; in the big cities, it's less than 14 per cent.

Without increased immigration to these smaller centres, Canada risks a widening economic divide between its big cities and its smaller and rural communities.

Large centres will disproportionately benefit from labour and skills growth, while the country's small towns will, almost literally, die off.

"It absolutely needs to be addressed, in certain parts of the country, especially," says Kareem El-Assal, an immigration researcher at the Conference Board of Canada.

"In Atlantic Canada, there are several provinces already where the death rate exceeds the birth rate. They're at risk of seeing their population shrink significantly over the next decade or so if they don't figure out how to drive more immigration to the region."

The will to open up

Ultimately, experts say, immigration's role in addressing this century's biggest economic challenge for Canada will only succeed to the degree that the growing immigrant population can be successfully and productively integrated into the labour force.

That will not only be an issue of logistics - of matching the right communities with the right jobs with the right immigrants - but of getting businesses and voters to continue to embrace immigration as a key element in strengthening both their economic well-being and their community.

"It can't just be the government that pushes it," Mr. Barton says.

"If businesses feel strongly, they have to pound the table."

"We need to continue to build public support for immigration as an essential part of nation building," says Canadian Senator Ratna Omidvar, a leading advo cate for immigration and the executive director of the Global Diversity Exchange at Ryerson University in Toronto.

She says the "conditional multiculturalists" in this country "need to be convinced [immigration] is working well" in order to garner the political support necessary to sustain an expanded immigration policy.

And Mr. Barton believes that message will need to be brought down to the local level - to win over the "café critic," as he calls it - for the next wave of immigration to truly take hold.

"When you're talking nationally, it's hard to relate to it; it just becomes a number," he says.

"But if we could bring it down to more of a region or a city, and say, 'We had 1,300 people come in; here's what they're doing; here's how it's working.' I think people understand stories, not statistics ... real stuff to bring it to life."

Back in Winkler, the real-life success story of one small community boils down to the same message that Mr. Trudeau has been delivering on behalf of the country: That the welcoming of newcomers is simply what Canadians do. The mayor agrees.

"Unless you have the social fabric to wrap your arms around the immigrants coming into your community, it won't work," Mr. Harder says.

Associated Graphic

Meridian Manufacturing Inc. branch manager, Doug Eidse, in Winkler, Man., on Tuesday, says immigration is a large part of the company's growth.


An employee from Spain listens during an English class at Meridian in Winkler, Man., on Tuesday.




Tajinder Singh Khehra works at Meridian Manufacturing Inc. in Winkler, Man., on Tuesday. Roughly two thirds of the hopper-bin manufacturing plant's staff are immigrants.


Protest rookies
Five Canadians share their experience demonstrating for the first time, and the issues that inspired them to get out and march
Friday, February 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L4

Just when activism looked like it had been reduced to mouse clicks on digital petitions, a new breed of protesters has marched forward, galvanized by the policies of Donald Trump.

Among their ranks, many are demonstrating for the first time.

At the flagship Women's March in Washington, for example, a third of participants in a survey said it was their first-ever picketing event. Of 527 people surveyed, just more than 60 per cent identified women's rights as their reason for demonstration.

Tied for second place were causes including the environment, racial justice, LGBTQ rights and reproductive rights.

Historically, protests have focused on a single social issue, noted survey authors Dana R.

Fisher, Dawn M. Dow and Rashawn Ray - three University of Maryland sociologists who published their findings on a sociology website called the Society Pages.

The Women's March was distinct because protesters were not only motivated by "concrete issues," they wrote, but also "by a desire to protect and reassert a vision of America that embraces diversity and inclusion as a strength rather than a threat."

North of the border, similar values have compelled thousands coast to coast to add their voices to the cry of outrage on issues ranging from Black Lives Matter to the Trump immigration ban.

The Globe and Mail spoke to five Canadians about what it feels like to protest for the first time, and the issues that inspired them to get out and march.

My son Matthew is 18 years old.

He has a very severe form of cerebral palsy. He also has a global developmental delay, so he doesn't speak. He's a fairly complicated kid.

Like many people, I was offended by Trump's mockery of someone with a disability. When I saw that, there was this immediate sense of disbelief: Did you just do that? There was anger that this powerful man would abuse his power and privilege to belittle or mock someone with a disability.

And then there was profound sadness that the world accepts it.

That's the part that just breaks my heart. I expected better behaviour from my children when they were age 3. And somehow, we're able to accept such behaviour from a world leader.

So that was something that motivated me. And really, I wanted to express solidarity with all of these people who feel marginalized, be they women, be they people who are Muslim, be they people with disabilities - anyone who is feeling marginalized within this collective narrative that seems to be emerging.

I wanted to express my concern about the direction I'm witnessing south of the border and, even to a certain extent, our more conservative elements here. I wanted to be part of something that said, "This is not the world we want."

I also have three boys, so misogyny is something I take seriously. I want them to understand that this is not how men behave.

I was invited to the Women's March in Toronto by a good friend. I actually didn't think I was going to be able to attend because Matthew had been quite ill and it can be quite difficult to get away. But in the end, we were able to get a nurse so I was able to go.

A group of us got up and carpooled there that morning. I had speed-knitted a pussy hat the night before in about three hours. It was too big but I made it work. I didn't have a sign, though my friends did. But I wore a sweatshirt that has the classic image of a person in a wheelchair, but instead of the wheel, it's a heart. So that was sort of my sign, expressing solidarity for people with disabilities.

It was my first real protest of any kind. It was exciting, it was empowering, it was fun. It was neat to be with all sorts of other people who wanted to express concern, too. There was this pretty wonderful feeling of "Oh, I've found my people!"

Separately, I was very proud of the fact Matthew is part of what's called the Buddy Choir. It's a choir for children and young adults with disabilities, and frankly, anybody who wants to sing. The kids had heard about the shooting in Quebec and they wanted to do something. So they sang a song that was posted to Facebook and shared broadly to express their "we are in this together" message.

What all of this is doing is creating an activist in me. I'm someone who has strong opinions and I believe in social justice, but I never took to the streets because that's not what middle-aged suburban women do. But some of the things you read in the news start to hit home. And if I don't speak out against things that concern me, then I am complicit.

I don't know if I'll continue to protest or march, but there's this awareness I'm not comfortable sitting on the sidelines any longer.

Laura MacGregor, 49, lives in Waterloo, Ont.

- As told to Wency Leung This interview has been edited and condensed.

I'm a 21-year-old student at the University of Toronto, and this Monday [Jan. 30], I attended my first protest, at the U.S. consulate against the Muslim ban.

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I debated throughout the weekend whether or not to go. As an anxiety-prone introvert, I find crowds overwhelming and claustrophobic and have always avoided parades, protests or even the TTC during rush hours.

But like thousands of others, I'd felt increasingly horrified by each piece of news from the U.S. since Jan. 20; the Muslim ban and the Quebec mosque attack were breaking points. I felt shock and anger, which was unusual because I don't think I get angry very often. And it was really heartbreaking seeing all the stories and interviews of people affected by the Muslim ban.

It was silly to stay at home seething and weeping and asking myself what I could do when others were raising their voices all around me. Though I did not entirely agree with shutting down the consulate, I did not see attending as much of a choice in the end, but rather an obligation.

If I wanted to be the person I wanted to see myself as, then I wouldn't be at home doing nothing.

Right until the morning of, my stomach felt queasy from nerves.

I knew I was being a coward; all of my friends had attended protests before, and their company factored largely in my decision to go.

We met up at Victoria College, where the student council was hosting a 7 a.m. preprotest poster-making session and walk. The main meeting room was full. The table was covered with cardboard, markers and page-sized printouts of Mike Pence's tweet, "Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional." Music played, and everyone was chatting and applauding each other's signs. Within minutes of cutting and taping, I felt relaxed and energized.

The nerves returned as we approached the consulate, but they did not stay for long. The crowd was extremely supportive and respectful and I did not once feel unsafe or out of place. It felt so refreshing to release the pentup anger and despair of the weekend in such an empowering environment.

A highlight of the morning for me was seeing an old lady with a sign reading "Hitler had a small penis too." She was standing so quietly. I thought it was so amusing, but I was so happy to see that because it showed such a sense that we're all in this together. The two hours I spent there passed much quicker than I'd anticipated.

Though I'm under no illusion that taking part in one or two marches is enough - nothing feels like enough in this moment - I do feel better for having made it out and will certainly be attending more over the coming months and years. Under President Trump's administration, convenience is a luxury we can no longer afford. Monday's protest pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I'll stay there for however long necessary.

Linh Nguyen is an English major.

- As told to Wency Leung This interview has been edited and condensed.

The two things that one never wanted to talk about - politics and religion - I'm finding it's not so easy to stay on the fence. I've always said as a Canadian, as a woman, I would start marching when they banned abortion, when they banned gay marriage and when they brought back the death penalty. Those were my three big things which I thought were pretty safe. Then I started to watch what was going on in the United States. I knew I had to be there on that Saturday to be counted.

I went with my daughter. The moment I suggested it, she said yes. My only regret is that I didn't take my other daughter and my grandchildren and my son-in-law and my husband.

I just thought it was something we should do together. And we both feel that there will be many more times when we need to show up to be counted, absolutely.

I can't tell you how peaceful it was. There were tears and there were conversations and there were tons of fabulous signs. But for the most part, I'd turn and talk to women who had come in from Stratford [Ont.]. Everywhere I looked, there were a lot of young people, a lot of children, dogs, men.

I was so proud of Toronto. I was so proud of the numbers. We were so thrilled to be there. I was in awe of many of the speakers, many of the people who said what they did, whether they worked at the rape crisis centre or whether they were the first women with a hijab to be elected to the school board. I was so impressed.

It made me feel there is just so much more to do. It was my first, but I realized I can't let it be my last and that there are so many other things that I can do. I've changed a lot in the weeks since then. I've realized just voting isn't enough.

I didn't bring a sign. But we found some. One I found towards the end was a huge one. It was "Bullying" with a line through it.

I carried it for a few blocks and when we got to City Hall I saw a child. I said, "I'd like to give you this sign." I asked her parents if it would be all right. I said, "I'm going to be leaving now but I see you're staying and I think you're the perfect person to hold this sign." And she said, "Thank you!"

We got to talk with a lot of people, laugh at a lot of signs.

It was just - it was beautiful.

People were laughing. That coming together - I was wildly impressed.

I was just so pleased. I was pleased that I had done it, but I was particularly pleased that I had done it with my daughter.

Marsha Grout, 72, is a retired teacher and corporate trainer in Oakville, Ont.

- As told to Dave McGinn This interview has been edited and condensed.

It started bubbling up in the news in my Facebook feed. It just started popping up - "Your friend is attending this" - and obviously, all my friends are attending, so it's going to come on your feed. It just felt obvious.

Yes, of course I am going to do this thing.

It felt so visceral to me. The next day after I decided I was going to the march, I was at the doctor getting birth control and I didn't have to give that a second thought. This is just a thing I do.

It costs me hardly any money. I just do it. The thought of that being potentially taken away is just so jarring.

It was just a gut feeling of "This is a thing that I have to do." I wasn't thinking, "Oh, I'm going to benefit because ..." But I did so much benefit. The way I benefited was, "Oh my God, I have to show up more." I have to not just share stories on Facebook and talk about how I'm so liberal and whatever with my friends. That's easy. It's the realization, I have to show up more to things I believe in but don't necessarily affect me.

Whether my tiny little footprint in that mass makes a difference, it does for me, and it does, I think, for my friends seeing me there, and then whoever else seeing them there. It's a ripple effect. It was massive and so inspiring and so diverse. It was so cool to see little kids with signs they had clearly made themselves.

I went with two girlfriends of mine. Along the route, we kept amalgamating with a bunch of friends so by the end, there were about 10 of us who knew each other - performers and different people from the burlesque, drag, queer community. We were this force of women of all shapes, sizes, colours, genders.

My friends and I, every few minutes we'd feel tears welling up. This is really intense. It was sort of church-like. Communion is a good word for it.

The things Trump started doing were such a direct attack on women that it just felt so personal. In the aftermath, you start to feel bad about, wow, it's kind of selfish that this is the first thing I've done because it so immediately affects me and people I know.

We saw some cops in riot gear and even the horses with the masks and we were like, "What did they think was going to happen here today? Did you really need to show up in your riot gear?" The next one is going to be a science march, which I'm so behind.

I was always like, "What can I do? Can it really affect anything?" But this kind of flickered that light in you to not be idle.

Once you've done it, it feels so important to be there, to show up.

If anything good comes out of this mess it's that more people have become woke, so to speak.

We're all woke now. Everybody's eyes are open which is so amazing.

St. Stella, 34, is a burlesque performer in Toronto - As told to Dave McGinn This interview has been edited and condensed.

I was driving my common-law wife up to visit my stepdaughter in Toronto when I heard about the Women's March on the radio [on Jan. 21]. At first, I made note of it because it was more of a traffic situation for me. But I had the afternoon free, so I jumped at it.

I live with three women and I don't want to see them ever disrespected. Trump has a long track record of that. My reason for going - it was a culmination of all of his policies and the sheer arrogance that this man exhibits. The election - everybody is still gobsmacked by that.

There's this kind of fear out there.

My partner and her daughters had other commitments that afternoon, so by myself, I joined the protest in Nathan Phillips Square. It was a very inclusive march, whether or not it was a Women's March. There were a lot of guys there, a lot of families and a lot of the LGBT community. It crossed every part of the spectrum, you know, you could see professional people, people who were just starting out in life, senior citizens.

It was really something to see that many people come out. I would think, for [many of] the generations that were there, it was [reminiscent] of the Vietnam War. If you protest long enough, it's going to make a difference.

At the very least, I would hope [the marches] would embolden the Democratic Party down in the United States, because from what I've seen, they're not capable of forming an effective opposition. I think it also sends a message to Canada to reinforce that it's a different game up here - we don't play it that way. So I think our politicians also got a strong message, especially in the Conservative Party.

I would definitely join another protest march against Trump as long as he's in power.

Jim McDonald, 48, is a logistics co-ordinator for a mining equipment supply company and lives in Yarker, Ont.

- As told to Adriana Barton This interview has been edited and condensed.

Associated Graphic

First-time protester St. Stella, right, says that attending her first protest was an intense, almost church-like experience: 'Once you've done it, it feels so important to be there, to show up.'

North Africa's new jihadi hotbed
There were great hopes for Tunisia when it became the only country in the Arab Spring of 2010-12 to make the transition to democracy. Now the country, a top source of foreign fighters, is facing a crisis with many soldiers heading home and others seeping into Europe
Thursday, February 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A8

TUNIS -- Ali was a normal Tunisian teenager, or seemed to be.

He went to school in his middleclass Tunis suburb, hung out with friends and loved watching soccer, especially Espérance, the feted Tunis team that won the Africa Cup in 2011. But in 2012, his family noticed that his behaviour was changing, and they started to worry.

"At age 18, he began praying a lot," his uncle, Fathi, told me in late January, his eyes welling up.

"He stopped watching TV and didn't talk to women, only his mother and sister. He went to the mosque every day. He would even sleep at the mosque."

(Fathi asked me not to use his full name or those of Ali and his family.)

We were sitting in the nearly empty upper floor of a café near the centre of Tunis, around the corner from Fathi's cluttered auto repair shop. Friday morning prayers from the mosque directly across the street blared from speakers mounted on the minaret, forcing us to speak loudly, mostly in French, with some help from my Arabic interpreter.

Fathi, 65, is balding, with a mustache and hands blackened with grease. He said that Ali's mother, Fatima, fearing that Ali was being preyed upon by radical imams or recruiters on the hunt for fighters to send to Syria, Libya or Iraq, hid Ali's passport.

Those fears were justified. One weekend, Ali begged off joining the family at their retreat in Hammamet, a seaside town an hour's drive south of Tunis.

"When they came home, their son wasn't there," Fathi said.

"The neighbours saw him leave with a knapsack. He didn't even say goodbye."

At that point, Ali became the family's tragedy and an alarming statistic. He entered the ranks of the 6,000 Tunisian fighters who have joined the extremist groups fighting in Iraq and Syria. (The estimate is from the Soufan Group, a private security and intelligence company, and is disputed by the Tunisian government.)

Hundreds of those Tunisian fighters are now returning home and the police forces of the Tunisian and European governments are scrambling to determine whether some of the most violent Tunisian jihadis will continue their battles on Tunisian and European soil.

Tunisia, the only democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring that blew through North Africa and the Middle East between late 2010 and 2012, has now become, by a wide margin, the top source of foreign fighters in Syria.

The two deadliest terrorist attacks in Europe in the past year were the work of two Tunisian-born assailants, though neither had fought in the Middle East. The first, on July 14, in Nice, France, saw Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel use a truck to mow down and kill 86 people, injuring more than 400 others.

On Dec. 19, a young drifter and failed asylum seeker named Anis Amri, who had been in prison in Sicily, Italy, used the same method - a truck - to slaughter 12 people and injure 56 at a Berlin Christmas market.

Less widely reported in the Western media is the virtually endless stream of terrorist attacks on Tunisian soil - dozens since 2011 - leaving hundreds of civilians and terrorists dead.

Some of those terrorists had been foreign fighters.

Mokhtar Ben Nasr, the president of the Tunisian Centre for Global Security Studies who was a colonel-major in the Tunisian army and the Ministry of Defence spokesman during the Tunisian revolution of 2010-11, told me that he has no doubt that some Tunisian jihadis who fought or were trained in Syria, Iraq and Libya will surface in other countries. "Some will go to the south of Libya or Niger and Mali, but some could infiltrate Europe," he said. "These terrorists can infiltrate in boats."

Their motivation to avoid Tunisia increased in 2015, when the government passed a tough anti-terrorist law that calls for the arrest of fighters upon their return. In a recent interview with Germany's Der Spiegel, Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said that 800 Tunisians who had fought overseas had returned to Tunisia; about 100 of them are in prison awaiting trial, while the rest are being monitored. "Many other countries in Europe also fear the return of these well-trained fighters because they could destabilize their countries," he said (Mr. Chahed declined a Globe and Mail interview request).

Ali is typical of the young Tunisians who have heard the call to jihad. His family discovered he had travelled through Turkey and ended up in Syria, where he was absorbed by what was known as the Nusra Front, a jihadi rebel group that was then openly advertising itself as the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda.

Fathi said that he and Ali's father, Ridha, an auto mechanic, flew to Ankara, where they went to the Tunisian embassy. The embassy gave the two men the phone number of a Tunisian in Istanbul, who Fathi referred to as the "transportation man" - the man who allegedly arranged Ali's trip to Antakya, the Turkish city near the Syrian border, not far from Aleppo. Fathi claimed they met the man, who had Ali's name on a computer flash drive.

Fathi and Ridha paid the Tunisian the equivalent of 800 ($1,100 Canadian) to try to retrieve Ali. "But we're not sure he actually went," Fathi said. "He says he went to the border and couldn't find him."

Had Ali turned into a ruthless killer? Will he return to Tunisia or creep into Europe? Fathi said they don't know, even though Ali calls home every few months to assure his family that he is alive (Ali's sister, whom I would meet briefly, confirmed that her brother has made calls home.) "We think he wants to return to Tunisia," Fathi said. "But we think he's afraid he would go into prison here."

Shortly before Christmas, a highly unusual boat left Cap Bon, a peninsula in Tunisia's extreme northern tip, and headed northeast, crossing the 150 kilometres of open water that forms the Strait of Sicily.

The boat might have travelled at high speed because it was equipped with three, 400-hp marine outboard motors - the most powerful outboards available, normally used only for racing boats. An Italian intelligence source, who did not want to be identified, said a boat with such an extreme power-to-weight ratio might have been capable of short bursts of speed as high as 150 kilometres an hour - far faster than any vessel in the Italian or Tunisian coast guards or navies.

The boat reached the southwest Sicilian coast, between the seaside towns of Marsala and Maraza del Vallo, just before dawn. It stopped just offshore and as many as 10 of its passengers jumped overboard, swam to shore and apparently fled in separate small groups, eyewitnesses told the authorities. In wet clothes, two of them boarded an intercity bus to Palermo. What the duo did not know is that an Arabic speaker - a Tunisian resident of Sicily - was on board and overheard their conversations. He feared that they were not typical illegal migrants and went to the police after the bus reached the Sicilian capital.

The intelligence source says it was obvious that use of the expensive, ultrafast boat meant the passengers did not want to be caught and did not want to be funnelled through a migrant processing centre in Sicily, where they would be photographed and fingerprinted. It meant they, or their sponsors, could afford such a boat and the enormous amounts of fuel it would consume. "It's possible they were foreign fighters," he said. "Whoever wants to escape in [boats like these] really wants to get to Italy and really wants to leave Tunisia."

A state prosecutor in Palermo confirmed that his office was aware that the high-speed boat had reached Sicily at that time.

While another prosecutor said there is no official terrorism investigation into the arrival of the boat, Italian prosecutors are investigating the possibility that jihadis who fought in Syria, Iraq and Libya are making their way into Italy. One of them said the Italians are working with the Tunisian authorities, who have visited Palermo.

On the night of Feb. 3-4, another fast boat from Tunisia landed on the southern Sicilian coast, this time near the town of Sciacca. Its arrival was widely reported in the local media. The boat was impounded and four of its passengers - all Tunisian - were taken in for questioning. A fifth passenger escaped, his whereabouts unknown.

While the boat - which appeared to be six or seven metres long and made of fibreglass - was not nearly as fast as the three-motor machine that reached Sicily before Christmas, it was certainly quick and expensive. The Italian coast guard estimated the boat, which may have been stolen, was worth 40,000.

The regional prosecutor's office has opened an investigation into the landing.

Unlike the thousands of rubber rafts and small, clapped-out fishing boats that brought 180,000 migrants to Italy from North Africa last year, the use of the high-speed boat suggests its passengers hoped to avoid detection, too.

But while most making the trip across the strait are economic migrants in search of a better life, Tunisian authorities are well aware that there are some who have other intentions.

Speaking in early January on Tunisian TV, Hedi Majdoub, the Tunisian Interior Minister, said the government has the names of 2,929 Tunisian citizens who are currently abroad and suspected of having links to jihadi groups. About half of them are thought to be in Syria, some 500 in Libya and 150 in Iraq. Ominously, he said that "400 more [are] spread across several countries, the majority in Europe." He did not account for the several hundred others.

On Feb. 1, less than a month after Mr. Majdoub's TV appearance, German police launched a series of sweeps that snared a 36-year-old Tunisian, whose name was not released. He was suspected of being a recruiter for the Islamic State and planning to carry out an attack in Germany.

The man was also wanted in connection with two big terrorist attacks in Tunisia since the 201011 revolution. The first was the attack in which 21 tourists were killed, claimed by the Islamic State, on the Bardo museum in Tunis in March, 2015. The second was an onslaught, launched from Libya, by dozens of terrorists on Ben Gardane, the border town in southern Tunisia that is infamous as a smuggling hub and recruiting centre for Tunisian fighters. Mr. Ben Nasr, the retired colonel-major said 49 terrorists, 11 Tunisian police and seven civilians were killed in that battle.

The German police raids, which involved 1,100 officers, saw 15 other suspects arrested.

Peter Beuth, the Interior Minister for the state of Hesse, Germany, where the raids took place, said the arrests "smashed a multibranched Salafist network," he said referring to an ultraconservative branch of Sunni Islam.

Hedi Yahmed, 42, the Tunisian author of a book on homegrown terrorists called Beneath the Back Flag: Tunisia's Salafists, said that radical Islam and terrorism in Tunisia is hardly a new phenomenon. Tunisia, he said, developed an Islamist movement in the 1980s and 1990s under the leadership of Rached Ghannouchi, now president of the Islamist party, Ennahda. Suppressed by dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, many of the leaders found exile in Europe. After Mr. Ben Ali was ousted in the 2010-11 revolution, Islamist leaders began trickling back into the country.

Mr. Yahmed said the violent Tunisian jihadi movement started after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. One of the most murderous attacks was the handiwork of Nizar Nawar, who bombed the ancient synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba in April, 2002. The attack had been planned a few months earlier, when he was living in Montreal. The truck bomb, made from containers of cooking gas, killed 14 German tourists, five Tunisians and two French nationals. Just before the attack, Mr. Nawar sent a letter to an Arabic daily newspaper, saying he would kill in the name of alQaeda.

That attack, and others, triggered a massive crackdown by Mr. Ben Ali's ruthless security forces, with thousands of Islamists and jihadis imprisoned.

Most of them were released just before the democratically elected Ennahda government came to power in 2011. Mr. Yahmed said the sudden new freedoms - media freedom and freedom of expression at mosques, even from radical imams - triggered an "explosion" of jihadis. At the same time, the dire postrevolution economy, which sent youth unemployment soaring, made many young men easy prey for foreign fighter recruiters.

"A lot of the fighters who went to Syria to join Daesh [an alternate name for the Islamic State] came from poor neighbourhoods," Mr. Yahmed said. "Some went there to prove they were real Muslims. ... But now Daesh is in retreat and the Tunisians are coming back. Some are convinced that jihad is an obligation and will go to Europe with false identities."

According to Mr. Ben Nasr, there were 64 terrorist attacks in Tunisia between 2011 and 2016, including one on the American embassy compound in Tunis in 2012, which the Ennahda government seemed slow to suppress.

The deadliest one happened in June, 2015, when a lone Tunisian gunman used a Kalashnikov assault rifle to kill 38 people, most of them British tourists, at a resort hotel just north of Sousse, Tunisia. The killer, Seifeddine Rezgui Yacoubi, is thought to have been recruited by the Tunisian branch of Ansar al-Sharia, whose Libyan branch was accused of the 2012 murder of Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

Fully aware that another terrorist attack could destroy the crucial tourism industry, the Tunisian government, equipped with its new anti-terrorism law, has substantially weakened the jihadi networks in Tunisia, security experts say, through mass arrests, brutal crackdown and gun battles with the security forces. On his last day as U.S. president, in January, Barack Obama authorized the bombing raid that is said to have killed about 80 militants at an Islamic State training camp in Libya.

Many of the dead were thought to have been Tunisian.

Ashton Carter, then U.S. defence secretary, said, "They were external plotters who were actively planning operations against our allies in Europe."

Alaya Allani, a professor of Islamism and Salafism at Tunisia's Manouba University, said there is no doubt that the Tunisian jihadi networks have been severely damaged. He noted that a few of their recent raids were aimed at nothing more than getting food supplies - an indication of their desperation as their supply lines deteriorate.

But ailing jihadi networks in Tunisia do not mean the European terror threat from Tunisians who fought abroad has diminished. "Not all of the Tunisian fighters in Syria will come back to Tunisia," Prof. Allani said. "Some hotheads will go to Europe or into North Africa.

They would be the most dangerous ones."

The family of Ali, the young Tunisian man who went to Syria in 2012, was devastated when he vanished.

Using different phone numbers, Ali calls home every few months, Fathi said. "He's alive.

He is married and has a child, but we don't know what he is doing," he said. "They've brainwashed him. We feel he wants to come back but can't."

The trouble is the Europeans and Tunisians want the foreign fighters to stay in the countries where they are fighting. Once they leave, they become another country's problem.

Associated Graphic

Left: Tunisian Anis Amri drove a truck into a Berlin Christmas market in December, 2016. Right: Nice, France, attacker Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, left, competes at a martial arts event in 2010.


Top: A boat arrived in Sicily, Italy, carrying five Tunisians in February. Above: Walid Amri, left, holds a portrait of his brother, Anis.


Top photo: Fighters from the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham group, formerly the Nusra Front, are seen in 2016. Above photos: Scenes of chaos followed a truck attack on a crowd watching a fireworks display in Nice, France, in 2016.


Once the gateway to the promise of new lives in places such as Germany and Sweden, Southern Europe has become a warehouse of broken lives and dreams for those fleeing war, oppression and economic deprivation in their home countries. Mark MacKinnon reports from Belgrade
Monday, February 13, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A8

BELGRADE -- Just a year ago, the wave of people felt unstoppable. Hundreds of thousands of refugees and economic migrants from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia risked their lives to cross the Mediterranean, landing in a stunned but initially welcoming Europe. Hundreds of thousands more were on their way.

The borders seemed to disappear in late 2015 and early 2016 and the 28 countries of the European Union received a stunning 1.3 million asylum applications in 2015 alone.

And then the walls started to go up. Hungary, a major migration hub in 2014 and 2015, fenced itself off from southern neighbour Serbia. When the refugees and migrants marching north from Greece simply detoured around into Croatia, Hungary fenced off its western border as well.

Today, the border fences and walls are the norm along the EU's southern edge. Croatia, Austria and Slovenia have all followed Hungary's lead in sealing their frontiers.

The number of asylum claims received by EU countries fell dramatically to 350,000 last year, and that figure looks set to decline again in 2017. The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees recorded just 5,862 arrivals by sea in January, compared to 73,135 in the same month of 2016.

To be Muslim and on the move these days can be a vexing challenge. As U.S. President Donald Trump battles his country's courts in a bid to impose a ban on new arrivals from seven Muslimmajority countries, tens of thousands of mostly Muslim asylum seekers are trapped in Southern Europe, partway between the countries they're fleeing and the new lives they dream of in Germany, Sweden and elsewhere.

Here's a country-by-country breakdown of the situation TURKEY: As symbolic as the border fences of Central Europe are, it was a March, 2016, deal between the EU and Turkey that really dammed the flow of people.

Under the pact, the EU promised to provide 3-billion (about $4.2-billion Canadian) in aid to the Turkish government - and to move toward lifting visa requirements for Turkish citizens - in exchange for Turkey taking "any necessary measures to prevent new sea or land routes for irregular migration opening from Turkey to the EU."

Before the deal, Turkish port cities like Izmir and Bodrum were bustling hubs of activity, places where new arrivals from Syria and beyond would meet cynical human traffickers, charging up to $1,000 a person for space on flimsy rubber dinghies that would launch each night in the direction of the Greek islands somewhere in the darkness. Turkish police made only a token effort to crack down on the trade.

The EU-Turkey deal called for any Syrians arriving in Greece to be returned to Turkey, a clause meant to deter asylum seekers from making the dangerous sea crossing that has killed more than 12,000 people (including those who died trying to reach Italy from Libya) over the past three years.

While the EU-Turkey agreement has proved successful in reducing the number of people reaching Europe, it has had the side effect of causing some migrants to attempt longer and more dangerous sea crossings. Despite the dramatic fall in the number of new arrivals in Greece, the number of known deaths at sea actually rose from 3,771 in 2015 to 5,096 last year. Another 255 people have died in the first six weeks of 2017.

Meanwhile - prevented from travelling to Europe - the number of Syrians in Turkey continues to grow. The Turkish government said there are more than 2.8 million registered Syrian refugees in the country as of January, with most living in camps near the Turkish-Syrian border.

Politics could yet unwind the EU-Turkey deal. Furious over perceived Western support for a failed coup against him last summer, as well as EU criticism of subsequent political purges, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly threatened to tear up the pact and stop obstructing the flow of refugees.

"If you go any further, these border gates will be opened," Mr. Erdogan said in November. "Do not forget, the West needs Turkey."

GREECE: While the number of Syrians landing on Greece's islands dwindled rapidly after the EU-Turkey deal was signed, migrants from other countries have continued to arrive, only to discover that the way north - a journey the Greek government helped to facilitate for refugees in 2015 - is now blocked.

As a result, thousands of asylum seekers have been spending a cold and snowy winter in makeshift shelters around Athens or in canvas tents in the underserviced refugee camps that have sprung up on Greece's normally balmy vacation islands.

Some of the migrants have been stranded on island refugee camps for the past 10 months, ever since the EU-Turkey deal was signed in March.

"Europe's failed policies have contributed to immense suffering for people warehoused on the Greek islands in increasingly desperate conditions," Eva Cossé, Greece researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a recent report.

The International Organization for Migration counts 62,401 "stranded" refugees and migrants in Greece, including 5,746 people - mostly Syrians and Iraqis - who are stuck in the ramshackle Moria refugee camp on Lesbos.

Upward of 2,000 others - mainly Pakistanis and Syrians - are trapped on the islands of Kos and Samos, respectively.

The presence of so many migrants on the islands has fed increasing anger among locals, who have seen their vital tourist industry dry up as media reports about the refugee crisis have scared travellers away from Lesbos, Kos and Samos.

Thousands more asylum seekers, identified by the IOM as predominantly Afghans and Iranians, are stuck at reception centres around Athens, while another large group, mostly Afghans and Syrians, are camped in harsh conditions just south of Greece's border with Macedonia, which was sealed in early 2016.

SERBIA: In the early days of the refugee crisis, Serbia and its citizens won broad praise for the hospitality - and lack of hostility - they showed toward the masses of refugees and migrants passing through their country. Serbs, many of whom remember fleeing the Balkan wars of the 1990s, seemed more understanding of the new arrivals than their neighbours in Hungary and elsewhere.

In 2015, Serbia's capital city of Belgrade was a key transit point along what was known as the Western Balkan Route that migrants followed on their way north to Central Europe. The cafés facing Belgrade's main train and bus stations were the known hangouts of people-smugglers, who operated openly with little interference from Serbian police.

The parks nearby were crammed that summer with Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis and Pakistanis sleeping under the sky, waiting for the smugglers' signal to move north.

But Serbia's laissez-faire attitude was easier to maintain when it was clear the migrants were just passing through.

Many in Belgrade say the mood is changing now, as it becomes clear that the EU intends to leave Serbia to deal with the refugees who were trapped in the country when Hungary and Croatia erected border fences. (There have also been multiple reports of Hungary, Croatia and Bulgaria forcibly returning new arrivals to Serbia.)

"We were very flexible in the past because we were counting on just being a corridor. Now that's changing. We're becoming a buffer zone, where these people are being kept here," said Zoran Milivojevic, a retired Serbian diplomat. "There are tensions, particularly in small towns. If [the migrants] stay longer, there will be problems."

The IOM says there are 5,919 refugees and migrants stranded in Serbia, nearly all of them housed in a network of asylum centres established during the Balkan wars. UNHCR says the real number may be closer to 7,700, with about 1,000 men and boys sleeping rough on the streets of Belgrade, where makeshift shelters have been erected near the main train and bus stations.

Despite the border fences, the migrants continue to try and push north. The UNHCR recorded one incident on Feb. 2 that saw a group of 12 Algerian men inadvertently set off a small explosion - injuring four of the men - when they tripped a wire while trying to board a cargo train bound for Croatia.

A day later, a group of 15 to 20 Afghan men (led by Pakistani smugglers) fell through the ice as they tried to cross a frozen river into Hungary. One of the men is missing and presumed dead.

BULGARIA: Dinka Valev has become synonymous with the refugee and migrant crisis in Bulgaria, epitomizing the country's hostile response to the asylum seekers.

The 30-year-old semi-professional wrestler first made headlines last year when he posted a video on his Facebook page of 16 Syrians - 12 men, three women and a child - he claimed to have captured singlehandedly after they illegally entered the country near his hometown of Yambol, near the Turkish border. In another video, Mr. Valev can be seen loudly berating another group of refugees, asking why they came to Bulgaria, and accusing them of being terrorists.

The videos have been condemned by human-rights groups, but Mr. Valev has become something of a cult figure in his country. He was praised in local media as a "superhero" for his efforts to keep refugees and migrants out of Bulgaria.

In more recent videos, Mr. Valev is no longer working alone.

Instead, he carries out his selfassigned task of monitoring the border area in the company of dozens of other Bulgarian men riding motorbikes and all-terrain vehicles. The group appears to have since acquired at least one armoured personal carrier, and copycat vigilante organizations have sprung up in other cities to help "protect Bulgaria."

Despite the vigilante groups - and a fence along Bulgaria's border with Turkey - the IOM says there are 4,702 refugees and migrants trapped in the country, most of them in settlements near the capital city, Sofia.

HUNGARY: In 2015, as Central Europe opened its arms to the refugees heading its way - and particularly after the shocking photo of three-year-old Alan Kurdi lying dead on a Turkish beach gained attention worldwide - Hungary was the continent's bad boy.

While German Chancellor Angela Merkel was urging her country to welcome the hundreds of thousands of newcomers arriving in German train stations, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was building a razor-wire fence on the country's southern border and ordering riot police to use tear gas and water cannon to push back anyone who tried to approach the barrier.

At the time, Ms. Merkel, who grew up in Communist East Germany, accused Mr. Orban, once a prominent anti-Soviet dissident, of forgetting the lessons of the Cold War, when it was Hungarians and East Germans who were climbing over walls and swimming across rivers in pursuit of better lives.

Eighteen months later, Mr. Orban says events have shown that he, rather than Ms. Merkel, was on the right side of history.

Hungary's border fence has been replicated by nearly all of its neighbours, and Mr. Orban won a referendum last fall that he says gives him a mandate to opt out of an EU plan to share the continent's new arrivals among its member states.

Now, following Donald Trump's election as President of the United States, Mr. Orban's government is planning to take the crackdown a step further and to detain any refugees and migrants - including those already in Hungary - until their asylum cases are decided.

Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said this week that Mr. Orban's ideas were now mainstream in Europe. "We believe a change of perspective in the U.S. helped others to respect the Hungarian position."

Despite Hungary's anti-migrant stand, people continue to try and cross the country on their way further north. UNHCR says 48 migrants were detained by Hungarian police during the last week of January for illegal entry, while another 276 were intercepted and expelled back across the country's borders.

ITALY: With the route from Turkey to Greece effectively closed, those most desperate to reach Europe are now forced to make the longer sea journey from North Africa to Italy.

A year ago, there were about 15 arrivals on the islands of Greece for every migrant who made it to Italy. Today, the situation has somewhat flipped, with 4,243 arrivals in Italy last month, compared with 1,203 in Greece.

The sea trip to Italy is more perilous, and the death toll will continue to rise as migrants keep risking their lives crossing the Mediterranean in rickety craft.

It's also a different mix of people arriving on Italian shores.

While the vast majority of refugees arriving on Greek islands since 2015 are from Syria (which accounted for 47 per cent on its own), Afghanistan or Iraq, the largest source country for those arriving in Italy is Nigeria, followed by Eritrea, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Gambia.

Follow me on Twitter: @markmackinnon

Associated Graphic

A man wakes up in an abandoned warehouse where he took refuge in Belgrade on Friday. In the early days of the refugee crisis, Serbia and its citizens won broad praisse for their hospitality, and in 2015, Belgrade served as a key transit point along what was known as the Western Balkan Route that migrants followed on their way north to Central Europe. But many in the Serbian capital say the mood is changing now.


Migrants queue for food outside a warehouse in Belgrade on Feb. 4. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates there are about 1,000 men and boys sleeping rough on the streets of the Serbian capital.

A migrant wraps himself with a blanket after having a shower outside an abandoned warehouse where he and other migrants took refuge in Belgrade on Feb. 8.

Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F3

PARIS -- When Mikahil Akbary left Afghanistan more than 18 months ago, France was about the last destination he had in mind.

But the 1.6 million refugees and migrants who arrived in Europe over the past two years are not masters of their own destinies.

They chose to come to the continent, but everything since has been decided by others.

Little decisions are made by the bureaucrats who decide on individual asylum applications; big ones, by voters who have blown European politics in an increasingly anti-immigrant direction.

In Mr. Akbary's case, the gusts of fortune have taken him from his native Afghanistan to Turkey, where I met him in the resort town of Bodrum, the day after photographs of Alan Kurdi's tiny dead body captured the attention of the world. Mr. Akbary had an easy, happy-go-lucky nature, and - during our brief conversation before Turkish police intervened - Mr. Akbary agreed to send me selfies and photos from the rest of his journey.

He was headed toward Germany, along with his sister Sweeta and her family, but they later made a snap decision to go to Switzerland instead. I had last met Mr. Akbary at a refugee settlement outside Zurich, and helped him reconnect with his sister, after they had been separated during their chaotic push through the Balkans.

When I saw the family reunited in Switzerland, I thought the tale of these refugees had come to a happy ending.

But last spring, Mr. Akbary was deported nearly 1,000 kilometres back in the opposite direction - on a technicality concerning which country should handle his asylum case - to Croatia. Undeterred, he simply started walking again, this time toward Paris.

All along, the distant dream was, and remains, Canada, where he has relatives.

Now the 23-year-old has a foothold on the outskirts of the French capital, but the winds of fate have hardly stopped blowing.

The country, which recently accepted Mr. Akbary's asylum application and granted him a one-year residence permit, is bracing for a presidential election that could come down to a headto-head battle between the centrist Emmanuel Macron, who wants to see France keep its borders open, and the surging farright leader, Marine Le Pen, who prefers the term "illegal immigrant" to "refugee" and has called for all those who arrived in 2015 and 2016 to be deported.

In other words, Mr. Akbary's stay could again be a temporary one.

France is one of the few European countries still accepting new refugee claims, in part because the French government came under pressure from other European Union members after taking in a relatively paltry number of people while countries like Germany and Sweden were overwhelmed with arrivals in late 2015.

Mr. Akbary says he's just one of a significant number of asylum seekers who arrived in France after being rebuffed by other European countries, seeing the country's partially open door as a last opportunity to legally stay on the continent.

While some seeking asylum in France have spent months or even years sleeping in makeshift camps - most famously in the recently closed "Jungle" refugee settlement in the northern port of Calais - Mr. Akbary's case was rapidly accepted as soon as French authorities verified that he was an ethnic Tajik from northern Afghanistan, a group seen at risk amid a Taliban resurgence in recent years.

"It's better here than in Switzerland, than in any of the other European countries," Mr. Akbary says of France, before adding a laughing caveat: "Maybe because there are fewer refugees."

He proudly shows off the oneyear resident's permit and health card issued to him by the French government after his asylum case was approved in December, and walks me up a hill in his Suresnes neighbourhood on the western outskirts of Paris, to a tram station with a view of the Eiffel Tower. It's a tram line Mr. Akbary takes four days a week on the way to his French classes in the city centre.

"Ça va bien," he says, as we take in the view. He speaks slowly and carefully in the unfamiliar language. But his smile comes quick and easy.

Mr. Akbary's stamp of approval from the French government is just the latest twist in his long journey from his hometown of Takhar.

His flight began in the summer of 2015, after a Taliban fighter pulled Mr. Akbary out of an Afghan Red Crescent vehicle at gunpoint and told him he would be killed if he continued volunteering at the "foreign" organization.

Turkey, where his sister and her family were already living, was supposed to be his place of refuge. Mr. Akbary - who has a degree in Islamic law from Takhar University, but dreams of becoming an IT professional - says he would have stayed there and gone to university if he could have afforded the student fees.

The plan was to apply from Turkey for resettlement to Canada.

But as borders seemed to disappear in the chaotic summer of 2015, Mr. Akbary and his sister decided to join the tide of people heading toward Europe, and specifically Germany, which had just abolished tuition fees for undergraduate students. (Tuition fees were reintroduced this fall for students from non-EU countries, after more than 1.1 million asylum-seekers arrived in Germany over 2015 and 2016.)

Some twists of fate proved fortuitous for Mr. Akbary and his family. They might not be alive today had the screams of drowning refugees not warned them to stay out of the choppy waters of the Aegean Sea in the dark early hours of Sept. 2, 2015. That morning, the body of three-year-old Alan Kurdi washed ashore at Bodrum, the same place from which Mr. Akbary and his family had been due to set off in their own flimsy rubber dinghy.

After finally making the crossing to Greece from another part of Turkey, Mr. Akbary and Sweeta - along with her husband, Murowat, and their one-year-old daughter, Aysuda - trudged north via Macedonia and Serbia to Croatia, where fate intervened again.

The four were taken to a makeshift refugee-processing centre outside the Croatian capital of Zagreb. While Sweeta, Murowat and Aysuda were given space to sleep inside the converted festival hall, Mr. Akbary was made to spend the night outside with the other single men.

The family was split up that night when Sweeta fell ill and was taken to hospital. After her treatment, she and her family were put on a bus to the Hungarian border, with no way to contact Mr. Akbary to tell him what was happening. Crucially, the group had agreed beforehand that they would all head toward Switzerland if they ever got split up.

But they arrived at separate times and in different cantons of Switzerland, so Mr. Akbary's asylum application was treated by Zurich authorities as a case distinct from that of Sweeta and her family in Lucerne.

Last spring, Mr. Akbary received a letter telling him that the Swiss authorities believed he had been fingerprinted for processing in Croatia, meaning that Croatia - not Switzerland - was responsible for assessing his asylum case. He was briefly jailed, then put on a Croatia Airlines plane by two Swiss police officers, who apologetically escorted him back to Zagreb.

"I told them I never gave fingerprints [in Croatia]. When we got to Zagreb, the [Swiss] police just said, 'Sorry, it's our job,' " Mikhail says.

Getting rebuffed by Switzerland was a shock. Mr. Akbary had spent six months learning German, and though he disliked the refugee centre outside Zurich - where the asylum seekers were kept largely isolated from the local population, their comings and goings monitored - he was happy to be a couple of bus rides away from his sister and her family.

Mr. Akbary says he met with Croatian immigration officials, who claimed they were just as confused as he was about why he had been sent there. He says they told him that the Swiss government - eager to look tough amidst a surge in support for anti-immigrant far-right political parties - regularly sent "seven or eight" asylum-seekers to Croatia every day, usually on dubious grounds.

The Croatian police advised Mr. Akbary that he could either apply for long-term refugee status in the country, or try again to head north.

Determined to live closer to his sister and her family, he chose the latter option.

Last May, Mr. Akbary and three others sneaked north into tiny Slovenia, another country that has turned hostile to refugees after seeing its borders overwhelmed during the 2015 influx, eventually erecting a barbed-wire fence along most of its frontier with southern neighbour Croatia.

Mr. Akbary and his friends crossed through a densely forested part of the border where there was no fence, but - haunted by tales they'd heard of Slovenian vigilantes hunting down migrants and forcing them back across the border - they didn't dare pause.

The group spent one full day and two sleepless nights walking through Slovenia - one of their party gave up along the way, and returned to Croatia - before reaching an unmonitored part of the Italian frontier. From there, the remaining trio took a train toward the French border, which they again crossed on foot before reaching the city of Nice, where they caught a train to Paris.

Mr. Akbary just shakes his head when I ask him to calculate how far he has walked since leaving Afghanistan, and whether his feet hurt. "In Afghanistan, this is part of our culture," he says. I'm not sure whether he means the walking or the stoicism.

He spent two nights sleeping on the streets of the French capital before police took him to the three-floor centre in Suresnes, where he was given a bed in a small room with two roommates from Afghanistan. Afghans and Sudanese make up most of the building's 200-plus residents.

They get three meals a day in addition to a monthly stipend of 210 euros (about $290) from the French government.

But the biggest thing the refugees are given in Paris - that they don't receive in Switzerland - is freedom. Mr. Akbary still marvels at the fact that no one seems to care what he does with his days, and that his health card entitles him to receive care at any clinic or hospital in France.

Mr. Akbary says his only problems have come from his fellow refugees. Raised in a secular family - he's clean-shaven and doesn't regularly attend mosque - he has been unnerved by other Afghan residents of his building who have tried to pressure him into showing more piety. "They come to me and say, 'Why don't you pray? You must go to mosque or you are a kaffir [infidel].' " Mr. Akbary has avoided the issue by staying away from the refugees' dormitory during the day. He's perhaps naively confident that the new arrivals will eventually adapt to French society. "They are new here. They don't know the culture of this country," he says. "They will change after more than one or two years."

That's far from a certainty in France, a country already struggling to integrate a large population of Muslims of North African descent. Tensions are still high in and around Paris, after the city was hit by a pair of major terrorist attacks in 2015 that were led by radicalized French and Belgian Muslims.

Those atrocities, which killed upward of 140 people, have helped fuel the rise of Ms. Le Pen, who has blamed French Muslims for refusing to integrate, and says the country can simply take no more immigrants.

"In France, there is this Islamophobic dimension, entrenched for some, that has grown with the terrorist threats," says Manuel Lafont Rapnouil, head of the Paris office of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

"One of the big arguments against taking in more people is 'We don't know who they are.' " Mr. Akbary says he pays little attention to French politics. But he has a ready plan for the moment if and when he's again told to leave the country he thought he might be able to call home.

"Maybe now that I have my [French] ID, I can apply again to go to Canada," he says.

He smiles, as though he expects that's exactly what will eventually happen. If nothing else, his journey so far has taught him not to rule anything out.

Mark MacKinnon is The Globe and Mail's senior international correspondent, based in London.@markmackinnon

Associated Graphic

In a building on the outskirts of Paris, Mr. Akbary shares a room with two fellow refugees from Afghanistan.


Tasmania's Freycinet Peninsula offers world-class walking trails and secluded beaches sure to enchant even the most modest trekker, Lisa Jackson writes
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page T1

FREYCINET NATIONAL PARK, AUSTRALIA -- It's not every day that check-in starts in the bush.

The tour-bus driver veers to the side of a dirt back road, opening the door. Our guide, Hugh Maguire, points to a crude trail zigzagging into a thicket of trees.

"From here, it's a lovely walk to the lodge," he says. "Let's go!" Traipsing through rough brush and grassy patches, I silently pray that I don't step on a deadly Australian snake. Eventually, the trail falls away to reveal a desolate beach with a lonely stretch of sugar-white sand. A wallaby grazing by the dunes looks up, ears pert, and in a split second, hops away.

"Welcome to Friendly Beach," Maguire says. "It's your backyard for the next few days." He leads us to a wooden cabin, shrouded by a fortress of greenery and steps from the beach. I can hear the surf pounding against the shoreline from the sprawling terrace.

Through the sliding glass doors, a crackling fire, freshly baked banana bread and steaming drinks await.

This is our introduction to the Freycinet Experience Walk - a guided hike along Tasmania's bewitching east coast and one of the 10 Great Walks of Australia.

Famed for its ancient forests, pink granite Hazard Mountains, stunning beaches and plentiful wildlife, it's no wonder that hikers flock from all over the world to traverse this scenic "bushwalking" trail.

"Freycinet is addictive," says our guide. "It should come with a warning label."

Over four days, we're trekking the entire length of the Freycinet Peninsula - more than 30 kilometres of trail connected by coves of secluded beaches, coastal forest, and the glistening Tasman Sea. The showstopper attraction for many bushwalkers, however, is the iconic Wineglass Bay, arguably Tasmania's most photographed view and consistently voted one of the world's best beaches.

But this isn't your dad's camping trip - instead of tepid tents and canned beans, we're staying in a luxurious ecolodge equipped with king-sized beds, hot showers, and a cozy library for reading books by the crackling fire in the cooler months, and supping on a smorgasbord of Tasmanian fare prepared by a private chef.

All of the Great Walks of Australia, including Freycinet, are physically demanding, sometimes scaling steep hills and briskly traversing miles of track in a single day. But you certainly don't need to be a fitness guru to make it to the trail's end, especially when accompanied by Great Walk's expert guides and much of the essential equipment (day packs, hiking poles, rain gear) is provided.

"If you can comfortably walk 10 kilometres in your active wear on a Saturday morning, you will be fine," says Gina Woodward, executive officer of Great Walks of Australia.

"You don't have to carry things or rough it - just enjoy nature," a fellow bushwalker says. "It's a warm bed and good cooking."

On our first day, a fishing boat shuttles us down the peninsula for an invigorating climb on Schouten Island. We huff and puff for an hour, scaling boulders and jagged terrain, to reach the summit of Bear Hill. Catching my breath, I'm sucker-punched by the eye candy: waters swirling with turquoise, azure and sapphire blues and endless shorelines fringed with white sand. In the distance, our little ship bobs on the water's surface, a speck in the sea.

Back on the boat, the captain has caught and cleaned a dozen flathead for our supper, now chilling in a bucket. Revving up the engine, he tells us to watch the waves.

"You might see dolphins or whales," he says. "Someone saw a great white last month."

Instead of killer sharks, we spot something much cuter: a posse of seals lazing on the rocks. The boat slows and gets closer to our furry friends, who appear so Zen that they barely budge.

Arriving back at the lodge, we're greeted with a "light snack" of Tassie wine and cheeses, hot sticky cinnamon buns, crispy sweet corn fritters with smoked trout, and a perfect platter of oysters newly plucked and shucked from the bay. It's just the beginning of the feeding frenzy, as the chef readies a fried flathead feast in the kitchen.

"Oh lord, I can smell the sea off those oysters," one hiker says, patting his belly. "And I came here to lose weight!"

The gluttonous feast sends us into a food coma for the night. I awake at dawn, just as pinkish and orange hues streak across the sky, and slip down to Friendly Beach for a solitary moment. It's deserted at this early hour, with only wallaby and wombat footprints scattered in the sand, and waves lapping the shore. It's tempting to stay all day, but I can't linger for long.

"Today is our longest day," Maguire says, as we get geared up for the hike. "We're walking 12 kilometres to Wineglass Bay."

The captain drops our gang at Bryan's Beach, where we trek across an endless string of secluded coves and pristine beaches, and eventually, onto a trail snaking into the Tasmanian forest.

Along the way, Maguire tells tales about the indigenous inhabitants who long called this land home.

"Middens are strewn around the coast," Maguire says. "Burnt-out shells and other remnants from the tribes."

For at least 35,000 years, the Great Oyster Bay and Big River peoples fished, foraged and hunted in this coastal area. However, European settlement in the 1800s wreaked havoc upon them, bringing disease, ecological devastation and war that largely eradicated Tasmania's indigenous population within a few decades.

After an hour of forest-walking, the trail spills onto a windswept beach overlooking glittering waters and towering peaks. A handful of beach bums lounge on towels, soaking up the sunshine.

"We made it," Maguire says.

"Next, we'll hike to the lookout, but let's eat and rest first."

After a picnic in the sand, I peel off my sweat-stained clothes, kick off my shoes and plunge into the crystal-clear waters. The chilly water bites at first, but eventually, relaxation ripples throughout my body.

It's a much-needed reboot before the final haul. Ascending the steep "OMG" staircase, a symphony of groans and gasps emanates from our gang. Someone breathlessly mutters, "This better be dang spectacular."

At last, we see it: a sweeping vista of shimmering sapphire sea, lush hills and a perfect crest of white sand, shaped like a wine glass. It's enough to take our breath away, if we had any left. I watch swarms of tourists arrive at the lookout, snap selfies and dart back onto the bus - rushing off to the next attraction.

"And we saw it from all the way down there," Maguire says proudly. "Worth the extra steps?" My thighs are on fire and armpits drenched from the uphill battle, and despite the miles of track, I'm definitely leaving this trip a little fatter. But as I drink in Freycinet's spellbinding scenery, I can only reply, "You bet."

The writer travelled as a guest of Tourism Australia. The tourism board did not review or approve this article.


A member of the Star Alliance, Air New Zealand connects to most major Canadian cities and features overnight flights from Vancouver to Auckland, with a connecting flight to Melbourne or Sydney.

From there, you can transit to Hobart, Tasmania, on a 60minute (from Melbourne) or 120-minute flight (from Sydney). Bonus: Break up the trip and do a stopover in New Zealand or even the tropical Cook Islands.

Freycinet National Park is just a 21/2 hour scenic drive from Hobart. The Freycinet Experience Walk provides transportation to and from Freycinet and Hobart as part of the package.


The Freycinet Experience Walk runs seasonally from October to April and groups are limited to maximum of 10 hikers. Rates start at $2,400 (U.S.) a person and include the costs of meals, accommodation, transportation and use of some hiking gear. The best time to hike Freycinet National Park is from December to April, when there are longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures. However, some locals favour November, when it "feels fresher and the wildflowers are amazing."

Posthike, take a few days to explore Tasmania, an isolated isle and former convict colony off Australia's south coast.

Almost half the island is protected wilderness and it has the cleanest air recorded on Earth, making "Tas" a wonderland for outdoor lovers. It's also trending for its bountiful locavore food scene, fuelled by the abundance of fresh air, clean water and rich soil.

Nicknamed "the Apple Isle," Tasmania's rich bounty will have you feasting on everything from truffles to fresh oysters to craft beer and wines. Fill your basket at Hobart's farmers' market or take a paddock-to-plate cooking class with chef Rodney Dunn at the Agrarian Kitchen, considered one of the world's best culinary schools.

Got bushwalking fever? The Freycinet Experience Walk is one of 10 Great Walks of Australia, a collection of guided luxury hikes that offer an invigorating wilderness retreat, but without scrimping on comfort. Bushwalkers stay in lavish safari tents, ecolodges and historic homesteads, and dine on exquisite cuisine during the journey. Some retreats offer massage services or yoga on the beach.

Each Great Walk spans several days and are physically demanding, briskly traversing miles of track in a single day.

But it's worth the effort, leading to some of Australia's most iconic landscapes: from spotting rare Aussie wildlife on the untamed Maria Island, to hiking the rugged Victorian coastline to the coastal pillars of the Twelve Apostles, to trekking across the Australian outback in the Northern Territory.

The best part? All of the Great Walks fuse sustainability principles into every step of the journey: From the environmentally sustainable design of the ecolodges to the removal of waste by helicopter to not using plastic wrap on lunches, it's all about minimizing the footprint of bushwalkers. Rates range from $500-$600 a day per person, and you can take your pick of walks here:


Accommodation is included in the Freycinet Experience Walk package.

The Friendly Beaches Lodge is completely off the grid, using solar power and compostable toilets; but luxurious, with king-sized beds with duvets, a well-stocked library, wood-burning fireplaces and floor-to-ceiling windows. The ecolodge is used exclusively by the walking groups.

Posthike, those seeking the pinnacle of luxury should stay at Saffire Freycinet, one of the Luxury Lodges of Australia. It features 20 opulent suites, each with sweeping views of Great Oyster Bay and the Hazards Mountains.

For a wilderness retreat, stay a few days at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, located on the edge of the spectacular World Heritage-listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, one of Tasmania's premier wilderness regions. After all that bushwalking, the resort has a superb alpine spa that will soothe your sore muscles.

Associated Graphic

The Freycinet Experience Walk along Tasmania's bewitching east coast, one of Australia's most scenic and popular trails, is known for its forests, mountains, beaches and wildlife. It also includes a luxurious ecolodge, equipped with king-sized beds, hot showers and a cozy library for reading books by the crackling fire in the cooler months.


Among the snacks served at the Freycinet Experience Walk's ecolodge: a perfect platter of oysters newly plucked and shucked from the bay.


Travellers shouldn't necessarily count on losing any weight on their trek, with Tasmanian fare prepared by a private chef a staple of the experience.


The walk at Freycinet is physically demanding, but offers breathtaking shorelines and views as a reward.


Wineglass Bay is one of Australia's most frequently photographed views, consistently voted one of the world's best beaches.

Vinyl Café creator wove beguiling tales
The beloved storyteller found himself and his community through radio
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S12

The inspiration for the show that brought Stuart McLean into people's lives and homes and hearts each week came, he said, "like a bolt from the blue."

It was the late 1980s, and Mr. McLean was a regular contributor to and fill-in host on Morningside, the three-hour CBC Radio chat fest presided over by Peter Gzowski. David Amer, a music producer for the show, whose selections were frequently and frustratingly foreshortened when the voluble Mr. Gzowski would run over his allotted interview time, asked Mr. McLean if he would like to do a music show with him.

"I said I'd be delighted to work with you, but it should have more than just music and introductions, it should have a conceit, and I just laid it out right there, right in front of him. It just came out of nowhere," Mr. McLean recalled in a 2013 interview with Kevin Caners, a Toronto broadcaster. "I said, 'We should write about a guy who has a second-hand record store and that would be why he's talking about music, because he's going through his record collection.'" The show would be called The Vinyl Café, and though it took until 1994 before it made it to air as a summer series, over the subsequent 22 years Mr. McLean would beguile millions of listeners every weekend with live music, essays, and his folksy, family-friendly tales of that record store owner, Dave; his forbearing wife, Morley; their children, Sam and Stephanie; and their friends and neighbours.

At first, the show was recorded in studio, but as its popularity grew Mr. McLean took it on the road across the country for up to 100 live performances a year, finding inspiration for his stories in the small towns he visited.

"I think the reason he was so good at telling our stories as Canadians is that he was a tremendously good listener," said Jess Milton, who served as the show's executive producer for 12 years. "I want to say he was a mirror and he reflected us back to ourselves.

But he was more than that; he was a conduit. He allowed our stories as Canadians to just pass right through him and in doing so, he really connected us - to our country, to each other and to ourselves."

The Vinyl Café went on hiatus in November, 2015, when Mr. McLean told listeners he was being treated for melanoma. He died Wednesday at the age of 68.

Andrew Stuart McLean was born April 19, 1948, in Montreal, the eldest of three children of Andrew and Patricia McLean, Australian immigrants who had settled in Montreal after the Second World War. He was an awkward underdog of a kid who was more interested in stories than studies.

"I would lie in bed at night and listen to rock and roll on the radio," Mr. McLean said in a 2011 interview that aired on CBC. "I was not a confident boy and I didn't really believe in myself and didn't really connect with the world. ...And it was through the radio that I found some sort of community to belong to."

And he loved to perform. Mr. McLean's younger brother, Alistair, recalls Stuart at about age nine making a surprise appearance while their parents were entertaining guests from their father's head office in London, England.

"He popped up from behind the curtains in the living room and started to give sort of a speech, much like a minister, and then passed around a little plate for collection," Alistair recalled on Thursday on CBC Radio's Vancouver morning show.

His natural way with an audience found an outlet as a camp counsellor and, after he graduated with a B.A. from Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University), as a manager of political campaigns, including the former CBC journalist Nick Auf der Maur's successful run for Montreal city council in 1974.

Buoyed with confidence after the campaign, Mr. McLean took a proposal for a television documentary about cross-country skiing to the CBC-TV show Take 30, which accepted it.

He also snagged freelance work as a researcher on CBC Radio's national call-in program Cross Country Checkup, which led to a job in Toronto at the radio network's flagship news magazine, Sunday Morning.

Led by executive producer Mark Starowicz, the show's merry band of producers - most in their late 20s or early 30s, fuelled by equal parts raw enthusiasm and experience - would fly to various places around the world on a Tuesday night, spend three days reporting a story, return home and edit for 24 hours, and then stumble home at dawn shortly before their 12-minute pieces went to air on Sunday.

"It was intense, full of camaraderie," Mr. McLean told Mr. Caners, in an episode of the podcast Broadcasting Canada. "It was before The Globe was national, it was before the national news was at 10, and before Maclean's magazine was weekly, so if people lived in Regina, they were hungry for information, they didn't have access to it, and we thought we were giving them the world. We were; it was a great show. And there I was in the centre of all that, living my dream: Boy Reporter."

More to the point, Mr. McLean realized he could be good at something. "The light went on and I learned, all you have to do to be excellent is to try hard. To care. To do it again and again. If someone had taught me that in grade seven, I wouldn't have had to flunk grade 11. I didn't know that then. As everybody always says, it's not brilliance, it's just sweat."

Mr. McLean could do serious journalism, but he found himself repeatedly pulled to the quirky outsiders, those who, back then, rarely seemed to merit the spotlight: a man who would replay NHL games in the miniature replica of a hockey arena he had built in his attic; a photographer who specialized in bovine auction portraiture. While Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion was a model for The Vinyl Café, this week Mr. Starowicz noted that Mr. McLean pioneered his own sound in his appearances with Mr. Gzowski.

"Stuart would bring in a report from some part of Canada, and he'd say, 'Meet this lady I spoke to in Corner Brook.' It was that kind of soft dialogue, which was unique at the time. Radiolab and programs like that do it routinely now."

If he seemed easygoing on-air, though, Mr. McLean was hard on himself.

In a 2006 profile published in Toronto Life, author Trevor Cole channelled Mr. McLean telling a journalist about the dissolution of his marriage. He said his exwife, Linda Read "used to call my work the other woman. But there are plenty of people who work as hard as I do who have successful marriages, so - who knows?" He added that, "relationships are a complicated business. I don't understand what happened myself.

I see it as a huge failure, the big failure of my life, that my marriage didn't succeed. And I feel sad about that."

As news of Mr. McLean's death spread, the Internet quickly became flooded with Canadians' memories of their favourite Vinyl Café stories. The reaction underlined how, even in the current era of ever-fragmenting audiences, his show and its multi-generational appeal brought families closer together.

Fans recalled how they had sat in parked cars in driveways across the country, unable to get out until they learned whether Dave had made things right with Morley after some household disaster, such as messing up the roasting of the Christmas turkey.

That story especially "sort of took on a life of its own that neither one of us would have predicted," says Meg Masters, whom Mr. McLean called his "long-suffering" story editor. "Every Christmas when it was time to write the new Christmas story, it was like, 'Oh my God.' There's always going to be a Christmas story and it's always going to be measured against Dave Cooks the Turkey. So it was a bit of a burden at times, because how do you match that when everybody feels so strongly about it?" For many years, Mr. McLean also taught broadcast journalism at what is now Ryerson University.

Chris Epp, a reporter and anchor with CTV Calgary, recalls learning a crucial lesson early in Mr. McLean's radio documentary class. A student flew in late, clearly upset. Mr. McLean asked if she was okay. She said she was. He pressed. What happened? Family stuff, she said. He drew the story out of her, prodding her along with simple, short questions: "What happened? Well, why?

Then what happened?," Mr. Epp recalls. "He did it in such a nonthreatening way. There's a way to ask very personal questions in a non-invasive way that prompts people to want to share."

Mr. Epp says the lesson has stuck with him. "I hear his voice in my head," he says. Especially going into very difficult interviews - a family of a murder or car-crash victim, for instance, he conjures those questions: "What happened? Then what?" In 2011, Mr. McLean was named an officer of the Order of Canada "for his contributions to Canadian culture as a storyteller and broadcaster, as well as for his many charitable activities." He won three Stephen Leacock Memorial Medals, and received an additional nomination, for four of the 10 Vinyl Café books he wrote.

He was married for more than 20 years to Ms. Read, a Toronto potter with whom he raised their two sons, Andrew and Robert, and Ms. Read's son from a previous marriage, Chris Trowbridge.

While on vacation about seven years ago, Mr. McLean met an American woman, Amy Gayle.

Though she continued to live in the United States, they shared their summers at a home in Quebec.

In addition to stories, The Vinyl Café was also very much about music. With his trademark intonation, Mr. McLean would welcome performers such as Reid Jamieson or Hawksley Workman onto the Vinyl Café stage.

Musician Luke Doucet grew up in a CBC household in Winnipeg - the family had no TV. The radio was always on and Mr. Doucet was raised on the voices of Mr.

McLean and other radio hosts. He was thrilled when he and his wife, Melissa McClelland, were invited to tour with The Vinyl Café a few years ago, just before they established themselves as Whitehorse.

"He was a very encouraging person. He would stand at the side of the stage and he would watch and he would listen to the lyrics and he would ask questions about what we were singing," Mr. Doucet says.

When Mr. Doucet and Ms. McClelland learned of Mr. McLean's death on Wednesday, their first reaction was to play Night Owls, a favourite of Mr. McLean's, who loved the lyrics.

He leaves his brother Alistair, his sister, Stephanie, and their families.

"You toss and you turn / You live and you learn / Just when you thought you had it in your grasp it flew away," the song goes.

They used an iPhone to record themselves performing the song, and posted it to Facebook.

"I didn't know how else to process it," Mr. Doucet says. "So we played some music, that's what we did."

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

Broadcaster and bestselling author Stuart McLean, shown at his Toronto home in November, 2012. He created and hosted CBC radio program The Vinyl Café which charmed millions during its 22 years on air with live music, essays, and his folksy, family-friendly tales.


Novelist wrote Giller-winning Clara Callan
He produced novels for years, writing in the morning before his teaching job, then released the lauded work the year he retired
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S8

In the 13 novels he left us, Richard Wright investigated the unfolding mystery of human character, depicting the ways in which people face abandonment, rape, bad marriages, job loss, the murder of a child, betrayal, old age and other disappointments and tragedies of existence. He had a gift for making the men and women he pulled from his fertile imagination more alive than many flesh-and-blood individuals the reader might know.

He was a master of diverse writing styles including suspense, historical fiction, the picaresque, dark comedy; he even wrote a children's book. His bestknown novel was Clara Callan, which won the 2001 Giller Prize, the Governor-General's Award for English-language fiction and the Trillium Book Award, and sold roughly 200,000 copies.

More than three decades after his writing career began, this book helped him break out of the mid-list author designation.

Columnist and critic Robert Fulford, who was on the 2001 Giller jury, recalled: "We Giller judges liked Clara Callan because the story was so unusual and the craft was superb. We had little difficulty arriving at the winner.

"I admire the way he pulled himself up to a level of high professionalism. From 1970 on, I always opened his books with high expectations and was rarely disappointed."

Mr. Wright suffered a massive stroke at St. Catharines Place, a retirement home in St. Catharines, Ont., and died on Feb. 7 in hospital. He was 79. He had moved to the home only two weeks previously, according to his son Christopher.

Richard Bruce Wright was born March 4, 1937, the youngest of five children of Laverne and Laura (née Thomas) Wright in Midland, Ont., on Georgian Bay.

Laverne Wright took whatever work he could find during the Depression, including raking leaves in the parks and working at the grain elevator near the port where wheat from the Prairies arrived by boat to be loaded onto rail cars for milling in Toronto and Montreal. While many of his books, including The Weekend Man, The Teacher's Daughter and Final Things, were set in Toronto, the look and feel and social conservatism of Midland were to reappear in his fiction attached to small towns, named Whitfield, Huron Falls and Craven Falls.

The small-town theme, Mr. Fulford observed, "set him apart from most writers of his generation. I think I best understood that while reading his memoir, A Life with Words."

So intent was he on avoiding the narcissism inherent in autobiography that he wrote A Life with Words (2015) in the third person. He described himself as a quiet, watchful child born with a webbed left hand that he took pains to conceal.

At the age of 18, he left Midland for Toronto to study Radio and Television Arts at what was then Ryerson Institute of Technology (now Ryerson University). After graduating in 1959, he worked briefly as a journalist and radio copywriter, then sent out applications to a dozen publishing houses. He received only one reply, from Kildare Dobbs at Macmillan of Canada, then an important house that published Morley Callaghan, Mavis Gallant and Robertson Davies, among others. In 1960, Mr. Wright was hired as assistant editor, eventually moving on to Oxford University Press as manager of trade sales. He drew on his sales experience at Oxford when he wrote The Weekend Man, the 1970 novel about Wes Wakeham, an ironic young salesman for an educational publisher, who refuses to claw and shove his way up the corporate ladder.

The Weekend Man was his second book. The first was Andrew Tolliver, the 1965 children's story about a boy who foils a bank robbery. He had submitted it under a pseudonym to Macmillan while he still worked there and had to sit through a meeting while company president John Gray discussed the book's merits.

While at Macmillan, Mr. Wright met and fell in love with Phyllis Cotton, a secretary for the firm, and the two married. The Weekend Man was written during an extended stay in Phyllis's home village in Quebec's Gaspé region.

His next novel, In the Middle of a Life (1973), won the Toronto Book Award and the Faber Prize in England, but Mr. Wright saw that writing would not bring in enough money to support a growing family that now included two sons, Christopher and Andrew. While Phyllis worked as a secretary at Trent University in Peterborough, he took an English degree there, and in 1976, degree in hand, he was hired as a teacher at the elite private school Ridley College, in St. Catharines. Until he retired from teaching in 2001, he taught literature ranging from Chaucer to Rohinton Mistry. According to a former student, the actor Colm Feore, he was beloved by his young charges for the latitude he gave them for self-expression.

Mr. Wright also taught what some would label "creative writing," but he preferred to call it "writing craft." He forbade the use of clichés, stereotypes and false sentiment.

Phyllis attended Niagara College, then Brock University in St. Catharines, and became a librarian at Brock. The two were bound by their shared love of books. His friend, the literary scholar David Staines, professor at the University of Ottawa, says: "They were a splendid pair."

Every morning, Mr. Wright rose at 5 a.m. to write before his teaching duties began. "When we heard the clickety-clack of his typewriter we knew Dad was working," Christopher recalls. A rigorous self-editor, he wrote draft after draft on an IBM Selectric typewriter long after most authors had switched to computers, and the whole family was tasked with helping him find replacement ribbons for this antique. Phyllis keyed the final draft of each book into a computer.

The picaresque Farthing's Fortunes appeared in 1976; next came the shocking Final Things (1980), inspired by the murder of shoeshine boy Emanuel Jaques, followed by The Teacher's Daughter (1982), Tourists (1984) and Sunset Manor (1990).

Then, in 1994, he faced a crisis: His novel The Age of Longing was turned down by two publishers who were unimpressed by his sales figures. The book is about Howard Wheeler, a book editor in his 50s, who goes home to Huron Falls after his mother's death to sell her house. It becomes a portrait of the parents' bitterly unhappy marriage.

Editor Phyllis Bruce, who was just then starting her own imprint at HarperCollins, bought the book and it was shortlisted for both the 1995 Giller and the Governor-General's Award.

"I didn't win but the impact of being on that shortlist was huge," Mr. Wright later told The Globe and Mail. "It renewed my confidence and encouraged me to continue writing."

For six years, he worked on his next book, an epistolary novel set in the 1930s about two sisters - Nora, who lights out for an acting career in New York while the other, Clara, stays behind teaching school in the small Ontario town where both were born. The book, Clara Callan, Mr. Wright said, grew out of his curiosity about the inner lives of the unmarried women who taught him as a schoolboy in Midland.

Clara Callan is composed of letters exchanged not only by the sisters but written by three or four other people, as well as diary entries by Clara, a perceptive and passionate woman.

Clara, who is 33 at the book's start, is raped by a vagrant while out walking and becomes pregnant. She flees to New York, where her sister and her worldly friend Evelyn find her an abortionist.

Clara returns to life in Whitfield but a trip to Italy with her sister and her sister's paramour stirs up strange longings. (The travellers also witness the rise of fascism in that country.) Back in Canada, Clara meets Frank, an attentive older man, at a movie theatre in Toronto. They become lovers, meeting in seedy hotels.

In an erotic trance, Clara does not care that he is married with four children, and a Catholic.

A letter to Clara from Frank's daughter reveals that Frank sees other women and has caused much unhappiness. The affair eventually ends, but Clara finds herself pregnant again. She does not reveal the pregnancy to Frank, has no regrets and decides to keep the baby, though she knows she will lose her teaching job. The final chapter, bringing the story up to the present, is written by her grown-up daughter after Clara's death.

The book was published in eight markets outside Canada and translated into five languages. It was a particular hit in Australia, where Mr. Wright was invited to the Melbourne book festival.

"Clara Callan nearly did him in," said his publisher Phyllis Bruce, now with Simon & Schuster. "He started it many times. He changed the point of view. He knew where he wanted to get to but wasn't sure how to get there.

He did a lot of research about the 1930s, becoming an expert on railway timetables of that period, among other things."

After Clara Callan, Ms. Bruce reissued all his earlier books, some of which were no longer in print. Four more novels followed this creative peak. The last one, published in 2016, was Nightfall about an older couple who come together for companionship, not sex. About the book's captivating protagonist Odette, Mr. Wright told Canadian Living magazine: "I've always liked women. I found them more interesting to talk to than men ... so it's not surprising that a number of my books have prominent female characters."

In his later life, he received honorary degrees from three universities - Trent, Brock and Ryerson - and in 2007, he was named a member of the Order of Canada.

Last November, Phyllis Wright died of esophageal cancer, a blow from which Mr. Wright did not recover. "I always thought he was writing for Phyllis; she was his muse," Ms. Bruce said.

In David Staines's view, he was one of Canada's greatest writers, whose oeuvre needs serious assessment: "There has been no doctoral thesis on him - yet."

Richard Wright leaves his sons, Christopher and Andrew; three siblings, Jim, Joyce and Bill; and five grandchildren.

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

Associated Graphic

Richard Wright, in Toronto's Victoria Memorial Park in 2001, broke out as a major author more than 30 years after his debut.


Clara Callan, published in 2001, won three major literary awards, sold approximately 200,000 copies and has been translated into five languages in eight markets outside Canada.


Come from Away creators David Hein and Irene Sankoff struggled as artists, found each other as life and business partners and became the dynamic duo of the Canadian musical, J. Kelly Nestruck writes
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

For Valentine's Day week, here's a love story, times two.

It's about how a Prairie dreamer with a guitar and a Toronto realist who always had a backup plan got together as romantic partners - and then, a decade later, saved their relationship and discovered a unique voice that would take them to Broadway by getting together again, as artistic partners.

Come from Away's creators David Hein and Irene Sankoff, whose Newfoundland-set hit about the 38 planeloads of people stranded in Gander after 9/11 opens in previews on 45th Street on Saturday, told it one morning before departing for New York, in the living room of the twostorey Toronto home they bought in 2006 with the help of their parents, day jobs and a 35year mortgage no longer offered by banks.

A decade later, they have a three-year-old named Molly, are working as artists full-time - and, financially, the picture looks a heck of a lot different.

Best-case scenario, if Come from Away sells out in Manhattan the way it did in Seattle and Toronto, as sole authors of the work, they could pull in $27,000 (U.S.) a week - more every seven days than the average Canadian author or writer earns in a year.

That's my estimate based on industry standards - but money is the one topic these two children of divorce who both, at times, lived in humble circumstances with their single mothers are sheepish about. "We grew up without a lot of money, so the whole thing makes me really nervous," Sankoff says.

Hein further cites the statistic that only one in five shows on Broadway makes a profit. "Literally, we're the fifth show out of five to go to Broadway from Canada - and one of them [2006's The Drowsy Chaperone] has already made it!"

Falling in love Their first love story is beautifully conventional: Hein, born in Regina, and Sankoff, from the Toronto suburb of North York, met on the first day of frosh week at York University in the 1990s. "Irene thinks it was a welcome barbecue; I think it was at a welcome pancake breakcast," Hein says.

"Because it was outside, right?" "You can eat pancakes outside."

The aspiring songwriter and aspiring actress both loved theatre - but, musically, were divided. Hein, as a kid, through visits to the Winnipeg Folk Festival with his mother, had developed a taste for bands such as Blue Rodeo and Great Big Sea (a similar sound pervades Come from Away's score), while Sankoff was a musical-theatre nut who danced all her life and bonded with her mother over old movie musicals. "My mom would come back after working to 11 or whatever on Christmas Eve and we would start watching Top Hat ... or those old Gene Kelly musicals," she recalls. "I was obsessed."

But Sankoff was also an academic overachiever feeling pressure from the science-focused side of her family - and, while she acted extracurricularly at York, she graduated with a double major in psychology and creative writing.

The young couple's first major fight was, as only a young couple's could be, about whether theatre could change the world.

They went at it until the sun came up - the dreamer trying to convince the realist.

Hein didn't win the argument - but, on the verge of applying to do a master's in speech and language pathology, Sankoff did decide to at least give acting a try professionally.

New York So, in 1999, Sankoff and Hein moved to New York. Sankoff began studying at the Actors Studio - as seen on TV - and Hein, who has dual citizenship, began work as "assistant everything" at a music studio where The Muppets recorded, borrowing the equipment to record his own songs at night.

The pair lived in a residence called International House in Upper Manhattan along with grad students from 110 countries - and that's where they were when, on Sept. 11, 2001, planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. That night, windows shut to keep the smell of smoke out, scared students from around the world gathered around a piano in the residence for an impromptu concert - a moving experience Sankoff and Hein would later draw on for Come from Away.

But 9/11 had a more immediate impact on them. A month later, Hein woke up and said, "Hey, why don't we get married?" They were already engaged - but on Oct. 12, 2001, they headed down to City Hall and secretly eloped.

Playbills from Hein and Sankoff's New York years still hang on the kitchen wall of the house they share with their daughter and two cats, one named Elphaba (after the Wicked witch) and the other Gambo (after the Newfoundland town).

But it was not always a dream: Savings dwindled, the studio Hein was working at shut down, and Sankoff - who had an agent and was getting gigs - separated a shoulder in a dance class.

Uninsured, she took a trip to Toronto to see a doctor - and it turned into a move back home.

The second love story Back in Canada, Hein and Sankoff had to build an artistic community from scratch. She landed a role in The Mousetrap; he released an album called North of Nowhere.

And so it went for years - pursuing art at night and paying bills through tutoring or graphic design. Soon, they were married homeowners, but they barely got to see each other and grew lonely, especially when Hein was off on tour. Was this living the dream?

And this - in 2009 - is where the second love story begins.

Hein had written a song called My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding - based on his own experience as the son of a woman who came out later in life and remarried - that was popular on tour. More than most of his work, it was influenced by the musical theatre that Sankoff had introduced him to over the course of their relationship. What if, he wondered, they could expand it into an actual musical - and, at the very least, spend some time together?

Marrying their skills, Hein and Sankoff began trying to turn their family's story into a fictional musical - at first, a conventional "book musical" where an invisible fourth wall descends in front of the audience and scenes and songs alternate to tell a story.

But an epiphany Sankoff had on Valentine's Day led the pair to a different writing style - one they later refined with Come from Away.

At the gym that day, Sankoff was talking with an enthusiastic friend about Wiccan Wedding - and heard her say, "The best thing about this is that it's based on a true story." A light bulb went on.

"I came home to David and said, 'We've got to throw it out.

Let's tell the real story.' "The new version the couple started working on during an unorthodox Valentine's date would eventually feature Hein sitting on a stool in his Glass Tiger shirt, singing songs about his mother's coming out, how he introduced his two moms to Irene at a Hooters and the history of same-sex marriage in Canada, using a troupe of actors that included his wife to tell the stories.

The sweet and direct show became a hit at the Toronto Fringe Festival that summer, then was picked up by producer David Mirvish to play at the city's 700seat Panasonic Theatre he had just purchased - and Sankoff and Hein's career as commercial musical-theatre creators was launched.

When the idea to write a show about what happened in and around Gander, Nfld., in 2001 was proposed to them shortly thereafter by Michael Rubinoff at Sheridan College, it could not have been a more ideal project for them.

They had seen how strangers from around the world bonded, with music, on Sept. 11, and seen how music played a role in bringing them together - and they had found the right aesthetic for such a story, having learned that a musical could be a true story set in our times, told with plenty of direct address, and that authenticity was as important to winning over an audience as craft in lyrics and lines.

Armed with a $12,000 grant from the Canada Council, they headed to Gander for Sept. 11, 2011, to interview locals and "come from aways" returning to commemorate the 10th anniversary.

Hein and Sankoff's subsequent five-year journey - buzz-creating workshops on both sides of the border, a bidding war by commercial producers at a showcase in New York, record-breaking runs in San Diego, Seattle, Washington and Toronto - has been told in these pages before.

Now, the last chapter is about to be written as final adjustments are made in a preview period ahead of a March 12 opening.

As the statistics show, Come from Away may not make them rich. Canadians who have had what are referred to as "flops" in the harsh language of Broadway - such as Cliff Jones, whose Rockabye Hamlet closed in a week in 1976; and Neil Bartram and Brian Hill, whose The Story of My Life did the same in 2009 - have advised the couple to just enjoy the ride.

In any case, the two have a bigger goal beyond making money, Hein says, "Especially now, it feels important to talk about welcoming refugees off planes, strangers into our communities."

Yes - he's finally won the argument about whether theatre can change the world.

Sankoff came around after meeting senior citizens who changed their minds on same-sex marriage after seeing Wiccan Wedding, and receiving letters from Come from Away audience members about how it's inspired them to be better people.

"I still have my moments where I'm like, 'It's a drop in the bucket,' " Sankoff says. "But at least it's a drop."

Associated Graphic

David Hein, left, and Irene Sankoff, the husband-and-wife writing team behind the musical Come From Away, hold hands while walking off the tarmac at Gander International Airport in Gander, Nfld., in October, 2016.


Future of Bountiful unclear after conviction
Monday, February 13, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

LISTER, B.C. -- Rebecca Musser remembers visiting Bountiful when she was about 10 years old.

Ms. Musser was raised in Utah, in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints community of Hildale. But some years, in the summer, her family would trek to Bountiful, an FLDS community in southeastern British Columbia whose residents to this day follow a form of Mormonism that permits polygamy.

Ms. Musser, now 40, returned to Bountiful this past October - but this time, she was accompanied by police. The three decades that ensued had seen her marry the church's 86-year-old prophet, flee the FLDS after his death and ultimately testify against his son Warren Jeffs.

Back in Bountiful for the first time since leaving the FLDS, again to testify in a case that would provide the public with a rare glimpse into life inside the church, Ms. Musser was in tears.

"I cried going to the town, because there really are some good people in the midst of that," she said in an interview.

After decades of on-again, offagain police investigations into Bountiful, a stream of special prosecutors, charges, dropped charges and a constitutional reference trial, the Crown this month won a landmark case.

Brandon James Blackmore and his former wife, Emily Ruth Gail Blackmore, were convicted in B.C.

Supreme Court of removing a child from Canada for a sexual purpose. Their trial heard the 13year-old girl was taken from Bountiful to the United States in 2004 to marry Mr. Jeffs, who was in his late 40s at the time and had taken over as FLDS prophet after his father's death.

The B.C. trial marked the first time anyone had been prosecuted for the offence in Canada, despite long-running concerns about child brides in Bountiful. The Blackmores will be sentenced in April - the same month two men who have served as community leaders go on trial for practising polygamy.

With one legal precedent just established, and another case looming on polygamy itself, what lies ahead for Bountiful is unclear.

The RCMP's primary investigator for Bountiful said its probe is "ongoing and active," though he declined to provide further details.

"If somebody is aware of these types of activities going on out in the community, they can call us and if they wanted to give us some information, obviously we'd be willing to listen," Sergeant Terry Jacklin said in an interview. "I think that's been a big obstacle, just that heavenly hush, so to speak, that they have out there, right?" In 1995, when she was 19, Ms.

Musser said she was forced to marry Rulon Jeffs, a man more than four times her age. Rulon Jeffs would serve as FLDS prophet until his death in 2002. Ms. Musser said she was his 19th wife and he had 65 in total when he died.

After the death of Rulon Jeffs, Ms. Musser said Warren Jeffs tried to force her to marry someone else. Instead, she ran.

"It was as awful and as horrific as anyone can imagine," she said of the marriage. "... I thought if that was heaven, I will absolutely take hell."

Ms. Musser fled in the wee hours of Nov. 3, 2002. She snuck past security guards and surveillance cameras and walked about half a mile before she was picked up by a friend. The friend then drove her to her brother's home in Oregon - the brother had been kicked out of the church years earlier for questioning FLDS leaders and for trying to shield his siblings from a beating, Ms. Musser said.

Warren Jeffs is currently serving a life sentence in the United States after being convicted of sexual assault. Ms. Musser testified against him, and in the case involving the Blackmores.

In the B.C. case, the Crown relied heavily on FLDS records seized by U.S. police in 2008 and Justice Paul Pearlman recognized Ms. Musser as an expert on religious doctrines foundational to the FLDS church, including the religious importance of keeping accurate and comprehensive records.

She told the court spiritual acts, or ordinances, directed by the FLDS prophet are important and that keeping accurate records is essential.

Ms. Musser also testified about the treatment of women within the FLDS. She said a wife was expected to obey her husband completely and had no right to resist if he wanted to do something to her body.

In the interview, Ms. Musser said she remembered visiting Bountiful as a child - seeing the homes and landscape in October was difficult. She said she spent summers in Bountiful when she was nine, 10 and 12 and stayed at Mr. Blackmore's home because two of her mother's sisters were married to him.

Bountiful, which sits within the community of Lister, just outside the town of Creston, B.C., and near the U.S. border, was established in the mid-1940s. Ron Toyota, the mayor of Creston, said in an interview that while he might not agree with all of the beliefs Bountiful residents hold, they are an integral part of the community.

One of Bountiful's early leaders was Raymond Blackmore, whose son Winston would become the community's bishop in 1984.

Winston Blackmore and Brandon Blackmore are brothers.

Winston Blackmore is one of the two men who will go on trial in April for practising polygamy.

When he was charged in 2014, the Crown alleged he had two-dozen wives. His co-accused, James Oler, was alleged to have four wives.

Mr. Oler was also charged with removing a child, a 15-year-old girl, from Canada and was tried alongside Brandon Blackmore and Ms. Blackmore. However, he was acquitted on that charge, with Justice Pearlman ruling the Crown had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt Mr. Oler was in Bountiful at the time of the alleged offence and committed a crime in this country.

Winston Blackmore's home is down the road from Bountiful's community hall. Upon a recent visit to his residence by a journalist, a woman who identified herself as one of his wives said he was out of town and unavailable for an interview.

Blair Suffredine, Winston Blackmore's lawyer, said he first met his client when Mr. Suffredine was a provincial politician. Mr. Suffredine served as the B.C. Liberal MLA for Nelson-Creston from 2001 to 2005 and visited Bountiful on a number of occasions. He said his client's case could come down to religious freedom.

"It might be that on the facts he's breached that law, that could be the case, but he claims the right to practise his religion and the Charter protects his religion," Mr. Suffredine said in an interview. "... We're not trying to strike down the section [of the Criminal Code], that's been decided, but the question of whether he as an individual is entitled to not be punished for practising his religion is really the issue the court's going to have to wrestle with."

Robert Bauman, who in 2011 was B.C. Supreme Court's chief justice, upheld Canada's ban on polygamy in November of that year. He ruled the ban was constitutional and condemned plural marriage as a practice that encourages abuse of women, endangers children and creates an underclass of ostracized young men.

In March, 2012, Shirley Bond, who was then British Columbia's attorney-general, said legal counsel were satisfied chief justice Bauman's decision would "enable police and prosecutors to act with authority in investigating and prosecuting criminally polygamous relationships."

Sgt. Jacklin, one of two RCMP officers working on the Bountiful file, said he was limited in what he could disclose. He declined to say if there was more information about Bountiful residents in the FLDS records seized by U.S. police.

A Criminal Justice Branch spokesperson said he could not speculate on further charges.

Richard Bennett, a professor of church history and doctrine at Utah's Brigham Young University, in an interview said the FLDS is one of several groups in the Rocky Mountain region that permits polygamy. He said they are all carefully watching what transpires in British Columbia.

"What's happening in British Columbia is of great significance to the whole story of Mormon fundamentalism," he said.

Stephen Kent, a sociology professor at the University of Alberta who has studied alternative religions, questioned what impact any convictions would have within Bountiful. He said the rulings might lead residents to believe they are being persecuted.

"I can't imagine that people who believe that they are doing God's work on Earth will acquiesce to any state's ruling about their actions being criminal," he said in an interview.

Mr. Suffredine said it was unclear what impact the trials would have within Bountiful, though he stressed the cases were very different. He said he does not believe his client has plans to marry again.

"Whether it will dissuade anybody else in the community in the future, maybe, maybe not," he said.

Wally Oppal, who was British Columbia's attorney-general from 2005 to 2009, in an interview said he asked the RCMP to reopen its Bountiful probe in 2006. Mr. Oppal said though he had been criticized for "prosecutor shopping," that is, ignoring the advice of special prosecutors until he found one willing to lay charges, he felt vindicated by chief justice Bauman's 2011 ruling.

He said he also took satisfaction in the recent convictions.

Ms. Musser said there is no easy solution to the problems within the FLDS. She said she hopes the ruling sends a message to any society that "propagates criminal activity under the guise of God, religion and religious freedom."

She added she would like those within the FLDS to know "they have the support they need to escape their dark situation."

Associated Graphic

Rebecca Musser leaves court in San Angelo, Tex., in August, 2011. Ms. Musser was one of Rulon Jeff's wives before she fled Bountiful, B.C. Ms. Musser has since testified against Mr. Jeff's son, Warren.


At 849 pages, The Oxford Companion to Cheese is a tome, Ian Brown writes, but it still only scratches the surface of more than 1,000 years of artisanal craftsmanship and cultural fascination that won't sour any time soon
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Let me pose a question: 849 pages, about cheese? Admittedly, cheese is a unique gustatory experience, unlike any other: The milk of a living mammal (a cow, a sheep, a goat, a water buffalo, even a moose) is adulterated and curdled, and possibly stirred and heated and brined and brushed and aged and further transmogrified, and then, while still a living thing, is consumed by other living things, that is, us.

In other words, there is a distinct lacto-cannibalistic element to eating cheese, which then returns to the ecosystem (though not always easily, given the constipation and even obstipation challenges cheese can pose) to help grow the forage eaten by cows and sheep and goats and moose to make more cheese. This sense of eternal intestinal return is only enhanced by the barnyard pong of many cheeses. Somehow, eating cheese is satisfying (or disgusting) because, in addition to its other pleasures, it always feels a little like eating your own brain.

If 849 pages only begins to scratch the washed-rind surface of cheese as a subject, the good news is that you don't have to read them consecutively. Like Total Hockey: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Hockey League, or Chic Scott's Summits & Icefields: Alpine Ski Tours in the Canadian Rockies, The Oxford Companion to Cheese is a tome (versus tomme, a generic term used to describe a flat cheese that is usually bigger and rounder than it is thick) you can stack bedside or chair-adjacent and open at random, in any passing moment of distraction or boredom, and always learn something you didn't know.

That kind of gift appeals to some of us.

There are three main reasons for the book's handiness: the passion of its editor, Dr. Catherine Donnelly; the genius of its organization (which is simple and alphabetic, backed up by a comprehensive index); and its subject, which is, after all, "one of humankind's greatest discoveries" - primordial cheese.

If you are going to do something as bourgeois and selfsatisfied as become an expert on what Monty Python's John Cleese called "cheesy comestibles," you may as well be forthright about it. These days, cheese is all the rage. Affinage, anyone?

Part of the appeal of all Oxford Companions is precisely this nononsense habit of treating knowledge, always daunting and in short supply, as a simple, collectible, indexible commodity.

The existing Companions encompass a hyperactive range of subject matter, from English Literature (the first Companion ever published, in 1932) to American Law, Australian Military History, the Bible, the Body, the Mind, Wine (highly recommended), Theatre (ditto), Film, Fairy Tales, Gardens, Global Change, Jazz, Spanish Literature, Spirits and Cocktails, World Sport and Games and the Photograph.

Donnelly, the cheese pal's editor, is a professor of nutrition and food science at the University of Vermont and co-director of the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese, the first (and possibly the only) "comprehensive academic research centre devoted to artisan cheese." Hence the Companion's predilection for artisanal cheese making (including the resurgent craft cheese makers of Ontario and Quebec), though it dutifully includes entries about everything from J.

L. Kraft (who came out of Canada, but prospered in Chicago) to Velveeta (one of his signature products) as well. For her own part, Donnelly is a world expert on listeriosis, the author of Cheese and Microbes, and, judging from the photo on the book jacket, a non-depressive cheese eater who leans to pearls and peppy pink pants.

"In approaching this book," she writes in her remarkably enthusiastic introduction, "it was necessary to explore the multitude of ways in which we interact with cheese." Think about that sentence. There are more than 1,400 named cheese varieties in the world today - this being a healthy stretch in the multiple milennia-long history of fermented curd - evidence, to Donnelly's mind, of "a bona fide cheese culture" even in North America, where our long-standing germophobia delayed its emergence. In 1985, the American Cheese Society (nothing to do with Donald Trump) judged 89 cheeses made by 30 cheese makers. In 2015, 267 producers entered 1,799 cheeses into competition. Cheese is da cheese, fellow curdlings.

Cheese makers have always been fanatics. Neolithic and, later, Sumerian and Mesopotamian cheese makers in the Fertile Crescent started curdling milk as far back as 11,000 years ago.

Cheese (like butter) was an ancient form of capital: Several European banking houses started out banking cheese, according to the Companion. Cheese also features in both Homer's Odyssey and the Bible.

Donnelly divides 855 entries from 325 well-informed contributors in 35 countries (a high-water mark even by the obsessive-compulsive standards of Oxford Companions) into 15 cross-referenced areas of interest, ranging from animal species and cheese classifications (the Companion mentions 244, many of which you will never hear of again) to cheese shops and the mysteries of the flavour wheel. The book also offers 180 photographs, from which it is possible to conclude that many cheeses look alike.

The advantage of consuming the Companion rather than the cheeses it discusses is that the words are less arteriosclerotic.

Stories of individual cheeses take on a life of their own. You can begin, for example, with the Companion as your guide, at Vincenzo Campi's The Ricotta Eaters, circa 1585, with its depiction of lusty peasants about to spoon into a gobbet of freshly turned ricotta - which is Arabic, not Italian, in origin - and gradually make your way, via boldfaced sub-references such as "CURDLING, CULTURAL THEORIES OF," to the artwork of Christina Agapakis, a synthetic biologist, and Sissel Tolaas, a "smell artist," who made cheese from cultures started with microbes swabbed from the human body (specifically from hands, feet and armpits).

That is less unnatural than you might imagine. Curdling, the process that kicks off the cheesemaking process, has been associated with sex at least since Aristotle speculated that milk was coagulated by rennet (a blend of enzymes made from the fourth stomach cavity of ruminant animals, though there are vegan coagulants as well) in the same way (he theorized) that semen "fixes" a uterus into pregnancy.

Making cheese was traditionally female work - dairywomen in England regularly flipped 63-kilogram wheels of cheddar, until wealthy farmers acquired economic status, which meant their wives could no longer do any heavy lifting. With the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, cheese making became more "scientific," and therefore the province of men, thus denying women their "butter money," the small coin that was often their only route to independence.

Along the way, the Companion provides extensive and - I am afraid of what this says about me - unbelievably compelling histo...

ries of cheeses. Umami-abundant Parmigiano Reggiano was the first cheese to be exported, and the first cheese to be matched with pasta, and the cheese Samuel Pepys took the trouble to save his stash of, during the Great Fire of London. (Molière, at one point seeking longevity, ate nothing but a daily ration of Parmesan.) The painstaking step-bystep procedure that transforms the raw milk of (only) a Lacaune ewe into a salty, nose-opening slice of Roquefort Carles that has been penicillinized and aged in the natural Combalou caves underneath Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, is not only weirdly gripping; it also explains why the cheese sells for $75 a kilo. Pliny the Elder thought it tasted like medicine. Pliny the Elder was obviously capable of being a dolt (he also thought donkey milk removed facial wrinkles). And I haven't even started on Limburger, the kryptonite of Mighty Mouse.

This is not to say that the Companion is all history, or ideas - not at all. The book includes entries on the cheese knife, cheese mites and cheese-maker's lung. And of course there is cheese grating. People have been shaving their cheese since at least 3,000 BC: By the seventh century BC, aristocratic Italians and Greeks (who liked to sprinkle grated goat cheese in wine) were often buried with their cheese graters, an implement they evidently felt might ease their passage to the hereafter.

Better safe than sorry.

Do you want a cheese tattoo?

The Parmigiano Reggiano stamp works well. Do you care that "to get in the cheese," in Hindi, means to introduce a topic into conversation, whereas in Australia it can mean having sex with an old woman? Do you think about whey, the watery byproduct produced when milk is coagulated into curds? A lot of people do, especially now that the surging popularity of Greek-style yogurt has created a superabundance of acid whey, which is in turn being used to invent ever new muscle-, bone- and body-building supplements.

Eventually, poring over the Companion - because by now a reader will have decided that cheese as a subject is worth 849 pages, and then some - you find your way to moose cheese.

Hand-milking a moose is as hard as it sounds: The animal yields only 4.5 litres of milk a day, versus 36 litres a day from the average dairy cow, in part because moose are extremely nervous and tend to clamp shut when they hear a loud and unexpected noise.

This shouldn't be a surprise.

Moose milk is luxuriously high in butterfat, protein and mineral content, making it hard to turn into cheese, which explains why there is only one known moose cheese, produced in Sweden by a herd of three moose, albeit in a rind style, a blue style and a moose feta. It sells for as much as $400 a pound. Newfoundland, take note.

Associated Graphic


If you are going to do something as bourgeois and self-satisfied as become an expert on what Monty Python's John Cleese called 'cheesy comestibles,' you may as well be forthright. These days, cheese is all the rage. Meticulously edited, The Oxford Companion runs the gamut from asiago to zwitser.


Drive-By Truckers: An American band grapples with Trump's United States
Tuesday, February 14, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Patterson Hood wasn't supposed to be here.

On stage at Toronto's jampacked and rowdy Phoenix Concert Theatre on a Saturday night - that was the plan, sure. He and the rest of Drive-By Truckers storming through a two-hour set of southern-fried rock, swigging from the bottle of bourbon they passed around, promising not to insult their audience's intelligence with any "bullshit" - they were in their comfort zone as one of the best live acts out there.

Sitting in the atrium of CBC headquarters 36 hours later - plaid jacket over plaid shirt, brown trilby hat atop his head, Thermos of coffee in front of him - struggling to explain to a politics reporter what has happened to his country since its presidential election, before going on a national radio program to try to do likewise ... that was not what Hood expected when this tour was planned many months ago.

"I'm as bewildered as anyone could possibly be about it all right now," he concedes, looking a little more of his 52 years than he does on stage. His country's embrace of a right-wing populist as its president has shaken his faith in his ability to speak for parts of it he thought he knew, just as he's being asked to provide such interpretation more than ever before.

But if Drive-By Truckers' current role is one to which they're uniquely suited - there aren't many middle-aged white southerners with the guts and cred to play music in front of a Black Lives Matter sign, as they have on this tour - it also makes it trickier to keep serving as musical ambassadors for the Deep South.

Interviews like the one we're doing are the reward and the penance for releasing their 11th album, American Band, last September. After establishing themselves during their first two decades as rock 'n' roll's foremost chroniclers of history and culture south of the Mason-Dixon line, the Georgia-based band took a plunge from the past to the present by making an overtly political album - one that tackles everything from police brutality to school shootings to border militias, very much putting their liberalism on their sleeves.

The album came together organically. Hood and Mike Cooley, the fellow Alabama native with whom he co-fronts the Truckers and splits songwriting duties, each independently wrote a song inspired by current events (Hood's was What It Means, a frustrated search for answers after the fatal shootings of AfricanAmerican teenagers Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown), and when they compared notes, they realized that was the direction they wanted to go with the album. They worried that once it was finished last year, it would become a time capsule, expecting that Donald Trump would go down in defeat in November and everything would cool off a little.

Instead, they now find themselves as part of what Hood describes, with a hint of bemusement, as a resistance movement.

"It really didn't dawn on us until after the election that the shelf life on our record has been greatly extended," he says. "That wasn't really the plan, and I would trade it tomorrow to have our country back."

As Hood implies, Trump's win has not been without its upside for them. American Band, wellreviewed upon its release - both for the messaging and for the lean, hard-driving urgency of the music - appears on its way to being their most successful album, commercially. Ahead of an inevitable avalanche of protest music coming from various corners of the music industry, it is providing a ready-made rebuttal to the new president; something for which there appears to be a big market, as evidenced by the fired-up, sell-out crowds at their shows.

The Truckers are hardly shrinking from that demand. They opened their Toronto show on Feb. 4 with Surrender Under Protest, an American Band anthem penned and sung by Cooley that takes aim at Southerners clinging to the Confederate flag, then worked through most of the album with older crowd favourites spliced in. After the election, they added Neil Young's Rockin' in the Free World as their set closer. As Hood says, "It seemed like it put a centrepiece on the whole thing." (Also: "It rocks.") They hesitated with what exactly they were supposed to do with their material as they watched the results come in on election night, but then they went on stage in Philadelphia the next night and played one of their best shows of the year. "My feeling, kind of from that point on, is I guess we're part of a catharsis for people who are angry and have all this pent-up emotion they don't quite know how to get out," Hood says. "It's better than getting in a fight."

Embracing timeliness is something new for them because, as Hood puts it, they've spent most of their career aiming for something timeless. With a trio of gloriously, absurdly ambitious albums released between 2001 and 2004 - Southern Rock Opera, Decoration Day and The Dirty South - the Truckers established a particular gift as songwriters.

They have the ability to puncture stereotypes about the heart of Dixie by celebrating its complexities and contradictions with stories of political and musical icons, outlaws and family lore, traditions and resentments passed between generations.

They hit a lull after those three records, amid turnover that included several messy departures (among them Jason Isbell, once a third singer-guitarist in the band and now a much-celebrated solo artist), before seeming to find their groove again with 2014's English Oceans - the collaborative sprawl of earlier work giving way to a leaner, more Stones-influenced sound. But through highs and lows there remained an obvious romanticism, a fondness for red-state America's eccentricities alongside condemnation of the darker chapters in its history.

That romanticism very much remains a part of their live show, particularly when it comes to their reverence for southern rock heroes past; Lynyrd Skynyrd factored into two of the most reliable crowd pleasers at their Toronto show, Ronnie and Neil and Let There Be Rock. But it seems to be a struggle to maintain it off stage, at the moment.

Hood says writing his contributions to American Band was therapeutic as his mood about the country darkened. But he's been trying to write recently and for the first time he can remember, the songs are not coming naturally to him.

Is it because he's too angry?

"I'm angry and ... it's like I'm shooting for something, but I'm not necessarily hitting what I'm shooting for, I guess. I don't even know what I'm shooting for. I've never had a particularly hard time articulating what I'm thinking, at least when I'm writing. I might when I'm doing an interview or talking or something, but as far as to write, that's never really failed me. But it's been a little weird."

Somehow, he'd like to help those who are politically likeminded figure out how to better connect in places like Alabama and Georgia, the two states where he's lived most of his life.

(A registered Democrat, he's fed up with that party "writing off large swaths of the country," which "is coming back to haunt us in a horrific way.") Maybe that kind of bridge-building, he says, is "what I'm still looking for and trying to articulate that I haven't been able to in a song yet."

It's disorienting, being in a different town every night touring a political album during the most tumultuous political period in modern American history, and audience reactions confuse things further. The most unpleasant show of the Truckers' tour was in San Luis Obispo, on the California coast, of all places, where audience members held up "Blue Lives Matter" signs and a good chunk of the crowd walked out during What It Means. Meanwhile, the band has been getting nothing but good vibes at many of their shows in the South. "There's just no figurin' it," Hood says.

In a way, he may be realizing that the world they've been trying to capture is less geographically defined than he might have once thought. He recently moved his family to Portland, Ore., and loves the famously liberal city so far. But when he drives five minutes out of town and sees Trump signs, he could be back home.

"You could just as well be in rural Alabama or Oklahoma or anywhere if you're in rural Oregon."

And so he finds himself north of the border, trying to play translator for a country rather than just a region. "I sometimes wonder what y'all must think," he says with a laugh. "As a Southerner, I'm used to other people looking at us with bewilderment, cause of all the crazy stuff that happens in the part of the country I grew up, but I mean it's so national right now."

So what advice does he offer people here trying to make sense of it all? What complexities are we missing that might explain why so many Americans have rallied behind a president so offensive to so many others?

Drive-By Truckers have rarely been at a loss to tell us what we don't know about the land they call home, about their people, but Hood pauses for a long moment. "I don't know if y'all are missing anything," he finally says.

Associated Graphic

Southern rock band Drive-By Truckers, whose music combines a fondness for red-state America's eccentricities with blue-state ideologies, struggle with the new direction their country has taken under the Trump administration. J.P.


Inside China's celluloid kingdom
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

BEIJING -- The studios who backed The Great Wall leaned on all the Hollywood trappings: a giant budget, tightly choreographed fight scenes, big-name stars, Oscar-winning designers and computer-generated monsters.

But in making the most expensive Sino-Hollywood co-production of all time, they also brought in one of China's best-known directors, experts in ancient imperial weaponry, local set designers and a small army of interpreters.

The Great Wall, which opens this weekend in theatres across Canada, stars Matt Damon as a mercenary who gets caught up in a fight on the Great Wall against attacking giant lizard monsters.

Filmed entirely in China, the film is a $150-million (U.S.) attempt to prove that with enough money and talent, some of the brightest entertainment minds on both sides of the Pacific can assemble a film that audiences in both China and the West want to watch.

It is also perhaps the most visible flagpost in a sweeping attempt to build China into an even greater entertainment power, one with the technical capacity and storytelling savvy to win over audiences far and wide.

In recent years, Chinese President Xi Jinping has repeatedly called for his country - whose polluted landscapes and repressive tactics have done little to endear it to the Western world - to cement itself as a soft power.

And as Hollywood has shown, few things rival the power of film to cast a nation in a heroic light.

But as The Great Wall has again shown, that may be easier said than done.

The film opened to mediocre ratings in China in December - and an ensuing spat with state media, which for a short while threatened to censor "vicious and irresponsible" bad reviews - although with a domestic boxoffice take of $170-million, it need not worry about losing money.

Outside China, too, reviewers have been less than enthusiastic.

The trade paper Hollywood Reporter called it "nothing more than a formulaic monster movie" that suffers from a "sheer lack of logic." Variety praised its "highly watchable war and monster spectacles" but found fault with Chinese characters "portrayed as flawless paragons."

Friday marks its most serious test yet: Will North American audiences warm to a film that injects fantasy into ancient China, set on the country's single most recognizable landmark?

A series of movies designed to appeal to a Chinese audience - Warcraft most prominent among them - have raked in yuan but struggled elsewhere, and the industry is watching to see whether The Great Wall has found a formula to break that pattern.

It is the first English-language film for acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou, and a strong North American performance will further cement China's role in the entertainment industry, where its companies already own Legendary Entertainment and AMC Entertainment, and have been on the hunt for even bigger prey.

The Great Wall "tries to incorporate the best of China and the best of Hollywood. But is that really a good formula? The right formula? Nobody knows," said Raymond Zhou, film critic for China Daily.

He is skeptical. Co-productions may look good on paper. "In reality, it often does not work," he said. "If you have 50-per-cent input from China and 50-percent from Hollywood, you usually don't get a movie that appeals to both markets. Usually, you end up with a movie that does not appeal to either market."

The man perhaps most interested in the outcome is China's richest tycoon, Wang Jianlin, the chairman of property and entertainment conglomerate Wanda Group, who has vowed to "change the world where rules are set by foreigners." Wanda bought California-based Legendary Entertainment, whose offshoot Legendary East is the production house that championed The Great Wall, in January, 2016, for $3.5-billion, and the movie is Wang's biggest attempt yet to tilt the entertainment globe.

"This is the first time that a director from mainland China can have his work play on 2,000 to 3,000 North American screens.

This has never happened before," said Chen Changye, who writes on the film industry in China. "It is a milestone for China."

Even if it flops, few expect it to be the last attempt. Western studios are subject to quotas that keep most of their films out of China - 34 a year under current guidelines, although local authorities are considering a slightly higher number for coming years.

Co-productions, which must typically feature at least 30-percent Chinese content, face no such restriction. With China the second-largest film market in the world - and, although growth is slowing, still expected to one day surpass the United States - there is great incentive for studios to skirt quotas and get more movies into Chinese theatres.

"We are just at the very, very early stages," said Vincent Fischer, an agent with Eastward Entertainment who is also on the board of the China Europe Film Fund, which develops and finances China-Europe co-productions. "The room for expansion is times 10 - at least."

The Great Wall was partially filmed at the Oriental Movie Metropolis, an $8.6-billion moviemaking colossus in the port city of Qingdao, with dozens of sound stages built next to hotels, a school, hospital and yacht club.

In fact, shooting began before construction had finished on the complex, and the film set was built on land that was still settling.

The Great Wall served as "marketing for the Qingdao facility," said Jonathan Garrison, senior vice-president at CastleHill Partners, which invests in media projects, and a former general manager in the investment-management department for Wanda, where he concentrated on entertainment.

"Wanda really wanted that kind of association with a major production ahead of the ultimate opening of their studio, to kind of show they're capable of pulling it off."

It's also the biggest entry in a new era of experimentation by Chinese film investors eager to learn and appropriate Hollywood's secrets.

"There are several projects on hold where the big studios are waiting to see how the Western audience reacts to this movie," said Sherrie Dai, an art director with The Great Wall. "They are definitely looking at it very carefully."

Disney has prompted local hand-wringing by bringing global audiences to Chinese tales, in Mulan and its Kung Fu Panda series. But in Chinese film, storytelling is "not done well," said Huang Guofeng, an analyst with Beijing-based Analysys International. The local industry has set out to fix its shortcomings "by working together with the masters," he said.

"In the current phase, they are driven not mainly by profit, but to learn."

Support for that goal comes from the highest levels of Chinese leadership. "The stories of China should be well-told," Xi, the President, has commanded.

At the same time, the fastchanging character of China's youth has fostered hope that a highly connected generation that guzzles Western pop culture, studies abroad and travels extensively outside China will simplify the task of making movies with appeal in both English and Chinese.

For producer Peter Loehr, the growing size of the Chinese film market and interest by local investors meant the timing felt ripe for The Great Wall. "We thought, 'Maybe we can make a real Chinese story and maybe the world is ready for this in a way they weren't before,' " he told The New York Times. Loehr declined an interview request.

Still, the very act of making The Great Wall underscored the difficulty of pulling that off.

The film's hierarchy blended cultures and languages, with a Chinese director, primarily foreign heads of departments and lower-ranking crew largely made up of Chinese workers. Complicating matters was the installation of a Chinese supporting head of department in many areas - there were, for example, two supervising art directors and set decorators - which was done to ensure a senior Chinese figure whose orders would be followed.

The mere act of speaking on set became so difficult that the filmmakers flew in extra interpreters, eventually accumulating more than 100 people dedicated to ensuring the director could speak with actors, and costume designers with one another, according to two people involved with the movie.

Even the fluently bilingual, however, struggled to translate the names of centuries-old weaponry and siege machinery, their names unfamiliar even to most modern-day Chinese. Eventually, translators developed an on-set linguistic bible to standardize English words for different types of Chinese fabric, horse harnesses, daggers and the like.

In some areas, the meeting of cultural minds created complementarities: Foreign fastidiousness lent itself to a more authentic replication of the stonework in the wall itself, while Western design gave creative wings to science-fiction elements of the film, like the crane rig platforms used by female soldiers to rain down destruction.

"That's a very interesting element no one has seen before in Chinese films," said Dai, the art director.

Elsewhere, different approaches bred conflict. On Hollywood sets, a strict schedule determines what happens and when. In China, crews tend to work according to the unwritten dictates of superiors - and the two work styles often clashed. Even the normal act of defusing tension often fell flat: Crew members telling a joke in English often found their Chinese counterparts scratching their heads, unable to see the humour.

One translator likened the production to a cross-cultural marriage.

"It's two different languages and two completely different cultures and two completely different ways of thinking," said the translator, who asked not to be named because the studio had not authorized a media interview. "But it's a big step - a good try. If you're not trying, then it will never work."

With a report by Yu Mei

Associated Graphic

Director Zhang Yimou, left, speaks with actor Matt Damon on the set of The Great Wall.


Golfer had the 'perfect' swing
The Hall of Famer was twice named the top Canadian woman in her sport
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, February 10, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S7

Betty Stanhope-Cole was a woman ahead of her time.

Tall and tomboyish, with a charming gap-toothed grin, she was fiercely competitive and independent. Her peers today call her the Wayne Gretzky of women's amateur golf. She amassed a formidable record at home and abroad with the dictum: "I hated to lose more than I wanted to win."

On Jan. 27, Ms. Stanhope-Cole died at the age of 79 of lung cancer in Edmonton, where she grew up and honed her craft. For years her parents lived in the home closest to the entrance of the Highlands Golf Club. When they died, Ms. Stanhope-Cole took over the estate, becoming the unofficial matron of the course. A park nearby was named in her honour in 2011.

"She was different than most moms," said Rob Cole, one of her two children. "She was either always in the curling rink [she played at the national level] or on the golf course. It was the norm for me."

He adds that she was also able to be very present in her children's lives and was careful not to put her sporting career before them.

"I think she did a remarkable job at balancing that during an era that was pretty traditional.

Back then, we lived in a maledominated world, but that didn't bother her. She just marched ahead and did her own thing."

And march she did. "She drove like she played golf," Mr. Cole said. "Like, 100 miles an hour.

Hard, passing people. If you got ahead of her at a light, she'd want to beat you."

While playing for a national team in New Zealand in 1963, Ms. Stanhope-Cole bravely took to the wheel in a country where motorists drive on the left side of the road. Fearless, she sped along the highway, exceeding the speed limit.

When a car loomed alongside her at the same rate of speed, Ms. Stanhope-Cole accelerated, only to find out that the other vehicle was an unmarked police car.

The police officer issued her a steep fine. Ms. Stanhope-Cole threw herself at the mercy of the court, claiming that she was a young woman in a foreign country who was concerned for her safety and that she had no intent to race. Problem solved. She always found a way.

With talent, indefatigable attitude and strong will, Ms. Stanhope-Cole became the top female golfer in Canada in 1974 and 1976. Before that, she delivered a string of triumphs: 1956 Canadian Junior Girls champion, 1957 Canadian Ladies' champion (the first woman from Western Canada to do so), 1967 Canadian Ladies' Close champion and Alberta Ladies amateur champion 16 times. In all, she won 40 City of Edmonton Championships.

Ms. Stanhope-Cole represented Canada five times between 1963 and 1976 and played on 25 Alberta interprovincial teams. She considered turning pro, according to her son, but decided against it because the women's professional golf tour, then in its infancy, offered little financial incentive or support.

In 1980 she gave up competitive golf, but devoted herself to becoming a mentor to young players and to the Canadian Ladies' Golf Association.

She is a member of three Halls of Fame: the Edmonton Sports Hall of Fame, the Golf Canada Hall of Fame and the Edmonton Sports Hall of Fame. In both the Edmonton and Alberta Halls, she also gained induction on the strength of her curling exploits.

She skipped three Alberta championship curling teams, and placed second in the 1978 Canadian Lassie (national championship).

Betty Stanhope was born in Calgary on Sept. 21, 1937, to Rob Stanhope and his wife, Lillian, a fiery redhead who had been orphaned and worked on a farm from the age of nine or 10 to take care of her sister. "She was tough as nails," Mr. Cole said.

Lillian was outgoing and had many friends and a warmth about her.

Her husband worked hard in the oil fields after crude was discovered at Leduc, Alta., in 1947.

He was "difficult," Mr. Cole said.

He stood more than six feet tall, with broad shoulders, but underneath it all he had a soft heart.

Betty was a product of the two.

She was blessed with the warm fire of her mother, but had a more reserved personality.

Another difference between the mother and daughter could be readily seen on the golf course.

Lillian was a terrible golfer. On one occasion, however, Lillian scored a lucky hole-in-one at Highlands, which drove her daughter crazy.

During her storied career, Betty never accomplished a hole-inone.

Lillian - or Nan, as her family called her - scored her ace with a shot that never got off the ground. It ricocheted off a tree and bounced around before it rolled back onto the green and into the cup.

Betty was 11 and playing tennis when her father suggested she take over a lesson at a driving range at Grierson Hill in Edmonton that he could not attend.

Betty claimed it was a set-up, but she quickly became hooked.

Allan Wachowich, a former Chief Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta, came to know Betty at the driving range, when he was 14 years old and she was about 12. "I had already learned to golf and was golfing pretty good," he recalled.

"But she was out-driving me. She was probably 30 pounds lighter than I was."

Her raw talent was developed further by Canadian Golf Hall of Famer Henry Martell, known for his sweet swing. She learned from the best.

"Her swing was magnificent," said fellow team member Cathy McMillan, who was 15 when she met Betty. "It was beautiful. So perfect. You look at the kids these days, like Rory McIlroy, her swing was as good as that, if not better.

She didn't try to kill it like the young men today do. It was a beautiful swing, partly because of her height. The takeaway and follow-through were just perfect.

"And, oh god, she was a mean machine and competitive. She was tough." Still, Ms. McMillan found her Alberta team member always willing to impart helpful advice. And because Ms. McMillan lived out of town - in Ponoka, Alta. - Betty would always allow her to crash at her house during Edmonton tournaments. "We had fun," Ms. McMillan said. "She was a special gal. I think she and Marlene Streit are the two greatest golfers that this country has ever produced."

Life didn't always deliver a smooth path. More than 30 years ago, Ms. Stanhope-Cole under.

went a kidney transplant just in time to avoid dialysis. She took anti-rejection drugs for the rest of her life, but none of that slowed her down.

She married Gordon Cole, an engineer who eventually became chief executive officer with Interprovincial Pipe Line Ltd., which later morphed into Enbridge Inc.

More than 20 years ago, they divorced. He died of cancer four years ago.

Ms. Stanhope-Cole was known for having a dry sense of humour that could be biting at times. "She was incredibly opinionated," her son said. "She and I fought like cats and dogs, just because we're both the same. But we're probably the only two who could fight like that and still get along, just because we're so strong-minded."

Mr. Cole caddied for his mother for years when he became old enough. "I think I was the only one that could fight back and not be fired," he said. "If it was anybody else, she would have told them to get the hell off her bag. I could put her in her place, although I was very selective."

Yet the two had a special bond, and Mr. Cole ensured that his mother crossed a few items off her bucket list before she died. A couple of summers ago, he talked her into visiting Glen Abbey Golf Course in Oakville, Ont., to view her Hall of Fame display.

"While she was proud of her accomplishments, she was never boastful," he said.

Last spring, he persuaded her to attend the Masters tournament in Georgia. Behind the scenes, Mr.

Cole arranged for her to meet her idol, Jack Nicklaus - without telling her.

"She was just like a schoolgirl," Mr. Cole said of the meeting. "She was so excited, yet she was pretty composed. You could tell after that she didn't have any words as we walked away." Her first concern afterward was that she had offended Mr. Nicklaus by calling him "Jack."

An autographed photo of Ms. Stanhope-Cole with Mr. Nicklaus and his wife, Barbara, arrived in time for Mr. Cole to present it to her on Mother's Day.

However, during the Masters, Mr. Cole noticed that his mother was fatigued at climbing the hilly course even though she had been quite fit until then, often walking on a treadmill and going for walks outdoors. "She was always going 100 miles an hour," he said.

She developed a bad cough and cold in the fall. By December, her cancer had quickly advanced.

"She just marched on like she always did," Mr. Cole said. "She never really talked about it. She certainly didn't seek any sympathy."

She left a huge footprint in many areas.

Ms. Stanhope-Cole leaves her son, Rob; daughter, Jackie; and grandchildren, Brian, Tyler, Talia and Tanner.

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Associated Graphic

Golfer Betty Stanhope-Cole holds the Duchess of Connaught trophy in 1957. The storied golfer represented Canada five times between 1963 and 1976, and was a member of three Canadian Halls of Fame.


Protests and politics in the Donald Trump era
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A11

Danielle Moodie-Mills had hoped the offensive rhetoric that swept over her country during the U.S. presidential campaign would finally come to an end on election night, when she would be in the CBC Toronto studio on a political panel and witness the victory of Hillary Clinton. But then Donald Trump won. That night, Ms. Moodie-Mills controversially said her country had been overtaken by "hatred on a level we have not seen since Jim Crow" - a bold claim that lit up Twitter and drew attention from both sides of the border.

Since Mr. Trump's inauguration, both Americans and Canadians have taken to the streets to protest the racist, xenophobic and misogynist views they say the President holds and the executive orders he has signed (most notably the immigrant ban focused on seven predominantly Muslim countries). As a Democratic strategist and political activist, Ms.

Moodie-Mills says maintaining that level of resistance is key to preserving a free society. But while protests can unite, they've also exposed the complex divisions among progressives that existed long before Mr. Trump's victory.

On Feb. 15, Ms. Moodie-Mills, who lives in Washington, will return to Toronto to deliver the 2017 Jack Layton Lecture at Ryerson University. She'll discuss intersectionality (the way gender, race, class and other identities are interconnected when it comes to discrimination), immigration and the role of organized resistance.

Ahead of her visit, she explained what challenges lie ahead for the United States and Canada in the Trump era.

You've said that much of what's happening in America comes down to the fact that people are fundamentally uncomfortable with this demographic shift that's happened. And we've seen it spreading across Europe. To see change at this point, do you think we need to wait for the scale to tip in the other direction?

What Trump did, and the reason why he won, was he gave people who felt disconnected and unheard a voice and somebody to blame. The reality is that there is nobody to blame for your lot in life. Yeah, governments fall short sometimes but the reality is that the coal industry isn't coming back to America. Factory plants aren't coming back to America.

Innovation has hurt them more than any immigrant or person of colour that Trump wanted to point to and say, 'That's why you don't have a job.' I think it's not about us waiting and crossing our fingers and saying okay when we finally reach 2030 or 2050 or whatever the magical number is that this country will be majority minority that all of a sudden things will change, because honestly, who is in power will not change until we change it.

We're living in this sort of posttruth era and the Trump administration routinely gaslights its critics and serves up these socalled alternative facts. How do we navigate this new political world we're in?

The reality is he's gas-lighting the hell out of this country, out of America, out of the world. Every day there's a new bomb that drops. It's not by accident that things are being announced and done in the middle of the night. I personally place a lot of responsibility on the press to call out things when they are lies. I don't know why we find it necessary right now to move further and further away from reality in order to appease Trump. That's what we do in Communist countries, in dictatorships and authoritarian regimes. That's not what you do in a democracy. To me, it's the media's responsibility and if the media are not going to do their jobs, it's the rest of us. We're wasting our time fact-checking and he's moved on to the next target.

You say that the Trump administration is doing this in a very strategic way when you look at the timing of the release of some of these announcements. With this refugee ban in particular, some have described this as a shock event - something that's meant to cause total chaos so the real objective that they may have can be carried out while everyone's distracted. Do you think that's what's happening here?

Are they like, 'Look at me over here' and doing something behind your back? Absolutely.

The reality is he wants to drop all these executive orders, tire everybody out, make it seem like we have no control over our lives, over our government, and that we don't have a say, so that we just essentially take in what it is that's happening and forget what our power is and responsibility is as citizens. And we have by virtue of media and the ratings and desire to be first, allowed this to happen and continue to allow it to happen. I remain hopeful because of the turnout at all of the airports on the weekend [following the executive order for the refugee ban]. And because people that have never in their lives protested, never in their life got up and [identified] as activists are showing up. This is not the America that they know.

What is the role of organized mass resistance now?

The role of organized mass resistance is to stay in the streets, to stay vigilant, to remember what our democracy is about. To continue to call your members of elected office and when they decide they're going to disconnect their phones like many Republicans are, show up in their offices, show up on Capitol Hill and demand to be seen and to be heard. The more we can do this, the more we're able to thwart [Mr. Trump's] mission, which in my belief, is to destroy our democracy. Because he is the same person who capitalized off the tragedy of 9/11. Chaos breeds success for him. Our constitution begins with, 'We the People' not 'I the President.' .

There's this one photograph from the Women's March on Washington that went viral. I'm sure you've seen it. In the background there are three white women in the pussy hats looking at their phones. In front of them is a black woman. She's sucking on a lollipop and she's holding a sign that says, "Don't forget white women voted for Trump."

Yes, she's actually a friend of mine. Her name is Angela Peoples.

All right, so, you're a black woman. You're a member of the LGBT community. You talk a lot about intersectionality. What do you make of this?

[This is] a reminder that it is the responsibility of all of us, particularly those that carry a level of privilege, to use that privilege and platform to advance an intersectional framework that allows all people to advance. And it's important for us to remember that all of these people who came out to march and protest and stand in solidarity, their friends and family members are the ones who went in and pulled the lever for Donald Trump, that put tissue in their ears and didn't want to hear, 'I can do whatever I want to do with women because I'm a star.' I think it's a very important reminder that the voices of women of colour and people of colour have continually been diminished. If we're going to achieve the progress that we are marching for and hoping for and praying for and creating strategic action around, it has to be intersectional because that's what our future is.

What's happening right now in the United States is having a huge effect everywhere else in the world. What do you think Canada's role is as all of this is unfolding?

I think Canada's role is to be the beacon of hope that America is not. I think Canada's role is to preserve democracy and to show what a democratic country looks like. I think that Canada, much in the same way as Germany and other places, really needs to be the standard bearer for the world and the democracy we want to live in and to hopefully not fall to the phony populism that America and the U.K. and other countries are falling for now.

Canada is in the middle of this race to select the new leader for the federal Conservative party.

We have this one candidate, Kellie Leitch, who's been described as "Trump-lite," and she's proposed screening immigrants for so-called Canadian values. Do you think our country is at risk of going down this same path as our neighbours to the south?

I think we're all at risk and it's incredibly frightening to be a part of history repeating itself in the most awful ways. I truly believe that this is white supremacy's last stand and I think that things are going to get worse before it turns the corner. I pray that the people can be better than their elected officials and as the 2018 midterm elections in the United States come around, that we have the same vigour and appetite for resistance that we are seeing now, [at the start of] Trump's four-year term. We'll see the people who are staying silent or being represented as 'Trump-lite' or think their silence is going to save them, that those people are voted out of office.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Associated Graphic

Protesters and immigrants' rights advocates rally in opposition to U.S. President Donald Trump's immigration order at Battery Park in New York in January.


Over the past decade, the capital of the Netherlands has undergone a major makeover in an effort to leave behind its racy reputation in favour of five-star hotels, exciting exhibits and a host of homages to its history. Amy Laughinghouse picks the city's best new attractions
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, January 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Five-star luxury. Creative cuisine. Innovative fashion and design. These aren't the sort of enticements that typically spring to mind when you think of Amsterdam.

But the city is making an effort to leave its racy reputation behind and lure tourists with a taste for a different sort of "high life."

Over the past decade, Amsterdam has invested 10-billion (about $14-billion) in cultural offerings, including renovations to the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum of modern art and the Rijksmuseum, home of Rembrandt's masterpiece The Night Watch.

Today, the Netherlands's capital encompasses 44 museums, 55 theatres and performance halls and more than 1,300 restaurants capable of satiating the most ravenous attack of the munchies.

Even alleyways are getting a makeover.

Here are our top picks for Amsterdam's best new attractions, including this winter's festive holiday events.

Haute cuisine

Amsterdam's foodie scene is a culinary constellation of sophistication these days. At the Dec. 12 launch of the 2017 Michelin Guide to the Netherlands, Amsterdam earned three new stars - one each for Bolenius, Mos and Rijks - bringing the city's total count to 21.

For superb seafood, check out the one-star Bridges at Sofitel Legend the Grand Amsterdam.

For veggie-centric fare with flair, try Vork & Mes, which Michelin dubs "a particularly pleasant restaurant," or wrap your tongue around the "flexitarian" victuals at Swych, a new eatery at one of Amsterdam's oldest hotels, the Doelen.

Jordaan food tour

Combine an appetite for architecture, history and traditional nibbles which embrace the savoury contributions of the Netherlands's erstwhile colonies on an Eating Amsterdam walking tour of the hip Jordaan neighbourhood. You'll visit eight proprietors, who dole out Dutch treats such as puffy poffertjes pancakes, herring, baka bana (fried plantain with satay sauce from Surinam), deep-fried bitterballen (flour-coated balls, usually filled with meat) washed down with a local brew.

Guide Jelte van Koperen ensures you get your fill of interesting facts, as well. He explains, for instance, that canal houses lean forward by a few degrees to make them look taller - and not because drunken builders had indulged in too many pints of India Pale Ale, which, as van Koperen can tell you, originated with Dutch merchants who added extra hops to their beer to keep it fresh on journeys to India.

A'DAM Lookout

The A'DAM Lookout, which opened in May across the IJ River from Amsterdam Central train station, offers a new way to get high. The tower's rooftop terrace, Lookout, boasts 360-degree views, but the main attraction is a pair of metal swings that extend over the edge of the building. As your legs dangle nearly 330 feet in the sky, there's nothing but air between you and the city below. You're going to need a drink after that (or, perhaps, before), and A'DAM Lookout is not short on options. Sip on a cocktail from Madam as you explore multimedia exhibits about Amsterdam, reserve a table at Moon revolving restaurant or head to the Butcher Social Club on the ground floor, which serves "bloody delicious burgers" in a lounge-like atmosphere kitted out with a billiard table, pinball machines and video games.

If you don't want to wobble back across the river afterward, book a room at the just-launched Sir Adam hotel. It's got a chic, minimalist aesthetic and a music theme which extends from a "disco elevator" to in-room records and turntables and a "room service menu" of guitars which you can play during your stay. .

Pulitzer Amsterdam

In September, the Pulitzer Amsterdam - a 225-room, fivestar hotel flanked by the Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht canals - emerged like a butterfly from an 18-month chrysalis of renovation.

Housed within a luxe labyrinth of 25 interconnected 17th-century buildings, the property occupies an enviable position in the Nine Streets, a neighbourhood packed with one-of-a-kind boutiques and restaurants.

Jacu Strauss - whose recent projects include the Mondrian London in the old Sea Containers building along the Thames - oversaw the top-to-toe transformation, creating a clever mix of modern art and antiques that pays homage to Amsterdam's history.

In lieu of a chandelier, the new double-height entrance features a grand piano suspended from the ceiling, in recognition of a classical concert the hotel co-sponsors each year. In the lobby, massive wooden ceiling beams and reception desks encased in Delft tiles accompany swathes of velvet drapes and sleek upholstered sofas, a nod to the riches wrought during Amsterdam's Golden Age of trade. New glass hallways connect the two main wings, offering views onto a quartet of courtyard gardens.

The Pulitzer has also introduced a casual café, Pause, and the elegant Jansz, providing fine-dining throughout the day. Pulitzer's Bar is dark and seductive, with Persian rugs, cozy seating and bookshelves filled with antique leather tomes.

Every room is different, although each includes thoughtful touches such as a bicycle-repair kit, a specially designed desk that converts into a dressing table and a wooden headboard with a silhouette echoing Amsterdam's distinctive rooftops.

For a treat, book the expansive Pulitzer's Suite, with its superking-sized bed, or one of four new Collector's Suites, each of which is devoted to a different creative passion: art, antiques, music and books. .

Holiday happenings

The Amsterdam Light Festival, now in its fifth year, brightens up the night with whiz-bang illuminated installations along the canal belt. Through Jan. 22, you can board a "Water Colours" boat tour to view 20 sculptures, ranging from a neon rainbow to Day-Glo tulips. For more seasonal cheer, check out the outdoor ice-skating rink (through Feb. 5) at the Museumplein facing the Rijksmuseum.


This 700-square-metre concept store, located in a former bank, is completely devoted to Dutch design. Spend as little as 7 on wine-flavoured candies or as much as 1,700 on a black leather dress from Blck. You'll also find art installations, bicycles, liqueurs, lacy lingerie and everything in between.

Save time for a drink at the Duchess, the glamorous bar and restaurant next door. Here, senior bartender Wouter Bosch serves up a dangerously more-ish punch, as well as philosophic punchlines (ahem).,


If you've ever wondered what lies beneath the surface of Amsterdam's ubiquitous canals, skip the dip and take a stroll through the Beurpassage. The barrel-vaulted alley, which opened in December, connects Nieuwendijk and Damrak, but it's more than a shortcut between two of Amsterdam's busiest shopping streets. It's a 30,000-square-metre artwork that serves as a witty tribute to this multifaceted city, where cast-off items form a sort of primordial soup within the aquatic melting pot of the canals.

Artists Hans van Bentem, Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam have incorporated elements such as a red stiletto (a winking reference to the red-light district) within the intricate mosaic ceiling, a green glass wall sconce in the shape of a flaming spliff and gilded chandeliers comprised of bicycle parts, thousands of which are hauled out of the canals every year. "We were not afraid of clichés," van Bentem grins. You can even drink from a fish-shaped water fountain, dispensing what van Bentem calls "Amsterdam's tolerance elixir."

Museum Van Loon

Passersby can't resist peeking in the windows of historic homes lining the canals, but Museum Van Loon offers an eyeful with rare, behind-closed-doors access to a 17th-century mansion that once belonged to a founder of the Dutch East India Company.

Filled with 18th-century furnishings and portraits of stern-looking ancestors, with a manicured garden and renovated coach house at the back, the estate has welcomed key players on the world stage, from Vladimir Putin to François Hollande.

"We don't cut off the rooms with ropes, and there's no audio guide," says director Tonko F.

Grever, who wants visitors to feel at home. .

Otentic Perfumes

Follow your nose to Otentic, one of only three outlets in the world where you'll find these exotic perfumes, produced in Grasse, France. At the light and airy shop, which opened in April, you can sample more than 64 unisex scents, which are divided into various "mood" categories, from Grasslands ("earthy and spicy") to Sedux ("sweet and fruity").

Touchscreens offer detailed descriptions of each, and bulb-bottomed vials allow you to take a sniff before you spray.

Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam's "new church" actually dates to the 1400s, but it does embrace a novel concept.

Since 1980, this neo-Gothic landmark has served as an exhibition centre, focusing mainly on biographic showcases.

Through Feb. 5, the former church is hosting a retrospective dedicated to Marilyn Monroe.

Highlights include a documentary about the iconic blonde bombshell, costumes and scripts from some of her most popular films, and intimate artifacts, including cosmetics, hair curlers and a bottle of her favourite perfume - "Chanel No. 5, of course."

The writer travelled as a guest of It did not review or approve the article.

Associated Graphic

The A'DAM Lookout in Amsterdam boasts a 360-degree view and a pair of metal swings that extend over the edge of the building, dangling your legs almost 330 feet in the air.


The five-star Pulitzer Amsterdam hotel occupies an enviable position in the Nine Streets, an area packed with boutiques and restaurants.


Puffy poffertjes pancakes are among the dishes you'll taste on an Eating Amsterdam walking tour of the hip Jordaan neighbourhood.


Why Hollywood has a Beantown fetish
A wildly disproportionate number of movies are set in Boston, each obsessed with a vision of the city that's no longer true
Friday, February 10, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R4

Young men scull on the Charles. A cop makes a Dunkin' run. Fenway is seen from above. Someone says, "chowdahead."

These are scenes from Patriots Day, the new Boston bombing movie starring Mark Wahlberg.

But they might have been pulled from any of about a dozen movies made in the past 20 years. Any of the Boston movies.

It's a fact that's been noticed by everyone from Gawker to Seth Meyers to The Simpsons: a wildly disproportionate number of movies are set in the New England city, or in its outlying suburbs and small towns. There are three Boston movies in theatres right now: Patriots Day, Live by Night and Manchester by the Sea. Not so long ago there was Black Mass and Spotlight. Before that, Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River, The Departed, The Town, The Fighter and Good Will Hunting.

The genre is so familiar by now, it can be hard to notice how strange it is. There are plenty of movies about New York and Los Angeles, but those are the capitals of American culture. Boston has a population of about 650,000. Why isn't there a similar bumper crop of Philadelphia movies, or Chicago movies?

In a rant on the subject, the writer Hamilton Nolan blamed the proliferation of Boston natives in Hollywood. It's true that movies set in the city tend to feature Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, or an Affleck. But if these local boys nurse an obsession with their hometown, the question remains of why audiences keep indulging them. (For now, anyway. Live by Night bombed and Patriots Day mostly fizzled.)

Boston Magazine has suggested that generous tax credits lure studios to Massachusetts. But Boston movies are not just set in Boston; they're about Boston, and what it does to you: the wages of loyalty, the tug of roots, the comforts and claustrophobia of home.

The movies do not always romanticize this world. But even the harshest depictions of the city evince a grudging fondness for its grit and closeness.

Those qualities are twin manifestations of the nostalgia that's hard not to see as central to the city's cinematic appeal. It's a nostalgia that can be wholesome and sinister in equal measure, pining for a time of closer civic bonds and richer local culture even as it fondly remembers a whiter, manlier, and more violent past.

It's no coincidence that movie Boston is almost perfectly synonymous with Irish Catholic Boston; there's something almost European and Old World about the communitarian ethos at the heart of its worldview. The opening shot of Gone Baby Gone, starring Casey Affleck as a working-class private detective trying to solve a kidnapping, speaks to this with disarming candour. As the camera pans over an American flag painted on the side of a water tower, Affleck's voice propounds a most un-American credo: "I always believed it was things you don't choose that makes you who you are," he says. "Your city, your neighbourhood, your family."

Sure enough, the characters of the Boston film boom are defined above all by their sense of place.

Their parochialism is almost medieval: the Seans and Patricks of these stories never move away from home, speak with thick regional twangs, are forever draped in city sports regalia, and enact folk traditions seen as quaint by the rest of the country, like playing hockey and going to mass. For a North American culture homogenized by cable TV, shopping malls, chain stores, and increasingly by the sleek, antiseptic design of websites such as Facebook, a splash of local colour is refreshing.

Patriots Day hints at the best of this Boston. It shows a city where the gentle strictures of tradition give a pattern to daily life, narrowing the infinite field of choice thrown up by 21st-century consumer culture. In an early scene, before the bombing, a Boston native tells his out-of-towner wife that there are three things you can do on Patriots Day: run in the marathon, watch the marathon, or take in a "Red Sawks" game (as he insists she pronounce it). She is charmed, and so are we: here is life made simple by adherence to the tried and true.

The movie also puts on display the bonds of solidarity that can come from strong identification with a place. Wahlberg's character, a tough-talking cop, knows the street where the bombs went off so well that he can recreate Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's movements for the FBI. Later, newsreel footage shows the actual scene of Red Sox hero David (Big Papi) Ortiz rallying a shaken Fenway crowd.

The appearance of Ortiz is remarkable not only for the content of his profanity-laden speech, but for the prominence it gives to a sympathetic character of colour.

In the Boston movie pantheon, it's possible to count such figures on one hand. This is where the darker side of Boston movie nostalgia begins: with its whiteness.

It's where the movies start offering a vision of working-class Boston as a kind of Trumpian Eden, where men acted like men, black folks and immigrants were scarce, and violence was the last word.

Even enlightened characters express the kind of hostile localism that has become a depressingly familiar motif of American politics. In Good Will Hunting, the Mayflower of Boston's cinematic takeover, Matt Damon's roughneck math genius interviews for a job at the NSA, and tells his prospective boss why he doesn't want to work for the military-industrial complex by imagining a kid from the South Boston projects sent off to war. "He comes back to find the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from, and the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, 'cause he'll work for 15 cents a day and no bathroom breaks."

Anxiety about infiltration by the white-collar and foreign runs through the genre. It's there when Jack Nicholson's deranged mob boss in The Departed complains that no one is "reliable" any more. It's there when the Casey Affleck character in Gone Baby Gone butts heads with a Lousiana-born cop about who's "more from here." It's even a little on the nose when Kris, the troubled ex-girlfriend of Ben Affleck's character in The Town, tells him she's been in a fight with some "Somalians." "All these yuppies out here," she says. "They think there's no more serious white people in Charlestown."

Most Bostonians are eager to point out that Kris is basically right: the hegemony of workingclass Irish Boston has been fading for decades, as neighbourhoods such as Southie and Charlestown gentrify and waves of immigrants make the city multicultural. And even if Boston movie characters lament these changes, the films often don't.

Spotlight tells the story of how a Jewish newspaper editor from Miami led the Boston Globe to expose a pattern of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church that the paper's local journalists were too blinkered to see. The corrupting power of Boston's close-knit social fabric is the movie's theme - one it shares with half the genre. Even Doug MacRay, Ben Affleck's character in The Town and the prototypical Boston movie tough guy, is determined to put the suffocating warren of criminal Charlestown in his "reah-view."

This is a man who works for a company called Boston Sand and Gravel. He "breaks rocks" for a living, used to be a junior hockey prospect, and has biceps that look like thighs. MacRay is also a bank robber. His preppy girlfriend, Claire, doesn't know that, and he woos her with an idyllic picture of his blue-collar life.

"Punch the ticket at the end of the day, slide down the back of a Brontosaurus like Fred Flintstone, call it a night." Claire gazes back adoringly.

The film is laying the dramatic irony on thick here: Claire is also the bank manager that MacRay's gang took hostage during their last heist. He was wearing a mask; she doesn't know that her kidnapper and her lover are the same person. In these oblivious moments, Claire becomes us: drawn to the authenticity and strength of a character whose best qualities are shadowed by a tribal narrowness and lust for violence. The film hardly has to endorse this complicated attraction in order to reproduce it.

The same ambiguous appeal shines through during a key sequence in Patriots Day, the rare Boston movie to remark directly on its political moment. In this scene, FBI analysts believe they've found reasonably clear photos of the marathon bombers.

Tommy Saunders, the Wahlberg cop character, is imploring the starchy, technocratic feds to release the photos. He knows the city will unite to hunt down the attackers if only it's given a clue.

The blurriness of the pictures is dismissed, and the risk of siccing a mob on innocent dark-skinned men is brushed aside.

"You gotta let Boston work for us," Saunders says.

In the heat of his speech, and in our atavistic love for this oldfashioned town, the words ring true.

Associated Graphic

Mark Wahlberg stars in Patriots Day, a movie that shows a Boston where the gentle strictures of tradition give a pattern to daily life, narrowing the infinite field of choice thrown up by 21st-century consumer culture.

In producing Legion, ideas run free
The creative talents behind X-Men spinoff TV series have been given free rein, so Michael Wylie is thinking way outside the box
Tuesday, January 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L2

BURNABY, B.C. -- Michael Wylie is in production designers' heaven. As he leads reporters on a tour of sets he designed and had built for the new TV series Legion, he says he has been given a freer-than-usual hand to let his imagination run wild.

He has unleashed his imagination into a pretty big playground.

Sets for the series, based on the X-Men-related character, were built in a 160,000-square-foot former supermarket warehouse in this city southeast of Vancouver.

It feels as large as a pair of downtown Vancouver city blocks.

Throughout the tour, there's the strident ringing of bells to indicate that cameras are rolling elsewhere in the vast space where shadows are broken here and there by lights for filming.

"A lot of times in TV shows, things have to be in continuity.

From episode to episode, things have to be in continuity. There's more flexibility to Legion," says Wylie, who has designed sets for such series as Masters of Sex and the recent similarly Marvel comics-inspired Agent Carter.

The freedom is notable on Legion because the series is based on the realm of the X-Men - the righteous, heroic mutants featured in six films since Bryan Singer's X-Men in 2000. There's been a largely consistent look to the characters and settings since then.

But that all appears to have been enthusiastically chucked out the window with Legion, which will run eight episodes in its first season on U.S. cable channel FX. The series was created by Noah Hawley, the American novelist and screenwriter who has been acclaimed for his lively TV adaptation of Fargo, based on the 1996 Coen brothers' movie about nefarious doings in Minnesota.

"I think the nature of this story and this story world is that it's not as beholden to a certain aesthetic as some superhero stars are, in that sense," says a chipper Dan Stevens, who played ill-fated Matthew Crawley in the British series Downton Abbey.

In Legion, Stevens is playing David Haller - a.k.a. Legion. In the comics, Legion was a mutant with dissociative personality disorder whose personas each had access to individual superpowers such as telepathy, telekinesis and pyrokinesis. He was also the son of X-Men leader Professor X - a.k.a. Charles Xavier.

But there was no talk of any such links during the media tour held in the fall as work was under way on the seventh of Legion's eight episodes. "I don't know who Professor X is," actress Jean Smart, who co-stars in Legion as a mutant therapist, said politely during an interview.

And Stevens himself said Legion won't exactly be like X-Men films.

"It doesn't feel like a superhero show. None of us yet have capes or horns or anything quite like that," Stevens told reporters during a break from filming.

The series does not take place in any fixed time. Cars from the sixties exist with modern-day cars. Clothing is a mishmash of present-day and past fashions. As one cast member notes, it's a kind of "sixties, mod-Britannia realm." It's the future as imagined from the perspective of the 1960s and 1970s. Another cast member says the proceedings have the visual tone Stanley Kubrick created for his feature films A Clockwork Orange and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

"We're just trying to confound everybody," says a bemused Wylie.

In a conference call with reporters, Hawley said he had read X-Men comics, but was not interested in a straightforward adaptation of that material. "There was no rulebook or anything I was handed when I came on."

He also said he was steering clear of the angle around specific powers being linked to varied personalities created by Legion's multiple personality disorder.

Rather, he said, he was intrigued with the premise of someone who has to reassess their assumptions about themselves.

"What we get into with David is this idea that he has lived for 30 years and this identity he believes in is actually fake. Maybe he doesn't have mental illness.

Maybe he has these abilities.

If that's so, he has to go back and rewrite the story of himself.

That, to me, was a fascinating existential journey that I wanted to take."

Hawley said he approached the material in the same way he approached Fargo, where the mandate was to adapt the film about homicides linked to a nefarious kidnapping plot in Minnesota for TV without using its specific story. "[It] was a very odd thing to think about, which is: How do you take the essence of a story and translate it into a completely new story," he recalled.

"But it liberated me in a lot of ways to create something where I wasn't imitating. I wasn't taking pieces that [filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen] had created and sort of mimicking them."

With Legion, he says he, similarly, wasn't interested in adapting specific issues of X-Men comics, though he was inspired by the material. "As I looked at it, the character led me to the story, which led me to the style and so, in many ways, if you're going to watch the show looking for story lines that you recognize, that wasn't my intention. My hope is to create something unexpected."

He says Marvel has been supportive. "I am not sure they knew what to make of this as I came to them with this out-there idea for a show. It doesn't really fit into all of the other shows they're doing and I think that's exciting for them in that they get to just give me the rope for me to run or hang myself or whatever I am going to do with it."

Cast members and production staff promise drama, complicated relationships, action and mutants. Beyond that, details are limited, and some that were fairly obvious during the sound stage visit cannot be revealed without spoiling the show.

The X-Men films, which made Australian actor Hugh Jackman - a.k.a. Wolverine - a star are old news on the big screen. And there have been X-Men cartoons. But live-action TV is a new frontier for the franchise. Various X-Menrelated TV series were on the drawing board, but Hawley won the race to get one to the sound stage.

Smart, nominated for an Emmy for her work on Fargo, says she knew nothing about comic-book superheroes, but signed on quickly when asked to join Legion. "Noah asked and I said yes. It didn't matter what it was about. I kind of came into it blind," said Smart, well known for her work in the sitcom Designing Women, and for playing a troubled U.S. first lady in 24.

Hawley has laid out a creative mandate for his team, says Wylie.

It is this: "This story is being told from an unreliable narrator so we can do whatever we want, so that's a really fun part of doing the show," says the production designer.

"What that means to us, is 'Everything goes.' " So Wylie's sets include the slickly furnished interior of a giant ice cube that's the brain of one mutant - though Hawley apparently prefers to refer to "people with abilities." Elsewhere, there's David Haller's apartment, which seems both modern and vintage - as confused as the character.

And there are the corridors and vast day room for the Clockworks Mental Hospital - a 23,000square-foot set. This was the most complicated set to develop, he says. "Trying to make a hospital feel fun is a perfect challenge."

Asked about shooting in the city, Hawley wryly said, "I heard all television shows are shot in Vancouver. That's why we went up there. But, no - Vancouver offers an amazing array of looks and feels and, obviously, a great crew base and everything. We were thrilled to be up there."

Hawley's Fargo TV series has been shot in Calgary and other parts of Alberta.

Wylie was inspired by the brutalist architecture of the 1950s to mid-1970s, which often features bulk and exposed concrete and is typically seen in government and institutional buildings. "We shot all the exteriors at UBC where they have a lot of that sixties and seventies brutalist architecture and kind of embraced it," explained Wylie.

But while there will be streaks of the traditional X-Men films in the DNA of Legion, Wylie notes that some props from the feature films have been brought to this sound stage from storage in Montreal - where the last two X films were shot - and the United States.

He did not say how they would be used, but, as with everything else, he has a free hand.

"You don't have to follow any rules. If you come up with something, you can do something because you think it's cool, or that it's pretty or it manipulates somebody," he said, then added with a smile, "We're in the manipulation business here."

Associated Graphic

Rachel Keller and Dan Stevens, lead actors in Legion, are seen on one of the many sets built in an enormous warehouse in Burnaby, B.C.


A speculation-free zone
A $25-million piece of land for sold for 10 bucks: How community land trusts could help build affordable housing in Vancouver
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, February 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page G2

VANCOUVER -- The three buildings - two towers, one lower-rise building - being hammered on and coated with insulation on the banks of the Fraser River in southeast Vancouver don't look any different from the dozens of other buildings going up near them.

On the outside, they're not.

But these three, along with a fourth on Kingsway, are part of an experiment in Vancouver that many hope can kick off a boom of reasonably priced housing in this expensive city.

That's in part because the 358 units are being built on city land that will be protected from the speculative market that has wreaked such havoc here.

It's also because their developer is not a private company but an entity called the Vancouver Community Land Trust Foundation, the organization the city was willing to give, for $10, a 99year lease for land worth $25-million.

The recently created land-trust foundation is the Vancouver version of a concept for creating and preserving low-cost housing that has sprouted in a few cities around North America.

A growing number of people in British Columbia are viewing this fledgling organization, and community land trusts in general, as the way to provide an important new option in the escalating struggle over housing.

"We see this as a model," says Kira Gerwig, the manager of community investment at Vancity credit union, which is involved with the current foundation project. "This is a new take on the market sector. It's like a socialenterprise development company."

Residents in South False Creek, that huge swathe of city-owned land around Granville Island that sparked Vancouver's rush to urban living in the 1970s, are considering whether a land trust might be the answer to some of their problems.

That group of residents live in 1,800 units that are divided among co-ops, non-profits, or leasehold strata buildings on a chunk of some beautiful waterfront that faces downtown. They have been trying for years to find a way forward that would ensure they get a strong say in future development or redevelopment in the areas - with vacant land along 6th Avenue and a few available parking garages being prime targets - as well as in negotiating leases with the city.

"We've been intrigued by this idea for a long time because of the possibility of achieving something that will meet the community's needs," says Richard Evans, an architect and 30-year resident of the area. People want to ensure future development matches the unique look and feel of the area, with its pattern-language design, numerous walkways and many enclosed courtyards that are ideal for families with children.

City planners have agreed to look at the idea as a possibility.

"The whole purpose [of the plan just approved] is to help us understand what the trade-offs are around that," said the city's manager of community services, Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas.

If the South False Creek group joined the existing Vancouver foundation, it would make it the biggest land trust on the continent.

Advocates talk passionately about how land trusts help remove property from the speculative land market and preserve it forever.

But, in the Vancouver version, people are also attracted by the other power of land trusts - their ability to harness the energy of hundreds of isolated non-profit housing societies and co-ops, combining their land equity and their clout to be able to finance new development.

"It's a combination of a vehicle for growth and a way to redevelop some sites we already have to greater density. This is a way to form partnerships," says Thom Armstrong, chief executive of the Co-op Housing Federation of B.C.

Mr. Armstrong is a driving force behind Vancouver's reinvention of this idea. Until recently, his main job was just managing the problems of the existing 264 coops, with their 15,000 homes, in British Columbia - mostly a maintenance position.

But the city's decision to experiment with a new way of producing affordable housing prompted him and others to come up with the new land-trust foundation.

(As well, he said, "We stole this idea from a group in Australia, Common Equity Ltd.," which has transformed that country's nonprofit sector.)

Mr. Armstrong is now also the CEO of the Vancouver land-trust foundation, which was formed three years ago, the product of a collaboration among a group of non-profit and the co-federation.

When the buildings they are now constructing are completed, some units will be rented out at whatever price the market will bear. A few others, just as nice, will be rented for $375 a month, the amount that the provincial government provides for housing people on welfare. Some others that are, again, same quality and size, will be rented to people for no more than 30 per cent of their declared income.

Within this small project, the well-off will subsidize the less well-off. Even better, this arrangement won't end after 10 years or 60 years, as do some city affordable-housing projects.

That was all possible because the trust was able to take the assets and expertise of the groups under its umbrella. That allowed it to take on a massive new development and a complex cross-subsidization scheme.

Community land trusts have been around a long time in various forms. One of the best known is in Burlington, Vt., where a then-little-known mayor named Bernie Sanders helped make it possible by championing the idea of land trusts in the 1980s.

The Champlain Housing Trust in Burlington, founded in 1984, now manages 565 houses and 2,100 apartments. Some residents own their homes, with the trust retaining some equity, while the owners buy the rest. It is the largest land trust in North America.

Burlington's gift of land is unusual. Most municipalities are unwilling to give away land. And, unlike nature conservancies and trusts that get donations of vast tracts to preserve, there are few private donors willing to give more than a small single lot in expensive cities.

But cities will lease to community land trusts, which provide even better benefits than individual non-profits because they are bigger, more capable of managing multiple projects and they have the capacity to finance large projects.

That emulates, in a way, the social-housing systems that exist in many European cities. There, social-housing organizations are sometimes the biggest developers in a city, as a result of the land and capital they were given by governments after the Second World War to replace decimated housing stock.

Vancouver's land-trust foundation is a long way from that, but Mr. Armstrong is seeing the possibility for the idea to grow spectacularly, performing a service for the many smaller cities in British Columbia that don't have the expertise to develop housing on their own.

His organization has already set up a second foundation to work with communities outside the B.C. Lower Mainland.

The foundation is currently in negotiations with North Cowichan District to work together on that municipality's first-ever lowcost housing project.

Mr. Armstrong's group is also stepping in to help small nonprofits that have found themselves in trouble. The foundation has now taken in the Bakerview Housing Co-operative in Abbotsford, which didn't know how it was going to manage the $6-million in necessary renos.

The co-op also had a 25-percent vacancy rate because it was so run down.

Now, the land is being transferred to the foundation, which is taking out a $7.5-million loan, backed by its current $225-million in holdings, to do the renos and pay off the last of its federal loan.

"The possibility of doubling our portfolio in a year is high," says Mr. Armstrong, who sees similar needs in many places.

Ideally, that will mean potentially hundreds of new units of low-cost housing developing, as the foundation works with a wide variety of non-profits, coops and cities to develop vacant land or redevelop properties whose original low-rise buildings don't take advantage of the maximum possibilities. He is also working with some private developers in Vancouver who are intrigued by the idea of having the foundation take over the lowcost housing the city requires them to build within large projects.

Others who watch this would agree there's a new movement afoot.

"The land-trust deal that Thom did - people all over are taking inspiration from that," says Michael Walker, a lawyer at Miller Thomson, who has worked with many different kinds of land trusts.

The ultimate benefit for people in British Columbia, if it succeeds, is the possibility of significant numbers of new low-cost housing, run by a foundation whose aim is to serve the community.

"When your mandate is to deliver affordable housing," Ms. Gerwig says, "your math is very different from other developers."

Associated Graphic

A project under construction by the Vancouver Community Land Trust Foundation is seen along the Fraser River. It sits on one of four pieces of city land the foundation got at a reduced price.


Former NBA all-star Stackhouse thrilled to be D-League coach
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

MISSISSAUGA -- Jerry Stackhouse has attended NBA all-star weekend countless times - as a player, a broadcaster, or just to be part of the annual revelry of basketball and celebrity. But this year he's there in a unique capacity.

While most are readying for Saturday night's skills challenge and slam-dunk contest in New Orleans, Stackhouse will coach in the Development League all-star game. He earned it for leading the Toronto Raptors' 18-monthold D-League affiliate - Raptors 905 - to one of the best records in the league. He did so in just his first few months as a head coach.

The two-time all-star, who retired in 2013, has made no secret about wanting an NBA headcoaching job. The veteran of 18 NBA seasons once believed he could be one of those rare players handed his own team immediately after retirement. It didn't happen that way. The path he's taking through the D-League isn't typical for a former star player, but don't be surprised if others start to follow it.

Stackhouse saunters through the narrow basement hallways of the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, his lively voice echoing as he cracks jokes with assistant coaches down the hall as music filters out of the locker room. The 42year-old looks just as he did during his playing days. He veers into a tiny concrete room and settles his 6-foot-6 frame in for a lengthy interview. It's a sharp contrast from the lush meeting space where he convened with the other Toronto Raptors assistant coaches on Dwane Casey's staff last season just off the locker room at the Air Canada Centre, or in the offices of the NBA team's lavish new practice digs.

"I would have loved to jump right into an NBA head-coaching job after my playing days like Derek Fisher or Jason Kidd, and the competitor in me was a little salty about that when it didn't happen, but I know now I wasn't ready for that," Stackhouse said.

"I spent a year on Casey's staff, and some people told me I would be perfect for developing young players in this D-League job. Others said 'You're already in the NBA, you don't need that.' But honestly, I love it. It's been a godsend."

Stackhouse grew up in Kinston, N.C., the youngest of 11 kids - eight boys and three girls. He honed his basketball skills against his big brothers, working himself into one of the state's best high school talents.

The high-scoring phenom starred at the University of North Carolina under legendary coach Dean Smith - an All-American and Sports Illustrated's 1995 national player of the year.

Some of Stack's moments remain the stuff of Tar Heel alltime highlight reels.

His reverse one-handed slam in a 1995 rivalry game against Duke made broadcaster Dick Vitale shriek "Stackhouse, Oh America! Are you serious?

Look at him strut! Look at him dancing! He's incredible!" as the cocky youngster swaggered to the applause.

He became the third overall selection by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1995 NBA draft, and from there, his 18-year career spanned eight teams and some 970 games. He was a rookie standout, then a franchise star.

In 2000-01 as a Piston, he was the league's second-leading scorer behind Allen Iverson.

Eventually he transitioned into a veteran leader.

"I always gravitated to helping the younger players," Stackhouse said. "When I played in Detroit, I'd get them to practice or bring them to my house - guys who hadn't even made the team yet. I loved teaching them things."

As his NBA career was winding down, he helped coach his 13year-old son Jaye's team. Eventually he started his own Amateur Athletic Union program - Stackhouse Elite Basketball - stressing defence and ball-sharing and helping produce talents such as Brandon Ingram, today a rookie for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Stackhouse already knew Casey from his days as a veteran with the Dallas Mavericks when Casey was an assistant. But he got noticed by Raptors president Masai Ujiri while coaching a U.S. select team at a European tournament. Just two years after retirement, Stackhouse came to work as a Casey assistant.

Stackhouse sat in the second row during games, as Casey kept his more experienced assistants beside him up front. His biggest role came in development. Still in great shape, Stackhouse got on court and went toe-to-toe with young Raptors during instruction. He would push guards Cory Joseph or Norman Powell in practice, sweating it out in physical drills.

"I have gravitated to him, because I play with that same chip on my shoulder," Raptor Norman Powell said last season.

"I respected his game growing up, but he'd always kill my Lakers and that made me mad. I idolized him, his focus on going at everyone no matter who they were."

The Raptors 905 head-coaching gig opened up when inaugural coach Jesse Mermuys left for an assistant's job on Luke Walton's Lakers staff. The Raptors floated the opportunity to Stackhouse and another assistant, Jama Mahlalela. Stackhouse jumped at it, especially considering the unique, tight relationship between the Raptors and their D-League affiliate, squads that play just 30 kilometres apart.

Mermuys and general manager Dan Tolzman built the foundation for a strong expansion team, and now Stackhouse has led the 905 to a 25-9 record - tops in the Eastern Conference.

He juggles an ever-changing lineup - one full of players trying to make the NBA, mixed in with whichever Raptors get sent down on assignment each night - veterans working back from injury or youngsters in need of experience.

Stackhouse has brought his long-time friends, former NBA players Rasheed Wallace and Keith Bogans, to work with his 905 players. He tells them stories about his old teammates such as Michael Curry or Darrell Armstrong who went undrafted and battled their way into the NBA.

Stackhouse has been known to send his 905 players out to dinner with his credit card after they've played particularly well.

And he still goes at them on the court, full-speed, daily.

"For a few minutes every day, I get to jump into a shell drill and be Jerry Stackhouse again. That's fun for me, and the guys get a kick out of trying to stop me," Stackhouse said. "I say 'If y'all bring this kind of defensive effort in the game that you're bringing right now to try and stop me, we're going to be all right tonight.' " He's known for his unique three-piece suits on game nights, and he was D-League coach of the month for December. His team has sailed into the all-star break on a three-game win streak. Two 905 players - Edy Tavares and Axel Toupane - earned nods to the game, while another - John Jordan - will vie for the D-League slam-dunk title.

Most D-League teams have head coaches who came from college or gigs as NBA assistants.

There are a few recognizable names who spent time as NBA players. including Darrick Martin or Coby Karl, son of coaching legend George Karl. But the depth of Stackhouse's NBA playing experience makes him unique in among current D-League head coaches.

"We have a coach who was an all-star and still has the ability to practise hard with our players, giving them the chance to measure themselves against him every day - that's a real advantage we have," Tolzman said. "When people see the success he's having in the D-League, I think NBA teams will notice his coaching talent, but I also think ex-NBA players at the end of their careers may be more likely to look at coaching in the D-League, too."

As a player who had to transition from power forward in college to perimeter player in the NBA, Stackhouse can relate to the crop of mostly undersized players all trying to develop or morph into other positions in the D-League, just battling to get noticed. Players in many situations benefit from on-court moments with him.

"I want to beat him on the court - it motivates me," said Raptor Bruno Caboclo, who comes down from the big club to play most games with the 905. "He makes a good move - like a crossover - and every player starts yelling and laughing. He's a very fun coach and he's very smart, also sometimes very serious."

While the top priority of a D-League franchise is to develop the NBA club's talent, the Raptors want to send their players down to an affiliate with a winning atmosphere.

"Some say the D-League is not about winning, it's only focused on development, but I say that's bull," Stackhouse said. "Winning should be at the forefront of everything we do."

Associated Graphic

Former NBA player Jerry Stackhouse, right, works with Corey Joseph at a Raptors team practice in Toronto.


How much leverage does Canada really have in negotiating trade with the United States?
Despite what the Canadian government touts, it's our provinces that are in large part overwhelmingly dependent on keeping the U.S. borders open
Tuesday, February 14, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A10

The Canadian government is fond of repeating that Canada is the most important foreign market for 35 U.S. states, in an effort to head off rising American protectionism, and this statistic came up several times during a crucial first meeting Monday between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump in Washington.

But this calculation of the benefit Canada provides to its southern neighbour glosses over the fact that the United States, with 10 times the population, is far less reliant on foreign trade in general.

Lopsided relationship

According to Trevor Tombe, a University of Calgary economist, there are in fact only two American states out of 50 - Michigan and Vermont - where trade with Canada exceeds 10 per cent of their annual economic output.

By comparison, Canada's provinces are in large part overwhelmingly dependent on keeping the borders open with the United States. Forty-nine per cent of Ontario's gross domestic product depends on trade with the United States.

For Quebec, that number is 23 per cent.

For Alberta, it's 31 per cent.

Prof. Tombe's calculations divided the value of cross-border import and export trade in each state or province by the jurisdiction's gross domestic product.

He used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Canada's Innovation Department and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

"Canada-U.S. trade matters much more for Canada than the United States," Prof. Tombe said.

Canadian businesses would do well to remember this as the Trump presidency unfolds. Mr. Trump signalled an protectionist approach to international trade on the day he took office last month, saying "from this moment on, it's going to be America first."

This sets the tone not only for his demand to renegotiate the North American free-trade Agreement, but also for his Republican allies in Congress and every U.S. government department seeking to expand its role in policing the Canada-U.S. border.

How big a hit will Canada receive?

As Mr. Trudeau prepares to renegotiate the North American free-trade Agreement, the Canadian leader still cannot be certain how much of an economic bruising Canadians will face under the new U.S. President or a Republican Congress.

Will Canada escape relatively unscathed, as Trump adviser Stephen Schwarzman and former Republican heavyweight Newt Gingrich have assured? Mr. Trump himself on Monday told a news conference with Mr. Trudeau that the United States will only "tweak" trade ties with Canada.

Or will Canadian goods face a border tax, such as the one proposed by House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, and find its preferential access to the United States downgraded by a Trumpled approach to extract better terms under NAFTA?

Mr. Trump's America-first trade policy has the potential to embolden protectionism within Congress as well as empire building among U.S. government departments, all of which want to expand their influence at the CanadaU.S. border.

One thing is for certain: Few Canadians alive have experienced a serious trade conflict with Americans.

Canada has relatively little leverage when confronting a hostile trade action.

It has potential allies - U.S. governors of border states and American chief executives who conduct significant business with Canada - but only selective leverage over the United States, and few, if any, ace cards.

Trade experts say, however, that if Canada is backed into a corner by U.S. measures to restrict or block shipments to that country, it must only threaten retaliation if it is prepared to deliver.

Stomach for a trade war?

Recent polling suggests a majority of Canadians are prepared to endure a trade war if necessary.

A Nanos Research survey, conducted between Jan. 26 and Feb. 1, found that 58 per cent of Canadians surveyed would "support" or "somewhat support ... Canada having a trade war with the U.S." if the Trump administration slapped new tariffs on goods from Canada.

Only 35 per cent were opposed or somewhat opposed. Veteran Canadian trade consultant Peter Clark said he believes Canadians who talk tough to pollsters may be overestimating Canada's bargaining power with their neighbour.

"The Americans just have to increase their own production 10 to 15 per cent to replace what we provide them, generally." He said fights over softwood or shingles or wheat in decades past are mere skirmishes compared with the much bigger conflict that could arise if Canada and the United States get into a tit-fortat war over border taxes.

"Nobody understands what a real trade war is."

There has not been a knock-down, drag-out trade war between Canada and the United States since the early 1930s, after Washington, under the SmootHawley Tariff Act, raised tariffs on many foreign goods and triggered a global backlash. The government of Mackenzie King reacted by slapping retaliatory taxes on American goods and reducing tariffs on goods from Britain. The Liberals lost the ensuing Canadian election and were replaced by the Conservatives, under Leader Richard Bedford Bennett, who hiked tariffs on American goods even further.

How many American jobs rely on trade with Canada?

One glaring difference between the Canadian government and the American government is how they count the impact of Canadian trade on U.S. jobs - a statistic that should be a powerful selling point for Ottawa as it defends its interests in Washington.

There are different ways to measure the job benefits, of course, but it's striking that two key government departments - one in the United States and one in Canada - have chosen dramatically different figures.

The Canadian Department of Global Affairs says, on its main Canada-American relations page, that "nearly nine million U.S. jobs depend on trade and investment from Canada."

And yet, the Office of the United States Trade Representative - the department charged with negotiating trade for Washington - counts it differently. As does the Department of Commerce, where Mr. Trump's pick for secretary, Wilbur Ross, will be charged with renegotiating NAFTA.

"According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of goods and services to Canada supported an estimated 1.7 million jobs in 2014," the U.S. government says. The Canadian government declined to provide an on-the-record explanation of why Canada and United States estimates differ so drastically, but a federal official, speaking not for attribution, said Ottawa's count uses a different methodology that takes a broader measure of the impact of jobs.

Fighting back Canada's biggest asset may be business leaders and politicians in border states, notwithstanding the minimal impact that Canadian trade delivers for the GDP of most U.S. states.

Trade experts say Canada's recourse, if it faced punitive tariffs on shipments to the United States, would be selective retaliation. In other words: hitting the Americans back.

This can be slow going and difficult to enact. Canada would have to complain to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and wait for a ruling that gave it authority to slap retaliatory tariffs on the Americans. It took six years in the case of a fight with Washington over U.S. meat labelling rules that forced foreign beef and pork to be sold with stickers detailing its origin. U.S. feedlots and packing plants were also required to keep Canadian livestock and meat separate.

Or, Canada can choose to ignore the rules and threaten retaliation right away, as it did in 1994 before the WTO came into being when, under then-agriculture minister Ralph Goodale, the Liberals threatened to punish imports of fruit, vegetables, soybeans and wine.

In both cases, the threat of retaliation worked - albeit slowly. And in the case of the country-of-origin dispute, it helped that Mexico was also poised to retaliate.

Former Canadian government officials said it's very difficult to pick retaliatory targets. In the past, including in 2005, when Canada was angry at a U.S. law - the Byrd Amendment - that funnelled cash collected from tariffs on foreign goods to U.S. companies, Ottawa drew up a list that targeted the states where U.S. politicians voted for the legislation.

"You try to pick things where it will have a maximum political impact in the other country and a minimal impact on Canada," said John Weekes, Canada's former chief negotiator for NAFTA.

In the 2005 case, the Paul Martin government was forced to abandon some retaliatory targets - such as U.S. motorboats - because of push-back from Canadian industry. Its final tariff list included some vary narrow American imports, such as tropical fish.

Mr. Clark said it's too soon to determine whether Mr. Trump's promise of merely tweaking NAFTA for Canada will be borne out. "What may be a tweak for Uncle Sam could be much more serious for us," he said.

The Americans may consider it merely a minor request to gain more duty-free access to Canada's dairy or chicken market, for instance, said Mr. Clark, who advises dairy farmers on trade matters.

Associated Graphic


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Despite the oil patch's economic downturn, Canada's new census data show the Prairie region and B.C. are continuing to add people - mostly immigrants - faster than the rest of the country, while eastern regions are slipping further behind
Thursday, February 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A9

OTTAWA -- Canada's population growth is shifting westward, as the latest census results show the Prairie region and British Columbia leading the country in growth.

For the first time since Confederation, the three Prairie provinces all rank at the top of provincial growth charts, nosing out a slowing Ontario. British Columbia, in fourth place, also grew at a rate higher than the national average. Nearly one in three residents now live in Western Canada, the highest share ever recorded.

Statistics Canada counted a total of 35,151,728 people living in Canada on the day of the census, May 10, 2016. Over the five years since the previous census the population grew at a rate of about 1 per cent a year, or 5 per cent over all since 2011, for a total of 1.7 million additional residents since 2011.

Canada is the fastest-growing country in the G7 group of industrialized nations, as it has been for the past 15 years, a rate of annual growth of 1 per cent, which exceeds the growth rates in the United States and the Britain, among others. Canada ranks eighth in the G20, behind countries such as Turkey, South Africa, Mexico and Australia.

Where population growth comes from The main reason for Canada's steady growth is its commitment to relatively high levels of immigration. Roughly two-thirds of Canada's population increase is due to international migration, the amount by which the number of new immigrants exceeds the number of people who leave Canada, according to Laurent Martel of Statistics Canada. The other third stems from what's known as "natural growth," the difference between the rates of births and deaths. Some countries such as Germany, Italy and Japan have already seen the annual number of deaths exceed births, meaning all their growth now depends on migration.

For much of the census period Canada's annual intake of immigrants exceeded 250,000 a year.

In 2017 the government has projected an immigration level of between 280,000 and 320,000, the highest it has been in some time.

At a time when many countries are considering further restrictions on immigration, Canada, under both Liberal and Conservative governments, has chosen a different path. Projections show that Canada could reach the point at which migration accounts for nearly all population growth some time after 2050.

While population growth is fairly steady nationally, there are major differences at the regional level. As population booms in Western Canada, Central Canada has seen growth slide below the national average, and Atlantic Canada is barely growing at all.

Alberta was the fastest-growing province in Canada again during this period. Despite the downturn in the provincial economy in the past two years, Alberta grew by 11.6 per cent, an even faster rate of growth than from 2006 to 2011 and more than twice the national average.

That growth slowed after 2014, following the drop in the price of oil, but not enough to change the broader trend, as people both within Canada and from abroad head west in search of economic opportunity. Since 1951 Alberta has grown by more than 330 per cent, by far the highest rate among provinces. Alberta also has the highest percentage of residents born in other Canadian provinces, a testament to its pull within the country.

Martha Hall Findlay, president of the Canada West Foundation, said the census numbers reflect the dynamism and openness of the region. A former Liberal MP from Ontario, she moved to Alberta a year ago and already considers herself a Calgarian. The place is full of people like her, she said - people who have moved from elsewhere and who have found an exciting, younger population, growing, affordable cities and plenty of opportunity.

"Attention needs to be paid to what's going on in the West," Ms. Hall Findlay said. "There's a sense here of 'What can we do?' Not 'What can we keep doing?' " Saskatchewan, which was shrinking in the 1990s, grew at the second-fastest rate, just as it did in the previous census period.

It has similarly benefited from a resource-intensive economy that attracted a lot of workers in the early part of this decade before the economy began to slow.

Manitoba jumped into third place among provinces with a 5.8per-cent rate of growth. It's the first time in 80 years that Manitoba grew more quickly than the national average. Like the other Prairie provinces, Manitoba has a significant indigenous population, which is much younger than the population in general and has a higher birth rate. The province has succeeded in attracting a greater share of international migration in recent years. One of the areas that has grown most quickly is Steinbach, a community about 40 minutes east of Winnipeg. Steinbach, which has a population of 15,289, grew by 17 per cent in this census period, making it one of the 10 fastestgrowing communities under 100,000 in the country.

Steinbach's mayor, Chris Goertzen, said the community decided 15 years ago to make itself a welcoming place to attract immigrants. Manitoba was the first province to take significant advantage of the provincial nominee immigration program, a program designed to get immigrants to places other than the big cities of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, and Steinbach became one of the places to benefit. People have arrived from dozens of countries, but Mr. Goertzen said the Philippines, Germany and Kazakhstan are among the most prominent.

British Columbia slipped to fourth place in its rate of growth at 5.6 per cent, although it was still the third-largest province.

Slower growth in Ontario Ontario grew by 4.6 per cent, the second-consecutive census period in which it grew at a rate slower than the national average. It's the first time that's happened since the Second World War. Ontario still has by far the largest share of the national population, with more than 13 million people, or 38 per cent of Canada's population. The main reason for its slower growth is that it received proportionally fewer immigrants over the past five years.

Quebec's rate of growth was below the national average, a trend that's been in place since the end of the 1960s. Its share of the national population, which was nearly 29 per cent in 1966, fell to slightly more than 23 per cent in 2016. Quebec passed the eight-million mark in overall population, and the Montreal area surpassed four million for the first time, meaning half the provincial population is concentrated around its biggest city.

Atlantic Canada The Atlantic provinces had much lower rates of growth in this census period. New Brunswick's population declined over the past five years by 0.5 per cent. Prince Edward Island had the highest growth rate in the Atlantic at 1.9 per cent, followed by Newfoundland at 1.0 per cent. Nova Scotia barely grew, with an increase of just 0.2 per cent.

The region is growing more slowly because it attracts few immigrants, and many people choose to move to other provinces, chiefly Alberta and Ontario. In 2014 the number of deaths exceeded the number of births in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and New Brunswick.

"It's staring us in the face again that immigration is a pretty fundamental component of maintaining positive population growth. It really comes home in the Atlantic region, where you have an aging population," said Finn Poschmann, president of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council.

"The other striking thing is the urban-rural split. That's a big deal across Canada but really powerfully so in the Atlantic provinces," he said. The Atlantic region's four census metropolitan areas (CMAs) grew collectively by about 3 per cent, whereas the smaller centres were either just stable or lost people.

Cities Greater Toronto's population surpassed 5.9 million, but it grew at a slower rate in this census period, at about 6 per cent, compared with more than 9 per cent from 2006 to 2011.

The Montreal area topped four million for the first time in 2011, and Greater Vancouver had nearly 2.5 million. The five fastestgrowing cities were all in the Prairies, led by Calgary and Edmonton, which both surpassed 1.3 million residents, and Saskatoon and Regina (295,000 and 236,000, respectively). Just two of Canada's CMAs fell in this census period - Windsor and Thunder Bay.

The census counted more than 14 million private dwellings in 2016, an increase of 5.6 per cent over 2011, a slightly slower rate of increase than in the previous census period.

The census results released Wednesday were the first in a series scheduled to come out over the course of 2017. These results are taken from the shortform census questionnaire and not the long-form survey, which was reinstated for 2016 after being replaced by the voluntary National Household Survey.

Associated Graphic


Charting a path for Canada's future
In a posthumous book, more disquisition than memoir, the late Jim Prentice elucidates his vision for the country's energy sector
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R18

Triple Crown: Winning Canada's Energy Future By Jim Prentice, with Jean-Sébastien Rioux HarperCollins Canada, 339 pages, $32.99

Jim Prentice, who died in a plane crash last October, was a prominent lawyer, business leader and politician who served as a key cabinet minister in Stephen Harper's Conservative government and as the 16th premier of Alberta. In all those roles, he was immersed in the often-bitter national debate about the benefits, and costs, of developing Canada's enormous energy resources.

After his (brief) stint as premier, which ended with a crushing defeat at the hands of Rachel Notley's New Democratic Party in May of 2015, Prentice returned to a dormant book project that he'd begun with his friend and former chief of staff, University of Calgary political scientist Jean-Sébastien Rioux.

The result is Triple Crown: Winning Canada's Energy Future, a 300plus-page essay that lays out his views on the critical importance of resource development - specifically oil and gas - to Canada's future well-being, and that underscores the urgency of finding answers to real environment challenges and legitimate opposition from indigenous communities.

Triple Crown will be published next week - four months after the Cessna crash near Kelowna, B.C., that killed Prentice; his friend and daughter's father-inlaw, Dr. Ken Gellatly; retired Calgary businessman Sheldon Reid, and pilot Jim Kruk. In it, the author portrays himself as a product of Canada's fossil-fuelled prosperity - promoting a bright future of the oil sands sector, rather than musing about "phasing it out," as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did recently.

For Prentice, writing the book was a way to re-engage in public policy discussions after his devastating loss in Alberta, his widow, Karen Prentice, said in an interview. It now stands as the final word from a man whose willingness to listen won him respect from Canadians on all sides of issues that so often create unbridgeable divides.

"I never read the book until after he died," Karen Prentice told me recently. "When I did read it after his death, I realized it was the culmination of his life's work, that the three topics - energy, environment and First Nations - and how they connect are what he worked on his entire career."

Enlivened by anecdotes of his travels among First Nations in British Columbia, the most compelling section of the book deals with reconciliation. Prior to his political career, Jim Prentice worked in indigenous law and land claims. His long-standing call for full partnership for indigenous communities in resource projects - reiterated in Triple Crown - is not widely shared in corporate Calgary. It is also at odds with the views of many indigenous leaders who want to block pipeline projects, not share ownership of them.

The issue is particularly vexing in British Columbia, where the industry's urgent demand for export terminals in order to access new markets has collided with First Nations' insistence - backed by aboriginal title - to determine what development occurs on their traditional land.

"Frankly, the imposition of energy infrastructure on this scale, without their ongoing consent, is a practical, if not legal, impossibility," he writes. "The task at hand is therefore to achieve an alignment of interests - an alignment of Canada's national interest with the financial interests of the project proponents and the legal and community interests of the affected indigenous peoples."

At its essence, Triple Crown is a plea for crude pipelines to Canada's coasts, arguing that infrastructure is required to ensure a vibrant future for a critical Canadian industry.

In that view, the former Harper cabinet minister is in broad agreement with Prime Minister Trudeau and, for that matter, Alberta Premier Notley. Trudeau's recent comment about "phasing out" oil sands raised hackles in Alberta, but at the same time the Prime Minister argues that growth in production is consistent with the government's climate plan and has approved pipelines that would facilitate its expansion.

Readers will be disappointed if they're looking for political gossip or insider stories of Harper government machinations or Prentice's own stunning political downfall. There are some anecdotes about his life and time in power. However, this isn't a memoir; it's a disquisition.

From the outset, the author makes it clear that he shares none of the doubts about that benefits of a fossil-fuel economy that have provoked passionate opposition to pipelines projects in B.C. and central Canada. For Prentice, working in the resource industry is as Canadian as hockey.

In his opening line, he introduces himself as a "the descendant of a long line of Canadian hockey players and underground miners." As a young man, he spent "seven long summers breaking rocks" in coal mines in southern Alberta.

While Canada's reliance on the resource industries is disparaged in some quarters as being relegated to "hewers of wood and drawers of water," Prentice argues that much of the country's wealth depends on it. That extends far beyond Alberta. It includes Toronto's financial industry that remains heavily exposed to the resource sector; a federal government that relies on the industries for tax revenue and poorer regions whose unemployed young people travel to find work.

Prentice served as a key cabinet minister in Harper's Conservative government, and - for just eight months - as premier of Alberta.

So it's not surprising that he would write a book that promotes the oil and gas industry, and urges Canada to "reclaim the dream of converting Canada's vast energy resources into a secure, prosperous, environmentally responsible future."

However, he leaves a warning for the energy industry, the politicians that support it and the communities that rely on it. In order to win public support, he argues, the industry faces two imperatives: Development must be consistent with environmental protection including international climate-change commitments, and industry must enter into a full partnership with indigenous people to ensure they reap the economic rewards from projects.

Declaring himself as an optimist, Prentice writes that both conditions can be met, though his case is not always convincing.

Coming from a province where a majority still doubt whether humans are mostly responsible for climate change, the former premier hedges his bets, writing he was "ill-equipped to debate the science surrounding climate change." Still, he believes Canada needs to show leadership in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and he proposes a five-part climate-change strategy that looks remarkably like the agreement Trudeau reached in December with eight of 10 provinces and the three territories, including Alberta's NDP government.

That strategy would include national carbon pricing - a policy that is anathema to many conservatives, including Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and Prentice's former Conservatives colleagues who for years have adamantly opposed what they deride as a "jobkilling tax on everything."

But Prentice qualifies his support for climate-change policies, saying they must be applied in a manner that does not erode Canada's competitiveness with key trading partners such as the United States, where President Donald Trump is now backtracking on the country's commitments.

He also opposes Notley's imposition of an emission cap on the oil sands sector, saying such a limit is not "prudent in the absence of a commitment from our continental partners to do the same."

There is plenty of room to debate the positions that Prentice takes in Triple Crown. And there are some glaring omissions. For example, he doesn't mention that, prior to becoming premier, he worked for Enbridge Inc. in trying to win First Nations' support for its ill-fated Northern Gateway pipeline.

More fundamentally, Prentice counts on continued global growth in demand for crude that would underpin growth in the high-cost oil sands industry. He cites International Energy Agency forecasts to support that rosy view, but the Paris-based agency has issued another scenario, which paints a picture of declining global demand as the world moves to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Under that scenario, investments in oil sands and pipelines could be stranded assets.

Still, Triple Crown stands as an important contribution to Canada's challenging debate over resource development, climate change and First Nations' rights - a discussion in which he intended to play a prominent role. Perhaps no one in Canada was better placed to provide sorely-needed leadership in these areas than was Prentice, who was well regarded by corporate executives as well as many indigenous leaders and environmentalists.

His voice will be missed.

Shawn McCarthy covers the global energy beat for The Globe and Mail.

Associated Graphic

Published mere months after Jim Prentice's untimely death in an airplane crash in October, 2016, Triple Crown stands as a swan song of sorts for the former Alberta premier, unpacking his life's work and ambition.


Ambrose denies link between federal funding and spouse's billionaire friend
Friday, February 10, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

OTTAWA -- Rona Ambrose vacationed on a yacht owned by a billionaire Calgary oilman whose aerospace company benefited from tens of millions in federal funds from the Conservative government during her tenure in cabinet.

But the Conservative interim leader insists there is no link between her relationship with businessman Murray Edwards, who she says is a close friend of her spouse, and the fact that Magellan Aerospace Corp., of which Mr. Edwards is chairman and majority shareholder, received federal money.

"No," she told The Globe and Mail in a brief interview this week.

Ms. Ambrose has come under fire in recent days, after it was revealed she was vacationing aboard Mr. Edwards's yacht in the Caribbean at the same time she was criticizing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for embracing the "billionaire lifestyle" for his trip to the Aga Khan's private island in the Bahamas.

Mr. Trudeau is currently under investigation from the Ethics Commissioner for potentially breaking the federal Conflict of Interest Act.

But Ms. Ambrose, who is no longer subject to the law because she is not a minister or parliamentary secretary, broke no rules under the MP conflict of interest code for her January trip, the Ethics Commissioner's office said.

"As I said, I have always complied with the rules that are in place, and I have had many discussions with the Ethics Commissioner around that. I have complied with the rules that are in place," she said.

Ms. Ambrose and her senior staff are insisting that she never acted unethically during her government tenure when it came to contracts awarded to Mr. Murray's company. Her office, however, gave different accounts of when she began a relationship with her commonlaw spouse J.P. Veitch - a longtime friend of the billionaire businessman, who recently relocated from Calgary to London.

Archived public records show Magellan, or one of its divisions, won federal contracts or benefited from funding worth almost $100-million between 2008 and 2015, when Ms. Ambrose held a series of cabinet roles, including public works.

Her office initially said her relationship with Mr. Veitch became serious only in late 2012 or early 2013, although a February, 2016, Globe and Mail profile of Ms. Ambrose noted they had been together for six years. Her office later said the two first met on July 17, 2010.

Conservative spokesman Jake Enwright had told The Globe Ms. Ambrose "did not begin her relationship with Mr. Edwards as friends until after she was elected [interim] leader of the Official Opposition" in November, 2015.

Mr. Edwards was out of the country Thursday and could not be contacted, a spokeswoman said. He is currently listed to lobby for another company of which he is chairman, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. A representative for Magellan said questions about Mr. Edwards should be directed to his spokeswoman.

Lobbying commissioner records show Ms. Ambrose met with Magellan in 2012 and 2013, when she was public works minister, although her office said she set up a self-imposed screen in February of 2013 to remove herself from dealings with Magellan. Her former chief of staff, Lynette Corbett, said Ms. Ambrose asked to be removed from decisions about the company.

"The rule we had was that I would deal with the issues with the officials and she wouldn't be briefed on them," Ms. Corbett told The Globe.

But Magellan's former president and chief executive officer James Butyniec, now the company's vice-chairman, filed a report with the lobbying commissioner that recorded a meeting with Ms. Ambrose and her officials on June 17, 2013, four months after she said she stopped dealing with the company. The subject matter of the communication is "government procurement."

Both Ms. Ambrose's office and Ms. Corbett told The Globe there was no recorded meeting with Magellan in her calendar but Ms. Ambrose opened the Canadian pavilion at the Paris Air Show that day.

"She toured the pavilion at the air show, and spoke at a reception in the evening. She also had a few other meetings, but not with Magellan," Ms. Ambrose's spokesman, Mike Storeshaw, said in an e-mail. "So I don't know why Magellan would have recorded a communication. I suppose it's possible they bumped into her at one of those two events and decided to record it as a matter of practice."

When asked about the meeting, Ms. Ambrose said, "All of those questions have been answered, and you've got all the paperwork to show that I had no involvement with any of that."

A letter dated Feb. 13, 2013, from the Ethics Commissioner's office, provided to The Globe by Ms. Ambrose's office, says the chances of conflict are "very minimal considering your portfolio and Mr. Veitch's private interest, making a public declaration of a conflict of interest screen is not necessary," according to adviser Lyne Salloum.

Ms. Salloum wrote that Ms. Ambrose can establish a screen within her own office, "if you would rather not be involved in any matter or decision ... which could potentially affect Mr. Veitch's private interest."

The bulk of the letter is blacked out and it is unclear what Ms. Ambrose specifically discussed with Ms. Salloum or whether Ms. Ambrose discussed Mr. Veitch's friendship with Mr. Edwards.

"Once [Mr. Veitch] and I became common-law, and our relationship became serious enough, then we had a conference call with the Ethics Commissioner to make sure that anything to do with my common-law partner, that I understood what that meant," Ms. Ambrose said. "I had been single for a number of years; now I had someone that was part of my world and so I wanted to understand all of that and she outlined all of that to me."

According to a September, 2008, archived Industry Canada news release, the government invested $43.4-million in Bristol Aerospace Ltd. - a division of Magellan Aerospace Ltd. - to develop technologies to support the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. Ms. Ambrose was minister of Western economic diversification at the time, and records show she, along with numerous departments, was lobbied by Magellan throughout her tenure.

Her office said she had not met Mr. Veitch at this time.

In April of 2014, Magellan announced a one-year contract renewal, through a competitive bid, for engine repair and overhaul for Canada's fleet of CF-188 Hornet aircraft.

The company said there is an option to renew and it is expected to generate sales of approximately $55-million over the two-year period. The announcement came nine months after Ms. Ambrose headed up public works.

Tom Ring, the former assistant deputy minister at public works, said Ms. Ambrose never inquired about Magellan, or any company, during her three-year tenure.

"There was never, ever such a call ever on any file," he told The Globe. "I never met anybody more ethical."

Magellan has also received contracts from the Liberal government, recently announcing a $45-million contract from Public Services and Procurement Canada for engine repair and overhaul on the CF-188 Hornet aircraft.

Archived public records show that Red River College in Winnipeg received $4.4-million from Western Economic Diversification in March, 2011, to establish the Centre for Non-Destructive Inspection Technologies, which would be located on the industrial campus at Magellan Aerospace in Winnipeg.

In March, 2015, the University of Manitoba unveiled a new satellite integration facility at Magellan's facility in Winnipeg, funded with $2.4-million from Western Economic Diversification Canada. Magellan also invested $1.5-million in the project, including $625,000 for a research chair, and contributed to the construction of the facility, according a release.

Ms. Ambrose was the minister of the file between 2007 and 2008, and again between 2010 and 2011, although she is listed as the senior minister on the file until 2015, according to an online document from the Privy Council Office. Her office said she had delegated authority to the ministers of state from 2011 to 2015.

Ms. Ambrose's lawyer, Peter Downard, sent a letter to The Globe and Mail on Thursday stating, "Ms. Ambrose had no relationship with Mr. Edwards prior to July of 2010, when she met Mr. Veitch."

He went on to say: "It would be irresponsible for The Globe and Mail to state or suggest that Ms. Ambrose has acted inappropriately ... Any such statement or suggestion would be false and unfounded."

The office of Ethics Commissioner said while there is no requirement for spouses or other family members to use blind trusts, cabinet ministers are still covered by the general provision to avoid acting in a conflict.

They are subject to "the prohibition against using insider information to seek to further their private interests or those of their relatives or friends or to improperly further another person's private interests."

Crosby notches point No. 1,000, 1,001, 1,002
Penguins superstar is 12th-fastest in league history to reach milestone, but points-per-game average among best of all time
Friday, February 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S3

Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby's original landlord in Pittsburgh, is usually the most reclusive of the NHL's living legends, rarely making public appearances to offer his thoughts on the state of the game.

But a few weeks ago, at the allstar game in Los Angeles, Lemieux broke his customary silence to help the NHL celebrate the 100 greatest players in history.

Lemieux, the Penguins' part owner, was on that list, as was his primary asset, Crosby, one of five active players who'd accomplished enough in their careers to warrant inclusion.

Crosby is just 29 and has played in the lowest-scoring era of the past half-century.

And yet on Thursday, playing in his 757th career NHL game, Crosby became the 86th player in NHL history to score 1,000 career points. It happened 6 minutes 28 seconds into the first period of a game against the visiting Winnipeg Jets, when Crosby outfought Blake Wheeler for a loose puck and shovelled it over to longtime linemate Chris Kunitz, who beat goaltender Connor Hellebuyck from point-blank range for a 2-0 Penguins lead.

Crosby had been on the cusp of 1,000 points for the better part of a week now, something the crowd at PPG Paints arena - which included his parents Troy and Trina - was acutely aware of. Whenever Crosby ventured into the offensive zone, a murmur ran through the building, anticipating the milestone at virtually every foray.

Finally, when it happened, the place went wild, Crosby acknowledging the standing ovation with a wave of his stick.

Crosby went on to add his 1,001st career point when he assisted on a third-period goal scored by Phil Kessel, and his 1,002nd was the 4-3 overtime winner.

Kunitz, who had a hand in 185 of Crosby's 1,000 points, laughed when that was pointed out by commentator Bob Errey and remarked: "That's not very many, is it? But it's a special moment for him. He's been a great player every single day since he's stepped into this league. It's nice to be part of this milestone, but we all know, he elevates the play of every single one of us when we're on the ice together.

"We're good friends. We've become so close all the years we've spent together on the road.

He's done so many special things, in practices and in games - and you're in awe of most of them."

There is probably no one better positioned than Lemieux to put into context everything Crosby has accomplished in his career. To Lemieux, talent can only take a player so far. Crosby's greatness, he believes, can be attributed to his work ethic and his innate desire to improve every year.

"Just like Wayne [Gretzky] was when he played, Sid is the hardest-working guy out there," Lemieux said. "Whether it's at practice or a three-on-three game at practice, he wants to win. He wants to be the best."

Crosby is the 12th-fastest player in NHL history to score 1,000 career points, but his overall points-per-game average has him fifth all-time among players who've scored a minimum of 500 points or more, according to figures supplied by the Elias Sports Bureau.

Only Gretzky (1.921), Lemieux (1.883), Mike Bossy (1.497) and Bobby Orr (1.393) had averaged more than Crosby's 1.321 points per game, ahead of Thursday's contest, over their respective careers.

Colby Armstrong was one of Crosby's first linemates in the latter's rookie NHL season, 2005-06, and remembers how intrigued he was at the prospect of playing with Sid the Kid after spending three seasons apprenticing for the Penguins' minor-league affiliate in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

"The first time I saw my name next to his, on the board in the dressing room where they post the lines - it was Crosby, Zigmund Palffy and me," Armstrong said. "I was like, 'Wow, I'm playing with Sidney Crosby on the first line in an NHL hockey game. That's really awesome.' "I went from 31/2years in the minors and not getting an NHL game to playing with this young phenomenon that everyone's been talking about - and lighting it up on what was a pretty bad team at the time. I was like, 'Okay, here we go. I'm in the NHL now.' " In the same way that people in the hockey industry had become aware of Connor McDavid by the time he was 15, Armstrong says everyone in the Pittsburgh organization knew of Crosby's potential long before the team drafted him first over all in 2005.

"We had some guys from Montreal and the Quebec area who were our strength coaches and they told us, 'This kid's the real deal,' " Armstrong said. "You'd hear the buzz, but I didn't actually see him play until the Memorial Cup that year when they lost in the final to London - and he was pretty much his whole team.

"He's got skill and drive and work ethic and all that stuff, but the way I look at it, the sun shines on him differently than anyone else. He was touched by the hockey gods. He's just one of those guys - like McDavid - who are legitimately different from everyone else.

"I don't know how to explain it because when you hang out with him, he's just a regular guy and a good person. He's like all my regular hockey buddies - until he puts his skates on, and then he's different. He's just special."

Lemieux scored his first 1,000 points in 513 career games. Only Gretzky got there faster, in 424 games. But they played in a different, higher-scoring era, which makes generational comparisons difficult.

Gretzky is a keen follower of NHL history and pays close attention to what's going on in the game. Even though he now works for the Oilers, and acknowledges that McDavid has Crosby in his sights, the Great One still believes Crosby is atop the NHL heap and will be until someone wrenches that title away.

"Right now, Crosby is the best player," Gretzky said. "And you have to earn your stripes. Until somebody knocks him off the castle, that's the way it's going to be."

Lemieux was on the scene when Crosby and Alex Ovechkin went head to head in their rookie seasons, 2005-06, both exceeding 100 points. There have been the bumps in the road since then for Crosby, most of them related to the concussions that derailed his career for the better part of two seasons. But there was also a triumphant surge in 2016, a singularly successful calendar year that saw him win both the Stanley Cup and the World Cup and earn MVP honours in both events.

There is something unique about the make-up of the true generational players - qualities that set the all-time greats apart from the good and the very good.

Lemieux thought it began with Crosby's skating ability, which he described as "second to none. His strength, his lowerbody strength, is unbelievable. If he goes one on one in the corner, he's able to come out and make a play. His passing ability is probably the best in the league. And his vision, of course, is also one of the best. You put all that together, and now he's starting to score some goals this year, leading the league in scoring. He's just a special player that comes along not too often. I've been very lucky to have him at my house for a few years as a tenant, and to be able to watch him every night is very special."

Apart from Crosby's on-ice achievements, Gretzky believes the way he conducts himself off the ice sets him apart from other players in his peer group.

"He's won two Stanley Cups and two gold medals and handled the pressure and everything with grace and dignity," Gretzky said.

"He deserves all the accolades he's getting. He's really been special. And he's been very lucky in the sense that he had Mario to lean on, a guy who's been through all of it and a guy that understands the pressures that go with being the best player. That's something Sidney probably took advantage of."

Associated Graphic

Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins passes the puck while being chased by Winnipeg Jets winger Blake Wheeler. Crosby's pass resulted in his 1,000th career point, recorded in the first period of their game at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh on Thursday.


Bombardier loan risks Brazil relations
Former Embraer executive says Ottawa's cash infusion a 'big step back' for countries' relationship, regardless of the WTO's decision
Friday, February 10, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A12

OTTAWA, RIO DE JANEIRO -- A Brazilian diplomat says the country hopes the conflict over Canadian government aid to Bombardier Inc. will not poison bilateral relations, which only recently fully recovered from the impact of a similar fight 15 years ago.

On Wednesday, Brazil complained to the World Trade Organization about a $372.5-million federal cash infusion for Bombardier, setting the stage for a lengthy dispute that could see Canada launch a counter complaint. If Brazil wins this fight, it could be awarded the right to hit Canada with retaliatory tariffs.

At the height of the previous dispute, the Canadian government threatened to use hundreds of millions of dollars of trade sanctions against Brazil for its use of cut-rate loans to Embraer SA, which is Bombardier's direct competitor in the global aerospace market.

This time, Brazil would like to keep things cordial. "Disagreements are a natural part of human relations," said Marcelo Ramos Araujo, head of the economic-affairs section of the Brazilian embassy in Canada.

"It is the same with countries.

Countries with strong relations will differ in some aspects and agree and co-operate in many others. We should not ignore disagreements, but bilateral relations should not in any circumstance be contaminated by those disagreements."

But the last dispute between Bombardier and Embraer clouded those relations for years. "We are probably going back to a situation that is lose-lose for everybody," said Henrique Rzezinski, a former vice-president of external relations for Embraer, who led the firm through its last round of international trade disputes. "This is a big step back no matter who wins ... [we had] a level playing field on financial conditions and on no subsidies - we made competition dependent only on price, delivery and quality."

The Canadian government on Tuesday announced the financial aid to the Montreal-based company, in the form of a repayable contribution that will be disbursed over four years. Repayments will be structured as royalties, with Ottawa receiving funds based on aircraft deliveries.

This is on top of a $1-billion (U.S.) equity stake the Quebec government took in Bombardier in 2016 and a $1.5-billion investment by the province's largest pensionfund manager - Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec - in Bombardier's rail unit.

Ottawa appears to have structured the Bombardier bailout as a "repayable contribution" in the hope that a WTO panel will not view it as a straight-up subsidy.

Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne said the loans comply with WTO rules and the government will defend itself against litigation.

But in Brazil, industry watchers say the government must be confident it stands a good chance of winning this complaint.

"I don't think Brazil would get into a dispute like that without having at least some evidence that [it will win], otherwise it's just spending time and money, and it's not cheap," Mr. Rzezinski said.

"[The last dispute] was a very costly process, not only in money but also politically for Brazil and Canada - it was a very painful process that had dramatic implications, that made problems in the relationship ... and it spread over many other areas."

The last fight over aircraft coincided with Canada's much-criticized decision to temporarily ban Brazilian beef; protesters in Brazil threw Canadian Brome Lake ducks in the trash and poured out Canadian liquor to demonstrate their frustration.

Mr. Araujo noted that relations are since much improved - to the degree that Embraer now buys Canadian parts for its planes, and Air Canada flies Embraer jets. "In the last three years, Embraer has imported from Canada approximately $300-million [U.S.] in parts and components," Mr. Araujo said. "There are currently 50 Embraer commercial aircraft operating in Canada."

Yet there is still considerable scope for trade expansion: Canada and Brazil did just $7.1-billion in trade last year, according to Brazil's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, although Brazil is Latin America's largest country and still the world's eighth-largest economy, despite its economic woes.

Three years ago, Canadian firms and investors were flooding into Brazil; there were delegations from the energy sector courting Rio state's offshore oil business, plus agribusiness and mining firms seeking deals, arriving here almost every week.

But the country's continuing political turmoil and simultaneous economic collapse stifled the optimism and the new ties.

Brazil is in its worst recession in almost a century, with unemployment at nearly 12 per cent, inflation at 11 per cent and GDP expected to grow just 0.4 per cent this year, despite frantic government efforts at recovery.

"One of the key political moves of the [Michel] Temer government is to try to boost economic recovery through trade - by increasing Brazil's competitiveness in exports," said Francisco Niclos Negrao, director of the Brazilian Institute of Studies on Competition, Consumer Affairs and International Trade in Sao Paulo.

That context helps to explain Brasilia's willingness to go to the WTO over aerospace subsidies, he added: Embraer is a flagship company for Brazil, so the central government is keen to prevent it from being squeezed out of the market by subsidies to competitors. The fact that Bombardier recently won a large order for aircraft from Delta Airlines may have spurred this complaint, added Mr. Negrao, who also practices international trade law.

"Bombardier may have offered a very, very low price due to these financial contributions," he said.

And Bombardier's financial troubles before the Quebec cash infusion were widely known, he added.

If Embraer is getting shut out, Mr. Negrao said, "I do not think Brazil would simply sit and wait - I imagine Embraer and Brazil would strive, within WTO rules, to try to boost its competitiveness."

Carlos Marcio Cozendey, viceminister for economic and financial affairs at Brazil's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters in Brasilia on Wednesday that the multiple levels of government support for Bombardier's C Series jets make a mockery of the idea that the Montreal-based firm is a private company. "Today, the C Series is an aircraft that belongs more to the Canadian government than to Bombardier," he said.

Embraer chief executive officer Paulo Cesar Silva said in a statement that the continuing subsidies "have not only been fundamental in the development and survival of the C Series program, but have also allowed Bombardier to offer its aircraft at artificially low prices." Competition must be "between companies, not governments," he said.

However, Mr. Cozendey also said that diplomatic relations between Canada and Brazil will not be affected by this complaint and that discussions about Canada providing favourable trade status to products from Mercosur, the Southern Common Market, would continue.

Aerospace is traditionally a capital-intensive industry, with a need for significant research-anddevelopment investment, and with just a few players who have outsize weight in their native countries, Mr. Negrao observed.

Bombardier's defenders were quick on Wednesday to point out that Embraer also gets support from Brazil's government, and indeed that government assistance of one kind or another is a feature in every country with an aerospace industry. Embraer, for example, has a guaranteed line of low-interest credit for "innovation research" from the government's National Bank for Social and Economic Development, or BNDES.

Mr. Rzezinski, who is a trustee of the Brazilian Center for International Relations, said that Embraer's support from government cannot be compared with that now being given to Bombardier, and that the Brazilian firm has been careful to keep within WTO rules.

"The rationale for Brazil not to do this is stronger than any other country because Brazil is the least-developed country in the market and has the weakest capacity to subsidize," he said. "Brazil would not voluntarily break the rules - this would damage Brazil on the competition field."

He said that Embraer's ability to compete will be badly undermined if the WTO complaint is not successful and Bombardier has unfettered access to bailout cash.

"This is a deal breaker, absolutely; it creates a very important asymmetry that makes competition unfair - it can make all the difference," he said. "Brazil will certainly try to protect one of its most important industries."

The two countries now have up to 60 days to try to settle the dispute, or else the WTO convenes a panel of experts to rule on the case. The last such dispute over aerospace began in the mid-1990s and did not produce a final ruling until 2002.

Associated Graphic

Bombardier, helmed by CEO Alain Bellemare, seen before a news conference on Tuesday, is in danger of meeting WTO involvement due to a complaint by Brazil, which claims Ottawa's recent funds create unfair conditions for Embraer SA, one of Bombardier's direct competitors.


Filmmaker devoted his life to sharks
His award-winning film Sharkwater led to bans on shark fishing and shark-fin soup around the world
Special to The Globe and Mail
Monday, February 13, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S8

In the 2006 documentary Sharkwater, Rob Stewart, the film's writer, director, producer, narrator and star, did things that few others ever attempt. He went scuba diving with sharks of numerous species, often stroking and even hugging them. He also took a lengthy free dive - no oxygen tank, just holding his breath - with sharks.

In another daring move, Mr. Stewart climbed a building to film illegally obtained shark fins drying on a roof. His boat was chased out of Costa Rican waters by men with guns. He contracted a flesh-eating disease after sustaining cuts on his body from diving.

"Rob knew that in order to get people to watch his films he needed [to include] a lot of action in them," says Dustin Titus, a friend and colleague who helped market some of Mr. Stewart's films. (After the filming for Sharkwater was over, Mr. Stewart was sick for months, suffering from dengue fever, West Nile virus and tuberculosis.)

The Toronto-born photographer, filmmaker and environmental activist was 37 when he died on Jan. 31 in the waters off the Florida Keys, halfway through shooting his new film, Sharkwater: Extinction.

He regularly pushed limits to get gorgeous, heart-wrenching footage for his documentaries and combined the images with plainly stated facts. He aimed to dispel myths and show how sharks' plight has an impact on human life.

"He had this incredible gift of being able to show the beauty of the world," says Sarika CullisSuzuki, a friend who is a marine biologist, activist and daughter of David Suzuki. "We too often focus on the battles and what was lost; he showed us what we still have."

His approach worked: Sharkwater won more than 40 awards around the world and will air on Netflix later this month. The film and his ceaseless advocacy resulted in numerous bans on shark fishing and shark-fin soup around the world. (He sent China a copy of the film and it aired on state TV. Consumption of shark fins dropped afterward - by half in Hong Kong alone.)

He followed up with 2012's Revolution. It took him four years to film this wider look at the environment and activism. In a 2012 interview about it and his book Save the Humans, Mr. Stewart told The Canadian Press, "We're facing a world by 2050 that has no fish, no reefs, no rain forest and nine billion people on a planet that already can't sustain seven billion people. So it's going to be a really dramatic century unless we do something about it."

Revolution won 19 awards. In 2015, he released The Fight for Bala, a film about the at-risk Bala Falls in Muskoka.

In addition to his films, he cofounded the non-profit United Conservationists, which funds the Fin Free campaign, nature reserves and other environmental projects around the world. He was known worldwide for his public speaking and his skills as a diver, and became friends with celebrities including billionaire Richard Branson and actor Adrian Grenier.

Young, handsome and svelte, Mr. Stewart played well to the camera. He had an engaging surfer-dude drawl - you would never know that he stuttered as a kid and trained himself out of it over many years.

Julie Andersen, a United Conservationists co-founder who collaborated on films with Mr.

Stewart, marvelled at how he was able to remain perfectly dressed and coiffed even while filming in a hot, damp Madagascar jungle.

"We're going to make the environmental movement cool," he once told her.

To him, conservation was far more than a fad, though. When Mr. Titus first went to Mr. Stewart's apartment around 2006, he was surprised to see wall-to-wall books: serious literature and complex biology textbooks that he had clearly read. "Rob looks cool all the time but he's actually super nerdy."

When Ms. Cullis-Suzuki first met him, at an event, she asked what impact Sharkwater had made on the world. Without a pause, he began listing all the regions where shark fishing had become illegal. "He knew all the stats off the top of his head," she says.

Robert Brian Stewart was born on Dec. 28, 1979, in Toronto, to Brian Stewart and Sandra Campbell, entrepreneurs who own and run Tribute Entertainment Media Group. Obsessed with animals from a young age, Rob got his first goldfish around four.

Visiting the fish store was a weekly routine and staff there soon began calling him with news of new arrivals. The boy later got a monitor lizard and a boa constrictor, which he named Mali. "His bedroom was like a menagerie," his father says.

On family vacations in the Caribbean, "we'd still be unpacking and he'd be in the water, looking for creatures and talking to the locals," his father recalls. Rob saw his first shark at the age of eight, and fell in love. When he was 13, he insisted his entire family, including elder sister Alexandra, get scuba-diving certifications.

He got his first underwater camera at the age of 14, learned to free dive at a young age and got his scuba instructor certification at 18.

At the family cottage, Rob busied himself catching frogs and other wildlife. He'd often swim alone to a nearby island, despite his parents' fear that boats would hit him. "I'll just dive to the bottom until they go by," he replied.

Rob excelled at his studies and went to the private all-boys Crescent School starting in Grade 7.

He met Mr. MacLeod that first day; they were the only two with long hair. They'd hang out at Mr.

Stewart's house, among the many fish tanks and animal books.

While Mr. MacLeod would look at the books' pictures and the captions, his buddy seemed to have all the content memorized.

"He was like a human encyclopedia regarding anything to do with animals and the ocean," says Mr.

MacLeod, who helped his friend with films and activism years later. "He was obsessed with animals, and I was, too, but he was [at the] next level."

Rob eventually told his parents that school was "really boring with just guys." They said he could go to public high school at Lawrence Park Collegiate if he stayed on the honour roll. Several of his buddies changed schools with him. There, he played on the rugby team and excelled academically.

He went on to study biology at Western University, taking lots of math because, he told his parents, it was a "bird course." He took advantage of special exchange programs that took him to Kenya and Jamaica.

In Kenya, students went out to collect wildlife and share it with the class. Others found snails and crabs but they gathered around Mr. Stewart's container, teachers included, knowing he'd have something good. He opened it to reveal a black mamba, one of the world's deadliest venomous snakes. Everyone leaped back, terrified, while Rob picked up the snake, saying, "Check it out, guys!"

After graduation, he did photography for the Canadian Wildlife Federation's magazine, which was published at the time by his parents' company, and did freelance work as well. That work took him all around the world.

He wanted to have more of an impact, though, so he bought a video camera and devoured a book on how to make movies, which a girlfriend gave him. He began shooting Sharkwater in 2002, at first flying on points and using his own money, plus some from his parents, then eventually receiving some tax credits and distribution support.

Thus began a whirlwind career of travel, creating films, speaking, working on projects with others and constant learning. Mr. Stewart accomplished a great deal quickly. "Rob's parents are very successful business people [and] his sister went to Harvard. But Rob took that same work ethic and intelligence and drive and applied it to the planet," Mr. MacLeod says.

Those close to him marvel that, despite everything he knew and saw - hundreds of sharks slaughtered, dying reefs, the shark-fin mafia wielding weapons - Mr. Stewart remained an optimist.

Ms. Andersen says: "He saw some pretty gnarly stuff. But he had incredible faith in mankind and our ability to change. He made you believe anything was possible."

Rob Stewart leaves his parents; sister; brother-in-law, Roger Rudisuli; and two nephews.

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

Canadian filmmaker and environmental activist Rob Stewart is seen on a boat off the coast of Florida before he went missing on Jan. 31.


Twelve cool concepts
Automobile ideas on the road to the future
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, February 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page E2

Auto makers create concept cars for different reasons.

Some hint strongly at what an upcoming production vehicle will look like. Some are "dream cars" in the tradition of General Motors' legendary Autorama exhibits of the 1950s, while others are internal exercises never seen by the public.

"I like to think of concepts as beautiful research projects," says Ralph Gilles, the Canadian who heads global design for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.

"We take some concepts to auto shows and events to gauge public and media feedback. Others are created for internal purposes and help us to understand feasibility.

"The driving factor to build a vehicle lies heavily on whether it has a solid business case that meets the needs of our consumers and the standard and direction set by the brand."

Wild concepts can make it to production. Gilles points to the Dodge Viper, a two-seat highperformance car powered by a V-10 truck engine, first shown at the 1989 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It went on sale largely unchanged three years later.

Often, it's elements of a futuristic concept's design or technology that find their way into production models - for example, FCA's Portal minivan concept that targets millennials, shown at Detroit this year but not coming to the show in Toronto.

Some of its ideas on connectivity can be implemented quickly.

"Even the design language for me is something that could potentially pave the way for where we want to take the Chrysler brand," Gilles says.

The concepts appearing at this year's edition of the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto were revealed at other auto shows such as Detroit, New York and Paris.

Lincoln Navigator

The Navigator exterior is said to strongly telegraph the lines of the 2018 model of Lincoln's full-size luxury SUV, whose sales are less than half what they were a decade ago. But you can probably forget about its gull-wing doors and telescoping steps. The interior is a cornucopia of connected infotainment tech, while the nearly threetonne vehicle's engine, a 3.5-litre, twinturbo V-6 used on current models, is uprated slightly to 400 horsepower.

Genesis New York

Hyundai's premium brand debuted the hybrid luxury-sports-sedan concept last March at, you guessed it, the New York show. The sportiness of its coupe-like lines are underscored by the large vent behind the front-wheel arch and sharply sculpted flanks. The interior features a 21-inch floating curved screen that displays driver instruments and infotainment options, which the company says addresses some of the negative aspects of the increasing tech burden found in luxury vehicles.

Power comes from a two-litre dieselengine electric-drive combination.

Cadillac Escala

The Escala sedan concept shows off the next generation of the brand's design language for upcoming production vehicles.

Current models' sharply bevelled edges have been softened and front and rear lighting treatments have been updated.

The interior blends luxury with the latest in electronics. Power comes from a fourlitre, twin-turbo V-8.

Acura Precision

The Precision concept is another example of auto makers' struggle to make the increasingly tech-heavy cockpit more user friendly. It's all about a more intuitive "human-machine interface." Instead of clusters of buttons and knobs, the Precision's driver would use a single consolemounted curved touchpad to control most functions on its two screens. The fiercelooking Precision is a low-slung pillarless sedan with clamshell doors each hung from single massive hinges. It's no accident if you see aspects of the new NSX in the Precision because the concept's lead designers worked on Acura's hybrid supercar.

Mitsubishi GT-PHEV

Mitsubishi's concept, whose Canadian debut was at the Montreal International Auto Show, may hint at the next Outlander, except for the impractical clamshell doors. The GT kicks luxury up a notch, offering a sporty but rugged all-wheeldrive grand tourer. The plush interior features a horizontal dashboard that Mitsubishi says makes it easier for the driver to sense changes in the GT's attitude, presumably while on some stump-jumping adventure.

Nissan Vmotion 2.0

The Vmotion 2.0 is another showcase for an auto maker's direction in connectivity and autonomous driving wrapped in sexy, faceted sheet metal. Its front-end design already shows up on existing Nissan models such as the Murano crossover and Maxima sedan. Tech features include Nissan Intelligent Mobility, which aims at zero emissions and zero fatalities. ProPILOT technology allows some autonomous-driving support on urban roads and intersections.

Infiniti QX50

The QX50 concept looks as if it's ready for production, and probably is. At least it's a strong indicator of what the next generation of Infiniti's compact crossover will look like. The cabin is pushed forward and the sharply creased sheet metal removes any hint of flabbiness. There's autonomous-driving technology on board geared to ensuring the driver retains control of the vehicle, the company says. Power comes from a variable-compression, twolitre, turbo four-cylinder gasoline engine - the current model has a V-6 - said to offer the torque and efficiency of a diesel.

Subaru VIZIV-7

VIZIV is Subaru-speak for Vision for Innovation which, in this case, defines the Japanese auto maker's vision of next year's replacement for the slow-selling Tribeca SUV that was canned in 2014. Characteristically for Subaru, the mid-sized VIZIV eschews swoopy design in favour of chunky, squared-off styling cues that leverage its reputation for ruggedness and safety. Subaru offered no drive-train details or what the interior might look like. While the production version due for 2018 may not be styled quite the same, it will be Subaru's biggest model and its flagship.

Lexus LF-FC

The LF-FC was first shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2015. But Toyota clearly thinks it's still relevant to demonstrate its commitment to offering hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles in the "not-so-distant future." The fuel cell powers the rear wheels but also supplies juice to two electric motors in the front, making it functionally all-wheel drive. The four-seat sedan's styling, featuring the luxury brand's massive signature grille, is meant to be rakish and sporty, with handling to match. The interior is nicely detailed and includes a system of controlling functions with just a wave of the hand without touching the panel.

Lexus UX

The UX compact-crossover concept is from Lexus's design studio in the south of France and debuted last fall at the Paris show. It exudes a no-nonsense stealthfighter vibe, with sharp exterior angles.

The interior features minimalist webbed front seats, while back-seat occupants are treated to a lounge-like ambiance, all aimed at well-heeled young urbanites. The UX also serves to show off Lexus's kinetic seat design - a concept within a concept.

Its webbed netting is made of environmentally conscious synthetic spider silk said to offer superior shock absorbance but able to mould to your body shape and be kinder to your spine, to make long drives more comfortable.

Aston Martin AM-RB 001 hypercar

Hypercars are for those for whom ordinary supercars are too tame. There's no firm definition, but usually they feature million-dollar price tags, thousand-horsepower motors and top speeds above 320 kilometres an hour. The AM-RB 001 is a collaboration between British luxury-car maker Aston Martin and the Red Bull Racing Formula One team and its legendary tech chief, Adrian Newey. Its carbon-fibre body incorporates "unprecedented levels of downforce in a road-legal car," which should translate into incredible road-holding. And the reported numbers are stupifying: A 1,000-horsepower V-12 engine would rocket a car weighing about the same as a Toyota Yaris to 320 km/h in about 10 seconds. A limited production run of 175 cars (plus 25 track-only models) is planned starting next year with a $3-million (U.S.) asking price.

Buick Avista

The year-old Avista concept is a sleek twoplus-two coupe aimed at reviving the staid brand's performance reputation. It features a 400-horsepower, twin-turbo V-6 driving the rear wheels only. The body design, smooth and fluid, avoids any radical gestures and is tied to the design language used in the Buick LaCrosse. The simple lines carry into the cabin design and the Avista's controls follow the trend toward large display panels and touchscreen controls.

Associated Graphic













As Toronto's housing market reaches dizzying heights, observers worry Ontario isn't moving fast enough to track overseas buyers
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M1

VANCOUVER -- 'Up! Up! Up!"

That's where Toronto's real estate market is heading, according to a Chinese-language promotional article posted last month on, a Beijingbased web portal that lists thousands of homes for sale in countries around the world.

"You will really cry if you still don't buy," the same posting blares.

Toronto has become the "dark horse" of the Canadian real estate market, asserts, another site jammed with Canadian home listings. It contrasts Vancouver's continuing drop in prices with a prediction that Torontoarea homes will rise 8 per cent in value this year.

In the months since British Columbia began taxing international buyers 15-percent extra on homes in and around Vancouver, those marketing Canadian real estate overseas have shifted their focus to Toronto. Last year, Toronto overtook Vancouver to become the most soughtafter Canadian city for Chinese home buyers searching the property listing service, peaking in August just after British Columbia announced the tax aimed at curbing the public outrage over skyrocketing prices. Searches for properties in Toronto proper now surpass the total inquiries for Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and Ottawa combined.

Richard Silver, a Sotheby's realtor and past president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, estimates close to 20 per cent of his clients are international buyers - from China, India and the Middle East - interested in the luxury condos and houses he sells in and around the downtown core.

Prospective clients he talked to on his latest business trip to East Asia, just more than a year ago, were curious to learn more about the city.

"When I've gone to China, people ask me the difference with Vancouver and I say, 'Toronto's where you make the money, Vancouver's where you spend the money.' " Anecdotes abound throughout the Greater Toronto Area, notably in places such as Markham, describing international buyers calling their realtors from overseas to bid tens of thousands of dollars over asking price to secure a new home.

Despite fears that foreign speculators are juicing the region's already-booming real estate market, it is impossible to know what impact international capital is having because no official data are being collected.

And, as long as this statistical black hole remains, observers warn Toronto could be following in Vancouver's footsteps toward a housing crisis for locals.

"One of the risks that Toronto has is that, because wages are a little bit higher there, prices could escalate for longer than they did in Metro Vancouver before the government takes action," Vancouver MLA David Eby, the New Democratic Party's housing critic, says. "It's hard to know where the ceiling is on these real estate prices if international speculation is left to run its course. We don't know how much capital is out there looking for investment in housing in major Canadian cities."

The best and latest data - provided by Toronto's private real estate board last month - peg international citizens as representing almost 5 per cent of all home buyers last year. For years, British Columbia relied on similar industry-provided data that showed foreign investment in the single digits, before it modified its land-transfer documents last spring to force buyers to disclose whether they are a citizen or a permanent resident of Canada and, if not, where they hail from.

Cameron Muir, the economist in charge of tracking B.C. housing prices for the province's real estate industry, says until the government heeded his trade association's call to begin collecting this information, realtors provided some of the best data.

Still, surveys of real estate agents are not complete enough to inform official policy or assuage public anger over the murky role foreign money plays in a hot market, he said.

"The issue is welling up in Toronto the same way it did in Vancouver ... The government collecting accurate data on the extent of foreign ownership would be a really good way of at least having the focus on actual data rather than supposition, which was rampant in Vancouver before the government monitored it."

In British Columbia, the first 21/2 weeks of foreign-buyer statistics surprised the government by showing pockets of investment - such as double-digit percentages in the suburbs of Burnaby and Richmond - that were much higher than previous estimates. After this first tranche of data, B.C. secretly went to work on the tax that would help flatten a market that was already cooling.

The Ontario government has repeatedly said it opposes any move to implement a B.C.-like tax on international buyers, which the province worries could crash the housing market and decimate the equity built up by homeowners.

Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa was unavailable for an interview, but his spokeswoman Kelsey Ingram told The Globe and Mail that Ontario is working with stakeholders to bring in a new system for collecting more data by this spring as part of an effort to modernize the Land Transfer Tax Act. She said this data may include whether the new owner intends to live in or rent the home, as well as the citizenship or residency status of the buyer.

"We are working closely with the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario in developing this regulation to ensure appropriate steps are taken to protect any personal information collected," she said in an e-mailed statement.

This week, Markham city council voted down a motion brought by councillor Karen Rea calling on the provincial government to introduce a foreign buyers' tax.

Ms. Rea, a licensed realtor, said she began the push after seeing more homes being left empty ("three vacant properties on the same block") and watching her city become way less affordable for locals.

"If you want to buy a property here and you're living here and you're putting gas in your car and you're eating at restaurants ... you're contributing to the economy, I have no problem with that," she said. "What I have a problem with is somebody living in another country and using our homes as commodities."

Her motion was defeated 8-4 after a heated debate and correspondence from residents and stakeholders, including a letter from the province's real estate industry association, warning that such a levy would have no effect on affordability in the region and could hurt the broader economy.

Tim Hudak, chief executive officer of the Ontario Real Estate Association and former leader of the province's Progressive Conservative party, told The Globe after the vote that any tax on foreign buyers - most of whom are immigrants looking to buy a family home - is based on the "cheap politics of division." (In B.C., permanent residents are not taxed and the government announced last month it was relaxing the rules to allow those on work permits to also avoid the levy.)

"Scapegoating foreigners as the reason for increasing home prices is not based on sound public policy or reliable data," he said.

Mr. Hudak maintains the only way to make homes more affordable is to build more throughout the region.

Mr. Eby, whose Vancouver riding houses some of B.C.'s most expensive mansions, said focusing solely on increasing supply to meet demand does not work.

"That belief, unfortunately, was clearly mistaken and resulted in prices that bear no recognition to the amount of money that people can earn locally," he said.

"At first, as prices started to rise people were generally happy about it, but then as the prices continued to go up they realized that they couldn't actually access the money without selling their home or going into debt on the belief that the market would continue."

Ms. Rea, who has seen homes around her increase in value by over a million dollars in the past five years, said she doesn't understand how such a levy could be so disastrous if foreign buyers truly are such a small percentage of the market.

"You can't have it both ways: if it's less than 5 per cent, implementing a tax will have no effect - but the real estate industry is up in arms over it."

With a report from Nathan VanderKlippe in Beijing

Associated Graphic

Honk Kong's The Standard newspaper, displaying a cover advertising for real estate in Toronto.

Anecdotes abound throughout the GTA of foreign buyers calling realtors from overseas to bid tens of thousands of dollars over asking price to secure new homes.


Trump continues push for U.S. barriers with orders to build border wall, expand deportations
Thursday, January 26, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump is moving to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, acting on the foundational promise that launched his run to the presidency.

Mr. Trump's executive orders Wednesday - which also included instructions to cut federal funding from cities and states that refuse to help deport illegal immigrants and to expand the number of immigrants targeted for deportation - give effect to the central premise of his political agenda: That immigration is both an economic and security threat to his country.

"Building this barrier is more than just a campaign promise, it's a common-sense first step to really securing our porous border," Mr. Trump's spokesman, Sean Spicer, told reporters at the White House Wednesday. "This will stem the flow of drugs, crime, illegal immigration into the United States." Despite Mr. Trump's orders, the plan faces enormous hurdles, including land-ownership battles that could delay actual construction by years and a hefty price tag that could cause lawmakers to balk.

What's more, immigration experts say a wall would likely have no effect, because the flow of illegal immigrants from Mexico has slowed to a trickle in recent years.

The action by the President continues a whirlwind week in which he has quickly moved to show he will keep the controversial promises that vaulted him into office.

It comes just two days after he pulled the country out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and reiterated his promise to renegotiate the North American free-trade agreement, continuing his push to throw up barriers - both economic and physical - around the United States' borders. And as early as Thursday, he is expected to clamp down further on immigration, with a ban on most refugees and a moratorium on people from seven countries in the Middle East and Africa.

The border wall, brandished in Mr. Trump's first campaign speech 18 months ago, was his defining promise: Supporters chanted "build the wall" regularly at his rallies, while detractors labelled it an outlandish pledge with racist undertones.

"With today's executive orders and those expected later this week, President Trump is following through with policies that match the ugly bigotry of his campaign. These orders will only deepen the wounds of division that Trump promised to heal," said Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, in a statement.

"Like the skyscrapers that bear his name, a wall at the southern border will be nothing more than a monument to Trump's vanity."

The President's orders instruct John Kelly, the new Secretary of Homeland Security, to "take all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design and construct a physical wall along the southern border," and to suspend federal grants to "sanctuary cities" - jurisdictions that have adopted policies to not prosecute illegal immigrants. It also orders immigration enforcement to start targeting for deportation all immigrants who have been charged with a crime or may have committed one, regardless of whether they have been convicted.

The order does not specify the exact form of the wall. During the campaign, Mr. Trump said it would be a concrete barrier between 30 feet and 65 feet high, taller than either the Berlin Wall or Israel's wall around the West Bank. He has said it would cover at least 1,600 kilometres of the 3,200-kilometre border, focusing on areas where there are not already natural barriers to crossing.

Implementing such a plan as promised could be time-consuming and extraordinarily expensive.

"The logistical and legal problems he's going to face are really insurmountable - building a wall of the kind he has described is just fantastical. It will never happen," said David Bier, an immigration-policy analyst with the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington. "Will some kind of physical barrier be built? Absolutely.

But it's not going to look anything like what he has described."

For one, Mr. Bier points out that much of the land the wall would have to be built on is either privately owned or controlled by indigenous groups.

Property owners unwilling to cooperate with construction have proved an obstacle to previous, more limited attempts to fence off parts of the border, and could tie up construction for years with court battles.

Using extrapolations of construction costs for those smaller border fences, Mr. Bier and other researchers have estimated construction costs at $25-billion to $31-billion - between double and triple Mr. Trump's estimates.

Mr. Trump promised Wednesday to force the Mexican government to reimburse the United States for its construction costs, but President Enrique Pena Nieto has already refused. It is not clear whether the United States holds enough economic leverage to force such a payment, or that Congress would approve such an enormous sum with no guarantee of repayment. Mr. Pena Nieto is "considering" cancelling his scheduled trip to Washington next week in the wake of Mr. Trump's order on construction of the border wall, a senior Mexican official said Wednesday.

In any event, it is not clear the wall would even serve any purpose. Not only are immigrants generally less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans - a 2000 review by academics Ramiro Martinez, Jr. and Matthew T. Lee of a century's worth of studies showed that immigrants tend to make up a smaller proportion of crime statistics than native-born - but illegal immigration from Mexico has already largely stopped.

A Pew Research Center study of Homeland Security data showed that the number of Mexican immigrants in the United States, most of them illegal, peaked at 12 million in 2008, then dropped to 11 million. It has held steady ever since, meaning the net migration from Mexico to the United States is effectively zero.

Douglas Massey, a Princeton professor and co-director of the Mexican Migration Project, attributes this change to Mexico's falling birth rate and the lack of economic pressure on young Mexicans to migrate to the United States.

"With net undocumented migration at zero, the border is as under control as it's ever going to be," Prof. Massey argued in an essay in Foreign Policy magazine last year, saying Mr. Trump's plan will effectively spend "billions of dollars more on border enforcement to solve a problem that no longer exists."

Mr. Trump is expected to push forward on another immigration move as soon as Thursday, barring most refugees from entering the United States and suspending all visas from people in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen until the country can put in place tougher vetting for immigrants.

The move will be his attempt to fulfill a campaign promise of a moratorium on Muslims entering the United States, a pledge so controversial that even Republican supporters of his rivals for the party's nomination openly described him as a fascist at campaign rallies.

The action is likely to draw court challenges on the basis of discrimination, but some legal experts say Mr. Trump actually has the authority to do this.

Stephen Yale-Loehr, who has practised immigration law for 30 years and teaches at Cornell University, said the law gives the President broad discretion on whom to allow into the United States. Although the law prevents the government from barring people based on nationality, Prof. Yale-Loehr contends that Mr. Trump's move for a temporary ban would likely be upheld in court.

"In general, any president has broad authority over who to admit to the United States, since immigration touches on national sovereignty and foreign relations," he said. "Also, courts generally defer to whatever a President does on immigration.

Thus, while lawsuits may be filed challenging President Trump's executive orders about refugees and other overseas visa applicants, they are likely to fail."

Regardless of the legality, Mr. Trump's moves seek to vastly expand the reach of immigration enforcement - so much so that the government may even lack the resources to carry them out.

Prof. Yale-Loehr pointed in particular to the order Wednesday expanding the number of immigrants who will be targeted for deportation.

"It may bump into the reality that there are not enough personnel to process this," Prof. Yale-Loehr said. "But that is really going to change the landscape - it's a very broad expansion."

Associated Graphic

A worker stands next to a newly built section of the U.S.-Mexico border fence at Sunland Park, N.M., near the Mexican city of Ciudad Jaurez on Wednesday.


Final weekend of the season sees Inferno and Les Canadiennes meet in Calgary with first place on the line. The players have been gearing up for the showdown for months, Eric Duhatschek reports
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

CALGARY -- In her day job, Jessica Campbell is the director of communications for the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, which is why she was at Holy Cross Elementary Junior High School in southeast Calgary on a Wednesday afternoon, co-ordinating a mental-health initiative with the local middle school.

By night, Campbell has a second profession - playing forward for the Calgary Inferno, the No. 1 team in the Canadian Women's Hockey League and the defending Clarkson Cup champions.

This weekend, Campbell's twin career paths collide when the Inferno play Les Canadiennes de Montreal in a first-place showdown Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon at Calgary's WinSport Arena A, a season-ending two-game series between the two best teams in the league with first place on the line.

For the Saturday game against Montreal, the Inferno players will be wearing limited-edition purple jerseys, provided by Scotiabank, which will be auctioned off on behalf of Start the Spark, an annual mental-health awareness campaign supported by the team and the Kennedy organization.

Campbell, the liaison between the two groups, is expecting sellout crowds, thanks to an online ticket campaign, in which sponsors and donors purchased tickets for the game and then returned them to the team to distribute in schools and arenas across the city.

The Inferno, at 19-3-0, leads Montreal (16-4-2) by four points.

The two teams ran away from the pack this season with second-half surges.

"We've been prepping for this weekend for weeks and months - pretty much the whole year - so when the puck drops, we're going to be so pumped up," said Campbell, who noted there will be a significant home-ice advantage for the Inferno, "a massive fan base behind us, hooting, hollering and cheering and making it that much more exciting for both teams.

"I know we're deserving of a sold-out crowd," Campbell said.

"This is an opportunity for fans to come out and see two unbelievable teams. Once they see us play the Canadiennes, they're going to be hooked and want to come back and buy season tickets for next year. It's a great game, an awesome matchup and first place is on the line.

You can't ask for anything more."

Campbell added.

Montreal features the top line in the CWHL - the trio of Marie-Philip Poulin, Caroline Ouellette and Ann-Sophie Bettez.

Many of the top players on Montreal and Calgary have also been teammates on Canada's national team, and they will get together again in the fall, when they centralize in Calgary to prepare for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

Until then, however, friendships are, out of necessity, put aside.

An example, in a game last month, Inferno goaltender Geneviève Lacasse was caught in a playful moment when she put Poulin into a headlock after Poulin had crashed her crease.

Lacasse wasn't about to let her up - at least not right away. Cameras caught it all - and the two had a good chuckle about it afterward.

"Poulin crashed into the net, and I put her in a headlock a little bit, and the play had left our zone, and I just kept holding on," Lacasse said. "And she's trying to scramble out of it, and I'm laughing, and she's looking back and laughing, too, and gives me a shove and gets out of there.

"It's definitely weird to play against her, but there's so much respect on the ice. I'm sure, if you're at a game, you'll see - if you make a save, there's a little tap on the pads of a goalie, or a little chirping going on, but it's all done in a friendly way.

"But it is small things like that that make it real fun as well."

Lacasse is a perfect 8-0 this season for the Inferno and her numbers trail only Montreal's Charline Labonté in the overall goaltending stats. Lacasse, a Providence College grad, is in her first season in Calgary. At her request, she was traded to the Inferno this past August from the Boston Blades in order to pursue a job opportunity.

Living in the United States, where she couldn't work, was becoming increasingly expensive, as a result of the shrinking Canadian dollar.

Just about every CWHL player juggles work and hockey schedules, which occasionally means practice times are adjusted to accommodate scheduling conflicts. Earlier this week, after the ice plant broke down at their regular practice facility, the Inferno players endured the fresh hell of 7 a.m. practices on both Tuesday and Thursday in order to prepare for this weekend's games.

That sort of flexibility and adaptability is necessary in the CWHL, though Lacasse will tell you it wasn't all bad.

"It was a little tough to get the legs going that early," she said, "but once they were moving, it was good. It gets your day off to a good start and brings you back to the old days, which is kind of nice."

Lacasse described her experience playing for Boston last season as one of the best in her career because of the camaraderie that developed on a rebuilding team. But coming to Calgary this year opened her up to a whole different world.

"Just to see the development in the skating, which has improved the most over the years - girls just getting to play with better girls means you're pushing each other on the ice. The speed obviously, too - you've got so many good upand-coming players, the Jess Campbells, really speedy, really fast. It has been really amazing."

For her part, Campbell believes the CWHL's profile is growing incrementally, largely because of greater community awareness, something that didn't happen by accident.

"I know we've taken the right strides in Calgary," she said. "We have a partnership with Girls Hockey Calgary, with over 40 teams from novice to midget that we mentor and go to their practices. They've rebranded this year as the Junior Inferno so when we've been in the rinks we see our logo, literally all over the place.

Seeing those kids, in the malls, in the movie theatres, wearing that Inferno logo, that's what's going to grow the league - people in the community, asking, 'Who are the Inferno? Oh, we have a professional women's team? Let's go watch. Tickets are only $15? Let's take the whole family.' "The next step is generating enough revenue to sustain a salaried league, which Campbell believes is "absolutely on track.

"What it will take is creating a consistent fan base. But we're in it for the long haul. It's a different game than the NHL, so we're starting from a point of showing fans, 'This is what women's hockey is. Don't compare it to men's hockey.' It's just as good, it's just a different game. That's what it's about. So I'm very optimistic about the direction we're going as a league."

As for the weekend showdown against their rivals, the Inferno's Rebecca Johnston is cautiously optimistic, noting that this year's team includes a lot of new faces "who've helped us throughout the year.

"I think definitely we are a better team. We are more prepared.

We've been to the Clarkson Cup before, so for us, that experience will go really far.

"Our end goal is to win the Clarkson Cup again, so we take every weekend and every game and focus on that and try not to get too far ahead of ourselves. Montreal is a great team. We've split with them both weekends we played against them, so it should be close. Hopefully we continue to move in the right direction."

Associated Graphic

Calgary goalie Emerance Maschmeyer hits the ice prior to a Les Canadiennes-Inferno match in Montreal in December. The CWHL's top two teams meet again this weekend in Calgary.


Marie-Philip Poulin of Les Canadiennes checks Calgary's Louise Warren in CWHL action in Montreal in December.


Trump vows only 'tweaking' of Canadian NAFTA provisions
Tuesday, February 14, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

WASHINGTON -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won personal assurances from President Donald Trump during an Oval Office meeting on Monday that the United States only wants to tweak the North American free-trade provisions that govern commerce with Canada.

Mr. Trudeau steered clear of controversial subjects - refusing to criticize Mr. Trump's ban on Syrian refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries - opting instead to win the President over by convincing him Canada can help his economic agenda.

Mr. Trudeau came to the White House with the overarching aim of obtaining U.S. guarantees that Canada's export-driven economy wouldn't be sideswiped by the President's plan to renegotiate NAFTA.

"We have a very outstanding trade relationship with Canada. We'll be tweaking it. We'll be doing certain things that will benefit both of our countries," Mr. Trump told a joint news conference in the White House after the sit-down. "Our relationship with Canada is outstanding. We are going to work together to make it even better." The U.S. President promised "to have a great relationship with Canada ... as good or better, hopefully, than ever before."

But the President said the United States will be seeking more "reciprocity" in trade with Canada, which could include demands that U.S. firms are able to bid on provincial and municipal projects. And he said "you can never be totally confident" that the U.S.Canada border is secure, hinting at two possible areas of friction when talks begin in earnest.

Some Canadian provinces and municipalities have local content or "knowledge" requirements written into their procurement policies, giving an edge to Canadian companies. Infrastructure Ontario, for instance, which oversees tens of billions of dollars' worth of provincial transit, hospital and school construction, favours contractors with local knowledge as a way to boost Ontario-based firms. This protectionist policy is important enough that the province fought to ensure it would be allowed to remain in place when Canada negotiated a free-trade deal with the European Union.

For the most part, however, Mr. Trump reassured Mr. Trudeau that he has nothing to fear from the new administration in Washington. Mr. Trump said his main aim in revamping NAFTA was to take aim at Mexico, which has a $58-billion (U.S.) trade deficit with the United States, compared with an $11-billion surplus with Canada.

"It is a much less severe situation than what is taking place on the southern border. On the southern border for many, many years the transaction was not fair to the United States. It was an extremely unfair transaction ... we are going to make it a fair deal for both countries," Mr. Trump said.

A senior Canadian government official said Mr. Trump and his advisers did not say when they expected NAFTA talks to begin.

"We have no clarity on that," said the official, who added the Trump team got along well with their Canadian counterparts despite the ideological differences.

The Prime Minister, who was close to former president Barack Obama, is seen by many Americans as a progressive voice on refugees after letting 40,000 Syrians into Canada at the start of his term. But he resisted a push from U.S. journalists to speak out against Mr. Trump's immigration ban.

"The last thing Canadians expect is for me to come down and lecture another country on how they should choose to govern themselves," Mr. Trudeau said. "My role, our responsibility is to continue to govern in such a way that reflects Canadians' approach and a positive example to the world."

However, Mr. Trudeau said Canada's policy of welcoming refugees would continue and he noted U.S. security agencies had a role in vetting the Syrians who came to Canada.

The President strongly defended his controversial immigration ban even though the executive order has been blocked by the U.S. courts.

"It's stance of common sense and we are going to pursue it vigorously and we don't want our country to have the kinds of problems taking place not only here but all over the world," Mr. Trump said. "We're not going to let it happen."

The pair largely stuck to trade, with Mr. Trudeau repeatedly drawing parallels between his concern for the middle class and Mr. Trump's.

"At the end of the day, the President and I share a common goal:

We both want to make sure that hard-working folks can go to work at a good job, put food on the table for their families and save up to take a vacation every once in a while," he said.

The two leaders promised joint co-operation on border security, continental defence and infrastructure spending - and to stop the flow of opioid drugs coming across the U.S. border.

"The illegal use of opioids in our society is nothing less than a tragedy. We will do everything we can to ensure the safety of Canadians and Americans," Mr. Trudeau said.

The Prime Minister's Office is also keen on rebuilding electrical transmission links across the international border, something that could dovetail with Mr. Trump's promised spending on infrastructure.

Mr. Trump, for his part, appeared to pick up on Mr. Trudeau's insistence that trade with Canada could actually help his agenda. At one point, Mr. Trump included Canada in his vision for stopping the export of jobs overseas.

"Having more jobs and trade right here in North America is better for both the United States and it is also much better for Canada ... we will co-ordinate closely to protect jobs in our hemisphere and keep wealth on our continent," Mr. Trump said, adding that he wanted a "stronger trading relationship" and "more ... bridges of commerce" with Canada.

Such comments are a sharp contrast with the protectionist rhetoric for which Mr. Trump is usually known.

While Mr. Trudeau and the President did not appear to develop the friendly banter the Prime Minister had with Mr. Obama, they were cordial with each other and seemed to have developed a rapport.

Mr. Trump spent half a day with the Prime Minister and his senior cabinet ministers that included an hour-long meeting in the Oval Office, a luncheon with key administration figures, including Vice-President Mike Pence, and a roundtable with female business executives from Canada and the United States.

During a walk from the West Wing to a luncheon, Mr. Trump and Mr. Trudeau were engrossed in conversation, with both strolling slowly and Mr. Trump placing his hand on Mr. Trudeau's back.

Mr. Trump's strategist, Steve Bannon, meanwhile, could be seen speaking animatedly and gesticulating to Gerald Butts, Mr. Trudeau's principal secretary.

Mr. Trump praised Mr. Trudeau and his father, Pierre Trudeau, at the roundtable announcing a Canada-U.S. women's business council, after Mr. Trudeau presented him with a photograph of the elder Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Trump at an awards dinner at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in 1981. Mr. Trudeau also gave Mr. Trudeau a sculpture of a lion, carved out of sandstone from an Ohio quarry.

Mr. Pence's office said he and Mr. Trudeau's ministers discussed ways to "deepen" trade, and work together on fighting the Islamic State.

Mr. Trudeau also held a chummy meeting with House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan.

Seated in front a fire, Mr. Ryan ribbed Mr. Trudeau for the way Canadian hockey teams scoop up players from his home state of Wisconsin.

Mr. Ryan's office afterward said he and Mr. Trudeau discussed "breaking down trade barriers" between Canada and the United States - suggesting that Mr. Trump's Republican Party may be pushing the President for more free trade rather than less.

Associated Graphic

U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walk from the West Wing to a luncheon at the White House on Monday.


Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump meet in the White House's Oval Office on Monday. The two leaders were cordial with each other.


Trump probably can't require pipelines to use U.S. steel
A requirement to use domestic steel would almost certainly violate 70 years of settled international trade law
Thursday, January 26, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B7

LONDON -- President Donald Trump on Tuesday invited the promoter of the Keystone XL pipeline to resubmit its application for a permit and promised an expeditious review.

But Mr. Trump's memorandum on Keystone was twinned with another ordering the secretary of commerce to develop a plan to ensure all pipelines built, repaired or upgraded in the United States use domestically made steel.

The secretary was ordered to submit a plan within 180 days "under which all new pipelines, as well as retrofitted, repaired, or expanded pipelines, inside the borders of the United States ... use materials and equipment produced in the United States."

The plan must require the use of U.S. components "to the maximum extent possible and to the extent permitted by law" in a language inserted to help it survive a legal challenge.

Although the requirements apply to all materials, raw iron and steel and equipment made from them were highlighted.

The pairing of the promise for an expeditious review of Keystone XL with a plan to require the use of U.S. steel is characteristic of the President's transactional and deal-making approach. The pairing is a classic Trump quid pro quo.

But it also highlights what is likely to become one of the central tensions for the Trump administration because a requirement to use domestic steel would almost certainly violate 70 years of settled international trade law.

The President's desire for maximum discretion to strike advantageous deals on a case-by-case basis conflicts with the need of businesses for a stable rulesbased system to plan their investment and operations.

Non-discrimination Countries around the world traded more than $20-trillion (U.S.) in goods and services in 2015, and almost all that moves under the rules of the World Trade Organization.

The WTO, and its forerunner the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, is one of the pillars of postwar prosperity and a major reason the global economy has never suffered another collapse like the 1930s.

GATT/WTO trade rules are fairly straightforward, although they have been codified in dozens of separate agreements and there is an extensive case law arising from disputes.

At the heart of the GATT/WTO system is the principle of nondiscrimination between domestic producers and foreign suppliers, and among foreign suppliers based in different countries.

GATT/WTO members are required to give the same treatment to imports from all other members, so any privilege given to an importer from one country must be given to importers from all other WTO members.

The principle of most-favourednation treatment is required by Article I of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade signed in 1947.

GATT/WTO members must also treat imported goods and services no less favourably than domestically produced items once they have cleared customs.

The national treatment obligation is enshrined in Article III of GATT 1947 especially its fourth paragraph.

National treatment Mr. Trump's plan to require U.S. pipelines to be built with U.S. steel is clearly inconsistent with the national treatment obligation set out in Article III:4.

"The products of the territory of any contracting party imported into the territory of any other contracting party shall be accorded treatment no less favourable than that accorded to like products of national origin in respect of all laws, regulations and requirements affecting their internal sale, offering for sale, purchase, transportation, distribution or use."

The plan to require the use of U.S. steel in U.S. pipelines is a textbook case of a local-content requirement the GATT/WTO has long held is inconsistent with Article III:4.

The classic ruling on local-content requirements was (ironically) made in a case brought by the United States against Canada in 1982 and finalized in 1984.

The United States successfully challenged the administration of Canada's Foreign Investment Review Act, which made investment approvals conditional on undertakings, including the purchase of certain products from domestic sources.

The GATT case brought against Canada has direct parallels to the Trump administration's plan to require pipeline constructors to use U.S.-made steel.

The United States has always been a fierce opponent of localcontent requirements because they discriminate against U.S. exporters and investors.

U.S. trade officials have repeatedly fought local-content requirements under the GATT/ WTO and in most cases the United States has prevailed.

The United States has challenged content requirements applied by India (solar cells), Argentina (import licenses), China (tax refunds, auto parts), Turkey (rice), Canada (wheat, auto parts) and the Philippines (auto parts) among others.

In fact, the United States has brought more challenges to local-content requirements than any other member of the WTO.

The blunt reality for the Trump administration is that there is no way to make pipeline approvals conditional on the use of U.S. steel without undermining the U.S. goal of fair market access for U.S. exporters.

Rules-based order The United States is a major beneficiary of the rules-based system of international trade under the GATT/WTO and has a strong interest in upholding them.

The United States has been the most frequent user of the WTO's dispute settlement system to obtain improved market access for its exporters.

U.S. officials have brought more complaints at the WTO (114) than major rivals such as the European Union (97), Japan (23) and China (15).

The United States, as the world's dominant economic and military power, has always had a complicated and inconsistent approach to the concept and practice of international law.

For a superpower, unlike a less powerful country, there is an inevitable tension between "might" and "right."

By and large, however, the United States has sought to uphold the notion of a rules-based international system and hold other countries to the same standard.

The United States was the principal architect of the rules-based international order which emerged after 1945 and has been its main defender against destabilizing challenges from new powers such as China.

The concept of international law lies at the heart of U.S. complaints about China's occupation and development of rocks, shoals and reefs in the South China Sea.

And the U.S. Navy's freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea are intended to enforce rights under international law.

White House politics The best way to understand the public memorandum-signing ceremonies on Jan. 24 is as a piece of political theatre designed to show the new President fulfilling his pledge to put "America first."

Mr. Trump's secretary of commerce will struggle to craft a local-content requirement for U.S. pipelines that is "permitted by law" but the administration has pushed that awkward decision six months into the future.

A careful reading of the memoranda the President signed on Tuesday shows they don't commit the administration to much at all.

Most of the memoranda contain legal language about ordering things to the maximum extent permitted by law which is designed to preserve lots of wiggle-room.

The administration has created a potential problem for itself but that can probably be attributed to inexperience and the fact the majority of positions are still unfilled.

Nonetheless, it signals there will be a chronic tension between the President's preference for adhoc deal-making and the legal obligations of the United States both at home and internationally.

The conflict between discretion and the need to observe due process as well as constitutional, statutory and treaty limits on the exercise of presidential power is shaping up to be one of the dominant themes of the Trump presidency.

Associated Graphic

Some 15,000 pieces of pipe for TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline lie in a field in North Dakota in April, 2013. U.S. President Donald Trump's memorandum on the pipeline included stipulations that the remainder of the line be built exclusively with pipe manufactured in the United States.


The must-see vehicles sharing the spotlight at the Canadian International AutoShow
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, February 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page E1

What is there to say about the Toronto auto show?

You pay your money, you see all the cars. Simple.

Officially, it's called the Canadian International AutoShow, and this year it runs Feb. 17-26 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. It's no Canada's Wonderland, but children of all ages will enjoy checking out the rare and exotic cars up close, sitting in the driver's seats, getting fingerprints on the shiny paint. Who knows? It may be a formative experience.

If you don't have the time or patience to wade through an endless sea of crossovers, we've picked out the top five must-see cars at the show this year.


Aston Martin and an energydrinks company are working together to create the ultimate supercar. It's said to pull four times the force of gravity, sideways, when cornering and accelerates from a standstill to 320 kilometres an hour in 10 seconds, according to The Wall Street Journal. Interested drivers should enroll in Top Gun school to acquaint themselves with such gut-twisting speed.

The AM-RB 001, codenamed Nebula, is making its Canadian debut at the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto.

Aston is only building 175 of them, each worth something like $3-million. See it here while you can because, out in the wild, you have a better chance of seeing a pig in yellow slippers climbing a pear tree.

The Nebula is the brainchild of Adrien Newey, of the Red Bull Formula One team, which counts Aston Martin among its sponsors.

Newey has designed 10 Formula One World Drivers' Championship-winning race cars, but the Nebula is his first crack at a roadgoing machine. He told Top Gear several current F1 drivers have already ordered one for themselves. No doubt the AM-RB 001 will stake out unchartered territory for what a car is capable of, but it's not without competition.

Recently, Mercedes-AMG announced it's working on a supercar, with the engine adapted from its championship-winning F1 car.

2018 AUDI RS3

On the opposite end of the performance-car spectrum is this little Audi. It may look harmless - hardly different from the budgetfriendly A3 sedan at first glance - but it's packing 400 horsepower, all-wheel drive and a new, fivecylinder turbocharged engine.

The ultimate sleeper? We won't find out until it goes on sale later this year.

The RS3 has the potential to be all things to all gearheads: a classier alternative to a Ford Focus RS, a more practical BMW M2, a spicier VW Golf R or a nonugly Subaru WRX STI.

Audi denied previous versions of the RS3 to North America drivers, citing lame excuses such as "there's no business case" or "it'll never make money!" The 2011 and 2015 RS3 hatchbacks received mostly positive reviews from the European media, but were criticized for high prices and tame handling.

When it finally lands in Canada, the 2018 RS3 will arrive in sedan form only. It'll have more power than before thanks to the new aluminum, 2.5-litre five-cylinder borrowed from the Audi TT RS.

It's enough to propel the car from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.1 seconds. Pricing hasn't been announced, but we estimate it'll be closer to the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 ($51,800) than to the BMW M2 ($63,500).


The all-new 2017 Jeep Compass is here to erase the memory of two less-than-stellar products in Jeep history.

The old Compass and Patriot SUVs were far from class-leading, to put it politely. The Patriot, in particular, had a reputation for being underpowered, with poor fuel economy and a cramped interior. At least it was cheap.

The new Compass is shaping up to be one of the biggest turnarounds for any single model. On paper, the 2017 model looks to right its predecessor's wrongs, and then some. In person, it looks better, too - as if it were a shrunken Grand Cherokee.

Fiat Chrysler is offering 17 different powertrains in the Compass across the world, but only one will come to North America initially: a 2.4-litre four-cylinder.

The company promises muchimproved fuel economy from the new motor. Also on the spec sheet is optional all-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The Trailhawk edition is the most exciting, promising respectable off-road performance from an affordable cute-ute. Beyond the two-tone paint and flashy wheels, the Trailhawk features increased ground clearance, skid plates and a 20:1 low-range for crawling over big rocks. The bumpers are also redesigned to offer better clearance. It'll wade through nearly a half-metre of water and tow up to 2,000 pounds. The Compass is dead.

Long live the Compass.


The Canadian International AutoShow lives in the shadow of bigger car shows, truly international events - such as Detroit and CES - which happen just a few weeks earlier. The inferiority complex is justified; it's rare that auto makers bring their big Detroit debuts to Toronto. Often, we have to wait a year or more to see them, by which time they're old news. And so, yes, it is flattering that Kia is bringing its new Stinger sedan to Toronto, fresh from its world premiere in Detroit.

The importance of this car for Kia can't be overstated. It's not that Kia Canada expects the Stinger to be a big seller; it probably won't be. Rather, it's meant to change perceptions of the brand, to move Kia upmarket and earn some high-performance credibility.

During development, the benchmark for the Kia Stinger was the BMW 4 Series. In fact, the chassis was honed by Albert Biermann, the same engineering wizard who fine-tuned many of BMW's greatest M cars.

Based around a new rear-drive chassis, the Stinger GT has a 3.3litre, twin-turbo V-6 putting out 365 hp. It's enough to propel the car from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds, which would put it in a dead heat with a BMW 340i.

Is the fastback Stinger really desirable enough to lure buyers away from sports sedans by Audi, BMW, Benz, Cadillac and Jaguar?

The Toronto show offers the chance to find out, before the Stinger arrives in dealerships later this year.


Like the Aston Martin supercar, this Mercedes monster truck is likely to reduce grown adults to fits of childlike awe; it is the stuff of daydreams.

Before you write it off as mere fantasy, know that this Benz SUV is real. If you are an adult-child with a couple thousand dollars burning a hole in your pocket, you could walk into a Mercedes dealership and drive away in a G 550 4x42. Just be careful you don't run over any Smart cars on the way out.

Compared with the already rugged G-Class, the Squared version is exponentially more rugged, as rugged as Bear Grylls multiplied by Bear Grylls. How is that possible? Mercedes has added portal axles - which raise the axles above the centre of the wheels - as well as dual springs and damper struts at each corner. It means it'll drive clean over obstacles 43 centimetres-high and wade through water one metredeep.

However, we doubt Mercedes's claim that, "the enhanced G-Class drives through bends so dynamically that the occupants feel as though they are in a sports car rather than a crosscountry vehicle." Nothing more than two metres-tall and weighing around three tonnes is going to feel even remotely sporty, even when powered by a twin-turbo V-8.

Like the Aston Martin supercar, you'll probably only ever see one at the auto show.

Associated Graphic







Tea is the second-most consumed beverage in the world, and sales are continuing to increase. Sampling some of the more high-end options, Maryam Siddiqi finds that the market is well-positioned to capitalize on a growing thirst for luxury blends
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L5

On an early December evening in Vancouver, hundreds donned sparkles and suits to walk a red carpet downtown despite the unusually snowy weather.

Supermodel Coco Rocha was a guest of honour and posed with party patrons, as well as with the event's hosts, Taha Bouqdib and Maranda Barnes. The couple had invited the crowd to celebrate the opening of their new store, TWG Tea, which includes a boutique, tea salon and restaurant. As attendees sipped on teainfused mixed drinks such as the Prestige Cocktail (TWG Tea Pink Flamingo tea syrup with La Marca prosecco), they likely clued in to the fact that TWG isn't your standard tea shop. Of the 500 varieties available in store - the Singaporean brand's fi rst foray into North America - prices range from $17 for 100 grams of Napoleon Tea, a black tea blend, to $2,723 for 100 grams for Imperial Gyokruo, a Japanese green tea, only three kilograms of which are available worldwide.

The thought of someone paying almost $3,000 for tea, however rare, might seem decadent even though tea, like fi ne wine or spirits, exists at all price points that depend on similar factors, from terroir to Mother Nature's whims. But while seasoned steepers in prime tea-growing and consuming countries such as China, Japan and India are more educated on the diversity of the beverage, North Americans are just learning about the luxe possibilities for filling their china cups. By opening TWG in Vancouver, Bouqdib and Barnes hope to be leaders in this education process. "We're trying to be a reference, so that you'll know where you can ask questions and fi nd information," Barnes says. To the average consumer, they may seem ahead of their time, but many in the industry think tea's moment is now.

Tea is the second most consumed drink in the world, behind only water according to market research firm Euromonitor International. Canada - where the average tea drinker has 11 different varieties in their kitchen cupboards - has a particularly progressive tea-drinking population, which Euromonitor attributes to immigration from countries with strong tea-drinking cultures (China, India, the Middle East and Russia), an interest in being health conscious, and a penchant for learning about different varieties. Sales of tea reached $1.3-billion in Canada in 2015 - a 23 per cent increase over the year before.

"In Canada, it's all about specialty tea," says Louise Roberge, president of the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada. "The image of tea is changing so you won't be afraid to show yourself with a cup of tea and think that you're old.

Millennials are drinking tea, and they love the culture." By 2020, Euromonitor forecasts that the tea industry will see $20-billion (U.S.) in growth, and calls it the most dynamic category in global beverages, adding that it is now in "an era of value creation," with ultra-premium and luxury tea claiming a share of the increase.

All facets of the industry are reacting to the rise in consumption of specialty tea. Last February, Mohammed Bin Yahya and Tariq Al Barwani opened Plentea Tea Bar in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood.

The industrial-looking café specializes in tea-based hot and cold takeaway beverages, and is a laboratory of sorts for customers who want to learn about blending.

"Coffee is popular here because of the varieties. If you go to Starbucks you're going to see things you can mix with lattes," says Bin Yahya. "We decided to take it to that level, where we can make tea with the same varieties as coffee. I think that brings more attention to people and they're interested in trying it and making it part of their lives."

There was a time when TWG wasn't sure there would be an audience for luxe tea. The company opened in 2008 in Singapore's financial district. "We opened about a month before the financial crisis," says Barnes. "It was a shock. The irony of it was that everyone needed a cup of tea. Businessmen were having meetings there, all the bank CEOS in the general district were coming in, and it was a time when people didn't know what was going to happen. And we thought if we can survive in this time of uncertainty then there's no stopping us because [tea] is an affordable luxury, rather than going out to buy a luxury handbag or car. It was an eye opener for us." The following year, the company opened four locations including two more spots in Singapore plus outlets in Tokyo and at Harrods in London. It now operates 57 locations in 17 cities.

From day one - lining up alongside the businessmen - millennials have shown keen interest. "Asia has a very large population of people under 25 who have some means and want to experience new things," says Barnes. "They travel immensely. They are aware of cool pastry shops, tea shops, coffee, shoes. They recognized the cool, chic factor without the huge price tag." Vancouver's location stocks the company's Instagram-friendly Haute Couture collection of loose-leaf tea packed in colourful boxes that boast original artwork. For entrylevel shoppers, the same blends can be bought in tea-bag form in a nondescript box at a lower price point (the loose, Haute Couture version of a green-tea blend called Silver Moon costs $47 versus $29 for the same blend in tea bags). The company's shop floor staff, dubbed "tea connoisseurs," spends an average of 20 minutes with each customer, teaching them not only about the differences between teas, but how they should be prepared and what foods they can be paired with.

Tea can be blended or used as an ingredient in alcoholic cocktails (Forbes identified tea-infused cocktails as one of the 2017's top food and drink trends).

And it has its own impressive array of mixing and serving accoutrement. Like wine, tea is best enjoyed when served in specific glassware. In 2013, for instance, a handful of hotels and restaurants in London began serving premium looseleaf teas in stemless Riedel glasses (the same model recommended for pinot noir). Joining Riedel in offering fi ne tea accessories are brands like Tom Dixon, which sells a spun brass tea pot for $365, and Hermès, whose Carnet d'Equateur cup and saucer cost $805. In August, Kitchen Aid debuted a glass tea kettle that costs $199.99 and comes with five specialty settings so that water is boiled to the temperature that best enhances a specific type of tea's flavour profile, whether white, oolong or herbal.

Bouqdib says the biggest trend in tea this year will be "refinement." Customers who might have their interest piqued at a place such as Plentea or treated themselves to a fancy new kettle will fi nd their way to a shop like TWG to dig deeper and learn more. Or more refined tea options will come to them where they usually grocery shop. On Feb. 18, Loblaw is launching three specialty loose-leaf teas under its PC Black Label brand: rooibos with chai spices, Chinese green tea with ginger and pineapple, and a black tea blend of Darjeeling and English breakfast with blueberries.

What the tea industry hasn't developed yet is its version of a wine tour.

You can't visit a tea plantation like you might a vineyard or distillery, sampling product and meeting the faces behind the brands, learning about varietals and perhaps splurging on a premium tin.

"The estates in the tea industry are very private and they don't sell directly to customers," Barnes says. "You can't get in a car and drive around to tea plantations in China; they won't let you in."

Until they do, TWG hopes to act as the industry's cellar door.

Associated Graphic


Tough luck, pundits: Everyone gets a ribbon
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F2

I see their columns and their comments, their Facebook posts and their tweets. It seems a lot of people are spending a lot of their time thinking about ribbons and the distribution thereof. The inappropriate awarding of ribbons has apparently been the source of great suffering in the lives of many.

"Not everyone deserves a sticker!" I read in the same vein last week, and this morning, I promise you that someone, somewhere, ordered a non-fat latte in a busy coffee shop, but the latte they received was made with two-per-cent milk and their name was spelled wrong on the paper cup. I know without reading their anguished essay on those events that they are certain that the blame for this travesty lies squarely on the shoulders of their barista's second-grade gym teacher - that ribbonbequeathing madman. And, of course, that disappointing coffee provider's mother, who let Bad Barista keep that ribbon when they brought their treasure home, thus breeding entitlement - a quality which, if you believe these people, is responsible for the fall of the Roman Empire.

The mother and her ribbon-pride - her ribbonextorting ways - is usually posited as the root of society's awards crisis. The ground between "helicopter parent" and "neglectful mother" is the size of the ideal packed lunch, which is to say, it is an illusion.

There's either too much or too little sugar, always.

Maternal goalposts move faster than a hockey net being whisked off the road at the shout of "Car!" because, apparently, you think your little snowflake is too good to grease the wheels of that SUV.

I am not part of the lost so-called "Everyone gets a ribbon" generation. I'm a Generation Xer, not a millennial. I am not part of that generation reportedly - by which I mean, reported everywhere, every week - ruined by out-of-control decorative-tape inflation.

Although, the odd thing is, back in the seventies, we were also given ribbons for merely participating.

As I recall, when we signed up for shot put, we got a ribbon just for trying shot put. That's right, we got a ribbon just for showing up at the shot-put event on the other side of the sports field at the allotted time.

Small children being notoriously acquisitive of bright objects, a lot of us went and got ribbons. That much is true. We pinned them to our little shirts, and the thing about participation ribbons is, we all knew exactly what they meant, and it wasn't that we won, and I have no reason to think this knowledge was lost to the next generation.

Despite what I keep reading, those ribbons may not explain why millennials work as baristas, or don't work as baristas. Ribbons may not explain why millennials have no ambition, or expect too much out of life, or live in their parents' basements, or pay too much rent and thus carry too much debt.

They are likely not why millennials disappoint the ribbon-anxious by simultaneously pushing for a raise or promotion because they're just so entitled, or never asking for a raise or promotion because they're just not motivated.

Those ribbons may not explain some young people being arrogant, or feckless or annoying, as they can, admittedly, be. I am pretty sure young people annoying old people predates not just Sports Day ribbons but the entire textile industry. Young people getting under the skin of older people predates the wheel. Young people standing there being hotter and more energetic and optimistic than you and irritating you for a reason you can't quite put your finger on is a tradition that goes back to the days when our ice-age ancestors complained to each other around the fire.

"Tharg Jr. think too good hunt mammoth with big rock like Tharg Sr. do! Expect (and make) pointy stick! Tharg Jr. no listen to me explain that pointy stick anger Great Sabre Tooth Tiger in Sky, make avalanche! Tharg Jr. roll eyes, check smoke signals at dinner."

I want to reassure the ribbon-anxious that there were different ribbons for winning at those schoolyard events, and also people saying, "Hey! You won! You're great" and trying to recruit you for the shotput team next year, instead of laughing at you for twirling around three times and then falling over and I don't want to talk about it.

I will say that abject failure and ridicule are not the motivating factors many people make them out to be.

Also, for over a hundred years, the Boston Marathon has been giving out finishers' certificates and medals to everyone who completes the run before the timekeepers pack it in; and last I checked, as of filing anyway, America is still standing. Although I admit it's not looking good.

All these things are souvenirs and, as a means of motivating little children to try a new challenge, an extra ribbon can be helpful. The idea seemed to be to look like a maypole by the end of the day, when everyone at my school also got a Popsicle. That's right, we'd all get Popsicles. Even the total losers. It's amazing we go to work in the mornings instead of wandering around the park, throwing big pine cones and attempting to leap over the lower branches of trees, and then holding up the nearest icecream truck because we believe we're entitled (this word is like the centre square in Boomer Bingo) to a frozen treat.

Maybe teachers recognize that the purpose of Sports Day is not to separate the six-year-old standing-long-jump wheat from the six-year-old standing-long-jump chaff, but a lot of other people clearly don't. It keeps them up at night. I have, in the past few years, grown increasingly worried about the seemingly large number of earnest citizens among us who apparently, as children, were not given enough ribbons or medals or stickers. The specific nature of the object they were deprived of varies, but the pain doesn't.

I want to suggest that everyone does deserve a sticker. Because it's a goddamn sticker, and perhaps recognizing the innate value of our fellow beings - and yes, ourselves - will, more than winning or recognizing a winner, one day be the thing that gets us out the door, or stops us from closing the door on someone else.

Anyway, in an effort to make peace, or at least free up some column space, I have a proposal: Dear Young People of the Alleged Participation Award Generation, I ask you to spare a thought and, more importantly, a ribbon for all those inadequately decorated people out there. You might not remember where you put that small piece of cloth your teacher gave you for playing dodge ball that one time. It probably isn't all that important to you after all these years. But know that it weighs heavily on some poor pundit's mind. The next time you see that look in someone's eye that tells you they're just certain they wouldn't be stuck in line behind you at the supermarket if only your teacher had made it clear what a terribly disappointing ball-dodger you were, pull one of those old ribbons out of your pocket and say, "Wow, you're doing a great job being in line to buy onions. This is for you, sport!"

They might be disappointed at first; they have built up some pretty high expectations for the power of these ribbons.

In fact, studies show that these awards mostly just fill up cork boards and the drawers of bedside tables. Well, except for T-ball ribbons. Those things grant the power of levitation, which is pretty neat, I'll grant you.

Nine experiences that put a uniquely Canadian spin on romantic getaways
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, February 14, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

It should be simple: Shoot an arrow, hit the target, love conquers all. But the boy with the bow often needs something extra to fan the flames of desire, and if the traditional trappings of Valentine's Day fall short there's enough drama, wonder, mystery and adventure across our home and native land to make even the coldest hearts flutter. And if reading this prompts an unpleasant realization, remember: The promise of an unforgettable experience often allays any Feb. 14 forgetfulness.

Aurora viewing at Blachford Lake Lodge, NWT

The Northern Lights are visible in the Yellowknife area for an average of 200 nights a year owing to clear skies, low humidity and the so-called "Auroral oval" overhead.

Watching these luminescent veils is spellbinding enough on its own, but drinking them in at this remote luxury lodge, 30 minutes by bush plane from the NWT capital, adds outdoor hot tubbing, igloo-building and ice-skating to the romantic mix.

From $1,155 a person for a two-night package that includes all meals and round-trip flights from Yellowknife.

Oyster Hour, the Inn at Bay Fortune, PEI

Helmed by Food Network celebrity chef Michael Smith, this upscale inn's "the Feast" dinner experience kicks off with allyou-can-slurp Colville Bay and Fortune Bay oysters. The kitchen proceeds to cover communal butcher-block tables with a variety of locally-sourced dishes prepared in a 25foot-long wood-burning behemoth that encompasses a smoker, hearth, grill, rotisserie and oven. Should you get hot and bothered by all the oysters and flame-cooked fare, the nearby "Wine Library," curated by sommelier Erin Turke, provides ample refreshment.

From $225 based on double occupancy. The Feast is $120 a person, including gratuity;

Hiking or skiing to Skoki Lodge, Banff National Park, Alta.

A property's romantic credentials are pretty much set when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sign the guestbook while on honeymoon. Such was the case at this historic backcountry lodge in 2011, when Will and Kate partook of Skoki's plush accommodations, top-notch cuisine and intimate lantern-lit ambience. The Royal newlyweds did not make the 11-kilometre trek to Skoki from the Lake Louise ski resort - they took a helicopter instead - while running water and electricity were temporarily installed especially for them. In short, the Royals missed out: Getting off the grid in such style, and getting there in such spectacular fashion are essential aspects of the Skoki experience.

From $195 a person per night, including all meals;

Leonard Cohen self-guided walking tour, Montreal

It's probably just a matter of time until the launch of an "official" walking tour honouring Montreal's late, great singer-songwriter.

There's his long-time home at 28 Rue de Vallieres, which was littered with tributes after his passing on Nov. 7, 2016. Cohen regularly dined on ribs and cheesecake at the Main Deli Steak House, while the glorious NotreDame-de-Bon-Secours church in the Old Port inspired the lyrics for Suzanne. There's leafy Murray Park in the Westmount neighbourhood, steps from his childhood home at 599 Belmont Ave., and the nearby Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, an Orthodox synagogue attended by Cohen's family for more than a century.

Fans looking for a place to stay may be disappointed to learn that one of his frequent haunts, the Hotel de France, is no longer in business. But for music lore of another kind they can always check into Rooms 1738, 1740, 1742 and 1744 at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, where John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their famous "Bed-In for Peace" in 1969.

Couples massage at Temple Gardens Hotel and Spa, Moose Jaw, Sask.

Your significant other may be taken aback by a romantic spa getaway in Moose Jaw, but it won't take long to win him or her over.

The luxurious Temple Gardens spa complex is home to Canada's largest geothermal indoor/outdoor rooftop pool, which is filled with mineral water drawn from an ancient seabed deep underground. The 44-degree water is said to remove toxins from bathers' bodies, while a Sacred Body & Mind Couples Massage at the inhouse Sun Tree Spa does likewise with organic massage oils.

From $159 a night based on double occupancy; .

Swaying in treetops at Free Spirit Spheres, Quallicum Beach, B.C.

Want a romantic hotel that's outside the box? Try staying inside a tree sphere. Not only are Free Spirit's three rooms completely round and their ship-like interiors remarkably well-equipped, but all are suspended in Vancouver Island's lush forest canopy using an ingenious web of ropes. While the smallest sphere, "Eve," is designed for a single guest, "Eryn" and "Melody" can accommodate two comfortably. The spheres sway gently with the breeze, eliciting the most blissful sleep (and whatever else you choose to do up there). In the morning, there's nothing like gazing out a round window as daybreak illuminates the verdant forest canopy.

From $175 a night; .

Winemaker's picnic, Creekside Estate Winery, Jordan, Ont.

Picnicking among the vines is a quintessentially amorous activity that gets a Canadian twist when smoked Ontario pork shoulder and shiraz icewine are on the menu. Nestled in the bucolic Twenty Valley just west of St. Catharines, Creekside Estate provides baskets filled with locally sourced fare, checkered blankets upon which to savour Niagara's bounty and, of course, two glasses of whatever is poured in the elegant tasting room.

$20 a person from June to October, 24-hour advance notice required; .

Staying at the Hôtel de Glace, Quebec City

It takes a truly adventurous couple to spend the night atop a slab of ice. Of course, North America's original ice hotel, which opened just north of Quebec City in 2001, provides plenty of ways to stay warm: Thermal sleeping bags and mattresses, alfresco hot tubs and saunas, a sugar shack, an ice slide, even a fireplace-equipped lounge where cocktails are served in, you guessed it, ice glasses. And if a chill does creep in, don't worry: The "Romantic Getaway" package includes a room at the next-door Valcartier Hotel on the same night as your icy stay, along with a second night at the iconic Fairmont Château Laurier in picturesque Old Quebec City.

From $269 a person based on double occupancy; Skating or cycling along the Rideau Canal, Ottawa Walking in a winter wonderland?

That's just your average Tuesday in Canada.

Skating hand-in-hand, however, is prime date-night material, especially when it takes place on the world's largest rink. Ottawa's 7.8-kilometre-long Rideau Canal Skateway is lined with iconic landmarks and, during the annual Winterlude festival, with stands selling sinfully sweet Beaver Tails and other treats. Various live performances also spring up on the ice, while nearby parks host ice-sculpting competitions.

Then, soon after the snow disappears from the impeccable bike paths on both sides of the canal, more than a millions blooms burst from their beds during the Canadian Tulip Festival (May 12 to 22 this year). .

Associated Graphic

Aurora-viewing, made possible by Yellowknife's average 200 nights a year of visible Northern Lights, can provide the perfect pretense to spend a romantic evening at the city's Blachford Lake Lodge. BLACHFORD LAKE LODGE

Above: Getting away to the Northwest Territories on Valentine's Day with your special someone can be a brisk but unforgettable experience.

Left: Spend the night atop a slab of ice while you indulge in hot tubs, a sugar shack and an ice slide at Quebec City's Hôtel de Glace, North America's original ice hotel.



Planting peace in Syria: Why I still have hope for my mother country
Syrians are drained after years of conflict, but, as Bushra Nassab writes, reconciliation and resilience persist in the war-torn streets of Deir Atiah
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, February 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

I convinced myself before leaving for Syria that I would not cry once I got there. No matter what horror I saw or heard, I would be strong and I would not cry. But it was one of the first things I did once I arrived.

My parents immigrated to Canada from Deir Atiah, Syria, a small city just northeast of Damascus, when I was only a year and a half old. Nevertheless, until the Syrian war began in 2011, we made frequent summertime visits, which kept me deeply connected to the country.

Year after year since the war started, I put off a return trip in the hopes that the situation would get better. It never got better. If anything, it only got worse.

But I was not willing to wait forever to see my family - many of whom refused to leave Syria and become refugees - so I gathered my courage and booked our tickets.

People are leaving Syria, my friends and colleagues said before I departed. Why was I going to visit?

With no direct international flights into Syria, last July my mother and I flew from Toronto to Beirut, and then drove across the border to see my relatives. In normal circumstances, it would have taken us no longer than two hours to drive from the Lebanese border to Deir Atiah; however, this time we had to stop at more than 15 military checkpoints. The drive took more than five hours.

The man who picked us up from Beirut's airport was a dual SyrianLebanese citizen who shuttles Syrian expatriates across the border. This man's job did not exist before the war. Although his job is extremely risky and stressful, it pays well, and anything that pays well is sought after in Syria's nowchaotic economy, where the stark rise in the cost of living has left many in poverty.

Not long after we crossed the Lebanese border we passed Harasta, a city empty of inhabitants and entirely destroyed. Since the onset of Syria's war, I have come across countless photos and videos of the destruction, but a part of me has always been in a state of denial. This cannot possibly be Syria, I'd tell myself.

But I could not deny what was before my eyes: windows shattered, buildings in ruins, you could see exactly where a bomb had dropped and bullets had landed. I cried silently as we drove by because I did not want to appear weak. I knew this was just the beginning of what I would see and hear. I wanted to be strong. So, I put on my sunglasses in the hopes that neither my mother nor our cab driver would notice.

As soon as we were in Syria, my first instinct was to take a photo.

"Put your phone down!" our cab driver screamed. I obliged without objection, and later learned why I needed to be careful: Any photo that accidentally captured a Syrian soldier or military checkpoint could get me in serious trouble with the government, and along the highway, Syrian soldiers and military checkpoints were everywhere. With my phone back in my purse, I merely observed and captured mental images of a country that I did not recognize. The peaceful, stable and secure Syria of my childhood was a thing of the past.

That evening, we arrived safely at my maternal grandparents' home in Deir Atiah and gathered with all of my aunts, uncles and cousins. I had longed for this family reunion for years. Everyone laughed and happily welcomed us as if there was no war, but it was clear from looking into their eyes that the conflict had taken a physical, emotional and mental toll.

In November, 2013, Deir Atiah was a battleground between government and opposition forces; my family had been forced to live in basements and get by on an inadequate amounts of food, electricity and water. The sound of gunshots haunt them still.

"You see those black dots?" my cousin said, as he pointed at the walls of their living room. "Those are where the bullets went through."

Shivers went down my spine.

Despite peace being relatively restored in Deir Atiah, their pain and heartbreak cannot be easily mended or erased. One of my cousins doesn't know whether her husband is dead or alive. He's been missing for more than three years, and she now runs her husband's business while raising their three little boys. One of my uncles was kidnapped and returned home only after being tortured and paying the kidnappers a $20,000 ransom. Another cousin and her husband lost their life savings on a home in Harasta that's been destroyed. My aunt had to fight through Islamic State militants in Yarmouk Camp, Damascus, while trying to retrieve important documents from her law firm. My cousin escaped death when her faculty at the University of Damascus was bombed - luckily, she went home early that day. Many of my male cousins have been forced into the army to fight in a war that has no clear end in sight. And recently, in December, 2016, Damascus's water infrastructure was deliberately attacked and polluted, making life even more difficult for my many family members who live in the capital city.

While in Syria I asked those around me: "If you wanted me to say anything to people in Canada, what would it be?" No one gave me their political opinion or bothered pointing fingers at the different parties. Syrians in Syria are tired. They are drained, physically, emotionally and mentally. Instead, I received one common answer: "Tell them we want peace, we want this war to stop and we want our normal, war-free lives back." But Syrians are not waiting - nor relying - on the mercy and initiative of the international community to push for peace. I witnessed this phenomenon with my own eyes.

There is a wall along one street in Deir Atiah that is full of art dedicated to spreading peace and how Syrians need to put their differences aside to rebuild the country. Not just the country's infrastructure and economy, but also its fragile and divided social fabric. In another neighbourhood, one man has planted flowers in a bombed area as a way of symbolizing that we should be planting peace in Syria, not bombs.

In Damascus, street banners advocate for Syrians to have mercy and forgive one another: two crucial pillars required for reconciliation in this country.

Many civil-society groups across Syria are taking it upon themselves to organize charity and food drives, as well as organizing children's sports, arts and educational activities to help rehabilitate children who have been traumatized.

Syrians are moving forward with their lives. War or no war, life goes on. The souk markets are crowded, there are weddings (I attended one while there!) and people still go out and have fun: They just place their faith in God that they'll make it to the next day.

Official peace talks in Geneva or Kazakhstan can try to stop the bloodshed, but I would argue that what's really going to mend this country are everyday, ordinary Syrians who have come to realize how important it is to stand as one and start building a foundation for long-term, durable peace.

Associated Graphic

Bushra Nassab is seen in an area of Syria where someone decided to plant flowers on the site of a bombing. The act was meant to suggest the country's people should be planting peace, not explosives.


Bushra Nassab, third from left, is seen in Syria with her cousins. While the Syrians who Nassab spoke to long for peace and a return to their old lives, they are not waiting on the initiative of the international community.


As the costs of housing, food and daycare rise, Dave McGinn writes, Canadians are realizing that their dreams of having a big family - or even one child - might not be affordable
Friday, February 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Mike Neudorf and his wife, Melissa, always hoped to have two children, spaced two years apart.

"I have a younger brother who is two years apart and that seemed to work fairly well," he says.

The Surrey, B.C., couple had their first child, a daughter named Chloe, in the winter of 2015. That joy was followed nearly a year later by some sobering number-crunching.

"As we were coming up on Chloe's first birthday we looked at what we were spending on everything that was not discretionary and I realized, I don't think we can double this and still make a reasonable life for ourselves here," Neudorf says.

He and his wife don't know when they'll be able to have a second child, if ever.

First comes love, then comes baby, then comes the crushing financial realities of raising children in Canada - and that's assuming you can even afford to have one child.

Faced with exorbitant daycare fees, skyrocketing housing costs and a declining standard of living (not to mention studentloan debt many people have to shoulder well into their 30s), many Canadians say they simply can't afford to start a family or have more than one child. It is a situation that should trouble us all, experts say.

Although raising a child has never been cheap, the bill today is eye-popping. South of the border, the latest estimate from the Department of Agriculture says that a middle-income, married couple will shell out $250,200 (U.S.) to raise a child born in 2015. That covers from the day they are born until they turn 18, and works out to $13,900 a year.

Here in Canada, two years ago MoneySense magazine put the annual cost at $13,366.

The three biggest factors that account for these numbers are housing, child care and food.

On the housing front, the average price of a house in Canada as of last November was $491,509. That's more than six times higher than the average in 1984.

It's likely one reason people are delaying starting families.

"Whereas it took five years of full-time work to save a 20per-cent down payment on an average home in 1976, it now takes from coast to coast over 13 years," says Paul Kershaw, a professor at the University of British Columbia. The founder of Generation Squeeze, a group that highlights generational inequities, Kershaw likes to use 1976 as a comparison because that's when many baby boomers were buying their first homes and having children.

Chris Jappert has a mortgage on the Calgary home he bought with his wife three years ago, as well as more than $40,000 in student-loan debt. He works for Alberta Health Services; his wife works for a company that makes analyzers for natural-gas pipelines.

They have been married for five years and want to have kids but can't afford to, Jappert says.

"Right now we're barely getting by," he says. "People tell me, 'If you wait until you can afford a kid you'll never have a kid.' But I also don't want to have a kid starve to death because I can't afford to buy food."

For many couples who have one child, the financial drain of housing and daycare makes contemplating a second child impossible, at least for the time being.

Daycare costs across the country have risen by 8 per cent since 2014 - more than three times the rate of inflation, according to a study released last year by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

In most big cities across the country, it is fairly common to spend $1,000 a month on a licensed daycare spot, says David Macdonald, an economist who conducted the study.

That number is even higher in Toronto.

"Once you've got two children ... it wouldn't be uncommon for you to pay $30,000 a year in child-care fees in Toronto," Macdonald says.

That's more than university tuition. And it's certainly enough to influence family-planning decisions.

"For some, it's not a matter of choice. It's a matter of circumstance. You have no choice," says Nora Spinks, CEO of the Vanier Institute of the Family, an Ottawa-based charitable organization.

"And that may also mean somebody stays home or doesn't return to work after parental leave. Or it means that you either postpone or choose not to have a second or subsequent children."

But it also has broader implications, she says. "If families are choosing not to have children because they can't afford care or they can't find care, that's going to come back to us as a society," Spinks says.

Statistics Canada puts the country's current fertility rate at 1.6 children per woman. This could jeopardize the country's social safety net in the future, as there will be fewer people paying taxes to pay for it.

Daycare may be the biggest cost for new parents, but there are also rising food prices, hydro bills and all the other costs of getting by, while wages are hardly keeping pace with the demands of pocket books.

"The typical 25- to 34-year-old earns around $4,500 less [annually] for full-time work once you adjust for inflation compared to 1976," Kershaw says.

"It's just a plummeting standard of living."

The standard objection is to point out how much people in that age group spend on coffee or tattoos or eating out. Kershaw hears this all the time.

But, he says, our standard of living is driven by two factors.

"How much can you sell your labour power for and what's your primary cost of living? One is deteriorating dramatically ... and the other is skyrocketing even at a more frightening pace."

Isaac Otway once thought he'd have four or more kids. Instead, the Edmonton father, who works as a payroll and benefits consultant, has one. Feeling "squeezed from all sides," he has accepted that it is better to be able to provide for his three-year-old son than to risk barely scraping by, or worse, with a second child.

"If he comes to me one day and says, 'Dad, I want to play hockey,' if I have two kids I probably couldn't afford to put him in hockey. But maybe with only one I can," Otway says. "Even that's a maybe because hockey is expensive."

For Neudorf and his wife, not being able to afford to have a second child is still frustrating.

"We've done a lot of things leading up to this point that we thought would set us up for living the kind of life that we wanted to live," he says.

"Put it another way. What else could we have done to make this easier?" Whatever some people's objections might be - that there are already too many people on this planet, that you should be happy to have one child - the Neudorfs' situation should be deeply troubling to us all, Kershaw says.

Canada is a wealthy nation and yet members of a younger demographic feel as if they can't afford to provide for the children they'd like to have, he says.

"That has to grab all of us in the gut and make us wonder what's going on with the standard of living in Canada."

Associated Graphic

Melissa and Mike Neudorf, with their daughter, Chloe, aren't sure they are financially able to have a second child.


Melissa and Mike Neudorf are frustrated they may not be able to afford to have a sibling for 15-month-old daughter Chloe.


Stuck in the waiting room
A survey of 11 countries finds Canadian patients have trouble seeing their family doctor right away or on nights and weekends. Health reporter Kelly Grant takes a closer look at the numbers
Friday, February 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A10

Canada lags behind other well-off nations when it comes to timely access to health care, according to an influential survey of patients in 11 countries, including the United States.

Canadian patients reported having more trouble scoring same-day or next-day appointments with their family doctors than patients in any country but Norway, which tied Canada for last place.

Canada also placed second-last on the availability of doctors on nights and weekends, which contributed to making patients in this country the most frequent users of emergency departments and the most likely to wait four hours or more for emergency care.

However, the report found that once Canadians get in to see their physicians, they rate the care they receive from their regular doctors as among the best in the world.

The wide-ranging survey of adults in 11 countries was conducted by the Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based private foundation whose reports are frequently cited by Canadian politicians and policy makers looking to see how the country's health-care system stacks up against its peers in Europe, Australia and the United States.

An overview of the 2016 survey's results was published in the journal Health Affairs in November, but on Thursday, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) released a deeper dive into the Canadian findings, including breakdowns by province.

"The overall message is that on timely access to care, we still have a fair amount of work to do," said Tracy Johnson, the director of health-system analysis and emerging issues at CIHI, the country's official agency for health-care statistics.

"We're below the international average in seven out of the eight areas that were measured. For person-centred care, though, we appear to be doing better, generally, than the international average."

The survey also found that waiting times to see a specialist were longer in Canada than in any of the other countries, as were waiting times for all elective surgeries.

Survey results should always be taken with a grain of salt, Ms. Johnson warned, because they rely on patients' memories of their experience with the health-care system, unlike data directly from hospitals or clinics.

But in cases in which CIHI has hard data - as it does for emergency-department waiting times, for instance - the Commonwealth Fund survey findings tend to track roughly with the other evidence, she added.

CIHI oversaw the Canadian portion of the Commonwealth Fund study, which surveyed 4,547 Canadians from March to June of last year. The Commonwealth Fund asked the same questions about timely access, cost barriers to medical care and quality of care during the same time period in Germany, France, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden, Australia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United States and Britain.

"Over all, Canadians were the most likely to rate the quality of care they receive [from their own doctors] as excellent of all the countries," said Robin Osborn, vice-president of the international program in health policy and practice innovations at the Commonwealth Fund.

"Where it stands out in terms of having room to do better is on the access."

The survey found that only 43 per cent of Canadians were able to secure sameday or next-day appointments with their primary-care physicians, a tie for last place. Still, that figure was an improvement over the last time the Commonwealth Fund asked the question in 2013, when only 38 per cent of Canadian patients said they could see their doctors right away.

In top-performing Netherlands, 77 per cent of respondents reported snagging a same-day or next-day appointment the last time they were sick, followed by New Zealand (76 per cent) and Australia (67 per cent).

Only 34 per cent of Canadians said it was easy or somewhat easy to get medical care outside the emergency department on evening or weekends. Only Sweden fared worse.

Colleen Flood, the director of the University of Ottawa's Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics, said part of the explanation is that Canada has fewer physicians per capita than any of the other countries surveyed, except the United States - 2.6 doctors for every 1,000 Canadians, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The CIHI report pegs it even lower at 2.5.

The United States also has 2.6 doctors for every 1,000 people, the OECD says.

Norway, by contrast, has 4.4, Germany has 4.1 and Britain has 2.8.

But the deeper reason Canadians struggle to access primary care, Prof. Flood said, is that provincial governments here exert less control over when and how doctors work than do the public and private payers in the other countries surveyed.

"Our physicians are relatively autonomous," she said. "They still decide, largely, what they do and when they do it. They decide their work hours and how many days a week they want to work."

Some provinces are trying to rectify this by encouraging family doctors to join group practices, where they can share the burden of night and weekend shifts. In Ontario and Alberta, where provincial governments have made an especially strong push for team practices, survey respondents reported better access to night and weekend appointments.

However, in December, Ontario's Auditor-General criticized the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for failing to set and enforce clear requirements for night and weekend work for doctors who had joined group practice models.

The Commonwealth Fund survey also asked about financial barriers to medical care.

For services covered by the Canada Health Act, Canada received high marks, above the average for the 11 countries.

Only 6 per cent of Canadian respondents said they did not visit a doctor or skipped a medical test or treatment because they could not afford it. In the United States, 22 per cent said they declined to visit a doctor because of the cost.

But when it comes to prescription drugs and dental work - which fall outside the universal coverage guarantee of the Canada Health Act - Canada is second-last to the United States.

Ten per cent of Canadians said they failed to fill prescriptions or skipped doses of medications because they could not afford the out-of-pocket price.

"In all of the countries in this international survey, with the exception of the United States and Canada, you have universal health insurance that includes universal coverage of medicines, regardless of your age or income," said Steve Morgan, a health economist who teaches in the department of population and public health at the University of British Columbia.

Canada's best results came in a part of the survey dubbed patient-centred care.

Seventy-four per cent of Canadians rated the care they received from their own doctor in the last year as very good or excellent, second only to New Zealand.

Canadian patients said their doctors were more likely than the survey average to know their medical history, spend enough time with them, involve them in decisions about medical care and explain things in a way they could understand.

Yet that did not lead patients to bestow high marks on the system over all. Only 45 per cent of Canadians rated the overall quality of medical care as very good or excellent, the third-worst result in the report.

In 2014, Canada spent $5,543 per person on health care, well above the OECD average of $4,463.

Associated Graphic

Canada ranked second-last in a survey of 11 countries on the availability of doctors on nights and weekends, resulting in increased use of emergency departments.


For services covered by the Canada Health Act, Canada received marks above the average for the 11 countries surveyed.


Mexico asks Canada to stand firm on NAFTA
Economy Minister says the countries must push to keep trade agreement trilateral, despite temptations to divide discussions
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A3

MEXICO CITY -- Canada and Mexico must maintain a united front in confronting U.S. President Donald Trump, Mexico's Economy Minister says, because they stand to gain more together than they might negotiating alone.

"You cannot fall into the temptation to get a specific privilege that will cost certainty and direction to the world," Ildefonso Guajardo told The Globe and Mail in an interview in his office in Mexico City. "NAFTA is trilateral and should be handled as a trilateral discussion ... Regardless of the temptations in this process to go different ways, you can never go against principles. The first one is: Nothing that results in tariffs and quotas in trade - that would be a move to the past."

His words were echoed in recent days by several senior advisers to the administration of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto who are anxious to see Canada back Mexico in standing up to Mr. Trump's threat to "tear up" the North American free-trade agreement.

Of course Canada must defend its own interests, Mr. Guajardo said. "It's the same for Mexico: Our first responsibility is to look after our country's interest, and no one can contradict that. But ... in doing that you do not need to run over other nations with your bus. You can do both things."

The United States is by far the largest trading partner of both Mexico and Canada. In 2015, Mexico and Canada each exported about $295-billion (U.S.) in goods to the United States. But the U.S. goods-trade deficit with Mexico was much larger - about $58-billion - so Mexico has become the focus of Mr. Trump's criticism of U.S. trade policy; he has said that trade terms with Canada require only "tweaking." But the Mexicans are hoping Canada stands by them.

Mr. Guajardo also made explicit the threat that Mexico will bring to any trade negotiations with the United States: an end to co-operation with the U.S. government on drugs, migration and intelligence.

"There is so much at stake for the interest of the U.S. as a country," he said. "We have been a great ally to fight problems with migration, narcotics ... If at some point in time things become so badly managed in the relationship, the incentives for the Mexican people to keep on co-operating in things that are at the heart of [U.S.] national-security issues will be diminished. You cannot ask me to [accept poor] conditions in terms of trade and then request my help to manage migration issues from other nations or ... the prosecution of criminal activities and narcotics."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Mr. Pena Nieto shortly after meeting with Mr. Trump in Washington on Feb. 13, their third phone conversation in three weeks.

"Since we were not able to have our President going to Washington, I would imagine that President Pena would love to know what happened and what kinds of discussions they had internally about NAFTA and the bilateral and trilateral relationships," said Jaime Zabludovsky, who was Mexico's deputy negotiator on NAFTA and now advises the Mexican President.

Mr. Pena Nieto cancelled a trip of his own to meet Mr. Trump after the U.S. President insisted via Twitter that he must come prepared to pay for a planned wall on the U.S.-Mexican border.

The Canadian government has been reiterating the value of its relationship with Mexico while avoiding any commitment to a purely trilateral discussion of NAFTA.

"Mexico is our friend," Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne told reporters in Berlin on Thursday. "We'll see how the process is going with respect to NAFTA ... We'll let them do their process with the United States, but we've been clear to them that the Mexicans are our friends and we'll always be willing to talk to them because trade has been beneficial ... Certainly we'll let them do their process with the U.S., but we'll always be there for a friend to look at what we can achieve together following their own process with the U.S.s" There is intense frustration among those advising President Pena Nieto that Mr. Trump and his closest advisers seem to have a limited understanding of how international trade works and focus obsessively on the trade deficit with Mexico without acknowledging that it is just 8 per cent of the overall U.S. trade deficit and far below its trade deficit with China. "They are obsessed by the trade deficit - that is the only indicator that they use," Mr. Zabludovsky said.

The focus now, said one senior Mexican trade negotiator, is to find "a fig leaf that is big enough to give these guys" - that is, offer Mr. Trump a way to avoid embarrassment and tell his supporters he successfully renegotiated NAFTA while actually improving the deal for all parties.

Mexico's broader strategy is to let the process unfold as slowly as possible, allowing time for Mr. Trump's advisers to understand the degree to which North American supply chains are integrated and how difficult it would be to break them up; for the pro-trade lobby in Congress to organize; and for representatives of the states that rely heavily on agricultural exports to Mexico to make their case that NAFTA must be preserved.

Luis de la Calle, a former NAFTA negotiator who now advises the government, said the threat of losing Mexico as a market for pork, corn and poultry is a significant one.

"The key to a successful negotiation strategy with the U.S. is not to have a strategy to diversify your exports but a strategy to diversify your imports. This is counterintuitive, but the driver for U.S. lobbying efforts to convince the Trump administration and the Congress that Mexico is important to them is if they know we have suppliers outside the U.S. for the very large Mexican market.

Mexico is going to be the largest market for the U.S. in five years - larger than Canada and larger than the EU," Mr. de la Calle said.

Canada and Australia will be held up as the potential replacements, because they have already negotiated terms and because they are "an easy substitute for the U.S. Midwest."

Mr. Guajardo said Canada and Mexico need to retain NAFTA regardless of what the United States opts to do. "NAFTA is not all about trade rules. It's about rules that give certainty to investors. And sending the message that the instrument is alive, and will continue, is of extreme value to world investors to come to Mexico and probably to Canada."

Mr. Zabludovsky, who was also the lead negotiator on Mexico's free-trade pact with Europe, said Canada and Mexico now have a global opportunity and obligation to fill a leadership vacuum in the absence of the United States.

"Hopefully, Mexico and Canada are able to really play that role that the U.S. is not willing to play any more." He cited the regional integration of the Americas under way and the now-scrapped TransPacific Partnership.

"If Mexico and Canada are able to start with NAFTA and show that we are willing to work together and defend and protect and hopefully enhance and improve NAFTA, then we will be in a position to talk to the rest of the world as two countries that are really committed to integration ... To some extent nobody can substitute for the U.S., but if the U.S. is not willing to play that role, I think that there will be the need for countries like Mexico and Canada."

Associated Graphic

Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo, seen in 2013, says NAFTA should be treated as a trilateral discussion.


Friday, February 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

Dear People of Colour, I'm sorry. I apologize. I'm mortified that over the past week, many of my fellow white people watched a 25-second teaser trailer for an upcoming Netflix series, and then called for a boycott of Netflix itself, just because the series is called Dear White People.

You and I know what's going on here. There was no boycott in 2014, when an independent film came out with the same title, written and directed by the same man who's doing the series, Justin Simien. The movie had the same gently satiric sensibility as the series' teaser and seems to have the same characters and plot: a handful of black students navigating life at a (fictitious) U.S. Ivy League university.

In the film, black female student-radio host Sam White (Tessa Thompson) gives tonguein-cheek advice on her show, Dear White People. Students of every colour listen and react - some are offended, others amused. The story climaxes with a small group of black students disrupting an "Unleash Your Inner Negro" fraternity party full of white students dressed in blackface. Then, the closing credits are illustrated by datestamped photos of actual university students in blackface at parties. But throughout, people of every race are called out for their intolerance of the other, and the central idea is that we should all try harder to not stereotype, and to bridge divides.

The new teaser trailer begins where the film ends: Sam White (Logan Browning) advises white people to not dress in blackface for Halloween. So why the hubbub now? Because the film came out in pre-Trump 2014, and the trailer dropped Feb. 8, into one of the most chaotic first month in U.S. presidential history.

Minutes after it appeared, fearsome trolls and their bot army whipped up a #NoNetflix campaign urging people to cancel their subscriptions.

Their de facto leader, professional agitator Timothy Treadstone, whose @BakedAlaska Twitter page's wallpaper is (surprise) a photo of Donald Trump, went all the way right away, claiming that the as-yetunseen show (it arrives April 28) "promotes white genocide."

I can't comprehend how Treadstone inferred that, since there's no such suggestion in the teaser.

In the film, the only thing that's flat-out mocked is the claim that America is a postracial society.

The #NoNetflix boycott certainly proves that mockery correct.

As of noon this past Wednesday, the teaser had just more than 50,000 likes on YouTube - and more than 393,000 dislikes. A shouty vlogger called it "a black revenge fantasy series," and comments included these gems: "Because of this show I am going to be blackface Obama every year for Halloween for the rest of my life"; "I'm taking my white dollars somewhere else"; and "Netflix is owned by Jews, what do you expect?" Their parents must be beaming with pride.

In the week since the teaser arrived, Simien wrote an open letter on his Facebook page and gave several interviews, saying he feels "strangely encouraged. To see the sheer threat that people feel over a date announcement video featuring a woman of colour (politely) asking not to be mocked makes it so clear why I made this show... . Thanks, white supremacists, you really helped me promote it."

Netflix isn't saying how many people cancelled their subscriptions as a result of the boycott or how many people signed up because of it. But Simien says many Netflix executives, including the chief executive, e-mailed to make sure he was okay, and to assert that they believed in the show and had his back.

For a short while, Simien tried responding cheekily to nasty comments. To a man who tweeted, "Dear White People, never forget that blacks' only purpose in life is robbing, raping, killing and exterminating you," he replied, "It's literally all we talk about in our secret meetings."

But he quickly gave that up.

"Even though I have the wherewithal to recognize their hatred as just a knee-jerk attempt to avoid experiencing the deep pain of feeling powerless," he wrote, "I'll be damned if I allow for someone else's pain to become my prison. No. That particular American tradition had been endured by enough generations." Instead, he's emphasizing what he and his haters have in common. Those boycotting him, Simien says, "feel they've been looked over, counted out and ridiculed by mainstream society.

That's a pain I understand deeply.

It has been with me my whole life. It's that very pain that my series speaks to."

So, dear People of Colour, I'm not just apologizing for my fellow white people's bad behaviour. Or for their utter inability to recognize or understand irony. Or for their woeful underappreciation of freedom of speech and the ability of art to minimize strife through empathy.

I'm also apologizing for my own complacency. An American democrat, I live in liberal Toronto. I think racism is vile, but I understand that, as Simien says, a challenge to people's most cherished beliefs (no matter how wrongheaded) feels like a threat to their lives.

So I should not be shocked when I scroll the comments made by Simien's detractors, and see their complaints that "racism isn't real" sitting right beside comments calling him the n-word. I shouldn't gasp when I read assertions that "black people destroy property" sandwiched between their own threats to burn the United States to the ground.

I shouldn't be stunned by how blatant and brazen discrimination still is. A #NoColbert campaign didn't arise after white man Stephen Colbert began doing a segment called "Hey White People," where Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Hart and others take amusing jabs at white folks' presuppositions. No one boycotted "Stuff White People Like," a blog created in 2008 by Christian Lander, a white Canadian. But people, including Trump himself, slammed Kenya Barris, who is black, just for calling his show Black-ish.

I shouldn't be surprised by any of this, because I see how the current U.S. administration has encouraged white people to let their long-simmering resentments bubble over; how it's made them feel that they can be proud of things they used to be ashamed of. It's made bile such a staple of our daily diet, I fully expect that whoever Trump appoints to run the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will include it in the food pyramid.

Even on the Internet Movie Database, which was created as a resource for film and television lovers, the comments have grown so ugly that on Monday, after two decades of use, the site will permanently close its message boards. Their statement reads, "We have concluded that IMDB's message boards are no longer providing a positive, useful experience for the vast majority of our more than 250 million monthly users worldwide." The haters won.

Yet shocked I am, and embarrassed. Dear People of Colour, if a 25-second teaser for a comedy about tearing down racial divides can stir up this much vitriol, what must you face in your daily lives?

I'm ashamed to admit I don't think about that nearly enough.

I'm grateful to art such as Simien's because it keeps pinching me further and further awake - in ways that it intends, and in ways that (I hope) it never imagined.

Associated Graphic

Dear White People, which first came out as an independent film in 2014, is coming to Netflix as a series.

Justin Simien says many Netflix executives contacted him to make sure he was okay after the teaser trailer for Dear White People provoked anger and reaction that the show 'promotes white genocide.'


Marijuana supplier hid pesticide from inspectors, former worker says
Thursday, February 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

A federally licensed medicalmarijuana company recently caught selling cannabis that contained a banned pesticide had used the dangerous chemical on its plants as far back as 2014, which it hid from Health Canada, says a former employee of Mettrum Ltd.

Thomas McConville, who worked as a grower at Mettrum from early 2014 to August, 2015, told The Globe and Mail he witnessed employees at the company illegally applying myclobutanil to plants, despite knowing the controversial pesticide - which produces hydrogen cyanide when heated - was prohibited for use on cannabis.

To evade detection when Health Canada inspectors visited the operation, an employee at Mettrum hid the chemical inside the ceiling tiles of the company's offices, Mr. McConville said.

The revelations raise alarming questions about Health Canada's oversight of the sector, particularly since the government has not required the country's 38 licensed producers to have their products tested for banned pesticides. Instead, the department told The Globe this week that it has allowed the companies to police themselves, on the belief that the penalties for being caught - possible licence forfeiture - were a big enough deterrent.

Faced with a growing controversy over tainted medical marijuana, with three companies in the past two months announcing recalls due to the discovery of myclobutanil in their products, Health Canada said this week it would introduce a new system of random testing for all licensed producers.

However, the government stopped short of introducing ongoing mandatory testing to ensure the industry is not flouting the rules, saying it may consider that step in the future.

When Mr. McConville brought his concerns to Mettrum executives in 2014, including chief executive officer Michael Haines, he was told not to worry about it. Fearing for his livelihood, Mr. McConville said he kept quiet.

When he left Mettrum the following summer, he was asked to sign a confidentiality agreement in exchange for severance, which he needed to move his family back to California.

However, when Mettrum, the country's second-largest producer of medical marijuana, issued a product recall two months ago, giving no details in its press release about what the reason was, Mr. McConville decided to contact Health Canada with his concerns.

When The Globe uncovered in December that Mettrum's recall was due to the use of myclobutanil - which neither Health Canada nor the company disclosed in their public announcements of the recall - Mr. McConville decided to speak out about what he witnessed. The product is known as a shortcut within the industry, though it is also notoriously dangerous.

"I walked in mid-spray," Mr. McConville said of the day in 2014 when he confronted the employee applying the chemicals. "I said, 'Seriously, I need to know for this crop what you did.

I played it off like 'Don't worry I won't say anything.' And he said, 'It's Nova [the retail name for myclobutanil]. You don't have to worry about mildew.' "The fungicide is used to control powdery mildew, a pest that can wreak havoc on cannabis crops and cause significant financial loss to companies that are hit by it.

Though the spray is approved for use on some fruits and vegetables, such as grapes, because the chemical components are metabolized by the digestive system, and rendered non-toxic in the body, myclobutanil is not allowed on products that are smoked, such as tobacco and cannabis. The substance is listed as a carcinogen if smoked, where it passes directly into the bloodstream through the lungs, and can emit hydrogen cyanide.

Mr. Haines did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.

The Globe first sought comment from Mr. Haines in December upon learning myclobutanil was the reason for the company's recent recall. A spokeswoman for the company provided only written responses to questions, and did not answer how the banned chemical got into the company's products in 2016.

Questions sent to Mettrum on Jan. 30 asked Mr. Haines how many times the company had used myclobutanil in the past.

The spokeswoman said Mettrum wanted "more context" before answering. Mr. Haines never provided any responses.

Mettrum was recently purchased by Canopy Growth Corp., owner of medical-marijuana producer Tweed, for $430-million in stock. When that deal closed on Jan 31, Mettrum questions were referred to Canopy. A request for comment submitted to Mr. Haines on Wednesday also went unanswered.

Canopy CEO Bruce Linton said he was informed of the forthcoming recall when the company initiated talks on purchasing Mettrum, looking to combine the second-largest player in the market, with Tweed, the largest, to create an industry giant.

Mr. Linton said Mr. Haines is no longer with the company, subsequent to the deal closing, and that his focus will be on installing new practices and oversight so that there are no further recalls.

"It was not a properly controlled and operated environment, but I don't believe that it has any bearing on how the place is run [going forward]," Mr. Linton said. "We'll work pretty hard for the next six to 12 months, making it what we want it to be."

Mr. McConville said he remembers walking into one of the grow rooms at Mettrum on Oct. 15, 2014, during the lunch hour when few employees were typically around. He witnessed two other growers, who were key members of the company, spraying myclobutanil, which is sold under the brands Nova 40 and Eagle 20. Days earlier, the crops had been hit with a powdery mildew infestation.

"I find it strange that the facility magically went from peak levels of disease to total eradication despite no controls being applied. During lunch today, I discovered why," Mr. McConville said in an e-mail to Mr. Haines that evening, which was obtained by The Globe. "We were spraying Nova 40 on our crops.

... There is never a need to resort to spraying toxic chemicals."

Mr. Haines responded to Mr. McConville the next morning saying, "I've read your e-mail.

Respect that I can't comment one way or the other at this time."

In an e-mail to Health Canada in December, Mr. McConville said he saw the men "spray Nova 40 to several rooms in the facility," including one he oversaw.

"Spraying poison on the crops was the last straw for me," Mr. McConville said.

Mr. McConville told Health Canada that Mr. Haines told him to not worry about it, saying words to the effect of: "The plants used to have mildew and now they don't. That's great."

On Dec. 9, a few days after sending an e-mail to Health Canada, Mr. McConville spoke with Benoit Séguin, manager of the department's national compliance and enforcement section, who wanted more information.

However, Mr. McConville has not heard back from Health Canada. He doesn't believe Mettrum has been upfront about its use of myclobutanil and says further investigation is needed.

"Thousands of people seeking a safe medicine were [exposed]," Mr. McConville said.

On Wednesday, Health Canada confirmed that it spoke with Mr. McConville, "and brought the allegations to the attention of the licensed producer."

Health Canada said Mettrum conducted its own internal investigation into the matter, and the company reported it found nothing alarming. A department spokesman said Health Canada recently tested stored product samples from 2014, but did not find the banned chemical. Mettrum's recent recall involves myclobutanil discovered in samples from January to November of 2016.

Mettrum is one of three companies to recall product in the past two months due to myclobutanil. OrganiGram issued a similar recall, as did Aurora Cannabis, which discovered the pesticide in a batch of product it purchased wholesale from OrganiGram and resold to customers.

Meet Canadian architecture's unlikely new idols
Monday, February 13, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

'Canada's architectural idols, Office OU, a trio of young Canadian architects, brings the ease and comfort of being at one with nature!" Reading this quote from a Korean news site, Uros Novakovic busts into laughter; across the café table, his business partner Nicolas Koff giggles over his green tea latte.

I have to laugh as well. The two don't seem like any sort of "idols." They are bearded and hoodied young architects, obscure in their home city of Toronto and at home among the freelancers in this downtown café.

And yet, in South Korea, they have won a very serious victory: Office OU, the firm that they run with their partner Sebastian Bartnicki, triumphed in an international design competition to plan a National Museum Complex in the new administrative capital city of Sejong. They beat out 80 other firms from 25 countries for the job, which involves master-planning a two-millionsquare-foot complex and then designing three buildings, including a national children's museum. The project is at the scale of Museum Island in Berlin or the Smithsonian in Washington.

It is a significant win for a firm of any size. Competitors included globally prominent architects Zaha Hadid Architects and Morphosis. And the three Canadians, each of them 31 years old, won an upset that could put them on the global map of contemporary architecture.

"In Korea," Novakovic says, "there is a combination of surprise and fascination about how someone like us could have gotten this job."

Their proposal won on the merits: The competition, run by an agency of the Korean government, was open to anonymous submissions from architects around the world. After making a shortlist of five, they teamed up with Junglim Architecture, a large Korean firm, and got the commission. This sort of truly open process, which does not happen for public projects in Canada, provides a huge potential opportunity for young designers with fresh ideas.

Office OU does, indeed, have fresh ideas. Its thoughtful scheme represents an important thread in contemporary design: the integration of architecture and landscape.

Dubbed Sejong Museum Gardens, the scheme places the dozen or so museum buildings in the complex - the precise number has not been decided - around a central green space.

This is conventional. What is less conventional is the nature of those buildings and how they are derived.

In the scheme, each of the museums begins with a certain selected element in the landscape, which generates a material, which animates the building. For example, the Children's Museum connects to fruit trees in the vicinity; the design's main material is wood, and an urban orchard of fruit trees extends into its courtyard and even on its roof.

In the same way, the architects imagine a planned museum of natural history to be made principally of rammed earth.

Against this, the forms of the buildings are radically simple: They are thin-framed pavilions, with a common palette of white steel interwoven with those specific materials (such as wood) and pierced by forecourts and courtyards. The buildings "are as simple as we can possibly make them," Koff says. They are vessels; it is the conversation between landscape and building, and varied interpretations of the nearby natural and cultivated landscape, that are at the heart of the design.

This cuts against the dominant mode of object buildings, the kind of complex and showy buildings that have come from so-called "starchitects." The word "iconic" is frequently applied to such buildings. Yet: "I think the competition jury appreciated that our buildings are not iconic in themselves," Koff says. "They only become iconic in relation to the surrounding landscape, which we think is already spectacular."

They are primarily architects - all three partners are trained as architects, and met at the University of Waterloo's architecture school or while working together at Toronto firm Zeidler, and have all worked internationally. Yet their work shares a strong interest in landscape.

Koff also studied landscape architecture, at the University of Pennsylvania's distinguished program, and worked at one of the world's leading firms, Field Operations. (It is most famous for its design of the High Line in New York and is working on parks in Vancouver and Toronto.)

Out of this, Koff gained some expertise in horticulture, which is rare for architects. But more importantly he learned something about process and time.

"In landscape, there is in some way a cumulative vision," Koff says, "where you know it's not finished when your work is done; it's only starting. And in this case, the buildings are going to keep growing - you can't imagine all of what your building is going to become."

Indeterminacy and flexibility are important when you're working with natural systems. They're also important in a murky political context. The venue of the Office OU project is Sejong, an "administrative city" that was imagined as a satellite to the historic centre of Seoul.

The construction of Sejong, which now has 300,000 people, has been politically contentious; at this point some government ministries have moved from Seoul, while others will not. The museums on the site are being formed, as institutions, right now.

Clearly, politics might yet reshape the museum campus. Office OU's nimbleness has helped it.

And to Korean eyes, it seems very Canadian. "They see Canadian values in our work," Novakovic says. Why? "Our design is at ease with itself, and unflashy, and also that there is a strong connection with nature. To Koreans, Canada is mostly landscape."

(More laughter, over the sound of the espresso machine.)

"To us, that is interesting," Koff adds, "because two of us weren't born here and our partner is firstgeneration." Koff was raised in Paris; Novakovic's family left the former Yugoslavia and came to Toronto via Prague. Bartnicki's parents are both immigrants.

"Perhaps there is something very Canadian about that, or at least very Torontonian."

If diversity and flexibility are Canadian, the idea of an open competition for an important urban project is not. Quebec has had a culture of design competitions for public projects, which has produced brilliant work but also has detractors. The fact is that competitions can change cities and make careers - as winning the Pompidou Centre in Paris in 1971 helped launch the young Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers to global prominence even as they altered the landscape of Paris. In Canada, big projects are awarded to architects who already have done similar projects, creating a scenario that stymies competition and creativity.

Will Office OU actually get to complete and build its vision? It is busy working with its partners, Junglim, to refine the master plan. "This is a real project!" Junglim senior director Moon-ki Bae says. But you never know: "It's 85-per-cent likely," Koff says.

"Well, 75 per cent," Novakovic says. One thing is certain: Canadian architecture has some unlikely new idols.

Associated Graphic

Toronto-based Office OU beat 80 other architecture firms to win the commission to design South Korea's new National Museum Complex in Sejong City. Above is a rendering of its proposed Children's Museum.


The architects say each of the buildings were designed with a specific element of the landscape in mind. The buildings 'become iconic in relation to the surrounding landscape,' Nicolas Koff says.

The children's museum was designed to incorporate and showcase the surrounding fruit trees: The main material used is wood, and an urban orchard extends into its courtyard and even on its roof.

The Office OU team designed a scheme for a dozen or so museum buildings, such as the Digital Heritage Museum, seen above.


Will the foreign buyers tax endanger B.C.'s housing windfall?
Premier Christy Clark is feeling generous these days, promising to spread provincial largesse that has ballooned from real estate transactions. But with signs the bonanza's days are numbered, there may be strings attached
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

VICTORIA -- B.C. Premier Christy Clark promises the budget her government will introduce on Tuesday will include a financial gift to the province's taxpayers.

Her Liberal government is expected to introduce its fifth consecutive surplus and, with an election just three months away, this is a budget plan aimed at giving voters something to cheer about.

The province is flush with cash, having consistently collected more revenue than it has spent on its citizens for the past four years. But a large part of that happy circumstance is a result of the real estate frenzy that has emerged as a huge force in the British Columbia economy.

Some of the higher-than-forecast income to the province is coming from rising corporate and personal-income taxes, but a significant share was paid by people who bought real estate over the past five years in a superheated market.

The property transfer tax alone is set to net the provincial treasury $2-billion in the fiscal year that is just ending.

"I think government should find ways, when we are running a surplus, to give some of that money back to you," she said to appreciative applause from wellheeled supporters at a packed party fundraiser Tuesday night.

"It is your money."

But that steadily rising revenue stream appears to have crested. Finance Minister Mike de Jong must now meet expectations of an everything-toeveryone budget just as his cash cow is ready to take a little rest.

In that ballroom with 850 party donors, Ms. Clark had no trouble selling the notion that taxpayers are entitled to a reward for suffering through years of austerity measures to eliminate the provincial deficit.

Having raised expectations for tax cuts, the Premier is counting on her Finance Minister to find the money - on top of promised spending increases for health, education, housing and social services.

Mr. de Jong knows he cannot count on a repeat of the projected $2.2-billion surplus that the government enjoyed in the 2016-17 fiscal year. It is not just the property transfer tax revenue that is poised to decline, but all the associated economic activity, from construction to finance, that will likely cool.

The B.C. Real Estate Association says the province's housing market has tumbled from record highs posted in 2016. It is not a collapse, but a return to historic, long-term averages.

It all looked so much nicer last fall. In September, Mr. de Jong held his regular quarterly financial update for reporters, where he revealed that revenue from the property transfer tax for the year was $1-billion above the budget forecast.

It brought to light a remarkable shift in the provincial economy: British Columbia is set to haul in more tax revenue from the real estate industry in the current year than the combined direct revenues from the province's historical economic foundation of mining, energy, forestry, Crown-land tenures and natural gas.

Working from those figures, the Business Council of B.C. calculated that the real estate sector - including construction, renovations and other spinoffs - accounted for 35 per cent to 40 per cent of the province's economic activity.

"It has played a big role in B.C.'s growth story," said Jock Finlayson, economist and chief policy officer for the Business Council. "It's not the only thing, but it has made an outsized contribution. And the government's stronger-than-expected revenues are due in part to the strength of the housing industry - which of course is now diminishing."

Since 2012, growth in the province's real estate sector outpaced the rest of the economy.

Each year, it expanded at a rate of between four and 6 per cent, while the rest of the economy was averaging 2-per-cent growth.

It means the overall economic growth that British Columbia has enjoyed has been pulled up by real estate.

But now that sector is diminishing - in part because the government was under pressure to tackle the rising cost of housing, so it moved to cool the market with a foreign-buyers tax on property purchases.

On Friday, Central 1 Credit Union released its latest economic update for British Columbia, and the highlights offered little encouragement for Mr. de Jong. Home sales have edged down, and the average price of a home in British Columbia. in January of this year was 17 per cent lower than in January, 2016.

However, Central 1's senior economist, Bryan Yu, said it's not all bad news. The 15-percent foreign-buyers tax did help temper the market in the Lower Mainland, but in other communities where the tax was not applied, sales are still strong.

"In terms of the cooling of real estate, 2016 was a blockbuster year and we are coming off of that," he said in an interview.

"But overall sales levels will be high. It won't be as high as 2016, but we are still seeing higher prices in markets like Victoria and Kelowna."

Still, the finance ministry has downgraded its revenue expectations from its property transfer tax since last September.

And in an interview last week, Mr. de Jong said he isn't counting on real estate to keep the books awash in black ink in the coming year.

"You have to be cautious about assuming that a $2-billion surplus will repeat itself year after year," he said.

"The landscape is littered with the carcasses of governments past and the deficits that they incurred because assumptions were made that a present set of circumstances would repeat in perpetuity."

His independent forecast council is predicting the economy to grow at a slower pace in the coming year, from 2.9 per cent in 2016, to 2.3 per cent in 2017.

"We are in a position where we can and we will look at the challenges our most disadvantaged citizens are facing," Mr. de Jong said, "and we are in a better position to address that, to try to make life a little easier for them."

It will be a trick for the opposition New Democrats to argue against making life a little easier for the needy.

But NDP finance critic Carole James says that kind of assistance should not have been withheld until now.

"They have built their economic plan on a speculative real estate market," she said. Now, just when they plan to cash in, there is uncertainty - and a whole lot of needs to be met.

"This Premier has the approach that you starve the system for years, and then at election time, you put the money back in. It's a terrible approach. When you take it apart and then put it back together, it costs more than if you had supported the system all along," she said.

The New Democrats have not yet produced a simple campaign slogan that says tax cuts are a bad thing, but Ms. James says she doesn't think voters will accept this sudden desire to share the surplus.

Whether it is the lack of affordable housing or the chronic shortfalls in providing care for vulnerable children, citizens have felt the B.C. Liberals' budget squeeze for years, she said.

"Now, going into the election, the government says 'we are going to give it back.' I found that insulting."

Associated Graphic

An annual international survey rates Vancouver as the third least affordable housing market on the planet.


Real estate, such as in Vancouver, 'has played a big role in B.C.'s growth story,' an economist observes - but how long can it last?


When you don't get the CPP survivor benefit
Payments to deceased contributors' estates haven't evolved much since Mom stayed at home and Dad went to work, adviser says
Special to The Globe and Mail
Monday, February 13, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B5

The rules around the Canada Pension Plan survivor benefit are worth investigating before you find yourself widowed - and in shock about how little you're likely to collect as a surviving spouse.

You may not get the benefit you expect, even if both of you have contributed to CPP over decades of your working lives.

How much a person can get depends on both the age of the survivor and past contributions, as well as when CPP benefits were started. However, the formula Service Canada uses is complicated, even for financial planning experts.

According to the formula, a surviving spouse who is 65 and not otherwise receiving CPP benefits is entitled to a survivor benefit of 60 per cent of the CPP retirement pension of the deceased spouse, if he or she started receiving CPP at 65.

However, what survivors generally don't expect is that their CPP benefits will now be combined and subjected to a maximum.

For survivor benefits starting in 2017, the maximum combined survivor and retirement pension that would be paid is $1,114. That means if both partners were getting the maximum CPP retirement pension, there will be no survivor benefits when one dies.

None. Under current regulations, the survivor is allowed to get the equivalent of only one maximum CPP retirement benefit.

Another shock is that if the survivor's CPP is less than the maximum, he or she would be topped up only to the maximum of $1,114.

In reality, most survivor pensions are dramatically less than that amount. According to Lea Koiv, president of Lea Koiv & Associates Inc., a retirement, tax and estate-planning consulting firm in Toronto, the average amounts for survivor pensions to be paid in 2016 were anticipated as $411 a month for those less than 65 and $302 for those 65 and older.

A careful read of the Service Canada website reveals that the formulas shown there apply "if the surviving spouse or commonlaw partner is not receiving other CPP benefits." Otherwise, the survivor will have to rely on the more complex calculations by Service Canada.

"What many do not realize is that there is a recalculation of the survivor's pension upon reaching age 65," Ms. Koiv says. "Many widows or widowers will be really surprised by the fall in their family incomes, including the loss of their spouse's OAS. If that's a large part of the family's income, it can be calamitous to lose that thousand dollars a month plus the partner's OAS, especially if you are not entitled to GIS [guaranteed income supplement]."

Knowing what's ahead could impact your decisions around CPP and your retirement planning. Ms. Koiv advises people to be vigilant about monitoring their data - and making sure it's correct - so they'll actually know what they'll be getting in the end.

"I don't think many people in this country know about these CPP survivor benefit rules," says Jim Harris, 74, a former head of media relations at the Transportation Safety Board who retired in 2004. "I wasn't aware of this wrinkle in CPP."

After retiring, Mr. Harris and his wife, Linda Harris, 66, former staff support at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, moved to Nanaimo, B.C., where they could enjoy their love of sailing. Each started their CPP immediately at 60, choosing to take a reduced pension for a longer number of years rather than delay for bigger benefits. The couple also have work pensions, plus RRSPs, TFSAs and a RRIF.

Mr. Harris acknowledges he might have done things a bit differently had he been aware of the CPP survivor rules and plans to check on their own situation with CPP.

"We both take CPP but if one of us passes, what happens?" Mr. Harris asks. "I'd like to know where we stand. If you made the contributions, it doesn't seem fair that your surviving spouse won't get the benefit. My understanding was that if your income in retirement is above a certain threshold, then that gets clawed back through income tax. But CPP is getting clawed back even before you reach that threshold."

Ms. Harris expressed concern that a lot of seniors would be counting on getting survivor benefits from their spouse's CPP pension, particularly since fewer people have good work pensions now.

"You expect that the government support is going to be there and that there's not some sort of catch that's going to eliminate it," Ms. Harris says. "If your financial manager or adviser isn't aware either, you're taken by surprise.

We're lucky to live in Canada but you can't rely on the government for more than just a supplemental amount on your income. You really have to look after yourself."

Doug Dahmer, chief executive officer of Burlington, Ont.-based Emeritus Financial, says the basis of the CPP survivor benefits goes back a generation to when Mom stayed at home and Dad went to work. Now, with both spouses typically working full time, both are probably close to the maximum, so the survivor benefit isn't nearly as critical as before. He suggests that other things, such as the loss of income splitting, will impact the surviving spouse's financial position more.

"Upon the spouse's death, the first thing that happens is that you lose income splitting," Mr. Dahmer says. "The second thing is that all their RRSPs are consolidated and turned into one person's balance sheet. What happens next is the survivor loses the spouse's Old Age Security, and if she's already receiving a significant CPP, she also loses his CPP. Now she's taking money out of their RRIF and can't split it, so she's clawed back on her OAS. So you suddenly have an individual who is bringing in less cash flow and paying more in taxes."

Another issue that any contributor to CPP should understand is what you see on your statement of contributions, which is the record Service Canada keeps on your earnings and the contributions you've made to CPP, is a projection of an individual's expected CPP income at 65. Ms. Koiv points out this can be totally misleading because those government statements assume ongoing employment.

"I used to deal with a lot of employees who had been with companies that downsized and the employees could commute their pension plan," Ms. Koiv says. "These individuals might only be 50 to 55 and would look at the CPP statement and say, 'Wow, I'm getting all that money.' But they didn't notice the small font, which indicated that employment was assumed until age 65."

After following recent talks held on amending CPP, Ms. Koiv says she was disappointed that survivor benefits weren't an issue in any of the discussions.

"I'm a little astonished," she says. "I think not until somebody who was sitting at that table has a spouse die, and wonders what happened to their spouse's CPP, will it actually dawn on them that the money's essentially gone back into the pool to subsidize those left in it. There's no notion of a commuted value. Some people will have paid a lot in and little will come out. The death benefit is negligible vis-à-vis what has been contributed.

Associated Graphic

Retired couple Jim and Linda Harris - standing outside their home in Nanaimo, B.C., in December - are only allowed to get one maximum CPP benefit under current regulations.


Designing dissent
A a tense political As cclimate becomes fodder ffor the fashion industry, T Trey Taylor suggests it sshould leave resistance tto real protesters
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Fashion as protest is dead. The death knell was sounded by Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia, who on Jan. 18 in Paris showed a series of garments appropriating Bernie Sanders' Democratic leadership campaign logo as part of his Fall 2017 collection. In place of Sanders' name was "Balenciaga" emblazoned across purposely ill-fitting T-shirts and puffer jackets. Was the label being cynical? Or was it an earnest attempt at a runway-to-retail protest to align the storied luxury brand with a figure who so actively opposes the current U.S administration? The latter theory - a multibillion-dollar corporation hawking Sanders' ethos to its consumers - seems directly opposed to the democratic socialist values that the politician stands for. Either way, the fickle fashion crowd will likely flock to the nearest Balenciaga boutique to buy a piece when they arrive in stores in August. To them, Gvasalia's motivation likely doesn't matter at all.

According to British academic and author Elizabeth Wilson, signalling one's political stance through clothing is nothing new. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, groups including avant-garde artists and anarchists expressed their critiques of society through dress. "Most recently, it was hippies, punks and goths whose styles and modes got taken up and commercialized," she says. "The force and bite of them completely drained away in consumerism, so that they became just styles instead of the expression of ideas." As that practice has progressed, it seems that true expressions of activism on the runways has vanished.

To further confuse the messaging at Gvasalia's show, the logo for Kering, Balenciaga's multibillion-dollar parent company, also turned up on many of the garments. It was explained in the notes handed out to press at the show that this was a gesture to celebrate Balenciaga taking up residence in the same building as Kering's headquarters. A nice acknowledgment to your bosses, perhaps, if it wasn't sandwiched between hoodies sporting an emblem of anti-commercialism.

"Balenciaga's use of the Bernie Sanders logo would have probably felt more powerful coming from an American brand," says Louis Wong, a designer at minimalist French label A.P.C. and of his own collection, Louis W. "There's been a trend of ironic, look-at-me graphic visuals in fashion, and it's interesting that this trend has crossed every type of brand from mass market to luxury. If the purpose is to fund the protest - I don't mind."

Balenciaga isn't the only label co-opting garments and symbols with political implications for their collections lately. Chanel faced a backlash in 2014 over its runway show-turned-faux feminist march, where models brandished signs sporting sayings such as "History is Her Story." In September, the debut collection of Dior's fi rst female artistic director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, included a $700 slogan T-shirt bearing the phrase "We Should All Be Feminists."

While political statements through dress is nothing new, the recent politicization of runway shows "seems to be a new thing," says Wilson. "At the turn of the millennium, the British scholar Caroline Evans wrote about the catwalk shows of Alexander McQueen, arguing that political protest, in decline, had migrated to his fashion performances and that they were the only places that were showcasing protest. In the past couple of years, other designers seem to have taken up this idea."

Berets, a symbol of defiance for everyone from Che Guevera to the Black Panthers, were omnipresent at Milan's most recent men's-wear shows, appearing on the runways of Missoni, Louis Vuitton and Prada. Recently, actress Natalie Portman and singer Rihanna both wore the Dior slogan T-shirt to advocate for economic and social equality at Women's Marches in Los Angeles and New York ("Of course, Rihanna was the most stylish Women's March attendee" was the headline for a story on Harper's Bazaar's website). Both stars are ambassadors for Dior, and a real-life protest was the ideal opportunity to show support for two causes: one political, one commercial.

The latest politicized concept to be co-opted is the idea of being "woke," or clued-in to the nuances of identity politics (the term purportedly gained pop cultural currency in a 2008 Erykah Badu song, Master Teacher, and became linked to the Black Lives Matter movement around 2014).

A recent Vogue article attempted to translate this new wave of antiestablishment awareness into a style of dress, describing actress Zoë Kravitz - who wears, Vogue says, "OVO Revenge sweatshirts, Kurt Cobain-inspired bug-eye sunglasses, and oversize Dickies" - as its poster girl. The magazine stated: "If anyone can claim to have the uniform of the woke cool-girl down pat, it's her."

Only when a garment is adopted by marginalized segments of society can it become a symbol of a wider movement. In 2013, Black Lives Matter demonstrators showed solidarity by wearing hoodies to protest the killing of Trayvon Martin by Florida police.

In what was perhaps the most authentic example of a staged fashion protest recently, New York label Pyer Moss amplified the Black Lives Matter movement by opening his fall 2016 show with a 15-minute video about police brutality. The brand's founder, Kerby Jean-Raymond - who said he had been stopped and frisked by officers a dozen times by the age of 18 - listed the names of police brutality victims on a T-shirt he sold with all proceeds going to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Likewise, the sincerity knitted into the pink pussy hats on parade at the Women's Marches in January made them integral to the visibility of the grassroots movement they represent. The free pattern for the tuque was downloaded nearly 100,000 times from the Pussyhat Project website, creating a sea of pink in aerial photos of the crowds that took to the streets around the world on Jan. 21. Organizers say they were created in response to American president Donald Trump's notorious "grab them by the pussy" comment and the extent to which the beanies were worn amounted to a visual shout of the anti-Trump slogan "pussy grabs back."

On the other hand, Miuccia Prada, who has often looked to waves of feminism for collection inspiration, sounded anything but revolutionary when explaining why she popped berets on some of the model's heads at her men's-wear show. "I didn't want to do it," she told The New York Times about the audience's interpretation of the collection's 1970s influence. "But it came out anyway, because it was a very important moment for protest, for rights, for humanity...that could be very necessary now."

"Fashion translates our world but rarely offers social commentary," says Wong. "What's relevant, though, is the powerful look of the protest. Punk clothing defi nitely encouraged social activism. But punk was the clothing answer to anarchism.

When it got popular, it lost any type of activism."

Whatever the agenda threading the figurative needle at the most recent shows is, there is rarely any follow up by the brands after the lights fade. Instead, the message boils down to "buy our clothing." Protest in the fashion industry rarely makes it past the end of the catwalk.

Associated Graphic

PICKET LINES Designer brands have embraced political messaging of late, both overtly as in the case of Dior's feminism T-shirt (top right) and Balenciaga's Bernie Sanders-style logos (left), and symbolically such as Prada's berets.


Second wind
Dr. Rui Wang has spent years studying the effects of hydrogen sulfide. He believes a fart pill could potentially do wonders for human health. Roy MacGregor reports
Monday, February 13, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

SUDBURY -- There is no dog to blame here.

There is, however, a small black box on the wall of each room in this little research laboratory toward the rear of the Laurentian University campus.

Each box has special sensors that can, if necessary, sound an alarm.

"Fart detectors," Dr. Rui Wang calls them.

He is laughing but not joking.

The sensors are not there to catch squeakers but to protect lives. Dr. Wang and his associates deal with H2S, hydrogen sulfide, a gas that is stinky but harmless in small doses and deadly in large releases. It is the No. 1 occupational hazard for those who work in oil and natural gas.

"Protection, not detection," he says, warmly tapping on the little black box.

While mass quantities of the gas can be a danger to human life in the energy industry, Dr. Wang believes the gas, moderated in extremely small quantities, can be harnessed to do wonders for people's health.

His "eureka moment" dates back to 2000, when he and his colleagues were able to clone an enzyme known as CSE in vascular smooth muscle cells and then show that this enzyme has the ability to synthesize H2S in our blood vessels. The gas dilated the vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure.

Subsequent experiments on a genetically engineered mouse strain that developed hypertension proved that H2S plays a significant role in regulating health - a role that Dr. Wang now sees could affect everything from bad breath to erectile dysfunction.

"It's a universal solution for many things," he says. Humans, he believes, will be able to live longer and healthier lives if a proper H2S balance can be found for them.

"No one believed H2S was a real thing," Dr. Wang says. "People just thought, 'You fart - that's a bad thing.' "Well, it's not."

Dr. Wang cautions that there is a significant difference between the H2S people pass - or claim they didn't - and the minute amount of H2S produced in blood vessels. The gas that empties elevators and leads to desperate denials is produced by what he calls "bacteria in our gut," and the concentration can be 100 to 1,000 times higher than that produced by our own cells.

Not surprisingly, the genesis for his research goes back to rotten eggs. It was 1998, and Dr. Wang had returned home and thought there must be a sewage backup.

The stench was horrible. He finally tracked it down and found that his elder daughter, Jennifer, had kept some beautifully coloured Easter eggs that she had painted at school, but the teacher had neglected to have the children first poke a small hole in the shell so that the contents could be blown out.

The rotten eggs had cracked and released their smell.

Dr. Wang had completed his PhD in physiology at the University of Alberta and was studying the functions of a group of small molecules of gas known as gasotransmitters. Research into one of these gases, nitric oxide, had shown that nitrogen monoxide (NO) is made by the body in very low concentrations but serves as a signalling molecule that affects cell behaviour.

Research by three American scientists revealing that it dilated blood vessels and helped regulate the immune system won the 1998 Nobel Prize in medicine.

"I started thinking that there might be another gas involved," Dr. Wang says.

Perhaps the rotten-egg smell gets a bad rap, he thought, and he wondered if perhaps there was some unknown relationship between that much-maligned smell and human health.

"It's what you smell at hot springs," he says. "H2S is the 'fart' smell. It's very healthy. People don't know why they go to hot springs, they just go, but it's the H2S that they're going for."

When he began his research back in 2000, the presence of H2S in the vascular system was little studied, not at all understood, and certainly not appreciated.

"Our body is just like an egg," he says. "We have our body [the shell]. We have protein. We have bacteria. I looked for H2S. I wondered if we had the enzyme that produces it in the cardiovascular system. I found it. But that H2S is produced by the blood vessels, not by bacteria."

NO relaxes blood vessel walls by activating an enzyme that resides in smooth muscle cells. H2S manages the same feat, but through an entirely different path. What H2S does is activate special proteins that control the flow of potassium ions out of smooth muscle cells, which are found in the walls of several organs. The flow has the effect of relaxing those muscles and dilating the blood vessels found there, thereby lowering blood pressure.

Dr. Wang's research on the human fart has brought him and the school international recognition. Of the five top academic papers on H2S published in the world last year, Dr. Wang held down positions 1, 2 and 4. His output is so enormous that in 2015 he accounted for 48 per cent of Laurentian University's total citations in academic papers and 24 per cent of that of his previous school, Lakehead University.

His $6-million Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research Unit is also home to Dr. Lily Wu, a professor in the School of Kinesiology and an expert in metabolic disorders. They met during China's Cultural Revolution when both were sent to work in an isolated village. They came to Canada in the mid-1980s and have two daughters born here: Jennifer, a PhD student at Stanford University, and Jessica, a graduate of McGill currently working in business in Toronto.

The 60-year-old scientist knows that his research will bring laughter and he uses it as a tool. "If you don't fart, you die," he likes to say.

When Dominic Giroux, Laurentian's president, was recruiting Dr. Wang to leave Lakehead University for Laurentian in 2014, one word kept coming up as he checked his references: "Hilarious."

But there may be better reasons to smile than grade-school giggles. He believes worldwide research into the effects of adding or depleting H2S in the human body is reaching "high tide" and will lead to better protection from heart attack and stroke. If harnessed properly, the gas could keep trauma victims alive until they can undergo surgery or receive blood transfusions. Some of Dr. Wu's research is into what H2S levels mean to the production of insulin and the treatment of diabetes. It is even possible that H2S could operate as a sort of "scavenger" in the tracking down of cancer cells. "In five years," Dr. Wang predicts, "you will see a breakthrough."

He believes it "very, very possible" that before too long, a pharmaceutical company will come out with a "fart pill." There are already garlic pills widely available and used in the treatment of high blood pressure, and garlic is known to encourage the production of H2S in the body. A dedicated H2S pill, he says, "will be much more effective."

Beyond that, he believes, H2S could become important in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.

He has unpublished data on this potential connection, and he believes there is even a link to sperm production.

"A man who farts a lot will not have reproductive problems," he says. Then smiles: "Don't marry a man who doesn't fart."

Associated Graphic

Dr. Rui Wang and his colleague Dr. Guangdong Yang look at a 3-D model of an MMP2 protein in a lab at Laurentian University.

Against all odds, CETA moves forward - now what?
Thursday, February 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B1

Canada's trade pact with Europe has become the little deal that could.

Against significant odds, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) passed its last major hurdle Wednesday - approval by the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Phase-in of the vast majority of the deal's benefits, including elimination of 99 per cent of tariffs on goods, is expected to begin within weeks.

Passage comes as the promise of freer trade is under threat amid rising protectionism, in the United States and elsewhere.

Since CETA was negotiated, Britain has voted to leave the European Union, Donald Trump has moved to pull the United States out of the massive 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership and talks on a U.S.-European freetrade deal have fallen dormant.

CETA is about much more than just tariffs on cars, farm products and other goods. It also creates common rules covering a broader swath of trade activity, including services, government contracting, intellectual property and resolving disputes.

What's next for CETA?

Canada's Senate must still ratify the deal, following approval by the House of Commons this week. Passage is a virtual certainty. The provinces must also bring some of their own laws and regulations into compliance, including allowing European companies to bid on some government contracts.

The 28 EU member states, including Britain, must also approve sections of the agreement that stray into areas of national control. But the vast majority of the deal's benefits will come into effect as soon as Canada completes ratification.

Until Britain formally leaves the EU, it will be bound by CETA.

The future of one section of the deal remains in doubt: the rules that allow investors to directly sue Ottawa and the EU for compensation for government decisions that impair the value of their investments.

The Trudeau government and the EU renegotiated that section of the deal to appease critics in Europe, creating a special permanent court to resolve disputes.

The fate of the investor court now hinges on all EU member states giving their approval, which could take years.

What is it? Is it bigger than NAFTA?

Canada's trade with the United States is many times larger, but the trade deal with the European Union covers a broader scope of trade issues, and a much larger market. Both deals cut tariffs on goods. But unlike NAFTA, CETA covers "sub-national procurement," the public contracts of Canadian provinces and cities, so European companies can bid on hydro or subway deals, and Canadians can do the same in Europe - though the final deal will include many caveats and exceptions. The EU deal covers extensions of drug patents in Canada and bigger trade quotas for agricultural products. It also appears to cover services more broadly than NAFTA, and allows more labour mobility, including efforts to work on recognizing each other's credentials for professionals such as architects and engineers.

Cheese concessions, but no wine provisions for Ontario The agreement will more than double the quota of cheese imported from the European Union to about 30,000 tonnes a year, which could take a bite out of Ontario and Quebec dairies' market share. However, Ottawa has assured the provinces it will pay compensation to cheese producers. The deal will also chip away at a trade barrier that currently protects Ontario wines and hard liquor, ultimately making European booze less expensive.

A boon for beef, more for pork The agreement includes guaranteed access to European markets for 50,000 tonnes of Canadian beef, a key objective of the Conservative government, which wanted to balance off concessions on European cheese. For pork producers, the number is higher at 80,000 tonnes. In both cases, some of the access will be phased in over time.

Drug prices could rise The EU has long been unhappy with Canada's legislation concerning patent protection for drug companies, believing it lags other countries and puts European drug makers operating in Canada at a disadvantage. Under CETA, Canada has agreed to adopt EU measures on so-called "patent term restoration." Drug patents typically last for 20 years, but if it takes more than five years between when a patent on a new drug is filed and marketing authorization is granted, the drug maker will now get an extra two years of patent protection as compensation. This could raise drug prices and cost provincial health plans, but the federal government says the price hikes will be small and won't kick in for years. And the government is considering compensating the provinces.

Cheaper BMWs and a new definition of Canadian-made The outline of the agreement suggests big changes ahead for Canada's auto sector, which is deeply integrated with the United States. Vehicles that are at least 50 per cent Canadian-made will enjoy open access into the EU market. Meanwhile, Canada will be allowed to export to the EU up to 100,000 vehicles a year that are at least 20 per cent Canadianmade. Considering Canada's total auto exports to the EU are currently only about 13,000, that's a big change. Sorting out how much of a car is Canadian-made could soon be a moot point, if the EU follows through with a similar trade deal with the United States. For Canadian consumers, the end of a 6.1-per-cent tariff on European imports will make German-made vehicles more affordable. The challenge will be making these new rules fit with Canada's existing deep relationship with the United States when it comes to auto manufacturing.

Hire a European architect! Recognizing foreign credentials is an issue that has dogged federal and provincial governments for years. Under the agreement, Canada and Europe will recognize professional certifications of each other's jurisdictions. However, a closer look suggests there is still plenty of work to do on this front. It is being left to the professional organizations in Canada and Europe to work out their own deals to recognize credentials under "mutual recognition" agreements. Professional groups, such as architects, engineers and accountants, are working towards mutually recognized qualifications.

Bonds in the banking sector Canada prides itself as a leader in financial services. While the United States and Europe took measures to support their banking sectors, Canadian banks avoided a bailout from taxpayers. The agreement proposes deeper links between the Canadian and European banking sectors. The EU estimates that half of the overall Gross Domestic Product gains it expects to receive from the deal will come from liberalizing the trade in services, including in the banking sector. Canada says the deal will open new markets for its domestic banking sector, while ensuring it can maintain government rules for the sector.

European takeovers get a break Under the Investment Canada Act, the Canadian government can review foreign takeovers based on a "net benefit" test. The minimum threshold for the review is being raised to $1-billion. Under CETA, that threshold will be increased to $1.5-billion, meaning the review won't be triggered unless a takeover involving an EU company reaches that threshold. The change reflects "the special relationship Canada has with the EU," the government said. However, CETA does not alter Canadian ownership restrictions in the airline, cultural and telecommunications sectors.

With files from Barrie McKenna, Bill Curry, Campbell Clark and Adrian Morrow

Associated Graphic

Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session on the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement in Strasbourg, France, on Wednesday.


Comfort is overrated
These distinctive bottles will challenge your perceptions, biases and taste buds
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L6

In wine, as in life at large, familiarity is a doubleedged sword. Stick to the tried and true and you'll be spared the nuisance of surprises. That's one way to live.

But it's why God made megabrand beer, isn't it? Fine wine ought to be about adventure and discovery, at least a good part of the time.

Perhaps you've been sticking more than usual to the tried and true, uncorking the nearest full-bodied red to go with the evening's saucy mid-winter comfort food. Maybe you've been hoarding it by the case because it's too darned cold outside to make frequent trips to the liquor store. Or maybe I'm just talking about myself.

As personal penance, and hopefully for the benefit of a few others, I offer my latest instalment of an occasional series devoted to stepping outside the comfort zone. Each selection is distinctive in at least one way, in some cases two - an offbeat grape, a growing district less travelled or an uncommon production technique. If it's an organic pecorino you seek, or a Tasmanian sparkler, a mevushal syrah or a craft-made B.C. "prosecco," this column - with apologies to a fi ne beer slogan - is for you.

Tenuta di Ghizzano Veneroso 2012 (Italy)

SCORE: 91 PRICE: $29.95

Tuscany is not exactly an obscure wine region but this excellent red comes from an unsung corner better known for slanted floors than rolling vineyards.

The Terre di Pisa, an appellation created only in 2011, lies near the Tuscan coast, well north of chic wine districts Bolgheri and Maremma and 40 kilometres from the city of the Leaning Tower, an old-timey farm country where they still grow wheat and sunflowers as well as high-priced grapes and olives.

Produced from organically farmed vines, this is a blend of mostly sangiovese with a dollop of cabernet sauvignon, fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured entirely in used, versus new, barrels. Full-bodied, it shows enticing sweet-tangy tension, with a whiff of funky earthiness, like salted cherry jam consumed while walking through a barnyard. Available in Ontario.

Kew Marsanne 2014 (Niagara)

SCORE: 90 PRICE: $19.95

Here's a compelling case for greater grape diversity in Niagara. Marsanne, a white variety most closely associated with France's Rhône Valley, including the famed Hermitage appellation, gets a tasty rendition in the hands of distinguished Kew winemaker Philip Dowell. Midweight and silky, it's tantalizingly floral and honeyed, with juicy tangerine, yellow plum and crisp peach flavours softened subtly by smart oak-barrel maturation. Available in Ontario.

Jansz Premium Cuvée (Australia)

SCORE: 90 PRICE: $26.95

Sparkling wine from Tasmania - it's a far cry from Champagne but only in terms of mileage. This is bottle-fermented just like true-blue champers and blended from the three grapes for which France's luxury bubbly is known: chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. Bone dry, it's big on lemon and green apple fruit, with a toasty overtone and impressively integrated, elegant acidity. Familiar yet somehow different. Available in Ontario at the above price, $27.99 in British Columbia, $34.95 in Manitoba, $36.79 in Nova Scotia.

Narrative XC Method 2015 (British Columbia)

SCORE: 90 PRICE: $24.90

A sparkling wine made in the manner of Italian prosecco, only with a twist - or perhaps that should be "with a tilt."

Okanagan Crush Pad, the company behind the Narrative brand, completes the secondary, bubble-producing fermentation in large tanks (versus individual bottles) in what's known as the charmat method. But OCP - one of the most pioneering wineries in the New World - has newfangled tanks designed to lie on their sides, just as individual bottles do in the Champagne method. This apparently yields more thorough contact with the flavour-enhancing dead yeast cells. A blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, the wine is bone dry and delectably creamy, with ripe pear and green apple notes that mingle with toastiness and what comes across, strangely but wonderfully, as a subtle whisky-barrel note. Adding to the coolness factor, it's sealed with a crown cap. Available direct,

Domaine Les Pins Cuvée Les Rochettes Bourgueil 2014 (France)

SCORE: 90 PRICE: $17.95

Cabernet franc may be a mainstream grape but it's generally reserved for blending with bigger names, such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. In Bourgueil in the Loire Valley, where the cool climate favours its early-ripening profile, it gets star treatment. Even here, though, cab franc is made for those who like their reds bone dry and herbal.

Medium-bodied, this fine effort delivers a chalky texture that carries bright cherry fruit and a relatively restrained herbal essence. Well done. Available in Ontario.

Domaine Costa Lazaridi Amethystos White 2015 (Greece)

SCORE: 89 PRICE: $19.95

Amethystos means "not drunk" and is Greek for amethyst, a term given to the prized stone in the ancient belief it would protect against intoxication. Make no mistake, this is full-strength wine, at 13-per-cent alcohol. It's a blend of 85-per-cent sauvignon blanc (of Bordeaux and Loire Valley fame) and 15-per-cent assyrtiko, a native Greek vine. Light bodied and dry, it comes with a pleasantly oily texture and flavours suggesting lemon, tropical fruit and grass, with well-tuned and relatively soft acidity for the grapes in the mix here. Available in Ontario.

Teperberg Impression Sirah 2014 (Israel)

SCORE: 89 PRICE: $23.95

The label reads "Sirah" but you may know the grape better by its common spellings, syrah and shiraz. This is not your typical example, however. It's from the Judean Hills in Israel and is both kosher for Passover as well as mevushal, meaning it has undergone brief pasteurization and thus would retain kosher status even at functions where the wine is to be poured by non-Jews. Rich and ripe yet structured, it's built around a sweet, almost syrupy core, with a savoury, gamy essence and added notes of mocha, licorice and peppercorn. Imagine a Barossa Valley shiraz crossed with northern-Rhône syrah. Available in Ontario.

Xenysel Pie Franco Monastrell 2015 (Spain)

SCORE: 88 PRICE: $14.95

Xenysel is the producer and monastrell (a.k.a. mourvèdre) the grape. But what about "pie franco?" It's a qualifier here denoting a "free foot" or, more specifically, a vine grown from ungrafted rootstock, which is rare. This hails from Jumilla in southeast Spain, one of the rising bargain districts of the world.

Full-bodied and very ripe and syrupy, it's a strawberry-jam festival. There's some welcome spicy-herbal lift, too, but I'd prefer a lot more acidity. Yet it's impressive for the money, particularly if you throw it at some sticky ribs or spicy chili. Available in Ontario.

Sentieri Pecorino 2015 (Italy)

SCORE: 87 PRICE: $15.95

It's a cheese, yes. But pecorino is also a grape. The variety is native to the Marche region of central Italy but this organic and biodynamically grown example hails from Abruzzo next door. Light bodied, the wine is dry and crisp, with a flavour that comes across like an apple coated in lemon candy (which, come to think of it, might be a nice twist on the standard candy apple). It's not hugely complex but it's a refreshing alternative to your big-brand pinot grigio. Available in Ontario.

Can you hear me now? A century and a half of Canadian telecom innovations
Monday, February 13, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B1

A series about people, products and discoveries that changed the world

T he global market for telecommunications is worth more than $1-trillion (U.S.) annually, and Cisco Systems Inc. estimates suggest that by 2020, the world will have 4.1 billion people with Internet access, and 26.3 billion networked devices.

More than a simple service, connectivity is now intimately intertwined with modern life.

Over the past 150 years, the industry developments have been remarkable and relatively numerous. Many names dot Canada's own history of innovation in telecom: Bell and the telephone, Rogers and the batteryless radio, the Canadian Marconi Company and advancements in radar, Nortel and digital switching equipment and, of course, Research In Motion and the BlackBerry.

Here's a closer look at a few breakthrough technologies with Canadian connections.

From the telephone ... Alexander Graham Bell was overworked. Pushing himself to the point of exhaustion at his lab in Boston, the inventor and teacher of the deaf suffered from severe headaches and insomnia, prompting his worried mother to implore him to return home over the summer break from school.

The Bell family lived in Brantford, Ont., where they had established a farm after crossing the ocean from London in search of a healthy environment after the deaths of Mr. Bell's two brothers.

"His mother would basically beg him to come home in the summer to rest," said Brian Wood, curator of the Bell Homestead National Historic Site at the family's one-time home. Brantford, now known as the Telephone City, is located more than 90 kilometres southwest of Toronto.

"By doing that, she really was providing him with a place where he could not only regain his health, but at the same time be away from the busier surroundings of the big city and put his thoughts on paper," Mr. Wood added.

Mr. Bell whiled away the summer hours at a vantage point just above the Grand River. He had been working through his thoughts on how to take the telegraph from a device capable of sending only Morse code to one that could use the electrical current to transmit articulate speech.

It was on the farm at his "dreaming place," Mr. Wood says, that the inventor "discovered the basic principles of the telephone in 1874."

He later performed a number of tests in Boston and was granted the first U.S. patent for the telephone in 1876.

But Mr. Bell also returned to his family's farm to conduct other tests, including one that would go down as the first successful long-distance call, placed between Brantford and Paris, Ont. This helped prove the commercial viability of an innovation that revolutionized communications technology.

... to the first transatlantic wireless signal ... As the telephone quickly became commonplace around the world, inventors kept working on novel ways to transmit sound. Newfoundland, which becam a province in 1949, saw another milestone demonstration in 1901, when Guglielmo Marconi received the first transatlantic wireless signal there, at one of the easternmost points in North America.

The Italian inventor set out to prove that radio waves could in fact travel long distances across the curving Earth's surface. He initially planned to send his test signal from Cornwall, in Britain, across the ocean to Cape Cod, Mass., but because of weather difficulties he changed the location of the receiving station to Signal Hill in St. John's, which was several hundred kilometres closer to Cornwall.

Battling December winds, Mr. Marconi used a kite to hoist an antenna trailing copper wire that led back to a telephone receiver in an abandoned hospital close by.

Back in Cornwall, his team transmitted the Morse code signal for "s" for several days in a row at an appointed time and on Dec. 12 he made out the sound of three "pips" in a row.

The demonstration was a success - he had sent a wireless message more than 3,000 kilometres across the Atlantic Ocean.

It would be two more decades before scientists would confirm exactly how he did this (radio waves reflect off the ionosphere - part of the upper atmosphere that is electrically charged by the sun's rays - and some of them are bent or bounced back toward the Earth, allowing them to travel long distances), but word of the achievement spread quickly.

The Newfoundland government hoped Mr. Marconi would pursue the commercialization of the technology on the island and build a wireless station there. But a legal threat soon surfaced; Newfoundland had granted the Anglo-American Telegraph Company a 50-year monopoly on telegraphic communications that did not expire until 1904. Telegraph companies, which had invested heavily in laying transatlantic cables, jealously guarded their business model and Mr. Marconi quickly heard from Anglo-American's lawyers.

He moved on to Glace Bay in Cape Breton, N.S., where the first actual radio message was exchanged across the ocean in 1902 and where he launched a transatlantic wireless-service business five years later.

... to the BlackBerry... Almost a century later, Southwestern Ontario, home to the Bell family's homestead, was once again the backdrop for a paradigm shift in communications. Mike Lazaridis, who immigrated to Canada with his parents when he was a young boy, founded Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM) in 1984 after dropping out of the University of Waterloo.

A few years earlier, he had marvelled at an IBM computer on campus, the largest and fastest of its kind in Canada at the time.

"I just looked down into the room and I said, 'This is where I'm going,' " he told reporters Sean Silcoff and Jacquie McNish.

"Wireless technology and computing were travelling toward each other at warp speed when Lazaridis enrolled in electrical engineering at Waterloo," the reporters wrote in their 2015 book Losing the Signal: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of BlackBerry.

RIM began developing products for a network called Mobitex that connected computers to mobile terminals, making the mobile transport of data possible.

The company started selling a two-way messaging pager in 1996 and by 1999 it launched its first handset bearing the BlackBerry name.

The hand-held devices stood out from other personal digital assistants (PDAs) on the market at the time with features such as a keyboard and, crucially, mobile e-mail that downloaded and sent instantly and could be synced with corporate e-mail inboxes.

It was the beginning of the smartphone era and users quickly got hooked on what would soon be dubbed the "CrackBerry." RIM's BlackBerry user base surged to 165,000 in fiscal 2001, up from 25,000 the year before, and the company scrambled to keep up with demand. By the end of 2007 it had more than 12 million subscribers. Although growth continued for several more years, the once iconic BlackBerry would soon be eclipsed by Apple Inc.'s iPhone, introduced earlier that year.

RIM struggled to respond to the iPhone as well as Androidbased smartphones that came to dominate the fast-moving wireless market.

By 2012, Mr. Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, who joined the company 20 years earlier, stepped down as co-chief executives.

RIM, now known as BlackBerry Ltd., lost its grip on the handset market but is trying to reinvent itself as a software and securityfocused company.

Associated Graphic

Using his own invention, conceived and tested in Canada, Alexander Graham Bell helped launch telephone service between New York and Chicago in 1892.


Cacophony, both on the streets and inside buildings, has become a scourge of modern living for urban dwellers. Now, architects and designers are looking at ways to manipulate, if not dampen, the noise, Matthew Hague writes
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, January 26, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Belgian designer Pierre-Emmanuel Vandeputte is part of a growing number of people addressing the cacophony of our cities and buildings.

Earlier this month, at Maison et Objet, a twice-yearly interiordesign event in Paris, he participated in a marquee show called Silence, displaying items that help mitigate sound. One of his pieces, Nascondino, is a portable felt alcove that cocoons people in public spaces. Another, Diplomate, is a moveable desk partition that helps one hide from bothersome office mates (the kind that clack their nails or endlessly munch with their mouths agape). Both address the lack of walls common in today's corporate environments.

Vandeputte's most provocative piece, though, is his Cork Helmet, a dome on a rope that one lowers onto one's head, not only blocking out all sound but all sight as well.

"We all have crazy days, with plenty of things to handle," he explains. "We need breaks. But there is no object that lets you escape from where you are, from time to time, to find space in your head and be peaceful."

Of the experience of being corked, Vandeputte likens it to being a kid and listening to the ocean inside a shell - the dome creates a similar movement of air, with a similarly soothing sound - only its more enveloping. Rather than simply putting your ear to the shell, you go inside it.

If his work seems more tempting than absurd, it's because complaints about noise are becoming increasingly common among modern urban dwellers.

Our homes, offices and streetscapes seem to be clattering relentlessly. In Toronto alone, according to a CBC report last summer, the number of official noise complaints to the city has more than doubled since 2011, rising roughly in tandem with the new skyscrapers that are causing endless construction commotion downtown.

Michael Kimmelman, architecture critic for The New York Times, has described excessive sound pollution as the "unspoken plague of cities." In a 2015 column he wrote: "Often the sound of a place is so pervasive that we stop noticing what we hear."

But maybe the mere presence of noise isn't the whole problem.

In fact, architect Brady Peters, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto's John H. Daniels School of Architecture, Landscape and Design, doesn't even like the word. "The whole notion of noise is an interesting one," he explains. "It's a term that brings to mind unwanted sounds. It has a negative connotation. ... I would tend towards a less judgmental view."

Instead, Peters believes that designers should focus on tuning sound to make it more pleasant when creating the built environment.

Tuning sounds is something that already happens in industrial design, Peters says.

As an example of the potential, he points to the sound of car engines and washing machines. Savvy designers are currently "investigating the sounds that the machines make," he says, which helps "understand the frequencies people positively respond to."

From that, designers "compose" a sound profile that's less rattling and more reassuring. In that way, the sound of a car door closing, say, isn't incidental.

"Someone imagined that it would behave in a particular way," he says. "We can do the same thing with buildings."

Part of the limitation, however, is that, while architects have many tools to help draw, investigate and explore the way buildings look, there aren't similar technologies to test and understand how a space might sound.

Visualization is easy, auralization not so much. Peters hopes to change that. "Part of my investigation is how do you investigate and communicate sound."

Peters has been on the vanguard of new design tools for a long time. Prior to completing his PhD at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture in Copenhagen (his thesis looked at computational methods for predicting, measuring and evaluating sound in architectural spaces), he was an associate partner at Britain's Foster + Partners, a studio known for its boundary-pushing buildings, including, most famously, the cylindrical, pointed skyscraper in central London affectionately called "the Gherkin."

At Foster + Partners, he worked with the Specialist Modelling Group, a research unit within the firm responsible for investigating and developing methods for turning wild ideas into reality. One of Peters's most important projects was a roof enclosure for the courtyard of Washington's historic Smithsonian Institution. Peters wrote a computer script that generated the complex geometry - the glass roof ripples in a way that seems impossible outside of Photoshop - saving the office the impossibility of drawing the undulations using the kind of conventional drawing software more typically used for basic, boxy structures.

The project also helped push Peters to investigate sound. He had to help find a place to hide sound dampeners, lest the space become a giant echo chamber.

There was, however, no room to hide anything between the transparent glass roof and the stone walls of a National Historic Landmark. Although the design team eventually found a way to line the roof's slender structure with the dampeners, the experience made Peters realize that there was no satisfying way to "draw" sound to test its effects on a space.

Although Peters's research is continuing, he has already worked with an international team to build a meeting room whose form is a physical manifestation of acoustically driven design. Called the FabPod, and set within the open-plan office of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Design Hub in Melbourne, Australia, the space looks nothing like the conventional corporate meeting room.

Frankly, it's much cooler - like a cavern somehow formed by a cluster of bubbles. And it likely sounds much better, too.

Rather than straight, parallel walls, which cause flutter echoes (which are "seriously annoying," Peters notes), it is enclosed by hyperboloid "cells" (the gobletlike shape loved by architect Antoni Gaudi, and suspected to be responsible for the excellent acoustics of his Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona, Spain).

The cells help scatter the sound in a way that the conversation is clear, loud and resonant enough to be understandable, but not so quiet that it's "dead."

Each is made from a different material that helps the acoustics: felt for absorption, for example, or aluminum for reflection ("Some reflection helps with communication," says Peters, "you don't want to kill all the sound").

But the bigger challenge is to take the modelling, measuring and design methods necessary to create something such as the FabPod and apply them to a whole, acoustically tuned building (one, maybe, that neutralizes the hum of outdoor construction while making meeting conversations clear and understandable). It won't be easy. "While the tools for room acoustics are limited," Peters says, "tools for building acoustics are non-existent." For now, anyway. Peters recently received some research grants (a Connaught New Researcher Award from the University of Toronto and a grant from the federal Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council) to develop new sound-and-design tools - tools that one day might help the city sound symphonic.

Associated Graphic

The Cork Helmet, designed by Pierre-Emmanuel Vandeputte, helps people block out the noise.

One of the challenges in trying to make offices quiet is how to incorporate sound dampeners. Here, they are part of the furniture.


The FabPod at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Design Hub turns a meeting room into a cavern formed by a cluster of bubbles.


Trudeau to emphasize common ground in meeting with Trump
Officials identify five areas where countries could team up to create jobs and satisfy U.S. security fears
Monday, February 13, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will use his first face-to-face meeting with President Donald Trump on Monday to propose broad areas of co-operation to boost jobs and continental security - ranging from joint infrastructure projects to cyber and energy security and possibly Canada joining the U.S. missiledefence shield.

After the Oval Office meeting, Mr. Trudeau is expected to have an exclusive private lunch with the President in the White House residence, a source said, who noted how hard the Prime Minister and his team have worked at outreach with the Trump administration.

"So this private lunch, on the second floor of the residence, is a big deal."

The highly anticipated White House meeting will include Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Attorney-General Jeff Sessions and top White House aides such as chief strategist Stephen Bannon and Mr. Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Mr. Trudeau will be joined by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.

The two leaders will hold a joint press conference after the meeting is concluded.

A senior government official said the talks are not expected to produce concrete agreements, characterizing the get-together as an opportunity for both men to bond and to broach issues of bilateral trade, border security, Canada-U.S. defence policy and the fight against the Islamic State.

"We will find some broad themes that we can agree to work on over the next several months," the official said.

"But I think the expectation that we have agreed to 14 specific projects or whatever is unrealistic," the official said, speaking on background to The Globe and Mail. "It is more general, agreeing to work on things.

Trying to strike themes we can work together on."

Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Trump will take part in roundtable talks on advancing women in the work force, the Prime Minister's Office confirmed Sunday night.

In addition, officials say Canada envisions at least five broad areas in which the two countries could team up to create jobs and satisfy Mr. Trump's concerns about a secure United States: infrastructure spending on both sides of the border for projects such as rebuilding the electrical grid; increased energy integration through oil and natural-gas pipelines; increased border-security co-operation, such as preclearance of cargo; joint collaboration on cybersecurity; and revamping the North American Aerospace Defence Command to include Canada's participation in the U.S. missile-defence shield.

"NORAD is the only joint-command relationship in the world.

And we have to modernize it and whether that is missile [defence] or whether it is cybersecurity, it is an opportunity to begin to try to draw them out in terms of their thinking [on reforming NORAD] before we finalize our defence policy review," the senior official said.

"There is an awful lot of discussion around cybersecurity as being a growing issue. On homeland security, part of the discussion is to share with them - which I am not sure they are aware of - the degree to which we co-operate day in and day out," the official said.

The key issue in the Oval Office talks and over lunch will be the President's plan to renegotiate the 1994 North American freetrade agreement. Mr. Trudeau will use that opportunity to make the case that the United States and Canada have integrated supply chains and prosper from $886billion of two-way trade.

In his talks with the President, Mr. Trudeau is expected to bring up bilateral areas in which both countries can make inroads - from cleaning up the Great Lakes to thinning the Canada-U.S. border.

"There are things we do that aren't part of NAFTA that are purely bilateral issues and they are not necessarily about tariffs," the official said. "Maybe we can extend preclearance to cargo or maybe we can do some joint infrastructure projects together.

There are all sorts of things like that that aren't part of NAFTA that we can work on."

But again, the official stressed the talks will be broad in range because Mr. Trump's trade team - Commerce nominee Wilbur Ross and prospective U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer - have not yet been confirmed by the Senate.

"They [Mr. Trudeau-Mr. Trump] are going to be reluctant to get into much details because those are going to be part of ongoing discussion [when NAFTA talks begin]. What they will agree I think is that our trading relationship is more or less in balance and therefore anything that disrupts the Canada-U.S. relationship would not be good for either country," the official said.

Former Liberal deputy prime minister John Manley, now president and chief executive officer of the blue-chip Business Council of Canada, said the most important result coming out of the meeting is the personal relationship the Prime Minister can establish with Mr. Trump.

"He has got to build a rapport with the President," Mr. Manley said. "He will want to leave with some understanding of where the President wants to go on NAFTA and at what pace."

Mr. Trudeau has no plans to criticize the President's controversial immigration ban on Syrian refugees or citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries - now the subject of a battle between the White House and U.S. courts - but it is possible he will discuss the confusion and difficulty encountered by some Canadians.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has written an open letter to Mr. Trudeau demanding that he complain to the President about Canadian citizens or permanent residents that have been impacted by the ban.

"There have been at least five publicly known recent accounts of valid Canadian travellers being denied entry to the United States," Mr. Mulcair wrote in a letter obtained by The Globe and Mail. "We would ask you to draw specific attention to the cases of the Canadian families and individuals prevented from entering the United States in order to gain assurances from President Trump that this will not happen again."

The Official Opposition Conservatives have opted for a different strategy than the NDP, preferring to offer their support to Mr. Trudeau as he undertakes the important task of trying to develop a trustful relationship with a mercurial President.

"The Prime Minister should go into this meeting to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negatives," Tory foreign affairs critic Peter Kent said. "There are all sorts of things Canada and the U.S. can co-operate on ... so we have to emphasize similar views on domestic and foreign policy."

Mr. Manley, who helped promote border co-operation after 9/11, said Mr. Trudeau needs to reinforce the high level of sharing of security information between the two countries, including on refugees coming into Canada.

He is a strong proponent of Canada joining the U.S. missile shield as a way to modernize NORAD.

"If the North Koreans are able to fling missiles at the United States, there is no reason to think they couldn't go off course and miss Seattle and hit Vancouver," he said. "Absolutely we should be in their missile defence because it is in both countries' interest. It's not a favour to them, it's a favour to us."

Associated Graphic

One of the issues Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump will be discussing will be increased border-security co-operation.


A speculation-free zone
A $25-million piece of land for sold for $10: How community land trusts could help build affordable housing in Vancouver
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S5

VANCOUVER -- The three buildings - two towers, one lower-rise building - being hammered on and coated with insulation on the banks of the Fraser River in southeast Vancouver don't look any different from the dozens of other buildings going up near them.

On the outside, they're not.

But these three, along with a fourth on Kingsway, are part of an experiment in Vancouver that many hope can kick off a boom of reasonably priced housing in this expensive city.

That's in part because the 358 units are being built on city land that will be protected from the speculative market that has wreaked such havoc here.

It's also because their developer is not a private company but an entity called the Vancouver Community Land Trust Foundation, the organization the city was willing to give, for $10, a 99-year lease for land worth $25-million.

The recently created land-trust foundation is the Vancouver version of a concept for creating and preserving low-cost housing that has sprouted in a few cities around North America.

A growing number of people in British Columbia are viewing this fledgling organization, and community land trusts in general, as the way to provide an important new option in the escalating struggle over housing.

"We see this as a model," says Kira Gerwig, the manager of community investment at Vancity credit union, which is involved with the current foundation project. "This is a new take on the market sector. It's like a socialenterprise development company."

Residents in South False Creek, that huge swathe of city-owned land around Granville Island that sparked Vancouver's rush to urban living in the 1970s, are considering whether a land trust might be the answer to some of their problems.

That group of residents live in 1,800 units that are divided among co-ops, non-profits, or leasehold strata buildings on a chunk of some beautiful waterfront that faces downtown. They have been trying for years to find a way forward that would ensure they get a strong say in future development or redevelopment in the areas - with vacant land along 6th Avenue and a few available parking garages being prime targets - as well as in negotiating leases with the city.

"We've been intrigued by this idea for a long time because of the possibility of achieving something that will meet the community's needs," says Richard Evans, an architect and 30-year resident of the area. People want to ensure future development matches the unique look and feel of the area, with its pattern-language design, numerous walkways and many enclosed courtyards that are ideal for families with children.

City planners have agreed to look at the idea as a possibility.

"The whole purpose [of the plan just approved] is to help us understand what the trade-offs are around that," said the city's manager of community services, Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas.

If the South False Creek group joined the existing Vancouver foundation, it would make it the biggest land trust on the continent.

Advocates talk passionately about how land trusts help remove property from the speculative land market and preserve it forever.

But, in the Vancouver version, people are also attracted by the other power of land trusts - their ability to harness the energy of hundreds of isolated non-profit housing societies and co-ops, combining their land equity and their clout to be able to finance new development.

"It's a combination of a vehicle for growth and a way to redevelop some sites we already have to greater density. This is a way to form partnerships," says Thom Armstrong, chief executive of the Co-op Housing Federation of BC.

Mr. Armstrong is a driving force behind Vancouver's reinvention of this idea. Until recently, his main job was just managing the problems of the existing 264 co-ops, with their 15,000 homes, in British Columbia - mostly a maintenance position.

But the city's decision to experiment with a new way of producing affordable housing prompted him and others to come up with the new land-trust foundation.

(As well, he said, "We stole this idea from a group in Australia, Common Equity Ltd.," which has transformed that country's nonprofit sector.)

Mr. Armstrong is now also the chief executive of the Vancouver land-trust foundation, which was formed three years ago, the product of a collaboration among a group of non-profit and the cofederation.

When the buildings they are now constructing are completed, some units will be rented out at whatever price the market will bear. A few others, just as nice, will be rented for $375 a month, the amount that the provincial government provides for housing people on welfare. Some others that are, again, the same quality and size, will be rented to people for no more than 30 per cent of their declared income.

Within this small project, the well-off will subsidize the less well-off. Even better, this arrangement won't end after 10 years or 60 years, as do some city affordable-housing projects.

That was all possible because the trust was able to take the assets and expertise of the groups under its umbrella. That allowed it to take on a massive new development and a complex crosssubsidization scheme.

Community land trusts have been around a long time in various forms. One of the best known is in Burlington, Vt., where a then-little-known mayor named Bernie Sanders helped make it possible by championing the idea of land trusts in the 1980s.

The Champlain Housing Trust in Burlington, founded in 1984, now manages 565 houses and 2,100 apartments. Some residents own their homes, with the trust retaining some equity, while the owners buy the rest. It is the largest land trust in North America.

Burlington's gift of land is unusual. Most municipalities are unwilling to give away land. And, unlike nature conservancies and trusts that get donations of vast tracts to preserve, there are few private donors willing to give more than a small single lot in expensive cities.

But cities will lease to community land trusts, which provide even better benefits than individual non-profits because they are bigger, more capable of managing multiple projects and they have the capacity to finance large projects.

That emulates, in a way, the social-housing systems that exist in many European cities. There, social-housing organizations are sometimes the biggest developers in a city, as a result of the land and capital they were given by governments after the Second World War to replace decimated housing stock.

Vancouver's land-trust foundation is a long way from that, but Mr. Armstrong is seeing the possibility for the idea to grow spectacularly, performing a service for the many smaller cities in British Columbia that don't have the expertise to develop housing on their own.

The ultimate benefit for people in British Columbia, if it succeeds, is the possibility of significant numbers of new low-cost housing, run by a foundation whose aim is to serve the community.

"When your mandate is to deliver affordable housing," Ms. Gerwig says, "your math is very different from other developers."

Associated Graphic

The Vancouver Community Land Trust Foundation is building four projects on city land it got at a reduced price.


Why we can't afford another #OscarsSoMale
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, February 10, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

At a luncheon Monday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, 163 of 2017's 172 Academy Award nominees gathered for the annual "class photo," six rows of people arrayed in a semi-circle around an oversized gold Oscar. What is the main thing you see in the photo? Suits. Mostly grey or blue. Men's. Once again, the question arises: Where are the women?

Every year, we're guaranteed 10 female nominees, the contenders for best supporting and lead actress. The same goes for male actors, so in terms of parity, that's a wash. But there are also 152 non-acting nominees this year. How many of them are women? A mere 37, or 20 per cent.

No women were nominated for best director. No women for best cinematographer, either, although that's nothing new - no woman has ever been nominated in that category. One woman was nominated for screenwriting, Allison Schroeder for Hidden Figures - and that's in a category that nominates at least 10 people (five for original screenplay, five for adapted), and often more, if there are cowriters.

The Hollywood Reporter noted some progress: Nine out of the 30 producer nominees are women, including Adele Romanski and Dede Gardner (Moonlight), Donna Gigliotti and Jenno Topping (Hidden Figures), Kimberly Steward and Lauren Beck (Manchester by the Sea), Carla Hacken and Julie Yorn (Hell or High Water) and Angie Fielder (Lion).

That's a record, but with a caveat: For most of the Academy's history, there were only five best-picture nominees.

This year there are nine, upping everyone's odds. The Hollywood Reporter even suggested it might be time for a new hashtag campaign: #OscarsSoMale.

The sole category that does have parity - outside the standard "women's categories," makeup and costume design - is a telling one: documentary short. You don't need hefty studio backing to make a doc short; you don't need someone to believe in you enough to hire you and give you a budget. All you need is a camera, a credit card and a story. It's a so-called "smaller" category. Woman-sized.

Why do the numbers of nominees for an awards show matter?

Because what we choose to honour doesn't only tell us who excelled; it tells us who we are. If women aren't integral to our storytelling, it skews the perspective of which stories are "worth" hearing, and how they're told.

At this point, you're likely smacking your head, thinking you've heard all this before. Listen, I would give anything not to be still writing it. But the statistics keep forcing me to, like some film-columnist Ancient Mariner with a dead Oscar hanging around my neck.

According to San Diego State University's Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, which compiles the figures annually, women directed 7 per cent of the top-250 box-office films of 2016, a 2-per-cent decline from 2015. Of those same films, women performed 17 per cent of the non-acting jobs - again, down two points from 2015.

Another study, this one from the University of Southern California, analyzed the gender of the directors of the 1,000 topgrossing films of the past 10 years and found something startling: 80 per cent of the female directors made only one movie in that span. (By contrast, 54.8 per cent of the men directed just once in the same time frame.) It didn't matter how well or poorly their films performed. What mattered, it seems, was that someone in power had given a female director a shot - one shot - and then brushed off their hands, satisfied that was done, and went back to hiring men.

You think I'm exaggerating?

The study also found that over the past 10 years, the share of films directed by women has experienced no significant statistical shift. The gap is so institutionalized, nothing seems to close it. And it moves on down through every department, because female directors are more likely to hire female crew.

Without work, women can't get experience; without experience, they can't get work. And so it goes.

I've seen a lot of movies, and I believe there are certain things we see only if a woman puts them there. Details, such as how a woman who lives alone would know how to zip up a tight dress by using a fork, as writer/director Maren Ade shows us in Toni Erdmann. Textural things, such as the light shining through the tiny hairs on Dakota Johnson's thighs, which director Sam Taylor-Johnson included in Fifty Shades of Grey, adding an intimacy we don't often see in sex scenes.

Significant things: The director of the miniseries The Night Manager, Susanne Bier, not only made the lead investigator a woman (in John le Carre's source novel, it was a man), she cast a very pregnant Olivia Colman, which deepened the life-force/ death-force dichotomy in the show immeasurably. And entire plots: It's unlikely that a man would have written and directed Maggie's Plan, about a woman who wants to give her new husband back to his ex-wife. (Although if a man had written a script as tight and funny as Rebecca Miller did, I bet he would have received an Oscar nod for it.)

As Jill Soloway, the creator of the TV series Transparent, said in a video that aired this past Tuesday at the Maker Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. (its theme is #BeBold), "The show is this incredible opportunity for me to think about things that matter to me as an artist, like gender, politics, feminism, Judaism, God, love, shame."

That's her list, her perspective.

We're only getting to see it, Soloway continues, because despite her many successes writing for Six Feet Under, no one would hire her to make her own show.

Instead, networks and producers gave her these notes: "Could you make your hero a rootable male?" and "I find her dialogue castrating." Eventually, Soloway took a loan from her agent, made the film Afternoon Delight (starring two women) and won a directing award at the Sundance Film Festival. Only then did Amazon give her show a shot.

Now, she's the third woman ever to win an Emmy for directing a comedy series.

The simple fact is, work gets you work. Chances beget chances. In 2012, Colin Trevorrow made a small film called Safety Not Guaranteed. It grossed just over $4-million (U.S.). But then Steven Spielberg caught it, and - his words - saw himself in Trevorrow. He hired him to direct a very large film, Jurassic World. It grossed more than $650-million.

You know what else came out in 2012? Zero Dark Thirty, directed by Kathryn Bigelow. It grossed more than $95-million. Bigelow is the only woman to have ever won a best-director Oscar, for 2008's The Hurt Locker. But if Spielberg saw himself in her, he hasn't said so. And she's not directing Star Wars: Episode IX, either. Colin Trevorrow is.

Associated Graphic

Nominees of the 89th Academy Awards pose for a group portrait at the Nominees Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Monday. There is a distinct lack of female nominees present.


Friday, February 17, 2017


A Globe Film column on Feb. 10 on the Oscars incorrectly said there are 152 non-acting nominees, of which 37 per cent or 20 per cent are women. In fact, there are 197 non-acting nominations, 38 per cent or 19.3 per cent of which are for women.

A quarter-century of division highlighted
The furor over Trump's Supreme Court pick signals a new era of U.S. politics, one borne out of years of partisanship in Washington
Friday, February 10, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A8

Only rarely do the three separate, equal and sometimesconflicting branches of the U.S. government converge on one political issue, but this winter's collision over President Donald Trump's selection to fill a Supreme Court vacancy has engulfed them all in a highstakes conflict that illuminates the emerging new politics in the United States today.

When Mr. Trump exercised his right as the chief of the executive branch to shape the highest level of the judicial branch, he threw the legislative branch into the first consequential battle of the Trump era, underlining the rivalries and resentments that are likely to define the next four years. And while some of the elements of this clash grow out of the ascendancy of Mr. Trump to the presidency, many of the components of this conflict were years in the making.

In any political atmosphere, the selection of Judge Neil Gorsuch - a devoutly conservative scion of a controversial Colorado political family reviled by liberals and environmentalists - to replace the late Antonin Scalia would cause angst among Democrats, worried that the new jurist might help overturn abortion rights and erode civil rights.

But Mr. Trump's scathing critique of various judges as "disgraceful," combined with the failure of the Republicans who control the Senate even to hold hearings on Judge Merrick Garland, former president Barack Obama's selection for that vacancy, has sent the Democrats into a white fury, prompting vows to kill the Gorsuch nomination and threatening a paralysis in the high court.

So in an episode this week, culminating with Mr. Gorsuch's comments that the Trump remarks were "disheartening," all of the hurts, bitterness and rancour of the past quarter-century have been exposed: Deep partisanship on Capitol Hill.

Political polarization in the public. The politicization of the U.S. judiciary. The upheaval of the populist insurrection that Mr. Trump identified a year ago and harnessed in the election three months ago.

"All of the moving parts in American politics are encapsulated in this fight," said former GOP congressman Mickey Edwards of Oklahoma, a onetime national chairman of the American Conservative Union who held an endowed lecture chair in legislative politics at Harvard. "The problem is that both parties now have litmus tests. The idea of independent judiciary is in danger, but so is the idea of an independent legislature."

The result is that the business of U.S. politics no longer has the tint of business-as-usual. In the past, Supreme Court nominees generally were approved regardless of the ideological rigidity of the nominee. Some 30 years ago the most ardent conservative jurist of the age, Mr.

Scalia, was approved by a 98-0 margin. About 25 years ago, the leading liberal jurist of the time, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was approved on a 96-3 vote. The nomination of Mr. Garland was deferred by GOP leaders because they feared he was a liberal, and the nomination of Mr. Gorsuch is threatened because Democrats know he is a conservative.

Mr. Gorsuch's expression of indignation Wednesday at Mr. Trump's commentary on various judges may help mollify liberals and win him some credibility among Democratic skeptics, but his very nomination underlined the importance that the Supreme Court - today roughly divided between four liberals and four conservatives - has in contemporary U.S. politics.

About a fifth of those who voted in the 2016 election identified Supreme Court appointments as "the most important factor" in their decision. More than half of those who identified the high court as the preeminent issue voted for Mr. Trump. The President, elected without a majority, knows that this is no peripheral issue for his constituency.

In the end, Supreme Court nominees are tasked with settling cases. In this case, a Supreme Court nominee has unsettled all of U.S. politics.

Now that Mr. Trump has, like a medieval knight, thrown down the gauntlet, the fight begins - an early but vital test both for his administration and his Democratic rivals. That armoured glove on the political landscape immediately created multiple complications, some procedural (should the Senate change its rules to ease Mr. Gorsuch's way to the high court?), some purely political (should Democrats who face the voters next year in states carried by Mr. Trump find reasons to support Mr. Gorsuch to bolster their own re-election prospects?).

Both questions have the potential to resolve the Gorsuch issue but to leave broad questions in U.S. politics unresolved.

By changing the Senate rules, essentially permitting Mr. Gorsuch's nomination to proceed with the support of 50 lawmakers rather than 60, the Republicans would infuriate the Democrats even as they endanger their own prerogatives the next time a Democratic president presents a Supreme Court nominee to a Senate with a small Democratic majority. Or, by siding with Mr. Gorsuch in a bald effort to salvage their own re-elections, endangered Democrats very likely will create a schism within their own caucus and undermine both the trust and the unanimity that a minority party requires to have any influence in the chamber.

Already, some Democrats have drifted from the party's buoys, evidence that in the end Mr. Gorsuch may prevail. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia took on the noticeable gesture of introducing Rick Perry, Mr. Trump's selection for energy secretary, at the former Texas governor's confirmation hearings; both men represent energy states, to be sure, but Mr. Man.

chin, facing re-election next year, also knows that Mr. Trump carried his state by 42 points in November. Mr. Manchin's support of the controversial nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions as the Trump administration's Attorney-General is a further hint he may be congenial to supporting Mr. Gorsuch for the Supreme Court.

In all, 10 sitting Democratic senators are seeking re-election in states where Mr. Trump prevailed. One of them, Senator Heidi Heitkamp, is running for re-election in North Dakota, where Mr. Trump's victory margin was 36 points. The state's other senator, its lone member of the House of Representatives, and its Governor all are Republicans, leaving Ms. Heitkamp virtually isolated politically - and vulnerable to entreaties from the Trump camp.

Already the lobbying has begun, in some cases with genuine fury, the targets being those 10 Democratic lawmakers from Trump territory, and the pressure coming especially heavily from supporters and opponents of abortion rights - an issue Mr. Trump hardly spoke about in the campaign and as President. One surprise focus of attention: Senator Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, a rare Democrat who opposes abortion rights.

To heighten the drama, the Trump team has selected Kelly Ayotte to shepherd the Gorsuch nomination through the senate.

Ms. Ayotte, a former Republican senator from New Hampshire who was defeated for re-election only months ago, nonetheless is a popular figure in the chamber, especially among moderate Democrats who admired her hard work, diligence and openness. This fight will require all of those attributes, and perhaps more.

David Shribman is executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and a Pulitzer Prize-winner for his coverage of U.S. politics.

Associated Graphic

The nomination of Neil Gorsuch, centre, to the Supreme Court, coupled with the failure of Senate Republicans to even hold a hearing for Barack Obama's nominee, have sent Democrats into a fury.


Chinese authorities fired up as Trump continues to prod Taiwan issue
Beijing's official rhetoric remains tempered, but its media and military are becoming increasingly outspoken against the president-elect as he insists 'everything is under negotiation' days before he takes office
Tuesday, January 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A8

BEIJING -- Donald Trump's use of Taiwan as a bargaining chip has provoked a furious outcry inside China, where it has fanned new flames of nationalism and unleashed calls for China to invade Taiwan.

A week from his inauguration, Mr. Trump said in a Wall Street Journal interview that "everything is under negotiation including 'one China.' " It is the third time he has publicly questioned a principle that most foreign countries, including Canada, have agreed to support - that Taiwan and mainland China form part of a single China.

In response, China this weekend insisted that Beijing treats its claimed ownership of Taiwan as "non-negotiable," saying "there is but one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China."

But the moderate language of China's official rhetoric is increasingly at odds with its own foreign policy, military and media communities, which have grown more outspoken in demanding a harsh rebuke to the United States as Mr. Trump prepares to take office. Some are pushing for China to expand its nuclear arsenal.

Others are openly discussing a trade war with the United States and military takeover of Taiwan.

On Monday, state and Communist Party-controlled media lashed out. The China Daily called Taiwan "a Pandora's box of lethal potential," saying if Mr. Trump uses it as a negotiating chip, "a period of fierce, damaging interactions will be unavoidable, as Beijing will have no choice but to take off the gloves."

The Global Times warned that "chaos" will ensue if Mr. Trump tests China, saying Beijing "will be prompted to speed up Taiwan reunification and mercilessly combat those who advocate Taiwan's independence."

Such nationalist fervour comes during a delicate year for Chinese leadership, as groups and individuals inside the Communist Party jockey for influence ahead of the Party Congress this fall, at which a new roster of senior leadership under President Xi Jinping will be finalized. No one in elite Chinese politics wants to provide an opening to rivals by appearing insufficiently tough on the Taiwan issue.

But some in China's academic establishment are already questioning their country's official response as being too easy on Mr. Trump.

"I would not have expected it to be so soft," said Yan Xuetong, dean of the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University.

"The one-China principle is a precondition for China and the U.S. to have formal diplomatic relations," he said. Without that, "according to my understanding, China should stop any formal diplomatic relationship with the U.S."

That would mean recalling ambassadors, a huge step.

But failing to do so, Prof. Yan said, would also be seen as a huge step inside China, since it would suggest Beijing has stepped back from demanding U.S. respect for what is seen as a foundational sovereignty issue.

Better for China to hit back with force, shutting down its embassy in Washington before pursuing more dramatic options, said Shen Dingli, vice-dean of the Institute of International Affairs at Fudan University. He called a trade war "very likely," and military hostilities "increasingly likely."

"If Mr. Trump is ready to play with fire, let's play," said Prof. Shen, who is among China's top international relations thinkers.

"We can prepare to wage a war to unify China." That would involve taking over Taiwan and making it a Chinese province, with a Beijing-appointed governor.

"We have the capability to do it.

And Mr. Trump could expedite our process to finish it," Prof. Shen said. Do that, and Mr. Trump would lose Taiwan as a "bargaining chip. We will teach him a lesson, that you are wrong."

Naval expert Li Jie, meanwhile, called for upgrades to China's nuclear arsenal and weapons technology to better counter the Trump administration, an idea published in the nationalist tabloid Global Times.

Such proposals are not official policy. And it is growing more difficult to evaluate the authoritativeness of Chinese academics.

China's political atmosphere has grown less open, and universities have been told to exercise greater ideological control over their scholars.

"We don't know if what they tell us is truly a reflection of what they believe or rather what they think they need to say in order to ensure their position and good relations with the Chinese Communist Party," said J. Michael Cole, senior non-resident fellow at the University of Nottingham's China Policy Institute.

The most militaristic drumbeating is unlikely to amount to much, he believes.

"For now, I sense more bluff than anything," he said, although he worries that in the tension between China, Taiwan and the United States, miscommunication could spark accidental conflict.

"Nerves are on edge in Beijing; I'm not sure how much longer the calmer heads there will be able to hold the zealots in check," he said.

So far, China is holding the line on calm. On Monday, foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying reiterated China's position on Taiwan, saying "anyone who tries to take this one-China policy as a bargaining chip, for whatever motive, will be met with firm opposition."

Mr. Trump is not yet in the White House, and hope remains in Beijing that some sort of bargain can be struck to persuade him to change course. The president-elect is still seen as a deal maker, and China is willing to negotiate on trade and investment issues, scholars said. How Mr. Trump's administration will act is also not clear, given that his nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, said last week, "I don't know of any plans to alter the 'one-China' position."

If Mr. Trump deviates from that, Beijing could refuse to recognize the credentials of his chosen ambassador to China, Terry Branstad.

"That would be the first signal to the U.S. that, no, we're not going to have business as usual if you are not following the oneChina policy," said Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Beijing also has many levers to squeeze Taiwan economically, a response that doesn't risk direct conflict with the United States.

"They are very far from a decision that says we are now abandoning peaceful reunification and have to use force," Ms. Glaser said.

Inside China, however, such niceties have faded in favour of heated conversation. If Mr. Trump "wants to use Taiwan as a chip to bargain with China, China will ask him whether he really is ready to go to war over Taiwan," Cao Jingxing, a well-known commentator for Hong Kong broadcaster Phoenix TV wrote Sunday evening on Chinese social media.

It's all part of a "debate happening within China on how we could hit [Mr. Trump] back," said Zhu Feng, executive director of the China Center for Collaborative Studies of the South China Sea at Nanjing University.

It may not always be rational - Prof. Zhu discounts as far-fetched the notion that China is prepared to use military means to overtake Taiwan.

That doesn't mean it should be entirely discounted.

"I hope China's media debate could be some sort of warning to Washington thinkers and policy makers that it's useless to test China's bottom line," he said.

Young and the Restless star works himself into a lather
Eric Braeden opens up about soaps, villainy and his signature facial hair
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R13

It's been 37 years since Eric Braeden stole his first scene as businessman Victor Newman on The Young and the Restless. In his new memoir, I'll Be Damned, the German immigrant shares details about growing up in the years following the Second World War, the decision to change his name (Hans-Jorg Gudegast) to make it in Hollywood, and - of course - a whole bunch of dishy details on playing Genoa City's beloved Black Knight.

You have been playing Victor Newman since 1980, so about half of your life, shooting four days a week. Do you ever have to remind yourself that you are not a billionaire who lives in Genoa City?

It's an interesting question, but no, never. Of course, I wish I could call my pilot to fly to Paris for lunch [like Victor], but as soon as we are finished shooting I don't think about him for one moment. As soap-opera actors, we memorize pages and pages of dialogue. You get into your dressing and you start cramming. You learn to focus on one thing very closely and then you shoot it and then it's done. We shoot over 100 pages every day. A nighttime series does about 10. A film does about two to three. Imagine that.

There isn't time to sit around and bullshit. It's bing, bing, bingDone.

I was surprised to find pictures of you from a premustache era.

What came first, the role on The Y&R or the signature facial hair?

Actually, that started on Gunsmoke in the seventies. I had done five episodes. They wanted me for a different character, so they asked me to grow a mustache and that was it. It just became a part of me. I have never thought of getting rid of it.

In the book, you describe Victor's earliest storyline, where he kidnaps a romantic rival and feeds him dead rats. By the time I started watching in 1988, it seems like the character had become a little less depraved.

Ha! That's right. Victor had a dungeon where he kept his enemies. It depends on the writer, but on the whole, I think he became more civilized and certainly softened by his grandchildren. [When I first took the role on The Y&R], I had spent 20 years playing bad guys. After about a year, I went to them and said, "Listen, I can't do this any more. It's too dehumanizing, too one-dimensional." I was ready to leave and then [creator and head writer] Bill Bell came up with this very complex back story for the character. I remember doing the first scene - it was Christmas Eve and Nikki was married to Victor, but she didn't really know about his background. She kept on probing and probing and then finally he broke down and told her that he was abandoned at an orphanage by his mother, never to see her or his father again. I remember the day I did that scene, I walked to my dressing room and I called my wife and I said, "I want to stay." It just opened a whole wide range of emotions and vulnerabilities.

Victor and Nikki is the love story that keeps on giving. Pop quiz: Do you know how many times you two have married and remarried?

I don't know. Four or five times?

Maybe more. Victor has so much money, he doesn't care.

What is it about that relationship that viewers love so much?

You know, I really don't know and I don't want to know because I don't want to analyze it. Melody Thomas Scott [Nikki] and I obviously have chemistry, but other than that, thinking too much about things is not my approach to acting. I just want to do a scene and see what happens in that scene.

You say you and Peter Bergman - a.k.a. Victor's arch nemesis Jack Abbott - have adapted to each other's very different styles of acting. How so?

Peter is an immaculately prepared actor. I love working with him. I always tell him that I think he sleeps in his suit. He comes to rehearsal fully dressed as Jack. My way is different, but we got to a place where we both respect each other's way of doing things.

I will never forget the famous scene where Victor has the heart attack after exploding on Jack. Is it fun to play those major temper-tantrum scenes?

I like to do them if it's justified in the script and it comes out of something that is real. I want it to feel organic, not just for the sake of it. The moments that I like the most are when he is more vulnerable. I have never been as big on the manipulative cold stuff.

But you're so good at it! I know, I know.

Do you have a least-favourite storyline?

I do, but think I'm made in a way where I try to forget things.

I think I speak for a lot of fans when I say the Victor/Sharon romance felt all kinds of wrong.

Well, that turned into something that it shouldn't have been. I had suggested that wouldn't it be incredible to do a story where a father has something to do with his son's wife. Absolute taboo, but dramatically very interesting.

My suggestion was Sharon seduces Victor and he succumbs to it, but after he is so deeply ashamed and embarrassed that he leaves town. I thought he could go to Greece and join an order of Gregorian monks. Meanwhile, [private investigator] Paul Williams is getting more and more on the track. Victor gets wind of this and he escapes again and then when we see him again he's under a freeway in L.A. He's started drinking and finally his son and his daughter find him and confront him. He has become a bum and he is in so much agony over what he did that he isn't sure if he wants to go back. So that's what I wanted to do and then they turned it into this total nonsense where Victor gets married to Sharon and I hated it. I hated it! It was a waste of a great story.

Wow! Do actors on The Y&R often suggest story lines?

Some do, but I don't very often at all. That's one that I thought could have been great, but they did a stupid job.

In the book you take issue with the stereotype that soaps are the domain of bored housewives and people in nursing homes.

It's just such a cliché and total nonsense. Soaps are watched in all stratas of society, from the ghetto to the highest place. Years ago, Sports Illustrated did a story.

They were fascinated by the fact that all kinds of pro athletes were fans of the show - George Foreman, Muhammad Ali, Tommy Hearns, George Chuvalo. It's not that housewives don't watch, it's just that our audience is so diverse. I'm very proud of that.

A Sixties Scoop survivor's tale
Marcia Brown Martel was taken away as a child under a policy that separated Indigenous children in Ontario from their families. Now a chief in her community, she's at the centre of a court ruling that calls on the government to right a wrong that has haunted her and others for decades. Tu Thanh Ha tells her story
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A8

There are no records left to explain why Marcia Brown Martel had to be taken from her family when she was a fouryear-old growing up in an aboriginal community in northeastern Ontario.

When, as an adult, she asked for a copy of her file from childwelfare authorities, all she got was a one-page summary that gave no explanation why she had been placed in foster care.

The sheet said her mother had signed a consent form - which couldn't be true since her mother didn't know then how to sign her name.

Years later, when Ms. Brown Martel found her way home, she discovered another falsehood.

All the time she was away, enduring loneliness, abuse and suicidal urges, her family hadn't tried to reclaim her. They had been told she was better left in foster care because she had a mental disability.

She remembered her father's face turning red with anger when they reunited many years later. "They lied to me. They lied to me," he said.

Ms. Brown Martel and 16,000 other Ontario aboriginal people were caught in what became known as the Sixties Scoop.

Officially, it was an agreement extending Ontario's child-welfare system to aboriginal children. In effect, for two decades, children were forcibly removed and placed with non-Indigenous families.

Though less known than the residential schools, the Sixties Scoop left a similarly painful mark on children who were suddenly cut off from their families, culture and language. On Tuesday, a judge ruled that the "scooped" children of Ontario were entitled to damages that could total up to $1.3-billion.

The judgment could have an impact in other provinces, where thousands of others are also seeking redress before the courts.

The lead plaintiff in the Ontario case was Ms. Brown Martel, who, in a remarkable life twist, reconnected with her family after nearly 14 years and eventually became chief of her community.

It was vindication for a woman who was so scarred that for years she woke up each morning thinking about suicide. "It was like carrying a bag of dead bones," she said in an interview the day after the historic judgment.

She was born in 1963 as Sally Susan Mathias, the second youngest of seven Algonquin siblings. Her parents, Alex and Jemima, lived in the Beaverhouse First Nation, a remote settlement that is mainly reached by boat or snowmobiles.

She says she remembers growing up happy, playing on the shores of the Misema River.

Then her world changed the summer she was 4 and strangers speaking a language she didn't understand took her and a sister, Lynn, into a boat.

Before she was wrenched from her family, her sister Nancy told her to memorize that she was Sally Susan Mathias of the Beaverhouse in Kirkland Lake.

For the next five years, she lived in 10 different foster homes in northern and central Ontario. Sometimes, she could visit Beaverhouse, but would be returned to foster care, so that her brief time home would be filled with dread, expecting the sound of the boat that would fetch her again.

At first, she and Lynn were together, but one day she was told her sister no longer wanted to be in the same house and they were separated.

"You know that scene in the movies when a child is in the back seat of a car, looking back through the window? I did that for real and it broke my heart."

Some of the foster homes were abusive households. "I wondered if a person could hit me to the point I would die," she said.

She learned to gauge adults and spot the ones who would hurt her, the ones who would not be helpful. She learned that no one cared about her feelings and that it was better to keep quiet and observe. "I was this little person, alone in the world ... Nobody wanted me."

When she was 9, she was placed for adoption with a family in Southern Ontario.

"What happens if I say no?" she asked at the court hearing.

The judge didn't pick up on her hint so she went along. She was given a new name, Marcia Brown.

Her adoptive mother wanted a girl who could be put in pretty dresses. Instead, she got a tomboy who had been sexually abused and didn't want to make herself attractive - "because I know what happens to pretty girls."

At bath time, she was washed roughly, to "scrub the brown off" her.

Again, she was physically abused. She wondered why no one at school raised concerns when she would show up with bruises. "I must be invisible to them," she thought.

By the time she was a teen, her adoptive parents had split.

She lived in Texas with her adoptive mother. She got pregnant and had to put her newborn up for adoption.

Her growing estrangement from her adoptive mother culminated just before Ms. Brown Martel turned 18. She was driven to the airport and handed a plane ticket to Canada.

Because she had memorized her original name and hometown, her adoptive mother had managed to contact one of Ms. Brown Martel's relatives, her sister Nancy.

That May, with no money and wearing her Texan summer dress and sandals, Ms. Brown Martel landed in North Bay.

Nancy was waiting for her and took her back to Beaverhouse.

Conversations were limited at first because she had forgotten much of her Algonquin. She also had no shared childhood memories that could help her bond with her relatives. But she said she felt a sense of belonging. She was among people who thought the way she did. She could recognize their social code, their body language.

She camped in the bush with her family, learned trapping, watched how the elders cleaned a moose with knives.

She finished her last year of high school in North Bay, where she discovered that a fellow student was her younger brother Terry. He was an infant when she was taken away and was eventually "scooped" into foster care too.

She searched for her records and discovered that Sally Susan Mathias had been declared dead.

After a decade reacquainting herself with her community, she spoke up for the first time at a public meeting. She was eventually elected to the band council. She and another Scoop survivor launched their lawsuit in 2009.

In 2011, she became chief of the 285-member Beaverhouse First Nation.

"Here I am now ... I didn't seek retribution. I didn't seek to blame. I wanted to share with people what I had learned."

Her lawsuit only sought $85,000 in damages for each survivor. But she got a judgment stating that the Canadian government had failed in its duty of care.

The day of her court victory, she joined in ceremonial drumming and singing. The song, she said, spoke about the flight of eagles and, like soaring birds, her spirits that day felt lighter.

Associated Graphic

Beaverhouse First Nation Chief Marcia Brown Martel stands for a portrait before attending a news conference, in Toronto on Tuesday, after a judge ruled in her favour in a class-action lawsuit.


Not today, namaste: Lay your cards on the yoga mat to consent to physical adjustments
Thursday, February 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

VICTORIA -- If you practise yoga, there's a good chance a teacher's hands have been on you at some point, perhaps pressing your sacrum, aligning your hips or fixing your foot position. Physical adjustments are often part of the yoga-class experience.

The teacher moves through the studio and may stop at times to help - perhaps dropping a student's shoulders for Warrior II or helping someone reach a deeper expression of a pose such as uttanasana.

But for some people, staying centred in your yoga practice can be difficult when you're worried about a stranger touching you - even if that "stranger" is a well-meaning yoga teacher you might actually know fairly well.

"There might be any number of reasons why someone might not feel like being touched that day," says Sarah Holmes de Castro, a yoga teacher who delivers trauma-informed yoga programs.

"You could be meeting a teacher for the first time and you think, 'Oh, their bio looks great but I'm not sure I want their hands on me; they haven't even introduced themselves to me yet.' " Communicating that desire to a teacher is not always possible.

Even if the teacher asks, a student may feel self-conscious opting out so publicly. And if the class is large enough, the teacher might simply forget.

A group of yoga professionals in Victoria is launching what they hope will become a standardized approach for students to communicate their preferences regarding physical adjustments.

The women have created consent cards that can be discreetly placed at the front of a mat during class, allowing the wishes of the practitioner to be known.

One side says, "Yes please; I welcome adjustments" with an illustration of a yoga stick-figure person in an open-armed pose emerging from a blue lotus. The flip side advises, "No adjustments; I'm taking care of myself," with the stick figure hugging themselves atop an orange lotus.

"It's about empowering people to make their own choices and to not have that taken away from them," yoga teacher Jen Craig-Evans, who came up with the idea, explains during a recent interview in Victoria, where the consent cards will be launched at the Victoria Yoga Conference (VYC) this weekend.

Craig-Evans, who teaches trauma-informed yoga, almost never offers physical adjustments. Nor does she issue directives to students.

"I invite you to close your eyes when you're ready. Find a tall, comfortable seat and begin to deepen your breath," is how she typically begins a yoga class. Later, when it's time to move into a lunge, she will say, "When you're ready to, take a big step back with your right foot." Note the language: "I invite you"; "when you're ready to." An invitation or request rather than a command.

Craig-Evans was fresh off a training course in therapeutic yoga for trauma, resilience and emotional well-being at Langara College in Vancouver when she attended a large, public class in Victoria. The teacher began by saying she and her assistant would be offering physical adjustments.

"On this particular day, I actually didn't want them," Craig-Evans says. "So my ability to really be in my body and my practice, I felt, was lessened.

Because I was sort of on this high alert of when is she going to walk up behind me and touch me?" Craig-Evans cooked up the idea for the consent cards over brunch with VYC organizer Carolyne Taylor and Holmes de Castro, who is a certified traumasensitive yoga facilitator and was one of the evaluators at CraigEvans's Langara course.

Their shared concerns around physical adjustments and consent led to a discussion of flipchips: a similar concept to the cards; they say "assist" on one side and "no hands-on assist" on the other. The women knew vaguely about them, but despite all their yoga experience, had never seen them in use. Inspired by the flip-chip model and eager to raise awareness and make the issue of consent on the mat more pervasive in British Columbia (and beyond), they decided to make their own cards.

Holmes de Castro, who began practising yoga after a traumatic event - she was sexually assaulted by an armed stranger when she was in her early 20s - is director of programs with Yoga Outreach, which offers traumainformed yoga at communityservice facilities such as mentalhealth centres, prisons and residential addiction-treatment centres, including Onsite, which is above Vancouver's supervised injection site, Insite.

Even beyond these settings, she believes yoga is often used in North America as a modality to heal. And she says it's particularly important that people who fall into that category - including the people she has worked with through Yoga Outreach - be able to consent to physical adjustments.

"They just felt like they're perpetually getting it wrong because this person is coming along and fixing what's going on with them. And if that's been their experience throughout their life, that they haven't been able to get it right somehow, then that just becomes replicated in a yoga space."

Holmes de Castro says the cards are timely; they tap into current awareness around consent, autonomy and empowerment. She also points out that sometimes the adjustments may aggravate a physical condition or simply be uncomfortable.

She tells a story about an incident she heard about while training at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Massachusetts. In a large class - there were more than 40 students - a student put up her hand and said she didn't want to be touched during the class. Halfway through, the teacher, who had forgotten, came around and adjusted her. Then he said "oh that's right; you're the person that didn't want to be adjusted," and had a little laugh, Holmes de Castro recalls. "You're being mocked for the choice that you just tried to make, that was not honoured and was called out."

Taylor has been practising yoga since she was a child - she believes yoga probably saved her mother's life as she dealt with a dysfunctional marriage. At that brunch - which was only past November - she registered the consent on the map domain while still at the restaurant. She hopes the can help standardize an approach to consent in yoga and is encouraging all participants at her conference to use them.

"Next year when the yoga conference rolls around, I want this to not be a new thing, but just a thing that is," Taylor says. "You bring your yoga mat to yoga and you bring your consent card to yoga. It's just what you bring in your yoga bag."

The Victoria Yoga Conference runs Feb. 10-13 at the University of Victoria. Consent cards will be available for use there. They're also available for purchase - $10 for a set of 20 inside a muslin carrying bag, with proceeds to Yoga Outreach.

Associated Graphic

Local yoga practitioners and creators of the yoga consent cards, from left, Danielle Pope, Sarah Holmes de Castro, Carolyne Taylor and Jen Craig-Evans sit together on Feb. 2 at Ajna Yoga in Victoria.


Judge sides with Sixties Scoop survivors
Ontario court rules that Ottawa is liable to thousands of province's native people who were removed from their homes as children
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A3

TORONTO, OTTAWA -- Marcia Brown Martel remembers the day when she was four years old and provincial child-welfare officials took her away from her Ojibwa community near North Bay in 1967.

"I was this big," she said, raising her hand to waist level.

Raised in foster care then adopted by a non-native family, all she recalled of her ancestry was her original name, Sally Susan Mathias, and the name of the Beaverhouse First Nation of Kirkland Lake.

Years later, back in North Bay and searching for her roots, she launched a class-action suit against the federal government.

After a legal battle that lasted nearly a decade, a judge has sided with Ms. Brown Martel, ruling on Tuesday that Ottawa is liable to thousands of Ontario natives who were removed from their communities and adopted into non-indigenous families, in what became known as the Sixties Scoop.

Carolyn Bennett, the federal Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, said she had "absolutely" no intention of appealing the Ontario ruling. A government official later pointed out that some technical issues may need to be clarified by a court. That does not alter the government's desire to reach a negotiated settlement across Canada, he said.

"Great harm was done. ... The 'scooped' children lost contact with their families. They lost their aboriginal language, culture and identity. Neither the children nor their foster or adoptive parents were given information about the children's aboriginal heritage or about the various educational and other benefits that they were entitled to receive. The removed children vanished 'with scarcely a trace,' " Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba said in his decision.

Under a 1965 deal with Ontario, Ottawa allowed the province to extend the delivery of its child welfare to Indians with reserve status. The agreement explicitly said bands had to be consulted before Ontario welfare services were applied to them.

In fact, that wasn't the case and Canada failed in its duty of care, the judge concluded. "The evidence supporting the plaintiff on this point is, frankly, insurmountable," Justice Belobaba wrote.

Now the chief of the Beaverhouse First Nation, Ms. Brown Martel's voice broke as she met reporters at a Toronto news conference launched with chants and drumming. "What a day this is ... when one hears the truth after that much time," she said.

Damages have yet to be awarded in the case. The claimants are asking for $1.3-billion - $85,000 for each of the expected 16,000 class members, who were placed with non-native families between 1965 and 1984.

The Ontario ruling could have some impact on similar cases across the country, although it took a distinct line of argument because it hinged specifically on the 1965 agreement between Canada and Ontario, the plaintiff's lead lawyer, Jeffery Wilson, told reporters.

"There will obviously be an overflow or ripple effect," he said.

Dr. Bennett said her government is intent on reaching negotiated settlements in all cases brought against Ottawa by indigenous claimants who were harmed as children.

Some estimates suggest that as many as 200,000 indigenous children were removed from their homes across Canada as part of the Sixties Scoop. So the costs of a settlement to all of those harmed could be enormous.

But Dr. Bennett said that, for many victims, the resolution will be about more than money.

"Money is important," she said, "but getting their language and culture back, making sure their children will be able to speak their language and be immersed in their culture, that is hugely important and that is why there are so many things that we as a government want to do."

In the days before Justice Belobaba handed down his decision, government lawyers asked for a meeting among the parties to determine whether the ruling could be stalled while a settlement was being negotiated. The lawyers on the Ontario case were furious at the legal manoeuvre and lashed back with a letter to Justice Belobaba urging him to refuse the request. That prompted the Justice Department lawyers to back away from their proposal for an abeyance. But Dr. Bennett said she believes their intentions were "misunderstood."

Separate Sixties Scoop cases have been launched in a number of provinces and, in some cases, law firms have initiated competing class-action claims in the same jurisdiction. Some of the cases outside Ontario are based on the same argument that the Sixties Scoop victims who were taken from their homes on reserves were deprived of their aboriginal identity.

Others initiated by the Merchant Law Group go further to claim physical and sexual abuse, to include all indigenous children who were removed from their homes to be adopted by white families - not just those who were taken from reserves - and to add the provinces as defendants along with the federal government.

Lawyers from four firms, including the Merchant group, met with government officials in late December to begin the negotiating process.

Scott Robinson of the Koskie Minsky law firm, which has initiated cases in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, said the Belobaba decision was "powerful" in that the judge made point-blank statements that the Sixties Scoop occurred and harm was done.

All of the cases across Canada are similar, Mr. Robinson said, but each province had different agreements with the federal government, making a national class-action suit on this issue impossible. David Klein, who is representing clients in British Columbia, said the ruling will be helpful because the judge found that Ottawa owed a duty of care to indigenous children.

And "regardless of the ruling, Canada has expressed a strong interest in resolving this litigation," Mr. Klein said. "My impression is that the government is sincere in its desire to develop a restorative solution for the Sixties Scoop tragedy."

Despite the talks about settlements, the Ontario suit dragged through the courts because federal lawyers tried eight times under two different governments to have the case thrown out, Mr. Wilson noted.

Federal lawyers also argued that there is no evidence that native bands could have helped explain their cultures to adoptive families if they had been consulted, a position that the judge said he found "odd and, frankly, insulting."

Justice Belobaba said numerous documents showed that First Nations representatives had offered to help the removed children understand their rights and reconnect with their roots.

Already in the 1960s, the judge wrote, the importance of preserving native cultures and traditions was well-understood.

The decision also criticized the federal government's failure to inform the apprehended aboriginal children and their adoptive families about their aboriginal identity or their various federal entitlements.

Experts' evidence in the case outlined how the abrupt removal of the children "resulted in psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, unemployment, violence and numerous suicides."

Justice Belobaba noted that the expression "Sixties Scoop" was coined after an author heard that child-welfare officials "would literally scoop children from reserves on the slightest pretext."

Associated Graphic

Beaverhouse First Nation Chief Marcia Brown Martel, left, hugs the plaintiffs' co-lawyer Jeffrey Wilson during a news conference in Toronto on Tuesday. Ms. Martel is a plaintiff in an Ontario class-action suit against the federal government.


Golden Guay on top of the world again
Osborne-Paradis celebrates birthday with a bronze as the senior citizens of Canada's national ski team make history by finishing 1-3 in the super G
Thursday, February 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

At 35, Erik Guay was already the most decorated ski racer in Canadian history, with 24 World Cup podium finishes and the 2010 World Cup title in men's super G. But on Wednesday, Guay carved out a new piece of skiing history by becoming the oldest gold medalist ever at the world championships with a win in the super G race in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

The victory brought Guay's distinguished career full circle and had him momentarily in tears in the finish area.

"Luckily, I had my goggles on, so nobody could see that," he said in a telephone interview.

"But my first world championships were here in 2003, so you can imagine, 14 years later, coming back to the same event - it is a special feeling.

"In any sport, if you're able to hang around until your mid-30s or later, it's a testament to your will and determination. So I'm proud of the fact that I can still compete with the young guys - and I'm certainly proud that I'm able to stay ahead of them."

It was a memorable day for both Guay and his long-time teammate on the Canadian men's speed team, Manuel Osborne-Paradis, who celebrated his 33rd birthday in style, capturing the bronze medal after starting the race from the 26th position. His late-day heroics knocked Norway's Aleksander Aamodt Kilde off the podium.

According to Osborne-Paradis, it was a telephone call from Guay shortly before he entered the starting gate that helped fuel his energy levels for the run.

"To be honest, I was feeling a little lethargic at the start," said Osborne-Paradis of Invermere, B.C. "Then I watched him on TV and got super-jazzed. He phoned me four minutes before I pushed out of the gate, and we talked about the course. He gave me the lowdown on how it was feeling and what I should be thinking.

"Without that phone call, and without him inspiring me, there's no chance. I mean, super G is not my main event. I kind of found an inner-self there to do that. As individual as this sport is, he did that for me and I could have beaten him, but this is how it works. You have to be a team to win individually, and that's totally what happened today."

Guay of Mont-Tremblant, Que., edged Olympic super G champion Kjetil Jansrud of Norway by 0.45 seconds to record his first victory in almost three years.

Jansrud, the silver medalist, was at 31 the youngest man on the podium.

Remarkably, Guay was less than two weeks removed from a spectacular crash at GarmischPartenkirchen in which the airbags in his race suit saved him from suffering more serious injuries.

According to Guay, he emerged from the spill relatively unscathed: "When I did my roll, the airbag went off and I landed on the airbag and it protected me from the majority of the injuries.

"I still had some major hematomas on my butt, but everything else was good."

The 1-3 finish for the Canadian men at a major event, with the men's downhill still to be run on Saturday, could greatly enhance the profile of Canada's alpine skiing team, which is trying to find its place in a crowded national sporting landscape.

"What makes Canada unique is we are a winter sports nation with a real legacy of being competitive in many summer sports," said Ken Read, who along with the other Crazy Canucks of the 1970s - Steve Podborski, Dave Irwin, Dave Murray and Jim Hunter - helped put Canada on the international skiing map.

Read is still an International Ski Federation technical delegate, and his son, Erik, is a member of the men's national technical team.

"With a population base of about 35 million, we won 25 medals in Sochi and 22 in Rio.

No other country of our size is like that.

"So yes, that makes the Canadian sport landscape very crowded. Within Canada, what's happened is you've got to be a podium performer if you want to get any attention."

Read retired from competitive skiing at the age of 27, which was more commonplace in his day. Now, careers are lasting far longer, for a variety of reasons - from the financial to the technical.

"The inherent nature of sport is to push boundaries, so it's no surprise that the boundary of age gets pushed as well," Read said.

"People train better and they train smarter. Sport continues to evolve. In swimming, it used to be thought you were done in your 20s. How old is Michael Phelps now? It's been a good month for older athletes - Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Tom Brady.

"In alpine skiing, there has always been a handful of athletes who stayed a long time.

Karl Schranz was forced to retire at 34, which doesn't put him too far off where the top guys are now.

"But on the other side, you had Jean-Claude Killy and Nancy Greene stop at 24, and no one thought that was unusual.

They retired and then went on to make their fortunes, which is how it used to be. Now, with prize money and sponsorships, it's all an integrated package."

According to Osborne-Paradis, longevity on the so-called White Circus has been enhanced by changes in course preparation to promote safety.

"The courses are not as icy," he said. "It's grippier snow. The fencing is safer. The equipment for sure is safer. It's way easier to fall - your bindings release, grab you better. We wear airbags now.

"Three years ago, when we couldn't wear airbags, Erik probably couldn't have walked away from his crash at Garmisch last week. He would have had a broken collarbone, shoulder - everything. Now, he can fall like that, get up and, a week later, win a medal.

"Just our doctors, and the improvements in sport science and medicine - all those things have allowed us to go on longer."

With the downhill still looming on the world championship schedule, Guay said he was planning to hold off on the celebration for a few more days.

"Obviously, you have to enjoy the moment, but we still have a job to do and we're still here for a couple more days, so we want to do everything possible to get back up on the podium Saturday," he said.

"Today, in the starting gate, I was nervous, but in the twominute lead-up, I was able to calm myself down and I felt really focused. I knew in my head what I wanted to do - take chances where I needed to and not leave anything on the hill.

"We say that quite a bit - 'Don't have any regrets when you get to the finish line' - and I certainly didn't have any today."

Associated Graphic

Erik Guay, 35, reacts in the finish area after moving to the top of the standings in the super G event at the world championship in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Wednesday.


Trudeau, Trump to hold talks at White House on Monday
Friday, February 10, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

OTTAWA, WASHINGTON -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will travel to Washington on Monday to hold talks at the White House with Donald Trump, hoping to develop a personal bond of trust with an unpredictable U.S. President who is pushing an America First trade and global agenda.

This will be the first face-to-face encounter between the two leaders with radically different approaches to trade, immigration and international relations, although they have had two telephone conversations since Mr. Trump became President.

"They look forward to discussing the unique relationship be.

tween Canada and the United States of America and how we can continue to work hard for middle-class Canadians and Americans, together," said Kate Purchase, the Prime Minister's communications director.

The challenge for an avowed social progressive like Mr. Trudeau is to paper over his differences with the new President and find common ground on economic and national-security issues. Top of the agenda will be trade relations, particularly the President's plans to renegotiate the 1994 NAFTA agreement. Another item on Canada's radar is a U.S. proposal to impose a "border-adjustment tax" on foreign imports.

The talks also will likely focus on Russia, the fight against the Islamic State and Canada's contribution to NATO.

The President does not yet have his trade team in place because the U.S. Senate has still not confirmed Wilbur Ross as Commerce Secretary, Robert Lighthizer as trade representative and Treasury Secretarynominee Steven Mnuchin.

"This gives the Prime Minister the opportunity to probe discreetly and try to find out what their intentions are and make the point that our relations are not like others," said former Canadian ambassador to Washington Derek Burney, who has been an informal adviser to Mr. Trudeau along with former Progressive Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney.

Even more important is for Mr. Trudeau to develop the kind of chemistry that Mr. Mulroney had with Ronald Reagan, once considered a hard-right conservative who was unpopular in Canada.

"We were a bit smug about Ronald Reagan yet there was no president where we achieved as much as that guy in a long, long time," Mr. Burney said.

Mr. Burney expressed confidence that the Prime Minister, known for his charm and charisma, will be able to win over the real estate tycoon and former reality-show star even if they share different ideologies.

"Those guys were both not expected to win and they both won. They are both creatures of social media. So they have a lot in common," Mr. Burney said.

"They don't have an ideology in common but does anybody really know what Donald Trump's ideology is? Even Republicans don't know."

Mr. Trump is known to have been unhappy after the Prime Minister delivered an effusive statement on the death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The Washington Post has also described Mr. Trudeau as "a leader of the liberal global resistance to President Trump" and said his message of "inclusivity and multiculturalism stands in contrast" to that of the U.S. leader.

Amnesty International picked up on that theme in an open letter to Mr. Trudeau on Thursday, urging him to confront the President about human rights - from the ban on Syrian refugees and citizens from seven Muslimmajority countries to his support for torture.

"Prime Minister Trudeau cannot equivocate when he sits down for his first face-to-face meet with President Trump. He must make it clear that Canada needs and expects the President to advance human-rights protections at home and abroad; not set it back," said Béatrice Vaugrante, director-general of Amnesty International Canada.

But Conservative trade critic Gerry Ritz said Mr. Trudeau must be vigilant about not coming across as anti-Trump, even if it may be popular in Canada.

"At the end of the day, we've got a President down there who ... you know, he takes this stuff with a very thin skin. He's not a politician; he's a businessman," he said.

Monday's meeting comes as Trudeau cabinet ministers have moved quickly to reach out to Mr. Trump's cabinet secretaries to seek areas of agreement and to demonstrate the Canadian government's desire to develop a positive relationship with the new Republican administration.

Canadian government sources have said Ottawa is trying to pre-emptively reinforce for Americans how beneficial its trading ties with Canada are before Mr. Trump gets down to the NAFTA talks.

"In any trade relationship, there is a possibility of improvement so we are not of the view that we shouldn't relook at NAFTA or any trade relations to see if there are ways we can improve it," Finance Minister Bill Morneau said during a talk at Washington's Georgetown University on Thursday.

Mr. Morneau said it was too early to get into specifics on what might be up for discussion in NAFTA, but he said Ottawa believes there are some areas for improvement, such as on adapting the agreement for the digital age.

In his public comments, Mr. Morneau avoided the tough message of Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who warned of Canadian retaliation in the event the Trump administration imposes new protective tariffs.

Ms. Freeland was in Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday to meet congressional leaders and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, where she pressed the case against any moves to raise tariff walls against Canadian exports.

"I did make clear that we would be strongly opposed to any imposition of new tariffs between Canada and the United States, that we felt tariffs on exports would be mutually harmful to both Canada and the United States and that, if such an idea were ever to come into being, Canada would respond appropriately," Ms. Freeland told reporters after her sit-down with Mr. Tillerson.

Mr. Morneau offered a different message on Thursday, saying Ottawa is seeking to convince U.S. officials that Mr. Trudeau's government shares Mr. Trump's objective of helping a struggling middle class.

"I'm focused on creating a better outcome for Canadians and Americans," he told reporters.

"What the U.S. administration is trying to achieve - good-paying jobs for Americans - is consistent with what we're trying to achieve. We've got a much more positive starting point that we can work from."

Mr. Morneau said the Trudeau government holds the view that NAFTA has been economically beneficial for the United States and Canada, pointing out that trade between both nations is about $670-billion (U.S.) a year.

Unlike the large trade deficit that the United States has with Mexico, the country has a slight surplus with Canada.

Mr. Trump says he wants to "speed up" renegotiation of NAFTA, an accelerated approach that could increase the bargaining pressure on Canada as the country tries to find a way to emerge unscathed from a rewriting of the rules of commerce with its largest trading partner.

Associated Graphic

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives in Iqaluit on Thursday. Mr. Trudeau is set to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington on Monday, where they will likely discuss NAFTA.


Forget HBO, FX is the quality channel now
An emphasis on patience and diversity is paying off in spades, as the network's shows continue to rake in awards hand over fist
Tuesday, January 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L2

PASADENA, CALIF. -- 'Do you want it now, or do you want it good?" John Landgraf asked a room full of TV writers and reporters here at the critics' news tour the other day.

The president of FX was answering a question about the next season of Atlanta, which got two Golden Globes days earlier, but won't return this year because its creator and lead actor, Donald Glover, has a major role in the next Star Wars movie. He was also referring to American Crime Story, which tackled the O.J. Simpson murder trial last year and was widely considered the best drama of that TV season. The announced second instalment, set to tackle the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, will not air until 2018.

Landgraf's rhetorical answer says a lot about FX. The U.S. cable channel isn't going to rush anything. Quality matters more than quantity. The we-can-wait attitude is, in the context of television, extraordinary. Time was, anything that got ratings, whether on network or cable, was rushed back into production.

FX is now considered the bestrun channel in the business.

Some call it "the best curated" channel. It has an extraordinary lineup of shows for an ad-supported basic-cable service. As Landgraf pointed out - not boasting, but just listing achievements - "In 2016 we received 56 Emmy nominations and had 18 wins, both cable records and more than any other broadcast basic-cable or streaming brand. We recently won four Golden Globe Awards, which is more than any other network or streaming service." Fact is, as far as many critics and some of the public is concerned, HBO is on the wane, struggling to find truly original, commanding, must-see TV. While almost everything that FX does is compelling.

The FX boss is a great favourite of critics. He pays attention to us, reads our reviews (he also remembers our names, which is ultrapolite in this racket) and studies them. He took some pleasure in pointing out that FX examined the year-end Top 10 lists of 152 critics for 2016. "FX just edged out HBO, although statistically we'd call it a tie, tallying 406 inclusions while HBO totalled 403, and Netflix ranked third with 344. The People v. O.J. Simpson was No. 1 with 128; Atlanta was No. 2 with 119; The Americans was ranked No. 3 with 91; Game of Thrones, No. 4 with 74 and Stranger Things, No. 5 with 73."

How does FX do it? There's no easy or concrete answer to that.

But there are clues. Loyalty to talent is certainly a factor. FX has, for instance, given Ryan Murphy enormous creative freedom - and he delivers, with American Horror Story and The People v. O.J. Simpson. His next series, coming this spring, is Feud: Bette and Joan.

Outright reviews are embargoed right now, but I can tell you it is delicious, a dramatization of the making of the 1962 psychological thriller, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? that delves deep into the long-running feud between its stars, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Consider the cast. The panel to present Feud includes Susan Sarandon (who plays Bette Davis), Jessica Lange (Joan Crawford), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Olivia de Havilland), Kiernan Shipka (Sally Draper on Mad Men) and Alison Wright (who played Martha on The Americans). Also in the series are Judy Davis and Stanley Tucci.

Jessica Lange called Feud: "a microcosm of what happens to women generally as they age, whether they become invisible, or unattractive, or undesirable." She noted that Joan Crawford was a decade younger than Lange is now when she made Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, a movie that was difficult to finance because the two actresses were considered over-the-hill and simply unattractive. In the first episode of the series, studio boss Jack Warner is quoted as being dismissive of the project because, well, nobody would want to have sex with those women. Except that he puts it in much cruder terms.

A key aspect of FX's success, some would say, has been its shift away from shows aimed at young white men. (Its first real success was with the fine but ultramale series The Shield.) Landgraf made a point of telling critics that they take diversity and gender equality very seriously. Television and film are male-dominated arenas. In the movie industry, according to a recent report by the Hollywood Reporter, women directed just 7 per cent of the top-250 films of 2016, a 2-per-cent decline from the year before.

At FX, Landgraf said, "We had changed the composition of our directors from 88-per-cent white male to less than 50-per-cent white male. So, since then, now we've booked 170 directors, and 48 per cent are white male. We said we were going to do it, and we're going to keep doing it, and we're going to keep going until everything about our channel and every aspect of our channel is fair and better reflects the diversity of the population of the country we live in, and is not as skewed as the whole industry has been towards white heterosexual males."

Fargo can be cited as another huge creative success for FX. A new iteration is currently filming in Alberta and will air this spring.

During the presentation for it, three of the actors in this edition, Carrie Coon, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and David Thewlis, admitted that when they first heard that a TV series would be derived from the Coen brothers movie Fargo, they thought the idea was terrible, utterly ridiculous. Now, of course, Fargo is a multiple Emmy, Peabody and Golden Globe-winning series.

It takes faith in creativity to allow the idea of the Fargo series to go forward. Patience with an ongoing series is also a hallmark of FX. The Americans was into its fourth season last year before it got recognition. Although critically acclaimed, the Emmy Awards and the Golden Globes had largely ignored it.

Why? The reason was clear - it's too damn bleak and the plot points are about heart-scalding betrayals. About Soviet spies in Washington in the 1980s, there's nothing uplifting about The Americans. The mainstream award-giving organizations cling to the traditional American fear of pessimism and are wary of celebrating work that details duplicity. FX isn't.

The channel was home to Louis C.K.'s remarkable Louie and is currently home to Better Things, starring Pamela Adlon and written by her and Louis C.K. The under-theradar comedies Baskets and Man Seeking Woman are on the schedule, too, and while both are wildly uneven, they get better because FX has patience with them.

So when John Landgraf says, "Do you want it now, or do you want it good?" he means it. FX is interested in delivering quality, and it's working.

Associated Graphic

The Americans, an intrigue-packed drama preoccupied with Soviet spies operating in Washington in the 1980s, is among FX's recently lauded, slow-burning offerings, vaulting the network into mainstay-television status.

Kappo restaurant's menu is a real trial by fire
This Gastown Japanese experience has highs and lows, but ultimately leaves one feeling burnt out
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S3

Kozakura 280 Carrall St., Vancouver; 604720-3145; Kappo-style Japanese, casual dining À la carte, $6 to $12; sushi, $15 and $25; omakase, $45, $60, $75 and $90 (one-day notice required for the latter).

Open for lunch Monday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; dinner, Monday to Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Reservations available for bar seating


It was an eerily quiet snowy night in Gastown. The crowds stayed home as the city was slowly buried under white slush. Yet the stillness in the streets provided a fittingly dramatic backdrop to this dimly lit kappo restaurant, where we had the cozy bar all to ourselves. Sipping thimbles of sake, we stared agape as the chef seared a blackened crust onto a ruby-red slab of lean horse tenderloin with a handheld propane torch that blazed like a wire-caged floodlight - or a burning rendition of Lucille from The Walking Dead.

Whoa, that Searzall is one cool contraption. Developed by Dave Arnold, a culinary scientist from New York, it is a bulbous metal attachment that converts a blowtorch into a cordless broiler by diffusing the flame through a wide-mouthed, mesh-covered nozzle.

Fire and ice. Sizzle against silence. A centuries-old Japanese dining tradition meets a modernist kitchen tool. The effect was mesmerizing, but the results were more often than not, tragically blasted with subtle torch taste - off-putting whispers of acrid fuel that licked almost every morsel of octopus, duck breast and shishito pepper the Searzall scorched.

Fortunately, for us, there were many more raw, pickled and steamed dishes - all pristinely prepared and cleanly flavoured - to lap up over the long, leisurely rollout of a 12-course omakase (eight courses on a second visit).

Kozakura is Vancouver's first kappo bar, an interactive dining experience in which the chefs cook in front of the customers, usually at a sit-down counter.

And, like most Japanese restaurants in this city, it is a bit of a hybrid, landing somewhere between a casual izakaya (offering small plates, sushi platters and bento boxes for lunch) alongside the more ritualized progression of a seasonally attuned, multicourse kaiseki meal (in the form of $45, $60, $75 and $90 omakase, or chef's choice menus).

You might recall this narrow sliver of a speakeasy-style lounge from its days as the Italianthemed Notturno, when the charcuterie and pasta plates were all similarly prepared behind the bar and the cocktails were mixed by a charismatically curmudgeonly bartender named H. Kozakura was an unexpected, yet smooth pivot for owner Bill Robitaille when H. moved to Toronto. In terms of set changes, all he really had to do was hang a traditional noren curtain on the front door, replace the blackboard wall menus with inkblot art, fill the back bar's vermouth-aging barrels with ponzu and swap out the meat slicer for the Searzall. Well, there was obviously much more thought behind the transition, but the room doesn't look or feel all that different.

Mr. Robitaille, who was always the quiet workhorse behind the sous-vide machines and H.'s oversized personality, now plays backup to Keith Allison, the Japaneseborn, Vancouver-raised chef de cuisine who previously cooked at Sea Monstr Sushi and Dan Japanese. Although far less prickly than H., Mr. Allison can be just as animated when wielding his flaming torch, puppeteering a thawing blackhead sea bream and singing along to the disco soundtrack of a David Mancuso playlist.

If you go for the full-blown, 12course, $90 omakase menu, be sure to make a reservation at least one day in advance. It might include, as ours did, a frothy white-miso soup fattened up with emulsified foie gras that coats the mouth with a silken sheen. Or a few shaves of Burgundy truffle to gild an already lovely, loosely quivering chawanmushi egg custard that is amply studded with tender chicken thigh and plump sidestripe shrimp. And maybe even a thick lobe of foie gras, unfortunately seared with a lingering whiff of propane that obliterated a pimply tongue of sea urchin laid over top.

But to be quite honest, the eight-course, $60 menu will do just fine. Relax into your cushioned stool and warm up with an aperitif (the lightly acidic, apricot-tinged Senkin Muku sake makes a nice opener) because you'll likely still be there for a couple of hours.

Though the lineup changes frequently, most menus open with a seasonal salad, beautifully composed with pickled radishes, raw baby carrots, blistered peppers and more than a dozen variety of micro greens lightly swaddled in a puréed-ginger dressing. (Interestingly, the vegetables don't pick up nearly as much gas from the Searzall torching, which makes me think that the burnt flavour in the meat and fish might have something to do with their fat component.)

The meal will also include a sashimi course, which Mr. Allison slices with razor-sharp edges into meaty bites. If you're lucky, he will have Hokkaido scallops on hand, which he has very slowly defrosted to maintain a satiny smooth texture.

There will also be one of several mushi custards steamed in clay pots. Or perhaps you'll get the kani pon, a generous clump of Dungeness crab strewn over a bed of seaweed and terrific pickled cucumbers that are so salty they seem to pry open every single taste receptor in the mouth, all the better to amplify a finishing drizzle of house-aged ponzu that smacks you like a crashing wave of sour citrus, sweet mirin, murky soy and sea-dredged bonito. It's a shockingly good combination.

There will then be several more courses of fish and meat. The sanshou steak - rare slices of ribeye dribbled with a mentholated pepper sauce - could be great if the edges weren't crusted with the Searzall. That noxious taste of gas will, sadly, keep creeping up all over the menu. For some reason, it doesn't penetrate the sablefish, which is marinated for three days in Saikyo miso and sake lees. Perhaps the slick coating offers a protective barrier.

I hate to dwell on that damn burnt taste, which the chefs swear they don't detect. But for me, it kept marring dish after dish.

The ume chazuke will be served just in time, a soothingly sour balm of sticky rice soaked in dashi broth flecked with pickled plums, roasted rice pearls, seaweed and refreshing shiso leaves.

And finally, to finish, a perfectly creamy cup of green sencha pudding topped with a sticky layer of caramel. The chef could easily crackle the gloss into a crusty crème brûlée. Be thankful that he doesn't.

Associated Graphic

Chef Keith Allison sears a piece of sablefish with the Searzall, a torch developed by a culinary scientist, at Kozakura in Vancouver on Thursday.


Beefaroni worth bragging about
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

A sales pitch seems superfluous when dinner has four cheeses involved. This casserole, a misnamed relic from my childhood, fulfills on that promise in spectacular measure.

In my house, we call it beefaroni, although I have come to learn it may be the offspring of another confusingly christened dish, American Chop Suey. (The latter, originating in New England, is a stove-top amalgam of pasta and meat in tomato sauce.) My childhood beefaroni was similar, keeping the oregano, green pepper and onion base in the tomato sauce, but my mother tempered it with cottage cheese. Hers was also baked, ending up as this gorgeously squelchy casserole. I loved it fiercely. Especially when anointed with chile sauce at the table.

I knew mom's beefaroni wasn't what was in the cans advertised during cartoons (even if I was denied said cans, much to my dismay). It was without analogue.

My friends' parents didn't make it and it wasn't on restaurant menus. It existed as this distinct thing, as something reliable and heartening to take to welcome someone to the neighbourhood, to a potluck, to new parents, to celebrations and to comfort.

My beefaroni is a riff on my mother's template. I up the ante yet keep with the spirit of the original by bolstering the cottage cheese with cream cheese and béchamel. The cottage cheese doesn't melt but rather stays distinct when baked, offering a contrasting sweet blandness against the tomatobright red sauce, which I reinforce with eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms. The cream cheese offers body, the béchamel smooths it all out while holding everything together, and a layer of parmesan and mozzarella (the firm, stringy kind) forms a bronzed blanket atop.

It does take some time, and there are a few moving parts to sort out, plus a sink full of dishes. But the reward is dinner for the night, and tomorrow and the next. In honesty, the leftovers are better than straight out of the oven, as the flavours sink into the noodles and the sauces slump into a velvety emulsion.

A casserole like this is unabashedly kitsch, and utterly without pretense. It's classic, generous cooking that deserves to be championed.


Feeds 8 to 10

For the red sauce:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 lb medium ground beef (see note) Medium-grain kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed

1 large onion, diced

1 eggplant, diced

2 zucchini, diced

1 red pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut in large dice

1 cup cremini mushrooms, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced 2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp dried chili flakes

1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes in juice

1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

11/2 tsp dried oregano A small bunch fresh basil, about

1/2 cup packed leaves, stemmed and chopped

For the white sauce:

3 tbsp unsalted butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

21/2 cups milk, warmed A small parmesan rind, optional

1/2 cup cream cheese, in chunks

2 cups cottage cheese

1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, optional 10-ounce package frozen, chopped spinach, defrosted and drained well To assemble: Olive oil, for the dish

1 lb macaroni, cooked al dente and drained

1 cup grated mozzarella, about 4 ounces

1/2 cup grated parmesan, about

11/2 ounces Minced parsley, optional Start with the meat sauce. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or similar pot, heat the oil over mediumhigh heat. Tumble in the meat and season lightly with kosher salt and black pepper. Cook, breaking the meat into pieces with the side of a spoon and turning often, until well browned and sizzling, 10 to 12 minutes.

Stir in the onion, eggplant, zucchini, pepper and mushrooms, and continue to cook, turning periodically, until the vegetables are soft and have taken on some colour, about 15 minutes more. If ever the pot seems overly dry, clamp on the lid to trap some steam, but still stir regularly. Uncover toward the end of the cooking time to let any (now unneeded) liquid evaporate and the vegetables brown.

Season again with salt and pepper. Stir in the garlic and cook for about a minute, then clear some space in the bottom of the pot. Spoon the tomato paste into the cleared spot and cook, smearing and scraping it against the hot surface, until the paste darkens and smells cooked, maybe 1 minute more.

Stir the paste into the vegetables, then sprinkle in the chile flakes and the liquid from the whole tomatoes. Scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan, then add the whole tomatoes, crushing each with the back of the spoon. Follow with the crushed tomatoes, dried oregano and basil. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer.

Cook, partially covered and stirring now and again, until the sauce is thick and the vegetables meltingly tender, about 1 hour.

Check seasoning and adjust as needed.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Melt the butter in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour. Cook, stirring with a whisk, for 1 minute. Add the hot milk in a slow, steady stream, whisking all the while. Tuck in the parmesan rind. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to maintain a simmer, whisking regularly, for 5 minutes. Stir in the cream cheese, a chunk at a time, allowing to melt before adding more, then add the cottage cheese. Fish out the parmesan rind and discard. Season sauce generously with salt and pepper, add the nutmeg, then stir in the spinach.

Set aside.

Lightly grease a 9x13-inch or 3-quart oven-safe casserole dish.

Fold half the red sauce into the pasta, then spoon half the pasta into the prepared dish. Top with more red sauce, then cover with half the white sauce. Layer with the rest of the pasta, followed by the remaining red sauce, then dollop with the last of the white sauce. Sprinkle with grated cheeses. Place the casserole on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips, then bake until the top is deeply browned and the sauces are bubbling at the edges, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes, then sprinkle with minced parsley and serve.

Note: Many butchers will offer a ground beef, veal and pork blend labelled meatloaf or meatball mix, and it is my preference here.

When I have my wits about me, I make the red sauce one afternoon, and stash it in the fridge for a day or the freezer for longer. Roast the eggplant, zucchini, pepper and mushrooms for more flavour, then skip browning in the pan.

Associated Graphic


This four-cheese beefaroni keeps the spirit of the familial classic, but bolsters the recipe with a few updated touches.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

A marriage of past and present
A wedding in Armenia leads to an exploration of the republic's history, from a 5,000-year-old shoe to a cathedral completed in 2001
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, January 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L4

YEREVAN, ARMENIA -- Dispatch is a series of first-person stories from the road.

'Are you happy? I'm soooo happy!" gushed a voice in the hotel room next door.

It was three in the morning in the Armenian capital of Yerevan, and I'd had too much Armenian cognac, too much champagne and too many cocktails. I needed sleep, but the couple on the other side of my headboard entered a new phase of happiness as stray dogs outside my window began barking.

Four days earlier, I'd arrived with my husband for a wedding that coincided with efforts to make travel to Armenia easier by eliminating visas for some Western visitors staying less than 180 days.

The bride, a California native whose Armenian parents emigrated decades earlier, planned to shepherd almost 200 guests through four days of events that included a full-day hike through Dilijan National Park and a tour of a first-century pagan temple.

On the last day, we would gather at a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a ceremony beneath the snowy peak of Mount Ararat.

Unfortunately, my husband caught a cold on our first night as we attended the welcome party at the Yerevan Botanical Garden, where folk dancers twirled beside a buffet of basturma (a cured meat), matzoon (much like yogurt) and lavash (an unleavened flatbread).

To stay close to him the next morning as he rested at the hotel, I skipped the hike through Dilijan and joined a walking tour of Yerevan that the bride had arranged for the less adventurous.

First stop, the History Museum of Armenia, which included a stirring photo exhibit of families and villages obliterated in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, when as many as 1.5 million Armenians were killed out of an estimated population of two million. I passed artifacts going back more than 2,000 years, and after getting my fill of carpets and water vessels, I asked a docent if I'd missed anything. "There is the world's oldest shoe," she said, pointing ahead.

I approached a transparent case, the shoe's new home after spending 5,000 years in a cave in Southern Armenia. Inside, there appeared to be a sandy-coloured chunk of dung. I peered more closely and saw that, yes indeed, it was an old leather moccasin - about a size six.

I went outside and found our tour guide beside Yerevan's singing and dancing fountains, a spectacle of water and lights accompanied by classical music playing from loudspeakers. The guide said the music gets even louder when the piece is Gayane, a ballet created by Soviet Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian.

He told me Armenia is popular among tourists from adjacent Iran. "This is like Ibiza to them.

They can drink, play cards," he said.

The breeze shifted and doused us with fountain spray. I wiped my face and moved to a drier spot, where I got an impressive view of Republic Square.

Designed in 1924 by architect Alexander Tamanian, the square is a massive, oval traffic ring surrounded by imposing government buildings made of a pinkish volcanic stone known as tuff.

A friend came out of the museum and suggested we ditch the guide, so we set off with his guidebook. Though Yerevan is one of the world's oldest cities, founded on the site of a fortress built in 782 BC, much of what we passed was built during the Soviet era, from 1920 to 1991. The streets were quiet, with sparsely stocked stores and weedy parks that looked hardly changed in the years since Armenia's independence.

We reached the Cascades, a grand set of 572 stairs rising to a hilltop above the city, surrounded by flowing water and sculptures from artists such as Fernando Botero and Lynn Chadwick.

Originally conceived as a park by the same architect behind Republic Square, today it is the site of the Cafesjian Center for the Arts, a vertical museum whose escalators rise past works from Marc Chagall, Arshile Gorky and others.

On our way back to the hotel we passed Katoghike Church, a medieval chapel not much bigger than a walk-in closet, and the Cathedral of Saint Gregory the Illuminator, completed in 2001 to celebrate the 1,700th anniversary of Armenia's adoption of Christianity.

We returned to the hotel as the wedding retinue returned from their hike. As they dispersed for an evening of jazz, I went to my room, where my husband and I spent the night reading in bed, as glamorous as a pair of old shoes - and thankfully just as comfortable.

The next day, we boarded buses bound for the Geghard monastery and the Temple of Garni, two ancient sites set among cliffs over the Azat River, less than an hour from Yerevan.

Armine, the bride, dashed between buses counting heads, while Adnan, the groom, walked around with his hands in his pockets, looking bewildered.

Someone asked him a question, and he repeated what grooms have been saying for millennia: "I don't know. I'm not organizing this."

We drove into the surrounding hills, crossing streams and passing groves of fruit trees. The Geghard was founded in the fourth century on the site of a sacred cave that burbles with a natural spring. We explored its dark corners, tracing our fingers along Armenian khachkar crosses carved centuries ago, before heading to Garni.

It was reconstructed in 1975, almost 300 years after an earthquake destroyed the original pagan temple, which is believed to have been built by King Tiridates I around the time Nero crowned him king of Armenia in 66 AD.

The following morning, buses returned to take us to Zvartnots, the ruins of a seventh-century cathedral on the outskirts of Yerevan that was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.

The bride, wearing a towering pair of Jimmy Choo pumps, climbed the steep stone steps to the top of the ruins, where she and the groom exchanged their vows.

We spent the evening in a banquet hall with strobe lights, gypsy performers and speeches. Perhaps it was the champagne, but the singing and dancing fountains of Republic Square seemed even more spectacular as we walked back to the hotel hours later. We stopped to watch as the jets of water pirouetted in the sky and the music filled the streets.

Later, as the happiness of the couple next to my hotel room grew louder, I hoped that the love between Armine and Adnan would crescendo, too - though maybe more quietly - through each year of their marriage. Then I pulled a pillow over my head.

Send in your story from the road to

Associated Graphic

The Temple of Garni in Armenia was reconstructed in 1975, almost three centuries after the original structure - believed to have been built by King Tiridates I - was destroyed by an earthquake.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R19



1 1 6 The Woman In Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware (Simon & Schuster, $24.99).

2 - 1 My (Not So) Perfect Life, by Sophie Kinsella (Dial, $35).

3 - 1 Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman (W.W. Norton & Co., $34.95).

4 - 1 Echoes In Death, by J.D. Robb (St. Martin's, $38.99).

5 2 16 The German Girl, by Armando Lucas Correa (Atria, $22).

6 3 19 Milk And Honey, by Rupi Kaur (Andrews McMeel, $19.99).

7 4 3 The Girl Before, by J.P. Delaney (Doubleday Canada, $24.95).

8 5 24 The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapeña (Doubleday Canada, $24.95).

9 6 10 I See You, by Clare Mackintosh (Berkley, $24).

10 8 2 The Break, by Katherena Vermette (House Of Anansi, $22.95).



1 1 14 Born A Crime, by Trevor Noah (Doubleday Canada, $35).

2 2 6 Juliet's Answer: One Man's Search For Love And The Elusive Cure For Heartbreak, by Glenn Dixon (Simon & Schuster, $24.99).

3 - 1 Nearly Normal: Surviving The Wilderness, My Family And Myself, by Cea Sunrise Person (HarperCollins, $24.99).

4 6 20 The Hidden Life Of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate, by Peter Wohlleben, foreword by Tim Flannery (Greystone, $29.95).

5 - 1 I'll Be Damned: How My Young And Restless Life Led Me To America's #1 Daytime Drama, by Eric Braeden (Dey Street, $33.50).

6 3 8 The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds, by Michael Lewis (W.W. Norton & Co., $38.95).

7 5 7 The Lost Child: A Mother And The Son She Had To Give Away, by Martin Sixsmith (PAN, $18.99).

8 7 8 Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir Of A Family And Culture In Crisis, by J.D. Vance (HarperCollins, $34.99).

9 8 56 When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi, foreword by Abraham Verghese (Random House, $33).

10 4 21 My Secret Sister, by Jenny Lee Smith and Helen Edwards (Pan Macmillan, $15.99).

The bestseller list is compiled by The Globe and Mail using sales figures provided by BookNet Canada's national sales tracking service, BNC SalesData.




1 Milk And Honey, by Rupi Kaur (Andrews McMeel, $19.99).

2 The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena (Doubleday Canada, $24.95).

3 The Break, by Katherena Vermette (House Of Anansi, $22.95).

4 Do Not Say We Have Nothing, by Madeleine Thien (Knopf Canada, $35).

5 Fifteen Dogs, by André Alexis (Coach House, $19.95).

6 The Golden Son, by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (HarperPerennial, $19.99).

7 The Best Kind Of People, by Zoe Whitthall (House Of Anansi, $22.95).

8 The Lonely Hearts Hotel, by Heather O'Neill (HarperCollins, $32.99).

9 A Darkness Absolute, by Kelley Armstrong (Random House Canada, $29.95).

10 The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood (Emblem, $16.95).


1 The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything, by Neil Pasricha (G.P. Putnam's Sons, $22).

2 Juliet's Answer: One Man's Search For Love And The Elusive Cure For Heartbreak, by Glenn Dixon (Simon & Schuster, $24.99).

3 The Right To Be Cold: One Woman's Story Of Protecting Her Culture, The Arctic And The Whole Planet, by Sheila Watt-Cloutier (Penguin Canada, $22).

4 Nearly Normal: Surviving The Wilderness, My Family And Myself, by Cea Sunrise Person (HarperCollins, $24.99).

5 99: Stories Of The Game, by Wayne Gretzky with Kirstie McLellan Day (Viking, $35).

6 Open Heart, Open Mind, by Clara Hughes (Touchstone, $22).

7 Canada, by Mike Myers (Doubleday Canada, $39.95).

8 The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account Of Native People In North America, by Thomas King (Anchor Canada, $22).

9 A House In The Sky: A Memoir, by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett (Scribner, $22).

10 In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction, by Gabor Maté (Vintage Canada, $22.95).



1 The Little Book Of Hygge: The Danish Way To Live Well, by Meik Wiking (Penguin UK, $21.99).

2 Tools Of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, And Habits Of Billionaires, Icons, And World-Class Performers, by Timothy Ferriss, foreword by Arnold Schwarzenegger (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $40).

3 The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach To Living A Good Life, by Mark Manson (HarperOne, $21.99).

4 You Are A Badass: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness And Start Living An Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero (Running, $18.50).

5 Hot Detox: A 21-Day Anti-Inflammatory Program To Heal Your Gut And Cleanse Your Body, by Julie Daniluk and Shannon Ross (HarperCollins, $29.99).

6 The Lose Your Belly Diet: Change Your Gut, Change Your Life, by Travis Stork (Bird Street, $29.95).

7 The Miracle Ball Method: Relieve Your Pain, Reshape Your Body, Reduce Your Stress, by Elaine Petrone (Workman, $32.95).

8 Get Your Sh*t Together: How To Stop Worrying About What You Should Do So You Can Finish What You Need To Do And Start Doing What You Want to Do, by Sarah Knight (Little, Brown & Co., $24.99).

9 How To Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie (Pocket, $21).

10 The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons In Personal Change, by Stephen R. Covey, foreword by Jim Collins (Free Press, $22).



1 Lion (Movie Tie-In Edition), by Saroo Brierley (Penguin Canada, $21).

2 Born A Crime, by Trevor Noah (Doubleday Canada, $35).

3 Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, And The Quest For A Fantastic Future, by Ashlee Vance (Ecco, $22).

4 Juliet's Answer: One Man's Search For Love And The Elusive Cure For Heartbreak, by Glenn Dixon (Simon & Schuster, $24.99).

5 The Right To Be Cold: One Woman's Story Of Protecting Her Culture, The Arctic And The Whole Planet, by Sheila Watt-Cloutier (Penguin Canada, $22).

6 The Rainbow Comes And Goes: A Mother And Son On Life, Love, And Loss, by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt (HarperCollins, $19.99).

7 Nearly Normal: Surviving The Wilderness, My Family And Myself, by Cea Sunrise Person (HarperCollins, $24.99).

8 I'll Be Damned: How My Young And Restless Life Led Me To America's #1 Daytime Drama, by Eric Braeden (Dey Street, $33.50).

9 The Lost Child: A Mother And The Son She Had To Give Away, by Martin Sixsmith (PAN, $18.99).

10 Brain On Fire: My Month Of Madness, by Susannah Cahalan (Simon & Schuster, $21).

The Canadian Fiction and Non-Fiction bestseller lists, and the Canadian Specialty Books list, are compiled for The Globe and Mail by BookNet Canada.

The current flows from the past
Spanning 104 years of automotive progress, a classic electric car is compared to Tesla's modern offering
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, January 26, 2017 – Print Edition, Page D4

STAVE FALLS, B.C. -- Two electric cars sit atop a century-old hydroelectric dam, separated by three feet and 104 years. One is a Tesla Model X, the long-awaited crossover from the forward-looking California-based company; the other a less-well-known Detroit Electric, which by virtue of its high roof also rates as a crossover. Both operate soundlessly. Both are surprisingly quick. The electric vehicle isn't just the future, it's the past, too.

A persistent misconception about the EV is that it's an experimental technology waiting for battery capability to keep up.

However, the Detroit represents a commercial success. Like the Model X, it was a luxury purchase: at a time when the average car was a rattly, smelly, hard-to-start machine, the Detroit was quick, clean and comfortable. It's old enough to have tiller steering, but is actually easier to manoeuvre for photos than the Model X is.

Having driven both the Detroit and a contemporary Model T, the antique electric requires far less skill. In a Model T, with its steering-wheel-mounted throttle and spark advance levers, changing gears requires whipping your arms and legs around as if you were a naval ensign semaphoring whilst simultaneously tapdancing in Morse code.

In the Detroit, you just flip down the tiller-steering bar and glide off down the street. The ease of use and the reliability meant that early electrics were popular with doctors and veterinarians, people who had to get up in the middle of the night and didn't want to risk breaking a wrist trying to crank-start a car.

It was also popular with the well-heeled: Inventor Thomas Edison owned one, but tycoon John D. Rockefeller Jr. had two.

This model's raised roof is intended for - don't laugh - the tall hat a fine lady might wear.

The idea was that an elegant woman could drive herself around instead of being beholden to a chauffeur or a rakish consort with a gleam in his eye.

It cost $3,200, or enough to buy six Model Ts. The expense is what killed it: Demand tailed off owing to the 1929 stock-market crash, although the Detroit Electric company persisted a further 10 years.

This particular Detroit belongs to the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association, who use it as a promotional and educational tool.

However, its original owner used the vehicle well into the 1960s. It was parked in the basement of The Empress Hotel in Victoria, where it was regularly driven around town by Florence French, the wife of a well-to-do veterinarian. Range is around 130 kilometres, and the original batteries lasted into the 1980s. Given its current limited use, the Detroit is expected to run with minimal maintenance, essentially forever.

A group of apprenticing BC Hydro employees, here to tour the historic generation plant, are swarming all over the vehicles.

They ask questions about the old and whip their iPhones out to record the falcon doors of the new. One makes a remark about the coming Model 3, which is viewed with both optimism and skepticism. After all, the Model X took its sweet time getting to market.

This one is borrowed from a friend, which means it has a few warts. Tesla's production growing pains are well documented, and this car has flaws such as squealing brakes. The owner is also not a big fan of the falcon rear doors, which look cool but are impractical for daily use. To its credit, Tesla's customer service is excellent, and seems to be staying atop most issues.

Further, the Model X is a little ungainly looking, especially given how stunning the Model S looks. Its bulk is reminiscent of the R-class Mercedes, and the stubby rear spoiler looks like an afterthought. But, sweet mother of pearl, does this thing haul.

Even though it's only the entry-level P75D model, the Model X's instant torque makes other cars seem slow. Zero to 100 kilometres an hour is a claimed 6.2 seconds, but it feels faster than that off the line. It's also silent, with a single-speed drivetrain that would put any V-12 to shame for smoothness.

Add in a central control unit that's essentially an iPad in terms of intuitiveness, and the driving experience is a win.

Quirks such as the massive windshield and the falcon doors push the envelope too far, but the Model X is quick and comfortable, and the instrument panel does an excellent job of relaying what the car is seeing.

Tesla is far out in front here in terms of bridging the gap between driver control and semiautonomy.

Let's touch on the persistent Achilles heel of the electric vehicle: charging time. When I arrived to pick this Model X up in West Vancouver, a mix-up meant that only the Model S had been on the charger overnight.

The Stave Falls powerhouse is 80 kilometres away, and the Model X was indicating a range of 150 kilometres (range for the P75D on a full charge is rated at 381 kilometres).

That meant a delay of an hour or so to build up charge. Canada's charging network is growing, so finding a plug en route would require only a slight detour, but it's trickier to own an EV in Canada than in California.

As the infrastructure improves, going electric gets simpler.

However, over the 160 kilometres there and back, the Model X delivered as promised.

The navigation indicated that I would arrive back with 40 kilometres of range remaining and, at the end of a journey which included battling a few construction-related tailbacks and climbing up the hills into North Vancouver, that's precisely what happened.

Just as the Detroit Electric was an expensive luxury product so, too, is the Model X. The difference is that Tesla has capitalized on the luxury aspect of its products, creating a brand that's desirable. If and when the Model 3 arrives, the one you want is expected to cost about as much as a loaded BMW 340i - and it'll sell well. To the Detroit's attributes of ease-of-use, Tesla has added sporting appeal.

The powerhouse at Stave Falls went online in 1912, and produced electricity up until 2000.

It's now a National Historic Site of Canada, and its main hall is used to teach touring groups of kids about the history of hydroelectric generation.

Some of the electricity generated here likely charged up Ms. ffrench's cheerful little Detroit, which now spends its winters here on display. Perhaps, some day, they'll need to make room for a Tesla as well.

Associated Graphic

Built more than a century apart, the 1912 Detroit Electric, left, and the Tesla Model X.


Arthur and Elenita, three years on
Couple on track financially for a phased retirement after selling Toronto house and moving to Victoria
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B13

In their first Financial Facelift three years ago, Arthur and Elenita were looking forward to selling their Toronto house and moving back to Vancouver after Arthur retired. He was 51, she was 38. Together they were bringing in about $170,000 a year but neither had a company pension.

At the time, Vancouver house prices were soaring and Arthur wasn't sure they'd be able to find a suitable place. The planner, Norm Collins of Collins Financial in Halifax, was doubtful as well.

Last fall, Financial Facelift contacted Arthur and Elenita to see how their plans were progressing.

"Our plan was for me to retire early, sell our Toronto house, move to Vancouver and downsize to a co-op apartment," Arthur writes in an e-mail. "Elenita would continue to work to age 60," he adds. Turns out, they couldn't wait to make the move.

"In the spring of 2015, for lifestyle reasons, we decided it was time to return to B.C.," Arthur writes. They sold their Toronto house for $801,000 and moved to Victoria, where prices are lower than in Vancouver, buying a condo in a two-unit building for $575,000.

Today, Elenita works from home - "she was able to take her job with her" - and Arthur quickly found work, albeit at a lower salary. Now, he is 54 and she is 41.

Their previous Financial Facelift "was a great help in getting in touch with our finances and testing our expectations for the future," Arthur writes. Today, they figure they're on track to retire without having to sacrifice their current lifestyle. They welcomed the opportunity to bounce that off a financial planner.

We asked Marc Henein, an investment adviser and financial planner at Scotia Wealth Management, to look at Arthur and Elenita's situation. Mr. Henein holds the Certified Financial Planner designation.

What the expert says Arthur hopes to retire in 2025, when he is 63, and Elenita 10 years later in 2035, when she will be 60, Mr. Henein says. "Their goal is to maintain their current lifestyle."

Their monthly outlays are about $8,100, which includes $1,900 to their mortgage principal and $1,600 of RRSP contributions. They earn $8,450 a month after tax, so they are living within their means.

Because of their age difference, Arthur and Elenita will have a phased retirement. The first stage will be 2025 to 2027, when Arthur will have quit working but will not yet be collecting Old Age Security.

Based on their payment schedule and a 2.2-per-cent mortgage rate, they will have their $284,000 mortgage loan paid off in about 14 years, or 2031. So mortgage payments will continue after Arthur has retired.

They have about $375,000 in RRSP savings and $45,000 in TFSAs. With RRSP contributions of $1,600 a month and an assumed annual rate of growth of 5 per cent, their RRSPs will be worth about $725,000 by the time Arthur retires in 2025. With no additional savings and the same 5-per-cent rate of growth applied to the TFSAs, they will be worth about $66,000.

Assuming Elenita's income is constant after Arthur retires in 2025, she will bring in about $4,100 a month after tax. Without the RRSP contribution, their monthly household expenses would be about $6,500. Arthur's Canada Pension Plan benefits will likely be close to the maximum of $1,000 a month, pretax.

Therefore, their portfolio will need to produce $1,400 a month, or $16,800 a year, which is about 2.3 per cent of the projected value of their RRSPs by the time Arthur retires. His total income will be $28,800 and his tax rate about 15 per cent. He will need to pull out another $5,700 a year to pay his taxes. "This phase of retirement is very realistic," Mr. Henein says.

The second phase is from 2027 to when Elenita retires in 2035.

"This time period is even better for Arthur and Elenita as Arthur will be receiving Old Age Security," the planner says. Arthur's

OAS benefits will be nearly $600 a month, further reducing the draw on their RRSPs to 1.3 per cent.

If they have paid off the mortgage by then, they will not need to draw on their RRSPs (or registered retirement income funds) to cover their expenses.

"Where the numbers are a bit more challenging is when Elenita retires in 2035," Mr. Henein says.

"The good news is the mortgage will be paid off."

Their monthly cash flow requirement will be $4,650. Their government benefits will be $1,600 a month for Arthur (CPP and OAS) and about $400 of CPP benefits for Elenita. Withdrawing the $2,650 a month shortfall from their investment portfolio is a realistic goal, equating to a drawdown rate of about 4.5 per cent, Mr. Henein says. The drawdown may accelerate as income taxes owing will increase, he adds. The couple's total income of $55,800 can be split so their income tax bracket will be in the same 20-per-cent range, requiring about $11,000 a year to pay their tax bills.

Once Elenita turns 65, she will get a bit more than 75 per cent of the full OAS benefit. She will have been in Canada for 32 years by then. "This brings the drawdown rate from the investment portfolio to 4 per cent," Mr. Henein says. Their savings are forecast to last to Elenita's age 90, at which point there will still be the residence to fall back on.

"Their ability to earn income until their proposed retirement ages is crucial for this plan to work," Mr. Henein says. Elenita must be comfortable with working another decade after Arthur retires.

Want a free financial facelift?

E-mail Some details may be changed to protect the privacy of the persons profiled.


The people: Arthur, 54, and Elenita, 41

The problem: Can Arthur retire at 63 without endangering their standard of living when they retire?

The plan: Arthur retires as planned but Elenita works for another decade after that.

The payoff: A clear idea of how to plan for the future.

Monthly net income: $8,450

Assets: His TFSA $40,000; her TFSA $5,000; his RRSP $335,000; her spousal RRSP $40,000; estimated residence value $730,000. Total: $1.15million

Disbursements: Mortgage $1,900; property tax $250; utilities, insurance $320; maintenance, garden $250; transportation $315; groceries $800; clothing $100; gifts, charity $200; vacation, travel $1,000; dining, drinks, entertainment $1,000; grooming $100; club $75; pets $50; subscriptions $20; cellphone, TV $160; RRSP $1,600. Total: $8,140

Liabilities: Mortgage $284,000 at 2.2 per cent

Associated Graphic


'The one that got away' was escaping abuse
New ad campaign for Toronto women's shelter reveals what abusers may actually look and sound like
Thursday, February 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L5

A passenger asks her cabbie about "the one that got away" - the ex-girlfriend who's still on his mind - and he names her instantly: Ellie.

The sixtysomething driver remembers Ellie's smile and friendship, and their painful breakup: "I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep." And then his green eyes grow cold: "I'd call and call and call ..." the man says, drumming the steering wheel with a thick hand.

The cabbie features in a provocative new Valentine's Day advertisement from Interval House, a Toronto women's shelter, that turns the romantic trope of "the one that got away" on its head. The startling video shows three actors remembering the women who left them: one guy stands in a gym, explaining how he'd buy his ex oysters after a bad fight; another guy, in a suit at work, complains about his "dramatic" ex, promising he won't give up on their relationship. While you empathize at first, the script quickly turns dark: These men are not lovelorn, but abusers who have been stalking their exes.

"The only thing worse than feeling sorry for them is having to go back to them," reads the tag line for Interval House, which describes its mandate here as "40 years of helping women be the one that got away."

It's dark fare for a day normally devoted to saccharine tokens of love, but it's relevant. For women with violent partners, holidays such as Valentine's Day and Christmas are a powder keg, putting stress on relationships that already have their own profound pressure points.

The ad, a collaboration with Union, a Toronto-based advertising agency that has worked with Interval House for four years, powerfully shifts the focus from the victim to the offender - unique in the dialogue about domestic abuse. Free of roses and hearts, the message here is thought-provoking for those who have experienced intimate partner violence, and for those who mercifully haven't.

The Globe spoke with Rachel Ramkaran, resource development and communications associate at Interval House, which provides support and shelter for women and children fleeing violence.

When we talk about domestic violence, the focus is often the female victim. We gawk at Amber Heard's bruises and we wonder how Janay Rice could have married the fiancé who knocked her unconscious in an elevator on Valentine's Day, three years ago. Why was it important to focus on perpetrators this time around?

There is a caricature in people's minds of an abuser as the bumbling, drunk, non-functional man who's taking out all the woes of the world on the person that he loves. That's not really what it usually looks like.

Abusers are very good at making themselves look good to people outside of the relationship. The worst of it is always what happens behind closed doors.

A question that survivors are often asked is why they stayed.

It is hard to leave, and that's because abusers often have a very suave side. Their partners believe that this side is the true man - that this side can come out if only she can get it out of him.

The men portrayed in your ad are all charming and high functioning - not at all monstrous.

Then things get darker, jarringly fast. It's a sharp turn for the audience.

The video is a flip of the script.

You kind of fall for the guys at first. You think they're really sweet. But as the video goes on you realize there is manipulation, possessiveness, harassing phone calls. You start to pick up on the subtle things that just aren't right - that it wasn't the healthiest relationship. We wanted to show that this is not always in your face and obvious.

It can be anybody. Anybody is capable of this.

Is that sharp turn, from charming to abusive, one of the reasons it takes women five or more attempts, on average, to leave such men?

The whole campaign was designed to get at the "why" of that statistic. Ultimately in these relationships - unhealthy as they may be - there is love. A relationship doesn't start out abusive. There is a hope that maybe once you get through this rough patch it will be back to the honeymoon phase. A statement that's applicable to abusive relationships is, "Don't hang on to a mistake just because you spent a long time making it." We put a lot of time, effort, energy, love, care and even resources and money into a relationship. It can be hard to let it slip away. It can take quite a few times before women realize it's not going to get better.

That's why they go back until there are no chances left to give.

The ad also turns a syrupy sentiment - "the one that got away" - on its head. When it comes to identifying abuse, is our language of romance part of the problem?

Looking at comments on social media, the use of this line in our video has become contentious. But we are not suggesting that everybody's "one that got away" actually got out of an abusive relationship. Most of us have a past relationship that we think on fondly. We wonder what would have happened if circumstances had changed. You can have a lost love, something that was healthy, amicable and respectful.

That's not what this video is showing. We know that sometimes, the one that got away was safer for it.

What do you say to critics who feel this unfairly paints smitten, nostalgic men with the same brush as it does abusive stalkers?

People should think about it more critically. And if this video is ringing a bell with some people, maybe it's time to consider if there's been harassing behaviour, or whether their breakup was the healthy breakup they thought it was.

Is this a bit of a downer on Valentine's Day?

There are certainly people who would rather see pictures of candy, flowers and kittens.

There will be loads of that for them today. We needed to put this out there, too. People have love and relationships on the mind today. It's an opportunity to have a wider reach. We want to reach the women who need our support in order to leave a bad situation.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Follow me on Twitter: @ZosiaBielski

Associated Graphic

New advertisements from Interval House, a Toronto women's shelter, and Union, a Toronto-based advertising agency, begin by eliciting empathy for a dumped man. 'Abusers are very good at making themselves look good to people outside of the relationship,' says Rachel Ramkaran, Interval House's communications associate.

CN developing oil-solidifying technology
Rail company files patent for an invention that transforms bitumen into a mostly solid dry good by infusing it with polymer
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A9

Shipping oil by rail has earned a spotty reputation in recent years after a series of train derailments across North America resulted in high-profile explosions and environmentally damaging spills.

Canadian National Railway Co. is hoping something the size of a bar of soap can help clean up some of those problems.

Canada's largest railway filed a patent for a new technology on Friday that turns bitumen - the heavy crude produced at the oil sands - into a mostly solid dry good, by mixing and wrapping it with polymer. In the event of an accident, the packets would not explode, leak or sink in water, the railway believes.

The invention still has to go through more testing, but the concept could emerge as a niche alternative to current methods of shipping bitumen, which require diluent, a petroleum additive that allows the thick sludge to be pumped into pipelines or rail cars, but also increases the flammability of the product.

"It's still early days, so there's a lot of work still to do. First and foremost, we want to perfect the pellet in terms of its shape, its size and the exact composition of polymer that we use in it," said Janet Drysdale, vice-president of corporate development at CN. The pellets, currently in round form, will eventually be produced as flat squares or rectangles, so that they are stackable as a dry good.

"We want to do the studies that will prove that it will float in fresh water, salt water, how it behaves in cold and in heat. All of that will be validated with additional lab work."

The polymer-infused crude, which resembles thick jelly if the soap-sized tablets are cut open, is designed to be much less flammable. "It's pretty thick stuff," said Ross Chow, vice-president of InnoTech Alberta, a provincially funded organization that worked with CN on the patent.

Success of the invention will depend on whether oil sands producers and refiners are willing to adopt the technology at a cost that is roughly equivalent to shipping bitumen with diluent now, CN says.

The tablets wouldn't prevent accidents such as the 2013 LacMégantic rail disaster, which killed 47 people when an oil train exploded in the Quebec town, since that accident involved highly volatile light oil that resembled gasoline. The technology hasn't been developed for lighter forms of oil, but it could make shipping bitumen and other heavy oil products safer, CN believes.

Nor is the invention seen as a replacement for pipelines, which are the dominant arteries for shipping large quantities of crude. But the technology could give oil sands producers who lack pipeline access a new way to reach refineries in North America, Asia and other overseas markets.

If spilled into the ocean, the buoyant pellets - dubbed CanaPux - can be retrieved by vacuuming them up. On land, they can be picked up by hand, or with machinery, CN said.

One potential hurdle to exporting petroleum products through CN's Port of Prince Rupert, B.C. terminal is the tanker ban that covers the coast of Northern British Columbia. The ban, announced by Ottawa in the fall, formalizes a long-term moratorium on petroleum ships and is intended to protect the sensitive marine environment from the disastrous effects of large spills.

Partially upgraded bitumen is included in the ban, but it isn't clear if CN's bitumen-polymer pellets would be exempt.

"To the best of our knowledge, the tanker ban would be applied specifically to liquid hydrocarbons that are deemed to be relatively more risk if there is a spill in a marine environment," Ms. Drysdale said. "In terms of the solid bitumen product, it floats, it doesn't leech and it doesn't dissolve."

Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the technology must undergo testing before the tablets could be exempted as a dry good, but he called the innovation "encouraging."

"We're making a list of the products that fall within the moratorium ban, and we'd have to make a decision on whether that would be excluded from it ... But there's a lot of homework to do before we establish that," Mr. Garneau said. "If it lands in the water, does it remain in solid form, and how easily is it recoverable?" That analysis would be made in conjunction with Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada, Mr. Garneau said.

Once the pellets reach a refinery, heating separates the bitumen and polymer mixture, along with their polymer casing. The tablets are also designed to absorb the weight of being stacked on each other. "It has to handle a lot of different forces," said James Auld, senior manager of corporate development at CN.

Crude-oil shipments by rail rose sharply six years ago, driven by a lack of pipeline space in North America. The increase was spurred by rising petroleum production in new oil fields that lacked pipelines, particularly the Bakken Formation that touches parts of North Dakota, Montana, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

But the fatal derailment in LacMégantic, Que., awoke the world to the dangers of moving millions of barrels of oil on trains using thin-walled tank cars better suited to canola oil. Despite new rules requiring tank cars be built to better withstand derailments, there have been several fiery train derailments since then, involving a number of different railways.

In early 2015, a 100-car CN train carrying synthetic crude, which is a form of upgraded heavy oil, derailed on a broken track near Gogama, Ont., causing a fire that burned for five days. The Transportation Safety Board released its report on the accident Thursday, calling for better track maintenance, more stringent employee training and stricter rules from Transport Canada on how oil is transported. "This accident occurred on an isolated stretch of rail in Northern Ontario, and thankfully no one was injured," TSB chairwoman Kathy Fox said.

The plunge in oil prices over the past two years has since reduced the amount of crude moving by rail, as producers and refiners balked at the cost of rail transport, which can be as high as $22 (U.S.) a barrel in some cases, almost twice that of a pipeline. However, the amount of crude moving by train has surged lately as oil-patch production picked up again, and pipelines fill up. In November, oil exports by rail rose to 120,000 barrels a day, up 20 per cent from the previous year, according to the National Energy Board.

Associated Graphic

New technology developed by Canadian National Railway Co. and InnoTech turns bitumen into floating, waterproof tablets that can be shipped by train with less risk of explosion or water contamination.


Smart money
Get zero-per-cent financing on these vehicles
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, February 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page D2

More affordable monthly payments - driven by low interest rates and longer loan amortizations - have been an important tailwind to record-setting new vehicle sales volumes.

Zero-per-cent-interest financing offers have become fairly common, but in most cases, such offers are typically available for loan terms of 60 months or fewer According to a recent study by J.D. Power, the average auto-loan term is far longer, with 55 per cent of new-vehicle loans having a term of 84 months or more. As such, we've highlighted some noteworthy deals that all feature zero-per-cent-financing offers for up to 84 months, in addition to strong cash purchase and lease incentives.

It is important to note not all zero-per-cent-financing offers are equally attractive and some can actually end up costing you more money. In some instances, auto makers may offer large cash incentives that cannot be combined with zero-per-cent financing (referred to as a "nonstackable" cash rebate). Depending on the size of the non-stackable rebate, vehicle price and loan term, it may be wiser to forgo the zero-per-cent offer and arrange separate financing.

To illustrate such case, the interest paid on a loan for a $35,000 before-tax vehicle amortized over 84 months at 3.99 per cent is $5,845. It would be worth forgoing a zero-per-cent-financing offer in such case if there was an additional non-stackable cash rebate available worth more than $5,845 (which would make up for the interest incurred and potentially save you more).

Here are our favourite deals this week along with tips on how to best finance for maximum savings.


Standard equipment on this budget-friendly hatchback includes remote keyless entry, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a 140-watt sound system with CD and MP3 playback capabilities. The Mirage is backed by Mitsubishi's 10year/160,000-kilometre powertrain limited warranty. Cash purchasers can take advantage of a $1,000 incentive, while finance customers qualify for zero interest for up to 84 months and a three-month payment deferral during the "No Payments for Up to 90 Days" promotion. Mitsubishi's zero-per-cent-financing offer will save you more than taking the non-stackable cash rebate and financing at 3.99-per-cent interest (available from most major banks).

MSRP: $17,398

Manufacturer incentive: $1,000

Estimated dealer discount: $250

Freight, PDI, government fees: $1,590

Cash purchase price before tax: $17,738

Finance for 84 months at zero interest for $252 a month including tax (assumes zero down payment)

Lease for 48 months at 1.99-percent interest for $328 a month including tax (assumes a 20,000 annual-kilometre allowance and zero down payment)


Standard features include Chrysler's Uconnect multimedia system with 5.0-inch display, Keyless Enter 'n Go with driver-doorproximity entry, as well as second- and third-row Stow 'n Go seating. Additionally, cash purchase, finance and lease customers can all benefit from a $1,500 after-tax incentive. Customers who opt to finance can take advantage of zero interest for up to 84 months and a 90-day payment deferral during the "No Payments for 90 Days" promotion. Chrysler's zero-per-centfinancing offer will save you more than arranging separate bank financing as the same cash rebate is available regardless of cash purchase, finance or lease.

MSRP: $39,995

Manufacturer incentive: $1,500 (after tax)

Estimated dealer discount: $750

Freight, PDI, government fees: $1,935

Cash purchase price before tax: $39,680

Finance for 84 months at zero interest (as compared with 1.99 per cent in January) for $536 a month including tax (includes a $1,500 after-tax incentive and assumes zero down payment)

Lease for 48 months at zero interest for $576 a month including tax (includes a $1,500 incentive, assumes an 18,000 annual-kilometre allowance and zero down payment)

2017 MAZDA5

Featuring dual rear sliding doors, fold-flat second- and third-row seats and seating for six, the 2017 Mazda5 offers the versatility of a conventional minivan without compromising the driving experience of a sedan. Cash-purchase customers benefit from a $3,550 incentive, while finance and lease customers qualify for zero interest. Additionally, all customers will be eligible for a $500 winter-accessory credit toward Mazda parts or accessories. Those needing to finance should consider opting for the $3,550 nonstackable cash rebate and arranging bank financing at 3.99 per cent to save more.

MSRP: $23,195

Manufacturer incentive: $3,550

Estimated dealer discount: $500

Freight, PDI, government fees: $2,035

Cash purchase price before tax: $21,180

Finance for 84 months at zero interest and zero rebate for $333 a month including tax, or alternatively at 3.99-per-cent interest and $3,550 rebate for $327 a month including tax (both assume zero down payment)

Lease for 48 months at zero interest for $368 a month including tax (assumes a 20,000 annualkilometre allowance and zero down payment)


Standard equipment includes OnStar with 4G LTE and built-in WiFi hotspot, chrome mouldings and exhaust tips, as well as a StabiliTrak system, which assists drivers in maintaining vehicle control in low-traction conditions. Cash purchasers can now take advantage of a $5,500 incentive, while finance customers are eligible for a $1,500 rebate and lease customers qualify for a $2,750 rebate. Those needing to finance should consider opting for the larger $5,550 non-stackable cash rebate and arranging bank financing at 3.99 per cent.

MSRP: $24,190

Manufacturer incentive: $5,500

Estimated dealer discount: $750

Freight, PDI, government fees: $1,982

Cash purchase price before tax: $19,922

Finance for 84 months at zero interest and $1,500 rebate for $323 a month including tax, or alternatively at 3.99-per-cent interest and $5,500 rebate for $308 a month including tax (both assume zero down payment)

Lease for 48 months at zero interest for $296 a month including tax (includes a $2,750 incentive, assumes a 20,000 annual kilometre allowance and zero down payment)

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. Consult your local dealership for details.

Associated Graphic





Woman kept alive six days without lungs
In an unprecedented operation, Toronto doctors used technology that oxygenated and circulated Melissa Benoit's blood
The Canadian Press
Thursday, January 26, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A5

TORONTO -- In what's believed to be a world first, Canadian doctors say they were able to save a young mother's life with a radical procedure - they removed her lungs.

Melissa Benoit, who was born with cystic fibrosis and had developed a rampaging lung infection that had spread throughout her body, was hours away from death last April when doctors at Toronto General Hospital were given the go-ahead by her family to take the unprecedented step.

Ms. Benoit, then 32, spent the next six days in the ICU without lungs, kept alive by state-of-theart technology that oxygenated and circulated her blood until donor organs came available and she was able to have a life-saving transplant.

On a ventilator and in an induced coma, the Burlington, Ont., mother of a three-year-old daughter had been unaware of how close she had come to dying or what doctors had done to save her life.

"I didn't believe it," she said, recalling what her husband, Chris, and her parents told her after she regained consciousness.

"It took me a while to realize what happened. I just couldn't piece it together."

Still, that initial decision to remove her lungs - the source of an antibiotic-resistant infection that had tipped her into widespread organ failure and septic shock - wasn't taken lightly.

"It was a difficult discussion because when we're talking about something that had never to our knowledge been done before, there were a lot of unknowns," said Dr. Niall Ferguson, head of critical care at the University Health Network, which includes Toronto General.

Ms. Benoit had been transferred to TGH in early April, 2016, from St. Michael's Hospital, where she had been admitted after a bout of influenza had left her gasping for air, with coughing fits so racking, they fractured some of her ribs. Her inflamed lungs began to fill with blood, pus and mucous, leaving her feeling as if she were drowning.

None of the antibiotics doctors tried were able to kill bacteria that had invaded her CF-damaged lungs and blown up into a superinfection, and despite being on a ventilator, her condition continued to deteriorate.

Mr. Ferguson, who had been overseeing Ms. Benoit's care in the ICU, said her blood pressure had plunged and her oxygen levels were critically low, so he and a team of thoracic surgeons discussed the possibility of buying her some time by removing her lungs to stop the rampant infection that was infiltrating her body.

"In Melissa's case, our hand was being forced a little bit because she was actively dying, and if we hadn't done something, she would have died that day for sure."

Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, director of the lung-transplant program, said the team weighed the pros and cons and presented the idea of the last-ditch procedure to her family - and they immediately agreed.

"She had made it very clear that she wants to live for her family, for her child, and to do anything - experimental or not - to give her a chance if we could do it," said Dr. Keshavjee, one of three thoracic surgeons among a 13-member surgical team who took part in the nine-hour operation to extricate Ms. Benoit's severely diseased lungs.

The surgeon described each lung as being so heavy and rocklike, "we could barely pry it out of her chest."

Ms. Benoit was put on two machines: a Novalung, which infused her blood with oxygen while removing carbon dioxide - as the lungs do naturally - and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, that helped her heart pump the blood through her body.

"And literally within minutes - it was probably around 20 minutes after having taken those infected lungs out - her blood pressure normalized and they could remove all the blood pressure-supporting drugs and just leave her on the pumps that were providing the circulation," Dr. Keshavjee said.

"It proved the concept is successful, but how long could you support her in this condition?" he said, adding that the biggest uncertainly was how long it would take for replacement lungs to become available.

"We didn't know if we'd get [the lungs] in one day or one month ... So it was a day-to-day thing, and thankfully in about five to six days, we did get donor lungs offered that were her correct blood type and a reasonable size match, so we could go ahead with the transplant."

The team's report on the case is published in Wednesday's issue of the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.

When Ms. Benoit finally came to after the transplant, her muscles were so deconditioned from having spent more than three months in hospital before the back-to-back operations, she couldn't even lift her hand to let her family know she was conscious.

"The only thing I could do was stick out my tongue," she said, and then only with the encouragement of her mother.

"That was the only way I could get her to communicate with me," Sue Dupuis recalled. "I said: 'Please Melissa, if you can hear us, stick out your tongue.' And it took a good 20 minutes for that tongue to come out just a little bit ... You know, it's like a movie."

It wasn't until Ms. Benoit was eventually weaned off the ventilator about a month later that she realized what it meant to have new lungs, which are unaffected by the mutated gene that causes CF.

"That was when I was, wow, I could breathe. I never had this feeling. I didn't cough any more.

When you have CF, you cough all the time," she said, dabbing away tears.

But that was only the beginning of a long road back to health.

With the help of physiotherapists, Ms. Benoit had to learn how to hold up her head up again, to sit up and then to stand.

"I never thought I'd do it again.

I never thought I would walk.

And here I am walking," she said, hugging her daughter, Olivia.

"You really come from the brink of death to back living at home. But I'm just so grateful, so happy to be home," said Ms. Benoit, who had to go on dialysis after her kidneys failed as a result of the sepsis. She hopes to be well enough for a transplant in the next few months, with her mother donating one of her kidneys.

Associated Graphic

Melissa Benoit, left, and her mother, Sue Dupuis, embrace in Burlington, Ont., on Friday. Ms. Benoit was dying from a lung infection when doctors decided to remove her lungs.


Through love of craft and perseverance, six small Canadian studios forge an identity
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, February 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

With an abundance of big international brands, it's easy to overlook small design studios that epitomize the notion of Canadian craftsmanship. Operating independently in Canada means working with small production runs and made-to-order pieces that are often handmade by the designers themselves, without compromising innovation. Globe Life shines a light on six small studios currently generating buzz on the Canadian design scene, from a master in the art of concrete in the West to the maker of elegant sculptural forms in Quebec.

STEVEN POLLOCK, Vancouver Thirteen years ago, Steven Pollock left a lucrative career in global telecommunications and began a new one, inspired by his lifelong love of concrete. "My heart was not there, and I knew corporate life was not for me no matter how good I was at it," says the Vancouver-based designer behind Woodstone Design. His gamble paid off. Pollock has mastered the art of concrete with profound elegance, combining it with wood and steel to craft beautiful furniture, often pushing the boundaries of the material.

His most recent, gravity-defining design, the Cantilever Table is a perfect example of this. "It utilized the weight of concrete," Pollock explains. He has no regrets leaving the corporate world in pursuit of his passion and the rewards that come with that. "[I love] meeting new people and creating something that has a meaningful impact on their lives." -

SHOLTO SCRUTON, Vancouver Sholto Scruton spent a decade honing his skills at Vancouver's top design studios before striking out on his own with Sholto Design Studio, which he incorporated in 2012. "I knew a decade before I started that in order to make the type of uncompromising furniture I [wanted], I would likely have to do it myself," says Scruton, who obtained his master's degree in industrial design at Manchester Metropolitan University. The award-winning designer works with a variety of building materials on both indoor and outdoor furniture, collaborating with architects and interior designers on custom one-of-a-kind pieces. He is currently creating a grand dining table for the Canadian High Commission in Tanzania, and stainless-steel outdoor picnic sets for the new observatory at Simon Fraser University. In 2014, he introduced his bespoke Emerald collection of handmade cabinets and tables. "I love how personal furniture is and being able to create things I know my customers will love and use for a long time." -

DJUNA DAY, Toronto Djuna Day has been building furniture for almost two decades.

After earning a liberal arts degree from New York University, she joined legendary designer Dakota Jackson in his Long Island City workshop, where she perfected her skills. Working under her own name since 2009, Day specializes in custom art and design commissions for clients across Canada. It's a collaborative process she cherishes. The designer recently spent eight weeks with a client building a 1940s French art deco-style dressing table for his wife. "It was fantastic to have a client who cared so much for the details. Design is all in the details," Day says. The designer also has a small selection of made-to-order customizable pieces such as the Catalan-inspired Barcelona Sideboard, and the small spaces-friendly Hella Writing Desk. Custom or bespoke, she believes in the power of good design. "Thoughtfully made furniture can change the routines of our lives in profound ways." - JERAD MACK AND SHANE PAWLUK, Edmonton The Prairie landscape plays a key role in Jerad Mack and Shane Pawluk's designs, instantly recognizable for their robust horizontality. The duo behind Edmonton-based Izm met while working on a construction project in Cuba, and decided to give furniture making a go despite not having any formal training in design. It turns out they were fine without it, although Pawluk admits that "taking some business and marketing classes would probably have been wise." Since incorporating in 2004, Izm has produced an impressive catalogue of handcrafted wood furniture, most notably the Iconoclast table, much loved by industry professionals across Canada. Knowing their work has meaning and longevity makes the stress of running a small business worth it. "Taking a raw product and turning it into something that is not only functional but aesthetically pleasing, and will most likely be around after you die, is very very rewarding," Pawluk says. - MATTHEW KROEKER, Winnipeg "I love that each and every project brings something to the table that's new and unexpected," says Matthew Kroeker when asked what appeals to him about his job. "It's always a challenge and a chance to learn and grow as a designer." The Winnipeg-based Kroeker juggles his own studio as well as Top & Derby, a company he co-founded whose aim is to diminish the stigma of disability through design. He launched the former in 2004 and the latter in 2013. The past couple of years have been triumphant for the Ontario College of Art and Design-trained Kroeker. In 2014, Top & Derby received an IDEA Award from the Industrial Designers Society of America for the design of the Chatfield walking cane, and last year he took part in EQ3's celebrated Assembly collection, with his fresh take on the iconic Windsor chair. The project also reinvigorated his love of furniture design. "It was great to again be working on some interesting furniture pieces in parallel with a group of other talented designers."

- ZOË MOWAT, Montreal With their sculptural compositions and unexpected colour combinations, Zoë Mowat's elegant designs demand attention in every space they find themselves. Montreal-based, the University of Alberta industrial design grad started her studio in 2010 and has since exhibited her work throughout North America, recently crossing the Atlantic for the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair's critically acclaimed group exhibit honouring the influence of Shaker furniture. "I enjoy and seek out opportunities to create a new work for a particular context or exhibition, one with a specific brief, theme, or constraint that can allow me to explore new ways of working and thinking," says Mowat, who has generated a substantial body of work of limited-run objects. Most commercially, she also took part in EQ3's Assembly collection, with the sculptural Dressing Table, rendered in glass, steel, and lacquered MDF. Mowat's offbeat designs often look like complex puzzles that have been solved. "What I enjoy most about design is the process - essentially all the steps, from the first brief to the final output, that are specific to a project," she says. - .

Associated Graphic

Steven Pollock's Cantilever Table shows how he has mastered the art of creating furniture from concrete, pushing the boundaries of the material.

A design hothouse in the foothills
Developer Ian MacGregor is building an enclave of modern architecture, and drawing from an international menu of top designers
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S4

A 750-square-foot home in the foothills of Alberta is attracting international attention as an exemplary piece of architecture.

The Rock House was designed by Seattle-based James Cutler of Cutler Anderson Architects as the design benchmark in a unique new community, Carraig Ridge, located between Cochrane and Canmore. Its owner, Ian MacGregor - in fact, he owns the entire 650-acre development site - says it's the realization of a lifelong ambition to establish a community of world-class modern architecture amid Alberta's incredible natural landscape.

Mr. MacGregor, 68, who describes himself as "a guy who works in the oil business" is president and chief executive at North West Upgrading Inc., which is currently building a $25-billion refinery north of Edmonton. Carraig Ridge is the culmination of fifteen years spent acquiring $20-million worth of land around his family's ranch.

"Initially I was buying land to save it from people dividing it into 40-acre chunks," he explains. "This is the foothills and if you divide it like a checkerboard it really disturbs the topography. Ten years ago I decided that this place is so beautiful that it should be developed, we just needed to figure out a better way to do it."

Over the next 10 years Mr. MacGregor would bring the world's leading conservation planners to his site. Among them was Randall Arendt, who's book Rural by Design: Maintaining Small Town Character is considered one of the most important texts in planning. Another was Dr. Christopher Alexander, one of the world's leading design theorists.

"It's really important that we fit the buildings into this site appropriately," says Mr. MacGregor, "and that the development is done in the most environmentally sensitive way we can so as not to disturb or alter what's there."

The final plan features 44 lots of between two and five acres, each unique in topography and outlook. Residents will have joint ownership of the surrounding community land. Lots are priced at $1.05-million for land only or start from $2.1-million for land plus a home designed by Todd Saunders of Norway-based Saunders Architecture.

Canadian-born Mr. Saunders has designed five homes for the site, each one unique to a specific lot.

"We found the buildings took on their own form to fit around the trees," explains the architect, who is well-known in Canada for designing cabins and a hotel on stilts on the remote Fogo Island in Newfoundland and Labrador, "and I'd always rather bend a house around a tree than remove the tree."

Heavily influenced by his 20-year career in Norway, Mr. Saunders says he works to three Scandinavian design principals: "know the difference between a want and a need, create small, good quality spaces and always put nature before architecture."

He describes the opportunity to work on a project like Carraig Ridge as "probably the best chance I'll ever get to do something great."

As a further experiment, Mr. MacGregor is having one of Mr. Saunders homes, the I House, built by Calgary-based prefabrication firm DIRTT; it will be erected on site later this year.

"The DIRTT built home will be both a spec house and a show home," says Mr. MacGregor. "We want to demonstrate to people what they can do and how quickly they can do it. Good modern architecture doesn't have to take two years. This will be a flat-pack house built to high architectural standards."

Other architects involved in Carraig Ridge are Seattle-based Olson Kundig and New York studio Young Projects. All have been selected by Mr. MacGregor as "architects who do significant work; the best in the world right now."

Of course, buyers are free to choose both a builder and architect of their own preference, though Mr. MacGregor says the development will be governed by a set of strict design principles.

"We want to attract people with an interest in building small and carefully," he says, "the buildings must support the environment rather than dominate it."

The "guiding principles" document outlines four lot types: forest, edge, cliff and meadow, each with their own specific architecture guidelines which include maximum allowable height, floorspace and number of storeys. The document also outlines allowable materials and recommended colours and textures.

Environmental preservation is also enforced and selective tree removal may only be allowed with prior permission.

"There's a tendency in Alberta for developers to just mow down everything in sight and then try to plant it all back," says Mr. MacGregor. "That's not what we're doing here. You can't replace a 300-year-old tree."

So far, two lots have been sold and Mr. MacGregor claims there has been "significant interest" from potential buyers in Europe and China. The Rock House recently featured on a British television show, George Clarke's Amazing Spaces, and won Wallpaper* magazine's Best Cabin in the 2017 design awards; accolades and exposure which continue to draw enquirers. Mr. MacGregor believes the Saunders Architecture spec home will further raise the development's profile "among people of the right mindset."

He is "confident the development will be financially successful over time, but we're not in any rush."

Nearby Carraig Ridge is one of Mr. MacGregor's other projects; the reassembly and restoration of the historic Jamieson Ranch, which he describes as including "a significant building for Alberta which predates the railway."

It's where his parents retired to and around which he amassed the land on which Carraig Ridge now sits. The restored ranch is a log-built tribute to the past, while Carraig Ridge is a celebration of modern design.

But, Mr. MacGregor argues, they are perhaps more similar than they appear.

"I see the homes in Carraig Ridge as legacy assets for families," he says, "buildings that will be there for hundreds of years and design which retains it's integrity.

The ranch is also a legacy asset, left to me by my parents and I'll leave it to my kids along with The Rock House. It's the same thing, just a different era."

Associated Graphic

Above: The Rock House was designed by Seattle-based James Cutler of Cutler Anderson Architects as the design benchmark in a unique new community, Carraig Ridge, located between Cochrane and Canmore. Its owner, Ian MacGregor, says it's the realization of a lifelong ambition to establish a community of world-class modern architecture amid Alberta's incredible natural landscape. Bottom photo: A rendering for another Carraig Ridge home by architect Todd Saunders.


For TFC's Beitashour, patience is a virtue
Fullback has had to wait his entire life for chances to prove himself, but when opportunity has arrived, he has never disappointed
The Canadian Press
Friday, February 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S4

CHAMPIONSGATE, FLA. -- One of the top fullbacks in Major League Soccer, Toronto FC's Steven Beitashour remembers all too well the people who helped him chart his unlikely course. And those who didn't.

Beitashour, 30, could be the poster boy for "things happen for a reason."

Coming out of Leland High School in San Jose, the then-central midfielder drew little attention from colleges despite being a two-time offensive player of the year there. Leland High eventually retired his number - the second player to be so honoured after Pat Tillman, who gave up a career in the NFL to fight, and sadly die, for his country in Afghanistan.

Beitashour won the inaugural Pat Tillman award, given to a Bay Area student for outstanding achievements in athletics and academics.

Still he arrived at San Diego State, which plays in the Pac-12, as a walk-on with a chip on his shoulder.

"I just wanted to prove to ... UCLA, Stanford, Berkeley [to] at least take a look at me," he recalled.

Cal-Berkeley took notice of him after his second year and suggested he transfer. Beitashour pointed out the e-mail he had sent the school as a high-school senior, saying he didn't want a scholarship if it meant he could have a chance to play for the Golden Bears. Then he declined CalBerkeley's offer.

Converted to fullback at San Diego State, Beitashour was not a flashy player with eight career assists. But he did the little things right, helping his team. And he was mighty motivated.

He had a tryout during college with a Belgian team, which wanted to keep him. But Beitashour's father, a now-retired electrical engineer with Apple, wanted him to finish school. So Beitashour got his degree (major in communications, minor in biology), buoyed by the knowledge that he had the goods to play professionally.

Now it was a question of convincing everyone else.

As his college career came to a close, it took a friend of a friend to help open the door to professional soccer.

His best friend's younger brother was playing for a club team that had Shea Salinas of the San Jose Earthquakes come in as a guest coach for a day.

Beitashour took in the session and found out later that Salinas had been invited because the team's coach, Mark Schrick, knew San Jose coach Frank Yallop. Beitashour asked whether the coach could put in a good word for him with Yallop, a former Canadian international who went on to coach Team Canada.

So his best friend's younger brother talked to Schrick, the coach Beitashour didn't know.

And Schrick, on the advice of his player's scouting report, called Yallop to tell him about Beitashour.

The next day, Yallop phoned Beitashour to invite him for a trial.

For a local boy who had served as ball boy for the San Jose Clash in the league's inaugural game in April, 1996, it was something very special. Beitashour was so excited he took a picture of himself the first time he put on the uniform to go to the training ground.

The trial eventually turned into an offer to stay. Beitashour, honouring his father's wish, noted he was one semester away from finishing school and that the MLS SuperDraft was coming. The Earthquakes waited and took him in the second round (30th over all) in the 2010 SuperDraft, two picks after selecting Justin Morrow, who now mans the left fullback spot in Toronto.

Given the chance, Beitashour did his part to impress on the field. But he has never forgotten Schrick and his best friend's brother for their roles.

"It was pretty remarkable," Beitashour said. "The belief and trust of a complete random stranger, to give me an opportunity like that.

"My best friend's little brother, he didn't have to say anything to his coach. ... I did my part. But without their part, I couldn't have gotten to my part."

His part continues. Beitashour excelled with San Jose and Vancouver before, in December, 2015, joining Toronto where he and Morrow have become ever-present bookends.

"You know what you're going to get from him every single day," Toronto coach Greg Vanney said of Beitashour. "He comes out and he just puts his work boots on and he plays and he competes."

It's a compliment to say Beitashour is the kind of player you don't really notice. He just does his job.

Excellent at reading the game as a defender, Beitashour will also "give you an honest day's up and down all day long" on attack, Vanney added.

Beitashour is also a team player, helping organize club functions off the field.

"He's just a honest working guy, every single day, and gives you everything he has," Vanney said.

"Those are the guys you love to have on your team."

But not every team.

Called up by the United States in the summer of 2012 before a game against Mexico at Azteca Stadium, Beitashour watched in street clothes on the bench. He was summoned again for a camp in January of 2013 but had to leave early to heal from a hernia surgery that was causing him trouble.

When another invitation didn't come from U.S. Soccer, he accepted the latest in a series of offers from Iran, his parents' homeland.

Welcomed by fans and players alike, he made his debut in October, 2013, against Thailand coming off the bench after the Tehran crowd chanted "Put Beitashour in" in Farsi.

Beitashour was part of Iran's team at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil but, much to his disappointment, did not see action. He is not ready to discuss why that happened but hopes the door remains open to international play.

It is one of many chapters in his past he has questioned. And then grown to accept.

"One of my cousins always says 'Never question your past, because you're here because of that path you took.' He's a wise guy. I try to listen to him," Beitashour said. "He's someone that I respect a lot ... He always says things happen for a reason and you make the best out of every situations.

"I've tried to do that so far."

Associated Graphic

Toronto FC's Beitashour, right, didn't start out as one of the MLS's most effective fullbacks. Before proving himself with TFC, Beitashour spent most of his early career waiting for opportunities.



New fee-reporting rules will lead to industry shakeout
Veteran financial advisers predict clients will put 'money in motion' when they see what they are paying for advice
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, January 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B5

It is fair to say that in Canada, January is the cruelest month.

The days are cold and dark, holiday bills start coming due and tax season begins.

This year is sure to bring more grim tidings to most Canadian investors - and the advisers who serve them. For most investment firms, this month is when they must start presenting clients with detailed reports on the fees that they have charged their clients.

Two decades in the works, the Canadian Securities Administrators' initiative, known as Client Relationship Model, Phase 2 (better known as CRM2), will compel advisers to detail annual performance and the cost of advice they are providing using dollar figures, rather than percentages.

The new disclosure rules have already met criticism because they focus on the cost of advice investors pay, rather than the allin costs that include any fees associated with products. For example, investors will see the cost of commissions from the purchase of mutual funds in their statements, but not the managementrelated fees of such products. In this way, CRM2 could underreport fees for owners of fundheavy portfolios if they don't go through the separate exercise of calculating management expense ratio (MER) costs.

But for an industry that has long been notorious for high fund fees and generally murky disclosure about what advisers in general are paid, sticker shock is coming. CRM2 Navigator, a Toronto-based firm that consults advisers on how to deal with the new reporting requirements, states bluntly: "Our research shows investors are shocked by their CRM2 fee and performance reports."

Veteran financial advisers are bracing for what they see as a long-overdue shakeup of the financial advice industry after people see what they paid for financial advice and, in turn, the returns that advice produced.

"It is just natural that there will be a knee-jerk reaction," says John DeGoey, a certified financial planner and portfolio manager with Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. in Toronto. "I think there will be a lot of people switching advisers in 2017 when people start coming to terms with CRM2."

Mr. DeGoey, who has an updated version of his behind-the-curtains book on the industry called The Professional Financial Advisor IV: Putting Transparency and Integrity First, expects a thinning of the adviser herd following the rollout of CRM2.

"That is a good thing," he says.

"To my mind there is no industry on the planet where the range of quality is wider than in the business of giving financial advice."

And he is not talking about a small number of advisers whom he believes should be pushed out of the industry, whether it is from the introduction of CRM2 or other coming regulatory changes.

"I absolutely believe that there is a segment of the population - I don't know, 10, 15, 25 per cent - that literally do more harm than good. Not only do they not earn their fees, but they actively subtract value while they are charging fees. It's a double negative.

"If we could get rid of those advisers it would be a wonderful thing."

He singles out advisers who rely heavily on higher-cost mutual funds.

"There is a whole, large segment of the adviser population that says you can have any kind of a product you want as long as it is an embedded-compensation mutual fund, because they are either not licensed to sell securities and ETFs or because they can't, or won't, or their firm won't allow them to, use a fee-based model."

A recent survey of 150 Canadian financial advisers by Natixis Global Asset Management Canada found that they are feeling "cost and regulatory pressure" and seeking dramatic changes: 30 per cent are planning to leave the industry, retire, sell their book of business or merge with a competitor. As well, 32 per cent said they would drop smaller clients because of new regulations.

Adviser angst is likely news to clients, says Dan Hallett, a vicepresident and principal with HighView Financial Group of Oakville, Ont. As another financial industry professional who has advocated for clearer performance and compensation reporting, he expects CRM2 "is going to put a lot of money in motion."

He has informally polled friends and family about whether they have been told about the new disclosure rules by their advisers.

"Either the advisers are not explaining anything and are trying to delay it as much as possible, or they are and it still hasn't clicked in," Mr. Hallett says. "Either way, for those people, when the report comes, they are going to be asking a lot of questions."

Mr. Hallett expects the new disclosure rules will be tougher on advisers who work for firms governed by the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA) rather than advisers who operate under IIROC (Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada) regulations. The latter group oversees companies and advisers who can buy and sell individual securities and exchangetraded funds.

"I would say that clients of MFDA firms are less accustomed to seeing any sort of fee number in writing on statements in any kind of report. So if I had to generalize, I would say that clients of those mutual-fund-dealer firms would be most impacted."

CRM2 has spawned a subindustry of consultants who are helping advisers deal with laying out their costs and performance to clients. Among them is Toronto-based CRM2 Navigator, which warns that investors will be "shocked" by fees and performance reports. It has advised the advisers to first give their clients a heads up.

"Some clients are going to have what I would call sticker shock and others may wonder what they got for the fees they paid," says Susan Silma, a co-founder and partner of the firm. "We're suggesting to advisers that it would actually be helpful to get in front of this. Call it being proactive."

Advisers should be prepared to justify their fees to their clients, Ms. Silma says, something that many have never before done.

"When clients actually see the fee reports, it will be imperative for advisers to be able to talk about what clients get for the fees that they paid."

This year is shaping up to be a time of education, both for investors and their advisers. "We need to remember that clients don't really understand all the things that advisers do," Ms. Silma says.

Associated Graphic

When clients start receiving the new reports, 'they are going to be asking a lot of questions,' says Dan Hallett, a vice-president and principal with HighView Financial Group.


North Korea will reject autopsy results
The inquiry into the death of the Kim Jong-nam has North Korean officials refusing to accept Malaysia's forensic examination
Associated Press
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A16

KUALA LUMPUR -- North Korea said Friday it will reject the results of an autopsy on its leader's estranged half brother, the victim of an apparent assassination this week at an airport in Malaysia. Pyongyang's ambassador said Malaysian officials may be "trying to conceal something" and "colluding with hostile forces."

Speaking to reporters gathered outside the morgue in Kuala Lumpur, North Korean ambassador Kang Chol said Malaysia conducted the autopsy on Kim Jong-nam "unilaterally and excluding our attendance."

Kim Jong-nam, who was 45 or 46 and had lived in exile for years, suddenly fell ill at the Kuala Lumpur airport on Monday as he waited for a flight home to Macau.

Dizzy and in pain, he told medical workers at the airport he had been sprayed with a chemical. He died while being taken to a hospital.

"We will categorically reject the result of the postmortem," Mr. Kang said, adding that the move disregarded "elementary international laws and consular laws."

Mr. Kang said the fact that Malaysia has yet to hand over the body "strongly suggests that the Malaysian side is trying to conceal something which needs more time and deceive us, and that they are colluding with the hostile forces towards us who are desperate to harm us."

South Korea has accused its enemies in North Korea of dispatching a hit squad to kill Kim Jong-nam at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, saying two female assassins poisoned him and then fled in a taxi.

North Korean diplomats in Malaysia objected to an autopsy and had requested custody of Kim Jong-nam's body, arguing that he had a North Korean passport. Malaysian authorities went ahead with the procedure anyway, saying they did not receive a formal complaint.

The autopsy could provide some clarity in a case marked by speculation, tales of intrigue and explosive, unconfirmed reports from duelling nations. Authorities were still awaiting the autopsy results.

Malaysia said Friday it wants DNA samples from Kim Jongnam's family as part of the postmortem procedure and that officials were not yet willing to hand the body over to the North Koreans. Although Kim Jong-nam is believed to have two sons and a daughter with two women living in Beijing and Macau, police in Malaysia say none have come forward to claim the body or provide DNA samples.

"If there is no claim by next-ofkin and upon exhausting all avenues (to obtain DNA), we will finally then hand over the body to the (North Korean) embassy," said Abdul Samah Mat, a senior Malaysian police official. He would not say how long that process might take.

Malaysian police have arrested three people in the investigation but have released few details.

On Friday, Indonesia's national police chief said the Indonesian woman arrested for suspected involvement in the death was duped into thinking she was part of a comedy show prank. The police chief, Tito Karnavian, said he was citing information received from Malaysian authorities.

Mr. Karnavian told reporters in Indonesia's Aceh province that Siti Aisyah, 25, was paid to be involved in Just For Laughs style pranks, a reference to a popular hidden camera show.

He said she and another woman performed stunts that involved convincing men to close their eyes and then spraying them with water.

"Such an action was done three or four times and they were given a few dollars for it, and with the last target, Kim Jong-nam, allegedly there were dangerous materials in the sprayer," Mr. Karnavian said. "She was not aware that it was an assassination attempt by alleged foreign agents."

Mr. Karnavian's comments come after a male relative of Ms. Aisyah said in an Indonesian television interview that she had been hired to perform in a short comedy movie and travelled to China as part of this work. Indonesian Immigration has said Ms. Aisyah travelled to Malaysia and other countries it did not specify.

Investigators were still trying to piece together details of the case, and South Korea has not said how it concluded that North Korea was behind the killing.

Malaysian police were questioning three suspects - Ms. Aisyah, another woman who carried a Vietnamese passport and a man they said is Ms. Aisyah's boyfriend.

Kim Jong-nam was estranged from his younger half brother, the North Korean leader Kim Jongun. He reportedly fell out of favour with their father, the late Kim Jong-il, in 2001, when he was caught trying to enter Japan on a false passport to visit Tokyo Disneyland.

Yoji Gomi, a Japanese journalist who wrote a book about Kim Jong-nam, said he criticized the family regime and believed a leader should be chosen "through a democratic process."

Mr. Gomi said he met Kim Jongnam by chance at Beijing's international airport in 2004, leading to exchanges of 150 e-mails and two interviews in 2011 - one in Beijing and another in Macau - totalling seven hours. He appeared nervous during the interview in Macau, Mr. Gomi said.

"He must have been aware of the danger, but I believe he still wanted to convey his views to Pyongyang via the media," Mr.

Gomi said. "He was sweating all over his body, and seemed very uncomfortable when he responded to my questions. He was probably worried about the impact of his comments and expressions.

The thought now gives me a pain in my heart."

In Indonesia, Ms. Aisyah's family and former neighbours said they were stunned by her arrest, describing her as a polite and quiet young mother.

Her former father-in-law, Tjia Liang Kiong, who lives in a nearby middle-class neighbourhood and last saw Ms. Aisyah on Jan. 28, described her as respectful.

"I was shocked to hear that she was arrested for murdering someone," he said. "I don't believe that she would commit such a crime or what the media says - that she is an intelligence agent."

Ms. Aisyah's mother, Benah, said by telephone that the family comes from a humble village background and has no ability to help her. "Since we heard that from the television, I could not sleep and eat. Same as her father, he just prays and reads the holy Koran. He even does not want to speak," said Benah. "As villagers, we could only pray."

The three suspects were arrested separately on Wednesday and Thursday.

Associated Graphic

Kim Jong-nam, North Korea's leader's estranged half-brother, seen at Tokyo's Narita airport in 2001, was apparently assassinated earlier this week at a Malaysian airport.


For most entrepreneurs, Dragons' Den is out of reach
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R5

TORONTO -- The other day in the atrium of the CBC Broadcasting Centre, Samantha Montpetit-Huynh stepped toward a trio of TV producers and stripped off her top.

Just below her shiny black bra, her abdomen was wrapped in what seemed to be a matrix of tensor bandages. It was, she said with an assertive smile, part of the Ab System by Bellies Inc., a $137 program for pregnant and postpartum women to help combat what she called "the dreaded mummy tummy."

She had an engaged listener in Michelle MacMillan, a producer with CBC-TV's Dragons' Den who was on her very first day back from maternity leave.

It was Day 1 of auditions for the next season of the popular reality show, in which small-business owners pitch themselves to a panel of five Canadian venture capitalists. Now in its 11th season, Dragons' Den still pulls in about 600,000 viewers an episode. If that's a fraction of its historic best ratings, it's back in the news now that Kevin O'Leary, who made for an especially sharp-tongued Dragon during his eight seasons on the show, is in the race for leader of the federal Conservative Party of Canada.

And after all these years, they're still trooping up to Studio 40 on the tenth floor of the CBC Broadcasting Centre: The hopeful and the hard-nosed, the crafty and the oblivious, their dreams and sometimes their nest eggs banking on four minutes of national airtime. Many walk away forlorn, roadkill among the bickering Dragons. "You come in, you have a lot of great things to say, but the Dragons are ultimately, like, five egomaniacs with all the money," one producer cautioned a pitcher.

"So you also have to then appeal to them. You need them. So you need to go both ways."

Some do strike handshake deals, even if nothing is certain once the cameras are turned off: As the Report on Business's Tim Kiladze noted in a recent article about O'Leary, only about onethird of the on-air deals actually close.

Still, last weekend 46 companies trooped down to CBC Headquarters to take their shot on the first of 36 days of auditions in which producers will hear an estimated 1,500 pitches over the next month and a half, from Vancouver to Fort McMurray, Alta., Windsor, Ont., Belleville, Ont., Fredricton, Halifax, Charlottetown, Montreal, Regina, Winnipeg, Niagara Falls, Ont., and many other cities.

The pitches ranged from work gloves that can be used on touchscreens to fast-food joints to handcrafted furniture to apps and a "virtual veterinary consultation" business, which seemed to especially impress one pet-owning producer.

One man brought in a hockey visor, into which a couple of hundred small holes had been drilled. "What I invented here is a non-fogging visor," he claimed.

He handed it over to a producer, who breathed on it and said curtly, "Seems like it fogs up." The man nodded. "A little bit, a little bit," he acknowledged. "It can use some R&D."

Some of the wacky pitches had surprising traction. Derrick Wyss, a GO Transit bus driver from Hamilton, brought along four friends to demonstrate an invention he called Fence in a Bag, which involved telescopic poles and a long length of fabric. They unfurled the 40-foot fabric, studded with holes that looked like film sprockets along the sides to enable the fabric to be folded into a barrier of varying lengths, across a corner of the atrium as Wyss outlined its possible uses.

"Business could use it as a banner at outdoor events. It's great for covering gaps on an existing fence, and it can help prevent kids or pets from running onto the road after their toys. It's a snow fence, a tree wrap, privacy wind-barrier and a sun shelter," he said. "Police can use it to have privacy for a murder scene. You can haul bodies from your house to the trunk of your car." The producers chuckled, and he added: "It is good to help prevent geese attacks. If they can't see you, the geese won't attack you. I did some research on that one."

Wyss had come up with the idea during a camping trip about five years ago, he said, when he saw some pets getting tangled up in ropes their owners were using to keep them on a campsite. "I said, surely there's got to be something out there. But there's nothing like it on the market."

That light-bulb moment is what keeps the hopefuls coming back to Dragons' Den.

Some, though, are happy to reinvent the tried-and-true for a new generation. A couple of tables away, a flamboyant-looking fellow in a grey fedora atop a mop of brown curls pulled out a deck of cards and launched into a Seussian-sounding sales pitch, as a mid-Atlantic accent wafted in and out of his speech. "I am a prognosticator, a prestidigitator, a magician, illusionist - and some would say delusionist, I'm quite certain they'd say. I am a miiind reader." His name was David Michael Lee, he said, and he goes by the name of the Black Hatter.

(He had to wear his grey one, he said, because a bird had pooped on his black one that morning as he'd been leaving the house; he hoped it was an omen.) He was asking, he said, for $25,000 "for 50 per cent of me, as a magician, until the Dragons double their money back."

He performed a mind-reading trick and a couple of nifty card tricks that prompted Don Cook, one of the producers, to beam like a giddy child, while his colleague, Bernice Kim, was impressed, though a little cooler.

They asked Lee about his business model, and he explained that he was looking for funding for a cross-country tour. "We haven't had a major famous Canadian magician since Doug Henning in the seventies and early eighties," he noted. "I have his hair."

The producers thanked him for his pitch, and, as Lee turned to leave, Kim asked whether he could tell her what she was thinking at that moment. He paused, seemed to listen to the spirits, and declared: "I will go on Dragons' Den. Thank you very much!"

Associated Graphic

Dragons' Den producer Michelle MacMillan, centre, tries on a glove designed for use with touchscreens during auditions for the show on Feb. 11.


Detective cleared of misconduct in handling of sex-assault case
Monday, February 13, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

The London police detective who was placed under internal investigation for his handling of a 2010 sexual-assault complaint by a then-18-year-old Western University student has been cleared of professional misconduct, the woman at the centre of that case told The Globe and Mail.

Ava, who is now a 24-year-old law student at a major Canadian university, said she received a call from London's professional standards unit last week, informing her that Paul Gambriel's actions did not meet the standard of misconduct under the Police Services Act.

"But [a high-ranking officer who reviewed the report] wanted to acknowledge that he can see how the line of questioning affected my decision to move forward," Ava said.

"I'm not surprised. There's a high threshold that they have to meet. But it's disappointing. Accountability is essential to change."

Mr. Gambriel - who is now a staff sergeant - was placed under internal investigation in November of 2016, after inquiries from The Globe about the way he handled Ava's case. During Ava's interview with the detective, the officer repeatedly seemed to press her to say that what happened was not a rape. He told the teenager that police had located her underwear and there was "discharge" on it, which Ava took as a suggestion she had biologically consented. And he - falsely - claimed on numerous occasions that it was not possible for her to have memory blackouts.

After a month-long investigation, the officer closed Ava's case as unfounded, a term that means no crime occurred or was attempted.

A police report showed the suspect was given a warning.

Staff Sgt. Gambriel could not immediately be reached for comment on Sunday. He earlier declined an interview request because of the internal investigation.

London Police Chief John Pare told The Globe that he could not comment on the professionalstandards investigation: "This involves a human-resource matter." But last week, after The Globe revealed Ava's story, the chief issued a broad apology to victims who felt let down by the way they were treated by his service.

As part of a 20-month investigation, The Globe revealed that on average, Canadian police dismiss one out of every five sex-assault allegations as unfounded. In some cities, that number is much higher, including in London, Ont., where 30 per cent of sex-assault allegations were closed as unfounded over the five-year period reviewed by The Globe. In total, 115 Canadian communities drop at least a third of sex-assault allegations as unfounded or baseless.

Once a case is unfounded, it is no longer considered a valid allegation and it is not represented in local or national statistics.

Last week, the London Police Service was the first of what has now become more than 30 police departments to announce that it will review sexual-assault unfounded cases. The chief issued the apology later in the week.

"Upon reviewing the media articles and hearing the criticisms of the London Police Service this past weekend, my thoughts turned to the victims of sexual violence ... and how their lives have been impacted, not only by the crimes committed against them, but by their experiences with police and the larger criminal-justice system," he said.

"It is with those victims in mind that I would like to apologize to any victims whose experiences left them feeling that they were not supported or that may have eroded their trust in this police service in any way. Because we are human beings, because we are not perfect, there is always room for improvement."

David Butt, a Toronto lawyer who regularly acts for police officers in disciplinary hearings, said a high bar needs to be met to justify a misconduct charge under the Police Act.

"There are best practices and you kind of fell down on the job - and then there's misconduct," he earlier told The Globe. "Everything can't be punitive. There has to be room for mistakes. Mistakes made that are teachable moments."

Chief Pare has also announced that he plans to look at new training for officers that will deal with consent and how traumatic experiences can impact victim behaviour.

In October, 2010, Ava told London police she had been raped at a keg party by a man she didn't know while heavily intoxicated.

During her interview with Det.

Gambriel, Ava explained that she had blacked out before the assault. When she came to, she was outside the house in the dirt, naked, and the man was inside of her.

"I remember saying no, like, 'You're hurting me, no,' " Ava said. The man then told her, "I don't want to hurt you, baby," but he continued anyway.

Ava told Det. Gambriel she asked him to stop repeatedly, but he ignored her. The assault only ended after a group of four or five men from the party began taking pictures. That's when the man on top of her ran away, leaving her alone, without any clothes on and sobbing, Ava explained.

"So, you black out and you don't remember anything," Det.

Gambriel said, "but then you suddenly come to and you're able to tell him to stop - that, no, you don't want this to occur?" The detective told her that memory does not suddenly drop out and suddenly return - in fact it does.

"So I don't know how you can block out one specific aspect of the night, but remember the rest," he said.

In the video, Ava can be seen asking the detective if he doesn't believe her.

"Maybe the sex was consensual and it wasn't until everybody shows up and interrupts and has these cameras out that now it's become a significant issue for you and this other party," the detective replied.

Melanie Randall, a law professor at the University of Western Ontario who has studied sexualassault law, and who also reviewed Ava's file, told The Globe that charges should have been laid in the case, but that the officer did not do his job.

"The officer ran interference in so many places, failed to understand the law, failed to understand memory and traumatic events, didn't listen to key things she said, didn't ask her the right questions, arrogantly imposed his own version of what happened, challenged her repeatedly, pretty much suggested that he didn't believe her and reframed the event as consensual," Prof. Randall said.

Ava's case has since been reclassified as a founded allegation.

Detective cleared of misconduct in handling of sex-assault case
Monday, February 13, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

The London police detective who was placed under internal investigation for his handling of a 2010 sexual-assault complaint by a then-18-year-old Western University student has been cleared of professional misconduct, the woman at the centre of that case told The Globe and Mail.

Ava, who is now a 24-year-old law student at a major Canadian university, said she received a call from London's professional standards unit last week, informing her that Paul Gambriel's actions did not meet the standard of misconduct under the Police Services Act.

"But [a high-ranking officer who reviewed the report] wanted to acknowledge that he can see how the line of questioning affected my decision to move forward," Ava said.

"I'm not surprised. There's a high threshold that they have to meet. But it's disappointing. Accountability is essential to change."

Mr. Gambriel - who is now a staff sergeant - was placed under internal investigation in November of 2016, after inquiries from The Globe about the way he handled Ava's case. During Ava's interview with the detective, the officer repeatedly seemed to press her to say that what happened was not a rape. He told the teenager that police had located her underwear and there was "discharge" on it, which Ava took as a suggestion she had biologically consented. And he - falsely - claimed on numerous occasions that it was not possible for her to have memory blackouts.

After a month-long investigation, the officer closed Ava's case as unfounded, a term that means no crime occurred or was attempted.

A police report showed the suspect was given a warnStaff Sgt. Gambriel could not immediately be reached for comment on Sunday. He earlier declined an interview request because of the internal investigation.

London Police Chief John Pare told The Globe that he could not comment on the professional-standards investigation: "This involves a human-resource matter." But last week, after The Globe revealed Ava's story, the chief issued a broad apology to victims who felt let down by the way they were treated by his service.

As part of a 20-month investigation, The Globe revealed that on average, Canadian police dismiss one out of every five sexassault allegations as unfounded. In some cities, that number is much higher, including in London, Ont., where 30 per cent of sex-assault allegations were closed as unfounded over the five-year period reviewed by The Globe. In total, 115 Canadian communities drop at least a third of sex-assault allegations as unfounded or baseless.

Once a case is unfounded, it is no longer considered a valid allegation and it is not represented in local or national statistics.

Last week, the London Police Service was the first of what has now become more than 30 police departments to announce that it will review sexual-assault unfounded cases. The chief issued the apology later in the week.

"Upon reviewing the media articles and hearing the criticisms of the London Police Service this past weekend, my thoughts turned to the victims of sexual violence ... and how their lives have been impacted, not only by the crimes committed against them, but by their experiences with police and the larger criminal-justice system," he said.

"It is with those victims in mind that I would like to apologize to any victims whose experiences left them feeling that they were not supported or that may have eroded their trust in this police service in any way.

Because we are human beings, because we are not perfect, there is always room for improvement."

David Butt, a Toronto lawyer who regularly acts for police officers in disciplinary hearings, said a high bar needs to be met to justify a misconduct charge under the Police Act.

"There are best practices and you kind of fell down on the job - and then there's misconduct," he earlier told The Globe.

"Everything can't be punitive.

There has to be room for mistakes. Mistakes made that are teachable moments."

Chief Pare has also announced that he plans to look at new training for officers that will deal with consent and how traumatic experiences can impact victim behaviour.

In October, 2010, Ava told London police she had been raped at a keg party by a man she didn't know while heavily intoxicated. During her interview with Det. Gambriel, Ava explained that she had blacked out before the assault. When she came to, she was outside the house in the dirt, naked, and the man was inside of her.

"I remember saying no, like, 'You're hurting me, no,' " Ava said. The man then told her, "I don't want to hurt you, baby," but he continued anyway.

Ava told Det. Gambriel she asked him to stop repeatedly, but he ignored her. The assault only ended after a group of four or five men from the party began taking pictures. That's when the man on top of her ran away, leaving her alone, without any clothes on and sobbing, Ava explained.

"So, you black out and you don't remember anything," Det.

Gambriel said, "but then you suddenly come to and you're able to tell him to stop - that, no, you don't want this to occur?" The detective told her that memory does not suddenly drop out and suddenly return - in fact it does.

"So I don't know how you can block out one specific aspect of the night, but remember the rest," he said.

In the video, Ava can be seen asking the detective if he doesn't believe her.

"Maybe the sex was consensual and it wasn't until everybody shows up and interrupts and has these cameras out that now it's become a significant issue for you and this other party," the detective replied.

Melanie Randall, a law professor at the University of Western Ontario who has studied sexualassault law, and who also reviewed Ava's file, told The Globe that charges should have been laid in the case, but that the officer did not do his job.

"The officer ran interference in so many places, failed to understand the law, failed to understand memory and traumatic events, didn't listen to key things she said, didn't ask her the right questions, arrogantly imposed his own version of what happened, challenged her repeatedly, pretty much suggested that he didn't believe her and reframed the event as consensual," Prof. Randall said.

Ava's case has since been reclassified as a founded allegation.

Designing electric
Whether employing traditional or radical concepts, companies are taking a look-and-see approach
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, January 26, 2017 – Print Edition, Page D6

DETROIT -- All hail the electric car, our saviour apparent.

There will not be a revolution, no obvious turning point, but many auto makers foresee electric cars making up a significant chunk of sales in the next decade.

What will electric cars look like?

How far will they go on a charge?

How much will they cost? These are questions which, until recently, had no answers.

Now that the first big cohort of electric cars is emerging, the picture is becoming clearer.

Range and cost will be intimately linked. The more you pay, the less you'll need to recharge. The Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3 have ranges of 380 and 350 kilometres respectively, as measured on the U.S. EPA test. The Bolt will start at $42,795. In Ontario, it will cost $31,434 after government rebates, and will be in showrooms early this year. The Jaguar I-Pace will do 350 kilometres and arrive in 2018. The Faraday Future FF 91, if it ever arrives, will do 600 kilometres, and sprint from 0 to 100 km/h faster than a LaFerrari or McLaren P1. No price has been announced, but that kind of performance will likely cost around $100,000. Like any new technology, prices will drop and specs will improve as it matures.

What will electric cars look like?

This is where it gets interesting.

Style sells cars. When price, performance and features are roughly equal between competitive models, design is the differentiator. We're shallow when it comes to automobiles.

"Our job is to create something that drives customers into new technologies," said Klaus Bischoff, head of Volkswagen design, speaking at the Detroit auto show.

"You have to be aware of your responsibilities as a designer."

Good design could help reduce global carbon-dioxide emissions.

There are two camps emerging when it comes to EV design, said Paul Snyder, head of the transportation design department at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, one of the largest such departments in the world.

The first includes new companies that were created to make electric cars. The second includes most major auto makers that, in some cases, have more than a century of experience making internal-combustion-engine cars and are now slowly shifting to EVs.

The newcomers "They're not grappling with history or a tradition in terms of what their brand meant," Snyder said.

"Newer entries like Faraday and Lucid, they aren't encumbered with any sort of history, so they are more exploratory."

These companies are creating radical designs, for better and for worse. Examples include the Faraday Future FF 91 unveiled at CES, the Lucid Motors Air, the LeEco LeSee and the Tesla Model 3.

Snyder said the only major auto maker to have a car in this design camp is BMW with the i3. It was designed by Richard Kim, who is now at Faraday Future, where he penned the FF 91.

Tesla's latest cars don't have a front grille, a feature that has historically distinguished one car from another. Electric cars don't need gaping holes in the front to let air cool the engine.

"The Model X is a really innovative architecture in proportion and it's odd for some people, especially the fact it doesn't have a grille," said Snyder. "They've strived to create a brand identity just in the way they are shaping the surfaces."

An electric motor is miniscule compared to even a four-cylinder gas engine with gearbox. Ditching clunky internal-combustion technology frees up space at the front of a vehicle.

Lucid Motors, a California-based start-up, boasts, "free from space constraints of a conventional gasoline vehicle ... we realized the interior length of a large luxury sedan in a mid-size footprint."

The company's spectacular sedan, dubbed Air, was designed by Derek Jenkins, who joined Lucid from Mazda where he penned, among others, the 2016 MX-5.

The Faraday is a love-it or hateit design, as is the i3. The Model X is either a potato bug on wheels or the coolest SUV on sale, depending on who's looking.

"It's easy to do something different. It's very difficult to do something different that is beautiful and appealing," said Snyder.

The old guard The Chevy Bolt looks much like any other sub-compact hatchback. The Hyundai Ioniq EV is even more normcore. Volkswagen's next-generation e-Golf is only distinguished from its gasoline counterpart by some blue pinstripes. It arrives later this year with an EPA-rated range of more than 200 kilometres per charge.

The Mercedes Generation EQ concept (2019 production) looks like an update on current Benz SUVs.

Porsche's Mission-E concept (2020 production) looks like a sleeker Panamera. The Jaguar I-Pace concept (2018 production) pushes the design envelope, moving the cab forward, but is still recognizably a Jaguar crossover, with the brand's signature grille.

Audi's e-Tron SUV concept from the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show is confirmed as the brand's first EV, arriving as a production model in 2018. It look similar to the Audi Q8 SUV recently shown in Detroit.

"Believe it or not, there is a kind of resistance to going too far from what we consider to be a beautiful, successful, classic proportion," said Snyder. He's talking about a front-engine, rear-drive car with a long hood, low ride height and rearward swept-back cabin. "[Auto makers] don't want to move to quickly and scare the public away. Consumers are very sensitive to radical shift."

The change from gas to electric power is radical enough. But playing it safe doesn't always work, either. There are plenty of less-than-pretty EVs from established companies: see the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

Winners and losers Which camp will win out? The daring upstarts or the conservative old guard? Neither, both, a mix: it's too early to say.

Peter Schreyer, head of design at Hyundai and Kia, offers some perspective: "We need to find answers to reduce the CO2. ... We all are trying to find solutions and we are on the way. Styling alone doesn't make the future; it is always together with technical innovation ... and changes in society."

Associated Graphic

The Faraday Future FF 91 electric car, an example of radical design, on display in Las Vegas on Jan. 3. Below: The 2017 Ioniq EV is Hyundai's normcore addition to this year's lineup.


Throw off the chains of blandness and change those white, beige and grey backdrops into canvasses for exciting new textures, colours and technology
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, February 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

If you search a #homedecor hashtag on Instagram, you'll scroll through a bevy of beautiful spaces, most of which have something in common: neutral walls. The ubiquitous backdrops in shades of white, beige, grey - or their hybrid, greige - have populated interior decor to the point where the desire against sameness has resulted in a walltreatment revolution of sorts.

From graphic wallpapers to sculptural wall panels to hightech wonders, designers are looking for ways to introduce colour and texture into our interiors.

"Walls are more than just spaces to fill. We are starting to see them more like canvasses for our imagination," says Carly Stojsic, a leading Canadian trend forecaster and former market editor at the Worth Global Style Network.

"We are looking at the most interesting surfaces that we can find right now."

Stojsic bids farewell to extreme minimalism that has been the prevailing trend of this decade in both design and fashion, in favour of "hyper-styled" visual collaging that is currently equated with luxury design. "Interior trends are often ignited by fashion design trends," she explains, crediting Gucci's Alessandro Michele for leading the consumer toward a fearless approach to print and colour.

As with runways, exuberant prints are no strangers to design fairs, where new wallpaper companies are popping up along mainstay heritage brands such as Farrow & Ball. It's a growing sector in product design.

Among them is San Francisco-based Hygge & West, whose name comes from the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced hoo-ga), a decor trend du jour with an ethos in coziness.

The small company works exclusively with independent artists and designers to create luxurious hand-screened wallpapers. One of them is Los Angeles-based designer Justina Blakeney, a blogger behind, whose motto "Decorate wild!" is an antithesis to Kinfolk magazine's pared-down minimalist aesthetic. Blakeney's penchant for tropical flora is a perfect companion to Greenery, Pantone's 2017 colour of the year. The designer's bold prints are available in solid sheets, as well as in the form of 24-by-32-inch (61by-81-centimetre) removable wallpaper tiles that could be easily removed and reused - ideal for non-committal wallpaper enthusiasts.

Wallpaper has come a long way since its creation in first-century China, when Ts'ai Lun invented papermaking from textile waste.

Popularized in the Tudor era in the Western world, for centuries wallpaper was relegated to living areas as it was vulnerable to humidity in spaces such as kitchens and bathrooms. That's not the case today. Italian wallpaper company Wall & Deco has pioneered Wet System, a patent-pending technical wall finishing for damp environments. They also offer Out System, a weather-proof system that allows the wallpaper to be applied outdoors, creating endless possibilities for exterior design. Taking things even further, Wall & Deco has used their designs for ceiling coverage, something Stojsic believes is greatly overlooked. "We see it happening in restaurants and retail, but we don't do enough decoration in our own spaces."

Hygge takes on a different, more literal appearance in Murals Wallpaper's Knit collection by designer Anna Fell. This larger-than-life, digitally printed wall treatment brilliantly fuses the aesthetic of Nordic design with the whimsical play on scale, creating a bit of a dollhouse illusion. The Londonbased company also made use of the current terrazzo trend and presented it in paper form. The bits of colourful "marble" floating on a solid surface recalls compositions of Memphis design, another recent comeback story (although they do have a collection dedicated to that as well).

They also offer a range of marble and brick designs for fans of simulated texture.

Those craving real texture can look to Muratto, a Portuguesebased brand specializing in natural-cork wall coverings. Muratto's modular designs are a far cry from ordinary cork sheets draped on office walls, or the outgoing rustic trend of reclaimed and recycled materials. They take on shapes that mimic terra cotta, stone and metal. But it's the Organic Blocks range that pushes the material in the most exciting way, creating soft wall sculptures with an undulating 3-D effect.

New technologies are driving toward three-dimensionality in flat surface design. "Everything is so multisensory now, and it's what gets traction," says Stojsic, who believes that our walls will soon mimic our screens. At the 2015 International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York, Kyra and Robertson Hartnett, the duo behind printing studio twenty2, presented that sentiment with DEEP. This 3-D wallpaper collection, a result of four years of research in collaboration with Pratt Institute's Sarah Strauss, consists of five patterns by five designers, from florals to graphic geometry to a seascape of sailing ships. It's an illusion to be viewed with anaglyph 3-D glasses, but it helps, of course, that they also look beautiful without them.

Black and white or grey-scale line drawings use the red and cyan offsets to create a 3-D effect, much like old 1980s comic books.

The idea of experiencing one's space through wearable technology is not so far-fetched in the era of rapid technological advances.

A decade ago, London-based design sister duo Maria and Ekaterina Yaschuk of Meystyle created LED wallpaper, transforming walls into light structures. Given the longevity of LED lights, it's more pragmatic than it sounds. In 2015, Google patented a technology that could turn walls into screens by using photo-reactive paint. The smart wall, controlled by a computer or a smartphone, could then take on any image just with a simple click. Stojsic sees these innovations as natural progression. "The digital space is something we will always want to surround ourselves with. That's why materials that emulate, resemble or reflect the sentiments of the digital world - things that are glossy and imagined and lustrous and electric - are so interesting." Whatever the future holds, plain walls do not apply. In the meantime, it's all about having some fun.

Associated Graphic

Murals Wallpaper's Knit collection by designer Anna Fell presents a larger-than-life, digitally printed wall treatment that brilliantly fuses the aesthetic of Nordic design with a whimsical play on scale.

Bloom by LuzElena Wood is part of studio twenty2's DEEP wallpaper collection of 3-D designs that range from florals to graphic geometry.

Muratto uses cork to make its Peak Organic Blocks, creating soft wall sculptures with an undulating 3-D effect.

Falls by Niketa Raheja is another 3-D pattern for studio twenty2's DEEP wallpaper collection.

Potentially toxic teething tablets still on shelves in Canada
Monday, February 13, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L3

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning last month not to use homeopathic teething products linked to 10 deaths and hundreds of illnesses because they could contain toxic amounts of belladonna, also known as deadly nightshade. The company that sells the products, Standard Homeopathic Co., did not agree to issue a product recall despite the FDA's concerns.

The potentially dangerous teething products are still available for sale to Canadians. But you may not have heard about it because so far, the federal government has not taken action - a situation that highlights problems with the regulation of natural health products that could put consumers at risk.

The background The controversy started in 2010, when the FDA, Health Canada and Standard Homeopathic, which manufactures Hylandbrand teething products, issued a voluntary recall of teething tablets after FDA tests showed they contained inconsistent amounts of belladonna. At the time, the company said it would address manufacturing issues to prevent the problem. Belladonna is a poisonous plant often used in herbal remedies and ointments that can be toxic, particularly when ingested.

Last September, the FDA issued a new warning not to use Hyland's homeopathic teething tablets because it had received new reports of seizures and other serious side effects in infants and children who had used them. Last month, the agency issued another warning after laboratory tests confirmed "inconsistent levels" of belladonna in Hyland's teething tablets, "sometimes far exceeding the amount claimed on the label."

In the past six years, the FDA says it received more than 400 reports of seizures, fever, shortness of breath, tremors, vomiting and other serious side effects linked to the products, including 10 deaths.

It's unclear if the teething tablets were the definitive cause of the adverse events and the FDA says it is continuing its investigation.

"The body's response to belladonna in children under two years of age is unpredictable and puts them at unnecessary risk," said Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a statement.

The agency added that homeopathic teething products "have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safety and effectiveness" and that it's "unaware of any proven health benefits of the products."

But unlike the 2010 incident, Standard Homeopathic now says it doesn't want to conduct a product recall and says the products are safe. The company decided to stop selling teething tablets and teething gel in the United States, blaming the FDA for creating an unnecessary problem.

"This warning has created confusion among parents and limited access to the medicines," a statement on the website said. Standard Homeopathic did not respond to requests for comment.

In September, Health Canada issued a vague public advisory about homeopathic teething products that did not mention the product or company name involved in the FDA investigation.

The department said there "is no indication of a similar safety concern in Canada" but did not say whether any of the products have been tested here or what other steps have been taken.

Michael Kruse, executive director of Bad Science Watch, a science-based advocacy group, said Health Canada needs to address this issue.

"This is a clear danger to children. You'd think they'd want to at least have a precautionary approach," he said.

Health Canada declined an interview request. In an e-mail statement last Friday, a spokesperson said the department "continues to work actively on this file" and is "assessing the new information" from the FDA.

According to the department's adverse reaction database, there have been three reports of infant seizures and vomiting linked to teething tablets since 2013. The database does not indicate which brands were involved. Natural health-product manufacturers are not required to report side effects to Health Canada.

A regulatory system rife with problems The response from Health Canada highlights problems with regulation of natural health products.

They must be approved before they're sold. But unlike prescription drugs, Health Canada will approve a natural health product even if there is little evidence it works or is safe. For instance, products can be approved if a manufacturer can show that they have been used in traditional medicine.

As a result, products end up on store shelves, sometimes with bold health claims on the label, even though they have been subject to little scrutiny.

This regulatory system has long been a thorn in the side of evidence-based medicine advocates who say it allows the natural health industry to profit from ineffective and even potentially dangerous products. They also point to other flaws in the regulatory framework, such as the fact Health Canada does not have the legal power to order dangerous products off store shelves. So even if Health Canada decided to take action on Hyland's homeopathic teething tablets, it couldn't force the products off the market (troubling, considering the company has refused to conduct a recall in the United States).

Change on the horizon?

The good news is the current regulations may soon be a thing of the past. In September, Health Canada detailed plans to overhaul the regulatory framework for natural health products, cosmetics and non-prescription drugs. Experts say the proposed changes would likely affect natural health products the most. Under the proposed new framework, products in those three categories would be assessed based on risk. A product designed to aid heart health would be treated as high risk and subject to rigorous scrutiny. Vitamins and homeopathic products would be considered low risk. The changes would also prohibit natural health-product manufacturers from making most health claims on product labels, and they would no longer be licensed by Health Canada.

It's a major departure from the current system, under which natural health products can make health claims and boast the approval from Health Canada.

The industry has struck back against the proposed changes, saying it would unfairly restrict access and treat natural health products like drugs.

Others say this is a long overdue move that will protect consumers from misleading claims or potentially dangerous products. But Mr.

Kruse noted that Canada's multibillion-dollar natural healthproducts industry successfully fought off previous governments' attempts to change the regulatory framework. It remains to be seen whether Health Canada will follow through this time.

Associated Graphic

The U.S. FDA has issued a warning not to use certain homeopathic teething products, but the products are still available in Canada.


Estrada used to throw in the mid-90s. Then his right quadriceps muscle went 'pop' in 2012 and everything changed
Thursday, February 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

DUNEDIN, FLA. -- Marco Estrada's road to slowness began early in the 2012 season, when the right-handed starter was with the Milwaukee Brewers and his pitches would top out in the mid-90-mile-anhour range.

Then, batting in a game against the San Francisco Giants, a quirky play led to an injury that forced his reinvention as a pitcher.

"I hit a line drive down third base and I thought the guy was going to catch it," Estrada recalled earlier this week at Blue Jays spring training. "But it went right over [the third baseman] so he didn't catch it. And I stopped, saw he missed it, pushed off turning it up and the next thing I know I hear, 'Pop.' " That was the sound of his right quadriceps muscle tearing.

"I have a hole there right now," Estrada said, rolling up his right pant leg to proudly display the fading remnants of a scar.

A trip to the disabled list ensued and when Estrada returned to the lineup he discovered he couldn't throw as hard as he used to.

The speed of his once-halfdecent fastball, which used to race into the catcher's mitt at somewhere around 95 miles an hour, was now lagging at around 88. Estrada had to discover how to navigate life in the slow lane.

For a major-league pitcher, a downturn of six or seven ticks on the radar gun is a huge slide, and Estrada had to rethink his game if he wanted to remain an effective big-leaguer.

He became a control freak and learned how to live on the corners of the plate, keep the ball down, and deftly alternate pitch speeds to baffle hitters.

He developed a change-up, and it is one of the best in the game.

Last season, he threw that pitch 26.6 per cent of the time to lead all major-leaguers.

With his fastball averaging in the high-80s, Estrada's change-up would usually creep in about 10 mph slower and the deception helped make him one of the toughest pitchers to hit.

He held his opponents to a .203 batting average, the stingiest in the American League and third best over all. Estrada's solid contribution helped elevate the Toronto rotation into one of baseball's best.

Wednesday, under mostly overcast skies off the Gulf of Mexico, was the Blue Jays' first official workout for pitchers and catchers. This season, if the Blue Jays hope to make a third consecutive charge into the playoffs, they will need to see the continued success of their starting five.

The group that finished last year, and helped lift Toronto into the AL Championship Series - Estrada, J.A. Happ, Francisco Liriano, Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman - are all back and looking forward to digging in.

"I think they're going to have to repeat what they did last year," said Kevin Pillar, the Blue Jays defensive whiz in centre field.

"And we don't expect anything less.

"Obviously [Stroman] didn't have the type of year that he wanted to have. I expect him to be better. I think a full year with Liriano in the rotation is going to be huge. Obviously Sanchez is just starting to hit his stride and Happ's been one of the best pitchers in the last season and a half. I expect him to be the same guy."

In a season in which the Blue Jays starters led the majors in total innings pitched, only Stroman had what could be considered a so-so year.

At times effective, other times erratic, Stroman finished 9-10. His 4.37 earned-run average was not where he wanted it to be.

On the other side of the ledger was Happ, a 20-game winner and Sanchez, 15-2, whose 3.00 ERA led all AL starters.

Liriano, a trade-deadline addition who essentially knocked R.A.

Dickey out of his starting role, fit in very nicely, with eight starts over the final two months of the season, going 2-2 with a 2.92 ERA.

And then there was Estrada, pitching all year with a herniated disk, who was selected to his first All-Star Game.

His overall record of 9-9 does not seem over the top, but the Blue Jays did not do him any favours in his starts, averaging a staff-low four runs a game when he was on the mound. Happ, on the other hand, received a teambest 6.3 runs an outing.

When he first came to the Blue Jays for the start of the 2015 season in a trade with the Brewers, Estrada said it was a huge confidence boost and gave him a chance to learn from the slowpitch master, Mark Buehrle.

Buehrle won more than 200 games during a marvellous 16year career and featured a fastball that was hard-pressed to top 85 mph.

"Watching him pitch, he's that guy throwing 80-83, 84, whatever it was and you see how quick his outs are, how well he locates and he just seems to get everybody out," marvelled Estrada about the pitcher whose contract expired following the 2015 season. "And that makes you realize it's not always about speed.

"You locate a pitch and you can be really successful in this game.

And that's basically what he taught me."

Sanchez remains his ever-confident self, and his steely-eyed nature should help him in his quest to emerge as one of baseball's top throwers.

Last season he added a good curve ball to his arsenal and this season he hopes to mimic Estrada and develop a better changeup. And better yet, he won't have to pitch with an innings restriction hanging over his head, as he did in 2016.

"I feel in our eyes we got five really good, above-average pitchers competing with each other every five days, making sure we stay together, making sure we feed off each other, making sure that we got each other's backs from Day 1 to Day 162," Sanchez said. "And that's what it takes.

"We found a lot of success in that last year and it's just something we can continue this year."

Associated Graphic

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marco Estrada, left, laughs with manager John Gibbons, during spring training in Dunedin, Fla., on Wednesday.


Thursday, February 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A8

EDMONTON -- For the first time, nearly one-third of Canadians are living in the West. Led by growth in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta's population has climbed by more than double the national average since the 2011 census - and this shift is about more than friendly taxes

Drawn by jobs and pleased with the welcoming atmosphere, Canadians continue to migrate westward.

Census data released on Wednesday by Statistics Canada show that nearly one in three people call the Prairies or British Columbia home, with Alberta staking claim to the most new residents.

Despite a sluggish economy, Calgary and Edmonton were the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the country from 2011 to 2016, with growth rates of 14.6 per cent and 13.9 per cent respectively.

Alberta as a whole added 421,918 residents since the previous census was taken, an increase of 11.6 per cent. That is more than double the national average of 5 per cent.

When the census was taken on May 10 of last year, Calgary was the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Canada with a population of 1,392,609. Edmonton was sixth at 1,321,426.

The only place in the country where data was collected on a different date was Wood Buffalo, the sprawling regional municipality in northern Alberta that includes Fort McMurray. Figures for there are from May 1, two days before wildfires forced an evacuation of nearly 90,000 people.

"If they had used May 10 for us, our population would have been about 100 or 200 people," Melissa Blake, the Wood Buffalo mayor, said Wednesday.

There are seemingly as many reasons as there are people for the shift from East to West. Taxes in Alberta remain the most friendly in the country, and the economy remains relatively stable despite a drop in world oil prices that slowed production in the oil sands.

But there is more to it than that.

Michael Zaugg and his wife, Julie Barron, moved from Montreal to Edmonton in 2014 when he accepted a position as conductor and artistic director of Pro Coro Canada, one of the premiere professional choirs in the country.

The couple met in Estonia in their early 20s when they were members of the World Youth Choir. Together for 18 years, they have found life to their liking in Alberta, where they live a short distance across the North Saskatchewan River from the provincial capital building.

"We feel life here as a family is much easier," Mr. Zaugg said between posing for pictures with his wife and their beaming daughters, Matilda, 7, and Clara, 4. "It is more affordable than Montreal and people are really friendly.

"There is a thriving arts community in Edmonton and a feeling that anything is possible. I feel there is a certain freedom and more of a possibility to succeed here."

Mr. Zaugg was commuting between engagements in Montreal, Ottawa and Edmonton before being chosen as Pro Coro's first conductor-in-residence over 26 other candidates from seven countries. He is originally from Switzerland.

"This was a chance for Michael to simplify his working life," Julie Barron said.

She works as an executive recruiter in Edmonton. In Montreal, she served as a talent scout for Cirque du Soleil, helping cast singers, actors and clowns.

"When we moved here from Montreal we didn't know anyone," Ms. Barron said. "It was like walking off a cliff."

Visiting a mall in Edmonton for the first time, she was pleasantly surprised by how outgoing people were.

"Matilda asked me, 'Mom, why are all these people talking to us?' " Ms. Barron said.

In December, 2015, Eddie Robar moved to Edmonton from Halifax with his wife and three daughters to accept a position as a city transit manager.

"It has been an awesome experience," Mr. Robar said. "I don't think we will ever leave."

Mr. Robar said he is unsurprised that Canadians keep streaming to the West. He said utility costs are significantly lower in Alberta than what he paid in Nova Scotia, and that he and his wife love the family atmosphere and opportunities for recreation.

"I don't think the benefits of living in Alberta are well-known across the country," he said. "I'm really waving the Western flag.

I'm getting more people to move out here."

After nearly five years away, Jennifer Dupilka and her husband, Shaun, moved back to Fort McMurray from Sarnia, Ont., in 2015. Both work for an energy company in the oil sands. Shaun comes from a small town near Fort McMurray, while Jennifer is from northern British Columbia.

They had to leave during last May's fires, but don't regret returning to Fort McMurray.

"It is home," Ms. Dupilka said.

"We have strong ties."

The population of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which has ranked among the fastest-growing places in the country for the past decade, was recorded in the federal census as 73,320.

That is an increase of 9.6 per cent since 2011, but still below what officials say is accurate.

A municipal census conducted in 2015 that set the permanent population at 81,948, with an additional 43,084 people residing in work camps in the oil patch.

The federal figures do not account for that "shadow" population because most are from somewhere else, and they cannot be counted in the census twice.

But those workers add to the stress that is being felt by the region's infrastructure, said Ms. Blake, the mayor.

"I want to credit the census people for the extra effort they put in, and for changing the date for us to May 1," she said. "But we're no farther ahead on the curve than we were five years ago.

"My reaction is one of concern over the number not reflecting the overall population here."

Associated Graphic

Top: The North Saskatchewan River flows through downtown Edmonton. Centre: Regina's Victoria Park is seen in winter. Above: The sun rises over Winnipeg.


Julie Barron, left, and Michael Zaugg, right, are seen in their Edmonton home with their children Clara, 4, second left, and Matilda, 7, on Tuesday. The family moved from Montreal to Edmonton in 2014 when Mr. Zaugg accepted a position as conductor and artistic director of Pro Coro Canada, one of the premiere professional choirs in the country.


Canadian's home expansion enrages London neighbours
Businessman backed down from previous plans to dig four storeys below his mansion. Now, he's trying again
Friday, February 10, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A13

LONDON -- Canadian businessman David Graham isn't making a lot of friends among his neighbours in one of London's most exclusive boroughs.

Mr. Graham already infuriated neighbours five years ago with plans to dig four storeys below his mansion in Knightsbridge to build a swimming pool, a threecar garage, a gym, a ballroom, changing rooms, a hot tub, wine cellars, an art storage room and servants' quarters.

His subterranean escapade became a hot topic in London and shed light on the growing trend among the superrich for "iceberg homes," named because most of the house is below ground.

But after a revolt by neighbours, Mr. Graham backed down.

Now, he's trying again. Last month, Mr. Graham submitted plans for a more modest underground expansion, a single storey covering 5,000 square feet, to accommodate a swimming pool, a gym, changing rooms, two bedrooms and an office. In filings with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Mr. Graham has promised to consult neighbours and minimize the disruption caused by construction, which will last nearly two years.

The pitch hasn't worked and the former cable-television magnate, who was once married to Barbara Amiel Black, is facing an even bigger battle this time.

Neighbours are furious about the chaos that months of construction will cause and a number of prominent residents have lined up against the project, including an acclaimed author, a prominent fashion designer and a friend of the royals.

"It's going to make life absolutely hell for anyone living in the area for two years," said Justin Downes, who lives in the neighbourhood and is campaigning against Mr. Graham's plan.

Pamphlets opposing the proposal have been circulating in the area and a website has been launched to block it. Complaints have also been pouring into the borough office from people saying they are fed up with Mr. Graham, who has spent years renovating his 15,000-squarefoot house. Some also wonder why a 79-year-old needs such a large home.

"This is the vagaries of one millionaire, who, for financial gain, is choosing to ride roughshod over thousands of families," wrote Edna O'Brien, an award-winning author who lives beside Mr. Graham. "Indefatigable as he is with these repeated applications for basement and mega-basement, we also are indefatigable and will do everything to oppose it. It really breaches the frontiers of decent and civic behaviour."

Another neighbour, Marion Gettleson, wrote: "It's the modern day equivalent of Pharaoh's pyramid - the ultimate exercise in conspicuous consumption.

It's doubtless not a planning issue, but the applicant is already elderly. He may well not live to 'enjoy' his achievement - created for him alone in the face of the damage it will do to the quality of life of hundreds of his neighbours. He is not Pharaoh."

Others called the project a "development scam" and one neighbour urged the borough not to "give in to these nasty applications full of money and power and agents fees etc. Stand up for our community and residents. Not this tired old applicant and his application lackeys."

Among the high-profile neighbours filing objections are fashion designer Bruce Oldfield and businesswoman Hayat Palumbo, whose husband, Lord Peter Palumbo, is a prominent developer and godfather to Princess Beatrice.

In an interview, Mr. Downes said he can't understand why Mr. Graham would try again, given that his last proposal met with such outrage.

"No one understands quite what his motivation is, apart from money," he said, adding that Mr. Graham likely wants to sell the house. He bought the property in 2000 for an undisclosed amount and it could be worth much more than $20-million without the renovation.

"The crazy part is he's bought a beautiful house, he's involved himself in English society and yet he does the very thing which he knows is going to piss off the very people he wants to be friendly with," Mr. Downes said.

Mr. Graham wasn't available for comment and neighbours say he's rarely at home. He moved to London in 1980 while making a fortune in the cabletelevision business. He co-founded Cablecasting Ltd. in Toronto in the early 1960s. The company became one of the largest providers of cable TV in Canada before eventually expanding to the United States and Britain.

Mr. Graham sold it to Shaw Communications Inc. in 1992 for $307.8-million. He married Barbara Amiel in 1984 and she moved to London from Toronto.

They were divorced by 1988 and she married Conrad Black in 1992.

So far, the neighbours appear to be winning. This week, a group of borough councillors, including the head of the planning committee, came out against Mr. Graham's proposal.

"We have seen and read the many concerns expressed by local residents of our ward, and we also believe that this large additional excavation to [the house] should not be permitted," they said in a joint statement.

Kensington and Chelsea has been taking a hard line on "iceberg houses" lately, in part because of the publicity surrounding Mr. Graham's 2012 proposal.

These types of projects became popular because building regulations put restrictions on above-ground renovations, but not below.

As a result, rich owners started building layers of underground floors to accommodate a growing array of garages, swimming pools and extra rooms. That led to clashes with neighbours who complained about noisy construction and potential damage to their foundations. The number of planning applications in Kensington and Chelsea for basements jumped from 46 in 2001 to more than 450 in 2013.

Last year, the borough introduced rules to limit the size of new basements and prevent homeowners from expanding an existing basement. The boroughs of Islington and Camden have introduced similar regulations and Westminster has started charging an £8,000 ($13,000) fee to secure planning permission for any subterranean excavation.

Kensington and Chelsea is expected to decide on Mr. Graham's latest proposal in early March. And while he may face an uphill battle with many neighbours, documents filed at the borough office show he has at least one supporter. James Johnson, who lives in a nearby apartment building, told the council in a submission this week that, "whilst there are plenty of things to complain about in life, as far as I'm concerned after 16 years resident in my apartment this planning application is not one of them."

A worthy alternative to bonds: private debt
These fixed-income strategies are designed to offset volatile markets while offering stable yields higher than those of most bonds
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, February 14, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B5

This RRSP season, as you cast about for bond alternatives to plump up the fixed-income side of your portfolio, consider a private debt offering from an alternative investment manager.

Now, "alt" investing might evoke images of risky algorithms dreamed up by quantitative analysts, or vulture funds picking over the bones of distressed companies. Ideally, though, debt strategies are designed to offset the ups and downs of the stock market while offering stable yields that are higher than those available on most bonds.

Here are a few favoured by Craig Machel, a portfolio manager at Richardson GMP in Toronto who specializes in alternative investments.

Until recently, alt investments were the preserve of "accredited" investors - individuals with high income and a high net worth.

Changes have made alt investments available to investors of lesser means whose investment adviser is also a portfolio manager.

Bridge financing

David Sharpe, chief executive officer of Bridging Finance Inc. of Toronto, clearly loves the role his firm plays providing short-term financing to small and mid-sized borrowers who may not meet bank lending requirements.

Mr. Sharpe, a member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte First Nation near Deseronto, Ont., says his firm has become the "go to" group for bridge financing to First Nations, a burgeoning market for infrastructure and economic development.

"We're one of the first calls in Canada for this type of thing," Mr. Sharpe said in an interview. "It's an important and growing part of our business."

A lawyer by training, Mr. Sharpe also teaches a course in First Nations negotiations at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont. "Consultations with First Nations about economic development is gigantic in this country," he says.

"We want to be on the leading edge of that."

Among Mr. Sharpe's proudest achievements was providing interim financing for a new commercial centre - a supermarket, drugstore and retail space - for the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick, creating 50 jobs in the process. Already, the supermarket is netting $1-million a year, he says, and community members no longer have to drive 20 minutes to buy a loaf of bread.

With deal flow robust, Mr. Sharpe is "looking forward to consistent growth in 2017" despite uncertainty over the recent U.S. election. "The economy is alive and well in this country."

The Sprott Bridging Income Fund LP is diversified by sector and geography, he notes, "and we're getting deals in interesting places," from Nunavut to Newfoundland. Among the projects financed were the purchase of two fishing vessels for an Inuit organization called the Baffin Fisheries Coalition and a tomato processing and canning plant in Leamington, Ont.

All of the Bridging Finance loans are performing, Mr. Sharpe says, which means no one is behind on their payments. "Private debt is very hard work," he adds. "You have to roll up your sleeves, do your due diligence and monitor your investments."

The Bridging Finance fund is marketed and distributed by Sprott Asset Management of Toronto. Bridging Finance acts as subadviser. The Sprott Bridging Income Fund LP (Class F) returned a net 8.07 per cent to investors in 2016, Mr. Sharpe says.

The fund has returned a compounded 8.95 per cent a year since inception in November of 2013.

Private mortgage pools

If there's one thing investors want in this era of low interest rates, it's yield, and they are finding it in alternatives such as private mortgage pools, where investors pool their money in a limited partnership to lend to developers, secured by real estate.

"Yield is an incredibly hot topic," Mr. Machel says. Among his list of favoured firms in the private mortgage area is Morrison Laurier Mortgage Corp., formed to invest in the portfolio of Morrison Financial Mortgage Corp. "It doesn't pay the most, but they've never lost a dime," Mr. Machel says.

On its website, Morrison Laurier says it specializes in financing mid-sized construction projects based on verified pre-sales. In its 28 years of originating and managing mortgages, Morrison Financial has had an uninterrupted distribution stream, the firm says.

Other mortgage managers on Mr. Machel's list include Trez Capital of Vancouver, which specializes in short-term commercial mortgage lending, and Centurion Asset Management Inc., which invests in real estate through the Centurion Apartment REIT.

Long-short bond strategies

Fixed-income hedge funds can be complicated and their returns lower than higher-risk commercial lending, but they can offer safe, stable returns to investors concerned about preserving capital. Although bond markets tend to be populated by big institutional investors such as pension funds, they're also a harbour for nervous nellies fearful of the ups and downs of the stock market.

Seldom has the outlook for bonds been so uncertain. Bond prices tend to move in the opposite direction to interest rates, so if and when interest rates show signs of a sustained rise, prices of longer-term bonds will fall. Just last month, Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz said another cut in the central bank's benchmark rate was possible because the economy is vulnerable to trade tensions with the U.S. South of the border, though, most market watchers believe the American central bank, the Federal Reserve, will continue to raise rates slowly but steadily.

In these circumstances, what could be better than a bond strategy designed to make money no matter what interest rates do?

Toronto-based RP Investment Advisors LP has strategies designed to do just that, Mr. Machel says. Through a handful of funds, RP managers look to take advantage of inefficiencies in the vast, opaque, global bond market, both investment grade and high-yield. Currency risk is hedged.

Another of Mr. Machel's mainstays is the long-short funds offered by Picton Mahoney Asset Management of Toronto. The firm offers several stock and bond strategies, as well as one publicly traded closed-end bond fund, the Picton Mahoney Tactical Income Fund. On its website, the firm says the fund provides exposure to a diversified portfolio of income-producing securities that are long or short high-yield and investment grade bonds. The fund posted an average annual return since inception on its Class F units of 4.21 per cent.

Associated Graphic

David Sharpe's firm provides short-term financing to small and mid-sized borrowers, such as First Nations groups that may not meet bank lending requirements.


Meeting of Canada, U.S. leaders to be most watched in decades
Monday, February 13, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

WASHINGTON -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lands in Washington Monday morning where he will try to charm President Donald Trump - a man his polar opposite in nearly every way - to preserve Canada's close ties with its most important ally at one of the most unpredictable moments in the two countries' relationship.

The tête-à-tête at the White House is certain to be the mostwatched meeting in decades between the leaders of two nations bound by free trade, defence and intelligence links as tight as any in the world.

Despite their sharply opposing politics and public images - Mr.

Trudeau a sunny internationalist, Mr. Trump a bombastic protectionist - the Prime Minister has opted for a realpolitik approach to his far more powerful counterpart. He has avoided criticizing Mr. Trump directly and instead seems intent on convincing him that Canada can help advance his economic agenda.

What Mr. Trudeau will find when he meets Mr. Trump is far less certain.

The President campaigned on a promise to roll back free trade and has declared his intention to "speed up" a renegotiation of the North American free-trade agreement. Mr. Trump has spent the past 10 days in mounting frustration as the courts blocked his executive order freezing immigration from seven Muslimmajority countries. He has also, on occasion, tangled with allies during testy telephone conversations.

Two weeks ago, Mr. Trump surprised Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, another leader of a long-time U.S. ally, by berating him about a refugee transfer agreement before abruptly ending the call. But he has also shown that he can be cordial and diplomatic with world leaders at key moments.

Mr. Trump is coming off a weekend of smiles and handshakes with Shinzo Abe - highfiving and playing rounds of golf with the Japanese Prime Minister and giving him a key public assurance of U.S. support in the face of North Korea's latest missile test - demonstrating that, for all his bluster, the President is keen to publicly strengthen U.S. alliances.

"I just want everybody to understand, and fully know, that the United States of America is behind Japan, our great ally, 100 per cent," Mr. Trump told reporters on Sunday during a joint statement with Mr. Abe at the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla. Japan was regularly the subject of Trump criticism for underpaying for the cost of keeping U.S. bases in the country, and involvement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks.

Mr. Trudeau is also certain to find a bifurcated reception among the U.S. political class.

The American centre left has constructed Mr. Trudeau as something of a saviour. A New York Times column last week gushed that Mr. Trudeau's Canada is "the finest example of the values of the Statue of Liberty" for letting in 40,000 Syrian refugees. And The Washington Post described Mr. Trudeau as "a leader of the liberal global resistance to President Trump" in an online piece last week.

The Breitbart news website favoured by Mr. Trump's supporters, meanwhile, portrays Mr. Trudeau as a scandal-plagued leftwinger who hates the oil industry.

One piece described him as the "handsome Bernie Sanders."

Both the left and right are certain to be disappointed with Mr. Trudeau's nice-guy approach to Mr. Trump. But observers argue it is the right choice, and the most likely strategy for maintaining the country's ties with its vastly more powerful neighbour.

"This is going to be one of the most-watched meetings, because it will set an example for other leaders of what to do," said Tamara Woroby, who teaches Canadian studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Canadian officials have been more pro-active than those of other countries in reaching out to their Trump administration counterparts since he took office, she said.

Prof. Woroby characterized Canada's approach as nice, but firm, and pointed to the balance struck by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland in her visit with her U.S. counterpart, Rex Tillerson, last week: For the most part, Ms.

Freeland extolled the benefits to the U.S. economy of maintaining free trade and a warm relationship with Canada, but she also served notice that Ottawa would retaliate in the event of new border tariffs.

"It's very Canadian - pro-active but not aggressive. And nice, but nice doesn't mean soft or weak," Prof. Woroby said.

Analysts contend Mr. Trump's NAFTA anger is directed largely at Mexico, and Canada will escape the brunt of his ire.

David Wilkins, a former U.S. ambassador to Canada under expresident George W. Bush, points out that Canada's trade relationship with the United States is very different from Mexico's. For one, trade between Canada and the United States is balanced, while the United States has a large trade deficit with its southern neighbour.

"NAFTA created large numbers of jobs through trade with Canada. It's put a lot of food on the table for American workers," Mr. Wilkins said. "Trudeau will be received very warmly. It will be a very productive meeting."

Mr. Wilkins said it helped that Mr. Trudeau played it cool during the U.S. election and didn't get involved.

Still, Mr. Trudeau will be dealing with a mercurial leader. In his court battle to get his immigration order reinstated, Mr. Trump has taken to attacking the courts themselves, accusing them of making the country unsafe. On Sunday, he dispatched a policy adviser, Stephen Miller, to hammer away at this point on the political talk-show circuit. "What the judges did ... was to take power for themselves that belongs squarely in the hands of the President of the United States," he declared on NBC's Meet the Press.

Mr. Trump also took credit for a series of raids that scooped up hundreds of illegal immigrants last week, describing the people arrested as "criminals."

"The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!" he tweeted Sunday.

For all his planning and preparation, Mr. Trudeau cannot know exactly what he will face when he steps into the Oval Office.

"The only thing that's predictable about Donald Trump is his unpredictability," Prof. Woroby said.

"Whether that's calculated - part of the art of the deal - or that's just his personality, no one going into a meeting with him knows the outcome."

Single baby boomers need cushion to pad portfolios
Women, especially, face a tough task as they look to build wealth on one income
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, February 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B8

Emily Larimer understands, perhaps better than most, the importance of taking meticulous steps to build up her retirement savings.

The 55-year-old Toronto-based chartered professional accountant, who is single and suffers from multiple sclerosis that requires expensive drug treatment, established her registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) at age 30, and has also contributed to a tax-free savings account (TFSA) in recent years.

"You just don't know what's going to happen, so you need to set things up to care for yourself when you're older. That's why I set up an RRSP at an early age. I don't think Old Age Security is going to provide nearly enough to take care of me as I get older," says Ms. Larimer.

To provide an extra cushion for retirement, Ms. Larimer owns her own home, has paid off her mortgage, made improvements to increase its value, and has taken in a boarder to provide rental income.

"Paying off my mortgage was incredibly important to me. It's another way that I'm taking care of myself, because nobody else is around to do that for me," she says.

Experts stress that while retirement planning is an important priority for everyone, regardless of their marital status, single baby boomers - the youngest of which are now 52 and roughly a decade from retirement, need to be especially diligent. They must pay for their mortgage, food, taxes and all other current living expenses with one income, plus save enough money to support themselves when they decide to retire, without the possible safety net that a spouse might provide.

The task may be even more daunting for women. A gender wage gap still exists in many industries. Women tend to take more time away from the work force as caregivers for family members. And statistically, they live significantly longer than men. According to the World Health Organization, in 2015 a Canadian male at 60 could expect to live for an average of 23.5 more years, while a Canadian female at 60 had another 26.4 years.

Graeme Egan, a financial adviser with CastleBay Wealth Management Inc., fee-only financial planners in Vancouver, suggests that women project a 95-year lifespan when they plan for retirement.

What to invest in is more subjective. Sabrina Castellano Smith, director of the retiree planning network for Investors Group Financial Services Inc. in Winnipeg, says a common question from her clients, including those who are single, is whether to invest in an RRSP or TFSA.

Those instruments are structured differently.

For the RRSP, in the 2016 taxation year, taxpayers can make an annual contribution of up to 18 per cent of their previous year's earned income, to a maximum of $25,370. They receive an up-front tax deduction, and deferred tax liability until the money is withdrawn. The RRSP is set up to benefit taxpayers who expect to be in a lower marginal tax bracket when they retire. Investments inside the RRSP grow on a tax deferred basis.

Up to $5,500 of after-tax money can be contributed annually to a TFSA, and because that is aftertax money, there are no tax consequences upon withdrawal.

Investments inside the TFSA grow on a tax-free basis.

"If you are single, consider maximizing your TFSA first.

These are great because the investments in them aren't taxed. This is going to allow you more flexibility. When it comes time to withdraw the income, it's a little more favourable," says Ms. Smith.

But it is also important for singles to have a good mix of RRSPs, TFSAs and other non-registered account investments, along with any pension income they are entitled to, in order to provide tax efficient income stream options at retirement, she adds.

For a baby boomer in a lower tax bracket, whose income is trending downward, a TFSA might be the better first priority, says Mr. Egan. But usually people who are roughly 10 years from retirement are in their highest income earning years, he notes.

"On that basis, I would generally say that an RRSP would be the first priority because you're getting a tax deduction at the highest marginal tax rate, or pretty close, which is creating a tax refund. And presumably you're going to be in a lower tax bracket when you take the money out of the RRSP," says Mr. Egan.

The RRSP tax refund also provides some attractive financial planning options. Mr. Egan suggests that it could be used to either pay down non-tax deductible debt, or make a contribution to the TFSA.

Retirement portfolios should always be under review, but this is especially so in the 10 years prior to retirement, when many will want to reduce volatility and risk as the window narrows, stress experts.

"I would look at the overall picture. If someone has, say, an overall asset mix of 60-40, or 7030 being equity versus fixed income, as they approach that time I would lessen the equity component of the overall portfolio," says Mr. Egan.

For somebody who is suddenly divorced or widowed, resulting in an unexpected change in life circumstances, a visit with a financial adviser can help sort out any necessary financial changes.

Single individuals who are approaching retirement, but well behind on planning for it, might also have to adapt to changing circumstances quickly. But, say the experts, it is never too late.

"Start by taking a look at what your current cash flow looks like, [and] also reviewing your current income sources," says Shelley Forsythe, a strategist with CIBC Wealth Strategies Group in Vancouver.

"You then want to take a look [at] retirement income sources and expenses, breaking it down into fixed versus discretionary.

What kind of expenses will remain the same? What will reduce, or won't be there? And are there any health-care related costs that you need to be thinking about?" Ms. Forsythe elaborates.

Ms. Smith recommends that employees approach their employer to inquire about corporate retirement savings plans that set aside a portion of pretax income for retirement.

Another strategy to consider is borrowing money to make a lump-sum catch-up contribution, suggests Mr. Egan.

Associated Graphic

Single baby boomers - the youngest of which are now 52 and are roughly a decade from retirement - need to be especially diligent in building up savings.


Patients question safety of medical marijuana in wake of recalls
Tuesday, February 14, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

Patients who consumed tainted medical marijuana from government-regulated suppliers are questioning how safe the industry is in the wake of several highprofile recalls due to banned pesticides, which have exposed serious gaps in Health Canada's oversight.

After a string of recent recalls by Mettrum Ltd., OrganiGram Inc. and Aurora Cannabis Inc. because of the presence of myclobutanil - a banned pesticide that produces hydrogen cyanide when heated - a number of patients told The Globe and Mail they don't see how Health Canada can assure them the product can be trusted.

Revelations that the government isn't testing regularly to prove all companies aren't using harmful chemicals have left consumers concerned for their health.

"I think this has probably given everybody a wakeup call," said Patty Wade, a Mettrum client in Trenton, Ont., who was prescribed medical cannabis for posttraumatic stress disorder. "When you are trusting a company to be healthy, you would have thought that the government would have ensured this."

Last week, Health Canada acknowledged to The Globe it had not been testing product from the 38 federally regulated medicalmarijuana growers to ensure they weren't using banned chemicals.

Instead, the department said the companies knew pesticides such as myclobutanil were banned and the companies had been left to police themselves.

However, Thomas McConville, a former Mettrum employee, told The Globe he witnessed company employees spraying myclobutanil on plants to combat a mildew problem in 2014, even though they knew the chemical - a known carcinogen - was banned. To evade detection when Health Canada inspectors visited the facility, a Mettrum employee hid the pesticide behind the ceiling tiles in the company's offices, knowing the department wasn't testing the plants, Mr. McConville said.

Health Canada has since attached new conditions to the licences of Mettrum and OrganiGram, requiring their product to be tested for banned pesticides.

And last week, the department announced random tests for the rest of the industry, which it hopes will ensure other companies aren't breaking the rules.

Without regular testing, though, there is no way to be certain which companies are producing clean product, patients say. Ms. Wade, a former nurse, said there is little certainty which companies are safe to buy her medicine from.

"What I'm hoping is that this has put such a spotlight on it, that the government is going to step up its processes and look into all of the licensed producers," Ms. Wade said. "I don't understand why they haven't been testing ... So what are going to be the safeguards for us, the consumers?" The licensed producers are already expected to test for mould and bacteria in their products before selling them. Health Canada said last week that, for now, it's not planning mandatory testing for banned pesticides. "We have a couple of cases right now.

I wouldn't want to extrapolate that that's an issue that would be happening at all our LPs [licensed producers.]," a senior government official told The Globe.

Still, it's impossible for Health Canada to know how big the problem is. The Globe has talked to more than 20 patients affected by the recalls, and several of them say their confidence in the safety of the industry has been shaken.

"Presumably it's out of the product now - although who can even say that?" said Dawn Rae Downton, a patient in Halifax who was prescribed medical marijuana last March for severe back pain that prevented her from sleeping, and purchased her product from OrganiGram. "I see it as a consumer-protection issue, and I see it as an astonishing lack of oversight on the part of Health Canada."

In a submission to Health Canada, known as an Adverse Reaction Report, Ms. Downton told the department she suffered "severe, intractable nausea, vomiting and anorexia," which "continued relentlessly daily for nine months, resolving to a tolerable degree about five weeks after I stopped using the cannabis."

OrganiGram announced it was recalling her products in December, because of the presence of myclobutanil. Ms. Downton's symptoms are similar to several of the known effects of low-level hydrogen-cyanide poisoning on the body.

Health Canada has referred to the amounts of banned pesticide it detected as "trace amounts" that are "low risk." However, Warren Porter, a top U.S. toxicologist, questioned that response last week, saying, "There is no data I am aware of that would give those assurances. "Ultra-low doses can have all kinds of biological effects, especially over longer periods of exposure," said Dr. Porter, a specialist in molecular and environmental toxicology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Ms. Downton is now worried about her health. "I inhaled hydrogen cyanide every day for eight months," she said.

Another patient told The Globe he chose to use medical marijuana for pain relief because he didn't want to use opioids. He selected a government-regulated supplier, Mettrum, because he wanted to ensure the product was safe and clean.

"I made a choice to go the medical-marijuana route, despite paperwork, numerous medical appointments and cost, because I wanted to feel safe about what I was putting in my body," said the man, who requested anonymity because he didn't want to disclose publicly he was using medical marijuana. "I felt this was safer."

The man said he is reluctant to purchase new product. "I don't trust the replacement product is safe," he said.

Only Mettrum and OrganiGram are now required to submit to regular testing for myclobutanil.

The third recent recall, at Aurora Cannabis, came after that company purchased a bulk supply from OrganiGram, which it resold to its customers.

Since the recalls were announced in December, Mettrum was sold to Canopy Growth Corp. for $430-million. Mettrum chief executive Michael Haines has not responded to requests for comment. Mr. Haines is no longer with the company.

Canopy CEO Bruce Linton said the company is working to correct the Mettrum problems. Mr. Linton said he is in favour of routine testing to prove to customers the product is free of pesticides, which his company is adopting.

"The supply chain has to be completely trustworthy, and showing that you get that means that you will routinely and actively test and confirm this is on track, this is following the rules, there isn't what you wouldn't want in it," Mr. Linton said.

Bad week has Wenger on hot seat
'No matter what happens I will manage next season,' long-reigning Arsenal coach says in wake of the humiliation in Munich
The Associated Press
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S11

LONDON -- Arsène Wenger is the last of a dying breed, the soccer coach who can establish a longstanding dynasty at a club and seems to be able to decide for himself whether or not he leaves.

In the 21st year of his Arsenal reign, Wenger is the longest-serving manager in a leading European league.

Whatever pressures counterparts face, Wenger seems to emerge largely unscathed within the hierarchy regardless of the setbacks on the pitch, of which there have been many during his second decade.

The succession of silverware - which peaked when the "Invincibles" side went unbeaten throughout the whole season in the 2003-04 campaign - has been replaced by a cycle of capitulations, the latest a 5-1 humiliation in the Champions League at Bayern Munich.

The ownership is more forgiving than the fans, rigidly standing by the Frenchman who was once a trailblazer but who has now been overtaken by a new generation of coaches who are more tactically flexible and innovative.

"We are all very high on Arsène," Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke said in a rare interview recently.

And for all Wenger's shortcomings, he has delivered Champions League qualification in every season in charge, guaranteeing the comfort blanket of the UEFA windfall for Kroenke by finishing in the Premier League's top four.

But how healthy is it for any business when an employee appears able to set his own departure terms rather than his bosses calling the shots?

"No matter what happens I will manage next season ... is it here or somewhere else?" Wenger said Friday, toying with Arsenal and asserting his power.

Perhaps he's just waiting to be begged to stay. There's often a convenient array of stories linking Wenger with leading jobs, including Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain in recent years, whenever the pressure from fans starts to intensify, showing he's a man in demand.

The grass isn't always greener on the other side, and Wenger reminded Arsenal fans of that.

"Even if I go, Arsenal will not win every single game in the future," Wenger said, facing up to elimination for the seventh successive year in the round of 16 of the Champions League.

There was also a history lesson.

Arsenal has failed to win the European Cup under Wenger but it didn't under any predecessor - or qualify as often. However, Wenger's only Champions League final appearance in 2006 ended in a loss to Barcelona.

The Champions League now often determines the fates of the elite managers in a way it didn't in the pre-1992 format by which only the national champions made the European Cup.

Louis van Gaal was fired by Manchester United after two seasons despite lifting the FA Cup in May because he failed to secure a top-four finish to make the Champions League. Successor Jose Mourinho will survive in the job if his sixth-place side misses out again but patience will eventually wear thin at Old Trafford, where Alex Ferguson ruled for more than 26 years until his retirement in 2013.

The troubled post-Ferguson succession rang alarm bells at Arsenal, with Kroenke reflecting in October that it underlined how replacing Wenger would be "very hard."

Continental sides are more accustomed to managerial churn.

Wenger's decision over his Arsenal future could dictate Barcelona's thinking over Luis Enrique, although he has the cushion of delivering multipe titles in the past two seasons.

Barcelona striker Luis Suarez reflected Friday how his coach was "under attack" amid uncertainty about his job.

"Our coach is grown up, mature and aware enough to know his current situation and which decision he should make," Suarez said. "He must know the decision he has already made or will make and we will accept it ... if he continues or not."

Like Wenger, Enrique faces a Champions League exit at the start of the knockout round unless he can also overturn a four-goal deficit, against PSG.

It was a particularly gratifying success for Unai Emery, who replaced Laurent Blanc as PSG coach last year - even though his predecessor had won back-toback domestic trebles.

It was Blanc's failure to steer PSG beyond the Champions League quarter-finals that opened up the vacancy for Emery, fresh from a treble of Europa League titles with Sevilla.

Four league defeats late last year put Emery under huge pressure, but the Qatari owners backed Emery and PSG produced victories in 11 of its last 12 games.

But not only is five-time European champion Barcelona facing missing the quarter-finals for the first time in a decade, it also trails Real Madrid in the Spanish league.

Zinedine Zidane, that rare commodity of a club great who makes a success at coaching, has encountered no such difficulties in Madrid's European title defence.

Instead the 3-1 victory over Napoli put counterpart Maurizio Sarri on the receiving end of a tirade of criticism from owner Aurelio De Laurentiis.

"The lads lacked the usual Neapolitan grit," De Laurentiis said, while questioning Sarri's team selection. "They were frozen when faced with these sacred monsters of Real Madrid."

It was forthright and brutal, but a typical tirade from such a volatile owner.

In Germany, the public statements are more restrained, but the clubs are no less ruthless behind the scenes. A series of reports indicate that Bayer Leverkusen is already looking at replacing Roger Schmidt at the end of the season.

With more losses than wins in Bundesliga, the team is 22 points off the pace. Ultimately it could be the Champions League that determines his fate, with Atletico Madrid up next.

In Diego Simeone, Atletico has Spain's longest-serving current coach, having just entered his sixth year with the team.

Twice, Simeone has reached the final of the Champions League, eclipsing Wenger's record in the competition. And he'll be top of the list if Wenger vacates what seems one of the most secure jobs in European soccer, belying his European record.

The quick-fix at a club is replacing the manager. It's also the toughest decision to make.

Associated Graphic

Arsène Wenger, seen at an FA Cup match in Preston last month, has been running the show at Arsenal for 21 years, making him the longest-serving manager at any leading European league club.


This is an insurance office?
On the 49th floor of a Toronto skyscraper, Aviva Canada has created a funky workspace called the 'Digital Garage' to foster product innovation and appeal to millennial talent
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, January 17, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B7

TORONTO -- They call it the Digital Garage.

Meeting nooks are made from recycled shipping containers. Conference enclosures have names like Fortress of Solitude and Castle Von Doom. And tables are on wheels so work areas can be easily reconfigured to suit the tasks at hand.

It's hardly what you'd expect on the 49th floor of one of the most corporate towers in Canada.

Or from a company in one of the most buttoned-down professions: insurance.

The newly opened digital development centre of Aviva Canada Inc. has an eclectic feel that seems to have evolved over time, even though the office in First Canadian Place at the heart of Toronto's financial district was created from a vast empty space in just five months.

Parent company Aviva PLC is one of several global insurers who are making efforts to put more tech into their businesses, harness big data and update information technology systems.

It's investing heavily to automate what has traditionally been a paper-oriented industry, create more digital products, interact more with customers online and appeal to tech-savvy millennials looking to buy insurance.

It opened its first digital workshop in 2014 in an equally corporate tower in London's Canary Wharf. In 2015, a second digital garage opened in Singapore.

"As soon as we started talking about opening one in Toronto, I saw the opportunity to be creative with a place in the financial centre," says Ben Isotta-Riches, Aviva Canada's chief information officer. "We'd already taken another floor in First Canadian Place, so it seemed logical to be here."

Fortunately, a floor formerly leased by a law firm had become available directly above the offices of the company that provides home, auto and business insurance to three million customers across Canada.

"We realized we're competing for talent with the brick-andbeam offices to the west on King Street, which is becoming Toronto's Silicon Valley. It became an interesting challenge to turn a corporate environment into a cool workspace for the kind of talent we want to attract," Mr. Isotta-Riches says.

The renovation schedule was tight. Aviva took possession of the space in February of 2016 and wanted to move its 70 existing digital designers, developers and technicians into the space by August. The layout also had to be flexible enough to accommodate nearly twice that many as the program expands in the future.

It helped that the space in the 1970s office tower was a blank slate, having been stripped to the walls, says Suzanne Bettencourt, principal of Toronto-based interior design firm figure3, which Aviva hired to do the redesign.

To create the feel of a brickand-beam space favoured by tech employees, figure3 started by designing brick walls and arches to break up the 14,500 square feet of space. A large central meeting zone with a series of risers was created as a common area and conference space.

With the former drop ceiling removed, the beams and duct work were exposed. It's always a big challenge to open up former drop ceilings which contain heating and air conditioning systems, Ms. Bettencourt says. It meant putting in a lot of new mechanicals and air ducts, which added to the cost of renovations.

To create meeting nooks, figure3 utilized the walls of surplus shipping containers, refinished in bright blue, but still retaining the industrial hardware. The concrete floors were left bare, or covered with throw rugs.

Glass enclosures and open meeting nooks were created for discussions. "A huge plus was the fact that windows on all sides have some of the best vistas in the city," Ms. Bettencourt says, so all the enclosures are on the interior of the space. Some interior walls were finished to look like weathered barn board to give more character, while others were covered with white boards to encourage informal meetings.

To keep the work areas as agile as possible, the tables are on wheels so they can be moved and equipment can be plugged in at another location to electrical outlets that are installed flush to the floors.

"Making the electrical connections required drilling from the floor below, which Aviva also leases as corporate offices. That required X-raying the floors to ensure we weren't cutting any rebar or structural elements," Ms. Bettencourt explains.

Getting some of the office pieces up the 49 storeys presented some challenges, she adds. The 105-inch televisions used on walls of the meeting areas just barely squeezed into the freight elevators.

"Now that people have moved in, the office has already become more eclectic as teams have moved different styles and colours of chairs from around the office into conference rooms for meetings. It appears built up over time," Ms. Bettencourt notes.

Despite being open, the office is remarkably quiet, Mr. IsottaRiches says. "A fear that organizations have when they design spaces like this is that if it's open, it's going to be loud.

"We've had as many as 120 people in a meeting with video presentation without really disrupting the people who are working around the area."

Aviva is actively recruiting new hires that may bring the digital team in residence to as many as 135 from 70, he says. Some employees will also move in to work on projects for a few months and then move back to their more traditional work spaces elsewhere.

Last October, Aviva held a "pitch day" in the Digital Garage for startups that foster digital innovation in the insurance industry.

The winner will be considered for an investment from Aviva of up to $10-million. The company also has a partnership with Ryerson University's Digital Media Zone for digital development projects.

While this is the only space of its type in First Canadian Place, a number of tenants in the 72-storey tower have toured it.

"This is the kind of adaptable space that's ideal for companies that are growing. It's a great strategy if you're unsure of the market need," Ms. Bettencourt says.

Associated Graphic

Aviva Canada took just five months to transform an empty floor in Toronto's First Canadian Place tower into a workspace for its digital designers. The office, with its various desk options, shipping container meeting nooks and open spaces, gives the insurance company room to grow.


Toronto parents upset with long delays for free preschool speech-therapy program
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M1

Laura Boudreau's precocious first child began talking early.

She expected her second to do the same, but instead she and her husband waited and waited for Miller to say his first word.

Worried he might have a speech delay, Ms. Boudreau put her then-14-month-old son on the waiting list last summer for Toronto's free preschool speech and language program. Soon after, his pediatrician confirmed that his communication skills were indeed lagging behind.

But it took seven months to get a spot for Miller in a group session that Ms. Boudreau sees as inadequate - especially compared with the private speech therapy she paid for while waiting.

Despite current recommendations urging early intervention for late talkers - rather than the old wait-and-see approach - Toronto's Early Abilities' speech and language program is saddled with long waiting lists and has fewer therapists than in previous years.

"That is centrally my chief complaint. I see Early Abilities as being so at odds with itself. Even on its website, it says: Don't wait and see, act now," Ms. Boudreau said. "I don't understand how early intervention is occurring if your child is on the waiting list for a third of his life."

While publicly funded services often have lengthy waiting lists because of budget constraints, parents say the stakes are too high for chronic delays when it comes to the development of critical communication skills in young children. The delays also raise equity concerns: While some families turn to private speech-language pathologists, many cannot afford such costly treatment.

"It's really frustrating as a parent," said Amanda Lee, whose 20month-old daughter waited nine months to start speech therapy.

"Clearly they're massively underfunded. They need to be able to do more."

Early Abilities' current wait times range from five to 11 months , which is an improvement. The program - which helped 8,000 children last year, almost 1,000 more than the year before - receives more than 4,500 new referrals annually and offers some children therapy for as long as three years. Children are eligible until they start junior kindergarten.

While the city tries to deliver the services in a timely manner, it doesn't have enough funding, said Nancy Chisholm, an Early Abilities manager. The program is run by the city, but funded by the province.

"Unfortunately, the demand for speech and language services exceeds the supply of services.

Even with the recent funding increase from the Ontario government, the Toronto preschool speech and language program remains underfunded for what is needed to reduce wait times for assessment and intervention for preschool children," she said in an e-mail.

Toronto's program receives $8-million a year from the government, which includes a funding increase of $1.273-million since 2014. Despite the extra money, there are three to five fewer staff positions than there were five years ago because of rising costs, Ms. Chisholm said.

Ann Doose, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, said the government will "continue to work with the City of Toronto to provide supports that get children into services as quickly as possible so they are successful and can reach their full potential."

About 10 per cent of young children have delayed speech and language skills. Experts say they catch up fastest and suffer fewer long-term problems with early interventions.

While Early Abilities offers different types of services, Ms. Boudreau's and Ms. Lee's toddlers were enrolled in six group sessions with a total of three children. The weekly classes are led by a facilitator who urges youngsters to speak using familiar activities such as circle time and also teaches parents strategies to use at home.

Ms. Lee's daughter Zahra started the program in January as a quiet 19-month-old who sometimes went a whole day without babbling and had just three words - Mommy, hi and bye - instead of the expected 20. After attending two classes, her vocabulary jumped to 14 words.

"I actually think the service is really good. It's just difficult to access, and you don't get very much of it, so it's unfortunate."

She began to worry about her daughter's language skills when she wasn't cooing at two months and continued to lag behind .

When her daughter was nine months old, Ms. Lee took an online screening test. Zahra failed. It took six months for her to be assessed by a speech therapist, who felt she was on the cusp of talking but put her on the waiting list. In the meantime, Ms. Lee took her to a developmental pediatrician, who felt she was at risk for developmental expressive language disorder, a condition in which children have below-average vocabularies and struggle with complex sentences but have normal comprehension.

Zahra's therapy will soon end, and Ms. Lee doesn't know when she will be offered more treatment. So the single mother with no health benefits is planning to pay for a private speech-language pathologist. "I'm just not comfortable leaving it to chance.

She's actually making some progress, so I obviously want to build on the progress."

For Ms. Boudreau, the city program has been a disappointment from the start. After a sevenmonth wait, during which Miller had a few sessions with a hospital-based speech-language pathologist, he was enrolled in a group class in January. But it was about an hour's journey by transit from the family's west-end home. Ms. Boudreau complained, and Miller was placed in a closer facility. But she says the program has been "a massive letdown" with "pretty useless" basic advice, such as looking her son in the eyes when speaking.

Miller, now 22 months old , has been given a spot in a one-onone program, but Ms. Boudreau suspects the placement is because her repeated complaints.

She expects to pay for private therapy, some of which will be covered by benefits.

Ms. Boudreau, who works for a literacy organization, knows she is more aware of the importance of early intervention. She worries about other children who aren't getting help.

"We are failing those kids."

Associated Graphic

Laura Boudreau helps her son Miller through activities designed to improve his speech delay in their home last Friday.


Spencer's long road back to the pitch
The Canadian Press
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S11

CHAMPIONSGATE, FLA. -- At 6-foot-5, forward Ben Spencer is hard to miss at Toronto FC practice. His journey there has taken him from New Mexico via Norway with a lengthy rehab from a rare knee condition along the way.

Restored to health thanks to a Chicago surgeon, the 21-year-old Spencer is looking forward to show what he can do - and paying back Toronto.

"I'm very fortunate that Toronto's been so patient with me and has believed in me so much," he said. "For me that's given me a lot of comfort through my rehab, because it's a tough time mentally and physically."

Spencer left home at the age of 15 to chase his soccer dream, working his way through the U.S. youth ranks and earning a contract with Molde FK in Norway as an 18-year-old. Toronto coach Greg Vannney spotted his talent as a 14-year-old and has kept an eye on Spencer ever since, ultimately bringing him in on loan in April, 2015.

Spencer's injury nightmare started in 2014 when he tore his meniscus playing in the NASL. He underwent minor surgery and returned to action. Then two months later a flare-up in his knee while playing for the U.S. under-23 team in Brazil necessitated another round of arthroscopic surgery. Later that year, he sprained the medial collateral ligament in his other knee while playing for the U.S. at the CONCACAF under-20 championship.

Deemed surplus to requirements by Molde, Spencer found a home in Toronto where his problem right knee started swelling up again. Club medical staff tried everything but to no avail.

Chicago orthopedic surgeon Brian Cole eventually diagnosed a rare condition where the meniscus is so worn that a hole develops, with the swelling coming from cartilage damage.

Spencer needed cartilage replacement - and to have his femur re-aligned to alter the weight-bearing in his knee. The diagnosis - and major surgery that was needed - came as a shock.

"Being told I'd be out for a year is pretty heartbreaking," he said.

"You kind of go through sort of a grieving process - of denial. You can't believe it's you. Then you're upset that it is you. Then you're sad that you're going to be out of the game so long.

"And then you just kind of come to the realization that this is where you are and the only way you're going to dig yourself out of that hole is by working hard and doing all the little things right."

He underwent surgery in September, 2015. If he needed motivation, Spencer got it from newspaper reports in Norway that his career was over.

He spent the next two months at home in New Mexico. Spencer could not put his right leg on the ground for two months and for six weeks had to spend six hours a day in a machine that bent his knee.

He returned to Toronto FC's training centre to continue his rehab, building back the muscle, flexibility and balance.

"I spent hours and hours and hours every single day - in the gym, in and around the gym, in the treatment rooms," he recalled. "I've spent my fair share of time there."

It was nine months after surgery before Spencer could run or jump and another three months before he could finally take the field for Toronto FC 2's last two games of the 2016 USL season.

Said Vanney: "He's worked incredibly hard to come back from all of that ... Now he's in a very good place. He's training every day."

The Toronto coach has long been a believer in Spencer.

"He's unique in his size and his skill set," Vanney said.

"He has very soft feet, he moves well as a big guy ... He was the No.

1 striker for the U.S. under-20 team when he was healthy and in form."

And he is very much a work in progress. Vanney notes Spencer would only be a senior now if he had attended college.

"I think the potential to be a very good forward in our league is there," he said. "He's a hard worker. He studies the game, he studies the movements of forwards who are similar to him and he studies defenders on how he can find ways to score goals and impact games.

"I like his mentality - to work and get better. That's why he's with us."

Vanney was scouting for U.S. Soccer's youth teams when he first spotted the Albuquerque native and recommended him to the under-15 program. A year later, Vanney was involved with Real Salt Lake's fledgling residency program and invited Spencer to join.

"I thought he had a lot of interesting tools that were very unique in our country for forwards," Vanney said.

Vanney moved to Chivas USA in California and Spencer eventually followed, living for six months with the Vanney family before moving in with Mike Munoz, now head coach of LA Galaxy 2.

Spencer trained at Chivas, along with current Toronto teammate Marky Delgado, while working his way up through the U.S. youth ranks.

A 16-year-old Spencer ranked second for fitness in the so-called beep test among the entire Chivas team.

When Chivas folded, a 17-yearold Spencer chose to play for Molde over a scholarship at UC Santa Barbara. Former striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a Norwegian and Manchester United legend, was his manager there.

All went well in Spencer's first year there. The team won the Norwegian Cup and he learned his trade under Solskjaer. But the manager moved to Cardiff City and his successor, Tor Ole Skullerud, was less interested in Spencer, who was subsequently loaned to Indy Eleven for the 2014 North American Soccer League season.

Spencer is thankful for Vanney's belief in him. But he knows that only goes so far.

"I'm aware that every opportunity is earned ...It's still going to take a lot of hard work to get back on the field and earn minutes," he said.

Especially on a team with Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore up front, with Tosaint Ricketts, Jordan Hamilton and Mo Babouli waiting in the wings.

Six takeaways from Guichon's Throne Speech
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

VANCOUVER -- Like the provincial budget next week, the Throne Speech read Tuesday by Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon offers a look at likely themes B.C.'s governing Liberals plan to target during the spring election campaign. Premier Christy Clark will be seeking a fifth consecutive term for her party.

Here's a look at some of the major issues in the speech.

Time to give back The speech's overarching theme is that it's time to repay British Columbians for their sacrifices during difficult times. The province's economy is strong, the speech says, which means the government can spread the wealth to taxpayers. Next week's budget - which will only pass if the Liberals win re-election in May - will be balanced for the fifth year in a row, and the B.C. economy is among the country's strongest.

However, there is no hint in the speech of just what that payback might look like. Possibilities include a cut to the provincial sales tax, or a change to (or even elimination of) provincial health-care premiums. Neither would be cheap.

The government may also consider tinkering with income tax, BC Hydro electricity rates or lowering premiums at the Crown-owned Insurance Corp. of B.C. "After years of sacrifice by all of us in British Columbia through challenging times, working together with a plan, your government is now in a position to pay you back, to relieve some financial burdens, and to invest in your household and in your families."

Housing Housing affordability in the Vancouver region, where house prices have skyrocketed by more than 40 per cent and where detached houses now fetch well over a million dollars, has been one of the most talked-about issues this past year, and it's likely to factor heavily into the spring campaign.

The government has introduced a series of policies designed to cool the housing market and make it easier for people to graduate from renting to owning. They include a tax on foreign buyers in the Lower Mainland and a new loan program to help first-time buyers with their down payments. The Liberals will argue its policies are working - the Vancouver-area housing market has been showing signs of softening for months.

"This [the loan program] is an investment in British Columbians who are starting their adult lives, working hard, saving a down payment for their first home. They can now count on the government to match their investment to build their savings."

Education The Supreme Court of Canada ruled against the B.C. government last year in a case involving its teachers that could end up costing hundreds of millions of dollars.

The B.C. Teachers' Federation successfully challenged legislation in 2002 that removed language related to class size and composition from teachers collective agreements.

The province and the union announced a $50-million agreement last month that will support the hiring of as many as 1,100 teachers. But that's only an interim arrangement until a permanent - and far more costly - response to the court ruling can be ironed out. The Throne Speech acknowledged the court loss, which will also loom large over next week's budget and the election campaign.

"The Supreme Court has spoken. Your government is committed to working in good faith with our teachers to put our students first."

Overdose crisis As an overdose crisis fuelled by powerful opioids such as fentanyl spreads across the country, British Columbia continues to be hardest hit. More than 900 people died of overdoses in the province last year, and that pace appears to be getting worse.

British Columbia declared a public-health emergency last year and has been implementing measures to respond to the crisis, including expanding the availability of naloxone, which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose; setting up spaces where drugs users can inject; pushing for more formal supervised-injection sites; and continuing an earlier plan to increase addiction-treatment beds.

However, the government's critics, including Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, say the province is still not doing enough.

The Speech says the government is ready to do more, though it does not offer any specifics.

"British Columbia was the first province to declare a publichealth emergency for fentanyl, and the first to deregulate lifesaving naloxone kits, and get them into the hands of first responders and at-risk British Columbians."

Softwood lumber The province's forestry industry, which has been struggling in recent years, is bracing for a potential trade war with the United States over softwood lumber. The 2006 Canada-U.S. softwood-lumber deal has expired and a one-year agreement that has kept the dispute at a standstill expired last October.

Looking ahead at what are expected to be contentious negotiations with the new administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, the B.C. government announced the appointment Tuesday of an envoy to Washington to represent the province's interests. David Emerson is a former federal cabinet minister and former chief executive of Canfor, one of the province's largest lumber exporters.

He played a key role in securing the 2006 agreement.

"B.C. supplies half of Canada's softwood lumber exports. Your government will name an envoy to Washington to make sure B.C. has continued access to the American market, working with the forestry sector and the federal government to secure a new agreement on softwood lumber."

What's missing: Campaignfinance reform The issue of political fundraising was notably absent from the Throne Speech. Premier Christy Clark has been under fire over the past year for holding private cash-for-access fundraisers, as well as for collecting a $50,000 yearly stipend from her party, which prompted allegations it put her in a conflict of interest.

Those controversies amplified calls for legislation to ban corporate and union donations, as well as to place limits on the size of donations. A story in The New York Times recently described the province as the "Wild West" of political finance in Canada.

Ms. Clark announced last month that she would no longer collect the stipend but would instead claim expenses for party business.

However, she has resisted calls to do more to limit the influence of money in politics, and the government had nothing to offer on the subject in its Throne Speech.

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