Shadowy Black Axe group leaves trail of tattered lives
Police have been struggling to counter a cult-like criminal organization with roots in Nigeria before it becomes too deeply embedded in Canada. The group engages in violence, intimidation and sophisticated scams
Friday, November 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

Canadian police say they are fighting a new kind of criminal organization.

The signs began to appear two years ago: photos on Facebook of men wearing odd, matching outfits.

Then there were stories, even old police files, attached to the people in the photos: a kidnapping, a man run over by a car, brutal beatings over what seemed to be a small slight.

Mapping a secret criminal hierarchy for the first time is a rare kind of detective work. So when two Toronto police officers and an RCMP analyst in British Columbia started documenting the existence of something called the "Black Axe, Canada Zone," they could not have predicted it would take them to funerals, suburban barbecue joints and deep into African history before they understood what they were seeing.

The Black Axe is feared in Nigeria, where it originated. It is a "death cult," one expert said.

Once an idealistic university fraternity, the group has been linked to decades of murders and rapes, and its members are said to swear a blood oath.

Most often, the group is likened to the Mob or to biker gangs, especially as it spreads outside Nigeria.

An investigation by The Globe and Mail that included interviews with about 20 people found that "Axemen," as they call themselves, are setting up chapters around the world, including in Canada.

Like any criminal organization, it focuses on profit, police say. But instead of drug or sex trafficking, it specializes in a crime many consider minor and non-violent: scamming.

What police have also learned is that, when done on an "industrial" level as part of a professional global network, scams ruin lives on a scale they have rarely seen.

Two weeks ago, at a news conference attended by FBI officers, Toronto police announced they had taken part in an international crackdown on a money-laundering network through which more than $5-billion flowed in just over a year. Two local men charged with defrauding a Toronto widow of her life's savings will eventually face extradition to the United States on money-laundering charges, they said.

Online fraud is fluid, global and hard to track, but it often requires local operatives.

Several Toronto-area residents have been defrauded of at least $1-million each in the past two years, and police allege the money was wired with the help of Canadian residents linked to the Black Axe, and sometimes it was handed to the group's associates in person. The recipients then sent the money ricocheting through bank accounts around the globe, with trusted members in countries on every continent helping with the transfers before it disappeared. The sophistication of the money-laundering scheme reflects the efficiency of the scams, in which several people assume false identities and mix reality - bank accounts, real names and real websites - with fake documents.

The police added an extra charge for one of the men they arrested, Akohomen Ighedoise, 41: "participating in a criminal organization."

Officers said in an interview they seized documents that will prove in court that Mr. Ighedoise separately helped a network of fraudsters launder money, that the fraudsters are members of the Black Axe and that he is their bookkeeper. The charge is the first time a Canadian has been publicly linked to the group.

Interviews with police, gang experts and Nigerian academics paint a picture of an organization both public and enigmatic, with an ostensible charitable purpose as well as secret codes and a strict hierarchy.

Police say it has grown to 200 people across Canada.

Officers in Canada first heard the name "Black Axe" less than two years ago, said Tim Trotter, a detective constable with the Toronto Police Service. They are working quickly, trying to stop the group from becoming entrenched.

"I mean, 100 years ago, law enforcement dealt with the same thing, the Sicilian Black Hand, right? It meant nothing to anybody except the Sicilian community," Det. Constable Trotter said. "And that's what we have here - that's what we believe we have here."

Many scam victims lose a few thousand dollars. Soraya Emami, one of Toronto's most recent victims, lost everything, including many friends.

In 1988, Ms. Emami fled her native Iran with her four sons. Her husband was jailed by the regime and his passport was held for years. Ms. Emami flew to Canada and became a real estate agent in North York.

It took 30 years to save for a nice house in quiet Stouffville, Ont. The rest of her earnings went to her boys, who grew up to be a doctor, an engineer, a computer engineer and a bank manager. Last year, the youngest - a fifth son, born in Canada - began university. She and her husband had never reunited, and for the first time in decades, Ms. Emami thought about dating.

"My kids grow up, and I feel lonely," said the 63-year-old, who has long, wavy black hair. "I didn't know how, and because I'm not [used to] any relationship, I feel shy."

Ms. Emami saw a TV commercial for and joined, hesitantly. A few days later, she told a friend she had heard from a tanned, white-haired, very nice geologist. Fredrick Franklin said he lived just 45 minutes away, in Toronto's wealthy Bridle Path neighbourhood.

He had spent years in Australia, and when they talked on the phone, she could not always understand his thick accent at first. He called her several times a day from Vancouver, where he was on a business trip, then from Turkey, where he travelled on a short contract. He was to fly home via Delta airlines on May 5. She would pick him up from the airport, and they would finally meet.

"I am a simple man in nature, very easy going," he wrote in an e-mail, telling her about his son and granddaughters. "I have done the Heart and Stroke ride in Toronto for the past 2 years, have also done the MS ride from London to Grand Bend."

A few days before his return date, Mr. Franklin called Ms. Emami in a panic. His bank had told him someone had tried to gain access to his account, he said. He could not clear it up from rural Turkey, so would she mind calling the bank and reporting back with his balance? He e-mailed the phone number for SunTrust bank, a 10-digit account number and a nine-digit tax ID number.

She spoke to a bank teller. The balance, she was told, was $18-million.

A few days later, Mr. Franklin asked for a small favour - could she send him a new phone and laptop - saying he would repay her upon his return. She acquiesced, believing he could pay her back.

Within a few weeks, she lost half a million dollars, and the scam would cost her the home in Stouffville.

What perplexes police about some of the Toronto romance frauds is not how the victims could be so naive, but how the fraudsters could be so convincing.

The SunTrust account appears to be real, The Globe determined after retracing the steps Ms. Emami took to access it. The bank said it could not verify the account's existence, as that was client-related information.

In the course of the scam, Ms. Emami spoke to at least five people other than the Aussie geologist, including two in person.

In June, in what they called Project Unromantic, York Regional Police charged nine local people in several cases, including that of Ms. Emami, that added up to $1.5-million. They considered the criminals to be internationally connected. "We don't know who's at the top, but there seems to be a hierarchy," Detective Courtney Chang said.

The Toronto police believe the crimes that led to their charges against Mr. Ighedoise are linked to the ones in York Region.

Canadian police came across the Black Axe by happenstance. In 2013, an RCMP analyst in Vancouver was investigating a West Coast fraud suspect and found a photo of him on Facebook with another man, said Det. Constable Trotter (the analyst would not speak to The Globe). Both were wearing unusual clothes and seemed to be at a meeting in Toronto.

The analyst discovered the second man was under investigation by Toronto financial crimes detective Mike Kelly, an old partner of Det. Constable Trotter. The analyst e-mailed Det. Constable Kelly to ask if he knew the significance of what the two men in the photo were wearing.

The uniform of the Black Axe is a black beret, a yellow soccer scarf and high yellow socks. These items often have a patch or insignia showing two manacled hands with an axe separating the chain between them, which sometimes also says "Black Axe" or "NBM," standing for "Neo-Black Movement," another name for the group.

They often incorporate the numbers seven or 147.

The group tries to maintain a public image of volunteerism. It has been registered as a corporation in Ontario since 2012 under the name "Neo-Black Movement of Africa North America," with Mr.Ighedoise among several people listed as administrators. In the United Kingdom, Det. Constable Trotter said, it has been known to make small donations - to a local hospital, for example - and then

claim to be in a "partnership" with the legitimate organization.

Det. Constable Kelly and Det. Constable Trotter compiled a list of people in Canada photographed wearing Axemen outfits.

From a car, they watched some of them attend a funeral. One mourner had yellow socks and a yellow cummerbund with NBM on it, Det. Constable Trotter said. The rest were dressed normally. Near the end of the ceremony, "all of a sudden the berets and everything came out, and then they put the coffin into the earth," he said.

As they added names to their list, the investigators checked each one for connections to previous cases.

What they found were 10 to 20 episodes of serious violence over the past few years clearly linked to members of the group, many of them at a Nigerian restaurant in northwest Toronto, Det. Constable Trotter said. One man had been run over by a car; another was allegedly kidnapped and beaten with a liquor bottle for a day in an abandoned building; a man was knocked to the ground for refusing to fetch another man a beer. Witnesses generally refused to talk.

In one incident, a group of men had insulted another man's girlfriend, and when he objected, they "beat the living hell" out of him, leaving him with cranial fractures, Det. Constable Trotter said.

"Without the understanding of the context, it's just a bar fight," he said. "But when we understand who those people were, and we realize, oh, they're all affiliated to the group ... that's why no one called [911]. And that's why, when the police came, suddenly, oh no, those cameras don't work. And that's why, out of a bar full of people, the only witness was his girlfriend."

That case and the kidnapping case are before the courts, Det. Constable Trotter said. The Globe tried to search for all court records linked to the bar's address over the past few years, but was told such a search is impossible.

Police have six criteria to identify members of the group, Det. Constable Trotter said. If a person meets three of the six, he is considered a likely member.

Police have documents that show when certain people were "blended" or initiated into the group, including some in Toronto, he said. Members live mostly in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

"There's evidence that they've been active since 2005, so that's a decade's worth of ability to lay under the radar and become ensconced in the criminal community," he said.

To set up scams, they work from cafés or home and are "fastidious" about deleting their online history, Det. Constable Kelly said.

"They have names, titles, they show respect," Det. Constable Trotter said. "They pay dues to each other. Individuals are detailed by higher-ranking individuals to do things."

As they learned of the group's fearsome reputation in Nigeria, the officers began to equate it more with established Canadian organized crime. At Afrofest in Woodbine Park one summer, a group of Axemen walked through in full uniform - not something anyone from the Nigerian community would do lightly, Det. Constable Trotter said. "I wouldn't wear a Hells Angels vest if I wasn't a Hells Angel."

He began to worry the group's brazenness would signify to the community that "Axemen are here. And they're open about it, and the police are doing nothing."

Fraternities such as the Black Axe were born during an optimistic time in Nigeria's recent history, and at first they reflected it.

In the postcolonial 1970s, they were modelled after U.S. fraternities. They attracted top students and were meant to foster pan-African unity and Nigeria's future leaders.

When the country descended into widespread corruption after its oil boom, the fraternities split into factions and violently sought power on campuses, trying to control grades and student politics and gain the loyalty of the richest, best-connected students.

Through the 1990s and 2000s, the groups inspired terror: Students were hacked to death or shot in their sleep, and professors were murdered in their offices in what seemed to be random attacks. Researchers say such crimes were often assigned to new members in their late teens to prove their allegiance.

"Sometimes, they are given some tough assignments like raping a very popular female student or a female member of the university staff," Adewale Rotimi, a researcher at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria, wrote in a 2005 scholarly article.

Raping the daughters of rich and powerful families, or the girlfriends of enemies, was another tactic of the groups to prove their dominance, Ifeanyi Ezeonu, an associate professor at Brock University, wrote in 2013.

In addition to innocent victims, one West African organization fighting cult violence says more than 1,700 fraternity members died in intergroup wars in a 10-year span.

The groups were outlawed, and much of their ritualistic element - nighttime ceremonies, code words - seemed to evolve to avoid detection, said Ogaga Ifowodo, who was a student in Nigeria during the 1980s and later taught at Cornell and Texas State universities.

"Early on ... you could distinguish them by their costume," he said. "The Black Axe, they tended to wear black berets, black shirt and jeans."

The transformation was not a coincidence, Mr. Ifowodo said. "At that time, we were under military dictatorships, and they had actually propped up the nowsecret cults as a way of weakening the students' movements," he said. "It violates something that I think is sacred to an academic community, which is bringing into campus a kind of Mafia ethos."

But this does not explain whether, or how, the fraternities could morph into a sophisticated global crime syndicate.

In Nigeria, the groups are not associated with fraud, said Etannibi Alemika, who teaches at Nigeria's University of Jos. Mr. Ifowodo agreed. However, he also backed Toronto Police's conclusion that Black Axe is one and the same as the Neo-Black Movement. In a briefing document posted online, Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board says the two are closely linked, but speculates that the Black Axe is a "splinter group" of the NBM.

The NBM is known to carry out fraud, said Jonathan Matusitz, a professor at the University of Central Florida who has studied Nigerian fraternities. He said the group's members have also been linked, mostly in Nigeria, to drug trafficking, pimping, extortion, and the falsification or copying of passports and credit cards.

"I think that the NBM movement is more about scamming people, and it has some associations with the Black Axe, which kills people," he said. "Have they joined forces to have like a supergroup?

I hope not."

Despite police fears, several people interviewed by The Globe, mostly business owners, said they had never heard of the Black Axe before the police news conference last week.

Kingsley Jesuorobo, a Toronto lawyer who has many Nigerian-Canadian clients, said he has never heard of anyone being intimidated by the group.

Mr. Jesuorobo said he is familiar with the Black Axe in the Nigerian context, but cannot imagine it posing a real threat in Canada. It is more likely that former members gravitate to each other for social reasons, he said.

"It would be a case of comparing apples and oranges to look at how these guys operate - the impunity that characterizes their actions - in Nigeria, and then sort of come to the conclusion that they can do the same thing here," he said.

For Nigerian-Canadians, a cultural minority working hard to establish themselves, the idea is very troubling, he said.

"If these things are true, it would be a bad omen for our community," he said.

After confirming her love interest's $18million bank balance, Ms. Emami did not hear from him for a few days. When they spoke again, she told him she had worried.

He responded that it was a sign of how close they had become; she had sensed something had happened.

The geologist said that during his contract in Turkey, he had been in a mining accident. He was injured and could not get to Istanbul to replace his phone and laptop, which had been destroyed, so would she buy new ones and send them by courier?

Ms. Emami went to the Apple Store at Fairview Mall and called him, asking if he could pay with his credit card over the phone. He said the store would not allow it, and the employee agreed. So she bought the $4,000 laptop and phone and shipped them.

A few days later, he called again: He needed $80,000 to pay the salary of an employee, promising to repay with interest. She told him she would have to borrow from her son, but he reassured her, and she wired the money in several instalments.

The day of his flight, a man called and said he was Mr. Franklin's lawyer and was with him at the Istanbul airport. Someone injured in the mining accident had died, he said, and Mr. Franklin owed $130,000 to his family or he would go to jail.

"He's calling me, he's crying to me," she said. "I didn't have any choice. I go to friends and everybody I know. Because you know, when you're trying to be a good person, everybody trusts you. ...Whatever I asked, they give me."

Even a friend of a friend, a cab driver, lent her thousands. "He told me, you know, dollar by dollar I collected this money," she recalled.

Mr. Franklin sent her details of his rebooked flight, and she promised to pick him up and cook a meal. He would love that, he said; he liked chicken.

"You don't believe how much food I make for him," she said. She was waiting with the packed-up meal the morning of his flight when the phone rang again. It was another lawyer, this time at the Frankfurt airport, he said. Mr. Franklin owed $250,000 in tax before he could leave the country with a valuable stone.

"My heart is just - crash," she said. "I was crying on the phone. I said, 'Please don't do this to me. ... Why are you doing this to me? I told you from the first day, I'm borrowing this money from people.' " A man saying he was Mr. Franklin's son called and told her he had remortgaged his house to save his father and might lose custody of his children because of it. Ms. Emami pulled together $158,000. When her bank would not let her transfer the money, she was instructed to meet a man and a woman in person who deposited it into their accounts.

Ms. Emami's son and her manager at work persuaded her to go to police. When officers told her Mr. Franklin was not real and the money was likely gone for good, they called a psychiatrist to help her grasp the news.

She cannot pay her bills or afford groceries, her credit rating is destroyed and she is hunting for work despite crippling headaches. On Oct. 27, she was served with notice that she will lose her house in Stouffville in 20 days.

"I can't sleep," she said recently, crying.

She had always considered it her "duty" to help people in need, she said. Now her friends, even her sons, are angry that the scam impoverished them as well.

"It's my life, it's my relationships," she said. "And after 30 years living here with five kids, you know, I can't live in the street. I can't go to the shelter."

Other local women describe the lengths fraudsters went to to blend truth and fiction. One received a forged Ontario provincial contract. Two victims in York said the scammers impersonated an Edmonton mining executive. The fraudsters build Facebook and LinkedIn accounts that seem to be populated by friends and family. "When we google them, they do seem real," one woman said.

Daniel Williams of the Canadian AntiFraud Centre, a federal intelligence-gathering agency on fraud, said the scammers profit from economies of scale. "What they did to you, they were doing to 8,000 people that day," he said.

The agency gets more calls from fraud victims a day than it can answer, sometimes exceeding 2,000. Staff look for waves of calls complaining of the same methods.

Authorities estimate they are only ever aware of about 1 per cent to 5 per cent of fraud committed globally, Mr. Williams said. Many victims do not believe they have been scammed or will not report it out of embarrassment.

The amount taken from Toronto victims alone is "absolutely astonishing," he said.

"If you were going to distribute cocaine, for example, you have to buy that cocaine from another smuggler somewhere, and you have to put up money for that."

"In fraud, what is your put-up? What is your overhead? Your commodity that you're trading in, that you're selling, is BS.

BS is cheap, it's abundant, it's infinite. You know, it can be replicated again and again and again and again. ... And that's why it's a better business."

Fraudsters based in Canada work with people in Kuala Lumpur, in Tokyo, in Lagos, Det. Constable Kelly said.

At the turn of the 20th century in New York, Italian-owned banks started suffering bombings, and homes were mysteriously burned down. Police heard the incidents happened after warnings from something called the "Black Hand." But no officers spoke Italian, and investigations were stymied.

It was not until the 1950s that widespread police crackdowns began. By that time, the group now known as the Mafia had spread around the world and made new alliances. The FBI estimates the organization has about 25,000 members and a quarter-million affiliates worldwide, including about 3,000 in the United States.

Police hope the charge against Mr. Ighedoise will send an early message to Canada's Axemen. York and Toronto officers are working to confirm connections between the fraud ring that impoverished Ms. Emami and the ring that Mr. Ighedoise is alleged to help lead.

At their recent news conference, they appealed to the Nigerian community to report instances where the Black Axe has "intimidated" others.

They want to know how ambitious the group really is, Det. Constable Trotter said, and how much it is feared.

If Axemen rely on selling stories, he said, the most important one is for their own community: "That [they] have all the power and authority and the propensity for violence that [they] have back home, here in Canada."

Scammed: Soraya Emami, 63, met Fredrick Franklin through an online dating service in early 2015. He introduced himself as a wealthy geologist, and they talked on the phone several times. Not long after, Ms. Emami started to receive requests for money. Mr. Franklin, who claimed he was on a business trip to Turkey, said he had been in an accident and needed help. By the end of the ordeal, Ms. Emami had sent half a million dollars - money likely gone for good.

Paper trail: A few phone calls turned into legal contracts, flight stubs, promissory notes and endless texts and e-mails after Soraya Emami began a relationship last spring with a man she met online. She kept dozens of messages sent by people pretending to be his lawyers and his son, alternating between panicked pleas, financial instructions and faked receipts. Many messages instructed Ms. Emami how to wire money to save "Fredrick" from mishaps on a business trip abroad. A few weeks after she sent the last wire transfer, she wrote a long e-mail to the man she believed was his son. "My dear Christopher, I don't know your dad Fred, if it is really your dad or any of his story was true or not. But I told you about my life and situations. I was trust[ing] him and believing all his words and wishes and his promises ... please you be my judge and tell me the truth."

Associated Graphic

Soraya Emami, who was the victim of a sophisticated scam, is shown in the Stouffville home she lost to the fraud.



Perpetrators of recent Western terror attacks have largely hailed from a small number of struggling European neighbourhoods. International expert and Globe columnist Doug Saunders has spent the last year researching approaches to building better communities. Here's how we can avert extremism before it starts
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F1

Five weeks ago, I was walking though the immigrant-filled districts of western Brussels, which straddle a 19th-century industrial canal, with some local residents. They were proud of their neighbourhood. In the decade since I'd first visited, Cureghem (on the canal's east side) and Molenbeek (on the west) had transformed from barren, down-at-the-heels places to lively scenes of bustling commerce and street life.

Then we stopped at an odd row of half-abandoned fashionable restaurants and shops. Their owners had moved away or scaled back, a local politician among the group told me, because Moroccan gangs had pressured them, or had made street life too dangerous for employees. "They're our biggest problem," he said, gesturing to the old, largely Moroccan district across the canal in Molenbeek. "Every gain we make here is set back by these guys."

As it happened, we were standing a few dozen metres from the house where one of those guys, 27-year-old Abdelhamid Abaaoud, had grown up and begun formulating his plans for a spectacular act of violence. His text message last Friday triggered this decade's bloodiest Western terrorist attack, killing 129 people in multiple locations in Paris. (He died in a hail of French police bullets this week.) The suicide attackers included at least three other young men from Mr. Abaaoud's criminal circle in Molenbeek.

What turned these young European-born men and many of their neighbours - who generally came from non-religious, educated backgrounds - into violent extremists? Why do most immigrant communities succeed, but a few fall into marginal, dangerous patterns?

That is one of the crucial questions of our age, looming over Europe's broken neighbourhoods, Canada's efforts to settle tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, and the success or failure of the next generations of immigration.

The Paris attacks, and our widening awareness of the neighbourhoods that produced their perpetrators, have thrown this question into stark relief.

A decade and a half of attacks, incidents and arrests have shown that Islamic extremism tends to attract those native-born men of immigrant descent who in other respects are throughly integrated into Western life: those whose origins, like those of Mr. Abaaoud and the members of his circle, are fluent, culturally integrated, middle-class or comfortably workingclass, generally non-religious and in many cases non-Muslim. The popular conceptions are wrong: They are not refugees and they are not immigrants.

They tend to be Westerners, however, who have life experiences - not generally seen in their parents - that include dropping out of secondary school, engaging in drug abuse and petty criminality, and time in the penal system.

And in Europe, those sorts of men tend to come from specific neighbourhoods where those experiences aren't uncommon. The men of Molenbeek also played a part in the Charlie Hebdo killings, the Jewish museum slaying in Brussels last year, and the thwarted AK-47 slaying this summer on a Paris-bound train, among other incidents. The young men who carried out the July 7, 2005, attacks in London came from specific, crime- and extremismprone neighbourhoods in the northern cities of Leeds and Bradford.

These are clearly cases of "failed integration," a phrase popular in the press this week, but it isn't entire ethnic groups, religions or cultures whose second generation has gone off the rails - it's certain places, and specific clusters of people in specific neighbourhoods.

Why is it that Molenbeek is most famous for producing these concentrations of criminality and extremism, while across the canal in Cureghem (and even in several corners of Molenbeek itself), you now find many streets where Congolese, Turks, Bosnians, and Moroccans are succeeding in business life? Why has Paris's Saint-Denis become a place that produces angry extremism, while one district away is Belleville, a quarter that has produced upward mobility for multiple waves of newcomers, including many from those same parts of Arab North Africa. Why do Pakistanis in northern English cities fare badly, on average, while Bangladeshis in southern England are now more successful, in education and other key measures, than are English people overall?

What makes some places turn immigrant families into leaders of business, education and political and cultural life, while other places turn people with the same origins into marginal, invisible, isolated and sometimes violent people?

That question is the subject of a new approach to the problem of integration. For the past year, I've been conducting research as part of an international project, commissioned and directed by World Bank senior economist Manjula Luthria, to examine the factors that make integration work, those that stand in its way, and the best international approaches to removing those obstacles.

This project, and the report it will produce, is part of a shift in international-development thinking away from looking at emigration as a simple movement of labour (and sometimes remittance money) across borders, and toward viewing immigrant success itself as a potent form of international development, and as a way to defuse major international problems.

Migration is not just about simple movement, but involves the creation of networks of people in multiple countries exchanging knowledge, credit, investment, social and financial capital. When those networks crash, dangerous things can happen.

Our research kept returning to one conclusion: Immigration works best when cities and countries prepare the ground in advance by making small investments and institutional changes that give new immigrants footholds, rather than waiting for failures to occur and then resorting to the big, expensive and far more difficult interventions required to fix them. Putting a magnet school, of better quality and with more resources than most middle-class schools, in an immigrant suburb; improving a transportation line; or relaxing small-business regulations on a block where many immigrants are settling can raise the fortunes of countless families, before they arrive.

This is doubly true for refugees: While they tend to be successful and very loyal citizens after settlement, they often arrive without the careful investments, specific plans and pre-existing networks of support that most immigrants experience. It is extra important to prepare the ground for them (Canada's sponsorship system helps this happen, to some extent), and to avoid placing any restrictions on their ability to work, do business, attend schools and invest in their communities.

The places where refugees succeed are in countries that turn them into regular "economic" immigrants as soon as possible, as there is no more important form of safety than leading a normal life in work, education and housing.

To plan in advance for immigration and refugee settlement, you need to understand the pathways that successful migrants follow, and the potential obstacles that will trip them up.

How communities get stuck

Belgium's Moroccans, Mr. Abaaoud's people, are an extreme illustration of the dangers of blocked ambitions. They did not come to the table with an easy hand, and weren't dealt anything much better by their new country.

Their migration was the product of an agreement reached in 1964 between the government of Belgium, which needed tens of thousands of workers for its booming postwar factories, and King Hassan of Morocco, who wanted foreign aid and had also just fought off a rebellion from his country's northern tribal fringes.

The King seized on the agreement and used it, as one historian wrote, to "mitigate rebellious tendencies in several Berber areas" by shipping his least favourite subjects, the very poor, illiterate and deliberately marginalized Rif Mountain tribesmen, off to Brussels and Antwerp for life. They were, in a sense, refugees, except that nobody wanted to sponsor them.

They did well in blue-collar work, in shipyards and factories - until those sectors began to collapse in the 1970s. Then they were stuck. While they had the usual immigrant ambitions and hopes for their children, and some used education and small business to raise their fortunes, most had never been to school, and had no idea how to direct their children through Belgium's rigid and traditional school system, which is almost uniquely ill-designed for classrooms whose students have a mix of origins.

And the schools in their neighbourhoods got worse and worse; many of the non-immigrant students, and the better teachers, departed, causing a downward spiral in educational quality. The Moroccan neighbourhoods were neglected and provided with few resources, from subway stations to skills training to, even, bridges over the canal. The residents themselves had entrepreneurial ambitions but it was damningly difficult to start a legal business, to get a licence or to use your housing space as a restaurant or shop. The city did nothing to bring customers to them; in fact, it warned people away. And the generous Belgian employmentbenefits system was denied these Belgian newcomers, because they were kept out of the full-time labour force: Their Moroccan surnames and insalubrious addresses on a resumé were enough to prevent them from getting a respectable full-time job.

In short, the Moroccans of Brussels were a sharply pointed version of every immigration-failure story.

When it started to become apparent that some of their kids were falling off the edge of society, the first policy responses were slow to arrive, and were often badly misguided.

A generation ago, the big public fear was not failed integration but non-integration: It was widely thought that some groups of immigrants wouldn't adopt the values, customs and affinities of Western life but would instead remain mired in closed "parallel societies," sticking with the norms and folkways of their countries of origin, ignoring the new world around them.

This, it turns out, has not really happened, not to any major immigrant community. It was a misreading of reality: These immigrants weren't retreating into an atavistic Moroccan life; they were trying to survive without the help of the city around them, even if that meant greymarket economies and crime.

The real threat is not that integration won't be sought by immigrants, who've generally been adept, wherever they're from, at finding a bottom rung on the urban ladder. Rather, the threat is that this ladder will lack a second or third rung, leaving those who have done the hard work building the foundations of integration without any opportunities to propel their families into the larger society, education system and economy.

In the last 15 or 20 years, Brussels has become more enlightened, and has made a number of impressive investments in Molenbeek and Cureghem (or has tried to: With its 19 independent municipal governments, Brussels has a hard time making changes).

There are better rapid-transit links, some innovations in schools, a fully equipped training hotel in Molenbeek designed to teach hospitality skills, a successful program to promote Cureghem as a food-and-culture destination, and informal smallbusiness areas. These have had great success in changing the outcomes for the next generation - but have arrived too late for the lost young men of Molenbeek.

In Canada: an enviable track record, but work to be done

Canadians have little experience with this sort of failure - but also, as a result, less experience with the interventions needed to turn it around. The self-integration of newcomers to Canada has, with some exceptions, generally been a successful and fairly uninterrupted process.

This is in large part because the Canadian immigrant and refugee communities of the 20th century got lucky. There was housing available, to rent or buy at low cost, in the dense downtown cores of cities, and they could use the rising value of that housing to finance small business and education. It was easy to start businesses, shops or restaurants, and there were customers nearby.

Most blue-collar jobs were fulltime and permanent. Citizenship was easy to obtain, and, in general, there was more patience in Canadian society for the long path of integration, in which, whatever the culture or nationality, the first generation rarely learns the language and the second generation often fares badly in school.

If we were lucky before, in the coming years Canada will need to get skilled.

The next immigrants and refugees won't always have the same easy landing pads. Immigration today takes place almost entirely in the suburbs, often in sprawling apartment-block neighbourhoods ill-designed for struggling newcomers and lacking spaces for business or transportation links.

The immigrant economy relies more on informal employment and temporary work. And newcomers have a much harder time using home ownership as their main platform for success.

We have the enormous benefits of pre-existing immigrant communities from almost every country to offer networks of mutual assistance and support: Syrian refugees settling in established Arabic districts such as Montreal's Saint-Michel and Saint-Laurent neighbourhoods or in Scarborough's Lawrence East district (sometimes called "Lawrence of Arabia") are more likely to get help finding full-time work and higher education with the help of their neighbours than they are to fall into isolation and alienation.

But many of our cities also have high housing costs, which push new immigrants into the lowestpriced, least supported districts: the high-rise fringes, the rooming-house quarters, the half-abandoned places, the most remote neighbourhoods, the postindustrial wastelands. And even well established immigrant neighbourhoods can fall prey to the education, employment and institutional failures that can lead the Canadian-born second generation into dangerous dead ends.

Prevention is better than cure

How do we prevent, in advance, a Molenbeek from taking shape decades after a group of ambitious newcomers arrive? Or keep the next group of refugees - and there will be many more than the 25,000 being processed now - from falling into intergenerational poverty and isolated, secondclass lives?

Our research - which includes contributors from the Global Diversity Exchange at Ryerson University, Germany's Bertelsmann Foundation, the Brussels-based Cities Alliance and other urban and academic institutions - examined four groups of barriers that tend to leave immigrant-origin communities stuck.

1. The first set of barriers is physical, involving housing, neighbourhoods and transportation.

It's important to allow immigrants and refugees, after their initial settlement, to join clusters of other people from the same background, in places where they can help each other out. A strong body of research has shown that integration happens faster and more effectively when immigrants settle in common districts.

Isolation tends to breed alienation (and, in English-speaking countries, extremism tends to emerge from isolated individuals in non-immigrant neighbourhoods; "ethnic" districts are less prone to extremism).

This often involves turning scattered, low-density districts on the outskirts - the sort that often become immigration centres today - into tighter-knit, more intensely busy places by encouraging infill property development. It involves eliminating zoning and property-use restrictions that prevent immigrants from creating shops, restaurants and light-industrial enterprises in their residential areas.

Density helps integration, if managed smartly. By increasing the flow of pedestrians through a neighborhood, density populates public spaces and creates an environment in which newcomers - particularly women - feel comfortable outside their homes. Increased physical proximity in a secure environment encourages clusters of commercial activity and social vitality to emerge, attracting not only more newcomers, but locals from surrounding communities, as well. Density, together with the commercial activity it stimulates, then justifies investments in transit infrastructure by the government, which helps newcomers reach economic opportunities in other neighborhoods of the city.

Toronto's "Tower Renewal" zoning initiative, permitting the development of dense housing and retail spaces between apartment blocks, is worth encouraging, and expanding to other cities.

Removing physical obstacles often involves putting frequent bus and rapid-transit routes into neighbourhoods of immigrant settlement - not just to get people to their jobs and back, but also to attract customers to the clusters of immigrant-run business, restaurants and culture.

Here, we should study the way Barcelona redeveloped its Nou Barris region - a sprawl of unconnected high-rise developments which the city tied into a neighbourhood using a transit and community hub between the buildings, turning Nou Barris into a destination that attracts shoppers and restaurant-goers rather than a barraen wasteland that people try to escape. Or Amsterdam's Bijlmermeer suburb, whose spiral into crime and marginality was reversed after a highspeed rail hub and immigrant-run retail became its centrepiece.

Home ownership has been the centrepiece of immigrant success, in every English-speaking country (and, interestingly, in the more successful immigrant quarters of Belgium) for the last century: Canadian immigrants often buy housing at a greater rate than native-born Canadians We need tools to allow them to have a property stake in today's less affordable economy.

It's worth emulating one of Brussels' more successful interventions, the community land trust, in which community groups purchase blocks of urban land and sell high-density housing to immigrants at below-market rates using managed, affordable leases which allow the buyers to benefit from the rising value of the property as they make improvements. (This benefit is split with the property trust agency, and owners can only sell the property back to the agency, to avoid flipping.)

And it's worth encouraging banks to offer flexible mortgages to newcomers who don't have established credit histories. Canada has a head start here: Several of its big banks have been particularly good at this, some of them even signing up immigrants before they leave their countries of origin.

2. The second group of barriers are institutional: those that prevent immigrants from having their credentials recognized, their health care and social crises addressed, and that stand in the way of their children getting the education and assistance they need.

Absolutely crucial here are schools: Too many school systems have built-in incentives for children - especially male offspring of immigrants - to drop out early. While Canadian cities have considerable experience with educating classes of mixed experience (and we know these mixes are good educationally, for both newcomers and established Canadian students), many school boards today are providing only one teacher per class. A larger class size with multiple teachers and teaching assistants offering several levels of education is a recipe for inclusion.

Even better, as Zurich and London have both learned, is to put a top-quality magnet school in an immigrant or refugee district - one good enough that middleclass kids from established neighbourhoods will seek admission, and the immigrant kids will compete to get in. Such schools can transform the fates of entire communities. Zurich's magnetschools program, QUIMS (Quality in Multi-Ethnic Schools), was so successful that it has been expanded to 100 schools across the region, all offering extra staff for the assistance of newcomers and their children.

3. Third are economic barriers. Key here is small business.

Previous immigrant groups have succeeded in Canada and other Western countries because they've been able to set up shop, in an ad hoc way, without many bureaucratic or legal barriers.

This is tougher today: It is increasingly difficult for immigrants to find low-cost spaces on streets with pedestrian traffic, in which they can start a business; they often live in areas where there are few such spaces at all. When they do get a space, they discover that licensing, regulatory and hygiene requirements often impose impossible costs on a small-scale business: The need to install, say, a $40,000 ventilation system has scuppered many a promising immigrant food enterprise.

It would be worth emulating Boston's "Back Streets" program, which relaxes business and licensing regulations in low-income areas in order to allow dense, informal and more improvised markets that appeal to visitors and give migrants an easy entry point to the world of commerce.

And new immigrants need business skills. Indeed, often a targeted on-the-job skills-training program can produce far more benefits than social assistance or social work. Here, it would be worth emulating Toronto's Thorncliffe Park district, which runs a training supermarket, in which all the employees are being taught accounting, inventory, management and informationtechnology skills to bring them into more-skilled parts of the workforce.

Or, in fact, Molenbeek itself. Its impressive training hotel takes bookings on all the popular travel sites, boasts of being near the historic core of Brussels, and has a rotating staff who are all learning hospitality-industry and management skills. (It's one of many impressive interventions in Molenbeek, most of which arrived too late for the current, troubled generation.)

Governments can play a big role in turning immigrant failure into success simply by promoting immigrant neighbourhoods as places to shop, eat and do business. Too often, governments do the opposite, trying to keep visitors and tourists away from poor immigrant areas (this is a big problem in European cities). Giving a district a name, an identity, a prominently publicized masstransit stop and some resources to make it more amenable to outside customers - programs to spruce up shopfronts and restaurant patios, street signs, sidewalkwidening programs - can turn a lost immigrant area into one teeming with people.

4. Fourth are citizenship and inclusion barriers, both legal (the ability to become a citizen) and de facto (the ability to participate in the community and have access to the resources of the government with or without citizenship). There is probably nothing more threatening to integration than having a large population living in your city on a more or less permanent basis without a pathway to full, legal citizenship.

Germany learned this the hard way, when two million Turks went 40 years without access to citizenship, and became an isolated, lost generation who couldn't invest in their communities or futures. (In recent years, German Turks have become citizens in greater numbers, and now are becoming a success story.) The United States is still learning this with its 12 million long-term residents, many of them born in the U.S. These people are "illegal," and thus lack the privileges of citizenship, including full education access. The result: an enormous lost opportunity.

Ambitious immigrants, if they don't know they'll become citizens, won't invest in their communities, start legal businesses, put their kids in higher education or enter the financial or political system: They'll be stranded. Whether we call them "illegal aliens" or "temporary foreign workers," we're risking failed integration - not just for them but for the wider community around them - if we put up barriers to citizenship, inclusion, voting and economic participation.

Refugees are especially in need of de facto (and eventually legal) citizenship recognition. All refugees are also, on some level, regular immigrants: They are seeking a safer and more stable place for their families, which entails having a job, a secure house, and the ability to affect their surroundings. Some countries, such as Sweden, have left refugees in dangerous limbo by forbidding them from seeking work until they've learned the language, if at all. They're left with little to do but hang around public squares and malls, creating a negative public image that helps spread anti-refugee rhetoric, all because the newcomers are barred from normal life.

The most successful and noncontroversial refugee groups are those that are transformed, as quickly as possible, into regular "economic" immigrants: If they're included quickly in the employment, education and housing systems of the established immigrant community, they will be more likely to stabilize their lives, give up their temporary mindset and become valuable members of their communities.

If we fear for the futures of our newly settled refugees - or worry that the 300,000 immigrants who settle in our cities every year won't live the Canadian dream of the previous millions - then we need to step back and look at what has worked. We need to follow the dotted line that leads from a faraway country, through a low-cost neighbourhood somewhere, into the centre of our economies and lives. And we need to see where that line may be interrupted, and restore its path. Integration is something that happens, naturally, if we provide the right footholds.

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

WEB EXCLUSIVE The Next Debate: 'The threat is now quite real' Warsaw-based journalist Anne Applebaum fears the massive wave of refugees has already sparked a right-wing backlash that threatens the European Union's very existence.

Associated Graphic

Life is gradually improving in Cureghem, a multi-ethnic district in Brussels, but the same cannot be said across the canal in disaffected, radicalized Molenbeek.


A registration bureau for newcomers in Cureghem, where revitalization programs have led to notably better results.


LEFT: Molenbeek is the neighbourhood in Brussels where the alleged mastermind of the Paris attacks, 27-year-old Abdelhamid Abaaoud, spent most of his life. The son of successful non-religious, university-educated Moroccan immigrants, he is said to have come back from a trip to Syria determined to set Europe aflame. Abaaoud was killed in a police raid in Paris this week


BELOW: A placard promoting a more peaceful Molenbeek was on display this week after security was tightened in the wake of the carnage in Paris. But something about the district has soured the immigrant experience so much that many young men drop out of school and turn to drug abuse, petty crime and, in some cases, extremism.


For three Syrian brothers, a fresh start in Europe - and a host of fresh challenges, too
They survived civil war, Islamic State threats and a 3,400-kilometre trek. But as Joanna Slater writes, life in Germany is no easy ride
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F1

MUNICH -- Late one night in early October, Basel Omran lay in his bunk bed in a refugee camp and tried, fruitlessly, to sleep. High above him, he could see the pleated fabric roof of the camp, a massive tent in a grassy clearing in southeast Munich. Inside, even after midnight, it was never quiet - there were murmurings, footsteps, the sound of a sink or a toilet, a baby crying, even music.

It wasn't the noise that kept him awake so much as the thoughts of home. Back in Syria, his parents would also be trying to sleep. In their village near Deir al-Zor electricity was a distant memory and each night plunged the area into total darkness. The sky would shake with the roar of government fighter jets. To light even the smallest lamp was to become a possible target for bombardment. Every week, someone perished for risking it.

Basel, a 30-year-old teacher of classical Arabic, peered into the dimness of the small cubicle. His two younger brothers, who had also made the long journey from Syria to Germany, were already asleep. Zain El Abedin, 17, the baby of the three - slightly shy but already trying out German phrases - slept in another upper bunk. Across from Basel on a lower bunk was his brother, Osama, a slender 21-year-old with wide-set eyes and a radiant smile.

Nearly three years earlier, Osama's left leg had been shredded in a government bombing at AlFurat University, where he was a student and Basel taught classes.

The nearest functioning hospital was two hours away. In the ambulance, Basel elevated his brother's mangled leg on his shoulder. Later, he wept as he signed the consent form for the amputation.

When the three brothers made the 3,400-kilometre trek to Germany, Osama travelled the entire way on crutches.

On Sept. 6, the Omran brothers arrived at Munich's main railway station. I met them on the fourhour train ride from Vienna, where they began to share their story with me. In the days and weeks that followed, we remained in contact - through visits and a flurry of WhatsApp messages, exchanging photos and videos.

Along the way, I was able to accompany them on the first steps of their life in Germany, a process that was alternately halting and triumphant.

This is a story about what happens after a refugee's voyage ends. In some ways, this journey is harder than the one that preceded it, despite the dangers and hardships of the refugee trail toward Europe.

Now the three brothers must find their way in an alien place where they never expected to be.

Far from family and friends, they are racked by worry about those they left behind and flummoxed by a seemingly impenetrable bureaucracy.

But they also receive extraordinary help from unexpected places. Their early months in Germany were a complex jumble of emotions: relief and disappointment, hope and frustration, anxiety and jubilation.

Their story is typical of what hundreds of thousands of people are now experiencing across Europe as a mass movement of humanity seeks safety or simply a better life. In Germany alone, more than a million people are expected to apply for asylum this year. Meanwhile, last week's attacks in Paris have bolstered right-wing voices who want to limit or stop the new arrivals - and shifted the public mood on refugees from acceptance toward wariness.

The Omran brothers know all about what it means to feel afraid, both of bombs from the sky and of threats from murderous radicals. With each passing day in Germany, they have made a mental journey from fear to security, slowly absorbing the knowledge that they have reached a place that is safe, a place where many things are possible.

A fortuitous encounter

The man looked like someone important. That was Osama's immediate impression as an older German, slightly rotund and sporting a white mustache, approached him and Basel on one of their first mornings in Munich.

The two brothers were getting breakfast inside what used to be an indoor tennis court but now served as a canteen. In a dozen identical half-cylindrical buildings nearby, refugees rested and plotted next steps.

The three brothers' main priorities at that moment were to sleep and to shower - "for days," joked Basel - after their grimy, fiveweek, eight-country journey.

They were considering leaving for Hamburg, a city in northern Germany where they had friends.

The encounter with Peter Gauweiler - the German man with the mustache - would change all that.

Osama reflected that in Syria, a person of stature would arrive with a large entourage. Not this man: He came with just two other people, and no one scurried to clean up the area ahead of his arrival. Mr. Gauweiler struck up a conversation with Basel and Osama, and was shocked to learn that Osama had travelled the entire trip on crutches.

Such resilience was striking, but so too was the devotion of his older brother. Basel rarely strayed far from Osama. With his air of quiet authority, he was the de facto leader of their small group of Syrians travelling together - when he told people what to do, they listened. But he was also gentle and self-deprecating. The one indulgence in his bag on the way to Germany was a tube of hair gel.

Basel and Osama explained their story to Mr. Gauweiler, who listened attentively. For more than a decade, before retiring earlier this year, he had represented a Munich district in Germany's parliament. A senior leader of the Christian Social Union, the conservative party that dominates the state of Bavaria, he is a vocal critic of the German government's refugee policy. In a recent appearance on national television, he called it "lawless."

Yet, in an individual case, he was moved to help. (Mr. Gauweiler declined requests to comment for this story.) He asked Osama what his dream for the future was, and Osama answered without hesitation: to walk again on two legs. Within days, Mr. Gauweiler would make that a reality.

'Is this the place for my new leg?'

Encountering Mr. Gauweiler was one of two lucky breaks for the Omran brothers in their first days in Germany. The other was meeting a 33-year-old Arabic-speaking volunteer named Rasha Abolof.

Born in Lebanon to Palestinian parents and raised in Austria, she moved to Munich six years ago.

When refugees began flooding into Bavaria in August, she was on vacation from her job at a travel agency. She began helping out at initial reception centres and never stopped.

At first, the brothers weren't sure what to make of Ms. Abolof.

She loved R&B and body building and sported a tattoo in Chinese characters on her forearm. With her big laugh and flashing green eyes, she drew attention like a magnet. But as the days went on, they decided to trust her with their future. It would be one of the best decisions they ever made.

Not long after meeting Mr. Gauweiler, the brothers were moved to a refugee camp in the neighbourhood of Neubiberg, a sedate area of neat homes and low-slung offices. Mr. Gauweiler's staff arranged an appointment for Osama at Streifeneder, an 87year-old company that makes and distributes parts for prosthetic limbs.

Thomas Struk, an orthopedic technician, was waiting for Osama at Streifeneder's outlet in Munich's prosperous downtown core.

When Osama walked through the glass front doors on crutches, his amputation obvious, it was an unprecedented sight. Normally, customers would receive a preliminary prosthesis before they even leave the hospital - not spend years without one.

Osama looked in wonder at the wheelchairs, canes and walkers for sale and the photos of prosthetic limbs on the walls. He had thought he was going to a doctor's appointment, but it dawned on him that this could be something else entirely. "Is this the place for my new leg?" he asked Ms. Abolof. She nodded. He hugged her and began to cry, thinking about what it could be like to feel normal again.

Streifeneder decided to donate the time and materials for his new prosthetic foot, which would cost about 8,000 euros ($11,500) in total. A day after the initial measurements, Osama and Ms.

Abolof returned to the clinic, this time with Basel. Mr. Struk brought out the foot and showed Osama how to place it on his stump - first the silicon liner, then the plastic case which leads down to a foot made of carbon fibre.

After taking some trial steps in the fitting room, holding onto a cane for support, Osama exited a door leading to a small adjacent courtyard. In his career, Mr. Struk has fitted hundreds of prostheses but he had never seen this: Within minutes of going outside on his new foot, Osama began playing with a soccer ball.

'Now my life in Syria is over'

At the camp in Neubiberg, life fell into a routine. A large domed tent with a metal fence around it, the camp houses 300 asylum seekers.

Many of them are from Nigeria, Mali and Eritrea; the Syrians are a minority. The brothers were assigned to room 48, a narrow cubicle with no ceiling and a red curtain for a door. Across the hallway sit the bathrooms and showers, often dirty and sometimes malodorous.

There was little to do except eat and sleep - and brood. In the preliminary stage of the asylum process in Bavaria, claimants don't have the right to work, travel or attend government-sponsored language classes. The brothers spent their days worrying about the status of their paperwork, but most of all about their family back in Syria.

Basel, Osama and Zain El Abedin are three of eight siblings and have dozens of cousins. Teaching runs in the family: Their father was a school teacher before retiring. The area where their parents live is a battleground in which government forces and Islamic State militants are vying for control; more recently, Russian jets have also begun dropping bombs.

The brothers would try to contact their parents via a neighbour every few days, but it wasn't always possible.

Each such break in contact was a kind of torment. Zain - as his brothers call him - missed his parents terribly, and Osama was consumed with thoughts of reuniting his family. Indomitable enough to travel to Europe on crutches, Osama could also seem fragile and nervous. "I always think about the good things and the bad things," he says. Sometimes his face lights up with an infectious grin; at other times, a faraway look comes into his eyes and he prefers to be alone.

Basel never failed to filter his experiences through the absence of his parents. Here he was, in a place with constant electricity, he would tell himself, while his mother and father lived by candlelight. Here he was, watching Osama take his first steps on his prosthetic foot, his joy tempered by the fact that his parents were not there to see it. "When I think of my childhood, I cry for everything that has happened," Basel says. "Even if the war stopped now and we went back, nothing would be the same."

Before the civil war in Syria, Basel studied for a master's degree in classical Arabic in Damascus. Last summer, Islamic State fighters delivered a threat to all the teachers in his hometown: Either teach what we want or be killed. They gave Basel 48 hours to decide. If he accepted, he recalled, he would be taken for a month to an indoctrination camp. "After that, you either believe what they do or you go crazy," Basel says. "It was the worst day. I thought, 'Now my life in Syria is over.' " After midnight, a friend helped him and Zain escape. The two brothers made it to Turkey, where Osama was already staying with relatives. A couple of weeks later, the three brothers left for the coast to make the crossing to Greece.

Into a deep, dark spiral

As they tried to fill the long, empty days in the refugee camp, a fresh anxiety emerged. On Sept. 20, as Osama was getting out of the shower, he banged his left leg on the lip of the stall. Pain shot up his amputated limb, which began to shake. The pain radiated into his chest and his breath grew short. As he stumbled out of the bathroom, Osama passed out. He remained unconscious in the hallway for half an hour. Basel and Zain, both frantic, stayed with him as they waited for the ambulance.

After several hours at the hospital, Osama was sent back to the camp, with painkillers. Eight days later, Osama fainted while the brothers were at a nearby train station. Then it happened a third time. Doctors had no good explanation for the attacks. Tests showed nothing wrong with Osama's heart or brain; perhaps, noted a letter from a nearby clinic discharging Osama, the fainting was related to a kind of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The turn in Osama's health sent Basel into a deep, dark spiral. He felt frightened, and helpless to protect his younger brother, the person he was responsible for in this strange place. The medical issues compounded the anxiety he felt about another setback, this one bureaucratic.

After their registration as asylum seekers, the next step in the process would be an initial interview. Until that took place, the brothers would have no official form of identification, no right to travel within Germany and no ability to receive the monthly stipend for refugees. Their application would be in limbo.

In mid-September, they had learned the date for their initial interview: March 14, 2016. It was a huge disappointment. Before the latest wave of refugees, such appointments would take place within a week or two. Now, a sixmonth wait stretched in front of them before they could begin to move their refugee claim forward.

The appointment was so far away - and so much later than they had expected - that Basel was struck with despair. For two days, he barely left his room and said little to anyone.

'Germany is good, but this place is bad'

In late September, volunteers organized a small party at the camp to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. Basel and Zain sat outside at a table while Osama went inside and returned with slices of cheesecake, almond cake and apple cake. As Osama approached, Basel's expression briefly lit up with satisfaction: His brother was walking toward him without crutches, both hands free to carry plates, with only a slight hitch in his step.

It was a light moment in a time of despondency and frustration consumed by petty and not-sopetty frictions at the camp. A couple of hours earlier, a 12-year-old Syrian boy had accused an African refugee of slapping him (falsely, it turned out). Later the same day, a Syrian refugee picked a bag out of a trash can near the entrance to the camp and another refugee accused him of stealing it.

As tensions rose, two groups of refugees squared off for a brawl.

The security personnel called the police, who sent dozens of officers to the camp. Eventually, the situation was defused.

Norbert Bueker, who leads a tireless group of 200 local volunteers working at the camp, said most conflicts spring from a lack of understanding. Meanwhile, Mr. Bueker also has other issues to contend with: Some of his volunteers are in danger of burning out, while others are vulnerable to criticism from friends and neighbours who say Germany shouldn't be helping so many refugees. A spokesman for Inner Mission, a social-service organization with three employees in the camp, said a new weekly council had helped refugees feel their concerns were taken seriously.

For the three brothers, their early experience of Germany was limited to the refugee camp, government offices and the hospital. Some things they found baffling: "Why do families here have so few children?" Basel wondered.

And others they found pleasantly different: the orderly traffic, the punctual trains, the ability to hug women friends in greeting, for instance.

The anxiety and idleness at the camp were corrosive. "Germany is good, but this place is bad," said Basel, gesturing to the large tent.

In late September, he grew depressed and talked of returning to Syria. Better to go back home and die in peace, he said, than live in a barn like animals. "The situation here is not as we expected and we dream," he wrote in a message one evening.

In early October, their sister Balqis succeeded in making the journey to Germany with her husband and one-year-old son. She was assigned to a refugee camp at the other end of the country, two hours north of Berlin. The Omran siblings were now split evenly between two worlds: four in Germany, four remaining in Syria.

Then, in the middle of October came a stroke of luck. Ms. Abolof, the volunteer who met the brothers when they first arrived, had spent weeks shuttling between the local authorities and the federal refugee office. Finally, her ceaseless efforts bore fruit. A bureaucrat agreed to shift the interview dates forward for 17 Syrian refugees in the Neubiberg camp ("my 17 children," says Ms. Abolof, laughing). When Basel heard the news, his face was a mask of shock and joy. He grabbed Ms. Abolof's hand and started to dance.

'A heavy burden has been lifted' The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees in Munich is housed in a squat grey building. Outside on a recent morning, the trees have turned yellow and orange.

Inside, a handful of people sit or sleep in a grim waiting room on the ground floor. As the minutes pass and more people arrive, the room grows full, then overflows.

At 7:30 a.m., Basel, Osama and Zain come in with Ms. Abolof.

Filled with nervous energy, Basel prefers to remain standing, bouncing on the balls of his feet.

He complains that these days the brothers do little except eat and sleep, but he sounds more resigned than frustrated.

The atmosphere in the camp is less charged than before. Basel has befriended a few refugees from other countries and says some of the security personnel are helpful. Food still runs out at breakfast and dinner, and sometimes the bread is mouldy, but now these seem like temporary problems to be endured. After suffering three fainting attacks since his arrival in Munich, Osama has had no such incidents in the last two weeks.

A couple of days earlier, Basel recounts, Mr. Gauweiler made a surprise visit to the refugee camp with two local officials in tow.

They all crowded into their small sleeping cubicle to talk. Mr. Gauweiler asked what the brothers wanted to do next. Zain answered that he'd like to finish school.

Osama said he wanted to go to university and become a photojournalist. Basel's first priority was to learn German, with the hope of eventually becoming an interpreter.

After four hours of waiting, the brothers are called upstairs for their interviews. Most queries are straightforward: name, date of birth, marital status, profession, date of arrival in Germany. Then, Basel says, the bureaucrat's eyes "zoom in like cameras" on his face and she asks him, "Do you have problems with the Syrian government?" It is an odd question. It is hard to imagine a Syrian fleeing their home who does not have problems with the Syrian government, let alone one whose brother's leg was shredded by a government bomb. Basel believes the query is a way of asking whether he is a rebel fighter - and he answers truthfully, "No." In 10 minutes, the interview is over. As they finish up the paperwork, the translator - a man from Sudan - asks about what is going on in Syria. "We just want peace, that's all," Basel says.

At 2:30 p.m., the three brothers emerge from the refugee office, stunned and happy. They have all passed this stage of the process.

They are holding the next step: a 12-point questionnaire which will be used to evaluate their asylum claim. (Question 11: Are you an eyewitness to or affected by: War crimes? Torture or rape of civilians? Executions? If yes, when and where were these incidents? Please explain briefly.)

In a few days, they will enter the district administration office in Munich and emerge with their first stipends and with photo identification confirming their status as an asylum seeker. It indicates that, as of Dec. 10, they can travel anywhere in Germany and also, in theory, get a job. Soon after, Basel will begin German classes three times a week, helping translate the lessons from English to Arabic for his friends.

But now it is time for a small celebration. At a self-serve Turkish restaurant near Munich's central station, the three brothers sit at a long table. They drink Ayran, a yogurt beverage, and eat kebabs and rice. They are in high spirits. At one point, Osama gives Ms. Abolof, the Austrian volunteer who has become a dear friend, a peck on the cheek. He is laughing but also daring - the life they have here will be different, with different freedoms. Yet they are unanimous: If the war in Syria ended tomorrow, they would return home immediately.

Meanwhile, knowing they have passed another hurdle is "like a heavy burden has been lifted," Zain says, touching his shoulders. Their father was very worried about the interview, and the brothers look forward to reassuring him that everything went well. Basel says he is filled with energy and feels like running through the streets. "The only thing is my family," he says. "I would hold all the happiness in the world in my hands if my family were here."

As night falls, the restaurant fills up. The brothers set off through the darkened streets. It is a cold, clear evening and office workers are streaming toward home. The roads are full of cars and trams.

Ahead of them looms the same railway station where they arrived, exhausted and uncertain, two months earlier. Basel looks up into the night sky. "I feel like a door has opened," he says. "The big door - the door to the future."

Joanna Slater is a Globe and Mail correspondent based in Berlin.

Associated Graphic

Basel Omran (centre), seen here on a train bound for Munich, says: 'I would hold all the happiness in the world in my hands if my family were here.'


A German company donated a prosthetic limb for Osama Omran, who had been injured in a Syrian bombing.


Basel Omran holds his paperwork and an ID card issued by the security service at his German refugee camp.


It is 'like a heavy burden has been lifted,' said Zain (right), after the brothers passed a German government interview that will allow them to receive photo ID.


'When I think of my childhood, I cry for everything that has happened,' says Basel (left), standing with brother Osama outside the refugee camp in the Munich neighbourhood of Neubiberg.


Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A8

LONDON -- The maelstrom began as a chilly wind that whipped through the refugee tents of Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. It was Thursday, Nov. 12, and I spent the day sitting on the floors of a succession of handmade dwellings, listening as refugees told tales of the horrors they had witnessed before fleeing the nightmare that is Syria. We also spoke

'Da'esh is fighting just over the mountains," intoned the Lebanese aid worker who guided me along the narrow muddy paths that serve as roads in the informal refugee settlements. He nodded at the brown western slope of Mount Lebanon, the natural border between Lebanon and Syria. Da'esh is the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State, a name preferred by Muslims who don't like to grant the extremist group any link with their religion.

That evening, as my taxi returned to Beirut, the radio started to crackle. Two suicide bombers had attacked the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital, killing 43 people. IS, or rather Da'esh, immediately claimed responsibility.

Less than 30 hours later, eight (or more) IS militants were launching their deadly assault on Parisian lovers of music, food and sports, adding 130 to the dead and rattling one of the West's great capitals to its core.

I spent part of Sunday running with a crowd of hundreds from a phantom follow-up attack on Paris's central Place de la République. Someone heard a bang and thought it was a gunshot, and we all fled through the lobby of the adjacent Crowne Plaza hotel. I ran through the kitchen and took a staff elevator up to my room, where, along with several employees, we triple-locked the door and tried to figure out what we would do if the nonexistent gunmen started moving floor by floor through the hotel.

The winds kept blowing. By Monday - four days after I sat in the refugee tents of the Bekaa Valley - I was standing in the rain at a police line in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek, the gritty streets that had produced at least three of those suspected of involvement in the Paris attacks.

Events had propelled me through three countries and more than 3,000 kilometres from Thursday to Monday. But it was all the same story.

A clash of civilizations?

In some ways, we have never seen an extremist organization like the Islamic State. The group controls a swath of Iraq and Syria that is larger in area than Britain. Millions of people live under its harsh rule. And over the past three weeks - as it bombed a Russian airliner, attacked a Shia neighbourhood of Beirut and then shot up the streets of Paris, all while battling the various armed groups that directly confront it in Iraq and Syria - it has shown a shocking willingness to fight everyone at the same time.

IS may yet achieve what seemed impossible: uniting such disparate forces as the United States, Russia, the European Union, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran against it, even as those forces seek very different outcomes for the region.

The self-declared caliphate can't win the conflict militarily.

But a bloody stalemate that sees the West lashing out at a Sunni Arab army while co-operating in one way or another with the region's Kurds, Shiites, Christians and Jews (as well as a handful of Sunni autocrats) will only prolong and intensify what is already seen by many in the Middle East as a clash of civilizations.

The problem isn't as simple as defeating IS. It is only the most awful symptom of a much wider illness. The real sickness is a Middle East shattered along sectarian lines that don't match the borders as they are drawn. And if we don't deal with that as part of our war against IS, the cancer will only continue to spread.

Every one of the refugees I met in the Bekaa Valley had horrifying tales to tell, and so - most worryingly - did their children.

They had seen friends shot dead beside them, brothers and fathers executed. One girl, 12 years old, tried to explain to me what it looked like when a person's jaw is blown off.

But almost all of the 1.1 million refugees in Lebanon - as with the bulk of the 750,000 refugees in Jordan - had fled the Syrian army, not IS (the two million refugees in Turkey are a different matter, since most people fleeing IS-controlled eastern Syria would likely head there). Those were the Syrian army's bullets, not Da'esh's, shooting best friends where they stood, and tearing off jaws. The Syrian army, not incidentally, answers to commanders who are Alawite by faith, an offshoot of Shia Islam.

The rage those experiences produce - an anger that the Palestinian experience has taught us will be passed on for generations - is what IS feeds off.

While the West debates shutting its borders to refugees over a single, suspiciously intact Syrian passport, the wars in Syria and Iraq are still producing thousands of new refugees and internally displaced people every day.

And luring people such as the Paris attackers to join the jihad.

The vast majority of Syrian refugees are Sunni Muslims, whether they are fleeing IS or Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces and their Shia militia allies from Iran and Lebanon.

The same holds true in Iraq, where refugees I've met in the camps of Kurdistan tell chilling stories of IS brutality. But ask them why locals did not resist IS when the extremists arrived in Mosul and other cities, and they switch to tales of how Iraq's Sunnis were persecuted by Iraq's Shia-dominated military before IS arrived.

To the West, the IS militants are unqualified barbarians. In parts of Iraq and Syria, they are seen as needed protection against a sectarian foe.

Already, we are seeing teenagers grow into young men who know only discrimination and violence. The generation coming up behind them includes hundreds of thousands of children who haven't been to a school for years. And, like the Palestinians before them, they have no homeland now. Iraq and Syria, as they are structured, will never be places to which Sunni Muslims will happily return.

George W. Bush claimed that he was acting in the name of "Iraqi freedom" when he sent the U.S. military into Iraq in 2003 to topple Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein. But while Mr. Hussein's ouster may have brought democracy to Iraqis - insofar as elections are held every few years - the invasion did not deliver freedom.

Iraqis can choose their own leaders now, but not their fate.

Unless there is a sudden outbreak of secularism in the country, Iraq's Shia majority - which suffered for decades as the Cold War superpowers took turns backing Mr. Hussein - knows that it will write the rules from here on out. The country's Sunnis know that, as long as they are ruled by Baghdad, it's their turn to suffer.

All the solutions on the table are messy, but the only one with a long-term chance of success is to let the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds go their own ways. It's difficult to envision. The Turkish and Iranian governments fear that a Kurdish state in northern Iraq and northern Syria will inspire fresh demands among their own Kurdish populations. The Sunni Arab kingdoms of the region worry that a dissolution of Syria and Iraq might cause their citizens to question the ruler-straight borders of their own countries. And how do you deal with multicultural cities, such as Baghdad and Damascus?

But history teaches that, when pluralistic countries fail, nation states eventually emerge.

Europe rarely saw peace under the empires that existed before the First World War. Similarly, the peoples of the Balkans kept fighting one another until each had its own state. The borders of Iraq and Syria - lines drawn on a map 99 years ago by British and French civil servants - make even less sense than those of Austria-Hungary or Yugoslavia.

What does any of this have to do with the rise and reach of the Islamic State? Well, pretty much everything.

When IS seized control of Mosul - Iraq's second-largest city - in the summer of 2014, the group celebrated with one of its more mundane videos, announcing the end of the Sykes-Picot agreement between Britain and France that drew the border between Iraq and Syria in 1917.

Many of the horrific propaganda videos the group has released are aimed at instilling fear in its many enemies. Fear is the best weapon IS has. Fear has driven numerically superior Iraqi and Syrian forces to abandon their weapons and positions at word of an IS advance. Every foe of IS has seen the gruesome beheading videos, or the immolation of the Jordanian fighter pilot in a cage. Fear of another attack like the one on Paris is what we're all talking about today.

But the video released in June, 2014, was aimed at winning the hearts and minds of the people it sought to rule. In one of his few public appearances, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said from a Mosul mosque: "This blessed advance will not stop until we hit the last nail in the coffin of the Sykes-Picot conspiracy."

Keeping Iraq together involves the West helping a predominantly Shia army crush a militia that claims to represent the country's Sunni minority. Keeping Syria, a majority Sunni state, together seems to involve some kind of accommodation with at least parts of the Alawite-run regime of Mr. al-Assad.

This is not an argument for or against military intervention, although the West's actions in the Middle East since 2003 (and arguably long before) have spectacularly backfired. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, however involved deeply in the Balkan wars, can claim some successes - largely because it allowed and encouraged different peoples to go their different ways.

The Sunni Awakening

The first time I met Sheik Ali Hatem al-Suleimani was in the spring of 2008 at his fortified villa in Kerada, a Sunni neighbourhood of Baghdad. While an American journalist and I waited for our scheduled interview, Sheik al-Suleimani finished playing Black Hawk Down on his video-game console. It's a game in which the player takes the side of U.S. soldiers on a mission in Mogadishu, battling Somali militants eager to spill American blood.

The sheik, then 37 years old, was enjoying playing the American side. "I like it better," he explained after finally putting down his controller. "They have better weapons. It's easier to win."

Back then, he thought he was on the winning side. After years of fighting against the U.S. occupation - with some of his men doing so under the flag of alQaeda in Iraq - the head of the powerful al-Dulaimi tribe had been persuaded (with a lot of cash) to switch and turn his guns against the extremists.

They would call it the Sunni Awakening, and the militias they formed became known as the Sons of Iraq. It all worked rather well - for a while. "Guns and tribes, this is my power," the sheik boasted to me.

Iraq's Sunnis had not been extremists under Saddam Hussein, Sheik al-Suleimani reminded me.

They had been staunchly secular.

The militant salafism that had spread in places such as Fallujah and his hometown of Ramadi was foreign to most of those who lived there. Groups such as al-Qaeda in Iraq had taken root only because the locals had become disillusioned with the U.S. occupation and the Shia politicians - like then-prime-minister Nouri alMaliki - it was empowering.

The Sunni Awakening bested alQaeda in Iraq, but not Mr. al-Maliki. By 2013, the Iraqi government had disbanded the Sons of Iraq.

The Sunni militias were no longer in charge of the streets of Mosul, Fallujah and Ramadi. Mr. Maliki's Shia-dominated army was the only force allowed to publicly bear arms. Refugees fleeing the IS takeover of Mosul would later tell me how the Iraqi army would detain and sometimes torture young men simply because they had Sunni names.

Iraq's descent back into chaos happened as Syria's civil war - which had begun when Mr. alAssad's soldiers opened fire on peaceful (and predominantly Sunni) demonstrators at the end of the "Arab Spring" in 2011 - was entering a dangerous new phase.

Proof emerged that his forces had used chemical weapons in the summer of 2013 against something that still existed then: religiously moderate Sunni rebels.

Desperate to avoid the fall of his regime, Mr. al-Assad had crossed every red line. U.S President Barack Obama sent American warships into the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

I was in Jordan's sprawling Zaatari refugee camp that fall, meeting once more with emotionally and psychologically damaged Syrian refugee children. You could see then that the coming generation was an unfolding disaster, one that - left unattended - held the potential to destabilize the Middle East and the world for decades to come. I met a 13-year-old who watched his father being shot and killed by Mr. al-Assad's forces three years ago. He told me that his only dream "when I turn 16 or 18" was to join the jihad.

But the refugee children's parents, in the fall of 2013, saw hope in the expected Western military action against the al-Assad regime. "Everybody is waiting for the strike," said Mahmoud Hoshan, a refugee who ran a mobilephone shop in the camp. "We don't want to be disappointed.

People are selling their things, getting ready to go back."

But the West, as we know, backed down. Russian President Vladimir Putin offered both his ally, Mr. al-Assad, and Mr. Obama an off-ramp from conflict - a deal to remove chemical weapons from the country - and both sides gratefully took it.

The war would continue. The alAssad regime would use barrel bombs instead of chlorine gas.

Even though reports occasionally surface suggesting that chemical weapons are still being used by various sides in Syria, no one would speak of red lines any more.

To Mr. Obama, it probably looked as if he were avoiding Mr. Bush's mistakes, not to mention keeping a war-weary United States out of another intractable Middle Eastern conflict. But to the Sunnis fighting Mr. al-Assad - who briefly looked to the skies hoping American jets were coming to save them - it was a huge betrayal. After all, imaginary chemical weapons had been enough to trigger the invasion of Iraq and the toppling of a Sunni dictator. Now the use of real ones (against a Sunni population) was being allowed to go unpunished in Syria.

In the fall of 2013, IS was one militia among many in Syria's conflict. Nine months later, by the summer of 2014, it had largely subsumed the local al-Qaeda affiliate, and had taken over territory from the edge of Aleppo to the outskirts of Baghdad.

With both the Iraqi capital and the Kurdish mini-state under threat, the West finally decided to intervene in Iraq and Syria. A broad U.S.-led coalition - including Canada, France and Britain, as well as the rattled Sunni Arab dictatorships of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - declared war on IS.

A root feeling of injustice

It was June of 2014 when I saw Sheik Ali Hatem al-Suleimani again. This time, he had agreed to meet a small group of foreign journalists on the mezzanine floor of a five-star hotel in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish ministate in northern Iraq.

In some ways, he was a refugee, too. There was no place for a rich sheik in impeccably tailored white robes among the black-clad jihadis who that month had driven the Iraqi army from Mosul, Fallujah and Ramadi. But he still claimed leadership of the alDulaimi tribe. And he acknowledged that his tribesmen were now fighting alongside the Islamic State.

Speaking before the Western air strikes began, he foresaw at least two wars that needed to be fought. The first was the war that the region's Sunnis were waging against the al-Maliki and al-Assad governments. After those fights were won, he said, the Sunnis would have an internal battle over what kind of state they wanted. Then, sheiks like him might again have a role similar to the one they played in the Sunni Awakening of 2007 and 2008. "We are postponing our fight with Da'esh until later," he said with almost none of the bravado he had displayed six years earlier.

I asked him if he thought that Iraq was falling apart. His reply suggested that he would not mind if it did. "Dividing Iraq is better than us being killed every day."

The lesson of Sheik al-Suleimani's rise and fall is not that Western governments should invest in people like him again (although I wouldn't be surprised if they do), but that there is a root feeling of injustice that each of these Sunni movements - al-Qaeda, the Sons of Iraq, IS - has used to fuel a fighting force.

We were shocked on Sept. 11, 2001, to discover that there was an angry army out there that blamed us for the troubles in their part of the world.

Fourteen years later - in the wake of another horrific attack on a Western capital - the unlearned lesson is that we won't feel safe in our homes until the peoples of the Middle East feel safe in theirs.

Anger and resentment

As I walked through the rainy streets of Molenbeek on Monday, there were two words that connected it all, from the refugee camps I had been in a few days before, to the massacres in Paris, to the Molenbeek residents glaring at the police and journalists invading their neighbourhood: hatred and injustice.

Yes, they hate us. We (the West) now understand very well that there is a very committed and growing group of people who hate us and what we stand for.

But do they hate our culture - our openness, our wine drinking, even our tolerance - as many writers have suggested since the attacks on Paris?

No, those are just symbols of "us." People in Raqqa and Mosul didn't hate us in 2002. They may not have wanted to drink wine with us and they definitely resented Western support of Israel, but they didn't want to see Westerners bleed on the streets of Paris.

There were others who did - witness al-Qaeda's attacks on the United States, London and Madrid - but that's a different issue and a different story.

So why does IS seem so much more dangerous than the Algerian or Palestinian groups that we fretted about in the 1980s and 1990s, or even al-Qaeda? It terms of capabilities, it is not. The attacks on the soft targets of Paris nightlife required none of the sophisticated planning and preparation that went into al-Qaeda's 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; nor its previous operations against the USS Cole as it docked in Yemen or against a pair of U.S. embassies in Africa.

What IS has is a bigger pool of anger and resentment to draw on, young Muslims who now see the conflict as civilizational, rather than a beef with the U.S. government and its military. The Koran and its more dangerous interpretations have been with us for centuries. There is nothing new about the ideology of IS, the idea of a caliphate or the need to wage jihad against all non-believers.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has none of Osama bin Laden's creepily serene charisma. Nor is he a Saudi billionaire. He just has better timing.

Al-Qaeda grew out of Muslim anger over the Israel-Palestine conflict and - in the case of Mr. bin Laden and his immediate coterie - the presence of U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia and other sacred lands of Mohammed. Now the casus belli has multiplied to include Iraq and Syria.

So, too, has the pool of potential jihadis. As the Paris attacks demonstrated yet again, refugees are not the worry - at least not yet. As with the Madrid and London attacks in 2004 and 2005 and the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January, nearly all the perpetrators were born, bred, marginalized and radicalized in the European societies they attacked.

The kerosene was everywhere; IS only provided the match.

Take a stroll through Molenbeek, on the edge of Brussels, where Friday's assaults were hatched, or the Paris banlieue of Gennevilliers, the last address of the Charlie Hebdo attackers, and you enter worlds that sit inside - but are in many ways no part of - the Europe that surrounds them.

Jobs are scare, education is a league behind what is offered in richer parts of the cities, the police are mistrusted.

As Doug Saunders points out in his Focus essay this weekend, it is precisely these factors that help encourage homegrown extremists down the path to radicalization.

Many youths feel that they have no place in the France or Belgium to which their parents moved their families, so they look for another identity. IS, as with al-Qaeda before it, is waiting for them - online and sometimes right in their neighbourhood - with narratives connecting their local troubles to faraway wars and a clash of civilizations.

A troubled path

There is no prescription here. Only a warning, a feeling I picked up during that ill wind that blew me from the Bekaa Valley to Brussels, via Paris.

It's a simple one: Worse lies ahead down the road that world leaders are currently plotting. A Russian-French agreement to work together to punish IS, while necessarily empowering the remnants of the al-Assad regime to expand back into parts of the country where it is feared and reviled, will not stem the refugee flow from Syria. Nor will it convince the country's Sunni Muslims that we care about their interests. The same applies in Iraq, where we bolster the Kurds and a hated national army against IS there.

"Why don't they stay and fight for their country?" is one barb often aimed at the young men fleeing Iraq and Syria.

The root of the problem is, they don't have one.

Follow me on Twitter: @markmackinnon

Associated Graphic

Four days after I sat in the refugee tents of the Bekaa Valley, I was in standing in the rain at a police line in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek.



As I walked through the rainy streets of Molenbeek on Monday, there were two words that connected it all, from the refugee camps I had been in a few days before, to the massacres in Paris, top, to the Molenbeek residents glaring at the police and journalists invading their neighbourhood: hatred and injustice.


How an emerging middle class is reshaping China's landscape
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B8

SHANGHAI -- Huang Jia Ying stands in front of an Italian coffee shop in Shanghai with an iPhone 6 in one hand and a $10 Godiva ice cream cone in the other. She has short cropped hair, wears a loose sweater and clutches a black Michael Kors purse as she takes a break from Saturday afternoon shopping.

She's placed three overflowing bags from American Eagle Outfitters on the ledge of a concrete fountain, next to a hip, young father resting beside a hot pink stroller.

"I come to hang around, to buy clothes, have dinner," says Ms.

Huang, who works in customer service for a Fortune 500 company.

Obviously not poor - she has relatives in Vancouver, but chooses to stay in China - Ms. Huang is not a millionaire, either. She explains that this retail complex - called the Life Hub @ Daning - has more affordable brands than the luxury malls in central Shanghai. And she's not about to go shopping at Prada, either, noting that English lessons for her daughter are beginning to strain her finances.

"I only shop at sales," she says, gesturing to her bags. "American Eagle is 35-per-cent off right now."

Ms. Huang is one of China's new urban, middle-class consumers.

And she is at the centre of a big bet on Chinese real estate being made by one of Canada's largest overseas real estate investors: Ivanhoé Cambridge, the real estate arm of the powerful Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. Ivanhoé Cambridge - which has $48-billion in property assets around the world - teamed up with a Dutch pension manager earlier this year and injected $920-million (U.S.) into Chongbang Group, which developed the Life Hub @ Daning project, along with several others.

When some global investors think of Chinese real estate, they visualize the excesses of Beijing's infrastructure-building binge in the wake of the global recession: Eerily-deserted ghost cities of endless, towering apartment blocks; enormous, empty malls of darkened shops; corrupt local government officials in provincial cities presiding over massive property-related debt that could represent a systemic shock to China's economy.

But when Ivanhoé Cambridge thinks of China's real estate market, it is thinking of top-tier cities such as Shanghai, not remote corners of the Chinese hinterland; and it is thinking of well-off - but not absurdly wealthy - consumers such as Ms. Huang, who form the backbone of the burgeoning Chinese middle class. China, in turn, is powering a broader, longer-term shift of the world's middle-class wealth from Europe and North America to faster-growing parts of Asia, where huge populations are gaining disposable income.

With roughly $1.2-billion invested in China, Ivanhoé Cambridge is betting talk of a China slowdown is overrated, and that Beijing will be able to orchestrate a transition from an export-oriented manufacturing economy to sustainable growth based on domestic consumption and a middle class.

A focus on emerging markets

Rita-Rose Gagné, Ivanhoé Cambridge's executive vice-president in charge of growth markets, is a busy woman: She's on the road nearly 50 per cent of the time. In early November, she arrived in Shanghai for the Montreal mayor's trade mission to China, and was leaving later that week for New York to speak at a conference before returning to Montreal for a weekend with her family.

Ms. Gagné was then off to Brazil, where she chairs Ancar Ivanhoe, a joint venture with Brazil's Carvalho family that is now a topfive player in Brazil's shopping centre sector. Ivanhoé Cambridge has about $2-billion (Canadian) worth of assets in Brazil, the firm's largest emerging market.

But growth markets still only account for about 9.2 per cent of Ivanhoé Cambridge's total investments. That figure is going to go up, Ms. Gagné says.

"It's about to double at least," Ms. Gagné says, noting that the growth markets team has expanded rapidly in the past year and a half to 22 people, with 10 on the ground in China. "Our role is to position Ivanhoé Cambridge for the next phase of growth."

That growth is the emerging middle class in places such as China and Brazil. Unlike emerging-market equities investors, though, which can tap into country-wide economic growth through companies selling consumer goods, real estate investors - and particularly more cautious pension funds like Ivanhoé Cambridge - have to be much more specific. That doesn't mean Ivanhoé Cambridge will never invest in second-tier cities, Ms. Gagné says, pointing out that these cities can have populations above 10 million. It just means that for now, they can't invest in less predictable places on the assumption that booming growth will spread there in 10 years time. For Ms. Gagné, for now, that means investing in places such as Shanghai.

"We're pretty focused on the big cities," she says, as a mini-bus zooms her and top executives from Chongbang Group to one of their development sites outside of Shanghai. "It costs you to invest in first-tier cities. But we're a pension fund. We need to look at the risk-return ratio."

But even within greater Shanghai - with a population of about 23 million - there is a need to be site-specific. In the city of Kunshan, which is roughly 20 minutes by high-speed train from a major Shanghai train station, real estate is roughly $2,500 per square metre - and that's where Ivanhoé Cambridge and Chongbang Group are building a massive, mixed-use residential, commercial and retail project called the Life Hub @ Kunshan.

That allows Ivanhoé Cambridge to tap into the right macro-level trends: middle-class growth, as young Chinese continue to move from the countryside into cities.

In central Shanghai, though, where some real estate has New York prices, per-square-metre costs skyrocket to $10,400 - and it becomes a luxury play.

"One mistake investors have made in China is focusing on luxury," Ms. Gagné says, as she gets out of the bus at the Kunshan project. "This is the higher bracket of the middle class. It's not lowend, mass market. This is a much more sustainable model for China. We're focusing on young, professional families. It's a very good fit."

To do that, Ms. Gagné says, you need a good partner.

"If you look at who has made money in China and who hasn't, it usually comes down to their partners."

'Bonjour! Welcome to Kunshan!'

Fannie Leung, Chongbang Group's cheery marketing head, walks across a wide road in Kunshan - which is effectively a dis...

tant suburb of Shanghai - and up to one of the deer statues scattered across the grass. She chooses a bright blue deer with pink antlers and legs. A young woman's face is painted on the deer's white chest, while cartoons of lipstick, makeup brushes and compacts decorate its flank. Ms. Leung smiles as she gives the deer's flank a slap, prompting it to deliver an ode to their Québécois partners.

"Bonjour! Welcome to Kunshan!" the deer says.

Ms. Leung leads the group past the deer - a temporary condo marketing trick that is dwarfed by larger, permanent deer statues nearby - and through the ongoing construction of office space to a grassy spot in front of the huge 30-storey apartment blocks that make up the residential bulk of the project. Henry Cheng, Chongbang's ebullient chief executive officer, gazes up at the building and begins his sales pitch for their particular brand of real estate.

Mr. Cheng, who is from Hong Kong, has been based in Shanghai for 22 years. With his previous company Shui On Group, he was responsible for one of Shanghai's most well-known development projects: Xintiandi, an area of bars, shops and cafés built of revitalized Shanghainese shikumen lane-way houses channelling Shanghai's romantic 1920s vibe.

He divides the past 20-odd years of real estate experience into two broad phases. From 1992 to 2000 was the era of quantity, he says, the early years of China's opening when China bloomed with thousands of apartment blocks and Shanghai swampland sprouted China's highest skyscrapers. The second era, from 2000 to about 2010, was what he calls the era of quality, when projects like Xintiandi opened up and competition got fiercer between developers fighting for prime land as prices began to skyrocket.

"Now we are entering the third phase - the survival of the fittest," Mr. Cheng says. "Quantity no longer counts. Even quality isn't enough. Now you have to be different."

For Chongbang's executives, different means more than creating mixed-use real estate projects that blend office, retail and highquality residential apartment units that come fitted with appliances - unlike some other cost-cutting developers, Mr. Cheng said, pointing to a large development across the street in Kunshan that sold empty apartments that require hundreds of residents to begin installing toilets and kitchens as they all move in at the same time. It also means creating physical spaces for located near a lot of the Shanghai region's auto factories; and there is the Daning Life Hub, as well as one in Shanghai's Jinqiao neighbourhood, both of which are on the city's subway system.

Mr. Agethen notes that growth in China occurs in pockets, and that although the national economy has dipped to 7-per-cent gross GDP growth, satellite cities around Shanghai are still growing between 8 and 9 per cent.

Ivanhoé Cambridge and Chongbang have used these areas as staging grounds to focus in on a highly particular segment of China's broader middle-class growth story: Young, newly-urban professionals who might be coming into real disposable income for the first time, and might care about things - such as greener cities, urban transportation connections, higher-quality shopping and leisure options - that were distant concerns before.

By some estimates, the European and North American share of the global middle class will shrink from roughly 50 per cent today to about 22 per cent in 2030, while Asia will grow to account for 64 per cent - and about 40 per cent of middle-class consumption. By 2030, the Asian Development Bank estimates that China alone will account for 20 per cent of the world's middle class.

"It's the aspirational middle class," Mr. Agethen says. "It's what we're after, all over Asia. It's what everyone's after."

The risk from real estate

Back at the Daning development in northern Shanghai, not too far from the retail complex's Starbucks, Xu Yun is trying to sell luxury condos from an elaborate booth with a small-scale model and a clown making balloon animals. Ms. Xu works for China Jin Mao Group Co. Ltd., a large commercial developer that built Shanghai's iconic Jin Mao tower in the financial district, an 88-storey building located at 88 Century Ave. (The number eight is considered lucky in China.)

Jin Mao is just getting into residential. But even though its new development - 10 buildings between 15 and 22 storeys - is on what some consider the city's outskirts, a luxury threebedroom apartment still costs about $2.7-million (or $16,700 per square metre).

"There's only two buildings left," Ms. Xu says. "We sold a lot of apartments here when we did the first round of promotions. Every time we do a round of promotion, we sell out quickly."

Admittedly, this is the type of luxury property that Ivanhoé Cambridge has tended to avoid.

But it still gives a sense of China's hot housing market.

Over the past decade, real estate investment and construction have been a key driver of China's furious growth, and accounted for 15 per cent of China's GDP in 2014 - up from just 4 per cent in 1997, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Residential housing, in particular, makes up 15 per cent of fixedasset investments in China and 15 per cent of total urban employment, and also accounts for 20 per cent of Chinese bank loans.

House prices did slip in 2014 - as well as in 2006 and 2010 - but there was no significant impact on retail spending during these downturns, according to Londonbased research firm Capital Economics.

Price slumps may affect wealthy buyers with multiple properties, but slight moves don't make any difference to owner-occupiers, and actually help make apartments more affordable for firsttime buyers.

House prices are now rising again, but in historical context they have actually fallen relative to rising incomes by as much as 40 per cent over the past 15 years because of strong household income growth.

Given the huge boost new housing and infrastructure give to the overall Chinese economy, some analysts are only really concerned about housing starts and construction, given that they have powered so much of the Chinese economy. On that note, there are some concerns: In 2014, there was a contraction in new housing starts and falling investment, and worries that residential prices were beginning to fall.

In a macro sense, there is risk to the broader Chinese economy and financial system from real estate. Massive overbuilding in remote areas, encouraged by local officials more concerned about keeping up local GDP growth than long-term sustainability, may leave some overleveraged developers vulnerable if housing demand slips, or falling prices erode their collateral. The Chinese banks that lent that money would also be at risk, and there are concerns that China's broader slowdown could raise the number of non-performing loans to 4 per cent from 1.5 per cent, according to Barclay's analyst Victor Wang.

"There's a lot of volatility in these markets," Ms. Gagné says.

However, unlike in 2012, when events and scheduling hundreds of activities, concerts and shows each year, he says.

At the Daning Life Hub in Shanghai, there were various children's activities going on - a Halloween show scheduled for the night, several rehearsals for amateur theatre productions and a pop-up stand selling ukuleles.

Many of the people were shopping there all afternoon, letting their children run free as they enjoyed the day.

"All the surveys show that retail in China is a leisure activity. People want to spend a few hours," says George Agethen, senior vicepresident for Asia-Pacific in Ivanhoé Cambridge's Hong Kong office.

Chongbang's Life Hub projects are located mainly in satellites or suburban neighbourhoods of Shanghai. There is one in Kunshan, a suburb connected by high-speed rail that is popular with young professionals who can work in the foreign businesses there; one in Anting, which is the Chinese government implemented new policy measures to cool what Beijing saw as an overheated, dangerous property market, the declines in 2014 were not a result of new policies, but the market adjusting to various factors, such as obvious oversupply.

Moreover, this oversupply - as well as some of the worries - tends to be somewhat restricted to more remote Tier-3 and Tier-4 cities, which saw some of the most rapid expansions of real estate during the boom years.

But since the end of last year, the People's Bank of China has cut interest rates six times. Policy makers in Beijing also introduced new policies aimed at boosting the housing sector: They reduced the minimum down payments necessary on second homes and extended capital gains tax exemptions to sellers who had owned their home for at least two years - something that previously only applied to sellers who owned homes for five years or more.

Strategic partners

Ms. Gagné notes that China's markets can seem opaque, but that strategic partners with local knowledge come armed with specific statistics and figures to sort through the mess. That makes the market seem transparent, she says, and Ivanhoé Cambridge now has a number of investments in the country in real estate, including a mall that opened in 2011 with another partner, and also in logistics, an industry Ms. Gagné feels is ripe for transformation.

In China, Ivanhoé Cambridge expects returns well above 10 per cent over the next 10 years. And Ms. Gagné now travels to Shanghai all the time.

"If you don't do the travel, you would think China was just ghost towns and empty buildings - though there are those," she said.

Laughing, she adds: "I arrived in Shanghai at one point, and it felt like arriving home. And I thought, what's wrong with this picture?" In Anting, Mr. Cheng walks through their modern mall with Ms. Gagné. The mall features a library, a bowling alley and a clubhouse on the roof for members who live in the nearby apartments. The mall was designed to be open and ventilated so that it requires no heating or air conditioning. On a rainy Sunday in early November, it is cool inside and visitors stroll past Haagen-Dazs and Samsung stores in their jackets, but the mall is packed and a group of children are sliding down an art installation on the ground floor - near a display for an electric car.

Mr. Cheng says apartments attached to the mall have doubled in price recently, and that there is a long waiting list. Standing outside, Mr. Cheng looks across the street to a competitor's mall, which seems as empty as his is bustling.

"I'm proposing to buy that mall," Mr. Cheng says, as an assistant shelters him with an umbrella. "If you have the necessary capital, and the gut for it, you can go very far."


Ivanhoé Cambridge in China with Chongbang Group

1 Life Hub Jinqiao, Shanghai 170-store shopping centre, one office tower

2 Life Hub Anting, Shanghai 96-store shopping centre, one office tower

3 Life Hub Daning, Shanghai 150-store shopping centre, 15 commercial buildings, one hotel (326 rooms on 16 floors)

4 Life Hub Kunshan, Shanghai 1,100 units for phase one, with a retail and office component

5 Shanghai Village near Disney Shanghai An outlet shopping centre project opening in spring, 2016

6 Wuxi Forte Residential project, Wuxi Currently in phase 7 of 8, with 4,000 units upon completion

With Bailian Group

7 La Nova, Shopping Centre Changsha, Hunan province An 861,100-square-foot mall that opened in 2011

With Logos China Investments Ltd. logistics

8 Two logistics properties in operation in greater Shanghai, with two other properties under development, with a total of 3.8 million square feet

Associated Graphic

The outdoor piazza of Life Hub @ Kunshan.


The Kun Residences of Life Hub @ Kunshan.


Huang Jia Ying is not poor, nor is she a millionaire. A member of China's middle class, she is exactly the kind of consumer Ivanhoé Cambridge is betting on.

Chongbang's Henry Cheng helped develop one of Shanghai's most well-known projects, Xintiandi, which revives the city's romantic 1920s vibe.

China's evolving landscape is now largely driven by its middle class.


An aerial view of Life Hub @ Kunshan.



Life Hub @ Daning.


The bustling nightlife at Life Hub @Daning.


Life Hub @ Anting.


The view from the new Shanghai Tower, still under construction.


Options for Rohingya in Myanmar and Bangladeshis on the coast of the Bay of Bengal are bleak. They flee poverty and persecution in their homelands, which often costs them everything they possess, into the clutches of human traffickers, writes Nathan VanderKlippe
Thursday, November 19, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A12

RAJARKUL DEWANPARA, BANGLADESH -- CROSSINGS Chronicling the global refugee and migrant experience

For more than two months this spring, Abul Taher did not know where his son had gone.

Then his phone rang. "Your son is in the middle of the sea. Give us money," the voice on the other side said. "If you don't give the money, we will kill your son and throw him into the sea." In the background, he could hear screams from his son as captors beat him. Then his son, Muhammad Selim, was allowed to speak.

"Please, give them money. Please, save my life," he said.

The 22-year-old was somewhere on the sun-scorched waters of the Bay of Bengal, one of roughly 8,000 people stranded afloat.

They included poor young men like Mr. Selim, convinced he had found a path to sudden new wealth. Dozens left from his small village alone in southeastern Bangladesh of roughly 800.

They crammed into boats alongside fleeing Rohingya, a Muslim minority from Myanmar that has faced decades of persecution at home.

The unfolding of what Amnesty International called a "humanitarian crisis at sea" started long before Syrian refugees began leaving for Europe, and threatens to continue for years. A regional crackdown has won a pause in the number taking to the water this fall. But the grinding poverty and persecution that have driven the trade remain unchanged.

"I fully expect that the trafficking will resume. I was in the camps a month ago and lots of people said, 'We don't care about the risk, we're just going to go,' " said David Scott Mathieson, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch The long southeastern peninsula of Bangladesh slices alongside Myanmar, its 125 kilometres of sand forming one of Earth's longest beaches. It's one of the few places in Bangladesh that attract tourists. It's also home to one of Asia's most vulnerable populations, where poor farmers live alongside drug traffickers, corrupt police and a persistent dream that across the water, there is something better.

Trouble here dates back centuries. The regional centre of Cox's Bazar is named after British diplomat Henry Cox, who was dispatched to the area in the late 1700s after it was inundated by Arakanese refugees from what is now Rakhine State in Myanmar.

Today, the refugees are Rohingya, also from Rakhine, who now number in the hundreds of thousands.

Their efforts to leave the area have stoked a crisis that has confounded regional neighbours and Western countries alike, Canada included. Many Bangladeshis and Rohingya are uneducated and illiterate, with few of the skills wealthier countries seek in refugees or immigrants.

Canada was the first country to accept Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh in 2006, but the first 23 people have been joined by fewer than 300 others, in stark contrast to plans by the Justin Trudeau government to resettle 25,000 Syrians by the end of the year.

Such a number would make a profound difference in Southeast Asia, where Amnesty International has estimated 63,000 people left Myanmar and Bangladesh in 2014 and another 31,000 in the first half of 2015. They embarked on a perilous route that left 1,110 dead and another 1,000 missing, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

On Mr. Selim's boat, some men who drank salty water got diarrhea and died; others were tossed into the sea when they became ill. One man fell into the sea while going to the bathroom and was left to drown. Another man was shot for making trouble.

Those who made it to dry land did not always fare much better.

Mr. Selim's boat became infamous for a bloody fight that broke out between Bangladeshis and Rohingya as it neared Indonesian waters in mid-May. When Indonesian fishing boats arrived, they saw hundreds of people bobbing in the water and many more dead, in what one captain called a "killing field in the sea."

Mr. Selim was rescued and returned to Bangladesh in late July under a repatriation program that has brought back 2,339 people between May 12 and Nov. 1. But he is a young man diminished. Images of the fighting at sea haunt him. "I can't sleep at night," he says. He has been weakened and cannot work. To pay the traffickers, his father auctioned six months of his labour to a rice farmer, sold his cows and mortgaged their tattered home. The debt is worse than the regret.

Mr. Taher is haunted by a conversation he had before his son disappeared, when he told his son to find a job. When Mr. Selim said maybe he should just leave, Mr. Taher shot back in anger: "'Go! Go wherever you want!' " The memory brings tears to his leathered face. "I did not understand what the consequences would be."

False pretenses and no mercy

The beach where Muhammad Selim - another man, though they share the same name - left Bangladesh is peaceful in the daylight. Fishermen mill around crescent-shaped sampans waiting on dry sand for the tide to come in. The same boats were here on the summer night in 2013 when Mr. Selim came here, but the atmosphere was far different. In the dark, traffickers loaded Mr.

Selim and 27 others into the bottom of a hull before covering them with mats and small bamboo sticks.

"They put us in like chickens," he said.

Soon, they set off for the Bay of Bengal.

If the experience of refugees and migrants holds some common elements around the world - a flight from persecution, violence or poverty - those leaving Bangladesh and Myanmar faced unique ugliness in their illicit transit, all of it under the control of smugglers and traffickers for whom profit and humane treatment were often at odds.

On the boats, many passengers were given just two bowls of rice a day, forced to sit in such tight quarters they could only fit by interlocking legs and regularly beaten with pipes and strips from rubber tires.

With fees that reached the equivalent of three years' labour, those who came by choice paid for passage by stealing gold jewellery from mothers, mortgaging houses and selling land to pay for passage. Others were drugged and stolen away, their families later told to pay money or risk losing loved ones.

Many were lured by false pretenses. "There were children who bought toys in Cox's Bazar - footballs. They were led to believe they would be playing football on boats like cruise ships," said Meghna Guhathakurta, the executive director of Research Initiatives Bangladesh, a Dhaka-based organization that studies marginalized communities.

Only when they left shore did they discover how harsh conditions would be, with smugglers leaving some stranded afloat as long as eight months and holding others in jungle camps. Their plight was exposed in grisly fashion this May when authorities in Malaysia found 139 graves and Thai authorities found more than two dozen corpses and skeletons near some of those camps - discoveries that sparked a massive international response.

"It became a ferocious trade.

They had no mercy on people," said Abul Kashem, an NGO worker and president of a local human-trafficking resistance committee.

"There were so many people - it was like a herd of animals was being transported from here to the sea."

After the traffickers extorted money from Mr. Selim's family, he was delivered to Thailand.

Surrounded by Bangladeshis and Rohingya, he had arrived at the mid-way point of the secretive smugglers' pathway. From here, some people were sold into slavery on fishing boats and vegetable farms in Thailand.

Traffickers took Mr. Selim to Malaysia, where he worked without pay for six months at a construction site before being picked up in a police raid.

A court sentenced him to two months in jail, where guards sometimes hung him naked with his limbs spread, as if on a cross.

Finally, he was let go and allowed to return home, where he found others, like Suman Dar Baru, who had endured the same.

"After coming back, we told so many people about our miserable life and said, 'Don't go to Malaysia or Thailand. Don't listen to the brokers. Life will be hell if you go,' " Mr. Dar Baru said.

The economics of trafficking

The young man who ran into Abul Hamid's pharmacy was terrified. He was wearing only shorts and bleeding from his forehead, arms and legs.

"They are taking me to the boat," he told Mr. Hamid, who offered him shelter.

An hour later, Mr. Hamid's phone rang. "We'll give you 20,000 taka" - $340 - "to give him back," the voice said.

It was an introduction to the unclear lines between voluntary smuggling and involuntary trafficking, in a part of Bangladesh where human cargo grew into big business, its flood of money drawing in villagers, fishermen and authorities.

Incensed, Mr. Hamid started to organize neighbours against the traffickers and sought to find out who they were. One name came up: Rezia Begum Raby.

Senior police officials accuse Ms. Raby of being an accountant to local smugglers. She was detained for more than a month after investigators say they found her with cheques totalling the equivalent of $255,000.

Police have opened a total of 11 cases against Ms. Raby and her husband, and police documents obtained by The Globe and Mail describe her as a "professional human trafficker." It's a charge Ms. Raby denies, saying the allegations against her "are fabricated. It's all lies."

She declined to meet in person.

But she did offer to describe the economics of trafficking, starting with fees of $3,400 to $5,100 a person in a country where a man working a rice field can earn as little as $5 a day.

From that total, the broker who brought a passenger to a boat might be paid $170 a head. A fishing boat captain might get $85 a person, with another $340 going to the captain of the larger vessel that would travel to Thailand.

Traffickers in Thailand, Bangladesh and Malaysia would all have to be paid and, in turn, cover the cost of drivers and basic food supplies.

More money went to pay police and border guards monthly payments of $850 to $1,700 plus donations of feasts to politicians.

The easy money from trafficking was hard to resist, Ms. Raby said.

"Think about it: Some of these brokers were daily labourers in the vegetable markets, only unloading sacks every day. Now they have a five-storey building," she said.

Clamping down

The fifth floor of a squat tower in downtown Dhaka lies far from the open stretches of the Bay of Bengal. But it is from this spot that Special Superintendent Mirza Abdullah leads the anti-trafficking efforts at the Criminal Investigation Department of the Bangladeshi police.

In 2012, Bangladesh issued a human-trafficking rule that sets a minimum punishment of five years of "rigorous imprisonment" for those guilty of the offence, and allows for execution of those organizing the trade.

Special Supt. Abdullah, a softspoken man with a master's in physics and precise spoken English, acknowledges enforcement has been a struggle. Bangladesh ranks among the world's 30 most corrupt countries and its courts are gridlocked.

"In our criminal justice system, to dispose finally of a case takes six, seven, eight, maybe 10 years," Special Supt. Abdullah said. And "it is not impossible," he said that authorities themselves, including police, "are engaged in these illegal activities."

Yet Bangladesh and its neighbours have shown remarkable success in clamping down on trafficking this year.

Out of 14,000 police officers in southeastern Bangladesh, several thousand have been transferred away in the past year for what Mr. Abdullah called "participation in illegal activities" - an unusually high tally. Several hundred have been fired, he said.

Some bank accounts belonging to traffickers have also been frozen.

Between 2014 and the beginning of 2015, Bangladesh police investigated 373 human-trafficking cases, according to statistics; they have filed charges in 122.

"And you have to take note that in one case, there might be 10 or 15 accused," he says.

Elsewhere, navies and coast guards in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia have pledged to repel boats, while authorities arrested at least one suspected smuggling kingpin, issued warrants for hundreds of others and suspended dozens of police.

The concerted effort has had a dramatic effect. Last October, more than 13,000 people illegally left the shores of Bangladesh and Myanmar, the most in any month of the sailing season. This October, "we had something like 500 altogether in four boats," said Chris Lewa, founder of the Arakan Project, which has for years documented the smuggling issue.

"What is very clear is that the smuggling network has been disrupted," she said. "There aren't going to be many people leaving by boat this year."

Yet Ms. Lewa struggles to call that an unvarnished positive. For all the abuses, the boats provided an escape from miserable circumstances.

"For me, I've never tried to stop people going on boats," she said.

"Because I think if I was one of them, I would probably be on a boat myself."

'I have nothing left but pain'

In the sprawling Kutupalong refugee camp, human waste accumulates in pools behind rudimentary bathrooms. Children run naked through muddy lanes built on trash and barely wide enough to walk through.

Mud-walled huts are patched with empty World Food Programme rice bags.

This is one of the places where Bangladesh puts Rohingya who have come here illegally, and 70,000 live in this camp, estimates Hafes Ullah, the secretary of the camp's youth committee.

But today, many of its huts contain empty spaces, left behind by those who have fled on boats. In each of the past few years, around 5,000 people fled, Mr. Ullah says. "And the families who have no money or lost people - their situation is horrible."

Far from the boats and the drama of high-seas migrants, Kutupalong camp is both a source of the refugee crisis and home to its ugly remnants.

Two years ago, Rashida Begum's husband left, saying only, "I'm going for a long walk, and will come back with a lot of money. Don't worry about me," she recalls. She was pregnant at the time and had reason to hope.

Other men had left and sent back money. Her husband was not one of them.

"He disappeared," she says. "I thought he was dead."

With only a Grade 3 education, she had few options. Some women in the camp turned to prostitution.

Ms. Begum cut wood from nearby hills to sell at a local bazaar. Sometimes she made enough money to eat lunch but not dinner. Sometimes her three children ate every second day.

This spring, she received a letter with news that her husband is still alive in a prison in Myanmar.

But she has no idea whether he might ever return.

"Allah has kept us alive," she says. But when her husband left, "my life just ended. I have nothing left but pain."

Associated Graphic

Muhammad Selim was loaded into a sampan with other migrants as he sought better employment in Malaysia. Instead, he worked for six months at a Malaysian construction site before being rounded up by police, abused in prison and sent back home.



Rashida Begum's husband left three years ago, joining the tide of Rohingya leaving Bangladesh. He has not returned, leaving Ms. Begum, left and below, to feed her three children by harvesting wood. Sometimes, the family only has money to eat every other day.


Abul Taher sits with his son Muhammad Selim, bottom, who left Bangladesh earlier this year. When Mr. Selim was at sea, traffickers extorted money from his family and killed other passengers on his boat. He eventually landed in Indonesia, but was returned to Bangladesh.


Prime target: How serial killers prey on indigenous women
The numbers are staggering: A Globe and Mail analysis finds that aboriginal females are seven times more likely than non-aboriginal women to die at the hands of serial predators, Kathryn Blaze Baum and Matthew McClearn report
Monday, November 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

Indigenous women in Canada are roughly seven times more likely than non-indigenous women to die at the hands of serial killers, according to a Globe and Mail analysis that found at least 18 aboriginal females were victims of convicted serial killers since 1980.

The majority of those women were slain in or near cities, and most were killed by non-indigenous men. The cases were prosecuted in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, with the cities of Vancouver, Prince George, Saskatoon and Winnipeg most commonly listed as the woman's last place of residence. Eight serial killers, who were convicted in a total of 25 homicides, were responsible for the women's deaths.

Aboriginal women are being killed and disappearing across the country at an alarming rate. The RCMP have said 70 per cent of the indigenous women slain in Canada meet their fate at the hands of an indigenous person. In a report earlier this year, the federal force stated that indigenous women knew the offender in all solved homicides over the previous two years. It also emphasized the "strong nexus to family violence."

But that is not the whole story.

About one-fifth of Canada's known female serialhomicide victims since 1980 were indigenous, according to a Globe analysis of convictions in an American researcher's international database; just 4 per cent of the overall Canadian female population is indigenous. The newspaper is also compiling and vetting its own database of homicide and longterm missing-person cases that involve indigenous women, building on data collected by the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) and Ottawa-based researcher Maryanne Pearce. Through this ongoing work, The Globe has determined that at least 18 indigenous women were slain by convicted serial killers since 1980.

If the scope is broadened to include cases with a probable suspect (those tied to Robert Pickton through stayed charges or DNA found on his farm, for example), then the number rises to about 35.

And if the scope is further expanded to include speculative cases, for which court proceedings are pending or police have said a serial killer may be at work (along stretches of certain B.C. highways and in the Edmonton area, for instance), the number rises dramatically, to about 77.

Dawn Lavell-Harvard, the president of NWAC, said that while family violence is part of the problem, vulnerable indigenous women are being "targeted" in urban centres by killers confident they will get away with it.

"We need to expose the truth, so we can be effective in dealing with reality," she said. "We can't be basing our responses on urban myths or stereotypes." She said she would like to see the federal government create national legislation that mandates certain basic police standards relating to missing-person investigations.

In August, Canada's latest known serial killer, a non-indigenous man named Traigo Andretti, was convicted of murder for the second time. Both of his victims - Myrna Letandre in Manitoba and Jennifer McPherson in B.C. - were indigenous. He found Ms. Letandre through her sister, Lorna Sinclair, whom he met in an unusual way. Ms. Sinclair had signed up for a free voicemail service that allows people who do not have a phone, and are seeking work, to receive messages from prospective employers. Mr. Andretti exploited the service by dialling random extensions and, if a woman "sounded cute," he would leave a message, according to police transcripts obtained by The Globe. Ms. Sinclair introduced him to Ms. Letandre, who disappeared weeks later. She was considered missing for nearly seven years, until Mr. Andretti struck again and confessed to both murders.

Indigenous leaders have long called for a national inquiry into violence against aboriginal women and girls, citing the need to examine historic and modern issues such as colonization, residential schools, the child-welfare system, poverty, drug abuse, street sex work, inadequate housing and racism. Proponents also want to shine a light on the way police handle unsolved homicide and missing-person cases involving indigenous women. The former Conservative government dismissed calls for a national inquiry, with one then-cabinet minister attributing the violence to a lack of respect among indigenous men for indigenous women on reserves. The new Liberal government, meanwhile, has committed to launching an inquiry by the summer.

An unprecedented 2014 RCMP report found 1,181 aboriginal females were killed or went missing across the country between 1980 and 2012. In an update last year, the Mounties said there were 32 additional homicides of indigenous women in 2013 and 2014 in RCMP jurisdictions. RCMP spokesman Sergeant Harold Pfleiderer said in an e-mail that the force did not conduct an analysis of serial homicide data for the reports, neither of which mention serial killing.

Victims' stories

The serial killings of Ms. Letandre, Ms. McPherson and the 16 other indigenous women provide a window into the broader tragedy of violence against indigenous women in Canada. On Tuesday, The Globe is launching The Taken, a multimedia project that traces the lives of five of the women - Ms. Letandre, Cynthia Maas, Sereena Abotsway, Shelley Napope and Carolyn Sinclair - and explores the factors contributing to their vulnerability.

These include difficulty transitioning to life in the city, the child-welfare system and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Their stories also examine the families' interactions with police and the justice system.

The RCMP do not have their own definition of serial homicide, but rather use a definition of "serial murder" crafted by experts convened by the FBI in 2005: "The unlawful killing of two or more victims by the same offender(s), in separate events." The Globe used the FBI's definition to define serial homicide, and included manslaughter because it is a form of unlawful killing.

Sgt. Pfleiderer said the RCMP were focusing their "prevention and intervention efforts on family violence and youth empowerment in order to reduce and eliminate violence against indigenous women." He added that federal funding has been dedicated to programs aimed at addressing family violence in "vulnerable indigenous communities." Last year, the RCMP told The Globe they had homed in on 10 communities, six of which are in Saskatchewan, two in Manitoba, and one each in B.C. and the Northwest Territories.

In April, The Globe filed an access-to-information request for the RCMP's list of 10 communities. The force at first said it could not locate the list, which The Globe did not accept. The request was reopened and, in July, the Mounties responded that the "records located" qualified for an Access to Information Act exemption pertaining to law enforcement. The Globe has filed an appeal. Also in April, the newspaper requested the RCMP's list of indigenous female homicide victims, but the force required an extension and has yet to provide the names.

Given the lack of comprehensive Canadian data related to serial homicide, The Globe looked to the work of American researcher Mike Aamodt, who has compiled an international dataset of serial killings. An analysis of the Canadian convictions he has listed showed that indigenous women are roughly seven times more likely than non-indigenous women to be victims of serial homicide. "Aboriginal women are certainly overrepresented among the victims of Canadian serial killers," said Enzo Yaksic, who collaborates with Dr. Aamodt and has studied serial homicide for more than a decade.

The extent of that overrepresentation shocked the sister of Cynthia Maas, who was slain in 2010 by B.C. serial killer Cody Legebokoff (he filed an appeal earlier this year of four first-degree murder convictions). "It's very scary," Judy Maas said. "It's especially scary for my daughters, my granddaughters and all the young people coming down the road. ... I'm just thinking about the implications of that - the impact."

Vulnerable targets

When it comes to the 18 serialhomicide cases compiled and confirmed by The Globe, many of the women, ranging in age from 13 to 41, were killed in or near cities. The majority were First Nations, while at least two were Métis. Many of the women were either known or believed to have been engaged in sex work, though it is unclear, in several instances, whether that was true around the time of the killing. "It's a low-risk way to select a victim," said Mark Safarik, a retired special agent who worked in the FBI's behavioural analysis unit as a criminal profiler. He added that serial killers tend to select targets who meet two primary criteria: availability and vulnerability.

In further analyzing the 18 cases, there were also findings related to the eight killers, five of whom are non-indigenous. In the cases of Mr. Andretti, Winnipeg's Shawn Lamb and Saskatoon's John Crawford, every one of their known victims - a total of eight - was indigenous. The relationship between the victim and her killer was not always known or clear.

While the death of Ms. McPherson might well be classified by some as "family violence," since she was Mr. Andretti's wife at the time of her death, he was already a killer by the time they wed. There were also instances in which the perpetrator was believed to be a stranger.

"By stating that the problem is rooted in family violence, the police are deflecting attention away from the broader problem of stranger victimizations because they cannot get a handle on it," Mr. Yaksic said.

Police forces and communities across Canada have long faced the reality - or the widespread, haunting speculation - of serial predation. In the 1980s, B.C.'s Clifford Olson confessed to murdering 11 children. That case helped spur the creation of a central database to find links between violent crimes across the country.

Robert Pickton's serial killings triggered an inquiry that deemed police investigations into disappearances from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside between 1997 and 2002 to be "blatant failures."

Commissioner of Inquiry Wally Oppal made dozens of recommendations in 2012, but some have yet to be fully implemented, including the development of a safe-travel option for people living along the so-called Highway of Tears in Northern B.C., where women have been dying or disappearing at an alarming rate in recent decades. He said he believes police communication across jurisdictions has improved, and he commends the province for introducing new legislation that gives law enforcement greater powers to obtain personal information, including health and telephone records, related to a vulnerable missing person.

The former B.C. attorney-general believes much more needs to be done to address the social factors that lead to increased vulnerability, such as poverty, unstable housing, drug addiction and sex work. "The conditions [in the Downtown Eastside] need to be addressed in a major way because that could be a breeding ground for another serial killer [to find victims]," Mr. Oppal said.

Success breeds arrogance

Over the past several years, the RCMP have struck task forces across the country to review unsolved homicides and missingperson cases. The E-PANA task force was created a decade ago to determine if one or more serial killers was responsible for the deaths and disappearances of young women travelling along certain major highways in B.C.

Two of the task force's 18 cases, dating from 1969 to 2006, are considered solved, though the RCMP have said a now-deceased American felon is suspected in two more homicides and is a person of interest in several other cases.

Mr. Andretti's conviction was the first one stemming from Manitoba's Project Devote, a joint RCMP and Winnipeg Police Service task force launched in 2012. It is investigating more than two dozen homicide and long-term missing-person cases, many of which involve indigenous women. Mr. Andretti confessed his crimes to the RCMP in B.C. and, after he pleaded guilty there in relation to Ms. McPherson's murder, he was transferred as a sentenced prisoner to Winnipeg and pleaded guilty to killing Ms. Letandre. Both families said they credit the B.C. RCMP with bringing Mr. Andretti to justice.

The Crown attorney who prosecuted two Manitoba serial-killer cases - those of Mr. Andretti and Mr. Lamb, who pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter - said police need to devote significant resources to missing-person files because killers "trade" on the reality that priorities will inevitably shift as cases grow colder.

"Just because we don't have a body does not mean that there hasn't been a [homicide]," Sheilla Leinburd said. "Success breeds arrogance in many ways. If they've gotten away with it once or twice, they'll do it a third and fourth time."

In some of the cases featured in The Taken multimedia project, the victims' loved ones told The Globe that police were initially dismissive of their concerns and did not appear to take the missing-person report seriously. In the case of Ms. McPherson, the RCMP's missing-person bulletin misstated her ethnicity as Caucasian; the family made the painful decision not to correct the record for fear that the truth would lead to public apathy - or, worse yet, a biased police response, said the woman's sister, Kim McPherson.

RCMP Superintendent Ward Lymburner, who oversees the E-PANA task force, noted that in response to the Oppal inquiry, the B.C. government recently rolled out provincial policing standards.

The section on missing-person investigations says that when officers are determining the appropriate response, they must take into consideration the reality that indigenous women are more likely than non-indigenous women to be killed or go missing. It says risk may "flow from the profile of the missing person, in particular their inclusion in groups that are at an increased risk of harm, such as Aboriginal women and girls."

According to a 2013 best practices manual created by the RCMP's National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains, police forces should treat each missing-person report as legitimate, serious and urgent at the outset, stating "poor outcomes can often be traced back to not taking a report seriously at the start, and making a risk judgment too early." The manual, which The Globe obtained through an access-to-information request, says agencies "should not treat certain types of missing persons differently at the very beginning (e.g. repeat runaway, persons of particular lifestyles, youth home elopee)." The manual was provided to police agencies and is not binding.

Last year, the RCMP sent a revamped national missing-persons policy to their commanding officers. It introduced two standardized documents: a 13-question risk assessment and a 10-page missing-person intake report to help ensure certain information is obtained at the outset of an investigation. The risk assessment asks "yes" or "no" questions about the person's life and potential vulnerabilities, but it does not specifically ask if the missing individual is indigenous.

When it comes to homicides, the RCMP have updated their paperwork to require that investigators indicate if a victim is aboriginal - a move lauded by the federal Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.

Ms. Lavell-Harvard, the head of NWAC, said The Globe's investigation into serial killing speaks to the need for a national inquiry, adding the conversation is too often framed through the lens of on-reserve violence perpetrated by indigenous men. "If you're aware that a particular group is being targeted because of vulnerabilities," she said, "then you have to do that much more to protect that vulnerable group."

Associated Graphic

Carolyn Sinclair was pregnant with her third child when Shawn Lamb killed her at his Winnipeg apartment on Dec. 18, 2011.

For a lucky few Rohingya, gaining refugee status in Canada has opened wonderful new avenues, writes Joe Friesen, chief among them a chance for an education. But to a man, they carry memories of horrific journeys, lost friends and the absence of loved ones half a world away
Friday, November 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A12

KITCHENER, ONT. -- CROSSINGS Chronicling the global refugee and migrant experience

They had been adrift at sea for more than a month and the food and water had long ago run out.

The hunger was unrelenting.

The 129 men, all young Rohingya fleeing state oppression in Myanmar, were at the limit of their endurance. They lay listlessly in the open boat as the sun sapped their will. Some drank seawater, some chewed shards of wood from the deck to remind themselves what it was like to feel food in their mouths.

At night, Mohammed Rafiq, a shopkeeper from rural Myanmar, rarely slept. He sat in the moonlit darkness and waited for the sound of a splash, the signal that yet another of his companions had thrown themselves upon the mercy of the sea.

"So many of them jumped and died," Mr. Rafiq said. "They said, 'We don't find any boat. We'll be dead soon. We don't want our life.' " The small fishing vessel, its engine disabled, rolled aimlessly with the waves. Mr. Rafiq prayed.

Maybe tomorrow they would be saved, he thought.

After 38 days at sea they were finally spotted by Sri Lankan fishermen, who radioed for help.

In an image taken after their deliverance that day in February, 2013, Mr. Rafiq and the other survivors lay on the deck of a Sri Lankan navy ship, their skin stretched tight across their faces, cheeks hollow, ribs sharply defined. Of the approximately 130 men who began the journey, at least 97 had perished and only 32 remained.

Today, Mr. Rafiq is one of a group of six Rohingya refugees who have begun new lives in Canada. Their stories of fear, escape and survival are an astonishing illustration of the oppression the Rohingya face and the risks they are prepared to take for a chance at a better life.

Described by the UN as one of the world's most persecuted peoples, the Rohingya have become Asia's unwanted - marginalized in Myanmar's Rakhine State, where the bulk of the approximately one million Rohingya reside, as well as in neighbouring countries where they try to seek refuge.

During the recent elections, Rohingya were not allowed to vote. With few good options, many young men try their luck on a long and dangerous boat journey. A small number who made it out have been accepted as refugees in Canada.

A new home

The young men gathered in their classroom at Kitchener's Eastwood Collegiate Institute recently to recount what they've been through. Without exception, all six say the opportunity to go to school, something denied to them in Myanmar, has been the greatest of the gifts bestowed on them by Canada.

"Wonderful, wonderful," said Mr. Rafiq, describing his life here, breaking into a broad smile and letting out a huge sigh. "In Canada, it's freedom for us. We can go anywhere here. We can study."

That's quite different from his description of life growing up as a Muslim in Myanmar. To explain, he pulls out his wallet and removes a white card with his photo and some text in Burmese script. The governmentissued ID says he was born in Bangladesh. That's the government's long-standing justification for not granting citizenship to the Rohingya, but Mr. Rafiq said he was born in Myanmar and his family has lived in the country, which is majority Buddhist, for generations.

"I have such a hard life in Burma," he said, referring to Myanmar by its former name. "They target many young Rohingya people. They put them in jail.

That's why we had to go."

Before he fled, Mr. Rafiq ran a small general store that sold groceries. But the taxes and bribes he had to pay were onerous, so he sold the shop. His village was close to a military encampment and at night soldiers would enter the village looking for young men to lock up and young women to rape, he said. He slept in the jungle to avoid trouble and then decided with two of his friends to set forth in secret for the coast. He didn't even say goodbye to his mother, he said, for fear that knowing he was leaving would put her in danger.

When they reached the coastal town of Fatung Sa, they heard of a boat departing soon for Malaysia. The price to get on was roughly $20 upfront, a significant sum to him, plus a promise to pay $2,000 more in indentured servitude once they reached Malaysia.

He and his two close friends boarded a tiny, overloaded fishing vessel on Jan. 7, 2013, at midnight. The boat was so cramped its passengers had room only to crouch with arms wrapped tightly around their knees.

After about a week at sea, the boat drifted into Thai waters, where it was intercepted and towed to land by the Thai navy.

ONLINE Meet Mohammed Rafiq, Shofi Aktar and their friends living in Kitchener, Ont., as they share how they are learning to integrate into Canadian culture. Watch the video at

For a moment, the passengers thought they would be given asylum, but after 24 hours in port the navy towed their boat back out to open water. The navy also removed the boat's engine, Mr.

Rafiq said, and when they cut the tow line the migrants were left to drift (the Thai navy denied the allegation at the time).

At that moment they knew their prospects were grim.

Mr. Rafiq took courage from his two childhood friends, Syed Hossain, a farmer, and Hamid Ullah, a vegetable seller. They had brought small bottles of water and some puffed rice for the journey, but their supplies ran out after a week. They drank salt water out of desperation.

Mr. Hossain was the frailest of the three and the first to falter.

One morning, after 25 days at sea, Mr. Hossain took a last drink of salt water, laid down and stopped breathing. Mr. Rafiq said a prayer over his body. He sat with his friend for a time, and after about 30 minutes the stronger ones lifted the corpse and hurled it over the side of the boat. With more people dying every day Mr. Rafiq thought it was only a matter of time for him.

The following morning the captain descended from his perch and beat the passengers with an iron rod. Mr. Ullah couldn't take it. He turned to Mr. Rafiq and said: "If you reach any country in the world, please let my parents know I jumped off the boat."

Mr. Rafiq pleaded with his friend, but he stepped to the edge and jumped. Mr. Rafiq scrambled to the side. He watched as his friend bobbed in the ocean and then disappeared behind the swell.

A new life

In Sri Lanka, Mr. Rafiq was initially kept in a jail before being moved to a United Nations refugee camp. It was there that he was selected to come to Canada, along with five other men who had made a similarly perilous journey before being plucked from the sea.

Just like Mr. Rafiq's boat, the vessel they were on was intercepted by the Thai navy and then dragged back out to sea without enough oil and fuel to make the return journey. The captain tried to navigate back into Thai waters, but the navy repelled them by firing over their heads.

After two weeks of drifting, they spotted a large fishing vessel and one of the men, Mansour Alom, despite weeks of starvation, was able to swim to the larger vessel and pull himself up by the anchor rope that hung from the side. The startled fishermen chased Mr. Alom away with knives, forcing him back into the water, but soon saw the condition of those aboard the migrant vessel and radioed the Sri Lankan navy for help.

None of the men knew each other before they fled Myanmar, but today they consider themselves brothers.

They arrived in Canada nearly a year ago, when five of the six presented themselves in the office at Kitchener's Eastwood Collegiate.

The five - Mr. Rafiq, Ali Johar, Anam Ullah, Anayath Hossain and Shofi Aktar - were all given the same birth date in the UN refugee camp - Jan. 1, 1995 - and so they were allowed to enroll in a high school English literacy development stream. The sixth, Mr. Alom, is a few years older, so he attends adult English classes and works part-time in a store.

Lara Shantz, a guidance counsellor and teacher at Eastwood, was there to greet them on the first day. She knew a little of how they had come to Canada, but the young men were very different than she expected.

"They were so friendly and eager to engage," Ms. Shantz said. "I guess I expected them to be more broken or fearful or shy.

I've just been blown away with the joy they have in them and the gratitude and respect."

Only one of them had ever attended school, and then only for a year or two. Ms. Shantz points out Rohingya culture is primarily oral, not written, so not only are they learning English, they're also learning basic literacy. Their teachers say the men have embraced learning with an enthusiasm that enlivens those around them. At the moment they're working at about a Grade 4 level, but they're quickly making progress. In their math class, which is made up of refugee children from Iraq, Syria and Somalia, they all sit near the front, smiling, excited, shouting answers as they try to resolve fractions with chocolate bars drawn in chalk as a point of reference.

In the three-bedroom apartment they share, most of the men have yellow Post-it notes above their beds with new words they are trying to learn. In Mr. Rafiq's case, the carefully copied words include: rebellious, responsible, thoughtful, cheerful, powerful, inventive.

"I practise when I go to sleep and when I wake up, because I never learned in Burma. I never got to go to school," Mr. Rafiq said.

Free weights are scattered around the apartment, a sign of their growing enthusiasm for exercise and bodybuilding. They also take turns preparing large meals they eat together. At night, they sometimes watch Bollywood movies, talk to relatives via Skype and scan the Internet for news about Myanmar. One shows gruesome images of beheaded bodies in Rakhine State, saying "This is happening right now in my home."

Several express profound sadness for their families who, as long as they are ineligible for passports in Myanmar, are unlikely to ever be able to rejoin them in Canada. "We are happy here, but our insides still cry for them," Mr. Aktar said.

Anam Ullah proudly shows off his bedroom, which features Canadian flags taped up by the window, stacks of books on the chest of drawers and a map above his bed. Because of the government restrictions on their movement in Myanmar, the young men had never travelled before they set out for the sea, and the vastness of their new country still awes them. He's surprised to learn that the map is not all of Canada, but just the Kitchener-Waterloo region.

He says his dreams often take him back to his childhood, to the killing and violence he witnessed, and he wakes with tears on his pillow.

"I saw many things in my village," Mr. Ullah says. "I have fishing boat back home [and] when I'm going to work I saw a lot of people dead in the river, dead bodies. That's what I remember."

Ms. Shantz has become very close to the young men, visiting their apartment to check on them (they recently learned they could save leftovers by refrigerating them) and keeping a close eye on their academic progress.

The young men refer to her as their Canadian mother and break into smiles when she appears.

That bond became even closer this year when Mr. Aktar, likely the youngest of the group, was riding a new bike in Kitchener and, unfamiliar with traffic rules, was hit and badly injured by a van. The others, who had been riding the bus, found him bloodied, barely conscious and struggling to breathe. He was lucky to survive and spent nearly a month in hospital recovering.

With no family to handle his care, Ms. Shantz and others stepped in. Recently, Mr. Aktar told Ms. Shantz that when he asked his mother in Myanmar how she would one day approve of his future wife, she said his Canadian mother would have to take on that role.

"We lose our mom and we find another one," Mr. Aktar said.

The students have formed a strong bond with their school, but they will have to leave on their 21st birthday, which will be this Jan. 1, according to their UNissued birth certificates. They say that's unfair, because their birthdays were assigned more or less at random, and they would benefit greatly from staying in school.

They've written to the local superintendent to see whether it might be possible to extend their time at the school.

"When we came to Sri Lanka, we did not know our real age and we were half-dead," the boys wrote in a letter. "If we can stay here we will be very thankful. We don't want to give up on our education."

Associated Graphic

Rohingya men play a game called salloung, popular in Myanmar, at a park in Kitchener, Ont., in June. At right, they shop for groceries at an Indian market in Kitchener; from left, they are Mansour Alom, Mohammed Rafiq, Anayath Hossain and Anam Ullah. They live together in an apartment with Canadian flags on their bedroom walls and Post-it notes adorning their bedposts with English words they've learned.


Ali Johar, right in photo at left, gets help from peer tutor Naime Mukhtar at Eastwood Collegiate Institute in Kitchener in November. Their teachers say they've embraced learning with an enthusiasm that enlivens those around them. Below left, Anayath Hossain kneels in prayer.


When Mohammed Rafiq was rescued in 2013 off the coast of Sri Lanka, a Reuters photographer captured the desperate scene. At bottom, the refugees' Canadian Rohingya friend, Farid Ullah, who has been their guide in adjusting to life in Kitchener, views the picture on a mobile phone.

Life for Syrian refugees in Lebanon is becoming more and more desperate, writes Mark MacKinnon. Families intent on migrating to the West legally rather than try their luck trekking to Europe face dwindling humanitarian aid, an increasingly reluctant host country and growing Islamophobia in the very places they one day hope to live ...
Tuesday, November 17, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A8

BEKAA VALLEY, LEBANON -- 'It's like a prison," Akaber Mohammed says of her family's life as refugees in Lebanon. "No, it's a coffin," her husband, Khaled al-Lawz, counters. "And I'm suffocating inside it."

Ms. Mohammed and Mr. al-Lawz have lived for the past three years in a tent that Mr. al-Lawz built from tarps and two-by-fours in Lebanon's scenic Bekaa Valley. As hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees like them have made their way by land and sea to an increasingly unwelcoming Europe, they and their four children have remained in Lebanon, watching their finances crumble and their options dwindle.

Even before the Paris attack, the 1.1 million registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon - many of whom are among the poorest of those fleeing their homeland's civil war - lived in an increasingly precarious limbo. Now, the bloodshed unleashed in France by Islamist extremists has stirred fresh Islamophobia in Europe and beyond, threatening to create an atmosphere even less welcoming for those fleeing war in the Middle East.

Ms. Mohammed and Mr. al-Lawz say they, too, dream of new lives far away from the war-torn Middle East. But they want to do it legally, with visas in hand from a Western embassy for them and their two young children.

"I'm the kind of person who only does what is allowed by the law," Mr. al-Lawz explains. "My heart cries for them," he says of those who have gone ahead to Europe without visas. "But I think they are doing things too quickly."

So far, Mr. al-Lawz's strategy has not paid off very well. The stipend Syrian refugees receive from the World Food Programme has fallen dramatically - from a monthly $30 (U.S.) a person they received last year to $13.50 for the first 10 months of this year - as the UN body faced funding shortfalls. That trend has seen a small reverse since the refugee crisis arrived in Europe, allowing the WFP to raise payments to $21.60 a month starting in November.

"The refugee crisis in Lebanon is as real as ever, and conditions are worsening," says Dana Sleiman, spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "Refugees have depleted their resources and they're relying more and more on dwindling humanitarian assistance."

Where once Ms. Mohammed and Mr. al-Lawz resided in a two-storey home in Homs, living on his income as a real estate salesman, today the couple's 14-year-old son, Omar, is the family's main breadwinner. Omar earns between 75 cents and $1 an hour doing construction work to supplement the WFP payments.

"I feel like I was living on the 10th floor, and I now I've fallen into the basement," says Mr. al-Lawz, who struggles to find manual work himself because of an advanced case of rheumatism.

Much of the money from WFP and Omar's labours goes to the $50 monthly rent they pay for the rocky piece of farmland the family's tent is built on. It's a sadly common arrangement in the Bekaa: landlords charging refugees rent they can't afford for land to pitch a tent on, rent that is often paid back with the proceeds of child labour.

It's a result of a controversial policy that has seen Lebanon - scarred by its experience with Palestinian refugee camps that have grown into small, troubled cities over their 67-year existence - refuse to allow the construction of formal UN camps to house the Syrians.

As a result, Syrian refugees are scattered across the country, leaving aid workers scrambling to keep up with their needs, and security services guessing at their whereabouts. There are some 2,000 informal tent camps such as the one Ms. Mohammed and Mr. al-Lawz live in, which is known as Saadnayel-007.

Some of the groupings are made up of just four or five tents. Saadnayel-007 is a more typical gathering of 20 makeshift shelters. Other "camps" consist of several hundred. In the Bekaa Valley, makeshift tents crowd both sides of a small stream that's badly polluted with waste and sewage, while tin outhouses line the potholed dirt road that is the main drag for seven or eight informal settlements.

Other Syrians, depending on how much of their savings remain, can be spotted everywhere from the five-star hotels of Beirut to the construction sites and abandoned buildings of the Lebanese capital.

An unknown number have moved into the established Palestinian camps; refugees from one Middle East crisis moving in beside those who fled an older and even more intractable one.

Hala el-Helou, an adviser to Lebanon's Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, says the real number of Syrians in the country is higher than the number registered with the UNHCR, closer to 1.5 million. Which is why the country, back in January, stopped accepting new asylum seekers.

"We don't have the means any more, we don't have the infrastructure, we don't have the place. Lebanon is a small, tight country, which is already overpopulated," Ms. el-Helou said in an interview.

The cash-strapped Lebanese government also recently raised the bureaucratic barriers for Syrians living in the country - reinstating a $200-a-person annual fee for the papers required to officially live and work here, and demanding that each applicant have a Lebanese sponsor. The measures mean most Syrian refugees lack the paperwork to legally travel through the military checkpoints that dot the winding highways of the Bekaa Valley.

So most simply remain in their tents, unable to travel even if they had the money to. "I can go from here to the centre of the next town. I'm safe within about one kilometre from here. If I go further than that, I'm afraid I'll be stopped by police," says Khaled al-Ali, a 45-year-old father of two who also supports his elderly mother.

Like Mr. al-Lawz, Mr. al-Ali has the bearing of a man who was once well-off in Syria, where he ran a mattress-making company before the war.

Today, the unrepaired crack in the lens of his eyeglasses hints at how far he's fallen. His family lives on a small salary he receives as an art teacher - a talent he only discovered after arriving in Lebanon - at the informal local school. They recently received a letter saying the family had been cut off from receiving even the WFP stipend because their family had been deemed "too small" to require help.

"If I overthink these things, I get upset and have to go to the doctor's," says Mr. al-Ali, who has had heart surgery. "And we can't afford that."

'That's one street here'

Canada, everyone here has heard, has a plan to take in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year - "It's all on WhatsApp," Mr. al-Ali says with a smile. Mention of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's promise brightens refugees' faces, perhaps hoping that their interaction with a Canadian reporter might increase their chances of being among the chosen few.

And 25,000 - in terms of what Lebanon and other countries in the region are dealing with - is really only a few. In addition to the more than one million Syrians in Lebanon, Jordan is sagging under the weight of 630,000 registered refugees there (again, that's just the official number), turning the UNHCR's Zaatari refugee camp, in the desert near the Syrian border, into Jordan's fourth-largest city.

Turkey, meanwhile, has an estimated 2.2 million refugees within its borders, a number that remains almost constant despite the daily outflow of thousands of refugees hoping to reach Europe. There are another 245,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq, most of them in the Kurdish north of the country. The European Union, in turn, is struggling to deal with the economic and social implications of some 750,000 new arrivals this year. The majority of those are also from Syria, though Afghans and Iraqis are prominent in the tide as well.

The Liberal government's plan has caused consternation across the political spectrum in Canada, with worries of potential security concerns and even refugee advocacy groups warning that bringing in 25,000 by Jan. 1 is just too many people, too fast.

Those involved in dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon scoff at such concerns. "That's one street here," says Maria Assi, chief executive officer of the Beyond Association, a Unicef-supported group that runs 87 informal refugee schools. "We take care of 20,000 kids just at Beyond."

Ms. el-Helou tries to keep a diplomatic straight face when asked what difference Canada's contribution will make on the ground in Lebanon. "We do support any initiatives to help," the government adviser says. "But let's just say that Asal alone - a town in the north of Bekaa - is currently hosting 80,000 [Syrian refugees]. And the Lebanese population of the town is 35,000. Let's say that a couple of other towns are the same, and that Lebanese villages are smaller [geographically] than villages in other countries."

Ms. el-Helou pauses. "So 25,000 is a good number, as a start."

She says the Canadian officials she's met with were also interested - as most Western governments are - in first helping those refugees that either had family already in Canada, or the language and other skills to help them quickly adapt to life in the new country.

In other words, they want the brightest and the best-connected, leaving Lebanon with the poor and the less-skilled - and potentially more trouble down the road.

'I just started crying'

The likely source of longer-term problems is the hundreds of thousands of school-age Syrian children scattered around the Middle East who are receiving no classes or counselling of any kind. Human Rights Watch estimates that there are 400,000 children not in school in Turkey alone, and roughly half that number in Lebanon.

The kids don't just need help with their reading, writing and arithmetic, though the gap between them and their peers grows with every year out of school. They also desperately need help coping with what they've seen. In Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp, Syrian children asked to draw pictures of their old homes hand back scenes of tanks and airplanes bombing villages filled with dead bodies, or just pages covered in black scribbles.

The same experiences haunt the Syrian children growing up in Lebanon. "I was walking with my friend Aya. I looked away - I don't remember at what - and when I looked back she was lying [dead] on the ground. I just started crying," is 12-year-old Fatima al-Lawz's most prominent memory of the war. She is the only daughter of Ms. Mohammed and Mr. al-Lawz; her voice accelerates and she pulls at the sleeves of her hooded sweatshirt as she tells the tale.

Fatima now attends classes four hours a day at one of the informal schools run by Beyond, and her teachers are trying to help her work through her trauma and grief via her love of music, and writing songs about her experiences.

But Beyond can't force parents to send their children to school. Many young boys are asked by their parents to instead work and earn desperately needed cash. Many girls - especially if they're unmarried in their teenage years - are kept from leaving their tents by parents terrified of what could happen to them in tent cities that are only loosely monitored by the Lebanese police.

Fear of what will become of their children if they grow up in the camps is the No. 1 reason Syrian refugees cite for joining the tide to Europe. The same holds true for those who remain in limbo in the Middle East.

"My parents think it will be best for us to go to another country because here we can't afford to pay for our rent and my brother has to work. They say that if we go abroad, we get a home for free and go to school for free," Fatima says.

But she's seen too much in her 12 years to trust such things.

"I don't believe this will happen," she says, pulling again at her sleeves.

"Why should anybody give us anything for free?"

* * * * * * * * * *


Registered Syrian refugees as of Oct. 31, 2015, according to UNHCR

* * * * * * * * * *


Population of Lebanon, not including Syrian or 455,000 Palestinian refugees

Associated Graphic

Syrian teenager Basima prepares food in a makeshift shelter in Zahle, Lebanon, in May. Funding shortfalls have meant smaller stipends for refugees from the World Food Programme.


Fear of what will become of their children if they grow up in the refugee camps in neighbouring countries is the No. 1 reason Syrian refugees cite for joining the tide to Europe.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Razor Ruddock's return to the ring has been hit and miss. The Canadian heavyweight is not taking a recent defeat lying down
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

TORONTO -- Donovan (Razor) Ruddock is lying flat on his back, his chest heaving, his arms splayed out like Jesus. This was definitely not part of his plan.

His plan, and let him finish, went like this: Train hard, return to the boxing ring after 13 years of retirement at the unheardof advanced age of 51, knock out some noname boxers, win the relatively obscure Canadian heavyweight title, use the ensuing publicity to promote sales of a household garbage compactor he invented a few years ago, defeat a top-10-ranked fighter and then, seriously, challenge for the world title. That, at least, was the plan.

On this Friday night in September, with Ruddock down and dazed on the canvas at Toronto's Ricoh Coliseum, the plan is in need of revisions. Nowhere in the plan was there a knockout punch from Canadian champ Dillon (Big Country) Carman, 29, who was only two years old when Ruddock first won the Canadian title back in 1988.

Now, two months later, Ruddock - known back in the day for his fused upper-cut/left-hook punch nicknamed "the Smash" - is not taking the defeat lying down. This is a guy who fought, and lost, to Mike Tyson - twice - lasting a brutal 12 rounds in their final, sickening, bloody confrontation despite suffering a broken jaw.

Of course, that was during the Bush administration - the first Bush administration.

"I only lost five fights. I can't put this kid on the list," Ruddock says in an interview with The Globe and Mail this week between sessions pounding on a duct-taped punching bag at Toronto's east-end Cabbagetown Boxing Club.

Recent additions to his plan include retaining a lawyer, and a potential court challenge of Ontario's boxing authorities over the outcome of the bout. Carman, Ruddock alleges, landed two rulebreaking blows to the back of his head or neck - known as "rabbit punches" as a similar technique is used to quickly slaughter rabbits - minutes before his bout-ending knockout. So, to sum up the current plan: Get Carman disqualified after the fact, have the Canadian title handed over, and then, see above.

"I've been in the game 35 years, okay? I fought all the killers in the world, all the fighters," he says, as his wife, Tritcha-Anne, 40, who acts as his trainer, manager and No. 1 supporter, towels the dripping sweat off his shoulders and face. "And they don't have the better of me, okay? Because I don't have to be looking at how to be protecting the back of my head."

Even in a sport crammed full of stories about aging boxers making unlikely comebacks, Ruddock's stands out. George Foreman, who before finally retiring and becoming a full-time indoor grill salesman, took the world heavyweight championship at the record age of 45 in 1994. But even he had hung up his gloves by the time he turned 48.

And Ruddock is returning to a sport many feel is also well past its prime. Heavyweight boxing is at perhaps its lowest ebb in a century in North America. While the recent Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao welterweight battle broke pay-per-view TV records, the heavyweight division is now largely left to a subculture of hard-core fans, except in Quebec, where boxing of all kinds remains defiantly popular.

The last generation of big household-name heavyweights - Tyson, Foreman, Evander Holyfield - are gone, replaced by fighters whose reputations do not transcend their sport, such as the current world heavyweight champion, Ukraine's Wladimir Klitschko. Its legitimacy long undermined by corruption and mounting medical evidence about the long-term effects of repeated blows to the head, boxing has also seen its badass reputation usurped in recent years by the arguably more animatedly violent sport of mixed martial arts.

Ruddock's recent bout with Carman was an undercard on what was billed as the first major boxing event in Toronto in decades, an attempt by promoters including British-Canadian boxing legend Lennox Lewis - who retired long ago but knocked out Ruddock in 1992 - to revive the sport here. But Ruddock, out of boxing for so long, is returning to a much diminished arena, with no Tysons to face. Perhaps that is for the best.

To be licensed to box in Ontario, fighters have to undergo a series of medical tests, including a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. There is no age limit in the rules, and Ruddock says doctors have given him a green light. He swats away any suggestion that by boxing so late in life he increases his already heightened risk of ending up like Muhammad Ali, suffering from Parkinson's, or Ruddock's old trainer, the late Floyd Patterson, a former heavyweight champion who suffered from Alzheimer's.

"Listen, when I am talking to you. Very clear. You don't see no residue from boxing, do you? No.

So then, obviously, I am doing pretty good," he says as he unwinds the boxing tape on his hands. "You see, the key to boxing is, if you're not getting knocked out, you're doing okay. If you are getting knocked on the head, then you've got to go find something else to do."

Ruddock, whose family moved to Toronto's Weston neighbourhood from Jamaica when he was 11, is the second-youngest of five children. He started boxing at 16.

He stayed with an uncle in Brooklyn for a while, boxing there and also back home while in the Canadian Forces reserves, where he earned the nickname Razor for leaving his opponents with cuts.

He was Canada's light-heavyweight amateur champ, and might have gone to the 1980 Olympics in Moscow if it weren't for the boycott, before turning pro in 1982. After a defeat blamed on a debilitating case of asthma, and a stint driving a truck, he returned to boxing and hooked up with Canadian legend George Chuvalo as his trainer.

It was his defeat of a top-10ranked American heavyweight, Mike Weaver, in 1986 that put the wider boxing world on notice.

Dramatic knockouts of James (Bonecrusher) Smith in 1989 and then Michael Dokes, at New York's Madison Square Garden in 1990, elevated Ruddock onto boxing's uppermost shelves, within striking distance of the top. Canadian clothier Roots was a sponsor, providing his trunks and Razorbranded leather jackets.

However, his handlers had trouble navigating boxing's politics and lining up big-name opponents. (Tyson bailed out of a matchup set for Edmonton in 1989, claiming illness.) And in the 1990s, he would suffer a handful of punishing defeats against Tyson, Lewis and finally Tommy Morrison, before quitting boxing in 1995 as his life outside the ring unravelled.

Ruddock ended up in legal or financial battles with former members of his once-massive entourage, including his own older brother, Delroy, and boxing promoter Don King. He filed for bankruptcy in 1995, despite earning as much as $10-million (U.S.) for his 1991 bouts against Tyson alone. A Fort Lauderdale, Fla., nightclub he launched, Razor's Palace, went under. A former girlfriend alleged he had assaulted her and ripped a diamond ring off her finger, but he was acquitted by a Florida jury. He returned to boxing in the late 1990s, winning the vacant Canadian heavyweight title in 2001 before quitting again.

"After I won the Canadian title, I was bored. I wasn't feeling it. You know what I am saying? So I took some time off. And I was getting fat," he said, adding that he had ballooned to 300 pounds. "My blood pressure was going high."

Eight years ago, living in Jamaica, he says he started training and sparring again. Three years ago, he went vegan. Now, living in Toronto, he says he runs eight or nine kilometres some mornings, and most others he heads to the boxing gym for an hour of punching.

He's a father of six, a grandfather of four. A son, Sky, died in a car crash in California at 22 in 2011. Away from the ring, he calls himself an inventor. He holds a U.S. patent on a garbage compactor, a can with a specially designed lid that incorporates a lever that can squish your trash.

Previous attempts to market it like Foreman's ubiquitous grill have fizzled. Ruddock, who brought a prototype into his lawyer's office this week and says he has invested $500,000 of his own money in the device, adds that he has other unnamed inventions waiting in the wings.

But boxing now comes first. In his debut comeback fight, in Mississauga in March, he defeated Toronto's 6-foot-7, 44-year-old Raymond (Mount Kilimanjaro) Olubowale in a technical knockout. He then beat Quebecker Eric Barrak in May.

Ruddock, 6-foot-3, weighs in these days at about 240 pounds, around seven or eight pounds heavier than his fighting weight in his prime. But the chiselled chest that entered the ring with Tyson all those years ago is now a flabbier, middle-aged affair, jiggling as he jumps up and down and loosens up before his fight.

He insists he's in the best shape he has ever been. And this time around, his sprawling entourage is long gone, replaced by a group of one: his current wife of 20 years, Tritcha-Anne, who says she is happy to see her husband back in the ring. She was among those in his corner at the Ricoh Coliseum, shouting encouragement over the ropes.

"I made a lot of mistakes," he says when asked about his past.

"But through all the mistakes, you weave your way through, you will get to the right spot. And that's the way I look at life."

Ruddock gets animated as he shows a reporter a slow-motion video of what he says were Carman's illegal blows: "Right in the back of the head. They can't beat me no other way. ... They need to remove that title and he needs to get out of boxing. That's what he needs to do. He needs to go into MMA. That's where he needs to go."

It's the same video that his lawyer, with Ruddock and his wife present, showed to the province's boxing czar, Ontario Athletics Commissioner Ken Hayashi, in a meeting late last month. Ruddock's lawyer, Trevor Whiffen - a partner with the Toronto office of Dickinson Wright LLP who often acts for athletes and sports organizations and sits on the board of the Ontario Hockey League for the London Knights - says Hayashi did initially acknowledge the boxer may have been hit in the back of the head.

However, 10 days later, Hayashi responded with a letter saying the information provided had been "carefully considered" but that he would not be taking any action, citing a lack of "sufficient evidence" to overturn the referee.

Whiffen admits they are in uncharted legal waters, but says his next step could be to try to convince a judge to make a declaration to force the commissioner to act: "It's easier to throw a 51year-old guy that's come out of retirement under the bus than it is to dethrone the current Canadian heavyweight champion.

That's a tough thing to do."

Neither Hayashi nor Carman could be reached for comment.

Ruddock, smiling and laughing, showers an interviewer with stories from his life in the ring without waiting for questions, holding court in a boxing gym whose walls are covered with images of the sport's legends. He says he loves training so much he does it whether he has a fight scheduled or not. And he vows to keep boxing, once he sees his challenge of the Carman fight through.

Because he has a plan.

"Right now, I have a plan," he says. "I am going to keep going and see how far the rabbit holes go. But we have to clear this thing up first."

Associated Graphic

Donovan (Razor) Ruddock, who works out of Toronto's Cabbagetown Boxing Club, is challenging the results of a Canadian heavyweight title bout in September. He says he was illegally punched in the back of the head twice during the match.


At the age of 51, Donovan (Razor) Ruddock came out of retirement this year after being away from boxing for 13 years.


Ruddock says he loves training so much he would do it even if there were no matches to prepare for.


Max Saschowa's life as a refugee in 1940s Germany led him to pay back the generosity he was shown then by extending a helping hand to Khaled Allak
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1


Chronicling the global refugee and migrant experience

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Early in September, Khaled Allak and five friends were lost in an endless forest. It was late at night and they had no food or water; their phone batteries had been dead for hours. Earlier that day, the six Syrian refugees had escaped from a train that Hungarian police were blocking from continuing west. Now their only goal was to keep going in that direction - toward the border with Austria, and then on to Germany.

About 1,000 kilometres to the northwest, Max Saschowa was sleeping in his home in the tiny German village of Kaulhausen. Mr. Saschowa and his wife, Brigitte, both retired, had passed the day in a variation of their regular routine. He tinkered with projects - restoring a 24-year-old car, repairing engines - while she helped her disabled sister and participated in a local bowling league.

Within weeks, these lives would intersect. Mr. Allak, 22, and Mr. Saschowa, 75, have more in common than it first appears. The fact of their meeting shows the unexpected ways in which the refugee crisis is reaching into every corner of Germany, from large cities to mid-sized towns to tiny hamlets. And it illuminates the long road that stretches ahead as refugees adapt to a new country and Germans adjust to their presence.

The process is the source of growing unease for some Germans. Chancellor Angela Merkel has faced calls from conservative allies and from members of her own party to adopt a tougher stand toward the refugee influx, which she has resisted for the most part.

Now the consequences of that policy are unfolding at the level of individual lives. Mr. Allak ended up just down the road from Mr. Saschowa in the village of Loevenich.

It hasn't seen groups of refugees since the Second World War and is housing the new arrivals in dormitories belonging to a local strawberry and asparagus farmer. "You read about what's happening in Hungary, in Austria - it's so far away," Mr. Saschowa says. "Then you learn they're right here."

3,700 kilometres from home

It's a cold, wet evening in October and Mr. Allak is standing in a field wearing flip-flops and a thin jacket. Green fields and grey skies stretch to the horizon. There are wind turbines in the distance. It feels a world away from Syria - 3,700 kilometres to be precise, says Mr. Allak, an aspiring engineer who has calculated the distance from his hometown near Idlib.

Nearby sit two low-slung dormitories. Normally, they house the workers who harvest the surrounding fields, but since the end of the summer they have been home to 150 asylum seekers. Inside, the rooms are basic - cots, lockers, a table - but there is heating, hot water and electricity, all luxuries that Mr. Allak hasn't had for more than a year back in in Syria.

Here his life follows a new pattern: three meals a day, served in an unheated annex between two buildings and eaten in his room. Sometimes there's a game of soccer or ping pong outside, or at least there was before the weather turned cold. And he spends hours poring over his smartphone, getting updates from home or watching German lessons on YouTube. Mr. Allak is an assiduous student: In a notebook, he has carefully filed 500 German words that he is translating into English and Arabic.

Like many before him, he marvels at the German language's propensity for compound nouns. There's one in particular that consumes him: Familienzusammenfuehrung, or family reunification. He wants to start that process as soon as possible to bring his parents and three brothers to Germany. But first, he needs his own application for asylum to be approved. And for now, it hasn't even formally begun - the German system for registering refugees is swamped by the wave of arrivals, with more than 400,000 entering the country in September and October.

When the Syrian civil war broke out, Mr. Allak was registered to start classes at the University of Aleppo. Now he has a precise plan for picking up the thread of his life: start his asylum application, get housing, learn German, enter university and, after he graduates, work for the German government. "I must serve them because they helped us," he says matter-of-factly. In university, he wants to continue his study of mechatronics, a multidisciplinary field of engineering. The reading material downloaded on his smartphone includes a 300-page manual in Arabic on how USB ports function.

From the strawberry farm, it's a 15-minute walk to the only supermarket in Loevenich, a village of 3,000 people which is part of the municipality of Erkelenz. Its narrow streets and dark brick two-storey buildings evoke the Netherlands, just 30 kilometres away. The main street consists of a church, a pizzeria, a drug store, a bakery and a bank branch. It is exceedingly quiet, broken only by the sound of barking dogs and an occasional car.

Karin Kueppers, the manager of the supermarket, says that at first she was anxious and afraid when she heard about the new refugee camps. That fear turned out to be unfounded. "We've had no difficulties," she says. A trickle of refugees comes in to buy SIM cards, snacks and sweets, but nothing more. She speaks little English and they speak little German, so interactions are limited to pleasantries like "hello" and "thank you."

Down the road, a woman working at the village's convenience store who declined to give her name claims that most local residents are worried. "Not about these people," she says, but more that the conflicts under way in their home countries could somehow follow them to Germany. Sometimes refugees come in to buy cigarettes, she adds, or she sees a few of them while out walking her dog.

As Mr. Allak walks the silent streets of tidy homes, sometimes villagers say "hello." Many things still puzzle him about Germany, from the way houses are built - all that elaborate cladding and insulation - to the fact that some women remain unmarried, while others travel for work far from their families. He's grateful for the volunteers who organized a barbecue at the refugee camp and took them to a soccer match. But he has very little contact with local residents. He pauses for a moment, realizing there's an exception. "I know Max," he says.

A frozen trek to a better life

A few months ago, Max Saschowa was enjoying his retirement, spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and making occasional trips to Florida. On warm evenings, he and his wife, Brigitte, would host friends for dinner on their patio set in a lush garden with fields in the distance. He had never volunteered with refugees before - that is, until he learned they were just down the road.

When the refugees arrived in Loevenich, Mr. Saschowa drove to the dormitory reserved primarily for young men. He asked how he could help. "They eat three times a day, but they have nothing to do," he says, while sitting at a dark wood table overlooking his backyard. "They're so bored and it's very lonely there."

There was never a question in his mind that he would help. Born in 1940, Mr. Saschowa never met his father, a German soldier killed in France. After the Second World War, his mother struggled to make ends meet in a small town on the Baltic Sea that had been devastated by Russian forces advancing toward Berlin. Then, in February, 1947, seven-year-old Max set out on foot with his mother and older sister to reach a train that would take them to what would become West Germany.

They walked 40 kilometres along the coast in temperatures so cold that the water near the shore was frozen over. "I never forget - no, never," Mr. Saschowa says. Mr. Allak, who is sitting across the table, is transfixed as he listens to the story. "Like me," he says.

Mr. Saschowa ended up in the city of Braunschweig, where he remembers British soldiers bringing food to his school, including treats such as chocolate and chewing gum. Even more precious were the weekly aid packets containing peanut butter. As a young man, he worked for a car dealer, then began importing Japanese motorbikes. He had a career he enjoyed, travelled widely and became a pilot in his spare time. But he never forgot his childhood scrabbling in the ruins of bombed-out buildings.

"These people have no future, only hope. They feel so alone," he says. "We have to help."

Mr. Saschowa drove his small black Volkswagen van to the refugee camp, loaded in six young men, including Mr. Allak, and asked what they wanted to do. They suggested finding a café where they could smoke "shisha," or a water pipe, a ubiquitous pastime in Syria. Mr. Saschowa could barely pronounce "shisha," but he found a Turkish restaurant a 20-minute drive away that offered it. One evening in September, he took the young men there. For two hours, they drank sodas and smoked apple-flavoured tobacco.

Then he brought them back to his house at 9 p.m. "Honey, these are my friends," he announced to his surprised wife. He invited them to take whichever of his sweaters and jackets they might need. In the next weeks, the shisha evenings would be repeated twice more, and Mr. Allak would accompany Mr. Saschowa to an Asian buffet lunch. Faced with only the second Chinese meal of his life, Mr. Allak regarded the offerings warily, preferring to stick with chicken fingers and French fries.

There's not a lot of talking on these outings. But there is a sincere sense of fellow feeling, and in Mr. Saschowa's case, something else - a sense of returning the generosity he received as a child, of paying back an old debt.

Both Mr. Allak and Mr. Saschowa know this is only the beginning of a very long road. Even the dormitories rented to house the refugees in Loevenich are a temporary solution. By February or March, the temporary workers who harvest the fields will return, said Patrick Hangl of the social service organization ZOF, which runs the facilities on behalf of the local authorities.

Asked where the refugees will go once the workers come back, Mr. Hangl responds with a kind of bemused shrug: No one knows.

On the last day of October, Mr. Allak was transferred to another city about 100 kilometres away, where he was officially registered as an asylum seeker. Although he is relieved to have started his asylum process, his new living quarters is a four-bedroom house that he shares with 25 other refugees. He wishes he were back in Loevenich, among the asparagus fields.

Mr. Saschowa, meanwhile, has pledged to help Mr. Allak wherever he ends up. As a retiree, he has time, and he loves to drive. "I'll go wherever he needs me," he says.

Associated Graphic

Syrian asylum-seeker Khaled Allak and Max Saschowa share a warm moment during a recent walk in the park. As the lives of ordinary Germans and thousands of refugees begin to intersect, Mr. Saschowa says: 'These people have no future, only hope. They feel so alone. We have to help.'


As refugees arrived in Max Saschowa's town of Loevenich, Germany, there was never a question in his mind that he would help. Mr. Saschowa, 75, befriended Syrian Khaled Allak, 22, as a way of paying back the generosity he received as a child when he was a refugee in post-war Europe.


Friday, November 20, 2015

As far as generational advantages go, boomers hit the jackpot - or did they? The Globe's Marcus Gee (a boomer) and his son, Eric Andrew-Gee (a millennial), debate the merits of suburban dreams, having babies young - and who gets stuck holding the bag when boomers toddle into old age. It's a...
Friday, November 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

The Boomer Shift

This is part of The Globe and Mail' s week-long series on baby boomers. Is Canada ready? For more, visit and on Twitter at #GlobeBoomers

Marcus: We boomers are an extraordinarily lucky generation. I was born smack in the middle of the baby boom: May 3, 1955.

Unlike my father, my uncle and my grandfather, I never had to go to war. I got a good education at a leading Canadian university for tuition of $450 a year. I got a job in my chosen field right out of school, at a newspaper with a strong union and generous pay and benefits. I bought a house in downtown Toronto for what now looks like a fire-sale price. I can rely on a company pension when I retire, not to mention Canada Pension, free health care and seniors' discounts.

I'd rather see these rewards scaled back, at least for prosperous boomers like me, than be a millstone around your necks.

Eric: It's true: You were lucky, obscenely lucky, and my generation will always resent you for it.

(Hi, Dad!) The era of growing middle-class incomes and swelling government entitlements - on which you and your peers battened so gleefully - looks more and more like a historical blip.

Smart people like Thomas Piketty insist that the Western world is re-entering a period of economic bifurcation, like the kind we had before the Second World War.

So the privilege checking is warranted and grudgingly acknowledged. Still, I wouldn't go overboard with the self-flagellation. In many ways, I'm happy to have been born a millennial. We have problems, sure, but many of them are the shadow side of huge underacknowledged advantages: a more competitive job market means way more people are graduating from university; living with our parents into our 20s is a sign we actually like our parents; a PC culture is merely a sign that we're way more enlightened about race, gender and sexuality than any previous generation.

Still, if you're expecting to be put up at the Ritz in your dotage, dream on - you've had it good, and don't you forget it.

Marcus: I'm glad you're not feeling too burdened by me and my generation. You can pay next time we go to the movies.

I agree that you guys have things we didn't. Supercomputers in your pockets. Cities that are much more diverse, cosmopolitan and lively than the poky, provincial Toronto I grew up in.

(Our idea of exotic food was Italian at George's Spaghetti House.) A galaxy of potential careers - in computer animation, say, or international humanrights law - that didn't exist before.

My worry is that my spoiled generation, used to having it good, will demand a gilded old age that will weigh on yours. We spend far too much on the present, far too little on the future.

Health care already consumes a huge chunk of government spending, and much of it goes to people in their final years. As the boomers age, that cost can only rise. Guess who is paying?

On the other hand, I saw my hero Davey Keon win a Stanley Cup for Toronto. So there. In effect, we've rigged the whole system to favour the present.

Eric: I'll pay for movies the second your narrow, semi-detached house with no real yard space drops below $1-million in value.

(Also: C'mon, The Martian was totally worth two prices of admission.)

Seriously though: Boomers are loaded. Statscan estimates that you people hold more than half of Canada's wealth. A lot of that is in home value. We millennials, at least those of us living in Toronto and Vancouver, like to gripe about how lucky our parents are to live in these stately downtown piles that we could never afford. But those windfalls you're sitting on (and sleeping in) are the ticket to a future of intergenerational harmony.

The truth is, seniors have never been healthier or richer than they are now. That means they'll be living longer, but those extra years are going to be full of golf and skiing and Floridian vacations. Demographers talk about the "rectangularization" of life expectancy - a vivid if spooky image of long-lasting well-being and then sudden death. Of course health-care spending will go up as people like you get decrepit - but not as dramatically as a lot of people think.

So cheer up, Pops. If you lived, and sailed, until you were 90, then followed the rectangle's vertical line, you'd be right on trend.

Marcus: Long-lasting wellbeing followed by sudden death?

Sweet. It's how most of us would prefer to go. Unfortunately, many of us will spend our last years in expensive decline. Even if we manage the long-lasting wellbeing, our final months will often cost the health system a fortune as it struggles to prolong the inevitable.

But let's not be too morbid.

You're right: Most boomers can look forward to a comfortable retirement. Life, in so many ways, has never been better. All the moaning and groaning we heard in the recent election campaign strikes me as way overdone. The middle class is not about to disappear; seniors, as you say, have never been better off; and young people who work hard and get an education can still build a bright future in what is, after all, one of the world's most fortunate countries. Why else would so many people want to move here?

We just have to fix things so that the system tilts more to the needs of the future and less toward maintaining the wellbeing of those who already have it good. A future-focused Canada would invest more in education and infrastructure, spend less on benefits to the already prosperous and stop subsidizing existing companies and industries that would naturally disappear, or evolve, if left to themselves. As they said in the Clinton days, don't stop thinking about tomorrow.

Eric: Two words for boomers: ice floe.

Marcus: There won't be any.

Global warming.

Eric: Yeah, thanks for driving all those yacht-sized American cars to all those sprawling airconditioned suburbs all those years. I'm sure the tailfins were fun.

Meanwhile, people are starting to get wind of our Oedipal tête-àtête. Another reporter just sent me this study as ammo: "Why does the federal government spend five times more per retiree than per person under 45?" Hey, good question! Politicians definitely pander disproportionately to the canasta set (although it probably helps that the canasta set votes).

Still, I would say our bigger problem isn't that we coddle the old, but that we push them away.

Compared with places like Italy or Japan, we treat the aged terribly. Go to any North American old folks' home and you get the uneasy feeling of being in a funhouse-mirror version of an Edwardian boarding school - a whole generation of people farmed out to be cared for at great expense by someone other than their family. Of course, it often makes good sense to put grandma in a home, if she needs specialized care, say.

Other times, it's just a drag to have your decrepit old parents around. North American culture fetishizes youth and stigmatizes aging. As our society gets older, that probably needs to stop.

More three-generation households may be in the cards.

Dad, if you're wondering whether to take this as an invitation, my question is: Are you offering free babysitting?

Marcus: As long as you have babies that I can sit. Procreation is out of fashion. Having children has become a lifestyle choice - one that many people decide not to make.

As a boomer, I was lucky to grow up in a big extended family, with two siblings and 12 cousins.

They are still important people in my life. A lower birth rate obviously means fewer aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews. I once met a young woman in China who, because of the one-child policy, had no aunts, uncles or siblings - only two aging parents to worry about on her own.

There is a whole generation like her.

We are drifting in that direction. It isn't so much the economic cost that's worrying - fewer young, working people to support more older, retired ones - it's the social and psychological cost. It's an irony that, at a time when people are richer and safer than ever, they are choosing to bring fewer children into the world. In case I am being too subtle, I will spell it out: Boy, give me grandchildren.

Eric: Says the guy who had his first kid (me) at 35.

Anyway, it's all very well to have lots of kids when the banks are giving out houses for free and everyone's dream job is just a handshake away. Increasingly, it takes two degrees, or a degree and a bunch of internships, to land any kind of meaningful white-collar job. Then it takes a bunch of years toiling in those jobs to afford a house in a Canadian city. On top of which, people my age take longer to "find themselves" than your generation did. Social roles, gender roles, even things like manners are loosening if not disintegrating. More of us need to take a few years to sort out what kind of person we want to be before, you know, creating other people.

Which is all great! More education, still relatively affordable in Canada, is a good thing. So is the profusion of white-collar jobs.

And the freedom to work out our personalities on the fly. It just means that we might start our families a little later than the boomers did. Though probably before we're 35 ... Marcus: You're right. My bad. If I'd started a family earlier I might have a whiff of grandchildren by now. Why repeat my mistake?

Today, it seems just about everyone delays having children, or puts it off till it's too late. Is it really just for economic reasons?

Boomers like my parents weren't wealthy when they had kids. My dad came out of the Navy and built himself a career in advertising. It didn't pay that much.

What they had was optimism.

One of the reasons that the boomers had all those kids was because they believed in the future. Where is that spirit now?

There is so much anxiety in the air. Will our struggling young people ever be able to buy a house, get a steady job, be able to save for retirement? Most manage to find some kind of housing all the same - if not a downtown house in Vancouver or Toronto, then a condo or a place in the suburbs. Most who have good schooling find jobs. Most can save money if they stick with a plan. Perhaps y'all should stop wringing your manicured hands and do what my parents did: Get on with life.

Eric: Weren't we worried at some stage that this wasn't going to be personal or combative enough? So much for that. This is what WASP men do for therapy. I would also like to state for the record that I have never had a manicure in my life. I anxiously bite my nails far too often to need one.

Associated Graphic


A chip off the old block: Globe columnist Marcus Gee with his son, Eric Andrew-Gee, a Globe general assignment reporter.


Spy scandal drove scientist from Canada
Brilliant researcher was acquitted of wrongdoing after being accused during the Gouzenko affair, but left due to lingering suspicions
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S10

David Shugar was one of the most gifted young scientists in the country, with a McGill PhD in his pocket and every expectation that a brilliant career would lie ahead until, at the age of 30, he was caught in the coils of the bitter ideological rivalries of the 20th century. A veteran of the Royal Canadian Navy and a researcher in the arcane field of biophysics, he saw his name blackened and career cut short in this country when Igor Gouzenko, the man with the pillow case on his head, alleged that Dr. Shugar was part of a secret spy ring run out of the Soviet embassy in Ottawa. Moscow was after atomic secrets then shared among only Britain, the United States and Canada.

The story is well known: Late one night in early September, 1945, less than a month after the Second World War ended, 26year-old Mr. Gouzenko had walked out of the Soviet embassy where he worked coding and decoding messages, taking more than 100 documents stuffed in his shirt. Agitated, scared and speaking hardly any English, he had difficulty at first convincing the RCMP, then government officials, that he and his family needed asylum.

His dramatic defection, and the duplicity of the USSR, our wartime ally, was not made public for five months while Prime Minister William Lyon McKenzie King discussed the situation with the Americans and the British and formed a plan of action. That involved extending the War Measures Act and appointing a royal commission headed by two Supreme Court judges to weigh Mr. Gouzenko's sensational revelations.

The arrests began in the early hours of Feb. 15, 1946, when David Shugar and 10 others were picked up, detained at Rockcliffe air force barracks in Ottawa and held incommunicado, their tiny rooms lit night and day with a 100-watt bulb. Dr. Shugar did not know why he was there, since it was only after the arrests that the prime minister made public Mr. Gouzenko's defection - an event now considered the start of the Cold War. (Sir Winston Churchill made his famous Iron Curtain speech a month later.)

More detentions followed.

Habeas corpus was suspended under the War Measures Act and the detainees had no access to legal counsel while the RCMP grilled them, attempting to obtain confessions. Finally on March 8, 1946, Dr. Shugar appeared before the Kellock-Taschereau Royal Commission, where he was questioned about whom he knew and whether he was a communist.

The commission was charged with fact finding and was not a court of law. After Dr. Shugar's testimony, he was released but expected to be rearrested and brought to trial. The magistrate, however, refused to indict him for lack of evidence that he had broken the law.

Of the 21 people fingered by Mr. Gouzenko and detained, Dr. Shugar was the last survivor. He died at his home in Warsaw on Oct. 31 at the age of 100.

His death was announced by his niece, Harriet Shugar of Dorval, Que., who had frequently visited him in Poland and created a Facebook page to tell the story of the injustice that had been done to him 69 years ago. "My uncle was never a communist," she said in an interview. "He was an outstanding academic and he and [his wife] Grace were active in early days of the labour union movement. That's how they met."

Though he was not indicted after that first arrest, the Commission in its published report strongly implied that he had betrayed his country and after scraping together additional information from the other witnesses, it pushed again - successfully - for an indictment.

Dr. Shugar appeared in court on Aug. 7, 1946, and his trial began in November.

The case against him rested on two things: that he was a member of the Canadian Association of Scientific Workers, which the Royal Commission considered a communist organization; and that he had once told Sam Carr, the chief organizer for the Labour Progressive Party (formerly called the Communist Party of Canada) in general terms that he had worked on submarine detection devices when he was in the Canadian navy. Mr. Carr reported to his handler at the Soviet embassy that a scientist codenamed Prometheus could be a good source of future information. Dr. Shugar told the commission he had promised nothing to Sam Carr, whose report to his boss Dr. Shugar termed "presumptuous."

"You can't separate out Shugar's case from the fairly concerted attack the government launched on the Canadian Association of Scientific Workers - he had been instrumental in getting that off the ground," said Reg Whitaker, adjunct professor at the University of Victoria and the author of several authoritative books about Canada and the Cold War. "The government was not happy having unionized scientists. There were issues about the free transmission of scientific knowledge, which ran into security concerns."

In the end, 11 people, including Sam Carr, were convicted and sentenced for violating the Official Secrets Act. The one with the highest profile was Alan Nunn May, a British physicist with the Canada Atomic Energy Project during the war, who had by then returned to England, where he served 10 years. While in Canada, he had given a Russian contact samples of Canadian uranium isotopes.

Although Dr. Shugar was acquitted, the published report of the Royal Commission was read by thousands of people - an unlikely bestseller - and it painted him as having been disloyal to Canada.

He was fired from his job as a medical researcher at the Department of Health and Welfare and could not find other work. The navy, meanwhile, refused to pay him the out-of-work veteran's allowance he was entitled to.

Unemployed, broke and swamped by legal bills, he wrote many desperate, angry letters to government officials and to the prime minister, demanding that they clear his name and withdraw the commission's report from circulation, all to no avail. He was reduced to writing articles for a popular science journal under a pseudonym until friends recommended him for a job at the Pasteur Institute in Paris.

He and his wife left Canada in 1948 and he worked as a researcher at the Institute, then taught at the Sorbonne for the next two years until he was let go due to pressure (he was unofficially told) from the U.S. government.

Meanwhile, the Canadian navy relented and he was able to get a small veteran's allowance, which was still more than what he was paid in France.

He next took a research job at the University of Brussels, in Belgium, where he initiated studies of the properties of nucleic acid constituents and their analogs.

But after a year, this job also ended. In 1952, he received an invitation from the noted physicist Leopold Infeld to join him at the University of Warsaw. Prof. Infeld had worked with Albert Einstein at Princeton and later spent 12 years at the University of Toronto before returning to Poland, his birthplace. Dr. Shugar and his wife accepted his offer, moved to Poland and restarted their careers in a foreign language that both of them had to learn. But he always considered himself Canadian and never gave up his citizenship.

David Shugar was born Sept. 10, 1915, in Jozefow, Poland, one of five children - two girls and three boys - of Joseph and Reizl Shugar, who were observant Yiddishspeaking Jews. When David was 3, his father decided to take the family to Canada - a move that may have saved their lives. In 1942, the Jews of Jozefow (about 1,500 people) were all massacred by the Nazis.

Life in Montreal was hard.

Joseph's work as an egg-candler did not bring in enough money for high-quality medical care and his two daughters, Esther and Helen, died of pneumonia in their teens. Candling reveals if an egg is fertile; fertilized eggs are not kosher. It was David's job as a boy to deliver on his bicycle the eggs his father had approved for consumption by his Jewish customers.

The family lived on Duluth St., near St. Urbain, the crowded, argumentative, immigrant area peopled with rabbinical students, junk dealers, Trotskyites, pimps and poolroom sharks, later described by Mordecai Richler in his novels. Like Mr. Richler, young David attended Baron Byng High School. When he graduated, he had achieved the highest grades of any student in Quebec and received a scholarship to McGill.

There he met Grace Wales, a bright and beautiful education student from Saint-Andréd'Argenteuil, who shared his commitment to social justice.

After he received his PhD in 1940, the two married, to the consternation of David's parents, since Grace was not Jewish. She stood by him through all the postwar humiliations, and their close-knit marriage lasted until Grace's death in 2013.

In Poland, Dr. Shugar organized the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, part of the Polish Academy of Sciences. He also set up a laboratory of biological physical chemistry, which eventually became the department of molecular biology that he headed until his official retirement in 1985. He is credited with creating a Polish school of molecular biophysics, pursuing studies in mutagenesis, protein kinases, photochemistry of proteins and nucleic acids (large biomolecules essential for all life, nucleic acids include DNA and RNA). He wrote or co-wrote some 400 papers and taught hundreds of students now working in labs across Europe and North America.

"As a result of his scientific status, he was permitted to travel freely even when [the] Iron Curtain was down," his niece recalled.

"He came every year to work at Laval University and at the University of Quebec. He visited family and he would work when he was here."

Meanwhile, Grace took her doctorate in psycholinguistics and became a noted professor on the psychology faculty of Warsaw University.

Once the Red Scare abated, they thought of moving back to Canada, but tragedy intervened when their teenage daughter, Barbara, the couple's only child, fell and broke her leg on a Canada-bound ship. The leg would not heal and an orthopedic surgeon in Montreal diagnosed cancer. They sought treatment for Barbara in England because it was closer to Poland, and though her leg was amputated, it was too late to save her.

After her burial in Warsaw, Grace would not leave the city.

Dr. Shugar won many Polish and international prizes and honours but the one that meant most to him was being inducted into the Royal Society of Canada in 1999. During the year before his death, his niece petitioned the Harper government to apologize for the treatment he received in the 1940s but there was no response.

Dr. Shugar's cremated remains were buried in Warsaw this week in the same grave as his wife and daughter, with busloads of his colleagues, friends and students in attendance. He leaves his brother Hyman and many nieces and nephews.

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David Shugar and his wife, Grace, leave an Ottawa courthouse in March, 1946. The prominent scientist was questioned by the Kellock-Taschereau Royal Commission about whether he was a communist. P.


Despite his treatment during and after the Gouzenko affair, which included having his career torpedoed, Dr. Shugar always considered himself Canadian and never gave up his citizenship.


School board trustee Michael Ford is soft-spoken, earnest and a good listener. He's also a fan of Justin Trudeau. Eric Andrew-Gee finds that, in his manner and lifestyle, the younger Ford is everything his uncles Rob and Doug are not
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M1

Last February, in probably his last act as a private person, Rob Ford's nephew changed his name. Then a pudgy 19-year-old Humber College student with a high voice and a boyish smile, Michael Douglas Aldo Ford Stirpe dropped the "Aldo" and the "Stirpe."

Like nearly all legal name changes in the province, this one was duly published in the Ontario Gazette, a strange compendium of government business that virtually no one reads.

But in a season when his family consumed Toronto's attention with lurid scandal and improbable political resilience, the rechristening of Michael Ford became a news story.

That July, Mr. Ford entered the city council race for Etobicoke's Ward 2 - and when reporters learned about the decision to jettison his father's last name, it was interpreted as a ploy.

"Judge Michael Ford on his merits and not the surname he legally just acquired in Feb. for political purposes," tweeted sports journalist Mike Beauvais.

The charge of opportunism was hardly dispelled when the votes were counted in October. By then, he was running for school board trustee - Rob Ford had been diagnosed with cancer and dropped his mayoral re-election bid to contest his old council seat. Michael Ford received almost twice as many votes as the incumbent.

In person, Mr. Ford, with a slightly anxious, highly earnest manner, hardly fits the Machiavellian mould in which others have tried to cast him.

Now a year into his tenure, and giving his most extensive interview, he acknowledges that his famous name helped him get elected, but insists that ditching "Stirpe" had nothing to do with campaign strategy.

"I've always been known as Michael Ford," he said in an interview this week. "I've wanted to change it for a long time."

If the explanation sounds improbable, it should not. To spend time with the young trustee is to learn that nothing is straightforward about his relationship to the Ford name.

A beneficiary of the family's electoral fairy dust, he is also a member of its most tragic and dysfunctional branch. And though he remains a staunch defender of the Ford legacy, his personality and politics are starkly different from those of his uncles.

If Mr. Ford is still defined by his membership in the city's most controversial political clan, it is despite his efforts to transcend it.

"I'm a year into my job as Michael Ford," he says. "Not Rob. Not Doug."

The young man standing in the parking lot of West Humber Collegiate does not look like a nephew of Rob Ford; he looks like his antithesis.

Start with the car. The Ford men are known to drive huge black Cadillac Escalades. Michael Ford, meeting The Globe and Mail at one of the schools he represents, drives a much smaller, white Jeep.

In his manner and lifestyle, the younger Ford is everything Rob and Doug are not: soft-spoken where the uncles are bombastic, bashful where they are brash, gentle where they are aggressive.

And if the elder Fords could often be juvenile, with their name-calling and tantrums, Michael has the mien of a much older person.

"I know you're gonna think I'm 40, but I write everything down," he said, clutching a notebook as he paced through the halls of the Toronto District School Board's head office in North York.

His precocity can be startling.

His uncles were famous for their indifference to the details of policy and their crude rhetorical style, but Michael Ford already sounds like a seasoned lawmaker, freely using bureaucratic phrases like "touch base," "going forward" and "stakeholder."

He becomes animated when speaking about the Education Act or pet programs such as a deal for some Toronto schools to partner with IBM on tech skills training in classrooms.

The wonkish tone is hardearned, his colleagues say.

"In those first few months, he'd always be carrying around these big binders of information," said Marit Stiles, a leftleaning downtown trustee. "I would say what he lacks in experience he makes up for in his interests. He's not afraid to ask questions."

That grown-up tone startled some colleagues on the board who were leery of working with a Ford, never mind one as young as Michael.

"I think there was an idea of who I was gonna be. People were a little on edge," he said.

"Within a few months on the board, that thought was eliminated."

His fellow policy-makers might have been forgiven for expecting Mr. Ford to display the bellicose, lone-wolf style of Rob and Doug Ford. Instead, the nephew goes out of his way to be conciliatory and moderate.

Even committed Ford foes have come around on the family's upstart. Andray Domise, who was briefly Michael Ford's rival for the Ward 2 council seat, has worked with Michael in his capacity as trustee, promoting community initiatives in Etobicoke.

"Whereas his uncles have been very loud and very wrong, he seems willing to sit quietly and listen," Mr. Domise said.

Mr. Ford is coy about his political affiliation, but on social issues he is unabashedly progressive. He marched in the Pride parade this year, an event Rob Ford controversially refused to attend while mayor.

Michael's lifestyle is closer to that of the downtowners who deplore the Fords than it is to his that of his uncles. He lives in a condo on the lake shore and goes on bike rides to the Leslie Street Spit. He drinks green tea from Starbucks rather than Tim Hortons coffee. Even his hair sets him apart: rather than a shock of the natural blonde Ford hair, Michael has a peppering of platinum blonde dye in his bangs.

He is also fiercely disciplined about his diet and lost 105 pounds in the past eight months.

"You have to eliminate ... the shitty food. Let's be honest here," he said. (Unlike some other Fords, Michael almost never curses, and then only sheepishly.)

Even when he was obese, Mr. Ford was less physically imposing than his uncles. It was one of the reasons he never really enjoyed football - practically a religion in the Ford family - despite playing for two seasons at Richview Collegiate.

"Football wasn't really my cup of tea," he said, in perhaps the least Fordian sentence ever spoken.

Even less Fordian may be Michael's affinity for Justin Trudeau.

"Personally, I think he's a great guy," Mr. Ford said. "I love his passion for the environment."

(In the tape that undid his mayoralty, Rob Ford, high on crack, is heard calling Mr. Trudeau a "fag.") None of these differences detract from the fact that Michael is a proud Ford.

After spending an afternoon with The Globe this week, he called a reporter back the next day to reiterate how much he loved his uncles. "I just want to make sure that came across," he said.

If Mr. Ford's maturity sets him apart from other Fords, it is also a quality that seems to have been forged in the family's discordant mixture of political service and domestic chaos.

His was a childhood was rife with trauma.

Mr. Ford's mother, Kathy, has been a long-time heroin addict.

He was mainly raised by his grandparents, Diane and Doug Sr. His father, Ennio Stirpe, was convicted of manslaughter when Michael was very young after fatally shooting one of Kathy's boyfriends with a shotgun. Later, he was re-imprisoned for a vicious knife attack on an exgirlfriend. Michael and Kathy used to visit him monthly at the Kingston Penitentiary.

Rather than crushing him, these nightmarish episodes seem to have left Mr. Ford with a remarkably serene attitude towards life.

"I've seen both my parents with issues, you know. But you can never look at the negative side of life," he said. "You always take the positive in everything. Something sets you back and you learn from it and move forward."

Lacking a father, and to a large extent a mother, Mr. Ford said his uncles became surrogate parents.

When he was a city councillor, Rob often brought young Michael to council meetings.

What might have been a chore for most kids Michael found riveting. Soon, he was learning the ins and outs of city hall.

"I knew when I was 10 years old how to move an amendment," Mr. Ford said with a smile.

In 2010, he volunteered on Rob's mayoral campaign, and later ran errands in the mayor's office, turning up on City Hall security footage picking up his uncle's Escalade from the parking lot when Rob took cabs on his nights out.

Early exposure taught Michael the family brand of politics. Despite all their differences, Rob's influence is still apparent in Michael.

"We don't have money trees in the backyard," he said at one point, standing in the executive offices of the TDSB.

Later, he took a shot at the Fords' least favourite mode of transport, the streetcar - albeit in a characteristically mild way: "Sometimes they're not the best mode of transportation, I must say."

His family loyalty sometimes prevents him from speaking out.

He struggles, for instance, with the subject of Rob's many recorded ethnic slurs and misogynist outbursts.

"Of course, I would denounce it - if it wasn't him," Mr. Ford said.

The question of whether Rob was a good mayor also leads his nephew into a bout of hemming and hawing.

"That's an interesting question," he said.

"Yeah, I would say yeah," he managed with a grimace. "He served the people and he did that well."

Finally, Mr. Ford matches the political ambition of his uncles.

He briefly considered running for TDSB vice-chair earlier this week, which, at the age of 21 and still a Humber College business student, takes chutzpah.

And he has not ruled out running for council in Ward 2 next election - or, one day, the mayoralty.

Above all, though, and despite his many family entanglements, Mr. Ford wants to be known as his own man. In his interview with The Globe, he referred over and over to his distinctiveness.

"Whatever issues may come up, whatever Rob may say, whatever Doug may say, where I go, 'God!' ... I just focus on my beliefs, on my communities and on representing them," he said.

Contrary to what many have assumed, he says his uncles did not press him to run for office.

"Opposite, opposite, opposite," he said. "That was my desire.

That was my will, not my family's."

Nor, he said, is his political career about carrying on the family legacy, a goal with which Fords are known to be obsessed.

"No, no, no," he said, growing adamant. "This is me. This is about my ambitions."

Follow me on Twitter: @ericandrewgee

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Colleagues of school board trustee Michael Ford have noted that his hard work has made up for his inexperience.


Three new books offer different ways of being queer in the face of a single story
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R19

Under the Udala Trees By Chinelo Okparanta Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 336 pages, $37 God in Pink By Hasan Namir Arsenal Pulp Press 158 pages, $15.95

Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home By Leah Lakshmi PiepznaSamarasinha Arsenal Pulp Press 240 pages, $18.95

How are we to engage with the countries of the world where LGBT people face the worst forms of state-condoned violence?

This is the question underlining two novels released this fall, both starring queer protagonists. Under the Udala Trees, the first novel by Chinelo Okparanta, is about a queer woman growing up in Nigeria, where, today, same-sex relationships are criminalized and punishable with up to 14 years in prison, or, in the north, punishments that include death by stoning. God in Pink is Hasan Namir's debut. It focuses on gay men in Iraq during the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. In the story, Ramy and his lovers face the threat of torture, rape, and assassination - carried out or condoned by the authorities.

Okparanta and Namir are of the same generation of writers, both children of the eighties, and by strange coincidence both emigrated at the age of 10 from the place they now write about (Okparanta's family moved to the United States, Namir's to Canada). Their writing shows a number of strong parallels as well, ones that go beyond representing queer repression.

Both novels open in war zones.

In Under the Udala Trees it's the Nigerian Civil (Nigerian-Biafran) War, 1968. Ijeoma, 11, lives with her parents in Ojoto, on the losing Biafran side and dangerously close to the Nigerian border. For Ramy, the student nearing the end of his studies in God in Pink, it's Baghdad, 2003. Importantly, both novels go beyond portraying their respective country as simply war-torn, whether by continuing far into the peace that followed (Under the Udala Trees) or treating war as background (God in Pink).

For now, we'll simply note the wars are there at the outset.

Both protagonists (no spoiler - this happens early) lose their father at the hands of the state. Ijeoma's father, despondent at what has come of Biafra, refuses to take shelter during a Nigerian air strike. Years before the novel opens, Saddam executed Ramy's father for performing Shiite ceremonies.

And that raises a third parallel: tribal, sectarian antagonisms crop up in both works. Ijeoma's first love is star-crossed: Ijeoma is Igbo, a Christian. When Biafra seceded from Nigeria it was along pre-colonial ethnic lines: Biafra was predominantly Igbo. Ijeoma's love, Amina, is Hausa, a Muslim group predominant in northern Nigeria.

The lovers are discovered and separated. Ijeoma is sent back to her mother for Bible study (the instruction backfires: it only shows Ijeoma the faulty logic of her mother's interpretation). One lesson strays from the theme of homosexuality. Leviticus 19: "thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed."

"You're Igbo. That girl is Hausa.

Even if she were to be a boy, don't you see that the Igbo and Hausa would mean the mingling of seeds?" Adaora admonishes her daughter. "Are you forgetting what they did to us during the war? ... Have you forgotten that it was her people who killed your father?" In Ramy's Iraq, the widening faultline is between Sunni and Shia Muslims. "During Saddam's reign, we had no checkpoints, but now there are too many of them.

There are Sunni and Shia areas, a distinction we didn't have before."

These similarities may just be coincidences, but I read Okparanta and Namir as engaging in a similar artistic project. Placing the queer within a historically specific context rather than a nebulous timelessness means acknowledging that the treatment of queer people is contextual, and the thing about context is it can change. Even when well-intentioned, so much of what is written about LGBT-hate laws ignores the historical context of those laws' creation, which can end up being reductive and defeatist. These novels, by contrast, even when shining a light on the worst atrocities, offer faint optimism.

Change is a central force in both books. Both feature devout characters who undergo relatively radical transformations in perspective on homosexuality. But what's more significant, God is the agent of that change. In God in Pink, it takes the form of the angel Gabriel, who visits a sheikh at the local mosque, Ammar, to question Ammar's interpretation of the Koran. While both books engage in interpretive critique, neither rejects the religious text as a frame of reference. The final words of God in Pink are "God Almighty has spoken the truth."

In the epilogue to Under the Udala Trees, Ijeoma considers Hebrews 8: "God made a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that He made with their fathers."

"Sometimes I sit with my Bible in my hands, and I think to myself that God is nothing but an artist, and the world is His canvas. And I reason that if the Old and New Testaments are any indication, then change is in fact a major part of His aesthetic, a major part of His vision for the world. The Bible itself is an endorsement of change."

Of the two novels, Under the Udala Trees is the more classically realist in style and structure, following Ijeoma into her early 50s.

It's most innovative formally in melding biblical verse and Nigerian folk tales, a mix of influences that is true to the protagonist.

God in Pink is the slimmer book - you could argue it's really a novella - and a bit more structurally complex in its alternating firstperson narration between Ramy and Ammar. It's also more experimental in how it incorporates the angel Gabriel as an actor in the story. Most novels work with characters from a single metaphysical plane (our world); here Namir is working with characters from two.

It's easy to lose sight, for all the talk of the things around sexual orientation, that we are talking about sexual difference. God in Pink is the more thoroughly explicit of the two, but Under the Udala Trees doesn't revert to hand-holding and hugs either.

For some readers, reading within the context of a national literature or a given faith, this might be the most provocative aspect of either book. That difference in desire that makes for identity is kind of the point though, and the authors are right to insist on it.

If reading from the context of queer lit, what's most revolutionary about these novels is their insistence on faith. Namir's work especially. It isn't that there are no representations of queer Muslims in fiction (Farzana Doctor's novel Stealing Nasreen and Abdellah Taïa's fictionalized memoir, An Arab Melancholia, come to mind) it's that there aren't many of them. Even among these, God in Pink is the first I've come across of such fervent devotion.

Namir is one among a growing number arguing you can be actively gay and a good Muslim. If this presents a challenge to the simplistic view that Islam, a religion of 1.6 billion people, is one monolithic set of rigid beliefs - and I think Namir does make this challenge by citing, for example, dissent between Sunni and Shia Muslims - it is also a challenge to a particular representation of the queer as agnostic or overtly atheist.

It's not news that queer - and to a lesser extent, trans - people are currently having a moment as far as cultural representation goes. What you hear less about is who gets to participate in this moment and how these representations reproduce other power structures, such that "LGBT" most often looks cis, white, middle-class, able-bodied, male. Gay.

Of course there are counterexamples to this exclusive assimilationist homogeneity, but the exceptions seem to prove the rule. See black American rapper le1f's tweet (since deleted), "i feel i cant be a 'Gay Rapper' because 'Gay' in modern art has so much to do with white patriarchy & an idea of beauty i don't agree with."

See the need for Nia King's book of profiles, Queer and Trans Artists of Color, published last year, because QTPOC are not celebrated with the same critical attention as their white artistic counterparts. King self-published that book, by the way. See Stonewall, a film released this year widely criticized for white- and cis-washing the foundational event in modern LGBTQ liberation history. (And by "see" in this case I mean "witness the existence of" - please don't legitimize this film by watching it.)

I had this on my mind recently while reading Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha's memoir, Dirty River, because it's like a biracial-abuse-survivor-queerfemme-working-class-immigrantanarchist-punk bomb exploding this myth of LGBT sameness. Intersectionality is its M.O., so it's a book difficult to pin down as just one thing, but one way of reading it is as a kind of oral history and love letter to Toronto as it was in a weedier, less shiny time, which was only, tops, 20 years ago but by my count is two waves of gentrification distant. If the Toronto that Piepzna-Samarasinha memorializes still exists, it is increasingly pushed to the margins.

Toronto isn't the point for the purposes of this review; it's just the particular example written about in this book and you could probably extrapolate to many other places what I'm about to say. What struck me while reading Dirty River, and even more so at the book launch, where the audience also shared their stories of being queer women of South Asian descent in the Toronto of that time, was the shocking diversity of the experience. This is not a new idea - that as queer people make strides in legal equality and social acceptance, we've marginalized many representations of ways to be queer from the mainstream - but the contrast is stark in reading Dirty River.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has spoken of "the danger of the single story." Under the Udala Trees and God in Pink give voice to the often voiceless, offer the outside world a window into their lives, and provide a glimmer of hope for change - all good things. But they also give a Canadian reader more than an instance for complacent homonationalist pity. All three of these books offer different ways of being queer in the face of a single story. In the words of Matthew Salesses, "We need diverse diverse books."

Jade Colbert writes the Small Press and Debuts columns for the Globe and Mail.

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Newfoundland's poetic troubadour
The 'man of a thousand songs' was best known for one that became an anthem for singers, and audiences, around the world
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, November 24, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S6

Folk singer, musician and composer Ron Hynes created culturally defining songs that retuned a post-Confederation Newfoundland's relationship with music, popular culture and identity.

The award-winning singer was arguably best known for his song Sonny's Dream, and as co-founder of the Wonderful Grand Band.

WGB, which formed in 1978, also recorded 40 eponymous episodes for CBC-Television (1980-1983) and their combination of Celticrock music and Codco skits was wildly popular. The musicians and actors were big stars - and they were Newfoundlanders.

"My generation - of Alan Doyle and Mark Critch - we all talk about how big WGB was, how incredibly influential," said comedian and CBC broadcaster Rick Mercer, also a St. John's native.

Mr. Hynes died of cancer at the age of 64 on Nov. 19 in St. John's.

His death that evening coincided with a power outage and the city's downtown area went dark for a while. He leaves four daughters, Lily, Rebecca, Elena and Lori.

It is no exaggeration to say nearly every person in Newfoundland can belt out at least a verse of Sonny's Dream, a lament about a mother worried about losing her son to the sea. Two days after his death, about 500 people gathered in St. John's Bannerman Park to sing it in his honour. His funeral at St. John's Basilica on Monday drew hundreds of mourners, including Premier Paul Davis, and was broadcast live by radio station VOCM. Mr. Hynes's four daughters sang two of his songs at the service.

When Mr. Hynes wrote Sonny's Dream in 1976, he knew it was special. In the documentary Man of a Thousand Songs, which made its debut at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, he said the melody was so present, he was convinced he might be stealing it from somewhere. His artistic instinct was spot on: Sonny's Dream became an anthem recorded and performed and loved in countries and languages all around the world.

The song's success sometimes bemused Mr. Hynes. Many musicians recorded it, including Stan Rogers and Emmylou Harris, and other artists were occasionally credited with it. There were unexpected interpretations: A Portuguese version referred to Sonny not as a man but as the sun in the sky. Irish folk singer Christy Moore, of Planxty and Moving Hearts, added his own closing verse, without consultation.

Many Irish consider it one of their own classic ballads.

Filmmaker Rosemary House recalled her first trip to Dublin: "I told the cabbie I was from Newfoundland, which he'd barely heard of, and then I mentioned Ron, whom he'd never heard of. I said Ron wrote Sonny's Dream and the cabbie just started singing, he had all the words. Sonny was sung at every wake and wedding in the country, he said.

Everyone in Ireland knew it, everyone thought it was a traditional Irish lyric!" To help remedy this misconception, Ms. House teamed with producer Mary Sexton to film Ron Hynes: The Irish Tour (1999).

Mr. Hynes could not be defined by a single song, however, because he was a man of a thousand of them. He said the moniker came when he was booked for an appearance in Dartmouth, N.S., where the venue operator asked his agent if the musician knew this song or that song. Mr. Hynes told his agent to say that he knew a thousand.

Notably beloved in his repertoire were songs such as Atlantic Blue, written for those who lost loved ones when the offshore drilling rig Ocean Ranger went down in 1982; and St. John's Waltz (1997). Many of these, too, were recorded by other artists, such as Mary Black, Murray McLauchlan and Valdy.

Mr. Hynes was diagnosed with throat cancer three years ago and was cleared of that, but recently announced that cancer had returned, to his hip and lung. Response to the news was overwhelming for the singer. In an Oct. 28 Facebook posting, he responded to hundreds of phone calls, e-mails and messages of support: "I want to thank each and every one of you from the deepest core of my heart and soul ... because of all of you and your words of pure compassion and kindness, you've made a night destined toward misery and doubt change to one of sheer delight. [Samuel Beckett said] 'Perhaps my best years are gone ... but I would not want them back. Not with the fire in me now.' I go now to lie in darkness and I am not afraid."

Mr. Hynes understood darkness. He battled drug addiction, which he said almost killed him.

He could disappear for days and resurface minutes before a gig. In Man of a Thousand Songs, he spoke of this persona as "the third Ron," after the real person and the stage presence.

"It took a year to convince him to make the film," said director William MacGillivray. "We said, 'This is not a puff piece. There's no point in doing this if we don't go all the way.' To his credit, he went all the way. He addressed everything.

"It's important to see what an artist is really like. Not all of his songs were created from happiness and joy. This is not a happy man all the time," Mr. MacGillivray added.

"Great art requires great sacrifices," said Bob Hallett of the band Great Big Sea. "Ron Hynes was a great artist, in every sense of the word, but his work often seemed to require him to dwell in a dark place. There's a loneliness in his work that can only come from the real thing.

"Ron pursued his art with a confidence and devotion and an indifference to the outside world like no one else I have ever met.

He was also extremely intelligent, complicated, articulate, charming, difficult, and when it came to his music, utterly incapable of compromise," Mr. Hallett said.

"With his death, an age has passed. I doubt we are capable of producing another like him."

Ronald Joseph Hynes was born Dec. 7, 1950, in St. John's, and grew up in Ferryland on the southern shore where he grew up with three brothers and a sister.

In the late 1960s, he moved to St. John's to attend university, but music quickly became his focus.

He eventually released seven solo albums, including one for children, and two with WGB.

WGB's mix of music and comedy was an indication of the crosspollinating artistic scene in which Mr. Hynes was quickly immersed. In the early 1970s, he was the in-house composer for the Mummers Troupe and wrote music for the Resource Centre for the Arts' High Steel (1984).

Mr. Hynes wrote his lyrics first, his music second (a fellow musician noted that most of his songs included the word "heart"). He sculpted idiosyncratic chord arrangements. "He wasn't trying to be Nashville," said CBC radio host and music commentator Russell Bowers. "He was trying to sound like the Grand Ole Opry opened a branch in Torbay."

He was also an actor, including roles on stage in The Bard of Prescott Street, and Hank Williams: The Show He Never Gave; in the 1992 feature film Secret Nation (for which he wrote a Genie Award-winning song, "Final Breath"), and the CBC-TV series Dooley Gardens. He also recorded an audiobook of Michael Crummey's 1998 work, Hard Light.

When performing, he often wore jeans, a jean shirt, thin black leather tie and leather jacket. He was well known for sporting a fedora. (St. John's O'Brien's Music Store, billed as the oldest store on the oldest street in North America, where Mr. Hynes bought his first guitar and continued to patronize it weekly for strings, stocked "the Ron Hynes hat.") Man of a Thousand Songs screened at the Toronto film festival to a standing ovation, a reception replicated at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax and the St. John's International Women's Film Festival. A big reason for that was Mr. Hynes's presence, said Mr. MacGillivray. He created an energy and took over and bonded with an audience "in a way that was extremely different and special."

At the St. John's screening, Mr. Hynes sat where he could observe the audience instead of watching the film. At the part in the film where Sonny's Dream plays, the audience began singing along. "He turned to us with a big smile and said, 'These are my people,' " Mr. MacGillivray recalled.

Mr. Hynes always encouraged young musicians. If they opened for him in concert, he would clap louder than anyone else. If he liked their albums he told them so, orally and in writing. If he thought they had talent, he invited them to be musical guests.

He was nominated many times for Juno and Canadian country music awards, and received seven East Coast Music Awards, including Male Artist of the Year twice (1994 and 2007). In 1992 he was named Newfoundland and Labrador Art Council's Artist of the Year. He also received an honorary doctorate from Memorial University in 2002.

In 40 years of solo and group tours across Canada and the United States, he attuned ears and audiences around the world to music of his home. His album Stealing Genius was released in 2010, and until very recently he was playing, touring and writing music.

"The love people of Newfoundland and Labrador have for Ron Hynes truly is an unconditional love," Mr. Mercer said. "As Ron himself would admit, he could be a difficult character. But people have a huge capacity to love Ron because they love the songs so much. Long after every Newfoundlander and Labradorian alive today has gone, people will still be singing Ron Hynes's songs."

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.

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Ron Hynes, seen in the documentary Man of a Thousand Songs, went 'all the way' to show all aspects of his life and artistry in the making of the film.


Rural kids are more likely to be killed or hurt than their urban counterparts, statistics show. Despite weak laws, governments are loath to act, in part out of respect for a traditional way of life, Carrie Tait reports
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

Connor Pearce is 13. He is a farm kid, and drives a big New Holland tractor when spreading pig manure on his family's fields. The Pearces call the tractor Big Foot, and when Connor is in the cab, he goes slow, maybe 10 kilometres an hour. He is allowed to load and spread manure only when he is within an adult's eyesight.

Connor's two younger brothers, Ethan and Owen, work on the farm, too, although they are not allowed to drive Big Foot on their own yet. The Pearce boys are careful and know the house rules. They know one little slip can kill someone.

One little slip killed their sister Lyla Dawn in June, 2013. She was four-and-a-half, climbed onto a hay wagon when her grandpa was not looking, and fell under a wheel when the tractor pulling the wagon jerked a bit. Lyla had dimples, a flurry of freckles just below her blue eyes and dirty blond hair with bangs. Her ears were pierced and her favourite job was to help feed the pigs, Michelle Pearce, the kids' mom, said this week.

"She had a stuffed kitty cat that she took everywhere, that she slept with every night," Ms. Pearce said.

Lyla finished a farm safety course in kindergarten shortly before the accident on the family farm near Leamington, Ont., and her mom believes governments should put more money into education programs such as those.

But Ms. Pearce does not believe legislation should impose rules such as a minimum age to operate machinery. As farm deaths across Canada drop for adults, they have remained flat for children and governments everywhere have been reluctant to legislate tighter rules for kids working on farms.

That includes Alberta, where the governing NDP is revamping farm safety legislation, but remains vague about what, if anything, it will do when it comes to children. The government on Tuesday announced a handful of consultation meetings, but any changes that would tell farm families what to do with their offspring will meet resistance.

The consultations come one month after three young girls - Catie Bott, who was 13, and her 11-year-old twin sisters, Jana and Dara - were killed in a farm incident in Withrow, Alta. They fell into a grain truck and were buried in canola. The RCMP deemed it an accident and the investigation is closed.

Ms. Pearce gets nervous since Lyla's accident as her sons take on increasingly dangerous jobs on the farm, but she allows it.

Farmers, ranchers and politicians across North America applaud - or at the very least, respect - the Pearces' approach.

"They want to be farmers and that's part of the life," she said.

"So, I need to teach them to be safe."

Alberta's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner counts 11 farm deaths so far in 2015, with four of them children. One person under 18 died in a farmrelated incident in the province in 2014, according to the OCME's preliminary statistics, updated on Nov. 18, on deaths it investigates. Sixteen adults were killed in farm incidents last year, the OCME said.

Farm kids are far more likely to be killed or hurt compared with their urban counterparts.

In Alberta, for example, farm children under 18 were 83 per cent more likely to suffer severe injury or death than city kids between 1999 and 2010, according to a comprehensive doctoral thesis by Kyungsu Kim at the University of Alberta's School of Public Health. Children living in rural areas, excluding First Nations, were 73 per cent more likely to be severely injured or die than city kids, while the risk for First Nations children living in rural areas was nearly three times higher.

Lori Sigurdson, Alberta's Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour, said the government is concerned about the disparity between farm kids and city children, but has not fleshed out how it will address the problem.

Family farms, she said, are "an essential part of our culture here in Alberta," but employees and families must be kept safe. The government must be sure it is "respecting family farms ... but also making sure that there is safety and fairness. So it is very much a balancing act."

Farming is mythologized as a lifestyle full of tradition, and governments are not supposed to legislate culture. Officials are loath to impose rules, such as a minimum age to drive a combine or operate an auger, leaving those decisions up to parents and those who own farms and ranches employing young people.

As a result, the laws governing farm safety are inconsistent and weak, especially when it comes to children and youth.

In Alberta, for example, a licence is not needed to drive farm implements on highways so long as the driver is at least 14 years old. Anyone of any age, however, can drive heavy farm machinery in fields. In turn, although farms and ranches are industrial work sites, they are largely exempt from legislation designed to protect children (and adults) from industrial dangers. This philosophy remains even as the rate of agricultural fatalities for children under 15 in Canada has stayed flat for 25 years, despite improved safety features on machinery.

"Who exactly is responsible? It seems to be that nobody is held accountable when a child dies on a farm," said Don Voaklander, the director of the Injury Prevention Centre at the University of Alberta.

The rate of agricultural fatalities for children under 15 across Canada dropped by an average of 0.8 per cent annually between 1990 and 2012, according to the organization Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting. This decline is not considered statistically significant. Meanwhile, the agricultural death rate for adults between 15 and 59 dropped by an average of 1.1 per cent annually over the same period, which CAIR considers statistically significant.

The organization counted 2,317 agricultural fatalities in Canada between 1992 and 2012, and 272 of those were children under the age of 15. Another 102 people between 15 and 19 were killed in agricultural incidents in the same time frame.

Governments in Canada and the United States, however, remain hesitant to roll out stronger safety laws for youth.

"It always comes up when there's a horrible tragedy. And part of you says: 'Those poor people and what they are dealing with,' " said William Pickett, a professor in the department of Public Health Sciences at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., and an expert on farm injuries and fatalities. "Then part of you says: 'What happened there, and why was what happened acceptable? Was it predictable?' "You have such mixed feelings.

And I'm sure the safety authorities - the ministries of labour [or the] equivalent - have the same feeling about it. So then you get this paralysis."

Ms. Pearce, the Ontario mother who lost her daughter, firmly believes legislation has no place in the matter, save for increased education programs.

"It should be more up to parents' judgment on whether their kids are responsible enough for it. Some kids aren't going to be responsible [enough] for it at 13, but I know my son and he is very responsible with it, so that's our judgment to make," she said.

"I don't know how much we can have the government step into family lives."

Jason Nixon is the member of the legislature for Alberta's Rimbey-Rocky Mountain HouseSundre constituency, where the Bott family lives. The Wildrose Party MLA argues legislation is not the answer: "I really think education would have a more significant result in this area than a piece of paper."

Many experts do not believe governments can legislate the problem away. Lawmakers will have the political will to make changes only when farmers and ranchers themselves raise a fuss.

The U.S. Department of Labor proposed rules that would have banned people under 16 from doing dangerous farm work.

Lobbyists, farmers and ranchers in 2012 forced the government to squash the idea.

"The Obama administration is firmly committed to promoting family farmers and respecting the rural way of life, especially the role that parents and other family members play in passing those traditions down through the generations," the Department of Labour said in a 2012 statement explaining why it nixed its safety plan.

"The Obama administration is also deeply committed to listening and responding to what Americans across the country have to say about proposed rules and regulations."

Louise Hagel, a professional research associate at the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture in the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, does not believe regulations would be effective.

She said this is in part because enforcement would be difficult given that tens of thousands of farms span millions of acres in Canada.

Instead, policy makers ought to consider marketing campaigns promoting safety, and hope the farming culture shifts.

But at the same time, Ms. Hagel said governments are comfortable enforcing rules around young people working - laws often tied to safety concerns - but allowing exemptions for farms and ranches. The legislative logic, she said, does not make sense.

"Youth employment is regulated now," Ms. Hagel said. "If it is good enough for other 14-yearolds, why wouldn't it be good enough for farm kids?" Back in Leamington, Ms. Pearce cannot keep her three boys in a bubble, depriving them of a world unique to rural families.

"I can't let my fears stunt them and their growth. They still have to be well-rounded kids," she said. "My kids have lots of options that other kids don't have, and they get to experience a lot of things that other kids don't get to."

Associated Graphic

Ian and Michelle Pearce lost a daughter, Lyla Dawn, to a farm accident but are allowing their sons, from left, Connor, Owen and Ethan, to continue with chores.


On the Pearce farm near Leamington, Ont., family members pitch in, including while machinery is being operated.


Lyla Dawn Pearce died in 2013.

A nerd's life: From baseball to QE
Ben Bernanke, former Federal Reserve chairman
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B11

TORONTO -- In the midst of a hectic day promoting his new memoir, Ben Bernanke decides he needs a respite from his heavy schedule of public appearances and media interviews. So he cancels one of his morning TV commitments and turns our planned lunch into a 25-minute chat in the lobby of a trendy boutique hotel in downtown Toronto.

Most questions tossed at the former Federal Reserve chairman focus on his central, and at times controversial, role during the critical period in late 2008 and early 2009 when the global financial system teetered on the edge of the abyss. That, after all, forms the heart of his book, whose title, The Courage to Act, tells us exactly what he thinks of the job he did steering the world's most powerful central bank through the worst financial and economic storms since the Great Depression.

Mr. Bernanke typically fields even the hardball questions with equanimity, offering articulate, measured responses. One question for which he has no ready answer, though, is why no senior decision makers at the major Wall Street investment houses, commercial banks or credit-rating agencies have faced criminal charges over their roles in the Great Financial Collapse.

"I was puzzled by the Department of Justice's prosecution strategy, which was to go after corporations. So you had large banks paying multibillion-dollar fines."

He has said elsewhere that some people should have faced justice. "Obviously, a lot of people made mistakes and took excessive risks," he tells me.

"But in order to determine legal culpability, you have to do the investigation. It depends on the circumstances. I don't know to what extent they investigated individual culpability and I don't know what the outcome of that would have been. But it would have been interesting to know more about what happened."

Mr. Bernanke, who turns 62 on Dec. 13, doesn't appear fatigued as he sits back and sips a Diet Coke. He wears a dark grey suit, white shirt and red print tie, having left behind the preferred casual garb of the university professor for the more formal attire of the Washington elite when he was first appointed to the Federal Reserve Board in 2002.

He describes his role then as "a junior member of the Maestro's orchestra," referring to the title once bestowed on Alan Greenspan for his seemingly deft handling of recessions, bubbles and currency crises during his 18-year tenure as chairman.

(Mr. Greenspan's reputation was tarnished by the crisis, when he admitted to being shocked that bankers and traders would behave so badly.)

When Mr. Bernanke replaced him in 2006, he opted for the more open, collegial style of his six years as chairman of Princeton's economics department. He also pushed for greater transparency and clearer explanations of Fed intentions and concerns, determined to end what he called "a Marcel Marceau communications strategy." He even appeared on CBS's 60 Minutes, taking the viewing public around his small southern hometown of Dillon, S.C. (pop.about 6,700).

That was where the selfdescribed nerdy, bookish youth developed two interests that have stayed with him through the years - baseball and math.

In fact, as he explains, they were intimately connected.

As a member of one of the small number of Jewish families in the town, where his father and uncle ran the pharmacy started by his paternal grandfather in 1941, young Ben Shalom Bernanke didn't get to participate in a large part of the community's social life that was centred on church activities.

Instead, he whiled away warm summer evenings playing StratO-Matic baseball with a likeminded friend. The popular dice game simulates hitting and pitching statistics compiled by real players.

"It was a way of understanding probability and using it as a way of modelling a certain kind of phenomenon," Mr. Bernanke says. "In economics, you use probabilistic or statistical models to model the economy, and in Strat-O-Matic, you use random numbers and probability to model the baseball game."

It should come as no surprise that the future star economic thinker would soon find the game too limited and design a more complicated version with additional variables.

He hasn't played the game since those early teen years. "I think I've outgrown it," he says with a laugh. "I like to follow the real thing. When I was a kid, I lived in a place that was hundreds of miles away [from a Major League team]."

As a student at Harvard and later MIT, Mr. Bernanke cheered for the local team, the Boston Red Sox. But he switched allegiance to the Washington Nationals, which were known as the Montreal Expos before relocating to the U.S. capital in 2005.

At times during the crisis, the Fed chief would take in the occasional game to relax. But he often had to leave his seat to return phone calls. While he was observing batting practice one September day in 2012, Washington outfielder Jayson Werth asked: "So what's the scoop on quantitative easing?" Today, he gets to see most games without urgent interruptions or financial questions from multimillionaire ball players.

Since leaving the Fed in early 2014, Mr. Bernanke has won plaudits from many fellow economists and key policy makers.

It was good fortune, they say, that one of the world's leading scholars of the monetary policy failures of the 1930s Depression was on the job to prevent a rerun of that devastating era.

They credit his rapid deployment of unorthodox weapons, including near-zero interest rates and massive bond purchases, with keeping the crisis from morphing into something infinitely worse, particularly after Congress balked at further economic stimulus measures of their own.

But the Bernanke Fed's bold response didn't please everyone.

A persistent band of critics, including austerity preachers who think occasional destructive downturns are good for the soul, gold-loving investors and populists philosophically opposed to central bank intervention, argue that the Fed's unprecedented easing has fuelled dangerous asset bubbles, punished savers and inevitably will unleash a torrent of inflation.

The fact they have been wrong, at least about inflation, for seven years and counting doesn't seem to deter them.

"The intensity of the opposition seems to have eased a bit as the economy has improved and some of the concerns that some politicians had about the Fed policy have not been realized," Mr. Bernanke says. "That being said, there still is a good deal of political antagonism.

You can see it when [his successor] Janet Yellen testifies before Congress. So I think there still are political risks to the Fed's independence."

The Fed ended its bond-buying program last October. And with unemployment at a low 5 per cent and the economy gaining strength, policy setters appear poised to raise interest rates slightly at their next meeting in mid-December, the first hike in nearly a decade.

"Right now, the U.S. economy is moving forward pretty well," Mr. Bernanke says. "Consumer spending has been reasonably strong; housing is improving; durable goods, autos are doing well. Capital investment looks to be strengthening a bit."

The main risks to the rosier picture lie outside the U.S. in the slowing global economy and weakened emerging markets, which the Fed and other central banks have to keep an eye on, he adds.

"The problem is that assessing the outlook is very difficult right now. There are a number of forces operating in different directions. And as a result, the appropriate policy path is less than crystal clear."

He seems relieved that others have to make those tough calls now.

It would have been interesting to discover that the person in charge of handling the money for the world's richest economy couldn't balance the household budget. But alas, that is not the case. "I pay the bills and manage the accounts. I try to keep it simple," he says. What he's not so good at is home repairs, which he says he leaves to his wife, Anna, an educator.

One thing he has not done since leaving the Fed is to jump into the market. But he wasn't an investor before coming to Washington. Most of his retirement income resides in the teachers' pension fund account he first opened as a rookie assistant professor in 1979.

But as Mr. Bernanke follows a well-worn path for former leading Washington power players, he also stands to reap big bucks from his writing, speeches and advisory work.

Today, he hangs his suit jacket at the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank.

He has joined the lucrative public speakers' circuit and has signed on as a high-priced senior adviser to Pacific Investment Management Co. (Pimco) and hedge fund heavyweight Citadel.

Other than that, he says he leads a fairly quiet life these days, with more time at home with his wife doing crossword puzzles, watching The Big Bang Theory and reading widely. Baseball games remain a preferred pastime, as do movies. A recent favourite: The End of the Tour, about the late author David Foster Wallace. Fittingly, it's about the 1996 book tour for his celebrated novel, Infinite Jest. With his own month-long promotional tour just about over, Mr. Bernanke seems positively wistful as he heads to his next appearance.


Ben Bernanke

Age: 61

Place of birth: Augusta, Ga.

Education: PhD in economics from MIT; BA in economics from Harvard.

Family: Married for 37 years to Anna. Two grown children.

Guilty pleasure: Sweet desserts. Favourite? Chocolate ice cream.

Most inspirational historical figure: Abraham Lincoln.

Kept a Lincoln quote about ignoring congressional attacks on his desk during crisis.

Favourite pastime: Going to baseball games.

Reading: Eclectic, from history, literary fiction and math to Michael Connelly detective novels and Bill James's baseball analysis. "The only thing I don't read very often at home is economics."

Associated Graphic


Fibre artist was a cultural treasure
Celebrated weaver found a safe haven in Canada, which provided themes and images for some of her masterpieces
Special to The Globe and Mail
Monday, November 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S10

Woven together, the dramatic threads of Tamara Jaworska's 97-year life create a story as compelling as the tapestries she shaped on her 12-foot loom.

Ms. Jaworska, a contemporary weaver, had the distinction of being the first North American fibre artist to be represented by the prestigious Galerie Inard, Centre National de la Tapisserie d'Aubusson, in Paris. There she joined the ranks of masters such as Dali, Picasso and Chagall, who permitted some of their artwork to be woven by hired hands. But unlike these cultural titans, Ms.

Jaworska undertook the painstaking task of weaving her art herself. She frequently took as long as two years to complete a masterpiece. In the 1980s, François Mathieu, curator of decorative art at the Louvre, wrote of Ms. Jaworska, "Her tapestries are at the peak of modern weaving art."

Her artistry first came to the attention of the Canadian public in 1974, when Unity, a competitionwinning tapestry, was installed in Place Bell, in Ottawa. The piece, symbolizing Ms. Jaworska's newly adopted country, was so large and heavy that it had to be lifted into place by cranes. It now resides in the lobby of Gulf Canada Square, in Calgary. Unity, featuring provincial flowers, the Rideau Canal, the Gatineau Hills and the Parliament Buildings, drew critical praise.

A commission from businessman Albert Reichmann followed.

The result, Quartet Modern, comprises four tapestries, each five metres by three metres. They adorned the main lobby of Toronto's First Canadian Place for 35 years. When the building was renovated, restoration work was carried out on Quartet Modern to repair damage caused by exposure to light. The tapestries are now in storage until a new display venue can be found. In an interview from New York, textile scholar John Vollmer, an expert familiar with Ms. Jaworska's work, said, "Unlike a painting, it's easy to roll up a tapestry and forget about it."

By the mid-1970s Ms. Jaworska's burgeoning reputation in Canada led to sales of earlier works, including Stream of Life to Metropolitan Life's headquarters in Ottawa. The company was amalgamated with another firm in 1998. The whereabouts of this work is currently unknown.

Over the course of a lengthy career, Ms. Jaworska racked up prizes, including a 1957 Gold medal at the Triennale di Milano.

In 1994, Ms. Jaworska was named an Officer of the Order of Canada.

She was later awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee medal. Leon Whiteson, a writer on architecture and design for the Los Angeles Times, described Ms. Jaworska as, "One of Canada's proudest cultural treasures."

Her work has been exhibited in her chosen homeland as well as Russia, Poland, Germany, Austria, Spain, England, Scotland, Switzerland, Mexico, Belgium and France. Major museums that own her work include the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, in Moscow; the National Museum, in Warsaw; the Museum of the History of Textiles, in Lodz; and the Scottish College of Textiles, in Galashiels.

Ms. Jaworska, who died on Oct. 29 in Toronto, worked 10 to 12 hours a day, six to seven days a week using centuries-old Gobelin techniques, in which threads are drawn through the warp by hand. By this method, only a small area of a large tapestry can be worked at any one time.

Esteemed Scottish artist and art promoter Richard Demarco, who crossed the Iron Curtain almost 100 times in search of talent, likened Ms. Jaworska's fortitude and perseverance to that of a longdistance runner.

In the late 1940s, Ms. Jaworska studied painting and design at the Polish State Academy of Fine Art in Lodz. She was awarded a master's degree from the faculty of design and weaving, and remained on the teaching staff until 1958. By then, she had been awarded the Triennale di Milano gold medal, a powerful impetus to branch out on her own.

Ms. Jaworska began each massive project by designing it first as a working model in acrylics and pastels. Her 10-inch-by-12inch painting, a meditation on nature, geometric shapes or the cosmos, then sat behind her loom as a template. Never improvising, she expanded the dimensions of her original design with precision using a variety of materials ranging from basic wool, (frequently dyed by her) to silk, sisal, horse hair, gold thread, artificial fibres and feathers. By the time it was completed, her work, hard in some places and soft in others, held a deep visceral and tactile appeal. "Jaworska's expressive work assaults the senses with urgency," Mr. Vollmer wrote.

"Viewers of her tapestries encounter visual and sensual stimuli of incredible lushness."

Tamara Jaworska was born in Arkhangelsk, Russia, on July 20, 1918. Her Polish father, Antoni Jankowski, spent 10 years in a Siberian gulag for anti-Russian activities before marrying Russian Aleksandra Totolgin. A son, Jerzy, was born later in 1923. The young family escaped to Poland via Sweden, but Antoni Jankowski's family would not forgive him for marrying a Russian. The rejection took a toll on him, prompting his descent into alcoholism and depression. Tamara's parents divorced. Tamara and her brother also experienced much intolerance in Poland because of their Russian lineage.

As a girl, Tamara dreamed of becoming an archeologist.

Instead, just before the advent of the Second World War, she married an architect 14 years her senior. The couple lived in Warsaw, a frequently bombarded city, where Ms. Jaworska gave birth to a daughter, Eva, in 1942. With her husband's health failing, the family moved back to the Polish city of Lodz. After her husband died at the age of 46, Ms. Jaworska took up the study of art and discovered her métier within the versatility of textiles. A second marriage, to an actor, lasted five years. It wasn't until she was introduced to divorced Polish film director Tadeusz (Tad) Jaworski that she found a life partner who understood her compulsive need to create. When the couple married in 1967, she adopted the feminine version of his surname, Jaworska, in keeping with Polish tradition.

Prior to the marriage, Mr. Demarco, at that time a gallery owner/director who was trying to internationalize the world of contemporary Scottish art, travelled to Poland to meet with the Union of Polish Artists, in Warsaw. "It soon became evident," he wrote in a foreword to the coffee table book Tamara - The Art of Weaving, "that it was almost impossible to deal with artists without dealing with the Communist bureaucracy that then ruled their careers."

Declaring Ms. Jaworska to be one of the most important artists he had ever encountered, he managed to circumvent the bureaucracy and, in 1968, presented Ms. Jaworska's first touring exhibition, in Britain.

The timing was fortuitous.

Poland was in a state of political crisis, with student uprisings and a desperate government trying to control the situation by expelling intellectuals and Jews. Mr. Jaworski was both. All their important documents and Ms. Jaworska's loom were confiscated at the Polish border as they made their way to Rome. Having produced a film for the Vatican, Mr. Jaworski knew he could rely on assistance from the church while he and his wife contemplated their next move. They decided on Canada because it had a National Film Board similar to the one in Poland where Mr. Jaworski had developed his substantial reputation as a filmmaker. Thinking ahead, Ms. Jaworska contacted Mr. Demarco to ensure that her tapestries wouldn't return to Poland. She knew she would need them in her new country.

In 1969, the couple settled in Montreal to begin a new life as complete unknowns. Once again, social unrest - this time in the form of the separatist movement - made them feel unsafe. Within a few months, they moved to Toronto, where a weaving instructor provided Ms. Jaworska with the tools she needed until she could arrange for a loom of her own. As soon as her travelling exhibit arrived safely in Toronto from Britain, Ms. Jaworska arranged an exhibition at the Merton Gallery. Proceeds from gallery sales allowed them to buy a house in Willowdale with enough room for a studio. A specially constructed loom was ordered and shipped from Poland. Upon its arrival, Ms. Jaworska immediately set to work on the behemoth Unity for Bell Place.

Ms. Jaworska's fame was spreading. Many group and solo exhibitions followed, both at home and around the world. Hal Jackman, who would later become lieutenant-governor of Ontario, was a fan of Ms. Jaworska's art and opened her exhibitions whenever his schedule permitted.

Tad Jaworski's career was also on the rise. His 1972 documentary Selling Out, about a PEI man selling everything he owned, won an Etrog, the precursor to the Genie award. The film was subsequently nominated for an Oscar.

Doors, previously closed to the couple, were now wide open.

Part of Ms. Jaworska's genius lay in changing the perception of weavers from easily dismissed craftspeople into recognized artists. Her primary concern, however, was always the work itself.

"Tamara was quiet. She was meditative, like her tapestries," said friend and interior designer Kika Misztela, who is now engaged in trying to organize a permanent home in Canada for Ms. Jaworska's work. "She was a tiny woman," Ms. Misztela said, "but she had a very big vision." 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

Tapestry artist Tamara Jaworska, seen in her Toronto studio in 1985, frequently took as long as two years to complete a masterpiece.

Businessman Albert Reichmann, left, and Tamara Jaworska admire her competition-winning tapestry Unity.


Monday, November 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L4


The registered massage therapist, who lives in Ottawa, donated in 2013.

Why I chose to donate

I grew up imagining I would have kids of my own, and if for some reason I couldn't, I would love to know that there were other options available. At this point, I don't have my own, and I'm undecided if I ever will. But I liked the concept of helping someone else.

I signed up with Surrogacy In Canada Online, and my profile was found by the intended parents. They made it clear that they wanted to get to know me and requested open communication, if I was up for it. I said I was.

What my experience was like

Overall I had a great experience. There were a few logistical problems when flights had to be changed at the last minute. But it was quite positive.

The most difficult part

The recovery was harder than I imagined. I didn't know what I was in for. For about a week after the retrieval, I was extremely bloated. I don't doubt I was mildly overstimulated - they retrieved more than 40 eggs. I did the donation in Toronto, then came back to Ottawa and there was no hand-off to another doctor. Because my job requires me to be physically active, I had to take about five days off work, until my energy felt back to normal and the bloating subsided.

I'm self-employed, so I don't do that lightly.

The best part

The intended parents were two dads. We get along really well. I even went to their wedding the summer after the donation. I'm very proud of being a part of creating their family.

Meeting the child

They had their son in January and I met him about two weeks after he was born, while he was still in the neonatal intensive care unit. Meeting him felt like meeting any of my friends' children - as expected, I had no emotional connection to their son. They are now trying for another baby, using frozen embryos that were made from my eggs.

What I wish people understood about egg donation

In the United States, it's more of a business transaction. Some women are earning $20,000 there. Here, there's more altruism. My expenses were covered. For instance, my flights when I flew to Toronto, the lost wages to attend appointments and the cost of the extensive drink list they recommended post-retrieval. I didn't want to earn money from it - I believe altruistic donations are better because they remove the monetary incentive - I just didn't want it to cost me anything.


The former software developer, now a full-time mom living in Vancouver, donated earlier this year.

Why I chose to donate

I had friends through church who'd been trying for children for five years. I had a textbook pregnancy at the age of 26 and wanted to help, so I offered my eggs. These friends declined, but I was already pretty excited about the idea.

I thought, if I'm willing to donate for friends, I should be willing to do it for strangers. So I put an ad on a forum called Different people approached me. I picked a couple in Vancouver and we agreed on an open donation.

What my experience was like

The paperwork, blood work and agreement all took much longer than I'd expected. But the egg donation was much easier than I'd expected. After the retrieval, though, there was a real change of speed - instead of being monitored every day, you're let back out into the wild, with no further care. There was silence from the clinic. It was like, "Thanks, here's a cookie."

The most difficult part

My family had to eat the cost of doing this. My monitoring appointments were at 7 a.m., for instance, but there was no real child-care option. I would leave my daughter at home with my husband and he would go into work two or more hours late. By the time I got back it would be too late to go to my daughter's school program.

Meals surrounding appointments were also uncompensated.

I hadn't even thought about this, but very often lunch or breakfast would happen at a restaurant and this adds up. There was also a four-week period when I couldn't run with my child or participate in her sports lessons due to risk of ovarian torsion. If we'd had a hired nanny and she'd needed all this time off to donate, and was neglecting our child this way, we would have asked her to take time off and we would have hired someone to cover. But I'm unpaid - a mom - so I can't claim for anything.

I wanted to do everything above board and be as easy on the intended mother as possible, financially. I have no regrets about that. But it would have been easier to justify the health and emotional risks, the injections three times a day and all the early morning blood draws, if I'd been getting a bit of money.

The best part

The friendship I developed with the intended mother, and being able to be along for the ride as they added a new member to their family, was great. I saw these people struggling. I heard their stories. I got to share their hopes and dreams. It felt like there was a real purpose to what I was doing.

Meeting the child

The baby hasn't been born yet. I'm hoping to meet next year, but my intended mother will need time to bond, so it may take a year or two - or 20. I will be ready whenever she and her child are. In my donor agreement it explicitly says I cannot initiate contact with the child, which I respect.

What I wish people understood about egg donation

You have to advocate for yourself. I was pressing for a medication that would reduce my chance of hyperstimulating. The doctor kept forgetting, right up to the day of the trigger. I wish young girls wouldn't even consider donating eggs. I don't know how much they'd be able to stick up for themselves. Anyone considering donating should go on before they decide.


The actor, playwright, managing director and producer lives in Toronto. She donated in 2004.

Why I chose to donate

I saw an ad on a library noticeboard and thought: I could do that. I could help someone. We agreed I'd be paid $4,000. At first, it was all very open and honest with the clinic, and all of a sudden it became very hush-hush.

[The new law, prohibiting payment, came into force that year - after she'd started but before she'd finished the donation process.] I wouldn't have done it if there hadn't been money, but money wasn't the main motivation.

What my experience was like

I didn't have any trouble. I didn't gain weight, didn't have any problems from the drugs, didn't experience any pain. On the day of the retrieval I had my friends over for a party, then flew off to Calgary to visit my boyfriend.

The most difficult part

It has really hit me in the past few years that there may be longterm consequences of doing this.

I did ask at the time. I was told there were no known side-effects.

I realize now that's because no one has ever done any studies on it. I feel betrayed by the doctor.

Now I'm wondering if that is why my period is so strange. Is that why I couldn't get pregnant when I tried for a year, a few years back? The best part Knowing there's a kid out there for a mother who wanted him.

Meeting the child

I would have liked to be involved in the child's life, but I'm not. It creeps me out that I could walk by him in the street and not know who he was.

The mom contacted me and asked if I was willing to do it again. I was in a relationship with a man and we thought we'd be together forever. He was just really against the fact that I'd done it in the first place. I told the mom I couldn't, but I lied about why.

What I wish people understood about egg donation

There aren't any long-term studies or research. So you can't really give informed consent. It's still a human experiment.

These interviews by Alison Motluk have been edited and condensed.

Associated Graphic

Kelly Salvador donated her eggs to a same-sex couple who had a son in January.


Dorothy Booher, with her daughter Annabella, developed a friendship with the woman to whom she donated her eggs.


Claire Burns worries about the long-term health consequences of her decision to donate.


'We don't have to follow trends'
Shoe designer John Fluevog has spent the past 45 years creating his own fashions rather than following fads. The result: a storied career that's still going strong
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L4 @Jeanne_Beker

Not many Canadian designers can boast a successful 45-year history, not only inspiring styleseekers, but challenging trends and thinking outside the conventional shoebox. It's something Vancouverbased John Fluevog can be proud of, having created an international reputation for his spirited footwear, with legions of followers who appreciate both boldness and whimsy in design. From Madonna to Alice Cooper, celebrities and style mavens alike regularly look to Fluevog for unique and edgy statements in the shoe department. It all started for the 67-year-old entrepreneur back in 1970, when he returned from a hitchhiking trip along the west coast. Teaming up with fellow shoe designer Peter Fox, they opened a store in Vancouver's hip Gastown district. After a decade, the two split, and in 1985 Fluevog went on to open his own shoe emporium in Seattle -- the fi rst of many that would spring up throughout North America. I caught up with Fluevog recently in Toronto at his impressive Distillery District store to talk about the role shoes play in our lives, why he refuses to follow trends, and what it is that ultimately drives him.

I still remember the days when one had a precious handful of shoes in the closet. But now it's like we've all become hoarders, and I hope I'm not just speaking for myself. It seems that we can't get enough shoes.

Aren't I lucky?

Is it because we're exposed to so much that we want so much, and it's not just about one look?

Our whole society is sped up. People are more aware of not just shoes, but a lot of things. We're living in bigger cities so people are looking at each other more.

There are more options. How you look has become a more important factor.

Where you work is important to you, even the kind of building you work in: Is it ecologically correct? It's how you present yourself, right across the board. It's not just shoes.

But shoes drive a lot of it in terms of wanting to update a wardrobe. That's usually the fi rst thing that you look at.

Well, let's take it on a fundamental level.

You can't buy used shoes. You can't thrift used shoes... Some people do.

Not very well. You've got size issues.

Shoes have to fit and work and function.

And they wear out. But there's also so much clothing out there. And it's getting slightly uncool to have so many clothes because of all the environmental issues that are coming up around that. And people want to know where things are made. Footwear at my end of the market is about craftsmanship. They're made by hand in little factories around the world. There's a ton of craftsmanship that goes into them, and they're complicated.

How do you think we'll reflect back on this particular era we're living in?

I'd say we have been going through what I call an "urban farmer" phase. So natural, simple, but yet quite precise. I saw this guy that sold his company for a billion dollars and he's looking like he's wearing Keds. He doesn't look like money at all.

But you still produce a lot of stuff that reflects a very fanciful, very ornate time.

That's sort of the general market. And because I'm a boutique business, I've never really followed exact trends because I can't. It's partly mercenary.

I can't compete on that kind of level.

And I don't want to. It doesn't feel good to me. So I like doing my own thing and I think that's probably why I've stayed in business all these years.

You have always marched to the beat of your own drum. You took shoe design to a whole other level and did it unabashedly, unapologetically. Where did that attitude come from? Were you just born that way?

No, not at all. I never had a fashion background. I never went to university.

I'm dyslexic. I never went to art school.

So you can almost say that the business, for me, has been an exercise in me fi nding out about myself, fi nding out that I can do things, fi nding out that what I think is okay. And I hope that encourages people to go and do things.

There isn't a wrong. We don't have to follow trends. Following trends doesn't mean that it's right, in fact, it's actually more difficult. Let's be ourselves.

But I'm sure there were times when it was scary for you. There are obviously no guarantees when you do something that it's going to be that original, that unique... It's true. It's not easy when everyone else is wearing high spiky pointy things to come out with a squat round thing in bright colours. But at the same time there are people out there who appreciate it, and I have loyal customers. I have the blog "Fluevog Friday," where there are people who are just independently following the brand.

The notion of buying shoes online has become increasingly popular.

You've got these impressive bricks and mortar outlets, but how does that compare to what you're doing here on ground level?

Well, it's been growing all the time. My stores are like a window to the Internet. Somebody may not buy the fi rst time they come in, but they'll have seen the store, and they'll have confidence because they see the product in the environment. Then when they go home and see it on their screen, they have a better sense of it. We sell a lot of shoes online.

Obviously you're happy to sell shoes anyway you can, but do you think your approach to retail will change much, or will you always be adamant about having your stores as fi xtures?

I like that my stores have a good sense of reflection of me as a person. Call me an egomaniac, but I just like the way that feels. So yeah, I love my retail stores! How driven are you these days? Are you at a stage of your life now when you feel less angsty about things?

I'm angsty every day of my life! As you can imagine, there are a lot of wheels flying around in a company like mine.

There are factories all around the world, I've got leathers importing into different places, I've got price issues I'm dealing with, I've got all the heels and components, and I've got 3-D images flying around, I've got stuff in all the retail stores - inventory control issues and cash flows. So there is that side of me. But I guess I have two sides to my brain. I can go to this one that lets it all go and I just go zooming off, and the other side I come back and I come into a retail store and I go, "Get this store cleaned up, it's a mess! I want this changed, get me that fi xed, blah blah blah," because it's business right? I have to have both.

What excites you the most now, looking toward the future?

You know what gets me going? Shoes. I love doing them. I see things in my mind's eye and then I enjoy being able to draw them. And I give them to my design team, and they go off and produce them. And then when I start to see it emerge as a collection, it's fun. It's exciting. And I like working on cars and customizing them and I like building my apartment and homes and furniture and stuff. As a designer, you like designing, right? I've always been interested in how things look. It's important to me. I will go to no end just to change some tiny little detail because I don't like the way it looks. So I just love how lines and shapes and colours make people feel. When I'm designing things, I have a sense of how things are going to make somebody feel. It's an emotion, and that's what fashion is all about: It's a feel-good thing. And it's a way of telling people who we are, what we're up to. And I believe it's a way of communicating with the creator. I think we're all made individually, we're all made perfectly, there's no mistake with whatever we are and who are... It's taking this pleasure in who we are.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Associated Graphic

FOOTLOOSE John Fluevog designs his footwear with emotion in mind - he intends his fashion to be "feel-good."

WELL HEELED A sampling of Fluevog spring 2016 designs that will soon be in stores and on feet across the country.

STEPPING OUT Madonna flaunts a pair of Fluevog Munsters on the red carpet.

With love from India, Tanzania and beyond
Pakistan-raised Noureen Feerasta brings her far-flung influences to the menu of her first restaurant on Queen Street West
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M2

Rickshaw Bar opened at the end of August with none of the fanfare that customarily greets new restaurant openings.

Its chef, Noureen Feerasta, avoided pre-opening press and insisted through the first month of business that the South and Southeast Asian-inspired spot wasn't, in fact, in business officially.

When I stopped in for the first time at the end of October, two months after Rickshaw Bar opened, Ms. Feerasta said, "We've only been open for four weeks."

Three weeks later, she said they had now been open for just barely six.

That little Queen Street kitchen sells deliciously punchy mango chicken salad and East African cob corn curry, and a killer khao shay with crunchy house-made paratha strips. But Ms. Feerasta, who is 28 and grew up in Lahore, Pakistan, became a chef against her family's wishes. Maybe this is why she can seem short on confidence. "Come in and give us your feedback!" a sign outside the restaurant pleaded during Rickshaw Bar's long soft opening. "As long as we get 10 votes, we'll put it on the menu," she said last month as we tried one of Rickshaw Bar's newest specials. (It was seared fish with lemon grass and chilies, sublimely tasty.) You get the sense that the stakes for Ms. Feerasta are higher than for most.

The room is long and thin, like so many spots on Queen Street.

She kept the decor largely as she found it: barn boards, brick walls, Rube Goldberg copper chandeliers, with just a single notable touch, a glittering, hand-beaded and embroidered dress from a momentous part of her life in Pakistan, to make the place her own. The concept - the snack bar, that most-overplayed of restaurant genres - is seemingly designed with just one goal: to convey safety and approachability. Snack bars are the Tinder dates of the restaurant world, all commitment-free conviviality.

You can get the entire menu here, enough for four hungry people, for around $130.

It works just fine, but I can't help thinking that Ms. Feerasta, who came up through Origin on King Street, and Momofuku Noodle Bar, is selling her cooking short. While she demands little of her customers, her end is all commitment - for instance, Rickshaw Bar's "Ismaili beef curry," which is built from an entire day's labour. It's made from cashews, dehydrated chickpeas, toasted coriander seeds, tamarind and two dozen other ingredients, it's silky-rich and exquisitely engrossing, and it sells for a laughable $14 a bowl. "It's been in my family for four generations so I hope you enjoy it as much as I do," the chef said as she brought it to the table one night.

It's food for kings, sold on the cheap to slouching Queen West Yelpers. But it's a start too, an excellent one, and that's what Ms. Feerasta has craved for most of her life.

As a girl in Lahore, she used to beg her parents to let her help in the kitchen. Studies come first, they always insisted, and so she learned to race through her school work. At the age of 9, she decided that she wanted to be a professional chef. "But having brown parents, obviously that is not an acceptable career choice," she said.

When her parents split up, she moved with her mother and sister to Florida. At one point, her parents worried that she was becoming too American, and so they took her back to Pakistan.

That's where that dress on the wall is from. It was intended for her wedding. She was 17 and thought she was in love. "I would never have become a chef if I went through with it," she told me. She called it off three days before the big event.

Ms. Feerasta went to Concordia University to study marketing, and took a job as a cook at a Montreal pizza shop. She hated her studies but loved the job.

"Once I failed all my exams in third year, my parents kind of disowned me," she said. She has been saving up for the past 12 years to open her own place.

Rickshaw Bar's menu mines Indian and Pakistani staple foods, as well as a few dishes from Burma (her paternal grandfather's family lived there) and the East African Ismaili Muslim diaspora (her family is Ismaili). It's got the modern verve and lightness to bring it into right now.

Her scallop ceviche plays the ubiquitous dish like a Mumbaistyle street snack, combining scallops and lime, chilies and radishes, coconut milk, puffed rice and the fruity, gently pongy taste of chaat masala spice mix.

It's a taste of the melting pot, a bhelpuri walla just back from the Peruvian seashore, set up on Queen Street West.

Ms. Feerasta's chicken and mango salad includes the expected red cabbage, citrus, lime leaves and pickled cucumbers in addition to the juicy mango chunks, but there's also toasty, sweetly starchy crunch from deep-fried chickpeas: delicious.

Her pakoras are lighter than the usual - they're dredged in a dry coating instead of battered - and include green apple matchsticks in addition to potato and zucchini. She serves them with a fresh green chutney. It's all seasoned aggressively, to encourage loose talk and drinking. Those pakoras go down exceedingly well.

Other South Asian dishes are tasty enough if you don't think too much about their inspiration.

Rickshaw Bar's naan kabab is a decent, oven-baked flatbread topped with rich, gingery spiced beef and the Persian-style raita called mast-o-khiar. At face value, it's great; just don't try comparing them to proper stuffed naans that are made in tandoor ovens.

The chef also makes the layered Indian flatbreads called parathas, and these are good, but then she puts them to use as the wrappers for paratha tacos. Tacos sell, and Rickshaw Bar is a business, but those paratha tacos are the least memorable dishes she makes.

Her cooking from Southeast Asia and Africa is the standout. It tastes like confidence, like the work of a chef who knows she's got something great. Ms. Feerasta's Tanzanian-style makai curry is made from corn stock and cashew nuts, the broth light and gently sweet with a skim of red chili spice for fiery interest. She adds grilled eggplant and zucchini for vegetal depth and smokiness, and thin rounds of cob corn that you're meant to spear and eat with wooden skewers. These are brilliant flavours; that stew even happens to be vegan.

Her Burmese-style khao shay combines soft braised beef and a zippy coconut and lime broth, with coriander stems, chili oil and strips of Ms. Feerasta's parathas, which she deep-fries into starchy, beautifully savoury noodles. And that all-day Ismaili beef curry is a work of art, with spices and influences from around the planet. "When you taste it, you can't necessarily pinpoint an origin," she said on the phone this week. "That's pretty much the same with Ismailis - we're from all over."

Her parents came around, eventually - her mother first, and then her father, who was always a globetrotting foodie. He realized that chef might be an acceptable career choice for his daughter when his daughter landed a 21/2-month stage at the three-Michelin-starred Alinea in Chicago a few years back.

"They're okay with me now," Ms. Feerasta said.

And in any case, her upbringing runs through almost everything at Rickshaw Bar. One of the chef's fondest food memories is of some sweets her dad brought back from a business trip one year. She remembers that they were crispy and sweet and tasted of cardamom. She remembers that they came covered with rose petals and blew her little mind.

And so she reduces milk for hours on low heat until it's thick and sweet but hasn't started to brown from caramelizing. She flavours it with cardamom and slips it into phyllo pockets, which she deep-fries to crisp and scatters with almond shavings. That "crispy milk pastry," as she calls it, comes topped with dehydrated rose petals. It's a stunner of a finish. And, at $5 a serving, she's practically giving that dessert away.

Follow me on Twitter: @cnutsmith



685 Queen St. W. (at Markham Street), 647-352-1227, .

Atmosphere: A friendly downtown small-plates spot with kind but not altogether polished service and a bustling open kitchen.

Wine and drinks: Short, inexpensive wine and beer list and decent cocktails.

Best bets: Chicken mango salad, pakoras, scallop ceviche, beef curry, khao shay, makai curry, crispy milk pastry.

Prices: Small sharing plates, $5 to $14.

A Cheap Eats pick, where you can dine well for under $30, before alcohol, tax and tip.

Associated Graphic

Chef Noureen Feerasta's saffron jinn cocktail complements her menu.


The chicken mango salad, left, gets crunch from deep-fried chickpeas and the Tanzanian-style makai curry has brilliant flavours, and is even vegan.

The jelly shot, that wobbly, saccharine, booze-saturated staple of college house parties, is being refined as a sophisticated and visually striking option for grown-up entertaining. Michael Elliott helps you get set for holiday cocktail hour with solid takes on classic libations
Friday, November 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page P56

Unless you're eight and celebrating your birthday, the sight of colourful jelly at a party rarely inspires expectations of a good time to come. It might remind you of that Sunday afternoon, during your college days, when you nursed a brutal hangover brought on by downing a tray of sugary vodka set in Dixie cups. Or, perhaps, it brings back memories of trying to convince Granny that, as delicious as her potluck staple multicoloured, marshmallow-pocked Jell-O salad was, you couldn't possibly eat another bite. And let's not even talk about aspic.

But, thanks to a few creative mixologists - most notably the British boozy jelly specialists Bompas and Parr - there is new hope for gelatin as an entertaining essential in the form of bite-sized versions of otherwise classically crafted cocktails. Think manhattan cubes and dark and stormy domes that can be made in advance and passed to guests, freeing up a host from hours of bartending duty.

Though gelatin is easiest to find in powdered form, these recipes call for leaf or sheet gelatin, which can be sourced online or at specialty grocery stores. The sheets help jellies set more clearly but, in a pinch, you can still use the powder by substituting one teaspoon per sheet. Make sure to soak the gelatin in sufficiently cold liquid that it dissolves properly. Jelly is, thankfully, very forgiving, and if you add too much or too little gelatin, you can gently re-melt your jelly and add more liquid or gelatin before setting it again.

Dry cocktails - say, a martini - don't taste good in jelly form so sugar syrup is an important element in many of these recipes. To make it, bring an equal volume of sugar and water to a boil before cooling it down. Sugar also contributes to the gelling effect, as does alcohol in lower concentrations. Anything over 40 per cent will set poorly so, alas, you won't be able to make pure gin jelly.

While you can pour jelly into just about anything hollow to give it a unique shape, getting it out can prove tricky depending on the form. Metal vessels like miniature muffin tins work well, as do silicone baking moulds. For jellies that get carved up into cubes, try a loaf or brownie pan but don't use anything ceramic or too thick.

To remove the jelly, dip the mould in hot water for a few seconds (more if you're using silicone or plastic). Invert the pan, pulling the jelly gently to one side until it releases. Lightly wetting your hands, the serving platter and the jellies will make them easier to handle. Unmoulding can be finicky, but don't worry if you break your first jelly or melt it too much. The chef gets to eat all the mistakes, after all.

* * * * * * * * * *


This recipe works with either Campari or lychee alcohol. Making a batch of each will satisfy guests, whether they favour dry or sweet cocktails.


A three-step process (and the addition of green food colouring to a cucumber layer) gives this cocktail its bright, striped look.


Flavour and texture aside, the success of a jelly cocktail depends on its form. This recipe layers deep burgundy cassis and clear moscato in a modern pyramid shape.


Search out good quality ginger beer for this fresh take on a dark and stormy. Grace's from the U.K. is a flavourful option.


Achieving perfect cherry placement in this version of a classic manhattan depends on setting the jelly in two stages. You can remove the stems or leave them for visual interest.

* * * * * * * * * *



8 1/3 oz Campari or lychee liqueur

5 oz sugar syrup

3 1/3 oz water

Strips of peel from 1 orange

10 sheets gelatin

Combine all ingredients except for the gelatin and allow it to sit for 1 to 2 hours to allow the peel to infuse the liquid. Remove peel.

Cut gelatin sheets into quarters and place in a heatproof bowl. Cover with some of the liquid and allow to soak for at least 10 minutes until soft.

Place the bowl over a bain-marie of simmering water and heat, stirring occasionally until gelatin is dissolved. Mix in remaining cocktail liquid and pour into a large mould. Chill for 4 hours or overnight. Unmould, cut into cubes and serve.

Makes 8 2-oz jellies.


For the Pimm's jelly:

5 oz Pimm's

5 ¾ oz ginger ale

1 ⅔ oz sugar syrup

1 ⅔ oz lemon juice

2 ½ oz water

10 strawberries, thinly sliced

10 sheets gelatin

For the cucumber jelly:

½ cucumber, finely grated

1 oz lemon juice

1 oz sugar syrup

Green food colouring (optional)

2 sheets gelatin

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the Pimm's jelly except the gelatin. Allow to sit for 1 hour, then strain to remove strawberries. Cut gelatin sheets into quarters. Cover with some of the Pimm's mixture and allow to soak for at least 10 minutes in a heatproof bowl.

Over a bain-marie of simmering water, heat gelatin, stirring occasionally, until dissolved. Add remaining Pimm's mixture and stir. Divide a third of the mixture among cone-shaped moulds and chill to set, about 1 hour. Set remaining mixture aside.

Prepare cucumber jelly by squeezing grated cucumber in a piece of cheesecloth to extract 3 oz of juice into a heatproof bowl. Add remaining liquids and a small amount of food colouring if desired.

Cut gelatin into quarters. Cover in liquid and soak for at least 10 minutes. Over a bain-marie of simmering water, dissolve gelatin then combine with remaining cucumber mixture. Divide equally among moulds, pouring over Pimm's jelly. Chill to set, about 1 hour.

When set, divide remaining Pimm's mixture between the moulds, reheating it gently over simmering water if necessary. Chill for 4 hours or overnight. Unmould and serve.

Makes 11 2-oz jellies.


5 oz creme de cassis

10 oz moscato sparkling wine

9 sheets gelatin

In a heatproof bowl, cut 3 sheets of gelatin into quarters and add enough creme de cassis to cover. In a separate heatproof bowl, cut the remaining 6 sheets of gelatin into quarters and soak in a portion of the moscato to cover. Soak both for 10 minutes or until soft.

Over a bain-marie of simmering water, heat cassis-and-gelatin mixture, stirring occasionally until completely dissolved. Mix in remaining liqueur and divide it among 5 pyramid-shaped moulds. Chill until set, about 1 hour.

Over a bain-marie of simmering water, heat the moscato-soaked gelatin, stirring occasionally, until clear and dissolved. Mix in remaining moscato. (The mixture should be room temperature at most. If it's too hot, allow it to cool.) Divide among the moulds, pouring the mixture on top of the cassis layer. Chill for 4 hours or overnight. Unmould and serve.

Makes 5 3-oz jellies.


10 oz ginger beer

1 ⅔ oz fancy molasses

3 1/3 oz dark rum

6 sheets gelatin

In a small saucepan, boil ginger beer and reduce by half. Combine with molasses and allow to cool. Mix in rum.

Cut gelatin sheets into quarters and place in a heatproof bowl. Cover the rum mixture and allow to soak for at least 10 minutes. In a bain-marie over simmering water, heat gelatin and liquid until dissolved. Pour into dome-shaped moulds. Chill for 4 hours or overnight. Unmould and serve.

Makes 10 1-oz jellies.


6 ⅔ oz whisky

3 1/3 oz red vermouth

4 shots Angostura bitters

5 oz water

5 oz sugar syrup

12 sheets gelatin

12 maraschino cherries

Mix all the ingredients except gelatin and cherries.

Cut gelatin into quarters and place in a heatproof bowl. Add enough cocktail liquid to cover and let gelatin soak for at least 10 minutes until soft. Place over a bain-marie of simmering water and heat, stirring occasionally, until dissolved. Mix in remaining liquid.

Pour a third of liquid into a metal loaf pan. Chill until set, about 1 hour. Add remaining cocktail mixture (reheating it gently over simmering water if necessary) and place cherries in the liquid (you can adjust the placement of the cherries once the mixture begins to set in the fridge). Chill for 4 hours or overnight.

Unmould jelly and place on a lightly wet plate or board. Using a sharp, thin knife warmed in hot tap water and dried, cut jelly into squares, allotting 1 cherry per person.

Makes 12 2-oz jellies.

PHOTO SHOOT CREDITS: Prop styling by Jennifer Jacobsen/Judy Inc. Crystal blocks courtesy of Elte ( Stone surfaces courtesy of Stone Tile International ( and Upper Canada Marble & Granite. Artwork on page 56 by Jacquelyn Sloane Siklos courtesy of Canvas Gallery (

Associated Graphic


B.C. author published first book at 99
His two memoirs look back at a century of adventures as a prize fighter, butcher, box maker, trucker, freight hauler and logger
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, November 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S6

Frank White butchered hogs, delivered raw milk to dairies, hauled logs out of the woods, operated a waterworks, bit into the earth as an excavating contractor and pumped gas at a station in a picturesque fishing village on the British Columbia coast.

Late in life, at the age of 99, he added bestselling author to his résumé with Milk Spills and One-Log Loads (Harbour, 2013), a thoroughly engaging memoir of his time as a pioneer trucker.

By the time he died on Oct. 18, at 101, he had a second title to his credit, with That Went By Fast: My First Hundred Years. He was thought to be the oldest active author in the province, if not the land.

The books resulted from a prize-winning autobiographical magazine article published in 1974. For nearly four decades, he wrote scattered notes to jog his memory, snippets of facts and details that read like found poetry.

After Mr. White reached his ninth decade, his son, the author and publisher Howard White, began tape recording his father's reminiscences, jogging the old man's memory with the lyric notes filled with haphazard punctuation and capitalization: "Neighbor sawing wood at fence. We kids enjoy the noise and sawdust. ... Cooking the small potatoes for the pigs, Breaking the windows. in the old house his father built."

The son then transcribed the tapes, resulting in a 180,000-word manuscript. At first, the results disappointed the senior White.

"I can't believe a man's life can be made so small," he complained.

The son read aloud the results to an audience of two - his father's second wife, the former New Yorker writer and one-time war correspondent Edith Iglauer, and their Filipina caregiver. Their approval convinced the subject his life was worthy of being shared.

The two volumes offer a rare glimpse into working-class life in a province where so many of those jobs have disappeared over the years. The elder White had lived so long that his recollections of such things as logging with a winch known as a steam donkey crossed from the mundane to the historical.

Franklin Wetmore White was born three months before the outbreak of the First World War, on May 9, 1914, to Jean (née Carmichael) and Silas Franklin White. The family lived in Aldergrove, in British Columbia's fertile Fraser Valley, although the boy was born just across the frontier at Sumas, Wash.

His father had an adventurous life, including a stint as a barnstorming prize fighter, who worked carnivals by taking on local farm boys and other tough guys.

Once married and settled, he operated a butcher shop in which young Frank learned to slaughter hogs at a young age. The boy also sold magazine subscriptions door to door and became so adept at driving that he operated a truck for his father years before he could legally drive.

Many other jobs followed. He was an apprentice box maker in British Columbia's bountiful Okanagan region, drove milk trucks, hauled freight and worked the woods as an independent, small-scale operator known as a gyppo logger.

"He was a working fool," his son said. "He just worked and worked and worked. His whole life was about work."

Known by his neighbours as a kindly and warm-hearted figure, he was also a voracious reader, though he mostly eschewed literature, preferring instead histories and obscure treatises on equipment and mechanical operations. For many years, he subscribed to Hansard, reading verbatim accounts of debates from the House of Commons in far-off Ottawa. These tended to occupy flat surfaces throughout his gas station, undoubtedly disappointing workers who used the men's room, where might be expected a more titillating publication.

In 1939, Mr. White married a farmer's daughter named Kathleen Boley, who was known as Kay. The couple had a successful union until her death in 1978. A few years later, while on a bus trip to New York, he called on Ms. Iglauer, a widow who maintained homes in Manhattan and on British Columbia's Sunshine Coast. He told her he wanted to see the opera, about which he knew nothing other than it was one of her preferred entertainments.

Theirs was a Green Acres relationship: A self-described "bush ape," he spent years in logging camps and had the manners to prove it, whereas she travelled in sophisticated circles that included the sorts who not only read The New Yorker, but produced it.

He found in her a firecracker of enthusiasms for the arts, while she found in him a kindly, generous autodidact whose lack of formal education had not restricted an inquisitive mind. He had even built an early computer from designs in a magazine, using the machine to record the notes used in his memoirs.

Mr. White died at his home in Garden Bay, B.C. He leaves Ms. Iglauer, whom he married in 2006 after a quarter-century courtship; a daughter, Marilyn Plant; sons Don White and Howard White; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his first wife and by daughter Cynthia (Cindy) Wilson, who died in 2005. He was also predeceased by five siblings, including Wesley James White, a lance sergeant who was captured at Hong Kong and died of diphtheria in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in 1942.

While he rarely left British Columbia in his first 60 years, Mr. White travelled extensively afterward. On a trip to India, he could not bring himself to hire pedicabs, seeing it as too exploitative a mode of transportation.

One day in Delhi, though, he got lost and in desperation hired a pedicab to return to his hotel. Mr. White insisted on exiting the pedicab at the foot of every hill; he also insisted on buying the driver a meal at the hotel. In turn, the driver invited Mr. White to join his family for dinner at home, a squatters spot on the sidewalk, where they dined on chicken and vegetables, which, despite the impoverished setting, turned out to be the most memorable meal of his sojourn.

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

* * * * * * * * * *


I feel lucky. It seems to me I have lived in one of history's good stretches where nothing too bad or too crazy happened.

I have to remind myself I've lived through the two greatest wars in history, the deadliest plague in history, the worst depression in history, and I've seen them go from the horse and buggy to the Mars rover.

But you have to stop to think about that. You don't really notice history when you're living it. You don't really remember that most homes had outdoor plumbing or that women wore skirts down to the ground back then. Looking back, it's not the wars and the plagues and the revolutions in taste and technology you remember but the personal things. Dumb things.

You still feel bad you never kissed the cute girl from down the road when you were five. I still feel a rush of fresh panic thinking about that stupid damn stunt I pulled as a kid that almost killed a man, 90 years later. You remember your first daughter taking her first step, all the promise that seemed to represent, promise you somehow feel you missed out on because you were too busy chasing your tail. Now that daughter's children have children and it all seems just the blink of an eye. I see people's faces crumpling with age like scraps of paper in a fire.

Where did the time go? All my life I've been putting things off, especially the good things, the things I knew were most important but I thought could wait. Now at 100, the hardest thing to get used to is - there's just no time left. You're forced to look at all these dumb damn things you've done and say, well I guess that was it. I guess that was my life. There is nothing like an ending to make things fall into place.

* * * * * * * * * *

Excerpted from That Went By Fast: My First Hundred Years (2014), by Frank White, with permission from Harbour Publishing.

Associated Graphic

Frank White is seen at his home in Madeira Park, B.C., in 1990. Mr. White 'was a working fool,' his son says, and that resulted in two books that give a rare glimpse into a working-class life.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The fraught and fierce legacy of the 'McMichael vision'
Couple's generous donation to Ontario is celebrated in anniversary show A Foundation for Fifty Years
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R3

KLEINBURG, ONT. -- You gotta start somewhere with somethin'. For Robert and Signe McMichael, that fateful conjunction of place and object occurred in 1955 when they paid $250 to the Roberts Gallery in Toronto for an oil sketch on paperboard by Lawren Harris. An autumn landscape done in 1920, the year Harris founded the Group of Seven, Montreal River was all of 27 centimetres by 35. Small, in other words, but very striking.

And perfect, too, for the McMichaels' recently completed home, an impressive log-beamand-fieldstone house with an audacious south-facing floor-toceiling window fronting an ample living room with an equally ample stone fireplace. It was located about 40 kilometres northwest of Toronto on a fourhectare parcel that the McMichaels, married, childless and in their early 30s, had bought in 1952 near this quaint former farming community atop the meandering Humber River valley.

The Harris purchase marked the start of a mania for Canadian-art collecting by the couple, most especially art by Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven. And as that collection expanded, so did the house: Over the next 18 years no fewer than four additions, each designed by the original architect, Toronto modernist Leo Venchiarutti, were built, in 1963, 1967, 1969 and 1972.

But the key date in all this is Thursday, Nov. 18, 1965. On that day, the McMichaels and Ontario's Conservative government of the day signed an agreement that resulted in the donation to the province of the McMichaels' 14-room home, their art collection, the adjacent land and a shack previously occupied by Thomson in Toronto's Rosedale Ravine that Robert McMichael had moved earlier to Kleinburg.

(The McMichaels, in return, were allowed to live on-site, with all expenses paid, exercise a high degree of curatorial control and occupy two of the five seats on the new board of trustees. They also received permission to be buried on the property. When it was no longer tenable for the McMichaels to live on-site, the Ontario government built them a $300,000 home in nearby Belfountain.)

It's this donation, totalling 194 paintings, hyped at the time as "the single largest private collection of Group of Seven paintings," that formed the basis of what was then called the McMichael Conservation Collection of Art, now the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. And it's this donation that's being celebrated right now in a lovely anniversary show at the McMichael smartly titled A Foundation for Fifty Years. Curated by Sarah Stanners, the McMichael's brainy new director of curatorial and collections, the exhibition features 24 paintings, Montreal River among them, from that original donation and from friends and acquaintances of the McMichaels who subsequently got caught up in their vision of "a distinctively Canadian sanctuary that could be enjoyed by all."

That enjoyment wasn't actually fulfilled until July 8, 1966, when the Collection officially opened to the public after a few months of renovations. The debut wasn't entirely a jawdropping revelation as the McMichaels had been showing their collection over the years to visitors on an invitation basis.

In 1964 alone, in fact, more than 11,000 patrons had made the drive to Tapawingo, the name the McMichaels were now calling their property, derived, allegedly, from the Anishinaabe - or was it Haida? - word for "place of joy." Still, the Collection proved a draw: For each of the next few years, more than 200,000 paid their respects as the venue became a day-trip staple for school children in central and southwestern Ontario. Attendance never regained - and has never regained - those lofty heights after the centre closed in 1981 for a two-year, $10.4-million renovation. For 2013-14, the McMichael reported just more than 111,000 visitors - but student attendance remains strong, around 30,000 a year.

What's sometimes forgotten in the legend of Robert and Signe McMichael is how late they were to the blue-chip Canadian-artcollecting game. By 1955, the Group of Seven had been disbanded for almost a quartercentury. Lawren Harris was 70, A.Y. Jackson 73; J.E.H. MacDonald, David Milne, Emily Carr and Franz Johnston were all dead.

Big, important canvases such as Frederick Varley's Stormy Weather, Georgian Bay (1921), and Thomson's The West Wind (1917), The Jack Pine (1916-17) and Northern River (1915) had gone into public collections such as the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Toronto (now the Art Gallery of Ontario) decades earlier. Meanwhile, Painters Eleven, those rowdy abstractionists from Toronto, had been rocking the contemporary scene for almost two years.

As a result, for some, the McMichael smacked of the anachronistic while the collection itself, certainly for its first 15 or 20 years, was decidedly patchwork - heavy on sketches, short on easel paintings, not a single J.W. Morrice landscape in sight, an assemblage pulled together from gifts, bequests and the canny cajoling and deal-making of Robert McMichael. In 1986, the Toronto Star called him "Toronto's most successful bargain-hunter," noting his knack for getting an Arthur Lismer here for $200, a Franklin Carmichael there for $75. He also befriended artists: Jackson spent his last six years living at Tapawingo as "artist-in-residence"; A.J. Casson and his wife, Margaret, were regular visitors, often "babysitting" the house when Robert and Signe travelled. Moreover, no fewer than five of the original Group are buried on the gallery's grounds, the first interred being Lismer, 83, in 1969. Grounds that, as Stanners points out, were "virtually a blank slate of mostly farmland" when the McMichaels first appeared, then artfully and systemically were reforested to resemble the boreal terrain the Group so loved to paint.

Today, 12 years after Robert's burial in that same hallowed grove, eight after Signe's, the McMichael has filled many of its gaps - of the 300 or so sketches attributed to Tom Thomson, for example, the McMichael owns a respectable 91 - to build a collection totalling 6,000 works, including an impressive inventory of aboriginal art.

It hasn't been easy. Few cultural organizations in Canada have had a history as fraught as the McMichael, a history marked by court challenges, legislative amendments and huge churns in staffing as well as accusations of political interference, disputes over direction, threats of purges to its collection and considerable bad blood. Since much of this has been reported in the media in the past 40 years, little needs to be added at this time.

Except to say, perhaps, that had the McMichaels not been so fiercely attached to what they had wrought - what the couple liked to call "the original vision" - the Collection's protracted transition to a professionally administered, publicly funded Crown corporation, with a curatorship committed to honouring the past and recognizing the present, would have gone a lot more smoothly.

A Foundation for Fifty Years is a sensitive reflection of that vision and the McMichael's first iteration. With the exception of Jackson's desolate First Snow, Algoma (1920), a sort of First World War scene transmogrified into a Canadian Shield landscape, the works are small to medium-sized, straightforwardly hung at eye-level on a rich grey fabric background. As you might expect, there are the usual suspects - five Harrises, three Thomsons, a Varley, two Carrs - but one particularly surprising selection is Yvonne McKague Housser's Marguerite Pilot of Deep River (1932). Surprising because it's a portrait by a woman of a strong-looking woman of Aboriginal and French descent, painted very much "in the key" of one of Gauguin's Tahiti canvases. Stanners, it seems, could easily have put a Johnston or Carmichael winter landscape in the Housser "slot" (neither Group of Seven original is in the show) yet chose instead to invoke other idioms, other narratives.

A Foundation for Fifty Years runs through Nov. 18, 2016, at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ont. Other exhibitions and programs marking the 50th anniversary of the Collection opening to the public will be presented in 2016.

Associated Graphic

Lawren Harris (1885-1970), painted Montreal River in 1920. The oil on paperboard sketch, measuring 27 centimetres by 35 centimetres, was purchased by Robert and Signe McMichael for $250 in 1955 and later gifted to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, which they founded.


Artist David Milne (1882-1953) painted Black, an oil on canvas measuring 51.9 centimetres by 62.1 centimetres, in 1914. The McMichaels gifted the piece to the Collection in 1966.


Ah, the holidays. A time that is supposed to be full of good cheer - but often is not. Especially at the airport. Since hiring a magic reindeer isn't going to happen, here is our survival guide to Canadian terminals
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, November 24, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

The holiday season is no one's favourite time to travel. Even once you've gotten over the sticker shock of those plane tickets (and let go of the fact you could get to Sydney, Australia, for the price of that trip to Sydney, N.S., at Christmastime), you've got to deal with crowds, weather delays, luggage fees, overstuffed overhead bins and that person in front of you in the security line who is trying to carry on a suitcase full of wrapped gifts - one of which is an oversize bottle of perfume.

But even a cross-country jaunt on Christmas Eve can be made less trying with a little know-how and planning. Here's how to soften the landing - no lounge access required.

Vancouver (YVR)

Arrive early or, on a layover, exit security for a meal at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport, whose bar and dining room offer views of planes taxiing to and from gates. If the timing is right, splurge on afternoon tea - seatings are from 2 to 3:30 p.m. daily - complete with a fancy tiered tray packed with finger sandwiches, dainty pastries, and scones with preserves and clotted cream.

Alternatively, find the White Spot family restaurant outside the domestic security checkpoints to fill up on British Columbia's favourite burgers, whether you eat in or take out (check with security for what can be brought through).

Three locations of wine bar Vino Volo (international before security; after security at domestic and U.S. gates) mean there's no excuse not to sample some of the province's finest vintages alongside a charcuterie or cheese plate.

Shoppers travelling abroad and in need of last-minute gifts can check out the Canadiana on offer - striped sweaters, vintage tea towels and Olympic mittens - at the Hudson's Bay Company Trading Post, in international departures.

Have lots of time? Head outside security and take the Canada Line two stops (trains between the airport and Templeton station are free of charge) to browse the bargains at the enormous new McArthur Glen Designer Outlet mall.

Pass the time: Travelling with kids? Track down one of the four play areas scattered around the airport, or linger in the public observation area before you go through security and use the free telescopes to watch what's happening on the tarmac. Inside security in international departures, an outpost of the Vancouver Aquarium showcases some of the sea creatures that make the Pacific their home. Or download selfguided tours - themes include art and architecture and sustainability - for details on YVR landmarks such as Bill Reid's The Jade Canoe sculpture.

Calgary (YYC)

Avoid the risk of breakage (or donating excess liquids to airport security) by purchasing a host gift of wine or liquor right before boarding or after landing. Multiple locations of Skyway Liquor and Cloud 9 Liquor & Wine (before security and after security for domestic travellers) sell made-in-Canada booze, such as spirits by Alberta's Eau Claire Distillery. Or spend some time getting a treatment at OraOxygen Wellness Spa, before security in the departures area. Book massages, aesthetic services and oxygen sessions online in advance; it'll be refreshing whether you're on a long transfer or heading out on a red-eye.

Pass the time: Relive glory days by rekindling your pinball and video-game skills at one of four locations of Flippers Arcades, both before and after security. Or get your blood pumping (and batteries full) at the new WeWatt charging station (outside security on the departures level), which lets you generate electricity by pedalling a stationary bike.

Saskatoon (YXE)

Newly expanded, the Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport, as it's officially known, has taken on "local" as its mantra. Pick up last-minute souvenirs at Prairie Unique (outside security) and Prairie North (inside security), where you'll find locally made woodwork and crafts and all the saskatoon berry jam you can fit in your carry-on. Also inside security, toast your flight with a pint of craft beer from Saskatoon's Great Western Brewing Company at Refuel Restaurant and Lounge.

Pass the time: Designed by a local architect, the light-filled terminal building incorporates features symbolic of the area's landscape, with views of the surrounding prairie and of sunrise and sunset. Rotating displays show off Saskatchewan's finest arts, culture and attractions, while an interpretive area tells the story of Saskatoon's first potash mines.

Winnipeg (YWG)

The airport outpost of local favourite Stella's Café & Bakery is worth arriving early for. Sit down for a guacamole BLT or maple caramel French toast topped with wild blueberries, grab a green smoothie if you're hungry when you land or pick up (liquid-free) takeout before going through security. Near the gates, the recently opened second location of Winnipeg's Green Carrot Juice Company has you covered for cold-pressed juices, smoothies, wraps, and oat or açai bowls.

Pass the time: Once you're through security, head to Gate 12 for the best vantage point to watch planes take off and land.

Toronto (YYZ)

Dining-wise, there are a few highlights, especially among the airport's chef-driven restaurant revamps. In Terminal 1 domestic (post-security), Camden Food Co. has a DIY oatmeal and yogurt bar for breakfast (pile on the fresh raspberries). Nearby Boccone Trattoria Veloce serves up pizza, pasta and salad, while Bar 120, new this year, offers offbeat, modernist-style dishes such as a caprese salad with balsamic pearls. In Terminal 3 domestic (post-security), pick up a smoked meat sandwich from Caplansky's Deli, which also has a snack bar outpost pre-security in Terminal 1, near international check-in.

Pass the time: Restless souls on a layover at Toronto Pearson can fit in a workout at GoodLife Fitness, outside security on the arrivals level of Terminal 1. The club offers luggage storage and lockers, has clothing and shoes for rental, and features towel service and cardio and strength-training equipment.

Montreal (YUL)

International travellers can shop Montreal-based women's activewear brand Lolë (inside security) to stock up on anything they forgot to pack: leggings for that onresort yoga class or a tuque to keep ears warm on the snowshoe trails. Nearby, the airport location of Quebec's Archibald Microbrasserie serves up its craft brews alongside stick-to-your-ribs pub fare such as a duck confit grilled cheese.

Pass the time: Ease seasonal stress and get your back ready for those tiny seats with a chair or table massage at one of three Balnea Spa Voyage locations. Travelspecific treatments include the "anti-gravity" 20-minute foot and leg massage and the 10-minute "express lift-off" head massage focused on relieving tension and travel-induced headaches.


At YYT (St. John's), shop for knit socks, mittens and other handicrafts at the Heritage Shop inside security.

YYF (Penticton, B.C.) may be tiny, but you don't have to rely on the vending machine for snacks: Menu items at Sky High Diner include the selfproclaimed best borscht in the Okanagan.

Leave time for a drink at YQT (Thunder Bay, Ont.), whose bar serves beer from local Sleeping Giant Brewing Company on tap.

Inside security in Kelowna (YLW), Okanagan Estate Wine Cellar stocks bottles from top regional wineries such as Burrowing Owl and Nk'Mip.

One of Canada's oldest drivein diners, the renowned Chickenburger in Bedford, N.S., has a location outside security at YHZ (Halifax).

But no matter where you go this season, follow these airport survival tips:

1) Arrive early. Nothing takes the joy out of travel more than rushing.

2) Eat. Low blood sugar does no one any favours. Pack food to bring with you or sit down for a relaxed meal at the airport before getting on the plane.

3) Make it fun. Take advantage of airport amenities: Get your shoes shined, indulge in a manicure or challenge your kids to a pinball tournament in the video arcade.

4) Travelling south? Many Canadian airports offer boot and coat checks for a nominal fee so you don't have to take your winter coat to Mexico.

Associated Graphic

The striking thunderbird sculpture that greets passengers arriving from U.S. destinations is just one of several significant pieces of First Nations art on display at Vancouver International Airport.


A bright spot on the dining landscape at Toronto Pearson International Airport is Caplansky's Deli at Terminal 3.

Why Cold-FX is too good to be true
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

When you sneeze in your cubicle, Cold-FX is often the first thing recommended by your disgusted colleagues. After all, the ginseng-based product is the top-selling natural health product in Canada, with sales topping nearly $120-million as recently as 2011, according to reports.

Health Canada has authorized Cold-FX to make a number of claims, including the promise that it "helps reduce the frequency, severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms."

Last year, Health Canada gave the okay for Valeant Canada, which sells Cold-FX, to state that when combined with a flu shot, Cold-FX is clinically proven to reduce cold and flu symptoms.

But is it too good to be true?

Take two and call me in six months

How long do you need to take Cold-FX for it to start working? A few days? A week? The product label offers no clues.

But according to Valeant Canada's vice-president of medical and regulatory affairs, you must take it for a minimum of eight weeks - two whole months -before any potential benefit kicks in. The optimal duration for a healthy adult is four months. For seniors, that increases to six months.

"We cannot argue that Cold-FX can be used to treat symptoms that are already there," Dr. Maxime Barakat said.

"We recommend a chronic usage."

That's right: To experience any positive effects, according to the research behind Cold-FX, you need to take capsules twice daily for months on end. At approximately $60 for 150 capsules, that can quickly add up to several hundred dollars a year.

This seems like important information that you should see somewhere on a Cold-FX product label, on the product's website or even in the fine print of advertisements. But you won't find it there.

Nor will you see any mention of the four- to six-month treatment regimen on the label for Cold-FX First Signs, a new daytime and nighttime powdered formulation.

The 'first signs' of a problem ...

According to the label for Cold-FX First Signs, you should take the product "at first signs of a cold to help relieve cold symptoms and promote healthy immune function."

Why the emphasis on first signs?

In fact, there is no benefit if you take Cold-FX at the onset of symptoms, according to the company's own research.

Cold-FX is a "preventative drug" and doesn't have an instantaneous effect at battling cold and flu symptoms, Barakat said.

When asked why the label directs consumers to take Cold-FX First Signs to relieve symptoms, Barakat said, "We need to phrase it differently" and that he is "open to discuss with my colleagues."

Health Canada declined an interview. In an e-mail, a spokesperson said use of the term "first signs" passes muster because it "refers to when an individual should take the product" but doesn't make promises about effectiveness. (A few years ago, the makers of Cold-FX faced criticism for making an "immediate relief" efficacy claim on product labels.)

'The pure scientists might question it'

Even if you are prepared to take Cold-FX for the better part of a year, will you see positive results?

The developers of Cold-FX, Afexa Life Sciences Inc. (purchased by Valeant Canada in 2011), funded several studies to test the product, which were submitted to Health Canada for approval of the health claims. A quick read of the abstracts provides comforting reassurance of how well it works.

For instance, in a 2005 study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), 130 people took two Cold-FX capsules a day for four months, while 149 people took a placebo (the study participants didn't know whether they were getting the active ingredient or a sugar pill). They were asked to record any cold and flu symptoms.

When it was all said and done, the study authors concluded Cold-FX reduces the number of colds per person, as well as the severity and duration of symptoms.

But taking a closer look at the raw data paints a different picture.

First, the researchers did not actually test participants to confirm whether the coughs, sniffles or other symptoms they experienced were the result of a virus. Instead, they asked participants to record the severity of symptoms on a four-point scale, referred to as Jackson criteria.

This is important. Without confirming whether people were actually suffering from a respiratory illness, it's a leap to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of the remedy being studied.

At least, that is the perspective offered by Dr. Janet McElhaney, a geriatrician and senior scientist at the Advanced Medical Research Institute of Canada, who led several studies on Cold-FX. According to McElhaney, people who report having a stuffy nose or sniffles could be suffering from hay fever or another ailment unrelated to colds or the flu.

"You can decide whether or not that's scientifically valid," she said in an interview, referring to the reliance on self-reported symptoms rather than lab-confirmed illness.

Even if you put stock in self reports, Cold-FX didn't score well. The results of the CMAJ study show that over four months, the mean number of colds experienced by the group taking the placebo was 0.93. In those taking Cold-FX, it was 0.68. A difference of 0.25 colds over a four-month period. Does that seem like a compelling reason to shell out a few hundred bucks and take pills daily for months?

What if you add a needle?

A more recent study led by McElhaney forms the basis of the new bold claim that Cold-FX and the flu shot work better together. The study focused on flu-vaccinated seniors over the age of 65. Researchers had them take a placebo, 400 milligrams or 800 milligrams of Cold-FX a day for six months. In this case, the researchers actually tested participants for the flu or other viruses in addition to using the self-reported symptom scorecards.

In the end, there was no meaningful difference between the number of viruses suffered by the placebo or treatment groups. The researchers concluded "the treatments had no significant effects on the number, severity, or duration of lab-confirmed clinical URIs [upper respiratory infections]."

McElhaney said the low numbers of people suffering from lab-confirmed infections that year made it impossible for them to draw any conclusions about the impact of Cold-FX. But researchers did find that the symptom scores among those taking Cold-FX were lower than those taking placebo. Twenty-nine per cent of the placebo group reported experiencing upper respiratory infections, compared with 20 per cent in the 400 milligram group and 19.4 per cent in the 800 milligram group.

But as McElhaney herself pointed out, the scientific validity of those scorecards is questionable.

"I don't know if I would call it a danger, but I can tell you that's where people start to, the pure scientists might, question it," she said.

So why, then, did Cold-FX win Health Canada's approval to declare that it works better when paired with a flu shot, considering the study didn't show the product made any meaningful difference between lab-confirmed cases of the flu or other viruses?

That's a good question.

Cold-FX is regulated as a natural-health product. Compared with prescription drugs, the scope of evidence Health Canada requires for the approval of natural-health products is far less rigorous - something many critics say has allowed too many ineffective and potentially unsafe products on the market.

As the examples above demonstrate, the data behind Cold-FX are not favourable, even though the company puts a positive spin on the results.

This speaks to a much larger issue enveloping Canada's billion-dollar natural-health product market.

If the top-selling natural health remedy in Canada is allowed to get away with scientifically questionable claims about how its product works, what other problems are out there?

Associated Graphic

A new Cold-FX product encourages consumers to take it when symptoms start, but research has shown it is not effective at this point.


Friday, November 20, 2015

'Nightmare over' for scientists
With federal government gag order lifted, experts can discuss important issues such as 'rock snot' again
Friday, November 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

VANCOUVER -- In the scientific community, Max Bothwell is regarded as the go-to guy on "rock snot," an unsightly but amusingly nicknamed invasive algae that grows in streams and riverbeds. He's been an Environment Canada scientist for 36 years, studied the slimy blooms for 22 of those and has published considerable literature on the subject.

So when rock snot - also known by its less fun name of Didymosphenia geminata, or just didymo - grew to be problematic and media interest piqued, Nanaimo-based Dr. Bothwell should have been the go-to expert to explain the phenomenon.

Instead, he was told to keep quiet.

Under Stephen Harper's Conservative government, media access to federal scientists such as Dr. Bothwell was tightly controlled.

Interview requests were cumbersome processes that involved several communications operatives and usually resulted in preapproved "media lines" that provided little real information.

That's changed. Justin Trudeau's Liberal government has followed through on its platform promise to "unmuzzle" federal scientists, announcing last week that they are now able to speak freely about their work with the media and public. "The nightmare is over," Dr. Bothwell said.

The Globe and Mail spoke with three highly regarded scientists about work they could not previously discuss.

Max Bothwell, research scientist at Environment Canada For Dr. Bothwell, the most frustrating part of being muzzled was that he's proud of his work.

Most of the developments coming out of his department are good news, he says, and Environment Canada is leading the world on "this rock snot thing."

One 2014 request to interview Dr. Bothwell, by Canadian Press reporter Dene Moore, resulted in 110 pages of e-mails to and from 16 federal government communications operatives - but no interview. Brad Taylor, an ecologist at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire who co-authored a paper with Dr. Bothwell, was quoted instead.

Dr. Bothwell called the experience "personally frustrating and embarrassing."

"The way [the muzzling] is received by people like me is that these people don't value me and they don't trust me," he said. "That message came across crystal clear: Scientists are not respected and they are not trusted."

Rock snot, it turns out, is not a new organism, as initially suspected, but rather a native species responding to environmental changes, Dr. Bothwell said. The gelatinous algae "blooms" are actually an increase in extracellular non-living carbon - dead material, like tree bark - which only occurs when phosphorous levels become too low.

The blooms are not a threat to humans, but they can cause havoc in aquatic ecosystems by changing fish food levels and creating ideal habitats for certain fish parasites. The bigger issue may be why phosphorous levels are declining.

"I list a series of four hypotheses that might explain this, and one of them is climate change," Dr. Bothwell said.

He added that, for the first time this past summer, rock snot started to bloom in the St. Mary's River, which connects Lake Superior and Lake Huron.

"What that tells me is that this organism is what I said it was - it is a sentinel species - and it's telling us that there is something wrong in Lake Superior."

Dr. Bothwell most recently coauthored a paper, expected to be published next month, on using phosphorous to decrease rock snot blooms.

Kristi Miller, molecular geneticist in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans

When Kristi Miller testified in 2011 at the Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the decline of Fraser River sockeye salmon, she was accompanied by an earpiece-wearing security guard and a communications specialist.

The message was clear: There would be no chatting with reporters.

Four years later, Dr. Miller looks back and describes the moment as a "surreal experience."

"To be that controlled, it almost made you nervous," she said. "They were almost trying to make you afraid of the public, and afraid of the media."

Dr. Miller also recalls having to get several levels of approval if she wanted to participate in workshops where the media might be present. Most of these requests were denied. In the rare instances they were approved, a media handler was assigned to accompany her.

"It felt like being treated like a child, to be perfectly honest," Dr. Miller said. "I found it quite irritating that I wasn't trusted to communicate the messages from my own work, that the only person who could effectively communicate the messages from my work was a communications expert."

A four-year-long study led by Dr. Miller had found that there was a specific genomic signature present in salmon that was predictive of whether they would survive the journey to the spawning grounds.

"That was really the first time that we had demonstrated that freshwater environment alone is not a complete explanation for the massive die-offs that were occurring," she said. "There was something about the condition of the salmon before they entered the river that was exacerbating [conditions for mortality] in the river."

That mortality-related signature was consistent with a viral infection - which could have posed a threat to the aquaculture industry.

"That's really what made the government nervous: not the genomics or the precondition, but the hypothesis that that precondition was a disease," Dr. Miller said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Miller and her team have developed a platform that can screen for dozens of disease-causing microbes - viruses, bacteria, micro-parasites - at once.

"Basically, the full range of microbes that are associated with diseases in salmon worldwide, we can detect them - and we can detect them incredibly quickly," Dr. Miller said.

"What's exciting about this is that we are ahead of the curve, even of the human world. You can't go into a human diagnostic lab and in 24 hours be tested for 45 different pathogens. This is the first time in my career in genomics that I have been ahead of the curve when it comes to human medicine."

Philippe Thomas, wildlife biologist with Environment Canada

For three years, Philippe Thomas has been studying the health of fur-bearing animals living in the Alberta oil sands. Partnering with hunters, trappers and First Nations communities in the Peace-Athabasca Delta, the federal wildlife biologist has collected the carcasses of more than 1,700 mammals - such as lynxes, muskrats and river otters - caught initially for commercial trapping.

The collection process wound down this past spring; Mr. Thomas is now conducting contaminant analyses on their livers. The research is part of the Joint Oil Sands Monitoring program, a Canada-Alberta initiative to monitor environmental indicators.

In late 2012, DeSmog Canada sought to interview Mr. Thomas about his research. However, Access to Information documents revealed that the request was bounced around and ultimately denied by Environment Canada, even though the scientist was "media trained and interested in doing the interview."

Mr. Thomas remembers receiving two interview requests around that time, both of which involved several communications specialists preparing and editing his responses, none of which ultimately seemed to be released.

"I was never kept in the loop with that. We would answer the questions, send them away, they would be edited and sent back to us, and when management and media relations all agreed it was good, you usually wouldn't hear from them [again]."

Mr. Thomas acknowledges that the idea of "cute, furry animals" dying in the oil patch could have been controversial, had that been the case. But while final results won't be ready for some time, preliminary data show that contaminant levels are "by no means high," suggesting wildlife and industry can co-exist.

"In the end, had the interviews been granted, they would have realized that there's no big story at the moment," he said.

"There's nothing to report on that's ground-shattering. The levels I'm detecting are often lower than other parts [of Canada]."

Associated Graphic

Molecular geneticist Kristi Miller and her team have developed a world-leading salmon disease screen.


Gelatinous algae blooms nicknamed 'rock snot' are not a threat to humans, but they can create havoc in aquatic ecosystems.


For GMP and Canaccord, 'a perfect storm'
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B1


In his 14 years at GMP Capital Inc., Harris Fricker has rarely seen it this bad.

The chief executive officer of GMP is grappling with heavy losses, falling revenue, evaporating bonuses and deep job cuts in the aftermath of the commodities crash.

It's not just GMP. Canada's once highly profitable independent investment banks and brokerages are reeling amid technological upheaval and a shrinking pool of deals at a time when big banks are muscling into their territory.

"You've kind of got a perfect storm," Mr. Fricker said in an interview. "You have resources in the trough by any measure ... and the long-term view on [oil] is we're looking at a multiyear supply-demand imbalance. People are incredibly bearish. Add to that there are real structural changes occurring in our business."

Shares in GMP and Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. are trading near all-time lows.

Both companies have lost money in three out of the past four quarters. GMP took a particularly hard hit in the period ended Sept. 30, with a loss of $11million versus a profit of $6-million a year earlier. GMP's energy sector investment banking revenue cratered a staggering 87 per cent year over year. The firm has cut about 9 per cent of its work force this year. Canaccord has let 6 per cent of its staff go.The brokerage business has seen hard times before. A sharp sell-off in equity markets made 2011 a rough year. The great financial crisis that started in mid-2008 and lasted in 2009 was brutal. But this downturn has a different feel - longer, protracted and more entrenched.

"The 2008-09 downturn, while severe, was relatively short-lived," said Paul Holden, an analyst with CIBC World Markets Inc. "We saw a very strong recovery in the last three quarters of 2009, including the commodity sector. [I'm] not sure that we'll see such a sharp reversal in the commodities sector this time around."

The current slump has already lasted about 18 months - and few are optimistic that resources will rebound any time soon.

"We're clearly in the trough of the cycle and the aftershock of [oil] being 40 or 50 bucks," Mr. Fricker said.

Despite its job cuts, GMP's expenses have risen 6 per cent this year - primarily due to high staffing costs at its U.S. energy investment banking operation that was set up in 2013. Usually, senior investment bankers don't make a dime unless they "produce," or win business for the firm. But to attract staff, GMP made salary guarantees to its new Texas bankers. Mr. Fricker said the firm currently has around 20 bankers - mainly in Houston - on guaranteed salaries, with 10 making "material" amounts.

Two years ago, when the resource market was booming, that move seemed perfectly logical. But now, that business is costing the firm around $20-million a year, while failing to generate any meaningful revenue. Those fixed salaries will start coming off in December, but if the market doesn't improve, there are concerns bankers might not stick around.

Mr. Fricker said he isn't overly concerned about any of GMP's bankers jumping to other shops.

"We always tell people there will be fallow years to go with the great years," Mr. Fricker said. "I wouldn't say that losing people has been a real factor. Part of that, to be frank, is where are people going to go?" GMP has made some headway in the non-resource sector through the years in areas such as technology, health care and pharmaceuticals.

"We certainty punch above our weight in the non-resource sector.

Our market share is dramatically up," Mr. Fricker said.

But he scoffs at the idea that non-resource revenue at GMP could ever reach the heights of mining or energy in boom times.

"We would happily diversify the business more broadly if we felt there were sufficient non-commodity corporate targets to cover.

The reality is ... there aren't," he said during the company's conference call with analysts in early November.

Canaccord is faring better than GMP. It reported a loss of only $400,000 in the last quarter.

"Canaccord is in better shape.

They were almost break-even [in the last quarter]," CIBC's Mr. Holden said.

Canaccord has a significantly stronger presence in wealth management and a solid footprint internationally, which has helped shield it from a sharp decline in revenue in Canada. The firm isn't as dependent as GMP is on resources either.

Canaccord recently appointed a new CEO, Daniel Daviau, after the sudden death of predecessor Paul Reynolds.

"Dan Daviau certainty has a reputation for being an outstanding investment banker," Mr. Holden said.

He's best known for almost single-handedly generating in the region of $60-million in investment banking revenue for the firm in 2014, when Canaccord landed a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) advisory role as Amaya Inc. paid $4.9-billion (U.S.) to swallow up PokerStars in the summer of 2014. (Canaccord also led a significant equity raise associated with the deal.) The trouble is that online gambling investment banking revenue has since dried up, and Mr. Daviau is untested as a CEO. One of his first measures as CEO was to axe 15 bankers in its U.S. operations earlier this month. (Mr. Daviau declined a request for an interview.)

Part of GMP and Canaccord's travails have little to do with either firm and are problems felt by everyone in investment banking.

On the trading side of the business, commissions have been falling relentlessly at all investment banks. More portfolio managers are using their own in-house electronic trading systems as opposed to dealing with a human trader at a brokerage. (The brokerage still gets a cut of the trade, but it's not nearly as much as it was in the old days.)

Post-credit crisis, margin lending has come down, slurping up another historically sweet source of revenue. And brokers make hardly any money any more on cash balances held in clients' accounts as a result of near-historically low interest rates.

These kinds of changes have forced the capital markets arms of the big Canadian banks to chase smaller deals that were once the domain of only a Canaccord or a GMP. These mid-sized players are also increasingly being squeezed out of the bigger deals.

Som Seif, a former investment banker with RBC Dominion Securities Inc., said 10 to 15 years ago, it wasn't uncommon for Canaccord and GMP to go toe-to-toe with the banks for the really big deals. "It all came down to were you a good banker? And if you were coming up with really good innovative ideas ... you could win those mandates," Mr. Seif said.

"Today, if you're not lending to them, you may not get the call at all."

In many major Canadian takeover deals, it's now common for a big bank to be the lender, the M&A adviser and the bookrunner on an associated stock offering.

Canaccord and others are left with scraps.

Still, there are bright spots.

The balance sheets are in relatively good shape. GMP has no debt and it still feels strong enough to pay a dividend, which, if nothing else, helps the many employees who own shares.

(Twenty-six per cent of GMP's shares are owned by employees.)

"[GMP and Canaccord] have successfully navigated difficult market conditions for many years now, have cut operating costs and have substantial financial resources behind them," Ian Russell, president of the Investment Industry Association of Canada (IIAC), said.

Mr. Fricker, for his part, isn't going anywhere. (He's been CEO since 2010.) "The culture here is special. And it's fun to be in this firm even during what's been, at times, not a fun cycle."

Associated Graphic

Canaccord and GMP have heavy exposure to the oil and mining sectors, and few believe prices will rebound any time soon.


Monday, November 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A6

While examining our database of homicide and missing-person cases involving indigenous women about six months ago, a Globe team noticed a pattern: Several names were listed in connection with more than one killing. By the summer, the prospect of a serial killer operating in the Edmonton-area was thrust to the fore after a woman's remains were discovered in the same area as those of three indigenous women.

A 2014 RCMP report found that 1,181 aboriginal women were killed or went missing between 1980 and 2012. The Globe set out to determine the extent to which these tragedies were the result of serial homicide. We also embarked on the creation of a multimedia project that traces the lives of five indigenous women slain by different serial killers. The Taken, which explores the women's vulnerabilities and examines their families' interactions with police and the justice system, launches Tuesday.

Over the past year, The Globe has been compiling its own database, building on data collected by the Native Women's Association of Canada and Ottawa-based researcher Maryanne Pearce. We filed an access-to-information request in April asking for the RCMP's dataset, but that request is pending.

For this investigation, we focused on vetting our serial-killer subset to confirm the women were, in fact, indigenous and had been slain by a convicted serial killer.

These are our "confirmed" cases. But because relying on criminal convictions alone likely understates - perhaps significantly - the true extent of the serial predation, we also researched unsolved cases potentially involving a serial killer and categorized these as "probable" and "speculative."

The Globe conducted many dozens of interviews with victims' families, lawyers, law-enforcement officials, authors, researchers and indigenous organizations.

We obtained court transcripts and secured access to case exhibits. We pored over news stories and inquiry reports. We conducted reporting on the ground in Manitoba and British Columbia.

Yet our database work would not suffice.

What if a killer took the life of one indigenous woman and one non-indigenous woman, for example? Our dataset would not reveal this. As such, we took lists of known Canadian serial killers and ran the names against the offenders in our database. We also scoured books and news archives for cases we may have missed (inevitably, there are some).

We were able to determine that at least 18 indigenous women were slain by convicted serial killers in Canada since 1980. To contextualize this, we needed to understand the vulnerability of the overall female population in this country. Given the lack of comprehensive Canadian data on serial homicide, we looked to U.S. researcher Mike Aamodt, who has compiled an international dataset of serial killings.

By analyzing his female Canadian subset and factoring in historic population figures, we found that indigenous women are roughly seven times more likely to be victims of serial homicide than non-indigenous women.

18 These 18 indigenous women have died at the hands of convicted serial killers in Canada since 1980.

8 Eight serial killers were responsible for those women's deaths.

7x Indigenous women in Canada are roughly seven times more likely to be slain by a serial killer than nonindigenous women.

20% About one-fifth of Canada's known female serial homicide victims since 1980 were indigenous.

Sereena Abotsway Ms. Abotsway's inhaler was found on Robert Pickton's B.C. farm in February of 2002, cracking open her missing-person case and sparking an extensive police search of the farm. Ms. Abotsway was killed in either 2001 or early 2002, and was either 29 or 30.

Marnie Frey Robert Pickton killed Ms. Frey some time between August, 1997, and February of 2002, when the 25-year-old's remains were found on his pig farm in Port Coquitlam, B.C. Originally from Campbell River, Ms. Frey went missing from Vancouver's East Hastings area in 1997.

Lorna Blacksmith Ms. Blacksmith was 18 years old when she was killed by Shawn Lamb on Jan. 11, 2012. Her body was found in the backyard of an abandoned house about six months later. The Métis teenager was from Cross Lake, Man.

Nina Joseph Ms. Joseph was strangled by Edward Isaac in 1982 when she was 15 years old. A member of the Tl'Azt'En First Nation in Fort Saint James, B.C., Nina had been living in Prince George, where her body was discovered.

Nina Courtepatte Ms. Courtepatte was just 13 when she was murdered in 2005 in her hometown of Edmonton. Her body was discovered on the Edmonton Springs Golf Course, where she had been raped and beaten to death by a group of people, among them serial killer Joseph Laboucan.

Myrna Letandre Ms. Letandre was 37 years old when she was murdered by Traigo Andretti in 2006 in Winnipeg.

The Pinaymootang First Nation woman was considered missing for nearly seven years, but all the while her partial remains were buried in a basement crawlspace.

Cynthia Maas Born of a Dene mother and Cree father, Ms. Maas was slain by Cody Legebokoff in Prince George, B.C., in 2010. The remains of the 35-year-old mother of two were found in a wooded park in October of that year.

Jennifer McPherson Ms. McPherson, a mother of two from Manitoba's Peguis First Nation, was living on B.C.'s Hanson Island when her husband, Traigo Andretti, strangled her on April 29, 2013. The 41-year-old was originally from Winnipeg.

Natasha Montgomery Ms. Montgomery, a 23-year-old Métis woman from Quesnel, B.C., was reported missing from Prince George on Sept. 23, 2010. Ms.

Montgomery's DNA was found in Cody Legebokoff's apartment; her body has not been found.

Shelley Napope Ms. Napope was just 16 when she was slain by John Crawford in Saskatoon in 1992. The teen had grown up on One Arrow First Nation in Saskatchewan.

Carolyn Sinclair Ms. Sinclair was pregnant with her third child when Shawn Lamb killed her at his Winnipeg apartment on Dec. 18, 2011. The Mathias Colomb Cree Nation woman's remains were found in a back lane on March 31, 2012.

Calinda Waterhen Calinda Waterhen's family first reported her missing in 1993 after she did not show up for a family funeral in Loon Lake, Sask., where she grew up. A victim of John Crawford, the 22-year-old's body was found on Oct. 3, 1994, outside of Saskatoon.

Georgina Papin Ms. Papin, a 35-year-old mother of seven living in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, was last seen in March of 1999 at St. Paul's Hospital. A member of Enoch First Nation, Ms. Papin's remains were found on Robert Pickton's farm in Port Coquitlam, B.C., in February of 2002.

Eva Taysup Ms. Taysup's body was found near a golf course outside of Saskatoon in 1994, more than two years after she was last seen alive.

Ms. Taysup, from Yellow Quill First Nation, was killed by John Crawford.

Mona Wilson The last place anyone saw Ms. Wilson of O'Chiese First Nation, who went missing in December of 2001, was the Astoria Hotel on Vancouver's East Hastings Street.

The 26-year-old's remains were discovered in February of 2002 on Robert Pickton's pig farm outside Vancouver.

Mary Jane Serloin Ms. Serloin was slain by serial killer John Crawford. Her body was found in Lethbridge, Alta., on Oct. 23, 1981. She was 35 years old.

Theresa Umphrey Ms. Umphrey, who was Cree, had grown up in Manitoba but was living in Prince George, B.C., when Brian Arp murdered her in 1993. Ms. Umphrey's body was discovered on a snowbank beside a remote logging road outside Prince George. She was 39.

Brenda Wolfe Ms. Wolfe's remains were found on Robert Pickton's farm in Port Coquitlam, B.C., on Feb. 6, 2002. The 30-year-old of Kahkewistahaw First Nation had been missing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside since February of 1999.

Car for sale. Memories included
'The Healey was the symbol of our beginnings, our future. ... It made me crazy sometimes. But this was his baby'
Thursday, November 19, 2015 – Print Edition, Page D4

When Joe Berecz parked his car for the final time, he did it with the same care and precision that he brought to the surgical suite: he placed rectangles of plywood under the tires to protect them from the moisture in the concrete floor, waxed the paint and covered his prized machine with a swaddling, custom-made cover.

Joe's Austin-Healey 3000 wasn't just a car. It was a philosophical statement, a symbol of accomplishment, and a carrier of dreams. He bought it brand new in 1966 from a dealer in Montreal after finishing his medical residency. At the time, the Healey was state-of-the-sports car art: low slung body, a flat dash studded with aircraft-style toggle switches and racing-style wire wheels with knock-off hubs instead of lug nuts.

When he put the Healey away for the winter in the fall of 2010, Joe had no way of knowing that this would be the last time. A few months later, he died of a heart attack. Ever since, his beloved Healey has been parked in the garage of his daughter's house, exactly as he left it. There are 32,000 miles on the odometer.

The Austin-Healey has always had a special mystique. With the possible exception of the Shelby 427 Cobra and the Jaguar E-Type, there has never been a more beautiful roadster than the Healey.

In Windsor, Joe's hometown, Anita, his widow, took me to the garage where Joe parked the Healey five years ago. We pulled off the cover to reveal the car that her husband had loved for so long - a compact red machine that epitomized British style back in the days when the Beatles and Carnaby Street were changing the world.

The Healey had a lovely, human patina. I could see where Joe's hands had worn the Bakelite steering wheel rim, and how his shoes had left their mark on the tiny pedals. This was a car filled with memories - and perhaps the ghost of the man who owned it.

Anita remembers the day when Joe brought the Healey home for the first time. It was a summer day in 1966. They were living in Montreal, where Joe had just completed his surgical internship. Anita was studying law, and they had three small children - two girls, one boy. Anita had no idea that her husband was planning to buy a car, and didn't understand the point of a tiny machine with a flip-down top, seats for two, and a trunk barely large enough to hold a suitcase.

The Healey became a fixture in their lives. Joe loaded the kids into the parcel shelf behind the seats (this was in the days before seat belts) and drove them around Notre Dame de Grace. In 1967, they left the kids with a baby sitter and drove the Healey to Boston, Rhode Island and Martha's Vineyard. Joe drove and Anita read the map, which wasn't easy in a roadster with the top down - it flapped in the wind like a flag. "I was a bad map reader," Anita says. "We went in circles all around Boston."

In 1968, they moved to Albany, N.Y., so Joe could do a surgical residency at the Albany Medical Centre. They had two cars - the Healey and a Pontiac sedan. The kids wanted to ride in the Healey.

They piled in and Joe dropped the top. Anita followed in the Pontiac, which was loaded with luggage. "The kids wanted to be in the Healey," Anita recalls.

"They loved that car. It was a toy for them. The only one who didn't love it was me."

Anita and Joe met in 1957, in Windsor, where they were both born and raised. Joe was visiting a neighbour across the street from Anita's parent's home, tinkering with a car in the driveway.

Anita wandered over. Joe was a science student, dreaming about becoming a surgeon. He loved cars, especially British ones. They married in 1959.

By the mid-1960s, they were on their way to a dream existence: he was a doctor, she was a lawyer. Joe was noted for his surgical skills and a sublime sense of proportion that made him excellent at plastic surgery. And his talents weren't limited to medicine - Joe was also a concert violinist and a gifted saxophone player.

In 1969, they hit a speed bump.

Joe had his first heart attack.

There was no warning. "We thought we were on the road to heaven," Anita says. "Everything was perfect. Then it just stopped." When he home from the hospital, Joe couldn't go up and down the stairs. Six months later, he was back at work.

Over the years, Joe bought and sold a long series of Jaguars. He loved British cars. "The insurance bills were crazy," says Anita. "But this was his passion."

And the Healey was always there. They moved back to Windsor, where Joe was on call for four different hospitals. Joe would drive the Healey and take one of the kids with him when he could. He drove the kids to soccer practice in the Healey, took it to his golf club and tooled around on weekends with the top down. "It was his tranquilizer," Anita says. "It was his pride and joy. When it was here, my car had to sit outside."

When their son Steven was a teenager, they took a weekend trip to Point Pelee, Ont., in the Healey. Steven was taller than Anita, so she rode in the jump seat. Her hair was flying, bugs were hitting her like buckshot and she was sitting in an unpadded metal compartment. The Healey's lever-action shock absorbers did little to cushion the ride. Anita remembers the conversation: "They'd turn and say, 'Isn't this fun?' And I'd say, 'How many more miles till we get home?' " Only after Joe died did Anita really come to understand why her husband had loved the little red car so much.

"I'm not a creative person," she says. "I'm a linear thinker. That's what me a good lawyer. But Joe was an aesthetic man. He had an eye for it. He loved vehicles and he loved design. He was deeply creative. That's what made him a good surgeon. The Healey was the symbol of our beginnings, our future. When Joe got it, all we thought about was the end of exams and the beginning of our adult lives."

As we sat in Anita's kitchen, the table was covered with papers that documented Joe's obsession with his Healey. There was the original bill of sale, stacks of carefully filed service records and a stack of catalogues from a place in the United States called Healey Heaven - a place where Joe had spent a considerable amount of money over the years on parts and accessories.

Then there were the bills from a 1997 restoration, where Joe flew to the United States to buy a second Healey that he cannibalized for parts.

"It made me crazy sometimes," Anita says. "But this was his baby."

After Joe died, several people suggested that Anita sell the Healey. But she couldn't. The car she never really liked was a powerful symbol of her husband.

And so it stayed in the garage, wrapped in its cover, its tires protected by the plywood squares Joe had placed beneath them.

But now, almost five years later, she's decided it's time. Some time soon, she will place an advertisement. It could read: "Car for sale. Memories included."

Associated Graphic

In 1966, Joe Berecz bought a new Austin-Healey 3000, in which his three children loved to go for rides, but his wife, Anita - not so much. Five years after Joe's death, the family is finally ready to part with the vehicle.

As the business of architecture consolidates, it becomes harder to create beautiful, challenging buildings. But thanks to one unorthodox architect, Edmonton is opening its doors to a brighter future. Alex Bozikovic reports on a city's design revolution
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R1

There is a symphony of movement around me. A black steel running track curves through the air above my head.

Through a glass wall to the left, teenage boys are shooting hoops on a purple basketball court; to the right, a sculptural hunk of drywall points upward to a gym, where three women are sweating on exercise bikes.

This building - a massive multipurpose community centre and library - is a giant crystal full of moments like this, juxtaposing views, forms and experiences. It's an architect's dream brought vigorously to life. It belongs in some design-savvy Northern European city.

But it's not.

It is in northeast Edmonton, on a suburban road across from a Mr. Lube. The Clareview Community Recreation Centre, designed by Toronto firm Teeple Architects and Edmonton's Architecture Tkalcic Bengert, is the most ambitious and thoughtful building in the neighbourhood.

And it was built on a standard city budget, about $94-million for the 190,000-square-foot complex.

It is a huge accomplishment, and according to Edmonton's city architect, Carol Bélanger, who's showing me around this fall morning, the explanation is simple: "When you hire architects," he says, "you get what you pay for."

Edmonton is sending a message: Civic architecture matters - and it is ready to pay for the best.

Since Bélanger took his current job in 2010, Edmonton has constructed a string of buildings, from tiny park pavilions to a waste depot and this massive rec centre, which are as ambitious as anything in Canada (Clareview won a City of Edmonton Urban Design Award on Friday night).

Just in the northeast quadrant of the city, we encounter a branch library by the Danish architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen, who also designed Halifax's new showpiece Central Library; a sleek recycling depot by the Edmonton office of Dialog; and the spectacular Commonwealth Community Rec Centre, by Toronto's MJMA. They are each unusual in their design details, skilfully built, and beautiful.

All of them were built to standard budgets. "But I know more creative architects," Bélanger says, "know how to spend the money."

Bélanger, a trained architect, is the one ensuring they have the room to do so. A former "military brat," he uses his Québécois accent and faintly Maritime manner to mask a steely idealism. It's his job to oversee the city's hiring of design professionals and then to ensure the quality of public buildings. It is a task he takes to heart. "I ask, what is going to be our stamp on the city?" Bélanger asks. "What is our era going to leave - cinder-block bunkers?" Not long ago, that is exactly what the city was building. Then came a new agenda. In 2005, then-mayor Stephen Mandel signalled that Edmonton was committed to building well: "Our tolerance for crap," he said, "is now zero." The city's architectural high points lay mostly in the 1970s; yet, Mandel understood, as other smart civic leaders have always done, that design has the power to make a place more distinctive and attractive. That agenda continues under Mayor Don Iveson.

In 2011, a public design competition for park pavilions set the tone, opening the door to firms from outside the province and emphasizing quality. The small, brilliant Toronto office GH3 won two of them. The finished buildings are extraordinarily good.

One in Borden Park - another city award winner - is a tautly designed drum of wood and glass, while the other, at Castle Downs Park in the northeast, is wrapped in a glossy skin of stainless steel. Containing such humble functions as washrooms and a meeting room, it is a sculptural object of great, unlikely beauty.

"These small buildings reflect the city's interest in quality design," says GH3 partner Pat Hanson, who credits Bélanger with supporting her firm's concept through the trials of design and construction.

But this attitude carries on in the way the city hires architects for its everyday needs. Bélanger routinely reaches out across the country and beyond to invite architects to compete for work; once they have been qualified, the city's interview process does not necessarily choose the lowest bidder. Fees are pegged to guidelines established by the Alberta Association of Architects. To win, architects can't overcharge; nor can they low-ball. "You can't buy the job," Bélanger says. "We pay a full fee and we expect a full, great result."

Vancouver architect Darryl Condon, whose firm, HCMA, designed Edmonton's Jasper Place Branch Library, credits Bélanger for the atypical creative freedom to pursue that library's unusual design.

It features an undulating concrete roof which hangs, unsupported, across the entire expanse of the building. "We were able to push further than we usually do," he says, "to innovate further, because of the support we got."

This resolves one of the great problems with contemporary public building: The battle within the architectural profession between business and art. In fact, architecture is both. It's a professional service, like law. But unlike lawyers, architects don't bill by the hour; they bid for most jobs with a flat fee. This leaves a financial incentive to leave the job half-baked, not to explore different directions, to haggle over extras and manage overhead instead of exploring creative solutions.

And it is hard creative labour, often long and unprofitable, that makes great architecture.

"Architects are their own worst enemies," says GH3's Hanson.

"We haven't had the solidarity to make sure the fees are what we need to do the work well. ... It really affects, in a fundamental way, architectural quality across Canada."

This is especially true today, as the business of architecture consolidates. Conglomerates such as the publicly traded Stantec can and do make good buildings - when they can do so at an acceptable profit margin. But these are tightly run businesses: When fees are at issue, they will bid low and then grind out the work as quickly as possible. That is economically rational behaviour. And it kills creativity stone-dead. Edmonton and Bélanger have found a way to account for beauty, and it pays off in subtle ways. Stephen Teeple, the iconoclastic Toronto architect whose office led the design of Clareview, says that building's design evolved thanks to Bélanger's quiet and expert advocacy.

"There is a moment in the design process," he says, "when somebody says the right thing, and a project goes in a direction of value to the world. Sometimes just a little smile can take things toward the best outcome and the best quality."

Clareview's odd form is not purely the product of the architects' whim. The new part of the building snakes around an existing arena and soccer field; it gets its complexity from the existing site, and it sends out a new pedestrian path angling toward a light-rail transit stop. What is apparently whimsical is also, when seen from a distance, highly logical.

And that artistic achievement only happened because Teeple and Architecture Tkalcic Bengert rearranged the city's existing urban design for the block, which had imagined a more straightforward, blocky arrangement for the centre. In other cities, that would have been a chore. Not here.

"Carol looked at us," Teeple recalls of one meeting, "and he gave a little shrug, and said, 'Sure: If the area's the same, we can move it around.' " Just like that, a block gets rearranged, and a city gets transformed for the better.

Associated Graphic

The Castle Downs Park Pavilion is wrapped in a skin of stainless steel and contains such humble facilities as washrooms and a meeting room.


The Clareview Community Recreation Centre's planners rearranged the city's existing urban design for the block on which it stands.


A borough to call her own
Brooklyn star Saoirse Ronan finds you can go home again - for a brief time, at least
Friday, November 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R2

There are Laws of Glamour and here is one of them, as articulated by Saoirse Ronan: "The more expensive the shoes, the more they cause you pain."

Fortunately, on this overcast afternoon, Ronan has decided to remove, at least temporarily, the cause of her tootsie torture("My toes are peelin' ") - a pair of tightfitting, steeply raked Bionda Castanas, black naturally, that now rest footless beneath the glass coffee table in an expensive but nondescript hotel room in downtown Toronto.

Eight years ago, you could have forgiven Ronan had she thought that Bionda Castana was the name of a Latino boy band. She was barely 13 then. But already she had caught the world's attention playing the precocious, snoopy, fatefully infatuated Briony in the film adaptation of Ian McEwan's best-selling novel, Atonement. In 2008, the performance earned her a nomination as best supporting actress from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Since then, Ronan's crystalline blue eyes have appeared in nine or 10 other movies, some more successful than others, but pretty much all of them (most notably The Lovely Bones, Hanna and The Grand Budapest Hotel) enhanced, if not redeemed, by her presence.

Today, at 21, she is about to take the great leap forward into film superstardom - Bionda Castanas permitting, of course. The vehicle is Brooklyn, yet another adaptation, this one by director John Crowley and screenwriter Nick Hornby of Colm Toibin's beloved 2009 novel of the same name.

A hit earlier this year at Sundance, it came to the Toronto International Film Festival for its Canadian premiere and Saoirse (pronounced Seer-sheh; it's Irish, doncha know) came with it. Already there is much Oscar talk about it and her, talk that is bound to get louder and more incessant as the film's release unspools around the globe. (In Canada, this would be Nov. 20.)

Not that Brooklyn is some epic or blockbuster. Far from it. Set in the prerock-'n'-roll 1950s, it's about an Irish lass from rural Enniscorthy, Eilis Lacey by name, who, thanks to a kindly priest (Jim Broadbent), gets the opportunity to leave the old country, her older sister and her elderly mother for a new job and a new life in Brooklyn. Initially, the transition is difficult. But she adjusts, gradually becoming more confident and independent while attracting the ardent attentions of Tony, a handsome young Italian plumber (Emory Cohen).

But bad news from home interrupts the idyll, prompting Eilis's return to Ireland, where she finds both the constrictions of her previous life and surprising new possibilities.

Ronan's performance, shot much of the time in close-up, is a marvel of winning restraint conveying deep emotion. Yet, amazingly, at least in the initial days of the shoot, she was "convinced I was doing a really terrible job ... and I'd call up my ma'am [mother] every night for the first week and just say to her: 'I don't know why they're letting me do this; they need to pull me out.' " Part of the anxiety came from being an Irish actor in an Irish film. "I just felt the responsibility ... to do a really good job," says Ronan, who, in fact, was born in the Bronx to Irish parents who then moved back to Ireland when Saoirse was 3, before eventually berthing in London. Unsurprisingly, there's a decided Dublin lilt to her voice: "my" is pronounced "me," "other" is "oother," "cuz" is "cooz."

Ronan started to "relax - a bit" only when shooting shifted to Montreal from Ireland and she rehearsed with Cohen. "It was just overwhelming working at home. Not only was I working in Ireland, but I was surrounded by people I went to basketball practice with as a kid or to sports days. I was in Enniscorthy, walking the street where Colm Toibin grew up. There were extras I met when I was a kid."

Indeed, it wasn't until the film's world bow at the Sundance Film Festival that Ronan was able to shake Brooklyn's Irishness to "see how this story affects everyone and can resonate with anyone who's moved away from home and felt that sense of loss and being lost when they step out on their own." Director Crowley, who, though better known as a stage director, boasts Intermission, Boy A and True Detective among his film and TV credits, says he had no doubts about Ronan prevailing over all obstacles. In fact, the actress was his and casting director Fiona Weir's "first and only thought as Eilis.

"The film needed authenticity," he explains, "and Saoirse was the one actor coming just to the actual real right age of Eilis. Having proved herself so magnificently as a child actress, in the bigger scheme of her career, it seemed like she was waiting for a performance that would allow her to show she was actually a properly heavyweight actress.

Saoirse also had never 'played Irish' before so that was intriguing too. Really, there was this feeling of the stars aligning. ... She stepped up and delivered."

But for Ronan, who now calls New York home, Brooklyn seemed more of a transition for "everyone else than for me. Yeh, there was definitely a couple of years there when I felt I had to show everyone, 'Look, I'm not 15 any more.' I'd gone through massive change of moving out and moving to a different country. I was really keen to move onto that next step. Obviously, I was a child actor, but I wasn't in children's films; they were grown-up movies. I killed a lot of people," she says with a laugh. "And I got killed."

If there are exemplars for "the kind of road I want to go down," they are actors such as Meryl Streep and Tilda Swinton.

"They'll do anything. I didn't ever want to be known for just one thing."

One very new thing on Ronan's horizon is a revival of Arthur Miller's play The Crucible, about the Salem witch trials in the late 17th century. The production, to run on Broadway next spring with Ronan cast as the accusing Abigail Williams, marks the actress's live-stage debut. Of course, she is excited and scared. "It'll be a shift. [But] it's something I need to do. I feel ready to do it now. It's kinda just like moving away or moving onto that next change in your career, so to speak."

Ronan acknowledges that going onstage probably will engender a change in her performance style.

Crowley calls her "one of cinema's great watchers, those eyes watching other things," adding that, 100 years ago, "she could have had an amazing career in silent films. She's got that kind of face which is wonderfully expressive and just lights up for the camera." By contrast, in theatre, Ronan observes, "you have to give a lot more. There's a lot of subtlety when you have a format like film; the smallest thing will say so much and the camera will pick it up. In theatre, it needs to be brought to the surface."

In the meantime, Ronan is happy to be promoting a movie that is enjoying mostly positive notices, a wide release and significant advertising. Often she has wound up caring for a film in which she has appeared that hasn't enjoyed those perks, "so when all those things come and kinda fall into place, it's a oncein-a-blue-moon kind of thing. If this had happened years ago, I wouldn't have appreciated all of this in the same way."

Associated Graphic

Saoirse Ronan's performance as Eilis Lacey in Brooklyn is a marvel of winning restraint conveying deep emotion.

B.C. resorts boost avalanche skills awareness
As back-country skiing explodes in popularity, resorts are investing in offering workshops to prepare alpine enthusiasts for the worst
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page T3

KICKING HORSE MOUNTAIN RESORT, B.C. -- On the northeastern flank of British Columbia's 2,408metre Terminator Peak, a group of 10 skiers, some with avalanche transceivers in hand, charge into a small stand of pines.

"Over here!" shouts Martha Handford of Canmore, Alta., as soon as her beeping device locates a buried target. Her Australian rescue partner, Scott Burley, immediately deploys an extendable probe and begins stabbing it into the snow in a spiral pattern. A direct hit is made in less than a minute, prompting the pair to start digging like crazy.

It's a scene that would send chills down the spine of any back-country veteran; thankfully, this isn't a real rescue. There are no physical signs of an avalanche and two ski patrollers in red jackets shout instructions from a groomed trail nearby. If any doubt remains, it evaporates when a member of the group pauses to snap a selfie.

The skiers are in the midst of a weekend-long avalanche skills training (AST) course run by Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.

The six men and four women, from the ages of 23 to 63, aren't locals or staff. All of them are here on vacation.

Until quite recently, most resorts did little or nothing to educate visitors about avalanche avoidance and survival. Ski areas such as Kicking Horse spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on snow-safety measures such as forecasting, signage, fencing and ballistics, but they aren't technically responsible for the terrain outside their boundaries or for lift-ticket holders who choose to enter it. So safety training for guests was typically left to third-party outfitters and alpine organizations.

What has changed? Back-country skiing has exploded in popularity in the past decade, so now many of the resorts that tacitly enable the inherently risky activity are working harder to educate resort skiers on back-country safety. Most of British Columbia's big resorts - Kicking Horse, Revelstoke, Whitewater, Sun Peaks and Whistler Blackcomb, to name a few - have all been expanding their snow-safety education programs over the past five years.

"We're at the start of a shift in resort mentality," says Sean Nyilassy, a member of Kicking Horse's mountain safety department who leads the weekendlong programs. "From our boundaries, you can instantly enter uncontrolled back-country terrain, where inexperienced or uneducated skiers can run into trouble. We still see a lot of people out of bounds without the proper equipment, and for every 10 we see there are 100 who get away with it. This puts our guests and our rescue personnel at risk. But with the proper education, the risk goes down."

Snow-safety education got a shot in the arm in 2004 when Avalanche Canada's headquarters opened in the town of Revelstoke, B.C., 150 kilometres west of Kicking Horse down Route 95A, the aptly nicknamed "Powder Highway." Among much else, the NGO issues daily avalanche forecasts for Canada's most popular back-country regions via its website and smartphone app - both of which are invaluable AST tools - and shapes AST curriculum. Revelstoke is a fitting home for the centre, given that snow safety is such an inescapable fact of life in this part of the world. A few blocks away, the new Land of Thundering Snow exhibit at the Revelstoke Museum & Archives explores avalanche research and snow science, with an online component that focuses on skier safety both in and out of bounds.

Eight years after Revelstoke hosted its first course, a variety of AST programming occupies just about every weekend from December to March. A day-long companion rescue skills course, meanwhile, is designed to refresh rusty skiers and educate time-crunched visitors.

Then there's the "Avalanche Ranch," which Revelstoke unveiled last season. The wireless transceiver training area, the first of its kind in Canada, occupies a hockey rink-size basin at the top of the resort's busiest lift and allows skiers to hone their transceiver and probe skills.

"This is as much about awareness as it is about ability," explains avalanche forecaster Chad Hemphill. "It gets the seriousness of back-country safety across more effectively than a bunch of signs."

Hidden under the snow blanketing the Ranch are eight targets. Each is toggled on or off at a junction box, and when each is struck the box emits a loud beep.

Hemphill's demonstration draws the attention of several youngsters, who shout encouragement to the target-seeking travel writer struggling through waist-deep snow.

Young skiers such as these, and their worried parents, are the focus of other resort-based programs such as Whitewater's month-spanning "Avalanche Awareness Beyond the Boundaries" - a free course now in its fifth year - and Sun Peaks' All Mountain Skills weekend camp, which also launched last season.

"What do kids want to do?

They want to duck the rope and ski out of bounds. And I would say the vast majority of them are unprepared," says Bodie Shandro, who runs Sun Peaks' camp.

"Kids show up and say, 'I'm here because my dad says I have to be here,' but by the end of the day, they're totally into it."

The camp's creation coincided with the opening of Gil's terrain (which can only be reached on foot) atop Mount Tod at the Kamloops-area resort. "People don't think of Sun Peaks as extreme, but that doesn't mean there are fewer inherent risks here. We have snow, we have weather and we have trees," Shandro says, and then proves his point by popping off his skis and jumping into a tree well near the top of Gil's. He's immediately up to his armpits in snow.

"I show the kids this, then tell them to think about being upside-down in here."

The writer was a guest of Destination British Columbia. It did not review or approve the story.


There are several resorts to choose from for avalanche skills training courses. Basic back-country equipment - backpack, shovel, avalanche transceiver and probe - are required for all courses and are available for rent at the resorts.

Whitewater Ski Resort: Weekend AST 1 courses ($195) are offered four times from January to March. Single-day Avalanche Awareness Courses ($35) run on select weekends.

The free, month-long avalanche awareness beyond the boundaries program, open to youth aged 12 to 18, runs on weekends throughout January and February, while the new Whitewater Backcountry 101 clinic ($150, including lunch) is available Fridays and Saturdays, or upon request other days.

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort: Two-day AST courses are offered through the resort's Big Mountain Centre over nine weekends from mid-December to early April.

$205 per person. Equipment rentals are available in the resort village.

Revelstoke Mountain Resort: Two-day AST 1 ($238) and four-day AST 2 ($600) courses are available from early December to early March.

One-day companion skills rescue courses cost $138 and are booked as private group lessons. If you're taking a course in Revelstoke, B.C., make time for the avalanche exhibit at Revelstoke Museum & Archives in town, or view it's online history of Canadian avalanches at

Whistler Blackcomb: Whistler's Friday-to-Sunday AST 1 courses ($239) run every weekend from late November to early April, with four-day AST 2 courses ($600) over back-to-back weekends in January, February and March.

Sun Peaks Resort: The weekend-long all mountain skills camp costs $259 for adults and $299 for youth aged 13-16.

For forecasts, trip-planning tools and more visit the Avalanche Canada website,

Associated Graphic

Skiers practise a rescue dig at Kicking Horse during one of the resort's avalanche skills training courses.


Square may not make for the squarest deal
Investors would be wise to look to the payment-processing company's competitors, despite this week's 'stellar' IPO
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B12

There are things we can glean from this week's IPO of Square, the company whose devices allow very small businesses to accept credit-card payments on mobile phones, thereby bypassing more expensive equipment.

One is that if you price an IPO at $9 (U.S.) after indicating you planned to sell shares at $11 to $13, you can get headlines like "Square Goes Nuts!" when retail investors bid the stock above the initial estimates. (Business Insider, which provided the "nuts" headline, called the IPO "stellar," which works if the star in question is a falling one that couldn't garner the price it obtained in its final round of private financing.)

Another is that, for now, investors seem willing to buy in to Square's assertion that it's a technology company, with the attendant valuations, rather than a lowly payments-processing company, which would command much lower multiples.

Square certainly looks like a tech company, in that it has now achieved a multibillion-dollar valuation while losing hundreds of millions of dollars, as investors accept that the company is, of course, a "growth story."

This brings us to today's question: If Square is a paymentsprocessing company, which it certainly appears to be, why shouldn't investors look instead to the traditional players in the industry, who make money, grow with the economy, and whose stocks are cheaper, to boot?

The field offers a number of options. PayPal, freed from the possession of eBay earlier this year, is a highly visible, consumer-facing online play. First Data Corp., which went public in October, is a debt-heavy turnaround story. Interested in names with better balance sheets than First Data? There are several smaller processors to choose from (see accompanying table).

Many investors eagerly anticipated PayPal's July spinoff from eBay. The argument, apart from separating PayPal's superior growth prospects from eBay's legacy auction business, was that eBay's ownership was limiting PayPal's ability to partner with e-commerce companies (such as, say, Amazon and Alibaba) that viewed themselves as eBay competitors.

Analyst Sanjay Sakhrani, of Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, says PayPal is one of "very few pureplay stocks on the strong growth potential of e-commerce and e-payments," and, right now, the company is "the only real global digital wallet of scale ... the power of the PayPal brand is second to none in e-payments." Mr. Sakhrani, who has an "outperform" rating and $43 target price (versus Friday's close of $36.36), says, however, its longterm positioning in the allimportant mobile space is in question, particularly with Apple and Google entering the payments business - while, of course, controlling mobile operating systems.

That's why most analysts are paying keen attention to "Venmo," PayPal's mobile app for money-moving. Right now, it's used mostly by millennials to send funds to friends, a "personto-person" business that collects no meaningful revenue for PayPal, even though Venmo users sent $2.1-billion in payments in the third quarter, 200-per-cent year-over-year growth.

PayPal's solution is to adapt Venmo for commercial use starting in the current quarter, allowing Venmo users to pay at merchants that accept PayPal, which would allow PayPal to collect fees similar to those at its namesake service.

To Barclays Capital analyst Darrin Peller, this is a huge opportunity. Mr. Peller, who has a $47 target price, currently estimates the company will earn $1.88 a share in 2017, up from his estimate of $1.28 this year and $1.59 in 2016. But he says Venmo, plus PayPal's efforts in money transfers (it has purchased Internet-based money mover Xoom) and offering credit to PayPal users, may mean the company could top his estimate by 20 cents to 30 cents - and that current P/Es are too low.

PayPal trades at 25 times forward earnings, according to S&P Capital IQ.

First Data's P/E, by contrast, is less than 13, but that's because it's had an "E" problem for quite some time. Private equity took the highly profitable company off the markets in 2007, loading it up with debt, as is typical for the transactions. Then, the Great Recession hit, crimping the company's core business of processing billions of credit- and debit-card transactions in 118 countries around the world.

(First Data says it processes 2,300 transactions per second.)

The result is that First Data has been unable to produce enough operating profit to pay for its crushing annual interest payments. In 2005, the company had profit margins of 33 per cent for both EBITDA - earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization - and net income. However, in the past 12 months, according to Capital IQ, the company had an EBITDA margin of nearly 34 per cent, and a net loss equal to 3.3 per cent of revenue.

That tide may finally be turning. Leading up to the IPO, says Goldman Sachs analyst James Schneider, First Data had just $300-million in cash and $21billion in debt, with $10-billion of it coming due by mid-2016.

The company used $2.6-billion of its October IPO proceeds to retire debt and has refinanced $6.6-billion worth of borrowings.

Mr. Schneider estimates First Data's effective annual interest rate on that $10-billion in imminently maturing debt will be reduced from 10.2 per cent to 6.4 per cent by year's end.

Mr. Schneider, who has a "buy" rating and $21 target price (versus Friday's close of $16.36), says this reduction in interest expense will create "outsize" growth in net income, with earnings per share growing at a 45 per cent annual clip from 2014 to 2017. It's not all debt reduction, either: He says that while investors are skeptical about First Data's ability to grow revenue, investments in the company's product portfolio will pay off and increase the top line.

Of course, neither company is expected to grow as quickly as Square, but investors who gave the company a $4-billion valuation may be overrating the newcomer's prospects. Analyst Gil Luria of Wedbush Securities finds that Square's fee structure works best for small businesses with $10,000 in revenue or less a year. When a merchant hits $50,000 in revenue, and their average transaction price is $50 or more, they're better off moving up to a traditional processing company. That means Square can dominate the "micro merchant" category, but may have limited ability to move up the food chain and sign up customers of scale.

Investors may find, then, that the squarest deals in payment processing stocks are the names other than Square.

Square (SQ) Close: $12.85, down 22¢ (U.S.)

Total System Services (TSS) Close: $55.09, up 61¢ (U.S.)

Global Payments (GPN) Close: $71.26, down 1¢ (U.S.)

Vantiv (VNTV) Close: $51.99, down 5¢ (U.S.)

Heartland Payment (HPY) Close: $79.33, up 35¢ (U.S.)


Is Square a high-flying tech company or a payments processor? If it's the latter, it's an awfully expensive one, compared with a host of other companies that are more profitable and have lower price-to-earnings ratios: Net debt is debt minus cash. Negative numbers mean company has more cash than debt.

Revenue, EBITDA and net income are for the past 12 months.

EV/EBITDA is ratio of enterprise value to EBITDA. Enterprise value is market capitalization plus net debt. EBITDA is earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

EV/EBITDA and P/E are based on analysts' estimates of future earnings.

Associated Graphic

Employees pose for PayPal president Dan Schulman after the release of the company's IPO, after separating from eBay in July, 2015.


The faltering dairy industry is attempting to woo new customers, starting with a cookbook aimed at Chinese-Canadians. Andrea Chiu tests some border-blurring dishes to see which are tasty examples of fusion - and which are just plain weird
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, November 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1

I recently cooked a creamy chicken corn soup, a blend of chicken and vegetables simmered with milk and topped with shredded mozzarella. The result was similar to chowder, but lighter, and featuring shiitake mushrooms, a staple in Asian cooking.

The dish was quickly gobbled up at my house, where we all decided that the recipe would be worth making again - though perhaps without the additional cheese on top. It was unpleasant to find clumps of it, melted and shredded, in a soup that was not French onion.

The problem is, the cheese was the point.

The recipe came from a booklet by the Dairy Farmers of Canada that aims to showcase milk and milk products in Chinese food. The soup, and other dishes, were created by cookbook author Stephanie Yuen, whose East Meets West is made up of traditional and contemporary Asian dishes from Vancouver restaurants. Last year, the Dairy Board hired her in an attempt to deal with the everplummeting level of milk consumption across Canada.

From 1995 to 2014, fluid milk consumption in the country dropped 18 per cent. Although the Dairy Farmers say that an increase in cream, cheese and yogurt consumption more than make up for this - yogurt consumption alone rose 204 per cent in the same time period - the industry still wants to convert new milk drinkers. And compared with Canadians of European descent (for whom milk is usually a traditional food), immigrant groups such as the Chinese consume way less dairy.

Take my mom, who grew up in post-Second World War Hong Kong, the eldest of the girls in a family of eight children. Under British rule, the island was heavily influenced by Western culture but still had its roots in China.

While the street signs were a mosaic of both English and Chinese characters, the dinner table remained mostly Chinese: rice, tofu, vegetables and, for a birthday or holiday, some chicken.

Rarely can my mother remember a time when she had a cold glass of milk at breakfast or a snack of cheese atop cream crackers. If meat was a rarity, dairy products were inaccessible luxuries, reserved for British expats and the very wealthy.

Decades after my mother immigrated to Canada, milk is no longer the coveted treat it once was.

She loves most dairy products, especially a creamy wedge of Brie, but she likely doesn't drink as much milk as the Dairy Farmers want her to. "A vast majority of Chinese-Canadians consume dairy products but they report lower levels of dairy consumption compared to the general population," a spokesperson told me.

Since 2014, the organization has had long-time immigrants such as my parents, as well as newer Canadians, on its radar.

Those who may not have grown up with commercials touting "Milk. It Does A Body Good" have been targeted at in-store demonstrations and food festivals, as well as with newspaper, TV and online ads. All of it has been encouraging them to include more dairy products in their daily diet and home cooking. While Chinese-Canadians are its first target market, the Dairy Farmers plan to run a campaign geared at South Asians in 2016.

In the meantime, curious cooks can try Yuen's twist on Chinese dishes. Some of her recipes immediately make sense. The dragon fruit and mango smoothie, which includes milk and Greek yogurt, is a drink I can imagine enjoying before heading off to work. There's also a steamed egg and milk tofu that takes me back to my childhood kitchen, where my parents would prepare steamed egg in the microwave, flavour it with soy sauce and mix it with rice for a simple weeknight dinner.

But many of the savoury dishes appear to have adopted a "justadd-cheese!" approach, sometimes in surprising ways. In Yuen's version of barbecue duck lettuce wraps, she adds yogurt to the traditional hoisin sauce and includes shredded mozzarella as a filling. Congee, a savoury rice porridge, gets havarti cheese mixed in at the end of cooking.

It's a much richer version of a dish that is often served to those nursing a tummy ache or cold.

Funny as these flavour combinations may seem to the traditional Chinese palate, Eastmeets-West dishes are increasingly popular among trendy chefs who push boundaries and diners' expectations. Asian dishes that incorporate dairy are no longer limited to items such as the Philadelphia roll, a maki roll with smoked salmon and a smear of cream cheese.

Carbonara udon, made popular in Japan, is one of the biggest draws at Kinka Izakaya (formerly Guu Sakabar) in Toronto. The Japanese take on the classic spaghetti dish has all the buttery, eggy richness of the original but with plump udon noodles and thinly sliced nori.

At DaiLo in Toronto, chef Nick Liu has been experimenting with dairy in his dishes, mostly inspired by his love of cheese. His take on the Szechuan classic mapo tofu is an extreme but creative bending of culinary rules.

"I was just looking into the cheese window at Monforte Cheese and I picked up a wheel of halloumi for my girlfriend because she loves it," he says. "I was feeling it and looking [at] it and I thought, 'man it looks like tofu.' " Liu's version of the dish features fried cubes of halloumi covered with ground pork, scallions and a spicy black bean sauce. The flavour combination is complex, and the fiery chili sauce contrasts the creaminess of the cheese.

It's a dish that catches the attention, but it's not exactly a healthy example of incorporating dairy into Chinese dishes.

And dietitian Rosie Schwartz says one main issue with the Dairy Farmers initiative is that it fails to look at health through a wider lens.

"If you're going to be promoting dairy as a health issue then some of the recipes are not ones that I would be promoting," Schwartz says, referring to dishes such as deep-fried cheese-filled spring rolls.

The author of The Enlightened Eater's Whole Foods Guide, Schwartz largely agrees with the Dairy Farmers' health claims.

Dairy is related to a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes. It also lowers blood pressure and reduces bone-thinning, she says: In countries such as China where dairy is uncommon, the rate of osteoporosis in women older than 50 is twice as high as in Canada.

Both the Dairy Farmers and Schwartz point to lactose-free milk products as options for populations that report a high rate of lactose intolerance, which includes Asians, Africans and people of Jewish backgrounds.

Schwartz says that as well as decreasing blood pressure, milk can reduce incidences of diabetes and heart diseases, health issues that Asian communities are more vulnerable to.

"My opinion is that when a recipe is supposed to be promoting nutrition, it should be in a holistic way," says Schwartz. "It should not just focus on one nutrient or food. This is an opportunity to show innovative cooking techniques where foods can provide less fat and fewer calories." In other words, more yogurt, less deep-fried cheese.

Then again, it's hard to fault the Dairy Farmers for taking the easy route when trying to win new converts. When I showed my mother the recipes and asked her which ones she'd most likely try, a holistic approach to health was not top of mind.

"I like the snacks," she said, pointing out the fried spring rolls.

Associated Graphic


This advertisement suggesting milk be used as a poaching liquid for pears ran in Chinese-language newspapers in spring 2015.

The search starts now for holiday tipples that go beyond the obvious (and often over-priced)
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L13 @Beppi_Crosariol

We're into statementwine season. By which I mean posh labels and nosebleed prices, not necessarily liquids that have much to say. Sometimes the two don't intersect.

I hope that doesn't sound too cynical. I've been wowed by many trophies while previewing a Santa's sleigh-worth of holiday-timed retail releases.

Some will be featured here over the coming weeks as well as in the weekday Life section and on my Twitter feed. Many, as you can imagine, have been of the hyper-extracted, teeth-staining, high-alcohol red variety that seems favoured by well-heeled gift givers. I'm tempted to call them Donald Trump wines but that's off the mark given that Trump drinks no alcohol and thinks wine, even in moderation, is a bad idea.

Today I'd like to mention a few genuinely impressive, pricey reds before turning, in the detailed reviews below, to more affordable products. Masi Campolongo di Torbe Amarone 2009 (score 96, $101.95 in Ontario) is a single-vineyard, highly limited bottling from a leading producer of Amarone, the Veneto region's regal red style. It tips the scale at 16-per-cent alcohol yet displays remarkable complexity and elegant balance for its weight, layered with dried cherry, raisin, tobacco, spice and so much more. From the same winery, just released in a generous double-size magnum bottle in Ontario, at $149.95, is Masi Riserva Costasera Amarone 2009 (score 93), another superb offering, with overtones of chocolate and espresso.

In terms of popular recognition, L'Aventure Optimus 2013 (94, $82.95 in Ontario) may not rank in the top tier of California cult reds even at its hefty price, but it's a tour-de-force from a French winemaker who said au revoir to humid Bordeaux and settled in sunny Paso Robles.

It's a monster-truck-sized blend of syrah, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot that's far from lazy like so many overripe reds that pass for greatness in America.

From Niagara and also from a native Frenchman, J-L Groux, comes Stratus Red 2012 (92, $44.20), a terrific effort from a good year for the estate's richly textured and tannic flagship blend. And from British Columbia, there are the collector-worthy Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin 2010 (91, $39.99 in British Columbia, various prices in other provinces, also available in British Columbia in 1.5-, 3- and 6-litre formats for big-statement gift giving); and Painted Rock Merlot 2013 (92, $34.69, for more information visit http://www.paintedrock. ca), a fi rm, cedary-savoury, structured red for the cellar.

Château Rahoul 2010 (France) SCORE: 91 PRICE: $29.95

Bordeaux's excellent 2010 growing season provided a shot in the arm not only to famous and ultra-expensive brands that get too much attention but also to estates such as this. Located in the Graves district, it's a blend of 79-per-cent merlot, 19-percent cabernet sauvignon and 2-per-cent petit verdot. Smooth and chewy, showing excellent ripeness and density, it suggests plum jam, dark chocolate, licorice, minerals and leather. Approachable now, particularly if you're serving steak, and worth cellaring for up to 8 years. Available at the above price in Ontario, various prices in Alberta, $29.75 in Quebec, $27.30 in Newfoundland.

Chateau Teyssier Montagne Saint-Émilion 2010 (France) SCORE: 90 PRICE: $24.95

Located on the right bank of the Dordogne river, this is one of many properties to rely on the Midas touch of famed consulting oenologist Michel Rolland. Mostly merlot, with small amounts of cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, the 2010 Teyssier (not to be confused with the more expensive "grand cru" wine from nearby also called Château Teyssier - and that certainly can be confusing) is very attractive Bordeaux for the money. Medium-full-bodied, with excellent mid-palate weight and velvety texture, it hints at plum sauce and currants, with a fetching earthy, leafy-underbrush quality. Roast beef would be nice.

A good candidate for up to eight years in the cellar. Available at the above price in Ontario, various prices in Alberta.

JoieFarm PTG (British Columbia) SCORE: 90 PRICE: $23.90

This is worthy of icon status in Canada as far as I'm concerned, not because it's big but because it's lean, brave and beautiful.

Few pinot noir producers would dream of blending that hallowed red grape with anything else. Yet they do so in Burgundy - pinot's hallowed ground - in the form of an underappreciated, modest quaff called passetoutgrains, a blend of supple, jammy pinot with crisp, peppery gamay.

It's a wine that dares thumb its nose in the direction of snobs, particularly pinot fanatics of the Sideways ilk. Joie smartly dubs this joyful, excellent blend "PTG," a handy initialization of passetoutgrains. Light and crisp, the 2013 is chiselled with tangy acidity and piquant cracked pepper, with bright raspberry, herbs, an earthy, root-vegetable base note and hint of gamay's happy pink bubble gum. The pale colour would be enough to send many red enthusiasts running, so don't consider it if you're looking for a Tyrannosaurus red to pair with a side of mastodon that you'll be consuming with a chainsaw and pitchfork. Great for grilled salmon, charcuterie or roast chicken. Available at the above price in British Columbia, $35 in Alberta.

Pirramimma White Label Shiraz 2013 (Australia) SCORE: 92 PRICE: $24.95

Such a consistent winery. The 2013 shiraz is inky-dark and velvety, with succulent, juicy fruit and strong notes of pepper and throat-clearing eucalyptus, remarkably balanced for its 14.8-per-cent alcohol.

$28.49 in British Columbia, various prices in Alberta, $20.27 in Newfoundland.

Bleasdale Frank Potts 2012 (Australia) SCORE: 90 PRICE: $27.95

Oenologically speaking, Australia may be at polar opposites with France in many ways. The wines tend to be louder and the grape blends often tradition-flouting.

Here's a full-bodied red that slavishly follows the classic Bordeaux formula, mostly cabernet sauvignon with malbec, petit verdot, merlot and cabernet franc. Gutsy and dense with sweet plum jam, it's balanced by tangy acidity and peppery spice, with an herbal, tobacco depth (is that the cab franc speaking?) and a touch of mint. Lamb chops would carry it to a fine finish.

Various prices in Alberta.

Terredora Falanghina 2014 (Italy) SCORE: 89 PRICE: $16.95

Oily weight yet dry and not heavy, with a welcome mineral-stony edge to the apple-citrus fruit. A well-crafted white from a good producer in the hills east of Naples. $19.49 in British Columbia.

Quieto 3 Malbec 2009 (Argentina) SCORE: 89 PRICE: $17.95

Still youthful at six years, this full-bodied red delivers a mix of sweet plum, darkroast coffee and bracing spice. Serve it with grilled meats or hearty stews.

Available in Ontario.

Giacomo Mori Chianti 2012 (Italy) SCORE: 89 PRICE: $19.95

Classically styled Tuscan sangiovese, with plenty of woodsy depth and salty tang, this medium-full-bodied red is generously fruity yet lively, with a smoky undertone and sweet spice.

Available in Ontario.

Château Hauchat 2011 (France) SCORE: 88 PRICE: $15.95

Located in Fronsac, a good-value appellation just west of Pomerol and Saint-Émilion, Hauchat relies on just one variety rather, and that's merlot. The 2011 is a Bordeaux bargain, medium-weight and juicy, with good flesh for its size and a tight structure built around chalky, dry tannins.

Try it with steak. Available in Ontario.

When persistence pays off
Friday, November 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page G2

Competing bidders are still scrapping over rare or sensational properties in Toronto, but with the fall market appearing to wane just a bit, November can offer house hunters the opportunity to snag a property that other buyers have overlooked.

One young couple was pretty much in despair recently as they kept missing out on houses in their target neighbourhood in the east end. They had a small house in the burbs but wanted to move to a location closer to the BloorDanforth subway line.

On a recent Friday afternoon, real estate agent Shawn Lackie of Coldwell Banker R.M.R. Real Estate took the couple to see a semi-detached house on Woodington Avenue with an asking price of $699,000. Once they arrived for the showing, however, the key wasn't in the lock-box and Mr. Lackie had to spend 20 minutes chasing it down. Inside, they found a couple of bedrooms had been locked by tenants and they couldn't get in.

All in all, it wasn't an auspicious beginning.

Mr. Lackie's clients weren't enthused but he sensed an opportunity and pressed the listing agent to book another showing the following morning with all of the hurdles removed. If his clients were having this much trouble seeing the entire house, their rivals would too, he reasoned.

In addition, the home's location wasn't properly mapped on the Multiple Listing Service and there was no sign on the lawn. "There were any number of reasons other people were not going to have a chance to look at it," he says.

Just in case his clients agreed, he brought along the documents to make an offer on the spot.

However, the couple wanted a couple of days to think about their decision. They liked the house's location but it was definitely a fixer-upper. They also asked the question that plagues so many buyers who've become accustomed to the mad panic of bidding wars: "If no one else is making an offer, what's wrong with the house?" Mr. Lackie stresses that it's important for buyers to put that thinking aside. "You have to develop a plan and stick to the plan."

In this case, he thought the house had lots of good qualities, including a private drive and the potential to develop the third floor. It was a three-minute walk to the subway and there was a good school nearby.

As for the interior, it was in decent shape and it could be improved over time.

After a bit of vacillating, the couple decided to bite. Mr. Lackie advised them to offer $700,000 with no conditions. He figured if they spent time haggling for a lower price, they risked having a competing bidder come to the table. He showed them data from nearby properties that had sold recently for $800,000 to $900,000.

By this time, the couple was beginning to feel that they might have stumbled on a bargain and they began to worry that they might lose out. Their anxiety ratcheted up when Mr. Lackie had trouble connecting with the listing agent to present the offer.

In the end, the two agents connected and the seller accepted the deal.

Mr. Lackie says that, sometimes, a listing with a slight hitch can turn into a mess of trouble, but it can also be the type of opportunity that determined buyers can take advantage of while their rivals are looking elsewhere.

"You have to be prepared to turn on a dime and you have to see through things."

Since his clients struck a deal, a smaller house with a shared driveway on the same street sold for $720,800. Soon after that, another more renovated property nearby hit the market with an asking price of $699,000 and sold for $796,000.

Mr. Lackie says the property his clients bought needs more work than the other two but he believes that gives them the opportunity to increase the value with their own improvements.

"They're not willing to pay through the nose because someone else has done the work.

Those are the buyers that are going to win out every time."

Davelle Morrison, an agent with Bosley Real Estate Ltd., says the number of new listings arriving on the market has slowed a bit but the number of buyers circling has also diminished. The less hectic pace makes things a bit easier for buyers, she adds, but she thinks some drop off because they are finding less to look at.

She figures that buyers will have an easier time finding an overlooked property in the current market but many are still holding out for the ideal place. "People still want to wait for that perfect, perfect thing.

They've got their wish list and they're not willing to budge." Ms. Morrison recommends that people try to find a house or condo with a good layout in a desirable neighbourhood but be willing to do some work on the cosmetics. "You don't even want to compromise on the location. Everything else can be changed."

In a market where almost every buyer seems to want a place that's move-in ready, Ms. Morrison says the houses that are completely renovated still spur competition.

She has clients who recently lost out on a beautiful, modern house on Windermere Avenue in the west end. The house had an asking price of $1.398-million and sold to another buyer for $1.515-million.

She observes that bidding contests are also springing up in the condo market, especially when buyers find a unit they feel has special attributes.

Ms. Morrison recently listed a condo unit for sale near Mount Pleasant and Davisville with an asking price of $410,000. Five buyers tabled bids on offer night and the unit sold for $459,000. Ms. Morrison decided to set an offer date after a colleague sold a similar unit a few floors down two weeks earlier. In that case, the unit was listed with an asking price of $405,000. Seven offers came in and it sold for $441,000.

She says the building at 245 Davisville Ave. was built about 12 years ago. Units on the building north side of the building overlook Davisville Park and buyers are willing to compete for that view.

Ms. Morrison says lots of people are buying newer condos with great vistas only to find their sight lines blocked by rising buildings. "Every time you think your view is safe, it's not." But Davisville Park's tennis courts, baseball diamonds and trees are not likely to disappear, she says.

The seller of that condo kept that principal in mind when he purchased his next, larger unit, she adds. He purchased in a nearby condo building on Merton Street with a south-facing view of Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Ms. Morrison says not many units there hit the market because of the protected sightlines. "When they do go, they go fast."

She adds that older condo units tend to provide better value for the price-per-square-foot. As a result, they are returning to favour after being overlooked in favour of brand new projects.

In 2008, she says, the average condo had 800 square feet of space. Today the average condo has shrunk to 600 square feet. "The finishes may be a little bit tired but you can always change those. You can't change the space, and I think people are starting to wake up to that."

RedBlacks revive Ottawa's love for football
The franchise has helped to bring about a 'radical transformation' - both economic and cultural - to the city's Lansdowne Park area
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S9

OTTAWA -- Two days away from playing the first CFL postseason game in their city since 1983, the Ottawa RedBlacks practised Friday with the west gate of TD Place Stadium wide open.

Gaggles of excitable kids from nearby daycare programs toddled through to watch the open practice. Jersey-clad moms and dads came with their families on what was a Professional Activity Day for many elementary schools. Die-hard fans in red and black lumberjack plaid sat quietly analyzing every snap taken by quarterback Henry Burris. The north-side field-level stands were alive with some 800 people who wanted an intimate look at this team.

After a dismal 2-16 debut season in the CFL last year, the RedBlacks played to a 12-6 record this year and topped the East Division. On Sunday, they will face the Hamilton TigerCats in the East final, sitting one win away from becoming the first team from the nation's capital to play in a Grey Cup since 1981.

Wins aren't the only reason Ottawa is embracing CFL football. A modern new stadium and surrounding entertainment district have revitalized Ottawa's historic Lansdowne Park area and drawn crowds. The beloved spot by the Rideau Canal has a new vibe, refreshing an area that was stained by the crumbling old Frank Clair Stadium and memories of failures by the two CFL franchises that folded there. The RedBlacks have managed to lure long-time football fans back and make inroads with the next generation.

The new TD Place field has a condominium building in its end zone and houses two teams both thriving in just their second seasons of existence - the RedBlacks and Ottawa Fury FC.

It's central to an entertainment centre developed by the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group and the city. The Ottawa 67s still play there, and the district now also includes busy bars and restaurants, a movie theatre, fitness club, two-storey Whole Foods market and retail shops, all sitting on top of a sprawling underground parkade.

"It's been a radical transformation," said Robin Ritchie, associate professor of marketing at Carleton University's Sprott School of Business.

"There were many in the neighbourhoods surrounding the stadium that had misgivings about bringing that level of activity back to the area because of traffic or noise. To some extent those concerns are still there, but even the opponents would have to grudgingly admit that the plan has been extraordinarily well executed and the experience of being in and around the stadium is terrific. It has restored a level of polish and sophistication that area hasn't seen in many decades."

On a game day, when the RedBlacks score a touchdown at TD Place, wood chips fly in the West end zone as a team of lumberjacks from the Algonquin Loggersports Team revs up a chainsaw to slice a ceremonial wood medallion from a cedar log. It's all part of the contemporary yet traditional, rustic, woodsy and ultra-Canadian brand that harkens back to Ottawa's history as a logging town. It has also filled the stands with more red and black plaid clothing than a Joe Fresh commercial.

"I was an Ottawa Rough Riders fan here since age 12 and used to go to those games with my dad, and now I bring my own teenage son, so it's great to have football back, and to see how this complex has changed our whole neighbourhood," said Jimmy Fata, a popular fan who dresses like a lumberjack with a twist - an open zipper glued to his face revealing red and black face paint.

"I went to some Ottawa Renegades games over the years, and it was never the same. It's all about the proper ownership, and this time, they just have it right."

Ottawa's Rough Riders formed in 1876, were a founding member of the CFL in 1958, winning nine Grey Cups before they folded because of poor management in 1996. A short-lived new franchise, the Renegades, formed in 2002, but lasted only through the 2005 season, having never made it to the postseason.

Some felt this attempt would fail, too, but OSEG is proving different.

"Having that long break since the last incarnation of CFL football here erased a lot of bad memories and negative impressions, and we got a clean slate with younger fans," said Jeff Hunt, president of OSEG. "It has blown us away how well we've done with the young fan base.

That's the most desired fan base of any sports team, and we've hit a home run with them. We have built a lot of social areas into the stadium, because gone are the days when a fan sits in his or her seat for three hours."

A class of sports-marketing students from Ottawa's St. Francis Xavier High School was among those watching Friday's practice. The teens were asked to observe how the RedBlacks present themselves and what they offer fans. They're well aware of the notion that the CFL has traditionally struggled to attract young fans.

"I come to all the games, taking the shuttle bus here, and I prefer the CFL to the NFL because these players aren't such superstars, but part of our community," said one of the students, 17-year-old Tavon Hibbert, who also plays football. "I love going to the fan tunnel, talking to players, taking my own photos and videos, and I'm all over Twitter and Snapchat."

The RedBlacks are a feel-good story during a season when CFL television ratings were reportedly down. Events such as the FIFA Women's World Cup, Pan Am Games and especially the Toronto Blue Jays playoff run hogged much of the country's attention.

Also, having so many starting quarterbacks and other key CFL players sidelined with injuries took some shine off this year's product - and frankly, the RedBlacks benefited by playing many hobbled opponents.

The team expects to set an attendance record at TD Place for the East final with a sellout crowd of more than 25,000. The team made 500 additional standing-room tickets available this week, and even those were snapped right up. While they don't have the biggest stadiums in the CFL, the RedBlacks and Ticats topped the league in the category of attendance relative to capacity over the past two seasons, both teams with brand new buildings enjoying sellout games.

"In a lot of ways, this reminds me of a U.S college football atmosphere because it's rowdy and rambunctious, and the whole experience is a great outdoor show," Burris said. "You've got this amazing restaurant and entertainment complex and now we've coupled it with the on-field product that is making the city proud, so it's been a total experience for the people of Ottawa and it's been a long time coming."

This is still a city known for government and Ottawa Senators fans, but a RedBlacks flag is flying at Ottawa's City Hall this week.

"We're acutely aware of how fleeting popularity can be, so we'll keep adding great new things to the experience," Hunt said.

"The Parliament buildings will always be the first thing people visit in Ottawa, but soon I think this complex at Lansdowne will be the next thing they want to experience."

Associated Graphic

Quarterback Henry Burris signs autographs for fans after the Ottawa RedBlacks' practice at TD Place in Ottawa on Friday.


Ice capades
Edmonton's multibillion-dollar downtown redevelopment is a lightning rod for real estate investors
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S4

EDMONTON -- From the driver's seat of his Escalade, real estate investor Terry Paranych is recreating the moment he found his newest buy on the northern fringe of downtown Edmonton. He was picking up Chinese food in a rough part of town that had been neglected for decades, until Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz turned his attention to it for the team's new home.

"I was looking at all the cranes," Mr. Paranych, who's better known as a residential agent, says. "All of a sudden I see a commercial real estate sign on the corner." He points to a red, humble, six-unit apartment he secured for a $505,000 bargain.

Much attention has been paid to the arena, a $480-million private-public development between the city and the Katz Group, and the accompanying hotel, office and condo towers, movie theatre and shopping centre that together encompass the so-called Ice District currently valued at $2.5-billion. But among residential investors, it's all about the decades-old stock of multifamily units in and around Central McDougall, a neighbourhood where median household income is less than half the city average. "I've been sniffing around here for over a year," the born and raised Edmontonian and Oilers season ticket holder says.

Mr. Paranych isn't alone. Since the first mutterings of a downtown arena emerged in the late 2000s, Mainstreet Equity, a publicly traded Calgary-based company, has gobbled up at least 119 buildings totalling 3,683 units, according to the Calgary Herald.

"People are snapping them up," Melanie Reuter, director of research at the Real Estate Investment Network (REIN), says.

REIN conducted a secondary analysis of international arenas' effects on property values. After controlling for "hot markets," Ms. Reuter says, the report found stadiums increased property values within one kilometre by 3 per cent to 15 per cent.

She predicts the impact in Edmonton will be on the higher end of the spectrum, with the help of a new LRT station between the arena and MacEwan University, which is in the midst of consolidating its three campuses downtown. "So now we have a perfect storm of fabulous things going on in the area," Ms. Reuter says. "We have been teaching REIN members that [these neighbourhoods] are places to invest [in] with great tenant management."

Housing north of the arena targets students and lower-income tenants, which couldn't be more opposite to what's arising south of it in the Ice District, a joint-venture between Katz Group and WAM Development Group. This fall, the Legends Private Residences, which began construction last year, will enter the market with some of the most luxurious condos Edmonton's ever seen. Sitting atop the city's second four-star hotel, the high-end of the 264 condos are expected to sell for $1,000 per square foot. By comparison, units in Fox Two, a tower that began construction two blocks south on a well-established, chic promenade, sell for about half that.

Ice District will also be home to Canada's largest skyscraper outside Toronto, Stantec Tower, developed for the international engineering firm by WAM, with another set of luxury condos or apartments above the offices.

Katz Group also purchased the Greyhound terminal, rumoured to become a residential tower once the bus depot's lease expires in May.

According to the City of Edmonton, there's another $2.5billion in construction in downtown Edmonton independent of the Ice District, which includes more upscale residences. But will people buy them up when oil hovers around $60 a barrel? As Ms. Reuter puts it: "The biggest effect on real estate values is jobs."

Perhaps signalling lacklustre sales, Toronto "Condo King" Brad Lamb's first foray into the Alberta capital, Jasper House, as well as the Orchard in Calgary, are enticing buyers with twoyear rental guarantees.

Others are confident they'll fare well because demand for luxury condos has been pent up and point to the city's growing economy, which saw a gain of 6,700 jobs in October compared with the province's total loss of 11,000 jobs that month.

One thing the recession has been good for is construction costs and labour. "This is exactly the right time for this kind of development because with the slower oil market we have the manpower and the equipment and material to undertake this project," John Rose, the City of Edmonton's chief economist, says.

"The additional residential units will provide a solid foundations for services and amenities," Mr. Rose adds. "And get rid of a few of those surface parking spots while we're at it!"

Real estate investors are eager to purchase these blights that have been synonymous with downtown Edmonton's sleepy reputation. But it might be a while before they're similarly staked with cranes. "We have some sites on the periphery," Jandip Deol, Colliers Canada's associate vice-president of multifamily, says. "We haven't had much traction on this site because no one wants to be in competition with the Katz Group."

He estimates 1,000 units on the horizon in the Ice District.

"Absorption on the sale of these units will be key. If you're north of the arena, you don't want to be in competition to these new units."

There's also uncertainty about the social effects of all this development. Can Edmonton's upper and lower classes dance cheek-to-cheek? "Having a mixed community in terms of socio-economics is a good thing," Mr. Rose says. "You don't want a downtown that is a ghetto for the poor, nor a playground for the rich."

The homeless drop-in centre and night shelter a block away recently purchased their buildings, so they're here to stay.

Others have worried about rent hikes in the area that is home to many social housing tenants and a large concentration of immigrants and aboriginals.

Rent in Edmonton is rising faster than in every major Canadian city but Calgary, according to a 2014 Colliers report. The monthly cost of a two-bedroom apartment has increased 75 per cent since 2007.

The city's operator and administrator of social housing, Capital Region Housing, hasn't seen any effect on rent that can be attributed to the arena. Both Colliers and REIN's representatives expect that will change once the Ice District is complete, but not drastically.

Mr. Paranych, who has one pending sale and three more offers in the area, says he's not planning on raising rents. His newly renamed property, Arena Apartments, remains one of the few places in downtown where you can get a one-bedroom for about $800 a month, even after he sunk $110,000 into renovations: a paint job, landscaping, a repaved parking lot with six added stalls - "and another executive parking stall, for me when I go to the Oilers games."

Associated Graphic

The Ice District, which is to centre on the Edmonton Oilers' new arena, will include hotel, office and condo towers, a movie theatre and a shopping centre, and is valued at approximately $2.5-billion.

While some worry about rents rising in the area around the Ice District, real estate investor Terry Paranych plans to keep his Arena Apartments affordable. His perk is having a parking spot close to the rink for games.

Ice capades
Edmonton's multibillion-dollar downtown redevelopment is a lightning rod for real estate investors
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S6

EDMONTON -- From the driver's seat of his Escalade, real estate investor Terry Paranych is recreating the moment he found his newest buy on the northern fringe of downtown Edmonton. He was picking up Chinese food in a rough part of town that had been neglected for decades, until Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz turned his attention to it for the team's new home.

"I was looking at all the cranes," Mr. Paranych, who's better known as a residential agent, says. "All of a sudden I see a commercial real estate sign on the corner." He points to a red, humble, six-unit apartment he secured for a $505,000 bargain.

Much attention has been paid to the arena, a $480-million private-public development between the city and the Katz Group, and the accompanying hotel, office and condo towers, movie theatre and shopping centre that together encompass the so-called Ice District currently valued at $2.5-billion. But among residential investors, it's all about the decades-old stock of multifamily units in and around Central McDougall, a neighbourhood where median household income is less than half the city average. "I've been sniffing around here for over a year," the born and raised Edmontonian and Oilers season ticket holder says.

Mr. Paranych isn't alone. Since the first mutterings of a downtown arena emerged in the late 2000s, Mainstreet Equity, a publicly traded Calgary-based company, has gobbled up at least 119 buildings totalling 3,683 units, according to the Calgary Herald. "People are snapping them up," Melanie Reuter, director of research at the Real Estate Investment Network (REIN), says.

REIN conducted a secondary analysis of international arenas' effects on property values. After controlling for "hot markets," Ms. Reuter says, the report found stadiums increased property values within one kilometre by 3 per cent to 15 per cent.

She predicts the impact in Edmonton will be on the higher end of the spectrum, with the help of a new LRT station between the arena and MacEwan University, which is in the midst of consolidating its three campuses downtown. "So now we have a perfect storm of fabulous things going on in the area," Ms. Reuter says. "We have been teaching REIN members that [these neighbourhoods] are places to invest [in] with great tenant management."

Housing north of the arena targets students and lower-income tenants, which couldn't be more opposite to what's arising south of it in the Ice District, a joint-venture between Katz Group and WAM Development Group. This fall, the Legends Private Residences, which began construction last year, will enter the market with some of the most luxurious condos Edmonton's ever seen. Sitting atop the city's second four-star hotel, the high-end of the 264 condos are expected to sell for $1,000 per square foot. By comparison, units in Fox Two, a tower that began construction two blocks south on a well-established, chic promenade, sell for about half that.

Ice District will also be home to Canada's largest skyscraper outside Toronto, Stantec Tower, developed for the international engineering firm by WAM, with another set of luxury condos or apartments above the offices.

Katz Group also purchased the Greyhound terminal, rumoured to become a residential tower once the bus depot's lease expires in May.

According to the City of Edmonton, there's another $2.5billion in construction in downtown Edmonton independent of the Ice District, which includes more upscale residences. But will people buy them up when oil hovers around $60 a barrel? As Ms. Reuter puts it: "The biggest effect on real estate values is jobs."

Perhaps signalling lacklustre sales, Toronto "Condo King" Brad Lamb's first foray into the Alberta capital, Jasper House, as well as the Orchard in Calgary, are enticing buyers with twoyear rental guarantees.

Others are confident they'll fare well because demand for luxury condos has been pent up and point to the city's growing economy, which saw a gain of 6,700 jobs in October compared with the province's total loss of 11,000 jobs that month.

One thing the recession has been good for is construction costs and labour. "This is exactly the right time for this kind of development because with the slower oil market we have the manpower and the equipment and material to undertake this project," John Rose, the City of Edmonton's chief economist, says.

"The additional residential units will provide a solid foundations for services and amenities," Mr. Rose adds. "And get rid of a few of those surface parking spots while we're at it!"

Real estate investors are eager to purchase these blights that have been synonymous with downtown Edmonton's sleepy reputation. But it might be a while before they're similarly staked with cranes. "We have some sites on the periphery," Jandip Deol, Colliers Canada's associate vice-president of multifamily, says. "We haven't had much traction on this site because no one wants to be in competition with the Katz Group."

He estimates 1,000 units on the horizon in the Ice District.

"Absorption on the sale of these units will be key. If you're north of the arena, you don't want to be in competition to these new units."

There's also uncertainty about the social effects of all this development. Can Edmonton's upper and lower classes dance cheek-to-cheek? "Having a mixed community in terms of socio-economics is a good thing," Mr. Rose says. "You don't want a downtown that is a ghetto for the poor, nor a playground for the rich."

The homeless drop-in centre and night shelter a block away recently purchased their buildings, so they're here to stay.

Others have worried about rent hikes in the area that is home to many social housing tenants and a large concentration of immigrants and aboriginals.

Rent in Edmonton is rising faster than in every major Canadian city but Calgary, according to a 2014 Colliers report. The monthly cost of a two-bedroom apartment has increased 75 per cent since 2007.

The city's operator and administrator of social housing, Capital Region Housing, hasn't seen any effect on rent that can be attributed to the arena. Both Colliers and REIN's representatives expect that will change once the Ice District is complete, but not drastically.

Mr. Paranych, who has one pending sale and three more offers in the area, says he's not planning on raising rents. His newly renamed property, Arena Apartments, remains one of the few places in downtown where you can get a one-bedroom for about $800 a month, even after he sunk $110,000 into renovations: a paint job, landscaping, a repaved parking lot with six added stalls - "and another executive parking stall, for me when I go to the Oilers games."

Associated Graphic

Edmonton's Ice District, which centres on the Edmonton Oilers' new arena, will include hotel, office and condo towers, a movie theatre and a shopping centre, and is valued at approximately $2.5-billion.

While some worry about rents rising in the area around the Ice District, real estate investor Terry Paranych plans to keep his Arena Apartments affordable. His perk is having a parking spot close to the rink for games.

Bracing for postviaduct aftershocks
With swaths of land about to open up, battles to ensure good development follows promise to be intense
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

VANCOUVER -- Building a freeway through a city has the impact of an earthquake. Neighbourhoods are changed forever, old landscapes and pathways through the city are destroyed, new ones are created.

As it turns out, the same thing happens when a city demolishes a freeway - or even part of one - as Vancouver is planning to do.

The city is preparing to take down the two 1.2-kilometre viaducts that convey vehicles smoothly off the eastern escarpment of the downtown peninsula, allowing them to fly across what used to be the mud flats and swampy end of False Creek, and then land on the higher ground of east Vancouver. The coming change has generated a lot of angst.

In the early years after the idea was first proposed in 2009, the anger was about traffic. Now, it's about what exactly will arise from this significant piece of land on the northeast shore of False Creek. City staff have estimated the new area could see 2.5 million square feet of development.

Based on recent developments in the area, that could mean as many as 3,500 new homes and 7,000 to 8,000 people, along with shops, cafés and other businesses.

Fern Jeffries, one of the most persistent critics of city and developer plans for the area, fears it will become another stuffed-tothe-gills swath of densely packed glass towers without the childcare spaces, community centre, library facilities and schools that the thousands of new residents will need.

"There's no social infrastructure, no community building, no education strategy, nothing that has been discussed that gives us confidence," said Ms. Jeffries. As a frequent spokeswoman for the False Creek Residents Association, she has watched the plans for the area evolve for years.

Her pessimistic view was echoed in an Insights West survey that found 71 per cent of people polled thought that taking the viaducts down would mostly benefit the landowning developers in the area - Concord Pacific being the major one - not the city's citizens. The poll of 547 residents has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

Two Vancouver former senior planners say it's possible to overcome that public cynicism, but they say that will only happen if city politicians change the way they've been handling development in recent years.

They need to get the public involved from the beginning, be open about who's getting what, and encourage their staff to bargain hard.

Former chief planner Larry Beasley says people need to be invited to a major planning festival to generate ideas for the future neighbourhood. It also has to happen now, before the city, the province and Concord Pacific get too far down the road negotiating developer fees and provincial contributions.

"If you negotiate everything and then do the plan, that never works," he said.

Instead, having the public participate in a large planning charrette led by good designers will give all the negotiating teams strong direction on what to trade to get the things that people seem to want most.

Mr. Beasley also said there are many possibilities to create a different-looking neighbourhood - perhaps a series of small squares surrounded by low-rise buildings, like a European city; perhaps developments with more varied materials and heights to match nearby Chinatown and Strathcona - that will get people excited about this new addition to Vancouver.

Mr. Beasley also said the city will need to be completely open about the finances and trade-offs.

"In the old days, we would let the public be a part of defining what the negotiation was going to be about. That changed in recent years. It was more behind closed doors."

One of the planners who was Mr. Beasley's right-hand man during negotiations with Concord Pacific in the 1990s says the city has to demonstrate it can be a tough bargainer - and it hasn't been doing that recently.

Ralph Segal believes the viaducts should come down. When Mr. Segal was working on the 2009 plan for the area, everyone was stymied in trying to do anything creative because of the barrier those elevated roads created.

Having open land to design a new community creates many possibilities, he said. Among them is a significant chunk of housing that's affordable, since some of the land belongs to the city.

"Yes, there will be a whole bunch of condos, 40 to 50 per cent, for the obscenely rich. But if the city negotiators have the mandate to negotiate properly, 30 to 40 per cent will be affordable."

Mr. Segal noted though that city staff will need to be empowered to drive a hard bargain, the way they were in the '90s and beginning of the 2000s. That's when the city got a new seawall, parks, childcare centres, school sites, community-centre sites and much more from the developers building on old downtown industrial land at Coal Harbour and False Creek.

Mr. Segal said it's not a given that city staff will have the backing to do that again. "I can't predict whether Vision and Vancouver and the people who are left there to negotiate aren't going to give up the ballpark to Concord."

The key to what city residents will really get out of this area will be decided in the next 18 months, as a city team, Concord executives, and provincial staff negotiate over who is going to pay what and who is going to get what.

The negotiation is more complicated than it has been for any other piece of land around False Creek for several reasons. One is that the city has some land, but not complete control, as it did with the Olympic village lands on the southeast shore of False Creek.

Second, Concord won't just be getting extra density in the new opened-up area. It will also benefit from having the viaducts come down by being able to sell the same condo for more money, once it's overlooking a park instead of an elevated highway.

That will have to be part of the financial calculation.

A third factor is that the province, as a result of the sales agreement signed more than a quarter of a century ago, will be getting money from Concord once it goes past the 12-million-square-foot mark with its developments. That is approaching. The city's team will be working to convince the province that some or all of that money should go back into the new neighbourhood for the amenities that will make it livable.

"We have an extremely complex negotiation coming between the province, Concord and the city," says Councillor Geoff Meggs, who has been the main champion of the viaducts removal. "The public needs to have a high degree of confidence that they're going to get the benefits."

Associated Graphic

Retired planner Larry Beasley and Fern Jeffries of the False Creek Residents Association visit the viaducts on Thursday.


When talks were on taking down the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, concerns were about traffic. Now, the focus is on how best to use the land the roads occupy.


Acrimonious clash between strong-willed Russian and Turkish leaders has potential to drag NATO alliance into greater confrontation with Moscow while seeming certain to inflame Syria's civil war
Wednesday, November 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

LONDON -- They have been, for several years now, the bad boys on the eastern fringes of Europe.

Two leaders with little time for Western concepts of democracy, two strongmen with foreign policies coloured by dreams of empires lost.

Now - after a Russian warplane was shot down Tuesday after allegedly crossing into Turkish airspace while carrying out a bombing mission in Syria - Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stand nose to nose, snarling, each counting on the other to blink first.

It's an incredibly dangerous standoff, one that seems certain to increasingly inflame Syria's civil war and to push any hope of peace further into the distance. As the most serious clash between a NATO ally and the Russian military since the Korean War, it also has the potential to drag the NATO alliance into greater confrontation with Russia. (At an emergency meeting called by Turkey after the downing of the Russian plane, NATO ambassadors asked Turkey to show "cool-headedness" and avoid escalation.)

Until Tuesday, Mr. Putin and Mr. Erdogan seemed to see kindred spirits in the other. They've met or spoken dozens of times over the decade-plus that each man has dominated their countries' politics, emphasizing every time the growing friendship between their two states. They know - and seemed to like - each other as well as any two leaders on the international stage.

Mr. Putin's initial response to Tuesday's incident was dripping with a sense of betrayal. "Today's loss is a stab in our back delivered by the accomplices of terrorists. I cannot find another wording for what happened today," he said during a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan.

"Our plane and our pilots were in no way a threat to the Turkish Republic in any way. This is obvious," Mr. Putin went on.

Photos and video published by Turkish media showed the Russian Su-24 warplane with flames coming from one of its engines hurtling toward a forested mountain - apparently Turkmen Mountain in Syria's northwestern province of Latakia - while two white shapes that appeared to be parachutes floated through the clear blue sky.

Syrian rebels later posted video of a dead Russian pilot, badly bloodied, as well as a separate video that appeared to show the destruction of a Russian helicopter sent to rescue the two pilots.

The fate of the pilots remained unclear.

In a 15-page submission to the United Nations Security Council, of which Russia is a permanent member, Turkey said two planes had approached Turkish airspace on Tuesday morning and were warned 10 times in five minutes to change direction. It said one of the planes left Turkish airspace and the other one was fired at by Turkish F-16s.

"Today's tragic event will have significant consequences for Russian-Turkish relations," Mr. Putin warned.

The extent of those consequences - and how Turkey might respond - is what's rattling nerves across the Western Hemisphere.

The first blows will be economic: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov cancelled his scheduled visit to Ankara on Wednesday and told Russian tourists, who account for 12 per cent of all visits to Turkey, that they should also avoid the country.

There were changes in military posture, too. Russia's Defence Ministry announced Tuesday that all military-to-military contacts with Turkey would be frozen. The missile cruiser Moskva was being redeployed to the Latakia coast in the wake of the incident, the Russian military said, and fighter planes would now escort Russian ground-attack aircraft on all missions over Syria.

But the real test of the relationship will be in the routes those Russian warplanes take from now on. Turkey - worried by the gains that the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have made since Russia started providing air support in September - has been calling for a no-fly zone in northern Syria for some time now.

It's the two leaders themselves who make Tuesday's incident so combustible. Both have a long track record of escalating conflicts, and counting on their opponents to back down - or crushing them when they don't.

Over his 15 years in power as Russia's President or prime minister, Mr. Putin has smashed Chechnya's separatist movement, invaded tiny Georgia to make a point, seized the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine to make another one, and crushed his domestic opposition. He has openly mourned the fall of the Soviet Union and made an ideology out of defending ethnic Russians wherever they live.

In his 12 years as Turkey's President or prime minister, Mr. Erdogan has bombed Iraq's Kurds, then his own Kurds and now Syria's Kurds. He has used deadly force to crush protests, and curbed Turkey's once-vibrant media. He has played with fire throughout Syria's war, allowing rebel groups of all stripes (including jihadis who grew into the socalled Islamic State) to use Turkish territory as a rear base against the Assad regime.

As often as Mr. Putin is accused of nostalgia for the USSR's domination of its neighbours, Mr. Erdogan is accused of seeking to restore the Ottoman Empire's lost influence in parts of the Middle East.

Though the two leaders have disagreed, vehemently at times, over issues ranging from Chechnya to Syria to Ukraine, Mr. Putin and Mr. Erdogan had remained close partners, expanding their countries' economic relationship even as the West ratcheted up sanctions against Russia over Ukraine.

When the European Union pressured member state Bulgaria to cancel a planned Russian gas pipeline across its territory, Turkey stepped into the void and offered to act as a transit state for Russian energy. When Mr. Putin travelled to Ankara on a state visit last year, he was met at the airport by Mr. Erdogan and their motorcade was escorted by a liveried horse guard through the city to Mr. Erdogan's newly built presidential palace. A modern sultan receiving today's czar.

Ironically, it is their similarities that have brought their countries close to conflict: Mr. Putin's attachment to an old Soviet ally, the Assad dynasty, is at odds with Mr. Erdogan's dreams of restored Turkish hegemony over the region.

The loss of a fighter jet is not likely to affect Mr. Putin's determination to preserve at least the remnants of Mr. al-Assad's regime. "We will never tolerate such crimes like the one committed today," Mr. Putin snarled Tuesday.

Nor, having delivered a rough message to his erstwhile friend, is Mr. Erdogan likely to back down now from his drive to remake Turkey's neighbourhood.

World leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama and French President François Hollande on Tuesday were urging Moscow and Ankara to let cooler heads prevail.

But there's little in the track records of either Mr. Putin or Mr. Erdogan to suggest that it would be wise to bet on caution prevailing.

Follow me on Twitter: @markmackinnon

Associated Graphic

A still image from video footage shows a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 fighter jet leaving a flaming trail after being hit by hostile fire near the Turkish-Syrian border on Tuesday.



Breastfeeding still a formula for debate
As proponents stand by the health benefits, a U of T professor questions its place in the socio-economic class struggle
Friday, November 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L4

Rebecca Leeney is a 43-year-old mother of three who lives just outside Sudbury, Ont. She was an avid proponent of breastfeeding before and during her first pregnancy. Then, her baby was born unable to feed directly from the breast. So, Leeney did what many new mothers do when they are desperate to do right by their babies: She expressed her breast milk with a mechanical pump several times a day and fed it to her baby from a bottle.

If that sounds like twice as much work, think again. After washing and disinfecting bottles, nipples and breast pump parts, and spending the time pumping while also caring for a baby, pumping is easily three or four times as much work as breastfeeding.

"It was horrible," said Leeney, who did not get more than two hours of consecutive sleep for six months. "I had unrelenting postpartum depression. It was very, very hard."

She said she consulted many health-care professionals but they encouraged her to continue trying in spite of the difficulty.

"At no point did anyone say to me, this isn't working and you should switch to formula, which is what should have been said," said Leeney, who successfully breastfed her two other children.

Looking back, Leeney feels like she was so preoccupied with feeding her infant daughter that she missed out on cherishing those early months.

I have breastfed three babies, and it was a wonderful experience - one I would highly recommend, assuming that everything comes together nicely. But breast milk is still just food. In recent years, I have noticed an unnerving uptick in what University of Toronto professor Courtney Jung has dubbed "lactivism" in her new book. By that, she means an increasing sentiment that what a woman feeds her baby is everybody's business and that the assumed superiority of breast milk over formula justifies intense shaming exactly when a new mother is at her most vulnerable.

Jung's book is a bold challenge to the prevailing parenting orthodoxy. There are lots of studies on breastfeeding but they do not all account for factors such as smoking, household income, education and so on. In Lactivism, Jung looked at large, well-respected studies and meta-analyses of smaller studies. She agrees that exclusive breastfeeding seems to offer some protection against respiratory, gastrointestinal and ear infections for as long as a baby continues to nurse. What advocates and health organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization, have oversold are the long-term benefits, she said.

"All of the research on the longterm benefits of breastfeeding is ... observational. A lot of it is older. It doesn't control for confounding factors and it swings in both directions," Jung said of her analysis. She could find only conflicting and dubious evidence for claims that breastfeeding continues to offer a protection against a slew of other conditions: obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and SIDS, among others.

Medical evidence is only part of the story: Jung also zeroes in on breastfeeding advocacy. Its history is rooted in claims from activists that it is a radical act that countered the mainstream conventions of the 1950s and 1960s, when medically managed childbirth and quantifiable formula feeding were the standard.

"Breastfeeding advocates do consider themselves to be a beleaguered minority and they do believe that formula companies represent a real threat to best feeding practices," Jung said.

Even though the past several decades have seen breastfeeding widely embraced by everyone from eco-feminist hipsters to the Christian right, the same strident undercurrent of subversiveness remains. (Breastfeeding mothers still gather at nurse-ins to protest against unfriendly breastfeeding policies, for example.) Many early advocates are now in positions to enact public policies that encourage breastfeeding over the alternatives.

Jung is especially bothered by pro-breastfeeding policies targeted at low-income communities of visible minority women. "Breastfeeding becomes not only the lifestyle choice of wealthy white women, but also a requirement of good parenting and a condition of good citizenship through public health initiatives," she said.

She added that a byproduct of this way of thinking is the belief that women who do not breastfeed produce unhealthy babies who become burdens on the health-care system. "In Canada, it's women who are poor and who are aboriginal. In the U.S., it's women who are poor and African-American," she said.

At best, she said, these policies come across as rich white women telling other communities how best to feed their babies. At worst, they are actually harmful and discriminatory. Jung said that one U.S. government program gives less in food vouchers to women who formula feed than to those who breastfeed to encourage them to switch to breast milk.

Leeney, the Sudbury mom, echoed Jung's distaste for breastfeeding initiatives that target low-income women. "We were very young and super poor and I think this played into it," she says of the pressure she felt as a new mom at a time when she and her husband could not afford to replace their broken-down car, or even their shoes. "There was a lot of emphasis from our pediatrician about breastfeeding that friends of mine later on did not have."

The reality is that a great many women cannot (or choose not to) breastfeed exclusively. Some babies, such as Leeney's, just do not latch. Working mothers (especially in the United States, which has no paid maternity leave) often need to head back to work well before the six, 12 or 24 recommended months of breastfeeding (depending on who you ask) are up. This results in advice to feed babies breast milk rather than at the breast.

"Research has not been done on the distinctions between feeding a baby human milk from a bottle and breastfeeding, and so we really don't know if they're the same thing," said Jung, pointing out that the manufacturing of breast pumps and accessories is a big business.

Ottawa pediatrician Catherine Pound disagrees strongly with Jung on a number of counts.

"There's an overwhelming body of evidence that breastfeeding has quite clear benefits," said Pound, who writes information on feeding babies for the Canadian Paediatric Society. "There are clear benefits that come from the breast milk that will be there in the bottle, so, yes, breast milk from a bottle is still a viable option." Pound also believes that there is still good observational evidence for the long-term benefits of breastfeeding.

What Jung and Pound agree on is that the pressure to breastfeed is often an unfair burden on the mother. "While health-care professionals are aware that breastfeeding is wonderful, very few programs are providing physicians in training the skills to actually support it," Pound said.

She said that no matter how a newborn gets fed, the overall mental well-being of the mother needs to be the priority.

"I am not anti-breastfeeding," Jung said. "I simply want policies that are supportive of women's choices so they can make real decisions."

Associated Graphic

Assumed superiority of breast milk has been used to justify shaming of vulnerable new mothers.


The Christmas tree debate used to focus on whether to go real or faux. But, as Lisa Mesbur learns, today's creative - and small-space-friendly - approach to holiday decor offers many more inspiring options, none of which will shed a single needle
Friday, November 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page P52


Growing up in Toronto, one of my favourite December rituals was attending a swanky party thrown by my parents' close friends, a glamorous Italian couple whose elaborate holiday decor featured a lush, towering fir tree that dominated their candlelit living room. Swathed with ivory satin ribbons, tiny fairy lights and glitter-dusted doves, I thought their Christmas tree was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen; awe-inspiring, dazzling, and, as a secular Jewish kid, totally, depressingly out of reach.

Fast-forward thirty years and I'm happy to report that for those of us without tradition and history on our side, the design world has gifted us with a surprisingly satisfying holiday trend: the creative Christmas tree alternative. Of course, holiday tree stand-ins have been on the market for years (Hanukkah bush, anyone?), but the latest iterations feel both accessible and genuinely new, designed to breathe life and style into the most old-fashioned of holidays.

While some traditionalists might balk at the idea of switching out the floor-to-ceiling needle shedder for something a little different, even the most hardcore tree lovers have to acknowledge that opting for an alternative does have some practical advantages. For one thing, the mess and hassle of a full-size tree can be less than festive, especially given that an increasing number of Canadians are living in smaller spaces than ever before.

"With any place that's got a smaller footprint, you really need to be looking at other ideas," says Reisa Pollard, the designer and owner of Beyond Beige Interior Design in Vancouver. "People are only going to be so willing to reconfigure their entire furniture layout [to accommodate a tree]." Pollard's suggestion: Rather than squeeze a traditional evergreen into cramped living quarters, opt for two dimensional or off-the-floor designs that create a festive focal point while capitalizing on space. Think artfully doodled chalkboard silhouettes, textile wall hangings or suspended ornaments with subtle shimmer. "They're equally inviting and carry the same sentiment," says Pollard.

Another advantage to this strategy is that it's easy to spread your design ideas across multiple living spaces. "You can do something different in the kitchen, the family room," says Toronto designer Evelyn Eshun. "For kids' rooms, wouldn't it be fun to have something where they could participate and 'grow' their own trees, whether it was using cards, toys or stuff they already have?"

And in our authenticity-conscious era, a tree alternative is the perfect vehicle for expressing personal style during the holiday season. From Eshun's perspective, the festive season provides an opportunity to decorate in a way that truly reflects our diverse tastes and lifestyles. "You want to walk into your house, exhale and feel great, and that space has to express you," Eshun says. "The holiday season is no different. You can really be open-minded with what you do."

Immediately, I begin to contemplate the creative possibilities. Fans of all things quirky and vintage could source a weathered-wood ladder to string with retro glass ornaments. The more nostalgic could showcase a wall-mounted collection of antique trinkets and photographs collected from the flea market or a sweet, tree-shaped assortment of postcards and drawings. "I had clients who were big sailors, so they had a large-size reproduction of a sailboat on their dining table done up with greenery and lights," recalls Pollard. "That was their passion, and it was a really cute way for them to celebrate."

But even if you get creative with the form of a tree, is it possible to separate out its deeper meaning? After all, the Christmas tree's history and raison d'être are unavoidably religious - during the winter solstice, pagans believed its verdant branches were a sign of hope for the coming spring, while Christians saw its triangular shape as a symbol of their holy trinity pointing toward heaven - the very reason my family never succumbed to its sparkling allure.

As Eshun sees it, there's room today for people of all backgrounds and cultures to enjoy festive decor and the feel-good sentiment behind the holidays without going the full coniferous route. "You know, we're a multicultural society," she says. "I think the whole tradition of Christmas is changing, and we're able to be a bit more open-minded in terms of how we express that. Festive is the key word. It's about colour, sparkle and light."

* * * * * * * * * *


A can of chalkboard paint can turn a feature wall in a low-traffic area into the perfect spot for a contemporary hand-drawn tree. If you don't trust your own artistic acumen, hire an illustrator to create a motif that incorporates your style and colour scheme. RO chair by Jaime Hayon, $4,307 at Torp Inc. ( Marbleized side tables by Deborah Moss, $3,750 to $4,220 at Avenue Road ( Wrapping paper, price on request at The Paper Place ( Ribbon, price on request at Mokuba ( Tree Art by Matt Davey (

* * * * * * * * * *


Juxtapose traditional decor with an off-the-wall collage of found items and vintage treasures. Mask out the silhouette of the tree to ensure symmetry and vary the scale and shape of the knick-knacks to create a sense of balance and whimsy among the objects. Tufted velvet sofa, $7,499, lucite side table, $2,299 at The Art Shoppe ( Coral velvet pillow by Kevin O'Brien Studio, $445, mauve fauxhair pillow, $175, fuchsia silk pillow, $125 at Elte ( Jade-top lucite accent table, $1,650 at Ribbehege & Azevedo ( Wrapping paper, price on request at The Paper Place ( Ribbon, price on request at Mokuba (

* * * * * * * * * *


Leave ample space for a hearty spread by suspending a conical galaxy of stars over a holiday table. Start at the top and hang bent wire shapes from the ceiling using fishing line, expanding out in concentric circles with increasingly longer lengths of line as the tree descends to just above eye level. Ramsey side chair, $545 at Elte ( Dining table, $3,998 at The Art Shoppe ( Wrapping paper, price on request at The Paper Place ( Ribbon, price on request at Mokuba (

* * * * * * * * * *


For a more industrial feeling, search out a reclaimed wooden ladder at a local vintage furniture shop and string it with retro lights or micro LEDs. Finish it off with colourful ornaments in a variety of shapes and presents stacked up the ladder's steps. Antique ladder, $85 at Mrs. Huizenga ( Antique and vintage ornaments provided by Clembrook Farms ( LED string lights provided by Canadian Tire ( Wrapping paper, price on request at The Paper Place ( Ribbon, price on request at Mokuba ( Artist canvases provided by Curry's (

Associated Graphic


Hot house bling
Architect Jonathan Kearns updates his Forest Hill home* (*Yes, it's the home where Drake 'Started from the bottom')
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, November 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page G7

Next time you drive along Adelaide Street East and gaze at the student chefs in their whites beavering away at the stainless-steel cook stations at George Brown College's Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts, look at the upper storeys and enjoy the playful Mondrianesque colour-blocking enlivening the façade.

The centre's designer, Jonathan Kearns of Toronto's Kearns Mancini Architects, known for the Fort York Interpretive Centre and Ireland Park (near Billy Bishop airport), used those same blocks of colour to personalize his own house in Toronto's Forest Hill neighbourhood. Here, the vehicle was Vitrolite, a sleek, hard and lustrous coloured structural glass ubiquitous in Art Deco storefronts and early Toronto subway stations. It was last manufactured in North America in 1947.

"I have a big stash of it that I found 30 years ago in a buildingsupply yard," Mr. Kearns says.

"They had a few pieces out on the counter. I asked if they had any more and the owner said, 'I have 10 crates.' I said 'How much do you want for the whole lot?' " "I tell you, he values it more than my life," says Mr. Kearns' partner , Corrine Spiegel , a wealth adviser. "I don't even get to touch the stash. I might break one."

"It does break easily; it's brittle," Mr. Kearns says.

He used the material for his own home's front door; pieces in red and yellow combine to "paint colours in front of the house in a nice way," he says.

"When I saw this door delivered, tears came to my eyes," Ms. Spiegel says. "I found this to be the most beautiful door I've ever seen. I was just in awe."

The couple occupy the upper two storeys of the three-unit house, with the ground floor and basements functioning as independent suites. It was here, for six years, that the young Aubrey Drake Graham grew up, renting the space with his family. The singer-songwriter, now known simply as Drake, included the old lower-level living space in his video Started from the bottom, Now I'm Here. "We refer to it as Drake's basement," Mr. Kearns says. "Our boys living there now get a kick out of it."

Back when Mr. Kearns bought the home, the steep entry sequence to the basement units made a bad first impression.

"The real estate agent thought we wouldn't like this house. You went down these beige-carpeted stairs with four winders, it wasn't even legal. An inch in front of the bottom step was the actual door to the suite. It was very awkward," Mr. Kearns says. (The building code permits two winders - or 90-degree turns - per staircase.)

"Then there was a horrible little vestibule that was stuccoed on the outside. That was the entrance to both units. So you'd come in through the front door and you'd trip over the downstair's tenant's shoes. I hated that: Drake's smelly boots.

"The front door looked like a back door and undervalued the house. So we pledged that we would demolish that entrance and make separate entrances at the earliest opportunity. Now, everyone who comes in says, 'Wow, it's really big in here.' " The alterations continued on the upper floors.

Gradually, as their kids grew up and some moved out (they have five), they would knock down walls in the upper floors and demolish the small, awkward existing bedrooms. "The children refer to these floors as The Museum," Mr. Kearns says, "meaning, they can't make it untidy." The alterations didn't add to the total floor area of 5,800 square feet, but increased the quality and convenience of the space.

Under the roof gable on the top floor, a screen combining buttjoined pieces of Vitrolite, clear glass and translucent film gives a view from the master suite of the street outside and the oak tree in the front yard. Mr. Kearns points to a back-painted, fire-orange segment. "I made this one myself with Chrysler car paint. I didn't have a red and I wanted a red."

The staircase down to the first floor provides plenty of wow factor. To enable the stairs to change course while avoiding awkwardlooking corners, Kearns pulled the edge of the stairs away slightly from the wall as it descends and wrapped the living room's dark oak flooring down the face of the stair wall. "It makes the floor and the wall feel like a big block of wood."

To dodge a clumsy connection between walls with window openings and the bulkhead above the stair opening, he stepped the bulkhead forward in what he calls a "notch up," which makes the bulkhead appear to float. "Then you can read this thing like a separate element. It doesn't obfuscate the forms."

Home decorators take note: "I never change colour on an outside corner. I always paint the colour in to the inside corner.

We've got white, light grey and mid-grey [along the stairs] and they all intersect nicely."

The sensuously curving stainless-steel stair rail, easy to grab throughout its rise, fits its container perfectly. "We swapped shop drawings six times before making it."

Not just nice, but noteworthy: The focal point of the living room is the fireplace and its eight-and-a-half-foot expanse of split-faced and honed Irish limestone, subtly patterned with fossilized prehistoric oysters and sea sponges. This is probably the first domestic use of the black rock in Canada (it abounds at Ireland Park).

As for the kitchen island's 10foot three-inch blue marble top, he says, "It was almost impossible to find a piece of granite that size. I was always warned against using marble in a kitchen, but because this is so richly patterned and has a sealer, staining has never been a problem."

Metaphorically, the kitchen was conceived as a railroad yard, "where you open the doors [of the train shed] and the locomotives come out and sit on the tracks in parallel," with the knife trough separating the upper marble dining surface from the lower food-prep and stove-top area, and the smoke hood as smokestack.

Upstairs, custom millwork casegoods have shelves and drawers not in front, but at the sides because, he explains, "I wanted this to look like a monolithic cube." Bottom drawers are shoe drawers: "I call them Imelda Marcos drawers."

Another inspiration was the projecting rail, near the top, on which can be hung suits and shirts in haberdashery-shop style.

"Okay, what shirt do I want now?

You can take it down and line things up."

"How does this even come out of somebody's head?" exclaims Corrine admiringly.

The master suite's entire radiant-heated Carrara-marble floor is waterproofed. "The bath could flow over and it wouldn't leak. Who knows, we might have water fights in here."

Associated Graphic

For his Forest Hill home, architect Jonathan Kearns used a great deal of Vitrolite, a coloured glass ubiquitous in Art Deco storefronts.


Link up
A pair of new works continues the long tradition of connected short story collections
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R20

The Tsar of Love and Techno By Anthony Marra Random House Canada, 332 pages, $24.95

Pauls By Jess Taylor BookThug, 185 pages, $20

Linked story collections fall into a fairly established tradition, especially in Canada, where they trace their lineage back through Alice Munro's Who Do You Think You Are? and Lives of Girls and Women and Margaret Laurence's A Bird in the House, all the way to (arguably) Stephen Leacock's Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. Publishers, in particular, like linked collections because they can sell them as novels, or at least as story sequences that display novelistic properties.

It is also true for American writer Anthony Marra's sophomore effort, The Tsar of Love and Techno, which follows up on his wellreceived debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. That book was praised for its deep engagement with recent history and its juxtaposition of tragedy and whimsy, all things that persist in the new work. Like the earlier novel, the stories are mostly set in Russia during and after the vicious Chechen conflicts of the 1990s that rained violence down on the former Soviet Union. They follow a small cast of characters - including the granddaughter of a famed Russian ballerina; a former museum director turned tour guide in Grozny; and a mercenary soldier captured by Chechen rebels and tossed into a pit with his comrade-in-arms - whose interconnected stories form a vibrant mosaic of life in post-Soviet Russia.

Marra actually opens his book well before the advent of the first Chechen war, in Leningrad of 1937. The Leopard centres on Roman Osipovich Markin, a would-be portrait artist who works for the Soviet Department of Party Propaganda and Agitation. His job is to "correct" official paintings and photographs by airbrushing out dissidents and other enemies of the state to preserve an officially approved version of history for the Communist apparatchiks. As his own artistic protest - and as a means of assuaging his guilt over his involvement in his brother's execution for "religious radicalism" - he begins inserting images of his dead sibling into the works he censors.

"Do I worry I'll be caught?" he muses rhetorically. "Please. My superiors are far too focused on who I take out to notice who I put in."

This comment - with its combined cynicism and barbed humour adjoining thematic concerns of history, erasure and the various ways art is used and abused in the service of freedom (or its antithesis) - forms the bedrock for what is to come. The painting into which Roman inserts the likeness of his murdered brother becomes a leitmotif that wends its way through the volume, as do a mixtape that the ill-fated mercenary, Kolya, carries with him, and a cut-rate espionage thriller called Deceit Web, which the ballerina's granddaughter is cast in after she hooks up romantically with a corrupt Russian oligarch.

Throughout these stories - which can stand alone or be read as one continuous, interlocking narrative - Marra walks a precarious tightrope, balancing humour with pathos, and punctuating achingly human situations with the stark exigencies of politics and war. The author's use of violence is impressive and vivid: Bodies are rent and mistreated, not in any gratuitous way, but as a means of underscoring the degradations and depredations of war and its aftermath. And the directness of the prose belies the range and depth these stories achieve: Marra's ability to inhabit characters as diverse as a Sovietera censor and a contemporary adolescent girl is notable, as is his effective use, in the story Granddaughters, of the first-person plural voice.

Only the brief final entry, The End, which adopts the perspective of Kolya after he has been killed by a rebel land mine, comes across as unconvincing. This metaphysical reverie seems unnecessary after the carefully calibrated, grounded realism of the pieces that precede it. Readers might be advised to set the book aside having completed the penultimate story, after which they can marvel at the imaginative edifice that the author has created and sustained to that point.

Toronto's Jess Taylor does not link the stories in her debut collection as tightly as Marra - though certain characters do reappear in successive entries, many of the stories in Pauls are discrete, united only by similarities in theme and subject, and the fact that they each contain a character named Paul. Depending on the story, Paul may be male or female (short for "Paulina"), and may serve as the central character or a figure on the periphery.

What unites these characters - aside from their names - is their woundedness. They are all scarred, be it psychically, emotionally or physically, and they are all trying to navigate a path through life that will allow them to heal or, at the very least, find a way to live with the wounds they have accrued.

In Claire's Fine, the title character, whom we are given to understand has been the victim of a sexual assault, works in a greeting-card store, where she is in charge of the section devoted to sympathy cards. (This is one example of Taylor's penchant for playing her hand too obviously; another is Paul's affliction in Breakfast Curry - a blood condition that prevents cuts on his body from healing.) The title of Claire's story is bleakly ironic, and she muses at one point on the various connotations associated with the word "fine": "When someone asks, How are you? You can say, Fine, and mean the opposite, or you can mean, I am like a careful line of stitching, how are you? You can mean, I am delicate.

Be careful that I don't get snagged and unravel."

The characters in these stories are in constant danger of unravelling; Taylor is adept at capturing the anxiety-ridden tenor of the current zeitgeist. Paulina in Multicoloured Lights is a submissive who has suffered abuse at the hands of her cousin (with whom she had a sexual relationship before he tried to kill her) and is a victim of date rape after she goes home with a man who slips something in her drink (she doesn't remember the assault, but comes to naked in an apartment hallway). The policewoman who takes Paul's statement says there is not enough to follow up on: "As far as we know, you guys could have both just gotten retardeddrunk."

All of this speaks to issues that are front-and-centre in the public sphere, and does so in a way that is frank and resonant. But the effect is diluted by a pervasive similarity among the stories - most of the narrators sound the same, an effect that is unfortunately heightened by the choice to use the same character name throughout - and a tendency toward heavy-handedness. The ice storm that looms over the long final story, Degenerate, is too explicit as a reflection of the story's thematic concerns, even if it hadn't already been used in a similar capacity by Rick Moody two decades before.

Steven W. Beattie's column on short stories appears monthly.

A mainstay of Vancouver's jazz scene
He played his first club gig at the age of 14 and went on to perform with Stevie Wonder and Henry Mancini
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S6

Almost every jazz musician in Vancouver has a story about pianist-composer Bob Murphy, who died of a stroke on Oct. 22, but one of the most memorable stories came from Mr. Murphy himself, which he told on his website.

At the age of 14, he made his professional debut at the Smilin' Buddha Cabaret, a club in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

That afternoon, the band ran through a rehearsal with a man that young Bob assumed was the star of the show. When it came time for the evening performance, that man was nowhere to be found. Instead, an exotically dressed woman walked out onto the stage and started performing a strip tease. Off came one garment after another until the performer was down to a bra, G-string and heels. Finally, off came the wig, revealing that the star of the show was, indeed, the man from the rehearsal.

Welcome to life as a musician.

From that first teenage gig until his death at the age of 70, Mr. Murphy made a living from performing, recording and teaching music, and he came to be considered one of Canada's best jazz pianists. In addition to playing with the biggest names in Canadian jazz, such as Gil Evans, Mr. Murphy also shared a stage with Stevie Wonder, Louie Bellson, Dusty Springfield, John Handy, Sam and Dave, T-Bone Walker, Bo Diddley and Henry Mancini.

Robert Neil Murphy was born May 18, 1945, in Vancouver, the son of Margaret Murphy, a teacher, and Dalton Murphy, an accountant. His father, who played saxophone, clarinet, piano and guitar, got him learning music at the age of four, and young Bob studied classical piano, which was not his first love.

"When he was 13 or 14, he told my parents he wanted to quit the piano," recalled his younger sister, Margo Murphy. "My dad said, 'Okay,' but my mom said, 'Absolutely not! No Murphy is a quitter,' so he stayed with it. And a few months after that, he discovered boogie woogie and jazz, and not long after that he was playing gigs."

Vancouver old-timers will recall Mr. Murphy playing in such hallowed landmarks as Ronnie's River Queen, Isy's and the original Cellar, a tiny club in the city's Mount Pleasant neighbourhood that welcomed some of the biggest names in jazz. He was house pianist for a number of TV shows, including CBC's Let's Go and CTV's The Alan Thicke Show.

In the 1970s, he often played at the legendary Gastown music spot the Classical Joint, usually in the company of propulsive drummer Al Wiertz, though that ended abruptly when the late Mr. Wiertz was banned from playing there because of the decibel level.

Mr. Murphy moved to Toronto in 1982, and during his time there he worked all the city's jazz rooms. He also teamed up with guitarist Pat Coleman to start a production company, composing and producing music for films and jingles for commercials. His time in Toronto ended in 1986, when he moved back to Vancouver.

Vancouver pianist-trombonist Hugh Fraser said Mr. Murphy's "artistic compass needle was set on true north. ... He was uncompromising." Mr. Murphy was also known for his generosity, going out of his way to help other musicians.

"He would pick people up and bring them to his house, make coffee, buy some food, write the charts out, whatever it took," Mr. Fraser said.

"Instead of complaining about [the shortage of] places to play, he would actually talk [club owners] into moving a really expensive grand piano into a room and then hiring musicians to play there," Mr. Fraser said.

Vancouver drummer Buff Allen, who first played with Mr. Murphy in the mid-1970s, said he was always impressed by his friend's musicianship, but it was his personality that shone.

"To the world, Bob seemed cynical, flippant and kind of dark, because he loved dark humour," Mr. Allen recalled. "But that was really hiding a big marshmallow centre. He was a very tender, caring person, and people would phone him for advice. They'd call him to tell him they were depressed about this, or had problems about that. He would be interested in you as a friend, not just as a musician. He would care, and I think that's why his teaching career was so successful."

Mr. Murphy worked with many singers as an instructor and accompanist. He recorded with some of them, including his first wife, Joani Taylor. The Wall Street Sessions, an album he co-led with Ms. Taylor, received a Juno nomination for vocal jazz album of the year.

He has also had successful collaborations with Christine Duncan, Jennifer Scott and Melody Diachun. "Some of the best singing I've done has been with Bob," said Ms. Scott, a singer and pianist. "Our recording Something to Live By is still one of my favourite things that I've done, largely due to Bob's brilliance."

Vancouver vocalist Heather Soles, who was Mr. Murphy's student for the past two years, noted his skill at teaching improvisation. "He was determined to help me access that part of me that could do it. It was like there was a light that came out of him."

When it came to running the production company in Toronto, however, Mr. Murphy was less successful. "Bob hated it," Mr. Allen said. "He didn't think too much about the business end. To him, the music was paramount.

He was often struggling [financially]."

He could also be absentminded. Former partner Jan Trerise recalled a time when the two were heading out of town for a four-day jazz festival, and Mr. Murphy was to arrange for someone to feed his mother's cat.

When they hit the road, Ms. Trerise asked what arrangement he had made, and Mr. Murphy replied he had left lots of water, cat food cans and a can opener.

"Cats don't really have the opposable thumbs concept," Ms. Trerise laughed. Mr. Murphy had a deep love of animals, though, according to his sister, Margo, who recalled the long list of pets he had had, including snakes, lizards, mice (which escaped one day, prompting his mother's frightened guests to jump on the couch) and, briefly, an alligator that snapped at the family dog.

Mr. Murphy leaves his wife, Monique Van Dam; children, Leigh Murphy and Brian Murphy; sister Margo Murphy; and seven grandchildren.

"He was Canada's finest pianist, an original," Ms. Scott said. "Nobody sounded like Bob Murphy, and he could help you find your voice, too. That's his greatest legacy."

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

Bob Murphy was known for going out of his way to help other musicians, no matter what the problem was.

These Sisters delve into heart of darkness
Vancouver production of contemporary American work explores the polygamous family life of renegade Mormon sect
Wednesday, November 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L3

In its final year as a traditional year-round opera company, Vancouver Opera - which will mount an annual festival after this season - is continuing with its commitment to present contemporary work along with traditional repertoire.

This week a new production of Dark Sisters has its Canadian premiere. It's an American opera - co-commissioned by three U.S. companies, with an American composer and librettist and telling an American story, but it's also a story that has resonance in Canada, particularly in British Columbia.

Dark Sisters, which had its world premiere four years ago, focuses on a polygamous family operating as part of a renegade Mormon sect in the U.S. southwest. Five sister wives, all married to a man called the Prophet, are fighting to get their children back after they are removed by the state. One of the women, Eliza (Melanie Krueger), wants to leave the life, feeling it's the only way she can save her daughter from a similar, dark fate.

The opera focuses on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (which split from mainstream Mormonism in the early 20th century) in the southern Unitee States - the community of Short Creek and the infamous 2008 raid at the Yearning For Zion (YFZ) ranch near Eldorado, Tex. The resulting media coverage figures in the opera; an interview with Larry King ("We revisit their side of this shattering story," King said) has been turned into a set piece for the opera.

"Polygamy, as it is practised in North America, exists at the intersection of a lot of anxiety about the role of the government in the bedroom, about the involvement of children in the practices of their parents, about the right to statehood - all of this," explains composer Nico Muhly in an e-mail exchange. "That was one thing that drew me - and Stephen Karam, the librettist - to this story. The other thing that interested me is the necessary gender imbalance in polygamy - you have to have more women than men or the whole thing falls apart. Just musically, the sound of such a household fascinated me - the voices of children, multiple women, and one man."

In researching the opera, both Muhly and Karam travelled to Colorado City, Ariz., and read whatever they could about the origins of the Mormon faith, its leaders and the FLDS movement.

"Stephen Karam and I discovered something interesting which was when we started research - which was in 2009 or so - there was a markedly finite number of books written about this particular sect, the FLDS. There were a few memoirs written by escapees, a few blogs - but, rather like North Korea, there is precious little information in the outside world," explains Muhly, an indemand U.S. composer who has also worked in film - including writing the Oscar-nominated score for The Reader.

"Many outside of the Mormon faith still only know the male icons, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young; I wanted to fashion a story that put the women front and centre," adds Karam, also in an e-mail. "One rarely hears of Joseph and Brigham's wives, despite the fact that there were over 80.

"These real women and their journal entries inspired the modern fictional women in our story."

While the production is inspired by the communities in the southern U.S., Karam (a playwright whose work includes Speech & Debate and Sons of the Prophet) and Muhly both looked into the practice of polygamy by fundamentalist Mormons in Bountiful, B.C. - which will also, no doubt, be top of mind for Vancouver audiences who have been exposed to years of news coverage about Bountiful.

The VO production is the opera's third, and another theatre guy, Amiel Gladstone, is directing. A few years ago, Gladstone, who is based in Vancouver, was one of the beneficiaries (Kim Collier was another) of a VO program aimed at training mid-career theatre directors in opera.

Contemporary opera is a good fit for a theatre director, Gladstone says. Because a lot of work in opera involves standard, familiar repertoire, the lesser-known material can be challenging. But for Gladstone, who directs a lot of contemporary theatre, it's his comfort zone.

"We have our Shakespeare ... but not everyone is doing Shakespeare in theatre; whereas in opera everybody's doing the same 100 operas ... so everybody knows the repertoire," he says.

"So when you do something like Dark Sisters, which is new, it's completely different for them in a way that a new play is not completely different for theatre. So in a way it's much scarier because you can't go back and listen to a bunch of recordings or watch a bunch of things and see what people have done before ... and depending on your mindset it's either terrifying or exhilarating.

"The conversations in the rehearsal room are so different than if we were working on the standard repertoire and I think that also translates to the audience's take on it," Gladstone adds.

"We're going to be talking about things that are happening right now in that world as opposed to how beautifully she sang that aria."

When Gladstone took on the project, he did so with the intention of presenting a balanced view of the FLDS, but as he researched the community, his opinion shifted. It became impossible to show the men in a positive light.

"The women are doing what they can within that world," he says. "They're not all saints but the women are doing what they can as the victims in a really odd power struggle. The men are, to me, completely unredeemable.

These men are doing horrible things."

The more mainstream Mormon church has been in the news recently, with Mormons involved in same-sex marriages to be considered apostates, and children of same-sex couples barred from being baptized until they're 18.

Gladstone calls that "a great way to rule yourself into irrelevance."

Karam, who is gay, says the Mormons he knows are good people - and have always been accepting of him and his sexuality. "But I'm not surprised," he adds. "I mean, this is an institution that didn't lift certain racial bans until 1978. I'm just disappointed they haven't learned from their past mistakes. Personally, I can think of nothing more Christ-like than a church that opens its doors to people of all walks of life. Can you imagine what Jesus would say about a church that turned away Mary Magdalene and the company she kept? Personally, I think Jesus would be having dinner with the gay Mormon families this week in solidarity."

Dark Sisters is at the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Nov. 26-Dec. 12.

Associated Graphic

Melanie Krueger, left, and Thomas Goerz rehearse for the Vancouver Opera production of Dark Sisters under the direction of conductor Kinza Tyrrell, right.


Board faces challenge in fare debate
Economically diverse ridership makes it hard to set a price without either starving the system or driving away lower-income users
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A19

By the time it hits midtown, nearly an hour before the subway opens, the southbound Yonge bus is jammed.

The reverse route of the infamous "vomit comet" that carries revellers home from Toronto's core, this is a crucial lifeline for downtown workers who start early. It is a microcosm of the city, a place where people across the socio-economic spectrum quite literally brush shoulders.

There's the labourer with the Slurpee-sized cup of coffee. The woman who reaches into a finely crafted leather purse, extracting a Bible for a bit of early-morning solace. There are suits, retail workers and students. The lucky ones score a seat, everyone else sways in unison as the bus flies down largely empty roads.

The range of customers on the Yonge bus reflects the relative success Toronto has had in creating a system that attracts socalled "choice riders," people who can afford to drive, but opt for the TTC. It also demonstrates the challenge the TTC board faces Monday as it dives into the annual fare debate.

Set the fare too low and you give better-off riders a break they don't need, while starving the system of the money necessary to make it attractive to a broad range of residents. Set it too high and you risk driving away lower-income people who rely on the service. And complicating the issue is the recognition that transit fares are, at best, a crude way to try to pursue broader social policy goals.

"Anything we do will be really imperfect," acknowledged councillor and TTC chair Josh Colle.

"I still think it's our responsibility and our job to keep trying, but you recognize that we do so with a really tiny amount of tools in the toolbox."

And they do so with the plight of lower-income riders sure to dominate the debate. This makes sense, inasmuch as the fare represents a bigger share of their finances, but it also helps perpetuate the myth that transit is for poor people.

Perception versus reality

Although Toronto has had notable success in attracting a wide range of riders, public opinion hasn't really kept up. Witness the reaction to Dwane Casey.

The Raptors coach was driving to a playoff game in the spring of 2014 when he became mired in traffic. He went back, hopped on the TTC and rode the subway to the Air Canada Centre. Surprised fans snapped his pic and the act was considered novel enough to become a minor news story, with articles saying he had been "forced" to ride the subway. He was left a bit bemused, saying in a recent interview that he simply made "the rational choice."

"We do use it as a family ... the kids love it. It's part of everyday life," he said. "Guys were shocked that I was on there. But for me it was, you know, I'm not too good or above taking the subway."

According to Statistics Canada, Toronto's median household income is $72,000. The TTC, which slices data into different categories, says 35 per cent of riders have a household income above $65,000. Those with family income below $65,000 made up 32 per cent of riders and 24 per cent wouldn't answer. It's unclear from the data what the remainder earned.

Jess Bell, spokesperson for the advocacy group TTC Riders, takes exception to these figures, noting that the agency's top category encompassed a much bigger range than the lower-income ones. But she agrees that the TTC has an economically diverse ridership.

"Toronto is lucky because so many use transit," said. "Rich and poor people take public transit, and that's great."

Warren Buffett once famously said that Wall Street is "the only place people ride to in a RollsRoyce to get advice from people who take the subway." The quote dates from 1991, and could now be updated to include other financial centres, including Toronto's.

Carmine Di Federico, a managing director at BMO Capital Markets, believes that the majority of people in his Bay Street office take transit to work. He is among them and, because he rises early enough to get to the gym before work, that means taking the all-night Yonge bus from his midtown home.

"I just would rather not drive," he said. "I think that if you're close enough to a subway stop, even if it's a short bus ride, I'd much rather deal with the transit issues. I think generally they're minimal."

What diverse ridership means for fares

A mix of incomes on the transit acts as a great social leveller.

But it makes it very hard to choose the right fare.

Scratch an expert and you get a different solution: Transit should be cheap to help the poor and encourage broad ridership; fares should be raised across the board, with some sort of rebate to poorer riders; transit should be free as a social right; better-off riders should help subsidize poorer ones.

"If we're going to be progressive, [transit] should largely be paid out of taxation," argued Ole Harder, a lower-middle income Air Canada flight attendant who needs three connections to get to the airport from his St. Lawrence Market-area home. "Increasing the subsidization is the way to go."

Another difficulty with setting a rational fare policy is that TTC riders can have wildly different experiences, often because of their income.

Some of the shortest and most convenient commutes are by TTC users who live in homes, generally expensive ones, that are close to subway lines. But those riders hailing from socalled "transit deserts" - typically poor areas where service is sporadic or involves multiple buses - can argue they are getting less value for their token.

"If you look at where the subway map is," said Mr. Colle, the TTC chair, "it certainly does serve a lot of areas that don't have the same [economic] needs."

The city is working a fare equity strategy as part of its poverty reduction work. But for now the TTC does not offer a reduced fare for lower-income riders.

A full look at fare policy will probably have to wait for the roll-out of the Presto smart card, which should be complete by the end of 2016 and will allow a wider range of pricing options.

In the short run, a boost to the cash fare is widely anticipated for next year. But the debate is expected to be difficult - even raising the fare just a nickel is projected to cost the agency two million riders.

"We'll probably have a big battle at [the TTC board] about fare increases," councillor and TTC commissioner Joe Mihevc predicted earlier this month.

Associated Graphic

Commuters ride the streetcar through the Financial District during evening rush hour.


Chaudière Falls: What would Champlain do?
Today, there's a different kind of 'impetuosity' on the Ottawa River as a $1.2-billion development meets centuries-old native heritage
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A24

You don't even have to blink to miss it.

It was, however, once the area's greatest tourist draw - a 19th-century equal to the Peace Tower or the Changing of the Guard. Samuel de Champlain wrote about it and the Prince of Wales rode a timber raft over it to the cheers of 20,000 loyal subjects standing along the banks.

There is no place for them to stand today. Fences, gates and rundown buildings block anyone walking to Chaudière Falls, and the traffic on Ottawa's oldest bridge funnels into single lanes as vehicles scoot from one province to the next. A visitor wouldn't even know it is there.

Nor can you hear it through the traffic and muffling buildings, although Champlain noted in his 1613 diary that the water falls "with such impetuosity" that it could be heard "more than two leagues away."

The magnificent falls began to be lost in 1806, when Philemon Wright built his sawmill here.

Two hundred years of industry - J.R. Booth, E.B. Eddy, Domtar - put it out of sight, out of mind.

Until this past week, anyway.

On Monday, Hydro Ottawa announced a $150-million-plus plan to open up the falls. Within two years, it will bury four huge hydroelectric turbines below grade, allowing for a public viewing platform above. The project will produce enough electricity to power as many homes as the number of spectators who watched the Prince ride down the timber chute in 1860.

On Tuesday, the Ontario Municipal Board dismissed appeals against a massive, $1.2-billion residential and retail development on the 37-acre former industrial site. Called Zibi - the Algonquin word for "river" - the project has proved highly controversial, although the board found that Windmill Development Group and the City of Ottawa followed all proper procedure in the rezoning and consultation with First Nations.

In the board's considered opinion, "aboriginal history and culture will be respected and incorporated into the proposed development plans."

This, however, is far from the opinion of others.

On Thursday, an appeal was launched by Douglas Cardinal, the world-renowned architect responsible for the magnificent Museum of History just downstream from the Zibi project and across the river from Parliament Hill.

Less than a month since Justin Trudeau took power with such widespread support from First Nations, the new Prime Minister and his new minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett, have an issue on their very doorstep that, at times, swirls and boils like the falls itself.

Chaudière Falls and the three islands formed by the river - two of which will involve Zibi - have been held "sacred" by the Anishnabe for 10,000 years, says Mr.

Cardinal. The OMB, he says, did not even consider indigenous rights in announcing its ruling.

Champlain observed that natives used Chaudière Falls to give thanks following a safe journey. Mr. Cardinal would go to the falls to give offerings in the 1980s when he was building the museum. He is himself of Anishnabe heritage, although from Western Canada.

Windmill, on the other hand, has made efforts from the beginning to consult with the Algonquins of both Quebec and Ontario as it proceeded with its project. There are areas of the development specifically designated for First Nations. Street signs will be trilingual rather than bilingual. The company is offering jobs throughout the multiyear project. And it has key Algonquin leaders onside, such as Chief Kirby Whiteduck of Pikwakanagan First Nations near Golden Lake, Ont.

"I don't think they're evil," Mr. Cardinal says of Windmill, "just greedy."

He contrasts the upper-scale residential area - a recent launch on the Ontario side found swift sales for townhouses and condominiums running from $262,808 to $999,500 - with conditions at the Kitigan Zibi reserve on the Quebec side. For the past 16 years, the reserve has been under a drinking-water advisory.

"The Algonquins are living in poverty," Mr. Cardinal says. "It's not Third World conditions - it's Fourth World conditions."

Earlier this month, Mr. Cardinal was joined by influential author John Ralston Saul and Algonquin elder Evelyn Commanda to protest the development. Ms. Commanda is the daughter of "Grandfather" William Commanda, the late Algonquin elder so widely revered by First Nations. It was William Commanda who first spoke of a vision for Akikodjiwan, the sacred falls and islands of the river that should be returned to the Algonquin. The area is also all unceded land and the subject of a current land claim.

The Zibi project is one of only 10 in the world to be named a One Planet Community for its incorporation of environmental sustainability. It intends to be a zero-carbon community with bike and walking paths and ready access to the river. And it says the Algonquin connection to the falls and islands will be respected.

"We thought it would be nice to see a great coming together of English, French and aboriginal - all right in front of Parliament Hill," says Julie Westeinde, Zibi's First Nations engagement facilitator. "What an opportunity to showcase these three cultures can come together."

Zibi has its non-elected Algonquin supporters as well, most intriguing among them a group of women who first met privately but who now call themselves the Memengueshii Council and are openly supporting the project Mr. Cardinal and other Algonquins oppose.

Wanda Thusky of Kitigan Zibi runs a small construction company with her husband, Andrew Decontie, and they see this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get Algonquin tradespeople trained and certified, something that has always proved difficult in the tightly controlled Quebec construction industry.

"We are extremely happy with this process," Ms. Thusky said in a telephone interview from Winnipeg where, with other members of the council, she was attending the Indigenous Innovative summit. "We want to turn that page so that we leave something in place for new generations." To her, it is "time for a new story," and in Zibi she and the other women believe they have found "a ripple of reconciliation," a chance for a new beginning.

It will still have to wait, however, as Mr. Cardinal and his group now say they have the support of the chiefs of Quebec and Labrador to fight on.

"I will keep appealing this," he vows. "All agreements, by law, are between First Nations and the Crown - and I don't see Windmill wearing a crown."

"We continue to feel strongly that this is good," counters Ms. Thusky. "There's no reason we should be living in poverty, in deplorable social conditions on our own territory."

Mr. Cardinal fully agrees. They just can't agree on how to get there.

Associated Graphic

Hydro Ottawa has a $150-million plan to open up the falls, which once were a tourist draw.


Josh Donaldson has gone from near-zero four years ago to Toronto's hero this past season. With the Blue Jays' prospects up in the air going into 2016, one thing fans can count on is their franchise-altering third baseman
Friday, November 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1



Josh Donaldson grew up unhappy in Florida.

His father spent the length of Donaldson's childhood in prison for attacking his mother, among other crimes. Donaldson was a multisport star and, by all accounts, a damaged kid and an insufferable braggart.

He grew so unpopular with his peers, he was forced to move from the local high school in Pensacola to another, one state over in Alabama. He drove three hours each day to get there and back.

He was a college standout (meaning, not good enough to draft out of high school).

He was taken 48th (meaning promising, but no sure thing). He was traded before he'd ever played a big-league game (meaning, roster chum in the making).

He was at that point a catcher. Evidently, not a very good one. After a half-dozen frustrating seasons in the minors, he decided to switch positions. As usual, he didn't ask anyone. He went to winter ball in the Dominican Republic and told coaches there he was a third baseman. So he played at third.

During spring training the following year, Donaldson happened to be standing nearby when Oakland's starting third baseman tore up his knee during a fielding drill.

Donaldson told that while the other guy was being dragged off the field, he turned to the manager and said, "You want me to go over there?" "Over there" meaning third base. The manager waved him over. And he never left.

That's how bizarre and wonderful baseball can be.

Four years ago, Josh Donaldson was an undersized afterthought, a 26-year-old bantam rooster trying to catch someone's attention. Today, he is the American League's most valuable player, and one of the top five position players in the game.

When we trace back the season that was - the Jays' best in nearly a quarter-century - the story should begin late on the evening of Nov. 28, 2014. As word began to spread that Donaldson had been traded from Oakland to Toronto for homegrown migraine Brett Lawrie, every long-time watcher of the team was forced jarringly into a state of reconsideration.

For five years, then-GM Alex Anthopoulos had made a series of smart (and, very occasionally, not-so-smart) moves that hadn't really amounted to anything.

They were workmanlike, riskaverse and tended to make his team incrementally better. You don't get anywhere in baseball in increments. You take great leaps, either through good luck or outsized aspiration.

Donaldson was a shift. This was Anthopoulos entering the kamikaze stage of his time in Toronto.

In the last year of his contract, he knew he was being fitted for concrete shoes. Turns out, he was right. So he changed his approach.

He gave away three good prospects for Oakland's all-star in order to fill a hole that wasn't really a hole. It was the first signal that Anthopoulos was willing to give away all his minor-league capital for a winning majorleague season. There is a dotted line from Donaldson to Troy Tulowitzki to David Price and all the little, indispensable pieces in between.

Had it not worked from the outset, we wouldn't have seen that flurry at the deadline and, at least for a moment, watched Rogers cut the tethers of financial prudence.

Donaldson would say later that it took him weeks to wrap his head around the trade. After two phenomenal seasons, the guy who'd worked so hard to show up all the people who told him he wasn't good enough was being told that again. You can imagine how it might unwind some players, at least for the first while. You half-expected Donaldson to roll into spring training wild-eyed and looking to bury the Oakland A's.

There was none of that. Not a hint. If Donaldson was a bonehead as a kid, you wouldn't know it now. Few Jays, past or present, seem as purposeful and at ease with themselves.

You see him gamboling around the clubhouse in a spaghettistrap muscle shirt with his hair tied back in a samurai top-knot, swinging his bat like an axe and you think, "This is not the look of a conformist." But it works.

Some people just fit. Donaldson is one of those people.

By May, he was the best player on the team. In June, around the time he went three rows into the stands to preserve a Marco Estrada perfect game, he was everyone's favourite player. In July, it seemed as if his MVP push was going to be the only real point to the season. In August, after everything changed, he had one of the best individual months in team history (.324 batting average, .408 on-base percentage, .724 slugging percentage).

On a purely statistical basis, second-place finisher Mike Trout probably should have won the MVP. Apparently, and to their credit, voters preferred etymology to math. As in, what "valuable" actually means. Donaldson was the man who turned Toronto into a winner, on the field and off. His arrival signalled the shifting tide.

Donaldson is under team control for three more seasons. Apparently, he's happy to go year-to-year through arbitration.

It frees the Jays from the difficult decision of whether to sign him long-term right now, considering that, at nearly 30, he's not a young pro.

It still isn't clear where the Blue Jays are headed now. Rental ace Price (ninth in MVP voting) will go elsewhere through free agency. Without him, the rotation is one blown tire from substandard.

If next season starts to go sideways, there will be pressure to trade Jose Bautista (eighth in MVP voting) or Edwin Encarnacion (12th), both of whom will be free agents at year's end. Even if it all works out, it's highly doubtful you can keep both those guys.

After the highs of 2015, it could get mediocre in a hurry.

The one thing that will not change is Donaldson.

He is more than just the best Toronto Blue Jays player. He's the one unsullied by the team's past.

When we think of Donaldson, all we think of is winning. The MVP award seals it.

Four years after Donaldson asked to go "over there," he ended up here. He changed a franchise. If it has any hopes of staying changed, that will in large part be up to him.

Follow me on Twitter: @cathalkelly

Associated Graphic

Josh Donaldson played 158 games for the Toronto Blue Jays this past season, and earned his title of most-valuable player.


Astronomically high yields not for the faint of heart
Wednesday, November 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B12

At a time when government bonds yield less than 1 per cent, it may be a surprise to discover that it is possible to invest in a basket of Canadian convertible bonds issued by companies listed on the TSX with yields to maturity in excess of 20 per cent.

Clearly, these astronomical yields are telling us that investors place a low probability on the bonds paying off in full at maturity. Although it is true that these bonds are extremely risky, recent work in behavioural finance tells us that investors feel greater pain from a loss than pleasure from a comparable gain. So it is possible that the risk is overstated and the bonds, as a group, are inefficiently priced. In other words, a bargain for well-diversified investors.

The year to date has provided a crash course in all the things that can go wrong when investing in high-yield bonds, which may be a good starting point before getting behind the wheel. But first, a quick description of a "busted convertible."

A convertible bond provides the holder with the option to receive payment at or before maturity in the form of shares in the underlying company at a fixed conversion rate or price, typically a small premium to the stock price at the time of issue. This option is valuable if the stock price rises over time, but if the company faces hardship and the stock price craters, the option has no value and the bond price usually deteriorates because investors are concerned that the problems facing the company will spill over into the balance sheet. At that point, we have a busted convertible bond.

In thinking of what can go wrong, the worst-case scenario is for the company to simply default and there is no recovery for the investor. It is true that you own a bond, but after the bank and secured creditors have been paid, there will be nothing left for those lower down on the totem pole.

This outcome unfolded for holders of convertible debentures in Armtec Infrastructure Inc. in April of this year when it filed for protection under Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act. It is difficult to believe that a company involved in basic infrastructure services could go out of business at a time when governments see this as a priority, but high financial leverage and poor bidding discipline are problematic in every industry.

The remaining scenarios are not necessarily fatal, but will almost certainly result in a change in the terms of initial investment.

In order to stave off a looming maturity, the company may try to negotiate a deferral. In order to do so, management will likely offer sweeteners such as an improved coupon rate, a lower conversion price or some other bonus.

Almost all convertible bonds permit the issuing company to pay off the principal at maturity in common stock rather than cash. The value of the shares to be issued is based on the price prevailing at maturity, not the much higher conversion price, so there will likely be huge dilution for the common shareholders. The good news is that you receive shares worth the full face value of your bond; the bad news is that everyone else is in a selling mode, too.

Just this month on Nov. 9, Anderson Energy (AXL) proposed to redeem both issues of convertible debentures at a conversion price of 4 cents a share. If approved, the share count will go from 172 million to a staggering 2.8 billion.

This option does not require the company to redeem the entire issue in the form of shares: On Nov. 13, Data Group Ltd. (DGI) announced that it would redeem with shares 75 per cent of its outstanding 6-per-cent convertibles due in June, 2017. The result will be a share count in excess of 500 million, up from 23.5 million currently, but the transaction will presumably make the balance of the issue more viable.

Finally, there is an outside possibility that the company's fortunes will be reversed: It will return to financial health and pay off the bonds in full at maturity.

With this range of possible outcomes, it is understandable that investors impose a high risk premium when valuing busted convertible bonds. No matter how much homework you do, there will be unpleasant surprises, so diversification is key. If you have the temperament and financial resources to pursue this strategy, here are some suggestions for further research: 6 IBI Group (IBG) is a consolidator of architectural consulting firms with headquarters in Toronto. It has several issues of convertibles outstanding with yields ranging from 18 per cent to 22 per cent.

The 7 per cent of June 30, 2019, yield only 18 per cent because the conversion price at $5 is a feasible target over the next four years while the other issues have higher yields to compensate for a conversion price closer to $20.

5N Plus (VNP) produces very high purity metals for technology and pharmaceutical applications.

The 53/4-per-cent convertibles of June 30, 2019, have a conversion price of $6.75 compared with the current stock price around $1.20, which accounts for the yield to maturity of 16 per cent.

Fortress Paper (FTP) is struggling to achieve profitability at its dissolving pulp specialty paper mill in Thurso, Que. The bonds are convertible at $37.50 and come due in December, 2016, so the yield to maturity of 28 per cent suggests this is not going to happen.

Zargon Oil & Gas (ZAR) represents the confluence of two of the most-hated sectors in the market today - energy and busted convertibles - so it is a contrarian's dream investment. This oil and gas junior has an issue of 6-percent bonds maturing in June, 2017, with a conversion price of $18.80 and a current stock price around $1. The board is currently exploring strategic alternatives.

No wonder the yield to maturity on the bond is 46 per cent.

Investment articles usually end with a reminder to do your own research before investing and that certainly applies here. Based on the indicated yields, at least one of the four companies listed above will default before maturity and you should be mentally prepared for that. In addition, it should be obvious that investing in busted convertibles is not for the faint of heart, so part of that research should be a little self-examination of your own tolerance for risk.

Robert Tattersall, CFA, is co-founder of the Saxon family of mutual funds and the retired chief investment officer of Mackenzie Investments.

IBI Group (IBG) Close: $2.30, up 2¢ 5N Plus (VPN) Close: $1.12, up 2¢ Fortress Paper (FTP) Close: $4.95, up 22¢ Zargon Oil & Gas (ZAR) Close: 98¢, up 6¢

Saving Granville's artsy vibe
Emily Carr University's exit from Granville Island in 2017 raises fears the eclectic Vancouver area will change. But administrators promise arts will continue to reign over corporate interests
Tuesday, November 24, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B8

In a corner of one of the most carefully cultivated pieces of Canadian real estate, a small group regularly breaks into an exalted-warrior sweat.

Semperviva Yoga has a little studio nestled in a tiny pocket of Granville Island in central Vancouver, amongst the collection of other pockets of local businesses, artisanal shops, artists' studios, remnants of older heavy industry and overflowing food stands, all on what would otherwise be ultravaluable property.

Yet being Crown land, administered by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., Granville Island is an oasis, operating outside normal commercial, real-estate rules.

However, with one of its largest tenants, art school Emily Carr University, leaving in the summer of 2017, Granville Island is in the process of change.

Commercial landlords regularly talk about the feel of property and a certain niche of tenants.

Yet rarely is that so carefully and so successfully crafted as with Granville Island. And any change is a concern.

When Emily Carr leaves, "I think it's going to be kind of sad not to have that buzz down there, with the students walking around," said Amanda Barnard, a co-ordinator at the Semperviva yoga studio and an artist herself.

"They have an art gallery down there. So it's really nice that anyone who is working in the area has access to walk through the school and have a little taste of art on their lunch break."

Yet, like most regulars on the Island (which is really a peninsula of land on False Creek), she believes an assortment of new tenants in the Emily Carr space once the university leaves could add new vibrancy.

There are plans to convert Emily Carr's current North Building (which sits closer to the water) into a mix of artists' studios, possibly a brew pub and an urban winery and some office space - with plans for more studios, offices and an entertainment venue on the upper floor. For the South Building across the street, the hope is to have an arts institution or possibly a museum as a tenant.

By the fall of 2017, Emily Carr University will have left for its new campus farther east along False Creek, taking with it nearly 2,000 full-time and another roughly 2,000 part-time art students who give the Island much of its daily vitality, among the tourists and food-market regulars. The two buildings aren't directly in the most central, high pedestrian-traffic area of the Island. Yet the move will leave a noticeable hole.

The question is how much this may change the flavour of the entire Island.

CMHC has promised not to divert from the area ambience and will continue to support artists and artisan businesses. And it will continue to block the entrance of any retail chains. (Inevitably, there's a Starbucks nearby, but it's a little up the hill from the Granville Island entrance.)

"The foundations that have made Granville Island what it is - where we don't allow chains or franchises on the island, we focus on local business, we focus on this creative mix of artisans and light industry - that's still the same," said Scott Fraser, manager of public affairs and programming for CMHC on Granville Island. "There's not going to be any change in the fundamental principles of Granville Island, when we look at the redevelopment here."

There was concern when word spread over the previous two years that Ottawa was considering transferring administration of the Island to harbour authority Port Metro Vancouver, potentially altering the Island's noncommercial feel. Ten million visitors descend onto the postindustrial Granville Street bridge each year.

Many are tourists, but most (80 per cent) are Vancouverites regularly buying at the Public Market, shopping at tiny stores, attending local theatre or a small yoga class.

But CMHC insisted that a change in administration is no longer being considered. "That particular discussion is definitely dead and gone, and we're not aware of any other discussion happening in any other circles right now for a change of management," Mr. Fraser said.

"Granville Island was founded on this mix of different ... communities," he said. "So, there's the Public Market. There are the artists. There's the institutional use, which Emily Carr was a part of, and there are other places like Arts Umbrella, with its [children's and teens'] arts education.

"There is also maritime heritage. And there's also the industry part of it," Mr. Fraser added, featuring the last of the area's industrial past with Ocean Concrete and its towering concrete silos and the metal works company Micon Products.

It's this carefully maintained mix that long-standing tenants don't want to see altered, while they also welcome new tenants that fit the Granville Island sensibility.

"I really hope that Granville Island will rise to this opportunity," said Denise Carson Wilde, coowner of the small, stylish paper and stationery store Paper-ya.

Her store has been on the Island for 30 years. "The mandate for CMHC has always been to really control who is down there, what kinds of stores are down there.

Not having big-box stores, not having bigger corporations. To keep that kind of independent, artistic, creative vibe happening.

"It is essential for Granville Island," she said.

What the vibe needs, as CMHC hints and which business people and artists such as Ms. Barnard at her yoga studio say they welcome, is a younger wave of tenants. "The opportunity here is for the buildings to provide space for that next generation of innovators, to set up shop and make Granville Island their home and their home base of operations," said Sebastian Lippa, a planner with CMHC.

Giving lower-rent space to artists and artisans "has been so instrumental in the career development of many of the producers and creative makers that launched their careers with the start of Granville Island in the late 1970s," Mr. Lippa said. "We have an opportunity to do that again on a large scale."

This is the first of two stories on Emily Carr University's relocation.

The second story appears next week in Property Report.


11.5% Biggest one-week REIT gainer: Lanesborough. CIBC

5.2% Biggest one-week REIT decliner: Dream Office. CIBC

2.2 millon Square footage of office space under construction in Vancouver. CBRE

50% Percentage of the new Vancouver space that will be completed and delivered for occupancy in the fourth quarter of 2015. CBRE

Associated Graphic

The Public Market is a mainstay of Granville Island, the Vancouver oasis for local businesses and artisans. Shop owner Denise Carson Wilde, centre left, speaking with customer Lisa Robison, says it's essential 'to keep that kind of independent, artistic, creative vibe happening.'


Behind Abbas Kiarostami's closed doors
Long known for his movies, the acclaimed Iranian director prepares for his new photography exhibit at the Aga Khan Museum
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, November 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R4

Considered one of the great masters of world cinema, Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami is lesser known for his photography and poetry. Hopefully, this lack of awareness will soon change with his new Doors Without Keys photo exhibition at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. The installation features Kiarostami's detailed photographs of doors taken in France, Italy, Iran and Morocco, presented in a labyrinthine space. Paint-peeled, weathertorn and bearing witness to a bygone era, the doors evoke a sense of curiosity and wonder. The exhibition is accompanied by wall inscriptions of Kiarostami's poetry and soundscapes taken from his short films.

As an autodidact multidisciplinary artist, Kiarostami found respite in photographing nature during and after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, when filmmaking became a volatile business in Iran. The Globe and Mail sat down with Kiarostami to discuss the connection between his photography and cinema, and how doors have changed around the world.

You once said taking digital photos offered more freedom, but that film is thoughtful and reflective - qualities I'd ascribe to your work. Have your thoughts changed on this subject?

I've since quit film and I'm sure I would've done something else if digital hadn't appeared in the field. I couldn't take having such a bad-tempered and unfriendly 'partner' to work with any longer. I don't know if this feeling came out of working with film itself or the labs, which at the time weren't so advanced in Iran. But now I have this beautiful partner called digital that I'm devoted to. Digital photography is unfinished photography: It helps you go along part of the path, and then you get to go home and finish it the way you wish in your own personal lab.

Your earlier photos of trees and nature taken in Iran could have been from anywhere in the world. Some read into this politically, as the photos show the universality of landscapes and geography. Similarly, in this exhibit, we don't know exactly where each door came from. We can only guess.

It does not really matter where they were taken. For visitors, it's quite difficult to distinguish the context, but of course the doors are also testimonies of their history and culture. The juxtaposition of the doors is a sign of how close these cultures are, or were, at least, because they all had the same definition and meaning of a door. Doors have changed dramatically in the last two decades. They're now very different according to the culture you are in, and they're no longer what they used to be. But as you stand behind them like you can in this exhibition, you feel like they will never open to let you in.

The closed doors pique the viewer's curiosity to know what's behind them. Your films also pose questions to the viewer that they don't necessarily answer. Do you consciously seek to provoke viewers?

For people of my generation, the idea of these doors is an experience that we all share.

Maybe for people of your generation there is a curiosity of what is going on behind the door. And for the younger generation, kids who are being born now, it's a mystery how we ever lived with doors like these. Kids need that transparency, they need to know what's behind them. How was it ever possible to live with a door that hides the other side from you? There were doors in which messages were carved on them, that said, 'I came, you are not here, and I left.' God knows who came and why they left. At the time, there weren't phones so you couldn't even call to say, 'I'm coming.' You would just go and bang on the door, and hope for someone to answer. There was no ringer, there was no box to leave a note. This is the meaning of the closed door, and the will of the person behind it, to either open it to you, or not. This is the experience of the unknown.

What's behind the door for you?

It's not that I don't want to answer this question, it's that I can't. I don't think any of us can. All we can do is guess and imagine what's behind the door. Maybe that's why it's difficult for the younger generation to conceive. These are doors from a different period, when they didn't have codes. Nowadays, you can't find a single door without a code. If you have the code or key, you can open the door. Back then, you were dependent on the other person to maybe come and open it for you. Personally, the doors are evocative of those old days. It reminds me of my grandmother's door. I remember it would take her ages to open it, and she'd have her hands on her knees from the kinds of pain that people today no longer have to keep suffering from. There was also maybe the pain of not having her children visit her as often as she wished.

Photography and poetry are introverted arts, while filmmaking is intensely collaborative. How does your process differ?

Photography is an individual process. There is much less external intervention than filmmaking, which can be generally disruptive, if not destructive. Photography lets you go where you want to go. That's not the case of cinema. Whether we want to or not, and even if we claim we don't, we have to pay attention to the audience's taste and expectations and our relationship with the film's financial investment. I often say a photo is a single-shot film. It's a film without this narrative responsibility and obligation of telling a story. When you take a picture, you can take it home, judge what you want to do with it and then maybe present it to others. As a viewer, you are free to have your own interpretation, to tell your own story and build your own narrative, and I'm free of the responsibility to create a linear narrative that has to relate me to the viewer, or that has to relate different viewers together.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Abbas Kiarostami: Doors Without Keys runs at Toronto's Aga Khan Museum through March 27 ( Kiarostami will also appear for a discussion of his cinematic career at TIFF Bell Lightbox on Nov. 23 (

Associated Graphic

Abbas Kiarostami 's show Doors Without Keys is on exhibit at the Aga Khan Museum from Nov. 21 to March 27, 2016.


How to get away with a progressive agenda
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R16

In the 1994 film Reality Bites, there's a monologue that could easily represent an entire generation's terrified thinking on the topic of HIV. As Vickie (Janeane Garofalo) waits on her test results, she relays her anxiety to friend Lelaina (Winona Ryder).

"Every day, all day, it's all that I think about, okay?" she says.

"Every time I sneeze, it's like I'm four sneezes away from the hospice, and it's like it's not even happening to me. It's like I'm watching it on some crappy show like Melrose Place. And I'm the new character, I'm the HIV-AIDS character, and I live in the building and I teach everybody that it's okay to be near me, it's okay to talk to me, and then I die. And there's everybody at my funeral wearing halter tops and chokers."

Many of us who came of age in the nineties grew up irrationally terrified of contracting the disease. We were victims of scare-tactic sexual education, spoon-fed high-drama media depictions of both the risk and the ramifications of the virus. It was a feeling we were unable to shake, even as medical advancements meant that HIV became something you can prevent, treat and live with.

Vickie is right to mention prime-time drama as a defining point in our collective (and sustained) anxiety. The same year Reality Bites was released, Melrose Place really did feature a shortlived, lesson-teaching HIV-positive character, while NBC's ER devoted eight full episodes of its first season to addressing AIDS. A few years later, 90210's Kelly Taylor volunteered at an AIDS hospice and the show introduced a patient who eventually dies, three episodes later, with Kelly at his bedside.

Television was once rife with didactic prop characters used to teach viewers that anyone can contract the virus. When Degrassi High introduced AIDS into its narrative in 1990 - way ahead of its American counterparts - HIVpositive Dwayne Myers primarily functioned as a way to let young people that HIV wasn't a "gay disease" and that schoolmates couldn't become infected by sharing a seat in a classroom. "You can talk to them, you can shake their hand, hug them, that's all safe."

Twenty years after Vickie lamented Melrose Place, though, the treatment of HIV-positive characters on television has shifted with both attitudes and medical advancements. Witness How To Get Away With Murder and its recently diagnosed character Oliver Hampton (Conrad Ricamora).

In some ways, his storyline plays out with that familiar 1990s afterschool special tone. Oliver is the "good boy" half of his coupling with the promiscuous Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee). His diagnosis was written as an unexpected and shocking revelation, allowing the show to deliver that standard, decades-old messaging that anyone is at risk.

But as his story picks up in the second season, things become more progressive. The pair stay together, with Connor enthusiastic to have sex, and moving in to show his commitment to working through and with the diagnosis.

It's a warm and honest portrait of a couple navigating the workable realities of HIV, one that doesn't suggest the news is dire, but instead needs to be incorporated into their lives. In a show known for its extreme twists and occasionally unbelievable plot lines, their relationship is grounded in a very human reality. Beyond that, Oliver's status is a detail - not the sole dramatic reason for his existence on the show - a remarkable change in the mainstream when it comes to depicting those living with HIV.

I asked Mason McColl, the gay men's online strategy and resource co-ordinator for the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT), to watch the show and share his thoughts on this new, very different approach. "The way the show navigated Connor's fear of getting tested and the couple's negotiation of testing, condomless sex and monogamy, those are stories that we see play out in real life, and we have seen depicted in gay media before, but never so boldly in a mainstream show," he told me.

The show also does a good job of modelling appropriate behaviour for allies. Far from the Degrassi open classroom chats, HTGAWM sends a clear message about privacy issues, with Connor, for instance, chastised for disclosing Oliver's HIV status to his colleagues. (Asher, the bumbling privileged dude component of the show's casting, is also mocked for his attempt at empathy through a laughable "Philadelphia's one of my favourite movies" line.)

But what's most notable is when Oliver expresses his reluctance to have sex if he's putting his partner in danger, Connor responds that he's on PrEP. The show gives very little exposition in terms of what PrEP actually is, or how the drug is changing the landscape of HIV prevention.

PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is an option for those who are at high risk of contracting HIV (such as those who, like Connor, are in relationships with people who are infected). The drug is used consistently, as a pill taken daily, and often combined with other safer sex methods such as condoms.

It's currently not approved in Canada, but is prescribed "off label," meaning doctors offer the drug (Truvada) for reasons other than what it is officially available for.

Without approval from Health Canada, many doctors are unwilling to prescribe PrEP off label, and using PrEP may not be able to get insurance to cover the high cost of the drug. Yet HTGAWM is talking about the drug in a high-profile space, encouraging viewers to ask questions and arm themselves with information.

"If nothing else, [HTGAWM] will introduce a new concept to the general public, who for the most part, especially in Canada, don't know about PrEP," McColl says.

All this, of course, doesn't mean the work is done when it comes to HIV on TV.

Despite being a commendable addition to the landscape, Oliver is still constructed as the quintessential relatable nice guy, meaning viewers are apt forgive him for the circumstances that led to his diagnosis. As McColl rightly points out, if Connor had been the one to receive a positive test result, we'd be having a very different conversation - one about the blame and stigma that continues to be heaped upon those who engage in casual sex.

Cautious caveats aside, HTGAWM's storyline is admirable advocacy via realistic portrayal, lacking the fear and heavy-handed moral dictums of decades past.

Perhaps this signals the start of a new and better informed conversation - one that's less about being terrified while waiting on test results, and more about feeling empowered when they arrive.

Even intermediate skiers can schuss the peaks of two countries in one day at Portes du Soleil. Its 400 square kilometres straddle Switzerland and France - which means the only question more difficult than 'Where to ski?' is 'Where to eat?'
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page T1

CHAMPÉRY, SWITZERLAND -- 'Make love to the snow with your feet." An instructor (Italian, of course) had once dispensed that advice about skiing in a whiteout. Like the snowy one that envelops my husband, Peter, and me at 2,100 metres on a mountain in Switzerland. Or maybe we're in France. ... As I said, I really can't see.

Nor can my legs beguile the blizzard into submission. Lost in the white vortex, I tumble into an unseen snowdrift.

The flip side to a blizzard - the yin to tempestuous yang - is the powder playground the following day. Peter and I awaken to snow dusting wooden chalets and an 18th-century church with a steeple shaped like a crown. Even better, 60-centimetre mounds on slopes above town. On every ski run, we etch fresh tracks in buffed drifts.

We're based in Champéry, Switzerland, a 700-year-old village cocooned in a narrow valley that looks like a wintertime set for The Sound of Music - Part 2. The mountains looming above us are the Alps. And my topographic tizzy - am I in Switzerland? France? - comes because we're skiing Portes du Soleil, one of the world's largest ski areas.

Whistler Blackcomb, North America's biggest ski area, holds two mountains and 33 square kilometres of terrain. Portes du Soleil ("gateway to the sun") encompasses nearly 400 square kilometres and several mountain ranges.

Twelve interlinked resorts sprawl between Mont Blanc in France and Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Four ski areas lie on the Swiss side and eight on the French. All can be reached with one affordable lift pass.

With nearly 300 ski runs stretching for 650 kilometres, skiers and snowboarders can explore for a week and never carve the same route twice. Despite the vastness, it's easy to schuss from country to country, thanks to trail signs that point in the direction of each resort: Champéry, Les Crosets, Morzine, Morgins and so on.

Nearly 80 per cent of the marked runs are easy to intermediate. But off-piste offers experts the opportunity to hurtle from cornices into gravity-defying couloirs.

With so many choices of where to ski, Peter and I streamline decision-making into a simple question: What do we want for lunch?

Steak-frites (grilled steak with fries) on the French side, or raclette (melted cheese on potatoes) on the Swiss side? The region holds 90 restaurants, many of them occupying former chalets d'alpages (alpine huts).

One sunny morning, we decide to circle through the Swiss villages. From the 2,140-metre heights of Pointe des Mossettes, we enjoy stunning views of Les Dents-duMidi, seven adjacent summits that resemble giant teeth (dents).

A series of lifts and intermediate trails through pine-y woods leads to the petite burg of Champoussin and La Ferme à Gaby, a restaurant famous for artisanal cheeses. The cheese maker tells us that when he tastes the milk, he knows whether the cows and goats have grazed on the sunny or shady side of the mountain.

This being Europe, we indulge in wine with our lunch. Swiss wines are as big a secret as the names behind those numbered bank accounts in Zurich. "Switzerland is too cold, too snowy, too high," many wine lovers think.

But vineyards have been cultivated in the region for more than 2,000 years.

Peter and I become enamoured of chasselas, a white that offers bright citrus flavours; and cornalin, a red grape diva that produces spicy wine that pairs well with grilled fowl and game.

For our last ski day, we plan to do "the circuit" - a circumnavigation of the resorts from Switzerland to France and back again.

Even intermediates can undertake the itinerary, which can be tackled in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction.

We opt for counter-clockwise for a reason that becomes vertiginously obvious when we ride the Chavanette lift to the crest of the Swiss/French border. A flotilla of multilingual signs - all translating as "danger!" - guards entry to an icy 50-degree slope with moguls that hulk two metres across.

La Chavanette - also called the Swiss Wall and referred to as "The Wall of Death" - rules as the daredevil challenge at Portes du Soleil.

Trail maps classify the run with the colour orange, which means that they're more perilous than the black-labelled runs.

Maybe next time. We instead enjoy some lovely blue/intermediate-level runs in France before an assemblage of buildings rises in the distance: Avoriaz.

Poised on a sheer-faced plateau, Avoriaz was purpose-built as a ski resort in the 1960s. (Frenchman Jean Vuarnet - of both Olympic downhill gold medal and sunglasses fame - was one of the developers.) Its buildings look more like high-rise spacecraft than Heidi-esque chalets.

No cars are permitted, and people ski through town. Avoriaz is a major centre for snowboarders and freestylers because of its three snow parks, a super-pipe and a boarder-cross course.

We're hungry for lunch, so we ask a Swiss companion on a chairlift for recommendations. "Go to Restaurant Chez Coquoz - it's the best," he advises.

Perched on the Swiss side at Planachaux, the restaurant uses mountain herbs and plants in both traditional and nouveau recipes. Today, the special is mountain-grass gnocchi with nuts - earthy, savoury and delectable.

Peter and I enjoy our meal on the outside deck, gazing toward the Dents-du-Midi summits that gnash at the horizon. On my first day skiing Portes du Soleil, I fell down in a blizzard. A week later in sunshine, these mountains can still sweep me off my feet.


The Portes du Soleil ski area is open from mid-December to mid-April ( The closest international airport is Geneva. From there, trains head for main rail gateways to Portes du Soleil in Switzerland and France. Book an overnight flight to Geneva and you can conceivably ski Portes du Soleil the afternoon of your arrival.

A six-day lift ticket costs about $355.

Staying in Champéry: The town offers numerous small hotels, most family-run. Set in a renovated 1896 building, Hotel National offers 24 guest accommodations in the heart of the village. Late risers should request a room away from the church, where bells peal at 6 a.m. Rooms from $345;

Different slopes: Thanks to train connections, it's easy to explore other top ski resorts nearby, including Crans-Montana (a World Cup venue), Verbier and Zermatt (ski into Italy with great views of the Matterhorn).

Associated Graphic

Portes du Soleil, one of the world's largest ski areas, features 12 resorts, 285 slopes and 196 mountain lifts.


'Food is a part of you - it identifies you'
Immigrant kids aren't as eager to ditch their parents' home cooking as nutritionists fear
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L4

CROSSINGS Chronicling the global refugee and migrant experience

When immigrant youth reach for pizza or doughnuts, dietitians go into a tizzy. After all, North American junk food is the root of nutritional evils: excess sugar, salt, low-quality fats, processed carbs. Study after study has shown surges in obesity, diabetes and heart disease in newcomers to Canada who stop eating traditional foods.

But given the choice, are immigrant kids as eager to ditch their parents' home cooking as nutritionists fear?

Jennifer Sarkar, a 27-year-old Vancouverite born in Bangladesh, doesn't think so. She hears a lot about food as the creative director of Beats Magazine, a Vancouver-based publication created by and for immigrant and refugee youth. For children raised on traditional foods, she said, "Food is a part of you - it identifies you."

Sure, they enjoy eating out with their friends, but at the end of the day - "we prefer a homecooked meal." Their parents may lack the time or money to cook like they used to, but that doesn't mean they're buying frozen dinners. Many end up preparing simplified versions of traditional foods for everyday meals, Sarkar said.

She added that immigrant kids, especially in high school, may face peer pressure to buy fast food instead of bringing lunch from home. But they aren't necessarily replacing homemade curries with burgers and fries - at least, not all the time. In culturally diverse cities such as Toronto and Vancouver, lunch is just as likely to be a fast-food version of another culture's food, such as sushi, burrito or falafel.

The Globe caught up with three young immigrants in the Vancouver area who have attended youth groups offered by Mosaic, a non-profit organization that helps newcomers settle. They described what it's like to live in a mash-up of culinary worlds.


Birth country: Afghanistan Current residence: New Westminster, B.C.

Arrival to Canada: Refat came to Canada in 2012, settling with his family in New Westminster. He lived in Iran from the age of six months until he was 12 years old "because," he said, "it wasn't safe in Afghanistan - there were a lot of wars."

Favourite Afghan dish: Ashak - dumplings filled with vegetables such as scallions, spinach or leeks, and topped with yogurt or a meat or oil-based sauce. "It's delicious but it takes a long time to make - you have to do it by hand," Refat said.

Afghan food is his passion, Refat said, adding that he has tried Afghan restaurants in Vancouver, but "I always prefer my mom's cooking - it always tastes better."

Favourite non-Afghan foods: "I like Greek food, and donair, because Afghanistan makes it, too." Refat said he has tried birthday cake, chips and soda pop at parties in Canada, but has never had a meal at a Canadian friend's house. He isn't a fan of McDonald's - "I get the feeling of guilt because I don't think it's healthy" - and said he is more likely to go for a submarine sandwich.

Everyday meals: Refat packs his own lunch on weekdays, usually a ham, sausage or tuna sandwich.

At home, "we eat rice pretty much every day." He has dinner with his mother or father, depending on who is working the night shift that day, and says his mom often prepares a meal in advance for his father to heat up - "something that you can make easily."


Birth country: India, Punjab region Current residence: Burnaby, B.C.

Arrival to Canada: Sarwara moved from India to Burnaby when she was four. "It was only in Grade 2, in the hot lunch program, that I remember being exposed to new foods other than our cultural dishes at home," she said. "We had students from many different backgrounds and would try other ethnic foods, such as Chinese, Middle Eastern or South American."

Favourite Punjabi food: Shahi paneer - curd cheese in a tomatobased curry flavoured with onions, garlic, cashew nuts and spices, including cumin, coriander seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, mustard seed, turmeric, red chili powder and garam masala. Normally served on special occasions, this dish is time consuming to prepare, Sarwara said. "But my mom knows it's my favourite, so whenever I ask, I can have some made. It does remind me of birthdays growing up."

Favourite non-Indian foods: "I've come to love perogies, and I tried omelette with cheese for the first time two weeks ago."

Everyday meals: About 80 per cent of her diet consists of homecooked foods, Sarwara said, adding that her mom does most of the cooking. Sarwara usually packs leftovers to take with her to Capilano University in North Vancouver, where she is studying global stewardship. A typical weekday meal is rice with pressure-cooked lentils and fried vegetables. "We've developed a routine of making lighter dishes during the week and more labour-intensive meals on weekends."


Birth country: Iraq Current residence: New Westminster, B.C.

Arrival to Canada: Dawood moved to New Westminster three years ago. Before that, she lived with her family in Greece from the age of 1 to 13.

Favourite home-cooked meal: Dolma, an Iraqi dish similar to the stuffed vine leaves eaten in Greece. Dawood's mother combines rice and ground meat with seasonings including parsley, dill, mint and tomato sauce. The mixture is stuffed into eggplants, onions, tomatoes and zucchinis, arranged into a pot, covered with broth and simmered for more than an hour.

"It has lots of olive oil and tastes really good," said Dawood, who lives alone with her mother.

The dish reminds her of meals with her two grown-up siblings and father, who still live in Europe. "We used to eat it when all of us were all together," she said.

Favourite new foods: "It's probably the chicken burger from McDonald's," she said. "I like sushi, and when I go out for dinner with my cousin, who is vegan, we order a Vietnamese noodle soup with vegetables. It's, like, the best. I want to try Mexican food, but my mom doesn't like trying new things."

Everyday meals: "I usually buy my lunch - a spicy chicken wrap from the school cafeteria or chicken strips with fries ... " said Dawood. She normally eats dinner at home - on weeknights, her mom cooks "simple stuff" such as rice with steak or chicken, or Greek-style potatoes. "I think my mom is really good at cooking so I like whatever she makes," Dawood said. "She doesn't buy frozen stuff."

Associated Graphic

Shahi paneer - curd cheese in a tomato-based curry - is normally served on special occasions.

UN official carries burden of weighing refugee distress
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, November 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

BEIRUT -- Behind reinforced concrete blast walls in a Beirut suburb, inside a grim featureless office building, Angela Murru rifles through files under the flicker of fluorescent lights and evaluates the degrees of human vulnerability.

Ms. Murru is a senior resettlement officer with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR. She and her colleagues sift through thousands of case files of Syrian refugees, each one an abbreviated story of displacement and struggle. Lebanon plays host to 1.2 million refugees; Western countries have pledged to take 12,600 of them this year through the UNHCR program.

That means her office is racing to match desperate family to willing host. It's a calculus based on experience and on heart, a methodical weighing of the merits of people who seem equal in their suffering. "We work non-stop," said Ms. Murru in a rare interview offering a glimpse into the inner workings of the agency's office of resettlement in Beirut.

"It's a lot of responsibility to decide who's in and who's out."

In the UNHCR's Resettlement Handbook, Ms. Murru's proverbial bible, the term "vulnerability" appears 19 times but not once is it defined. Implicitly, it refers to an individual's inability to cope in an inimical environment. In practice, Ms. Murru scores the gamut of a refugee's life, from health, housing, legal and financial troubles to experiences of trauma and violence to get an idea of where they stand on the vulnerability scale. But the UN criteria are only part of the equation; the respective conditions of resettlement countries is the other. To that end, she must be strategic when referring cases to embassies and managing the refugees' expectations.

There's little point in submitting a case when it's known the likelihood of rejection is high.

Ms. Murru has to be careful who she submits where, and there's a lot of pressure to get it right the first time around because refugees grow expectant as their case moves along. Urgent medical cases are rarely sent to the United States because the long processing "defeats the purpose," she says. Large families of more than seven people are rarely considered for Europe due to housing shortages there.

Some cases are uncomplicated.

Unaccompanied children can be resettled almost anywhere because they can be effortlessly integrated into the community through schools. Making a convincing case for members of the LGBT community, who were forced to live covertly in Syria and now feel doubly threatened as refugees, is relatively straightforward. Other cases are near impossible: The families of child brides are not considered, for example, nor are those of polygamists, though the practice is permissible in Islam.

Some countries have asked the office for a diversity of religious backgrounds, another challenge considering 95 per cent of Syrian refugees are Sunni Muslims.

Then there are requests from Syrians themselves. "Everybody wants to go to Sweden," Ms. Murru says. There's a belief among refugees that it is more advantageous to end up in Germany or Sweden, which offers monthly benefits, rather than Canada, where they are expected to find work, or the United States, where they are eventually required to repay the airline ticket that brought them there.

From the start, the process of getting the attention of the resettlement officers is almost serendipity. A UN worker distributing aid at a reception centre might overhear the story of a bereaved family and send a memo to the department; a social worker might happen upon a severe medical case during a routine visit; sifting through the refugee agency's exhaustive database might unearth a story of profound trauma. Significantly, refugees cannot apply for resettlement directly. If they had the option of nominating themselves, Ms. Murru says, the workload would far exceed the capacity of staff.

In Canada, well before the recent election that saw the Liberal Party win a majority, Ms. Murru says the country had started expediting refugee processing efforts in September to interview as many cases as possible before the end of the year to reach the goal of 2,700 cases.

The Canadian embassy in Beirut is simultaneously processing another 4,400 privately sponsored cases as well as UNHCR-referred cases. "They've got 10 immigration officers aiming to interview up to 7,000 persons before the end of the year," she says. "And they've actually had to pull in immigration officers from other offices in order to ramp up the processing."

About 95 per cent of the cases submitted to resettlement countries by the UNHCR are successful. But there have been incidents of countries rejecting individual cases when a thorough background check pointed to past links with militant groups. And then there are the cases of refugees - surprising even to the most experienced of resettlement officers - who have been cleared for resettlement and not gone because leaving the region might mean they never return to Syria.

"We've had people days away from departure tell us they've changed their minds. They said they want to be able to go back to their homes in Syria one day," she says. "I've never seen this happen anywhere else [to] such an extent."

Ms. Murru, an Italian citizen, began working as a consultant for UNHCR in Zambia in the early 2000s, when she found herself involved in the resettlement of Rwandan refugees. Since then, she has helped resettle Liberians out of Sierra Leone, Togolese out of Benin, and Iraqis out of Syria and Jordan. Every war is a source of sad stories, but the crisis in Syria struck a personal chord with Ms. Murru. "I lived there, I knew what Syrians had," she says. "I have worked and loved the country from which these refugees have come."

She has never cried in an interview with a candidate. But when asked about a case that has remained with her in her 20 years with the UNHCR, she tearfully recalls the story of an Iraqi boy displaced during the 2003 war.

He had been kidnapped and tortured by Iraqi militias with an electric drill. "When I walked into the room, the entire family was around him, protecting him," she says. "He had such an angelic face."

No country had wanted to take the family. Ms. Murru pushed, and eventually, a Scandinavian country took them in. Years later, she still wonders what has become of him.

Sometimes refugees Ms. Murru helped resettle find a way back into her life. A Congolese couple recently messaged her on Facebook. "Do you remember us? We remember you."

Associated Graphic

Syrian refugees awaiting resettlement live in tents at a camp in a town in eastern Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.


Fight the battle of the bulge with prebiotics
Eating foods such as asparagus and bananas that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria is linked to a lower risk of weight gain
Tuesday, November 24, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L5

For many people, excess weight creeps on slowly. U.S. research, for example, indicates that, after age 20, most Americans put on one or two pounds each year.

Canadians, too, are getting heavier. Over the past 30 years, the number of overweight adults rose by 21 per cent and obesity jumped by 200 per cent, to 18 per cent from 6 per cent.

While the usual culprits - too much food, too little exercise - account for most weight gain, research published earlier this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that a diet lacking prebiotic-packed foods can also contribute to excess pounds over time.

Prebiotics are fibrous, non-digestible carbohydrates that, once consumed, make their way to the colon where they fuel the growth of beneficial, probiotic bacteria (e.g., bifiodobacteria and lactobacilli). Feeding probiotic bacteria in the gut is believed to promote better overall health.

Certain strains of probiotic bacteria are thought to to enhance the immune system, treat traveller's diarrhea, ease lactose intolerance, reduce the severity of inflammatory bowel disease and, possibly, lower the risk of colorectal cancer.

The idea that gut bacteria also play a role in weight control is being increasingly recognized by scientists.

The most common type of prebiotics are called fructans, carbohydrates found in artichokes, asparagus, bananas, chicory, dandelion root, garlic, jicama, leeks, onions and whole grains (barley, rye, wheat). Inulin, a fructan extracted from chicory root, is added to many food products such as breads, pastas (such as Catelli Smart Pasta), fruit juices and yogurt to boost fibre content.

Another member of the prebiotic family are galacto-oligosaccharides, or GOS, carbohydrates that occur naturally in breast milk and can also be produced from the milk sugar lactose. Fermented dairy products such as yogurt, buttermilk and kefir contain GOS prebiotics.

For the new study, Spanish researchers followed 8,569 normal weight adults, average age 37, for an average of nine years to evaluate the link between prebiotic consumption and the risk of becoming overweight.

Participants reported their body weight at the beginning of the study and every two years during the nine-year follow-up.

Consumption of fructans and GOS was measured at baseline and at study completion.

People with the highest intake of prebiotics - both fructans and GOS - were significantly less likely to become overweight over time than those who consumed the least, even after adjusting for diet and lifestyle factors related to weight gain.

This longitudinal study - one of the first to examine prebiotic intake and weight gain - suggests that eating more prebiotic-containing foods can mitigate adult weight gain, presumably by altering the composition of gut bacteria.

The study didn't collect stool samples from participants and, as a result, could not determine the composition of their gut microbiota, a collective term for the trillions of microbes that reside in our gut.

Even so, these results add to other research findings suggesting a connection between the foods you eat, your gut microbiota and body weight. Studies have shown that eating a diet low in fibre and high in fat and refined carbohydrates disrupts the makeup of gut bacteria in favour of weight gain.

When bacteria feed on prebiotics, compounds called shortchain fatty acids (SCFAs) are formed in the process. Certain SCFAs have been shown to increase the release of appetitesuppressing hormones in the gut and reduce calorie intake.

Studies conducted in obese rodents have demonstrated the ability of SCFAs to increase calorie-burning and improve insulin sensitivity.

Certainly, additional longitudinal studies are needed to confirm the role of prebiotic-rich foods in body-weight regulation. In the meantime, though, there's no reason not to add these nutritious foods to your diet. (Keep in mind, though, higher intakes of prebiotics may cause bloating and gas in certain people with irritable bowel syndrome, so add these foods gradually.)

Leslie Beck, a registered dietitian, is based at the Medisys clinic in Toronto.


To keep helpful gut bacteria flourishing, include these prebiotic foods in your diet. (Prebiotics are not destroyed by cooking.)

Asparagus: High in prebiotic carbohydrates called fructans, asparagus delivers plenty of potassium, vitamin A, vitamin K and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. It's also one of the best food sources of folate, a B vitamin that keeps DNA in cells in good repair. Eight asparagus spears contain almost half a day's worth of the vitamin (179 mcg). Adults need 400 mcg of folate per day. Add it to stir-fries, pasta dishes, risotto, soups, omelettes, frittatas and vegetable platters.

Jerusalem artichokes: Not truly artichokes, these small brown-skinned tubers are packed with fructans and potassium, a mineral that helps keep blood pressure in check. Prepare Jerusalem artichokes as you would parsnips.

Purée roasted artichokes with chicken or vegetable stock to make soup. Or add julienned slices of Jerusalem artichoke to salads and coleslaw.

Jicima: This inulin-containing root vegetable, cultivated in Central and South America, is a good source of fibre and vitamin C. It also offers small amounts of B vitamins and minerals. Pronounced "heekuh-muh," jicama looks a bit like a turnip, although the two vegetables aren't related. Its mild flavour and crisp texture make raw jicama a good addition to green salads, bean salads, salsas and crudités. It can also be added to stir-fries or sautéed on its own as a side dish.

Kefir: Kefir serves up a hefty does of probiotic cultures - typically three times the amount found in yogurt. It's also a good source of protein and calcium. Drink kefir on its own, pour it over cereal and granola, or blend it with fruit to make a smoothie. Choose an unflavoured product to reduce added sugars.

Leeks: A milder-tasting member of the onion family, leeks deliver prebiotics along with vitamin A, flavonoids and organosulphur compounds, phytochemicals thought to have anti-cancer properties. Toss finely chopped leeks into salads.

Add sliced leeks to omelettes and frittatas. Stir sautéed leeks into soups and stews for extra flavour.

Whole grains: Whole wheat (100 per cent), whole-grain rye and hulled (dehulled) barley are good sources of prebiotic fibres, protein, magnesium and manganese, a mineral that's needed for normal brain and nerve function and to regulate blood sugar. Serve a side of cooked wheat berries, bulgur (a whole grain wheat) or hulled barley as a change from rice or quinoa. When buying rye bread, look for rye berries, whole rye or rye meal on the ingredient list to be sure you're getting wholegrain rye.

Associated Graphic

In addition to being high in prebiotic fructans, asparagus delivers lots of potassium, vitamin A, vitamin K and phytochemicals.


Bright ideas for setting priorities
Aspirational young couple should consider a slightly conservative plan to achieve their goals
Special to The Globe and Mail
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B13

Not long into their first real jobs, Adam and Liz want to do everything at once: Buy a house, get married, travel, pay off his student loan, have children and save for retirement.

Where to start? He is 28, she is 24. Together they bring in $139,000 a year before tax.

Both have work pensions, his a defined-benefit government plan, hers a private-sector defined-contribution plan. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.

Weighed against their goals and aspirations, their savings look modest - $49,500 between them.

The house they want to buy in the next two or three years will cost in the range of $500,000. Their wedding will cost another $15,000.

Fortunately, they have kept a tight rein on their spending, so they have a surplus each month.

Should they use it to pay off their student loan, save for the down payment on their first home or save for retirement, they ask in an e-mail.

They also wonder how to invest their savings in the meantime - in a tax-free savings account, registered retirement savings plan, guaranteed investment certificate or bank savings account.

"Should we put all of our savings toward the house or put some to retirement?" Adam asks.

We asked Ross McShane, director of financial planning at McLarty & Co. Wealth Management Corp. in Ottawa, to look at the couple's situation.

What the expert says Adam and Liz are on solid footing, Mr. McShane says. They have good incomes and have been diligent in controlling expenses in favour of paying down their student loans and accumulating some savings.

They have a surplus of about $25,000 a year, which will accumulate to $75,000 over the next three years. That, plus their existing savings, would give them close to $125,000, enough to cover a $100,000 down payment and a $15,000 wedding.

Because Liz and Adam will need the money before long, the planner suggests they leave existing TFSA monies in a daily-interest savings account.

In the meantime, they should take some of that cash they have in the bank to pay down the student loan. "The loan is costing 5.2 per cent, and even though they receive a tax credit, the after-tax cost well exceeds the return they could achieve (at least on a guaranteed basis) if the funds were invested," Mr. McShane says.

With a lump-sum payment of $15,000 to $20,000 and regular monthly payments of $700, the loan would be paid off in less than three years.

Liz and Adam could put less than $100,000 or 20 per cent down on their house, but they would have to pay mortgage insurance. With 5 per cent down, for example, they would pay 3.6 per cent of the purchase price for insurance, an amount that would be added to the principal, the planner notes. "Keep in mind there will be closing costs and maybe some additional costs for blinds and appliances and so on," Mr. McShane says. "Given that many expect housing prices to retrench somewhat, I am inclined to play it conservatively by waiting until they have 20 per cent saved up," he adds.

The planner does not suggest the couple add to their RRSPs at this stage unless Adam's income (now $76,000 a year) surpasses $82,000, in which case a contribution would be prudent in order to put him back below that $82,000 mark (bottom of the 35-per-cent marginal tax bracket), he says.

Otherwise, they'd be better off carrying forward their RRSP contribution room to when their incomes are significantly higher and they enjoy a larger tax savings per dollar contributed.

As for retirement saving, "one step at a time here," Mr. McShane says. "They should focus on short term goals first, and besides, they are already contributing to pension plans."

They might consider buying a less expensive house. A $500,000 home with a $400,000 mortgage amortized over 25 years at 3 per cent a year would cost $1,895 a month, or $22,740 a year. Taxes, maintenance and utilities could add another $800 to $1,000 a month "and before you know it, your cost to carry the house is over $32,000 a year," the planner says.

As it is, they are paying $17,220 a year in rent, so while they would be building equity if they bought, their cash outflow would rise by $15,000 and cut into their surplus.

"Perhaps a less expensive home to start should be considered to give them some extra breathing room - especially important should they start to raise a family," Mr. McShane says. A $400,000 house with a 20-per-cent down payment of $80,000 would lower the mortgage to $320,000, "which translates into a monthly payment of $1,517 and likely has lower property taxes." To be safe, the couple should also budget for rising interest rates in future, he adds.

Once they buy the house, they will have to decide whether to pay down their mortgage first or contribute some of their surplus to the RRSPs and TFSAs, the planner says. This is a whole other discussion that would need to consider a variety of variables, including the cost of borrowing, taxable incomes and potential rates of return.

Want a free financial facelift? E-mail Some details may be changed to protect the privacy of the persons profiled.


The people: Adam, 28, and Liz, 24.

The problem: How to set priorities for the use of their earnings given their competing goals.

The plan: Pay off the student loan, save up a 20 per cent down payment for a house and don't be too concerned about saving for retirement yet.

The payoff: A clear financial road map for the next few years, to be revisited in future.

Monthly net income: $8,868

Assets: His TFSA $10,400; her TFSA $6,500; his cash in bank $6,400; her cash $16,200; RRSPs $10,000; her DC pension plan $288 (she just started contributing to it). Commuted value of his DB pension plan $35,743. Total: $85,531

Monthly disbursements: Rent $1,435; home insurance $40; food $770; clothing $150; group benefits $76; health care $82; professional $62; TV, cellphones, Internet $210; miscellaneous personal $186; entertainment, dining out $760; hobbies, activities $350; gifts, donations $50; travel $556; miscellaneous discretionary $190; transportation $600; loan $700; pension contributions $548. Total $6,765.

Surplus available for savings $2,103

Liabilities: His student loan at $43,000

Associated Graphic


Freud takes a back seat as Elektra gets real
Two new productions of Richard Strauss's 1907 version of the Greek tragedy take a more humanistic view of its struggling characters
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R10

When Richard Strauss was writing his opera Elektra in 1907, Freud had published his first important papers and expressionism was the new flavour in the visual and performing arts.

Those two facts have coloured productions of the opera ever since, with some directors focusing on psychopathology and others emphasizing the piece's lurid situations.

Two new productions of Elektra step back from the influence of Freud and the expressionists, toward what might be called a more humanistic view. Opéra de Montréal's first-ever Elektra (opening Saturday) and a Patrice Chéreau staging due at New York's Metropolitan Opera in April both seem to share a common and surprising watchword: compassion.

There's no doubt that everyone in the family of Agamemnon is severely messed up. His widow and murderer, Klytaemnestra, is tortured by her dreams, and his daughters, Elektra and Chrysothemis, are stuck in patterns that, as the latter says, are closer to death than life. We can hardly measure the damage done to his long-exiled son, Orest, because he shows up just in time to realize Elektra's obsessive need to see her mother killed. In modern parlance, they all need healing, which wasn't really a factor in the ancient Greek tellings of their story.

"I want to stress the humanity of the characters, most of whom are suffering," director Alain Gauthier says during a break in technical rehearsals for his OM production. "I think you can have compassion for all of them, even Klytaemnestra. You can make a monster out of her so easily, but for me it's even touching to see this fragile, suffering woman."

Chéreau, an influential French director who died after his Elektra's first appearance at Aix-enProvence two years ago, sounds a very similar theme in a video interview included with the DVD recorded during that opening run. The piece focuses on three strong women, he says, "and each is entitled to our understanding; each has her own reasons." They all find a sympathetic response in the music, he adds, which in each case, at some point, expresses their reality with tenderness.

Neither production leaves the opera in ancient Greece. Chéreau brought the piece forward to a non-specific modern setting, while Gauthier's Elektra unfolds near the time of composition - but not, he says, because he wants to comment on Strauss's time.

Most directors work from an initial concept, but in this case Gauthier began with a gigantic prop: a 25-foot statue of Agamemnon crouching and writhing at the moment of his murder. OM artistic director Michel Beaulac had commissioned the piece from Spanish sculptor Victor Ochoa, and asked Gauthier to build a production around it.

"They gave me an object to work with, and I had to make sense of that," Gauthier says. In one way, the sense was clear: "Agamemnon is the only character who is never on stage, yet it's all about him." The task of actually building a production around a huge inert object was something else, and became more complicated as the sculpture was fabricated.

"They had seven 3-D printers working non-stop for four months, making 3,000 little plastic pieces," Gauthier says. Those were put together into bigger chunks, to be assembled all together in Montreal. But when they were put together, it turned out that the big pieces had warped a little, and no longer fit together smoothly. Gauthier laughs when he recalls being told by telephone that instead of looking like a stone sculpture, it would have to look like welded metal.

"They were afraid I'd be like, 'Nooo!' but I said, 'Great, that's even better!' " he recalls. "It changed my whole way of putting the show on stage." The opera suddenly had a time period - the dawn of structural metal, the period of the Eiffel Tower - and the sculpture had a more urgent reason to be there, because Gauthier saw that Elektra, who spends her days obsessing over her father, had to be the sculptor.

"I like it when ideas come out of an error in the process," Gauthier says. When one of the pieces of the sculpture got lost, he decided that Elektra had not quite finished it, and would do so after her mother's killing. Otherwise, there's nothing else on stage, just the statue in a theatrical black box. For the rest, Gauthier says, "[Étienne Boucher's] lights are going to create the space, like in a rock show," with a fine watery vapour cast into the air to catch and magnify the light.

Chéreau's set design, by Richard Peduzzi, is almost a textbook realization of the kind of lean perpendicular stage architectures made by Adolphe Appia, a seminal Swiss stage designer from the early 20th century who also pioneered the expressive use of lighting. The tomb-like classical stillness of Peduzzi's setting gave Chéreau a pared-down space in which to work out the emotional transitions of the piece, which, as he says on the DVD, are constantly compressed by Strauss's 100minute score.

"I liked the way Patrice worked," says Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, who appeared as Chrysothemis in the production at Aix and will sing the role at the Met in April. "He was so interested in the relationships, very much like an acting director in terms of intention and focus."

You could argue that Strauss approached the piece in the same way. His music changes character drastically as it sounds the characters' different needs and fears.

That was seen as a weakness by some early critics, though Strauss didn't write a pastiche: The opera is tightly structured. As Michael Kennedy says in his biography of the composer, the opera is "not truly expressionist" music, in part because Strauss's extravagant harmonies and scorings all fit within a strictly tonal frame.

That frame will be presented in Montreal by Yannick NézetSéguin, and in New York by EsaPekka Salonen. Lise Lindstrom will sing the title role at OM, and Nina Stemme takes the part at the Met. In both places, it will be 100 minutes of hurting music, and a violent story told with compassion.

Opéra de Montréal's Elektra opens Nov. 21 at Place des Arts' Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier. The Metropolitan Opera's production opens at Lincoln Centre on April 14, and will be broadcast in theatres across Canada on April 30.

Associated Graphic

Alain Gauthier, who is directing Opéra de Montréal's Elektra, was challenged with building his production around a 25-foot statue of Agamemnon.


With Rousey's grim knockout, what's left of UFC?
Tuesday, November 17, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

A few moments after his meal ticket had been battered senseless, Ultimate Fighting Championship boss Dana White was cornered in a nearby hallway.

A reporter peppered White with variations on the theme of "surprise." Was he surprised at Ronda Rousey's tactics? Was he surprised she hadn't adapted mid-fight? Was he surprised at how things had ended, in a human pile on the canvas?

An ashen White said, "Everything about that fight was surprising."

This was the look of a man who's watching the foundation of his castle cave in. White's spent two decades building UFC.

After all that time, the edifice rested largely on Rousey's reputation. That can be rescued, but it will never be the same.

And thus, White has to start over.

Rousey is more than UFC's biggest star. Over the course of eighteen remarkable months, she'd become its raison d'être.

Through a combination of tactical dominance in the ring and playful charisma outside it, she'd cleansed the sport of its tawdriness.

UFC has spent its existence trying to rise above mixed martial arts' teeth-knocked-out-in-aparking-lot beginnings. Rousey was the first major star who both penetrated the wider sports consciousness and did so without seeming like a sociopath.

She had the back story and the sheen of vulnerability that draw people to great fighters. She doesn't have to play at being a real person in public life. It comes naturally to her. It's more of a skill than you'd imagine.

Every time a male MMA fighter blighted the entire discipline with his extracurriculars - Jon Jones nailed on a serious hitand-run charge, Jonathan 'War Machine' Koppenhaver accused of attempted murder - Rousey was the riposte. She gave UFC its dignity.

I met her earlier this year in a publisher's office in downtown Toronto. She was accompanied there by a bodyguard the width of a king-size bed stood on end.

"She's already had a couple of guys run up to her," he said. "I'd take them out, but she doesn't seem to mind. She's a nice lady."

That's what makes Rousey different from her colleagues, male and female. We can all agree she is a nice lady. Being a genuine fight star isn't just a function of talent. It must be mixed with that alluring push-pull emblemized by Muhammad Ali's public persona - dangerous and warm at the same time.

Rousey had it like few athletes I've ever met. She knew it, too, and enjoyed the back and forth. There is nothing more fetching than someone who appears to be having fun.

And it's impossible to fake.

You were already getting the sense that, at 28, she was nearing the end. She wanted to go out undefeated. She talked about that compulsively. The prefight crowing was getting more vulgar and intense. When Rousey refused to touch gloves with Holly Holm on Saturday night, you thought to yourself that this wasn't very like her. It was as if she was losing the taste for it, and had to wind herself up with imagined slights to get going.

There was an element of selfdestruction in how she fought Holm. Rousey's background is in judo. Her major weapon is the arm bar. Yet she insisted on standing and swinging at the rangier Holm, rather than take her to the mat. She was nailed square early, and fought most of the match in an apparent fog.

The final blows shredded her mouth to such an extent that she requires plastic surgery. That may be as big a problem as the loss itself.

Rousey has already begun transitioning into film. The last athlete who had as much potential in that regard was Dwayne Johnson. She'll play the lead in an upcoming remake of 1980s schlock-classic Road House. She's already big. She's on the verge of being huge.

It's not clear what Rousey makes to fight, but it probably isn't as much as you'd think - likely in the hundreds of thousands rather than millions. Her real earning potential lies in the promotional ancillaries, meaning her face is quite literally her fortune. So this would be a bad time to start picking up her first scars.

Historically speaking, fighters don't get better once they've been spectacularly defeated. At best, they tread water for a while. Why would Rousey want to do that? There is no way to add to her profile in the ring.

She's taken as much from this sport as is possible.

She could return for a rematch with Holm, but now she'd have to win. Another loss would turn her from the greatest of all time to a pretender, which spills over into all the rest of her businesses. In strict terms of risk-reward, the smart move is to retire now and begin the next phase.

Will she want to quit now? Almost certainly not. Doing the hard thing when there's an easier way is what separates elite competitors from the rest of us.

But Rousey isn't just an athlete any more. She's a one-woman financial ecosystem. There will be plenty of smart people now trying to push her beyond her roots in the ring.

She was hospitalized after the fight. Her only communication was a short Instagram message: "As I had mentioned before, I'm going to take a little bit of time, but I'll be back."

She doesn't say what she'll be "back" as.

Holm is also a great fighter, but she hasn't a scintilla of Rousey's expansive, made-for-thechat-show-circuit personality. On the men's side, it's all a bland selection of braying, excessively tattooed hooligans. A few may be more than that, but that's how they come off.

UFC won't lose its core audience, but the core isn't enough. To stretch beyond the backward-ball-cap crowd, it needs a crossover star. Rousey was all they had.

If she's done - and you're beginning to get the sense she may be - UFC isn't just damaged. It may be gut shot.

Follow me on Twitter: @cathalkelly

Associated Graphic

Ronda Rousey receives medical treatment after being defeated by Holly Holm in their UFC women's championship bout on Sunday in Melbourne, Australia.


Rather than play to her strengths, Ronda Rousey, right, insisted on standing and swinging at the rangier Holly Holm on Saturday.


St. Michael's Hospital fires senior executive who was implicated in York University fraud
Friday, November 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

St. Michael's Hospital has fired the senior executive overseeing its ambitious redevelopment after a Globe and Mail investigation found that he had previously been implicated in a fraud at a Toronto university and had ties to the president of the construction firm awarded the $300-million contract for the facility.

The 123-year-old hospital, which is in the early stages of having a 17-storey patient-care tower built, announced on Thursday it has terminated the employment of Vas Georgiou, the hospital's chief administrative officer, as part of an ongoing review by a team of lawyers and forensic auditors. Mr. Georgiou will receive no compensation under the terms of his departure, the hospital said. St. Michael's continues to review Mr. Georgiou's role in the bidding process - one that numerous sources have told The Globe was fraught with irregularities.

Although the hospital will not disclose precisely what prompted Mr. Georgiou's dismissal, its president, Bob Howard, said in a note to staff that the termination came about as a result of an internal probe based on "allegations raised by The Globe and Mail."

The Globe found that when Mr. Georgiou was hired in 2013 to steer the hospital through its ambitious revitalization, St. Michael's was unaware he had been dismissed less than a year earlier by his previous employer, Infrastructure Ontario, because of his involvement in a false invoice scheme at York University.

The Globe's investigation also found that during the period Mr. Georgiou was evaluating potential bidders for the St. Michael's contract in 2013, he was also working for two commercial real estate companies controlled by John Aquino, the president of Bondfield Construction, the firm eventually selected for the St. Michael's job. As an evaluator of potential bidders for the project, Mr. Georgiou was required to sign a declaration that requires him to disclose any "situation that may be reasonably construed as constituting an actual or potential conflict of interest."

Neither Mr. Georgiou nor his lawyer, Gavin Tighe, responded to requests for comment late Thursday afternoon. In previous statements, Mr. Georgiou has played down his role in the false invoice scheme at York, saying he did not personally profit from it, and that he co-operated with investigators. As for his commercial links to Mr. Aquino, he acknowledged he worked for companies Mr. Aquino presides over, but said any work he performed for them after starting his job at St. Michael's was to tie up "minor loose ends." Mr. Georgiou said he told a staffer at Infrastructure Ontario about his work for those companies and was advised it was not a conflict of interest.

Mr. Aquino has said the awarding of the St. Michael's contract to Bondfield has nothing to do with the work Mr. Georgiou performed for the real estate companies he controls. He has also said that the use of a third-party consultant in the awarding of the St. Michael's contract helped make his company's bid the "most vigorously vetted" in the history of Infrastructure Ontario, the Crown agency that oversees the construction contracts for major public sector projects.

The two-year bidding process for the St. Michael's contract was plagued by problems, numerous sources have said in interviews.

Several months into the request-for-proposals phase of the project, St. Michael's announced to bidders that it was capping the budget at $301-million, a price many considered difficult to meet given the complexities of the job: construction of the tower and extensive renovations to the existing site - all of which are to be done without disrupting patients.

Bondfield's larger rivals, PCL and EllisDon, said it was not possible to perform the work for this price, and submitted bids at least $100-million more than the cap, according to numerous sources.

Bondfield's bid was slightly less than $300-million, The Globe has learned.

Bondfield has defended its low price. In an interview in September, Bondfield vice-president Steven Aquino said: "Bottom line is, we submitted a proposal and we're very comfortable with the proposal that we submitted. ... We're very comfortable with our ability to complete the project on time and on budget."

But some officials at St. Michael's had concerns about Bondfield's vision for the space.

The vast spread between Bondfield's proposed price and bids of its competitors also raised questions about how Bondfield could price the job so differently.

All of this led to an impasse within the group of four senior evaluators: A senior Infrastructure Ontario official argued that Bondfield's bid was not compliant, while Mr. Georgiou pushed for Bondfield, sources close to the process said. In a statement, Mr. Georgiou said his position was to support "any bidder who was compliant with the design and technical specifications and phasing requirements, while also being the lowest price."

This forced the chief executive of Infrastructure Ontario, Bert Clark, and his counterpart at St. Michael's, Dr. Howard, to get involved - a move that Mr. Clark acknowledged in an interview "wouldn't be the norm" but was allowed.

A third-party engineering firm was enlisted to assess Bondfield's bid. It concluded that, with some modifications, it was compliant.

In January of this year, the hospital announced that Bondfield had been awarded the contract and the company broke ground on the new tower in April.

In September, Mr. Georgiou was placed on a leave of absence after The Globe inquired about what the hospital knew of his involvement in the fraud at York University. In 2011, Mr. Georgiou admitted to forensic auditors for York that he submitted three false invoices, worth a total of $65,000, on behalf of two construction companies owned by his family, for work that those companies had never performed.

The hospital and Infrastructure Ontario launched separate probes into why former officials at the Crown agency never disclosed to St. Michael's that the false invoices were the reason for Mr. Georgiou's 2012 termination.

Last month, Markham Stouffville Hospital terminated the employment of Suman Bahl, the senior executive who oversaw its redevelopment. The hospital launched a probe after receiving an anonymous complaint from a whistle-blower following The Globe's story.

Before joining Markham Stouffville in 2007, Ms. Bahl worked at St. Joseph's Health Centre. St. Joseph's has also launched a probe into maintenance contracts the hospital awarded to a company registered in the names of Mr. Georgiou's wife and inlaws and involved in the York invoice scheme.;;

Associated Graphic

Vas Georgiou

Saturday, November 21, 2015


A Nov. 13 article on St. Michael's Hospital redevelopment incorrectly said a third-party engineering firm was enlisted to assess Bondfield's bid and it concluded that, with some modifications, it was compliant. In fact, the initial bid by Bondfield Construction was deemed compliant by evaluators. As a matter of due diligence, a third-party engineering firm was enlisted to assess Bondfield's bid and the proposal moved forward.

Ottawa to miss deadline on asylum seekers
Security concerns to slow process as government also backs away from funding all 25,000 refugees
Wednesday, November 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

OTTAWA -- Justin Trudeau's government will miss its self-imposed deadline to fulfill a signature campaign promise on Syrian refugees, as the Liberals announced a slower approach Tuesday to bringing 25,000 government-assisted refugees to Canada.

It could take the government months, or as long as one year, to match the election pledge it made last fall.

Instead of the 25,000 taxpayersponsored refugees by Dec. 31, as Mr. Trudeau promised in dramatic fashion during the election, Ottawa will bring in 15,000 government-assisted asylum seekers and 10,000 refugees sponsored by individuals or groups by the end of February, 2016.

Security drove the decision.

The Liberals have decided to take more time to do screening of all applicants overseas rather than bringing them to Canada and leaving themselves open to a scenario where would-be refugees are rejected for security concerns but now on Canadian soil.

Immigration Minister John McCallum was unable to say precisely when the other 10,000 promised government-sponsored refugees might arrive in Canada, saying only this would be later in 2016.

"Canadians want us to do it right," Mr. McCallum told reporters on Tuesday. "So we have concluded that in order to do it right, in order to give a welcome that includes not just a smile but also a roof over their head and everything else that they need, it is better to take that additional time."

Tuesday's announcement wasn't without further controversy. Single men will only be admitted if they are accompanying their parents or are identified as members of the LGBT community, federal officials said.

All refugees, the government says, will be admitted into Canada as permanent residents.

That means they they will have been screened in countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey before flying into Canada.

The refugee promise, along with the plan to run three years of deficits to finance a massive infrastructure program, was a key part of the Liberal Party of Canada's election platform that helped to depict Mr. Trudeau as a bold and ambitious leader.

In particular, the vow that the federal government would sponsor, or cover the first year costs, of 25,000 new refugees was seen as a way to ease the financial burden on citizens and nongovernmental organizations for the humanitarian endeavour.

For the first year after a refugee arrives in Canada, private sponsors are obliged to cover settlement costs that work out to $12,600 for one individual - including money for furniture and household items and income support - or $27,000 for a family of four.

The Liberal government's plan, announced on Tuesday, leaves private sponsors - individuals or groups - liable to cover the first year's costs for a full 40 per cent of the Syrian refugees who will arrive in Canada by the end of February.

The government cited the need to complete security screening overseas as a reason for the slowdown in arrivals of refugees from what was promised.

"They need to keep their pledge [on government-assisted refugees]," said Alexandra Kotyk, project manager at Lifeline Syria, a refugee group.

Mr. McCallum said that welcoming 25,000 new Canadian "friends" - regardless of the detailed timeline - was proof of the country's generosity.

"It's a happy day and that's a happy outcome," Mr. McCallum said. "This is a national project that will involve all Canadians."

The cost to taxpayers over the next six years will be between $564-million and $678-million, with the bulk of the spending over the first two years.

Details about how this will unfold are vague, including precisely when the first planeload of refugees will arrive in December and the numbers of refugees that each province and city will welcome. Federal officials said the planes will land either in Toronto or Montreal, with Ottawa picking up transportation costs for both government and privately sponsored refugees.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall lauded Mr. Trudeau for abandoning a Dec. 31 deadline to bring all the promised refugees here, saying it was the right thing to do in the interests of more careful security screening abroad.

"I still don't believe there should be a specific deadline at all ... all the time that might be necessary to ensure security and successful settlement should be taken," Mr. Wall said.

The government insisted that all refugees will be screened for security and health purposes on foreign soil, either in Lebanon, Jordan or Turkey. Ottawa has sent 500 officials abroad to handle everything from security checks to screening.

In addition to personally interviewing all potential refugees, government officials will check fingerprint and iris scans against databases in Canada and the United States. All of the refugees will also undergo medical examinations and tests for diseases such as tuberculosis, and undergo ID checks before they enter Canada.

Officials declined to say how many applications were rejected on security grounds, saying only the acceptance rate was "very high."

The government's focus will be on admitting full families, women at risk and members of the LGBT community. Orphans will only be welcomed if they have family ties in Canada.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said that military bases can welcome up to 6,000 refugees, but the government said it will try to send the refugees straight into cities where they will settle.

He said that military planes are on standby to fly in the refugees, but the government will try to use cheaper commercial flights.

Canada has already received 102 Syrian refugees since Nov. 4, when the Liberal government was sworn in. More than 3,000 Syrian refugees have come to Canada since 2013.

For organizations such as the Canadian Red Cross, Tuesday's announcement is good news.

The delay removes the tight deadlines of trying to resettle so many people so quickly.

"This is a government decision today to say ... let's not create the pressure in terms of meeting this year's deadline," said Conrad Sauvé, the CEO of the Canadian Red Cross.

Mr. Sauvé says his organization had been preparing for a number of scenarios, including helping thousands of refugees in temporary housing. Screening them before they come into Canada makes the process of transition much smoother, he said.

"What we are seeing now is a lot more work done in Lebanon ... to avoid having them stay a long period of time in a temporary shelter before they go to the communities," he said.

Associated Graphic

Volunteers sort donated clothing for Syrian refugees at a theatre rehearsal space in Toronto on Tuesday.


CP makes bid for Norfolk Southern
$28-billion (U.S.) proposal aims to create transcontinental railway, but a deal would face tough regulatory scrutiny and other hurdles
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B1

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. has made an offer to join forces with Virginia-based Norfolk Southern Corp. in a bid to form the largest railway in North America.

The Calgary-based company took the unusual step of confirming the rumoured takeover talks in a press release that did not mention how much CP is willing to pay. CP sent Norfolk Southern a letter on Tuesday offering an undisclosed amount of stock and cash. "The ball is in their court," CP spokesman Martin Cej said.

Norfolk late Tuesday said it received an "unsolicited, low-premium, non-binding, highly conditional indication of interest" from CP to acquire the company for cash and shares valued at $94.94 (U.S.) per Norfolk share, or a total of about $28-billion (U.S.). That is less than a 10-per-cent premium over Norfolk's closing price Tuesday, it noted. Norfolk said it will "carefully evaluate and consider this indication of interest."

Buying Norfolk Southern would fulfill CP chief executive officer Hunter Harrison's dream of forming a railway with 53,000 kilometres of track and access to three coasts, including coveted ports in New York, New Jersey, Vancouver and the Gulf of Mexico. But the deal faces several hurdles.

Norfolk Southern is a much bigger company than CP, and has a reputation as a proud company with a strong corporate culture.

And any deal must win the approval of regulators in Canada and particularly the United States, which has a history of blocking big railway mergers.

In an attempt to fend off antitrust objections from shippers and regulators, Mr. Cej said the combined company would allow customers more freedom in choosing routes and offer greater access to rivals' networks with expanded access to interchange points.

"CP strongly believes that the combined railroad would offer unparalleled customer service and competitive rates that will support the success of the shippers and industries it serves, and satisfy the U.S. Surface Transportation Board and Canadian regulators," CP said.

"The proposal, which includes a sizable premium in cash and stock offered to Norfolk Southern shareholders, would result in a company with the potential for faster earnings growth than either CP or NS could achieve on their own, all the while maintaining a strong investment grade credit rating," CP said in a press release after the close of markets on Tuesday.

Norfolk Southern, which has a market value of $26-billion (U.S.) and 29,000 employees, operates in the eastern half of the United States.

CP, with a market value of $28-billion (Canadian) and 13,000 employees, has lines that run from the B.C. coast to Montreal, and south into parts of the U.S. Midwest.

Norfolk Southern did not immediately respond to an interview request.

The offer comes a little more than a year after CP tried and failed to merge with Norfolk Southern's eastern rival, CSX Corp. of Florida. Executives at CSX and other railways said they doubted the U.S. regulator, the Surface Transportation Board (STB), had any appetite for mergers, given the service and pricing complaints from miners, manufacturers and grain shippers that rely on North America's seven railways to reach markets.

Speaking on a conference call with analysts in April, Norfolk Southern president and now CEO James Squires said he didn't think rail mergers were a "good idea."

He said the regulatory approval process can be long and costly, and there are few efficiencies to be gained in an endto-end railway combination. He did, however, not entirely rule them out.

"We're obviously here to serve our shareholders, so there are no categorical answers in that regard," he said. "On the other hand, we do see significant challenges associated with further consolidation."

CP said a merged company would be able to skirt the heavily congested hub of Chicago, where the major railways hand over cars.

CP would also gain direct rail access to the cluster of oil refineries in the eastern United States.

"An efficient end-to-end freight shipment solution will also improve safety, reduce highway congestion, and allow the rail industry to play an even greater role in the revival and sustained recovery of the North American economy," said CP, adding it hopes Norfolk Southern gives the offer "due consideration."

CP chief operating officer Keith Creel, speaking at a transportation conference in Toronto earlier on Tuesday, said rising freight volumes, a growing economy and customer demands for better rail service through streamlined networks will drive mergers and help persuade the STB that bigger railways are good for everybody.

"When it comes to consolidation, it's not if, it's when," said Mr. Creel, 47. "So regardless what the naysayers say, there's only so many railroads. You are not going to build new railroads. The economy is dependent upon the railways.

Population is going to grow in the States. Population is going to grow in Canada.

"There is a need to move more stuff as the world evolves.

The highway systems between the two countries can't sustain it. It's got to go somewhere. It's going to go on the railroad."

Mr. Creel said support from customers and the takeover target is needed before any hypothetical deal could be approved by the STB, which in 2000 blocked a merger between Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Canadian National Railway Co.

The regulator responded to complaints from shippers about deteriorating service and higher freight rates by imposing new conditions on any merger, requiring that the rail companies demonstrate a deal would enhance - not merely preserve - competition.

"I think that if you were to get two railroads to agree, they had that same voice, that gives you the argument to go to the STB and say, 'Listen, this is pro-service, this is pro-competitive,' " Mr. Creel said.

"You've got customers onside.

You got some that are begging for service improvements.

You've got some that are begging for competitive options.

You've got some that are begging for more reach into particular networks for additional revenue streams.

"That's what it takes in my mind to get the deal done. Is it a lot of work? Is it going to be easy? No, it's not going to be easy. Nothing in life is easy."

CP (CP) Close: $184.68, up $1.43 Norfolk Southern (NSC) Close: $86.97 (U.S.), down $1.33

Associated Graphic


Deadly raid uncovers terrorist arsenal
Eight arrested, two killed, hundreds injured, 5,000 shots fired as police say they likely thwarted another attack
Thursday, November 19, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

ST. DENIS, FRANCE -- The 5,000 rounds fired in a ferocious predawn police raid in suburban Paris, described by local residents as sounding like a war, reduced an apartment harbouring suspected terrorists to rubble and left at least two extremists dead.

While the firefight marked a significant victory in French President François Hollande's anti-terrorist campaign, prosecutors and police would not confirm that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged mastermind of the Friday night Paris attacks, was killed.

Citing intelligence sources, the Washington Post said both Mr. Abaaoud and Salah Abdelslam, one of the Friday attackers who has been the subject of an international manhunt, were killed in the police assault.

Eight people were arrested during the operation. Paris prosecutor François Molins said that neither Mr. Abaaoud nor Mr. Abdelslam were among the eight.

"I cannot give you details about the identities of the suspects yet," Mr. Molins said during a press conference in Paris Wednesday evening.

"There are two people dead but it will take a bit longer to get the additional details, because the building had to be propped up because it was threatening to collapse."

Mr. Molins said police uncovered "a total war arsenal" in the third-floor apartment; the weapons may have been collected for another attack on Paris. "A new terrorist team was neutralized and all indications indicate that the squad was ready to strike," he said.

The standoff lasted seven hours as police were stumped by an armoured door and had to deploy snipers, drones and robots.

One young woman blew herself up with an explosive vest or belt during the raid. Gunfire and hand grenades killed a second terror suspect. Both bodies were virtually shredded during explosions, making a quick identification impossible.

The woman was identified in various media reports as Hasna Aitboulahcen, a cousin of Mr. Abaaoud. According to French television's iTélé, she had been under surveillance and was known to French intelligence to have "offered her services to commit terrorist attacks in France."

The St. Denis raid came five days after as many as eight terrorists - seven of whom died - killed 129 people in six attacks on Paris.

France intensified its air campaign against Islamic State targets in Syria in response to the attacks. IS (also known as ISIS and Daesh) took responsibility for the Paris slaughter and the downing of a Russian Metrojet plane on Oct. 31 over the Sinai.

Mr. Hollande said Wednesday that the air strikes would last "as long as necessary" and would be bolstered by the arrival of the Charles de Gaulle, the French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that is being deployed this week to the eastern Mediterranean.

The St. Denis raid was triggered by a tipoff from a source who told police that Mr. Abaaoud, a 27year-old Belgian of Moroccan origin, was believed to be in France; police had thought he was in Syria.

Another clue to the terrorists movements in and around Paris came from a mobile phone that was found in a garbage bin behind the Bataclan, the Paris concert hall where 89 people were killed. A text message, for an unknown recipient, on the phone said, "We're off and we're starting." Analysis of the phone's GPS led police to a hotel apartment in Alfortville, a suburb to the east of central Paris, which had been rented in Salah Abdelslam's name.

The raid, using elite French police, started about 4:20 a.m. on rue Corbillon, not far from the Gothic Basilica of St. Denis, the main tourist attraction in an otherwise dreary, poor suburb. St. Denis is only two kilometres from the Stade de France, which was attacked on Friday.

In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, the head of the tactical squad, Jean-Michel Fauvergue, said the apartment door had been reinforced and resisted his squad's explosive charge. Inside, there was also a bullet shield on wheels.

He said hundreds of shots were exchanged and the suspects threw grenades at his unit. A police dog was sent in but was shot.

A police sniper wounded one man who fired back with a Kalashnikov.

Ms. Aitboulahcen then fired at the police and blew herself up.

Mr. Fauvergue said the blast shattered the windows and sent body parts on cars outside.

He said the tactical squad threw about 20 flash grenades then tried to send in robots but they were blocked by the rubble. Then the squad tried to push cameras in, using poles poking through holes in the floor.

They realized that a body had fallen from the third to second floor. It couldn't be identified because a joist had fallen on it.

The St. Denis operation involved 110 tactical police officers. Local residents told The Globe and Mail that they were startled awake by the noise of a battle they said sounded like a "war."

Foysal Ahmed, 30, a Bangladeshi restaurant worker who has lived in St. Denis for several years, said, "We heard explosions, gunfire, just before 5 in the morning.

It was loud and I was frightened. I went in the bathroom to hide."

Residents said they heard half a dozen or more explosions. Apartment buildings near the raided apartment were evacuated and heavily armed police and soldiers patrolled the streets as helicopters circled overhead.

Five police officers were injured during the firefight and one civilian was injured.

On Wednesday, the French interior ministry said police searched 188 premises across France on Tuesday night, leading to 25 arrests and the seizure of 34 weapons. The searches are being conducted under state-of-emergency measures that give police extensive search, seizure and arrest powers. Since Friday, some 400 houses have been raided in France; 60 people have been detained.

The Health Ministry said that of the 352 injured in the attacks, most from Kalashnikov fire, 195 were still in hospital. Forty-one were in intensive care, three of whom were in critical condition.

The emergency services in Paris managed to cope well with the bullet injuries, even though most doctors rarely treat bullet wounds. Most hospitals in Paris receive only two or three patients a year with such wounds.

Associated Graphic

Residents are evacuated in St. Denis on Wednesday as heavily armed police raided an apartment harbouring extremists.


A forensics team of police search for evidence outside a building in the northern Paris suburb of St. Denis on Wednesday.


Friday, November 20, 2015


A Thursday headline on the police raid in Paris was not clear in stating that the "hundreds injured" referred to Friday's terrorist attacks and not to the police raid. In fact, five police officers and one civilian were injured during the firefight.

The Flats becomes Vancouver's pivot point
Old factories and warehouses now increasingly house galleries and studios as an industrial wasteland is activated by art
Monday, November 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L3

VANCOUVER -- The co-owners of Gallery Jones are storing art into just-carpeted racks, installing work on freshly painted (and built) walls, and emerging from weeks in construction mode as they prepare for their first opening in their new industrial-feel space in East Vancouver. There's a wholesale bakery next door, seamstresses working upstairs and across the street, barbedwire circles atop a chain-link fence surrounding an auto-collision-shop parking lot.

This is the Flats, an in-transition industrial neighbourhood just east of Vancouver's Olympic Village, home to a growing number of commercial galleries - and the future home of Emily Carr University of Art + Design, now under construction. To the west, condos continue to rise around Vancouver's Olympic Village. Up the hill and to the east, Ken Lum's Monument for East Vancouver (commonly called the "East Van Cross") glows some light into these dark, rainy November nights (or afternoons).

"This is Vancouver's contemporary-art district," says Gallery Jones co-owner Shane O'Brien, who relocated with his two partners after 11 years near Granville Island. "Where we were is becoming less and less of an arts area."

A few years ago, the city's commercial gallery district was headquartered on South Granville, a major shopping street that slopes down toward a bridge over False Creek to downtown. But with rents on the rise, galleries - in particular those showing contemporary art - began closing up their westside storefronts and moving east, where industrial warehouses with their wide-open spaces (and lower price per square foot) beckoned.

Once an industrial area that acted as a sort of psychological barrier between east and west, this neighbourhood has now been activated by art, creating an east-west connection - a pivot point is how Emily Carr president Ron Burnett puts it.

One catalyst for the cultural shift was the donation of False Creek Flats land by Finning - a major Caterpillar equipment dealer - in 2001 to four of the city's postsecondary institutions: Emily Carr, along with the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the British Columbia Institute of Technology, which together created the Centre for Digital Media.

The neighbourhood at the time had very little cultural life; there were certainly no galleries.

(The Western Front, a leading artist-run centre, is a few blocks away and up the hill.)

But a decade ago, Catriona Jeffries became a pioneer. The art she was showing was literally outgrowing her gallery on South Granville (now a hair salon); at one point, she punched through the roof for a Geoffrey Farmer installation. In 2005, she found an auto-parts warehouse and began renovations; she moved in in February, 2006.

"Ten years ago people could not believe that I would go east of Main Street and it was seen as extremely radical," she says.

Her new large, dynamic space showing internationally acclaimed artists was surrounded by auto-body shops, woodworking operations and large trucks hurtling through the neighbourhood. "It's changed around me."

In 2012, she got some company. Equinox Gallery left South Granville and relocated to a renovated warehouse that once housed tractors and large machinery. Equinox's new home is a stunner - large and airy and a destination - and the move signalled a shift in terms of the city's visual-arts cultural centre.

"Everybody thought there's nothing there. But it was quite the reverse. The impact was so profound," Burnett says.

Other galleries took notice.

"Obviously Catriona was the pioneer years before. But when Andy [Sylvester at Equinox] developed that space and experienced great traffic as a destination gallery, that was a very big draw for all of us," says Winsor Gallery's Jennifer Winsor.

Winsor Gallery left South Granville that same year - there's a Max Mara store there now - taking on a too-big space because it did not want to let the opportunity slip. This fall, it announced that it would colocate with Gallery Jones. The space, formerly occupied entirely by Winsor Gallery, has been converted into two separate but adjoining galleries.

This weekend, the two galleries held their first joint opening since the co-location. On that same stretch of East 1st, Jeffries opened a big Valérie Blass show.

There's also an opening at Monte Clark nearby. It makes for one dynamic art crawl.

There is certainly still art to be bought on South Granville - home to Heffel Fine Art among others. But it's a High Street experience. A few kilometres east the Flats have transformed into the city's contemporary-art district - still somewhat gritty, with large gallery spaces on industrial streets; no Anthropologie, no Restoration Hardware.

You might pass by a Brink's depot or a Midas Muffler.

"I think it's really gained a fabulous momentum in the last year. We've got Emily Carr moving in and even the [Vancouver Art Gallery's new] location can be viewed as an extension of our location," Winsor says.

"There's not a smattering of art galleries; it's becoming quite a densely populated area, which works for everybody."

The biggest change in the neighbourhood is to come, of course, with the opening of the new Emily Carr campus, scheduled for September, 2017. Burnett anticipates a great synergy between the university and the commercial galleries that will surround it; he points out that many of the galleries show Emily Carr grads.

"My belief is the Flats are on the edge of exploding in terms of use. We've already provoked a lot of change," he says, noting the condos that are going up - and plans for a SkyTrain station nearby.

Emily Carr is planning to produce a series of maps that will take students and visitors on a sort of culture walk in the neighbourhood - connecting nearby Science World, Emily Carr and the galleries of the Flats.

And Burnett has another dream: to build a High Linetype park over the train tracks connecting the neighbourhood with False Creek. He talks up the idea at every opportunity with officials from the city, potential funders - anyone who might be able to help realize what he says could be a profound connector.

"My ultimate hope is that it will be a real cultural precinct," he says. "That has always been the vision."

Associated Graphic

Jennifer Winsor, left, owner of Winsor Gallery, and David Chaperon, co-owner of Gallery Jones, are now Flats mates.


Banderas wants to keep digging deeper
Friday, November 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R2

It was as close to the real thing as Antonio Banderas ever wanted to be. For his new film The 33 - based on the true story of the Chilean mine collapse that riveted the world in 2010, with 33 men trapped 200 storeys below the earth for 69 days - the underground scenes were shot in two active Colombian salt mines.

"It was miserable," says Banderas, who plays "Super" Mario Sepulveda, the miners' de facto leader, who persuaded them to ration their food and never give up hope. "The conditions were the most far away that you can imagine from the glamour of Hollywood."

In one mine, the location was a 10-minute walk in, 400 metres down; in the other, the crew had to drive down for more than a kilometre. The environment in the deep mine was "way more aggressive" than Banderas imagined. The air was toxic with methane gas. The crew had to take extra precautions with electrical power. The heavy machinery kicked up grit, which coated the actors' skin and clogged their mouths and noses. Because the tunnels were narrow, only one car could go in or out at a time.

As a result, the cast and crew stayed below for much of the 14hour shooting days.

As well, the actors were on strict diets, to replicate the miners' state of near-starvation. And though the salt mines were freezing cold, the cast had to act hot - to strip down and slick themselves with "sweat" - because in the actual collapse temperatures were in the 30s.

"Eventually, someone would get dizzy and have to go out to breathe clean air," Banderas says.

"After a while we were all sick, but we had to continue working.

As I said, miserable." He laughs.

"But it added an immense amount of realism. If we would have shot this in a studio, where you could finish a scene, go to your trailer, put on the television and drink a Coca-Cola, the movie wouldn't have felt the same."

Talking by phone to Banderas, 55, is like having a jungle cat purring in your ear. So insinuating is his voice that when he appeared on Stephen Colbert's show last week, Colbert made him cold-read phrases to prove that Banderas could make even the most banal sentence sound sexy. "Do you have these khakis with pleats?" Banderas murmured seductively. "A lot of people need pleats in their khakis after that," Colbert cracked.

It's been almost 25 years since Banderas was the beautiful young muse to Pedro Almodovar, little known outside his native Spain, whom Madonna tried to woo in her documentary Truth or Dare. He made a smooth transition to American films, playing, among many other roles, a beautiful monster in Interview with the Vampire, the beautiful lover of Tom Hanks in Philadelphia and a beautiful swashbuckler in The Mask of Zorro. Wisely, he sent up his sexiness in the Spy Kids and Shrek franchises (purring as an actual cat, Puss in Boots, in the latter). He did a Tony-nominated spin on Broadway in the musical Nine, and directed two films: Crazy in Alabama, with his then-wife, the actress Melanie Griffith; and the Spanish-language film Summer Rain.

Griffith and Banderas divorced in 2014 after 19 years together.

He's still processing it - "One step at a time," he says. "I'm a bit more analytic, analyzing myself.

But I have contact with my exwife and our daughter [Stella, 19]. Things are pretty normal. I'm content. Happy is too strong of a word. But confronting life with joy and curiosity."

He splits his time between London and New York, and his current goal is to work less as an actor, "but to work better," he says. "Be more selective. I'm thinking that the thing for which I will be remembered has not been done yet." He's writing two scripts that he wants to direct, "which have to do with my perception of the time in which I am living, and my vision of that," he says.

"We are living in a very confusing time," he goes on. "We've all become suspicious of what 'the other' is doing, though we don't know what exactly it is. We're living in an almost post-democratic era, in which we don't know if the people we voted for are the ones ruling the world, or we are ruled by corporations who are not accountable. I want my work as an artist to reflect some of this."

In one of his scripts, an African boy seeking refuge in Europe washes up on a beach in Spain, and an American woman who owns a holiday home there takes him in. "So it's a love story between two people who don't have anything to do with each other - age, religion, culture, politics, country, language," Banderas says. "But still they need each other. I think it could be interesting. Immigration is the huge issue of our day. What we are seeing these days in Europe is horrendous - 350,000 people trying to escape conflict, and suffering, because of the incapacity that well-developed countries have to deal with the problem. It's disgusting."

That's partly why the message of The 33 seems so relevant to Banderas. Before and during filming, he became close to Sepulveda, who consulted on the production and worked with extras at the recreated Camp Hope, the impromptu tent city where the miners' families kept vigil. (Many of the extras had lived in the real camp.) "I am no Zorro," Sepulveda told him. "I travel through life with my miseries and my graces, and I want to be portrayed like that."

Sepulveda's example drove home for Banderas why the miners' story so riveted the world.

"We take life for granted," he says. "It's not until we confront face-to-face the only certainty we have in life, which is death, that we appreciate life for what it is.

The simplest things are the most important ones: the food you need to survive, and the love of the people around you. If you have the heart of the people you love, everything else disappears."

Associated Graphic

Antonio Banderas, right, portrays Mario Sepulveda, the de facto leader of miners trapped in a Chilean mine for 69 days, in the new film The 33.

Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F8

Given that Islamic State is a brutal, repugnant terrorist organization responsible for innumerable deaths and that the position offers no remuneration, I was surprised to see how many people jumped at the chance to work for it, but they did.

It was as if, in killing 129 people in Paris, the group also known as ISIL put up banner ads: Are You Looking to Work From Home? Want Flexible Hours and a Dreary New Non-Employment Opportunity? Want to be Your Own Boss? But Short of That, Are You Content to do the Bidding of Some of the Most Malignant Specimens of Humanity on Earth?

Here's How! Did the clown who allegedly attacked a Muslim woman as she picked up her children from a Toronto school on Monday earn some kind of ISIL-reward points for his efforts? I don't imagine he was concerned that his actions threaten to make thousands of Canadians worry about fulfilling this casual, sometimes happy parental obligation, but did he at least anticipate how much that story would play in the ISIL-sympathetic corners of social media? It must have been like a new Adele song dropped.

Did the man actually dressed as an evil comicbook clown who was arrested Thursday in Montreal for allegedly threatening to kill one Muslim person a week get a chance to win a trip to Hawaii?

It seems fair that these guys should get something from the killers they abetted; these amateur ISIL-recruitment officers were, after all, doing exactly what ISIL wants them to do.

Those suicide bombers in Paris and Beirut were loss leaders for ISIL, expended to draw attention to the enterprise and bring people in, and every attack on a Muslim or a mosque is like a goddamn Super Bowl ad for extremism.

The message ISIL wants broadcast is that Muslims will never be welcome anywhere but the "state" ISIL works to paint as a necessary Muslim homeland.

Essentially, dozens of recruitment posters were printed this week, all helping to bolster ISIL's claim that Muslims cannot live among non-Muslims, despite what a walk around my neighbourhood and many other wonderful neighbourhoods around the world proves.

Also working overtime for ISIL's PR machine this week was former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and current senior editor at The Atlantic, David Frum. Despite the fact it appears that none of the people involved in the Paris massacre were Syrian refugees (statistically, refugees are among the groups least likely to commit acts of terror), Mr. Frum tweeted: "We must accept these peace-loving refugees from ISIS or else they will get very angry and try to kill us."

What was the thought process there, Mr. Frum?

"Good morning, I helped to provide justification for the Iraq war but I still don't have quite enough blood on my hands, so I'd like to take a moment to characterize an entire nation of people as terrorists, thereby helping to ensure that the most vulnerable among them will suffer"? Were you simply constrained by Twitter's character limit there, Mr. Frum? Basic human decency and professionalism were clearly not issues for you.

Mr. Frum's tweet may literally be the worst joke ever made, and it would be even if it didn't spread just the kind of disinformation that actual ISIL murderers labour to disseminate.

What he should know, or admit to knowing, is that ISIL is not overly keen on Syrians escaping Syria. The optics are bad.

If you're trying to position yourself globally as a utopian caliphate, Muslims running away from you as fast as they possibly can at grave risk to their lives is seriously bad press.

Muslims fleeing, not embracing you as an even marginally better alternative to the government that won't stop bombing them, does not look good, and ISIL is acutely aware of this; no one wants would-be Syrian refugees kept in Syria more than does ISIL.

David Frum, among others, appears happy to help them out. David Frum: Unpaid Intern of The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

There's method to ISIL's macabre dramaturgy.

They want to be depicted as the authentic Muslims, as some evil mystical empire with whom the West is at war, and volunteers queue up to help them.

In reality, ISIL's progeny is recruited more at the malls than at the mosques and, in both their youthful demographic and their disaffection distorted into a kind of grotesque idealism, the recruits can seem more like murderous groupies than anything else.

In mentality and, to a certain extent, military capability, ISIL is more massive Manson family than major martial force.

Their lifeblood is the gratuitous message amplification so many proffer.

Big ISIL shout-out to Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, as well, for helping to stigmatize Syrian refugees and for suggesting that the appropriate response to terrorist intimidation tactics is to drop everything and be intimidated.

That's exactly what his calls for additional security screening of Syrian refugees on top of the measures already in place do - measures that Michel Coulombe, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, this week called "robust ... and appropriate."

The grassroots efforts on ISIL's behalf should not be overlooked this week, either; every vile, racist tweet sent is like a bake sale held on ISIL's behalf; and, speaking of sales, Sun TV detritus YouTube channel, Rebel TV, is offering blackand-white, very much ISIL-on-brand "Fuck ISIS" hats, T-shirts and coffee mugs.

This Christmas, Rebel TV wants you to say it with massacre merch.

Former Sun TV personality Ezra Levant hightailed it to Paris this week to whine that its citizens continue, in the aftermath of last week's horror, to be philosophical and resolutely secular, and to drink wine in the cafés. Why must they be so French?

Mr. Levant, disappointed rage-tourist and unofficial ambassador for the ISIL agenda, did not seem to like the fact that the attacks did not bring Paris to its knees. He is perturbed by your joie de vivre, France, by your determination to not let terrorists change you into a vicious, angry, funhouse mirror of your attackers.

President François Hollande announced the country will accept 30,000 refugees as planned.

Vive la France, and, terrorism dilettantes, go find meaningful employment.

The organization he has ruled for years is pushing him aside, yet Blatter still sees a place for himself at the top of world soccer
Tuesday, November 24, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

A couple of weeks ago, suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter was admitted to hospital with what was described as a "small emotional breakdown."

In retrospect, it's become a little more severe.

According to Blatter, he was "close to dying."

"I was between the angels who were singing and the devil who was lighting the fire, but it was the angels who sang," Blatter said in a recent interview with Swiss television.

Yes, this is the way Sepp Blatter actually talks. He's that cousin of yours who insists on reading excerpts of his unpublished novel on poker night. And, of course, it's written entirely in verse.

A few years ago, when his troubles were just beginning, Blatter swanned in to open the 2011 Women's World Cup in Germany. The cops were onto his Caribbean bagman, Jack Warner. The money trail would eventually wind back to Blatter's top lieutenants, ending in charges and extraditions.

As a man whose survival instinct might qualify as a mutant superpower, Blatter needed something clean and unimpeachable to latch on to. Gender equality seemed to be a smart bet. He did not exactly hit an egalitarian note when he arrived at the first news conference in a helicopter.

While a bunch of women sat alongside him silently, Blatter patiently explained why soccer was "feminine." He droned on in a variety of English so ornate, the transcription ought to have been printed on rose-scented paper.

"Let a woman play their game and let them play in the most attractive manner when they use their personal and genetic qualities, which are the elegance and dancing," Blatter said at one point.

I remember that line pretty well. It stopped time.

One of the women alongside him on stage - FIFA deputy-director Tatjana Haenni - turned, leaned forward slowly and hit Blatter with a look so withering I'm pretty sure he was close to dying then, too.

You realized in that moment that not everyone in this man's life treated his every utterance, no matter how silly, as heaven-sent brilliance. No one cared enough to tell him, "If you want to lay it on this thick, you'll need a bigger trowel." People in the audience were sitting there slack-jawed, giving each other "Is this really happening?" looks. It was like watching a dog juggle. Blatter was oblivious.

His mood darkened when former player Steffi Jones promised to do everything she could to prevent Blatter from being booed at the opening match. The boss visibly flinched. This was a little too much straight talk for him.

Jones needn't have worried. Blatter skipped the formal ceremonies.

What consistently amazes about Blatter is how much dignity he will trade to keep his place at the high table. He had one foot in the metaphoric grave back then (when a local journalist asked him a specific question about corruption, the news conference was abruptly ended). It didn't slow his crooked roll in the least. You admired his imperviousness to reality, if little else.

It's getting terribly desperate now.

As Blatter pulls out the near-death-experience card, FIFA has finally signalled that it wants him out, and for good.

Over the weekend, the governing body's investigative arm - so often used by Blatter to lay down a protective smokescreen - recommended that he be sanctioned along with his former ally/former bitter enemy/current friend-of-convenience, UEFA boss Michel Platini.

At issue is a $2-million payment made by FIFA, through Blatter, to Platini in 2011. The pair contends this was payment for advisory work done by Platini from 19982002, agreed to by "oral contract."

This despite the fact Platini drew a $400,000 yearly salary during that time.

It's just a coincidence that it was delivered shortly after Platini agreed to withdraw as a candidate from a FIFA presidential election, allowing Blatter to run unopposed.

That's one explanation. It's not a good one, but it's an explanation.

On Monday, the probe was passed on to a judge, signalling the beginning of formal proceedings of censure. They will take place next month, and almost certainly end in multiyear bans for both men.

It isn't just a legal reality. It's become more serious than that.

It's a public-relations matter. FIFA can no longer conduct regular business, what with all the snickering in the background. Nobody likes being laughed at. The superrich like it least of all. So it's time for Blatter to go.

Having never accepted that his time is ending (despite already quitting!), Blatter is in full media flail. The maudlin appeals for clemency coincide with a fairly outrageous Plan B. A year ago, Blatter was at war with Platini, his likeliest successor. Now he's trying to sneak back into the top office as his éminence grise.

"Platini is an honest man," Blatter said in that same Swiss interview. "If he comes back, he will be elected [as FIFA president]. And then, [if] he comes back, I will return, too."

Every time you stop to think that Blatter has gone too far, he's busily going further still.

Getting rid of him won't change anything at FIFA. He'll be replaced by someone less compromised and equally pliant. The real villains are dozens of anonymous and interchangeable voting delegates who spend their lives with hands out, selling World Cup concessions under the table to kleptocracies. As long as people are desperate to get a bit of that World Cup shine, there will be opportunists willing to fleece them.

Blatter's sin was allowing them to run amok. He didn't care about making money for himself. He wanted to be the guy up front giving the speeches and receiving the awards. He wanted to be loved.

Nobody loves him any more.

After decades spent surrounded by sycophants and enablers, nobody cares in the least how he is feeling. Imagine spending your life in the throne room, then waking up one day in the stables. In its way, it's tragic.

Seen in that light, maybe he's not making this up. Maybe the thought of spending the rest of his life being ignored by all the people who once hung on his every word really is killing Sepp Blatter.

Follow me on Twitter: @cathalkelly

The fan experience is about to change
People won't stop going, but their acts of defiance in the face of violent extremism will have to be protected by much tighter stadium security
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1

HDI Arena, Hanover, Germany, November 17, 2015 Wembley Stadium, London, England, November 17, 2015

The function of sports in the age of modern terror is as a sort of reset button.

Some days after an atrocity, we come together in arenas to signal that we haven't been cowed. The players and coaches - our cultural idols - speak on our behalves. We sing the songs, stand in silent commemoration and embrace our rivals in a show of common purpose. It's a powerful and comforting reminder that we're still here.

In the years since 9/11, every major sport has served its time in that symbolic brushing away of fear. They tried it again on Tuesday. It didn't work quite so well this time.

The centrepiece of the attacks on Paris was a failed bomb incursion into the Stade de France.

Only four days later, it appears the terrorists contemplated - and perhaps came close to executing - the same sort of plot at Tuesday's Germany-Netherlands friendly in Hanover. Ninety minutes before kickoff, fans already inside the stadium were told via a public announcement to leave "quickly." Once outside, they found trains cancelled. They were urged to move away from the stadium on foot.

Alerts began setting off across the city - subways were halted; the main train station was sealed; a concert in another stadium was also cancelled. Initial reports - nearly always unreliable - suggested there was one bomb inside the arena and another outside.

Two-and-a-half hours later, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere gave a news conference in which he confirmed a "concrete threat" against the stadium. The tipoff was provided by a foreign intelligence service. De Maiziere refused to give any details of the danger for fear of "unsettling" people.

You understand his sentiment, but one presumes people were already unsettled. Many will remain unsettled for the foreseeable future. Hanover signals a shift in our collective coping patterns. This time, the threat of violence would not be wished away by a show of sporting togetherness.

"It's a sad day for Germany," de Maiziere said.

"This game was supposed to be a show of unity against terrorism."

Across the water, on what was supposed to be the evening's main stage, France played England at Wembley Stadium in London.

The teams mingled, linking arms. The crowd sang Le Marseillaise, as they had been urged to do. There was a pristine moment of silence. Here was the uplifting defiance Europe had been hoping to exhibit.

As it was going on, events in Hanover were unfolding, rendering the whole show somehow quaint. It seemed like a naive reminder of a different time, only a few days ago.

On Sunday morning, Jacques Lambert, head organizer of Euro 2016, was still speaking in the familiar patterns of public officials following any violent tragedy.

"To ask questions about the cancellation of Euro 2016 is to play into the hands of the terrorists," Lambert said.

It's a statement both true and facile. It's all well and good to soldier on as if nothing is happening as long you have a reasonable assurance that nothing is actually going to happen. If the French government has any substantive doubts about its ability to protect hundreds of thousands of soccer fans for a month next June and July, it would be dangerously irresponsible not to ask the questions Lambert waves away.

Depending on how close the extremists got to pulling it off in Hanover, expect a shift in tone in the compulsory "giving in to terrorism" rhetoric over the coming weeks. It may begin to seem more sensible than cowardly, at least as it applies to offering up massive, publicly scheduled targets.

This is not to suggest the tournament should be cancelled.

That wouldn't be showing a white flag. It'd be waving a red one - "Come and get us, because we'll fold up the tent and call off the show any time you can manage to sneak a few suicidal thugs past the border."

What it is suggesting is that we have to begin radically rethinking the way such tournaments are staged. You can no longer do Fan Zones. You can't erect screens and invite people to watch in huge bunches. You can't let visitors sleep in train stations. You have to give up on the shiny, happy era of Big Tournament policing. Next summer during Euro, Paris will be an armed camp.

From now on, these events are no longer primarily about sports, with a strong supplementary onus on safety. They're about intelligence gathering, risk prevention and military readiness. The security machine that used to operate behind-thescenes now comes jarringly into front-of-stage focus.

For now, what constitutes a successful Euro, World Cup or Olympic Games is no longer a beautiful spectacle. It's getting everyone through it alive.

In its actions over the past week, the Islamic State and its adherents have shown us their ideal victim - the western sports fan.

People attending games combine the group's twin obsessions with the flaunting of fun - our so-called "decadence" - and the celebration of national identity.

Our enemies understand that no bomb in a public square, train station or concert hall comes freighted with so much symbolic dread as one lit off in a sold-out arena.

If they are ever able to hit us squarely in that place, they will end - at least temporarily - our love of being in a crowd.

They won't be able to stop the games. It's too big a business.

But stadiums will become like airports. Full screenings beforehand, rather than the quick patdowns we've gotten used to. All threats will become credible, by virtue of being threats. Cops everywhere. Extended security perimeters. Escape routes. A shift to a new, high-level anxiety at every major event.

There will still be sports after a major terror attack. There must.

But they won't be primarily celebrations any more. If the worstcase scenario ever comes to pass, we'll know in its aftermath what a true act of defiance looks like.

Follow me on Twitter: @cathalkelly

Associated Graphic

While the threatened Germany-Netherlands game was cancelled, top, England and France stood together in London, above.


Recent spate of hate crimes rattles Muslim community
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

Teenage Muslim girls at a north Toronto mosque have a new rule this week: Don't walk alone to Islamic night school. And whatever you do, don't jaywalk - you don't want to give drivers any excuses, cautioned Aleemuddin Syed, director of Darul Khair Islamic Centre.

"You can't read the person's mind," he told The Globe and Mail. "He could hit her."

The warnings came after the Islamic State's co-ordinated killings in Paris and an ensuing spate of anti-Muslim hate crimes in Canada. The incidents this week include the burning of a mosque in Peterborough, Ont., and racist graffiti and many reported verbal encounters across the country, leading Muslim and police groups to offer safety advice.

Mr. Syed's mosque saw one of the most violent incidents. A 31year-old mother who attends the Darul Khair mosque was picking up her five-year-old from school on Monday when she was approached by two male strangers and viciously beaten. Kicks to her stomach left her with heavy bruising and possible internal bleeding.

The assailants also tore off the woman's hijab and robbed her. According to the victim's brother, they told her, "You terrorist, you don't belong here."

Police say the incident appears to be "motivated by hate."

Anti-Muslim crimes have been on the rise in Canada for the past few years. Several Muslim Canadians said Tuesday that, despite the events of this week, such incidents still feel rare. But for some, they have shaken a sense of everyday safety for the first time.

"It came as a very big shock," said Owais, the older brother of the beating victim. "Forty years here, never heard about anything like this."

The woman, whose name has not been made public, grew up riding her bike around the Flemingdon Park neighbourhood, where she still lives. Every day around 3 p.m., she picks her older son up from the school that she attended as a child, said her brother.

"We were born and raised here, so when people say, 'Go back to your country,' well, unfortunately, they don't realize that this is our country. We are proud Canadians," he said.

When their family moved from India more than four decades ago, they were some of the first Muslims in the area and were initially harassed, said Owais, who didn't want his last name published because of safety concerns.

He remembers walking to kindergarten with his own mother, who wears a hijab, while older children threw eggs at her, he said.

In the 25 years since, however, the neighbourhood has become a place of "overwhelming" mutual support, he said.

When he first saw his normally outgoing sister at the hospital, she wouldn't stop crying, he said.

"She goes, 'They just beat me, they just beat me.' That's all she kept saying," he said.

On Tuesday, she told him she couldn't stop mentally reliving the attack. Neither of her children witnessed it, but her five-year-old saw her taken away on a stretcher, and the three-year-old was so upset Tuesday he wouldn't eat, their uncle said. "It's a lot of damage for a stupid act," he said.

"Hopefully these guys get apprehended really quick."

Police told media the suspects were two white men, one about 30 years old wearing a white and grey shirt, and the other wearing a white hooded sweatshirt.

On Tuesday, dozens of mothers wearing hijabs talked outside the school. Sara Ahmed said news of the attack was "so scary," but parents were determined to see it as an anomaly by someone "who does not belong here."

"We are a peaceful religion, and we are not going to treat them like the way they treat us," she said.

A letter sent home by the school principal offered ideas for "street-proofing" children, such as having them walk with a buddy.

Similar tips have been disseminated across Canada. The Muslim Council of Greater Hamilton asked people with a beard, prayer cap or hijab to walk in groups.

On its Facebook page, the Muslims of Calgary group suggested doing extra volunteer work through a local service. "An activity as simple as shovelling your neighbour's sidewalk can have a huge impact to neutralize the negative media publicity and stereotyping," the group advised.

Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau issued a public statement on Tuesday encouraging members of the Muslim community to call 911 if they ever feel threatened. "We understand that these recent global events may be very challenging for members of our communities, and that this incident may exacerbate these challenges and even be an opportunity for hatred to be misdirected," he wrote.

Two national Muslim groups asked Canadians to unite against the attacks. "Such hateful and cowardly acts are abhorrent to all Canadians who stand united in condemning xenophobia and hatred," said Ihsaan Gardee, the director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims.

"It is exactly this type of behaviour that extremist groups seek to provoke," said a statement from the Muslim Association of Canada.

The past few days have also seen shows of support. Muslim leaders in Peterborough asked the public to stop fundraising after receiving more than $110,000 to help rebuild their mosque after a fire on Saturday that was also classified as a hate crime. The repairs will only cost $80,000, said the Kawartha Muslim Religious Association.

From 2012 to 2013, hate crimes against most minority groups decreased, but those against Muslims increased, according to Statistics Canada. Muslims are also unusually likely to see attacks against women, the agency noted.

The threats feel more common now than after 9/11, said Muhammad Asif, the imam of Darul Khair. One reason, he said, may be the Islamic State's self-picked name - ISIS - which stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

"I think in the media it says 'Muslim, Muslim, Muslim,' so people go thinking all Muslims are like this," Mr. Asif said. "After 9/11, they're saying 'al-Qaeda, alQaeda,' and the word 'Muslim' never comes into it."

Associated Graphic

Sara Ahmed, pictured outside Grenoble Public School after pricking up her 12-year-old son, says parents are determined to see a recent attack as an anomaly.


Police search the Molenbeek district, known as the 'jihadi capital of Europe,' for alleged plotters of Paris carnage
Tuesday, November 17, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A10

BRUSSELS -- The investigation into the attacks on the glittering heart of Paris arrived Monday in a gritty appendage of Brussels, as heavily armed police sealed off several blocks of the district of Molenbeek, the last known address of several alleged key plotters of last week's carnage.

After a prolonged siege that saw several blocks of the area cordoned off for hours - and more than a few erroneous media reports - Belgian police said they had not captured 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam, the suspected "eighth attacker" who is believed to be in Belgium but remains at large following the Paris attacks that left 129 people dead and more than 350 wounded. Mr.

Abdeslam's older brother, Ibrahim, has been identified as a suicide bomber who blew himself up on Paris's Boulevard Voltaire after taking part in the massacre at the Bataclan concert hall.

The area was home not only to the Abdeslam brothers (a third brother, Mohammed, was among seven people taken into custody on Saturday, but released without charge on Monday) but also Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the man named by French intelligence officials on Monday as the suspected mastermind of the Paris plot. Mr. Abaaoud is believed to now reside in an Islamic Statecontrolled part of eastern Syria, where he is something of a celebrity , having given interviews to jihadi magazines about IS-inspired attacks around the world.

Monday's police raids on the brothers' neighbourhood of Molenbeek threw the spotlight on a dark side of the Belgian capital that gets scant mention in tourist guides but is just 20 minutes' walk from the famed attractions of the Grand Place and the Manneken Pis. Separated from the city centre by a narrow canal, Molenbeek is much farther away in terms of culture and opportunity.

The area is also believed to be the Western world's biggest percapita producer of fighters for the so-called Islamic State that claimed responsibility for Friday's attacks. Between 350 and 550 Belgians - from a total population of 11 million, and less than half a million Muslims - are believed to have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside IS.

While central Brussels is a warren of designer brew pubs and expensive chocolateries, Molenbeek - home to 90,000 people - is a place of shawarma stalls and social housing, a Middle Eastern neighbourhood in the capital of Europe. Shop signs here are written in Arabic as well as French, and mainstream attire is beards for men, headscarves and abayas for women.

It's also a place where the education system is poor, jobs are scarce and the police seem somewhat frightened of the population they're supposed to protect.

Although residents dispute its reputation as the "jihadi capital of Europe," Molenbeek Mayor Françoise Schepmans referred to the area as "a breeding ground for violence" after the revelations about its connections to the Paris attacks. In the wake of January's attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper and a Jewish deli in the French capital, police in Molenbeek surrounded their station with barbed wire and began frisking those who wished to enter.

Police say that the Kalashnikov assault rifles used in Friday's massacres in Paris, like those used in the Charlie Hebdo attacks, were purchased in Belgium. A social worker who works with at-risk youth in Molenbeek said guns were "quite easy" to obtain here.

Still, residents of Molenbeek say they were shocked to see their neighbourhood connected to Friday's attacks in Paris, lining up to tell a reporter that the area shouldn't be defined by the actions of a radical few.

"I've lived here all my life. It's shocking to me to see in the media how Molenbeek is described as a centre of jihadism," said Ahmed, a 45-year-old local resident. He was worried about his sister: She was stuck for several hours inside an area cordoned off by police, who ordered residents not to leave their homes. "I have sisters who wear the veil and sisters who don't. Everyone makes their own choices and there are no problems."

But asked to describe life in Molenbeek, Ahmed - who declined to give his family name - painted a grimmer picture. "This is a poor area, there is a lot of unemployment," he said, adding that he had lost his own job several months before. "But it's not like because you have no work that you go and kill people. These were sick youth. Maybe there are some gurus who came and messed with their heads. Hopefully they will clean up this problem and the neighbourhood will recover."

Bruno Bauwens, who has worked as a social worker in Molenbeek for two decades, says the district's problems have festered due to inattention. The extremist messages of organizations such as Islamic State and al-Qaeda find resonance here because of an education system that badly lags behind the rest of Belgium, and a lack of job opportunities for those who do graduate. The area has 30 per cent unemployment.

"When you live in Molenbeek, you see these things and you get hopeless. And when you're hopeless, bad things can happen," Mr.

Bauwens said. Gang violence is common, he said, and recruitment for extremist organizations often takes place in plain sight.

Mr. Bauwens said his organization, D'Broej - which runs eight youth centres around Belgium - had in the past notified police about specific young people they worried were at risk of radicalization, but no action was taken.

"Police knew the cafés where people are being recruited, they knew the suspicious websites, they know the one mosque that's a problem," Mr. Bauwens said, declining to name the locations he was referring to. "But only after something like this they say, 'We must clean up Molenbeek.' " Belgium's decentralized style of government, which extends to its police and intelligence services, appears to have helped the Paris plotters evade detection. Residents say the local and national police forces frequently bicker over whose responsibility it is to monitor suspected extremists in Molenbeek.

Associated Graphic

Belgian special forces police climb an apartment block during a raid in Molenbeek.


Special forces officers stand guard on a rooftop in Molenbeek on Monday.



Her diary 'belongs in the public domain'
Seventy years after Anne Frank's death, the European copyright on her book is set to expire - but rewritings complicate the issue
Friday, November 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A3

One evening during the Second World War, four years into the German occupation of the Netherlands, a teenaged Jewish girl in Amsterdam listened to a BBC broadcast where an exiled Dutch politician called on his compatriots to preserve evidence of life under the Nazis.

The 14-year-old girl had been keeping a journal while she hid with her family in an attic. She started rewriting her entries, hoping to turn them into a published book after the war. That decision would eventually contribute to making Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl one of the world's most widely read books.

But her rewriting also planted the seeds for a legal paradox today, seven decades after Anne and her sister died of typhus at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

On Jan. 1, Adolf Hitler's autobiography, Mein Kampf, will enter the public domain in Europe, where the term of protection ends 70 years after the death of a work's author.

The Nazis' most famous victim, Anne Frank, died the same year as Hitler - 1945. Yet the Swissbased foundation that is the universal heir to the Frank family says the copyrights for the various versions of her work won't expire for decades.

"This would be an unfortunate glitch in history," said Olivier Ertzscheid, a professor of information sciences at the University of Nantes in France. "It belongs in the public domain. It is part of our collective memory and heritage," he said in an interview.

Prof. Ertzscheid and some of his colleagues recently posted digital versions of the diary online, to protest the fact that there is still no unrestricted access to Anne's book. It has been a debate where the complexities of copyright law and the new dynamics of the digital age have clashed with the emotionally fraught legacy of the most famous victim of the Holocaust. On one side stands the Anne Frank Fonds, a non-profit organization located in the Upper Rhine Swiss city of Basel.

It was created in 1963 by Anne's father, Otto. The Fonds administers the rights to all writings by Anne Frank and says that copyright is crucial to protect her work from unchecked commercial exploitation.

On the other side are digitalrights activists who believe that, seven decades after Anne's tragic death, her diary should be available for anyone to use without permission. On their websites, they criticize the Fonds for maintaining its grip on a literary work that has been translated into 60 languages and now belongs to the world.

The foundation's copyright claim is "completely surreal," wrote Lionel Maurel, a curator and library manager for the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense. "There comes a point when the absurdity of the rule of law deserves to be met with acts of civil disobedience."

The legalities in the case of Mein Kampf are more straightforward. The state of Bavaria inherited the copyright in 1945. No one is disputing that the European copyright on the book will run out in January. Rather, the debate has been whether to preempt the change by issuing critical, scholarly annotated versions, as publishers in Germany and France plan, or to trust that letting the book into the public domain will expose its dull, delusional content.

Because copyright is countrybased, the Boston publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) says it holds the U.S. rights to Mein Kampf until 2022.

Its final volume was published in 1927, and U.S. law provides a 95year copyright term for foreign works published between 1923 and 1977, said HMH spokeswoman Emma Doherty.

Adolf Hitler does not appear as an author in the HMH website.

Its catalogue order form discreetly lists the author of Mein Kampf (available in paperback and hardcover) as Konrad Heiden, a Jewish German who fled the Nazis and wrote the introduction to the U.S. translation. Revenue from its sale go to charity, Ms. Doherty said.

The copyright issue for Anne Frank's diary is more thorny.

There were several versions of the diary, commonly designated by the letters A, B and C.

The A version was the original diary that Anne started a few weeks before her family and four Jewish acquaintances went underground in July, 1942.

In March, 1944, she heard the exiled education minister Gerrit Bolkestein on the BBC urging the Dutch to preserve their letters and diaries. So Anne began rearranging and rewriting her journal, creating the B version. Acting on an anonymous tip, the Gestapo raided the secret annex in August, 1944, and deported the Frank family to Auschwitz.

Only her father, Otto, survived.

After the war, he recovered the papers that had been left in the annex and created a third version, combining the remains of the A and B versions. He also removed some entries that were too critical or intimate. That C version was the basis for the first published edition in 1947.

"So he created a new book," Yves Kugelmann, a trustee at the Anne Frank Fonds, said in an interview, explaining that the foundation considers Otto a coauthor. Since Otto died in 1980, the Fonds says the copyright on the first published version of the diary will be in force until 2050.

Mr. Kugelmann said the Fonds's holding on to the copyright has helped it thwart some of the tawdrier uses of Anne Frank's writings. The foundation has vetoed proposals to have diary excerpts appear on T-shirts, jeans and coffee mugs.

It even had to nix a pitch for a horror movie.

About a month after he posted the diary online this fall, Prof.

Ertzscheid and others who emulated him received a letter from Le Livre de Poche, a subsidiary of Hachette, the publisher that held the licence for the French translation of the book. Faced with legal threats, they removed the diary from their websites. But Prof. Ertzscheid said he planned to post the diary again on Jan. 1, when he considers that its copyright will have expired.

He quoted from her writing: "No one has ever become poor by giving."

Associated Graphic

Digital-rights activists say Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl should belong to the world. The organization in charge of her writings, however, says copyrights won't expire for decades.


Please, Mr. Show was my father - it's just Bob and David
Odenkirk and Cross reunite for a new sketch show two decades after their HBO project set the comedy world on fire
Friday, November 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L2

At the end of W/ Bob & David's second episode, the sketch show's titular stars, Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, are whisked away to the afterlife following Odenkirk's sorta-recitation of the words "Prophet Mohammed." But while the pair assume they'd be greeted by 72 nubile female virgins, they instead encounter 72 male virgins, who greet them with lines like, "Are you guys friends in real life?", "When are you going to work together again?" and "I have two pet llamas named Bob and David ... isn't that cool?" It's the sort of rote questioning Odenkirk and Cross have faced for two decades, ever since they secured their spot in comedy history with HBO's groundbreaking Mr. Show with Bob and David. Although the series garnered dismal ratings for its three-season run - likely due to its terrible time slots - its absurd sensibilities and unusual structure cultivated a frighteningly devoted fan base once it was released on DVD. Ever since, the comedy world has been divided in two: fans of Mr. Show, and people with no taste. And while it's easy to view the new virgins-in-the-afterlife sketch as a commentary on the frustrations Odenkirk and Cross suffered in their post-HBO careers, the pair say it's not a critique of their fan base - just a reminder that they've never really stopped working together.

"We've been doing a lot of touring and live shows together over the years, and people never seemed to know that, hey, we're on tour right now," Odenkirk says over the phone from Los Angeles.

"The presumption is that we don't talk to each other, unless we do a show together - but, yeah, we're really, honestly, truly old friends. We're always bouncing ideas off each other," adds Cross, on the other line.

"People think that when creative groups break up, there's a difficult fight there - 'Oh, they don't get along any more!' But that's not what happened," Odenkirk says. "David wanted to live in New York, excitement for Mr. Show was waning at HBO, so we decided, that's it."

"We're still speaking!" Cross pipes in. "Like, right now."

That solid, legitimately affectionate relationship - it's not hard to imagine, say, Odenkirk and Cross sharing a bicycle built for two, which is why their recent photo shoot for Vanity Fair seemed less artificial than most - is just one of the many reasons Mr. Show is still mentioned in hushed, reverential tones - and why Netflix is reviving it, in a way, via W/ Bob & David. When Mr. Show premiered in 1995, sketch comedy was in a bad way: Saturday Night Live was enduring one of its worst seasons ever and MADtv's debut was an unholy mix of grotesque caricatures and shock-value stunts (which would prove to be the template for the entire series).

Mr. Show, though, was distinct: surreal yet meticulously constructed, cerebral but extremely silly. Taking its cue from Monty Python, each sketch connected to the next until the loop was closed at the end of every episode. Politics and of-the-moment cheap shots were avoided. This was high, lean and pure comedy, with no set-up or punchline wasted.

For a generation that just missed SCTV or The Kids in the Hall, it was the perfect antidote to the mainstream comedy rot.

"When we were on the air, it was just us and MADtv and SNL, and then, well, just MADtv and SNL for a few more years, too," Odenkirk says. "Kids was done, Chappelle's Show was a ways off - but now, there has just been a tidal wave of similarly minded shows."

Indeed, Portlandia, Inside Amy Schumer and Key & Peele all wear their Mr. Show influences with pride. Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim even built an entire altcomedy cottage industry (Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Check It Out!, On Cinema etc.) on the back of Mr. Show, gaining Odenkirk himself as an executive producer and mentor.

"It's pretty awesome now, really better than it's even been," says Odenkirk of the current comedy landscape - which of course leads you to wonder why the two decided now was the time to get back in the game. After all, it's not as if either is starving for work- Odenkirk's built a solid career as a dramatic actor (Better Call Saul, Nebraska) and Cross is a prolific stand-up comic with another Netflix-resurrected comedy project to his name (Arrested Development).

"We'd talked about doing something to note the 20th anniversary, but we had just come off this other tour, and we were promoting a book of old sketches," says Cross, whose wistfulness and genuine enthusiasm betray no hints of his stand-up act's notorious aggression. "We had such a fun time just getting creative with each other, that it turned into, fuck it, let's just do four entirely new shows."

"And luckily Netflix was into it," Odenkirk adds. "But we didn't want to call it Mr. Show, because we weren't sure some of the original [writers and cast] could be a part of it, so it wasn't a real reunion - it was optional."

Despite its new name, though, W/ Bob & David is everything a Mr. Show fan could hope for. A sketch involving a derelict dry cleaner balloons into a treatise on modern musical theatre, before looping back to the aforementioned virgin-littered heaven. Live bits mix easily with ambitiously filmed sequences and faux commercials. And nearly every cast member involved with the original program - including such now ubiquitous faces as Paul F.

Tompkins and Tom "SpongeBob Squarepants" Kenny - return in fine form.

But, because nothing is ever truly perfect - the ironclad rule of comedy if there ever was one - this nostalgia trip to the heyday of alt-comedy lasts a mere four episodes. "We were incredibly lucky to just get everyone in one place for that amount of time," Odenkirk says.

The only question, then, is when Bob and David are going to get back together. Again.

W/ Bob and David starts streaming on Netflix Nov. 13.

Associated Graphic

David Cross, left, Jay Johnston and Bob Odenkirk star in the Netflix sketch-comedy show W/ Bob & David.

El Clasico restores order, ensures silliness is imminent
Monday, November 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S7


After his team had been humiliated in the only game that matters, Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez said, "We are all responsible."

Maybe. But only one person on any team is ever held accountable - the coach.

Real lost 4-0 at home to Barcelona on Saturday. It watched worse than it sounds, and I'm sure it felt worse than it watched.

As he came off late in the game, the Bernabeu crowd saluted Andres Iniesta - whom you'll recall plays for Barcelona. An ovation as unsubtle and ironic jeering. Only the Clasico offers you so many new wrinkles on old chestnuts.

It's been a weird year in international soccer. Not quite dogs and cats living together in harmony, but close.

Fielding a team made up largely of mailmen and subway buskers, Ireland just qualified for Euro 2016. The Netherlands is out and Ireland is in. There is no sane world in which it should've turned out that way.

Currently, the best team in the Premiership is Leicester City. Four years ago, it finished ninth in the second division. Manchester City (sitting third) spends Leicester's annual budget on jet rentals and catering.

On form, the best player in the Premiership is Leicester's Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez. The 24year-old was purchased two years ago for less than $1-million.

Three months ago, no one knew his name. Like, no one. Today, he leads the Premiership in combined points. This sort of thing occasionally happens in other sports - a team or a player come out of nowhere - but not in soccer. Everyone lives on a featureless plain. You can see the talent coming a long way off.

It's been 20 years since any team outside the big four (United, City, Chelsea, Arsenal) won the Premier League. You keep waiting for this competitive equilibrium to re-establish itself. But Leicester keeps rabbiting along, and you start hoping that maybe this is the year things change. Maybe we've entered a period of chaotic competitive balance.

Barcelona is the cure for that delusion.

When manager Pep Guardiola left three years ago, he took with him some measure of the Barca magic. No club in history had become so fetishized. Barcelona didn't really play you. It played against its own standard.

As fluid as Barcelona was on the field, Guardiola built the internal structure of the club on rigid, socialistic values. No one was any better than anyone else. All that mattered was the system.

Having got Lionel Messi to buy into that ethos, it became impossible for any other player to buck it. If the best player in the world isn't moaning about the number of touches he gets, how could you? Barcelona was more than a team. It was an experiment in hierarchies.

Once Guardiola left, the rivets began loosening. His chosen successor grew gravely ill and was forced to leave almost immediately. The next boss had only one real bona fide - he was FOL (a Friend of Lionel's). He lasted a year.

Barcelona continued to win, but less often. Sadly, you could see it trying.

The club made two major purchases in the post-Guardiola era - forwards Neymar and Luis Suarez.

Aside from buckets of skill, neither seemed to fit the Barcelona mould. Both were look-at-me types with authority issues.

Messi continued to lead. The other two bobbed about in his wake. It wasn't as intricate a style of play as we remembered, but it was still a winning one.

Two months ago, Messi injured his knee. He's been out since. It's the first lengthy absence of his career.

Most expected Barcelona to fall apart without him. Instead, led by Neymar, it has returned to that seamless brand of soccer we instinctively associate with Barcelona.

On Saturday, you could see the difference in approach between the two biggest sports clubs on the planet.

Real fills positions with the best possible players. It's not a unit.

It's an all-star team.

Barcelona gets the right sort of players to enact a system that never really changes. That's why so many on the squad come from the club's own youth system.

They've been learning how to do it this way for 15 years before they get to the first team.

Reaching back 30 years to the time Johan Cruyff served as the club's manager/philosopher king, Barcelona has been building an idea just as much as a football club.

It is once again the best team in the world. And once again, it's not even close. Neymar and Suarez have combined for 19 goals in the past nine games. Once Messi returns to full-time duty, they get even better. The Argentine has proven before that he feels no need to impose himself on a winning formula.

Like night following the day, Barcelona thriving means Real must enter a period of despair.

Benitez will be fired from his managerial position, but not now.

Maybe if he'd lost 1-0 or 2-1, he'd be offered the mercy of a quick professional death. No, he'll be made to truly suffer for 4-0 at home.

The team will be turned over.

Incomprehensible amounts of money will be spent. What's bad for Real is good for agents and neutrals. It means things are about to get silly.

Barcelona's legend has grown so monolithic, you spend a lot of time waiting for the backlash.

Surely, people will eventually get sick of this side, despite how good they are (or perhaps because of it)?

Surely, people would like to see more Leicesters - not nearly as accomplished or fun to watch, but punching so far above their weight?

That would be the North American sports sensibility - pull for the impossible odds.

They do it differently overseas.

They've built an ecosystem that ensures the familiar names will always be on top. They like it that way.

That means it's not going to work out for Leicester. Not in the long run. And not ever.

Follow me on Twitter: @cathalkelly

Associated Graphic

Jamie Vardy celebrates with Riyad Mahrez after scoring in Leicester City's 3-0 win over Newcastle United on Saturday.


I've tied the knot, but haven't forgotten my old squeeze
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F8

I was the sort of kid who, having dropped a American flag or even let it touch the ground, would ceremoniously kiss it. I'm not sure who told me to do this but it felt important. After all, we pledged allegiance to that flag and the republic it stands for - "one nation under God, indivisible ... " This was in Philadelphia, my hometown, and it doesn't get much more American than that.

Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell: We had the revolutionary landmarks and the cobblestone streets, but it wasn't all dead history. Take nearby Valley Forge, where George Washington's men spent a miserable winter - but also where, it turned out, a teenaged boy with a newly minted driver's licence could bring a winsome girl and roll around in the spring grass.

I was an American kid, that's what I'm saying. And maybe that's why I felt oddly disoriented when, at a cheerful ceremony earlier this month - along with 94 other people from 25 countries, with a spoken oath and a hearty round of O Canada - I became a Canadian citizen.

Happy, relieved to have reached the end of the paper trail and delighted to embrace a country I'd come to love - but disoriented all the same, like waking up in a hotel room having no clue where I was.

And maybe that's at least a partial answer to the question posed a couple of months back by the Canadian immigration official who, shuffling through our files - including the documents showing that my wife and I first landed here three decades ago - looked up and smiled.

"What took you so long?" she asked.

Good question. Excellent question - one that requires scrolling back to the beginning.

There's no romantic tale here.

We did not come to Canada on some political or ideological journey, like latter-day draft dodgers. I had a job offer from the national newsmagazine; my wife had inklings that a newspaper would hire her. We'd met in New York, spent a couple of years in Atlanta, but we needed a place where two journalists could be gainfully employed and Toronto proved an unexpected solution.

And life proceeded apace: a house, friends, an adopted son. I was treated for cancer - twice - and lost my job and secured a new one. Along the way I learned to spell "jewellery" and "manoeuvre," got a crash course in Canadian history and travelled from coast to coast to coast - though our most treasured retreat remains Ontario cottage country, swimming and canoeing or just reading by the stunningly clear lakes.

I've come to like hockey. I altered my allegiances in all sports, cheering for the Blue Jays over my once-beloved Phillies in the 1993 World Series, for Canadian athletes in the Olympics. I admire Canadian modesty, multiculturalism, health care, gun control - and passion, for all of the above. And as a small-l liberal (I came here that way), I took a certain satisfaction in becoming a citizen of the country one day after its prime minister had ceased to be Stephen Harper.

So why did we take the scenic route to Canadian citizenship?

Plain laziness maybe, but mostly just a lingering sense of Americanness, an enduring fondness for Philly attitude, Midwest towns, roots music, March Madness and on and on - for the land that welcomed my ancestors and saw them thrive. Identity, it seems, is a complicated business, and home isn't only where the heart is but where it's been.

Go back to politics for a minute.

Bedrock attachments aside, your feelings toward a country at any given time depend partly on who's leading it. In 2004, when George W. Bush won a second term despite sending Americans off to die in Iraq saving the world from nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, I took pride in my magazine's poll showing that only 15 per cent of Canadians would have voted for him.

Friends in the States inquired, half-seriously, if they could come live in our basement.

But the tide turned four years later, when the U.S. elected Barack Obama and Canadian friends offered heartfelt congratulations. Nor could anyone miss the way Canadian Conservatives, desperate to cling to power in the recent campaign, borrowed the most despicable ploy from the Republican playbook: the politics of division, wedge issues, race baiting.

I'm too old now for illusions, for kissing flags. The U.S., no matter what my junior-high textbook said, isn't always a force for freedom in the world (I'm thinking Vietnam, Chile ...) or even at home (Selma, Ferguson ...). Canada isn't some social-democratic paradise (just ask its indigenous people, its early Chinese ...). But over all they are enviable nations, no question and, as someone whose years have now been split almost evenly between them, I feel privileged to be a citizen of both. Life hasn't really changed and yet somehow it has, like a cohabiting couple finally tying the knot.

That's what took so long - growing thoroughly comfortable with that commitment, and with the duality. I will continue to vote every four years for president - an absentee ballot mailed to Georgia, our last official place of residence in the States - but I'm finally enfranchised in Ontario as well. I will continue to cross into the U.S. to visit family and friends, with all the perils that implies.

"Why do you live there?" one U.S. border guard asked last winter when I explained that I was an American citizen residing in Canada. He said it like an accusation. I said something about having good jobs.

"Doing what?" he persisted.

Working for newspapers.

"Well, you can come back," he declared, "because you can write the same socialistic articles here now."

Well then.

I try to take it as a form of entertainment, this streak of knee-jerk disdain, whether in U.S. border guards or political candidates. I have the distance of a semi-outsider now, of a fullfledged Canadian. And I have a brother in California who recently wondered, with an e-mailed sigh, whether I could get him into Canada if Donald Trump becomes president.

Bob Levin is a news feature editor at The Globe and Mail.

To make big shifts, Ontario needs help
Friday, November 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B4

Business adviser to the Premier of Ontario

Ontario has plenty of strengths. We have maintained our public-health and education systems. We have built an open, tolerant society able to attract and harmoniously absorb immigrants. We have built a world-competitive tax system.

Recently, the province has taken bold steps to address Ontario's infrastructure deficit, and it continues to invest heavily in supports to create centres for excellence in new technologies.

But when we look at the rest of the world, I worry that we are not changing quickly enough.

Ontario's economy is ranked 13th in the world by the World Economic Forum - not bad. But there are 12 jurisdictions ahead of us, and others are moving up rapidly. And in some of the areas that will be key to our future, we are actually ranked far lower. How can we strengthen our existing economy? We should be focusing on some immediate shifts.

Start with manufacturing. The loonie is under 80 cents again, which is helpful. But we can't relax - we should seize the moment to prepare for the future.

We have to find ways to become a leader in "smart" or advanced manufacturing and innovation - as we are starting to do in auto parts, chemicals, clean tech, medical devices and aerospace.

We have an incredible work force, and our universities and colleges are among the world's finest. But our small businesses do less scaling up and less exporting than those elsewhere. We need to customize export-support programs to deal with their unique challenges.

Meanwhile, despite generous tax incentives, many businesses are failing to invest in and capitalize on the innovation revolution.

And too many homegrown entrepreneurs are bailing out early rather than pushing their promising firms to the next level. Why?

And what about our regulatory burdens? As they grow, so does red tape. Government must try to become a source of competitive advantage. To this end, it's time to take an outcome-based approach based on three tests: What outcomes do we want? Must we regulate to achieve them? And is there a better way that imposes lower costs, or that allows more innovation and growth, while achieving those outcomes?

Improving what we have isn't enough. To create jobs and income, we must also pivot to a knowledge-based, service-export economy. A shift in mindset is required.

I mentioned Ontario's amazing academic and training institutions. We should challenge them.

For instance, are we graduating students connected to the economy of the future? Are we doing enough to cultivate an entrepreneurial class? Should we have more co-op programs?

Along with our public education system, our universal public health is essential to ensuring both a fair society and a growing economy. What's more, we have incredible hospitals at the forefront of health research. But are they a source of competitive advantage? How can we better use them?

I say open them up, link them more closely to the private sector, turn them into exporters. Do it without risking their core mission of looking after the health needs of the citizens of Ontario.

Look at Boston. As a health hub and university centre for all of the United States, Boston provides the best care and education to the citizens of Massachusetts, while generating thousands of good jobs. What's stopping Toronto?

Yes, we have to manage our public institutions' costs, but we have to find ways to unlock their potential.

Another shift: We need to compete in spaces where people are paid more, not less. We can't beat Mexico or even the United States for low-wage work. We should focus on areas where Ontarians are more affordable than others - advanced manufacturing, health, universities, consulting, high-end business service centres, research departments.

We must also put our huge innovation base to work.

Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto put Ontario in the top league for innovation. But there are 300,000 Canadians in Silicon Valley, their educations largely paid for by Canadian taxpayers.

We must create opportunities so they stay here, to our benefit.

Three issues stand out: One, transport links between Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto.

They are deficient, to put it diplomatically.

Two, financing. In Canada, as you grow, you run out of money.

We have not built the ecosystem that allows firms to finance a significant scale-up, so they sell out.

How do we build that ecosystem?

Finally, we have to make our innovators better at selling, at penetrating markets. The key in the innovation economy is to quickly achieve market dominance. We sit beside the largest market in the world, but our small innovative firms don't take full advantage.

Ontario cannot be Silicon Valley. But as Silicon Valley finds its cost structure climbing, we can be the next-best alternative, a magnet for jobs and opportunity.

Another big shift is to stop thinking of exports as just goods.

Why don't New York financial firms move key analytical and compliance functions to Toronto?

What stops firms from locating research centres in Ontario? Why aren't we the best place for mining research? Why don't major accounting and consulting firms base more work here? Let's also look at immigration policy. Especially now, in a global economy, it must be a source of competitive advantage, not a barrier.

Finally, we need an attitude shift. Our major competitors back winners - companies, ideas, universities or hospitals. Our instinct is to help every player equally. But failing to reward outcomes dooms you to run behind.

In coming months, we will be reaching out to the business community for a dialogue on these issues. We need concrete, specific ideas that are doable and can make a difference.

We also need business to look inward and ask: Given our dependence on a successful Ontario, don't we have an obligation to do something differently? And if so, what?

If we don't make these shifts, we risk not building a sustainable economy for our children, an economy where the average citizen becomes better off. This is not a test of our ingenuity or ability; it's a test of our will.

This op-ed is adapted from a speech Mr. Clark delivered Thursday to the Toronto Region Board of Trade.

First, she fled Aleppo. Then Beirut. Now, three years after leaving so much behind in Syria, Nancy Solakian is slowly getting to know Montreal. Her mother told her, 'Our dreams are in Canada'
Tuesday, November 17, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L1


Chronicling the global refugee and migrant experience

Name: Nancy Solakian

Age: 19

Home country: Syria

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

How do you know when it's time to abandon your home? For the family of Syrian refugee Nancy Solakian, the moment came after a cousin had been kidnapped by armed men, after all the windows in the neighbouring houses had been shattered by bomb blasts, after the road to the airport had become such a no-man's land that the family could not bear to look out as the taxi sped along.

That was in October, 2012; she had just turned 16. "We were seeing such devastation around us, we just held hands and prayed that we would have a safe journey," Nancy said recently through a translator, while sitting in her family's quiet apartment in northwest Montreal.

Life had been good in Aleppo. "I was extremely happy," she said. She sang in choirs and took dance lessons, and enjoyed making drawings to give to her friends. She spent most of their time within the Armenian community, which numbered about 100,000 when the Syrian civil war began. Most, like her mother's family, had come in desperate flight from the 1915 genocide in Turkey, which sent a wave of Armenians into neighbouring lands.

That's the background to Nancy's experience as a refugee: Her family has been in this situation before, of having to escape an all-consuming violence that arrives on the doorstep with no apparent reason. The theme of exile was familiar to her long before the guns came out in Aleppo, through tales passed on about escape from the genocide, tales that she recently illustrated for centenary commemorations in Montreal.

At 19, living in a strange land where she speaks neither official language with any fluency, Nancy seems remarkably self-possessed. She may not yet have much knowledge of the country where she's living, but she has a strong and very portable sense of where she's from.

The family's first destination in 2012 was Beirut, a city already crowded with refugees from Syria and from parts of Lebanon near the long Syrian border. Even within the Armenian community, help was hard to come by, and her family didn't like to ask.

"Going to Beirut was like a slap in the face," Nancy said. "We had to find housing, we had to leave everything behind except a suitcase of clothing. I had to leave my friends and the community we had. I had to give up my upright piano that was such a beautiful dark burgundy. Among the things we left, that's the one I miss most."

The school year had already begun in Beirut, and the family needed money, so Nancy and her older sister Mery took jobs in a place where they designed jewellery. Their father, who had run a truck-parts business in Aleppo, opened a shop with their mother in which they sold formal wear - clothes for people going somewhere special.

"My parents have a lot of taste," Nancy said, as her mother quietly refilled our teacups. "They did everything together, the accounting and everything, and it was successful."

But Beirut was never a special place for any of them; their intended destination was even farther from the Armenian homelands. "My mother told us, 'Our dreams are in Canada. If the papers arrive, we're leaving.'"

Their case was taken up by Hay Doun, an Armenian social agency in Montreal formed eight years ago, mainly to offer services to the elderly. Since the Syrian crisis began, however, Hay Doun has become the busiest private sponsor in Canada for refugees from that country, settling more than 700 families. Most come to Montreal, where the Armenian community now numbers about 30,000, clustering mainly in Laval and near the immigrant "landing strip" where Nancy lives now.

The small apartment is in one of a number of dreary, nearly identical walk-ups in an area where almost every building has a vacancy sign on the door. Nancy's mother has cousins in the city who furnished the place for them before greeting them on their arrival at Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.

The plane touched down in Montreal one night last January. The next morning, in their new home, Nancy opened the curtains of her new room.

"It was snowing," she said.

"I watched the snow fall with a warm cup of coffee in my hands. We all literally just sat there and watched the snow coming down and the squirrels running through the tree tops. We had never seen squirrels before. My little brother Garo said, 'Let's go out quickly before it all melts.' My dad explained that it was going to be here for four months."

After three years' absence, Aleppo seems remote to her, especially since the town and the community as she knew it scarcely exist any more. "No one is really left there," she said. "We are at peace knowing that there's no family left in Syria." Her sister's boyfriend, who is also a Syrian Armenian, escaped on the last non-military flight out of Aleppo.

Nancy takes weekly trips around Montreal or in the country with her family, or with people her own age whom she has met through Armenian choirs and dance groups. What she had not done, when I first met her in October, after 10 months in Canada, was to go anywhere in Montreal completely by herself.

She was about to do so a few days after our meeting, to attend a new school where she would continue to try to improve her French to the point at which she would be allowed to resume her regular education. She had carefully mapped out the journey: two buses and two metros, with an 11-minute walk.

"I'm not afraid, but it's something strange for me," she said. There are so many layers of strangeness to pass through, on the long road from becoming a refugee to feeling at home.

Associated Graphic

Nancy Solakian with her sister and dad in Syria years ago: 'I had to give up my upright piano. ... Among the things we left, that's the one I miss most.'


Friday, November 20, 2015

From the ashes: the surprising rise of a theatre community
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R1


Sometimes, things are found in a fire rather than lost.

In 2007, Vern Thiessen left Edmonton - the city in which he had lived and worked for most of his career - for New York. The Governor-General's Literary Award-winning playwright had started to feel that Edmonton was holding him back: "There's a brutal honesty that I needed at the time - and if you work in a small community like Edmonton, they're not going to tell you the truth."

But when Thiessen returned from the world's most competitive theatre town last year to become artistic director at the Workshop West Playwrights' Theatre, he quickly found out - or rather rediscovered - that small has its own appeal.

"The fire happened in January and that really reminded me why Edmonton is special - and what's great about a close-knit theatre community," the playwright says over pizza at a favourite restaurant in the Theatre District in Old Strathcona. "I'm not saying it wouldn't happen anywhere else, but people care about each other here."

The fire that Thiessen is talking about is the one at the Roxy. On Jan. 13, the 220-seat theatre on 124th Street burned to the ground right in the middle of the 40th-anniversary season of Theatre Network, the company that owned and operated out of it.

Originally opened as a cinema in 1938, the Roxy had seen a great deal of the city's theatre history even before it was converted into a live-performance venue in 1989.

As a young man, playwright Brad Fraser was an usher and sold concessions - and wrote much of international hit Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love while working there.

Ten months on from the fire, Bradley Moss, artistic director of Theatre Network, is still sad to have lost the building. "It was gorgeous, it was wood and it was warm - there wasn't a bad seat in the house," he recalls, showing paintings of the old building that he keeps in his new office.

"The picture-frame stage was kind of unique - and when [Siminovitch Prize-winning puppeteer] Ronnie Burkett played there with his marionettes, it was perfect."

In the immediate wake of the fire in January, however, Moss found himself weeping for happy reasons as well as sad ones when he got a call from Jeff Haslam, artistic director of Teatro La Quindicina, one of the occupants of the Varscona Theatre.

After years of planning, the Varscona, located in the heart of Old Strathcona, was scheduled to be demolished - and a 148-seat theatre space called The Backstage had been created in a former storage area of the ATB Financial Arts Barns across the street for its companies to perform in while a new $7.5-million building was under construction.

Incredibly, Haslam and the other tenants of the Varscona offered to delay the demolition of their old building so that Theatre Network could complete its season in the Backspace first.

"It made me cry," Moss recalls.

"It took the co-ordination of construction companies, five different board member groups. ... It was a real sense of a putting up a barn by a community."

The Backstage became Theatre Network's first temporary home - where it performed Colleen Murphy's Armstrong's War in the spring - and a second one quickly enough became available.

As it happened, Catalyst Theatre, the Edmonton company behind the off-Broadway musical Nevermore, was preparing to depart from its own space called the C103 - and become the first ever resident company at the Citadel Theatre.

The Citadel - the regional theatre that occupies a giant complex that includes several theatres and an indoor park in Edmonton's downtown - has been going through strategic changes over the past five years or so.

First, the Citadel converted its Rice Theatre black box into a cabaret space called the Club (the Rice's old seats are now in the Backstage). Then, Rapid Fire Improv moved into the Citadel's cinema in 2012. And now, Catalyst is preparing to become the resident company in the Citadel's Maclab theatre, using the space for up to 122 days a year for rehearsals and performances.

If that sounds like the Citadel is shrinking, executive director Penny Ritco says attendance is stable at around 135,000 people a year and revenue-wise it is probably at an all-time high, half of its $11million annual budget coming from ticket sales.

But the regional theatre is no longer competing against smaller companies devoted to new and edgy work that did not exist when it was established 50 years ago; while it still puts money into developing new plays, they mostly premiere elsewhere now. (For example, The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble, developed at the Citadel, was programmed at Theatre Network.)

"[Artistic director] Bob [Baker] always tries to think about how plays and productions are relevant to an audience, but an institution has to be relevant too," Ritco says. "The physical structure has to have a relevance; it has to evolve."

With Catalyst out of C103, Theatre Network was offered the space by its landlord - and it has now renamed the small theatre the Roxy on Gateway, expecting to stay there for the next few years as it figures out how to rebuild on the site of the old Roxy.

(A multimillion-dollar insurance policy will help kick-start an anticipated capital campaign.)

For Ritco, the fire at the Roxy was a tragedy that showed how collaborative Edmonton's theatre scene has become - and made it more so. "It's made our community a little more cohesive," she says. "I think our community has become more of a community."

Adds Thiessen, who has observed all this as a new resident of his old city: "What the fire did was, I think, it made us all realize that our companies don't exist in buildings - we're people; we're all people."

Follow me on Twitter: @nestruck

Associated Graphic

Support from other Edmonton theatre companies after Theatre Network's home, the Roxy, burned down has made artistic director Bradley Moss, second left, weepy for happy reasons. 'It was a real sense of a putting up a barn by a community,' he says.


Laughing, caring and carrying on in the face of unthinkable tragedy
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A2

Remember when we thought we would never laugh again?Immediately after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, it seemed impossible to imagine plopping on the couch, scooping up the remote and lol-ing to David Letterman's dry quips or chuckling with the laugh track over Ross and Rachel's relationship shenanigans ("We were on a break!").

The TV was for wall-to-wall news, for disaster.

"I wasn't sure that I should be doing a television show, because for 20 years we've been in the city, making fun of everything, making fun of the city," Mr. Letterman said upon his return after the U.S. attacks. Because he came back, of course. If we didn't go about our lives - shopping, in particular - the terrorists would win, U.S. president George W. Bush cautioned (a warning that quickly turned into a punchline).

That other most New York of shows, Saturday Night Live, resumed with an opening that featured Rudolph Giuliani, then the mayor of New York, and SNL creator Lorne Michaels. Mr. Michaels sought permission to return to some comedy normalcy, asking the mayor, "Can we be funny?" Mr. Giuliani then delivered the line of the night: "Why start now?" Late last Friday, I tore myself from my computer and headed to Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Theatre. I had determined that friends in Paris were fine, but still I was shaken, with my face in my phone and my mind in France - and really in no mood to hear Jerry Seinfeld reflect on what the deal was with children's birthday parties, TV dinners and yada yada yada.

Stand-up comedy at such a time? Would the show go on?

Would the New Yorker address the madness in the City of Light?

He did not. Yet despite my state before the event - frantically checking for updates and frankly a bit weirded out by the lack of security as we entered the theatre - I laughed. A lot. Because, of course, our lives, even the laughs, continue amid obstacles and even great tragedy. As Beckett wrote, "You must go on. I can't go on. I'll go on."

When word surfaced shortly after the Paris attacks that one of the suicide bombers may have entered Europe alongside legitimate Syrian refugees - the facts of that are still murky - a chill went through me. What would the implications be for the people whose bombed-out neighbourhoods have turned them into nomads so desperate that they would risk everything to make a treacherous sea crossing in an unsuitable boat?

It didn't take long to find out.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to halt the influx of Syrian refugees. (A CNN reporter who tweeted, "Statue of Liberty bows head in anguish," was suspended from her job.) Several governors said they would not accept refugees in their states.

That snippet of (incomplete) information became a justification for racist views (or anti-Muslim sentiment, if you want to be more precise; Mr. Seinfeld might call them anti-Muslimites). In Missouri, state Representative Mike Moon wrote to the Speaker of the legislature, saying: "I do realize that the refugees we should be scrutinizing most is one [sic] who professes the muslim [sic] faith." In Virginia, a mayor held up the internment of JapaneseAmericans during the Second World War as a positive example.

Then there's Donald Trump, that bombastic source of unintentional comedy, calling for the mandatory registration of Muslims in the United States. This would be laughable if it weren't so grave.

Concerns have been raised in Canada, too - albeit generally more measured. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said the federal government should suspend its plan to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees by year's end because of safety concerns. He later announced that his government will establish a refugee settlement centre.

In B.C., where the Premier suggested refugees might fare better in smaller, northern communities, a Fort St. John woman started a petition calling for a referendum on the idea. "Everybody knows everybody," she told the

CBC about small-town life, "and I'm not sure how welcomed they would be, which is kind of sad."

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi told The Globe and Mail's Gary Mason he feels the divisive rhetoric in the debate about Syrian refugees during the election campaign "gave people permission to say stuff that wasn't polite to say in modern society."

Paris has heightened matters, and things could get dicier with further violence - the terrible attack in Mali, for example.

As the debate rages uncomfortably on, social media remind us of refugees' contributions. Albert Einstein is on the "Prominent Refugees" list of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Steve Jobs's father was a Syrian migrant, Facebook told me repeatedly. Someone tweeted a 2007 Reuters article revealing that Anne Frank's father had asked for help obtaining a U.S. visa, which never came. Also from Twitter: the results of Second World War-era opinion polls.

One conducted in the United States in January, 1939 - after Kristallnacht - asked whether 10,000 refugee children, most of them Jewish, should be brought in to American homes. Sixty-one per cent said no.

Some people are taking positive action. One couple cancelled their big fat Toronto wedding, got married at City Hall instead and, in lieu of gifts, asked for donations to help Syrian refugees. A Vancouver synagogue raised $40,000 to sponsor a Syrian family (full disclosure: I am a member). A Vancouver developer is making a 12-unit building available to temporarily house refugees. An Alberta charter airline is offering aircraft to help settle refugees.

Security concerns are understandable. We have to trust that the government will get it right.

But we cannot forget that these refugees are not only human beings like us - with families, broken hearts, stubborn hopes - but also, like the 130 people killed in Paris, victims of radicalization.

As Mr. Giuliani said on SNL that night, "We will not let our decisions be made out of fear." Even in light of horrific events, we managed to reclaim our sense of humour. Now, we cannot lose our sense of compassion. Because if we do, the terrorists win. No joke.

A dream home come true
'This is always the house that we were in love with and thought it would be nice to buy ... one day'
Friday, November 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page G4


Asking price: $1,199,000

Taxes: $4,709.91 (2015)

Lot size: 40 by 100 feet

Listing agent: Diane Speer, Broker, Royal LePage Urban Realty, Brokerage T he story of how Andrew Siegwart and Jonathan Kitchen found 46 Glen Oak Dr. actually starts a few blocks north on Gerrard Street.

Back in 2011, Mr. Siegwart had bought a house along the busy east-end strip, just west of Main Street. It was his first move out of the downtown and he loved the extra room of a bigger place and the fact that it was conveniently located next to a streetcar track that would zip him back into the core.

At least he thought it'd love it.

"I hate living on the streetcar line," Mr. Siegwart said. "The noise drove me nuts."

But then he and Mr. Kitchen were exploring the surrounding neighbourhood while walking their dog when they came across the serene street of Glen Oak Drive. And on this winding road, one house really stood out.

"This is always the house that we were in love with and thought it would be nice to buy this home one day," Mr. Kitchen said.

The back story Then - almost on cue - the For Sale sign sprouted up when Mr. Siegwart biked by one day.

"It was a very emotional buy," Mr. Siegwart said. "We just had to have it."

One of the things they loved about it is that it provided a space for all of their activities: Its three bedrooms worked out to be their master bedroom, a guest room and an office.

On top of that there are three spaces that can be configured as living rooms and family rooms, one on the main floor, one in the back addition and one in the finished basement.

"The one thing I think is really great about Georgian-styled homes is the use of functional space," Mr. Kitchen said.

He mentioned that one of the problems with their last home on Gerrard was that there was a lot of wasted space - massive landings, a giant foyer, et cetera - and that cut into the rest of the house, resulting in things such as a smaller kitchen.

"Now in this space, everything is used very efficiently and you're able to maximize your space," he said.

Being built in the 1940s, the home is technically of the neoGeorgian style (also known as Georgian revival). But it has all of the trademarks of that classic 19th-century design: the pitched roof, the multipaned symmetrical windows, the squared structures and the centre door.

And because it's an older design, there are a lot of discreet rooms in the house.

"What I like about the style of these homes is that you still have some private spaces," Mr. Siegwart said. "Jonathan can be working in his office upstairs and I can be in the living room downstairs and the sound isn't going to travel."

Over the 70-plus-year history, the house had undergone quite a few changes. In 1997, there was an addition put on the back of the house, opening it up to the backyard. And the previous owners updated the kitchen and two three-piece bathrooms in 2008.

In the nearly three years of their ownership, Mr. Siegwart and Mr.

Kitchen have made a number of their own changes, including adding a gas range and new appliances in the kitchen; installing an air filtration system; adding some new light fixtures and a new hot water tank and building a vegetable garden in the back.

But the crowning jewel of their changes is the front door. The front door of a Georgian-styled house holds a lot of importance because of its perfectly centred position. And the old door was just that - old. It was a solid, six-panel wooden door that let in a draft and had a useless peephole. "It really closed off the front of the house," Mr. Kitchen said. "The door prevented us from having all of this beautiful [southern] light coming in."

So they decided to go for a full glass door and found a leaded glass door from Home Depot.

"We felt it really tied into the Art Deco feel of the house," Mr. Kitchen said. "The way the triangles, circles and squares speak to other shapes in the house."

"Like the octagonal window above it," Mr. Siegwart added.

Now the light streams through and the door acts almost like a prism showering the entrance in rainbows.

Favourite features

"The light in this house is one of its best features," Mr. Siegwart said.

"When we bought the house we were wondered whether we should upgrade the windows but when we moved it in, we started to appreciate how beautiful they were and the great light they let in," he added.

The most impressive feature of the house's original windows is their size. On the main floor, the windows have 21 panes and on the second floor there are 20.

The windows weren't the only things the couple considered changing at first but then didn't.

When they initially bought, they had a dream of raising the roof and adding a third-floor master suite. They also thought about building out an extra-large entrance in the front.

"But then we lived in it and realized we didn't really need to do anything," Mr. Siegwart said. "And we didn't want to mess with the style of the house."

And that's because all of the transoms, or detailed trims, just like the leaded windows, are more than just décor features.

They give 46 Glen Oak a sense of character. And that is one of the things that Mr. Siegwart and Mr. Kitchen value the most.

"I think we've been stewards of this house and its design," Mr. Siegwart said.

Associated Graphic

Andrew Siegwart and Jonathan Kitchen spotted the house while walking their dog.


The owners appreciate how the glass door allows light to stream throughout the house.


At first the owners thought about upgrading the windows but soon learned to appreciate the original windows.


Doctor shaken by double dose of trauma in Paris attacks
Tuesday, November 24, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

PARIS -- When the e-mail went around to a group of young doctors at Saint-Louis Hospital in Paris suggesting after-work drinks, it wasn't necessary to name a location. Everyone already knew where it would be - a relaxed bar called Le Carillon at a star-shaped intersection just beyond the medical complex.

Louise Hefez, a petite 30-yearold resident in dermatology, arrived late to the gathering. About a dozen of her colleagues were already there. When she saw where they were sitting, her first reaction was disappointment: They were inside at the back of the small space, not the most desirable spot.

Later, it would save their lives.

She drank red wine, while some friends ordered beer. By 9 p.m., the group had dwindled and there were only five of them left. Dr. Hefez's friend Charlotte asked her to go outside for a cigarette, but she declined, semi-irritably, since she had recently quit smoking.

A few minutes later, there came a staccato noise that sounded like firecrackers. Then people came running back into the bar. Dr.

Hefez doesn't remember anyone saying anything, but she can still see the terrified look on Charlotte's face.

They dove under the tables as the noises - now they knew they had to be gunshots - grew louder and closer. Dr. Hefez curled up on her back, drawing her knees to her chest, thinking that, above all, she needed to protect her torso from bullets. Beer dripped on her head. The shots kept on coming.

There was nowhere to run, no possibility for escape. The minutes ticked by. She thought of school shootings in America, of how her only option would be to pretend to be already dead. "I'm going to die now?" she remembers thinking, incredulous. "It's so sad and stupid and unbelievable."

Dr. Hefez is one of hundreds of survivors of the attacks that devastated Paris on Nov. 13, killing at least 130 people and wounding 350. Nearly 200 people are still in hospital, three of them in critical condition. In some ways, she and her friends were just like the victims: young, hip, out to enjoy a Friday night.

But they also experienced the attacks in a different way, not just as survivors of a traumatic event, but as physicians. For what felt like an eternity, it was only them with the wounded, the dying and the already dead. All of them are struggling with what they saw - the night when their world turned into a war zone.

When the shooting finally ended, there was a deep silence. Dr. Hefez unfolded herself from under the table and went out toward the terrace of the bar. What she saw there was boucherie - butchery. Many of those sitting at tables outside were killed. Those just inside were severely wounded.

Some of her friends jumped into action. They used neckties as tourniquets. Two others pressed their hands to a wound a young English man had suffered to his thorax. Another ran up the block and around the corner into Saint Louis Hospital, seeking morphine. He returned with a couple of doses, one of which he and Dr. Hefez gave to a man in incredible pain whose femur had been shattered by a bullet.

Dr. Hefez helped perform CPR on another young man, just 28, who died. His friend stayed right next to him, repeating his name over and over again: "Raphael.

Raphael. Raphael." When the ambulances arrived, they moved his body to join the others. "It was a very terrible moment," Dr. Hefez says. "His face will haunt us."

Fifteen people were killed at Le Carillon and Le Petit Cambodge, a popular restaurant just across the small intersection. Outside, on the pavement in front of the bar, were the bodies of two women, sisters. "I was looking, I was really looking," Dr. Hefez says. "They were me. The same hair, the same shoes. They felt like they were me - just other girls going out for a night on the Canal Saint Martin."

After waiting at Le Carillon and a nearby restaurant until 3 a.m., Dr. Hefez didn't know what to do.

She didn't want to be alone and didn't want to spend the night at a stranger's house, although many Parisians were opening their doors to those in the vicinity of the attacks. Most of all, she was frightened.

She ended up at the apartment of a fellow resident, who was also at Le Carillon. They drank and talked until morning. It wasn't until she woke up two hours later that she began to cry uncontrollably.

The days since have been a blur.

The residents were granted special leave from their jobs. They attended two sessions with a psychologist to talk about how they were doing. The first one took place at Saint-Louis Hospital on Sunday afternoon. After it ended, Dr. Hefez headed outside - only to see hundreds of panicked people rushing toward her.

A loud bang in the Place de la République - the source remains unclear - had made many believe that another attack was under way. One woman running toward Dr. Hefez had blood running down her leg, an injury from the stampede. Dr. Hefez dashed back into the hospital, her "heart in her stomach."

A few days later, Dr. Hefez was in constant contact with her friends who survived the attacks.

All of them crave company; being alone makes many of them feel anxious and afraid. Nearly all are having trouble sleeping. Sudden loud noises are terrible.

Dr. Hefez is due to return to work this coming Friday. Le Carillon will be just around the corner.

The pavement in front of the bar is now a memorial - layered with bouquets of flowers, scores of candles, wine bottles and beer cans in tribute to the happy evenings spent there. And there are personal messages to those killed, sometimes with photos. "I will miss you terribly," reads one.

"Your love of life will always be with us."

Associated Graphic

Louise Hefez recalls thinking during the attack: 'I'm going to die now? It's so sad and stupid and unbelievable.'


Ferrari 488 Spider is the latest Italian stallion showcasing Italy's passion, pride and power
Special to The Globe and Mail
Thursday, November 19, 2015 – Print Edition, Page D1

PREDAPPIO, ITALY -- The scene at Cavallino, the famous restaurant across from the Ferrari factory gates, includes, on a recent night: the prime minister of Italy dining with Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne, and therefore Ferrari, as well as other assorted high-ranking company officials. Elsewhere in the restaurant, three astronauts sat down to dine together.

On the way from the airport, a taxi driver tells his passenger in broken English, "If you finish Ferrari, you finish Italy. No possible difference."

In a field in the Emilia Romagna region, near Bologna, workers attending to rows of grape vines look up from their work to see a red Ferrari drive past. They cheer and gesticulate. The driver of the red Ferrari revs the car's engine, sending the sharp shriek of Italian V-8 out across the valley. The workers applaud.

Ferrari is a national treasure in certain parts of Italy, a proud export. It's as if its cars are built in some small way by the labour of every Italian, even if only through their collective belief in the righteousness of the product.

Ferrari is to Italians what maple syrup is to Canadians, only the pride is earnest.

Three new Ferrari 488 Spider convertibles - yellow, white, red - speed down the autostrada toward Sarsina. All traffic moves to the right to let them through.

But then, around a bend, there's a blue and white liveried Alfa Romeo of the Polizia, the national police. The Ferraris slow down too late, and the drivers watch nervously in the rear view. But no sirens are heard, and so the speeding continues.

The 488 Spider replaces the 458 Spider as the latest in a long line of mid-engine open-top Ferraris dating back to the 1977 308 GTS.

The 488, unlike its predecessor, is turbocharged.

For those who dream about driving a Ferrari, it is as you imagine, only more intense. It has the sharpest steering - you know this because Ferrari has measured it, explaining that the car reacts only 0.06 seconds after you turn the wheel - making its responses effectively instantaneous. No matter how fast you go, the car turns exactly where you point it.

You must recalibrate your arms, which are accustomed to twirling a steering wheel through several rotations. In the 488, you rarely turn the wheel more than 90 degrees past centre.

You can exploit the car's infinitely pointy front end to reach mind-blowing speed, covering ground like in a fever dream, on fast-forward, only thinking about braking, turning, accelerating, braking, turning ... and on and on. It becomes easy.

Flick the manettino - a little dial on the steering wheel - to the "CT OFF" position and the rear tires smear across the pavement upon corner exit. It happens blindingly fast, but never feels unexpected.

It is in the acceleration phase where you feel the new turbochargers, the pair hung off either side of the 3.9-litre V-8. They push more air into the engine, greatly increasing torque and power, and - in theory - lowering emissions.

The first time you push the throttle you don't get it down to the floor. You must work up to full throttle - 661 horsepower - 670 cavalli vapore (CV) to the locals. The acceleration hits you in the diaphragm as you power out of another uphill hairpin.

Turbo lag is notable for its absence. This is because Ferraris turbochargers are the most exotic sort: twin-scroll, ball bearing, lightweight internals, tuned exhaust and something called an abradable seal. Power builds continuously from any revs.

Measured against the old 458, torque is up 163 lb-ft to 561.

There's so much torque, in fact, that in lower gears it's artificially restricted to make the engine more linear.

As the needle on the big central rev counter spins clockwise, the sound transforms from baritone to tenor to tornado. Above 3,200 rpm, something switches in the exhaust, and it doubles in volume. Then, above 6,000 rpm, with the top down, a whooshing, rushing intake noise dominates.

Let off the throttle for a splitsecond and from the tailpipe comes a cacophony of little explosions that makes dogs bark as you drive through villages.

Two men hauling something from a white delivery van wave their arms to signal "faster, faster!" to the driver of the red 488.

Slowing to enter another town, the car fires out more little explosions. It upsets a child in a stroller, but the parents point at the car as if to say, "No, look, it's okay, it's a Ferrari!"

A car like this could easily feel intimidating, but it's not. Ferrari says the Spider is often purchased by people who will use it not just for weekend drives, but also to drive to social events.

Spider owners tend not to drive their cars alone either, often having passengers and luggage along for the journey. Are Spider owners never lonely?

In the ancient town of San Leo, there is a fortress on top of a hill, visible for miles in all directions. The mayor, wearing his official sash, comes out to welcome Ferrari into this town; 488s fill the town square which, in turn, fills with locals.

Here, in the north of Italy, people are proud of what they produce. The balsamic vinegar from Modena comes lovingly packaged in a special bottle, with a seal of authenticity and a label guaranteeing its origin. It's the same with the Parmigiano-Reggiano, the extra virgin olive oil and Sangiovese wine. The message is clear: this is authentic, everything else is imitation.

To drive a Ferrari in Italy is to feel as though the whole country is behind you. From the prime minister to the mayor of San Leo; from the taxi drivers to the workers in the vineyards.

Even more than the V-8, that is powerful.

Associated Graphic

Powering out of a hairpin, working up to full throttle at 670 cavalli vapore, hits the driver directly in the diaphragm.


In Italy Ferrari says the Spider is used not just for weekend drives, but also to drive to social events.


I was my mother's keeper
Addicted to drugs and alcohol, she tried her best to inspire and care for me. She survived day after day, until she didn't
Monday, November 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L6

My mom was an alcoholic and a drug addict. It's taken me a long time to say that publicly, and I am completely (finally) okay with that.

What good is a struggle if you don't use your experience to try to help others? After 32 years, 24 of which I shared with my mom, I believe it would be a great dishonour to those who suffer in silence if I did the same. So I will be an advocate for her, in honour of her memory and to help heal my own grieving heart. Maybe it will let others know they are not alone. Fear thrives when we are lonely.

Eight years ago, a knock on my door changed my world. A policeman standing there said a drug overdose had swept my mom away silently in the early morning of Thanksgiving Day. I remember my legs giving way. He kept talking, but I heard nothing over the sound of my own screaming. I recall him saying, "I didn't think it would be this hard. She was obviously a drug addict." The door closed, and my friend folded over me and held me as I sobbed.

Then the instincts of a survivor kicked in. I had to take care of everything - right now. My mom was living with her boyfriend, an hour and a half away from me. I'd been asleep at home after a late night venting with a friend.

Oddly, the last thing we'd said before going to sleep was that we would no longer let anything bring us down.

The days that followed are a blur. There were phone calls, disappointing words tossed around: my mom's boyfriend calling, yelling that I wasn't including him; my grandmother complaining she didn't even want to be there.

After the funeral, I packed up her apartment. In one week she was gone, as if she'd never existed. All that was left were pictures, condolence cards and wilting flowers.

For a large part of my life I had been my mother's keeper. She would have told you the same thing. "You are more a parent to me than I ever was to you," she often said. Those who knew this had pity in their eyes for the little girl who went through this, but what people didn't realize was that for me it was normal.

My mom was my best friend.

She grew up with two brothers and a sister, a mom and a dad.

She was unhappy. She told me she and her mom never got along, and when her youngest brother and her dad died, it tore the family apart. I was a baby when all this happened, but I imagine it was a huge part of what made her start drinking and taking drugs.

Growing up, I remember a lot of people came and went in our lives. Mom worked three jobs most of the time. I hardly saw her and rarely when she was sober. I called in sick for her, got her to bed, helped her find her keys or purse or wallet. I made myself breakfast and kept quiet. I took care of her. I took care of me.

When she was gone, the old adage that so many people used - "Just remember and cherish the good times you shared" - hit me like a tsunami, powerful words that threatened to drown me.

When you're the child of an addict, the "good" times are rare and often unusual. Happy moments were getting to go to work at the bar with my mom on Sundays, putting glasses through the high-pressure washer and racking pool balls for the regulars, who gave me spare change. Happiness was spooning peanut butter straight from the jar for supper, not knowing it was because we had no other food.

I remember her laughter, which you could hear a mile away. Her big fluffy hair. The smell of her house because she never stopped cleaning. And I remember the hard times, because they brought us closer together.

Mom knew how to make the most of very little. She taught me the importance of being together, of hard work and taking care of yourself - even though she always put herself last. She was harder on herself than anyone. I won't deny feeling anger and regret, but I loved her through and through. She was a fighter.

She survived day after day until she didn't. Though she relapsed after 63/4years of sobriety, she never stopped wanting a better life for herself, and mostly for me.

For the first few years after she died I was angry. I hated her and almost felt relieved - and I hated myself for that. I blamed her for my own failures. At the time I needed someone to blame, when the truth was I just really missed her.

If I could take all of these experiences and make use of them somehow, I would encourage people to accept others as they are. It isn't easy to watch someone you love tear themselves apart, but try to understand that they are struggling, too. If you're going through it, remind yourself that you didn't ask for the person you love to hurt you, and you need to protect yourself first always. But then, even if at arm's length, let them know that they matter, that there is help out there and that you'll support them through it.

It took me eight years to be able to share this. Pages written and thrown away, countless hours writing and changing my mind.

I'm ready now to try to help others, because as a child and then an adult I felt alone. Sometimes you just need to know you're allowed to hurt. But also know that you can be more than what has happened to you.

Renee Wishart lives in Halifax.

Submissions: We want your personal stories. See the guidelines on our website

Associated Graphic


A time for calm reflection, not policy on the fly
Monday, November 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A12

It's time for cool heads, not snap judgments. There is time and reason to proceed cautiously on the questions of war and peace raised by the attacks on Paris, Beirut, Ankara and, most recently, Bamako. We should not let terrorists, however depraved, provoke us into changing our policies on the fly. But we also should not carve our positions into stone. Foreign policy is 10 per cent elective and 90 per cent reactive, and adjusting to outside events is in the nature of things.

Nor should we retreat into isolation or yield to xenophobia.

In reflecting on what Canada should do, five disparate factors strike me as important for our policy-makers to bear in mind.

First, because parliamentary authority for the Canadian military participation in the fight against the Islamic State lasts until the end of March, we can afford to take some time to understand the significance of a number of pertinent international developments.

These include, for example, the prospects of success of the Syrian peace process announced recently by Russia and the United States; the call by the French government for a single anti-IS coalition led by the United States, Russia and France; the right of France to seek to invoke Article 5 of the charter of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, requiring NATO members to come to its assistance; the possibility that the downing of the Russian airliner will make Russian President Vladimir Putin more willing to co-operate; and the prospects for collective action pursuant to Friday's UN Security Council resolution.

Further, it takes time to understand the Rubik's Cube of interests in play, involving the United States, Turkey, France, NATO, the European Union, Russia, Iran, the Kurds, Hezbollah, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and China, not to forget Iraq and Syria - or what's left of it.

Second, the villains in this conflict are manifold and the good guys scarce. Concentrating on defeating IS and turning a blind eye to the murderous Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as the Russians and some others would pragmatically do, would be not only immoral, given the rivers of blood he has caused, but also a recipe for endless conflict.

If IS is defeated and Mr. alAssad is left in place, other terrorist organizations will probably materialize because of the injustices at the heart of the conflict and the vast casualties he has caused.

If, on the other hand, IS or some other rebel army prevails in Syria, other rivers of blood are likely to flow as retribution is exacted on those who aligned with Mr. al-Assad, including Alawites, Christians and Yazidis.

Some sort of UN-mandated military intervention with boots on the ground will probably be necessary, as it was in the Balkans, to prevent widespread carnage.

Third, the cornerstone principle of NATO is that an attack on one ally is considered an attack on all allies. It was invoked in response to the al-Qaeda attack on the United States after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. If all NATO allies agree that France is entitled to protection under Article 5, Canada is treaty-bound to contribute to that protection.

But how and what we would contribute in such a case would be for the federal government to decide, not NATO. The range of our responses can run from diplomacy to armed intervention alongside our partners.

At the same time, our various allies are unlikely to "understand" if we were to decide to leave the dangerous work entirely to them. This is not the 2003 Iraq war, with its imaginary threat of weapons of mass destruction and a U.S. administration hell-bent on war. This is 2015, and our allies are being subjected to mass-casualty attacks by terrorists.

Further, the beleaguered frontline states of Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon need relief from the refugee burdens they are disproportionately bearing.

Fourth, some perspective is necessary. As the attacks indicate, IS can wreak havoc well beyond the borders of Iraq and Syria. But these have been tactical attacks that, while catastrophic to the victims and disruptive to our societies, do not constitute strategic, existential threats to the world's nation states. We are not fighting a war between civilizations; rather, we are responding, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, to a war against civilization - against the common humanity of Muslims, Christians, Jews and other believers and non-believers.

Declarations of war are dramatic and useful in rallying the support of a shaken public, but they also confer a kind of adversarial equivalence on the terrorists that strengthens their appeal to the alienated and radicalized, whose economic prospects are dim and whose social prospects are dimmer. Such declarations also feed Islamophobia, which only divides societies and makes the search for solutions more difficult.

Fifth, as for Canada, we, like others, cannot be defeated by terrorists but we can grievously harm ourselves if we scare ourselves into sacrificing too much liberty and dignity for security.

In a world rent by xenophobia, Canada has stood out as a successful society that has profited from refugee flows and immigration better than any other country has done. We can do it again this time with Syrian refugees.

We are rare in our capacity to integrate foreigners into our society and to make the consequent diversity a strength.

The example we set is heartening to many people abroad who admire what we achieve and who aspire to the same for their own societies. Our cosmopolitanism is an extraordinary strength that anchors our well-being in a global sea of instability. We should take the time to ensure that our domestic- and foreign-policy choices do not put it at risk.

Paul Heinbecker is a fellow at the Balsillie School of International Affairs and Canada's last ambassador to the UN Security Council.

Associated Graphic

After the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, the French government called on countries to join a coalition against Islamic State militants, to be led by the United States, Russia and France.


Full speed ahead for Hamilton landmark
Art Moderne home becomes textbook example of how to marry historic architecture with demands of modern life
Friday, November 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page G3

In the early 1900s, it was the automobile. The luxury ocean liner took the teens, twenties and thirties. The forties and fifties were ruled by the propeller plane and the jet, and, in the 1960s, it was the rocket ship.

Until the 1970s, when these were traded for the bicycle, we embraced newness, technology and speed; there's a reason that little red wagon was called "Radio Flyer."

Architects were not immune. In 1939, Coca-Cola built a spectacular Los Angeles Art Moderne plant with so many portholes, speed-stripes, curved walls and nautical railings it seemed like a place sailors should work rather than soda-pop executives. The same year, on the other side of the continent in Hamilton, a little house built for Jack Hambly on Longwood Road celebrated the seven seas also, but on a smaller scale.

Sadly, this one-storey Westdale landmark, with its single porthole window, lone speed-stripe and one curved wall, had been left empty in the wet spring and humid summer of 2013. And that's exactly when Lane Dunlop and Tina Fetner came aboard for a look-see.

"It was bad, it was cracked," says Ms. Fetner of the home's creamy exterior walls, "and when it rained, the water would get behind the stucco and it would be splotchy." Not surprisingly, mould was everywhere.

For this boat, water was the enemy.

Luckily, the couple is friends with one of the Hammer's primo architects, David Premi - their kids had attended the same school and they'd helped Mr. Premi when his house burned down five years ago - and they knew he had the talent, but also the romantic bent to tackle the project. "David's not just your ordinary architect," Ms. Fetner says.

"The work he's doing is special and different; it's really changing the face of Hamilton."

Although all involved knew more square footage would be necessary, changing the original face of 170 Longwood wasn't an option; after all, an iconic home such as this belongs to everyone.

However, any new addition could, and should, be of its own time.

"Can you imagine when this was first built?" Mr. Premi, director at the Hamilton architectural firm DPAI, observes. "I bet a lot of the neighbours didn't say: 'Oh that's a nice house.' "In its day it was pushing the envelope," he continues, pointing to the Tudor house across the street. "To me, history is a living thing; it changes all the time, so why not continue that tradition?" Besides, today's heritage practitioners consider the best addition to be the one that's obvious.

It should create a "distance that is difference rather than dissonance," write Johann Jessen and Jochem Schneider in Building in Existing Fabric. "A spatial tension arises between the different temporal and iconic layers, which is identified and treated as a design theme."

However, only three romantics - well, let's make it four, since architect Philip Toms of Toms and McNally Design acted as construction manager and assisted with design detailing - would find the extra money to have a giant piece of double-glazed, curved glass engineered for the second-floor addition; a curve that expertly mirrors the home's original and zoomy curve.

Past the stepped-skyscraper motif surrounding the original front door (an awkward metal "cap" and awning over the door have been removed to reveal the ogee curve again), the visitor steps into a small foyer. To port is the porthole window - which had previously been trapped in a coat closet - and to starboard is the small living room with an original marble fireplace. The swirly rose-and-thistle plasterwork on the living room ceiling has been painstakingly preserved, and two of the three original bedrooms remain. The third has been sacrificed for a mudroom off the backyard and a little living room nook containing a sideboard.

Windows throughout are replacements that mimic the originals.

Straight ahead is the expanded kitchen. It's punctuated by turquoise appliances by Elmira Stoveworks that the couple brought from their former house in Hamilton's Kirkendall neighbourhood: "This is the second kitchen that we redid, and both of them started with the stove," Mr. Dunlop says.

Past the kitchen, a small addition (the S.S. Minnow?) contains a dining table on a period-appropriate, onyx-like, black slate floor with sparkly quartz veins. The floor-to-ceiling windows here are necessary to frame the gnarly old tree - a mash-up of at least seven trunks - that dominates the backyard.

New waterproofing underground and a new coat of freezethaw-proof stucco on the exterior walls means this old boat is ready for another 75-year journey.

Mr. Dunlop cautions that a trip to the second floor should be done with care, since "there's a point on the stairs" where visitors stop and jaws become unhinged. It's true: While to passersby, the addition seems demure (that's intentional), when standing in the new family room or master bedroom, there's a feeling of vastness, of light and light-headedness. It's as if one is standing on the bridge and in command of the asphalt ocean below.

Of course, Ms. Fetner and Mr. Dunlop aren't the type to lord over their neighbours; in fact, they feel more connected to them now more than ever. "The whole neighbourhood had to go through this reno with us," Ms. Fetner says. "It was loud and there were big machines here a lot of the time, and they were such good eggs about it ... so we feel very connected."

The sensitive placement and expert craftsmanship of this addition - roof fools the eye into thinking it's only two-inches thick - should connect this house with multiple awards, too. It's a textbook example of how to marry historic architecture with the demands of modern life.

Bravo Zulu! (that's navy-speak for "Well Done"!)

Associated Graphic

The home on Longwood Road in Hamilton remains true to its 1939 roots while shedding new light on its curved space.


Notley unveils carbon plan on eve of first ministers' meeting
Monday, November 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A1

EDMONTON, CALGARY -- Alberta's NDP government is imposing an economy-wide carbon tax starting in 2017 and a cap on emissions from the oil sands in a sweeping plan aimed at showing it is serious about fighting climate change.

Premier Rachel Notley's strategy - a major shift in environmental policy for Canada's largest oil-producing province - will take centre stage as Canada's premiers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gather in Ottawa on Monday for a first ministers' meeting to craft a strategy for the coming Paris climate talks.

Canada will be heading to the UN-sponsored summit with a limited national strategy and carbon rules that vary widely between provinces. The Prime Minister is facing pressure from environmentalists to set national standards, but may also risk pushback from the premiers if he does so.

During the recent federal election campaign, Mr. Trudeau promised to allow Canada's provinces to continue to write their own climate rules. Quebec and Ontario have developed a system of cap and trade, while British Columbia has a carbon tax.

Alberta's plan, released Sunday, also features a phaseout of coal-fired power in the next 15 years, a 10-year goal to nearly halve methane emissions, as well as incentives for renewable energy.

"Alberta is leading again," Ms. Notley told a room of supporters at Edmonton's science centre. "The government of Alberta is going to stop being the problem and we are going to start being the solution."

The oil industry is in the second year of a crude-price collapse that has led to billions of dollars in spending cuts and at least 37,000 job losses.

Previous Progressive Conservative governments in Alberta sought to shield the dominant industry from costly emission limits.

Even so, the plans won plaudits from powerful oil executives along with environmental groups.

There are no hard targets, but under the strategy carbon emissions are projected to begin to fall under today's levels by 2030. The NDP had already announced plans to double the carbon levy on major industrial emitters.

The new carbon tax is expected to raise $3-billion annually by 2018, but the government will not be cutting any provincial taxes.

Some of the new revenue will be spent on technology to fight climate change and the NDP has committed to helping the lowerearning 60 per cent of households cope with some of the increased transportation and heating costs through an "adjustment fund."

The six-month-old government says the previous weak climate policies hampered efforts to persuade the United States and other trading partners to accept more shipments of crude from the carbon-intensive oil sands.

U.S. President Barack Obama said his country's efforts to battle climate change would be tarnished by approving TransCanada Corp.'s Keystone XL pipeline that would ship Alberta oil to Texas refineries. He rejected it after seven years of review.

"We got a major wake-up call a few weeks ago in the form of a kick in the teeth from the government of the United States," Ms. Notley said. "Unfairly in my view, the President of the United States claimed that our production is some of the dirtiest oil in the world. That is the reputation that mistaken government policy in the past has earned for us."

Energy leaders had previously warned any onerous new costs would be disastrous for an industry under severe financial pressure.

Still, Suncor Energy Inc. chief executive Steve Williams, Shell Canada head Lorraine Mitchelmore, Cenovus Energy Inc. CEO Brian Ferguson and even Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. chairman Murray Edwards, who had been among the sharpest critics of the NDP's economic policies, stood with Ms. Notley and environmental groups to endorse the moves.

"This plan will position Alberta, one of the world's largest oil and gas producing jurisdictions, as a climate leader and will allow for ongoing innovation and technology in the oil and gas sector," said Mr. Edwards, the Calgary-based oil man, financier and sportsteam owner.

New measures include:

A 100-megatonne cap on carbon emissions from the oil sands, Canada's fastest-growing source of emissions, once new rules are adopted. It currently emits 70 megatonnes annually.

An economy-wide tax of $20 per tonne on carbon-dioxide emissions starting in 2017, rising to $30 in 2018. Equal to seven cents per litre of gasoline, the average household will see heating and transportation costs increase by $470 annually by 2018.

Incentives to have nearly onethird of power generated from renewables such as wind and solar by 2030.

TransAlta Corp., the largest coal-fired power generator, said it was heartened by the gradual shift that it said would "ensure system reliability and price stability" for customers. The province is appointing a negotiator to work with the industry as it tries to avoid stranding capital, or the loss of asset value by hastily rendering plants useless.

The NDP devised the strategy with data from a panel led by University of Alberta economist Andrew Leach that held numerous meetings with the public and industry groups in recent months.

Climate activists including former U.S. vice-president Al Gore applauded the NDP, saying the government was taking muchneeded leadership as Canada seeks to improve its environmental reputation at the Paris summit later this month.

"The oil-sands emissions limit will give the world certainty that our emissions will not grow unchecked. It's a game changer and will change the debate about the oil sands industry doing its part to address climate change," said Ed Whittingham, executive director of the Pembina Institute, an environmental think tank.

Kudos were not universal, however. "This new carbon tax will make almost every single Alberta family poorer, while accelerated plans to shut down coal plants will lead to higher power prices and further jobs losses," said Brian Jean, Leader of the province's Wildrose opposition party.

Associated Graphic

Premier Rachel Notley unveils Alberta's climate strategy in Edmonton on Sunday.



Ensuring you don't outlive your savings
As retirements lengthen, the elderly must stay invested and find someone they trust to help with their financial planning
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, November 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B11

A side from a few aches and pains, Laura Webber's 84year-old parents are remarkably spry. The two Vancouver residents get out for walks almost daily, tend to their small garden and love going for picnics.

What Ms. Webber worries about are her parents' finances. With a family history of longevity, she says her mom and dad could have a long life ahead of them yet, and she isn't sure their bank account is as healthy as they are.

"All of my grandparents lived until their late 90s," says Ms. Webber, 49, the youngest of four.

"I'm so thankful to still have my parents around. They could be around for another 10 or 15 years, which is great, but I don't know how they're going to afford it."

Ms. Webber's parents represent a cruel conundrum: While more Canadians are living longer than ever, many find their finances strained, especially if they end up needing care in their final years. When the "freedom 55" movement took off in the early 1980s, it's unlikely people thought about retirees living for another 30 or 40 years, or even longer.

Canada's life expectancy is growing, with 80 being the average for men and 84 the average for women, according to the World Health Organization. Although financial planning looks much different at 80 than it does at 20, seniors still have to manage their wealth. Financial experts say there are common themes among the elderly, the most obvious being the fear they won't have enough cash to last them.

"For most people, outliving their money is the biggest problem," says senior financial planner Cathie Hurlburt of Vancouver's Assante Financial Management Ltd., noting that this concern is only going to become more commonplace with the phasing out of the defined benefit pension plan.

"One of the biggest risks is that they underestimate their own life span. Most people figure they're going to die at an earlier age than they actually die at. If you ask them, most people who are 90 didn't expect to be alive at this age."

Members of this demographic also tend to underestimate the costs of their later years. The thinking used to be that retirees will spend more in the early part of their retirement, when they're busy visiting Europe and playing golf, and less in their later years, when they're not as active. But people's expenses can go way up in the latter part of their retirement if they need home care or long-term care.

"There used to be this idea that, adjusted for inflation, expenses decreased by about 20 per cent when people stopped travelling and their health would begin to fail," Ms. Hurlburt says.

"That was ridiculous. I'd say care costs start accumulating at a rate greater than the 20 per cent of that drop in lifestyle.

"People will say, 'I want to stay in my house as I age,' " she says.

"Well, now you need somebody to cut the grass, trim the hedges, shovel the snow, come in and clean; you need help. They need people to monitor their medication, they need people to drive them to the doctor and they need support so they can have a bath safely. All of these things cost money. And if people say, 'I'll go into a government facility,' well, government facilities are all full right now of people who are 85."

Another threat to seniors' retirement savings are potential tax hits that accompany the drawing down of their money.

While building up a nest egg is one thing, determining how to strategically withdraw money from it over the years is quite another. It's complicated, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

"This is not an insignificant issue," Ms. Hurlburt says. "You need to spend as much time thoughtfully figuring out how to draw down savings in a tax-efficient way as you did accumulating those savings in a tax-efficient way. People don't think about tax consequences; they think about the cash flow.

Generally speaking, a tax-efficient drawdown of capital will make that capital last longer."

Financial strategies are complex enough in people's later years; making matters more challenging is the potential for cognitive decline. Having sound advice is vital, says David Andrews, portfolio consultant at Franklin Templeton Investments Corp.

"It happens to many people as they get older; it can be a steep decline or a gradual decline but it's a decline nonetheless, so the first thing people in this age category need to consider is: Do they have a relationship with a trusted adviser, someone who's going to put the investors' interests first? It's critical at all stages, but especially important when you're in that phase where cognitive abilities may be in decline," Mr. Andrews says. "You need someone you can count on and who can guide you."

Dealing with investments can be tricky, too: Obviously, being overly aggressive at this stage in life is rarely recommended, but playing it excessively safe by parking funds in a high-interest savings account isn't necessarily advised either.

"As we get older, perhaps we invest too conservatively," Mr. Andrews says. "With today's GIC [guaranteed investment certificates] rates, it's difficult to generate the kind of income that they're expecting and that they deserve. People need their money to continue to work and grow for them. You need to have investments which are built to withstand the ravages of inflation. Equities are a big part of that, but you don't need to be in the smallest, most aggressive types of stocks; you can buy high-quality blue-chip dividendpaying stocks. ... You don't want to be having to spend capital as opposed to spending the return on your capital."

Associated Graphic

Expenses can go way up in the latter part of their retirement if the elderly need home care or long-term care.


Why private funding for parks is the way of the future
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page M1

This week, Toronto learned it was getting a new public space built around the concrete bones of the Gardiner Expressway.

But Project: Under Gardiner will also rely on another kind of structure - a partnership between the city and private philanthropists. This could change the relationship that Torontonians have with their parks. And it's time.

"When community gets involved, parks get better," says Dave Harvey, head of the nonprofit group Park People. Mr. Harvey was at the Under Gardiner's launch this week; building more active community involvement in parks is his organization's mission. And the Gardiner, which is shaping up as an unusual combination of park, trail and cultural incubator, will need such involvement. Its designers suggest that it will be filled by a steady stream of cultural events, organized by a staff curator.

Who will run it? The details weren't clear this week, but it will be some kind of new non-profit group. Such groups in the United States are often known as "parks conservancies." In Toronto there are already 110 local groups, generally known as "friends of the parks."

Downtown Councillor Joe Cressy was enthusiastic in his support for the Gardiner initiative. "In a city that's growing like ours, we need to be investing in public spaces," he said. "In this case, the city needs to step up, but I think there are partners who can also contribute."

He's right. Toronto is changing incredibly quickly, and in some respects, government can't keep up.

Especially downtown, where the population has grown 40 per cent in a decade to 240,000, parks are being used more heavily than they've been in a generation.

They are no longer just for small children and dogs - although there are far more of both, pitting "dog parents" against actual parents in a battle for territory. Parks are also places where locals want to cook pizza with their neighbours, as in my local Christie Pits; or play ironic croquet and drink, in the beard-heavy agora that is Trinity Bellwoods.

City staff are poorly positioned to deal with these changes. Parks maintenance staff are focused on watering plants and fixing walkways. And parks spending has been tightly restrained over the past decade, hardly matching inflation and the city's population growth. In 2015, parks and recreation spending was about $368million, an afterthought in an $11.4-billion budget.

What's worse is that parks staff aren't connected to local neighbourhoods. In the old City of Toronto, parks had dedicated local staff who could figure out how to bend policy to make things happen. Today, friends of parks groups in Toronto hit metaphorical walls when it comes to shaping the physical and social character of their local parks. "It is a system," says a friend of mine with experience in this area, "that grinds down the spirit of even the most persistent volunteer parks animators."

So what is the alternative? The "parks conservancy" model, where a private group has an active role in running the park.

This conversation is being inspired by a city rich in both capital and green space: New York.

Judy Matthews has had meetings with leaders of the Central Park Conservancy, the private nonprofit that runs the bulk of the operations for the park. When we spoke last week, Ms. Matthews said her interest is in ensuring that great new public spaces are built - and then maintained. "The danger," she said, "is that you [build] a fabulous thing and then it falls apart very quickly. That's not what we want to happen here." Indeed.

This sort of arrangement does warrant some skepticism. This Toronto debate is emerging just as New York, under Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio, is looking hard at the question of "park equity." The worry is this: As private donors endow new parks - often in their own backyards - do these projects pull city resources away from other less privileged areas?

New York's most spectacular new park in recent years is the High Line, which opened in 2009. That visionary park, built on a disused rail line, has been a lure for locals and tourists; it has also reshaped the city's economic landscape, minting billions of dollars of realestate value for neighbouring landowners. Among the winners are Barry Diller and Diane Von Furstenberg, the power couple who put $35-million (U.S.) toward the park. They've probably recouped that money on the value of property their companies own nearby.

This spring New York announced a new donation from the couple to support another high-concept park, Pier 55, by the British designer Thomas Heatherwick. The critic Alexandra Lange panned it as "a gadget ... an expensive, limited-use bauble, one that costs the same amount to build as the city is currently investing in 35 community parks."

Troublesome. And yet: Toronto, starved for new park space, is increasingly depending on so-called privately owned public spaces - owned by developers - to give its residents breathing room. That, too, is a problem.

Against that backdrop, the Matthews' huge donation for the Under Gardiner looks like a welcome solution. The move is entirely selfless - the Matthews have no real estate in the area; the park serves a clear civic need. And the project's landscape architects call themselves Public Work. Their brilliant scheme calls for the space to be shaped by the presence of community groups, perhaps by do-it-yourself building or planting, and by the continuing evolution of the area. The process of public consultation, said Public Work's Adam Nicklin, "will really give shape to it. We believe strongly that that is how you make a great place."

This is messy. It is complicated.

And for the place that calls itself "a city within a park," it is the future.

Follow me on Twitter: @alexbozikovic

Associated Graphic

The preliminary design framework for Project: Under Gardiner, which covers a 1.75 kilometre stretch of the highway.


As allies gear up, Trudeau ramps down
Tuesday, November 17, 2015 – Print Edition, Page A18

If indeed the French are Canada's "cousins," as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described them, his government has a funny way of showing affection.

No sooner had Paris been maimed by terrorist attacks by the Islamic State than Mr. Trudeau reaffirmed that Canada would indeed be withdrawing from the direct military fight against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.

He did not say his government would reconsider in the light of the attacks. He did not say his government would consult with allies, including French "cousins." He merely repeated what he had said in the election campaign: Canada is not withdrawing from the struggle against IS but from any direct military commitment. Canada, in other words, is "back" in a rhetorical sense, but not in a real one.

Distracted by more pressing matters, the government of our "cousins" said nothing, but the French (and other allies) cannot be amused by Mr. Trudeau's decision. They are considering how to ramp up military efforts against the Islamic State; Canada is ramping down.

On Monday, at a meeting with reporters in Antalya, Turkey, Mr. Trudeau was unable to explain coherently why Canada's six C-18 fighter jets should be withdrawn from the fray. Instead, he underlined the utility of Canadian trainers working with Kurdish forces, as if that were the end of it.

To understate matters greatly, the battle against the Islamic State and other manifestations of jihadi terror will take a very long time, bring nasty developments of all kinds, and cannot be concluded by military means alone.

But it is difficult to imagine any scenario in which some military means will not be required, since IS has implanted itself in swaths of Syria and Iraq to which foreign fighters go for further indoctrination and training, resources are secured by selling antiquities, bootlegging oil, extortion and other criminal activities, and where a fierce ideology prevails that includes sex slavery of young girls, rampant executions and the most draconian imposition of sharia law ever seen in modern times.

Humanitarian assistance will, of course, continue to be necessary for the victims and dispossessed, but such assistance deals with the symptoms, not the cause, of IS-inspired turmoil.

Training Kurdish fighters, as Canada has been doing, is of marginal use given the severity of the challenge involved in containing and curtailing the Islamic State. Canada, a bit player, has been doing a bit. Now it will do less, unless the Trudeau government recognizes the election campaign is over.

Figuring out how to combat IS must start with a threat assessment: How dangerous is the Islamic State? When the United States invaded Iraq, with all the doleful consequences that followed for that country and the region, the Bush administration completely exaggerated the threat of Saddam Hussein. He was reprehensible in many ways and had invaded Kuwait, but he also hated al-Qaeda and Iran and posed no threat to the United States, apart from being an irritant.

IS, however, is qualitatively different, in that the territory it occupies has attracted, and continues to attract, fighters from many countries - some as far away as Australia - where they are trained and further imbued with the hateful interpretation of Islam gone crazy. The Islamic State has also contributed to destabilizing, indeed one might say destroying, two states: Syria and Iraq, although other groups have helped in that destruction.

Just imagine a Middle East in which an IS proto-state became a fixture in the region, with an apocalyptic ideology of massive battles against apostates such as Shias, moderate Sunnis, Christians and other non-Muslim minorities in which the most barbaric of practices are used and justified in the name of Allah.

Now that IS-inspired people have brought down a Russian jetliner over Egypt, exploded a bomb against Shias in Beruit, and created carnage in Paris, the full horror of the Islamic State's ambition and the barbarity of its ways have been brought home once again to all but the blind and ignorant. Perhaps, now, more countries previously believing themselves removed from the reach of the Islamic State will consider with others what to do, including militarily.

Nothing will make progress against IS easily or quickly. Between 20 and 30 groups, depending on the definition, in other countries now identify with IS. The cancer of Islamic jihadi movements has metastasized, a process that began about a quarter of a century ago. The sickness has more to do with internal convulsions within Islam - Shia/Sunni rivalries, struggles for influence (Saudi Arabia/Iran), fights within Sunni Islam - than hatred against the West, although there is plenty of that.

What compounds everything is the failure of too many Arab Muslim states to provide decent, representative government, protection of human rights and a reasonable standard of living for their people - failures chronicled in studies by Arab experts for the United Nations. With so much poverty, and so few prospects for improvement, no wonder handfuls of young Muslims are inspired by the perverse dreams of becoming a somebody by killing others and joining movements that purport to restore respect for and fear of Muslims.

Unless something changes within Islam, these sentiments are likely to grow if nothing else for reasons of sheer numbers.

The Pew Research Center suggests that Muslims' share of the world's population, which stands at about 1.6 billion (or 23 per cent) today, will reach 2.8 billion by 2050. During the next four decades, the world's population will grow by about 35 per cent; the Muslim population by 73 per cent.

The vast majority will be peaceful inhabitants of our world, but some, if the past quarter-century offers any guide, will not, so that the struggle against jihadi terror will be with us for a long time.

Associated Graphic

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, seen in Turkey for the G20 Summit, has struggled to explain why Canada is decreasing its military efforts against the Islamic State.


Outcome of Raptors' early-season 'test' depends on LeBron and the Cavaliers
Wednesday, November 25, 2015 – Print Edition, Page S1


It's still early yet, but Kyle Lowry is in midseason interview form.

The Toronto Raptors guard is doing four minutes of "Which version of 'Just trying to get better every day' can I answer this one with?" in a postpractice scrum. When it all gets too much, he announces, "Good to talk to you!" while someone is starting to ask a question, and walks away.

Over three years, we've had Grumpy Kyle, Recommitted Kyle, I Choose You, Toronto Kyle, AllStar Kyle, Smouldering Postcollapse Kyle and Skinny Kyle. We're retrying Version 1.0. It's the one that fits him best, on and off the court.

DeMarre Carroll is new to this (up here, at least), and he's already getting weary. Someone asks about his on-again, off-again offence. Carroll locks him in a stare.

"You tell me," he says. "I don't know."

A small mental klaxon begins going off in 20 gathered heads: Danger. Evacuate this line of questioning. Danger.

"You see the first half of the Clippers game [when Carroll scored 21]?" he asks. "I'm a defensive-minded person first. ... That's the problem with the NBA.

Too many people get caught up in the offence."

He's got a point. Also, no one will ever ask him about offence again.

Fifteen games into the season, it's a very different Raptors team from the one you remember from this time last year. That was a happy-go-lucky rocket ship to the playoff moon. Problematically, the engineers failed to mention that the boosters were designed to fall off after five months.

This team is a midnight Greyhound to the middle of the standings. It's already made a few unscheduled stops. Occasionally, it needs a push. Given how it ended in April, that's probably a good thing.

At this same point in 2014, the Raptors were 13-2. They were a few nights removed from a 17-point shellacking of LeBron James & Friends in Cleveland.

They were an unstoppable juggernaut powered by civic desperation and Lou Williams's ball hogging.

We were all in the midst of that favourite Toronto pastime whenever someone is passingly decent - "How good is Team X really? No, really. No, really really."

Not really, as it turns out. It wasn't the team, per se (though the personality makeup turned into a serious problem once things tightened up down the stretch). It was the way the roster had its head turned by all the good vibes washing down on them from the stands. Every unwise Vote Kyle Lowry to the All-Star Team promotion was a small nick in their postseason chances.

People believed, and so the team did, too.

This works as a virtuous circle until players start thinking you don't have to try very hard.

Once that unit got tired (as in, once games actually started to matter), it disintegrated. By the end, they were the Harlem Globetrotters minus the confidence plus a small bit of defence. Very small.

This off-season wasn't subtraction by addition. It was just subtraction. The locker-room doubters, second-guessers and malcontents were pushed out.

Like the Blue Jays before them and the Maple Leafs alongside them, the Raptors pushed the word "character" to the centre of their recruiting word cloud.

The results thus far are as expected - mediocre, with occasional bursts of genuine promise, and just as occasional bursts of brain freeze. They're 9-6. They could be 11-4. They could be 7-8.

At this point, the numbers don't matter in the least. That was another one of last year's mistakes - spending too much time with an eye on the standings. Everyone was guilty of treating an Atlantic Division title like a victory. No one noticed that the Raptors crossed the regular-season finish line on their knees.

"It's more realistic," coach Dwane Casey said Tuesday about this year's record versus last year's at the same time. He sounded relieved.

On Wednesday, they'll face what broadcasters like to call an early-season test (a game that doesn't mean very much in the grand scheme of things, but they'd be really happy if a whole bunch of you watched it). This is the first big-occasion encounter of the season, against James and the Cavaliers. Since it's Toronto's secular Christmas, Drake Night, the Pope of Degrassi Street may also be there. Fingers crossed! Last year, we'd have made a big deal about this. In turn, the players would've believed it was a big deal - measuring themselves against the top-ranked team in the East.

This year, we know it means relatively little. Either Cleveland will have a good night and win, or a bad one and lose. In all likelihood, the Raptors - missing centre Jonas Valanciunas through injury, still trying to get used to one another - won't have much to say about it.

They'll get lucky or they won't.

This game is an indicator of nothing.

Cleveland will win the Eastern Conference this year. That looks like a mortal lock.

The Raptors will make the playoffs. That's a decent bet.

They won't be seeded in the top four. Having managed it the previous two seasons and taken nothing from it, it doesn't feel like it matters that much. All we can say is they're good enough to enjoy one more chance at turning all that hopefulness into a tangible result.

Until then, they should hope for a low-grade invisibility. Listen to your own cliches. Do the work. Get better every day. Stay healthy. Above all, don't take yourselves at all seriously until you've done something serious.

From that perspective, the season couldn't have started any better. This is the team everyone cares about, but most people are still ignoring.

Follow me on Twitter: @cathalkelly

Why is Ottawa courting chaos?
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page F6

In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt told Americans that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." That summed up the dynamics of an economic downturn where people stopped borrowing and spending, for the simple reason that they were afraid. The Great Depression was so miserable because policy-makers repeatedly failed to understand the enemy, that most basic of human emotions: fear.

In fighting terrorism, fear is not the only thing we have to fear.

There really is an organization that calls itself the Islamic State, and there really are a small number of madmen across the world, some with no connection to IS, dreaming of Armageddon. They are driven by nihilism and death-lust, and yes, they do wish us a violent end. But excessive fear of them is dangerous and counterproductive.

A fringe cult can't harm our tolerant, liberal society - but our fear can. Terrorism is not powerful enough to defeat us. But if we are not careful, we may be weak or foolish enough to hurt ourselves.

IS, a successor group to Al-Qaeda, can kill and murder. It is doing a fine job of destroying parts of Syria and Iraq (though others, notably the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, have authored more death and destruction). It may even have been involved in exporting terrorism to the West in the Paris attacks. It will almost surely try to do so again. But IS poses no existential threat to any Western country. It isn't remotely strong enough. It can't conquer Canada, and the only way it can change our society - our tolerant, open, law-abiding society where all are welcomed and respected - is if, in reacting to the threat, we overreact.

This week, many American politicians decided to see what electoral benefit they could get out of overreacting. The governors of more than half the states of the United States said they did not want any Syrian refugees. They don't have the legal authority to make that stick, but one of the bodies with that power, the U.S. House of Representatives, this week overwhelmingly passed a bill to halt the White House's extremely modest plan for bringing in 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year. A lot of lawmakers think that miserly response to the world's greatest humanitarian crisis is in fact too generous.

The bill, supported not only by Republicans but also by many members of President Barack Obama's Democratic Party, would compel senior administration officials to personally sign off on each individual Syrian refugee admitted to the U.S. Such a roadblock will kill the refugee program.

The bill is not likely to become law, because it still has to get through the Senate, and unless it receives two-thirds support in both houses, Mr. Obama can veto it. But it passed with a supermajority in the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he favours setting up a database to register and track all American Muslims. The American bias against Syrian refugees, because of an exaggerated fear that a terrorist might be hiding among them, is that pronounced.

Last year, Canada accepted 260,000 landed immigrants. That's 5,000 people a week, every week. About 10 per cent of them were refugees.

Canada has been taking in these numbers for decades, and the process has become so smooth and banal, and so much part of the underlying hum of the country, that it's barely noticed.

The banality of Canada's immigration and refugee flow is the program's greatest success. There is no fuss, no controversy and no chaos.

Five thousand arrivals a week is to news as January snow is to weather. What a contrast to Europe, where immigration evokes heated passions on both the right and left, with the far right increasingly making gains on the claim that immigration is chaos. Repeated mishandling of the immigrant and visible minority files in many European countries, and growing fear of people of different backgrounds, provide ammunition for that view.

In Canada, in contrast, immigration has long happened quietly, steadily and Canadian-ly. It works without controversy, because most of us don't even notice it's working. Happy is the country where immigration's as boring as running water.

Over the next five and a half weeks, however, the Liberal government plans to make immigration considerably more "exciting." To meet a rushed political deadline no one wants it to keep, Ottawa plans to land 25,000 Syrian refugees before Jan. 1. The 25,000 figure is if anything too modest - over the coming months and years, Canada can take many more. But the exceptionally tight time frame is courting trouble. Is the Liberal government hoping to create its own wedge issue out of the refugee crisis, and betting it can whip up public sentiment opposite to that which the U.S. Congress is counting on?

Canada takes in 260,000 immigrants a year without breaking a sweat and without needing to create special camps to house and hold people. The Liberal refugee plan, largely still under wraps as we went to press, apparently will not follow that model. Instead, the government is making plans for temporarily housing thousands of Syrians on military bases. Ontario's health minister this week mused about having to reopen decommissioned hospitals.

The fear of terrorists hiding among the refugees is vastly overblown.

The fear that a rushed movement of people will be even a little bit chaotic, and for no good reason, thereby undermining support for immigration and refugees, is not.

The refugees fleeing terror in Syria deserve to be welcomed to Canada. They deserve to have a chance to live in freedom, in our society of peace, order and good government. There's a refugee crisis in Syria.

But only if the Trudeau government plays games with the issue will there be a crisis over refugee arrivals in Canada.

This is China's new economy - let's work together, Canada
Friday, November 20, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B7

Chinese ambassador to Canada.

In late October, the Communist Party's Central Committee adopted a proposed draft of China's 13th five-year plan for economic and social development.

The next five years will be a defining period for China's efforts to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society and double its 2010 gross domestic product and its 2010 per-capita income for both urban and rural residents.

To achieve the goal of increasing GDP from 40 to 80 trillion yuan, an average annual growth rate of no less than 6.5 per cent is essential for the next five years.

Major research institutions generally predict that China's economy will grow 6 to 7 per cent over this period. China will be able to achieve its target of "approximately 7 per cent" this year, and I'm sure this will also be the case for the five years to come.

To complete the building of a moderately prosperous society and promote co-ordinated development, the Central Committee has put forward five major ideas in its proposal : innovation, coordination, green development, opening up and sharing. These themes represent China's overall approach to development for the next five years and beyond.

Innovation will be a major driving force in China's economic growth. For many years, our growth was driven mainly by high levels of investment and resource consumption, and the low cost of our labour. This model is increasingly difficult to sustain. In the years to come, we will rely on innovation to strengthen economic development.

China has introduced a strategy for innovation-driven development and launched a series of initiatives, such as Internet+ and Made in China 2025, as new ideas have brought forth new technologies, industries and business formats. As many as 10,000 newmarket players are registered in China every day. High-tech and innovative enterprises are booming, outgrowing the industrial sector as a whole. Alibaba and Xiaomi are two that have used constant innovation to become world-renowned corporate giants.

Co-ordination is the key to addressing imbalances and disparities. China's development is still unbalanced and uneven between regions, and between urban and rural areas. The progress of social undertakings is still lagging behind economic growth. Given the imbalance and disparities, there is tremendous potential for development and growth in China's resource-rich central and western regions.

This is also true in the case of Chinese urbanization, which is at a mere rate of less than 55 per cent, while Western developed countries stand above 90 per cent. China's new urbanization is in full swing, making it possible for more people to live and settle down in cities or towns. This will also push up demand for investment and consumption.

Green development will promote harmony between man and nature. As our country has developed, pollution and other environmental problems have accumulated and are now more acutely felt. China's people have an ever-stronger desire for clean air, clean water and safe food. A green, circular, low-carbon economy is the direction of today's scientific and technological revolution and industrial restructuring, and promises huge potential for growth. It will create new areas of growth and generate robust "green force," fuelling the transformation of China's development model and the upgrading of its industrial structure.

Meanwhile, China has reached important agreements with the United States and France on climate change. China will play a positive role at the upcoming United Nations climate-change conference and will work with the international community to address the global challenge.

Open development will facilitate connectivity between China and the rest of the world. China is now at a stage of in-depth interaction and exchange - it is the world's largest merchandise trading country and has the world's largest foreign-exchange reserves.

It's also the world's top destination for foreign direct investment, the third-largest outbound investor and the largest trading partner for more than 120 countries

China cannot develop in isolation, but nor can the world enjoy prosperity without a prosperous China. There is still room for us to open up to the outside world and utilize world markets and resources. We will open wider, both domestically and internationally, and actively participate in global economic governance, honour our international responsibilities and obligations, and promote win-win co-operation.

Shared development will promote social justice and fairness.

Although China's growth "cake" is getting larger, the issue of unfair distribution remains unresolved, and the income gap and the urban-rural gap in access to public services remains formidable. The society China is building is meant to ensure fair development opportunities for all people, and to let all people share the fruits of development . In the next five years, China will endeavour to lift its remaining 70 million rural poor from poverty once and for all, which is a basic indicator for what we call a moderately prosperous society. More importantly, China will step up the building of a social system that features fairness and justice, and ensures the equal right to participate in governance and development so that every Chinese individual can pursue and realize dreams of their own.

China and Canada are important economic and trading partners and mutually complementary. I am sure we both can identify more opportunities to deepen our co-operation in the context of China's major development themes. The Chinese side foresees greater co-operation with Canada in such areas as high and new technologies, energy, environmental protection, services and agriculture.

Not long ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the United States and Britain as agreements worth tens of billions of dollars were signed. I hope to see similar big deals between China and Canada. We are ready to work closely with the new Canadian government to usher in a better future through, among other initiatives, the negotiation and conclusion of a bilateral free-trade agreement at an early date.

Aim to lead? Don't be yourself
Special to The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B16

Leadership BS By Jeffrey Pfeffer (Harper Business, 259 pages, $36.99)

Leadership experts routinely call on executives to be authentic. But Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of organizational behaviour at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, considers the advice BS.

So, too, the calls for leaders to be modest, truthful, trustworthy, serve others and expect their companies to honour their past contributions.

"Sometimes - not always, but some of the time - doing precisely the opposite of what the leadership industry prescribes produces better outcomes. What's more, doing the opposite of what the leadership industry advocates is sometimes a much better, more reliable path to individual success," he writes in Leadership BS.

On authenticity, he points to Alison Davis-Blake, the respected dean of the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. She was so quiet and introverted as a doctoral student that her professors wondered when she would speak up. The authentic her would be a failure in the high-profile position of business school dean.

"The last thing a leader needs to be at crucial moments is 'authentic' - at least if authentic means both being in touch with and exhibiting their true feelings. In fact, being authentic is pretty much the opposite of what leaders must do. Leaders do not need to be true to themselves. Rather, leaders need to be true to what the situation and what those around them want and need from them," he notes.

He contends the calls for authenticity are an example of the foibles of leadership gurus, offering a well-intentioned, values-laden set of prescriptions filled with "shoulds" and "oughts" that are mostly not representative of people in leadership roles, not implementable and may be fundamentally misguided.

You want authentic leadership?

You had it, he says, with Anthony Weiner, the disgraced U.S. congressman and New York mayoral candidate who sent pictures of his private parts to various women he met on the Internet. He was owning his thoughts, needs and wants - authentically. On the other hand, a colleague of Prof. Pfeffer, a senior-level college administrator, was probably being inauthentic when - after his daughter died from a drug overdose - he continued to soldier on in his job, providing motivation and encouragement to others.

Writer and editor Harriet Rubin, he points out, studied successful individuals and found inauthenticity was vital. Their success came from playing a role. A study by the University of Michigan's Sydney Lieberman found that union leaders who were promoted into management and then returned to the front lines during a recession exhibited the attitudes of their different posts, changing with the situation. Inauthentic, but realistic.

"The idea of behaving authentically as a leader is almost certainly rare, because this is a concept that is at once both psychologically impossible - because of situational effects on personality and behaviour - and also not very useful because of the requirements for acting as a leader regardless of how one may feel at the moment," he declares.

But at least you can be modest, right? Jim Collins suggested in Good to Great that the best leaders were humble and determined.

But research has shown that overconfident people achieve higher social status, respect and influence in groups. A study of the recent financial crisis found that narcissistic CEOs did worse at the beginning of the episode, but, because they have a stronger bias toward action and risk-taking as a result of their self-confidence, led their firms to bounce back more successfully.

Whatever you believe about the virtue of modesty, he warns that we are surrounded by self-promotional if not narcissistic leaders - Donald Trump being a prime example - who seem to earn more than their counterparts, so it may be a tack to consider.

Should you tell the truth? Steve Jobs was known for bending the truth - his "reality distortion field," it was charitably called.

Lying in everyday life is common - your sales reps probably do it routinely. "The ability to misrepresent reality is a crucial - maybe the most crucial - leadership skill," he insists.

Trust is the glue of most social relationships, and organizations revolve around social relationships. But he no longer believes it's essential to organizational functioning or even to effective leadership, because the data suggest it's notable mostly by its absence. Yet organizations - and their leaders - roll along, not suffering too many consequences for their untrustworthiness, in part because even after our trust is violated, we still tend to be predisposed to grant it to leaders.

Leaders are supposed to eat last, letting their subordinates go first, and while that is common in the U.S. military, it isn't elsewhere. Indeed, it's a curiosity when it occurs. Unselfish leadership is rare and servant leadership difficult to implement. As for the final behaviour he highlights - trusting the organization to take care of you - think about the layoffs and pruning of loyal staff around you.

This is a provocative book, and after a weak start - he takes aim at the leadership industry and ironically seems to fall prey to the same scattershot suppositions they do to prove his points - he settles down and offers a fairly thorough rebuke to many of the principles we have been taught to hold dear about effective modern leadership.


In Get Backed (Harvard Business Review Press, 235 pages, $44) consultants Evan Baehr and Evan Loomis show how to build a pitch deck for promoting a new venture to investors.

Psychiatrist and business coach Mark Goulston offers advice on dealing with the irrational people in your life in Talking To Crazy (Amacom, 259 pages, $33.50)

Alberta executive search consultant Catherine Bell makes the case for humane practices in the workplace and not separating work from life in The Awakened Company (Namaste Publishing, 219 pages, $34.50).

Associated Graphic

Donald Trump, Jeffrey Pfeffer points out, is an example of a leader whose success is not dependent on authenticity.


Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R21



1 2 2 Stars Of Fortune: Book One Of The Guardians Trilogy, by Nora Roberts (Berkley, $22).

2 1 2 The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams: Stories, by Stephen King (Scribner, $36.99).

3 3 4 Rogue Lawyer, by John Grisham (Doubleday, $35.99).

4 - 1 Fifteen Dogs, by Andre Alexis (Coach House, $17.95).

5 - 1 The Magic Strings Of Frankie Presto, by Mitch Albom (HarperCollins, 5 $31.99).

6 5 45 The Girl On The Train, by Paula Hawkins (Doubleday Canada, $24.95).

7 6 2 Even Dogs In The Wild: The New John Rebus, by Ian Rankin (Orion, $28.99).

8 8 11 The Girl In The Spider's Web, by David Lagercrantz (Viking Canada, $34).

9 7 4 The Golden Son, by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (Harper Avenue, $22.99).

10 10 5 See Me, by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central, $32.50).



1 1 2 Shift Work, by Tie Domi, contributor Jim Lang (Simon & Schuster Canada, $32).

2 2 4 Hockey Towns: Untold Stories From The Heart Of Canada, by Ron MacLean, with Kirstie McLellan Day (HarperCollins, $32.99).

3 6 37 My Secret Sister: Jenny Lucas And Helen Edwards' Family Story, by Jenny Lee Smith (Pan Macmillan, $15.99).

4 3 9 Why Not Me?, by Mindy Kaling (Crown Archetype, $32).

5 8 8 Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things, by Jenny Lawson (Flatiron, $31.50).

6 7 2 At Home: Sarah Style, by Sarah Richardson (Simon & Schuster Canada, $36).

7 - 1 Quinn: The Life Of A Hockey Legend, by Dan Robson (Viking, $32).

8 9 8 Sins Of The Mother: A Heartbreaking True Story Of A Woman's Struggle To Escape Her Past And The Price Her Family Paid, by Irene Kelly, Jennifer Kelly and Matt Kelly (Pan Macmillan, $16.99).

9 - 1 Sports Illustrated Hockey's Greatest, by The Editors of Sports Illustrated (Time Inc., $34.95).

10 10 3 Wildflower, by Drew Barrymore (Dutton, $34.95).

The bestseller list is compiled by The Globe and Mail using sales figures provided by BookNet Canada's national sales tracking service, BNC SalesData.




1 Fifteen Dogs, by Andre Alexis (Coach House, $17.95).

2 The Golden Son, by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (Harper Avenue, $22.99).

3 Room (Movie Tie-In Edition), by Emma Donoghue (HarperPerennial, $17.99).

4 Avenue Of Mysteries, by John Irving (Knopf Canada, $35).

5 Vinyl Cafe Turns The Page, by Stuart McLean (Viking Canada, $32).

6 Outline, by Rachel Cusk (HarperPerennial, $19.99).

7 The Daydreams Of Angels, by Heather O'Neill (HarperCollins, $22.99).

8 The Illegal, by Lawrence Hill (HarperCollins, $34.99).

9 The Heart Goes Last, by Margaret Atwood (McClelland & Stewart, $34).

10 At The Water's Edge, by Sara Gruen (Anchor Canada, $19.95).


1 Shift Work, by Tie Domi, contributor Jim Lang (Simon & Schuster Canada, $32).

2 Hockey Towns: Untold Stories From The Heart Of Canada, by Ron MacLean, with Kirstie McLellan Day (HarperCollins, $32.99).

3 At Home: Sarah Style, by Sarah Richardson (Simon & Schuster Canada, $36).

4 Quinn: The Life Of A Hockey Legend, by Dan Robson (Viking, $32).

5 Open Heart, Open Mind, by Clara Hughes (Simon & Schuster Canada, $32).

6 Life Sketches: A Memoir, by Robert Bateman (Simon & Schuster Canada, $40).

7 Number Two: More Short Tales From A Very Tall Man, by Jay Onrait (Collins, $19.99).

8 Unflinching: The Making Of A Canadian Sniper, by Jody Mitic (Simon & Schuster Canada, $32).

9 History's People: Personalities And The Past, by Margaret MacMillan (House Of Anansi, $24.95).

10 Breaking Away: A Harrowing True Story Of Resilience, Courage, And Triumph, by Patrick O'Sullivan with Gare Joyce (HarperCollins, $32.99).



1 Do Big Small Things, by Bruce Poon Tip (Collins, $29.99).

2 Chicken Soup For The Soul: Merry Christmas!: 101 Joyous Holiday Stories, by Amy Newmark, foreword by Santa Claus (Chicken Soup For The Soul, $17.95).

3 Chicken Soup For The Soul: Think Possible: 101 Stories About Using A Positive Attitude To Improve Your Life, by Amy Newmark and Deborah Norville (Chicken Soup For The Soul, $17.95).

4 Lifelines: Unlock The Secrets Of Your Telomeres For A Longer, Healthier Life, by Elaine Chin (Figure 1, $21).

5 The 20/20 Diet: Turn Your Weight Loss Vision Into Reality, by Phil McGraw (Bird Street, $28).

6 Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert (Riverhead, $29.95).

7 O's Little Guide To Finding Your True Purpose, by O,The Oprah Magazine Editors (Flatiron, $19.95).

8 How To Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie (Pocket, $21).

9 Brave Enough, by Cheryl Strayed (Knopf Canada, $22).

10 The Gifts Of Imperfection: Let Go Of Who You Think You're Supposed To Be And Embrace Who You Are, by Brené Brown (Hazelden, $18.99).




1 Golden Lion: A Novel Of Heroes In A Time Of War, by Wilbur Smith and Giles Kristian (William Morrow & Co., $24.99).

2 Warriors Of Darkness, by Bernard Cornwell (HarperCollins, $21.99).

3 All The Stars In The Heavens, by Adriana Trigiani (HarperCollins, $21.99).

4 Orphan #8, by Kim Van Alkemade (Avon, $18.50).

5 The Japanese Lover, by Isabel Allende (Atria, $32).

6 Outlandish Companion Volume Two, by Diana Gabaldon (Doubleday Canada, $50).

7 The Sisters Of Versailles, by Sally Christie (Atria, $21).

8 Edge Of Eternity: Book Three Of The Century Trilogy, by Ken Follett (NAL, $33).

9 Vienna Nocturne, by Vivien Shotwell (Anchor Canada, $19.95).

10 The Girl From The Train, by Irma Joubert (Thomas Nelson, $19.99).

The Canadian Fiction and Non-Fiction bestseller lists, and the Canadian Specialty Books list, are compiled for The Globe and Mail by BookNet Canada.

Budgeting for the three phases of retirement keeps spending on track
It's fine to indulge in the 'Go-Go years,' as long as there's a plan for long-term care, financial advisers say
Special to The Globe and Mail
Monday, November 23, 2015 – Print Edition, Page B8

In the two years since John Green has been retired, the Vancouver resident and his wife have travelled across parts of Europe, England, the western United States and have taken an Alaskan cruise - and they're not done yet. Next year it's England again to visit relatives, and Ireland.

Mr. Green is also pouring extra money into his lifetime hobby of model railroading, which includes a replica of the Kettle Valley Railroad from the B.C. Interior in the mid-1950s.

Retirement hasn't turned Mr. Green into a spendthrift.

Instead, his plan is to use up a little more of his nest egg in his early retirement years while he's healthy and mobile.

"You have to do it while you've got it - and that applies to money and the physical ability to go," says Mr. Green, 67.

He and his wife, Sharon, 60, have seen friends immobilized due to "silly accidents" and watched their parents slow down with age.

"We are dipping into savings to take advantage of travel, develop those memories in the early years of retirement," Mr. Green says.

Mr. Green is in what experts describe as the first of three stages of retirement, in which spending is typically high. Retirees, unshackled from daily working life, tend to enjoy their new-found freedom through increased travel and spending on hobbies in which they can more fully indulge.

Spending generally recedes in the second stage of retirement: As the body slows and the desire for travel wanes, there are fewer opportunities for consumption.

Costs creep up again in the third phase, in which seniors may become physically or mentally impaired. At this stage, their medical costs may start to soar, including the potential for requiring long-term-care homes.

Michael Stein, author of The Prosperous Retirement, popularized the concept of a three-stage retirement by characterizing them as the "Go-Go years," "the Slow-Go years" and the "No-Go years."

Personal finance experts say retirees need to plan their budgets for the possibility of making it through all three stages, while still taking advantage of their healthiest years.

"Make the most of that first stage, because it won't last forever," says Fred Vettese, chief actuary of human resources consulting firm Morneau Shepell and co-author, with current Finance Minister Bill Morneau, of the 2013 book The Real Retirement: Why You Could Be Better Off Than You Think, and How to Make That Happen.

That means spending a bit more of that hard-earned money in the first stage, instead of assuming that income needs will be the same throughout retirement, he says.

"You'll need less money than you think you will," especially in the later years, says Mr. Vettese, whose work challenges the traditional personal finance messaging that Canadians aren't saving enough for retirement.

Even the final stage of retirement, for those who get there, may not be as costly as many fear, he says.

"The additional amount of money you need to take care of long-term care doesn't end up being as much as you think it is," says Mr. Vettese, an argument he lays out in his upcoming book, The Essential Retirement Guide: A Contrarian's Perspective.

Those who do require the services of a long-term-care home also have a choice of how much they want to spend, which today can range from roughly $2,500 a month to more than $6,000.

What's more, seniors in longterm-care homes usually need this type of around-the-clock care only for a short period of time.

"You want to make some allowance for long-term care, but I wouldn't get too stingy with spending," Mr. Vettese adds, noting that other spending will drop off.

"We want to focus our spending during the good years."

To help make retirement portfolios last through each phase, retirees should set realistic budgets based on how low-key or extravagant their retirement dreams are, says Dennis Tew, senior vice-president at Franklin Templeton Investments.

Mr. Tew says retirement portfolios should be divided into three buckets that consider the three stages of retirement: The first is the "consumption bucket," with low-risk income-producing investments that help cover such expenses as taxes and utilities spanning about a three-to-five year period.

The second is the "longevity bucket," which includes more growth-oriented investments such as stocks and bonds.

"That's your inflation hedge, where you have to grow you assets faster than your costs are going up, to cover you off for the next 15 years or so," Mr. Tew says.

The third is what he calls the "intergenerational bucket," which is there to protect the longevity bucket and potentially leave money behind for the next generation or to charity. Mr. Tew says these investments can include more risk to provide a growth profile.

Seniors who have a long-term financial plan heading into retirement are often much less stressed about making their money last, Mr. Tew says.

"People are way more concerned if they don't have a plan and haven't started saving," Mr. Tew says. "Make your life easier by starting the process early."

Mr. Green says his retirement portfolio includes earnings from defined-benefit employer pensions. He and his wife also use a financial adviser to direct their investment decisions.

"Our portfolio is conservative, mostly in safer investments with some stocks," Mr. Green says.

It's an asset mix that allows Mr. Green and his wife to keep planning their trips around the world, and also keeps his model railway on the track.

Associated Graphic

John Green has been retired for two years and, in addition to travelling with his wife, has been spending money on his model railway hobby. 'You have to do it while you've got it,' he says.


From white collar to wet mop
Tired of my desk job, I became a house cleaner for a year. The experience opened up a messy closet in my mind
Friday, November 13, 2015 – Print Edition, Page L6

'So, I hear you're cleaning houses these days!"

It was a sunny May afternoon. I was enjoying a glass of wine on the terrace of a Montreal pub with my friend Sabiha when Sebastian, a friend of ours, came over to inquire if what he'd heard was true. A few months before, I had decided to leave my job of 13 years as a program director in global education and technology.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been curious about the different ways life is experienced on our planet. I wanted to turn that curiosity into a paying job. A journalist I had been introduced to was eager to give me a chance, but there was nothing concrete at that moment and I still needed more income.

One Saturday night, I sat at my computer looking at job postings.

My eyes blurred and my soul sank with every one I read. I was tired of work that involved sitting in front of a computer. Frustrated, I got up and decided to clean my fridge.

I washed down shelves, wiped the bottoms of containers, threw out old vegetables, then got to cleaning the outside. As I scrubbed the top of the fridge, I thought: "That's it! People do this for a living. Why can't I?" Back at my desk, I opened Craigslist, found a listing for cleaners and replied: "I have experience cleaning, ironing, cooking and can provide you with references. I work flexible hours, so this opportunity would be ideal. I am extremely professional and trustworthy."

When I was growing up, my family had housekeepers. My siblings and I did our chores alongside them as they taught us. I knew how to clean, but I'd never cleaned someone else's house. It can't be that hard, I thought. And I'll get to move around! Within two hours I had a reply.

Pixel, who owned a cleaning company, had a job that Monday on the West Island of Montreal for a family with three homeschooled children. She implied the house was in quite a state.

Pixel's e-mail ended: "I did Google-search you and I feel comfortable enough to be this casual with you." I wrote back that I would do the job.

That Sunday night I went to bed early to be ready for the one-hour commute and five-hour cleaning job. Soon after dozing off I was wide awake, my heart pounding.

"What the hell am I doing going to clean someone's house for money? Do I even know what I'm doing?" I comforted myself by delaying my final decision until morning.

The alarm clock rang at 6 a.m.

"You can turn it off," I told myself.

"Call Pixel. Tell her you're sick."

I got in the shower. "You can still call!"

I got dressed. Outside was a freezing Montreal January morning. "If you get to the metro and still feel 'sick' you can turn back."

From the metro I boarded a bus.

I had worked from home for nine years. As I watched people commuting to work, many with tired long faces, this sombre ride to a part of the city I'd never been to started to feel exciting. Across from me I noticed two women.

Our eyes met. I looked away sheepishly, something tugging within me. "I hope they realize the type of person I am," I thought, "that I have a master's degree from Columbia University, that I ... " I started to list where I'd been, who I knew and what I'd done in my life.

As I listened to my unexpected haughtiness, I knew without a doubt that I was going to see the day to its end. Just those few hours had opened a very messy closet within me that I thought I'd cleaned out. I got off the bus, crossed an icy parking lot and made my way through the houses to my first appointment, now smiling.

I was physically exhausted after that first day, but more alive than I had been in years. I accepted two more clients.

A month later, I gracefully parted ways with Pixel. Working so hard physically and giving a large portion of what I earned to someone else just didn't make sense. I decided to take my newly discovered, 36-year-old identity issues on a journey to clean houses my way. I would pride myself on deep cleaning, especially those areas people don't often notice such as the tops of high cupboards or the tray at the bottom of the oven. I'd be the Conscious Cleaner. Within a week of posting my ad at health-food stores around the city, I had seven clients.

That same week I got a call back from the journalist saying she had work for me to produce community videos. Now I was moving more than ever! Letting a stranger into your home for a few supervised or unsupervised hours is an intimate dance between cleaner and homeowner. My intention was never to impose more of myself than the space I was taking physically. But over time I developed relationships with my clients and had some of the most amusing, shattering and honest experiences.

It was one of the best years of my life. I was reminded that happiness and pride come not from the work you do, but from the energy you bring to doing it.

What was unexpected was that the time I spent experiencing how people treat "the cleaner," and how I treat myself, my fears and perceptions, was cleansing for my soul.

Losira Okelo lives in New York.

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Associated Graphic


When the Yankees ruled Montreal
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Print Edition, Page R14

After all the fuss over the War of 1812 bicentenary, and with a big party planned for Montreal's 375th birthday in 2017, you might think someone would be getting festive about the time a foreign power invaded Montreal and occupied it for six months. I'm talking about the American military occupation of 1775, which began 240 years ago this week, on a day that will probably pass without a whisper.

There are reasons why many Canadians have barely heard of this event, whose buildup and immediate aftermath roiled Quebec for 18 months. Not many in the province took the American colonists' invitation to overthrow their British oppressors, who routed the invaders as soon as reinforcements could cross the Atlantic. But while the invasion failed to spark a Canadian revolution, it did introduce a powerful force never before seen in the British colony.

It was the first propaganda war in Canadian history.

The only significant building connected with the occupation that still stands is the Château Ramezay, the former French governor's house in Old Montreal where the Continental Army set up its military government. The Château is now a museum, and has one tiny room devoted to the invasion. There you can see a few military relics and several portraits, including one of Benedict Arnold, who led a botched siege of Quebec City, and another of Benjamin Franklin, who visited Montreal for 10 days near the end of the occupation. The exhibit outlines the narrative only in dribs and drabs, via tags for individual items. There's nothing even to say that American generals ruled the city from the lavish ballroom next door.

The Yankee assault on Quebec started with words of seduction, in a series of open letters from the Continental Congress that began a year before troops arrived. The letters told Canadians they had a right to "their own government by their representatives chosen by themselves" and to be "ruled by laws which they themselves approve, not by edicts of men over whom they have no control."

The Americans proposed a new joint democracy, in which "your province is the only link wanting, to compleat the bright and strong chain of union."

These appeals, to a population whose only political experience had been the divine right of kings, were stoutly opposed by the Catholic Church. "Do not listen to those seditious men who seek to make you unhappy, to smother in your hearts the sentiments of submission to your legitimate superiors," one bishop wrote in a pastoral letter that was read throughout the province during the spring before the invasion.

The church always urged submission to authority, on the principle that all power, including earthly powers, expressed God's will. What was new in the situation was that someone else was addressing the flock with a positive alternative. Another view of law and society was being proposed. Most novel of all, the peasantry were being treated as if something important depended on their opinions.

They hadn't heard that from the British, whose Quebec Act of 1774 promised only that the Canadiens could keep their civil law and remain Catholic. The Americans kept sounding their dissonant note of liberty throughout the occupation, with the help of a French printer - Fleury Mesplet, founder of what later became the Montreal Gazette - who travelled with Franklin to Montreal in April, 1776, to step up the war of words. By then, it was too late; the American military governor had antagonized the locals, and a siege of Quebec City had failed.

The propaganda was largely self-interested. The Americans worried about British territorial expansion as outlined in the Quebec Act, and feared that the Brits might use their northern colony as a base for suppressing American independence. The Yankees' real feelings about the Canadiens may have been revealed in a letter to the people of Britain in 1774, in which the Continental Congress complained about the threat of "papism" in the north.

But about 500 Canadiens fought with the Americans, and others gave less overt forms of help, even though the bishops threatened excommunication for all rebels.

Guy Carleton, the returning British governor, complained that American propaganda and its local sympathizers had made it difficult for the people "to be suddenly restored to a proper and desirable Subordination." The whole episode broke open the debate about forms of government that occupied the Canadian colonies for the next century.

Propaganda about the invasion continued even after the troops had left. John Trumbull's painting, The Death of General Montgomery in the Attack on Quebec, shows the gallant Continental Army officer swooning in the arms of his aides, while other troops, and a sympathetic native warrior, look on in shock and dismay. Trumbull painted it 11 years after the event and clearly modelled it on Benjamin West's more famous canvas The Death of General Wolfe. But the romantic end that Trumbull never actually saw also never happened. Richard Montgomery was killed during a desperate night attack, in a snowstorm. His frozen body was found the next day.

In Montreal, the invasion itself has fallen into the deep freeze.

Outside that one room in the Château Ramezay, you'd never know it had happened. The funny thing is that Americans are still invading Montreal, and most of them head straight for the Old City that Montgomery captured in 1775.

You would think that they, at least, might like to know more about their ancestors' military adventures in the north, and their long aftermath. Montgomery and his men came expecting to be greeted as liberators, as U.S. troops have done elsewhere many times since. In a way, in Quebec, that's what they turned out to be.

Associated Graphic

John Trumbull's The Death of General Montgomery in the Attack on Quebec.


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