While it may not be obvious from its star-studded exterior, the arts organization that put Toronto on the map - and that generates an estimated $189-million a year for the city - is grappling with increasingly pressing challenges. Barry Hertz and Molly Hayes look behind the scenes at TIFF's struggle with its identity crisis
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Last week, Toronto was teeming with power brokers, deal makers, social climbers and all the obligatory buzz and glamour and bluster that come when the Toronto International Film Festival takes over the city. While public shrieks were reserved for the celebrities, private whispers have revolved around a topic that hit closer to home: the departure of Piers Handling, and whoever might succeed him as TIFF's CEO.

On the eve of the 42nd annual festival, Handling dropped an unexpected third-act twist into TIFF's narrative: He will be stepping down after 2018's edition. "I felt it was the right moment," Handling told The Globe and Mail in early September. "The timing was personal, and not tied to any unhappiness with the organization."

The move marks the end of a 23-year career with one of the largest festivals in the world and caps a lifetime spent in the trenches of cinema. "It's a vocation for me; it's never been a job," he said. "I'm one of the luckiest guys in the world."

There are countless cinephiles who would agree and might happily queue for blocks and blocks - the length of a rush-ticket line outside Roy Thomson Hall, perhaps - for the chance to step into Handling's shoes. But whoever ends up taking this position will have a job that goes far beyond hobnobbing with Angelina Jolie or sipping wine with Francis Ford Coppola. The new chief executive officer will have to steer the organization through one of the rockiest phases in its history and address an identity crisis that may be Handling's lasting legacy.

While it may not be obvious from its glitzy exterior, with its red carpets, smiling celebrities and buzzy premieres, the festival that put Toronto on the map - and generates an estimated $189-million for the city annually - is grappling with increasingly pressing challenges. Industry veterans complain the twoweek event is bloated and no longer a great place to do business, while Toronto-based film fans grouse about ticket prices and long lineups. Audiences aren't showing up for screenings at the Lightbox building on King Street West, designed to provide a headquarters for TIFF year-round and serve as a draw for both local film lovers and tourists. And the medium of film itself is losing its lustre as streaming sites such as Netflix and Amazon Prime shift viewers' focus toward small screens.

Meanwhile, the organization is grappling with a deficit and an exodus of senior staff.

Conversations with more than 40 current and former TIFF employees, as well as about two dozen other individuals close to the organization, present a picture of an institution whose vision is unarticulated and whose current business model appears to diverge with industry and audience trends. Many who've left TIFF also complain about a challenging work environment. (Many of The Globe's sources agreed to speak only on the condition they not be identified, owing to concerns this will negatively affect their careers in the arts industry.)

Last weekend, TIFF started the year-long farewell tour of the man who helped "TIFF become the festival it is today: the largest public event dedicated to films lovers in the world." But like many media executives, Handling didn't count on the world changing. Whoever inherits the organization he's leaving behind may have a difficult time finding their own Hollywood ending.

The Dusty Dream Like many showbiz daydreams, TIFF was conceived on a Cannes terrace, right near the bar.

It was at the famed Carlton Hotel where, in the seventies, Toronto lawyer Dusty Cohl perfected the art of the liquid lunch, cozying up to critics and studio executives during his annual jaunts to the French Riviera. Cohl floated the idea of a Toronto film festival with his friend Bill Marshall, a communications expert who had formed his own film company. The pair teamed up with Henk Van der Kolk, a former architect who worked alongside Marshall producing films for the Ontario government, and TIFF was born.

In 1976, the trio announced Toronto's first Festival of Festivals, a weeklong celebration of international cinema. Filmstarved Torontonians ate up its 80 movies and $6 passes, with 7,000 people hitting the fest each day. Steadily, the annual event grew in size, prominence and star power, with Hollywood studios eager to show off Oscar-friendly wares to a passionate audience and celebrities happy to show up for media junkets that didn't require a transatlantic flight.

Four decades later, TIFF is huge - one of the biggest events in the film industry calendar and easily the highest-profile charity in the Canadian arts landscape. The festival now showcases hundreds of films - the 2016 program featured 296 (more than twice as many as Sundance and six times the Cannes offering), but the growth has been accompanied by industry griping. "To put it bluntly, TIFF has become a dumping ground, serving up hundreds of new movies with hardly any discernible sense of curation," Variety magazine's chief film critic, Peter Debruge, wrote at the close of last year's event. Industry deal makers used to show up at the festival expecting to see - and acquire - must-see films, movies they could rely on to become bigscreen hits and Oscar contenders.

But with so many films in the mix, "no [media] outlet ... can see and review everything, potential buyers don't know what to check out, and publicists find it virtually impossible to bring attention to small, deserving films that get steamrolled by the sheer volume on offer," Debruge wrote.

As a result, filmmakers seem less keen on bringing their work to TIFF - a fact that became abundantly clear at the festival's opening media conference on July 25, when Handling and artistic director Cameron Bailey introduced this year's program.

A week earlier, Venice had snagged the buzzy Matt Damon comedy Downsizing for its opening. The month before, New York got Richard Linklater's Last Flag Flying, starring Oscar catnip Steve Carell and Bryan Cranston. TIFF needed a similar showstopper - a blockbuster that matters, such as Blade Runner 2049, or a lightning bolt from someone setting the world on fire, such as Xavier Dolan. But on that morning in July, Handling and Bailey didn't announce an opening film, promising answers on that front later. In the end, the under-theradar tennis biopic Borg/McEnroe kicked off the fest - a film that isn't even the buzziest tennis biopic of the season (that would be the Emma Stone drama Battle of the Sexes).

It was the continuation of a trend that saw competing festivals Venice and Telluride snapping up world premieres - Moonlight and La La Land last year; Battle of the Sexes and The Shape of Water this year - leaving Toronto with warmed-over seconds.

This year's festival has scaled back somewhat - in February, organizers revealed that the 2017 event would have two fewer venues and 20 per cent fewer films, providing what a TIFF media release described as a more "tightly curated" experience. But TIFF has grown in other ways, too, and there is an increasing sense the organization's current challenges can be traced back to one particular expansion: the construction of the TIFF Lightbox, the highly ambitious downtown building that was designed to be the crown jewel of the organization. Home to the festival offices and to three floors of cinemas and exhibition space, the Lightbox was intended to attract film lovers and tourists throughout the year. But its screenings and events have failed to generate big box office.

For Handling, the idea for a headquarters had been brewing since 1987, when he was named programming director - but it was an idea with history, too.

"The voyage to this building is the dream that not just I had, but a few others, including [former festival director] Wayne Clarkson, to build a centre of critical study somewhere in Canada," said Handling, who spoke with The Globe alongside Bailey and chief operating officer Michèle Maheux in late August, two weeks before announcing his retirement. "Why in the hell did we, as Canadians, have to go elsewhere?" The Lightbox was no small project. Unlike, say, the single-screen Hot Docs cinema a few blocks north, TIFF wanted five screens housing 1,400 seats - plus museum-scale exhibitions, a film reference library and archive, a retail store and a vast array of educational and community-outreach initiatives. It was a dedicated space for the devout cinephile - and an unprecedented move in the art-house world.

The first warning sign against erecting a high-brow multiplex in the early throes of a digital age was just how difficult it was to come up with the money. Plans for the building were revealed in 2003, but TIFF struggled for years to reach its fundraising target of $196-million.

"We thought it would take three to five years," said Brendan Calder, a former board chair. "It took 10."

Dalton McGuinty's Liberals kicked in $35-million - plus a low-interest provincial loan of $46-million, which was made possible after TIFF was deemed an "arts training facility" by the Ontario government in 2009.

When the Lightbox finally opened its doors in 2010, Handling proclaimed it would "put Toronto on the international map year-round," becoming a "magnet" that would walk the fine line between cinematic integrity and commercial viability.

In the seven years since, the industry landscape has changed dramatically. At the turn of the decade, the conversion from celluloid to digital projectors seemed as if it would be the biggest possible industry shakeup.

Now, the rise of streaming services and digital downloads has radically altered the business model and institutions are forced to innovate or die trying.

As evidenced from this summer's movie season - the worst in more than a decade - fewer and fewer people are going out to the movies. Major chains such as Cineplex have diversified, inching away from cinema and closer toward interactive entertainment. The British Film Institute, which runs the London Film Festival, augments its bricks-andmortar cinemas with a vast array of digital content from its archives. The Sundance Institute has branched out into subscription-based streaming services, offering an archive of past presentations for home streaming. The Venice Film Festival offers selections on a pay-per-view model. Toronto's Hot Docs festival enjoys branded partnerships with everyone from iTunes to the Cineplex Store, and is expanding into Britain for Hot Docs London.

Film organizations across the world must now do a delicate dance between accommodating new digital demands and ensuring that the theatrical experience isn't sacrificed in favour of disruptive technology. Cannes has already tripped over the issue, allowing Netflix films to compete for its prestigious Palme d'Or Award this year, drawing angry complaints from French theatre owners.

TIFF has lurched and stumbled in its quest to keep up. Its website doesn't make any of the festival's films available to home viewers, limiting its content instead to a small collection of National Film Board productions and a tangled web of poorly promoted podcasts, media-conference videos and editorial posts. Over the past year, TIFF has at least begun playing catch-up, investing $700,000 into the digital arena in an effort to expand its global audience and drive new revenue. But for the most part, Handling has placed his biggest bet on the Lightbox - a gamble that doesn't seem to be paying off.

TIFF doesn't make attendance numbers for its Lightbox screenings publicly available, so it's difficult to gauge exactly how many filmgoers the Lightbox is attracting (or how much money it's bringing in). But the King Street West venue hasn't become a significant draw for film enthusiasts.

The Lightbox's attendance has plunged - 49,000 fewer visitors last year, a drop of 27 per cent, according to figures recently reported in the Toronto Star. Its gallery space - designed to showcase the visions of cinema's most iconic filmmakers - saw most of its exhibitions staff quietly axed this past fall. And its marketing barely escapes the Lightbox's walls. Unless you are a TIFF member or one of the city's most avid filmgoers, you could walk by the Lightbox and remain blissfully unaware of a single thing that goes on inside.

TIFF "still has a world-class brand," said Barry Avrich, a filmmaker and former board member, "but it's going to take some fresh vision from retail, consumer programming and marketing experts, given how the lines have become intensely blurred when it comes to how people watch film.

They will have to experiment with programming to find the right blend of function and relevance."

Who's next?

When Handling, 68, announced his retirement, TIFF's official media release noted he has been director and CEO "for almost 25 years," since 1994. Few, if any, comparable arts organizations have witnessed such a long executive tenure - which makes succession that much harder and more delicate a task.

Most inside and outside the Lightbox agree that Bailey, TIFF's artistic director, is the heir apparent. Like Handling, Bailey comes to TIFF with a deep appreciation for film. His cinematic education blossomed in university, while studying at the University of Western Ontario, where he got his honours degree in English literature.

"It was a contemporary cinema course, which began with Godard's Breathless," Bailey told The Globe two years ago. "It then went everywhere but Hollywood, so it was Asian cinema, it was Latin American and Brazilian Cinema Novo, it was Italian and African film. That introduced whole new worlds to me."

Bailey worked as a film critic before joining TIFF in 1990 as a programmer, securing the position of festival co-director in 2007 after Noah Cowan relinquished the post to become artistic director of the Lightbox. (Cowan, the original heir apparent to Handling, would depart in 2014 for the San Francisco Film Society.)

Along the way, Bailey became a familiar, dapper talking head when it comes to matters of cinema, able to work both a room of cineastes and a dinner table of wealthy donors, in contrast to Handling's more introverted persona - a self-described "loner."

"Great leaders paint a vision and the avatar for great leadership is storytelling," said Ron Moore, a former long-time TIFF board member. "Every great executive I've worked with tells a story - to consumers, to staff, to get people to buy the story or work for it. Cameron has those skills. Does he have the day-today [profit and loss] experience?

No, but you can learn that - there's no mystery to those things - if he wants to."

That seems to be the case. In addition to quietly taking on an expanded Lightbox role last fall - essentially assuming the responsibilities left vacant by Cowan three years ago - Bailey recently enrolled as a guest student at an intensive Rotman School of Management course for soon-to-be MBA graduates, taught by former TIFF board chair Calder.

It seems to be a question of when, not if, Bailey will take over.

Yet, when pressed in an interview last month - two weeks before Handling's departure was announced - Bailey demurred.

Taking Calder's course, he said, was about "learning to be a better manager, it doesn't go beyond that. A lot of people are subjectmatter experts here and they've risen in the ranks and now are managing people."

Meanwhile, TIFF is undertaking a global search for Handling's replacement - possibly a formality or an indication the board wants to avoid placing another "diehard film geek," as Handling has often been described, into a role that now requires serious business acumen and the proven ability to put butts in seats.

"Cameron is great, but you have to wonder about the last time they put a person who came up through programming in charge," one source close to the operation said. "They now need to keep business top of mind."

Jennifer Tory, chair of the TIFF board, told The Globe the organization will be looking for, among other things, someone who can keep up with the fast pace of change in the film industry - "someone very comfortable with innovation, and continuing to evolve the organization."

The health of the Lightbox, and TIFF itself, may depend upon it.

Inside the Lightbox On paper, one of TIFF's recent bets, Something in the Air: The Cinema of Olivier Assayas, was the perfect fit for the Lightbox.

The summerlong retrospective was a complete look at one of today's top filmmakers. TIFF even managed to get Assayas himself to make four in-person appearances to discuss his oeuvre.

When the series kicked off on June 22, with the French filmmaker appearing before a rare 35mm print of his 1994 film, Cold Water, it attracted an almost soldout crowd of 200 people to Cinema 3 - but earned just $1,200 (more than a quarter of the tickets were complimentary). The following night, Assayas's introduction of Clean brought in 140 people, for about $1,000. The day after that, a digital restoration of the director's classic 1996 satire, Irma Vep, brought in 95 people, for $630.

Subsequent screenings averaged about 65 people. Newrelease programming has also failed to catch fire: One recent selection, Lady Macbeth, got a huge internal push, but on the first Saturday of its opening weekend in July, only 220 people showed up for eight screenings across the building's two biggest theatres.

Provocative titles that might lure in curious Lightbox newbies bypass the building completely in favour of Toronto's smaller cinemas (the arty cannibal tale Raw went to the Royal; Terrence Malick's sex-and-soliloquy epic Song to Song played at Cineplex's Yonge-Dundas; Ashley McKenzie's remarkable Werewolf languished at the tiny Carlton).

TIFF has undoubtedly experienced, and engineered, hits. Its Cinematheque program has a fiercely loyal crowd. And Moonlight was championed by Bailey from its festival debut to its monthslong run at the Lightbox, where it earned about $320,000.

But it was not exclusive to TIFF and pulled in $440,000 a few blocks north, at the Cineplexowned Varsity.

According to comScore, boxoffice revenue for the Lightbox's year-round programming grossed between $1.2-million and $1.3million last year, including taxes.

Subtract distribution fees - 40 per cent to 45 per cent - and it's likely its screenings contributed, in net terms, between roughly $660,000 and $780,000 to TIFF's earned revenue of $20.5-million.

Combined with a thinning attendance, the numbers represent a serious challenge if TIFF is relying on old-school film exhibition to help pay off at least some of the $33-million that was still outstanding on its provincial government loan as of Dec. 31.

But Handling defended TIFF's high-minded programming in his interview with The Globe.

"We'd love to have more people doing every activity we're involved with. But we're trying to show certain films that we think are transformative," he said. "The exclusives - it's nice when you get them, but the raison d'être of the building isn't that."

Certainly, they run a host of charitable programs for the community, including the Share Her Journey campaign, which aims to get more women in front of and behind the camera.

Still, the yawning gap between the art-house films showcased at the Lightbox and the increasingly commercial offerings of the annual festival reflects what some have called an identity crisis at TIFF. Is it an arts-focused forum for esoteric, global cinema or a market-based organization that serves the business needs of the movie-making industry?

Even if screenings aren't the Lightbox's sole purpose, its other initiatives are flailing as well.

Handling once told The Globe the "biggest risk" for the Lightbox is its museum-style exhibitions.

TIFF made a splash in 2010 with its initial offering, the Tim Burton exhibit on loan from New York's Museum of Modern Art, which attracted 111,000 paying visitors over five months. Subsequent efforts have been less successful (Grace Kelly drew 48,000) or flops (Federico Fellini had about 10,000).

And so, last fall, TIFF eliminated the majority of its exhibitions department - although its fate may have been sealed years before.

"The demise of the exhibition program was when Cowan left.

He was the one who championed it," said Barr Gilmore, who designed TIFF exhibitions such as the Fellini and Stanley Kubrick shows. "But doing two or three major exhibitions in a year is a lot. There was a conversation about, are we a museum or a consumer art gallery or both?

That never got resolved."

Cowan said that when "the theory of exhibitions met reality, it was a bit more difficult."

"We were told going in that Toronto is a hard city when it comes to museums and galleries," Handling said. "The financial risk was very high, so we decided the priorities of the organization were going to be somewhat different."

For now, as the Art Gallery of Ontario prepares to open its Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters exhibit, TIFF will use its gallery space for media conferences and event rentals.

The revenue will likely be appreciated. While TIFF gets an undisclosed share from the two Oliver & Bonacini restaurants in the Lightbox, it doesn't receive parking revenue from the underground lot - unlike nearby Roy Thomson Hall, home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO), which earns $1.85-million in parking revenue each year. Nor does it appear to be maximizing the revenue potential of its ground-level retail space, some of which currently sits empty.

The festival now faces a nearly $1-million deficit, although Handling suggests this isn't a cause for concern. "Our operating deficit last year was $200,000, and then we invested another $700,000 in digital," he said. "It was a blip. We have a rigorous finance and audit committee on the board, and an extremely competent CFO in Doug [Allison]." (A request for an interview with Allison was denied.)

TIFF's new five-year plan for 2018-2022, authored by Bailey and Allison, aims to offer a turnaround. An early draft of the strategy, titled Audience First and obtained by The Globe ahead of its planned fall release, arrives with a bold declaration: "From 2018-2022, TIFF will direct our focus more toward audience - more people, more often, more impact. Our future starts now."

The plan acknowledges that, "Our main product used to be film. Now, our main service must be transformative experiences through film." And Bailey and Allison identify "key actions" on how to get there, including "Designing Lifelong Learning Stream" and "Leveraging Audience Data." But the steps read like platitudes at best ("Tailor Lightbox Spaces to Audience Segments") or daydreams at worst (despite backing away from exhibitions, one suggestion is a "Year-Round Attraction at the Lightbox" to drive a $500,000 annual increase in revenue; another seeks a growth in paid audience numbers by at least 22 per cent by 2022).

Another part of the plan is a "reimagining" of the entire building. "We want to make sure the building is actually tuned to the audience segments we're going after," Bailey said recently.

As a not-for-profit, TIFF is designed to end the year at either zero or with a slight surplus. But with faltering attendance at the Lightbox, there is a natural pressure to find other, more corporate - and patron-friendly - ways to pay its operating costs and satisfy its debt, a pressure that may have crept into TIFF's shiniest offering: the festival.

Whose festival is it?

When Marshall, Cohl and Van der Kolk first imagined the ideal Festival of Festivals attendee, they were likely picturing someone such as Matthew Price. The bookseller and movie fanatic started attending TIFF in 1992, and for 24 years, he planned his year around those 11 days in September. But last year, something changed.

The crowds seemed more business-oriented and the costs more prohibitive. A decade ago, a single adult ticket was less than $22, including tax; today, an evening or weekend ticket runs from $28 to $35, and that's not including galas or "premium" screenings ($52 to $59). You could also be hit with a $2 to $7 surcharge, thanks to the "dynamic" pricing initiative introduced last year.

So, Price walked away.

"It evolved away from why I started going," he said. "It's more about courting people who aren't regular moviegoers, who are there for the parties. As the festival grows, as it fragments the audience, it becomes less fun."

Price isn't alone. Last year's festival saw 2,800 fewer attendees - not a huge number considering the event's 381,000 total, but a worrisome dip given that in the past, attendance only rose. Certain audiences may have realized that TIFF was increasingly interested in glossier, more sponsorfriendly programming. The 2017 slim-down, for instance, saw the elimination of TIFF's least commercial and artistically most unconventional slates: City to City, which showcased films from a different metropolis each year, and Vanguard, a mature version of the Midnight Madness lineup.

Perhaps to compensate local cinephiles, TIFF this year offered a range of free events, including a screening of Dunkirk at the Cinesphere, and restorations of Canadian classics such as Rude.

But it again closed King Street, creating traffic chaos for the sake of marketing - the street is typically filled with booths and tables hosted by corporate sponsors - and subtly boosting TIFF's annual attendance numbers in the process. (The organization counts the thousands of people who pass through "Festival Street" as participants in free TIFF programming, enabling it to claim a total annual audience figure of 2.89 million people last year. One senior source dismisses that figure, which includes 989,000 "free attendance" participants, as "holding a finger in the air and making assumptions.") The pivot away from transformative cinematic experiences toward brand-friendly marketing opportunities makes sense from a financial standpoint. Corporate sponsorships contributed about $10.6-million of TIFF's $40.5-million annual budget for 2016, although that figure represented an 18-per-cent drop over the previous year. Handling and COO Maheux explain the loss as another one-time aberration, however. One sponsor that fell through "was a phone that started blowing up on planes," Maheux said. "That was 11thhour. Boom. Gone." And Tory said TIFF has hired a new major gifts officer, Debra Kwinter, a fundraiser from Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital, who Tory expects will develop a strong case for support for the organization.

Many of its big, long-time sponsors did renew, including Bell and Visa, which each signed on for another five years. Loring Phinney, vice-president of corporate marketing for Bell - the name that has adorned the Lightbox since it opened - called TIFF an "exceptional" sponsorship host.

Brenda Woods, president of Visa Canada, said that after 20 years of TIFF sponsorship (which this year included the Visa screening room at the Princess of Wales Theatre, as well as a presence on King Street's "activation alley"), her company still sees "incredible value" for its cardholders.

Asked whether he was worried about future corporate sponsorships, Handling replied, "I wouldn't say there's panic. Concern? You bet. But this organization raises far more money from the corporate sector than any arts institution in the country. The growth area is philanthropy.

That's where we're putting major resources."

Finding new ways to bring in money has always been a goal of TIFF's, and long-time festival goers such as Price also raise their eyebrows at what they see as the organization's increasing tilt toward privilege and access. Case in point: TIFF Noir, an invitationonly program launched in 2011 that offers "a superlative new level of membership" so elite that it's reserved for just 50 people, according to the welcome package. "A card that grants you access so complete, you require nothing else. No tickets. No lineups. No sold-out screenings.

Simply all of the unparalleled and exclusive privileges you deserve."

When it was launched, TIFF Noir cost $25,000 a year. The cost of ultimate access today: $35,000.

Adam Moryto, an actor whose grandfather founded Ontario's Ram Forest Products, is a Noir member. He likened TIFF today to a fence: There are those on the inside, and those clamouring to get in. "There's a price to pay for that," he said. "Money does make the world go round."

The trouble inside The salaries of TIFF's top ranks appear in line with similar organizations elsewhere. In 2016, Handling made $352,000 - more than, say, Lesli Klainberg ($321,000, according to 2015 figures), executive director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, but less than Sundance executive director Keri Putnam ($580,000 in 2015). He and 16 other TIFF employees appear on the Ontario Sunshine List, the annual report that details all public-sector employees earning $100,000 or more in a year. (Charitable agencies that receive more than $1-million from the province are required to disclose top salaries.)

But at the lower end of the TIFF spectrum, many current and former employees said their compensation didn't reflect what they described as punishing work.

Some who have worked in the middle of the organization reported earning less than $45,000.

A number said they were willing to take less money than they could have made elsewhere, because they wanted TIFF to succeed in its charitable mission, but didn't anticipate the long work hours and stress that extended beyond the festival period.

Festival hours are one thing - everyone goes into TIFF knowing September and the month leading up to it is a nightmare. The shock, they said, came during the rest of the year, the result of what some described as a high-pressure atmosphere designed to drive revenue in the Lightbox.

The problems appear to extend to management levels and above: Three of TIFF's four vice-presidents and two departmental directors have left since 2016.

For his part, Handling said there are "probably rough edges" to the organization, but he said he takes such concerns seriously.

"I don't feel I work in a toxic work environment, but I'm not one of the other 200 employees," he said. "I think I have my pulse on certain things, but I think when you're an organization of that size, there may be people who feel this is maybe not the right organization for them."

At an average annual rate of 18 per cent, TIFF's staff turnover is "below the Ontario benchmark of 25 per cent," according to a spokesperson citing the Boland Survey, which examines the nonprofit sector. Yet, a Boland official notes its work is based on a "small sample size" and is "not a representative survey." The churn is higher than that of comparable arts organizations including the Ontario Arts Council, the Canadian Opera Company, the TSO, the National Arts Centre and the Royal Ontario Museum, whose staff churn rates hovered last year between 5 per cent and 13 per cent.

While TIFF didn't supply its churn rate for 2016, The Globe found at least 45 employees, or about 22 per cent, had left between September, 2016, and August of this year. The departures were both voluntary and involuntary, although some had more pressing reasons than others.

Jennie Robinson Faber worked for TIFF in 2016 as a creative technology lead and was responsible for relaunching the website. The job was huge - Faber was hired in January, but the deadline to complete the job was July and she was assigned only a three-person team. Still, she was motivated by TIFF's brand. "It was an obvious problem that I had the skill set to help solve," she said.

Like other staff across various departments, Faber described an untenable work environment rife with miscommunication, mismanagement and a questionable overtime policy. (TIFF does not pay overtime; staff can instead accrue up to 16 days of lieu time, a limit many call grossly inadequate given the demands of festival season.)

"I would not hesitate to call it exploitative. They would not be able to do what they've done without exploiting people," Faber said. "My health suffered. Even after festival season, you launch right into fall season. There's never time to see if people are okay.

And people are not okay."

Bailey acknowledged that culture is something he's been tackling head-on since taking on his expanded role in the Lightbox this past winter.

"We've got a more integrated team, we're meeting every Monday afternoon, talking as an organization, as opposed to 'my area versus my area,' that kind of thing," he said. "We're still in the early stages of that ... but it's now one conversation, where it was a little fractured in the past.

Maheux chalked up the turnover to the young age of TIFF's work force.

"[Our staff] is an average age of 36 and more than 20 per cent of the team is under 30," she said.

"The average for a millennial in any workplace ... is 1.8 years."

"A lot of people, they've either hit the ceiling here or want to move on," Handling added. "Is it tough to see them go? It's heartbreaking for me, for some of them. But they've gone on and flourished."

The future With the 42nd edition of the festival now complete, what will TIFF be celebrating?

It might be the pride of attracting the brightest lights of Hollywood. Perhaps the fact that, more than four decades after Cohl, Marshall and Van der Kolk had a crazy dream, Handling and his team helped make it a reality, again and again.

Whatever the cause, it is hard to deny the wave of excitement that ripples across the city every September - a feeling equally hard to recapture during the rest of the year inside the Lightbox, Handling's lasting gift to the organization. In the waning days of August, a week before Handling would announce his departure, the lobby of the Lightbox was nearly empty. Upstairs, inside Cinema 4, a screening of Lady Macbeth was in progress. The sound was perfect. The visuals were crisp. The seats were comfy.

It was an enjoyable afternoon for the entire audience - of four people.

TIFF's new CEO will no doubt aim to fill more of those seats. As the organization's strategic plan notes, TIFF's future "starts now" and the new mantra appears to be "more people, more often, more impact."

To transform the way people see the world through film, then, TIFF will need to transform itself.

Enjoy the show.

Associated Graphic


The TIFF Lightbox, which cost $196-million to build, marked an ambitious stage in the history of a festival with humble beginnings as a once-a-year event in the 1970s.


TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey, left, seen with the festival's outgoing chief executive officer Piers Handling on Aug. 22, is widely viewed as the CEO's heir apparent.


Among the celebrities who attended the Toronto International Film Festival this year include, clockwise from top left, Javier Bardem, Angelina Jolie, Idris Elba and Jessica Chastain.


Despite Lady Macbeth getting an internal push, only 220 people showed up for eight screenings of the film across the TIFF Lightbox's two biggest theatres in July.


Handling promised the Lightbox would 'put Toronto on the international map year-round,' but the industry and audience habits have changed since it opened in 2010.


In 2016, the festival saw 2,800 fewer attendees, a development that has prompted TIFF to declare in its 2018-2022 strategic plan its focus on 'more people, more often, more impact.'


Friday, September 22, 2017


A Wednesday Arts story on TIFF incorrectly said Brenda Woods is president of Visa Canada. She is vice-president of marketing.

In his new book, Maximum Canada, Doug Saunders chronicles the ways in which a 'population deficit' is hampering opportunity and posing a genuine threat to social programs, livable cities and a cleaner environment. As ambitious as it sounds, a goal of 100 million Canadians may be worth aiming for, he writes, but we must start planning now to get it right
Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F1

If you're stuck in traffic on Vancouver's Lions Gate Bridge, squeezed shoulder-to-shoulder on the King streetcar in Toronto, or trying to find a free seat on a terrasse on Montreal's Plateau any summer evening, you might find it hard to believe that Canada has a shortage of people.

Our population problem becomes tangible only when you set out to do certain things that require an audience, a market, or the support of an institution or medium that only a populous country can provide.

Then you discover that there's just not enough Canada.

If you're an entrepreneur seeking venture capital, an activist fighting for better public services, or a professional searching for the best credentials, you have probably, at some point, run up against the limits of Canada's population, currently sitting at about 35 million. Same if you're an artist or writer looking for an audience big enough to provide you with a living, a band-council leader hoping to make your community's next generation independent and well-educated, an online entrepreneur seeking Canadian clicks, a mayor hoping to fill your city with decent public transit, or an environmentalist seeking a big shift to green technology in energy and transportation.

For many individual Canadians, the first visible reality of underpopulation is the discovery that you need to leave the country to succeed in your career, your education or your craft. At least three million Canadians live abroad - almost one in 10 of us. This shouldn't be seen strictly as a net loss; even in a fully equipped country, it's admirable to use the wider world to expand yourself.

The problem, in Canada, is that there's often no other way: The audiences, markets, clusters of expertise are often located somewhere else, somewhere with more people.

A decade and a half ago, I started looking into the core questions of Canadian population. How did we end up with so few people? How does our low population density affect our livelihood? And what is Canada's ideal sustainable population level? The results of my research are published in my new book, Maximum Canada.

It concludes that we are still struggling with a population deficit dating from more than a century of failed trade, immigration, population and economic policies - beginning in the pre-Confederation decades - that drove people away from Canada.

In most of the decades from 1850 to 1950, a time when tens of millions of ambitious people flooded out of Europe and Asia for the New World, Canada experienced a net migratory loss. By the end of the Second World War, Canada had attracted 6.7 million immigrants, but had lost 6.3 million Canadians - generally our more educated and successful citizens - who emigrated to other countries, mainly the United States.

The "minimizing" politics of Canada's first century of Confederation - a mutually reinforcing set of policies that restricted North American trade, maintained imperial resource-economy ties, limited much immigration beyond the British and the rural, valued farming over commerce, treated Indigenous peoples as problems rather than partners, and discouraged entrepreneurship - worked to keep the country's population growth extremely limited. This was true even during the official immigration drives of the 1870s and 1930s, both of which failed.

We are still struggling with the legacy of that past. It has left us with cities that sprawl rather than concentrate, with Indigenous, francophone and minority populations still recovering from more than a century of subjugation, with poor rates of business creation, with major companies that depend on subsidies rather than markets - and with a level and density of population inadequate to create the markets and institutions this century will require.

Only today, after another half-century spent wrestling with those consequences, does Canada have a national, cross-partisan consensus around a broadly expansionist vision for the future. We have reached the point where we can talk honestly about our need for more Canadians.

The challenge now is how to talk about addressing that need - because it is not simply a matter of adding more people.

A question of capacity On the most basic level, population doesn't matter.

Having more people does not by itself make a country more successful.

Rather, the issue is one of capacity. Do we have the right people, in the right numbers, concentrated closely enough together in the right places, to do the things together that we want and need to do? Given our huge geographic expanse, our widely dispersed communities and our wavering dependence on larger, foreign markets, do we have a sufficiently high density of taxpayers, consumers, audiences, inventors, specialists, investors, elders and healers, entrepreneurs, caregivers, scholars, activists and leaders to create the things we need to sustain our standard of living through a potentially difficult future?

There are several crucial ways to look at our population. We can look at it as a market - that is, as people who will consume the goods and services created by other people, allowing their enterprises to succeed. As taxpayers - people of working age who can provide a fiscal base that will support public institutions and infrastructure, in great enough numbers to keep tax rates reasonable. As a labour force - people whose skills and strengths can be put to work, in sufficient numbers to make enterprises thrive. As an audience - people who consume and support the information services, the cultural and media institutions and the online resources of the country. As clusters of expertise - groups of skilled and educated people who work closely together, sharing knowledge, opportunities and funding, in order to create new products, services and scientific advances. Finally, as cities - pools of people living closely together and sharing resources.

At the moment, we have enough people to make things function reasonably well in many of these areas. But if we examine each of these population groupings and their ambitions, we start to see the capacity that is missing, the potential that is untapped or unavailable, and the missing human resources that leave us unprepared for a more challenging future.

Fast-shifting ratios When scholars and governments talk about population shortfalls these days, they are most often looking at the demographic and fiscal challenges of a population that's growing slowly and aging quickly.

This looming demographic crunch is not the most grave or insoluble problem of underpopulation, and it is largely a medium-term problem, set to unfold over the next 40 or 50 years. But it happens to be one that terrifies governments, economists and investors, having as it does the potential to measurably lower our productivity and quality of life.

Because our lacklustre family policies do little to encourage larger family sizes, Canada's population growth currently depends entirely on immigration. But our immigration numbers are modest - we'd need to take in two million people a year to approach the population levels of the early 20th century. As a consequence, the number of baby boomers turning 65 each year outnumbers the babies and children joining Canada's population through childbirth and immigration. For the first time in our history, there are now more Canadians over 65 than there are Canadians 14 and younger.

At the moment, roughly 16 per cent of Canadians are 65 and older. By 2035, at current population-growth rates, that proportion will have risen by more than half, to 25 per cent.

In the meantime, by 2026, more than 2.4 million Canadians over 65 will require continuingcare support (long-term care, medical support, in-home care and so on). That's a 71-per-cent increase from 2011. By 2046, there will 3.3 million such Canadians.

Those numbers affect the dependency ratio: the number of working-age people (who contribute the lion's share of taxes) compared to the number of retirement-age people (who tend to consume considerably more tax-supported services). In Canada, this ratio is shifting quickly.

At the moment, there are four working-age Canadians to support each of those who have made it to retirement age. By 2031, that ratio will be halved: For a couple of decades, as the baby boom enters its final years, we will have only about two taxpayers to support each senior.

This will be expensive.

According to the Conference Board of Canada, spending on continuing care for seniors will need to increase from $29-billion in 2011 to an extraordinary $184billion - in today's dollars - in 2046. Two-thirds of that bill is paid for by governments.

An older population is also more prone to expensive health troubles. As a result, health-care spending by provinces, currently coming in at $150-billion a year, will increase from 37 per cent of government revenue today to 44 per cent by 2042. Likewise, the share of federal tax earnings that will have to be spent on Old Age Security - Canada's largest government cost - will have to rise by 20 per cent by the 2030s.

Most of this adjustment will need to come from large-scale reductions to other government departments and programs, including education, transit infrastructure, the social safety net and environmental protection - that is, almost every area considered central to generating future growth and sustainability. The potential result: a vicious cycle of economic, demographic and ecological decline.

That is not the only possible future. It could be a lot tougher.

According to Conference Board forecasts, if immigration were restricted to half its current level in coming decades, the effect on population would cause economic growth to fall to an average of 0.6 per cent annually, from the currently projected 1.5 per cent.

By contrast, if Canada were to pursue a growth strategy aimed at tripling its population by 2100 through modest immigration and family-policy incentives, projected economic growth would rise to 2.6 per cent annually. And, as a further consequence of this larger, younger population, both government expenditures and tax burdens would drop dramatically during the crunch years of the 2030s and 2040s.

More importantly, that added population would provide lasting benefits to our economic, ecological and cultural life.

Markets and critical mass If you're working in a business that operates at a national or international level, you probably already know this: Canada's desire to build a more diversified, innovation-based economy often hits the brick wall of a limited domestic market. Or it runs aground on Canada's comparatively sparse distribution of investors and venture capitalists, top technical minds and skilled specialists.

Our existing population is well equipped for the country to become a creative-economy leader: Canadians are now among the most educated people in the world. Two-thirds of us have postsecondary educations. And Canada is in the top handful of nations in measures of patents, research papers and Nobel Prizes per capita.

But anyone in business will tell you that there are real limits to what can be accomplished, given Canada's low-density population - a small market, spread across five time zones, two official languages and 13 political jurisdictions. And those limits will become only more evident if the trade-protectionist threats of Donald Trump and his fellow demagogues in other countries succeed in curbing world trade.

Over the past 20 years a substantial volume of research has been conducted by economists into the factors that allow companies to achieve "takeoff" into the global economy. And there is a strong consensus that market size is critical - not just the consumer market, but the markets in skills, employees, services, patents and expertise. Harvard economist Alberto Alesina, in an oft-cited study, found that a country's physical size matters little, but that the size of its domestic markets - and their concentration within a particular geographic space - matters a lot.

Canada's most successful companies of the recent past, from the formerly dominant smartphone-maker BlackBerry to the currently booming conveniencestore giant Couche-Tard, have often taken a "straight-to-global" or "mini-multinational" approach by aiming for far larger worldwide consumer markets from the beginning. But that has become a more difficult path to follow during the past decade.

Aside from the looming threat of protectionism under Mr. Trump, there are two new barriers to becoming internationally competitive.

First, many of the world's largest governments are giving exclusive access to their own countries' businesses when it comes to public-sector purchasing contracts. In 2009, at the peak of the financial crisis, the United States passed the sprawling American Recovery and Rein vestment Act, whose Buy American provision gives U.S. firms a huge competitive edge by guaranteeing them a gigantic and wealthy domestic client. Canada is theoretically exempt, but the act gives American firms a clear domestic-market advantage. The U.S. is not an outlier here: Since 2008, India, China and other giant economies (the EU is a lone exception) have introduced similar schemes.

In a second major change, since 2008 larger economies have begun pouring huge sums of public money into the R&D budgets of their favoured domestic companies and sectors - a form of subsidy that is not restricted by the World Trade Organization.

This is where Canada gets tripped up by its low population.

Unlike companies headquartered in larger economies, Canada's international businesses can't fall back on the country's domestic market - it's just not big enough.

And while we do subsidize favoured industries, our small fiscal base prevents us from dumping R&D funding into entire sectors on the same scale as does China or the U.S. "We're dependent on the international market," says Dan Herman, the founder of the Centre for Digital Entrepreneurship and Economic Performance, based in Waterloo, Ont. "But the international market is increasingly looking inward. ... China and India and the rest of Asia, they've become inward-looking. ... That's when you get back to the 34 million and you ask, 'What can you sell to that market and actually build big companies?' Not much.

'What can you do for an international company in terms of government contracts?' Not much."

Greening through growth There is also the effect of underpopulation on our ecological prospects, and it plays out in two important ways.

First, it forces us to use inefficient and highly polluting forms of transportation, heating and energy, because our larger urban areas are too thinly populated to support more energy-efficient technology. And it denies us the critical mass of people, and their tax dollars, that we need to build infrastructure for green-energy generation and low-energy national transportation networks, and to protect us against the effects of climate change.

Canada's largest source of greenhouse-gas emissions during most years, accounting for a quarter of the carbon we emit, is transportation. Private passenger vehicles generate the largest share of those by far, and most of their output is in urban areas.

The heating of buildings - especially single-family homes in cities and suburbs - accounts for another 12 per cent; and the use of inefficient fossil-fuel electrical generation, 11 per cent.

In other words, half of Canada's atmospheric damage is caused by factors directly rooted in our low population density. We don't have the masses of people needed to replace internal-combustion transportation with cutting-edge public transit and high-speed rail; we rely too much on sprawling single-family dwellings that lack heating efficiency; and we still don't have the population size to pay for rapid replacement of fossil-fuel-based power generation with non-fossil energy sources (although that change is taking place, slowly).

Metro Vancouver, the Greater Toronto Area and Greater Montreal have reached particularly frustrating points in their development. They are now large and populated enough that they face a severe need for crucial infrastructure, such as more highspeed public transit and fast regional rail lines. But outside their downtown cores, they have not attained the population density that can provide the ridership levels to support high-efficiency rapid-transit developments. And they are not populous enough yet to have the revenues or voter clout to make such developments happen. They find themselves urgently needing the transportation networks of cities with two or three times their population. The result for their residents is gridlock, isolation and reduced mobility.

Research by Luis Bettencourt, a theoretical physicist and professor of complex systems at the Santa Fe Institute, has found a consistent world-wide pattern: As cities scale up in size, they generate more prosperity - and use much less energy - per person: "A city of eight million typically needs 15 per cent less of the same infrastructure than do two cities of four million each," he says.

The ecological benefits of higher population density are particularly strong. As Dr. Bettencourt's research has found, the largest cities in North America have the lowest per-capita carbon-dioxide emissions. That gain is not a result of green policies, he finds, but a simple byproduct of "energy-efficient public transportation and simple walking instead of driving" - a density-driven change to forms of transportation that are 10 times more energy-efficient.

In addition to greater density, an increase in the total number of Canadians - and thus, Canadian taxpayers - will also make it easier to address ecological issues. In the coming decades, governments will need to build coastal defences against rising sea levels, replace urban infrastructure so that it will be more resistant to volatile weather patterns, participate in a global drive to build carbon-removal technology, take measures to make our extractive industries more carbon-neutral, and shift to nonpolluting energy sources.

The cost of these shifts, for both the public and private sectors, will be huge. A 2011 research report by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy estimated that climate defences alone, even at a modest level, will cost Canadian governments somewhere between $21-billion and $43-billion a year by the 2050s (with a onein-20 chance that those costs could rise as high as $91-billion a year). Economies of scale are crucial here: Only the biggest cities will be able to afford, and organize, climate defences and energy reduction. And only a sustainably large population will provide us with the fiscal base and economic scale needed to shift to a zero-carbon economy in the next four decades.

The risks of 100 million What does a sustainable population look like? It is enough people, in the right concentrations, to overcome the barriers of underpopulation in the long term.

It is enough clusters of people, across multiple generations, with the right skills and capacities to support the public institutions, the cultural and media and educational institutions and the forms of expression and markets that befit a leading nation.

It is the ability to shift further from resource extraction to a more sustainable, value-added economy, to become more selfsupporting should major trading partners become unreliable.

A sustainable population does not mean spreading people across the land, as we did in our first century. It means creating strong and tight-knit urban communities that flourish within existing greenbelts, where towns participate in clusters of knowledge and innovation, where thriving centres of higher learning, technology and specialization take shape, and where smart growth provides better stewardship and protection of the environment, allowing, even, for an expansion of wild and agricultural lands.

It has become popular recently, in government and academic circles, to speak of a population target of 100 million by 2100. And on a basic level, such a population would not be difficult to obtain: If we wanted to do it through immigration alone, a modest increase in the immigration rate, from the current 0.8 per cent to 1.2 per cent, to a total of about 408,000 people a year (that's below the rate of countries such as Norway and Switzerland) would get us there. And those increases could be considerably smaller if we made use of better family policy - childcare, flexible-work policies and family incentives - to narrow Canada's fertility gap.

But there seems to be an assumption, among some of today's population-growth advocates, that the tripling of Canada's current population will be as easy as the last tripling - which took place between the Second World War and approximately 2015, when Canada grew from 12 million to 35 million people. That tripling vastly boosted Canada's economy, raised its standard of living, and, because foreign-born Canadians commit far fewer criminal offences, helped reduce crime rates to historic lows.

To a large extent that was all a matter of luck: We happened to

have the right sort of cities with the right housing at the right prices and with the right jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities in the right places. Newcomers arrived, and new generations were born into, situations that were sometimes challenging but in many ways almost ideal.

The next seven decades of Canadian population growth are not going to be as easy or as inexpensive.

Indeed, it is worth taking a serious look at the costs, risks and hazards involved in another tripling. And if our answers aren't good enough - if we don't have the commitment to make the major investments and reforms that a larger population entails - we should be willing to embrace the case against growth. Without preparation and planning, the benefits of a more sustainable population could turn into the political and social risk of an unsupported, segregated, unequal and unproductive one.

Wanted: jobs that work During the past century, the steady full-time industrial job and the small-but-thriving local business were crucial instruments of upward mobility and family success for millions of new Canadians. Until about 1990, immigrant incomes converged with average Canadian incomes within about 15 years of arrival.

That's no longer the case. Today, immigrants who have been in Canada for 15 years, despite far higher skill and education levels than their predecessors, are about twice as likely as Canadians in general to earn after-tax incomes below $30,000 a year, and almost 1.5 times as likely to live in poverty. Genuine economic integration does not happen until the second generation comes of age.

That is in part because of a changing labour market: Between 1997 and 2012, the number of temporary jobs in Canada increased by 57 per cent, compared to an increase of only 28 per cent for all forms of employment. In 2016, Canada's economy saw a net employment increase of 153,300 new part-time positions - but only 60,400 full-time jobs.

And a number of studies have pointed to increasing job insecurity and precariousness in the workplace.

Today, "work" means something very different for many new Canadians - and for an increasing number of young Canadians as well.

If Canada's population growth, fuelled in good part by immigration, is built upon insecure, precarious or informal forms of employment - lives propped up by thin webs of "sharing economy" contracts, haphazardly scheduled part-time shifts, and positions lacking pensions, benefits or salaries capable of putting one's children through university - then the project might not be worth it. We need to build a system of pensions, benefits, guaranteed incomes, unemployment insurance and labour contracts to make this new, less rigid - but also less secure - workplace a launchpad for creativity and richer lives rather than a cause of anxiety and insecurity.

Owning a piece of Canada More than any other factor, what has made immigrants integrate so quickly and successfully in Canada has been their high propensity - and ability - to buy the houses and condominium apartments they live in, often soon after landing.

But the traditional new-Canadian practice of buying a home in a lower-cost urban immigrant district, then using its rise in value to finance social and economic mobility, has become more difficult. Since 2000, house prices have risen dramatically in Canadian cities - especially in and around Vancouver and Toronto, the metropolitan areas where more than half of Canada's immigrants settle.

Home ownership remains important enough that more than half of immigrants continue to buy homes within four years of arrival, despite their comparatively lower incomes, by making greater sacrifices and borrowing much more heavily than did earlier generations. But the places they are able to rent, and buy, have changed: The great majority of immigrant settlement now takes place in low-density outskirts that are poorly served by public transit. Some of these places, without better resources and connections, are at risk of isolation, economic and ethnic segregation.

If we want to raise the populations of our major cities, we will need to ensure that the right sort of neighbourhoods, with the right sort of density, transit and proximity, take shape. We need to look at filling in sprawling single-family neighbourhoods with apartment housing; intensifying existing inner-city neighbourhoods to turn them into walkable, tight-knit places, keeping growth within their green-belt boundaries; and investing in high-speed transportation links to turn the suburbs into new and thriving hubs.

Time to recognize talent We're no longer importing farmers, fishers, lumberjacks and assembly-line workers. The people who come to Canada tend to be, on average, more talented and knowledgeable than the people who were born here: Immigrants, despite starting out poor, are twice as likely as the Canadianborn to have a university degree.

But that talent is often wasted.

A 2012 study by the Library of Parliament found that a mere 24 per cent of immigrants (including long-term immigrants) educated in a regulated profession were working in the field for which they had been trained, compared to 62 per cent of similarly educated Canadians.

That's partly because Canada has significant labour shortages in unskilled and semi-skilled fields, which require less linguistic fluency than do the professions. But it's also because many foreign professional credentials, licences, advanced degrees - not to mention trade experience - are not recognized by our professional colleges, licensing boards, government authorities, unions and trade organizations. There have been small steps to reform the credential-upgrading and recognition system, but Canada's approximately 500 credentialling bodies remain woefully behind their international counterparts in recognizing foreign skills.

Canada can't afford to waste entire generations of talent as it expands its population. Aside from driving up the costs of social services (thus making immigration more expensive), the wasted-generation effect is depriving Canada of the expertise and knowledge it needs right now. The Conference Board forecasts that by 2020 Canada will have a skilled-labour shortage of close to a million people.

There is no point tripling the population if, in the process, we greatly increase the proportion of Canadians in poverty, dependent on social assistance, or forced to give up their life's ambition. We need to develop a much more coordinated immigration and settlement system aimed at connecting people and their skills to the considerable - and evolving - needs of Canada's economy.

Making new Canadians, at home Solving Canada's underpopulation problem is not simply, or even mainly, a matter of bringing in more immigrants. A large part of it can be addressed by bringing new citizens into the world the more familiar way. Canadians currently don't have as many children as they'd like. Statisticians call this the "fertility gap" - something they calculate by asking couples in their 20s how many children they'd like to have, then asking couples in their 40s how many children they were able to have.

In Canada, an Ipsos Reid study found that, on average, couples say they'd ideally have 2.4 children - a number well above the 2.1 children per family needed to sustain a non-shrinking population. In fact, the average Canadian couple has 1.6 children - which, subtracted from the 2.4 they'd wanted to have, leaves a real-life gap of 0.8 children per family. If that gap were magically filled and existing families managed to attain the wished-for average of 2.4 children, there would be 7.5 million more Canadians.

Of course, it's not that easy: When asked why they'd had fewer children than they wanted, 72 per cent of couples identified the very real barrier of "finances."

We do know, from Canadian experience, that readily available and affordable child-care programs measurably increase the fertility rate, and thus the population. In 1997, Quebec introduced a low-cost universal childcare program that offered spaces for preschoolers at five dollars a day (the price was later raised to seven). By 2011, the program was serving almost half the province's preschoolers, and allowing 70,000 additional women to enter or return to the work force.

And it narrowed the fertility gap. In the 1990s, Quebec's fertility rate had plummeted to a Canadian low of 1.35 children per family; the new scheme helped push the rate above the Canadian average - to 1.7 children per family by 2010. (It has slid slightly to match the Canadian average of 1.6 - still a considerable population boost.) And the program paid for itself: The extra incometax revenues from women entering the labour force exceeded the total cost of the program.

The bigger picture The challenges of family policy, like most of the obstacles examined here, are already being experienced by Canadians, and will be growing problems, regardless of what happens to the population. The changes in the structure of the work force, in the cost and accessibility of housing, in the geographic isolation of major cities; the obstacles to getting credentials recognized, and of lost educational opportunities - all these barriers to equality and social mobility need to be confronted by Canadians and their governments, whether we triple our population or not.

It is therefore worth asking: If the time has come for Canada to train its sights on institutional reform, infrastructure expansion and policy reassessment, why shouldn't we also make plans to build a population commensurate with those ambitions and resources? The changes we need to undertake in order to maintain and empower a Canada of 35 million will be far easier to bring about, and yield far greater benefits, if they are applied to a population that is gradually growing to a larger and more self-sufficient scale by the end of the century.

With that population - and by instituting the reforms needed to create it - Canada promises to become a place with the tools and resources to do many things better, more fairly, more cleanly and more co-operatively: a more comfortable, and more intensely Canadian version of the Canada we know.

Doug Saunders is the Globe and Mail's international-affairs columnist.

Associated Graphic



In the wake of searing violence that has displaced 420,000 Rohingya from Myanmar in a single month, Nathan VanderKlippe visits the country's troubled border with Bangladesh, where those who have fled an extraordinary wave of anti-Muslim hatred are struggling to make sense of a world turned upside down
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F1

ANZUMAN PARA, BANGLADESH -- On the day the latest troubles began, the military arrived in Kwangsi Bong and the men fled. Then the soldiers began rounding up women and children before launching mortars at villagers who gathered to protest.

It was Aug. 25. Early that morning Muslim militants had attacked 30 police posts and an army base in Myanmar's western Rakhine State, where much of the country's minority Rohingya population lives. Armed with machetes and a few guns, hundreds of people launched the assault. They fought under the banner of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, a fledgling insurgency led by a small group of Rohingya, based in Saudi Arabia, who claim religious sanction for their cause of employing violence to halt the persecution of Muslims in heavily Buddhist Myanmar. The militants sustained heavy losses that morning, but killed a dozen people.

The military response later in the day was quick and severe. Soldiers surrounded villages, firing bullets through streets and into local homes made of wood and straw. Women were raped, children were thrown into burning houses, and men were beheaded.

Kwangsi Bong lies on the shores of the Naf River, whose broad expanse separates Myanmar from Bangladesh.

After the mortar shells exploded, Osman Gani, a 30-year-old local farmer, ran to a nearby village. On the way, he says, "I saw more than 100 dead bodies floating in the river." Some looked as if they had been attacked with knives, others had been shot.

Some bodies had been burnt.

Across the northern stretches of Rakhine State, survivors of the Aug.

25 violence left their homes after discovering them burnt to the ground, setting off from their villages on arduous journeys across rivers and mountain ranges. Among their number were barefoot families carrying their few belongings on bamboo poles. Some women stopped for a few hours to give birth in jungles lit by flashlight.

When the Rohingya arrived at places like Kwangsi Bong, they joined local villagers boarding boats or swimming for safety to Bangladesh.

The forests and shores around the village became one of many final departure points for those fleeing Myanmar.

The "Burmese government are saying that you're not from this country.

You are from Bangladesh," said Mohammad Faisal, who was among the half-dozen people from Kwangsi Bong whom The Globe and Mail interviewed in Bangladesh in an effort to understand what has now driven more than 420,000 Rohingya to flee Myanmar since Aug. 25 - and what the future holds for a people long treated as less than human at home.

More than half those fleeing are children. In Bangladesh, they have found safety from guns but not from their own plight.

Through more than two dozen interviews with Rohingya, local and international researchers, human-rights activists and political leaders, The Globe and Mail has assembled a detailed picture of what has taken place in the last month, and the long history of tensions and repression that preceded it.

Already the world's largest stateless population, vast numbers of Rohingya are now living in makeshift camps in Bangladesh.

There, men fight each other for supplies from aid trucks and children beg passersby with mournful eyes.

No solid figure exists on how many people have died over the past month, although current estimates peg it at about 1,500.

Families who escaped to Bangladesh fear they may never be able to go back to a country where they have long suffered persecution and where many of their homes no longer exist. Satellite imagery examined by Human Rights Watch shows that fires in Myanmar have largely destroyed at least 214 villages.

"The situation seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has said. Security analysts have likened the humanitarian crisis to that of the Rwanda genocide in 1994, while the international community has levelled heavy criticism at Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar who was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1991 for her "nonviolent struggle for democracy and human rights." Movements across the world have called for her to be stripped of honours, including Canadian citizenship.

Ms. Suu Kyi has little direct control over the country's armed forces, who have blocked her from taking the formal office of the presidency. Still, she has defended their conduct as a necessary response to insurgency, accusing the militants, who have also killed dozens of suspected informants, of "brutal acts of terrorism."

"The security forces have been instructed to adhere strictly to the code of conduct in carrying out security operations, to exercise all due restraint and to take full measures to avoid collateral damage and the harming of innocent civilians," Ms. Suu Kyi said in a landmark speech this week. She emphasized that "more than 50 per cent" of Muslim villages remain "intact."

"It is very little known that the great majority of Muslims in the Rakhine State have not joined the exodus," she said, pleading for patience. "We are a young and fragile democracy facing many problems, but we have to cope with them all at the same time."

A dark side to freedom What's happening in Myanmar raises difficult questions about the prospects for liberalization in a country that was, until fairly recently, a hermetically sealed military dictatorship. The advent of a nascent democratic system, whose first elections where held in 2010 - and allowed Ms. Suu Kyi and her supporters to win the highest offices in the land five years later - was celebrated around the world.

But if democracy was intended to help heal wounds between disparate people, the opposite appears to be taking place. Indeed, what the local military has termed "clearance operations" against the Rohingya in the last month appear "to have the ma.

jority support," says Francis Wade, author of Myanmar's Enemy Within: Buddhist Violence and the Making of a Muslim'Other'.

That campaign threatens instability far outside the country, too.

As images of bullet-ridden Rohingya course through TV channels and social media, security analysts have raised alarm that fury over the treatment of Myanmar's Muslims could be used by extremists in other Asian nations to spark new flames of terrorist activity across the region. "What they're trying to create is a contagion of radicalism," says Phill Hynes, head of political risk and analysis for Intelligent Security Solutions Ltd., a firm that has tracked the rise of extremism across Central and Southeast Asia. "It's going to pitch Muslimdominated nations against Buddhist nations."

At the heart of this crisis is Rakhine State, a thin, arcing strip of land on the northeastern shore of the Bay of Bengal populated by farmers, fishermen and growers of shrimp who, save for a few roads, are cut off from the rest of Myanmar by tall mountains. The state's modern borders enclose land that was for centuries the seat of an independent ancient kingdom, Arakan, whose rulers were protected by Japanese warriors and whose capital was a cosmopolitan blend of Bengalis, Burmese, Persians and others.

Arakan was conquered by the Burmese in the late 1700s and later ceded to the British, who administered it as part of the broader Indian empire.

Under British rule, waves of Muslim Bengali immigrants moved to find and build fortunes in a new land, sowing among the local residents - a Buddhist group known as the Rakhine, the modern-day term for Arakan - early seeds of local angst over the invasion of foreigners.

From those roots have emerged the latest spasm of violence, one whose deep historical resonance has found virulent expression in a democratic age, giving rise to riots and the creation of sprawling camps for displaced Rohingya inside the country they call home.

To some observers, what began on Aug. 25 was not particularly surprising. "When you kill my father. When you rape my daughter.

Or my sister. Or my mother. When you burn my house. Then there is, I believe, genuine reason that I become angry," says Nazrul Islam Khan, a leading politician in Bangladesh who is sympathetic to the Rohingya. In Myanmar, he says, the government "needs to try to understand the experience of other countries. Why those people who are very innocent, who are living very politely - why some of them are becoming violent."

He understands, because he is describing himself. In 1971, Mr. Khan became a freedom fighter, brandishing arms against Pakistani military forces that had unleashed a campaign of brutal suppression in what is now Bangladesh. Pakistan, which at the time administered the region, was accused of genocide, and Bangladeshis fought back in a guerrilla war that led to the country's independence. "None of us were violent. None of us believed in killing people or shooting at people," says Mr. Khan. "But the situation forced us to do that."

After the fighting stopped, Mr. Khan never again touched a gun.

He is now senior leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, the country's unofficial political opposition. But he sees echoes of his own guerrilla past in Myanmar today, where, he says, there may have been a time for intervention, an opportunity to halt the slide into grisly violence. "The world leadership is already late," he says. "They're late in expressing their concern. They're late in trying to do something positive.

They are late in creating pressure on the Burmese government and the military to stop the cleansing."

A day unlike others When the soldiers approached on Aug. 25, they began shooting into the air. Hearing the sound, many of the village's men turned and ran. They did not yet know that this day was any different from many others before it, when soldiers would arrive to conduct house inspections and, occasionally, visit humiliations.

Still, they ran.

"It's a regular occurrence for the military to come into the village and torture villagers," says Mohammad Islam, a 53-year-old farmer. His own son was once kicked by soldiers and beaten with the butt of a rifle. "For no reason other than because he was a young man," Islam said. "We know this is why they come, so the men flee. They do it because they want to keep us in a state of panic." (Many Rohingya do not use surnames.)

But Kwangsi Bong had not expected what the soldiers did next on that late-August morning. "There were only women left.

So they took the women and the children," says Islam.

It's not not clear how many were rounded up; interviews with a half-dozen people from Kwangsi Bong suggest the total numbered more than 100. The soldiers began to march them to another village. As word of that spread, men emerged from their hiding spots and gathered in a group, hundreds of them, demanding the release of their loved ones.

"We ran in front of the military and the police to protest," says Faisal, 28, a local businessman who ran a popular convenience store and a small shrimp farm.

In the midst of the angry confrontation, the military released the women and children. Then, soldiers opened fire, lobbing at least two mortar shells into the fleeing crowd. Five people died, by Faisal's count; others counted four. Some villagers were also injured by bullets sprayed in their direction. Soon after, much of the village emptied. The men believe the military had taken the women to provoke a confrontation.

Some villagers, like Faisal, quickly got into boats to cross.

Others, like Gani, stayed nearby.

"We still had cattle at our house," he says, "so we figured we would go back and take them with us to Bangladesh."

Three days later, he returned to his village, only to find his house torched and his material possessions gone. "Our cows, our goats, our clothes, our rice - they took whatever they could," he says.

There was nothing left. He walked to the Naf River and swam across its broad expanse to Bangladesh, leaving behind a place that had been equal parts home and prison.

Humiliations, then violence The degree of violence that began on Aug. 25 in Rakhine State was new. The experience of oppression was not. Long before the military opened fire last month, "in that place, they tortured us so much," says Habib Ullah, a 73year-old farmer from Kwangsi Bong.

He recited a long list of restrictions imposed upon people in his village, which mirror ones in other Rohingya communities. In Kwangsi Bong, soldiers would conduct home inspections as often as once a week, looking for anything they deemed illegal.

That could include the installation of concrete floors - a mark of permanence - and any residential structure larger than the footprint of what existed decades ago.

Checkpoints on roads leading out of Kwangsi Bong kept villagers inside boundaries only 10 kilometres apart. To leave, or even to conduct much of daily life inside those bounds, required formal approval from a local chairman who was not Rohingya. "To do anything, you would need permission from the chairman," says Habib Ullah, the farmer. "If I want to go to Maungdaw," the local township seat, "I need permission. If I want to go to the bazaar, I need permission. If I want to go to the hillside, I need permission. If I want to go to the river to catch fish, I need permission. And each of these permissions require money."

The soldiers brought humiliation, too. "They peed on the Koran, and wiped their asses with it," says Habib Ullah. His voice rises in indignation as he speaks, surrounded by fellow villagers who nod their heads, in the darkness of night, in one of the plastic-sheet tents where they have sought refuge in Bangladesh.

Faisal watched one such incident inside the village mosque last year. "There will be no trace left of you," he recalled them saying. "See, there is nothing your God can do to us."

Eleven days after he first fled Bangladesh, Faisal sneaked back across the river to his home, hoping to salvage things his family could use, such as clothes or animals. Slipping through the village, he encountered the grisly reality of what was unfolding. He watched as military and border guards sawed through the throats of three men. He came upon a row of men lying on their backs, one of whose brains had spilled through a hole in his skull.

After he returned to Bangladesh the next day, he witnessed men walking into the water, fishing out small children. One, then two, then three. They were dead. The military had shot at their boat, Faisal says, but the children showed no obvious wounds. They appeared to have drowned. He shows video to a reporter as proof, one of many on a phone that has been turned into a library of horrors. "There is so much agony inside of us," he says.

"I don't know why we haven't died of failed hearts."

Fatwas from abroad The first tremors of the recent violence shook three Myanmar border police outposts on Oct. 9, 2016. Early that morning, hundreds of men launched a surprise attack, many bearing knives and slingshots, others equipped with rudimentary improvised explosive devices. They killed nine police and lost 10 of their own, including two who were captured.

But the militants also made away with 62 weapons and more than 10,000 bullets.

Days later, videos began to arrive on Faisal's phone, introducing the men behind the attack.

"They were saying very good things - that 'we are standing for the rights of the Rohingya people, to protect them,' " he says. The group pledged to "fight against the government, for Rohingya rights."

Rakhine State had been plagued by violent insurrection in the past. Riots in 2012 pitted Rakhine Buddhists against Muslim Rohingya, killing dozens of people and burning down thousands of homes. But the October assault on border outposts marked something different - a security risk that has now grown into a potent threat to the democratic process in Myanmar, and to security in the broader region. It was the "emergence of a new, organized, violent resistance," concluded Richard Horsey, an independent analyst in Yangon, the Myanmar capital formerly known as Rangoon, who wrote a detailed report on the militants for International Crisis Group.

The militants, at that time, went by the name Harakah al-Yaqin, or HaY, Arabic for "Faith Movement." They would later employ the English name Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, or ARSA. Mr.

Horsey learned that they were led by a committee of Rohingya expatriates based in Saudi Arabia whose leader, Ata Ullah, is fluent in both Arabic and the Bengali dialect used by the Rohingya.

Along with him, another 20 Rohingya from Saudi Arabia had travelled to Myanmar to lead ground operations, Mr. Horsey wrote - among them, people "thought to have experience from other conflicts, possibly Afghanistan and Pakistan."

The government in Myanmar has called ARSA a terrorist group, saying it has ties to Talibantrained militants. ARSA itself has denied this, asserting on Twitter that it has "no links" to "any transnational terrorist group."

Their aim, Mr. Horsey wrote, was not international terrorism, but, rather, to halt Rohingya persecution - and they received religious blessing for their objectives. Clerics in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh issued fatwas sanctifying violence against Myanmar security forces, ruling that "anyone opposing it is in opposition to Islam."

ARSA developed in a pressure cooker. After the 2012 riots, large numbers of Rohingya were placed in camps for displaced people that today hold 120,000 inside Rakhine State. Then, in 2015, Thailand closed off a key escape route used by Rohingya to smuggle themselves into Malaysia and Indonesia. That same year, a president installed by the military barred most Rohingya from participating in the vote that brought Aung San Suu Kyi to power.

A scorched-earth campaign Celebrated by the rest of the world, the 2015 election marked a new era for Myanmar. Rohingya, too, celebrated. "We thought that if an advocate for democracy was elected, they would speak about our rights," says Akhter Alam, a Rohingya leader from Taungpyoletwea, another Myanmar border village. He has now fled to Bangladesh, and many houses in his old home town have been burnt. But he still holds faith in the Nobel laureate.

Many, though, have found little peace under Ms. Suu Kyi. "The hope many Rohingya had for many years was the hope that if Myanmar became more democratic, they would at least have a better life with Aung San Suu Kyi in power," says Chris Lewa, founder of the human-rights organization Arakan Project. "But that's obviously not the case. And I think that has made them understand there is nothing to lose.

And that has helped the emergence of this armed group."

Little appreciated outside Myanmar, the problems for Rohingya as they are currently unfolding date to 2010, when the junta began to lift its repressive rule. All sorts of new media soon began to flourish, giving voice to a citizenry long silenced - but also providing potent new platforms for the airing of ancient hatreds.

Many in Rakhine and, indeed, across Myanmar have long seen the Rohingya as not merely one of the country's many minority ethnic groups, but as an invading Muslim force. They became a perfect foil for Rakhine Buddhist politicians - themselves long repressed by the military - who suddenly had a chance to vie for elected office.

"If I don't protect my race, then it will disappear," one Rakhine man told Mr. Wade, the author of Myanmar's Enemy Within. He described how he had participated in an attack with other local residents on a Rohingya community, some burning houses, others wielding machetes to hack Muslims who fled. They felt little compunction about their actions against a group most Burmese call not "Rohingya" but "Bengalis."

Rohingya have "been essentially dehumanized and branded as fearsome interlopers, bent on overwhelming the country's resources and eroding the centrality of Buddhism," says Mr.

Wade. That has fed a "mass hatred of a particular group - not an individual within that group, but a group identity as a whole."

Earlier this week, Myanmar military commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing bluntly put it this way: "Race cannot be swallowed by the ground, but only by another race."

But in exercising its new-found electoral powers, the Buddhist majority - Muslims make up just 5 per cent of Myanmar's population - has perverted the very aims that buttressed the broader democratic project. "There is a big risk if you have the country coming to be defined, and its sentiment coming to be defined, around a very exclusionary, nationalistic and anti-Muslim agenda," says Mr. Horsey. "I think that is very damaging for the prospect of Myanmar emerging as a tolerant, multiethnic, multireligious society."

The ARSA attacks last October and this August appear to have been strategic attempts to provoke a military response so fierce that it would horrify the world into realizing how far from its democratic ideals Myanmar remained. In that, they almost certainly succeeded.

But the scorched-earth campaign they unleashed has not only made victims of great numbers of their own people. Mr. Hynes, the risk analyst with Intelligent Security Solutions Ltd., fears the Rohingya crisis will serve as a "galvanizing catalyst" toward the "unification of the cause for radical Islam in Southeast Asia," bringing together jihadist operational and training expertise in the Philippines, technological sophistication in Indonesia and financial backing in Malaysia.

'They are killing everyone' Late one recent night, Ayub stole back to Kwangsi Bong to salvage a few belongings. Most of the houses in the village had been reduced to ash. But Ayub, a fisherman, lived in a small place on the water that had been spared the torches of attackers, who included both soldiers and local Rakhine Buddhists. He took from his home clothes, nets, pots and a pair of chickens, and loaded them on a boat, filling it so full that he returned to Bangladesh the next afternoon wading beside it in the water.

"There are only four houses left," he said. "Nobody is in the village any more."

Armed forces in Myanmar opened fire on him during the 90minute crossing back to Bangladesh, but he arrived unscathed to Anzuman Para, a place where the hope of safer shores had long since been transformed into a huddle of desperate humanity. It was at this spot, three weeks earlier, that Faisal first made landfall in Bangladesh after fleeing Myanmar, passing by the maze of shrimp ponds nestled up against the Naf River.

Now, the narrow mud berms spidering between those ponds were covered in tarps draped over bamboo poles, a city of escapees clinging to every available piece of land. Inside one makeshift home Ayesha, 25, sought to shield the pale flesh of a new baby from the brightness of the sun. She and her husband had walked four days with their two children to escape a frenzy of gunfire and knife attacks that had engulfed their village in Myanmar. Ayesha was late in her pregnancy and, the night they arrived in Bangladesh, the intense pain of labour took hold. "It was almost unbearable," she says.

She gave birth shortly after sunrise, to a girl. Five hours later, the baby had not yet been given a name. Blood stained the mud near the tiny patch of earth where the family had pitched their tent.

An exhausted Ayesha struggled to describe her experience to The Globe. Then she collapsed, falling to the ground. Her husband rushed into the tent as their two other children, a 2 1/2-year-old boy and five-year-old girl, looked on.

Her son began to cry. "I want to go home, take me home," he said.

"They are killing everyone," a woman's voice responded from inside the tent. "They are killing everyone."

Twice before, Rohingya families like Ayesha's have gathered on shores like this, driven from Myanmar by sectarian violence in the late 1970s and early 1990s.

Both times, hundreds of thousands of people fled to Bangladesh. And both times, government agreements allowed for their return. Most went back.

In Bangladesh, the political establishment now sees past as prologue. Its diplomats have pressed Yangon to open a path for the Rohingya to be allowed back to their homes. "We have told Myanmar, they are your citizens, you must take them back, keep them safe, give them shelter. There should not be any oppression and torture," Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told the UN General Assembly this week.

Those petitions have accomplished little. "The Myanmar government is not responding to the calls. Rather, Myanmar is laying land mines along the border to stop the return of Rohingyas to their homeland," Ms. Hasina said.

In Myanmar, Ms. Suu Kyi has said her government is ready "at any time" to welcome back Rohingya, under the provisions of a repatriation process established with Bangladesh more than two decades ago. She has also pledged to work toward setting in place recommendations made by a commission led by Kofi Annan, which spent a year studying the situation in Rakhine State. In late August, the former UN secretarygeneral called on Myanmar to lift restrictions on movement and citizenship for Rohingya.

For a brief moment after the release of that report, "there was some ray of hope that [Ms. Suu Kyi] and her government were taking some steps - at least they were promising that," says Ms. Lewa, the Arakan Project founder.

Only hours later, ARSA conducted its Aug. 25 attacks. Now, says Ms. Lewa, the devastation that followed has made "it difficult, if not impossible, for these people to return."

Abul Kashem, a local NGO worker who has spent decades helping Rohingya, recognized that things were different this time when what he call the "millionaires" began to cross into Bangladesh, too. Even the wealthiest Rohingya have been forced to flee. "What we are hearing is that they want to make this area free of Rohingya," he says, referring to Myanmar's armed forces.

"And the evidence is the cleansing - that they are burning all the houses," he adds, speaking in his spartan office in Court Bazar, a highway town not far from the camps where recently arrived Rohingya have dug out dirt to make level surfaces on which to sleep.

Late one night, in one of those camps, Abul Hossen stops a reporter to talk. He is soon surrounded by people who gather to hear him, his face blue in the light of cellphones as he gives voice to a collective desperation. He lived in a village next to Kwangsi Bong and, before he fled to Bangladesh, buried the bodies of two men he found in the jungle. Their throats had been cut, and their genitals were missing.

"I cannot stop the tears from my eyes - the way they tortured us, insulted us and humiliated us," he says. "And now we have another kind of torture here." He gestures at the sea of tarpaulin tents around him. "We didn't come to this country to beg. We didn't come for someone to give us a bed of flowers. I had a very nice house over there," he says, gesturing in the direction of Myanmar.

Now, with his house burned and his crops destroyed, he watches fellow Rohingya begging for bits of food or clothing in a place that, were it not for the border separating two countries, is barely removed from what was once his home.

It leaves him feeling ill, but he struggles to imagine how things can change for the better. "I have no peace inside me," he says. "I feel like swallowing poison and taking my life to get away from this misery. I can't take this."

With reporting by Amirul Rajiv.

Nathan VanderKlippe is The Globe and Mail's correspondent in Asia.

Associated Graphic

Abdur Sabur and Mohammad Enayatullah carry their elderly uncle into Bangladesh from Myanmar, where soldiers opened fire on them and, Sabur says, he saw 'rivers of blood.'


As seen from Bangladesh, smoke rises from burning homes in Rohingya, where, according to satellite imagery examined by Human Rights Watch, fires have largely destroyed at least 214 villages.


Rohingya who have fled Myanmar take shelter in makeshift homes on narrow strips of land between shrimp ponds after arriving in Anzuman Para, Bangladesh.


When the lights go out
Jonah McIntosh was a rising theatre star when he suddenly, inexplicably took his own life in July. J. Kelly Nestruck writes about the mark the young actor leaves, both on and off the stage
Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A12

Actors don't get weekends.

Instead, theatre companies tend to have one day a week when no performances are scheduled, traditionally called the "dark day."

At the Shaw Festival, the eclectic repertory theatre company now in its 56th season in Niagaraon-the-Lake, Ont., Monday is dark day - and it was on just such a Monday this summer that something dark took a popular, outgoing 22-year-old actor named Jonah McIntosh.

The previous day, Sunday, July 9, Jonah and his partner, Marcus Tuttle, social-media manager at the Shaw, had taken advantage of rare, overlapping time off to go on a hike around the Niagara Escarpment. Then, they saw the new Spider-Man movie - which Jonah, a Marvel fan, pronounced his favourite version to date - had dinner and drove home listening to songs from the Broadway musical Hamilton, singing and dancing along in their seats.

After dropping Jonah off at home, Mr. Tuttle exchanged goodnight texts with him - and that was the last anyone would ever hear from the young performer.

It was only on Tuesday, the day after dark day, that anyone grew seriously concerned about unanswered texts to Jonah's phone.

Members of the Shaw ensemble started trying to contact the actor after he uncharacteristically missed a rehearsal that afternoon. Then, he didn't show up for the call for his evening performance of the musical on the main stage at the festival: Me and My Girl.

Later that evening, Mr. Tuttle was home with his family when his boss reached him to tell him that his partner had been found.

"She had to tell me three times what had happened, because I didn't believe her. I didn't want it to be true."

The disappearing act Theatre is, in a way, all about disappearance - it's an ephemeral art form that vanishes in front of your eyes. That makes the theatre critic a kind of a eulogist, trying to find words to describe something that will never be again.

I didn't realize how literally that would be the case, however, when I began covering the theatre for The Globe and Mail almost a decade ago now.

There are a tremendous number of people who have made a mark in theatre, in this country and elsewhere - and, like everybody else, they die after long careers, or short ones, and often too soon. I've become accustomed to snapping into action, working on obituaries or tributes when an actor passes on, and it has become, like anything, a routine of sorts.

But Jonah McIntosh's death this summer was entirely different from any I had encountered before. For one, it came right in the middle of the Shaw season; the two shows the actor was performing in had opened a little more than a month previously and were scheduled to run well into the fall.

And then there was the guarded release from the Festival - followed by a outpouring of grief marked by disquiet on social media that eventually made it apparent that he had taken his own life.

"Nobody can remember this happening, ever," Tim Jennings, the executive director at the Shaw Festival, told me later.

The shock of the suicide was intensified by people's perception of who Jonah was, a musical-theatre performer who had made friends not just with fellow artists in Niagara-on-the-Lake, but the box office workers, ushers and even the staff at the gym where the actors worked out - a "bobby dazzler," in the words of artistic director Tim Carroll, "who was always smiling and making everyone around him smile." His Instagram account featured video clips of him singing hymns and show tunes at his piano and photos of sunrises and sunsets. "I'm living in a painting," he posted alongside one shot where you could glimpse the Toronto skyline in the distance across Lake Ontario.

My first impulse was to not write about Jonah at all - it seemed impossible to do full justice to who he was as a person, and also write about his death and its impact. I feared that one story would overwhelm the other. It's tempting, natural even, to want to search for answers or a clear single story in a situation such as this, but that would be a futile mission - one of the defining qualities of Jonah's death was the extent to which it seemed inexplicable.

But that something can be two things at once is the core lesson of theatre - an actor and a character are both there on a stage, and it's only the person at the centre of it who can really say where one ends and the other begins. It's only a critic who would be foolish enough to think that he can pull a mystery such as that apart.

"He had that something special" First and foremost then, let's remember Jonah McIntosh in life.

It's not an exaggeration to say he was a star in the making - and his path to the Shaw Festival was an exceptional one. Jonah, who grew up just east of Toronto in Courtice and Ajax, had impressive raw talent as a singer, dancer and actor when he applied to Sheridan College's competitive Music Theatre Performance program in his final year of high school.

But the son of two police officers didn't have the years of private training of many who get accepted right away, and ended up on the waiting list - and, though his father, Dan McIntosh, feared he was due for a disappointment, Jonah waited and waited with uncanny confidence all through the spring and to the very end of the summer.

He received his acceptance just two days before orientation in the fall of 2012. His mother, Lisa Daugharty, scrambled to help him pack and find him a place to live near the school in Oakville, Ont., at the last minute.

By the time Jonah finished his studies in the spring of 2016, however, he was at the top of his cohort. He landed a series of professional gigs right way. By August, he was at Neptune Theatre in Halifax performing in Beauty and the Beast - and so when it came time to audition for the Shaw Festival for the first season under Mr. Carroll, he had to do so over the Internet.

Ashlie Corcoran, director of the musical Me and Me Girl at the Shaw this summer and incoming artistic director at the Arts Club in Vancouver, told me about the day she and Mr. Carroll watched Jonah's callback. "He completely exploded out of that Skype screen into the room with us - so spirited and joyful," recalls Ms. Corcoran, who went on to give him a number of small roles in the thirties musical, featuring his dancing in its show-stopping number, The Lambeth Walk. "We all knew we wanted him as part of the company - he had that something special that's going to make someone a star in the future."

Indeed, Jonah was in the enviable position of getting more offers than he could accept. He had, for instance, lined up a role in Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat for the coming holidays - but then turned it down after he was cast in a bigger show, the commercial Christmas pantomime at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto.

At the Shaw Festival, Jonah was not just in Me and My Girl but also Rick Salutin's 1837: The Farmers' Revolt - the first time he had acted in a play rather than musical.

Off stage, he joined the cricket team, was part of the Shaw gospel choir and showed up regularly to classes that Mr. Carroll has been running for the company. There were already plans in place to bring him back for the 2018 season.

"Jonah was everybody's friend," says Travis Seetoo, a company member who was in the same shows (or "on the same track," in repertory theatre jargon) as Jonah in this season and had grown close to him, recording music with him in their spare time. "He was the heart, soul and life of the party."

The importance of ensemble Mr. Carroll was about to turn off his cell and walk into a play in Toronto on July 11 when he got word of Jonah's death. He made the call to cancel that night's performance of Me and My Girl, then got in his car and drove the 21/2 hours back along the shore of Lake Ontario to deal with the crisis. "It's just a play," he said to me, when I sat down to interview him in Niagara-on-the-Lake a few weeks later.

The small, colonial-era town floats in the middle of a sea of fruit farms and wineries, and the close-knit community of artists who work there at the Shaw Festival make up a sizable portion of the population. The Ontario repertory company operates out of four theatres and employs more than 60 actors each season, almost year-round - and about 600 employees in total at in the summer tourist months.

There's no protocol for what to do in a situation such as this - but Shaw's leadership did its best to manage news that was traumatic for themselves as well. At the 15-minute call for Me and My Girl, the show's stage manager called the cast, orchestra and crew out of their dressing rooms and into the green room of the Festival Theatre where Shaw's planning director, Jeff Cummings, delivered the news. "I can't really describe the devastation, loss, sadness and shock that rippled through the room," Mr. Seetoo says in an e-mail. "We all stayed in the green room for a long time crying and consoling each other, taking turns supporting and being supported."

Shows at the Shaw Festival in other theatres around town were allowed to go on, their cast and crews as yet unknowing - but director Meg Roe shut down the dress rehearsal of the Will Eno play Middletown, which was taking place in a building attached to the Festival Theatre. The newly renamed Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre was transformed into an in-the-round gathering area with coffee and tissue boxes.

As curtain calls took place elsewhere around the bucolic tourist town, either Mr. Carroll or executive director Mr. Jennings tried to let the rest of the community learn the news face to face. About 80 per cent of the staff was told in person - and a phone tree filled in the gaps as best it could before Mr. Carroll sent out an e-mail, one of many he has since sent to the company.

"The one thing that one has learned over similar events in one's life - not that there's anything quite comparable - is that you can't communicate too much," says Mr. Carroll, whose best friend took his life 12 years ago. Presence, he felt, was the most important thing - in grief, as it is in theatre.

From the Studio Theatre, actor Marci T. House invited everyone over to her house - and the Shaw family filled it, overflowing onto her porch and front lawn. Her neighbours, newlywed actors Kristi Frank and Jeff Irving, lit a bonfire in their backyard, and anyone who wanted to sit in silence simply watching the flames did so late into the night.

By the next day, professional grief councillors were on site at the Shaw Festival, as they would be for weeks to come - but the company continued to look out for each other as well. A few actors took it on themselves to fill the green-room fridges with precooked meals to make sure everyone was eating, while a pair of Indigenous cast members led a smudging of the theatres Jonah had been performing in, attended by the full company.

Only after Mr. Carroll had consulted with the ensemble - the word does, after all, come from French for "together" - did they decide to start the process of getting the shows Jonah had been a part of back on stage. Me and My Girl went first, just a day later - with David Ball, the associate choreographer, stepping into his featured roles for the short term until another actor could be hired.

Modifications nevertheless had to be made: A standout number early in the show called Thinking Of No One But Me, in which Mr. Ball, Mr. Seetoo and Jonah had originally tossed the actress Élodie Gillett around while she sang, had to be rechoreographed for two men and one woman. "I found it very difficult to do it because Jonah's presence was so keenly absent," Mr. Seetoo writes.

Since officially taking over the Shaw Festival this season, Mr. Carroll has made it a more casual, friendlier place - and, as part of that, he's introduced a new ritual in which an actor or a stagehand or a front-of-house staff member gets up on stage before each show to say hello to the audience.

The day after Jonah's death, the artistic director took on that role himself, explaining to the Me and My Girl audience that the musical comedy was missing one of its youngest performers.

"It's certainly the toughest performance I've ever gone through," recalls Ric Reid, a veteran actor with the Shaw Festival who acted alongside Jonah in both Me and My Girl and 1837 and had grown close to him. "It's really something to see a cast of 23 people struggling so hard and yet putting out a show that is so entertaining that it makes people laugh under those conditions."

1837: The Farmers' Revolt, a more intimate show with just eight actors playing multiple roles, was even harder to resume. The drama about the Upper Canada Rebellion was created, in 1973, with input from the original cast. In the Shaw Festival revival, the actors were equally involved in shaping it. "Jonah's creative fingerprints are all over the piece," Mr. Seetoo says.

Director Philip Akin came back to town to rework the ending, where two of the rebels are executed - the staging of the deaths were now too disturbing to enact.

"You have to do your first performance without him. You have to do your dance routine without him," Mr. Reid told me, when I talked with him a few weeks afterward. "Even this week, we're still going through firsts."

I can't imagine actively feeling an absence on stage next to you day in, day out through to October - but Reid tells me performing can be therapeutic. "The late [actress] Joyce Campion used to say: 'When tragedy hits, you need Dr. Theatre,' " Mr. Reid says. "It's a way of paying tribute and focusing and putting your energy in a good spot."

No clear answers I went to visit Jonah's parents at his father's house in Ajax a month minus a day after their son's darkest day to learn more about him.

Daniel McIntosh and Lisa Daugharty, police officers both, separated when Jonah was 5, but maintained joint custody and remain close. Often, Dan and Lisa would go to church together on Sunday with Jonah and his younger brother, Cody; Michelle, Dan's wife and Jonah's stepmother; and a grandparent from one side or the other. "For people at church, we were the Modern Family," Dan says.

When I arrived, there were pictures of Jonah lined up on the kitchen table around a bamboo box containing his ashes decorated with music notes and a guitar.

More photos covered every inch of a folding card table: Infant Jonah, captioned "August 16, 1994, 7 lbs, 6oz"; Jonah as a little boy, holding baby Cody; the brothers as boys leaping over rocks together. Nearby: a picture of Jonah dancing joyously with his grandmother, who in retirement has become an instructor and has taught everything from belly dance to ballroom, and another of Jonah, shirtless with suspenders, that reminded his father of Leroy Johnson in Fame.

From the later years of his life, Jonah's parents have computer folders full of digital photos - as well as audio and video files scattered between hard drives, Instagram and Facebook. Theatre may be ephemeral - but young theatre performers now document so much of themselves online that traces linger.

Lisa has found some solace in these moving images ever since she learned of her son's death, but Dan was only beginning to be able to find pleasure in his son's voice and movements again when I met with him; at first, he had to go out for air when someone would press play.

Lisa showed me many of her favourite videos - a beautiful tune Jonah wrote about the melancholy of the Christmas holidays; a gorgeous performance by the slender, 6-foot-1 baritone of John Legend's All of Me from his third year at Sheridan College in front a full band and back-up dancers; an Instagram of him singing How Great Is Our God not long before he died - which Dan, a Christian, finds particular comfort in.

As we watched, Dan - who also describes himself as a "sports guy" - told me about Jonah's allaround athleticism as a boy, his sweet swing in the baseball diamond. It eventually became clear, however, that his son's main interests laid outside sports. He recalled once standing in a line of dads at a football practice as Jonah did pliés and pirouettes on the sidelines in full uniform.

"I realized after, if he's courageous enough to do that at 14, 15 years of age in front of a group of middle-aged men," Dan says, "he knew where he was going."

At the same time, Jonah's parents tell me that their son resisted being defined by others growing up. He would say he was both black (like his father) and white (like his mother) - and when he came out to his mother as a teenager, he didn't want to be put in a box. "You know, Mom, I just want to be able to like whoever I want," is how he put it.

There were incidents of bullying owing to his skin colour and sexuality. Dan once dropped Jonah off at a bus stop, and a boy made him cry by asking him if his father was a robber. In high school, boys he'd been playing football with for years called him a homophobic epithet and complained that they didn't want him in the locker room. In his young adulthood, he also had to deal with comments in that vein from time to time, mainly online - during a long-distance job interview, or on his Facebook page.

But Lisa has the screenshots of her son's smart, sensitive responses to the ignorance he occasionally encountered on the Internet - and is proud of his commitment to social justice. She also showed me a Facebook post from Jonah's 22nd birthday: "Happiness is a choice. It's taken me my whole life to be happy with who I am. I know it's always going to be a process, but now at 22, for the first time, I'm not afraid to say I'm proud of my ethnicity, my sexuality, my body, my dreams, things I foolishly was ashamed of."

So, when a group of colleagues from Lisa's division showed up at the door of her home in Courtice at 10:20 p.m. on July 11, while she quickly knew it was a death notification - "We've done the notifications. We know what it looks like" - she would never have guessed the cause of death. "Never in a million years," she says.

Jonah's parents wish, of course, there were clear answers. His mother wonders if some blame can be placed on the demands of his chosen career, the steady adrenalin leading up to opening nights followed by a withdrawal.

(The Shaw Festival has a number of wellness programs already in place for its artists - but Mr. Jennings tells me they're working on making them more pro-active and crafting better mentorship programs for young company members.) His father notes, meanwhile, that his son had episodes of what he would call anxiety since he was a boy. Jonah also experienced a trauma when he was around 16 years old - one that he talked about only with his closest friends and his mother, who helped him get counselling.

Later, in his second year at Sheridan College, he had flashbacks and his family helped him get professional help again.

He was private about this, and Lisa wants to continue to respect that. I can understand - it's impossible to know its relevance to the suicide. Jonah left no note, no explanation, and of late, he told his mother only how happy he was in Niagara-on-the-Lake - in a job he said felt like a vacation, in an artistic community that he loved and with a romantic partner he thought might be "the one."

"I was heartbroken because Jonah used to tell me everything, almost too much; every time he needed something, he would call me," she says. "I held out hope that maybe he put a letter in the mail. And nothing came."

"Mystery is a part of life" The day before he died, Jonah and his partner, Mr. Tuttle, visited Brock's Monument, a column that rises above Queenston Heights on the escarpment.

Jonah posted a photo of it to Instagram. There's something beautiful in the unremarkable caption that was his final message to the world: "Statue right here is larger than it appears."

Writing about Jonah's death threatens to define him by just one dark day, rather than the life he lived before something inside him overtook him.

In his obituary, Jonah's family thanked Mr. Tuttle for making "Jonah's last day on earth so very special" - but, when I talked to Mr. Tuttle, he wanted to emphasize that what made that day so very special for him was how ordinary it was, how much smaller it was than it may appear now.

"We just had dinner - it wasn't like a magical candlelit dinner, it was just dinner," he says.

A moment in time can be both ordinary and deeply significant at the same time; even the tiniest, most common human interaction can also be mysterious and unsettling and tragic. To me, no recent play has managed to depict the way life can be both banal and baffling - how just slightly out of the reach of understanding its joys and its tragedies can be - like Will Eno's Middletown.

I saw Meg Roe's gorgeous production of this American play set in a small town during my last trip up to the Shaw Festival in the Studio Theatre at the end of July - and, even without knowing the role that physical space had played earlier that month, it turned me completely upsidedown. I wept as I haven't in years.

The cruel comedy of Benedict Campbell's police officer holding a baton to the neck of a local addict and demanding: "Be filled with humility. With wonder and awe. Awe!" The beauty of the theatre filling with tiny LED stars as Karl Ang's astronaut whirled around on a rolling chair and spoke of rocks and words and breath as being "sacredly and profoundly and mysteriously - yeah, well - earthly." The embarrassed yet grateful look on Gray Powell's face when he runs into a friend at the hospital after attempting suicide. The deep sadness in Moya O'Connell in the scene after her character gave birth as she listened to classical music on the radio with her baby and a nurse came in and silently filled her water glass.

I had seen Me and My Girl director Ms. Corcoran after the curtain call, looking stunned, and, when I talked to her about Jonah, we talked about Middletown as well.

"For me, that play was a big part of grieving," Ms. Corcoran said to me. "There are some things that you can't unpack - mystery is a part of life."

Sheridan College and Jonah's family have set up The Jonah McIntosh Memorial Scholarship fund, a fundraising campaign launched on Aug. 16, on what would have been his 23rd birthday - it can be found at

Associated Graphic

Top: Jonah McIntosh rehearses with the rest of the cast of 1837: The Farmers' Revolt for the Shaw Festival this summer.


Bottom: From left, Jonah, at three years old, with his baby brother, Cody, at home in Ajax, Ont., in 1998; Jonah, left, with his father, Dan, centre, and Cody in 2015; Cody, left, and Jonah at the gym; Marcus Tuttle, left, and Jonah in Niagara Falls in July; Jonah with his mother, Lisa, in 2013; Jonah in Niagara-onthe-Lake, Ont., home of the Shaw Festival, earlier this year.

David Johnston sails into the sunset: 'My concern now is time'
Roy MacGregor looks back at the accomplished career of Canada's third-longest-serving governor-general and looks ahead at the bucolic country life that now awaits him and his wife on the outskirts of Ottawa
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A10

The Rt. Hon. David Johnston, CC, CMM, COM, CD, FRSC (hon), FRCPSC (hon), 28th Governor-General of Canada, has taken up golf.

This is hardly unusual for one facing retirement following a long and accomplished career, but Mr. Johnston is hardly typical of those who would fade - or duck hook, for that matter - into the white-belt world of searching for lost balls.

"Like anyone else who has played a lot of sports at fairly high levels," he says, "I don't much care for things I can't do well."

And so, the 76-year-old soon-to-be-former-governor-general has embraced his wife Sharon's newfound passion for the game a bit reluctantly.

In a close-cropped field to the side of their country home on the far outskirts of Ottawa, the Johnstons have planted flags on "greens" at both ends to create their own miniature course. She stands by one flag and hits balls toward the other; he fields her shots and pitches them back.

"I can just imagine the headlines," he jests. "ExGG kills wife with golf ball."

"We could wear our bicycle helmets," Mrs. Johnston suggests with a wry smile.

Mr. Johnston raises his eyebrows.

"Now there's an idea."

Innovation was one of the pillars David Johnston chose to concentrate on when he became Governor-General of Canada on Oct. 1, 2010, appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of then-prime minister Stephen Harper. The appointment was to be for five years. It would later be extended to seven years so that he would be on hand for any constitutional complications that might come of the fall 2015 federal election and also so that he could oversee the Canada 150 celebrations of 2017.

He now leaves office as the third-longest-serving GG in Canadian history after Vincent Massey (19521959) and Georges Vanier (1959-1967) and just ahead of Roland Michener (1967-1974).

Mr. Johnston chose as his motto "Contemplare Meliora" ("To Envisage a Better World") and announced that the three pillars of his mandate would be strengthening learning and innovation, encouraging philanthropy and volunteerism and supporting family and children.

"We are a smart and caring nation," he said in his installation address. "A nation where all Canadians can grow their talents to the maximum. A nation where all Canadians can succeed and contribute. ... There is much work to be done to fully achieve our vision."

There is, of course, much to be done in this complicated country that will forever be a work-in-progress. It would be fair, however, to say that David Johnston leaves both office and country in better shape. He worked hard at both.

Mr. Johnston's long-time friend James Dwinell III, former chair of Cambridge Bancorp and once a teammate on the Harvard University hockey team, has called the retiring Governor-General "a grinder with a capital 'G' ... total, total hustle."

A grinder in college hockey, still a grinder at Rideau Hall. His statistics are impressive in both: he captained Harvard to a 21-3-2 record as the Crimson took the 1963 conference championship, defenceman Davey Johnston setting up the winning goal in overtime with his record 25th assist of the season.

As Governor-General, Mr. Johnston has overseen more than 600 special events at the official residences in Ottawa and Quebec City. As commanderin-chief, he has attended 330 military events. He has led more than 50 missions to countries all over the world, making him the most travelled governor-general in Canadian history. He and his wife Sharon have hosted some five dozen foreign dignitaries on state, royal and working visits. He has delivered more than 1,400 speeches and awarded tens of thousands of honours, medals and special commemorations. The Johnstons have visited more than 130 diverse communities across the country and welcomed 1.5 million Canadians to Rideau Hall and the Citadel. The Canadian honours system has been overhauled and new honours, such as the Polar Medal, created. In Mr. Johnston's spare time, he wrote two books on Canada and innovation.

Mr. Dwinell also remembers Mr. Johnston as the Crimson's MVP who worked as hard in practice as he did in a game, a player who never took a shift off, the ultimate team player.

Mr. Johnston endeared himself to the Rideau Hall staff almost immediately when, in the very first week of office - generally a time of great pomp - the Johnston's dog, Cato, ran into a family of skunks under the back porch of Rideau Hall. The newly installed Governor-General slipped into his swim trunks, filled a tub with tomato juice and took a scrub brush to Cato long into the night to ensure no one's nose would be out of joint come the next day's ceremonies.

"Things like that kind of ground you," says Stephen Wallace, secretary to the Governor-General.

It is, in its way, a Canadian version of the old dime-novel tales of Frank Merriwell. Not quite rags to riches, but a story that journeys from humble beginnings to the highest office in the land. David Lloyd Johnston was born in Sudbury and grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., where his father ran a small hardware store. The family lived on Woodward Avenue, while Sharon Downey, Mr. Johnston's high-school sweetheart - they met at 13 - lived on well-to-do Summit Avenue, as he puts it "on the other side of the tracks."

Davey Johnston was brilliant in school and also in sports, winning championships on a hockey team that also included future Hall-of-Famers Phil and Tony Esposito, as well as former NHL defenceman and general manager Lou Nanne, who remains a close friend.

Like most Canadian youngsters, he dreamed of one day playing in the NHL and it was a dream with some possibility. At one point, scout Jimmy Skinner of the Hamilton Red Wings junior team came to call and was invited into the Johnston home for tea.

When the scout conceded that only a couple of the boys were completing high school while they played and that he thought there was a university in the city, but couldn't name it, Mr. Johnston's mother handed the visitor his hat rather than a teacup. "I'm sure you have other people to see this evening," she told him as she showed him to the door.

When Mr. Johnston wasn't playing hockey, he was quarterbacking the high-school football team. They won the all-Ontario championship in 1958, the Soo up against a top Hamilton team in a game played at Toronto's Varsity Stadium. The winning quarterback from Northern Ontario went 15-for-16 in passing, still convinced to this day that a gust of wind coming in off Bloor Street ruined what otherwise would have been a perfect game.

Now, though he's well into his 70s, the competitive streak has never left him. When on the farm, he likes to begin each day with 10 laps around the pond. He is determined to play golf well even if he never learns to like the frustrating game.

Such drive was soon apparent to the Rideau Hall staff. In the fall of 2012, he was asked to perform the ceremonial kickoff for the 100th Grey Cup, to be played between the Toronto Argonauts and Calgary Stampeders at Rogers Centre in Toronto. He wanted to do at least as well as former GG Roland Michener and former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, both admired for their athleticism.

Wayne Wouters, then clerk of the Privy Council, was meeting regularly with Mr. Johnston at the time and recalls that for weeks before the event he would find the then 71-year-old governor-general out on the grounds of Rideau Hall "practising his kickoffs."

Mr. Wallace also remembers how "the aides-decamp and I were running all over the grounds shagging balls for him. I think he kicked 40 in a row one lunchtime."

In the days leading up to the kickoff, Mr. Wouters noted that the GG was moving about with a discernible limp. "In his enthusiasm to do a good job, the man overextended himself and strained some muscles in his kicking leg," Mr. Wouters says. "Fortunately, he sufficiently recovered and made a 'reasonable' kickoff - though deep down I think he felt he would have done better if it weren't for that damn injury. The competitive juices still ran strong."

He had sports and school while growing up in the Soo, but also a long series of jobs, beginning at age nine. He delivered papers. He worked for a nearby drugstore that also sold English bone china that came heavily packed in large casks. Because he was so small, he could crawl inside the barrels and carefully remove the china from the straw.

At 11, he began washing cars for a local car dealership and, once finished, would then drive the cars out of the garage and park them in the street. The police told him if continued to do that, he should at least have the courtesy of not doing it right in front of them.

The owner of the small Volkswagen dealership, a German who was great with engines and terrible with people, eventually left customer relations to the capable youngster. "I learned to deal with the public," Mr. Johnston says. He also learned to type so that he could write up the warranty claims.

Mr. Johnston realized early on that it was going to be a financial struggle for the family if he wished to continue his education beyond high school, which he was determined to do. "I knew I would have to save my money if I wanted to go to university," he says.

When he grew older, he spent seven summers working for Algoma Steel and after a full day at the plant would head to a radio station where he would rewrite the wires and read the news. The station also sponsored a baseball team and told him he would still get his 70-cents-an-hour if he played catcher for the team, which he happily did.

"Did that make me a pro?" he asks facetiously. "I don't know."

When high school came to an end, Sharon Downey headed off to the University of Toronto, where she graduated as a physical and occupational therapist. Her boyfriend could have gone to any Canadian school of his choice but his long-time dream had been to go to Harvard. He would, however, need a letter of recommendation to send in with his application and the school principal refused to write one, saying if he went to the States he would never return.

His high-school football coach, however, was happy to write the letter, but he also warned the young athlete, "You've been a really big fish in a very small pond for too long, and you're going to get your head knocked off if you go down there - and it will be good for you."

It happened quickly. He went out for the Harvard football teams and discovered he was but one of more than a dozen players who thought they should be throwing the football for the Crimson.

"I thought I was pretty good," Mr. Johnston recalls. "There was a tire hanging from a rope off the field goals about 50 yards down the field. The coach says: 'Throw the ball through it.' The first guy up throws right through the tire. The second guy up hits the rim. I knew I wasn't going to be the quarterback."

In hockey, however, he was still a star and would one day be named to the Harvard Athletic Hall of Fame. The school gave out no sports scholarships but there was help based on financial need and Mr. Johnston qualified. He also had his summer jobs back home, as well as working two nights a week during the school year, restacking shelves in the Harvard library.

His sports career almost came to an end after he had suffered a third concussion, two in football and one in hockey. The family doctor gave him a choice: Wear a helmet or stop playing. He chose the helmet despite the ribbing that head protection was subject to in those times. In late 2016, the Governor-General hosted a special conference on concussions, declaring that head injuries in sports are a "public-health issue."

Mr. Johnston was an early advocate of year-round fitness and at Harvard would often jog with Erich Segal, an undergraduate who had ambitions of becoming a writer. Years later, Segal would pen Love Story, a bestselling romantic novel and Hollywood movie ("Love means never having to say you're sorry") that includes a dashing character called "Davey Johnston" who just happens to captain the school hockey team and is so hyper-competitive he plays with tears in his eyes as the team loses the final game of the season.

Following Harvard, Mr. Johnston toyed briefly with attending the training camp of the Boston Bruins but chose instead to head overseas to study law at Cambridge University. He would finish his legal studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., thereby proving wrong the high-school principal who thought he would never return to Canada. Following graduation, he signed on with the prestigious firm of Osler Hoskin & Harcourt. But he never went to work for them.

"I've never hung out my shingle," he says.

First, Queen's kept him on to teach law. Then, the University of Western Ontario made him, at 31, the dean of its law school. In 1979, it was off to McGill University in Montreal, where he served several years as university principal and, wisely, learned to speak French. He was soon a natural choice for moderating political debates, the most famous of which was the encounter between then-prime minister John Turner and Conservative leader Brian Mulroney ("You had an option, sir") that turned the 1984 federal election in favour of Mulroney's Conservatives. In 1999, Mr. Johnston moved to the University of Waterloo to serve as president.

"My life has been building institutions," he says. "To make them stronger, make them function better."

Certainly, the office of the governor-general functioned well under his watch. His seven years at Rideau Hall might best be described as dignified and ... quiet. No constitutional debates over the prorogation of Parliament, no messy minority government results requiring the Queen's representative to take tough decisions.

In the opinion of constitutional expert Kenneth J.

Munro, professor emeritus at the University of Alberta, Mr. Johnston's run is worthy of high praise.

"His dedication to his constitutional duties was most impressive," Prof. Munro says. "Although he was appointed while a Conservative was prime minister, he made a seamless transition in dealing with a Liberal government. He truly showed he understood his office as being above politics ... This constitutional role of treating his prime ministers in a similar fashion might seem natural, but it is not. I have not heard anyone criticize he or his wife for being too cozy with the Conservatives or the Liberals. He has treated each of his prime ministers with the same respect, without any hint of partisanship."

When Prince Charles attended the Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill this summer, the Prince of Wales went out of his way to praise Mr. Johnston's time as governor-general, saying: "He has earned great respect and gratitude as a modern nation-builder whose commitment to the youth of Canada and reconciliation is exemplary."

As far as Massey College's Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada is concerned, Mr. Johnston has been a "model" GG, combining "the dignity of Vincent Massey with the compassion of Georges Vanier and the innovative zeal of Adrienne Clarkson."

The most controversial moment during those seven years, bizarrely, might be Mr. Johnston gently taking the Queen's arm to help her down the redcarpeted stairs at Canada House during a July celebration of Canada's 150th birthday. British tabloids called it a "breach of protocol" - quickly dismissed by Buckingham Palace - and one American network reported that he gave the "excuse" that the carpet was loose.

"The carpet was loose," Mr. Johnston says. "I thought she was going to stumble.

"I say to myself, if hadn't reached out for her elbow my mother would have reached down from heaven and given me a swat in the ear."

It is late summer at the farm where David and Sharon Johnston will move to permanently after the investiture of the 29th Governor General of Canada, former astronaut Julie Payette. A local farmer has taken off the winter wheat that was planted in a far field and the air is rich in the smell of fresh-cut crops and damp soil from a long summer of rain.

He walks in the morning with the dogs - the retriever Rosie, the rescue mutt Lucky (Cato is no longer around to tangle with skunks) - and he worries that they will tear after coyotes that from time to time appear on the edge of the woods. Earlier in the summer, the Johnstons sighted a mother black bear and cubs along one of the trails.

It is peaceful, bucolic, the sort of place one imagines retiring to - and yet there are no such intentions for the Johnstons.

"I've never worked," Mr. Johnston says with no prompting. "So I don't know what retirement would be. I am still on a one-year leave of absence from my law firm - 52 years so far."

For years, the plan had been to return to the Kitchener-Waterloo region, where David had worked at the university and Sharon had boarded and trained horses on a farm they called Chatterbox. "David runs a university," the operation's website read, "while Sharon runs a farm."

Mrs. Johnston would love to have returned to that farm, but the five-year appointment to Rideau Hall became seven, somewhat to her reluctance. The farm in Mennonite country was eventually sold after she found a suitable replacement in the countryside west of the capital.

"When we were asked to stay on it was instant for me, not for Sharon," Mr. Johnston says. "For her, it was a big disruption. She doesn't enjoy the public spotlight. For me it was just part of the job. She's been splendid because she's been herself."

One of the causes taken up by Mrs. Johnston over their years at Rideau Hall is the mental health of the Canadian Forces. The navy made her an honorary captain for her dedication to the issue.

The easy warmth and wry humour of Sharon Johnston has also had much to do with the reverence in which Rideau Hall staff seem to hold the couple. Mrs. Johnston became a published novelist in 2015 when Dundurn Press released Matrons and Madams. The book is the first in a trilogy that examines the shifting social mores of a small city not unlike Sault Ste. Marie in the 1950s, sixties and seventies.

David Staines, an English professor at the University of Ottawa University who helped with the editing of Mrs. Johnston's first volume, is a great admirer of the new author. "She has the natural instincts of the true novelist," he says.

Speaking to a book club this summer, Mrs. Johnston was asked about the next two volumes and said the second one is almost finished and the third will be entitled The Boy in the Orange Pyjamas. The Governor-General, who had accompanied her to the meeting, immediately piped up to say, "I just better be that boy in the orange pyjamas!"

Asked by one of the book club members if her husband truly did have orange pyjamas, Sharon Johnston deadpanned: "Yes. He wore them our entire honeymoon - never took them off."

As for Mr. Johnston's own future plans, he says, "I actually have more things to do than I can possibly do. My concern now is time."

He regrets that he himself came to the job somewhat unprepared and felt he was "winging it" for the first several months, so has reached out to the governor-general designate, whom they greatly admire. Mr. Johnston and Ms. Payette have known each other since he was at McGill and she was applying for a scholarship. The Johnstons have hosted Ms. Payette and her family at the farm and held long discussions to ensure that she is better prepared than he was back in the fall of 2010.

He will join a law firm as a consultant and will write rather than practice law. He is working on a book examining the role of trust in Canadian society and business. He will, of course, continue his lifelong passion for reading - the grandchildren don't call him "Grandpa Book" for nothing. He will continue to chair the Rideau Hall Foundation, a registered charity, which he established in 2012 to mobilize people and resources "to tap into our national spirit and help realize our shared aspirations." He also plans to continue working on "making sport as safe as it can be for our children."

The decision to stay on in the Ottawa area was simple, given that three of the Johnstons' five daughters live in the region, as well as eight of their 14 grandchildren. The chicken coop at the farm has been "refurbished" as a large playroom, the walls covered in family photographs, including one of the long-ago hockey star wearing jersey No. 10 for the Harvard Crimson.

"I've seen so much of Canada through the lens of Ottawa over the past seven years," Mr. Johnston says as he heads back toward the farmhouse and the little two-green golf course. "I've always been very interested in public policy and this is the place for public policy. We have children and grandchildren here. And we like the countryside.

"I think my centre of gravity is here." In the GG's Own Words

The Importance of the Monarchy "This is a continuation of a thousand year experiment in constitutional government. If you looked around the world and asked people to name 7-8, 10 countries that work pretty well, where the populace is largely satisfied, chances are on your list you would have Norway, Sweden, Denmark, U.K., Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, Canada - all constitutional monarchies with parliamentary democracies." Best Part of the Job "Coming to understand Canada. Seeing the country in a different light. I always thought it was a good country. I didn't realize it is as good as it is. Having a sense of that goodness and that desire to do better has been for me very uplifting - always with a constant sense that we can do better. I think that's the constant theme of Canada, that almost all of us have come from other places without status, very often without property and very often from oppression determined that life should be better for our children. And have worked not only to make life better for our children, but for those around us." On the Value of Sports in Life "So many things. Learning how to be passionate about more than one thing, keeping several ideas in your head at one time, the drive for excellence, competing at your very best, developing your talents to their best ... Teamwork would be second. The sense of being able to bring a combination of talents together where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, a synergy that comes from a disciplined and well-coached people. Also the rules of fair play.

You learn the honesty of sport. You learn not to whine. You learn to deal with hardship, learn to deal with defeat, learn to deal with unfairness, such as the bad call, etc. I like to think that sport at its best teaches discipline.

'Healthy body, healthy mind.' "

Associated Graphic

Governor-General David Johnston paddles a traditional kayak at Pearce Point, NWT, in early September.


Governor-General David Johnston still enjoys a game of shinny. He was a defenceman for Harvard Crimson in the early 1960s.


The British media raised some protocol issues when GovernorGeneral David Johnston held the Queen's elbow as she walked down stairs on her visit to Canada House for Canada 150 celebrations. The carpet was loose, he says, and had he not lent a hand, 'my mother would have reached down from heaven and given me a swat in the ear.'


Expanding on a playbook used to squelch dissent in Tibet, and employing Mao-era techniques of social engineering, China is systematically rounding up thousands of Muslim citizens in the country's far western Xinjiang region and quietly submitting them to 're-education.' Nathan VanderKlippe reports
Saturday, September 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F1

SHANSHAN, CHINA -- Early each Monday morning, villagers across Shanshan County gather for a flag-raising ceremony. They sing patriotic songs and listen to speeches from local leaders as sun lights the nearby oasis vineyards.

Many of them are Uyghurs, members of a largely Muslim minority in far western China's Xinjiang region who have been accused of harbouring radicalism and in whom Chinese authorities are now trying to inculcate a new love of country.

It's a campaign aimed squarely at the thoughts and religious beliefs of a minority that has already come under years of heavy government pressure, one conducted under the banner of what Chinese authorities call "extremism eradication," under a new local leader who has imported and expanded a playbook used to squelch dissent in Tibet.

The campaign is designed to reconfigure the thinking of people Chinese authorities deem suspicious of radicalism, a group that includes those who pray regularly, have studied Islamic teaching, or have family who live in Muslim countries. It is taking place in a country that just this week introduced new regulations regarding "religiousaffairs maintenance" - rules, to take effect early next year, that will focus on "blocking extremism" and "resisting infiltration."

The early-morning flag ceremonies offer a small public demonstration of what has, in the past year, grown into a large-scale attempt by the world's second-largest economic power - a country that has asserted an increasingly large role in global governance and maintains that it respects the rights of its own people - to create political compliance in a region of geostrategic importance.

To do so, authorities are reviving some of the techniques that decades ago helped the Communist Party sweep into power and solidify its ideological grip on the country.

On Monday mornings in Shanshan, villagers sing not only the national anthem, but such 70-year-old revolution-era tunes as Without the Communist Party, There Would Be No New China. But on some occasions, they are also required to go quiet, in order to listen to other villagers, neighbours and friends who are reappearing after long absences. They are returnees from the places where the extremism-eradication campaign is being carried out in more pointed form: a secretive re-education system that has brought in enough people to leave noticeable population gaps in some smaller Uyghur communities.

Many of those taken into the indoctrination system are men, placed into locations called "training centres," where they spend weeks and months repeating political slogans, studying, and proving their loyalty to the Chinese state. They can be kept without charges, isolated from family and friends as they are instructed in national unity and gratitude to the Chinese "motherland."

They can go home only once they have sufficiently proved their political bona fides to a Communist state that demands allegiance to its flag take primacy over anything else, including religious belief.

"One person who returned said that he had studied what the Party has done for us, and how we needed to feel gratitude," said Huriyat, a local Uyghur highschool student, who heard the person speak at a flag-raising ceremony. Speaking to The Globe as he rebuilt a brick wall inside his family home, Huriyat recalled that the returnee pointed to "the street lights, the paving of roads - they have brought us many positive things." The public address, he added, seemed like it "was from the heart."

It was also exactly what Chinese authorities wanted to hear.

A fearsome show of force China says it wants to reorient people in Xinjiang effected by radical thought and to help them gain a better understanding of Chinese law and the benefits of citizenship. (The Globe and Mail was directed to send faxed questions about re-education to propaganda officials in Xinjiang, an autonomous region that operates much like a province; it received no reply beyond an acknowledgment that the questions had been received. Local academics also declined interview requests.)

Critics, however, call re-education a form of social re-engineering whose tactics resemble those used during the tumult of the Mao Zedong era.

Little has been said publicly about the extent of the campaign. But in more than a dozen interviews inside and outside Xinjiang, with local Uyghurs, exiles and researchers, The Globe has learned that local authorities place people into re-education for any of a lengthy list of personal attributes and behaviours considered potentially risky.

Some have phones with religious materials deemed contraband; others have accessed foreign Internet sites; others have travelled to or studied in Muslim countries; still others dress too conservatively.

Since 2009, hundreds of people have died in multiple outbreaks of violence in Xinjiang, many of them deemed terrorist attacks by China, although some of those incidents have been linked to local unrest over restrictions on religious practice. Beijing's worries about Islamic radicalization on Chinese territory have been further bolstered by the presence of Uyghurs in places such as Syria, where some have joined the Islamic State; and, earlier, Afghanistan, where some were taken away to be imprisoned at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

China has responded with a fearsome show of force in Xinjiang, lending the region the look of a place under siege.

Long rows of military vehicles move down highways, and police stand on street corners holding an array of weapons, including assault rifles, pistols and long black pikes tipped with spear-like points. China has hired huge numbers of new security personnel in the region, advertising more than 53,000 new positions in the first seven months of this year alone. Uyghur people must submit national identification cards to travel, buy fuel or enter mosques.

The re-education campaign is less visible but, to many Uyghurs, more disquieting. The mere act of talking about what is happening can be dangerous. "Please, do not ask these questions," one elderly man told The Globe and Mail. "Whoever speaks will get into trouble." In fact, Chinese authorities detained this Globe reporter in Xinjiang while I was working on this story, and Chinese state security in the region's western Yarkand County seized a Globe laptop for 12 hours, insisting it was against Chinese law to report in their area without prior government permission.

Billions spent to control the 'contaminated' Comprehensive statistics on the re-education program are not available. But Uyghurs, foreign scholars and human-rights researchers say the number in individual cities has reached into the thousands - people who have been placed in Communist Partyrun training facilities, detention centres and even, one person told the Globe, a converted retirement home.

Heavy spending on the project is reflected in budget figures published by local authorities. In the first six months of this year, Xinjiang spent $1.89-billion of "special work" funds to build new police stations, construct an integrated video and media surveillance sharing platform, and, among other things, fund "centralized closed education and training," local budget documents show. The last of those appears to include re-education.

(The region's total special funding on "stability maintenance" reached nearly $7-billion, outstripping the education budget by 10 per cent.)

The budget numbers, and statistics on security hiring, were uncovered by Adrian Zenz, a researcher who specializes in Tibet and Xinjiang at the European School of Culture and Theology in Korntal-Münchingen, Germany. Re-education is "Chinese Communist Soviet-style social re-engineering," he told The Globe and Mail. China is attempting a "systematic replacement of the previous cultural structure, which was really religion-dominated, with secular Chinese Communist values."

"These are the methods of the Cultural Revolution and of the early Mao era, where you indoctrinate a people."

China, Mr. Zenz said, wants to root out not just extremism but deep-seated religious adherence.

Religion is acceptable as a costume worn on holidays. "But within your heart and core, you must be compatible firstly with Han culture, and capable of speaking the language, but also politically."

Evidence for this is laid out for all to see in Xinjiang, where a sheet of paper posted in a residential area of Turpan late this summer stated that a disciplinary inspection tour in July and August would target a list of infractions committed by officials and deemed serious. Among its targets: anyone found to be "opposing the secularization of religion."

In April, one Xinjiang official was demoted for declining to smoke in front of religious people, with state media saying "his behaviour of 'not daring' to smoke conforms with extreme religious thought in Xinjiang."

Chinese authorities have given the effort a scientific underpinning, with a senior Xinjiang judicial official saying that, of those exposed to extreme thought, 70 per cent follow blindly and can easily be turned away - but that roughly 30 per cent are "contaminated." It's these people whose thoughts must be readjusted, the official told China's Phoenix Media in an extensive 2015 report on extremism in Xinjiang.

A phone call from authorities - and then, he vanished In the village of Amanxia alone, 80 to 90 men were taken away in April, including the husband of Miryam, a 24-year-old Uyghur woman with two young children.

(As is the case with other Chinese Uyghurs in this story, The Globe and Mail is not using her real name out of concern for her safety.)

Amanxia lies in a narrow oasis bounded by deserts and sharpfingered sandstone mountains. It is a fertile haven in an arid land, its fields verdant with grapes that, when they are ripe, are hung to dry into raisins. Just over 4,500 people live here.

On a recent day, Miryam was working with her parents and inlaws inside a long, rectangular building whose mud-brick walls were pocked with gaps to allow the wind to sweep through.

It has been a difficult harvest season without her husband, whom Miryam last saw April 10.

On that day, village authorities called the 26-year-old Muslim man on the phone, asking him to come, urgently, to their office. He rode over on a motorcycle.

Then, he vanished.

There was no trial, no court ruling, no formal charges that Miryam has been informed about.

It's been "tough," she said. The "kids have asked when their dad will be back. I told them he would be home when the grapes were ready to harvest. But he hasn't come back."

Next to her, another woman also helps hang grapes. That woman's husband disappeared April 13.

The two men have not been kept in the same place. The other woman's husband is in a schoollike setting, Miryam said, where once a month he is allowed a brief remote video chat with his family. Miryam believes her husband is in a county detention house, but does not know for sure. She has not been allowed to speak with him.

"We cannot see him. We cannot call him," she said.

None of the men who disappeared in April has returned, Miryam said. They "are in education," she says.

What she has been told is that her husband is being taught the Chinese language and national laws, and has been given computer training. Village leaders have given her gasoline, milk powder and a total of $56 in cash to support expenses, she said.

But mostly, help has come from relatives.

Miryam says she doesn't know why her husband was taken away.

Erkin, a 17-year-old student from a nearby town, also says he doesn't know exactly why his mother disappeared this spring - or his friend's husband, their three daughters and a son-in-law, who "were all carried away."

Merciless metrics and high-tech surveillance "The primary reason is religion," according to Askhar, a young Uyghur law-school graduate who spoke with The Globe in Beijing, but whose family remains in Xinjiang - "because," he says, "the government believes the thinking of people there is different from the country's needs and requirements and must be corrected." Other local Muslims, including ethnic Kazakhs and Kyrgyz, have also been placed in re-education, researchers say.

Askhar has given up on pursuing a career related to his educational background and is now running a restaurant; he says there's no point working as a lawyer in a place where the law is "up to whatever the local police say."

Re-education in Xinjiang, he adds, is tightly linked to China's "one belt, one road" initiative, a major plan to spread the Chinese development model and corporate activities across Central Asia.

It has thrust Xinjiang, which occupies a sixth of the Chinese land mass, into a place of greater geostrategic importance. "Xinjiang is a very important place for this project," he said. "So Xinjiang's priority is safety."

In their effort to ensure that, authorities have created metrics to assess "extremist existence or behaviour," said Darren Byler, an anthropologist at the University of Washington who has done extensive studies of the re-education system. He has assembled 10 categories of potential risk, including age (between 15 and 55), ethnicity (Uyghur), work status (unemployed), prayer habits (prays five times a day), knowledge of Islamic teaching, possession of a passport, and visits to or association with people in a banned country - a list that includes Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Central Asian nations.

Those who meet three or more criteria can be made "subject to questioning," Mr. Byler said. Given that age and ethnicity are immutable traits, "for many Uyghurs, the very categories of their existence made them suspicious."

People to whom five or more categories apply can be subjected "to detention and political re-education for a minimum of 30 days," he said. Some Uyghurs who return to Xinjiang from travels abroad to Muslim countries never leave the airport on arrival, several people said. They are placed directly into re-education, a process that Mr. Byler said seems designed to break the spirits of those brought in, asking them to "re-articulate their personal biographies" in such a way that they deny elements of Islam and express "undying loyalty to the state."

That push comes amid an atmosphere of increasing hostility to the cultural and religious distinctness of Uyghurs, an ethnic group that has lived in what is now western China for more than a millennium, and whose widespread belief in Islam dates back more than five centuries.

In March, a new "de-extremification regulation" banned "abnormal" beards on men, full face coverings on women, and "refusing to take part in state cultural and recreational activities," according to a recent summary published by Amnesty International.

"Now it appears that anyone who does not advocate for the repression of religion and the assimilation of the Uyghur population can be seen as a threat to the state," Mr. Byler said. He recently spoke with a Uyghur intellectual in Urumqi, the busy trading hub that is Xinjiang's capital, who told him: "If you wear white shoes, they will arrest you for not wearing black shoes. If you wear black shoes, they will arrest you for not wearing white shoes."

At the same time, sophisticated new technology has allowed Chinese police to pry deeply into the digital lives of its people, too.

Photos seen by The Globe show a hand-held device, barely larger than a cellphone, used to scan the content of smartphones. In some places, Uyghurs have been ordered to install a governmentapproved app on their phones that can monitor their contents.

Scrutiny of telecommunications is particularly strict when it involves contact with foreigners.

Uyghurs living abroad say that relatives in China have in recent months cut off all communication out of fear, given the potential consequences, including re-education, for even inadvertent violations.

One young Uyghur man was browsing pornography at an Internet café when he fell asleep.

Porn is illegal in China, but the larger problem arose when the porn site directed the browser to a foreign website, said Erkin, the 17-year-old who lives in Shanshan County.

"The next morning," Erkin said, "police took him away."

Winning over a new generation Like all Uyghurs, Erkin is unable to attend mosque until he reaches the age of 18. Chinese law regulates the transmission of religion to minors, but that policy is enforced more rigorously in Xinjiang than elsewhere.

In the Turpan area, a sign seen by The Globe and Mail listed 21 local restrictions, violation of which can lead to "serious" punishment. One deemed it "strictly forbidden for minors and schoolteachers to attend or organize religious activities, or wear religious clothes or accessories with religious signs."

The policy creates a gap inside families - between children educated in schools that instill a keen patriotism, on the one hand, and older, religious generations on the other.

As a result, young men like Erkin can have dramatically different views from their parents, and offer a preview of the kind of outcome China desires from its "extremism eradication" schools, which locals often refer to as "training."

People are sent to re-education "to keep them far away from the terrorists. The Party is doing so for our good," Erkin said. The objective, he added confidently, is to ensure that extremists "won't be able to lure the hearts of our good people and turn us into bad people. So they are taken to a school and told to learn skills for a better life."

China has won loyalty, too, by giving Uyghurs opportunities, including health care and social benefits that exceed what others in China receive. In areas where government leaders want to see development, Uyghurs receive large subsidies toward new homes. Working Uyghurs complain that benefits of local development accrue unevenly to ethnic Han Chinese - but for young Uyghurs, in particular, China has smoothed a path to success. The brightest students are taken from their villages and brought to larger cities, in Xinjiang and elsewhere, for free schooling.

For those students, the Monday-morning flag-raising ceremonies echo truths they've already been taught. Huriyat, the young man who listened to the returnee at a flag-raising ceremony, was himself invited to speak on a recent Monday morning. He encouraged "young people to study hard and to guard national unity." The 15-year-old has attended middle school in Urumqi for two years, but China has done well for people in his hometown, he said. "In the past, none of the roads here were paved.

When I left, it was all dusty. Now all of the roads here are lit and so well built."

In Amanxia, the village where Miryam's husband was taken away, local officials have said they are motivated by the well being of their people. "We must do our best to provide for the villagers' needs and answer their demands. People are more easily manipulated by the extremists when they are unhappy," village Party Chief Ismayil Metiniaz told the Press Trust of India in 2015.

Amanxia has been condemned as a site of radical Islamic activity; in 2013, three people there were shot and killed after a terrorist attack in the area left 24 dead, Chinese media reported.

And local officials have said they co-ordinate with religious leaders to root out extremism, the two sides working hand-in-hand to meet people infected by radical ideology. "When we visited them at home, we were always accompanied by religious personnel who explained the Koran and answered their questions about the religion," Sayit Yusup, a local official working in the village, told the state-run China Daily in 2015.

Tibet, take two Local media accounts suggest that the use of re-education dates back at least to 2014 in Xinjiang, although its use has intensified in the last year. That timeline roughly matches the August, 2016, arrival of Chen Quanguo as Party secretary of Xinjiang. He previously held the same post in Tibet, another region that has made heavy use of state power to quell dissent and suppress religious practice. Mr. Chen is seen as a front-runner to join the elite 25-member Politburo that rules China, a step that would give a stamp of national approval to the campaigns he has waged in both frontier regions.

Human-rights advocates have expressed alarm over the use of re-education under his rule. Maya Wang, China researcher with Human Rights Watch, told The Globe and Mail: "The entire system is unprecedented in the recent history even of Xinjiang, which has a long history of repression." One Uyghur man told her that 20 members in his extended family alone had been taken away.

It's "a form of enforced disappearances in a very organized way," she said. People "are being detained for no more than having ties to people abroad. So it's punishment by association."

Dru Gladney, a professor of anthropology at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., who has studied the Xinjiang region, likened the effort to a kind of state-sponsored medical intervention. China is "treating social and cultural identity almost in epidemiological terms, isolating these populations from each other, taking people away, putting them under social quarantine and trying to purify them."

Though local officials have claimed success in the effort, international scholars question their methods. Re-education is a form of "social engineering," and it's "certainly counterproductive," said Clarke Jones, an Australian National University expert in countering violent extremism.

Before 2010, he spent more than a half-decade working with China on Uyghur-related counterterrorism issues. "They see anything that's outside of the Communist way of life, or the Chinese way of life, as a threat to the country," he said.

China is not alone in struggling to combat violent ideology. Prof.

Clarke is critical of methods used by many Western countries, including Australia, the U.S. and the U.K., which have also sought to adjust ideology rather than to emphasize changes that would address some of the underlying causes of violence, including perceptions of discrimination on the part of those swayed by extremist thinking. In France, a deradicalization program that taught French history and philosophy was called a "total fiasco" and its only centre "for reintegration and citizenship" shut down in late July. What's required is "a total rethink of how we engage Muslim communities and how we address the problem," he said.

But China's use of forced instruction is especially problematic, he said. "You end up creating your own enemies" without effecting much change. "When people are placed in states of coercion, the only focus, really, is to try to escape that. And they will say anything to try to make their captors believe they've gone through a period of change, rather than actually change."

That makes it difficult to assess how successful re-education has been - although those who have emerged from the system insist they are changed for the better.

One Uyghur woman described the re-education of her mother to Rukiye Turdush, a Uyghur advocate who lives in Canada and maintains extensive contacts among the Uyghur exile community around the world. In the re-education centre, people's lives were highly regimented: waking up early each morning to run and then eat breakfast before beginning their studies. Classes, she said, involved repeatedly echoing political slogans and watching videos of violent attacks in Iraq, Syria and Palestine. Teachers talked about "how lucky we are that we will not be killed like them." Those being reeducated did homework each day, writing and explaining their own feelings. Their knowledge was tested in exams.

Because the woman was a good student, she was released after four months, in mid-August, with a certificate of completion of political study. "I am very grateful to the government and Communist Party for opening my eyes," she told her daughter.

She added: "I will be strongly loyal to the Party."

Nathan VanderKlippe is The Globe and Mail's correspondent in Beijing.

Associated Graphic

A cemetery is built into the desert in Xinjiang, where the largely Muslim Uyghur population has been blamed for acts of terrorism and harbouring extremism.


A Uyghur boy outside of Turpan hangs grapes to dry.


'Build an example of ethnic integration, build a well-off and beautiful Turpan,' reads a roadside billboard.

A wall painting in Xinjiang depicts Uyghurs happily working under the Chinese flag.

Military equipment moves down a highway in Xinjiang, where the Chinese government has responded with a massive display of force to what it calls extremist activity in the area.

In the Turpan area, the largely Muslim Uyghur population lives in oasis areas bounded by desert.

'Unity is a blessing, separatism is a disaster,' reads a sign posted on a house in Xinjiang.

Blockbuster deal, delicate touch
RBC's takeover of City National is a signal of the bank's approach to the fiercely contested American market
Saturday, September 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B6

LOS ANGELES AND TORONTO -- There's no sign of Michael J.

Fox, Helen Mirren, Martin Scorsese or any of the other Hollywood stars who have been clients of City National Bank in CEO Russell Goldsmith's office. The closest hint of celebrity in Mr. Goldsmith's eighth-floor, Beverly Hills suite is an autographed picture that shows him shaking hands with Ben Bernanke, formerly the world's most powerful central banker as chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

There are prints by artists David Hockney and Richard Diebenkorn, whose genius captured California's essence, interspersed with more personal mementos such as a photo with his father Bram, who preceded him as chairman and chief executive officer of the financial institution that's known in the United States as a premiere private banker to Hollywood.

And just behind his desk there is a plain white, faintly rumpled golf cap emblazoned with a blue RBC logo.

The cap is an important nod to City National's future - and to its parent, Royal Bank of Canada, which bought the Los Angelesbased bank for $7.1-billion in 2015. But it's also the only visible token of RBC's ownership in Mr Goldsmith's digs, which is emblematic of the Canadian bank's new, lower-profile approach to winning in the fiercely contested United States banking market.

The deal to acquire City National signalled a complete reboot of the Canadian bank's U.S. strategy and is the signature gambit RBC CEO Dave McKay has undertaken in his three years at the helm. It was RBC's largest acquisition in recent memory and the thirdlargest purchase by a Canadian bank since 2000.

The acquisition has left him with something to prove. Smaller rivals such as Toronto-Dominion Bank and Bank of Montreal built extensive banking networks south of the border - the former has more than 1,200 branches across the U.S. eastern seaboard, while the latter has been growing BMO Harris Bank in the Midwest since the mid-1980s. But for at least two decades - perhaps even longer - Royal Bank's top executives have wrestled with the question of how and where to find international growth.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, John Cleghorn took a stab at a number of deals, most of which didn't work out and the most significant of which was for a North Carolina bank called Centura Banks Inc. His successor, Gord Nixon, struggled valiantly to turn it into a meaningful foothold in the southeastern states, only to retreat after absorbing losses for 10 straight quarters in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

Canadian banks have never won success easily in the crowded, cutthroat U.S. banking market. But with the acquisition of City National, Mr. McKay is trying again, driven by the need for new growth to supplement returns from a relatively saturated Canadian banking market. This time, he's charting a different course.

The bank's executives have learned lessons from past missteps, he says, and have developed a more effective strategy to thrive in the United States.

Rather than trying to win the hyper-competitive retail market, RBC is staking a claim to a new niche south of the border: highnet-worth wealth management.

Instead of slapping the bank's Canadian name on its new acquisition and "RBC-izing" its operations - costly mistakes it made the last time round - it's aiming to let City National be its own brand and largely preserve its own identity and culture as a high-touch relationship-based private bank to the stars. It even installed an executive on the California bank's board whose job has been, in part, to help ensure City National's independence by controlling the flow of demands coming from RBC in Toronto.

Whether RBC's light-touch approach will succeed is a vital question for the bank's long-term plans and could go a long way toward shaping Mr. McKay's legacy.

A new approach Mr. McKay's courtship of City National began in the summer of 2013, at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. When he first reached out to Mr. Goldsmith via a mutual acquaintance, RBC was a mystery to the U.S. CEO. The two executives spoke for the first time over dinner at the hotel. It was clear, though, that they are cut from different cloth. Mr. Goldsmith is the consummate relationship banker, with a warm smile and gregarious nature wellsuited to Hollywood deal-making.

Mr. McKay comes off as more conservative, a restless intellectual shaped in the more staid mould of Canada's banking culture. Even so, "we really connected," Mr. McKay said.

There was just one problem: City National wasn't for sale. "We saw a bright path ahead for City National as an independent company," Mr. Goldsmith said.

Mr. McKay, on the other hand, saw a promising future, and the lessons learned from the last time the bank tried to plant its flag on U.S. soil were never far from mind.

He was determined to avoid the mistakes that unfolded after RBC bought Centura Banks Inc. in 2001 for $3.3-billion as the centrepiece of an experiment in personal and commercial banking.

Applying a piecemeal approach to the U.S. market, the Canadian bank soon took on another acquisition, Alabama National Bancorp., for nearly $1.8-billion, and assembled a loosely knit collection of more than 400 branches across six southeastern states including Georgia, Virginia and Florida.

But the network of outlets never achieved critical mass. Scattered across a string of disparate, smaller markets and heavily dependent on mortgage and construction lending, it struggled when the U.S. financial crisis struck. RBC had tried to establish a clear brand identity, splashing its name across its U.S. properties and eventually dropping the Centura brand altogether, naming its retail network RBC Bank. It even shelled out to name the arena that is home to the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes the RBC Center in an effort to build its brand in the United States. (The rink has since been renamed PNC Arena).

Yet as the financial crisis deepened, the bank was forced to swallow billions of dollars in losses and writedowns. By 2011, RBC had opted out of the U.S. retail banking market, selling its southeastern operations to Pittsburghbased PNC Financial Services Group for $3.62-billion.

As it regrouped, RBC began looking at economic trends, assessing different parts of banking's profit pool, and looking at where the bank still had U.S. assets that could be built out - and by the time Mr. McKay reached out to Mr. Goldsmith, the executive team was developing a new vision. "We started by narrowing down to a space," said RBC's head of strategy and corporate development, Mike Dobbins.

The bank didn't want another retail network, particularly at a time when digital disruption and the rise of new fintech players is complicating the consumer market, Mr. McKay said in an interview at his Toronto office.

Instead, RBC set its sights on three or four lenders occupying a different niche - high-touch, relationship-based private banking catering to high-net-worth and commercial clients. "But none had the breadth of City National," he said.

So at the restaurant table in Beverly Hills, Mr. McKay told Mr. Goldsmith: "I want to be your first call if you change your mind.

That's all I want to hear." Then he flew home, determined to be patient but persistent.

Not long after, Mr. Goldsmith came calling. By 2014, the two banks were talking, and Mr. Goldsmith began to see the logic of his Canadian counterpart's vision. RBC wanted to unlock the potential of its undersized U.S. wealth-management business, headquartered in Minneapolis, and to drive its highly competitive New York-based capital markets arm to new heights. And City National saw the potential to grow much faster with access to RBC's larger balance sheet and sterling credit rating.

Mr. McKay and Mr. Goldsmith also grew closer. "I think we've become friends through the process," Mr. Goldsmith said in an interview in Beverly Hills. "We've, on occasion, played golf together and we enjoy each other's company."

The deal was announced in January of 2015 and closed in November the same year.

It's something of a truism that banks are sold and not bought.

But in this case, City National wasn't being offloaded, notes Jared Shaw, an analyst at Wells Fargo Securities LLC. "They had everything going for them, at the time, and I think they still do."

Keeping in mind what went wrong last time, Mr. McKay plans to integrate City National with a lighter touch this time around.

After acquiring Centura, for example, RBC sent its own team of managers south to run the operation, and tried to do a full integration of operations and technology systems, none of which meshed properly. And at a deeper level, RBC acknowledges it never found a good cultural fit.

"The mistake we made with Centura [was that] we tried to RBC-ize a southeastern bank in the United States who has their own process and customers," Mr. McKay said. "We tried to make it too much like RBC, and it ended up neither like them nor like us, and in this very bad place in the middle. We learned from that."

With City National, Mr. Goldsmith and his senior management team remain in charge, with three Canadian directors on the bank's board, including Mr. Dobbins, who acted as a gatekeeper of sorts. From the start, RBC has carefully managed the flow of influence and information from one bank to the other.

Senior bankers from both sides would gather to go through client lists, looking for opportunities to refer business back and forth.

Finance and risk systems have also been integrated, and the two banks hold quarterly business reviews.

Mr. Dobbins's routine included speaking weekly with business leaders at RBC to make quick decisions about which of their priorities should be brought to City National's attention. "They'd say: I want to do this. We'd debate whether that was light-touch or not, and we'd talk about, is it critical or is it nice to have? And that's how we made decisions," he said.

RBC wants City National to treat its parent like a store, picking and choosing from the menu of products and resources it needs to accelerate its growth.

"I think every company treats an acquisition as a new shiny toy," Mr. McKay said. "We can't have 75 different executives picking up the phone and asking them to do something or getting involved. They don't need it.

They've been extremely successful as a standalone company for 60 years."

Maintaining City National's character and reputation will be critical to future success. Founded in 1954 in Los Angeles, the bank has been led by a Goldsmith for more than 40 years: Russell's father Bram from 1975 to 1995, and Russell ever since. And it has deep roots in the entertainment sector - founder Al Hart was a Columbia Pictures board member.

Its clientele, whose identities are closely guarded by industry norms of privacy and discretion, has been known to include Hollywood superstars, including legendary singer Frank Sinatra. In 1963, when the singer's son was kidnapped, City National opened its vault to put up $240,000 to pay the ransom. More recently, it has built a tidy business financing Broadway from its New York offices.

But it is also a successful commercial banker to less glamorous industries, from legal services and biotech to fast-food franchising and wine making. Add to that a low-cost deposit base, a strong reputation in wealth management and a balance sheet that was poised to benefit from expected interest-rate hikes, and it's no wonder the Californiabased bank looked like an attractive takeover target.

"City National is kind of a crown jewel, a unique business with a very high-end clientele," said Meny Grauman, an analyst at Cormark Securities Inc. "And so it fits in nicely to what Royal Bank already has in the United States and to what Royal Bank's ambitions are."

Yet no integration of two large companies goes totally smoothly, and it takes time to build trust.

It's natural for employees to worry about job changes and harbour suspicions about the the new parent's intentions. "We had actually planned for them to be a little bit unfocused as we closed the acquisition," Mr. McKay said.

But "they just rocketed right through the close. They just didn't miss a beat."

One thing that helped, according to Mr. Goldsmith, is that no one was laid off or fired because of the merger - "which I think makes it unique among bank mergers of any consequence in the last 30 or 40 years in the United States," he said. Instead, the bank has hired more than 450 new people, luring teams of bankers away from rivals, and now has about 4,400 staff.

But the threat of homogenization remains a key concern.

"When you're a small piece in a larger organization, there's a risk that the larger organization changes the magic formula," said Mr. Grauman of Cormark.

Banking on growth The first of what Mr. McKay calls "critical moments of truth" came about a month after the two banks formally merged, in December of 2015.

Thanks to Mr. Goldsmith's connections, RBC's capital markets arm had a chance to get involved in a $250-million public stock offering out of California. The shares belonged to Santa Monicabased Kite Pharma Inc., a major player in emerging cancer treatments. The deal was tricky and exceeded RBC's built-in risk controls, so it was kicked up to Mr. McKay and the bank's chief financial officer at the time, Janice Fukakusa, for approval.

"We got it done, we made a quick decision, we got comfortable with it," Mr. McKay said, and RBC took part as joint book-running managers.

The deal may seem comparatively small, but Mr. McKay insists "those are seminal moments" because they compel the two banks to work together on a complex problem. "It builds connective tissue," Mr. McKay said.

"We're all in this together. This is not us and them, which is a little bit what happened in the old Centura days."

There have been other deals like it since then, though RBC is reticent to name its clients, and there will need to be many more if the bank is to reach its ambitious targets for the coming years.

City National has been growing fast, and "we've accelerated our growth plans as a result of the merger," Mr. Goldsmith said.

At the time RBC acquired it, the bank had about $36-billion (U.S.) in assets and had delivered uninterrupted quarterly profits for 23 straight years. Its assets have now swelled to $47-billion and it contributed $79-million in profit in RBC's fiscal third quarter - a 26per-cent increase from a year earlier even after accounting for ongoing integration costs.

Looking ahead to 2020, RBC projected that City National could more than double its 2015 pretax profit to $1-billion (Canadian), which would represent a compound annual growth rate of about 22 per cent.

To make the grade, RBC needed interest rates to rise to help its U.S. arm make better margins, and the Fed has so far delivered with three quarter-point rate hikes since December. Each separate hike was expected to be worth about $50-million in profit for RBC's U.S. wealth management franchise, including $35million from City National.

Growth is also expected to come from expansion into new markets. With RBC's support, City National has opened a third office in New York, and is eyeing a short list of other major cities such as Boston. It has set up shop in Washington, where there's a robust market for legal services, which is one of City National's existing strengths.

And it has opened its first fullservice regional banking centre in Minneapolis, in support of RBC's existing wealth management business, which has nearly 2,000 investment advisors. "We had some great assets, but we couldn't unlock the value there," Mr. McKay said. "So how do you unlock that value? ... We want to serve a high-net-worth commercial client."

City national has helped RBC reach that client, but McKay is clear that the expansion plan has limits. "We stay to that footprint.

That's it," he said. "There's so much opportunity, we're so small within those markets that the last thing you want to do is spread yourself too thin geographically and not cover a market properly."

Another substantial chunk of City National's growth is expected to come from the two banks joining forces to drum up new business. With access to RBC's balance sheet, City National can lend larger sums and finance more jumbo mortgages. And there is also a pipeline to refer business back and forth with RBC.

The earliest benefits were apparent in RBC's New York-based capital markets division, which the bank has continued to build into a top-10 American investment bank with 3.5-per-cent market share. Within two to three years, RBC hopes to grow to its share to 4.5 per cent and move up the rankings.

"Russell introduced us to a number of clients that were thinking of making acquisitions or raising equity," Mr. McKay said.

"That's led to business."

But City National's hallmark, its real competitive edge, remains the white glove service it offers.

Nancy Novokmet runs Need Financial, a Los Angeles-based firm that provides back-end accounting and operations to entertainment companies that shoot and produce TV commercials and films.

Her staff has access to a group of dedicated City National representatives who know her firm.

And when a foreign production client needed funds released quickly to begin building a set abroad earlier this year, City National got it done within 48 hours.

"They understand the community. In production, there's this sense of urgency that's required," Ms. Novokmet said in an interview. "City National just responds very quickly, and it's not always the case with some of their competitors."

By forging long-standing connections with customers and keeping to major markets where it can compete, City National has built "a defendable moat," Mr. McKay said. "They didn't try to be everybody to everyone. They win on service, they win on speed of turnaround, they win on customization."

But the City National need for speed could still test RBC's appetite for risk.

Wild cards Mr. McKay was tapping out an e-mail to Mr. Goldsmith as a reporter entered his office this summer. The two CEOs were debriefing after a television interview Mr. Goldsmith had just given on business network CNBC, in which he suggested it was "time to take a fresh look at DoddFrank."

He was referring, of course, to the massive legislative response to Wall Street's 2008 meltdown, which sought to substantially derisk the shuddering financial system. Like many bankers who feel handcuffed by its strictures, Mr. Goldsmith was arguing for leniency: "For seven years we've piled on a lot of rules and regulations, and it needs to be re-examined," he told the program's viewers.

Back in Toronto, Mr. McKay tuned in from his corner office above Bay Street. Navigating a maze of regulations - and the cost that comes with it - is the thing that worries him most, he said. As a standalone bank, City National used to enjoy the lighter regulatory burden of a mid-sized institution. But combined with RBC and its much larger balance sheet through a holding company, City National gets the large, complex bank treatment, which comes with greater scrutiny from Washington.

That has generated mountains of new work. The combined bank has roughly 300 people involved with just one regulation: The stress-testing exercises known as the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review, or CCAR.

"That regulatory change has been difficult for a small bank, and us even, to handle," Mr. McKay said.

At the same time, private banking and wealth management are being reshaped by new regulations and shifting demographics.

As the sector "has witnessed a regulatory avalanche over the last few years," banks looking to expand have to navigate a slew of reputational and regulatory risks, according to a 2016 report from Deloitte & Touche LLP.

RBC hasn't been immune to such pressures. The bank has largely pulled out of wealth management in the Caribbean and Latin America, due partly to concerns about anti-money laundering controls. Last year, RBC faced pointed questions about its relationship with the law firm behind the leaked Panama Papers, Mossack Fonseca, through which RBC allegedly registered hundreds of shell companies.

But the regulatory regime in the U.S. is considerably stricter, and City National does its private banking onshore. Mr. Goldsmith notes that City National has succeeded "because our experienced banking colleagues take the time, and dedicate the resources - including the use of state of the art technology - to ensure that we know our clients well."

The other thing that keeps Mr. McKay up at night is "geopolitical instability," and "what could be the contagion effect back to the U.S. economy." Since RBC closed its purchase of City National in late 2015, the world has gone through a series of convulsions, from Brexit and the U.S. election to NAFTA rate hikes and the beginning of a long march back from ultralow interest rates.

The Fed rate hikes are helping ease a prolonged squeeze on banks' profit margins. But the Trump administration's economic agenda, which once produced a surge of confidence among American businesses, is now clouded with uncertainty. Promises of deregulation and tax reform have moved slowly through a chaotic administration, while negotiations to redraw the North American free trade agreement are jarred by periodic threats from the President to withdraw from the pact altogether.

Mr. Goldsmith sees encouraging signs in the U.S. economy, from a surging stock market to strength in housing, industrials and trade.

And some of the potential reforms on the table - whether to overhaul Dodd-Frank, or to lower corporate taxes - could provide City National with a major tailwind.

"Even a 5- or 10-per-cent drop in our [corporate tax rate] would be enormously significant, but that's not built into anybody's projections," he said.

But he also knows there are good reasons to be wary. Uncertainty has a habit of making businesses to hold back on investments, which would be bad news for a commercially focused bank with ambitious plans for growth.

"Do I have concerns as to what the policies in Washington may or may not do? Yeah, and we follow it closely," Mr. Goldsmith said. "And I'm obviously particularly concerned to see what happens with any potential renegotiation of NAFTA."

RBC's challenge through it all is to fight the same tendency toward short-term thinking that may afflict some of the businesses it serves, and to continue investing in new business lines and digital capabilities.

And it means not shying away from further, smaller U.S. acquisitions if the price is right. RBC has been putting together a playbook to evaluate potential targets that could accelerate its growth in one of the priority markets. But with U.S. bank valuations at elevated levels, RBC is biding its time, and insists it doesn't need an acquisition in the near term.

"At the end of the day I would say we did this deal and we have a strategy for the next 20 years, which is five [U.S. presidential] administrations," Mr. McKay said.

"Honestly, we did not even remotely think about political cycles when we did the deal. Nor should you, right?"

Associated Graphic

For at least two decades - perhaps even longer - RBC's top executives have wrestled with the question of how and where to find international growth.


When RBC's courtship of City National began, the U.S. bank's CEO Russell Goldsmith said it was not for sale.


The deal to acquire City National signalled a complete reboot of RBC's U.S. strategy and is the signature gambit Dave McKay has undertaken in his time as CEO.


Bell's battle plan
As it races to keep up with rivals' faster Internet speeds in an increasingly tense turf war, BCE-owned Bell is building out its network of the future with fibre optics, and spending billions in the process
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B6

Some call it fishing, but it's more like threading a needle.

A Bell Canada technician in an apartment high above a Toronto street pulls a stiff metal wire out of a tube in the wall. The tech ties a string to the wire and pushes them both back in and through the ducts to a telecommunications closet on the same floor. A waiting technician grabs the end of the wire, unties the string and attaches it to a cable before sending the whole thing back through the tube to its destination in the home.

It's one of the final steps in rigging up an older apartment with state-of-the-art Internet service, and it will be repeated in every unit in the building - whether or not the residents are Bell subscribers. And the effort won't stop there.

As it races to keep up with faster Internet speeds offered by cable rivals such as Rogers Communications Inc., BCE Inc.-owned Bell is going to great lengths to build its network of the future. And Bell isn't alone. Canadian phone companies are more than three years into multibillion-dollar investments in the wires that connect them with their customers.

They have little choice but to improve those connections. The traditional home-phone business is dying a slow death and subscription TV is under huge pressure as more households opt to stream everything they want. Fast Internet has become the most important communications product by far and the company that wins the Internet race wins the home.

But while Canada's big telecoms rip up streets and buildings to offer speeds that meet or best their cable competitors, phone giants in the United States are waiting for wireless technology to bridge the gap between their networks and the last mile to subscribers' homes, raising fresh questions about the strategy playing out in Canada.

If you live in Toronto, you've likely seen Bell's plan in action.

Technicians - their white-andblue trucks often parked next to muddy holes surrounded by cracked pavement, orange pylons and caution tape - have been tearing up sidewalks and lawns for more than two years. The mess and inconvenience are all part of a $1.1-billion project to upgrade all homes and businesses in Toronto from old copper telephone wires - in place since the 1880s - to fibre-optic cables, which send information over tiny strands of glass at the speed of light. When complete, Bell will have laid more than 9,000 kilometres of fibre across the city.

"This is really a complete rebuild," BCE chief executive George Cope said in an interview.

"It's like building the telephone network right from ground zero all over again."

Bell's investment comes as Canada's cable and phone companies are fighting an escalating battle.

The rise of streaming services such as Netflix have taken a significant bite out of the traditional cable business and are placing increasing demands on networks just as the sheer number of connected devices - smartphones, laptops, tablets, smart appliances and health-tracking devices - is also on the rise. Add to the mix an increased use of applications such as video conferencing, file sharing, online gaming and 4K TVs, and it's clear the hunger for data will only intensify. By 2021, according to estimates from networking hardware company Cisco Systems Inc., global Internet traffic will be 127 times what it was in 2005.

The key to future profit growth is the Internet. To win that fight, Bell believes it needs a line into people's homes. And it needs to be fast.

Rogers, which has made less expensive and far less disruptive upgrades to its cable network, is already widely advertising gigabit speeds. In parts of the city where Bell has not installed fibre all the way to customers' doors, its speeds often top out at 100 megabits a second - at best, a tenth of the premium speed offered by its competitor.

The challenge for Bell is to reinvent itself to meet the need for bandwidth and speeds its customers don't even know they want yet.

"It's one gig today, and next year at some point you get into five gigs and then, as technology evolves and modems upgrade, ultimately, at some point folks tell me it will get as high as 40 gigs," Mr. Cope said.

Many people are already happy with download rates of 100 Mbps, which make it easy enough to stream music and movies instantly on multiple devices at the same time. So it can be hard to see how you would use speeds 50 - let alone 400 - times faster. Selling customers on the need for speed is one hurdle. Justifying the massive cost of rebuilding a network to shareholders is another.

Mr. Cope said the increase in speed will be used to support many more devices on the same connection. He admits that even five gigabits a second is "a lot of bandwidth for the average user at this point," but, "we're getting ahead of growth with a network built for the future. Provide the high-capacity bandwidth and innovators will use it to make the things that ensure people use that bandwidth even more. More and faster is always the way it needs to go with networks," he added.

To build this network, Montreal-based Bell, along with fellow telephone operator Telus Corp. - which sells residential services in the West and parts of Quebec - have both undertaken huge fibre to the home (FTTH) projects.

Since 2014, Bell has invested $8.1billion into its wireline business, while Telus has spent $5.2-billion - increases of 26 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively, over the previous three years. While that wasn't all spent on fibre upgrades, FTTH projects are the reason for the significant increases in spending.

It's a costly endeavour and it doesn't come without risk. The capital expenditures place demands on cash flow, making investors fret over usually rocksolid dividend payments. On top of that, the upgrades won't be complete for several years - and shareholders won't see a payoff for several more after that. And even after the telecoms have connected fibre cables to homes, they still have to persuade the people who live there to buy their services. But Bell and Telus insist they are making the right bet at the right time. Debt is cheap. And the race with cable companies to win the "bundle" of home services is already on.

"The telephone guys look at this as a generational thing," Bank of Montreal telecom analyst Tim Casey said. "The regulatory environment is stable, interest rates are at historically low levels, they monetized copper for 100 years, so now they're going to monetize fibre for 50 years. This is what they do."

Wired for war Earlier this month, Mr. Cope stood on stage in a secondary ballroom at the Conrad New York, a business hotel just steps from the Lower Manhattan headquarters of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which was hosting an annual investor conference. Upstairs, on the main stage, an executive from Major League Baseball was speaking.

A few hours later, Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. scion Lachlan Murdoch would make an appearance. But Mr. Cope - the only Canadian telecom CEO to speak at the three-day gathering of dozens of the world's most powerful media, communications and sports executives - still drew an audience of about 200 U.S. investors and analysts. He had the typical task of explaining Canada.

While Canadian phone companies are pouring billions into running wires into homes, U.S.based giants are going a different direction entirely: wireless. Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. have been aggressively testing 5G wireless technology that they hope to use within the next year or two to deliver home broadband service. The new "fixed wireless" technology uses very high-frequency radiowaves - shorter wavelengths that carry a lot of data, but don't travel far. To make it work, U.S. telecoms will need to install a dense blanket of small cellular sites in urban areas.

But they won't have to dig up yards and sidewalks.

It's not that the Canadian telecons aren't interested in 5G technology, Mr. Cope said in New York. They do plan to use it for mobile service, but just don't see it as the best solution for connecting to customers' homes.

"In the United States, as I understand it, some of the major carriers are planning to roll out 5G from a fixed perspective. And to have what is talked about as a one [gigabit a second] wireless fixed mobile service. I get it," he said. However, "in Canada, we are doing fibre to every one of those premises. And so, you will, in all likelihood, not see a fixed 5G service in the urban markets - certainly not from us."

"The economics [for Bell] don't seem extraordinary to me," a skeptical audience member said, asking the Bell CEO to walk him through the financial case for FTTH and launching Mr. Cope into a back-of-the-envelope-style explanation that most Canadian telecom analysts could recite by heart at this point.

Assuming it can win its targeted 50-per-cent market share in the places where it rolls out fibre, Mr. Cope said the cost of connecting each customer's home averages out to about $4,000. But the investment is in the home itself, he said, which will be connected to fibre services long after the current occupant moves on.

In addition to Internet service - which brings in $60 to $65 a month - Bell hopes to sell customers on its TV offerings, charging an additional $40 to $60 a month. Mr. Cope figures Bell can make about $120 for every user in this scenario.

Mr. Cope also thinks Bell has an edge thanks to its ownership of Bell Media, the biggest media company in the country, which brings down costs on content for the TV service - and helps Bell compete with Rogers and Quebecor Inc.'s Videotron, which also own media businesses of their own.

Operational costs are also lower with fibre, he says, because of fewer service calls.

"That's the model - that's why we think it works," Mr. Cope concluded as his session wrapped up.

But analysts say the reason for the rush to fibre goes beyond financial forecasting: There's simply no time to wait for 5G.

"Rogers is stealing customers from Bell in Toronto because they offer higher speeds," Desjardins Securities analyst Maher Yaghi said in an interview. "If the telephone companies don't make the fibre investment, they're going to lose a lot of customers. That is what is facing them."

Rogers, which is Bell's primary competitor in the crucial Ontario market, started offering gigabit speeds in Toronto in late 2015 and now sells it across its entire service footprint, aggressively promoting its range of Internet products to help offset a weak TV product. That strategy gave the company a noticeable boost, leading to a 4.7-per-cent increase in its total base of Internet subscribers last year.

Over the first half of this year, Rogers attracted 41,000 additional Internet customers, an increase of 46 per cent over the first half of 2016. Bell, which is not yet able to widely market its FTTH service in Toronto, added just 16,000 broadband subscribers - 40 per cent fewer than the same period last year.

And it's bigger than Rogers versus Bell. In many ways, it's an extension of a decades-long battle that has pitted cable against telephone in Canada's telecommunications landscape. Moody's analyst Bill Wolfe said there's an "investment race emerging between Canada's cable and phone companies."

The major cable players in Canada all have wireless businesses now - Rogers, Quebecor and Eastlink in the East and Shaw Communications Inc. in the West - and Mr. Wolfe wrote in a report this spring that this dynamic plays into the push for phone companies to invest in fibre.

"Canadian cable companies' wireless capabilities force Canadian [phone] companies to - ironically - spend money to enhance their fixed-line capabilities. Otherwise, the [phone] companies risk the cable companies eventually emerging as winners, with growing wireless franchises and with fixed-line superiority allowing share growth in that market as well," he said.

"As Internet streaming-based programming increasingly replaces television, the quality of the Internet connection will become paramount, requiring investment to assure best-in-class speed, volume, reliability and cost of service."

Pulling fibre directly into customers' homes isn't the only way to improve speeds. For years, telephone companies installed fibre throughout their "core" networks, building into neighbourhoods and getting closer to people's homes. Known as fibreto-the-node (FTTN), this technology still uses copper telephone wires for the end of the last mile, but it is faster than the original high-speed Internet service that telecoms offered (digital subscriber line or DSL). It also let telecoms offer Internet protocol television (IPTV), which chipped away at the dominance in the TV market that cable companies previously enjoyed.

But cable operators have also upgraded their infrastructure, pushing fibre-optic cables through their core networks and deeper into neighbourhoods and using software improvements to get faster speeds out of their cable lines, outpacing what telephone companies can offer without fibre all the way to the home.

Even with FTTH, Mr. Yaghi said he thinks Bell's goal of winning 50 per cent of the market "is an aggressive target," considering the competition from cable players, satellite options and smaller competitors who buy wholesale access to the incumbent cable and phone companies' networks at regulated rates.

"They have to try and get the [50-per-cent market share], but I think it's a tough objective to maintain over the long term," he said. Still, he estimated Bell and Telus will "get at least 40-per-cent market share in the markets that they're building up and that they'll be able to get $130 or more in revenue per customer per month."

In a report last year, Mr. Yaghi predicted that once the telecoms have covered about 60 per cent of their base with FTTH, they might scale back and consider wireless technologies such as 5G to connect remaining customers with higher-speed broadband.

That's not out of line with Telus CEO Darren Entwistle's approach to the 5G versus FTTH debate.

"Within Canada, it's not that we're ignoring what could potentially be a nice economic-access method to complement what we're doing in terms of building fibre to homes and businesses," Mr. Entwistle said on an earnings call in August.

"But for us right now, we continue to pursue direct fibre connectivity.

"We are taking an accelerated roll out to fibre, which we think is the right thing for us to do," he added, pointing to the low cost of borrowing and regulatory conditions that support and reward companies for investing in their infrastructure.

Mr. Yaghi agrees. The low-interest-rate environment gave them ample room to manoeuvre a couple of years ago, though he expects they will have less flexibility in the coming years.

"Imagine having to explain to investors you're loading up on leverage when interest rates are going up." On the front line Long before Bell technicians show up in apartment buildings or back alleys to string fibre, teams of engineers divided into groups of four plot out each part of the City of Toronto, devising plans to access and connect about 350 homes at a time. Jamie Nightingale, director of network provisioning, supervises one part of the effort at a Bell office on Wynford Drive, where the walls are lined with large neighbourhood maps marked up with slashes of neon highlighter and sticky notes.

"When we rolled out Toronto, they broke the city up into little pieces - a patchwork to put together," he said. "So each group of four is accountable for one area and they figure out how to get the fibre from our central office out to the customers."

Central offices, often nondescript brick buildings, are scattered throughout the city and house telephone-switching equipment, reams of old copper telephone wires and rows of blinking computer servers. They offer connections to the broader Internet, and it's from these offices that fibre-optic wires snake under roads, manholes and lawns, eventually connecting individual houses or entire apartment buildings.

"We've got to contact owners, work with cities for municipal consent to access right of ways and work with utility companies to get permission from them as well," Mr. Nightingale said, adding that lighting up each area with fibre "can take from three months on a really good one to up to 71/2 months on some outliers."

In some cases, the city may have just repaved a street or sidewalk and issued a moratorium on digging it up for a number of years, meaning the Bell engineers have to figure out a different way to access the building.

The company also has to carefully manage its relationship with the public. Barclays Capital analyst Phillip Huang noted in the spring that Bell was hard at work in many "prime neighbourhoods in the city such as Lawrence Park, Kingsway and the Beaches."

Homeowners are often amenable to the construction, he said, seeing it as a "free enhancement to their property values," but residents in such neighbourhoods also tend to expect "'white glove' service on manicured lawns."

Still, as it progresses, Bell has been increasing the pace of its roll out, and Mr. Cope said "the goal here is to hopefully cover 700,000 or 800,000 additional homes per year ... and ultimately get to 80 per cent of our footprint over time."

Bell says it will have connected most of the homes and businesses in Toronto by early 2018 and will begin mass marketing its gigabit-Internet service. It can't justify such a campaign before reaching about 60 per cent of premises.

The company has also been laying fibre in Montreal since March, a further $854-million investment, and says it is on track to complete 40 per cent of its total FTTH build by the end of this year, with 3.7 million homes connected.

Earlier this year, it launched a cheaper, app-based TV service known as Alt TV to appeal to TV cord cutters. It's a strategic move to keep at least some TV revenue and, crucially, get into the home with an Internet subscription.

But the company won't have an easy ride. Early next year is also right around the time that Rogers plans to launch a revamped television service (using IP-based technology licensed from Comcast), and the cable company is likely to launch a renewed campaign to sell TV while continuing its aggressive marketing of Internet.

Bell's push in Toronto and Montreal came after starting with Quebec City in 2012 (Bell Aliant, which BCE now owns, has also rolled out FTTH service widely in its Atlantic Canada service footprint).

"We chose Quebec City because it was big enough to kind of sink our teeth into, but small enough that it wasn't a massive build like Toronto or Montreal," said Stephen Howe, an executive vicepresident and chief technology officer with Bell. Quebec City was also appealing, he said, because about 95 per cent of the network is "aerial," meaning the wires are connected to telephone or hydro poles, making it easier and cheaper to upgrade than underground cables. Toronto is "probably, at best, 60-per-cent aerial."

Wiring up Canada's biggest city - complete with its signature traffic congestion and numerous utilities that must be consulted each time Bell puts a shovel in the ground - is a challenge, Mr. Howe said. "It certainly is not an easy project, but we're very pleased with our progress to date."

Telus, which started its FTTH program in 2013, took a different approach to its build, beginning with eight small communities in Alberta and British Columbia with populations of 2,000 to 20,000, explained Tony Geheran, executive vice-president and president of broadband networks. It has now completed 75 communities and has 25 more under way, including larger cities such as Vancouver, Edmonton and parts of Greater Victoria.

"What we did was fairly unusual. We started with a relatively small investment of $50-million to build eight communities. We were looking at them as pilot incubators to work out processes, try techniques and see what worked and didn't work," Mr. Geheran said, adding that what they learned along the way changed how Telus works with vendors and contractors and how it markets the new service to consumers.

He said the personal touch involved in explaining the construction to homeowners often helps when it comes time to convert them to customers. "Our team members are in the community not only doing the physical build but also knocking on every door and every business, explaining the process, getting permission to place fibre to the premise. And once the fibre is placed, we come back and then we talk about the service options."

Telus has already connected about 1.26 million homes with FTTH, about 42 per cent of its service footprint, and plans to near 50-per-cent coverage early next year. That puts it further along, relatively speaking, than Bell, which has a much bigger base to cover.

Both companies aim to get permission to install fibre from every homeowner in their service area, assuring them there is no commitment to purchase service down the road - but also hoping to pique people's interest in super-fast broadband.

Bell and Telus also try to cultivate positive relationships with municipalities, given the disruptive and messy work they have to perform. Bell committed to provide gigabit fibre service to United Way community hubs across Toronto. When Telus announced plans to build fibre service in Edmonton in 2015, the company donated $120,000 to the city's public library.

With the capital demands of its fibre build combined with spectrum purchases, Telus's ability to generate cash has come under pressure, but Mr. Entwistle said the company plans to return to growth in free cash flow by mid-2018 and stay there. However, he has also warned investors not to expect capital investments to slow to zero, as Telus still needs to keep spending on fibre. Mr. Geheran said the company will invest about $900-million on the fibre program this year, about the same as last year.

"It's very expensive. It's a massive undertaking. But we are very confident based on the results that we're seeing that it's the right long-term bet," Mr. Geheran said.

"It resonates really well with customers."

3.7 million The number of premises Bell expects to have connected by the end of the year. The company plans to connect about nine million in total by the end of its fibre build, covering about 80 per cent of locations in the company's operating territories.

1.26 million The number of homes and businesses Telus has connected to date. It plans to reach 50-per-cent coverage of its total footprint early next year and keep expanding from there.

Associated Graphic

Top: Bell engineer Chris Philipp is seen looking over maps of Toronto where fibre cable is being installed, in the Planning and Mapping room of Bell's offices on Tuesday. Above: Bell contractor J.P. Doucet inspects bunches of copper wire in a Toronto basement on Tuesday.


A Bell utility van is parked outside of a home in Toronto has been a common sight in the city in recent years as Bell has increased efforts to retrofit copper-wired lines with fibre.

Small business, big trouble
Ottawa's call for changes to the way private companies are taxed has sparked widespread outrage and raised questions about the perceived value of entrepreneurs to the Canadian economy. How did we get here, and where are we headed?
Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B6

The tax-avoidance quagmire that federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau wants to clean up via proposed small-business tax changes is one Ottawa helped create - more than four decades ago, when another Trudeau was prime minister.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was only a few days old when a broad package of tax reforms enacted by the government of his father, Pierre Trudeau, took effect on Jan. 1, 1972. While small businesses had received tax breaks before, the 1972 tax reforms instituted the smallbusiness deduction, which made the effective tax rate for small businesses substantially lower than that of larger companies.

This is the basis of the tax structure under which small businesses still operate today.

The intent was simply to let small businesses hold onto more of their profits so they could finance their growth. But the changes put in place the foundation for what has become a complex jumble of tax breaks and incentives for small business, creating fertile ground for tax experts to exploit - sometimes in ways that do not promote the small-business growth and job creation that governments had in mind. Toss in the string of federal and provincial corporate tax cuts over the years, which have opened a wide chasm between small-business and personal tax rates, and incorporation has become an increasingly attractive option - particularly for high earners seeking to shelter income from the tax man.

"The rhetoric around 'loopholes' and the rich taking advantage - this stuff has been there for a long time, and governments have contributed," said tax-policy expert Jack Mintz, the president's fellow of the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary.

Now, Ottawa is trying to put this tax-sheltering genie back in the bottle with its controversial proposals, which rest on three planks. The first would limit a business owner's ability to "sprinkle income" among family members who do not work for the company. The second affects a business owner's ability to convert income to capital gains, which are taxed at a lower rate.

And the third would restrict the corporation's ability to take cash out of the business to make socalled passive investments in outside assets, such as equities.

The government has faced an outpouring of heated criticism about the proposals. Doctors, restaurant owners, manufacturers farmers and countless other groups have gathered to discuss them, complain to their MPs and voice their views on social media.

The proposals are complex and will affect companies differently, but they could have serious implications for how businesses operate and for the carefully constructed financial plans of small-business owners and their families. While the changes will have a greater impact on wealthy business owners, they also limit the options of the not-so-wealthy.

For many, the federal tax changes are yet another burden for businesses facing rising costs and new provincial government policies such as a higher minimum wage.

And the debate surrounding the tax changes is about more than just money. At its core it's about the place of entrepreneurs in our society. Does their role in creating economic activity and jobs justify giving them preferential tax breaks, or are business owners no more deserving than any other taxpayer?

Business owners take issue with the suggestion that the current rules are unfair and feel the government has cast them as uncaring elites who are happy to dodge taxes and beggar other Canadians.

Ken Seto, the CEO of Torontobased game studio Massive Damage Inc., says entrepreneurs take risks that regular salaried workers do not - and that it's important to encourage them to keep doing so.

"I feel like it's kind of a slap in the face to keep legislating things so that we're put on an even slate with people who are employed full-time," said Mr. Seto, adding that over the past decade he has had to steer his company away from the brink of collapse more than once.

"If the company had actually imploded and went out of business, there's no safety net for me," he said. "I'd have to go out there and try to find a job.

There's no cushy EI - there's none of that stuff."

About a decade ago, Mr. Seto sold his Mini Cooper for $16,000 to help fund his mobile-app company, Endloop. He says entrepreneurs work long hours and risk everything, including their homes, to get their businesses off the ground.

"Shouldn't that be rewarded?

Shouldn't that be something that you want people to strive for?" Joe Camillo, who owns Niko Apparel Systems in Hamilton and co-owns rowing company RegattaSport, echoes the sentiment.

"I don't have a pension plan," Mr. Camillo said. "The future for me versus a salaried employee with a benefits package is very different. So why shouldn't I have some of those advantages, like not being that taxed on my passive investments or not having to worry about passing on an exorbitant tax burden to my kids if they want to carry on the business?" In fact, that move to restrict passive investments is a concern for many business owners. Under the proposed rules, companies that make investments inside the company will face a higher tax rate than if the business owners made those investments in their personal accounts.

Gavin Semple, owner of Brandt Group of Companies, a Regina-based maker of farm and mine machinery, says the move will limit companies' ability to amass capital for expansion. Mr. Semple says he has used the technique to save money for inevitable economic downturns and, recently, to help fund the purchase of a plant in Saskatoon.

Brandt Group is not a small business - it is Saskatchewan's largest privately held company, employing 1,800 people in Canada and the United States. But Mr. Semple says the proposed tax changes - he is unhappy with them all - will be felt at businesses large and small.

"This is an attack on private businesses across the country. It doesn't matter whether you're a dry cleaning outfit with four employees or you're a company like Brandt with 1,800 employees," he said. "The cumulative effect is brutal. What it does to our decision-making is we start to question our direction and our strategy. Do we want to invest here?" For some business owners, such as farmer Megz Reynolds, the issues literally strike close to home.

A 640-acre section of farmland just outside of Kyle, Sask., has been in her husband's family for over a century. But under the government's proposed tax changes, Ms. Reynolds is afraid she and her husband may not be able to afford to buy it from her in-laws when they retire.

"If we were to buy that land from my father-in-law, we would actually be taxed at a much higher bracket than if he was to sell it to a complete stranger," she said - effectively because, under the new rules, it would be taxed as a dividend rather than a capital gain.

Peter Weissman, a partner with the accounting firm Cadesky Tax in Toronto, says the tax rate if the business is transferred to one's kids would be about 45 per cent, against just 25 per cent if were sold to an outsider.

Losing the family land would be a big hit to the couple's crop-farming business, Ms. Reynolds said. The section of land in question, which the couple currently rents, constitutes just under half their farmable land.

But there are emotional implications in addition to financial ones, she says, noting that every generation of farmers in her husband's family has lived on that land.

"It's a legacy thing," she explained. "Our girls are fifthgeneration farmers. That land could potentially be in the family for another hundred years. It would be extremely emotional to lose land that's been in the family for 107 years.

"The Trudeau government's response is that we don't need to worry unless it's over a million dollars," Ms. Reynolds said. "But the reality is that a million dollars really doesn't get you much in the way of farmland any more."

Obviously, the government's efforts to sell the proposals to Canadians has not gone well and has spurred at least two Liberal MPs to denounce the process.

Mr. Trudeau has signalled he is willing to listen to criticism and make changes to some of the proposals, but he is not backing down from his position that the rich need to pay their fair share.

"A lot of those wealthy folks are really fighting to keep those benefits that they have - and they're making a lot of noise," he said in a CBC interview aired on Sept. 12. "We just want to make sure that people using private corporations don't have benefits that aren't available to average Canadians, and that's where we're making a little tweak."

Lars Osberg, an economics professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax whose specialties include income and wealth distribution, says Mr. Trudeau's political foes and the business community are issuing "crazy exaggerations" in order to "muddy up" the government.

Dr. Osberg says the changes would help bring equity to a tax system that favours the well off.

"I think there's been an enormous amount of fear and misinformation pumped into the debates," he said. "You've got very small fractions of the population who are going to be affected, but you've got a whole lot who are now worried."

In fact, misinformation - or a lack of information - is at the heart of the debate. Despite Ottawa's zeal to close loopholes in the small-business tax system that can be exploited to reduce personal-tax bills, no one really knows how big this problem is.

There is no detailed research revealing how many people are incorporating as small businesses primarily as a tax-avoidance strategy.

University of Ottawa researcher Michael Wolfson has been doing his best to shine a light on what he calls the "dark corner" of Canada's income tax system. In 2015 and 2016, he co-authored two influential reports on the topic of smallbusiness incorporation and its use by high-income Canadians.

(Indeed, it was Mr. Wolfson's work that inspired the government to look into tightening the rules surrounding small-business tax breaks.)

His research came to a couple of key conclusions. First, incorporation is heavily skewed toward the country's highest earners. And second, one of the most lucrative tax advantages of earning income in a corporate structure is income splitting, the ability to spread income among family members - typically through corporate dividend payments - to substantially reduce the family's overall personal income tax bill. In fact, he calculated that income splitting within the corporate small-business structure is costing the federal government about $500-million a year in lost revenue - an estimate he characterized as "conservative."

"Substantial tax benefits are likely flowing to a select group of mostly higher-income families, where the objectives of supporting worthy objectives such as entrepreneurship and job creation are unlikely to be realized," he concluded.

We also know that since the turn of the century, the use of small-business incorporation has soared. Department of Finance figures show that the number of Canadian-controlled private corporations, or CCPCs, (which qualify for the small-business tax rate on their first $500,000 of annual income) increased by 50 per cent from 2001 to 2014, to about 1.8 million. (The number of self-employed Canadians, including those whose businesses have employees, rose just 20 per cent over the same period.)

This growth has come during an era of generally declining small-business tax rates in Canada, both at the federal and provincial levels.

"By far the most important [factor] is that the incentive has gotten bigger as the small-business tax rate has declined over the past 10 or 20 years," Mr. Wolfson said in an interview this week.

The federal tax rate on smallbusiness income has fallen from 13.12 per cent a decade ago to 10.5 per cent today. When combined with differing provincial rates, the Finance Department calculates that the average combined federal-provincial tax rate for small business has fallen from about 20 per cent in 2000 to just 14.4 per cent today.

At the same time, the combined federal-provincial top marginal personal income tax rate has risen, from about 41 per cent to 51.2 per cent. That widening gap between the tax hit on personal income and smallbusiness income has made incorporating a compelling tax strategy, especially for high-income Canadians.

"We kept lowering the smallbusiness tax rate on active business income, because it was very popular with small businesses, and kept opening up the differential between the corporate rate and the personal rates as a result," Mr. Mintz said.

"That helps push more people to incorporate."

Among professionals such as doctors and lawyers, the number of incorporations has tripled since the turn of the 21st century, as regulatory changes first made it an available option for them.

Mr. Wolfson points to a change in Ontario's regulations for doctors in 2005 as a case in point. As part of the province's fee negotiations with the Ontario Medical Association, the government agreed to allow family members to own shares in physicians' corporations. It was, in effect, a way for the government to deliver more income to doctors without raising their fees, by enabling income splitting. The result: CCPCs among Ontario physicians soared tenfold from 2005 to 2011. (At the same time, Mr. Wolfson found, CCPCs among restaurant owners were essentially flat.)

Taken together, the evidence points to an increased use of small-business incorporation as a tax shelter. But there is a concern that the government has not only overreached with its proposals but has jumped the gun - penning policy before it has invested in this additional level of research. This is, after all, a government that came into office pledging evidencebased policy-making.

"I think it's really a shame that they don't seem to have the numbers readily at hand," Mr. Wolfson said. "If public policy is to be done on an evidencebased manner, then a substantial investment needs to be made ... on making sure you have the information in order to understand and monitor what's going on with these programs."

Dr. Osberg of Dalhousie says the increased use of tax shelters by professionals isn't an economic trend but rather a relabelling of income for tax purposes. "Once a trend like that gets going, you're sucking an awful lot of tax revenue out of the system. ... Once you start, it just keeps on going. Everybody says: Well, if he gets it, why don't I? The rest of us, who are actually paid on salary, we end up paying for it because the tax revenue has to be made up somewhere."

But when Mr. Trudeau says the proposals will close loopholes enjoyed by the "wealthy," many business owners take it personally. They see themselves as the very middle class the government is always talking about helping. They work hard, employ others, pay taxes.

"The message has been very insulting to us. That's why we're so mad. It really is upsetting," said Chris Struthers, owner of Struthers Technical Solutions Ltd., an electrical engineering company in Penticton, B.C., that works in Canada and around the world.

"I think business owners in general, we're happy to pay taxes. We're happy to pay our share under the existing rules," Mr. Struthers said. "I do a lot of work in countries where people don't pay taxes ... and they're not good places to work. So we recognize that taxes need to be paid and we contribute a lot. So to be labelled as guys ripping off the rest of the taxpayers with these loopholes ... it's upsetting."

Mr. Struthers started his electrical engineering company almost seven years ago. He says that if he could do it all over again, he likely wouldn't - not if the proposed tax changes were in place.

"I sat on the fence for a very long time," he said. "I had a draft business plan that I sat on for about a year, and finally my wife prodded me to go meet with an accountant to have the business plan reviewed. He said: You've got some great ideas and here's some tax incentives you might be able to utilize to reduce your risk. And those made a huge difference in taking the leap. ... The biggest one was the income splitting."

Being able to share income with his wife allowed him to reduce the tax bill and spend the money on equipment and new employees.

"We took minimal income in those years so we could invest in the business and grow. In those years, my wife and I were the lowest-paid people in the business for the first three years," he said. "It was not until the fourth year that I started pulling ahead and enjoying some of the fruits of our labours. Retroactively speaking, if those rules were in place then, I'm sure they would have stunted our growth."

Associated Graphic

Hamilton business owner Joe Camillo points out that entrepreneurs take risks. 'The future for me versus a salaried employee with a benefits package is very different.'


Farmer Megz Reynolds fears the proposed tax rules will hit succession plans. 'It would be extremely emotional to lose land that's been in the family for 107 years.'


Looking for future change-makers
VIPs, from Justin Trudeau to performer Jessie Reyez, join forces to promote social action among youth in New York as thousands of people come together to celebrate WE Day UN
Thursday, September 21, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A10

As world leaders discussed the flight of refugees, drug trafficking and human-rights violations at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, thousands of young people gathered at the Theater at Madison Square Garden with an optimistic view of the future.

An estimated 6,000 young people from the tristate area of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey attended WE Day UN, billed as a "change-maker bonanza."

The event, founded by Canadian brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger to encourage young people to participate in social action, featured a varied lineup of high-profile speakers including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his mother, Margaret Trudeau, former Irish president Mary Robinson, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Phumzile

Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of UN Women.

The speakers' list also included performers, such as Toronto singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez, comedian Whoopi Goldberg and actress Skai Jackson, as well as Chelsea Clinton, vice-chair of the Clinton Foundation and daughter of Hillary and Bill Clinton, and Princess Beatrice of York.

On the agenda was the topic of what young people can do to support the UN sustainable development goals, which include ending poverty, helping vulnerable regions adapt to climate change and promoting gender equality. As the UN Development Programme explains, ending discrimination against women and girls is crucial It accelerating sustainable development. Empowering women and girls, it states, helps drive economic growth and development.

"We need to allow spaces that say, you are your truth, you are good enough, you are all that you dream to be and more," said Nompumelelo Nobiva, known as Mpumi, a global empowerment and motivational speaker who was invited to speak to the audience. "WE has a lot of keys that could help us better understand and navigate our society, the first of which is just allowing our girls and our youth to channel their truth and be who they are, and make their own choices about [their] own cause."

WE Day events are held throughout year across the United States, Canada, Britain and the Caribbean. Audience members are selected to attend the events based on their participation through the WE Charity's WE Schools program.

The Globe spoke with speakers of WE Day UN about how to empower women and girls:

Mary Robinson

Robinson was Ireland's first female president from 1990 to 1997, and served as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997 to 2002. She is president of the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice and chair of its board of trustees

How does climate change affect women and men differently?

There is a huge gender dimension to climate change. It's understandable because what climate change is doing is undermining poor livelihoods, with long periods of drought and flash flooding and the fact that the weather is unpredictable, and people don't know when to sow and when to harvest.

When you undermine livelihoods, you still have to put food on the table, you still have to go farther for water and farther for firewood. I find that it's women who are trying to cope more and more, and they're grouping together and becoming agents of building resilience in their communities, but they're getting very little support.

Can you give an example of how women's participation in climate action can bring about better outcomes?

My foundation has brought a grassroots woman from Kenya, a pasturalist, and she has formed an organization of women pasturalists because they are so affected by the long period of drought now in Kenya. Pasturalists, who drive their animals over a large area of land to let them graze, have to go farther and farther because of the drought and the fact that it's affecting the vegetation. Her organization is supporting women in this context because a lot of the pasturalists are men. They go far distances and they have to leave their wives and women and children behind, so women have to become more and more resilient. They have to learn to grow alternative crops, try to grow vegetables, try to go hunting. And that needs training and support, and that is what she's leading other women to do.

What message do you hope young women in the audience take away from WE Day UN?

To be honest, I hope that in talking about gender, the boys will be just as interested as the girls because we can't get away from the idea that gender is a woman's problem and a woman's challenge. It is not. It is all about relationships, so I would be appealing as much to the idealistic boys who have done enough to qualify to come to a WE event as the girls. But I do see an additional need to encourage young girls to be more confident.

There is a difference, very often, between a young boy and a young girl. The young girl will feel, "Maybe I'm not good enough," whereas a young boy will say, "Of course I'm good enough to do that," whatever it is. There's, I think, an inner sense of doubt that girls can have more sometimes, and I would like to reach out to that and encourage young girls to be at least as confident as young boys and to work very much now for the world that they will live in.

For yourself personally, how have you dealt with such inner sense of doubt?

I was lucky, actually. My parents were both doctors.

I was the only person to become involved in politics in my family, to their astonishment. I was the only girl wedged between four brothers. My parents constantly reminded me and made it clear that I was equally important to my brothers, that I had the same opportunities, that they would support me with the same education, the same start in life, and I must believe in myself in the way that they did. That was not what I saw around me in the Ireland of that time. The Constitution said the place of the woman is in the home, and my choices after leaving boarding school were either to possibly marry young or become a nun. Being a nun was somehow more exciting. I actually gave it serious thought. And then my parents sent me to Paris for a year and that changed everything. I came back and I studied law.

What is your strategy for dealing with gender inequality when you encounter it in your own life?

I think it's important to always think about it.

When there's an all-male panel, I will challenge it.

Even a panel with only one woman and it's got five men, that's not tolerable any more. We have to have gender parity, gender equality. I think it's always challenging the imbalance when you see it. Especially now that I am a grandmother, and a certain age and a former president, you know, I make my voice heard on these things.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

In 2005, Johnson Sirleaf was elected president of Liberia, becoming the first democratically elected female head of state in Africa. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011. Sirleaf is wrapping up her second and final term of presidency, as Liberia prepares for its election next month. According to UN Women, women remain underrepresented in the country's decision-making and governance processes, making up about 12 per cent of members of parliament. Liberia's maternal mortality rate ranks among the highest in the world Of your 12 years of presidency, what do you think you will be remembered for?

Undoubtedly, I think it's going to be peace - the peace that we brought to the country and maintained for now close to 15 years. Without that, we wouldn't have been able to do many of the other things that we've done, in terms of economic recovery, getting the development processes and institutions functioning again. So peace. Definitely peace.

What has been your role in encouraging women to participate in politics?

I think, first of all, setting the example. Becoming a role model for women and then, of course, promoting them. I have women serving in high positions of government at all levels. And also meeting with women. And I think perhaps one of the greatest areas has to do with the informal sector, our market women and our rural women, whom we've been able to gain better working conditions through new markets, leadership training to enable them to have the basics in managing their markets and, of course, skills training for many of the young women who have not had the opportunity for education during our years of conflict. So all of those have really empowered them.

And today, when I go around the country, they say, "Thank you for giving us a voice. Thank you for enabling us to participate." Those are the things that didn't happen in our country before.

What are the barriers that need to be lifted to achieve gender parity in politics?

Financing. Women just have not been in politics before, so being able to raise resources, given that they do not control the financing in the home and the society, so enabling them to do that. And then training. The lack of experience in politicking because politics have been male-dominated over the many years.

But let me say that we've been seeing great improvement. The fact that we now have, in our country, 152 women vying to compete in our legislative elections says tons. It tells you that there's been a game change in the country when it comes to the participation of women, particularly in politics.

Even if they don't win, they're competing. They're letting themselves be known, they're taking a stand and that's a great thing because that prepares them for a win and a greater role in the future.

How do you think your government has fared in terms of improving the day-to-day lives of women?

I will come back to what I said before. Improving the lives of rural women, the farmers, the marketeers, the people who really are the sustenance providers of our nation. They are the ones today.

Today, we have women that are superintendents, who are like governors in your state, mayors, chiefs - something that is really, historically, traditionally male-dominated.

And you know the beautiful part? The men have accepted it. There's always a fear that now that you're president, they accept it. When you're no longer president, they'll reverse it. But I don't think that can happen. I think it's irreversible. Those women are strong, they have a voice, they're participating, they take positions and the country is just better off because now we have, if you may say it, both hands on deck.

What is your message to the young women at WE Day?

Follow your dreams, stick with it, be determined what you want to be. Don't be deterred by the obstacles and constraints, keep on moving, focus, go after it, and even if you stumble, rise again. And for sure, that persistence, that determination will get you there.

Dr. Jacqueline Landrum Sanderlin

Executive director of school and community relations at Inglewood Unified School District in Inglewood, Calif., Sanderlin has spent years working with children in underserved communities in the Los Angeles area. She was previously a teacher, assistant principal, principal and community engagement leader for the Compton Unified School District

You often speak about adopting a "why not" mindset. Can you explain what that means?

The "why not" mindset is a mindset of possibilities for almost anything, for community partnerships, for the ability to do more than what we are expected to do. As a principal, I was tired of just getting things that we needed. I wanted to have things that our scholars - I refer to our students as scholars - wanted, and also that they deserved. In other words, why should not we deserve the best? That type of thinking changed our attitude of what we deserved. My perspective is for us not to just think big, but to think even bigger.

What's the best advice you've received for making your voice heard?

The best advice I've received is to go out and knock on doors, not write letters - people don't read, really read, any more, or as much as they should. To go out and tell your own story, to make cold calls and let people know you're in the community and are there to make an impact. And to listen and learn from the community.

The best way to effectively get your word out is to tell your own story, and to make relationships and build those relationships with CEOs, executives all the way down to just people walking around the community. You'd be surprised how many love the personal touch. And the personal touch, beyond sending things by social media and putting things on Facebook, is a much more effective tool.

You've mentioned previously that young people may not lack talent or ambition but what's often lacking is the access and opportunity to pursue their goals. How can they get that access and opportunity?

First is changing the mindset that there's a schoolto-prison pipeline. What I subscribe to is finding and identifying opportunities and access for students to do job shadowing, to go on field trips. I believe in building bridges for students and schools to the community and, to me, that's giving them access.

What we've worked on here in Inglewood is we've found companies that allow students to hear from what I like to refer to as real models, not just role models. So real models are people who are actually CEOs, business leaders and managers, not just the top, but people in different roles in business. What that does is it makes what we're doing in school much more relevant and meaningful. For example, we're working with the Los Angeles Rams to work on a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) project, where they teach the science of football to our youth and the students are also going to learn about all the different jobs. It's not just about the players on the field and the cheerleaders, it's also about the ticket-takers and the business behind the sport.

What needs to be done to encourage more young women to pursue education in STEM?

We need to see exemplars of women who are already doing that and we need to highlight them.

What would be good, beyond what we've been doing for years, is bringing these companies, like SpaceX and Northrop Grumman that work in the STEM field, and actually have them here on site.

Make them a partnership, make them an afterschool program, make them a day program and integrate that with our regular classrooms, so that our teachers of math and science have that partnership with them in their regular core curriculum.

Doing that and hearing from women who work in that field will begin that process of bridge-building and opening access for our female students. We want them to know that they are needed in that field and there are women already working in that field. But we don't always hear about their story.

What message would you like the young women in the audience to take home from WE Day UN?

I want the message to be that they count. I want the message to be, "Why not you?" That means, first of all, you have to know who you are. I want our young women to know who they are, to know what capabilities and skills they have, and I want them to know that they can apply them, and that they're wanted and needed. But they need to first know who they are. And if they don't market who they are, if they don't market their skills and abilities, it's not necessary that someone will find them or chose them.

Waiting around for someone to recognize us as women? I think that day is over. We have to say, "Why not me?" and put ourselves in those positions, put ourselves in those roles. Why not make an impact in your community? Why not you make the difference? For years, we've looked for someone to find us and to recognize us and to validate us.

Why not validate ourselves?

As told to Wency Leung

Interviews have been condensed and edited.

Associated Graphic


On the brink of resettlement
After holding out for decades, members of a Newfoundland outport community may finally surrender to relocation
Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F3

LITTLE BAY ISLANDS, NFLD. -- Finding Cressie Roberts on Little Bay Islands doesn't take long. She lives in "the house with the yellow flowers," a retired fisherman offers from his deckchair facing the harbour in the middle of Notre Dame Bay.

Ms. Roberts, who has resided here for all of her 86 years, used to be part of a bustling community of 600 residents, with 11 stores, three dockyards, three churches, a doctor and a school.

Today, only 38 people - or 20 homes with smoke in the winter, as the locals say - inhabit this once-thriving island outport that lived and breathed by the cod.

The school is empty, one church remains and there are no doctors or stores, just a lone seasonal bed and breakfast.

A quarter-century ago, a moratorium on cod fishing was the beginning of the end for hundreds of remote bays, inlets and islands in Newfoundland and Labrador. Ever since, many of the small communities have been dying off. Now, there are few, if any, jobs and the remaining residents are in their twilight years.

Faced with rising debt (in its last budget, the Newfoundland government posted a $778- million deficit), the provincial government needs to cut the cost of serving these diminishing communities. To do that, it's paying people to abandon dwindling outports and move to larger, easier-to-service communities. That's a reality the residents of Little Bay Islands are now grappling with as they face an upcoming resettlement vote. (Should it go forward, its relocation would save the province $3.8-million over 20 years.) When resettlement happens, the government withdraws all its services, such as garbage collection, health care, schools and electricity. People can continue to live in the community, but they have to apply to retain their property rights and provide their own water, electricity and transit.

For Premier Dwight Ball, money saved is only part of the picture.

"It really comes down to making sure the residents that live there have access to services," he says.

"Most people, of course, would like to have them right at their doorstep, but in most cases that's impossible to do," he explains, citing high costs and difficulty finding workers to live in remote communities.

In a sense, relocation is ingrained in the consciousness of outport life in Newfoundland and Labrador. The government resettled some 28,000 people from 279 communities between the 1950s and 1970s. Since 2000, five communities have relocated.

Now, the province is offering residents up to $270,000 to leave the island, located off the rugged northeast coast of Newfoundland. The amount dangles like a carrot over modest, hard-working Newfoundland and Labrador, where accepting such a sum is akin to winning the lottery. William's Harbour, in Labrador, just cashed in, saving the province $7.9-million over 20 years. Several other communities are in the process of resettlement, and more are likely to follow.

This is the second time Little Bay Islands has tried to relocate.

A squeaker vote held the town back a few years ago, leaving fractures between friends and neighbours who had shared pickles and pantry staples for generations. With relocation on the horizon again, the province is evaluating who is entitled to the payout (individuals will receive $250,000; households of two will receive $260,000; families of three or more will receive $270,000), a process that residents fear could lead to lengthy appeals and delay resettlement once again. (Not every person on the island is entitled to the funds: Criteria include, among other things, living on the island year-round, with exceptions made for those who, for example, are forced to leave to seek health care.) After that, a vote will determine the island's fate. Last time, 89 per cent voted to leave, narrowly missing the 90-per-cent threshold. The outcome this time is likely to be different. In a recent poll held to gauge interest in relocation, 100 per cent of the community said yes.

Cressie Roberts says when the time comes, she will vote to relocate. Up the hill from the main road that curves with the harbour, yellow perennials spill across the ditch outside her cobalt blue cottage.

Many on Little Bay Islands, like Ms. Roberts, are elderly and feel resigned to relocation. The closest doctor, grocery store and bank are two hours away by ferry and car from the island. And there's no one left to pay to mow the lawn, shovel the snow or fix the deck.

When I arrive at the house, a slight woman with a froth of white hair answers the door with a grandmother's welcome. She gestures at her dilapidated deck and apologizes for its state. She says it collapsed over the harsh winter, which saw the harbour stay frozen until May. (The ferry runs year-round off the other side of the island.)

She braces herself in the door frame, explaining that her Parkinson's disease often leaves her dizzy, and this is one of her bad days. It's why, for the first time in her life, she had to live off the island during the past three winters in order to be near a doctor.

It's also why she agreed to go forward with resettlement.

"I'm not happy about leaving.

I'd love to live here forever, but I know I can't," says Ms. Roberts, while knitting a baby sweater for a friend.

Her smile fades as she describes these last few winters away from the only place she's ever lived: "It almost killed me," she says quietly. She says she was so homesick, she could barely eat: "I used to wear a size 18. Now I'm down to a 10."

The annual rent for a home next to the hospital two hours south in Springdale, population about 2,000, eats up her small old-age pension. "I'm only here in the summertime and I still got one door to get out," says Ms. Roberts, beckoning to another entrance off the kitchen. Plus, she adds, no one knows when resettlement is going to take place.

Growing up on Little Bay Islands in the golden years of cod was the stuff out of Lucy Maud Montgomery novels: children's picnics, pastoral landscapes and hard-working families living off nature's bounty, albeit with more moonshine than raspberry cordial.

She remembers her husband, Tom, a fisherman, bringing home what she claims was the biggest catch in history on the island.

"She was just like this from the water," she says, holding up two fingers to show how the boat was weighed down to just an inch between the gunwales and the waterline.

Today, the remaining cod fishery in Little Bay Islands is purely recreational. It's just enough to keep supper on the table and Ms.

Roberts' freezer stocked. The old fish plant, once the access point to survival, is but a grey husk that looms over the harbour like a decrepit monument to a life that was.

For "dinner" - which in Newfoundland is actually the noontime meal - she pulls fish and brewis out of the freezer. It's her childhood comfort food, known as the mac 'n' cheese of outport Newfoundland. To make it, you cook salt cod and soaked hardtack separately, then mash the two together and add fried pork scrunchions and onion.

What keeps her here, says Ms. Roberts, between forkfuls of food, is her garden. She putters around her patio stones to the swish of the birch and maple leaves, plucking weeds from the bushes and flowers that have always spelled home. Never mind that she was cutting the grass with scissors a few days earlier.

The purple and white foxgloves are blossoming right now, and in two days, when she turns 87, her peonies will bloom as they do every year on her birthday.

Ms. Roberts's Little Bay Islands isn't the only eastern community with shrinking demographics.

This is a trend in all of the Atlantic provinces, and population forecasts for Newfoundland and Labrador indicate that the declining numbers show no signs of slowing down. A new report by the Harris Centre policy institute at Memorial University of Newfoundland looked at population projections for the province over the next 20 years and found that low birth rates, high death rates and outmigration will lead to an 8 per cent decline in the population by 2036. Remote communities will bear the biggest brunt.

"The population is widely distributed and scattered, but in smaller pockets, so it becomes increasingly expensive in every sense of the word to provide services [such as health care]," said Population Project director Keith Storey.

"In general, I think we will see more requests to government to resettle communities over the next 20 years for sure."

Despite its faded glory, the essence of community still exists on Little Bay Islands. Neighbours drop off steaming loaves of porridge bread and share bags of freshly gutted cod. In summer, a smattering of grandchildren and great grandchildren liven up the scene. A few tourists still come by to hike and view the icebergs.

And summer residents - affectionately called "stouts" (another word for deer flies) - return to sail their boats and pick partridge and cloud berries. There are craft circles, potlucks and flotillas in memory of lost friends here on this edge of the Earth.

Some say they'll return regardless of relocation, like Doris Tucker, who was born on the island in 1939, and later lived and worked in Montreal as a nurse. She now lives part of the year in St. John's.

"Emotionally, I never left," she says over tea and cookies at the kitchen table of her purple-andwhite-striped clapboard home.

"I'm just very comfortable here. I love getting up in the morning and seeing the sunrise."

Ms. Tucker owns Heritage House, a turn-of-the-century home, which she's packed to the gills with Little Bay Islands memorabilia: a stuffed seal, portraits of former premier Joey Smallwood and Jesus Christ on opposing walls, a blue-and-white quilt with embroidered names of the island's founding families, an enamel wood-stove oven - pretty much anything anyone has ever tried to do away with on the island is preserved here.

Ms. Tucker, whose nickname is Mayor Tucker, is one of the few against resettlement: "Why would you want to destroy outport Newfoundland? Newfoundland is outports - that's how we came to be," she said. "It's crazy to think everybody can live in Corner Brook, St. John's, Grand Falls."

Across the harbour, as the sun dips behind the hill facing his house, Wincel Oxford gingerly descends the outdoor steps of his home with scraps from his fish dinner. Al and Peanut are waiting on the stage; their beaks agape.

He throws the food at the two gulls and stares out at the harbour.

His "pets" help make the long, harsh winters bearable, he says, when his niece, who he considers a surrogate daughter, is a world away in Toronto and the only sounds are their cries for food and the ice creaking with the moving tide.

Mr. Oxford started fishing at age 16 with his father and has lived here all of his 84 years. He saw the first chainsaw, snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle and pickup truck come onto the island.

He still chops all his own wood and goes out in his boat to jig for cod. Every nook and cranny of the coastline is familiar to him and he finds his sweet spots for cod by how the bow of his aluminum fishing boat lines up with the land.

He too is fatalistic about relocating, though he had tears in his eyes as he checked the box for resettlement at the original vote.

That X marked the crossroads all of outport Newfoundland and Labrador's aging population will face in the coming years: Live on in a dying community until the natural end, or take the money and let the community die.

"It's hard to walk away from your home and not get anything.

You spend your lifetime trying to get something and then have to walk away from it. You can't sell it. To me, it'll be sad to leave here, but I will go along with it," Mr. Oxford said.

For those whose entire lives can be mapped on this speck of land in Notre Dame Bay, that'll be it.

The shared memories, traded recipes, known fishing spots and not-so-secret skeletons in the closet - everything that brings a community to life - will disperse when the lights go out. Mr.

Oxford will set out his last bowl of soup for the gulls. Ms. Tucker will open the door to her eclectic collection a final time. And Cressie Roberts will see the last peony bloom on her birthday.


Location: East coast of Newfoundland Access: By car Population: 10 people in five dwellings Past industry: Commercial shore whaling station from 1898 to 1972 and then cod fishing.

Relocation status: Next in line to relocate.

Everyone in the community voted to leave and they're waiting for financial offers from the province.


Location: Southern Newfoundland Access: Ferry Population: 87 people in 53 dwellings Past industry: Fishing, primarily cod Relocation status: The community has contacted the province to relocate. The province is deciding whether to move forward based on a cost-benefit analysis.


Location: Great Northern Peninsula in Newfoundland Access: Car Population: 25 people in 10 to 15 dwellings Past industry: Cod fishing Relocation status: The community has contacted the province to relocate.

Associated Graphic

Wincel Oxford, 84, has lived on Little Bay Islands his whole life. He plans to vote for relocation.


Doris Tucker spends part of each year in St. John's. She plans on returning to the island, as she does every year, regardless of the outcome of the vote.

The old fish plant, once the access point to survival, is now abandoned. A quarter century ago, the moratorium on cod fishing was the beginning of the end for many outport communities.

Today, cod fishery in Little Bay Islands is purely recreational. Ever since the fishing industry collapsed, there are few, if any, jobs for the remaining residents.

As the provincial government grapples with rising debt, it is offering residents of some communities up to $270,000 per household to relocate.

Some residents split their time between Little Bay Islands and other places in Canada, ferrying their belongings back and forth between their two homes.

There are only 38 residents living in 20 homes on the island today. In its heyday, it was a bustling community of 600.

The essence of community still exists on the island. Neighbours drop off steaming loaves of porridge bread, share bags of freshly gutted cod and get together at potlucks.

When resettlement happens, the government withdraws all its services such as garbage collection, health care, education and electricity.


Cap and trade, NHL style
The league's salary regulations have created a strange and unintended secondary market in wounded players and costly contracts
Saturday, September 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S3

The annual pilgrimage of NHL players to training camps begins in mid-September - and it will include former Toronto Maple Leaf Dave Bolland, making his way to Arizona to take his preseason physical.

The only difference is that Bolland's stay with the Coyotes will last only a day or two - just enough time for him to fail that physical, and be declared physically unable to compete during the 2017-18 season.

Debilitating ankle and back injuries have turned Bolland, who was a key playoff contributor to the Chicago Blackhawks' 2013 Stanley Cup championship team, into an NHL salary-cap casualty.

He is one of the league's Lost Boys, players who've disappeared into a weird form of NHL limbo.

All still get paid and all are still technically on active rosters, but they are unable to compete because of their varied incapacitating medical issues.

The names are familiar to hockey fans when they drift into a "Whatever Happened To ... ?" mode.

There is Sheldon Souray and Ryane Clowe. Nathan Horton and David Clarkson. Johan Franzen and Stéphane Robidas. Chris Pronger spent six years on an active roster, even though he was told back in 2011 that he'd likely never play again. Then there is Bolland, who turned 31 earlier this year, far too soon to reach this career crossroad.

"That's the age where, for a lot of guys, they're just coming into their primes," Bolland said. "To have my career cut short like that was disappointing. I was looking forward to hopefully playing until I was 40 and maybe getting another Stanley Cup under my belt.

"But that's the way life goes sometimes."

And the physical examination is real - players must show up to have their injured areas tested to see if there is an improvement and to see if they're physically fit to play.

Bolland's story has become increasingly common, as the NHL enters the 11th season of the salary-cap era. Under rules of the collective agreement, teams must fully meet their contractual obligations to players, even if they're hurt.

Over time, a swap market developed for these contracts. Teams that needed to create extra cap space started to find willing trading partners in teams with salarycap room to spare.

Think of it as the NHL equivalent to a carbon-tax-credit program.

In effect, all these players are receiving the hockey equivalent of a golden parachute - getting paid not to play. But it is an uneasy sort of existence, according to Souray, the ex-Canadien, ex-Oiler and ex-Devil who was still being paid by the Anaheim Ducks until 2015, when his contract finally expired.

One year into a three-year, $11million (U.S.) free-agent deal with Anaheim, Souray suffered an injury to his wrist training for the 2013-14 season, and never played again. The biggest splash Souray made this NHL off-season was selling his Las Vegas home to Marc-André Fleury, goaltender for the expansion Golden Knights.

He is moving back to Los Angeles to figure out the next chapter in his life.

"We're all big boys here," Souray said. "With the money you're making, no one feels sorry for you. But with the [rapid] turnover of guys, it's really easy to get lost in the shuffle. Once your career is over, as soon as you're done, you're a forgotten-about dude.

"You get hurt and they tell you in the blink of an eye that your career is over. It happens that fast. It's crazy. I had my [wrist] surgery. I went home - and I was done. The only person who checks in on you is your agent."

So many players fell into the injured/unable-to-perform category last spring that the league sent out a clarification notice in advance of the Vegas expansion draft - designating 12 players as ineligible for selection as a result of injury. Three were still technically on the Coyotes' roster back in June - Bolland, Craig Cunningham and Pronger, though Pronger's contract subsequently expired and he is now working in the Florida Panthers' front office.

The others were Horton and Robidas (Toronto), Clarkson (Columbus), Mikhail Grabovski (New York Islanders), Cody McCormick (Buffalo), Franzen and Joe Vitale (Detroit), Clowe (New Jersey) and Pascal Dupuis (Pittsburgh).

Horton signed a free-agent contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2013 after helping the Boston Bruins win the 2011 Stanley Cup and has played only 36 games since. Horton may be the most expensive Lost Boy in history - and if he isn't, it's only because Clarkson fits the bill.

Horton and Clarkson were traded for each other, back in February, 2015. Horton joined the Leafs and Clarkson joined the Blue Jackets in a widely discussed trade that had zero impact on the ice, only on the balance sheet.

Horton, from Welland, Ont., has missed three full seasons now. He turned 32 last May, but he is still listed in the NHL Official Guide & Record Book under the tag line 'Did Not Play - Injured.' Clarkson, from Toronto, did get into three games for Columbus in 2015 and 23 more in 2016. This past year, he didn't play at all. In June, Columbus gave the Vegas Golden Knights a first- and second-round draft choice to keep their hands off a handful of players - and just as important, to take Clarkson's contract off their books. Vegas also received a first-round pick from the New York Islanders to take on the last of their financial obligations to Grabovski.

The Golden Knights currently have four players earning $5-million or more on their roster. Two - Clarkson and Grabovski - won't play a minute of hockey for them this season.

Grabovski and Clarkson ended up on the Vegas payroll, because the returns Golden Knights general manager George McPhee received in the trade offers from his peers proved irresistible.

"Cap space is a valuable commodity," McPhee said, "and it can become a dilemma for teams with cap issues because certain contracts can get in the way of putting your best team on the ice.

So teams with cap space are willing to absorb those contracts for a price.

"I can't speak to why other teams do it, but for us, it was logical from a business standpoint.

We looked at it as a resource to try and make our team better, as part of our overall operating strategy."

Arizona took on Bolland's contract from Florida because the Panthers sweetened the deal by including Lawson Crouse, a highly regarded prospect, chosen 11th over all in 2015. The Coyotes saw the deal - which cost them a 2017 second-round pick in addition to picking up Bolland's salary obligation - as a financially sound investment.

"A lot of owners are business people, so they want you to present a business case for why you're doing what you're doing," said Coyotes general manager John Chayka. "We were at a certain life cycle in our organization where we had a need for high-end elite talent. Getting a high draft pick is the easiest way to find those truly special players, but there's a huge cost to that - of going through a full season where you're not very good.

"Five years from now, if we're a team of good young players in the primes of their careers, it will also mean they're probably getting paid at the highest level. At that point, we probably wouldn't have the salary-cap space to do some of these things.

"But in our current cycle, it just made sense."

Usually, a trade causes upheaval and disruption in a player's life.

But for Bolland, the trade changed only one thing - the salary was paid on behalf of Arizona owner Andrew Barroway, instead of Florida owner Vincent Viola.

Pronger's rights were attractive to Arizona in 2015 because his front-loaded contract paid him only $575,000 in real dollars, but carried an annual salary-cap charge of $4.9-million. That season, Arizona used Pronger's contract to meet its minimum payroll obligations (the NHL salary structure has both a maximum and a minimum spending threshold).

However, teams such as the Coyotes won't necessarily have to pay the full amount of a player's contract. Insurance sometimes covers up to 80 per cent of the salary of a player on long-term injury reserve. And sometimes a player has been paid up front.

The contract figure charged against a club's salary cap, however, is the full original amount.

In all, Pronger spent six years in NHL limbo until his contract expired this past June, at which point he was free to ponder different offers. As with Bolland, Pronger said he fully understood the machinations of the salary cap and didn't take it personally when the Flyers asked him to waive his no-move clause to join the Coyotes in a paper transaction.

Pronger even made a joke of it: At his Hall Of Fame induction ceremony, he said he might enter the Hall wearing a Coyotes cap.

But Pronger also acknowledged it was an odd feeling - to be traded from a Philadelphia team he was never going to play for again to an Arizona team that he would never play for at all.

"It's because you're in no-man's land," Pronger said. "Your rights are with a team, but you're not with the team. You're not actively participating in anything involving the team - and yet, you're on an active roster and you're on an active contract.

"I mean, I understand the salary cap - and I was getting paid. But as a player in that position, when you know you're not going to play any more, you want to move on with your life."

Instead, the mechanics of the salary cap obliged Pronger to make a trip to Arizona twice a year if he wanted to continue getting paid. Collective-bargainingagreement rules stipulate that even players who suffered careerending injuries need to take entry and exit physicals every year to satisfy insurance requirements.

Otherwise, they would be in breach of their contracts.

"I'd fly in to Phoenix from Philly to take my entry physical - which you'd fail," Pronger said. "Then you'd go back in for an exit physical at the end of the year - which you'd fail.

"You know and everybody else knows you're never going to play again. But three years after I got hurt, people were still coming up to me and asking, 'So when are you going to come back?' I mean, seriously, do you really think I'm coming back? I've been out of the game for three years. Let's take our fan cap off and put our human cap on. It wasn't going to happen."

In addition to trading for Pronger's and Bolland's contracts, the Coyotes also took on the final year of Pavel Datsyuk's contract from Detroit in June, 2016. The cost to Detroit was moving down four places in the annual entry draft. Arizona, by jumping to the 16th selection from the 20th, was able to select defenceman Jakob Chychrun in the draft, who played on the Coyotes as an 18year-old.

In Datsyuk's case, the Coyotes didn't even need to pay his contract because he had retired and gone to play in Russia. Bolland receives the full value of his guaranteed contract, but the team can recoup 80 per cent of his salary through insurance.

Bolland's contract had three years remaining at an annual average salary of $5.5-million when the Coyotes made the deal.

"But it's only a 20-per-cent cost to us," said Chayka, adding that to get players of Chychrun's and Crouse's pedigree would otherwise be a far more expensive undertaking.

"They are unique players who bring a skill set that's difficult to trade for and difficult if not impossible to sign in free agency - especially not in that age group and at that cost control. So the way we calculated that was, if we can get a Lawson Crouse for that 20-per-cent cost [of Bolland's salary], it would be far higher price to acquire him on the open market. We've done it here recently - acquired players on the open market - and you typically have to overpay to get those players."

For Bolland, the beginning of the end came while playing for the Maple Leafs in Vancouver, where he tore the peroneal tendon in his ankle, a relatively rare injury. At the time, Bolland believed the injury would be like any other he suffered throughout his career - he would follow doctors' orders until he recovered and then would resume playing.

Instead, things kept getting worse, instead of better.

"When you get injured, [doctors] give you a period of time they think you'll need to recover," Bolland said. "You do your rehab.

You work hard to do whatever you can to get back. But it did feel like just another injury - and I thought I'd be back playing.

"I never had the mindset that my career would be done."

Pronger eventually landed a position in the NHL's player-safety department. But he had to receive a special waiver to work there, because he was still under contract to a team.

During Pronger's time in limbo, a number of teams expressed an interest in bringing him into their front offices, but he couldn't join the management group of one club if he was technically still on the payroll of another.

Even though Bolland can't play for the Coyotes, Chayka believes it is important to forge a relationship with his long-term injured players. Pronger is now off the Coyotes' books, but Chayka says his presence will be missed at this year's training camp.

"I remember Cam Dineen [chosen 68th over all in the 2016 entry draft by Arizona] came into his first pro camp and saw me talking to Chris Pronger. Suddenly, this young guy from Jersey now gets a chance to talk to Chris Pronger," Chayka said.

"Chris - all the guys we've had here - they've been good and we've tried to treat them with respect. They understand the situation. These guys, they'd all be playing if they still could. Sometimes they get injured and it's tough for them to walk away.

"But that's the sport - and that's the business - we're in."

Associated Graphic

Dave Bolland plays for the Florida Panthers in this 2015 photo, but the Arizona Coyotes now pay him not to play.


Chris Pronger, playing for the Anaheim Ducks in 2007, has helped Arizona hit the league-mandated minimum payroll.


The art of reinvention
The Zeitz museum aims to be the Tate Modern of South Africa. But, as Geoffrey York reports from Cape Town, it may not be able to escape the political and racial questions that have haunted the country for decades
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

British designer Thomas Heatherwick had a problem.

His task was to transform a crumbling collection of waterfront grain silos into the world's biggest museum of contemporary African art - and his budget was barely one-10th that of similar projects in New York and London.

The ambitious $38-million (U.S) initiative had no financial support from the government and the site was perched on the very edge of the African continent, in Cape Town, far away from the global philanthropists and art patrons who might normally sponsor such a daunting venture.

His solution? Inside the abandoned century-old structures, he found remnants of corn, a legacy of the days when the silos stored maize from across South Africa and Zimbabwe. He digitally scanned one of the kernels and blew it up to almost 10 storeys in size.

Then he used this asymmetrical image as the design for the heart of the historic building, which, during its industrial lifespan, contained 116 concrete tubes stretching from ceiling to floor.

Heatherwick carved out of the concrete a spectacular cathedrallike atrium of vaulted, glasstopped space, allowing elements of the original structure to remain, giving the space a honeycombed appearance. By doing this, rather than adding expensive new structures, he saved money and still produced a radical new vision for the global arts scene.

The design challenge was "weird and compelling," Heatherwick says. But it was just one of the significant challenges that the museum faced. In a country that remains highly unequal, could it shake off the legacy of apartheid?

In a city of tourists and affluent elites, could it reflect a broader pan-African vision? And could it overcome the barriers of poverty and the lingering racial divisions?

The engineering obstacles, despite some anxieties, proved to be surmountable. In just three years, the privately financed museum was completed. The first glimpses of the spectacular building have provoked rave reviews from international art and architecture critics. But the other questions remain to be answered.

The nine-storey, 80-gallery museum opened its doors to the public on Friday, showcasing some of the world's greatest modern African art in its 9,500 square metres of display space, educational rooms, conservation areas, reading rooms, a bookshop, a restaurant and a rooftop sculpture garden. The 24,000 entry tickets for its opening weekend were snapped up in minutes.

The museum's impressive collection of 21st-century African art has been provided under longterm loan by German businessman Jochen Zeitz, who made his fortune by orchestrating a radical turnaround of the nearly bankrupt Puma sportswear company in the 1990s, transforming it into a $4-billion-a-year global success.

Zeitz, a reticent man who refused to speak at the museum's press launch, is a bearded environmentalist who owns a 20,000hectare wildlife conservancy in Kenya and once wrote a book with a Benedictine monk on the spiritual side of business.

The building with his name on it is believed to be the biggest museum to open in Africa in a century. The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is also the first true "destination" museum in one of the world's most beautiful cities, and it's certain to transform Cape Town's reputation, thrusting it onto the global cultural map for the first time.

"In the last 20 years, there's been a massive adoption of contemporary art as a mode of urban development," said Heatherwick, whose London-based studio is perhaps best known for designing the British pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, an innovative structure known as the Seed Cathedral.

"The success of Bilbao Guggenheim and the Tate Modern in London has meant that cities are falling over themselves to have contemporary art museums," he told journalists at a media preview.

"It's almost like you're not a proper city unless you've got a contemporary art museum. But in a continent as big as the whole of Europe and North America combined, there was no major institution for artists of that continent to show their work. It was like a missing piece in the jigsaw: incredible artists and phenomenal work, some private galleries, but no public institution bringing that together."

The jigsaw piece was missing because the art had been shipped away. Since the days of colonialism and the subsequent era of private collectors, African art has been systematically exported from the continent, "never to be seen again," says Mark Coetzee, a Capetonian who serves as executive director and chief curator at the Zeitz museum.

"Part of our mission is returning or securing seminal objects from the African continent and making sure they remain on the African continent," he says.

One example is the enormous and extraordinary work that hangs in the vast central atrium for the museum's opening: a mythical dragon-like bird by South African artist Nicholas Hlobo, who based the creature on the Xhosa myth of the Lightning Bird, the witch's servant.

The dark ominous creature, with an animal skull and multicoloured ribbons, was a huge success at the Venice Biennale in 2011, and Zeitz was worried that it might leave the continent forever. So he bought it and made it a central icon of the museum's opening.

"That's one of the opportunities for this museum: to show work on much more of an ambitious scale, simply because of the huge spaces," says Owen Martin, a Canadian who is the Zeitz museum's registrar, working closely with its artists.

Coetzee says he wants the museum to help a new generation of young Africans to see their community's cultural production and "develop a sense of pride" in the artists who represent them.

That feeling of pride will be deepened by the magnificence of the building that houses the art.

The historic grain silos in Cape Town's harbour were the tallest man-made structure in sub-Saharan Africa from the 1920s until the 1960s. When Heatherwick first caught sight of the silos in 2005 during a design conference, they were derelict, disused for more than a decade, and covered in cobwebs and pigeon droppings, but he was intrigued by their possibilities.

Five years later, V&A Waterfront - the private company that owns 123 valuable hectares of Cape Town's central waterfront - decided to keep the silos and transform them into an art museum. At the same time, Zeitz was looking for a home for his vast collection of contemporary African art. The two quests came together in the new museum, and Mr. Heatherwick landed the commission to design it.

Unlike the vast turbine halls and railway stations that inspired museum-conversion projects in Europe, the grain silos weren't so easy to open up. They were a warren of storage rooms, cylindrical spaces, tunnels, conveyer belts and even a vacuum-like "dust house" for filtering the air to prevent an explosive build-up of grain dust.

From this chaotic maze, a dramatic central atrium had to be hewn, along with 80 white-walled galleries, two tubular elevator shafts and a spiral staircase dropped in from the top like a corkscrew. The dust house was kept as a rough-hewn "found space" for exhibitions. The rooftop garden and an adjoining luxury hotel are sheathed in 96 huge convex windows, costing about $50,000 each, framing the stunning views of Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean.

The private owners of the waterfront precinct could have simply bulldozed the grain silos and replaced them with a standard office tower, or a glitzy museum in fashionable postmodern spaceship-style design. But they opted to preserve the historic structure.

"This building has real gravitas - they don't build buildings like this any more," said David Green, chief executive officer of V&A Waterfront and co-chair of the museum's board. "We had this mind-shift where we decided to celebrate it and restore it." His corporation, owned by a South African government pension fund and a leading real estate company called Growthpoint Properties, decided to finance the entire amount of the museum's $38-million construction cost.

He won't disclose its operating budget, but he aims to draw 200,000 paying visitors to the museum every year. The waterfront already draws 24 million visitors annually. The museum will have a "profound effect" on tourism and the local economy, according to Tim Harris, chief executive officer of Wesgro, the investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape.

But while the museum's economic and cultural impact could be remarkable, it still cannot escape the political and racial questions that have haunted this post-apartheid country for decades.

At its media preview last Friday, two of the first questions from South African journalists raised awkward points about Cape Town's reputation as an unequal and inaccessible playground for the wealthy. The city is arguably one of the least African cities on the continent. And its apartheid geography has persisted, with blacks and whites still largely in their separate and unequal enclaves.

Cape Town's waterfront and downtown neighbourhoods are an affluent bubble, popular among European tourists and the South African economic elite. For tourists, the city is best known for its luxurious wine estates, its fine French cuisine and its gorgeous beaches. Even the Zeitz museum itself is topped with a luxury boutique hotel, The Silo, whose rooms cost from $900 to $10,000 a night.

Meanwhile, the black and mixed-race majority is largely hidden away on the fringes. Most of the city's inhabitants live in impoverished townships and shack communities on the outskirts, where the murder rate is as high as the unemployment rate.

Even in South Africa's emerging black middle class, many black professionals have fled from Cape Town, convinced that its insular white-dominated business community is unwelcoming and perhaps even racist.

That perception of Cape Town could be reinforced by a museum whose founders and directors are white, and whose standard ticket price (about $14) will be unaffordable for most black South Africans.

The museum will try to diversify its audience by giving free admission on Wednesday mornings to all African citizens, and free admission daily to children under the age of 18. While its top managers are white, the curators and artists at the heart of its collection are largely black. But will the museum truly be accessible to the country's majority who live far away from the glitzy waterfront shops and expensive restaurants?

"Cape Town has always been a problematic city," says Thania Petersen, a Cape Town artist of Cape Malay heritage, whose theatrical self-portrait photographs are displayed in one of the museum's opening exhibits.

"Everyone says it's a place for Europeans, and the people who actually live here don't get a chance to live it the way foreign people do," she told The Globe and Mail in an interview.

"When it comes to your colour, it is so segregated - everybody is stuck wherever they were put during apartheid, and economically, nobody can get out of that.

We're not blinded by the idea of liberation and freedom, when we're still trapped in the places where we've always been."

Cape Town's art world, in particular, has been difficult for black artists to penetrate. But Petersen argues that the Zeitz museum will help artists to break those barriers, become visible and gain a voice.

"I think we have arrived," she told the press launch, sparking a wave of loud applause from the other artists.

"What is important is that we are here now, and we are changing it," she said. "The only way we can change it is actually by being present in these spaces. If everything is kept outside, how will we ever be able to change it?" Green, the museum's co-chair, argues that the waterfront is more integrated than people realize, with locals representing more than half of its visitors. "Cape Town is not real Africa; I know that, we know that," he acknowledged. "But it is the gateway into Africa."

Coetzee, the chief curator, says the museum aims to expand the definition of African art to include any artist from Africa or the African diaspora whose production is linked to the continent in some way.

"We're taking a very loose openness about how we define Africanness and African artists," he said.

The museum's artistic themes, too, are unconventional. Photography is one of its key focuses, because it evokes the urgency and radicalism of the anti-apartheid movement, when photographers grabbed quick images of the clashes in which police tried to crush protesters, Coetzee said.

"Photography was very important in the liberation struggles from the 1960s to the present, across Africa," he said. "It's really linked to our sense of identity, and the way we've communicated the social movements in our continent."

Fashion is another of the museum's artistic themes. It plays into the museum's sense of African roots.

"We felt that fashion originated in Africa," Coetzee said. "It all began here: scarification, makeup, mud, hair, skins. Fashion didn't begin in Milan or Paris - it began right here."

Associated Graphic

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town, the first of its kind on the continent, was created out of old corn silos on the city's waterfront.


This exhibit by Kendell Geers is one of many works by African artists on display at the new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town.


Interior and exterior views of the Zeitz museum, which is housed in a series of converted silos on Cape Town's waterfront. The structures retain some of their original design elements.


Small league, big country
Long before a visiting CFL team takes to the field, there's an even bigger game plan - getting 46 hulking men, scores of coaches and staff plus thousands of pounds of uniforms and equipment to the game itself
Saturday, September 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

TORONTO, VANCOUVER -- You think it's a challenge to pack a couple of kids, a tent, assorted gear, bikes, coolers and the rest into a car for a weekend camping trip?

Try moving an entire CFL team, with its thousands of pounds of equipment and four dozen hulking men, across the country for a road game. It's not only complicated; it's not cheap, either.

Consider the logistics: 46 players and approximately 30 staff and others travelling for each of the teams' 10 road games (including the preseason). Then add loads of player equipment, coaches' sideline paraphernalia, the trainers' kits, video stuff, and all manner of gear for multiple weather situations - often shipped out separately by truck or cargo plane. The teams travel on buses, VIA trains and airplanes, and unlike in the NFL, some CFL teams still fly commercial to save money, squeezing players into economy seats next to business travellers and crying babies.

There are lots of road trips ahead in the second half of the CFL season, and lots of rain jackets and hand-warmers, mufflers and bad-weather cleats to pack.

We talked to players, equipment managers and operations folks from across the CFL about the secrets of taking a football team on the road, such as putting GPS trackers in equipment bags, shipping home dirty laundry and sweat-soaked pads and carefully distributing the 300-pound linemen around the plane to avoid tipping the aircraft. They told us all about their per diems, epic travel glitches and the wide variety of stuff packed in their travel trunks. Teams have it all down to a science.

"With a football team, you're essentially packing up your locker room and your training room and taking a mini version of that with you so that you can create for the team a comfortable work area in a new city for 24 hours," said Brad Fotty, the long-time Winnipeg Blue Bombers equipment manager. "You've got to consider every scenario and think of everything that every guy needs to have on game day, and you make sure you've got all of that packed in a trunk."

Teams that regularly charter - such as the Montreal Alouettes on their new team plane from Nolinor Aviation - have a travel advantage. The plane can fit the team, its equipment and luggage all at once and then fly home right after the game, avoiding an extra night's hotel stay. They have more sitting room, tailored inflight meals and as the plane's only passengers, they dictate the schedule.

We observed the Toronto Argonauts as they packed up for their recent trip to Calgary - one on a commercial flight. Veteran Argos equipment manager Danny Webb was sending the equipment on an overnight cargo plane and he'd meet all of it at McMahon Stadium in Calgary the next morning to begin the four-hour job of setting up the visitor's locker room with two other staffers.

Shipping the gear to Calgary from Toronto costs about $10,000 each way. Webb slides small GPS trackers into a couple of key equipment bags - such as the one belonging to quarterback Ricky Ray - so he could track them if anything goes missing.

"We take every safeguard we can," Webb said. "Our games are on national TV; we can't afford to be missing things."

They had 30 minutes from shower to bus departure, and the whole operation hummed expertly. Equipment bags were swiftly loaded. Everything was labelled with player numbers or a printed name label. There was a CFL-branded case for game-day footballs complete with dividers separating the balls such as glass Christmas ornaments. Each player's underclothes were tightly zipped into individual numbered mesh laundry bags so even a stray sock couldn't get loose.

Webb said equipment bags are a lot heavier to haul after a game than before it. The team's entire load, in fact, can often weigh in at about 500 pounds heavier on the way home.

"All that equipment, it all absorbs a lot of sweat," Webb explained frankly.

Players lined up next to the team bus after practice on a Thursday afternoon to depart for the airport ahead of their Saturday game against the Stampeders. They were dressed in a wide array of travel attire, ranging from khaki pants and Argos polo shirts to velvet suit jackets and designer jeans, to full suits and polished dress shoes.

They popped their rolling suitcases into bus cargo storage and collected some important items.

Each man was given a boarding pass for the flight, his per diem for meals (a league-mandated $115 for each day he's on the road) and two game tickets (unless he had already traded them with another player).

Players use their meal money at the restaurants they choose, eating at the times of day they prefer. They have their favourites in many CFL cities - in Calgary, many Argos flock to Booker's BBQ & Crab Shack. It's typically two players to a hotel room and CFL teams stay in nice ones.

The two buses of Argos players and staff let out at Pearson International Airport's departures level two hours ahead of the flight - as with all the other travellers, who gawked at the large group of oversized men.

Whether flying commercial or by charter, the Argos always send a list of player weights so the airline can seat the huge linemen into different areas of the cabin. It avoids putting too much weight in one area of the plane and helps land the biggest players in seats with more elbow or leg room, such as on the aisle or beside the emergency exits.

"I always try to engage in conversation with the person next to me and show that, just because we're big people, we're not intimidating or scary," said Chris Van Zeyl, a 6-foot-6, 312-pound bearded Argos offensive tackle.

"Especially when a kid sits beside me and gives me a sideways look - I always talk to them, ask them what video games they're playing."

Sometimes, the Argos charter.

On Labour Day, players took a bus or drove their own cars to Hamilton. When going to Montreal, they go by VIA Rail, a favourite of many Argos.

"Trains are really fun for us," Van Zeyl said. "It's really easy for us at the train station, and it's a straight shot to Ottawa or Montreal. We have two cars completely to ourselves and we play cards the whole time. It's really relaxing."

Meanwhile, in the Vancouver suburbs, at BC Lions headquarters in Surrey, the Lions were packing up for their charter flight to Ottawa. Most everyone charters in the playoffs, but in the past few years, it has become the Lions' de facto way to travel in the regular season, too. To somewhat defray costs, the team sometimes sell packages to bring some diehard fans along on the ride.

"Chartering is not as expensive as we first thought it would be," said Neil McEvoy, director of football operations and player personnel. "And it helps the players stay healthy and gives us the rest the players need. You just get on the plane and go. It's much easier, postgame, get on and fall asleep, and get back to Vancouver, even at three in the morning, and knowing you're going to sleep in your own bed."

The way it used to be, not long ago, meant a trip to Regina included a hotel room after the game and waking at 3 a.m. for a 5 a.m. commercial flight home.

Back then, instead of shipping equipment on a cargo flight, two Lions staffers drove it to some West Division games. That would entail a 1,700 kilometre one-way journey to Regina.

The recent trip to Ottawa in late August cost about $100,000. To move the equipment alone - 4,500 pounds on a cargo flight - would have cost at least $20,000 had it shipped separately instead of tucked in conveniently under the charter plane.

Craig Roh and Mic'hael Brooks, two of the BC Lions' defensive linemen, have seen football travel as good as it gets. Roh played at the University of Michigan. Even for Brooks, at a smaller Division I school, Eastern Carolina University, the team always flew on charters. Both players also tasted NFL travel, Roh briefly with Carolina, and Brooks with Seattle.

They compared their experiences north and south of the border.

Roh: "The charter for the Panthers, on the way back, they had ice-cream sandwiches. They had all this candy they were handing out. People were going up in the cockpit, doing whatever the heck they wanted."

Brooks: "It's a bigger plane, too.

It's sort of like looking at the [size of] the CFL crowd and the NFL crowd."

Roh: "Up here, it's a little more strict on the plane. You get peanuts and a hot meal and what not."

Brooks, smiling: "Don't call it peanuts."

Roh, laughing: "I mean, compared with the Dove ice cream bar?" Brooks: "We had warm cookies.

Legit warm cookies. All types of warm cookies."

Interviewer: "Any beer on postgame flights?" Brooks: "In the NFL, why not?

Not here."

Roh: "Not here. Maybe if it got snuck on."

Brooks: "There's a lot of drinking on an NFL flight."

The Lions lease an Isuzu NPRHD diesel truck from Penske to carry the gear to the south terminal of the Vancouver airport to meet their charter.

A handful of guys strategically loaded 46 player bags, eight trunks, 11 coaching bags and a dozen other bags, alongside other gear, including TSN broadcast equipment. Aaron Yeung, a Lions equipment assistant, calls the efficient packing "Tetris-ing" the truck, referring to the classic video game.

For equipment guys, the hours are long. When they arrive home from a road game, sometimes at 1 a.m., there will be another three hours of work for Yeung and another equipment assistant, Stu Mitchell, as they drive back to Lions headquarters, unload gear and do loads of laundry.

"It's twentysomething hours without sleep," Yeung said with a laugh. "But I like it. This is like a family."

In Ottawa, the Redblacks equipment staff pulled an all-night laundry shift, returning home by bus late after Ottawa's victory over the Alouettes in Montreal on Aug. 31.

"We want to open the load of jerseys right away when we get back, and the smell is horrible, some are blood-stained, some are ripped and need repairing, so we want to identify that right away, it's a top priority," said Ottawa equipment manager R. J. James.

"We hang the 44 game jerseys to dry, 20 on one side, 24 on the other - usually organized by offence and defence. They'll be dry by the next morning."

A night like that lasts until at least 4 a.m., unpacking and laundering it all. While it may seem chaotic in a visitor's locker room immediately following a football game, the dirty equipment and laundry is actually being meticulously organized - separate dirty-laundry bins for game pants, jerseys and underclothing for swift unpacking back at home, when they will fire it all right into a washing machine.

Logistics for most trips are planned months in advance, and long-standing relationships with the same shipping companies usually mean flawless delivery of gear. But most teams have experienced some travel nightmares.

For James, the most memorable one was when a player's equipment bag once got dragged under the wheels of a plane, crushing his helmet and pads.

"I had a backup helmet and I borrowed pads from the Saskatchewan Roughriders equipment manager," James said. "The player played the game without even realizing it; we told him afterward as not to mess with his head before the game. I guess it kind of validates what we do."

The Bombers' Fotty thought back on a time when his squad travelled to the Rogers Centre in Toronto, and because of a concert the previous night, they weren't allowed to unpack and set up their dressing room the day before the game, as is the norm in the CFL. When the gear was finally unloaded the morning of the game, an entire trunk of game pants was discovered missing.

"They ended up finding it on a loading dock somewhere - it had been left behind," Fotty said. "We said nothing to the players, to avoid stressing them out before the game. Luckily, it was found a couple of hours before the game and no one knew the difference."

Fotty overlooks nothing when going on the road with the Bombers. His travel trunks have everything from screws and tools to tighten a helmet to replacement shoelaces, insoles, shirts, tights, gloves and socks of every type, spare batteries for a coach's headset or even extra toiletries in case a guy forgets his toothpaste.

Anything to make the road feel more like home.

Associated Graphic

Air travel - often by money-saving commercial flights - is the typical way for CFL teams to embark on a road trip, although in the East division, the train is used as well. Team gear is shipped by planes or cargo trucks.


Toronto Argonauts equipment bags are loaded onto a courier truck before heading to Pearson Airport for a roadtrip to Calgary on Aug. 26, 2017.


Argonauts quaterback Ricky Ray joins a few of his teammates on the bus before leaving for the airport on Aug. 26, 2017. Shipping the team's gear to Calgary costs about $10,000 each way.

As the TDSB temporarily suspends its school resource officer program, the debate over having uniformed police around students is spreading to the rest of the GTA
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M1

It's a rare day that a fight breaks out among teens and no one busts out their phone to film it. But things were different at Isiah Lea's high school. No WorldstarHipHop upload was worth catching the attention of the school resource officer (SRO), a uniformed cop assigned to patrol the halls. Even the students sparring would be looking over their shoulder. Best case, they'd be caught by a teacher, who would send them to the office; an SRO, on the other hand, might put them up against a locker and arrest them right there in the hallway.

Mr. Lea, who is black, said that going to school with the SRO brought the anxieties of his Jane and Finch neighbourhood into the classroom every single day.

"Youth [were] peeking around the corner to see if there were officers around," recalls Mr. Lea, now a 22-year-old artist and community organizer. "Or students [were] just not going to school altogether because their family was in a [bad] situation and selling weed and they didn't want to have anything to do with that."

The Toronto District School Board's SRO program has been in place for 10 years but only became a flashpoint for serious debate this spring after many activist groups, composed of parents, community members and educators, argued that it was making classrooms intimidating spaces for racialized, undocumented and Indigenous kids and contributing to a school-to-prison pipeline.

In late August, the TDSB voted to temporarily suspend its program pending an internal review.

In addition to distributing surveys to its students, this past week, the school board kicked off a series of community consultations. The public dialogue has put a spotlight on other GTA boards, some of which have hosted police in their schools for decades with little scrutiny.

While the scope and scale of these programs differ widely from Hamilton to Markham, activists say police have no place in schools, period.

At the centre of the debate is the reason behind the program: while school boards and police services say it's primarily to forge better relations between officers and the community, opponents say the unstated aim is for police to surveil and then collect crime-related information from students in close quarters.

There are also concerns some boards are targeting schools with marginalized populations.

The debate is happening at a time when the needs of racialized students, particularly black males, have become a priority in the province. According to data collected by the TDSB in 2006 and 2011, graduation rates for black students were disproportionately lower than those of non-black students, while rates of suspensions from school were higher.

Ontario's anti-racism strategic plan, released earlier this year, includes a $47-million action plan for black youth. Last year, the TDSB created a black student achievement advisory committee and the Peel District School Board launched an action plan to support black male students.

"If these school boards take an equity lens, and if they say that even one student being affected negatively by this program is one too many, all of the evidence is already there. We don't need more reviews. We need action," said Phillip Morgan, a member of the activist group Education Not Incarceration.

At the TDSB, the SRO program was launched in 2007 following the shooting death of 15-year-old Jordan Manners at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute, a school Mr. Lea also attended. A few months after the boy's death, lawyer Julian Falconer published a report with a long list of recommendations for the TDSB, including hiring more social workers and youth counsellors and bringing in small, non-threatening dogs to detect drugs in lockers - but specified they should be handled by "board employees, not uniformed police officers."

The TDSB went beyond the recommendations and assigned officers to work in high schools in the city - until the program was suspended, there were 27 officers at 45 schools. The schools were selected after consultations with trustees, staff, parents and the community, says board spokesperson Ryan Bird. Critics note that many of the chosen schools have large populations of racialized students, particularly black ones.

Current statistics reflect the long-simmering tension between law enforcement and the black community in the city: More than half of Toronto's black population has been stopped by police in public, according to the Black Experience Project, a multiyear study led by the Environics Institute for Survey Research. When it came to black men between the ages of 25 and 44, almost 80 per cent said they'd been stopped by cops in public.

Mr. Lea grew up having regular interactions with police in his neighbourhood from a young age.

Once, when hanging out with friends at a community basketball court, a police officer approached and his friends scattered. The officer pressed Mr. Lea, then just eight years old, against a fence and asked him several questions. What happened that day impacted how he perceived police, including the ones he saw at school.

"I learned how to avoid them and keep my head low and blend in," he said.

Mr. Lea remembers that, during his time at C.W. Jefferys and Westview Centennial Collegiates, SROs stopped black and South Asian male students most often. And it was understood that students who willingly engaged with police, in or out of school, were destined to be unpopular. "If a cop came to speak to one person, the hallway would be deserted," Mr. Lea says.

But not all SROs are received that way by students at their assigned schools.

At W. H. Ballard Elementary School in Hamilton this week, police Constable Jackie Masters stood in front of a mostly white Grade 3 class and fielded questions. "Do you have a gun?" "Is that a Taser?" "Can kids go to jail?" In full uniform, she stopped to speak with students at their desks. One came by and hugged her.

"I'm just a regular person," she said to a group of children. "You don't have to be shy with me."

Constable Masters is one of 11 police officers who work with elementary and high schools in the Hamilton area. Police are generally invited by school administrators to do presentations on topics such as bullying, but Constable Masters also stops by the school when she's nearby. She is the community services officer to W.

H. Ballard and 45 other schools.

Her work includes presentations on policing, participating in restorative justice circles, helping with school lockdown drills and occasionally meeting with families if they need support.

She said that she finds the program rewarding, because police officers are able to spread "positive messages" and provide support and guidance to young people. She said she hoped the program also allowed for students to feel more comfortable asking a police officer for help.

At one school in York Region (where 18 SROs are shared between 70 high schools in three regional school boards), there was an issue with bullying and feuding among several groups of students; the assigned SRO hauled in a broken piece of heavy machinery, dumped it in the shop class and challenged the students to work together to repair it.

Female officers have started an all-female running group with girls at the schools where they're stationed, others have developed sports programming for newcomers.

The Durham District School Board has been piloting an SRO program at three high schools and three elementary schools for the past three years and its officers coach sports teams and run charitable events.

Individuals involved with the programs at all the public boards in the GTA emphasized that building a sense of trust between students and police was one of the key aims of the SRO program.

But Desmond Cole, an activist and journalist who has called for the end of SRO programs, is troubled by this goal.

"All this rapport building and everything, it's about establishing relationships so they can get information from young people.

And often, that information is going to be used against young people in ways they can't understand," he said.

Many of those who have spoken out against SROs say there is value in the anti-bullying or drugawareness presentations officers make in classrooms, but that there is no need for police to be delivering that information to students - it should come from guidance counsellors, social workers and other support staff.

"What we need is properly funded schools," says Andrea Vasquez Jimenez, co-chair of the Latinx, Afro-Latin-America, Abya Yala Education Network, another group that has spoken out against the program. "We don't need SRO presence in our schools. We need schools to get back to teaching, learning and feeling safe for all our students."

Of particular concern to Ms. Vásquez Jiménez are the many undocumented students she hears from who fear their immigration status might be revealed to an SRO, who might then report it to the Canada Border Services Agency. The TDSB has a "don't ask don't tell" policy when it comes to students' immigration status, but Ms. Vasquez Jimenez says she worries police in schools don't adhere to it.

Until this point, all evaluations of SRO programs have been done internally, usually by the school boards or police services that operate them. While Toronto Police Services has assigned Ryerson University the task of evaluating Toronto's SRO program, Mr. Cole points out the city's chief of police is one of the members of the review's steering committee.

For the past two and a half years, Linda Duxbury, a business professor at Carleton University's Sprott School of Business, has conducted a review of Peel's SRO program. Dr. Duxbury and her team surveyed 1,000 Grade 9 students at the beginning of the school year and then again in March about their perceptions of safety and their feelings about police; officers, administrators and staff were also interviewed.

Though the results won't be published until October, Dr. Duxbury said they were positive and she was pleased to see the regional police service maintaining its program at all schools, rather than following the lead of many other police services, who have cut back on their school resource officers over the years as a costsaving measure.

"I think Peel should be congratulated for having the guts not to do that," she said. "The fact that they're saying, in times of budget crunch, [they're] still going to protect the proactive, relationship-building, community police that everybody says they want but costs money."

She said the great strength of the program was that it placed officers in all schools - as opposed to select ones as the TDSB does.

In Peel Region, police officers are assigned to each school within the public and Catholic boards as part of a program that has run for 20 years.

But even while Dr. Duxbury's study was under way, the Peel board had already turned the microscope on itself. In 2016, it conducted a series of focus groups with 87 black male high school students about how they felt about school. Black students said they felt teachers had low expectations of them, and that other students, teachers and police were quick to judge them based on their appearance. These students also said that police blamed them for incidents in school without asking questions. In the community, police stopped or randomly pulled them over more frequently than they did nonblack students. The board announced a series of measures to address the issue, including anti-black racism and bias awareness training and mentoring programs.

In a previous report in 2015, published by several organizations, including United Way of Peel Region, black youth reported feeling isolated and marginalized in the education system for a number of reasons, including teachers' low expectations of them, the absence of black culture in the curriculum, relatively few black teachers in schools and the presence of police in schools, which "often strikes fear and mistrust in black students."

Mr. Cole is dismissive of the reviews being conducted - whether or not they're independent - because to him, what's important is how the minority of students feel, not the majority.

"They don't mind if three or four out of 10 of our kids get kicked out school, get suspended from school, get put in lower streaming programs," he said.

"Any evaluation needs to be weighed in that light: That says not all the kids' experiences are being valued equally. The kids that are experiencing the most difficulty are the least valued."

Associated Graphic

Hamilton police officer Jackie Masters spends some time with students in a Grade 3 class at W. H. Ballard Elementary School in Hamilton on Thursday.


Constable Jackie Masters is one of 11 police officers who work with schools in the Hamilton area. She hopes the program allows students to feel more comfortable with asking police officers for help.


Go east ... the food is getting better out there
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M1

Erik Joyal and John Sinopoli have learned to temper their expectations for running a restaurant east of the Don Valley.

Soon after opening Table 17 on Queen Street just past Broadview Avenue in 2008, they introduced a prix fixe menu on Sundays and Mondays. It didn't make money but got "bums in seats," in Mr.

Sinopoli's words, making the place look busy and therefore worth visiting.

At Ascari Enoteca down the street, which they opened in 2011, all the wine - even the fancy bottles - is half-price on Mondays. "There weren't crowds rushing to try out the new pasta bar at Queen and Caroline," Mr. Sinopoli says of his early days there.

The two weathered years of small business storms, making nice with suppliers to whom they owed money and borrowing from family to pay their debts.

They watched other nearby restaurants come and go, done in by the east side's rather conservative dining culture.

So it was a bit unexpected when the duo's latest venture immediately drew a crowd. Mr. Sinopoli and Mr. Joyal are in charge of the food program at the 126-year-old Broadview Hotel, which reopened in July after a three-year, $26-million renovation. The brand-new glassboxed restaurant on the top floor is currently a place to be seen, with tables laden with burgers and kefta during the week and a crowded bar come weekends.

"There have been thousands of people here a week since day one," Mr. Sinopoli says, while Mr. Joyal admits to being surprised by just how much anticipation there was for the unveiling of the refurbished landmark.

There are, unsurprisingly, still a few kinks: The new windows facing Queen Street East are still boarded over, as the launch of the building's fine-dining restaurant, The Civic, has been delayed.

The opening jitters are even more pronounced because they're layered atop city-wide excitement about the hotel and growing interest in the area.

"The scale is enormous and the expectations are enormous," Mr. Sinopoli says about launching the hotel's three restaurants at once. The bigger question is whether the Broadview can become an anchor dining destination, one that spreads the love to smaller independent players throughout the less trendy side of the Don.

Over the past decade, as neighbourhoods such as TrinityBellwoods and King-Spadina exploded, things on the east side have stayed fairly pedestrian.

Today, Queen Street East is largely populated by outposts of local mini-chains such as Tabule and Lil' Baci, which offer tasty but simple food suitable for feeding rowdy toddlers while their parents knock back a glass of serviceable wine before 8 p.m.

Lately, a flurry of openings indicates that restaurateurs with more experimental ideas are finally looking east, focusing especially on a historically South Asian strip of Gerrard Street East. The draw is that they live nearby. Also, the rent is cheap.

The hope is that the local population is finally hungry enough to provide them with a livelihood in a business with famously slim margins and temperamental customers.

It's fitting that these hopes have been placed on Mr. Joyal and Mr. Sinopoli, as the arc of their careers has played out just east of downtown. Along with Ascari, they own two other spots within walking distance of the hotel: the bar Hi-Lo and a fourmonth-old brasserie, Gare de L'Est.

The two met in New York in the late 1990s, while Mr. Joyal was studying hospitality and Mr. Sinopoli was learning culinary arts. Introduced by mutual friends, they eventually opened their first restaurant in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood in 2005 while in their 20s, a ramen spot called Izakaya.

"I enjoyed that project a lot - and I made a lot of mistakes along that road," says Mr. Sinopoli, who was born in Montreal and moved to Toronto as a child.

"Like trusting the engineer to design a working ventilation system."

"The people upstairs felt like they were in a massage chair," says Mr. Joyal, who grew up in Toronto. He also recalls cooks walking out without warning during the middle of service.

"They ghosted us before that was even a word," Mr. Sinopoli says.

When looking for a place to open Table 17, the two considered St. Clair Avenue and the Annex before settling on Queen Street East. Neither live in the area, but it seemed less saturated than those other neighbourhoods - a more affordable place for still-fledgling business owners to get a start.

Now, the south strip of Leslieville is well established. Greasy spoons have disappeared as building owners have reaped the profits of gentrification.

That's a large part of the draw of Gerrard Street East, where rent is about $10 to $15 a square foot cheaper than on Queen Street East - and a third of what it is on Ossington Avenue near Queen Street West.

"For us, it was Little India or bust," says Zac Schwartz, coowner of the 10-month-old Lake Inez, at Gerrard Street East and Craven Road. There, Philippinesborn chef Robbie Hojilla offers what Mr. Schwartz calls "openly inauthentic" Asian-fusion dishes such as kinilaw, for which local fish is deliciously cured with Filipino vinegars and spices.

Mr. Schwartz and his two coowners all live within walking distance, one of the reasons they wanted to locate here. The other reason, he says, is "more romantic - we just felt like Little India has some magic to it. The narrow streets, the late-night community. To the north, you see the old-growth trees. To the south you see the water. It has an esoteric charm."

Although classic South Asian places such as the Lahore Tikka House are still bustling, retail on Gerrard has been experiencing demographic change for a while.

South Asian businesses are now concentrated in the suburbs, making this long-time immigrant hub too much of a trek for some. Vacant storefronts are common.

That provides an opportunity for first-timers, says Steven Alikakos, the president of real estate firm RKF Canada. Plus, he says, Gerrard is full of buildings that already have restaurant kitchens and many of its South Asian restaurateurs have reached retirement age and are ready to sell or rent out their spaces.

"A kitchen-exhaust conversion is one of the most expensive things in a restaurant build-out," Mr. Alikakos says. "The advantage is that you can do a cosmetic renovation, versus a full build-out, and open right away."

Mr. Schwartz agrees - to a point. "We got a great hood out of it, I'll give it that," he says of the Lake Inez space, which used to be an Indian vegetarian buffet. "But it was an expensive endeavour."

Brewer Luc Lafontaine just oversaw a $2-million-plus renovation of an 8,000-square-foot space at Gerrard and Coxwell Avenue that had stood empty for more than four years. His retail store, pub and Japanese snack spot, Godspeed, is the biggest of a number of new breweries in the east side, including Left Field and Saulter Street.

"Two Tuesdays in a row there was a lineup at 8 p.m. Then, on Saturday, it died at 7," Mr. Lafontaine says of recent business.

"It's a little strange. I'm still trying to understand the neighbourhood."

Formerly the head brewer at Montreal's beloved Dieu de Ciel, Mr. Lafontaine already has fans, as does Lake Inez's Mr. Hojilla from his time at restaurants such as Harbord Room and Woodlot. Both are drawing curious tourists from outside the neighbourhood, but as owners, Mr. Lafontaine and Mr. Schwartz say they're counting on locals for longevity.

That could be tricky, says Nicole Cheung, who has lived in the area since 2003 and who opened the craft-beer bar Eulalie's Corner Store in the heart of Little India three years ago. She's worked in bars since university, which is where she met her husband, Alex Bartlett, now owner of the veteran dive Betty's near the corner of King Street East and Sherbourne Street.

She says she opened Eulalie's mainly because she wanted a good local bar, though she and her chef designed a more wideranging menu for her second Gerrard spot, the all-day cafe Bodega Henriette, which opened last November. She says she's keeping her vision small. "I have no expectations of becoming a destination for anybody - I'm in the middle of nowhere," says Ms. Cheung, who thinks rumours of an east side boom are greatly exaggerated.

First of all, she says, few of the new places are really close enough to visit more than one in an evening - although she, Mr. Lafontaine and Mr. Schwartz are all friendly and send custom...

ers to each other's spots when they can. Secondly, the local crowd isn't inclined to bar hop anyway. "Very rarely is it a night out - it's dinner and maybe two beers afterward," she says. "It's all strollers and babies." Brunch at Bodega Henriette is much busier than dinner.

New condo projects are scheduled to open throughout Leslieville in the coming years, which may bring young, single seekers of nightlife. For now, Ms. Cheung says, "the population isn't there.

There's not enough people. Not even close."

Still, she, Mr. Schwartz and Mr. Lafontaine are all trying to build lasting businesses, having negotiated long, renewable leases to keep their costs predictable. It's a sensible practice: Ascari is seven years into a 10-year lease, and Mr. Joyal and Mr. Sinopoli assume the renewal will be reasonable, as the building is owned by a friend.

Although they now have more than a decade of experience, the restaurateurs say new stresses crop up constantly. Those include recruiting good staff in a city that has undergone massive growth in the food-services industry.

"When we opened Izakaya, you could count the five to seven really good restaurants that were really sought after," Mr. Sinopoli says. Now, there are dozens of worthy independents and a growing number of bigger hospitality groups, such as the Chase, King Street Food Company and Oliver & Bonacini. "There just hasn't been a work force in the city to fill all of these positions."

They're also facing other changes in the labour market - what Mr. Joyal calls "sensitive topics, with no easy answers."

Those include the imminent rise of the minimum wage to $15 an hour and industry-wide discussions about how to handle tipping, which tends to send servers and other front-of-thehouse staff home with more money than kitchen staff and cooks.

"The whole structure will be unrecognizable in a decade," Mr. Joyal says. "No doubt there will be a lot of casualties. The biggest strain is on people like John and I 10 years ago."

For now, their focus is putting the final touches on the Civic, which will have a menu that looks back on Victorian-era hotel fare. Hopefully, it will open in late October. Everyone is watching.

"We used to open quietly in the east end," Mr. Sinopoli says.

"There's no ramp-up any more."


Bodega Henriette Small, super sweet and almost always open. Breakfasts are impressive, while multicultural bistro food is a reason to linger in the evenings. 1801 Gerrard St. E., 416-546-6261

Caribbean Sunset A cool little place for enjoying (mostly) Jamaican and Trinidadian dishes cooked with a light touch. 753 Queen St. E., 416320-8967, .

Double D's This new Chicagostyle deep-dish restaurant is a further indication that thincrust pizza no longer rules the city. 1020 Gerrard St. E., 416727-5411, .

Gare de L'Est Attached to the new Crow's Theatre building, featuring note-perfect brasserie classics and warm, professional service. 1190 Dundas St. E., 416-792-1626, Kid Chocolate The next move for chef Suzanne Barr, whose beloved Saturday Dinette nearby closed down after landlord drama. Opening soon on Gerrard Street East - we hope. .

Lake Inez An ambitious, modern pan-Asian menu holds many exciting surprises. The beers are all from Ontario and the wine list is almost all biodynamic. 1471 Gerrard St. E., 416-792-1590, .

Pinkerton's Snack Bar Properly loud and raucous, this is the east end's most happening bar. Classic cocktails, Ontario beer and thoughtful finger food, too. 1026 Gerrard St. E., 416-855-1460.

White Lily Half-price wine on Fridays is one reason to visit this perfect little diner. The luscious house-smoked turkey in the club sandwich is another. 678 Queen St. E., 416-9017800,

Associated Graphic

Natasha Deen, left, and Erika Hogerwaard, sit in the private dining room of the Broadview Hotel on Wednesday.


Restaurateurs Erik Joyal, left, and John Sinopoli pose for a picture at the Broadview Hotel on Wednesday, where they are launching three restaurants. The top-floor one is drawing in big crowds.


Lawyer won thalidomide compensation
Considered the dean of tort law in Canada, he had a deep enthusiasm for helping people seek damages for harm done
Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S12

He was a young professor in love with tort law, the legal process by which people can seek damages from those who have harmed them. Torts were his elixir, his passion.

And here was a very big tort, or "civil wrong:" Dozens of Canadian children had been born with deformities because their pregnant mothers had taken the drug thalidomide.

It was 1963 when a Toronto law firm, pressed by a thalidomide family, came to Allen Linden for advice. But then, having received his advice, it refused to take on the fight. "This law firm is not a charitable organization," a senior partner told him. If he believed in it so much, the lawyer added, he was at liberty to take it on.

But he had little trial experience and in any event, product liability law in Canada was in its infancy. He would have to prove that the drug company that distributed the drug had been negligent, a huge hurdle. In Britain and Germany, where the largest numbers of thalidomide babies had been born, governments had set up funds for the families. But in Canada, with 125 families affected, nothing.

So there was only tort law to provide hope, however slim. And then, he hit on an idea: Seek out lawyers in the United States and sue south of the border. After all, the drug's distributor, Richardson-Merrell, was in Ohio. And it wasn't necessary to prove negligence. Today, such a strategy would surprise no one. But at the time, it broke new ground.

"The notion of American lawyers taking on cases for foreign nationals in the American courts in the sixties? That was unheard of," Philadelphia lawyer Stephen Raynes says. "He had great foresight."

It took years, but compensation eventually began to flow for the Canadians. Mr. Raynes's father, Arthur, was a key figure in some of the litigation and negotiations, and the son keeps a textbook, Canadian Tort Law, co-authored by Mr. Linden, in his office, featuring a 1969 inscription, which reads in part: "To victory and justice for all thalidomide children."

Mr. Linden, who died of pancreatic cancer on Aug. 23 at the age of 82, was a judge, teacher, author and legal reformer - and the dean of tort law in Canada.

His pivotal role in the quest for compensation and justice for Canada's thalidomide families was but one episode in a lifelong passion for the system by which a civil wrong, or tort, can be made, at least to some extent, right.

Largely through his writings, he helped usher in modern Canadian tort law, in which corporations, individuals and government could be held to account through individual or collective court action. The 10th and latest edition of his book, Canadian Tort Law, with co-author Bruce Feldthusen, was published just two years ago.

"It's an underdog thing," his younger brother, Sidney Linden, explains. "Torts are for people who have been hurt and are trying to gain justice."

That outlook was nurtured during a Depression-era childhood.

He was born on Oct. 7, 1934, in the heart of Toronto's Jewish garment district at Spadina and College, to immigrants from Poland who had little formal schooling.

His father, Louis Lindenbaum, was a tailor who sometimes held two or three jobs to support the family.

"Our parents weren't that big on officials or officialdom," Sidney said. "You've got to fight for whatever you get. We weren't going to represent banks or insurance companies or real estate developers."

The underdog streak runs in Sidney, too. A former chief judge of the Ontario Court of Justice, he designed the first civilian policecomplaints body in Ontario, which he then chaired; today, at 79, he is Ontario's Conflict of Interest Commissioner. (Supreme Court of Canada Justice Rosalie Abella calls the two brothers the Fabulous Linden Boys.)

Allen's intelligence and social smarts showed up early. When he was nine, his mother, Lilly, sent him off on his bicycle to Queen's Park to pick up a birth certificate for five-year-old Sidney. "How he did it remains a mystery. All we know for sure is that two hours later, he came back with my birth certificate in his hand," Sidney said in his eulogy at his brother's funeral last month.

Allen went to law school at Osgoode Hall, run at the time by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

It was a stodgy place.

After earning his law degree in 1960, he escaped the narrow horizons of home, heading to University of California, Berkeley, for his master's and doctorate in law, where he studied under two of the leading torts experts in the common-law world: William Prosser and John Fleming.

He quickly found his way into teaching, after a brief stint in private practice. It was an exciting moment, as York University took charge from the law society in running Osgoode. Mr. Linden, Harry Arthurs and other pioneering scholars who had gone abroad helped modernize legal education with the Socratic method of engaging students by asking questions.

"Prior to that, it was black letter law, the old method of telling you what the law is," Sidney said.

Allen taught from 1961 to 1978 at Osgoode and made a deep impression on a generation of students.

"He was a wonderfully enthusiastic, outgoing, friendly, dynamic guy - a Pierre Trudeau type of guy. He wore a rose in his lapel," Toronto lawyer Frank Gomberg, who studied under him in 1974, recalls. "He had a bubbling enthusiasm for the law of torts. It was contagious. I spent my career in that area because of him."

Mr. Linden married his highschool sweetheart, Bambi Shafran, in his early 20s, and together they raised three daughters.

On his sabbaticals, he took the family to Oxford, Melbourne and Paris. The first places they visited were the courthouses and the law schools, his daughter Wendy Linden said. (Even when they went to the Bahamas.) So inspirational was he that all three daughters became lawyers - and all three married lawyers.

He was not an ivory-tower sort; law connected him to politics and the problems of real life. He published a 1965 statistical study on car-accident victims, which helped lead to Ontario's first nofault insurance plan in 1970. He wrote a 1968 report on compensating crime victims, which, two years later, led to Ontario's creation of a compensation program.

An active member of the Liberal Party before he became a judge, he developed a friendship with Mr. Trudeau, whose vision of a "just society" he shared. He worked for Mr. Trudeau at the 1968 party convention at which he became Leader. For years afterward, Mr. Linden kept up a correspondence with him, sending him notes, for instance, recommending a book to read or a person for a particular post, Ms. Linden says.

Over the decades, his prolific writing on torts had an enormous impact. In his view, tort law was a kind "ombudsman," a vehicle by which ordinary citizens could challenge the powers that be.

"He created the field of Canadian tort law," Jeremy de Beer, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, says. "Before Allen Linden, tort law was the law of England applied in Canada." English law was formalistic, mechanical; Canadian law addressed public policy considerations.

For Supreme Court Justice Russell Brown, Mr. Linden's approach to torts was deeply influenced by a generosity of spirit. When Justice Brown was a junior law professor at the University of Alberta, he published a journal article criticizing the Supreme Court of Canada for its approach to torts. Then, the phone rang. It was the dean of torts himself.

"I've never forgotten it," he said.

In the 1990s, academic critics challenged Mr. Linden's view of tort law as "ombudsman," Justice Brown said.

"Some scholars argued that perhaps tort law had gone too far, that personal responsibility perhaps had been shunted aside. But Allen would never change. He viewed tort law as one of the great creations of the common law [English body of precedents and case law written by judges].

And he thought it should be made generously available. It's entirely consistent with his personality, which I would characterize as one of generosity."

In 1978, the Trudeau government appointed Mr. Linden to the Supreme Court of Ontario (now called the Superior Court).

His eagerness to advance the law could be seen in a famous tort case, Allan v. New Mount Sinai Hospital in 1980, in which he found a doctor had committed assault by giving a patient a needle in her vulnerable-to-injury left arm when she had asked for it in her right arm - a major precedent on consent. The doctor won on appeal, however, because the case had been fought on grounds of negligence, and Mr. Linden had not given the defence a chance to argue the assault issue, according to Colin Campbell, the defence lawyer in that case.

"He genuinely thought the law should be able to make that happen," said Mr. Campbell, later a judge.

Mr. Linden's time on that court was not happy.

"I think he always felt he wasn't treated very well there by the other judges, that they didn't welcome him as an academic," said Prof. Feldthusen of the University of Ottawa law school, his co-author on four editions of the torts textbook.

In 1983, Mr. Linden stepped away from the court to become the president of the Law Reform Commission of Canada, which undertook to modernize the Criminal Code (although Parliament did not heed its suggestions). He stayed until 1990, when he joined the Federal Court of Appeal in Ottawa.

In one respect, it was an unusual move.

"The Federal Court's jurisdiction is rarely torts," Prof. Feldthusen said.

The court deals with immigration, Indigenous issues and other matters of federal jurisdiction. In a 1993 same-sex case, he dissented, saying that a homosexual couple was entitled to a federal spousal allowance. He was bilingual and could hear cases in French. He enjoyed the court's itinerant approach.

"Our court, from the start, was conceived to be a 'People's Court,' travelling across Canada, deciding cases from coast to coast to coast, making it unnecessary for the litigants to travel to Ottawa," he said at a 2009 symposium.

He had much the same effect on his clerks as he had on his students.

"Before clerking for him, I thought law was just a set of rules, and he showed me how much more it is," Prof. de Beer said. "He was able to humanize the law unlike anyone I've ever seen."

Sometimes, the humanizing went only so far. Chief Justice Marc Noël of the Federal Court of Appeal said his former colleague tried as an appellate judge to interpret very technical tax laws as he would any other statute. "He tried to put a social bent on tax law. The Supreme Court didn't really agree with many of his rulings in the tax area."

Mr. Linden's first marriage ended after roughly a quarter-century and, in 1984, he married Marjorie Anthony, a broadcast executive who had once been part of the agency managing the Smothers Brothers comedy team.

She died in 2013.

In 2015, he married Joanna Maxwell. For many years, he spent winters as a visiting scholar, teaching tort law at Pepperdine University's school of law, a Christian university in Malibu, Calif. It wasn't until last winter, when he became ill, that he gave it up.

"It was like having someone drop a golden egg on your property," said Pepperdine professor Rick Cupp, who specializes in torts. "He's one of the most distinguished torts scholars in the world. The William Prosser of Canada. Incredibly well-beloved."

In a 2005 essay, Viva Torts!, Mr. Linden said he preferred torts to Champagne. Mentioning publichealth disasters such as tainted blood, asbestos, tobacco, Chernobyl and Bhopal, he said: "We torts people are blessed with a frontrow-centre seat on the drama of life."

In a coda to the thalidomide story, he met Stephen Raynes, son of Arthur, as the Philadelphia lawyer led the Canadian Thalidomide Survivors Task Force, seeking additional help for nearly 100 adults whose money had run out.

On Dec. 1, 2014, Canadian MPs voted unanimously to give the survivors full support.

Mr. Linden leaves his brother, Sidney; sister, Sandy; daughters, Wendy, Lisa and Robyn; wife, Joanna Maxwell Linden; and his 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

Through his writing, Allen Linden, seen here with a statue of Northrop Frye, helped usher in modern Canadian tort law, which holds corporations, individuals and governments to account through court action.

An epic undertaking
Daniel Mendelsohn's latest is a sometimes bewildering but eventually beguiling book about fathers and sons, Ian Brown writes
Saturday, September 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R12

Homer's The Odyssey - which may or may not have been spoken instead of written, possibly by a person or persons named or not named Homer, sometime in the eighth century BC or arguably 250 years later - is one of the foundations of Western literature, and a must read.

On the other hand, honestly: Do you really want to read it?

It's not a light undertaking, especially for the digitally distracted. The plot of the epic poem (12,110 lines of dactylic hexameter) concerns the decadelong return of Odysseus, the king of Ithaka, to his homeland (after having spent the previous decade capturing the city of Troy, the subject of The Iliad, the previous epic of "Homer"), and the various obstacles, adventures, setbacks, disguises, digressions and distractions he encounters along the way.

Interlaced (an epic understatement) with that plot are at least three others: the life story of Telemachus, Odysseus's son, who kicks the action off with a series of voyages of his own to find out what happened to the famous father he never knew; the tale of Odysseus's faithful wife, Penelope, who spends her time knitting and unknitting her husband's funeral shroud and being depressed while she wards off the unwanted attention of a gang of free-loading twerps (the Suitors) who want to seduce her and thereby replace her husband as king of Ithaka; and an account of the bi-polarities of various gods and goddesses and/or Laertes, Odysseus's father, who has exiled himself to the country, so distraught is he by the disappearance of his son and the moral decay of his former kingdom. Did I mention that the poem was composed in ancient Greek? This complicates matters of interpretation considerably.

But if reading The Odyssey is complicated, writing a book about reading it borders on terrifying. This is the task Daniel Mendelsohn, international bestseller, memoirist, translator and essayist for both The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, has taken on in An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic.

"One January evening a few years ago," Mendelsohn writes in the book's opening sentence, "just before the beginning of the spring term in which I was going to be teaching an undergraduate seminar on The Odyssey, my father, a retired research scientist who was then aged 81, asked me, for reasons I thought I understood at the time, if he might sit in on the course, and I said Yes."

The result is a sometimes bewildering but eventually beguiling book about fathers and sons and how they can and cannot share what the poet Robert Hayden once called "the austere and lonely offices" of fatherhood.

The book wanders - not least because Mendelsohn's book copies the non-linear form Homer uses in his. (They don't call it The Odyssey for nothing.) Mendelsohn keeps four stories aloft at once: a continuous summary of The Odyssey itself (just in case the reader hasn't read it); his account of the class he teaches, Classics 125: The Odyssey of Homer, at Bard College in the Hudson Valley, 140 kilometres north of New York, during which Mendelsohn tries valiantly to teach a band of millennials to disregard their own opinions in favour of the hard evidence of the text; the story of his relationship with his father, both in the past and as they make their way through The Odyssey; and an account of his own and his father's life.

Then, as soon as Classics 125 is over, but before the book is, father and son take an "Odyssey cruise," on which they drink martinis and sing show tunes and hit the same Mediterranean stop-offs Odysseus did on his way home to reclaim Penelope and his kingdom.

Of all the relationships Daniel Mendelsohn has in the book, it's his own, with his "Daddy," that's most fraught. In his 80s, frail and finally retired, Jay Mendelsohn starts the class as the cranky father he has always been - unspeaking, anxious, perfectionistic, a rabid reader who raised himself in a largely absent working-class family to become a research mathematician and, later, a professor of computer science. He has never once uttered the words "I love you" to his vivacious wife and children, at least in Daniel's hearing. He's a classically repressed, Depressionraised, postwar father.

Jay doesn't mind that his son, Daniel, is gay - a fact Mendelsohn realized as a teenager and copped to in university - but he does mind that the boy is both hopeless at math and prone to leaving himself vulnerable to random chance. Just as Odysseus means "a man of pain" in Greek, Jay Mendelsohn, to his son, is a "hard" man, devoted to difficulty: The more gruelling a task is, the more worthwhile he deems it. "I simply felt that everything about me was hopelessly mushy and imprecise. ... And so I hid - from many things, but above all from him, who knew so clearly what was what."

The frostiness starts to thaw in Daniel's late 20s, when he begins graduate work in the classics - a notoriously difficult and demanding field. Classicists are to literature what Roger Federer is to tennis - the top of the cultural scholar heap, heirs to an intellectual heritage that can be traced, at its most august levels, all the way back to Aristarchus, who ran the library at Alexandria in 1050 BC and was an expert on Homer. (Classicists are also, like Federer, renowned for their haughtiness, their slightly too fastidious disdain for anything but classic fare.)

Mendelsohn's father abandoned Latin before his senior year in high school, before he had a chance to read Virgil's Aeneid in the original Latin, and his regret fuels his late-life interest. "Now you'll read it for me," he tells his son. But will the son do it to his father's exacting satisfaction? As Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war, points out in The Odyssey, "few sons are the equals of their fathers; most fall short, all too few surpass them."

That ancient tension is still simmering when father Jay takes his corner seat in son Daniel's Odyssey class.

Jay has promised not to talk in class, but immediately breaks his vow. He doesn't like Telemachus, Odysseus's son, because the gods do everything for him - and "that's not the way life really is."

He doesn't think much of Odysseus either, because he's a risktaker whose bragging only gets him into deeper trouble with the likes of the Cyclops and Poseidon. There are complicated reasons why Jay abhors outside assistance and even the whiff of failure - reasons that come to light only later in the book, to his son's surprise. (The author has two sons of his own with a woman to whom he is not married, in a very non-classical arrangement.)

Contrary to Daniel's expectations, his old man is a huge hit with his young students. Jay brings the humbling wisdom of a long life to their examination of The Odyssey. When, in the Underworld, the ghost of Achilles claims he would renounce all glory for another chance to live, even as a slave, none of the young 'uns - romantic millennials that they are - know what to make of this climb-down. But Jay does: "It reveals that you can spend your whole life believing in something, and then you get to a point when you realize you were wrong about the whole thing." It's not clear if he is speaking of himself or his judgmental son, who has strict standards of what a father should do and be.

By the time the semester's over, and father and son are about to leave on their Odyssey cruise, the father has begun to emerge from his defensive shell. In the last class of the seminar, discussing the affection Odysseus and Penelope feel for one another, despite not having seen one another for 20 years, Jay Mendelsohn finally speaks of his wife, with whom he is still bickering. "She was so beautiful," he murmurs - another declaration his son Daniel has never heard before. Her beauty has faded, but the relationship is held together with something stickier: homophrosyne - "like-mindedness," Homer calls it, or "that old black magic," as the Sinatra-educated Jay prefers.

('Cause you are the lover I have waited for/The mate that fate had me created for...) The more they read, the more Mendelsohn sees his father as he actually is, in his less defended but more complicated state, the more the son can drop his own armour of independence and self-creation. Maybe you don't have to conquer Troy and be the king of Ithaka to be a good father; maybe all you have to do, as the British psychoanalyst D. W.

Winnicott famously said, is survive long enough to launch your children on their way. "What might a heroism of survival look like?" Mendelsohn asks, and the answer is obvious: It looks like his father's life, and is no less noble for that fact.

"Unlike me," Mendelsohn writes, and he is ashamed the revelation has been so long coming, "my father didn't have a father who pushed him to finish, who wanted him to achieve more than he had, who was willing to have his son beat the Homeric odds and be more than his father had been." But then, as Mendelsohn observes, a son never has the chance to know his father as well as a father can know his son.

That's the way that longing works.

A year after sitting in a classroom to debate the merits of revenge, Mendelsohn's father trips in a supermarket parking lot, develops a blood clot in his leg and is prescribed blood thinners. Two weeks later, he has a massive stroke. This is An Odyssey's equivalent of The Odyssey's famous last-minute revenge scene, when Odysseus returns to Ithaka and kills Penelope's loutish suitors. Telemachus, Odysseus's son, almost blows it by not locking away the Suitors' weapons; in real life, Daniel nearly agrees to have his father euthanized, moments before the old guy sits up from a coma and asks for a cup of water. Does he live on?

Good question. An Odyssey stops just as abruptly and mysteriously as The Odyssey. That is probably the point: It depends what you mean by live on, on your definition of immortality.

The refreshing thing about An Odyssey, however, is that it's also a repudiation of the cultism of the classics. In graduate school, Mendelsohn tells Jenny Strauss Clay, a famous scholar of the classics (and daughter of political philosopher Leo Strauss) that he hopes to write an essay about Book 4 of the epic. Clay replies, as only a classics scholar can, "Well you can't begin to write anything until you've read everything." How, then, did Homer, who may have been illiterate, write The Odyssey? This is how classics scholars gained a reputation as dusty elitists, and a big reason why the classics have repelled as many readers as they have attracted.

"If you're a classicist," Mendelsohn writes, "merely to open a copy of The Iliad or The Odyssey" - preferably the ferociously severe, pale blue cloth Oxford Classical Texts, containing the Greek and Latin texts, with no translation, commentary or (God forbid!) illustrations - "is to be reminded of this vast lineage of scholarship, of the immense hive-like labour that slowly adds drops of knowledge over the course of 25 centuries to our understanding of what the poems are and what they say."

Yes, you could read The Odyssey, the great book, that way. Or you could read it with your failing old man, and keep each other company in the parallel epic known as life. That memory will last longer than anything on your cellphone.

Ian Brown is a Globe and Mail feature writer.

Associated Graphic

Daniel Mendelsohn, right, and his father, Jay, who attends an undergraduate seminar on The Odyssey taught by Daniel. By the semester's end father and son understand each other better.

An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic By Daniel Mendelsohn Signal/McClelland & Stewart, 306 pages, $34.95

From a gripping Vietnam War documentary to Star Trek, the season's small-screen lineup is ready to give viewers an ideal dose of escapism, John Doyle writes, joined by strong returning summer shows of last year and a provocative slew of new material
Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

The concept of "new fall TV" is not what it used to be.

And that's a good thing.

There's fun to be had in the next quarter, but it's not the only period that matters. Long promised by networks beleaguered by the boilerplate plan of fall, midseason and summer TV schedules, the shift to allyear TV is emphatically here, being forced upon networks by streaming services and, well, technology that allows viewers to access TV series at any old time.

This calendar year, it's not fall that is so intense - network, cable and streaming services launched their strongest new material between January and April. And some of last year's strong summer series are returning, not in summer, but this fall. The old calendar has gone awry.

What it all means is about 20 new fall series from the U.S.

networks and some major productions from streaming services, such as Netflix, and local Canadian TV, will amount to a strange array of comforts and pleasures. With a few provocations thrown in. There is much more to TV these days than what mainstream broadcasters offer in the September-toNovember period and that is the industry's curse and blessing - it's a blessing because sometimes, scheduled escapism is just ideal for all viewers.

In terms of themes, there is, first, the strictly business matter of old shows being revived. The restorations of Will & Grace, Roseanne, American Idol, Dynasty and others are safe bets for audience attention and, while they offer an opportunity for relevant updating, that opportunity will probably be missed in some shows. The unease of networks in the matter of starkly new material is also evident in Young Sheldon, a spinoff from The Big Bang Theory that might well be charming but is too obviously calculating and critic-proof.

Looking for reflections of the American consciousness and mood is a fool's errand this year - most of the content can be considered an evasion of the disruptions and divisiveness of the Trump era, with the exception of the bafflingly cryptofascist crime-drama Wisdom of the Crowd coming to CBS.

For many viewers, the highlight of the fall will not be the new series but the return of This is Us on NBC/CTV (Sept. 26) or Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO/ HBO Canada (Oct. 1) or the second season of Stranger Things (Oct. 27) on Netflix. What's new is a miscellany of the conventional and the convoluted, all fascinating in a weird and wonderful way.


The Vietnam War (PBS, Sept. 17) The blessedly different approach of Ken Burns to the documentary format is a matter of depth and breadth. The Vietnam War is 18 hours long in 10 parts. (His masterpiece, The Civil War, was 11 hours.) Such length is certainly required for the labyrinthine history behind the United States' involvement in Vietnam and the quagmire the war became. Burns is also a seeker of truth, not a mere accumulator of impressions. What is striking about this series is that it is very much a cautionary tale - the truth is very hard to find and the number of people who told the truth, certainly to the American public, is tiny. After a decade in the making, Burns and his codirector, Lynn Novick, end up dwelling on a central question that is tricky to answer - why did the actual war go on and on when it was so obviously doomed? After a very strong opening, in which the context is given and international players profiled, the series begins to probe at the arrogance of military leaders and politicians. The archival footage is often stunning and sometimes soul destroying. Burns's technique of combining visuals with spoken commentary is as strong as ever and here, it is the interviews with veterans (both American and Vietnamese), families who lost children in Vietnam and anti-war protesters, that create the raw bones of the story. The overriding emotion that emanates from it is despair; but how that despair came into being is the cautionary tale that is the whole point.

Star Trek: Discovery (CBS/CBS All Access, CraveTV Canada, Sept. 24) CBS has been very coy about the content of the new iteration of the franchise, not releasing it to critics and largely silent on the content. That is either a marketing ploy or hesitation about its worth. No matter - the series going to soak up a lot of attention. It stars Sonequa MartinGreen as First Officer Michael Burnham, and the series is about the adventures of a new Starfleet crew living and working on board the USS Discovery, set a decade before Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock were doing their thing. There is a war with the Klingons, apparently. Some good actors are involved, including Jason Isaacs and, since it was largely made in Toronto, some Canadians might turn up, too.

Much of the advance speculation is about the treatment of religion and tolerance in the show - no matter the characters or special effects, the series must live up to the original's portrait of, you know, peace and love.

Ten Days in the Valley (ABC, CTV, Oct. 1) Created by Canadian Tassie Cameron, the 10-episode Ten Days is on every critic's top-five list for this confounding new TV season. Kyra Sedgwick plays Jane Sadler, an overworked television producer/single mom in the middle of a fraught separation, whose personal life is shattered, and her already controversial police series is torpedoed, when her young daughter disappears.

At first, the series has the air and style of a strong but conventional mystery but then it gets tangled, truly chilling and, indeed, thoughtful, as the two worlds - cop-show entertainment and motherhood - become horribly entangled.

Sedgwick is truly excellent as an angry, distraught mother and TV showrunner who Cameron has described as "truth-telling documentarian in over her head." It is the L.A. TV business as a minefield of disturbing personal relationship and dangerous professional obstacles. The Sedgwick character is its strong suit - this is a highly complex, driven woman with some ugly skeletons hidden away.

White Famous (Showtime/ The Movie Network Oct. 15) This deft, snarky and often hilarious comedy is about Floyd Mooney (Saturday Night Live alum Jay Pharoah), a young African-American comedian who is a fast-rising star. Various people have ideas about how to make him really, really famous. That is, "white-famous," which means "like Obama or Tiger Woods."

Executive producer Jamie Foxx says it is based, in part, on his own experiences and he makes himself a central character in the early going. The show seems to manage to be lightweight and funny while taking a sharp satiric axe to a lot of showbiz clichés and lies about race.

Godless (Netflix, Nov. 22) Not much can be seen in advance, but this is an intriguing series to anticipate. A seven-part western, it was created by Steven Soderbergh, who always tends to poke around in disturbing storytelling places. It stars Jeff Daniels as outlaw Frank Griffin, who, along with his posse, is seeking Roy Goode (Jack O'Connell), a man who betrayed him. Turns out that while on the run, Roy has hidden out with hard-nosed widow Alice Fletcher (Michelle Dockery, who was Lady Mary on Downton Abbey). Alice is herself a castaway of sorts eking out an existence in the near-derelict, isolated mining town of La Belle, N.M., a community that is almost entirely female. A murderous revenge-seeking gang against a mostly female community is unlikely to be orthodox in Soderbergh's hands.

Alias Grace (CBC/Netflix; on CBC Sept. 25) What writer Sarah Polley, director Mary Harron and star Sarah Gadon have done with Margaret Atwood's novel is much more literary than the expansive adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale done for Hulu. A more comprehensive review will come later but for now, lets just say that Gadon is the engine that drives it and there is a stiffness to the six-part adaptation of the type that tends to bedevil a good deal of Canadian TV drama. Grace Marks is a convicted double murderess and the journey to the source of the crime and the matter of guilt or innocence is fraught with male perception of the female mind and ego.

Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders (NBC, Global, Sept. 26) This is what FX's The People v. O.J. Simpson has wrought - a network, limited-series drama about a high-profile murder trial, with a marquee star. Lyle and Erik Menendez were convicted in 1994 for the 1989 murders of their parents, Jose and Mary (Kitty) Menendez. The defence claimed the brothers' actions were a reaction to the sexual and psychological abuse they suffered at the hands of their parents. Thanks to saturation coverage by tabloid TV at the time, the case was an in-yourface drama with a colourful cast of characters and what was presented was an alleged insight into the home-life perversity of the rich and comfortable. The great Edie Falco plays the Menendez brothers' notorious defence lawyer, Leslie Abramson.

Will & Grace (NBC, Global, Sept. 28) The creators of the show, Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, have made it clear that the revived, limited-run sitcom will not be "entirely about issues." It couldn't be, if it is to be funny.

But its revival is both a shrewd business decision by NBC and an opportunity to expand on the perception of all LGBTQ people, not just two white, middle-class gay men. No transgender person in the U.S. armed forces is going to have their dismissal revoked by a network sitcom, but what makes the series an enthralling possibility is its power to make the general population comfortable with the "other," as the original did. Heck, Canadian carrier Global lists it as "topical."

Bad Blood (City-TV stations, Sept. 21) This six-part original series stars Anthony LaPaglia as Montreal mobster Vito Rizzuto and, while American actors get several leading roles, this is very much a Canadian drama. Based on the book Business or Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto's Last War by Antonio Nicaso and Peter Edwards, it is - based on the evidence of the first hour - a very solid, gripping mob drama. It begins with deft establishment of Rizzuto's firm grip on all manner of crime in Montreal and then begins to chronicle the bloody and hair-raising disintegration of his mob after he was indicted and imprisoned in the United States. Then, of course, it deals with the calamitous revenge that Rizzuto attempted.

At six episodes, it is likely too short to subtly convey the full depth of the story, but it certainly is high-grade crime drama that gives some good Canadian actors - including Angela Asher, Maxim Roy, Tony Nappo and Brett Donahue - material to sink their teeth into.

The Gifted (Fox, CTV, Oct. 2) A Marvel-universe show, this fantasy-drama is infinitely better than expected. The gist is this - when young Andy Strucker (Percy Hynes White) and his sister Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) are outed as mutant creatures with powers, the kids and their parents go on the run from a menacing government agent and his team. Thus, they enter a hidden "mutant network" and superheroes old and young are part of it. Unlike most series derived from the Marvel comic-book universe, this one has genuine heart and emotional heft and is a sharp thriller, if the pilot is any indication. Stephen Moyer (from True Blood) is great as the dad and young Canadian Percy Hynes White is outstanding.

Associated Graphic

The archival footage used in Ken Burns's The Vietnam War, set to premiere Sept. 17 on PBS, is often stunning and sometimes soul destroying.

Bad Blood tells the story of Montreal mobster Vito Rizzuto in six parts, and has the potential to be a gripping mob drama if its first hour is any indication.

The deft, snarky and frequently hilarious White Famous, a Jamie Foxx-produced comedy scheduled to debut Oct. 15, stars Jay Pharoah as a young comedian whose star is quickly rising.


Magnate made his fortune in cable TV
He enraged neighbours with plans to add a huge underground expansion to his London mansion
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S12

As they were leaving a party on a yacht in Saint-Tropez, cable TV magnate David Graham turned to a debonair friend and said, "I notice you didn't have much success with the women on board." The charismatic real estate developer acknowledged the observation, saying he couldn't understand why. "It's probably because I told everybody you were my cook," Mr. Graham said.

Mischievous, and hugely generous with friends, Mr. Graham owned several opulent homes - including one in Saint-Tropez - that were purchased with proceeds from the sale of Cablecasting Ltd., a cable TV company Mr. Graham co-founded in the 1960s.

In 1992, Shaw Communications bought the company for more than $300-million. Mr. Graham spent the rest of his life indulging his passion for luxurious property, beautiful women and quiet, anonymous philanthropy. Even though he had no children, he gave to charities that encouraged entrepreneurship in youth. He also supported music programs and symphonies.

Gratitude from friends for some deed of kindness, such as paying for a specialized eye operation or hosting a wedding reception for a personal trainer, were met with responses like: "Okay. Great."

Then, Mr. Graham would briskly remove himself from the scene.

As the recipient of a gift, Mr. Graham could be like a kid. One friend remembered his reaction when she bought him socks. She said a particular hit was a couple of pairs bearing the famous Hudson's Bay Co. stripes. "He almost jumped up and down saying he was going to run right down to the Bay and buy another dozen pairs."

A man of restless energy, Mr. Graham avoided boredom. On a whim, he might decide to leave a dinner party in Toronto and head across the Atlantic to London. He always travelled coach class and was renowned for forgetting his wallet and identification. Friends often had to pony up for his taxi fare.

Mr. Graham eschewed the limelight, although he sometimes found himself caught in its glare.

Marrying high-profile journalist Barbara Amiel, then editor of the Toronto Sun, brought him notoriety as did a late-in-life plan to dig four storeys below his 15,000square-foot mansion in London's swanky Knightsbridge area. The prospect of noisy construction caused an uproar from his neighbours, including author Edna O'Brien.

Mr. Graham was forced to back down but never gave up hope that his expansion plan would eventually be approved. Mr. Graham had intended to add a ballroom, a swimming pool and servants' quarters, among other facilities.

His project, however, would never come to fruition. Mr. Graham died on Sept. 2 at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto after suffering a major stroke at another of his luxury homes, on the Caribbean island of St. Barts.

He was 80.

Despite his advanced age, two of Mr. Graham's final phone calls were about other property acquisitions that interested him. The process of transformation, increasing the value and beauty of property, inspired Mr. Graham. It gave him something to look forward to.

David Robert Graham, a 1936 Valentine's Day baby, was the second of four sons born to John Graham and Susanne Graham (née Hill) of Ottawa. Charlie Graham, youngest of the four boys, says his father's family was well respected in Ottawa society, although not prominent. His maternal grandfather, however, Sir Charles Fitzpatrick, had been the fifth justice minister under then-prime minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier and eventually became chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Susanne Hill's aristocratic lineage required her to be presented at a debutante's ball. There, in 1929, she met John Graham, an investment dealer. He was eight years older than she was and he had his own small but successful firm, John Graham & Co. The two married in 1934 and bought two acres of land in Rockcliffe Park, on which to raise a family.

During the Second World War, John Graham was too near-sighted to enlist. He volunteered instead as a safety warden in the family neighbourhood, ensuring that windows were darkened against air raids and buckets of sand were at the ready in homes to extinguish fires.

Charlie Graham says the brothers' upbringing was "comfortable, but not posh." Their father's Scottish heritage made sure they all had a strong respect for the dollar.

"My father didn't believe in allowances," Mr. Graham said. "If you wanted something, you had to work for it, and with two acres of land there were always chores to do: raking leaves, shovelling snow or planting."

Young David decided to raise chickens and sell their eggs door to door, along with magazine subscriptions. By age 19, having graduated from Ashbury College in Ottawa, he was running one of his most successful operations: lots where Christmas trees were sold.

When his father refused to fund him, the teenager approached a bank and secured a loan on the basis that one of the lots was across the street and the banker would be able to see whether he'd made a sound business decision.

The seasonal sale of trees ensured that by the time Mr. Graham got his undergraduate business degree from the University of Western Ontario and Waterloo Lutheran University, his ego, and bank account, were healthy.

Upon applying to Harvard, where he earned an MBA, Mr. Graham stood up to a pompous, bowtied admissions officer who asked why on earth the young man in front of him should be admitted to such a prestigious program.

"Because I want to be able to hire people like you," was the answer.

Mr. Graham graduated in 1964.

Much impressed by a Harvard course on entrepreneurship and new enterprises, Mr. Graham, sensed opportunity in cable television. He set out to learn as much as he could about the emerging field by working in the cable TV division of Westinghouse in Georgia. By the time he returned to Canada, he knew more about the business than most people. This was to be his future.

Jim Meekison, a Harvard business school alum, investment banker and friend, agreed to assist with raising capital for a company they called Cablecasting Ltd. Local investors were key. Mr. Graham amused friends with one-liners. "Never let the maybes [undecided prospective investors] be in a room together." The strategy worked. Cablecasting raised enough investment to acquire a number of licences in small municipalities surrounding the nation's capital.

If the company was going to compete against other players rapidly coming onto the scene, however, it needed a big market.

The two men were disappointed when Ottawa franchises were awarded to others. It then made sense to sell their small licenses to one of the Ottawa franchisees and pursue another major market, this time in Winnipeg.

To their great delight, the Manitoba Telephone System awarded Cablecasting the licence for the region east of the Red River. Next came a license in Calgary, then in 1979, a major coup with the acquisition of all licenses for metropolitan Atlanta and part of Los Angeles. Cablecasting was truly on the air.

Gregarious by nature, Mr. Graham could also exhibit shyness, and a little-boy lost demeanour that women found irresistible.

Barbara Amiel, who met Mr. Graham at a Rosedale party, recalled the encounter in an e-mail to Charlie Graham.

"My initial impression was of a tall, dashing man wearing his Savile Row suit so easily under his Burberry trench coat and with a smile and a wonderful voice - I love deep, confident voices - that knocked me sideways every time he said 'Miss Amiel.' Clearly a gentile of the highest degree and theoretically off limits to a nice Jewish girl. Catnip."

Seven months later, in 1984, the couple married secretly in Nantucket. Ms. Amiel wrote that Mr. Graham was a man of marvellous taste who, curiously, often had toothpaste on his tie.

"We all tried to figure out how it got there since it would appear in between dinner courses at restaurants. Perhaps it had something to do with the little black and gold Swiss mouth freshener sprays he used. I think he was always preparing to kiss or be kissed," she said. "And very often, he was."

The newlyweds settled in London. Mr. Graham was expanding his cable business into Britain while Ms. Amiel continued her writing career. During this period, the busy couple lived in Mr. Graham's Belgravia duplex on Eaton Place, a street scape used as the exterior for the TV series Upstairs, Downstairs. The couple hoped they might have a child, but never conceived. After four years together, it became apparent they were ill-suited. The intellectual Ms. Amiel was fiercely political whereas Mr. Graham was not. She moved into her own townhouse in Chelsea. The couple attempted a brief reconciliation, but divorced in 1990.

Mr. Graham continued to hope for a companion who liked to travel, entertain and have fun.

Ideally, like him, she would have an eye for renovation and decoration. He found that person in Catherine Schneider, divorced fourth wife of French film director and producer Roger Vadim. (Mr.

Vadim's first and third wives, respectively, were Brigitte Bardot and Jane Fonda.)

Ms. Schneider, a steel heiress, was Mr. Graham's glamorous neighbour in Saint-Tropez. She introduced him to the world of art and collecting. Mr. Graham became a regular at auction houses and art exhibits and was soon the proud owner of Baumgarten a valuable painting by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. In 1994, two years after their initial meeting, the couple married. The relationship lasted a total of 12 years.

Later in life, they resumed an amicable friendship. In the interim between marriages, female companionship was never lacking for Mr. Graham.

He maintained a trim figure playing tennis, rarely drank, ate mostly vegetarian meals and gave up smoking by the age of 50. By the age of 60, he'd installed gym equipment in his homes (affectionately referred to by all as Camp David) and had a personal trainer come to each of them. At various times he embraced yoga, Pilates and Feldenkreis, a method of mindful movement.

He believed in name-brand medicine, alternating between the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins and the Cleveland Clinic for his annual physicals. His brother Charlie said he sometimes played them off against each other if one's results or recommendations didn't match the others.

Books on health regularly arrived at the homes of friends, with whom he could be quite intrusive. "Are you still smoking?" he'd ask. "How much exercise do you get each day?" Mr. Graham's own father had his first stroke at the age of 56 while still running his business.

Mindful of genetics, Mr. Graham made sure he sold his own business by the same age in order to enjoy his fortune. Once again, he was looking ahead.

Mr. Graham leaves his brothers, John, Anthony and Charlie, as well as five nieces and nephews.

"David saw that cable TV was going to be a huge industry before many other people did. He was a true visionary," Mr. Meekison said.

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

Before starting Cablecasting Ltd., David Graham, above, and below with his dog Susy, was running Christmas tree lots at 19. He approached a bank and secured a loan on the basis that one of the lots was across the street and the banker would be able to see whether he'd made a sound business decision.


Jagmeet Singh brings swagger to the NDP
In a party that's been in a funk since the election, the perceived leadership front-runner promises a culture shift his rivals do not
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A8

'I happen to be younger, cooler and better-dressed, so actually it's not fighting fire with fire..." Jagmeet Singh trailed off. He was responding to a question about concerns from other New Democrats that he shares too much of Justin Trudeau's flash to strike the right contrast with him.

"It's fighting ... I can't think of something hotter than fire, with something less hot than fire."

Fatigue had him a bit off his game. We'd been talking for almost an hour, at the end of a long campaign day, in the final weeks of a leadership race that has him travelling to parts of the country he's never been before.

That day's stop was in the small British Columbia city of Merritt, where he'd just held a questionand-answer session with about 30 locals.

But with the first part of his comparison to Mr. Trudeau, he's already offered a window into what makes him so disruptive to the party's establishment and so thrilling to some New Democrats - including the tens of thousands of new members he signed up.

The support has helped make him the expected front-runner in the NDP's first round of leadership voting, the results of which will be announced on Oct. 1.

Since the erstwhile deputy leader of the Ontario New Democrats entered the national race in May, and especially since video of him deftly handling an Islamophobic heckler garnered international attention earlier this month, Mr. Singh's unusual proposition to the NDP has sometimes been reduced to his Sikhism. (The heckler may have mistaken him for a Muslim.) But there is much more that would set him apart from past NDP leaders than just the colour of his skin and the turban on his head.

In a party that has traditionally focused on substance over style, frowned upon leaders' personalities or value sets overshadowing their adherence to party dogma and expected them to speak first and foremost to other New Democrats before soliciting outside support, Mr. Singh promises a culture change his three opponents do not.

Certainly, he is not playing down that being Canada's first visible-minority leader of a major national party would be a big part of that development. Even when speaking to predominantly white crowds in places such as the B.C. Interior, he devotes much of his introductory remarks to recalling discrimination he faced growing up in Ontario. His appeal is partly predicated on being able to crack into immigrant-heavy suburbs, which have long rejected the NDP, and where he has twice in a row won a provincial seat. When New Democrats fret whether the rest of the electorate is ready for someone who looks like him - a frequent question, given polls showing Quebeckers in particular having serious trouble with it - he pushes back hard.

"Instead of asking if Canada is ready, I would say Canada needs this," he told an elderly white woman in Merritt who cited prejudice in her own community.

"Nobody thought America was ready for Obama, but America needed Obama."

But with that rather bold comparison, Mr. Singh again demonstrated that he is a candidate defined as much as anything else by a level of confidence that veers into brashness.

It might be an armour that he developed in response to racist bullying while growing up in Windsor, Ont. The implication explains the persona he's built for himself, one that has him fight competitively in mixed-martial arts and cut a striking figure in expensive suits while driving his sports car or riding his bespoke bicycle. "Nothing is natural," he said in the interview. "Everything is your life experiences. ... I think I've honed it over the years."

However he came by it, his swagger informs his willingness to break unwritten rules about how to campaign for an NDP leadership and - if he wins - about how to run the party.

He has all but admitted during the campaign that he's already looking past the race. "I won't lose," he repeatedly replied during one of the campaign's final debates, when rival Charlie Angus pressed him on whether he would seek a federal seat regardless of the outcome. He is so confident about victory that, members of his campaign team say, he has consciously fashioned his messaging to appeal to the broader electorate.

After the win he is expecting, he intends to spend as much time as possible outside Ottawa. While Tom Mulcair made holding the government to account in Parliament the focal point of his leadership, Mr. Singh has indicated he might not even seek a seat there until the 2019 general election, in the hopes of focusing on broader outreach.

And while the messaging during that outreach wouldn't be at odds with party tradition, it might not be terribly familiar either. Mr. Singh has steered the provincial party into new turf. New Democrats at Queen's Park, where he is the only non-white member of a 20-person caucus, credit him as not just the public face but the driving force behind the NDP's opposition to police carding, which resulted in the Ontario Legislature passing a motion to that effect. And he has proved an enormously effective advocate on other issues, such as auto-insurance rates disproportionately high for certain demographics, which appeal to his sense of fairness.

He has spoken to a much broader range of issues during the leadership, with a detailed platform diving into matters such as income security. But it's where he sees injustice that the former criminal-defence lawyer tends to be most persuasive. Asked which federal issues get him most excited, one of the two he settled on was "criminal-justice reform, shifting from a punitive to a rehabilitative model," including decriminalization of all drugs for personal use. (The other, expanding health-care universality via pharmacare, was more standard NDP fare.)

If his priorities would be new, the way he communicates them - in the language of millennials, even if, at 38, he is slightly too old to qualify as one himself - might be more so. When he introduces himself to audiences, he does not follow the typical politician's template - jokes up front, policy promises or critiques in the middle, close with a call to arms. In language peppered with "like" and "literally," he personalizes his values by sharing his own experiences. The longest of his go-to stories, relating to carding, is about being harassed by police while visiting Toronto's Casa Loma - a tale he physically acts out and plays for laughs.

"Hopefully I put on a good show, you had a good time, some good laughs," he said in Merritt before taking questions. Sometimes he'll invite his audience to gather around him so he can shoot a Snapchat video, part of a social-media strategy alien to party stalwarts.

Not that there is likely to be a surfeit of such veterans behind the scenes in Ottawa, if he wins.

Mr. Singh is not averse to links with his party's past - his campaign manager, Michal Hay, was plucked from the office of Jack Layton's city councillor son - but he avoided giving many backroom hold-overs from the Layton and Mulcair eras official campaign roles.

The NDP, Mr. Singh said, has for too long been resistant to "new organizers" inclined to take "bold chances." He wants to bring in a younger crowd, more diverse and less steeped in the party's Byzantine inner workings.

An overhaul by a charismatic Toronto-area politician lacking federal experience would not be totally unprecedented. In response to New Democrats who consider Mr. Singh an interloper, his supporters point out Jack Layton faced similar pushback when he became leader in 2003. But that undersells both the freshness of Mr. Singh's offer to the NDP and the leap of faith he is asking it to take.

The son of an MP, Mr. Layton spent most of his adult life establishing himself as the standardbearer for Toronto's left, through more than two decades on city council and a mayoral campaign.

Mr. Singh has spent six years in politics, coming to it by way of social activism. His outsider credentials are more real, but his learning curve is more steep.

As impressive as he is at smaller events, he has underwhelmed on some of the bigger stages, including candidates' debates. He suggests that's because he's struggled to argue with people he mostly agrees with and agrees with the assessment of people close to him that despite his much-noted MMA expertise, he's not confrontational by nature. A couple of trusted advisers also offered another explanation. Mr. Singh had rarely, if ever, delivered a prepared text until his stilted campaign-launch performance. As he now finds himself on platforms that require him to get points across succinctly, he is trying to find the right balance between being authentic and leader-like.

He has also not looked altogether at ease with some sensitive policy files - taking longer than other candidates to find his footing on the Kinder Morgan pipeline, which pits Alberta New Democrats against the rest of their party. (He eventually joined the rest of the field in opposing the project.) While he has appeared more comfortable as the campaign has worn on, his knowledge of federal fiscal management or program delivery can still seem a bit thin compared to more-experienced rivals.

And there are questions about how he would manage a federal caucus, not just because he would not initially have a seat. He is generally well-liked by provincial colleagues, about half of whom endorsed him, but has been known for playing a bit by his own rules, an MPP who leads on his issues but doesn't always show up for House duty.

Mr. Singh does not dispute that he's a work in progress; if anything he takes pride in it. He considers himself a quick study and a good listener. Those who have interacted with him during his provincial career agree he's not afraid to admit what he doesn't know, and welcome advice. And, he can be self-critical.

But for a party that has been in a funk since the rare whiff of power before the federal election, it's not humility that helps make his case. It's the aplomb that has him looking at Canada's celebrity prime minister and thinking he can take him on his own terms.

Mr. Singh has been claiming new ground for the NDP since he got into politics. And if there is one thing he visibly can't stand, it's doubt from fellow New Democrats about his ability to back up his talk with action.

During the Q&A session in Merritt, a local activist persistently expressed skepticism about shifting jobs from fossil fuels to renewable energy, one of Mr. Singh's more NDP-standard and aspirational campaign commitments. He'd been hearing the same thing forever, the activist kept saying, and interests aligned against it kept proving too powerful.

"That's life, man - we're going to deal with it," Mr. Singh finally shot back. "Bring it on."

Associated Graphic

Federal NDP leadership candidate Jagmeet Singh has all but admitted he is already looking past the race. He is so confident about victory that, members of his campaign team say, he has consciously fashioned his messaging to appeal to the broader electorate.


The godfather of Inuit art
For nearly 50 years, he nurtured Cape Dorset's artists and introduced their creations to the world
Special to The Globe and Mail
Monday, September 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S8

There is no word for art in Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit. Yet, largely owing to the vision of Terry Ryan, who was for almost 50 years the art adviser and general manager of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative (WBEC), art has become the economic engine of Cape Dorset, a community on the southern tip of Baffin Island in Nunavut.

Its population came together from scattered groups of Inuit, who faced starvation when the fur trade collapsed, before they found an alternative income stream.

Mr. Ryan, who died on Aug. 31 in Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga, had a passion for the Arctic from the time he was a student at Ontario College of Art - its deep cold, its intense summer light, its smell, the generosity and earthy humour of its people.

As general manager of WBEC, he was able to use both his artist's eye and his astute business sense to assure the co-op's solvency. Of the half-dozen Inuit communities that made prints in the 1970s, only Cape Dorset remains active, in part because of income generated by auxiliary commercial activities.

Norman Vorano, art historian at Queen's University and curator of Indigenous art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, called Mr. Ryan a savvy negotiator who was "quietly formidable." The artists of Cape Dorset "rose to the highest echelons of Canada's art world with many, like Kenojuak Ashevak, Pudlo Pudlat, Pitseolak Ashoona becoming household names."

In an e-mail, Prof. Vorano wrote: "Cape Dorset has an overabundance of talent. But talent alone doesn't feed families. It was Terry Ryan who brought the talent of Cape Dorset to the world."

"The co-op was never supported by government," explained John Westren, manager of Dorset Fine Arts, the marketing and sales arm of WBEC that Mr. Ryan had set up in Toronto. "We had to come up with our own methods of making money. Terry dedicated himself to it - it was his whole life. He was one of those old-fashioned men of integrity.

"He loved the land, he loved the people and he spoke their language. He was the right man for the job for a long, long time."

"Terry was such a retiring man; he ran away from publicity unlike James Houston, who ran toward it," recalled Pat Feheley, a Toronto gallery owner dealing in Inuit art. "He was a man of impeccable taste. He had style in the way he dressed, in the way he hung his art."

Terrence Peter Ryan was born in Toronto on Dec. 18, 1933, the quiet middle child of seven - six boys and a girl. His mother, Isabel Ryan (née Tamphilon), was a homemaker and his father, Albert Ryan, a veteran of the First World War who opened a hardware store in the Beaches area of the city, later a part of the Home Hardware chain.

While a student at the Ontario College of Art, Terry had a summer job taking soil samples in northern Ontario, and it was there, in Cochrane, that he saw his first Inuit sculpture, in a hardware store. At OCA, he was influenced by his teacher George Pepper, who had studied with Group of Seven member J.E.H.

MacDonald and had served as a war artist. Mr. Pepper had sketched along the coast of Greenland and advised his young student to paint northern landscapes.

In the late 1950s, before commercial flights to the far north began, only nurses, teachers, RCMP and government functionaries, Hudson Bay Co. traders and missionaries found passage on the supply ships that operated during the brief summer months. The determined young OCA grad took a radiosonde course, learning to measure air pressure at different atmospheric levels. At the age of 23, he boarded an icebreaker from Montreal with paints and brushes in his luggage to his new job at the weather station at Clyde River on Baffin Island.

After his two-year contract was up and he had to leave the north, he immediately set about looking for a way to go back. He was in Victoria visiting a friend when he received a letter from George Pepper: James Houston, a government northern service officer who had introduced the Inuit to printmaking, was looking for an assistant to help with the burgeoning co-op, which was first incorporated as a general store.

Mr. Ryan wasted no time in securing the job and headed back to Cape Dorset in 1960 on the C.D. Howe, the same icebreaker he had travelled on previously. For a time, he worked with Mr. Houston, even lived in his house until he was hired in 1962 by the fledgling West Baffin Eskimo Co-op, an Inuit-owned business, as art adviser and manager.

Mr. Houston, an artist himself but burdened by bureaucratic paperwork and ill-informed bosses in Ottawa, was planning his escape and soon left to work for Steuben Glass in the United States.

At the co-op, Mr. Ryan was faced with a tiny print studio so badly insulated that the artists who came to work there found the inks and paints frozen on winter mornings. This gifted first group included Parr, Pitseolak Ashoona, Kenojuak Ashevak, Pudlo Pudlat and Napachie Pootoogook.

In 1964, Mr. Ryan travelled by dog team with two guides to remote hunting camps in North Baffin to hand out paper and pencils and urge people to draw whatever they wanted. He promised to return to buy the resulting pictures. "Our desire was to engage as many artists as possible," he later wrote in an essay in Cape Dorset Prints: A Retrospective (2007).

The resulting 1,840 drawings, recording traditional animist beliefs and a now-vanished way of life, have entered the collection of the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa, and are the basis of a current travelling exhibition curated by Prof. Vorano.

Mr. Ryan, who himself gave up painting in the sixties, was determined to build a bigger, better studio and to expose the Inuit artists to techniques that permit fuller self-expression. To the stonecut and stencil options were added etching, serigraphy, oil stick, acrylics. Copper engraving was tried, abandoned, then reintroduced a decade later.

The co-op bought up sculptures, which the carvers produced in their homes, and drawings from any Inuit who offered them, creating an image bank. Consulting with the printers, Mr. Ryan decided which drawings would make the best prints. The most striking were issued in editions of 50 and included in the annual release of Cape Dorset prints that began in 1959. Each release occasioned excitement among collectors down south.

The late art dealer Av Isaacs recalled that in the 1970s and 80s, lineups of collectors formed outside his Inuit Gallery the night before the new prints went on sale.

Through Mr. Ryan's initiatives, Inuit art evolved. He invited artists from the south to give workshops and training sessions - including Toni Onley, who worked in watercolour; K.M. Graham, who demonstrated acrylics; and Les Levine, with his pop-art sensibility.

Not all his guests could tolerate the -40 C temperature of Dorset in winter. In 1971, Mr. Ryan purchased the lithography press of Toronto artist Charles Pachter and had it shipped north. Mr. Pachter followed in December of that year to set up the equipment and demonstrate its use. Unprepared for the cold, with only a leather jacket for warmth, he lasted only two weeks before he succumbed to pleurisy and pneumonia and had to be flown out.

The full possibilities of lithography - a sophisticated medium used by Toulouse-Lautrec and Picasso - unfolded to the artists of the co-op three years later when master lithographer Wallace Brannen was brought in by Mr. Ryan from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. He stayed for a decade. Inuit artists could participate directly in the lithographic process and their work became more colourful.

"I stepped into a place somewhere between a de facto college of art and a kibbutz for art making," Mr. Brannen wrote of his experience at Dorset.

In 1978, Mr. Ryan saw that the co-op needed to control its own marketing, which till then been handled by Canadian Arctic Producers (CAP), a giant wholesaler that assembled carvings, prints and craft products of varied quality from across the Arctic.

"CAP wasn't happy, but it was exactly the right move for the artists at the time," Ms. Feheley said. Dorset Fine Arts, the marketing arm, now has a client list of a hundred art dealers in Europe (mainly England and Scandinavia), the United States and across Canada.

The energetic Mr. Ryan was instrumental in setting up a separate consumer division that could earn enough to support creative activities.

WBEC expanded to include a Home Hardware franchise and a Yamaha snowmobile store. Mr. Ryan negotiated a fuel delivery contract. He was also for 30 years a Justice of the Peace for the community.

After a whirlwind courtship, in 1966, Mr. Ryan married Patricia Tymchuk, a young nurse working at the nursing station on Cape Dorset who shared his love of region. They adopted two boys and a girl from southern Canada, but the marriage ended in divorce after Patricia moved to Toronto in 1978 for the sake of the children's education, and to refresh her nursing skills.

In 1980, Mr. Ryan hired Leslie Boyd as his assistant and she became his second wife in 1992.

Their daughter, Kate, was born not long after. "All through our marriage, we were colleagues as well as husband and wife," Leslie Boyd Ryan recalled. "Eventually we co-managed the marketing office as well as the studio."

They later decided to split their time equally between north and south so that Kate could get an education. That marriage, too, ended in divorce after 20 years.

Mr. Ryan was named to the Order of Canada in 1983 and received a Governor-General's Award in 2010, for his contribution to Canadian art.

In July, 2009, to mark the 50th anniversary of the co-op and Mr. Ryan's official retirement, the whole community turned out for an exuberant weeklong celebration involving many heartfelt speeches from the elders, giving of gifts, feasting on wild geese and throat singing. "The entire week had been arranged to honour the contributions of Terry Ryan," reported Ms. Feheley, the art dealer, who was there. "Hundreds lined up to write a message in the tribute book, a leather-bound journal in which Itee Pootoogook had drawn a portrait of Terry."

It was his last trip to Cape Dorset. In 2002, Mr. Ryan had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, which began to take its toll. He spent his final years at Parkland on the Glen, an assisted-living facility in Mississauga.

Predeceased by brothers Basil and George, Terry Ryan leaves four siblings: Jack, Lawrence, Steve and Maureen; and his children, Michael, Peter, Patricia and Kate. He also leaves four grandchildren: Amanda, Sarah, Siobhan and Matthew.

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

Terry Ryan works with artist Kenojuak Ashevak, one of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative's most celebrated artists.


Ms. Ashevak's iconic stonecut The Enchanted Owl was featured on a postage stamp in 1970.


Toronto's guerrilla war on drug abuse
The future of the pop-up drug injection site is uncertain, but talks are under way to move it indoors
Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M4

A half-dozen volunteers, mostly women, are working quickly, unloading box after box from a rented van at Toronto's Moss Park: shrink-wrapped packs of bottled water, a crate marked "syringes," yellow sharps disposal containers for needles, a pair of oxygen tanks, white plastic pails - each labelled "puke bucket" - and a clear plastic box with "Meth pipes for distro" scrawled on the lid.

They erect white tents, which have their clear plastic arched windows blacked out with tarps.

By 4 p.m., the nurses and volunteers who will watch over drug users here at the city's first popup supervised drug-use site are ready.

In the month since the site started operating in this gritty east-end park with the tacit approval of police and city officials, volunteers have stopped 27 overdoses. The activists behind the site, who call themselves the Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance, say it's a desperately needed response to the rising wave of opioid overdose deaths caused by the increasing presence of fentanyl in other street drugs.

The crisis shows no signs of abating, but with the cold weather coming, the pop-up's future is uncertain. The mayor and city officials do not want it to become a permanent fixture in the park. Talks are now under way to move it inside, possibly into the basement of the nearby Fred Victor centre for the homeless. Fred Victor and Toronto Public Health officials are also trying to fast-track federal approval for a fully legal, permanent supervised drug-use site there, in addition to the two slated to open this fall in other parts of the city.

But the activists who run the pop-up are concerned about giving up too much control of their creation, which preceded Toronto Public Health rushing to open its own site last month.

On the front lines of the crisis, they believe the city's plans for three legal sites are no longer enough. Activists and drug users say those desperate for a hit simply will not walk the 15 minutes from Moss Park to the city's legal drug-use clinic at Yonge-Dundas Square. Some are calling for another pop-up in nearby Allan Gardens, where drug users tend to gather. And even more mobile sites - in other downtown neighbourhoods or to the north, in the suburbs - are going to be needed, activists say, as the opioid crisis intensifies.

With the volunteers in Moss Park still setting up, a handful of drug users have already gathered, chatting with harm-reduction workers and scooping up the free yogurt cups on offer.

Many have come from nearby homeless shelters. They are women and men, young and old, black and white.

"Better safe than sorry," one man wearing a tank top and an Air Jordan baseball cap says to his companion as he waits for a spot in the tent, clutching a paper drug-store bag.

The people hanging around this stretch of Queen Street East seem supportive. A man passing by on a bike chants: "Safe site! Safe site! Safe site!" A bearded man in a baseball cap shouts as he marches across the park by the encampment: "All you guys are awesome! Every one of you!"

The nurses and harm-reduction workers from other city clinics who volunteer here leave their day jobs early to run this site from 4 to 10 p.m. If someone overdoses, they administer the drug naloxone, and ambulances are called. There has been some tension with police and paramedics, but for the most part, activists say, they are being allowed to operate freely.

That freedom could be restricted, some fear, with a move inside, although few dispute there is a clock running on this pop-up site.

It remains illegal, operating without the Health Canada drug-law exemption that covers Toronto Public Health's site near Yonge-Dundas Square and the other two planned sites.

It survives on crowdfunded donations raised online and various in-kind donations. It even gets $20 gifts from the meagre monthly welfare cheques of some of the drug users it serves, activists say. It also relies on the energy of its volunteers, who are susceptible to burnout.

There are no washrooms or running water.

And very soon, it will start to get cold.

But organizer Matt Johnson, who is a harm-reduction worker by day at an east-end clinic, says the pop-up wasn't meant as a temporary "publicity stunt" to shame the city into action. It was meant to serve the drug users of Moss Park. It has also benefited from the help of many volunteers who are drugusers themselves, he says. If moving inside means professionalizing and potentially shutting them out, it's not worth it.

"We could still have volunteer opportunities inside. But people won't feel the same kind of ownership that they do with it being in the park here," he says.

"We would like to move inside.

But we certainly won't if it would mean giving up things that we just can't live without."

One of those drug-using volunteers is Leon Alward, 46, who is known to everyone here as "Pops." He lives in a nearby homeless shelter with one of his teenaged sons and has been volunteering, as well as using the pop-up site, since its launch.

With his long dark hair in a ponytail, he helps set up the tents. He knows where everything goes. Harm-reduction workers ask him to tell a group of new volunteers what to do.

He says the work makes him feel needed.

Originally from New Brunswick, he began using opiates 19 years ago, an addiction that started when he popped a Percocet while reeling from the death of his father. At his worst, he was dealing drugs to feed a $500-a-day opioid and cocaine habit. About a decade ago, he spent time in jail on drug charges and found God. He spent eight years using only methadone and fentanyl patches.

But after coming to Ontario a year and a half ago, he says he could no longer get his patches through a doctor and returned to street drugs. He lived in Oshawa, where his subsidized housing unit became what he called an "unofficial safe-injection site." He was evicted, forcing him and his son to live for a while in containers by the side of the railway tracks or in abandoned houses, before they ended up on the streets of Toronto.

"I am still trying to find ways to make up to my children what I put them through while I was a heavy, heavy junkie," Mr. Alward says.

When Mayor John Tory made an unannounced, hour-and-ahalf-long visit to the site late last month, it was Mr. Alward who showed him how to prepare to inject heroin - to illustrate how easy it is for a user, fearful of being discovered in a dark alley, to make a mistake.

The mayor was then invited into the tent to watch a woman inject drugs into her arm.

"He hugged that woman and said, 'God bless you.' I was very impressed with his open-mindedness," Mr. Alward says. "I was expecting him to be more stern ... against it. But he listened to everything we had to say."

Mr. Tory, who had originally called for the pop-up site to be "dismantled" once the city's own site was open, appeared to soften his stand after his visit, which he described in an interview as moving. But he still maintains that a public park is not an ideal long-term site and that the operation must move indoors as quickly as possible.

He said city officials have been in discussions with Ottawa about speeding up the application process to sanction such a site.

"The reality is, what is going on in Moss Park is serving the needs of these people that I have seen with my own eyes," Mr. Tory said. "They are human beings that are struggling with issues that most of us can't imagine ... I've never seen any of this in my life. I'd never seen anybody use cocaine, let alone inject drugs."

Councillor Joe Cressy, chairman of the city's drug strategy implementation panel, agreed that the city's plan to open just three clinics - a plan that dates back five years - has been overtaken by events: "There's a real recognition here now that ... the three neighbourhoods that we have identified are insufficient for the scale of the crisis.

So we are looking at additional neighbourhoods now."

Mark Aston, the executive director of Fred Victor, which provides services to homeless people and others across the city, confirmed that talks were under way to run a supervised drug-use site out of his organization's location at Queen and Jarvis streets, near Moss Park.

"It's pretty obvious that Moss Park is one of the epicentres of the overdose crisis," he said.

But how it would be funded, and when it could be opened, remain unknown.

He added it's premature to say if the volunteer-run, but illegal, pop-up could simply operate out of Fred Victor as is. But he said he supported the pop-up's work and that Fred Victor could help in the meantime by, for example, storing the pop-up's equipment.

Back at the park, minutes after opening, drug users are already using the injection tent and the nearby "chillout tent," where they can relax after shooting up and where other users smoke crack or meth.

About 20 to 30 visitors will inject drugs here on any given night.

Sarah Ovens, a social worker at a nearby drop-in centre, is in charge of the pop-up this evening. She takes a break to light a cigarette and talk about the activists' mixed feelings about moving inside.

A more clinical setting may scare off some drug users. And when the pop-up isn't running, she says, people die. Just a few weeks ago, two people died of overdoses one day between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., not far from where the tents are set up later in the day.

Her eyes water when asked if volunteers are starting to burn out. It's also exhausting going to memorials for overdose victims, she says.

"It's the most helpless feeling to just have people dying and not being able to do anything.

... For me, I am so tired and dirty at the end of the day, but I am not just sitting and waiting to hear: Who was it in Moss Park last night? Who did they find in the alleyway? Who did they find in the stairway? You're doing something."

Associated Graphic

Sarah Ovens, a co-ordinator with Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance, and volunteer Leon Alward handle supplies for the pop-up safe injection site in Moss Park this week.


The ad hoc program doesn't have Health Canada's blessing, but is finding community support. 'All you guys are awesome!' one passerby said.

The initiative is staffed by volunteer nurses and harm-reduction workers from other clinics. Roxie Danielson, left, and Sarah Ovens set up a tent.

ETF providers race to launch Canada's first bitcoin funds
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B1

Canadian investors may soon get easy access to the burgeoning market for cryptocurrencies through TSX-listed exchangetraded funds that track the price performance of bitcoin.

Such ETFs in Canada could arrive even before similar products that have been awaiting approval in the United States. But in doing so, they will also expose investors in this country to risks that are both elevated and not widely understood, given the complexities of how bitcoin works and the regulators' unfamiliarity with the bitcoin market.

This week, ETF provider Evolve Funds Group Inc. filed a preliminary prospectus with the Ontario Securities Commission for the launch of an actively managed bitcoin ETF that would trade under the symbol BITS.

It is not alone in planning to enter the space: Horizons ETFs Management (Canada) Inc. is also looking to build an ETF that will track the bitcoin currency.

The firm is still in the preparation stage and has not yet filed a preliminary prospectus, Steve Hawkins, president and co-CEO of Horizons ETFs, told The Globe and Mail.

"There will be demand from investors who want exposure to the bitcoin space, and firms like ours want to take a leadership position in creating product for those investors," Mr. Hawkins said.

"... I see the bitcoin market as one that is continuously evolving, and we see it becoming a necessary trading tool down the road, just like currencies and commodities,' Mr. Hawkins said.

Raj Lala, president and chief executive of Evolve Funds Group Inc., said he has seen huge investor appetite to participate in the growth of the bitcoin market.

"For some people, buying bitcoin directly is a daunting task. Providing them easier access, directly through their brokerage account with an ETF would allow them to participate in the growth of bitcoin, as well as in its performance," he said in an interview.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have surged in value in recent months, creating a ripple effect of investor interest. The price hit a record high of more than $5,000 for one bitcoin at the beginning of September, a monstrous gain after starting the year near $700. But the price of bitcoin has also been highly volatile, with swings of more than 10 per cent in one day not uncommon.

Bitcoin is a digital currency that is not backed by any country's central bank. It enables individuals to transfer value to each other and pay for goods and services without the need for a middle man - typically the banks and the mainstream financial system. One typical use would be to wire transfer money to another person. The technology behind the function of bitcoin currency is known as blockchain - an online digital ledger that keeps a record of recent transactions. Once a transaction is completed, it goes into a blockchain database and is kept as a permanent secure record.

But there can be risks associated with bitcoin's underlying markets, which sometimes include drug dealers and online hackers.

Many of the exchanges trading bitcoin reside in jurisdictions outside the home country, which makes regulatory oversight difficult.

Controversy has been swirling around the digital currency; China earlier this month announced plans to shut down its bitcoin exchanges in an attempt to limit risks in a highly speculative market, according to numerous media reports. In the United States, JPMorgan Chase and Co.'s CEO Jamie Dimon memorably said he would fire any employee trading bitcoin for being "stupid." He told investors at a conference in New York that the cryptocurrency "won't end well" for investors and that it was "worse than tulip bulbs" and says it's an investment that will likely collapse.

Both developments caused bitcoin's value to slightly dip in price, but they did not appear to dim investors' appetite to gain access to the cryptocurrency.

Still, the bitcoin market in Canada remains largely unknown among mainstream investors.

The country's first bitcoin investment fund manager received regulatory approval this month in Ontario and British Columbia.

First Block Capital Inc. was given the green light by the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) to operate as an investment fund manager and exempt market dealer and launch a bitcoin investment fund known as the Canadian Bitcoin Trust.

"Cryptocurrency investments are a new and novel form of investing in Canada," said Zach Masum, manager, legal services, capital markets regulation for the BCSC, and leader of its tech team. "We have seen from the market and from investors that there is a strong appetite for access to these kinds of investments."

While the industry applauded the approval, the fund is for accredited investors only and requires a minimum $25,000 investment - hence opening the door to the bitcoin market only for larger institutions and ultrahigh net worth Canadians. The firm hopes to provide access to a broader retail group but knows it will require continued work with the regulators to make it happen, said Sean Clark, co-founder of First Block Capital. One of the obstacles the investment firms must overcome is a perception that bitcoin is not a legitimate currency free from black-market influence.

Many individuals who use cryptocurrencies are libertarians and deep technologists, Mr. Clark said. "They don't actually like finance or structure so they operate in the shadows. This is why you commonly hear bitcoin being associated with drug dealers and hackers. But we want to show that this is a product that can be on Bay Street, and by being open with the regulators, we can be a very successful asset manager in this space."

In Canada, the regulators took six months of due diligence before making a decision on First Block. During the process, the BSCS flagged regulatory concerns not typical of a traditional application for registration, including fair pricing of bitcoin and the custodian of the investment - an institution that is in charge of keeping the assets safe for investors. The BCSC met with First Block's custodian numerous times to review its policies and procedures and ensure the bitcoin assets were being held safely for investors.

"First Block was required to implement robust policies and procedures to address all these issues," says Jason Brooks, the partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP who led the legal team that represented First Block in its registration application. "They had to satisfy the regulators that they had done a significant degree of due diligence on the parties they are partnering with in connection with their business."

The terms and conditions of First Block's registration allow the firm to work under the current regulatory framework while providing the BCSC with unique mechanisms to monitor the operations closely. "For now, First Block's registration will only allow them to manage funds that invest in bitcoin and they will need to obtain regulatory approval before they expand into other cryptocurrencies or make other significant changes, including a change to the entity used to hold custody of the bitcoin investments of their fund," Mr. Brooks said.

Providing retail investors with direct access to bitcoin has been a regulatory nightmare for many jurisdictions.

In the United States, at least three investment firms have attempted to launch bitcoin ETFS with no success - and several more ETFs are sitting in the pipelines. The most famous of the batch is the Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF (COIN).

Created in 2013 by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss - the twins famous for their legal battle with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg - COIN has been sitting on the regulator's shelf for more than three years. The duo have repeatedly gone back to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) asking for approval only to be dismissed due to lack of regulation in the bitcoin market.

After its most recent rejection in March, the SEC stated in its ruling the ETF required more regulatory oversight due to the "fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices in the underlying market."

Major concerns include liquidity of the ETF as well as security issues such as the lack of surveillance sharing agreements - which identify and limit market manipulation - between the major exchanges on which bitcoin is traded.

Canadian ETF providers are taking a different approach than First Block Capital, by tapping into the futures market of bitcoin rather than gaining access to the physical bitcoin market.

Futures are a type of derivative that allow investors to speculate on what a price will be at a later date. Many of the ETF filings in the United States have switched strategies to include the futures market of bitcoin - a market regulators understand better.

"A product that has underlying futures contracts is something the regulators can get their heads around and it's an area that we are very familiar with," said Mr. Hawkins, who has launched several ETFs based on futures market contracts. "The regulators know we have experience in this area and we would hope to be able to come to market with a similar product very quickly."

The launch of the ETF filings in both Canada and the United States all hinge on the Chicago Board Options Exchange's launch of CBOE bitcoin futures expected later this year.

CBOE Holdings, which runs a number of exchanges including the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the CBOE Futures Exchange, is creating the bitcoin futures using data supplied by a bitcoin exchange called Gemini, run by the Winklevoss brothers.

With ETF providers jumping on the bitcoin bandwagon, Canada could be the first in North America to win the race to market, says Eric Balchunas, U.S. ETF analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence.

"I wouldn't be shocked if we saw a bitcoin ETF in Canada get out before the U.S market," Mr. Balchunas said in an interview.

"Canada has historically been faster and more liberal with approving products. Canada approved its first ETF within a year, whereas the U.S. took four years to market. Canada approved a marijuana ETF last year and the U.S. still hasn't approved one here. So it's happened before where Canada is first to market with a product." Bitcoin is a completely decentralized form of virtual currency that enables direct payment over the Internet by skipping the middleman, which is usually a bank or credit card company. Transactions are safe due to cryptography used to prevent double spending, counterfeiting, or theft. Users can use bitcoins for a variety of real transactions.

1 Before a bitcoin can be purchased, a user must install a virtual 'wallet' onto a personal computer or mobile device.

The wallet is similar to personal finance software and keeps track of bitcoin balance and transactions.

2 The user then pays for bitcoins, either through a credit card, bank account or anonymously with cash. Bitcoins are transferred directly into a bitcoin account, and the user can send and receive payments directly to a buyer or seller.

3 Similar to trading stocks, a buyer can place an order for a bitcoin through an exchange program once the funds are available. Bitcoins can also be purchased from third parties.

4 Users pay far fewer associated fees by skipping the middleman in each transaction, and they can also remain anonymous.

Associated Graphic


TD's next big bet: Why the Canadian bank is plotting more growth in U.S. capital markets
Thursday, September 21, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B1

At the main offices of TD Securities Inc. in New York, some 250 people buzz around on its trading floor - a patch of real estate once occupied by German colossus Deutsche Bank AG.

The Canadian bank-owned dealer is bulking up - even as some of its foreign competitors pull back. Over the past three years, TD Securities has increased its hiring in the United States, adding 300 people to bring its head count to roughly 900. Over the same period, it has boosted revenue in its U.S. business at an annual clip of 18 per cent and is targeting more double-digit growth in the years ahead.

But making further gains in a region that is drastically more cutthroat than the Canadian market won't be easy. While TD is already a formidable force in the retail banking market in the United States, it's still not clear whether that strong brand presence can make it a dominant player in capital markets.

"While [the United States] is exceptionally lucrative, it is also very competitive, and you don't have the same history and you don't have the same Rolodex and access to the C-Suite as you do in Canada and it becomes a much tougher slog," John Aiken, an analyst with Barclays Capital, said in an interview.

In the United States, TD Securities is a tiny fish in an enormous pond, with only about 2-per-cent market share in capital markets - a minnow compared with U.S. behemoths such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and still smaller than rival Canadian dealer RBC Dominion Securities Inc., which has the strongest footprint of any Canadian bank in U.S. capital markets.

The United States is orders of magnitude bigger than the home market and represents a novel source of growth for TD in capital markets. Added revenue from investment banking, trading and corporate banking also acts as a buffer against any stumbles in the retail part of the business, which over the past decade has made up the bulk of the Toronto-based bank's profit and revenue.

"Our objective is to grow the wholesale earnings of the bank more significantly," Glenn Gibson, vice-chair and regional head for TD Securities USA, said in an interview this summer. "The best opportunity to do that is in the U.S. market."

TD's wholesale business - corporate lending and capital markets - has historically lingered around 9 per cent to 10 per cent of earnings, much lower than those of bank-owned Canadian competitors such as BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. and RBC, which are closer to 25 per cent.

However, since becoming chief executive officer in late 2014, Bharat Masrani has signalled a shift in TD's strategy that puts more emphasis on expanding its capital-markets business, particularly in the United States.

It's a strategy that deviates from that of his predecessor, Ed Clark, who chiefly focused on growing the bank's retail business during his almost-12-year run.

"Where TD strategically may be more open to a venture like this stems from the fact that Bharat had spent the bulk of his time before he became CEO in the U.S.," Mr. Aiken said. "It's a very different marketplace, which has benefits as well as idiosyncrasies, which Bharat may feel a lot more comfortable with than Ed."

While TD has serious ground to make up in U.S. capital markets, it's not starting from zero. In a handful of areas it is already competitive, particularly in foreignexchange trading and certain segments of fixed income and corporate lending. For example, in the telecom sector, TD was the 12th-biggest lender in the United States last year, according to Thomson Reuters, and the ninthbiggest dealer in supranational, subsovereign and agency (SSA) debt. But TD sees opportunities to make greater inroads. The dealer wants to grab a piece of prime brokerage space for the hedgefund industry - a lucrative niche that includes providing margin financing and lending securities for shorting. It also aims to become a contender in mortgagebacked securities trading, a previously maligned but still important and profitable subset of the fixed-income market.

TD is under no illusion about how tough it will be to make it big in the United States. "We don't expect anything to be given to us," Mr. Gibson said. "We earn every piece of business that we attract in the U.S."

TD Securities has a long history in the United States. It became a fully fledged investment bank and broker-dealer in 1989.

Through the 1990s it was a niche operation, focused mainly on lending to media and telecom companies and the energy sector, and operated separately from its fledgling Canadian unit.

By the mid-2000s, things started to change. Starting in 2004, TD made a number of major retail acquisitions in the United States, spending billions to buy the likes of Banknorth Group Inc. and Commerce Bancorp Inc. But despite a vast improvement in brand awareness, TD didn't make great strides in capital markets. One reason was the cautious nature of Mr. Clark, who viewed the segment as risky and volatile.

"Clark wasn't interested in competing against Goldman Sachs or other investment banks in the United States. That was pointless," Howard Green wrote in his bestselling 2013 book, Banking on America: How TD rose to the top and took on the U.S.A.

Before the financial crisis, TD had no obvious competitive advantage. With every major global dealer vying for business, TD was "struggling to add value outside Canada," Moti Jungreis, head of global markets with TD Securities, said in an interview.

But after the financial crisis, with no exposure to toxic U.S. subprime debt, TD suddenly had an edge. The Canadian dealer was seen as a reliable counterparty to trade with, and its hefty balance sheet allowed it to lend big to corporate clients when others were pulling back. Chastened and weakened in the years since, European banks such as Deutsche Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland have become drastically weaker players in the United States, presenting a further opportunity for Canadian banks such as TD to fill the void.

Over the past six years, TD's expansion in the United States has intensified. That has meant beefing up its U.S. fixed-income, derivatives and foreign-exchange operations and broadening its corporate-lending business by getting into areas such as autos, utilities and real estate. In 2014, it became a primary dealer, which means it can trade U.S. treasuries.

While TD has mostly built out its capital markets imprint in the United States by creating its own platform, in September, 2016, it announced the acquisition of Albert Fried & Co. The boutique dealer had been in the midst of building a prime brokerage unit that services hedge funds - one of the most active of all traders in capital markets. TD has spent much of this year completing the buildout of the unit, which it has rebranded as TD Prime Services.

TD has also spent a good chunk of 2017 building a mortgagebacked securities platform, which it is close to launching. While banks' exposure to mortgagebacked securities was a major factor in causing the financial crisis of 2008-09, the sector has rebounded strongly in the past few years, in lockstep with the housing market. According to Thomson Reuters, mortgagebacked securities currently represent about 15 per cent of the fixedincome trading market in the United States.

But despite the expansion in its capital markets footprint, there are still weaknesses in TD's coverage in areas such as structured products and municipal debt.

"We need to widen our product [offerings] in the U.S. so we can be more relevant to more clients," Mr. Jungreis said.

The dealer does little business in cash equities. It has a limited institutional equities distribution and only a small cluster of people trading interlisted shares. With margins razor-thin for all banks in cash equities, TD isn't planning to make major inroads into the sector either.

But perhaps the most glaring omission in TD's playbook is in M&A advice, one of the most profitable of all areas in capital markets. Juicy mandates such as advising Shaw Communications Inc. on its $2.3-billion sale of its U.S. data centre business, Via West, earlier this year, are few and far between. While TD has made inroads in the energy and technology, media and telecom sectors, the dealer is hopeful it can win larger mandates in other burgeoning areas, such as the utilities sector.

Over the past few years, it's not just TD's product offerings that have evolved in the United States, it's the investment bank's entire ethos around the region. Long gone is the island mentality of old. The dealer now speaks in terms of its "U.S. dollar business."

What that means is the firm's bankers in New York liaise seamlessly with Canadian clients who want access to U.S. capital markets, and vice versa.

But while all divisions are profitable in the United States, Mr. Gibson said, margins aren't what they are in Canada. "To get to the same margins in the U.S that you have in Canada, you have to get a size and scale that makes sense.

We're getting there."

Over the next three years, TD is targeting 15-per-cent annual revenue growth a year in the United States. One way to hit that mark is getting stronger in the "real money" space, as Mr. Gibson terms it.

That means building relationships with, and winning more business with the likes of Blackrock Inc. and State Street Corp., which oversee trillions of dollars for investors, vastly more more than the biggest asset managers in Canada. Although TD isn't aiming to supplant the likes of a JPMorgan or Goldman Sachs in the United States, Mr. Gibson says it can go head to head with the big guns in certain areas. "We're not trying to be an aggregate league table player. We're not going to knock off the top five U.S. banks," he said. "But can we be right below that lead group of U.S. broker-dealer universal banks?

Absolutely we can. And that's where we should be."


TD Securities making strides in the U.S. market Financial data provider Thomson Reuters compiles "league table" data for investment banks in areas such as capital raised for clients in fixed income and equity. Industry players consult the league tables to gauge their performance, and measure how they stack up against the competition.

TD Securities has seen its ranking in the aggregate debt and equity U.S. league tables rise considerably in the past decade in lockstep with its increased investment in the region.

Associated Graphic

Over the past three years, TD Securities has increased its hiring in the United States.



O Captain! Leafs leadership debate rages on
Despite the media and fans' fascination with the team's current vacancy, Toronto's players don't sense a vaccuum
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S6

TORONTO -- There is a long history of drama surrounding the captains of the Toronto Maple Leafs, dating to the 1970s.

But any number of players will say it is drama only to the fans and the media. Inside the dressing room, the issue of who the team captain is, or when he will be appointed, rarely comes up. It also seems to be a phenomenon largely confined to Canadianbased NHL teams, which are the subject of so much interest that even side issues can dominate the discussions.

"In all the years I played, in all the teams I played on, I don't think it was an issue at all," said Mark Osborne, who saw several such controversies in his eight seasons with the Leafs in the 1980s and 1990s. "I don't recall even having conversations with teammates who were really worried about things like that.

"Does that happen in other places? It seems to be in a few markets and it happens to be in Canadian markets because you look and see the Florida Panthers never seem to have an issue.

You've got a fourth-line player, Derek McKenzie, being your [Panthers] captain. But it's a big deal when you're talking about an iconic franchise."

The captain debate cannot even be escaped when the Maple Leafs are in the midst of becoming an NHL contender. Management announced recently the post will be vacant for the second season in a row since the last Leaf captain, Dion Phaneuf, was traded to the Ottawa Senators. There will be alternate captains instead.

"When it's the right time, there will be a captain," general manager Lou Lamoriello said.

Neither Lamoriello nor head coach Mike Babcock is interested in discussing the matter, but the assumption is the post is being held for budding superstar Auston Matthews, who just turned 20. If a team has a generational player such as Matthews, the custom in the NHL has long been to award the C to him. Connor McDavid, who is nine months older than Matthews, already has his from the Edmonton Oilers.

Matthews claims he doesn't think about it.

But Leafs management is carefully protecting Matthews, as well as the rest of the team's large group of youngsters, from the scrutiny of Canada's largest and often craziest hockey market.

Last season, for example, Matthews and the other eight or so rookies on the Leafs were not allowed to do in-game interviews.

That does not mean the debate doesn't rage around them. It sure did after the no-captain announcement on the first day of training camp. Other issues, such as the NHL's crackdown on slashing and faceoffs, and how Joffrey Lupul's social-media posting is giving the Leafs salary-cap headaches, are distracting the talkers now, but the captain debate will resurface regularly.

And just as in Osborne's day, the present-day Leafs will remain blissfully ignorant of the fuss.

"It's not a topic of conversation among the players anywhere I've been," said Leafs defenceman Ron Hainsey, who arrived this summer as a free agent after 14 seasons with five teams. "I went through most of the year without a captain in Carolina last year and it was never brought up. So far it hasn't here. It's a media-fan talking point, certainly, but very little concern to the players."

The reason the issue does not bother the players is that NHL teams reflect any group of people in society, relatively speaking.

You have extroverts, introverts, a couple of class clowns and a couple of leadership personalities most of the others respect. There is likely to be more of the latter, since NHL teams are made up of players who were the best on their teams at some point along the way.

It doesn't matter if management appoints a captain - and that is how it happens these days in the NHL - a team's leaders emerge naturally. In many cases, one of these leaders is the captain but sometimes he isn't and the players consider one or two others the real leaders on the team.

Certainly, given the responsibilities that go along with being captain, especially on Canadian teams, there are lots of qualified players who want no part of the job. Being captain means having to talk to the media every day, no matter if anything you did was newsworthy, and you are the first choice to attend any number of public functions.

Mats Sundin, for example, dutifully made himself available during his 10 seasons as Leaf captain with only a few exceptions. He was considered an exemplary captain but never said anything memorable.

"When you ... need access to this player every game, most players have been trained four or five times to purposely say nothing," Hainsey said. "So why do you want to talk to them? Who cares if you have access to him every day if he's been trained to skillfully say absolutely nothing for six months?

"The media doesn't seem to take that well. They talked to [New York Yankees captain] Derek Jeter for 20 years and he never said one word. So why they wanted to keep talking to him after a decade of nothing I could never figure it out. He just never said a thing."

Even if their words weren't memorable, there have been many unforgettable controversies surrounding Leaf captains over the years. Then again, this may have more to do with Harold Ballard, a sure top-two pick on any list of the worst sports-team owners in history.

The first contretemps under Ballard's ownership was with Dave Keon. In 1975, Keon came off a personal-best 43 assists the previous season, but Ballard questioned Keon's leadership and refused to offer him a contract.

That was the beginning of a long estrangement from the Leafs that ended only last year after many entreaties from successive management regimes.

Four years later, Leafs GM Punch Imlach started a war, with the approval of Ballard, with captain Darryl Sittler. The final straw came when Lanny McDonald, Sittler's best friend, was traded and Sittler resigned the captaincy, symbolically tearing the C off his sweater.

In 1985, Rick Vaive was stripped of the C when he overslept and missed a practice. It was a harsh punishment for the Leafs' first 50goal scorer.

There was one Ballard move on a captain that actually worked out, although it was more by accident. The captain's post was vacant in the summer of 1989 when veteran defenceman Rob Ramage came to the Leafs in a trade. Without talking to his GM or coach, Ballard appoined Ramage captain before he even arrived in Toronto.

This set off a furor because the fan favourite was hard-nosed scorer Wendel Clark, who turned 23 in October, 1989. Clark, who was a little on the young side to be captain, was not the type of person to say anything about the possible slight and things worked out despite Ballard.

"I don't think they necessarily wanted to pin that on [Clark] at such an early age," said Osborne, who was on that Leaf team.

"Probably by default at that time, organizations may have been leery to give players that young the captaincy. Today it's less intimidating.

"You ended up having Harold [Ballard] make the announcement before it was discussed internally with coaches and stuff.

[Ramage] was a veteran by that time, he won a Stanley Cup.

There were a lot of characteristics that certainly would have led to [Ramage] being captain material.

There were no issues with the guys on the team."

Ballard died in April, 1990, but Ramage's departure was handled as poorly as his predecessors'. He was left exposed in the expansion-dispersal draft of 1991 and claimed by the Minnesota North Stars.

This cavalier treatment continued in the post-Ballard era. Clark replaced Ramage as captain and was traded in 1994, although it was for Sundin. Doug Gilmour took over from Clark, but he was traded in 1997 when Leafs owner Steve Stavro ordered the payroll cut. Then it was Sundin's turn as he was sent packing as a free agent in 2008, although the fans had a hand in that one by demanding he offer himself as trade bait for draft picks and prospects.

Phaneuf, the last Leafs' captain, was never suited for the role, but gave it his best. Brian Burke, the GM at the time, pulled off a great trade to get him but pushed him into the captain's job as well as No. 1 defenceman, another role he was ill-suited for.

Despite all of the nonsense, Osborne points out the Leafs have been well-served over the years by many of the captains.

And it can be an important role in a hockey-mad city if the right person has it.

Soccer is the one sport that treats the captain's job in the same way as hockey. A big part of Toronto FC's success in the past two years is because of the presence of team captain Michael Bradley. He has the unmistakable bearing of a leader and his presence is felt throughout the organization.

"It's an honour. With it comes certain privileges but also responsibility," Bradley said. "It's more about being ready and willing to take on responsibility. To take as much on your shoulders as possible, to lead in the good moments but also in the bad moments. To understand you can't have it only one way.

"With the honour and privilege and responsibility comes this idea you don't get to pick and choose when you want to lead, when you don't, when you want to take responsibility, when you don't."

Leafs centre Dominic Moore says whoever becomes captain has to be comfortable in the role, like his former teammate Ryan McDonagh, who was appointed New York Rangers captain three years ago at the age of 25.

"I think there's a level that goes with that, and he'd be the first to tell you there's a comfort level to that," Moore said. "Then again, you have to be put into that in order to gain that comfort level."

In the meantime, Moore says the Leafs are not going to lack for leadership.

"I think for sure a team requires every member to be a leader in their own way," he said. "There's an onus on everyone to be leader at different times."

Associated Graphic

Neither Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello nor head coach Mike Babcock is interested in discussing the team's decision to forgo naming a captain for the time being, but the broad assumption among fans is that the post is being held for budding superstar Auston Matthews.


O Captain! Leafs leadership debate rages on
Despite the media and fans' fascination with the team's current vacancy, Toronto's players don't sense a vaccuum
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S2

TORONTO -- There is a long history of drama surrounding the captains of the Toronto Maple Leafs, dating to the 1970s.

But any number of players will say it is drama only to the fans and the media. Inside the dressing room, the issue of who the team captain is, or when he will be appointed, rarely comes up. It also seems to be a phenomenon largely confined to Canadianbased NHL teams, which are the subject of so much interest that even side issues can dominate the discussions.

"In all the years I played, in all the teams I played on, I don't think it was an issue at all," said Mark Osborne, who saw several such controversies in his eight seasons with the Leafs in the 1980s and 1990s. "I don't recall even having conversations with teammates who were really worried about things like that.

"Does that happen in other places? It seems to be in a few markets and it happens to be in Canadian markets because you look and see the Florida Panthers never seem to have an issue.

You've got a fourth-line player, Derek McKenzie, being your [Panthers] captain. But it's a big deal when you're talking about an iconic franchise."

The captain debate cannot even be escaped when the Maple Leafs are in the midst of becoming an NHL contender. Management announced recently the post will be vacant for the second season in a row since the last Leaf captain, Dion Phaneuf, was traded to the Ottawa Senators. There will be alternate captains instead.

"When it's the right time, there will be a captain," general manager Lou Lamoriello said.

Neither Lamoriello nor head coach Mike Babcock is interested in discussing the matter, but the assumption is the post is being held for budding superstar Auston Matthews, who just turned 20. If a team has a generational player such as Matthews, the custom in the NHL has long been to award the C to him. Connor McDavid, who is nine months older than Matthews, already has his from the Edmonton Oilers.

Matthews claims he doesn't think about it.

But Leafs management is carefully protecting Matthews, as well as the rest of the team's large group of youngsters, from the scrutiny of Canada's largest and often craziest hockey market.

Last season, for example, Matthews and the other eight or so rookies on the Leafs were not allowed to do in-game interviews.

That does not mean the debate doesn't rage around them. It sure did after the no-captain announcement on the first day of training camp. Other issues, such as the NHL's crackdown on slashing and faceoffs, and how Joffrey Lupul's social-media posting is giving the Leafs salary-cap headaches, are distracting the talkers now, but the captain debate will resurface regularly.

And just as in Osborne's day, the present-day Leafs will remain blissfully ignorant of the fuss.

"It's not a topic of conversation among the players anywhere I've been," said Leafs defenceman Ron Hainsey, who arrived this summer as a free agent after 14 seasons with five teams. "I went through most of the year without a captain in Carolina last year and it was never brought up. So far it hasn't here. It's a media-fan talking point, certainly, but very little concern to the players."

The reason the issue does not bother the players is that NHL teams reflect any group of people in society, relatively speaking.

You have extroverts, introverts, a couple of class clowns and a couple of leadership personalities most of the others respect. There is likely to be more of the latter, since NHL teams are made up of players who were the best on their teams at some point along the way.

It doesn't matter if management appoints a captain - and that is how it happens these days in the NHL - a team's leaders emerge naturally. In many cases, one of these leaders is the captain but sometimes he isn't and the players consider one or two others the real leaders on the team.

Certainly, given the responsibilities that go along with being captain, especially on Canadian teams, there are lots of qualified players who want no part of the job. Being captain means having to talk to the media every day, no matter if anything you did was newsworthy, and you are the first choice to attend any number of public functions.

Mats Sundin, for example, dutifully made himself available during his 10 seasons as Leaf captain with only a few exceptions. He was considered an exemplary captain but never said anything memorable.

"When you ... need access to this player every game, most players have been trained four or five times to purposely say nothing," Hainsey said. "So why do you want to talk to them? Who cares if you have access to him every day if he's been trained to skillfully say absolutely nothing for six months?

"The media doesn't seem to take that well. They talked to [New York Yankees captain] Derek Jeter for 20 years and he never said one word. So why they wanted to keep talking to him after a decade of nothing I could never figure it out. He just never said a thing."

Even if their words weren't memorable, there have been many unforgettable controversies surrounding Leaf captains over the years. Then again, this may have more to do with Harold Ballard, a sure top-two pick on any list of the worst sports-team owners in history.

The first contretemps under Ballard's ownership was with Dave Keon. In 1975, Keon came off a personal-best 43 assists the previous season, but Ballard questioned Keon's leadership and refused to offer him a contract.

That was the beginning of a long estrangement from the Leafs that ended only last year after many entreaties from successive management regimes.

Four years later, Leafs GM Punch Imlach started a war, with the approval of Ballard, with captain Darryl Sittler. The final straw came when Lanny McDonald, Sittler's best friend, was traded and Sittler resigned the captaincy, symbolically tearing the C off his sweater.

In 1985, Rick Vaive was stripped of the C when he overslept and missed a practice. It was a harsh punishment for the Leafs' first 50goal scorer.

There was one Ballard move on a captain that actually worked out, although it was more by accident. The captain's post was vacant in the summer of 1989 when veteran defenceman Rob Ramage came to the Leafs in a trade. Without talking to his GM or coach, Ballard appoined Ramage captain before he even arrived in Toronto.

This set off a furor because the fan favourite was hard-nosed scorer Wendel Clark, who turned 23 in October, 1989. Clark, who was a little on the young side to be captain, was not the type of person to say anything about the possible slight and things worked out despite Ballard.

"I don't think they necessarily wanted to pin that on [Clark] at such an early age," said Osborne, who was on that Leaf team.

"Probably by default at that time, organizations may have been leery to give players that young the captaincy. Today it's less intimidating.

"You ended up having Harold [Ballard] make the announcement before it was discussed internally with coaches and stuff.

[Ramage] was a veteran by that time, he won a Stanley Cup.

There were a lot of characteristics that certainly would have led to [Ramage] being captain material.

There were no issues with the guys on the team."

Ballard died in April, 1990, but Ramage's departure was handled as poorly as his predecessors'. He was left exposed in the expansion-dispersal draft of 1991 and claimed by the Minnesota North Stars.

This cavalier treatment continued in the post-Ballard era. Clark replaced Ramage as captain and was traded in 1994, although it was for Sundin. Doug Gilmour took over from Clark, but he was traded in 1997 when Leafs owner Steve Stavro ordered the payroll cut. Then it was Sundin's turn as he was sent packing as a free agent in 2008, although the fans had a hand in that one by demanding he offer himself as trade bait for draft picks and prospects.

Phaneuf, the last Leafs' captain, was never suited for the role, but gave it his best. Brian Burke, the GM at the time, pulled off a great trade to get him but pushed him into the captain's job as well as No. 1 defenceman, another role he was ill-suited for.

Despite all of the nonsense, Osborne points out the Leafs have been well-served over the years by many of the captains.

And it can be an important role in a hockey-mad city if the right person has it.

Soccer is the one sport that treats the captain's job in the same way as hockey. A big part of Toronto FC's success in the past two years is because of the presence of team captain Michael Bradley. He has the unmistakable bearing of a leader and his presence is felt throughout the organization.

"It's an honour. With it comes certain privileges but also responsibility," Bradley said. "It's more about being ready and willing to take on responsibility. To take as much on your shoulders as possible, to lead in the good moments but also in the bad moments. To understand you can't have it only one way.

"With the honour and privilege and responsibility comes this idea you don't get to pick and choose when you want to lead, when you don't, when you want to take responsibility, when you don't."

Leafs centre Dominic Moore says whoever becomes captain has to be comfortable in the role, like his former teammate Ryan McDonagh, who was appointed New York Rangers captain three years ago at the age of 25.

"I think there's a level that goes with that, and he'd be the first to tell you there's a comfort level to that," Moore said. "Then again, you have to be put into that in order to gain that comfort level."

In the meantime, Moore says the Leafs are not going to lack for leadership.

"I think for sure a team requires every member to be a leader in their own way," he said. "There's an onus on everyone to be leader at different times."

Associated Graphic

Neither Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello nor head coach Mike Babcock is interested in discussing the team's decision to forgo naming a captain for the time being, but the broad assumption among fans is that the post is being held for budding superstar Auston Matthews.


Newcomers arrive bearing a sense of home that runs deeper than place, writes Adrienne Clarkson. We must meet it with a welcome that honours the spirit of this country's original occupants
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F1

Six Degrees: Experiments in Pluralism is an essay series devoted to exploring Canada's emerging identity as an experimental society. The inaugural 6 Degrees "citizen space," presented by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, took place in Toronto from Sept. 19 to 21.

It was Robert Frost who told us in The Death of a Hired Man that "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." Home is the ultimate refuge, the place of obligatory belonging, the destination of the spirit. The idea that, ultimately, there is a place where you belong, a place which is acknowledged, is a compelling one. We all want to feel that we have a home: security, trust, understanding - all are a part of what we feel our personal home is.

In this time of increased migrations, it's worth considering once again the notion of home: the kind of home that Canada has been, is, and will be, for many.

Canada's original residents gave an introductory lesson in "home," as they welcomed newcomers - Europeans - to their land, and helped them learn how to survive. In a tragic irony, it is their First Nations descendants who now find themselves exiled from a sense of belonging, often literally homeless as well as uprooted from a sense of this land as home. We would do well to reflect on what we have - or haven't - carried forward of their welcoming legacy, and on what kind of home we offer to newcomers who come after us.In the 1948 United Nations' Declaration of Human Rights, Article 12 says "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."

Home is a feeling as well as a shelter. It is what makes the phrase "feeling at home" or "chez soi" meaningful.

Those of us who were lucky enough to have parents until we were adults identify home as where we grew up, where, hopefully, we were loved and cared for until we could face the world ourselves. In the fortunate industrialized world, this means we went from our parents' care to our own homes, modelling our futures on our past.

Even though I came to Canada as a refugee, I came with my family intact - mother, father, and brother. We had suffered serious trauma, having to abandon our home under bombardment, hiding in basements and watching an enemy, the Japanese army, occupy and destroy. My family's house in Hong Kong was looted and my mother saw our household furniture, the baby grand piano, the hand-painted heirloom china, and the silver tea and coffee service sold on the street. Our dog, a borzoi called Snow White, who had run away during the bombing, returned to us with human entrails in her mouth. Our home in Happy Valley was taken away from us and defiled. When we made our way toward Canada on that Red Cross ship with one suitcase apiece, we had lost all our tangible bearings. But what was within us could not be destroyed. What was in us was the will and energy to begin again -- in a new place, no matter how tough.

Despite the Chinese Exclusion Act, an active law intended to keep Chinese immigrants out of the country, we managed to settle in Ottawa, which was then a city of 90,000 people. Here, the only Chinese either owned restaurants or laundries. But it was the Anglican church that welcomed us and made us feel at home, and that gave my mother, who was Hakka - and whose family had been Anglican for four generations - help and confidence.

Coming from Hong Kong, we all spoke English, as good colonials should.

I often think of this when I think of the surge of people around the world, the millions on the move, swelling the refugee camps where they languish for not months, but years, waiting for the opportunity to leave.

In Canada, our challenge is to make immigrants feel that they have found the place where, when they had to come here, we had to take them in.

Integration isn't always a matter of getting lost in the crowd.

Sometimes a sense of home can be built in places that may seem insular at first - not Toronto or Vancouver but Moose Jaw or Red Deer. As governor-general I went to Red Deer 15 years ago because they wanted to show me that their population mosaic was as great as Toronto's. They had jobs to offer there and they were welcoming newcomers.

Among the 300 people who greeted me, 24 countries were represented. Filipinos, Chinese, Kenyans - all got up and spoke about the advantages of coming to what was at that time a city of 75,000 people. Initially, they said, they stood out as foreigners - they were stared at, but they found they could live through that, and if someone directed a racist epithet at their child, someone else would say, "I know his mother - she works at my local Tim Hortons." And so they felt they quickly became part of a community. They all said that if they had known that they would have to go to a small city to find work, rather than settle in Calgary or Edmonton, they would have said, "No thanks." In a big city, you can find others like you - whether you like them or not - but you will never be a novelty or different, in the best sense of the word.

People of my generation remember being the only South Asian family in London, Ont. or the only Chinese in St. John's.

It's not possible to hide in communities of that size, and I'm of the belief that this isn't such a bad thing. I have a leaning toward the "So I am different.

Let's get that over with now" school of integration. It will cause discomfort for newcomers, but is being stared at in a street or in a store too high a price to pay for establishing yourself in a country in which you are free to choose where you want to live and how you want to live?

My parents would emphasize to me that, in Hong Kong, they would not have been able to afford the kind of education we were getting for free in Ottawa - wasn't it worth enduring some gawking on the first day of school for that? We must never interpret social awkwardness as an insurmountable barrier to belonging, nor bad manners as an ultimate form of rejection.

True, ugly racism manifests itself in other ways which we can address and combat as a society within our legal system. Some personal suffering, some loss of dignity, some sense of being excluded - all can be steps in a kind of Calvary that leads to acceptance and feeling at home. So many of us who are Canadians now have had to go down this road in the past.

Those of us who came to Canada like me, a refugee, or those who chose to leave their birth countries and chance something different, something more, have risked that we can go somewhere and be taken in. In Canada, we are in a position to take people in. And they will arrive to our cities and to our towns and communities. There will be room made for them. Or, they will make viable room for themselves in what The Globe's Doug Saunders has described so vividly as "arrival cities": What looks like disorder and distress can actually be an organic chaos leading to the innovative organization of a home.

We are supposed to be a healthy and prosperous country - one that is known to shelter and provide for its citizens.

Unfortunately, despite this, we have the stigma of unacceptable homelessness and poverty in our country. We know that 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness each year, and that 35,000 are homeless on any given night.

Twenty per cent of our homeless population is made up of people between the ages of 16-24. It is shameful that our Indigenous peoples are overrepresented in our homelessness population: One in four people who experience homelessness identify as Aboriginal or First Nations. We want to welcome newcomer families to our country, and yet somehow Canadian children and families are the fastest-growing demographic experiencing homelessness today. All this is a national disgrace.

We must adhere to the values that make this country a desirable place to settle in: "So the last shall be first, and the first last," as the Bible says. We have means enough to focus our resources on the people who need them most, wherever they may be from.

What we have to do in Canada is assure that the place that has to take people in can offer a real home to them and to the people who are already living here. We must be certain that we are always working toward an egalitarian standard of living. We must give ourselves the goal of eliminating the blight of homelessness, the institutionalizing of food banks, the disgrace of filthy water on our reserves.

Over 40 years ago, in 1976, when we started the CBC's investigative news programme the fifth estate, we opened a working file on bad water at Grassy Narrows.

Several months ago, there was a story on bad water in Grassy Narrows in The Globe and Mail. We do have to wonder, What the hell is going on? For our Indigenous peoples, a home must be the place where they are cared for and valued, just as much as we cared for the strangers who arrived and needed to be taken in.

We must never forget that the Indigenous peoples took us all in as strangers, opened their land to us, and shared their skills and their knowledge so that we could live in a country with a rude, difficult climate and impossible terrain. Through the waterways and in their canoes, we mastered this land and called it home. It is our duty and obligation - and a part of being a citizen - to make sure that home is bountiful for all of us.

The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson was the 26th Governor General of Canada, from 1999-2005, and is the co-chair of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.

She authored the 2014 CBC Massey Lectures Belonging: The Paradox of Citizenship.

Associated Graphic

'We had suffered serious trauma, having to abandon our home under bombardment, hiding in basements and watching an enemy, the Japanese army, occupy and destroy.' After troops moved into their native city of Hong Kong, Ms. Clarkson's family fled to Canada as refugees.


Call of the fall
With smaller crowds, moderate temperatures and lower prices, these five spots are primed for the coming months
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page T6

As much as I loved the MosaïCanada 150 horticultural exhibit across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill, a nagging voice inside my head kept questioning my timing. "You picked July 2 to come here?" it asked incredulously. "What's wrong with you?" It had a point: Like much of the National Capital Region, Gatineau's Jacques-Cartier Park was distractingly jammed with Canada Day revellers snapping selfies amid the 33 sculptures covered in more than 80 plant varieties. The enchanting walk-through was worth the wait in line - it cost nothing, after all - but that didn't stop the voice from adding, "You should have come in the fall!"

Indeed, many popular destinations can be hot, hectic and hideously overpriced between late June and Labour Day. The fall, however, is another story: Crowds dissipate, temperatures moderate and prices drop on everything from hotels and tours to meals and flights. Combine this seasonal detente with new digs, dining options and diversions, and these five places are primed for crisper temperatures.


Good things may well come to those who have waited to celebrate the sesquicentennial in the country's capital city. Along with the usual suspects - Parliament Hill tours, museum-hopping, Rideau Canal cruises and so on - most Canada 150-inspired happenings are still going strong.

MosaïCanada, for instance, may become even more enchanting when its carex grasses turn from green to gold before the show ends on Oct. 15.

At the National Gallery, the 4,180-square-metre Canadian and Indigenous Galleries display nearly 800 paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs and decorative objects from across the country, while the Arctic Gallery at the Canadian Museum of Nature is home to more than 200 specimens and artifacts. Then there's the Canadian Museum of History's new Canadian History Hall, which is billed as "the largest and most comprehensive exhibition about Canadian history ever created."

In fact, summer visitors arrived too early for two of the most compelling diversions. Starting in early October, when the fall colours of nearby Gatineau Park are typically at their peak, the Ottawa River's Chaudière Falls will be adorned with ambient lighting and sound effects that aim to evoke the region's Algonquin heritage. Then, on Nov. 17, the Canada Science and Technology Museum will mark its 50th anniversary by reopening after $80.5million in repairs and upgrades.

Eat: If summer weather lingers, Ola Cocina's street-corner patio is ideal for dining on hand-pressed tortilla-wrapped duck confit and delicate dulce de leche-dipped churros.

Stay: Ottawa's hotel scene was not immune to the Canada 150 effect, with downtown's stylish and inexpensive Alt Hotel opening last year, and the upscale Andaz Ottawa Byward Market doing likewise in its namesake 'hood.

Tip: Free tickets for daily guided tours of the Centre Block are available across from Parliament Hill at 90 Wellington St. Visitors can choose to take the elevator up the Peace Tower to see the Memorial Chamber on their own, but they still require a ticket to do so.


The former Provençal capital shows off the region's harvest splendour almost as deftly as its most famous resident, Paul Cézanne, did with his paintbrush.

The compact, highly walkable burg is known as "the city of a thousand fountains," and while this number is an exaggeration, the beauty of the many water features is undeniable. Three centuries-old fonts adorn the eye-catching Cours Mirabeau thoroughfare, which is lined with pretty cafés and brasseries that were once frequented by Émile Zola, Ernest Hemingway and Cézanne, whose work can be viewed at the pastoral Jas de Bouffan mansion and the Atelier de Cézanne, where the painter worked from 1902 to 1906.

Aix's fame may be rooted in the past, but the present-day city is pleasingly progressive. Bastide, the new flagship boutique for its namesake beauty brand, just opened off Mirabeau with a vanity fashioned from a single block of marble and dozens of locally made fragrances and lotions arrayed on floating shelves. The four pillars of Aix's fame - art, wine, cuisine and architecture - come together at the Château La Coste winery, where a sculpture park features works by Frank Gehry, Michelin-starred chef Gérald Passédat works his magic at Louison, and a new hotel and spa, Villa La Coste, offers sublime views over the ripening vines and Durance River valley.

Eat: It's worth the 45-minute drive west to the village of La Celle, where French superstar chef Alain Ducasse owns L'Hostellerie de l'Abbaye de la Celle. Built into a former Benedictine abbey, this upscale inn and Michelin-starred eatery pairs aubergine confit with locally-caught bream marinated in coriander and lemon.

Stay: Villa La Coste offers 28 luxurious suites of varying sizes, each of which opens onto a spacious private terrace surrounded by gardens.

Tip: Just east of town, the Bibémus quarry provides a prime vantage point for viewing Cézanne's iconic limestone muse, the Montagne Sainte-Victoire.


Eight-hundred-metre-deep Zion

Canyon practically overflows with eye candy, from the towering Angel's Landing monolith and the wildflower-draped Weeping Wall to the tube-shaped Subway slot canyon and the aptly-named Emerald Pools.

Hundreds of kilometres of superbly maintained hiking trails and canyoneering and climbing routes connect A-list sights such as these, while the 11-kilometrelong Zion Canyon Scenic Drive provides a highlight-reel option for motorists and cyclists.

Formal accommodations within Zion are limited to a single lodge and two campgrounds, but options predictably proliferate as soon as you leave the fifth-mostvisited national park in the United States. These include several glamping operations - that's "glamorous camping" for the uninitiated - with the newest arrival taking tented luxury to new levels. A short stroll from the park's western border, Under Canvas Zion offers 60 canvas tents - all with en-suite bathrooms and wood stoves - along with dining at the on-site Embers Restaurant and activities including mountain biking, horseback riding, jeep tours and hot-air ballooning.

Eat: Located in the Zion Lodge, the Red Rock Grill's large windows overlook the floor of the canyon and its soaring stone walls.

Stay: The Zion Lodge's 40 cabins include two double beds, full bathrooms and fireplaces, while the 80 hotel rooms include either two queens or a single king.

Tip: From April to October, access to Zion Canyon is by free shuttle bus only. Private vehicles are allowed in from November to mid-March.


Think Eastern Canada has cornered the market on fall colours?

Think again. From mid-October to mid-November, Japan's former Imperial capital bursts with fiery foliage that makes its 2,000-plus temples and Shinto shrines even more appealing. Standouts in this World Heritage Site include the mountainside Kiyomizu-dera temple; the lakeside Kinkaku-ji, which aptly translates as "the Temple of the Golden Pavilion"; and Ryoan-ji, which is famous for its meditative rock garden.

Then there's Gion, the picturebook neighbourhood where traditional Japanese tea houses known as ochaya are flourishing.

There's been a resurgence in the ancient art of the geisha, those silk-wrapped, heavily made-up female entertainers who chat, sing and dance with paying patrons. These days, geisha are increasingly visible as they stroll along the cobblestone streets - especially along historically preserved lanes such as Hanami - and sing and dance for all visitors, not just the ones sipping tea behind closed doors.

Eat: Head to the 400-year-old Nishiki Market for sake tastings, Japanese pickles, matcha-flavoured ice cream and, of course, fresh sushi.

Stay: Few design flourishes have been spared at the year-old Four Seasons Kyoto, which features everything from an enormous underground swimming pool to a garden tea house reached via a glass bridge.

Tip: The world's first karaokeequipped Ferris wheel - the Big O in the Tokyo Dome City entertainment complex - provides a culturally appropriate reason for jetting into the capital instead of Osaka.


The Argentine capital offers an alluring fast-forward option if you're already looking forward to spring. But austral seasonal reversal is far from the only draw in the aptly nicknamed "Paris of South America."

With the Argentine peso steadily declining against the loonie over the past few years, the modish boutiques of the Palermo Viejo, La Boca and San Telmo neighbourhoods - locally known as barrios - are more alluring than ever, as are the $4 glasses of Argentine Malbec and $12 ribeyes served in wine bars and steakhouses that seem to be on every corner. You'll certainly want to dress the part and have plenty of fuel in your tank should you be drawn into an ambrazo (embrace) while doing the tango in the city where the sultry dance was born, and you can brush up on your moves by enrolling in dance schools based in hotels such as the mural-bedecked Mansion Dandi Royal and the yearold Tango de Mayo.

Other recent additions to the cityscape reflect its unique mix of tradition and modernity. Consider the glass-domed Nestor Kirchner Cultural Centre: What was once a beaux-art post office is now the largest arts venue in Latin America, with a concert hall for the national symphony orchestra, five additional auditoriums and scores of smaller halls, galleries, rehearsal spaces and even a pair of rooftop terraces.

Eat: Pulperia Quilapan highlights farm-to-table fare in its wine bar, general store and restaurant, and hosts live music in its bucolic backyard garden.

Stay: The brand-new Alvear Icon Hotel offers 159 sleekly modern rooms and a bar and restaurant spanning its 33rd and 34th floors.

(It's also worth noting that international visitors receive an automatic reimbursement of the 21-per-cent value added tax charged on accommodation.)

Tip: Getting around won't break the bank, what with subway rides costing less than a dollar and the extensive EcoBici bike service costing nothing.

Associated Graphic

Above, fall colours typically peak in early October in Gatineau Park, near Ottawa. Below, a new hotel and spa, Villa La Coste, offers a sublime view of the Durance River valley in France.


Clockwise from above left: There are plenty of places to brush up on your tango moves in Buenos Aires, the Argentine city where the dance was born; the 800-metre-deep Zion Canyon in Utah's Zion National Park practically overflows with eye candy; few design flourishes have been spared at the year-old Four Seasons Kyoto in Kyoto, Japan.


Less lecturing, more prosecuting
Payam Akhavan's In Search of a Better World is a book lacking insight
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R7

In Search of a Better World: A Human Rights Odyssey By Payam Akhavan House of Anansi, 385 pages, $19.95

'Human rights are a thousand humble stories."

So writes the Iranian-Canadian human-rights lawyer and McGill professor Payam Akhavan in his contribution to the long-running Massey Lecture series, In Search of a Better World: A Human Rights Odyssey. "Feeling injustice is the only means of understanding justice," he insists, "[and] stories, both enchanting and heartbreaking, are the only means of knowing why our dignity matters." As a lawyer, Akhavan should know that neither of these statements are defensible. Nevertheless, they serve as an indication of his lecture's Davos-style aphoristic muscle-flexing and as the intellectual ballast, however unwieldy, for the text to come.

In Search of a Better World is both memoir and manifesto. It begins with reminiscences of a largely happy early childhood in Iran under the Shah, a life that was tinged with a certain darkness.

The Akhavan clan were practising Baha'i, a religious minority persecuted under the torpid Qajar Dynasty, slightly less so during the reign of the last Shah and then purged brutally following the Islamic revolution. The Baha'i pogroms that Akhavan recounts are beyond horrific; in terms of an origin story for a human-rights lawyer, this section more than delivers. Luckily for Akhavan's immediate family, Canada provided safe haven, and they dodged the worst of the violence.

The lectures now morph into a standard Canadian literary trope: the immigrant narrative. This being the mid-seventies, let's just say that the future lawyer's new Labatt Blue-swilling compatriots were as skillful at racial slurs as they were at slapshots. Still, without a guide to Akhavan's rhetorical methodology, it's hard to know where we're going with all this stuff, although it does seem as if we're being nudged toward the swirl of identity politics: This is how a brown Iranian boy, epigenetically coded with an understanding of intolerance, comes to develop a conflicted sense of self within the pressurized lab of a Canadian high school, all of it marinated in the sorrow and pain of murdered Baha'i back home.

"There was seemingly no escape from this prison of identity," he writes. "Confined by its oppressive walls, the best I could do was to retreat inside of myself and find comfort in romanticized memories, a stubborn clinging to an increasingly perfect past."

Those impulses are, of course, what drive people toward society's fringes, seeking funhouse mirrors for their anger and loneliness. Amazingly, Akhavan believes that such experiences are destined to ebb and that there'll be a downturn in backward-baseball-cap-wearing yokels punching brown boys in the face for the offence of being "Paki."

"[T]he reality today," he notes, "is that the irresistible forces of globalization, the inexorable expansion of our collective consciousness, is infusing diverse peoples with an ever broader sense of belonging. That is exactly why the extremists are panicking."

Is this true? Are the extremists "panicking," or are they dining out on a vast revolution pitted against the (liberal and illiberal) forces of globalism, an orgy of Balkanization that stretches from the Central African Republic (where I have first-hand experience of exactly this process) to Kansas to Yorkshire? In other words, are the extremists not expressing the will of "the people" far more so than the reasoned elites? More to the point, do the "irresistible forces of globalization" dispense their munificence equally? And what does all of this mean for the future of human rights, or for a Star Trek Federation-style conglomeration of peoples, universally linked by both outlook and values?

Instead of confronting these questions head-on, Akhavan walks us through his experiences as the youngest war-crimes prosecutor in United Nations history, and as one of the pioneering litigators at The Hague's International Criminal Court. We go from the battlefields of Harvard University, to the Balkans during the war, to Rwanda directly after the genocide, to Afghanistan during its endless season of hell and to other destinations that are unlikely to make it onto your holiday bucket list. Even when he's safe in New York and about to enjoy a quiet, lucrative stint as a practising lawyer, two aircraft smash into the Word Trade Center, and for several agonizing hours he loses track of his wife and young son, who were on the way to the buildings to take in the phantom view.

These passages are defined by rage, bitterness and sorrow, a cri de coeur from inside the PTSD horror show. Nonetheless, the notion that the ethnic slaughterfest in the Balkans somehow represented a primordial tribal reality did not sit well with Akhavan, who dismisses Samuel Huntington's "clash of civilizations" narrative as "appealing to thinkers whose simplistic binary vision could not fathom the alternative vision of an inextricably interdependent world." Ethnic war - or, at least, lighting the tinder that sparks such conflagrations - was the act of individual humans, a power dynamic that had explicit legal implications. In humanrights terms, this was a revolutionary notion. "It was to us not a clash of civilizations that was at issue but a clash between civilization and barbarity, with justice as the dividing line between the two."

In these sections, Akhavan recounts a (surprisingly slight) history of the slow drift toward the development of universal human rights as a legal concept: "It would be exactly 300 years of wars and genocide, from the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, before we reimagined international law and national sovereignty in light of the core principle of human rights rather than brute force," he writes. We then arrive at the "victor's justice" of the Nuremberg trials, followed by an interregnum brought about by mutually assured destruction and the hyper-rational insanity of the Cold War.

But it wasn't until the 1970s that a new moral horizon properly opened up. In 1977, Amnesty International won the Nobel Peace Prize, and suddenly a new age of international advocacy, driven by entities called "non-governmental organizations," was upon us.

U.S. president Jimmy Carter, following the gruesome Vietnam mop-up, declared that human rights would serve as the guiding rationale of foreign policy as the world matured along with these new, unbendable "rights." The revolutionary esprit of 1968 had been abandoned; this was a legalistic, Talmudic upending of the immoral and inhuman behaviour perpetrated by governments across the world. Rights, which had always been created and protected by the state, were suddenly being used to transcend or subvert the state's authority. The new utopia would be presided over by lawyers. As the human-rights historian Samuel Moyn puts it, "the central event in human-rights history is the recasting of rights as entitlements that might contradict the sovereign nation state from above and outside rather than serve as its foundation."

As with many of his contemporaries, including Michael Ignatieff, Akhavan's sensibilities were branded by the atrocities he witnessed first-hand in the Bosnian war, which, among other things, served as a blood-drenched coming-of-age for Clinton-era humanists. The Dayton Peace Accords, and the subsequent tribunals that would drag Slobodan Milosevic into the dock, were the beginning of a new phase of legal entitlements, one that was being more or less repeated in Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Cambodia: the end to individual impunity following the perpetuation of massacres or genocides. All of this culminated in the signing of the Rome Statute in 1998, which enshrined the ICC as the key weapon in the prosecution of international lawfare, ushering in, as Akhavan puts it, the "age of global justice."

Or so the story went. Because really, what's changed? And this, I'm afraid, is where Akhavan's lecture goes headfirst through the windscreen. He is understandably frustrated at how the whole human-rights project has turned out and appears ready to lose his nut at the state of the United Nations. (Join the club.) But with his immense trove of experience, it is too much to expect some surprising insights or prognostications? The latter sections of the book are characterized by goopy sentimentality, crossed with nonsense such as the following: "The fanatical Mullah Omar feared any gods that competed with the angry god he had created in his impoverished imagination." This isn't merely meaningless, because willfully it ignores the political possibilities inherent in Omar's "fanaticism." Instead, the gods Omar is assumed to have "feared" are enlisted in Akhavan's own Global Oneness proselytization.

In leaping around epochs and ideas, the writing becomes Barney purple; the insights devolve into standard left-of-centre rants, or worse, bumper-stickerisms: "We are being infused with a wider loyalty, witnessing the rise of an unprecedented consciousness that we all belong to a single emerging world civilization, that our survival depends on acceptance of a transcendent ethos of human dignity for all."

Back that statement up, and you have the happiest reader on the planet. Akhavan doesn't bother coming close.

Barack Obama, Akhavan's fellow Harvard Law School alumnus, loved quoting (out of context) Martin Luther King, who was quoting (in context) the 19th-century clergyman Theodore Parker when he said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." It is perhaps equally deterministic to think of history as little more than a syndicated TV show: a jumble of indistinguishable episodes, played endlessly on repeat, until the set goes dead. We may indeed be saved from both the fake arc and/or endless Nietzschean recurrence by a coherent understanding - and one day, prosecution - of universal human rights. But they are not "a thousand humble stories." They need to be the work of lapidaries, carved into gemstones, and then studded in a code of living.

Human rights are barely 70 years old. So less lecturing, perhaps, and more prosecuting. After all, talk is cheap, but the lawyers sure aren't.

Richard Poplak's most recent book is Continental Shift: A Journey into Africa's Changing Fortunes. He is currently working on a book about mining. He splits his time between Toronto and Johannesburg.

Associated Graphic

Human-rights lawyer Payam Akhavan recounts horrific childhood memories of Baha'i programs in Iran and his experiences growing up as a teen in Canada in his new book, In Search of a Better World.


Southern invaders
As higher temperatures proliferate in Canada's Arctic, scientists have begun to notice signs of encroaching species from warmer climes. As Ivan Semeniuk reports, the race is on to document what's moving north and how to deal with it
Saturday, September 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F8

BATHURST INLET, NUNAVUT -- There's no mistaking the Crystal Serenity. Like a luxury hotel on water, the giant cruise ship loomed at the entrance to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, late last month on its second trip through the Northwest Passage in as many summers.

Faced with more than 1,500 passengers and crew - enough to nearly double the population of the tiny port town - the community carefully manages the ship's arrival. On this occasion, tourists were cycled through in batches for one-hour visits. The southern interlopers wore tangerine-coloured jackets, which made them easy to spot as they wandered the northern locale's gravel thoroughfares.

This scene of an increasingly accessible Arctic was visible from the deck of the Polar Prince, whose stop in Cambridge Bay as part of the C3 Expedition happened to coincide with the cruise ship's arrival.

The expedition, a Canada 150 initiative, is traversing the Northwest Passage with a cargo of scientists, artists, Indigenous elders, historians, community leaders, youth, journalists and educators. Among the participants on board for this leg of the trip was Kim Howland, a research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, who joined C3 to continue a DNA sampling study that has been part of the expedition's science mission since its voyage began in June.

Unlike the easy-to-spot passengers from the Crystal Serenity, the visitors that Dr. Howland is most concerned about are hidden invaders that could soon be arriving in these waters as climate change opens the doors to increased maritime traffic.

Dr. Howland's focus is on the invasive species that can travel across oceans in the ballast water of commercial ships and that have a devastating impact when they arrive in places where they don't belong.

"The Arctic hasn't had to face this problem until now," said Dr. Howland, who is part of DFO's Arctic Research Division, based in Winnipeg. "But with ongoing warming and declines in sea ice making these waters more navigable - and more hospitable - it's a real concern."

The DNA study Dr. Howland and her colleagues is conducting is aimed at giving scientists and officials a fair warning about precisely what is coming to Canada's northern seas. Rather than look for individual specimens of an invading species which may or may not be present, the study scoops up freefloating DNA from the water, searching for genetic traces of animals that are not native to the region. Because the C3 ship is making one continuous trip through the Arctic from east to west, it can provide a snapshot of where things stand in each region and how those regions compare.

For those who live along the Great Lakes, where zebra mussels have been a scourge since they arrived in the 1980s, the problem of invasive species is not new. Similarly, Atlantic Canada has been coping with its share of interlopers. They include the European green crab, a tenacious predator that outcompetes native species and can have a destabilizing effect on intertidal ecosystems - all to the detriment to local fisheries. Another threat is the common periwinkle, a type of sea snail that also originated in Europe, and which the strains the marine food chain by eating all the algae in sight, as well as transmitting a parasite that affects fish.

Historically, these and other creatures were not deemed a threat to Arctic waters, as it was presumed the harsh conditions there would prohibit their growth. But Dr. Howland has just co-authored a modelling study which suggests that this is no longer the case for some potential invaders, and it will become less so as time goes on.

"The motivation was to try to understand the threat of the arrival of new species in a region where we don't have too much information," said Jesica Goldsmit, a postdoctoral researcher with DFO and lead author of the study, which was accepted for publication last week in the journal Biological Invasions.

In the study, the researchers looked at how eight invasive species might fare in the Arctic 50 years from now based on climate forecasts. The result: "We're predicting that all the species we modelled would survive," Dr. Howland said. While the degrees to which the species are likely to migrate northward vary, all of them would find a suitable habitat somewhere in the Arctic by the end of the 50year run, the model shows. And all of them pose a threat to the ecosystem and traditional ways of life.

One of the locations at highest risk is the relatively warmer Hudson's Bay, which is considered an Arctic ecosystem even though it dips well below the Arctic Circle. Another is the Beaufort Sea, above the coast of Alaska and Western Canada, which is open to shipping coming up through the Bering Strait.

Less clear is what will happen among the maze of channels and islands that makes up the central portion of Canada's High Arctic - also known as the Kitikmeot region - where the marine biology is far less explored. This is part of what has motivated Dr. Howland and other researchers who are participating in the C3, as well as others who are conducting studies in the area. And it's clear there is little time left to gather the baseline data before region is further transformed by warming temperatures and increased shipping traffic.

Sea and land alike are affected by climate change. Jeff Saarela, a botanist and director of the Canadian Museum of Nature's Centre for Arctic Knowledge and Exploration, was also on the C3 last week, armed with a permit to collect plants as part of the expedition. Taking advantage of the ship's frequent stops in places that few scientists have ever been able to access, he spent much of the voyage with his knees in the dirt, trowel in hand, extracting specimens.

"We know the Arctic is the fastest-warming part of the planet, and we know that species are responding," Dr. Saarela said. "To document when something has moved, you have to know what was there before."

Along the voyage there were hints of the transformation to come. After leaving Cambridge Bay, expedition leaders nosed their ship west and south to the now uninhabited hamlet of Bathurst Inlet. In contrast to Cambridge Bay, this location was rich with plant life, including alder, a member of the birch family, that crowded the empty buildings nearly to adult human height. The rising shrubs stood in startling contrast to a surrounding landscape dominated by the lichens and low ground cover of the Arctic tundra. Photos of a nearby location taken by the Canadian Arctic Expedition more than a century ago show much less foliage, says David Gray, a biologist and parttime historian on the C3 team who has been carefully comparing past and present records.

Less well known is what has been happening in the area over past 50 years, at a time when climate change was likely just beginning to have a noticeable effect. It's a period that falls within the range of living memory, yet, ironically, after centuries of habitation by the Copper Inuit (so named because of the implements they fashioned out of natural copper deposits in the region), there is no one living permanently around Bathurst Inlet today to attest to the transformation.

Nowhere did this absence feel more poignant last week than at Umingmaktok, formerly called Bay Chimo, a sheltered cove nestled within a breathtaking landscape of craggy cliffs and verdant swaths of tundra sloping down toward the sea.

Compared to the relatively flat and grey-hued surroundings of Cambridge Bay, it's easy to see why the semi-nomadic Inuit chose to live here, within easy reach of a bountiful ocean and a landscape populated by caribou and muskox. In 1915, when the Canadian Arctic Expedition pulled in at Umingmaktok, biologist Rudolph Anderson recorded that the settlement had "a good many people."

Mr. Anderson's assessment would prove short-lived. Epidemics imported from the south took their toll over the next few decades and in 1955, when a Distant Early Warning Line site was built at Cambridge Bay, a former trading post 150 kilometres to the northeast, it drew the Inuit off the land in search of work. Surrounding communities dwindled.

For Umingmaktok the final nail in the coffin came in the mid-1990s when a hostel associated with the residential school in Cambridge Bay was shut down. Parents whose children were at the school for most of the year were then faced with having to move in order to look after them.

Pamela Gross, an Inuk participant in the C3 expedition, summed it up when the ship reached Umingmaktok, a place where she spent a large part of her childhood: "Going back is very special, but it touches your heart, because we don't live here any more."

Later this month Ms. Gross, who is executive director of the Kitikmeot Heritage Society is leading a long-anticipated trip to bring a group of Inuit elders from Cambridge Bay back to Bathurst Inlet where they once lived. The idea is to use the landscape to trigger memories of a way of life that is fast disappearing but remains fundamental to both Inuit identity and hopes for an economically and culturally robust North in the future.

Meanwhile, in her own way, Kim Howland is using memory - in this case the molecular memory recorded in DNA - to help chart a course forward for the responsible management of the Arctic.

"It's part of what drew me to the region and why I keep going back," Dr. Howland said. "It's a place where we have the opportunity to communicate more directly with the people who use the resources and depend on the environment and where there is a strong desire to preserve these for future generations. " .

The Canada C3 Expedition is circumnavigating all three of Canada's coastlines to mark the country's 150th birthday. Last week Ivan Semeniuk travelled on the C3 ship for Leg 10 of its journey, from Cambridge Bay to Kugluktuk, Nunavut

Associated Graphic

'We know the Arctic is the fastest-warming part of the planet, and we know that species are responding,' says botanist Jeff Saarela.


Dr. Kim Howland, centre, is a researcher studying the Arctic waters for traces of DNA from species not native to the region.


In Cambridge Bay, southern visitors are increasingly common.


Competitive division spurs on Broncos
For Denver, honing 'championship habits' becomes more important than ever to stay abreast of the 2-0 Chiefs and Raiders
The Associated Press
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S11

It's time for the Broncos to leave the Mile High City and show what they've got in a road show.

In what could be a bounce-back season, Denver swept its first two home games, including a romp past Dallas that, at times, made the Cowboys look disinterested.

On to Buffalo, not the toughest place to play, especially in September, but an away game nonetheless.

The challenge for the Broncos is to keep things going: their division is the best in the NFL, with Kansas City and Oakland also 2-0.

"We're not letting up anything," defensive end Adam Gotsis says.

"We're not going to let up depending on who we play or depending on the schedule we have.

"Whether it's a three-day turnaround, four-day turnaround or whatever, at work, our effort doesn't drop. That's something coach [Vance Joseph] preaches: effort, effort, effort every day - championship habits. If you let that skip for a day or two, that's a day or two you never get back."

The Bills (1-1) have not been back to the playoffs this century, the longest such drought in the NFL. After beating up on the Jets, they played staunch defence but forgot to bring their offence to Carolina.

On Sunday, Buffalo faces an even tougher D.

"They do a good job of swarming to the football and they're stout up front, obviously, with [Von Miller] and what he does and what he brings to the table," Bills coach Sean McDermott says.

"He can wreck a game plan.

We've got to be aware of where he is and make sure we control the line of scrimmage.

"They're very good; it's a 2-0 team coming in here. First place in their division and ... we're going to have our hands full. It's a big challenge."

Week 3 began with the Los Angeles Rams putting up another big offensive performance as Jared Goff threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns and Todd Gurley ran for two TDs and caught another in a 41-39 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night.

Pittsburgh (2-0) at Chicago (0-2) That dynamite offence has yet to get going for the Steelers, and this could be the week. Running back Le'Veon Bell soon should recapture the burst and elusiveness that have been tempered by his preseason holdout. Ben Roethlisberger's passing touch hasn't been precise. All-Pro wideout Antonio Brown hasn't had a chance to break out all those new celebratory dances the league is allowing after scores.

"We will still be a team in development like all teams are and we just simply acknowledge it," coach Mike Tomlin says. "We better find ways to win along the way."

The Bears had better find some ways to win or coach John Fox and GM Ryan Pace could be looking for work come the cold days.

Seattle (1-1) at Tennessee (1-1) A high-interest matchup for September.

The Titans are considered a rising team, yet they flopped at home against the Raiders before manhandling the Jaguars in Jacksonville. Tennessee probably could win the AFC South without beating any good teams, but that's not really progress, so a victory in this one might be telling.

Then again, are the Seahawks a good team right now? Certainly not on offence, particularly up front.

Kansas City (2-0) at Los Angeles Chargers (0-2) With the Chargers' rookie kicker Younghoe Koo missing two late field goals, they have yet to win while representing their new home. And they couldn't sell out the StubHub Center, which seats under 30,000, for the loss to Miami.

In come the Chiefs, who merely have been the NFL's most impressive team so far. They can run, they can pass, they can kick, and they can play fierce defence.

Coach Andy Reid doesn't want to hear about how good his team has been.

"So the ebb and flow of the season, that's how this thing works; you've got to have earmuffs on as you go," Reid says. "People tell you how good you are, you have to counter that with the reality of it and that's playing the game."

Baltimore (2-0) vs. Jacksonville (1-1) at London The NFL still gets excited about its London matches, and this one at Wembley is the first trip across the pond for the Ravens. That makes 26 of the 32 franchises to have played regular-season contests in England.

Baltimore brings a defence Chelsea or Tottenham would be proud of, having allowed all of 10 points. Jacksonville brings a schizophrenic bunch that was dominant in its opener at Houston, then submissive versus the Titans last week.

Oakland (2-0) at Washington (1-1) The Raiders used to flop in trips to the Eastern time zone. That's a thing of the past: Jack Del Rio's group won all three of its games in that region a year ago and is a solid betting choice Sunday night.

Most critical could be whether Washington's lacklustre defence can slow down Derek Carr, Michael Crabtree, Amari Cooper and Marshawn Lynch.

Oakland's D looks to be upgraded, but this is the best offence it will have faced early in the schedule.

Dallas (1-1) at Arizona (1-1), Monday night Distractions always seem to follow the Cowboys; it goes with the territory when you anoint yourself America's Team. Those distractions, along with a fearsome Denver defence, appeared to take a toll on Dallas last weekend.

There wasn't a whole lot of denying that coming out of Big D, either.

In the Cowboys' favour is a trip to the Valley of the Sun, which is filled with almost as many Cowboys fans as it is with cactus.

Plus, the Cardinals are banged up.

New Orleans (0-2) at Carolina (2-0) Same old woes in Nawlins, where the Saints have gone 7-9 for three successive seasons because their defence is weak. Sure, they can move the ball and score behind Drew Brees and a dynamic offence. They just can't do that enough to make up for other shortcomings.

Carolina has not played a game without star tight end Greg Olsen since acquiring him in 2011. But he's sidelined with a broken foot.

Look for first-round pick running back Christian McCaffrey to get more targets now and receiver Kelvin Benjamin needs to step up.

Cincinnati (0-2) at Green Bay (1-1) Both teams could serve as poster boys for offensive line struggles, but for different reasons.

Green Bay's line was banged up in the loss at Atlanta, missing both starting tackles. Aaron Rodgers is as creative as they come, but what he was asked to do against the Falcons was unfair, especially when top receiver Jordy Nelson had to leave.

The Bengals' blocking unit suffers not so much from injuries but, thus far, from ineptitude.

Tampa Bay (1-0) at Minnesota (1-1) Having Case Keenum behind centre rather than Sam Bradford was a huge negative for the Vikings at Pittsburgh. Bradford's knees always are a concern given his history of major injuries.

Tampa didn't miss a beat despite not having its regulars play for almost a month. One week after the postponement of the Buccaneers' opener at Miami, they tore up Chicago. Most encouraging: The defence was formidable in the opener and could complement a potent offence.

Atlanta (2-0) at Detroit (2-0) The only matchup of 2-0 teams, one somewhat expected, the other a surprise.

Atlanta ripped apart Green Bay early last Sunday night in officially opening Mercedes-Benz Stadium for football; futbol already had been played there. The Falcons even held on to a big lead this time - sorry for the cheap shot, Atlanta fans.

The Lions really could state their case as a team to watch should they handle the defending NFC champs. Detroit found a running game against the Giants, as well as a pass rush.

Houston (1-1) at New England (1-1) A house of horrors for the Texans: Houston is 1-8 over all against the Patriots, going 0-5 in Foxborough, Mass.

Now they journey into Gillette Stadium with a rookie quarterback, Deshaun Watson, and a bunch of injuries. Their defence is formidable, though, and will get after Tom Brady.

Still, after flopping at home in the season opener with a secondhalf collapse against Kansas City, the Patriots will be seeking to make amends.

Miami (1-0) at New York Jets (0-2) Neither team has played a home game, the Dolphins because of Hurricane Irma forcing postponement against the Buccaneers, the Jets because their fans don't want them to come back to New Jersey.

Just kidding.

Give the Dolphins tremendous credit for their gutsy win at the Chargers. That kind of victory can provide a hefty boost for a while.

So can taking on the J-E-T-S, who probably will win a game this season. Won't they?

New York Giants (0-2) at Philadelphia (1-1) Another team making its home debut and coming off two solid showings, the Eagles need to find a running game to support the rapidly developing Carson Wentz and they also are banged up on defence.

They don't have nearly as many star players as does New York. Yet the Giants have ranged from woeful to unwatchable on offence - yes, it might improve once Odell Beckham Jr.'s ankle is 100 per cent - and that puts a ridiculous burden on a talented but overworked defence.

Cleveland (0-2) at Indianapolis (0-2) A telling sign of how lowly regarded the Luckless Colts are: Cleveland is a road favourite in this one. Yep, the Browns.

Jacoby Brissett gets his second start for Indy. Having not spent training camp with the Colts, expecting a lot from him is too much.

His one edge over his counterpart is that DeShone Kizer is a rookie who had a checkered career at Notre Dame.

Associated Graphic

Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller watches Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in a preseason game in August. This Sunday, the Packers play the Bengals and the Broncos play the Bills.


The return of Ford Nation
Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M1

It is a Friday night in Etobicoke and the tribe that calls itself Ford Nation is gathering for its annual love-in.

Hundreds of Ford fans crowd the vast suburban backyard of the family seat on Weston Wood Road. Some join the line for burgers that circles behind the swimming pool. Others wait for plastic cups of beer near the statue of bronzed, topless maidens holding a giant urn over their heads.

This is Ford Fest, "Canada's largest backyard BBQ," where "Everything is FREE." Big, blond Doug Ford is announcing that he is running for mayor of Toronto next year. Flanked by his mother, wife and four daughters, he works the crowd into a nice lather with standard Ford vows to end tax grabs, cut waste at city hall and stop "the war on the car." John Tory, the current mayor is "all talk and broken promises," he says. "Together we are going to take this city back."

For the third straight election, a Ford is after the city's top job.

Can this really be happening again? Could Toronto possibly elect another Mayor Ford?

At first it seems wildly unlikely.

The chaos and scandal of the Rob Ford years are still fresh memories. A sensible city would avoid his older brother like something contagious. He may not suffer from the personal demons that drove Rob to disgrace himself and embarrass the city, but he is just as poorly informed, just as boastful, just as divisive. Doug, the glad-handing leader of the family business, lacks the awkward, outsider quality that was part of Rob's attraction.

Mr. Ford would be running against an incumbent mayor who can claim to have returned sanity and civility to city hall, a point that Mr. Tory is already pressing when he is asked about a Ford challenge. Very early polling for the Oct. 22, 2018, vote suggests that he would beat Mr. Ford easily in a head-to-head contest.

And yet ... It would be dangerous to write off the Fords and their followers as a spent force. Events south of the border show how potent that crude populism of their kind can be. Few thought a man such as Donald Trump could become president of the world's most powerful country, just as few thought Rob Ford could become mayor of Canada's biggest city.

If their appeal is often hard to understand, it is also easy to underestimate.

Remember that even right in the wake of the Ford scandal, Doug won 34 per cent of the vote when he took over from an ailing Rob and ran for mayor.

Those recent polls put him around the same level today. A third of the city is in his corner.

Anybody who has watched the Fords in action has to marvel at the loyalty and enthusiasm they inspire. A dedicated, fired-up base is gold in politics. The following they built was the first real movement that Toronto politics has seen since the reform movement of the 1970s.

It didn't just dry up and blow away after Doug lost to Mr. Tory in 2014. Rob Ford's sad, early death from cancer in 2016 gave his movement a martyr.

The "mayor of heaven," as his young daughter called him, now hovers over every Ford Nation gathering. Ford sidekick Giorgio Mammoliti, a city councillor, told the Ford Fest crowd that he talks to Rob in his prayers and "he wants us to finish what he started." Doug, too, said that Rob was looking down from above with a big smile on his face. "Rob," he said as he announced his run for mayor, "this one is gonna be for you."

To the Ford crowd, it barely matters that their late champion was at the centre of the most lurid scandal to hit Canadian politics in recent history. True believers insist they could not care less about the infamous crack affair. No one is perfect.

Everyone has skeletons in the closet. It was just a personal matter, with no bearing on his performance. He was a great mayor all the same. That is what they say.

It is tempting to sneer at all this. More than tempting: it is entirely justified. Rob Ford not only smoked crack cocaine while he was mayor, he consorted with criminal types while lecturing youths to stay out of trouble, uttered all kinds of vile slurs and misled the city for months after the scandal broke, with Doug backing him all the way. The man who claimed to be the hardest-working person at city hall and the best mayor Toronto ever had was often AWOL and only half-engaged in the job, even when he turned up for work.

These are the facts and it's disturbing that so many people in this city don't accept them.

But, in the end, sneering won't do much good. The Fords can't be wished away. Better to try to understand their movement, where it came from and why it is still a force in Toronto politics. The Fords tapped into something real, a seam of discontent and even bitterness about the way this city, and by extension, our society, works.

That sense of grievance is still out there, unappeased.

Like Donald Trump, Rob Ford put together a coalition of the resentful. Some are older suburbanites who think that the glittering downtown gets all the attention and money. They feel their whole lifestyle is under attack, as if their lawns and garages are something they should feel ashamed about.

Others are newcomers to Canada scrambling for a foothold on the ladder of success. They like the Ford message of lower taxes and less red tape. The Fords come across to them as regular guys who don't put on airs, although the family is well off. Still others are simply fed up with big government and ready to vote for anyone who promises to cut it down to size.

It is a mistake to dismiss them all as deluded zealots, even if a number are precisely that.

Whatever their background or beliefs, they feel as if they have been left outside the tent: ignored by the powers that be; disdained by the media and popular culture; their views and way of life thoroughly disrespected. It's not a good feeling.

Shouty, know-nothing populism is not the answer - the Trump mess has proved that in a hurry - but their anger is genuine.

You don't need to look very hard to encounter it. The gateway to Ford country is the intersection of Dundas Street West and Scarlett Road. Coming from downtown, the railway underpass there is like a portal to another world. Passing through, you leave behind the craft breweries, coffee bars and yoga studios of the Junction a few blocks away and find a rolling golf course, slab apartment towers and street upon street of postwar suburban houses with basketball hoops in the driveway. If you live downtown it's easy to forget that most of Toronto, in all its vastness, is like this.

Drive for a few minutes and you reach a shopping plaza with a bank, pizza joint, coin laundry, dollar store and Beer Store.

John Bosa, 47, a burly former boxer who works as an aircraft mechanic, is picking up a couple of beers. He liked Rob Ford - "he fought for everybody" - and thinks Doug would do a good job, too. The taxes, he says, are crazy. Governments "give with one hand and take with another." An immigrant from Uganda, he worries about today's newcomers. "I see them coming in every day. I don't know how they're going to live.

It's a powder keg." Forklift driver Gary Byng, 61, is getting on his electric scooter when he stops to talk. He says he is fed up with a world where the state tells everyone what to do and no one has an independent thought. The Fords, he says, stand out. Unlike John Tory, who "always has his finger in the air" to test which way the wind is blowing, they say what they think and do what they say.

Out here, the condo canyons, clanging streetcars and all-night arts festivals of downtown seem light years away. Many people worry about paying for new running shoes for their kids.

They want the potholed roads fixed. They would like a break on their taxes. It makes them see red when city hall wants to put a bike lane - a bike lane! - on a street that is already so crowded they can barely get to work on time.

It meant a lot to them that Rob Ford answered complaint calls himself and even came around in person to see about a missed garbage pickup or a broken elevator in a public-housing estate.

That may not have made him an effective mayor - he was terrifically ineffective, despite all his claims - but to them it meant he cared about the daily concerns of the average person.

His brother is (knock on wood) a long shot for mayor.

But there is still a market in Toronto for what he is selling.

An awful lot of people think that government keeps growing and growing and taking and taking, without much to show for it. An awful lot think that most of what comes out of the mouths of politicians is mush.

An awful lot feel that a cozy little group sits on the top of the heap in this city.

It is hard to argue that they are all wrong. Even if Toronto rejects Doug Ford, it would be wise to listen to Ford Nation.

Associated Graphic

A parade participant greets Doug Ford during the Grand Parade at Toronto's Caribbean Carnival in August.


Stephen Handler, a Rob Ford supporter, waits outside the then-mayor's office in June, 2014.


Rob and Doug Ford were able to draw a substantial number of supporters during previous election campaigns.


Rob Ford addresses a crowd of supporters at his mayoral re-election campaign kick-off in April, 2014.


Lighthouse co-founder made rock history
He combined jazz horns, classical strings and a traditional rhythm section to create the innovative ensemble
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, September 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S12

Skip Prokop was one of Canada's first major rock stars, a world-class drummer and talented songwriter who co-founded the groundbreaking jazz-rock band Lighthouse, which earned international acclaim in the 1970s. His death on Aug. 30, after a long battle with heart disease, sparked an outpouring of tributes from the music world. He was 73.

Mr. Prokop got his start with the Paupers, an innovative Toronto rock quartet that took New York by storm in March 1967, and became the first Canadian band to land a major U.S. album deal. He then recorded with Janis Joplin, performed with Cass Elliot and Carlos Santana, and became admired for his session work with Peter, Paul & Mary and Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield. But it was with Lighthouse, which released five bestselling albums and had four Top 10 singles including One Fine Morning, that he really made his mark.

Lighthouse gave Mr. Prokop a wide canvas on which to explore new musical ideas. His concept of bringing together jazz horns, classical strings and a rock rhythm section was as audacious as it was innovative.

When Lighthouse took off, it led other fusion acts such as Chicago to follow suit. Ultimately, Mr. Prokop was a gifted drummer whose finesse and power inspired admiration from the likes of Rush's Neil Peart, who wrote: "Skip was a brilliant technician and delivered a superbly musical solo."

Ronald Harry Prokop (the nickname Skip came later) was born in Hamilton, on Dec. 13, 1943. He was one of two children of Harry, a Ukrainian autoworker, and Janet (née McConnell) Prokop, an Irishborn hospital worker. The boy learned to play drums in the Sea Cadet Corps and quickly excelled at his instrument. His father instilled in him a strong work ethic and he would practise drum patterns constantly, even on his bedroom pillow at night. After joining the Toronto Optimist Drum Corps, a 17-yearold Mr. Prokop won the Canadian National Rudimental Drumming Championship, earning a scholarship offer from West Point Military Academy.

But Mr. Prokop already had his sights on a music career.

Following graduation from Lakeshore Business College and a brief stint in the Toronto police force, he left the Drum Corps to form the Paupers with vocalist Bill Marion, guitarist Chuck Beal and bassist Denny Gerrard. A Beatles-style pop band, the Paupers enjoyed some local success in Toronto's Yorkville district but really started going places after hooking up with Bernie Finkelstein, who became their manager, and recruited singer-songwriter Adam Mitchell when Mr. Marion quit.

Retooled as a psychedelic rock group, the Paupers landed a gig at New York's Cafe au Go Go in March, 1967. Mr. Finkelstein had got them on a bill with San Francisco's highly touted Jefferson Airplane.

The Paupers wound up stealing the spotlight. Along with Mr. Beal's distorted fuzz guitar and Mr. Gerrard's frenetic bass solos, the Toronto band's dynamic stage show featured a wild rhythmic climax conceived by Mr. Prokop.

"We used three drummers," Mr. Mitchell recalls. "Skip was on his kit, I was on tom-toms and Denny played a floor tom and a bass drum turned on its side to make a big, deep African sound. We were like a drum corps on LSD - it really packed a wallop."

Riding high, the Paupers scored a U.S. record deal and joined the artist roster of industry heavyweight Albert Grossman. Mr. Prokop and his band mates were suddenly the darlings of Canadian music. But the buzz started wearing off after the group's two albums failed to match the excitement of its live shows.

Following a disastrous, drugsabotaged appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival in June, 1967, the Paupers began drifting apart.

For Mr. Prokop, a chance meeting in New York with Toronto-based jazz keyboardist Paul Hoffert changed everything.

After meeting at a Paupers gig at New York's Electric Circus, the two - by chance - wound up sitting next to each other on the flight back to Toronto. On the plane, Mr. Prokop told Mr. Hoffert his dream of incorporating brass, strings, electric instruments and drums into a new rock orchestra. They launched Lighthouse the following year.

Mr. Hoffert said he admired Mr. Prokop's "chutzpah" and "neversay-die attitude."

The 13-piece band made its debut on May 14, 1969, at the Rock Pile in Toronto's Masonic Temple. Recalled Mr. Hoffert: "Skip was able to tap into Yorkville's rock scene and I knew I could call the Toronto Symphony and get four string players under the age of 25 who were totally into rock 'n' roll. And I had no trouble finding horn players of that calibre either. It all came together very naturally."

A recording deal and three albums with RCA followed in quick succession. Although well received critically, none of those albums was a big seller.

Meanwhile, Mr. Prokop made his voice heard in Ottawa one day in April, 1970, when he argued at the CRTC hearings in favour of a Canadian content quota for radio. "The thing that I feel," he told the hearing, "is that it will set up a chain reaction. If Canada can get behind this whole thing, there will be a lot more kids who will make it worldwide.

"First of all, the kids who are recording will start getting hit records. Then Canadian kids will start paying a certain amount of money to go and see them in concert. This creates the beginning of an industry - you start creating stars within your own country." With the emotion rising in his voice, Mr. Prokop concluded, "This is something that Canada has never really had."

Coming from a successful working musician, Mr. Prokop's words had weight and earned him the respect of both CRTC chairman Pierre Juneau and former prime minister Pierre Trudeau. The Cancon quota came into effect the following year and helped to build the Canadian music industry.

Lighthouse was an adventurous touring act, performing at major events such as the Atlantic City Pop Festival and England's Isle of Wight Festival, where the band and Jimi Hendrix appeared on two successive nights because of audience demand. The group also performed with orchestras in Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Philadelphia, and toured with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet production of Ballet High. Lighthouse guitarist Ralph Cole recommended the Edmonton Symphony to Procol Harum's Gary Brooker and the result, Procol Harum Live with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, became the British band's bestselling album.

Lighthouse's own album sales took off when the band teamed up with producer Jimmy Ienner and switched labels to GRT Records in Canada. Mr. Ienner had specific ideas about how to make the group's sound more commercial. Recalls former GRT president Ross Reynolds: "One day in the studio, Jimmy handed Skip a roll of tape and said 'Here's your drum solo.' That was his way of telling Skip his drum solo wasn't going to be on the album. Skip grumbled a bit, but realized the band was due for a change."

Along with Mr. Ienner's direction, Lighthouse benefited from two other changes: the addition of formidable singer Bob McBride and the sharpening of Mr. Prokop's pop songwriting.

Beginning in 1971, Mr. Prokop's songs, including One Fine Morning, Hats Off (to the Stranger) and Sunny Days, all began topping the charts.

"Skip had the rare ability to distill complex musical and lyrical ideas into simple, heartfelt and extremely catchy songs," Mr. Hoffert said. The group won the first of three successive Juno Awards for Best Group of the Year, with Mr. McBride taking Best Male Vocalist in 1973. And Lighthouse Live!, recorded at Carnegie Hall, became the first platinum album in Canada.

By 1974, the incessant cycle of recording, touring and promoting began to take its toll. First Mr. McBride, who was becoming unreliable owing to substance abuse, went AWOL and Mr. Prokop joined the front line on guitar and vocals.

Then, Mr. Prokop himself quit and Lighthouse disbanded in 1976. During the eighties, Mr. Prokop became a born-again Christian and hosted a Christian-themed rock show, called Between a Rock and a Hard Place, on the Toronto radio station CFNY. He also drummed in a Christian rock band, released a jazz album and later worked in advertising sales for several London, Ont., radio stations.

Mr. Prokop and Lighthouse reunited in 1982 for four large concerts at Ontario Place, dubbed One Fine Weekend, and then took another hiatus until 1992 and has continued to perform ever since. But Mr. Prokop, a heavy smoker and drinker, was forced to leave the band he started in 2012 because of health problems. He suffered a heart attack in 2013 and underwent bypass surgery the following year.

Mr. Prokop's place in Lighthouse has been taken by his son, Jamie, who learned to play drums from his father, starting at the age of 7. "Dad wasn't always the easiest man to get along with," Jamie said, "because he was very opinionated and pushed himself and everyone around him to succeed. He couldn't stand mediocrity and I learned all about the benefits of hard work from him."

The elder Mr. Prokop also had a caring side. He worked with the World Vision charity and two years ago, despite poor health, led a drumming workshop at South Dorchester Public School, near Aylmer, Ont., teaching children to play rhythm patterns on Home Depot plastic pails. His remarkable life story will be told in his coming memoir, written with the help of music journalist Jaimie Vernon.

Mr. Prokop leaves his parents and sister, Darlene. His wife, Tracy (née Beauvais); three children from his first marriage, Shannon, Cassandra and Jamie; granddaughter, Gina; and stepsons, Paul and Jeffrey Vandepol.

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

Skip Prokop, seen performing with his band Lighthouse at the Ontario Place Forum in 1972, got his start with the Paupers, an innovative Toronto rock quartet that became the first Canadian band to land a major U.S. album deal.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

From hurricanes to earthquakes to nuclear threats, there are plenty of doomsday scenarios to worry about these days. Yet, why do so many of us have trouble envisioning - and preparing for - the worst? Wency Leung reports
Monday, September 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Dr. Laurie Pearce lists off the items she keeps ready in case disaster strikes. There are pouches filled with water, space blankets, flashlights and batteries, a hand-crank radio with a charger for her cellphone, a stash of garbage bags ("They can be used for keeping people warm as well, by cutting holes for the heads," she says), first-aid kits, a spare pair of glasses, food packages, waterproof matches, an extra supply of her husband's medication, hygiene products, tissues and two decks of cards.

And that's only some of the contents of the backpacks she has designated as "grab-and-go" bags, to be used if she and her family ever have to flee. She also keeps a rope, a shovel and two or three blankets in her car. In her house, she has a stockpile of supplies and a generator in case of a power outage. The house itself, situated in the district of North Vancouver, is equipped with a sprinkler system in case of fire, and it's built on granite rock and bolted in to brace for earthquakes and landslides.

Since she's an expert in disaster management, it's Pearce's job to think about the calamitous what-if scenarios that many of us dare not. According to a Statistics Canada report released in 2015, only about half of Canadians have an alternate source of heat for an emergency, and less than half have an alternate source of water.

Only 21 per cent reported taking other types of emergency precautions, such as checking and replenishing emergency supplies, keeping an extra supply of fuel, keeping exits clear and making arrangements for their pets in case of emergency.

"Some people don't know what to do to prepare" for a disaster, says Pearce, an associate faculty member at Victoria's Royal Roads University who teaches in the masters program in disaster and emergency management.

But, she adds, "some of it is denial."

When it comes to facing the risks of large-scale disasters, whether it's the threat of nuclear war, a terror attack, a hurricane or raging wildfire, many people have a hard time envisioning - let alone preparing for - worstcase scenarios. News reports last month, for instance, noted that some residents of Guam expressed they were unfazed by the threat of North Korean missiles.

"I'm not afraid as many people think we're afraid. Life just goes on and we have trust and confidence in God and our military," Keandra McDonald, a student at Guam University, told Australia's ABC News.

And even as Hurricane Irma edged closer to Florida, some holdouts dismissed warnings to steer clear of its path. As one woman, Adriana Spitale Del Campo, told The Wall Street Journal, "Worrying beforehand is worthless."

One explanation for why people shrug off disaster is that they may not fully understand the risk, Pearce says. She finds it shocking that many who live around the Cascadia subduction zone on the Pacific coast of North America still do not fully understand their risk of a destructive earthquake.

Others, she suggests, find the prospect of large-scale disaster overwhelming. Seeing the images of entire buildings flattened this month by the magnitude 8.1 earthquake that struck southern Mexico, for instance, may make individuals feel powerless to prepare for a similar event.

"When people see all these awful situations ... they think 'Well, what's the point? If this is going to be so devastating, what's the point of me doing anything, really?' " she says.

Such was the response of some Cold War-era undergraduate students at Stanford University, who were asked to estimate the likelihood of nuclear war in a study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, published in 1989. As the study author reported, "One respondent wrote, for example, that 'thinking about this just scares me and makes me feel really impotent.' " (The author noted that some respondents even sent their questionnaires back with expletives and hostile remarks, refusing to make an estimate.)

And it's not like we necessarily lack the imagination or interest in thinking about doom and gloom. We've proven that with our appetites for dystopian movies about zombies, plagues and Armageddon, New Yorker journalist Kathryn Schulz writes in her Pulitzer Prize-winning feature on the likelihood of a largescale Cascadia earthquake.

"Where we stumble is in conjuring up grim futures in a way that helps to avert them."

In some cases, people feel powerless or resigned to do nothing because they lack the resources to prepare for a disaster. For instance, Pearce says, urban apartment dwellers may not have the physical space to keep emergency stockpiles, and those living in poverty don't likely have the financial means to purchase items for "grab-and-go" bags.

The opinions and behaviours of others also influence how people respond to emergency situations, Pearce says, pointing to research on the evacuation of the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, which revealed that workers were concerned about leaving without the approval of their bosses. Many delayed vacating the buildings to attend to last-minute tasks, such as gathering their personal items, making phone calls or shutting down their computers, according to a study published by the U.S.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They appeared not to grasp the urgency of their situation.

"Some of those decisions cost people their lives," Pearce says, explaining that people also tend not to decide whether to vacate on their own.

In the context of a hurricane, she says, "It might be, 'Oh, the neighbours aren't home yet, maybe we'll talk to them.' Or maybe, 'Aunt Suzy's over here, and I'll wait for her to get back,' or 'My mom isn't here yet.' So people want to make a decision as a group, and then if some people can't join a group, they'll wait for that person, for example."

Research has also shown that people can underestimate the danger they face and be overconfident in their ability to overcome it, says Dr. Etsuko Yasui, associate professor of applied disaster and emergency studies at Brandon University.

Yasui explains researchers have found people make decisions based on their previous experiences. That means if you've experienced a hurricane and emerged unscathed, you'll probably approach the next one in the same manner. Similarly, one might expect that if you've never lived through Cold War-era nuclear attack drills, you may be less alarmed by the exchange of threats between the United States and North Korea than those who have.

"If [people] cannot make an accurate understanding of the scale of the event, it is difficult for them to imagine the impacts of the event," Yasui wrote in an e-mail.

In their chapter of Risk Conundrums: Solving Unsolvable Problems, published earlier this year, authors Howard Kunreuther, Paul Slovic and Kimberly Olson point out this kind of "availability bias" can make people underestimate the likelihood of a disaster before it occurs, and overestimate it afterward. Such thinking helps explain why people often buy insurance right after a disaster, but then cancel their policies after they've had several loss-free years. It's difficult to convince them that they should celebrate not having suffered any loss and still maintain insurance coverage, the authors wrote.

But then, what may seem irrational to others "can be perfectly rational for the individuals because they have their own rationale for doing it," Yasui says.

In other words, everyone interprets risk differently.

The problem for disastermanagement experts is there are a multitude of factors that influence how each individual perceives risk, and how he or she behaves, says Dr. Ali Asgary, associate professor of disaster and emergency management at York University. He notes experts from a wide range of disciplines, from psychologists to geologists, have spent decades trying to tease them out.

Some of these factors involve the hazard itself, for example one's physical proximity to a hurricane or earthquake zone, while others can be considered informational factors, such as the type of media coverage available.

There are also a host of personal factors, including age, education and gender, Asgary says, noting that in some situations, women have been found to be more cautious than men, particularly when they have children.

Socioeconomic or contextual factors, which include the level of an individual's trust in institutions, also play a role in how they perceive and react to risk, he says.

"If I believe that my government is 100-per-cent ready, is there to take action and help me ... then I would relax and say, 'Don't worry,' " Asgary says, whereas others who have little faith in their government are more likely take measures to protect themselves.

Recognizing the involvement of all these factors means there's no one-size-fits-all approach to encouraging the public to prepare for a disaster, he says. Warnings and preparedness efforts would be more effective if they were targeted to specific groups, based on the way they perceive risk. Moreover, he adds, people are more likely to heed warnings and take action if they are encouraged to participate in the disaster-management planning process, such as engaging in emergency exercises or workshops to voice their opinions.

But as much as people should be thinking about and preparing for worst-case scenarios, scaring them can be counterproductive, Asgary says. When warnings are too negative, "people actually feel helpless or feel it's something beyond their control," he says, whereas when people are told they can take specific steps to reduce their losses from a worst-case scenario to a less-terrible scenario, they're more inclined to feel empowered.

In general, he says, when people feel like, "'Yes, actually, we can actually do something to reduce the risk ...' then they will react to this [information] positively."

Associated Graphic


Experts say people may feel powerless or resigned to do nothing during an emergency situation because they lack preparation resources, such as the financial means to put together 'grab-and-go' bags.


In new book, Carol Off exposes refugee's trials with a personal lens
Friday, September 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

It was honesty that got Asad Aryubwal in trouble with one of Afghanistan's most notorious warlords. It was honesty that prevented him from coming to Canada sooner. But it was adhering to his principles that made him a friend: Canadian journalist Carol Off.

The first time Off met Aryubwal, in 2002, she was looking for someone to tell the story of what life was really like under General Abdul Rashid Dostum, who ruled in northern Afghanistan. He was willing to say what nobody else would and got access to a prison where they filmed the aftermath of an alleged massacre of Taliban fighters.

The second time Off met him, in 2006, she was back in Afghanistan, reporting an update to her earlier documentary, which went on to win a Gemini Award.

Again, he was willing to go on camera despite knowing he might face the wrath of Dostum.

But when she found out what happened to him and his family in the interim, she could not leave them behind as she had done with sources from other stories.

Off's fourth book, All We Leave Behind, tells the story of the Aryubwal family as they experience war, shunning by their extended family and the convoluted, almost hopeless process of gaining refugee status.

It also shows the lengths to which Off went to help a source, the deep friendship that developed between them over the years and the delicate balance Off faced with the practice and ethics of journalism.

In an interview at the downtown Toronto office of her publisher, Off and Robina, Aryubwal's eldest daughter, talked about the story that brought them together. Off, who has been the co-host of CBC's As It Happens since 2006, said seeing the Aryubwals make new lives in Canada was like some "magic" coming into her life.

"I can't tell you how happy and proud you feel of your country, of your society, when you see the possibilities and you see people have the opportunity to grow and live in your country. Something very powerful happens, and ultimately what I would like people to take away from this book is that same feeling."

Growing up, Aryubwal's family owned a movie theatre in Kabul.

His father was arrested after the Saur Revolution in 1978 and never seen again. Asad married Mobina, a woman from a different clan, which did not go over well with his conservative family. Once, when he had fled to Pakistan, she had to travel back to Kabul and stayed with his family. The men of the family verbally and physically abused her until she was able to travel back to her home in northern Afghanistan.

Asad and Mobina have five children, all of whom are now in Canada. In the 1990s, they lived in northern Afghanistan, where he became a general for Dostum - a job less powerful than the title suggests. He never carried a weapon and mainly did logistics and supervised construction sites. It was that experience that made him a credible witness to the lives of ordinary Afghanis under Dostum's U.S.-funded rule.

After he talked to Off in 2002, he was on vacation in northern Afghanistan when he was approached by one of Dostum's commanders and warned that his whole family would be "destroyed" if he kept it up. He quickly packed up his family and drove back to Kabul. He later learned that a car full of gunmen arrived just after his departure looking for him.

When Dostum found out Aryubwal had again been interviewed by the CBC in 2006, he was given an ultimatum: leave Afghanistan or be killed, possibly along with his sons. He fled to Pakistan, and the rest of the family joined him when he saw there was no hope of ever going back. (As for Dostum, he is now Afghanistan's vice-president.)

But Off didn't know any of that. In fact, she might never have learned of the family's fate in the normal course of her work. But in 2008, she was in Pakistan, reporting on the aftermath of the Benazir Bhutto assassination, when she again met Aryubwal and his family.

There she learned the cost of his interviews with her.

So why did he talk to her again in 2006 if he knew the dangers? "Because if I had not spoken up, if I had not told you the truth of what was happening, I would never be able to look into the eyes of my children again." It was then that Off knew the predicament he was in, the convictions he so steadfastly held in a place where they were not welcome, and she knew she had to help his family.

It took more than seven harrowing years to get the Aryubwals to Canada, despite having funding and a private sponsor ready to take them in. They lived in limbo in Pakistan for years, moving several times when danger seemed near. Navigating the Byzantine and corrupt United Nations refugee process and then facing an increasingly hostile federal government put Off over the edge, compelling her to tell their story once they had gotten to the safety of Canada.

"Everyone is calling her the angel of our family," Robina said. "We were very broken, but [Carol] was always beside us.

She was giving us hope."

Off says the moment she knew the story would become a book was when Robina was telling her about an encounter her father had after being rejected for refugee status. A man told him that for $50,000, wired to a Moscow bank account, he could get the family's refugee application approved. "I was thinking: Okay, we just have to figure this out.

We're not filling out the right form or we're not talking to the right person or we're not going to the right office. What is it that I have to do?" Off said. "No, I have to send $50,000 to Moscow? That's how it happens - how this works?

"And that for me was, like, we're going to expose this. We can't do it now because you're caught in this. We can't upset this apple cart while we're sitting in it, but we're going to expose this."

The book may be about the Aryubwals, but Off's evolution as a journalist is also present.

She got her first big break in 1986 in Pakistan, where she reported on an airplane hijacking and landed an interview with Bhutto. What she doesn't mention in the book is how she got to Pakistan: by selling all her belongings and travelling alone, with just the promise of CBC airing an interview with Bhutto that Off had no idea how to actually get. She had quite literally given up everything for journalism but, two decades later, was left wondering what the point of it all was if her profession dictated that she could not help this family - a family who was not only suffering because of her, but who represented an ideal the Western powers in Afghanistan wanted to promote.

Looking back on that time with the knowledge of what Off was going through to get the Aryubwals to Canada, her 2014 interview with Canada's thenimmigration minister, Chris Alexander, comes off as even more urgent. Off pressed Alexander for answers on just how many Syrian refugees were being welcomed to Canada, and Alexander fumbled for answers before hanging up on her.

"I had to separate these two worlds. I was fighting to get them into Canada as an individual and I was, as a journalist, covering the very story that I was trying to get them out of.

So it was a mental juggling act and an ethical juggling act, but I believe I found the right balance," Off said.

"But it was hard. There were many times, yes, when I thought: 'I'll just use my profile as a journalist to declare this is what's going on,' but I couldn't do that. I have to go through the same channels that everyone else went through." Off is still critical of the government's treatment of refugees. She said government-sponsored refugees are left to their own devices and "there's so little help for them" compared with privately sponsored refugees.

Now 29, Robina is enrolled at the University of Toronto and hopes to go to law school. She talked about the importance of education in her family's lives; how she learned English on her own and taught others; how her mother ran an underground school for girls while the Taliban ruled; and how Off sent the family money so they could go to university in Pakistan.

Her father is a dishwasher at a Toronto restaurant. Her mother sells homemade food at a local market. Her brothers and sisters are all in school or have jobs.

The family follows the news back home, anxiously watching the same mistakes being made in the long-suffering country as fighting still rages, with the Taliban ruling again in large parts of the country and the educated either fleeing or being imprisoned or killed. Despite all he has been through, Robina says, her father still misses Afghanistan.

As Off left to record the audio version of her book, she began to make plans with Robina for the weekend and said they would text each other. "Oh, by the way, I have your charger," Robina said. A hug and a kiss on the cheek, and Off was gone, the exchange like that of a loving mother and daughter.

"I can't thank her enough," Robina said. "She's like a miracle in our life."

Associated Graphic

Carol Off, centre, speaks with members of Asad Aryubwal's family. Off has penned a new book, All We Leave Behind, that tells the story of the Aryubwal family as they experience war, shunning by their extended family and the convoluted, almost hopeless process of gaining refugee status.


Rental mini-boom could be snuffed out
Builders are responding to surging demand, but the obstacles are many
Saturday, September 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S4

A developer better known for condos and townhouses is banking on the huge demand for rental apartment buildings to become a bigger part of its business.

Mosaic Homes is launching its first rental apartment building in Port Coquitlam in the Fremont neighbourhood this fall.

A 586-square-foot studio will rent for $1,275 a month, a onebedroom for $1,425 a month and a two-bedroom for $1,725 a month. They began leasing the units last month.

Geoff Duyker, Mosaic's senior vice-president of marketing, says the units are a far more affordable alternative to those found in Vancouver, where, as of August, the median rent for a onebedroom unit was $1,990 and a two-bedroom $3,200, according to the PadMapper rental tracking site.

"Five years ago, it wasn't that common to do purpose-built [rental] anywhere, and that has really changed," Mr. Duyker says.

"I would say most residential developers, Mosaic included, have shifted to include purpose-built rental as part of their business plan. That's certainly true for us.

For the longest time, no one was building it, and I think that finally has come home to roost."

Mosaic built a master-planned community of 650 homes in Fremont, including 450 townhomes and four condo buildings. The strata units went on the market in 2013 and sold out earlier this year, ahead of schedule. Late in the process, the company decided to make one of the buildings a rental building, but too late for the usual financial incentives from the municipal government.

"It would have been easy to sell the rental homes, but we decided we wanted to take a more longterm approach, and be there as part of the community," Mr. Duyker says, adding that Mosaic will manage the units.

The company already manages 60 rental homes in North Vancouver and has plans to redevelop a site in Lynn Valley with rental homes. It is also in the early stages of a rental project at the Dairy Queen site on East Hastings, with retail on the ground floor.

Mosaic first entered the rental apartment market in Seattle, which has a remarkable apartment boom under way. Nearly 10,000 new market-rate apartments are expected to launch in Seattle this year, as part of a construction boom that will continue for the remainder of the decade.

Mosaic has an interest in a Seattle property management firm, managing wood frame buildings and also towers, Mr. Duyker says.

"That market has delivered a bunch of rentals, partly because they have employment dynamics with Amazon and Microsoft, and others. They have high-income jobs that are drawing people from around the world. They need housing on demand.

"Vancouver is now in catch-up mode."

It's a slow-motion catch-up, cautions commercial realtor David Goodman, author of the 35year-old Goodman Report newsletter.

Mr. Goodman specializes in the marketing of rental apartment buildings and condo development sites, and he makes a point of tracking new rental-building numbers. While there's been momentum over the past five years, with the exception of New Westminster, the region has a long way to go, he says.

He is exasperated by the situation, saying many developers would like to build purpose-built rental buildings, but municipal policy and red tape is getting in the way.

"On a relative basis, compared to five years ago, it's much improved. Whereas we have around 60 condo projects under construction, we only have 22 rental buildings under construction or just recently finalized. It's a pittance compared to what it should be." And many rentals proposed for Vancouver won't get built, Mr. Goodman says. "Because the numbers don't work, it takes too long, or they decide they would rather build condos."

Mr. Goodman says municipalities shouldn't blame the provincial or federal government. He says there are too many obstacles in the development process for rental buildings, which is even more time-consuming than condo development.

"There are a lot of majors who would build rentals if they could.

I point the finger at city administration for making it extraordinarily difficult.

"It's a very long, laborious process to build rentals in our city," Mr. Goodman says. "Meanwhile, the condo developers are having a field day. They know there is a lot more certainty building condos, where everything is mapped out. But every rental is a new adventure. [City staff] meddle in the suite mix, they tell you what square footage they want, what rents to charge. They tell you how much parking, the setbacks, this, that.

"Now, they have complicated it further by insisting that any new rental must be 25-per-cent social housing," he says, referring to a new city requirement that a percentage of rents must be affordable to people earning $30,000 to $80,000.

"In other words, nothing is straightforward any more. It's a lot easier to build a condo than a rental building."

Mr. Duyker concedes that the rental-apartment market isn't for everybody. "That's the approach that we are taking, but the reality is, you have to be in a position of financial strength to be able to hold onto something like that long term, and make the investment."

Ben Taddei, chief operating officer for developer Conwest Group, says the surge in purpose-built rentals could even slow down, despite the high demand. Market forces dictate movement toward condos instead. He's heard that there are 11,000 purpose-built rental units approved for construction in the Lower Mainland.

"It's a biggish number by historical standards, but it's probably still not enough," he says. "People are still going to build purposebuilt rental. I just don't think it's going to be the rate of growth that you've seen."

Conwest just finished its first purpose-built rental at Clark and 15th Avenue, and the company has a couple more on the go. The first one, called Clark Park Apartments, is central, about a 15-minute walk to the SkyTrain station.

Rents start at about $1,700 for a one-bedroom unit, Mr. Taddei says. But it hasn't been the "blowout" as seen with condos, he says.

The economics of rental are completely different.

Since it launched in early August, the building is 60-percent leased, and he expects it to be completely leased by October.

Macdonald Realty will manage the building.

"There is significant demand, which is good. There are a lot of tenants out there, but affordability is an issue," Mr. Taddei says.

"Transportation is an issue. The size of the units is an issue. We have a decent amount of two bedrooms in there, and we have found demand for rental is primarily in one-bedrooms. And I think there are cheaper options out there. So if you want to move into a 30- or 40-year-old building in Grandview Woodland, it will be somewhat cheaper than a brand new building.

"So these are things that affect the lease up rate. If we were to drop our rents, we would be full by now. But like I said, you need to make a profit. So you have financial targets you have to strive for."

Mr. Taddei says the market offers more of an incentive for developers than what government can provide. The city can reduce development cost levies and parking requirements, and offer increased density, to encourage developers to build rental buildings. But ultimately, it comes down to demand, and profit margins.

"When the market moves and you can make a profit, that's when you see developers move into a space, whether it's retail, commercial, or rental, whatever.

"There is only so much a municipality can do. It helps, obviously, when you have political will behind a development, and everybody is aligned."

But market conditions are changing, and rental buildings might not make so much sense any more, he says. Five years ago, purpose-built rentals made sense because rents had gone up, construction costs and land values were stable enough, interest rates were flat and the net operating income (cap rates) had gone down.

"But what has happened over these 24 to 36 months is land values for rental have spiked. They doubled. That will have a mitigating factor on supply because guys aren't making as much as they were before. And the whole situation is exacerbated by all these brokers trying to do all these land assemblies," he says.

Realtors encourage homeowners to sell at often hugely inflated prices on the premise that a developer will be willing to pay more for an assembled property.

The practice occurs in single-family zones that are being considered for more density.

As well, he says construction rates in the past 18 months have gone up higher than he's seen in 30 years of business, because the industry is so busy. Interest rates are also starting to rise.

On top of that is the 30- to 40per-cent increase in condo prices in the last year, which is looking better to a developer.

"Developers are money-motivated. They are in business, generally speaking, for profit - they want the highest return for the lowest amount of risk in the shortest amount of time," Mr. Taddei says. "So if there is a market for rental, they move into the rental market.

"If you look at what's going on right now, there is probably more incentive, generally speaking, for a developer to move into the condo strata condo market.

"I just think the economics are shifting."

Associated Graphic

Mosaic Avenue Realty built a community of 650 homes in Port Coquitlam in the Fremont neighbourhood. Late in the process, the company decided to make one of the buildings a rental building.


A 586-square-foot studio in Fremont Living will rent for $1,275 a month, a one-bedroom for $1,425 a month and a two-bedroom for $1,725 a month.

The folly of increasing housing supply
Long-time residents complain their affordable units are being replaced by luxury condos and townhomes that house fewer people
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S4

Sarah Lindsay's 1903 character house near the corner of East Broadway and Carolina is like a little hideaway, tucked between old commercial buildings, and surrounded by condos in various stage of development.

It is one of the last remaining heritage houses on busy East Broadway, and the corner parcel on which it sits, which includes two other buildings - a sushi restaurant and bottle depot - is now for sale. In Vancouver, that means certain gentrification for a clutch of old buildings.

Construction and concrete trucks have become the norm these days, along this inner city strip. It's the end of a community, says Ms. Lindsay, who laments the loss of many longtime stores that have already moved away, such as East Vanity Parlour and John's Jukes (a juke box store). The Foundation vegetarian restaurant closed its doors after 15 years because of rising costs.

Ms. Lindsay, an antiques collector, shares the two-level home with a revolving door of artists and others who've been recently evicted by landlords seeking higher rents. In her case, her landlord can't afford soaring property taxes.

"My landlord says the saddest thing is they feel like they're losing part of their family because I've been here so long."

Inside the house, every wall and shelf is filled with old taxidermy, medical equipment, religious adornments, books and documents, and other artifacts.

She has rented the Heritage B-listed house for 15 years. Her landlord has kept her rent low.

Also on the large corner lot is a retail building from 1926 that contains a restaurant with two large rental apartments above it.

She knows the tenants, and they rent for around $800 a month.

Around the corner from that, on Carolina, is a bottle depot in a heritage warehouse. A lot of homeless people, she says, depend on it for income.

Although she hasn't received notice, she's making plans. She will go to Montreal next month to scout around for a home.

"I'm watching everyone I care about move. That's why I'm done here," she says. "They move to Montreal, Alberta, New York, Seattle, Portland. We are losing the artists' community - that's the biggest thing - the eccentrics; the people who create and build. And the thing that upsets me is [the value] of these properties. That's what is causing landlords to push the rents up, to kick people out.

That is the seed. But where is all that money going to? Is it going back into the city?

"I have so many friends struggling. They make over $20 an hour and they still live paycheque to paycheque. We're all struggling, in our mid 30s, hitting 40, and we can't buy homes."

Up and down this section of East Broadway in Mount Pleasant there are condo developments underway. Directly across the street, Port Living has completed a sold-out four-storey condo project with retail on the ground floor. The same developer has another project a block over under construction, called Midtown Modern.

Even luxury housing has arrived to a neighbourhood that has always been an enclave of affordable rental housing. East of Fraser, the Bravo on Broadway project, consisting of eight boutique-style luxury townhouses, is nearing completion. Sales start this week for the threebedroom units with enclosed garages, ranging from $1.2-million to $1.525-million.

The development frenzy is the result of the city's plan to increase housing choices with more duplexes, townhouses, apartment buildings and higherdensity zoning for single-family houses. The belief was that with more supply, housing costs would go down. Instead of affordable rents, the area is gentrifying faster than you can say caffe macchiato.

Signs are popping up everywhere in front of rows of houses on arterial roads, for sale as potential land assemblies. Realtors are marketing buildings in anticipation of a future SkyTrain extension along Great Northern Way to Broadway. The area is becoming the next Cambie Corridor - the city's latest draw for speculation and profit.

A few years ago, the city put together a citizens' assembly that spent six months working on a plan for Grandview Woodland. Although there are an estimated 25,000 empty housing units in the city, the group was encouraged to find ways to add significantly more density.

Writer and community activist Garth Mullins, who was on the assembly, considers the consultation with residents a wasted effort.

"We're in a worse place than three years ago, when the plan started," says Mr. Mullins, referring to rents and property prices, and displacements.

He's seeing houses that were once filled with tenants now redeveloped and housing fewer people.

"Back in the day, that's how we all used to live around here - there was no such thing as a single-family house that housed a single family here," Mr. Mullins says. "They were made into rooming houses or smaller suites."

He says a big house that once housed 10 people is now a pricey duplex that houses two couples.

"System-wide, it's had the effect of social cleansing. So many people I've known and grown up with have had to move from here. It's dramatic.

"You may increase the total number of units in the neighbourhood, but it's not like you're making room for more people. You're just moving out the old people and bringing in the richer people.

"This 'supply is the answer to everything' argument is an Economics 101 fail paper right there.

It's just fuelling the crazy cycle.

"This was one of the big fights inside that Grandview area plan; was 'just leave the existing [homes] alone,' and they were like, 'what if we change the zoning a little bit and have more units, won't that be great?' But no, they won't be the same rents. It will be like eviction from the city."

Gil Kelley, who's been the city's chief of planning for the past year, sympathizes with peoplesuch as Ms. Lindsay and Mr. Mullins.

"I think it's fair to say much of the city is reeling from the pace of development," Mr. Kelley says.

The city has long argued for more supply as a remedy to the crisis. As everyone can plainly see, that hasn't worked, says Patrick Condon, chair of the Urban Design program at the University of B.C.

"If we only had people in our local region who were influencing the purchase price of housing, that would be fine - the laws of supply and demand would pertain. But it is increasingly obvious that what's affecting our market is global flows of wealth."

Recognizing a problem, the city announced this year that it would set housing targets based on incomes, not merely the number of units built. Luxury units in particular haven't been useful to the average resident.

"We have been producing a lot of housing, but most of that housing has been of a supply that meets investor preferences.

It's really the high end of the market," Mr. Kelley says.

A section of the new Vancouver Housing Strategy, which goes before council in November, will look at speculative buying.

"The prices are crazy because the outcomes are not really known, but the ambitions are high, so people are willing to pay lots of money and hoping to make it up in the rezoning process," Mr. Kelley says. "Until we put parameters on the rezoning policy, that will continue to happen. We want to be explicit.

"We aren't going to build our way out of it. We need to limit land speculation, and do substantial housing production, but have it targeted toward incomes."

For example, the city is working on zoning that has a percentage of affordable housing built into it. That sort of zoning makes the rules for everybody clear at the outset, and should also dampen speculation because it instantly lowers the profit margins, he says.

Many who've studied the problem argue that the city's lack of an official citywide plan is the culprit behind speculation.

Vancouver is the only municipality in Metro Vancouver without a detailed overall plan, which sets out what is allowable and what isn't, Prof. Condon says.

Without a plan, developers decide what the city should look like, not the residents. It means spot zonings in areas outside the downtown core that throw neighbourhoods out of whack.

And it means speculation that drives up prices and turns housing into holding properties.

"It's my feeling that unless we cover the whole city with a transparent plan for what is allowed and not allowed, giving out individual spot zoned locations one at a time is going to continue the speculative nature of our developable lands forever," Prof. Condon says.

Mr. Kelley agrees that Vancouver needs to start talking about its future in a big-picture way.

He was head of planning departments in San Francisco, Berkeley and Portland, and those cities, he says, had comprehensive citywide plans. As a planner, he's most familiar with working under that system.

"Frankly, I find it a bit curious that Vancouver has never had a citywide plan," he says. "One of the first questions I had coming here, just about exactly one year ago, was, 'We don't have a plan?

That's very interesting.' "We need to start knitting together the citywide picture of where do we want growth to go over coming decades, and in what ways would we like that growth to be shaped?

Associated Graphic

Sarah Lindsay may be evicted from her 1903 character house because her landlord is selling the house. The entire corner is being sold to make way for condos.


Ms. Lindsay shares the two-level home with a revolving door of artists and others who've been recently evicted by landlords seeking higher rents.

The Vancouver Opera tightens its belt
After hitting some bumps following a drastic change to its model two years ago, the organization is shaking things up again for 2018
Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R5

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Opera presents dramatic works onstage, but there has been some drama offstage as the company shifts from a traditional season to festival model - and back again, sort of. Two years ago, as it struggled with the same issue many opera companies deal with - aging audiences and declining ticket sales - VO announced a bold move: to scrap its season and mount a festival instead.

At the 2015 news conference announcing the change, VO board chair Pascal Spothelfer called it "the most important and probably also the most innovative change at Vancouver Opera since it was founded."

But the transition has had some bumps. The inaugural festival, held last spring, fell short of box-office expectations - so from lessons learned, changes are happening. As it works to balance the books, VO is targeting expenses, affecting staff and performers. In another significant change, it will lose its longtime music director at the end of the season.

For 2018, VO is planning a scaled-back event. The next Vancouver Opera Festival will be shorter, with fewer productions and performances, and its supplementary programming will not venture as far outside the opera or classical realm.

At the same time, VO is beefing up its non-festival season offerings. It's presenting something that's closer to a traditional season, anchored by a festival.

"It's an ongoing process to find the right model that is the most sustainable and produces the best and the most happiest numbers of opera-goers in Vancouver and surrounding areas," says Kim Gaynor, VO's general director.

Boosting attendance - not simply cutting costs - was behind VO's 2015 decision to scrap its full season and become a festival. The move, announced by then-general director James Wright, took effect in 2016-17, after Wright's retirement. Gaynor, who is Canadian, was hired from Switzerland's Verbier Festival to replace him.

Gaynor says it became evident early in her tenure that a festival alone was not going to satisfy Vancouver audiences; subscriptions for 2016-17 were down by about 25 per cent.

"There was clearly a portion of the audience who like to have their opera spread out during the season and not necessarily all at the same time," she says.

She proposed a modification of the initial strategy to a more balanced approach between festival and season. "When you propose a new idea and you see that things don't go as intended, I think it would be foolish to stick doggedly to your idea without making adjustments."

At the inaugural festival this past spring, the two operas programmed at the main venue, the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, failed to hit box-office targets.

Despite good reviews, sales were disappointing for both Verdi's Otello and Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking. Ticket sales were considerably healthier for Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, which ran in the smaller Vancouver Playhouse venue next door.

When asked whether the inaugural festival lost money, Gaynor responded: "Everything in opera loses money, right? ... We did not meet our budgeted expectations. But we did finish the year with a smaller deficit than budgeted."

The company found a pattern in attendance: People came to one or two operas, "but not necessarily three," Gaynor says.

"If the expectation was that everyone who normally came to operas throughout the year would just migrate into three operas over two weeks, that isn't what happened."

So the condensed 2018 festival - shorter by a week - will feature two main-stage operas instead of three, one at the Queen Elizabeth and one at the Playhouse.

"I believe we can sell considerably more tickets than we sold last year. Bunching the program together, some subscribers didn't like that, so they stayed away. And they will be coming back this year. You know, these transitions are not easy," says Spothelfer, who promises a better-prepared on-site box office, and "more sophisticated" marketing for the next festival.

He also says that having only one opera at the Queen Elizabeth will solve the tricky problem of set design in a venue with limited storage capacity.

"The way Kim has laid out this season is probably smarter than what we did in the first year," says Spothelfer, who stands by the decision to bring in the festival. "A mixed approach is probably smarter.

But the key reason why we wanted the festival is to have a platform by which we can engage with a broader segment of our community. Because this opera company exists for the community, it doesn't exist for the management and the board." With that first festival, VO discovered that while complementary festival events such as concerts by Ute Lemper and Tanya Tagaq were successful, they didn't help sell tickets to the main-stage operas.

"They were popular but they were a completely different audience. In other words, the people who bought tickets for them ...largely were people who didn't come to other activities in the festival," Gaynor says. "So if the objective is to kind of build an audience for what we're doing in the festival, they didn't contribute except for a kind of public relations/visibility point of view."

So next year, there will be ontheme programming with more chamber music and partnerships with similar organizations, including Early Music Vancouver.

"I've decided to keep the programming slightly closer to our world," Gaynor says, "with the idea being that we can build a more coherent target audience."

This year's season - the first Gaynor has programmed for VO - launches in October with Puccini's Turandot, a large-scale production with a 52-member local chorus and 64-piece Vancouver Opera Orchestra; American soprano Amber Wagner will make her role debut as Turandot.

This will be followed by Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore in January.

A Russian-themed festival next spring will include three performances of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre (last year, each QET opera had four performances) and 10 performances of The Overcoat - a musical tailoring, an operatic reinterpretation by Morris Panych of his and Wendy Gorling's 1998 play The Overcoat.

Gaynor hopes to announce further festival programming at the season launch in October.

At the end of the festival, Jonathan Darlington, who has been music director at VO since 2002, will leave his position.

This is the last year of his contract and Gaynor says, "at the moment we're not in discussion for a formal extension of that contract."

Both Gaynor and Spothelfer anticipate Darlington will return as a guest conductor.

"I love Jonathan and his work and so does our orchestra and our audience," Gaynor says.

"What I do want to do, however, is to bring some conductors to Vancouver who have not conducted here before. There's some fantastic young Canadian conductors, for example, who I would love to invite to give that experience not only to our orchestra, but also to our audiences here and to generate some excitement from the pit."

Despite its financial situation, Gaynor says VO "definitely has a role in premiering new operas" such as The Overcoat (a co-production with Toronto's Canadian Stage Company and Tapestry Opera). However, plans to stage the Canadian premiere of Huang Ruo's Mandarin opera Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, which VO announced in 2013, have been shelved. "We've decided that the production is too expensive for us to do at the moment," Gaynor says.

With an annual budget of $9.6-million, the company is operating on a deficit - but is working to rein in expenses; it finished the year 7 per cent under its projected expense budget, Gaynor says.

The 2016-17 fiscal results are being audited with a planned release at the October AGM. At the end of fiscal 2015-16, VO had an operating surplus of $134,663 on a $9.75-million budget, reducing its accumulated operating deficit to $657,266, which it called "manageable" in its annual report.

As The Globe and Mail reported in June, VO asked staff and contractors to agree to pay rollbacks of 2 per cent. Staff were given various options in an online poll; some signed a letter of protest to senior management in response.

Staff members aren't the only ones affected by the cost-cutting. The Vancouver Musicians' Association has agreed to concessions that include a 2-percent cut through a pension reduction for two years and a cut in the number of performances for musicians (albeit at a higher rate).

"It was the best possible scenario for how to meet the immediate needs of the organization but also be in a place to, if things improve, be able to very quickly rectify it," says David Brown, president of the Vancouver Musicians' Association. "We're all hopeful that the opera's going to weather this transition and get back to a place of strength."

In a three-year deal with VO, the Canadian Actors' Equity Association agreed to a 2-per-cent decrease in the first year, followed by a freeze and then a 2-per-cent increase.

In a statement to The Globe, executive director Arden R.

Ryshpan said Equity recognizes that these are "challenging times" for VO. "It is our hope that Vancouver Opera will return to financial health by the end of the 2020 season, which is their plan."

Vancouver Opera's Turandot is at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Oct. 13, 15, 19 and 21.

Associated Graphic

Above: Kim Gaynor, the Vancouver Opera's general director, says it became evident early in her tenure that a festival alone was not going to satisfy the city's audiences.

Left: The Atlanta Opera performs Turandot. This year, the Vancouver Opera's season - the first programmed by Gaynor - will launch in October with the Puccini work.


Canadians brace for the worst in Florida
Scores of people trapped in gridlock attempting to flee to Orlando, but tracking models suggest brunt of storm could hit centre of state
Saturday, September 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A4

While their compatriots who were caught in Irma's path in the Caribbean islands emerged to a shattered landscape, in Florida, where a massive evacuation had gridlocked highways, other Canadians were bracing for the weekend's arrival of the monstrous hurricane.

Lawyer Louis St. Laurent left his home in Coral Springs, near Fort Lauderdale, with his wife, daughter and two miniature schnauzers on Wednesday morning, hoping to beat the rush out of south Florida.

It took five hours to make what is normally a three-hour trip to Orlando to stay with friends of his wife's. But Mr. St. Laurent - grandson of Canada's 12th prime minister - could count himself among the more fortunate: People who had left later told him traffic was moving at a speed of just three kilometres an hour.

Legions of people were pouring into Orlando, he said, hoping to avoid the worst of the storm. But now, they faced the possibility that the middle of the state might get it even worse: Tracking models on Friday afternoon showed the epicentre of the storm could move directly up the centre of Florida.

"It's very unpredictable - no one knows who is going to get the worst of it," he said in a telephone interview from Orlando on Friday afternoon. "No one knows where it's going. You can't move 20 million people out of Florida; where are they going to go?" Supplies, he said, were running low: In Coral Springs, he tried to find bottled water at eight different stores with no luck. When he spoke with The Globe and Mail, he had just returned from Costco, where he happened to arrive right after a delivery of water and scored nine cases.

Mr. St. Laurent has been through several hurricanes before, starting with Donna, which ravaged the east coast of the state in 1960. That time, he left his home on Anna Maria Island for a motel in Bradenton, whose roof was torn off the storm. He also lived through Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and Hurricane Wilma in 2005. During Andrew, a three-storey apartment block across the street was reduced to just one floor, he said, while a 150-foot freighter boat wound up in the yard of a house down the street.

While Irma is not expected to make landfall in Florida until early Sunday, wind gusts of more than 30 km/h could already be felt, said Antony Livingston, who was planning to ride out the storm in his home in Jupiter, north of West Palm Beach.

Mr. Livingston, a businessman who moved to Jupiter from Toronto a decade ago, said he had confidence in his concreteblock house, which has hurricane-impact windows, storm shutters and a generator fuelled by a 3,800-litre supply of propane.

"Just getting out of the state is nearly impossible," he said, adding that northbound highway traffic was now so packed that he expected the authorities to reverse the southbound lanes to relieve the congestion.

He had been helping friends board up their homes and they were stocking up on water jugs, amid warnings that electricity would be out for two weeks and service stations would run out of gasoline.

Luckily for him, his house was at a high point, six kilometres from the ocean, so he expected to be spared from a possible storm surge.

Wayne Bannatyne planned to ride out the hurricane at his home in Orlando with his wife, two daughters and mother-inlaw. The plan was to pull mattresses into the hallway of the house.

Living in an older neighbourhood with large trees and aboveground power lines, he was preparing to lose power starting Sunday night.

"We're stocking up on supplies - non-perishable food, propane for the gas grill," said Mr. Bannatyne, who works as business-development manager for the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The most noticeable shortages in the city, he said, were of gasoline as people fuelled up their cars in anticipation of coming power outages. Some service stations had run out while others saw long lines.

Born in Montreal and raised in Calgary, Mr. Bannatyne has lived in Florida since 1984. In 2004, he weathered hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne.

For other Canadians, the destruction was already all too real.

Erica Lall was visiting family on Barbuda when the hurricane arrived.

"It was kind of scary. It was the first hurricane I've ever been through. After it was done, just seeing the whole island, it was unrecognizable," she said after arriving back in Toronto on Friday.

"The winds were so strong.

Even though [the windows were boarded], some boards came off, the door flew open."

Ms. Lall said the roof flew off of her grandmother's home, but her uncle's house stood strong, save for some minor leaks and the broken door.

She said the winds picked up around 8 p.m. and the hurricane raged until 3 a.m.

"It sounded like thunder, but non-stop," she said.

When Irma let up, Barbuda's power, cellphone towers and radio were down, Ms. Lall said.

She was originally supposed to fly to Canada from Barbuda's sister island, Antigua, on Saturday.

But when Barbuda was evacuated Friday morning, she boarded a boat to Antigua and found a flight heading out the same day.

"There was no communication.

I just went. We were supposed to go to a shelter. I had to go sign in there before I could go to the airport. It was just hectic. I was praying I could get on the flight," she said.

On the island of Saint Martin, where Irma made landfall on Wednesday, Fraser Barnfather, a real estate developer from Fernie, B.C., drove around afterward and took pictures of the devastation: buildings shattered, a boat tossed to the shore, tree branches stripped bare of their leaves.

He saw that the Pizza Galley, a restaurant by the Simpson Bay lagoon that was run by Quebecker Jean-Pierre Guilbert, was completely destroyed, with only a handful of posts sticking out of the water.

During the storm, he recalled on his Facebook page, as his building shook and pieces of it fell away, Mr. Barnfather had moved a fridge against a door but the wind blew so hard it pushed the door back.

There was a curfew, police turned him away when he tried to drive to a housing development he was managing, and there was talk of looting in the Dutch capital of Philipsburg.

"Things are out of control & not enough help for local police.

... It is only going to get worse.

Would be great if Canada sent some military," he wrote.

By Thursday, Irma was hitting the Turks and Caicos Islands, where several Canadians were among vacationers stranded at the Club Med Turkoise resort.

Food, water and flashlights were distributed to the guests, who were instructed to relocate onto upper-floor rooms and shelter in the bathrooms during the overnight storm.

Sébastien Poirier, a Montrealer staying at the Club Med, praised the staff while noting some guests' lack of grace. "Big slow clap to people who whined because they wanted another flashlight colour or the lady who demanded a coffeemaker during the storm," he wrote on Facebook.

By 5:30 a.m. Friday, the hurricane had moved on. Mr. Poirier reported that his sweltering room had lost power, he hadn't slept much but "morale is good."

Kenny Caughlin, who lives in Ontario but co-owns two music radio stations in the Turks and Caicos Islands, in an interview said he had been in touch with residents Friday morning and been told there was extensive flooding, fallen trees and damage to some homes. He said he had not received immediate word on any loss of life.

"From my friends that went through the storm, they said they've never experienced one like that before, that they could actually feel the pressure in their chest," he said.

In Ottawa, the Canadian Forces said that the patrol frigate HMCS St-John's, which left Halifax on Thursday, has been ordered to be ready to support any potential relief efforts.

Global Affairs Canada said in a statement it is closely following the situation and making every available effort to assist Canadian citizens affected by the hurricane.

As of early Friday evening, Global Affairs said the emergency watch and response centre in Ottawa had processed over 500 calls and 120 e-mails related to Irma.

It said Canadians requiring emergency consular assistance could contact the department's Emergency Watch and Response Centre at +1-613-996-8885 or by e-mail at

Chiran Livera, operations manager for the Canadian Red Cross, in an interview said it has teams in Haiti and the Dominican Republic at the moment. He said its Red Cross partners also have personnel on the ground in a number of other places, including Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Martin. He said the Canadian Red Cross is supporting its partner agencies through funding.

Mr. Livera said Red Cross personnel throughout the region are manning shelters for those who need them and distributing emergency items, such as blankets and hygiene kits.

He said those who want to donate to the Canadian Red Cross can do so through its website.

The federal government said Friday it would contribute $100,000 to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency to assist with supplies and assessment teams.

It said it would also release $60,000 from its emergency disaster assistance fund to support Red Cross operations in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

With a report from Steven Chase in Ottawa

Associated Graphic

Traffic on Interstate 75 moves slowly as an evacuation begins in preparation for Hurricane Irma on Friday south of Atlanta.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Canadians brace for the worst in Florida
Scores of people trapped in gridlock attempting to flee to Orlando, but tracking models suggest brunt of storm could hit centre of state
Saturday, September 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A4

While their compatriots who were caught in Irma's path in the Caribbean islands emerged to a shattered landscape, in Florida, where a massive evacuation had gridlocked highways, other Canadians were bracing for the weekend's arrival of the monstrous hurricane.

Lawyer Louis St. Laurent left his home in Coral Springs, near Fort Lauderdale, with his wife, daughter and two miniature schnauzers on Wednesday morning, hoping to beat the rush out of south Florida.

It took five hours to make what is normally a three-hour trip to Orlando to stay with friends of his wife's. But Mr. St. Laurent - grandson of Canada's 12th prime minister - could count himself among the more fortunate: People who had left later told him traffic was moving at a speed of just three kilometres an hour.

Legions of people were pouring into Orlando, he said, hoping to avoid the worst of the storm. But now, they faced the possibility that the middle of the state might get it even worse: Tracking models on Friday afternoon showed the epicentre of the storm could move directly up the centre of Florida.

"It's very unpredictable - no one knows who is going to get the worst of it," he said in a telephone interview from Orlando on Friday afternoon. "No one knows where it's going. You can't move 20 million people out of Florida; where are they going to go?" Supplies, he said, were running low: In Coral Springs, he tried to find bottled water at eight different stores with no luck. When he spoke with The Globe and Mail, he had just returned from Costco, where he happened to arrive right after a delivery of water and scored nine cases.

Mr. St. Laurent has been through several hurricanes before, starting with Donna, which ravaged the east coast of the state in 1960. That time, he left his home on Anna Maria Island for a motel in Bradenton, whose roof was torn off the storm. He also lived through Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and Hurricane Wilma in 2005. During Andrew, a three-storey apartment block across the street was reduced to just one floor, he said, while a 150-foot freighter boat wound up in the yard of a house down the street.

While Irma is not expected to make landfall in Florida until early Sunday, wind gusts of more than 30 km/h could already be felt, said Antony Livingston, who was planning to ride out the storm in his home in Jupiter, north of West Palm Beach.

Mr. Livingston, a businessman who moved to Jupiter from Toronto a decade ago, said he had confidence in his concreteblock house, which has hurricane-impact windows, storm shutters and a generator fuelled by a 3,800-litre supply of propane.

"Just getting out of the state is nearly impossible," he said, adding that northbound highway traffic was now so packed that he expected the authorities to reverse the southbound lanes to relieve the congestion.

He had been helping friends board up their homes and they were stocking up on water jugs, amid warnings that electricity would be out for two weeks and service stations would run out of gasoline.

Luckily for him, his house was at a high point, six kilometres from the ocean, so he expected to be spared from a possible storm surge.

Wayne Bannatyne planned to ride out the hurricane at his home in Orlando with his wife, two daughters and mother-inlaw. The plan was to pull mattresses into the hallway of the house.

Living in an older neighbourhood with large trees and aboveground power lines, he was preparing to lose power starting Sunday night.

"We're stocking up on supplies - non-perishable food, propane for the gas grill," said Mr. Bannatyne, who works as business-development manager for the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The most noticeable shortages in the city, he said, were of gasoline as people fuelled up their cars in anticipation of coming power outages. Some service stations had run out while others saw long lines.

Born in Montreal and raised in Calgary, Mr. Bannatyne has lived in Florida since 1984. In 2004, he weathered hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne.

For other Canadians, the destruction was already all too real.

Erica Lall was visiting family on Barbuda when the hurricane arrived.

"It was kind of scary. It was the first hurricane I've ever been through. After it was done, just seeing the whole island, it was unrecognizable," she said after arriving back in Toronto on Friday.

"The winds were so strong.

Even though [the windows were boarded], some boards came off, the door flew open."

Ms. Lall said the roof flew off of her grandmother's home, but her uncle's house stood strong, save for some minor leaks and the broken door.

She said the winds picked up around 8 p.m. and the hurricane raged until 3 a.m.

"It sounded like thunder, but non-stop," she said.

When Irma let up, Barbuda's power, cellphone towers and radio were down, Ms. Lall said.

She was originally supposed to fly to Canada from Barbuda's sister island, Antigua, on Saturday.

But when Barbuda was evacuated Friday morning, she boarded a boat to Antigua and found a flight heading out the same day.

"There was no communication.

I just went. We were supposed to go to a shelter. I had to go sign in there before I could go to the airport. It was just hectic. I was praying I could get on the flight," she said.

On the island of Saint Martin, where Irma made landfall on Wednesday, Fraser Barnfather, a real estate developer from Fernie, B.C., drove around afterward and took pictures of the devastation: buildings shattered, a boat tossed to the shore, tree branches stripped bare of their leaves.

He saw that the Pizza Galley, a restaurant by the Simpson Bay lagoon that was run by Quebecker Jean-Pierre Guilbert, was completely destroyed, with only a handful of posts sticking out of the water.

During the storm, he recalled on his Facebook page, as his building shook and pieces of it fell away, Mr. Barnfather had moved a fridge against a door but the wind blew so hard it pushed the door back.

There was a curfew, police turned him away when he tried to drive to a housing development he was managing, and there was talk of looting in the Dutch capital of Philipsburg.

"Things are out of control & not enough help for local police.

... It is only going to get worse.

Would be great if Canada sent some military," he wrote.

By Thursday, Irma was hitting the Turks and Caicos Islands, where several Canadians were among vacationers stranded at the Club Med Turkoise resort.

Food, water and flashlights were distributed to the guests, who were instructed to relocate onto upper-floor rooms and shelter in the bathrooms during the overnight storm.

Sébastien Poirier, a Montrealer staying at the Club Med, praised the staff while noting some guests' lack of grace. "Big slow clap to people who whined because they wanted another flashlight colour or the lady who demanded a coffeemaker during the storm," he wrote on Facebook.

By 5:30 a.m. Friday, the hurricane had moved on. Mr. Poirier reported that his sweltering room had lost power, he hadn't slept much but "morale is good."

Kenny Caughlin, who lives in Ontario but co-owns two music radio stations in the Turks and Caicos Islands, in an interview said he had been in touch with residents Friday morning and been told there was extensive flooding, fallen trees and damage to some homes. He said he had not received immediate word on any loss of life.

"From my friends that went through the storm, they said they've never experienced one like that before, that they could actually feel the pressure in their chest," he said.

In Ottawa, the Canadian Forces said that the patrol frigate HMCS St-John's, which left Halifax on Thursday, has been ordered to be ready to support any potential relief efforts.

Global Affairs Canada said in a statement it is closely following the situation and making every available effort to assist Canadian citizens affected by the hurricane.

As of early Friday evening, Global Affairs said the emergency watch and response centre in Ottawa had processed over 500 calls and 120 e-mails related to Irma.

It said Canadians requiring emergency consular assistance could contact the department's Emergency Watch and Response Centre at +1-613-996-8885 or by e-mail at

Chiran Livera, operations manager for the Canadian Red Cross, in an interview said it has teams in Haiti and the Dominican Republic at the moment. He said its Red Cross partners also have personnel on the ground in a number of other places, including Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Martin. He said the Canadian Red Cross is supporting its partner agencies through funding.

Mr. Livera said Red Cross personnel throughout the region are manning shelters for those who need them and distributing emergency items, such as blankets and hygiene kits.

He said those who want to donate to the Canadian Red Cross can do so through its website.

The federal government said Friday it would contribute $100,000 to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency to assist with supplies and assessment teams.

It said it would also release $60,000 from its emergency disaster assistance fund to support Red Cross operations in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

With a report from Steven Chase in Ottawa

Associated Graphic

Traffic on Interstate 75 moves slowly as an evacuation begins in preparation for Hurricane Irma on Friday south of Atlanta.


Federalist bridged Quebec's two solitudes
She was hailed as a voice of reason during a turbulent era, and later became McGill's first female chancellor
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, September 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S6

As a journalist, a committed federalist and the first female chancellor of McGill University, Gretta Chambers was a multitasking trailblazer. Opinionated, forthright and gracious, this tiny, elegant woman bridged Quebec's two solitudes effortlessly, explaining each group to the other - especially during turbulent times.

For decades, no matter where you turned, there she was, on the radio, on television and in the pages of the Montreal Gazette, listening, commenting and prodding.

"No matter where you stood on any issue, Gretta embodied the very best of Quebec society," said Michael Goldbloom, the principal and vice-chancellor of Bishop's University in Lennoxville. "She was knowledgeable and comfortable in both communities and to know her was to have respect and awe for her intelligence, empathy and the no-nonsense example she set."

Ms. Chambers died on Sept. 9 at St. Mary's Hospital in Montreal while on a long-distance call to her daughter, Susan Lowry, in New York. She had been transferred from a medical facility in Quebec's Eastern Townships when a CAT scan revealed a serious heart problem.

At 90 years old, she was a legend in Quebec and beyond, a woman who smashed barriers for those who came after, a voice of reason with a predilection to state plainly what she thought, be it how to handle a public-relations crisis or whether or not her grandchildren should take a jacket when venturing outside.

Mr. Goldbloom first met Ms. Chambers when he was five years old and a student at Selwyn House, the private Montreal boys' school. He was best friends with her eldest son, Geoffrey Chambers, and the two boys' mothers took turns driving them to school - or seeing them off on the bus.

She was a mentor and coach, not just for him but for everyone she encountered.

The Chambers family's Christmas parties were famous for their food, conversation and diverse guest lists, Mr. Goldbloom continued. Once, in the 1980s, he found himself chatting with Gérald Godin, a journalist and poet who had been arrested during the October Crisis of 1970, was elected to the province's National Assembly in 1976 and became a cabinet minister who was responsible for the passage of the French Language Charter, better known as Bill 101.

"You would be surprised to see the mix of people at other people's homes in Quebec, but not at Gretta's," Mr. Goldbloom said.

And when Mr. Goldbloom was named publisher of the Montreal Gazette in 1994, he made sure to call her for advice.

"It was one of life's pleasures to meet regularly with this wonderful person who created an opportunity for me and so many others through her CBC program on French media," he said. "She came around the paper once a week to drop off the column and we'd sit and chat. She just radiated calm and intelligence."

Gretta Taylor was born on Jan. 15, 1927, in Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital to an anglophone father and a francophone mother.

She was the first of three children born to Walter Margrave Taylor and the former Simone Marguerite Beaubien. Her father owned a steel company and her mother came from a politically engaged, voluble and close family. Growing up in Outremont, the children learned from their parents and relatives the importance of family commitment and community service.

The parents were also traditional in the sense that young Gretta, like many other girls of her generation, was kept at home and taught by tutors instead of being sent to a bricks-and-mortar school. It wasn't until she was 10, when her brother, Geoffrey, four years her junior, started classes, that she realized something wasn't right. And so began her first battle.

"She loved to tell the story of how her parents thought they were going to keep her at home," her son Geoffrey said. "She put her foot down and informed them otherwise."

Triumphant, she first attended Miss Edgar's and Miss Cramp's School, then located downtown on Guy Street. She later transferred to a girls' boarding school called Netherwood just outside of Saint John. She graduated early and returned home to study political science at McGill University.

She was no more than 16 years old when she started university, her son said - younger than many of her classmates but perfectly capable of holding her own.

After graduating from McGill in 1947, she worked as an aide in a pediatric dentist's office and in January, 1951, after a whirlwind courtship, married Egan Chambers, whom she met at a dance for returning Canadian soldiers.

There were five children in six years or, as Ms. Chambers dryly described it, "three diapers at a time."

Said her son Geoffrey: "Our family house was designed to have an upstairs sitting room, with a great big desk and lots of shelves. The door was always open so she could hear us and give instructions over her shoulder as to what we should be doing."

Her children thought she could do anything. Once, she even prepared an impromptu meal for young Geoffrey's entire highschool football team when he unexpectedly brought everyone over for supper.

"There were about 25 of us but I didn't phone to ask if it was okay.

I didn't think to," recalled Geoffrey Chambers, now the vicepresident of the Quebec Community Groups Network. "You'd think that I would have been sent straight to jail. Instead, my mother simply sent someone down the street to the local supermarket and prepared more of what we were already going to have - with no fuss."

In 1958, when the youngest child, Bill, was but four months old, Egan Chambers, a Progressive Conservative, was elected to Parliament for the Montreal riding of St. Lawrence-St. George.

Undaunted, Ms. Chambers handled the responsibilities of being a political spouse and raising five children, all while volunteering in the community and working, first as a translator and researcher, then as a front-line journalist, public-affairs analyst and commentator.

From 1964 to 1978, she wrote and presented a weekly radio program on CBC called The Province in Print, which explained French issues and opinions to English listeners, and from 1977 to 1980 she hosted a weekly program on CTV called The Editors.

Also in 1977, soon after René Lévesque and the Parti Québécois came to power, Ms. Chambers began what would be a quartercentury of writing her column for The Gazette. At first, it was a review of French media, much like her CBC program but eventually, she found her own, mostly measured voice. Yet, there were times when measured was not enough, such as when PQ cabinet minister Lise Payette disparaged the "No" side during the 1980 referendum campaign, first comparing its complacency to that of "Yvette," a docile schoolgirl in pre-Quiet Revolution schoolbooks and then stating that Liberal Party leader Claude Ryan's wife, Madeleine Guay, was an "Yvette," too. The remarks inflamed Quebec women both old and young, and sparked a massive protest movement.

Senator Joan Fraser, at the time the Gazette's editorial page editor, recalled: "There was an emotion that she frequently worked to keep out of her columns, but she was a convinced federalist and the phenomenon of those thousands of women reached her in ways it wouldn't for many others.

"She became a major spokesperson for the English community at a time when passions ran high on both sides," Ms. Fraser continued. "By nature, she was a moderate person and not an absolutist about anything except human rights. She didn't believe in burning bridges. She wanted to build them."

Ms. Fraser recalled how some critics - right-wing anglophones who thought the community should vociferously challenge the provincial government, no matter if it was led by the Parti Québécois or the Liberals - derided Ms.

Chambers as too meek, calling her a member, even leader of the so-called "Lamb Lobby." And yet, she forged ahead, convinced that dialogue, reason and a well-considered argument would win in the end.

When it came to committees, task forces and boards she sat on or chaired, her son Geoffrey said there were so many that it is easier to speak of types rather than name each one individually. They ranged from education to health and social services to the arts to a review of judicial salaries to finance and to public security.

Between 1978 to 1988, she sat on McGill's Board of Governors, and in 1991 she was invested as chancellor, a position she held until 1999.

She was so tiny that she needed to have an academic gown specially tailored to her measurements, complete with ceremonial gold trim.

Said Ms. Fraser: "I don't know how I can do Gretta justice, except to say: She made a difference."

Ms. Chambers was named an officer of the Ordre National du Québec in 1993 and a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2000.

Ms. Chambers was predeceased by husband, who died in 1994, and her brother, Geoffrey Taylor, who was 44 when he died in an avalanche while skiing in British Columbia. She leaves her youngest brother, philosopher Charles Taylor; five children, Susan Lowry and Geoffrey, Michael, Simone and Bill Chambers; and eight 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

For decades, no matter where you turned, Gretta Chambers was on the radio, on television and in the pages of the Montreal Gazette, listening, commenting and prodding.


Vancouver Opera sings a different tune
Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Opera presents dramatic works onstage, but there has been some drama offstage as the company shifts from a traditional season to festival model - and back again, sort of.

Two years ago, as it struggled with the same issue many opera companies deal with - aging audiences and declining ticket sales - VO announced a bold move: to scrap its season and mount a festival instead.

At the 2015 news conference announcing the change, VO board chair Pascal Spothelfer called it "the most important and probably also the most innovative change at Vancouver Opera since it was founded."

But the transition has had some bumps. The inaugural festival, held last spring, fell short of boxoffice expectations - so from lessons learned, changes are happening. As it works to balance the books, VO is targeting expenses, affecting staff and performers. In another significant change, it will lose its long-time music director at the end of the season.

For 2018, VO is planning a scaled-back event. The next festival will be shorter, with fewer productions and performances, and its supplementary programming will not venture as far outside the opera or classical realm.

At the same time, VO is beefing up its non-festival season offerings. It's presenting something that's closer to a traditional season, anchored by a festival.

"It's an ongoing process to find the right model that is the most sustainable and produces the best and the most happiest numbers of opera-goers in Vancouver and surrounding areas," says Kim Gaynor, VO's general director.

Boosting attendance - not simply cutting costs - was behind VO's 2015 decision to scrap its full season and become a festival. The move, announced by then-general director James Wright, took effect in 2016-17, after Wright's retirement. Gaynor, who is Canadian, was hired from Switzerland's Verbier Festival to replace him.

Gaynor says it became evident early in her tenure that a festival alone was not going to satisfy Vancouver audiences; subscriptions for 2016-17 were down by about 25 per cent.

"There was clearly a portion of the audience who like to have their opera spread out during the season and not necessarily all at the same time," she says.

She proposed a modification of the initial strategy to a more balanced approach between festival and season. "When you propose a new idea and you see that things don't go as intended, I think it would be foolish to stick doggedly to your idea without making adjustments."

At the inaugural festival this past spring, the two operas programmed at the main venue, the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, failed to hit box-office targets.

Despite good reviews, sales were disappointing for both Verdi's Otello and Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking. Ticket sales were considerably healthier for Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, which ran in the smaller Vancouver Playhouse venue next door.

When asked whether the inaugural festival lost money, Gaynor responded: "Everything in opera loses money, right? ... We did not meet our budgeted expectations. But we did finish the year with a smaller deficit than budgeted." The company found a pattern in attendance: People came to one or two operas, "but not necessarily three," Gaynor says.

"If the expectation was that everyone who normally came to operas throughout the year would just migrate into three operas over two weeks, that isn't what happened."

So the condensed 2018 festival - shorter by a week - will feature two main-stage operas instead of three, one at the Queen Elizabeth and one at the Playhouse.

"I believe we can sell considerably more tickets than we sold last year. Bunching the program together, some subscribers didn't like that, so they stayed away. And they will be coming back this year. You know, these transitions are not easy," says Spothelfer, who promises a better-prepared on-site box office, and "more sophisticated" marketing for the next festival.

He also says that having only one opera at the Queen Elizabeth will solve the tricky problem of set design in a venue with limited storage capacity.

"The way Kim has laid out this season is probably smarter than what we did in the first year," says Spothelfer, who stands by the decision to bring in the festival. "A mixed approach is probably smarter.

But the key reason why we wanted the festival is to have a platform by which we can engage with a broader segment of our community. Because this opera company exists for the community, it doesn't exist for the management and the board."

With that first festival, VO discovered that while complementary festival events such as concerts by Ute Lemper and Tanya Tagaq were successful, they didn't help sell tickets to the main-stage operas.

"They were popular but they were a completely different audience. In other words, the people who bought tickets for them ... largely were people who didn't come to other activities in the festival," Gaynor says.

"So if the objective is to kind of build an audience for what we're doing in the festival, they didn't contribute except for a kind of public relations/visibility point of view."

So next year, there will be ontheme programming with more chamber music and partnerships with similar organizations, including Early Music Vancouver.

"I've decided to keep the programming slightly closer to our world," Gaynor says, "with the idea being that we can build a more coherent target audience."

This year's season - the first Gaynor has programmed for VO - launches in October with Puccini's Turandot, a large-scale production with a 52-member local chorus and 64-piece Vancouver Opera Orchestra; American soprano Amber Wagner will make her role debut as Turandot.

This will be followed by Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore in January.

A Russian-themed festival next spring will include three performances of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre (last year, each QET opera had four performances) and 10 performances of The Overcoat - a musical tailoring, an operatic reinterpretation by Morris Panych of his and Wendy Gorling's 1998 play The Overcoat.

Gaynor hopes to announce further festival programming at the season launch in October.

At the end of the festival, Jonathan Darlington, who has been music director at VO since 2002, will leave his position.

This is the last year of his contract and Gaynor says, "at the moment we're not in discussion for a formal extension of that contract."

Both Gaynor and Spothelfer anticipate Darlington will return as a guest conductor.

"I love Jonathan and his work and so does our orchestra and our audience," Gaynor says.

"What I do want to do, however, is to bring some conductors to Vancouver who have not conducted here before. There's some fantastic young Canadian conductors, for example, who I would love to invite to give that experience not only to our orchestra, but also to our audiences here and to generate some excitement from the pit."

Despite its financial situation, Gaynor says VO "definitely has a role in premiering new operas" such as The Overcoat (a co-production with Toronto's Canadian Stage Company and Tapestry Opera). However, plans to stage the Canadian premiere of Huang Ruo's Mandarin opera Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, which VO announced in 2013, have been shelved. "We've decided that the production is too expensive for us to do at the moment," Gaynor says.

With an annual budget of $9.6-million, the company is operating on a deficit - but is working to rein in expenses; it finished the year 7 per cent under its projected expense budget, Gaynor says.

The 2016-17 fiscal results are being audited with a planned release at the October AGM. At the end of fiscal 2015-16, VO had an operating surplus of $134,663 on a $9.75-million budget, reducing its accumulated operating deficit to $657,266, which it called "manageable" in its annual report.

As The Globe and Mail reported in June, VO asked staff and contractors to agree to pay rollbacks of 2 per cent. Staff were given various options in an online poll; some signed a letter of protest to senior management in response.

Staff members aren't the only ones affected by the cost-cutting. The Vancouver Musicians' Association has agreed to concessions that include a 2-percent cut through a pension reduction for two years and a cut in the number of performances for musicians (albeit at a higher rate).

"It was the best possible scenario for how to meet the immediate needs of the organization but also be in a place to, if things improve, be able to very quickly rectify it," says David Brown, president of the Vancouver Musicians' Association. "We're all hopeful that the opera's going to weather this transition and get back to a place of strength."

In a three-year deal with VO, the Canadian Actors' Equity Association agreed to a 2-per-cent decrease in the first year, followed by a freeze and then a 2-per-cent increase.

In a statement to The Globe, executive director Arden Ryshpan said Equity recognizes that these are "challenging times" for VO. "It is our hope that Vancouver Opera will return to financial health by the end of the 2020 season, which is their plan."

Vancouver Opera's Turandot is at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Oct. 13, 15, 19 and 21.

Associated Graphic

Kim Gaynor, the Vancouver Opera's general director, says it became evident early in her tenure that a festival alone was not going to satisfy the city's audiences.


A middleweight matchup between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez promises to be a real show of boxing between fighters who have paid their dues. Sadly, it is no match for the sideshow that was the Mayweather-McGregor punch-up
Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

TORONTO -- When he was still eight or nine years old growing up in a desolate part of what had recently been the Soviet Union, Gennady Golovkin's older brothers blooded him in the fight game.

They'd find random boys, even men, and challenge them on Golovkin's behalf. Sometimes the grade-schooler would win these street brawls, but often not.

"My brothers, they were doing that from when I was in kindergarten," Golovkin told reporters this week. "Every day, different guys."

The two older brothers joined the army and both died young.

Boxing got Golovkin out of Central Asia.

That feral upbringing has turned him into a familiar pugilistic type - the quiet assassin.

Although he looks nothing like him and will occasionally surprise you with a sense of humour, there is a hint of Ivan Drago in Golovkin's dead-eyed ring stare and all-nouns English.

When at work, the 35-year-old has the emotionless expression you associate with truly dangerous people. The presentation is well earned - Golovkin has won 90 per cent of his fights by KO and has never been knocked down in nearly 400 fights as an amateur and professional.

In a perfect world, that would make Canelo Alvarez, Golovkin's opponent in Saturday night's true fight of this century, the Rocky character.

Instead, Alvarez is Golovkin's doppelganger, through a glass brightly. If either man had been born on the other side of the world, they might have turned into each other.

A native of Guadalajara, Alvarez was raised in a famous boxing family. Each of his six older brothers was a fighter.

The expectation of greatness flowed down through the Alvarez household, the pressure growing on each successive brother to top the last. Alvarez felt it most keenly and quit school at 13 to work out fulltime. He turned pro at age 15.

When you put it like that, it almost sounds normal. But imagine your pimply kid coming home after a day in Grade 10 and saying: "Phys-ed and the junior football team isn't doing it for me. I've decided to fight trained killers for money instead."

Now 27, Alvarez is a Mexican icon and a towering brand throughout the Spanish-speaking world. He used to be taunted because he is a redhead (hence his nom de guerre - Canelo - which means cinnamon), but it's turned out to be a multimilliondollar cross-promotional gift. Set amid an array of featureless scrappers, Alvarez stands out.

Both these people have existed since childhood at the extreme edge of human experience. They were raised for war. It's already made them rich and, each in his own way, legendary. You may not know anything about boxing, but if you are at all interested, you will have heard their names.

You vaguely know that among a large cohort of menacing entertainers, they are the most menacing and the most entertaining. They're the best this sport can offer.

The question boxing must wonder is: "Is that enough?" Saturday's fight has every advantage - two ruthless competitors at the peak of their powers; both of them terrifyingly hard hitters who can take as well as give. They are both multiple world champions who have but one pro loss between them (an ill-advised decision by Alvarez to fight Floyd Mayweather when he was still only 23 years old. If nothing else, it proved he's more purist than careerist.)

Golovkin has said of Saturday that, "It's a real Mexican fight," meaning there will be no attempt at Mayweatheresque tactical retreat. Although each man has been cultured by decades of study, they are likely to end up standing in the middle of the ring trying to chop each other in half.

It has the potential to be the Halley's Comet of boxing - a classic fight you saw coming a long way off. By any normal reckoning, this is an all-caps BIG DEAL.

Except that it isn't. We know whose fault that is. It's ours.

It is impossible for the casually interested public not to contrast this - a real boxing match featuring two honest-toGod boxers - against the Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight two weeks ago - a circus event featuring one boxer and a loudspeaker with fists.

It's the genuine article that's been overlooked.

Mayweather-McGregor had the advantage of featuring two polarizing personalities who knew their true role - as boors and salesmen.

The fight was not about fighting. It was about hating and loving. You could mix-andmatch as you saw fit - love one, hate the other; love or hate both. McGregor in particular went to enormous lengths to paint himself as a braying fantasist just begging for a beating.

People happily handed over a hundred bucks to see him get it.

The financial success of that card - an estimated $700-million (U.S.) in revenue - will make Saturday's seem like a bake sale by comparison.

Several structural problems are to blame.

Neither Golovkin nor Alvarez is a show-off. They've spent most of the run-in cautiously praising each other as peers.

Worse, they keep talking up the fight, as if the fight is the thing that will separate the punters from their money.

Neither speaks English as a first language, which does tend to cut down on the ugly sermonizing in Vegas's Anglophone environment. I could curse you at length in Kazakh, but you just know the translator is never going to get the "Your mother is so fat ..." jokes in the right order. So why bother?

Neither is obviously evil, nor particularly saintly. Neither seems to like talking about himself. They just want to box.

Alvarez and Golovkin are professional products of a Spartan life experience most of us could not imagine, never mind do.

They're workers. No matter how rich or famous they get, there is something ineluctably blue-collar about the pair.

We have always admired athletes like that, but we've stopped caring about them.

It's no longer enough to be good, or even great, at something. You must stand out in some other way. You need to get featured on TMZ, date another famous person, pick a fight in public, have a viral moment in a parking lot.

Everyone wants to be famous now, so those who were already in the position to be so need to work harder at it. If you want to monetize your fame, it's a nonstop sales job of contrivance and calculated buffoonery.

Why did Mayweather film everything he did, every insane shopping trip, every million-dollar betting foray, every night at the strip club? Because he understood that that was what made people want to see him box.

All he had to do was create a character called "Money" and cynically map his career so that he would never lose.

Where in another generation Mayweather's convictions for domestic violence would have put people off, in this one they turned them on. He was the first boxer to fully grasp the potential of reality television, but did it without a broadcaster.

After years of this, Mayweather was a bad, complicated person people felt they knew, or at least wanted to understand.

They needed to see how the story ends. That was the attraction (because it could not possibly have been the fighting style, easily the most tedious of any great.)

McGregor found the same recipe and managed to whip it up with much less sporting accomplishment. Though he was comprehensively beaten two weeks ago - usually the signal for fighters to retreat for a bit and feel some shame - he's been ubiquitous since. On yachts, in the news, at weddings, signingappearance deals, the whole time talking like a winner.

McGregor is the apotheosis of our culture of visibility. It doesn't matter why you're visible, just be so and attention will follow. He's created a feedback loop of fame that will only end once he's been beaten a few more times.

In the meantime, it's fantastically lucrative if, one suspects, a little soul-destroying.

Alvarez and Golovkin are doing it the right way, whatever that means any more. They don't live on social media. They disappear between fights. They'll do promotion, but want to keep it serious.

Asked this week by ESPN what he had to do to find the casual fan Mayweather pulled in so easily, Alvarez said: "I don't know. I don't have the answer."

I do.

Punch someone in a lineup at Chipotle's. Date a string of models. Have a contrary opinion about Donald Trump and the wall. When in doubt, be awful.

If the goal here is to be as wealthy and famous as possible, that'll do the trick a lot quicker than being the best pound-forpound fighter in the world, which either man might be.

But Alvarez won't do that, and neither will Golovkin. They are creatures of an environment that is fading away - one of toil for toil's sake. They will continue putting in the work and letting the rest take care of itself.

It won't make them as rich as they could be, but for the relative few who care, it makes them much easier to admire.

Associated Graphic

Boxers Canelo Alvarez, left, and Gennady Golovkin pose during their official weigh-in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Friday. They take to the ring on Saturday.


Canelo Alvarez, right, defeated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in Las Vegas last May.


It takes a mathematical village
Toronto's Fields Institute uses a team-based approach to encourage collaboration on real-life problems
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F8

For Claire Heffernan, a thirdyear student at McGill University, there has always been something satisfying about mathematics that other subjects can't quite deliver. With history or literature, students may grapple with matters that often come down to a point of view. But when a math problem is posed, she says, "there is an answer." In high school, it was her passion for the irrefutable that first drew Ms. Heffernan toward the sciences. But math, she says, "math has the most of that."

Yet, for the past few months, Ms. Heffernan has found herself looking at math in an utterly different way: not as a tool for delivering answers but as terrain to be explored and that requires teamwork to negotiate.

The change in perspective was triggered by a summer at Toronto's Fields Institute, a powerhouse for quantitative reasoning and one of Canada's main portals to the wider mathematical world. The institute is named after John Charles Fields, a prominent University of Toronto mathematician from a century ago who is best known for creating the prestigious Fields Medal, widely regarded as the Nobel Prize of mathematics. But while it is located on the University of Toronto campus, it is an independent institute supported by a number of universities and funding agencies and populated by a rotating population of multifaceted international researchers who come to pursue their own research programs.

This year, more than 300 undergraduate math students from around the globe competed to attend the Institute's innovative summer research school - the most in the program's eight-year history. Ms. Heffernan was among the 35 applicants who were chosen. Her prize: a chance to experience firsthand what it's like to try to discover original mathematical knowledge.

Peter Gibson, a professor at York University and one of a dozen supervisors who posed math-related problems for the program this year, helped guide the students in their research. "I promised them that they would be working on pure research. I wasn't going to fake it and have an answer in my pocket," he says.

Dr. Gibson's group consisted of four students, including Ms. Heffernan, who bonded around a problem drawn from the science of acoustics. In a nutshell, the problem involves using how sound waves bounce off a wall or other material to reconstruct what the material is like beneath the surface. Geologists have been doing something similar for decades, measuring echoes from explosive detonations to map out potential oil deposits. But that method involves making approximations that overlook many of the subtle characteristics and complexities of reflected sound. A more precise alternative could allow engineers to devise materials that are better suited to absorbing unwanted sounds, Dr. Gibson says.

"Coming in, I wasn't sure what they would be capable of," he says of the students who chose to work on the problem. But in the end, the group exceeded his expectations by coming up with a successful approach to one aspect of the problem that he says he would likely not have tried. "If we're lucky, this could be part of a research paper."

The outcome is further evidence that the institute has found a formula for engaging promising students with professional mathematical research in a meaningful way - a goal that is easier said than done.

"Everyone wants to see undergraduates more involved in research," Dr. Gibson says. "The fact is that in math, that's just wildly unrealistic."

He compares the challenge to asking a group of "super fit" people to climb a mountain that no one has attempted before. Without some experience, the climber's physical ability may not be enough to succeed.

Where the Fields program has excelled is in matching elite students with one another and with the right mentors and research problems. The result provides an early taste of mathematics at a professional level that few nonmathematicians ever get to see or know. It may seem an unexpected approach in a discipline that is often portrayed as the domain of lone geniuses scribbling away at their equations in isolation. In fact, much of mathematics is collaborative and aimed at opening doors for other areas of research or industry.

"We've asked people in industry about what kind of skills they value and they say teamwork and communications," says Huaxiong Huang, the institute's deputy director. "Our motivation is to build up those skills."

It is one example of how the institute, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, has managed to put itself at the intersection point of mathematics and society. Its philosophy could better equip all students, not just the most mathematically gifted, to deal with an increasingly analytical and data-driven world.

"Math isn't just a set of rules and formulas. It is the way we reason logically, the way we solve problems, the way we plan out how to achieve our goals," says Tom Salisbury, the institute's associate director of industry liaison.

Dr. Salisbury notes that the institute has in the past offered input on how to improve Ontario elementary school teacher preparation in mathematics, currently a front-burner issue after a disastrous set of provincewide test scores were released earlier this month. The institute's 2005 submission to the Ontario College of Teachers, much of which is still relevant, was largely ignored, he says.

He adds that while the students who participate in the undergraduate summer program represent some of the best young mathematical talent in the world, the approach the institute takes is not unlike what any good school math curriculum is trying to achieve.

"Teaching the math, and then letting students struggle with applying it to problems that come from outside the classroom, is what produces students who can use what they've learned," he says.

But while the classroom setting is typically set up to teach and then test students on their individual competence, true research often thrives where there is interaction.

In that respect, "it's a very different environment from school," Dr. Gibson says. "Here, nobody really knows what's involved. You're finding new routes."

Students agree that the environment can take some getting used to, but it can quickly lead to a collective effort as they learn to leverage each other's talents and experiences to find ways around obstacles. That's what William Hart, an Oxford University student who was also in Dr. Gibson's group, says he was looking for when he decided to apply to the Fields program after having once tried an individual research project.

"I thought it would be a better experience to do something different," says Mr. Hart, who adds that an unexpected side effect of the group work was all the social interaction that took place over the summer, from evening sessions of watching Game of Thrones at the U of T residence where the students are housed to dinners out where the conversation might turn to matters and interests beyond mathematics.

Equally important is the chance for students to watch and interact with the mathematical superstars who regularly pass through the institute's doors.

The building's airy floor plan helps, featuring a central staircase, open central atrium and plenty of natural meeting points with blackboards at the ready where mathematical conversations can spontaneously spring up.

"There's kind of a buzz around the place. It's not distracting but it makes you feel like you're part of a larger enterprise," says Barbara Keyfitz, a former director of the Fields Institute and a professor of mathematics at Ohio State University.

This summer, the buzz was infectious as the largest cohort of summer students yet took up their problems with relish and raced to make progress in order to present their findings at an end-of-summer symposium.

Tyler Wilson, an industry-liaison officer with the institute, was also a group supervisor this year.

An avid baseball fan and former minor-leaguer, his problem involved finding a way to simulate the trajectory of a spinning baseball in flight.

"Their level of enthusiasm for the problem has been quite tremendous," he says. "At night, over weekends, in hours that I was asleep, they were coming up with new things."

Another change this year was the proportion of female students in the summer program - roughly one third, which is the most the program has seen so far. With many researchers voicing concerns over equity in the academic community and an ongoing perception that technical fields can be unwelcoming to women and minorities, Dr. Huang said that the program was consciously making an effort to improve the ratio.

"When we reviewed the application files, we were delighted to see a lot of excellent female applicants this year, which made our job easier," he says, adding that the program also strives for a balance of regional and international representation.

For Ms. Heffernan, the mix clearly worked. Not only has she made friends she expects to keep in touch with in the coming year, "it's made me like research," she says. "And it's made me want to do more."

Associated Graphic

Will Hart, who joined the program from Oxford University, says that the group-work approach led to unexpected social bonding. The students found they spent downtime together too, meeting for fun activities and dinners, when the conversation might turn to matters and interests beyond mathematics.


York University professor Peter Gibson helped guide the students. 'I promised them that they would be working on pure research. I wasn't going to fake it and have an answer in my pocket.'

Tories launch ad campaign against tax changes
As Parliament resumes, Trudeau and Morneau will face opposition questions for the first time on controversial small-business plans
Monday, September 18, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A8

OTTAWA -- The Conservative Party is launching a national advertising campaign this week to oppose the Liberals' smallbusiness tax plans, an issue that is set to dominate the agenda as Parliament returns Monday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, will face opposition questions for the first time since the government announced the controversial package of proposed changes in July.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer will appear in his party's radio and online ads criticizing the proposals. The party has decided that the tax changes will be the Official Opposition's primary focus heading into the fall sitting.

"The Trudeau Liberals are threatening local business and all the jobs they create with big new tax hikes. But I won't just stand by and let the Liberals drive them into the ground," Mr. Scheer says in the radio spots.

The Conservatives are initially planning to spend about $100,000 to place the ads.

The proposed tax reforms continue to generate concern not just from Conservatives, but also from some Liberals.

New Brunswick Liberal MP Wayne Long, who has previously said he opposes the changes as currently worded, released an open letter to Mr. Morneau on Sunday that further outlines his position.

"Consultation is not about defending - it is about listening," Mr. Long wrote. "I share the same concerns of my many constituents, that we are moving too fast. We are not fully examining the possible unintended consequences of what is being proposed."

While the Canadian Medical Association is among the business groups opposing the tax changes, The Canadian Press reported on Sunday that some doctors who disagree with the CMA intend to release an open letter this week in support of the federal government's plans.

In an interview, Conservative House Leader Candice Bergen said the party has decided to make the tax issue the No. 1 priority when MPs face off for Question Period this week.

Mr. Scheer won his party leadership in late May. The NDP will select a new permanent leader in October.

Mr. Morneau announced a package of proposed changes to small-business tax rules on July 18 and formal consultations will close on Oct. 2. The government says the proposals are aimed at making sure people are not incorporating simply as a way of paying less tax.

Liberals say the measures are about closing "loopholes" that primarily advantage highincome Canadians. Small-business advocates counter that the current rules are longstanding tax practices that help businesses grow and warn the proposed changes will damage the economy.

The Liberal government fully expects plenty of questions on the tax changes. Government House Leader Bardish Chagger is also the Minister for Small Business and has been holding cross-country hearings on the topic.

"We will be going through all of the information received," she said. "We really do want to get it right. That's why we are speaking to the people who believe they'll be impacted or will be impacted."

In addition to taxes, here are some of the other issues that are expected to dominate Parliament's fall sitting: ..

The legalization of recreational marijuana

With a target date of July 1, 2018, the pressure is on Ottawa to sort out the details of its plan to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. There are two bills currently before the House of Commons.

Bill C-45 enacts the Cannabis Act to provide legal access to cannabis and contains measures to control and regulate its production, distribution and sale.

Bill C-46 would update the impaired-driving provisions of the Criminal Code. It would allow for mandatory roadside screening for alcohol and outlines new rules to prevent drug-impaired driving.

During committee hearings on C-45 last week, Canadian police groups warned they will not be ready in time for July 1 and requested a delay. They have also asked Ottawa to reconsider a provision that would allow Canadians to grow up to four marijuana plants for personal use.

Liberal MP Bill Blair, a former Toronto police chief who plays a lead role for the Liberals on this issue, said he understands the concerns of police, but that there is an urgency to act.

"Organized crime is making billions of dollars in profit from this criminal enterprise.

It's the easiest money they make," he said in an interview with CTV's Question Period that was broadcast Sunday. "And I find it completely unacceptable that we're going to leave our kids in a very dangerous jeopardy by not regulating this market."


Renegotiating Canada's most important trade deal was never part of the Liberal Party's original agenda, but it quickly moved to the front burner with the election of U.S. President Donald Trump.

The United States, Mexico and Canada are pursuing an aggressive timeline in an attempt to wrap up negotiations before the end of the year. The United States and Mexico have each played host to a round of talks. The next meetings will take place Sept. 23 to 27 in Ottawa.

The most recent point of contention is over a U.S. request for a five-year sunset clause. Under the proposal, the North American free-trade agreement would expire in five years unless all three countries agreed to renew the arrangement. Both Canada and Mexico have said they oppose the idea, warning it would create uncertainty for business.

Myanmar and the United Nations

The Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland will be heading to New York later in the week for meetings of the United Nations.

The top global security issues currently facing world leaders include the ongoing missile threats coming from North Korea, as well as a humanitarian crisis unfolding in Myanmar.

Members of the country's minority population of Rohingya Muslims have been forced to flee to Bangladesh. Reports have said Myanmar's military is driving them from the country and setting their homes on fire.

"This looks a lot like ethnic cleansing and that is not acceptable," Ms. Freeland told a Toronto rally on Saturday.

Ms. Freeland said Mr. Trudeau has raised Canada's concerns directly with Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Ms. Suu Kyi is a Nobel Peace Prize holder and honorary Canadian citizen. The situation has led some to call on Canada to revoke the honour.

As for North Korea, the rogue nation's repeated missile threats are prompting renewed debate over whether Canada should be a participant in the U.S. missile-defence program.

Indigenous issues

In last month's mini cabinet shuffle, plans were announced to split the Indigenous Affairs department in two. Former Health Minister Jane Philpott now heads Indigenous Services, freeing up minister Carolyn Bennett to focus on longer-term efforts as Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs.

To NDP House Leader Murray Rankin, the move signalled an acknowledgment by the government that it has done a poor job of delivering on its many campaign promises to Canada's Indigenous peoples.

The NDP intends to make Indigenous issues a priority this fall.

"The reconciliation talk isn't walking the reconciliation walk," Mr. Rankin said.

Border issues and immigration

This summer saw nearly 8,000 people make unauthorized crossings into Canada, raising serious questions about Canada's refugee system and its immigration arrangements with the United States.

The number of people crossing at points that are not official border posts has slowed down of late, a trend that has been attributed to the start of the school year and Liberal government efforts to inform potential asylum seekers that crossing into Canada is no guarantee that they will be allowed to stay.

Still, the issue is not going away. The volume of unauthorized crossings appears to rise and fall in direct relation to various immigration policies that have been proposed by Mr. Trump. Republicans and Democrats in Congress continue to work with the President on immigration reform, but a firm plan has not yet emerged.

National-security legislation

Just as MPs were heading for the exits in late June, Ottawa released its long-awaited legislation overhauling Canada's national-security regime.

Bill C-59 represents the Liberal government's effort at repealing controversial elements of Bill C-51, a law that was passed under the Conservatives.

The bill would create the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency, bringing together various civilian watchdogs that had previously been tied to specific agencies.

After studying the bill over the summer, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association said that while the bill does fix some of the problems with the Conservative law, other problems were ignored and the Liberal bill creates new issues of its own.

Specifically, concerns continue to be expressed about the legal powers of Canada's spy agency to not only gather intelligence, but to act on it with new "disruption" powers.

Associated Graphic

Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer greets supporters at his shadow-cabinet meeting in Winnipeg on Sept. 7. Mr. Scheer is set to appear in radio and online ads criticizing Liberal tax proposals.


From left to right: Guy Caron, Charlie Angus, Jagmeet Singh and Niki Ashton, via satelite from Ottawa, participate in the final federal NDP leadership debate in Vancouver on Sept. 1. Mr. Caron, the only Quebecker of the four, says he can bring back the support in his province that was the key to the Orange Wave of 2011.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at the opening ceremonies of Hack The North, an event in which computer programmers collaborate, in Waterloo, Ont., on Friday.


'Sanity' returns to housing market
Would-be buyers sidelined by high prices and bidding wars are now venturing back, if skittishly
Saturday, September 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page M1

Andrew Williamson spent two years looking for a house in Toronto, making offers that got topped in bidding wars and watching prices soar beyond his reach. By late spring this year, the 29-year-old photographer halted his search, turned off by high prices and the whip-saw volatility that was unfolding in the market.

This week, however, he bought a house in Toronto's west-end Junction Triangle neighbourhood. He was the only bidder on the semi-detached, two-bedroom home, and concluded the deal for $495,000, which was under the asking price.

"I basically was at the point where I gave up. I was sitting on the sidelines just looking at listings on MLS and realizing I couldn't afford anything," he said. "As soon as this place popped up, I thought: 'I can probably afford this.' " The Greater Toronto Area housing market has shifted into buyer's market territory for the first time in eight years, and frustrated shoppers such as Mr. Williamson are now beginning to return from the sidelines, lured by an average 20-per-cent price drop from April's market peak.

Experts now expect prices to level this fall, and the debate is shifting from whether, to when, prices will climb again. The wild card for the fall market, however, is the number of houses that will be listed for sale in September and October and whether a glut of inventory could leave prices languishing for longer.

August sales data from the Toronto Real Estate Board offered signs the market is stabilizing. The number of sales climbed last month compared with July, marking the first month-over-month increase in sales since March. While average prices for all types of homes slid 1.9 per cent in August from July, it was by far the lowest month-over-month price drop since prices started to decline in May. Also in August, TREB reported a drop in new listings in that month compared with a year earlier, signalling a more balanced market after inventory levels soared from April to July.

Taken together, the trends are seen as signs the downturn is slowing and the market is poised to level off and even recover this fall.

"From what's happening in my business right now, I'm seeing a lot of buyers who basically took the summer off and now they're actively back at it," said Royal LePage real estate agent Tom Storey, who specializes in properties in central Toronto.

In the early spring, Mr. Storey said he repeatedly scratched his head as he saw deeply flawed properties sell in bidding wars.

Today, good properties are still selling quickly, while weaker options are taking longer to find a buyer - signs of a healthier market environment.

"You'd see that one with no pictures and it sold way over asking and it was just a beat-up house, and you were like, 'Oh my God, I guess someone bought that because they figured they had no other options and they were just going to reno it,' " he recalls.

"I think it's healthy the way it is right now. The overall market is much better than the way it was before. ... It's sane again."

Royal Bank of Canada economist Robert Hogue issued a report on Toronto's housing market this week, saying people worried about a major collapse in the market "can breathe a little easier now."

Mr. Hogue believes the market probably bottomed in July, and a release coming next week from the Canadian Real Estate Association with seasonally adjusted figures will show sales increased in August over July in the GTA.

Mr. Hogue's rough estimate is that CREA data will show sales grew about 9 per cent in August on a month-over-month basis after adjusting for seasonal norms.

Mr. Hogue said buyers have absorbed the impact of a package of reforms the Ontario government announced in late April to cool the hot housing market in the Toronto region, including a 15-per-cent foreign buyer's tax. It's similar to the trend in Vancouver, where the market dipped and then adjusted within months of a similar move by the British Columbia government last year, he said.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver released data this week showing the benchmark index price for houses rose monthover-month in August for the seventh consecutive month this year.

"Developments in Vancouver - which went through a similar policy-induced market correction last year - suggest that the bottom for prices may be near in the Toronto area," Mr. Hogue concluded in his report.

Despite the cautious optimism, few fear the Toronto market is headed back to the type of 30per-cent price gains it saw earlier this year.

Chris Slightham, president of Toronto-area real-estate brokerage group Royal LePage Signature Realty, anticipates prices could be 5 per cent higher a year from now - a level he believes would be appropriate growth.

But he doesn't believe they will recover their 20-per-cent decline in coming months.

"I can't imagine a scenario where prices will spike back up to high levels, because I think they were not sustainable," he said.

"They advanced way too quickly. If you said, 'My house is worth 10 per cent less than it was in the spring, is it going to go back up there,' I wouldn't count on it. But I don't think prices are frankly going to go much lower at this stage."

Buyers who have been waiting for the right time to shop again should not try to time their return to the market too finely, argues realtor Tasis Giannoukakis, co-owner of Century 21 Leading Edge Realty Inc., which has offices throughout the GTA.

Prices are down significantly from their peak and are unlikely to drop more, he believes, and it would be a mistake for buyers to wait indefinitely for a larger collapse.

"It's funny because you had someone who didn't buy a house in winter or early spring because they lost on five different multiple offers, and now that they can buy a house a lot of them are sitting on the sidelines and waiting to see," he said.

Mr. Giannoukakis said there was a lot of "chaos" in the Toronto market between May and July because people had already bought another home and were stuck trying to sell their old house, or were having financing problems after their banks appraised the value of a house below the negotiated purchase price.

"But that seems to have definitely weaned off, and I think that's going to contribute to the fact the market should rebound," he said.

The Toronto Real Estate Board also believes significant pent-up demand is still out in the market, which should lead to growing sales.

Jason Mercer, TREB's director of market analysis, said the association commissioned a special survey of buyer intentions at the end of May as the market downturn was taking hold. It found an even greater proportion of people said they planned to buy a home in the GTA in the next 12 months than a similar survey showed last October.

With the economy remaining strong and unemployment levels low, Mr. Mercer said there is no fundamental reason for sales to continue to languish.

"As we move out of the summer months and into the fall, it seems reasonable to argue that some of these buyers that have moved to the sidelines may move back into the marketplace," he said.

Given the uncertainty, however, Mr. Storey said he would prefer to wait until at least the middle of this month to assess the listing trends before advising clients on whether to sell this fall - assuming they have flexibility to wait.

The decision to list should be made based on very local factors in a neighbourhood, he said. If a client has the only condo unit available for sale in a popular building, he said he would tell them to list immediately because the condo market has remained strong throughout the downturn.

If they have a detached house on a street with multiple homes already sitting on the market, he would advise waiting.

"It really depends on the property type and where it is," he said.

Stephen Soock is confident he can start wading back into the market now.

The 27-year-old research analyst who recently moved to Toronto to work in the financial industry has been watching the market correction and "waiting to pull the trigger" until he was certain the market bubble wasn't going to burst in a major correction.

Now that the market is calming down, he is starting to go see condos in various neighbourhoods around the city.

"Even if things are going to continue to down-trend for a little bit, I'd rather get in a little bit earlier rather than wait for things to start to accelerate back to the pace they were at earlier this year or a year or so ago," he said.

"It's probably better for me to be a little earlier than a little later in the cycle, if I'm going to catch it on one side or the other."

Associated Graphic

In the spring, Andrew Williamson 'gave up' house hunting, but this week bought a place under the asking price.


People concerned about a market collapse 'can breathe a little easier now,' Royal Bank economist Robert Hogue says.


Hillary Clinton delivers a candid, searching memoir, both furious and funny
Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R15

What Happened By Hillary Rodham Clinton Simon & Schuster, 494 pages, $39.99

The title of Hillary Rodham Clinton's hot-off-the-presses memoir, What Happened, is rendered on the cover in all caps, no further explanatory subtitle necessary. No punctuating question mark, either. In the days and weeks following Donald Trump's Nov. 8, 2016, presidential election victory, that question, "What happened?," was chewed over and over and over again. The press, pundits and political insiders floated multiple theories - variously crediting Clinton's loss to angry and alienated white voters, overbullish pollsters, bitter Bernie bros, James Comey, Julian Assange, Vladimir Putin, fake news on Facebook, the mushrooming alt-right and the whims of the electoral college.

What Happened is Clinton's attempt to answer the question herself, to offer her take on the events that led to most consequential political upset in recent American history and to reveal her perspective from the centre of it all. And surely, if anyone has earned a right to reckon with the 2016 election, it's the tough, deeply experienced woman who took the blows, who heard crowds chant "Lock her up!," who was stalked around a debate stage by Trump and who watched her dreams collapse on election night in her loss to a racist, misogynist, dangerously unqualified man. In the months since the election, however, the consensus has calcified against her, with many directing the blame at the candidate herself: She was too secretive, too entitled, too mainstream; she was in the pocket of Wall Street, she blew the ground game in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, she played identity politics; her message was uninspired and unfocused; she was too dull, too shrill, too old. And let's never forget: her e-mails.

And so, when excerpts of her book began to leak over the past few weeks, her detractors rolled their collective eyes. "Was this book necessary?" asked a columnist for the Los Angeles Times.

"We need to move on," said Democratic senator Al Franken (who is currently on a book tour of his own). "Let's not keep arguing about 2016," advised Clinton's primary opponent, Bernie Sanders.

This pre-emptive strike says a great deal about what it means to be a woman in politics, in particular a woman named Hillary Clinton. Her critics are so begrudging and so viscerally irked by her that, less a year after the election, they've decided that the first American woman to be a presidential nominee for a major political party, a woman who served as a senator and secretary of state and a woman who, it bears repeating, won the popular vote by the widest margin of any losing candidate in U.S. presidential election history, has nothing meaningful, or of value, to add to the discussion.

Well, the Hillary haters are missing out, because What Happened is a candid, searching memoir, both furious and funny. Clinton makes no claim that hers is the definitive account of the 2016 presidential race. "That's not for me to write," she says. "I have too little distance and too great a stake in it."

Instead, she alternates between personal reflection, an analysis of the forces at play in Trump's rise and, least interestingly, a rehashing of her campaign platform.

(There is also a lengthy chapter devoted to her e-mails - damn it, if she isn't going to try to get the final word on that one.) The prose can be stiff, and at times it reads as if she's still referring to her campaign talking points, but she's also self-aware and slyly funny. Recalling George W. Bush suggesting at the inauguration that they go out for burgers, she writes, "I think that's Texan for I feel your pain."

Policy wonk Hillary is familiar to the point of cliché. The best parts of the book are the most intimate, revealing the private, emotional side of a woman who's long been portrayed as a square and a stiff. Opening her memoir on inauguration day - where she steels herself with the mantra "Breathe out. Scream later" - and the first brutal weeks following her loss, she gives a raw account of her grief and self-recrimination. About thanking her supporters following her Nov. 9 concession speech, she writes, "every time I hugged another sobbing friend - or one stoically blinking back tears, which was almost worse - I had to fight back a wave of sadness that threatened to swallow me whole. At every step, I felt that I had let everyone down. Because I had."

This glimpse of Hillary the human being feels as incongruous as it is endearing. After her speech, she nurses her wounds in the manner of a rich, late-middleaged, white lady straight out of a Nancy Meyers rom-com. She retreats to her house in Chappaqua, N.Y., swathes herself in yoga pants and keeps busy with home renovations, Netflix binges of The Good Wife (!) and Downton Abbey, alternate nostril breathing and a great deal of chardonnay. Her family, friends and her Methodist faith, a driving force in her life and politics that is only touched on, eventually drew her out of the darkness. As she reflected on her loss during her long walks in the nearby woods, she writes that the question blaring in her head was, "How did this happen?" Her postmortem doesn't offer new revelations or theories, but it's still worthwhile and fascinating to understand the events as she saw them. She lays out her case at length - she is nothing if not meticulous - and boils her defeat down to "a perfect storm" of Russian interference, a press suckered by Trump's showmanship and obsessed with her failings, e-mails, misogyny and racism and - most of all - the late October reopening of the FBI's investigation into her use of a private e-mail server by Comey, who she believes "badly overstepped his bounds."

Whether or not people will agree with this analysis - and expect a deluge of think pieces in coming days - seems beside the point. With her guard now down, Clinton is fierce and few are spared. In her view, Trump poses a grave threat to American democracy. She calls him a fraud who wants to "be like Putin ... an authoritarian leader who could put down dissenters, repress minorities, disenfranchise voters, weaken the press, and amass untold billions for himself." Putin, meanwhile, is a classic "manspreader" who hates women - her, in particular.

Then there's Bernie Sanders, whose calls for revolution drove her nuts (he forced her into the role of "spoilsport school marm," she writes) as did his criticism of president Barack Obama during the primaries, which she sees as an act of party disloyalty.

"He's not a Democrat," she points out about Sanders more than once.

Among all these critiques, she doesn't spare herself: "None of the factors I've discussed here lessen the responsibility I feel or the aching sense that I let everyone down." (She is admiringly loyal to her staff and views her campaign's mistakes as primarily hers.) Nor does she play down how certain she was she'd win - an estimation she now regrets.

Reading her account of election night, as she optimistically refines her acceptance speech and plans her transition, brings the same feeling of dread as watching a doomed victim wandering around a darkened house in a horror movie: "Hillary, get out now while you still can!"

Most moving are her accounts of the two men who played the largest roles in her political life: her husband, Bill Clinton, and her rival-turned-champion, Obama.

No marriage is entirely comprehensible from the outside; the Clintons' is perhaps more mysterious than most. But for Hillary, Bill has been a mainstay: "I was grateful for the one-billionth time," she writes, "that I had a husband who was good company not just in happy times but in sad ones as well."

With Obama, as with Bill, it's complicated. But after their bruising primary fight in 2008, they seem to have recognized in each other a kindred political spirit.

Both are smart, reserved, pragmatic centrists. Clinton hired much of staff from Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns and turned to him regularly for advice. On election night, after she conceded to Trump, she called Obama to say, "I'm sorry for letting you down." He reminded her that there is life after defeat.

In interviews, Clinton has said that her postdefeat life will not include another political run. But Trump's America, she says, is too scary for her to bow out entirely.

The book's release is tied to the launch of her political advocacy group, Onward Together, which she hopes will encourage more civic engagement. (The slogan is "Resist, insist, persist, enlist.") Her critics might wish she'd sit down and shut up already; as if anticipating the backlash, she writes, "What makes me such a lightning rod for fury? I'm really asking. I'm at a loss." But for the more than 65 million Americans who voted for her, it's worth considering what she thinks should happen now.

Rachel Giese is the editor-at-large at Chatelaine. Her first book, Boys: What It Means to Become a Man in the 21st Century, will be published in 2018.

Associated Graphic

Hillary Clinton's memoir alternates between personal reflection, an analysis of the forces at play in Donald Trump's rise and a rehashing of her campaign platform.


Why we should care about the lacklustre German election
Achtung! What happens on Sept. 24 will have long-lasting implications for democracy and liberal values, writes Eric Reguly
Saturday, September 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F1

Germans go to the polls on Sept. 24 after a campaign that failed to stir the soul inside or outside of Germany. Chancellor and Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader Angela Merkel, seeking her fourth term, has played it safe, solidifying her hold on the middle ground as she deftly pinched bits of territory from the parties on her left and right flanks.

Surprisingly, her main opponent, Martin Schulz, leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), played it safe too, a mystery given his firebrand persona, superior oratory skills and desire for a surge like the one that revived the career of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in Britain's June election.

But don't be lulled into thinking the election doesn't matter just because it hasn't electrified voters. Whoever wins will set the post-crisis European agenda. A German Europe or European Germany? More austerity or less?

Whoever wins will, in effect, set the strategy for the European Union's response to Brexit and the bailout of Greece. The victor will also shoulder the responsibility of protecting Germany and the rest of the EU from the often rash and unpredictable impulses of the three alpha males on Germany's western, eastern and southern horizons - Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Germany may not have the desire or the capabilities to assume the role of "leader of the free world," as Ms. Merkel has been dubbed in the wake of Mr. Trump's occupation of the White House. Still, that role might be thrust upon it.

Whoever forms the next German government won't be merely chancellor. He or she will have to be the leader of one of the world's last great liberal economic champions.

Easiest question first. Who is going to win the election?

That's really easy. Ms. Merkel and her conservative alliance (the CDU and Bavaria's Christian Social Union - CSU) have the election in the bag, though her victory may not be as overwhelming as the polls suggest.

The latest poll of polls puts the CDU/CSU on top, with 38 per cent of the vote. Mr. Schulz's SPD is way down the charts, at 23 per cent. At this stage in the game, the gap appears insurmountable

for the SPD. Four small parties - Greens, Alternative for Germany, Free Democrats and Left Party - are each polling at 8-to-9 per cent.

But wasn't Mr. Schulz on par with Ms. Merkel only a few months ago?

Indeed, Mr. Schulz, the polyglot former president of the European Parliament, came out of the gates strong in the early spring, making it appear he would be the man who would end Ms. Merkel's 12-year reign. But he lost momentum quickly.

And the SPD's defeat in two recent regional elections didn't help.

With the German economy on fire - unemployment was at a record low of 5.7 per cent in August - and Germans apparently more or less content with their lot in life, Mr. Schulz's social-justice campaign has struggled to win the imaginations of voters, young or old. He had, apparently, gambled that Jeremy Corbynstyle tactics - arguing that wages and infrastructure spending were too low, employment contracts too insecure and the tax system too unfair - would restore his popularity. It didn't work, and on other issues the SPD was not radically different from the CDU. So why vote against Ms. Merkel?

Who won Sunday's TV debate?

The debate was the campaign's lone TV encounter between Ms. Merkel and Mr. Schulz (the small parties were excluded) and was billed as a make-or-break event for the SPD leader. But he failed to dent Ms. Merkel's confidence; she was judged the winner of the lacklustre exchange. Overall, the so-called debate did neither candidate any favours. Both evaded a raft of big issues, including Germany's economic future, where the crucial (and Dieselgate-tainted) car industry is going, and the country's role in Europe. Overall, a lost opportunity for Mr. Schulz to pin down his opponent on her future strategies, or lack thereof.

Why should non-Germans care about the election?

Because Germany is the world's fourth biggest economy and Berlin is the effective driver of the European project. But the election is hardly a parochial German or European matter. If you are sitting in North America, you should care, because neither Ms. Merkel nor Mr. Schulz is a fan of Donald Trump. Relations are already strained between Ms. Merkel and the U.S. President, and if Mr. Schulz gets the chancellor's job, relations will be really strained, to the point the transAtlantic trade and security relationship could crumble. (When Mr. Trump was president-elect, Mr. Schulz told Der Spiegel that he "is not just a problem for the EU, but for the whole world.") If you are sitting anywhere in the world, you should care because Germany has been a leading voice for moderation, tolerance, democracy and liberal values for decades. If voters swing to the right in the election - unlikely, but not entirely out of the question - Germany's reputation for these values could take a hit.

Why are young voters endorsing Angela Merkel and her boring establishment conservatives?

Elsewhere in Europe, young voters are drifting towards the underdogs or the anti-establishment parties. In the snap British election in June, they revived Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party, denying Prime Minister Theresa May her Conservative majority. In France in May, young voters backed Emmanuel Macron, the newcomer who sent the established parties packing. In Italy, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement is especially popular among the young.

Germany is a different story.

There, the young are endorsing "Mutti" - Mom - as Ms. Merkel is known. They like her unwavering liberal and democratic approach, including her "open doors" policy for refugees in 2015, and apparently see her as a bulwark against the anti-liberal, anti-environment and pro-military policies endorsed by Donald Trump.

A June Forsa poll showed that 57 per cent of 18-to-21 year olds backed Ms. Merkel against only 21 per cent for Mr. Schulz.

But isn't Germany's working class behind Mr. Schulz?

No. If German unemployment were high, industrial workers might find Mr. Schulz and the SPD, the party they had traditionally backed, more appealing.

Another problem for the SPD is the declining ranks of industrial workers; Germany has lost hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs to low-cost countries.

But the main reason behind the SPD's waning popularity among workers seems to be lingering resentment. The last SPD chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, pushed through sweeping labour reforms that suppressed wages and reduced benefits and jobs security. The workers considered it a betrayal and have never forgiven the SPD.

Do Germany's small parties matter?

They do, all the more so since at least two of them - the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats, led by the youthful Christian Lindner - are considered potential coalition partners in any new government. The other two small parties, The Left (whose origins are in East Germany's Communist Party), and Alternative for Germany (AfD), the right-wing, anti-immigrant and anti-EU populist party, are not coalition contenders. But all of the small parties are expected to make it into parliament since they are polling above the 5 per cent threshold required for admission.

Of the four, the one to watch is the centrist Free Democrats, who were shut out of the last parliament but are once again on the rise. They are polling fairly well among conservative suburbanites and young urbanites who like their cool slogans, such as "Impatience can be a virtue too."

Is the German economy an election issue?

Depends where you're standing.

The German economy is on fire.

Exports are soaring, the government is running a fat budget surplus and the jobless rate keeps sinking. Given all the good news, Mr. Schulz says it's time to give public- and private-sector workers hefty raises, and he's right.

Germany's export success was in good part based on years of wage restraint, which made the country's manufactured goods highly competitive.

Outside of Germany, the German economy is a huge issue.

Other parts of Europe partly blame Germany's huge trade and current-account surpluses (the latter happens when domestic savings exceed domestic investments) for their own economic woes, and they're right too. Higher wages would inflate the German economy, boosting domestic demand and imports from Italy, Spain and other struggling countries.

But Ms. Merkel, should she win, might be loath to change the formula that made Germany a phenomenal export success story.

She has preached the virtues of austerity for everyone and there is little reason to think she will relax her stance.

Any chance of a surprise on Sept. 24?

Possibly. If voters assume Ms. Merkel cannot lose, many of them might stay home on election day. If they do, she will probably still win, but be forced into potentially uncomfortable and humiliating coalition talks with the SPD and the small parties. A low victory margin would signal that Ms. Merkel had peaked in the last election.

Associated Graphic

Ms. Merkel and Mr. Schulz, her primary opponent, have played it safe during the campaign. The chancellor was deemed the winner of last Sunday's lacklustre TV debate.


When worlds collide
As a boy, David Chariandy immersed himself in realms both fantastical and unimaginable. But rarely did he find a reality resembling his own. Now, with his Giller Prize-longlisted novel Brother, the Scarborough-bred author is shining a light on his own kingdom, Mark Medley writes
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R11

When David Chariandy was a teenager, a self-described nerd who mostly read sci-fi novels and sword-and-sorcery epics, he discovered the work of Robertson Davies. This introduced Chariandy, the son of Trinidadian immigrants living on the eastern edge of Scarborough, to a world as different from his own as Middle-earth. Although he resembled a wizard himself, Davies was the Upper Canada College- and Oxford-educated bard of Canada's WASP-y establishment - a writer, Chariandy notes, who "couldn't be farther from me in terms of experience. What is the term [Stephen] Harper used?

Old-stock Canadian?" He laughs.

"And yet I consumed it - I guess because reading became a way of entering different worlds."

But as he read more widely, venturing into other, different worlds - each one a magical portal, his own wardrobe - Chariandy rarely, if ever, encountered a world resembling his own: the apartment buildings and strip malls, the busy streets and hidden valleys, the sights and smells and tongues that he saw and heard and experienced every day in Scarborough.

"There was a very powerful sense that it was not worthy of representation - none of my life.

My parents were not worthy of representation. My experiences were not worthy of representation. My neighbourhood - this whole borough - was not worthy, except in bloody newspaper headlines." He continues: "To read a novel, or anything, set in Scarborough - and affirming that there is life in this part of the city - I think that would have been transformative."

Chariandy's second novel, Brother, which arrives in bookstores on Tuesday, is a supremely moving and exquisitely crafted portrait of his hometown. The fact that, last Monday, it was named to the Scotiabank Giller Prize long list was one of the least-surprising developments of the week. It is a celebration and a reckoning, a study of community and of family and of the ways each relies on the other, and of the power of art to build and the ability of those in power to destroy. It is also an act of literary cartography, an attempt to place Scarborough on the CanLit map, once and for all, and an effort by Chariandy to show "the importance of knowing that your world - in its beauty, in its ugliness, in its heroism, in its cowardice - [can] also be worthy of representation."

Brother tells the story of Michael and his older sibling, Francis, who live with their mother in an area of the city known as The Park. Michael narrates the story of their childhood and adolescence, of their first loves - Michael's being a girl named Aisha, Francis falling hard for hip hop - and of the act of violence that eventually tears their small family apart.

"Brother is, of course, in a very literal sense of the novel, about a brother, and his fate, but it's also about kinship, and how kinship is found," Chariandy says one recent August afternoon, sitting in the food court of Cedarbrae Mall, not far from where he grew up and where his parents still live; he's wearing a bold blue button-up shirt and jeans, his greying hair the only hint that he's 48. "Much of the literature that I really admire is the literature of speaking about kinship as a way of demurring from often-violent politics. How do people live their life, and imagine a future for themselves, when they're in political contracts, and social contracts, that are distressing and sometimes outright violent? And so the ties of family are very important to me for figuring out those ways of life."

His first novel, Soucouyant, probed those ties in similar ways, and in a familiar setting; set in Scarborough, the novel featured two brothers and their single mother, who has early onset dementia, and also examined issues of race and family. In fact, Chariandy says, Brother grew out of Soucouyant, which was longlisted for the Giller and was a finalist for the Governor-General's Literary Award, among other prizes.

"It had all the ingredients that I wanted to explore more," he says.

He spent the next decade exploring, far longer than he'd anticipated. ("I thought I had learned something about writing a novel, and that it would be easier the second time," he says. "It was as hard as that first time, and essentially almost as long.") Yet, in some ways, the book is coming out at just the right moment, dealing as it does with marginalized communities and the ramifications of police violence.

"It may have been almost a decade in the making, but it could not be more timely," says Martha Kanya-Forstner, his editor at McClelland & Stewart. "I think we had that sense, as we got closer and closer to publication, that the book had become the book it needed to be at just the moment that it needed to come."

Brother is poised to enter the broader conversation surrounding these issues, although Chariandy makes it clear that current, and near-recent events, did not alter the direction of the novel, which mostly takes place in the early 90s. "The thing I've always tried to remind people is that the issue has always been front and centre for specific communities," he says. "I'm simply one other voice confronting this long legacy."

One of the voices he's echoing belongs to Austin Clarke, the acclaimed Barbadian-Canadian author, who became a friend and mentor to Chariandy - he again uses the term "kinship" to describe their relationship. It was in Clarke's work, Chariandy says, that he finally saw a world similar to his own.

"It affected me so deeply," says Chariandy, who first discovered Clarke's work while in university.

"Austin's first book set in Canada, The Meeting Point, I think it was 1967, was about the plight of black domestic workers and black labourers. It was the first time in the world of literature that someone was actually representing my family - my mother was a black domestic worker."

(His father worked in a furniture factory.) "To represent the lives of those people migrating from the Caribbean to a Toronto that is radically different from the Toronto that exists now - what they experienced, what their hopes were, what their delusions were, as well - that blew me away that someone could do that."

Clarke was an author who made Chariandy's own writing career "seem possible," he says.

Clarke died last year, and Brother is dedicated to him.

The next step for Chariandy is to follow in Clarke's footsteps and find a readership outside Canada. There's a buzz surrounding Brother; it earned an endorsement from Booker Prize-winning novelist Marlon James, who called it, in part, "a brilliant, powerful elegy," while foreign rights were recently sold to Bloomsbury in the United States and Britain.

"When Brother landed on my desk, I felt like this was a new international literary star," says Alexa von Hirschberg, senior commissioning editor at Bloomsbury UK, which will publish the novel next March. "Like all great fiction, it speaks to the human heart."

After the interview ends, we leave the mall and drive east, along Lawrence Avenue, Chariandy looking out the window at his former neighbourhood. He left Scarborough after high school, heading to Ottawa for university, then earning his PhD at York. For the past 15 years, he's lived in Vancouver with his family, and teaches in the English department at Simon Fraser University.

"I feel, in a certain way, that I'm coming as a visitor - that the Scarborough that I experienced is a different Scarborough from the Scarborough that I see now."

That said, some things remain the same. "I think young black men feel, often times, the same way I felt, or my brother felt, growing up in Scarborough, and the way my friends felt growing up in Scarborough. That has remained the same. There are still families that struggle to make ends meet, and children growing up where they're told a certain narrative of who they are, and told a narrative of where they belong. All of those things persist."

We drive over a bridge that straddles one of the veins of the Rouge Valley, and Chariandy asks that we pull over. He wants to show me something - the place that, "maybe more than any other site, influenced the novel."

The two of us, trailed by a photographer and Chariandy's publicist, follow a path down into the valley, where it's sunny and cool and, aside from the upper floors of apartment buildings peeking over the treetops, easy to forget that you're surrounded by the city. "Down here it's a whole other world," he says.

Francis and Michael both spend time here in Brother, as did Chariandy as a kid. "Growing up, there was a certain gaze upon me and my brother, and others like us," he recalls. It therefore became important to find "places where you could escape that gaze, and see yourself differently." This valley, he says, as we walk under the bridge, "was really a place of refuge for me."

Just as he hopes the books he writes provide refuge for others.

Associated Graphic

David Chariandy shown recently in the Rouge Valley in Scarborough, a Toronto suburb. He says the valley, 'maybe more than any other site, influenced the novel.'


If Canada's spectacular changing of the leaves isn't enough to keep you entertained come fall, these excursions may give you new reasons to love the season, Adam Bisby writes
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, September 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page T1

Every September I turn into a leaf-peeping fraud.

It happened again the other day. I was admiring the view from the Robin's Roost, a quirky new rental cottage perched amid the branches of a mature maple in the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary, when my wife pointed and exclaimed, "Check it out: The leaves are starting to turn!"

I followed the line of her gesticulations and quickly - perhaps too quickly - echoed her enthusiasm: "Ah yes. Lovely! I can't believe it's almost fall."

But my reaction was nothing more than a feeble charade.

After all, I'm red-green colourblind.

For one in 12 men and one in 200 women, give or take, fall's arrival can be frustrating. While others admire the fiery foliage, we must make do with vistas that lack the same dramatic contrast between red, orange, yellow and green hues.

But there is hope. Across Canada, new experiences combine prime colour-viewing with diversions that require no red-green visual acuity to appreciate.

Here, then, are dozens of options that will please leafpeepers and leaf-liars alike.

Robin's Roost Treehouse, Ingleside, Ont.

The gloriously windowed Robin's Roost provides a uniquely elevated vantage point from which to admire more than the forest canopy surrounding the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary's tidy campground.

While sipping coffee under the spreading maple that bursts through the Roost's wraparound deck, I watched as great blue herons foraged in the nearby St. Lawrence River.

Several hundred yards beyond, an enormous ocean freighter chugged across the horizon.

Then, after preparing lunch on the two-bedroom A-frame's barbecue and grabbing some complimentary binoculars, I set out on one of six self-guided walking trails to explore the sanctuary's 9,000 hectares of forests, fields and boardwalk-bisected wetlands.

Canyon Sainte-Anne, Beaupré, Que.

The phrase "just sit back and relax" has never really applied to Canada's ziplines, which have proliferated with the opening of WildPlay Niagara Falls, British Columbia's Kokanee Mountain Zipline, and Edmonton's Snow Valley Aerial Park, among others.

But this changed earlier this year with the launch of the Air Canyon in the Canyon SainteAnne nature park.

Sitting in comfortable-looking two-person cable cars, visitors whiz down a 396-metre-long steel strand at up to 50 kilometres an hour as they cross the 90-metre-deep canyon and pass waterfalls and giant potholes.

Cabot Cliffs, Inverness, N.S.

Don't forget to pack your golf clubs on a driving tour of Cape Breton's famously scenic Cabot Trail. Ranked No. 1 in Golf Digest's top 30 courses in Canada for 2017-18, this year-old public track, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, pairs 18 holes of challenging links-style play with exceptional views of the rugged coast and surrounding highlands.

Chinese Junk Tour, Charlottetown Billed as "the only Chinese junk ship available for charter tours in North America," the 11.5metre Hai Long first set sail out of Hong Kong in 1968. Nearly 50 years and hundreds of hours of refurbishment later, the scarletsailed junk-rigged vessel recently became available for daily sightseeing and dinner cruises around leaf-lined Charlottetown harbour that highlight Chinese history, culture and cuisine.

Skywood Eco Adventure, Mallorytown, Ont.

The colour of the surrounding leaves wasn't exactly top of mind as I gingerly negotiated a few of the 80-plus aerial games at Skywood Eco Adventure. Like Robin's Roost, Skywood is owned by the St. Lawrence Parks Commission, which partnered with Quebec's Arbraska chain of aerial parks to turn a defunct campground on the Thousand Islands Parkway into what it calls "Ontario's largest aerial and zipline experience." Fastened to a stand of towering white pines, Skywood's five areas range from a child-friendly Treewalk Village of elevated pods, log bridges, nets and slides to the Adventure Course - a self-guided tour of five routes as high as 18 metres above the forest floor - and a guided zipline excursion with eight speedy descents.

Lake Superior Water Trail and Lake Huron North Channel Two of the newest and longest sections of the recently completed Trans Canada Trail are also among the most beautiful in fall. The mixed-surface Lake Huron North Channel passes various scenes immortalized by the Group of Seven as it winds 375.3 kilometres between Sudbury and the densely forested Gros Cap Bluffs just west of Sault Ste. Marie.

Cyclists and hikers must then pick up paddles for the Lake Superior Water Trail, which stretches nearly three times as far across its namesake Great Lake. Between Gros Cap and Thunder Bay's Fisherman's Park, 16 access points provide docks, composting toilets, bear-proof garbage disposal and recycling containers. The autumn splendour of the Algoma coast was especially revered by Canada's most famous painterly collective, and is home to Pukaskwa National Park's new Mdaabii Miikna Trail, a 24-km alternative to the Coastal Hiking Trail.

Agawa Canyon Tour Train, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

One of Ontario's oldest leafpeeping attractions - the 183-km rail journey across the Canadian Shield to the remote Agawa Canyon Wilderness Park - has partnered with Tourism Sault Ste. Marie to offer a three-night package that highlights the Group of Seven with free admission to local attractions - including the Art Gallery of Algoma, which on Oct. 5 will open a new Canadian Icons: Group of Seven and Beyond exhibit.

Tom Thomson exhibitions Indeed, the Canada 150-fuelled mania for all things Group of Seven, along with the 100th anniversary of Tom Thomson's untimely and mysterious death, have given rise to myriad retrospectives and tributes. Among the most innovative is Betwixt & Between: An Untold Tom Thomson Story at the artist's namesake gallery in Owen Sound, Ont. It ends on Sept. 10, but an interactive app will continue to host a geocaching game that guides players to four different Ontario locations to unlock clues and find hidden prizes.

New and original Thomson-inspired work will be on display at Arta Gallery in Toronto's Distillery District from Sept. 6 to 19, when an exhibition called Untamed Things showcases 11 bush-trekking painters from across Ontario.

Parc Omega, Montebello, Que.

This 890-hectare wildlife park is justifiably renowned for letting visitors feed deer and elk by hand while driving or strolling through the bucolic property in the Gatineau Hills. Doing the same at the new Wolf Observatory is forbidden - and for good reason if the feeding-time frenzy I witnessed was any indication.

Billed as the world's first enclosure devoted to grey wolves, the facility features a glass-enclosed ground-level viewing area and a tiered rooftop platform.

Larch Valley Trail, Banff National Park, Banff, Alta.

Aspens and willows add pleasing bursts of fall colour to the Banff townsite and its sublime surroundings, which can be viewed from nearly 900 metres up in the Banff Gondola's new Sky Bistro, or from the 10-kmlong Banff Commonwealth Walkway that officially launches on Sept. 17. The biggest autumn draws, however, are the stands of sub-alpine larches that blanket the occasional mountainside in gold. Starting at the Moraine Lake Lodge, which can be reached via a newly expanded free shuttle service, hikers can make the steep 4.3-km trek to the aptly-named Larch Valley, which is made all the more spectacular by the soaring backdrop of the Ten Peaks.

Treetop Haven, Albany, PEI If treehouse stays and train trips seem like old hat, there's always this collection of five geodesic domes set amid 20 hectares of birch forest. Each dome is mounted on a 3.5-metre-high deck and includes a bathroom, kitchenette, bedroom, barbecue and private hot tub, with a wall of triangular windows framing the foliage outside. A variety of getaway packages include massage, yoga and guided strolls known as "forest bathing."

Nordik Spa-Nature, Chelsea, Que.

You've admired (or pretended to admire) the fall leaves, so why not use them for some detoxifying flagellation?

This 100,000-square-foot spa complex in the verdant Gatineau Hills is launching a namesake treatment for its ninemonth-old banya space that houses a Russian sauna, exfoliation room and yoga studio. By brushing and then striking guests with bunches of birch branches infused in hot water, the hour-long banya treatment is said to reduce inflammation, relieve joint pain and relax muscles.

Beer Around the Bay, Simcoe County, Ont.

This new self-guided tour visits five breweries clustered near the bucolic southern shores of Georgian Bay: Creemore Springs - the best-known of the bunch - and craft players Northwinds Brewhouse, The Collingwood Brewery, Side Launch Brewing Company and Wasaga Beach Brewing Company.

Lager tastings and self-guided tours don't always mix, so it's a good thing six-month-old The Beer Bus Company offers excursions that include samples, lunch, snacks and transportation.

Associated Graphic

The Algoma Central Railway, which rides across the Canadian Shield to the remote Agawa Canyon Wilderness Park, has partnered with Tourism Sault Ste. Marie to offer a three-night package.

Parc Omega in Montebello, Que., allows visitors to feed deer and elk by hand, but the wolves are quite rightly only viewed from behind glass.

The Larch Valley Trail is a steep 4.3-kilometre trek in Banff National Park.


'I have nothing': Rohingya watch soldiers lay waste to their homes
In more than a dozen interviews along the Myanmar border, The Globe hears stories of the military attacking Muslims as they flee, setting land mines and torching villages - a tactic that will dissuade them from returning
Friday, September 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

TOMBRU, BANGLADESH -- Sakhina Begum looked in horror through the tall fence that marks the edge of Bangladesh. On the other side lies Myanmar, and the building that was until days ago her home. But as she watched Thursday afternoon, five Myanmar soldiers approached, she said. They fanned out to the corners of the house, flaming torches in hand. To feed the fire more quickly, they added gasoline, too.

Soon, black smoke began to billow into the sky. It was followed by flames that rose above the palm trees, feasting on what were once her life's possessions. The air echoed with booms and cracks.

When the house was nearly consumed and the inferno began to subside, Ms. Begum slowly walked along the border and fell to her knees, head in her hands.

Tears streamed down her face.

"I have nothing. Not even my rice pot," she said moments later.

As she spoke, ash fluttered out of the sky, remnants of her home landing on her yellow shawl.

Global leaders have condemned the violence gripping Myanmar's western Rakhine state, much of it aimed at the largely Muslim Rohingya minority, which is fleeing in large numbers to Bangladesh.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights - echoed by the UN Secretary-General - called it "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing."

The UN Security Council "expressed concern about reports of excessive violence."

Critics have called for Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the democracy icon and Nobel winner, to be stripped of her peace laureate. And, in Canada, more than 21,000 have signed a petition for Ottawa to revoke the honorary citizenship granted to Ms. Suu Kyi by the previous Conservative government. But the sound and fury from around the world have done little to quell the violence.

The fires inside Myanmar have not died out. Instead, more are being set every day, in a campaign that has now continued for three weeks. Of 471 Rakhine villages selected for "clearance operations" by the military, 176 have been emptied, according to the Myanmar government, which has said it needs to clear out extremists.

But those observing the atrocities from the border have grown bitter about the inability, or unwillingness, of the international community to intervene.

"They are just watching what's happening, collecting data - but doing nothing," said a Bangladeshi border guard in Tombru, where Ms. Begum is now staying with fellow displaced villagers in a small tarp city. "What's the good of all this monitoring if they can't do anything to the Myanmar government to stop this?" he said.

The Globe and Mail is not identifying local border guards, since they are not authorized to speak to the media.

But in more than a dozen interviews on the border with Myanmar, The Globe learned that Myanmar soldiers continue to set fire to Rohingya homes and to attack those attempting to flee.

Numerous plumes of smokes punctuate the horizon; in Ms. Begum's home of Taungpyoletwea alone, escaped villagers said they counted nearly 30 houses torched on Thursday. Footage obtained by The Globe shows land mines installed along the same stretch of border, a threat that will remain well into the future.

The persistent violence is propelling large numbers of Rohingya to join those who have already left. Aid workers are preparing for the number in Bangladesh to keep growing, perhaps reaching as high as one million from estimates of just less than 400,000 today.

It's believed about 1.1 million Rohingya lived in Rakhine state before Muslim militants attacked two dozen police and military outposts on Aug. 25, a co-ordinated assault that, Myanmar's military said, has necessitated a severe response.

Myanmar has barred independent reporting from inside the area.

Large numbers of soldiers continue to patrol Rakhine, said Mohammad Enayatullah, 31, who walked across the border into Bangladesh on Thursday with his cousin, both gleaming with sweat as they carried their elderly uncle slung under a bamboo pole.

The two cousins had already fled Myanmar. But when they returned on Tuesday to retrieve their uncle, they found scenes of devastation.

"If a village had 50 houses, more than 40 have been burned down," Mr. Enayatullah said.

"We saw rivers of blood," his cousin, Abdur Sabur, said. "There are many people dead, bodies in the roads."

The two had been "very scared to go back. But what can we do?

We can't leave our relatives."

Their fears were well-founded.

When they set out with their uncle on Thursday to cross the Naf River back onto Bangladeshi soil, Myanmar soldiers fired three shots at them. The bullets missed.

But others will soon tempt the same fate, Mr. Enayatullah said.

He saw "many people waiting to leave. Five hundred in some places. A thousand in others."

They may be in danger even before they begin their crossing.

On Thursday morning, Myanmar soldiers attacked a group of Rohingya waiting on shore, according to several Bangladeshi border guards.

"They killed many people," one said, citing reports from Rohingya. It was, he said, an "ambush."

Still, people keep coming.

Many hid for days, sometimes weeks, in forests and mountains near their villages after the military initially opened fire on Aug.

25. They waited, hoping to return home - until those homes were lit on fire.

Now their exodus is reinforcing worry that the number of newly arrived Rohingya in Bangladesh, already equal to the population of Halifax, could swell further.

"The number may rise to 600,000, 700,000, even one million if the situation in Myanmar does not improve," Mohammed Abdiker, director of operations and emergencies for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said on Thursday.

Aid agencies have called for an outpouring of international support to help the great droves of Rohingya now clustered in muddy camps and along roadways, swarming trucks where workers toss out clothes, food and cash.

Many have erected bambooframed tents with thin tarp walls as their only shelter. Others are sleeping by roadsides.

Inter Sector Co-ordination Group estimated that $77-million (U.S.) would be needed, but that number was calculated based on helping 300,000 Rohingya until the end of December.

"But as you know, that number keeps growing," said Joseph Tripura, a spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

"We need funding to respond to such a need."

Rohingya leaving Myanmar often arrive in Bangladesh weakened by their journey and in need of food and water. But sanitation and shelter are also urgent requirements, said Peppi Siddiq, a Dhaka-based project manager with the IOM.

In the current environment, "it won't take long for waterborne diseases to start spreading like wildfire," she said.

What's happening in Bangladesh "is unprecedented in terms of the volumes of people coming over in such a short period of time. I don't think we've ever seen something like this before."

The Myanmar government has faulted Rohingya for the violence, saying those fleeing either have ties to a group of extremist militants, or are fleeing the conflict those militants have stoked.

It said 45 places have been burned.

But satellite imagery shows at least 80 major fires in inhabited areas, Amnesty International reported.

The Myanmar government has blamed the militants, a group called the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, for torching homes, and said its security forces have sought to intervene.

But Rohingya say the continuing burning of houses is part of an effort by authorities to ensure that they cannot return. Crops have also been destroyed, they said.

In Tombru, villagers say the military has placed land mines along the border to prevent anyone from coming back. Footage obtained by The Globe from villagers shows two land mines unearthed with long bamboo sticks from the mud along the Myanmar side of the border in the last week, not far from where Ms. Begum's house burned down.

Two other videos show girls being carried away after triggering a land mine. The legs of one are reduced to strings of flesh.

Another video played by a villager shows fresh mud packed near the front entrance of a door to a house. Villagers believe a mine was placed there to keep the owner from returning.

Ms. Begum's house, meanwhile, was so close to the border that there was little doubt she would return. Now it's gone, and with it any certainty about her future.

Besides, she added, the Myanmar military remains on active patrol to ensure she does not have the chance to go back.

Any time soldiers catch sight of a person looking through the border fence at the place that was home until just days ago, "they wave big machetes at us, to show that they would chop us like butchers," she said.

"I can't understand why they are so violent against us."

Associated Graphic

Sakhina Begum witnessed the Myanmar military set her home ablaze with gas.


Smoke from burning Rohingya homes rises into the air in Myanmar, as seen from across the border in Bangladesh, on Thursday.


Abdur Sabur and Mohammad Enayatullah carry their uncle into Bangladesh after picking him up from their village in Myanmar. Soldiers opened fire on them as they crossed the border.


Canadian incomes jump, but not all news is rosy
New census results - the first time income data from the CRA have been linked to all respondents - show that, over the past decade, many saw their earnings rise. But the gains were uneven, with Ontario and Quebec lagging as factory job losses weighed heavily on those regions
Thursday, September 14, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A10

Most Canadians saw their incomes climb over the past decade as the commodities sector boomed, according to new census results, but the rosy picture does not capture the oil downturn and masks weakness in the country's most populous provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

The median income of individuals in Canada rose 12.7 per cent to $34,204 in 2015 from 2005, when adjusted for inflation.

For households, the median income rose 10.8 per cent to $70,336 over the same time period. That is an acceleration from the prior decade's 9.2-per-cent growth and the 1.8-per-cent decline between 1985 and 1995.

However, the gains were uneven. Ontario and Quebec saw the slowest increases, amid steep factory job losses. Meanwhile, the oil producers registered brisk increases - Saskatchewan leading the way with a 36.5-per-cent jump in the median income.

"They are better over all than for the previous two decades for Canada," said Charles Beach, professor emeritus in economics at Queen's University. "The biggest thing that really hit me is the dramatic drop in individual incomes in Ontario," he said.

The census showed the income gap between men and women narrowing over the 10 years. As well, more seniors are living in low income, while the share of young children living in poverty declined.

As a result of these shifts, Ontario's lowincome rate is now close to the national average. The Atlantic provinces still have the highest low-income rates in Canada.

The income data are the fourth tranche of information from the 2016 census after releases this year on population, age, language and living arrangements. It's the first time the agency has linked income data from the Canada Revenue Agency to all census respondents.

Canadians experienced sweeping economic changes in the 10-year period, with a 2008-09 recession followed by a commodities-led recovery and spike in the housing market, especially in urban areas such as Vancouver and Toronto, where average house prices nearly doubled in the decade.

Because the census is based on 2015 incomes, it does not fully take into account the impact of the 2014-16 oil-price drop that slammed resource-dependent provinces such as Alberta and Newfoundland.


The elimination of factory jobs in the manufacturing heartland of Ontario weighed heavily on the province. The median income increased 3.8 per cent - the slowest growth in the country - and workers' earnings actually fell by 2.3 per cent.

"I don't think I have ever seen that before," Prof. Beach said. "It is quite consistent with the huge loss of manufacturing jobs."

Ben Kolkman, a 34-year-old trained gerontologist, is an Ontarian who has not seen his income rise as quickly as the rest of the country. He earns about $2,000 a month at his full-time job as a facilitator at a brain-injury rehabilitation centre in Thunder Bay and recently had to pick up shifts at a local grocery chain.

Mr. Kolkman says he probably could not survive solely on his full-time job. "I have a car and I am still paying down some debt so I guess I could try but it would be hard." He is engaged but lives alone. The bulk of his earnings are used to pay the rent, car insurance, debt repayments, cellphone and other expenses. "I want to get married eventually but there is no opportunity to save," he said.

In areas where manufacturing was a major employer, such as Windsor and Tillsonburg in Ontario, the median income dropped over the decade.

In contrast, the median individual income in Newfoundland and Labrador rose 37 per cent to $31,754 over the same period. In Saskatchewan, it increased 36 per cent to $38,299 and in Alberta it grew 25 per cent to $42,717.

The fastest growth for individuals was in the oil-sands region of Wood Buffalo, Alta., where the median income rose 49 per cent.

Since then, scores of high-paid naturalresources positions have been eliminated.

The census release is notable for what it doesn't contain: the agency compared income trends in 2015 with the 2005 census, skipping over any comparison with the 2011 National Household Survey. That last release on 2011 incomes was controversial as a government-mandated switch to a voluntary survey resulted in lower response rates. Many researchers didn't use the data, citing it as unreliable.

The release also didn't include demographics such as how incomes by ethnicity fared in the 10-year period, how education levels affected income trends or which occupations saw the strongest gains, details which will come later this fall. Nor did it include analysis on income inequality shifts in the past decade, or changes in the income distribution.


Over the 10-year period, the median employment income for women increased by 11.6 per cent compared with 2.2 per cent for men.

This disparity in income growth reflects the shrinking manufacturing sector, which was dominated by men, as well as the increase in women working in health care and education, fields with higher unionization rates.

However, women continued to earn less than men. The median employment income for men was $39,836 in 2015 versus $28,474 for women. The income gap was smaller than in 2005, when the median employment income for men was $38,972 versus $25,507 for women.


Canada's low-income rate was relatively unchanged at 14.2 per cent. The after-tax low-income measure counts a household as low income if it earns less than half of the median of households. As of 2015, the low-income threshold for someone living alone was $22,133.

All told, 4.8 million people in Canada were considered as living in low income in 2015, compared with 4.3 million in 2005.

Though the rate was little changed, the poverty shifted among regions and age groups. More seniors are living in low income, while the share of the youngest children in low-income households fell.

The rate of seniors in low income climbed to 14.5 per cent from 12 per cent a decade ago.

By province, low-income shares fell "sharply" in Newfoundland, as well as in Saskatchewan. In Ontario, it rose to 14.4 per cent from 12.9 per cent.

More details on low-income trends by demographic groups will come in Statscan's November release.


Children represent nearly a quarter of people in low-income in Canada, with 1.2 million kids under the age of 18 living in poorer households in 2015.

Though the share of young kids under the age of 6 in low income has declined amid new benefit policies, overall the poverty rate among children under the age of 18 was virtually unchanged in the decade, at 17 per cent.

"Even with a remarkable commodity boom and phenomenal economic growth in this window ... we're not seeing enough growth in family income to lower childpoverty rates," said Armine Yalnizyan, economist and senior fellow at Massey College.

Among cities, Windsor has the highest rate of children living in low-income households. Nearly one in four kids in the city lived in low income.

By household type, single-mother families have the highest incidence of children in low-income, at 42 per cent. Two-parent families have a lower rate, at 11.2 per cent.

And households with three or more children tend to have higher child-poverty rates.

Tabitha Naismith, a single mom with two girls under the age of 6 says the cost of living in Surrey, B.C., has "skyrocketed."

Ms. Naismith lives on disability payments of $837 and says her monthly payments haven't much changed in the past seven years. She puts a priority on expenditures for her daughters, which means she often goes without new clothes or new shoes, and has had to rely on food banks at times.


Cities within the oil-producing provinces experienced the steepest increase in the number of people earning more than $100,000, which is considered in the top 10 per cent of all income earners.

For example, in Saskatchewan, the number of these high-income earners more than tripled in North Battleford and Yorkton. In Bay Roberts, Nfld., and Okotoks, Alta., the number of individuals earning at least $100,000 nearly tripled.

Toronto and Montreal continued to be the top two locations for high-income earners. But over the 10-year period, Calgary edged Vancouver out of the third spot.

The Liberals came to power in 2015 with promises to bolster the middle class and reduce income inequality. They have introduced a Canada Child Benefit they say will reduce child poverty, and tax cuts aimed at middle-class households. Recently, to the ire of some, the Finance Minister proposed tax changes for private corporations, with the stated purpose of raising revenue from high-income earners. Small business groups say the changes will hurt professionals, like doctors, that incorporate themselves, and family run businesses, such as farms. This week's income release does not detail the degree to which top earners are setting up corporations.

After a Vancouver father faced official sanction for allowing his children to ride the bus without him, Wendy Stueck talks to parents afraid of getting in trouble for trying to raise self-reliant kids
Friday, September 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L1

Tara Gaertner is proud that her kids - a 12-year-old son and a 14-year-old daughter - haven't needed her help to get to school for years.

The family doesn't own a car and has travelled around the city by bike or on transit since the children were babies. By the time the kids were 9 and 11, they were comfortable enough to get to school, five kilometres away, unaccompanied.

So when she heard that a Vancouver father had been ordered to stop allowing his young children to take the bus on their own, she was puzzled - and alarmed.

"I think it is sort of a shame that our society is so protective of children that it deprives them of independence," Gaertner said. "I mean, every child is different - I don't think you can say, 'Oh sure, every kid should take the bus on their own' - but when the parent takes the time to teach the kids to take the bus and there are no problems and somebody decides [that's not allowed] ... that's not appropriate."

Her thoughts on the matter are part of a public discussion that erupted this month after a blog post by Vancouver father Adrian Crook. Crook, who writes about parenting and city life in a blog titled 5 Kids 1 Condo, described being investigated by the provincial Ministry of Children & Family Development (MCFD) after an anonymous complainant raised concerns about his children taking the bus to school on their own. The post struck a nerve, tapping into concerns about parental autonomy, coddled kids and the environmental impacts and safety of parents driving their children to school.

It also raised the question: How old do kids have to be before they can be left on their own?

Crook wrote that he allowed his four oldest children - 7, 8, 9 and 11 - to take the bus from his home in Vancouver to North Vancouver, where they go to school and where their mother lives. He said he spent considerable time easing his children into the independent routine.

The couple is divorced and share custody of the children. The mother did not reply to a request for comment.

The Children's Ministry says it considers several issues when looking into reports that a child has been left unattended, including the child's personal comfort levels, the time of day, how long the child is being left alone and whether there are other children present.

Because of privacy regulations, the ministry won't comment on specific cases.

But in a June 23, 2017, letter to Crook, which he provided to The Globe and Mail, ministry social workers cite "concerns that you were pulling the children's ears and allowing them to take transit unsupervised."

In a follow-up interview, Crook said the ear-pulling concerns barely came up in the investigation and that its main focus appeared to be the children riding the bus on their own. The letter also says there are no child-protection concerns, that the children are "safe in your care" and that his file is closed.

The letter also warns that "should another report of this nature be received, then MCFD may be more intrusive and will be looking at both parents' ability to keep the children safe."

In a separate letter dated Aug. 2 and addressed to the team leader on Crook's case, a ministry lawyer says "only three provinces have established laws around a minimum age at which children can be left alone or in charge of other children. ... Manitoba and New Brunswick state a parent can't leave a child under 12 unattended. Ontario sets the age at 16."

Parents quickly questioned those thresholds, pointing out on social media that the Canadian Red Cross offers babysitting courses for children as young as 11. Others scoffed at the notion that teenagers could not be left on their own.

But those thresholds come with conditions.

In Ontario, for example, the Child and Family Services Act says: "No person having charge of a child less than 16 years of age shall leave the child without making provision for his or her supervision and care that is reasonable in the circumstances."

The act "does not specify an age at which a child can be left alone, recognizing that age alone is not a sufficient safeguard when considering the supervision of children," a Ministry of Children and Youth Services spokesman said in an e-mail.

Similarly, New Brunswick law says anyone who leaves a child under 12 "for an unreasonable length of time without making reasonable provision for the care, supervision and control of the child" commits an offence.

In response to queries about Crook's case, B.C.'s Children's Ministry said "there is no specific age in legislation - federally or provincially - nor is there specific ministerial policy that dictates when a child can be unsupervised." And Allison Bond, B.C.'s deputy minister of children and family development, commented on the case by writing that the ministry "completely supports building independence in kids" and that "children as young as 10, or even younger, may ride the bus alone if they are wellprepared, comfortable and capable of doing so."

But while there may not be written policies, there appear to be unofficial guidelines.

In the June 23 letter to Crook, the ministry social workers go on to say that "until the children are 10 years old, they cannot be unsupervised in the community, at home, or on transit."

And in a 2015 provincial court case involving an eight-year-old boy who was left on his own two hours a day on weekdays, a social worker testified that there was "cross-Canada acceptance of standards that include a consensus that children under 10 should not be left home alone unsupervised." The case resulted in a six-month supervision order.

Wade MacGregor, a Terrace, B.C., lawyer who argued an unsuccessful appeal of the order, says social workers tend to take a blanket approach rather than evaluating each case on its own merits.

"The broader issue, and the one I was urging the court to rule on in the [2015] case, was this totally unofficial policy the ministry has, that no child under the age of 10 can be left unsupervised," MacGregor said. "That policy, such as it is, doesn't exist in any law or any regulation - it doesn't even exist in any written directive. It is simply something the social workers have come to and follow."

As the debate around law and policy rages, parents are left to sort out what Crook's experience may mean for them. (Crook says he is considering a legal challenge.)

In Ottawa, Joana Chelo has been biking with her two children - aged 6 and 3 - in her neighbourhood and talking to other parents about setting up a "bike bus" - a system in which one or two adults on bikes would accompany kids on their own bikes to school, about two kilometres away.

When she saw Crook's blog post, she had second thoughts.

"Honestly, my thoughts were: 'I'm afraid ... somebody will say this is dangerous.' It took away a bit of motivation. But at the same time, I am getting support from the school, the community.

"But it made me fearful," Chelo said.

Such fears can also be part of a culture in which parents are reluctant to let their kids climb, jump or slide.

But those fears are misplaced, says Mariana Brussoni, an injuryprevention researcher and associate professor at the University of British Columbia's School of Population and Public Health.

Injury rates for children in Canada "have never been lower," Brussoni said, citing research that shows steep declines in deaths resulting from burns, choking and suffocation over the past few decades.

The leading cause of death for children under 19 is motor vehicle accidents, she adds.

"Cars are really the leading cause of death," she said. "So you have well-meaning parents wanting to keep their kids safe - who put them in cars, not realizing that's one of the most dangerous things they can do."

And without commenting specifically on Crook's case, Brussoni says society has gone too far in terms of keeping kids safe, arguing that those efforts are having "serious unintentended consequences" in children's health, well-being and development.

But she's encouraged by the uproar that arose over four kids on a bus.

"I hope, in the longer term, it will give momentum to the discussion around risky play and how we talk about it and encourage it," she said. "It really sparked this fundamental outrage that, to me, gives me hope."

Associated Graphic

Eliana Gaertner, 14, centre, and her brother Rowan, 12, wait for the city bus to take them to school in Vancouver.


Adrian Crook's children, seen in 2015, regularly ride the bus alone. An investigation into the independent travel has sparked the question, how old do kids have to be before they can be left on their own?


Blue Jays CEO Shapiro weighs the middle way forward
Friday, September 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

TORONTO -- T here is no hard-and-fast rule about how long it takes transplanted American baseball people to be infected by Canada's outsider angst.

Some never catch it. J.P. Ricciardi ran the Blue Jays for eight years and when he left was still describing Toronto "fans" in air quotes.

But Mark Shapiro's got it now.

"It's embarrassing how few people in the United States know how incredible this city is," the Blue Jays president says.

"I'm resentful of the lack of recognition from [Major League Baseball] at times ... Don't send out e-mails about July 4th Blue Jays gear or the Stars and Stripes. I mean, come on. Recognize and be aware that this is a special situation. This isn't just a team in a different country, but a team representing that country."

Shapiro is sitting in his Rogers Centre office, which is as spare and orderly as an operatory, slapping a table for emphasis.

Given his Ivy League twinset (sweater vest, button-down shirt), linebacker build and MBA patter, everything about Shapiro screams "America." But the Canadas are contagious, especially during late summer when the Jays are tumbling toward the end of a lost season.

Back in May, when everyone was still talking as though the year could be saved (though they knew it was doomed), Shapiro sat in this same office and testily batted questions away.

Asked if the team was balanced (because it isn't), he said, "I don't have to answer that."

Well, if not him, then who?

It was a down time for everyone. After all those wild nights of back-to-back playoff runs, the Blue Jays were waking up face down on the bathroom floor.

That strain showed on Shapiro.

The smile was tighter, the jargon thicker.

That's changed.

As what was likely to happen has become what's happened, Shapiro is more at ease. Perhaps that's because the organization has made its decision - this aging roster will be ridden until the end. All the back-and-forth about blowing up the Blue Jays is - internally, at least - over.

"We have what we think is an objective chance to contend [next season]," Shapiro says, enunciating carefully.

"Admittedly, that's contingent on us staying healthy, which is something we did two years ago and didn't this year."

So there you go - it's ride-or-die baseball for one more season, and then the whole thing begins to come apart on its own.

That will enrage some people.

This sort of course - the middle way, the maybe-things-will-turnout way - led the Jays into two uninterrupted decades of mediocrity.

Given his druthers, Shapiro might choose the other way, the risky way. He's seen how Houston and the Chicago Cubs did it - by tearing out the foundation and rebuilding entirely. If performance were the only consideration, that would be the route to take.

But the Jays are stuck between those models for financial reasons.

The Cubs had a long history of losing while also maintaining massive fan support. They could afford to string out patience on the south side of town for a few years longer.

The Astros arrived at the same solution for the opposite reason - nobody in Houston cared. There was no disadvantage to going several more seasons with a ballpark that would be just as empty.

Though a loser, Toronto is still drawing substantial crowds (fifthmost in baseball) and still has healthy TV numbers (averaging in the neighbourhood of 800,000 viewers a game in the midst of a lost September). The club knows from experience that will evaporate if the team is publicly seen to be giving up. It's a non-starter from ownership's perspective.

While going on about "the incredible passion" of Jays' fans, Shapiro also charts its limits.

"It's not something that's deeply rooted. It's not something that's long term," Shapiro says.

"It's historic, but with a long interval in between (meaning 1994 to 2014). Our job is to give fans something to cheer about. Right now, the easiest thing to cheer about is winning baseball."

So there will be no sell-off or tear-down. Josh Donaldson will not be traded over the winter for prospects nor will any of the other key, young pieces. A few spots will be open - left field and/or right field, the usual toss-up at the end of the starting order. Jose Bautista will be gently released back into the marketplace. Despite his sudden decline this year, Troy Tulowitzki will remain the shortstop.

The news here is that there's no news.

Meanwhile, they'll put their faith in a minor-league system that Shapiro says is now among the top-10 in baseball. The most promising players in it are still teenagers.

At some point, the Jays will have to jump from "win right now" to whatever's coming next.

It's going to be a considerable distance - a couple of depressingly mediocre years at the very least.

But no one in the Jays corner suites is ever going to say the word "rebuild" in front of a microphone. There are many millions of reasons not to.

Give Shapiro this much credit - he is an unapologetic capitalist in a business full of guys who like to talk about doing it all for love while making seven or eight figures.

You've seen what he did with Rogers Centre ticket prices - raised them substantially for next year. That was another thing people didn't like.

"This market was conditioned that prices wouldn't go up if the baseball team didn't win," Shapiro says.

"It created a huge gap in the value of our ticket, which impacts payroll and limits our ability to compete with our competitors."

So are you saying that if prices go up, payroll goes up as well?

Shapiro pauses pregnantly before answering: "No. We raise prices just to maintain payroll."

So, to sum up: Same team. Same investment. No new toys.

The 2018 Toronto Blue Jays aren't a baseball team. They're the Wild Bunch. Twenty-odd guys trying to fight their way out of one last jam.

Because if you think Donaldson, with his 32 years on Earth and his increasingly creaky lower half, is getting a six-year deal in Toronto come the end of next season, I would urge you to think again.

Once Donaldson goes, this golden generation ends and it's on to the next.

Of that younger generation, the leading lights would be two pitchers - Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez - who were once best pals, but have famously fallen out. Is that a problem?

"Guys have to get along," Shapiro says, speaking generally about the idea of clubhouse character. "Sometimes that means they're going to be close friends on and off the field. Sometimes they're going to be productive business associates. The range of relationships that can exist here doesn't have to be everybody being Kumbaya."

What other dreams can Shapiro crush? What about a grass field?

Asked about the oft-raised prospect of converting the turf to a natural surface, Shapiro lists off the problems - no drainage in the dome, the need for a new, translucent roof, Toronto not being Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Then he goes into the usual Henry Fonda-esque "It's POSS-ible", the two words so dear to all chief executives.

Okay, but under what circumstances would you actually do it?

"If we thought [grass] was essential and we couldn't win without it," Shapiro said. "I think we've already shown we can win without it."

Translation: Enjoy the dirt infield because that's as close as this park is ever getting to Fenway.

Shapiro's focus right now is a refurbishment of Rogers Centre - the budget on that has yet to be determined - which will not extend into the human furniture in the clubhouse.

This is the sin-eating phase of a baseball executive's lifespan, the time he has to stand up and take his licks for fielding a loser.

Stretching back to his days in Cleveland, Shapiro has deep experience with that sort of thing.

Does he ever feel the frustration in the fan base?

"My experience in general is that people are always great to your face. Even in Cleveland, at my lowest levels of popularity, when you see people in person, they're great."

Is Toronto any better or worse on that score?

"I'm recognized a lot less than I was in Cleveland - partly because I'm still relatively new; and partly because the city's so big that people aren't that focused on sports and baseball as they were in Cleveland. Which is great."

Shapiro drums the desk as he says it and sweeps his arm out the window at the city and country outside.

"It's more in line with the way life should be."

New co-housing set to sprout in Alberta
Nearly 15 years after the creation of the province's first such multigenerational lifestyle community, two more are in the works
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, September 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page G15

The road to establishing successful co-housing communities can be a long and arduous one, driven by small groups of people passionate about redefining the way they live.

Nearly 15 years after the completion of Alberta's first and only co-housing community, two further developments are finally taking shape.

Leading the way is Urban Green, a community in the works in Old Strathcona, south-central Edmonton. Urban Green is working with Communitas Group, an Edmonton-based project management company that specializes in community development, co-housing and housing co-operatives.

"Co-housing is not a form of tenure or a building type; it's a type of community, a lifestyle," Communitas managing director Lynn Hannley says. "Co-housing communities combine the advantages of private homes with the benefits of more sustainable living, including shared common facilities and ongoing connections with neighbours. They're intentional neighbourhoods, created and managed by residents."

Urban Green has been in the planning stages since January, 2011, with the merger of two groups aiming to form a co-housing community in the city. Currently, the group consists of 10 shareholding members, who have each committed 5 per cent of the down payment for their units.

The finished development will have 26 units, ranging from oneto three-bedroom apartments with roughly one-third for families, one-third for single adults and one-third for seniors. Urban Green will be built on the principles of being a walkable, environmentally friendly and multigenerational community.

The rezoning application was approved in July, which means the group is "finally getting down to the nitty-gritty," founding member Della Dennis says.

"We spent the first few years establishing membership protocols and the values we want in our community," Ms. Dennis explains.

"Then, in 2012, we formed a landsearch committee and in 2013 we bought three houses in Old Strathcona, we added a fourth in 2014. We've been renting the properties since then to pay the mortgage, while trying to find a way to build that works for the site.

"One of the challenges of the infrastructure is that we have to build a non-combustible community because there isn't enough pressure to the fire hydrant. Otherwise, we'd have had to replace the whole water line, which could cost up to a million dollars. That's why we landed on modular steel construction, which will help keep the cost around market value," she says.

Apartments in Urban Green will be prefabricated from shipping containers. The communal building, a larger structure with 11-foot ceilings that will house a shared kitchen and dining space, will be constructed from steel. Team members are working on the final designs, floor plans and unit distribution with their architect.

They'll submit this to the city in October and hope to break ground next year, with move-in by spring of 2019.

Urban Green is trying to attract more members to join their community.

"It's not inexpensive," Ms. Dennis says. "Buying into co-housing, you're paying a premium for 4,000 square feet of common area and, in our case, also green features. The difference is that we're selling it at cost. There's no markup for a developer, so we hope to keep our prices as close to market value as possible."

One-bedroom units in Urban Green are expected to cost up to $300,000, with two-bedroom units at up to $440,000. The capital costs of the communal areas are included in the unit price.

Ms. Dennis, a senior, says one of the challenges in fleshing out Urban Green lies in attracting enough families to create a balanced multigenerational community.

"In the early stages, it's hard for people with young children to dedicate the time to building a co-housing development. Right now, we have four families with young children in our membership, so we have a good mix, but we're keen to attract more."

It's a concern that Mosaic Village, a planned co-housing community in Calgary, is also facing.

Mosaic Village has five equity members, each committing $5,000 toward seed money for the project, plus several associate members. They recently appointed Communitas to support them as they establish membership processes and look for an acre of land for 25 units in the northwest of the city.

"Interest has been pretty good, but there's definitely more interest from seniors than families at this point," says founding member and real estate agent, Wes Morrow. "I think that stems from the fact that people with young families are generally working and raising their kids and it's hard to find the time to commit to a project like this when you're at that stage in life."

Mr. Morrow would know; he and his wife, Lindsey, had their first child in January but, he says, they're more committed than ever to raising their family in a co-housing environment.

"We're living in a suburban community right now where you only see your neighbours over the fence on the way to the garage and you don't see them at all in winter. Everybody's so disconnected from each other and I think that's kind of a sickness in our society," he says.

"With a multigenerational cohousing community, the seniors benefit from the youthful energy of the families and those families grow up with a multitude of grandparents and aunts and uncles. When you've been in the trenches with these people building this thing, there's a trust that develops."

Sarah Arthurs, a resident of Prairie Sky, Alberta's original cohousing community, 18 units of townhouses and apartments built in northeastern Calgary in 2003, agrees that co-housing communities offer benefits across the generational spectrum. "Our family moved here nine years ago, when our kids were 8 and 10, so they've grown up in this environment and they speak very highly of it," she says. "There's not a lot of turnover in Prairie Sky, so we feel very lucky to have had this experience as a family."

Ms. Arthurs is an enthusiastic advocate for co-housing; she was involved in the seeding of Mosaic Village. She says getting foundations in the ground for co-housing communities is a complex process.

"There are so many moving parts to starting a co-housing community," she says. "You have to find people who are willing to take on the challenge and then you have to educate them all the aspects of it. Then there's figuring out how you're going to finance it and the zoning. Then there's creating and agreeing on the design," she says. "And if one of those pieces goes sideways the whole project goes awry. It's almost a miracle that any cohousing community actually makes it into the ground, which is a real shame."

Ms. Arthurs says Prairie Sky receives a couple of inquiries a week from people interested in co-housing. She says there's enough interest in the concept to build more communities, but says there needs to be infrastructure in place to support that transition from interest to action.

"In Denmark, where this model came from, they've created a way to replicate it. They have waiting lists of people interested in different geographic areas, and when they reach a critical mass they begin a process with that group to get a community off the ground," she says. "We need that.

We need builders and developers to help people live in this innovative space and collaborate with co-housing groups in a way that's scalable and replicable so that we're not reinventing the wheel every time."

Ms. Arthurs says collaboration with developers could not only kick start more new co-housing developments, but could also also help existing ones such as Prairie Sky to grow.

"Prairie Sky is primarily townhouses, and some of our residents who were 60 when they moved in are now turning 75. At some point we would like to build more single-level apartment-style units for those residents," she says.

"There's an empty lot next to ours right now and the owner wants to sell it. What would work for us would be to partner with a developer interested in expanding Prairie Sky on one part of the site and building another cohousing development on the other part. I think it would be easy to find 30 families interested in that," Ms. Arthurs adds.

"The hard part is finding a developer interested in investing in innovative new communities."

Associated Graphic

Prairie Sky, Alberta's original co-housing development, is an 18-unit community of townhouses and apartments built in northeastern Calgary in 2003.


Residents lay paving stones in Prairie Sky's community space. The community is looking to grow as residents move into later stages of life.

Thirty years of 'Doot Doola Doot Doo ... Doot Doo'
Nardwuar has become known for his tireless research and willingness to ask questions no one else would think of asking
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L2

Nardwuar the Human Serviette lives up to his name. Not that he's walking around wiping up spills or dabbing at the corners of anyone's mouth, but as his madeup punk-rock name suggests, he is not your typical music journalist (or typical anything, in fact).

Dressed to the nines for an interview in clashing shades of plaid and other patterns - including his signature tartan tam, atop a mess of frizzy hair - Nardwuar has a wide smile and a casual, quirky courage. He overenunciates as he recites bits of oddball trivia stored away in his encyclopedic brain. And he exhibits an almost child-like enthusiasm for CiTR, where he has hosted a radio show since 1987.

"Did you get the logo in there?" he asks The Globe and Mail photographer, wanting to make sure the University of British Columbia radio station gets its due. He also expresses concern about the camera's proximity to his face.

How are "the Nard-teeth" looking, he asks. "Is my hat okay?" This self-consciousness is a bit surprising coming from a guy who displays zero fear when it comes to scoring interviews with celebrities and politicians or asking audacious, often bizarre, questions.

This week, CiTR listeners can hear 20 hours of those interviews, marking the milestone anniversary.

"At first I tried to play records, but it didn't work; it was too much work to listen ahead of time," he says. "So the next week, after playing records, I turned on the mic, I spoke and then 30 years later, here I am."

Nardwuar, 49, has a large, if still somewhat underground, following in music circles, and he has achieved a certain level of fame in Vancouver ("British Columbia, Canada" as he always says). He has posed for countless selfies; kids dress up like him for Halloween. He is also a musician, fronting The Evaporators.

When he was hospitalized with a stroke in late 2015, it made the news and a flock of well-wishers took to Twitter. Ditto when he had PFO closure surgery a few weeks later.

It wasn't the first time he had made headlines. "Nardwuar nails the PM at APEC / Guerrilla interviewer makes pepper spray point" topped one 1997 article after a Nardwuar question elicited Jean Chrétien's infamous "for me, pepper, I put it on my plate" response. And a Nardwuar-generated headline from 1993: "Keep on Rockin', Gorbachev urged."

There is nothing quite like a Nardwuar interview - each of which begins "Who are you?" He often arrives bearing gifts such as obscure old recordings. He brought a vintage Pierre Trudeau paper-doll dress-up book to a Justin Trudeau media conference; he once tried to give Gerald Ford a lucky chestnut. He surprises his subjects by digging up littleknown details about their lives.

He displays no shame and tremendous chutzpah, asking questions others would not think - or dare - to ask.

"When was the first time you did coke?" he once asked Corey Feldman. "When is the last time Noel or Liam punched you," he inquired of Paul Gallagher, brother to the Oasis bandmates. "What do mics smell like?" he asked Ed Sheeran. And to Mikhail Gorbachev: Of all the political figures the former Soviet leader had encountered, "who has the largest pants?" Responses range from "This is already my favourite interview I've ever done" (Aziz Ansari) to "You're a funny cat" (James Brown) to things we can't print in the newspaper. He's been tossed out of Lollapalooza (on his birthday); he's had pizza shoved into his camera lens. Quiet Riot was once so angry about an interview, he says, that they destroyed the tape. Another metal band, Skid Row, chucked his previous trademark hat - a pom-pom tuque, which had been a gift from his godmother. (He replaced it with the pom-pom tam - a gift from his mother.)

Then again, Pharrell Williams was so impressed, he hired Nardwuar to create content for his YouTube channel.

He inevitably invites politicians to join him in the potentially awkward "Hip Flip." Working in tandem, they try to swing a bellringing doo-dad 360 degrees; it's attached to a bar that attaches to each participant's waist. Former prime minister Paul Martin was the first to give it a shot.

He titles his interviews Nardwuar "vs." his subject, not because the encounters are adversarial, but because back when he was dubbing tapes and handwriting labels, "vs." was shorter to write than "interviews."

When he wanted to interview Seth Rogen, Nardwuar didn't contact a publicist; he sent a Twitter message to Rogen, who follows him - and agreed. "Was the Penthouse in Vancouver the first strip club that you went to?" Nardwuar asked the comedian. It was.

"People ask me, 'What is success for an interview?' " Nardwuar tells The Globe. "Success for me for an interview was after my interview was published to YouTube, was the Penthouse putting up a sign that says 'Seth Rogen drinks for free' on the actual marquee."

Born John Ruskin in 1968, Nardwuar attended Hillside High School in West Vancouver. His mother, Olga Ruskin, was a journalist with an interest in local history; she had a cable-access TV show called Our Pioneers and Neighbours.

"She taught me that everybody has a story," says Nardwuar, who titled his first record Oh God, My Mom's on Channel 10! (It was a compilation LP with tracks from several bands, including The Evaporators, as well as Nardwuar interview clips.)

In a 1988 high school film clip, he is asked whether he has any idea what he's going to do after university. "Well, my parents have an idea. My dad would like me to be an engineer ... but I don't think I'll be an engineer."

The clip is on his phone, along with all kinds of archival photos and video: Nardwuar trying to interview Ringo Starr; backstage with Drew Barrymore and Courtney Love at Lollapalooza; being interviewed in 1993 by Ralph Benmergui on Benmergui's CBC TV show. There's also material from his former gig as a MuchMusic interviewer.

How does he have the nerve to ask those in-your-face questions, I want to know.

"I'm always shaking. I'm scared.

And that's what keeps me going.

If you don't feel scaredness, what's the point of doing it? It's good to feel scared. I'm scared talking to you."

He also says it comes with the territory.

"The minute you realize that you are going to get destroyed is kind of liberating," he says. "If you don't want to get destroyed, don't become members of the media."

When the tables are turned, and he is the one being interviewed, he is exceedingly chatty. During our afternoon together, he barely stops talking. His voice is highpitched, almost whiny. Like an annoying little brother who won't leave you alone, but is laugh-outloud entertaining.

Every now and then he'll pause and offer a signature pose, his fingers pointed toward you or the camera as he lights up with a big smile, on cue.

What I can't figure out is - is this all an act? How much is this a persona? And is he ever not on? I ask what he's like at home or when he's out for dinner with friends.

"I love information, I love stories," he answers. "I would love to hear your stories, Marsha. I do love cheese."

Dream interviewees are Barack Obama (he tried) and Donald Trump; he regrets not coming to Trump's 2013 Vancouver news conference. So he was delighted that short-lived White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was following him on Twitter. "I thought the Mooch was gonna be my hook-up."

Another regret: his inability to secure an interview with Stephen Harper. He was offered one in 2004 - with the caveat that Harper would not do the Hip Flip.

Nardwuar said no and never got another shot.

"I made a mistake. I should have said, 'Okay, sure, I will talk to him' - and then pulled out the Hip Flip. But I was stupid," he says.

"So I make mistakes all the time. And what's why I'm still doing it," he continues. "The minute I learn everything is the minute I should quit."

Nardwuar's CiTR interview marathon runs from 9 p.m. PT on Sept. 21 until 5 p.m. PT on Sept. 22. A 30-year anniversary celebration with the Evaporators is at the Hall at 1739 Venables St. in Vancouver on Sept.

23. And the Evaporators perform at the Drake Underground in Toronto on Dec. 14 and 15.

Associated Graphic

Nardwuar the Human Serviette, seen in Vancouver on Aug. 25, is known for giving his interview subjects unique gifts such as obscure old recordings.


The imperious one heads for an exit
Jose Bautista's time with the Blue Jays has run its course, Cathal Kelly writes. The most arrogant athlete the city has seen in a long time, the slugger is no stranger to criticism and was at the core of some of the team's most memorable seasons in recent history. At the end of a difficult season, he is likely to depart - bloodied but unbowed.
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

TORONTO -- When Jose Bautista was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in August, 2008, the move went largely unnoticed. Nobody spoke to him when he arrived. Nobody asked the general manager what he could do or why he'd wanted him.

At that moment, Bautista was neither young (27) nor accomplished. The Pittsburgh Pirates had been so anxious to be rid of him they hadn't bothered to decide on the player they wanted in exchange. They just wanted his salary off the books.

On the night of the trade, Bautista e-mailed a Pittsburgh reporter.

"It feels good to go somewhere you're wanted," he wrote. "I think this change will be good for my career."

That doesn't sound like the Bautista we grew to know. Our Bautista was never doubtful or needy. He was the opposite of those things. He was the most imperious athlete Toronto has seen in a quarter-century.

Bautista had his weaknesses - vainglory, a tendency to overplay his hand - but they were all extensions of a towering selfbelief that was his greatest strength.

Even now that he's on his way out, Bautista remains unbowed.

He's leaving Toronto the same way he came in - with an "I'll show you" sneer.

It ends this way for every player - a lost step, a little hitch in the swing that can't be massaged out - but it has seemed especially cruel watching Bautista decline this year. The organization's renaissance was built on his back. Almost alone, he turned Toronto into a baseball town again. He deserved a better exit.

The Silver Sluggers and all-star appearances were the least of it.

Over his decade here, Bautista came to symbolize the city's smouldering outsider resentment.

Not so long ago, when Toronto was the world capital of losing, Bautista was the one person in a uniform who carried himself like a winner.

He was the guy everyone had been wrong about. His career as a Blue Jay was an ongoing rebuke to all the people who thought he wasn't good enough to play baseball.

It was a long list. Bautista was only able to secure a college scholarship by compiling, editing and mass-mailing his own highlight reel. He was selected 599th in the draft. Twenty-seven of the 29 other players taken in his round did not play a single game in the majors.

Before being dumped in Toronto, Bautista was picked up and ditched by a half-dozen teams. Everyone was looking at the mechanics when they should have been looking at the man. That must be the explanation for why so many smart baseball people misjudged him so badly.

Once Bautista became one of the three or four best hitters in the game, people got interested.

A lot of them.

Most guys would have soaked up the attention as their due.

They would have eased up, grown an amiable personality.

That's how it works in a clubhouse - the king has his courtiers. The more kingly, the more courtiers.

Bautista had very few. He liked to keep things businesslike. He didn't just talk to anyone who wandered up. He preferred that you make an appointment. He'd argue pedantically about the way things were worded. If you tried repeating back to him what he'd just said for clarity, he'd say, "Those are your words. I didn't say that."

Even though he just had.

If you wrote something he didn't like, he'd make sure you knew it. This is how my picture once ended up on a lockerroom bulletin board with an "X" drawn through it. You had to admire the guy's consistency - if you took a poke at him, he'd poke back. Harder.

Even in front of a camera, Bautista often couldn't hide his disdain. He'd stand there, expressionless, enduring an interview even if the whole point of it was detailing how amazing he was. Few great players have ever seemed to enjoy the adulation less.

The undercurrent in all of his professional dealings was, "Where were you when nobody wanted me?" You were either with him or against him. And he didn't really give a damn if you were with him.

Maybe that was the secret - Bautista never got comfortable.

With any of it.

He didn't play baseball for money or glory (or, at least, not just for those things). He did it to prove something. There was no better audience for that sort of player than Toronto.

Back in the late aughties, people were looking for a reason to care about a dreary, charismafree ball team. Bautista was their one-man rationale. He would not submit to the club's history of mediocrity. He was the rising tide that floated all boats - and we're not just talking about baseball. If Toronto gave Bautista a chance, he gave the city back an identity. It was a more than fair bargain.

Outside Canada, baseball people eventually grew tired of trying to turn Bautista into one of the sport's promo-ready grinners. Bautista would not grin on command. If he wouldn't be the genial hero everyone expected him to be, they'd cast him as the villain instead.

He argued too much, they'd say. He made a show of himself.

He broke the code. Baseball pros are leery of taking their grievances outside the fraternity, but with Bautista you could fill your boots. He was Major League Baseball's designated target of derision.

That didn't seem to bother him, either. Wasn't it just another example of everyone getting him wrong? As the image took hold in the popular mind - "the most hated man in baseball" - Bautista grew quieter and more intractable.

After that, people left him alone - which may have been the whole point. If he cared to send any messages, he'd telegraph them from the batter's box.

That's the lens through which the bat flip should be viewed. It wasn't aimed at the crowd, or his teammates, or the Texas Rangers, or MLB writ large. It was a message to everybody. To every person who'd ever told him he didn't have it.

We didn't realize then that that home run was the capstone of Bautista's career. Like some Zen master, 30 years of toil had resulted in one perfect moment.

Having achieved it, Bautista began slowly falling back to Earth.

It's nothing to be sad about.

Few others get the same chance.

Far fewer, still, follow through on it.

Bautista got to define the parameters of his legacy in a way that encapsulated his essence - one guy, standing alone, doing what they told him he couldn't and then letting them all know he'd done it.

Unlike any pro athlete I've ever known, Bautista was his own creation. No more gifted than anyone else, no harder working. What he had was an uncompromising will to succeed. Had he chosen to become an academic, a businessman or a carpenter, he would've been the best at that, too. He had the indefinable thing that makes certain people want it - any sort of "it" - more than the rest of us. If that ate at him, it also drove him.

There's a story passed around on press row - one that may even be true - that on a hot day during Jays spring training someone forgot to bring paper cups for the water jugs. When Bautista complained, a teammate pointed out a nearby fountain. Bautista turned on him and said, "Have you ever seen a thoroughbred drink out of a trough?" The story is endlessly retold because it is so perfectly Bautista. He was the guy who needed everything done the right way.

He held himself to that standard and expected everyone around him - the team, the organization, its fans, even the country he played in - to do the same.

I suppose it's possible that at some point better players than Jose Bautista will put on the Blue Jays jersey, but I have a hard time believing any one of them will come close to matching his titanic resolve.

Associated Graphic

Few athletes get the chance to live in the moment Jose Bautista was lucky to inhabit after driving in a three-run homer against the Rangers in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS. In that moment, Bautista got to define the parameters of his legacy - one guy, standing alone, doing what they told him he couldn't and then letting them all know he'd done it.


Business taxes: It's time for a big overhaul
The Liberal plan to tweak the system, while well-intended, will just make an already complex system even more complex
Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B8

The near hysterical debate over the small-business taxation demonstrates a simple truth: Canada's tax system has become mind-numbingly complicated.

Maybe, just maybe, it's time to consider more-complete reform.

The current system is plagued by huge differences in how different types of income are taxed. It's riddled with complexities and inequities. Taken together, those problems are driving the current rush among Canada's big earners to incorporate themselves.

Ottawa is absolutely right to take issue with this trend. Among other absurdities, the current rules allow the owner of an incorporated small business to pay substantially less tax than the owner of an identical small business that isn't incorporated, even though both earn the same amount of money.

This is not the way taxation is supposed to work in Canada. You shouldn't get a big reward from the taxman simply for doing the same thing but inside a different economic wrapper.

But the government's attempts to crack down are ham-handed.

And that reflects how difficult it is to tinker with a system that has grown into a labyrinth designed to discourage anyone except the bravest tax accountant.

Consider, for instance, income sprinkling - the entirely legal practice in which the owner of a Canadian-controlled private corporation passes on income to other adult family members by paying them dividends. If those other family members don't have much in the way of earnings - if they're university students or a stay-at-home spouse, for example - they pay very little tax on the money they receive.

Ottawa wants to rein in the practice, most notably by looking at whether the amount received is reasonable compensation for what the family member has contributed to the business. But determining what constitutes reasonable compensation would pose endless problems, observes Kevyn Nightingale, a partner at the accounting firm MNP LLP.

What would happen, for instance, if a woman comes up with a brilliant idea for a business, her sister executes it, while a brother figures out how to make the product substantially more efficient? Or if parents lend their tech-genius kid a vital few thousand dollars that enables him to start a company that unexpectedly turns into a huge success?

Making the problem even worse is that the whole point of income sprinkling is to spread out earnings to low-income, lightly taxed family members.

This means the amounts involved typically aren't huge.

"How does one reasonably determine that a person's contributions are worth $30,000, $40,000 or $50,000?" Mr. Nightingale asks.

The questions become even more complex in the case of Ottawa's two other proposed reforms. Government wants to reduce the incentive to use private corporations as tax-sheltered piggy banks for large amounts of passive investments that aren't directly tied up in running a business. In addition, it aims to make it tougher for the owner of a private corporation to enjoy a lower tax rate simply by converting regular income into capital gains.

Both proposals are eminently reasonable in concept, but they come with enough ambiguities to fuel years of debate and litigation. "This is adding a huge amount of complexity onto a system that is already complex," Jack Mintz of the University of Calgary told a conference this week.

What's the payoff for all that angst? The government says it does not know the exact figure.

But the impact on federal revenue is likely to be small; the income-sprinkling measure, for example, is expected to yield only $250-million. Stacked up against Ottawa's $315-billion annual budget, the potential rewards seem inconsequential to many analysts. "These proposals involve a great deal of added complexity and uncertainty for a small gain in equity and revenue," Mr. Nightingale says.

Others disagree. Kevin Milligan of the University of British Columbia argues that it's important for the tax system to maintain neutrality - in other words, for government not to push people to package their economic activities into different shapes simply as a way of avoiding tax.

Prof. Milligan and others point out that the private-company structure delivers the greatest benefit to high earners. It deviates from the guiding principle that people who earn the same amount should pay the same amount of tax. Left unchecked, the current trend toward incorporation risks creating a two-tiered system - a flexible, low-tax one for people who can take advantage of incorporation and a much sterner, higher tax one for those who can't.

But all of that brings us back to the case for wider reform.

At the moment, Canadian-controlled private corporations pay a special, low rate of tax on their first $500,000 in active business income thanks to what is known as the Small Business Deduction.

This results in an effective combined federal-provincial tax rate of 10.5 per cent to 18.5 per cent - which just happens to be the lowest such rate in the Group of 7.

Other business income is taxed at a general rate that is much more onerous - 26 per cent to 31 per cent. But even that looks like a mad bargain next to personal tax rates. Levies on the biggest earners have surged in recent years and top marginal rates now nudge 54 per cent in Ontario and several other provinces.

Given this pyramid of pain, there has been a growing and overwhelming motivation for people to arrange their affairs so that as much income as possible is taxed at the small-business rate rather than at the personal rate. This has resulted in a boom in incorporation - and also increasing concern that the growing swarm of private corporations are being used primarily as tax shelters rather than for their intended purpose of providing an effective vehicle for a growing business.

An ideal system would simplify the tax code and remove the need for elaborate manoeuvres designed to shuffle dollars from one income bucket to another.

Most importantly, it would provide incentives for companies to grow.

The boldest idea would be to abolish the small-business deduction. Having only a single corporate tax rate with no preferential rate for smaller enterprises might infuriate Canada's smallbusiness lobby, but it would go a long away to simplifying Canada's byzantine tax structure.

It would also remove a dis.

incentive to growth. At the moment, companies that are nudging up against the $500,000 income limit have a strong motivation to split into smaller units to avoid paying a higher tax rate. This can result in a proliferation of small companies that are too tiny to ever achieve economies of scale. They're primarily tax shelters rather than growth vehicles.

A move to a single corporate tax rate could be sweetened by reducing personal or corporate tax rates. The small-business deduction now costs the government $4.1-billion a year. Eliminating it would give Ottawa room to bring down rates elsewhere or to introduce incentives aimed at small companies that are actually expanding.

To be sure, moving to a single tax rate for all corporations may be a fantasy in the current political climate. Dr. Milligan argues that, for now, policy makers have to focus on making the current proposals work by finding ways to reduce their administrative burden.

He suggests balancing the reforms with measures that would do more for companies that actually want to grow. For instance, firms could be allowed to immediately expense a certain amount of capital investment annually rather than deferring the depreciation deductions.

"This gives an advantage to smaller firms, and the advantage is directly targeted where we want it: incentives to grow investment," he said.

For his part, Dr. Mintz believes several alternative policies would have been preferable to Ottawa's current proposals. For instance, he would have favoured moving to a single corporate tax rate, such as Britain introduced in 2015. But he argues that even more sweeping changes are needed to address issues ranging from double taxation of savings to how the tax system handles risk. "These reform proposals should have been put in the context of major reform," he told the Calgary conference.

Exactly. The most positive thing to emerge from the current firefight would be a commitment to a wider rethinking of a system that has grown too messy, too complex, for anyone's comfort.

Associated Graphic

As part of tax changes spearheaded by Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Ottawa has set its sights on income sprinkling - the practice in which the owner of a Canadian-controlled private corporation passes on income to other adult family members by paying them dividends.


Ready to make history
Next month, a Canadian academic journeyman will assume his role as the first non-British leader of the University of Cambridge
Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A16

Stephen Toope arrives at a Toronto café on a late summer day dressed in a blue golf shirt, casual pants and carrying a briefcase. He settles into a seat at a table and presents himself in a manner that suggests Mr. Dressup: kindly, earnest and a bit nerdy in his round glasses; the sort of man one can easily imagine wearing a bow tie.

Next month, he officially takes up his post as the first non-British leader of the University of Cambridge at a time when the venerable institution is facing considerable challenges posed by the country's decision to leave the European Union. In fact, the Brexit referendum in 2016 happened in the middle of the interview process for the job. The new political reality adds considerable challenges to the kind of administrative role he once suggested he would not want again.

In 2013, when he stepped down as president and vice-chancellor of the University of British Columbia, he described administrative responsibilities as "relentless," saying he wanted to focus more on areas of professional and academic interests such as human rights and international law. The next year, he became director of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, a place he says he loved because of its multidisciplinary academic approach and the opportunity he had to "have my voice back" on international relations.

Still, nothing seems out of the question for Mr. Toope, who left the Munk School to take up the job at Cambridge after three years of a five-year contract. He's at the top of his game at 59, a leading academic leader and thinker who is in high demand. Headhunters seem to have him on their speed dials.

"I wouldn't have considered another Canadian university and I think I can say with real sincerity that there is almost no other job I would have considered as a chancellor or president. Even the great American schools would not have had the same cachet," he says, explaining that "right now I find the American political climate extraordinarily unattractive." He will admit only that "I have been approached by a couple of [American] institutions historically. I won't say who."

When the Cambridge job came up through a headhunter "in all seriousness, my heart sank a little bit because I did think, 'Oh gosh, how can I say I am not interested in this job? It is a wonderful, wonderful university.' " Mr. Toope earned a doctorate from Cambridge in 1987 following two law degrees from McGill University and an undergraduate degree from Harvard University.

There's a bit of the gosh and golly about Mr. Toope, who talks of the academic life as "unbelievably privileged" and offers sentences that are as sensible and comforting as toast. It is not surprising the former president of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, an independent, non-partisan charitable organzation, has been asked several times to run for the Liberals at the federal level.

"It is a complicated time in the U.K., politically and economically," he acknowledges, "but what I can say is that Cambridge is 800 years old and has lived through the Glorious Revolution [of 16881689]; it has lived through World Wars; lots of challenges; and I am sure we will manage to make its way forward on this set of challenges."

Among challenges such as increased barriers to recruiting talented EU staff and reduced European mobility for faculty and students, the University of Cambridge faces potential funding issues. In a wobbly economy, government coffers may dwindle and there's uncertainty about the future of European research grants, which total roughly 50million ($72.8-million).

But that doesn't seem to cloud his chirpy demeanour. All universities face funding issues for a variety of reasons, he points out.

Besides, his successful fundraising campaign at UBC, which surpassed its $1.5-billion goal, was "an interesting intellectual pursuit," he explains, as enthusiastically as a first-year undergraduate. "You're not selling yourself and you're not selling the institution. You're not selling at all. You're hoping to connect someone's desire to make a difference in the world with work that's being done in that university that can actually accomplish that."

Part of his enjoyment in his work comes from being a pragmatist, he says. His participation with the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances was meaningful because, "it is literally trying to find disappeared people by negotiating with governments." That stint, from 2002 to 2007, led to an invitation to be independent fact finder for the federal O'Connor Inquiry into the torture in Syria of Canadian Maher Arar - a realworld chance to examine the lofty ideal of truth.

He interviewed Mr. Arar and others to corroborate his testimony. "And I came to the very firm decision that he was telling the truth," Mr. Toope says unequivocally.

His new job at Cambridge comes with an annual salary of £335,000 (about $550,000) as well as accommodation in a £4.5-million house there. He and his wife, Paula Rosen, a speech pathologist, have sold their house in Toronto's Annex neighbourhood and are planning to buy one in London. Their three children are grown up, so it's an empty-nester adventure of sorts.

Asked about why he thinks Cambridge University chose him, he says, "There seems to be a little bit of a sense that after Brexit it might be a good thing to appoint someone who would be, in a sense, emblematic of not little England or a narrowing of the viewpoint, but a re-commitment to a broad perspective."

Did he encounter any British snobbery about a leader from "the colonies"? "Not a scintilla, even though I somewhat expected to." And does he feel any regret over stepping away from discussing Canada's role amidst worldwide political upheaval and uncertainty? "Yes, I am somewhat sad because I think it is a remarkable time for Canada," he offers.

But then, in the next sentence, he does his lawyerly thing by expressing an alternate side of an argument."But Cambridge is a global institution and I think that helps me feel that I am not abandoning the Canadian dynamic."

He walks thoughtfully through the world in his conservative shoes, processing everything, one careful footstep after the other.

The contemporary dissatisfaction with religious and political entities makes universities "more important than they have ever been because they're one of the remaining stabilizing institutional forces in society," he muses at one point.

He is both fatherly and professorial, like a dad at a family dinner table who wants to know what you think and is happy to offer his two cents.

His approachability makes it easier toward the end of the interview to ask if he would mind talking about the harrowing personal tragedy in 1997 when both of his parents were murdered by three youths during a break-in to their Montreal home.

"Not at all," he says kindly, leaning forward a bit, his hands on the table, as he waits politely to be served the questions.

"It was horrible at the time," he replies. "But I really felt strongly that I didn't want my parents' lives to be defined by what happened to them." His father was an Anglican minister; his mother, a housewife. Both Mr. Toope and his only sibling, a younger sister, were adopted. "They made great contributions to small communities and churches where they had been over the years. They were very kind and decent people, and I wanted that to be what was remembered."

He was dean of McGill Law School at the time and purposefully refrained from making any public statements about the murders. "I felt it would be an abuse of the position," he states flatly.

He also didn't want to portray himself as a victim. "I didn't want my parents' murder to define me."

Even then, in his 30s, his unflappable rationality prevailed. The senseless murders "didn't change my worldview," he insists after I wonder how they could not have.

"I am basically a very optimistic person. I do think there are people and activities that end up being fairly described as evil.

[But] if you think there can be things that can be evil, that doesn't mean that it is easily defined or everywhere."

A calm sentence for the ages, that last one, perfect for a troubling world.

Associated Graphic

Stephen Toope talks about academic life as 'unbelievably privileged.'


Steps to reduce Giller Prize submissions may be the most controversial change in award's history
Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

This past February, Hazel Millar, co-publisher of the Toronto independent press BookThug, submitted a novel to be considered for this year's Scotiabank Giller Prize. Not long afterward, she received an e-mail from the prize submissions manager, alerting her that this would be BookThug's sole entry for the year.

Confused, for she'd always entered more than one book in past years, she read the prize guidelines, which confirmed that the number of entries per publisher had indeed been reduced, and that BookThug, an unabashedly experimental press that has never placed a title on the short or long list, was now restricted to one submission.

"I just had a moment of disbelief," says Millar, who as a result of the change delayed publishing a novel she intended to submit for this year's prize so that it will be eligible for next year.

"I've had to now go back and look at the books we have scheduled for the next couple of years and start to think, 'Oh my gosh, what will that one [entry] be?' It's very tricky, because every author asks up front, 'You will submit my book for the Giller, right?' " Since the Giller Prize was established in 1994, there have been several rule changes, or tweaks, to what has become Canada's most prestigious literary award; 2008, for instance, saw the addition of the first international juror, while in 2015, the jury was expanded from three to five people.

This most recent change, however, might prove to be the most impactful.

It has frustrated publishers, some of whom worry it will mean an uneven playing field for presses who have never been nominated, even if many in the industry agree with prize organizers that such a change was necessary.

"The success of our books has become more prizedependent, and what's why, I think, we've become much more anxious about what is probably still a very reasonable constraint, even if not a popular one," says Dan Wells, publisher of Windsor's Biblioasis.

It's a change that organizers have been considering "for a number of years," says the prize's executive director Elana Rabinovitch, owing to a dramatic increase in the number of submissions. In the Giller's first few years, the number of submissions ranged between approximately 60 and 80 titles.

But in the past decade alone, the number of entries has almost doubled, from 95 in 2008 to 161 last year. (The highest number of entries is 168 books, which the jury had to read in 2015.)

This was not only problematic for the jurors, who have roughly six months to read all the entries, but off-putting to potential jurors, as well.

"I was hearing from a lot of people that it was onerous, and that they might otherwise have said yes if it wasn't that many books," Rabinovitch says.

Several steps have been taken to reduce the overall number of submissions, the most notable of which was to restrict the number of submissions per imprint, and to reward those publishers who've enjoyed past Giller success. Each publisher is now allowed to submit two titles per imprint - down from three - but only if they've had a book reach the long or short list in a previous year.

If a publisher has never had a title make the lists, such as BookThug, they are limited to one entry. (For comparison, the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize allows between two and five titles per imprint, depending on how many books they publish, whereas the GovernorGeneral's Literary Award allows publishers to submit all eligible titles.)

Furthermore, publishers can no longer create new imprints in order to increase the number of books they can submit to the Giller; any imprints created after 2016 will now count toward the publisher's total. Finally, books by authors who had previously won the Governor-General's Literary Award, which used to be automatically entered, now count toward a publisher's total, as well. (New books by previous Giller Prize winners are still given a free pass.)

"Everything about the process of cutting down on the number of submissions was painful," Rabinovitch says. "None of it felt good, but all of it was necessary."

The rule changes had the desired effect on this year's prize, the long list of which will be announced on Monday; the jury considered 112 books, 49 fewer titles than last year, yet still the seventh-highest number of titles in prize history.

Rabinovitch acknowledges that, when the rule changes were posted to the Giller website, she "did hear from publishers who were, understandably, a little concerned."

"I understand judges feeling overwhelmed by the number of submissions, but I think that allowing only one or two submissions per publisher is insufficient," says Brian Lam, publisher of Vancouver's Arsenal Pulp Press. "I'm sure a lot of worthy titles won't get a shot as a result."

"We publish only four or five fiction titles per year, so it's very difficult to narrow that down, knowing how devastated authors will be if they're not submitted," says Alana Wilcox, editor of Toronto's Coach House Books, which published André Alexis's Giller-winning novel Fifteen Dogs in 2015. "It means we have to exclude, say, our translated titles because they probably have less of a chance."

"It's very frustrating," says Simon Dardick, co-publisher of Montreal's Véhicule Press.

"We could live with choosing two, but choosing one is difficult and uncomfortable. What do you tell the author? I think it is a regrettable decision because now, bottom line, it means that the Giller Prize does not represent the best of Canadian fiction, just the best of the reduced number they are willing to consider. And that disappoints me."

The new rules don't just affect smaller publishers; multinationals such as Penguin Random House and HarperCollins saw their submissions reduced, as well. For example, Simon & Schuster Canada, which only launched its Canadian fiction program two years ago, is limited to just one entry.

"Does it affect us and our number of submissions? Yeah, it does, absolutely," says the publisher's editorial director, Nita Pronovost. "But that just means we have to strategize very carefully about which books we send."

Publishers have always strategized before submitting; while the spotlight is on the long and short lists, for a book to even appear on a juror's doorstep is an accomplishment in and of itself.

In some respects, there's a Giller Prize before the Giller Prize ever begins, with shadow juries comprised of editors and publishers looking at the books they've published over the past year in order to identify those that have the best shot at the $100,000 prize.

Strategies differ depending on who you talk to; some handicap the jury, submitting books they think will appeal to a juror's particular literary sensibilities; some play with the calendar, preferring to publish certain books earlier in the year so that the jury has more time to read and consider them; some avoid submitting books that are similar, in style, theme or substance, to recent winners. It remains to be seen if and how the rule changes will change the makeup of the long and short lists.

"I would be concerned that, over time, it might result in a certain conservatism to the books that are submitted for consideration," says Susanne Alexander, publisher of Fredericton's Goose Lane Editions.

"The Giller actually has been notable for having outliers on the list. It interests me to know whether in fact publishers will take the chance of actually submitting the outliers or whether they will just, because they're so limited in their choices, make much more conservative selections."

Rabinovitch, for her part, doesn't think it will have that kind of an affect; after all, she says, the jury is still allowed to call in any book not submitted by its publisher.

"We're pretty on top of what's being published," she says. "We like to think that we won't miss anything."

Associated Graphic

A change to the Giller Prize rules dictates that each publisher may submit two titles per imprint - down from three - but only if they've had a book reach the long or short list in a previous year.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017


A Saturday Arts story on the Giller Prize incorrectly said Simon & Schuster's fiction program is two years old. It was actually established four years ago.

A soldier's path from golf course to battlefield and back again
For William Werth, golf and military life were tests of 'mental fortitude' - but overcoming injuries sustained in Afghanistan was the biggest feat of endurance. Blind in one eye and left with a traumatic brain injury, he is one of Canada's many wounded warriors competing at the Invictus Games this week. Eric Andrew-Gee tells his story
Friday, September 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A10

Not many nine-year-old boys enjoy watching golf on TV. William Werth was different.

"Some might consider it boring," he says. Not him.

Soon he began to play, buying his first clubs at a yard sale, a "cheap little $5 set," in which "the woods were really made of wood."

Mr. Werth grew up in Waterloo, Ont., and was hardly the country-club type - his mother ran a home daycare, his father was a millwright - but he took to the sport eagerly. He liked the challenge of it: the extreme difficulty of plunking a little ball into a little hole hundreds of yards away.

His other obsessions were more commonplace for little boys: hockey and the military. But if few of the world's countless young GI Joes actually enlist, Mr. Werth was different again.

At 16, he joined the Army Reserve, and two years later became a full-time soldier.

As with golf, the army seemed like a challenge - one that tests your "mental fortitude," Mr. Werth, 27, says. Especially his chosen unit, 2 Combat Engineer Regiment. And especially in 2006, with Canada at war in Afghanistan.

Typically, engineers are the "Swiss Army knife of the military," Mr. Werth says - able to fight but also trained in more technical fields.

In Afghanistan, where he was soon deployed, that often meant one thing: finding and neutralizing improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the makeshift mines and roadside bombs that killed or wounded scores of Canadian soldiers in the conflict.

Mr. Werth arrived in Afghanistan in May, 2010, at the start of the summer fighting season. He was deployed in Panjwayi District, Kandahar, "out in the thick of it."

He had been told by returning soldiers to brace himself. He had trained with inert ammunition for years. But he could scarcely have been prepared for the real thing.

The real thing did not take long to make an appearance. On Mr. Werth's first foot patrol, he came across a weapons cache, the entrance to which was protected by two IEDs.

"I remember this like it was yesterday," he says.

To take out an IED, combat engineers use a mine detector to locate the device, then approach it on their stomachs and begin prodding into the ground with a bayonet or something similar, even using paint brushes to skim away loose dirt, "like an archaeologist."

With radio permission to go ahead, one common technique is to lay a block of C4 plastic explosive next to the IED and detonate it from a safe distance.

This is what Mr. Werth did. Which is about when the ambush started.

Taliban fighters had come to protect their weapons. The firefight blazed for five or 10 minutes before U.S. helicopters ended it. The day's geyser of adrenalin was a hint of things to come. "It was a good reminder of where you are and what you're there to do," Mr. Werth says.

Over the next several weeks, on morning and afternoon patrols through the area's grape rows and mud compounds, "we were getting into firefights almost daily; we were finding IEDs almost daily," Mr. Werth says. "The area we were in just happened to be very active and very hot."

Canadian casualties were heavy. A mentor of his, Sergeant James MacNeil, was killed by an IED in June. On Mr. Werth's first patrol after seeing Sgt.

MacNeil's body off from Kandahar Airfield, his infantry section commander stepped on an IED and was thrown over a wall. Mr. Werth took shrapnel to the left side of his body and face.

His memories from that point on are hazy, but he recalls a few things: walking onto the medivac under his own strength, thinking he would fall out of the helicopter as it banked in defensive manoeuvres, scissors coming toward his body at Kandahar Airfield and finally waking up at a hospital in Germany.

Still on a breathing tube and badly disoriented, he felt panic. At the time, Mr. Werth had no memory of what had happened. In the German hospital bed, he could only regain his bearings by looking at his limbs and realizing he had them all.

One aspect of his confusion was the soreness in his face. A nurse brought him a mirror. She said it was fine, that they could fix it. But his face looked so swollen that Mr. Werth instantly thought, "You can't fix it."

He was in Germany for a couple of weeks, then spent another week or two at Sunnybrook hospital in Toronto, then was transferred to his parents' house in Waterloo, where a nurse would come twice a day to change the dressings.

His face healed up well in the end, but Mr. Werth was left blind in his left eye, with a traumatic brain injury that affected his memory, chronic back pain and tinnitus.

He coped with the help of family - he and his fiancée were married about a year after the blast; they now have two children - and an uncannily upbeat attitude. "It's one of those things that kind of makes up who I am," he says. "There's no point in getting yourself down, because you've got a long life to live and now's the time to buck up and make the best of a not-so-good situation."

Sports helped him do that. He started playing hockey with a group called Soldier On that helps veterans transition into civilian life. And after a long hiatus while he served, Mr. Werth took up golf again. It was hard at first, with only one good eye.

But he adjusted. "It's not as difficult as you might think," he insists.

Now he is so used to the trick of monocular golf that he challenges his friends to play with an eye covered and "absolutely destroys" them, he says with a laugh. His golf handicap is about 10 or 12, better than the average amateur player (although it has shaded up to 15 lately).

This will be his first time competing in the Invictus Games for Team Canada. Places on the team are assigned not just according to ability, but through a written application that asks questions about what the athletes hope to take from the experience. Fielding the best possible team is not "what the Games are about," Mr. Werth says. "It's more about the journey."

He says he encourages other ill and injured veterans to seek out opportunities to recover through sports as he has. "Sport is very good for recovery because it's challenging both physically and mentally," he says. "It gets you out of your comfort zone and tests your limits."

His journey out of military life has been smoother than some. After getting a college degree in software engineering, he landed a job at a medical-cannabis farm in Kitchener, Ont., not far from his home in Plattsville. He does not use the stuff himself, but has seen it loosen the grip of opioids on the lives of fellow wounded veterans. The misery of so many who have returned from war has helped him maintain perspective about civilian life.

Having been in the military is not his be all and end all, Mr. Werth says. "I think it's important to understand it's not the end."

Associated Graphic

William Werth credits sports for easing his transition from military duty, and the injuries he sustained while serving in Afghanistan, to civilian life. After an IED exploded near him while his infantry section was on patrol, leaving him with a traumatic brain injury and partial blindless, Mr. Werth depended on family and sports to recuperate. The challenges posed by playing hockey, and later golf, were instrumental in Mr. Werth's recovery and paved the way for his participation in the Invictus Games later this month. Mr. Werth will be representing Canada along with a number of other former members of the Armed Forces, seen above with Governor-General David Johnston and his wife, Sharon, Chief of the Defence Staff Jonathan Vance, bottom left, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities Kent Hehr, in white shirt, Minister of Veterans Affairs Seamus O'Regan, in third row, and Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan, top right, during a welcoming ceremony at Rideau Hall on Wednesday.


How to improve your hiring process
A structured system focused on your company's needs and culture will generate better results than interviews based on 'feel'
Friday, September 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B11

Managing director of technology and co-founder of Flipp, a leading consumer marketplace reinventing weekly shopping

In the past few months, Flipp has grown from 275 team members in our Toronto headquarters to 375; 150 are in our engineering team.

We've seen this rate of hiring and growth for more than a couple of years now and we're still looking to hire high-quality team members that fit with our culture.

We've had to get more rigorous with our recruiting and interview processes. I'm very familiar with former Apple Inc. chief executive Steve Jobs's thoughts on A players, and how A players want to work with others like themselves.

Former Apple team member Guy Kawasaki, who'd worked with Mr. Jobs on the Macintosh computer line, paraphrased it like this: "Steve Jobs has a saying that A players hire A players; B players hire C players; and C players hire D players. It doesn't take long to get to Z players. This trickle-down effect causes bozo explosions in companies."

The idea is clear: One of the keys to a great team, and culture, is to maintain the quality of people you bring on board. Hiring one wrong person is not just one bad hire - they can be highly detrimental for the team. They might not work well with the team culturally, or they might lack the competencies we need and need too much handholding. These types of hires will actually repel the kind of team members we want to retain and attract.

We set out to identify great team members before we hired them, which means the interview process is critical.

The first interviews When we started Flipp in 2007, our interview process was based on "feel." We knew we had to build out the engineering team.

We had a general idea of the questions and a general idea of the roles we were looking to hire for.

But our criteria wasn't very clearly defined and hiring often hinged on whether we "liked" the candidate or not.

As you can tell, the process wasn't very organized at the beginning, and it led to some poor hiring decisions. We quickly implemented more structure and started reinventing the process.

When we hired somebody and it didn't work out, we would circle back with each other and attempt to figure out why.

For example, if we realized they didn't fit Flipp's culture, we would ask ourselves why and create a set of questions to cover the culture areas we'd missed in earlier interviews.

Eventually, we developed a standardized structure - we knew that a software engineer would need to know certain specific languages (such as Ruby on Rails).

We would ask a coding question and ask about their work experience.

We would create more behaviour-centric culture questions and specific technical questions.

We got better at planning and articulating what we wanted in each of the roles.

All of these incremental changes made our interview process improve gradually, but everything changed in 2015, when we started ratcheting up our hiring, shortly before our funding round.

What changed?

Two years ago, I watched co-founder Matt Mickiewicz speak at a conference about how frustrated he was with traditional recruiters, and the challenge of finding good talent.

He pointed out how references only had a moderate correlation with a successful hire and how sample work was one of the most important factors.

When Mr. Mickiewicz mentioned Who: The A Method for Hiring, I had to get the book and figure out how to apply it to our process. That dramatically changed how we approached interviews and our success rates for hiring.

The current interview process Before we look to hire for any role, we now define what we're looking for very clearly. We're crystal clear with the outcomes we want for this new team member and understand the competencies we're looking for that will set them up for success.

We define outcomes like this: "If an outstanding performer (top 10 per cent of possible candidates) were to join, what would they accomplish at the end of one month? Of three months?" Through the interview, we're assessing how likely it is for each candidate to achieve those onemonth and three-month objectives, and grading them. They get an A if we're at least 90-per-cent confident they will achieve these outcomes that only the top-10 per cent of possible candidates could achieve. They get a B if we're 70per-cent to 89-per-cent sure they will achieve the outcomes and a C if we don't think they will achieve them. If we grade the candidate a C for any of the competencies, we do not hire them. And we generally look for people with more A grades than Bs.

In addition to this grading system, we also shifted our interview questions from hypothetical scenarios ("What would you do if ... ?") to more evidence-based questions ("Tell me about a time you did this ... ").

Going from hypothetical to evidence-based questions sounds simple, but it was one of our greatest challenges. It's easy to ask hypotheticals; it's hard to ask about what the candidate actually did.

Instead, with our current process, we ask them, "What mistake did you make at a past job? How did you handle it?" This requires a very real answer that shows actual behaviour.

While the initial evidence-based question sets the stage, we've trained our interviewers to dig deeper. If we start off in a direction with, "Tell me about the conflict you had ... " we might follow up with, "What did you try first to solve it?" and then, "Did you get to your resolution?" Our whole interview process now has three rounds, based on "the A Method": 6 Top-grading: What you've done This is a comprehensive round exploring work history and what the candidate has done. This could be an article on its own - and there's plenty of reading out there on how to conduct good top-grading interviews. Two of our team members interview one candidate.

Focus: What you can do This interview stage focuses on what the candidate is capable of.

We'll provide a take-home question to design something, or ask pointed questions describing a system the candidate has designed and challenges they've faced. Remember, sample work is important to evaluate a potential hire properly. Similar to the topgrading round, we have two of our team members interview one candidate.

Culture: Who you are Typically, someone from the executive team leads this final round of interviews, which explores who the candidate is.

The goal of this round is to also make sure, in the best interests of the candidate, that they understand the culture and what they're getting into.

Throughout each stage of the interview process, we keep our eyes peeled for three traits we look for in team members: humble, hungry and highly intelligent.

We also look to see if they share our values: always reinvent, be team first and coach others.

We also look for two competencies throughout: communication and business acumen. Communication is crucial for cohesive teamwork and this is a pretty standard competency for teams to look for.

Ideally, we want the engineering team to be able to make good decisions autonomously. If engineers do not understand the business reasons for why we're doing something, they rely on somebody else's decision-making and thinking. This makes smaller decisions a lot more difficult than they should be and decreases our agility and speed.

More important, understanding our business will enable engineers to identify new opportunities that technology can create.

Final thoughts Interviewing is a relatively simple process, but it's not easy. That's why so few companies get it right.

And while we've had some degree of success in creating and refining our interview process, we're certainly not patting ourselves on the back just yet - it's important for us to continue evolving and getting better with our interviews.

Interviewing and successfully hiring are crucial for maintaining your team's and company's culture and momentum.

Executives, educators and human resources experts contribute to the ongoing Leadership Lab series. Find more stories at

Associated Graphic


As attacks on expression intensify online and at university campuses, Marcus Gee visits the one place where anyone can still say anything
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page F3

. LONDON -- It's a typically offensive Sunday at Speakers' Corner. People are exercising their right to free speech, and they are not holding back.

A burly Christian preacher tells a group of young Muslims gathered around him that Islam is the demon's creed and "you have the spirit of Satan living in you."

A Muslim preacher insists that Jesus was a fake, just one of many quack prophets who claimed to be virgin-born.

An atheist heckler tells a Catholic: "The Pope ain't gonna help you. He's too busy counting his money and smoking his dope."

A men's-rights activist says feminism is a hoax, women's shelters get too much money and women are every bit as violent as men.

Then there is the campaigner against male circumcision who says that the ancient practice is barbaric, illegal and, in his experience, unnecessary. "It doesn't take me one second more in the shower to clean myself," he helpfully offers.

You can hear this sort of talk every Sunday at Speakers' Corner, a spot in the northeast corner of London's Hyde Park that has been a haven for free speech since Victorian times.

Over the years it has come to stand for the idea that citizens of democratic societies should have the maximum possible latitude to speak their minds, even if what is on their minds is nonsense; that no speech, however deplorable, should be beyond the pale; that countries that value their liberties must tolerate those who voice even the most offensive opinions.

That idea is under heavy attack these days. Modern activists often try to silence speakers they consider repugnant. They argue that free speech is being used as a smokescreen for hate and that allowing offensive speech exposes marginalized groups to intolerable and harmful prejudice.

Speech itself, they say, is sometimes violence.

Universities routinely suppress speech that might offend. Only a few weeks ago, citing safety concerns, Toronto's Ryerson University even cancelled a panel discussion called "The Stifling of Free Speech on University Campuses." It would have featured, among others, controversial University of Toronto psychology professor Dr. Jordan Peterson.

Calls for a crackdown on offensive or bigoted speech have grown louder since the events last month in Charlottesville, Va., where a white nationalist rally ended in violence. In the opinion section of this paper, University of Toronto professor Mark Kingwell went as far as to argue that it might be time for new "curbs" on free speech.

"We already, in this country, ban hateful speech. Let's go farther and insist on discourse rules, limits on public outrage and aggressively regulated social media." How exactly the authorities would limit public outrage he did not say.

Speakers' Corner stands as a noisy counterpoint to arguments like that. The rule here is: Let it rip. You can open your mouth and say whatever you want about anything you wish - any group, nationality or religion; any government, government leader or system of government. Listeners can argue back, jeer or turn away in disgust or indifference.

The one thing they can't do is stop you from talking.

In an odd way, it works. Despite all the wounding words being hurled around, all the slurs and shouts and insults, the scene seems remarkably free of threat or rancour. The young Muslims argue toe to toe with the ranting Christian preacher, telling him that he is all wrong about Islam and that theirs is a religion of peace. They look more excited than angry. One smiles a happywarrior smile as he speaks.

Here and there, actual conversations break out. When one speaker insists that all politics are about race, a fresh-faced young man, who happens to be white, counters that when dealing with others he, at least, tries not to think about race. "Ah, you try!" says the skeptical speaker, who happens to be brown. Onlookers burst into laughter.

The passing public takes it all in stride. Picnickers lounge on the grass, oblivious to the hubbub on the pathway where speakers hold forth. Joggers in fluorescent running shoes weave through the crowd. A pair of young women in headscarves look on curiously while eating strawberries from a cardboard cup.

The Speakers' Corner tradition grew out of a 19th-century campaign by the Reform League. The group held giant rallies calling for a broadening of the right to vote, which was limited to a propertied minority at the time. In 1867, 150,000 protesters marched to Hyde Park after the government banned league members from meeting there. Eventually, the authorities backed down on such restrictions, and the Parks Regulation Act of 1872 established the right to gather and talk freely at Speakers' Corner.

Ever since, this spot in Hyde Park has been a place of open protest and free, often freaky, expression. George Orwell called it "one of the minor wonders of the world." In various visits there he heard "Indian nationalists, temperance reformers, Communists, Trotskyists, the Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB), the Catholic Evidence Society, freethinkers, vegetarians, Mormons, the Salvation Army, the Church Army, and a large variety of plain lunatics."

Lenin, Marx and Orwell himself all spoke at Speakers' Corner. So did William Morris, the artist, designer and early socialist, and Marcus Garvey, the Jamaicanborn black nationalist. Suffragettes campaigned there to secure the vote for women. Hundreds of thousands of protesters converged there in 2003 to rally against the coming war in Iraq.

The tradition is so entrenched that when authorities, worried about safety, recently tried to ban speakers from climbing up on step ladders to address the crowds, there was an immediate outcry. The ladders are back.

Britain's Lord Justice Stephen Sedley cited the spirit of Speakers' Corner when he famously ruled that: "Free speech includes not only the inoffensive but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative provided it does not tend to provoke violence. Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having."

What is offensive is after all a matter of opinion, and authorities armed with a gag can easily slap it on legitimate critics or dissenters.

Most truths began as heresy. As that scalpel-penned heretic H.L Mencken put it: The liberation of the human mind has always depended on those "who heaved dead cats into sanctuaries and then went roistering down the highways of the world."

Speakers' Corner is the citadel of rude, roistering dissent. It provides an outlet for discontents that might otherwise erupt in violence. It protects unpopular opinions that might otherwise be quashed by the majority. That protection is ultimately most valuable to minorities.

Societies evolve through the combat of ideas. It's best to let the ugly ideas take the field, then slay them where they stand.

Jonathan Rauch, an American author, notes that when crusaders against gay rights such as Jerry Falwell and Anita Bryant began spewing their rubbish, it roused gay Americans to speak up, fight back and challenge the straight world to examine its views. In a free society, he wrote in Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought, "the only legitimate way to decide who is right is through open-ended public checking of each by each, through criticism and questioning."

In a crude way, that is what is happening every Sunday at Speakers' Corner. What is said there would never pass for highminded debate. Some Londoners complain the corner has become little more than a cheap tourist attraction hijacked by religious nuts, like the cowboy preacher who enjoys yelling "Yee haw!"

But its very existence through the decades is a waving flag. It fortifies the rebels, non-conformists and oddballs who challenge received wisdoms and keep the powerful honest. If haters get their say, too, it's a price well worth paying. We can deplore them, confront them, counter them, mock them, ignore them, but we must let them speak.

Marcus Gee is a columnist for The Globe and Mail.

Associated Graphic


Since it was officially established in 1872, Speakers' Corner has drawn in such notable speakers as Marx, Lenin and George Orwell. More recently, in 2010, musician and left-wing activist Billy Bragg, below, used the spot to make a protest speech against 'excessive' bonuses for officials at the Royal Bank of Scotland.


The best, worst and most awkward moments of TIFF 2017
Friday, September 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R5

Although there are still plenty of TIFF screenings this weekend, most of the international press and high-wattage celebrities have left town and King Street is back to its usual tourist-trap self.

But before we bid adieu to the festival for another year, The Globe and Mail's arts team presents the best, worst and most awkward moments of TIFF 2017.



Watching a screening of Faces Places, a documentary from the octogenarian Agnès Varda, I was expecting some gentle, latecareer travelogue as the filmmaker trips around France with the artist and photographer JR, taking shots of the people they meet, enlarging them to giant size and plastering them on buildings. But mild anticipation gave way to a complete coup de coeur as I watched. The film cleverly teases out themes of self, work and death as Varda and JR ply their magic trade as storytellers and image makers everywhere from a goat farm to the port of Le Havre.


Are all single mothers really this dumb, I wondered as TIFF began to compile the evidence against them. I spotted the stereotypical motif - stories about endangered youth triggered by inattentive mothers - watching A Worthy Companion, in which a lonely teenage girl is seduced by an emotionally unstable woman. It didn't seem to have occurred to the hard and distant parent in that film that she might discuss living arrangements with her teen before selling the house and moving in with her new boyfriend. Pyewacket also features another dim mother, a widow who moves her grieving teen out to an isolated cabin in the woods where the girl, now separated from her friends, concocts an occult revenge on the mother. It's a horror movie - no witless mom, no plot. Even otherwise solid films, including the Chinese neo-noir Angels Wear White and the Moroccan societal portrait Razzia, featured divorced mothers too busy chatting with their lovers to pay attention to unhappy girls who were getting into trouble. Apparently the current cinema has very little confidence in contemporary families.



Michael Shannon has an intimidating image, he being gaunt and towering with a postapocalyptic gaze and an in-his-own-world groove. A colleague told me he'd heard the actor, at TIFF for The Shape of Water and The Current War, was a "tough interview." He was not. He sat on a couch in the lotus position - of course he did - and we spoke about his folk-rock band, Corporal. After the interview, he saw me in the hall. "So you listened to the song Folklore," he said, pleased and surprised.

When I said I'd listened to the whole album, he replied, "Wow, the whole thing. The whole kit and caboodle, as they say in the provinces." Then he shuffled into an elevator and asked me, without making eye contact, if I was going down. I stupidly said I wasn't. Who wouldn't want to go down with Michael Shannon?

Most awkward

I love Alan Zweig's new documentary, There Is a House Here, but was worried about speaking with him about it because I had ruthlessly panned his previous film, Hope.

And I knew he knew that. Meeting him, I started things off on the wrong foot by praising him as the "Michael Moore of the North." He mentioned my review of Hope in passing, and dismissed it with no rancour: "It's okay, we don't need to talk about that." A gentleman, then. What could have been awkward was not, because of his best efforts and despite my worst.



The Fox Searchlight party on Sunday night at the Four Seasons Centre was one of those headwhipping affairs: Is that Emma Stone talking to Rachel Weisz?

Did Sarah Silverman just walk by?

Hey, Guillermo del Toro, Octavia Spencer and Michael Shannon are here. But the woman I made a beeline to talk to stood off to the side, in just a small knot of admirers: Billie Jean King. I was a kid when she competed in the Battle of the Sexes in 1973, but I remember it vividly, and I'm proud to say it shaped my "screw you, of course she can" world view. I asked her how she felt, now that she was a hero again to a new generation of young women. "I can't really process it," she said.

"But it's about perseverance." We agreed that, maybe, if you stick around long enough, your story can come back around and shape a few more world views. If you believe that art can lead to change, this might be how it starts.



On Tuesday, someone spilled a coffee on a table in the press lounge and, after some initial hesitation, I launched into action, snatching napkins and mopping up. A few others even joined me. I felt compelled to do this after seeing The Square, which is all about bystander apathy and how responsibility (and even decency) become diffused in larger crowds.

Who says you can't learn lessons from the movies? Not me! Not anymore. I am now a Good Person worthy of your esteem, worship, People's Choice Awards etc.


As of this writing, I have not yet managed to see Manhunt, the new film by John Woo, which I've heard described, promisingly, as the "Woo-iest Woo that ever Wooed." I have also, less promisingly, heard it described as possibly the last film that the 71-yearold legend of Hong Kong cinema will ever make. Chalk this up to film-festival rumour and speculation, but the word is that Woo didn't make it to TIFF because he is very ill. As the director of two of my favourite action films of all time (Hard Boiled and Face/Off), and as an artist who revolutionized the genre, losing Woo would feel major. It's a reminder of how, at a festival of red carpets and parties and master classes and extensive celebrity photo galleries, some stars are more conspicuous by their absence.

Most awkward It was tricky to know when to laugh and when to squint scornfully during the barrages of racist and ostensibly "offensive" jokes being hurled in Joseph Kahn's rap-battle satire Bodied. But, as I was so often reminded, that's "the point." Yawn! .



I caught myself a few times this festival - during Sean Baker's The Florida Project and Chloe Zhao's

The Rider - staring in awe at the movie screen. Mouth open, eyes wide. Those moments were reminders of what cinema, at its best, can do.



RBC House's cast cocktails for Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool was also attended by Elvis Costello, who wrote its original song.

Kudos to the DJ who got the party going with Pump It Up.



Watching Grace Jones swan into a very small party given in her honour ahead of the premiere of director Sophie Fiennes's documentary Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami was quite the sight. The near-70-year-old's entrance was pure theatre - her bearing was almost aristocratic, with an arched back that kept her face at a distance from those she greeted, and an extended velvet-gloved hand grasping a glass of Champagne that she used to navigate the room. Oh, and of course the outfit, all Issey Miyake, with shoes by the great Tunisian designer Azzedine Alaïa, who confected some of her more iconic hooded looks during her heyday. The following evening, at another small soirée given for André Leon Talley, following the premiere of his doc, The Gospel According to André, I regaled the guest of honour over dinner with my observations about Jones, a friend of his - he was spot-on in likening her bearing to that of the divine Marlene Dietrich's.


I've got little time for this whole celebrity-hiding-in-the-corner business at postpremiere parties.

Either walk around and greet those guests who have come to fête you - or stay home!



Reciting Canadian Heritage Minutes by heart with Ellen Page during our conversation about The Cured.


Realizing there are millions of people who have no idea what a Heritage Minute is.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How Germany's right-wing AfD party emerged from the sidelines
Thursday, September 21, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A1

BERLIN -- Christian Von Hoffmeister rarely voted in German elections because he felt no party was sympathetic to his views that Muslims were incapable of integrating into society. That changed a couple of years ago when the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party quickly evolved from a Euroskeptic party of minor appeal to the voice of the anti-immigrant right.

Suddenly, Mr. Von Hoffmeister, 44, who works in Internet marketing in Berlin, was presented with a party he could support. He intends to vote for AfD in Sunday's federal election and expects it to place as high as third, behind Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling conservatives (the CDU/CSU bloc) and the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), led by Martin Schulz, former president of the European Parliament.

In a parliament dominated by two big, centrist parties, it appears that a significant minority of conservative Germans, disappointed by the expansive mushy middle, are embracing a right-wing, Germany-first party that promotes nationalism, Euroskepticism and anti-immigrant policies.

AfD's possibly strong presence in the Bundestag will challenge Ms. Merkel's liberal order, filling the traditionally sober chamber with angry and caustic debates.

"We needed a right-wing party here," Mr. Von Hoffmeister said.

"We have so many people who don't belong here. ... There is no country anywhere in the world where Muslim migration has been a success. If the AfD is the No. 3 party, it will be hard for Germany to open the immigration gates."

His prediction that the AfD will place as high as third is not farfetched. The latest polls put the party at 10 per cent to 12 per cent, a significant improvement from the 7-per-cent level recorded in August. AfD is on course to win 50 or more seats in the 630seat Bundestag, making it the first right-wing party since the 1950s to sit in the German parliament.

Most Germans are appalled the AfD, which was initially written off as an historic blip, will win so much support on Sunday, possibly beating established small parties such as the Greens and the Free Democratic Party (FDP), both of which are possible coalition members in Ms. Merkel's new government, assuming she wins a fourth term.

"I am astonished that this much of the population will accept these thinly disguised fascists," says Olaf Gersemann, business editor of the German national newspaper Die Welt.

AfD has had a short, traumatic life beset with infighting and policy-direction squabbles that could have left it for dead at any point but never quite did. How did it go from a reasonable Euroskeptic party to a right-wing anti-immigrant party prone to outrageous, racist outbursts?

In short, it was Ms. Merkel's decision in 2015 to open Germany's borders to refugees, mostly from Syria and Afghanistan. "It's our damn duty to help refugees," she said as almost a million migrants crossed Germany's borders, triggering fears among many Germans of an endless, uncontrollable flow of migrants that could overwhelm the resources of governments, security forces and public-health agencies.

AfD was formed in the fall of 2013 by Bernd Lucke, an economics professor at Hamburg University, and several like-minded colleagues who thought the bailout of Greece was a flagrant violation of European Union laws, which said that no EU member state has to pay for the debts of another. At the time, Ms. Merkel argued there was "no alternative" to the Greek bailout. Mr Lucke said there was and created Alternative for Germany to prove it.

The fledgling party failed to make the 5-per-cent threshold cut in the 2013 German federal election, but didn't sit on the sidelines for long. A year later, as its popularity was trending up, it took 7 per cent of the German vote in the European Parliament elections and sent seven MEPs to Brussels.

At the time, the AfD was a genuine Euroskeptic party but also appealed to voters who thought Ms. Merkel had steered her conservative political machine too far to the left as she tried to solidify her support by occupying the middle ground. A book on the AfD by journalist Melanie Amann noted that AfD supporters reflected a broad range of German society - men and women, the rich and the poor, professionals and the unskilled.

But the party also appealed to nationalists, who began to infiltrate its ranks. In the AfD's party conference in 2015, Mr. Lucke and his moderate forces were ousted.

In came Frauke Petry, now 42, a German chemistry graduate who describes herself as a national conservative but holds some decidedly far-right views. She is anti-Muslim, wants to ban minarets and, near the height of the refugee crisis, condoned the use of "firearms if necessary" to "prevent illegal border crossings."

Under her leadership, the AfD enjoyed a popularity surge as hundreds of thousands of migrants streamed into Germany in the last half of 2015 and into early 2016. The party's rise was fuelled by security fears brought about by reports of migrant attacks against Germans, notably the sexual assaults on dozens of women by men of North African origin on Dec. 31, 2015, in Cologne. A year later, when an asylum seeker from Tunisia killed 12 people by driving a truck through a Berlin Christmas market, AfD's ratings climbed again.

At its height, AfD was polling at about 16 per cent. "A lot of people were afraid of uncontrolled migration and abuse of the asylum system," says Hugh Bronson, the German-British politician who was elected last year to the state parliament of Berlin (Berlin is a city state) as an AfD member.

"This immigration put enormous strain on local communities."

Then, AfD support began to crumble as quickly as it rose.

Sensing that the anti-immigrant right was stealing her thunder, Ms. Merkel tightened up asylum rules. The number of refugee arrivals plummeted and the crisis began to fade. About the same time, Bjorn Hocke, one of the highest-profile AfD firebrands, alienated many supporters, including Ms. Petry herself, when he stepped firmly into anti-Semitic territory. In a January speech referring to the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, he said "we Germans are the only people in the world who have planted a memorial of shame in the heart of their capital."

That outburst, combined with more internal squabbling, sent AfD's ratings tumbling down.

They're rising again, in part, it appears, because Ms. Merkel's middle-of-the-road conservatives are likely to win a fourth term, creating space for a right-wing party. "The system has made room for conservative voters who were left behind," Mr. Bronson said.

Now that it's virtually assured that AfD will make it into the Bundestag, the question is: How will its presence change the debate in Europe's largest and most liberal economy?

Christian Odendahl, chief economist of the Centre for European Reform, thinks the party will be mostly ignored and could vanish, as Germany's little social liberal Pirate Party did. "The CDU and SPD are embedded in the centre and will not tolerate a party to their right," he says. "They will work to neutralize the AfD."

Others aren't so sure.

Denis MacShane, a former Labour Party MP in Britain who was minister for state for Europe, says fringe parties can sometimes have enormous influence, as the UK Independence Party (UKIP) did in Britain. Under Nigel Farage, UKIP (which has no seats in Parliament and 20 MEPs in the European Parliament) became Britain's leading Euroskeptic voice and probably swung the 2016 referendum in favour of Brexit, shattering the integrity of the EU.

Mr. Bronson, the Berlin state AfD parliamentarian, says he has no doubt that AfD will change the culture in the Bundestag, making its parliamentarians take immigration and security matters more seriously. The AfD will be hard to ignore if it becomes the third party, making it, in effect, the opposition.

Mr. Gersemann, the Die Welt business editor, agrees. "No one saw a party like AfD coming," he says. "They're coming."

Associated Graphic

Election posters in Frankfurt, Germany, show Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and her challenger Martin Schulz from the Social Democratic Party. The country's federal election will be held on Sunday.


Why Merkel's CDU is winning the youth vote
Despite traditionally leaning toward the centre-left SPD, young voters are increasingly looking to their Mutti in the next election
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page A13

BERLIN -- The youth office in the headquarters of the Social Democratic Party in central Berlin - known as Willy Brandt Haus, after the late SPD chancellor and Nobel Peace Prize winner - was not a happy place in the week before Germany's federal election.

With its bright colours, funky furniture and airy ceilings, the office seemed the perfect spot for a postelection celebration. But there will likely be no wild party after the polls close on Sunday.

That's because every poll says that chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) will win the election by a wide margin. And every poll says she will handily win the most votes among 18- to 24-yearolds. They are the coveted youth vote - every federal election brings in roughly three million new voters.

Sitting in the virtually empty office, Leonard Von Galen, the SPD's international youth secretary, and Benjamin Koester, the youth arm's press officer, knew that it was pretty much game over. The most recent polls found that 57 per cent of first-time voters prefer Ms. Merkel as chancellor, compared with a mere 21 per cent for SPD Leader Martin Schulz, the former president of the European Union.

"For many first-time voters, Angela Merkel is familiar," says Mr. Von Galen, noting that most of them were just children when she won her first term as Chancellor in 2005. "They don't know how anyone else could be chancellor. She's like the mother of the state."

Mr. Koester admits that the strong German economy, where unemployment is at record lows, is working against the SPD. "The situation is just too good to start a revolution," he says.

Indeed, Germany's youth seem a largely content lot, especially in Western Germany, which is wealthier than the former, Communist-controlled eastern part of the country. Getting a first-time job in Germany is a relatively easy affair, which is one reason why most migrants make the country their destination of choice.

According to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development figures, only 10.8 per cent of young people (20-24) in Germany were classified as NEETs - not in employment, education or training - well less than the OECD and European Union average (in France, the figure is more than 20 per cent; in Italy, more than 30 per cent). In 2005, the year Ms. Merkel first became Chancellor, Germany's NEET reading was 18.7 per cent.

Germany's youth voters are something of an anomaly in the EU, where young voters seem to be rebelling against the established or governing parties. There is no doubt that Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of Britain's Labour Party, owes his political life to the youth vote. In the June snap election, the youth-vote turnout was unusually high and 60 per cent of it went for Labour. The Labour surge cost Prime Minister Theresa May her Conservative majority in Parliament.

In the spring French election, Emmanuel Macron, the political newcomer who created the centrist En Marche! party, won more than 50 per cent of the vote in every age category, including young voters. The traditional parties - the then-ruling Socialists and the Republicans - were eliminated in the election's first round. In Italy, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, led by the firebrand comedian Beppe Grillo, is stealing votes from the mainstream centre-right and centre-left parties that have ruled Italy almost without interruption since the Second World War. A recent report by London analyst Antonio Guglielmi of Mediobanca Securities said that nearly 50 per cent of the 18-24 age group supports Five Star (the Italian election will happen no later than next spring).

Traditionally, Germany's conservatives, represented by the CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, have not been big hits among young voters. They tended to gravitate toward the social democrats - the SPD - and the Greens. But that changed in the past election, in 2013, when the CDU came on strong among young voters. In that election, the party got 25.1 per cent of the youth vote, marginally ahead of the 24.5 per cent who endorsed the SPD, as young people enjoyed the spoils of the booming, postcrisis German economy. The Green party placed a respectable third, at 11.9 per cent, among young voters.

If the recent polls are right, Ms. Merkel and her CDU will blow the SPD out of the water on the youth-vote front in this election.

Ms. Merkel, 63, is seeking her fourth term. She is as familiar as an old sweater and widely known as Mutti - Mommy - among all classes of voters. Why do the kinder like her so much other than the economy has been good to them? While there is no doubt she represents stability in the era of Donald Trump and Brexit, her refugee policy seems the biggest part of her attraction.

Berlin's Humboldt University, one of Germany's oldest and most famous liberal arts and humanities schools, could not be called a conservative bastion; anything but. In the past, it's a safe bet to say that its students voted en masse for the SPD or the Green parties. A few would have supported Die Linke - The Left - the remnant of the old East German communist party, which took 8.6 per cent of the total vote in the 2013 election.

At Humboldt's cafeteria, random conversations with students certainly left the impression that the SPD or the Greens were still fairly popular, but more than a few of them were backing Ms.

Merkel. Antonia Papenheim, 29, a PhD candidate in law who is from Dusseldorf, says she likes Ms. Merkel because she is not an ideologue, instead seeking practical compromises. "She's very good at negotiating," she says.

"She's very pragmatic about things, and she's trustworthy."

Her stand on same-sex marriage also appealed to her and to young voters in general, Ms. Papenheim says. Ms. Merkel called for an open vote in parliament on samesex marriage. While she herself voted against it (pleasing her conservative base), the vote went in favour of gay unions (pleasing social progressives).

But she admires Ms. Merkel most for her refugee policy. In the fall of 2015, Ms. Merkel opened Germany's borders to almost one million refugees, mostly from Syria and Afghanistan. Many young people saw the move as an unprecedented act of human compassion and generosity even as it propelled the rise of Alternative for Germany, the right-wing, anti-immigrant party that is expected to nab 10 per cent or more of the vote on Sunday. "I have the highest regard for her refugee policy," Ms. Papenheim says.

Even some Humboldt students who say they will vote for the SPD or the Greens admit they respect Ms. Merkel's refugee policy. "Ms. Merkel's party is very conservative, she has led for too many years and we need a change," says Magdalena Putz, a law student.

"But, still, I liked her refugee decision."

Back at youth office of SPD headquarters, Mr. Von Galen and Mr. Koester admit that Ms. Merkel appeals to young voters because of her stable, calming influence and her refugee policy, but they struggle to see why some of her other policies have not alienated voters.

They note that most young people are pro-Europe but argue that some of Ms. Merkel's European policies, such as her insistence on tough austerity measures for Greece and other struggling Mediterranean countries, have not been unifying. "Martin Schulz is a strong European figure and is fighting for a stronger European Union," Mr. Von Galen says.

He and Mr. Koester also say that Germany suffers from a lack of affordable housing - German housing prices have soared in recent years - and investment in schools and infrastructure has been low (Germany's infrastructure investment rates have indeed been mean by EU standards). "Martin Schulz talks about investing in the future, for education and housing and he wants a minimum wage for trainees," Mr. Koester says. "I fear that some people don't understand how little Angela Merkel has done in these areas."

Associated Graphic

German Chancellor Angela Merkel poses for selfies with voters before addressing an election campaign rally in Kappeln, Germany, on Wednesday.


CFL divided over practice changes
Some say the end to padded drills isn't a big deal, while others worry the shift could affect player skills and make games less safe
Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S3

TORONTO -- The CFL's bold moves this week to preserve player safety have been widely commended by many, but privately, others within the league wonder if it will affect players' preparations for games or even make them less safe.

New CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie stood alongside the CFL Players' Association to say that all full-contact padded practices after training camp are eliminated, effective immediately. The season will also be extended to 21 weeks next year to give every team a third bye week.

Both moves were made to reduce players' risk of injury.

Many in support of the changes eagerly talked to reporters or took to social media to praise the CFL and the CFLPA for their cooperation and for limiting players' exposure to contact.

The changes come at a time when player safety and the longterm effects of repetitive head trauma in football have again made headlines. Researchers at Boston University recently published results of a study, which found 110 of 111 brains of deceased former football players they examined showed signs of CTE, a disease caused by repeated blows to the head.

Because a few CFL teams rarely practise in pads anyway, some players and executives say the changes are no big deal. Others gave their criticisms anonymously. Still, others declined interview requests, saying they're conflicted - they want to stand by the league and the CFLPA, but they worry that removing the opportunities to practise contact could mean their skills deteriorate and therefore make the game less safe.

In most pro football practices today, players wear shorts, cleats, mesh jerseys and helmets, and they simulate contact without hitting one another. They already take precautions to keep guys off the injured list. They go through their motions at half-speed with limited force. They use tackling dummies, dive at soft rolling doughnut-shaped tackling wheels, or evade coaches who are swatting at them with large pads on their arms.

Before this week, CFL teams could hold a total of 17 padded practices after training camp - days when players could wear shoulder pads and be more physical with one another. Often it was a day for refining technique or doing things with a little more speed and force, especially for linemen and linebackers. Those practices are now gone during the season and full contact is reserved for games.

"It's strange I guess, and it will change things for sure," said Edmonton Eskimos offensive lineman Justin Sorenson. "In just helmets you can't go live with full contact. So it will take a lot of wear and tear off the body, but it may decrease your preparation a little bit, too."

Some questioned how effectively teams will be able to teach and regularly practise contact inseason without shoulder pads and wondered if manoeuvres such as line play may deteriorate.

They wondered how things such as pass rushing and blitz drills can safely be simulated. They projected it may stunt development of those who don't get into games yet - young players and those on practice rosters. Some argued that keeping a player out of padded full-contact practice reduces his risk of injury, with others pointing out it may also decrease his endurance for game day, which may also be unsafe.

"Well, instead of crying over spilled milk, we have to find ways to adapt," said Toronto Argonauts defensive lineman Victor Butler, the league's co-leader in sacks who is returning to action this week after six weeks out with a lower-body injury. "Think back to when helmet-to-helmet rules were changed, or horse-collar tackles. My favourite tackle used to be the horse-collar - I used to let guys get in front of me just so I could horse-collar them.

When the rules changed, I had to adapt or I wasn't going to be playing ball no more. The younger generation will have more time to adapt and figure out from Pop Warner to high school to college how to hone your tackling and physicality in different ways."

Not having to wear pads in practice pleases Argos receiver S.J. Green, but he wondered how it will affect some of his teammates.

"No one likes putting on pads for practice, and for players at skilled positions, we almost never take contact in practice anyway," Green said. "But I think it will hurt the linemen and linebackers maybe, because they won't be able to get in some of their usual work during the week. From that perspective it could be a downfall. Also, having pads on in practice does something for your fitness - it adds a few pounds so it takes more energy."

Argos coach Marc Trestman estimated his team was already practising without pads about 90 per cent of the time. BC Lions coach and general manager Wally Buono said it won't make much of a difference for his team, reasoning there has been a steady decline in padded practices in recent years, and now the Lions typically only have about 11 padded practices each season.

"The players' concern has been safety, and this is another step in indicating that. Will there be good and bad with this? Yes, football is a contact sport and sometimes the only way to get better is to simulate the speed and contact of a game," Buono said. "I'm not saying it's perfect. As a coach, I can live with it. As an administrator, the thing I'm most pleased about is the dialogue between the league and the CFLPA. Since Randy has become commissioner, the communication has really improved. For them to come to a consensus on player safety is a big positive."

Buono projected the NFL will be watching the CFL on this front. In the NFL, teams still allow 11 padded practices over the first 11 weeks of the season and a maximum of one per week.

After that, teams can have three more for a total of 14 on the year.

"A great example of the bold thinking we need to address player-safety issues," tweeted Peter Dyakowski, an offensive lineman with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. "CFL and CFLPA are now leaders in North American sports."

"If this stops one guy from getting dementia or brain disease later in life, then I think it's the right thing to do," said defensive back Matt Black, who is a CFLPA player rep for the Argonauts. "We play football for such a short period of time. Guys here aren't making millions of dollars in the CFL and they're going to have to do other jobs after they're done playing here. It's easy to get caught up in the passion we all have for football and everyone has to take a step back and realize that we all need to leave this game eventually, and we should leave whole. I know this will be a sticking point for some people, transition is never easy, but I think this is for the best."

As for adding a week to the 18game season, no one argues the third bye week will provide players extra rest and recuperation time, and get rid of an estimated two-thirds of short turnarounds. The issues there are mostly logistical, such as how and where to implement the extra week into the schedule, and how to schedule the CFL draft after the NFL draft, and still have enough time for minicamps and training camps before the season. Player safety has taken priority.

"I think the game will evolve," Black said. "Coaches will find new ways to teach and practise physicality - whether it's through dummies or pads or whatever.

The creativity will be good and the players will get more rest on our bodies. I'm not sure any of us knows how we're going to do that just yet, but I'm sure everything will be fine. In a year or two this will be just a distant memory."

Associated Graphic

The Saskatchewan Roughriders conduct a padded practice in Moose Jaw in 2013. Many in support of the end to padded practices in the CFL were eager to talk to reporters, while others declined interview requests, saying they're conflicted but want to stand by the league.


Anxious sellers revive the 'reverse offer'
There's no doubt the market has slowed, but the slide is much more pronounced in some areas than others
Friday, September 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page G2

Homeowners who steep in anxiety as their house sits on the real estate market can become intensely motivated to strike a deal. They sense interest from potential buyers: Why else would they return two or three times to gaze out the dining room window or stand in the driveway for lengthy conversations with their agent? And yet, the house hunters balk at making an offer.

Some frustrated sellers are launching negotiations by submitting their own offer - to the buyers.

It's the resurgence of a strategy known as a "reverse offer," says Cameron Forbes, who is also seeing such eighties fashions as conditional offers, escape clauses and vendor take-back mortgages stage a revival in the Greater Toronto Area real estate market.

Mr. Forbes, general manager at Re/Max Realtron Realty Inc., oversees eight offices around the Greater Toronto Area from Markham. There's no doubt the market has slowed considerably since the peak in April and prices have dropped about 20 per cent, he says, but the slide is much steeper in some areas than others.

In the 416 area code of Toronto, for example, the inventory of listings has not ballooned. At the end of August, there were 1.9 listings for each sale.

"It's actually still a seller's market," Mr. Forbes says.

Heading north to the township of King, there were 8.5 listings for every sale at the end of August.

That puts King in buyer's-market territory. The area's average price of $1.5-million is higher than many areas of the 905. The combination of luxury and distance puts it out of reach for many prospective buyers, he explains.

Richmond Hill and Newmarket are positioned in a balanced landscape, with approximately four homes available for every sale, Mr. Forbes explains.

Inexperienced real estate agents who have only seen markets go up are learning vintage tactics from the late 1980s and early 1990s, but which one they employ depends on the dynamic between buyers and sellers.

"We're coaching them on understanding that markets change and there's always opportunity," Mr. Forbes says.

The reverse offer comes into play when sellers really need to sell. Perhaps they purchased another property in the spring and then watched their own house sit idle after the market shifted.

Buyers were also hesitant to make offers during months of uncertainty because there were no comparable properties selling to use as a benchmark.

"I've seen it multiple times," Mr. Forbes says. "The buyer says, 'I can't do the asking price, but I'm not sure what the seller will accept.' " The seller who knows a potential buyer has visited a few times might make an offer below the current asking price and wait for a sign-back. Eventually, the two sides come together.

"You'd only do that when you know you've got interest," Mr. Forbes stresses.

Another method used to combat rising angst is to make an offer to purchase a property but adding the condition that the buyer must be able to sell his or her existing property.

Mr. Forbes has seen this come into play a few times in King and Newmarket, where some sellers have been struggling.

The sellers who agree to that condition often add a clause of their own. The "escape clause" allows the seller to continue to market the house. If another bidder comes along, the first buyer has a short window to waive the original condition and complete the deal, or they must back out and free up the seller to strike a deal with buyer No. 2.

Also making a comeback among keen sellers is the "vendor take-back mortgage." In one example, a homeowner may be willing to let a house that would have sold for $2-million in the spring go for $1.8-million. But a potential buyer may not be willing to go higher than $1.6-million.

Rather than agreeing to the buyer's offer, the seller may offer a second mortgage of $200,000 for a five-year term with an interest rate of 5 per cent, for example.

The seller receives the bulk of the cash up front, and receiving the additional sum over five years is better than not receiving it at all.

"It may just bridge that gap," Mr. Forbes says. "This is a way to make that $1.8-million make sense" for the buyer, he adds.

In the city of Toronto, agents are also shifting strategies to suit the property and the area.

Jillinda Greene, an agent with Re/Max Hallmark Realty Ltd., listed a house at 9 Maughan Cres. in the Upper Beaches for sale with an asking price of $1.299-million.

The property sat with no offers through an unusually inactive summer, she says, so she relisted it after the Labour Day weekend with an asking price of $999,000.

She did not set an offer date, but that seemed to cause confusion for the buyers' agents, she says, so she established a deadline for submitting bids. The house received four offers and sold for $1.205-million.

Andre Kutyan of Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd. is seeing few conditional offers in Toronto. He recently sold a semi-detached house near Dufferin Street and St.

Clair Avenue in the $800,000 range. Of 11 offers, one was conditional on financing.

Mr. Kutyan provides a home inspection at the time of listing in an effort to encourage buyers to come in with firm offers. He is also trying to secure as large a deposit as possible from bidders in order to ensure better security for the sellers.

Mr. Kutyan recently represented the buyer in one North Toronto deal. His client won the contest by attaching a deposit of more than 5 per cent in the form of a certified cheque. That substantial deposit beat out a higher offer price from another bidder, he says.

Adrienne Warren, an economist with Bank of Nova Scotia, says the GTA market has adjusted to the policy changes imposed by the provincial government in April in an effort to cool the market.

A tentative improvement in sales in August, combined with a pullback in listings, created a more balanced market compared with the previous three months, she says.

The momentum in sales and pricing remains much stronger in the more affordable semidetached, townhouse and condominium segments of the market, Ms. Warren adds.

In Mr. Forbes's view, some of the fresh and renewed approaches have helped the stasis of the early summer give way to a stronger late summer and a drop in inventory from July to August. He takes that as an encouraging signal for a more buoyant fall season for sales. He's not forecasting that prices will rebound to where they were earlier this year but says they may level off.

"Really, that whole psychology of, 'If I buy now, it may be lower next month,' is gone."

Move-up buyers are reasoning that it won't harm them to sell when the market's in a dip because they can buy in the same environment. At the end of August, a house that would have fetched $1-million at the April peak would sell for about $200,000 less, bringing it to $800,000. But if that homeowner was looking to move up, a $1.5million house would now be going for a $300,000 discount, or $1.2-million.

Homeowners looking at trading properties are pondering whether to sell first or buy first, which marks a change from the past several years, during which people generally considered it harder to find a new home to buy than to sell an existing property.

"It's a decision now," Mr. Forbes says. In recent years, there was little debate.

Associated Graphic

In Toronto, agents are shifting strategies to suit the property and the area. A house in the Upper Beaches listed for $1.299-million, but the property sat with no offers through an inactive summer, so the real estate agent relisted the house after the Labour Day weekend with an asking price of $999,000 and sold for $1.205-million.


A touch of California in Oakville
Mansion by the lake has six bedrooms, nine bathrooms ... oh, and three kitchens befitting an author of bestselling cookbooks
Friday, September 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page G7


ASKING PRICE $10.25-million

TAXES $29,950 (2017)

LOT SIZE 148 by 180 by 262 feet

AGENT Alex Irish, Sotheby's International Realty Canada

The backstory W hen Canadian Jonathon Fischer and American Christine Avanti married, the merger was more complicated than most.

In addition to bringing together dual nationalities and two dogs, they rotated between homes in Toronto, New York, Los Angeles and Miami.

Mr. Fischer is a retired manufacturing executive who travels extensively, while Ms. AvantiFischer is a California-born chef and nutritionist with a roster of celebrity clients. They both have widely scattered business and philanthropic interests.

After a time, the couple decided to trade the Toronto condo for a larger property close to the water in Oakville.

They purchased a two-storey house on three-quarters of an acre on Bel Air Drive. The small enclave was created when one of the grand estates of Lake Ontario's "Gold Coast" was divided into lots.

The home needed refurbishment, but the couple were drawn to its setting in front of a stand of mature trees preserved from the estate.

The Fischers hired Gren Weis Architect and Associates to redesign the house with the aim of entertaining guests and hosting charity fundraisers in California style.

The house today The expanded house now has six bedrooms and nine bathrooms in 11,000 square feet of living space.

"We really put a lot of thought into how we live our lives," Mr. Fischer says.

His preference was for an open plan with good flow for entertaining, while Ms. Avanti-Fischer wanted to open the house up to the outdoors. "Coming from California, she couldn't get over the fact that a lot of houses had very small windows," he says Ms. Avanti-Fischer points out that many of Oakville's lakefront houses and estates started out as summer residences. She envisioned a house that is light-filled and modern, with a Hamptons influence from the shingles on the outside and a nautical blue-andwhite colour palette on the inside.

Guests arrive to a central foyer, which opens into the large great room and adjoining kitchen. A wall of windows and glass doors overlooks the garden.

For Ms. Avanti-Fischer, the focus was on the kitchen. The author of bestselling nutrition guides and cookbooks, including Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food and Skinny Chicks Don't Eat Salads, she needed a room where she could demonstrate the preparation of recipes while guests gathered around. By the time the renovation was finished, the house had three kitchens.

The main kitchen has two 10foot islands topped with Carrara marble. The commercial-style range is set in one, Ms. AvantiFischer explains, so that she can concentrate on cooking while facing the guests. Chairs gathered around the island allow her to be comfortable as well.

"When you do that for four or five hours in high heels, it's painful," Ms. Avanti-Fischer says.

The second prep island lets her keep the cooking surface uncluttered. The work triangle formed by the stove, sink and refrigerator is very efficient, she explains.

"She really created the perfect cooking kitchen," Mr. Fischer says.

Custom cabinets, drawers, recycling bins and appliance garages create a place for every item. "I'm all about being organized. I need to be organized so I know where I can find things."

A separate butler's pantry and galley kitchen with its own oven, stovetop, sink and dishwasher provides a place for caterers to work.

"It's so nice when you entertain," Ms. Avanti-Fischer says, because the caterers can bring their own kitchen gear and she doesn't have to worry that their tools will get mixed up with hers.

The main floor also has a dining room and a climate-controlled wine storage with room for more than 700 bottles. There's a main floor laundry room used for cleaning and pressing the table linens, Ms. Avanti-Fischer says.

Throughout the main floor, floors of rift-cut white oak have a German finish chosen to protect them from scratches from the dogs' toenails.

The library's position at the front of the house is designed to allow meetings behind drawn pocket doors. Mr. Fischer can usher a business associate from the front door into the private room without having to go through the main living areas.

"You can go left and into the library and close your hidden doors behind you," he says.

The main level also has his-andhers home offices. Ms. AvantiFischer's haven has an adjacent powder room and overlooks the garden.

Mr. Fischer's office has a full ensuite bathroom and a coffee bar with sink and fridge. For people who don't need so much home-office space, the area could be used as an in-law suite, with a separate entrance from the side, he points out.

That entrance opens to a large mud room with a marble floor and a wall of built-in cabinets.

Upstairs, the master-bedroom suite has sliding glass doors that open to a large balcony overlooking the gardens. There are hisand-hers dressing rooms and full bathrooms, with a steam shower in his and a soaker tub in hers.

The master suite has a separate heating and cooling system and the home's upstairs coffee bar.

"We love our mini coffee bars.

We have three in the house," Ms. Avanti-Fischer says.

The second floor has four additional bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, and a laundry room for the upper level.

On the home's lower level, there's a housekeeper's suite, a bar and a home-theatre room.

The Fischers expanded and opened up the lower level to provide access to the backyard pool and bring in light to a home gymnasium.

During parties, the Fischers can roll the exercise equipment into storage closets and the gym area becomes a dance floor.

There's also a spa bathroom and change areas for swimmers.

One thing the couple couldn't agree on, Mr. Fischer says, was whether to have an infrared sauna, which uses light, or a traditional sauna, which uses heat.

"I'm Canadian, I wanted a traditional sauna."

They decided to have a hybrid.

"We use that sauna almost every night, winter and summer," Ms.

Avanti-Fischer says.

The best feature The backyard has a flagstone terrace with a covered sitting and dining area. There's a built-in grill and exterior fireplace.

Stepping stones lead to the heated swimming pool. For nighttime soirées, the Fischers amp up the drama by turning on the fountains, illuminated by coloured lights.

The poolside cabana can also be used as a summer guest house. It contains a living area, a bathroom and the home's third kitchen.

There, the windows drop down to create a pass-through reminiscent of a California drive-in restaurant.

The barbecue on the terrace is mainly used for family gatherings, Ms. Avanti-Fischer says, while the cabana kitchen is put into service for poolside events.

The home's rear balcony is the perfect location for musicians to set up, Mr. Fischer says.

The couple has hosted car and boat rallies and charity events for organizations such as Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.

"You can have hundreds and hundreds of people," Ms. AvantiFischer says.

To Ms. Avanti-Fischer, the backyard seemed like a good spot for a tennis court. She planned to have one built, but Mr. Weis talked her into keeping the towering trees and extensive lawns.

"The only disagreement we had was I wanted to put a tennis court in. He said: 'I can't let you do that to this beautiful property.' "

Associated Graphic

The owners redesigned the house in part for hosting fundraisers. California native Christine Avanti-Fischer, author of the Skinny Chicks cookbooks, also needed kitchen space to demonstrate her recipes.


The home in the lakeshore district of east Oakville still has some of the trees that were part of an original estate on Ontario's 'Gold Coast.' The owners sought to bring that leafy environment into the house by incorporating large windows into bedrooms and bathrooms.


Take one house, make three
Push for greater density has Vancouver speculators betting on opportunites created by zoning changes
Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S4

Vancouver's push for more housing could be a potentially big profit maker for smalltime hobby investors.

An east-side dad who purchased a large property says that after years of arguing for a far denser development, he's got no choice but to build a luxury duplex.

Jason Del Vicario had wanted to build five two-bedroom units on his single-family lot in the Cedar Cottage neighbourhood, where he lives, at 3282 Dumfries St. But the conditional zoning allows only for a 6,800-squarefoot duplex on the property, which is 48 feet wide and 196 feet deep.

Mr. Del Vicario guesses that he will be able to sell the halfduplex for about $2-million, and he will live in the other half with his family.

The 41-year-old portfolio manager says he's frustrated that he can only maximize the potential of his oversized lot by building luxury duplexes at 3,400 square feet each. He argues that it contradicts city policies for more density in central areas, such as the plan to rezone nearby the Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood for more multifamily housing.

If he had his druthers, he'd build five units at 1,200 square feet each and sell them for about $1.2-million. In that case, however, he would not live in one of the units because it would be too small for his three children.

"It's a very unique proposition, right? Because find me a 3,000-plus-square-foot duplex with a view in East Van. It doesn't exist. And [the duplex] will be 15 feet higher than this, so the view will be awesome," Mr. Del Vicario says.

"Let me be clear: We bought the house and realized we could take advantage of the development potential, and it snowballed," he adds. "But I never sat down and said, 'How can I make more money on the side?' " His property is in a neighbourhood with zoning that allows the construction of duplex or multifamily homes, but only under certain circumstances. Mr. Del Vicario says he's been told his property is 450 square feet too small for multifamily housing. He's working on a design for a duplex and he'll submit a proposal to the city.

He paid a little more than $1-million for the property four years ago, which was a good deal at a time when the average 33-foot east-side lot was selling for around $900,000. He estimates construction costs at $300 a square foot, which brings total costs to around $3-million.

He figures his own half-duplex will be worth $2.5-million. And he acknowledges that he will be creating housing that is in no way affordable to the average Vancouverite.

"It makes no sense," he says.

"[The city] flat-out won't support [multi], even though it makes zero sense to build a 6,800-square-foot duplex."

He previously purchased and lived in another house on the east side of the city and maximized its value by adding a coach house.

"I was looking at my wife and saying, 'There's $600,000 taxfree lying in our backyard, where we play bocce ball or whatever. So we ran the numbers and it was obvious."

He is also a hobby property investor with a group of partners. They've purchased two Vancouver properties so far.

They've acquired development and building permits to build a multifamily structure on a Kitsilano lot now occupied by a single-family home. In that case, they found the zoning allowed renovation for a multifamily home if the character of the house was retained. They purchased the site for $2-million and have accepted an offer of $4.1-million, although the deal has not yet closed. And they've applied to rezone a large singlefamily lot on Southeast Marine Drive to 18 rental units, under the city's interim rezoning policy for affordable housing.

They paid $1.7-million and Mr. Del Vicario estimates it will be worth $3.5-million to $4-million if approved for rental. He says that price would still allow a profit margin for the builder.

The group doesn't take on construction.

Mr. Del Vicario spends about an hour a week searching the Multiple Listing Service for potential investments. He says they are flipping the sites, but not in the way that others merely purchase properties in Vancouver and flip them without any improvements.

"We are changing the use of the site and then flipping it. But we are buying with a view to increase the value through changing the use of the property."

If he were to practise property investment full time, he says he'd buy in Toronto, where prices have dipped, in part, he says, because of the new tax on foreign buyers. He says that market will rebound the way the Vancouver market did six months after its foreign-buyers tax was introduced.

Although prices look as if they've maxed out in Vancouver, Mr. Del Vicario says the push for densification opens up the door to tremendous potential.

"As far as I'm concerned, that's the only place left to make money in Vancouver real estate," Mr. Del Vicario says. "If you think about it, most of the people in our group, we own our own homes. So if Vancouver real estate keeps going up, we do well.

"I analyze asset prices and manage people's money and when people say, 'Vancouver is in a bubble' or 'this can't continue,' think about it. ... If the single-family house with a backyard is going the way of the dodo bird in Vancouver, then places are cheap here - which is a complete shift in thought," he adds.

When the city rezones areas of single-family houses to multifamily, "it will double the value of everything," Mr. Del Vicario says.

Realtor Matt Scalena says chasing after profit to be made from higher-density housing is a hobby for many rookie investor types. However, most are just trying to predict an area that will undergo rezoning for more density. They don't usually apply for a rezoning, because that takes a sophisticated level of understanding about how the city works, and what's allowed.

"The people that we're working with generally are seeing that the city has moved from talking about preservation and heritage, to talking about density and affordability - people are seeing opportunities there, around the main arteries, and those are the regular Joe types," Mr. Scalena says.

"They are people with some money who are very interested in real estate but don't do it full time, and have a little bit of capital they can throw around.

They are looking at the community plans, predicting where things are going."

In other words, rezonings are the next big money-maker. But it only works if the investor purchases before the city blanketzones areas for higher density, Mr. Del Vicario says. Once that happens, the gains are lost.

Mr. Del Vicario says higher density is needed to solve the affordability crisis. He says the "not in my backyard" people who've owned single-family homes for decades need to step aside.

"My parents' generation needs to, like, get lost. The city needs to rip the Band-Aid off.

"The other problem in this city is we build way too much housing that nobody needs," he says. "All those condos downtown are useless, the bachelors and one-bedroom apartments - that stuff is rife for speculation.

They are basically a commodity, like gold or oil. So, there is separate housing for residents and housing for investors. That's a big problem."

Associated Graphic

Jason Del Vicario, on the porch of his house, sought to build five two-bedroom units on his single-family lot, but conditional zoning allows only for a 6,800-square-foot duplex on the property.


The backyard of Mr. Del Vicario's East Van home: The hobby investor says the lot is big enough to accommodate a four- or six-plex.


Grand designs
How did Shopify become one of Canada's most successful technology companies? By letting its employees work the way they want. Nancy Won tours its Waterloo office and reports on how design drives productivity
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Print Edition, Page L6

When I arrive at Shopify's Waterloo offices, my first thought is that I must be in the wrong place. "There it is," my driver says, pointing at a monstrous, yellow brick building with rickety shutters and bleak penitentiary vibes.

This can't be right. Aren't tech companies supposed to have ultra modern offices with flashy architecture and fun slides? And isn't this Shopify - the crown jewel of Canadian tech? I'd heard about their glorious Ottawa and Toronto offices, with log cabin meeting rooms and shipping container-inspired walls, respectively, but confronted with this tepid yellow facade I wonder if Waterloo is the runt of the litter.

As soon as I walk through the door, however, my jaw drops. In an homage to its former life as a Seagram whisky distillery, the office's amber wood atrium is stacked with antique barrels all the way up to the five-storeys-high rafters, and communal tables stretch out across the monastic-mess-hall-meetsroyal-cellar-esque space. It's breathtaking. I can't help myself: I pull out my phone and start snapping pictures like a shameless tourist.

Even in a tech space populated by innovative companies and playground-like interiors, Shopify's approach to office design sets it apart from the crowd.

The company is not interested in creating fancy-looking environments for the sake of aesthetics. Its main objective is to engineer spaces that actually support the people working in them.

Shopify's Waterloo office, which opened in June 2016 and is currently undergoing an expansion, is the newest of the organization's five locations. And despite being a non-client-facing outpost in a tech-y college town, this is arguably its most impressive address. Located in a 19th-century distillery, this building is where Shopify Plus, the division that serves high-growth, high-volume clients (think Nestle, General Electric and Red Bull, as well as viral millennial brands like Drake's OVO and Kylie Jenner's Kylie Cosmetics), is based. The 40,000-square-foot space is home to 250 employees which, by traditional office standards, means there is a lot of unoptimized, unoccupied space. By Shopify standards, however, it's cramped. "We've actually outgrown this space," says Loren Paddleford, vice president and general manager of Shopify Plus. "We have another building under construction right now 70 metres away."

Every Shopify office has the same basic structure: large open areas and communal spaces with meeting rooms and team pods branching out from there. I'm taken on a tour of the Waterloo office, starting in the town hall area (the epic barrel cellar that greeted me on arrival), which is where corporate announcements are made, panel discussions take place and also where people sit down for lunch. (Lunch, by the way, is catered every day at no cost to employees.) Down the hall is a cozy cafe, fully stocked with premium coffee and bottomless snacks. The bar upstairs has beer on tap, video game consoles and ping-pong tables.

Halfway through the tour I spot a 20-something guy in a plaid shirt and thick-rimmed glasses kicking back on a sofa with a stickered-up laptop and a bag of Doritos. This may not be what most employers would say a productive worker looks like, but for Paddleford it's proof that the space is working. "What we're trying to do is create an environment that inspires people to do their best work," he says. "But not everyone's the same. I like my standing desk, but not everyone likes standing desks. Or sitting desks. Not everyone likes desks! Some people want to work in lounge chairs. Some people want to work on couches.

Some people like to work in a bar. What we're doing is allowing people to move around and work where they feel most effective."

The open spaces also support the kind of work culture Shopify encourages. Namely one where collaboration, cooperation and creativity can spark in unexpected ways between the most unlikely people.

"The office space just serves to amplify what Shopify is all about in terms of the cross-functional talking that's constantly going on," says Praneethi Komat-Reddy, a merchant success manager who has been with the company since April 2016. "Open spaces really help to open up your mindset. None of the pods have doors, so just metaphorically, it's like, never close your mind to anything. I know I can just walk into any pod and say, 'Hey guys, I have an idea I want to run past you,' and we'll have a spontaneous meeting right there."

Another benefit of open work environments is the motivation derived from seeing others working towards the same goal. "It's not like in a more traditional office with cubicles where you don't know a project is even happening until it's done," says Komat-Reddy.

"People write on walls here, they write on windows, you see sales guys running around all the time, like sprinting. Everyone's moving all the time and I think that kind of fuels your energy, and pushes you to hustle a little bit more." That kind of transparency, collaboration and motivation doesn't happen by accident. "I think an office space is a reflection of the company's concerns and values," says Jonathan Sabine, co-founder of MSDS Studio, a Toronto-based design firm, whose clients include developer TAZ Design Build, publisher House of Anansi, creative agency Common Good, tech start-up TWG, and the Toronto office of Shopify. "A thoughtfully designed space can help to foster company values, and imply certain behaviours, attitudes and interactions between employees."

Shopify's Toronto space is known for its intentionally maze-like floor plan. "We love the idea of an environment having a sense of discovery and exploration," says Jessica Nakanishi, co-founder of MSDS.

"It's really about incorporating elements of fun, sparking curiosity and creating moments that I think, consciously or unconsciously, become very important to the creative process."

The relationship between productivity and office space may be difficult to measure but it's hard to imagine that a space a person spends all day in doesn't prime him or her for better or for worse. One thing that can be measured, however, is happiness.

"There are people here all the time," says Paddleford.

"I'll come in on a Saturday because I forgot something, and there will be people here just hanging out.

You know you're doing something right when people show up on weekends to hang out in the office."

This is no small achievement considering how competitive tech recruitment is in today's market.

"There's an arms race in the tech industry right now for retaining the best talent, and the physical space is a huge part of that," says Sabine. "We've actually had a few companies tell us that they need to get better employees, but they're having trouble taking them away from the places like Shopify."

And this is precisely the point. "If, as a company, you're not thinking about office design and intentionally giving people spaces that are conducive to their working style, they're gonna leave and we can't afford that," says Paddleford. "I think the fundamental thing that separates us from other businesses is that we see the people who work here as humans, they're not just line items. If you're going to optimize for line items, yeah cubicle heaven, man. But if you're going optimize for how humans do their best work, there is no other option."

Associated Graphic

OFFICE SPACE The design of Shopify's Waterloo outpost (above photos), draws inspiration from the building's former life as a Seagram whisky plant; antique barrels reach all the way up to the rafters and distilling equipment stands alongside more modern workplace necessities such as table tennis. The online company's other three locations, in Ottawa (right), Toronto (bottom right) and Montreal (below) each boast their own unique identities.


Big Tobacco looks for its fix
As vaporizers and e-cigarettes disrupt the industry, Philip Morris CEO Andre Calantzopoulos looks to adopt new technologies
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Print Edition, Page B8

Andre Calantzopoulos is out to convince you he hates smoking. A former pack-a-day smoker for years, he preaches a harmreduction approach to ridding the world of cigarettes. And he believes that new electronic alternatives can play a big role in getting Canada's four million remaining daily smokers to quit.

None of which would be terribly significant had Mr. Calantzopoulos not also sold 813 billion cigarettes last year alone. That's 1.5-million a minute.

As the chief executive of Philip Morris International Inc. - the world's largest listed tobacco company - he is an odd champion for the anti-smoking movement. It is an advocacy born of necessity.

Big Tobacco is at a crossroads.

Around the world, the incidence of smoking is on the decline, while the market for vaporizers and e-cigarettes is growing at a frenzied pace. To try to capture some of that growth, Mr. Calantzopoulos has reoriented Philip Morris by sinking billions of dollars into developing a smokeless tobacco device the company says has the potential to convert smokers by the millions.

Shifting the company's focus away from cigarettes affords the opportunity for a brand makeover, to put some distance between the Philip Morris of today and the sordid history of the tobacco business.

"I'm fully cognizant of the past.

But I'm hoping we can get more constructive," Mr. Calantzopoulos said in recent interview in Toronto. "Our overall objective is to achieve a smoke-free future, as soon as possible."

Arguably, no company is better positioned to profit from that transformation than Philip Morris. Having built up a considerable lead in developing the next generation of tobacco products, the company is poised to reverse its long-term volume declines, double its earnings growth over the next decade, and increase its share of an $800-billion (U.S.) global market by more than onethird, according to one analyst report.

Its strategy hinges on a device called iQOS, which liberally borrows design and branding elements from Apple Inc. "This changes everything," reads the cover of Philip Morris's latest annual report, using the same tagline that supported the launch of the original iPhone.

Instead of burning tobacco, the device heats it to release nicotine and flavour in the form of a vapour, rather than smoke. A cross between an e-cigarette and a vaping product, iQOS falls in a category called "heat-not-burn" devices.

"The taste and nicotine delivery is much closer to cigarettes than what we could achieve before," Mr. Calantzopoulos said, intermittently puffing on his own iQOS. He was the device's first convert from conventional cigarettes. Since then, three million more around the world have made the switch and 1,000 more a day are doing likewise, he said.

"We believe it has the potential to change the trajectory of smoking," Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog wrote when iQOS was introduced last year. As it stands, that trajectory is mostly downward.

Particularly in developed countries, smoking rates continue to decline steadily. Daily and occasional smokers in Canada accounted for 17.7 per cent of the population older than the age of 12 in 2015, according to Statistics Canada. In 2000, that number was 26 per cent. On a global scale, there were about 5.8 trillion cigarettes sold worldwide in 2015.

That volume is expected to fall to 4.7 trillion by 2025, according to Wells Fargo.

Not to say that making cigarettes is any less profitable.

Addiction and brand loyalty make for a customer base that is not particularly sensitive to price increases. Last year, Philip Morris shipped 4.1 per cent fewer cigarettes than the year before, while its profits on the year rose by 12 per cent, after accounting for currency fluctuations.

Stock charts show little indication of an industry in decline.

Since Philip Morris's international and U.S. operations were split in 2008, the former's stock has returned 14 per cent annually after factoring in dividend payments. And yet, raising prices in perpetuity to offset volume declines is not a sustainable strategy.

Plus, tobacco stocks are deeply vulnerable to the regulatory and legal environment. Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), announced in July a plan to limit the allowable nicotine in cigarettes to render them "minimally or non-addictive." Within an hour of the announcement, about $60billion in market capitalization was wiped out from Big Tobacco stocks. Proposed Canadian legislation regulating vaping products and e-cigarettes also includes a provision for mandatory plain packaging for tobacco products.

What iQOS represents is a potential eventual exit strategy from the regulatory and legal morass. Mr. Calantzopoulos said the company has already invested $3-billion in research and development and clinical testing for the device, as well as other product "platforms." Another $1.7-billion has been spent or committed to new manufacturing facilities or converting existing factories.

The development of iQOS has been supported by a public-relations offensive portraying Philip Morris as modern, progressive, innovative and aligned with public-health objectives. Last week, the company pledged $1-billion to establish a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting the scourge of smoking. The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World is to be headed by Derek Yach, a former World Health Organization executive responsible for its global tobacco-control treaty.

"It's bringing them the credibility that they so crave," said Pippa Beck, senior policy analyst at the Non-Smokers' Rights Association.

"They're really trying to rebrand themselves as open, honest, good corporate citizens."

There is good reason to be skeptical of Philip Morris's commitment to making cigarettes a thing of the past, says Timothy Dewhirst, a marketing professor at the University of Guelph. Cigarettes still account for 90 per cent of the global tobacco market, and the vast majority of Philip Morris shipments.

The industry has not exactly earned the benefit of the doubt in making scientific and health claims, either. Much of a successful Quebec class-action lawsuit against the industry hinged on whether tobacco companies worked to deny the risks of smoking.

Mr. Calantzopoulos said he understands the skepticism. "Let's admit it, we have a credibility gap," he said. Which is why he said he's pushing for independent verification of what the company's research shows: That iQOS represents a dramatic reduction in the disease-causing toxins associated with traditional cigarettes, and that the device has been much more successful than other vaping products in converting smokers.

Last December, Philip Morris submitted its research to the FDA in applying to have iQOS recognized as a "Modified Risk Tobacco Product." Ms. Herzog said there is a "decent chance" of approval by the end of next year.

The company will realistically be able to sell iQOS in the United States without a health claim by early next year, she said.

The company complains, however, that it doesn't have the same avenue in Canada to submit its data for government review.

Bill S-5 is expected to allow for relative risk messaging for vaping products, but not tobacco products. And Health Canada said iQOS classifies as a tobacco product. Tobacco companies are severely restricted in what they can advertise, including claims that one product is safer than another. "Consumers should know if there is a better alternative than cigarettes," Mr. Calantzopoulos said.

The federal government has said it wants to see a reduction in smoking to less than 5 per cent of the Canadian population by 2035.

"I think we can get there much faster," Mr. Calantzopoulos said.

Ms. Beck said independent research is needed to confirm or deny Philip Morris's claims.

"People need to keep an open mind," she said. "But at the same time we can't be naive, because we've been burned so many times by Philip Morris and the other Big Tobacco companies."

Philip Morris (PM)

Close: $112.51 (U.S.), down 41¢

Associated Graphic

Philip Morris CEO Andre Calantzopoulous says he wants to achieve a smoke-free future with his firm's iQOS device.


New benchmarks propel buyers into fall market
After retreating to sidelines over summer, interest perks up and a key part of equation is sellers becoming resigned to price flexibility
Friday, September 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page G2

Leslie Benczik understands why house hunters were afraid to purchase a property in the depths of the Toronto area's stagnant summer market. Making an offer was like "a stab in the dark," he says.

The broker with ReMax AllStars Benczik Team Realty is based in Markham. The surrounding York Region is one of the areas hit hard by a steep sales decline in the late spring and summer.

Buyers were propelled by "fear of missing out" in early 2017 - then suddenly became anxious about paying too much. "If I buy now, will it go lower? That's the fear."

Mr. Benczik has noticed a bit of an uptick so far in September, which he says stems from the fact that recent transactions provide a barometer. Some fresh properties have recently sold within a couple of days of listing and houses that have been languishing on the market since May have also found buyers.

"When they see the marketplace established with new benchmarks they have the confidence to buy," Mr. Benczik says.

Appraisers can also provide reliable numbers to the lenders.

"Homes have sold, benchmarks are created, financing can move forward."

As the average price across the Greater Toronto Area has slipped 20.5 per cent from the peak in April, sellers have become acclimatized to lower prices, he adds.

"In May and June, they were in denial. Now they're more realistic."

He points to one four-bedroom house in Markham that was listed with an asking price of $1,888,000 in May. This week Mr. Benczik reduced the price to $1,639,800 and the house drew three offers.

The sellers accepted a conditional offer close to the asking price.

But he is concerned that last week's interest-rate hike by the Bank of Canada will cause the market to stumble just as it starts to move past "all the pain and anguish" of the summer. Sales tumbled following the Ontario government's introduction on April 20 of a foreign-buyers tax and other measures designed to cool the market.

Folks who bought a new property early in the spring faced an abrupt shift in the market. In some cases they had to sell their existing houses for less than they would have received before the downturn. "Basically, a lot of people got caught in the crossfire," Mr. Benczik says.

That in turn led to some buyers needing to extend the time until closing and others trying to negotiate a reduction in price before closing. In the most severe cases, buyers weren't able to secure financing because appraisers valued the home below the selling price.

"They're struggling to close and sometimes they just can't," he says.

Most of that turmoil is in the past, he says, because the market is more balanced between buyers and sellers.

York Region, which also includes such areas as Richmond Hill, Aurora and Vaughan, has a higher proportion of Asian buyers than many other areas, according to a Toronto Real Estate Board survey. After the introduction of the 15-per-cent tax on speculative purchases by non-residents, sales in the area plummeted.

What impact did the tax have in York Region, where foreign buyers account for about 9 per cent of the market? "I think it affected it dramatically," Mr. Benczik says.

But whether overseas buyers are deterred by the tax itself or the uncertainty it created is difficult to measure. He suspects it's a combination of both.

With the average Markham house changing hands at $933,000, an additional levy of about $140,000 is significant, in his opinion. He thinks any buyer would take the levy into consideration, whether they're moving money out of Asia or not.

"That's a big chunk of change - even if it's a consumer in China looking to put money overseas."

He adds that China-based investors are having more difficulty moving money out of that country as rules there are more strictly enforced and loopholes are closed.

Agents representing buyers often tell him they need more time to come up with the cash.

Mr. Benczik says domestic buyers also moved to the sidelines after the tax and other cooling measures were introduced.

The unharnessed run in the spring was unsustainable, he adds. But he sees signs buyers in the Greater Toronto Area are feeling encouraged by strong employment numbers and robust economic growth.

Since the Bank of Canada raised its benchmark interest rate to 1 per cent last week, he cautions that another hike would likely temper that buoyancy. Homeowners already carry substantial mortgages, he points out, and buyers are stretched. "I think it will take them right out of the market."

The renegotiation of the North American free-trade agreement could also hinder the market, he cautions, as could proposed changes to the tax rules for small businesses and the possibility of stricter rules surrounding mortgage lending.

Looking ahead, Mr. Benczik says prices will see slight increases in September, October and November, then level off in January and February. Over all, he's forecasting a fairly straight line.

In the east end of Toronto, Rochelle DeClute of DeClute Union Realty Brokerage Inc. also reports the market is showing some spark so far in September.

Sales at her office improved in August after a downturn in June and July.

Deals take longer to put together, however, and buyers can easily get cold feet.

She cites the example of one house with an asking price in the $1.25-million range that sold on the third try after two conditional deals fell apart - one following a home inspection and the other when the financing didn't come together.

She didn't set an offer date, Ms. DeClute says, but each time two fresh bidders came to the table.

After six tumultuous days, the house sold above the asking price.

"That house in March would have had six offers and they all would have been over asking and they would have been firm," she says.

Buyers aren't feeling as much pressure, she says, but they are returning to the market.

"It could be short-lived," she acknowledges. "It could be a little blip."

In a complete reversal from the trend in recent years, move-up buyers now want to sell their existing property before buying a new one. "They want to know what they're going to get."

Ira Jelinek, an agent with Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd., says it's too early to tell if the fall market will be strong. He is concerned that new rules to "stress test" mortgages could put a damper on the market if they are put in place later this fall. "I think that will be a big turning point."

Meanwhile, the mood among buyers is "all over the place".

One listing with an asking price of $1.55-million recently sold for $1.69-million. But a two-bedroom house with an asking price of $850,000 in the east end has been sitting, he says, despite a stream of house hunters booking showings.

Mr. Jelinek says buyers seem to have little tolerance for competition.

He is working with a couple looking to purchase a threebedroom townhouse in Kleinburg or a similar area north of the city.

They looked at 25 properties and narrowed their search down to two that had very good layouts, he says. Both of the townhouses drew multiple offers, despite a market flooded with plenty of listings.

Mr. Jelinek's clients backed away without making an offer once they realized they would have to compete.

"It was just a little too hectic," he says. "I think it was the right move."

He senses that buyers now are making very careful decisions. "If they're going to make a decision and buy a home, it better be something they really want to live in for a long time."

Associated Graphic

The Toronto housing market has become more balanced between buyers and sellers, one real estate broker says.


Dees Rees rethinks the American Dream
While her new feature Mudbound is set in the 40s, writes Barry Hertz, this searing look at race is very much of the moment
Saturday, September 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R1

Timing is everything - even when it seems like the worst timing in the world.

At any point in recent cinematic history, director Dee Rees's new drama Mudbound would count as a significant achievement. An epic adaptation of Hillary Jordan's acclaimed 2008 novel, the film follows two families struggling to adjust to a new era in the Mississippi Delta following the end of the Second World War.

On one side are the McAllans, white cotton farmers who find themselves tested by both the land and the lingering aftereffects of war. On the other, the Jacksons, a black family living on the McAllan property who dispatched their eldest son to fight overseas, only to watch him face hatred and violence back home.

Yet this isn't any arbitrary moment in history.

In a year when the words "Charlottesville," "Trump" and "altright" can trigger a tidal wave of confusion, anger and despair, Mudbound stands out in the roils and waves of the cultural currents. Rees's weaving of race, class, alienation and the old standby of the toxicity of the American Dream suddenly seem larger, more forceful and even intimidating in today's heightened political climate. What may have, in any other year, simply been a prestige drama from an acclaimed talent today seems poised to be hoisted up on a pedestal, a raging alarm bell that those who forget, or willfully ignore, history are condemned to repeat it.

"I think art always comments on the time and place it was created. The novel was from 2008 and the film is from 2016, but they are both commenting on 'the now,' " Rees, 40, says in an interview the week before Mudbound screens at the Toronto International Film Festival. "It's what we are all feeling. It's in our bones."

Rees's comments echo a remarkably powerful speech she gave last month to the Sundance Institute as she accepted the organization's Vanguard Award. It was just a few days after violence erupted in Charlottesville, Va., when white supremacists unleashed a torrent of hatred upon the city and the country.

Rees, whose filmography is slight (2011's Pariah, 2015's HBO biopic Bessie) but fuelled by themes of race and identity, chose the path of resistance.

"It is hard to know where to begin. Each moment is defined by a multitude of histories, the past constantly converging upon us, perpetually decaying and reforming itself on the steady pulse of now, now, now, now," she said onstage. "We know what happens next. Telling stories is one way to defend against next. No, to record next. No, to determine what happens next."

As much as Mudbound exists as a stark rebuke to the current undercurrent of fear and divisiveness, Rees is also quick to acknowledge she's no Nostradamus. The film's story speaks to today, but it was in the works for years, bouncing off themes of bigotry and hatred that have long been part of the American conversation.

"History informs where we are and how we got here," she says, simply. "I think people will be able to have a critical distance watching the film, and understand where we are and how we got here."

The issue of just how America developed its identity has long fascinated Rees, although she feels most confident finding a personal way into such sociopolitical themes. For her groundbreaking debut, Pariah, it was a matter of disassembling her own youth to tell the story of a black teenage girl embracing her sexuality. In Mudbound, Rees's grandmother acted as the conduit to a more distant time and place.

"She was born in Louisiana, in 1925, and her parents had their own piece of land. She also had this journal about the details of that life and became my guiding voice," Rees says, admitting there was a slight hesitation toward adapting Jordan's material, versus crafting her own story. "I ended up having a good foundation in the novel to build upon and then I could add my own voice, the voice of my ancestors, into it to make it honest, to make it unique, to make it shine."

A certain shine has been beaming down on Rees herself ever since 2005, when she abandoned the corporate world - she worked in brand management for Colgate-Palmolive - to enlist in NYU's graduate film school.

Even though she was in her late 20s, her graduate thesis, a short film called Pariah, carried an urgent and youthful energy that must have seemed bewildering to her younger peers.

After finding a mentor in Spike Lee, Rees brought a feature-length version of Pariah to 2011's Sundance Film Festival, instantly earning raves and establishing her as a creative voice to watch - and the climb since that heady debut has been steady, if not rapid.

"I was lucky because I was always writing," Rees says, explaining the not-insignificant gap between Pariah and Bessie.

"I was writing a pilot for HBO that didn't end up going, then I was writing another film [a script called Large Print that focused on ageism] that didn't go, but allowed me to explore certain ideas. I was never not writing. Now, it seems that there are so many things I want to do, but I don't have enough time - yet all these ideas and worlds are the fruit I come back to."

Rees is currently fine-tuning her next project - a horror "centring on the domestic lives of black lesbians in rural America," for Blumhouse, the same production company behind this year's subversive hit Get Out - which helps distract her from the other conversation dominating Mudbound: its Academy Award chances.

"I think any awards attention would be great for all the artists and craft people and actors involved, but we've done all we can to make something interesting and something great. The rest is out of our control," she says. "We can leave it to the audience. You can't control how people receive it."

You can control how people access it, though, and that is a stickier question for Mudbound.

After playing this year's Sundance, Netflix acquired the film for $12.5-million (U.S.), the streaming giant's biggest sale of the festival. Mudbound's appearance at TIFF next week - alongside the company's other high-profile fall offering, Angelina Jolie's First They Killed My Father - suggests that Netflix is positioning Rees's work for an Oscar campaign. But it also means that, because of the company's current war with theatrical exhibitors - Netflix makes its films available to stream the same day they're released theatrically, a move that theatre owners say cannibalizes their business - Mudbound may not get the wide, big-screen exposure its epic vision deserves.

Rees has a different take.

"It's about people simply being able to see it," she says.

"Even with Pariah, more people have seen that on Netflix than will ever see it in theatres.

Pariah lives on and has a life of its own and is available for discovery. Our [director of photography] took amazing pictures here, but I want everyone to be able to see them.

"Whether you're in Louisiana or Ohio, you can see this right in your living room, and you don't have to pay $40 to go out," she adds. "It's just you and the art, and you can view it on your own terms."

Mudbound plays TIFF Sept. 12, 6 p.m., Roy Thomson Hall; Sept. 13, 2 p.m., Princess of Wales; Sept. 14, 11 a.m., Elgin; and Sept. 16, 9:30 p.m., Princess of Wales (

Associated Graphic

Dee Rees brought her film Pariah to 2011's Sundance Film Festival, earning raves and making her a creative voice to watch.


Mudbound, Dee Rees's epic adaptation of Hillary Jordan's acclaimed 2008 novel, follows two families struggling to adjust to a new era in the Mississippi Delta following the end of the Second World War.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


A Saturday Arts headline misspelled the name of director Dee Rees.

Lady Gaga, on the edge of relevance?
New documentary is a deft and visually tender case for the singer as something of a mythic creature with a lifetime of fame ahead
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, September 22, 2017 – Print Edition, Page R5

A question that may reasonably be on your lips is, "Why, in the year 2017, do we need a documentary about Lady Gaga?" If, when you hear the name, you think of the early-aughts queen of pop, belting out club bangers such as Telephone and Bad Romance, or merely as that woman who wore a meat dress to the MTV Video Music Awards in 2010, the timing of this featurelength documentary backed and released by Netflix on Sept. 22 might seem confusing. Although Lady Gaga, née Stefani Germanotta, released an album in the past year - the stripped down, balladheavy Joanne - and announced a world tour the day after her Super Bowl halftime performance, the glow of her contemporary relevance has faded in the past five years.

Yet, Gaga: Five Foot Two is an incredibly deft and visually tender case for Gaga's enduring relevance by director Chris Moukarbel (Me at the Zoo, Banksy Does New York), who understands her transformations as part of an artistic evolution, not the fickle whims or creative misdirection of a megacelebrity.

Filmed in cinéma vérité style without a single talking head in frame, Moukarbel's documentary reveals a scrappy musician whose fame, heartbreaks and missteps have been assiduously tallied by a social-media generation. He also reveals the chronic pain that Gaga has been grappling with in private, cancelling concert performances that she physically cannot show up to (after the film's release, Gaga tweeted that she suffers from fibromyalgia).

With Gaga: Five Foot Two, Moukarbel casts the singer as something of a mythic creature, who, at the age of 31, already has almost 10 years of fame behind her and, by the director's estimate, a lifetime more.

"She's not going anywhere in terms of her career. She's a lifer," Moukarbel said in an interview during the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month, the morning after the film's world premiere. "She is one of these people who has installed themselves in this pantheon.

Beyond the fact of her however many singles and platinum records, which is pretty staggering, she's just made such an incredible imprint on popular culture for close to a decade now, and I think that it's nice to know we still have these mythological people around."

The documentary, which joins the singer as she launches Joanne and prepares for her Super Bowl performance, is in no way an exposé. Moukarbel wanted to create something similar to the 1970s follow-docs of the Rolling Stones.

Gaga, who "was super friendly but also sort of reluctant" as a subject, gradually grows closer to and more comfortable with the camera. Still, Moukarbel "tried not to process things with her as they were happening." He didn't want her to be overly conscious of the camera, he explains. "I had to pull back in a lot of ways that aren't so natural to me. But I thought, in order to do this right, I had to be forgotten."

The director's passivity is the audience's gain. As befits the work of a sculptor (Moukarbel completed an MFA at Yale), the director's camera has remarkable patience, and there's a sense that the film is slowly revealing its form to you, one carefully crafted scene at a time. An early vignette of Gaga at a family baptism is as gorgeous a sequence as any fictional film can boast, although Moukarbel promises it wasn't staged. He shot those scenes in slow motion with superspeed prime lenses from the sixties in order to give them a "cinematic" look. It doesn't hurt that Gaga "can hold a scene," as Moukarbel says. "Just watching her move across a room you see she has that magnetism."

Gaga had not seen the movie in its entirety until its TIFF premiere. Yet, for an artist who is depicted as fiercely in control of all elements related to her creative output, it is surprising, if not unbelievable, that Gaga would not have final cut.

"She watched a couple clips, and she decided early on that she couldn't be objective about herself. I think she was worried that she would not allow it to happen if she watched it," Moukarbel says with a laugh. "And she trusted her close friends and family who had seen it to let me continue.

She realized that in order for it to be what it needed to be, and for it to be good, she'd have to relinquish a lot of the control she would typically have over something. It was an unusual experience for her, obviously."

In a documentary about a woman whose meteoric rise coincided with the birth of social media, there is little recapping of her heavily documented past, and we're only given a few minutes of archival footage. Instead, Moukarbel captures what the paparazzi could not. That is what sets Gaga: Five Foot Two apart from the pedantic insider trivia or celebrity worship that characterizes much of the music-documentary genre. It's not just Moukarbel's thoughtful aesthetic that elevates the film, but the intimate scenes he inscribed himself into.

One especially compelling sequence takes place when Gaga stops by her grandma's house on the way to the airport. It's there that she plays the song Joanne - about her aunt who died at 19 from lupus and whose tragic end haunted her childhood - to her grandma for the first time. Gaga is clearly searching for validation from her hard-boiled, Long Island grandma who lost her daughter, but a short hug is all she gets and the advice to not be "too maudlin" about a tragedy 40 years in the past. ("Telling Lady Gaga not to be too maudlin," Moukarbel says incredulously, "like, who could tell her that except for her grandmother?") The film later cuts between scenes of Gaga dancing carefree in her recording studio, to shooting a music video with her full and stunning athleticism on display, to her writhing in pain and wrapped in towels on a couch.

She describes a shooting pain that snakes from her big toe, around a single rib and into her neck and head. When asked about filming these intense shots of a vulnerable Gaga, Moukarbel admits it was difficult. "I wouldn't have done it unless I felt explicit consent from her. She felt it was important to document it."

The past five years of Gaga's career suddenly take on a different tenor in light of her physical torment. Her latest album - which offers a more serene Lady Gaga than the one who stomped into the music industry at 21 with guns blazing - begins to sound more like the start of her second act rather than a swan song.

"I understood, just from watching her, that's she's looking for a sustainable identity, and a way to ride out the rest of her career in a way that she can feel comfortable and feel more like herself," Moukarbel says. "She's not recanting any of the shapeshifting ... but I think she just can't physically sustain that forever, and it's not fun for her anymore."

If Moukarbel's camera reminds the spectator that Gaga's pain makes her human, he still bookends his film with an image of her as a mythic creature who walks among us. Overlaying both the opening and closing scenes of the documentary - shot during the dress rehearsal of Gaga's Super Bowl performance - is the chanting of a Bulgarian choral group. Clad in her sequined Versace bodysuit, Gaga is hoisted into the air by invisible wires. Her feet leave the earth to the incantations of the choir. The Mother Monster, risen.

Gaga: Five Foot Two begins streaming on Netflix on Friday.

Associated Graphic

Lady Gaga and Chris Moukarbel attend the world premiere of Gaga: Five Foot Two on Sept. 8. The documentary reveals the singer's artistic evolution and her struggles with chronic pain.


Budget 'first steps' in NDP reform plan
Throne Speech promises eventual action on child care, poverty and climate, but renter rebates to be addressed Monday
Saturday, September 9, 2017 – Print Edition, Page S1

VICTORIA, VANOCUVER -- Mark Nichols says he has always been non-partisan, trusting his gut when voting. But that changed in British Columbia's May 9 election after he ran into NDP Leader John Horgan on the campaign trail just two days before casting his ballot.

Mr. Nichols, a vice-president of a tech startup, and his wife, Georgia, a teacher, spotted the party leader mainstreeting at Vancouver's Granville Island and struck up a conversation about the New Democrats' pledge to implement a $10-a-day child-care plan.

The couple had signed their six-month-old son Hank up for daycare waiting lists the day they got his birth certificate, but they had heard horror stories about a shortage of spaces and pricey fees in a city where their nearby rental apartment already felt far too expensive.

"It was like a magic button for us where we were like 'This would be amazing,' " Mr. Nichols said on Friday of the NDP's daycare plan. He said that after they met Mr. Horgan, they realized public daycare would mean that they wouldn't have to decide "should Georgia give up her career?" Rather than paying $800 a month to send their son to daycare twice a week, the couple settled on paying his mother-in-law to ferry over from her home on Salt Spring Island each week to stay overnight and help care for her grandson.

For Mr. Nichols and thousands of others, the NDP's campaign pledges for daycare and for measures to make life more affordable held the promise of relief. Urban voters turned away from the Liberals in droves.

But many of them will have to wait for that new vision to come into clearer view.

On Friday, the NDP delivered its first Speech from the Throne, promising to begin work on a provincewide, universal child-care program, a povertyreduction plan and a climate-action strategy that creates new green jobs.

Those initiatives are just the beginning - the mini-budget that Finance Minister Carole James will unveil on Sept. 11 will just touch on the surface of those initiatives.

Ms. James, in an interview just ahead of her first budget, sought to dampen expectations that the affordability changes her party campaigned on last spring will be significantly addressed this fall.

"The economic predictions are positive for British Columbia." However, she said, the budget she will deliver Monday will include only "first steps" on her party's major platform commitments.

"There will be time needed for discussions, consultations, for implement plans," she said. "We want to make sure we do this right."

However, Mr. Horgan, now Premier, hinted that his promised $400-a-year rebate for renters may be coming soon: "We'll be talking about the renters' rebate in the budget on Monday," he told reporters.

Ms. James is acutely aware, though, that expectations are huge. Teachers and environmentalists are eager for change from a government whose priorities better align with theirs. Urban renters and homeowners alike who helped shift seats in Vancouver and Surrey, among other places, are looking for affordability measures.

Sharon Gregson, spokesperson for the $10-a-Day Child Care Campaign, noted there are just over half a million children in B.C. under 12, about 360,000 of them have mothers in the paid work force, yet the province only has 100,000 licensed child-care spaces. "There's a whole lot of children, particularly infants and toddlers, who are in unlicensed or unregulated care," said Ms. Gregson, a former longtime Vancouver school board trustee.

But big-ticket items, such as the plan for $10-a-day daycare and the elimination of Medical Service Premiums, may have to wait until the next budget in February.

"People have been waiting 16 years for change to happen, but we won't be able to change 16 years overnight. That doesn't mean we shouldn't get started," Ms. James said.

Ms. James was clear that her first budget reflecting the NDP government's agenda will come in February for the next fiscal year. Monday's update of the Liberal fiscal plan is expected to mostly cover already announced changes.

The fiscal update next week will have to absorb some significant costs of the policy changes already rolled out over the past seven weeks, notably $104-million for higher income-assistance rates, and $132-million to lift the tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges over the Fraser River. But the biggest blow to the balance sheet will be the price tag for fighting wildfires this year. The cost was last pegged at $389-million over the budget estimate in February, and that figure is still growing.

The NDP government could give itself some more fiscal room by moving on its proposals to increase taxes on the wealthy and corporations and add a new tax on real estate speculators. The Throne Speech was vague on any looming tax changes, however.

"It's time that British Columbians shared in the benefits of our strong economy," the Throne Speech stated. "Help is on the way for the people of B.C."

Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver, whose agreement with the NDP cleared the way for government change after the Liberals were toppled in a confidence motion last June, said he expects the interim budget to be balanced and begin reversing the "mean-spirited" and "fiscally reckless" policies of the previous Liberal government.

His party has made it clear to the New Democrats that it opposes the move to ban tolling on Metro Vancouver bridges, but the three Green MLAs will still support the budget, he said.

"The question you [have] got to ask is, 'Do we want to have another provincial election because the NDP eliminated the tolls on the Port Mann Bridge?' I think the answer is no, that would be irresponsible for us to do that."

Although Ms. James played down the prospect of significant new investments this fall in health or education, she does have room to move. The New Democrats inherited a healthy balance sheet.

British Columbia finished the fiscal year ending in March with a $2.7-billion surplus owing to significantly increased revenues.

The surplus, which is 10 times higher than what the former Liberal government projected last year, does not directly affect the New Democrats' ability to pay for their election promises, since the surplus has already been applied to the provincial debt.

Ms. James said the NDP government expects the recent economic performance to continue into the current fiscal year, allowing her to maintain a balanced budget with new spending.

Ms. James says the biggest change people will notice in Monday's budget is a shift in priorities.

The Liberals spent 16 years working toward balanced budgets and fiscal prudence. The economy was to be nurtured with low taxes and although the provincial debt grew dramatically, the Liberals protected the province's credit rating.

But the NDP were able to win over voters last May with a platform that promised to make life more affordable for citizens, particularly in the costly Metro Vancouver region. This fall session will emphasize that the new minority government can offer the stability required to make those promised changes over time.

Michael Prince, a professor of social policy at the University of Victoria who has studied B.C. politics for 30 years, said it will be important for Ms. James's budget speech to signal to the province's business community how her party will grow the economy after opposing numerous major resource and infrastructure projects.

"It certainly begs the question 'what do you [have] instead?' " he said.

Associated Graphic

Julia Smith, left, and Sharon Gregson on Friday discuss the NDP government's child-care plan, which is expected to be fleshed out in February.


Julia Smith, holding her eight-month-old daughter, Eleanor, on Thursday at the Collingwood Neighbourhood House in Vancouver, will be carefully following the NDP government budget outline on Monday.


Take one house, make three
Push for greater density has Vancouver speculators betting on zoning
Friday, September 15, 2017 – Print Edition, Page G6

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver's push for more housing could be a potentially big profit maker for small-time hobby investors An east-side dad who purchased a large property says that after years of arguing for a far denser development, he's got no choice but to build a luxury duplex.

Jason Del Vicario had wanted to build five two-bedroom units on his single-family lot in the Cedar Cottage neighbourhood, where he lives, at 3282 Dumfries St.

But the conditional zoning only allows for a 6,800-square-foot duplex on the property, which is 48 feet wide and 196 feet deep.

Mr. Del Vicario guesses that he will be able to sell the half-duplex for about $2-million, and he will live in the other half with his family.

The 41-year-old portfolio manager says he's frustrated that he can only maximize the potential of his oversized lot by building luxury duplexes at 3,400 square feet each. He argues that it contradicts city policies for more density in central areas, such as the plan to rezone nearby the Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood for more multifamily housing.

If he had his druthers, he'd build five units at 1,200 square feet each and sell them for about $1.2-million. In that case, however, he would not live in one of the units because it would be too small for his three children.

"It's a very unique proposition, right? Because find me a 3,000plus-square-foot duplex with a view in East Van. It doesn't exist.

And [the duplex] will be 15 feet higher than this, so the view will be awesome," Mr. Del Vicario says.

"Let me be clear: We bought the house and realized we could take advantage of the development potential, and it snowballed," he adds. "But I never sat down and said, 'How can I make more money on the side?' " His property is in a neighbourhood with zoning that allows the contruction of duplex or multifamily homes, but only under certain circumstances. Mr. Del Vicario says he's been told his property is 450 square feet too small for multifamily housing. He's working on a design for a duplex and he'll submit a proposal to the city.

He paid a little more than $1-million for the property four years ago, which was a good deal at a time when the average 33foot east-side lot was selling for around $900,000. He estimates construction costs at $300 a square foot, which brings total costs to around $3-million. He figures his own half-duplex will be worth $2.5-million. And he acknowledges that he will be creating housing that is in no way affordable to the average Vancouverite.

"It makes no sense," he says.

"[The city] flat-out won't support [multi], even though it makes zero sense to build a 6,800square-foot duplex."

He previously purchased and lived in another house on the east side of the city and maximized its value by adding a coach house.

"I was looking at my wife and saying, 'There's $600,000 tax-free lying in our backyard, where we play bocce ball or whatever. So we ran the numbers and it was obvious."

He is also a hobby property investor with a group of partners.

They've purchased two Vancouver properties so far. They've acquired development and building permits to build a multifamily structure on a Kitsilano lot now occupied by a single-family home.

In that case, they found the zoning allowed renovation for a multifamily home if the character of the house was retained. They purchased the site for $2-million and have accepted an offer of $4.1-million, although the deal has not yet closed. And they've applied to rezone a large singlefamily lot on Southeast Marine Drive to 18 rental units, under the city's interim rezoning policy for affordable housing.

They paid $1.7-million and Mr. Del Vicario estimates it will be worth $3.5-million to $4-million if approved for rental. He says that price would still allow a profit margin for the builder. The group doesn't take on construction.

Mr. Del Vicario spends about an hour a week searching the Multiple Listing Service for potential investments. He says they are flipping the sites, but not in